Monday, March 27, 2017

March Stitchery Check-In

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I thought my stitchy update this month would be pretty simple, because I haven't done a thing since around the middle of the month, although as I write it out, I do feel better for what I did get done.

There were several reasons for the break from cross-stitch - we took a 4 day trip for a spiritual retreat that kept us very occupied with other things (although I did get a tiny bit of stitching done while sitting in workshops). Then, the changeable weather had my hands aching enough to not be able to manage much. Finally, my husband and I got motivated to work on a few home organization tasks and a bit of spring cleaning, so when I have had a few minutes to relax, I have found myself deciding to do one more small thing instead. (I am only rarely inclined to do that - so when it's happening, I roll with it!)

But really?  I just fell out of the mood to stitch - as I have off and on for the past 35 years.  I don't try to fight these moods.

Like the weather, it's easier to get through if you accept it.

One of my projects right now is to pry out some dedicated crafting space in our small one bedroom apartment, and once that's done, I know it will make me happy to go back to my needle.

So, first order of business - this month's TUSAL!  This is the Totally Useless Stitch-a-Long, where crafters show off their inevitable collection of thread snippets.  The TUSAL happens each month at the New Moon.

I keep mine in a mason jar (with a handy pin cushion attached to it with elastic lace), and tamp it down after I've show in off - so the fluffy bits are new.

I also keep an empty Altoid's tin with me in my portable stitchery bag, to use to corral thread snippets until I can get home and toss them in the jar with the rest.

So, last month, my goals were to finish my Conan the Barbarian quote backstitch sampler, finish Metamorphosis, a Quaker medallion sampler from Ink Circles, to get my next Satsuma Street 12 Days of Christmas ornament started and finished, and to start Satsuma Street's Pretty Little Washington DC.

How'd I do? Welll...

"Needles of Steel"
100 x 70
28ct white evenweave linen
silk threads

Yay!  This needs to be ironed and framed, and then it's going up over my husband's desk in his home office. (It's funny, because his company's work culture is about exactly the opposite of anything resembling cutthroatedness.)

Next, is Ink Circle's Metamorphosis - still a WIP, although I am now working on the last medallion. I bought a lap frame  and put it in there. I'm still getting used to it, though, so at present it's no more comfortable than my own usual method  of rolling the fabric and holding it by hand. (My brief try with a small hoop also felt 'meh' to me)  No getting around it - the medallion at the end of the cloth is going to be the hardest part, yet.

359 x 47
14ct burlap
DMC threads

I am currently wavering between making April a 'finish this or die trying' month, or tucking it away for awhile to work on something else - I'll decide by the end of the month.

"3 French Hens"
64 x 49
14ct white Aida
suggested DMC threads

Yikes - this is the first month I've not gotten one of these done, so I definitely need to play a little catch up here.  Getting this done will be a top priority, so I can also get the next one done by the end o April, too.  (As a side note, it cracks me up that you know this is a French hen because she's wearing a beret. But of course!)

I didn't even get started on the Satsuma Street Pretty Little Washington DC piece, and I very much want to get to it, so I think April is going to just be Satsuma Street all month long for me!

Oh!  I did get one small piece stitched up at the beginning of the month that I took on on whim.  

"Hello Spring" 
43 x 42
freebie chart
14ct DMC Bright Ideas Grasshopper Aida
DMC threads

I switched up the suggested bright orange petals for pink, using a variegated floss to give it depth - to keep the petals from looking two-dimensional, I worked full x's around the petals in a circular way instead of straight across rows.  I'm really pleased with the effect!

This month's WIPocalypse hop's question is: What stitchy blogs, groups, or flosstubes do you follow and why?  You know, other than checking in at these monthly hops, I've dropped off regular checking up on other stitchers and have no idea what flosstubes (cross-stitched based Youtube channels) there are - so I look forward to getting some recommendations from the other WIPocalypse stitchers!

So, instead I will end this month's post by showing off a couple more stitchery-related goodies I picked up this month.

First, I finally had to concede that my eyes can't deal with stitching anymore without some adjustment. I'd taken to shoving my glasses up on my head and pulling it all so close to my face that I was in danger or putting an eye out with the needle.

