Monday, October 28, 2013

Lion Taming

We just got home from a wonderful trip to Spokane to visit the kids and attend the Fall Festival at Ben's school.  This year's costume was a Lion Tamer/Ring Master and we thought he was adorable.


You can't see it but he has his whip in his belt loops so he didn't lose it.  What we weren't prepared for was all those kids.  My goodness it was overwhelming to have that many kids running, talking excitedly and on a sugar high.  CR's hip was bothering him and so we had to leave a bit early.  The school is on 2 floors and when you have hip pain, stairs are the enemy.  We've tried him on a few weeks of anti-inflammatories but they're not doing anything so it's time to try a cortisone shot in the hip and see if that will get him relief.

The rest of the weekend was spent leisurely hanging out with the kids at their house and enjoying catching up. 

This morning it was time for CR's 6 month Urologist check up and Lupron shot.  Unfortunately we didn't get the best news about his PSA and the Lupron alone is not dealing with the cancer, so we are going to try a oral med taken daily and he did get another shot.  We are hopeful that it will work for him, if not then we have to go down a more severe route to control things that will have more side effects.  So if you wouldn't mind saying a little prayer, we would be most appreciative.  Between the two of us, just when it starts looking up for one of us the others cancer ramps up.  I'd say we are due for a break and yet there are many who have it much worse than we do.  Thankfully we have good doctors, and loving family and friends who care and support us.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Twister Jack on Steroids

As you all know I recently made a one of a kind Twister Jack that used 1 inch squares and drove me insane.  The good news is my Aunt Jean loved it.  I decided I wanted one too, but there was no way I was going to do that tiny one again, absolutely no freakin way!!  So I bought the Lil Twister tool and modified the pattern a bit to use 5 inch squares that when you use the twister tool become 3.5 inch squares and what you end up with is a 46 inch square wall hanging, or as I like to call it, Twister Jack on Steroids.


I really like him.  I just need to quilt him and bind him and hang him up.  That said he probably won't get hung up till next Halloween.  I doubt I'll get him finished in time for this year.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Off to Spokane

Monday was a busy day in my kitchen.  We are off to Spokane for CR's 6 month visit to the Urologist and to spend a long weekend with the kids and of course spend time with Ben, our Grandson.  No trip to Spokane can be made with out Grandma baking cookies for the little man and of course our Urologist and his staff are crazy for my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bread.  I just can't go up there empty handed, lots of people would think I was sick or something, wink.....

Loaves for the Uro's office

Pumpkin muffins for our freezer and Peanut butter cookies with Reese's cups in the center
While I was busy baking all of that, I also had a chicken stew in the crock pot.  Chicken, purple potatoes, carrots, peas, corn, etc - oh the house smelled so good.  Then at the end of the day the last 40 minutes I cranked the crock pot up to high and added some dumplings to the mixture.  It was really delicious.


Today we went to lunch with our friend Ken and then it was up to our favorite winery - we belong to the wine club so we picked up our wine release and did some tasting.  It was delicious as always.  My favorite Mr. Big Petite Sirah was part of the release.  Its a big bold red wine that is smooth and lovely going down!!

I've been working on a new Twister Jack using 5 inch squares that when cut with the template become 3 1/2 inch squares.  I'm about half way done and I love it.  So much easier than the tiny version, but that tiny version was adorable and my Auntie just loved it so I'm glad I took on the challenge.  I also finished all my blocks for the X Marks the Spot Quilt, but haven't sewn them together yet.  I hope to have lots to show in the coming weeks as I've been a busy little sewer and man do I love Aunt Bea, she's the best sewing machine and we have a good time together!

In today's mail we received the cutest thank you note from Ben for his Birthday gift.  He turned 11 on October 7th and so we sent him a card and an iTunes gift card.  We also have another present that hadn't arrived in time, so we are taking that to him for a late celebration of his and my birthday's this weekend.  The note was adorable:


Well that's all I've been up to - keeping busy and staying out of trouble, how about you??

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Barn Quilt

Today's big project was to hang the barn quilt.  We finally decided to hang it where I thought it should go and we are both very happy with it.  I'm just going to post some of the pictures I took of it during the process and of our adorable little supervisor Madison. 

Enjoy!!















