Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nora's Vet, a book review & my problem quilt

May 28, 2014

i thought i would start off with a nora jean update and picture of our wonderful veterinarian and her assistant, adam. when we moved up here we didn't have a vet for our nora jean, so when she first got sick we put off taking her because we didn't know anyone or have anyone to give us a reference.  feeling like we couldn't put it off any longer, we finally picked dr brown because she was fairly close to our house. we are so lucky that we did! she is an all encompassing vet who is a small and large animal doctor. she also does house calls if needed! despite her busy practice, she actually emails or calls us to find out how our girl is doing! if we have a question, she always responds. since nora's cancer surgery dr brown has worked with the surgeon (which she found for us) to continue and modify her treatments.  nora is holding her own but our hearts are heavy some days. she's not her curious, energetic self but we hope she may get that back. dr brown's assistant, adam, is starting veterinarian school this fall. i am going to make sure we send him some nice care packages. he's going to make a really great vet. we didn't get a picture of the doctor's receptionist, regine, who is always so friendly and helpful. now if we could find these kinds of people to take care of us!!!!

this is the problem quilt I've been working on for a couple of weeks now. i made it at first with out the appliqued flowers on it and it looked blah!!! i added the flowers and it was much improved. i used WASHABLE glue to stick the flowers on and also ran an iron over them. whatever i did, i cannot get the glue spots out. I've washed it twice and sprayed it with shout it out. now I've decided that I'm going to unsew all the flowers and put new ones on. I'm really not that fussy but the glue marks really show and spoil the quilt. when i finally get through with this problem quilt it should HOPEFULLY be a cute girlie quilt which was my intentions! i'll let you know how it turns out.                                  
my cousin, Barbara came up for a visit and stayed overnight. it was fun to take her around to see the beautiful mountains that surround us.

Barbara loves waterfalls so we took her to a few that were just a few miles from us. this one is sabbaday falls. barb's mother is from Germany and we walked by some people who were speaking german. Barbara went over and spoke to them in german. they were so surprised when she did. it was fun to listen to them chat. i took german in college but only remember a few phrases. the mister and i have always wished our fathers had spoken to us in French. they both spoke it fluently but never encouraged their children to! i don't think it was the thing to do then. anyway, we had a great visit and was able to catch up on family gossip. we also got our house really clean since she was staying over!
i received the book i won from the Canadian quilter. it's called Give & Take by daphne greig and susan purney mark. the book is really meant for beginners so i think i will give it to my sister who is just learning how to applique. its well written, clear and the diagrams are well marked. i wish i had it about 10 years ago! my sister will appreciate it.

i got these cribs last fall at various yard sales for very little money. I've washed them up and have been making them bedding. they'll be ready to donate next Christmas. i have a few dolls and stuffed animals that i'll add to each. I'm using all fabrics that i have on hand. it is fun to rummage through my stash and find something I've forgotten i have! its also fun to just make whatever i want just for the heck of it and know that some little child will be so happy to receive it.

my latest project are these bonnie hunter inspired stars. i have been loving her site ( it is so inspiring! i am a scrap quilter all the way and I've already found 2 quilts on her site that i made without knowing that she had! i used the same colors too! i don't know what I'm going to put around these stars but am using the scraps that i cut up when my mother was sick. i have literally hundreds of cut squares, triangles, strips, name it, I've cut it up! i'll let you know my progress on it! well, time to go and watch tv with the mister. today i am thankful that i have nice cousins like Barbara to visit with, the mister (of course!) and the people who have been caring for nora jean. i hope all of you have someone you can think about and smile too! see you in a few weeks. nancyb

