Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Saturday, December 01, 2007

My Sister

Death visited our family once again this year. Cancer snuck in like a thief in the night and took our sister away from us. We were all stunned at the quickness with which she went. One day she had a headache, a trip to the doctor, a MRI and off for a biopsy. We gathered up our Mom, took her down to see her after the biopsy. A week later the year she had been given turned into a week. That Cancer was growing by leaps and bounds taking away the person she was. Back to the hospital she went. We gathered up our mom again and went for another visit all seven of her siblings. They discharged her with plans for a course of radiation/chemo. One treatment, a call for 911 and back to the hospital. Again we gathered up the siblings and as we were driving down to the hospital received a call she had passed away.

Tomorrow is her memorial and she will be laid to rest at a graveside service on Monday. Tonight we sat at our Nephews and put together a picture memorial for her. I saw a side of my sister through the many pictures I never knew existed. Oh yes, I knew she drove a paratransit bus for the past 28 years but little did I know how caring she was with her charges, how she worried about them now that she was unable to drive anymore and how she decorated her bus and dressed up for all the holidays. Yes, she and her DH rode a Gold Wing but little did I know, were part of a group and traveled all over the western states setting their tents up wherever. I didn't know she rode herself. There's a lot of things I didn't know about my sister. She was a caring, loving person and was never without a package of kleenix or pair of gloves. Her pockets told the story. She was a pack rat just like our mom. Who would keep their report cards from kindergarten but she did and every occassion she felt important to remember. Graduations, weddings, births, deaths and even all the things each of her siblings and children accomplished. I felt I didn't really know this person who was my sister, she seemed a stranger to me.

Somewhere in growing up and growing older we lost being sisters. We were each others Maids of Honor, alternated having kids, traded pictures and wrote letters when we both married servicemen and tranfered around the country and sometimes out of it. When I moved back home we never saw each other except for special occasions or the family picnic we hold each year. She came to my house once and I hadn't been to hers in 30 years. We never shared as we aged , we didn't connect like sisters will. We went our separate ways, raising our children, becoming grandma's and growing older.

I'm sorry I didn't know my sister better. We could and should have been friends for who are we without our families, our sisters, and brothers. I lost when I didn't take the time to mend whatever fences we had errected over the years. I lost when I chose to stay away because she wasn't the housekeeper I thought she should be.

In this past month while I watched my sister who I didn't have much use for wither away and die I'm ashamed that I based being a sister on whether or not she kept a tidy house. She was loved by her children, her grandchildren, her co-workers, friends and the people who rode her bus.

This death has been very hard on all of us, especially my mother. It's the first in our immediate family. She's already outlived all her siblings, my father, his family and now she's starting to outlive her children.

I know I need to be a better daughter and sibling to my other brothers and sisters. I need to allow them to be theirselves and not put restrictions on my feelings for them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What is a true friend?

I've been pondering the meaning of "true friendship" for the past week, ever since John went back to the ship. I find myself wondering if my neighbor was the true friend I've spent the past 15 years thinking she was.

When John went back to work I thought my "friend" would be on the doorstep ready for a long visit over coffee like we had done in the past. She always called as soon as her DH went to work. She didn't call, she didn't come over and as I was busy getting my home back in order I didn't think anything of it. She'd call the next day, was giving me a breather to catch up. Days went past without a visit or call and I thought she was just as busy as I was. Back in July she'd had 2 heart attacks, had to have 4 stints put in, was doing Cardiac Rehab. Maybe she had gone down to stay with her parents, maybe she wasn't recovering as she should. I wondered and worried about her and finally yesterday I walked across the street.

She's fine, she didn't need rehab anymore, her heart is as strong as a young girls her Dr. told her. She could go and do all the things she'd done before. I tried to catch up on all her news letting her know what I'd been up to. She wasn't interested in my news, turning the conversation back to herself.

As I walked back home, I wondered what I had missed all these years. Was this the same person who cried on my shoulder, who I laughed with as she hid her cigarettes so her mom wouldn't know she smoked, my sewing and shopping buddy? What happened to the person I stood by as she went through years with an alcholic DH, the same person I helped beat her drug habit. Was this the same person who watched my furbabies when I went out of town, who had a key to my house? What happened to my friend, where did she go or was she never a friend at all?

