Monday, December 31, 2007

Last update

We got the pathologist's report today: Stage 4 Glioblastoma. The doctor said 6-18 months. This is not acceptable and we will be going to one of the major centers, quite possibly the Anderson Center in Houston. There is a wealth of information on the internet and they are doing amazing things in the field of cancer treatment and Steve will be one of the long-term survivors. Pray for Steve and Kim because they have a long road ahead of them, but he is a fighter. Thanks.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


I first want to thank everyone for the prayers -- I can't possibly answer everyone individually right now, but please know they are extremely appreciated and keep them coming.

Steve underwent a 12 hour surgery yesterday. The surgeon removed the entire tumor, but found he also had a ball of arterial/vein something or other (the blood vessels are all wrapped around each other like a ball of rubber bands). She had to remove that and reroute the blood vessels and that necessarily added to the time of the surgery. We are waiting on the pathologist's definitive report -- they may have to send it to Mayo's, which could take up to 3 weeks or more.
He is today in the intensive care unit, sitting up, eating hospital jello (what do they make they stuff from?), talking and in good spirits, trying to watch the Bears game with a parade of people coming in to see him. We were there earlier, will go back later in the day when the parade slows down, hopefully. He has some slight weakness on his left side -- not even noticeable to our untrained eyes, and it should improve. He has two drains in his head which are draining blood. He had a cat scan this morning and the doctor said everything looks really good there. He is expected to be in the intensive care unit for 2 to 3 days, and another 2 or 3 days in the regular surgery unit. However, my son, God bless him, is taking bets on leaving the hospital in the shortest possible time ever recorded! And I don't think the doctor doubts his intentions at all! She is still amazed at how healthy he is otherwise.

That's where we are. I will obviously not be online much at all. I'm setting everything to no-mail and I won't be able to even answer all the emails I've received in the past day, but please know that we really appreciate all the prayers and good thoughts. Thanks.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Big Time Prayers Needed

We have been on a 24 hour roller coaster that abruptly stopped at the top with a diagnosis of a brain tumor in my 38 year old son's brain. He was dizzy and vomiting yesterday, went to the ER and after a lot of tests, we got the diagnosis at 4 pm today. He is having surgery to remove a tumor that has a lot of blood vessels involved -- it is about a 3 inch mass that has to be removed or he will die. They are not even sure what they are dealing with, only that it has to come out. Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 9 am. Please, please pray for Steve. Thanks.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My favorite Christmas Gift

Stephanie made a calendar for 2008 for us.
Each month has pictures of our favorite subject matter -- our grandkids!
Each month I'll try to remember to get a picture of that month and post it here. I've already told her we'll expect one every year now!

My quilty gifts: gift certificates to King's Men Quilting Supply and I have already put in my order and it is on it's way today! vbg I ordered thread, a panto and two books for the longarm. My plan for 2008 is to spend a lot of time in the front of the longarm learning freehand quilting. I like doing pantos, but I'd really like to improve my freehand skills. I can finish up a whole bunch of ufo's while I learn, hopefully!

Beautiful weather on Christmas to drive to Steph's.
We had a really nice Christmas and all three of the kids were very well behaved. Even 5 month old Will, who got passed around a lot and he smiled for everyone!

Carolina Crossroads Pt. 3

I finished all 80 of the nine-patches for part 3 of Bonnie's mystery quilt. I probably should square these up -- but not today. vbg

I'm trying to get end of the year stuff organized: I finally cleaned up and put back all the quilt books I have removed from the shelves this year (yes, they were all over the house and in big piles in front of the bookshelves upstairs -- for the entire year!). I have another stack of magazines that I received/bought this year to go through -- but it is not a large stack, so I have curbed my quilt magazine addiction a lot this year. I still have tons of patterns printed from the 'net to go through and file (one way or the other), and I've set aside a book for keeping Bonnie's patterns I'm working on or plan to do this next year. I haven't bought many quilt books this year either -- except, I have bought longarm quilting books and magazines. I think I just traded one addiction for another, but am trying to tame that one too. The plan for tackling this will be one bite of the elephant at a time. I'm working on whittling down the other paperwork in this house right now and hope to get it under control by the end of the year -- but an hour and a half at a time is enough before I go stark raving mad!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Carolina Crossroads, Part 2