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day, Nora Jean & The Mister


Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there. The mister brought me some really lovely flowers. they look great with this table runner i made a few years ago. he's a thoughtful and quite romantic guy and i do appreciate it! Speaking of the mister......he got the tractor running! it is a 1953 ford jubilee and it hasn't run for years. it sounded great! Honestly, i agreed to buying this because i knew he would get it running. he's always been a whiz at mechanics.
the mister has had an even busier week than i have. besides working on his tractor, he's been working on my sewing studio and it is looking so awesome! he put two more outlets in so that i don't have to use long extension cords and then he finished the ceiling. what a difference! it is fun to finally be able to hang my wall decorations and make this my room my own. i have 3 design walls. one for current projects, one for something i need to finish or am stuck on and one of them is exclusively for my machine quilting samples that I've done whenever I've taken a class or two or three. i want to add and update my machine quilting wall. i actually use this wall regularly as a reference whenever I'm ready to quilt something. when I take a quilting class i use plain muslin. when i quilt a design i write right on the muslin things like where to start a design, the name of it and what it might be especially good to be used for. also, the kind of thread i might use for a certain design and any other tidbits the quilting teacher gives out. my favorite class was a two day class with harriet hargraves. she was so good! the most important piece of information that i learned was that when you want to make a sharp corner (say to make a square), hesitate for a second before you turn the corner. by doing that you don't round your corner but make a nice sharp angle. such a simple thing, but i didn't know it and have used it a million times since then! i rarely come away from a class without learning some little thing that proves invaluable to my quilt making and quilting. i think that's why i love to take classes. that and hanging around other quilters for a day! i have signed up for 3 of leah day's machine quilting classes on craftsy. i like her and think i can learn some new things from her. I've decided that I'm going to try to set aside at least one morning a week that will be dedicated to one of the classes I've signed up for on the craftsy site. while listening to my podcasts, I've noticed that I'm not the only one who keeps signing up for classes and then not taking them! one of my 2014 goals is to take the classes I've paid for! craftsy has done an amazing job with their site and their business. I've noticed that online classes are popping up everywhere now but so far craftsy's classes and Missouri star quilt company's tutorials have been my number one choices.
my niece abby, will be celebrating her 11th birthday next month and i made her a little purse and money holder. i'll put a few girlie things in the purse and tuck some money in the holder. she takes horse back riding lessons and i found this scrap of material in my I Spy stash. it was perfect! not babyish (after all she is in double digits now) but i think still cute. i think she'll like it!
i made two little welcome mats for our newest 4 legged family members. the mats are made from fleece and 2' X 2'. they should be a perfect size for the little yorkies. Sandra has named them milo and baby bear. i can't wait to get a picture of them!
because the mister was working on my ceiling all week i didn't get a chance to work that much on my modern style quilt back. the courthouse steps will be going across the top and the friendship stars will be going along one side of the backing. honestly, i think when I'm done i might end up liking the back more than the front! my thoughts are that i can make this reversible so that i can "change up" the room every once in a while by simply flipping the quilt over. we'll see how that turns out! this week i hope to finally get that back done and with the mister's help i can sandwich it and then quilt it on my wonderful hq16. I've had that machine for 6 or 7 years now and i still love it! when i get this done i'll only have one more large ufo to complete. of course i have 2 smaller 1930s quilts i need to do but after these giants they will seem like a baby quilts!

