"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Monday, September 29, 2008

Furry Face

Last week, I started calling Jezebel Fuzzy Face. After two months, she was FINALLY getting some real hair on her muzzle. It was still too bristly to nuzzle comfortably but you could see she was making progress.

This week, I have switched to calling her Furry Face. Her muzzle is now soft and from the front, really is starting to look white, again. There are even some stray hairs popping up on the black part on the top above her snout. We weren't sure if the radiation would kill the hair follicles (and we sort of hope it did since we really, really REALLY want that cancer dead!) but clearly, there are a few that survived.

She took off howling when I tried to take pictures.

I had a light work day. I visited a little girl at her school and they told me she was painfully shy. I wore jeans and tennis shoes and tried my best to look harmless. Cute little thing. They had no sooner shut the door to let us talk and the little darling jabbered my ear off! She is thriving and days like this leave me with a smile.

I swung by the quilt shop on the way home, then dropped in the book store to get the third book in the Dresdon Files series. After that, I grabbed some stroganoff at "Noodles and Company." I'd never been there before and it was quite good.

Once home, I spoke on the telephone with a parent who kept insisting that he was "over" the former spouse (clearly he was not). After that, I worked with the state on some personal business, spoke to the mother of the little girl I visited at the school and got ready for court, tomorrow. I switched on the television and saw how the stock market tanked after the Bailout flopped. I looked around, grateful that all my fabric and sewing machines are paid for. Following that, I endorsed checks to deposit, pet the girls and am now calling it a good day.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Glorious Glue

Today, I prepared the Patriotic quilt for binding. I had some material that I used on a couple of blocks and to be honest, I just hate it. I would never use it again, short of a gun to one of my kids' heads, so that made it easy to decide this was the perfect fabric for binding. Use that crap up, I say!

I have a handy dandy quilting reference book that has all sorts of tips and measurements in it. Husband's sister-in-law gave it to me some years ago and I use it constantly.

To make binding, you get a square of fabric (the book will give you the right measurement) and cut it into two equal triangles.

After you stitch together the triangles, you press open the seam.

After that, you create a sleeve and offset the binding the width you want the binding (I like 2.5 inches). You stitch that together and press the seam open.

Draw lines on the back of the fabric (although I hate this fabric so much, either side would work, for me) the width you want the binding.

Cut a 2.5 inch wide strip. Since it is in a sleeve, it is a continuous cut. I have had some unfortunate experiences with this so now I am careful to get a cutting mat underneath it.

Evelyn was my helper.

Because the quilt is so big, I moved a small table to the far side of my sewing machine so it wouldn't drag too much.

I draped the quilt on my longarm and made sure I had enough binding. I had plenty.

Jezebel also helped. You can't tell it from this picture, but her muzzle hair has really taken off.

I use this box to keep the binding straight while I put it on the quilt.

Here I am adding the binding to the quilt. For the non quilters who are reading, you stitch it to the front by machine and then handstitch it down on the back. Tedious, although some people kind of like doing it. Since you are handstitching it while the quilt is in your lap, the winter months are more comfortable for putting on bindings.

This quilt is a mother bear. It weighs 9 pounds!

Here is the secret to putting on binding - WATERBASED GLUESTICK!!!!!!!!

I lightly spread glue so that I can press the binding where it needs to go. Then I add pins. Frankly, once the glue dries the binding will probably hold in place but the pins make sure of that. One less thing to worry about when I hand stitch it down, later. The waterbased glue will wash out after it goes through the wash and I haven't really noticed that it gunks up the needle or bobbin case. Of course, I'll swap out the needle as soon as this project is done.

Now, I am all set to watch the presidential and vice presidential debates. I can stitch on the binding and roll my eyes at the same time.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Update on Jezebel's Follow-up Visit to the Oncologist

The doctor pronounced Jezebel as doing "very" well at her follow-up visit, this morning. I am so relieved. The tech told me that for this doctor to use those words was significant. Jezebel weighs 53.2 pounds, has an excellent appetite and energy level, is in excellent shape and shows no signs that the growth is returning. Of course, it is way, way, way too soon to know how this thing is going to go, and this is a very aggressive cancer, but so far, so good! She goes back in February for chest X-rays (they'll check for tumors - this cancer tends to head for the lungs, first) and her first booster vaccine. I asked them how long it would be before we knew if the vaccine was working. They said we may never really know because the surgery and radiation may have gotten it, anyway. Let us hope. When pressed, they said that if she doesn't have a recurrence within two years, the vaccine is probably working. Since I figured I'd only have her a few months from when she was first diagnosed, I am incredibly grateful for whatever I can get.

