Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's a Start

I started my cleaning yesterday by folding all those boxes of fabric and all the pieces that I had laying around everywhere.  Looked for my book on organizing sewing rooms, but couldn't find that -- and I'm not kidding.  How disastrous is it to lose your organizing book?!!  Bubby got his Make A Wish pool yesterday, so we quit what we were doing and took the stuff to make burgers to Mary's.  And I talked to Mary, who also gave me some good advice.  She's not a sewer, but a scrapper.  Her first tidbit of advice was to only touch something once.  In my case, that wasn't possible since I had to fold it first and then decide where to put it.  Her second bit of advice was that she doesn't keep paper pieces smaller than a half sheet of paper.Again, it wasn't something that really applied to sewing, but I took it to heart, and applied it to my own situation.  All the fabric has been folded, and sorted by color.  And as I put it away, I straightened that pile on the shelf.  Two shelves are done, and one is left to go.  The shelves that hold the novelty fabrics, which you didn't see in the photos, are in pretty good shape and I will straighten them up as I put the novelty fabrics away. I do a lot of applique, and use a lot of small pieces.  So Mary suggested that I put them in clear plastic shoe boxes, using the colors of the rainbow for labels -- Red, orange, yellow in one box, and green, blue and violet in another.  I think that might work.   I appreciate all the suggestions that you have posted, and will try to put them to good use.   I think I need a nagging mother to remind me to put things away when I'm done with them.

Yesterday, Rod and I went through some of the things in the closet.  Mom had an entire dishpan filled with old magazines.   They went to the trash.  Another box had pieces for a seasonal night light, but the night light was MIA.  They are now gone.  Today, Mom came for dinner and took the rest of the clothes out of the closet.  So we did make some progress.

Today, Rod bought a new storm door for the back door as the entire bottom panel was out of the old one.  He and Jimmy and George put it on this afternoon and it looks so nice.  We kept Bubby and Krissy while Jimmy and Mary were at Jim's softball games.  After the door was installed, Rod and the girls made club sandwiches for everyone for dinner.  Rod used to make them when he was a short order cook, and the kids have always loved them.  So, when they find out that Daddy is making club sandwiches, they all accept our invitation to dinner.  It was a great weekend, and I hate to see Monday come.  But this week, the cleaning and re-organizing continues.  And when it's all neat and tidy, I'll post new photos.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

AAAAAAA, I'm Drowning

Help please, I'm drowning.  Drowning in a sea of mess!!  A mess that I've managed to create all by myself - well almost!  I've said before that I'm really lax in putting things away as I use them.  And lately it has been worse than ever.  Since I don't have any real deadlines pending, I decided it was time to clean and reorganize.  But I just don't know where to begin and how to proceed.

This is the area that I call my "Sewing Cabinet".  I originally had planned to store my AccuQuilt GO cutter and the dies here.  Inside the large door, are a basket and a decorative milk can filled with scraps of fabric.  I never know how large or small a piece should be to be eligible for saving.  What do you save and what do you toss?  I'm sure that the area inside this door could be put to better use.
This is the closet area.  There are still things of my Mom's in here, even though she moved out three years ago  We are slowly but surely going through this junk  stuff to decide what to keep and what to pitch.  My granddaughters played in here for two days, and were trying to help clean.  NOT!!!  But they had a good time.  I want to clean off the shelves to put the two Brother embroidery machines and the boxes of accessories for them in here.  I don't use them very much, and could put the space they are taking up now to better use.

 This is the front window area.  As you can see there are piles of fabric to be put away.  The black photo boxes on the shelf are full of fat quarters and other supplies such as binding, zippers, and rick-rack.  I have already purchased clear plastic storage boxes to replace these.  The photo boxes were a good idea at the time, but I can't see what I have.  I think the clear boxes will be a great improvement.

This is what I call the "buffet area".  This surface was originally intended to be used as a pressing area - thus the iron.  But as you can see, there's no room for ironing.  The fabric on the shelves used to be neatly folded and stacked, but that has gone by the wayside also.  Inside the doors of the buffet are shelves loaded with boxes, baskets and dishpans of God-knows-what.  I am a pack rat for sure, and live in fear that if I throw something out, that surely I will need it and not have it.

And last, but certainly not least, is the area under the sewing table.  Another mess!  These boxes are filled with fabric to be folded and put away on the shelves. I know what has to be done, I just don't have any idea where to begin.  If you have any ideas for better organization, I would love to hear them.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Whew, it's Hot!!!

