Come visit with me as I stitch and craft my way from one Christmas to the next - I like to have Christmas projects close by me all year. I have a particular fondness for Santas and Angels. If you have the time, leave a comment so I know you've visited.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Totally Useless SAL

I'm finding it hard to believe it's the New Moon again - but the chart on Yoyo's blog says it is, so it must be time for the Totally Useless SAL report. The contents of my jar have grown over the past month. I'm not at all confident that this jar is going to make it to the end of the year. I've pressed the contents down several times already. The jar has tipped over a couple of times in the past month, so things have got a bit out of order, but starting from the top you can see the sky-coloured threads from Jolly Old Fellow, and under them the whites, creams, pinks and reds of the tip of Santa's hat and furtrim. Under that are some gold, red, green and tan threads from the Christmas ornaments I made earlier this month, beneath that are the red, green and dark threads from the little wren I stitched in the first week of March. I've also added some broken needles and some thread bands.

A little progress

Not much to show for almost a week of stitching on Jolly Old Fellow ... but at least there is some progress. I'm hoping to get in some stitching over the next few days. I would really like to have the page 4 sky finished by the end of this week, but it's not looking likely right now.

Maddie, my (10 yr old Maltese) 'baby' had some teeth removed yesterday, and the combination of the procedure and the medications has really slowed her down. She is always my constant companion when I'm stitching, but normally she sits on the end of my recliner, or on the arm of my chair. Today she has begged to be nursed all day, and in case you were wondering, it's not very easy to stitch with one hand while cuddling a groggy 4kg fluff-bucket with the other arm. It's not slowing me down at the computer, though, as she always does get a cuddle when I'm at the keyboard - we have an understanding about that! I'm hopeful she'll be back to her usual independent self tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Not Happy ...

I know I promised not to carry on about my health - but just this one last time, okay? I was coming to terms with the new diagnosis of pernicious anaemia, and preparing to embrace the regular Vit B12 injectons for the rest of my life. When she was checking my Vit B12 levels, my very conscientious GP noticed that my blood tests over the last year showed an increase in one of the liver enzymes - alk phos. So she sent me off for a bone scan (absolutely fascinating experience over a 7 hr period, but I won't bore you with the details), and today I got the results. I have Pagets Disease, affecting only my skull at present. I'm really blown away by this. I'm sure once the emotion settles and I start thinking reasonably about it I'll be grateful that it's been diagnosed early and that I've started the treatment. Right now, I'm just mad about it! Two more chronic conditions in just one week -that's just not cricket! This getting old hasn't got a lot going for it - though right now I do prefer it to the alternative, so I'll stop whingeing and start looking for the positives.

I'm off to stich for a while on Jolly Old Fellow - that will calm me down.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Progress Pic, HAED Jolly Old Fellow

Page 3 is finished (at last! - big sigh of relief from me), and the first 100 page 4 stitches are now on the fabric. My Totally Useless SAL jar is about to get another layer of sky-coloured orts. I've stitched on JOF for 27 hrs this week, including 2 hrs spent gridding the section of the fabric that page 4 will be stitched on. That brings my total JOF stitching hours to 269 hrs, 6 weeks of solid stitching for me. Actually it's 9 weeks since I started JOF, but I had 3 JOF-free weeks in that time.

This is my first experience with gridding. So far it's working out well - but I've only done 100 stitches or so, probably too early for a final decision about it yet. I've already tentatively decided to go for 20x20 grids next time instead of the 10x10 I did for page 4.

I'll be stitching on JOF all the coming week. I hope to finish the Page 4 sky by the end of the week.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Making progress ...

I'll be finishing page 3 of Jolly Old Fellow today, and I'll pop in a progress pic when I do. I'm very much hoping that at some stage in the distant future I'll be able to look at my finished Jolly Old Fellow and reminisce about how page 3 was the most difficult for me to stitch - I am really hanging onto that thought right now!

At present I'm filling in time between bone scan sessions. My GP has sent me for any test she could think of this week. This is the last of them. It's also the last mention of them here - I am so over tests! I will just say that I have been diagnosed with pernicious anaemia, and have to start the Vit B12 injections this coming week. I'm expecting to feel loads better soon. Then that JOF will be no match for me!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Some good news

My GP has assured me that my low VitB12 level is totally unrelated to any of the medications I'm currently taking. That was such a relief for me, as I had myself convinced I would have to stop the methotrexate, and I'm reluctant to do that since it's given me such a good quality of life over the past few years. I have to have more blood tests to confirm it, but she's pretty certain I do have pernicious anaemia. That's very treatable, just an injection each month or so, so I'm not worried about that. And it would explain my snappiness and tiredness, and my shocking memory lately.

I've settled back into stitching my WIP - HAED Jolly Old Fellow. I have about one-sixth of page 3 to finish. I've decided to trial gridding for the next page, so I spent a couple of hours this afternoon gridding the fabric. I've never done it before, but Yoyo recommended it, so I thought I would give it a try. I'm hopeful to finish page 3 by the end of this week, and get started on the gridded page 4 area at the weekend.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Three little finishes

To take my mind off my troubles , I finished up three Christmas ornaments I'd stitched up this week.The outside ones are for two brothers I stitch an ornie for each year. The one in the middle was meant for their other brother - but as I stitched the frame I noticed I had used 22 count fabric instead of the 18 count I used for the others. So I'll have to stitch another one now on 18 count - sometimes it's important that siblings are seen to be treated the same.

