Thursday, April 30, 2009

More give-aways - in addition to the donation quilt

We are so amazed at the generosity of those in quiltland and blogland when we shared with us in our need to raise money for Don's open heart surgery in September. If you missed it - read about it HERE.

And in the spirit of generosity - we have had many bloggers to post about this on their blog - and several have provided additional prizes to be given away in the drawing.

The prizes are . . .

A tablerunner - from Barb

A can Koozie of your choice, or one that is mongrammed from Franni (keeps your drink cold in the summer) -

A skein of Alpaca yarn, hand spun - from Linda

A Moda Jelly Roll - from Debi

Wouldn't you love to have any of these? Such generous new friends I have found through this time of stress and worry.

Because blogger is watching everyone's blog and has taken down blogs that have too many links to other blogs on them - they call them spamming blogs - I can no longer list all those wonderful people who have blogged about the opportunity quilt - what a shame. I can't risk having this blog taken down - and I am NOT spamming - so

Thanks to all who blogged about this event - we are ever grateful for your help and generosity. If you want to see some of the blogs - go to the comment section and many have left comments about blogging about this - you can visit from the comments section by clicking on their name.

And a big thank you to all who have donated - and blogged - and emailed - and prayed - and sent good vibes - or helped in any way - we appreciate each and every one of you.

Donation quilt - Open Heart Surgery fundraiser

In September Don has to undergo open heart surgery
to repair or replace the Mitral Valve - and we have finally come up with a way to raise money for what we will owe after insurance pays their part. To read more about Don's surgery - click here.

I have been making quilts for years, it is one thing that I can do to contribute to our situation - and we've decided to use one of the quilts for the fund raiser, and it is the Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt that was finished just last year. It is hand pieced and machine quilted, by Julie from Idaho.

It is double bed size - the fabrics are 100% cotton, all tone on tones . . .

Julie did a fabulous job - using her home sewing machine . . .

It is Don's all time favorite quilt - he says it just makes him happy to look at it . . .

For a donation of $5.00 you get your name in the drawing five times - a donation of $10.00 gives you 12 chances and $20.00 will give you 25 chances, etc. To keep this from being an actual raffle - anyone can have their name entered without a donation (though we really do appreciate the donations, but completely understand if you can't donate, not everyone can in these economic times and we don't want you to feel bad about that). Send us your good wishes and prayers - they mean so much to us.

I have talked to many internet and local friends - and they are all excited about this and we already have many donations and offers to take donations for us also.

The drawing will be Sept. 6 - Don's birthday - the surgery is scheduled for Sept. 4, at this point. Any money raised over the amount that is needed for our co-pay
on the surgery (approx. $25,000 if everything goes smoothly) will be donated to another person or family with a medical need. We welcome ideas of who to donate to once we reach our goal.

To donate, - we are currently working on an online payment process - email for details.

We also accept checks, just email for the address to send them to. Some of our friends are taking tickets already and gathering donations, which we truly appreciate. It is amazing the support and love we feel during this stressful and scary time.

If you would like to post about this donation quilt on your blog, we surely would appreciate that - and you would get your name in the drawing 5 more times and for each person you send over this way who donates - another 5 times in the drawing.

Thank you all for reading this post - and for your support and prayers.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Online Spring Quilt Festival

Amy at has organized the first on-line Blogger's Quilt Festival. We are to post a photos of our favorite quilt and tell the story behind it.

Some of you may have seen my favorite - but bear with me as we see it again. I liked this quilt so much I made TWO of them. Well, maybe not because I liked it so much - though I really do like it - but my cousin from Oregon was visiting and saw the first quilt being made and wanted one just like it. So I put mine aside and began to work on hers.

The quilt is done in only medium blue and white - with hand embroidery in the borders. . .

Each corner has the same seagull on a piling - and each is facing the correct direction so they show up as sitting on the piling when the quilt is on the bed. I used 3" nine patches for a lot of the quilt - the inner section and the checkerboard border - from an online swap I did years ago. We all made nine patches in specified colors and sent a dozen of the little blocks to each swapper. We did the blue/white colors several times and I had a huge plastic shoe box of them. I had enough to make both quilts - and still have plenty left to do another project - NO, not another seaside quilt.

Close up of the seagull - the quilting - and the binding . . .

I made the edges curvy - following the lines of the quilting - I like how it looks likes waves . . .

The quilting is by hand - with different designs all through the borders . . .

This embroidered seagul escaped from the border and is flying through the middle of the quilt . .

I drew the embroidery patterns - only a few are shown here - then used an embroidery transfer pencil to trace over them to make them into iron-on transfers. I used the designs a couple times over in the borders and spent hours and hours doing the hand embroidery. Good thing I enjoy embroidery.

And a little something different, not usually found on a beach - can you find what is odd?

