Long Time No Blog! Update on Life and Quilting

Update on Life:  The month of September and most of October has come and gone and to me it is still too hot.  During this time, Clay and I caught the upper respiratory bug in September, which slowed us down to a crawl.  We were originally scheduled to go to Durant for 2 weeks in August but rescheduled due to the hot weather for September and then the September trip was rescheduled for the month of October.  We were able to leave on the 2nd of October as scheduled and stayed at the Choctaw Casino KOA.  Plans were to stay the entire month, but about 14 days into the trip we decided to come home.  We had a great time going to the Casino (almost everyday) winning and some losing, but it was all fun and so relaxing.

For the past 17 years (since retirement) we have traveled in our “home away from home” travel trailers.  We started in 2000 with a 26′ pull trailer, migrated to a 30′ pull, and then in 2004 we purchased a great 36′ fifth wheel along with a great one ton truck to pull it with.  We have spent 3 to 4 months in Arizona during the winter each year, but the last year we realized that those trips were becoming more of a chore than fun.  So during this last excursion we made a decision to sell the rig and purchase a new truck or Navigator and just pack up whenever and travel with less work and more fun!  We had to laugh when we realized that in 3 or 4 years at the age of 75 or 76 we would be nuts to do what we have to do in order to just arrive at the point where we can drive out the gate!  Amazing how the mind thinks young, but the body says something else!  LOL

Fabric Shopping: When I planned this trip there were 2 quilt stores that I wanted to visit,  HNT Quilt Store in Durant and Happiness is Quilting in McKinney Texas.  Well, HNT has closed their doors and the trip to McKinny (about a 3 hour round trip drive from Durant) really turned into a bummer and wasted day.    I will not bore you with the fun details, but that trip ended up driving a total of 3 hours without even finding the store, or if I could have, it would have been impossible to find a place to park a one ton Dually truck in the old Historic District of McKinney where “somewhere” there is a quilt store called Happiness is Quilting. After that lovely mess, even Clay was ready to hit the Casino to try to forget the horrible experience.  Quilt stores really need to wake up and realize that some customers do not live in their town and need accurate directions.  So it was their loss and my frustration!

Quilting Burnout Resolved:  During the summer months, I was really experiencing some major quilting burnout and just not sure what I wanted to do with my hobby.  It is amazing what a change of scenery and time away from the “same ‘ole thing” day in and day out can do for a person.  Time to reflect and to think about the remaining years on this earth and how to spend them.  One of my answers came when my Kay (my cousin) called one afternoon while we were in Durant, trying to find one of our great Aunts on our Smith/Harrison side of the family.  This was all it took to kick-start me back to one of the things that I love dearly – researching.  Talk about clearing out the cobwebs in the brain – working on family history is so rewarding, inspiring, and for me RELAXING.  I will  set time aside to work on finishing the family genealogy and attempt to document all history for the Cook and Chopin line.

Speaking of Kay she is more of a sister to me than a cousin and will be going in for open heart surgery next Tuesday.  I am praying for her and just know that she will feel so much better when this ordeal is over.  She is such a sweet and caring person and has been special to me all of my life and always there for me, I love her dearly.  She and her husband have raised such a beautiful family and she is the love of their lives.  So Blessed.

Project Updates:  OK – now on to where I left off on my projects.  I believe my last post showed fabrics that I had purchased for Rowdy Flats Library quilt by Susan Smith.  I purchased some wonderful fabrics from B & B Quilt Store in Buda, Texas on the way home from the Austin Quilt Show in September.  My quilting buddy Jan and I left them with some $ and we came home with the perfect fabrics for our quilt projects.  They have a wonderful selection of Civil War prints that I have found in a while.  At the time I was trying to hold off and purchase from Happiness, but am so glad that I bought all those lovely fabrics when I did.

Grammy Squares have been placed in a permanent “never to be seen again” file called Trash Can.  I have never ditched my work in the trash, but I really made a mistake when I did not use a black background for the squares!  It was not going in a good direction and I knew I would never ever finish that project.  WHAT A RELIEF.  I will make the quilt, but will use different fabrics (probably batiks) and a black background to showcase the fabrics!  I have finished more of my mini Dresden Plates, but am now cutting out more and will showcase those at a later date.  I finally finished Block 5 of Bountiful Life in September and have kept up with Circa 2016 until the middle of September.  The final setting was provided on 7 October.  I believe I have 9 blocks to make along with 120 HSTs to make for the border.  I will post a picture of the quilt when I have finished it.  I have really enjoyed working this project and hope to have it finished in the next month!   Ms Potts summer blocks are completed but have not worked on the block for September or October.  I have completed the “replacement” for Block 20.


