"Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing,
The days pass quickly when I am sewing"
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When things happen.....

Sometimes life brings things into your path that turn life a bit upsidedown. This summer has brought something to my path that I could never have expected. I have been diagnosed with a rare and incurable eye disease called Graves orbitopathy. After having become very ill weeks after radioactive therapy for my thyroid, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease. It is so rare that only 1% of the patients develop thyroid eye disease.

I had been having severe eye pain for some time now and finally talked with my regular doctor about it in the summer. I had thought it was from my Fibromyalgia. She said she did not think it had anything to do with this condition and told me to be sure to tell my endocrinologist as I was due for my next check up. I had a new doctor temporarily who immediately suspected it was Graves. The eye specialist has now confirmed it this week.

The coming 3 to 8 months will be critical while the disease is active. He says there is nothing they can do until it runs its course. Only then will I know how much damage my eyes will have. They are keeping track of changes in my eyes and I will have a CAT scan done in October to see how much growth is taking place to the tissue around the inside of my eyes. All I can do is wait now.

I have days that I am not able to do much of anything with needle and thread but they are not constant thankfully. I do have trouble focusing but am learning to be patient with my eyes. There is a hazy spot now that I cannot seem to get rid of even using fake tears to keep my eye moist. I have a great deal of hope in me that the problems I am left with will be minimal once the active phase is passed.

You see...for me eyesight is something I have always been grateful for as I adore working with fine linen. I do hope that if I am not longer able to work on this linen that I will however be able to work with a larger count to continue my passion. But I know there are reasons for everything we encounter in life and I am more thankful than ever for all the wonderful things I have been able to make. They are taking on a whole new light to me at this moment. I am finding that each stitch I stitch or quilt is special and much more fulfilling if that is even possible. I do so love doing my needlework!

I am working away at my latest cat sampler and as you can see...Chester is now Dagi as I once again changed the colors. Dagi sat on my lap last evening as I worked it and I think he is pleased. We have hung all the frames I have up to now for my sampler wall. As soon as I finish this one and put it in its frame, I will share the wall with you...soon...very soon.

This is a long blog entry but bare with me for one more little item...

I showed you my new poncho in my last post which is keeping me warm in our cool summer weather. Now I found this video from Smithsonian Folkways which I just had to share. The song is so sweet and cannot help but make you smile but be sure to pay attention to the granny stripe and granny square ponchos. Love them!

I hope you enjoy each moment you can spend each day with needle and thread!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Happiness is a warm poncho!

It is pretty chilly here in Holland so that is my motto for the coming weekend. Why is because I finished my granny stripe poncho early this week...

Oops! I see that I did not straighten it out when I laid it down to take a photo. Oh well...crooked or not, I love it and it keeps me warm. I was inspired by Hazel when she shared this pattern on Le Monde de Sucrette's blog. I loved it and thought why does it have to just be for kids??? Why indeed as I have now seen more granny stripe ponchos in blogland.

I was able to make mine for a super bargain price as it cost well under 5 euros for the yarn and I have a good deal left too. I used a 4.5cm crochet hook and started with a 112 chain stitches for my multiple of 8 which ended up being 14 granny square clusters to start. I finished it off with a row of single crochets around the neck and a shell edging along the bottom.

My mother says I had one of these same ponchos made by my grandmother as a little girl. Unfortunately, she cannot find a photo but I guess this is proof that I am still a little girl...right mother? *grins*

So I will be keeping warm with my poncho. You just have to be warm and happy in a poncho! My weekend will be busy working on my latest cat sampler. What about yours?

Have a happy and creative weekend with needle and thread!

Stop by my new book and food blog Bookshelves and StoveTops...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fun with napkins!

Each year for my quilt group's Christmas party, I come up with a theme for gifts to exchange. I had been telling my homekeeping online group about my choice for this year's theme...cloth napkins. They decided that they also wanted to do this exchange so I got to make a practice run with them. *grins*

I had them fill in a questionnaire about their dishes and color choices when they set the table. I then gave each person their secret partner's answers. I had Tammy and these are the napkins I made for her.

The fabric is a vintage reproduction with a matching plaid for the back. The napkins are sewn in half circles and then folded and ironed to create a tree.

Tammy created a Christmas table setting to show the napkins after she received them. I am thrilled you like them Tammy as I had fun making them especially for you!

Friday, August 19, 2011

More SAL fun!