I've been fitting in a little sewing here and there lately and this afternoon I finished part two of Bonnie's mystery. I have the strip sets finished for part 3, but they'll wait til after Christmas to become 9 patches.
I put the ham in a slow oven a little bit ago and have the Korv (Swedish Cooking Sausage) on the stove. The food is ready to pack up tomorrow and take to Steph's and I just put all the Christmas gifts into a couple of big bags to haul up there, too. I think I'm ready! Merry Christmas everyone!
Kevin will drive tomorrow, so we only have to drive home from his house.
It's supposed to be bright and sunny, so a good day for driving, too.
AJ called this morning and wished me a Merry Christmas Eve. He and his mom were getting ready to play "football guys"! LOL
What a precious gift grandchildren are.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas

No pictures today. The only quilty thing I did was take the top and bottom borders off the Christmas Stars quilt and trim 1-1/2" off them and put them back on. They no longer wave -- funny how that works.
The plan was to work on Bonnie's mystery, but then Bill asked where the book was for the central vacuum. After a long search, I found it and then proceeded to start cleaning out the files I have in and around the desk and file cabinets. We save every piece of paper, I swear. I am finally tossing the receipts for nails he bought when he finished the basement -- 7 years ago. I am getting rid of the warranty and books for those appliances that went belly up years ago, and putting the ones that we still have in one file. I had planned on finishing one drawer today, but only got half-way finished and son, Steve called, so talked to him for a half an hour. By that time it was way past lunch time, so stopped for lunch, then decided if I was ever going to get those borders done I needed to do them today. After that was accomplished, I cleaned up some papers in the sewing room -- patterns I've printed off that I actually want to do one of these days.
Anyway -- never did work on the mystery, so hope to find a bit of time here and there over the weekend to play.
I couldn't go to AJ's Christmas program today because we were hit again with fog, but Steph said she taped it so we can watch on Christmas day. His preschool class sang Jingle Bells and got to ring bells as they were singing; he got quite vigorous in ringing his bell and dropped it and it slid away and he couldn't find it -- he started crying. How precious is that?

Just in case I don't get back to blogging... I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I've been quilting!

This is the second quilt I made with the "Depression Block" from Quilter's Cache site. It's been waiting for a couple of months to be pinned on the machine and I finally did that and quilted it this week. I used templates from R&S Design. They are actually pattern boards used on the back of the machine. Basically, the poor man's version of Circle Lord. Someday I'll buy the Circle Lord, but for now these will have to do! They worked okay for the Baptist Fan on this quilt anyway. I stitched the binding on, but still need to add a label (after I decide who will be getting it!), and stitch the binding down. It felt really good to pin a quilt on and quilt it -- been awhile and I've missed it. Now I'm itching to pin another on right away. I still haven't worked on my nine-patches for Bonnie's mystery, so I may have to at least get started on that before I pin the next one on.

We have some elderly relatives and friends that are not in good health lately -- 3 with heart problems actually -- so we need to get some visiting in between Christmas preps and trying to cope with weather in the midwest -- today it's so foggy that the sky is as white as the ground, so we had to cancel one visit already. Good day for quilting, though.

AJ is back on antibiotics for his bronchitis -- hope this works quickly.
Working on the longarm -- it was a real pleasure.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cooky Day

Yesterday was Cooky Day at Steph's. The forecast in Illinois when I left in the morning was for 1 to 2 inches of snow; in Wisconsin, it was 1 - 3" of snow. I got there about ten a.m. This first picture is of AJ and Briana decorating a pan of sugar cookies before baking. The big plate of sugar cookies in the foreground are awaiting frosting and more decorating. AJ gets tired of decorating, so he goes and plays and helps Daddy clean the basement and plays and comes back and decorates a cooky and plays, etc., etc.

