Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 304 of 365

I'm not one for New Year's parties. I'm not one for New Year's resolutions either.

Just looking back over 2011 I could never have predicted how my life would have changed.

A year ago this week I had yet another surgery. A lengthy one-armed recovery at my daughter's apartment. Months of even more physical therapy. When the therapy stopped, I counted. Thanks to the back issues and surgeries, 17 of the previous 18 months were spent in physical therapy.

I started a blog. I've been writing and taking a picture every day.

I was able to return to work part-time. I promised myself I wouldn't overwork myself but I did.

I sewed like crazy for kids' and military causes. I did more sewing this year than all my other years combined. When given a choice on my birthday of a new sewing machine or a heck of a lot of quilt batting, I chose the batting. I started filming how-to videos of crafts and cookies and posted them on You Tube.

We grew a vegetable garden and I was able to can and freeze things from the garden. Thanks to my two new post-surgery shoulders I could hang up my laundry on the clothes line for the first time in a couple years. I spent a lot of time sitting on the patio watching momma hummingbird feed her baby.

I had to start giving myself extremely expensive shots to combat arthritis. My hair started falling out. My arthritis didn't get better. I rode an exercise bike every single day. And then I stopped biking and started walking. And then I tried exercise videos, and eventually I stopped exercising at all.

I stayed up late with my daughter taking pictures of lightning. I traveled to the casino by myself and spent the night. I hated it and came home. I started riding the bus to the casino for the day and liked it much better, well enough to go back a couple more times.

I de-cluttered and then stopped. Then I started up again. Then I bought new things and got rid of some old things.

I realized some people are interested in what I'm doing and what I'm saying. Over 15,000 people have visited here so far this year. (A sincere thank you to those who have been here for the sometimes bumpy ride.)

There would have been no way to predict where I would be right now. So no resolutions, no promises, and no hopes for the new year. Just something I found when I was cleaning up some papers this morning. I have no idea when I cut it out or where it came from, but it obviously struck a chord with me then and it still does now.

I'll be going into the New Year with this in mind.

And to you, I hope you have a safe and joyous New Year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 303 of 365

Out with the old, in with the new.

Yesterday I was lamenting about not getting any after-Christmas shopping done. Not 10 minutes after writing about it, boxes started arriving. (I forgot that I did some after-Christmas shopping online. It's pretty sad when you buy things and forget.) But how could I forget these things? Some of my before-Christmas things finally arrived yesterday, too. I've never quite a delivery day like it.

Box number one came in the mail. It was a box of things - all free - ordered from Vista Print. A wall calendar using pictures I'd taken and used on the blog. 250 business cards. (While I didn't need that many, I did need some. And these free ones are prettier than anything I could make myself.) A mug for my husband and a tote bag for me.

Box numbers two and three came by UPS. Two separate orders placed on two separate days arrived in two separate boxes at the same time. A new bag for work to hold all the files I transport back and forth. (Now my mom can have her bag back that I borrowed in August.) Also, a new binder. Maybe a new coupon binder to replace my other one?

Box number four came by Fed Ex. The first generation iPod that has been sitting in a desk drawer for a couple years since it doesn't work has been recalled by Apple because of a battery/fire hazard. They are replacing them with a sixth generation iPod, so box number four was the empty box I use to return it in. (As soon as they get this old one, they'll send me the other one.)

Box number five came from another Fed Ex van. I ordered a copy of a Children's Writer's Market book (a serious writer needs good resources) and a Roku, a thing I've had my eyes on for quite a while. It plays videos from the internet so I now can watch movies in my bedroom while my husband is downstairs watching his sports. Woo hoo!

So in the last week the out with the old, in with the new tally:
  • 2011 calendar out, 2012 in.
  • Old coupon binder out, new coupon binder in.
  • Old work bag out (back to my mom), new one in.
  • Thanks to a Christmas present, an old iron out, new iron in.
  • Thanks to another Christmas present, old slippers out, new slippers in.
  • Old Writer's book out, new in.
  • Goodbye Sonicare toothbrush, hello Oral B rechargeable.
  • Old iPod out, new iPod in. 
  • Old haircut out, new haircut in. 

I have been growing my hair long (from the previous short, short, spiky cut) so I could cover some of my balding/thinning/receding hairline issues caused by the chemotherapy drugs. But I've grown tired of so much long hair falling out everywhere. While I didn't return to my short, spiky locks, I did go with a much shorter cut than I've been wearing. A cut just long enough on top to hide what needs to be hidden on my head.

I was going to add "out with the rain and in with the sun" to the list but had to retract that. As I was in town the rain clouds started moving out in a very definitive line and the sun started moving in. Unfortunately the pollution from the factory clouded my picture a bit.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 302 of 365

It has been four days since I've been in the fresh air.

