Monday, March 28, 2011

Hawaiin Bags

I decided I needed a new beach type bag for Hawaii. Having very little time to make this I grabbed some fat quarters in blue and green. After sewing them together, I put the piece on the longarm and quilted it. Then it was cut out, a zippered pocket sewn on the front and a zipper pocket sewn in the lining (not shown). It took me about half a day to make this beach bag. Then I decided I needed a small bag just to carry a few essentials around. So I made another zippered bag with a long shoulder strap so I can put it over both shoulders and wear it more securely. Now I feel ready to go! We leave Wednesday morning -- I'm so excited!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Customer Quilt

Here's a little table topper I did for a customer. I love doing these small projects. This one turned out so cute! Here's a front and back view.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gardening Grow Light

I love to garden. But I've never been very successful at starting seeds indoors. Living in the Pacific Northwest, we just don't get enough sunlight to keep seedlings on a window ledge. They end up being spindly. Anyway, that's been my experience. So this year I saw a plant light grow system made from PVC pipe, shop lights and chain in a gardening magazine. It looked simple enough. I asked my dear husband if he would make it. A few days later it was done. It cost about $40.00 to make the whole thing. We put it on a small folding table and so far it's amazing. The plants are growing great. I think the two keys are, keep the lights within 3 - 5 inches of the plants and keep the lights on a minimum of 12 hours. We used regular flourescent bulbs. Two are the blue lights (6500K) and two are the red lights (5500K). Another tip is water from the bottom. If you water on the top, you run the risk of a fungus growing on the soil and literally eating the plant at dirt level.
It's a big savings if you can start your garden plants from seeds. I'm hoping for my best garden year ever!

Customer Quilt

This was a fun way to do leaves -- just double the lines. It made it 'pop' a lot more in this border. Another idea that is great for borders is a simple wavy line. It makes an outside border frame the quilt more nicely and best of all it's easy to do. I don't mark but just eyeball the spacing. Because it's wavy it doesn't need to be perfectly accurate. The center of this quilt was meandered -- something I almost detest doing :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Customer Quilt

I really like this quilt. Unfortunately because the photo was taken with no flash (to make the quilting stand out) it doesn't do justice to the colors. The quilt has beautiful fall colors. I think it's one I would like to make -- but then how many times do I say that? Way more often that I really have time for. I used a double leaf in the border and then a swirl/leaf pattern in the center doing some extra special designs in the appliques. Nice, very nice

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rainy Saturday

There is almost nothing on the agenda today. It's rainy and pretty grey outside. I think it's a day to sew. I was out with a friend a couple days ago and bought fabric to make a raffle quilt for 4-H. It will be raffled off at the Clackamas County Fair in August. I'm making a quilt similar to the one I made for a wedding gift a couple months ago (the pictures and article about it should be further down this blog). Only this one will be queen bed size. I love the fabrics. When I was at the quilt shop, I asked someone who worked there what was the most popular line of fabric they sell and she took me to these fabrics. They are from moda called Mason De Garance part of the French General line. I love the colors and can't wait to see this come together. Of course I'll post when it's together.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Few More Pictures

Just a few more pictures of this reverse applique quilt. I've never seen better applique work. I think it might take me a life time to finish something like this!

Two Amazing Quilts

Over the last couple weeks, I've been working on these quilts. They are gorgeous. I think the blue and white quilt has the most amazing applique I've ever seen (reverse applique). This quilt was brought to me already quilted. It was just outline quilted and the one sashing strip quilting was taken out and a small feather was put in there. Then all the background quilting was added to each block -- all 120 of them! I add some straight lines on one side of the appliques in the border and a feather on the outside. The bottom picture is what the quilt looked like when I received it and shows the sashing stitching I took out. I'm pleased with the final outcome. Even the back is beautiful. The brown quilt is a favorite because I love the color combination -- kind of reminds me to finish the brown quilt I have (only needs to be quilted). Enjoy the pictures. I'm glad I could work on something so beautiful while going through all this stress these last weeks.