i think I've mentioned how much i love my dump! it sounds funny but I'm serious. we have to do some serious recycling in our town and everything is marked so that you know where to put things. its always neat and clean and the men that work there are watchful and very helpful. at this dump there is a set of shelves set up out of the way that people can put good useable things that they just don't want anymore and don't want to throw away. today i went down there to fill my buckets up with the rich loam that they compost (its free for the taking) and lo and behold someone had left a box of material on the shelves! it looked like the real thing and not replicas and as i went through the box i found a half made quilt. it was cut out and stitched by hand. it has some stains on it but i think i can clean it up and for my camping project, i will work on it. there was also a 1934 singer sewing machine book, with a quarter inch foot and a light bulb! these 1930 or 40s prints were on the top of the pile! it also had some of the cocheco mill girls prints. I'm sure they are the original because i have the set of the replicas. this mill is in my hometown and my neighbors and their parents worked there making this material! I feel sure that this material is the real deal. it was made between 1881-85. i am having fun just going through this box and deciding what I'm going to do with it! thanks to whoever left it there! 
here is our wonderful nora jean helping me out like she always does.i was working on the things in this box and she decided to remind me that it was time to take a break and give her a nice "brushy". we had VERY good news from her doctor.           her blood work came out NORMAL. what a nice mother's day gift she gave me! you can tell she's feeling better and she's gained back the 3.5 pounds she lost. she looks great! she'll be on her          medication and b12 shots for a while but it sure has been worth it. we weren't ready to lose our helper cat!                                                                                                                                                         
 a new podcast has appeared and its awesome! its called and you can find it on iTunes. laura is interesting, funny and she loves quilting and sewing. she has 6 kids of her own and is caring for two young foster kids. I've listened to and enjoyed all of her episodes and hope she'll podcast for a long time. maybe i'll start a podcast. I've been thinking about it for quite a while. I'm not sure I'm technologically ready!                                                                                                               
today I'm grateful for chip's mom who is healthy and happy at the age of 93. our grandchildren lost 3 great grandmothers in the past year so we especially cherish my mil. I'm also grateful for our sons who will , I'm sure, buy me nice presents! actually, i'll get to spend the day with them and that in itself is a great present and one I'm so looking forward to!                                                                
. happy mother's day.  nancyb                                                                                  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I WON!!! Twitter Laptop and SNOW (really?????)

April 27, 2014

Good morning everyone! i haven't written because, although I'd been busy quilting and sewing, i hadn't finished anything. i wrote a funny story to the Canadian Quilter Podcast and she put it on the show! i won an applique book written by her guest speaker Daphne Greig. she is a Canadian quilter who makes her living at it. being a person who rarely wins anything i was excited! i haven't received my book yet but when i do i'll review it for you. btw, if you're not listening to brandi lynn of the Canadian quilter podcast, you should. its a good show and i love her Canadian slant on things.
can you see the snowflakes in this picture people??? this was april 21st!!!! enough already! we still have a patch of snow in our front yard. i suppose i should remember that 2 or 3 weeks ago we had 3 feet of snow in the front yard and 5 feet of snow in our backyard. the mister was so desperate to start playing with his new tractor, he bundled up and went out and did some motor fixing things to it anyway. he's been waiting for the weather to warm up as much as i have. we don't usually mind whatever the weather is, but this winter has been a beast. i can only think that next winter couldn't possibly be as bad. i have a feeling i'll be in a really big whine mode next winter if it is!
i finished the table runner i made for the common threads quilt show auction that will be held the end of june. they have real auctioneers run the auction (the auction company donates their time). its one of my favorite parts of the show. my sister and i get something to drink and sit down in the chairs and just watch with fascination as the auctioneers run this. its so cool. 100% of the money made from this goes to the guild's charity projects. the prairie quilt guild has their show every other year and 2 years ago my sister and i made clock wall hangings (with real working clock parts) and donated them. my sister's made $75 and mine made $50!. this year we're doing a 4th of july theme. I'm donating the table runner and she made the cutest little wall hanging  of a fire cracker exploding. i can't wait to see them auctioned off.
you wouldn't think that I'd still be using my swear jar, but we got a new laptop last week and unfortunately, while it's really great, it didn't come with many directions. each day the mister and i work on it a little bit and figure something out and its getting easier. now that I've been able to download my email & craftsy classes in it I'm feeling a little bit calmer about it. the "manual" (this is in quotes because I'm not sure it deserves the title of manual) has about 1 page worth of useless stuff on it. this is a dell inspiron that got good reviews so we've been surprised at the lack of written help that's available for this thing. my poor swear jar is just stuffed to the gills. son, Andrew is in Europe for another week but I'm sure he'll give us a hand if we haven't figured everything out by the time he gets back.

