Friday, December 30, 2011

Winter Is Cancelled...

I know many of you will be disappointed to learn about this.

You see I ordered new boots to keep my feet warm this winter without thought to the effect my purchasing winter gear has on the accumulation of snow.

Really! Some of the mildest winters in New England were directly tied to my purchasing in advance new snow pants, boots and coats for the kids.

By comparison - the years that they had nothing better than layers of jeans and sweat pants, multiple layers of socks and plastic bags stuffed into boots that were either too big or too small, and a miss match of gloves and mittens to keep frost bite at bay... Those were the epic winters of storm after storm where the totals were measured in feet rather than inches.

I know y'all will be heartbroken... Sorry!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry, Merry To You!


I want to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Design Wall Monday Dec. 19

I believe this is the first Design Wall Monday I’ve participated in this year… better late than never ya think?  LOL

bouillabaisse 2

I actually have something on the Design Wall and have spent part of my day sewing the remaining strip sets together and cutting triangles.  I’d like to try and get at least one more block made before all the holiday hustle starts.  Sorry about the picture - It’s night and my iPod doesn’t take great pictures – the colors really are much nicer.

The Pattern is called Bouillabaisse by Pie In The Sky Quilts.  I first saw a finished top at Southampton Quilts when I was up working the Fall Shop Hop.  I cut and began piecing the strip sets 2 weeks later when I went to the quilt show up in New Hampshire.  This first block was completed at that time.

Check out the other listings today on Judy L’s Patchwork Times site…

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tis The Season…

At least that’s what I have heard… hard to tell here with the weather being so warm.

But I’m not complaining… my folks came up north to visit for 2 weeks over Thanksgiving and since they are from Texas it was much easier on everyone to have the temps in the very moderate range.  I only had one miserable trip driving down to VA to pick them up from my brothers house – all the other trips were fine… well - if you completely ignore all the idiots out there driving around – but that’s a whole different subject. 

So is anyone going out Shopping on Super Saturday?  LOL - Not me!  I went out to one department store last week at a local Mall to take advantage of a 2 day sale.  I went in – directly to the department I had business in – selected my items and checked out.  It didn’t help that I didn’t feel good (the beginnings I’d later learn of a 24 hour bug – bleah) all I wanted to do was get back out the door. 

My sewing room was yet again rearranged to accommodate guests.  You would think I’d finally “get it” that using the day bed for storing bins and bags and stacks of stuff/projects/fabric isn’t a good idea.  Apparently I’m a slow learner…

So not much sewing going on – but I did finish (no picture) a smaller version of the Swoon quilt as a shop sample.  The pattern called for 9 blocks – I made 6 blocks to finish it off closer to a twin bed size quilt - by adding a 6 inch outer border it finished at 66 x 92.  This is a good pattern to use up some of those coordinating fat quarter you have – but you will need FQ’s that have a full 18” of width.  There is no extra for errors in cutting… I have a couple blocks where I had to sew pieces together to accommodate an error on my part. 

Here is a pic of the grandkids in Hawaii!

Christmas 11

Happy Holiday’s Everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Boys Will Be Boys...

The Engineer opened a new bar of soap today... Which reminded me that I never told y'all about the lovely lady we met recently.

She is a young wife and Mom living with her family on a near-by dairy farm. She - in addition to homeschooling her kids and helping with the dairy - has her own little business on the side making and selling soap.

So one beautiful fall Saturday we stopped in to buy some soaps.

I picked out a nice "Oatmeal, Milk and Honey" and a lovely "Lavender Flowers". I hadn't paid any attention to what The Engineer had chosen...

That'll learn me... LOL

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Do Not Tell Me If I Am Wrong...

Because it seems to be working for me.

I have to press ALL the seams open on these blocks I am working on (and not liking it a whole lot).

The other day as I was pondering open seam I decided that it might be easier to do if I wasn't working on a flat surface.

So I pulled out my old ironing 'ham' - and it does seem easier...

But like I said - if this isn't true - don't tell me until I am done.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How Is Your Memory?

Do you take a specialty ruler out to use only to realize you don't remember how to use it?

Since I know I have a mind like a sieve sometimes (often) I know that keeping the instructions with the ruler or in a safe place is important.

Here is what i do.

All of the original instructions go into a clear bag I keep on the shelf. Everything in one place - no guess work! I also make a copy of some of them to keep with the rulers I might take out of the house - that way I'll never loose my original instructions.

I also use this approach with kitchen/household appliances and gadgets. Everything into a bag - I find those zippered linens bags a great size. I know right where to look for the book for the stove when I want to clean the oven.

And I discovered yesterday that I have the booklet for the breadmaker I left in MA with my daughter. I'll have to remember to give that to her...

Maybe I should write myself a note...

The pictures are of my Deb Tucker Flying Geese ruler with it's copy of the instructions - the other picture is of some of the stuff from my 'originals' bag.

So how do you keep things organized?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There Is An App For That

It occurred to me that I could probably write and send a post to the blog using my iPod - and sure enough... there's an app for that!

So here I sit with my feet propped up and not a computer in sight.

And to check out the picture feature - here's a big sloppy grin...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

When Quilters Gather…

I went up to the East Coast Quilters Alliance Show “A Quilters Gathering” in Nashua, NH.  It’s an annual show that I’ve been going to since 2002 – I haven’t attended every year nor have I stayed over every time but living 6 hours away certainly makes that a reasonable decision.  We had a great time – it’s always fun to get together with this group of ladies.  We enjoy the show, the vendors, and sitting and sewing the long weekend in our room.  And It’s great to see some other quilty friends who attend the show individually or with a guild group on a day trip.  Much fabric was fondled and purchased and even a new machine this year (not by me!).

