Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Bit Devastated...

I saw my surgeon today and my options are worse than I thought.

Two options involve long term antibiotics. One of these may cure it and the other only suppresses it. The third option also aims for a cure but involves several surgeries and 6 months with no joint and my bone flapping in the breeze.

If we want to do IVF in a month... Well the maths just doesn't add up.  He hoped I could just keep taking antibiotics through pregnancy but I can't for various reasons - even baby safe ones.

My surgeon said i need to speak to my fertility specialist and she gave the most devastating blow of all. I have to be completely clear of all infection and off all antibiotics for at least a month before we can have any more treatment.

The thing is we may never get a complete cure. I'm just so very sad. I'm going to be so angry if my stupid wrist is the reason i can't have a big family.

Anyway for now I continue on antibiotics for a month to see if I get further improvement, my surgeon will think a bit harder and see what happens then.

IVF is off the cards indefinitely.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Goodbye August, Hello September!

I'm farewelling August with a little sadness since I didn't achieve my 3 UFOs before 31 Aug Challenge on About.com.

It's not all bad, though.  We've almost certainly figured out why the Nemesis is misbehaving, I've started my Lizzy Mae and done 2 block swaps.

September is going to be frightfully busy though!  I didn't realise just how many quilty commitments I have coming up!

1 Sept - Table Runner Class
1 Sept - DaChintzy Code Clue 1
14 Sept - Lizzy Mae's Medallion Class 2
15 Sept - DaChintzy Code Clue 2
17 Sept - Friday Night Sew In 
29 Sept - DaChintzy Code Clue 3

Plus I have TWO Block Swaps PLUS Gisborne Quilters every Wednesday!  YIKES!!

At least for Lizzy Mae it isn't necessary to finish the applique before going onto the next step.

I've also decided to ditch the boy version of the DaChintzy Mystery.  I really want to use more than just 3 other fabrics to bring out all the lovely colours of the guitars so that will free me up a little.  I'm very happy clues are fortnightly!

I still need to wash and cut my DaChintzy fabrics and pre-cut my table runner fabrics.  I now know what I'm doing for one block swap but not the second.

Meanwhile here is a pic of Lizzy - hasn't she grown?

Friday, August 27, 2010


I got 2 squishies in the mail this week!

The first was my parcel of fabric postcards from the Black and White Swap on the About.com Forum!  Christine also added a few extra gifts which was really sweet of her!

So many cool fabrics!  I'm planning to use them to make a larger version of a redback spider quilt featured in AP&Q Magazine a few months back.  I'm going to make the wedges for the web differently to utilize the postcards the most efficiently.

It's really far down on my list but I'm looking forward to it anyway!

The other squishy is from Sue who sent me some of her spare selvages to squirrel away for one of my (future) selvage projects! Thank you, Sue!  What a lovely surprise!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lizzy Mae's Medallion Class 1

The class went really well!

There were 2 other ladies doing Lizzy Mae and a third working on a different quilt.

I'm not sure what amused Lorraine more - my copious use of Micropore or the bias stems disaster!

Anyway the first thing I learned was how to use one of those bias tape makers!  It was a somewhat hairy experience but it worked!  I've always wanted to learn how to do that!  It made perfect stems that could be fused in place!

I love how Lorraine uses modern quilting aids to achieve the look of traditional quilts in a fast and simple way!

The next thing I learned was how to use freezer paper for needleturn applique.  I must say it does give much nicer sweeping curves than when I do it without paper buuuut...slashing the back of the block to get the paper out is slightly nervewracking!!

The best news is that I got to enjoy the class because my wrist hardly hurt at all!  The down side is the antibiotics make me feel sick and dizzy.

As always I left Lorraine's shop with some supplies in tow.  Yesterday's haul consisted of Thread Heaven, cuuute pink embroidery scissors and some long, thin applique needles with tiny eyes.  These come recommended by Lorraine and despite the teeny eye, they were lovely to work with.

I like the length and they're very sharp so I didn't need to use brute force to get them through the fabric which is also a blessing for dodgy hands.  The only downside to the sharpness, length and thinness is that one of these babies can disappear into the fleshy part of your hand at least to the halfway mark before you even notice!

That could be because of the lack of sensation in many areas of my "poor hand" as DS calls it but it did mean I have something to gross the boys out with rather than the other way around!

Last night for "homework" I ironed on and cut out all the applique pieces.  Here is what they look like laid out - a little messy and shapeless because the seam allowance hasn't been folded over yet!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Aug Quilt Block Swap II Arrived!

My second August Block Swap block has arrived!!!

