Day 4…

I worked inside today, painting. The new bedroom window was smaller than the old one which meant that that room needed painting. And Chris and Lorna were ready for a new color. I can paint fast and accurately so I was on to paint. The room used to be a darker turquoise blue…

BrockettBefore-Bedroom-01 copy

I remembered to take photos after I had painted the ceilings and had begun the white primer coat on the walls…

BrockettBefore-Bedroom-02 copy

The ceiling is now pale sky blue, the walls will be white. One wall, with a very large bookshelf against it, is remaining turquoise.

BrockettAfter-Bedroom-01 copy

I couldn't paint up next to the window because Steve is still working on the sheetrock. It won't take much to go back and paint that area.

BrockettAfter-Bedroom-02 copy

You see that light fixture? I broke the globe that goes to it. I was being careful but not careful enough. It exploded when it hit the floor. What a mess. Chris and Lorna are going to find a new one at IKEA on Saturday.

Tomorrow I am painting the finish coat of white in this room and in the attached bath, so they match.

Steve and Chris got two of the three soffits up at the side of the house…

BrockettBefore-SidePorch-05 copy

BrockettBefore-SidePorch-06 copy

The roof will be repaired over the door so the guys want to wait to finish that soffit.

The guys then moved to the back of the house. Here's the before…

BrockettBefore-BackDeck-01 copy

Chris took down the thing over the deck and the gutters at the edge of the roof. He and Steve began taking the siding off of the east side of the garage…

BrockettBefore-BackDeck-04 copy

Tomorrow I am finishing the inside painting. Then it's back outside. It is very hard to believe that the 4th of July is next Wednesday. We'll be working on the house. If we keep at it we are on target to be finished two weeks from today, or earlier. Each day is hard, but we're getting there!


Days 2 and 3…

It's hot outside! What were we thinking!!! Of course, we were thinking that this is when we had time to spend on the remodel. But still – it's hot. But enough of that. Yesterday we (mostly Steve and Chris) worked on the new window for the bedroom wall. Here's the before…

BrockettBefore-WindowWall-01 copy

And after…

BrockettBefore-WindowWall-02 copy

Steve and Chris got the inside wall sheetrocked (because the new window is smaller than the old window). They didn't finish putting up the Hardie panels outside because of electrical and small window complications. 

Side note: I was gone much of Tuesday. I took Elanor and Jack to swimming lessons and then I had promised to take mom to the Appraisers Court. Long story short is that she paid more for her house than it was worth. She had to to buy a house close to us. Her taxes went up because she overpaid for her house – which she did so that she was close.

Mom had her house appraised, we went before the board, they were receptive to her story and her taxes will be where they should be. It took the afternoon, but it was worth it. And honestly, I was impressed. This board is staffed by volunteers and they do a hard job. They do not routinely rubber stamp challenges to the appraised value set by the county. But if you can show why the appraised value is incorrect, they listen.

Today, Steve, Chris and I went back to working on the side door area. Steve had meetings on campus through the middle of the day so Chris and I worked together for much of the day. I looked hard at the old door and decided it had to go. Chris and I went to buy, and then installed, a new pre-hung door. That went pretty fast and it looks good.

If you look to the right of the door you can almost see some black on the wall. Those are the holes Chris drilled so that he can attach the new light fixture. We spent and hour or more getting a new electric box in place so that the new light fixture can be attached to the wall. It's this sort of thing that eats a day away. But it's gotta be done.

BrockettBefore-SidePorch-04 copy

Steve was back at the end of the day and helped Chris get the wall to the garage (on the left) finished and he got a brace under the threshold for the new door.

A complication is that Steven's pickup was rear-ended by a pizza delivery guy last week. No one was hurt but the poor kid's bitty car was totaled. Steve's truck has some real damage too and it is going to have to go into the shop tomorrow. The tailgate won't go down and I gotta say, that is a significant issue when you are remodeling and hauling stuff.

Geico (the kid's insurer) has been OK, but not really fast. Today we called our insurance guy (from State Farm) and I think the truck repair will get going. That said, I'm glad we got the side door today when we still had a truck to get it with. 

Tomorrow I am painting the bedroom, inside. In the cool. I'll feel guilty but it has to be done. Steve and Chris are working on soffits and then maybe moving on to the garage door side of the garage. I hope to have pictures tomorrow…




The renovation begins…

Chris and Lorna's house, on the outside, needs attention. The side porch, the garage, and the back of the house are covered with siding that is itself covered with black mold and peeling paint. We could have spent a lot of time dealing with the mold and paint but instead we decided to take off the old and replace it with Hardie panels.

The soffits in these areas also need replacing. But we figured out how to do that last Christmas when we worked on the front of the house. It goes faster when you have a clue as to how to do something.

We have finally hit the 100s in Texas. I am so very thankful that Chris has big trees and we mostly are working in the shade. You have no idea how much that helps. Or maybe you do know. All it takes is working out on a hot hot day to realize how much shade helps.

First, how about the before photo of the area we started with…

BrockettBefore-SidePorch-01 copy

As it turns out, some of the siding is very cheap. What you see around the door and what's on the back of house that you haven't seen yet may be masonite. It's hjard to take off because it breaks apart. The wood siding on the garage is old wood and would be OK except for the mold. On the upside it's easy to take off.

FYI – Making the mold be really gone is not that easy, especially when you live where mold loves being. Just covering it up with the Hardie paneling is not a good idea. When wet weather comes, the mold blooms. We need the mold to be gone.

