Monday, December 10, 2012

Streams of thoughts ... tears... whatever

So I am sitting at my computer crying.  This is only the second time I have cried in the last eight months and it is the second time in the last four days.  It feels good and wrong and nothing all at the same time.  I reached my breaking point months ago, but I just kept holding it together.

I pretty much cried all day Friday.  It started at the ENT's office (I've had an earache for 6 weeks and seen two urgent care docs and an alternative practitioner to no avail).  I was filling out a form (first time there since we FINALLY finished moving) and at the end of the form it has the "Family History" section.  Then the list of diseases to check off if your parents, grandparents, siblings or children have any of them:

- Heart disease
- Diabetes
- Seizures
- Whatever other stuff is on the form
- Cancer

yep.  there it was.  Cancer.  My dad has cancer.  I stared at the box for a while.  Long enough that my 4 year old asked if my pen was broken.  So I said, "no, it's working" and checked the box.  The nurse called me back and she asked if I was stressed because my heart rate seemed high.  And I just broke down.  I lost it.  I started sobbing and crying.  You know, I have been filling out forms for my dad since May, Doctor's forms for him, insurance claims, letters to insurance carriers.  I went with him to cancer clinics, oncologists, his first chemo appointment.  I juiced for him day in and day out for weeks and not once did I cry.  I guess I felt like I had to be strong.  Even now it seems silly to cry.  I mean he's still here.  He's still fighting.  He's supposed to have a good chance (as good as anyone with the Cancer anyway).  So why cry now?  But that damn box.  It just hit me like a ton of bricks.

And now I'm realizing the whole lack of crying thing probably not so healthy.  I am a bottler though.  I bottle up my emotions until they explode.  Since being with the hubster I don't really do that.  I share all my thoughts, emotions and feelings with him.  And it's nice.  Even my neurotic thoughts - it helps to not keep it all inside.  But when it comes to my family I still keep it in.

I just don't know.  I don't know what to do about how I feel.  I don't know how I feel.  This year has been a giant suck fest.  At the ENT appointment they put me in a sound proof room to test my hearing.  My son started crying and asking the audiologist not to kill me.  Yeah - it's been a great year for him too.  He is afraid of us leaving.  He is afraid of us dying.  He is afraid of hospitals and me being in one again.  It really had been the suckity suck suck sucking year of all.  And.... I'm crying again.

I can't even get excited about Christmas.  I usually love Christmas.  I sit and read on my sofa once the trees are up just to spend more time enjoying them before the season is over.  Right now I almost resent them and that bites.  Everything bites.  Not really.

Honestly I have felt pretty positive and optimistic even throughout the hellishness of this year, but right now....right now I want to talk about how much this year has sucked.  Because it has.  It has royally sucked.

I haven't kept up with this blog, I haven't kept in touch with friends, I haven't done enough sewing or enough to push this business forward.  I haven't even re-opened my Etsy shop since leaving for Texas in June.  And I  can't bring myself to re-open it either.  I can't handle dealing with people right now.  Customers take too much energy that I just don't have.

In this very moment, with tears streaming down my face, all I can think about is how I NEED 2013 to be the BEST year of my life.  How I need a win.  How I need some really good stuff to happen.  How my whole family needs all of that.  How right now, I miss my friends.  I miss the familiarity of my last home.  I miss my life.  I wish I had some friends with me right now.  Tomorrow will be better.  Tomorrow I will push through and find the good things in the day.  Tonight though, tonight it's just all too much.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Printing Patterns

Getting my patterns printed has been the plan since the spring of 2009 when I wrote my first official pattern: Teardrop Hearts

I would include a picture of the pattern but I am still in Pennsylvania and without my computer. You can see the pattern if you click on the shop tab above and scroll down.

I spent 2011 writing one tutorial and one sewing tip every week and posting them here! I also wrote one new pattern per month. I ended 2011 successfully with 52 new sewing tutorials and tips! Plus, I wrote 12 new patterns!

If I met all of my 2011 goals, the plan was for me to get all of my patterns printed and into stores. Achieving my dreams of seeing my patterns being sold worldwide.

Since the start of this year I have been contacting people and planning for my patterns going to print. Only this year has been truly daunting. If you aren't sure of all that's gone on, take a look at these two posts for a bit of an update:

http://www.maubys.net/2012/05/life.html
http://www.maubys.net/2012/07/tag-youre-it.html

With everything that happened, the time for my patterns to get printed was set back.  We also used up all of the money we had saved towards getting them printed.

There is no way for me to move forward now, not without help. So, I launched a fundraising page on Indiegogo. I am officially asking for help. If you can help, any amount you can give would be greatly appreciated! If not, then please just share my page. Spreading the word by sharing the page and my story can help too!

Every little bit adds up and there is no way I can do this alone!

You can see my page at: Http://www.indiegogo.com/maubys

Thank you for any help you can give whether it be financially or by spreading the word, I am truly full of gratitude for anything you can do.

Aubrey

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tag! You're It!

Remember playing tag as kids?  Desperately trying not to be it, running and running?  Remember when you were it?  Then you were desperately trying to catch someone else, tag them and not be it anymore?

When my son was an infant there were nights where my husband and I played tag.  You know, I can't take anymore of the screaming baby, you're in! Or It, rather. Kind of funny and oh, so, true.

