Thursday, December 31, 2009

mom's birthday

We gathered in Iowa for my mother's birthday--we all made it and got photos of mom and dad with all 9 grandchildren.

Monday, December 28, 2009


In my grand search for ways to use the buttons salvaged from thrifted shirts, there were several examples of filled ornaments. I used the smaller 2 inch clear glass balls and my tiniest collar and cuff buttons, added a bit of lavender hem tape, and made these for my nieces and sisters and one for my neighbor.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

er nurses

Both Andy and I worked Christmas day. Andy talked with an Emergency Room nurse, and asked if things were chaotic there.
"No, Christmas is pretty orderly in the ER. We get the cardiac events after people eat a big dinner, followed by the renal cases who ate too much ham. Then a bit later, the overdoses from people who went out to spend their Christmas gift money."
Gotta love those ER nurses.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

nine patches quilt

A gift for my mother's new years eve birthday.
The nine patches are 3 inches finished, small squares 1 inch finished.

And, a wonderful cardinals backing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

a twelve year old decorates for Christmas

Tableau by Seth


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

rick rack

I love the tutorial by amandajean on how to make a zigzag quilt with rectangles.
I used 2 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch rectangles and used up a lot of recycled shirts.
It is small--I may try to quilt it myself.
I am working hospice on Thanksgiving--hope to come home to a house smelling like turkey--if not, we will go out for Chinese food and I will cook after class on Saturday.
Later:(Andy cooked!)

Friday, October 30, 2009

a roof over our heads

Final day--Day 45
Next time we have a roof tear-off:
-Ensure the dumpster is delivered before they take even a single shingle off. We hope the neighbors will be speaking to us again soon.
-Plan on it taking 5 times longer than expected.
-Plan on it costing 40% more money than expected.
-Do not assume plastic tarps will stay in place.
-Prepare for sleepless nights imagining raccoons and bats and human ne'er-do-wells entering the house through the open to the sky attic, especially should Andy be out of town for two weeks of the tear-off.
-Wonder why the 15 year old part of the roof failed while the 100 year old part was still in pretty good shape.
But also-Delight in opening the attic door and seeing Venus in the southern sky through the new dormer.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Blogger's Quilt Festival

My favorite quilt to sleep under this fall is this one I made from scraps of many thrifted shirts and Red Kona Cotton.
Make sure you check out the other quilts at the festival--what a talented blogisphere we live in!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

up on the roof

Roof tear-off began this morning. 0700. We will invite the neighbors over for a forgiveness pizza when it is complete.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

nine patch

Working on this nine patch, using the method on the Moda site.
I thought this was a lot of busy work for making the patches, but works well with the type of scraps I am plowing through. Also, with varying bits of time to work, it is a method that lends itself to easy pick up and stopping. I stay organized, an unlikely state for me in my usual disarray.
I am using 4 1/2 inch squares to start, ending with 3 inch finished nine patches.

Today was Eve's last first day of high school. A senior. She is recently back from visiting a bunch of really expensive schools out East.

Monday, September 07, 2009

another block party

The theme this year was a mix of speak-easy/untouchables in honor of the Johnny Depp movie about John Dillinger being filmed in our neighborhood. I still haven't seen the film, so I don't know if we actually made the final cut. Things start off by having candy thrown by a "Block Head" which used to be a kid with a box on his head, but has evolved in recent years to reflect the theme. We've had Elvis, a Pirate, Clowns, Olympians. This year it was this nefarious bunch of mopes.
Our block party has been held since 1955, one of the longest running in the city.

Our service project was the local food bank and my quilt brought in $321 plus about 2 dozen jars of peanut butter and jam.
I displayed quilts again off the porch.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Iraqi Bundles of Love
Here is my box for the Iraqi Bundles of Love. It is filled with some of my stuff plus much thread from the stash of a friend's mother.
How come everyone else's bundle on the website looks so pretty and mine looks like it just fell out of bed?

home again

This quilt, made in 2001, has hung in Andy's office for several years. He put up the one I gave him for his birthday and this one has come home.
It is fun to look at it again. I dyed all the fabrics for the top. My small quilt group gathered several times to dye fabric, and I was always pregnant or breastfeeding and couldn't participate. Finally, the stars aligned and I joined the fun.
We did direct wet application and I loved the resulting fabrics.
I chose a simple block to feature the fabrics and it was machine quilted by my friend Cissie Arvidson.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

princess and the pea

We are getting ready for the roofer to do a tear-off and dorm out our attic. This means my fabric has been bagged up and we are throwing out lots of stuff that wandered its way up there. I have laid out finished quilts on a bed, Princess and the Pea style. I need to cover them with plastic before the dust flies.
I also see that many of the quilts are not quite finished--binding missing, a corner loose for a label, sleeves flapping from not being sewn down.

