Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Deed Has Been Done

Surgery, that is. 

Once surgery was scheduled I had to get busy and get things done in preparation. The weather didn't cooperate too much but I did get the apple trees pruned (yes, I used a ladder while wearing a walking boot) and I got some yard clean-up done. I also got some extra work done at the office so taking time off wouldn't be too bad. Then I tackled some sewing room work. I got some quilting done so I would have 2 bindings to do and then got some other projects prepared for hand-sewing. 

Last Tuesday, my husband and I headed to Seattle and celebrated our 32nd anniversary at a fancy hotel about 5 blocks from the hospital. At 8:30 the next morning I checked in at the hospital and the doctors and nurses took over. The surgery went well. They ended up having to cut my tibia to do the work on my talus so I have a plate and several screws holding that together along with two 'large' cadaver plugs and some grafting material in the talus. I had a nerve block to numb my foot following the procedure so I didn't have any pain that first night.

A young friend who lives in Seattle came for a visit since Larry had gone home to be ready for work on Thursday. She stayed until I just couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. 

I had some nausea Wednesday afternoon/evening but was able to eat some crackers followed by a sandwich that night. Slept well other than disruptions from the usual hospital stuff along with a roommate whose husband spent the night (he snored some). She had an ankle replacement and was on self-administered morphine. She continued to be nauseous and the husband was sure it was because she needed coffee because they are big coffee drinkers. It didn't matter that the nurses told them that morphine can cause stomach upset! I could have told them that from my experience two years ago following surgery!

In the morning I had a 'nice' breakfast and waited for Jakob to arrive to take me home. The doctors came in and showed me pictures (x-rays) of the before and after showing the hole and the plates and screws. I was told the numbness should start wearing off but it wasn't until about 11 or so that I could barely wiggle one toe! I hadn't been taking any pain meds since it didn't hurt but I had a couple of tylenol for the trip home, just in case.

When I got home my niece was here to hang out and to quilt some quilts. She had 11 basted and ready to go. She also brought along Jack, the dog she is baby-sitting. He is a long-haired chihuahua and is very sweet. Between Jack and Mandu I was well entertained with a veritable circus on me!

The numbness had worn off by bedtime so I took some oxycodone to ease that so I could sleep. Turns out, the reason you take that every 3 hours is because that is all the longer it lasts so I woke up every three hours needing another. 

In the morning I switched to tylenol but didn't have much pain. Mostly it gets uncomfortable after being in one position for too long and now I am off the meds totally. 

My knee scooter is the best thing - so much easier than crutches! Luckily when we remodeled the house we made sure the hall and doorways were wide for wheelchair options and it makes it very easy for me to get around. 

My husband, kids and friends have been wonderful taking care of me. Yesterday I even got to go to work for a couple of hours for staff meeting and a visit and then spent a while out on the deck in the sunshine.
I am glad I had the surgery so that hopefully I will have better, if not full, use of my ankle again but I do hate being laid up, especially in the spring when there is so much that could be done outside!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Quilt Retreat!

Well, the denim quilt class went well. We had a great group and had lots of fun. In the end I brought home four half done quilts to finish and several people took the pieces home to finish theirs. I finished those four tops over the next week or so.

I have been spending a lot of time going to the doctor and working which hasn't allowed for much time in the sewing room. Adding to that I have found that I get tired more quickly because of my foot issues. The doctor that I saw after the MRI recommended I get another opinion from the doctors at the University of Washington so I made an appointment there. That doctor wanted me to get a CT Scan to compliment the MRI so another two weeks went by. I got the CT Scan and saw the doctor again on Tuesday. The CT Scan showed that I have a divot in my talus and that the little step-up on the top of the talus is starting to damage the cartilage on my tibia. So the decision has been made for me to have surgery that will put a cadaver (I know that is kind of strange) bone and cartilage plug into my talus. The surgery will happen on April 2 and then I will be laid up for quite a while. I will not be able to put any weight on my ankle for at least 6 weeks and then limited activity for 6 more weeks. Not sure how long I will be stuck at home but I am starting to work on getting things in place so I don't go nuts. I will be able to work from home to a certain extent and I have a number of hand sewing projects to work on. The most frustrating part is not being able to do much in my yard again this year!

This past weekend I was able to go to quilt retreat with my sister. We missed the one in October due to other things going on that month and we both were really needing that time away. I was amazed at how much I got done.