Lately, my family has been "it" in the game of life. I sure hope we can stop being "it" and relax soon. They say, "when it rains it pours" and life here has been a hurricane, category 4....heck maybe even a 5 lately.

You may remember my post last month on all of the craziness: Life.

Well life has gotten even crazier. My dad's biopsy came back positive for cancer and the type was not so great either. Mediastinal, high-grade, large b-cell lymphoma. As of right now, they have staged it at I or II.  But this type of cancer is aggressive and fast.  After recovering from surgery, my dad looked at all of his options and my parents decided to apply to the Burzynski clinic.

The clinic accepted my dad and about 6 weeks after major, major surgery my dad and mom drove from Pennsylvania to Texas.   Then my son and I flew from Florida to Texas to help my parents while they were at the clinic.  Being away from home for medical treatment is difficult and you can use all of the help you can get!

Unfortunately, the only treatment the clinic could offer my dad was the treatment he could get at home: Chemo and gene targeted therapy.  The alternative treatment they offer is only for patients with brain cancer or brain tumors.  Everyone at the clinic was nice and helpful. However, since my dad couldn't get the treatment he had come for we packed up and left 2 weeks early.

My son and I had planned to travel back to Pennsylvania with my parents by car.   This way we could visit with family before returning to Florida.  My son is four and this was going to be his longest car trip ever!  He did fantastic by the way.

On our second day on the road I fell asleep in the car early in the morning.  When I woke up I felt really wrong. I don't know how else to describe it.   It just felt like my whole body was going numb or like I was having a major allergic reaction and didn't think I was going to survive.  So I told my mom to call 911.

An ambulance met us on the highway in Mississippi and they drove me to the hospital...very, very fast. I was injected with something in the ambulance that I did have an allergic reaction to as well.   I spent most of my time in the ER pretty much incoherent.   I was given lots of tests and really the day is a blur with lots of missing pieces for me.  My mom was with me, thank goodness because I have no idea what really went on.

After the tests, they found that I had a very bad case of pnemonia in both of my lungs.  They admitted me into the ICU immediately.  I spent two days in there and by the grace of God the bacteria inside Of my lungs responded to the many IV antibiotics they put me on.  Once I was more coherent and responding to the treatment they told me how bad the pnemonia was.  The doctors said my recovery was a miracle.  They were ver happy to see me discharged from the ICU looking so much better. It has been almost two weeks now and I am still a bit tired but happy to be alive!   I need to get a check-up with a doctor and have my lungs x-rayed soon to get a clean (hopefully) bill of health.

While I was in the hospital in Mississippi, which was 10 hours from Texas and another 20 hours from my parents house in Pennsylvania...my Aunt and Uncle drove all night from PA to MS and picked up my little guy and my dad.   The they drove to PA.   My mom stayed in MS while I was n the hospital. My sister and brother in law room care of my little guy in PA.  It is the longest and farthest I have ever been from him. Luckily he did great.  Once I was released from the hospital my mom and I drove 20 hours from MS to PA. Longest ride ever.

The long ride may have been influenced by the fact that one of the medications I was sent home from the hospital with gave me an allergic reaction and it took all I had in me not to pass out in the car for the last hour of the trip.  Yeah, that sucked.

My birthday was the day after we arrived in PA and unfortunately I did not feel much like celebrating.  I would like a do over.

Now that we have been at my parents in PA, have been helping my dad see a doctor near here and start an alternative treatment. I have also been helping to cook some meals for his new diet which included me shooting beet shreds on the ceiling. Using a grind and press juicer is a learning experience.

All in all we are surviving. So that's pretty good. We all just want my dad to beat this!

For the time being I am living with my parents, helping out and looking for a house here.  Yep.   We are moving to Pennsylvania from Florida.  I am pretty happy about it.  I have wanted to move back to the mountains for awhile and now more than ever.  Hubster agreed (even though he despises the cold) and so while I am here I am also looking for a place to live as close to my family as possible.

Life keeps on going despite all that has happened.  Even if it feels like a roller coaster lately, I am grateful that we are all here and pushing through.   Although, I have been told I should stop traveling. Apparently I have a poor track record and the pnemonia pushed it over the top.


I will be back soon with more news!  Hope all you Americans had a great Independence day! And that everyone else had a great day too!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Positive Pride Fridays

Positive Pride Fridays is: A link up where we say, I had the chance to fail myself, but I did not, and it felt freakin fantastic!
Image from HoneyBoo from Etsy
For more info on how/why I started Positive Pride Fridays click here!

"Everyday we are faced with choices. The choices we make can bring us closer to our ideals, closer to the person we want to be OR they can bring us down.

I want to surround my self with people who have pride. Let's show all these excuse makers what pride is and how to make it happen."

Now let's build some pride! Make your own positive blog post and then link up here at the bottom!