Grandma had baby duty. And AJ wanted Grandma to play "pirates" with him, so Will and I played pirates with AJ for awhile. (That's AJ's pirate ship in the picture!) Will is 5 months old today and he's cutting teeth on the bottom, so Grandma got drooled on a lot! It was a wonderful day.

I left to go home at 3 p.m. The revised forecast for Illinois was 4 - 7 inches and Wisconsin was 5-8". The two highways in Wisconsin -- 12 and 43 were what is known as "snow covered and hazardous"! Lots of cars in ditches, lots of police trying to help people. I got in a line of cars that was at least 20 cars long and mostly the top speed on 12 was 35 mph. On 43, we sometimes made it to 45 mph! By the time I hit I90, I was pretty much white-knuckled --- some idiot pickup driver passed the line of cars and he had to have been going 70 mph. God forgive me, but I was hoping he'd land in the ditch ahead, but I didn't see him. I90 was mostly just wet -- the plows and salt trucks had definitely been on top of things there. We even got it up to 60 mph! Back down to the 50's and below for the rest of the way home, though. It took 2 hours and 15 minutes to get home, which I thought was pretty good since it's normally a 1-1/2 hour trip anyway. We got about 6 inches of snow last night. It was still a fun day spending time with the grandkids -- hadn't seen them in about 3-1/2 weeks.

Making it home safely in the snow
Grandkids -- nothing better in life

Friday, December 14, 2007

Just Like Clockwork....

Friday has arrived and I haven't blogged since Monday -- so much for trying to blog every day! vbg
I managed to get the sashing parts put together on Tuesday this week, but haven't touched the quilt til today. It took me all day, to put the top together and put the borders on. I had planned on having a green border between the tan and the red, but after getting the sashing strips all on, I took a picture of the top and it looked really dull. I like the green really dulls down the red in these fabrics, so I left the green border off in hopes of brightening up the quilt just a little. It's also a bit of a dark picture -- in real life it is a little bit brighter -- the tan is a bit brighter I think. This close up of the sashing strips shows the colors a bit better.

Anyway -- the top is finished, I still need to prepare the binding and backing, but I'm done working on it for now. I'm two steps behind on Bonnie's mystery, but I think I'll be caught up by the end of the year anyway.

I joined Stashbuster's UFO challenge for 2008. I've listed a few of my ufo's and flimsies on the right side of my blog -- I have not listed all of them, because I know I won't finish them all next year anyway -- why torture myself? vbg I do hope to bust a lot more stash next year and do a better job of keeping track of how much I do use up. Bonnie's mystery plus all the other quilts on her site will be great for busting scraps and I really need to get a handle on the scraps this year as well.
So, the rest of this year will be working on the mystery, hopefully get a quilt pinned to the longarm -- I'm getting rusty not using it and in order to get some ufo's done next year, I'll need to get better at using it -- and maybe cut one or two wallhangings out that I'd like to make, or maybe put a panel together with some border blocks and get it ready for quilting. Mostly, it'll be whatever I feel like working on!
Tomorrow is cookie day, so there will not be any quilting -- just playing with babies and kids and eating cookies!

The ice storm is over and driving shouldn't be bad tomorrow.
Christmas Cookies!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday, Monday

No pics tonight. This was a typical Monday - do laundry and clean house. Still have a load in the dryer and the last load in the washer waiting for the dryer. House is clean. Don't know why I bothered -- should have planned to do it tomorrow. The ice storm that is currently south and west of us is heading our way -- sometime after midnight expected arrival. I usually run errands on Tuesday and if I had half a brain I'd have done that today and cleaned tomorrow. Doesn't matter though -- I'm not going out tomorrow at all. Bill ran to the store this afternoon and bought milk so we're good to go -- we can eat out of the freezer and pantry for months!
I did cut the sashings and borders for my Christmas Stars quilt, but that was the extent of the sewing today. I may stitch on my Primitive Garden block tonight or I may read a book -- I'm flexible. vbg

