Friday, September 30, 2011

Antique & String Pieced Quilts!

Here are the String Pieced and Antique quilts that were on display at the West Virginia State Quilt Guild show this past July.  I really enjoyed studying the fabrics in these great old quilts!

Just click on the link below these photos to go directly to my Picasa Album!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

2011 Faithful Circle Quilt Show

Here are the photos from the 2011 Faithful Circle Quilt Guild show that I was so pleased to visit a couple Saturdays ago.  This is the show that I originally was going to be vending at but had to cancel out of due to my carpal tunnel and surgeries. The link to go directly to my Picassa photo album is below!!

Enjoy the photos and below is a link directly to my Picassa Album!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Morning Funnies....

Ok see that cute but scary photo of the cat up there? That is close to the hair style I sport in the mornings. Actually I think it may be worse because my daughter came down the stairs this morning to greet me on my bed/ couch and the look on her face was priceless. She gave me the normal hug, backed up a bit, tilted that head of hers and asked me if I'd like some help " with the hair"?

So needless to say, I had my hair brushed and styled by a 13 year old this morning. Hubby says it looks great, I just feel better, son wants to take pictures to post on FaceBook. Great priceless memories were made this morning.... It appears I'm getting a pedicure later on from dear daughter also!

Two more "new" to me books arrived this week. Both written by Linda Giesler Carlson. The first one is called Roots, Feathers and Blooms. The second one is Four Blocks Continued.... And after searching for the above images on the internet, I realized she has a third book in this series. Guess I'll have to go shopping for that third book now...... Anyhow - both these books are great. Good photos, good stories and nice patterns. I'm a big fan of four block quilts and applique though so these are right up my alley.

Well..... It looks like we'll be making a trip out to Shipshewana next week, probably Tuesday if I'm up to it and feel like joining civilization again instead of hanging out in my living room! You see, my dear sweet husband is on vacation next week and I wanted to figure out something fun for us to do one day that didn't cost a ton of money and that we could enjoy together.

I know - your probably thinking - why in the world is that man on vacation the week in between both of that crazy woman's surgeries? Well, I'll tell ya! Originally I was supposed to be going to the Des Moines Quilt show this week and vending. Well obviously I had to cancel out of that. Dear husband had to cancel all his vacations for the rest of the year too, since I was not going to be doing shows and obviously - the extra money is always needed instead of vacation pay wages. Well this coming week of vacation time was not an option to cancel, we had to take it due to scheduling reasons at my husbands job and instead of irritating his bosses and begging until we where blue in the face - we decided to go ahead and leave this vacation in place. Sure - it would have been really nice to change it to the first week in October during my second surgery which I think will be harder on me - but come on, this is real life here and not everything is so easy and convenient!

So, the hubbie is on vacation this coming week. What better time to get the house and yard ready for winter. Great time for fall cleaning. Good time to do the winter tune ups on both vehicles. Good time to get more prepared for my second surgery. Great time to pull out the fall decorations and get the outside of the house decorated. All this with me not being able to do much. This is going to be really rough not helping out like I usually do, but I'm sure some good stories will come from this!

But on the bright side - it's a great time for us to sneak off for a mini day trip together to Shipshewana!

I'll have a driver (I really don't care much for driving), a tour guide (he's a great map holder and great at listening to that GPS thing that I find irritating!). He's perfect to share that wonderful Amish meal that I'm anticipating eating - it's always more fun to share all that wonderful yummy food with good company! Plus the auction is on Tuesday - and 2 sets of eyes are better then one! I'm on the lookout for antique quilts and fabrics - that's my mission for the day! I also am going to go here:

Lolly's Fabric store - an awesome place to go and be inspired!

I am also going here,

Yoder's Department Store. Love that place. Not only am I of course going to shop for stash enhancements, but I'm on the mad hunt for one of those older style irons with NO auto shut off feature and good steam you know - like the older Black and Decker style that lasted forever and didn't die after 3 months of use. I'm also searching for another Hurricane lamp - I'm addicted to collecting those beauties! (I think I need to win the lottery before I go!).

Next on the list:

E&S Bulk Foods. Love this place. I stock up on baking and cooking ingredients each time I go here - and Mama Tara's pantry is looking a bit bare. Gotta stock up for winter. They have some of the best ground cornmeal here. Perfect for homemade cornbread! I also love the bulk spices.... Geez I just love it all!

