Our Wonderful Followers who come back again and again to read about us...

Friday, January 31, 2014

Sheltie Seizure Scare

Our old man dog Duke (a.k.a. Dookie Palooki) gave us a scare yesterday.

Seems he had a seizure or a stroke.... he was all stiff.  I have had this happen with two other shelties in the past, so I knew what was happening.  I held him and soothed him, as he was scared and kinda frantic. Later he has a crooked looking face, with one eye closed more and one side of mouth puckered up and limping moreso on one side.   He was pretty exhausted and laid down on his side, breathing heavily.

Duke is 10 years old, and has a huge tumor on his chest that has grown firm and spread under his armpit.  Had him at the vet 2 weeks ago, and we decided things have spread into his ribcage and probably his heart.  He probably has other tumors now, pressing in the brain or on the heart. We will keep him comfortable, and when the time comes, we will let him go with grace and love.  There isn't much we can do even with a surgery. Shetland sheepdogs life expectancy is only about 12-13 years old.  Seizures are very common in elderly shelties.

We think he had a seizure recently prior to this one. Steve noticed on Wednesday while I was gone to my quilting class, that the sound of Duke's bark changed.   We had noticed the same change in bark when Duchess was nearing the end last summer too.

Little Finnegan was all worried about his big buddy Duke. He laid close and kept sniffing his face and licking the corner of his mouth, just like a pup does to a mommy dog.

I watched him closely and he was resting for a few hours.  Soon he was up and drinking water and walking around.  A few bites of food, and a gobble of a hot dog slice had him back to his pretty normal self!   He even tried to fetch a ball one or two times, and then went and laid back down.  

He slept well, and didn't rustle around too much.  This morning he went out and did his business as usual!  Looking pretty chipper and happy, and the face seems to have relaxed back to his normal shape.  We are so relieved, but know to watch for more in the future. 

When my old sheltie Max had seizures, he only lasted a month.  He was a confused little boy who was sooo lost, and seemed to forget who we were, where his things were, where to find his bowl, which door to go out etc.   It was like the seizures erased all his memories.   

When our old sheltie Bani Bon Bon had them, she made it a year.  Once in a while after one, she would wander off and get confused, but she usually bounced back.  Till the end when one left her paralzyed.  Then we had to do what all good owners do when the quality of life is over.  Sigh. 

But for now this old guy is rallying around and having his good time with us.... and we love him.  So glad Duke has been here to show new Finnegan "the ropes" and how to love us and live with us and enjoy the lives we offer to our pets.

Hopefully he will be fine to go travelling in HIS motorhome in a few weeks!   After all, the motorhome belongs to the dogs.  We humans are only here to drive them to new places to sniff!

We have started training little Finnegan to go out in other parts of the yard on a leash to do his business.  He has only been in his little penned in yard area for doing that stuff, and now he has to learn to do it other places when we go on our upcoming vacation.  

I remember the first time we took Duke out west, he didn't like peeing on anything other than grass.  It got kinda hard for him to not go pee, he was holding it all the time until we found grass!   The further west we got, the less grass.  Soon he had to learn to go on bare desert gravel, but he didn't like it!

White Sand Dunes National Monument was very very confusing to Duke on that vacation. He wouldn't pee on the white sand, and thought it was SNOW!!! He tried to eat it!  Goofy Mutt!

Once we hit GRASS again on our way home from a desert vacation  --- Duke rejoiced when we found him some grass in Oklahoma!  Getting back home to grass was HEAVEN to him again....  But he hates going home and getting out of the motorhome.  He holds a little temper tantrum each time we get home, because he wants to keep on going going going!

Let's hope we have another fun trip with him, our Little Motorhome Doggie Duke....

For now, he is resting well and comfortable.  He is relaxing in the colored rainbows from our windows, looking at me and wondering why I am crying when I am typing this.  Dang.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quilting Class in Wausau with Paula

I know I just wrote a blog last night about the kids' new cabin, but I wanted to get this blog posted too about my busy, busy yesterday.

