Friday, May 8, 2009

Hey, Hit the Highway!

Every April, quilters of Nebraska herald the coming of Spring by loading coolers with ice teas, sodas, juices, sandwiches, and other nibbly bits into our vehicles and heading out to see just how many quilt shops we can visit in a ten day period.

Mischief and mayhem reign as we covertly slip items into one another's shopping baskets, encourage our friends to built their fabric stash beyond several life expectancies, and add new favorite shops to our list. Welcome to the 11th Annual Nebraska Shop-Hop.

My darling mother and I have made this a mother-daughter tradition. We usually only travel on weekends and this year, one weekend was plenty of fun. I usually do the driving and she's my navigator. Um, yes, there are still places in Nebraska in which your onboard nav system will simply say, "Abandon hope, all ye who dare to enter here." This year, we reversed rolls. I did not get as many photos as I would have liked because a certain wee seventy year old was on my case to get back in the car! "Time's awastin', ya know!"

Our first day, a Saturday, we explored the Southeast corner of Nebraska. We visited two shops in Omaha, one in Plattsmouth, two in Auburn, and one in Falls City, the hometown of Larry the Cable Guy.

Here are some shots of the amazingly well stocked "Heavenly Treasures" of Falls City. The nice lady who owns this shop could not stand the idea of this vintage church being torn down so she rescued it and no doubt hides her stash from her husband here.

More to come!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Darvocet & Green Jello Diet

The view from a hospital bed is, to my mind, one of the strangest. It consists, mostly, of faces, both concerned and discerning, and of pseudo-cheery decor which doesn't quite hide the machines and instruments which hiss, whirrrrr, bleep, and tell all of your secrets.

It was from this bed I rediscovered two things, the first being that I'm really still no bigger than I was in high school. For some reason, I go around thinking of myself as taller and having a more commanding presence. There is nothing like a pre-surgical hospital gurney to knock you down to the very essence of who and what you are and how fragile and fleeting an earthly life really is. I felt positively tiny lying there, IV ready, and blankets from the warming oven pilled high to stop the shivering. Second, some people are family because we are born to them and they to us, and some are our family because we adopt one another along the way. I have always known that I am tremendously blessed in my family and circle of friends.

If you were to ask me how I am today, I would have to quote a well known financial speaker and adviser and say, "Better than I deserve!"

Yes, everything went even better than expected, in spite of a few unexpected complications, and I am mending. Ready to get back on the bicycle trails, ready to try out that new, lighter crossbow, and ready to adopt some more friends. I hope you will add to your circle this year.

Blessings to all of you. I'll be back really soon.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A little Quilt Along Progress

I've been a little under the weather for the last several days. What better way to relax and heal than a little stitching? Two blocks are missing from the pic above. Until I started this project, I had no idea that a fat quarter does not necessarily contain a whole quarter yard of fabric. These quarters were only 17" x 20" instead of 18" x 22". That means that a company making fat quarters out of a standard 13.5 yard bolt of fabric can potentially get an extra three "quarters" out of the bolt. Seems a little ratty to me. Just sayin'!

Elizabeth's cutting directions use "everything but the squeal". There is nothing wrong with the cutting instructions, only the actual size of the quarters. Many other members of the group ran into the same problem. I have purchased another quarter of the brown but have not yet prewashed it and have moved onto the next fabric combinations.

Here is combination #2.

And the third, my favorite, so far...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wouldn't this be great?

I found this long display counter while antiquing with my mom. Can't you just picture it with fabrics stashed on one side, yarn on the other, that nice long cutting surface, and room to layout and design... It's really long. Like maybe twenty feet or more. Eventually, I hope to finish my very pointy attic and move my craft explosions up there. I don't think this will fit through that tiny attic door so I guess I will have to build my own.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy 77th Birthday Daddy!!!

Dad, Boulder Creek 1987, originally uploaded by OrgandyCupcakes.

My dad is a great man. He didn't run a large corporation or win an Olympic Medal. He wasn't the mayor of our small town or famous for anything but his easy laugh. To me, he has always been ten feet tall.

