Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Looking Ahead

Finally -- the last day of February! YAY!
Spent the day running errands, taking a short nap, listening to "My Antonia" and frog stitching some quilting I did that I don't like!

This pic is of a Celtic tablerunner I made my DDIL a few years back. This was done in a Quilt University class by Nancy Chong. I loved the class. My DDIL is Irish, and loves all things Celt.

Note to Patti: Bill is the one that brought up his definition of panic -- he laughs with me, or us, as the case may be!

March goals: Exercise-wise, I'm just going back to my usual 30 minutes on the treadmill and some weight training and crunches whenever I can. I've decided the number is not important -- feeling healthy is -- but I'd still like to lose a few pounds and some inches -- just no time limits!

I need to write, design and otherwise finish my last newsletter. I'm going to try to get it done without waiting til the last minute (deadline March 31), and without making myself crazy in the process. I like to do the newsy parts of the newsletter, the tips, the talking about scrap reduction, the ideas for scrap quilts, the recipes -- mainly I just hate the having to write out the instructions for the designs I come up with! I'm not going to make any committments after this, but may add stuff to a webpage eventually -- just for fun and no deadlines.

I will finish at least one ufo this month - hopefully more, but at least one! I have a top already out that I need to piece a backing for and cut the batting and baste and quilt. That's the one for this month.

Once again, I'll try not to buy anything except the 5 B's.


1. My new watch band.

2. Having JR jump into my lap in the recliner this afternoon to "nap" with me -- he understands "nap" really well, just turns around and plops down and sleeps! (JR is my Jack Russell Terrier!).

3. It was a beautiful, sunny day today.

4. Chili for dinner.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Striving for Peace

My husband gave me his definition of panic this morning: (probably should tell you that in a former life he was Mgr of Engineering for a division of Borg Warner -- long since retired -- we built this log home 12 years ago on 23 acres, 12 of which are wooded -- he has spent much time each year out cleaning up the woods of underbrush and downed trees and will probably finish the job this year - at which time he will plant more evergreens!) Anyway -- he works outside in all kinds of weather and always wears bib overalls. His idea of panic happened a few days ago after being out in the woods in the 20° weather. He came in with a full bladder and his zipper pull was stuck in that spot at the top up under the placket. After working very hard and finally getting the pull loose, he discovered he'd put his longjohns on backward that morning! We both laughed til we cried!

I guess it's been this crazy month, but I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. I've begun to realize that I cannot possibly read everyone's blog every day -- I have a few must reads and the rest I try to get to when I can. I don't always comment when I read either. Just know that I do think about you'all and try to get to you when I can.
I spent some time on the phone with a friend last night -- she has had some bad news in her family and this whole month seems like someone in my family or my friends' families have had something going on. We did come to the conclusion that our lives could be a whole lot worse and we should be very thankful for what we do have. One of the blogs I try to read most of the time is Jeanne's at Spiral because I always feel peaceful when I leave! She may have chaos in her life like the rest of us, but my perception of Jeanne is serene -- her daily blog and gratitudes always leave me with a good feeling! So, I'm going to take a page from her book and add my own gratitudes now and then and I'm going to strive for peace in my daily life! I'm going to start back reading "Simple Steps" again too -- I get the same feeling of serenity from that book! Their website is: www.reflectionsdiet.com

Today I finally went to the local library and got my library card -- yes, we've lived here 12 years and I never bothered to get a card -- and the library is very nice! I checked out 3 books on tape/cd and started listening to "My Antonia" by Willa Cather today. The reader (can't remember his name at this moment) sounds like my brother-in-law Dean. I swear I can see Dean sitting there reading this book. I checked out an eclectic selection. In addition to "My Antonia", I also have "That Cat That Could See Red" - by you know who (it is so annoying to forget these things), and the third is "Predator" by Patricia Cornwell! I'm hoping to check out more of the classics in the future too -- it's a great way to read one of those that put me to sleep when I'm looking at the words! vbg


1. Bill's sense of humor.
2. The laundry room right outside the bedroom door on the 2nd floor.
3. Homemade Reuben sandwiches.
4. The woodburning fireplace next to the kitchen table, with a fire going every day.
5. Bill getting over his cold (even though he gave it to me).

Looking Back

Another day, another brain-frying thinking session. Need to get this month over, so time to look back and see how my goals came out:

Getting up and hour early and walking for an hour on the treadmill: boy, did I set myself up for failure on that one! vbg I did manage to do this for 3 weeks, 5 days a week, but boy, is it boring! And then I had a week of things that came up and that goal fell by the wayside. Even had a chocolate binge last week. Lost and gained 2 pounds = stayed the same! Time to rethink that goal.