I'm getting hungry so we'll eat here:

The Blue Gate Restaurant. Finally! I've dreamed of this moment. Eating here, a family style meal with my husband and enjoying every minute of it. I normally watch what I eat pretty closely - but when those doors open up to us next week - I'm not holding back on all that Amish homemade yumminess. Might gain ten pounds that day - but that's ok. I'll just drink a couple extra Diet Cokes that day - those and all the walking around should balance each other out right - and put all the extra calories in the negative pile -right??? ( come on - just nod your head and agree with me on this one! Pretty please??? )

Then bright and early Thursday morning, I'm sneaking out of here for a little mini vacation of my own. I'll save that info for another blog post because this ones getting kinda long again. But here's a few hints: it involves quilting girlfriends, a 4 1/2 hour drive north, sewing machines (please dear Lord let me heal more by then so I can sew!) and lots of laughing with good friends. Even if I'm not able to sew on my machine, I'll enjoy some good girl time!

Carpal Tunnel Notes To Myself For The Next Surgery:

-feeling more pressure, ache and moderate pain in my left hand. I hope it's just because I've tried to do to much and not because it's getting infected. Very strange sensations running through my wrist and hand.

- waking up at 3 AM wide awake is a norm. Look for it to happen. My body has gotten so rested and relaxed now from taking it easy and getting caught up on sleep. Instead of fighting it and trying to force yourself back to sleep - just deal with it. Get up and read, draw (if I can!) and plan on your next stage in life for when your completely healed.

- two steps forward and one step back is absolutely true during the healing process. Every time I think I'm getting a lot better I over do it and end up hurting or aching because of it. I think I should wear my arm splint a lot more so that I cannot try and use my arm as much. I wore my splint all day yesterday which forced me not to try doing as much and the hands doing much better today!

- stress. Remind myself daily that I'm not supposed to be working right now. I need time to heal and re-injuring myself is not an option. I could do major and serious damage if I over do it! Quit trying to be the "I can do it all" person.

- keep working on my goals list for myself personally and for my business. Things will become clearer and clearer everyday that I review this list and add to it.


Location:Sunday Morning Funnies........

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Yeah! New Quilting Magazine Day!

Look what arrived yesterday to help fill my day with quilting goodness!

The November/ December 2011 issue of McCalls Quilting! Yes!!!!! My sanity was saved for yet another day! (can you tell I'm really wanting to get back to my quilting and something a bit more normal?)

Look at this!

It's called Lodge Getaway by Sarah Maxwell and Delores Smith - you know them - the great gals behind The Homespun Hearth Quilt Shop and website! Love this! Great job you two - just like usual - I love it! You both are amazing at all you get done!

Next look at this -

Oh be still my heart do I love that quilt above. The fabrics used are wonderful! This one is Olde English Crackers by Susan Guzman. I could make this one completely from my stash right now I've got almost all those fabrics used in this quilt - I'm not sure if I should be embarrassed or not to admit that!

Then look at this:

This is Summer Memory by Gerri Robinson - great job Gerri as usual!

Next up - my daily ponderings and such....

I wanted to share with you one thing I did in advance for my family prior to these surgeries. I made up a ton of freezer meals ahead of time, labeled everything with the contents and how it needed to be cooked or re-heated. Best thing I could have ever done. I really am glad my husband can come home from work each day and have a nice hot meal. The kids can shop in the freezer also if they want. It's been a huge weight off my shoulders to know they are being fed well.

I stocked up on small aluminum foil trays in single serving sizes from the dollar store. Wrapped everything carefully in press and seal (a Glad product) then everything is in freezer ziploc baggies also to protect from freezer burn. I literally have about 75 plus different meals in my freezer and as long as everyone thinks in advance and takes what they want out of the freezer to thaw - life's all good.

There is a ton of information on the Internet about "Freezer Cooking" etc. I have a few books also which are wonderful!

I will admit though - I treated them to pizza fresh from Papa Johns for dinner yesterday. Man Internet ordering is just to easy..... And thank God for delivery!

I miss the smell of homemade bread baking in the oven though. So - frozen bread dough is on the grocery list for my husbands trip to the store this weekend!

One regret - I'm a baker - my family is used to a few treats now and then. I ran out of time and never did get cookies and muffins ready for them in the freezer. I did catch some of those pre made cookie dough things on sale though! Those are in the freezer too for when they get a sweet tooth. Kind of made me feel good the other day when they baked some of those store bought cookies - they told me they like mine better! What can I say - I've spoiled my family on homemade goodness! Those cookies sure did smell good baking though! I refrained from having any - I figured with as little exercise as I'm getting - my hips really did not need that cookie! But boy did I sure want one!

Personal reminders to myself for my next CT Surgery:

- will not feel like eating for the first few days - but try to remember to eat a little something here and there. Having no energy from not eating and being in pain is not fun. The med's do make me sick to my stomach without a few saltines each time I take them.