The problem was, most of my stitching happens in the evening, when we're settled in with a movie or binging on a series - and the very moment I'd throw the glasses up on top of my head and just listen, something on screen would happen and we'd need to back it up so I could see.  Disruptive to both watching TV and to stitching!

Then, I found these wonderful clip on magnifiers at the bead store across from where we live.  They provide great magnification so I can stitch at a comfortable distance, and sit low enough on my glasses that stopping to look at something else is nothing more complex than glancing up over the top.  As needed, they also flip up entirely so I can quickly get them out of the way.  These things are my new best friends!

Finally, I acquired one indulgence that makes me smile everytime I see it - Retromantic Fripperies "Wouldja Rather Be Stitching" Thread Organizer (with a great little planchette magnetic needleminder as well).

Unfortunately, I'm not seeing this item on the Etsy shop at present (although there is a knitter's version that is a needle gauge!), but she's got lots more, and I think I'll likely be dropping a bit more stash money their way.

So, that's it for this month.  Next month, my goals are to get caught up on the 12 Days of Christmas project and to start Pretty Little Washington DC. I may or may not try to knock out Metamorphososis, as well.  In May, I'll be taking part in the FB group Stitch Maynia's May insanity, or working on a different WIP every day for two weeks, so I can take things easier this month without concern.

(Not that any of it is really 'of concern' - this is fun time for me!)

To check in with what other stitchers are up to, stop in at the WIPocalypse check in!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Awesome Life Friday #105

Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!

I don't know about you, but now that it's officially Spring, I am impatiently waiting for it to be warm enough outside to throw open the windows and get some fresh air in here.  Until our temperatures get a little farther away from freezing, I'll enjoy instead all the fresh inspiration you all bring each week.

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

Here's a bit of what we've been up to this week:

Jackie's been sharing her daughter's clubfoot treatment since birth, and offers her latest update here.

And now our favorite part - the FEATURES !  If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!

Healthy But Tasty Zucchini Noodles with Bacon, Ricotta & Peas // Oh My Heartsie Girl
Doesn't this dish look refreshing?  This is a great way to taste the flavors of Spring!

Puff Pastry Baskets with Creamy Lemon Filling // Hostess at Heart
Fresh raspberries and a few simple grocery store ingredients make this simple, yet beautiful confection.

$2 Farmhouse Pillow Covers // Fresh-Squeezed Life
I love IKEA's towels and now I can't wait to use some to make these cool and breezy throw pillows.

Driftwood Art with a Starfish // Crafts by Amanda
This rustic starfish wall art will have me imagining gentle sea breezes in no time!

A Nest For My Rustic Eggs // The Boondocks Blog
Mary's creative touch and a bit of repurposing magic leads to this sweet birds nest to cradle a few painted eggs.

Blueberry Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich // Simply Stacie
I admit I never met the grilled cheese sandwich I didn't like, but this unique version blows me away!

If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!

Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!

Are you all ready to party?  If you like, we'd love it you'd help spread the word by grabbing our button:

Here we go!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Penelope's Clubfoot Update: Navigating the Challenge While Overseas


I'm way overdue on an update for my daughter Penelope's clubfoot progress. For a bit of recall, she was born with bilateral clubfoot, or talipes equinovarus.

The last I left off, was when she had a relapse around 10 months old. She was recasted for two sets, and looked great after!

We moved to Germany in november of 2015 and although we are American military and there is a clinic on post, all specialties are off post in the economy (in other words - German doctors). We spent many months jumping through hoops to make the appointment we needed.

We are on EFMP (the Exceptional Family Member Program) and had already locked down our specialist before we'd arrived. However, communication was a bit hit and miss, and it took us quite some time to see him.

We finally did about 4-5 months after moving here. It was a good visit but they did say her dorsiflection was stiffer than they like. Dorsiflection is the range of motion and ability for toes to bend toward the ankle.

Then, around 18 months, in an accidental fall, she broke her left leg - a crack right on her femur right above her knee. This resulted in a 10 days cast and further delay in her physical milestones (such as walking). Not to mention, it wasn't a 'clubfoot cast' so she was unable to wear her brace for that period of time. I truly think this is where we began to go downhill again.

