Category Archives: Family

Remember Me??

Hi everyone! After a long (nearly three month) absence, I decided it is time to write a post. Over the last couple of weeks, I received a number of emails from friends asking if I was ok because I haven’t been writing any posts. Life has been great; busy and full of all the things I like. Somehow, I just was not in the mood for blogging. I haven’t been reading posts, or commenting, or writing. Maybe I just needed a break.

Trying to catch up on the last three months is a challenge – where do I begin?? There has been lots of family time, celebrations, visitors, time with my children and grand children, home projects and – of course – sewing. There were two long weekends at the beach; one with Ray, me and Julia and the other with my parents, Ray and me. We celebrated my parents’ 69th wedding anniversary and Julia’s 23rd birthday. My sisters and I all met up at one sister’s house in Denver, CO for a long weekend. Lots and lots has been happening!

Throughout spring Ray spent hours out in the garden prepping a vegetable garden. It is really starting to produce now and we are enjoying lots of snow peas, rhubarb, a few varieties of lettuce, turnips, and radishes. I wasn’t at all sure about the turnips but we have had fun finding different ways to prepare them. I have roasted them (ok but not fantastic), mashed them with russet potatoes (very good) and made a yummy salad with raw turnips. I was surprised by the salad – we both enjoyed it quite a bit. Some sort of critter is making Ray crazy by eating the carrots as fast as the poor things can grow. The summer veggies are coming in now. As you’d imagine, we cannot wait for the tomatoes!

Sweet peas are doing great this year. I love these – the colors and that amazing fragrance. Sitting on the deck, it smells so wonderful!

We recently received the fantastic news of a new baby joining to our family! My son and his wife are expecting their first child mid-November. I cannot wait!!! When they found out the baby is a girl, I quickly found a small piece of pale pink stretch knit fabric and made these leggings and matching hat. They are so teeny tiny.

I also made three soft, stuffed blocks. They each have a few rattles in them for a noisy sound as well as crinkly paper in one. They might be a tad bit over stuffed but I still love them.

Should we take a quick look at some of the clothing I made recently? Okie doke!

This t-shirt was made with a piece of stretch knit fabric I have had for several years. I am super happy with it, though I would like it to be about two inches longer. However, the size of the fabric determined the length of the shirt. It fits nicely though.

Here is another project I just finished up. A few weeks ago there was a morning class on sewing with knits at a local sewing shop. The actual event was more of a “let’s sell you some knit fabric” session – there wasn’t a whole lot of teaching going on. However I did pick up a great featherweight performance fabric. UV protection and moisture wicking components mean it is be perfect for running. I bought a couple of yards with a plan to make some tops.

First I made this tank top. It was super easy to make using the Kira tank pattern by Sonia Estep Designs. Soon after this successful make, I tried a second one with a different fabric. I don’t like the fit of it – I just went too fast when I cut it out. Anyway, no picture of it because I am going to make it again with the same fabric.

Here is a blouse I made with a piece of voile that was on the shelf. I like the fit of this one quite a bit. The pattern, McCalls 7548, is from 1994 and very dated looking. I had to modify it a lot because it was a size 18 which is too big. But it turned out cute and I plan to wear it a lot.

Another piece of fabric, another project! I picked up this fabric years ago at a garage sale. It is super lightweight, maybe a thin chambray. I saw this pattern and it was perfect! I haven’t taken a picture yet as I just finished them. But they are very cute. Running the stripes in both directions is really clever. (I was too lazy to make the belt loops and belt.)

Last but not least, here is a dress I made. The knit was scored at the Goodwill for $3.00! I have more left after making the dress too! I like this but if I were to make it again, there are a few things I would change. It is slightly tight across the back and the bodice could be lengthened. Just in case you are wondering who I am with in this adorable picture, let me introduce you to my mom and cousin. We all share the same first name – Mom, Bernie and Bernie. My cousin lives in Louisiana so we don’t see her nearly enough. When we do though, it is our tradition to get a picture of the ‘three Bernie’s’.

This weekend there is a quilt show in Sequim, WA. My friend and I plan to attend. My goal is to enjoy the quilts and NOT bring home more fabric. Seriously working on using up the stacks of fabric I have so I do not need to add to it! I will let you know if I can control that impulse to buy fabric. (It is so hard!!)

Nice to be back in touch! Let me know how you are doing, ok?