All these things flew through my mind and it came to me. She's been distancing herself ever since she had the first heart attack. We had a long talk after the that one when she quit smoking. Second hand smoke her dad said was bad and she shouldn't be around it. I ignored the writing on the wall, letting her know I wasn't so inconsiderate as to smoke around her. No stress her dad said, so she couldn't watch the cats anymore. I understood that as well, my furbabies could become road kitties and travel with me when I went somewhere or I'd find a new sitter. These were small bumps in the road I could deal with. The loss of my friend would be harder.

I walked over yesterday with some freshly baked banana bread to check on my friend and came home with my house keys. I'm sad at how things have turned out for us, but at the same time I'm glad to know that our friendship meant so little to her.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Here it is another month has flown by and I've been so busy what with John coming home for his vacation, family reunion, my two sons, a grandson and GGdtr up from California for a week not to mention Dr. visits for both John and I. I swear I have been positively chasing my own tail. vbg

The kids spent a week which was filled full of things to do. They pitched a tent, staying 2 days at my sisters out at the beach. The family reunion with 105 people counted, lots of yummy food. Everything from oysters to hotdogs, many different salads, cookies and cheesecakes. The kids all had a great time playing in the flats while the tide was out and kayaking (sp) when the tide came in. A huge beach fire after most had left and kids were all tucked into bed complete with a visit from the local cop at 4am due to a complaint about the loud music (500watt jukebox) which we had just shut down minutes prior to his arrival. A hike up in the forest preserve close to the house left me with aches/pains the next day and hardly able to walk. We started out looking for the beaver pond hiking up and down the side of the mountain only to realize the beaver pond was a short 1500 feet from the trailhead. A baby shower for my sister's DIL who also won the quilt and went home to Idaho with two full suitcases of goodies. The weather cooperated being hot and sunny the whole week the kids were here. It was great having them but I sure was glad to wave goodbye at the airport and come home to collapse in my chair.

Seems I started this days ago and got interupted in the middle of my train of thought. We've been seeing the Dr's left and right lately. If it's not one thing it's another. I'm so tired of sitting around waiting rooms just to be told I need yet another Ultrasound. I doubt if it's really anything serious, just my Dr being cautious. A small mass on my parotid gland and enlarged lymph node in my neck. Might would be a good time to quit smoking, don'tcha think? Will be glad when this round of doctor visits is over. Just makes us all sit up and take notice, it's not a good thing even when feeling well or not quite up to par to skip those yearly physicals. I really hate getting old and finding my body is slowly falling apart. vbg Just when I thought we might get a mini-vacation this summer up pops a Jury duty notice for mid August when all the Dr appts would be over and done with until Sept.

I've still not been in the sewing room for what seems forever. I'm dying or is that itchin to get stitchin on something. Anything would do. I need a fix and baby Brooke will be arriving on the scene before I know it.

I've really missed reading up on all the blogs. Will have to pencil in an hour a day for blogs on my calendar and catch up on everyones summer doings.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Here it is the middle of June and I've been neglecting my blog and never seem to have time to catch up on what everyone else in blogger land is doing. I need a whole day to sit here in front of the computer for a visit with y'all. See what you've been up to and where you've been. It's been a busy time again. Weather has turned nice with so much to do outside, there's never enough time to get into the sewing room to sit down and actually sew. I've cleaned in there. It looks so nice and ready to spend the day with fabric and do nothing but sew.

I've finally finished the handquilting on that raffle quilt that has caused so much trouble. Last night we three sisters got together so our excellent seamstress could do the finishing touches on the windmill via machine. It's turned out well, much better than I expected. Using the variagated black (storm clouds) thread did the trick, giving dimension where needed. The windmill finally looks like what it's supposed to be rather than a space capsule. vbg

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Where did May disappear too?

It doesn't seem like May should be gone already. The month just began an eye blink ago. Time seems to fly when you're so busy you can't see your backside for the dust.

Today I enjoyed my backyard after a long morning with eye doctor and errands that needed tending. My Rhodies are blooming so beautiful, the birds were singing and the deer came up to the yard. They are so tame they hardly flinch when you move. I know I'm not supposed to feed them but what do you do when they rob the bird feeders?

