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.