Sharing at some of my favorites. Check out the links at the top of the page for Brag About Your Beauties and TGIFF. 🙂

The Best Laid Plans

A few months ago my nephew and his wife bought flights to come up for a visit from Colorado. They were to stay at my parents’ house. We were all so excited because we don’t often see them. In the last 10 years, I may have seen him twice and met his wife only once. Anyway, I was pretty excited. Mom and Dad planned a brunch. My sisters and I planned to take them on the ferry over to Seattle to visit some of the touristy area around Pike’s Market.

Well, none of that was to happen for me. I got sick about 10 days ago and by the time the weekend rolled around, I felt awful. I missed every bit of the weekend. How disappointing! I am sure they had a lovely visit and the brunch seemed to go well. My kids were there and my husband too. I spent the afternoon dog-sitting my grand dog and binge-watching the Apple TV show, Trying. (By the way, if you haven’t seen this show and are an Apple TV subscriber, I think it is really cute).

Just before getting sick, I did manage to finish this little strip quilt for Project Linus. Above you can see the backing which is a green batik my sister gave me. I machine stitched the binding with a zig-zag and it looks great.

This quilt was such a good use of these random strips. Most from a scrap bag donated to Project Linus and some from my bin of strips. I tried to alternate the widths to keep things balanced. Other than straightening up some of the strips, this was a breeze. Unfortunately, the monthly Project Linus meeting was yesterday and I was not feeling up to going. So this quilt will sit and wait until the May meeting for donation.

When I was feeling lousy, I went poking around in the sewing room. I wanted to make something and decided to use some fabric given to me by a friend of mine in California. It is an older line designed by Kim Diehl – so very traditional reproduction fabrics. The main reason I was drawn to these this particular week was included in the fabric Stephanie gave me were stacks of pieces already cut into squares and rectangles. I looked through a book, Homestyle Quilts, and chose a pattern that could be easily modified to use the squares that I had.

Even though I sewed just between naps; a little here and some more there, this sure did come together quickly. This was mainly because I had very little I had to cut. Cutting pieces can be very time consuming!!

At this point, all sashing strips are done and I am on the hunt for some darker green yardage for the setting and corner triangles.

Just in case I get lucky here, the above picture is the fabric I would like to use for the setting triangles. It is the same as what I used for the block centers. I don’t suppose any of you have a piece of this sitting on a shelf, collecting dust? It is an older line so I am unable to find any on-line (though I have tried mightily)! If you do happen to have about a yard or maybe 1 1/2 yards, I would love to buy it from you. Leave a comment!! I’ll cross my fingers. 🙂

Recently finishing up the hand quilted mini I posted about earlier, I wanted another hand work project for the evenings. Changing things up, I have been working on a crochet project. This afghan is so soft – I can’t remember where I picked up the first few skeins of yarn. Having only three skeins, I somehow decided to start an afghan. What was I thinking??? Never having made one before I wasn’t clear as to how much yarn I really needed. Let’s just say it is a whole lot more than three skeins! Luckily I found some on Etsy and a bit more on Ebay. So, I will be able to make this a good size to snuggle under on the couch. But jeez – yarn adds up and a project that takes 10 or so skeins is expensive! Crocheting in the evening feels meditative. Especially now that I have the rhythm of this pattern solidly memorized and don’t have to pay too much attention to it. As with quilting, I am not precise when it comes to crochet. Sure, every now and then there might be four double crochets where there should be three but in this sort of pattern, I don’t think it matters a whole lot. Plus, it’s how I do things…..

Hopefully this virus will end sooner than later. I am bored and want my energy back. Plus, my husband is probably tiring of listening to me cough! Hope you are all healthy and enjoying the spring time. Our skies are blue today after a very rainy night. Hurray!

SAHRR – Final Round & a Little Extra Project

I knew this event would go quickly! Here we are finishing up the sixth round for the Stay At Home Round Robin and then it is time to quilt it. Crazy fast. The final week was set up by Kathleen McMusing. For her prompt she asked we incorporate letters or numbers into the round. In her post, she provided so many fun ways a person might do this.

I really didn’t want to add more pieced blocks to this very busy little quilt. Instead, I took the fabric I had left from the five inch square you can see at the top, cut a narrow (1.5″) strip of it and stitched it to the side. To balance things out one last time, I added another strip of the blue along the bottom.

I am calling it done. When I look at this, I feel like it is complete. Hopefully I will baste it and begin quilting it this weekend. Everyone will be back on March 18th to share their finished quilts. I believe Gail (the originator and organizer of the event) said there were about 50 quilters participating. Creativity abounds in this group so I am excited to see the finishes!

