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Thursday, February 28, 2008


Daughter Kat called this evening, on the way to a meeting after work, to tell me that she missed reading my blog. I guess it has been quite a while since I posted. Brother Steve calls and asks me if I'm OK when I don't post for a while.

February has always been my unfavorite month. Too long Winter, too far to Spring! How can you get excited about anything when the world looks like this on one of the rare good days? Thank God, February is nearly gone (would be gone except that Leap Year gives us an extra day. Oh, goody!)

The past few weeks have been full of cold, grim, gray days with too much wind. I've filled these "lovely" days taking myself and Mom to doctors, dentists, oral surgeons, diverse hospital tests, etc., ad infinitum. I have always believed that I was meant to spend winter hibernating, in a luxurious fur lined cave. I would have enjoyed that more. I might need an assortment of good books and a book light to help make the days more enjoyable in that cave. Even my cat, Cho Cho, has cabin fever and blames me for the miserable weather that keeps him indoors.

But, this week we are having several sunny, warm days (although still short) and this morning while feeding the birds (I didn't fall on my hand and face this time) I discovered a few tiny green shoots coming up along the brick path in the herb garden and some tulip leaves are coming through the soil in the front prairie flower border. Even the little red headed House Finch males are singing their sweet mating songs at Toad Haven.

I finally figured out how to install the free motion foot on my Bernette and have done a bit of experimenting using it without very good results. I haven't yet gotten the hang of how to keep the machine running steadily while I move the fabric sandwich so that the stitches are even and go where I want them to. I am really wondering if this wouldn't be more effective if I was using a Bernina machine with a stitch regulator. While researching embellishing machines online I find that Bernina has a great felting attachment, also. I am seriously thinking that I need (want?) a sewing machine that can piece and free motion quilt as well as do machine embroidery and felting. This would help me overcome my quilting, embroidering handicap of worn out thumb joints. But I am also having a hard time convincing myself that I need it enough to justify the high cost, since it is really a hobby, even if an avocation. I have never been good at justifying expenditures for my own pleasure. Maybe I can convince myself that I am a professional in training. (Everyone knows that it's all right to invest money in one's profession.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Birthdays and Landscape Quilts

Kat and Greg drove down, with Evan and niece Crystal,to pick up Mandy today. Crystal is a month younger than Mandy, and they have grown up together, so she rode along as a surprise. (Mandy in back, Amber middle, Crystal front)

Yesterday was Kat's birthday. When she was born, a few years ago, her father worked at his family's weekly newspaper, "The Fowler Tribune", and since the paper was printed and mailed out on Thursdays, nothing else was ever supposed to happen that day. Kat, an independent young woman, chose to be born on Thursday afternoon, which complicated things considerably at the paper office. I did, however, have her in the old, since closed, Rocky Ford Hospital, instead of at the office. To celebrate her day, we picked up Mom, and had lunch at Big Daddy's Diner in Canon City.
Big Daddy's is in the local truck stop (actually, in Canon it is the tourist stop, more tourists than truckers here), which is a Fifties style diner decorated with Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean memorabilia, as well as photos of restored automobiles from the era, and serves yummy comfort food. Amber was also with us since she spent Mandys last night here with her "slumbering". Three teenage girls with three cell phones; Joe and I think they were texting each other through the drive and meal.

Last night, while Amber was still at work at the Burger King, I showed Mandy the landscape quilts in the book, "Luscious Landscapes" which has a couple of our Allie Aller's lovely pieces. Then I showed her some of Rian's quilts and her tutorial of her method. It sure helps to have these talented, creative quilting buddies to help me teach Mandy, via their blogs.

For several years Mandy has been doing drawings of stylized mountainscapes that I believed would make wonderful quilt designs, so I had her draw one on freezer paper and number the pieces, which we then scanned and printed for the pattern; she then cut out each piece and ironed them on the backs of some fabrics that she chose from my stash. She then began cutting out each piece, leaving a quarter inch allowance around the freezer paper patterns. I think it is going to be quite nice, but will have to wait until she can visit again to see the finished piece. Anticipation!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Remember That Great Reading Pillow Pattern?

I'm now able to do a little typing with both hands; but I can't grip or hold any weight, or drive the car, or fasten my bra, etc. I'm also having more problem than usual holding books to read, especially hardbound books, so I remembered that great pattern that was hanging above my cutting table and dug thru my vintage stash for a heavy cotton fabric, suitable for that kind of wear and tear.

I found several yards of a big floral from the 30s or 40s which I got a few years ago on eBay and have never figured where to use. Since it makes me feel good to look at it, and I'm not in the best of temper, given my level of frustration, I decided to use some of it for the pillow. I still have to find a coordinating fabric for trim and welting.