Tomorrow I need to get busy and start on a major project of organizing/cleaning my sewing room yet again in preparation for some major sewing. I've 2 great grandbabies on the horizon needing quilts. Brooke Jo is due end of September. GGbaby #2 is due in December. Brookes quilt is picked out, fabric purchased, ready to go. I know I've been procrastinating, it's hard to keep my mind together long enough to sit down and sew with all that's been going on the past couple months. How do you sew when you aren't in the mood and do a good job of what your making?
Now the weather is sun shiney, and there's all these things to do outside. No time to sit in the house sewing when the grass grows faster than a speeding bullet, the garden needs tending, there's picnic furniture to get cleaned, the roof needs sweeping and the gutters cleaned. The BBQ needs a power wash and new insides installed.
I don't want to be inside after the long winter of gray skies and rain. I want to take advantage of all the sun and warm temps. A cold glass of beer and an evening out under the umbrella. Up here in my corner of the world sewing is for winter time when the skies are gray and the rain falls steadily for months at a time. A fire in the fireplace, a quilt on my lap, stitching away.
Leaf Seasons is still calling out to be quilted, hanging over the back of the loveseat in waiting. it's been there for some time now and should have been done. It's not a big quilt, a small twin, but there it lays just begging to be taken care of, crying out "quilt me, quilt me". What do you do when your minds miles away and life just gets in the way?
I wish there were more hours in the day to accomplish all the things I want to do but sadly there just aren't. I'm thankful for what I have and those things that I can get done at the same time wishing there was just a wee bit more time in my world right now. Just a few more hours each day, a few less appointments, less time spent in the car going from one place to another, siblings that shared responsibilites of my Mom, more time with my DH and most of all more "ME" time spent on things I want to do for me. At the same time I'm grateful to have good health, a roof over my head, enough to eat, good friends both here on Mavericks and here at home. I'm thankful I'm able to see each morning as I wake up. While life does seem to be in shambles for me lately it does go on and there will be better days coming.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I've been a busy bee out in the yard on the business end of the mower and weedwacker. It's looking pretty good now just in time for DH to come home for the weekend. Got out the power washer and did the driveway while I was at it and the sun was so warm.

Last night I finally put a patch on my Log Cabin quilt I burnt a hole in after falling asleep with a lit ciggy. Yes, I know, smoking in bed is a no-no and I don't do it anymore. The LC was our wedding quilt from my mom from 28 years ago and I never thought I would be so lucky as to find a matching fabric while cleaning out her sewing room but I found a block amongst the many log cabins she's started with 4 good sized pieces.

Today I had to take Lady in to see her Vet. She developed a wobbly back end and I thought it was Diabetic Neuropathy but turned out to be a sprain. I guess I must have pulled a wee bit hard as I was dragging her out from under the bed for her insulin shot. Poor Baby, she's been gimpy for a few days. While there they did an ultrasound to check her bladder (hadn't seen her pee in a few days) which was fine and took some blood for necessary tests. Tomorrow she has to go back and spend the day so they can catch some urine to test for Ketones. Her diabetes is under control which makes me pleased as punch and now have some new guidelines on how much insulin to give her depending on her 2xdaily blood sugars. She's so used to having her ear pricked she sits quietly in my lap while I get the equip ready.

Tomorrow I'm off to have coffee with my #1 favorite sister. I know you're not supposed to have favorites. I was 16 when Marcie was born and did many a diaper changes and bottle feeds taking care of her. My 2 oldest sons, Marcie and my youngest brother grew up together. They're 51, 49, 47, 45 and more like brothers and sister rather than aunt/uncle and nephews.

While in town I get to go to the LQS and pick out the fabrics for my newest (due Sept 24) great granddtr's crib quilt. I've picked out a pattern (Springtime) from Rock A Bye Quilts by Leisure Arts. It's all pinks, not my color at all, with a wee bit of yellow and green (gdtr said no yellow or green), some applique I can do while watching TV and strip sets of squares. I told her no fancy applique this time around since her SIL is also pregnant and due in December. 2 Baby quilts to make.

Many thanks for all the wonderful comments on the green/purple quilt. I'm seriously thinking of trying to sell this quilt and wonder at what kind of price tag I should hang on it. Every year my old quilting group has a display during our Pioneer Days which gets a lot of traffic. Any suggestions on a price?

Monday, May 14, 2007

It's finished, it's done and now what am I going to do with it? What a wonderful job Nikki did and I couldn't ask for a more perfect quilting motif if I had chosen it myself. I chose the backing, the threads, requested a soft lovable quilt, not a stiff board then said here are the reins they are all yours, do what you want and she did. I couldn't have picked a more perfect motif if I had tried. She's young, I don't think she's had her LA for a long time and it gave me pleasure to let her grab the reins and take it for a ride on my quilt.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

It's been awhile since I've been able to write on my blog. I'm still not getting any quilting done as we're just now finishing up with the packing up of mom's home, getting it ready to rent to one of my nephews. We're to the point where we have a huge 2-car garage full stacked 5 feet high to re-sort, organize, designate what is to be kept for Mom, what is to be hauled to the dump and what we want to put in a garage sale. It's been a huge undertaking, but Mom is happy at her new home so well worth the many hours spent.