This year I finally attended a lecture and a class.  The lecture was by Louisa L. Smith called “I’m stripping to show my curves”… very interesting way she has of working with fabric and something I may need to investigate further.  I also took an evening class with a couple of my fellow roommates – a Sue Nickels class on drawing feathers.  No machines involved – just paper and pencil.  I’ve never even attempted feathers… but I think I may just give it a go now that I have had some expert guidance.  There will be lots of paper work before I take needle to fabric though… I need to find that doodle thing I bought a while back and use that as I sit and watch TV.

Many years ago I began to use the curtains in our hotel room as a design wall… it’s a tradition of sorts now and I was chided Thursday evening because I hadn’t pinned anything up yet!  The picture isn’t great but here is a sample of what we were up to that weekend.  Last years projects can been seen back here.

Nashua design wall 2011

After the show I headed to my daughters house in West Springfield, MA – she had power again as of Thursday evening.  Goodness gracious… Mother Nature had put on her big boots and stomped around the Pioneer Valley big time during that freaky October storm the Saturday before.  Much of the North East had damage but the Pioneer Valley was especially hard hit.  I found driving around depressing… you didn’t need to travel much to know that the tree damage is extensive and the cleanup will take a long time.  Some streets you felt like you were driving down hedge rows with the debris piled along the tree belt in front of all the houses.  Driving down some of those tree lined streets is a dangerous proposition as there are still some broken limbs hanging up high… waiting for the first good wind storm to dislodge them.

It did feel good to get back to the pool and back to my weekly therapy.  The gym had asked if they could take my picture and use some comments I made concerning the benefits of the pool program in their program guide.  So here is my minute and a half of fame… LOL

minute and a half

Each and every day I’m pleased with the progress I’m making… I’ll be truly happy if I can get to the point where I can walk fast again!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sending WARM Thoughts…

Wish I could do more than send Warm Thoughts to my family and friends up in Massachusetts and Connecticut who are without power following this crazy October storm!

I cannot imagine how frustrated you must feel – especially since all you can do is wait until the various electrical and tree removal crews can get in to do their jobs.  I hope they will all be able to work quickly and SAFELY to get everyone back up and running.  I can’t imagine the headache this is for the emergency services folks… it’s tough work when the majority of people are effected through out the area.  You can’t get food or gas because they don’t have power either.

Both my kids are also without power since Saturday – however my daughter at least has a wood stove keeping them warm.  She’s working to keep the freezer cold by running a small generator every so often – but I think my son is going to loose everything again… he was out of power for several days following the tornado in his neighborhood this past June.

We got a fair amount of wet snow here in PA and those areas with lots of trees and power lines in the same place are suffering with the same lack of power.  We did OK right here at the Stone House – lights flickered but stayed on.  We have a conduit running from the garage to the house to ‘one day’ put in a generator… that ‘one day’ may need to come sooner than later.

Here are some pictures from Sunday after the sun had been working at melting the snow for a while.

Out my side porch to the driveway… right there at that first step is where I fell last February – needless to say I did NOT go out there.


This is looking off my side porch towards the front – the butterfly bushes are drooping over… usually taller than me which I know isn’t saying much – but they were easily 6 ft tall this year.


Again from the side porch looking into the back yard towards the garage.  We (meaning The Engineer) did go around and knock the snow off the bushes before they got messed up. 


I will be in Nashua NH later this week for A Quilters Gathering Quilt Show.  I had planned to drive up on Tuesday and stay with my daughter and go to Southampton Quilts on Wednesday before heading up to NH.  But now I’m not sure they will be open?  So I may just head up first thing on Wednesday and head right to Nashua… I don’t know just yet?

Some power crews must be working somewhere around here as my power keeps flickering on and off… so I better try and post this.

Stay as warm as you can…

Sunday, October 23, 2011

That Was Fun!

And hectic, and exhausting… but most of all FUN!

I returned home earlier this past week from Massachusetts where I had the opportunity to work the 10th Anniversary of the Massachusetts Quilt Shop Hop at Southampton Quilts!

I realized as I made my way north that this was my first road trip since I busted up my knee in February.  It was so good to be ‘on the road’ again – I love to travel and especially love to get in the car and drive.  (Yes I went to Hawaii this summer to hug on a new grandbaby… but I didn’t have to drive to get there so it doesn’t count as a ‘road trip’.)

I am quite happy to report that my knee handled the weekend very well!  Yes it was a little tired but overall I was very pleased that all my hard work to get my knee and legs stronger paid off… well that and those medical compression stockings I recently bought.  I never thought I’d say I loved anything that resembled panty hose on steroids – but I love these things!  I had practically no swelling in my knee after being at the shop for some really long days! 

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed seeing so many quilty friends up there!  It did my heart and soul good to see each and everyone of them – I truly feel blessed to know them.

I so miss everyone from the shop – the owners Nancy and Maureen, and the other teachers Beth, Pam, and Dale.  Each of these ladies are so creative and bring their unique style to the quilting craft – but even more important is that they are all just wonderful folks!  And I don’t want to miss mentioning Gail (a long time shop customer, quilty friend and new shop hop recruit).  She survived working on Friday (always the busiest day) and showed up again on Saturday for more!  LOL

It was also great to spend some time with my kids… I haven’t seen them since they came down here in the Spring – so I was overdue for some hugs!

OK – so what else is going on…

I found a lovely large paisley to make another 4 Patch Stacked Posie…. mmmm pretty!

I’m going to be making (with my neighbor and sister) Sauerkraut on Monday.  I’ll see if I can remember to take some pictures of the process.  In 6 – 8 weeks it will be ready to can.