I haven't left the house since I went for that walk on Christmas Day. Haven't stepped one foot out the door. No walks to the mailbox, no trips to get something from the car. The closest I've come to being outside is when I opened the door for the cat to go out yesterday.

I can see it's cloudy, and I can see it's rainy. I suspect it's not all that cold out there because our heat isn't kicking on as much. But I don't know for sure.

I'm off from work this week and have no reason to head out the door. Hubby is also home all week. Having a husband around me 24-7 might be the best reason to head out the door, but I can't summon enough energy to get to those after Christmas sales. Can't even get myself to the grocery store.

Having all this time in the house did give me a chance to get his quilt finished. After I took the picture I realized I had the quilt turned upside down. Before I had a chance to retake the picture, he already had taken it to the basement with him to watch TV. Guess he really was looking forward to his belated Christmas present.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 301 of 365

I think my husband considers himself a foodie. He watches the Food Network and Travel Channel to find the best places to eat around the country. And when we were in Hawaii a few years back, we went on a food tour. We went to places we never would have discovered as tourists and ate things that wouldn't have been on our radar. Spam sushi anyone? (It actually was pretty decent.)

While I'm not a foodie, there are foods that I enjoy. There are also those places that served the best of the best:
  • The best french dip sandwich was at the Tulalip Casino outside of Seattle.
  • The best berry cobbler was at the Gallery Restaurant in Sisters, Oregon.
  • Best root beer shake is at Frosty Palace in Homedale, Idaho.
  • Best pizza is at Flying Pie Pizzeria in Boise, Idaho.
  • Best hamburger was at the Night Owl Cafe (no longer in business) outside of Burns, Oregon.

While now is not really ice cream season, the best root beer float is right here at my house.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 300 of 365


Wouldn't you know the 300th day of this blog thing falls on a Tutorial Tuesday?!

65 days to go. I can't believe I'm getting so close to a full year. It started out as a day at a time thing - a reason to get out of bed, a reason to do something, a reason to look around me. All in search of that sometimes elusive picture.

But here a couple days after Christmas my schedule is all thrown off in a way it hasn't been before. Christmas Eve on a Saturday, Christmas on Sunday, and my daughter and her boyfriend not going home until Monday left me without a tutorial. So today it's a truly Tuesday tutorial, filmed on a Tuesday.

Thank goodness I was able to scramble and now have a snowman magnet tutorial ready to share today. It's not like we got snow (Boise did, though), but the snowman theme is something that continues after Christmas.

Happy 300th day to me.

Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 


While my patterns, templates, and videos are absolutely free, if you feel so inclined please consider a donation for their use. Every little bit helps! Your donation helps support the blog and allows me to continue to provide free content to crafters and cruisers all around the world.  

Rather not donate? No worries - go ahead and use them for free! If you do donate, thank you for your support!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 299 of 365

After posting a picture of a pelican on Christmas Day I started wondering what I was thinking.

A pelican for my Christmas picture. Really? No pictures of decorated trees or other folks' Christmas lights, no picture of the table set for dinner, no pictures of presents or the Nativity Scene from the park? Nope, I had to take a picture of a pelican.

But I think I found a connection.

Swans-a-swimming. Geese-a-laying.  Calling birds. French hens. Turtle doves. And a partridge in a pear tree.

At the park yesterday I didn't see any swans, but I did see a blue heron. Lots of geese (just not a-laying, unless you consider laying down). No calling birds but plenty of quacking ducks. No french hens, but some bird that looked somewhat like a guinea hen. Instead of turtle doves, pigeons in the shed across the road. And a pelican swimming in the pond.

My own version of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Now those Twelve Days of Christmas are over. The tree is down, the decorations have been put away, and it is time to move on to my husband's quilt. A belated Christmas present.

Fabric I bought at the quilt show on Day 115 turned into a kids' quilt on Day 245. My husband saw the fabric in that quilt and wanted something for himself. I cut the blocks an entire month ago on Day 264.

Then that kaput iron on Day 276. It has now been replaced with a brand new Rowenta iron for Christmas (from my mom). Combine that with a husband who likes winding bobbins for me and I now have a work-in-progress quilt top. A true work-in-progress quilt because after I took the picture and saw it from afar, I wasn't too pleased with the layout of the blocks. I may be doing some rearranging before it's all said and done.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day 298 of 365

Christmas was nice.

Stockings full of things from Santa. Thoughtful presents for all. Christmas Cards in the tree. A tasty Christmas meal with my daughter and her boyfriend.

A pleasant after-meal walk in the park by the river. Lots of ducks and geese, a blue heron, and what I think might be a pelican. Who knew I lived so close to such great sights!