another thing I've done this week is to join twitter. i have yet to write anything yet but I'm all signed up and following most of the podcasters i listen to. i joined so that i can enter the contest that lazy daisy is having. its a simple one......if you started a quilt before this year and finished it starting January 1st 2014, then your name goes in a drawing to win a quilt that lazy daisy made! I've finished Andrew's huge quilt in January. the pictures above are of a kid's quilt that i started last summer. i used my accuquilt go cutter for these blocks. it was so easy using that thing! i didn't put the half square triangles, 4 patches and blocks in any particular order. i just watched the color pattern and would add a square with black in it or a light color if the quilt was looking dark. i used some red material that i had on hand and i stipple quilted it in black. i figured it was way too busy for any fancy quilting. i like the I Spy look to it and i think I'm going to put this in my etsy shop. i need to get my shop up and running again.

the other thing that i completed this week was two memory match games. my boys and their friends always loved to play this game so, with all of my I SPY material sitting in bins, i decided to make 2 sets of fabric memory match games. they are 4" square and the backing is all the same. I'm going to put these in my etsy shoppe also. i can think of a few little kids who will enjoy them if they don't sell!

nora jean is still hanging in there. she'll be having blood work done this week to see how things are going. i am still giving her prednisone and her chemo plus an antacid. the doctor is giving her weekly b12 shots. she's had a few good days that we can really see that she's feeling pretty good. she's gaining her weight back which is a good sign. she still likes to sew with me and I'm so glad she does! her doctor reminded me that she's not "cured" yet and will likely have some bad days along with the good ones. i appreciated her talking me off the ledge. we do love our nora jean and really hate seeing her go through this.
this week i am so grateful for our wonderful vet, dr brown. her kindness and thoroughness has helped us probably more than she realizes. I'm also grateful for my sister and brother, who call regularly to see how our "patient" is doing and finally, i am REALLY jealous of my brother who just bought his longtime girlfriend, not ONE but TWO little yorkie pups. i have a friend who had one for many years called Elizabeth and i thought she was the sweetest thing. i love those dogs! i suppose if they can't live here then I'm glad they will be living with sandy and my brother. they couldn't be going to a nicer home! i'll have to make them some little puppy mats as a welcome gift! see you in a week or so and have a wonderful day. nancyb

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool's Day NOT!!!!! Kendall's Birthday and Nora Jean

i took this picture of our back yard about an hour ago. I'd love to say APRIL FOOL'S but I'm afraid it's the real thing. This has been one heck of a winter and our front yard has just as much snow as our back yard. if you can enlarge the picture you'll see all of the animal foot prints. we've got quite a busy back yard! that being said, we had to take down our feeders and suets. we love watching and feeding our small birds and woodpeckers but we've seen too many bear in our backyard to keep the feeders up. they've been reporting all over town that the bears are waking up, snow or no snow and they are hungry! the mister and i were coming back from our walk recently and a wolf (yes i said a wolf!) was walking out of our yard to cross the street. it stopped and looked at us and quickly continued on his way. we've also caught 3 raccoons, a coyote, fox and of course deer quite regularly on our game is fun to watch them pass through.

i made these for kendall's birthday and we filled them with stuff she likes and of course some money. we can't believe she is 13 years old already. i got the pattern for the red and blue bags from the new Sew It magazine that is only $3.99. The mister got me a subscription to it and to the sister magazine Quilt It. they're great magazines for the money and there is always something i want to make that's in it. the lacrosse bag i made by adjusting the size of the bag patterns. very easy to make! the little gift envelope i got off the allpeoplequilt website. it literally takes minutes to make and fits a gift card or cash in it nicely.
for some reason i didn't get a picture of kendi with her cake but her brother will do! they're both so sweet i could just squeeze them to death! (i think I've tried but their father interfered :>} )


 this is the backing I've been working on for my next big quilt. (the top is all finished) it's turning out to look like a modern quilt! i have tried several times to make a modern quilt but i end up switching things up and when I'm done it goes back to looking like a traditional quilt. i am taking my time with this because it is as big as Andrew's quilt is. it's going on our bed and i want it to look nice.....front and back. if i manage to do this right i'll be able to use both sides. fun!



