Thursday, June 26, 2014

A PRACTICE PIECE TURNED PILLOW...


Today is a ME day.  There are no doctors today (5 this week) and Dear Hubby has to go to a dinner meeting after work.  So I can stay in all day and don't have to think about anything other than my Aunt's quilt!  Good thing, too, I really need to pick up the pace if I am going to accomplish everything else on my Christmas Gift List!

I have finished the walking foot quilting (parts were a BEAR) and I may try to perfect my FMQ straight lines so that I don't ever again have to fight with turning a quilt through the small throat of my machine!  After a while I started pulling the quilt out and feeding it in the other way, but it is EXHAUSTING! 

I had four more blocks where I had wanted to put an embroidered/quilted shoe.  Nothing colorful or detailed, just a shoe used as the quilting in the block.  I learned the hard way (don't ask) never to do anything on my good piece until I have tried it on scrap material and know that the size, shape, color, etc. is exactly what I am expecting it to be, lol. 

So, as usual, I drew out blocks the size that are on my quilt and did a few samples.  It turned out that I liked the sample piece so much that I added some more embroidery  and a bit of FMQ.  I just pulled it out of my machine and I AM LOVING IT!  I still have to wash out my markings, iron it and make a back to turn it into a pillow cover but I'm thrilled...and I'm becoming more and more comfortable with FMQ!

So...what do you think? 



I love the way the tight FMQ almost gives it a gathered "ribboned" effect.  Had I known I was going to make a pillow with my practice shoes, I probaby would have alternated the colors.  But, I love it just the way it is, and the parts most likely to get dirty from resting her head on them are the darker color.  The picture really doesn't do it justice...it sorta looks all fuzzy, and grayish etc...which isn't really the case in person.  It's a solid dark black!

Oh, in case you don't know (or don't remember) my Aunt's quilt is named, "Call Me Imelda", hence the royal shield in the center, lol. 

I think I am going to try to do a tiny bit of FMQ on the quilt after I am done eating dinner.  Leftover Chinese for me...no prep, which will get me back to my sewing room quicker!

Have a great evening!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ASKING FOR PRAYERS...




As many of you know, Dear Hubby has been having Orthopaedic problems since a fall down two steps in October of 2011.  After a lack of examination and incorrect diagnosis in the ER, he was finally diagnosed two days later with a 95% tear of the left quad tendon and sent urgently into surgery.  The doctor fixed his quad tendon, but he has been left with additional problems not addressed at the time of the fall due to the severity of the quad injury discovered.  At this point we have been to seven, yes...SEVEN, different orthopedic specialists.  None of the first five have been looking at the "total picture" and as a result, Dear Hubby has been suffering for almost 3 full years.  Because of extreme compartmentalization in medicine, doctors now "specialize" in specific body areas.  But, ummm..., isn't the whole body connected???  Shouldn't issues in multiple areas, that all started after a fall, ring a bell that MAYBE the problems are interconnected?  Since that fall he has been going steadily downhill in terms of motion, pain and swelling, etc.  Shouldn't somebody have listened?

We have told at least five out of the 7 doctors seen that since the accident Dear Hubby can no longer get up on his toes.  We have questioned "why" he is having this difficulty and all but the last two specialists have totally ignored us.  They have simply looked us right in the eye and IGNORED the question and moved on.  Can you now see why we are on our SEVENTH doctor?

Dear Hubby played catcher in baseball/softball for 21 years!  And if you picture a catcher, he spent ALL of that time in a squat position...ON HIS TOES!  He is probably as comfortable on his toes as any ballerina!  But, since the fall he cannot get up on his toes AT ALL.  It isn't pain or weakness that stops him...his body will not do it!  Which means he is walking flatfooted like Frankenstein.  Picture doing that up and down steps!  Not only is it incredibly difficult, it is incredibly painful!  His gait is totally different than it was before the fall and no matter how many times we have stated such, it has been ignored.   

Fortunately a month or so ago a friend of Hubby's suggested a doctor that he had seen for an ankle injury.  We set up an appointment to see the man and he is the FIRST doctor who really EXAMINED more than one body part.  He immediately suggested an appointment with one of his partners to have an EMG done.  We saw his partner who suggested Hubby have an MRI of his pelvis and when we came in to review the MRI results an EMG would be done.  Of course our insurance refused to authorize the MRI until AFTER the EMG is done!

