Let the transformation begin!

After 2 years, I’m finally getting around to making this space my own! It’s in the basement, with one tiny window. The previous owner used it as a woodworking shop, and the concrete block walls are painted a stark white. Ugh. Not that I’m complaining – the room is huge – 17×24′, and I’m grateful to have a place that allows me to put the LA in the room as my sewing area. Plus, I’m looking forward to a place that’s inspiring. My room before was too small, and the LA was two floors up, which meant dragging everything up two flights of stairs. Yikes!

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And would you look at that gawd-awful paneling?? Right outta the 80’s! So the walls will be painted tan (including the paneling), and we’re putting down carpet squares on the floor. Yes, I am one of the few who prefers carpeting rather than vinyl or hardwood floors in my sewing room. Don’t bother telling me I’ve made a mistake with this. I LIKE carpeted floors! I’m on my feet too much when I quilt, and my legs get achy with a hard floor. We found carpet squares at Home Depot for $1/SF. Woo-hoo! With 480 SF to cover, that’s a perfect price for a basement floor! 

DH is also going to build a cutting table for me – which will be a godsend, as right now I’ve got the most expensive cutting table ever:

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Yep, our pool table! Make due with what you have, I say. Everything from the sewing room has now been moved into the pool room and his mancave (incentive!) so the entire basement is a disaster area right now. Then we’ll figure out what to do for a sewing table, whether to build one or buy inexpensive cabinets and put a countertop on them. The portable table just isn’t working. It bounces around too much when I’m sewing at full speed, lol…

The room is now empty except for the LA frame, which we’ll just pick up and move around rather than taking apart. He’s going to be painting this long weekend, while I spend the weekend shopping and dining with my teen niece and dog-watching. Hey! He likes painting by himself – says it’s cathartic and mindless. Who am I to protest??

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Weaving finished

Well, it took a while…

weave 2abut I got all the weaving done.

weave 3It was easy but time-consuming.

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weave 6Done!  Whew!

trimI trimmed it and stitched the raw edges.  The glue holds it together nicely, but since this was so labor-intensive, I didn’t want any risk of the weaving coming undone.

stitching edges Several years ago I made this bag for my laptop.  It’s worked very well, but it’s a hair too small.  It fits just my laptop and nothing else, and the flap should have been longer.

orig bagI want something big enough for my laptop, a binder, a couple of notepads, pens, and other office accoutrements.  I decided this weaving project would be a cool replacement for my original bag.

bag fabricBummer! I started this wild-hair weaving project before I really knew what I wanted to do with it, and I didn’t make it big enough to work as a replacement laptop bag.  So I’ll put the woven fabric aside for a while, until I stumble across a different use for it.

I don’t feel that my efforts were wasted, however.  I learned a lot, had some fun, and will probably make another woven project soon!

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Sometimes we need a reminder….

….of what our quilts mean to others. Whenever I’m frustrated with my quilting and ready to give up, I pull these out of my drawer…

thank-you-cards….and read them all. They are from people who appreciated the work and love I put into a quilt I made for them. It’s amazing how gratitude can inspire one to carry on! Do you keep your thank you notes?

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Doodling a new blog header…..

cropped-Tangleheader31.gif Oh spring, where are you?? I’m no artist, but a doodler, and love to draw. This is the new header I drew for our blog. Of course, I can’t draw a straight line to save my life, but a few years ago I came across the Tanglepatterns site, and I was hooked! Having simple instructions to draw almost anything you can think of? Maybe I CAN be an artist!! Since it’s been waaaay to cold in my sewing room lately, even with the space heater, I decided to draw some quilting-related pics in the comfort of my living room, wrapped up in my warm quilt and watching movies. I started out with a spool of thread:

ThreadThen tried a rotary cutter:

Rotary-cutter….and a pair of applique scissors:

Scissors…and a thimble:

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Peggi saw these, and said “Let’s make these into a new header for the blog!”. I thought, why not create a new header?? So I did. I took a quilty tangle I was in the process of drawing, and with Photoshop added the scissors, thread, thimble, the Blog name and our pics (because I’m certainly no portrait artist, LOL!), and voila! A new blog header!!

cropped-Tangle-Header.gifIf you want to learn to draw tangles, I highly recommend the Tanglepatterns website. Not only does Linda Farmer have hundreds of instructions for patterns, she’s also got a list of other “tanglers” who do amazing work with even more patterns and instructions. It’s a site you can spend hours looking through. Lots of people are doing “Zentangles“, and while I adore Zentangles, I like drawing pictures of THINGS, so I’ll take those patterns, find free clipart pics, trace them in pencil and fill them in with all kinds of patterns. Give it a try when you need a break. You can still quilt – in a different way!

