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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Another birthday stitch day

Today was another 2006 Birthday Stitch day. We were missing Shirlee today, but the quilt top was smaller, and we managed to get it all together by 4 PM. Ibby was the birthday girl (in pink). Check this entry for the full explanation of how we do birthday stitch days.

This quilt is called Elizabeth, by Miss Rosie, and is 68" square.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A few more blocks...

Caritas Bowties - 42 blocks (4 subunits each). I made half of them when I was in Rochester, and Carolyn made half of them while she was in Dallas. So can we say that these ties have been north and south in the Midwest?
Carolyn thought this was a good way to use up some of those reds in our 1930's stash for the backing since they always seem to be too bold in the front of the quilt.Here are Ibby's white & black happy blocks. Note the center square change in my star block (on the left) that I exchanged with her. Remember, she likes to be different? If you don't remember what it looked like before I unsewed the center, go back a couple of posts and see the before version! The block on the upper right is the connector block for these componenets. I'll post Carolyn's, mine and Ibby's all together sometime so you can see the similarities and the differences.

Several people asked about the star block pattern. It is a 12" star with a 6.5" pinwheel in the center. All the star blocks in her book show different centers, but I've done this lots of time before. It's sort of fun to put a block inside a block! It's from Alex Anderson's book, Keep Quilting.

I've been running around a lot this week taking care of Mom. She couldn't get a much needed blood transfusion, so now she's suffering the effects of that. Long story short, she's not doing so well, and much testing is being done this week concerning blood loss in order to be ready for the oncology doctor's appointment next Tuesday. I am worried that this might be a difficult appointment where they tell her there's nothing more that can be done.

It's been sort of like the elephant in the room, where no one is willing to discuss this eventuality. But no matter how much we want to ignore it, there it stands, looking us in the eye.

I am Ernie!

You Are Ernie
Playful and childlike, you are everyone's favorite friend - even if your goofy antics get annoying at times.

You are usually feeling:
Amused - you are very easily entertained.

You are famous for:
Always making people smile. From your silly songs to your wild pranks, you keep things fun.

How you life your life:
With ease. Life is only difficult when your friends won't play with you!
The Sesame Street Personality Quiz

I'm running hither, thither and yon. More when my brain isn't in the car, and my energy isn't on the wane.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Black & White or White & Black?

It's always fun to work with my two girlfriends, Ibby and Carolyn. They like the same things, but always make it just a little different. That a good thing, right? We're all making a wild and crazy quilt, using brights and black and whites. Tomorrow our first exchange of blocks is due.

While I was making my 12" blocks, Clyde thought he could hide and keep cool here. This is my new chair that my feet actually touch the floor when I sit in it!

Mine - I already had a pink block using this same fabric

And then while I was taking pictures of the blocks on the floor, he posed for this one and wouldn't leave me alone until he had his picture taken. The big ham!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bundles of creativity!

You don't think I need to put on this creativity patch to get the juices flowing with all this fabric, do you?

I had the hardest time with my brain and trying to buy so much fabric. I finally went through the store, putting fabric in my cart for each specific project. That's more or less how I have them organized on this page, too.

Now, remember this all took me three days, and the fabric was in a jumble everywhere! It was on the floor, on tables on bolts, on tables in flat folds, on the wall in bins, under the table in bins, in shopping carts and under patterns, too! They were re-setting the store, but I think maybe they were always in disarray. It just made the hunt all that much more fun!

The fabric on the left is 5 yards each of Marsha McCloskey's Staples on top and Ambrosia by P&B Textiles. The one on the right is 3 yards of Print Concepts, It's a Cat's World After All (I have no idea why!).

These are mostly, but not all, Mary Englebreits that were on the super duper reduced table. I think there's one that Finn just recently got, too - the yellow one?. These will be for my "kite" quilt like the one I saw being made in my Gwen Marston class last spring. It's on the bottom of this page called Pam's Controlled Spider Web.

Hubby really, really liked these two 5 yard cuts he found under a table on the last day of shopping. The yellow one had some sort of black streak running the length of the fabric, and we didn't see it until it was being measured. He sort of expressed how unhappy he would be about not getting this particular fabric because it was so happy. Sooooooo, they asked him if 99 cents a yard would be enough of a reduction. You can see it made it home, so way to go Hubby! These two are going to be used for gift quilts for 6 of the Sisters of Charity who work at the Clinic.