While I am here, I want to share this quick little placemat I made this week. My grand daughters both have birthdays in March – Big sister will be 7 and Little sister will be 4. I thought it might be fun for them to have a birthday placemat they can share, each one using it on their birthday.

My sister, Cathy, has a shop on Etsy called 6 Monkeys & Co where she sells handmade childrens’ clothing. She thoughtfully saves many adorable scraps for me to quilt with. Making clothing means a large amount of extra fabric that isn’t useful to her but is very fun for me. Anyway, that this where the birthday fabric scraps came from. Just enough to piece together a placemat.

I glued strips or rick-rack trim around the edges before I put the binding on. I was concerned it might make the binding bulky but it wasn’t a problem at all. The backing fabric is a festive rainbow of polkadots. Hope the girls enjoy this during their birthday month. I won’t see them for a couple of weeks so I need to get this off in the mail to them.

Update to last week’s post – I attending the Project Linus meeting and it was quite fun. These women work hard! So many donations that needed to have labels attached. Also loads of donations of fabric which I spent several hours sorting and measuring. I plan to return to the next meeting. Yay!

Enjoy the weekend everyone! I will be working on the SAHRR quilting which I am looking forward to.

100 Year Old Ladies, SAHRR Round 4, Ruler Quilting, and Hand Quilting

Lots to catch up on today! I think my priorities are correct in introducing my 100 year old grand daughter. Big sister is in first grade this year. She loves school so much. This week her class celebrated the 100th day of school for this year. The children came to school dressed up as though they were 100 years old. It was so much fun to see the joy on her face when the day finally rolled around.

She was so cute with her gray hair (wig) and cat eye glasses on a chain. H was watching the bus pull up with this huge grin on her face. These special days at school are so much fun for the kids.

Moving on to this year’s Stay At Home Round Robin…. It was Brenda’s week to choose what we were to incorporate into the round. She chose the square in a square block, also called an economy block. For some reason, I had the idea I needed to make a larger block and it was bothering me. I couldn’t come up with a way to use a bigger block. At first, I thought I would skip the whole round. But then I decided to try and make a tiny one. My first attempt was very wonky and I tossed it. Then I tried again and made two blocks I was happy with.

The blue piece set the size for the block. The blue square measured 1 1/2″. I cut large white squares for the surrounding triangles and chopped those in half. The finished square ended up being two inches. I made two of these. They are totally improv which means the center is not square. (I still need to trim the blue corners on the back side). I love them!

I also made this blue border by alternating the solid blue with two tiny black and white HST’s. As I mentioned before, all of these bits are leftover from a quilt I made a while back. As of yet, I have not attached the blue border or the tiny S-I-S blocks. I want to wait to see what comes up on Monday. But for now, I like the idea of this layout.

Stepping Stones Quilt; May, 2016

Since I keep referring to the quilt I first made with these pieces, I thought I would show the original quilt to you again. I made this quite a while ago as part of a quilt along with The Inquiring Quilter. Seems like seven plus years is long enough to hold on to the extra bits. Time to use them up!!

Hand quilting is a great way to keep my hands busy while watching television or listening to an audio book. This peek shows a snippet of a wall quilt I am working on. I stitched much of this while Ray watched the Super Bowl last weekend. By the end of that time, my fingers were sore. Even with a thimble, it is hard to push that needle back and forth for a long period of time.

In the sewing room, I have been working on a quilt for a blog hop in March. (I am way ahead of schedule on this)! The layout of this quilt allows for lots of FMQ practice. I have been quilting it with a straight ruler. After a number of squares like the one above, I think it is time to switch to a curved ruler. When I practice with the curved rulers, I have a lot more hiccups. There are so many pretty motifs to be stitched with rulers so I am motivated to keep practicing.

Hiking, Tea Parties, Crafts and Sewing with My Girls

We had the pleasure of spending last weekend with our grand daughters. They haven’t had a sleepover at Grammy and PePaw’s house since early fall so this was really a treat. My son dropped them off on Friday and came back Sunday to pick them up. As usual, we managed to do all sorts of things over the weekend.

On Friday, we spent a lot of time outside as Saturday promised to be very rainy. These girls love being outdoors and like all kids, they need that time to run around and burn some energy. They played frisbee and basketball for quite a bit before heading to the woods in front of our house. Both girls decided to dig for treasure without any preconceived notion of what that treasure might be. After digging for a long while, PePaw asked if they wanted to dig for worms.

They were excited about this and ran right to the compost bins. Previously the girls have held the worms in their hands, especially Big Sister. This time, they wanted them on their shovels to look at and then off the worms went, into a bucket. These girls are adventurous and try most any activity they are offered. While they were playing with worms, I snuck into the house and grabbed a handful of ‘treasure’ (marbles and little glass gems).