Husband is allegedly coming home this afternoon. I will be very happy to see him, in part because I am exhausted. Little Evelyn had a belly ache several days ago and was up all night. I took her out every couple of hours. The belly ache is gone but now she thinks this toad hunting at night is just wonderful. I've been up with her three of the past five nights. The first night, she was sick. So, okay. The next night, I didn't want to risk her being sick. So okay, I guess. Then she slept pretty well for two nights. This morning, I'd planned to get up at 5:00 a.m. to take the girls to the vet. At 3:00, Evelyn began ruffing, then barking, then jumping on the bed. They she jumped off and ruffed some more. Then she jumped back up on the bed and stared at me. This went on for about thirty minutes. I was getting pretty steamed because I knew I needed to get some sleep. I was just about to growl back at her when she took her little paw and gently patted me on the head. That cracked me up so I went ahead and got up. I'm still up and getting sleepier by the second.

Here is the wee brat, all 51.8 pounds of her (she also checked out the scale at the vet's office):

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Singing Samoyeds

I put the binding on the fall wall hanging, last night, then threw it in the wash. This morning, when I got it out of the dryer, I was pretty pleased with it but then noticed that right near one corner, the binding was frayed. Drat. Because it was about an inch from the corner (which I'd mitered so nicely!!!) it made it a bit tricky to fix. But anyway, I frog stitched about an 8 inch long section, cut out the frayed part and grafted in a new piece. It was a little tricky to get it around the corner but I think it will work.

The quilting was nothing special but I think I am improving.

See Ms. Jezebel next to the quilt?

Check out her nose. I have been calling her fuzzy face all week. We are really starting to get some traction on the part that is growing. The area about 1.5 inches from her snout does not show much sign of the hair returning. The oncologist said she might lose about a half inch above the snout but that is not what I am seeing at this point.

She goes back to the oncologist first thing in the morning (another one of those leave-the-house-at-5:30 for her one month check up. I am half dreading it. I am so scared they'll find something horrible. Usually, I try not to think about it. After all, there is nothing I can do that I'm not doing. I'm not sure Jezebel has ever felt better.

Here is Jezebel with the beloved packing crate material previously mentioned, this week. It is a highly prized item.

And no post is really complete without pictures of singing samoyeds. Here they go:

And here is goofball:

Husband is still off doing work stuff. He says he'll be home, tomorrow, but I suspect it will be Friday or Saturday. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The good and the bad

Those of you who have read my blog for any length of time know that I am homesick and can't wait to get back home to Oklahoma (Thus the countdown clock on the right side of the page...).

The difference between our current home and the one we have waiting for us in Oklahoma is enormous. Really, the house and the terrain couldn't be much more different unless we were to live on the beach or a mountain top (and in fact, the Chesapeake Bay is less than 50 miles as a crow files to the east. If you drive 20 minutes towards the west, you can see the mountains on the horizon.

So anyway, I thought you'd like to compare this house with the Oklahoma house.

East Coast front of house:

Oklahoma front of house:

Okay, so different styles of houses. The East Coast House has a full walkout basement that Husband uses for his office and workshop. There is no basement at the Oklahoma house but it has an enormous 40 X 60 two story barn that has about a third of it heated and cooled. The rest is a workshop. The heated and cooled part is divided into four rooms. Two will be mine and Husband can have one for his brewery. We may make the fourth one into a small guest room since there is a bathroom out there, too. The houses, themselves, have about the same square footage although since nearly a third of the East Coast house is used for a workshop, we end up with more living room.

East Coast view from the front door:

Oklahoma view from the front door - the first is the yard and the second is across the street:

The Oklahoma house is much more rural, as you can tell. That being said, it is much closer to restaurants, grocery stores, etc. than the East Coast house.

East Coast backyard and the view to the north and the south:

How do you like those trees? I am going to miss them when we leave.

Oklahoma backyard:

I do love the wide open spaces.

Okay, so here is where you can tell how homesick I am. Here is a picture of my glorious East Coast Bathroom, complete with jacuzzi and view of gorgeous trees. I once saw a shooting star as I soaked in the tub with a glass of red wine. It doesn't get much better that that.

And then, there is the Oklahoma bathroom:

Yuck. No window. No natural light. No jacuzzi. At the time of this picture, covered with the previous residents' gunk. If I gain any weight, I won't be able to turn around in there.

The fact that I am eager to swap bathrooms is evidence that I can't wait to get back home.