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The best laid plans….well….

Has this ever happened to you? The best laid plans come to a screeching halt because of something as simple as a cup falling out of the cupboard? I was working on my tumbler quilt

and went upstairs to get something to drink. Opened the cupboard, and this little fella

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apparently felt he didn’t have enough elbow room on the shelf. He fell on my head. This started a cascade of events. The concussion conclusion being WE HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF. That moment began a cleaning frenzy that hasn’t been seen on this side of the family in several generations. It has taken a week, but I have gone through every cabinet, closet, drawer and storage space in this house.  And my husband took the hint to steer clear of the wreckage, offering – only in well calculated, strategic moments – to take out trash, bring nourishment, or listen to my rantings in those moments when I’d find a dozen bottles of Soft Scrub in 4 different cabinets or 4 of the same book in different drawers.

I mean, seriously. How many coffee cups do two people need?

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I doubt Starbucks has this many coffee cups in their store at one time.

Oh, and wait a minute. You’ll love this. I shredded 12 – yes, TWELVE green trash bags of old files, receipts, tax forms, etc. Some of them from the late 80’s!! This is 8 of the twelve in the back of my car. I’m taking them to work to recycle. We live in the boonies. There’s no recycling here.

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So, now the “Gently Used Second Hand Store” is officially open in my basement.

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My recently-graduated-from-college nieces are coming up to shop (for free, of course!) and stock up their own new apartments and homes. Better this stuff is in their house than in mine! What they don’t take will be donated. I don’t do garage sales. I’ll take a tax deduction rather than the headache of a garage sale. Hell, I’ll take a colonoscopy over a garage sale.

I still need to do the sewing room. Yes, it will be cleaned out, too. Anything that doesn’t have to do with quilting is GONE. All those little craft projects I started, the paints, the brushes, the craft books. Gone. But the nieces aren’t interested in that stuff, so that can wait for a week or two.

Needless to say, the tumbler quilt hasn’t been touched. I need to get more blue anyway. I’m two rows short. I think a trip to the fabric store sounds like a great reward for all this madness. 

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Were all those coffee cups full of coffee that you drank?!!?!?  Is that how you cleaned out your house and stocked the second-hand store in your basement?  Ha ha!  I’m exhausted just looking at the pictures!  I wish we didn’t live 2200 miles apart, I sure could use your expertise (and energy) in purging my house.

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(hiccup!!)

Yes, our blog apparently has a New Year’s Eve hangover and we’ve lost most of our pictures on posts before November. This includes most of our tutorials. Our faithful IT guy, Cap’n Crawford, is at work trying to figure out what went wrong and will help us fix it. We’re so lucky to have IT so close (our children ROCK!) and he’s a whiz at computers – and blogs!

So, as soon as Cap’n Crawford lets us know how to cure our “blog hangover” we’ll let you know. If you’re trying to get one of the tutorials, just send us a note in the “Contact Us!” section, and we’ll e-mail you as soon as things are up and running again!

Your child, the flu, and a deadly serious warning

Lemierre’s Syndrome – a deadly virus you should know about that imitates the flu. It typically strikes children between the ages of 4 and 22, although it does strike those younger and older. It nearly killed my granddaughter.

I haven’t posted in a while. Why? Because my 14-year-old granddaughter, Micki, has been in the hospital for what we thought was the flu. She had typical flu symptoms: fever, achyness, nausea, and vomiting. But after 4 days it wasn’t getting better. My daughter took her to her pediatrician, who stated it could be mono or strep throat. A culture was done for strep – it was negative – and the mono test couldn’t be done for 3 more days (mono needs 7 days to incubate, apparently). She was told to continue keeping her hydrated, and gave her a prescription for the nausea and antibiotics.

