Friday, March 21, 2008

Dryin' and Flyin'

Hey all,
It finally stopped raining yesterday and the sun came out! A lot of folks have wet basements and nasty issues to deal with, so we are very fortunate that the leak in the storage shed was all we're facing. More rain tonight though, UGH!

We're winging our way to England tomorrow afternoon and return on the 31st. Michael admitted this morning that he's hesitant to leave home! Now's a bloody stupid time to be telling me that! Packing tonight and tomorrow morning. Not that big of a deal really since this will be our third trip over there as a family. But, it's my first as a quilter - so the highlight of my week in England may be finding some unique and nice fabrics/patterns.

Haven't finished a lot in the sewing room. I'm half-way done with the blocks on the latest Stash Pot Pie assignment. Since I'm taking two days off work after we return, I'm hopeful to get a lot of sewing done then. If Michael's not stressing me out, perhaps, just perhaps I can escape into the sewing room for a bit tonight. Wishful thinking, eh?

Well, chickees, that's it for now. I wish you all a very happy Easter and sunny skies!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Addicted to Nickels

.... Nickel quilts that is! LOL I received the second Nickel Quilts book in the post yesterday. Talk about anxious to work on a new project! There are so many neat patterns between those two publications - deciding what to work on first is the biggest challenge. My biggest regret is that I did not take the workshop when Pat Speth was in town earlier this month. Lucky for me she did the presentation at the guild meeting or else I wouldn't know what I was missing!

I sewed 11 of the 48 blocks needed for the next Stash Pot Pie quilt last night. At first, I was not real happy with my choice of fabrics until I laid them out on a flannel board - now I can't sew fast enough to get it done! I have three more nights to finish these blocks before we leave for England.

Isn't it strange that the main thing I'll miss from home is my sewing room? I did find a quilt shop in the town where we'll be staying and Gina gave me the names of some fabric manufacturers in England.

If you haven't already, read Jen's blog about her sewing machine injury. OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!! That had to have hurt big time! Gotta be careful, people. The needles and rotary cutters are sharp! The pointer finger on my left hand is still numb and tingly from slicing off 1/4" with a rotary cutter in early December.

Weather report: We're going to all swim home tonight. We're in the midst of a huge rainstorm - supposed to get 3-5 inches of rain by Wednesday night. Thank goodness it isn't snow! Two weeks ago it was!!!!!!!!!!!!

Michael's on his last week of pulmonary rehab treatment. He swears that it hasn't done him any good, but my contention is how would he know how he felt if he HADN'T done the eight weeks of classes? AND if he had worked out and dieted as was advised, he WOULD be doing better. He cannot even fathom the correlation between diet and health. DUH! I wish we had the funds to buy him additional sessions, but I'm certain even if we did Michael would refuse to go.

Slip slidin' away in Cincinnati!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Quilting Day and Wearin' o' the Green

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all! Irish or not, it's fun to wear green and act a little goofy on this day.

Trust you had a good National Quilting Day. Although I didn't get to quilt as much as I wanted this weekend - I had a Stash Buster class on Saturday and cut fabric yesterday for the next class assignment - Around the World nine patch. I think it will be much easier than February's assigned quilt. Got the handiest tool for triangles - saved me from cutting strips in a different size than the solid blocks on the quilt.

Much of the weekend was spent planning and organizing for our upcoming flight to England. We went to AAA and got some funds exchanged and loaded a travel card. Andrea and I went shopping on Sunday and purchased outfits for the wedding and a few other assorted items. I got a marvelous pair of walking shoes.

Friday night, the three of us went to Ikea after dinner, so we didn't have long to look around. But what I saw was impressive. It's a huge store. The prices are excellent and from what I could tell the quality was good as well. We picked up a few things - small jars for pins in the sewing room, ice cube trays, an umbrella and a small lamp for Andrea's desk. We'll definitely be going back many times. I was disappointed with the sofas - the designs and colours are fantastic, but they're not comfortable.

Our walk around Ikea though was upsetting in a way. Michael was having severe difficulties with breathing walking into the store. He chalked it up to the cool, damp weather, but I'm not so certain. I think his lung condition is definitely getting worse and it frightens me. I know he's not going to improve - I would settle for just stabilization. Both of us are hoping the warmer spring weather will help things out. Time will tell.

My friend Bev loved the cat quilt. We were at their house on Saturday night for a birthday party. Bev's husband, Martin, is a Brit and into model railroads like Michael. In fact, Michael and Martin met first through a model railroad forum and the four of us have been friends ever since. Martin, as usual when we get together, had too much to drink and as Bev put it "felt like shit" on Sunday! I had two beers and some lovely little amaretto drink - enough for this light-weight drinker.

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pinch me - Is spring REALLY here at last?

It's bloody lovely outside this afternoon and I am itching to get out of this office and into the sunshine. Keep your fingers crossed that we've seen the last of snow and below freezing temperatures for a while.