These fabrics are all between 3 and 5 yards and I am planning on making 9 lap quilts for Duschene Caritas Clinic Diabetic Education graduation (reward) quilts. They need to be completed by February.

These? These were some reproductions that I just liked, and I think they might be a nice addition to the Kite quilt, too.

Brights, and black and whites, and whites and blacks for the Beaver Island Gwen Marston retreat in September.

Now lest you think I broke the bank, here's the scoop. I purchased 80 yards for under $3.00 per yard! Made it all worthwhile, and besides I was able to use up about 12 hours of my Rochester time shopping for fabric! LOL!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Projects from Rochester


This is the little basket of scraps I took with me to Rochester. Every time I started a new block, I would just piece two of them together without thinking about whether the colors went together or not. Some of them were long pieces, some were angular - all I cared about was whether they "fit". This is the last block I had time to make, and I still have all these scraps left! In total, I was able to make thirty five 6.5" string blocks.

Minnesota Pinwheels Baby Quilt# 1

This is the first baby quilt I made, which wasn't the best use of colors, I found. The yellow was just too pale, but I think the border pieces I've got next to it perks it up a bit. The lavender is a little sweet polka dot that I just love! It's a Terry Atkinson pattern from the Minnesota Hotdish book, called Minnesota Pinwheels. I thought the pattern was appropriate since I was in Minnesota. With the borders, it will be about 52" square, and I think I am going to do a soft scalloped border edge.

Minnesota Pinwheels Baby Quilt# 2

This second baby quilt is much better! I really like Terry Atkinson patterns, too! I haven't chosen a border fabric yet, but it will probably be something appropriate for a girl.


These are my half of the bowties for the September Caritas quilt that my friend Carolyn and I are making. The green part on the left is the carpet in the apartment! They were quick to make, and I think we will have them all put together in the next week or so - it is a queen size when finished out.


As I was laying out my bonus buys from Rochester, Bonnie decided to make her appearance and claim it all! She is so happy we are home, and I am back in the stewdio!

The stash buys will be in a different blog posting just to tease you another day or two!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Thursday in Rochester MN

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

So far all the of the testing has been positive. We met with the specialist yesterday about Hubby's nutrition and now have a good plan to implement when we get back home this weekend. He also got megadoses of Vitamin A three days in a row so he can see the stars at night again (he had night blindness, too). We also met with the kidney docs today and they've reduced his immuno-suppressants because, as we suspicioned that is probably the cause of the severe weight loss and other issues. The scary news is that he has now developed BK, which is a virus that could trash his new kidney. They are hopeful that reducing the immuno-suppressants will cause that virus to be reduced, so keep him in your thoughts over the next few months for that to happen.

I've been checking blogland periodically when I can get to the computer, but we are limited to 30 minutes each session, so I haven't remarked on any of them. I have so enjoyed getting my visual quilt fixes with the pictures and comments I get to see, though!

I also have to admit that I have fallen off the fabric wagon. I discovered a Mill End store here in Rochester - AND they are having a fabric blowout sale. No fabrics are higher than $4.99 a yard, and many of them are on the shelves at LQSs, too! Each day you can purchase one fabric cut at 50% off, and they also take one JoAnn's coupon per day too. Yesterday, I purchased a total of 26.5 yards of fabric, and spend less than $100.00. Today, I went back, but I haven't counted how many yards are sitting in the bag in the car, though. Pictures of my haul will have to wait until we get home though:)

I am presently waiting for Hubby to return from his intestinal biopsy and then we will go back to the apartment. I've finished up one baby quilt, and have another ready to sew up tonight. Tomorrow is the finale (or so we hope) and meetings with the doctors to review these last tests, and get our plan to go back home with. In the meantime, I am sewing, and waiting, and waiting and sewing, and keeping my fingers crossed for positive test results.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

At Mayo Clinic-2006

It's hard to believe it's been an entire year since we were here in Rochester with my Hubby and his brother swapping stories and a kidney. This year has started with early morning appointments and continue on throughout the day. My part of the appointments are over now, until tomorrow when some biopsies are scheduled. After that, Hubby will be on his own with his appts, and I will be doing a lot of walking and sewing. Not at the same time, of course!

