Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday, Monday

Mondays always seem to be, well, Mondays, even though I'm retired.  Lately it's just been so gloomy that everyday is feeling, well, ugh.  So I decided to make Monday my cleaning day for a while and today I cleaned the bathrooms and kitchen.  I probably should dust again one of these days, but why go overboard, right!!

I did get something finished today.  I believe I mentioned in an older post that I was going to do an embroidery redwork wall hanging.  Today I finished my first block.


I decided to start eating more healthy and part of that is doing protein shakes again.  I've been doing it 3 days and I've dropped 5 pounds (which shocked me) and I am starting to feel so much better.  I allowed my cancer to side swipe me and it's time to get back to where I was before all that happened.  Might not go fast, but it will happen and I'll be a lot happier, healthier and stronger.  In order to make my shakes and use frozen fruit, etc to add variety and make them filling I needed to get a really good blender.  I had thought about getting a Vitamix, but lord they are super expensive.  Instead I opted to get a Breville.  It is amazing and works wonders with ice and frozen fruit, etc.  As I go along my journey you can be sure I'll blog about it and let you know how it's going.

Breville Hemisphere Control Blender
I also forgot to share something CR did for me recently.  I've been complaining that our shower head just wasn't putting out much water.  I knew it was a "flow control' shower head, because that is all they sell these days, but it seemed like the darn thing wasn't putting out what it should and it was about 5 years old.  So CR decided to get a new shower head and let me pick it.  I opted for a 2 head shower head, one is stable, the other can be hand held (best way to clean a shower is to have something hand held for rinsing too).  Oh my how I love this new shower set up.


Turns out I wasn't totally crazy - the other shower head had corrosion in the tubing part, so it wasn't working like it should.

Onto the second redwork block.  Tomorrow I get the rooster comb (synthetic) shot in my knee and I can't wait for the relief.  Meanwhile the cortisone shot in my foot is not working, so I think I'm just going to have to have the darn surgery so my foot will stop hurting.  I swear, right foot, right knee, what else. 

Feb 13th is my cancer check up and I'm hoping so much that it will be my last round of chemo and then I will go to yearly check ups and be in remission.  That will be a major milestone 3 years in the making!!

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Queen

Today, because it's grey and damp and cold out, and because I didn't want to clean house like I should have, I sewed.  I finally put the blocks/rows/borders together to finish the X Marks the Spot Quilt.  The blocks have been waiting on me to finish it up.  So today was the day.  Once I get it quilted I think it will be our quilt in the 5th wheel since we have a queen size bed out there and it's a queen size quilt.

Hard to get a good picture and truly spread it out in the house, but we tried.


I really love how it turned out and I found all the fabrics at the Craft Warehouse Truckload sale for $4.44 a yard, it was a great deal.  Now I have to figure out what I'm going to back it with.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll behave and clean house, then again there is always Monday, right.  Tuesday I get the rooster comb - synthetic shot in my knee and I'm really looking forward to getting that shot and getting my knee feeling good again.  I've heard so many positive things from people with the same bone on bone issue that it's working for so I feel positive it will work for me too.

What are you up to this weekend and how's your weather.  I swear we haven't seen the sun for days and it's a constant state of dusk out there.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

To Jump or Not To Jump

ChanceMan, who is 10, still has the jumping mojo.  He can jump up high from anywhere and land so gently that nothing is disturbed.  One of his favorite places is the thin top of the shower doors.  He used to get up there every day to watch CR shower, but as he's aged it's become an occasional thing.

This morning I noticed Scotchie on the bathroom counter and when I looked up I realized why - ChanceMan had landed on the top of the shower doors.

How did he do it - I want to get up there too.

Please tell me the secret to jumping up there big bro, please

Silence Minion, I will not tell you my secrets

I'm gonna try, no wait, well maybe, nope, I'm not brave enough to go for it

Mom...............Make him tell me how to do it, or better yet, could you give me a lift.....
Poor Scotchie, he can't figure out how to do it and it just drives him nuts.  I swear ChanceMan is taunting him the whole time.