My friend Paula Stuplich asked me a few weeks ago to attend a quilting class over in Wausau, WI.  It was being taught by a lady named Pat Gaska, whom Paula had taken a class from years ago.  She promised it would be well worth it.   Pat's email is:

The class was being held at the Sew Smart shop in Wausau, right on the main drag if you come in on the exit for County N from the highway.  Link:

I got up early and headed out before daylight... the winds were blowing and blasting snows across the highway, but we weren't due for any new snowfalls in the forecast.  The temps were ABOVE zero for the first time in 3 days!  It felt totally balmy out there at 14 degrees!  Never thought I would say that, but after 60-70 hours straight of below zero temperatures, with nostrils freezing shut, skin tingling, lung burning COLD.....  this was wonderful!   Wausau is 120 miles from here, so I had to leave early enough to ensure no delays with traffic backups around Appleton or bad weather.  Things did slow up around Appleton, but soon I was past that and heading west towards Stevens Point, then north to Wausau.

I got to Paula's about 45 minutes early, and we shared coffee and her fresh baked sweetrolls... (thanks Paula!)  Then we trekked over to the shop and set up our sewing machines and supplies for the class.  Six of us were taking the class, and they had an area set up with tables for our machines, separated from the rest of the store.

 Paula and I were set up next to each other....  
so we could giggle and whisper as we learned!

This class was specifically for learning "free motion" quilting designs on the quilts once you have all the pieces together and sandwiched with the batting in between and backing fabric in place.  I have only dabbled in this technique and wanted to learn more.

You need a sewing machine that can "drop" the feed dogs, and then a special darning foot that hops along the top of the surface of the quilt.  You guide the fabric around carefully, and let it "draw" the thread into patterns on the quilt.  It takes some practice and patience, for sure!

Here are the stitches we were going to learn...  This is the teacher Pat's sample of what we were going to do today!  I mostly wanted to learn those leaves and feathers!

Pat was a very prepared teacher.  She had great handouts, good explanations, wonderful samples and most of all, she was very patient!   She showed us 2 or 3 sections at a time first on her machine.

Then as we went to our own machines, she helped us figure out our machines and settings to get just the right tension.  She went from person to person helping and adding tips and hints for things we never knew before!  I bet I learned 15 new things in a matter of a few hours.

 and yes, I learned how to do those leaves and feathers! 

 Then she showed us "echo" stitching along the edge of a design, to make it "pop" out even more!

We worked our samples up with various stitches
and learned a lot of ways to do this easier than the old ways....


At the end of the class, Pat showed us various samples of her own quilting, implementing the stitches that we learned.  It was amazing how the fabric quilts are highlighted by such wonderful stitching!






As the class ended, we packed up all our gear and supplies and newly gleaned knowledge.  We shoved all of our stuff into my car.  Paula then instructed me to drive on the tiny one way streets of downtown Wausau to a special little deli for lunch.   It's called La Prima Deli on the corner by the Doctor Who type telephone booth! LOL 

Boy oh boy am I glad we came here!  They have my FAVORITE all time sandwich -- a Muffuletta! It's a delightful concoction from New Orleans.

(from their menu)

 Ham, provolone, genoa salami, olive tapenade and olive oil and herbs on our own Focaccia Bread – large enough to share or to satisfy a hearty appetite!

After our lunch out, plus dessert, we went and did some "girl stuff".  First a quick stop at the little meat market we always buy tenderloin steaks from, plus she got a hot sandwich to drop off for her husband Mel who was waiting at home (with no lunch... awww).  She ran in the sandwich and we took off again! 

We went fabric shopping for MORE quilting fabrics!  hahahaha  I was looking for some more of the backing fabric I needed for my newest quilt I am working on at home.  Now I can put some of my newly learned stitches onto my quilt.  Also I bought a chalk wheel from Fons & Porter company that will let me mark where I want to stitch on my quilts, and brush away the dust when done. 