Block 5, A Bountiful Life


Block 20 – Ms Potts Quilt (BAS Project)

I thought it would be nice to put the finished blocks on the design wall to see how my colors were blending.  I am pleased.


Ms Potts Quilt – 9 Blocks completed

Leaving on a Positive Note:  I have really missed blogging, but this break in my “routine rut” has really lifted my mood and spirits.  Thursday was a day that provided me with 4 positive changes in my life.  Positive Number 1 was the trip to the Dermatologist which confirmed that my stress level has been too high this summer – my Rosacea is off the charts.  (Amazing what stress does to a body).  This was good news for me better than a pre-cancerous issue.  Positive Number 2 was  the decision to devote time to Genealogy research for the Cook and Chopin families will provide me the mental challenge I have been looking for (better than getting a part-time job – LOL)  and will probably settle me down stress wise.  Positive Number 3 for Thursday was taking time to  check out a yarn store in San Antonio called Yarnivore.  What a wonderful yarn shop, with personality plus and teaching classes/lessons available that will fit my schedule.  Positive Number 4– I had placed an ad in the local paper looking for quilters in the area that would be interested in joining a Quilting Bee while in Durant.   When one lives in the country it can be exciting to find someone who shares your interest.  As we arrived home from San Antonio, I received a call from a lady (Dorothy) who was very excited and interested in a Quilting Bee.  We plan on getting together in November and hope to find a few other ladies that would like to join us.   Sometimes we just have to “getaway” from home to really clean out the clutter in the mind and develop a new perspective on life.   Maybe the last 2 years are finally behind me.

I think I have mentioned in a previous blog as to what I do if a Black Cat crosses my path – I turn around and go the other way – Thursday morning as Clay was locking the gate, my neighbor’s black cat did just that, and I did exactly what I usually do, I turned around and left our subdivision the opposite way – and look at the good luck I had all in one day – of course Clay thinks I am nuts and always has a good laugh on me, but that is fine.  I am convinced that turning around did it for me!  LOL

Have a blessed day and if you have not voted, please remember that it is an honor to be able to participate in the election process.  ME – I am in the Basket of Deplorables!!!!!!


Rowdy Flats Library Quilt and Betsy’s Basket Fabric


Happy Friday!  We are still enjoying the lovely hot and humid weather.  But no complaints because we have received 30″ of rain on our hill this summer and the majority of it was in August.   Our planned trip to Choctaw Casino has now been delayed until October!  Life’s unforeseen requirements have gotten in the way – darn it!   But there is always a reason for everything good or bad, so we just go on.  At least it will be cooler in October (fingers crossed).

Last week I was searching for toille fabric for the Rowdy Flat Library Quilt.  I had found a very nice piece on Etsy, but waited too long to make the purchase.  One of the Blogs I follow was talking about some fabric from Robert Kaufman called Betsy’s Basket by Darlene Zimmerman.

This fabric has a very nice toille in red, navy, and blue denim.  I found a fat quarter bundle on Etsy, some of the darker blues at the Fat Quarter Shop, and the shirting and red toille at Hancocks of Paducah.  Thought you might like to see the nice colorways.  I think that with this stash and what I already have on hand it will make a nice Rowdy Flats Quilt.  This will be a 2017 project.






It has been a “no quilting/sewing” week for me.   It is going to be a “slow quilting/sewing” week-end.  Have a great week-end and happy stitching and quilting!


Grammy Squares, Circa 2016, Ms Potts, and Dresden Heaven!!!! The fun things in life!

I cannot believe that it is the end of August and we are not in the 100’s anymore!  This summer we have had 20 inches of rain here on our quiet little hill.  The 100’s appear to be a thing of the past now and I can live with the 90’s and decent humidity!   I am so ready for Fall, end of Daylight Savings TIme and a cold winter that would bring us some snow.  It has been almost 30 years since we had 16 inches of snow in the San Antonio area!  Maybe this year we will have a “real” winter!

I have been working on my Grammy Squares.  They are fun to make and I have the process down pat now!  I have pre-cut some of my strips but not all.  I had so much fabric out on the cutting table and was going to cut the strips as I needed them, but I could not take the “mess” so I have about 12 blocks (strips) ready to sew and the fabric is back in the drawer until I need more strips.   I am trying to use up the Summer of Baskets fabric by Moda.  There are 2 or 3 of the squares that may not make it in the quilt as the contracts in color did not work as well as I would like.  But that decision will not have to be made for a while!

Grammy Squares - Aug

Grammy Squares

Here are a few of the blocks close up!  The first one may be a candidate for “not in this quilt”…. I think I messed up when I used the light green for the first round, and the last picture shows a very dark block.  Maybe I will make a pillow top with them!