 
 
Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam


Saturday, October 19, 2013

2 Numbers, 1 Birthday

Today is my 3rd Birthday and my 53rd Birthday.  You see I started counting birthdays all over again when I found out I had cancer.  I've survived 3 years with it and I'm beating it too!!  So today I celebrate being 53 and being a survivor for 3 years and both make me happy.  It's not easy getting older, things start to hurt and not work like they used to, but you really come into a peace and acceptance with yourself that you don't have when you are young.  I think I've learned to appreciate the little things more and celebrate the little joys in life.  I would like time to quite flying by so quickly with each passing year, but being around to have it fly by is okay with me as I wouldn't enjoy the alternative.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pesky Ears

I woke up around midnight last night, or is that this morning?  Anyhow I woke up with bad ear pain which told me it was time to get to the doc in the box - that's what I like to call the urgent care clinic's.  I was pretty sure I had an ear infection for the pesky cold that isn't sure if it wants to be a full blown cold and is just hanging around making me mildly miserable.  Sure enough - ear infection and now 10 days of antibiotics.  Last year I got something similar when I was visiting my Aunties and ended up with an ear infection in one ear and benign positional vertigo in the other ear.  I've now had BPV twice and do not want it again.

I mailed Twister Jack to my Auntie today and after that went to the place I purchased my sewing machine to ask what was the best way to clean up the bobbin area.  My old machine you could take it apart and clean it up and put it back together again, but not so with my new machine.  So they recommended this micro kit to attach to my vacuum and suck out the lint, etc. 


 
 
After that I went to the Urgent care clinic and got the wax washed out of my infected ear and the prescription for the antibiotic.  Then headed home.
 
Scotchie had a 3pm Vet appointment to get his yearly check up and rabies shot.  He was not amused.  First, there was that damn thermometer (can you say eye bulge), then the indignity of the scale (someone went from 15.9 pounds to 17 pounds, oops), then the shot (ouch).  He was a very good boy through it all and was very happy to get home.
 
He's been playing with a sack the last few days, it's so smashed that at this point he's just laying on it.
 
 
ChanceMan was very grateful it wasn't his turn (it will be in January - but don't tell him).  He was being a cute kitty trying to get me to pet his belly.
 
 
Both of our boys love belly and ear rubs.
 
I forgot to show you all the Barn Quilt that finally arrived the other day.  Candace and Bob (Squash House Quilts) posted about getting a barn quilt this summer and showed a picture of it on their fence.  I showed it to CR who thought it was really cool and so we checked out the ETSY site and finally decided which one we wanted.  Now we are still contemplating where we are going to hang it.  We've narrowed it down to 2 possible locations and I'll show you a picture of it in place when we have made the final decision, but for now - here it is:
 
 
It's just leaning against the buffet at the moment.  It's 2 foot by 2 foot and about a quarter inch thick.  They suggest drilling a hole in each corner and using stainless steel screws to mount it.  We think it's so beautiful and are thrilled with our selection.  If you'd like to see all the beautiful barn quilts they make just go to www.barnquiltstore.com
 
I've seen a few barns with quilt blocks painted on them and always thought they were so cool, so now I have my own, minus the barn, CR says he won't build me one, oh well!!
 
No sewing today, I've just been to busy to get to anything.  Tomorrow we have a lunch to go to, then Friday CR is taking me out since Saturday is my Birthday.  I'll be 53, and grateful to be having a birthday since 3 years ago they found my cancer.
 
Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam
 


Monday, October 14, 2013

Sore Fingertips

You may recall yesterday I posted a picture of a buttload of 2.5 inch squares all sewn together with a border around it:

The above is what it looked like before.  Using a very small twister template (1 inch) and a tiny rotary cutter, I deconstructed what was sewn together and I ended up with this:


Twister Jack is an insane amount of 1 inch blocks sewn together to make this adorable 14 inch by 15 inch wall hanging.  And all that cutting with the tiny template and tiny rotary cutter and a slip here and there has a few of my fingertips a tad raw and tender this evening.  That said it was fun to do and I will NEVER do another one this small every again.  I may throw out that tiny rotary cutter as I HATE that stupid thing - just sayin.

Last year, on October 14, I posted a picture of this cute door hanging - I saw them all over the place in North Carolina when I was visiting my Aunties and my Aunt Jean and I just loved it:


It turned out to be just to big for my house as there just wasn't enough room between the door and the screen door and with the winds we get, it wasn't a good plan to hang it outside.  So I gave it to my friend Cathy.  I wanted to send it to my Aunt, but it would have taken a huge box and cost a fortune to mail.

Well Twister Jack was made especially for my Auntie Jean.  I just have to quilt it and bind it and get it in the mail to her.  I sure hope she likes it - she reads my blog so the secret is out.  Since I can mail Twister Jack easily and cheaply, it seems like a good, if not better alternative.