Soon our afternoon was over, and it was time for Paula to get to her hair appointment, and for me to head on home.  I had 120 miles to go. I drove home and got there just after dark.  Both dogs totally missed me and I was met at the door with barks and yelps and bodies almost wriggling out of their skins with tails wagging so fast!   

Oh, and I was met with a kiss from Steve and he had a hot supper ready on the table--- What a guy!

Steve had a picture for me that he took with my camera I had left at home. Seems when I left, the little pup was soooo lonely and missing me.  He barked and whined for a while at the door.  Then he gave up and went into my Loom Room.  

He found an extra piece of scrap quilting fabric I had recently touched, and pulled it to the floor from off of the cabinet.  He curled up and made a bed of it.  Awwwwwwww  I guess he missed me.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Around The House

Still doing blog posts from my phone. At least I know it can work this way. While Steveio is cooking breakfast, I thought I would do a blog post.

We woke up to frosty cold below zero temps, and its only going to get worse... The winds are going to kick up and make it unbearable.

 I walked around the house snapping a few pics out the windows in case anyone wants to see a bit of Wisconsin Winter.

For those of you who wish to shiver a bit with Steveio, here's his winter work around the house...

Snowblowing is a never-ending task in the area we live in. We are close to Lake Michigan, so we get some "lake effect" snow. Today it seems like it just keeps falling.

 I know this is taken through the window screen on the outer layer of storm windows so you can see the grid of the screen material. But this is the view out of my bedroom window each morning out to the street in front of our home.

Our windows have outer storms , then the old fashioned wooden windows, and then an inside layer of plexiglass that snaps onto the frame from the inside. At first we thought the plexiglass panels were dumb when we bought the house, but they really help on the heat bill and air leaks. Steve would like to replace all our windows with new ones...ACK! I won't agree. What we have are nice, old fashioned, and fits the house style. Our heating gas portion of our bill last month was under $140 for the month, and some of that is the hot water heater and meter charge. That is a LOT less than our last house, which was newer, more insulated, and had new windows.
So. There.
(Steveio and I have a running disagreement on the windows, so I will get my licks in here, on the blog, where he doesn't read). LOL!

This pic is peeking through the frosty glass on the back storm door, leading to the shaker porch on the second story rear side if the house. Just look at that poor frozen motorhome out there!

In my guest bedroom, i am keeping 8 pots of coleus plants growing.

Some are blooming, even in the middle of winter?

I have kept this same strain of coleus going since the 1990's. The first plant came from my friend Connie. I keep breaking off shoots, stick them in water till they grow roots, and plant them in dirt.

I share them with friends and try to spread them all over.

In the summer, I plant them all outdoors where they grow big and lush and full.

Yesterday afternoon I worked on my newest quilt. I know I blogged about starting on this quilt before, but I will post about how I started it again.

I bought this book and template from Nancy's Notions. With it you can make 7 different pattern blocks. By sewing together long strips of fabric in groups of threes, the template helps you cut out perfect rectangles to arrange into block patterns.

I sew the blocks together on my 100 year old Singer treadle sewing machine
 (thanks to Paula Stuplich who gave it to me)

Sitting in the sunshine, facing south, helps to clear my head of the winter doldrums... Soft music playing, two doggers dozing on the floor next to me, and the gentle clickety clickety of the treadle machine. Here is the first block.

Finnegan helped me arrange some blocks and let me know the best design. LOL....

Soon I had 10 of the 20 blocks together with some checkerboard sashing to compliment the blocks. Later today I will do the other half.

I am trying to make all of my intersections and points come together neatly. I might add some smaller complimentary blocks along the top and bottom edges to make it just a bit longer. I think I have enough scraps to do that... We will see.


So best to get off this computer and back to the sewing machine. 
(on edit..added later)
 And here is a tiny bit of our snow for you to enjoy.

I shouldn't complain so much about our weather, it is kinda pretty....