Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Odds and Ends

  One more day at work, then I'm off to the Des Moines Quilt Expo with Kayla and Darla for a couple of days. I can't wait. I love the Expo. Beautiful quilts and all those VENDORS! What's not to love? I missed it last year as I was suffering from kidney stones, ugh! So, I'm really looking forward to this year.  I've been saving up for this and I'm hoping to see some new lines of fabric to spend my $ on or books or vintage quilts, blocks, and tops. I'm sure I won't be disappointed. I hope to meet some of my fellow bloggers there as well as my followers. If you spot me there, please introduce yourself. I'll be scanning faces for you too.

  I never did share photos of the chapel at Ridgecrest Village in Davenport where I gave my recent presentation. It was a lovely facility.
Isn't it nice? There was seating for at least a hundred people with room to spare.

  My son, Isaah, came home the weekend before last and brought a visitor with him. He was babysitting for his friends while they went to Chicago. I guess I should have said dog sitting, because Gracie is a one year old boxer. We've had 3 boxers in the past and love the breed. We are dogless at present since our boxer, Rufus died 2 years ago. Randy says we can't get another boxer till at least one of us retires. It was sure fun to have a boxer in the house for a couple of days though.

  Isaah is putting  a Hawkeye t-shirt on Gracie before the game came on TV. She is very subdued as long as she has it on. She acts like it's a straight jacket!

  Isn't she cute? She stood like that for quite awhile before she finally decided she could lay down with that shirt on. Isaah and his friends are alumni of UI.

  And lastly, I wanted to show you my Halloween decorations I display in the high school library where I work. I don't decorate for Halloween at home since I don't have little kids or grandchildren. The kids at school get a kick out of them.

  Above my desk...
The "other" witch in the library :)

This friendly guy, oddly enough, named, Jack, guards my computer...

These Jacks are at the checkout computer...

And here is my haunted house... (notice the quilt hanging on my office wall?) I hang a different one for each holiday or season.

I'm really just a big kid when it comes to holidays. Working with kids gives me a good excuse to indulge myself. Well, this kid is up past her bedtime! Gotta go!
Keep stitching,
Becky

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Who Needs a Plan Anyway?!

  Once again, I was a "biking widow" this weekend. Randy is on a 4 day bike ride from Burlington, IA to somewhere in Wisconsin, camping along the way. His idea of fun. I planned on hours and hours of uninterrupted sewing time.
  I don't do well with plans! I'm more of a spur of the moment type of gal. I stayed up late Friday night reading a good book, "Halo" and slept in till 8 AM Saturday. I still planned on those long hours of sew time. I showered, had coffee and doughnuts for breakfast while reading the newspaper, all as I had planned. It went all wrong when I took my cup and plate to the sink. Looking into the back yard, I wondered how my koi were doing since the nightly temperature had started dipping into the 40's. I thought I'd just go out and feed them real quick before heading to my sewing room.
   Big mistake. I went out and my koi seemed fine. They came to the surface begging for food. I gave them a big scoop of food and watched them gobble it up. While they were eating, I casually looked around the back yard. It was badly neglected this summer while I stayed indoors working on the quilts for my book. Normally I describe myself as an avid quilter and avid gardener. Not this summer. The hosta beds are almost maintenance free, but the sunny garden requires attention. Oh, it was a sad affair, indeed.
  Ok, no problem, I could pull weeds and lop volunteer mulberry and elm trees for a couple hours; then I'd sew. Good idea, it needed done after months of neglect and I'll be at the Quilt Expo in DesMoines next weekend and the weather could be bad in a couple of weeks, so I got my garden gloves, tools, and compost bags and started to work with a vengeance on those darn weeds. That was at 9 AM.... At 5 PM I looked at my watch and wondered where my day went! I had about another hour's work left, but my back was killing me, so I stopped for the day. After 4 Ibuprofen, a shower, and some supper, I felt refreshed and ready to sew. I worked on some 3" - 9-patches, turned them on point adding triangles to square them to finish at 5". I made 16 of them before I decided I was too tired to sew anymore.
   Today, I went to early church service so I would have time to finish in the garden and still have most of the day to sew. That hour I thought it would take to finish turned into 3 hours! Oh, well, at 1:30 PM, I was once again enmeshed in my sewing room. I wasn't sure what I was making with those 9-patches, so I made some 4-patches and then used those to make bigger 4-patches finishing at 5". Still not sure what this quilt will be when It's done. It's still evolving. I didn't spend as many hours sewing as I planned, but my garden is no longer an embarrassment to me!

Here are the bocks I made:

..Maybe I'll set them alternating like this:
OR, maybe strippy set:
   Or, maybe I'll come up with an entirely different idea. Just as in life, I don't do well with plans, my quilts are not usually planned either. They just seem to evolve as I sew.