Fabric buying: Bought the background and border pastels for the two baby quilts -- my stash is pretty much depleted of pastels. Backgrounds are okay, but I also bought some half yard pieces for the bright stars -- probably could have found those in the stash(well, did find a couple in there). Bought baby flannel for the backings -- my stash does not have enough baby flannel to even piece one backing. Last week I bought 4 one yard pieces of background WOW's and need to start buying some off-white, tan backgrounds. Also bought a FQ of the Pledge of Allegiance written all over it -- big splurge! Buying backgrounds is really boring -- especially when you're in a quilt store that has gorgeous fabric overload!

UFO's: Yay -- finished two ufo's, the Ice Crystal mystery quilt and the little sunflower placemat. Used all stash fabrics and battings to finish both of these.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Been a crazy week here - make that month. Have I told you how much I hate February? It always seems like the longest month of the year to me -- cabin fever hits, I don't know -- just something about the month does me in.
Celebrated AJ's 2nd birthday last week and then on Wednesday night got the emergency phone call: "Mom, AJ's got a fever with a cough and cold, can you come up and babysit tomorrow -- can't take him to either sitter and we both have to be at work early!" (Note to self: After this, just drive up the same night and sleep at their house!) I never sleep the night before we go anywhere -- for one reason or another -- but having to get up at oh dark thirty in the morning to be on the road by 6:30 a.m. is actually insane. The car is really on autopilot for an hour and a half -- good thing it knows the way up there! And, because they live northeast of us -- I drive into the sun on the way up, and into the sun on the way back -- and I wish the car manufacturers would come up with a decent visor design that actually blocked that eyeball/brain splitting bright sunshine and also let you see the road ahead of you! (I did make this suggestion to the Mercury people when they sent me a "comments" form after we bought my car!)
Anyway -- AJ's fever was gone, but he coughed his little head off, poor baby. DD has been giving him the steroid medicine to head off any windpipe problems he might have and the Pediacare stuff; but it sure didn't do much for his cough. He did, however, engage Grandma in a titillating conversation about footballs (two footballs) and I'm not sure what else he was explaining to me. This kid is going to be a great conversationalist -- he had me sit in the rocker while he sat on the footstool during this face to face talk -- he pointed often to the football on the chain on the overhead fan in his room and the football he was holding in his hand!

I've been sewing, but not accomplishing much it seems. I did make two baby quilts -- one for the new daughter that AJ's babysitter had last week, and the one in the picture is going to be in a silent auction to benefit a very special little girl who needs a home hyperbaric chamber for some intense therapy. (Both quilts are the same pattern -- just different bright stars and borders! I backed them both with baby flannel.) I did manage to quilt them both on my Bernina and I was fairly pleased with the quilting job -- one step at a time!

Not much else going on here -- I've been in a really weird place this month. Not sure if it's because it's February or what. Just feel kind of disconnected from the world or something. Maybe it's just a case of the blahs. I know I'm looking forward to Wednesday! March can come in like a lion or a lamb -- just let it come in, please!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

You've Come a Long Way, Baby

Here he is, two years and 1 day old! He's saying "Cheese" for Grandma! He really is a joy!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Happy Birthday, Aaron James, Jr.

Happy Birthday, AJ! You're two years old today and what two years they've been. You came into this world on your schedule, no one else's, 10 weeks early. I was there that night, along with a room full of people all focused on your care. You came out all arms and legs, an incredible 3 lbs 6 oz, and were immediately handed off to the nicu doctor and nursing team. We got a quick glimpse as you were whisked upstairs. You spent the next 5 weeks in the nicu in Racine, WI and we counted every milestone as a miracle. Mommy camped out in your room and Daddy had to keep the home fires burning, work and came up every day. And finally, you got to come home. And then 6 months later you scared us again and spent 2 weeks in Children's Hospital in Milwaukee while you recieved heli-ox and the doctors decided whether to open your windpipe and reshape it and give you a long-term trache. You surprised us again and made it on your own.
And now, through some tough times and lots of happy times, you're turning two years old today. You're running and playing and talking a blue streak and last week you had a cold and it sounds like you finally have conquered the windpipe problem they thought you'd grow out of by the time you were two!
Happy Birthday, AJ -- you are our miracle. You have brought real joy to our lives.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tulip Farm

Here's my Tulip Farm top sans borders. It all fit together, amazingly enough.

