Thursday, May 30, 2013


Today I am revealing quilts I made in 2001  including my first batch of miniature quilts.  One of my favorite to make is Miniature Baskets, so I'm sharing that pattern with you now.

The next Mysteries For Relay project will start on June 29th at

Other news, I have started my second Relay For Life of the year, a larger Relay in our region and one I have wanted to do for many years.  I’ve decided this is the year, so am starting fundraising all over again.  As long as there is cancer I will help raise money in the fight against it.

PS... yes I am flaring so not doing much of anything, including posting on here.  I'm fighting it and appreciate all the concerning emails.  (And calls too!) 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Explaining polymyalgia rheumatica

It is an all over pain for me, starting at the top of my body and sometimes going all the way through my toes.  It hurts to hold my head up, feels like there is a pile of concrete blocks stacked on top.  My shoulders feel like something is hanging on them, like a cement loaded back pack.  The tops of my arms feel like they are tied up and it hurts to even lift them a tiny little bit.  My legs feel like lead, or sometime like jelly. 

It’s not like I can take a Tylenol and the pain will go away.  Vicodin doesn’t take the pain away.  Not even sleep helps, not when you feel like you are sleeping under the mattress and box spring instead of on top.  Every little thing you do drains you of any energy you might have.  Every tiny little chore hurts.  How can you brush your teeth when you can’t life your arm to your mouth?  Sitting still in a chair reading a book hurts, like the chair is pressing on your body.  Of course it has to be a book on the computer so I can change the page with a click of the mouse because I can’t hold a real book in my hands. says “Polymyalgia rheumatica (which takes its name from the word "polymyalgia" which means "pain in many muscles" in Greek followed by the term "rheumatica") abbreviated as PMR, is a syndrome with pain or stiffness, usually in the neck, shoulders, and hips. The pain can be very sudden, or can occur gradually over a period. It may be caused by an inflammatory condition of blood vessels such as temporal arteritis.

Most PMR sufferers wake up in the morning with pain in their muscles; however, there have been cases in which the patient has developed the pain during the evenings. Patients who have polymyalgia rheumatica may also have temporal arteritis, a potentially dangerous inflammation of blood vessels in the face.

PMR is usually treated with courses of oral corticosteroids.   Most people need to continue the corticosteroid treatment for two to three years.  PMR usually goes away on its own in a year or two, but medications and self-care measures can improve the rate of recovery.

I have crossed out the parts that do not apply in my case.  I do not have temporal arteritis and I pray I never do.  And I have been fighting PMR for over three years now. 

Wikipedia goes on to sayThe cause of PMR is not well understood. The pain and stiffness result from the activity of inflammatory cells and proteins that are normally a part of the body's disease-fighting immune system, and the inflammatory activity seems to be concentrated in tissues surrounding the affected joints.  During this disorder, the white blood cells in the body attack the lining of the joints, causing inflammation.  Recent studies have found that inherited factors also play a role in the probability that an individual will develop polymyalgia rheumatica. Several theories have included viral stimulation of the immune system in genetically susceptible individuals.” 

 About treatment Wiki says Prednisone is the drug of choice for PMR and treatment duration is frequently greater than one year.  If the patient does not experience dramatic improvement after three days of 10–20 mg oral prednisone per day, the diagnosis should be reconsidered.” 

Note here, when I was diagnosed my family Doctor said I would feel 100% better after I took my first dose of prednisone, 80 mg.   He actually said I would feel like dancing… well I didn’t feel like dancing but I did feel significantly better. 

“Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen are ineffective in the initial treatment of PMR, but they may be used in conjunction with the maintenance dose of corticosteroid.”

Maintenance dose?  Well in my case that was a gradually decreasing dosage of prednisone daily for the last three years.  I went down and down and down until January 2012 when I went off the prednisone completely…. for two whole weeks.  Then it all started all over again, and I started taking the prednisone again.  I started at 10mg for a week, then down to 7 1/2mg, then 5, 4 1/2, 4, 3 1/2 and then it all came back again, all the pain and agony.  I knew for sure I was flaring when I slept 31 hours in a 48 hour period. 

I tried going up gradually the same way I came down, but that isn’t working.  And pain meds aren’t working either. 

Wiki says “Along with medical treatment, patients are encouraged to exercise and eat healthily. Exercise will help strengthen the weak muscles, and help to prevent weight gain.”  Someone tell me how you are supposed to exercise when sitting still hurts like hell?   

“A healthy diet will help to keep a strong immune system, and also help build strong muscles and bones.  Eat a diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat meat and dairy products. Avoid foods with high levels of refined sugars and salt (sodium).”

Fortunately, or is that unfortunately, the prednisone helps with the eating thing, giving you unsatisfiable cravings galore.  Although sometimes the prednisone doesn’t help at all and I have zero appetite. 

