Friday, February 25, 2011

Health Scare

Around this time of year I get tired of the cold weather, the slushy streets and all the grit that gets tracked in the house. I'm ready for warmer days and more sunshine, but instead we had another winter storm this past week and the weather has been pretty glum and dreary. On top of that I had a health scare that I wanted to share in the hopes that it may help or comfort others going through something similar.

Patiently Awaiting Spring
A couple of weeks ago I found a lump in my breast. I spent a couple of days debating whether or not it was worrisome enough to see the doctor. I get mammograms every year and just saw my ob-gyn in November, but I decided I'd better get it checked out  (I know you're thinking, well duh!). I saw the doctor on Tuesday and that's when I really got freaked out. She seemed pretty concerned, spent extra time feeling my lymph nodes and wanted me to have a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound and a needle biopsy right away.  I am a believer and I know God is always with me, but the fact that she wanted me to get this done so quickly really scared me silly.
Well, I had the tests today and everything came back normal.  I can't tell you how relieved I am. I think I really learned two things this week: Don't sweat the small stuff. I'm embarrassed by how many times I get upset about really little annoyances in life. And ladies, please keep up with your screenings and don't minimize your concerns. If you're worried about something, see the doctor. It's better than waiting for things to get worse. Even though the worry this week was awful, if there is a problem I want to catch it as early as possible.

Clematis Jackmanii & Stella D'Oro Day Lillies
I hope you have a great weekend. Even though it's 20 degrees outside and the ground is covered in snow, I'm going to go to the local garden show and start planning this year's garden.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Adventures with Friends

We have been blessed by a week of spring time weather! It gave me spring fever, for sure, so I jumped at the chance for an outing with good friends and fellow craft enthusiasts, Leslie and Jo. Our first stop was Quilter's Station. I know, I was just there a couple of weeks ago, but this trip gave us time for some serious shopping. I picked up Maggie Bononomi's new book. It seems like everyone has been commenting on it and as usual, it is full of her wonderful ideas, projects and doodles. Also picked up another Blackbird Design book that has a lot of needlework projects and some new fabric for a little project in the works.
Quilter's Station Finds
After a quick bite at a nearby Mexican restaurant to fortify us for more shopping, we headed into the country east of Independence, MO, to find a wool shop Leslie had heard about at a recent jewelry show (you never know where you'll find a good lead). A short time later, we pulled up to home of Janice Johnson and Wooly Woolen.
"Hooker Parking Only"

A Welcoming Entry

We entered the large outbuilding behind Janice's home and found a treasure chest of wool and incredible rugs. This is only about half of what's available. The colors were amazing and the selection outstanding.

Every Shade Imaginable
In addition to all the wool, there were about 20 finished rugs. Janice graciously gave us permission to take photos but I didn't want to infringe on her hospitality by photographing them since many are her own designs, but check out her website at Wooly Woolen to see some of her rugs and more of her shop.

Spinning Vignette
In addition to all the beautiful rugs, various vignettes like the one above give the shop a cozy feel.

Plaids, Tweeds, Textures
I'm amazed this shop was almost in our backyard and we didn't find it sooner, but now that we know, we'll definitely return.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Simply Primitives February Offerings

I admit I still have snowmen decorating my house, but I'm ready to look ahead to spring with this month's Simply Primitives offerings. I love Bird in the Hand's designs and this little bunny guy is no exception. He's made from stained muslin with stitched eyes and funny little stiffened whiskers.
Egg Hunt

I also really like this design by Waltzing with Bears. I think it would look great made in a variety of colors. Last month I used reds and greens for this same design and this month put a somewhat monochromatic spin on it. I wouldn't mind if all my house was done in these colors--I think it would be calming to come home to.
Shades of Winter Pillow
Pillow Detail

The wool used in the hearts is a very unique piece. It has a somewhat tweedy look but I started with that piece and tried to select the rest of the wool to coordinate.
Velor Backing

 I wouldn't mind if all my house was done in these colors--I think it would be calming to come home to. Here's one little corner of my craft room with similar colors. The fabric bird was made by Maggie Bonanomi, the quail print is from a wonderful local store called Nell Hill's and the little "book" is actually a box--one of my last finds from The Curious Sofa.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Technique

Well, new to me! I had a busy week. I just learned that I have a new duty at work that I am very excited about. I'll be the point of contact for people in our church who are interested in tutoring at our inner city partner schools. Very exciting opportunity to help the teachers and give the kiddos valuable one on one attention. So I spent extra time at work last week trying to get quickly up to speed on the needs in the schools and the training that will be required of participants. However, some time ago I had signed up to take a punch needle class at Quilter's Station, so I headed over to Lee's Summit as soon as I left work on Tuesday for the evening class. 

I took a punch needle class a few years ago but never ended up doing much so I thought a refresher class would be a good idea.  However, I quickly realized I had forgotten more than I knew (the bevel on the punch goes towards me?). Getting the technique right was a little tricky and it seemed like I pulled out as much thread as I left in, but it was fun and we all had a fun evening learning about this addicting craft. Almost all of us were working on a Brenda Gervais design and they were all wonderful!

Here's the little bit I managed to complete:
Trick or Tweet by Brenda Gervais

Right Side of Design
If you aren't familiar with this pattern, this is a three dimensional design. When you're done with the design, it's sewn onto a calico backing, stuffed and attached to a little stand. Brenda uses a tiny vintage oil can and I managed to find one at a recent trip to Greenwood, Mo. 

Well, on to my Simply Primitives offerings for this month, but as soon as they're complete I'm going to finish up this project before I forget the technique again!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day!

We got about 13 inches of snow yesterday. Schools were out and many people stayed home. Before the roads were totally impassable, I went to the gym and then hit the grocery store. A few other people were there and apparently like everyone else I bought the staples. I wonder what other things people buy when they're worried about getting snowed in for a few days? I noticed one shopper buying cat litter--probably a good choice.

I was going to work from home, but I didn't have any deadlines (I work flexible hours so I'll make up the time later this week) and the craft room really beckoned. Everything outside seeming to be at a standstill and it felt right to slow down and spend the afternoon working with needle and thread instead of pecking away at the computer.

Silk Matka Backing

Last summer  I took a class from Stacy Nash at Primitives of the Midwest and this was the project we worked on. That was last June, so I guess it was time for me to get it done. My final task was to secure the edges with little x's, which wasn't as fun as sewing the design, but I managed to get it done last night. That's probably one of those tasks that it would be better to do all at once, because depending on my mood the size of the x's seems to vary.

Stacy Nash School Girl Roll
The roads look pretty clear this morning, so its back to work today!