this is a ufo that I finished. i bought the material when i worked at joann's and it is a cheater cloth. i machine tied it because that's what it seemed to need. it came out great and will go in my pile of kiddie quilts to be donated or given to family and friends. i found the perfect binding for it in my stash. do you know how long its been since I've bought material???? it is backed in flannel and is nice and soft. i have enough to make another one and may do that this coming week.
now for our nora jean news. finally we have a diagnosis. she has lymphoma. we took her to the animal hospital about 80 miles from here and she had two hours of surgery and 15 staples in her little belly. she had the staples taken out yesterday by our vet and we will be starting her on chemo and prednisone tomorrow. she'll also be getting a b12 shot once a week for a while. while this type of cancer is not curable, it is very treatable and most cats respond to the treatment very well (so we've been told). she has been a brave little girl and we're hoping and praying for many more years to spend with her. this is the mister giving her a nice "brushy" while she rests.
i took this picture yesterday because, as we all know, she is the best helper cat there is. she is not allowed to jump or climb for a while so she gave me a sweet bliiiip when i put her in her "spot". after checking out the doves and squirrels outside she settled down to listen to my audiobook and the hum of my sewing machine with me. we were both calmer and happier for it. keep good and healing thoughts in your hearts for out nora jean. i'll write again soon. nancyb

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Andrew's Quilt and so much more!


I finally got to give my son Andrew his 40th birthday quilt. the bottom picture is the back and i had it on our bed. when he saw it he said, mom! nice! i said no, no, that's the back and had him help me turn it over (that quilt is BIG!). He was stunned and i could tell he REALLY loved it. there is nothing like the feeling of totally making a loved one happy. the middle picture is when the mister and i were trying to sandwich it. nora jean, of course, was checking it out but her sitting on it makes you realize how big it is. the one i am making the backing for right now is just as big.
this is the quilt I'm entering in the common threads quilt show this year. i am a long distance member of the Wichita Kansas prairie quilt guild. my sister belongs and we attend the meetings together whenever i am visiting her. i don't have a guild to belong to up here and don't know enough people to form a mini group. i miss it and am happy to belong to this very active and awesome group. the pattern for this quilt is called the Mexican star and it was so much fun to make! i bought the pattern quite a few years ago at a quilt show and then never made it. the directions were well written and it was something i hadn't tried before. it is 3 dimensional and when you are all done piecing it together you sew down the corners to give it a cathedral window look. in my 2014 goal to use what i have, i pulled this material from my stash. i love it! I'm going to have it judged. I'm curious to see if i win anything. speaking of judging and judges........there are so many people who are afraid to have their quilts judged (my sister being one of them). I've never understood that. I've gotten some really excellent and helpful criticisms over the years. one year i got a zero from the judge on my quilting! the back of the wall hanging was a mess. i not only wasn't very good at machine quilting yet but it was a new machine and wasn't calibrated correctly. that being said, it was a really cool quilt and i got 11 people's choice votes for my quilt! so what did i learn about this incident? 1. a good judge would never give anyone a zero for anything. everyone needs a few points for effort! 2. a quilt doesn't have to be perfect for people to like it. other than that incident though, my judges comments have been either glowing or a nice but very helpful criticism. so if you are putting your quilt(s) in a show this year try having it judged. its fun!
we have an aunt celebrating her 90th birthday next week and is in a nursing home. i made her two pillowcases. they always seem to go over big with the younger and older generations. i made them very different so that she could have a change of pace when she puts a clean one on her bed. if you make them for a gift don't forget to put their name inside it so it doesn't get lost in the laundry and end up on someone else bed. trust me, from experience, it doesn't go over well! there is a great tutorial for this quick and easy pillowcase on the Missouri star quilt company website.
well i finally used the dress form i made for my granddaughter. it worked well and the skirt i made her came out really cute. we'll see how well it fits her when we visit her next week. she and my grandson have been growing like weeds recently. we may have to make her another dress form for next year!
i'll close with a picture of my grands. i can't believe how mature they're getting. they are such wonderful young people! today i love our grandchildren, who have been such a blessing in our lives. i love my children and my really great daughter in law. they are all such caring human beings. the mister and i are very proud of them. and finally, today my heart and prayers go out to our beloved nora jean. she was back at the vets today. they still haven't found out exactly what's wrong with her. she seems to recover and then starts going downhill again. it just breaks my heart to see her so quiet and still. i hope they'll find out soon! have a great day and i will too. nancyb

Saturday, March 1, 2014

It's the Mister's Birthday! projects and its Still cold and snowy here!

