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Friday, July 1, 2016

Tiebreaker Baby - Stomp on Cancer - Next Level Quilting

Whew--- so much to write about. I should have done a blog yesterday and put half of this in there.... oh well.  It is what it is!

First off.... Tiebreaker Baby!  See, we have six grandchildren, 3 grandboys and 3 grandgirls. Oldest daughter Erin is due in November with the Tiebreaker Baby.  She has been joking with the kids that it's a Baby T Rex  inside and when it wants something to eat, it gets hungry and makes momma eat ice cream, and candy, and all other nummy stuff.  It's the T Rex doing it.   Soooo they gave her this shirt for her birthday:
She is just glowing with 20 Week Mommyness! 

Thursday was Erin's birthday, but also it coincided with her 20 week ultrasound! 
Chelsea and Clayton got to go along too.
How exciting to see their new baby sibling on the screen. 

and... to learn it's gender! 

The kids were prepared for the big announcement on social media:

Yup.. the Tiebreaker Baby will be a GIRL! 

We rejoice that it is happy healthy and growing .... 
that is all this grandmudder needs. 


Our next spot of bright sunshine news is that my oldest brother, Butch (aka Steve) had his bout with cancer surgery.  He has cancer in his bladder and prostate. They removed the bladder tumor already. Now it was time for the prostate. He was operated on by a robot in Green Bay, and came through with flying colors.  The doc is optimistic that he got it all, and a complete recovery is in the future.  Whew! 

We went up to see him after the surgery, once he was moved into a private room.  Yes, it was while he was still a bit groggy.  But Steveio had to see his best buddy and we brought along a "Miller Bouquet" which I kinda brainstormed up.  

First, you wrap some beverages of choice in icy blue wrap....  celophane.  Then set them into an appropriate bucket.  We found this pretty printed popcorn bucket in the party favor aisle.  Now strategically arrange various flowers around the edges and in the top, concealing the contents. (I think the doc and nurses would frown on the presence of beer in his room--- It was not going to be indulged upon until he got home.   Ya just don't bring big grown macho Yooper men just flowers, ya know! So we brought him a bouquet of BEER! 

There ya have it then... Steveio was quite proud of the flower arranging we did in the parkinglot.  Oh, and we just about fell on the floor in the card aisle as we found this Get Well card.  Kinda fit the situation, so to speak.

It was quite delightful to see my brother awake and feeling good and the positive results of his surgery was even more to celebrate.  Steve had to get him to really look CLOSE at those flowers until he figured out the real reason why his silly sister and brotherinlaw gave him a bouquet!  hahahahaha

By noon the next day, they were ready to spring him from the hospital, and he was more than ready to sprung himself up and out.  His fiance Rox drove him home all the way back up to the U.P of Michigan.  He rested well and is doing fine today.

We kinda held off doing any Fourth of July plans, 
not knowing how things would go or if he would need to stay close
to Green Bay for return visit in a day or two.  


So it's kinda nice to hang out around home instead of joining that mad dash of folks out on the road today after work.  We grilled out this evening and now we are setting on the front porch as I write my blog.  Steve has his little puter going and both dogs are pestering us to go for a W - A - L - K  (yes, we have to spell it out in this house)  I think a relaxing weekend at home is fine with us.  We will practice for retirement. 

On Tuesday morning at 8 am we have to have the motorhome at Tri City Glass for double windshield replacement... so that will probably be our next motorhome outing.  We get to stay in the rig while it''s there, and remain on site overnight while it cures.  I guess we will be camping out in the parkinglot and enjoying city life and noises for a night! 


Now on to my last item in my title.   On Sunday I saw my quilting friend Nicole post a wonderful photo of her new long arm machine and frame. It's one I have lusted over since seeing it at Nancy's Notions warehouse sale.  The pricetag is a bit steep for me, ($5,000.00) but I was really glad to see her get a new toy and hope she enjoys it.    I decided to hop into Craigslist... ya know... just to "see".  You never know what people are selling.  Not that I could afford a lot, but well, ya know...