Acting quickly, I tossed them into the dirt nearby. It took forever for the kids to discover them but once they did, they were very excited. The interesting bit about this was how each girl thought the gems got there. H, being a very worldly six year old, immediately said “Grammy, the kids who lived here before you must have been playing here and forgot about these.” (Note – she has no idea whether any kids lived here before me). A wasn’t close by when her big sister explained this to me. A few minutes later, Little Sister asked me, “Do you think some pirates left these gems here?” Two very different theories. Of course at three years old, A doesn’t feel the need to explain where the pirates came from or why they left this treasure for her. She found five pieces of treasure and was so excited.

Back to the weekend, as expected it rained most of the day on Saturday. But this made for perfect crafting weather. We were looking at images on the computer trying to learn if rainbows could have pink in them even though poor, poor pink sadly is not ever mentioned in the ROYGBIV order of things. We decided yes, pink can be seen in rainbows. While doing this important research, we saw a craft making rainbows with colored stickers. Miraculously, Grammy had stickers in the craft drawer. They added cotton balls for clouds too. It was interesting to me to watch each girl make her rainbow. Big Sister wanted her stickers aligned on the guidelines but not touching. Little Sister insisted on overlapping her stickers so no guideline could be seen.

After lunch on Saturday we were invited to my parents, Great Papa and Great Grammy, for hot cocoa and cookies. The girls loved it and were super about letting us visit while they colored pictures and ate cookies.

Big Sister always asks to sew something while she is here. She knows I won’t refuse her this request. Usually we don’t sew when Little Sister is around because she really isn’t old enough. But it all worked out.

First project was to make this whole cloth project with A. She loves fire trucks and ambulances so I thought she would like this. My vision was to show her the matchbox cars and she could drive them along the roads, keeping busy so I could sew with H. She didn’t get into this at all. Blankets are for babies and stuffies. I don’t think a matchbox car even touched the fabric. It was immediately put to use to wrap up a stuffed animal. Soon Pepaw came to the rescue and took her downstairs to play.

This gave Big Sister and I plenty of time to get started on her first quilt. She was thrilled. Being a very tactile person, she favors the bin with flannels and minky scraps. Her choices centered around dog and cat fabrics and a bright pink scrap to brighten things up. I cut a stack of squares for her to arrange on the design wall.

I loved how seriously she took this part of the process. She wanted symmetry and was able to work it out with the squares she had. I wish I had taken more pictures but it is more fun to stay in the moment with her. This time, she was a very able participant. She sat on my lap and guided the fabric along. I showed her the 1/4″ markings and we talked about the need for a straight line. Fortunately, my machine has speed controls and I could set it to go very slowly. She also learned to pin the pieces together. This made her Grammy a little bit crazy. She looked at the pins like she was judging the quality of fine diamonds, choosing which pins she wanted to use. At times, I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying, ‘c’mon, just pick a pin’. If you think about it, when sewing many things happen at the same time. Pressing the pedal, guiding the fabric, taking the pins out, pressing the seams etc. She was wanted to do each part. I did help quite a bit with keeping the fabric straight but she will get there.

To simplify the project, we didn’t use any batting. The quilt is very soft with a flannel backing. We sewed the layers right sides together and then flipped it right side out. H did a great job turning the corners out. That was as far as we got the first day. Sunday morning we finished it up with a topstitched edging and two lines of quilting, corner to corner. She chose to use ‘special stitches’ for those seams. I love the joy on her face in this picture. She was very proud of this project.

Sunday was better weather wise. We took the girls to the nearby park which also has some great hiking trails around it. After playing on wet slides and swings, we wandered into the woods. The girls spotted this rotten tree stump and started playing. They decided to make a person. Using moss for hair and the smile and leaves for eyes and nose, they soon had a person. Big Sister immediately named her Treetopolis.

Now you have a snapshot of the weekend. Not pictured are the pizzas we made, the paintings the girls did and the amazing shows they performed form us. One involved dance and the other featured their amazing air guitar skills. They are becoming such good friends. So much fun to be with – even if we did go to bed at 8:30 Sunday night after they went home. 🙂

Linking up with a few favorites. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Family Bridge Mix

Last week was lovely. There was time spent with so many different family members. Our family calls it a Bridge Mix (referring to the See’s Candy mix that all of us love). Each handful of Bridge Mix is different from the other yet all are so wonderful. So whenever we have a group of family members together, while it might be a different mix and some people might not be at that particular visit, it is always good.