Much to give thanks for

I had my appointment with a neurologist yesterday afternoon. It went well. I do not have to have brain surgery. I do not have to have radiation (at least not now). The tumor is benign and located in my cavernous sinus. It is about the size of a large olive to a ping pong ball. It will not spread into brain tissue (that's probably my biggest relief). The only concern for the doctor is that is is constricting the flow of blood through one of the carotid arteries that runs through that sinus. That could be a serious/life-threatening issue. But these tumors grow very slowly and God made our bodies in amazing ways to adapt so it's possible that my body has compensated for the blood flow by the other carotid artery taking over. She is sending on my MRI scans to another doctor for evaluation of this and I may have to go in for another test on this. Right now, this doctor just wants to follow me and in 6 months do another MRI and see if anything has changed. She was able to tell me what to look for that would indicate more growth (worse vision, facial paralysis). The doctor also said that she has never seen a surgery to remove these tumors be completely successful and most often the patient is left with worse symptoms than before the surgery. So if something needs to be done to take care of the tumor, it would be radiation treatment. Of course there is risks in radiation (don't know what those are yet). But for now the news is really good -- just wait and watch. I'm still praying for healing. It would be awesome if they did another MRI and the tumor was gone!
What a week this has been. I have gone from a couple days of panic to a place of peace and trust in knowing God's hand is on my life and He will accomplish His will. I have come to the place where what I want most is that God would be glorified in this. Certain Scriptures have ministered to me like never before. God has not been silent and I am very changed from this experience. Even though this is a quilting blog, I want to be more open about my faith. It is what matters most, and this last week has made that conviction even stronger.
Thank you for your prayers, kind words and encouragement over this last week. It isn't over, but it is good news!

Friday, March 4, 2011

March 1 - The Day Life Changed

I want to post what I have written in an email and posted to facebook about what is happening in my life right now. I know there are quite a few views on this blog and since I haven't posted much in the last month many are probably wondering what is going on. Well, a lot! I am still quilting. I have to keep occupied with other things so that I don't get overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. But I may not be quilting nearly as much. So if you are a customer, please still stay in contact, bring me a quilt when you need one done so that we stay connected. I may take longer to get a quilt back but I still want to stay in this business.
So here's what's going on with my health:
Thank you all very much for all your prayers -- they have been so
felt. I think this would rate as the scariest week of my life! And I
can truthfully say that on Tuesday, March 1, my life changed. It all
started with the MRI which in itself was pretty frightening. The test
was long and I could tell at the end that they had found something,
but of course they say your doctor should call you within 24 hours.
Well my doctor called within two hours and said they had found a
'large tumor'. His opinion was that it would need to be surgically
removed. He was sending the MRI and my other records on to a
neurologist and said he would call me later as soon as he talked to
the neurologist. When I hung up the phone I was literally in shock.
I felt cold, light headed and like throwing up. Rick thought I should
lie down and try to rest but that was impossible. It's funny the
thoughts that run through one's mind when one is faced with something
that looks very grave. I thought about not being here to see my kids
all grown up, not being able to see grandchildren, not growing old
with Rick, not getting to go to Hawaii :(, the quilts I never
finished, the seeds I've started that I might not see produce anything
and on and on it goes. From the serious to the ridiculous I had a
million thoughts, and most of them were pretty negative. My main
feeling was similar to my first experience with labor, "I really don't
want to go through this, but there's no way out of it". (Sorry you
guys can't relate to this). All that I know about God, His
omniscience, His power, His love for me, His total control over my
life were tested (and continue to be). It's easy to say you believe
all that, but when faced with what seemed to be ahead I struggled.
Needless to say, most of Tuesday night was sleepless (it probably was
that way for much of my family and friends too). Fears are always
worse at night and I learned years ago to battle fear with Scripture,
even speaking it out loud (though quietly enough to not wake Rick).

On Wednesday I talked to the doctor again and he said after talking to
the neurologist that most likely the tumor was benign but in an area
that was inoperable. He said it possibly could be treated with
radiation to shrink the tumor. Benign is good, inoperable is bad (or
maybe good since brain surgery didn't sound like much fun), radiation
I wasn't sure about. It did help to relieve a lot of anxiety to get
that report.

So here's what we think we know. The kind of tumor is called a
meningiomas. It is a very, very slow growing tumor and almost always
benign. The larger it gets the more difficult it is to remove and
sometimes because of where it grows it is impossible to remove (such
may be the case for me). It can often be reduced by radiation
treatments. The tumor does not grow in brain tissue but between the
brain matter and the sac containing the brain. Problems can arise
when it gets to the size where it is putting pressure on some area of
the brain and can cause various symptoms. My main symptom has been
double vision. In the last two months I have had more pressure in my
ear, temple and eye. These tumors are many times found during an
autopsy and the person never knew they were even there. They occur
more often in women and most often between the ages of 40 - 60.

I have an appointment with the neurologist on Tuesday afternoon.
Hopefully that will answer a lot of questions. I still don't know how
big this 'large' tumor is. Is it the size of a marble or the size of
a golf ball? I don't know exactly where it is other than it is on my
left side.

My continued prayer request is for peace of mind and trust in our
great and awesome God. Pray that God would simply remove the tumor
(wouldn't that be a powerful witness of God's power), that it would
shrink, or that it will be treated correctly.

God knew from the very beginning of time that this was in His plan for
my life. It was a surprise to me -- but not to God. I don't know
where this road goes or how it will end but I know whose hands it's
all in. The support from family, friends and especially Rick has been
overwhelming. Thanks for your love.