Friday, February 28, 2014

More passing time....

Feeling better.   Thought I was better last week and I was, but I am even better this week.  Visited my surgeon yesterday and he is pleased with my progress.   My next surgery is on the 4th and then it will be the count down for back to work which may be as soon as March 10th.....I have fingers crossed it will be March 17th.  Not trying to shirk my job responsibilities but hey, I will still have stitches across my face!   Alas,  so it goes.

In addition to looking forward to going back to work (sic) I have a road trip planned with my stitching pals to Woodlawn in March.   Woodlawn is in Alexandria VA and will be hosting the 51st Annual Needlework show.   Thousands of items are submitted each year and are on display throughout the mansion for our viewing pleasure.   It is a nice road trip with friends, we will have lunch out and *perhaps* a stop at a needlework store too!  I am so looking forward to being able to be out in public again.

Seems I have exhausted Buddy who appears to have fallen asleep mid-play.  I bet he will be happy when I go back to work and let him have the day to sleep uninterrupted.

 I stitched up this heart on wool.  Even though Valentine's Day is past, it is still out.   Hearts and snowmen still decorate my house and will likely stay around another ten days until I get clearance from the doctor to move about a bit more.  Maybe I need to get those snowmen away and spring flowers out to encourage springtime.

Miss Amy, Nurse #2, stitched up this quilt while she was here.   She also made this shawl for a friend.  And that was in between doing uniform alterations for an indoor drum line she assists with. I am doubly blessed.  Not only do I have wonderful daughters - they are stitchers and crafters too!

When Nurse #1 - Heather was here, she stitched two quilt tops, spun and plyed yarn, and sewed two tote bags.   Unfortunately I was not clear headed enough to think to take photos of all her accomplishments but I did get one of the yarn.

I did get this photo of Heather's handiwork.   She delights in turning my bears upside down to see how long before I notice.

For me, I continue to get my stitching fix with my wool applique.

This has been a good project to work on while being challenged without glasses.  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Passing Away The Time

Let's see, Buddy and me have been squirrel watching.

and bird watching.

Squirrel watching tires him out.

Enjoyed a yummy breakfast (or two or three) courtesy of Nurse Heather and indulged in yummy chocolate covered strawberries from my penpal Shirley from Connecticut.

I supervised while Heather cleaned and re-arranged furniture.   I mean, if you can't stitch,.....then what?    We created a little stitching vignette.

I decided to work on a wool applique table runner.   Stitching the blanket stitch for these pieces has provided me some stitching time.    Even with magnification I find I tire quickly from stitching. The pattern called for some lazy daisy flowers and stem stitching but I added the buttons instead.

I am enjoying watching the splendors of Mother Nature.  Now that is what Sky Blue Pink is.

Shadows and light --

I frogged a shawl I had knitted a few years back and started an infinity scarf with the yarn.   This has proved quite doable without the aid of glasses or magnification.

I have watched two seasons of Sherlock Holmes with Benedict Cumberbatch.  I am now a fan.  

I also discovered I have Starz and have been watching The White Queen.   This is adapted from the Philippa Gregory series which I have read and loved.

The last two days I have had contractors on the roof interfering with my nap-time!    My entire house was circled in caution (rather - danger) tape.  They have been installing our solar panels.    Two inspections to go and I should be 'on the grid' in four weeks time.   I do look forward to watching the electric meter spin in reverse!

Friday, February 14, 2014


Get well flowers from Mr. W.
A quick surgical update.    First surgery in the doctor's office went well on Tuesday and all the bad stuff was removed with the first excision.   Second surgery to repair the two removal sites was Wednesday afternoon in the hospital.  Surgery started an hour late due to a delay with an earlier procedure the surgeon had.  When my daughter and my friend from work finally got to see me about 8 p.m., Heather reported I looked like cartoon character with a tooth ache with gauze wrapped around my head...just missing the bow on top.

So Nor'easter and all, we got home the following evening.  Not like the
days of old when you would go in the hospital days before and stay for days after.   I am happy to report it is behind me.    Not too terribly much pain.  Just feels like I have been hit in the forehead with a hammer (looks more like an axe hit me!)  Back to the doctor on Monday for the staple removal and then on my way to recovery.

Remember the "must buy" snake light we all bought for our husband's tool boxes several Christmas's ago, well I got myself one just for stitching with a magnifying glass on it so I hope to be able to get some stitching in in the coming weeks.    Feels much better to just keep my eyes closed for right now.  Maybe I'll do a little stitching in small increments.

Best Nurse ever!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Something to share

~Updated~See end of post
Throughout the fall I lamented in my posts about my loss of mojo, about not being able to get into the mood for holiday shopping or holiday decorating.   I generally 'checked-out' for a bit.  Now I will fess up.  Nothing terrible but traumatic all the same.

In September, I had a routine body scan for skin cancer.   In October, I was told the biopsies from my face were positive for basal cell carcinoma (the good kind if there is a good kind).   In November, I meet with two surgeons for their recommendations.   Now at first discussion, everyone will tell you it is no big deal to have skin cancer removed but this will be a little more than the normal surface removal.   The terminology I have learned is something I hope most of you will never have to deal with:   clear margins, Mohs, hospitalization, forehead flap, radiation therapy, chemo-surgery, plastic surgery, reconstruction and follow up reconstruction, short term disability, etc., etc. not to mention the pre-op testing and appointments.

The removal of the skin cancer will involve three days of surgery scheduled for later this month. The first as outpatient and the second with a brief hospital stay followed by 4 to 6 weeks at home out of work.   (What a way to get some time off!) The first surgery will be to remove the bad stuff and the second surgery will be to do reconstructive surgery to my nose.   A third surgery will have to do with the disconnecting the skin grafting from where it is still connected (for blood flow) from its original location.  Gross!  I guess I could say I'm getting a nose job!

The extent of my second and third surgeries will depend on the extent of my first surgery.  I need to figure out how I will stitch while I am home - no glasses for three to four weeks!  I am sure I will have no desire for the first week or ten days.  I have a Dazor floor lamp with magnifier that I will move down from my sewing room when I am ready so I am good!

I have two great surgeons who both tell me 99% cure rate and 99% no recurrence so I am confident and have no fears about the prognosis.  One of the most difficult things was how and when to share this information with my children, co-workers and friends.   I finally told my children at Christmas - I guess I was being a mom and trying to protect them and let them remain in blissful ignorance as long as possible.  Following my last pre-op visit two weeks ago, I let everyone at work know only because coverage needed to be arranged for me while I am out.  My co-workers treated me to a fabulous lunch out this past Friday that had six of the eight officers of the company attending and a few tears shed when my boss wished me heartfelt well wishes and a joke or two about how he/they won't survive without me.

I am not fearful of the surgery nor the final outcome but there will be a period of time in between that I may be in the running for the Bride of Frankenstein!  Both the Physician's Assistant and my Primary Care Doctor have told me I won't be leaving the house for 3 weeks because I won't want to.

This is a bit much to share and I am not sharing for sympathy but rather to URGE you all to get a routine, painless, body scan....especially those of you that are blue eyed and/or blond.  Please take those fifteen minutes for the exam.  I had no visible signs, no moles, no freckles, no growth just a dry spot.  I kept putting if off and now wonder if I had gone earlier if the treatment would be simpler.  I know compared to what some of you have been through, this will be a cake walk.  I am not a vain person but I admit I have been a bit anxious for the recovery phase of this.   I did look up the procedure on the Internet I will admit to more than one day of driving to work with tears rolling down my cheeks.  Most of these fears were dashed at my pre-op visit.  I guess it is fear of the unknown.

There are many of you that I see on a regular basis so based on what I have learned about the recovery phase I needed to prepare you for what it may be.  Of course, this is all worst case scenario because until the first surgery, the extent of the second surgery is unknown, etc.

I know my Internet buddies are the best and I thank you all in advance for your support, well wishes and encouragement.  Please understand if I do not respond to your comments but please know each will touch me.  I am so glad I have had my cruise to prepare for and enjoy as a wonderful diversion pre-surgery.

Updated 2/11/14 - First procedure completed.   Painless and pain free even without the aid of meds.   Just feels like a stuff nose.  Second procedure at 3 p.m. today and start of me out of circulation.

Updated 2/14/14 - Click here.

Update 3/6/14 - Final surgery was completed on 3/4/14.   Once I get the anesthesia out of my system it will be all downhill from there.   Incision from second surgery has healed incredibly.  It gives me an idea of how quickly the incision from the third surgery will heal and I will be back to normal....and then back to work.   boo! hiss!

Scissors Block

Here are some pix of my steps for on my rendition of the scissors block project for my guild.    I debated on how to approach the challenge and came up with using perforated paper - I have no idea where this bolt of inspiration came from.   

I stained the wooden block with two coats of stain and then painted the block with a cream color paint.   My intention was to distress the corners and allow the stain to show through. 

I had no expectation on winning a prize but did enjoy the challenge of being creative.   To see what some of the others did and be amazed by, check out the other blog I maintain - Delaware Valley Historic Sampler Guild. 

Next I picked sewing/stitching motifs from Donna Kooler's 555 Country Cross Stitch Patterns book. 

Now on to stitching.    I found some great tips on the internet and  mounted the paper on stretcher bars which allowed for stitching without me dog earring and bending the paper.

Why is the creative workspace seldom a tidy workspace?

A last minute brainstorm - stitch each side to brown felt and glue the felt to the sides.

Any port in the storm when I needed to apply pressure while the glue dried.  

My finished scissors block.  It was a fun challenge and I think I would do it again.   Especially since I have seen all the good ideas of my other guild members!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A 2nd Finish for 2014

If you could call it that....

Here's my stuffed St. Nick from last year.
Love this pattern from Pat Thode of Heartstrings.   But he is missing a little something.

Well he was stitched and finished EXCEPT for the stocking he was to hold.   I was going to get back to it all last year and well you know, something shiny and sparkly grabbed my attention I am sure and the final touch just kept getting shoved aside.
I finally stitched this up in and assembled it in January.

I also removed the braid and opened up St. Nick to add more walnut shells to base and stuffing to the rest to make him firmer.   Something else that I was planning to do all year but never got back to.   I put the task on my list to do before I put him away with holiday decorations.  Now  both the stocking and the re-stuffing  are off my to-do list.