Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Max's Music Bag

I finally finished it!



















It was a really quick and simple pattern by Catherine McMurray on page 38 of Handmade Magazine Vol 27 No 9.  I omitted the top handle and pockets to make it simpler and faster.  They simply weren't needed anyway.  I also made the sling handle a LOT shorter to make it easier for Max to carry.

The only thing I'm not totally happy with is that the black thread shows up too much on the lining fabric. :-(























The bag looks a little big on him but the Suzuki books are quite large as is his foot chart which is currently still MIA...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Crafty Mojo, Violins and...dog poo!

So as usual I have bad news but for a change I have some good news too!

I think my crafty mojo is back!

I haven't posted about my mystery project yet because I underestimated how much...stuff...I had and need to order more...things.  It'll probably be a bit of an anticlimax when I post...unless we have some make-up loving quilters out there.

Anyway...I haven't got back to any UFOs yet but as soon as I finish what I'm working on (hopefully tonight!!!) I'll crack on with poor Maxie's dino quilt.

I decided I needed some instant gratification and the thrill of a new project so I'm making Maxie a bag for his music books and things.  To date he's been carrying them around in a small envirobag with the school monogram on it but it doesn't close so things more often than not fall out.

The minute he walks into the classroom on Tuesdays he practically hurls his violin and music bag in a particular corner without paying much attention to it.

Oh and the dog poo?  Turns out somewhere in the depths of my nose is something that smells like dog poo...with undertones of sweaty boy feet!  I first noticed it 5 days ago - less than a week after I finished the super dooper anti anthrax antibiotics.

I can't smell much else besides...dog poo.  It's seriously nasty but kind of amusing in a really hideous sort of a way.

I spose it means going back to the ENT this week.  I'm stalling.  There's nothing to see in my nose that I can tell so it's waaaay down the back and can probably be detected with his scope which I hate...

...anyway I'm off to do the school run now and stay tuned for a (hopefully) finished bag in the next few hours!!

ETA... it's 3 hours later and I'm feeling vile!!  Will try to finish the bag tonight anyway but I've been saved by the bell...err...text message!

Max's violin teacher messaged me that he wont have a lesson tomorrow since she is playing violin for a few of the acts in the grand final of Australia's Got Talent tomorrow!  She did Dancing With The Stars too but they don't show much of the orchestra.

Would be good for Max to watch so he can see for himself what he can achieve if he practises

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Alex gets a big gold star

...from her surgeon!

yay!!!!  He seemed impressed with the amount of air I'm getting already...apparently things will keep improving up to the 3 month mark which is a huge relief.  I mean I'm happy with the improvement but was hoping this was not the final result so glad it isn't.

The next step is figuring out how to manage allergies but the steroid spray will buy us as much time as we need.

I was rather optimistically figuring out how much IVF will cost after medicare capped the rebated in 2010.  It's worse than I hoped but I think do-able.

I'm not setting any timeframe goals though.  We still need to sort out the rest of my breathing and sleeping issues and then I want to take a full 3 months beforehand to take supplements etc...and I still have more weight to lose.

I have however lost almost 10kg which is great but I still have a long way to go.

As for my crafting mojo...turns out I kind of have been crafting this past month but I didn't consider it as such.  Sounds mysterious? 

I'm waiting on a package in the mail which should arrive friday and then I can reveal all!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Could it be?

That these super toxic antibiotics are actually working??

I'm feeling as vile as I expected to but the gunk in my nose is almost gone and isn't a nasty icky germy colour.

There is still gunk from constant slow bleeding that builds up but it seems to be from the antibiotics (yet another side effect).

I take my last tablet tomorrow morning so the big question is do I fill the repeat??  The surgeon didn't specify so I think he wants be to whereas last time he said it was optional.

I really don't want to since I'm sick of feeling tired and sick buuut...these abx can encourage resistant bugs if you mess about with them so I await an opinion from my sister.

It's not even been a week since I've been on them yet it feels like a month! Ergh!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

And it goes on and on and on...

Rewind 15 days ago...

It was a Friday and I was just starting to reap the benefits of my op when my nose smelled funny.  I thought maybe I was coming down with a cold.

next morning there was no cold but there was a fever, very sore nose and nerve pain in my teeth was back...not to mention really icky stuff coming out of my nose when I did the sinus rinses.  I was feeling exhausted and feverish and just plain awful.

I waited til Monday and luckily my surgeon was in his rooms close to home.  We had a chat and he also suspected post-op infection which is supposed to be "rare" especially given I had a course of antibiotics to prevent this kind of this after my surgery.

He then led me to the treatment room and did an endoscopy!  I thought he'd just LOOK in my nose!  As awful as the local anaesthetic spray for that is, the bill is far worse.  Last time I got the camera treatment I was handed a bill for over $300.

He must have felt sorry for me since he bulk billed everything.  Gave me a script for antibiotics and 1 repeat which he thought I shouldn't need but it was there just in case.

I filled the script and noticed some improvement over the next few days but not enough.  I filled the repeat and no further improvement so yesterday I went back to see my surgeon.

This time he didn't stick any cameras up my nose.  He snipped the stitches to help them fall out since most of the suspicious areas seemed to be around the stitches and gave me a script for what he said was the strongest nose antibiotic there is.

The main concern for both us is any infection settling onto my artificial joint and after last year's scare I'm not taking any chances!

The down side to all this is that the antibiotic is not covered by PBS and has really REALLY nasty side effects such as nerve damage, heart damage, tendon rupture, psychosis, really high or low blood sugar, increased brain pressure and overgrowth of a really nasty bacteria in the bowel.

Granted these side effects aren't all that common but we all know my track record when it comes to getting rare side effects.

Still...most of these can be reversed...most of the time and the consequences of my joint becoming infected would be far more devastating and difficult to cure so the risk is worth taking.

Just to make matters more difficult, products containing magnesium, calcium and iron need to be avoided while taking this med since it interferes with absorption.

A host of other drugs interact with it including NSAIDs.

So when I got home I got my tweezers out and pulled out as many stitches as I could (except one really stubborn one which I trimmed back) and I feel so much more comfortable.

I'm getting more tired than less so I haven't gone back to sewing yet.  I'm having a lot of trouble focusing my eyes on fiddly tasks and keeping my hands steady so most of my hobbies are more of an ordeal than a pleasure at the moment!

So here's hoping in 14 days time I'll be feeling fab and able to do the next stage of my treatment.  Til my nose is declared functional I can't do the sleep study...and my frame of mind isn't strong enough to deal with whatever bad news the jaw specialist has for me!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 4 and 5

Has it really been 5 days?

It's been feeling a little like Groundhog Day for me.

Not much new to report but my nose has been getting steadily more painful each day.  It's not a throbbing pain but just when it's touched or when I wiggle it bunny-style.

The right nostril is improving.  It's the opposite one to the incision for the septoplasty so as far as I can tell it the only healing is from 2 turbinate resections on that side.

Overnight it appears to dry up but when I get up it starts oozing again just less than before and it responds well to the decongestant spray.

The left side...still bleeding as much as ever.  I rang the surgeon's rooms to ask when can I expect it to stop and my surgeon answered the phone so we had a chat.  he said it;s normal and everyone is different and it'll stop when it stops.

Meanwhile I should use the decongestant spray until it does since it helps stop bleeding.  Doesn't actually do any decongesting - a little on the right side maybe.

The upside to this is that I can avoid doing the nose washes til the bleeding stops and i'm really not looking forward to them.  I hate the sensation of water up my nose.

The other thing that's happening is a sensation of pain, numbness and tingling around my top front teeth which some people get after this type of surgery.  Naturally I'm "some people".

Thankfully I have no packing or splints.  There are super duper stitches holding everything together which should dissolve in 6 weeks.

I've discovered ice-cream helps stop the bleeding...for as long as I'm eating it but it's not going to be helping my weight loss!

I've been reading people's experiences online.  Aside from the obligatory horror stories, there are plenty of people who are thrilled with the result so I'm trying to focus on that.

Once I heal up a bit I still have to see the oral specialist and do the sleep study and who know what those things will show.

I've adopted the "ignore it and it will go away" attitude all my life and now it's come back to bite me on the bum with everything reaching breaking point all at once. 

On the plus side I've had the urge to do some sewing but I can't see too well over the nose nappy and don't want to bleed all over my work so it'll have to wait a little longer.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 2 - Reflections (LONG!)

It's Wednesday evening and I'm home and I can't believe how good I feel.  I'm not in any pain from my nose.  My pain is mainly referred pain which is yet to be dealt with and with the headaches related to the sinus component of the op.

Now that I'm totally lucid I have been able to reflect on everything that happened yesterday.  I need to write it down if I even need a GA again. I was so confused yesterday.  Everything seemed to go wrong from the minute we arrived at the hospital.

Anyway here is the whole story so either close this post or get comfy!

We arrived at the hospital just a few minutes later than we were told (got there around 6:50am) but reception was full and the receptionist was lovely and said she needed to rush us through.

Over an hour later we were still sitting in reception and were one of the last to be called in.  Riiiiight!

I was shown into a 2 bed room.  No private rooms left but one might become available later.

The anaesthetist showed up and was not the same guy my surgeon carefully chose for me based on my situation.  I could have cried!  Firstly he said he had never done ENT surgeries under a local and he's done many of them.  It's totally possible.  My surgeon gave me a handout saying it's possible!

Anyway besides this the anaesthetist was very nice and patient and asked me exactly which parts worried me.  He did agree not to use the mask with gas and knock me out only thru the IV since I have a fear of things being held over my face.

I also think he grossly underestimated my ability to cope with pain and surgical instruments.  I wish I remebered to tell him my egg pick up for IVF was done with NO anaesthetic!  I had just one injection of fentanyl but I asked for that for my very sore wrist. Anyway...

Eventually the nurse went through the questionnaire with me and she was so sweet and lovely too. She even let me keep my own undies on and not use those awful gigantic mesh granny pants ones.

I think nerves got the better of me combined with dehydration from not drinking for hours and I was possesively clutching my vommy bag when at about 9:30am I was eventually collected by a rather dishy theatre nurse.  I wasn't thrilled to have to walk to theatre in my shaky state but by that stage I was practically incoherent with terror.

I sat in a chair in the pre-theatre area and my surgeon turned up.  Finally a familiar face!  He was very nice about me being scared and then I saw he was clutching one of those small bottles with a long nozzle and that meant only one thing.  SPRAY ON local anaesthetic.  The same stuff I had when  got the camera up my nose treatment.

This stuff is so awful...bitter and vile and when I;m already trying not to vomit it was the last straw.  He must have put in about 20 sprays in each side!  he sat with me and I asked him about the ear pain I had been having.  he examined my jaw and said it needs fixing asap and said he'd refer me to someone.

I was gutted.  I've had a problem with the left side of my jaw all my life but never mentioned it to a doc because I don't want anyone operating on my facial bones.

Then he put in what felt like another 20 sprays in each nostril and trotted off to scrub up and the anaesthetic nurse when over all the checks.  I suspected she was Russian and I found out later she was.

She explained the local would make me feel like I was unable to swallow even tho I would be able to and I could already see what she meant.  I didn;t like it.

We went into theatre and I hopped up on the bed.  She started asking me about my last name and said she went to school with a girl with the same name and I explained it was my husbands and I'm actually first generation Ukrainian etc.

The anaesthetist turned up and started helping himself to my LEFT hand.  I advised against it due to the amount of surgical scarring and he said he saw a decent vein and it was easier for him if it wasn't painful for me.  I agreed and pointed out which areas to avoid if he didn't want to hit metal.

He asked who my surgeon was and said he went to med school with him and he knew he'd be a surgeon because of his meticulous knowledge of anatomy etc...at which point he tries to flex my wrist to bring the vein to the surface. Of course nothing happened because it's FUSED.  Seriously, Dude...which part of fused don't you understand???  I can see why he chose anaesthetics over surgery!!

So I'm having 2 conversations between him and his nurse which was hard to maintain at once but in retrospect I think they were trying to distract me but they were all very nice.

He reminded everyone in the room not to use the mask and I was very grateful.  he said I'd wake up with a soft tube in my mouth which I could pull out myself.  This wasn't part of the deal!!!!

Anyways he shoots up my IV at about 10am and I started feeling woozy and I was out.

I can't say the next thing I remember was waking up because it wasn't.  I was having some sort of dream then woke up.  Someone grabbed the tube out of my mouth and it wasn't uncomfortable.

The first thing I demanded to know (after checking they didn't give me any blood) was how long I was out for.  They said the op lasted about 35 mins but this was not what I was asking.  I felt like I'd been out for a couple of hours.  It was exactly like when I sleep...I'm not conscious but I have a sensation of time passing.  My sister and the anaesthetist both promised me I wouldn't have concept of time.

Eventually I asked what time it was and they said around 11:45am!  There was a whole hour unaccounted for and this is exactly what bothers me about being unconscious.  I need to be able to account for every minute.  Basically I was in recovery for over an hour before i came to.  Is that normal???

After a about 30 seconds I notice my nose is pain free but my head...I have the most excruciating headache I've ever had and could barely tell them about it because my upper mouth and back of throat were so numb.  I'm not sure if this is from the spray or whether I got more local when I was out.

They quickly gave me some fentanyl in my IV and from previous experience it starts working in less than a minute and increases its effect quickly.  i felt nothing.  they gave me more.  Still nothing.  I felt panicky.  My head was going to explode and they said I needed to wait before I could have more.

I felt fluid in my lungs and started to cough.  My oxygen mask filled with blood and the patients on the other side of the room looked somewhat concerned.  They pulled off the mask and suctioned my mouth and gave me a tissue.  I kept trying to cough up the blood because it was uncomfortable.

My surgeon quickly appears and they're all telling me not to cough because it's making the bleeding from my nose worse.  At this point I couldn't care less.  I felt fluid in my lungs and wanted it gone so I kept hacking it up into tissues.

They kept trying to force an icypole onto me.  I didn't want it but apparently it helps slow the bleeding so I lost the battle.  I stuck the lemonade flavoured icypole in my mouth and pulled it out again.  My mouth was too numb to suck properly and the icypole was covered in blood.  Do they seriously expect me to put it back in after that?  Apparently so!

Eventually it softens a little and I manage to suck it but I couldn't swallow. It just flowed out of my mouth, got spat into the ever growing pile of blood stained tissues.

After a while I managed to swallow something and finished the icypole and after every bite kept asking whether someone could call Andrew.  The dishy theatre nurse must have gone out and checked cos he came back and told me Andrew was waiting in the room and was told I was awake.

Meanwhile head still on the verge of exploding.  I noticed the recovery room was totally empty and they ask me if I feel ready to go back to the ward!  NO WAY!  They give me the last of my fentanyl and start muttering about pethidine but I explained early on i didn;t like it.

I couldn't remember whether they gave it to me or not  I asked for ice packs on my head and they said they wouldn't help!  I think I know what will help and what wont!

I can't describe how strange I felt.  My body felt heavy and slow and woozy but my mind seemed fully awake.  I wasn;t very coherent but I didn't feel sleepy at all which everyone said I would.

They brought me back to the ward and my lovely nurse was there and I explained about the pain and she fetched some panadeine forte.  It kind of took the edge off the pain but didn't last long.  I asked for ice packs and she fetched me one no questions asked and what do you know...it made me feel better!

My headache was still pretty bad and I could tell it was on the verge of a migraine so I was stressing out.  If the pain isn't controlled fast, it would be impossible to control once it was a full on migraine.

she offered pethidine and I declined and I'm not sure how or when it happened but she must have called up the anaesthetist to get a phone order for endone.  Finally a drug I was sure would work and in combination with the panadeine and ice it did.  The headache didn't leave completely but it was so much better.

My nose still wasn;t sore but was bleeding a lot and the bolster underneath needed frequent changing.

My sister turned up with Maxie and I was so glad to see them.  I had got up and gone to the toilet and started to feel more human.  Strangely, the massive cocktails of painkillers didn't make me at all sleepy.

A few hours later, Andrew took Max and my sister home.

I wanted more endone since it seemed to be the only thing helping.  I was starting to feel immense pressure in my ears and my jaw and temples.  My eardrums felt like bursting ans swallowing was becoming very painful.

One nurse said it was just a one-off order since it wasn't on my chart. I started getting stressed again.

I had a cup of tea and it helped a little so my nurse suggested heat packs on my temples which I thought was a good idea and she left to get them she came back with endone instead!

She didn;t want to give me heat since I was still bleeding quite a lot and turned out the endone order was written up somewhere else.

My surgeon turned up to check on my and discharge my roomate at around 6pm.  He said he'd be back in the morning and I'd go home then.

I actually felt OK with that since my pain was finally under control...it was all but gone!  I still didn;t want to eat but I felt well enough to have a shower. My wonderful nurse had gone home and another one came on duty.  She wanted me to avoid my head and neck area in the shower!

I told her I wanted to wash my hair, clean my face, brush teeth etc and she agreed provided the water was not too hot.

The shower was wonderful!  The hot water felt amazing on my sore still shoulders, temples, head, jaw etc...and the bleeding didn;t really increase much as a result.

I put on my own pyjamas and felt like a totally new person.  The problem was I was totally not sleepy and I had no idea how I'd manage to sleep anyway!

Eventually around 1:30am I tried to sleep and lasted about 30 mins  I woke just before my 2am obs.  It seems that lying down makes the fluid pour out faster from my nose.  By this time it wasn't pure blood coming out but more like bloody discharge of varying degrees of intensity and I rarely coughed up any blood.

I watched TV for a few more hours since I didn;t feel sleepy and at about 4am I fell asleep again waking in time for my 6am obs.

My room was around the corner from Hudson;s Coffee on the hospital ground floor and finally I could stomach the thought of coffee which I hadn't had in 2 days!

On the knock of 7am I bravely left my room in my pyjamas and bulky nose nappy and ordered the biggest macchiato they had.

I was more embarrassed sporting the huge nose nappy in the hospital reception than the fact I waltzed in in my pyjamas. Bumped into Dishy Theatre Nurse on the way back to my room.  he remembered me and asked how I was feeling.  Nice!!

The coffee finally returned the last of my humanity!  I was lucid!

Then I found out the doc wasn't coming because he was on his way somewhere else and discharged me by phone.  I was stressed because I needed to ask him about lots of stuff and the silly nurse I had in the morning was telling me something different to everybody else and none of it made any sense!

I took matters into my own hands and phoned the doctors main rooms.  They said he was consulting today near my house!  He is there once a week usually and they said they'd email the rooms and let them know I was turning up.  How lovely!  I felt so much better.

They gave me all my discharge meds (no endone tho) and what I suspected was a grossly inadequate supply of nose nappies.

DH picked me up and we drove to see the doc who answered all my questions and gave me the name of an oral specialist who not only deals with jaws but could help with other problems I have.  Doc said I could always get a script for endone later if I really needed it but honestly I felt so good I was pretty sure I wouldn't.

My nose was really not painful unless I touched it and the pain meds I've been taking are mainly for pain I have swallowing.  Very strange!  I never expected the post-op pain to be from all these other sources!

I tried to sleep when we got home since I got about 2-3 hours sleep on each of the two preceeding nights.  Sleep isn't fun because the nose leakage increases and my mouth is dryer than usual when I wake up.

I did feel better after a sleep and a shower...and besides the leak in my nose I really felt fantastic!  Very strange!

As for the general anaesthetic...while some aspects weren't as bad as I thought the rest were...and I still feel kind of tricked into having it because I couldn't discuss the alternatives with the anaesthetist I was originally going to have.

Given the op was so quick I think I could easily have coped with staying awake and I could have dealt with the headache as soon as it came on rather than waking up with it.

The fact is that I'm not bothered by tugging and hammering sensations and the sound effects of orthopaedic surgery are about as bad as you can get so if I can cope with that, then just about everything else is a piece of cake.

As for keeping still?  I kept motionless during my IVF egg pickup.  I felt everything and still didn't jump around on the table.

I know this sounds very strange to most of you but it's just how I am.  It's how I cope with these things.

Day 3 Thursday 9 June

I slept 5 hours in a row and got up to help Andrew get Max off to school but felt shaky with a very sore, dry throat.  Painkillers and bed after they left!

Woke up again 5 hours later feeling much the same.  One nostril is drying up a little and mu nose is starting to hurt a bit more to the touch but still still mild.

Throat is very sore especially on the left side where I've had more problems and more work done and where it's still bleeding.  I'm running out of these nose bolsters and chemists don't have them.

I tracked down a distributor and they're really expensive!  I think I'm going to have to put my sewing skills to good use and come up with a solution.

Taping gauze to my face is the most obvious but given how often I need to change these things I'll have no skin left!

My left hand is sore where the IV was.  Not the insertion point but where the plastic tube went and it's too close to the top of my fake joint for comfort.

It's strange but I feel worse today than I did yesterday.  Is that possible?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sore and Sorry...

What a day!

Nothing went to plan!  I'm in a shared room but I can live wit that.

The worst part is my carefully selected anaesthetist was not available and I got someone else.  He was lovely too and went to med school with my hand surgeon but admitted he never did local anaesthetics for ENT surgeries.

He obviously doesn't read the hand outs they give to patients saying these things can be done with a local.

Anyway he was lovely and promised not to hold that mask thing with gas over my face but I knew I had good reason for avoiding gen anaesthetics.  I felt vile when I woke up.

No pain in the nose. My surgeon squirted massive doses of anaesthetic spray up my nose before I went into theatre.  That stuff is so so so awful.  I'd much rather have 50 injections.  It's incredibly effective but the downside it that I feel like I can't swallow so once I woke up I started to cough and my oxygen mask was filled with blood spatter.

Kind of cool in a really creepy way.  They gave me tissues instead and I looked like that man on the anti-smoking commercial who coughs up blood into his hanky.

I woke up with a killer of a headache which nothing seemed to help.  I asked for ice packs in recovery and they said they wouldn't help but finally the nurses gave me some on the ward.  They help my head more than painkillers.

I have some lovely nurses and my sister and Max are coming to visit soon.  Andrew has been a trooper through it all.

I'm still soaking through the nappy they stick under my nose reguarly but all within normal limits apparently.

I'm still not quite with it even though I came out of theatre 4 hours ago.  Did I mention how icky the gen anaeasthtic makes me feel?

I'm woozy but strangely not sleepy at all.  that's the weirdest part since I basically got now sleep last night.  Very very strange.

Anyways will sign off now before I babble anymore nonsense.

xxxxx Alex

Monday, June 6, 2011

13.5 hours til Nose Op!

argh!!  I'm terrified!  This is why I've put it off for so many years...and I'm paying the price.

My ears are so sore today and nose almost completely blocked so I know this really can't wait for even one more day.

I'm having a septoplasty, turbinate reduction and FESS on my left maxillary sinus which has something breeding in it. ewww. 

Today has been frantic getting washing and cleaning done...pre-ironing Max's school shirts...emergency knee patches on an almost new pair of pyjamas (NOT HAPPY MAX!)

We're sleeping over at my sister's place tonight since her house is about halwayd between ours and the hospital and we have to BE THERE at 6:45am.  YUCK!

Max will stay with her tomorrow so it's the easiest option for all of us.

Now all that's left is to convince the anaesthetist that it's really in his best interest not to put me to sleep.

Will update here once I;m out of theatre!

Friday, June 3, 2011

MIA again

Sorry for the lack of activity on this blog!

The last few weeks had me sick again - secondary infections from the whooping cough which I'm finally rid of!

This means it's all steam ahead for my nose surgery next week!

The hospital has WiFi so I should be online but not expecting to say longer than 1 night.

I'm terrified at the idea of people doing things to my face so we'll see how it all goes.  It desperately needs to be done.  It's gotten worse these past 4 months.

My main concern is how much downtime I'll have because Max needs to go to school, wear a clean uniform and have his lunch made.  I know DH will manage but I hate to dump it all on him.

Hopefully I'll be quilting again soon!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Update time...

Hi Everyone.  Long time no update!

Aside from being completely mojoless I've been sick.  Several times.  My latest lurgy has been going on for over 2 weeks.  I finally went to the doctor since I wasn't getting any better to discover I have whooping cough and the early stages of pneumonia.  Charming!

I think my sinus issues made all these bugs I've been catching harder to get rid of.  My surgery has been postponed for various reasons but it turned out for the best given there is no way they'd operate with me this sick.

I can only hope I'll be better in 5 weeks!

Other than that my sisters and I have gone a little mad with online shopping given the strong aussie dollar.  I've started a beauty blog for them which is called Beautyholics Anonymous if you want to check it out.

It's mainly hauls right now with the odd review but we'll be doing more stuff gradually like tutorials, colour swatches etc.

Anyway once I get on top of all the housework, I plan to relocate my sewing table under the mountain of debris and get that elusive mojo back!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

AWESOME giveaway!

I so want to win this! I lovelovelove 1800s repros and this book is on my wishlist!

What am I talking about you ask?

Go and click on the button below.

This is a giveaway for over 10 1/2 yards of Civil War Fabrics and The Civil War Diary Quilt book.

Such a generous giveaway!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Swap fun...

No I haven't finished my March swaps...or even posted about my feb ones but there are a few new swaps happening which are related to the original Quilting Block Swaps Group

Sue B, who runs the above group has started a second swap group for 6 inch blocks. If you'd like to join, click the button below:


The other exciting swap is run by Cathy and is an unsewn swap.  Fat Quarters are exchanged each month!  How FUN!  Click on her button below to get more info.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Meet Lovey



Lovey is Max's little tiger buddy.  He got him from his auntie after he was born but wasn't really attached to any particular toy until the last few years.

Lovey sleeps in Max's bed and accompanied us to hospital after Max's most recent mishap.

Well I needed to find my long lost quilt mojo, distract Max from anymore daring stunts til current injury healed and at the same time repay Lovey for all his kindness.

In the quest for my Mojo I started sifting through the UFO tub containing Max's Monster Trucks Tote bag...from LAST January.

Working on the bag was all too hard with a bored 6YO and I discovered I simply wasn't keen on the pieced sections I had previously cut out to replace the dainty stitchery on the front of the bag.

I needed to use it up in a way to make best use of the pre-cut fat quarters.

I tried to be discreet when asking max whether Lovey liked cars.  Max said Lovey likes computer games better but he likes cars too.

I was inspired by Crafty Pug's quilt for her little boy's favourite toy and the chopped up FQs would be just enough to make a Lovey Sized quilt top!


Max then chose another FQ for the back.  Due to the direction of the print, I needed to add a bit of extra fabric to get the size right.
Lovey's quilt measure 16" x 20"...and I can't believe I have a FINISH!!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

January Block Swaps Sent and Received

Well this is a bit late!  BUT I did need to wait til the last of my blocks were received then I lost internet access for a while.

First my group 1 swaps. This is my last month with group 1!

So...my first partner was Jolanda from Portugal.  Jolanda requested a block with squares and rectangles in pink, yellow and white so I made her the Antique Tile block:


And this is the lovely pink Baby Bunting from Jolanda:

My Second January partner was Debbie from Canada.  Debbie wanted any block in pink and brown.  I have really been loving Old Maid's Puzzle lately so I made it up with some delicious reproduction prints.

And I got another lovely Baby Bunting in blue from Debbie


My next swap is really exciting!  It's the very first swap from Group 2!
My partner was Lynette who requested Solomon's Star in Blues on white

And Lynette made me a Baby Bunting from the most beautiful peach fabric!

A huge thank you to all my swap partners!  I loved swapping with you!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Never a dull moment

But I'd really love a dull moment!

Last night DH took Max and his scooter out for a walk.  Less than half an hour later he called me to pick them up.

I'm so glad Max was wearing a helmet.  It took the brunt of his fall.

He had some nasty grazes on his hands, arms, one knee and face.  He knocked out an already loose baby tooth and cut the inside of his mouth quite deeply.

A trip to emergency ruled out any broken bones or more serious head injury.  Thankfully they agreed not to stitch the lip which is very fat and sore looking.

He was so brave!  I was struggling to hold it together and it took even more self control not to bash up DH.

Max was so brave!  He only cried a little at first.  I'm so proud of him and spoiling him rotten today.  He's doing arts and crafts then we go shopping for soft desserts and toys and all kinds of things to make me him feel better.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lumps and bumps and stuff

I saw the GP for my follow up in regard to my parotid issue.  He's put me on another 10 days of antibiotics.   My parotid had improved out of sight but still a small painful lump remains.

He has ordered blood tests to rule out some auto-immune disorders but I really thing it's a waste of time.  The fertility specialist ordered much more comprehensive auto-immune and genetic tests only a year ago and they all came back clear so I can't see things changing in such a short space of time.

I also changed the date of my surgery.  It fits in much better with our schedule but the downside it's 2 weeks later than before (now on 19th April).  The other good thing is that the anaesthetist that the ENT originally chose for me is working on this date and while I don't know how much he works with regional anaesthesia, I've been told by many people he's REALLY nice and willing to be flexible.

Now that things have settled into a routine I hope to start sewing again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

When It Rains...it Pours!

And I'm not talking about the weather!

A week ago...(it feels like a month ago!!) as I drove away from the ENT's rooms I noticed a sore, swollen lymph node on the left side of my neck.  I would have mentioned it at the appointment if I'd noticed it earlier but these things rarely appear at convenient moments.

I adopt my favourite form of treatment (ignore it and it'll go away) and 2 days later I have a very sore cricket ball sized bulge on the side of my neck.

I find a doctor who can see me and I'm convinced it's to do with whatever is breeding in my left sinus.

Doctor diagnoses parotitis/silaidenitis and tells me to have an unltrasound to confirm and start taking antibiotics.

I loathe antibiotics so I defer til after the scan the next morning.

As usual I'm plagued with yet another rare (or at the very least unusual ailment).  In my case it's been most likely caused by a dry mouth since none of the other risk factors apply.

A week later only a small bulge remains but I'm still cranky about it.

I feel like I haven't sewn in months but really it was just a few weeks ago.

Other than that DS is back at school (wahhhh!) but his teacher is lovely and very enthusiastic and its rubbing off on him which I'm thrilled about!

Here are the promised pics:


Just before getting in the car...

I did have some lovely classroom photos that my little monkey deleted from the camera while I was talking to his teacher after school.  He replaced them with about 10 self portraits.  Here's one:
I took a couple of replacement shots after school
Last one is below.  I also added a photo from the same time last year.  Just to clarify - he is in grade 1 this year and at his school (K-12), Preps wear sports uniform (kinder/preschool wear a modified version) and from grade 1, full junior school uniform applies.  He looks so grown up!  I'm disappointed they only wear ties in winter.  They suit him!  Click on each pic for a bigger version.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A plan and a tentative date...

Well I saw Mr ENT this afternoon and I was somewhat surprised that I was absolutely correct in my CT analysis.  Hmmm...Radiologists get paid heaps of money for what I did.  Makes me even more cross with the report on my previous scan.  How can someone mix up the index and middle finger???  Anyway...I digress...

The doc was really nice about my GA phobia and found a couple of anaesthetists who are REALLY nice.  The one I'm getting (if the date we picked goes ahead) actually has a special interest in regional anaesthetic as opposed to general.  I can't ask for much more than that.

Finding a suitable date is such a pain.  In theory I could be sliced and diced in less than a week but with DS starting back at school it's more practical to wait until just before the next school holidays.

I'm booked in on Wednesday 6 April which is in the last week of school.  It's a morning op so we have to BE THERE at 7am.  DH is going to love me *lol* 

So...as far as the gory bits go - he doesn't use packing (yay!) OR splints which surprised me.  Instead he uses "lots and lots" of industrial strength sutures which come out after 6 weeks.  I'm not sure I prefer that alternative!

DH wants me to have a sleep study BEFORE as well as after the op.  Doc and I both think it's pointless but he said he'd arrange one to keep DH quiet.

So I'm down for a septoplasty along with a FESS to trim down 3/4 of the offending turbinates and suck out the ball of goo from my sinus.  The 4th turb that I was worried about can be left well alone so no risk of getting poked in the brain by accident.

As gruesome as it all sounds and as fed up as I am of surgery, I'm really looking forward to breathing better.  The Doc is very optimistic and confident that I'll notice a big difference.

Not much craftiness to report.  It's toooo hot to even look at a quilt much less make one!  We don't have air con so I'm uncomfortable to say the least.  We spend little time at home!!!

Other than that we got DS some new uniforms for school and monday is the big day (again).  I really should be used to it by now but I'm not!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

CT Scan - nothing crafty in this post!

Yesterday's scan was as uneventful as I expected.  I'm an old hand at these though not usually on my head!

As you can tell from the time stamp on this post, I'm losing sleep over this whole issue - but that's nothing new!

I insisted on taking the films with me.  I don't see the ENT for another week so I need something to torture myself with until then!

My sister who had just come back from a 2 week spell in Hawaii (she has such a hard life ;-P *lol*) was at work on her day off so I couldn't get a free second opinion (or first opinion in this case) on my scans.

This meant I'd have to to the best I could on my own.  How hard can it be?  Afterall, I've always got Dr Google, right?  And the radiologist who reported my last CT couldn't tell my index finger from the middle one.  At least I can do that much!

The first thing that struck me was how hideous the human face looks on a sinus CT.  I look like a demented alien...an ugly one at that!  This is before I even started looking for deformities in my nose!

Well...let me tell you it doesn't take an expert to see my nose is a complete mess!  My findings are as follows:

*Septum is really badly deviated towards the left side - in several places!  The lowest place is so bad it explains why the ENT couldn't get his camera into my left nostril more than a few cm.  I thought he was just being slack when he pulled it out and started on the next side at that point.

*Inferior Turbinates (thanks Dr Google!) which are the lowest ones are huge.  There is air around them but very little.

*Middle Turbinates are a mixed bag.  The right is filled with air which really didn't look good until Dr Google informed me it's called a Concha Bullosa and really isn't that big a deal.  The left turb looks...kind of normal!  At least it did on initial inspection but later I noticed an air bubble higher up.  A little too close to brains and eyes for my liking.  :-/

*My left maxillary (cheek) sinus has a big grey blob in it.  It's in the same spot in all the different views so it's not just a smudge on the scan.  It's not air or bone so it means it's either tissue or snot or something like that.  Back to Dr Google I go to see what it could be since I couldn't sleep.  The first few entries that came up were somewhat unnerving but further reading it looks like it's a polyp.  Seriously gross!

Now my only concern is to make sure I get a nice anaesthetist who will be prepared to work with local anaesthetics/nerve blocks alone.  If he asks very nicely I might allow him to give me a tiny bit of happy juice provided it doesn't make me fall asleep.  There is no way anyone is going to be messing with my face unsupervised!!!!

From a pain perspective, what I've read seems positive.  Bone pain is the worst and I've survived 4 of those surgeries so this one shouldn't be too awful...except that there is bone involvement in the deviated septum.  Yuckity yuck!

I am really REALLY not comfortable with the idea of people doing things to my face...but if it means I'll stop being tired...and how much more crafting time will that give me?

And if I'm not too dopey I can hand sew in hospital.  That's the down side with wrist ops.  There's no crafting to be done during the boring hospital stay with one arm out of action!


The ENT is keen to do the surgery asap - hopefully within a week of seeing him next.  YIKES!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

If I don't laugh I'll cry...

But it's yet another surgery for me!

Thankfully not my wrist again but my nose.

I've been battling airborne allergies for at least 10 years (at least then when I was diagnosed) and until recently a steroid spray meant I got some air through my nose, BUT over the years I got more and more tired and exhausted and sleepy during the day.

About 4 years ago I finally saw a doctor about it because it definitely wasn't related to being a new mum by that stage.  Blood tests showed nothing and I was told it was because I was chasing a toddler etc.  A few more theories were put forward since then and all ruled out until a few weeks ago when DH informed me I have sleep apnoea.

There is a family history and the most common side effect people complain about?  Daytime tiredness, sleepiness, downright exhaustion, lack of concentration, headaches...the list goes on and it fits all my symptoms exactly...even ones I would never have associated with it!!!!

I'm really annoyed no-one thought about it sooner.  Aside from being potentially dangerous, I've been feeling sooo rotten for years by now.

I saw the ENT again yesterday.  18 months ago when my ears started hurting he warned me I'd need my nose fixed and I happily kept using my spray and hoped never to see him again *lol*

Well spray no longer working and me not breathing meant it's crunch time.

He scoped my nose and throat with his little camera.  Definitely have a deviated septum (quite badly) and turbinates need reducing but to what degree and whether anything else needs doing will be determined by the CT scan I have this afternoon.

He's not going to start slashing soft tissue out of my throat for which I'm extremely grateful!  It can lead to problems of its own aside from being really REALLY painful!!

I will need a sleep study done after my nose has healed up and since my throat tissue isn't too big, we're both hoping the nose job fixes the sleep apnoea.

So it's another hurdle before we do more IVFing but worth it since I'm too exhausted to do any baby wrangling in my current state.

As petrified as I am of people messing with my face, the thought of being alert and able to do...stuff is quite exciting!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

December Swap blocks Sent and Received

I'm a little late in posting pics of my December Swap.  My partner was Larain and she requested any block in yellow and white.

This photo was taken by Larain since I forgot to take one before sending off the block!


And Larain sent me a beautiful Baby Bunting to add to my collection in PINK! (apologies for the bad photo!)


Thank You for being my swap partner, Larain!

Thank you also to my January partners whose blocks I have received.  I plan to make my January blocks tonight or tomorrow and I'll let you know when they get sent out!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

UFO Domination begins

I mentioned a few posts ago about the Confused Quilter's UFO Domination challenge.

Visit her blog or Flickr group to join!

I was intending to start once I'd finished piecing the top of my Roll Roll Cotton Boll Mystery quilt.  No such luck.   I'm massively behind in the RRCB and with the flooding in Queensland, charity quilts are needed now.

I promised DH I wouldn't start on any til I finished DS Dino quilt and the quilt that's supposed to cover one of the sofas.  They're both on the UFO Domination list so that's excellent and I have 2 more UFOs which I wasn't planning to finish this year as part of the challenge but I think I will since they were supposed to be charity quilts all along.

So...I've quilted another chunk of the dino quilt. It's taking sooo long!

Here's a progress report
My quilting is very wonky and wobbly because I seem to have lost the ability to smoothly move the quilt around while I freemotion the design on.

I simply don't get it. I'm sure I could do it a few months ago when I last worked on the quilt. I double checked that the feed dogs were down.

My wrist is getting stronger not weaker since my last surgery in September so it can't be that but if I have slightly wet hands it seems to help. Maybe I should try those quilters gloves?

Right now I'm just grabbing handfuls of quilt and pulling it around. It doesn't make the quilting look any good. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Queensland Floods - another way to help

We have some bloggers out there running auctions started by Toni from Make It Perfect.  Look out for the pink and white logo on their blogs!  There are some absolutely gorgeous items up for grabs.  Her are a few blogs I've found running auctions but Toni should have a master list of participating bloggers soon:

Julia's Place has 2 gorgeous bags
House in the Country is auctioning a quilt kit
Once Upon a Quilt is auctioning a beautiful quilt
Daisy Quilts is raffling a cute little owl toy
Ric Rac is raffling a toy
Elefanz is auctioning two of her lovely quilts

and Gum Tree Designs are asking people to help put together sewing kits for quilters who have lost everything.

But there are other things you can do!

Jan started a blog called Oz Comfort Quilts and she's accepting donations of quilt blocks to make quilts for families who have lost everything.

This last way of helping particularly appeals to me.  I have a large fabric stash and time on my hands but limited money to spend bidding on auctions (as much as I'd like to).

Thanks for reading everyone!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Exciting news!

Sue from Quilting Block Swaps Australia has entrusted me with co-ordinating a sister group to enable new members to keep coming now that her group is at capacity!

Click on my new button for a visit!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Roll Roll Cotton Boll Step 7 (Spoiler Alert)

Step 7 is the big reveal!

I was right in regards to the block layout!  I'm in no way ready for this step though!

I'm still pressing and trimming HSTs from step 5 and plodding on with string blocks from Step 3.  I haven't done step 6 at all except to make one sample block and I'm liking how it looks.

I decided it looked better with the green triangles next to the block rather than abutting the string blocks.

So...we have our pieced block...

...and the string blocks are halved and restitched to make alternate blocks

Side by side...

This is what the pieced block will look like once all the alternate blocks are added.

The variety in pinks and purples is huge though so all the blocks will look a bit different.  I can't wait ti start putting them together buuut there is still the issue of the border which wont be resolved til tomorrow night!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Roll Roll Cotton Boll Step 6 (Spoiler Alert)

I know I know - this step came out over a week ago and has since been replaced with step 7!  The delay in posting and completing this step is partially due to all the re-organising and spring cleaning  I've been doing and partially being unsure how to proceed knowing I wanted to make the quilt a bit longer and not wanting to wait til the end to make extra units.

Step 6 added to my suspicions about the possible layout.  I can now post these because Bonnie has revealed the block in step 7.

These were my suspicions (which I'm very pleased to say were correct!):

The first part of Step 6 has us stitching last week's HSTs into strips of 5.  I think I'm seeing a pattern emerging which is giving me a clue as to how many extra units to make.  If 4 strips of these HSTs make sashing or borders for one block, it makes 30 blocks.


Step 4 has us making 30 sets, the other HSTs in step 2 are also divisible by 30 - again 4 per block.


The 60 string blocks from step 3?  2 per pieced block?  Perhaps cut in half diagonally and used to set the pieced block on point??


So...IF we are indeed having 30 blocks it would make sense that they might be set 5 across and 6 down to vaguely resemble the rectangular queen sized quilt Bonnie has in mind.


This still doesn't factor in the units from Step 1 which in step 6 require triangles added on the ends to make parallelograms.  They just don't seem to fit in anywhere!


I decided to trust my guess and make enough units for an extra 5 blocks from the units that give me a clue as to what's going on and I'll wait and see as to the rest.  I needed 5 more sets of Step 4 and 100 more HSTs from Step 5.  I already made enough extra Step 2s.

I wont make any extra Step 1s til I see the border design altho I think from memory there are a few extra.

So...here is what part 1of step 6 looks like: (I haven't sewn them togeter since I'm still pressing and trimming)

And part 2: (haven't sewn them til I know how many to make but I did cut pieces)