Saturday, June 30, 2007

I don't like spiders and snakes....

Remember that song by Jim Stafford?

Here's a pic (albeit not a great one) of my front porch.

And here's a pic of my back porch. (Never thought about how much alike they look!)

Why am I showing you pics of my porches and what does that have to do with Jim Stafford's song? Today I spent 3½ hours taking my porches back from the spiders, wasps, muddobbers, moths and various other crawly things. Our porches are something like 40 ft long and the front on is 6 ft wide and the back one is 8 ft wide (in case we ever wanted to enclose it). I worked long and hard with a broom and the hose and washed the furniture and the windows and screens as well. And then after I got myself cleaned up, I spent some very enjoyable time in my rocker on the front porch handquilting. It's been a long time since we've spent any time in the rockers -- I don't like to share my space with spiders and I also felt guilty every time I went out because the weed choked flower beds haunted me. Now -- my flower beds are free of weeds and my porches are free of bugs! And the afternoon was wonderful -- very still and quiet except for the occasional car or truck on the road.
I'm going up now to sort through my quilt piles and pull out my summer ones and my flag/patriotic ones. I'm really late in doing this this year, but I've enjoyed the ones I've had out for spring. I do like to change the wall hangings and table coverings with the season though.

JR standing guard in the yard while I quilted.

Friday, June 29, 2007

My friend...

made this for me for my birthday. We took this wool workshop together at guild last year. The wool was supplied by our instructors (guild members), and I chose blue (thinking it was dark navy blue). It was a light gray blue and another light color for the top oval. Needless to say, mine is not finished and probably never will be -- well, it doesn't need to be now! The bunnies are not really blue, they are a black tweedy type wool -- camera is playing tricks. Anyway -- Thanks, Jackie!

Today I spent two hours in the yard finally getting all the flower beds weeded. Now if I can get out there every week for an hour or two, I might be able to keep them up all summer!

I also spent 45 minutes hand quilting, an hour and a half hand appliqueing, and about an hour and a half playing on the longarm. I'm trying to learn some all over designs to do from the front of the machine that don't have to be marked. I'm doing pretty good on leaves, and curly tendrils and ribbons, but I'm have a heck of a time trying to do holly leaves in all directions -- I can do them from the top down towards myself -- but can't seem to make my hands work correctly from the bottom up or horizontally. It'll take more practice, obviously. Also working on a teardrop echo type shape, which also needs work because I confuse myself trying to do all directions! And I need a lot of practice filling the area evenly -- not too heavy in one spot and not too thin in the next. I'm having a good time practicing, though.


The bathroom in the basement.

No humidity and temps in the 70's.

Making lists....things to do, things to buy...I live and die by lists!

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I want to say thanks to everyone that sent birthday greetings. It is nice to know I'm not the Lone Ranger here -- there's quite a few of us in my age group! vbg It's kind of funny that over the 12 years I've been "talking" to quilters online, I always think of everyone as being my age -- even though I know that there are many, many that are literally decades younger. It's that common denominator of quilting that ties us all together and makes us ageless!

A few days ago I had a dilemma of what to work on next. I solved the problem today. I pinned a practice piece on the longarm and played with that for an hour; then I dug out my hand quilting project that I've been dying to work on and played with that for about a half an hour; then I worked on my hand applique project for an hour; I still have the Twinklers quilt on the design wall, but haven't decided how I'm going to quilt it yet -- that's what I'm practicing on the longarm; and I received 32 string blocks from guild and I'm waiting on some that Sue is sending me from Heartstrings and that will be the priority project -- putting together another Heartstrings quilt or two. And then I got my Kansas Troubles Quarterly in the mail, so there's another project I can think about (but won't start till I have a few finished!).

Here's a pic of the KTQ stuff (it's a newsletter and 4 fq of her latest line of fabrics -- the winter one.)