Oh – I don’t know about you but I have to work a bit to try new things.  In my mind pumpkin belongs in pie.  Coconut milk isn’t anything I would have considered as an ingredient.  But my daughter last spring made a delicious soup – with pumpkin, chicken, coconut milk and curry as the main ingredients.  I’ve had this soup on my mind recently – been craving it actually.  I’ve looked at several recipes and they all use a variety of things so I figured I could just wing it.  So I threw a couple chicken breasts, a quart of chicken broth, chopped onion, and some pumpkin puree in the crock pot yesterday morning.  When I got home later I added the coconut milk and went to add the spices.  I had NO curry powder… none, zip, nadda!  How can I have pumpkin curry soup without curry?  LOL  So I added a little of this, that, and the other in there and came out with an acceptable tasting concoction for dinner.  Curry is on my grocery list.

And because I’m all about sharing the things I learn along the way…

…the problem with using a low sodium chicken broth is that it does not have enough salt in it!! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

An Update in Pictures…

We  went to the farmers market a couple Saturdays ago… and I made cabbage & sausage (no pics), tomato pies and a couple zucchini casseroles (no pics).

farmers market

tomato pie 

Here is a family update… Miss K is playing volleyball, 


Kai is excited about Halloween (to infinity and beyond),


and Keanu has been sharing his smile more and more.  I sure miss that sweet face – actually I miss all those sweet faces!


My husband picked grapes off our vines… two 5 gallon buckets of grapes!  And there were many, many more left on the vines.  We have gotten no grapes the past 3 years - didn’t the vines know I wasn’t canning this year?  Good thing my husband helped pick through them… I washed and cooked them down and then strained the juice.  Two days later I canned 3 1/4 gallons of grape juice.  It’s concentrated so we add some water when we drink it and down the road if I feel like making jelly I can use some of the juice for that.

10 gallons grapes


3 gallons juice

I made some granola this past week… all natural, organic, gluten free, yadda, yadda, yadda, healthy for you and oh so yummy!  That filled a 2 quart jar and two pint jars.

granola 2

I made some churn dash blocks out of some fat quarters that were sent to me when I was in prison recovering from my busted knee – Thanks Nancy!


A long while back Lori from Dakota City Quilter showed some blocks from a pattern called Swoon Blocks that uses 2 fat quarters and some background fabric for each block – they finish at 24 inches!  I have cut out for 6 blocks (rather than the 9 from the pattern) and this one is ready for final assembly.

Swoon Block

And last but not least… My favorite oldest girl went to the Navy Ball with her favorite handsome Navy fella… ain’t she pretty! 

Navy Ball 2

Well that about brings me up to date… except to say… I’ll be on the road later this week for my Annual Fall Pilgrimage to MA.  I am headed up to work the Shop Hop at Southampton Quilts for the weekend and visit with my other two favorite kids…

Kayse-Kelly Big E

Oh and my knee… I’m very happy with my progress since I’ve been back – still working it daily at the gym and doing the extra ART therapy… but it’s all been worth the effort!  It isn’t perfect but it’s getting closer!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Searching High–Searching Low…

Searching for my Quilting Mojo…

I guess I have the quilters equivalent to writers block…

Hopefully it’s just a matter of my having had little to no exposure to fabric over the past 7 months.

Yes – I am now 7 months post surgery!  Last week I went to see a different Orthopedic Dr. to get a fresh opinion of where I am and where I can expect to go with my knee.  He said that he thought I was doing well.  He said that these injuries take a good year of healing before you know just what limitations you will have long term or before you would consider any surgery to remedy anything.  I have been seeing a Chiropractor who uses the ART (Active Release Technique) Therapy (Ortho Dr. thought this was great!).  This type of therapy has been a great help in getting my knee working again.  It’s not just the knee joint and the tendons there that need work… it’s also the muscles (especially the quad) in my thigh that need attention to get back to working correctly.  I’m not an athlete but I want to be able to stand without my leg hurting and walk (faster and further) and hopefully without a limp.  I’m very optimistic that I can get there.

The quilting… well as I said I’m in a big slump.  I did go into the quilt shop Thursday to pick out fabric for the November Calendar Quilts and I also worked the Finish It Friday class and I went back on Saturday to pick out for the December quilt.  I was tired but it felt good.

The quilt shop here is closed this next week for the Town Fair… the streets around the shop are blocked off so it’s a vacation week for the owner.  After that I’ll go back to working twice a week (4 hour days) and see how that is on my knee.  There is a local Shop Hop that runs for the first 2 weeks of October and the Shop Hop up in MA is the weekend of the 15th.  I am really happy to say I will again be coming up to MA to work at Southampton Quilts that weekend! 

I am hoping that this increased exposure to fabric and all the lovely quilty folks will reawaken my desire to make quilts!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I’ll never forget That Blue…

That morning was the most perfect late summer, early fall morning in New England.

It was crisp out… not yet cold – just a hint of the winter to come.  The air was dry and the sky was crystal clear – not even a whisper of a cloud. The sun was gloriously bright - adding just the right amount of warmth.

And That Blue… it was rich and deep – the most beautiful color a sky can be.

Later as I pondered the events of that day I remember thinking “how could something so horrible come out of that glorious sky?”

Monday, September 5, 2011


Eventually I’ll get my body clock adjusted to this eastern time zone!

I arrived home Wednesday afternoon after a long flight with not nearly enough sleep.  I blame my long re-adjustment on the fact that I was gone 5 1/2 weeks… I don’t believe my age has anything to do with it… stop it – I heard that snickering.

I had a wonderful visit with my daughter and grandkids… such a pleasure to watch as everyone settles into the new routine of having a baby in the house again.  My daughter asked the last week I was there if there was something I wanted to do… maybe go to the beach? see some of the Hawaiian sights?  I told her that I had done everything I wanted to do – be right there with her and the kids and hold the baby.  I got a sun tan on my feet from walking down to the park with her and the kids and we had gotten out to eat some good seafood (really good seafood) at a couple different places while I was there.  So I was happy… well as happy as I could be about having to leave.