He taught me that upwardly-mobile often means downwardly-noble, that is is more important, to be a success as a human being than it is to succeed in your job. To always do an "honest day's work" and do it cheerfully.

When I was little, he used to take me swimming. I would watch while he swam the length of the pool and back, underwater, without coming up for air, and I wanted to be just like him.

He taught me that it is never too late to pursue a new interest. After retiring, from thirty-five years at his job, he learned to play a new instrument (he already played the trumpet). After a bout with cancer, he picked up another, the violin.

He began gardening a few years ago and has become an expert, sharing the fresh, healthy fruits of his labor with all of us.

I wish I had realized sooner what a great and understanding listener he is. I could have used that ear while I was in high school.

His hips bother him a little but he doesn't let that slow him down. This photo is 22 years old. It's hard to catch him with the camera - he moves too fast! But, he looks pretty much the same.

I love him so!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Time to catch up to the Quilt-A-Long

Quilt-A-Long Fat Quarters 3
Here are my fabric choices for the Quilt-A-Long over at Oh Fransson!

If the wee grey paw and the little grey head seem too far apart or oriented at an odd angle, it is because there are two kitties involved in the naughtiness, with promises of more help - every stitch of the way.

I've changed my mind about the Flea Market Fancy. I just might do a second quilt but the green seemed more springy (as opposed to summery).

Friday, March 13, 2009

Block Six - Magic Bunny

Block Six - Magic Bunny

A fussy cut from a garage sale find, two floursacks, and some stash scraps including a little plisse for texture.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Block Five - Garden Walk

Block Five - Garden Walk, originally uploaded by OrgandyCupcakes.

Feed and Flour Sacks with other vintage fabrics and a few new scraps.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Block Four - Olivia!

Block Four - Olivia!, originally uploaded by OrgandyCupcakes.

Featuring Olivia, three vintage fabrics, and a few repros.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Block Three - My Bike

Block Three - My Bike, originally uploaded by OrgandyCupcakes.

One repro fabric, Heather Ross (from "lightning bugs"?) numerous feed and flour sacks, and some stash scraps.

I really did have that bike and I loved it! It was my tenth birthday present, resplendant with a sparkly, red "banana" seat, red paint, and red and white streamers on the handlebars. My best friend and I exchanged secret messages by hiding them inside the handlebars so the grip on the left side got a little loose.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Block Two - Marmalade Cat

Embroidery salvaged from a very tatty pillowcase, four repro fabrics, stash scraps, a 40's feedsack, swordfish from a friend's old shirt, and mermaids from old pj's.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I'm in!

Block One - Blue Bird, originally uploaded by OrgandyCupcakes.

Just dropping in quickly to say I'm still alive.

For some reason, neither playing music nor knitting have held any interest for me,, since my treatment began. This is a big deal. Really big. I mean, if you know me, you know that music and knitting are normally a part of every day for me.

I have, however, been piecing quilt blocks. Piecing them in a fashion which really isn't usual for me, i.e. without much of a plan. I have to say that I am really happy with them. I think this will be a fun quilt. So many different fabrics and salvaged pieces of vintage linens and embroideries. Have you ever been home in bed, with a miserable cold (or something worse), and spent hours staring at the drapes or your bedclothes? This is the kind of quilt that gives you lots to look at, to soak in and enjoy, to soothe your frayed nerves. At least, that is my hope.

I kept thinking I needed to bring a little order to this obsession.

Et Voila. Elizabeth is holding a Quilt-A-Long! She has already shared so much good information. If you are new to quilting, you will find the posts soooo useful.

I have had a complete set of Denyse Schmidt's original "Flea Market Fancy" fat quarters, from her first line since, oh, probably the day they became available. I have jealously hoarded them and never found a project exciting enough to entice me to cut into them. I think now is the time. And I just bought a lovely red chinese latern/dragonfly fabric at Hancock Fabrics recently. I wasn't sure what I would use it for but I think it would be great for part of the backing. Maybe all of it, since it is a print, I don't think I want a different print below the strip of blocks and I have PLENTY of the lantern fabric. Pictures soon.

