Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spring Table Runner and Placemats... DONE!

It was so very nice to complete a project and be able to share it! So much of my sewing time is currently being allocated to wedding projects that my daughter has asked me not to share until after the wedding. Fair enough. Although I can share little snippets here and there as long as I don't give anything away!

This project was started form the mitered corners class I took back in November at the Sewing Expo. I'm very happy with how it turned out! :)

I really like these spring placemats the colors really remind of new growth and rich earth. I tried my hand at tiny channel quilting. The placemats are quilted at just about a 1/4 in and the runner just over 1/4 inch. I used 3 spools of thread just for the quilting portion.

On the runner I went back and forth over what color to use for the quilting and in the end decided to use the same pale green as on the placemats. It reminded me of tiny rows of seeds being planted in the garden!

Just enough thread to finish sewing on the bindings!

3 placemats with browns and 3 with blue/greens. All with a Kona solid pale green background and pieced with perfect mitered corners.

A sleepy little Holly dog tucked away on the couch in a fleece blanket.

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, IL

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My heart....

This is a long rambling post on health stuff and really has nothing to do with sewing but everything to do with me.

2013 started off stressfully for me. On January 2 nd I had to visit the hospital for an Echocardiogram and to be hooked up to a month long heart monitor.

The Echocardiogram seemed straight forward, the only thing that concerned me during the test was that it took a good 15-20mins longer than what they told me it would to perform. I was told on entering the room that it would take no ,Omer than 30 mins to complete.... I was on the table being ultrasounded for over 45 mins. I did not think much of it at the time.

Here is Wikipedias definition of Echocardiogram. Echocardiogram, often referred to cardiac echo or simply an echo is a sonogram of the heart. (It is not abbreviated as ECG, which in medicine usually refers to an electrocardiogram.) Echocardiography uses standard two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and Doppler ultrasound to create images of the heart.
Echocardiography has become routinely used in the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with any suspected or known heart diseases. It is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests in cardiology. It can provide a wealth of helpful information, including the size and shape of the heart (internal chamber size quantification), pumping capacity, and the location and extent of any tissue damage. An Echocardiogram can also give physicians other estimates of heart function such as a calculation of the cardiac output, ejection fraction, and diastolic function (how well the heart relaxes).

After the ultrasound I was shown to a room where they hooked me up to a remote monitoring system that would be with me for a month. Yay.... I was thinking oh boy, overkill.

This was all done on a Wednesday. By the following Tuesday the nurse from my primary care doctor was calling me to make sure that I had an appointment to review the test results. So much for getting a letter in the mail saying all the tests were negative! Stress and worry quickly wiggled and wormed their way into my daily existence. I did my best to ignore it but having leads stuck to your chest with a little monitor that intermittently decided to beep and indicate it was picking up an 'event' was not helpful.

The appointment for my follow up to review the test results were scheduled for a full 5 weeks later. Not due to availability but due to the doctor wanting to wait until after having the full results from the month long cardiac monitor.

At times I was just filled with incredulity... Is this really happening??? And other times I was just full on pissed off. The only thing that seemed to keep me calm was that my appointment was scheduled with my primary care doctor to review the tests and not a cardiologist and that hey did not call me up and tell me to go to the hospital now. So I rationalized that it could not be so bad and made myself calm.

Fast forward to now and.........

I saw my primary physician on Friday and she only had the results of the one test. The Echocardiogram. This was very frustrating for me, I waited an entire month so that results could all be gotten at the same time and it turns she did not have them. Aghhhh.

She, my doc, told me not to worry when I told her that the heart monitor was going off. She said if it was something bad they would have called her immediately, night or day. So possibly could have been premature heartbeats.... Whatever those are! So, no heart rate monitor results yet.

The echocardiogram did show an abnormality in my heart. I have what is called an Atrial Septal Aneurysm. Sounds WAY worse than it really is and it is not the cause of the other issues. It is just one of those things that they sometimes find. Nice. There is nothing that can be done for it and I now have to add a 325mg tablet of aspirin to my daily regimen. Apparently this abnormality has some sort of a link to higher incidence of stroke. Lucky for me I don't have any other risk factors for stroke.

Now what?

I have a nuclear stress test scheduled for this Thursday, valentines day! Pretty appropriate way to spend valentines day, all day at the hospital having your heart looked at! And then the Friday after I have an appointment with a cardiologist to review everything.

Good news, it's nothing life threatening at this point in time and all of these tests will give us a great baseline and hopefully keep something bad from happening in the future! Bad news, I want to know what is going on in there.... Not normal to have pinches in your chest and get short of breath. Makes me nervous!

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

FINALLY.... Enough snow to try out my snow shoes!

I purchased these brand new snow shoes last year and did not get to use them due to lack of snow. Just as I was beginning to despair that they would once again languish in my closet for another year we finally got a couple inches of snow.

Probably not really enough to make a real go at it but enough to try them out and get a good feel for how they work. I headed out at lunch yesterday to one of the local forest preserve parks and was very pleased with them! I could feel my knee afterwards but I never had any of that 'in the moment bad pain'. YES!!!

Hopefully I'll get a couple more outings in them this year.

I managed to grab a couple of pics :)

On the sewing front. I worked on my giant pile of mending. It's almost cleaned out. Which is a really good feeling. 4 pairs of jeans fixed, one sweater mended, one skirt deemed better off dead and recycled and only 1 pair of jeans left to hem. Well worth the couple of hours to get those crossed off my to do list!

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, IL

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wedding DIY crafts and other Sunday stuff

Happy Super Bowl Sunday. As of right now it looks like Baltimore is going to win. I'm happy for those routing for Baltimore. As for me... Meh, neither team moves me so no big deal.

