Monday, December 16, 2013

A little apology & wish for a Happy Holiday

First the apology:  I'm so sorry that I've neglected this blog post.  It was never my intent to let life interfere with my conversations with readers and expression of ideas.  Every one has an excuse for not doing something but I won't bore you with mine.

June-December 2013
  • I started a new job in my field of expertise and have been busier than a one armed paper hanger.  So much thought has gone into the Affordable Care Act and the health exchange.  It was a little disappointing to see the Federal government so far behind but the state rules have not relented.  Great project and I hope that everyone who doesn't have basic health insurance apply for either Health insurance or Tax credits to purchase insurance.
  • In August, It was my great pleasure to attend the AQS national quilt show in Grand Rapids, MI.  I saw simply marvelous quilts and marvel at the creativity/execution that was needed to make such truly pieces of art.  The Quiltmakers of Cairo were there with an exhibit and demo.  Interesting to watch the process.  And of course, there was an exhibit of Libby Lehman's work and raffle to help offset some of her medical expenses.
  • In November, a friend and I went to Great Falls, VA to attend a northern Virginia and southern Maryland shop hop.  Of course, we started and ended at Jinny Beyer's quilt shop.  It was great to see so many products up close and personal and have a few minutes to chat with Jinny.  She has been one of my favorite fabric designers for several years and I have several of her books.  I even got one autographed!
  • Christmas season is upon us and I am so excited to share this special time of year with family and friends.  Grandchildren are just the frosting on my cake and I'll  have all four together this year.  I am very thankful.
I was reading a blog from one of the companies that I regularly buy from and wanted to share it with you.    I agree with this article 200%.  Take time and be thankful for all the people in your life but give thanks to Christ most of all.

Christmastime can be an exciting time.  The music, the lights, and the children's excitement all create a feeling of joy.  If we invite it, the spirit of love, kindness, and tender forgiveness fills our hearts.  Christmas has a way of encouraging us to become better people.  At work, we discuss many business books, self improvement books, and motivational books.  I remember a conversation I had with a colleague a while back. I asked, “What books do you read for self improvement and motivation?”  His reply was, “The Scriptures.”  I have never forgotten that.  There is no better source from which to learn.  All the problems in the world would be solved if we lived by the two great commandments recorded in Matthew 22:36-39.
36   Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38  This is the first and great commandment.
39  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

More specific detail is provided in the Ten Commandments, contained in the Old Testament, scripture that is shared by many of the world’s religions.  Such simple statements, packed with truth, offer peace, happiness, and real solutions if only we would obey.
I have sometimes wondered which commandment is the most important to me, right now.  My answer has changed over time and I have realized the most important commandment to me is the one I’m struggling with at that particular time.

At this Christmastime, let’s show our gratitude by trying to love our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ, with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.  As we do this, loving those around us will become easier.  God has given us the gift of His Son, who gave the world light, knowledge, truth, hope, love, and a perfect example.  It is in Him we place our faith, believing His words as we go through life.
The only gifts we can give back to our Heavenly Father and his Son are hearts full of gratitude and our willingness and effort to do better and to obey.  The gifts we can give to those around us are friendship, love, kind words, forgiveness, and help.  As we do this, we experience real joy and that joy increases as we try to do our best each day.  Nothing lifts our spirits more than doing something to help a person in need.  These are the times we feel close to God because we are assisting Him in His work.  May the comforting spirit of Christmas burn within our hearts and continue throughout the new year.
Merry Christmas from Bob and Heather Purcell

This is the link to the newsletter itself:

From my family to all of you, Merry Christ-mas.  Let the threads bind us together be stronger and more supportive in the new year.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May is Arthritis Month!

You probably know someone with a form of arthritis and may not even know it.  A lot of people with arthritis don't look outwardly sick or "challenged" in any way.  Note:  we're not all disabled, we just have different things to over come daily.