One small handful of Bridge Mix was experienced when Mom, Patti and I made cookies last week. We made Cuccidati, as I mentioned we would in a previous post. Mom already had the filling made and Patti had prepped the dough ahead of time so it would be chilled. That left the assembling, baking and icing.

They are delicious!

Over the weekend Ray and I enjoyed time with Julia. She came home to see some family and to bake cookies with me. Peanut Blossom cookies with Hershey’s Kisses are a regular holiday cookie for us so we made a big batch. We also did some Christmas shopping which was wonderful. While she was here we had a big dinner with a few of my sisters (one came up from California for the weekend) and my parents. Another handful of Bridge Mix – each one as great as the last.

On the way to dinner, we stopped at a local house that displays an amazing holiday lights experience on their property. It was so fun to walk through it. There were many different scenes to enjoy. I cannot begin to imagine how long it takes to set it up or take it down, let alone where the people store everything all year. This display is such a generous act as it provides such a memorable experience for many people. Pictures really don’t do it justice, maybe because I don’t know how to take a good picture of the lights on a dark night?

Sunday was my father’s 89th birthday. We celebrated this with (another) wonderful handful of Bridge Mix.

Mom asked us to dress in a festive outfit and people took this how they pleased. She made a wonderful turkey dinner and a chocolate caramel cake for Dad. We had a great time.

Monday morning we took my sister and her husband to the airport in Seattle. Because this is the half way point between my house and my son’s house, we thought it would be great to have yet one more handful of Bridge Mix. Thus, we kept driving and went to visit Andrew, Naomi and the girls. Mom and Dad had not yet been to their house and loved seeing where they live. It is great to visit with the little one’s in their own environment. They played “pizza shop” with Great Grammy and Great Papa and we had a nice lunch before heading back home.

This picture is just precious – My parents with two of their 17 great grandchildren.

Weekends spent with handfuls of family Bridge Mix is the stuff wonderful memories are made of. Of course it is also a bit tiring to be on the go for three or four days straight! Today I am not sure I will even get dressed. It is supposed to rain a bit. I think staying in, sewing and wrapping a few gifts sounds just perfect!

Ring Me – Quilt Top Finished!

Over the past year my friend Sophia and I have been trying to work on some older projects. We have done a decent job of it and gotten a few things finished up. I have another one to share with you today! This one came about because I had to take my Bernina to the shop. Fortunately I have a back up machine for these times. It is an older Kenmore and works well. However, I don’t have a 1/4″ foot for it. I wanted to work on something where precision wasn’t key.

My unfinished Ring Me quilt was the ticket. This pattern has no points to match making the piecing very simple. This project was started back in early 2017. I took part in a blog hop to announce the release of No Scrap Left Behind, written by Amanda Jean Nyberg (aka Crazy Mom Quilts). I love this book! Amanda has written two quilt books, Sunday Morning Quilts and No Scrap Left Behind. I have both of them in my library. She had an incredibly popular quilt blog but chose to stop blogging at the end of 2018 after a ten year run. Fortunately, she left the blog up so we can all still access her amazing ideas, tutorials and quilt patterns. She is definitely the queen of scrap quilting!

Back to the quilt now. When I was due to publish the project for the blog hop, I was really in the early stages of making the quilt top. I posted progress pictures (see above) and that was as far as it got.

In a relatively short time, I was able to complete the quilt top. With a charcoal gray background, the solid ‘rings’ add vibrant color. To make the rings, I gathered solid fabric strips and trimmed them to about 1 1/2″ or 2″ wide. After making strips sets I cut strips that were 1 1/2″ wide. These were combined with 1 1/2″ corner stones of the gray and stitched to squares.

I encourage you to find a copy of the book if you don’t already have it. The book has many patterns made with scraps with the projects categorized by shape of scrap (eg squares, triangles, strips). Before I knew it, I had my top completed and sewing without the 1/4″ foot was a non-issue.

Yesterday the sun was shining through a window in my bedroom and I knew it would light up the quilt top. Isn’t this stunning? I love the way it looks with the light pouring through.

Stained glass, right?? The seams on the back side of the flimsy look like black framing around the color and the sashing strips. Such a cool effect. This is as far as I took the project though. I wanted my Bernina back for quilting it.

Today I was able to go pick up my machine. I have one quilt in process where the quilting is nearly finished (I was working on it when the Bernina decided to get stuck). Once that quilt is done, I will baste this one and get going on it. Can’t wait!

