Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Michael is doing better the last couple of days. No more episodes like the one Sunday night. Thank the Lord! School starts tomorrow and he will be alone most of the days from now on. I may take a house key over to the neighbors for emergency purposes. They're a dear retired couple who love us to bits; I'm sure they won't mind.

Thanks for the compliments about Andrea's black and white quilt. I bought some variegated thread (black, white and gray) at the NQA show in Columbus several months ago for this quilt. Out of curiosity, I used some of it on a black and white tote bag I made for Andrea last month and it looked great.

I finished the Bonnie Hunter stars last night and started to sew them together.

Tomorrow I get the "pleasure" of seeing my dentist again to wrap up the root canal. (UGH!) Friday's more fun and games with the urologist. Then, I get to see both health care professionals again next week. Do I know how to live or what? LOL


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Recent Projects

Really pleased with the production in the sewing room as of late. I've wrapped up piecing on a couple of projects and finished an assignment for a class at Best Friends.

Those of you who were at the retreat in East Palestine, Ohio (St Jude's fund raiser) may have seen me working on the blocks for this quilt. The blocks were all finished at the retreat and have been just sitting in my sewing room until this past Sunday when I finally got them all pieced together. This is for Andrea - she selected the pattern and the colours. I tried to convince her that a one inch red border with a big (5 inch) black border would really look sharp, but she was not pleased with that idea. She wants NO border.

My boss is retiring in March, but I wanted to get his retirement/signature quilt done asap since things are so unsettled at our office. (He may just say, "Enough of this!" and leave early.) This pattern is from the newest Nickel quilts book. After Michael took the photo, I realized one of the autograph blocks was sewn into the quilt incorrectly. I've since fixed that.

What I need now are ideas for the borders. I have a big piece of blue Lakeside fabric from Thimbleberries for the wide border. Would a skinny dark red border service well? There aren't too many red shades in the pieces.

My goal is to have this quilted and ready by mid September. That way I will be ready just in case!

This quilt was a Stash Pot Pie project. Very, very pleased with the colours on this one and I took a lot of care with the quilting ( heart-shaped leaves and swirls free-form) I like the assignments we have for Stash Pot Pie and one of my "goals" is to have the monthly project completely done for Show Off and Tell each meeting. That way, I don't add to my flimsie population. This month we're supposed to be working on an apron. Perhaps get that started this coming weekend.

So, what's going on now? I'm working on Bonnie Hunter stars - 17 done and half-way done with the 13 remaining stars for a lap quilt. I'm collecting a variety of waste triangles for some future project.


Monday, August 24, 2009

A Very Big Scare

Michael had what we we call a "bad lung" day on Saturday. He used his oxygen nearly all day and had horrible coughing spells. Normally, he has the coughing attacks in the morning and they pass fairly quickly. Saturday was different. Then, at 2 in the morning, he couldn't breathe. He gasped for air and couldn't get any despite the oxygen flow. The sounds he made were something I'd never heard before and woke me from a deep sleep. I knew right away he was in trouble. Fortunately, he was able to cough and get the airway open. But the episode left both of us badly shaken. He went into the kitchen for a cup of tea - his "cure all" and I laid in bed shaking for a good hour. He said he had another episode like that last week, but neglected to tell me about it!

I suppose this only proves the doctor's point that Michael could leave this world at any time given the poor state of his lungs. That's why Dr. Dortin couldn't tell us how long he has. A sudden decline in his lung condition can kill him, even congestion from a cold or allergies.

Despite Michael's issues on Saturday, we still had friends over for dinner that night. I think it did him some good to laugh and relax a bit.

One of the books I read as part of my therapy talked about healthy spouses feeling resentful toward their ill/dying partners. I have to honestly admit I've been full of resentment the last few weeks. Saturday's episode may have burned off that feeling though.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

THE Cardinal Sin

Last night I showed to Michael a photo of a quilt in the latest Fons & Porter magazine . "Wouldn't that be nice?" I asked.

"Honestly, what do we NEED another quilt for?" he smirked.

OK, drive a stake through my heart, boil me in oil, tar and feather me, drop a toaster in the bathwater, etc, but DON'T question the NEED for a beautiful quilt. NEED has NOTHING to do with it. I think both Michael and Andrea still don't see my activities in the sewing room as a necessary creative outlet.



Despite the sun not being out (It's close to 8 am),it's a gorgeous cool morning in southwestern Ohio. I turned the AC off last night and opened the windows. Slept better than I have in weeks! I'm enjoying my coffee, going to read a bit and then tackle the housecleaning chores before going to the hairdresser's.

Two more rows to sew and I'll have my boss' retirement quilt all pieced. I'd have it done already, but I was messing around with some scrappy blocks (a la Bonnie Hunter) yesterday.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Animal Story

Smudge has been feeling poorly for several weeks. (For those of you new to my blog, Smudge is THE cat in the sewing room) Andrea and I took him to the vet's last night after work. Poor kitty is running a fever and has an infection. The vet ran a blood count, but the results won't be available until today. Meanwhile, we have to give him an antibiotic twice a day. Mercifully, the vet gave me a quick lesson in how to give Smudge a pill. Once he's over the infection, he gets another steroid shot for his annual late summer/early fall allergy problems.