Here's hoping you and yours have a great Christmas time with family. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 297 of 365

The pies are made, the rolls are rising. The To Die For blueberry muffins are ready for tomorrow's traditional muffins and juice breakfast.

Our Christmas Eve tradition will be starting soon. Our daughter will be heading out from work at six this evening, picking up Chinese food on her way for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Then we'll be opening up just one present this evening - a book. We'll all sit by the tree in the living room and read tonight.

First thing tomorrow morning we'll see what Santa has brought each of us, then we'll start opening presents.

I'm happy to say the quilt I made for my daughter is wrapped and under the tree. I can't wait to see what she thinks. She loves her cat dearly so I imagine she'll be quite pleased.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 296 of 365

The cat got let out of the bag.

With me at work two days this week, then working furiously on my daughter's quilt blocks, us heading to the casino, yesterday being a full day of doctor stuff and last minute grocery shopping, and my daughter coming home for the night, I forgot.

I forgot to hide the blocks I was making for her quilt (Day 294). My repeated insinuations that it was a "girl's quilt" (implying it was for charity) didn't appear to carry much weight with her. I think she knows it's hers because of the kitties in the middle of the blocks. It didn't help that I had texted her last week asking her favorite color (pink).

But she doesn't know the part of the quilt she'll like the most. It won't be revealed to her until she opens the wrapped present on Christmas morning. It isn't quite done so no picture yet, but it better be done by tomorrow!

I already have a picture for today, anyway. My daughter wanted my help making some cookies for her work. A joint mother-daughter baking-decorating session. Good job kiddo.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 295 of 365

Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. I wished for time in December to work on my health. I might want to take that back.

After a nice little jaunt on the casino bus yesterday with my hubby I turned around and had to get some things done today. A letter from the insurance company informed me that my request for benefits has been denied. Again. The second attempt at trying to get approval for the infusion treatments has now failed, requiring yet another call to the rheumatologist's to file the final appeal.

An attempt to try and delay knee replacement surgery for a bit longer cost me a $1,200 big ole shot of synthetic synovial fluid at the orthopedic surgeon's office. A pain in the pocketbook and a big pain in the knee. If this treatment doesn't work another knee replacement will be looming in the very near future.

Now that I'm on this additional arthritis medication that can cause blindness (an anti-malaria drug, actually) I need to have several new eye tests to establish a baseline. An expensive eye doctor appointment added to my day's list of non-Christmas related expenses.

Thank goodness the casino was good to me. The bus ride, not so much. Hours of cramped knees equaled painful knees. I did have something to keep my mind occupied, though. I believe this sign right below the window was an attempt to use symbols to show me how to either open the window or exit the window during an emergency. I spent quite some time trying to figure it out, but gave up.

Here's hoping someone is better at interpreting than I am.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 294 of 365

I don't know if it's a mom thing or a Christmas thing or just a me thing, but I didn't budget my time wisely.

I didn't intend to be this far behind on the quilt I'm making for my daughter for Christmas. (Shh, don't tell her. She doesn't know about it.) I would have expected it to have been put together, quilted, and wrapped under the tree by now. And it should have been.

A couple months back, I had an idea of what December would look like. I'm only contracted for so many days at work which meant December would be a slow month with not much work. It turned out to be much, much busier than I expected. Long days, late nights.

I expected December would be a month of crafting, baking, and sewing. I have done crafting with the tutorials and have done several batches of Christmas cookies and breads. My sewing has turned out to be sewing either for the tutorials or the quilts for charity. While I have spent my time crafting, baking, and sewing it unfortunately has not been all that relaxing. It has been at a frantic pace as I either spend cram sessions on the weekends or late nights and early mornings to get it all done. (Who the heck decorates cookies at 5 in the morning? This person right here.)

December was going to be the month where I could relax and regroup. Get my thoughts in order, clear my head. Focus on my writing. Focus on my health.

It hasn't turned out that way. But now that Christmas break has started and Christmas Day is rapidly approaching  I must, must, must get my daughter's quilt done. I have some of the blocks finished, but there are some special blocks I need to work on before the whole thing can be put together.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 293 of 365

A week of firsts and lasts.

For over 20 years I had taken my husband to work every single day. When I started with my multiple surgeries he started getting a ride from our neighbor across the street who works in the same building. She's been sick these last couple days so I've had to take him to school for the first time in almost two years. (Personally I think his favorite part of getting a ride to school from me is that he gets a goodbye kiss before he gets out of the car.)

Today is the last day of school for both of us until January. Hooray for Christmas Break! This week we're taking the bus to Jackpot for the day. Another first - it'll be the first time in years and years and years we're going together.

But another one of my firsts is one I wish didn't happen. Last night was the first night I've taken pain medication since March. I've held out for a long time but after barely being able to move at work yesterday I caved in. Just half a pill, but my long-standing streak of consecutive days without pain medication ended.