Lo and behold a lady near Sheboygan was selling the neatest setup.  It's a big banquet table (heavy) and a frame of tracks and racks and poles and a sliding device.  It's made to set an ordinary household sewing machine into (of which I have FOUR)  and you can then work on bigger quilts in the somewhat limited throatspace.  But it still IS letting a person do longarm work in a smaller scaled fashion.   I looked up the You Tube on the device and watched it set up and being used. It made sense to me! 

I contacted the woman and sure enough, it was still available and we could come right away to see it.  It was 33 miles away, and we had to be back in time to help at the museum by 1pm.  It worked right into our timeline. 

We asked how long the table was.... and her husband answered in the background it was 7 feet.  Good, we didn't need to go get a trailer to haul it.  We could take the Tracker and bungee cord the back door shut a bit and make it work.  Well.... we got there and it was over 8 feet long!  OH well... we made it work by golly!   New price, the Handi-Quilter frame setup was $600 plus $200 for the Handi Handles control module and then about another $100-125 for the heavy formica banquet table. The husband had reinforced it with four big 2x4's for stability and vibration reduction.  I got the whole shebang for $125.00.  Not bad! 

Some fancy quilt aficionados would pooh pooh such an idea or such a set up.  They would be turned off by a smaller workable space to sew the free motion quilt stitches in. I would make the best of it, and learn how to how to have fun and find creativity with this next step up in my level of quilting.

We struggled to get it up the stairs, which have THREE turns in them.  But we did it!  Now... remember I said the table was over 8 feet long? Guess what?  My sewing room is only 9 feet 3 inches wide!  It JUST FIT! 

Wow.. this was gonna be FUN! 
I set my Janome sewing machine into the carriage and figured out how to load it up with a sample.

I had a lovely piece of preprinted fabric in squares that would be a good sample,  and fun to make some creative stitches on.  I loaded it up on the roller, along with some back fabric on the other roller. I added a generous piece of batting and sat down to work! 

The machine lets me do fancy patterns and free motion designs. The sky is the limit and your imagination can take you away as the machine whirrs along.  I was really enjoying this! I did all these stitches from my mind as I went along.

As I got familiar with the machine riding on the track, I got better at controlling the movements.  The setup was kinda awkward with stitching from the far back left of the machine. I had to kinda sit sideways to see the stitches.  The lady on the original video said it was like driving a car, with your foot on the pedal as the gas and the steering kinda to the left.  It was interesting and fun, but kinda hard to see at times. But it worked.  

The more I did, the more I was thinking. How can I make this better? How can I improve it? I got Steve's brain in there to think too.....

The handles have a speed control knob and a little stop and go button, but it is not functioning right now. The end of the plug is for a different brand, a Brother Machine.  Steve pulled it apart and checked out the innards. We ordered an extra Janome brand foot pedal online to rob the correct plug from!  It will be here tomorrow, so then once Steve rewires it, the button and speed dial will work and we can omit the foot pedal altogether. But for now it worked well, and I was able to complete my sample piece!

Today I trimmed the edges with binding and sewed on four hanging tabs. Imperfections and booboos, that's okay, I hung it up on the wall in our front porch today.  WHEEEEEEEEE

So I am off and running with my new toy as I graduated up to the next level of quilting experience.

 Here is the other side of my porch, with two happy yappy doggers!

It feels so good to not be on the road today, fighting the holiday traffic.  The temp outside is perfect, the humidity is wonderful, and we are going to go take the dogs for a walk before it gets dark. 


  1. SO glad your brother is doing well. Great do-dad for quilting. A woman in my quilt group has something similar and she can do all sorts of good stuff with it. And yes, the nicest part of retirement is that we can stay home on holidays and travel when the crowds are a bit less. Happy 4th!

  2. I love the T-Rex/She-Rex thing. How fun! Congrats on the SHE-Rex.

    What a cute idea for flowers. I need to remember that. I'm so glad your brother is doing well.


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