And oh my – that little one… well take a look – he’s not so little.  Here he is helping me pack on the day I left.

Keanu packing

Actually I was trying to see if he would fit in my carry on bag… but he was too big.

Here is a video of Kai explaining how he fell down the stairs and bumped his head and had to go to the hospital.  He had a minor concussion so we just had to keep him quiet (HA HA HA – keep a 2 1/2 year old boy quiet) for a few days.  Honestly I was ready to go buy duct tape…

Describing his fall down the stairs

Fortunately he was only about 3/4’s of the way up to the first landing – goofing off and jumping like a frog.  I was already on the landing when I heard him jump up and looked back to see him tumbling backwards down the carpeted stairs.  His mom was in the living room and heard him and when she looked up all she saw was his landing at the bottom… banging his noggin.  He seemed to be fine but we were worried about his neck – so he and his mom spent 5 hours in the ER… on her birthday… Happy Birthday Mommy!

Tuesday I have to be back on Eastern Time… I need to get back to the gym and I have all kinds of appointments this week.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

No, No, No…

I’ve always loved 2 year olds… they are just sooo funny!

I was teaching Kai to sing ‘Where is Thumbkin?’  Then the other day as we were walking into a store he was asking me to sing the Pumpkin song with him… ?  After a bit of back and forth and watching his hands we figured out that he was asking for ‘Where is Thumbkin?’.  I emphasized that it was Thumbkin… see my thumb… Thumbkin… and then we sang as we walked.

Later in the car he again asked for the Pumpkin song…

Mom: Kai… it’s Thumbkin

Kai: No, No, No… this is a guy… this is Pumpkin

Mom:  Kai – look – this is your thumb (wiggles' thumb in the air) – this is Thumbkin

Kai: No, No, No… this is a guy (also holds one thumb up in the air)… this is Pumpkin (holds other thumb up).

Mom (chuckling):  Kai – see my thumb?  This is THUMBKIN!

Kai: No, No, No… THIS is a guy (again holds one thumb up in the air)… THIS is PUMPKIN (holding up other thumb)!

Mom & Granny (both laughing and holding thumbs in the air)  KAI… this is a thumb… (wiggles thumbs for emphasis) THIS is THUMBKIN!

Kai: NO, NO, NO! (now annoyed that both Granny and Mom are so STUPID)… THIS is a GUY (also wiggles thumb up in the air)… THIS IS PUMPKIN (holding up other thumb)!!

…of course by this point both his Mom and I are laughing like the idiots the boy thinks we are.

So it’s official… this is a guy (holds one thumb up) and this is Pumpkin (holds other thumb up)!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Being Prepared…

You know the planning for a long flight to Hawaii takes a bit of thought.

I wanted to be comfortable – so I choose to wear a pair of black light weight knit work out pants, a sleeveless top and a long sleeve very, very light weight knit cardigan.  Because my left foot is still a bit swollen my slip on shoes were the perfect choice.

I charged all my electronic devices, updated my iPod, downloaded a book to read, downloaded a book to listen to, and brought along a Sudoku book and mechanical pencil.

I was all set…

Until the lens fell out of my glasses…

Is it some sort of twisted evil plan that makes an eyeglass manufacturer design glasses that have the screw holding the lens in place inserted from the bottom up?  What’s with that?

And so about an hour into my 9 hour flight… I couldn’t see to read my book or play any games on my iPod.  I could play Sudoku in the book I brought but couldn’t see my little number notes in the corners of the blocks.  I did listen to my audio book – but that made me sleepy and I had to keep backing up the story.

So I decided to sit and Ponder for awhile… then I remembered the extra pair of reading glasses I had packed in with my makeup bag.

Mental note:  Pack an eyeglass repair kit for the next long trip.

Any frustration over my glasses was quickly resolved upon arrival.

The little boy being a little boy…

Kai shopping

A very happy big sister…

Keao baby

Keanu sleepingAnd a laundry helper that seems to be sleeping on the job!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Saying Aloha…

We have a new grandbaby…

Say Aloha to Keanu…

Keanu 2 days

His older brother just loves holding him…


Everyone is doing well – the kids are especially excited with their new brother!  I’ll have more pictures when my daughter gets her cable service established.  You see - they moved down the street to a bigger house.  Yeah – she went into labor the day the movers came.  LOL – when it rains - it pours… even in paradise.

My quilty weekend was so much fun… we had a great time and got a lot of sewing done.  Our Challenge Quilts were all wonderful – I of course don’t have any pictures so when I do get some I’ll post them.

I worked on a New York Beauty for a shop sample that was printed on foundation fabric.  Of course no matter how many times I looked at it and rearranged… I’m still not excited about the color dispersion.  Oh well.  I think I’d like to do something like this again but using a paper foundation that could be removed.


I also got the Sept. & Oct. Calendar Quilts done…


I’ll have to update that page but that will have to wait.

Now I’ll say Aloha… because my bags are packed and I’m headed to Hawaii first thing Friday morning!  There are 3 grandkids there for me to snuggle… oh and I’m gonna work on my tan too!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Eating Peas…

I had to laugh when the President – in talking about getting this whole debt ceiling issue resolved – said it was something that just needed to be done…  “So we might as well do it now: pull off the Band-Aid, eat our peas. Now is the time to do it. If not now, when?"

The USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council’s response was… “We take President Obama’s comment on the need to ‘eat our peas’ as a reference to the First Lady’s push to get all Americans to eat a more healthy diet as part of the Let’s Move campaign. Eating peas has two clear benefits: they can help close the nutritional loopholes in your diet, and preparation isn't taxing! If tasty and nutritious meals featuring peas are served more frequently in the White House and in the cafeterias of both Houses of Congress, it will contribute to a balanced diet, if not a balanced budget. Eating more lentils couldn’t hurt, either.”  (Closing loopholes… not taxing… balanced budget… very clever!)

