Thursday, August 26, 2010

Getting Back in Gear

I have not posted because I have not been very "cheery". You know me! I like to be cheery. I just had my 3 month check up though and my CT scan and blood work say I am CANCER FREE!! Yay!! YIPPEE SKIPPEE!!! THAT is a reason to celebrate for sure.

Now a little whining...... I have been (and still am to some extent) dealing with a damaged intercostal nerve which has delayed my happy dance. It has been 5 months and I am still not pain free and am told there is no guarantee that the pain will ever be completely gone. I have had nerve blocks, radio frequency ablation several times, Lidocaine patches (which help) and tons of pills, many of which do no good. The ones I am on now slow down my brain and cause my wires to cross. I call them my "stupid" pills. Aaaarrrgh!! During one of the treatments my lung collapsed and they sent me off to the hospital in an ambulance, complete with sirens. So embarrassing. They put a chest tube in which was in for 4 days and did not inflate my lung so I spent 3 days in the hospital hooked up to some sort of pump gizmo. In addition, starting last Fall, my hair has been falling out and I have lost half of my hair volume and it continues to fall out. Nothing to do with the cancer or treatment. Apparently I am the first person in my family to go bald??? hehehe So, there you have it.

Gradually, my pain situation has improved and at least I can smile on occasion ;-)and some of my mojo is returning. ;-) I have a wonderful doctor at the pain clinic. He has a plan and I am trying to find the $$ ;-) BTW, if you do not have supplemental insurance to augment your Medicare, PLEASE GET IT. You would think I would have known that??? Nope!?

In the meantime, I am going out and about now and organizing my sewing space. Two 13 gallon bags of fabric went to the Salvation Army. Janis from SG helped me move my portable shelves from my bedroom into the sewing room and now much of my stash is stacked by type and function in an orderly way. There is more fabric stashed in the cedar chest and in the sewing room closet. But, there is a big improvement!

Here is a picture, courtesy of Janis, of us on her porch after a session with the tape measures. I am in RTW and she is in Marcy Tilton interpreted by Janis. I tried on some Marcy Tilton and can see where some of her things would work for me. ;-)

I also rejoined ASG and attended a meeting of fashion sewists. It was so much fun. They actually know who Marcy Tilton, LaFred, Louise Cutting etc are. How kewl is that??!! It is so enjoyable to be around women who use independent pattern designers as well as the big Four. There is show and tell and help with sewing problems if needed.

Matilda is on hold. I had to buy a smaller size and am waiting for help with the cover fitting. Janis from SG bought one too and we are going to help each other fit our covers when she gets back from her vacation. So, there is now a Matilda Sr and a Matilda Jr in my sewing room. There really isn't enough space for that so will sell my new Matilda Sr. She was never used. I do not want to ship her so hope somebody around here wants to buy her at a very reduced price.;-)

The roses made it through the rainy Spring/early Summer and occasional hot spells with no help from me. This Fall I will properly prune and do whatever to get them in shape for next year. ;-)

It is wonderful reconnecting again and getting the bug to sew. I doubt I will do any more sewing for KK. She starts kindergarten this year and her Mom prefers things from the store. So, except for some totes and/or accessories for gifts, from now on, I will be sewing for me. It is about time! ;-)

My progress will be slow no doubt, but I will keep blogging to keep in touch. I have missed everybody greatly.

Love and Cheer to all!!


Monday, May 3, 2010

Dressing for the Linear Accelerator

One of you kind people told me I should "dress like you mean it" when you go for your treatments. Well, let's just say, my glamor days are so OVER. Like about 10 years ago? Also, I do not have exactly the ahem.."foundation" at the moment to properly wear anything drapey or lighter colored than navy blue? This shirt is extremely old and I can see by the photo, that although I pulled it clean out of my drawer, it has seen better days. I cannot part with my Mariners shirt anymore than I could part with my UW Husky socks. Well, friends. What you see is what you get! Comfort all the way!

The people at the radiology center are SO NICE. This treatment is very easy so far and they took 3 treatments off my total last week so I only have 3 weeks left. I feel lucky. Today, the woman right before me got her "3 Bells" rung and certificate of completion and I can hardly wait for mine so this can all be behind me.

KK and I sewed this week and there will be more posts about sewing soon! I promise!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy Birthday to KK the Sew Girl

My little KK turned 5 Saturday. She loves her new machine. I made her machine a little cover.

We all had a wonderful time at her party. She is getting to be such a big girl. I can't believe it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bunny Fun, the liberation of Matilda and Rose View Manor

What a great day! The guys came over, dug up the back yard, added mulch and some other things roses love and planted the last three. I hope they make it. They are a little crowded and the soil is bad so we shall see? There are two more bushes across the lawn at the neighbor's because I just didn't have the room. I am keeping my fingers crossed for blooms galore out the door and on my table this summer from these 7 new bushes.

