Celebrating 10 Years

I’m about to get very sentimental, but before I do, I want you to head over to my Instagram and enter the awesome giveaway I have going on! You can enter on both my @craftmoore and @30MinuteCrafts handles for extra entries!

Okay … now that we have that out of the way…

It seems an odd time to be celebrating. In the middle of a pandemic (is this the middle? I’m not even sure…), I’ve reach this milestone that would have seemed unattainable 10 years ago. But, here we are. Exactly 10 years after I hit publish on my very first post on this site, and I’m still here.

Looking back, the opportunities that blogging has given me are truly incredible. I’ve authored a book and co-authored another. I invented a sewing notion. I’ve become a pattern designer and a YouTuber (this last one is an achievement my children are particularly tickled with). I’ve partnered with some of the most amazing brands. I’ve traveled all over the country including Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Beaver Dam, and Cleveland.

Though all of this has been incredible, I think that what I have loved the most about this whole experience is the people. Because I wouldn’t still be doing this if it weren’t for all the amazing people that have been part of this journey.

You, dear reader, are one of the most incredible parts. Readers who just pop over from Pinterest for a few seconds to see how I put together a project, readers who check in every now and then, and readers who subscribe to my newsletter and connect with me on Instagram. Knowing that there is someone there who might have some interest in what it is I have to say is humbling. Thank you.

Also incredible are my blogging friends. Over the years I’ve met hundreds of fabulous women (and also a few men and nonbinary persons) who understand what it is that I do… because they do it too. We can chat about SEO, ad networks, and what the latest WordPress update looks like. And I’ve become very close with some of these fabulous ladies over the years. They inspire me daily. You know who you are – thank you.

When I thought about writing this post, I thought about including some of my “greatest hits” – those things that I’ve shared over the last 10 years that stand out. Like when I was brutally honest, or when I became an award winning quilter, the time I wore a dress I made out of Duck Tape, or when I sold my first pattern. And while those are all fun stories and lovely parts of this journey, I thought I’d share with you a story that I don’t think I’ve shared here before, and was so incredibly meaningful.

Several years ago, there was a one-day blogging conference about an hour north of where I live. In our local blogging facebook group, I offered to carpool with anyone interested. A blogger I’d never met before took me up on the offer to carpool.

The morning of the conference I drove to her house to pick her up, and then off we drove up to the conference. On the way, we chatted about our kids and our families and about blogging, too. About 40 minutes into the drive I was chatting about some of the videos I had done and I felt a shift in the energy in the car. Something had changed, and I had no idea what. She said, “That’s where I know you from.”

She had watched some of my videos. My voice had sounded familiar because I had been in her house, teaching her how to make a quilt block on YouTube a few months before. This was the first time I’d had the opportunity to hang out with her – but it wasn’t the first time she’d hung out with me. We’d been friends before I ever parked in her driveway that morning.

And that’s what has kept me going. That technology allows friends I haven’t met yet to invite me into their homes, and chat with them here on the blog or on social media or share a tutorial on YouTube. I’ve had ten years of sharing ideas that inspire someone’s wedding décor or mother’s day gift or teaching them how to make their first quilt. Ten years ago I pushed publish on a post that maybe 10 people have looked at, ever. But it was the start of being able to connect with so many people out in the world. I’m so glad that I made that leap.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for connecting with me, and allowing me to connect with you.

Always,

Sewing Studio Reveal

Even before we moved to social isolation and stay-at-home orders, I had a crazy thought. What if we swapped my sewing studio with the master bedroom? And when my friend Cheryl asked if I’d like to join in her annual Spring Clean your Studio Blog Hop, the idea really started to take hold – ne sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to check out the links of everyone else participating in the sewing room spring cleaning challenge!

We live in a 1950s bungalow in San Diego. It is less than 1200 square feet, which was an adjustment when we moved here five years ago from our 2400 square foot new construction home in Las Vegas.

The largest room was the master bedroom, and also had my husband’s desk and computer. The children like to play video games on his computer, which means they’re often in my bedroom when I’m looking for a quiet place to relax. And my office space wasn’t large enough for me to keep my filming lights or tripod up. So as soon as I was done with a video, I had to pull them down or risk tripping all over the legs and cords.

Before moving all the things between the two rooms, I did some measuring to make sure that our bedroom furniture would fit in the new master bedroom. I graphed everything out on graph paper to check the layout. It would be snug, but it would work. Armed with this information, I asked my husband what he thought. He shrugged and said that it did not matter to him. That was all the encouragement I needed!

I’ve shared my sewing space in the past. I move things around as my needs change. You can see past versions here (2018) and here (2016) and here (2014). And here is what it looked like before moving things over. That ironing board is overflowing with … stuff!

