The week before Christmas

There has been no stitching in this house this week. But I’m determined not to let the blog sit idle, so will tell you what we’ve done. First of all we have a Christmas tree up. And in the entry way, there is a little 3 foot tree that is my favorite. This year it has gold balls and colored lights. We are big fans of colored lights so both trees have colored lights.

The children came over on Friday night. After playing outside in the cold for an hour, we had hot dogs for supper,  homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert and Christmas songs karaoke using the Amazon music app on our TV. That was really fun. My cousin said it was a “weiner, winter, winner Friday.” I would agree – and much better than the Covid 3 W’s. Today is our 45th wedding anniversary so that was the biggest part of the celebration.  Vance really liked the sparkling grape juice at Thanksgiving and asked if we had any more – I told him that was special and we will have it at Christmas. The last picture is Ezri working on her Lego Elf House.

Also for our anniversary, Ted is painting the downstairs bathroom. When we opened the paint (at least 12 years old) that matches the rest of the downstairs walls, it appeared to have mold in the top. He had already taken the toilet out so there was no going back until the room was painted. There was paint left over from the bathroom in the new addition, so that’s what we used. The bathroom has wall paper and he’s painting over the wall paper. After much research he found that was the recommended way to deal with wall paper. I was skeptical, but the wall that is finished looks great. In the picture you can see the finished wall as well as the next wall that only has a first coat on it. The paint is not nearly as dark as it looks in the photo – it’s actually a very pale gray – almost white.

Now for the week before Christmas – I think I have some stitching to be done. Maybe some pillow cases out of novelty fabric for the grandchildren. And Christmas cards to send. What are you doing this week?

  
 

Ezri’s 16-Patch Quilt Progress

Ezri and I have been working on this quilt for awhile. It started with a big bag of 2-1/2″ squares cut from scraps that became a lot of 4-patches. And then when we had no ideas for the 4-patches, we sewed them together into 16-patch blocks that looked like this.

We added a 2-1/2″ strip on two sides to make it a 10″ block. When stitched together, the quilt looks like this. It is pretty big – 60 x 80″ now and will be more with borders.

Ezri stitched four blocks together and then Sherry Gray came along and stitched the four block units together into this quilt. I am going to add borders and quilt it over this Thanksgiving weekend.

  
 

ABC Quilt Project

Grandchildren are such a joy. A cute little story about one of the second graders is about his reading. He comes to our house after school on Tuesday and Thursday to play. One of his school assignments is to read 30 minutes every day. For the last two weeks he has found one excuse or another at home to avoid his reading. Yesterday he missed his visit to us because his mother restricted him to no more grandparent visits until his reading was done. We got a message late yesterday afternoon that he sat and read for a solid hour. We had a good chuckle over his motivation and the fact that we can never understand why it’s more fun at grandparents’ house than his own. Nevertheless, he has won a visit to our house today on a rare Wednesday but is required to read with us for 30 minutes of that visit.

This is one of the projects I’m working on right now. It was started about five years ago. The background fabric I chose was pink and as the grandchildren kept coming, they were all boys. At one point I stopped with the last three letters, x, y, and z unfinished. Finally two years ago the last grandchild was born and it was a girl. She’s two now and thinks she’s the queen of a house full of brothers and her dad. So a couple of weeks ago, I finished the last three letters and am in the process of putting this quilt together.

The embroidery designs are an alphabet from Designs by JuJu. I love her embroidery and this makes such a cute quilt with the bright colors. I added a princess crown, carriage, queen bee and castle from another Designs by JuJu embroidery set to make the rows come out even.

I’m still working on a decision as to the border fabric, but I think it’s going to be the batik even though the print looks really good with this.

This is the rug in her room and the turquoise hopefully will coordinate with that as well as the hints of blue in the sashing fabric.

And this is that wild child with her sweet brother.

  
 

Quilted Panels and Kindles, etc.

I found a great tutorial over on Elizabeth Hartman’s blog–have you noticed I’m a fan– showing how to make quilted panels for a structured bag. It’s a great way to make quilted fabric for a bag and a great way to use up some fabrics that are sitting around and will never be stitched into slacks or clothes because you’re too busy quilting. I recently inherited a lot of fabric like that, and now I know how it will be used. While Elizabeth made her panels on the sewing machine, I am going to try this on the longarm and see how it goes. CLICK HERE to go to her tutorial.

I’ve had my Kindle Fire for a year, but am just now finding ways to use it that are fun for me. Did you know that not only can you get quilting books on the Kindle, but you can also get your Quilting Arts subscription on your Kindle now. Actually, it’s probably been around awhile, and I just didn’t realize it. And if you have an iPad or Android tablet, there are Kindle apps for them that work just like the Kindle.

And last, but not least, our little Ezri is growing up. I am managing the blog for the Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartoma Foundation, and my daughter has been telling Ezri’s story there. There are also blog posts about Faith, a little girl from England who is about six months younger than Ezri. Today’s post is about Ezri’s school trip to the Pumpkin Patch, and it’s a happy story.

http://www.ohfransson.com/oh_fransson/2012/10/how-to-make-quilted-panels-for-a-structured-bag.html 
 

Stormy Weather

We had very stormy weather yesterday and here are some photos of our afternoon activities. It was very scary when things started happening and it all happened so fast. We were running back and forth trying to protect our electronics and checking on everything.