In the meantime, here's the first block of the scrappy, part courthouse steps, part log cabin, somewhat looney, quilt in progress.

I feel better already!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lupron Neutron

I'm thinking I should legally change my name to Lupron Neutron. If only I could harvest the radiant heat which seems to have engulfed me! I'm sure I could supply power to a small town.

I found a wonderful doctor. I did plenty of homework before my appointment with her and had studied all the options currently available. I'm happy to say that she discussed them fully without any prodding from me. So many physicians want to do the easiest procedure instead of the best and most appropriate.

We agreed on a course of treatment which will give me the best chance of the outcome I want. I am undergoing a series of Lupron injections to shrink the tumor. It should shrink between 35% to 50% making it far easier to remove surgically without nicking surrounding organs or having to take other stuff with it.

The side effects of the drug are, um, interesting to say the least. The most noticeable being hot flashes, which I will refer to as power surges from this sentence forward. They're weird. I had never had one before and now I have one or two per hour. I am a person who has always gotten cold easily. You would think that I would just be warm now but, not so. Instead it's a bit like having a fever with chills all the time.

I would like to thank everyone for all the concern and good wishes. I'm going to be fine. I'm just very uncomfortable at the moment but it won't last and I'll be back to my old, annoying self!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ten Things You Might Already Know About Me

My first name comes from a doll in a Beatrix Potter story, "The Tale of Two Bad Mice."

I began ballet lessons as an adult. I had foot surgery and needed to strengthen my foot and keep it flexible. It kept the rest of me strong and flexible too. I was the only one in class with discernable breasts and hips. The others all lived on bullion and hot tea. How sad!

I am an avid herb gardener. I'm good with fruit trees too. For some reason, vegetables scare me a little. I'm growing them anyway.

My first job, with a paycheck, was School Crossing Guard. It paid a dollar a day. Doing this job, on the windswept prairie, was pure misery in the winter. I never complained or quit. I bought savings bonds with my money and vowed never to allow myself to be that cold again.

I have always gotten along well with my parents, even as a teenager.

I learned American Sign Language as a child. I wouldn't say I'm all that fluent at this point because I have no one with whom I can converse. The little town I grew up in was very near a state school for the deaf and when I was very young, several of the school's students lived in that town. We played together in the summer. I, and other "hearing" children who attended the public school, drove our teachers crazy by signing to one another during class and study halls. They couldn't really punish us for talking, so they would move us so that we were no longer facing one another. All this came to a halt when Mrs Grell, our sixth grade teacher, moved to town. She was a hearing person raised by deaf parents. She not only understood our signing, she read lips too. Ouch!

When I write in my journal, I start in the back and end in the front. I have no idea why. Moleskine Cahier Notebooks are my favorite. When I was in elementary school, I stitched my own journals from scrap paper.

I work in the "carriage trade".

I learned to knit and hand sew before the age of three. I won't say I was immediately good at either of them.

I look like my paternal grandmother when she was younger.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


"When they answered the bell on that wild winter night,
there was no one expected - and no one in sight.
Then they saw something standing on top of an urn,
Whose peculiar appearance gave them quite a turn."
--Edward Gorey

For many months I have felt not quite myself but not horrible. Unable to put my finger on what was wrong. Last month, I bought new jeans and had to buy a size 6 instead of the usual 4. Berating myself and wondering how this could happen, I ramped up my workouts. Then I started feeling pain in my lower right quadrant. My appendix got the big snip in 1983 so that couldn't be the problem. I assumed I had strained my abs and eased off the resistance training a bit. It got worse instead of better.

Tuesday I had an ultrasound and found that I have a benign tumor in my abdomen, the size of a regulation softball. It's pressing on my spine, the nerves to my right leg, and various organs.

So. Good news, actually Great News: not cancer and not embedded in any organ. Mediocre news: It will have to come out.

And I want it out. It's an univited guest making the rest of me uncomfortable and anemic. It's very weird to think there is something inside that size and I only just became aware of it!

Don't know the schedule for this yet but posts may continue to be scant for a little while.