Grammy 3Grammy 1


Grammy 4

I am caught up with Circa 2016 (well OK – I have not done the ones for the 26th of August).  I hated to waste the 2 extra blocks, so will see if I can use them in the quilt.
Circa 2016 Blocks2


Circa 2016 Blocks

I am caught up with Ms Potts blocks.  I love the way Blocks 17 and 13 turned out, but when it came to Block 20, I gave up!  I tried 3 times to do the stars, EPP, making a whole star (not piecing) with a red batik, and then back to EPP!  I gave up – and so I am going to make Block 20 with a bias circle and the 4 flowers on it!  May throw in a few leaves, but not the Stars!  When it takes me a month to finish a simple block that turns into a nightmare, I am out of there!

Ms Potts Block 17

Ms Potts Block 17

Ms Potts Block 13

Ms Potts Block 13

Ms Potts Block 20 (replacement)

Ms Potts Block 20 (replacement)

And now – Dresden Heaven.  I enjoy making these little Dresden plates – so much fun!  I have this one down pat also.  Today I had hoped to make another 20, but all I was able to achieve was to have them ready to put together!  Oh well, tomorrow is another sew day!

Tiny Dresden Plates

I have no idea where I am going on this one, other than to just make them.  I may just make the quilt with the small ones, then again if I end up with too many of the same color I can make 2 quilts!  I just am enjoying making them.

Have a great week – getaway is just around the corner for us so my machine stitching will probably come to an end for a while after Tuesday.

A Special Post – All about Histamines, Tyramines, and Food Intolerances

This Post is about how my summer has gone with my food intolerance’s – maybe someone else can learn from my experiences.   I have made some progress on my projects, albeit a little slow due to having bad days.  But such is when one is changing things in their lives – like quitting a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI i.e Aciphex) and dealing with rebound reflux that I never had before I took the darn things for 13 years and before that 10 years on Zantac 150.  WOW withdrawal from these can do a number on one’s body, but I am just about through the process of the rebound from the Aciphex to quit (3 months now).  NOW I have been reducing the amount of Zantac 150!  Where was I in 2010 when everyone else found out about the side effects of taking this medication so long – guess I was having too much fun.  The internet has been a tremendous aid for me in figuring out that I really do not need all of this medication!!!!! – NOT MY DOCTORS!

Most of my issues are food intolerance’s – that is the issue that can cause the acid reflux for me.   I had an extensive “food allergy blood test” in 2011.  All that did for me was to show which foods I should not eat.  OK – worked on that one for a few years, but I never understood why my blood test showed a problem with eating those foods.  About a month ago I started baking my french fries with Parmesan grated cheese – BOY WERE THEY EVER DELICIOUS and I had a serving everyday for 3 weeks! Then my eyes started giving me issues, like blurry vision, red and dark circles, and the horrible itching.  I figured it was the lovely African Dust!  WRONG.  Through researching my symptoms on the “net” I realized  that I have food allergies/intolerance  to foods that have “histamines” and “tyramine” in them.  NOW, this is the answer as to why there are so many foods I cannot tolerate, and why I start itching when I eat something with nitrates or nitrites, or when I get a migraine with MSG, etc.   Why don’t doctors tell the patient about the “root” cause?  This would have saved me 6 years of the 23 years I have been trying to understand why my food list is so limited!  I found out that Parmesan grated AND egg whites AND my chocolate kisses are three (3)  of the foods with the highest counts in histamines and maybe tyramine!  These were 3 main staples of my “Limited Diet” –  (Chicken breast (organic), Lay’s Lightly Salted potato chips, Almond Breeze drink, E-nerG yeast free bread, potatoes (buttery only), eggs (3 to 4 a day), and Follow Your Heart Veganease (no dairy, eggs, soy, gluten) and for a treat Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses.   I still can have potatoes and eggs but only the yolk!

Through my research I discovered that unbleached flour and egg yolks do not have histamines.  I was convinced I could make some cookies (the cake flopped) and be safe because unbleached flour and egg yolks do not have histamines or tyramine!   I forgot to mention that I am also Celiac (no wheat or gluten, etc)  and the gluten free flour is made with corn and I cannot do corn, so I decided to give the flour one more test!!!  Boy those peanut butter cookies were so darn good and of course I indulged in those puppies for 2 days straight!

The outcome of that fun trip was to have a wonderful night of Vertigo  (Meniere’s) and the next day a great Migraine (Meniere’s) and lovely Fibromyalgia flareup!   BECAUSE people who have Fibromyalgia and Meniere’s have to stay on a strict low sodium and low sugar diet!  Otherwise, you will be the recipient of Vertigo (Meniere’s) and a Migraine and the Fibromyalgia will go in to high gear!

