July 19, 1971

Russ and Jo were married 42 years ago, we had a really small wedding with immediate family.  I think there may have been 20 of us total.

Would you believe I made my dress?  Poly double knit!     🙂  Yep that certainly dates me.  It worked – fit the meager budget.

Russ and Jo 7:19:71



I’m taking tomorrow off (that means out of the office), spend part of the day at the studio sewing (gift to me) and make a nice dinner at home for us.

We will celebrate in a favorite restaurant when the weather is nice, guess that would be  Fall not Summer.  I wanted to be a June bride . . . . . almost made it.   🙂

I wrote the above post on Thursday July 18, things have changed, I get to spend Friday morning in the office after all.  Still hoping/planning for an afternoon of sewing, followed by a nice (make that easy to prep) dinner, burgers anyone?





Happy 4th of July!

American Flag Lady - vintage

American Flag Lady – vintage

I think many will be blessed with a 4 day weekend!  What to do?  Maybe spend time with friends and family, or perhaps a mini vacation.  What are you doing?

I’m taking some quiet time and enjoy it with Russ, we will cook out and visit with neighbors.  I think it may be called a ‘staycation’?

Russ and a friend went fishing this morning on the Missouri River.  Russ took his boat, he has an open fishing boat, have had it for a long time (over 30 years).  After Russ retired four years ago to reconfigure the seats, he took out a bench seat, bought a new outboard engine and a new trailer that makes it easier to load and unload the boat, he can do it alone if necessary.

I plan to spend some time at the studio, sewing and designing.  It gets quiet around Holidays,  will take advantage of it and stitch!

Maybe I need to start another Patriotic quilt, love the skirt on the vintage Flag Lady, don’t you?  My star fabric is still in print, it is part of ‘Jo’s Best Friends’ group.

I wish you a very Happy 4th of July!


Belated Happy New Year

[pinterest]It is only January 22nd, maybe I’m a little behind?

My saga began Oct 9th with an inner ear virus, it put me down for over a week, I mean horizontal for over a week, very dizzy, had to hold on to furniture and doorways, dizzy made me queasy, enough said on that, you get the picture.  One has to wear out a virus, antibiotics don’t do a thing.  Followed up with ENT due to my schedule, he gave me a script for prednisone to help me through a couple commitments, it helped.  But when I went off the prednisone, symptoms worsened again, followed by day by day small improvements.  Then we (Russ and myself both) dealt with a 48 hour bug that also set back the inner ear virus healing for me.  Felt I was finally gaining ground in December, the house was decorated by Dec 22nd, much less decor than normal, but I liked the simple decor for a change.  Then Christmas arrived along with bronchitis, another virus, it hit both Russ and I at the same time, we were a pitiful pair coughing and coughing.  Another virus to wear out and of course it wears us out.  Sleep at night with coughing fits, nap during the day, about three weeks later the coughing was better so that we were sleeping at night and days were much better.  It is a slow process to regain stamina after these health issues.

I had a trip to NY to work scheduled this month, decided could manage, worked during the day, eat an early dinner, then get in jammies and robe and crawl in bed to read when there was nothing on TV.  Got a lot of rest and good sleep and the work went well!

Now over three months later, I think I’m over most everything with a little lingering lightheadedness from the inner ear virus from time to time, it is weird, but so much better I can deal with it.  I think I may try driving the car this week!  What a bumpy end to 2012 and beginning to 2013.

This is why I’ve been quiet.  After bronchitis hit us, I really didn’t care about blogging or facebook, much less answering email or chatting, was barely able to take care of business, which thankfully is much slower during the Holidays.  We survived and are looking forward to a ‘healthy’ 2013!

My Mother’s macular degeneration is still active in her right eye, she has another set of shots to endure.  I really hate how it stresses her with all her other health issues.  Thankfully my niece has been a huge help.  I did not want to get near mother with our health issues, so I haven’t seen her in weeks, but we talk on the phone.

Mini Hexagon Tree Skirt

Mini Hexagon Tree Skirt – revised Jan 2013

While I was ‘down’ so to speak I had moments I wanted to do something, so I covered some more hexi’s and revised the little red/white feather tree skirt.  When I made it for Christmas 2011, I used it at the base of a 12″ feather tree.  This year I used it at the base of a 24″ feather tree and it seemed small.