This is how it looked when they were done. They also brought me potting soil for my pots. If the weather would cooperate, I would fill those up with Spring flowers asap.

Then off to a wonderful meal at Meriwether's over in Portland. The food was fantastic and the view out the window just lovely. No sun, but lots of greenery and beauty..

My bunny girl and boy had fun and true to form, were very well behaved. And, without any planning at all, one DDIL and DD each wore their Jalie shirts that I made them for Christmas. Kewl!

It was very comforting to me to have everybody there this year. I am not embarrassed to admit it either.

I am doing great and have much to be thankful for and am not complaining at all when I mention that I found out today that I am to have a little radiation. They will tell me the end of the week when I am to start it and how long it will last etc. Just a little insurance policy. I didn't have the energy to post to my family blog too so posted these pictures here. But, am anxious to start posting about sewing again.

Well, at last!! Matilda has been liberated from her box! Yay! Yippee Skippee! Not sure when I will fit the cover but soon. Just a little more healing to do first. I have so much nice fabric to sew some pretty things for Summer and Fall. I totally have the bug...just need a little more mojo.

Monday, March 29, 2010

No Fat Lady Singing Here!

I did indeed live through my surgery. In fact, due to the superior talents of my surgeon and the wonderful staff at the hospital, I would say I am doing extremely well. There is nothing like a video assisted surgery, with its smaller incisions and less manipulation of your poor little body, to do the trick! My "ahem" problem was removed and further treatment is still up in the air, pending final pathology reports. It is not curable but can be managed for years, if I am lucky. I will be having a few more tests and it is possible I could be in for some additional treatment, if not now, likely down the road a bit. But, all in all, it could have been worse. I mean?? I just had a box delivered from Fabric Mart today that I ordered before I went to the hospital. And, a very sweet friend gave me a gift certificate to order even MORE!!

Besides, my KK is getting her new sewing machine for her BD in a couple of weeks. I am so excited to see her face.

Thank you to all who asked how I am doing and sent me well wishes. It was very much appreciated during what has been a rather tough time. Hugs to all of you!

Cheers, Stash

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Importance of Cheer/Wish Me Luck!

Lately, I have noticed how peoples' attitudes effect me. Personally, I like to feel cheerful and to cheer others as well. Many times I will sign off an email with "Cheers" and try to maintain a cheerful attitude. Maybe that is why I love the Christmas season so much? It's all that Christmas cheer?? The Merry part...;-) Sometimes it's hard though. If you are having "issues" to deal with, you can't always be your best, bubbly self. At least, I can't. But, I have noticed what a tonic some people are as I have been grappling with a health issue and a less than stellar health insurance situation. Some people would call it "being positive" but I like the word "cheerful" better. Nothing Pollyanna..I am a total realist. You can be negative around me, as long as you are cheerful about it...hehehehe I had to explain to my 40 year old son what a "crepe hanger" was. He had never heard the expression and that led to a big discussion about how language is passed down from one generation to the next. My children use expressions that I remember my grandparents using....passed down to them from yours truly, no doubt. I remember my grandmother using the term "crepe hanger."

One of the cheery things I did today was buy some roses. Three are expensive ones in pots and the other four are bare root. I live in THE rose zone. Across the river in Oregon, the city, Portland, OR is known as the Rose City and their summer celebration is called the Rose Festival. I used to have a rose garden when I lived east of the mountains and it was not easy, let me tell you! The climate was inhospitable for roses and in spite of the cattle guards, a stray steer or two would tromp around there. The deer sampled various plants in my garden too. So, I am thrilled to have a little spot to plant some roses that I can see from my sliding glass door. I do have my favorites, one of which is Tropicana, and I was lucky to find one today. Looks like I have some work to do too. The landlord loaned me a shovel and so far, I have one hole dug....slow...;-) The drainage is terrible and I don't understand how roses a mere 75' from my back door do so well but my little plot of land has really poor soil and doesn't drain. Roses do NOT like wet feet. Un petit problème?

I really wanted this blog to be just about sewing..nothing extraneous. But, life got in the way? I am scheduled for surgery on March 23rd. Please wish me luck. I have a wonderful surgeon who is one of those tonic people and is optimistic that nothing serious will be found.

I was hoping to get Matilda fit before March 23rd but it looks like she will have to wait because the friend who is helping can't come right now. She is still in her box, waiting to get out, fit for draping and pinning. Spunky the Sewing Assistant is going to be really bummed when Matilda is standing tall and the box is thrown away. That's ok...He will have plenty to do.... rearranging pattern pieces as I pin, chewing up the tracing paper, unravelling thread spools, etc. You know how he is.....;-)

Cheers, Stash

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Love to Snipe!!.....Success for KK and Me/My eyelet came....

