Saturday, June 19, 2010

Another Wonderful Gift

An old friend sent me a gift today.  Joan lost her husband about 12 years ago and has since remarried.  She and her first husband were our bowling team partners for many years.  We don't see much of them because they winter in Florida, but she and Ben were at Bill's visitation.
This is what she sent, and I love it.  I will be framing it.  And yes, it made me cry, but crying's not a bad thing :-)  Thanks, Joan.

Today was a fun day, too.  Kris and I went to Acorn Quilts in Rockford to see a binding demonstration by Kay Steinmetz.  We actually went to see Kay, so the binding demo was a bonus!  Kay is another old friend -- I took my first beginners quilt class at her shop, back in the early nineties -- she owned Quilters Cupboard in Rockford back then.  Now she's working a couple of days a month at Acorn and Kris is planning a get-together in Byron that we'll have Kay teach a class at this summer. 
It was great getting out and seeing friends, buying fabric (well, really, Leslie has this perfectly wonderful fabric in the back room that is 1/2 price -- I just can't pass it up for future backings!).
And, of course we went to lunch -- always a bonus!

Then I came home and spent about 45 minutes outside in the hot sun (dumb), pulling thistles out of the daylily bed.  I've been complaining about it for weeks, so decided a short time spent getting rid of them was in order.  There's lots more weeds, of course, but a little at a time should get the job done eventually.

Out and about with quilting friends -- always a fun day.
Kay Steinmetz -- a treasured quilting friend.
Attacking the weeds and finding the tomato plants.  I only planted tomato and peppers, so I really should be able to keep up on weeding them!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thank Yous

Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers.  The grieving process has just begun and I can tell you it will be long and arduous.  I can't possibly thank everyone for all the kind words, so please know that I sincerely appreciate them all.

I'm feeling the need to have a fresh start of sorts and have started a new blog -- I will still be talking about my daily life, and eventually some quilting when I get back to it, (other things have priority right now), and I hope to make it a little more upbeat -- and try to write more often.  If you'd like to visit, it's:

Thanks, everyone, and much love.

Monday, June 07, 2010

It's Over

Bill passed away at 7:05 last night.  All the kids were down yesterday afternoon, including our brand new grandson, Michael Paul, who was born Saturday morning at 4:20 am.  We all got to say goodbye and I was with him to the end.  He's been getting steadily weaker and actually went quickly, which I am so thankful for.  Liver Cancer is one of the most painful of the cancers -- if you can differentiate between them all -- I'm sure every kind is painful.  It is extremely hard to watch someone you've loved for 29 years go through it.

We spent today making arrangements, with more to make tomorrow.  I feel like I've been on the phone all day and my throat can attest to that fact -- I have a very sore throat and earache, and I'm losing my voice, which does not bode well for the Memorial services planned.  Hopefully I can doctor it enough to make it through.

I'm going to miss him terribly , but I know he's in a better place.

Saturday, May 01, 2010


For all the comments and prayers.  We appreciate them.

We have called in Hospice.  All the doctors in Madison concurred that he is no candidate for surgery or chemo or radiation.  He was very weak and was sidelined for two weeks with a virus (cough and cold) that zapped all the strength he had.  He is hoping to build up his strength in the next few months and possibly go back for chemo.  Hospice will send a nurse out twice a week to check on him and do anything else we need.  All I need to do is call them, so that is very reassuring.  They will manage his meds also and try to keep him pain free.
We spend a lot of time talking -- I think it helps us both :-)!

Keep the prayers coming, and thanks.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

God, are you out there? It's me, Joanne

Let's just get to it:  My husband has liver cancer. 
So, if you're keeping count (and I am), since September, Steve's brain tumor has come back twice, he's had surgery, a small stroke, rehab and this last time he had stereotactic radiosurgery, which means they bombarded the tumor from every angle possible with radiation; Kevin was diagnosed and had surgery for an aggressive form of prostate cancer, and now Bill has liver cancer.  We are in the process of getting all our ducks in a row:  we met a great surgeon in Madison at UW Clinic today and will be having more tests done and will have to make some serious decisions over the next few weeks.  She can take 1/2 his liver, if the mass and other spots are contained in the half; and if he can tolerate the surgery -- he'll be 84 in May and we have to meet with his cardiologist sometime soon and he'll probably have to have another echocardiogram.  They are also scheduling tests in Madison, so we'll be driving back and forth, or spending time up there in a hotel, as needed.
I'm going to be spending less time on the computer, obviously, so am taking a break from blogging (you wouldn't notice because I haven't blogged in a month anyway! vbg).