The next day (Saturday), Micki got worse. Said she felt like an elephant was sitting on her chest, and her neck hurt. I told my daughter to take her straight to the ER as it sounded as though she may be developing pneumonia, which she did. Micki ended up in ICU at Children’s Hospital within 30 minutes of arriving. Her blood pressure had dropped drastically (70/29), and she couldn’t breathe. They put in a central line in her neck to help administer the total of 16 different IV’s she needed. The doctors ordered an ultrasound to check the placement of the line, which runs near the heart. They were completely surprised to find a clot on her jugular vein. Not good. She was diagnosed with Lemierre’s Syndrome.

Lemierre’s Syndrome is a virus that has all the symptoms of a regular flu. But it is deadly – seriously deadly. It is a bacteria that we ALL have in our bodies. It only chooses to show itself on a select few. When a sore throat develops, this bacteria gathers in the throat and tonsils and can look like strep. The bacteria causes a blood clot to form in the jugular vein. A piece of the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, causing pneumonia and can affect all the other organs, too.  Most doctors don’t know about Lemierre’s, because it is quite rare. Micki’s attending doctor stated they only see about 5-10 cases per year (and this is in a renown children’s hospital), and only 1000 cases nationwide. Many children who die from flu-like symptoms have Lemierre’s, but it is never diagnosed. We were lucky to have been in Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH, a teaching hospital where the interns are pushed to look “outside the box”. I truly believe that if she hadn’t been there, it would never have been diagnosed, and she would not be with us today. And trust me, there are now at least 2 dozen new doctors who will now never forget this disease.

Micki was in the hospital for 3 weeks, 5 days of that in ICU dancing a very fine line with her life in the balance. She had chest tubes in both lungs. Ran fevers between 101-105 for three straight weeks. Was on full oxygen for days. She is home now. She will be on IV antibiotics for 6 weeks. She is getting shots twice a day to help shrink the clot in her neck. These shots may go on for months – maybe years.

I thank God every day that things turned out the way they did. She is definitely one of the lucky ones. I want to warn you all, as flu season comes near, of this disease, and the warning signs:

  • Severe sore throat
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Body aches and weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Strep throat symptoms
  • and most important – a sore neck

PLEASE educate yourself about this disease. It is not my intention to scare you, but make you aware of it’s existence. It’s rare, so there’s not much out there on it, but this is a great site:  Lemierre’s Awareness Website

If your child gets a sore neck while they’ve got the flu, TAKE THEM DIRECTLY TO THE ER! You may just be saving their life.

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Shave ice?? What the heck is shave ice?

Going to the big Pajama Day Sale in Shipshewana Friday? Don’t miss this!

This is shave ice.

Shave ice

It’s totally addicting. And what does this have to do with quilting? Everything! I go to Shipshewana in Indiana every few months to shop for fabric at Yoder’s and Lolly’s. And whenever I go, I always stop here for a shave ice. Why? Because it’s the only place to get shave ice within, like, a bazillion miles of me. I first had shave ice last year when we visited Hawaii. Shave ice is everywhere there. And it’s totally addicting.  I had a chance to talk with the owner of Kukui’s Shave Ice, Cindy Powell,  when I stopped in for my fix today.

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I asked her my most pressing question: How do you explain shave ice to people? She had a great answer – it’s like eating cold cotton candy!

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No, this is NOT a snowcone. Cindy explained that snowcones are crushed ice. When you put the flavoring on snow cones, it all runs to the bottom. The ice can’t absorb the flavor. Shave ice, on the other hand, is actually made from a BLOCK of ice, shaved so thin it looks like snow.

Shave ice machine

Can you see the waves of snow falling onto that snowball? That’s shave ice. It’s lightly, but firmly, packed, and up to three flavors can be added to the ice.

