Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Club Members

Six months ago, a young man in our church, Kyle, and I became members of a new "club"--one that neither of us would ever have wanted to join. I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and Kyle was diagnosed with brain cancer. Oh my, such a devastating diagnosis for a senior in high school, just at the brink of so many new and exciting things in his life.
At that point, I doubt that I was ever on Kyle's radar. Other than being friends with his parents, why would I be? He was the lead drum major of a local high school band and active at church as well. Nearly overnight, he was in ICU, undergoing shunt placement, and getting ready to begin radiation treatments. He began radiation in January, the same month I began my treatments. I was only scheduled for 16 treatments, a walk in the park compared to Kyle--he was scheduled for 32.

Kyle's last day of radiation was February 12, mine was February 19.

Somewhere around this time, once I was feeling like I could begin sewing again, I knew that I needed to make a quilt for Kyle. He needed a quilt--and I needed the therapy of focusing on someone else. Win-win. I didn't spend too much time overthinking what a high school senior boy would think about receiving a quilt from a 66-year-old.
The Cabin Quilt pattern by Karen Lee (@quiltaposy) seemed like the perfect choice. I went through my stash and chose fabric from Carolyn Friedlander's Doe line, along with some charcoal fabric (side note: I'm not sure who the manufacturer of the solid fabric is--I know it's not Kona--but wow, did it ever ravel!!)
I was able to make the quilt top in a day when I was at quilt camp at Hartland in April. I decided on a wide back Grunge for the backing and then it was beautifully quilted by Darby Myers.
 My favorite block--because it looks so cool against the barnwood and green paint.

Yesterday, I took it over to Kyle. He was gracious and charming. I think he likes it. He called me his "cancer buddy." We are optimistic about his future. He's regaining his energy, attended his senior prom and is graduating next week. I'm praying for good news on his repeat MRI scan next month. Although our paths are very different, we will be forever bonded in this journey.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Selvaging My Sanity, 2019

Years ago, when I had my logo designed for Live a Colorful Life, I also had an Etsy shop (inactive for quite a few years) called Sewing on the Edge. I mostly sold custom selvage pincushions. When I decided I wanted/needed a tag line for my blog, someone suggested "selvaging my sanity...one stitch at a time." I loved it, and it became part of the logo.

Over the years, I have thought I should update my logo for a fresh look. But I've never been able to do it. I still really like it. But I often wonder if readers are confused about the tag line and wonder what I'm talking about...

Anyway, at the beginning of 2019, I had a general lack of energy, recovering from radiation therapy. When I finally felt like sewing, I still didn't have the mental energy to make fabric choice decisions--it all felt too overwhelming. I decided that working with selvages was the answer--I could make something small and cute. Matching just the right selvage to friends was something I could handle.

It all started with my dear friend, Lucy, who lives in Manchester, England. Her blog and instagram feed is "charm about you," so I had been saving all my "charming" selvages, and then I really hit pay dirt when someone threw 'I Love Lucy" into a bag of selvages they gave me.
I was sending Lauren some fabric scraps and decided to throw in something a little extra just for fun.
 I found some cute baking-related selvages. Brianne had sent me some of the most delicious cookies a couple of years ago, so when I found "full cookie jar, happy home," I knew exactly who was getting this pincushion.

Kelly has been a constant encourager in the last couple of months. She loves hot pink. I had to piece her name together, but the back is all Kelly.

Erika is a pie maker and flower lover. When I found "pie making day," I had to make a pincushion for someone who has been known to make 16 completely different pies on Thanksgiving day.

Laurie spends her days counseling people. She is a "piece maker," but also a "peace maker." My friend Molly designed the fabric I used for the back, and I think those are probably phrases Laurie has used in her work.
Paula is someone who writes the most beautiful comments on my blog. They are thoughtful and heart-felt, definitely "noteworthy."

Tracy made the most gorgeous quilt, Tula Pink's butterfly pattern. It was not without its challenges. I'm not sure she exactly had "sewing woes," but that seemed appropriate.

Nicole is well-known for her creative and modern hexie designs. And Diane lives in southern California. I had set aside that little scrap of California Bolt Hugger fabric for the longest time before finally using it.
Deborah just moved to Texas, to the hill country actually. Obviously she needed a pincushion with a couple of bluebonnets on it, y'all.

And Jeni loves this color of purple.
Anne loves to hike, loves the color green and everything Kaffe Fassett. Mary's shop, Sunny Day Supply, is one of my favorites--and the fabric on the back of her pincushion just seems very sunny and cheery.

Mary S. has been a long-time friend, Heidi also lives in Texas and has her own fabric lines, Clara sews lovely things, as does Gwen.

Shawn is in business with her sister, Mary, and of course they also sell notions. Janice and I have been known to drink a glass of wine or two (see it there on the right?), Linda does gorgeous handwork, and Sarah lives in Montana, in the great "outdoorz."

After I had all of the pincushions sewn together, Charlotte came over and helped me stuff them--she turned out to have a real knack. I hope she will agree to help me out again.

Along the way, long-time friend Lotti is teaching her granddaughters to sew and thought a pincushion for each of them would be a fun gift. I searched through my selvages and believe it or not was able to come up with something to personalize each one--Willow and Lily. Lotti took it from there and made them each the cutest little sewing kit.

We had such fun going through selvages for the girls. I hope Lotti and I can have some sewing days this summer.
It's always fun to see the pincushions in use--Lauren's lives on her ironing board and Sarah's is on a shelf with some other treasures.

I spent some time organizing all my selvages by theme. Obsessive? Maybe a little. But now I'm working on blocks for my first selvage quilt and it's such fun. Each block has its own little theme. I'm using the whirlwind block designed by Amy Friend of During Quiet Time.
I'm not done with personalized selvages--there are still so many people on my list. Pincushions will be completed when I find just the right selvage for each of them.

