Saturday, December 18, 2010

Making Christmas Cookies

Once again Brent, Emily, Mack and Griffy came to make Christmas cookies. Griffy was more interested in showing off his newly acquired skill - walking.

This year Mack was ready to roll out dough, play in the flour, and of course sample everything. He had to have an apron - it was denim blue when he began!

It was a fun evening - although, a little messy!

Mack likes to cut!

The other day grandson Mack came and we made a small gift for his parents for Christmas. He had to do a little painting which he loved! He used every available color - even black. I'm glad we protected his clothes! He really got into the wrapping - especially cutting the paper with one of those wrapping paper cutters. He cut LOTS of paper. Now I wonder if he can keep the secret... 

No pictures of his gift - his parents read this blog sometimes!

Our next order of business was to made a new kind of cookies - Bumps on a Log. I found the recipe in one of my kids cookbooks. He loved rolling the dough into logs,

cutting it (especially cutting!),

and putting on the candy bumps. He especially likes green so there are lots of green bumps. 

It was a great time - wish our other grandkids lived close enough to spend such a rewarding afternoon.

Pain and Patience - part 3

Next update. I had two epidural cortisone injections last Tuesday followed by drama. Yup, another vasovagal response. This one wasn't as bad as the first one but lasted longer and really left me feeling quite ill. Then the 1-3 days for extra pain after the injections became most of 3 days.  At least that is all over now! I think these injections have helped a tiny bit. My understanding is this was the last try for injections. So in January, we'll begin a new chapter. Patience...

Monday, December 13, 2010

A free night

We need to be in Madison early tomorrow morning so we came today, traveling some snow packed and slushy roads. Using rewards points, we have a free night at the Residence Inn. It is very nice! There is a complimentary dinner Monday through Wednesday. Tonight it was baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese, chicken chili with a number of toppings, nacho chips with salsa, pita bread with hummus, a garden salad and chocolate waffles with ice cream and lots of toppings. They also had lemonade, beer and wine. It was buffet style so you can eat all you want!  Our free night is really a free night!!!

Wonder what breakfast will be?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Doll Clothes

Granddaughter Grace said her doll needed clothes for Christmas! So what is a Grandma to do? I began sewing! Here are the clothes that I made but don't show Grace! They are wrapped for Christmas and in the mail.

First is a silver lame' top - rather ritzy!

The red skirt - organza glittery fabric over a satin fabric should be perfect for Christmas parties.

Red 'leather' pants with the matching purse will be great for New Year's Eve.

Here's the new jammies.

And a little dress that can be worn with  a long sleeve shirt and/or leggings which she already has.

Sure hope Grace likes everything!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pain and Patience part 2

I really don't like posting about my health but I agreed to so here goes.

I was at the Advanced Pain Management Clinic again yesterday and I am now learning that this is not going to be a short process. There are methods that need to be followed - procedures will be done and by a process of elimination, I hope to have less back pain some day. Surgery may be in the future but there is no guarantee that will work either. Anyway, I never know what is going to happen next because the doctor decides based upon all of the data that his office collects from me between appointments.

Silly me, I just though yesterday would be another cortisone shot and I'd feel good! Well, based on the success  of the cortisone shot for the sciatic nerve pain, I received 6 bilateral injections to freeze the nerves in my lower back for about 6 hours. The shots were painful - all were right at the nerve endings but, thank goodness, there was no real drama! The next procedure (one week from now) depends on the success of this one. I was far from pain free during those 6 hours, so I have no idea what to expect next.

Last month I was told to listen to my body and stop when there was pain. The good news now is that I can resume some of my life and try to work through the pain. Most things will not cause more damage. I can also stand straight again so most people can't tell anything is wrong.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wheat Pasta - Take Two

A while back I attempted to make wheat pasta but somehow oat bran was in the wheat flour jar - it was a disaster! Well, today I tried again.

After making sure I was really using whole wheat flour,

I added the eggs.

Then I let my KitchenAid mixer to do the mixing

and the kneading

It looks good!

All we have to do now is wait for it to dry!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Decorating - started!

I finally decorated for fall right before Thanksgiving. Not much though. (This back problem has slowed me down.) Christmas decorating used to begin the day after Thanksgiving with LOUD Christmas music - just ask my kids - they thought I was nuts and used to tell me so! That might have had something to do with the early hour I turned on that music!

This morning I spent maybe 5 minutes picking up all of the fall decorations. And I have started the Christmas decorating, only a day late! Of course, I only have one thing out and it was just recently finished.

I really like this little hanger and the tiny quilts (each about 4 1/2 " X 9").

Monday, November 22, 2010

A rather weird day

We headed for Rockford to visit Mom. Riding is difficult with my back and I knew it would be a long day but I had no idea it would be such a weird day!

We saw Mom and I gave her a note. I just read that Alzheimer's patients retain things a bit longer if they read rather than being told. So I wrote mom a note telling her that I was her daughter. She didn't want to get up and she was sad but she did smile and kiss me both times she read my note!

