Thursday, January 31, 2019

Really Random Thursday, 1/31/19

I thought 2018 zipped by. Is 2019 going to come and go in the same way?

Last Thursday and Friday, Janice and I went to the Road2California quilt show. We had such a good time checking out all the vendors (I was amazingly restrained in my purchases, although I confess to now being obsessed with zip pouches and other items made with thick industrial wool felt). We were able to spend a few minutes with Elizabeth (not nearly enough time...).
We saw her quilts up close and personal, and they are stunning. Photographs do not do them justice!
Northern Lights Medallion

I didn't take very many quilt pictures. This quilt by Christine Perrigo has always been one of my favorites. I have seen it at QuiltCon, and again this year at Road2CA, where it deservedly won a ribbon (isn't it nice that the ribbon color coordinates with the quilt?)
Ohio Snowball
This is an idea I would like to explore with my many scraps: Spin Cycle, by Janette Kirby.
Per usual, the men's bathrooms were turned into women's bathrooms.
Another higlight was getting a few minutes to chat with Carrie Hanson, who quilted my red and white quilt a couple of months ago.

She was demonstrating in one of the booths, and was really busy so we didn't get to spend as much time together as we had hoped.
 Carrie is also a breast cancer survivor, and she has been an incredibly supportive friend. At least we had a few minutes to chat.
All the entries from the yearly challenge by Cherrywood Fabrics were on display. Last year the theme was Prince.
This year the theme is Bob Ross. I really wanted to buy the challenge fabric bundle for Amanda Jean, who is a huge Bob Ross fan. But it's so NOT her color palette, and it was kind of pricey. So I just snapped a picture to send her.
A new addition to my sewing table, a mug with images of vintage patterns from the 1960s.
The evolution of my iPhone cases. Now I have a rather boring black case that I need to attach my extra camera lenses. I liked these quilty cases SO much more.
My dear friend, Julia, told her grandmother about my breast cancer diagnosis. I have never met her grandmother, but she took the time to crochet this afghan for me. As a maker, I love giving away things I've made. To be on the receiving end feels amazing.
Do you choose a "word" every year? I have done this sporadically. I can't even remember what my word was last year. This year I have chosen "focus."
Earlier this week, my radiation treatments began. One of the many things I never knew before is that you are tattoooed with tiny, permanent dots so that the machine delivering the radiation can be aligned precisely each and every day. It's a very "focused" procedure. I'm glad for that precision. In a broader spectrum, I want to focus on finishing some old projects and sewing/quilting for the pure joy of creating.

When I turned over my first appointment card from the Fresno Cancer Center, I was treated to this very quilty design. It confirms that I'm in the right place for my care.
A few years ago, I started meeting our son, Aaron, for lunch about once a month. One time I thought it would be interesting for each of us to answer a series of questions I came up with. I was going through some paperwork in my office (yes, I'm in the midst of Kon Marie-ing the house). I found those questions, from March 5, 2012. Here are a few of them. (A = Aaron, C = me).

Favorite color: A - blue, C - orange

An award you are particularly proud of:
A - Valedictorian at Fresno Pacific University, service award at Pacific University (note--this is where Aaron attended optometry school)
C - typing awards

What other profession would you enjoy: A - Cal Fire, C - cruise ship

If you could live somewhere else for three months, where would it be?
In the United States: A - Alaska, C - Boston

International: A - Sweden, C - Great Britian

If you could own stock in any company, what would it be? A - Apple, C - Apple, Disney

If you could be famous for something, what would it be? A - some invention, C - quilting

If you could change one thing physically, what would it be? A - taller., C - straight teeth

I'm really glad I found these. It's a fun and easy way to learn some things about people you are close to--you might get some surprises!

These two--pretty cute.
Charlotte made the 7th grade basketball team. She seems quite focused. Maybe she chose that word this year too. :)
Aaron had a little conversation with 5-year-old Ella when he was tucking her into bed the other night. I'm so glad he shared it with me. My heart might have melted just a little...
Speaking of bedtime...
And remember this book from last week?
This cartoon was in the paper this morning.Haha...
I saw this on Facebook yesterday. A record-breaking arctic blast is occurring in a lot of places. The high in Fresno was 67 degrees. So yeah. This is pretty much us here in California...

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Really Random Thursday, 1/24/19

Shortly after my mother passed away in August and we were going through paperwork, I found these.

She had always told me that there was some question as to whether her middle name was Jane or Jean. I'm not sure why she was unclear about that. After seeing these, I knew that was not the question. She always spelled her name Beverly. However, these two papers, including the birth certificate, clearly show that the spelling is BeverlEy. Did she know that was the spelling on the birth certificate? Was it an error and her parents just dropped the "e"? Anything she used as an official ID--passport, driver's license, social security card, all have Beverly as the spelling. Very mysterious. And now we will never know...

