Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Construction Projects

Hello! I know, it's been a long time, hasn't it? I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. This year has been a year of more surgeries with lots of recovery time. Breast reconstruction after breast cancer is nothing to sneeze about! But after the reconstruction surgery in May and a revision surgery 3 weeks ago, I think I'm done! Yay!

What are you looking at below? It's our new dock at the lake house. The old one was damaged in a storm a couple of years ago, the wood was rotting, it was time for it to go. This work can only be done in the winter when the water is down. We are so glad to have this done! We still need to have an electrician come hook up the boat lift again.

And what's this below, you ask? That will be our new house. This picture was taken from the back. I don't have a recent photo from the front. 

We decided the cottage was just too small. I need more storage for my quilting stuff! Haha! We put the cottage up for sale by owner in August. Within 2 days we had 2 full price offers. Boom! The buyers we picked wanted to pay in cash and close fast. So a couple of weeks later we put all our stuff in storage and moved to our lake home. And that's where we've been.

The new home we're building will be ready in a few months - the sooner the better! We have a grand baby coming in the Spring and hope we're in the house in time for that. Yes, that's my other big news!

Here I was a few weeks ago, about to have my third breast surgery.

And now...I'm doing a lot better! I'm still a bit sore in places. I must wear Spanx (up to the bra level) and a sports bra 24/7 for a couple of more weeks. And I must not lift more than 5 pounds for the time being. I'm looking forward to getting stronger!

One of my goals while living at the lake this winter has been to learn to use my embroidery machine. I'm happy to report that after lots of struggling (lots and lots of struggling!) I have finally succeeded.  I can now monogram and appliqué. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm making progress.

As far as quilting...
I've mostly been hand piecing this year. I've been working on Jen Kingwell's Marshal. More on this soon. With weak arms, hand piecing has been wonderful for me. I have made one baby quilt and a pillow to match. Can't share yet.

I hope 2020 brings much more quilting for me. And for you, too.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Stringing Along

I been getting sweet messages from some who have missed my blog. Thanks to you all for caring. What you might or might not know is that we live only about 5 miles from Sunday's devastating tornado damage. 23 lives were lost, including 3 little children. Several people are still 'lost.'

Some have asked me how they can help. These people do NOT need quilts. The best way to help is to donate money via The Red Cross or Samaritan's Purse. One local church has rented an entire hotel for survivors. I wish I could do more to help, but we are giving a monetary donation - that's the best we can do for now. A mere five miles away...and it could have been us.

I have felt like sewing many days. I saw a blog post on The Diary of a Quilter about quilting on the Isle of Man. These Manx log cabin blocks are really fun to make. They are done by hand on a background fabric foundation. The stitching goes through the foundation pieces. No batting is needed because of the layers of folded fabrics, so each block is essentially quilted as you go.

The technique is interesting because you use various parts of your hand to do the measurements.

This will be a table runner for our dining room. I will add two more blocks to each end. Then I plan to begin working on another such larger quilt from my Kaffe Fassett fabrics. The table runner is made with mostly Japanese fabric with a touch of Kaffe in the center. 

You can find the link with complete instructions to make Manx log cabin blocks HERE.

I have also started a quilt that has been on my bucket list. This will be Bonnie Hunter's Lozenges. Directions are on her website under the Free Patterns tab. Mine will be scrappy but with controlled colors - greens and grays. A friend recently made a green and gray quilt and I loved the color combo. I've done all the cutting. 

I've made a few blocks. I make four at one time. 

And here's another bucket list quilt I've started - Bonnie Hunter Pfeffernusse. The same friend who inspired me to make a green and gray quilt gifted me with her leftover strings - she has made this same quilt. 

Today I cut 72 phone book pages into 7.5" squares. (Our phone book is only about 80 pages!) I have the strings and the paper beside my sewing machine so hopefully as I feel like it I can make this quilt come to life. My first (and only) string block is there above, beside the photo of the quilt.

So how am I feeling? Pretty good. I still have good days and bad days. Being in a car for long is uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. Sometimes I overdo by lifting something heavy or doing too much and I pay for it in my chest, underarms, and shoulders for a few days. So I back off and take it easy. I am really enjoying a break from doctors now though - I go back in about a month. 

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Tiny Bit of Sewing

I finally pulled out my Japanese stash and a Yoko Saito pattern and made this cute little zippered pouch. This is entirely hand sewn, including inserting the zipper. Above is the front.

And here is the back. I even covered the cording by hand.

And yesterday I made this little block, another Yoko Saito pattern. Yes, the pieces are supposed to be wonky. The block was supposed to finish at 3 inches square - a bit too tiny for me. I enlarged it to 4.5 inches square. I think I could even enlarge it more. It's very small! Again, this is hand sewn. 

The pattern calls for these blocks to be made into the flap of a purse, but that's not what I'll be using them for. 

 So how am I doing? I feel great! I ended up getting one more expander fill and now I'm done with that. I don't go back to the doctor until April (Yay!) when we'll set up the next surgery.

My biggest problem now is sleeping. The expanders are rock hard and I find it difficult to get comfortable in bed. Yes, I'm back in a bed again for about the last week. But I'm sleeping in the guest bedroom, smack in the middle of the queen sized bed. I have SO many various pillows to help me get comfortable. Hubby would never fit beside me - haha! It's very UNcomfortable to sleep on my side. So I struggle every night to get comfy and relaxed. Some nights I sleep well. Some nights I don't. I never knew about this issue after breast surgery!

I don't plan ahead for many activities because I never know if I'll be exhausted or not. If I'm exhausted, I take a long nap the next day. I don't feel guilty saying no to invites or anything else - I do what I want to do, when I want to do it.

One of my friends who has had breast cancer (twice!) gave me some good advice the day I was diagnosed. BE SELFISH. And she didn't mean to be rude, ungrateful, or self centered. She meant that I should do what I need to do to take care of myself. I should surround myself with positive people. I should not invite stress into my home. I should start thinking of myself first more than in the past. And that's exactly what I'm doing.

I've been driving again for about a week or so. I've been shopping on my own a couple of times. I'm getting back into walking. We're going out to eat, going to AU gymnastics meets, getting back into the swing of 'normal' life. And that is so nice.

I've learned to focus on the simple things like coffee with friends and watching TV with Hubby. I know I'm not blogging much...I'm slowing down on this too. And will probably continue to do so. I'm not sure if the blog will die a slow death or not. We'll will see.