Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WIP Wednesday - Crazytown

Well, lately life has been…busy.  Not all terrible, but definitely chaos.

First, work was really busy, to the point that all I wanted to do when the kids got to bed was vegetate on the couch with Netflix and occasionally ice cream or other junk.  I was mentally and physically dead due to the workload and drama at work, and my leg hurt from being chained to my desk at work.  I did that for many many weeks, and honestly it was kind of glorious, but I’m ready to get back into hobby mode and need to work off some of the junk food chub.

Then, I decided I was super burnt out from work and wanted to take a vacation.  I planned to take off most of the week of July 4th.  Tuesday was going to be a half day at work, then the kids would stay at daycare and I would get the afternoon ALONE, and the rest of the week would be a fun staycation full of activities.  I was sooo excited.  So of course, the stress and crappy eating caused me to get a horrible virus which resulted in me being bedridden for 2 days, then keeping the kids at home half-sick.  I should have taken them to daycare, but Evan knew about the staycation in advance so that was a bust.  Ok fine, I was disappointed but at least it was a much-needed break from work.


By the evening of the 4th, I felt better and Brandon was home, we did some fun family things, and it seemed like the lame staycation was going to end on a high note.

Super excited...

Ok, seriously, where is the water??


Clearly my son has some moves.

Then on Sunday the 6th, the day before returning to the usual routine, Maddie woke up in pain pointing to her butt.  Her tailbone area looked a little red, so I thought maybe she bruised it bouncing on the deck in the kiddie pool the day before.  Then, just before lunch she plopped on the floor (as toddlers do), and started screaming bloody murder.  When Brandon went to pick her up, his hand came away with blood and pus.  GROSS.  So all 4 of us bee-lined for the emergency room (thank you Clemmons Medical Center for having no wait), and spent the afternoon there.  She had a giant abscess about the size of a baseball on her tailbone – it had ballooned in the couple of hours since she woke up.  Lucky me got to hold her while they numbed her and sliced open the abscess to drain it.  It was traumatic for all involved; thank god she won’t remember any of it.

A few days of bandage-changing and wound care later, and we got a call from the lab that Maddie had MRSA.  WTF??!!  I work for the local health system, and I’ve only heard of this in hospitals and crappy nursing homes.  Maddie was quarantined at home (not even allowed in the dr office) and we got more crazy care instructions as it’s highly contagious.  Enter super-strength antibiotics that upset her stomach, and she was feeling better.  Then began the wait to see if the infection would go away or if it would need more lancing.

As of today, 11 days after the ER, she is back at daycare, no bandage, and feels 100% fine.  However, she still has some infection and is staying on the antibiotics for another round until it goes away.  If that doesn’t work, I don’t know what’s next.  We are trying home remedy-type things to try to push things along, and probiotics seem to have helped her stomach.

Bought a large Mason jar full of old necklaces at the antique store.  Most entertaining $2 ever.

All in all, it has sucked, but at least she is feeling better and so far no one else in the family has gotten it.  Now finish your job, antibiotics!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Happy Quilting Quilt Alongs

I actually finished a quilt along on time! (well, the top anyway)  Wonders never cease!

It's the Star Light Star Bright quilt along from Happy Quilting, and I love the way it turned out.

I picked the floral fabric first, then chose the others from it.  The gray is a DS print and the other 2 are JoAnn's.  They are all nice and thick, so I got lucky finding higher quality fabrics.  All I knew going in was that I didn't want to do one of the usual backgrounds (white, gray, dark gray, etc.).  I chose Kona Pool, and I am so glad I went outside my comfort zone.  I made the 28" blocks, and changed the pattern slightly so that all 4 fabrics were in each block, and the centers were 1 piece instead of a four-patch.  I even made a mockup to keep up with the colors (nerd.)  I think this one will be an 18th birthday/high school graduation gift for my baby sister.

This next one was also a Happy Quilting QAL from last summer, called Star Surround.  I finished it last month, so if I can quilt it in 2014 I will consider it timely!

I love it so much.  It was one of the more time-consuming and finnicky projects I've done (so many points), but it was worth it.  It has my favorite colors (it's a bundle from The Intrepid Thread which included some Koi, Shelbourne Falls, Art Gallery, and a few others).  LOVE.

Now just need to figure out how to quilt them!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Valerie's Quilt

2 blog posts in one day!  What then?!  I'm officially giving myself a gold star for productivity today.

Last fall, a friend of mine was going through a rough time.  After several months of health problems, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and on top of that had an infant.  Luckily, she was able to have her thyroid removed, but then had to make the unpleasant choice to do radiation since her surgery margins were too small.  So with all that and some other issues going on in her life, I decided she definitely deserved a quilt!

Her favorite colors are orange and blue, so I knew I wanted to go more aqua and have a dark gray background.

It's a free pattern by Joel Dewberry.  The gray is Kona Coal (I think?), and the other fabrics are all from Jo-Ann's.  Lots of Denyse Schmidt in there, including the plaid binding.  It's quilted with an allover stipple.

The backing is flannel, also from Jo-Ann's, that I got during one of their $2,79/yard flannel sales.  It matches perfectly and makes the quilt nice and snuggly.

I didn't really get to take many pictures, as she was having a particularly rough day so I decided to bring it over way before planned.  In fact, it hadn't even been washed and I finished the binding just before snapping pics and running out the door.

But she loved it, so it was a success!! We were just at her house for her son's 1st birthday party, and the quilt was on the bed with a book on top.  Perfect.  I kinda want to make one for myself :)

One of my lovely assistants.  In hiding most of the time from the kids, but nothing brings him out like fabric on the floor.

There you have it, blogging about a quilt I finished 5 months ago.  Better late than never!

Cradle Makeover

Since I have a tendency to think up and even start projects and not finish them, I’m really excited to show one that actually turned out just like I wanted. 

A few months ago while wandering a thrift store, I found a dirty 1980s wooden cradle, complete with Strawberry Shortcake sticker decals.  Now, I loved Strawberry Shortcake dolls as a kid, but it definitely needed a facelift.  It’s obviously handmade and was probably a special present for someone, so it makes me happy to give it new life.

It was priced at $12.99, but after AN HOUR of standing in line, the clerk accidentally rang it up for $2.99.  Oh well – I’m worth more than $10 an hour so I don’t feel too guilty about this little discount. J  P.S. An hour wait is insane.  A lady had 4 grocery carts full of clothes and random, sometimes broken stuff.  It was like watching Hoarders in the making – she would also grab little things near the register and shove them in the carts.  Weird.

Here it is after some paint, accents, and a new little blanket:

The overall cost: less than $10.

I would have liked to get a well-lit pic, but at least the stuffed animals were emptied.  

The details:
The white paint was a $3 sample pot, and the pink and navy are basic craft paints.  I freehanded the stars with a gold Sharpie, and even though a few several ended up looking like deformed starfish, I like the overall effect. 

Papillon supervisor.

I measured the inside and made the blanket roughly the same size with some scrap minky and Heather Bailey fabric. 

Even though it was supposed to be a Christmas present, I made the Valentine’s Day deadline so I’m counting it for that.  Maddie LOVES it and it looks great in her room (even with the ugly inherited blue walls).  She puts her stuffed animals in, rocks them, covers them with the blanket, and says “Nigh Nigh”.  So cute!!  

Here's a bona fide before and after comparison:

And finally, this pretty much sums up my life:

T-Rex needed a good scrub down.  Her curls!!  I die.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Poppin' Tags

Part of the excitement of a new-to-us, bigger house is getting to put our own stamp on it.  But the reality of having 2 small kids in daycares + medical bills + heating said bigger house with an  old and horribly inefficient heat pump means we don’t have a lot (any) extra money lying around.  The upside is that I now have a perfectly valid excuse to frequent thrift stores for bargains and upcycling projects.  Bargains are in my blood – my Mamaw (maternal grandmother) was the yard sale queen, and after many early Saturday mornings being dragged around, I’ve had extensive training.  I’ve scored a few finds recently that are helping to decorate the house a little and make me happy in the process.

P.S. Yes they are all icky flash pictures as they were all taken post-bedtime.

I found the white lamp base at Goodwill for $5, all it needed was a quick wipe-down with the magic eraser and it was as good as new.  A few days later, I got lucky at Target and found the lamp shade on clearance for $5.06.  So, for $10 I have a great accessory for my desk in the office!

Not sure what is up with the wooden bowl here - it isn't beat up at all!

All of these little bowl-thingies (possibly ash trays in prior lives) are going to live in various places to hold keys, bobbins, thread, etc.  The biggest splurge was the star at $3.99 from Mega Thrift, the other two were $0.49 each at Salvation Army (what?!). 

P.S. The local Salvation Army is new to me.  It’s in a shopping center that used to be pretty sketchy, but it’s being made over.  The workers are awesome to chat with and their prices are so much better than Goodwill and other thrift stores around here.  The only downside is the number of bargain hunters – the furniture in particular goes really fast.

This desk was an AWESOME find for $9 at ReStore.  I have a fold-up sewing desk that I love, but it’s a pain to open and it already holds my serger and other machine (that’s another story).  Plus, the small surface area made it terrible for quilting, and there isn’t much leg room.  In other words, it’s only ideal for small projects, like clothing, and I didn’t want to have to move machines around.  So I began looking for larger desks or a table, but couldn’t find anything sturdy, low enough to accommodate my shortness, and with tons leg room for multi-tasking.  This meets all those requirements, and because of the lacquered/kinda ugly top I can even pin on it without worries.  Although this could probably use a coat of paint to combat the 70s brown, it’s in pretty good shape and mostly needed a quick cleaning.

Finally, some top sheets (vintage and probably Target).  The vintage one will definitely be a quilt back.

Yay for thrift store finds!  Cheap and with personality, can’t beat it.  I have a few others that I’ve made over, just need to take the obligatory before and after shots J

Monday, February 24, 2014

Settling Down & Settling In

Ok, so, uh, blogging.  In the complete chaos of the last year and a half, it has fallen to the bottom of the priority list.  I am excited to start again, but have accepted that I will just have to make do with crummy photos and just have more of a journal format.  I really want more documentation of life, in addition to having proof of all the things I do actually make 

Here is a summary:

Blood Clot fun*
      I have Lupus Anticoagulant (kind of a clotting disorder), May-Thurner Syndrome, and crappy luck)
      2 ICU stays, 2 recovery periods for damaged leg, 3 interventional vein procedures
      Lifelong changes and working to get leg as close to normal as possible
Sold a house and bought a house.  Crazy stress.
Turned 30, and celebrated 15 years with Brandon!
Lots of other stuff, mostly good.

*Sarcasm.  Obviously.

Things are FINALLY calming down.  We have been in our new house for almost 5 months, and have settled back into a routine.  I am healing and am finally able to be a normal mom again (a new normal, but still a huge improvement).  However, this whole process took a major toll on me and the family.  For the kids, Mommy wasn’t always able to lift them and had to lay down a lot.  For Brandon, it meant taking the reins more, which he did fabulously, along with my awesome family.  I am grateful that we made it through it, and now we’re just trying to deal with the day-to-day stress of having 2 very young and very rambunctious kiddos, who each have very different needs at 16 months and 4 1/2.   In some ways, I think the adjustment back to me being healthy has been difficult for Brandon, even though it’s obviously a great thing.  The problem is, now that we don’t have some big stressor hanging over us, it’s been much harder for him to hold onto his patience.  I think he’s at the point of “shouldn’t everything be sunshine and roses now?”, and it makes the daily, mundane struggles more difficult.  My family doesn’t have to come over constantly, which means we are self-sufficient, but at the same time we just want a break!  He most of all, as I’m pretty much just happy now that I can sew again!  The kids and I have happily adjusted, he’s going to get there, and we are all ready for fun times :)

We love our new house.  We doubled our space, and now have an office and a craft room – woot! The neighborhood is very quiet and we back up to woods and the community garden.  Since it’s older and only partially updated (and weirdly so in some areas), the house is basically one big project to tackle.  This is both awesome and frustrating, since this will take years and years due to lack of free time, money, and my physical limitations; but I am very excited for the possibilities!  We’ve already done a few projects, but it’s a work in progress, and I am trying not to compare myself to Pinterest or bloggers online who have made DIY projects their full time job.   We also really need to finish unpacking.  Really.  As my Dad keeps reminding me whenever I whine about the list of things I want to do, “Rome wasn’t built in a day!”  I kind of think this applies to life too.

Anyway, real actual posts with real projects to come – not that anyone is reading right now since I changed my blog name!  Oh well, fresh starts all around!

Finally, lots of pics of the blondies, because they are so freaking cute.  Mostly in chronological order.

Picnic Girl (6 months)

Learning to sit (6 months)

Reading with Daddy (7 months)

Dinner date, right before 4th birthday


First real food (puff)

I don't like it.  You eat it.

I made fleece super hero capes for all the kids in Evan's class for his birthday party.  To say they were a success in an understatement :)  Mine is one in the mommy-made Chill shirt.

Emptying bags is the best

Sticker Lover.

My awesome sister entertaining Evan with blush and eyeliner

Moving day.  Aka the last time the floors were that clean.

Dixie Classic Fair

DC Fair - less exciting when you're stuck in the stroller

Me & Maddie on her 1st birthday.  I made the shirt!

Playing in the leaves.  Lots of eating attempts.

Christmas tree lighting in Lewisville

I want super heroes!

Spaghetti lover.  Also, not the best time to play peek-a-boo.

Crayons.  This was last week, starting to get along better.

Last weekend, learning to skate!