Jun 27, 2007

checking in on a Tuesday

Pippi at the watering hole......silly girl has to hop up to drink but at least she is getting some exercise doing it. With her recent kidney filtration problem, I worry if she is NOT drinking but also if she is drinking TOO much as that would be a symptom of worsening lab values.

See that priority box right behind her? The patriotic fabric that awaits me and the row blocks I will be working on this week. Some of that box space is the top as it exists so far but I do have a nice stack of themed fabric there, thanks to my mom. Betsy had asked for "Patriotic/Stars" and RWB fabrics but golds and off white are okay. Turns out a blue I picked up at Walmart yesterday for binding on another quilt might also work too. I know which blocks I want to do especially since I confirmed that they don't have all be stars. Coincidentally, the Nancy J. Martin perpetual calendar that sits atop my computer monitor has some nice blocks that fit the theme right now---not saying that I am using them or not but some good inspiration and color placement to be had there!

The quilt group met yesterday for the first time in a month--missing a few yesterday and others arriving closer to lunch time. Theramae and I put away the fabric my mom had shared with us and the stuff I weeded from my stash. She found a piece that will make a nice Snuggle Up when combined with a green leftover from Nancy's Boot Scootin' Boogie and "that gold" vein tone on tone. Good!!

I had pictures to take since 10 quilts were turned in with binding completed. We plan on laying the quilts out in the sanctuary at the end of July so we are definitely in the home stretch. Just hanging the quilts up to photo them is like having our own little quilt show meeting to meeting. Plenty of "oohs and aahs" and "who made that one?" Fortunately I did not have the metal rod come down and pop me on the top of my head this time.

The tractor quilt was donated by one of our quilting friends from another group. Turns out that group had done the tractor block as their block raffle recently and Nancy A won some of them. She wanted the resultant quilt to go to the Boy's Ranch. The back is really neat too as she used scrappy plaid flannel. It is hand quilted to boot!

We pinned 4 more and had some consultation about quilt backing on a resized donation tops as it needed to be a tad bigger and something that might work was at home. Judy was the only one with a machine yesterday though I could have retrieved mine from the car had I been so inclined---working on a split nine patch in patriotic colors but a limited pallette. I think it is going to make a striking quilt.

I may have shown you this top before---Aline was working on it at the Spring Sew-In intending to make a Snuggle Up. She missed the step about making a loop and then taking it apart at stair stepping intervals. If she didn't want to sew them together just to take them apart again, I told her all was not lost--try the staggered half
step drop. I had done that with rectangles in the past as shown in the quilt below and it works out pretty well. Anyway, you could almost call this one "Happy Accident". Aline's granddaughter was with her yesterday The two of them were working on a quilt for Sydney's mom but Aline added that she would like to make another one just like this but larger for Sydney's brother, LOL. Sydney already has her quilt but I cannot remember which pattern was chosen for it.

Oh, oh---DJ is stuck on hold with the SS/Medicare/health insurance drug plan company again. This is not good news. He is old enough for the Medicare drug program that was instituted last year for seniors but dropped coverage in late November. He can do much better with 4 buck generics than the plan he had so "thanks, but no thanks". No problem with the insurance company he is out. SS and Medicare could screw up a one float parade. They continue to take the payment out of his SS check 6 months after the fact. SS says it is Medicare's fault while Medicare blame it on SS. Meanwhile he cannot get them to stop taking the money out and secondarily, give him his money back---about 400 bucks now. Each month since the first of the year he has called all parties concerned. I sense a bad day in the making here with a griping husband to contend with. Ready to write those letters to our illustrious congressional delegation yet??? He cannot be the only one in all the United States with this complaint.

I'll round up some template plastic and try to lay low

Jun 23, 2007

not much happening

Sharing a picture that Roger took when my parents dropped me off at the pickup spot last Saturday. We are all so horrid about doing the "goodbye scene" at the car so it surprised us a bit to have Roger say "smile". Guess we managed though. (They brought me the print yesterday so I scanned it. I should see if I can get the negative or see if that was a digital pic to get a copy for my folks)

No piecing or quilting go on around here this week--only binding, if that counts. The week has been so chopped up that I haven't even set up either sewing machine. Monday was pretty well shot with running up and back to retrieve my Viking from the shop and some other round town errands. Tuesday, Pippi had to go in for lab work followup Two trips back and forth to the vets though for about 35 miles more on the car. Wednesday, my own doctor checkup took half of the blooming day---long enough for me to read about 180 pages in a Patterson book while I waited. Thursday, more errands to run but closer to home. Friday, Pippi had to go back into the vet bright and early to get a urine sample--naturally, it took all day for her to oblige them. Another two trips back and forth and supper preparations had to be put on hold waiting for the call back.

