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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Summertime 2013 in a nutshell...

This was the first summer I can remember being home with the kids and not working.  Because my energy level went from the energizer bunny on crack to a sloth on sleeping pills, there was a lot of TV watching and game playing w/the littles.  In between the resting I had the opportunity to get a few things done around the house.  While moving back home from the shop, we also moved my sewing room downstairs and the little upstairs.  And we turned the big bedroom upstairs into storage.  All of this moving around was quite overwhelming - and because disorganization and mess drives me nuts I pushed myself to get things put away.  I also took the opportunity to let the OCD run wild and deep clean everything in and out of sight.  I'm still working on the deep cleaning, but I'm getting so close to being done!

Amid all of the scouring,  I was able to do a few of the things I have been wanting to do, but didn't have the time.  The first project I checked off the list was recovering our bar stools.  Here's the before and after:
The before... just nasty. 

The after.  Nice!  You can't really see it in the picture, but we covered over the fabric w/thicker upholstery plastic.  Now, if there's a spill all we have to do is wash it off!  And the chickens (or roosters...) well - I'll talk more about them later...

The next project was SUPER fun!  And I'm not going to tell you what it is just yet...

First, I need to keep my hands busy or I'll loose the ability to do the things I love to do.  To keep them busy, I spend time beading or embroidering.  I was more than thrilled to do some beading for this project.
First, I picked out some lace that I could use as a gage to keep on track.  I used thicker (but not too thick) interfacing, and then muslin, and then the actual fabric, with the lace on top.  

Next I chose what to use to sew onto the lace.  I picked out a few old necklaces and broaches left over from the shop costume jewelry. 
 I took them apart and started on a design.

At first I was thinking to put these three larger stones at the center front...

but when I got this far I decided I didn't like it... So I picked it all off and started again. 

 After a few re-starts I finally got something I liked.  Here it is, almost done.  There's the necklaces as well as broaches, sequins and lots of szwarski  (sp?) crystals.  This is a bad picture - it really looks so much prettier in person!  I'll bet you're wondering what it's going on... unless you cheated and looked ahead...

The beaded piece goes around the neckline of this beautiful girls wedding dress!  I was so thrilled to make this beautiful dress for my beautiful and amazing daughter, Christina.  She looks simply stunning!

and here's the train in the back. 

This is the finished gown.  She is just breathtaking!  

Now, in the middle of all of this funness we had a new little guy join the family!  Grandchild #2 - Little Jackson.  This guy is a charmer!  Cuddly, all smiles and simply a love!  

After making Tina's wedding dress, I made matching dresses for Rachel, and Kelsey (Tina's new sister-in-law who's close to Rachel's age).  Here's Rachel modeling the dress.  And one of the little matching purses I made for the girls (for fun!).

                Summer vacation went by all to quickly!  I can't believe these little awesome kids are back to school now.  The house is quiet during the day.  I can get things done faster (though still in slow motion) and I can accomplish more with them in school but I do miss their crazy funness!!!

Part of going through and deep cleaning everything meant that I took the chickens off the shelves and cleaned everything.  So here's the scoop with the chickens... ok, they're mostly roosters - and yes, I've heard all of the funny jokes about collecting roosters.  Anyhow, when Austin and I got married, I was asked how we'd decorate the kitchen.  I wanted our home to be comfortable and cozy - so I wanted a country look.  My reply was something like, "I want a country kitchen - with roosters and stuff".  For our wedding shower I got lots of rooster and chicken things.  That was 11.5 years ago - and since then it's become somewhat humorous to give me chickens for any gift giving occasion. It is nice because I have some that the kids made for me, and some that we picked up at special places.  Needless to say, I have a country kitchen with many different roosters and chickens.  Thus the rooster fabric on the stools.  This leads into my next project to keep my hands busy:  embroidery!   I found this beautiful panel fabric years ago at a fabric store that was closing down.  FINALLY I was able to make a pillow with one of the panels!  

 I embroidered the rooster and the yellow checks w/stripes, and around the edges.  I LOVE it!  Now I'm working on the companion panel -

I used the same technique with this pillow as I did on the rooster.  I started by cutting a piece of batting the same size as the panel.  That adds to the quilted look as I embroider through both the batting and the fabric.  Hopefully you can see what I've embroidered,and what I haven't yet.  It is quite fun, relaxing, creative and enjoyable! 

Now more on the roosters... I've finished cleaning most of them, and the leaves and other decor that goes with them.  Here's what it looks like above some of our cabinets:

 You can't see a couple of the chickens as they blend into the wall behind them in the photo.  But I think you might get the gist.  We have another ledge to put the roosters on as well.  We took all the decor (roosters, baskets and floral) down to clean them.  We put a few bigger roosters up kind of just up there 'cause I have a plan!  You see, my amazing and crafty husband made me some of these crates:                                    
They're up in the upper right corner, and theres a third behind the huge iron chicken on the left.  I wanted to get some raffia (sp?) to put into the crates like nests but I don't get out much anymore to shop, and I didn't want to spend money so I came up with a way to make it myself.  I ripped up a cardboard box and used the pieces as bases.  Then I grabbed my shredder bin...
because seriously this looks better than raffia.  

 And I glued the shredded paper onto the cardboard in nest like formations.  I'm letting the glue dry, and tomorrow I'll use some left over spray paint in yellow, gold and tan to paint the nests!  Then they'll go into the crates, and I'll resume decorating the chickens and roosters that live on this ledge.  :)  And please don't ask how many chickens are in our kitchen/family room.  There's a lot.... and it is so funny when new people come over and comment to each other that we have lots of chickens - and then try to count them.  ha haa.  

