Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Saddle Up has come and gone.

I promised photos of the quilts that I made for this year's Saddle Up Trail Ride.  So, here goes.

This was probably my favorite of the four.  I called it "Bandana Stars", and it was made from leftover bandana fabrics from previous years' quilts.  Daughter  Pat was the lucky winner of this one.

This quilt was done with appliqued embroidery blocks.  I used them for the center of churn dash blocks.  Three of my grandkids wanted this quilt, but Izzy was the lucky winner.

This John Deere was also made from fabrics that were left over from previous years.  And grandson, Bubby was the winner of this quilt.

This quilt was made from a pattern called Prairie Sweets.  I loved this quilt, as did Daughter Mary.   She told every one that came to purchase tickets that this quilt was rumored to "fall apart when it was washed".  I told them it wasn't true - that she just wanted to win this quilt.  And, she did.

Before you think that the raffle was rigged, you should know that my kids each take $50.00 worth of tickets.  No one else spends that much on the quilt raffle, and so it's no wonder that they win.

There were two other quilts that I hadn't made, and all together the six quilts raised $382 for the kids at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.  It wasn't as much as previous years; but with the economy and price of gas, we were glad to make that.  The total raised by the quilt raffle, the chinese auctions, and the riders contributions was over $18,000.  Again, it wasn't as much as previous years, but we are grateful to have made that much.

It's a wonderful day.  Texas Roadhouse provides lunch and dinner for the riders and volunteers.  Today, the weather was wonderful -- warm, sunny, and breezy.  It's a family day - my family, George's family, the Youngs (another neighbor family) and the Hoyles (still another neighborhood family).  It's a wonderful day for a great cause.  And it's over for another year.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The End of an Era

That's what everyone is calling Oprah's final show.  Wow, 25 years on air. . . some (most) marriages don't last that long.  Did Oprah have an effect of your life?  Although she's not aware, Oprah saved my life.

Sometime around 1995, I was in a very deep depression.  My sister had died, my father had died, Rod was out of work again, bills were not paid, and my Mom seemed to think that I had no life other than driving her where she needed to go.  One afternoon, I was on my way to pick her up for a hair appointment, when I got the urge to pull out in front of a semi.  It just seemed to be such an easy solution.  No more worrying about bills, no more heeding Mom's ever beck and call.  No more explaining to nebby, nervy relatives who constantly questioned why Rod wasn't working. No more trying to explain to the kids why they couldn't have what all the other kids had.   I don't know what stopped me that day.  Maybe it was fate.  After Mom's appointment, I took her back home and returned to my house.  I never watch Oprah.  Never really did. But that day when I turned on the TV, Oprah was on.  Her guest that day was Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of a new book called Simple Abundance.  I watched that show.  I bought that book, and began reading it that very day.  And it changed my life.  I started a gratitude journal.  Although I no longer write it down, I still mentally keep my gratitude journal.  And I started my journey to Simple Abundance.  I began to appreciate what I had and stopped crying over what I didn't have.  And my life began to turn around.  I still turn to Simple Abundance when life punches me in the gut.  And although I have the hard cover, I purchased the book for my Kindle so that I can take it with me wherever I go.  And it all began with Oprah.

Farewell, Oprah.  I'm sure you have touched many, many lives.  The world is certainly better because you are in it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm Cheesin'

Just like Bubby in this picture, I'm cheesin'!  And here's why:

The sun is shining.
The birds are singing.
The bullfrog in the pond is croaking.
Hines Ward won Dancing with the Stars.
I finished all four of the Saddle Up Quilts.

Life is good.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's a Beautiful Morning. . .

but the afternoon and evening are predicted to be ugly, really ugly.   If you are the one who made Mother Nature angry, please apologize so that we can get some good weather with no more disasters.  Our prayers go up for those affected by last night's tornado.

It was a wonderful weekend.  Friday night I decided to begin quilting on the Teddy Bear quilt. I was using my EuroPro machine with a variegated thread from Connecting Threads.  I've had problems with this brand of thread before, but not quite this bad.  I got maybe 15 stitches, and then the thread would break.  So, I would cut off the frayed edge, rethread the machine, and start again.  Over and over.  Finally I pushed the table aside, and said it just wasn't worth the frustration and would start fresh Saturday morning.  Saturday morning, we moved my work station to the back deck.  Different machine, different bobbin thread, same top thread.  Same problem.  I got so mad that I yanked the quilt out from under the needle, and tore a hole in it.  So, the teddy bear quilt has met an untimely end.  It's now in the pile to finish some day with different top thread.

But that meant I needed another quilt for the Saddle Up (which is Saturday) since I had promised 4 quilts.  I went to the sewing room to get the fabric to make a 6-hour quilt in Steeler fabrics.  And what did I find, but 14 blocks for a quilt that were already finished.  So I gathered up fabric for sashing and cornerstones, and headed out with my cutting mat,  rotary cutter, and ruler.  By 3:30 yesterday afternoon, I had a quilt put together and quilted.  So now, I have 4 quilts to put binding on by Saturday.  Since I will be applying the binding by machine, I think it will happen.  Photos will be coming next week, if not sooner.  Have a good week.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays. . . . .AGAIN!!

