Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Other Shoe Drops

I finally quilted and bound my On Ringo Lake quilt. It’s a simplified version as I used a good number of the pieces for On Ringo Pond, which I finished last month. This one will be a personal quilt for cuddling, as I like them not too big and heavy.

The final measurements were 54.5 x 64”, and I quilted it in a simple stipple. There are a lot of piecing 
“missssssnakes”, but I really don’t care. I’m just not focused enough to piece together hundreds of little bitty pieces going this way and that.  

I would’ve preferred to have a nice border on it, but I used all the border pieces on the first Ringo quilt, so this is what it is.

The colors are yummy, though, as I switched out the browns for grays. And about 95% of the orange fabrics are from Tula Pink’s Salt Water line. I used this same fabric line in blues for Salt Water Wedding back in 2014.

The backing was a piece that I picked up a few years ago from Connecting Threads.

So, it’s all washed and fluffy and crinkly (just like me!) and I’ll use it as my new lap quilt. I like to rotate them. Do you do that? 

My Bernina had to have the foot pedal cord replaced, but it was only in the shop for a couple days, so that was nice. While I was there to pick it up, I got all the supplies for the 2 Blocks of the Month I’d missed due to sheltering in place. We’re still practicing that, of course, but I did go out and visit the store curbside, with mask.  Anyway, here are the two blocks. The first one is a bit odd because, uh... I messed it up royally. But in my defense, they didn’t give us the right amount of fabric to cut the necessary pieces, so I had to improvise. 

And these are the mostly same blocks I’m making with a busy US State-themed background. I give myself permission to skip uncooperative blocks (I’m looking at you, purples) or substitute others. So, I only did the 4-patch economy squares. And yes, I agree that that pink pinwheel in amongst the flying geese is hideous. That will be getting switched out before I sew the blocks into a flimsy.  It will be a small donation quilt when done.

And here is my Rainbow Scrap roundup for April.  Linking up to Scrappy Saturday at Angela’s blog.

Yield: 1 Scraptastic Star, 9 Split Nine patches, 17 selvage hexies, 9 Twin Sisters blocks and 16 string blocks.  That’s 52 (smallish) blocks; a light month.   

If I have any more quilt finishes before month-end, I’ll catch those on the next post.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Just when we think life can’t get any more complicated... OK, fill in the blank. Here are your choices:

(A) Donald Trump becomes President 
(B) You lose your job
(C) You catch Covid-19  
(D) You have to have your arm amputated 

The answer is not (A) because DT is already a bloated windbag President (my blog, my opinion). And it’s not (B) because we’re retired, so jobs are not a worry for us. We do, however, worry about our kids and friends and neighbors. And it’s not (C), because we’re all healthy here (got tested this week). So, if you said (D), the arm amputation, you would be correct. Unfortunately.

Bruce had an appointment last Tuesday with a radiologist to discuss the possibility of using radiation to kill the remaining cancer cells in his right (dominant) arm. Long story short, the doctor discovered another tumor had popped up seemingly overnight on his forearm. It’s about the size of a large pimple, but truly it wasn’t there a week ago. Anyway, we (I was requested to join the consultation) were sent back to his original orthopedic oncologist (Joan D. Miles - we love her!) and the consensus was that now is the time to stop playing whack-a-mole with the cancer. And we certainly don’t want it to metastasize to his lungs. So, Dr. Miles and Bruce decided that amputation was the next step. Like NOW. Well, technically, it’s on Monday the 27th. I raised a feeble suggestion of waiting until after Bruce’s birthday on May 3, but they just looked at me like I was an alien (I get that a lot).  

Bruce's first thought was that this provides a lot of new humor possibilities. And we were surprised at how great the grandkids think it’s going to be that Grandpa will have a robotic arm (eventually). They already thought he was cool before because he calls Brussels sprouts “turtle heads”, but the RoboGramp thing just thrust him into superstardom in their eyes. 

We, of course, know that the reality will hit pretty hard. As much as we’ve tried to prepare for this, knowing for years it was an eventuality, there is going to be a difficult adjustment period. The prosthetist told Bruce he will mourn his arm like a lost loved one. But, it’s time. We are ready. And best of all, we have each other and loving family and friends. Oh, and we don’t have Covid-19, so there’s that. 