Meanwhile, my poor fingertips - just sayin.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Twister Jack

Today has been a pretty slow and lazy day at our house.  I guess I was exhausted because I went to bed at 10 Saturday night and didn't wake up till 9 this morning.  Since my back wasn't aching and I didn't feel crippled from being in bed that long, I guess I needed the rest.  Still with this dog gone sore throat - I had hoped all that extra sleep would have chased it away, but nothing is ever that easy I guess.

Once I got a sufficient amount of coffee in me, I made us a nice brunch and we sat around and read the paper and took it easy.  Finally I did decide it was time to shower and dress and take care of the last load of laundry - all good laziness must come to an end.

Then I headed into my sewing room to tackle the project that I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do.  Yesterday I talked about the twister tool and the Jack O Lantern pattern.  I'm making the small version that uses 2 1/2 inch squares, then when you use the twister tool the squares are 1 inch and when finished the wall hanging is about 14 inches square.  Well I wasn't sure if the whole cutting process and then the tiny blocks were going to work for me.  I also wondered if I'd go blind trying to work with them.  Neither has happened.

Here is the pattern:

Isn't he cute!!  Here is what he looks like with just the first row cut out using the twisty tool:


You can see the pumpkin face at this angle for sure, but not as cute as what he'll turn into.  Here is the first row cut out into tiny 1 inch squares:


Here is the twisty tool and the tiny rotary cutter that has to be used to do the cutting:


What I'm saying here is it's a fun pattern and it's going to be so cute when done, but I will NEVER make one this small again.  They have a twisty tool for use with 5 inch squares, that I believe is more my speed and I will probably do one using that next time.

I read a lot of blogs and one on them - of course you know I can't remember who so I can give them credit, posted about a liquid starch that you mix with water.  It's called Sta Flo.  I got mine at Walmart for $1.97 and as you can see it's a good sized jug:


No dyes, no scents and wow does it crisp up your fabric.  I spray it on and let it sit for a few minutes and then take my hot steam iron to it.  I LOVE it.  I mix it half water, half starch and it's perfect.  And a lot cheaper than the other products out there that I just don't think starch that well.  Oh and it doesn't leave a residue either.  Give it a try if you get a chance - if you don't like it, you're not out a lot of money!!

So that's my Sunday, not super productive, but fun.  Tomorrow I get a haircut and I'm pretty shaggy and in need of one.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Feeling Funky

This has been one of those weeks.  I got what I think was a flu/stomach bug and had a few rough days.  It started out with a sore throat and aches and congestion.  The stomach part is over, but that sore throat won't go away - it's at that "will it" or "won't it" turn into a cold stage and I wish it would make up it's mind so I can either treat it or not.  You know that feeling, right?

So not much was done in the sewing room this week.  I did manage to clean out my fridge and freezer.  It was time to chuck some stuff and wipe it down and although I felt like crap and it made me sweat buckets, I was glad to have it done and it's nice to have the inside sparkle when I open it.

Thursday afternoon I ventured out with CR in hopes of finding him some new shoes.  He wears mostly New Balance, but I wanted him to check out REI.  As luck would have it we found him a great pair of water proof Keens for this winter, 20% off and a pair of slippers for me.

Here are my slippers - okay so I have big feet, try not to laugh.

They are really comfy and warm.  I also ventured over to Hobby Lobby to get the supplies for an idea I had to stick in Ben's Birthday Bag.  Since his birthday was October 7th, we mailed him a card and a gift card to iTunes.  But we also got him a new bathrobe (he told his Mom he wanted one).  So along with the bathrobe I wanted to put some candy in his bag - have you ever had fruit runts??  They are sour and so good and I love the banana ones best.  So I got a jar, got some chalkboard labels and a chalk pen. 


And this is the end result.  I think he'll get a kick out of it and he can use a wet paper towel to wipe the label clean and use chalk to write something new.


Friday was still an iffy day, but we needed a couple things at Costco, so we tackled that in the afternoon.  We had lunch there and got our shopping done and picked up a yummy roasted chicken for dinner tonight.  I have a recipe for chicken and dumplings that I'll make with the leftover chicken.  We also got a couple chuck roasts so we could try out a roast recipe using balsamic vinegar - it sounds good, I sure hope it is good!!  Oh yeah, we both got our flu shots, everyone I know is getting sick and I didn't want to get anymore germs without a flu shot on board!!

So today, because Cliff was so good to take care of things while I was miserable during the week, I baked him an Amish Vanilla Pie:

This is the pie we tried last Saturday at the Mennonite Country auction.  It sure looks good, however we haven't cut into it yet, so I guess it could go either way.  You can find the recipe at www.amishrecipes.net

I'm putting together a pumpkin wall hanging that I purchased the pattern for while at the Walla Walla quilt show.  Candace of Squash House Quilts sent me her extra twisty tool.  It's made with 2 1/2 inch squares and then the tool cuts it into 1 or 1.5 inch squares - I may go blind or crazy working with squares that small.  It should be cute when it's done.

