Thursday, July 31, 2014


Ahhhh...much better today!



A while back I bought a Mollie Makes magazine at my local quilt shop.  Included with the magazine  was a kit to make a small purse.   The kit was quick, fun and the tiny purse was definitely useful. 

I have been using it to hold my empty bobbins.   However, the more I sew it seems the more empty bobbins I need!  This little purse has no room to grow!

Then, a week or so ago, I decided to do a bit of FMQ practicing.  I have a stack of miscellaneous 5" charm squares that I use to make coasters, mug rugs and practice sandwiches.  I pulled out one of my favorite charms, found a solid pinkish charm to match and sewed them together to make a 5" x 9.5" rectangle.  I added a layer of batting and a scrap of black material for the backing. 

After practicing a bit, I was ready to toss the sandwich into the trash...but stopped short.  It was MUCH too cute to throw away!  So today I sewed a few seams, added a snap and made a new bobbin holder!

Isn't it cute?  I have a LOT more room to store my empty bobbins now...

...and the bright, HAPPY colors make me smile!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


ACK!  Yesterday and today are HORRIBLE!  I am shaking and tremoring all over the place. 

Yesterday morning I began a bit of FMQ on my Aunt's quilt.  Please pardon the fuzz, but see how nice and straight my line is?

By early afternoon my shaking had started...

Here it is when I finally decided to cry "UNCLE" and give up on working on her quilt.  This is the back of the quilt for better visibility.  I wasn't "winging it" with the FMQ, I actually had LINES drawn...which I couldn't manage to stay on! 

Yesterday afternoon my mom and dad came over so dad could hang some decorative boxes in our basement.  He wants to get it done just in case he has to have surgery again.  I tried to get up on a step stool to hold the tape measure for him, but my balance was horrendous.  My mom had to hold my waist to keep me from falling off of the stool...and I was only about 12 inches off the floor!  And today is no better! 

I'm praying that the horrible shaking and balance issues I have had for two days now is just one of my "bad episodes" and I will go back to being a little better until the next episode.  I don't know WHAT I will do if this becomes my normal.  However, one thing is for certain...I will deal with it and modify my life however I need to in order to live in spite of it. 

Speaking of modifying...I moved over to my quilting work table and began planning out a gift for a dear friend.  I have had the material, etc for months now...but I wanted to get my Aunt's quilt done before I started the gift.  It is a "just because" gift and has no deadline...unlike the quilt, lol.  But, since I can't work on the quilt, I might as well work on the place mats I am making for her kitchen!


Monday, July 28, 2014

IT HAS BEEN A BUSY WEEKEND...and hopefully it will put some money in our pockets!

As you know, Dear Hubby and I have been working on purging through our home.  After 25+ years in this house it is AMAZING the amount of stuff we have accumulated!  Despite having MORE than enough items to have a good garage sale at the end of this summer, it is doubtful we will be able to pull it off.  My Dear Sweet Dad is having health issues again and may be facing yet another surgery in the next few months to remove another cancerous lesion from his lung.  We are in a holding pattern waiting for results, which will determine our course of action.

SOooooo...this weekend we began packing and moving all of the garage sale stuff down to the basement.

This is the pile of stuff in the basement for our "eventual" garage sale.  Those 7 Bankers Boxes are STUFFED full.

This is the pile in the dining room which still has to be "packed up" and moved downstairs.

This is the pile in the guest room which still has to be moved to the basement.

AND,  WE HAVE NOT EVEN PURGED THROUGH ONE QUARTER OF OUR HOME!  CRAZY!!  I am sincerely beginning to think that the Tiny House Folks have the right idea.  All of this stuff has cluttered up our closets and rooms and we have really not NEEDED any of it!  Time for it to go!!!

Currently, Ebay has a Free Listing promotion going on.  So this weekend I pulled out items that I thought had a good chance of selling and listed them.  To keep them separate from the "garage sale" piles, I used our now empty guest bed for my Ebay staging area.  

These are the items I have listed thus far (along with J's bass guitar).  I still have TONS of things to go through and list...and that is without even searching!  I sure hope I can get it all listed before the promotion is up!