March 1, 2014
The Mister and Our New Motorhome!
We went and picked up our new motorhome yesterday. it's a bit smaller than our Minnie was but is perfect for us. we took it for a test drive and we kept hearing a sound like a can rolling back and forth when we would turn a corner. the mister took a panel apart that was under the dining table and there was an extra leg for the dinette rolling around in there! the men must have laid it there when they were putting things together and forgot it. its a good thing the mister is so clever with those things because I would have just put up with the noise. we can't wait to go on a few getaways in it! I don't think this winter is ever going to end. it was minus 5 this morning when we got up and very cold in the house. we are almost out of wood so are using our precious propane. everyone around here is in the same boat. next year we'll make sure we have a bigger supply of wood. when the mister gets his tractor running it'll be put to good use. btw, our neighbor, a nice elderly woman stopped by. she saw the tractor in the yard and asked who we had bought it off. we told her and she smiled and said that it had originally been her husband's and she had sold it to the guy we bought it from! she's going to look to see if there are any spare parts around her place and give them to us. its a small world!!!! well, the mister is having a cold but nice birthday so far. the boys and family are coming up tomorrow for vegetarian spaghetti, homemade bread and salad. they haven't seen the tractor yet and don't know a thing about the motorhome. we can't wait to surprise them!                                          
do you all remember when these potato bags were the rage? well, I made some for gifts and for myself and we all love them. i made two this week. one for our aunt's birthday and one for our new motorhome! if you haven't tried baking a potato in this you've got to try it out. wash the potato, pierce it with a knife and put it in the bag. the bag doesn't close. I've put as much as 4 potatoes in the bag at a time. the more you have in the bag or the bigger the potato, the longer you microwave it. i always start out with 3 minutes. when the beep sounds, i take the sack out, pierce it with a fork to test how much its cooked and then flip the bag over and pierce the other side of the potatoes with a knife. put it back in the microwave for 2-4 minutes and check again using the same process. when they feel done then leave them in the bag while you finish cooking the rest of your supper. they are so tasty! i finally talked my mil through the process one day (she's had hers for 2 years and was afraid to use it). she LOVES it and uses it regularly to cook a potato to go with her supper. there is a special batting to use for these potato bags. i know you can get them online or at joann's. the directions for making one are with it. you don't have to use the potato material. 100% cotton will do fine. i used muslin for the lining. i throw it in the laundry and wash it with the rest of the clothes. this is great for a quick gift. its an easy project and fun.

i totally forgot to even mention valentines day on my last post! this is a wall hanging that i made several years ago. i got it off the site. i think the pattern is still on the site. I love it and it looks festive! i used it for a table runner this year instead of hanging it on the wall. the mister and i went out to a restaurant we had been curious to try and had a lovely seafood dinner. it was a fun day.

this is another of my ufo's I've been working on. it is 96" X 104". i am not piecing the backing like i did with son Andrew's quilt. I'm going to go to joann's with my trusty coupon and get 3.5 yards of backing material. i have got to stop making these large quilts! they are so hard to put together! this one is staying with us. it goes nicely with our bedroom walls and furniture. I've got one more large quilt to finish and then i'll stay away from them for a while.
i will close with nora jean fixing herself up to take a nice afternoon nap on the new quilt. she feels it is her solemn duty to put her kitty love in everything i make. she's such a helper cat! well, that's it for now. today i love, love, love the mister. i hope his birthday is as wonderful as he is. happy quilting, nancyb