After lunch and "catching up"  with my youngest brother and his wife, we began our short list of errands. While we were at Dick's Sporting Goods, the tornado sirens went off and so did the power! A little unnerving especially when there did not seem to be any procedure to follow. At least their generator kicked in. As we were leaving, one of the employees said two tornadoes had touched down just north and northeast of Rockford. We were headed north and found that the power was still out - meaning no traffic lights! What a mess! I am so glad we do not live in a city!

Watching the news, it appears no one was seriously hurt in the tornadoes but there was considerable property loss. The children on the overturned school bus are also going to be okay. And the power is still out...

Also remembering this day in history:
November 22, 1963 - Kennedy's assassination
November 22, 1976 - my brother and sister-in-law's house fire

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Quilt for Steve

I finally finished this quilt and it is on its way to Afghanistan.
 This is the first time that I have worked with Civil War prints and I am happy with the way it turned out. The quilt is machine quilted except for a tiny bit of love and pride. (The words love and pride are hand-quilted near the corners.)

I began the quilt at Quilt Camp in October. Hand quilting was not an option if it was going to be in the mail this year!


 The back is a soft flannel.

Steve, our great-nephew, is stationed in the mountains. It is getting cold there and we thought he could use a little extra warmth and love from home. We are very proud of him!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pain and Patience

Many of you know that I’ve been having some major issues with my back. Well, today was 'back' day.

Early this morning, I received a call from my doctor’s office with my x-ray and MRI results – not good news. Anyway they said we could pick up the images on our way north to the specialist.

When we got to Advanced Pain Management, we first met with a nurse, then the PA-C, and finally the doctor. I evidently was born with Pars Defect and now have other problems including spondylolysis, degenerative disk disease, and arthritis. Although I'm a good candidate for surgery, there is a 66 - 75% chance that injections will help - great news! Next stop was the Surgi Center. The needle and fluids had to be shot right next to the problem nerve. Although I was warned, I think I came off of the table twice - OUCH! Thank heavens, I learned Lamaze breathing years ago - it came in handy today.

I'd had plenty of drama for the day but I wasn't done. Shortly after getting to the 'done' room, I had a vasovagal response. The staff jumped and in short order, I was upended and on oxygen. The good part - when my heart rate and blood pressure came back up, my bp was the most normal it has been in at least a couple of weeks - maybe the pain is somewhat gone! It is still normal tonight!

So for now, we wait. Best case scenario is that within 72 hours my leg and back will be pain free. If just the leg pain is gone, I'll have an injection for my back. Otherwise, well I don't want to go there!

Now I want to go for a walk, drive, go to lunch, go shopping... I just need to be patient!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A couple of projects done!

I finished a small Santa wallhanging. I bought this as a kit in northern Wisconsin this fall.

I found the hanger and the kit for this 3-part fall scene at the Quilt Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, in September. I hope to make some other 3-part hangings for different times of the year.

Fall trip to NC

I'm slow getting this posted but better late than never!

We had a wonderful time in North Carolina visiting Brad, Sheila, and the kids. The weather was gorgeous while we were there -  in the 70s with sun and low humidity.

Since I'm not moving around very well, I found quiet things to do with the kids. Both Grace and Jackson learned to finger knit.

 Colter loved stickers.

 And Crosby took his first steps while we were there!

Ray and Brad took the three older kids to the North Carolina State Fair one day and had a great time.

And the BIG NEWS - they are expecting a baby in late spring! We LOVE grandchildren!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quilt Camp 2010 - quilt photos

Here are just a small number of the gorgeous quilts that were at camp.

Quilt Camp 2010

My back is giving me some grief so I'm a little slow at posting things...

 Bittersweet Camp at Country Threads in Garner, Iowa

Monday, October 11

Sandy, Barb, and I left home around 8 AM. Lots of luggage and sewing stuff! We will meet friend Polly at camp.
First stop was the Vineyard Gift & Quilt Shoppe in Independence, Iowa.

This used to be a monument place. The train went by and the monuments were put on it. There are still monuments in the backyard - they came with the place! The inside has a tin ceiling and tin on the walls. The shop owner and a couple of ladies who came for coffee were very friendly. The coffee ladies were really interested in my Keen sandals??! And they were not quilters!

Still in Independence, we headed down the street to Quilter’s Quarters.

Their name doesn’t seem to appear anywhere outside of the store so they are rather hard to find. It was a nice store with lots of fabric. While there, we met some women going to Desoto, Wisconsin on a quilting retreat. They rented A Place To Quilt. They will do their own cooking and will not have a fabric store where they are staying so they were shop hopping all the way to “be ready”! They seemed to be a fun group.

After lunch in Waverly, Iowa, we found the Moose Patch Quilt Shop.

It was a cute little shop with a very friendly clerk. The lady who owns the shop also owns the Sew Dear pattern company. There is a month long shop hop going on and the Moose Patch is on the hop. The store in Greene was also on the list and the clerk told me to be sure to go there.