Do you save selvages? If yes, what is your favorite thing to make with them? If no, why not??

Friday, May 17, 2019

Friday Flashback

I have missed two weeks in a row of Really Random Thursday because of many different computer issues. I think things are fixed now--although the Geek Squad has left the ticket open just in case...

So where did I leave off? Oh, yes, I think I was getting ready to leave for another quilting retreat, this time a small one at our friend Dotty's cabin just outside Yosemite. This is the 20th year in a row we have had this retreat and each year is so special.

The sunset on Thursday evening was spectacular.
We went up on Thursday, got all set up and did some sewing. Dotty had been informed ahead of time that the power would be turned off on Friday from 7 a.m. through 3 p.m. Because of that, we did something we never take the time to do--drive into Yosemite Valley. This was a particularly good year, as the waterfalls are spectacular due to all the snowmelt.

It is about a 40-minute drive, and the damage from the Ferguson Fire last summer was way too evident. Actually, we were fortunate to have the retreat this year, as the fire came extremely close to Dotty's cabin.
If you have ever been to Yosemite you know that the first amazing view is after you drive through the tunnel. We had someone take our picture.
Dotty, Vicki, Ruth, Maggie, me

We took time to walk through the Ahwahnee Hotel. Yes, I know it is officially now called The Majestic or something silly like that, due to naming rights. To Californians I'm pretty sure it will always be the Ahwahnee.

The dining room.
Beautiful windows...
Quilty floors...
We had a lovely picnic lunch and then took the small hike to Yosemite Falls.

 It's hard to describe the force of the water.
We got back to the cabin about 3:20, assuming the power would be back on. We were wrong. 5:00 came and went. Dotty had planned to barbecue steaks for dinner. She ended up making the whole meal on the BBQ. The sun went down, and still no power. She found out that the outage was pretty much the whole Yosemite valley, and that the power company was waiting for a part. For the second time that day, we did something we never take the time to do, sit around and just visit. Don't get me wrong--we do plenty of chatting while we sew. But this was different, and intentional out of necessity. It was a lovely evening. Finally at about 9:45, with flashlights in hand, we went downstairs to sleep, hoping that the power would come on during the night. At about 10:02, Maggie and I heard a couple of small beeps. We had plugged our phones into the chargers "just in case," and when we heard those beeps we knew the power was back on.

Hurray! Much sewing was accomplished the next couple of days!

Vicki made this adorable dress for her kitty-loving granddaughter (among many other things she made--she is always very productive).
I worked on blocks for a basket sampler I've wanted to make for years.
I also brought along some bags of selvages to start blocks for my selvage quilt. While I've made a lot of selvage projects, I have yet to make a quilt.
Dotty finished a t-shirt quilt for her granddaughter.
And this amazing clock quilt for a grandson who has loved clocks since he was a small boy.

Ruth made some great things as well--and I'm not sure where those pictures are. :(

Maggie mostly did paperwork this weekend...as well as a couple of precarious things--changing the clock to the correct time:

Walking the plank to see the inside of this new cabin.
Maggie and I don't get to spend nearly enough time together so this was a wonderful weekend.

Again, this is one of the weekends I cherish the most during the year--such special friends.

When I got back home, it seemed like forever since I had spent time with my grandkids. So during the first week back I took each of them out on a date.  Charlotte and I went out for pizza (and I forgot to take a picture during dinner, but took one later in the week).
Levi and I went to Sonic Drive-in during "happy hour" and he got a cherry limeade slushy with Nerds.
Ella and I went to the zoo--she loves their macaroni and cheese. Although I think that girl could eat mac and cheese pretty much every day.
And then she showed me the water playground, which I hadn't seen before.
Gabe had never been to Red Robin Restaurant, and that was his choice.
I love spending individual time with each of them.

If you are at all squeamish at the sight of needles, skip through the next couple of pictures. I've been getting acupuncture treatments for severe arthritis in my thumb. I'm not yet sure how effective it is, but Mark says I haven't been complaining as much.
I also got a tattoo this week, something I've been wanting to do for awhile. The hymn, "It is Well With My Soul" is a very special one in our family. I had been putting off making the appointment, and then I was diagnosed with cancer and had to go through treatment. While I realize a lot of people are against tattoes, now that I'm at the six-month mark and have had a clear mammogram, it seemed fitting and very meaningful.

Mark and I went to a craft fair on Mother's Day. A local artist had a booth with folded-page books that were amazing. I didn't hesitate for a minute before I grabbed this one.
I have been in contact with her, and some time in June we will be doing a give-away on Instagram. You won't want to miss it!

Before they stopped by with flowers and a really nice card, these came to my phone. They make me smile.

We have been having so much rain in the valley lately. Last night was Levi's open house and choral concert. There was an absolutely gorgeous rainbow. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the whole thing.
In his fifth grade class, each student chooses a state to research. They also have to make some food item common in that state.

Levi chose Missouri.

And I'm telling you, this Missouri butter cake was scrumptious!
The choir concert was great as well.
This morning, Mark and I went out for breakfast, and on the way home passed this stunning bougainvillea.
I had to spend the entire afternoon waiting at home for the Geek Squad to come fix my computer, so I missed Levi's softball game. But Mark went.

I like this picture of his violin case and backpack, a nice combination of interests.
So that about sums up the last couple of weeks.

But I can't leave with a couple of funny things, right?

Haha, number 1. The night before I left for Yosemite, Mark and I were in the E.R. for about six hours with my father, for a check-up as he had fallen and struck his head (he is fine). I can't even remember how I found this picture, but it seemed appropriate for an E.R.

Haha, number 2. In Sunday's paper.
Hope your weekend is a good one.