It has been a while due to circumstances but Bep, Saskia and I had our 4th SAL day yesterday. We started the 4th pillow in this fun Christmas project. I decided to go ahead and string my first three pillows onto a piece of jute. I will add a new pillow now each time I finish. There are six in all so we have two more get togethers before our pillow tree is complete...

First a cup of coffee and something sweet to get us started...

After we finished our strawberry cream cakes, we put our finished pillows together for a photo and then started stitching the next one...

This is Rover who is a special someone in Saskia's life. He spent the day in the quilt studio watching over us...

We do pause for lunch of course! We have a theme each time we get together. We bring something to eat based on that theme. But doesn't the table look bare???

This time Saskia choose the theme of tapas (appetizers). We were supposed to make things along the idea of a tapas using meat for one, vegetable for a second and our own choice for the third. Here is my meat tapas which you can find the recipe for on my new food and book blog by clicking on BookshelvesAndStoveTops...

Not only was the table no longer bare...

There was a cornucopia of truly delicious food to eat...

It was a fabulously fun day Bep and Saskia and I am already looking forward to the next one!

P.S. - Don't forget to become a follower of my new blog to keep up with my recipes and book reviews.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Flowers to keep me warm.....

Yes, it is true. This winter, I will have purple flowers to keep me warm with this Japanese double flower scarf...

Someone had asked me to help her figure out a pattern. It is using a diagram instead of a written crochet pattern. I tested the flower with some yarn I had. I found I had to use one color since I did not have much of this thickness laying around. They are larger than the original flowers should be since I did use a thicker yarn. But what to do with two or three test flowers??? Why make a scarf for the upcoming winter of course. To add interest since these flowers are large, I sewed a glass bead in the middle of each flower.

The only problem this winter is going to be how to choose which of my new scarves to wear. *grins*

Friday, August 5, 2011

Remember my cat sampler wall?

Well, if you do, I bet you think I forgot? Here is the story of the beginnings of this project if you want to look back. I became discouraged and set everything aside but more about the reason in a moment. Here is what I have finished up to now...

With three done, I am going to start putting them up on the wall soon and just keep adding to it. I had finished this sampler but decided to add Dagi name to the bottom. His name is Adagio and we call him Dagi for short. I needed a good frame for it which I found about a month after I finished it but did not frame it until this week. Here creeps in that discouraged feeling again. I loved this sampler so it should have been framed right away along with this one I did.

I just have you clicking all over the place to read on past posts, don't I? *wink*

Anyway, what discouraged me you ask? It was this little design (photo below). I did not like it. I used overdyed threads I had in stash and went with softer colors than this design called Rosie had recommended. But it is just so different and I ended up hating it and put it aside. I had it almost finished too. I was disheartened and did not pick the samplers up again for months.

Fresh eyes can help as I opened the booklet from The Goode Housewife again this week to find this staring me in the face. I filled in the last fews areas thinking it was not all as bad as I thought. But Rosie will have to be called Bunny Honey now after a name of one of the threads I used. To fit Bunny Honey well in her frame, I added a piece of well matched quilt fabric to the bottom. Nice new girlfriend for Dagi. *grins*

Threads used:
The Gentle Arts - Brandy
Crescent Colours - Bunny Honey, Chocolate Cream Pie, Copper Penny and Whatley Woodlands

So time to flip through the book and pick out another sampler. This time I am making Chester. Since I once again will change the colors to be the color of Dagi himself, I will be calling this Dagi instead of Chester of course.

I tea dyed a piece of fabric and pulled my colors. Just look at this gorgeous pattern!!! Wonder if you would notice if I just framed the pattern and hung it instead? Yeah...you would, wouldn't you so I guess I had better start stitching.

Have a creative weekend!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Farmer's life.....

Time always passes so quickly and it is once again the first Wednesday of the month. That means time for the next quilt group evening. I have the newsletters ready and am off now to start setting up the studio for all the ladies to arrive. Here and the next four blocks for their Farmer's Wife Sampler...

Left to right: Squash blossom, Corn and beans, Rosebud and Cat and mice. Enlarge the photo for a better look.

As I looked for a farm theme painting to share with you on this post, I can across this painting by W.G. Hofker. It was painted in 1965 but he must have been inside my head as I would LOVE to live here! *grins* What a dream of a house...

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I wish I could live here with my own Farmer's Wife sampler. It is coming along nicely and about half quilted now. I am looking forward to having it done and laying it out on my table. In the meantime, I am also enjoying making a red version of the quilt now too. I will have to start sewing these blocks together now as I have about half of them needed for the second sampler. But for now...time to get things ready for tonight...