Basically Pippi is holding her own in the labwork department--one kidney test was up slightly but the other was unchanged. They gave her some subq fluids while she was there anyway but no mention about my having to do this at home. I guess that depends on what happens when she has followup lab in a month. The UTI is cleared so thankfully, no more antibiotic administration. The last dose took 7 tries and she was growling at me. She is spending a lot of time under the bed but hey, I would avoid ME too if I was getting a pill stuffed down me or was grabbed up to head to the vet's. Mean, mean kitty mama! I think she is feeling a bit more like herself though as last night I caught her up here (see picture below) when I thought she was sitting sedately on her catnip box. Old picture but that's where she was. Vaulted ceiling in the kitchen and living room with a large open space in on what would be a solid wall, looking towards the living room. Sorry, kitty, you cannot get any higher.

Rather than waste what time I did have available for my craft, I have been working on hand finishing the binding on my quilted stack--just about 30 inches from having the 4th WTIL quilt done. Boring but necessary. Meanwhile, the bowties that I want to go to the Boys Ranch are not sewed into a top yet and the Beetle quilt remain half quilted. I have done nothing on my row robin obligations other than to pick out some possible patriotic themed blocks for one of them. The Halloween re-do one has the fabric pulled but that was true after I had done my first rejected attempt but I was waiting for my Viking to do the applique stitching. The tops that need backs seamed or marked still sit waiting too. I know what needs to be done and will get going on it as soon as the binding bit is done--probably after lunch today. Always something............

Jun 18, 2007

vacation wrap up

It was good to get away to visit with my family in IL and good to get home. Normally if my husband goes with me, we have spend roughly two and half days traveling and two and half days actually there. If I fly in, then a week's stay. This time, I had the luxury of 10 days, thanks to my friend Marilyn and her husband Roger letting me share a ride as they were visiting family in NE Minnesota.

We got to our pickup destination about 9 p.m. on Wednesday 6/6. They stayed overnight at the hotel in LeRoy and my parents drove down from their Lexington home to get me. (My youngest brother and his family live in that small town right off I-74. ) Pictured is my youngest nephew Ted who was playing ball with his team Thursday evening. The winds were quite gusty but Ted made his pitching debut. Struck all three batters out in one inning--normally he catches. I have a couple of pictures of him pitching but had to take them through the fencing---almost got hit by a pop fly doing it, LOL.

Friday I took a sewing machine lesson at the Sewing Center where my mom had purchased my Brother NX-450 on Thursday morning. Played around a bit and got some questions answered. Worth the price of admission was finding out that bobbin plate with the cutter DOES pull off--here I had been using the seam ripper and a pair of tweezers to pick thread off an errant attempt to fill a bobbin and scolded DJ NOT to be tugging on it in his attempt to help me, LOL. Mom and I met my niece for lunch at a nearby restaurant before we went home.

Mom and I spent several days organizing her stash a bit. Cutting is hard on her back and the scraps bags were mounting. I didn't take a picture of all that but we cut off and on for 5 days. She pressed and I trimmed them down to size. Mom estimated that we probably made our way through a 56-58 qt tub to cut cut squares, strips, bricks and sections for a scrappy Bonnie Scotsman top. She loves to do Indian Hatchet or Railroad Crossing string blocks so we had quite a bunch of those too. She did some cutting but it was for two specific projects---"And All That Jazz" and "Checkboard Plaids" from Evelyn Sloppy's 40 Fabulous Quick-Cut Quilts

We had set aside that box you see full of fabric for me and some fabrics for the Belles---homespuns, plaids so I can do a checkboard in more countryish colors rather than the brights she was using---oh, I got some of the brights as well but those are for a "Kaleidoscope" quilt I started 10 plus years ago, LOL. Patriotics prints were also pulled as I have a row quilt that will call for them and I didn't have many on hand. Mom also shared a nice bundle of 30's repros with me as a "just because" and some fabrics for future WTIL quilts. The day before I left we started digging through her bins to find yardage for backing that she wanted to share with my quilt group. They are separated out by color or type of fabric but you know how that goes---it gets mixed up over time. And we kept finding more stuff that needed to be cut up as well. The white 13 gal kitchen bags seen above was the stuff we culled for backings and so forth. We were able to empty three of her large bins with the reorganization efforts but filled up two of them with scraps and chunks and another with fabric that had never really had a "home". My dad might not have been able to tell a difference but we could! He was teasing me that I had probably walked another mile back and forth from the family room to the utility room hauling fabric.

