Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It's Finished!

I have finally finished the quilt I was making for my niece. In an earlier post, I said I was using the Attic Windows block using heart blocks left over from an anniversary quilt as the focal point in the block. I even posted a photo of a block. Well, here is a photo of the finished item:

I think it turned out very nice. There is only one instance of having like blocks side by side. See the two pink hearts in the middle of the photo. And I worked so hard to try to avoid that happening. Oh, well. This photo makes the two hearts immediately to the left of the duplicates look the same, but they are not. The top one is blue and the bottom is green. And some of the windows look empty, but they aren't. Those windows have light colored, usually yellow, hearts. So what do you think? It actually does kind of look like a window -- if you squint your eyes and move back as far as possible. :-)

Good news on the cancer front. I had another 3-month follow-up visit yesterday with the medical oncologist and everything looks good (his words!). I am a year and a half out of the end of chemo so my anxiety lessens with each healthy doctor visit. I still have the port-a-cath, but I hope to get it removed when I can switch over to six month visits, which should happen sometime this fall. It doesn't hurt, but it's a bother having to have it flushed to make sure no clots form. I did find out recently that I can wait three months before having it flushed. I was told at the beginning that it should be flushed every 6-8 weeks. I've been having it flushed every six weeks because that times well with doctor visits. So now I'm switching to three months. Saves a little money because insurance doesn't cover all the cost of the flush. Nonetheless, I am very happy that I continue to do well. I feel good most of the time, which is a good thing. All in all, I'm very satisfied with my life.

In an early post this year, I mentioned the positive thoughts jar that I was going to keep. Well, it was a good idea! I do add thoughts to the jar, but it's not happening every day. To be honest, I seldom have thoughts that aren't positive so it's hard to remember to write down special thoughts that occur. I don't remember most of the things I have written down so opening the jar at the end of the year will be a treat. I must remember to add to the jar, though.

I've started working on the baby quilt for my new great-grand-nephew who is due in July. I'm using English paper piecing in a hexagon and diamond pattern. Something like the diagram below:

I like fabrics from the 1930's so that's what I'm using. Since it's for a boy, I am using "boy" colors -- blue, green and yellow prints for the hexagons and solid blue, green and yellow for the diamonds. I'm just getting started so no photos yet.

That just about does it for this time. The SWANs meet tomorrow night so I'll take the Attic Windows quilt for show-and-tell. They've watched me working on the blocks for what seems like forever so I'm sure they will want to see the finished product.

As always, thanks for reading my ramblings

Thursday, February 27, 2014


In recent days, I have begun to notice something about my actions that I'm not sure is a good thing. Procrastination. I seem to be adept at delaying action on tasks that I don't want to do/am bored with. It's a long-standing ability that I have. I first noticed it when I was in college 30+ years ago. I would find anything that I could think of to do to avoid studying or writing papers. Well, apparently not much has changed in the last 30 years!

As I mentioned in my last post, I am making a quilt for my niece. I enjoy the quilt and I enjoy the quilting process. However, as I near the end of projects, I sometimes get a little tired of working on it. Such is the case with my niece's quilt. I have just a few blocks to quilt and then stitch the blocks together. You would think I would be doubly excited to work on the quilt. Well, you would be wrong. This week, I decided that I need to transfer some of my favorite recipes that I have stored on my computer onto recipe cards. Keep in mind that I have printed them out on regular paper so I can follow them as I prepare the recipe. And I have backed up all my documents onto a thumb drive. Nope. Not good enough. I need to have them on recipe cards. While that is probably a good idea, I really need to focus on the quilt.

Yesterday, I decided to amp up my efforts on the quilt and got a lot done. Then I realized why it was so easy to refocus. I'm delaying doing my taxes! Yes, procrastination has reared its ugly head again! My plan for today is to do my taxes before I start anything else. And my taxes are really easy since I don't have enough deductions to require the long form. But it is an unpleasant task that I put off for some unknown reason. So, what did I do? Decide to write a blog post about procrastination. Makes sense, doesn't it?