That made me laugh too – they could have had their nose out of joint but instead chose the higher road… saw the glass as half full… and made lemonade out of lemons pea soup out of dried peas!

Anyway… I’m at the ‘eat my peas’ point.  My quilty friends will be arriving here day after tomorrow - I can stall no longer… I have to sort thru the remaining clutter and get it put away, the compost heap pile of misc. laundry needs to be caught up, and books and magazines need to be collected and put away.  Then I think I’ll call it done… good news is that I know my friends don’t come to visit or inspect my house.  They will understand that I didn’t wash my curtains because I’m not climbing a ladder to take them down or put them up… and as long as no one writes in the dust – it won’t be noticed either!  LOL

Here’s a picture to ponder… kinda looks like farm fields from the air don’t ya think?


Friday, July 1, 2011

University Update–Calendar Quilts

Finally I’ve gotten some pictures of the May thru August Calendar Quilts.

Individual pictures are posted on the Calendar Quilts Page… just click the link on the right or on the link above.

All of these still need to be quilted… something that won’t happen any time soon.

May & June… I especially like the Ants and Watermelon on June.

May June

July and August…

July August

Four more to go…

Sunday, June 26, 2011

And So She Sews…

And boy does that feel good… well outside of the fact that standing still (ironing and cutting) uses my knee differently and made it a bit sore in different places.  But I can at least sit with my feet planted in front of me for a period of time and that felt really good.

Really a post about quilting!  Can you believe it?  Yeah, me neither!

Anyhoo – this is what I’m working with…

HoeDown Challenge

This is the 3rd year for a gathering of quilters here at my house – we call it Howdy’s HoeDown.  Hokey I know – but it is what it is!  LOL  The Challenge this year was to use the fabrics handed out in a quilt top.  I had selected 3 fabrics (yellow, green & pink) and then combined 2 of them in each package -  a 2 yard cut of one fabric and a half yard cut of another.  You can add whatever else you need to end up with a 60 x 60ish size quilt.  My fabrics are the yellow and green and although I had a plan and other fabrics picked out last summer – I shifted gears and selected an easier design and picked up new fabrics last week to work with.  I have the blocks completed and into rows.  Today I’ll have a top… and I’m happy with it!  But I can’t show you pictures of it until after the gathering!

I have turned in both the July and August Calendar Quilts… but I only have a picture of one of them.  This is August.  I’ll get better pictures – those bees really are yellow.  Although I had quilted the first 4 – those done since I busted up my knee are just assembled and fused – I’ve not done any of the decorative stitching nor quilted them.  Next week I’ll go back to the shop and get the fabric picked out for Sept. & Oct. so I can get them going.

August Bees

I’ll have to update my Quilt University list next week when I get some pictures.  Actually I need to go in and refresh my memory as to what I wanted to work on – I think I’d like to try and catch up by attending ‘summer school’… LOL

Only a quick note about my knee… I saw the Dr. this past week – 4 months post surgery.  He said I’m doing very well considering the extent of my injury.  So I continue with PT – I’m now at 125 degrees of bend – with them pushing on it.  Functionally what I can easily bend it to with my own lame muscles is about 115.  I’m not content to stop there… I want my knee back… I want it all back.  I still have swelling and discomfort but that’s all part of the therapy – I’m challenging it every day so it stays a bit annoyed at me.  The water therapy I’m doing at the gym is wonderful for all of me and I’m slowly adding to the ‘circuit machine’ exercises I do – I really need to add ‘core’ exercises and now that I’m stronger in general I can do that – PT has now OK’d my adding some of the leg machines in as well since we started those this past week in therapy. 

I don’t think I’ve ever exercised this much in my whole life.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Building Strength and Flexibility

Slowly but surely I’m gaining my strength back.

I am adding to my daily schedule as I get stronger.  Last week I started going to a water therapy class at the gym to help improve my overall strength.  I’m still going to Physical Therapy 3 times a week and am slowly and continually gaining flexibility in my knee.  Nothing magical about it – just plain old hard painful stretching.  I am now at 115 degrees…

There was so much that I took for granted before I busted up my knee… who knew I’d ‘want’ to be able to do laundry, shopping, and cleaning?  I can run the little vacuum around and although I’m usually pretty flexible (ha, ha, ha – flexible!) about some clutter – the accumulation is starting to bother me.  To clear up things it requires multiple trips in and out of various rooms and up and down the stairs – I’ve only got one good hand to use but carrying a lot of stuff throws my balance off – which is scary on the stairs.  Going to the store for more than just a few items is exhaustive – I’m so glad I shop at one of those old fashion ‘small town’ grocery stores – it’s not even open on Sunday.  I haven’t been in a ‘super store’ in ages and I don’t miss it.

Adding the water therapy class into my routine last week resulted in the need of an afternoon rest/nap each day.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for naps… but I’d rather take one because I want too… not because I need to.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m overweight… but this knee – well it's not my knee.  The whole leg doesn’t look like my leg – which is weird.  The muscles are misshapen and the therapy keeps everything swollen.  Sure wish fat had melted away as quickly as muscle mass did… LOL!

knee 6-6-11

OK enough of that…

Let’s talk gardening!  The strawberries are dying out there on the plants.  I just can’t spend much time picking as I can’t squat or use the garden stool that I used last year and I can only bend over for so long.  I didn’t get the water pipes set up so it’s up to Mother Nature to water… and although she provided quite a bit of water a couple weeks ago… here recently - not so much.  Besides – if I did pick them I’d have to do something with them and I still have frozen strawberries from last year.  I did buy some tomato plants to put in – but they are now dead… shriveled up sitting right there by the faucet - I didn’t water them and apparently they didn’t water themselves either.  My daughter and granddaughter helped put in some onions and they are holding their own back there in the raised beds – the lettuce plants they helped with are also doing well – I’ll be picking and eating some of that soon.  Hmmm – let’s see… oh I also put in a couple basil plants that are holding their own so far.  I wish I had found a new rosemary plant to replace the one that didn’t survive the winter snow… I’ll have to go out to the herb place and check there for one.  Otherwise my perennial plants are doing just what they are suppose to… and that is making me happy.  The Engineer is doing all the yard work so far… I know he’ll be happy when I can get back on the tractor and at least mow the back yard – that would knock an hour off his time. 