This is Hubby sitting by the Mayo Brothers at the little park in front of the main Mayo Clinic Building in Rochester, Minnesota June 2005.

This is one of my favorite places to sit and wait (and watch people). It is the subway level between two main buildings, and it's the intersection that joins even more buildings together. The main pharmacy is here too, along with a little coffee shop, and some shops. There's a large piano which is usually being played beautifully by anyone who wants to stop and share their music. Of course, the sun streaming through the windows makes me smile, too!

Imagine our surprise when we were going down some steps and looked up and saw...Chihuly!!!

Can't you just see a quilt of this? It's actually some ceramic art in one of the lobbies.

Kidney one (donor brother) and Kidney Two (Hubby)

So far, they have a good plan for testing to find out about the weight loss. So here's hoping that we go home with a good plan to put the weight on him, now.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Bowties for Caritas

Today, Hubby's morning appts are finished, and his kidney biopsy is finished, and I am in the Communication Center taking a break from a cold, cold, cold room. I loaded some pictures on some "future" blogs before leaving home, so I could have something to anchor my thoughts to as I wait out the week:)

I am happy to report that I finished all the sub-units to make my half of a queen bowtie quilt for The Duschene Clinic in Leavenworth Kansas for a September auction. I know I still haven't shared about our meeting with them yet, but just know that we have enough to do to keep us busy for a while. Each block is comprised of four bowtie units, and each unit is a different 30's reproduction fabric. The pieces are cut at 4" squares, with a 2.5" square sewn on the corner of the background square. Easy, and quick!I decided that I really and truly want to use up this fabric, so instead of putting it away, I am trimming any edges off of each piece to make it square again. This means I have a basket full of trimmings to add to a bag of authentic 30's scraps I found in my stash. Who knows where that came from? Anyways, I decided to make Finn's mile a minute blocks (as best I could from her descriptions) and I get a 6.5" block from every two or three Bowtie blocks I make by using enders and leaders. I have enough of these now to make at least a baby quilt. I am thinking I will just keep going until the basket is empty before I decide what they will be when they grow up!

So that's what I've been doing in my spare time. After they let him up and walk around in about an hour, we will leave the hospital part of the clinic. He will return later this afternoon for a couple more appts. What will I be doing? Either shopping or sewing! Either way, I will be a happy camper!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Trips to Mayo Clinic

This is for those of you who have asked, and those of you who have commented about our trip to Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. And probably for those of you who have wondered about it, but thought it was impolite to ask:)

My hubby got very ill in late winter of 2004, and no one in KC could accurately diagnose the problem. So we went 7 hours north of here to Rochester MN Mayo Clinic and within 24 hours he had the diagnosis of end stage liver disease. Apparently it was hereditary, and there was no known cause for the failure other than that. What a surprise! On top of that he had a condition (also undiagnosed before then) of Factor V Leiden which means his blood clotted more quickly than normal - actually, the reverse of hemophilia. This factor could have been the cause of his 1998 blood clot in his main artery that caused him to lose all but 42" of small intestine while we were traveling in Japan (another nightmare story for another time). This in turn, then added more stress on a sick liver for 6 years, so he was in a fine mess by 2004!

So, he was put on the transplant list, and we came back home to the Kansas City area. We made several trips back and forth to Mayo for interim treatments during the next couple of months. Around Memorial Day, he became very, very ill with a severe abdominal infection, and we made a 90 mph hour highway trip back north, and he was immediately admitted to the hospital there. Now, the good news was that he was at the top of the list nationwide for a donation, but the bad news was that he was so very sick, he wouldn't be able to accept it. Within a few days, the meds did their magic and he was about to come home when he got the news that a liver was available. So, his wait was shorter than most, and he was so very lucky to have received it when it did.

This is the time I found our short term lease furnished apartment. I decided when he was in the hospital for treatment of the infection, that we just couldn't keep making the middle of the night runs between KC and Rochester - especially with the winter and spring weather like it is in the Midwest.

The apartment is within walking distance of the Clinic/Hospital; there is a shuttle bus that runs every half hour both ways; there's a shuttle to HyVee grocery store and to Walmart; the apartment is clean, and completely furnished with everything a person might need; security is great; it's right by the Zumbro River walk and the Civic Art Center and the Honkers Baseball park. Management (Judy) is wonderful, and I feel like we have a home away from home.