It took a full day to move all the furniture and other stuff between the two rooms. The table in the sewing room had to be taken apart. As did the bed. The two doorways were right across from each other, which made some of the logistics easier. However, things had to be done in the right order to make space for the new things that were coming in. At the end of the day it was all moved… but a complete mess.

I spent the next week working my way through the mess. I still had deadlines and commitments to work on, so I needed functional space. The first area that was made functional was the filming desk. It also works as a computer desk, in a pinch.

Because I was doing video meetings, I wanted to have a nice backdrop, so installing everything in this area was important. The background is very similar to what I had in my last space. There is a small cabinet against the wall on the left, with a sugar mold and shelf, and some of my mini quilts. To the right, I added a quilt rack that my mother found for me several years ago. I haven’t had it up in the house for quite a while, and was excited for it to get some use again.

I also love sitting in this space because I have a view of the Clementine tree in the backyard while I sit there. My old room faced the street, so I always had the windows covered for privacy. I’m loving this new view!

Maybe I should wash the windows so I can truly enjoy it?

Because of the extra space, I’m able to keep those big filming lights up all the time. This will be such a time saver when I just want to film a quick video!

And when I’m on camera, I’ll have a fun and colorful backdrop behind me.

A few things in the background that you may enjoy … On the top left, you’ll see the spool holder that was a gift from my mom. Below that, to the right of the heart letter board, you’ll see eight circles. These are from the sewing machine that I learned on, and controlled the decorative stitches.

Below the shelf, you’ll see my Baby Lock Jubilant. I’m an Influencer for Baby Lock, and I’ve named my Jubilant “Saturday.” To the right, in the middle of the photo you’ll see the nesting baskets from the pattern that I just launched. The quote on my laptop is from Gilmore Girls and says “If you’re going to throw your life away, he better have a motorcycle!”

Also, if you look at the very top, you’ll see a spot where one of my ribbons is missing. I finished this wall up the morning that I did my Facebook Live Trunk Show, and one of the ribbons fell down during the live! I still have to put it back up.

And, below the tabletop is the entrance to our bomb shelter. Yes, you read that right – this house was built in the 1950s and the original owners added a bomb shelter to the house. We did go down there once you can watch the video here.

On the left, I installed two large Ikea pegboards for all of my quilting rulers. I have a decent-sized collection, and keep adding to them. I also have my threads, and my glittered deer head which is a nod to my friend Beth Kingston from The Kingston Home.

Above the filming table, you’ll see my camera. I have it clamped on a mount that can move in all directions – but is great for filming overhead when I want video of my hands.

To the right, I have a large frame that I picked up at a yard sale years ago to turn into a design wall. Above the design wall I have an old letter tray that was in my childhood bedroom. In the letter tray are Lego Minifigures that I’ve collected.

Moving to the left is my ironing table. I have a beautiful large ironing table that is perfect for pressing whole quilt tops. I haven’t added decor to the walls yet, just a small design board that is a large canvas covered in batting. On this design board you can see blocks from the Quilty 5k and from the Ruler of the Month.

To the left again is my desk. Actually, there is a corner that is being used as storage. I have bins of paints, glue, old projects, and other items that need to be stored. Also, a wooden cabinet with a small TV on top. This TV gets plugged into my camera when I use a second camera angle, so I can see what the camera is filming.

I have my Cricut Maker on the desk, the laptop I use for school, paints and tools, my podcasting mic, and one of the projects I am working on.

This wall in the room is a dark mustard color. It isn’t my favorite at all. I had painted the other room a beautiful silver-blue that I loved, and so moving to a room with mustard walls is a bummer. I’m sure I could paint these walls eventually – but I’m not ready to take that on just yet!

I am working on putting together a miniature sewing room. Funny that I’m fixing up my actual sewing room while creating a minature sewing room, right?? If you want to learn about the mini sewing room kit, I have a Youtube Video where I go into all the details.

So far I have done the basic furniture assembly and the wall assembly. I still need to tuck away the wires from the lamp, and then I’ll start customizing – adding my own details to the project!

For anyone who wants to get their own mini sewing room, you can find the Amazon affiliate link here: https://amzn.to/39Y5sLQ

To the left of the desk is my sewing space. This is a dining room table that I got at a steep discount because it had a scratch in the top. The scratch is always covered by a cutting mat, so I never notice it! This table is in the middle of the room. In front of the table is a large reclining chair, bookshelves, my husband’s desk, and a large TV. I can see the TV while I sit here and sew, which is lovely. And when my kids are playing computer games, I’m in here with them.