During our search through the house we also came upon my four high school yearbooks, Dear Hubby's high school graduating year book, along with his college graduating yearbook.  I had read on a blog that gives gift cards as a thank you for sending in your yearbooks for them to scan.  So I did a bit of research on their website and found that they already had a copy of Hubby's high school year book...but the rest of the yearbooks were still not in the system.  So I contacted them, filled out an online form, and they sent me a box and paid shipping to mail away the first two of my yearbooks.  They said it would take about six weeks to process completely before my books would be returned to me.  Today I hope to fill out the online form to mail my next two yearbooks and Hubby's one yearbook.  Right now "every little bit helps"  around here and if the gift cards (should I receive any) do not have an expiration date I will put them away for "emergency" use.  Of note...the yearbooks must be OWNED by you...not just a yearbook you pick up at a garage sale. 

Today, Monday, has also been a GREAT freebie day!  I am a member of  Pinchme is a site where you can request samples every month.  The samples are based on your profile of likes and dislikes.  You can earn points by giving reviews, watching videos and referring friends.  This month I received a free sample of Gevalia coffee (YUMMY), a hair cleanser that will remove styling products from your hair without damage, Garnier Fructis shampoo, condition and moisture replenishing treatment and a bottle of Sinful Colors Professional nail polish.  I will see if K would like the nail polish as silver is really not my color, lol.  Though it is GORGEOUS in the bottle, I think I am a bit OLD for the color.  Then again, maybe it is just what I need to give a little umph to my style!  If you would like to join Pinchme, please email me and I will refer you.  I get points for each referral, and we can ALL use a bit more free in our lives!

Well, I'm headed downstairs to eat some lunch and clean up a bit in the kitchen.  Have a wonderful, frugal, day!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Yes, that's me.  Bored Stiff!  I am really lost while Ellie is away getting fixed.  I am feeling good today, so I need to be "doing" something. 

I have so much I WANT to do right now and without her I am at a standstill.  I keep telling myself that I can begin cutting the next project, but my mind has a real problem with that.  "Finish what you start before you start something else!" begins sing-songing through my brain every time I contemplate cutting into the material for my next project.  Thus, I sit here like a stick in the mud.  Stuck. 

I have caught up on paperwork in the past few days and caught up on my laundry yesterday.  I am totally SICK of television and reading...I do THAT when my pain or tremor are too bad to do anything else!  I looked at a few recipes, but they are not in line with our new eating cooking/baking is out. I guess I could purge a few more areas of my house, but that is boring too. 

I think I need to bring my very first sewing machine home from my parents' house.  I gave it to them when my mom started having a harder time sewing by hand and I had gotten another machine.  Honestly, she never actually uses it and just brings her mending to me.  If I bring it back here then I would at least have a machine that can sew a straight stitch, zig-zag and reverse!  It's a good, heavy, mechanical Singer...back in the days when machines were made of metal inside, not plastic, and Singer was a good name in machines.  In a few weeks it will be 33 years old!  Yup, they made them better back then!  Off to phone my mom and see if I can pick it up today.  Let's hope by the time I get it I am still feeling good!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

WHAT'S UP WITH ELLIE?............

It never fails!  Every time I have a sewing deadline, my dear, sweet Ellie (Ellure Plus sewing machine) will throw a hissy fit!

I finished FMQing all of the background of the blocks with YLI invisible thread.  I love the look of the quilting on the cream fabric...truly invisible.  However, I don't like the way it "shines" against the black backing, but there is not much I can do about it at this point.  I will just tell my aunt to forget the back exists, lol.  Since I am getting ready to do some FMQ with 100% cotton thread I pulled out a test swatch and began practicing.  As anyone who has ever tried to teach themselves FMQ can tell you, it takes PRACTICE...and lots of it.  You need to get your body into the "zone" where your machine and your hands are working in perfect harmony.  Too slow or too jerky and you get ugly long stitches.

I was happily playing when suddenly my machine started her hissy fit.  I can be sewing along just fine and without warning there will be 10-12 stitches where I can see the needle going up and down, but there are no stitches!  Then all of a sudden she begins doing what she is supposed to and I get nice even stitches.  I tried rethreading my machine three times and finally got so disgusted I sent an email and this picture down to the store where I bought the sewing machine.  Within no time I had a reply with three suggestions.  If those things don't work I will be driving down to Delaware on Saturday.  I just hope Ellie doesn't have to stay "in the hospital" for a whole week...I want this quilt DONE by the end of July (fingers crossed) so I can work on other Christmas presents, lol. 