So yesterday we went to the doctor and he had an EMG...which was REALLY abnormal!!!!  Because of my walking difficulties I have had at least 5 EMGs.  I know what the little screen is supposed to look like, how the body is supposed to react, and how it is supposed to sound during the test.  As the test was going on I was getting more and more nervous because none of the "expected" was happening.  Adding to my upset, the doctor was OBVIOUSLY concerned.  Twice he got up from his seat and went to the computer to look at Hubby's records.  The look on his face was worried. 

When the test was over the doctor told us that Hubby's EMG is abnormal.  He wants Hubby to have the MRI to see if he could have injured his pelvis (he landed on his butt on a metal threshold) in a way that could have pinched the nerves, or if he could have actually stretched or torn the nerves themselves.  If the MRI is not helpful he wants Dear Hubby to go to a neurologist. 

I know after so many years of working in the medical field that I automatically jump to conclusions when people I love are sick or injured.  It's in my nature, I can't help it.  But I, personally, am the one who recognized Hubby's diabetes, my diabetes, my mom's sleep apnea, hubby's sleep apnea, and my dad's lymphoma/leukemia.  Not the doctors...ME.  It was only because I asked, nagged or down right "fought" with the doctors to have tests done that the diagnoses were ever made and treatment begun.  I am scared to death that the issues Dear Hubby has been dealing with for almost three years now have caused permanent nerve damage as a result of lack of diagnosis and/or treatment.  And if there is permanent nerve damage, or could be even more progression, what is it going to mean for Hubby and his future?  We have always looked forward to when it was "fixed".  But what if it is too late to fix it?  Or it can't be fixed?  Obviously, we will do whatever it takes to make things easier for him.  I will sell this house in a minute to get him away from steps, but what about work?  It has been harder and harder for him to handle working in such a large building.  And, if we do decide to move sooner rather than later....how are we going to be able to do it?  Neither one of us is worth diddly from a physical standpoint!

Sorry to be venting here, but my mind is whirling in 30 different directions.  What we really need are prayers.  So, if you pray...please include him in your prayers.  If you don't pray...if you could send healing vibes his way I would really appreciate it.  I know we will get through no matter what it is...together.  But, a little help along the way would be appreciated. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SPOONFLOWER...SMOOTH...............




Have you guys heard of Spoonflower?  It is an online design company.  You can submit your own personal designs/photos/drawings and have them printed on fabric (multiple kinds), wallpaper, decals and wrapping paper!

It has probably been a year or more now since I submitted a couple of designs.  Just on a lark, nothing I had intended to purchase yards and yards of at that time.  And so my account, and my designs, have sat all this time.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email offering me a sample of their new "faux suede" material.  I could pick any design I wanted (mine or others) to have printed in the faux suede.  After a bit of trouble finding my password (told you it's been a while, lol) I ordered a piece of my "Heat Wave" design.  And then I promptly forgot all about it until my sample arrived a few days ago.



This FABRIC is gorgeous.  I love the feel of the faux suede.  I wasn't too happy with my "design" in person...it wasn't "quirky" enough, lol.  But the fabric?  Oh My.   I LOVE IT !  I keep running the fabric over my cheek.  It is just so SMOOTH, and somehow...comforting.  Maybe it is taking me back to the days of soft flannel receiving blankets when J was a baby, but this fabric could become permanently attached to my face if I don't control myself, lol. 

So last night when I couldn't sleep I signed onto my Spoonflower account and changed up the design a bit.  Definitely more "quirky".  Wanna peek?

  http://www.spoonflower.com/spelunks?type=designers&view=designs&shop=designers&q=jusmom1&x=14&y=15

I think I am going to order myself another "swatch" of the new design in faux suede.  I could use a new pouch for storing sewing notions and I think the two 8 x 8 swatches should be enough fabric for the outside.  Although a faux suede eye cover for keeping out the light when my migraines are bad would sure be nice.  Decisions.  Decisions. 

Oh, this is FUN!  I only wish I was better at using computer technology to get the ideas floating in my head onto the Spoonflower website.  Maybe some day!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

IT'S BEEN A BUSY WEEKEND AT THE COTTAGE...

WHEW!......

I'm still on increased steroids because of my pain flair while on vacation and "feeling good" has spurred a LOT of activity around this house! 

Dear Hubby and I have begun "purging" in earnest and yesterday resulted in three full 33 gallon bags...two with clothing for Purple Heart and one filled with trash, lol.  I need to start another trash bag as I'm continuing the purge today!

