Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When You Eat Your Smarties...

Do you eat the red ones last?
Do you suck them very slowly, or crunch them very fast?
Eat that candy-coated chocolate, but tell me when I ask
When you eat your Smarties,
Do you eat the red ones last?

No, I haven't completely lost it, at least I don't think so anyway. For you non-Canadians, that is the "Smartie" song. Smarties are similar to M & Ms and I don't think they are available in the U.S. - only in Canada eh! The song just popped into my head and I just had to share.

Getting back to what I was going to talk about.....I was mulling the question around in my mind about what you put on your quilt backs. I'm anal, I admit it, but my backs have to, in some way, shape or form, match the front. The fabric doesn't necessarily have to be the same, but it has to 'go'. Remember, I have the matchy matchy gene.

I just can't understand using beautiful fabric on the front of a quilt, then putting any old thing on the back. The argument is, it won't be seen - well, it will be. If it's a lap quilt, the back is on display all the time. If it's on a bed, when you turn it down, you always see the back.

Probably the reason I'm thinking about this, is I have a top finished but am just about 12" short of fabric for the back which proves, once again, that you can never buy too much yardage.

As they say in the business, it's been a slow news day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Good News

We saw the surgeon today and the news was all good. He said Leo is progressing really well, his breathing is much better than when he left hospital and his incision is healing nicely. If the drainage from the wound continues to slow down, he may get his drainage tube removed next week. He said it will be at least 6 weeks before he starts to feel more like himself, but considering how far he's come, he's a lucky man - even if he doesn't appreciate that fact right now. He's still pretty disgusted that he can't do anything and the thought of being home for another 6 weeks doesn't fill him with joy. It's like they say - the mind is willing but the body just isn't co-operating.

I had a lovely surprise visit this afternoon from Lee and her friend Gail. Lee brought some homemade muffins (full of fibre) for the patient and if they are even half as good as the banana bread she made him last week, we'll both be happy! As I said to Lee today, I feel like I've known her all my life and she really is a very special friend. Thanks Lee!

I stitched the binding on my star log cabin this morning so I can cross another UFO off my list.

This was made with 6" finished log cabin blocks - totally scrappy. I started it thinking it would be a good stash buster, but I'm not sure who I was trying to kid - 6" blocks do NOT use a lot of scraps. The quilting shows up better on the back:

I used my old standbys on this - So Fine on the top and Bottom Line in the bobbin. The panto is another favourite - Double Plume by Keryn Emmerson.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Our beautiful weather disappeared and it's turned very cold and rainy again. I guess last week's temperatures were just a tease for things to come.

I spent the afternoon with Tillie today and boy does it feel good to be quilting again. I quilted a tabletopper/wallhanging that I pieced last year and as soon as I get the binding on, I'll post a picture.

We go to see the surgeon tomorrow so I'm anxious to hear what he has to say. I'm still giving Leo injections twice a day and his tube is still draining, so I don't think it will be coming out. Poor guy is desperate to have a shower, but as long as the drainage tube is there, he can't have one. He's still very weak, has very little appetite but he did turn on the TV on Saturday which is the first time he's watched it since he came home so I have to think that is a positive sign.

Since Leo is usually asleep by 6:30 P.M., I snuck out tonight and had dinner with a girlfriend. We always try somewhere new and nine times out of ten, we both order the same thing from the menu. Tonight was no exception. Since I don't have anything quilty to share, I figured pictures of food are the next best thing.

We started with a shared appetizer of crab cakes;

then followed that with a stuffed chicken breast served on a bed of sweet potato fries and veggies.

I could live on sweet potato fries and for some reason, you don't see them much around here. These ones were thin, crispy and delicious and the rest of the meal was very good too. Oh, I almost forgot, I also had one of these - a Cosmopolitan Martini which probably explains why I'm so tired.

Time to go tuck in the patient, make sure he doesn't need any more painkillers, then crawl in beside him.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunny Sunday

I finally got the Quilt of Valour quilted today. I used a new panto I bought specifically for this quilt called "Maple Syrup", but to be honest I don't think the maple leaves show up as well as I'd hoped. It sure is a thready (is that a word?) panto - I used 6 full bobbins for this fairly small quilt.

As soon as I embroider a label, it will get packaged up and mailed to Sudbury where Leona will apply the binding.

Johnathan's birthday party was cancelled today as the poor little guy is sick. I'm just going to have to wait a little while to give him the puppy Dorothy suggested I buy him. Since it was such a good idea, I bought one for Daniel too and it should be arriving at Dorothy's any day now!

I did get my 'fix' of hugs yesterday though as I had lunch with my girls. They were looking adorable as usual in matching dresses.