Today is going to be a big day of clean-up. The number one task is to get a crane and work crew in so that the tree can be removed from the house. Debris removal and removal of the big red oak are the next items on the list. And then we have to get the fence repaired / replaced because our dog needs a place to run. She’s a boxerman (boxer/doberman mix) and she needs the entire back yard for running.

If I don’t respond to emails for a day or so, please understand. We’re also getting ready for the baptism celebration of one of the grandsons, so things are hectic here.

Here are the photos from my iphone (edited – with more photos):

This is one side of the fence with the top of the red oak lying across it. You can see our garden beyond where the tree tops fell. The garden and Rose of Sharon trees were spared.

 

The hickory tree on the house doesn’t look very impressive in this photo, but it’s a big tree. In the lower photo, you can see the full length of the tree including the roots. It simply uprooted and toppled The large limbs in the foreground are from what was a beautiful maple. We had both lightning and wind damage.

And this is the ceiling in the downstairs breakfast room. You can see the 2 x 4 protruding. It was split lengthwise and the floor was covered in splinters, insulation, and sheetrock debris. It’s hard to understand how this happened – whether it was lightning or whether it was a result of the impact of the tree hitting the house. I expect this is the most serious of everything that happened yesterday. And I was standing a few feet away when it happened – it was an incredibly loud explosion.

  
 

2012 is in full swing

Today, I am back from a weekend with my Mom and things are in full swing. Went to exercise this morning for the first time in weeks. It felt good to visit with my exercise friends and to move my body. Also ran an errand for my daughter by going to Parks and Recreation to sign Ezri and Kes up for TaeKwonDo and swimming classes. It’s going to be a busy Spring. I hope I get to take them to a class or two and watch. Being a grandma is a lot of fun.

Here’s a photo from my weekend. I finally got the rick rack quilt bound and gave it to the recipient. It’s only a year late, but it looks like he’s enjoying it.

It was hard to leave my Mom’s house, but she is stable at this point, and I need to get things done here — like my taxes! She has wonderful caregivers, and I’m sure they will be much better at administering meds and tracking her health. It’s wonderful to have telephones now. I can remember in college when we called our parents once a week. Now, we are all on the phone all the time and it’s so easy to stay in touch and up to date. 
 

Fabric Indulgence

Do you have a fabric indulgence? I think most quilters do. Some of us collect fat quarters, some of us just “build the stash”. My indulgence is batiks so I get a special package every month from Batiks, etc (no affiliation except batik love). It’s expensive, but I love them so much that I chose the half yard option rather than the fat quarter option. At one point, there were so many batiks in my fabric closet that I had to stop getting them for several months so I could use up what I had. But a few months back, I called them and started my subscription again. This month’s package is particularly colorful and beautiful, so I will share.

January Package from Batiks, etc.

I love scrappy quilts, so there’s never any waste. I do sort them into groups with bright colors together, fall colors together, and blacks and reds together. After that, they’re just sorted into yellows and oranges, blues and greens, and then mixed colors.

And, if I ever have a color that’s not quite dark or light enough, I use Shiva Paintsticks to change the color of the patch to be just what I want it to be. I color the fabric patch with just enough Paintstick to color the fabric without completely covering the fabric design. The color sets in a couple of days and is very permanent.

Mom update: She’s doing quite well and if she keeps up like this, she’s could possibly get discharged from Hospice. I’ve never heard of that happening, but her heart is doing great and her kidneys seem to be stable right now. This is a wonderful respite from the doom and gloom we were feeling.  
 

Happy New Year 2012!

It’s Tuesday, Jan 2, and I’m just now saying Happy New Year to you. I am so looking forward to a bright and happy 2012. There were so many projects that I had on my shoulders in 2011 and have finished most of them. It seems 2012 will be a year for a lot of fun and new things to do .

But first, let me update you on my holiday activities and what is going on in my life. I went to visit and spend Christmas Eve with my Mom. When I got there, she was very short of breath. It seemed she was having an asthma attack which hadn’t happened to her in years. Since all of the doctor’s offices were closed, I took her to the Emergency Room. We were so surprised when the doctors said they were going to admit her to the hospital because she was in kidney and heart failure. I spent a full week with her at the hospital. My husband held down the fort at home (200 miles away), and that is how we spent Christmas. The nurses and hospital staff were absolutely wonderful the entire time.

She is now receiving visits from hospice at home and what I really want to do is to go and spend time with her this week. I’d also like to spend time with you, but I think after writing this, that the decision is made–and I’ll go there. I’ll keep you posted. 
 

Birthday Party

Ezri’s little sister, Kes, had a birthday last week. She was the big “3” and so proud of it. She was treated to a fun pool party on Saturday. The weather is so hot here that even the water in the kiddie pool feels like bath water–but it’s wet and it’s outdoors. Here are some pictures. Ezri is very proud of her little sister. She gave Kes a hug and said “You are my big girl!” I wonder where she’s heard that 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

And at the end of the day, even a three year old is a little tired –

 

  
 

Ezri’s Surgery

Ezri is scheduled for surgery tomorrow, Friday-May 6, at 7am Pacific time. Please pray for her and for her doctors. You can keep up to date on her CaringBridge site:

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/ezri

We had a very good visit with her surgeon today – and hope to have good news tomorrow. He says the residual is in a very hard to reach place, and he would never risk damage just to get residual but will do his best.