When I had finished the quilt for my cousin I finally got back to finishing my quilt. When it came time to quilt it I just couldn't face hand quilting the same quilt over again, so I sent it off to Julie in Idaho and she machine quilted it for me. She used the same sort of random quilting designs like I had done in the first one - and it turned out wonderful (as always when Julie quilts). It is our summer quilt - the soft blues are so peaceful.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some Hard Times

That's what happens when you are going peacefully along, minding your own business - and then WHAM - something hits you from out of the blue.

I've already been through uterine cancer surgery (they got it all - no chemo and no radiation), a kidney stone the size of a huge marble (had it blasted after getting rid of the infection caused by a blocked duct), emergency gall bladder surgery and a while back a blood infection that was hard to beat - but I've gotten through all of them. Don had cataract surgery, followed by lazer eye surgery - and we thought we were in the clear - sailing along - enjoying our new house - then the latest bit of news hit us.

My wonderful Don has to have open heart surgery. He's had a heart murmur since he was 50 and it was something the doctors said would need to be watched - but was not life threatening. Until recently - and now his heart is beginning to show signs of not tolerating the leakage from the heart murmur. A cord is broken in the mitral valve and it has to be repaired - and if it is not repairable, then an artificial valve will be inserted during open heart surgery. They will also do a heart catheterization to check for a need for bypass surgery at the same time as the open heart surgery. There is no evidence at all that he might need the bypass, but it is a safety precaution just in case it is needed - so they wouldn't have to go in a second time. The bypass would only add an hour to the surgery time - much better than going in twice if they discovered the need later.

About age 7, with his Grandpa, in Wisconsin . . .

And now he is a grampy - I made this shirt for his birthday the year after Ben was born. No - he is not 44 - but Hank Aaron wore number 44 when he played baseball for the Milwaukee Braves - and he was Don's hero all the time he was growing up and attending the Milwaukee Braves games (riding the bus across town by himself when he was only 7 - he loved the game!!)

We got this news in late March and it has taken time to sink in - to become real (surely this isn't happening to us) - to settle into our brains and our lives.

With Ben, about 6 months old . . .talking to Auntie Jamie . . .

The good part is that the new cardiologist says that we can wait a while - a few months - and just have an electrocardiogram every two months to assess things to make sure there isn't any further damage. And we HAVE to wait - since insurance won't cover about $25,000.00 of the surgery - and we have to come up with that amount before the hospital will schedule the surgery. Now isn't that nice??? But how to do that - we certainly can't lay our hands on $25,000.00. The hospital will schedule payments, but the payments are so high we couldn't pay them - and if we miss a payment they garnishee our wages - and you know the spiral that puts a person into.

Bills are already accumulating for the doctors he has to see until the surgery and for tests on his heart to check and make sure that it is not degenerating. The surgery is planned for early Sept. and we have until then to raise the money - now if that doesn't put stress on you - I don't know what does.

With Ben - about 1 year old . . .

Don is in excellent health - does his treadmill faithfully every day - takes long walks - eats properly and comes from a long line of people who have lived into their 80s and 90s - so we are hopeful - yet fearful at the same time. We'd prefer not to wait - but then we don't have that choice right now.

He is to do no lifting, no carrying groceries, no lawn mowing, no painting the house this summer like he planned, nothing that would put strain on his heart. He can still do the treadmill and walking - which will help keep his heart in good condition, aerobic exercise is good for his heart. The cardiologist says his heart function is still perfect, and we want to keep it that way - with the limited activites and a medication designed just for this situation.

Our daughters and sons-in-law have already begun to pitch in with chores, shopping and helping around the house - and have offered to help whenever needed - it is nice to have familiy close at this time. Our son and daughter-in-law live in WV and they want to fly out for a visit before the surgery, and they will pitch in with any projects that need done around the house during their visit.

I ask your prayers, good thoughts, white light - whatever you have - during this time. We appreciate all that our friends and family have done for us already. This is a long and scary road - and we must go down it - but we already feel your love and your hope for us at this time. If I could go through this for Don, I would, but we all know that isn't possible -so I will help him in any way I can - and hope that the time whizzes by - although I must say - if you want to see time come to a stand still - just come over to our house. I'm pretty sure that all clocks have decided to move backwards a bit each day - making time drag.

At the John Deere Park with Ben - in Lynden . . .

Playing "football" with the boys at Thanksgiving . . .mostly it was a game of run and catch Grampy . . .

Our cardiologist is the best in the world - everyone we've talked to about him has raved about what a great doctor he is, how well he explains things, how he has more knowledge than any other doctor they've ever met. Everyone loves him - the only people who don't like him are people who haven't met him yet. The surgeon is equally as good - and has put our Heart Center here in Bellingham on the map. He is top of the line and our cardiologist is happy we have been able to schedule the surgery with this particular surgeon. That means a lot to us.

Painted faces at the Super Bowl Party . . .

Jahn opening his present of "spy goggles" that Grampy bought for him at christmas. . .

Blinking Rudolph noses - kind of blurry but the only shot that turned out . . .

Making a snowman with Ben . . .