When this happens, I do not have the energy level, nor the desire to do anything.  This is just not me!  So I am back to my limited diet, happy that maybe in the next 2 months or so the rebound reflux will go away and I can manage with Gaviscon or some Tums.  Anything but an acid blocker (Zantac) or a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI)!  So far I have reduced the amount of Zantac from 2 a day to 1 a day and now I have made it 48 hours without one.  I learned the hard way – one cannot go cold turkey on getting off Aciphex or Zantac.  This time I am weaning myself off of Zantac 150’s slowly.  Maybe I have learned something this summer.  Now to try to use all the will power in my being and not stray from my “cheap date diet”

I think I have now vented and feel so much better, especially if you made it all the way through this “special post”!

Have a great day!   Next Post coming up – Grammy Squares, Circa 2016, Ms Potts, and Dresden Heaven!!!!  The fun things in life!


Here Comes Grammy

After much contemplation, I decided to make the Grammy Squares from Sew’n Wild Oaks.  I felt so guilty about putting it aside (LOL) that I decided to make one block to see if I wanted to REALLY do this!


The block measures 6 1/4″.   The fabric is from a Moda line fat quarter pack from 2010.  Then a year or so ago I made a Happy Scrappy quilt  with Rosemary Youngs.  I changed mine around from her pattern thinking I would use a lot of fabric and ordered more of the fabric.  It is absolutely amazing how little fabric goes into a quilt when making it scrappy!  Here are the fabrics I am going to use.

imageand more ….


This bundle is not very well organized so I will do that tomorrow before I start cutting fabric.   My plan is to cut out 10 blocks for Grammy Squares and sew them along with my Dresden Heaven.  This way I will not become bored!!!

I will now have projects ready to work on while I load a quilt on the long arm and when I get tired, I can go the sewing machine and work on these 2 projects.  Happiness is being NUTS, but I seem to be having fun and excited that I have so many choices, quilting, piecing quits, and working on my applique at night!

What more could a quilter want?  (30 years to make all the quilts that are waiting in the wings). Have a great evening.

Starting My Dresden Heaven Project

Today I am taking some time out of cutting and sewing to show the process I am following to make Dresden Heaven by Susan Marth.   I purchased the pattern and the “Tiny” and “Mini” templates to make the Dresden plates which can be used with all of her patterns.  I am using the 1930’s fat quarter fabrics that I had purchased for the FW project that I am not going to make (too many problems with the book).

I cut my 2″ fabric strips for the “tiny” plates and I use my Stripin’ Sews to organize them while I am in the process of cutting the Dresden plates.   I noticed the Stripin’ Sews on  Lynn Wilder’s Blog  on one of her posts which showcased her vendor set up at a quilt show and I asked her about it.   (Lynn’s husband makes the Stripin’ Sews so if you are interested in purchasing one, please contact Lynn at sewnwildoaks@gmail.com) I love the Strippin’ Sews for the following reasons, it provides a great way to organize fabric strips, folds down to 3″ x 17″ for easy storage, and is shipped in a heavy-duty cardboard box which is great to have to store the holder when not in use.

Sew'n Wild Oaks Stand Front Fiew

Front View

Sew'n Wild Oaks Stand Side View

Side View

Sew'n Wild Oaks

And here are pictures of the my first 4″ Dresden plate block!  I plan on making all of the “tiny” plates first and then make a decision on the color for the background fabric for the plates.  That decision will be easier to make after I have them all made.  I do not want to cut up my fabric only to find out my “idea now” would not “be a good idea then”!

First Tiny Dresden Plate

First “Tiny” Dresden Plate with Circle to Applique


Now to applique circle

4″ Tiny Dresden Plate

I originally purchased the Strippin’ Sews to make Lynn’s Grammy Squares pattern Here, but decided to make the Dresden Heaven quilt first (sorry Lynn).  Lynn has a great blog and has some neat patterns to look at on her website.

Grammy Squares Pattern

Today I picked up my new glasses….. OK…. I have learned that when you have a good thing going don’t change it.   I use Verilux Physio progressive lens and have for years because they provide the widest “corridor” without distortion and do not make me dizzy (Meniere’s).   I was advised that the new “S” lens would have a wider corridor, but not for Nanny!   I will have a new set of lens next Thursday (hopefully sooner) made with my  Verilux Physio lens and not the latest and greatest “S” lens.  I believe the old saying is, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”!  I do like the new sun shades that clip on with magnets – now those are cool!

