Sunday, January 28, 2007

A little bit of everything

That's what I accomplished today, anyway.
I squared up 100+ half square triangles, I played on the longarm, I cut and pressed the 90" wide muslin and have it pinned to the leaders now, and cut the batting, just haven't put that on yet; and then spent some time playing in the scrap bins. I made four heartstrings blocks -- they were fast and fun, although, I need to be more careful lining up that middle red strip. I cut some more red strips and have some more muslin to cut -- these will be fun to do when you don't want to get involved in something else at the moment -- just sit and sew some blocks.
Tomorrow we need to take the car in to have the windshield replaced -- Friday after Bill's carotid ultrasound, we stopped for breakfast, then headed home on what we call "the bypass" -- it's actually Rte 20 and it bypasses the south end of Rockford -- it's a 4 lane. Bill was driving my car and passing a semi-trailer, when the truck hit a bump and snow/ice starting flying off the top of the trailer. Naturally, it headed our way and I was in the passenger seat watching it come at us! The last big chunk hit the top of the windshield and cracked it (I was real surprised it didn't come through -- it was a huge chunk of ice). So, we have an appointment tomorrow to get it replaced first thing in the afternoon. I need to do laundry in the morning, and hope to get the rest of the practice quilt put together on the machine. Just need to lay the batting and float the top. And then I can start playing again!
1. Leftovers for dinner -- no thinking, just reheating. vbg
2. Sewing time.
3. JR at my feet, in front of the little heater we have in the basement.

Thanks, Jane

I have the link to the Heartstrings project on my sidebar now, thanks to Jane.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Running On Empty...

This has been another busy week and I was totally exhausted by the end of it. Wednesday I needed to be at my daughter's at 8 am, so had to leave the house by 6:30 am. I know it's all in my head, but the night before I go to my daughter's to babysit, I can't sleep a wink -- my brain won't shut off. So, made it up there, and AJ was an angel, thank heavens. But, I was waiting to put him down for his nap and his dad came home, so instead of getting a nap in, I drove back home and crashed in the recliner for two hours. Then, Friday morning, Bill had to be at the hospital at 6:45 am for a carotid ultrasound -- another nap when we got home. I got nothing much accomplished at all this week, although I did play in the sewing room on Thursday. I put the Depression blocks together and decided on borders (playing with EQ6 to get it right). Today I cut the border strips and made some more hst's to add to the borders. I also put my bom block together on Thursday and designed the setting I'm going to use and cut the fabrics -- that's the second picture. I'm not going to put it together until I finish the last 3 blocks. I'm not real happy with this bom -- blocks are kind of boring, so setting mine on point to jazz it up a bit. Maybe I can quilt a feathered wreath or something into the setting blocks.

Today while piecing the hst's for the border on Depression, I pulled out the scraps from one of the plastic drawers and replaced them with a nice stack of 4" squares of darks and a few 4" square lights. I'm intriqued by the Heartstrings project started by some on the Stashbuster group (I don't have the exact address to link to at the moment, but I think just about everyone has heard about it -- if you haven't, email me and I'll send the link). I don't need another project to start right now, but I'm going to anyway! vbg I'm going to cut some muslin foundations and some 2" red strips and start digging into the scrap bins so I can get my scrap bins more organized and use up some of it at the same time. I figure the string quilts that I make will be good practice for the longarm, too -- which I haven't touched this week at all.

1. Spending the day in the sewing room -- I sorely needed the creative time.
2. I am making progress on cleaning up the quilt mags -- I have two full books of pages of patterns and inspiration and have started on the third. I have tossed hundreds of torn up mags and have another very large stack to take to guild next month.
3. Bill has been feeling better this week.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


We're going to the Super Bowl! GO BEARS!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Good Day

Bill had a good day, he moved some brush from the woods to the burn pile (he has a large tractor with a loader on it, so he doesn't do all the work). And then he went down to the neighbor's to visit.

I had an excellent day -- quilt shop for our bom, (bought some baby flannel to back my Baby Rails with Attitude quilt -- at 15% off), lunch at our favorite sandwich place - Mary's Market, stopped at the grocery store and just plain had a good old-fashioned gabfest with my quilt buddy, Jackie.