Now I’m frustrated, I can’t load pictures to my Blog this morning, they made improvements and all I upload is a blue question mark.  grrrr [[all better now!]]

On the upside — I wish us all a Happy and Healthy New Year!


Seasons Greetings!

We had Christmas yesterday at my mothers, it was a very nice day, visiting, eating and then of course TV distractions.  We normally come to our home, but it is easier on mother to stay home and stay warm, logical solution this year.

This evening we go to our friends home a few miles west of Nebraska City, their grandson is our godson and Jordon is now 18, we have been friends for a long time, it is always nice to be a part of their Christmas.

On Christmas day we will go Russ’s side at Donna and Henry’s (Donna is Russ’s sister), this is also a long time tradition.  We are blessed to be able to celebrate Christmas more than once every year.  Missing the trip to Kansas this year, we will make it work again next year.

I want to wish you Happy Holidays, safe travels, lovely gatherings with family and friends.  Mostly a Very Merry Christmas from Jo and Russ and the furkids, Socks and Chloe, Tigger is with us in spirit.



Welcome Home!

My friend and neighbor Sheri did this on the door to welcome us home from our trip to Spring Green, WI.

How cute is that!  All patiently waiting and waiting.  Sweet Tigger is inside waiting.  Funny that you can also see my reflections trying to take a picture before entering.

Made me smile and happy to be home, wanted to share with you.

Welcome Home Russ and Jo

A few more basket quilts for Spring or . . . for whenever

I like basket quilts year round, not just during the spring.  But since I don’t have much seasonal decor (other than Christmas), changing quilts is the way I change seasons or Holidays.

This first quilt today I named Hattie’s Baskets, this small quilt, approx 24″ x 24″, was entirely hand pieced, hand quilted and the binding attached by hand also.  I made it in 1986 – yes 26 years ago, in my learning to quilt years, it was year 6.  Interesting to look back for a while.  I also made it into a pattern when I began my pattern business in 1995.  Do you remember it?  For newbies – out of print.

Hattie's Baskets, made in 1985

The next quilt – Aunt Hattie’s Basket quilt was made in 1986-1987.  l986 was my chemo year (actually March 1986 to March 1987), I was asked to design the opportunity (aka raffle) quilt for the 1988 Symposium hosted by the Nebraska State Quilt Guild.  I was actually very pleased to be asked to design the quilt, because I then knew that other people knew I would be OK!

My good friends in Omaha suggested that I create kits for the blocks, they would send them out to be pieced, so I would have help making the quilt, they even had the blocks sent back to them.  I did sew the top together, then the quilting bees began.  These same friends helped set up the bees and asked for hand quilting help.  (side note – today it would be sent out and machine quilted wouldn’t it)

Russ really liked that quilt and I had given it away.  I decided I should remake that quilt for Russ.  So in 2000 (OK it took me 12 years to decide I should do that) I began pulling some of those same fabrics from my ‘fabric collection’, luckily I had most of the same fabrics and enough for the border too!  I wanted this quilt hand quilted and it wasn’t happening, I finally asked a friend who hand quilts for hire if she would be interested, she took on the big job and it took some time, but so worth it.  I published the pattern in my second book ‘Collecting Baskets’ in 2001.  FYI – book has been out of print for years.

Aunt Hattie's Baskets - 2001

This next quilt I call Rebecca’s Baskets (aka Double Handle Basket in a different setting).  This setting is the one I used for teaching the double handle basket block.  It was published in American Patchwork and Quilting, Issue 65, December 2003, page 28.

Rebecca's Baskets

Here is a picture of my book ‘Collecting Baskets’ published in 2001 – out of print.

cover of 'Collecting Baskets'


That is it for today, more to come, stay tuned!

May all your baskets be full with blessings.


March Retreat is over

A good time was had by all!

