Monday, August 29, 2011

Life is good!

We left home at 8 this morning and returned 10 hours, 250 miles and 2 doctors appointments later.  After meeting with the chief medical oncologist at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax this afternoon, here’s my latest news.

Sunflowers 1[4]

The results of the PET scan that I had a couple of weeks ago discovered a cancerous ‘mass’ that has deposited itself in one of my lymph nodes and has to be removed.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that because the scan could still not determine the primary source of the cancer, I will not have to undergo either radiation or chemotherapy at this time. 

The way it was explained to me is that cancer does not develop in the lymph nodes but ‘travels’ and settles there from a primary source located somewhere else in the body.   Consequently, they cannot treat my cancer in the traditional way because they don’t know the origin.  Because my case is so ‘unusual’, I will be monitored very closely by a team of oncologists and after the surgery will have to undergo additional PET scans every two months to start and then every three months after that to see if the cancer reappears.

sunflower 2

I know that I will be traveling a road filled with uncertainty each time that I must have another PET scan, but I feel extremely confident with the decision made by the oncology team to go this route.  I also know that this gift would never have been given to me had it not been for all your positive thoughts and prayers.  You have no idea how grateful I am to each and every one of you.  Thank you all from the very bottom of my heart.

Life is good!

sunflower 1

My ‘baby’ brother  and his Jack Russell terrier arrived last Monday and left yesterday.  I had not seen them since last November, just before we moved to Nova Scotia.  We spent a wonderful week together showing him the sights, eating lots of seafood which is plentiful and delicious in our neck of the woods and taking lessons from him on how to use my Blackberry.  I now know how to text!


Here’s Newman enjoying the view from the rocky shoreline on Brier Island, Nova Scotia. 


Both Mr. Painted Quilt and I hated to see them go…and so did Frankie and Mac who got along with Newman famously.


Have you noticed all the sunflowers?

Do you know what this Friday is? 

It’s the First Friday of the month.  I know it’s been a while but please come back on Friday for another FFF (First Friday Freebie). 

And if you guessed that it might be about sunflowers, you guessed right!


Friday, August 19, 2011

I get by…

With a little help from my friends.

musical notes 2

Remember that Beatles song?  Well today it really struck a chord with me.

~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~

One of the things that I know best about myself is that patience is NOT one of my most redeeming qualities.  I was feeling kind of frustrated and overwhelmed this morning and became a little teary-eyed as a result.   I’m finding it so hard to deal with the unknown and the waiting is starting to play on my nerves.  Forgive me for venting but I’m so anxious to move forward.

~  *  ~  * ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~ 

Then just when it felt like I was really going to lose it, guess what happened?  The mail lady stopped at our road side mail box, opened the lid and flipped the red flag up, indicating that there was mail inside.  I was debating as to whether to go out and see what bills she left or to put it off until later.  Well, I’m happy that I decided to get it over with right away because I didn’t find any bills but two large envelopes addressed to me instead!  I couldn’t wait to get back inside.


Paulette graciously allowed her friend Claire to host a giveaway on her blog because Claire doesn’t have a blog of her own.  To make a long story short, the giveaway had to do with W-O-O-L and by now you probably all know about my love affair with wool. 

Well, I didn’t win the giveaway but Claire decided to thank me for my First Friday Freebies and Raggedy & Friends BOM by gifting me with three fat quarters of wool.


Aren’t they awesome?  They will be put to use very soon!  Thank you so much Claire and Paulette. 

I’m definitely getting by with a little help from my friends.

musical notes 2

The second package came as a complete surprise.

Cathi and I have been blogging friends for about two years now.  When I opened the envelope and found this inside…


I became all choked up and the tears really began to flow freely. 

Isn’t it gorgeous?  And I knew exactly where it was going as soon as I laid eyes upon it.


It was as though it was made for and always belonged on the pine bedside table in our guest bedroom.  Thank you sooooooo much, Cathi.  I absolutely love it!

I really am getting by with a little help from my friends.

musical notes 2

Yesterday, I went blueberry picking at my friend Diane’s house.  She and her husband moved here from Oregon five years ago and inherited 160 varieties of blueberry bushes on their property.  They have been giving them a lot of TLC since then and the ‘sea of blue’ was amazing.


The soil in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia is ideal for blueberries.


In thirty minutes, I had picked 4.5 pounds of mouth-watering blueberries.


I’ve already made a blueberry pie and plan to freeze the rest because next week, Mr. Painted Quilt and I are going back to pick a whole lot more.


All we need now is a bigger freezer…and it’s being delivered next week!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spare Bedroom Reveal

In anticipation of my ‘baby’ brother’s arrival early next week, I’ve been working at getting our spare bedroom ready.  His visit is just the motivation I needed in order to get at it and clean out what seemed to be turning into a storage room.

It’s the smallest of the four upstairs bedrooms and decorating-wise, it is still a work in progress.  Believe it or not, I still have more boxes to unpack marked ‘decorating stuff’ which I’m convinced multiply during the night as we sleep.


This is what you see straight ahead as you enter the room.  On the positive side, the steep dormered ceiling in this room allows for a lot of storage space under the eaves, accessible by the low cupboard on the wall to the left.

The negative side is that same feature limits the amount of usable space for the placement of furniture.


Travelling in a clock-wise direction around the room is the single bed with Frankie the terror perched on top of it, looking at what he can get into next.