Finally, I don’t know what my blogging schedule will be like for the next few weeks. It may continue as normal, or I may go dark for awhile. Heck, for all I know I could be shoving Bruce out of my way so HE doesn’t take over my blog. It could happen. Thanks for all your past and ongoing good wishes. Your kind messages mean the world to us. Stay safe. We’ll “see” you soon! 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Just Another Day in Paradise

... if by “Paradise” you mean being quarantined in your home for the start of the second month of a pandemic while your husband recovers from major surgery, one daughter files for divorce and another daughter loses her canine rescue furkid to pneumonia/sepsis; then, yeah, we’re having a Grand Old Time here at Chez Kizerian. Oh, and did I mention that we had another 4.2 earthquake this week?

The truth is, you feel better after shedding enough tears. At least I do. And even in the best of times, the road of life is bumpy and littered with land mines. Life in the year 2020 has been a white knuckle ride for most of us. But I’m seriously trying hard to let go of the negative stuff and hold tight (no white knuckles) to the good stuff. Bruce is getting better, every family member is healthy. Our pantry is full (restocked today). And no one at the grocery store died today, not even the guy who got perturbed at me because I wouldn’t let him go past me against the directional arrows in the aisle. He blustered, “You mean I have to go all the way around!?!”  I just smiled behind my mask and pointed to the arrows, but was thinking “Call the waambulance, you entitled jerk!”

But enough of this already!  Let’s check out what’s going on at the Scrappy Saturday linkup today, where the only blues being shared are of the light blue scrappy fabric kind. This week my sewing consisted of these 16 strip blocks measuring 6.5” each, unfinished. 

That finished up all my RSC light blue sewing for this month. As it stands now, I think I’ll just save the little crumbs and leftovers for the next time we do blue (dark values) and combine them all into a crumb-pieced blue scrap basket. 

But, Nine-Patch Madness, or 9PM as I like to call it, is a finish! This was my April OMG One Monthly Goal), and I’m linking up to the goal finish blog post at Elm Street Quilts

Oh how I love this quilt! It measured 60x72” before I laundered it, but may have shrunk a bit in the process of getting all those yummy Quilty crinkles! The quilting was just simple loops. 

The binding was a perfect half yard piece of this purple check that matched nicely with the sheet used for the backing. 

Oops! Underneath you can see a sneak peek of another project I’m working on, to be revealed in early May. But I’m already on to the next project, which will be quilting up On Ringo Lake this week. Unfortunately, the cord to the foot pedal on my Bernina (Bernadette) has a short in it and I’ve ordered a new one. I don’t know how long it will take to come in to the dealer, but they need the actual foot pedal so they can attach the cord. So, I’ll  be sewing via the start/stop button, which I hate, but it’s do-able. I just don’t know how it works with free-motion quilting, but I’m about to find out. If it doesn’t go well, I can switch to my back-up Brother machine (Bob) and quilt with a serpentine stitch. 

Let’s wind up this post on a positive note - a little story I forgot to share last week. On Monday morning, April 6, I was talking on the phone to Cousin Kim when three cars turned the corner of the street in front of our house and drove slowly by, honking their horns and waving. The cars were all decorated, but I couldn’t read the signs. So I went out on the porch (phone in hand so Kim could hear all the racket). Then slowly, one by one, more cars turned the corner and followed along in procession. Turns out that it was the faculty and staff (and families), each in their own vehicle, of the local elementary school. They organized a parade route along the streets within the school boundaries and let all the kids’ families know to watch for the parade. The vehicle windows were rolled down and the occupants were waving, shouting “we love you,” to the kids and honking and blowing kisses. The signs said all sorts of things like “Your teachers miss you” “Longmont Rules!” And “Stay Safe, Stay Home”. The cars just kept on coming, decorated with balloons, streamers, signs, flags, stuffed animals. Kids quarantined at home stood out on their lawns, waving back to their teachers and favorite faculty members. It lasted about 8-10 minutes on our street alone, with at least 30 cars in procession. The kids I saw were so excited! Heck, so were the rest of us who don’t even have kids in school. It was just such a fun and thoughtful thing to do. I’ve seen on Google that these teacher parades have happened here and there throughout the country this month. I love how people are striving to stay connected! 

I’d love to hear any anecdotes you may have heard about or experienced during this time of sheltering in place! Have a good week, friends. Stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

First Year of April

Is it May yet? OK, ok, I know it’s only the eleventy-hundredth day of April. Bruce asked me what day it was this morning, and I told him it was Sssssssaaaaaaatttttttuuuuuurrrrrrdddddaaaaaayyyyy. And then I realized that meant it was Scrappy Saturday and I’d better get my rear in gear with a blogpost.