This week has been a bit of a drudge as I have had a cold. While I can’t prove it, I am guessing I caught it when I was babysitting the girls last week. Who knows? Historically, my sweet grand daughters have been very generous in sharing any germs they might be harboring. We went home on Thursday, Friday the 3 year old started running a fever and on Sunday I started to feel sick. Oh well. They are worth it. We had so much fun with them. My son and his wife took a well deserved trip to Hawaii. Ray and I had the pleasure of spending loads of time with the grands. Here are some pictures of the fun we had:

Playing in puddles.

So much dancing, wrestling and gymnastics happens with these two. They love to perform for an audience.

This silly girl was having some dessert and watching a show on the iPad. I had to laugh when I walked by and saw her sitting like this. Ouch.

We did a number of art projects with the kids. This one was fun. I put blue painters tape down and told them to paint the sections however they wanted to. It was a challenge to peel up the painters tape though. I should have used heavier paper (or even cardboard). The tape was pulling on the paper a lot so I had to go super slow. The results were great though.

Aren’t these pretty??

We went shopping one day and H (age 6) saw this make up kit that said ages 5 years and up. I was very hesitant to buy it so I texted the parents a picture of it to see if they approved. She was overjoyed when Mom and Dad gave the go ahead. Oh my gosh, the glitter and color these two had all over their faces for the remainder of our time together. It was so funny.

The girls love their grandpa and he enjoyed lots of snuggle time.

Overall, the week went well. We came home exhausted and happy. These two kids were one of the reasons we wanted to move up to Washington. Ray and I grew up with grand parents who were actively involved in our lives. It is so special to have a close relationship with the girls.

It is time to go plug in the Bernina and get it set up. I have missed this machine and am anxious to have her back up and running! If I don’t post again, I wish all of the US folks out there a Happy Thanksgiving next week!!

Linking up with Alycia at Finished or Not Friday

October Activities

October has been a great month for being outside which means I have not done tons of quilting. However there will be plenty of time when the rainy, gray weather begins. Ray and I have done lots of hikes around the area, picked berries, spent a week with his mom – so many fun days. Let’s go through it!

Ray’s mom had not been up here since last fall so it was a treat to spend time with her. She is a very easy houseguest. I had gotten my Covid vaccine a day or two before she came and it knocked me down pretty hard. So for the first couple of days she and Ray hung out together and when I felt better I joined in. (I don’t know why that vaccine was so hard on me – did any of you react strongly to this one??) My kids all came for a bbq over the weekend which was fantastic.

We went to a local nursery that is a favorite of Ray’s and mine. Michele bought me a Japanese Maple tree for the front yard as birthday gift. While we wandered around we came across this wooden carved statue of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. Look closely at all of the detail as this is just amazing. It is all carved from ONE tree trunk. We inspected it for a long while; it was incredibly impressive work. Red Riding Hood’s facial expression looks a little strange but otherwise, amazing!!!

So many of you have asked about my dad’s health. You are all really thoughtful!! I want to show you picture proof of his improved health. Steroids can be magical. Fortunately, he isn’t experiencing any negative side effects from taking them daily. It seems like he will need them for months to come. But the doctors are following him closely and monitoring his health while he is on this regimen.

Last May I started adding a bit of a jog to my walks. In June I began running and soon was able to run three miles. Not fast, mind you, but I could run the distance. Since then, I have done two races with Ian, my youngest son. He loves to run and is really quick. For this race on October 15th (celebrating Ian’s 33rd birthday) he did the 10K and I did the 5K. He ran his best time so far for for his 10K and took 3rd in his age group. I had hoped for a better time but for whatever reason, this run was a struggle for me. (I think it had to do with my blood sugar and the food I ate before the race.) Anyway I ran it but was a bit slower than the first race I did in August. I also took 3rd in my age group but many of the women in my age group choose to walk the race so this isn’t a huge deal. But I am enjoying the running I am doing and try to do a three mile run at least twice a week.

While this isn’t an award winning photo, it shows the size of the huckleberries my husband has been picking. I haven’t lived where these grow wild prior to now. Last year we were just too busy getting settled to notice them. But this year! Ray has picked so many of them. He spends quite a while cleaning them because they are tiny!! Getting those little stems cleared out is not a fast task. But yum. He has made huckleberry jam and a batch of huckleberry muffins so far. There is a quart of berries in the freezer waiting for his next inspiration. I do enjoy having a husband who is comfortable in the kitchen.