More treasures have come to light and while I haven't taken any pictures this time, it's been fun to look and enjoy more memories.

Several books of ration stamps from WWII

A certificate from when Dad worked at a war plant in Minneapolis

More pictures of Mom as a very young lady in her early 20's.

My 2nd grade report card from St. Anne's Catholic School in St. Paul, MN

The only letter Dad wrote to Mom, dated 1937

A battery operated tin toy bartender who pours a drink. While it no longer works I can remember my Dad playing with it, laughing and having such a good time. It was given to him as a birthday present in the 50's.

A picture of my parents best friends sitting on their Harley...I remember many rides on the back of this very Harley behind Elmer who I always called my "second daddy". .

A bottle of dandelion wine, still good and very aged. Us kids used to pick the dandelion heads and mom always made big batches of wine every year. I can't remember her making it for more than 50 years.

Yankee neice borrowed all mom's old photo albums to make a memory book for her parents 50th wedding aniversary. We asked they be returned so we can go through it with mom and put names to the faces. Most of her old pictures do have names/years written on the backs of them so will be fun to see who they are.

Patti....Mom has all her faculties, she's 92 and can no longer live alone. She fell and realized it was time to move to an assisted living facility.

Happy Valley Quilter....will be happy to share a picture when the sampler is all framed.

I leave you with my furballs enjoying the first fresh grass of the season. They remind me of two little cows chomping away.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

It's amazing the things you find as you move your Mom from home to assisted living. Yesterday, Marcie and I went to organize the garage and go through the boxes we had set aside for another day. Going through the boxes, doing the look once, throw to the garbage pile we ran across.......
This small snapshot of Mom, taken when she was a young girl on the threshold of her life. I don't remember my mom as a young woman and this picture lets me see what a beautiful young lady she was.

A group picture taken at a dance...there's my fun loving Dad kicking up his foot in the front row with mom the second one in from the left. My Aunt and Uncle standing by theirselves in the top row. A good friend's wife next to Mom on the left. On the back is stamped "Rich Economy Photographing Service" Minneapolis. I would like to think this was taken in 1947 as a last party before Dad moved us to Washington.

A crossstitch sampler, finished but never framed. I'm going to frame it and hang it in my home.

Crocheted bits of tableclothes lets us wonder why they never were finished.

A brand new tin of tinkertoys reminding us of the days we built all kinds of things with them and Lincoln Logs.

Amongst all these little treasures from the past out fell a sales brochure in the form of a large postcard addressed to our Dad advertising the new beach front develpment of Sandy Point Shores. You could get a lot for $2500, less if you bought on a weekday and there wasn't but a few houses in the whole develpment. A nice bit of history when the point was first filled in, a canal to the bay dug or the boat house and ramp built.

I wonder what other reminders of the past will fall into our hands as we go through the many boxes and bags stored away in the trailer.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Season of Family

Where has the past two weeks disappeared to? Seems it was just the end of March and here it is the middle of April already.

Been some really busy days for us kids as we've been hauling garbage (1 1/2tons so far) to the dump while cleaning out Mom's place getting it ready to rent to one of my nephews. Phew, never realized there was so much trash in the trailer. It completely hid all the lovely things she's had for many years, like her bone china tea cups, a porcelin figurine given to her by her brother back when she turned 16, her silver service from their 25th wedding aniversary, photograph books full of snaps from from days back in MN pre 1947, log cabin blocks by the bazillion she's put together while sitting night after night and weekends alone. Something to keep her busy. Have to admit her trailer is so bad it's no wonder she never let anybody inside and was always standing on the porch ready to go when her ride appeared.

She's settling in and getting used to assited living. Has more company (her kids) in the past two weeks than the past two years. Is enjoying all the attention she has been getting and lacking in years past. How do you go visit your mom when there's no place to sit down from the stacks and stacks of stuff collected over the years. She looks around her apartment and wonders at "all this is for me". I've asked her what she wants from her trailer and she says why would I want such and such. It's yours I tell her, all your things that we don't want to leave or sell when we rent it out.

Yesterday I went to fetch her to the Dr for an after the fall check-up and evaluation for a power wheel chair. There she was in the activity room painting a birdhouse. She used to paint beautiful award winning art, now is happy with the little birdhouse. It keeps her busy, lots of things to do here but still misses her quilting group on Mondays. She goes to an exercise class, plays bingo, attends poetry readings, can get herself in her wheelchair down to the dining room and back to her apt. She's getting back to where she was prior to the fall, independent and ready to be on the go again. Most important she's happy and safe there.....her kids are fighting over her she says.