To many, the perception is Grandma or Grandpa with enlarged finger joints or someone using a cane.  I have a cane, actually three, and a walking stick, a walker and crutches.  My goal every day is not to use any of them.  And I'm a grandmother.  I was diagnosed with moderate to severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis about seven years ago not long after I turned 50.  I've had the osteoarthritis in my knee since I was 16 caused by an auto accident.  One invasive surgery, 9 "scopes" and a complete knee replacement have enabled me to regain greater functioning in the knee and in life.

I am the face of arthritis.  It takes me about 45-60 minutes every day to start to function "normally".  My hands hurt and I have to exercise them to make them open and close.  My feet and ankles refuse to bend allowing me to walk "normally".  Shoulders ache so lifting and reaching is out of the question.  Exercising and medicine are my best friends.  Pain is omnipresent but controllable using meditation, exercise and medication.

The list of medications taken during this last seven years is long:  Plaquenil, Methotrexate, Humira, Enbrel, Cimzia, Mobic, prednisone and Orencia.  Unfortunately it seems that combinations of drugs eventually quit working and/or the body becomes immune to them.  The next group of drugs are infusions and generally require time in the doctor's office to have them.  A good discussion of the different classes of drugs is here:

A suggestion to help your friends or family with arthritis, do a random act of kindness.  Help bring in a bag of groceries, weed  a flower bed, mow a yard, move stuff to lower shelves in a cabinet or pantry, or just hand them a hot drink to cup their hands about and chat.  You'll make a difference this month for that person.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Barn Quilts

The first weekend in April, my husband Rich and grandson Caleb and I, went to Lexington, KY for Rich's brother Phil's birthday.  Nice weather in KY.  Rich and Caleb played 18 holes of golf in bright blue skys and high sixties weather.

My sister-in-law Peg had picked up a brochure called "Buffalo Gals Barn Quilt Trail" and suggested we go on an adventure.  Quilt blocks were hanging from beautiful barns throughout the hilly country side.  Now in KY, most of the barns are horse barns and a lovely shade of charcoal or black.  The brochure gave a web site where we downloaded the addresses and map of the trail.  Now to be honest, we did not get to all 142 listed properties and we did see some that were not on the list.

Here are some of my favorites:

A gorgeous Ohio star done in red and black on a black barn.  Love the red border that just makes it pop.  This is an 8'x8' painted block.

Another 8'x8' block handing on the barn. 

From left to right these blocks were called winter (snowflake), spring (bird), summer (flowers) and fall (pumpkin).  Each painted block was 4'x4'.  This was one of the few white painted barns we saw.
 Each of the following are 4'x4' blocks.  They were listed as Radiant Star, Arrowhead, Rally Round and Double Wedding Ring. 
 The following three blocks were displayed on the wall of the local Pharmacy in Stamping Ground, KY.  The first is a variation on the Friendship Star block, the second is the Labyrinth block, and the third is another variation of the Friendship block.  All were 4'x4'.

Another favorite of mine.  I love the way that the American flag is portrayed in this block.  The Ohio star on blue and then the mitered stripes.  I may have to make this block soon.  This is an 8'x8' block.

This last barn has a Carpenter's wheel or Summer's block on it.  I've always liked this block and want to put it on our big red barn to honor my Builder husband and his carpenter great grandfather who built the barn and the house.  Isn't is lovely in the red, white, navy, and yellow?

Before I get comments on the names of the blocks, I shared with you the names that were listed in the brochure and on the maps.  Some of the names I would think they are different but again, I didn't name any of the blocks.  I enjoyed the view and ability to take pictures of so many.

Beautiful day and a great way to spend together looking for the hidden treasures on the barns.  I hope you can go sometime to find a barn trail/tour.  They are so much fun.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Florida Pillows

Another UFO that needed to be finished before I had carpal tunnel surgery on my dominant hand.  My daughter, son-in-law and family are Florida fans and have decorated their family room with Florida memorabilia, pennants and gator themed stuff.  It was only fitting that the pillows for the sofa be made with Gator fabrics.

Both pillows are the same.  I added some backing to the tops to let them be washed often and a zipper for easy insertion and removal of the pillow forms.  My daughter has two children under three and a nine year old.  Pillows get tossed about quite a bit and need washing from time to time.

Sunday, March 10, 2013