Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Project Updates & Prize Won

Still trying to play catch up around here after Phil's surgery last week. I got a bit of stitching done last night while watching some shows we'd recorded. Then today I got the camera to take some pictures.

First is a finish that took me about three weeks! I wanted to try a modified (read, "Ginny style") mattress pincushion finish. I think this design was a kit I picked up at my LNS. Instead of using needlework fabric for the sides and back, I chose a trim that picked up the color of the snowman's scarf, and a solid for the back. I'm not totally happy with the project, but it was an interesting experience. I would definitely try it again, using the more traditional way of doing this type of finish.

I pulled these three designs out of my "finished" stack of projects and am trying to decide how to finish them. This first one is supposed to go in my kitchen, which I've tried to do in an herb theme. The design came from Cross Country Stitching, and is stitched with DMC Floss on what appears to be 14 count Aida.
This next design is, I believe, from an old Leisure Arts magazine. It is stitched on white, 14 count Aida. What drew me to the design was the blue and white. I am thinking this would look nice in the master bedroom, perhaps as a tuck pillow? Or maybe a pillow like this.
This last one was a kit from my LNS. It's not a cross stitch. The thread used for the cat looks like wool, but I'm not sure what the others are. This might make a cute pinkeep or tuck pillow.
Monique, at Inside Number Twenty, celebrated the third anniversary of her design business, My Mark Designs with a giveaway. I was one of three winners! Here's what she sent me:

Some of Monique's original designs:
The craft organizer (perfect for my purse or tote bag):
I've never used Needlework Finishing Forms before. Looks like a big button cover! I will have to find the perfect project for these.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Circle of Friends

I strongly dislike the picture that accompanies this "Circle of Friends" award, but the sentiment is lovely. My friend, Jamie, has given this one to me. Our friendship began over the Internet, and has continued primarily that way; we have met face-to-face twice: once when she drove her son to Ohio to look at a college, and the second time when our family took a vacation to New England. Jamie has always been there for me, and I value her friendship.

It has been my experience that some of the people I've passed awards on to haven't acknowledged or posted them, so I am going to limit sharing this one to my dear daughter, Sarah.

Sarah, my first born, is now 21. Our relationship has been steadily changing, and many days I am less her mother, and more her friend. I hope she feels the same way! Sarah blogs at A Gardener's Gazette and Sarah's Simple Stitches.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Old and New

Recently, I went through my stitching basket and pulled out some small projects in various states of completion. Remem-bear is an oldie that needed a couple more background flowers, which I did while sitting with Phil during his manual dialysis fluid exchanges. The picture that accompanied the project had a pink frame, and I think I would have preferred that; I will have to decide whether I want to paint this one, or leave it as is.
This is the last from a kit of bookmarks. It needed just a few stitches, which I again completed while sitting with Phil. I will finish this by zigzagging over the long edges with monofilament thread, then turning those edges under and straight stitching, again with clear thread. I will fringe the top and bottom edges.
Love Ewe, from The Gift of Stitching Magazine, now has more stitching than when I took this picture. We had a long wait for Phil's pre-op chest x-ray! I have started on the sheep's body.
Finally, here is Stitcher's Tree, also from The Gift of Stitching Magazine. All it lacks are beads. I will dig out my Mill Hill beads and try to find some appropriate ones. This was a fun stitch. Not sure how I will finish this.
Sorry, no pictures of Country Garden. I gave the camera back to Sarah. (If I had a dollar for every time I said that, I could take my family out for dinner!)

Update on Phil

Phil's surgery went very well. The time was changed to 4:30 pm, but it was 5:40 before he was wheeled into the operating room. The surgeon came to the waiting room just before 7:00 to let us know that everything went well and he had found just what he expected. My poor hubby's abdomen looks like a pincushion, with the original three incisions, four new ones, and the exit site for his dialysis catheter!

Phil is in pain, and takes his pain meds regularly; he is also very tired, as is to be expected after general anesthesia, surgery, and continuing chemo treatments. He will resume dialysis treatment Sunday night. We are holding off using his automated cycler machine until, probably, Monday. It's good that he has a lot of residual kidney function so that we don't have to worry too much about him not receiving dialysis for so long.