My first half of this day SUCKED, big time. I laced awake in bed last night until 4 am and I do not do well with no sleep. I don't think I finally sort of woke up until after 5 pm. The rest of the day I was sort of in zombie land which just makes me feel crappy and cranky.

I was supposed to be at a Super Bowl party but my husband went without me so I could rest. I rested and I also finished up my blue hand beading piece. Still have not completely decided on what to do with it but heavily leaning on turning it into a small bridal purse for my daughter to use in her wedding. She loves it, keeps oohing and ahing over it. It would make me happy for her to use it and it would give her 'something blue'.

I also worked on other wedding crafts while I was parked on the couch! We have found a need for some tags for wedding guests, these will be attached to gift bags that I have made. The general theme of the wedding is vintage travel and going along with that I have taken plain purchased cream colored tags and embellished them with stamps, embossing and inks to give them the vintage one of a kind look that my daughter is going for. The back sides have been distressed and will eventually have guests names on them and on the bottom ticket portion will have the wedding date stamped on them. Then they will be attached with jute string to the bags.

I think it is fair to say that we, my entire little family, is really enjoying the creative side of the wedding. We really all get to put our hands into making various things to make this event be a dream come true for our little girl. I really can't wait to share the entire thing with everyone!!

And Baltimore wins!
I am praying for a good nights sleep!!!

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, IL

Saturday, February 2, 2013

From Montreal for work to HOME for some geeky sewing fun!

I got home late last night from Montreal. I think it was just about midnight when I finally crawled into bed next to my hubby for a blissful night of sleep!

My work trip was jam packed crazy busy schedule but it was very successful and I was grateful to be able to get home last night. Montreal had full on winter weather happening! I think when I flew out it was at 4'F. When I checked in on Thursday afternoon it was overcast but clear and within a couple hours the wind was whipping and not only was the snow coming down but so was the temperature. Brrrrrrrr.... All I can say is thank goodness for cuddle duds under my suit :)

I had some great views out my hotel window in Montreal. I find Montreal to be a very visually interesting city. I love how things reveal themselves between the buildings. For example this beautiful bridge framed between buildings.

And the view of this cathedral from above is beautiful. The colors on the roof bleeding together are great.

Now onto the FUN part......

This morning I attended a seminar on the new Brother V Series machines. It was given by Sharon Taylor, National Brother Educator at Linda Z's Sewing Center.

It was basically a 3 hour show and tell. Sharon, a very engaging speaker, shared her enthusiasm for this new series of machines.
She had a sampling of different examples displayed. I personally identified with several of her examples. Her artistic design felt very similar to mine.

She spent the first half of the seminar going through the new and very cool innovations of the sewing portion of the V series. The second half showed off all the super cool things in embroidery portion of the V series.

The Brother V series has 3 machines; the DreamWeaver XE that does sewing and embroidery, the DreamWeaver, sewing and quilting only machine and the DreamMaker XE which is embroidery only.

I have the DreamMaker XE, embroidery only. I have never had an embroidery machine before and I must be honest that I had a very narrow and limited view of what an embroidery machine was capable of. After spending several hours with Sharon Taylor... I am now very excited about all of the creative possibilities of my new machine.

My friend, who bought her DreamMaker at the same time as me, was so enamored with the DreamWeaver sewing and quilting machine that she traded in her Viking sewing machine for a new DreamWeaver! I think she fell in love with the laser!!

Geeky sewing is a very awesome thing :)

During the break Sharon spent her free time with any of us that had more questions or wanted to see anything more in depth. As an added bonus she was happy to let me take pictures and discuss step by step construction technique. I loved it!

In the example below, she showed us how to make our own appliqué 'puffy' designs using only the machine edit features.

My favorite part was using the laser pointer along with the stylus to line up designs and how to use the included border features to make beautiful borders that looked amazing! I was so enthralled that I forgot to take pictures of her beautiful border examples.
See.... Very geeky!

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Linda Z's Sewing Center, Arlington Heights, IL

Friday, February 1, 2013

Playing with my Brother DreamMaker

Yikes... I can't believe it is February! January has been a difficult month for me and I am glad that February is here and that the days are getting longer. After all, how can one not love February... It is the month of Love. :)

Worked has picked up again and my travels have increased again. It was so very nice to have so much time to spend at home over the Holidays! I suppose this next 3 months will be quite busy as we have just entered the 4th quarter of our fiscal year. Always a rush to try and get business finalized before next fiscal year!

On the sewing front, oh how I am itching to do some garment sewing for myself!!! I have lost a little over 27 lbs in the past 3 1/2 months! And it feels great but I want to MAKE something, I have plenty of things that I can alter and take in but I am thinking that a stylish boxy jacket from Cynthia Guffey is calling very loudly to me! And when I get home, I have to check my stash because I think I have a perfect fabric in mind...

I have been doing lots of sewing, mostly wedding projects for my daughters wedding in July. So most of it I can not share until summertime. I did have one leftover project from the holidays, another of the Star Wars lunch totes. No picture... It looks just like the last 2 I did!

In the meantime while I am busy doing wedding projects on my serger and symphony, I am playing with my new Brother DreamMaker. Mostly doing more basic, but fun, stuff as I get used to the nuances of machine embroidery.
My latest project was a set of four bar towels for my husband with drink recipes embroidered on them. He loves them and they make him quite stylish while he plays host to our friends!

Here is a sneak peak at the latest wedding project :) my Hubby and I have also been working on some DIY crafts for the wedding. It's been quite fun!

Happy Sewing!

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Montreal Airport