Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I quilted this quilt today. This quilt was made by a friend and the first picture is the backing -- a quilter after my own heart, the center is the Halloween print with the black print as wide borders all the way around -- it could have been the front of the quilt -- I loved working with these fabrics. I freehanded pumpkins and vines and used a Signature cotton thread called Tangerine -- I really enjoyed quilting this quilt!
This is part of the front (I took the picture upside down, of course!) -- she used a panel for the center of the quilt and then added borders to make it about 40 x 45 or so IIRC.
I have another pinned to the longarm -- it's the same panel, but the whole look is different. I'll probably do something similar on the quilting, though.

I had planned on going to Steph's for a day visit today, but one of the kids she babysits for has a bad cold and we don't need that down here. Tomorrow Bill goes in for some preliminary tests -- chest xray and EKG. He's scheduled for an angiogram next Thursday. The results of his stress test showed an area of the heart muscle that is not getting enough blood, so they need to go in and see what's up. He may come home the same day, or he may have to have a stent put in and spend the night.

I'd also planned on doing some weeding this week -- but temps have hit close to 90 degrees and very high humidity, so there will be no outside work done this week or weekend! I'd rather be quilting anyway!

Having my quilting go as well as I planned it ;-)!
Still time to do some hand quilting this afternoon!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Picking Beans & Cleaning Porches

My gardens have been sorely in need of attention since early spring. I have mostly perennials except for a couple of flats of impatiens in the back along the porch. I managed to weed most everything once this spring and get the impatiens planted, but that has been it. I now have some weeds taller than some of the daylilies, but I don't know when I'll get to them yet, so it's a good thing we live in the country! As far as vegetables go, we don't plant much anymore for just the two of us and I am not fond of freezing/canning anymore -- been there, done that and would rather be quilting! Bill plants tomatoes -- and ours are terrible this year - the vines are already dying and the tomatoes are few and far between; he plants green peppers and they are so bad that none of the 6 or 7 plants flowered at all -- there will be no green peppers; he planted radishes, but then we got too much rain and all of a sudden hot weather, so they weren't all that good. I talked him into building 4 square foot garden beds -- they are actually 4 square feet each. In two of those he planted green beans -- I love fresh garden beans! We started picking last week and had fresh green beans almost every night for dinner. Today the plan was to pick enough for next week -- but when I got out there, all these glorious beans were at their peak (you know if you leave them too long they go bad on the vine). So -- I picked all the ones I could find today and left the plants to flower again and produce again. This is what I brought in: That's full to the top of an ordinary brown grocery bag!

I spent another hour snapping and washing and bagging and ended up with 7 full quart bags which is more than enough for at least one meal -- probably two, and 5 half gallons also. I sent Bill on his way this afternoon down the road to all the neighbors with the excess!

Thursday I decided it was way past time to clean the porches. I didn't take a before picture of the front porch, but these are the after pictures. I cleaned it with a broom and the hose and washed the windows and screens and the furniture. When I started, Bill said he could probably borrow a pressure/power washer from the neighbor. I said I didn't need it, but then started to think about it. So I told him to go buy one -- it's not like we'd never use it again -- they are pretty handy to have around. I didn't clean the back porch on Thursday, because it was late afternoon by the time he went out and bought the power washer. These pictures are the front center porch, to the left and to the right after I cleaned it.

While I was helping Bill put the power washer together that afternoon, he said, "You don't even want to know what I spent on this thing!". I said I did, since I pay the credit card bills. He said he paid cash. I asked why, and his reply was, "I had too much cash lying around"!! I told him I have never had that problem! LOL (And really, if I'd known he had too much cash lying around, I'd have helped him remedy that problem, gladly!
Anyway, today we powered up that bad boy and I cleaned the back porch -- these pictures show the industrial sized spider webs and dirt before and the nice clean areas after I power washed those puppies right off the face of the earth! This is not technically on the back porch -- this is the corner of the back door to the house and the garage door to outside, before and after (the spiders really love this corner -- and the mud dobbers have a mud nest in the upper corner -- and I bet it would withstand a hurricane because I could not get it down with the force of the water -- I was afraid the stain would come off the house first!).

This is the center of the back porch and the filthy deck - these windows are in the dining room.
And this is to the left of the center -- the french doors open to the library.
This is the after picture of the left side.
And these are the pictures of the center -- after! I didn't take an after picture of the right side -- so you'll have to take my word for it that the kitchen windows and area of the back porch are also clean! vbg

A job well done and a whole lot easier with the power washer. (I did wash the windows again after I took this after pictures!). And maybe sometime this week I'll be able to get out into the gardens again and tackle some of those weeds.

The only quilting I've done is a donation quilt for a friend, plus working slowly on piecing some Chiclet variation blocks -- completely scrappy and dipping into my scrap bins that have already been sorted. I still need to sort, press, and cut a lot of scraps -- but they'll have to wait. I also have a friend's quilt on the longarm right now that I hope to start quilting tomorrow. It's not a big quilt, so it shouldn't take too long and I know what I want to do with it, so that is half the battle. Hopefully, tomorrow afternoon....