So, Smudge got tucked into his cat carrier for the trip home and I dreaded getting the tab for the visit.

While waiting to pay the bill, we met our former neighbor. His family lived two doors down from us when we first moved to Mason nine years ago. Poor Phil looked like the weight of the world was on his shoulders and frankly I didn't even recognize him at first. We asked about Boomer, their golden retriever they adopted four years ago. "He died this afternoon," Phil said. "No idea what happened." The dog was less than five years old and apparently their youngest daughter found him dead in the backyard. Phil had brought Boomer to the vet's for disposal. I offered to help bring him into the office, but Phil said they had a stretcher and several vet assistants ready to help.

Suddenly, Smudge's infection didn't seem like such a big deal. Our friends are not far from my thoughts today, as well.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

An About Face!

When Michael received the letter from Social Security on Saturday, he was very downcast about the whole ordeal. Me? I sprang into "action". I composed a dignified letter to SSA, completed the reconsideration form and e-mailed our congressman. Before I had the chance to mail anything, we heard back from a congressional aide. Turns out the letter was sent in error! Michael's claim is still open and its fate rests in the hands of the British equivalent of SSA. Ms. Holmes also stated they sincerely apologized for the error and any distress it may have caused. It could be about 60 days before we know the final decision, but at least it's still in the works. Keep your fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, in the sewing room, I've started piecing together all the blocks for my boss' retirement quilt. The last of the autograph blocks was returned to me yesterday. I'll have Michael take photos of the work in progress since it's really looking nice. I have no idea what fabric to use for the borders since the quilt is so scrappy.

Speaking of scrappy, I've pieced 17 blocks of the star quilt we began in Friday's Bonnie Hunter workshop. That scrappy look is really growing on me. Good thing, too, since I have enough fabric in my stash to keep that up for YEARS!

No one likes the ultra-humid weather we'd had thus far this week. Poor Michael struggles so with it to the point where he won't go outside after 10 am. It even felt humid in the gym this morning, so their AC units must be struggling.

One more week and Miss Andrea returns to school. I've already been on the phone with her guidance counselor to get one class changed, made the annual haircut appointment, scheduled an eye exam and bought a few school clothes. She's also begging for me to take her to the new outlet mall north of our house. She will have to wait for that - until next payday.

Michael, bored with just staying home all day, has created his own little E-Bay business. So far, just selling a bunch of railroad layout models he created over the years. He's also buying stuff with the intention of fixing it up and then re-selling it.

Tattoo Boy might as well be a ghost for as often as we see him. When he's not working, he's with his girl friend. He got some financial aid lined up for school which helps him a lot. His classes don't start for another month.

As for me, no medical appointments this week. The fun and games begin again next week with work on the bad toothy and urology tests. I have no clue when I'll be able to schedule the surgery - we have two rounds of urology tests first. Definitely want to get it done this year since we've already reached our out of pocket maximum and we have no idea what Obama-care is going to do with our benefits.

So, that is all the news from 200 Furbee Drive!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Fun In Indianapolis

This past weekend I travelled to Indianapolis with Linda, Becca, and Jill to attend that city's guild meeting and the workshops hosted by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville fame.

First of all, it was simply fantastic to spend a few precious hours way from home - a break of sorts from the everyday challenges. To share this time with the above-mentioned quilty buddies was precious to me.

Bonnie is a truly gifted quilt artist and a fantastic instructor. Honestly, I had my doubts that I'd be successful in creating anything "scrappy". That was soon proven wrong!

My tote of two inch strips created a nice scrappy star. Once I had a sample - I went to town on sewing a bunch of pieces utilizing the bonus method Bonnie taught. By sewing an extra line on the corner of the blocks, you get a two inch half square triangle block. Before Friday, I simply snipped these ends off the sewn piece and tossed them into the nearest trash can. The horror of it all and I am so ashamed. But, I have seen the light and now have a basket designated for these little squares - waiting for the opportunity to be pieced for some lucky future quilt. Bonnie stated those little scraps cost $9 a yard too!

Saturday's class was interesting and once I got into the right mindset, it was a lot of fun. Just sewing "crumbs" together in a random order and creating 4 and 1/2 inch squares was a totally new thing for me. It quickly brought back memories of when I'd raid my grandmother's stash and sew doll dresses with no patterns.

Once I returned home, I sewed 17 of the scrappy star blocks and a handful of the 4 and 1/2 inch squares. Andrea popped her head into the sewing room to see what I was working on and pronounced that nothing matched. I'm taking that as the ultimate compliment.

And thus, back to reality..........

Michael got a letter from Social Security Administration. They denied his claim because he didn't have enough credits for the US system. No duh! Whoever handled his claim totally overlooked the fact that we filed for totalization benefits in coordination with England. So, I've already typed a letter and completed the form for Michael to send to re-open his request. Imbeciles! And these are the same folks we want running our health care system? This sort of action would not be tolerated by my company, which incidentally pays disability claims for our customers. I think I know what I'm talking about.

Andrea and two of her friends were anxiously waiting for my return from Indianapolis since they wanted to go bowling. First time in YEARS I've picked up my bowling ball. I did pathetic, but I did enjoy it. If I had more time, I would gladly join a league. Leagues are a lot of fun and you meet a lot of people, but they have gotten very expensive. (Like everything else!)

Have a wonderful Monday!