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Sunday, January 12, 2014

I Love to Sew!

It's true.  Yah, I've had lots of doctors appointments and I spend most of my time keeping the house up and taking care of the family.  BUT I did steal some time to make a Christmas present for Spencer (our oldest son- he's 24) and a present for our grandson, who is 9 mo. old.  Yes, I'm still making aprons for the Etsy site (5FunGirls) and yes, I'm still swamped with doctors appointments.  In fact, I decided to blog today because after I went to the hand specialist I've been scheduled for Carpal Tunnel surgery.  This week, on top of my regular stuff, I am going to work on getting things ready for after the surgery.  We're doing the left hand first, and then in a few weeks they'll do the right hand.  This means that I'll be meal planning for the next 2 weeks, grocery shopping, organizing it all and writing everything down.  My Momma (who is by far the best Momma in the whole world.  Ever) is flying out to help us while I'm down.  Having things orderly will not only make me feel good (because I like clean and orderly) but it will help her.

Well enough of that darn medical talk!!  Let's talk about some sewing projects!  I wanted to make a throw pillow for Spencer, and one for Rachel.  I want them to be cohesive as they'll go on the same couch in their living room.  I found the perfect fabrics and then had to figure out what I wanted to do. You see, I didn't want to just make some mambo-pamby pillow.  It had to be interesting.  It had to have life in it.  It had to be fun, and yet classy, but also be like THEM as a couple.  I haven't finished Rachel's pillow yet, but I did finish Spencer's just in time for Christmas.  And before I get any further, Rachel's pillow is different - and I'll post about that when I get there.

While looking around for what kind of pillow I wanted to make, I came across one at Target that I found interesting.  Ok, it was boring - but the actual origami of the pillow was interesting.  I know origami means folded paper but what's the word for folded fabric?  Because this thing is kind of like origami.  Here's what the Target pillow looks like:
I was intrigued on how this was done.  I took the picture and then cut 5x5 squares out of the fabrics I chose for Spencer.  If I were to do this again, I'd cut the back panel 5x5 and the 4 sides 4x4. Since I've only done it once and everything was 5x5 I have no guarantees that it would be better with 4x4 - so don't go making it and get all mad at me if it doesn't turn out!  ;) I will tell you what I did to make this pillow.  You who sew can probably figure it out by looking at it - but I'll tell you how I did it.  First I found this amazing fabric during the summer months that is PERFECT for Spencer.  It's a compilation of 3 different prints that all come from the "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" series.  Then, as the back fabric that shows in the center, I chose a print with VW buses on it.  As an added bonus there's aliens driving the buses.  And the color of the whole ensemble matches the colors they like and have in their little cottage.  
Here's the base fabric.  Spencer's always loved VW buses.  And aliens?  In all honesty I would have preferred it to be just the bus.  However who doesn't love a hidden alien?  I mean really.


Back to the project!  I cut out all the 4x4 squares and ironed them flat.  Then I took the pieces that would go on top of this piece and ironed them in half, making triangles.   I then used my fingers to both hold the triangle still and gently fold back the folded side of the triangle to make the peek a boo origami look.









Once all of the ironing was done, I started to lay out the patterns.  They each had to be the same to avoid looking like a hodgepodge of whatever.  Here's the first triangle in place. 





And the second triangle going right on top.  See the fabric?  It's super cute if you like the book.  (which we all do).  















And here's the whole square with all 4 triangles on it.  You can see that my little "peek a boo" is smaller than the one at Target.  That's why I think I'll try cutting the squares smaller, or laying them out further apart and trimming the edges.

It was difficult to keep the folded edges folded back.  I finally used some stiffener before a final press.  That did the trick. 

After finishing one, I did the same thing again and again....

And though I hoped the pillow would have been bigger, I am still happy with how it turned out.  More importantly Spencer really likes it.  He says it's super comfy too!  

AND guess what else I did?  I made a quilt for this little heart breaker.  I used minky fabrics for the top, and the backing is all navy blue BYU Cougars cotton.  I didn't add any filler into the quilt, it's Arizona...  the two layers are warm in and of themselves.  Above is the general layout of the different fabrics.  It's a strip row quilt.  I know that's not the right name for it, but whatever.  
Here it is after I sewed all of the strips together.  It's folded in half.  I really like the different chevron strips with the solids and polka dots.  It's hard to see, but the solids have a raised polka dot print on them.  Super soft and cozy!!! 


