Monday, April 28, 2008

Welcome to the New Millenium

Yeehaw!!! I have finally arrived into the new millenium! I can now enjoy all your blogs --including all pictures, slideshows and videos! I can't tell you how excited I am! Today the satellite internet service was installed -- in case you hadn't guessed!

However -- I am writing from my laptop because my pc is completely corrupted. I am in the process of saving everything I can and then I'll be reformatting it. Not a big job, just time involved. That's where I have been for more than a week -- fussing with computers. No quilting is getting done; I did manage to finish spring cleaning the clutter room and the small bath and have started on the kitchen, but I may have to spend my spring cleaning day working on the computer. Whatever.... I am happy to be able to enjoy high speed internet on my breaks!

Briana is beginning to recover from a week long bout of the stomach flu.
Laptop computers.
Having the XP disk in the first place I looked!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday's Happenings

Tomorrow is Briana's 10th birthday, so yesterday we had the family party at Steph's. She had a small party for her friends on Saturday, so the birthday "cake" was leftover cupcakes or apple pie! She didn't seem to mind. That's Will in the high chair, AJ sitting at the table, her Uncle Mark (on her dad's side) and Grandpa Bill.

Next picture is Will with Grandma (yeah, that's me- silver hair and double chin), Grandpa Bill and Aunt Kim with his cousin Elizabeth.

And last picture is the block(s) for the spring wallhanging that I put together quickly before we went to Wisconsin!

We came home with an old dresser that I gave them years ago (they bought a nice new one for AJ), and 3 computers, a monitor and new keyboard and mouse! Good thing we drove the truck yesterday! We put the dresser up in the spare room when we got home and I'm going to load it with quilts -- I've run out of room to store my wall hangings and table runners and lap quilts!
The 3 computers -- one works but needs a hard drive, one doesn't work at all and the third is brand new but it also doesn't work. I spent 4 hours last night trying to get it to work and I suspect either the motherboard is bad or the cpu. I'm probably going to try to put the one new hard drive into the one computer that does work, salvage what I can from the rest and recycle the rest of the stuff. Nice thing is I swapped out the flat screen monitor for my old heavy 17" monitor and took the keyboard and mouse! All of this stuff is from Steve -- he tried to build me a new computer (and I seriously think the new cpu is bad), and he wanted to get rid of the old one that doesn't work and the one that does work is Kim's old one. My computer has been making noises at startup, so I suspect it is rather sick. Anyway -- we had to make a few trips to get everything in the house and up and down the stairs!
Briana - she has such a sweet disposition and is so good to her brothers.
Weather - it was cool, but partly sunny and no precipitation. (Although there was a lot of standing water on our way up -- we've had a lot of rain in the last few days).
Flat screen monitor -- boy is that nice!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Christmas Stars is finished!

Labeled and bound -- totally finished! I took a closeup to see the quilting on the top, but it still isn't very visible. I'm pleased with it anyway. I am learning....slow but sure.

The other pic is the block(s) for today of the spring wall hanging. After stitching the binding down on Christmas Stars, I made these two blocks and then spent the rest of the afternoon prepping one of the applique blocks. I even started some of the stitching on it so I don't hold myself back when the rest of the blocks are done. vbg

We didn't get the snow they were predicting -- at least it didn't stick.
Another day spent in the sewing room -- heavenly.

Friday, April 11, 2008

No work, lots of play

This first pic is the back of my Christmas Star quilt. I quilted it today and I did the entire quilt freehand with a flower and leaves and ribbon tendrils. Keep in mind I'm still learning, but I think I did a pretty good job on this one. I'm still trying too hard to fill all the spaces and go in different directions, so it's rather heavily quilted. I do love a lot of quilting, but I'm trying to find a happy medium! I stitched the binding on, and just made a label and will stitch it on and sew the binding down this weekend.
The next pic is of the bag I made for Briana yesterday. I used the grocery bag pattern I used before (I think from the Golden Thimble, but I don't have the sheet in front of me). I did use webbing for the handles this time and it went even faster than the last ones.

The next pic is of the block I did for the spring wall hanging today. These blocks are kind of fun to do one day at a time. I did spend some time tracing templates onto freezer paper for the applique blocks in this quilt, too.

And then the last pic is of the two blocks I made for my guild's lottery block drawing. I haven't made any blocks for this drawing in a couple of years, so decided I needed to get back to doing them. I like the diversity of just doing one or two blocks each month. And the possibility of winning enough to make a quilt is always enticing!

Another day of rain and wind, but the grass really turned green overnight -- except for the snow that is forecasted for tomorrow, you might even think spring has arrived!
A whole day to sew -- it was heavenly.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Some work and some play

I met my friend Deb for lunch on Tuesday and she brought me this bunch of tulips to celebrate Steve's good mri report! I forgot to get a picture then, so took one today. Lovely flowers for a really rotten spring day -- thunderstorms and heavy rain and wind all day and supposed to get worse tonight, so I probably won't be online very long!