And then I came home and played on the machine. Did a third row of the pantograph -- need lots of practice on that and need to learn to line them up better -- so will wait til the class to do any more. Then I practiced feathers -- I have never been able to do feathers well, so this is an area I am going to practice til I can do them in every direction, up, down and sideways. vbg I'm almost to the end of this practice piece and the bobbin is about to run out, so I quit for the day -- but I feel good about getting the time in. I also cleaned and oiled the machine and still have a few oil drips, so need to use a bit less oil in certain areas! It's all a matter of getting the feel of the machine, I think. Sometimes I feel impatient with myself and want to put a quilt on and have at it, and then other times I just want to practice, practice, practice before I go near a quilt. I think I'll do the latter!


Bill's feeling better and I'm not panicking today.

New soup to try tonight from Harry & David, Garden Vegetable or something like that. I bought some crusty sourdough bread to go with it.

We're going to be getting snowed in this weekend -- the Bears play (and hopefully win), and I'm going to sew and quilt.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Normalcy(?) returns

Get this: My 80 yr old husband, who was just released from the hospital at 4:30 last night, was out snowblowing our very long drive this morning. I was inside having a conniption fit -- first because I surely don't think a couple of inches of snow is all that important to clear, and second because I wanted to get him in to see his doctor today -- and it's a good 45 minute drive and he hasn't showered. So...I called his doctor and he will see him on Monday morning. I had to go pick up the new prescription they gave him yesterday -- back in Rockford, so I had lots of time to think.
I went from terrified at 2:30 am when he was having the episode Wednesday morning, to panic-stricken because they weren't doing anything fast enough for him during the long two days in the hospital, to relief that he's home. And then I woke up at 3 this morning and laid there thinking that I'd have to curtail my activities because I wanted to be with him every moment in case he had another attack and I would have to call 911. I even planned to call DD and ask her to find someone else to babysit next Wednesday, and call my quilt buddy to cancel tomorrow's BOM and lunch date, etc., etc. I was worried about driving to Rockford to pick up prescriptions -- what if something happened while I was gone. And of course, the pharmacy was busy and I had to wait about 40 minutes to get the prescription filled -- isn't that always the way?

And then I had this epiphany (a favorite word of Bonnie Hunter's and mine!) vbg
When did I become so impatient? Always in a hurry? Irritated with other drivers and other people because it's my turn? Why can't the pharmacist hurry and fill the order? Why do all the lightbulbs burn out in the house when you don't have time to replace them? LOL (3 in the past 2 days). Why do the dogs shed all over the house -- it must be to drive me crazy, right? Or maybe it's because it's what dogs do! And what do I think I can do for Bill by following him around and telling him not to do things? He's lived this long because he's very active -- most of the doctors and nurses were amazed he's 80 because he doesn't look it. He knows his own limitations -- we've been "heart healthy" for 20 years. There will come a time that calling 911 is not going to make a difference. I know cpr (the old way), but it may not make a difference either. The fire department is 12-15 minutes away -- that's a fact of life -- the guys are wonderful and I know they're on their way, but at some point it won't matter. We cannot live our lives petrified of living them. We cannot always be there for one person -- my daughter needs me to babysit next week and Bill will be fine on his own for the day. Tomorrow I have a BOM class and a lunch date with my quilting buddy and Bill will be fine on his own for a few hours. On Monday we'll go to the doctor and decide what the next step is for him to take. Maybe just putting him on another blood thinner (besides aspirin) will solve the problem -- or maybe they'll have to run some more tests. Either way, it's time to slow down, take the next step, and get on with our lives -- time to take care of the important things and don't sweat the small stuff - and time to stop making the small stuff more important than it is. Time to brush the dogs and vacuum the floor -- what's the big deal? vbg

I want to thank everyone for the good thoughts and prayers. They really helped.