I arrived on Wednesday afternoon and had the room to myself so I was able to get focused. While I watched a movie and listened to music I got my first quilt top done. It was this baby quilt which I finished the next day so that I could give it to a camp staffer at her baby shower on Saturday.
My next project was another denim quilt using black, white, gray and a few red squares. I think it turned out great!
That top was done by Friday afternoon and I got started on the next ones. This time I had enough of the navy, cream and light blue plaid twills to make two tops so I worked on both at the same time. Those were done by Saturday evening (even with going to the shower and having the grandkids visit for a few hours. Here is one of those two tops.

While the grandkids were visiting I let them help me get started on another denim top. Let's just say it was crazy! Here is a picture of the four of us working on the quilt. The kids took turns handing me pieces, snipping the pieces to be pressed and pressing (with their mom's supervision). They had a great time! We might be able to finish that top this next week as they will be visiting for their spring break. I am hoping for some decent weather so they can also spend some time outside.

Saturday I pulled out this One Block Wonder project I started about a year ago. This one needed dark green strips between the blocks so I had to figure that one out. I stayed up until 11:30 to get the top together. I think this will be the bluegrass festival quilt in light of my upcoming surgery. 
My son has been back at home since August along with his little Maltese, Mandu. A couple of weeks ago he dropped her off at my office while he went to the gym. She will probably come to work with me sometimes when he is in Korea (or wherever he goes to teach English) so this was a little test. The test showed that she is going to need some training for it to work! She likes to be on your lap and in the middle of everything which makes it hard to get much done! Here she is looking over the top of my desk to see what is going on outside the door. Gotta say, it is awfully cute!
When I left for the quilt retreat I looked at my flowerbeds and the almost blooming daffodils and when I came home I was greeted by lots and lots of beautiful flowers! Spring really is coming!
I started wearing my boot again so that my foot doesn't hurt as much. Today I wore it to work and when I got home since my foot was feeling pretty good I decided to spend some time out in the yard. I kept the boot on and managed to get quite a bit of work done and as a result, every part of my body besides my foot is tired! The rain is supposed to return tomorrow so I need to take my moments in the sun when I can to get a little done outside!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Few Accomplishments

I am not excited about getting moving and accomplishing anything yet this morning so I will share what I have been up to in the sewing room in the last month or so.

Over Christmas, when my sewing room was turned into a guest room, I pulled out a quilt 'kit' I had made up for quilt retreat and sewed up this top out in the great room on one of my Singer 301s in a cabinet. I really like how it turned out and will probably use it for the quilt exchange with the ladies at Tuesday evening craft night.
It looks especially nice against my great room's yellow walls with the Bing and Grondahl plates hanging above.

This next item is the table runner I made with the leftover One Block Wonder blocks that I used for my neighbor's Christmas table topper. 
After I had the top of this put together, I discovered one more block hiding in the sewing room and it was used on the back. Now I have a nice Christmas gift on hand or something to add to the sales table at the next bazaar.

Also over Christmas I finally figured out where to put a cool hook I found at a garage sale. Hubby got it installed and then I started the hunt for a hanging pot to put my spider plant in. Interestingly enough, nobody is selling hanging pots or any appropriate pots at this time of year. I came home from one shopping excursion and looked over my old pots outside and found this yellow one from the 70s. I had to do some scrubbing but it isn't too bad. Plant hangers are also not out there anywhere (even the thrift store) so I set about finding some sort of cord to see if I still have any macrame skills. Struggled to find cord too, but finally found this dark brown jute last Saturday and was able to whip up this hanger in about an hour. 
Nothing fancy but it turned out pretty nicely I think!

Next Saturday I will be teaching a class for the guild on the stained glass denim quilts so I had my son haul all the denim out of the attic and I pulled out what was stashed around the sewing room and started ripping and cutting it up in preparation for the class.  You see, my goal is to get rid of the denim that I have so I am offering the class for $10 per person and I am providing the fabric for the top. All the tops that are made will then go to the guild's Community Quilt program and likely from there to graduating foster kids in our county. As a bonus, the money will all go to Relay for Life. There were boxes and bags and bins full of denim. I have enough squares cut for 10 quilts so far and a couple of ladies from the guild have taken a couple of boxes of denim and ripped and cut for me also. Today I need to get started on figuring out the lesson plan for the class and how we will set up the space.

My boss asked me to make a denim baby quilt for her to give as a gift so last Sunday I pulled out some of my odd shaped pieces (I always get way too many 2" squares so if I have pieces that are 2X3, 2X4, 2X6, 3X3, 3X4 or 3X6 I don't cut them down and use them when I am feeling creative) and put together this top.
You can see my piles of 4" and 6" squares on the back of the table in this picture. Anyway, I need to get some fabric for the back and I can get it quilted and delivered. I will use it for an sample though for next Saturday's class.