They sent me home with balloons for Leo, and all kinds of lovely cards and drawings they made for him - one in particular was really interesting - a picture of Leo 'as a spider' in a hospital bed. Maybe I should be looking to them for imagination when I tackle my next quilt project.

I also enjoyed some retail therapy yesterday and purchased, among other things, this book.

The key to these braided quilts seems to be getting the fabric choices right - what on earth was I thinking?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Don't Leave Home Without It

I opened our American Express bill today and almost fainted on the spot. While Leo was in hospital, someone had merrily charged over $24,000 on his card. There were only two purchases - both for the same place in the U.S. - one for over $11,000 and another for over $12,000. While I'm not overly concerned about it, it's just one more thing I could do without dealing with right now.

This is what is on my design wall right now - it's been there for quite some time and I don't think it's going anywhere any time soon. I seem to be always doing mindless projects lately and this one certainly fits that bill. The top border isn't on in this picture and only the first two strips are sewn together.

I did get the Quilt of Valour loaded on Tillie but I have to be in the right frame of mind to quilt it, and I'm not quite there yet. Hopefully this weekend it will get done.

I have been invited to a birthday party for a very special two year old on Sunday. Johnathan is my soon to be son's nephew, and along with my adopted granddaughters, is probably as close to a grandchild as I'm going to get.

Isn't he a cutie pie! I am really looking forward to seeing him on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm So Excited.....

I can hardly contain myself. You may remember a couple of weeks ago I showed you a painting that a dear friend, Helen, made for me. Well, Dave & Helen came over this afternoon for a short visit with Leo and look what they gave us!

She captured Ben so perfectly and we absolutely love it. Now I have to find a special place of honour to hang it where I can see it all the time.

I went to my Stitch N Chat group this morning and Lee, my new best friend (grin), showed this beautiful Stack N Whack that she made for her grandson.

She used jungle fabric which you can see better if you click on the picture to enlarge it, and she backed it in a really cute polar bear flannel.

I really enjoy these get togethers and it was especially nice today to get my mind off things for a while. My mind was so 'off' I actually drove home with someone else's car keys in my purse. I have absolutely no recollection of putting them in there - I'm sure someone else must have put them there as I would never do anything that dumb - at least I'm pretty sure I wouldn't :-)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Back In The Saddle

Tillie and I got reacquainted yesterday and it was a wonderful feeling to be able to quilt again. I made a scrappy tablerunner last year which was supposed to be part of a very dear friend's birthday gift. Well, it never did get quilted (Tillie hadn't entered my life then....sigh) so yesterday I finally finished it. I can't post pictures until she gets it as I don't want to spoil the surprise, so stay tuned.

I think things are finally settling into a pattern around here. Leo sat outside in the sunshine this afternoon and watched the robins and squirrels. We are very partial to robins around here as we had a family build a nest on the wreath on our front door two years ago.

If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you'll see the nest right at the top of the wreath. It wasn't long before these were in the nest.

A few days later the babies arrived:

Before we knew it, they were a week old:

It was a wonderful experience having such a "bird's eye" view (sorry, couldn't resist), but it also seemed like a huge responsibility to make sure these little ones were safe. We use our front door exclusively to enter the house, and we found ourselves trying to use it as infrequently as possible so as not to disturb either the nest or the eggs/babies.

If you enlarge this final picture, you'll see the little beaks poking out of the nest.

So now, whenever we see a robin, we always wonder - is it one of "our" robins?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

He's Home

Leo was discharged on Thursday afternoon and I was sent home with an overwhelming list of nursing duties to perform. A nurse will visit once a day, but the rest is up to me and to be honest, it scares me to death.

His spirits are lower than a snake's belly. I think it has suddenly hit him just how sick he was and just how long his recovery is going to be. Leo has always been the strong one and taken care of me, and now the shoe is on the other foot and he isn't taking kindly to it. He's mad at his body and he's mad at his inability to do normal every day things we take for granted - he's pretty much mad at the world right now.

On a more positive note, how can you feel glum when you look at this lovely get well spring basket of daffodils, tulips, crocus and hyacinths - isn't it lovely!

Every day I keep thinking today is the day I will get back into some kind of routine, but it just isn't happening. I did manage to sew two pieces of fabric together so I guess that is a start. There are so many decisions that are going to have to be made and I don't feel in a position to make any right now.

The lease on my car is up in a couple of weeks and the buy-back figure they gave me stinks! When I took the lease out four years ago our dollar was worth a lot less than it is now so the buy-back should have gone down to reflect this change. Well, surprise, surprise - it didn't and the explanation they gave me is the strength of our Canadian dollar hasn't reached the automotive market yet. What a crock!

So, I don't know what to do - do I just turn it in (I had planned all along to buy this car at the end of the lease). Do I buy another new car, do I buy a used car with a warranty or do I just drive Leo's car until he is back on his feet and postpone the decision for a few months, bearing in mind I hate driving his car and it gets awful gas mileage. These are the kinds of decisions I could really do without having to worry about right now.