- take the medication - just like I was told to - on a regular basis. It's worth it. Do not try to go without it. Quit being a hard head and just take the medicine Tara!

- get splenda in a bag that I can measure out for my coffee - those little packets are impossible to open one handed

- plan ahead of time what I might want to eat for the day when my appetite comes back - case in point - I wanted to have some mild pepper rings on my salad yesterday and couldn't - well that darn jars not going to open it self and one hand is useless! Have jars loosened in the morning before the kids leave for school. Same thing for all that wonderful homemade soup that I canned and preserved - I cannot loosen the ring or pry the lid off On my own - plan ahead.

- I understand the "why" behind child safe caps on medication. My kids are plenty old enough to know better. Have med's set out and available during the day within easy reach - yet up high enough out of reach in case little visitors do come - which is rare - but better safe than sorry.

- it's getting cooler outside and my feet get cold so easy! Need slippers and easy slide my foot in type shoes! I cannot put socks on one handed without some form of acrobatics involved! flip flops for my walks are not going to cut it much longer.

These are super cute - but not to practical!

My kids would really think I'm a nut if I wore these around the house - but they would make me laugh and smile every time I looked at my feet!

These are so stinking cute!

Anybody out there have this pattern and wanna make me some of these?

Stylin' and super cute! My daughter would probably just shake her head!

- sleeping in our waterbed - not going to happen for awhile. The couch and several pillows and quilts are my new best friend.

- button up type shirts are much easier the first few days rather than over the head type t shirts. Well - as long as someone is there to button you up of course!

- and for anyone else that might be looking at surgery and have incredibly long hair prior to surgery??? I'm still not regretting cutting mine off! I had it cut and styled above my shoulders prior to surgery. It looks really cute, fresh and makes me feel younger now. Now is probably one of the times in my life when I'm thankful for naturally wavy hair. It doesn't look magnificent right now since I cannot do much with it - but that's life! See the cute hairstyle below? That's now on my head - of course I'm not blonde and super cute like dear Ms. Jessica below, but my hairstylist did a great job with what she had to work with and my hair looks this cute when I straighten it! I just have brown hair with a few Greys though!

And for anyone reading this that may be getting ready to have Carpal Tunnel surgery, here is a link to a really good blog entry that I found and read prior to my surgery. This lady is a medical transcriptionist - so she uses her hands for her work just like us quilters. She has really good pictures on there too. My hand is still wrapped up and the Dr. told me not to remove the bandages - she will do that on Oct 4 when I have my next surgery - which is driving me crazy not knowing what it looks like under there and I want to wash my hand so badly! Anyhow - that's a whole 'nother story I'll save for later!

Here's the link to the other blog! Enjoy!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2011 NSQG Quilt Show

Here are the photos from the quilt show I went to last Friday.  This is the 2011 NSQG quilt guild show that was held in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

Here is the link to my Picassa Album so you can view each of the photos:


Carpal Tunnel Update

I scheduled this post ahead of time so that you could view my pictures of the quilt show and enjoy them.  Today at 9:45 am central time, I'll be having my first carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand.

Send me good wishes!  I'll try and post updates in the next few days.

Monday, September 19, 2011

2011 NQA Quilt Show Pictures and more

I was able to get the photos from the 2011 National Quilt Association show that was held this past June uploaded to my Picassa album.  

Here is a link to my album for you to view each of the beauties I  photographed.


On a personal note, I have been doing a lot of thinking on what this blog means to me.  This blog to me is a place where I can come and write and share things going on in my world.  I enjoy being able to go through past posts and look at where I have been or what I was doing "back then". I enjoy reading peoples comments - good or bad.  I enjoy feeling like I have a community of friends in the blog world whom I've never even met.

Over the next few weeks and months, I will be posting things on a very personal level, not only for myself but to share with others what I am going through.  I have been diagnosed with severe carpal tunnel in both of my arms.  I'm devastated and stressed to the max over this.  I'm normally a very healthy, strong person, never had a surgery or broken bone in my 38 years of life.  The most major thing to have ever happened to me is cutting my finger and getting 9 stitches - and that was horrible.  Child birth is the only other time I've been near a hospital and I was begging to leave the minute I had my wee ones in my arms - literally begging.

Now, because of my chosen career and something that I love.  I have damaged my body, which is causing me to think more seriously about my future.  All of the cutting and folding and flipping of bolts has damaged me.  All of the loading and unloading of my trailer for quilt shows, has damaged me.  My love of hand piecing and quilting has probably played a part in this also, but I'm having a harder time admitting that.