To try to calm myself down a bit I reached for this stuff.  I spread a bit on my arms and neck and within minutes the aroma had calmed my nerves.  A few weeks ago my Dear Aunt showed up at my front door with a "just because" present.  It was this tube of Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Stress Relief.  She assured me that it smelled incredibly good and would calm me down when I needed it.  Life has been a bit stressful recently!  Oh boy was she right!  I wish I could invent internet aroma transmission so you could smell it too.  It is a perfect combination of eucalyptus and spearmint (she says as she sniffs her left arm) and feels really cool on your skin.  Hmmm...excuse me while I float in my Zen Zone for a while....

And, speaking of yummy, J has gotten me hooked on Oikos Greek Yogurt. is even more yummy than John Stamos (yes, I'm serious!).  This morning I am indulging in a bit of peachy heaven.  Total bliss. 

Well, I guess it is time to check my emails and then change a few things on Ellie's settings and see if she is willing to play nice today. 

Have a great day, everyone!  Toodles...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Sorry I have been away so long.  I really didn't intend to be, but life has been NUTS!  Between my health, Dear Hubby's health, my Dad's health and all we are trying to do around here, I can't even THINK straight!

This past week we had a contractor here to do a lot of "little things" that have been needed to be done but neither Hubby nor I can do, my dad spent Monday and Tuesday painting decorative pieces for us, between Hubby and I we had a total of SIX doctors in one week and my Dear Dad had a follow up with his lung surgeon who removed his two previous tumors...and the news isn't good.

The contractor came out to install our new storm door.  Our old one was caught by the wind (we have HORRENDOUS winds here) and pulled right out of the wood!  This door has a couple of features that I absolutely LOVE and it was only around $250 from Home Depot.

See that tiny bulge of white on the door closey thingie (sorry, have NO idea what it is called)?  If you open the door as wide as you want and then tap it with your toe it will hold the door open for you.  No more fiddling with the sliding things that always end up covered with grease!  When you are done, simply open the door a few inches more (with your butt) and the door will then close!  Genius, I tell you!

And the best part?  See the clip and the bar right above the tag that I still need to clean that off of the window?  You simply raise the clip a little and lower the top glass section down to the bottom and above the bar and clip is screening!  With our old door Dear Hubby would have to remove a big, HEAVY beveled glass pane (the full length of the door) and carry it down the basement and then bring up the full length screen.  He has not been able to carry it since his fall in 2011, so we have had no cross ventilation breeze since.  All we have had is "fake air" (air conditioning) instead of the "real air" (open windows) that I love.  One more chore that we can no longer do is now ticked off the list!

We have FINALLY removed everything that J was storing in our living room when he moved out.  Well, except for a box of Guitar Magazines that need to be recycled a little bit at a time so we don't go over the poundage permitted for our container (the box is too heavy for Dear Hubby or I to lift so it will stay there as we take handfuls to the bin).

J's big amp, his first electric guitar and his bass are still here temporarily.  He is currently trying to sell his bass guitar, so hopefully that will be gone soon.  There is a strong possibility he and K will be moving into a rental house in September so he may be taking the amp and guitar with him then.  There is just no room in their tiny apartment. 

Our dining room finally looks like a dining room instead of a "catch-all" room.  Well, almost.  The plexiglass panels you see propped against the hutch are for five display cases that my dad just painted for us.  Once the cases are hung I will wash the panels and install them on the cases to avoid dust inside.

The pile of "first floor" garage sale stuff (far from complete) is still sat in the corner.  Next weekend Dear Hubby is going to put up a few tables in one of our two garages and I will begin cleaning, pricing and moving the stuff out there.  I am hoping to have the whole house purged through (twice) for a garage sale the first week of September (depending on Dad's health).