Linden has sent me a magnificent block and fantastic quilty card.  I LOVE historical quilts and more importantly her block is stunning with 2 gorgeous fabrics.

Thank you for your sweet words in the card, Linden!  And don't worry about the sewline pencil - I've used biro on mine when hand piecing (not on anything to give away tho!)!  I think I even used it on the front of a needleturn applique! (gulp).  I'm sure it'll wash out!

Your points are perfect.  It's only mine I have issue with!  I honestly don't mind less than perfect piecing since I regard all blocks received as a gift and I don't look a quilt horse in the mouth so I don't want any future swap partners out there to panic!!

In other news:
I've actually been doing some quilty stuff this afternoon!  I can't remember the last time I felt well enough! Admittedly I have my first Lizzy Mae class tomorrow at Quilters Bazaar.

I've cut out all my freezer paper bits and washed my fabrics.  I learned two things:

1.  Small bits of fabric that accidentally end up in the washing maching with FQs fare surprisingly well!

2.  When this process is repeated with all remaining small applique pieces the above outcome does not apply to bias strips!!!!

I guess this means I'm making new bias strips before tomorrow!  I'm not too upset since I'd prefer brown ones anyway.

I have also traced the applique pattern onto the background fabric (more or less straight - hopefully it will square up OK) with he aid of a large north-facing window and of course micropore tape!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Leona's Blog giveaway

Leona has recently joined Australian Quilt Block Swaps.  She has posted a giveaway on her blog

Lots of goodies to be won!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

August FNSI Report

Well I'm pleased to say I actually did something!  I was certain I'd have to pull out due to the Nemesis.  Unfortunately DH's potholders had to wait.  Maybe next month!

My FNSI actually sort of started late in the afternoon!

I popped into Lorraine's shop today to pick up my pack for month 1 of Lizzie Mae's Medallion!

On the left is the original pattern sheet and on the right is Lorraine's applique so we know which bits of fabric go where. (click for a close up)

I'm really excited to be starting and now that my health issues seem to be under control I'm confident it will proceed well.

I love that Lorraine has pre-cut the bias stems!  Yippee!  All the little bits will be a challenge to pre-wash though.  I think I'm just going to swish them around in a pot of boiling water to reduce the fraying.

As soon as I got home I did what any control freak would do - scrutinize the colours, dive into my repro stash and pull out extra ones to tweak it.  The following pics include the fabric from the kit and FQs and F1/8s from my repro stash.  Not sure exactly what I'll use and where though.

I'm not really good when it comes to lack of symmetry which is one reason samplers bother me somewhat.  Anyway, any bits from the kit I don't end up using will go into my Dear Jane.

DH wanted to make stew for dinner.  I was too washed out to argue and as long as I didn't have to do it then fine...but I knew we'd be eating late (which we did).  Kidlet wasn't at all sleepy even after a week of school (what's new?) so he bounced around til almost 10pm (Yikes!).

The official portion of FNSI started around 9pm I think.  It doesn't seem like much but for me it was a huge achievement given how awful the pain has been lately. 

 First I cut out the A4 pattern sheets and taping them together to make the 20" by 20" pattern sheet for the central applique.  Sticky tape was MIA but due to my dodgy wrist we have lots of Micropore around.  It actually worked better than tape being soft and flexible and goopy holding the sheets together only on the back!

Then I numbered all the individual applique components and wrote down the ammended colours then traced them all onto freezer paper.

I still need to cut out all the individual shapes and wash my fabrics but I have til Tuesday morning.

I'm also feeling better!  Around the 24-36 hour mark after starting the antibiotics I'm pretty sure the pain is reduced!  Granted I'm still taking fairly heavy painkillers but they're actually working which they were not before and I take them less often. 

I'm really hoping we've found the problem but the downside to all this is to figure how to get rid of the infection permanently.  It's not going to be easy and the success rate isn't 100% (but neither is anything) so we wait and see.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

We have a plan!

Not a great one but a plan nonetheless.

Bloods showed a slight elevation in both CRP and ESR and taking into account that with ME, neither of these markers get as high as they do in most people - even with an acute infection - then something is going on.

CT showed a lot of interference from the ceramic ball of the prosthetic joint.  The metal wasn't as bad as I thought.  They stupidly printed 30 tiny images to one page so it was near impossible to see anything.  Just as well my surgeon ignores the radiologists report!  I found it in the envelope later and it's just complete rubbish!  I find it hard to believe this person has any medical training!!