Right now I’m taking a break from mask sewing to try to finish up these pineapple blocks. They are the next Ruler of the Month pattern and I can’t wait to share with you how I set these blocks!

Also, you’ll see my Baby Lock Aria. I love sewing on this machine! Her name is “Sunday.” And if you caught the name of my Jubilant, you’ll see why I say “I only sew on Saturday and Sunday!”

Turn to the left again, and you’re back where you started in the filming space.

I made the marbled canvas quote art several years ago, and it is a great reminder.

Below the quote art I hang all of my Cricut mats, and over the mats is a piece of wooden lattice which I use for storing all my Art Gallery Fabrics selvedges. I’m a proud AGF Sewcialite, and I love collecting the selveges from each fabric that I cut into!

To the right of the art, you’ll see a peek into the closet. That was just moved over yesterday. Moving the closet and making the rest of the space ready for taking photos was a full day of hard work. The closet isn’t at all camera ready, but I’ll show you a peek inside. Because we’re friends now, right?

Eventually, I’ll tidy and organize this as well. But a closet’s job is to be functional rather than pretty. So, as long as I’m able to find what I need without things falling on me, I think I won’t worry about this space too much for now. Too many projects are calling to me!

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this peek of my messy floor in my filming space that I shared earlier this week.

Well, I took a little time to clean the floor and also organize the green bins that were overflowing. They each have different kinds of supplies – clay, paper, wood, party, holiday … simple supplies that are good to have close by. But only if I can find what I need! So I went through them to see what was there and make it fit nicer.

Well, there you go – a full tour of my new sewing studio! I hope you enjoyed seeing my new space. I am so glad I’ve got it all set up and organized. An organized space feels so good to step into, don’t you think?

If you’d like to see the others in the blog tour, check out the links below!

April 1 – Sam Hunter – http://www.hunterdesignstudio.com
April 2 – Marian Pena – http://www.seamstobesew.com
April 3 – Jennifer Fulton – http://www.inquiringquilter.com/questions
April 4 – Martha Wolf – http://Www.pinwheelprodns.com
April 5 – Jennifer Strauser – http://www.dizzyquilter.com
April 6 – Steph Carton – http://www.theelimonster.com/blog
April 7 – Simone Fisher – http://www.simonequilts.com/blog
April 8 – Kate Colleran – http://www.seamslikeadream.com
April 9 – Carlina Moore – http://www.alwaysexpectmoore.com
April 10 – Jen Frost – http://www.faithandfabricdesign.com/blog
April 11 – Leanne Parsons – http://www.devotedquilter.com
April 12 – Becca Fenstermaker – http://www.prettypiney.com/blog
April 13 – Sarah Myers – http://www.quilted-diary.com
April 14 – Mitzi Redd – http://www.reddhomestead.com
April 15 – Jeanette Larson – http://www.Jenonthefarm.com
April 16 – Camille Ainsworth – http://www.stitchinthenw.com
April 17 – Becky Philips Jorgenson – http://www.patchworkposse.com
April 18 – Bobbie Gentili – http://www.geekybobbin.com/category/blog
April 19 – Janellea Macbeth – http://www.janelleamacbeth.com/blog/
April 20 – Lisa Ruble – http://lovetocolormyworld.blogspot.com
April 21 – Debra Davis – http://www.tuning-my-heart.com/blog
April 22 – Rona Herman – http://www.Ronatheribbiter.com
April 23 – Sue Griffiths – http://www.duckcreekmountainquilting.com
April 24 – Sarah Ruiz- http://www.saroy.net/
April 25 – Jessica Caldwell – http://www.desertbloomquilting.com/
April 26 – Tammy Silvers – http://tamarinis.typepad.com
April 27 – Ebony Love – http://www.lovebugstudios.com/blog
April 28 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://blog.muppin.com

Quilt Candy Live Trunk Show!

Are you at home looking for some Quilty Inspiration? Or a little bit of interaction with the “real world”? Well, some designers came up with a fun idea for some Facebook Live Trunk Shows where designers come together and share what we’re up to, as well as some fabulous “Quilt Candy” for you to check out!

If you missed my live, you can still catch it on my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/alwaysexpectmoore/

And here are some of the links I mention during my live session:
Learn How to English Paper Piece
Spot on Dot
Ruler of the Month
Gallery Wall Quilt Along
Cricut Maker Block of the Week
Quilty 5k
Carolina Moore Pattern Shop

And because you know I like to “keep it real” here is a photo of me laughing it off as my ribbon is falling off my wall at the beginning of the video! Because live video is always unpredictable!

And if you want to see any of these other fabulous Facebook Lives, check out these links!