Going to the Doctor was tiring for both her and I. Me for the 4 times I had to manhandle her wheel chair in and out of the trunk. Her for the exertion of getting in and out of the car. As we were driving into town, she said it was a good thing that I had brought her purse with us as she needed to "give me something for gas". Makes me wonder how many times one of my sisters has taken her somewhere and charged her for the priviledge. I just told her if John couldn't afford the bit of gas he could just work another day overtime. vbg Who charges their mother for a ride to the doctor?

I'm happy my Mom is no longer living alone , where the personell think she's a very nice independant lady, not a crabby independant one. They've gone out of their way to assist her in her daily needs, making sure she takes her medicine, are there to help her into bed and see that she joins in with the daily activities going on, assist her down to and from her apt. She likes it there but wishes there were more residents. She doesn't miss the Seniour Center only on her quilting day. There's many activities to do and I've volunteered to do a quilting group if there's interest in one. I'm more than happy to give a day a week of my time to sit with the ladies there and talk quilting, stitch or whatever they want to do.

My Mom's safety and the caretakers at her Assisted Living
Finding my former SIL and Niece after 28 years
Call from DH who is still bobbing around in the Ocean off Los Angeles
A beautiful sunny day
Time today for some hand quilting
My friends in blogland

Saturday, March 31, 2007


Catherine...please encourage your DH to get his granfather a Rescue Alert system. I really believe if my Mom had had a button to push she would still be living in her trailer. I'm thankful she wasn't hurt, but also glad that it made her decide she could't live alone anymore.

Paula...I like the sounds of the slider. I polish my machine bed to help with the sliding or is that not sliding problems when trying to manhadle all that fabric through the throat of the machine.

Sharon....give it a's fun once you get over the scare factor.

JT...maybe when I feel more comfortable with my own machine I'll go rent the LA at my LQS. I too am waaaaay behind on reading blogs. Not enough time in the day this past week.

Yankee Quilter....each day is better for Mom. She's getting used to the move and really settling in at the AL.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Table Topper

I just finished this table topper for my Mom as a housewarming gift for her new apt in the assisted living facility. It will cheer her up with the bright colors and brighten up her new digs. I didn't do any fancy quilting, a SITD and 1/4" outline inside the seams.

Tomorrow we start cleaning out her trailer getting it ready to rent. I get to do the sewing room which is packed full of fabric that would take 10 lifetimes to stitch up. There's quilt tops, blocks, strips and squares all cut and ready to assemble. She's has decided she doesn't want her sewing machine at her new place. She says she can't see to sew anymore. She's sewed all her life, made herself and all 6 of us girls our clothes and wedding gowns. It's sad to see her admit that a big part of her life is gone. Today I asked if her she could still see well enough to knit or crochet a baby afaghan for her new GGbaby to be and she asked me if I was left handed so I would be able to finish if she was unable to.

The past 15 years has seen lots of changes for Mom. She's had to give up driving, her art work, sewing, and now her home. She used to be so full of life, never at home, always on the go. She was one that was ready to hit the road at a moments notice off on some trip with friends, a day of shopping, a quilt show, her quilt group, a day spent at my house, daily lunches at the senior center, card games with friends and always Sunday Mass.

I'm ashamed to say in the last 5 years I haven't spent the time I should have with her. I had my own agenda as did my siblings. They had their family, their grandkids, their life. We never once gave thought to the many long nights or weekends she spent alone feeling unloved and unwanted. This was brought home to me today when my GF and I went to visit her. She made the comment "they love me and want me, her kids". I'm going to be a better daughter in her last years than I have been.

Monday, March 26, 2007

My weekend disappeared on me. I had Leaf Seasons all sandwiched and was ready to have another go at machine quilting. Late Friday afternoon as I was standing by the cutting table chopping up little squares out of big scraps when the phone rang and my sister let me know my mother had fallen . She had been taken to the hospital and thought to have had a stroke and in the fall fractured her hip. My BIL had found her mid morning laying in the bathroom after being called when she didn't answer the door for her daily ride on the handicap bus to the Seniour Center. 911 called, a ride to the hospital, MRI and CAT scan done. No stroke, no fracture. My Mom is 92 and lives alone when she shouldn't have been but too independant and stubborn to move into Assisted Living. We don't know for sure how long she had been there but she said all night long. We do know she was in different clothes than she had worn the day before. It's a terrible way to finally realize she no longer is able to live alone. We are all relieved she didn't injure herself more than a nasty bruise and a couple days of observation in the hospital.