So, that's it for today's post. I'm going to discipline myself and work on my soon a I finish this post and check email and get something out of the freezer for dinner and.... Well, you get the point. I WILL finish my taxes today, but I may not have time to do any quilting. C'est la vie!

Yours in putting off until tomorrow what you should do today.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How will I ever find time???

I think I may have written about this before, but it seems as if every time I am nearing the end of one project, my  mind is already jumping ahead to the next one. In my last post, I mentioned the quilt throw that I am making for my niece. I have about half of the blocks finished. As always, I am doing everything by hand in the pot-holder quilt method. Here is a photo of one of the completed blocks:
I'm using the Attic Windows setting. This photo doesn't really do justice to the block, but I think the finished product will be really nice. Sure hope she likes it!

Now that I'm getting close to the finish line on this quilt, I'm jumping forward to the next quilt -- the one for the new baby coming in July. I really enjoy doing English Paper Piecing so I am going to make the baby quilt using EPP hexagons and diamonds. I'm still working on the layout, but I have all of the paper pieces cut (using freezer paper) and adhered to the fabric and about half of them have been basted. I hope to finish the attic windows quilt within the next month so I will be able to focus my full attention on the baby quilt.

Annnndd, I'm even thinking ahead to the next quilt after the baby quilt! A great nephew is in the Air Force and I think it's time I make a quilt for him and his wife. I'm tossing around patterns -- flying geese (to honor his service)? Homeward Bound (because he hopes to be stationed back in the states soon)? I just don't know. Fortunately, I'll have a while before I have to make a decision on that one.

I'm doing pretty well at keeping up with the positive thoughts jar. There have been a couple of days when I forgot to add to the jar, but that's been balanced out by the days when I put two or more thoughts in the jar.

Apparently I don't have enough to occupy my hands or my mind because I keep finding new things that I want to try. The most recent thing I ran across is on a blog called Thread Head and the craft is Romanian Point Lace and can be found at I'm going to give this a try when I have a chance. Maybe this will be my ornament for the 2014 SWAN exchange.

Yesterday was another followup visit with the medical oncologist. I am now about a year and a half out of treatment so I'm hoping that all tests for the next six months are negative so I can move to seeing the doctors every six months. And get this port taken out! While it doesn't hurt, it's a pain in the behind to have it flushed every six weeks. Not having it flushed could mean a blood clot and that wouldn't be a good thing, especially since the port catheter is in a vein near the heart. So for the next few months, I'll continue with the flushing and hope that all of the tests continue to come back negative.

Enough chatter for now. It's time for me to get back to the I can get this one finished and start on the next one! Or work on the shawl that I started knitting back in the fall... Or try out the Romanian Point Lace. So many things I want to do; so little time!

Thanks for reading my ramblings.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Snow Day

Yes, I know I haven't posted for almost three months. Do good intentions count? I think about posting while I'm doing some other task and then when I'm finished, I've forgotten about the blog. This is a new year so maybe I'll be better able to keep up.

Anyway, I'm calling this a snow day even though as a retiree I don't have to go anywhere unless I want to. We got three to four inches of snow last night. The roads seem to be clear enough, but the temperature is horrible! At around noontime, the temperature was only 10 degrees. Baby, that's cold!

What better way to spend a snow day than updating my blog. So here goes. My last post in October talked about the SWAN Halloween Party. That was a wonderful evening. Teresa always does an outstanding job as hostess. The ornament exchange was fun as always. The ornament that I made (on the left below) was drawn by Jackie and the ornament that I drew (made by Darlene) is on the right.
Ornament I made; drawn by Jackie

Ornament Darlene made that I drew  
So now it's time for Christmas. The SWANs party was held in early December. Denise and I were hostesses and for the first time we held the dinner at the church where we normally stitch. I think everything went well. I know I had lots of fun. Lots of good food and fellowship made for a wonderful evening. As always, we had an ornament exchange. Well, I couldn't come up with an ornament that I liked so I made a mug rug. Apparently the fad has been around for a while, but I just found them last summer. It's a small quilted item that is big enough to serve as a coaster for a cup or glass and have room to put a snack to munch on while sipping the beverage of choice. Anyway, I made this mug rug from some free clip art I found on the Internet and I think it turned out really cute. Jackie once again drew my entry and it is on the left. I was fortunate to get the ornament that Robin made (on the right). I say "fortunate" because angels and snowmen are the two Christmas figures that I really like.
Jackie drew my mug rug contribution