This Week:
  • I am back to posting my Positive Pride Fridays!  Things have still been rough here but I'm happy to say that with a lot of rest, effort and positive thoughts we are getting back to a "normal" state here.  Even though I didn't feel quite like blogging - here I am!
  • I went to an amazing women's networking meeting yesterday.  A good friend of mine invited me months ago and I finally got to attend a luncheon.  Even though I got barely 2 hours of sleep the night before and was not "up" to attending an event - I went anyway!  I am looking forward to joining the group and enjoying more meetings!
  • On a side note:  Family and friends that live close to my parents have really pulled together to help my mom and dad (read here for info on my dad).  Cousins doing firewood in the dead of summer so that my parents will be warm in the winter!  Lawn mowing, garden planting, meals and so much more.  I'm so happy that so many people have extended their time, generosity and energy to help my parents.  
  • Hubster and I decided to give up dairy for 6 weeks or so and then reintroduce it to see how we actually do on dairy.  It's been 3 weeks and despite the chance to cheat several times I have stuck to being dairy-free!
  • So many more things....

What about you?


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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Life....

I haven't been around on here for a few weeks.  Yeah, you probably noticed.  About a month ago my life got turned upside down, then shook up and then thrown in gutter.  Or at least that's how it feels.

My mom was feeling sick for a good 2 months, when I recommended she come stay with us for a few weeks.  I would take her to my doctors and help her get through feeling so bad.  Five days after her arrival we got a call from my dad who got word from his doctor that he might have lung cancer.  So my mom left several weeks earlier than planned to go be with my dad while they waited for more appointments and a biopsy.  The day after my mom left my husband's puffy abdomen turned out to be a hernia which became suddenly painful.  He had to get surgery.

Some other stuff happened after this - scary, scary stuff.  Hubster, son and I are lucky to be alive.

And now here I am, three weeks later and still holding it together (I think).

My mom had oral surgery last week and 4 days later my dad had major surgery.  They removed a large tumor from his chest and he will be in the hospital a few more days.  Pathology reports should come back soon to see what happens next.  He will be unable to work or do anything but rest and recover for 2 months.  In the meantime hubster still needs help while recovering and will need help for at least another month.

I am officially in the midst of cancelling my itinerary for quilt market and feeling sad.  There is no way I can handle traveling right now, but I'm still bummed.  Really bummed.

So here I am, not sure what to say.  Not sure what to add.  Not sure of anything right now.  I do know that some good news and a bit of boredom would be great.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Positive Pride Fridays

Positive Pride Fridays is: A link up where we say, I had the chance to fail myself, but I did not, and it felt freakin fantastic!
Image From ThePrintItBoutique on Etsy

For more info on how/why I started Positive Pride Fridays click here!



"Everyday we are faced with choices. The choices we make can bring us closer to our ideals, closer to the person we want to be OR they can bring us down.



I want to surround my self with people who have pride. Let's show all these excuse makers what pride is and how to make it happen."

Now let's build some pride! Make your own positive blog post and then link up here at the bottom!

THIS WEEK:

  • Even though I was hungry and that bag of organic tortilla chips at the store was staring me down I did NOT buy it.
  • When it was important for me to be assertive and not back down in some conversations this week, I definitely stood up for myself and the things I was asserting!
  • We had a child's birthday party to go to and I didn't cancel, wimp out or make excuses. 
  • I finally checked off a huge item on my to-do list even though I really wanted to just play games or be distracted by anything but that item!
  • Completely exhausted this morning after very little sleep, I pulled up my bootstraps and made it to the store and my local food co-op to pick up our food this week.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? : 

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Positive Pride Fridays

Positive Pride Fridays is: A link up where we say, I had the chance to fail myself, but I did not, and it felt freakin fantastic!
Image from KreativeKatsDesigns on Etsy

For more info on how/why I started Positive Pride Fridays click here!

"Everyday we are faced with choices. The choices we make can bring us closer to our ideals, closer to the person we want to be OR they can bring us down.

I want to surround my self with people who have pride. Let's show all these excuse makers what pride is and how to make it happen."


Now let's build some pride! Make your own positive blog post and then link up here at the bottom!


This week:
  • I wanted to share one specific positive experience I had this week.  I am a very relaxed, calm driver.  I like to put on the cruise control and drive in the same lane with the music on, enjoying the drive.  The problem is that I am susceptible to road rage!  Who isn't really?  Anyway, when people drive dangerously around me, my heart jumps out of my chest and I start wishing I had a tank so I could just run over people who are putting other people's lives at risk by driving so dangerously!  Well, yesterday while driving another driver sent me into that heart pounding kind of anger.  Before I let it take control though, I took a deep breath.  And I thought, What can I do in this situation?  Then I simply reminded myself that I had no control over the other driver, but that I had complete control of myself.  So, I stopped getting angry, I stayed relaxed and continued driving safely and calmly. It was so empowering to take control of myself in that way to actually realize that  I am in control of my emotions.  Why waste energy on negative emotions because of someone else's actions?  And you know what, that driver did not ruin the rest of my day.  I still think that people need to drive safer and calmer and that what this driver did was inexcusable and awful, but in the end I am in control of myself. 

How about YOU?  I want to hear about your positive pride!  Blog and share your positive stuff here:

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Positive Pride Fridays!


Positive Pride Fridays is: A link up where we say, I had the chance to fail myself, but I did not, and it felt freakin fantastic!

Picture from Heartful Art shop on Etsy


For more info on how/why I started Positive Pride Fridays click here!



"Everyday we are faced with choices. The choices we make can bring us closer to our ideals, closer to the person we want to be OR they can bring us down.

I want to surround my self with people who have pride. Let's show all these excuse makers what pride is and how to make it happen."