In other news, I got a cortisone shot in the joint just below the big toe and it hurts like crazy.  I am trying cortisone before giving into surgery on that darn toe, lord I hope it works.  Right now it just plain hurts to bad to know if the shot is working.  Today I see the doctor about the synthetic "chicken fat" shot - that is really made from rooster comb for my knee.  It's my right foot and my right knee and nothing is RIGHT about any of it.  Just sayin.

I took my house quilt to be quilted and ended up getting talked into putting it in our local quilt show.  So I've filled out the registration and submitted it, Ginny will have my quilt done in time for me to put the binding on and a hanging sleeve.  The quilt show is March 21st and 22nd.  I'm scared and excited about it.

My Auntie Jean's husband, my Uncle Carl passed yesterday.  I feel so bad for being so far away as they live in North Carolina.  Thankfully her sister, my Auntie Shirl is there for her - they live next door to each other.  It's such a helpless feeling that you can't do anything to help, or to just be there.  I will try to get back there this year to spend some time with them and until then just keep calling and chatting and sending emails to let them know how much I love them.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam



Sunday, January 19, 2014

Piano Keys

Today while the Broncos won their game and the Seahawks did WA State proud and beat the 49'ers, I put the piano key borders on my quilt.  I started this applique project in 2006 and put it down in 2009, didn't pick it up again till last November and finally, we have a finish!!


The piano key border really makes the quilt and pulls it all together.  The border is made up of fabrics used in the house blocks and a few I thought I used, but I'm not sure if I did or not, however I included them anyhow.

Tomorrow is a holiday for many.  I'm sure it's nice to have a 3 day weekend after the busy holiday season and getting back to work, etc.  I'm going to be calling the knee doctor to see what we can do about this darn knee.  A week and a half of no pain (that was how long the cortisone shot lasted) spoiled me and I want a pain free knee back.  We shall see what the doc says.  I swear if it isn't one thing it's another.  I truly prefer not going to the doctor, why can't my body get the memo on that!!

Hope you're enjoying your weekend.  Go Seahawks - can't believe they made it to the super bowl!!

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Epidurals and Houses

Today CR had his epidural, it was pretty much as I described them to him (I've had several myself), we were in and out in less than an hour.  Tonight CR is saying he's feeling pretty good and so far so good with the epidural.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that this has him pain free and we one issue under control!

After we got home I decided to work on my house blocks.  I just didn't want to cut more of the piano keys for the border - ugh, can you say boring.  So I decided to sew the sashing and corner pieces together with the blocks.  And here it is:


My friend Kelly helped me pick out the sashing.  It's a gorgeous deep green and the corner pieces are a beige with that same deep green and a couple other colors in them.  I can't wait to get those borders on next.

I can't believe after all these years this quilt is finally coming together and I'm just thrilled with the results.  It's been a lot of work and I've learned a lot by doing it.  It's kind of sad that it's almost done, it really has been fun to work on (in an off and on sort of way).  But I am now going to attempt a Redwork Quilt.  I found a really cute on that has cats on it and I thought it would be a lot of fun to do and since it's not seasonal, I can have it out when ever I want.  Who knew I'd enjoy embroidery so much. 

Well all is well at our house tonight and things are looking up for CR on one front.  Tomorrow I plan to clean house and Saturday I plan to go visit my friend Kelly for some quilty show and tell.  Sunday I will most definitely hide out in my sewing room - probably cutting piano keys and finding a good movie on Netflix to help me pass the time, cuz CR is gonna be watching football play offs all day.

What's on your weekend agenda??

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Advice from a Trout

Odd post title, isn't it.  Well today, out of the clear blue, CR got a package from his brother.  I'd sent them an email (along with a lot of other people) to let them know the news of CR's PSA test, etc. and I thought it odd that we hadn't heard from them.  Yet, what do you say...........seems like all they or anyone hears from us tends to be bad medical news, so you start to wonder - does anyone even want to hear about it or know, would they rather we keep it to ourselves, are they as sick of the bad news as we are?  I know sometimes I think I'd rather not know, but that is just fear of the unknown talking and I'm not one to bury my head in the sand, so it's just a split second thought.

Anyhow, CR got a package with a wonderful note and the coolest t-shirt from his brother today.


Advice from a Trout.  Knowing how much CR enjoys fly fishing it's a perfect t-shirt with wise advice on it:  Show your true colors, Be a good catch, Don't be lured by shiny objects, Scale back, Cherish clean water, Know when to keep your mouth shut, and Don't give up without a fight!!

It truly touched CR and myself.  What a sweet and thoughtful gesture.  Sometimes it's hard to come up with the words to say when a family member is having problems and this said it all.

CR will be having an epidural tomorrow and we are so hopeful that it helps his back and gets him moving again and out of pain.  After the epidural we'll follow up with the doctor in 2 weeks to see where he's at and if need be schedule another epidural.  At least we can get this fixed and him out of pain!!

In the meantime, yesterday was a wonderful day - I received my replacement Kindle.



I love the Purple Origami case I purchased for it.  Darn UPS man made my house his last delivery stop yesterday - or that's how it felt as it didn't arrive till almost 6pm.  The wait killed me, not really, but I was excited to get it.

Today Maddie is at the groomers for her "Day of Beauty".  She was not thrilled, but it was time for a bath and a trim and she'll be just fine once she gets a treat for her torture (and rolls in the lawn preferably in something stinky).

I've been busy ironing fabric that I used in my house blocks so I can cut them into 3.5 x 6.5 inch blocks to make the piano key border.  Hoping to get busy cutting later today.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Life is Difficult

That is the first line of the book - The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck and no truer words were written in my opinion.

I was hoping for a less difficult year in 2014, and perhaps it will turn around and become one, but right now, it feels very difficult.  Here at Hot Flashes we are worried, upset, beside ourselves, feeling helpless.........................the list could go on.

Three months ago CR's Urologist noticed that yet again his PSA was doing the doubling effect, which isn't a good sign when you have a very aggressive form of prostate cancer.  So he put CR on an oral med along with the shots he's been getting.  We were really hopeful that it would take care of the issue and all would be good.  So this past week CR had his PSA taken, and while the number didn't truly double, it wasn't far off from doubling.  So what does that mean?  Is it good news?  Or is it bad news?  Are the results typical, will the numbers get better.............we have nothing but questions and no answers. 

I see the Urologist on Feb 13th for my cancer check and hopefully my last round of chemo.  So I made CR an appt. to follow mine so we can get answers and if things aren't working then get a better path forward.  Life is difficult -- especially when you live with cancer!!

In the mean time CR has been in terrible pain with his back and tomorrow we see the back orthopedic doctor who will hopefully get going on a treatment to get CR out of pain.  This will certainly help CR deal with other things better.  When you're in pain and on pain meds till you can see a doctor, life just isn't so great.

I did some baking yesterday.  I promised my Aunties some biscotti right after Christmas and then life got in the way, I got the flu, etc.  Finally, although half heartedly, I got in the kitchen yesterday and baked.

 

CR and I found a cool hanger for the bird house and he got it all set up in my sewing room for me.  Doesn't it look pretty.


That's about all we have going on at the moment.  The winds have been unreal around here for the past 24+ hours, they should die down by tonight, I hope the weather man is right because howling winds just leave a person feeling unsettled.

I'm going to try to get into my sewing room and work on a few things today.  I haven't had the energy or desire lately, but I'd like to get busy with something, the focus would do me good.