April 1

12pm EST Andi Stanfield
1pm EST Nancy Scott
2pm EST Becky Jorgensen
3pm EST Carolina Moore
4pm EST Jackie Kunkel
5pm EST Connie Jonson Sayler
6pm EST Laura Piland/Slice of Pi Quilts
7pm EST Sandra Starley
8pm EST Swan Sheridan

April 2

12pm EST Lisa Ruble
1pm EST Beth Helfter EvaPaige Quilt Designs
2pm EST Diane Bohn/From Blank Pages
3pm EST Deb Eggers/The Cottage Rose
4pm EST Heidi Pridemore/The Whimsical Workshop
5pm EST Kate Colleran
6pm EST Tammy Silvers/Tamarinis

April 3

12pm EST Darcy Hunter
1pm EST Teresa Weaver
2pm EST Annette Ornelas
3pm EST Jo Westfoot – The Crafty Nomad
4pm EST Lynn Kane
5pm EST Geeky Bobbin
7pm EST Laura Strickland
8pm EST Jen Frost

April 4

12pm EST Sherry Shish – Powered By Quilting
1pm EST Bill Locke – Bill Locke Designs
2pm EST Toni Smith/Quiltoni
3pm EST Tammy Silvers/Tamarinis
4pm EST Jennifer Fulton
5pm EST Jessica Caldwell/ Desert Bloom Quilting
6pm EST Monique Kleinhans / Ladybug’s Cabin
7pm EST Heather Long / Coffee and Quilts
8pm EST Marija Vujcic, Mara Quilt Designs

April 5

12pm EST Ebony Love
1pm EST Bill Locke 
2pm EST Marlene Oddie
3pm EST Sandy Fitzpatrick
4pm EST Reed Johnson
5pm EST Diane Harris
7pm EST Kathryn LeBlanc/Dragonfly’s Quilting Design Studio

April 6

12pm EST Becca Fenstermaker
1pm EST Cherry Guidry
2pm EST Cheryl Lynch
3pm EST Annie Smith
5pm EST Reeze Hanson
7pm EST Melissa Marginet

April 7

12pm EST Margaret Willingham/ Eye of the Beholder Quilt Design
1pm EST Kate Colleran/Seams Like A Dream Design
2pm EST Barbara Cline
3pm EST Barbara Persing
4pm EST Ms P Designs USA/ Sharon Andersen
6pm EST Sandra Starley  
7pm EST Diane Harris
8pm EST Christa Watson

April 8

12pm EST Tina Dillard/Quilting Affection Designs
1pm EST Raija Salomaa/Quilters’ Treasure Chest
2pm EST Robin Koehler//NESTLINGS by Robin
3pm EST Terri Vanden Bosch
4pm EST Jackie Kunkel
5pm EST Leanne Parsons
6pm EST Laura Piland/Slice of Pi Quilts 
7pm EST Ebony Love
8pm EST Tammy Silvers/Tamarinis

April 9

1pm EST Nancy Scott
2pm EST Jayme Crow/ Bella Nonna Design Studio
4pm EST Jen Frost
5pm EST  Annie Smith
6pm EST Karen L. Miller / Redbird Quilt Co.
7pm EST Kathryn LeBlanc/Dragonfly’s Quilting Design Studio
8pm EST Monique Kleinhans / Ladybug’s Cabin

April 10

12pm  Sarah Maxwell
1pm  Teresa Weaver
2pm  Karen Overton
3pm Alison Stothard
5pm Pat Sloan
6pm Cherry Guidry
7pm Toni Smith/Quiltoni
8pm Marija Vujcic/ Mara Quilt Designs

I hope you enjoy the series! Stay safe, and hopefully one day soon we’ll get to do these live and in person!

The Largest Quilt I’ve Ever Made

Several years ago, I created a block of the Month Quilt for FaveQuilts. I put together a series of 12 blocks, and flew to their offices in Chicago to film the videos to go along with the series. To do this, I made the quilt for the series, and made what are called “step outs” of each quilt block. These are partially-completed versions of the block so that I’m not spending the whole time in the studio stitching seams that will not be in the finished video. But, it meant that I had a whole lot of partially-completed quilt blocks when I went home.

Finished 108" Quilt

It was always my intention to stitch these blocks together to make a quilt for my bed. In our room, my husband and I have a California King sized bed. I had yet to make a quilt for this bed, and thought that having so many partially completed blocks that went well together would be a great start.

The blocks sat in a box in my closet. A great start still needs momentum to become a great finish.

Finally, over the summer of 2018, I pulled out the blocks to make them into a quilt for our anniversary (August 26th). I bought the background and backing fabric I’d need, finished up the partially completed blocks, used the leftovers and scraps to make even more blocks, and planned the layout.

