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Friday, November 30, 2007

Thanks and Love to All

I can't tell you how much your messages have helped me get through this week. Thank you for caring.

The memorial service on Wednesday was lovely, with family and friends sharing their memories of Dad and made quite personal when Pastor Don projected some of my brothers gorgeous photographs, with scripture passages, on the screen at the front of the church.

It was wonderful to have so many of the various branches of our large family together, I just wish there had been more time to visit. My Dad's only surviving sibling, Uncle Johnnie was able to come from Oxnard, California with one of his twin daughters, Suze. Suze and I hadn't seen each other since we were kids at least 45 years ago, yet it seemed like we had never been apart.

Since my mother is not able to live alone, and my brother, Steve, has to get back to Reno in a few days, we were fortunate in finding a vacancy in an assisted care home in Canon City, where Joe and I can be close to her. Mother looked at 4 studio apartments today, and picked the one she liked the best. We will be moving her and her basic furniture, clothing, and household items on Sunday. Later we can add items that she wants and has room for. Friendship House (formerly the Oddfellows Home) is in the Colorado Oddfellows complex of 2 independant living
apartment buildings ( one of which I managed until 10 years ago), 2 assisted living buildings, and a nursing home (where Joe's father ended his years) near the St. Thomas More Hospital (the Oddfellows donated the land for the hospital). There is a lovely park with old trees and flower gardens in front of Friendship House and a small chapel where weddings and funerals are held.

We were impressed with how clean and bright the building is, and the staff seem very loving toward their residents. We met several of the ladies that live in the building who told us how much they enjoyed being there and told Mom how happy she would be. One of the couples in the building are the parents of a long time friend, and are delightful people.

My mother is handling all this amazingly well. She is a strong woman of faith. She and Dad would have been married 70 years on January 25.

The photos were taken at the dinner that the Fowler First Christian Church women prepared for the family:

Aunt Lucy (from Albuquerque, the widow of Dad's youngest brother, Aunt Angie and Uncle Johnnie (from Oxnard, California, Uncle Johnnie is Dad's last surviving sibling from four boys and two girls), Mom across the table, brother Steve in the background.

My oldest grandchild Lindsay, Derek, and their little Sean, our third great grandchild born in late August.

Friendship House

Putting together this blog has been a challenge; when we got home from the hospital on Sunday, we discovered that our big, beautiful computer monitor had had a mortal ailment of some type. Luckily, Joe still had the old 14 inch monitor with the old computer in his room and was able to hook it up, but it is so small and dim that I have a bit of a problem seeing well with it. Funny, when we first bought it, many years ago, we thought it was great.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dad Passed Away

Dad is wearing the red cap.

My dad passed away peacefully on Sunday morning. His last words were that he would have liked to make it to their 70th anniversary in January. The memorial service will be on Wednesday afternoon in Fowler. We are so thankful that he didn't have to suffer for very long, but we miss him so much.

Since Dad was the caretaker, we now have to make arrangements for care for Mother; there is no way she can live by herself. I'm going to be occupied with all of the arrangements for a while.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.


born April 5, 1916, near Fort Rice, North Dakota

died November 25, 2007, Pueblo, Colorado

He was a good man.

Rest in peace, Daddy

Saturday, November 24, 2007

More on Dad's Condition

Mom; my baby, Sharon; Dad
It was a hard day; early this evening we thought we were losing him and they even had us have mother brought to the hospital (by her cousin in Fowler), but he surprised us and rallied and even asked if he could be shaved because he chin itched.

The heart catheter procedure was cancelled because they thought he had pneumonia and his kidneys were closing down. It turns out that his lungs are filling with water because of the kidney failure and heart damage. Nothing they have tried is having the effect needed on his kidneys. I finally got to talk directly to the doctor, and he says at this point it is wait and see; he could slip away quickly or he could rally and be able to go home and live productively again. He says there is little chance with his condition that he would become a bedridden invalid, Thank God! He would hate that. He did tell us that he would like to be able to live until his and Mom's 70th anniversary on January 25, but only if he could have a fairly normal lifestyle.

My kids and some of the grandchildren and great grandchildren came to visit yesterday, as well as two of Dad's nephews from the Denver area. 2 neices from Albuquerque drove up today; Katrina is spending the night in Dad's room and Carla took Mom home and will take her to church tomorrow and then bring her to the hospital. My brother, Steve, couldn't get a plane this weekend, so is driving and will be here Sunday afternoon. My kids are coming back down tomorrow. Our huge family from California, New Mexico and Colorado are constantly in touch by phone. I am so thankful that we have such a close, loving, supportive family.

Thank you, all, for being there and listening, and sending notes of encouragement.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Update on Dad's Condition & Happy Thanksgiving

The scan taken yesterday showed that the surgery is not needed but tomorrow morning they will do a heart catheter procedure to determine if he needs to have an angioplasty with a stent inserted into the coronary artery.