This Retreat focused on machine piecing the Log Cabin block, Courthouse Steps block and Pineapple block.  Also talked about vintage and fabric choices.  Here is a picture of a stack of ‘small’ quilts for inspiration.  There were various sizes of inspiration quilts, from crib, medium and a couple of large ones and even a couple antique quilts.

small stack of precious small quilts - all made and hand quilted by Jo


What excited me most is that the ladies got busy sewing and created their own looks and a number of the ladies sewed several small projects – all inspiring!  We would take little breaks and walk around to see what was being created, then they hurried to finish and begin the next one!  It was so much fun and happy to see so much creativity.

Cool to watch new friendships bloom.

I invited TJ Lane (http://www.thimbles2fit.com/) to come to Nebraska City Saturday morning for the ladies to be able to shop, and have a thimble personally fitted.  TJ’s offerings are so beautiful and feel so good when used while stitching.  She even has necklaces where you can hang your thimble cage, needle case, small seam ripper (just in case) and other  beautiful accessories.

Phyllis and Amy making the hard decisions


One more event during Retreat truly warmed my heart.  My friends cut kits to make pillowcases for our service men and women in Afghanistan.  24 were sewn during the weekend.  Here is a picture of our attendees and the pillowcases – awesome job girls!

The attendees, my worker-bee friends and pillowcases!! Thank you very much for your time.


One little bit of behind the scenes, shall I say drama?  You decide.  We (my friends the worker-bees) finished setting up Thursday evening, the room was ready and the store was ready to open Friday morning.  Russ and I had taken all my stuff out Thursday evening also, we went home, basketball was on, decided a little glass of wine would be nice before heading to bed.  Poured two glasses and before getting a sip the phone rang at 9:26PM, it was my niece Steph who stays with mother, Steph was almost hysterical, mother had fallen in the kitchen and stopped breathing for a minute, then gurgled and began breathing again, of course she called the rescues squad, then me.  We pulled in right behind the rescue squad, they began taking vitals, mother was answering questions, nothing hurt, no pain, etc.  They did an ekg and sent it to the hospital, they were ready for her at the hospital when the unit pulled in.  Mother’s heart rate was 20.   It would bounce around 17, 20, 22, 17, 20, 20, 21, 22 for quite a while.  Hard to get blood pressure reading, but she would continue to answer questions, just seemed really tired and a little confused.  She fell because her heart rate was so low was the conclusion.

The ER doc called the heart hospital in Lincoln and talked to a cardiac surgeon, then he talked to us.

Remember mother had a heart attack 2 1/2 years ago with many complications including damage and blockages.  She seems to be a bit like the energizer bunny, she just keeps going.  Yea mom!

While visiting with mother in the ER, in a blink mothers heart rate was 65 and she perked up, was interesting to watch the change, then it fell back down to the low 30’s and back into the 20’s.  Then they added dopamine to her IV drip and her heart rate slowly improved for the ride in the unit to Lincoln.  We got home about 12:45, went to bed and I had a hard time getting to sleep, last time I looked at the clock was 1:30am.

Friday morning the alarm went off at 6am, I didn’t want to get up (would you?) but did of course.  Went to the retreat center by 8am, let the ladies know that mother would hopefully get a pacemaker that morning.  I got the phone call around 10am that it was installed and she was doing fine.  My sister Carol (who lives in Lincoln) and Steph were there with her.  The electrician said it was a ‘go’.  Loved the terminology, as it helped make a smile during the wait.  Mother was released Saturday before noon (again the electrician said it was OK), Carol brought her back to her home in Nebraska City.  Steph continues to stay with mother (or grandma) so she can stay in her own home.  Mother will turn 90 the end of May.  So is it drama?  Or what would you call it?

I’m grateful for the answered prayers.  One of the attendees is a nurse who happens to work in a hospital, in the heart unit – they do these pacemakers all the time – mom will be fine.  I was so grateful she was here to reassure me.  The next two nights sleep were about 6 hours each, my mind kept racing going over everything, and what did I need to do at Retreat, things to take back home and bring the next batch of quilts.  I think the racing mind is normal.  I was exhausted after Retreat.  It was Tuesday before I felt a little like Jo again.

Now I’m getting ready to fly to Texas Sunday to teach next week, this is an annual event (this is the 6th trip) of back to back Retreats, the bonus is that I get to hang out with my Texas friends and I get to sew too!  Trying to figure out what to take along to work on, sound familiar?   🙂

Happy Stitching!