I have done no sewing since I finished the last pair of Calendar Quilts… I haven’t even gone up to my sewing room.  I will work on the July Calendar Quilt this weekend.  I spent a couple hours at the shop Thursday picking out fabric for it.  The time I spent at the shop convinced me that I am no where near ready to go back to work.  I was exhausted… those bolts got heavier while I was away.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Quilters are Amazing Folks

Do you remember in a previous post I mentioned a fund raising effort by Judy Laquidara of the blog Patchwork Times to benefit the Joplin Red Cross.  Thursday she delivered the checks sent in to the Joplin Red Cross Office that totaled $11,245 dollars – YES eleven thousand dollars!!  Amazing response to her call to action!!  To those of you who joined in the effort – Bravo!!

Speaking of Joplin - there is an amazing story from the Joplin Globe Newspaper of 2 Oklahoma Storm Chasers that followed the Joplin Tornado into the city… Desperate Moments will leave you with goose bumps on your arms and tears in your eyes.  Take a minute to read through some of the other stories too… recently a family cat was found under the debris of their destroyed house 16 days after the tornado.  Poor kitty must have heard it’s owner talking and meowed out for attention.

I am so glad that my quilty friends are all safe in MA following the tornado there last week.  I’ve watched several of the videos posted at and have looked through the still photos of the tornado damage in all those different towns – scary stuff indeed.  I asked my son how he knew there was a tornado in his area.  He said the power had just gone out and the rain had started and he was closing windows in his apartment.  It was “the lawn chair flying past his window that was the give away” for him… since he’s on the third (top) floor of his building.

Raise your hand if you are ready for a nice calm summer… that’s what I thought!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dear Mother Nature…

For Crying Out Loud - Enough Already… Knock It Off… Take a Chill Pill…Put a Sock In It… Quit Yer Bitching!

At 4:46 pm Wednesday my son Kelly calls me to say he’d just been in a tornado.  Not a conversation I expected to ever have with him as he still lives in MA.  As he talked I switched the TV to the Weather Channel… and sure enough there was video of the tornado coming across the CT River and live video showing a truck overturned on the Memorial Bridge… the bridge I know my daughter Kayse uses to go home… at that time of day.  He was OK but said that he’d checked outside and there was lots of damage in his neighborhood and you could hear sirens in the background.  He hadn’t been able to get in touch with his sister who lives in the same town because the cell phone service was overloaded.  His other sister in Hawaii had tried to call while we were on the phone so I told him to call me later and I’d see if I could connect with Kayse.

Sure enough I also couldn’t get a connection with Kayse but was able to call Kara in Hawaii.  Bless her heart… she was crying and all upset.  It took me a minute to understand her… Kayse had called her to say that she was OK but that she hadn’t been able to contact Kelly and then the call disconnected.  Poor girl sure needed a hug… I assured her Kelly was OK.  And I was able to connect with Kayse by phone a short time later.  She was home and had fortunately left work early – otherwise she would have been right in the middle of it.

My kids are safe… but a block from my son apartment… the story is very different.  This is a 2 1/2 story multi-family house… well it use to be 2 1/2 stories.

tornado damage 1

And this… well I’m not sure what it was – although I recognize the tan stucco building to the right of it.

tornado damage 2

And this would have been a 3 story multi-family house… just like the grey one next to it…

tornado damage 3

Many communities have suffered damage… certainly not what Joplin has suffered… but for this part of the country – an event to be remembered.

I’ll call Southampton Quilts later to make sure all my quilty friends are OK… I hope everyone is OK.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Do You Like Action Adventure Movies?

I do…

But I don’t like feeling like I’m watching an Action Adventure Movie when I’ve got the Weather Channel tuned in.

The live reporting last evening of the OK tornados that were touching down and churning their way across the landscape – well - it was surreal…

During an Action Adventure Movie you know that nobody really gets hurt… but it tears at my heart to see those tornados spewing debris knowing that people are having their lives ripped apart… right at that moment.

I’ve lived in Texas, Kansas, and Nebraska and have relatives living in TX, KS and OK.  I’ve known that sick feeling when you see the air turn that eerie green… I don’t miss it a bit.

Do you know Judy Laquidara of the blog Patchwork Times? She’s an accomplished quilter, quilt book author and all around great gal who currently lives outside the Joplin, MO area.  I’ve known Judy ‘virtually’ for as long as I’ve been a quilter – having met her via Alex Andersons Quilting Message Board.  She has a wonderful proposal for all who would like to reach out and help the folks of Joplin.  Please go read her blog post and if you would like to help out please do. 

Now all I need to do if find my check book – I can’t remember the last time I ‘wrote’ a check out… LOL

Monday, May 23, 2011

What a Spring We’re Having…

My heart just hurts for the folks suffering from the terrible tornados that have been wrecking their way through the mid-west and south this year.