Sarah and I spent out time in the waiting room on Thursday night working on our needlework. I am working on Country Garden by Blackbird Designs. I am loving the variegated threads, especially the pink. This is my first project by Blackbird Designs. I do have some pictures to share, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Husband's Surgery

We finally saw the surgeon yesterday, and Phil's surgery is scheduled for 6:00 pm on Thursday. We are thankful that the doctor is willing to stay late to do one final surgery; he is booked solid because of just coming back from vacation.

Sarah is coming with us (a huge thing for a girl who hates hospitals) to keep me company. We are both considering it forced stitching time!

Speaking of Sarah, I've told her I need the camera. Perhaps I can get it from her now?!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Never a Dull Moment

I've been looking forward to having things slow down, but things have instead gone haywire. My husband started having problems during his nightly dialysis treatments last Thursday night. On Friday night, we spent from 2:00 - 3:00 am trying to figure out what to do and ended up calling the nurse, who told him to stop his treatment, not do anything over the weekend, and come in on Monday morning. It has now been determined that the catheter has migrated up under his rib cage, thus causing pain when he tried to drain the dialysis solution from his abdomen. For now, he is enduring what is called manual exchanges (done without a machine) twice a day. It takes 45 painful minutes to drain the solution after it has done its thing over several hours, but with the threat of hemodialysis hanging over our heads, we are willing to endure almost anything. We have an appointment with the surgeon on Monday and will go from there, but surgery is inevitable. We both hope this will be considered "urgent" so that Phil doesn't have to suffer too long. It is good that he doesn't need a lot of dialysis, so that two exchanges a day are sufficient.

This is probably very confusing unless you have some knowledge of dialysis; the bottom line is that he is in pain, and his catheter needs to be moved back to the correct position.

With all this going on, I haven't had a lot of time to work on crafts, although I did make a purse. I used the newest pattern from Lazy Girl Designs, the Miranda Day Bag. I made it using fabric from my stash. I was surprised at how big it is, but when I put everything in it, it didn't seem so big!

Thursday night we are going to the Ernie Haase and Signature Sound concert. We got tickets as part of a group from our church. It's going to be a crazy day, as Phil has his chemo at 2:30, then we'll have to race home so he can drain his dialysis solution, grab some dinner (hot dogs!), and drive to the concert. We have been looking forward to this since we learned about it last October! I am hoping that I won't be sneezing from the cold I came down with on Monday night; I've been sneezing up a storm today.

There's never a dull moment in our household!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Spring Beauty

What a beautiful day we had! It was near 70 degrees, sunny, everything one could want in a spring day. Despite muscles so sore I couldn't move without much pain, I wandered outside and ended up taking the loppers from Phil, and proceeded to cut down a lot of brush. (The back of our lot is wooded; we cleared part of it, but would like to do more.) I actually feel better now than I did this morning. Doesn't make sense, but I'm glad!

I snapped some pictures of the spring flowers - crocuses. They are so pretty, don't you agree?
Here's Callie, relaxing on the front porch.

Since I worked outside, I didn't get to the touch up's in the hall. Today, the paint color looks blue! I love how it makes the woodwork and doors look so white. Here's a shot down the hall toward the girls' bedrooms.I think that switch plate cover needs to go elsewhere in the house.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Painting on Monday

On Saturday, I used a lot of painter's tape to mask off five doorways, two corners, and all the baseboard in our upstairs hall. I got a late start today, but dragged the six foot ladder upstairs (it resides in the garage), along with drop cloths, paint, paint brushes, and roller. It didn't take much time to mask the ceiling (something we started doing when we moved to our present house three years ago), and finally I was ready to begin painting! One trick I did was to take the telescoping handle off my Webster and screw it into the handle of my paint roller. This kept me off the ladder as much as possible; the climbing up and down bothers my arthritic knees.

I'm going to sound like a broken record (does anyone remember them?) but I couldn't locate the camera, which I'm sure is hidden in Sarah's room. (We really MUST get a camera for that girl!) Anyway, the color is Valspar's "Carolina Inn Club Aqua", which we all love! Phew!! I had thought it to be a bit more sagey green, but there's enough blue and grey in it to make it look aqua in the right light. I chose it because it closely matched one of the mats in a picture I have hanging in the hallway. [NOTE: I found the color on the Valspar website, but it did not show up accurately on my computer.]