I've been itching to hand quilt since I hurt my finger months ago. And two new friends, Bren and Sue spend part of every day handquilting. I think they both handquilt exclusively. With a longarm, I'm definitely not going to handquilt exclusively, but I do miss it a lot. So, today I took out the project I was working on when I hurt my finger, which happens to be the class project for Nancy Chong's Quilt University Class. I actually used a piece of hand dyed fabric that was dyed by Nancy's sister Janice Baehr. When I finish it, I'll give it to my granddaughter, Briana as a wall hanging for her room. I tried to use a device called a Quiltmate (I think) to push up the fabric underneath, but couldn't get the rhythm going and it hurt my hand, so went back to using my finger, but used my index finger instead of the middle finger which hurts still. I didn't quilt for very long -- just two rows, but I loved every minute of it. I'm going to try to find time to hand quilt a little every day -- maybe only 15 minutes, but I find it so peaceful, that I want to make time for it. Here's the project - just a feathered heart with crosshatching inside and out.

Now I need to try to read some of your blogs -- it only takes a day to get way behind!


A nice lunch with a quilt friend. She just lost her sister and we haven't had much of a chance to get together with all that was going on. We're planning a quilt store junket on Sunday -- patriotic sale going on at Sew Many Antiques!

The heat has broken again along with the humidity -- it was a beautiful day.

Baby Watch

Just wanted to update everyone: Steph had another of the tests that put her in the hospital two weeks ago. This time it was negative -- no contractions. Funny how all the tests that have been done by the regular nurses have been negative, but the one done incorrectly by a different nurse was positive. Anyway... doctor wants her to stay off her feet as much as possible for the next 9 days. Then she'll be at 35 weeks and Baby Will should be big enough to be born if he so decides!

Now on to our regularly scheduled program: I'm having lunch with a quilt friend today and spending the rest of the day quilting! YAY!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It's my birthday!

Today I turned 60 years old. It seems old when you say it, but doesn't feel old. Best thing about it is that in 2 years I can collect Social Security! vbg
Met my friend of 30 years for lunch at the Olive Garden today. She got a call from her 30 year old son when she got to the parking lot, so was a few minutes late getting to the table. She told him she was meeting me for lunch for my birthday and he asked how old I was. She told him "60" and he said, "Holy Crap"! And then immediately told her not to tell me he said that! Obviously, she told me right away! Can't wait to get even with him! vbg

Stephanie had cramps at 3:30 this morning, took a pill and they finally went away an hour later. She's been fine the rest of the day and goes to see both doctors in the morning. She called to wish me Happy Birthday this morning, and tried to talk AJ into getting on the phone to talk to Grandma. He said noooo, twice, then grabbed the phone and in a very loud voice said, "Happy Birthday"! Been just a day of laughs today! Got phone calls from both boys also.

Yesterday Bill and I went out and bought me a new watch (silly boy thought that big longarm quilting machine we bought in January should qualify as a birthday present, too!). Actually, it would have except I've spent $50-60 replacing the darn band on my old watch in the past 3 years, so decided it was more cost effective to get a different one -- the old one only had one style replacement band and it was worthless. Tonight we're going to dinner at my choice of places, which will either be Red Lobster or a local to Rockford -- Franchesco's, which is very good.

We also made it out to the cemetary yesterday with fresh flowers for mom. And in our errand running, stopped at the post office to renew our passports. They expired two years ago, and we may be going on a cruise in late fall, so might as well get it done now.

Anyway -- that's been my week so far!

I'm grateful I made it to 60 -- sure beats the alternative.
It's been fun laughing with friends and family today. Lots of teasing going on.
Dinner out -- no cooking! (But I'll sure have to get on the treadmill in the morning!).

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Will's Quilt is finished

I did remember to take a picture of Will's quilt today. It is finished, labeled and washed! It will be delivered at the same time I take their new niece's quilt to them - probably next week or the week after.