I sewed the top and bottom right sides together, like you'd sew a pillow.  I left an opening and then turned it right side out.  I pulled out the corners so they would be square.  Then I went in and sewed the leftover edge of stitching to the backing, so the quilt would hang better and be a little stronger.  


It was quite the task to keep it in line, withe the edge on the back side so it would get sewn down.  I then sewed the opening shut and used embroidery floss (white) to tie a little bit on the yellow chevrons in the center.  Just to keep the fabric in place where it goes.  :)  I don't have a picture of it finished, but it's super cute and his Momma likes it - which is all good!  


A couple of selfies.  I'm pretending to sew.  Ha ha. 

 Oh!  And see that draped on the dress form in the back ground?  Roo did that.  She was playing with the fabric and draped a dress onto the form. It actually looks really nice!  I'm not sure anyone would wear a dress made out of monkey print minky fabric.... but it's pretty amazing for a 9 year old.  :)  She's my mini me and I LOVE it!








Lastly, during the evening hours I've been keeping my hands busy.  I've been embroidering these little elephants to go on a throw blanket for one of the sweetest, kindest and most beautiful people I know.  More about that another time.  AND it's about time to make our Ren Fest garb!  Whoot!  Just wait and see how that turns out!  Meanwhile, I wonder if I"ll be able to sew with my left hand in a cast?  Hum.....

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I think I've Been Abducted by Aliens...

Yes, it's true.  Another bizarre Doctor's appointment.  Then again - what is a normal doctor's appointment?  I am beginning to think there is no such thing.  I went to my Neurologist's office to have a biopsy done on my skin and nerves.  I'm pretty sure they were checking for evidence to prove I was abducted by aliens.  Either that or they were aliens and now I've been probed!  Either way, being abducted and probed by aliens wasn't nearly as exciting as I thought it would be.

They took biopsy's from town different places on my leg.  They said something about the nerves being here or there or something.  I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have - I was hoping they'd take pictures of the procedure.  Priorities...  I have my blog audience to satisfy.  Once again, I lucked out and the assistant took TONS of pictures.  I had to weed through them to get the main ones so you all can see what an alien probing looks like.  First off, I walked into the room of an adult neurological office to find the exam table looking like this: 
Next you'll get a little view of the side of my butt.  I know I'm pale, white, transparent or whatever so don't worry about telling me.  I also know there's this huge mole that only Austin gets to see - and I know there's weird old lady blue veins there, too.  Now you get to enjoy the frightening sight.  

First she "measured" my hip with her hands to find the right spot to take the biopsy from.  Or so she said - maybe she wanted to feel my hip - I don't know... 


She cleaned off my skin. 


She gave me an injection of something to numb the spot, keep it from bleeding too much and help it to heal quickly. 



This looks crazy how the bubble gets bigger and bigger.  Kind of similar to watching a TB skin test.  




And here's the probe.  Or the punch biopsy.  However you want to call it it's from the mother ship.  


Look at that nice little circle.  


There's my piece of skin.  Yummy!  

Blot blot blot

Bandaid 


And now for #2.  On my calf.  For whatever reason this one hurt a lot more than the first.  








                          


Now, watch this one.  Way gross.  She cut the circle hole below...

And then she pulls something out with tweezers. 

And then she cut it off and put it in a vile. 

And here's my leftover boo boo. Darn alien probing. 





Here's the aliens who abducted me.  They are funny and nice and very efficient workers.  

For a complete video of this procedure (on someone else) check out the Phoenix Neurological Associates website.  

It will take up to 2 weeks for results to come in on this biopsy.  But that's ok, because there's lots of other things to fill my time with.  Like sewing!  

I'll blog about some sewing projects next time.  





Sunday, January 5, 2014

Not Your Average Doctors Appointment

It was a Thursday.  But not a regular Thursday.  You see,  it was the day to get my first steroid injection into my spine.   I followed my doctor's instructions for the day - dress comfortably and have a driver.  Needless to say,  I was a bit nervous.
 