With the heat wave that has most of our country in it's hold, I thought you might be interested in the neck coolers we take with us to Disney.  A few years ago, Mary found this pattern on a website, and ordered the Watersorb crystals.  Then she asked her mom (good ole me) to make these for them.  She sent me the directions, and I proceeded to make my version.  What a pain they were.  I had crystals everywhere!  But now she wants more, and as I reread the pattern, I discovered that I hadn't read it right the first time.  This time should go much smoother.   Here's a link to the pattern.  Mary had ordered her crystals online and they are Watersorb, but I understand that you can find Schultz Moisture Plus crystals in the gardening section of Wal-Mart.  These really work, and can be used over and over.  If you feel like you're melting in all this heat, check them out.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

That's a Relief. . . Now Let's Get Busy

I have just been looking at menus until my eyes are crossed.  We always make advance meal reservations for our Disney trips, and the planning was nearly at an end.  But we had made a dinner reservation for Crystal Palace for our last day -- our last Disney meal.  And the more I looked at the menu, the less enchanted I became.  Mary and Jimmy have eaten there, and were not that impressed with it.  I had made the reservation there because Pam and Pat are big Pooh fans, and the Pooh characters appear at Crystal Palace.  I knew I wanted a sit-down meal, no buffet for my "last meal".  I wanted something somewhat quiet and relaxing - no running for a bus like the last day of our last trip.  This morning, I decided, I had to make a final decision.  So I narrowed it down to four possibilities.  One, had no decent meals that Bubs and Krissy would enjoy.  Cross that one off.  Another was pretty far from Magic Kingdom.  Cross off that one - no running, remember.  Which left two.  Mmmm, one was on the Monorail route.  We have a winner!!!  One of my favorite things to do at Disney is to ride the monorail.  I pull my scooter onto the car.  The doors close, and suddenly I'm feeling like Scotty is beaming me up in a Star Trek episode.  It's flying fast, and when it stops, I pull my scooter out on the other side.  No back-ups for me!!!  Let me clarify, the only accidents I have ever had in a car was when going in reverse.  So, for me, forward is always better.  And now, our dining plan is complete.

Kona has steak for the guys and some of the girls.  They have crab cakes for Mary, and delicious duck pot stickers for me.  They have some pork or fish taco offerings, a chocolate fondue with fruit that Pam loves, and who can resist their chocolate-banana creme brulee!!!  The kids love the Kona Kones, and why wouldn't they??? Ice cream in a huge waffle cone with just a little(?) candy cotton on the side.  So Kona it is!!!

And now that that's done, it's time to get busy.  I have some neck coolers to make (info to follow another day), and some quilt blocks to make, and in my spare time, maybe I'll make new neck wallets. So, now I'm off and running.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I'm Sewing Again


Have you seen these Brita water bottles?  They come with Brita filters to make your own bottles water.  We thought they'd be a good idea to take to Disney when we go in September.  It's been our past experience that the water there doesn't taste very good, and in the parks you have to give your first born child to get a bottle of water.  So we all ordered them.  But we wanted a way to keep them cool in the parks.  I'm amazed at all the things you can find on the internet when you Google it.  So, I Googled "water bottle covers" and came up with this.

This is the picture of the cover I found a tutorial for.  It was posted on this blog  from the Pink Chalk Studio.  Her tutorial was really great, and I followed it to make the covers that I've worked on this weekend.

I didn't think we would want the strap, however.  We don't seem to carry anything that we can put in my basket or the basket for Bubby's walker. We call Jimmy "The pack mule",  In this picture you can see how he carries nearly everything his familyt needs. So, I thought and thought, and came up with an alternative using snap clips.

I told Rod what I wanted and he told me where he could buy them locally -- at Trader Horn -- what Rod calls the greatest store in the world.  So, after a field trip to Trader Horn, I was ready to start my project.  The great thing about having a large "stash" is that you can create projects with what you have on hand.  I had bought insul-brite for potholders, and never made them (like so many of my intended projects).

Figuring that two of my favorite men wouldn't be crazy about covers made from Disney fabric, I made theirs out of Steeler fabrics.  I love gingham, so this gingham Mickey fabric was a given for me.

These two bottle covers are for Rod and I.  Since there's a layer of Insul-brite  between the outside and the lining, these coolers should help to keep the water cool.