A few weeks ago, when I wrote about our annual beach weekend, I forgot to mention that Charlotte and I drive into Pismo each year and head to the candy story, because it has a photo booth. Taking pictures there is a tradition. We seem to make the same poses in the same order. We need to change it up next year. Or at least I need to come up with a better "weird" pose.
2017, 2018, 2019

I found the best, aka, worst alphabet book ever. Recommended.
No wonder English is such a difficult language to learn!

Last week when I came home from my first visit to the cancer center, which brought up a rollercoaster of emotions, there was a large box waiting for me. Inside was this beautiful piece of art from Kelly, an online friend who lives in Omaha. It was exactly what I needed on that day. It's amazing to me how close bonds are formed with those we have not (yet) met in real life. This is not really a new thing. People have had pen pals for decades. This is one of the best things to come from social media. I know we WILL meet someday. I can hardly wait. In the meantime, I'm grateful for friends like Kelly in my life.
Aaron and Levi borrowed a chop saw for a project--building a bird house.
This is what happens when you have a dad with a good sense of humor.
Photos: Aaron Wiens
I had a sewing day with good friends--we try to meet monthly. This month was at my cousin Cathy's house. She lives in the country and we sewed in the room above their garage.
The sky alternated between sun and clouds.The view was gorgeous!
After five years, I finally finished my hexagon quilt--once it gets photographed, it will have its own post. 
If you have done English paper piecing before, you know that ultimately all the paper comes out of the quilt (although after it was quilted, I could feel three pieces of paper still in the quilt. But as it has been quilted and bound, they will just be part of the quilt).
What goes in eventually must come out
I get the Apartment Therapy email every day. There are often really great ideas, most for small spaces. A few weeks ago, they had ideas for bathrooms. I liked a lot of them. And then I got to No. 19, Make a Mirror Statement. Honestly, I don't have any words for this...
Ruby turned 7 last week. She is such a sweet girl, and we couldn't love her more.
Photo: Christa Wiens
At church on Sunday, we had a combined service, something we do a couple of times a year. It's a chance for people from both the traditional and contemporary service to spend some time together. We wear name tags. When Gabe wrote his name tag, the first question was "where did you learn how to write your name in cursive?" since they don't seem to teach that anymore. Answer: Levi. Secondly, he swooped up the end of the L on his name so he could make a smiley face. Not surprising...

Krista (@poppyprint) started something when she posted a picture of her hands after seeing an ad that made her unhappy--it was about a product to get ride of crepey skin. Krista is proud of her hands and what they are able to accomplish. She started a hashtag #amakershands on Instagram, and at last count there are over 2,500 posts. It was a little difficult posting a picture of mine (top middle picture) because at 66, there are a lot of wrinkles and age spots. No matter what age, we should be proud of what we can accomplish with our hands--creating, cooking, gardening, hugging, comforting. It's what we do with them, not what they look like, that matters most. The stories are fascinating, and worth a little time spent reading some of them.
Yesterday I got to spend time with these three after school. 
If you need a smile, follow @letterfolk on Instagram. I confess to having a letter board. I also confess to the fact that what I put on it over a year ago has not been changed, not even once. But I love to see what other people do with their letter boards. Both of these may be applicable lately. Just sayin'
Hope your week is a good one.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Really Random Thursday, 1/17/19

I was nearly done writing this post, hit the wrong button and the entire thing disappeared. What?

So I will try to recreate this plethora of unrelated things, which is really the definition of randomness anyway.

Monday night, Mark's good friend, Randy, reffed the last basketball game of his long reffing career. Mark had the privilege of being part of the crew as well.

Conferring mid court...

Afterwards, along with other family and friends, we had dinner together. And the next morning, Randy had  knee replacement surgery. Yikes.

Ella likes getting cozy with quilts. This is her new favorite. It is a pattern by Kerry Goulder of Kid Giddy, and has all the things a little girl loves--unicorn, castle, mermaid.

Other than QuiltCon, I have not submitted quilts to any shows in about 15 years. This year, I decided I'd submit these four quilts to Best of the Valley, a really great quilt show held in April.
As I looked at this collage, it crossed my mind that I don't have a definable "style," in other words, no one looks at one of my quilts and says "I knew that was your quilt before I even read the name." Which caused me to further wonder: is having a style even important? I know that what appeals to me has changed a lot over the last ten years. What I work on changes depending on my mood. Which probably explains why I have so many projects going on at the same time. Apparently, I'm quite moody!

I do want to document a couple of things just so I remember them. Last year, Angie from Gnome Angel held another #100blocks100days quilt-along, based on Tula Pink's book, City Sampler: 100 Modern Blocks. She posted several pictures as inspiration for anyone interested in the quilt-along, and mine was included.

