Studio remodel… part 3

We have been oh so busy! I’ve been telling my husband at the end of each day that I feel like I’ve been hit with sticks. He tells me that that can’t be true since I’ve never actually been hit with sticks and being hit with sticks is way worse. However, I’ve been pretty sore the last few nights.

But the hard work is paying off. Yesterday I got the primer on the outside wall. Steve got the inside wall mostly finished. I was able to get the first coat of paint inside late yesterday afternoon. 
Painting in the studio is complicated by the fact that the first time I painted my studio I made a mistake and got oil based paint. You can’t just paint over an alkyd paint with latex. Since I didn’t want (or need) to paint the whole room I had to get more alkyd paint this time. Boy oh boy, does alkyd paint put off fumes. We have my studio sealed off with plastic so it’s mostly not smelling up the house but it’s no fun. I spend most of my time at home in my studio and not being in there makes me a little crazy.
This morning I got the 2nd coat of paint on the inside wall and then moved to the outside wall. This is not that big of an area so I got 2 coats of paint on the wall and 2 coats of trim paint. I’ve got the paint (chartreuse!) for the outside of the door but am going to wait a week or so to paint it. It’s hot and humid here so I’ll need to tape plastic over the outside door opening and I need to wait for the paint to cure so that the tape doesn’t pull the paint off.
Steve finished the inside trim, finished the electrical stuff, and saved a juvenile wren that was sort of lost in our garage. He’s a field biologist, has nets, and knows how to use them! 
We went to church this evening so tomorrow I’ll be back at work early (after I get the paper read) getting my studio back in shape! Oh happy day! Maybe the fumes won’t be so bad and the plastic can come down. I do hope so.

And – I keep forgetting to post an answer to a question on the granola but I’m remembering now and since this where I’m typing, here goes… I use whole flax seed in the granola itself. I grind a big spoonful of flaxseed each morning and sprinkle it on my bowl of granola. I will add this info to that post as soon as I have time.

Studio remodel… part 2

This morning the little window (that used to be over my sewing machine) moved to its new location. And I decided I wanted a light on the outside of this wall with a switch in the inside. And I wanted it where I wanted it to be, not where it was easy. I’m so lucky to have a husband who smiled and said OK. It did slow us down a bit but the window made it into the wall. 

Next the open spaces got insulation and OSB (a chip board that will be under the Hardy siding). Steve spent time putting in other electrical boxes… don’t want to rush that.
He mudded the interior sheetrock before calling it a day (that’s not in the photo below). I’m hoping to be painting soon. Well, I will be painting ceilings starting tomorrow morning. I hate painting ceilings but this summer it just has to happen. No one but me knows they need it, but I know that there are several ceilings in my house that need it.
Steve will be working on trim and exterior siding tomorrow…

Studio remodel… part 1

My dear husband, Steve, is re-working the back wall of my studio! This is a project that has been on the books for 2-3 years. Steve is dean of the sciences at Austin College here in Sherman, TX, and he has a pretty small window of opportunity for home improvement projects. This is the week!

My studio is not getting bigger, but the light is being redistributed. He took out the old glass double-french doors and put in a single door that has better insulation. The little window above my sewing machine came out and a newer bigger window went in…

Who thought this up?!

Now I know that Ami Simms has collected some wonderful photos of signs but I think this one is pretty good – or bad depending on how you look at it. A friend, Kim Snipes, saw this in Scotland and shared it. Here is what she says:

“It’s from Grantown-on-Spey, Highlands, Scotland. When we drove into town from the Inverness Airport, I couldn’t believe the sign. Since we stayed at the same hotel in Grantown for the whole time in the Highlands, we saw the sign at least twice a day. It became a real joke for everyone on the tour. One of the guides suggested that the lady was picking the pocket of the gentleman.”

How-To Photos and Chocolate Candy

When you flip through a quilt book and you see the “how-to” photos, have you ever thought about what goes into setting up those photos? There’s more to it than I ever would have believed before we started Piece O’ Cake.

It is important to think about the photos as you write a book. We make a note of where photos need to be placed in the text and what those photos need to illustrate. After the quilts are made and the text is complete we go back and put together the “props” for each and every photo that you see in our books. 
Sometimes it’s important to show a progression of steps. For example, it takes several steps to make a 9-patch. On photo shoot day there isn’t time to cut strips, sew strips, cut some more, sew some more, etc, while the photographer waits. It’s just like a cooking show – each step has to be prepared individually, in advance. 
The baggied-up bits in the plastic bags in this box will be turned into wonderful how-to photos in our next book. I’m always amazed at how little space they take up. Of course, the quilts will be shipped in other boxes :-).
In addition to working on the photo samples I had my 5 year-old granddaughter, Elanor, for a couple of days this week. Steve and I took her to the pool yesterday afternoon – to wear her out a little. It ended up wearing us out too! We all slept well last night. 
Elanor and I made some tasty and easy candy today (see instructions below). We played with rubber stamps and pretty paper. And we went shopping! For Barbies and pretty ponies!
I have to admit that I was never a fan of Barbie. Elanor, however, is all girl and Barbie makes her very, very happy. Especially the bridal Barbie we got today. Ken is still at the store so I don’t know if Barbie will ever be Mrs. Barbie.
Rocky Road Candy
1-2 cups of chocolate suitable for candy making. In a pinch Baker’s Semi-Sweet bakers chocolate will work. Chocolate chips might work, but your candy will be prone to melting easily.
1-2 cups of salted, roasted peanuts
1-2 cups of mini-marsh mellows
Elanor added 1/2 cups of red hots and they’re pretty good.
We added 1/2 cup of pecans because my husband likes them.
Add other ingredients to taste.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over very low heat.
Stir in all ingredients.
Spoon out in mounds on waxed paper.
Put them in the refrigerator to make them solid quicker.

We put the candy in baggies for her favorite people after it got hard enough to handle. Elanor made cards to go with each bag. She was very pleased with the gifts she made.
If you have never made chocolate candy before, know that almost anything tastes better with a chocolate coating. Oreos, cornflakes, nuts, graham crackers… you get the idea. There is some really fine chocolate made especially for candy making. Google “chocolate for making candy” and you’ll get lots of information.