Thank you fo reading - and thanks for walking this lonely, scary path with us - we are planning on coming out the other side better than before.

WA swap blocks

I belong to a small internet group - and each year we do a WA swap. This started with a larger group - and I've done the larger group swap since around 2000. Each person makes a 9 1/2" block of something that reminds them of WA state. It can be anything you like - just so it is WA related. There are so many possibilities.

Then you send in the blocks to a central swap hostess - and she (and a group of friends) sorts out the blocks and resends them to the participants. In the larger group you can swap in multiples of 5 - up to 35 blocks, and in the smaller group we make one block for each participant, and one for ourselves.

Having participated for so many years I have a lot of blocks and made two tops from them so far. I am saving up blocks for a third quilt - so each of my kids can eventually have a WA quilt.

This year I am making two blocks - 8 of each - and that should be all I need for this swap. The first block is this umbrella girl - she certainly reminds me of WA - I want to eventually make enough of these blocks to make a quilt for our bed - it will be our winter quilt since it rains so much in the winter here - perfect!

Some are walking this way . . .

And some are walking that way . . .

Tried a fancy stitch to outline her umbrella . . .

Now I just have to sew a cute button in the center of each umbrella.

My first swap quilt top - it is at Julie's, waiting to be quilted.

My second top - Attic Windows - also at Julie's, waiting its turn . . .

Below are some other quilts that the swappers have made. It is so much fun to see how creative everyone is in their settings. I have to decide on the setting for the third set of blocks, once I get enough for another top - I'm almost there - I think I need 17 more.

A very complicated and lovely setting - I might try this one. Sue Bee made this lovely quilt.

Great colors and border to go with the blocks. . .

Blocks I've made for the swap over the years . . .

Blocks made by other swappers.

This is a great swap and I love the quilts that have been produced. It is fun to look at the quilts and think about why someone picked what they did for their block.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wonderful fabrics

Today I had an appointment in town and was done early so I stopped to pick out some new fabrics for the Grandmothers Flower Garden quilt. I seem to have plenty of the darker and bright colors - and needed some softer colors for the outer ring.

I was in luck - found some really pretty pale colors that are just the ones I needed. I still don't have any "flowers" finished - but I've got lots of hexagons basted - and lots of them strung on thread in bunches - one yellow for the center - 6 dark for the inner ring and 12 light for the outer ring. I'm doing each flower in one color - for example - yellow center/dk blue/pale blue.

Soon I will have some flowers to show you - but for now - you may pet the fabric if you'd like.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter - Happy Spring

I'm making hot cross buns today - instead of raisins I'm using candied fruit. We had a friend that made them that way when our kids were little and we've always loved them. We are going to our youngest daughter's for brunch tomorrow - along with a group of friends and family.

Hot cross buns are a traditional favorite on Good Friday in England, a spicy currant or raisin studded yeast bun, topped with a "Cross" of lemon or orange flavored icing. While Christians have adopted the hot cross buns and the symbolism of the cross, it wasn't always this way. To Pagans, then as now, the cross was/is representative of the sun wheel, which symbolizes perfect balance at the time of the Spring Equinox.

Hot Cross Buns were originally used in pagan ceremonies and rituals and the Christian Church attempted to ban the buns, although they proved too popular for that. Fearing defeat on the issue, the church did the next best thing and "Christianized" the bread with Queen Elizabeth I passing a law which limited the bun's consumption to "proper" religious ceremonies, such as Christmas, Easter or funerals. Thus leaving out the pagan holidays and making criminals of those who wished to continue to worship in their own way.

Hot cross buns
Hot cross buns
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot cross buns
If you have no daughters
Give them to your sons
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot cross buns

That nursery rhyme was from the English street sellers who would sold their buns by crying out “Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns”. The first recorded use of the term "hot cross bun" is not until 1733.

Long before the modern Easter was celebrated, the ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival commemorating their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eostre. Buns marked with a cross were eaten by Saxons in honour of the goddess Eostre (the cross symbolizing the four quarters of the moon, or the four seasons, or the sun wheel). The goddess "Eostre" is the origin of the name "Easter".

In legend, the creature that would bring baskets filled with colored eggs, candy and toys to the homes of children on the night before Easter, was a bunny - the ancient symbol of fertility and rebirth in spring. The Easter Bunny would either put the baskets in a designated place or hide them somewhere in the house for the children to find when they woke up in the morning, depending on the tradition in the home.

I love all the stories of easter and spring - and I love this time of year - such good feelings as the spring creeps forward (or jumps in with both feet in some areas),

The trees begin blooming in our area . .

hundreds of tulip trees . . .
pink and white blossomed trees and . . .

the daffodils wave to us from roadsides and gardens.

One of the neatest things about where we lived in N. CA was that daffodils grew wild there. Amazing show of color just exploded along the roads and on the hillsides.

And soon to follow - the tulips!!!

Happy Easter everyone - however you choose to celebrate it!!!!