I have finished the binding on Lizzie's quilt (YEAH!) and started the binding on mom's placemats. Really, really itching to start something new, but I looked at all the tops I have done and decided it's a crying shame I have all that work into them and they're not usable yet. I made a Flying Geese pattern quilt for our bedroom that's sandwiched and pinned. Some of the straight line sewing is done on it, but it was so frustrating because of the quilt's size that I put it aside over a year ago. I'm debating on how to proceed and am leaning toward putting it on the frame, pins and all, remove the pins as I work it, do the free-motion stuff on the frame and then complete the straight line stuff last on my regular machine. OR, I could just free motion the entire thing. Decisions, decisions......I cannot tell you how relieved I am to have finished that wedding quilt though. No more pressies planned - quilts for me and my family now!

Got the first Nickel quilt book in the mail yesterday and skipped through it rather quickly last night. I am so glad I bought it - inspired enough to get into my scrap basket and start cutting five inch squares of all of it. I'll keep doing that until I have a good supply of the squares. Shouldn't take long to obtain a collection. I've got the Stash Busters class again on Saturday (postponed from last Saturday). Looks like I'm evolving into a scrappy quilter this year.

Found a lovely free pattern on - Buckeye Beauty. I think it would look spectacular in Ohio State colours-scarlet and grey with some green and peanut butter coloured fabrics. Will dive into that after the first of April.

The mail had another surprise yesterday - a notice of a special sale at Penney's on Sunday night for associates and their families. (Thanks, Mom!) Andrea and I need to find new outfits for the wedding, so you know where to find us on Sunday night! Michael claims he doesn't need any new clothing for the event, but most of his stuff is so d-u-l-l looking.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I won Gina's 100th post give-a-way - the fat quarters. Woo who! First time I've ever won a drawing for something quilty. Thank you, Gina, and I will let you know when they arrive, what I plan on creating with them and will post photos of the finished project(s).

Doing some exploring on the web for quilt shop sites in England and I found one in the town where we will be staying the week after Easter. I e-mailed the shop owner this afternoon and her reply sounded like she was already apologizing for the size of their store. "We're probably much smaller than you're used to," she said. I want to find patterns and or fabric that one cannot find in this country - something uniquely English, so it doesn't matter how large the store is as long as they have home-grown items. Michael even knows where this shop is located, so here I come!

One more night of hand stitching and I will be finished with Lizzy's quilt.

Here's a question for you quilty bloggers - when you make a quilt for a gift, do you have a hard time giving it away? I've worked on two quilts so far this year and I'm really experiencing remorse over losing them, especially the cat quilt. (not so much with Lizzy's quilt since it's really bright) After this, I may concentrate on creating some things for myself for a while.

The big news here in Cincinnati is that IKEA is opening a mega store tomorrow. Would you believe that folks are camping outside the store in anticipation of being one of the first customers in the store? I've been looking forward to the store opening too, but I won't sleep in a tent in freezing temperatures for that or anything else for that matter. I may not shop there until after we get back from England.

The snow from last week's storm is slowly melting! Could it be that spring is not far off? I hope, I hope, I hope.....


Monday, March 10, 2008

Thawing Out

Well, the great warm-up is under way in southwestern Ohio. The snow is starting to melt. After 18 inches of snow on Friday/Saturday, we were ready to dig out yesterday. Shoveling snow is great exercise (not!) and I was more than ready to hand off the shovel to Andrea to finish the job. End result: Got out of the driveway with no issues this morning.

The Lizzie quilt is almost done - binding is a bit more than halfway done. I also started working on the binding for mom's four chicken placemats yesterday. For some reason, I just couldn't bring myself to start anything new yesterday, which is just as well. Very pleased with the placemats and hope mom likes them too. Will try to get them done and in the mail before we leave for England on the 22nd.

I ordered the two Nickel quilt books off Amazon a few minutes ago. The more I thought about it, the more I think I'll use them a lot. Got gently used copies at more than half off the original price. I even cut some scraps up in five inch squares yesterday in anticipation of getting those patterns.

Just doesn't seem like it's less than two weeks before we leave for England. It'll be so nice just to have some time off work. Glad that I've taken two days off after we return. I suppose the more often we make that trip the smarter I get about time usage.

This morning I read an article that was in the Washington Post's magazine about a man who is caring for a wife stricken with Huntington's Disease. The poor woman relies on help from him and various caregivers for everything. I kept thinking to myself how very lucky I am with Michael. He has to use oxygen at night and can't really exert himself. We don't have it that bad. Hopefully his pulmonary fibrosis will remain stable for a long long time and we don't have to take the measures like the couple in the article. Certainly put things in perspective for me after I was upset over paying $167 for his inhaler on Friday.

Hope this is a great week for all of us.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Snowed Under and Loving It!

We have close to two feet of snow in our neighborhood thanks to the storm that passed through yesterday and today. Once I got home from work yesterday, I thoroughly enjoyed the weather, knowing that I didn't have to drive in it again! Miracle of miracles, my company closed early yesterday, but it still took me 90 minutes to drive a usual 30. I've spent the majority of the day watching the snow come down whilst working on the binding of the cat quilt. It's finished and I'm on to binding the Lizzie quilt.

If you want to see what the Lizzie quilt looks like and several others that I've done, look at Jill's blog. She took photos of my work when I brought them to the last guild meeting. Thanks Jill!

