(please enjoy some totally off topic photos of my mom's quilt - and my kid jumping/tumbling all over it. BTW: Mom, don't look!)
First off, my Christmas sewing is looking good. I have one of the two big quits nearly finished (just need to add binding and the label!) and I did more fabric cutting/marking last night for the other. I'm still not entirely sure how I'll quilt it, --it's Swoon -- and it's going to be about 80" square! Eeek! I have had an offer to use a guild friend's mid-arm on it... I've never used one but it might be worth a try!
Christmas shopping... I'm one of the only people that we're buying a gift for this year (since I'm making so many!)... my request was one of those acrylic sewing machine extension tables. I can order it for my machine for about $120 (24" square)... but Vogue in Evanston recently bought out a lot of them that are pre-made, and they're selling them for half off ($50 for 24" square!)... unfortunately they don't have a listing for one that matches my machine exactly. So I have tried scouring the internet for a better deal - one that fits my machine... without much luck. I found one option that's smaller (about 20" x 15") on ebay for $25... that would sorta fit my machine... there might be a bit of a gap and the shipping is $9 which really makes it not as worth it.
So. I talked it over with my dad - fix-it extraordinaire (but he lives two states away!).... if I can find one of the sale ones at Vogue that comes close to fitting my machine we can take it with my dad to my uncle's wood shop and find a way to trim it down or fill in the gaps (if it's too big or too small). It seems pretty straightforward from what I read online (if you have power tools!). So that's an option... the catch is that Vogue doesn't have them in store, they're at the "warehouse" across town... which is open for re-sellers only... lol. I think I'm going to call up the warehouse tomorrow and see if they'll let me in to check the dimensions. Maybe they'll let me... and then maybe they'll let me purchase the right one on the spot (no shipping!!). :) Best case scenario I'll find one that matches up pretty well without needing any alterations.
Another option/idea. My sewing table is a general wooden craft table - with lift out panels on the two sides that open into a compartment several inches deep for storage inside the tabletop. ... If all else fails I may bring one of those panels and my machine home with me at Christmas and we'd use the power tools to cut an opening for my machine to sit inside the table (lifted to the proper height with a book or two). I like that idea too... it would give me about four feet of level work space to move my quilts around while quilting them....
Can I have some experienced input? I hear the extension tables make a TON of difference in FMQing, and in general. Do you think it'd be better to lower my machine into the table (nearly free), or better to buy the one from Vogue that fits best? Ahh. I hate parting with my/our money!
Sorry that was such a rambly process to lay out my options... sometimes writing it all out helps me to process what it is that I really want. Maybe that will help.
Another thought which is quite unrelated. We had Allie's IEP meeting today, and it looks like even though she's cleared to start pre-school in a normal (non-special ed) classroom, she won't be able to get a spot in one of those classrooms until she's at least four - since they're all full with waiting lists. So it looks like she'll be in the hearing impaired classroom, potentially with some time each day in the regular classroom.... I'm ok with that. The HI program has a longer day which I'm not happy about... the kid is three and doesn't need to be in school all day... but they assured me that if we wanted to limit her hours there it'd be completely up to us, so we could do half day instead. Which is awesome. (rambling again....sorry). I'm excited that she'll finally be being followed by a speech therapist again (and that it'll be as needed), and that she'll get to be around the other kids. We've been warned though that she'll likely be the most advanced in her classroom. They were having troubles coming up with goals for her IEP... because she's already there with all the normal 3-4 yr old things. lol. What a great testament to our "language rich" home (and her AMAZING early intervention therapists who taught us everything).
As a side note to all of that... can you imagine how much I could get done sewing (or *gasp* housework) during those hours each day? lol. I won't know what to do.