Would you like to hear about my ma*k-making this week? Just kidding. Although that comprised most of my sewing this week, I don’t want to share it any more than you want to read it. Suffice it to say that it’s been going on, and the end is in sight. After the current dozen is finished, I retire.

Nine-Patch Madness is a finished flimsy. And I want to thank Jennifer Caplinger (Life’s Little Adventures) again for her inspired pattern for these blocks. I could drool over her basic and beautiful quilts all day. But if I did, someone would probably lock me up.  So you’ll have to check them out and be inspired yourself.

9PMadness joins Harambe Sisters 2 and On Ringo Lake in the To-be-Basted pile.  I’m going to try to get to those this week, “try” being the operative word.  And speaking of basting, what are you having for Easter dinner? We’re in a quandary here. Should we have the traditional ham or the traditional spaghetti?

Bruce is home from the hospital, after a week-long stay. After all the running around in the cootie-filled world to get his prescriptions, 4-point cane (needed for walking because of the huge groin-to-knee incision they made to harvest a donor vein), another trip back to the surgeon’s office at the hospital because he had a fever (slight infection, not the virus thank heavens), and a trip to the grocery store, we are home to stay. And at the grocery store, some idiot man in front of me in the line was blathering to the cashier about how he just couldn’t stand to wear a mask. You’ll be glad to know I let him live.

Anyway, let’s talk sewing some more, shall we? Here are my 9 Twin Sisters blocks for April.

And nine Split 9 blocks.

And a Scraptastic Star...

This is what my four Scraptastic Star blocks look like together. Four blocks down, five to go. Pretend they’re pressed nicely.

Finally, since I want to finish up an old Rainbow Scrap project, Garlic Knots (more traditionally known as Arrowhead Puzzle), I sewed up the two remaining colors that I needed. Here are six red ones ...

And seven yellow/gold ones

I only needed 10 more blocks, but sewing 13 will give me a little fiddle room to weed out another color if it’s too dominant when I begin arranging them next year month in May.

That’s it from the looney bin here at Chez Kizerian.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Attitude is Everything

My friend Terri keeps reminding me of what her grandmother used to say:

This has come to pass, not to stay.

I love Terri! Those words are helping me keep my attitude positive during these trying times. You know, these “fun" times when we’re all quarantined to avoid a killer pandemic while our husband is hospitalized from a major cancer surgery and we can’t visit.

But Bruce is doing very well and will be coming home on Monday. The surgery was 8 hours long and the three surgeons took veins from his left leg to transplant to his right forearm where they removed two cancerous nodules and an artery. He has good blood flow in his hand, no blood clots (they’ve monitored him closely) and a top-flight medical team. The floor he is on is dedicated to post-op recoveries; no Covid-19 patients or staff. We talk twice daily by video chat, and he is back to his silly, wise-cracking self. I miss him and so do the cats. Alfie lays in Bruce’s recliner regularly, keeping it warm for him. And both he and Darla sleep with me at night to cuddle and protect me.

But let’s talk about sewing! There was some of that going on this week, although (understandably, given the above), not as much as usual. I posted a couple finishes mid-week. Since then, Angela at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge posted our April color, light blue. Too close to March’s aqua for my personal preference, but I can do this! We’re used to the days running on and on in sameness, so this actually fits right in! We all have those scraps that need to be sewn, so let’s buckle down and get to it!

I did whip my way through all my light and bright blue selvages and tamed them into a lot of half hexagons. There are about 16-18 of them, plus one long strip of leftover bits. I’ll count them before month-end.

The rest of the scraps have been sorted and I’ve got a nice big pile of light blue strips to make blocks out of. The Twin Sisters blocks have been cut (no picture) as well as lots of 2.5” squares for my Scraptastic Star and Split 9 blocks. There probably aren’t enough leftovers to make a Creature (single color) quilt, but I have a plan. Stay tuned.

I’ve been sewing ma*ks (who hasn’t? yawn...). They're for my daughter-in-law. She’s a physical therapist, and their office has run out of masks. This is just a few of those I’ve sewn.  There are more with elastic and a bunch with ties. She is doing a drive-by visit today to pick up a couple dozen.