I spent the day doing more spring cleaning in the clutter room. I now have the floor done at the entry to the kitchen! I still have about 6' x 10' to do in the back hallway and the small bathroom floor. I've been doing odd jobs every now and then, so the woodwork is finished and the bookcase full of gardening stuff, golf balls and various and sundry items in the back hall has been all cleaned up and old seed packets tossed, so the only thing left is the outside part of the back door and the floor (which is quarry tile and the grout has to be scrubbed with a brush and then sealed -- it's a pita, but needs to be done every year!).

So after all my hard work, I spent the rest of the day fondling fabric! I pressed the last 3 (of 6) cuts of fabric I bought on Sunday at my fabric quilt store. I fell in love with a Kansas Troubles Quilters pattern and bought all the fabric for it (well, the yardages anyway -- I have lots to use as scraps for the applique part of it). I bought extra yardages of course because I love KTQ fabric!

Then I finally put together a tote bag as a gift bag for Briana's birthday present. I've been putting this off for weeks now and really, it only took about an hour to throw it together! I didn't get a pic of it yet -- I put her gift into it and haven't covered the top with tissue paper yet. I made a regular tote bag though, so she can use it for whatever she wants to after her birthday.

And then I put together this block. I found a pattern in a magazine on Tuesday for a cute (and possibly fast) spring wallhanging. I pulled a bunch of fabrics yesterday and today I cut the borders and then put one block together. All the blocks will be different fabrics, so I figure I can do one a day hopefully and have a wallhanging in a week or two! It felt really good to be sewing again -- sure feels like its been ages. I hope to do some longarm quilting tomorrow and still be able to make another block for the wallhanging!

Having a friend that always knows just what to do for every occasion!
Being able to sew a bit today.

Monday, April 07, 2008

April and some more good news

We're already seven days into this month and I'm just getting around to posting the April Calendar! Our beautiful granddaughter will be 10 on the 15th. We're going up to celebrate on Sunday.

I managed to get the house cleaned and some extra work done in the clutter room (still haven't finished the spring cleaning in there!). Still doing laundry -- had a few extra loads this week.
Still have a couple of things on my list for today -- but I think finishing the laundry will be the extent of my work today.

So, on to the good news: Steve & Kim had an appointment with his neurosurgeon in Rockford today. This is the lady that removed the 7 cm mass from his brain on the 29th of December. They brought a copy of the MRI that he just had in Madison on Thursday. Not only was she amazed, but she even said, "this adds years to your life"!!!!! She said there is no sign of the tumor she removed. But even more important to us was the fact that she categorized the spot that we first saw on the MRI in Rockford that was located in the center towards the back of his brain. She said it was not well defined back in December and now it is completely gone!!!! She thinks it was an early tumor, which would have been a stage 1 or 2, not necessarily malignant, and that the radiation/chemo eradicated it altogether! She said we have reason to celebrate (and by no means do we think he is cured -- we know it can grow back at any time, but....) we have reason to celebrate! So, I think we've witnessed a miracle and we sure want to thank everyone that has been praying for us. Also, Steve finishes the first 5 days of the double dose of chemo tonight and he has had no problems at all from it. So, we're celebrating that too! Now the goal is to have the same MRI results every two months for the next 5 years!

We have actually witnessed a miracle.
Talking to Steve on the phone when they left the doctor's office -- he was literally "high on life"!
Reaching out to three friends who all said they had goosebumps!
Thank you, God.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Steve's Brain Tumor

We went to Madison yesterday. They told us ahead of time that the first MRI after the first round of radiation/chemo would probably be bad, even possibly showing growth because the radiation is still working and the brain is still irritated from the 6 week assault on it. So, yesterday he had the MRI and the results were: GREAT!!!!!! There is no recurrence of the tumor that he had removed and the secondary focus (the other spot in the top back that was smaller and where they cannot do surgery) is "entirely stable" and the report even shows "some resolution of tumor" -- I'm not sure if this means it has shrunk or that the dead cells are already being reabsorbed -- either way it was good news.
It was an all day trip -- mostly we had to wait a lot for blood work and then the new round of chemo meds - in between meetings with Dr Ian and Diana.
He started the new protocol of chemo last night -- he is in the group that gets 5 days of chemo drugs and 23 days of and it will probably last for 12 months. He was on 175 mg during the radiation and now he'll be taking 350mg of Temodar. I haven't talked to him yet today to find out how the first night went, but we weren't really expecting it to be too bad -- they anticipate everything at UW Madison and they've been doing this a long time, so they even know when to expect a drop in his blood work counts. They've armed him with anti-nausea meds and even provided a drug that works as an anti-seizure, anti-nausea, and sleep aid all in one!

Just wanted to let everyone know how it went and thank you all for the prayers and good thoughts -- keep them coming! (Ian also told us he has a patient that has been in remission 3 years, which usually leads to 4 years and at 5 years he considers them cured! --- So that's the goal!)