Hope everyone in the path of this storm is staying safe. See ya tomorrow!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The blocks are done

I set up my portable design wall in the basement near my longarm. It's a little inconvenient for using when I'm actually sewing blocks together because my sewing room is on the 1st floor, but once I get the blocks put together I can put them up and look at them while I'm on the treadmill in the morning! Anyway, here's the finished blocks. Now I have to cut the sashing strips and piece the sashing and the cornerstones and cut the borders. If I have enough left over (which I doubt), I might make more blocks, but we'll see. I really like the way they look even though the picture is a bit dark here. I haven't squared these blocks yet either, so don't look too closely! vbg

I'm done sewing for the day -- still haven't touched the second clue of Bonnie's mystery -- but there's always tomorrow. I'm in no rush to finish either of these projects -- just enjoying the piecing time.

We got about an inch of snow/sleet, so thankful it wasn't all ice.
Sewing time
Making plans and writing out the to-do lists.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Christmas Stars revisited

These are the last two versions I previewed and I voted both of them down!

So what I was left with was this: The green stars with the red centers and tomorrow I'll make the red stars with green centers. I think those work the best for what I want to do. I finished 6 of the blocks today and hope to finish six more tomorrow. I spent half the day having sneezing fits in between trying to sew -- not real pleasant. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day. I did talk to my son this afternoon -- he and his wife are leaving on a cruise tomorrow.

I'm heading upstairs now to relapse and try to stop this sneezing stuff!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Another day

Survey results:
It seems everyone likes the all red one and no one is too fond of the green fabric at all -- the green is actually part of the collection and it does match the green in the red and tan fabrics. I would prefer a darker, maybe forest or hunter green, but it didn't work with the other two. Personally, I love the red and tan fabrics and the all red block, but I need the green in there for contrast. I finished the flying geese today, so I'll play around with them again tomorrow before I decide what to do.

I spent an hour and a half getting my mammogram this morning -- par for the course, I always have to have twice the number of films than normal. But, thankfully, no spots or lumps and I'm good to go for another year. Then had to pick up Bill's chain saw from the repair shop and stop at the store. I swear we had more snow in our driveway this morning than the whole city of Rockford -- so roads were clear anyway (and I probably could have gone to Wisconsin yesterday, darn it).

Got a couple of nice packages in the mail yesterday: The bottom border portion for the Primitive Garden quilt; and the winter edition of Kansas Troubles newsletter and 4 fat quarters of her fabric. And today in the mail we got a Christmas gift from my niece in Colorado -- a very nice digital photo frame (I always open Tammy's gift because I know she opened hers as soon as it got there - which was probably today -- my brother & sister-in-law used to open gifts on Christmas eve because my sister-in-law couldn't wait and their daughter is just like her! LOL -- Tammy got the 4 stars tablerunner.

I hope to work on my Christmas Stars quilt tomorrow and I need to get started on the second installment of Bonnie's Mystery Quilt. We're supposed to get another snow storm this weekend and again next Tuesday -- it's really a great time to stay in and quilt.

The roads were only wet this morning for the half hour drive to my appointment.
Hershey's Kisses
My niece, her husband and son.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What's Your Opinion?

I was supposed to babysit the grands today, but Steph called early this morning and it was decided because we're supposed to get another winter blast this afternoon that it wouldn't be great to be driving home in blowing snow. (As it turns out, the snow hasn't started yet, so I probably could have made it most of the way home before the blast -- but who knew?!) So, today turned out to be a free quilty day. I cut out most of the Christmas Stars quilt I plan to make with the new fabric I bought last week. And now I need your opinion: There will be two blocks -- red stars and green stars. Which do you like better, the red with green center or all red? And the green with red center or all green? I'm leaning towards the opposite centers because I think the green needs that bit of red punch.