She finally started walking at 21 months.

A few months after her leg had been casted, we saw her specialist again. At our second appointment, he commented that if her dorsiflection got any worse he may suggest casts, like she'd worn when she was younger.

Unfortunately, it was another 6 months until we could see him again! (Our doctor in the States had had much more frequent check ups.)

In the meantime, our pediatrician recommended in-home physical therapy. The therapist came to our home twice and recommended AFO, which are full time shoe inserts meant to mimic the effects of her brace.

I hated the idea of making her wear shoes/boots 24/7, but attempted ot do as recommended.

Once we had the AFO in hand, we spent a lot of money and energy buying her shoes after shoes to fit them properly, and never fully succeeded.

Unfortunately, the visiting physical therapist became very flaky. We never achieved a good working relationship, or any consistency in communication, and eventually she became too difficult to work with.

Finally, February rolled around and it was time to see our specialist, Dr. Wurth again. I always dread these checkups, especially when they are spaced so far apart, but I didn't really expect the news we got.

Penny spent hours in the waiting room (yes, hours), singing Doc Mcstuffins songs about feeling better after the doctor.

She babbled about letting the doctor see her feet and being a brave girl.

But as soon as we went in his office, all bets were off.

She screamed, refused to get down and show him how she walked, and was very uncooperative. Her natural resting position was mostly all they had to go on, as well as unimproved range of motion.

They really wanted to see if her toes curve in when she walks but they were unable to assess that. In the end, we were informed she would be recasted that same day.

I'm not so sure Penny remembers any of her previous casts and really acted like she was in a torture chamber. It was just awful to have to witness!

She spent the first 3 days or so sadly asking us if she could get down and run, and we'd have to tell her she couldn't. She spend most of the first week on the couch, watching TV.

We were also very fortunate to have a fantastic community and managed to borrow a few things for her that made our lives easier. Both from virtual strangers, we got her a papasan chair, that comfortably rested her casts, as well as a open seat high chair as hers had hard frame leg holes that were were difficult with her bend leg casts.

We reiterated to her over and over that at the end of the week these casts would come off BUT another set were then going on. The way she repeated it, I don't think she quite understood that second part, which made the next appointment just as sad and difficult.

One thing that made removing the first set challenging is that we never had plaster casts before! All her previous sets were soft roll they would just unravel.

We opted out of using the saw, as it scared me.

So, they set us up with a bucket of water and a huge roll of paper towels. We had to soak each towel and wrap them around her casts. I felt so badly about it as it was pretty cold in there. After about 40 minutes, they came back and told us to start over, and do it again. UGH!

Finally her cast of soft enough to cut off using these industrial scissor things. They had to shove the shaft of the scissors down the leg of her cast, and tug pretty roughly and she complained of pain the entire time. She kept saying he was going to cut her foot off and that she was 'afraid to see my leg!' it was heartbreaking.

Once she had the new set of casts on, she was ok. She was just happy they weren't touching her anymore. When we got home she was in much better spirits week two. She often got down on the floor to play with her big sister and kept saying she couldn't wait until she could run around in circles again.

When the day of the second cast removal finally came, we were all so excited! This time we opted for the saw, which was much faster, but incredibly loud. She still cried and was scared but didn't complain of any pain this time.

On a plus side her feet look SO straight!!

What we forgot to anticipate was how sore her legs would be, having been locked in the same position for two weeks. Once we got her home we figured it might be a day or two before she would be back to her old self. She could only move around in very small steps and only holding hands or furniture.

Now we are almost 2 weeks out, and she is finally running around just as before. Hopefully we can get back into the swing of potty training, which was interrupted by this relapse!

She continues to wear her brace every night, for about 12hrs a day.

At just 29 months of age she has endured 25 casts total, 2 surgeries and hundreds of hours in an awkward brace. Even she will happily tell you she is a 'Warrior Princess"

Here's to hoping that was our last bump in the road along this journey!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Party in Your PJs #150!

Happy Tuesday! Happy Spring!