I think I've mentioned this before, but we built out house back in 2004. We were originally told that we'd take possession in October of that year, but when ground wasn't broken until August, we knew that wasn't going to happen. We finally moved in at the last possible moment, the last weekend in January, 2005. A lot of prayer went into that, as we were going to be homeless due to the buyer of our previous home wanting to take possession on February 1st. It has been wonderful to have a brand new house: there are very few repairs, as opposed to our old house where things seemed to break every time we turned around. With my husband's diagnosis of kidney failure and Multiple Myeloma on December 16, 2005, it's been important not to have to deal with repairs. The one thing we haven't liked is the very, very flat off-white paint the builder put on the walls. It looked terrible right after we moved in, as people weren't as careful as they could have been when bringing in furniture and boxes. We were told that we needed to wait until the builder came in at the one year mark to fix nail pops to paint, so we did. Big mistake, as by that time, life had changed and there wasn't time or energy to paint. Anyway, very slowly, I've been painting rooms; I started with the kitchen, which I did in very small increments, working primarily on Saturdays when Phil was at dialysis. I chose a new color for me - yellow. I took it into the back entry, since there was no clear stopping point. I've also done the front entry, which I've posted pictures of previously, and early last summer, Sarah helped me paint the great room. I have also reported on our powder room redo, which is still not completely finished. So downstairs, I still have to do the craft room (Ha! Too much stuff!!) and the dinette area. Moving upstairs, the girls each did their own bedrooms, and Sarah painted their bathroom. I have a color in mind for Phil's office, but still can't decide what to do in the master bedroom (blue and white? Blue and yellow? But I have some lovely lamps which have pink flowers on them, and some of my accessories also have pink.) I am thinking of painting the master bath in a deep grey blue, then stenciling a border - the same one I had in the powder room - in white. The stairway will require hiring someone, or at least finding a volunteer with scaffolding, so for now it will remain dirty off-white. Money is tight, and even buying a can of paint is hard, so hiring someone . . . we'll see.

If you've suffered through graciously stuck with me to this point, thank you! I will close by saying that, while I love the end result of decorating projects, the effort and movement required leave me with a lot of pain because of my fibromyalgia. Nonetheless, I hope to do some touch up on the hall in the afternoon and get the project finished. And maybe, just maybe, I can find that elusive camera!

Friday, April 4, 2008

This Week So Far

My week started with a lovely package from Michelle. While spring cleaning, she came across this pile of cross stitch magazines, and a few other goodies, which she wasn't going to use, so she offered them to me. Wow! There is at least one project in each magazine that's of interest. I definitely need to spend more time stitching. Either that, or ask God for another few lifetimes! (Just kidding - one is enough.)

I have been exhausted since Monday. I wake up feeling as tired or more so than I was when I went to bed. Needless to say, I haven't accomplished much except for getting my hair cut, going to the library with Sarah, and going to the dentist for a cleaning. I've put a few stitches in my various cross stitch projects, but that's about it.

Thursday afternoon Phil got his first chemo treatment. We started out time with the nurse, getting more information about Velcade, filling out and signing paperwork, and also correcting some misinformation she had. (That's a scary thing!) We learned that Phil has wonderful veins in his right arm, which is good since that's the only arm they can use. (He has a fistula in his left arm and due to liability issues, it cannot be used for anything.) The actual infusion took no more than 20 minutes from inserting the IV needle to its removal. They went slowly today, just to make sure he didn't have any adverse reactions. I did get a little work done on Love Ewe, which I carry in my purse.

I'm going to leave you with a picture of our dog, Kelly. She is nearly six years old, and has lived with us for three. She is a black lab and Chow Chow mix, and has the characteristic purple tongue of the Chow (which you can barely see.) Kelly is a very sweet dog, albeit big and enthusiastic, and truly believes that everyone who comes to the house is there for her. You can see that her tail was wagging when I took the picture; she's a great fan in the summer, but it gets cold in the winter time!