Check out these quilting rulers!! I treated myself to two sets of Bernina quilt rulers as well as a ruler foot. When Sophia was here in September we talked about how much fun she has using rulers to quilt with. I have thought of these now and then but couldn’t get it in my head that it was doable. Free motion quilting is already fairly awkward. To add a ruler to the mix when moving the fabric around?? But guess what? It is so fun. The rulers have a layer of thin adhesive (or some sort of gummy substance) on one side of them so they do not slide. I have been looking at loads of YouTube videos and tutorials on the Bernina site.

I haven’t used them on actual projects yet. So far, I am just playing with them. It is super fun and I can see using them on something real fairly soon. Also, for those of you who are frugal like me, Bernina presser feet and accessories are super pricey. I am a fan of watching EBay. The foot I bought used for half of the retail price. The ruler kits arrived in unopened, original packaging so were never used. They were also half of retail price. This hobby is rather expensive so saving a few bucks where I can is helpful. It takes some patience to watch for items that you specifically want or need but I think it is worth it.

Looking ahead at the week, I am hoping to spend a bit of time in the sewing room. However, on Saturday my Bernina started acting up while I was quilting a lap quilt (see above) that I am anxious to finish because it is a gift for a friend. Why fail me now??? The timing is not good here. But it seems to be something to do with the hook (behind or under the bobbin area). I have cleaned and oiled, threaded and re-threaded, changed out needles, rewound the bobbin about 87 times. What else can I do??? Ray looked at it for a while but couldn’t find anything either. I don’t want to take it in because it takes so darn long to get it back, it is probably something simple and it will be a $250 outlay. How frustrating! If anyone has ideas as to why the upper thread is binding up below after just a few stitches, please leave a comment. Anywho….. If I can get the Bernina 570 back on track, I will finish the lap quilt.

At the moment, I have my little back-up machine set up. I used it to make a pair of cozy joggers yesterday but I can’t finish the quilt with it. The little machine is actually quite a work horse and is fine for piecing and making clothing.

Have a lovely week everyone. Wish me luck in figuring out my silly sewing machine mystery!!

My Parents, My Kids and a Dear Friend

It has been one month since my last post. Many times I have thought I should sit down and write but it never happened. Life got so crazy around here!

The main issue was my dad and this weird illness that seemed to begin out of the blue. He is 88 years old and other than a cold here and there has never really been sick so this was shocking to him and the family. Turns out he has developed an auto-immune disease that is quite painful (Polymyalgic Rheumatica). He has been in so much pain and trying to get him the proper treatment for this has been horrific. When Mom and Dad moved to the area in July, they immediately made appointment to become established with a primary care doctor. The first available appointment was in November. Because they are were in good health, we all thought nothing of it. When Dad became sick in August, it became clear we do not have enough doctors in our area. NO ONE would see him since he wasn’t an ‘established patient’. We took him to Urgent Care and the Emergency room twice and each time, they suggested Ibuprofen and that we should make an appointment with a rheumatologist because his blood work indicated he had a problem. This was not the least bit helpful. He cannot have an appointment to a rheumatologist without a referral and he can’t get the referral because he doesn’t have a primary care doctor which he cannot get an appointment with until November. What a vicious cycle. I spent many, many hours on the phone just calling doctors randomly to try and get him in. It was truly a crazy experience.

Finally as luck would have it, I had an appointment for my annual physical. While there, I told my primary care doctor of this whole debacle and he felt terrible for my father. In an act of true human kindness, my doctor said he would see my father. My doctor isn’t accepting new patients but he walked me to the reception area and told the scheduler to get my father in that same week. OK – now we were making some progress. The same doctor talked to his partners and one of them said they would take my parents as new patients. Even more progress! At his visit, Dad was prescribed steroids which are helping but he is still very uncomfortable. The doctors are working on getting the level correct to reduce his pain. Now that he is ‘established’ with a doctor I was able to get him an appointment with a rheumatologist Except the rheumatologists are all scheduling months out. Sigh.

Well I know how to play this game. Dad is now scheduled for two appointments with two different rheumatologists (and hopefully they don’t read quilting blogs or I will be busted on this)! He has an appointment with one in December and the other in April. I asked he be put of the ‘cancellation list’ at both offices. I have a reminder in my phone to call each one every week and see if he can take a cancellation because I don’t honestly have any confidence they will remember to call if one opens up. With any luck, he will get in sooner than December but at least we are making progress.

As my daughter-in-law said, Dad has been the victim of our very broken medical system. What a wildly irritating experience this has been. As for Dad, I am grateful he is feeling a bit better but he is still having so much pain so we need to keep working this broken system until all of this can be resolved.