She's been afraid for months that she would fall and nobody would find her for days. This was a real wake up call for her. She knows she can't live alone anymore.

We called the Assisted Living she had mentioned she would like to go to when the time came. Fortunately one of my sisters and I had toured the place a couple months ago and were very impressed with the owners and staff. We called them on Saturday. The director came in special to give 5 of my siblings and I a tour. On Sunday the director came in again when we found out she had to be discharged but needed 24 hour supervision. Arrangements were made, we rented a U-Haul and set up her new digs with enough of her personal belongings and furniture before checking her out of the hospital.

Mom has a lovely apartment. The living room is bigger than mine with a large bedroom, bath and small kitchen (micro, fridge, coffee pot and toaster). When we brought her in, she looked around and said "this is so big". Today I went to check and see how she had managed through the night. When I took her down to the dining room, 3 of her friends who she's played pinochle with for years and have moved there came in and were so happy to see her. While I was out arranging for the beautician to come do her hair she let my GF know "she thinks she's going to like it there". She saw a poster on the wall saying there was to be a poetry reading later in the afternoon and decided she might like that. I think this will add to her life, being around others and not sitting home night after night and on weekends alone.

I think she will have more company now that she's moved. Her home as with a lot of our elderly was so cluttered up you couldn't find a place to sit down without shoveling stuff to the floor. She wouldn't let her friends visit only family because she was embarassed at not being able to keep it clean, yet wouldn't throw or give away anything. Now we all will go visit her more often.

Lady, approving Leaf Seasons for comfort factor.
My mom not seriously hurting herself when she fell
No rain yesterday during the move
Daffodils starting to bloom
Spring on the way
My siblings, BIL's and nephews responding when needed

Monday, March 19, 2007

New Tricks for Old Dogs

This last weekend I lived dangerously and went outside my comfort zone. I'm a hand quilter. I love the satisfaction of seeing all those tiny little stitches lined up so nice and neatly giving character to my quilt. Puffy where needed and comphy to wrap up in.
Machine quilting has never been at the top of my priority list as a new trick to learn. I've tried it a couple times and always went back to doing it the old fashioned hand.
With tops piling up faster than you can say UFO something had to be done. I couldn't just run out to the money tree in the backyard and pick a few greenbacks to have them done, so it's a DIY or have them continue to pile up.
Saturday morning I oiled up my machine, dug out a quilting needle, grabbed up the quilt and off I went. What a ride I had. My feet and hands couldn't get together. When my hands stopped the machine kept going. The stitches weren't uniform, the backside had pokies (JT, I love this saying). My sewing machine didn't like the thread I was using. The tension wouldn't co-operate and an hours worth of stitching took 3 hours to pick out. By Sunday afternoon I was ready to holler "never again" but kept on going. When the last stitch was in, sat back with a feeling of accomplishment and a "well, ya did it".
Will I do it again. Why of course, I already have my Leaf Seasons samiched, pinned and in the wings waiting for the end of the week when I have time to sit down and try it again. My comfort zone has expanded. I only wish Singer would develop a stitch control like Berninia.
Don't take me wrong, I'm not knocking machine quilting. I've have my favorite LAer I take my quilts to. She does such a fantastic job that I give her free reign to do what she wants. I pick out what I want for a backing, the thread and tell her to surprize me, just don't break the bank. If she's backlogged I'll waite until she can do mine. I wouldn't go anywhere else. She does with a machine what I will never be able to....give my quilts that something extra special that makes them shine. I do what she isn't interested in...hand quilt. We all have our special talents, her's is with a machine, mine is with a thread and needle.
What I've learned ......
Wind a batch of bobbins before you start
Wear those garden gloves with the rubber dots for less slippage
Warm up doing a bit on a practice square
Start in the middle
Do a quarter of the quilt at a time as it's easier to shove through the throat
Relax your shoulders or they tense up
Sit up straight not humped over the machine with your nose almost touching the quilt or your back starts screaming
Put the puter chair up as high as it will go so you are a bit above the level of the machine deck
When you start sweating it's time for a break
Do some stretch exercises while on break
Last but not least .....put some beer one ice, you'll need it

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spring is finally arriving here on the far left coast. My daffodils all have big fat buds, ready to burst into bloom. The sun has been out the past two days and the robins have arrived. It's time to take down all the bird feeders, wash them out and get them full of seed. During the winter with all the rain my poor birds only get suet cakes. Some veggie seeds have been bought, ready to plant as soon as the ground dries out.