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

What? You mean it's over? We missed it? Darn, and we just finished our Valentine tops, too!
The first one is my friend, Kris' and the second is mine. We used mostly her stash of Valentine fabrics (I only had a few, but my borders are my own). I actually finished my quilt and then took the whole thing apart, squared up all the blocks, changed the inner border fabric and put it all back together. Yes, I'm anal -- but ya know if I'd've squared up the blocks to begin with, I wouldn't have had to take them all apart. You'd think after all these years of quilting I'd remember to do that instead of slapping them all together. Whatever....I never would have liked it if I hadn't taken it apart, and now I do!

This was a fun quilt to do together - we have another that we did together -- hers is even quilted and gorgeous. Mine? It's all apart and waiting to be squared up and redone, of course. Kris calls them Garage Quilts or Oil-Change Quilts -- they're orphan blocks melded together. She goes to a lot of auctions and invariably finds quilts that some guy used to lay on while changing the oil in the car - hence the name. They're fun to do and when I get mine put back together, I'll even put up a picture!

Getting a short walk outside this afternoon. It was in the mid 30's today. The plan is for another in the morning.
Getting the newsletter printed out today.
Leftover chili for dinner.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, AJ

Our dear, sweet, adorable grandson, AJ is six years old today! Happy Birthday, AJ!

Thursday, February 04, 2010


I have no excuse for not updating my blog more often! I have been doing some sewing -- actually finished two tops, but still need to piece backings. Planning a sewing day with Kris tomorrow -- we're making Valentine quilts from her stash of Valentine fabrics! Should be fun.
I did receive Bonnie's new book the first of last week -- it's great. I read it through the first night!

And yesterday I finally finished "spring" cleaning the dining room. Took me about 4 hours -- so much for doing a little at a time! I did the top of the hutch a few weeks ago and then got nothing else done, so had to finally get it done. It's nice a sparkly now (although I didn't wash the windows yet -- I'll wait til it's a bit warmer out).

My dining room is not that big -- it holds the furniture, but if we turned the table to raise the drop leaf sides, we have barely enough room to put chairs around it without hitting the hutch and dry sink. We do all our entertaining in the kitchen next to the fireplace anyway. And when the whole family is here for Easter or Thanksgiving, we move this table into the kitchen and put the leaves in both tables!
I took all those pictures off the wall, cleaned the wall and the pictures, and put them back -- that's what took a lot of time. And, I'm thinking it's time to redo this gallery -- time to put some into albums and bring out pics of the grandkids that are all over the house!

Other news: Steve had an MRI last Wednesday -- everything looks good and the Avastin is working!
Monday I went with Steph to her 3-d Ultrasound! Really cool. That 11 oz. baby boy was having a great time -- moving all over, rolling, turning and laughing at us - honest! He's doing great and so is Steph -- no health worries for either of them.

Healthy boys -- both Steve and the new baby.
Getting something accomplished -- one clean room at a time!
Finishing a couple of tops -- another accomplishment.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Steve

Big 41 today! Funny thing, 2 years ago we were told you'd never see this day. And I think your surgeon is pretty amazed about the fact that you're still here. But the rest of us, we're just glad you're the miracle you are. Twenty years from now I hope to still be wishing you happy birthday on this day. Hope your day is filled with good things.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rough Week

Wednesday Steph had to have an amnio. It's been a rough few days waiting for the preliminary results. I went up yesterday and babysat for a couple of hours while she went to her regular ob-gyn appointment and then we spent all afternoon talking. She hadn't slept at all on Wednesday night and again last night. I didn't sleep much. Here's our adorable youngest grandson, Will enjoying his lunch with the other kids.
Steph got the phone call this afternoon with the preliminary results: Everything is A-OK! Also -- it's definitely a boy! We were so worried, that hey, not even going to complain that we're getting another boy instead of a girl! He'll be healthy -- and believe me, that's more important.

So, this afternoon I managed to do a little bit of sewing (no way was I going to tackle the dining room today -- couldn't concentrate plus I think I have bursitis in my shoulder and it's killing me. This is the 3rd Friday Block Party block, called Another Star.

I also worked on a new mystery block of the month -- a row quilt from Claudia's Quilt Shoppe.
These are really tiny blocks. I have 3 of 9 done, so I'll show them when I finish them.

The doctors' office was very aware of the worry and fear waiting for test results and called as soon as they got the preliminary results. Full results are due next week, but 95% sure is really good. Thank God.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Years Resolutions

Here it is 11 days into the New Year and I'm still working on resolutions! Today I started another one: Deep clean (or spring clean) the main floor of the house. I managed to get the second floor done last year and even though it wouldn't hurt to do it again this year, I'll move on to the first floor. I had planned on doing the first floor last fall, but you know how plans go!
So, today I started in the dining room. We do not use our dining room -- it's basically a photo gallery and a place to keep all the china and other stuff we don't use every day! I don't even have a before picture to show because I was disgusted by the dust and dirt! I only did the top of the hutch today, but plan on doing more on Friday! So here are the after pictures -- trust me, those crystal vases are heavy and so shiny once they're clean! I had to take a picture after I put them back up and then another after I put a few pictures back up there.