On a sad note, Randy Pausch of "The Last Lecture" fame lost his battle with pancreatic cancer yesterday. My heart goes out to his wife and 3 very young children. He was only 47. If you have not read "The Last Lecture" -- I heartily recommend it.

Steve's MRI was once again clear -- we're thanking God.
Steve & Kim are at a Jimmy Buffett concert tonight -- they have been to nearly all of his concerts that are in our area (Chicago/Wisconsin).
Doing some physical work this week -- it's good for the soul!
Having a sewing day with a friend -- that's good for the soul, too.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Steve Update

Just a quick note to thank everyone for the prayers -- keep them coming. Steve's MRI showed no change again -- it's still clear!
I'm going quilting today, and will try to update my blog with pictures this weekend! Hope everyone's weekend is wonderful -- ours certainly will be.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

An Eventful Month

Today was Will's birthday party. He loved his cake and was just as pleased with the cards and packaging as he was with his presents! Don'tcha just love this age -- too soon they grow up.

We also celebrated our 27th anniversary on Thursday. The two of us went to dinner at a new to us place -- actually run by the man who ran the restaurant we went to on our first date -- 27 years ago! lol We usually meet friends at a restaurant in Byron on Wednesday nights, but this week the restaurant was closed, so we met them at an old place in Rockford we haven't been to in ages, called the Rathskellar -- obviously, German food -- the Lyonnaise Potatoes are to die for! It seems like we've eaten out a lot this week and we have -- so next week I need to hit the treadmill double time.

Bill had an echo-cardiogram on Tuesday and had an appointment with his new cardiologist on Friday. His heart valve seems to be behaving itself for now, but they've scheduled a nuclear stress test for Wednesday -- early morning, no less. He has been having some symptoms lately, so hopefully they'll find out why.

I also had to have another blood test on Monday -- a fasting glucose -- but luckily, it came back normal, so I'm good to go for another 6 months anyway! Seems like this whole month is being taken up with doctoring, lots of anniversary celebrations, birthdays, etc. I did manage to quilt a small quilt that I put together from a stack of blocks I found in stash last month. It's bound and in the stack of quilts I'll give away to family members, or donate to charities. I haven't had much time for much sewing at all the past two weeks, but hopefully will be remedying that soon. Monday night I have guild and next Friday have plans to sew with a friend, so that should help calm things down for me. I need to do some sewing every week, just to center myself, I think.

Our grandchildren are wonderful!
We rode with Kevin & Deb to Wisconsin today -- it's nice not having to drive every time.
Good results on the echo.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy First Birthday, Will!

"Baby Will", as AJ calls him, turns 1 years old today. We had both boys over the weekend and actually had a ball. (Exhaustion set in immediately afterward though -- that's why they give babies to young people!). Will has been walking for at least a month now -- I love to watch him walk with just his diaper on -- bowlegged around the mass of the diaper on his tiny butt. He has beautiful blond hair that I hope stays blond, but neither his mother's or his uncle's did, so that might be a challenge. When he got up Saturday morning, his hair was standing on end on each side of the back of his head -- I would have loved to have gotten a camera shot when he was standing in the sunlight -- talk about little devil's horns. So cute. I talked Steve & Kim in to meeting us at the Discovery Center in Rockford - a children's hands-on museum Saturday afternoon. Both boys caught a catnap on the way to the museum -- AJ woke up and he and Steve were on the go from then on. Will, on the other hand, looked like he was stunned. Kim took him to see the sights, but for the first hour or more, he just stood and looked around -- sensory overload I think! We spent about two hours there and it only felt like 4!
I fixed chicken strips with baked beans for dinner and AJ informed me that I was supposed to have tater tots with chicken strips -- boy, is this grandma out of the loop or what?
Both boys were really good all weekend -- Will is the easiest baby -- you lay him down for a nap or bedtime, he gives one little cry and immediately goes to sleep.
So, happy birthday dear grandchild!

Steve & Kim -- Bill and I would never have made it two hours on Saturday!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day, America!

As usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short on getting the new calendar page posted! This month Will be 1 years old. It is going to be a busy month. We also have 3 anniversary celebrations this month. We'll be babysitting the grandsons for a weekend (and spending the rest of the month trying to recover! vbg).

I quilted with a friend again yesterday -- I just brought my hand applique along though -- couldn't get my act together to bring anything else. I spent all of Wednesday finishing up my guild newsletter and sending it out and printing off the copies to be sent snail mail. It literally took me all day. By the time Thursday rolled around, I just needed down time and decided not to mess with hauling my sewing machine and the borders, etc for the quilt I worked on last week. It was an enjoyable time anyway and I did manage to get a couple of flowers appliqued on block 6 of my Primitive Garden BOM.

Today I've spent time cleaning up the sewing room and getting things put away in there. Now I can find whatever I need to do the borders on the quilt -- I just can't work when everything is a mess in there. I also did a truckload of ironing that has been waiting since Monday. And then putzed around getting my checkbook brought up to date and worked on menus for next week.

I just finished writing this post and lost my satellite connection -- had to redo about half -- I think a bird lands on the satellite dish and throws everything out of whack!

Kim is seeing a specialist in Madison for her MS now and is quite pleased with the care.
Steve finished another 5 day round of chemo last week.
Sewing with friends.
Putzing around finishing projects.