So what are you baking or sewing on this weekend.  Has it turned cold in your neck of the woods??  Our fall feels more like early winter, it's sure chilly in the mornings.  The leaves are turning quick and it's nice to see all the color.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam


Monday, October 7, 2013

X Marks the Spot

Thought I'd share with you what I've been up to in my sewing room.  A friend gave me a Take 5 pattern called "X Marks the Spot".  And recently I bought some great fabrics at the Craft Warehouse Truckload sale for 4.44 a yard that seemed perfect for this pattern.  Take 5 patterns take just 5 fabrics to make a quilt top.  There are 4 different blocks as far as the color arrangement goes and there will be 5 blocks total of each of those 4 arrangements.  Here they are.


Block 2

Block 3

Block 4
 
I have 3 of block 1 done, so I'm working away at it and I should have a quilt top in no time.  It's a fun pattern and truly the only time consuming part is the cutting, which is always the case, or at least that is how it feels to me.

One of my Aunties recently spent some time in the hospital for pneumonia and pink eye in both eyes.  She was supposed to go home today and she was more than ready to get the heck out of that hospital and get home so she could rest.  There is no sleeping in a hospital that is for sure.

This morning I woke up with a bad sore throat and I'm hoping that it doesn't turn into more.  You never know this time of year, it could fizzle out and be nothing or it could turn into a bad cold.  Several of my friends have had bad colds and bad flu bugs - yikes the germs have already gotten started for the cold and flu season.

In other news our Grandson Ben turned 11 today.  I can't believe he is that old already.  He's a good kid and we are so proud of him.

PhotoPhoto

Isn't he a cutie.  And lord I wish I had his energy.  His Mom has to buy him new pants because he grows up, but not out, which makes it hard to find pants that will fit his skinny waist - oh how I wish I had that problem as well.

So tell me, are you working on any projects at the moment??

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Mennonite Country Auction

Today we got up extra early and went to breakfast.  Instead of heading to Farmers Market like usual, we headed up north to the Mennonite Relief Sale and Auction.  It's situated between the towns of Moses Lake and Ritzville.  This is the 36th annual sale and something I've wanted to go to for several years, but have been.  Our friend Ken joined us.  The thing I most wanted to see was the quilts.  They have quite a few quilts and they are auctioned off.  Last year a couple of the quilts sold for $5000.00, so I knew I was only going to look (much to CR's relief).  We got up there and had a fun time looking around, it's not a huge event but the turn out is quite big!!  It's held at the Mennonite Church way out in the country and parking is in the fields.  They did have pie for sale, slices of homemade pie.  There must have been about 25 kinds of pie.  CR had Shoofly Pie, Ken had Apple/Rhubarb and I had Amish Vanilla.  Oh mercy it was worth every calorie.  I liked it so much I came home and found a recipe for it.  I'll share that later, first pictures of the quilts and other auction items.

 
According to their face book page, this sold at the auction for $1100.00









This gorgeous Whole Cloth quilt sold at the auction for $2300.00





This Bible Blocks quilt sold for 900.00





 
The amazing thing about most of these quilts is that they are all hand quilted.  The work is simply gorgeous and I wonder if anyone can see after they are done - I'd go blind.

Here are pictures of the general area where they sold baked goods, fabric, linens, books and toys for kids, household items, baskets, food concessions, they also sold homemade cheese and sausages (which we didn't get in on, they sold out quickly).

That is the church in the background

Vendors and that huge line of people at the back of the picture - all waiting to buy cheese and sausages.


If you'd like to see full pictures of the gorgeous quilts and probably what they sold for (which they should post in a few days, you can go HERE.

One of the vendor booths had these adorable little prayer dolls, they sold for $3.00 each and are made by a 90 year old woman who was affected by the tsunami a few years ago.  She makes these to craft and earn extra money.  So I bought 3 of them, rumor has it that 2 are for my Aunties and this one is mine:


I mentioned the Amish Vanilla Pie earlier.  I found a recipe for it at www.amishrecipes.net
so if you are interested, check it out.  I plan on making one so when I do I'll share the pictures and tell you how it turned out.

Once home we were off to the grocery store, then it was home to get some laundry done, and general stuff around the house.  Tomorrow I'm making more tomato sauce to put in the freezer - our friend Ken gave me some more tomatoes and there was not way I was turning them down.

So what have you been up to?

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam