Thursday, 3 November 2016

Is this it?

Got up this morning feeling quite miserable - is this what my life is now?  Get dressed being careful not to upset the tube going into my arm from the syringe driver, and making sure the NG tub isn't all twisted. Park my arse on the lazy boy in front of the heater waiting for the district nurse to come and change the syringe driver.  Got some washing on, that's as close to normal as I'll get.  I don't want my days filled with crap tv and whinging about the district nurse being late.

Monday, 31 October 2016

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

In July of this year I got diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus.  Bit of a bombshell to say the least.  I'd been having some problems swallowing, doc had put it down to anxiety and muscle spasms, which sounded fair considering in ever other respect I was healthy.  Unfortunately, after getting progressively worse tests found a large tumour in my oesophagus and spread to the surrounding lymph nodes.  And more unfortunately, it was borderline curative/palliative for treatment options because of the size and the involvement of the lymph nodes. 

So the world changed.  Slowly but surely the world changed.  It starts with appointments, tests, results, decisions to be made, treatment to be undergone.  Priorities change, and no matter how many times you hear it's normal, it doesn't feel it.  And no matter how much you're warned, you're never ready for the reality.

I'm nearly at the end of treatment now, six weeks of radiation and two cycles of chemo all at the same time.  My oncologist wanted me to blog about how hard the treatment was, to warn others I guess and 'get it out there'.  I'm not sure my words will have any more impact than anyone else's but here goes....


The constant nausea, the vomiting, the lack of concentration, the pain, the misery that makes you want to give up, to give in.  The amount of effort required for the little things - going to the toilet, brushing your teeth, even rolling over in bed can seem insurmountable.  It's a soul destroying misery that you can't ever be prepared for, there are no words enough to describe it.  

And then there's the effect on those around you, partner, kids, siblings, parents, friends.  Of course there's support out there for them, the Cancer Society provides an amazing array of counselling, support groups and help.  But at some point they're also on their own with their thoughts and fears.  And some of life just continues as normal - school, work, bills, mortgages, these things go on as if nothing has happened.  Yet at home it's turmoil.  There's nothing that helps with trying to keep that balancing act going. 

Yet things must go on and so life continues.  

I'll be having more chemo next week, starting Wednesday for five days as an inpatient.  It's looming and I'm trying not to think about it, after finally feeling a little better it's hard to know next week I'll be knocked right back down again.

But on the UFO front, this week I've actually felt like sewing so am working on the hand quilting on Civil War Bride.  One border almost done, only three more to go.  Best I get going with it before the motivation gets knocked out by chemo again.  

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Sometimes Finished Is Enough.

Its hard to believe it's the end of February 2015 already! Symposium has been and gone, the Club year has started, and the kids are back at school. My youngest child has started College, my eldest is working fulltime, it's a whole new phase of life.

Symposium was inspiring, as such shows usually are. And despite working in the merchant mall I managed to squeeze in a 2 day class - Anna Williams "Celtic Rows". It was a great class and I'm so glad I did it. Anna is a lovely teacher with a great sense of humour. I learned some very cool techniques, had a lot of fun, and best of all, found my Mojo! Exactly what it was doing hiding in a Classroom in Palmerston North girl's High I do not know, but there it was.

The class was held on the last two days of Symposium.It had been a very long, hot and tiring week and I wasn't feeling particularly well. Pulling out of the class wasn't an option, not after working so hard and paying so much money.  So I planned to go along and pick the easiest pattern and not put any pressure on myself to perform or finish something amazing.  As I said, I thoroughly enjoyed the class, learning some very cool techniques, meeting some lovely people, and most of all, discovering that sometimes just participating is enough.  I didn't have the most complicated pattern or the most striking colours (and yes, I realise that it is only me putting that pressure on myself), but I did accomplish a reasonable amount, that I enjoyed doing and that I was looking forward to finishing at home.  It really cemented the idea that sometimes just being finished IS enough, and it doesn't have to be the best to be a success.

"Celtic Rows" - a class by Anna Williams at Quilt Symposium Manawatu 2015

I wrote this post back in February, and not really sure why I never hit 'publish', probably because I was waiting for a photo to load.  But after finding the draft it reminded me of the lessons I learned in that two day class, and how it felt, so I decided to post it even if it's out of order.  One of my biggest faults (and I have a few!) is that self-imposed pressure to be perfect.  As I get older it may be easing a bit - or perhaps it's just that my eyesight is going! ;-)

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

My Mojo is Returning!

Surely it can't be July already!

My blogging skills may be slack, but my quilting mojo is returning slowly but surely.  Maybe my blogging will follow.

As some of you know, handwork is my first passion/obsession, but due to ongoing issues with my right shoulder (and of course I'm right handed) I've been avoiding my needleturn applique.  I had just two borders left to do on my Civil War Bride replica, but even that seemed too much.  Some intense physio, some borrowed drugs, and the acquisition of a TENS machine has seen my shoulder if not fixed, at least stable enough to not be a constant fiery ball of pain. And so I dragged out my borders and set to finishing.  If I had none how little time it would take to finish I would never have stopped!

And now it's done!  I'm not going to show you the completed top, just in case it disqualifies it from entering a show or exhibition in the future.  But will tease you with just a corner....

This was a Block of the Month run by Village Fabrics and Needlecraft in Tauranga, the pattern created by Corliss Searcey of Threadbear.  The original had no sashing, and was done on a cream/tan background.  While the original looked great, I wanted to put my own touches in it so chose a pale/sky blue background, and used my own fabrics for the applique.  After seeing a finished version on the internet with sashing, I decided to add that as well, liking the definition it gave to each block rather than all of them running together.

Now to think about quilting it!  Hand quilting has always been on my "list of things to do".  With my love of handwork, it seems like a natural progression and as this was all done by hand (bar putting the blocks together with sashing of course), it lends itself perfectly to hand quilting I think.  So rather than starting another applique quilt, I'm learning to hand quilt.  Nothing like starting big!  A lot of searching on YouTube and the internet, a quick lesson from a friend, and it's all cemented in my head.  Now to make my hands and fingers match the pictures in my mind!  I plan to practice for a while, then will be sending this top to a machine quilter to baste so it's nice and stable and ready to be picked up and put down a lot while it gets hand quilted.

So far, I'm enjoying the hand quilting, as I suspected I would, although I'm having to keep telling myself I'm learning and not to get too frustrated with the long or uneven stitches!  Going from being advanced with a needle to a beginner has been hard on my ego!

Friday, 24 October 2014

19 Years Is Not Very Long.

My first UFO completed is:-

It has been a long time coming.  This quilt was started as a "Block of the Month"  by the Town & Country Quilters, Levin in 1985 and was completed in 2014 - making it 19 years in the making.  It has been partly handquilted and partly machine quilted by Paula Shailer (Rabbits Foot Quilting).
I am so pleased to have this huge 100" square quilt now proudly in its new home on a queen size bed.  

My second UFO to be completed is:-   

My Orange Symposium Committee Waistcoat
which MUST be finished by the end of November 2014.  Update on progress to follow..................

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Madness Begins.... (a.k.a. The Beginning of Omigosh)

I couldn't resist.... last night I cleared a workable space in my sewing room, ignored the mountain of paperwork on my desk, set the kids to making dinner, and went to make a test block of the Omigosh quilt.  An hour or two later I decided that "Omigosh" is not an entirely accurate name.  A more appropriate one would be "Omigod WTF Was I Thinking!"

The pieces are small, no doubt about that - cutting 1" strips and making them into four patches results in very small blocks.

Adding the setting triangles doesn't really improve the size issues.

And then when you've made one little four patch with triangles, and you're sitting back feeling rather pleased with yourself and patting yourself on the back... reality jumps up and smacks you across the face - you gotta make MORE!!  Lots, lots more!

And that's just for the Churn Dash block - let's not even mention the nine patches which haven't been constructed yet!  How big are we making this quilt again?


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Size Doesn't Matter

It may be small but it’s a finish.......

Can you believe that this has been waiting to be filled and slipstitched closed since our Quilt Retreat in June!  Does the word useless come to mind.

We won’t mention Vickie’s ‘marvelous’ new plan to convince us all to do Sue Garman’s Omigosh quilt, I should be honest and admit that it didn’t take much arm twisting. Sue Garman is one of my favourite designers.  I have made her Twas the Night Before Christmas which I hand appliqu├ęd and Afternoon Delight which I am working on at the mo is one of hers as well.   I feel that one will be on our UFO list for a very very long time.  I am still deciding what colourway to do.  I really like the look of it done in the Civil War reproduction fabrics but as it is very similar (just crazier!) to Afternoon Delight I’m thinking I need to go different.  Any ideas?  I have seen it in brights, blues and solids and they all look great.

I am hereby blocking all incoming messages from Vickie.  Next she will have me doing a Dear Jane, that will be when she starts her second ........ and she calls me CRAZY!!!!!!