I love what the Mayo Clinic says about complications:
Symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica can greatly affect a person's ability to perform everyday activities. The pain and stiffness may contribute to difficulties with the following tasks:
·         Getting out of bed, standing up from a chair or getting out of a car
·         Bathing, combing your hair or performing other tasks related to personal hygiene
·         Getting dressed or putting on a coat  (You should try putting on bra!)
These complications can affect a person's health, social interactions, physical activity, sleep and general well-being.

And that is how I am living my life recently.  I’ve been fighting this since April of 2010 and it seems like I have gotten nowhere.  I just want my life back.  And I want people to understand just because you can’t SEE my problem, doesn’t mean I don’t have one.  I am not faking it, I am not lazy and I am not mental.  I don’t want sympathy either, I just want understand, and for this PMR to go away.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Today's quilting tip

Bobbin thread is required if you want your blocks to stay together. 

And while you are changing your bobbin, might as well get rid of the dust bunnies that have multiplied under the bobbin casing.   Machine will run much smoother and quieter if you do.  Not that I ever have any dust bunnies in my bobbin case!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Today's quilting tip...

Don’t sneeze while cutting… just saying…  results will vary. 

Today's wonders

Today I wonder how could I live in an area where life can be wiped away in one quick swoop of the wind?  I thought about it a lot, and then saw this video.  Nothing to do with tornados but everything to do with life, and dying. 

Yes, I could live in fear of everyday something happening, or I could live life to its fullest the way I want to.  “You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living” 

Monday, May 20, 2013

So it’s Monday..

So it’s Monday.. I got up and the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Checked email and facebook and then decided to start my day. Threw a load of laundry in washer and then jumped in the shower. While in there it got very dark, then darker when the power blinked for a minute, but came back on again. Got out of the shower and the sunny day was gone, raining. Checked email one more time after receiving a phone call about a retreat and had to get back on computer to answer her questions …. and found out that another friend has died from cancer. A 50 plus lady with a brand new grandbaby, and amazing talent as a quilter and artist too. She had a headache which wouldn’t go away, test showed a tumor on her brain and a week later she’s gone. Not such a beautiful day anymore even if the sun has come back out.
I hate cancer!

Sunday, May 19, 2013


I find the lottery amusing and sometimes ridiculously stupid too.  I mean come on... your chances of winning are 1 in 175,223,510 according to the Powerball web site.  I prefer smaller odds, like 1 in 55.  And if I had played my favorite numbers in this latest Powerball drawing I would have beat those odd, the 1 in 55 I mean… I would have had one number and would have gained a whole two bucks. 

I much prefer gambling with my fabrics.  Now there are some interesting odds… the chances that I’ll use up all my fabrics before I die, probably pretty close to the odds of winning the Powerball Jackpot.  Odds of ever finishing all my UFOs this year, I’d say the odds on that are about 1 in 12,244, but I’m just guessing…. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Why do I need to raise another $1000?  Because I want to make another sponsor donation to another Relay event.  I use my sale profits, and in many cases all of the money from my sales to donate to Relay For Life at a sponsor level.  I would like to make another sponsor donation, but have used up all my money, so I need to sell some quilts. 

And honestly, any offer will be considered.  Take a look at what I’m selling and save yourself the time and effort of making it yourself.  My prices are almost at the cost of the materials. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Quilts For Sale

I need to raise another $1000 quickly, can you help?  Make me an offer on any quilt.

More on Anonymous comments

This morning when I first opened email there were 23 anonymous comments to be moderated and in the hour and a half since I deleted them, 11 more have come in.  SO… in an effort to stop the robot that has latched on to my blog, I’m setting comments to registered users only for a short time. 

Now I know there are quite a few quilters who follow my blog who are anonymous commenters.  Most of you have started emailing your comments to me a long time ago anyway, and you know who you are…  But if you are anonymous or not a registered commenter, please send me an email.  My address is quiltersretreat  at, just take out the spaces. 

Your comments ARE important to me, they let me know what I’m doing wrong, or right, or even just let me know someone is reading my words.  THANKS for all of your comments.
Now…  I promise to get back to quilting soon, and quilting posts too! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Uh Oh

I was just working with the comments trying to see if I could do anything else to discourage anonymous comments, and I accidently deleted the last 50 comments on my blog.  SO… if you made a comment, and there were quite a few in the last few days, I wasn’t trying to delete them, but they are gone.  I am so sorry. 

Comments ARE important to me, even the anonymous ones are good for a chuckle sometimes. 

Again, sorry if your comment disappeared, it was not intentional.  