I'll be starting again on Jolly Old Fellow today. I'm really looking forward to stitching on him after what has turned into a 2 week break.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A little bit of knowledge ...

can be a VERY bad thing. My imagination is running wild right now. The practical side of me is trying to take control and maintain a sensible view of the situation, but so far it's not winning. Yesterday (Saturday) morning I had a call from my GP's surgery calling me in for a visit because my blood test results show a Vit B12 deficiency. I have an appointment to see the GP Monday afternoon.

In the meantime my mind has jumped from low Vit B12 levels to pernicious anaemia to possible side effect of the methotrexate I take for my Rheumatoid Arthritis to having to stop taking the MTX to returning to the incapacty I had before I went onto the MTX. I have such vivid memories of the pain and restricted activity I suffered before MTX. I wasn't able to dress myself. I couldn't do up my own seatbelt in the car. I remember at the time I was stitching L&L's Angel of Love, and at times I would be sitting a my work for an hour or more and get maybe 10 beads stitched, and 100 beads on the floor, and be in tears of frustration and pain. I don't want to return to that.

I know I'm being irrational - and ridiculous. It's probably something as simple as needing to eat more Vegemite.

The moral of this story is: Don't get blood tests on Friday. DO it early in the week so if the GP calls you back you can get an appointment that day, and not stew about it over the weekend!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another bird

but this one was not stitched by me. It is another Graham Ross design, Azure Kingfisher. I know that because the chart is in my stash, though I've not stitched it. It looks as though this was stitched many years ago. I rescued it from an op shop while I was holidaying last week. It's also on its way to the laundry for a bath and press. If it comes up OK I'll send it away to be part of a fundraising quilt being organised by the Stitching Under the Southers Cross group.

A little bird

This is my one 'finish' for last week - and, in fact, the only stitching I did at all last week. It's Graham Ross's red-backed wren, from his Garden Birds leaflet. It is destined to become part of a quilt being made for a Victorian lady who lost her family farmhouse and all her possessions in the February bushfires. She's the mother of an Aussie cross-stitcher from Stitching Under the Southern Cross. A number of items her daughter had stitched for her were lost in the fire. I scanned the wren on its way to the laundry, so it's not yet been washed or ironed. It needs to be in the mail to the quilt-maker by the end of this week.

I have been slow to recover from my holiday. We've been home 48 hrs, and so far I've not even picked up a needle. I'm hoping to remedy that tonight, and plan to stitch and hopefully make up a Christmas ornament.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Safely home

and up to my knees in piles of laundry waiting for its turn in the washing machine. Three loads done, about 4 more to go. It rained on our last day, and it looked set in, but we were very lucky and got a dry pack-up. That's important when your van is half-canvas!

I got very little stitching done while we were away. Just one little bird finished. I'll pop in a pic later. Too many other distractions I suppose. We were camping with friends who are extremely good 500 players, and we had quite a few games of 500 over the week - we lost all but one. And we also played lots games of Canasta (I lost 90% ) and lots of Upwords (I won most of these). Another friend from the area where we were staying spent a few days with us as well, so all in all it was a very social tme, and lots of fun. Our next trip will probably be in May, for 4 or 5 days, inland this time.

I'm going to make a few little ornies and stitch another quilt square bird before I settle back into stitching on my Jolly Old Fellow. That is, if I ever ge to leave the laundry again ...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Enjoying the view ...

It's beautiful here by the lake, surrounded by trees and native birds. My friend has loaned me her laptop so I can check in. I am really having a very relaxing holiday. So relaxing that I have hardly had time to pick up a needle. I have stitched one design, a red-back wren for a quilt square. I still have a few leaves to stitch, but hope to finish it tonight. Maybe I'll get more stitching time in the next few days. I found a lovely stitched Kingfisher in a local op shop, and bought it to send along to be made up into the fundraiser quilt. It saddened me to think that someone's labour of love might end its days in an op shop. I think a quilt would be a more fitting place for it to be. As always when I see handcrafted items discarded, it made me think of my own work, and wonder what will happen to it once I am gone from this world. I hope it will be loved, not discarded like the poor kingfisher I rescued. On this cheery note I'll finish.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I'm parking my needle

and loosening the frame. Here's a pic of HAED Jolly Old Fellow, as at the end of tonight's stitching session. It's taken me 240 stitching hours to get this far, over a 6 week period. I'm about two-thirds of the way through page 3. JOF will be 'resting' for the next 10 days or so, so I'll be working on him next around mid-March.

We're heading off tomorrow on a camping (campervan) adventure. Just a tiny one this time, about a 3 hr drive north to a lovely coastal town. We're taking our two dogs (Bichon and Maltese) and meeting friends who'll be travelling with their two dogs (standard poodle and chihuaha). It should be a fun time for all of us. The holiday park has a lovely name - Christmas Cove. We've not stayed there before, but we like the area. I don't take a computer with me in the van, so I probably won't get a chance to post while we're away.

I'm taking some small projects with me. I'm hoping to stitch two quilt squares. One is for a fundraiser quilt for the Victorian bushfire relief effort, the other is for a quilt to be given to the parents of an Aussie cross-stitcher. They lost their farm in the bushfires on Feb 7. I'm going to stitch a bird on each quilt square, one red-back wren and one blue-faced finch. The charts are from Graham Ross's garden Birds leaflet. I'd also like to make a couple of Christmas ornaments, if I can find the time.