Joe and I took Mom to Thanksgiving dinner at a Pueblo restaurant and then we spent the afternoon with Dad, and the nurses educated me on the procedures that Dad will undergo.

The kids celebrated at my son's place in Boulder and will come down to visit tomorrow. I missed being with them and will be so happy to see them. My brother will fly in from Reno, if he can get a flight this time of the year; if not, he will drive out, which will take 2 days.

I so appreciate the love and support that you are sending our way, and I am praying for all of you and your families, also.
Hope you had a great holiday with your families. Remember to count your many blessings every day, not just Thanksgiving Day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Father Ill

My dear 91 year old father has had a heart attack and also has some other major medical infection problems that need surgery but they are trying to determine if he can stand surgery at this time. I am on my way to pick up my Mom and go to the hospital in Pueblo.

Here is my Dad with Mom's cousin, Bill, looking at the family history quilt I made for Mom's and Dad's 65th wedding anniversary.
Please pray for my family at this time.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Nov. 12 x 12 Grandfather's Stash

For over a year I've been taking photographs of color and texture in nature with the idea of printing them on fabric to use in quilts. I have done photo transfers in quilts where the photo is an image of someone or something, but in this case I simply wanted them to be used as color and texture, not figurative. For my November 12 x 12 Challenge quilt I decided to use autumn colors and textures in a small hexagon quilt similar to vintage Australian quilts I've seen photos of and admired. Native Americans used the name Grandfather for the Creator, so I named this quilt "Grandfather's Stash".

The photos were printed onto prepared June Taylor fabric sheets, cut into small hexagons and fused onto the background fabric with Steam a Seam 2. The quilt was sandwiched with backing fabric and cotton batting in pillowcase style. A zig zag stitch around the hexagons with invisible thread was done as the machine quilting. I then printed the label and a fragment of a favorite e.e cummings poem on June Talor Quick Fuse and fused them on the back along with some leftover hexagons from the quilt.

This exercise has really sensitized me to the amazing color and texture around me and I am seeing my world in a much richer way. I'm beginning to plan a series of larger seasonal quilts, using my nature photos as the fabric color and pattern, for the coming year. These will probably be sewn rather than fused, because the combo of printed photos on fabric and the fusible material make the fabric so stiff and difficult to handle and stitch.

The 12 x 12 Challenge quilts can be seen at the Quilt Studio blog.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What a Day

I fell in love with a piece of art made from recycled materials in the Pueblo Chieftain this morning. A
Pueblo Community College student art show was to be on display on the Pueblo campus today. Due to other commitments I couldn't see it in person but I really like the photo. I might decide to do something similar to display on the wall of the garage/shop that faces my kitchen and dining room windows.

It was such a lovely tawney, blue sky day that I decided to drive to the High Country Quilts shop in Colorado Springs to see if I could get a free motion foot for my Bernette 75. (The Bernina shop recently merged with this quilt shop, which is my favorite in the Springs.) Learning to do free motion quilting was one of my goals for this year and it's already mid November and I haven't, but the July 12 x 12 piece is demanding free motion quilting to reach it's potential, so... It turned out that they didn't have one in stock but they are ordering one for me, so it will still be a while before I can post my July quilt.

While there I discovered something I wish I had found several months ago. I have been using hexagons in the 12 x 12s this year and just finished cutting out 81 small hexagons for the November 12 x 12. I had one plastic 5 inch hexagon template from which I have extrapolated various sizes of templates from thin template plastic, but these do not work with a rotary cutter. Fabric hexagons take a lot of time to cut with scissors and are not very uniform, which makes it difficult to fit them together well.
I bought a Mercury Hexagon Template which can be used to rotary cut hexagons, from strips of fabric, up to 8 1/2 inches. How much simpler and more precise than my old method! I knew there had to be a better way. Why couldn't I think of this? I am so pleased because I was just wishing I had an 8 inch template for a series of larger quilts that I am planning for next year.

This ruler can also be used for making diamonds, 60 degree triangles, and trapezoids (half- hexagons).

I also ordered a book on making locker hooked rugs from quilt remnants, a locker hook tool, rug canvas and string. These rugs and mats have the primitive farm house look I love and I'll tell you more about it when the book gets here and I can experiment with it. I'm so happy that these hooks are large enough that I can do this with my arthritic hands and it is something I can do while watching TV in the evenings with Joe. I've been wanting some new rugs, and have lots of scraps and remnants. It is dangerous to go to a quilt shop or show!

To top off the day, I got a cell phone call from daughter Kat, with the "1812 Overture" playing loudly in the background. This is one of my favorites, and she wanted to tell me that my 18 year old grandson, Ben, had burned a CD of several pieces of classical music and was playing it. It hasn't been long since he was teasing me about the "boring" classical music station that I listen to. He thought they sounded like the guy who does the Visine ad on TV. I told him that young people like noise and excitement while old people crave peace and serenity. Of course, now that I think about it, the "1812 Overture" isn't either peaceful or serene, is it? But it is not peaceful in a different manner than hard metal music (music?).