Not far from Waverly, we stopped in Nashua at The Little Brown Church in the Vale.

It has an active congregation of 70 members. It was built in 1860 - 1864. Many people have been married there - on October 10, 2009, the 73,000th couple said their vows there!

Ok, on to Greene, Iowa to Dralle’s Department Store. Such a neat place - it has quilting supplies, men’s clothing, furniture, flooring, gifts, …

It was fun to see. We met and were welcomed by Jeff Dralle. This store has been in the family for 5 generations. Jeff told us some of the history and gave each of us a pot scrubber.

The quilting area was in the upstairs loft.

LOTS of inspiration. This is definitely a place I’d like to return to - it was my favorite shop of the day! We were told to go to the department store in Garner - we didn't know there was one!

After checking into our motel, we headed downtown to Mat’s Bar for dinner. Then we had to stop at Dollar General - tradition, you know!

Tuesday, October 12

We shopped in downtown Garner at a very nice department store - Goodnatures.  Then to Alco  Discount Store - kind of a cross between Farm ‘n Fleet and Kmart.

While we were shopping, Ray called and told me of Sue Elliott’s death this morning - so very sad. Sue, a wonderful lady that I quilted with, was battling and beating cancer so this was really a shock.

Around 11 we went to Country Threads. There was a darling new playhouse.

In the main part, there is a loft with a stairwell. The little room at the right is a secret room. Oh what fun children must have playing in this while their moms shop in the Chicken Coop!

We met the other campers. It was fun to see old friends and meet new ones. Campers were from Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Texas.

At noon we moved into the barn. 

Bob (Polly’s husband) carried my sewing machine up - I could kiss him! Instead I bought their dinner.

I worked on Halloween treat bags first. Then I chose fabric and began a quilt.

After dinner in Clear Lake, we went back to camp and sewed until 10 - way too long for me with the sciatica pain in my leg and back. I may decide not to go back to the barn tomorrow night - I’ll see if there is something I can do in my motel room.

Wednesday October 13

It was very cold in the barn this morning - Slowly stripped off layers of clothing as the day wore on. Great day of quilting and inspiration.

Lunch was at Pizza Ranch, courtesy of Country Threads, - a buffet with salad bar, pizza, fried chicken, potatoes, peas, … Very Good!

We were invited to Connie’s (one of the owners) house to tour her quilting studio. VERY NICE! She is also quite the decorator and loves Halloween.

I decided to return to the motel after dinner and rest. I trimmed some pieces and figured out what yardage I still needed.

Thursday October 14

We stopped for coffee and hot chocolate on the way to camp this morning. It wasn’t as cold in the barn since the fans were turned off and the windows and doors were closed last night.

I got my fabric for the borders, binding, and back of my quilt.

Country Threads brought in lunch from Subway today. We enjoyed it in the barn along with Klondike bars.

It was a very productive day of sewing. My quilt top is together!

We had dinner at Mat’s Bar. Then I once again returned to the motel. Tonight I pinned one section of my quilt.

Friday October 15

We packed up and checked out of the motel then again stopped for coffee and hot chocolate.

It was Show and Tell time at camp. It was fun to see what everyone did during the week. Then it was time for one last shopping trip in the store and to say goodbye to old and new friends.

On the way home, we stopped for lunch and to get supplies to make light boxes.

It wasn’t the best week for me because of sciatica pain. But I did have a really good time thanks to my friends. With their help, it was a great week.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Out of control

We are still here - but feel a little like our lives are out of control!

This insulation project seems to have taken on a life of its own! The inside insulation upstairs is done. All three rooms are painted. Two of the four dormer closets are painted. The other two closets need drywall. We are slowly moving back upstairs. Most of the cleaning of stuff is done. We have lots of stuff to give away. Now the rest of the story...

I leave Monday for Quilt Camp. I return on Friday and we leave for North Carolina on Sunday. Not sure when we will be home. Sure hope we are cleaned up around here by Thanksgiving! Things just happen around here, not always planned but always interesting!

Here is a little reversible vest that I recently finished.

The pattern and the fabric are from the shop in Bayfield, Wisconsin. The pattern is by a local resident.

And I just had to try one of the hot dog or sausage pillowcases. Very easy and quick to make.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The inside insulation is almost done! Have we only lived like this since last Thursday? It seems like months! We definitely look like hoarders! This is our living room looking in from the front door

and looking left from the front door. Glad you can't see all the fine dust!

These two pictures are of my sewing room - can you see the "bullet holes"? That's the part that isn't done - one more coat of mud.

My sewing area has been reduced to a small space on the counter with no machine. Ouch!

Two of the four dormer closets need some finishing work by us, all dormers and upstairs rooms need painting, and then we get to move back. It feels like we are moving into a dirty house with dirty stuff! As we clean and go through everything, we are tossing and giving things away. I am anxious to be done but I know it will be awhile yet. Patience, patience, patience....


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