Shave ice flavors

Look at all those flavors! My favorite is coconut-guava-mango. A taste of Hawaii! On a diet? Can’t have ice cream? How about a banana-pineapple-strawberry shave ice instead of a calorie-laden banana split? Or root beer-vanilla combo? Instant root beer float. Yum. It’s also a Hawaiian tradition to use Lychee nuts and cream on shave ice, but I’m a plain-jane and prefer mine with just syrup. I can only describe shave ice as soft and creamy – almost like ice cream. And the flavor is clear through the dish – not a puddle at the bottom of the cup. In fact, barely anything melts at all. It’s amazing to me that with ice this thin there’s little melting. Oh, and I almost forgot – there’s a special surprise at the bottom of every cup – a gumball! Cindy likes her Hawaiian ice with macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom. I had to laugh when she said most parents bring their kids in for a treat, then end up coming back and getting one for themselves, once they taste it!

Cindy and I sat and talked for about a half hour. She was a stay-at-home mom who designed and sold pressed flower art from home when her children were young, and later owned a Molly Maid franchise. She and her husband went to Hawaii for their 25th anniversary, and it was there that they had their first shave ice – and immediately fell in love with it. The rest, as they say, is history. On the plane ride home she decided she wanted to open her own shave ice shop.  It took two years to get the business going, and she started out with an outside mobile stand in the summer.

Stand

Cindy made the jump to an actual brick-and-mortar building about a year ago, and things have been going great ever since. She also offers lunch items such as Hawaiian sandwiches, pineapple slaw and other snacks. She makes her own Kahlua pig – just like you’d get at a luau. The next time I’m there I’m trying her Hawaiian Nachos – nacho chips with her famous pork, cheese sauce, and your choice of toppings from the tropical condiment bar that includes a sweet & sour pineapple relish and many other toppings. Mouth. Watering. She even imports her mustards directly from Hawaii.

(Some photos courtesy of Kukui's FB page)

(Some photos courtesy of Kukui's FB page)

If you’re in Shipshewana, look Cindy up. You definitely will get a great product, and a taste of Hawaii! Kukui’s is located at 101 Harrison Street. Going to Lolly’s for fabric?? When you go out to the parking lot of the Davis building, look left. Kukui’s is at the end of that street of little shops. Heck, you can WALK down there! Go! Now!! And visit her Facebook page once you’ve tasted her shave ice, and tell her how much you love it. Make shave ice a part of your quilting too :).

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PS – This is NOT a paid review. This is a review by a very, VERY happy customer!

Retired!

Today is my first official day of retirement. It’s my second attempt – the first one ended when I felt guilty about being healthy and not working to contribute to our household. What was I thinking?!?!?!?

I’ve decided to celebrate my day with a trip to Shipshewana to do some fabric shopping at Lolly’s…

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and Yoders…

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….stop for a hot pretzel at JoJo’s and a shave ice from Kukui’s….

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….then stop at Das Essenhaus to pick up dinner and a pie…

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What a way to start the day!!

I’ve got at least 7 quilts on the list – six memorial quilts and one t-shirt quilt for a niece. Then I’m gonna de-clutter my house and give it the “spring cleaning” it’s never had in 7 years. I may even take some photography classes at the local community college. And I’ve always wanted to learn sign language. Maybe now’s the time to do it!

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Waa hooo!  I know you’ve been looking forward to this day for a long, long time!  Get your bucket list out, girl!

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Dodecahedron

It’s pronounced “doe-deck-a-HEE-drun” – according to my geek husband.  It’s a 12-sided object.  Here is half of it.

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I knew there wasn’t going to be time or space for any quilting over the Christmas holidays, so I picked up a couple of quilting magazines from the bookstore to keep me happy.  When I flipped through the latest issue of the New Zealand Quilter I found this  – a 12-sided pin cushion.  Just what I needed – a small portable hand-sewn project to keep me sane!

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I did most of the prep work on a portable table while watching football and chatting with family.

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It’s made of 5 diamonds sewn into stars.  12 stars, one for each side.

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I can’t wait to see it finished!

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Now THAT is cool! I’m not a pincushion user, but it would certainly be a nice, bright addition to my sewing room (hint, hint!!). Love the fabrics. Did you hand-sew all of those diamonds?????

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