I sniped KK's birthday present from Ebay and think I got a good deal. The person who listed it did it for a friend and I am not sure he realized what he was selling. The price didn't go up til the last minute because of the description. It is a Janome Jem Platinum 760 with all the accessories and extras too. For you non Janome people, it is a ¾ size machine with 60 stitches and very popular for classes as it only weighs about 12-14 pounds. Just right for a little girl to learn on and great for Gabba to take to classes. It will be her machine but will stay here as DD does not sew.

Then today, I sniped the Burda WOF May 2004. A sewing buddy was kind enough to loan me hers (check out the multi talented Sham's blog, Communing with Fabric) and it really has some cute patterns for me and also for the girls in the family.

I received the eyelet I have been wanting for SO LONG from Gorgeous Fabrics and it did not disappoint. Very delicate though so my blouse pattern has to be just right. Am thinking it over. ;-) Will post photo soon.

On a personal note....I have been dealing with a health issue lately and am mentioning since I have been absent from SG and not sewing like I planned. By the end of next week, I hope to be well on my way to feeling like my old (yikes, did I say old?) self. And, thank know who you are.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Laundry is Back in Business.....Yay!

CocomoJoe brought Sam and KK over this morning and we went out to breakfast. Sam slept through most of it. Then we hit the hardware store to find the proper connector to hook up the drain hose to my washer. Joe fixed it and there is no water on the floor. It sure makes a funny sound when it spins though.

There is nothing like washing stash to remind you of what is in the closet. There are quite a few pieces that I cannot remember fiber content and am not washing until I burn test. And, a few UGLY pieces too. Whatever was I thinking?? ;-)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I am Washing my Sheets in my Own Apt!!

The boys came and installed my washer and dryer today. I am having so much fun! Load #2 is in the washer and I am waiting for my sheets to dry so I can make up the bed. I LOVE this.

edit a few hours later:

OH CARUMBA!!! The drain hose fell off the back of the washer and I am still mopping up my apt. The water went all the way to the living room and luckily, I was able to move the boxes of photos out of the way. They were stored where the hook ups are so had to move them out and I put them on the floor in the dining area, which also flooded. All my KK and now Sam photos are in there plus some weddings etc.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sunshine on the Cloth

The sun is peeking through the blinds and shining on my fabric. I received my last box today and Spunky is happy because it is a box and not a sack. The red and turquoise are RPL as is the pale mint. The pale mint is so lightweight that it is going to have to be a nightgown for summer. This online shopping is hit or miss. This "Vera Wang Designer Woven Jacquard Circles Navy" looks nothing like the picture at Fabric dot com either. The little thumbnail is what was on the site but it looks very black in person even though I can see the navy along the selvedge.

Yesterday I received a trial swatch packet from Vogue Fabrics online and I loved some of the swatches. I did join FabricMart swatch club for a year so will be looking forward to that. Since I have forgotten so much about fabric and there is so much new, I thought that the swatch clubs would not only prevent big surprises, but they describe the fabric content and label the fabrics so I can learn from that too. The little swatches can be kept forever and I can refer to them if I can't remember what a twill or a jacquard or an RPL is. There is a cherry colored wool twill at Vogue fabrics that is TDF. I need a slap long side the head.

Will be preparing fabric all Sunday and Monday, I hope. My new washer and dryer will be installed. Yay!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fabric and Books

Another bag of fabric came from Fabric dot com. They used to send everything in a box but the last 2 shipments have come in sacks. They arrived safely so no harm but my sewing assistant Spunky is miffed since he prefers boxes. First of all, on recommendation of that Sewing Fanatic Carolyn, I bought some designer stretch wool that is TDF. I ordered black and navy but they ran out of the navy. Carolyn is so right. It is beautiful. Then, curiosity got the best of me and I ordered 3 lengths of slinky. I mean, what is slinky?? It's sort of shimmery on one side. Actually, it looks like lingerie fabric to me and I've heard it can be difficult to sew. Why did I need 3 lengths of this stuff to find that out?? Oy...

Since the navy stretch wool was sold out, I bought some cotton/rayon faille from the Vera Wang collection in navy and it is very pretty. It has a "crispy" hand, for an unlined jacket or maybe pants? I will be curious to know what it feels like after I pretreat it..... which will be after I find out how to do that? That gold hammered silk is from a different order. I love the colors of these fabrics and am getting anxious to sew. I think of all the fabrics, faille is my favorite. When I was a little girl, I had a peach colored faille dress with hand embroidered tiny flowers (think heirloom roses) at the neckline for dress up that I loved. When it was handed down to my younger sister, I remember being so sad because it was too small for me. I LOVED that dress. I wonder if it was rayon? We are talking ca 1950?? Did they have rayon in 1950? I know nothing about synthetic textiles.