But my driver wasn't nervous at all.  He looks a little happy about it.... hum.... kidding.  He was great company and very supportive of my nervousness and excessive picture taking.  


All the way to Phoenix we went.  I have to say I'm much more familiar with the freeway system than I was before visiting all of these medical specialists.  Anyway, we made it to our destination.  The office where medical professionals await with needless to put into my spine.  

They took us right back, which was super cool!  I had high hopes Austin would be able to stay with me for the procedure. 

My high hopes were soon crushed when the giant scary nurse of death (I was much too terrified of her to take her picture...) came and firmly said my side kick would have to wait in the lobby.  

And thus here I sit.  All by myself in this lovely gown.  Scary nurse asked me if I wanted IV sedation for the procedure.  She then proceeded to tell me that it's no big deal and I wouldn't really even need it and blah blah blah.  I'm pretty sure she was just interested in watching someone suffer.  I think she wanted her torture someone fix for the day.  I don't know - all I know is that I voted for the IV sedation.   Not even a hesitation.  I'm all for comfort.  My BFF calls it "Better living through chemistry".  Amen!.  Before I knew it another nurse came by.  A much nicer nurse who was human size and all smiles.  She was there to hook me up with the IV. 

 

 Yes, I took these pictures.  I watched as she did this, too.  I've come along way from the days of being grossed out by needles and blood.  Medical stuff still grosses me out but I was pretty nervous of the back needle deal - so this wasn't a biggie at all.  Soon after the IV was in place I was escorted into THE room.  I got to lay down on my tummy on this cozy bed.  See the two screens?  Well, they're using fluoroscope x-ray techniques.  First they're going to inject a local anesthesia, and then some dye.  The dye will help them place the steroid shot in the best possible spot.  This procedure is supposed to help with my cervical spinal stenosis - where the nerves in my spine are pinched and sticking out of my back bones when they're supposed to be in.  The steroid is supposed to shrink the soft tissue on the inside of my spine bones, making room for the nerves and releasing pressure and pain on my neck, shoulders and back.

Just before I laid down, I let the medical team know that I wanted lots or pictures - and if anyone felt like taking some, my phone was ready to go.  I set my phone down on the counter - it didn't stay there for long because my doctor picked it right up and started taking LOTS of pictures!  ha ha.  

First I laid down.  Then came the lawn dart jokes from the medical team.  Good thing I have a healthy sense of humor!!  Next came the IV sedation.  ha ha.  I didn't even know there was plastic on me!  OH~  and before we left the house I made sure I took a xanax... I'm sure that helped not knowing about the plastic - and pretty soon I didn't even care that they were putting anything into my spine. 







It looks like my head is encased in a plastic bag.  It's not - but it looks crazy.  I do wish they would have given me a dose of Demerol or something while they were passing out the injections.  Ha ha.  But nope.  Oh well - perhaps next time!  

And yes, my funny doctor gave me this nice band aid and took the picture.  :)  

 Here's what the x-rays looked like when they were putting the needle, dye and steroid in my back.

And lastly - they took out my IV.  I honestly don't remember this part and I'm the one who took the picture.  Funny.  The paperwork I was given to prepare for this visit said that I may loose some of the use of my limbs for a few hours after the shot.  It also said I would likely not be up for doing anything else for the rest of the day.  Guess what?!?  I'm a champ because I didn't loose any limb use at all and I was able to stay up and be productive doing my usual mom stuff for the rest of the evening.  Since this appointment (3 days ago), I had 2 really good days where I felt almost normal.  The new pain meds started kicking in and the shot helped my neck and shoulders quite a bit.  I also had 2 mornings where I woke up with circulation going on in my arms/hands.  This morning though I woke with some poor circulation.  Not the horrible pain and numbness, but enough to wake me up and know that I wasn't getting blood in my hands/lower arms.  We went to church, where the benches are so uncomfortable for me to sit in and I made it through the whole 3 hours of church services without putting my leg(s) up or falling asleep.  I was freakishly exhausted after and I was blessed with excessive pain in my legs and back from those benches/chairs.  But I got to come home and rest.  And watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with the fam.  I hope tomorrow I have less pain and more energy... however tomorrow I get to have another interesting appointment!  Update and pictures (I hope) coming soon.  ;)