   I got these lovely Civil War Era ladies in the mail today. Mrs. Ryther of Grand Rapids, Michigan is in the dark dress. Look at her tiny waist! The lady in the plaid dress is identified as Iny Woodruff. I wish I knew what color that plaid is.
   Well, I'd better go to bed, since I plan on working tomorrow. If I want to have money to spend at the Quilt Expo, that's a plan I better keep!

Keep stitching,
Becky

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Didn't See that Train Coming!

   I gave my Civil War presentation to a lovely ladies' group at the LDS Church in Mt. Vernon, IA on Wednesday night. The facility was wonderful and I could really spread out my display over 5 banquet tables, various easels, and racks. The event was well attended, but mostly non-quilters.

   By the end of my presentation and following open forum, I had a dry mouth, as to be expected. After packing up and heading for home, I mentioned to Kym Ward, who had accompanied me, my throat hurts, I think I might be getting a cold. I stopped at Caseys and bought an orange juice to ward it off.  At the end of the 2 hour drive home my throat was really bothering me. I went to work Thursday, no sore throat, but now with a runny nose. By noon I was chilling badly and put on my jacket. I started watching the clock as I got worse and worse. I ached all over and my eyes and ears began to hurt too. I got home at 3:45 PM and laid on the couch. At 4:30 PM, Kayla stopped by. I barely could make it to the door. She wanted to take me to the ER, but I said I'd be ok, "I'm just getting a cold I guess." She went to the store and got me some 7UP for my extreme nausea and put a cold wash cloth on my forehead. My temp was at 102 d. She reluctantly left me for her daughter's volleyball game. Randy was on a bike ride with friends in Burlington and was running my route for me so he wouldn't be home till 10-10:30 PM. I couldn't sleep with the pain and nausea and I kept getting worse. My Mom called and panicked when she couldn't understand me, but knew I was ill. She called my sister in Texas who then called me too. She panicked and insisted I call for an ambulance. I hated to think of how much that would cost and I tried to convince myself it was just a cold, right? At about 8 PM I called Kayla and I think I only got the word, "hospital", out and she said, "I'll be right there!" She showed up with her husband, Scott, and they got me to the ER. I was incoherent and semi-conscious by then. It seemed like forever, but a doctor finally examined me, ordered an IV, blood work, urine specimen, nose and throat swabs, and chest x-rays. Scott and Kayla never left my side, bless their hearts. What wonderful friends! Even when they got hold of Randy and he showed up, they wouldn't leave me. I am so blessed to know them. After pumping me full of fluids and 2 rounds of anti-nausea and pain medications through my IV, and tests showing it was not bacterial, the diagnosis was an "aggressive fast onset virus." Can you say "understatement"?! I felt like I'd been hit by a train. They dismissed me at 11 PM with meds and orders of bed rest and plenty of fluids. I was happy to oblige. That's all I've done since then, until this afternoon. Now, I finally feel like I just have a cold. If you start feeling my symptoms, please get in bed and drink a lot! Don't try to tough it out. This bug is bad. The doctor said this wasn't even influenza, but I can't imagine that it would be any worse. I really hope I didn't expose all those ladies at my presentation or the kids at school to this.

  My internet was down for 5 days over Labor Day weekend and it about killed me. I couldn't check my emails, conduct business, or post! Our school dismisses early the Wednesday before Labor Day and we have 5 days off for Old Threshers. Our city is visited by about 100,000 people during this celebration of antique tractors, steam engines of all types, and teams of work horses. If you live in Mt. Pleasant, you either love Old Threshers and don't want to miss  a minute of it or you hate all the noise and people and leave town for the duration. We are in the first group. Randy and I love to go to all the flea markets in town and walk the Threshers grounds taking in all the events. Friends from Illinois come on Saturday every year and "antique" with us and then on Sunday, we go to Illinois with them to the flea market at Lake Argyle. We each eagerly scan the offerings looking for goodies to add to our respective collections. This year I added 3 old outhouse postcards, 1 needle packet, 1 doll quilt c1880,  a Civil War Era boy's velvet jacket and an antique doll trunk. Not a bad haul!

  I'll close with pictures of some of my purchases . The dealer who I bought the doll quilt from specializes in doll and child's quilts and will keep me informed of new acquisitions! She had several doll quilts I liked, but used my will power to only buy one. This little beauty measures 15 3/4 " x 26". I'm sure it was made to fit a particular doll bed. It is made of burgundy solid, white with blue hollow circles shirting, and white solid cotton fabrics. It is machine pieced and machine quilted.


                        This is a teal colored velvet boy's jacket, Civil War Era. Isn't it adorable?

And a view of the back...

   Here is the doll trunk loaded with some doll clothes and linens from my collection. The doll is Elizabeth, who I've owned since 1973. She has china head and hands and a leather body. She is wearing her original underclothes (pantaloons and petticoat) but I made the dress in 1973 as her original was very worn, though I did keep it. I will use the trunk and contents in my presentation display.




Thanks for visiting. Stay healthy and keep stitching!
Becky