While I was taking that picture, JR was on guard duty. He managed to corner a black cat under our porch earlier today. I assume the cat went home after JR came in the house. This picture was taken from the front porch. The top corner of the "big bed" is on the left, the round bed is on the right and all along the road we have shrubs and lilies and other flowers planted.
This afternoon I worked on my Twinklers quilt. I have both borders on, the binding stitched and pressed, and the backing made. I hope to get it on the machine sometime later this week, but I haven't decided how I'm going to quilt it, so will need to decide that and practice that. The quilt is done in Christmas colors -- all scrappy --so I may do holly leaves and berries, or maybe just a stars and loops meander or maybe a combination. The pattern for this quilt was a free scrappy pattern from a few years ago offered by Claudia's Quilt Shoppe online. I don't think it is still available, but she has others at that site. I'll show this quilt when it is finished!
Next up? I don't know -- I want to spend some time on my applique block #2 for Primitive Garden because I haven't had a chance lately. I'm dying to get out one of my hand quilting projects just for fun. I have a large quilt that I designed a few years ago and it needs to be finished -- I only have a few blocks done, but I have cut all the pieces and bagged them together, so it shouldn't take too much brain power to pull it out and start piecing it together again. I have who knows how many tops that are still awaiting quilting -- I'll need to make backings for them, but that shouldn't take much time. And I surely need to practice on the longarm. Guess I should take some time and choose the next project! I do have two more baby quilts that have to be made by the middle of October, but I need a break from baby for awhile!
The weather was a bit cooler this morning and I managed to get a couple of flower beds re-weeded. Weeds were easier to pull because the rain softened the ground and I got out there before they had taken over. So, the weeding plan is working!
Quilting time.
Leftovers for dinner again.
Emails from Steph.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Update on the Baby

So far, Will is staying where he belongs. The two doctors' appointments didn't tell us much, except the measurements taken last week were the same, so that was a good sign. Late Tuesday afternoon, her ob-gyn decided she could be on bed rest - light duty -- meaning she can stand long enough to fix dinner. She has two more appointments this Tuesday, and hopefully she'll be off bed rest. She is taking it easy -- she sat in the swing in the backyard and watched the kids play most of Tuesday afternoon. I managed to do a quick clean of her house, about 6 loads of laundry (most of which was baby clothes -- this kid will be well-dressed, as are AJ and Briana!). I came home late Tuesday night totally exhausted.

We're having quiet time here, making pictures with beads that then get ironed to melt them together. That's mommy's elbow in the background -- she's ironing the latest creation.

Wednesday I spent cleaning my own house and then had to run to the store and get gas and also went to the car-wash as the car really needed it. Got the errands done and was headed home, stopped at a 4-way stop intersection when I was rear-ended by a pickup truck. No one was hurt, but I wasn't a happy camper -- I just paid money to have the car washed! LOL The kid that hit me was only 16. He wanted to pay for the damage with cash so he didn't have to turn it into the insurance company -- however, I called the sheriff's police and got a written report. I'm pretty sure he got a ticket, and I'm sorry about that, but so far, I have $1734 worth of damage to my back end and trunk. And, the auto body place said the insurance adjuster didn't allow for the trunk lid, so I'm sure it'll be more. Plus, it'll take a week to get it fixed and I have to rent a car for the week, so I'm thinking it'll be closer to $2k or more. The kid was a real nice kid, real polite, and had just gotten off work at his part-time job fixing lawn mowers. I really did feel bad for him. But now I have to drive a wrecked car until July 9 when I take it in to get it fixed. It was good that no one was hurt, but it really is a big inconvenience -- especially if I need to go back to Steph's. And I spent all of Thursday and half of Friday dealing with his insurance and taking the car to the auto body place. I did however stop at the lqs on the way home Friday and bought a deep red fabric for the border on my Twinklers leader/ender quilt. I hope to work on it tomorrow.
Thursday afternoon I finished quilting Steph's sister-in-law's quilt, and didn't like the borders I did, so spent the past three days picking stitches out of it. But today I finished it completely, without doing anything to the borders -- I think they look all right without stitching -- a little puffy like parts of the center because I used 3 oz polyester batting. Didn't manage to finish it in time for the baby though -- Elizabeth Ann arrived two days ago! But it's washed and ready to be wrapped and brought up there. I took this pic late this afternoon. (I put a practice quilt on the swing first so it wouldn't get dirty! The nine-patches just have diagonal lines stitched on them. The hearts were all hand appliqued. It's backed with pink flannel and even has the label on! Yay me!

I finished Will's quilt on Thursday while waiting for the insurance guy, too. Just got it washed and dried, so I'll get a picture tomorrow.

And that's pretty much what my life has been like this week! I think Steph's going to be okay and Will will probably go full-term just for fun, although Steph would really like to have him 7-7-07!


I'm grateful no one was hurt in the accident (the kid was grateful he didn't hit a grouchy old lady! LOL)

I'm glad to be catching up at home this weekend. Today would have been my mom's 87th birthday. I had planned to go to the cemetary, but it was cool, rainy and cloudy all day and I decided I'll go Monday or Tuesday instead - I needed to spend my day quilting!