PS, so far today I have received 43 anonymous comments... I may have to block them for a while and see if that will stop them. IF you are an anonymous commenter, send me an email. My email is quiltersretreat  @, but take out the spaces.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Anonymous comments

Anyone else getting bombarded with anonymous comments recently?  I think some robot has posted fifty or more comments on my blog in the last three days. 
And that is why I have comments moderated… I can easily delete or reject anonymous and happily accept real comments!

Two day vacation

Just home from a short trip to Lancaster with my sister-in-law Cheri. 
We got to visit Jon and Mendy and Simba on the way up.  We went by one of my childhood homes and were surprised to see it was on the National Register of Historic Places. 
I saw my first Baltimore Oriel at Mill Creek in Stumptown, Cheri has the better pictures since I had my telephoto lens on.  And on the way home we spotted two Bald Eagles, one over the toll exchange in Dover and the second at Argo’s Corner. 

I got the backing I needed for Key West Tango from the Quilt and Fabric Shack and second one for a future mystery at Zooks. 
I got all the goodies John desired and my yogurt from Kauffman’s Fruit Farm & Market. 

We had a thoroughly enjoyable overnight at the Amish View Inn, getting to see some of my favorite people there. And of course a glorious visit to the hot tub and a filling breakfast in the morning. 
Between us we took almost 2000 pictures.  Most of the good ones are on her camera, since I did all the driving. 

Best of all I had some quality time with a special sister-in-law!  I hope she had as much fun as I did.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

I want to wish my boys a Happy Mother’s Day.  Until they came along I didn’t have any idea what a mother was, and they showed what it meant.  The good and the not so good and the wonderful…  Thank you Jonathon and Michael for giving me something in my life I really needed!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Relay is over

Well... one Relay is over but that doesn’t mean I’m done yet.  Yes, the local Relay has ended for the year, but it’s left me wanting more. 

First, the location of the new event was purely heavenly.  Sitting on the edge of a prong of the Assawoman Bay in a heavily wooded area, it was secluded and peaceful and away from the distractions of the world.  I took this picture myself from the top of a hook and ladder.  You can see the cabins and the lone camper, as well as the luminaria bags lining the track. 

Cheri, Joan and me
I was never prouder of my team, Cheri survivor, Joan survivor, and John who came out to support me.  (And to Candy who was Relaying up in NY thinking of us the whole night I’m sure!)  We all raised over almost $8000!

John and me

But I Relay to recognize the survivors and I felt that last night they were not suitably recognized.  Just my opinion, but it hurt me to see it happen.  I’m going to try another event and see how they do it, and then if needed another until I find what I’m looking for.  And maybe, in all that looking, I will help raise enough money for science to find the cure.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tonight's the night

This is where we will be Relaying.  I’m not sure how much walking we’ll do but we will be there cheering on all the survivors including our own Cheri Gordon and Joan Kehoe. 

Thanks to all of our donors for helping us help someone fighting cancer, or helping some scientist find the cure.  Together we will beat cancer!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Spoon Theory

It’s hard to explain how I live… this lady did it for me. I have polymyalgia rheumatica and fibromyalgia and I have a limited number of spoons.
Read The Spoon Theory

Not feeling well

I guess I can’t hide it, everyone knows me too well.  Kathy says “I know you are flaring because you are not posting”  And my poor husband, he knows because when I don’t feel well apparently I am a bitch to be around. 

So if everyone knows it why am I trying to hide it?  Why am I denying to myself and everyone else that every muscle in my body is screaming at me?  Why am I hiding the fact that I’ve slept 31 hours in the last 48 and still feel like I could sleep another hundred hours? 
I upped my prednisone this morning, just a little, hoping that will help this flare up.  I am prepared to up it again tomorrow if I don’t feel better by the end of today.  I hate taking pills, but I hate hurting more. 

I refuse to let this get me down, and if I have to take more meds and get that dreaded prednisone puff, so be it.  Right now I’d rather look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow woman than hurt like hell.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Trying day...

Rainy dreary day here in more ways than one.  Trying to understand things that I can’t understand and probably never will. 
And trying a new quilt design, another one using Snaps and Pops. 
Thank goodness tomorrow is another day, and the one after that, and so on.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

There really is no pattern

A few people have asked for the pattern for my quilt, name still to be decided.  Really, there is no pattern.  None at all, I just sewed until I had most of the fabric used up and even rows.

I made this using one Macaroon Bali Pop, pre-cut 2 1/2 inch strips and Macaroon Snaps, 5 inch squares.  There was no added fabric and very little left over.   
Here’s what I did.  First I opened up the package of Snaps and as they were put in the package, no matching at all.  I only changed the order if I had two which were the same color or close.   I drew a line diagonally down the center and sewed two lines 1/4 inch from that line.  Then I cut them, pressed and had triangle squares. 