If you pray, or send good vibes or thoughts, I would ask a favor to think of CR.  We need some miracles and some good news.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Friday, January 10, 2014

Dead Kindle

I love my Kindle, and this year when Amazon came out with a Kindle Fire HDX, well I couldn't say no.  I had a very early edition of Kindle, followed by the 1st generation of Kindle Fire and the HDX is by far the best Kindle to date.  I say best, but when I started it this morning, it died.  It had a full charge, so I tried rebooting it a couple of times and it just kept flashing a blank screen followed by a screen that said "kindle fire".  I knew that wasn't good.  So I got on with tech support. They had me do everything I told them I did, over again (frustration) and then told me, hmmm, well we'll send you a new one and here's the information and a shipping label to return the one that isn't working to us at no charge.  We wasted 30 minutes to come to that conclusion - that we could have come to in like 5 minutes - just sayin!!

My poor, dead, Kindle Fire HDX - rest in peace!!
I got a few things my friend Candace recommended to me for embroidery and I have to say she didn't steer me wrong.  She directed me to Crabapple Hill Studio where I was able to get the BEST embroidery hoop for my arthritic hands as well as some awesome needles



That spring loaded embroider hoop is the bomb diggity I tell ya.

I used the hoop and my new needles to create my latest tea towel:


I also purchased the cutest pair of frog salt and pepper shakers a few weeks ago and added them and a frog I found in North Carolina when visiting my Aunties a couple years ago, to my kitchen window.  Since my kitchen is green, I think they really add some character.



I love frogs and I have a large variety of them that are for the porch in the summer.  They just make me happy.

It's windy as all get out here today and it's only going to get worse with gusts up to 60mph, oh joy.  The temps are warmer, but with the big winds, it doesn't feel that warm.  This week we found the perfect thing to put up in my sewing room so I can finally hang my birdhouse that the Aunties sent me.  CR has the hardware to hang it and said he'd do it this weekend.  Speaking of CR, he is such a sweetie.  He's currently cleaning the oven after a bit of a disaster I had this week.  Isn't he a great guy.

My plans for the weekend are to sew, bake for my Aunties, ship my Kindle back, laundry, grocery shop and probably better do the floors after all the baking - my kitchen floor will have flour issues because I'm baking biscotti and I'm messy.

What are your weekend plans??  Also if you do a lot of hand stitching, embroidery, etc, what are your favorite threads, needles, etc......................?????

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Rocky Start to the New Year

Last Saturday I started feeling kind of weird, but I thought it was just my IBS.  By Sunday I realized that I might have a bug.  Thank goodness I have had the flu shot.  By Monday I had a fever, ugh!!  Tuesday was an improvement although I felt so tired, today is much better.  On Tuesday I went to see my Orthopedic doc as a follow up to the brace he gave me for my right thumb arthritis.  When I went in a few weeks ago, I was thinking it was time for a cortisone shot (a very painful area to get a shot let me tell you - but I'm not ready for a thumb joint replacement) so I wasn't looking forward to it.  But he suggested this new brace and it has been wonderful.  I can even do hand sewing with it, because it stabilizes that thumb joint so I am not in pain.  While I was telling him how great my thumb was, I had to tell him my knee wasn't so well.  As we were packing the 5th wheel for our Thanksgiving trip, I hurt my knee.  I thought I'd twisted it, so I did everything I could think of to help it out and I did get the swelling to finally go down, but it hurt to walk.  Well its been 2 months since the injury and its not getting better, so it was time to talk.  He took and x-ray and it would seem I have yet another arthritic spot where the cushion of my youth has worn out.  It's not bone on bone yet, but there's not a lot of space left.  There are options though.  Cortisone shots, Chicken Fat (synthetic) shots that mimic the cushion a person looses and of course a knee replacement.  Well I opted for the cortisone shot first.  Yikes, it hurt.  He said it would be like getting a cortisone shot in my shoulder.  Well I've had so many of those, that they don't even phase me, but my sore knee, well it was a big OUCH.  I'm praying the shot lasts, but if not I hear the chicken fat shots are very successful and I will definitely go for that next.  Also, why is it every time they discover these arthritic spots they have to point out several bone spurs.  Heck at this point I think I should change my name to Spur.  It seems to be a constant theme for me.