I've lost 4 pounds so far! But I really need to work on losing inches.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

More Flowers and Life

This lily is called 'America' and it is one of my favorites. The deep red color is really eye-catching. It's another hybrid lily.

And this is a Japanese Iris that I planted in the big bed that I haven't finished weeding! I just saw it blooming this afternoon and had to get the picture.
On to life: I've been staying at my daughter's since Wednesday night. I went up there Wednesday morning, came home Wednesday afternoon and went back Wednesday night (boy was I tired of traveling that day). Steph is 32 weeks pregnant (out of 40), and when they tested her Wednesday morning, they determined that she was having contractions (not that she could feel though). So, they slapped her in the hospital for two nights and monitored her. For the most part, they managed to stop the contractions, but she is on bed rest for at least two weeks. Baby Will weighs 4 lbs, 2 oz, and they want him to stay where he's at for another two weeks or more. Aaron is home on the weekends, so he's taking care of her now. I'll go back up Monday morning, take her to the doctor, do whatever else needs to be done, spend the night, take her to the specialist on Tuesday morning, do whatever else needs to be done, and probably come home late Tuesday afternoon or evening. Briana can help out with AJ and do minor chores. And Stephanie's mother-in-law will be available for anything major. (Aaron drives for UPS, so he works long hours). They can also count on the neighbors in emergencies. But, I'm sure I'll be going back up as needed. It's an hour and a half drive from our house -- so we've got the bases covered quickly from up there and I can run up and take over when needed.

So that's my week in a nutshell! Got home last night and today I finished quilting Will's quilt and have sewn the binding on, just need to hand stitch it down. I also pinned the next baby quilt on the longarm, but not sure when I'll be able to quilt it. This one will be for Aaron's sister, who is due in a week. But, she went a week over on her last pregnancy, so if she does again, I might get it done!


They've stopped the contractions for now.

Bill - he's my rock and holds down the fort while I'm gone.

AJ - what an imagination that child has. He can be a pistol, but he can be a cherub, too!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Lilies of the Field...

Well, actually lilies in my sunny flower bed down by the road. They have been weeded a dozen times this year (at least!) and mulched and they seem to be happy about that! I can't remember the name of these particular hybrid lilies, but I really like them. I've planted a long area of lilies and the next clump will be blooming maybe next week.

Anyway -- this is how I'm dividing my time this week -- pulling weeds and quilting. I've been working on a couple of baby quilts, but none are finished yet -- hope to finish by early next week -- I'll post pictures then!


Blooming lilies -- God's way of thanking me for weeding them!

Bill staked the lilies I have blooming in the front of the garage -- they were falling over the sidewalk.

The storm that was promised last night was not the storm we got -- no tornadoes, thank you.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Primitive Garden...

This is the first (January) block of the Primitive Garden bom from Primitive Gatherings
in Wisconsin. I fell in love with Mel's when she showed the kits as they arrived and called the shop in April and managed to get one of the last two kits available. So, I have been working on this first block for about 2 months! I took all the little circles that I had appliqued down and redid all 24 of them yesterday. I would not have been happy with it until I did, so I'm glad I did it. Did I tell you I really love this bom?!

Today I prepped block #2 which is February's - not sure if I'll catch up,(I just received #6), but I'm going to enjoy every minute of it. The second one is a bucket of geraniums.

I also worked on Will's quilt this afternoon -- just need to attach the final borders and sew the binding strips together, and piece the flannel backing I bought last week. Then on to the quilting. And then, I'll need to spend some time working on Steph's SIL's baby quilt since she's due the end of this month.

I did manage to spend an hour outside weeding one of the sunny beds today -- not finished yet, but good progress. We finally got an inch of rain late Friday afternoon and evening, so some of the weeds were a lot easier to pull. Bill's bought a bunch of mulch that needs to be spread on my flower beds, but I need to find time to do it. He bought a truckload of bulk mulch last week that he spread himself on different areas, but we buy the cypress mulch in bags (on sale), which I like because I can handle them myself and only have to do as much as I want at one time -- don't have to get the truck emptied!


Sewing on a Sunday afternoon.

Fresh asparagus for dinner still.

Bill - for all he is and all he does.