While visiting with my dad and mom, we have been looking at old photos. They are such a treasure – here is one with Dad (left side), his little brother and his younger sister. This was taken in their back yard in about 1947 or so.

During all of this, there was a family wedding celebration. My son came out from Brooklyn, NY for a week. It was a great distraction for Mom and Dad to see some family (though Dad was unable to go to the reception).

Kyle and mom.

I loved having Kyle here – we went to the beach, did some hiking, he jogged alongside me at my very slow pace, and we ate loads of yummy food.

Beach time.

Our visit with Kyle was followed by a visit from my friend Sophia. This was also a great treat! I created a mini shop-hop and we toured around visiting quilt shops. The state fair was happening so we headed over there, specifically to see the quilt exhibits. We also did some hiking, and again, ate some yummy food!

Because she is a veteran with a can of spray baste, she helped me use it to baste a lap quilt. It wasn’t messy and, was in fact, super easy. Since she left, I sprayed two more projects. My only issue thus far was having the spray nozzle clog up. I think I have that all fixed though.

Best of all, Sophia taught me how to do some basic paper piecing. Yahoo! I can’t say I enjoy it all that much, but I can see the benefits of it for certain types of projects.

The holiday project on the right side has been in my unfinished pile of projects for years. Sophia and I had taken a class together back in 2016 and this was one of the projects. Once I set it aside, I totally and completely forgot how to make the little trees. My patient friend showed me and I got the trees finished, just seven short years later. Hahaha. The block on the left is just practice. I printed a few papers to use as practice so I won’t forget again! I have to keep practicing this or it won’t stick. This isn’t how my brain works so it is tough for me to remember the process.

Sunday Stash

I remember I used to write lots of these posts. There was a link up at Mollie Sparkle’s blog and people would share the newest fabrics they were working with. Mine were usually fabrics I had thrifted. Once I had the shop those posts ended for obvious reasons. Even now that the shop has closed, I have sooooo much (too much) fabric so I rarely buy any.

But, there is always a but, yesterday I was at a tiny quilt show with my friend Annette. It was held in a church and the quilts were displayed by laying them over the pews. It was quaint but I can’t say I am a huge fan of this sort of display. For one thing, the viewer cannot step back and see the whole quilt. So many quilts look best from a few feet back. Because the church was small, many of the quilts were folded and then draped over the pew. This meant we only saw half of the quilt. This doesn’t allow for looking at secondary patterns or the effect of the outer quilt on the center. It was sort of frustrating. Anyway, it was fun because you know….. a quilt show is always fun. Plus they had a little table of home baked treats and a great shopping section. Annette and I found a number of things we liked.

There were loads of books for $1.00 each. I picked up two that are different from most in my library of quilt books. But they have some really cute projects in them. The Remembering Adelia book contains journal entries from a young woman during the Civil War. I love this sort of thing. Life is so easy now. Women worked all day, every day back then. The journal entries sucked me in and I enjoyed reading most of it yesterday when I got home.

The Folk Art Quilts book has some really fun projects. I love the whimsical critters on these two pages and plan to make something with them. This is way out of what normally appeals to me but I am looking forward to this.

The same book also maps out how to make the letters of the alphabet which will come in handy some day. I know this isn’t rocket science but it is nice to have it mapped out visually and then just adjust the size of the squares to get the correct size letter block.

I also picked up two containers for thread. I have had my thread hanging on a wooden rack but it is poorly placed in my sewing space and I was constantly knocking thread off the pegs. I sorted thread and put what I could fit in these bins. The left bin contains the shiny Sulky threads as well as my hand stitching threads. On the right is a large portion of my standard threads.

Unfortunately my some spools are too big for these bins. Since I was in the mood, I reorganized some of the drawers in a bin under my sewing table. This allowed me to put the Glide spools and the Connecting Thread spools in a drawer. I still have a small number of Aurifil threads that I haven’t found a good space for but I am sure it will work out.

It is much easier to see what I have now. This exercise forced me to look at all of the thread I have. Is it too much? Yes, yes it is. How I acquired all of this is a wonder!

This little stack of fabric is the extent of fabric purchased. I really wanted that little cheddar yellow check because it will work in some of those silly animal blocks I want to make. The others look good with it and should work with the project.

Quilt shows are the best. It always makes me itch to get back home and head to the sewing room! (Which is exactly what I did)!

My sweet girls have been on vacation with their parents all week. We are dog sitting in their absence. From what I have heard and the pictures seen, they are having a wonderful time. It is a great finale to their summer. We get to see them next weekend for some family time. Happy Sunday all of you!!