Ben is so happy to have Leo home. He's slept by his side constantly and just senses that things aren't right. We were concerned about him jumping on Leo in bed, but he instinctively knows to avoid his stomach area.

When my two "adopted" grandchildren heard that I had to give Leo needles, they sent me this picture with the caption "We're ready to give Leo any needles he may need".

Aren't they just adorable!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Never Too Late

"Never Too Late" is by a Canadian band called Hedley. Their lead singer, Jacob Hoggard came in 3rd in Canadian Idol a few seasons ago, once again proving that you don't have to win Idol to further your career. Their hit, "For the Nights I Can't Remember" recently topped the Toronto radio station charts.

Leo is improving, slowly but surely and there is talk of him coming home this week. Get this - there are so many nasty viruses going around the hospital and because his immune system is compromised, they think he might be better off at home. Boy, gone are the days when the best place to be when you are sick is in the hospital.

They would send a nurse in daily to check his drainage tube and make sure everything else was O.K. While I'd love to have him home, I just hope they don't rush things.

I wish I could quilt, but I can't. I still have a very hard time concentrating on anything for more than a few minutes at a time - I think I'm just mentally and physically exhausted.

I'm not even sure why I'm blathering on here, other than I've missed my blog and find it almost cathartic to get some of the ramblings out of my head.

I do have something quilty to post. I received the latest Quilt of Valour Top from Joan on Friday. As I've mentioned before, I belong to a small group of on-line Canadian Quilters that have a forum on Delphi. Come and join us - there is always a welcome for any newcomers. Didn't they do a wonderful job on this top!

I ordered a new panto called Maple Syrup which I thought would be appropriate - it hasn't arrived yet, but it should be here any day so I hope to get it quilted soon. Of course, I didn't limit my purchase to just one panto - that would be such a waste of postage now, wouldn't it!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Footprints In The Sand

I purchased the new Leona Lewis album, Spirit, from iTunes yesterday and this is my new favourite song - Footprints in the Sand. She has an amazing voice and I really think she is going to go places.

Talking of going places, what gives with American Idol? Michael Johns did NOT deserve to go home last night - not only is he easy on the eyes, he has talent. It's argued every year that Idol isn't so much a talent competition as it is a popularity contest but this elimination was just wrong. I also think it was like rubbing salt in the wound when Ryan Seacrest mentioned that last year on the Idol Gives Back week there were no eliminations, then told Michael he was going home. That wasn't suspenseful, that was just down right mean.

Check out Barbara Brandeburg's blog for the cutest apron I've seen in a long time. I've always been a big fan of Cabbage Rose books and patterns, as well as Barbara's sister, Teri Christopherson of Black Mountain Quilts fame.

Since I hate to post without a picture, what better way to fill that requirement than a picture of my baby. He is missing Leo so much and just can't understand why his whole little world is upside down right now.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What Day Is It?

I am so happy to be able to tell you that Leo was transferred out of ICU on Monday night. He still has some issues to overcome, but I think he is finally headed in the right direction.

I want to thank you all so very much for your concern and prayers. I treasure each and every comment, e-mail and phone call, and the support you have given me has been overwhelming.

I do have a question that I'm hoping someone more savvy than I am with Blogger can help me with. I usually reply to comments people leave and sometimes I can hit reply when I get the e-mail notice and it goes through, yet other times the e-mails are returned. Does anyone know if this is a setting on my end or the person leaving the comment?

Every morning the nursing staff ask Leo what day it is. He usually gets it right, but I've been having great difficulty lately as the days and nights just seem to run into each other and I have to really think about the answer. I told him today that his crocuses were blooming and he was concerned he was going to miss the daffodils. Not to worry, they have only sprouted about an inch out of the ground and I promised him I would take lots of pictures so he would be able to see them. He's the gardener - I just do the admiring.

Every year he plants more and more bulbs - he even found a pink double daffodil just for me as you know how much I like pink! I'm hoping to start getting back to normal - well, the new normal. I'm sure Leo will have a long recovery, but now that I am more confident that he will be O.K. I have to try and get into a new routine and catch up on all my blog reading. I don't suppose it would hurt to do a load of laundry either.

Friday, April 4, 2008


Leo had emergency surgery on Sunday morning. The cyst on the pancreas burst and ruptured his spleen, so they removed both the cyst and his spleen. The surgeon told me going in that he might not make it.

It's been an awful 10 days but I think the worst is finally behind him. He is still in ICU but I have finally been given some hope that he's going to make it.

Thank you all for your well wishes and prayers - they have meant a great deal to me.

Go right now and tell your husband you love him as the opportunity to do so can be taken away in a heartbeat.