These are the covers I made for Mary's family.  The Steeler fabric is for Jimmy and Bubs, and the pink Mickey fabric is for Mary and Krissy.  And you can see the clips here for clipping them on wherever they find a spot.
 Pat and Pam (the big party poopers) didn't want Disney fabric at all.  I guess since they walk in our local county park every night, they figured they would choose something a little more "every day".  But I had bought these fabrics to make Kindle covers for them, and then they bought covers.  So, these fabrics were in my stash.

And, so here are the finished products.  Not bad for one weekend, and a total of $1.29 per clip.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

More News on Vic and I

I seem to only be able to concentrate on one item at a time these days, multi tasking just doesn't seem to work so well.  So the last few weeks, I've concentrating on my eating habits, making changes as necessary, and worrying about what my glucometer is telling me.  Mostly it's been good news, but not easy.  I was raised in a family that made you sit at the table until your plate was clean -- no wasting food in our house.  It's only recently that I've been able to leave food on my plate when I'm full.  Since Vic makes you feel full sooner, I find that I've had to adjust the portion size of my food.  Food still smells really good, but I'm finding that it doesn't taste as good as it used to and the texture of some foods makes me feel nauseous.  I'm eating more vegetables and fruits and craving carbs and sweets less.  Potatoes have always been one of my favorite foods, but now, I can take or leave them.  And I'm not eating between meals, except for an occasional piece of low fat cheese or a small box of raisins.

One of my very favorite foods is brownies - and if they are the iced ones from the bakery, all the better.  Last night Mary and family came for dinner, and Mary brought a pan of brownies, not iced, but with chocolate sandwiched in between the two brownie layers.  MMMM so Good.  I had a small piece before dinner, and then made the mistake of having another after dinner.  And suddenly I didn't feel so good. A snack before bed wasn't necessary. I thought my numbers this morning would be out of sight, but was surprised to see a 109 on my meter - higher than usual, but still OK.  And I'm so proud to admit that I asked Mary to take the brownies that were left home with her to eliminate temptation.

So, I think I finally have a grip on this diabetes thing.  And, I promise this will be my last post about Vic (unless there is something earth shattering to report).  It's time to go back to sewing and quilting.  This coming weekend is supposed to be really hot, so I'll be spending most of my time in the house with the air conditioning.  And, hopefully a sewing machine.

And finally, a report on Bubba -- he's doing great.  Last night he was back to being his old self.  His speech is returning to normal.  Have a good rest of the week.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Special Needs or Just Plain Special??

Bubba before surgery
At school they call him James; his mom calls him Hector; his Pappy calls him Tough Guy;  but to me, he's my sweet Bubbalooey.  Those of you who have been my friends for a few years have grown up with Bubby - my grandson with spina bifida.  Society gives him the tag "special needs".  He has a seizure disorder, he uses a walker or wheelchair, he has special bathroom needs, takes special medications, his speech isn't perfect, and his right side is significantly weaker than his left.  And so, I guess he does have "special needs".

I've not known a lot of "special needs" children in my life.  My first experience was in grade school.  We had the same last name, but were not related.  We met at Girl Scout day camp, and I was her buddy.  And it lasted long past camp.  While I could walk and run, Betty Lou was in a wheel chair.  And although she had trouble expressing herself, she was smart as a whip and had a wonderful sense of humor.  But she had another talent - she could write beautiful poetry.  Yes, she was special.

During my college years, I did an internship with Mental Health/Mental Retardation.  During this time, I became acquainted with a little girl with Down's Syndrome.  Although she had a lot of health problems, she was so very sweet and very loving and had a beautiful smile.  Oh yes, she was special.

I have a great-nephew who is autistic.  For a few years he was almost controllable.  But following his diagnosis and subsequent medication, he has become the most wonderful little guy.  Again, he has a beautiful smile and a wonderful sense of humor.  And again, he is very kind and loving.  And yes, Jeramy is special.

Bubba after surgery
But back to my Bubbalooey.  Is he sweet?  Oh yeah.  Is he loving?  Oh yeah.  And does he make me laugh?  Every day!    Does he have special needs, most definitely.  Most parents never have to be concerned about their child having a seizure and Bubba's have become less frequent.  Our merciful God has insured that, when the seizure has ended,  Bubba doesn't remember he has had a seizure.  And the only time I see him angry is when you continually ask him if he's OK after he's had a seizure, or if there's no chocolate milk.

Yesterday, he had surgery to replace his shunts.  He was angry that he couldn't have anything to eat or drink and he called me on the phone to tell me so.  And last night, at 10:50, he called to tell me that he was better, and had a funny hat.  So, society and the medical community may term him "special needs", but to me, he's just Special.

Friday, July 1, 2011


My little ones have gone home with their Mom, the twins are at the hospital with Mary and Jimmy, Krissy is with a friend's family, and Rod is on his way home from work.  I have a little less than an hour to myself.  Precious time, and I thought I'd talk with you.  The CAT scan showed that the ventricles in Bub's brain are enlarged when compared to the CAT of 2009.  They tried to tap the shunt and got no fluid, so the shunts will be replaced tonight.  When I spoke to Mary at 6:00, they were ready to take him up to the OR.  And so the waiting continues, as do the prayers.  The last time they did a surgery for his shunt , the dr. nicked a blood vessel in his brain which caused a bleed into the brain.  Resulting problems and infections caused his hospital stay to last 69 days.  According to his doctor, he should come home sometime Sunday evening, providing nothing goes wrong. And therein lies the catch.  We had planned a big Independence Day Picnic, which I have canceled.  The cake has been canceled, and thankfully no food had been purchased yet.  We do have about 20 two liters of pop and two cases of Capri Sun on the back deck, but that won't spoil or go to waste.

At 6:20 Mary sent me a picture of Bubbs labeled "all smiles and ready for surgery".  He probably doesn't know that they will most likely shave his head.   Right now he's mad because they won't let him have anything to eat or drink.  I appreciate all your prayers.

Too Many Thoughts

are running through my head and I can't sleep.  I went to bed almost three hours ago, and was awakened by leg cramps.  Now, I can't seem to sleep.  Bubby had a seizure earlier this evening.  He's been complaining of headaches, and has had some vomiting.  Mary has been stumped as to the cause, and tonight it became clear.  It's probably been almost three years since I actually witnessed one of his seizures, and I didn't really see this one either.  He was very quiet, and Mary asked him to sit at the table and help her get dinner ready, more to keep an eye on him than anything.  It's so strange the way it happens.  One minute he was in the living room talking to his Uncle George and kissing Izzy goodbye, and the next he was in the kitchen talking gibberish and unable to move his legs.  But his hand was jerking, his hand jerks every time.  Almost as bad as Bubby's seizures is Krissy's reaction to them.  Tonight, she came into the living room with a terrified look on her face, and cried to me, "Grammy, he can't talk.  He's just talking gibberish."  It scares her so.  And so, if I'm around, Mary sends her to me.  We've always stayed together when he's had problems, right from his birth.  During surgeries, seizures and hospitalizations, it's been Krissy and I together.  When she was younger, she would just get very quiet and want to hug.  Now, she voices her fears, and becomes almost hysterical.  I think she knows how serious they are now.

Mary and family
Mary and Jimmy leave me in awe when something like this happens.  As Mary is sending Krissy to me, she is getting Jimmy.  He takes Bubby away from the other people and stays by his side, while Mary calls Children's.  If he comes out of the seizure by himself, it's a good thing;  but if he doesn't, she's on the phone ready to get instruction from neurology.  My mother-in-law always said that God gives children with special needs to special parents, and he certainly did that in this case.  Mary and Jimmy were probably the last people that you would have thought could handle the stresses of a special needs child; and yet, they do it so well.  I'm so proud of the people that they have become.

It's uncanny how life gets in the way.  We all go on living our lives and not one of us stopped to think about how much Bubby has grown, how his weight has changed, and that perhaps it was time to get his levels checked.  A script for lab work is on it's way, and tonight Mary seemed relieved to think that all the problems with headaches and vomiting lately could be decreased anti-seizure medication levels.  When compared to a shunt malfunction and all it involves, the seizure is certainly the lesser of two evils.  And so, this blog is dedicated to my daughter, Mary.  She is always the same, never down.  She deals on a daily basis with the struggles of raising a child with special needs, the decreased income due to her unemployment, and the stresses of returning to school for a masters degree in education, focused on special education.  I've always said that a woman is like a tea bag . . . you don't know her strength until she's in hot water.  That is certainly the case with Mary.  She is a rock, a trooper, a great friend, a loving wife, mother, daughter and sister.  But most of all she is a woman with great heart.  And she makes me want to be a better person.  I love you, Mary and I'm so blessed to have you in my life.