This has been an interesting quilt. In late November, shortly after decorating the house for Christmas, it was hanging in the dining room. Every year, I hang some ornaments from the light fixture over the dining table. I was walking out the door to run an errand and thought, "The dining room looks really pretty this morning." I snapped a quick picture, didn't do any editing, didn't think about hashtags, and posted it to Instagram. I received about 1,100 likes--something that has never happened to any picture. Then I noticed an uptick in activity regarding that quilt on December 21. I remember, because it was Ella's birthday. I quickly found out that Make Modern Magazine (my favorite digital quilting magazine, by the way) had reposted my picture, and it was getting LOTS of attention. Ultimately, the last time I checked, it had over 6,000 likes! That's just crazy.

In Issue 25, Make Modern Magazine posted a gallery of quilts using text. They were all so different, and all so interesting. The Prayer was included as well.
And one of my very favorite newsletters, The Scrap Basket, written by Debbie Jeske of A Quilter's Table, included Tale of Two Cities in Issue 76 when she had a round-up of temperature quilts. The link to all issues of the Scrap Basket is at the top of her blog home page--check it out!

 I'm planning another one in 2020 for our niece who will be graduating with a degree in environmental science. She comes from southeast Idaho, and goes to school in Oregon, so I think the comparison of those two places will be interesting.

Last fall, I deconstructed a very old quilt top. I went wild with the rotary cutter and cut the components needed for a double wedding ring quilt. I tried a couple of different versions. I didn't like any of them, became discouraged, and put everything away in a drawer.
With the goal of completing some old WIPs, I pulled all the pieces out again last week. Again, I just couldn't get a good feeling about anything. So I enlisted the aid of another artist, Gabe, for a different perspective. Wow, I wish I could get inside his head sometimes. This was the start of his first version.
I asked his opinion on piecing some arc units to look like stripes. He said if I did that, I also needed to add dots and flowers. "Grandma, you just have to let your imagination run wild." And I realize that is often the stumbling block for me, so it is good advice.
Collaboratively, we ended up firing the pink. We are contemplating trying some shade of gold.

Yesterday, this was what he came up with, only purple and lavender. Haha.  I told him that the deconstructed pieces HAD to be a part of the quilt--that was the original purpose after all. I'll keep you posted.
Gabe picked up a camellia the other day, and decided to draw it. I supply the paper and colored pencils--he supplies the imagination. This was the start. He wasn't happy with it.
I ran the picture through the Waterlogue app on my phone anyway, just because it's such a cool app, and gives things a watercolor effect.
Yesterday, he started over. This is not complete--still a work in progress, and by now the flower looks awful.  But seriously?? He is 7.

Haha, number 1.

Cancer Update:
After my lumpectomy in December, things have kind of been status quo. There is a lot of time spent in limbo. I had a phone consultation with my oncologist on December 31, at which point we discussed having a test run called onco-dx. When tumors are under 1 cm in size, the test is not normally run. If the tumor is over 1 cm, it is more routinely run. When a tumor is 1 cm, it is up to the patient. Sigh. My tumor was 1 cm, so the decision was up to me. After the pros and cons, and learning more about the test, we decided to go ahead. Basically, it gives more information on risk of recurrence, whether chemo would be helpful in lowering risk of recurrence, and also some indication on benefits of hormone therapy. We decided to go ahead and have the test, hoping for more peace of mind in the future. My doctor said I wanted a level under 26. The downside is that radiation could not begin until the results were back, just in case chemo became a topic for discussion. The other downside is that there is only one lab in the United States that runs the test so it was possible the results wouldn't come back until later in January.

They came back earlier than expected. Also, I appreciate a doctor who likes using exclamation points. :)
The test result was really good news. Nevertheless, it was weird walking through these doors on Tuesday morning. I was there for measuring and marking in preparation for radiation treatments.
Having a cancer diagnosis is such an emotional rollercoaster. I have decided it is somewhat like the stages of grief--shock, denial, anger, acceptance...

Here is one feeling I wasn't anticipating. So many cancer patients go through horrific treatment--loss of hair, pain, debilitating nausea. With early detection and surgery only requiring lumpectomy and treatment only requiring radiation treatments, sometimes I feel like a cancer "imposter." Does that even make sense? I think about that a lot. It's kind of "why me?" but instead of  "why am I going through such pain and suffering?" it's like "how did I get so lucky?" I know I can't predict the future, and radiation will hopefully eradicate any rogue cancer cells roaming around. At this point, I don't feel like surrounding myself with pink ribbons. However...I have a LOT of pink fabric and yet I have never made a single pink quilt. Perhaps now is the time for that.

Haha Number 2.
Until next week...