Author Archives: Jo

Dealing with the Unknown

Our daughter, Kalissa, was driving home from a 12-hour shift at work.  She called me and we were chatting.  I told her I needed to get two blog posts written yet before I headed up to bed.  She asked me what I was going to write about.  I told her I had an “Ask Jo” segment almost finished but I wasn’t sure what else I was going to write about.

I’ve been writing the blog here for over 11 1/2 years now so I’ve learned that sometimes I don’t even know what I’m going to write about I just sit down and something typically comes.  I might look on Facebook and see something that inspires me.  I might look at the pictures on my phone and something inspires me.

What ended up inspiring this post was Kalissa.  She said she thought I should write a blog post about how I deal with my unknown cancer stuff.  She said I handle it all so well and she thought maybe, I might have something to say that might help one of you dealing with cancer, other medical things, or even life problems.

I thought I could give that topic a try.  So how do I deal with the unknown?  How do I deal with knowing cancer is growing inside me?  How do I deal with knowing slow-growing cancer might change suddenly and become fast-growing?  How do I deal with knowing cancer might be my ending?

I know this sounds simple but I just keep on living.  I control what I can and have learned to let go of the rest.  There was a time in my life that I was a worrier.  I worried if my kids would grow into their names.  I vividly remember worrying if would I pick the right name for my kids.  I never wanted a girl name that sounded delicate like Tiffany because I was sure any child that came from Kramer and I would not be delicate…and I was right.  They aren’t.  Poor Kalissa has to wear men’s shoes as she can’t find shoes in a size women’s 13 wide.

I worried that I wouldn’t be liked.  I worried that my kids wouldn’t be liked.  I worried if I wore the right clothes, if my house was clean enough, if someone thought I was a nice person…oh my.  The list could go on for forever.  I would go to bed and couldn’t sleep.  I had all the things to worry about.  I remember lying in bed and listing the things I was worried about trying to find a solution to fix it all…and all of the things I was worried about weren’t something I could fix.

I don’t worry anymore.

After I was diagnosed with cancer, I learned that those things aren’t worth worrying about.  The right clothes are the last things I worry about.  Before I was so worried about if I looked like I wore “mom jeans”.  Now I just put on what is in the closet and trust my daughters will tell me if I need something different.

One might think that being I don’t worry about that other “stuff”, that I might transfer my worrying to worrying about my cancer.  I haven’t.  I don’t.

Here’s the truth of things.  Every 3-6 months, the doctors haul me in and give me the whole gamut of tests.  I get blood work, ultrasounds, chest CTs, PET scans, and whatever else they can think of.  I am watched closely.  I go to the doctor for other things regularly.  I just had a colonoscopy.  I am going to schedule a mammogram soon.  I take care of myself the best I can.  I do everything I can do to watch my health…well I don’t eat perfectly, but other than that, I’m doing all I can.

If something shows up in any of these tests or procedures, I know that I have done everything I could do to catch it early.  Beyond that, I can’t control a single other thing in regards to my health.  None.  Zip. Zero.  NOT A SINGLE THING.

I can control nothing that happens inside my body in regards to disease.  I cannot control a single thing.  So, what would worrying do?


Well, worrying could do something…I think worrying could damage my mental health.  That is the very last thing I want to do any damage to.

This might seem off-topic but bear with me… Continue reading

Ask Jo: Quilts and Backings

Hello, and welcome to another edition of “Ask Jo”.  I get many comments in and questions from all sorts of places, the comment section here, Youtube, email, and from our Facebook group.  Sometimes I think others of you might want to know the answers as well so I answer them here on the blog.

There was a lot of interest in this quilt that Ronda recently finished…many were trying to figure out the pattern. If you read through the comment section there were many coaching many others through the possible construction of the block.

Blog reader, Pam, sent me a note to let me know that she found the pattern.  HERE is the link.

It is a fun pattern that I’m sure many of you will enjoy and the good news, the pattern is FREE!!

I have gotten this question time and time again…Patti asked, “I love this quilt kit and am dying to find it! I know it was from a while ago but if you know of anyone who would like to sell this quilt kit I would love to buy it. I only started quilting five years ago and this kit was prior to my time.”  The quilt she is talking about is the Civil War Tribute quilt.  I machine quilted two of them this year and I am always getting requests from people who want to make it, wish they had the kit, or want some lead on trying to track it down.  As far as I know, it is out of print.  If you know of anyone who has the pattern or kit and wants to sell it.  This is Patti’s contact info.

This comment came from June:  “I LOVE the colors of this quilt! And wherever did you get that “ruler” under your sewing machine foot (next-to-last picture) with the lines on it? That would be such a help!

This is the picture that June was referencing… Continue reading

My Monday

I had yesterday off because it was Martin Luther King Jr Day…so I thought I would bring you along and show you what kept me busy the whole day long.

First off, I planned to sleep in and I accomplished that.  At 7:20 am Karl messaged me and said he had a flat tire, could he borrow my truck.  The answer…SURE.  I don’t go anywhere anymore.  In all of December, I went to a Doctor’s appointment and went to Christmas Eve church and I haven’t gone anywhere since.  The miles getting put on the truck are minimal.