Once the top was finished, I needed to quilt it. I really wanted to quilt it myself. While I could rent time on a local longarm to quilt it, I love quilting on my domestic sewing machine. So that is what I did. After 2 days of quilting, I had barely made a dent. On our anniversary, I showed my husband the partially-completed quilt with the quilt label already stitched into the backing.

After that, I had to put the quilt aside. I had other projects with deadlines that needed to get done.

But I really wanted to finish the bed quilt. So, the week between Christmas and the New Year, I pulled the quilt out again. I got it quilted, squared up, and bound, finishing the last binding stitches in the last hour of 2018. I was able to put the quilt on our bed, and wake up under it in the new year.

It was still a few weeks before I was able to take it out to the park to get photos of the full quilt to share. Forgive the cat hair on the quilt, she’s loving it as much as we are.

And when you look at how densely I quilted it, you’ll understand why it took me so long to finish.

I’m very excited to have the quilt finished, and would say that I’m considering smaller projects from here on out… except that I already have BIG plans for 2019!!

A Birthday gift to me

Friday was my birthday. My 36th birthday. Which meant three things. The first was that I got notifications all day long from Facebook, people wishing me a happy birthday. Lots of people that I love and care about… and some people that I can’t remember why their on my friends list at all! Each Facebook message – and each phone call from family – was a precious reminder that I’m loved.

The second thing that happens is that I make a call to schedule my mammogram. I’m 36, and my two closest female relatives have battled breast cancer. For those of us with a family history, we start making our annual dates with this pretty machine when we turn 35.

The mammogram machine

Yup, that’s the photo I took last year, on my first date with the mammogram machine. It wasn’t so bad. There were no flowers or chocolates… but I also was told not to put on deodorant. Any date where you don’t put on deodorant as part of the getting-gussied-up process is going to have a different bar for success, don’t you think?

It isn’t a coincidence that the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and MomSelect reached out to me to share this important message in February. For me, a mammogram in February makes sense because it coincides with my birthday. For you, it might make sense because of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s day is a great reminder to get an annual check. While you’re in the changing room trying on something lacy – make a quick phone call to the doctor to make sure that the curves that fill out that lace and trim is healthy – and stays that way! And if you’re not in a situation where you feel compelled to buy some lingerie mid-February, maybe you just need a reminder that your breasts need a little squeeze. A mechanical hug, if you will…

Love yourself - Schedule a Mammogram!

Last year I went for my mammogram, I was a little scared. It was like part of me was admitting that breast cancer could happen to me. And running away is so much easier, y’all. Thinking that everything will be fine. But getting the report back, confirming that everything is fine – that feels so much better! If you’re nervous about getting your first mammogram, check out the CTCA website and type “mammogram” in the search box. You’ll find lots of information on what mammograms are all about. Or, feel free to ask your questions in the comment section below – I’m no expert, but I’m happy to share what I know!

So, what is the third certainty that comes with having a birthday? Blowing out the candles and making a wish. A birthday isn’t a birthday without getting to make an annual wish while blowing out those dancing flames. I can’t tell you what I wished (or it might not come true!), but if you know me you’re probably guessing that I wished for something along the lines of a happy and healthy future for myself and my family. And you’d probably be right.

Yes, I received compensation for this post as part of a promotional program with CTCA and MomSelect. I am thrilled to participate because Mammograms are important.

How to rent a home in three days

Yes. How to rent a home in three days. I did it. Together with my husband, we spent 3 very stressful days finding a place to rent in the very pricy San Diego area. Mid-January hubby was offered a promotion, which we immediately accepted. Knowing that it would mean a move from our home of 8 years in Las Vegas to San Diego. This was a good thing. While we loved our friends in Las Vegas, and had an amazing community there, this move not only meant a promotion for him, but also a move closer to our family.

Once we knew the move was certain, we had about a month to find a new place, pack, and move. Not a lot of time. So we got started. If you have a big move in your future, here is how we did it (and some thoughts on how we would have done it differently).

moving truck

Day 1: Prep Work

The first day was preparing for our rental-hunting trip. Thanks to the internet and telephones we didn’t have to be in San Diego to get started. First, we had to decide on our wants and needs. We decided we needed 3 bedrooms (or two and a bonus space), we needed pet-friendly to bring our cat, and we needed garage space (attached or not did not matter). Wants included a yard for the kids, space for our furniture, on-site laundry (preferably in the unit) and a location close to hubby’s new work. We also set our budget, and knew we wanted to consider what school the rental was zoned for. We were pretty confident in our credit scores, but if you don’t know yours – now is a great time to check.