I did clean the master bathroom and vacuumed the main floor -- the rest can wait til tomorrow -- I did enough to make me feel better and not so much to make myself even crazier than I am. Bill brushed the dogs. I'm going to the quilt store tomorrow with my friend -- quite obviously I'm in desperate need of a mental health day. And then I'm going to come home and play with my new machine -- the one that's gathering dust in the basement -- I'll just blow the dust off and have at it!
And tomorrow I hope to have a picture of something or another to post!

Blogland friends -- you're the best.

Quality time instead of quantity.
Taking time to smell the flowers.
A long conversation with Bill .
Bill's sense of humor -- he's "not planning on checking out any time soon" after I told him not to "stroke out while I was gone".


Thanks so much for the prayers -- you'll never know how much they've helped.

Bill is home from the hospital -- he passed both the echo and the nuclear stress test -- the problem is not his heart. Bad news is that the cardiologists think it was possibly a stroke.

Reason that wasn't checked out while he was in the hospital is that Rockford has 3 hospitals -- his cardiologist is at one, his family doctor is at another. We thought it was heart related (he's had heart problems for 20 years) - so I told the paramedics to go to that hospital.
To make a long story short (too late ;-), I'll be making an appointment for today with his family doctor and we'll go from there. Good news is, that if it was a stroke (and he's had 4 of these episodes in the past month), it was a small one and there is no noticeable damage. Will probably have to go to the other hospital for the tests to check it out, though.

I am way behind in everything -- the house is the pits, email is backed up, etc. -- but it will all be there when I get to it. I'll try to keep my blog updated.
Thanks for the prayers.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Just a quick note

My DH, Bill, is in the hospital - went by ambulance at 3 am yesterday morning. He's having more tests today -- they did an echocardiogram yesterday. They're looking at the valves in his heart.
I will be unavailable for awhile. Prayers appreciated. Thanks.

Monday, January 15, 2007

More practicing

Today I tried two different pantographs. This is the second one called Frisky Feathers from Willow Leaf Studios (that I bought last year). The first one is by Linda V. Taylor and came with the Gammill -- but I really don't like the pattern of it. Anyway -- I have new found respect for those longarmers that do pantos well. It is NOT easy following the laser light and trying to keep it on the line, especially around some of the curves. Some of my curvy lines are a little flat -- but not bad for a first timer. I'm only working about an hour a day on the longarm -- at least until I take the first class. And, I think I'll try to roll the quilt and add another row to the panto I did today -- getting it lined up and all. I may just do panto after panto after panto til I get it down pat. There is just so much to learn and I want to learn everything well. And yet, I'm itching to actually quilt a quilt -- but I think I'll wait til I build a little confidence.

I didn't do any sewing today, but I did get to the bottom of the stack of quilt magazines and papers that were spread all over the floor. I've filled one 3" binder and have started on the second and think I might need to buy more binders and sleeves. I've started on the quilt magazines that are in the closet in magazine holders -- have a large stack waiting by my chair in the living room. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but it's still a ways away!


The kids made it home yesterday for birthdays and back home before the sleet/snow started.

Guild was cancelled tonight because of the weather (quilt buddy and I were not going to try it in the snowstorm, so glad they cancelled and will reschedule the program that we really didn't want to miss).

Leftovers for dinner -- easy to reheat and less mess to clean up.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Dividing my Time

There is so much to learn on the longarm that I get overwhelmed and end up playing mostly freehand. I did play with the gam guides a little yesterday. Then I spent 15 minutes in the sewing room putting the Depression blocks together. I have 2½ strips together -- should be able to finish the strips today and maybe put the top together completely.

My plan for the longarm today is taking off the first practice piece and pinning on a new sandwich. And learning to do pantos. This will be covered in the class I'm scheduled to take on Feb 5, but I need to learn things one at a time and practice, practice, practice!

In between all that, I need to vacuum the main floor, bake a cake and run to the bank/store -- the kids will be here tomorrow to do birthdays.


Having the time to learn how to run the longarm.

Having my menus made up ahead of time -- it really is such a timesaver to know ahead of time what to fix for dinner (and actually having the meat thawed - vbg).