These are the display cases that Dad painted last Monday and Tuesday.  When J was young he started a keychain collection.  I think he has over 200 at this point.  We had these display cases made (yes, two of them are bigger...the guy screwed up, lol) in oak to match his bedroom furniture.  The inside is cork so he used clear push-pins to hang the keychains.  They were filled to the brim with his collection.  Now that his room has become my Expanded Sewing Room, there is no wall space to hang them.  Since we have a large blank wall in our basement, we are painting the wood black to match the basement color scheme and will hang them there.  I can't wait to see them hung.  I will definitely post pictures once they are hanging and the basement is in order again.  Right now it looks like a disaster hit.  Actually, it did.  The burst pipe a few months ago initiated a complete purge through and reorganization.  AND, we are going to have a half bath put in the basement so Dear Hubby doesn't have to walk the stairs to use the facilities when he is working from home.  He just can't do it anymore.  We have two hand rails on the stairs and he literally pulls himself up the steps.  We considered an "Acorn" stair lift, but that would NOT add to the value of the home should we need to sell.  A half bath in the finished basement would provide more equity in the house and we could recoup at least part of our outlay.

During this past week I have not gotten much done on my Aunt's quilt (show and tell later in the post).  I have needed to spend a good portion of the days on the first floor of the house to be available to answer questions from my Hubby, folks or the contractor.  After much thinking I decided I did NOT want to make a "flower" hexie quilt.  So, I added a top and bottom to each of my completed flowers and made diamonds instead.  Yes, I am much happier with this shape! AND, I only had to use ONE band-aid.  I'm getting smarter and have learned to stop when the tremor gets bad, lol.

This mess on the guest room bed is everything we have pulled together from the second floor thus far for the garage sale.  This floor is in no way near being fully purged so I expect the pile to at least double in size.  Some of the things are brand new with tags attached!  I will try to sell those on Amazon or Craigslist before they are relegated to the garage sale.

On Wednesday I did manage to get the FMQ done on four blocks.  I have to FMQ four more blocks and then I can move on to quilting the borders.  I know in my head what I want to do...I just need the uninterrupted time, and body cooperation to do it, lol.

I honesty don't know if I have shown you these before...they are the corner blocks of the quilt.  Considering I am a newbie with FMQ I am fairly happy with how they turned out.

Next I used a stipple on all of the brown blocks...

...and then a cross hatch on the red blocks.  I'm really not to happy with how these came out on the back.  But I will just tell my Dear Aunt not to look at the back, lol.  I still have to do a cross hatch on the blue blocks.

As I mentioned, there have been six doctor visits this past week.  I am pretty much status quo at this point.  My rheumatologist has suggested that we may just have to keep me on steroids permanently.  I guess I am okay with that...I don't really have any other choice, despite the dangers of long term use.  Since I began taking the supplements recommended by my neurologist for presumed mitochondrial disorder my diabetes has been completely out of whack.  Not bad...GOOD.  I joked with her that she may have found the cure for diabetes!  But, too good!  I have been having lots of low sugar spells.  This past week my endocrinologist took away one of my insulins, but the low sugars are still continuing.  And I mean 35, 41, 44!  DANGER level.  And that makes me feel SO bad.  Then I shove food into my mouth to try to raise it and I overcompensate and my sugar goes to high.  The doctor told me that he can guarantee when I am that low I am going to overcompensate and go high, but not to worry about it.  A temporary high is much less dangerous than too low. 

Dear Hubby has been referred to see a neurologist since the EMG his EIGHTH orthopaedic doctor  did is abnormal.  Finally, someone listened to his complaint and took it seriously enough to search for a cause.  But, once the doctor saw the results he threw up his hands in confusion and told him to go to a neurologist.  I tried to get him an appointment with my neurologist, but they were not taking new patients.  I had to ask a favor of someone who works in the hospital to get him in to see her.  As is expected in my family, the neurologist is perplexed.  The nerves that are showing NO conduction down his legs on his EMG are not the "normal" nerves that people have trouble with...and his physical exam and EMG are not supporting each other.  She is going to speak with several of her coworkers to see if any of the other doctors have any insight into what is wrong with him.  In the meantime she has given him some meds to hopefully help with his pain and she will do her own EMG on his legs in a few months.  He is still totally unable to stand on his toes AT ALL so he is walking like Frankenstein and going up and down the stairs flatfooted.  It is heartbreaking to watch him struggle to get up and down the steps with no ability to walk on his toes, and the pain is excruciating.  This weekend he will add in the second medication to see if it makes a difference in his pain.  He can then raise both of the medications to more pills per day if he needs.