Okay so it's not all bad news.  I enjoyed the blanket stitching process so much that I decided to try a bit of embroidery.  My good friend Candace at Squash House Quilts gave me some awesome advice and things to look into for guidance as well as some guidance of her own which has been very helpful.  So behold - an embroidered towel:


The pattern comes from Cedarberry Stitches and I purchased it several years ago at The Buggy Barn a fabulous quilt shop out in the middle of nowhere in WA state.

Luckily you can't tell how bad my embroidery is from the picture.  I hope to perfect it as I'd like to do a quilt with hand embroidery in it, perhaps a red work quilt, they always are so beautiful to me!!

CR sees the back doctor this coming Monday and I'm hoping they can get right on top of getting him some relief.  I'll let you know what we find out.  I can't stand seeing him hurt so much.

Onto my next project - another tea towel and I'm also going to finally bake some biscotti for my Aunties this weekend.  They've had to wait to long.  If I keep them waiting to much longer they might fly out here and hurt me.  I wouldn't mind the visit, but I don't need them to hurt me, haha.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Week Ago Today

I decided to do the blanket stitching on my house blocks by hand.  I was going to use my machine and then decided I'd worked to hard on this project, it should be done by hand.  So a week ago today I started.  I'm not sure if you can see the difference, but here are all the blocks, completely done and ready for me to pick out the sashing material and get the top put together.  And I must say, I truly enjoyed the process of blanket stitching by hand!!

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December
I am so thrilled that my applique project is done.  When I started it we still had our little Scruffy dog and so the Month of December has a dog with a scarf that reads Scruf.   July was one of the last months I put together and we have our Maddie, so her name is on the Mailbox - Maddies House.

Here is a picture of our sweet Scruffy:


Scruf was 17 in this photo and in the spring of 2006 she crossed the rainbow bridge.  She was the sweetest dog and so darn smart.  I still miss her so much - she taught me to be a better human being.

In 2008 we got our little Madison who runs the house now - as well as owning our hearts:


We have truly been blessed with a couple of wonderful dogs and several adorable kitties that enrich our lives every day.

Besides getting my houses quilt done this year and my X Marks the Spot quilt put together, I don't have any specific quilting goals for the year.  Do you make specific goals or do you just go with the flow and enjoy the adventure???

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas is Packed Away

Yesterday I packed Christmas away until next year - oh wait it is next year, so how about until December.  As predicted, CR and I didn't make it past 10:30, however I did wake up when local fireworks went off at midnight, I thought - well Happy New Year and rolled over and went back to sleep.  How exciting.

I did get wild and crazy and baked us a coconut cake for the New Year - the last hurrah before we stop eating for a while because we've eaten enough lately.


Yep, it's as good as it looks too.  But very rich, small pieces fill you up fast.

I also forgot to share another Jim Shore Angel I purchased after Christmas.  My favorite little local shop that sells wonderful things for the kitchen, gifts, etc is closing it's doors and having a big sale, so I picked this angel up for 20% off.

 
She's a bit different than my other angels, she's one of the taller ones he makes.  I also purchased some E-Cloths for cleaning.  I tested it out today cleaning bathrooms and I'm impressed.  We'll see how it tackles the kitchen before I know if I'm sold completely.  I will say this, they make a cleaning cloth for glasses and I'm totally sold on it.  I'm always having issues with smudges on my glasses and I'm a bit OCD about them being clean, which it felt like no matter what I did, they were never completely clean - until the E-Cloth.  Yep I'm singing it's praises.  They sell E-Cloths on Amazon too, just an FYI.

One little thing I did leave up is my little string of snowflake twinkle lights.  It's so grey and blah that they perk me up and add a little extra happy light to our gloomy winter days.


So did you go out for some New Years Eve festivities or were you home and either watching the ball drop of snoring the new year in??

I have a little request.  If you could send good thoughts or prayers the way of my good friend K tomorrow I'd sure appreciate it.  She's going to Seattle for tests and could really use the positive vibes and thoughts coming her way.  K - if you see this before tomorrow know that I'm praying for your safe travel and for good results - love ya girlfriend!!

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam