Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Here's the Next One!

With all that was going on last week, I was only vaguely aware that I got a new quilt magazine in the mail. That's usually a priority...drop what I'm doing and sit down and look through my magazine. It didn't dawn on me until I had time to pick it up this week that it has one of my quilts in it! The July issue of McCall's Quick Quilts is out to subscribers now and it has the second of my series of 4 table runners in it.

As soon as you run right out and buy one, check pages 51 and 52 for pictures and instructions for making my summer version of this pattern.
Sweet Home is offering kits again, and again we've already had orders from various places across the country. Pennsylvania and Arizona last week...and who knows where we will ship to this week? We sent kits for the spring one to places as far away as Canada, Mexico and even Germany! This is still a lot of fun.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Beginning of a New Week - I Hope!

A while back I wrote about how I like new beginnings. I like to make New Year's resolutions (don't ask how that's going), I like Mondays...anything that seems like a fresh start. Well, I can't wait for this new week to begin. Actually, I'm so glad last week is over and I'm really, really hoping this week will be better.

My mother has been staying with us for the past couple of months and in that time her health and strength have been waning. She was supposed to go back to Tucson with my sister, Karen, in May. But it was becoming clear to everyone that this may be her last big trip. It's time to move to the next level of care...that being a nursing home. She had her choice of one in Tucson, one here in Conyers, or going home to Illinois. Our home town is Streator, but her 3 children are now scattered across the country. She chose to go back to Illinois...but to Joliet. Karen is a Roman Catholic nun and she is a member of the St. Francis community. Their order built and maintains a lovely retirement/nursing home in Joliet. As the mother of one of their sisters, mom was moved right to the top of the waiting list and will be able to go there in May instead of back to Tucson. All this seems very settled and straightforward now, but the first four days of last week were a tangle of emotions, decisions, communications, etc. that was physically, mentally, and emotionally tiring for all of us. I say the first 4 days, because by Thursday everything was pretty much settled.
Then came Friday.

On Friday morning, I awoke (at 4:00 a.m.) with a very sore, red, hot, swollen right elbow! It was also very itchy and I figured I had some kind of a bug bite. I took a couple of ibuprofen, put ice on it and elevated it. Then I wondered about going to the doctor. Normally, I would wait till the next day and see how it looked. But this was Friday. So I was talking to my friend, Mellie, on the phone and we were weighing the decision of whether or not I should make an appointment. I noticed as I was talking to her that I was wheezing. So I decided this bug bite may be affecting my breathing and I'd probably better go see about it. I was able to get an appointment in 1/2 hour, so I went. By the time I got to the doctor's office, I was having an asthma episode. I haven't even thought about my asthma in about 15 years! They gave me a breathing treatment and then the doctor looked at my elbow. She said it was not a bug bite (we still don't know what triggered the asthma attack) and she wanted me to see an orthopaedist today...or go to the emergency room. She said there was infection. So her nurse was able to get me in to see an orthopaedist that afternoon. I was diagnosed with septic (you mean like the sewer???) bursitis. The doc decided not to drain the sac (thank you, doc) but he said, "Let's just hit it hard with antibiotics." He also prescribed something for gout. And an hour after I took the first "hard" antibiotic, my eye lids started to swell. I called my sister-in-law, Linda, and she said, "Go to the emergency room. Now." I whined, "But if I have to go to the ER I want Jerry to take me. And there's nobody here to stay with mom." She said to take 2 Benadryl, but that if I wasn't better in half an hour, go to the ER. About 20 minutes later I was on the phone trying to find someone to come stay with mom. I tried the girls first, but that failed, so I called my friend, Gail. God bless her...she came right over and I told her we were heading out already, but the door would be open. She came in to a growling dog and a somewhat confused mom. :) She handled the dog well, as I knew she would and mom remembered meeting her, so all went well. Then Jess came over and Gail got to go back to whatever she was doing before I yanked her over here. In the ER they gave me oxygen, two more pills and two shots in the rump and some cool cartoon bandaids. They also gave me 4 new prescriptions. Two antibiotics to replace the one they took away, a steroid to control the inflammation and itching and Zyrtec for allergies. My kitchen counter looks like a branch of Walgreens.

So here's looking forward to a new week!!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's a Gray Area

Due to the drought of the last few years, and last summer in particular, our landscape has suffered. We have lost a few bushes and small trees and it's really been sad. In our front yard there are several good-sized azalea bushes. But the anchor of the front yard landscape...and my greatest delight...are 11 large white azalea bushes. Each is over 6 feet tall and at least 7 feet across. And when they bloom they are magnificent. I was very worried about the effects of the drought on my wonderful azaleas. So we've been using gray water. We put a bucket in the shower, and every morning all winter Jerry would schlepp down to the front of the yard and water a bush. Each got a turn...in rotation. I don't know how much it helped the bushes, but it helped me sleep better at night. This spring has been beautifu in Georgia as always, so maybe we didn't need to do this. But I'm sure it didn't hurt, either.

So this past week they were at heir best. I called the girls and said, "Come over. It's time for our annual photo op among the azaleas!" And they came and we took tons of pictures...mostly of the grand kids, of course. But it's cute to look back and see how they've grown every year in relation to the bushes. Here's Jessica with the kids. They're cracking up because they're telling her "knock-knock" jokes. Their jokes don't make any sense to the rest of us, but they think they are hilarious.

And here is one of me with the two little ones sitting on a log. Jodi has a lot of pics on her blog if you'd like to see some more. If you'd like to see the real thing, you'd better hurry. They're starting to fade and we'll have to wait another whole year to enjoy them like this again.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sew Many Pretty Quilts

I'm still on a creative high after this weekend. This was our quilters and scrapbookers' retreat at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. It is always a wonderful experience. This year we had a great crowd. I think the total came to 30 and it was pretty evenly split with quilters on one side of the big conference/work room and scrapbookers on the other side. Every once in a while someone from one side of the room would need to stand up and take a stretch break from what they were working on and wander over to see what's going on on the other side of the room. We are each in awe of the artistry and creativty of the others. But with all the mutual admiration, I believe we only had one "cross over" this weekend...that is one quilter who decided she now wants to be a scrapbooker, too. I believe she's going to Hobby Lobby today to start shopping for her scrapbook and some accessories. My friend, Mellie, has a son, Sam, who is a junior in high school and is an awesome football player. He has been scouted and talked about in college football circles for a couple of years already. He was delighted to be offered a scholarship to MSU. That's where Mellie and her husband, Lin, went to school and where they met. Their older son, Ben, will graduate from MSU this spring and Sam will graduate from high school next December...a semester early...so he can be at MSU in time to start training with the football team in the spring. All this to say that Mellie has a lot of newpaper articles and pictures and items she has printed off the computer at scout.com about Sam and his football abilities. I have told her she needs to put them in a scrapbook. She realized she needs to keep them for him somehow, but she has seen the adorable scrapbooks Jodi has of the kids and although she thinks they are wonderful, she couldn't picture doing that sort of thing for her son. Well, as luck would have it, there was woman at the retreat who was working on a FOOTBALL SCRAPBOOK for her son! It was awesome and Mellie got sucked right in. She fell in love with the layouts, the specialty papers, the stickers and the book itself (with a 3-D football on the front). Here is a picture of her deep in conference with her new "mentor".

In other "retreat news", there were a lot of beautiful quilt tops completed by our group. I was so grateful to get away for as much time as I could. Jerry and Jessica were wonderful to stay with mom and take very good care of her for the better part of 3 days so that I could attend. I came home each night instead of staying in the rooms there, but I did get in a lot of quilting time and it felt so good to get a chance to do that and to be doing it among my friends. I just worked on a project for a while and then switched to another. So, even though I did work, I don't have a whole lot to show for it. I made some more fish bowls for Emery's fish quilt and started making blocks for Savannah's pink and purple pinwheels quilt. The only quilt top I actually finished is this brown/tan/blue half square triangle quilt. It is a reproduction of an antique quilt that I saw in a magazine a while back and I just liked it. It has no deadline so, of course, it's the one that got finished!
As soon as I get time...either later today or tomorrow some time...I will try to upload the rest of the pictures I have from the reatreat so that you can look at some of the other projects that got finished.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Eyes Have It

In the eyes of a child there is joy, there is laughter

There is hope, there is trust, a chance to shape the future

For the lessons of life there is no better teacher

Than the look in the eyes of a child.

I really liked this song when Air Supply recorded it on their 1987 Christmas album. Then I liked it even better after Savannah came along in 2002. From birth, she had the most captivating blue eyes. (Shown here at 1 year old). I would look into them and my heart would just melt.

Well, now this child...this Miss Fashionista...has turned her big, blue eyes on the world around her and is freely commenting on what she sees. For example; now that my 89-1/2-year-old mother is with us for a while, Savannah has noticed -- at least twice now -- that I "have the same hair as Grandma. You know, all gray and everything." The other day she was laying across my bed and observed, "Your house is kinda old. It's full of old things (like me and my gray headed "twin", mother?). It has a lot of brown in it (referring, no doubt, to the stained rather than painted trim and molding) and other colors that I just don't like."

So I'm wondering. Will this child grow up to be a very talented fashion/design consultant...or just an everyday "critic"? Only time will tell.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Lord's Day

"This is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Do you know that if you get up really early, you can do a whole lot more rejoicing and being glad? Our "celebration" of today began at about 4:45 a.m. The grand kids had spent the night and were sleeping in their sleeping bags on the floor next to our bed. At about 4:45, I heard a thump and jumped up out of a sound sleep to find that one of them had rolled into the leg of the bed side table and it had fallen over on them! The lamp broke, but luckily only into two large pieces of glass and no shards. They were surprisingly calm...or still asleep and stunned...as they helped me upright things again. Making sure eveything was cleaned up and everyone was okay, I tried to persuade them to go back to sleep. (Yeah, right, Nanny!) As I turned the light off again, Emery said, "What's that?" and pointed to the window. Savannah said, "Is that lightning?" I told them that, yes, it had been lightning out for a little while now but assured them there was no bad storm. Emery said, "I don't hear the funder." I told them they could lay there and watch the lightning show and be very quiet to see if they could hear thunder. To my surprise, they were very quiet. I thought they had gone back to sleep or, at the very least, were about to. Then I heard what sounded like the closet door on Jerry's side of the room. I got up and found them both sneaking into Grandpa's closet! I asked what they were doing and Savannah said, "We're on a field trip." And Emery added, "Yeah...a field trip." I told them both to get back on their sleeping bags and they could play field trip later...like when the sun came up. So they settled back down. Not much after that, Roxie was whining at the basement door. She usually sleeps in our room, but when the kids stay over she sleeps downstairs. So Jerry got up to let her out. That was about 5:30, so I knew he would just stay up for the day. Emery was still a little restless (read: wound up), so I told him to come and get in bed with me. Pretty soon Savannah wanted in, too, so we added her. Then the two of them were poking at each other and laughing, so I put myself in the middle. Eventually, Savannah went back down to the sleeping bag and the three of us went back to sleep and didn't get up again until about 8:30. That's when Savannah and I got up...Emery stayed asleep until about 9:00.

Due to the amount of pollen in the air right now, I had taken an antihistamine when I went to bed. So I was a little groggy during all of this. But I KNOW I didn't dream it!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What is it, Girl?

I'm sure you remember Lassie...that lovable, albeit whiny, collie dog from the days of black and white TV. In every episode, Lassie would come to Timmy or his parents and whine...and whine, and whine and whine, until they were tired of listening to it and would get fed up enough to say (in mild, sweet voices), "What is it, girl?" Lassie would then lead them to someone who was in danger and, as always, she would save the day -- as well as the distressed -- and be the hero. That was the show. Every week. It truly was a different time in TV viewing.

Our dog, Roxie, has been doing her impression of Lassie for the past week or so. She is obsessed with our fireplace. She looks at it and whines...and whines...and whines. She stares at the ash box. Jerry has opened it to show her there isn't anything in there. She tilts her head to one side...and then the other. She continues to stand guard. A few times, one of us have heard a barely audible scratching or rustling sound. There must be something (or someone?) in the chimney or within the wall around the chimney. When whatever it is decides to have a "coming out" party, Roxie will be right there to meet and greet. If that happens, I'll let you know what it is. Until then, we'll just continue to say (day and night), "What is it, girl?"

Friday, April 4, 2008

Getting Organized

I love getting organized. I like to work in an orderly environment, so when I sit down to sew or work on photo albums, budget stuff, etc. I like everything in it's place...and handy. And when I take time to get organized, I get all excited -- I feel like something may be getting accomplished some time soon. This morning I had to get a few things at Target. So, while I was there, I sauntered down the basket/box/container aisles and picked up a few things. This afternoon I treated myself to some time in the sewing room getting these new boxes, bins and baskets loaded up with projects to take with me on the "blended arts" retreat in a couple of weeks.

Jodi -- along with 13 of her scrapbooking buddies, and me -- along with 14 of my quilting friends, are going on a Friday to Sunday retreat at the Charlie Elliott Conference Center the weekend of the 18th of April. These are SOOO much fun...and we all get SOOOO much done! We "work" until the wee hours of the morning, then catch a few winks and are at it again early the next day. We don't worry about catching up on our sleep until the following week.

Here is a picture of what I got organized this afternoon. I always over-plan for a working retreat just like I over-pack for a vacation. You know...you take more clothes than you will wear, but you want options. Same with the projects to work on at retreat. In this picture there are enough supplies for making 6 or 7 full-sized quilt tops. Even though some of them are started already...like Jeremy's large stars (bottom left) in homespun fabrics, Emery's fish bowls (top center), and Jodi's Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks (top right), as well as the blue/brown/tan half square triangles (center right) which I'm making just because I saw it in a magazine and had to have it...this still represents a lot of hours of rotary cutting and machine piecing. I'm sure I won't get them all done, but it's great to dream big and have plans and options.

So the fabric part is ready to go. Now I need to remember to take all the tools and supplies I will need to accomplish these tasks. Then I will have to turn my attention to all the food and drinks I want to have handy for snacking on, a few DVDs to pop into the big screen TV, (Jodi says "no X-rated") and if there's room...maybe some pajamas and a toothbrush. I only have two weeks to get this all together, so it's a good thing I'm starting early!
PS: If you click on the pictures, you can see the fabrics and blocks better.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


If April showers bring May flowers...what do May flowers bring? Pilgrims! (Unless it's a Mayflower moving van...then it brings your furniture.)

Today is April 1st (no fooling) and we had showers when we woke up this morning. We have a good chance for more this afternoon and pretty much every day the rest of the week. Whoo-hoo! Here in the drought-stricken southeast, that's a great way to start any month. Actually, we've had some pretty decent rains lately and some lesser...but frequent...precip most of the winter. I wouldn't say we're out of drought danger just yet, but it's still great to see the rains come down.

Now that Savannah has reached the ripe old age of 5...she likes to begin sentences with, "Back when I was a kid..." Well, ever since she was "a kid" I've had this little umbrella at my house. Here she is at about 2-1/2 years old, playing with it in the house. (The fake rain drops are from my scrapbook page) That's usually what they do. They (she and Emery now, too) open it up in the house...swing it around...risk poking eyes out, etc...and then lay it down again. To the best of my knowledge, the umbrella has never seen rain. So when it was raining on Saturday afternoon and they were over here, I told her, "Wouldn't it be fun to actually take the umbrella out in the rain????" She looked at me like that was a really novel idea, and then she did. She giggled and said it was cold -- it had cooled off quite a bit when the rain came -- but she wanted to stomp in a mud puddle with her "ladybug" shoes on. So she did. Later she told me, "This was a great day, Nanny. First it was sunny and then we had the rain." You've got that right, Sweetie. Sunshine...rain...and grand kids. That's a really great day.