Back tracking a bit, Sunday the 10th we had our family gathering at the town were my dad was born and raised. I have not gotten to go since DJ and I moved south 10 years ago. We were all happy to see one of my cousins and her husband who live in Michigan as we had more or less, lost contact with that brother's family when he died some time ago. My first cousins are grandparents now so there are little ones around again. 2nd cousins once removed?? Third cousins??? How does that work exactly. Good food, good company and a chance to reconnect while the kids played.

My sister who lives about an hour from my parents had to work the weekend so she came up Monday evening after she got off and had supper with us. My niece Allison came up for lunch Tuesday afternoon and we got together again in Bloomington-Normal the next day. I like to go by the places I used to live and work if I can so took the drive passed the old haunts to see what had changed since our last trip. We met for lunch at Avanti's restaurant. Anyone who went to Illinois State University in Normal (or lives in Bloomington-Normal) or Bradley University in Peoria knows what that is!! Yummy--Italian beef sandwich with meat sauce and a loaf of that good bread to make my own gondola to share with my dad the next day. After a run to Joann's to nab a scrub top pattern, we went onto the movie theatre to see "Knocked Up" A run to one of the mega market stores to get some stuff for our evening meal and I was back in time to prepare supper.

Thursday we pinned one of Mom's completed tops as I wanted to try out her Brother Nouvelle 1500S machine. Wow, does that thing move! Because the design seemed to need some diagonal lines and the quilt was not too large I had it quilted by mid afternoon. The binding was attached in time for me to take it with me to her small quilt group meeting to work on the hand finishing. Several of the girls who would normally attend were not available but we stayed and visited with the ones that did come.

DJ was supposed to be cat sitting and tending the home fires while I was gone. Problem was, Pippi was not eating and was not acting like herself. He took her into the vet on the 11th where she stayed till the 15th. Turns out the old girl has a stage 3 (of 5) heart murmur and chronic renal insufficiency. Her lab values that measure her kidney function were about 4 times the normal parameters. If you look very closely you can see the shaved areas on her front legs---growing back fur again. IV fluids brought her labs down to a more reasonable level and her diet was changed. We have to take her in again tomorrow to see where she stands. It is possible that I will have to learn how to give her subcutaneous fluids here at home but will not know till tomorrow. She IS eating better but has seemed to prefer hiding under the bed coming out when she is darned well ready to. I am that mean old kitty mama that won't let her have any table tastings and has to stuff pills down her.

DJ survived his own cooking. He told me one evening that I had nothing to fear from his possibly taking over the chili cooking detail. I had gotten him a seasoning packet and the other ingredients as I knew he made that in his bachelor days. He said he added a package of Sweet and Low to it to make it more palatable. I laughed even harder a few nights later when he related that story to his son when he called. Tracy suggested he try some brown sugar instead. Those two exchanging recipe hints is something I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams! Good to know that he missed me. I had the opportunity to miss him since we are always around each other.

I just missed my sister from Colorado by about a day---the bed hardly had a chance to cool. She is taking a 3 day bike ride in Indiana with a friend while her girls visit with their grandparents and then will meet up with my niece and SIL from Tennessee for an arranged trip to the Chicago area and back to TN with them.

Yesterday I went through my own 3 fabric bins pulling stuff that I can share to make room for the new additions. Did the laundry and got groceries--that stuff you do after you return from a trip in other words. Today, took said fabric to the meeting place, library book return, bank stop, gas up the car, did the 110 mile round trip thing to get my Viking from the shop. I'll get back in the swing of things in a day or two---I would like to get that bowtie top finished up before the Belles meet next week and of course, I have to finish up my row quilt obligations as well especially since I have the machine back. There is one quilt in my stack to finish machine quilting too. I got one bound in the car trip there and back and part of a snowman bluework block done.

Oh, read 6 books while I was gone too---at home it seems like I don't have time. Somedays I barely even look at the newspaper and by bedtime am just too tired. Kept up my walking too as Mom is committed to an exercise program as well. My dad has already walked once around the globe and is a quarter way around again but he walks faster than either of us though I did do a couple of blocks with him one day. I was pretty proud that I am now up to 2.2 miles in 43 minutes time--8 laps at just a shade over 5 mins a lap. Hopefully that will make the little twerp doctor happier when I go mid week for a followup visit. Enough chattering--bore you all to tears!