Anyway the prosthesis is fine and sitting where it should.  As far as the Dr can tell there aren't any signs of infection on the scans but given all the other info and the fact that the scans aren't clear enough to say for certain, he has put me on a mega dose of strong oral antibiotics that are targeted at staph infections which this is most likely to be (if it's an infection).

If they help it means there IS an infection and the next step is to work out what to do.  Oral antibiotics wont kill it since it lives on the implant itself.  They will only keep it from multiplying and affecting the surrounding bone so I could just keep taking the antibiotics forever.  (ummmm...no thanks!!).

So I go back in 2 weeks after 4 back-to-back courses of the antibiotics (which the chemist didn't fill properly - that reminds me I need to got back tomorrow) and hope desperately this THIS is the reason and we can fix it.

Either way another op is probably a given but for now I'm going to enjoy the lovely prescription pain meds and mourn the most useless and unproductive WIP Week in history!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Progress Report...

mThanks for the well wishes everyone!

My visit to the surgeon involved a lot of umming, ahhing and head scratching.  He sent me off for a CT scan (thankfully I got in this afternoon!) and we'll see what that shows.  I go back to see him tomorrow and hopefully they will have reconstructed all my images by then!

The reason he didn't do a CT sooner is the amount of metal in that wrist causes a lot of interference and might not show much because of this anyway!  Same story with MRI except they wont even consider scanning you with one of those if the implants are still fairly new.

I decided to be a little proactive and got in to see the GP this afternoon and requested some blood tests for inflammatory markers.  Surgeon didn't tell me to get them but sometimes you just need to take matters into your own hands (or hand in my case!).

It was such a quick and efficient visit for a change.  I went in, told her what tests I wanted and she filled in a request form and off I went *lol* We were at the medical centre for less than 7 minutes from parking the car to pulling out of the carpark!  Such a blessing when a restless 6YO is tagging along.

On their own they may or may not show much since ESR and CRP can be elevated for many reasons but it might just provide another piece of the puzzle so I put the hard word on both the GP and the path lab and hopefully I'll have my numbers by morning to wave at the surgeon.

His initial suggestions on how to treat an infection seemed a little too relaxed given what I've read about it.  I know he is trying to avoid having to open me up (again!) and I appreciate it but either way it's crunch time and I think he's going to have too.

At least he agrees with me that it's unlikely that the procedure "failed" given I did have pain relief for a period of time.

Anyway I'm praying the CT shows something!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Aug Quilt Block Swap II Finished!

I finally finished Linden's block!  I've been working on it since the weekend but it's been slow going.

I made Aunt Dinah block from Quilter's Cache.  It turned out well enough.  I'm not 100% satisfied with my points but I never am!  I'm very fussy about perfect points and since I rarely have any myself I think it explains my UFO situation!

Unfortunately the cortisone injection I got 3 weeks ago wore off completely around the weekend and the Nemesis has gone berserk since then.

Thank goodness I see my surgeon tomorrow.  If I don't see the inside of an operating theatre by the end of the week (which is really unlikely given how busy he is) then I'm going to have a massive meltdown.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

August Friday Night Sew In

It's on again!  Click on the pic below for more details!

Make sure you sign up - there are prizes to be won!

My goal this month is to make new oven mitts for DH who has been begging for ages.  I'm HOPING I can finish 2 in one evening!

It's here!!!

After only 10 days my lovely Aster Manor yardage has arrived from the US!

Draped over the couch

Close up

As usual, click on the pics for a bigger one with more detail!  I'm fairly sure I will FM quilt around the big asters in the outer border.  Lots of selvage to squirrel away too! :-)

Friday, August 13, 2010

WIP Week Fri 13 - Thur 19 Aug

I can't believe August is almost halfway over and I'm still nowhere near done with my 3UFO challenge!

Starting today I'm going to whip my WIPs into submission!

That means for FNSI (20 Aug) I can make the potholders DH has been begging for and not feel guilty about starting something new!

Plus I need the distraction.  I'm seeing my hand surgeon again on Wednesday and given the deadline I've given him I suspect it's crunch time and something needs to happen.  I'm more afraid of not finding out what's wrong rather than getting bad news.

Anyway I'm making decent headway with unpicking the handbag quilt so that is one goal for the next seven days.  Plus I want to finish piecing Aqua and Chocolate and finally put the borders on the Dino quilt.

I still doubt I will complete my UFO challenge but I'll be a heck of a lot closer!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I think I need a bigger pot...

Nothing like chicken soup when everyone is sick with the plague except my stockpot is too small.  It's 10L which was the biggest I could find at the time but it's only useful to make stock for one pot of soup.

I hoped to make at least double but...

it wasn't going to happen in this pot.  I ended up having to put the overflow in a second pot.

Now if only it would hurry up!  I'm hungry!!

Smells good tho!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Swap Partner for August

We have a new member joining the Quilt Block Swap and Sue has paired her up with me to do a second swap this month.

I'm really excited.  It's a great morale boost to get a "project" finished so quickly and have that feeling of satisfaction.  A single block takes about an hour only and that's with my extra slow cutting and piecing thanks to the Nemesis.

Linden is happy with any block style in bright purples and oranges.

I've gone stash diving and pulled out this lot:

Now I just have to wait for them to start talking to me.  I've heard the odd murmur but nothing intelligible just yet.

Going Insane...

...and it has nothing to do with Salinda W Rupp or Jane A Stickle (unfortunately).

It's now FIVE days since I set foot outside the front door.  I'm going a bit loopy! Crazy

DS has had conjunctivitis since last thursday afternoon although it's almost gone - just some mild cold symptoms left.  I've had flu since friday and DH had a milder case of both.

On Monday I felt much better but felt worse again yesterday and now I also have goopy eyes!Free Icons

No Gisborne Quilters for me tonight.  The girls are working on convict bonnets for the second week in a row and I haven't done anything! We got the pattern in our newsletter so I suppose I could make one at home.  Sewing curves by machine sends me into a blind panic though!

August is almost halfway gone, my UFOs are not getting smaller and I feel too sick and sore to even fondle fabric.

I'm desperate to get to the LQS to check out a particular fabric range for some future bag making projects.  The car is in the driveway but I just don't have the energy.

Right.  No more from me til I have something more cheerful to say! Lips Are Sealed

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Table Runner Class

...happened without me! Crying 2

This morning I woke up thinking maybe I felt well enough to go.  I had washed my fabrics but not pre-cut them and not packed any of my stuff.

I figured I'd try to do some - just in case I went but I could barely bend my fingers without doubling over in pain.  I'm talking about me good hand here!  I've had a few issues with finger pain lately and this particular lurgy seems to affect the most vulnerable parts of the body which of course is my dodgy wrist and fingers on the good hand.

I had to ring and cancel. I'm hoping I can make up the class in some way as I was really looking forward to it.

At least this gives me a bit of extra time to tweak my fabric selections since I'm not 100% happy with them.

This is what everyone else got up to without me:

Quilter's Bazaar QAYG Table Runner Class

The blue one is talking to me - can anyone else hear it??

ETA - All is well!  Lorraine said she's running another class this term and my name is on the list!  Yippee!  Just waiting on the date so I'm letting my life know it has to be accommodating!

Friday, August 6, 2010

A cupcake a day...

...keeps the teacher away?  Not in this case!  They seems to have the teachers swarming!

This is what I've been busy doing - 100 individually numbered cupcakes!

I can hear you all asking WHY???!!! (don't worry I've asked myself the same thing many times too!).Smiley

Well the preppies at my son's school were having a party to celebrate being at school for 100 days (and learning about the number 100).  They each had to bring along 100 things to show (eg small toys, stickers etc) and some party food.

DS who always has food on his mind suggested we make 100 cupcakes.Hungry

I figured it seemed like a good plan - afterall it was combining the two tasks right? Lightbulb Idea

I'm pleading insanity!  Between worrying about Dad, the fate of my dodgy arm and my unco-operative reproductive system (OK Andrew is to blame there as well!) my headspace isn't the best.  In despair I do what all Ukrainian women do - feed people!! Rolling Eye

I was concerned the effect all these cakes would have on my diet but I needn't have been!  Aversion therapy is the best!  I never want to look at another cupcake again!! Being sick

Upon arriving home from the party I collapsed in a heap from exhaustion.  Within half an hour my throat was prickly and every bone, muscle and joint in my body was on fire.  Ill  The last time I felt like this I treated the symptoms with painkillers and a healthy dose of denial and 5 day later ended up in hospital in the early stages of septicaemia.

I have my table runner class tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nervous

Thursday, August 5, 2010

August Block Swap Received

Yesterday I got my block in the mail from Sue!  It's magnificent and SO very me!!  The photo doesn't do it justice at all.

I love that she used a tone-on-tone for the background rather than solid white.  I rarely use solids as TOTs give more interest and depth to a quilt.

Her piecing is so precise (not that I'd care if it wasn't!!) and the feature fabric is gorgeous!  Pale blue with a paisley print on it in greens, pinks and yellows and all the colours I hope to have in my quilt!

Thank you Sue!  I posted your block yesterday so it should come tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August Block Swap sent

After some dutiful unpicking on the Handbag Quilt on Monday night, I decided to "reward" myself by making Sue's Churn Dash block for the block swap.