I have found two old blazers in my closet that no longer fit and are not in decent enough condition to give to Purple Heart.  I will salvage the buttons and toss the remainder!

 

We have also started a "garage sale" pile in the corner of our dining room.  I am planning to have all of our purging done by the end of August so that we can have a September garage sale.   As we gather more items I will clean them up, price them and pack them into the boxes you see for storage until Fall.  Oops...just spotted my chip n dip in that picture.  Wrong pile....WRONG PILE! 

 

I filled up the recycling bin in my sewing room, also.  I had several boxes of "stuff" that had arrived lately and had yet to be opened.


The first thing I opened was my next supply of supplements prescribed by my neurologist.  Five bottles, cost of $58.67 which is not covered by insurance.  I have enough Coenzyme Q10 to last for 30 days and enough L-Carnitine to last for 60 days.  This is turning into quite an expense!  But, I will do whatever it takes to feel better.





One of the other boxes that I unpacked was a wonderful Daily Deal from Missouri Star Quilt Company.  It was a notions trio including a  measuring tape on a lanyard (downstairs in my EPP kit and I'm too lazy to walk the stairs to take a picture, lol), a cute little pair of scissors (same place, same laziness, lol) and this wonderful sewing kit. 


I have been looking for an "emergency" sewing kit for quite some time...but most of what I have found has been "cheap" and not likely to stand up past one errant button!  This kit from Missouri Star Quilt Company is REALLY nice!  


The container is a bit larger and deeper than an Altoids box, but it has a bit of everything you could need for a sewing emergency (except I don't recall seeing shirt buttons...I will add them). 

For our Anniversary/Father's Day my Dear Hubby and I bought each other two new pieces of luggage.  Our old luggage is about 25 years old and really wearing out...badly.   



We used one of the new pieces on our weekend away and it was wonderful.  However, the resort where we stayed did NOT have an elevator and poor Hubby had to carry the large suitcase up the stairs!  He can barely WALK up the stairs let alone drag a heavy suitcase.  Because of this we have decided to get a second smaller piece.  It would be easier for him to carry two smaller, lighter suitcases up the stairs in several trips.  The next time I make a reservation I will remember to ask about elevators!  It never dawned on me that a resort would NOT have one!  We will also buy a matching carry-on for when he flies for business.  We will need to make a trip back up to the Lancaster County or Berks County outlets to get them at a good price.  The sewing kit will be stored inside the smaller piece of luggage, which also happens to be the piece Dear Hubby will use on business trips. 

I have been busting my buns trying to finish the laundry this morning.  J and K will be coming over today to help us with some things around the house.  He will be bringing laundry with him to do at our house.  The laundry room in their complex is only opened limited hours (closes at 9 PM...ridiculous!) and one set of appliances has to suffice for 12 households!  Needless to say, finding an open wash/dryer while they are actually HOME is near impossible.  So, we have a deal.  If he comes over to help us with things that Dear Hubby and I physically can't do, he can use our water, detergent and appliances.  More than fair in my book, lol. 


Later today, my folks and aunt will come over and we all will celebrate Father's Day and our Anniversary (both of which occurred while we were away).  Since all of us (with the exception of my mom and dad) are trying to watch our weight, I am only having a small ice cream cake.  We don't need cake AND ice cream!  I am so proud of J & K.  They have been visiting the gym faithfully and are really showing the results! 

Well, I'm off to deconstruct my blazers for trashing and fold the next load of laundry.  Have a GREAT day everyone!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE...

Dear Hubby and I are home from our weekend away.  While in Maryland I began this post, only to run into difficulties attaching my photos.  So, I am finishing the post here at home on my IMAC.  Some day I HAVE to have J explain to me the intricacies of resizing photos taken with my IPAD to fit into a blog post!


I can't believe I haven't posted since May 18th!  Time has flown by in a whirlwind.  So much so that I'm forgetting what happened, and when!  It has not been a very good few weeks, though, with trips to the emergency room for myself, Dear Hubby and twice for my Dear Dad.  And, my horrendous pain has returned once again!  But, since I am accentuating the positive, I'll give you a bit of a rundown on the GOOD things that have been going on!


Right now I am writing this post while sitting on the balcony of a beautiful room in the Harbourtowne Resort in St. Michael's, Maryland!  Oh yes, that is such a good thing!