I also managed to spend a little time in the sewing room -- another resolution (to spend some time every day in the sewing or quilting room). I pieced a quick backing for a quilt and brought it down to the longarm to be quilted soon. I also cleaned up my mess so it's ready for another day of sewing.

Getting my chores done today and a little extra towards my resolutions.
Spending a little time in the sewing room -- always relaxing.
Talking to Steph on the phone.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Steph!

Today is my baby's 34th birthday. I hate to tell her this as she's pregnant and down sick with a cold/sinus infection/allergies thing - but these are the best years of your life :-) Enjoy them!
And Happy Birthday from Dad and me!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

A week's worth

I've had a few days this week to quilt and play. Today I did Friday's Block Party Block. This is a 9" block. This block would make a great quilt. But no, I am not going to make it!

Earlier in the week. my QB (quilt buddy!), Kris challenged a few of us to make a Valentines quilt, completely finished with label that she gave us on it. Here's a picture of my messy cutting/sewing/generic table where I was cutting my fabrics for this quilt. Yesterday I put the top together and today I quilted it (have I told you how much I love having a longarm?!). I've put the binding on and pinned the label on, all ready for the binding to be stitched down. I can't show you a picture of the quilt though until we get together around Valentine's Day to show our creations. It's a surprise! Tomorrow I'll probably stitch the binding down and then clean my messy table...maybe.
I also shortened a new pair of bibs and a new pair of jeans for Bill today -- I hate shortening pants and I've been putting it off since Christmas. Decided I might as well get it done and not having it stare me in the face every time I walk into the room. And then I decided that I was such a good girl doing that work that I wouldn't have to cook tonight! I did however, have to run to the store for milk, so I stopped at Subway on the way back and that was dinner. Not only that, but I bought foot-long sandwiches just in case I don't feel like cooking tomorrow either! One 6" sub is big enough for one meal!

I'll be forever grateful for my longarm -- what a pleasure to finish piecing a quilt and go downstairs and load it on the longarm and quilt it.
The snow has finally stopped; it's bitter cold, but the roads aren't bad and we have plenty of firewood for staying home.
Having a group of quilting friends to have challenges with.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

First Finish of the New Year

I sewed the binding on the Valentine quilt and stitched it down this afternoon while printing off newsletters -- plenty of time because the printer is being quite cantankerous today! Also been designing in my mind another wall hanging -- wonder if it'll ever see the light of day. Guess I'll have to fire up EQ6 and see what I can come up with!

Another lovely day of rest.
Our minister sang a solo in church today and accompanied himself on the piano - quite a talented man and a great minister, too!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Just for Fun

I spent most of the day working on the computer writing a newsletter. It's finished except for any mistakes that need corrected or last minute additions, so all I'll have to do is print out a few copies for friends that don't have a computer and I'm good to go for a couple more months!
So, in the meantime I spent some time playing with blocks. First is one Judy used to make a really cute quilt. I wanted to make a test block and decide my preference for making this quilt. I love this block, so will be adding the quilt to my list of tops I'd like to start and finish this year!
And then I noticed what fun Jeanne is having doing different blocks every day. So, I decided to join Friday Block Party and do the first block of the New Year. It's called Wheel of Time. I just chose fabrics that jumped off the shelf at me -- I have no rhyme or reason for them yet and I will probably continue doing that for awhile. It's always good to have a few orphan blocks to play with!
I did walk my 30 minutes this morning - yay me.

I'm enjoying this long holiday weekend -- even though we are retired here and always have long weekends :-), this particular weekend has felt really nice and relaxed and I've been able to spend a lot of time with my quilting.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Years Day, A New Beginning

Starting the resolutions right out the first day of the year! I did do 30 minutes on the treadmill. And I did take the Christmas decorations down and put away my twig tree for another year. And then I spent the rest of the day playing. I zigzagged an edge on old practice quilt sandwiches and neatly stacked them for use under the longarm when it sits overnight -- Gammills tend to leak a drop or so of oil when they sit for a long period of time, so I always put the old practice sandwiches under the machine to catch the drip.

And then I loaded a panel I bought last week at the quilt shop -- just a simple Valentine's Day panel that I added borders to and then quilted it today with an old pantograph: Hearts A Flutter by Lisa Calle. I hope to get the binding on tomorrow and maybe stitched down by Sunday.

Plan for tomorrow -- another 30 minute walk and the rest of the day will be spent working on the computer.

The feeling of accomplishment even from something as insignificant as trimming practice quilts to make pads.
The enjoyment of quilting time at the machine.