On the design board are the 9-Patch Madness blocks. I’ve tweaked the arrangement a bit since this picture and will begin sewing these into a flimsy today. These bright, bold colors make me so happy! And I can’t wait to see what others are sewing over at Scrappy Saturday.

Well, I’ll keep this post short. I have a busy social calendar today. First I plan to play in the sand, then head to the local water park (scoop the kitty litter box and take a shower). Then I’m going to visit the local wildlife refuge (fill the bird feeders). Next I’ll be visiting friends from all over the US and the world (via their blogs), time travel to solve a murder mystery (read in my current book). When I get back from that, I’ll probably go tinker with my favorite machinery (sewing machine) before heading out to an exotic restaurant for dinner (leftovers in the refrigerator). I’ll cap the day by cuddling with the remaining wildlife (Alfalfa and Darla) in front of a roaring campfire (the fireplace).

Try not to be jealous.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

March Quilt Recap and April OMG

Before March, with all 147 of its days (didn’t it seem like the.longest.month.ever?) ended, I was able to finish up two more small quilts. That brought my total to 5 for March. First to be finished over the weekend was the Seeing Stars wall hanging. This was a sew-along with my friend Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting. Here it is up on the design wall. I debated awhile about that red and white striped binding, but I’m glad I used it - it’s so cute!

I was never crazy about the fabric I selected, but I do LOVE how this wall hanging turned out. I’ve got plenty extra blocks (in greens and pinks) that I’ll be able to use to make a table runner or topper. That will happen probably this month, because they’ll definitely have a spring feel. Seeing Stars  finished at 30.5” x 36.5”.  And as you can see, Sir Alfalfa supervised and approved of this new burst of color in  the living room. Yes, he’s a Sir now; the Queen knighted him in March, did I tell you? For meritorious service to humankind because of his extreme cuddliness and care of Bruce.  :-)

But as this is an equal opportunity blog, we can’t leave out Princess Darla. Here she is doing what she does best. What you can’t see (or hear) is that she is snoring.  She’s such a dainty little cat, but man can she SNORE! Maybe I need to get her a CPAP. Or would that be a CCAT?

Moving along, the second finish in the last few days of the month was my small version of Bonnie Hunter’s On Ringo Lake pattern, which I call On Ringo Pond. It finished at 45” square and will be a donation quilt for Quilts for Kids.

Here is a collage of the five quilts I finished in March.

Top: On Ringo Pond; Teddy Bear Sailor Quilt (panel for QFK)
Bottom: Turtles and Frogs (panel for QFK)  (oops, I didn’t put the finished quilt picture in the collage, but it is done and posted on my 2020 Quilts Page, link under header); Seeing Stars; Creature from the Aqua Lab

I’m also going to take this opportunity to declare my OMG (One Monthly Goal) for April. The 9-patch variation blocks shown below in light blue were a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project that I sewed throughout 2019. I have 120 9-patch blocks to sew into a top. There are 2 extra pink blocks that will go into the block Orphanage.

So, I’m linking up to Patty’s OMG goal-setting post at Elm Street Quilts. My goal is to get these blocks not only sewn into a top, but quilted and bound and FINISHED by month-end.  Whereas March felt like it was 147 days long, we all know that April is a shorter month. Still, 96 days in April should be plenty to finish the quilt - and lots more too!  :-)

The new Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for April is light and bright blue. I say “new”, but my brain is screaming that light blue is just a blink away from March’s color of aqua/teal. I do have some things to sew in light blue, but I probably will wait until we get to the darker blues to make a Creature Quilt. And I don’t need more light blue International Sister blocks, or Beachcomber blocks (both projects continuing from last year). I plan to make a blue scrap bin, but it will combine all blues, so that may or may not happen this month. Instead, I’ll work on red and yellow garlic knot blocks, since those are the two remaining colors I need to be able to assemble all those blocks into a quilt top. I also have lots of selvages to sew up, and quilts to finish; On Ringo Lake (the bigger quilt of the two I was making) and an International Sisters wall hanging to quilt and bind. There is no shortage of projects, that’s for sure.

Bruce is currently in the hospital. His surgery is today, as I write this. I’m waiting for a call from the doctor once he’s in recovery. There was no waiting allowed in the hospital. He will have to remain in the hospital for 5 days so they can monitor the circulation of the blood vessels in the tissue they transplant to his wrist/forearm area. And because of the coronavirus, there are no visitors allowed in the hospital. So that means that Bruce and I will communicate by video chat. Yeah. This first week of April alone will feel like 34 days...