Today the last of my Christmas cookies are heading out the door, I got the last of my charity quilts mailed out yesterday, and today's tutorial is the last homemade Christmas ornament of the year.

Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 


While my patterns, templates, and videos are absolutely free, if you feel so inclined please consider a donation for their use. Every little bit helps! Your donation helps support the blog and allows me to continue to provide free content to crafters and cruisers all around the world.  

Rather not donate? No worries - go ahead and use them for free! If you do donate, thank you for your support!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 292 of 365

Every thing is a trade off.

You go away for the weekend and you wish you had stayed home. You stay home and wish you had gone away. You dust before vacuuming and then the vacuum kicks up more dust. You vacuum before dusting and then when you dust it winds up falling to the carpet. You spend your time making quilts for charity and wish you had spent time working on your daughter's quilt. You take pain medication to deal with the pain and it makes you feel ill. You don't take pain medication and you feel ill.

You decorate sugar cookies and they're cute. You try and be even cuter and put sparkly sugars on them and then they're too sweet.

After decorating last night with a follow up 5 a.m. decorating session this morning my new snowman cookies are kind of cute. I attempted to replicate what Bakerella did but I didn't have blue tic tacs, orange chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, or snowflake candies. So I used what I had - icing and colored sugars. I've never used sparkly sugars before and now I know why. They make the cookie just too darn sweet! Granted, it was 7 in the morning when I taste tested but it stopped me from eating any more for sure.

Anyone eating one of these on tomorrow's treat day will be guaranteed a major sugar rush.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 291 of 365

Ever since we were first married, I longed for a baking center. In every rental apartment and house we've lived in I've attempted to create one. A place to keep all my ingredients. A place to keep my mixer without having to take it out every time I've needed it.

When we moved into this house years ago, I was able to officially set up that baking center. It's just a kitchen cabinet next to the refrigerator, but it's brimming with all those necessities for baking. My KitchenAid mixer is housed on the counter right below. As I'm mixing up something in the mixer all I have to do is pull the ingredient out of the cabinet, measure it, and put it right back. Super easy clean up.

I'm so appreciative to have that cabinet. It's a time saver and a kitchen clean-up helper. I'm also so appreciate of my mixer, especially at this time of year.

Today's total: 
*Three loaves of zucchini bread from our garden's zucchini. (I had shredded and frozen it.)
*Four loaves of pumpkin bread from our garden's pumpkin. (I had cooked up the pumpkin and froze it, too.)
*A couple more dozen Christmas cookies. Tuesday is treat day at work and I'm making a version of those snowman cookies I made on Day 286. But thanks to how Bakerella decorated her snowmen my  new batch should be a hipper, cooler looking version. (I hope.)
*A few snowglobe cookies. My plan was to use them to make the tutorial for this upcoming week, but I ran out of time. I need to perfect them a little more, anyway. (I need to find better snowman than the ones I found at the craft store. I added a bit of black food coloring for eyes on one of them, but why would they make sugar snowman without eyes?)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 290 of 365

On TV they have been doing year-end wrap ups. Televisions shows and movies of the year, highest paid actors, biggest news stories. Just a few days ago even Barbara Walters did a year-end list with her Most Fascinating People of 2011.

Although the year isn't quite over, I'm doing a 2011 wrap up of sorts. I'm getting ready to close a chapter in the quilting-for-charity category - just until after the first of the year, that is.

In looking back at 2011, I've done more sewing this year than all the other years of my life combined. Here's a recap of the non-charity project days:
  • Days 1 and 195: Pincushions
  • Day 8: Fabric Memory Game
  • Day 14: Camera bag 
  • Day 20: T-shirt grocery bags
  • Day 29: Clothespin bag
  • Day 34: Potholders
  • Day 35: Makeup bag for my daughter
  • Days 38 and 188 : Breadbasket liners
  • Days 41 and 153: Fabric covered buttons and magnets
  • Day 167: Pocket tissue holder
  • Day 244: Gift card holder
  • Day 251: Fabric covered clipboard
  • Day 258: Drawstring bags
  • Christmas Tree ornaments on Days 272, 276, 279
  • Day 265 : Fabric covered bookmarks
  • Day 287: Fabric covered bulletin board

But here is the most important list of all. The list of items I've made for charity.

Today I can add two more quilts to the Operation Kid Comfort quilt list. Here on Day 290 another two quilts are finished and ready to head out the door. Being that a couple of my pictures (including today's) have more than one quilt in the picture, I think that makes 30+ kids quilts for charity this year.

Here's today's picture, but keep looking. I have all my charity work pictures for 2011 compiled together right below.

I always hear about how one person can make a difference. I hope I'm getting close to being one of those "ones".