Blogger is not playing nice with me today, so who knows what order the four pictures will end up in?!
I had planned on starting the second installment of Bonnie's Mystery Quilt today, too, but got caught up in this one. I'm still in the process of making flying geese units and I haven't cut out the sashings or borders yet. So, tomorrow, the plan is get the strips ready to chain sew on Bonnie's and use them as leader/enders for this one! Well, that's the plan anyway.

Steph's mother in law was able to step in and babysit for an hour so she could get to the dentist.
She's home before the snow started.
Another quilty snow day!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Mystery & Mittens

Here's my hundred red and green rail fence blocks -- the first step of Bonnie's mystery. I ended up using the scraps I pulled out of the bins -- I had a large amount of red and green and still have a lot of neutrals in there that I'll press and cut as needed. Just wasn't any sense in pulling fabrics from stash when I have such a mess of scraps in the bins.

And here's the completed mitten tablerunner. This was really fast to make and I love how cute it turned out. I used some great blue fabrics for the background and then appliqued the mittens using all flannels. Today I put the binding on and even stitched it down after I finished the rail fence blocks.

Still haven't cut out the red/green/tan quilt I wanted to work on -- maybe on Friday after my mammogram! Tomorrow I get to babysit the grandsons for a few hours. Hopefully, I won't have to drive in snow or freezing rain on the way home. We did get 4 or 5 inches of snow last night and the wind has been howling since about midnight, so it's really been blowing around. And tomorrow we're supposed to get more snow -- late afternoon, early evening.

Our neighbor/friend plowed our drive this morning (after Bill had already snow-blowed it once!).
A Quilter's Snow Day today -- playing in the sewing room.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My Christmas Present

In case you haven't noticed, I'm trying to post something on my blog every day!
This is my Christmas present! What is it? It's my central vacuum system with a brand new motor. Bill took it apart yesterday, took it to the dealer, he called this morning with the estimate and an hour later called to say it was finished! Saved about $500 over buying a new system. So, yes, I am spoiled and now I have two new vacuums! BTW -- the Sears upright that I bought works great (except I am so not used to using an upright and one that doesn't fit well into corners unless you use the tools part). Naturally, I whined Monday when Bill asked me how I liked it. And yes -- I know he's a keeper. I'll be nice to him!

We're getting the snow now that was predicted -- anywhere from 3 to 6 inches. I managed to get all my errands run before it started, so I'll just spend my time in the sewing room. I finished appliqueing the mitten blocks last night, pinned and quilted around them today (and surely know the reason I got a longarm -- I am really bad quilting on my DSM). I've also made the binding, but haven't gotten it on yet because I had to help Bill re-install my vacuum! So tomorrow I hope to get the binding on and cut fabrics and make 100 rail fence blocks for Bonnie's Mystery Quilt. It's going to be a quilting day tomorrow!

I'm grateful my DSIL is back home after spending the weekend in the hospital, but I sure wish her kids would insist she move in with them -- she's all alone in the Chicago area and her 4 kids are spread all over -- not in the area.
My hubby -- I think I'll keep him.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Decorated Tree

Here's the tree with the decorations on it! I just got out the Lenox China snowflakes, a treasured set of bisque snowflakes given to me by my BFF Deb, and an assortment of antique looking, or primitive type decorations and let it go with that -- I think it's enough. This picture was taken about 4:30 this afternoon, with the lights on the tree lit. One string this year is enough.

Today was spent cleaning house and doing laundry, and cleaning out my decorations bins that I keep in the guest room upstairs -- all the fall, some Christmas and the rest spring/summer everyday stuff. I had them all messed up and now I have the fall stuff altogether as well as the Christmas stuff separated from the everyday stuff -- it's one of those things that has been bugging me forever and when I finally got around to doing it, it only took less than an hour!

I started the mitten quilt yesterday and only have 3 more mittens to applique down before I get it ready for quilting. I'm using regular cotton for the background, but flannels for the mittens -- I think it's going to be really cute.

We're supposed to get snow tomorrow and Wednesday -- oh joy. I have to drive to Steph's on Thursday to babysit, but it should be clear by then. And Friday I have a mammogram appointment -- oh joy again! vbg It's supposed to snow again on Friday, but hopefully I can get in and out and home before it decides to do it. I hate driving in the stuff.