Tomorrow September 20th at 9:45 am, I will have surgery on my left arm.  October 4th I will have surgery on my right arm.  I'm already signed up to max out my physically therapy coverage through my insurance company.  I'm armed with a notebook full of recommended exercises so that I can regain all the strength in my arms and hands after the physical therapy coverage runs out.  I refuse to give in or give up.  I'm just not made that way.

With that said - I'm terrified to say the least.  This "minor" surgery in the world's eye's is a "major" life event for me.

I've decided to document each step I take along the way to recovery.  While doing research on carpal tunnel, I was quite shocked and upset to find so little "good" information for us quilters.  I've also found along the way who a lot of my true friends are - as they have sat and listened to me cry and complain.  Answered my emails or just simply sat with me.  (with this said, please remember that anything that I may write in the future is my own personal experience and might and probably will differ from anyone else.  I'm not a doctor, I'm not a nurse, I'm not even in a health care profession.  I'm a quilter plane and simple.)  I just want anyone that may come upon my own experience here on my blog to know that your pain is real, it does hurt and it's not imagined at all.  And though someone looking at you cannot tell that you are in serious pain just by glance - I understand - you are in pain and it is very real and it hurts.

One piece of advice I can give thus far - if you ever try to calm someone else or reassure someone else that is getting ready to go through something that is traumatic to them but might not be so traumatic sounding to you - never ever make them feel "little" or feel like they are getting worked up over nothing.  No surgery is minor.  And a person's feelings and fears are very, very real and worth listening to.  And that is the key - listen to them and only make suggestions and personal opinions on their behalf if you are asked to do so - never discount what they are feeling or saying.  Sure to some carpal tunnel surgery may be a minor thing and in the scope of the bigger picture compared to cancer and heart surgery etc., it is minor - but when it's happening to YOU it is a major life ordeal.  

I think what hurt the most recently is having someone say "what are you so worked up about, it's minor outpatient surgery - you'll be fine and back home.  It's no big deal"  Well - they are wrong, this is a big deal to me. This comment was made to me by a fellow quilter who I didn't know - it was just in passing at a quilt show - but I consider all quilters friends.  She had asked me why I was wearing the arm braces on both my arms so I told her.  I started to tear up a little in my eyes, my voice got a little quivery - over admitting that I had a "physical problem" and that I was nervous about the surgery - and now thinking about this - I was searching for comfort from a stranger and I was honestly embarrassed at the same time at how blatant and "rough" she was in asking me why I was wearing my braces. Which brings me to another point.

I have had days where I could not drive my own vehicle because my arms are in so much pain or twitching so badly.  I just didn't trust myself.  I've had days in the grocery store wearing both arm braces, trudging through grabbing the "light" things that I could manage to pick up on my own without dropping.  I've had days where I do not even go to the store when we need things here at home because I just do not want to deal with people staring.  I've had days where I go out and about because I refuse to sit home another minute and go without my arm braces just because I want to be normal and not be stared at. My arm braces are not huge, they really are just a pain in my behind if you ask me, but they do help to keep my arms more straight and from bending at the wrist and hurting myself worse.  Why do people have to stare?  Were they never taught to be kind and compassionate to others that might have a disability or a life changing situation?  I'm not asking for pity, certainly not.  But the stares or rude comments or blunt questions can be hurtful.  I now have more compassion toward others that struggle with physical ailments or that might be permanently disfigured in appearance.  They did not ask to be different it just happens.  Don't stare - a warm smile and hello sometimes might just help give someone a little better day than you could even imagine.  Maybe the good Lord is trying to teach me a lesson of my own - I've always thought that I have been compassionate and kind to others that struggle, but maybe I have not and this is my wake up call.

If you see someone in a cast, wheelchair or even braces on their arm, legs, etc., or just someone struggling trying to get in a building or their vehicle - try and offer some help.  It's not wrong to be nice to others.  It may just be the area I live in or maybe this rude human nature really is throughout the world, but with my "minor" ordeal, it's really opened my eyes even more to how many, many people in this world struggle with health issues and so few "healthy" people lend a hand anymore.  

Better yet - if you see someone while you are out and about that looks upset or just appears to be having a really bad day - is it so wrong to say hello or just give them a smile?  It just seems like anymore in this world we live, people only care about themselves.

I'm terrified right now and feeling very helpless.  I only know what to expect from what some of my friends, customers and nurses and doctors have told me.  Stop and think for a minute - how would you feel if your arms were constantly burning, numb, tingling.  How would you feel if you could not sleep through the night without waking up in pain? How would you feel if your arms twitched or jerked around and you could not control them?  How would you feel if you did not know for certain if a surgery you were about ready to have could heal you and help you to get back to what you love to do.  How would you feel if your own children were to also cry with you because they hurt for you while you are in pain and they just want you to feel better?