Now let's build some pride! Make your own positive blog post and then link up here at the bottom!


This week:
  • I was so tired one day that I just wanted to curl up in a little ball but my little man wanted to paint.  So I tucked away the sleepiness and we painted a big box together.  Just scribbles and stuff - so fun!
  • I wanted to use a slew of curse words in the car when some drivers were being CRAZY but I did not. Instead I took a deep breath, calmed down, and kept on driving safely irregardless of other people's actions.
  • On a bunch of other positive notes:  
    • I am continuing to lose bad weight and regain my muscle through our healthy diet!  I haven't had refined sugars in over 6 weeks! (Only sweeteners used: Maple Syrup, Maple Sugar and Raw Honey)  No falling off the sugar wagon here! 
    • I've been putting in extra hours and working towards a HUGE 2012 goal right now.  Can't wait to share all about it.  It's been quite a feat, some of the things I've knocked off of my to-do list.  Especially since there are many days that going to the beach, vegging with the hubs, or reading sounds way more enticing than working away at the computer. 


Also, I saw this on Yummy Goods Facebook page and thoroughly enjoyed it!  This is exactly what Positive Pride Fridays should be about! :) 
Photo from Melissa Averinos Facebook Business Page: Yummy Goods!

How about YOU?  I want to hear about your positive pride!  Blog and share your positive stuff here:

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Positive Pride Fridays!

First, I want to apologize that this post was not up sooner. No excuses. Next week and every week after, I will get this post up bright and early on Friday mornings!

Positive Pride Fridays is: A link up where we say, I had the chance to fail myself, but I did not, and it felt freakin fantastic!

Image from Present Outlook .com

For more info on how/why I started Positive Pride Fridays click here!

"Everyday we are faced with choices. The choices we make can bring us closer to our ideals, closer to the person we want to be OR they can bring us down.

I want to surround my self with people who have pride. Let's show all these excuse makers what pride is and how to make it happen."

Now let's build some pride! Make your own positive blog post and then link up here at the bottom (this is my first time hosting a link party, so if it doesn't work, let me know and I will fix it!)


This Week:

  • There were two nights when I did not feel like cooking dinner, BUT we had food in the house. So I sucked it up and made some nutritious, tasty meals for my family!
  • About a week ago the hubster and I decided to take a daily walk at a specific time.  Several days when walking time encroached upon me, I thought, 'not right now, maybe later, or tomorrow'. BUT I did not say or do that.  Instead I put on some walking clothes and we went for our daily stroll.
  • This may be a weekly point...As a mom there are several times a day where I could easily lose it.  Just go on a rant about the many things that happen with a 3 year old running around.  The attitude battles, the cleanliness, the testing boundaries, etc.  So, several times this week I was about to lose my cool, BUT I did not.  Instead I took a deep breath, and calmly handled the situations.
  • Every night this week there was work to be done.  I have a HUGE list.  Some nights I wanted to grab something sweet and veg out while watching TV with the hubster.  BUT instead I worked and I got a ton of important stuff done!
Now it's your turn!  


Now let's build some pride! Make your own positive blog post and then link up here at the bottom (this is my first time hosting a link party, so if it doesn't work, let me know and I will fix it!)
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Friday, March 9, 2012

Pride. The good kind.

"Be true to yourself" is one of the phrases I say to myself daily.  Along with the Ghandi quote, "Be the change you want to see in the world." 
Photo from Rawarletterpress on Etsy
Don't just try to be true to yourself, but also be true the person you want to be.  Be honest with yourself.  We all make mistakes, NOT one person is perfect, however shouldn't we be striving every moment of every day to be working toward that perfection?  Toward that person we want to be?

Am I wrong to think this is NOT too much to ask of people?  Be true to what you claim to be.  Be true to the things you say.  Be true to your beliefs.  Before you make a decision ask, is this decision in support of the person I claim to be?  

I am prepared to be blasted for this post.  So if you disagree with me, that's ok.  I am no longer going to sit on the side lines and watch blog posts full of people using excuses with pride as an attempt to validate choices that do not line up with their stated beliefs.  This has become a pet peeve of mine, especially when these posts become viral.  I am most definitely NOT a fan of giant online excuse parties.  

Recently another one of these posts came up.  Then at the bottom of the post there was a link up!  A LINK up for an excuse party.  Really?  

Any sentence that goes like this: "I am a [insert adjective here] BUT...." Right there, that word, the word, "but", just makes me want to jump out of my skin and scream!  It's just like a person who purposely cuts you and then says, "I'm sorry I hurt you, but I really wanted to." That's not an apology, it's an excuse.  An attempt to validate a poor choice. 

It's like a vegan who goes to McDonald's.  Umm, what?  It just doesn't make sense. If you have stated that you are a vegan for health reasons, you shouldn't be eating ANYTHING at McDonald's.  If you have stated that you are a vegan for animal rights reasons, then you really shouldn't be going near a McDonald's.  So, if you tell me you are a vegan and I see you eating at a McDonald's, I am not going to respect you or your opinions. 

I think the reason this all bothers me is because it seems to me to show a lack of pride.  A lack of the GOOD kind of pride.  Like, pride in one's work.  Or the pride that brings about self-respect and gains you respect from others.  

It's hard to be true to your ideals, especially in a world of convenience and excuses.  Hard, but not impossible. Everyday we are faced with choices. The choices we make can bring us closer to our ideals, closer to the person we want to be OR they can bring us down.  Make us feel like we have to defend ourselves, and validate ourselves with excuses.

I want to surround my self with people who have pride.  I desperately want to see people able to respect themselves and others.  I want my son to grow up with pride in who he is and proud of where he comes from.  

So, I propose a link up where we build this pride.  Let's show all these excuse makers what pride is and how to make it happen.  A link up where we say, I had the chance to do such and such, but I did not, and it felt freakin fantastic!  I want to see so many positive uses of the word BUT that the word stops being my pet-peeve!

I will start:

       Some days I feel like I just don't have the patience to deal with my three year old.  Today, after building two different train tracks for him and being told that they weren't "right", I wanted to put all of the train tracks away. Instead I calmly sat down with my son and asked him what kind of train tracks would be right.  Then we built the tracks together.  This is the kind of mom I want to be every day!
      Recently, I was very hungry, had some extra cash, was in my car and driving by a Starbucks.  I wanted a coffee and some coffee cake.  In our house we eat locally grown organic food (veggies, fruits, meat, dairy, etc.) as much as possible and otherwise only organic.  I knew that I would be home in 15 minutes and instead of pulling through the drive through, I stuck to our family's commitment.  I did NOT go to Starbucks!  Yay!  Instead, I went home, made my own coffee and had some cheese and an apple.
      There were piles and piles of dishes in my kitchen this morning.  I wanted to sleep in and pretend they did not exist, but I got up and immediately washed them ALL!  
      I had a difficult alteration to work on for a friend.  Although I could have cheated on the alteration and most likely no one would have been the wiser, I chose to go through the hassle of doing the alteration correctly.   I am proud knowing that the dress I took in will look great and was done professionally, by me.  No hack jobs!
      This morning, when I used the bathroom, the roll was looking thin.  I though, maybe I can just leave the few squares on there and someone else will change it!  But, I know I would have been annoyed if someone else had done that to me, so I took the extra 30 seconds and changed the roll! :)
      My sister's birthday just passed.  About a month ago, I thought, eh, her birthday is coming up, I can just get something from Amazon last minute and have it shipped right to her.  But instead I took the time to find a few unique handmade gifts on Etsy.
      

I am sure there are more and I will be able to come up with some throughout the next week.  So let's have a self-respect, pride party today and every Friday. What a great way to start the weekend!  

Make your own positive blog post and then link up here at the bottom (this is my first time hosting a link party, so if it doesn't work, let me know and I will fix it!) 
      

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Previous February Posts

Unfortunately I don't have much to blog about lately.  This is not because I am not busy, but rather because I am SUPER busy but I have to wait to share any "real" news with the public!

Bear with me over the next few weeks while I tackle some big business plans and find my way out of the piles of papers and big decisions that lay ahead. 

In the meantime, I thought I would reminisce over some of the tutorials and tips from Februarys' past. 

Back in 2010 I posted my first blog tutorial!  It was for this hot pack, backed with minky, it is super great for all of your normal heating pad needs.  No really, I use mine on a weekly basis.  Sometimes just because the bed feels chilly at night, I will heat up the pack and throw it under the covers.  Then when I am ready to crawl in bed, my spot is all toasty warm!  

Little man has even requested his own, so I am down to just one extra around here:

Another favorite is this hand towel redo from February of last year.  This little towel is still going strong after tons of washing and looks great in the bathroom:


Another tutorial from last year were these pee-pee covers...for baby boys.  I actually have a stack of about 20 to send to my sister right now, who just had her first baby!  (Sorry Meg, I haven't sent them yet.  I will do it on Monday!!!)

I also started my Faster Piecing  series in February of last year:



If you haven't seen my tutorials and tips from years past just click on the links on the menu bar or click here:

Sewing Tips

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

In case you missed it, this is a great tutorial project from last year that I made up for Valentine's day:


In other news (I feel like this line should have some sort of theme music attached to it), I did a guest post on Chef Sharon's blog on the 9th!  You can go see it here:

Sharon features a different designer each month and does a giveaway along with it.  This month is Sandy Gervais (who designs for Moda Fabrics if you weren't sure) - you can enter the giveaway on Sharon's blog by following the link on my guest post!

Things have been busy, busy here!  Lots of stuff going on.  More patterns being written, tested, proof-read, etc. I have some fun pictures to share soon too!  My little guy had got his first Valentines from friends yesterday along with a cold, so I'm a bit sleep deprived and wondering who is going to come do my dishes.  Oh wait, no one?  Guess I will go do that now then -  and dinner?  Really?  My family wants to eat? 

Hoping to jump on #talknt tonight if I can find my computer again after cleaning.  You should come and join us! :)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Announcing My New Nephew!

Josiah Alister was born yesterday afternoon.  A health 7 lbs 4 oz and 20.5" long!
My sister is quite a trooper!  
She endured 37 1/2 hours of labor and delivery.  All the while not allowed to have an epidural because of a very low blood platelet count.  

I am so proud of her and my (apparently stubborn) nephew too!

Even though I was far, far away I felt like I was able to be a part of everything.  I harassed everyone at the hospital with text messages and phone calls getting nearly hourly updates.  Then passed those updates along to other family members.  Definitely thankful for technology!