I finished my letters and have mailed them off.

Put together a backing for a top and have it all pin basted ready to try my hand once again at machine quilting.

Another leg on the broken star is redone, two more all ripped, basted to templates and ready to hand stitch together. My schedule of one a week is going well. 4 done and 28 to go.

The handquilting on the Windmill raffle quilt is progressing along nicely with just borders on two sides to be completed. This year we're inviting another branch of my Dad's family to our annual family picnic.

As the weeks are flying into months I've come to the realization that I am never going to find the time to quilt all the tops I have accumulated over the years. Tomorrow I have an appt with Nikki (my LAer) to do the first of them. I'm going to tell Nikki to surprize me while not breaking the bank. I chose this as the first of them because I like the richness of the colors. The pattern is by our very own JT enlarged from a wallhanging to fit my bed. While I would love to hand quilt each and every one of them, done is better than having them hanging folded up over a quilt rack. I want to use them not look at unfinished tops.

I have a new GGbaby due come the end of September and I want to start a quilt for him/her and not feel guilty. I'm hoping for pink again, they want blue. We should know on Friday when she has her ultrasound. Lets hope baby co-operates.
I'll leave you with Roscoe taking his morning bath.

Monday, March 05, 2007

More Letters

A change here, a change there and my letters are coming along. Some I didn't like and started over again. Ran out of the bkgd I was using and of course couldn't find anything anywhere near the same. I'm pleased with what I have finished and tomorrow I'm spending the better part of the day in the sewing room finishing these up so I can get them in the mail. It's been fun, it's been a challenge and aggravating at the same time.
It's been awhile since I've updated my blog, just haven't had the computer time I normally have. Life has been a roller coaster these last two months. First my youngest son's father passed away just before Xmas, the end of February, my sister came home from work and found her DH of 50 years dead on the floor, and last week a cousins DH passed away. It's made me stop to think, we're not getting any younger and it's time John and I did something about a will.
Life is now back to normal or what I consider normal here. John has gone back to the ship for his 4 month tour and it's been awhile since I've been up and dressed before noon. Making breakfast at 1 in the afternoon sure can take a bite out of the day and leaves me with no desire to sew or clean or anything else for that matter. I'm working on two schedules here, the vacation and the back to work. Vacation time is just that, I don't do any more than once over quick to get the top layer. Back to work, its like the old spring and fall cleaning. Drag out everything and deep clean.
Today I was up, dressed, war paint on and ready to hit the road for town at 8:30 am. What a change that was. Did some morning chores then reved up the ride and off to town my GF and I went. While I didn't over indulge at Joann's, just a wee small bit of bkgd to finish off my letters I sure went overboard at Walmart in the little girls department picking up a few outfits for Reese, my GGD. This has got to stop as GD is now pregnant with #2 ggrandbaby and it could get really spendy. I love shopping for my GGD.
Many thanks to all who commented on my letters.
Tonya...I like the D as well.
Forestjane....Thumbs...yep, Roscoe does have thumbs. His front paws look just like mittens. He's a comedian and it's such fun to watch him open doors, pick up cat toys off the floor with those hands. He has joints just like regular fingers and, has that extra claw and hops like a rabbit.
A safe trip back to Portland for John
A day spent with my friend Rexene
Time spent sewing today
A nice day with open doors to air the house out

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tonya's Letters

Ever since Tonya posted her freehand letters I've been wanting to give it a whirl. I've been itching to stitch but not on anything that would take a lot of time nor end up being another UFO added to the already big stack. AHA, Tonya's letters would fill the bill.