Now, look above the door. See that roof? It's not got enough slope. That's why there is so very much mold in this area. We are waiting for a roofer to come. Our consensus is that we need a professional to make that part of the roof do its job. We're guessing that the roof needs rebuilding. It looks like a $1500 jpb don't you think? If that takes care of the water issues it will be money well-spent.

At the end of today, the side porch area looked like this:

BrockettAfter-SidePorch-01 copy

The old siding is no longer there. You can see two 4'-8' Hardie panels on the left, on the garage. We can't do much more here until the roofer comes.

Chris and Steve also got this small soffit up. It may not look exciting, but it's better than what was there.


We have 2-3 weeks of hard work ahead. None of us has time for this. But when it's finished, we will look with pride at the end result.

You might be wondering why it is that Steve and I are part of our son's remodeling project. I'll tell you why… it has a lot to do with my father. That man did stuff. Daddy had tools and skills. There was not a home repair that was off limits. When Steve and I could, we helped with his projects. We happily help our kids with their projects.

Steve is a better worker/helper (more upper body strength and tool knowledge) but I do add something to a job. I like to think of myself as foreman but really I'm the one who says 'keep at it'. And I think Steve might say that I can have a good idea. But mostly my job is keeping us moving forward. I may not be loved at all times. I can live with that. 

But there's another thing going on here. When Chris was born in 1981, our money was tight. Steve was in grad school, we had no insurance. Mom and Dad paid for Christopher. When we talked about paying back that loan, my dad looked at me with a smile and said someday Mom would need help and we could pay back the loan then. (I think Chris is free and clear now.)

Chris is in grad school. He and Lorna have 2 kids and no extra money. And they have a house that needs work. Truth be told, the raw materials do not cost that much. It's labor that costs and if you do the work yourself, there you go. Not that expensive. But I looked my son in the eye before we started with what I hope is my father's grin and said someday, I may need some grocery money! I have complete faith that it will be there if I need it. Or if Steve needs it. Steve and I plan to go out together but that hardly ever works…

PS – There are many women who opt out of this sort of work. I wish it was cooler but I actually enjoy this sort of thing. I do the parts I can and let the guys do the heavy stuff. I've got enough of my Dad in me that I must be a part of this kind of job. That's mom and dad, in the 1970s…


Sweet Sixteen and those handy clamps…

In August of 2010 I shared with you the system I learned from Caryl Bryer Fallert that takes the weight of the quilt off of you and the table as you machine quilt. I would not willingly machine quilt without my clamps!

I get requests for a link back to that post often enough that I've finally added a section on the right with the header 'Pages Often Asked For'. You can see my first post showing the system with my Bernina. Read that post first for more details.

I'm pretty sure I showed the same system set up for my Sweet Sixteen but darned if I can find that post! (If any of you find, please let me know. Better yet, send me the URL.) So I am reposting the photos today.


Because the Sweet Sixteen is oriented front to back (rather than side to side like a home machine) you need a clamp on each side, 8"-12" back from the needle. 

This is what it looks like from the front:

SweetSixteen-02 copy

When I am not quilting anything big enough to require use of the clamps I pull the cord so that the clamps are near the ceiling. I coil the cord and clamp it in place.


When I want the clamps I release the clamp mechanism, drop the cord, pinch the toggle, and move the clamp down to a useful level.

PS – I must start using tags to make finding things easier. Today. I'll start today.

AAQI 2012 sampler quilt, ready for quilting!

I finished the applique while I was out of town. The quilt is now set together and basted. I love it!

AAQI-SamplerImage-07 copy

To plan the quilting designs I placed frosted vinyl over the top and drew with a Sharpie, doodling different quilting designs over the top. I think I've figured out how to proceed in most areas. 


TIP: It's a good idea to cut a big enough piece of vinyl so that you don't risk going off onto the fabric with your Sharpie. I know that I should run painter's tape along the cut edge of the vinyl to stop the pen, but I'm always in too much of a hurry for that. If you look closely at the bottom of the photo above you can see that I was lucky to stop drawing where I did. Maybe next time I'll use the tape!

I hope to get this mostly quilted this weekend, in between other things that are going on. It would be great to have this off the list by Monday morning when we begin our summer construction project.

Remember last year when we remodeled Mom's house? This summer we are helping Christopher replace the bad siding on the side and back of his house. There are two windows and exterior French doors to be replaced which leads to sheetrock repairs inside. Lots of painting outside and in. We think we can get it done in 3 weeks if all 3 of us stay focused and work fast. Texas weather is about to hit 100 and stay there which is an incentive to get it finished.

I'll take pictures. Stay tuned…

This and that…


Laura D., the creator of the SuperHanger, was kind enough to send me one for review. Click here to see more about it. I like it! Her website shows that the hanger can be used for over-sized clothes (like sports uniforms) but it's really nice to hang a quilt over.

I roll my quilts and store them on high shelves in my closet but there are times when I have a work in progress that having this sort of hanger for will be terrific. They are reasonably priced and I happily recommend them to you.

In other news, I received the box of fabric that I bought at the Sewing Party last week. (Many thanks to Jean for sending the fabric so quickly!)


My favorites may be the grays. They are lovely with the clear colors that I mostly use. The fabric that looks like newsprint was a gift from the owner of the shop. I will think of her smiling face when I use it!


Many of the fabrics I bought are from Yuwa and are hard to find. These imported Japanese fabrics are more expensive than typical cottons and they are hard to find unless you have a shop that stocks them. I think I'm going to start stocking them. I may have to wait until Fall Market, but soon, they're coming…

FYI – I always, always, always wash and dry my fabric before adding it to my stash. Here's what the same fabric, ready to be put away:


Gotta love new fabric!