We're finally getting winter here -- not that I like cold, sleet, snow, etc -- but it is so nice to sit inside and quilt in the wintertime.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Our new baby has arrived

And she's a beauty -- but boy do I have information overload. I need to go through the manual again, and watch the DVD and the practice, practice, practice. But right now I'm taking a break.
It'll be fun to see how much information I retained in the morning. Relatively easy to thread and wind the bobbin today, but we'll see tomorrow! vbg

My new baby arrived on time and Greg was wonderful setting her up and getting me started -- showing me everything.
Lots of helpful information in the manual and the dvd.
Easy dinner tonight because I'm tired.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Progress today

The blocks on the top are the Depression Blocks and I finished the rest today -- 30 in all. Don't know when I'll be able to put them together, but working a little every day works great. The blocks on the left are the "Twinkler" blocks I'm doing as another leader/ender project. This was a free pattern from a couple of years ago from They are just 6" in size and I have no idea how many I will end up with! I should probably plan better, but I usually just cut the squares and start piecing -- so it's always a surprise! vbg
Answer to Deb sews: is where you'll find the answer to leader/ender projects. Bonnie has tons of free patterns on her site as well.
Making progress on the Depression Blocks and I'm liking the Twinkler blocks as well.
Leftovers for dinner -- because I've been planning my menus ahead of time and planning for leftovers!
Seeing progress in the magazine reduction area -- I've filled one 3-inch binder and going to be starting on a second.

Yesterday's picture

This is the little wall quilt/runner my quilt buddy made for me. All the little flowers in the embroidery are tiny buttons. She made the whole thing by hand. I love it!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Quilting Mental Health Day

Yesterday my quilt buddy and I took a mental health day. We spent 5 hours talking, eating, visiting a couple of our favorite lqs, and exchanging our Christmas gifts that we put aside back in December during the crazy time. Blogger is refusing to let me upload a picture tonight -- so I'll have to try tomorrow.
I bought 3 yards of background fabric and 6 plaid FQ's, and a new punchneedle book. Didn't feel the need to go hog wild -- just enjoyed the day.

Today was spent putzing around in the sewing room -- made a few more Depression Blocks, squaring up as I went. I'm trying to get back into the habit of squaring up the blocks and parts of blocks -- I tend to get sloppy and fudge alot when piecing, especially a scrappy quilt, so I'm re-training myself. I also got out an old leader/ender project and am now piecing the parts together as the next step between the Depression Blocks. Hopefully, I'll have a stack of finished blocks when the Depression quilt top is finished.

A quilt buddy that understands stopping for a hot fudge sundae in the middle of the afternoon.
An understanding husband.
The spring-like weather in the middle of winter.
Young guys to come and haul a table out of the basement for us. They just wanted a tour of the house (log home) as payment!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

No stitchin' today

Ever have one of those days that just don't go as planned?! I know -- we all do! Brand new camera and no pics besides! The connector to the camera is in the basement -- I'm on the main floor with the too lazy to go down and get it.

All 3 of our kids have their birthdays in January, plus our DSIL's is Feb 3 -- so we celebrate all 4 on one day in January. Therefore -- I had to go out and buy 4 gifts today! January is like December around here!

I stopped at JoAnn's and used my 40% off coupon for half a bolt of 90" muslin and ran into a lady that has her own longarm. She gave me some good ideas and some tips -- it was really a nice thing for a stranger to do. Only 9 more days til my Classic Plus arrives!

Answers to questions: Annie -- you can buy the top loading plastic sleeves at any office supply store -- I got a box of 100 at Office Depot for something like $6 -- I bought two boxes -- I have a lot of magazines! LOL

My quilt buddy and I are planning a getaway to a local quilt shop on Friday -- just a little fabric immersion which will be mostly looking and petting, but not buying much. And lunch, of course. We need to get out after the holidays and all!

After initial frustration with DH's cardiology office, I did get to speak to Carla -- and she is one really great cardiac nurse -- she's been around for a good 20 years and she's really wonderful.
The kindness of strangers.
Getting all the kids' gifts in one trip.
Phone calls from friends.