Adventures in Lighting

Today’s issues revolved around the lighting in various parts of the house. Tuesday I decided to take a look at the ceiling light in the studio to see if I could improve the output level any by putting brighter bulbs in or adjusting the direction of the fixtures. The light has four small, adjustable halogen lamps on it that can be rotated and aimed up or down so that the light falls where needed. Simple, right?

Wrong. I checked the bulbs first, and while they were only 35 watt bulbs, I didn’t have any of the right variety in a higher wattage on hand to replace them with. So I tried to adjust the direction of the lights, and spread them out just a tad more, which seemed to work okay for a short while.

Late Tuesday evening, one of the bulbs went out. It just sort of faded away, and when I climbed back up there to check on it, the fixture was way to hot to touch right next to that particular bulb. The other areas of the fixture weren’t that hot, so after fiddling with it a bit longer and having it fade in and out repeatedly while providing some strange sorts of humming noises, I decided that the owners left us a bum fixture, and it would have to be replaced before it burned the house down.

Sheesh. All I did was adjust the thing! It wasn’t putting out enough light anyway, so fine. Off to the hardware store I went on Wednesday morning to look at lighting, figuring I’d also shop for hardware bits to make it possible to connect the American chandelier we have to the very German wiring and ceiling in the dining room. We’ve been waiting for the owner to come and do this like he said he would, but I’ve been tired of the waiting for at least the last week or so. Waiting and patience are not my strong points, though ITMan would have happily waited forever, I guess, and continued to eat in the dark. He’ll eat just about anything anyway, so seeing it probably isn’t strictly a necessity, but I need the visual as well as the gustative, thanks.

You must understand that I’m not Ellie the Electrician here. Plugging things in is one thing, and I can hook up computers, networks, and A/V equipment all day long, but both the chandelier and the light in the studio have to be hard wired. ITMan doesn’t know how to do it either, and 220v will knock you off a ladder onto your butt, so he’s not really all that up for the game. But hey, nobody else iwas going to do it obviously, and the Internet has everything, right? Continue reading “Adventures in Lighting”

Naturally Neutral – NOT!

I promised myself that I wouldn’t bore you with further tales of settling into the new house, or the lovely day I had today visiting with the washer repair man, the transportation inspector from the Army, and the plumber, all of whom were here today, trooping through the house in wet shoes (it’s raining here in Germany, go figure!) to see me for various reasons. So, on to more soothing, quilty topics:

Neutral/green palette

See? Sooooothing to the eyes. This is the base palette that I’ve chosen to work with for my next project. I felt a bit of trepidation about this project—well, to be perfectly honest I think I still do, but I’m diving in anyway, as per the usual way of things. I’m not a “neutral” person, you see. I like color, lots and lots of color, in varying shades and hues all together, all the time. BUT, I like the colors to blend well, like the crisp, slightly sweet taste of a cool Cosmo on a warm spring afternoon. Mmmmm.

What? Oh, sorry, got a little sidetracked there. Ahem. Similarly, I’m absolutely NOT neutral on other things either. Most things, I either like it a lot or I don’t like it at all, with none of that namby-pamby-in-between-ambivalence-thing going on. This goes for just about everything: foods, politics, books, people, cars, movies, etc., etc. If I don’t have a “like it or hate it” reaction to something, it’s probably because it’s just not on my radar and I haven’t thought about it at all. Continue reading “Naturally Neutral – NOT!”

Tour the New Studio

The new quilting space is set up and ready to rock. Here’s the view of the winter garden end as you come up the stairs:

View of wintergarden from stairs

Then looking left, you’ll see my new desk space, and between the desk and the winter garden windows is the bookshelf with all the quilting and computer programming books.

Desk and bookshelf area

Continuing on around the room, the cabinet there is full of projects in progress, and the shelf unit holds supplies and a few more projects. The tone-on-tone fabrics are all on the shelves to the right of the door into the library (which isn’t really a library just yet as all the books are still in boxes!). Back in the corner there between the shelves is the entrance to one of the attics.

Projects and fabrics

Here is the design wall and cutting table, though I’m still waiting for my Block Butler design wall to come in the mail. I left this space wide open, so there’s lots of room to stand way back to analyze designs! The three-drawer chest that serves as the base for the cutting table is full of print fabrics.

Design wall and cutting table Continue reading “Tour the New Studio”

Looking forward to new projects & better shopping

Today we took off for Heidelberg to go to the Arts & Crafts Center, where they have all the quilting fabrics and supplies, to pick up a quilt book that my good friend Liz recommended. She said that making a One Block Wonder was great fun, and it sounded intriguing, so I thought I’d take a break from Creativity Projects that are filling in the break from The Misery Quilt and give it a whirl. I also found some really wonderful fabric to experiment with, and here’s the loot from the day:

The day's loot

The fabric goes pretty well with my bed linens, the upholstery on the antique French chairs, and the tapestry that is in my bedroom, and since the new house will have a straight wall behind the bed (as opposed to the slanted ceiling that we have above the bed now), I figure that a new quilt to go above the bed would not be amiss. It will be a great first project for my new studio, since I’ll have lots of space for cutting and a real design wall to use.

While we were in the store, GuitarGirl found a pattern by Fourth & Sixth Designs she liked and asked if I would make the Kinetic Energy quilt for her. I told her I would help her make it, and that it was pretty easy. I’ve seen this pattern in catalogs, and I liked it too, so it won’t be a chore to help her with it! Maybe I’ll make a quilter out of her yet.

The last time she quilted, she was at a point where she was going to have to take out a seam and sew it again since the fabrics weren’t lined up right when she sewed it the first time, hence the gaping hole in the seamline. She didn’t want to take it out, and I told her she had to, so she left and never came back to the machine. (Have I mentioned that teaching kids anything isn’t my strongest point?)

She’s a bit older now, so maybe this quilting thing will go better, but she’s already going on about having to do “all that stuff you do by hand with the flipping and the clips” (she means hand sewing the binding down on the back)! We’ll see how it goes, though I can already tell she’ll probably get bored pretty quickly since the quilt needs 27 strip sets of at least 9 strips each or something, so that’s a lot of straight (boring) sewing. Continue reading “Looking forward to new projects & better shopping”

Sweet Success

After a very long day driving around Heidelberg looking at houses and meeting with people in the housing office there, we finally found a lovely house yesterday evening. We’ve always been so lucky finding houses and cars; every time we need to move or find a used car or something, something presents itself that’s just perfect for our needs at the time. When we’ve been dependent on the military for an apartment or house, we’ve been lucky enough to get the nicer ones in each community we’ve lived in.

Side of house with balcony

I began to think last week that our luck had finally run out, but we must just be living right, and deserving of some good house karma. (I did respond to a “Houses Wanted” ad that a family here in Stuttgart placed to let them know about this house that we’re leaving, so maybe it really was my turn for good karma!) We found a house in a charming little town about 30 minutes from Heidelberg called Angelbachtal; the town boasts two castles, one that is nearly just around the corner from our house and has moat!

The neighborhood is exactly the kind of place I hoped we would find, a nice, quiet little residential area not too far from some small shops. I’m really looking forward to more of a typical German living experience, where you can walk to the bakery or the meat shop, or take a little stroll in the evening to the local restaurant or beer garden. Continue reading “Sweet Success”