I may not blog everyday, but I plan on trying to "peck" out a post here and there and even share some pictures of my progress.  I'll warn everyone if a "graphic" picture might come about in a post.  Trust me - I'll warn you before I do it because I made myself sick trying to watch a YouTube video of this surgery - my stomach just could not take watching that. I've never thought of myself as having a weak stomach, but trying to force myself to watch something that was about ready to be done to me - well I just could not handle it.

My kids and husband will be taking good care of me.  Please say a little prayer for me and make a few extra special stitches in your project for me and send good thoughts my way.

Please do not take offense in any way to anything that I have said here or may write in the future.  This is my personal blog, my own diary that I have chosen to share online with you.  I love to write.  I write stories, I am working on a book, I write patterns and in general just enjoy "quilting" or "piecing" with words.  If you take offense to anything I say, it is not meant to be hurtful to you.  If you wish to leave a comment - I truly welcome you to.  It has helped for me to admit I have a problem and to have so many email me with kind thoughts.  The people that I've emailed with that have gone through this - thank you for being so honest and open with me.  If you do comment and I do not respond directly to you - please do not take offense - just know that I truly thank you and appreciate you.

As for my future and the future of my business.  I don't know.

I just don't know where all this will lead me.  My family comes first.  My quilt designing comes second (which has been on the back burner for way to long) and my future hopes of fabric designing come third.  Everything else is questionable at this point.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

More West Virginia Quilt Guild Show Pictures!

I really had a great time at the quilt show I attended yesterday and took a ton of pictures!  I'll work on getting those uploaded soon so that you can enjoy seeing the beautiful quilts that I had the pleasure of viewing!

Today, I am off to another quilt show in our area.  This is the quilt show that I was supposed to be vending at myself, but had to cancel out of it. (more on that soon - why I couldn't be a vendor this year that is!)

Here is the 2nd installment of my quilt show pictures from the West Virginia State Quilt Guild show that I vended at this past June. I went ahead and dumped the other picture software that I was testing out yesterday for the small slide show I had posted for you!  Didn't like it at all, so now I'm playing around with another one instead!  (new technology - it never ends!)

So anyhow, some of the quilts you view in this slideshow you might have seen yesterday, but that's ok because somethings are worth repeating!

Enjoy! (don't forget you can click on the link at the bottom of this post to go to a full size view of the slide show!)

Link To Pictures Slideshow click here

Or you can view the album and select each picture you would like to see a full view of here:

Link To My Picasa Album Click Here

(again, not to sure how I like this whole Picasa pictures thing - I really liked offering you the slideshow option on WebShots!  What is your opinion - do you like slideshows or do you prefer to go through an album and click on the individual photos you would like to view????)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Off for a Little Fun Today & Quilt Show Pictures!

Today, I'm off for a little fun - visiting a quilt show that is a little north of where I live. So get ready for some upcoming photos of all the beautiful quilts I'll be seeing today!

I'm a bit behind on showing you pictures of quilts that were on display at a couple of quilt shows I did this past summer.  So I decided to test out a new website for uploading pictures!  I'm not to sure yet if I prefer this website over webshots - but let's give it a try!

One downside to this new picture website is I can only do slideshow's that have 100 pictures each.  So today I am showing you 100 pictures from the West Virginia State Quilt Guild show that I had the opportunity of vending at this past June.  I believe this will be the first of a series of 3 slideshows.  We'll see how this works and if I like it - I'll keep using it. If not - I'm going back to WebShots!

(if you wish to view the photos full screen instead of the smaller version below - scroll down and click on the link at the bottom of this post!)


Enjoy - and be on the lookout for more photos!

Direct Link to full screen view show:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's Starting To Feel Like Fall!

I miss blogging. I've been away for too long!

The weather is getting a bit chilly around here lately and has put me in the mood for some fall decorating!

Last weekend we enjoyed a visit to the Sandwich Fair in Sandwich, Illinois. We had such a good time and the weather was perfect for enjoying all the fair festivities!

While in this great little town, we had to stop at a couple of my favorite shops after we left the fairgrounds.

Of course - now I'm in the mood to decorate for fall after seeing all the great and inspiring things at these two shops!

Enjoy the rest of these pictures - and please forgive me if they are a bit blurry! I was using the camera on my phone!

Kind of dark on this picture! These witches boots were so neat!

Chat more later - I'm off to get comfortable in my favorite chair with some good quilting books I haven't looked at in a long time!
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