I went to websites to find locations. I started a list with the details: Address, rooms, cost, amenities. Then added the school district, school, and the school’s rank on GreatSchools.org. I checked with family to find out the areas to avoid. I tried to keep within our price range while still giving us as many options as possible: apartments, townhomes, and free-standing houses when possible. Having a list kept me from “finding” the same place twice – some were listed on multiple sites. I also added a couple that were more than we were willing to pay – it is always interesting to know what extra dollars can buy, and some of those amenities might make you re-consider your budget.

I printed out the school district maps, and bookmarked just about every website I visited so I could more easily find it again later. Google doesn’t always give you the same search results – especially if you don’t type in the exact same search term. I scoured property management websites. I made appointments where possible for Day 2 – our first day of searching.

One last important thing: I measured all of our furniture, and wrote down the measurements. We knew that we would be renting a much smaller place (about half the size), and we would need to know what furniture we would be taking with us, and what we’d want to sell/gift/donate before moving.

 

Day 2: Hunting

We started day 2 at a free-standing house in a fair neighborhood, about 15 minutes from hubby’s work. It had a lot of what we were looking for, but we didn’t want to jump on the first house. In retrospect, filling out an application and paying the fee would have been a good idea. It would have given us first right of refusal if we found something better. Even though it would have cost us about $50 in fees, it would have been money well spent for peace of mind.

We went through our list, taking photos as we went. I wish we would have taken more photos. Learn from my mistake: TAKE ALL THE PHOTOS. Take photos of everything. Take video as you walk through the space. It is all digital, you can delete what you don’t end up needing. You’ll think that you remember, but you won’t. Measure walls, and record them so that you’ll know later what furniture fits. Treat each place as if it might be THE ONE. There are no second dates when you’re house hunting with a tight deadline.

Our plan of attack took us across the valley. We started at the West end and moved East. This was an important time saver. Hopping around, on and off freeways in an unfamiliar city would have been a huge waste of time. Instead, we took it as systematically as we could. At the end of the day, we were exhausted. We decided that of all the places we looked at, the first place was the best. We called to get the paperwork started, but someone else beat us to it. We missed out on the first house because of our hesitation. Nothing else had us excited, but we had an idea of what the rental market here looked like.

Back at “base camp”, my Aunt and Uncle’s home, we got back to work. Hubby re-scoured all the rental sites for new listings or listings we might have dismissed too early, and I googled for property management sites. It was the beginning of a new month, and I wanted to see if they’d posted new properties. I also wrote down the name and phone number of each property management company to get us started on Day 3.

view of coranado

 

Day 3: Desparation

We had 4 days set aside for house hunting, and we were only in Day 2, but we felt like we’d already seen most of what San Diego had to offer. And though we knew that our new home would be much smaller and much older than the beautiful new-construction home we were coming from in Las Vegas, the reality was more stark than we’d realized. I began the day at 9am calling the list of property managers I had created the night before, asking if anything new was available that wasn’t on the website yet. After half a dozen calls, someone said yes, and off we went.

The apartment was newly renovated, and they were adding the last touches, installing a new fridge as we looked around. It was also tiny. 900 square feet. I measured the living room and started to cry. I didn’t own a single piece of furniture that would fit. My sofas, my tables, nothing would fit in this apartment that was barely larger than our master bedroom suite back home. Yes, I knew we’d been spoiled at the price of real estate in Las Vegas. Yes, I was ready to give up furniture and live in a smaller space as we made this step forward as a family. But as a work-at-home mom, I couldn’t see myself living, working, and raising my family here. I cried the ugliest cry right in front of that poor property manager and my baffled husband. It was the rock-bottom of house hunting, y’all.

We left. Not sure where to look next, we were close to a home that we weren’t allowed to schedule a tour for until we had driven by. With nothing else to do, we drove by. As we pulled up we noticed “open house” signs out front. Taking that as our invitation, we parked and walked through a cute little bungalow. The property manager was working in the kitchen, so we didn’t wander in there. We walked through the rooms. It was a little more than we had planned on spending, but not by much – and it had everything on our want and need lists – 3 bedrooms, an attached garage with washer-dryer hookups, 5 minutes from hubby’s work and walking distance from a school rated a 9 out of 10. It was expensive… but possibly worth it? We had a “maybe” house.

We spent the rest of the day calling property management companies, and looking at what was available. We went by a condo that was zoned for an amazing school – but it was hard to see the beauty in between the mess of the tenant who was still trying to move out. In the end, the maybe house won. We called, and submitted our forms. The house hunt was over.

house packed in boxes

Epilogue: The Days After

We were approved for the house, so we headed back home to the kiddos. My Mother in Law had watched them while we were house hunting so that we could focus on our task. Before leaving town we picked up an enrollment packet for school.