Jun 17, 2007

home again, home again..........

............jiggety jig.

Just got home last night at 8:30 pm--I'll post more later but understandably, have things to take care of here on the home front first. After being out of the loop for 10 days and sorta out of it the week preceeding that, there is probably no hope of catching up with y'all but I can read your most recent postings!

Happy Father's Day to all those special guys out there but to one in particular, I love you, Dad!

Jun 6, 2007


No, I'm not going to the beach but you get the idea. Still waiting for my ride to come but I'm all packed and ready to roll. See you on the 17th (though I may be back a few days earlier.)

Jun 3, 2007

Sunday check in

This is going to be a pictureless post, I'm afraid. I've been quilting on WTIL quilts since Wednesday after I got back from taking my Viking in for cleaning and adjustment. The Brother is quilting well--I didn't know how it would act with monofilament whereas I KNOW exactly how the Viking does. In fact, I like the fact that the Brother has a push button for raising the needle and a knee lift (when I remember to use them---old habits die hard!) as this makes it so much easier when pivoting and rearranging the quilt. Not crazy about the walking foot on this machine though. If they were ever to make a machine that had all the features and/or stitches we need wouldn't that be something??

So far I have three quilts quilted and most of a 4th. I can link you back to the pictures of the tops--three of them were donated by Nancy and one is the Building Blocks--got that one done on Weds. on the top that I did at the spring sew-in. I did the Spiky Star on Thursday, Boot Scoot Boogie (the resized version) on Friday and started on Cross Roads to Jerico yesterday. That just leaves the Faux Log Cabin (resized) she sent and my Beetle top shown partially done in the link. I am toying with the idea of stuffing one in my suitcase and testing out my mom's superfast Brother quilting machine. Figure I can work on the binding on the trip back and keep my hands busy on that 750 some miles back if I do. I've got a couple UFO bags set aside to sew on while there---one is a neat Ohio Star that Finn so kindly shared with us and that stack of bowties I was working on last weekend.

ED. NOTE: Nancy just emailed me and told me the pattern source for what I called a "Spiky Star". It is actually "Galaxy Star" and is a free foundation pieced pattern shown HERE on the PCPiecers page.

I'm doing laundry today so I can get packed (see if that quilt will even fit in the bag). I've already laid in groceries that my "cooking-skills-limited" husband can handle while I am gone for 10 days. At his suggestion I typed up a note of what is available and where it is located. He can eat some of his lunches out if he wants but he has stuff available --and paid for--at home. Then it will just be the piddly things--need to give him a haircut before I go. Need to make sure the camera batteries and cell phone are charged up and chargers set out to pack. Replace the battery in my MP3 player as I just found out I left it on when I got back from errands---oh, oh. I'll keep up my walking while I am gone--no vacation there.

I found out that next Sunday will be the gathering of my dad's most immediate family and their families. I always enjoyed going to this but have not been able to go since we moved here 10 years ago--we normally are back in either May or early June so missed it when it was held in August. Mom's small quilt group that I was once a member of will be meeting while I am back. She also set me up for my sewing machine classes. Other than that, we will have our own little sew-in and I hope to see my siblings and godchild while I am back.

Yesterday our little town had its antique tractor/craft show in the park. I knew something was up when I was walking on Friday morning. Normally there is one guy who does the park and trail detail but he has two young guys working with him for the summer. All three of them were working, one blowing off the pine needles and pine cones from the walkway. Then the mayor popped up. Next came two other trucks of city workers to help put up the tent they erect over a seating area for entertainment. Finally I just asked Norman what was going on, Nosy Parker that I am.

I had already decided not to walk on Saturday but DJ and I did go into see what was going on. I should have taken my camera perhaps--they had two early on riding lawnmowers and a rebuilt tractor that was almost like a hot rod. Trust me, all the guys were hanging around THAT one. DJ was giving me a quiz on the engine parts of a John Deere model that was slightly older than me---and I failed miserably. Oh, I guess calling the distributor that "spark plug thingy" might have been close, LOL. He is the guy that had to tinker on his cars for years to keep them running so he would know but I guess he expected me to know a bit more than I did on this subject. Hey, I know all of them are under the hood and this at about it.

The square dance group was performing so we stopped and watched for a bit---my friend Lois and her husband Les are part of that group though and must have been on break when we first approached but we got to see them strut their stuff. Another young lady was singing and playing the guitar under the aforementioned tent. Too early for a hot dog, funnel cake or ice cream though all of those were available. Small town America.

Well, time to check the dryer and that quilt won't quilt itself----