Is it ever going to stop raining here in western Pennsylvania???  Rain is predicted everyday for the next 10 days. We can't even cut our grass - if it does quit raining long enough, the grass is still too wet to cut.  Gonna buy me a cow, or maybe a goat, even a sheep would be nice.  But I'm afraid that with all the rain that the sheep would shrink!  (get it, wool shrinks when it gets wet).

I have finished the quilting on the John Deere quilt, and am over halfway done with the quilting on the bandana star quilt.  The John Deere quilt was pretty simple - just quilted a grid over the square blocks.  The bandana star is a little more complicated since I'm quilting inside the stars and then a stipple quilting in the outside pieces.  That leaves the churn dash farm quilt (another complicated one) and finally the John Deere teddy bear which is just an all over quilting.  I'm just taking it one block at a time.  Photos coming when they are finished.

Have a great day, and stay dry.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chugga, Chugga, Choo Choo

And the quilting train moves slowly on.  Yesterday I managed to get two of the quilts pinned and ready for quilting.  That leaves two to go.  When I open the box of fleece that I had ordered, I didn't remember ordering those colors, but will make them work.  This panel is one of the pieces that I sandwiched.  If you were quilting it, how would you do it?  Should I just do an all over quilting, or something more complicated?

Rod took down the baby swing yesterday -- Jake doesn't like it much anymore.  That made room for the table that I use to pin my quilts.  The kids will be here most of the day as Kristin has two appointments today, and will go to transfer my Mom from the skilled nursing facility to her assisted living home.  But by leaving the table up here in the living room, I will be able to quilt in the evenings while watching TV.

Mary stopped by on her way home from school yesterday, and we spent an hour or so on the deck.  Then I ended up with a nasty headache.  I'm not sure if it was from the way I was sitting to pin the quilts or  from allergies, but I will be glad to get the air conditioners in as they help to filter out the pollen.  Still, it's so nice to see the sun and have the windows open.

Have a good one.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Good Morning, Sun

Good morning trees, and creeping grass and buzzing bees.  How did you find out it was day?  Who told you night had gone away?  I'm wide awake, I'm up now too.  I'll be right out to play with you.

We used to sing this song in grade school, and I loved it.  But, unless I move the ironing board out onto the deck, there will be no playing outside for me today.  With not feeling well last week, I accomplished very little.  After being away from the kids all last week, Kristin has the next two days at home with them.  So as we say in farm country, I have to make hay while the sun shines.  Today, I have to iron 4 quilts and begin to sandwich them for quilting.  It's not really sandwiching, since I put them on fleece; but I still have to pin them together while smoothing out the wrinkles and not stretching the fleece.  I'm getting really anxious to get these finished so that I can move onto to something new (or old).

Four months from now, I will be having breakfast with Donald Duck in Animal Kingdom and getting ready to do the safari.  Yes, we're preparing for another trip to Disney, and I'm getting more excited as the days go on.  We're planning on redoing our old favorites, and also trying some new things.  We save our loose change in a bank to use for tips and spending money, and thus far, we have $65.00.  We've read so many negative things lately about people using the Disney bus system with scooters, so this year we plan to rent a car.

Well, I'm off to start my day.  Hope yours is sunny.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom, my daughters, and all my cyber friends.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Think I Can!

I think I can, I think I can finish all the Saddle Up Quilts by the deadline.  The Saddle Up is the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, and I'm shooting for 4 quilts this year.  The farm quilt is ready to iron and sandwich;  the bandana quilt is ready to iron and sandwich; the John Deere quilt needs borders and then will be ready to iron and sandwich; and the Teddy Bear Panel is ready to iron and sandwich.  So guess what I will be doing this weekend --yep, ironing.  Today, I also got the binding ready to put on my Mom's quilt.  She's leaving the skilled nursing home and returning to her assisted living home on Tuesday, and I'm hoping to have the quilt on her bed when she gets there.  Have a good day.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away . . . Please

Geez, I'm so sick of rain that I could spit, but that would just be more water!  Our local weatherman said yesterday that they consider a sunny day to be one where it is sunny from sun up to sun down.  Here in western Pennsylvania, we have had a grand total of .... wait for it ...... here it comes ..... 5 sunny days this entire year. How can that be?  Where can all this wetness be coming from?  It's like when you have a really bad cold, and you wonder where all that "wetness" can be coming from.

Speaking of colds, I have another.  Jake has come down with RSV Virus, and is getting breathing treatments every four hours.  He was really miserable on Monday, really congested and wheezing.  At one point, I swear he coughed for nearly 10 minutes.  He also has an ear infection and is getting an antibiotic for that. The worse thing about it all is that Kristin left last night for a veterinary conference in Maryland, and will be gone until Saturday.  She didn't have a choice about going.  Last year when she went to this conference, she started bleeding and had to come home.  So, she needed the educational credits to avoid losing her license.  Jake has a great daddy who does whatever needs to be done, and is taking great care of the kids while Kris is gone.  But it doesn't make being away from the kids any easier for her.  Yesterday I didn't have the kids, and could have done so much sewing, but basically I slept most of the day.  We made French Onion Soup for dinner, and  I feel a little better today.  I even managed to get most of the bandana quilt put together.

Rod has his surgery for another skin cancer on his nose on Friday, so please keep him in your prayers.  Will keep you posted.  Trying to stay dry and warm,