It didn't turn out as pretty as I would have liked since my original choice of background fabric was brown (and really pretty!) BUT since Sue has been getting quite a few brown blocks lately i thought a blue one was in order!

It's not absolutely square BUT each side does measure up at 12.5" and my points match which is (in my book) more important since it's easy to fiddle with the seam allowances when joining blocks together if one is a fraction too big or small.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mmmm...Quilty Goodness...

Today I was "forced" to stop by Lorraine's shop and pick out some browns for my table runner class...and pick up the class list that DH never thought to get when he paid for it!

The F1/8 bundle is from the Hot for Chocolate range!  I wont be using the pinks in the runner, but hopefully I'll get the browns I need from that.

I also picked up one of my online orders from the post office!  The one from OzQuilts arrived so fast!  They're fantastic!  The 7F1/4s from them are also to go towards the runner and a yummy stencil for my Choc aqua quilt.  They sent the wrong one but I liked it so much that I rang them and bought the correct one as well!

Here are my goodies:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hand Pieced Samplers

Crafty Pug asked me about hand pieced samplers.

The first one I started in May 2009 after my 2nd wrist op.  My fingers kept swelling after the plaster was put on so I needed some meaningful movements to keep the swelling down.

I asked a friend to show me the basics and she pulled out some templates she had made for Fat Cat Patterns BOM Pinwheel Sampler.  My irrational fear of samplers was somewhat overcome by the fact that all the blocks are pinwheel variations and therefore not really samplerish.

I dug out some fabrics I didn't think I'd ever use for anything in particular but they were pretty enough so I started and pretty soon I realised I wanted to use an on point setting with sashing and plain alternate blocks to fit a QS bed.  I bought fabric for the sashing and outer border and it was on clearance at that so a VERY economical quilt!

It eventually fell by the wayside as other more exciting things took over.

In March 2010 I signed up for a hand piecing course at Drapers of Mt Macedon (see this post) to learn properly since I had been fudging my way through and yes you guessed it - I was in plaster again after surgery #3 and needed to keep swelling down!

This one was a proper sampler so valium needed to be added to the list of class supplies (not really but painkillers for the arm worked just as well!).  I decided to disregard instructions to buy "background" fabric since this  makes a sampler really samplerish and bought an Aster Manor FQ bundle which was heavily reduced and absolutely delicious!

I worked out the maths and it would yield a QS quilt with leftovers.

Varying the background fabric and using a co-ordinated fabric range made the sampler unsamplerish enough for me to cope with it without having a panic attack!

The course included Y-seams, curved piecing and needleturn applique all of which I needed for Dear Jane since I want to hand piece it rather than foundation piece it.

I'd definitely recommend taking a class and learning properly!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


This weekend has turned out pretty well considering the Nemesis has been in top form!

Saturday involved a trip to Spotlight for batting, backing and quilting thread for Chocolate and Aqua plus a few browns which may or may not go with the table runner for my class.

I hoped for a chocolate brown backing but there was nothing remotely close so I got a light blue one instead.  Not exactly aqua but at least any dodgy quilting wont show up on the back!

The cute birdie fabric was on the clearance wrack (yes I still have bird phobia) so it'll make a cute charity quilt for a little girl.

Today was even better.  I love online shopping!!  I placed one US order at The Quilted Castle for my Aster Manor yardage and an Australian one at Oz Quilts for a quilting stencil and a FQ pack of browns.

Here are my Aster Manor borders - red for the wide outer border and pink for the narrower inner one.  The sashing is cream with tiny brown spots.

I'm hoping the Aussie order arrives this week so I can pre-wash and work out whether I have a good selection of colours.  I suspect I'll still need to pop into Quilters Bazaar this week for the final selection!

Andrew will drop in on monday to pay for my Table runner class but I'm hoping to be able to drive by Tuesday to get the rest!

What a nice hubby!  I'm stocking up now while it lasts! *lol*

I'm also plodding on with Chocolate and Aqua - 12 sections complete and only 3 to go!!!

ETA - On closer examination I discovered a grave piecing error which required not only unpicking but re-matching colours as well. 

I blame those boys entirely.  It's very difficult to sew with "light sabres" crashing around you.  DS aka Darth Vader graciously allows his father to be Luke Skywalker and...well I'm so mortified I can hardly say it...was called...Jar Jar Binks.

The indignity!  The injustice!  EVERYONE knows I'm the Yoda of the house.  OK so I don't have hairy ears but I'm about the same height and right at least as often.  UGH BOYS!!