A Clean Start to the New Year

My kids are back to school, my husband has been back at work for a week, and I am starting to get more things accomplished.  

My big project right now is deep cleaning the house.  I was really embarrassed when I saw how dirty my windows were last week, and looking around, everything needed help.  We are basically done with the drywall sanding now, so I feel like I can give everything a super-good, thorough cleaning and it won't immediately be covered in drywall dust (even though the registers downstairs are blocked off and the stairwell is taped off with plastic sheeting as well).  

As a side note, the drywaller rep came back last week to patch the mess they made and asked me to walk around the basement with him because he couldn't see why so many things were marked and that he couldn't see anything wrong with any of it.  He had the nerve to tell me that visible seam ridges at the joints are just how drywall is.  By visible seam ridge I mean a protruding line about 1/8" tall and 1/8" wide sticking out of the tape at the joint. Anyway, he had to call his boss (father), get more materials, and get a helper, but most of the things were fixed.  I truly don't feel we got our money's worth on this job based on how much labor we also put into it.  :(

Anyway, back to the cleaning. So I am doing one room per day and really cleaning every nook and cranny.  It's not fun, but it sure looks wonderful when I am finished.  And one room per day feels manageable and still leaves time for other, more fun things.  

In sewing news, I finished piecing the Pixie Noel blocks I was working on for the last month or so.  That leaves five more blocks to piece, then top and border assembly.  I find this one a bit tedious, so I had to move on to a new project in between blocks.

I started working on the Bubblegum Kisses Lori Holt mini that I'd been saving.  I didn't like how the original pattern wasted a lot of background fabric and also had cut off points when assembling the blocks.  So I attempted to use math to figure out how to cut squares into triangles that would solve both issues.  The first attempt was too small--I'll blame my husband since he was the one who told me what size.  You can see that block below. I got the correct size, 3.25",  worked out.  This leaves a little bit of trimming to square up the block afterward and also makes the block a bit larger than the pattern called for.  But it avoids the cut off points, which would have driven me crazy.
I had seen a post on Instagram of someone's finished product, along with a table runner, mini mini, and a rope bowl too that they had made from the original kit.  Cutting carefully, you can make double the amount of blocks plus have some scraps to make a basic mini mini.  Using my background fabric carefully and purchasing an additional 1/2 yard means I have plenty to make two minis from the original pattern.  I used a different binding fabric and then just purchased another fabric for the second binding along with some backing fabrics.  I am waiting on my extra background, binding, and backing fabrics to arrive before I completely finish.  I made it a week into the new year before purchasing fabric!  Ha ha.  But it's to finish a work in progress, so it's all good.

I finished most of this cross stitch.  I still have to attach all the beads, but can't remember how to do it.  This one will be turned into an ornament.  It was supposed to be done for Christmas, but now I'm just ahead for this year's gifts!
Since I haven't gotten anything quilted and have nothing to bind due to drywall and paint, I started another cross stitch for my evening project.  Any guesses as to what it is? 
I gave three quilts as gifts for Christmas.  I think my sister-in-law was most appreciative.  She sent me this photo of the quilt on their guest bed.  It made me feel good.  I was also surprised it fit on a bed since I thought of it as a throw quilt.
My guild is starting a WIP/UFO challenge this week.  It runs until June.  I would love to finish up many of my WIPs.  Reality, probably won't, but at least it's sort of a goal/competition to maybe motivate me.

Oh, and we made a small amount of progress on the puzzle.  :)
Finally, I found a good recipe for healthier mashed potatoes.  I used three of the large, bulk produce baking potatoes for this.  They turned out really well.

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