My Dear Dad has been through the ringer these past four years with two DIFFERENT types of cancer; and it looks like he may be going through yet another lung surgery to remove a cancerous lesion.  This lesion, however, is not on the outside of his lung...meaning a wedge resection can be done.  It is further into the lung and, if cancerous, will require the removal of the whole lower lobe of that lung.  But, it is not behaving as the first two lesions did, so before heading into surgery they are sending him for a battery of tests to determine the lesion's exact makeup.   This week is a PET scan and then possibly a needle biopsy.  Thankfully his leukemia is in remission so it will not impact any surgery needed.  The last wedge resection was harder on him than the first, so I can't imagine how he is going to handle a lobe resection.  He is 81 years old, but surprisingly "healthy" for a man who has had two heart attacks and two types of cancer.  To look at him you would NEVER think he is that age.

If you would be so kind, I would sincerely appreciate any prayers, virtual hugs or healing thoughts you could send to my Dear Hubby and Dear Dad.  They have both been through WAY too much suffering these past 3-4 years.  More than anything I want them to be out of pain and able to enjoy their lives.

So, as you see, life has been NUTS.  Hopefully I can get to spend a bit more time here on the blog as things move forward from the healthcare standpoint.  Talk to you soon...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


The quilt for my Aunt is the first time I have ever attempted to use a panel in a quilt.  I considered an all over meander quilting, but I really wanted to highlight the shoes.  Sooooo....maybe biting off a bit more than this beginner in FMQ could chew...I started outlining the items in the panel.  Surprisingly, after practicing a bit on a scrap sandwich, I was doing pretty well.  Surprising myself, if truth be told.
So I began working on the "real thing".  For a while it was okay, but then my tremor started.  And in addition to my tremor, I started SHAKING!  The result...not so pretty.

The black lines on the beige of the shoe look horrible...but my shaking has not stopped and I don't DARE pick up a seam ripper!  I had discovered that the slower I stitched, the more eyelashes I had on the back.  Setting my speed control in the middle and then putting the pedal to the metal seemed to eliminate all lashes.  Unfortunately, when I started shaking and lost control...the line was there before I could adjust! 

Additionally, I had been practicing with quilting over a pattern drawn on Golden Threads Quilting Tissue and had forgotten to enlarge my stitch length when I began on the quilt.  So the stitches are 1.5 and TINY.  Now is definitely not the time to try to pick out such teeny tiny stitches. 

I showed the quilt to my mom and dad yesterday and they both feel I should leave it.  My Dear Aunt knows my difficulties and she would not expect "perfect"...and the "mistake" will just remind her that I struggled to make her expression of my love...even when my body didn't want to cooperate.  I'm taking their suggestion under advisement, lol.  As they said, it is the love behind the quilt that matters. 

This week has Just. Not. Been. Good!  In addition to my normal intention tremor, I'm SHAKY and SWEATY and I feel like a cat on a hot tin roof!  I'm antsy and everything is aggravating me.  Yesterday when the lab faxed over copies of my most recent bloodwork, I found out why!  I am HYPERTHYROID!  Since having my thyroid removed, I have to take a significant amount of levothyroxine (Synthroid) every day.  Sometimes it is a balancing act to keep me in the normal range and not on too little or too much medication.  It has been several years since my TSH has been this low (indicating HYPERthyroid).  The last time I ended up in the hospital with arrhythmia caused by the hyperthyroid.  Guess I had forgotten what the symptoms felt like and it never dawned on me that the feelings of agitation, sweating and shakiness were telling me my body was running too fast! 

This morning the doctor's office called me and told me how to adjust my medication.  Hopefully my body will slow down quickly and I can once again work on her quilt.  Sometimes I get frustrated that I can't sew every day because of my health, but I try to remind myself that I still CAN sew and that is all that matters! 

So, silver lining firmly in place again, I'm heading off to read a book.  Not much danger in that...well except for paper cuts, lol.