Got my list finished and even got some stuff done that wasn't on my list.
George Forman's grill -- so nice and fast to fix pork chops on for dinner.
Digital cameras

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas Decorating

Is this the greatest Christmas tree, or what?! I know -- my kids and probably my husband will hate it, but I absolutely love it. And seeing as how I'm 60 years old, my kids all have their own homes and Bill doesn't do any decorating around here, I'm putting up what I want. I haven't dug out the tree ornaments yet...the two that are on the tree I just bought at my favorite quilt store. I'm going to be very selective on what I put on the tree and there won't be a lot. I put 1 string of 100 lights on it, although I may buy another string before the season is over.
I have actually looked for a twig tree for years and this year I finally found a source and I'm really happy with it -- primitive and folk art, standing in my log home library looking out at the back porch and the snow/sleet and the woods in the back...what could be better? Oh, I know, my quilted tree skirt!

I had planned on cutting my new quilt out today, but then got caught up in the excitement of Bonnie's Scrap Quilt Mystery. So, naturally, I've been digging through scraps and pulled an overflowing drawer of 1-1/2" and 2" strips and squares. I'm going to do mine in red, green and neutral, because I can always use another Christmas quilt. And then I pulled fabrics to make the mitten tablerunner at the Harbour Quilt Company. Just can't resist it either and I think it'll go fast. Anyway -- so far haven't cut anything out and will have to do a lot of pressing before I can start Bonnie's. Maybe I press while I watch the Bears today!

I'm grateful Blogger has an automatic save on these posts -- almost lost this one half way through!
Christmas trees
My fabric stash -- nice to be able to pull fabrics for anything I might want to start at anytime.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Organization and finishes

I finished the second tablerunner and one candle mat yesterday. That's the extent of quick Christmas gifts I will make this year.

I planned on starting a new quilt today with the fabrics I bought the other day (which by the way are not actually Christmas Fabrics -- they're by Terry Clothier Thompson, her Oak and Reel line). Shown below. The middle fabric is actually a really pretty tan (it looks pink on my computer at the moment). I did write out what I need to cut for this project and it is waiting on the cutting table.

Anyway, instead of cutting the fabrics, I spent most of the day cleaning up the sewing room. I did iron the fabrics and ironed and put away two fabrics I bought from JoAnn's yesterday to be used as backings. I don't know why I bought them -- there really is a big difference in quality -- so I will use them on quilted wall hangings or something that won't get as much wear as a regular quilt. I did use my 50% off coupon there yesterday to buy the rest of a roll of Warm & Natural batting - 11-3/4 yards. I don't need batting at the moment, but know I will always use it and ya can't beat the price!

Back to the day's doings: I also listed my ufo's and flimsies that I can find at the moment. I need to keep better track of what is waiting to be worked on and what and where finished products are. I didn't list the projects I have kitted up (meaning cut the fabrics for but haven't started). And I found a bunch of orphan blocks I didn't know I had, but I'm not counting them either, or any of the projects I have waiting as leader/enders. I'm going to join Stashbuster's UFO Challenge for 2008 -- both to keep me focused on finishing and to force myself to keep track. I'm going to try to add my list to my sidebar (computer challenged - so wish me luck!).
I've also joined my guild's Nickel Squares exchange for 2008 (took last year off), so will need to get busy cutting squares each month for that. And I'm going to keep my ongoing project of pressing scraps and filing them in their bins out so I can clean out the baskets and bags I've stuffed them in. I did add some 2" strips and squares to one of the leader/ender bags today, so I have made some progress there.
Next on the day's list is to put away the last of the fall quilts and decorations and put up the last of the Christmas/winter quilts and table toppers. I hope to put up my tree tonight or tomorrow -- I bought a new twig tree this year and can't wait to put it up!

Spending a cold/sleeting/icy day in the warm house playing in the sewing room.
Getting organized.