Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Upward and Onward....

It's about time! Finally, I'm getting around to another post. Last week was spent traveling and teaching in Keller, Texas. I managed the drive in good shape, but it rained and rained and rained on me in Texas. It soon became evident that there was a leak around my new windshield when I began to smell something really funky in my car. And then I noticed that the floor on the driver's side was quite wet. After sopping up what moisture I could, I took the floor mat into my hotel room and hung it out to dry over the room heater, and bought some carpet deoderizer for the car's floor. Believe me, the glass installer got the car back as soon as I could get it there when I arrived home. The leak was found, and I'm hoping it is actually fixed. In the meantime, do you have any suggestions for permanently removing the odor from my car? Before I left on this most recent trip, I finished 3 quilt tops in one week! I think that has to be some kind of record for me, but of course, they were all in process before I added the borders, etc. The first one was the postage stamp quilt top I'd blogged about earlier. It is really, really cheery, and I loved it when I laid it out on my bed to admire it, and the sunshine coming in the window made it seem to glow. (The photo here doesn't do it justice.) I know you're going to ask so here it is: There are a total of 5,880 individual 1" squares in this quilt top. It is designed to fit a queen-sized bed exactly with the black borders just hanging over the edge of the bed. I already have plans to make coordinating pillow shams for the quilt. There will be a second postage stamp quilt soon. Remember this design? It will be the first quilt top's sister: The second quilt is the Star and Leaf quilt (AKA Star Crystal), that I also blogged about earlier this year. Setting this one together proved to be a huge challenge. Lots and lots of Y seams, and places where 10 or more seams met gave me hours and hours of thinking through the process, and experimenting until I found a way to put it together in a satisfactory manner. This photo doesn't show the narrow inner border and wider white outer borders, but you can get the idea. Now, I'm struggling with quilting ideas. This one deserves trapunto, and lots and lots of nice quilting, don't you think? The third one was a brand new quilt top. Made from two different sizes of squares, stitching it together was really simple. The thing I most like about this one is the really bright, solid colors. This photo was taken during the design process, and was taken before the top was even sewn together. It does not show the all-white borders. Once again, with all the solid colors, and the large outer border, this one will also need elaborate quilting to make it really special. Can you tell how much fun I'm having with solids in really brilliant colors? The rest of this week, I've got to finish getting teaching samples and quilts plus my wardrobe ready for the East Coast Quilter's Alliance's A Quilter's Gathering. First, I'll fly to Philadelphia for a few days with my son Kelly. We'll be going to Lancaster County to the People's Place Quilt Museum on Saturday, passing out candy Saturday evening, the Art Museum on Sunday, and a bit of relaxing on Monday and Tuesday before flying to New Hampshire. This is my last teaching trip for the year, and I'm so looking forward to relaxing at home for the holidays and for the next couple of months.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Feeling better and better and Apple Crisp recipe

I'm so happy to report that the newest round of meds are working, at least from my point of view. I've been happily playing in my studio for a couple of days, and even managed to cook a meal or two. It was very cold, and even snowed a bit yesterday morning, so it is now officially baking weather. I made the very best apple crisp yesterday I've ever made, and have had a request of two for my recipe. Well, I don't really use recipes. I kind of make things up as I go. It's a little like how I make quilts. Whatever looks good at the time usually is what I do. Anyway, I thought I'd try to write down what I did so that I can repeat it, it was that good. Here's my somewhat of a recipe: Elsie's Pretty Good Apple Crisp (It ain't pretty, but it sure is good!) 3 apples, cored and sliced as for pie (I used Gala, it's what I had in the bottom of the frig, and I did NOT peel them. We need the fiber, and I need the extra time I saved, but you may peel them if you'd like.) Put the apples in a 9" x 9" baking pan in a single layer. Add about a half cup of granulated sugar (more or less, depending on your taste) and sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of cinnamon. Toss the apple mixture around a bit to distribute the sugar and cinnamon. For the topping: 1 cup, more or less, quick cooking oats 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 T. flour 1/4 cup or so, chopped pecans 1/3 cup butter or butter substitute (I used Smart Balance Omega 3 margarine. Need those healthy fats and oils) Thoroughly mix together these ingredients until crumbly. (I usually end up using my hands.) Evenly distribute this topping over the apple mixture. Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes or until topping is browned, and apples are bubbly. Serve warm. (With ice cream, if you'd like. Mine didn't make it that far. We ate it straight out of the oven. There's only a single serving left in the pan this morning after I had a piece for breakfast, it was that good.) Makes about 9 small servings or 6 generous ones. Enjoy!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Another new experience...

I've got some new acronyms to add to my vocabulary, but they are not quilt related, and they are not nice! My second cataract surgery was scheduled to take place Wednesday this past week, but while waiting in line for the anesthetist, something strange happened. At first, it felt like the anesthetic drops placed in my left eye were migrating to my right eye. The nurse said that was impossible. Then the entire right side of my face went numb, I got light headed, and nauseous. I told them I was having some kind of allergic reaction. The anesthetist took one look at me and hollered at someone to call the EMT's. When he asked me to smile repeatedly, it finally dawned on me what he was looking for. He thought I was having a stroke! I remember saying, "Is this what a stroke feels like?" By that time, I realized my right hand was feeling a little like jello. I had no pain, and no other sensation other than numbness. Since I was next in line for surgery, the eye surgeon came out of the OR, told the nurse to tell the EMT's it was a possible CVA (I made mental note of it. New acronym. I had no idea and had to look it up on the internet later...Cerebral Vascular Accident!) My blood pressure was 200/107. Major stroke territory. I was so very glad I was in a medical facility when this happened. Oxygen, and IV were immediately administered by the anesthetist who first recognized my symptoms. To make a long story short, by the time I arrived at the hospital, things began to stabilize, BP still too high, but symptoms were subsiding. After a CT scan, carotid artery ultrasound, EKG, and blood work, I was diagnosed as having had a TIA (The second new acronym: Transient Ischemic Attack) Soon, Ken arrived, and the ER doc sent me home with lots of new prescriptions, and instructions to see my family physician. My next task (after seeing my GP) was to research all this stuff. TIA is very serious, and can be a precursor of major stroke. It is ALWAYS to be treated as a medical emergency because only a CT scan can tell the difference for sure. I'm now monitoring my blood pressure, and going in for a bunch more tests over the course of the next week to try to determine the underlying cause. Thank you, God, for looking after me. I'm so thankful that I was in the Eye Surgery Center when this happened. Even though my anxiety about the surgery may have exacerbated or accelerated the TIA, it has also called attention to something that was pre-existing, and now I can start intervention before anything BIG happens. (And had I been home when this happened, I may not have recognized the fleeting symptoms. I may only have thought of it as a fainting spell and probably wouldn't have called 911.) This was a blessing in disguise, but now I have to bring a doctor's note giving his permission for me to have the second cataract removed. Kind of like going back to school.