I love this quilt--I tested the pattern for Debbie Bookman--it needs sleeve and label. I think I gave it to Seth a few years ago for Christmas. Maybe his memory is as bad as mine and I can finish it and give it again this year.
See how unhappy he was the first day of grade 6.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

public service announcement

Let me tell you about one of the hardest parts of being a hospice nurse.
If you are dying without advanced directives, and are no longer able to make your own decisions, all responsibility goes to your next of kin.
I have had to get signatures from 21 year old kids and 80 year old parents.
You do not want to put your children or parents through this.
Should they have input into decision making? Absolutely.
But to ask them to put their signature on a piece of paper breaks their hearts.
Find a sibling, friend, cousin, the mailman to do this and draw up advanced directives.

wayback machine

Since not much quilting is getting done around here I decided to show some from back in the day. My less than cooperative handlers do not like holding them straight.

This is one of my favorites--a Jacobs Ladder made with blocks swapped on QuiltNet, 1995.

Farmers Daughter, 1995, from a Country Threads book.

Road to Oklahoma, can't find a date on it, but from around the same time.

Sampler, also no date on it, but I well remember making it in 1997 during my pregnancy with Seth. I was very sick and did not get much sewing done, but this was offered as a mystery on the web and I could handle making the block or two every other week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

happy birthday, Beth

We celebrate my sister Beth's birthday. In this photograph you see what a lovely baby she was. Janna and I are wearing reversible houndstooth/grey wool flannel vests and skirts our mother made for us.
I think one reason I remember our clothes so well is I got to wear them through two sizes as mom made matching ones for the three of us. Beth got pretty tired of them after wearing them through three sizes!
Beth is a busy mother and wife, college instructor, and doctoral student in how to teach physics to 1st graders! I spent a day with her last week, watching her review her students' work.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Eve's travels

Eve is studying in China and this is the only photograph she has sent.
My parents and sister are just back from England.
In viewing their photographs, and this of Eve, I am pleased to report the Dykstra family is not, as one comedian said of Americans abroad, "dressed like they are ready to mow the lawn".

Sunday, July 05, 2009

orzo salad

Andy's favorite

1/4 cup mustard (use honey or brown or dijon)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup vinegar (use combination of balsamic and seasoned rice)
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Stir in:
1 small onion minced
1 big or two regular cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 regular can of chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 cup of frozen corn (use white super sweet if available)
1 regular can of small black olives, drained

While the above marinates, prepare:
1 napa cabbage chopped
1 pound orzo
Cook orzo, drain, do not rinse, toss hot with chopped cabbage to wilt it.

Pour marinated mixture over orzo and cabbage and toss.
Slice up 8-10 sundried tomatoes drained of oil and scatter on top.
Use lots of fresh ground black pepper.
Is best at room temperature.

This is the basic recipe. At times I add:
Roasted asparagus
Roasted peppers
Chopped fresh tomatoes

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

bound, labeled and sleeved

Not sure if anyone but a quilter would use sleeved as a past tense verb.
These quilts have been all but the three above for some time now.
The first is an improvisational piece. I loved making it, each section grew as the scraps around me took it in a new direction.
The second, much more rigid, is beautiful. It will be Andy's birthday present and will hang in his office, bringing home a quilt I have not seen for quite some time.
One of the frustrating realities of being a nurse is dealing with shifts being canceled or being on call. I am never able to totally relax in these situations as even if cancelled, they may call me in anyway, and being on call is setting aside time without knowing what will happen. Both of these are really difficult financially, too, as there is no pay for either.
Yesterday I was ready to take report when they sent me home, but said they might call me back. Binding was the perfect activity as it is busy work, productive, and not tasking. It is always good to have some of that type of work available.
Just this hour I got a call canceling me for this evening, but to stay close to the phone in case admissions come in.
I am not faulting my place of work--great staff, great mission, but this is the industry way of dealing with fluctuating patient census levels. There has got to be a better way.
Later: they called me back in, then sent me home after 5 hours.

The back of the second quilt (adapted from the Moda site) uses up the last of my Senegal chicken fabric. Love that stuff.

Monday, June 29, 2009

not plaids (well, there are a few)

Yes, I can use non plaid fabric. I have a nice collection of Japanese fabrics. We were in Tokyo in 1989 and I still have some I bought then at a department store. Paul was 15 months old, a beautiful blonde child who got me access to places regular tourists might not have gotten--a bride was choosing her wedding kimono and she let me sit and watch her being dressed.

I love the old Momen House prints of the late 1980s/early 90s. I would search quilt shops for the narrower boards that would hold these wonderful fabrics. I picked up a few Mrs. March/Lecien at the quilt expo here this March and decided to use all of these, plus a few American, French, and Italian taupe type fabrics and lots of shirt parts in Bonnie Hunter's Chunky Churndashes.

It is a great, simple pattern, reminds me of the Shinto lanterns or gates. I used a beige/blue vermicelli and a great tomato red/beige reproduction print that had been on my shelves for quite a while for the hour glass blocks.
And, I had the delight of meeting Bonnie in person at a meeting she lectured in Lake Bluff.