When we walked through the “maybe house”, we hadn’t taken any pictures. We weren’t seriously considering it at the time. We took a few basic measurements, but didn’t record any. This was a mistake. We knew our big couch would fit, but not which table. We should have done a better job recording these details, even on a house we didn’t think we were seriously considering. Relying on our memories – especially mine which was barely 30 minutes out of meltdown mode – was not a good plan. Especially… well, especially considering what we missed.

As the movers were bringing in the big pieces, I was taking smaller things out of my car. Including the boys’ sippy cups. I brought them into the kitchen to put in the dishwasher… the dishwasher… there … is … no … dishwasher. Our beautiful 1950’s bungalow did not come with a dishwasher. Luckily, we’ve moved one in – me.

the kitchen

There were other things we should have looked at. Like outlets. In Vegas, each wall had at least 2 outlets. Here, you’re lucky to find one per wall – and it probably doesn’t have ground.

outlets

So now, almost exactly a year later, we’re starting to feel settled. I thought I’d bounce right back in a month. Maybe 3. It has taken a year. I think it is all the firsts that makes it so hard. The first Christmas (where will we put the tree?). The first day of school (will he like his classmates?). The first Halloween (how much candy do we need?). It is also all the things that I never thought I’d have to decide again. After trying three different preschools with my oldest, I knew exactly which preschool would be perfect for my younger son – but I had to audition preschools all over again.

It has taken a while, but I no longer need Google Maps to tell me how to get to my favorite fabric shop. Or to the beach. I still need help getting to Ikea or the airport… but we’re making progress.

feeling like home

Eating the Frog, and having a whole Frog Farm

I’m coming out of the coma. The mental coma that moving put me into. Anyone who has moved recently knows that moving is brutal. And anyone who hasn’t moved recently probably doesn’t remember how brutal moving is because they’ve completely blocked it out of their memory. Which I hope to do soon. Very soon.

In January we learned that we were moving. We were moving for all the right reasons, and we were happy to move. More about all that later. Probably. Five weeks after the announcement, we were in a new home, in a new city, in a new state. Everything was different. As I unpacked the boxes that I had packed in the previous weeks, and tried to find the perfect place for each of our treasured belongings, I really lost sight of everything else.

When you move, it becomes your one priority. The move comes first – everything else depends on it. Want to make a sandwich? First you have to find the box with the plates, the box with the knife, and find out where the closest grocery store is to buy bread and fixings. And condiments – because all of your food was given away or tossed before the move. Want to take a shower? Find the soap, towel, and change of clothes. And hope the shower curtain was packed on top, or you’ll need some extra towels to mop up the floor. Which you’ll need to wash. But first you need to head to the hardware store for an extra fixture so that your modern dryer can attach to a not-so-modern home.

Everything takes longer. Sometimes days longer.

Which means that all the things that were important before the move have been demoted from first place to 5th. Or 8th. or 92nd.

But now I’m coming out of the coma. The shower curtain has been found and hung. The dryer works. We discovered we don’t have a dishwasher, but we’re managing. And all my old priorities get to be priorities again. We are rediscovering normal in our new surroundings.

But while I was away, my priorities multiplied. Now everything has been waiting for weeks to get my attention. And I can’t take it all on at once. So each day, I’m trying to eat the frog.

Eat the Frog - Always Expect Moore com

I pick one of the big frogs that is waiting for my attention, and tackle that one. One at a time, day after day, I’m taking on the frogs. Some frogs take more than one day. That’s okay. It is too daunting to eat the whole frog farm at once, so I’m eating them one at a time. I suppose that either they’ll stop croaking, or I’ll croak. Sorry. Bad pun. Couldn’t help myself.

Some of my frogs are as simple as sending out e-mail followup. Or writing a post I’ve been meaning to. Some are tackling bigger projects. But over the next weeks and months, I’ll gobble up all the frogs that have been needing my attention.

Though, I’m not sure that Mark Twain had it right. I think that if it’s your job to eat a frog, you should eat it first thing… and then update your resume second. Though I won’t be updating my resume any time soon. I love my job, and all the metaphorical frogs that go with it.