I have been fighting a nasty cough for almost 3 weeks and went to the doctor yesterday and got cough syrup with codeine and prednisone in the hopes that I can get rid of it. Looking forward to the end of this one! 

I had an MRI on my ankle this week and will find out next Wednesday from the doctor if there is anything that can be done to give me more range of motion. This is one time I am hoping for surgery!

Well, it is time to head outside to prune some apple trees and then into the sewing room to maybe get a round robin project or two finished and ready to mail on.

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Yesterday was a hard day for us. We had to say goodbye to the head quality control officer at Lucy's Quilts. I named this blog after Lucy because she always thought every quilt I made was for her to take a nap on. The bigger the pile of quilts, the better. She would have been 14 in just 16 days - a long and full life. 
She worked hard keeping all her humans and cats in line. She let everyone know that she was in charge. She never met a dog she couldn't dominate - from tiny Maltese or Yorkie all the way up to Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Labs, Newfoundlands and Great Danes. The only animal I ever saw her run from was a deer that took offense to her chasing it. 
She loved being outside and wandering around our little farm. She loved laying in the sun. She would stay close to me when I was working outside, including following me back and forth as I roto-tilled. One of her favorite things was riding on the lawnmower with me in her little pouch. 

She loved strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries - especially freshly picked. She would beg for banana or apple if you were eating one.
She loved treats and had most people (especially men) trained to give her one whenever they came in the house. She loved Ole, our UPS driver, because he always had treats and didn't like it when we had a substitute driver. 
We will miss her around here so much but we have so many memories of her years here with us.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of the Year

Since my last post, we have celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, my birthday and Christmas. The grandkids have been here twice, we had a table at a bazaar and I made it through another Advent/Christmas season at work (I am a church office administrator so there is lots to get done). At the beginning of December my good friend came home from Japan for a month long visit during which various members of the family have spent nights at my house, we put on a wedding shower and got her daughter married last weekend. We have just a few more days before she heads back to Japan so we have been trying to spend as much time as we can together. Here is a picture of my two best friends and me. I am on the right, the mother of the bride is in the middle and on the left is our third musketeer!
I have not done much sewing but I can post a couple of pictures of completed projects! Here is the table topper I made for my neighbor in our 'small project' exchange. I used the One Block Wonder method but didn't like the blocks right next to each other so I added the red triangles. I had some more blocks leftover so I put together a table runner that just needs quilting. When it is done I will have a nice Christmas gift waiting for someone! 
I got that Harry Potter quilt finished. I made it for my friend's daughter's wedding gift. She is a little bit Harry Potter obsessed so it seemed appropriate to make a Harry Potter Monet's Wedding Ring quilt. Their invitations were based on the Marauder's Map, the ring bearer carried the rings up on a wand, their cake topper was HP themed, and the list goes on.
 Here are some close-ups to show the individual blocks a little better...

I even downloaded a Harry Potter font to do the label.

I got to be there when they opened the package and I think it was a hit.

This quilt will be heading to a new home this week, too. 
It is a Christmas gift but needed its label and I have not had much time to spend in the sewing room. The quilt's name is now "It Needs A Squirrel..." and will be going to my boss and her husband who gave it it's name when he saw it at the quilt show.
I started physical therapy for my ankle about a week ago. I am not so sure it is going to make a difference but I am doing my exercises in hopes that it will. 

We are starting a new year tomorrow and I am hoping the New Year brings more time for sewing (and posting) and healing for my foot!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Starts, Finished and Progress

Just read over my last post and can't believe that I haven't written a post in a month and a half and how much has been happening since then. 

My foot/ankle is improving, if not fast enough for my tastes! My doctor had me taking massive doses of anti-inflammatories for 10 days and the swelling and inflammation went down at least temporarily. I was on my feet this past Friday and Saturday at the Guild Quilt Show on cement floors and Sunday was a hard day but both legs and feet were unhappy. Monday when I went to work I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could walk at close to normal speed without limping and even the stairs weren't bad. 

I got my two quilts finished for the quilt show and I was really happy with how they both turned out. I will do another post soon showing the quilting on this first one. The small tag hanging under the label says "A GUY likes this quilt." Every man who came in received one of these tags to put on a quilt he like. This quilt eventually received two of these tags and the other received on.
 This one is my 2004 Shop Hop Quilt. I had it in the Relay for Life Quilt Show in March but I added some more quilting in the block 'shadows' so the blocks would stand out a little more. 
Tonight I plan to take the hanging sleeve off so it can be put on our new bed. 