I think one of the most amazing things is how close I feel to the little guy that I haven't even met yet.  I love all of my nieces and nephews but this is the first nephew I have on my side!  There is something about your own sister (someone you grew up with) having a baby that is a different kind of exciting!

The other interesting thing is how much our little guys look alike at birth.  My sister and I must carry some strong dominate traits because our little guys do look pretty similar.  
My little guy was born almost 4 years ago and the phone pics were not as high quality back then! 

I have some truly amazing pictures of my little guy's birth but this is the only one that positions him the same as my nephew for the comparison.

Anyway...Congratulations to my sister, her husband and baby Josiah!

My little guy is also VERY excited about his new cousin (he doesn't realize that babies don't do much)!



Friday, January 27, 2012

Patterns - Sort Of...

I have been working very hard on a slew of new patterns!  However, I will be keeping them all under-wraps, until every last one is completed and ready to be shared (probably in the next month or so).

An exception had to be made for one of the new patterns because the design is based off of a nursery set I designed and then made for my sister.  She is having her first baby any day now!!

Of course she wants to share pictures with everyone of her now finished nursery and since I will be publishing the nursery set in a pattern I asked her not to post any pictures until I revealed the pattern.

So without further ado, here it is!

A three part nursery set.  Pattern includes step by step instructions for a quilt, an adorable pleated crib skirt (in two lengths, because who wants to ditch the skirt when you drop the crib?) and two matching pillow covers!

Option A
I seem to have run into a dilemma, I cannot decide which cover I like better.  The first picture or this next picture.
Option B

So, which one do you prefer?  Leave me a comment to tell me which one or just vote in the box to the right.

P.S.  I have a variation of this same quilt for adults that I will release soon as well. It is really fabulous!  I've already made two of the adult versions and two of the baby versions.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January 2011 Tutorials in Review

If you are new to my blog or just haven't been sure why I had so many tutorials last year and have had so few this year, well let me explain.  At the beginning of last year I challenged myself to post one tutorial and one sewing tip every week for the entire year

And I did it!  I designed and wrote (and took step by step pictures) 52 tutorials in 2011. 

I am thinking I will post a quick review each month in 2012 of the tutorials I put up in that month in 2011, unless that is annoying....let me know what you think!
Clockwise starting from the bottom left: 
January 25th, 2011: Pieced Dump Truck Block tutorial
January 4th, 2011: Tiny Ruffle Purse

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How about a Newsletter?

So, I set up a newsletter now and I hope I get some subscribers!  You can sign up by clicking on this link or at the enter your email address in the newsletter box on the right hand side.

Subscribe to our newsletter


I plan on sending out brand new news and specials via the newsletter! So sign up today!



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Battle with Hypothyroidism

This post has been a long time in coming, mostly because I do not like to be a downer and I am also not very good at sharing negative private things about myself.  

I have a chronic auto-immune disorder called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  Auto-immune diseases are fairly common this day in age and since I am a research fanatic (seriously I may be more addicted to research than to fabric [insert gasps here] ), I do have a few theories on why this is, but that would take a whole other series of posts.

Hashimoto's is a type of hypo-thyroidism where the body attacks the thyroid.  Basically, in my case, the disease is genetic and familial.  My body thinks that my thyroid is the enemy and creates antibodies that attack my thyroid.  I went for years without knowing what was going on, until 2010 when I ended up in the ER with dehydration and mild edema (despite the fact that I was drinking over 10, 8 oz glasses, of water a day.).  Of course the ER couldn't find anything that was out of "normal range" on the tests so they filled me up with electrolytes and sent me home.  That is where my journey really began.

The reason for writing this post is not to gain sympathy but to impart the wisdom and knowledge I gained onto others with a similar condition.  Recently I was out with friends and one of them had been dealing with thyroid problems and treatment for years to no avail.  After sharing some information with her, I decided it was time to share my story.

There is a LOT of crappy information out there regarding hypothyroidism.  If you are dealing with hypothyroidism, I highly recommend going to the website, Stopthethyroidmadness.com, and then buying the book, Stop The Thyroid Madness, by Janie A. Bowthorpe. 

Some other good informational websites:



Here is my story:

Before I knew I was pregnant nearly 5 years ago, this line about 2 inches above my collar bone on the right side of my neck looked swollen.  It didn't hurt but it was definitely this puffy line that you could see my pulse in.  Having been working out daily (weights, cardio and swimming) I assumed I pulled some weird muscle and took it easy for a few days.  The swollen line got smaller.  

A month later I found out I was 10 weeks pregnant and went in for my first pre-natal appointment.  The doctor immediately noticed the swelling on my neck and did a physical exam.  It was my thyroid that was swollen.  He did a blood panel and everything came back "normal".  Apparently it was just a goiter and common during pregnancy.  They would keep a watch on it and that was all. 

Throughout my pregnancy the goiter would get very large and then really small.  All the while all the doctors and specialists told me it was fine.  It even freaked out some co-workers when they would see it enlarge, which was fairly amusing. 

I had a healthy baby and for the most part the goiter went away after giving birth.  

During the post-partum period I noticed that certain foods triggered the goiter.  Broccoli, cabbage, non-organic meats and poultry, were a few items that would cause the goiter to get noticeably bigger.  We cut down on those items in our diet and I tried to buy meats that said, "no added hormones."  Things continued this way for almost 2 years. 