In addition to fabrics, I bought another book....Power Sewing by Sandra Betzina. I am hoping it will help me remember some prior skills and add some new ones.

Soon there will be projects to look at. My plans for Matilda were put on hold this weekend, but soon she will have her cover. And, I will be sewing up several pairs of pants. I also plan to alter my old TNT pants pattern because it is so fast to stitch up and I like the shape. There is another Burda pants pattern I want to use from the January 2010 issue too. Now that Marla has shown me what to do, I think my pants will fit from now on....famous last words.

Cheers............Sew Happy!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pants Fitting Class with Marla Kazell

Wednesday evening I went to my pant fitting class (otherwise known as "bottom half Reality Check) at Josephine's Dry Goods. (photo from website)

Marla's website:

The only request Marla made was that we bring a Burda pattern. It was OK to trace one out of our magazine, so that is what I did, with my sewing assistant's help. (see below)

First, she took our measurements. Then, we compared those measurements to our pattern. I used a size 40 pattern and because I have never used a Burda pattern and have not sewn for myself for many years, I had no idea really if I had chosen the right size. It turns out I did. All my life I have had a short rise so I was very surprised when we had to lengthen the crotch on this pattern by 1&5/8", or about 7/8" on front and back pieces. I think it is because of my shape which now has an out of proportion tummy.

Then we strengthened the crotch curve on our patterns with tape along the stitching lines. We pinned in the darts to the outside and pinned the leg seams together and tried on our patterns.

Marla fit each of us in turn. As you can see by these photos, we made several adjustments to my pattern in addition to lengthening the crotch. The first thing we did was raise the knee point. I don't remember seeing a pattern that marks where the knee should be. Wow! What a great reference point.

Then, Marla pointed out to us the shape of the center back seam on our pattern piece. Mine was very slanted but my body is she straightened out that back seam from the point where the crotch curve ends to the waist. The dart in the back waist was OK so she left that. But, she added to the waist by straightening out the center back seam and also at the side seams. The red dotted lines are the stitching lines. Then, in the back, she folded out about an inch at the center back crotch, gradually diminishing to nothing at the side seam. So, this removed the amount I had lengthened the crotch on the back piece. I still have a flat bottom even though my crotch had to be lengthened overall due to my tummy.

On both the front and back pieces, we had to straighten out the hip curve and take the pants in there by quite a bit but then kept the line straight, which increased the waistline by almost the same amount. Whatever curves I used to have on the sides are gone. Oh well. As long as I am comfortable and my pants are attractive and fit well...that's ok. (sniffle sniffle)

My pants have pockets, so when we lengthened the crotch on the front piece, we had to do it in 2 separate places so the pocket wouldn't be effected. You can see the zig zaggy cuts in the pattern. Then, she figured out total length. My inseam has always been 30". Oops....On these pants it is 29" and I am thinking I have shrunk. Eeeeeekk!!

Marla is a wonderful teacher and I am looking forward to trying out this pattern. The other 2 women in the class were nice and it was an altogether enjoyable experience. I have some nice white rayon/poly gabardine to use for a wearable (I hope) muslin. If you are in the Portland area, I heartily recommend this teacher. I have taken 2 classes from her so far and have been very satisfied and had fun too. Do go to her website. Woo Hoo!!!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Over the Hump Tracing Burda

I am finally over the hump tracing Burda patterns out of the magazine. The avoidance behavior, in which I have been engaging for more than a year, is OVER. I spread this out Monday, and there it sat until yesterday. One look at the criss crossing lines about did me in. Eeeeeeek!!! But, I perservered and have now actually traced a pattern, with more to follow. Spunky the Sewing Assistant is keeping me at it. hehehe

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Yippee Skippee!! The Better to Sew With....

Yay! I bought a new (to me) washer and dryer today, which KK is showing off. It is SO HARD to sew when you have to cart your fabrics out in the weather to the laundry room or to the laundromat. And, you don't want to share a washer & dryer with people who might be putting who knows what in the machines you are using. DSx2 will come and install in 2 weeks since DS#2 will be out of town next weekend.

I am so thrilled about this. ;-)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year 2010!

It's goodbye to 2009, which is fine with me. It wasn't all bad though. Our precious Sam came in 2009, almost 40 years to the day after his Daddy came. AND, I got a sewing room. And, my New Years resolution for 2009 was actually get rid of 30 pounds. But, I am really looking forward to 2010. My projects are on hold because I have a cold so am going to sit back and watch the Rose Bowl today and cheer for Oregon. Go Ducks!!

I hope everybody has a wonderful 2010 and that whatever goals you have for this year will come to pass. And most of all, Good Health.