Fall is definitely here in Western Washington. We had about a week of fog that just didn't lift and now the sun has been out for a few days and it is gorgeous! Our son has been helping get the leaves picked up from the yard. Today we got 4 loads of leaves hauled away and yesterday and today I got most of the mowing done and let SIL finish it off. I can sure feel it in the muscles that I was out working in the yard!

I have gotten quite a few Harry Potter blocks done for the quilt I am working on but with other things going on I realized I would not have it done for the quilt show. I did finish the hand quilting on my 2002 Shop Hop quilt but I don't have any pictures of that yet. I will try to get that done soon. 

I finished a border on one round robin project and have one more I hope to get to tomorrow so I can pass them off to my niece and get some others from her. We need to get them moving along again. She and I have both have had crazy summers.

Our daughter and son-in-law got their little house on wheels moved out to its 'new' home and are pretty much settled in. Our son is settled into our Argosy until he finds a 'real' job. For now he is doing some math tutoring and helping around the house some.

There are rumors we will have grandkids here for Halloween so might have to do some quick planning for a fun family party. We are thinking decorating gingerbread haunted houses or maybe Halloween sugar cookies.

I need to pull some things together next week for a quilt retreat too. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

And the summer is nearly gone...

...and it didn't go at all as I thought it might.

Two months later and I am still hobbling around on my bum foot. I ended up in a walking boot for 6 weeks and now I just have to strengthen up my ankle. I bought myself a pair of Chaco sandals last week so I have some shoes that support my feet and can be adjusted depending on how much swelling there is.

Lots has happened but not what I had hoped. We had the grandkids here for 4 weeks of fun. They were great about helping Grammy because "your foot is hurt". They fetched crutches and glasses of water and the phone and various other things. They had lots of special things happening like spending the night at cousin Katie's house, fun Lego projects,

a Strawberry Festival, two new kitties at Grammy's

two weeks of swimming lessons,

'working at Grammy's office,
rides on a little steam train ("we get to sit on it - while its moving?!?!?!), helping Papa prune the cedar tree

(they loaded the trailer at least 15 times for the trip to the burn pile - the little smarties figured out a way to load it and leave a 'hole' for them to ride in back and forth), Vacation Bible School, playing on Steve's slot machine, and a BBQ 

just to name a few! They had a great time and were so good. They are now back at home and started school - Kindergarten and 2nd grade!

Time in the sewing room was rather lacking over the summer but I did get the Bluegrass Festival Auction Quilt finished on time (but only barely). 

Since we had a booth for our crafts at the Festival I was able to listen as it was auctioned off for over $300. I also got it's twin quilted and it is almost finished. I also spent a couple days at my sister's and with her and my two nieces we sewed the top of a wedding quilt for our brother's son and his bride. Today my sister was here visiting and we got the quilt sandwiched and basted so I might get started on the quilting this week.

Once things started settling down from the kids and other things I started working on finishing up some quilts for the October Quilt Guild Show. I pulled out this UFO of leftover HST's. The lighter triangles were from one quilt and the rest were from two others. I had it to this point in February and then it got put away...
I had decided I wanted to put this on point using the dark read of the outer triangles and some form of sunflowers since I had found a border print with sunflowers and pinecones. I got a pattern for a sunflower with 3D petals but I just wasn't feeling it so I went with my original thought of New York Beauty type sunflowers. Since I wanted the sunflower to be about 8-10" I had to shrink the NYB blocks down to 4" finished. Then I made 4 each of 4 different patterns using the same fabrics as the darker HSTs. I used one of each of the 4 different patterns in each of the sunflowers. I was really happy with those other than I would not recommend 4" NYB blocks to anyone. Then I needed something else for those corners and found a paper pieced pinecone pattern that I again shrunk to 4" and reversed for half of the blocks. I then created the triangles to set this on point using the NYBs and pine cones and then added mitered border print and here it is:
It ended up about 60" square. I am thinking it would make a really great fall tablecloth. I am putting it aside for a bit but I can now fill out the registration form for the quilt show for it. 

I am now moving on to another Harry Potter quilt that I want to have done for the show also. I found that doing paper piecing is easy on my foot. I lower my ironing board and pull it a little closer to the sewing table and I can sew and then turn my chair to press and trim the piece and if I need to do any rotary cutting I have a small cutting mat on the sewing table. Hopefully my foot will improve quickly so I can get back to my normal sewing routines.

The garden has suffered from my lack of attention but my beets, onions, beans and Taxi tomatoes have flourished in spite of it. I am working on getting rid of all the weeds now that I can do some work down there.