Then in the early spring of 2010 my pulse started going all over the place from 50 beats per minute to 130 without me doing anything.  My blood pressure was randomly dropping so low that I would almost pass out and then it would skyrocket and I would feel like my head was going to turn red then purple and explode.  After about 3 days of this (all the while not having caffeine, or salt, or hormones), I ended up in the ER because my heart was starting to hurt and I noticed that I was developing edema on my legs, arms and chest.  This is when they found that I was very dehydrated.  

That is where my more difficult battle began.  I was discharged from the ER with nothing more than, "you were dehydrated, we filled you with electrolytes.  See your doctor."  So I went to my doctor, they did full blood panels on everything.  Everything came back "normal".  I pushed for an ultrasound of my thyroid, knowing that this had been an issue AT LEAST since I was pregnant.  The ultrasound found that I had a rather size-able goiter that was pushing on my trachea and I needed to see an endocrinologist (supposedly a thyroid specialist).  The endo said that I should have it biopsied.  

I hate biopsies.  I've had some of the most painful procedures done including having blood taken from arteries several times in the same arm, and still, biopsies SUCK.  But I did what I had to do, extremely nervous since they were going to have to go right next to the carotid artery to biopsy the goiter.  The biopsy came back negative for cancer in the cells they got.  However, the type of cells in the goiter actually rendered the biopsy inconclusive because with this type of cell the only way to tell if there was cancer or not would be to remove the goiter (and the half of the thyroid the goiter is on) and slice it apart piece, by piece to look for mutated cells. 

On the one hand I was tired of feeling like I was choking and tired of feeling like crap combined with the possibility of it being cancer had me wanting my thyroid out right then, on the other hand, I had been through surgery before and was in no rush to go back under the knife.  

After my first endo appoitnment, before the biopsy, I was put on synthroid because while my blood results were in the "normal range" as far as the lab determines, they were NOT normal for my age or for having a high quality of life.  The synthroid mildly helped my symptoms.  

While researching the cell types and thyroid surgery, I decided to continue treatment with synthroid and see if the goiter got smaller.  After three months on synthroid, constantly increasing the dose to try and get my lab numbers better, the goiter had gotten bigger and a new goiter was forming on the center of my thyroid that was causing my voice to sound scratchy. 

At this point, I opted for surgery and had the goiters along with half of my thyroid removed.  Don't let anyone lie to you, thyroid surgery is painful and recovery sucks.  You spit up all kinds of crap, including blood and the only pain medicine that was mildly helpful was morphine.  I have a fairly high tolerance for pain. I mean, I got to 6 centimeters dilated while in labor without flinching, not even realizing I was in labor just assuming that it was mild cramping.  However, this was a kind of indescribable pain that never let up.  The only time I could sleep was when the meds they gave me (which really only made me feel disconnected from my body but still left me in pain) forced me to sleep.

Here are a few pictures immediately after surgery and a few weeks after.  Scroll down past them, if this stuff freaks you out: 

One day post surgery:
This is me on drugs that don't stop the pain, but space your brain out enough that it can't figure out what the heck is going on:
3 days post surgery, after getting to shower and take off the guaze.
10 days post surgery: 

Six months after surgery I was still feeling tired, bogged down and just barely able to handle life.  I closed my alterations and custom clothing business because it was too much.  I would go to bed around 9:30 PM most nights and still not be able to get up at 8 AM.  I was constantly depressed, angry or sad, that's if I felt anything at all.  Most of the time feeling things took too much energy and so I lived in kind of an "ick" state.  

From the April of 2008 to July of 2011 I went from weighing 135 lbs to 168 lbs even though I was eating only 800 calories a day, running most mornings (which was a feat in itself because just getting out of bed was difficult), and on thyroid medication.  This certainly did not help my depression. 

It's hard to explain how very down in the "depths of despair" (to put it in an Anne of Green Gables way) that I was.  It was nearly impossible for me to exist.  Everything I did felt like it took absolutely every ounce of energy I had in my body to do it.  There were days when I was too tired to lift my arm.  I cannot even tell you the number of times that I would get up, feed my toddler and then lay on his bedroom floor and sleep while he played.  It's a terrible, terrible state to be in.   

Finally, in January of 2011 I found the Stop the Thyroid Madness website and bought the book.  I read it from cover to cover, highlighting and taking notes.  Then I read it again.  Then I took it to my endo who told me that the information in the book didn't matter since she was a doctor and that I had probably just developed another autoimmune disorder like fibromyalgia.  Which considering my symptoms was plausible, but only if you ignored everything else about the fact that I had thyroid issues.  

All this time she was only testing my TSH.  She never pulled labs on my Free T3 or Free T4, these are IMPORTANT!  You can learn ALL about them in the Stop the Thyroid Madness book, or on any of the website links I posted at the beginning. 

When I asked this endo about my weight issues she said that I should stop eating dinner and start working out harder.  How could I work out harder?!  I barely had the energy to run as it was let alone work out harder!  And skip dinner?  Seriously?  I was 800 calories a day, how was skipping a meal going to make me thinner?  I may as well have been anorexic at this point and I still would've been putting on weight. 