The liver transplant was a success, but the anti-rejection medication was hard on his kidney, so last summer in 2005, his brother gave him one of his. So, we were back in Rochester for another Fourth of July. That in itself is a wonderful thing - the parade comes right by the front lawn of the apartment, and we could watch the fireworks out our window overlooking the lake and the river. But, I have to tell you, it was wonderful to be in our own home, with our wonderful neighbors this year.

We were originally scheduled to be in Rochester this year, again for the Fourth, for his annual checkup, but one of the doctors that we especially wanted to see was not going to be there. We didn't find out until the last minute, but we've rescheduled for all of next week - tests actually start Sunday and our last known appointment is on Thursday afternoon. But, we kid each other about Mayo "weeks" are like dog years to human years. A Mayo week is probably more like 10 days, so we never know how long we will be there:)

Yes, there are actually two quilt shops in Rochester, and my favorite one is in an historic 1870 blue house, converted to quilt/yarn shop. The second one, The Quilting Cupboard used to be close enough to walk to, coming or going from the clinic, but she's moved to nicer quarters about 2 miles away. It's a nice little shop with lots of great ideas. Sue, the owner's daughter, Ann Kisro, has great patterns and they are both really really nice folks!

So, with all this, I always take projects to work on while he is running from one appt to the other. Unless you've ever gone to a Mayo Clinic, you don't have any idea of how little "down" time there is. The only time I take handwork with me, is when he is having his biospy (kidney) because he is in the hospital for about 6-9 hours. Other than a couple of review appointments, he goes by himself and I stay in the apartment and sew.

This year we will be going to the Translant Picnic on Saturday and a Honkers Baseball game on Sunday. We plan on hitting the Outlet Mall near Owatona sometime before we come home. Other than that, I am going to sew, sew, sew! I hope to have ALL of the projects I am taking with me completed before I return. Do you think that will happen?

I really don't know how I will do it all without my quilting Clyde, though! I miss my buddies terribly while we are gone.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Getting Ready for Rochester, MN

Here's a few of the baggies of projects I have ready to put in the project box for our trip to Rochester, MN. We always rent a furnished apt (short term lease) at the same place, and the manager knows us well by now. When we arrive, she always puts a second table in the room, along with at least one more lamp! Is that great or what?

The projects are 2 reproduction baby quilts using the Minnesota Hotdish pattern by Terry Atkinson. I think they are called Minnesota Pinwheels (they are shown on the book cover in the upper left hand corner). I also have my Sunbonnet Sue Story so I can make letters ala Tonya for the border. And just in case I finish those projects before we return home, I've packed two more bags with enough fabrics to do at least two more baby quilts using the Quick Quilt book shown in the lower right hand corner. And yes, there are some little "I soy" animal blocks to put in a whacky/wonky quilt, too. As if that isn't enough, today I've added to the pile with enough things cut for a bowtie quilt from Quick Quilts. That will be my half of a raffle quilt for Duschene clinic that will be held in September. I'll have to share the story about our meeting with Duschene clinic, too.

But for now, I am going out in the yard to pull up a chair and watch all the illegal fireworks across town from my front porch:)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Small Charity Quilts

These are some of the "reclaimed" orphan blocks and stuff my friends and I are using for the little charity quilts. All of these will go to Linus in Kansas City.

My daughter stopped at a garage sale a couple of days ago, and called to asked if I wanted FREE quilting stuff. What's not good about that? Besides 3 rotary cutters, some template plastic, a self healing mat and some nice little boxes of pins, there were some hunks of older type calicos. They were a nice complement to use with the older orphan blocks from way back when.

We all are feeling pretty good that the orphans and older fabrics will be finding a good home after all these years of languishing in our stash boxes.

Now, I am needing to get ready to pack up for our annual trip to Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN for Hubby's kidney/liver transplant reviews. I think I have a plan - it's just a matter of finding what I want to take! LOL!

Happy and Safe Fourth of July to all!

Shirlee's Whirling Star - 21" X 33"

Sharon's Baby Animals - 31" square

Shirlee's Crosses and Stars - 44" X 51" (not quilted yet)

Shirlee's Mariner's Compass - 35.5" X 37" (notice two blocks cut in half to frame the center)

Shirlee's Blue Sails - 19" square