Most Popular Projects of 2013

Top Posts for 2013 on Always Expect Moore

I had a lot of fun blogging this year! I blogged here, over at 30 Minute Crafts, CraftSnark, CraftyHangouts, Answers.com and contributed at Craft Test Dummies. So… lots of fun posts, projects, and roundups this year. I thought I’d share with you the most popular projects here at Always Expect Moore this year. Here goes…

10. Whimsical Holiday Entertaining Recipes
One of two sponsored posts to make this year’s top 10 list… this post was so fun to create! I hung out with my husband to come up with some delicious adult beverages, and whipped up some other fun treats as well. Perfect for holiday entertaining… or just entertaining yourself!
Holiday Entertaining with Smart & Final

9. How to Make a Wizard Costume
I love that so many of the top posts were favorites of mine as well! This tutorial on making a Wizard Costume was so much fun to make, and I’m glad so many of you enjoyed it too.
Wizard Costume

8. Fabric Fest Quilts
Teaching at Fabric Fest was one of the high points of 2013, and I loved sharing all my different fast quilts with you… if you’re one that enjoyed this post stay tuned… I have more fun fast quilting to share in 2014!
three jelly roll race quilts

7. Winnie the Pooh Baby Shower
A shower I put together for my Sister in Law last year, this was a fun project. I enjoyed sharing how the theme came together, and the little (and big) ways I incorporated Pooh into this simple shower.
Winnie the Pooh Shower Invitation

6. Hexagon Fabric Bracelet
I remember the night that I was inspired to create the first of these Hexagon Bracelets. I stayed up most of the night stitching them together, I was so excited by this idea!
Hexagon Fabric Bracelet Tutorial

5. Monsters University Juice Box Printables
The second sponsored post to make this list, these juice box printables were so fun to create. I especially loved this project because it was a chance to get my boys involved in crafting.
Monsters University Juice Setup

4. Dr. Seuss “Oh The Places You’ll Go” Wallhanging
This might be my favorite project of the year. I loved everything about it, and will have a hard time coming up with an encore in 2014.
Dr Seuss Oh The Places You'll Go Quilt Wallhanging

3. How to Write a Thank You Note
This post became very popular on Pinterest… which makes me so happy! I’m glad that the world wants to know how to write a good Thank You note. It is such a simple but vitally important thing to know… and I’m glad I could share this tidbit with y’all.
How to Write a Thank You Note

2. Three Printable Boy Baby Shower Games
All three of my SILs had babies in the last 14 months, these printables were created for a shower I was unable to attend, but wanted to help out with. Since they were so much fun, I shared them online.
three printble boy baby shower games - just print, grab pens, and you're all set!

1. Fast and Easy Baby Shower Games
With the popularity of Baby Shower posts, I’m guessing lots of babies were born in 2013! These were three easy to whip together games for a last-minute shower.
Super Easy Baby Shower Games

So there you have it! The top posts for 2013… I can’t wait to start 2014… I have so many fun and exciting projects and posts in store for you!

 

Five Year Finish

witch quilt by buggy barn

This quilt is finally finished. It only took 5 years.

There is nothing overly complex about this quilt that made it take so long. I took a class at Quiltique when I was on maternity leave after having my oldest, who is now 5. I finished the blocks within a few days of taking the class.

A few years later, I put the blocks together and finished the quilt top. I had a friend quilt it.

A year or so after that, I made the binding.

This year, I stitched on the binding. Finally. It took 5 years, but this quilt is finished.

I have quite a few more UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) hanging in the closet that need piecing, quilting, and/or binding… I’m hoping to start working my way through them, instead of adding to them. I have already trimmed 3 quilts that need binding, and cut out their binding. I’m taking baby steps, but at least they are in the right direction.

Do you have any UFOs that you want to get caught up on?

PS – If you are interested, the quilt pattern for the quilt pictured above is from Buggy Barn. It is a fun stack-and-chop technique for making a quilt block.

Riley Blake Fabric Fest!

It is here! Riley Blake Fabric Fest!! Four days of hanging out with other quilters, sewing, teaching, learning… and shopping! Oh… the fabric!

I don’t have much time, but thought I’d share with you a few of my impressions from the first day… no classes, just registration, shopping, and chatting with other quilters…

 

This is what it looked like when the doors opened onto Fabric Fest. All the ladies looking forward to the fabric awesomeness behind the doors…

walking into fabric fest

Riley Blake and Quiltique did a great job of setting up all the displays and the fabric…

quilts at fabric fest

I love all the seasonal fabrics – Halloween, Christmas… yay!

Halloween Riley Blake Fabrics

I’ve got a quilt at the quilter right now that I made with Dresdens… I love this colorful version (and I can’t wait to share mine with you next week!)

dresden bursts

Pinwheels go very modern, and very colorful in this quilt.

colorful pinwheels

I always have hexies on the brain lately, and I love what adding a chevron print did for these hexagons!

chevron hexagons

More coming soon… I promise!