The bench is home to a couple of antique quilts and one of my favorite pieces, a primitive pine cupboard that is just waiting for me to fill with all kinds of collectibles hidden away in some of those dreaded boxes.


And a little closer look at the same scene.  Just to the right of this shot is the entryway into the room and back to where we started.


Yesterday and the PET scan have thankfully both come and gone and I’m  just waiting for the results in order to be able to move on to whatever comes next.  It seems like I’ve been treading water for quite some time now and not being the most patient person in the world,  I am hoping that there will be some definitive answers soon. 


In the interim and between naps, I’m keeping busy in the garden, doing a little hooking, planning my next quilt and even designing some new FFF’s (First Friday Freebies).

Thanks again for all your encouragement and support.  I am truly fortunate to have you all in my life.


P.S.    A little message to Barbara York…

I’d love to answer the comment that you left for me in my last post but unfortunately you came up as ‘no-reply’ which means that I have no way of contacting you.  Sad smile

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I love Saturdays!

Saturday mornings are my favorite because that is when the Annapolis Royal Farmer and Trader’s market happens.  By 8 a.m. all the vendors have set up their booths and unless one arrives bright and early, it’s almost impossible to find a parking spot nearby.


A temperate climate combined with rich, fertile soil make the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia a paradise for fresh fruits and vegetables…especially at this time of year.


The first pick of both sweet corn and peaches.  Coincidently, the corn is the ‘peaches and cream’ variety meaning that the kernels on the same cob are bi-colored and it’s ever so sweet.


Who can resist authentic fresh baked French bread and pastries? Not me!  However today I refrained from buying any pastries because after seeing those peaches, I decided to bake instead. 


Look what I brought home…fresh peaches, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, red onions, corn and tomatoes.  Everything looks almost too good to eat!


Can you guess what I’m going to make for dessert from the ingredients pictured below?


Peach cobbler with about a cup of blueberries thrown in for good measure. 

This is how it looked before it went into the oven…


And here it is, piping hot and just out of the oven!  The aroma is to die for!


We’re going to eat light tonight…corn-on-the-cob along with a fresh tomato, red onion and cucumber salad topped with a home made vinaigrette…one of our favorite summer meals.


And if you’d like to try to make your own peach cobbler, here’s the recipe.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Peach Cobbler

1 stick (4 oz) butter, melted

1 c + 3 tbsp granulated sugar, divided

1 c all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 c milk

1 tsp vanilla

3-4 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F.

Pour melted butter into a 2 qt baking dish (11” x 7” or 8” square).  In a mixing bowl, combine 1 c sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir to blend.

Stir in vanilla and milk until blended.

Pour batter over melted butter.

Toss peaches with remaining 3 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  Arrange peach slices over batter.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  The top will be browned and the cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Serve warm with whipped topping or vanilla ice cream.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Bet you can’t have just a little portion!  *wink*


Once again, thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers with respect to my health issues. 

All it seems like I’ve been doing lately is running from one doctor to another to try to get to the bottom of this.  I have nothing but the highest regard and praise for each and every one of them.  Although Nova Scotia is a small province, the health care system is second to none.

One of the doctors I met with this past week was a radiation oncologist and she has arranged for me to have a PET scan on Monday.  Evidently this is a state-of-the-art technology for determining the source of cancers that either can’t be or have not been detected by other means.   This involves travelling 120 miles (one way) to Halifax (again), the capital and largest city in Nova Scotia.  Thank goodness Mr. Painted Quilt likes to drive!

Although my treatment options haven’t been firmly decided upon as yet, it looks as though I’m going to be in for a long, rough ride in the not-too-distant future.  

Am I scared?  Absolutely!

Will I beat this?  Without a doubt!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Y’all are the best!!!


Monday, August 1, 2011

A finish…finally!

Just the flimsy but nevertheless, a finish!


I’m not a fancy person and don’t really like a lot of frou-frou, bling and glitz so this traditional nine patch quilt is right up my alley.


About a year ago,  I took part in a Civil War nine patch swap hosted by Julie

I haven’t pieced a quilt since before we moved to Nova Scotia last December, not because I haven’t wanted to but because there was so much going on in our lives…the packing, the actual move, renovations, unpacking, tons of yard work, planting, the arrival of ‘les girls’ Rhoda, Ruby and Roxanne, Frankie the terror and my health issues. 

Two weeks ago and just prior to Frankie’s unexpected arrival, I decided to pick up the nine patches and get down to business.  I had everything I needed in my stash so there was no excuse.


I started the initial piecing and wanted to complete the top before my biopsy surgery but we all know what happens to ‘the best laid plans’…right? 

It only took two weeks but I finally finished it this morning.


I can’t tell you how good it feels.  Now I know how a lion feels when set free from it’s cage!


The quilt currently measures 84” x 72”.  I’m wondering if I should add another border of either 4” or 6”, simply because I was thinking about finishing the quilt with a scalloped border.  What would you do?


As for Frankie?  He’s everywhere!  The door to my studio has to stay closed because there’s just too much for him to get into.  I can’t wait for the kitten stage to be over with!


Later on this week I’ll be sending my quilt top to Mary, longarm quilter extraordinaire who resides at Quilt Hollow, to allow her to work her magic on it.  I’m hoping that it’ll be back just in time to cuddle under on those cool, crisp autumn nights.