I pray those suffering find peace and comfort soon…

Friday, May 20, 2011

Here We Are…

Nearly a month since I sat down here… figured I better get here before the End of The World… ya know… just in case!  LOL

We have had 7 straight days of rain here – certainly not the flooding along the Mississippi – but I’m so ready for some sunshine!  I need it for my mental health…

Physically I am slowly getting stronger… when I come down the stairs and realize I forgot something upstairs – I usually go back up and get it… if I really need it… sooner than later… sometimes.

I got to 90 degrees a couple weeks ago and then came to almost a screeching halt only gaining 6 degrees since then.  That has been very discouraging for me – but they are still very up beat at Therapy and believe I can continue to gain slowly but surely.

So I decided to take a pro-active approach and I joined a local Health Club this week.  It has a large facility, hundreds of pieces of equipment, lots of programs, and a warm water (92 degrees) therapy pool – which is what I am most interested in.  Although shopping for workout clothes and a bathing suit might just do me in… too much walking… and that’s just from the parking lot… LOL

I won’t be going back to work at the shop until the fall… I want to focus on my rehab and getting back to doing my normal everyday activities.  I need to get back to doing housework, laundry, grocery shopping, and cooking on a regular basis… who would have ever thought I’d look forward to doing those things!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

La, La, La, La, La, La…

I say with my fingers stuck in my ears!!!  OMG are you as tired of hearing about the Royal Wedding as I am?  I do wish the couple well – as I would any young couple setting out… but for crying out loud… enough already.  Unfortunately it’s not going to be over as of Friday – it will continue for a good couple weeks I’m sure.  I am thankful that I am at least more mobile these days and not confined to my prison recliner all day long eating bon-bons and watching TV.

She walks!  Yea!!  With a single crutch no less!!! AND…. drum roll please… she does STAIRS!!!

The timing could not be better for my increased mobility as my daughter is off with her husband and kids this week for a much deserved vacation… which means I’m on my own during the day.  I have to go get my own coffee and meals during the day.  I am also driving myself to PT – which continues to be a painful but fruitful experience… I am now up to 77 degrees.  Can you say ow?  Me… I usually say ow, Ow, OW!  The tendons and ligaments were pretty well banged up in the fall – so now I need to encourage them to stretch out again… well the therapist does the encouraging… me - I say ow, Ow, OW!

I am getting those muscles in my leg stronger – they now mostly cooperate when I send them mental commands to work… although they do still have a jello quality to them as they quiver and wobble.

Kara and her family will return here this weekend and then between Monday and Tuesday they all head off to San Diego for a couple weeks.  Mark still has a week of school in SD and they will work in some more family time before heading back to Hawaii.

And so - my days of being pampered are over… I think I could have enjoyed them more if there wasn’t all that pain involved!  LOL

Monday, April 18, 2011

I Am Cured…

I am cured of the want, urge, desire, hankering, longing, craving, wish, yearning, eagerness, or desire…

…to sit around and do nothing all day.

Yep, I am so over that…

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Get Some Cheese and Crackers…

I feel a wine whine coming on… LOL

I won’t really whine much - I am a bit frustrated with about everything these days.  My knee, the weather, quilting…

Let’s start with my knee… it’s doing about what I expected – which is not much.  I had PT twice a week for 4 weeks and just began my 3 visits a week.  I am putting weight on it and using it to walk although I’m still using the walker until I build up my overall strength more.  I have recently started to work on bending it – going from 40 degrees the first time they measured to 60 degrees yesterday.  Not at all what I need or want in a knee… I think know the rest of it is going to be a lot of hard painful work.

My overall strength is getting better – especially once I started weight bearing on that leg.  I no longer wear myself out just getting my shower…and I’m not exhausted when I get to PT.

I have been spending a little more time downstairs recently – but still have to haul myself up the stairs for the ladies room.  I’ll be happy when I can walk up the stairs.  But for now I’ll go up and down on my hiney a few times and then call it quits and stay up in my room.

I miss the sunshine when it’s hiding… and it’s been hiding around here a lot recently.  It was such a pleasure to raise the blinds to the sunshine this morning!  Now that I’m walking easier and further I can venture out on the driveway with the kids and enjoy some fresh air – which we did this morning.  There is so much I’d like to be doing in my garden – I look forward to getting out there and getting stuff done.  It’s mid April already – let’s get the warmth going on a more regular basis!

Quilting… well there isn’t much to say on that subject.  I haven’t done a thing – nothing… nadda!  I haven’t even gotten up to my studio to work on the calendar quilts I need to work on.  I brought the stuff home a couple weeks ago – but just have not been able to get up there to work on them.  I hope this weekend will be different.

My daughter and grandkids will be here just a few more weeks.  I am so very grateful of the time and energy she has given me these past 2 months.  I know it’s not the vacation she had planned – it’s not what I would have planned either.  There are lots of things I wanted to do with them while they were here… but those adventures will have to wait until next time.  I do hate that she’s had to work so hard… she pregnant and due late July – so it’s been a lot of work taking care of the kids and her Mom and Dad.  I really don’t know what I would have done without her here.

Just a quick note:  because I have recently had some S P A M comments show up on older posts I changed the settings so that Anonymous comments aren’t accepted and (if I remember right) you may get a note that the comment is awaiting ‘Moderation’.  I’ll reset things after a while… I wish those nitwits would find something better to do with their time.

But after all that frustrating stuff… this is the kind of thing that keeps me sane.  I know it’s a long video… but the boy was just too funny.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I Seem To Be At A Loss For Words…

Yeah… really… me…

OK… enough snickering out of y’all – it does happen some times.

The problem is that I really have lots of things I’d like to say but I can’t quite clear my head enough to get it out.

I have been sidetracked mentally by the disasters in Japan… the human loss and physical devastation is just hard to wrap my mind around… my heart just hurts.  And then as those first few days unwrapped before us on TV - I read a stupid insensitive comment by a young nephew of mine on Facebook.  I have to say that I have had to work hard to ‘keep my fingers to myself’ (an online version of biting your tongue) and not respond to his comment… but apparently that kind of ignorance isn’t limited to my nephew as the national news contained stories of others who lost their jobs because of their inappropriate on-line comments.  What’s wrong with people?