That’s when I remembered I had packages that needed to go in the mail so I ran around getting them ready so Karl could drop them off only to learn that “AH!!  It’s Martin Luther King Jr Day and the post office is closed”.

So in my jammies, I sat down at the computer and started checking comments and my email.  I told you I’ve been trying to stay ahead of it all so I’ve made a commitment to run through it in the morning and again in the evening.  It’s been going much better.  I do take the weekends off of mail maintenance though.

I flipped over to check my Youtube channel and saw this…It’s my friend Michelle from Michelle’s Romantic Tangle.  She was doing a flip through review of our book Country Girl Modern.  If you click, you can watch it here.

Michelle has a blog (Find her HERE), but has branched out and is doing a lot of Youtube videos.  I’m so honored that she took the time to review our book.

Michelle does a ton of short videos that are so fun.  She’ll take you along thrifting.  She talks about her many crafting endeavors with cross-stitch being her focus along with knitting.  She loves vintage things so she’s always showing fun finds.  The videos are all fun and quick.  Seeing what she is up to is great.

You can imagine how surprised I was to see her feature our book in her flip through.  You’ll have to check her out!  HERE is the link to her Youtube channel.

From there I grabbed some breakfast.  I’m not a traditional breakfast eater.  For me, it was leftover lasagna.  I put together but didn’t cook the lasagna over naptime last week and put it in the refrigerator.  Then Friday night I baked it.  Over the weekend we ate it for leftovers.  I read a cookbook while I ate.  This is the Amish one Celesta gave me.  There are so many recipes I want to try!

From there it was a shower and off to the sewing room.  I stood inside the doorway for a minute or two and tried to think what the best use of the time would be.  I wanted to tidy up.  The sewing room took a hit when I was busy working on the Halloween quilt.  I really should make a backing and get the Halloween quilt on the frame but darn…that wasn’t what I was in the mood to do.

So under the guise of telling myself it was part of cleaning, I decided to get the Holy Toledo quilt finished.  Then I could clean up all of that mess.  So one went the inner border.

Then it was time for the outer border.  I sewed the long pieces together but then I had to make the corner blocks.  To do that, I needed more half square triangles.  Then an idea hit me.  Just that morning Donna had messaged me and asked how I make half square triangles…so, I shot a video showing how.  That will be published on a later date after Kalissa edits it for me.  She’s still on Covid quarantine.

From there it was time to put on the outer borders.

…and with that, the top was done.

Then Karl messaged me, “Could you go down and check what the number is on my tire.  The shop needs to order one.”

So I went to the garage and gave him the info.

As I was walking through the kitchen I saw these apples on the counter.  ICK.  I was going to make pie over the weekend but it never happened.  So…I made pie!

While the pies were baking I went upstairs.  The Holy Toledo quilt was finished.  What else could I do to “clean up” the sewing room.

Ah-ha.  My “A Gentle Life” wool applique piece…it needed to be laced.  All of the stitching was done so I laced it!

Here it is… Continue reading

My Journal

I’ve told you all that the blog is much like a diary or journal to me.  It really is.  Growing up I always tried to keep a diary or journal and never made the leap and actually did it.  I can’t tell you how many times I tried.  I think my first time ever was when I was in 4th grade and my mom bought me a five-year diary.  Remember the ones with the mini keys.  I had one.  Mine was brown.  I made about 30 entries in it over the five years.

I never did find a way to truly write a journal until I started blogging.

When I did start blogging I was told that I should keep it “professional”.  I should only write about quilting.  I was told it should be for business only.  I hated that idea.

The person in me wanting to write a journal thought blogging would be a great way to get me to actually keep a journal.  Besides, separating business and personal was never my thing.  My family is such a huge part of everything I do.

One day long ago, Kelli and I were having a sewing day.  We were still living at the farmhouse.  Kelli got it in her head that we should make FOUR Perkimon Daydreams quilts…one for Kayla, one for Buck, one for me, and one for her.

The quilt is a monster and to make four of them would be crazy…in fact, making them all did make us a little crazy.  Kelli went around and tied headbands of 1 1/2″ strips on our heads.

Then she tied them on the dogs.  At the time, I had Gracie and she had Puppycat.

There is no way to write a blog post and make any of that look professional.  We weren’t one drop professional that day.  We were goofy and crazy and had so much fun.

I’d rather you all see me and our family how we really are…goofy and crazy…raw but sometimes put together.  That’s how we really are.

I’m so glad I made our family part of the blog from the very beginning.  It’s lead me to blog about so many personal things that I might not have a memory of or saved a photo of had I not added personal stuff to the blog.

The other day I was doing a search looking for a recipe and I came across a post I had done after we had a party after Carver was born.  My family had come and we had a cheesecake bake-off party.  It was a way to get lots of desserts to my house so I didn’t have to make them.  It was fun too.

I found a picture of Kramer…not a good one but it was him…

We really don’t have lots of pictures of him so any pictures were great.  The picture that really caught my eye…this one… Continue reading