Driving home in the twilight over the foothills of the Pikes Peak Massif, I got a fantastic view of the Arkansas River Valley backed by the Wet Mountains with the Sangre de Christo range looming in the back on the skyline. It made me think of "the Wall Around the World" from the Darkover series by Marian Zimmer Bradley that I've read many times in the past 35 years.

Mr. C's Restaurant, in Penrose 6 miles down the road from us, where we had our wedding dinner 23 years ago, is closing tomorrow after 30 years in business. It's time for Frank to retire and do some traveling in Europe with his wife. Joe has worked on nearly every piece of equipment in the place for the last 20 years, so Joe and I had dinner there tonight to give Frank our best wishes. I asked the waitress if I could buy our cute cactus margarita glasses as a souvenir and when Frank heard about it he came out and gave them to us so we could remember him when we have a drink from time to time. We will sure miss Frank and his Matadors (a fried burrito type Mexican dish smothered in green chili).

It was a good day! And I even got a yard of bright colored frog fabric.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What's On Your Bed?

I picked up this challenge from Paula at Colorado Quilter. I think it's fun to see what quilters
dress their beds with. Actually, the folded quilt at the foot of my bed is not one I made; I bought it on eBay a few years ago. I've never made a full size quilt, only crib, lap and journal type quilts. Most of the quilts I've made have been for other people. I am planning on making a full size quilt from my Women of the Bible blocks for myself, but I don't want to put it on my bed, because all three cats would mess it up quickly, I'm afraid. The vintage kitchen table next to the bed is what I use as a cutting table.

You can see that I also have needlepoint pillows, sheep, and a lion at the head of my bed. Two of the sheep are Shari Lewis' Lamb Chop stuffed toys and the Lyons Lion was made for me about 30 years ago by one of the little old ladies at the Boulder County Housing Authority's first project, Bloomfield Place, for senior citizens in the town of Lyons, north of Boulder. (One of the highways to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park runs through Lyons. ) This is when I worked for the Boulder County H. A. and assisted in the development of the project and then was in charge of property management. And now I are one of the little old ladies.

Here is a photo of my design wall (doors) with the WOTB and Names of Jesus blocks that I've finished so far. Too bad I didn't start quiltmaking when I was younger and could accomplish a lot more in much less time than it now takes me. But, I'm so glad that I finally did start; it has enriched my life so much, both in the creation, and in the quilters I've met.

The folded quilts on the shelf with my stash boxes are family quilts. The Butterfly quilt was made by Joe's Mom, Elsie, (from the pattern and fabrics, probably in the sixties) and the Depression Era Dresden Plate quilt was made by my Granny many years ago. I still have some unused Dresden Plate circles and strips of the pie shaped edging pieces that she had left over. One of the pieced circles is hanging around the shade of my reading lamp on the head board. I love those old fabrics.

Friday, November 9, 2007

This and That

Tonight I took Makayla to see the "Bee Movie" after we dropped Amber off at work, and before we had to pick her up again. (I'm so out of it that when they told me the name of the movie I thought they said it was a B movie. Do they still use this term in the 21st Century?) This is a fun movie; not only is it cute and funny but the use of the hexagon hive motif fascinated me. I might have to do a lot more hexagon quilts before I'm tired of these pattern possibilities. Does this mean I've been hexed? Maybe I could try adding hex signs to the hexagons. Oh well, it's late, I'm sleepy and getting silly.

Look at the great pattern I got in the mail today. When I saw this on Sew Momma Sew I was so excited because I am a bookworm
and it is getting harder and harder for me to hold books while reading. I've switched to paperbacks as often as possible for several years because they were easier to hold, but now even paperbacks are getting painful. This looks like the perfect solution to my problem because it holds the book on the lap and holds the pages open. Now if I can figure out how to use it while reading in bed; maybe Joe can invent something that would hold it at the right angle since it wouldn't work on the lap while reclining.
For those of you who are beginning to think about Christmas shopping, you might want to check out some of the items my brother is creating from his wonderful photographs. Just click on this link. Even if you are not in the shopping mode, his photos are worth the trip.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Royal Gorge Quilt Council Fall Show

The local quilt council show is being held at the new Pueblo Community College campus in Canon City and I really enjoyed visiting the show on one of those glorious, brilliant, blue sky days we have in the fall.

This was my first trip to the campus, though Ihave driven past many times. The building and site are wonderful in the valley between the Skyline Drive Hogback and Fremont Peak on US Highway 50, west of Canon City, on the way to the Royal Gorge entrance. For many years this was the site of the terraced gardens of the state Territorial Prison where prisoners grew their own vegetables. I remember how lovely the gardens were when I was a kid and hated seeing this land lying vacant and full of weeds. When the state donated the land for the PCC campus I was thrilled, and they have certainly designed a campus that takes advantage of the beautiful location.

This wonderful huge bronze eagle statue is located in the courtyard.

Here a few photos of the quilts; info on these and more photos can be seen in my Webshots album.