That's all for now!  I found some pictures from the last few months as well, so we will jump into the blogging time machine and I'll show you some things from the past (few months that is...) 
See you next time! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

In Every Thing There is a Season...

Holy Smokes!  It's been a long time since I've blogged.  One of the things on my "to do" list is to start blogging again.  This time, however my blog will have a different twist.  There are so many things that have happened since last October/November that I will need to give a brief update on what's been going on...

Working, working, working - show after show after show.  And, in the midst of finishing up my show season I noticed I was slowing down.  Not that I was meaning to, it was just taking me longer to accomplish things.  (actually,  I noticed it last summer - with Hairspray).  My back hurt a ton, all the time.  I just chalked these things up to getting older, and needing to see a chiropractor.  One day, when I was driving up to DFT, my left arm clenched up and my pinkie and ring fingers were curled up tight against my palm.  They stayed that way for a few hours, and the next day I could move them, but it hurt.  Again, I thought I needed to see a chiropractor.  Then, I noticed a couple numb spots on my arms and legs - mostly on the left side. Weird, I thought - I must have done a doosey on my back!  Again, just thinking I needed an adjustment.  I found it humorous when my left leg went numb, and then my left arm, and then the traveling numbness took over the left side of my face - and then my head.  And I had pain (numb and in pain are such odd things to say but that's what it is).  At that point I thought it prudent to see my doctor.  He sent me in for blood work, an MRI and to a neurologist.  He told me he thinks I have MS. Meanwhile, I was becoming slower and slower and more and more forgetful.  There were days I couldn't walk, and days where I walked like a T-rex.  I could never stand for long periods of time (still can't).  By the end of January I knew I had to sell my business.  I had only one theater I was contracted with for the rest of their season, so I let them know what was going on and finished out the season with them.  Barely.   I am so thankful for Crysstil and Kiko because if they weren't able to help me through it I would have never gotten it all done.  I am also so very grateful for the kindness and support shown from DFT when I just couldn't be there.  I finished off the season and sold everything in my shop.  Racks and all.  I spent the summer home with the kids - which has been amazingly awesome!  I am still seeing specialist after specialist and going in for this test and that.  I still have days where I am just in too much pain to do anything, and days where I get a long a little better.

That brings us to today - August 5, 2013.  Here are the answers to some of the more commonly asked questions (and questions I know you want to ask!)  Oh, and also what I think about some things...

Yes, it is so sad blah blah blah that I had to sell my shop.  It is sad indeed.  But know what?!?!?  I was talented when I made the costumes, and I can make any of them I want again, whenever I want - but without a deadline.

Yes, I have pain every day and every day it is difficult to walk in varying degrees.

Yes, it is frustrating that there still isn't a diagnosis.  However, there is nothing I can do to change that so why dwell on it?  Really, all that matters is learning to live a new way.

Yes, I am too tired to do most anything for any length of time.  This gives me lots of time to hang out with the littles playing games or watching tv.

No, I will never get better or recover.  Therefore let's get over it and just keep pushing forward.

Yes, I'm sure you all have someone you know or someone you've heard of who has MS or has my symptoms.  I'm sure your neighbors cousins step child's best friend in school has it, too.  That, however does not make you know what I'm going through or how I feel.  And, though this sounds more harsh than I intend, it is the truth.  If it is MS, everyone has similar and yet very different things they cope with.  We are all unique in that respect.  And while I'm on the topic, I do appreciate your offers to put me in touch with these people you know who have MS so I can learn more about it, well - no thanks.  I know people with MS as well!  Shocker, I know - and I won't even discuss these things with them.

Along with the above topic... I do appreciate the love shown and the well meaning behind it all BUT.... Do you seriously think that you know all of my symptoms and therefore can diagnose my health problems better than the specialists?  Well maybe you think you can.  Either way kindly keep it to yourself. I really don't need you to spend your time researching how to fix me on the web, or to let me know your opinions on what I should or should not be eating/doing/etc. I will only listen to my doctors and my family.  I thank you, I love you, but really this is so consuming I need to be able to live without dwelling on this every second of the day.  And definitely not if we're at a social activity (because I didn't go to talk about my struggles - I went to have a good time)

No, I cannot be outside in the heat for very long.  Yes, that sucks.  Again - lets move on and either go inside where the A/C runs cold or jump in the swimming pool.

Yes, I spend most of my time at home.  Yes, I like it.  Yes, I'm keeping busy with the house and the kids and just learning to live like this.

Yes, I miss my theater friends. Yes, I miss my theater life.  That is, however, a part of my life that has passed.  No more smelly show laundry!  Woot!  (and to my theater friends, I do miss you all so much!)

Yes, there are physical aspects of my life that really suck. They are frustrating and hard and I often feel worthless.  And then I get a hug from my kids, or a smile from my husband.  A txt from a friend or just knowing that I can lay around all day and be waited on like a princess.

With all of that, I welcome you to the next phase of my blog.  You may think it will be boring compared to the show blogs... and you may be correct - but I think not.  You see, I still sew, I still craft, and I still quilt.  I also cook, bake, clean and am a bit nutty in the head. I also raise wonderfully good looking children.  AND I have time to watch those youtube how-to's on this craft or that and I have some CRAZY ideas on stuff to make!   So buckle up because you are now on the crazy train of my life!    

See you next time~