Over on the FLQ list one of the gals has just moved into a brandy new home and house blocks are being sent to her. Not wanting or being able to find a house block that I liked and thoughts of Tonya's letters dancing around in my head, I decided to do letters for her with the idea she could add them to her blocks or borders. If they shouldn't be to her liking and she doesn't use them, it won't hurt my feelings and I will have ventured into the world of letters.
With my trusty side kick watching my every move, I grabbed up the fabric and went to town on them, changing my mind in midstream. Having a general idea of the instructions in my head I proceeded to get busy thinking I would do "Home Sweet Home". After 2 hours spent on "M" and not getting the result I was after, I threw in the towel and off on another batch of letters I went, changing what I had to fit what I wanted. "Friends are the Greatest" became my new mantra.
I escaped off to town again today. I get cabin fever really bad when DH comes home for vacation. I'm the type who loves to visit and have friends over, he's the type that loves to come home and never venture anywhere. His vacation to him is sitting in the garage making music. Being home is all he wants to do. So today I called my GF, loaded up all the aluminum cans into the truck and off we went. Joann's was calling, I had a % off coupon to spend and needed more quilting thread, some needle pullers (those little round rubber dohickeys) and needle threaders (the old eyes ain't what they used to be). Picked up what I needed and not one little piece of fabric followed me home.
DH for understanding I need to get out of the house
For my GF who is always ready to drop what she's doing and escape with me
A sunny day in town
Burgers n Fries picked up on the way home for a late lunch
The new bird visiting the feeders I'd never seen before

Sunday, January 07, 2007


I don't do much on weekends. It's my ME time to sit and do whatever I want. I did my treadmill, clean/change the litter boxes, ran the DW and emptied it, deodorized the garbage disposal and shined my sink after dinner. Just an hour or so of stuff.

I made a crockpot roast with onions, carrots and little red spuds. I've decided while it's nice to have it burbling away all day long, it smells so good, I really like the taste of a roast in the regular oven. The flavor is so much better. Maybe it's the baking rather than the simmering that makes the difference.

I pulled out Broken Star as I wasn't in the mood for handquilting and I wanted to listen to the football games today (YEA HAWKS, we're on the way to the Super Bowl). I'm unstitching all those points I have together since they refuse to lay flat and have ruffles. I've got two legs onto templates and stitched together with 2 more legs all prepped. It takes awhile to unstitch all those diamonds and get them onto the templates. It's a project that won't be done in a week or a month, more like a year and it will lay flat. I'll be happy if 2007 and it both come to an end at the same time.

My sister called today, another disaster at her place. They say they come in 3's, I hope this is the last one for her. Her DH left to go to work, got around the corner from their house and the clutch disappeared in their truck. Could she borrow mine for a couple days as they couldn't get theirs in to the shop till Monday and BIL has 3 more days of work before his days off. I don't like loaning my truck out. I don't even let DH drive it. BIL needs to get to work and with 3 rides sitting in my yard how could I say no.

My GF came over to watch a bit of the HAWKS game with me today. She's such a hoot, gets all excited and jumps around when they make their downs or score. I can't help but laugh, she's like the guys in the bars a whoopin' and hollerin', a big football fan. She can tell you who's who, what QB is the best, the stats on all the players and call them by their names. Usually has her HAWKS hat and sweatshirt on, thinks thats lucky. I admit to being a football fan and I can whoop and holler with the best of them, but she has me beat in that department. I wish I could take her to the stadium, it's right down the road. Sitting in the rain in an open stadium isn't my cuppa tea, nor is freezing my butt off, but it sure would be fun for her.

Lady can't resist a quilt. Set it down for a second to go get a cuppa and plop there she is right in the middle of it. She has to test drive them all.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Year of the UFO's

On DYS we're having a challenge to count up and finish all our UFO's in 2007. Today I went on a search and count mission to see just how many of these buggers I had hiding about. These things really do multiply in the dark. There they were, hanging 10 deep on a quilting rack, stuck in a storage bin, hiding in plastic baggies, in pizza boxes, under the cutting table and on rocking chairs. 37 or 38 of the little darlins depending on how they were counted.

I've found enough orphan blocks from different exchanges to make up several tops, not that I need yet a few more of them. Antique butterfly blocks with the buttonhole stitches, lemoyne stars, both needing new homes as they aren't my cuppa tea. Sets of Shop Hop blocks dating back to 2000. More exchange blocks from the same group of folks I already have 2 tops and one completed quilt from. A couple RR's needing a border or two. Tops, tops galore just needing a backing. What the world was I thinking, how many quilts does a person need anyway?

Then there's the wallhangings, some done in classes, a couple panels purchased with the thought of using them as a teaching tool for my GGD. A couple vests, those kind that come in a panel, a couple placemats just needing the binding. What about all those denim circles cut from aging Levi legs with thoughts of a picnic quilt. We no longer go on picnics. What was I thinking?
Blocks, blocks and more blocks. The start of an applique quilt and a half finished GFG.

Some I'll keep, some I'll donate to my friend who's church has a quilt group for charity, and some will find their way to the trash.

As 2007 gets off the ground I'm taking control of my UFO's and not letting them control me. It's decission time for all these UFO's, what to keep, what to gift and what to pitch.