And then one morning as we watched the news – the story ended with a mention that you could ‘text 2 donate $10.00’ to the Red Cross to help with the disaster in Japan.  My 6 year old Granddaughter turned around and said to her Mom… “I have $10.00 of my own money – can we text to donate it?”

I could not stop my tears… try as I might to hide my emotions at that moment I couldn’t.  Here was a little 6 year old who got it… she saw suffering and need and was willing to make a personal sacrifice to meet that need.  I was so proud of her and of her Mother who has nurtured that spirit in her.

Of course the kids didn’t understand why Granny was sitting in her prison recliner with a kleenex to her face sniveling… “Momma what’s wrong with Granny?” says the 2 year old.  Then they both stood there like they had done something wrong but didn’t know what it was.

Well, I stopped sniveling – my granddaughter turned over her hard earned money to her Mom and together they ‘text 2 donate’ to send her money half way around the world to help.

In other news… I’ve been going out for PT and I’ve decided just showing up for the appointment is work all by it self.  By the time we have breakfast and I get my shower and get dressed and then use the walker to get into the facility… I’m beat!  They are using a muscle stimulator on my left upper leg while they ice my knee.  While that’s going on I have some arm exercises to do.  Then I have some leg exercises and I’m on my way home again.  A nap always feels good on PT days.

I did go into the quilt shop this week also.  I needed to sort out the fabric I had already cut for the next 2 calendar quilts.  I had pulled the fabric before I hurt my knee but hadn’t divided it up into kits.  I did have to lay down on a table a couple times – there’s just so long I can sit with my leg propped up.  I plan to haul myself upstairs and do some sewing this coming week.  I’d like to get the 2 backgrounds pieced and then do the fusible applique… not sure I’ll quilt them – I’ll be happy just to have them assembled. 

I don’t know about y’all – but I am tired of being cold… let’s get on about the business of spring shall we!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Knee Update…

I saw the Dr. again this past Friday… hard to believe it’s been 2 weeks already.  I had to get a couple new x-rays…

3-11 xray 1

It’s interesting that this view (from the front) almost perfectly lines up the 2 screws they put in.  In my last post I thought the second screw came in from the side because you could only see a portion of it.  But I can see now that the second screw is a partial and is used as an anchor to hold the broken off piece of bone in place.  They are both inserted at the same angle.

I still have at least 3 weeks of not using the leg but the Good News is that I will begin some PT for the rest of me this week!  Yahoo! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I am Loosing it…

No – not my mind… although that’s probably not far off.

I’m loosing muscle tone.  What pathetic muscle tone I had anywhere and everywhere – it’s slowly slipping away from my being so inactive.  It’s been 4 weeks Monday since I busted up my knee – and 3 weeks today since the surgery to fix me up.  Last week I went in for my annual mammogram.  I got the worst charley horse in my right cheeky as I was standing on one leg whilst the 2 techs worked together – one scurried back and forth working to get me set up and then she’d dash in behind the other who was waiting to push the buttons to ‘photograph’ me.  Good thing I don’t have much to push and pull into place… if ya know what I mean! 

Yesterday I went with my daughter out to do a couple errands.  We stopped in at my MIL’s  to deliver groceries my daughter had picked up for her.  My FIL is in the hospital following knee surgery last Friday.  Yeah – a family of gimps!  LOL  At 84 he’s going to end up in a rehab facility in a couple days… he won’t like it – but if he wants to get back home he’s gonna have to work hard to get back his strength and mobility.  We then stopped at a knit shop to pick up a Knitty Knobby for my granddaughter to use.  And those two events wore me out.  Today I am really sore from that little bit of getting around with the walker… everything hurts.

I’ve been doing a lot of pondering these past couple weeks… like every time I haul myself up and down the stairs – I think about those 30 40 50 pounds I should have lost.  I think I have found my incentive…

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Hardware…

I went to the Dr. on Friday for my post-op follow-up and to get the stitches removed from the ‘pokie holes’ in my knee.

I got to do my best impression of a pretzel so that they could take an x-ray from the side of my knee.  That pretzel position wasn’t nearly as painful as the one I assumed for the x-ray at the ER.

I found out I’ve got 2 screws… one that goes straight in – in the middle of the bone to hold the ACL back in place where it broke off (at the break) and another coming in from the other side to hold the bone together snug.

xray-2 2-25

I could show you the camera picture of the stitches in the ACL and the screw… but I don’t want anyone feeling light headed… one of us is enough.

Here is the other new hardware…


I’ve got a couple hinges either side of my knee  – but it’s locked straight – no bending this knee and no weight to be put on the leg.


I’ve got some quick release buckles on the velcro straps… no more noise when I take it on and off.


The supports are along the sides and there is only padding where the buckles are – so this will be much more comfortable and won’t slide like the other one did.


All buckled up… and no place to go…

He did offer me a cast… and then offered me this.  He said this immobilizer works as well as a cast except for when people take it off and then reinjure themselves moving around without it on.  Needless to say… I won’t be tooling around without it on – I can take a hint.

I did get my wheelchair… it helps in some respects but it’s a tight squeeze in some places and then having my leg sticking straight out just complicates things.  Easier to just stay put…

My Son-in-Law surprised us by driving up here on Friday.  He’s recently reported to the DC area for a Navy school – that’s why my Daughter and grandkids were planning on being here at this time to visit.  Their Friday class was cancelled so he took advantage of the opportunity and headed up here after the DC area morning traffic settled down.

Maybe this week I’ll be more productive… maybe… maybe not…