Then I added a strip to one side of each triangle square, thinking perhaps I’d make a log cabin block… but then I decided that I didn’t want to bother with which side I was sewing the next strip to, or which way the diagonal seam was going… I just wanted to sew with no worries at all and that’s what I did. 

I went around each triangle square one time and then squared those blocks all down to 8 1/4 inches.  Then I looked at what I had left, and realized I did not have enough fabric left to go around again but probably enough to add one strip more on each block, which created a rectangle block rather than a square. 

When I had them all laid out on the bed I had left over blocks and a few strips and didn’t really like the lay out… So I turned some blocks horizontally and some vertically and added strips to make them all the same size and sewed it all together. 

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Quilt name?

Yesterday I posted a picture of my latest quilt on here and on facebook.  I asked for name suggestions on facebook and got several, two I really like. 

 My friend Candy suggested Snap, Crackle Pop...for the 5" snaps, the Bali Pop & the references to crystals...(someone said it looked like broken glass and crystals)

And my friend and neighbor Diana suggested Key West Tango.  I liked that name because to me the fabrics had a Key West color vibe and the craziness of it was similar to a tango.  (Diana isn’t even a quilter, LOL!)

I like BOTH names equally, much more than the Macaroon Gamble name I’d come up with. 

So which name do you like better?

Friday, May 03, 2013

Quilting gamble

Two days ago I took a quilting gamble,  taking a matching set of strips and charms and making something without a pattern or design.  First I went down the stack of charms as they came up and made triangle squares, I had 40 triangle squares (HST or DHS which ever you call them).  Then I started adding strips, sort of like a log cabin, but not really… very randomly.  I laid them out on the bed and turned rows until I used up as many blocks as I could.  And this is the result. 
Made from one Macaroon Bali Pop and matching Snaps (2 1/2 inch strips and 5 inch squares)

One week to Relay

I sell stuff to raise money for Relay. 

I sell my quilts.

And I offer Mysteries, about one every six weeks.   As a matter of fact, there's a new mystery tomorrow, a quick and easy scrappy quilt design.  A $5 donation will get you in on it, either as a mystery or the full pattern once the mystery is solved. 

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Eight more days

Here are eight more reasons why I Relay
1. In honor of and in support of many friends and family who are fighting cancer or who have beat cancer.
2. In memory of friends who lost their battle to cancer
3. To help fund accommodations for a cancer patients family during treatments. I’ve had friends who were able to take advantage of The Hope Lodge in Baltimore
4. To help fund the call center who has answers about cancer and treatments, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. My friend Pat got answers on Christmas day after being diagnosed on Christmas eve. 800-227-2345
5. To help a woman battling cancer look beautiful again with a wig and decent bra.
6. To help fund Road to Recovery which offers rides to patients when they need one to treatments, Drs appointments and home again.
7. In memory of Relays past and all the people who are no longer a part of Relay, for whatever reason.
8. In hope that someday somewhere someone will find the cure and we won’t have to Relay anymore!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Do you EQ?

If you EQ, there’s a great lesson on today’s EQ Blog at
I’ve tried this before with no luck, but now I know what I’ve been doing wrong. 

Nine more days

More reasons why I Relay
In memory of Marie Cooper, Dorothy Lubben, Butch the Biker Dude, Annie Jackson, Jack Williams, Georgie Jones, Faye Whyte, Helen Myers, Phyllis White, Mary K, Jane Bierce, Rudy Rudwick, JoAnne Braga , Sam, Letitia Siewertsen, Flo G

Jack Williams
Those aren’t just names, they are people who meant something to other people.  Jack was Dad to my dear friends Candy, Cindy and Dawn.  Dorothy was Mom to my friend Mary Ann.  Rudy was my friend Jane’s husband.  Sam was Deb’s friend, Letitia was Maia’s friend.
Butch Myers

Butch was a quilter friend, a tough nice guy who gave up smoking and took up quilting to keep his hands busy when he got lung cancer. 
Flo, Faye, Phyllis and Marie were all quilters, members of my local guild.  Marie was the life of the party, even after cancer attacked her so cruelly.  Georgie was also a quilter.  She sat by her husband’s bedside as cancer took him away, never knowing that she would soon be fighting as well. 

Jane "Fribble" Bierce
Mary K was the spunky leader of a Yahoo Group I belonged to, someone with a heart of gold.  Jane Bierce was another internet friend, but one I had the fortune of visiting in person several times in her little home in TN.  She was tiny and feisty and a joy to be around with a talent for writing romance novels as well as making beautiful quilts. 
JoAnne "Irishga" Braga
JoAnne was a quilter and a friend from my very first day on the internet.    She was a strong supporter of my Relay and a Relayer herself, up in Dawson City Yukon.  The strength she showed in her battle against cancer is something I will remember forever.