Welcome to the Party in Your PJs Link Party, where your posts will be seen on four different blogs each week.   In addition to Kim from The Cookie Puzzle, you'll also find Party in Your PJs every Tuesday evening at Grandma IdeasWood of Bell Trees and... here!

You'll also find the Awesome Life Friday link-up here at RCHReviews, every Thursday evening at 8pm ET so we hope to see you there as well.

Are you ready to party? I can't wait to see what you've brought to share!

Kim ~ The Cookie Puzzle | Facebook | Pinterest 
Nina ~ Grandma Ideas | Pinterest | Twitter
Lynda ~ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos | Facebook | Pinterest
Heather ~ Woods of Bell Trees | Facebook | Instagram

 Meet the Co-Hosts

Kim @ The Cookie Puzzle 

Kim is a small town girl who love simple things. Simple cookies, simple crafts and simple people. She is a wife, mother to one son and two adorable fur babies. Slightly addicted to reality TV and sitcoms, but she loves curling up with a good book or a good walk while listening to podcasts. You can find her at The Cookie Puzzle, where she shares her love for cookies and crafting. 

Nina @ Grandma Ideas 

How is this: Nina is wildly in love with her grandchildren. She delights in doing activities with them that strengthen their relationship –- playing games, doing crafts, snuggling, reading stories to them, and cooking together. She enjoys reading, technology, and traveling. (Tahiti is her most favorite place on earth!)

Lynda @ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos 

Lynda lives outside DC with her husband Michael and elderly beagle, Sadie. She and her daughter Jackie started RCHReviews as a way to spend time together in spite of living across country, and along the way they've added several friends as regular contributors. Between them all, they bring together many different perspectives and lifestyles with one common philosophy - try new things, have fun, and remember you are awesome!

 Heather @ Wood of Bell Trees

Heather is a wife of a peanut butter fanatic and mom of one silly human and one furry canine, wrangling life on 2nd shift and glitterizing everything as she goes!

The rules for the group board include:
1. Limit of one pin a day.
2. Just like the party anything goes, but clear wonderful pictures with great descriptions are most successful.
3. Please no Spam ( Spammers will be deleted without warning)
4.  If you pin to the Pinterest Board, please link to the Party in Your PJs Party also, the party runs from 7 pm Tuesdays-Midnight Saturday (Central Time)
5.  Finally have fun and share this group board  with blog friends and followers!  The more success the group board is the more success you will see from your pins.

Want to be added to the group board?  Follow our Party in Your PJs board and email Kim at

Features from Last Weeks Party!

 to see their features - we each pick our own!

All links are pinned to a Party can follow the board on Pinterest...feel free to follow the board, there is lots of inspiration to be found there.

Ok...let's party!

Rules -Link to post, not your home page
-Link to something YOU made, wrote or thought
-No Etsy or Business Pages
-Link Parties, Roundups and Giveaways welcome
- Don't Link and Run! Please visit other links, make friends, learn something new, leave a comment.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Awesome Life Friday #104

Welcome to the 101th Awesome Life Friday!

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

Here's a bit of what we've been up to this week:

And now our favorite part - the FEATURES !  If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!

Catnip, Profile & Uses // Frugal Living on the Ranch
This hardy mint isn't just for our cats - there are several wonderful uses for it for humans, too!

Felt Celtic Pins // KBB Crafts & Stitches
Aren't these beautiful? I can't wait to stitch up a few of them for my Celtic-loving friends!

Turmeric Gummies // Dear Chrissy
I am a huge fan of turmeric to fight inflammation - these gummies get their color and flavor from carrots, orange juice and turmeric, to provide a healthy, delicious supplement.

Naked Buttermilk Chocolate Cake // Sweet Sensations
This stunning cake would be just right for a special occasional, and yet the recipe is simple enough to actually do.

Creamy Parmesan Salmon Fillets // This Autoimmune Life
I plan to try this rich, creamy salmon dish soon - it made me hungry just looking at it!

DIY Simple Greenery Wreath // Maggie Lois
A simple DIY project that will add a touch of spring to your decor!

If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!

Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!

Are you all ready to party?  If you like, we'd love it you'd help spread the word by grabbing our button:

Here we go!