Here are the pieces, minus the trim for the pockets and bias strips for the welting. If I can't find the appropriate coordinating fabric in my stash, I hope I can manage to drive to the Creative Cloth Closet tomorrow and see what Denise has available.

I'm less grumpy already, now that I'm working on a fabric project. Mandy wants to make one, also, and wondered if she could do it out of denim. I think denim would be great. She has sewn a couple of interesting fabric collages while here which lead me to believe that I'm going to have to introduce her to landscape quilting.

The other project I managed to do while still wearing the splint, without the sling, was the Quilting the Names of God block for week 4, the Thousand Stars for the Everlasting/Eternal God/El Olam.

"Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the Lord, the Eternal God." _Genesis 21:33

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." _Isaiah 40:28-29

I used black and white fabrics with gold stars on a gold background. The block is fused and machine appliqued with gold zigzag stitches.

My daily Bible readings, lately, have been in Genesis and Leviticus where God gave instructions on the clothing for the priests and the decoration for the tabernacle. They were to use red, blue, purple, gold, and white on the high priest's garments. So I decided that I need to find a purple with gold fabric with a geometric design to go with the fabrics I've already chosen. Green is not one of the colors listed but I've already used green and since it is the color for growth and nature, I've decided that I still choose to include it.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Duct Tape Bubba Saves the day

that's the name used by the nurse who applied my splint; he's from Georgia. he told duct tape Joe that he could use a tube sock to hold the splint when it no longer needed to be held as firmly as the elastic bandage. Luckily Joe had just cleaned out his sock drawer and had a sack full of holey (not holy) white tube socks saved to use as rags in the shop.

You can see from the second and third photos why we had to get my rings cut off yesterday morning. I woke up with an extremely tight splint and discovered that my fingers had turned into very fat sausages. After sitting in the ER waiting room for 45 minutes with no one even welcoming us, we decided that it would probably be faster and considerably cheaper to have our jeweler do the cutting. he didn't even charge for the cutting, we'll only have to pay to have them repaired so i can wear them again after the swelling goes down.

I'm happy to report that I can use the hand a bit more but still can't close the fingers or grip anything. i also don't wish to bend my wrist. Today i am having more trouble with pulled muscles, or something, on the ribs on my left side and with my back. i told joe that i am having twinges on top of my twinges.

I am learning that i don't take well to losing my independence. i am also learning that even tho i am not an avid housekeeper, i do a lot more of it unconsciously thru the day than i realized. it's amazing how fast every thing goes to pot when i'm not walking around picking up, thowing away, wiping, and generally tidying thru the day. grrrrrrrr! i am trying (in more ways than one) to remember to have an attitude of gratitude and praise, rather than grumbling, but it shore don't come natural!

I do remember archy and mehitabel, but am less graceful than they were at typing.

debra thinks that i need to keep my swollen ankles higher than my heart, as well as my hand.
now 17 year old Mandy can put her ankles up around her neck, but i sure can't! i'll have to find another remedy.

Friday, February 1, 2008

the sound of one hand typing

last evening we came home from grocery shopping at twilight and i decided to fill the empty bird feeders for the morning rush. as i hurried thru the herb garden i stubbed my toe and flew thru the air to land left hand first and then flat on my face in the dirt a foot from the concrete carport floor. due to arthritis in feet, knees, and hands i can't get myself up from this position. i was able to call joe and he called the emts who got me back on my feet.

they checked my face, hips, legs and especially my left hand which was kind of sore. nothing seemed to be broken so i signed the paper that i did not choose to be transported to the hospital and put an ice pack on my wrist and hand. by the time i went to bed it was hurting more and my ring finger was swollen too much to remove my rings. the tip looked like a large purple grape.

this morning i couldn't use that hand without pain so joe drove mr to the er. it was very busy so it took about 3 hours to be examined, have x-rays done. doc said i was lucky that i had no broken bones, just painful wrist and finger sprains. they put on a splint and a sling and told me to keep it higher than my heart to keep down swelling so i didn't have to have my rings cut off.

i got an rx for tylenol with codeine with instructions to recline and not try to do anything for a few days. mandy and joe are taking good care of me. i also had to have my glasses rebuilt from the pretzel shape the fall caused. i'm also pleased to report that ursula oxygen survived the fall and is still pulsing.

so all my plans for doing more work at my mom's house in fowler this weekend, getting more blocks sewn, and starting to exercise 3 times a week at curves again, are at a standstill.

"life is what happens to us while we are busy making plans."

you have no idea how exhausting it is to type one handed. i feel about the way i look in the self portrait. how am i going to get my clothes off over that splint?