Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Family and the Familiar

The day came and went. My 61st birthday was Tuesday, and as my birthdays usually are, it was uneventful. Honestly, I'm happy because I readily remember last year at this time! That's when I knew I had breast cancer, but had not yet had my lumpectomy and lymph node biopsy to know how extensive the cancer was, and what kind of treatment I'd need. It's good to look back on the surgery and radiation, and expect a healthy future. I can't even complain about being on Arimidex for another four years/two months. As promised, ten months accumulation of the drug now brings on seven to eight intense "power surges" each day, and a marked inclination to gain weight - an obstacle which I am determined not to allow! Each morning I drink 14 ounces of fresh vegetable juice that helps, in many ways. So, if hot flashes and a rigid diet are the worst I have to contend with, I remain positive!

So, Tuesday morning saw me going to a morning line dance workout at Exercise in Disguise, and in the afternoon attending the weekly Bradenton Quilters. Hubs and I went out to dinner, a rare occurrence for us. And later in the evening, I happily accepted calls from each of our two children.

During the day, I received cards, text messages, and emails, too, and friends Deb and Carla sent thoughtful gifts - a fabric gift certificate (Terra Australis, I'm waiting for you to arrive in the US!); and a quilting idea book from Carla which will come in handy when I'm stumped for quilting design ideas.

The book was wrapped in a cute piece of fabric, an idea I'll have to file away for my own gift-giving. Thank you both for these gifts!

In "I'm a proud mom" news, our daughter Jill has been named - and is being honored tonight! - as one of Kansas City's 2014 Most Influential Business Women! Read about it here.

We are both terribly proud of her achievements, not only for her business start-up, and student-peer education program (ReBEl), but for doing such a great job of being a wife, mom of three children, and a wonderful, thoughtful daughter. I just can't express how much we admire what she does.

Our lives aren't nearly as exciting, though that's not a bad thing.

Last Thursday I did a little teaching - an all day free motion quilting workshop with 16 women. It was a pleasure to share FMQ with them - and, to see improvement, encourage, encourage, encourage them to continue quilting.

Writing their name is a good way to begin, and students are always happy when it's legible!

This time, I also suggested that they date their first practice piece, and keep it for comparison later on.

When I'm not home in my sewing room, like when I go to Bradenton Quilters or Happy Stitchers, my portable project continues to be the EPP Flower Ball. I'm still basting fabric to 189 papers!

As time permits, I'm replacing pillows on the living room sofa and love seat. The four 20" pillows that came with the furniture coordinate too nicely. And, I was disappointed to zip open the commercially made pillows and see loose fiberfill on the inside. Not even a pillow insert! So, I'm remaking them by sewing a muslin pillow insert cover, stuffing each with the old pillow stuffing, and making a new pillow cover.

This weekend, when a JHittleSewing order arrived (it's where I get Aurifil thread) and 18-inch white zippers were in it, I finished two-sided pillow number two.

I used Carla's Liberated Cross tutorial to make eight blocks.

Because I like that center block fabric, and could fussy cut it, I sewed set-in seams to make it the focal point. Quilting is a series of double arcs. All four pillows - when I finish them - will have the same decorative corded edge I sewed with Laura Gunn's Painter's Canvas, in spice.

A new quilt is in the works, so I'm playing for the first time with my Quick Curve Ruler. Instead of buying a pattern, I am making rectangle-shaped blocks as instructed on the flyer that came wrapped with the ruler.

Since each rectangle shape finishes at only 3-1/2" X 7", it's taking a lot of cutting, sewing, and trimming to get the quantity needed for a decent sized quilt.

To make the quilt scrappy, yet within a group of specific colors, I cut into more than 100 different stashed prints to come up with the 160 rectangles needed. The solid curves are cut from Kona Snow.

So, if you're looking for me, I'll be in my sewing room. Or, I might be admiring the latest photo pinged in on my Iphone. Our Texas baby, the adorable Luke (John) - or LJ, as some family members are now calling him - is ten weeks old. It's the face of sweet innocence, isn't it? Linda


  1. What a gorgeous girl you have! And so clever. It must be in the genes.
    My 61st was just last month! 1953 was a good year.
    Your new grandson is such a cutie too.
    Happy birthday and happy sewing too!