The picture's dark as usual because it was late this afternoon when I took it, and I have it pinned to another quilt that is hanging on the wall, without benefit of light batting behind it!

I do like this quilt; I really like hand appliqueing folk art type blocks. I've tried my hand at Baltimore Album, and although I love the looks of them, it's not "my" thing -- I prefer the folk art, primitive type stuff. I'm hoping to finish this quilt this year. The top just needs a narrow inner border and the outer border is pieced with a few of the "pumpkin seed" blocks interspersed -- I have them done, just need to pull some fabrics to add to them.

The past week or so I've been working on a couple of baby quilts. I have one finished and the second one is in the process of being quilted. I ran out of the variegated thread I was using to quilt the first one, so had to order more -- which came yesterday, so finished the first today and started quilting the second. I'll get pictures when they're both done. These quilts are for my grandson's babysitter, who is due any day, and for a silent auction for a benefit for a very special baby girl (the grandniece of my best friend).

Every quilt I quilt from here on out is practice to improve my machine quilting. It's coming along well I think -- just need lots of practice to keep the stitches more uniform in size -- no more toe grabbers and I've finally learned to let the machine make the stitches, instead of me trying to man-handle it, so I am making progress. vbg

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Mystery Revealed

I think the label says it all! In my early years on the internet (starting in 1995), I did quite a few mystery quilts that were offered online. Jane Kakaley's quilts were innovative and very detailed. I would not have attempted this quilt if I just had a pattern because I would have thought it was beyond my skill level. However, as a mystery quilt with fabulous step by step instructions, I am very pleased with it. I think this was the last online mystery I did. I designed a couple for my quilt guild, but I usually don't do mysteries any more. And if I had this pattern today, I still wouldn't attempt it -- but only because I really prefer traditional quilts, and lean heavily toward folk art, primitive, Maverick type and scrappy!

I checked back at the site this quilt came from and the directions are still up, but the pages have not been updated since 2000. (http://www.eskimo.com/~jlk/mystery5.htm) I don't know whatever happened to Jane, but I hope she has continued to make patterns as she was quite talented.

Friday, February 03, 2006

This is the placemat I quilted yesterday. I have a set of 4 that I did many years ago. This was just an extra one and I never bothered to quilt it back then. So I used it to practice some machine quilting, even though you can't see any of the quilting in the picture! It was a ufo and now it's finished!

I managed to finish quilting the mystery quilt today. (Note to Judy: No, you don't get to see it til it's finished -- that's the mystery!). I have put the binding on and just finished printing out the label -- should be able to stitch the label and the binding down tomorrow! I looked up the mystery online -- it was done in 2000. It was designed by Jane L. Kakaley, but I can't find anything current on her -- I loved her designs. I'll have a picture tomorrow!

Well, Blogger won't let me post this tonight, so I'll try in the morning!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Quilty Day

I got to quilt all day and this is all I have to show for it! Well, right now anyway. This is A-4 Courtney's Stethoscope from the Dear Jane quilt. I had most of it hand pieced for over a week -- just needed to do the border pieces, which I did late this afternoon when I took a break from machine quilting.
I managed to finish one ufo -- a placemat that I made many years ago -- I think I have 4 of the same that I pieced and hand quilted, but didn't finish this one. So I practiced machine quilting on it, bound it, and rinsed to wash out the marking pen -- so it's still wet -- I'll show it tomorrow! I also dug out an old, old mystery quilt I did. I love it and have put off quilting it because I didn't know what to do with it and I didn't want to ruin it! So, today, I have started quilting it -- just in the ditch so far. I'll show it when it's done! And that's been my day!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Rise and Shine

It's February 1 -- I'm tired of looking at the snowman collection, including quilts, so after I cleaned house, I changed the quilts I have hanging around and some of the table runners. This one is hanging in the kitchen. This quilt was on the cover of the very first Quilt Sampler magazine and was designed by the Country Threads gals. I fell in love with it right off and had to make it -- in fact I made 4 of them and gave 3 of them away. Nowadays....I would not make more than 1 of most every quilt I make -- gets pretty boring! I do like making quilts that have lots of different elements in them and with a variety in the size of the blocks. I enjoy the writing on them, too -- but these words were appliqued on. I'll have to add trying out Tonya's letter blocks to my list of things I want to try because I like the pieced letter blocks, too!