Since I am talking about items that I use and have purchased and providing information as to where to purchase them, I thought that I would provide the following statement.  This is just to clarify that I am not in business with anyone, I just love to share what I am using and patterns that I really like or dislike.

DISCLAIMER.  When I blog about my projects, I DO NOT RECEIVE any gratuities.  I am not running a business, but just a quilter who loves to share my progress and opinions on patterns, etc.  So please do not think I am pushing any products for personal gain –  these are quilting tools that I have found work well for me and my quilting journey.  I felt that I needed to state this because there are some bloggers who do receive things for advertising products.  I Blog about my projects to assist other quilters learn from my mistakes and successes.

Ms Potts, Circa 2016, Goodbye Dear Jane, and Hello Dresden Heaven

OK – one sentence on the weather – The weather has not changed for the good it is now 100 degrees and heat index running from 105 to 109 and this ole’ lady has finally thrown in the towel as far as walking goes for this week.  Now on to quilting!

I have (again) caught up with Circa 2016 blocks from the 29 July and 5 August!  YEA.

Blocks from 29 July and 5 August 2016

Circa 2016 Blocks from 29 July and 5 August 2016

I really do enjoy making the 3 1/2″ blocks.  They go fast and are always a challenge because of the size.  To me this is a “practice” session preparing me for some of the quilts that are waiting in line for me to make.

This summer the Margaret Potts group from BAS have 3 blocks to work on.  I have finished 2 Blocks and working on the 3rd.  The last block has 4 stars and I am using the EPP method to make them so they will be “perfect” (Ha Ha).  The pieces are so small so I had to set it aside and complete the other blocks.  I took one look at the circles and thought – OH NO!  So tiny – no bigger than a dime!!!  But I started on the block and begin to enjoy the process.  The stems are embroidered with 2 strains of variegated thread.

Blocks 13 and 17

Margaret Potts BAS Project – Blocks 13 and 17

I thought I would share with all on how I do my circles.  I have 2 sets of Karen Kay Buckley mylar circles, but the time it takes to cut the fabric, baste around the circle, and then spray with sizing and iron, that I decided to take a  different approach when making circles for my applique projects.  I use C. Jenkins Freezer Paper Sheets Here  from Amazon.  The paper is 8 1/2 x 11 and the pattern prints out great onto the freezer paper.  It is a little expensive, but the time saved is worth it.  I copy the pattern onto the paper and then cut out the pieces.  On larger patterns I have to be a little more creative, but for this project it is great as the blocks fit on the paper size just fine.  I am sure one could cut regular freezer paper and feed it through the printer, but then that takes time to do that.  (Maybe I am spoiled or getting lazy in my old age! LOL).   I still use Karen Kay Buckley circles, but only to trace around the template like I do with the freezer paper.   Here is how I prepared the small circles for the circle block above.

My technique for circles

As always, the pattern is traced on the background fabric for placement purposes using a light box and number 2 pencil.  I really thought I would have issues with the small (dime size) circles, but after working on two or three, it became easier, and besides, that is what ripping is all about when doing hand work.  It is not permanent and corrections can easily be made.

I have given up on Dear Jane.  I studied it, thought about the paper piecing, and decided that I have other things I want to work on the remainder of the year and making a quilt using paper piecing technique is not for me at this time!  I have a lot of hand work waiting in the wings to be appliqued and those should go fairly quickly (maybe by September).  I have Blocks 5 and 6 prepped for Bountiful Life, 7 more blocks for Segment 4 of Stonefields, and lots of lovely hexagons to sew together for Brinton Hall quilt.

For piecing projects I went through 5 different patterns and finally chose to make Dresden Heaven by Susan Marth.   It has mini and tiny dresden plates and such a fun project.  I finally found a pattern that I can use my 1930’s fabrics that were originally intended for the Farmers Wife… so I am happy about that, but it will take a few other projects to use all the fat quarters I purchased.

Dresden Heaven by Susan Marth at Suzn Quilts

The 1930 fabrics are not my favorite colors, but I thought that they would look good using this pattern.  This will be a fun project and one that I can cut out the plates and sew at my leisure,  remember I am supposed to be quilting on the long arm… if only I would stay away from chicken noodle soup from the can that has MSG!  I have so many notes on the refrigerator now that say “do not eat” and if only I would remember to read them!!!!!

Oh well.  I hope that everyone has had a great day and continue to enjoy your stitching.   Fall is just around the corner – 30 to 60 days!  Sometime within the next 30 days or so I will be relaxing in the RV,  visiting the Choctaw Casino, and 2 wonderful fabric stores.   I need to complete some projects to justify the fabric expenditures!