  2. Lots to smile about here, but darling Luke is just the best! You have every right to be proud of your beautiful and talented daughter! Happy memories of your 61st, and here's to many, many more!

  3. I'm glad you had a happy birthday. I read the article on Jill a while back. It's a great story and I understand why you are so proud of her accomplishments. Love the quilt, but the best part of the post is Luke John. He is adorable and looks so comfortable and content with his world.

  4. Happy Birthday! So glad you are feeling well and wish you many more happy days.
    Your daughter sounds like an extraordinary woman!How wonderful. Your grandson is adorable and I want to squish those little cheeks.
    I love your idea for your pillows, wow they are so much better than the matchy matchy ones!

  5. Wow - that really is exciting about your daughter - congratulations to Jill. I'm so glad this is a good birthday for you! What a great place to be now, after last year's trials. How strange that the furniture company would put out the expense of zippers but keep the filling loose like that!

  6. Belated wishes!! LJ is adorable. And I ordered a QCR, should be here in a few days. Happy Birthday to me :).

  7. Happy Happy Birthday Linda!!! You're always so very busy. Congrats to your daughter and hugs for that sweet little guy.

  8. A delightful post : ) your quilting always leaves me in awe. That BABY! So precious

  9. It seems that congratulations are in order on several fronts! Happy belated Birthday and also congratulations on your fabulous daughter as well as your cute little grand son.

  10. Happy Birthday, Linda!! You have so many blessings!

  11. You sure packed your day full of activities. Happy birthday! Your beautiful family, your quilting, your return to health and vibrancy- it's been a year of blessings! Your positive attitude show in all you do.

  12. Happy birthday to you - 60s are good I'm there too. Love the cushions, I have been making easy quick ones for my new place too. And best of all Linda I am going to be a grandparent in late September. We head over to visit end April so that will be an exciting time to see them both. Glad you are well.

  13. Belated Happy Birthday Linda. Ahh March was a good month:-) You are so prolific I don't know where to start. Lovely cushions, dear wee Gson, curved pieced blocks are great. How proud you must be of your daughter. An amazing young woman by the sound of it.
    And to top it all off, you are well and healthy again.

  14. Happy Belated Birthday wishes and what a little cutie Luke is and already 10 weeks old. You are such a busy lady how I envy you.
    Also congrats to your lovely daughter I am sure she learned her lessons well from her Mom.
    Blessings for many more healthy birthdays. Sandra

  15. What a fun post....lots to look at, especially that cute little guy in the last photo!! Do you feel older today? LOL

  16. Happy belated birthday Linda - it sounds as if you had a wonderful day. And congratulations to your daughter for such a wonderful accomplishment. I love your new vibrant and colorful! Baby pictures always make me smile and immediately sad since my kids won't be having any more kids. :) However, I do have one grandson who got married last summer and one who is getting married this summer so there's hope for great-grands! I've recently signed up for Twitter and am looking for some quilters to follow. I believe you told me you were on there...would you send me your name please? And any others you would recommend? Thanks and blessings, marlene

  17. What wonderful family news. Congratulations on being related to your daughter. Great genes in your family. LJ is just getting sweeter by the photo.

  18. Happy Birthday to one of the loveliest women on the planet, and in the quilting world. I am so glad that you are past the diagnosis, the stents, the topsy-turvy world that such diagnoses can generate. I loved seeing your FMQ class, hearing about your line dancing, your illustrious daughter and that cute baby! Your life is full and blessed. Happy, happy.


  19. Linda, LJ is simply adorable! Congratulations on the addition to your family. Now to the colors and arrangement are eye popping. ...Lynda D.

  20. Luke is so cute.
    That is so awesome about your daughter. Congrats to you both, a little late.

  21. I can't believe how productive and creative you've been, Linda! You and Jill are two of a kind, women of action. Well done for pressing on with that improv quilt (can you guess improv is not for me?). LJ sure is a sweetie :-)


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