The sun is just beginning to set as I sit here sipping a steaming mug of coffee.  Too many S's in that last sentence, lol.  Thank goodness I am only drinking coffee or I may not have been able to handle such an alliteration!  And yes, the coffee is decaf, lol.  I need to RELAX during this getaway!

When Dear Hubby and I had to cancel our Myrtle Beach vacation due to illness, we decided NOT to cancel the weekend getaway we had planned for the "end" of our vacation.  We had picked St. Michael's for a trial weekend because it would provide a break during our ride home from South Carolina and also is within a few hours of home.  We are trying to come up with "closer" vacation venues for the time when the 9-10 hour trip to Myrtle Beach is too much for us.





Our room was absolutely GORGEOUS.  I was sure I had taken a picture of the bedroom, but alas I cannot find the photo.  I guess when I was "thinning through" my photos I accidentally erased the pictures.  Oh well, sounds like a good reason to go back there some day!




We had a HUGE balcony (twice the size of all of the others on our floor) with beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay. 


Shortly after we arrived a storm rolled in.  It was an incredible experience.  Such raw power and beauty!  I was absolutely mesmerized as I stood on the balcony watching.  Had I thought about being so close to the water during a lightening storm I probably would have run back inside, but the beauty was so breathtaking I was glued to the spot! 

video


I took five full minutes of video of the storm, but had to choose a small smidge to fit here.  It is not the "best part" of the video...unfortunately the best "parts" were spread throughout the whole five minutes!  This is just a "taste" of the beauty I witnessed. 


Fortunately, we were both "not sick enough" to have to cancel this part of our vacation (although it was touch and go for a little while!).  I am still not my best and last evening I almost asked Dear Hubby to pack up and take me home, but I toughed it out and feel better today!  I refuse to lose this special time with the love of my life.   Today is our 29th anniversary and the only wish I have is for another 29 years and the good health to enjoy them!  It has been a wonderful few days!  He is my best friend and the keeper of my heart...always and forever.  The engraving on the inside of his wedding band says it best...All My Life, All My Love. 

When planning our original "long" South Carolina/Maryland vacation I wanted to pack some English Paper Piecing to keep my hands busy while sitting on the balcony watching the ocean.





I have not been at all happy with the small case I have been using to hold my EPP supplies.  While I originally wanted "compact", I have discovered that with "compact" comes "difficulty using" without taking apart the entire case! 

A quick search on Ebay and I found the PERFECT solution, an old fashioned cosmetic case by American Tourister.


Vtg American TOURISTER Blue Train Cosmetic Make Up Case w Mirror & Tray & Tag
ENDED
1 of 12 images

US $21.99

Buy It Now
View Relisted Item Visit seller's store

It was, however, more money than I wanted to spend ($21.99)..after shipping, it was just WAY too expensive!

Shortly after I spotted the cosmetic case on Ebay, Dear Hubby and I took a trip to Lancaster County to visit one of my favorite quilt shops.  On the way home, Hubby decided to take the more "scenic" route.  Along the way, we passed a building that had once housed a large furniture store.  Surprisingly, it had been replaced by a HUGE thrift store.  Knowing how I love my "thrifty scores" Hubby made a quick turn into the parking lot.  WooHoo...thrift shopping!

Since Dear Hubby was waiting in the car I made a beeline for the luggage section.  To my amazement, what did I find sitting there waiting for me?

A cosmetic case.  And not just ANY cosmetic case, but an American Tourister cosmetic case!  It is almost identical to the one online, with the exception of a slight difference in the under lid mirror.  It's in GORGEOUS condition and even included a set of keys.  The best part?  The price...$12.00!



So I filled up my new "EPP case" with all of my supplies and made sure it was packed into the car.


This chair was the PERFECT spot to relax and stitch.  It was Oh. So. Comfy...and I could still see the beautiful bay beyond the sliding door.   (Pssst...you can see a tiny bit of the bedroom through the door!)



The case sat perfectly on my lap and provided a great platform for stitching.  I really do believe putting your wants "out to the universe" can result in some surprising finds!



A final sunset on our lovely weekend in St. Michael's, Maryland.  It is a quaint little Victorian town with lots of REALLY neat shops and beautiful scenery.  There aren't many accommodations...and those available are not particularly inexpensive...but it is a beautiful location, and one I know I will visit again in the future, even if only for a day trip. 

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