Bev's birthday party was cancelled thanks to the weather, so she will have to wait to receive the cat quilt. If Weight Watchers and the Stash Buster class wasn't cancelled this morning, I doubt I would have finished the binding on the cat quilt in time. Binding is such a slow process for me.

Andrea's still having some friends over tonight for a sleepover, so I'll close for now so I can prepare snacks for five teenage girls. Hope you're all having a great weekend.

Hugs and stay warm!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cats On The Quilting Frame

No, not the real kitties - the cat quilt I'm working on for Bev's birthday pressie. It took me forever to piece the backing and get everything loaded onto the frame properly. Managed to get the first block of kitties quilted - four more sections to quilt. Wish I could have had more time with it last night, but it was getting late by my standards - 9 pm. (I know, I know, I'm a wuss - not like you quilters who can stitch away until the wee hours of the morning.)

I think that whoever or whatever controls the weather for this area of the country is a total NUT JOB! They're predicting five to ten inches of snow tomorrow. ARGHHHHHHHHH!!!! Seriously, I'm debating taking a day off work tomorrow just to avoid driving in that c-r-a-p. I'll make that decision when I get up tomorrow morning. It's not supposed to start snowing until mid-morning I heard. I just don't want to get stuck in my car like I did with the last storm - three hours to get home, my nerves were totally shot.

Hoping too the snow doesn't affect our stash busting class on Saturday morning at Best Friends. The weather advisory doesn't end until late Saturday.

A group of us from work are going to a Chinese buffet for lunch. I'm going to do my best to be good and stick to just the steamed veggies and a bowl of soup. I told one of my friends to smack my hand if I even reach for the Crab Rangoon.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Lovin' This Rainy Day

Hey, it's better than snow!

The guild meeting last night was great. Between all the show-and-tell quilts and Pat Speth's trunk show I was ODing on fantastic quilts. Talk about inspiring! Pat's Nickel quilts are spectactular and I am going to make at least one of them. Jill and Judy talked me into presenting my two quilts during show and tell and I lived to tell the tale. At least my work wasn't bad enough for them to kick me out of the meeting - LOL. Look for photos on Jill's blog.

By the time I got home, it was 9 and I was ready for bed. And I can remember the days when I berated my mother for being tired and ready for bed at that hour. If she knew I said that, she'd probably get a small chuckle of revenge.

Speaking of my mom, her thyroid surgery went well, but the path report was disconcerting. Her endocrinologist said the pre-surgery needle biopsy was benign - not to worry. But the final pathology report said there was cancer, although small and encapsulated. Good thing they decided to remove the thyroid, but it makes me wonder if they should have done it years ago. Not sure what kind of follow-up care they're recommending - she should know this week. This is her second bout with cancer - she had kidney cancer 13 years ago.

Michael's dutifully going to his therapy again today. With the rain and the fact that he's tired, I thought those would be reasons enough for him to skip it. He must remember how sore he got last week after skipping a session!

Not sure how much quilting I'll accomplish tonight - Bev's cat quilt needs to be done by Saturday and the binding on Lizzie's quilt can take second place for a few nights. I'll work on the machine sewing for an hour or so tonight and then start with the binding when I watch television - Biggest Loser night.

Biggest Loser was pre-empted last Tuesday for primary election junk. I sure won't miss the political ads after today, but trust me, they will return in the fall. It's as sure as the seasons change!

Stay dry!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Staying Away From Fabric Shops

But, that doesn't mean I'm not having fun! Are you sitting down? Good - I FINISHED LIZZY'S QUILT! Well, almost - I just have the hand stitching to do on the binding. Talk about frustration getting there - I quilted a section on Saturday and didn't like the look of it, so I ripped it out - took three hours. Once that was done, it was easy finishing it. I gotta thank Jen big time for recommending the on-line site for batting. The black batting I used for Lizzy's quilt worked wonderfully. As soon as we return from England, I'm going to order a bolt of the white batting. Now, if I could just figure out how to post a photo...

I'm somewhat envious of the fat quarter purchases I'm reading about on the other blogs. But, I am serious in my efforts to not purchase any more fabric. I slipped somewhat on my resolve last month. March is going to be better since I'll have less time to sew and plan.

Today at lunch time I'm driving to Best Friends and sign up for the next quarter's Stash Buster sessions. That's one way of using up the stash - by the end of the year, I'll have 12 scrappy quilts to show for my efforts.

The guild meeting is tonight - I'm looking forward to seeing the trunk show and listening to the author of Nickel Quilts.

Thank goodness the weather here has finally taken a turn for the warmer stuff, but from what I heard it's not going to last more than a day or two. I took a break from quilting yesterday and took Daisy for a long walk around the neighborhood. I think she forgot how much fun walks are since she didn't want to leave Andrea's nice warm, soft bed at first when I showed her the leash. Last fall and summer, that would have created instant pandemonium.

Good feeling for the day: I paid off two of our debts and the last of the '07 hospital charges for Michael. The bank balance doesn't look as nice, but it's great satisfaction to get rid of bills.

Have a great Monday!