I drew the angel ornament Robin stitched
I was surprised just before Christmas to receive a package in the mail from my niece. It may sound silly, but I waited until Christmas morning to open it. What a wonderful gift! Venetia gave me a book called "Jesus Calling" written by Sarah Young. It is a book of devotionals, one a day for a year. I've been reading the daily devotion now for a week and really enjoy it. And in just this short time, it's amazing how spot-on some of the readings have been. Spending 15 or so minutes first thing in the morning reading and reflecting on that days devotion has started my days off on a very positive note.

As a corollary to my devotional, the same niece shared a post on Facebook last night that she and I are going to do. Below is the photo that she posted:
I started last night and am realizing today that there will probably be days like today throughout the year when I will add a couple of notes to the jar. And I plan to keep the jar out in plain sight, too, so I will always be reminded. It's a wonderful idea and I sure hope we both can keep up with it. The plan is to then share at the end of the year all the good things we experienced throughout the year.

Whew! All these things have kept me busy, but I always have time to stitch! I'm working on a couch-throw quilt for my niece. And I found out just a couple of months ago that we're having a new baby in July (my great-niece and her hubby are expecting their 3rd) so I'm starting on a baby quilt, too. And I really want to make a quilt for the new baby we got last December (my great-nephew and his wife had their first). And there are Halloween and Christmas ornaments to make for SWAN exchanges. And I thought I would have lots of time to leisurely work on quilting when I retired! Wonder where I got that silly idea???

Now you're up to date. I'm going to TRY to do better about blogging this year although I did not make that as a resolution. Here's to a Happy and Healthy 2014!

Thanks for reading my rambling

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Where has the year gone?

I can't believe that a whole year as passed by since my last post. I wish I could say that it was an eventful year and I suppose in some ways, it was. Unfortunately, I can't put my finger on anything in particular that happened. Last year at this time, I had just finished chemo and was ready to start radiation. That went well and by early November last year all treatment was finished and I was in the follow-up stage. So far, all of the follow ups have gone well and I anticipate that to be the same for many years to come.

For a long while after finishing treatment, I really didn't feel well. I was tired all the time, most likely due to a combination of the chemo and the low blood counts. I certainly never expected to be as tired as I was for as long as I was. About a month ago, I realized one day that I feel good again. And for the most part, that feeling has continued. I still have a day once in a while when am fatigued. For the most part, though, the only remaining side effect of treatment is numbness in both feet and some in my left hand. Fortunately, my right hand is OK so I can still work on my needlework! Heaven help us if the day arrives when I can't do some kind of needlework!

This year, I did finish the Dresden Plate quilt that I started in 2002. I had hoped to finish it in 2012, but there were a lot of months when I just couldn't bring myself to do anything other than read or watch TV. I offered the quilt to my niece and her daughter. The daughter, my grand-niece, said she would like to have it so that's where it went. Here's what it looks like finished up.

I have also done a lot of pattern testing for The Quilt Pattern Magazine. So much so that I have told them that I need to step back for a while and work on my own things. After the first of the year, I'll do more testing, I'm sure. In the meantime, I am working on a couch throw for my niece using left over blocks from a quilt I made for her parents' 50th wedding anniversary. I hope to have that finished by spring. Better get busy, Amy!

My stitch group has an ornament exchange each year at Halloween and Christmas. I didn't participate in the Halloween swap last year, but I did for Christmas. The ornament I made is on the left. Sarah drew the short straw and was the recipient of my ornament. Teresa made the one on the right and I was fortunate enough to draw hers. Isn't it lovely?

I've made an ornament for this year's Halloween swap, but I can't post a photo of it just yet. The party is next week and that's when we'll exchange ornaments. After that happens, I will post photos of the one I made and the one I draw.

I suppose this is enough for this time. I am going to try to be more faithful about writing my blog if for no other reason than to help me remember what I have accomplished!

Until the next time we meet, thanks for reading my ramblings.