This began my search for a new endocrinologist or thyroid doctor, or anyone who would address my symptoms and know more about thyroid disease and treatment than your average endocrinologist. 

I saw 4 different endocrinologists and doctors before I found a doctor that knew what I was talking about and able to help me. 

In March of 2011 I started on dessicated thyroid hormone.  In just 4 weeks I felt 50% better than I had in years.  It wasn't enough though and when I reached 3 grains a day my lab tests were saying that I was almost hyperthyroid but my symptoms were not.  I was still waking up with a very low body temperature 96 degrees.  My heart was still averaging at about 70 beats per minute, my hair was still falling out and I was still tired.  

After a lot of research I discovered the Reverse T3 ratio.  A case where you have so much free T4 that your body starts to turn it into reverse T3 instead of usable T3.  T3 is the active hormone in your blood that keeps your heart going, gives your cells and body energy, and essentially keeps you alive.  T4 is just a storage hormone that your body is "supposed to" convert into life-giving T3.  I had my doctor run the test for Free T3 and reverse T3 to determine The Ratio, that is a link to a ratio calculator.  My ratio was around 18 so I was experiencing reverse T3 issues.  I joined the reverse-t3 yahoo group to learn all about how to treat reverse T3.  

  I continued to do research and came across a story about a patient who had Hashimoto's and learned about LDN (low dose naltrexone).  I read, and read, and read about LDN.  I joined the LDN yahoo group, I bought books about LDN, like Honest Medicine by Julia E. Schopick.  Great, great book by the way, Highly recommend it for EVERYONE I know.  

Eventually we found a doctor who would prescribe LDN.  My husband started it first for his own autoimmune disorders which he was born with (but that is a whole other story on Un-diagnosed Celiac Disease).  He experienced the most amazing improvements.  Within 24 hours of his first dose all of his body inflammation (had been around for 30+ years) was gone. 

Knowing that I had a reverse T3 issue and an autoimmune disease I started on LDN.  I started at 1.5 mg per day and increased it by .5 mg per week until I reached 4.5 mg.  I actually stoped at 3.0 mg for a month or so and then decided to go up to the 4.5 mg.  

Those things (the dessicated thyroid hormone and LDN) both helped A LOT!  I was definitely closer to 75% better at this point.  I had more energy, more feelings and just an overall more positive outlook on life.  

However, we did know from the multitudes of blood tests that my vitamin D levels were drastically low.  I had tried taking 50,000 IU (which is a HUGE amount) of vitamin D twice a week (by prescription) to increase my numbers.  It did not do much.  My vitamin D level barely increased, it went from say 25 to 26 over a three month period at this dose.  Oh, and I was going outside for at least 20 minutes day in the Florida sun.

 Next I changed my diet.  While researching ways to raise your vitamin D I read this article on diet: http://lewrockwell.com/miller/miller38.1.html.  I went on to research this idea and after a good month of reading everything I could about it, I switched our diets.  We went 100% organic produce, organic grass-fed   and finished meats, pasture raised poultry, and full fat dairy products.  

After 2 months on this diet, my energy increased substantially.  I also started getting more excited about things, like I did way before all of the thyroid stuff began.  At this point I would say I was at 90% better.

Today I am at about 92%.  I still have some bad days.  But those days are once every 3 weeks or so instead of every. single. day.  

My Reverse T3 ratio is still below 20 but I think it is improving.  I will know better after my next blood tests.

Oh and did I mention that now in January of 2012 I am almost 145 lbs?  Now I am just waiting for my eyebrows to grow back in, when they come back all full and healthy looking (a sign of hypothroidism is that the outer 1/3 edges of your eyebrows stop growing) I am going to let them be all bushy, at least until my husband asks me to style them!

I do wonder if I had been on dessicated thyroid instead of synthroid if my goiter would have shrunk.  I wonder if I had been on LDN before synthroid if I would have needed any thryoid meds and if my goiter would have shrunk.   However, I cannot live in the past, I cannot change what I knew then.  I made the best decision with the information I had at the time.  What I can do though, is share my story.  Share the information I have and hope that it will help others who are experiencing what I experienced.

You may have to fight to get better.   You may have to fight your body, fight your doctors, and fight the system for better treatment.  But the fight is worth it.  

I know how hard it is to fight when you are so damn tired.  I know. I have been there.  I remember saying to my husband while reading the STTM book that I just don't have the energy to fight.  I never, ever thought I would be where I am today, but I fought and here I am.  If I can do it so can you! 

I didn't have to fight all alone, which helped.  So if you can find someone to fight with you, I know it goes a long, long way.  Even if it is just that they are standing next to you while you fight.  I may not have made it without my husband helping me fight, my family flying across the country to help when I really needed it, and friends that were able to help with my toddler. So I am thankful for every bit of help I have had over the years. 

And I am so thankful for the thyroid pioneers, for Dr. Broda Barnes, Dr. Lowe, Janie Bowthorpe, Mary Shomon, and so many others.  I was 26 years old when this all started and I really thought my life was over, but now I know I have many years ahead of me and they are going to be great!

I hope my story can help you on your journey to wellness.

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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and my story is not meant to be construed as medical advice.  It is merely my experience.  Please see your health care practitioner for medical needs.

The content of this post is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, or should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice.  Do not use the information for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition.  If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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