Saturday, January 31, 2009

Monsters & babies

I've been having fun playing with socks lately, this is my fourth sock creature, but my first monster. Monsters are definitely more fun. I'm thinking these little guys would be good gifts to put in the goodie bag for new babies. And speaking of new babies, my niece is having another little girl this spring (yea girls!), so I was making some new baby goodies this week for her baby shower. The burp cloths have been a big hit with new moms so far, and how can you lose with Hello Kitty fabric?

I'm still quilting on the blue & white quilt, making good progress, but it will be a while. I have to take it slow because my shoulder has problems, it's definitely not a good thing to push it too far or it aches for days.

I swear I'm really trying not to start new projects until I get some more UFOs done, but it's really tough when I keep reading blogs & they show me such great ideas! I couldn't resist the free block of the month from Gail Pan . Isn't that a cute block?

I'm hoping to get my daughter in on this one, too. It's pretty tough for her to find time though, her baby is 11 months old & really active now. She's so much fun, I love seeing her learn new things, you can almost see the wheels turning in her mind while she's trying to figure it out. She's walking a bit now, it's a funny crab legged walk, cutest thing ever.

Okay, I'll quit gushing over the grandbaby now. I'll TRY.

We've had a lot more snow. AGAIN. I'm not even taking any more pics, I'm so ready to hibernate now, just wake me in April or May.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Claims Surcharge- heard of it?

I think it's important to let people know about this. We had a house fire two years ago, it's an old house & we had builders re-doing a bathroom. They kept the fan in the room running all day & when the breaker would kick off they kept turning it on. This caused some kind of overload in some old wiring and started a fire in the attic. We had been told all the wiring had been redone by the previous owners, so we had no idea. We were fortunate that the damage wasn't too extensive, and we felt that we had a good insurance company, Frankenmuth Mutual Insurance Co. They were very good about getting our claim taken care of quickly so we could get the house repaired, our agent did an great job & made things easier for us when we were going through the aftermath of the fire.
Last Labor Day someone burnt down one of our barns, the one that held my husband's farm equipment. We believe we know who it was, but the insurance company declined to investigate, in all fairness there wasn't much to go on. They paid most of the cost to replace the equipment and paid for a new barn to be built.
We just got our new bill for home insurance, and there is an increase of $1,648, it's called a claims surcharge. Because of our claims the insurance company wants their money back, so this is how they're doing it now. I'm not sure about all of it, but from what we were told they will charge it until they recoup their money from our claims. You can google it, it's getting to be a common practice, on car insurance as well. Many are charging it if you make one claim.
Apparently they're no longer providing insurance, but just providing loans. They make a fortune off the people who never make claims and pay in their whole lives, but I think we're probably paying for the losses some of the companies have taken in the gulf areas in recent years. Or possibly it's just greed.
It's hard to understand why we're being punished when we've done nothing wrong. We've paid for our insurance all these years in good faith that we'd be covered if anything happened. We've taken every precaution; moved our woodstove outdoors, put good locks on the house & barns, added more smoke alarms than are even suggested, and we're putting up fences and gates just to be safe.
Anyway, you might want to check your policy and try to switch to a company that doesn't charge this. Once you have to place a claim (some don't charge until you have two or more) then it's probably too late to change because other companies don't want to take you. We're calling around, but so far other companies want to charge the same amount or more since we've had claims, but we're hoping to find an honest company.
If enough people cancel with companies that are starting this practice, and if enough people make complaints about it, it might be possible to put a stop to it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monkey Business

After seeing the cute little sock critters on this blog I wanted to try making some, and eventually make one of the traditional sock monkeys for my grandbaby. I like to get some practice in on a new craft so I can get any mistakes over with. I didn't have any problems with Jinx though. He
was named while we were watching Die Another Day, I thought that was an excellent name for a monkey anyway. I need to find some more colorful socks, but I was impatient to get started & these were all I could find on short notice. I will definitely make more of these little guys for presents for new babies, I think they'll be a big hit.

I'm still working on finishing up projects, a few at a time so I don't get too bored. I'm hand quilting this blue and white quilt that was a $5 block of the month at our LQS. I didn't realize how many years I've been going to those until I checked out my pile of UFOs. I'm loving this fabric, it's so nice to quilt through.

It's getting late so I guess I'll try to add more to this entry tomorrow....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bunny Hill cuteness & some help please?

Isn't this a cute design? It's a free block of the month mystery quilt pattern from the Bunny Hill Designs blog, Bunny Tales. Just scroll down on their blog page to see some of the examples that different quilters have made and get the information and patterns on the sidebar. I really like the one made from wool, I may have to do two of these. I wonder if I'll be lucky enough to find a heart bead in my bead stash? Perfect timing on this, too. We're getting socked in with snow (and my daughter & grandbaby are in Florida *sniff*) so I have plenty of time to work on projects. It's supposed to get really cold, too. I hope the power stays on this time.

I need some advice on a project I'm working on. It's one of those UFOs I've had around for a while. My New Year's resolution is to work through the majority of them this year. I've realized that a lot of them end up in the UFO pile because I hit a snag & can't decide how I want to finish them. That was the problem with this one. I want to do some applique on this, something along the lines of what they did in the quilt below. That's from Fabric Trends for Quilters magazine, Winter 2009. Isn't that beautiful? I'd like to make one from batiks, too.

Anyway, the problem is color. I can't figure out what colors to use for the applique that will work with the blues & neutrals. I don't like loud colors, but I tend to be too timid with color sometimes. Usually if I think on it a while some inspiration comes to me, but I'm at a loss with this one. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Close, but no cigar.

It's finished! Not in time for Christmas, but I'm really glad to have it done. Now I need to make two more Christmas quilts so that I have one to pass down to each of the kids. I'm not making three alike, that would drive me crazy, so I'm looking at different patterns & trying to decide what the other two will be. This one is called Winter Wishes, it's from the book Strips & Strings by Evelyn Sloppy. My LQS had one real similar to this hanging up in their shop & I've wanted to make it ever since I first saw it. It's machine pieced and hand quilted. I really like the quilts in this book, especially since I have lots of leftover strips from previous projects that I'd like to use up. Well, I say 'use up' but it never works out that way. I had hoped this Christmas quilt would use up a lot of my Christmas stash, but as usual, my stash is not noticibly diminished, I think there are little magic elves in my craft room that restock my scrap stash at night.
It doesn't seem possible that Christmas is over already, every year it seems to fly by faster. At least I'm not having the usual post-Christmas let down this year. Maybe it's having my grandbaby around that makes the difference. Speaking of which (or whom), she walked a few steps for the first time today! I didn't see it myself, but maybe I will today since I'm babysitting this afternoon. She's just over 10 months old & is doing new things all the time, we have a lot of fun with her.

I've already started quilting on another UFO from the pile I plan to work through this year. It's a blue & white quilt from one of the $5 block classes I've taken at my LQS. I'm not usually too thrilled with the quilt blocks from those classes (I went mostly to hang out with my quilting buddy), but I think I'm going to like this quilt. I'll post a pic of it soon. I'm trying to figure out what other project to work on, I have a bunch of things I've started & I like to have two or three handy to work on, so when I get tired of quilting or my shoulder squawks too much I can work on something different. I want to try my hand at crocheting some rugs this year, too. My mom used to make them & I have several rugs she made. They're getting pretty worn out, though, so I'd like to get some made to replace them when they're completely worn out. That should use up a lot of the stash, right?

I hope the new year is going well for everyone so far!