May 26, 2014

Marvelous Monday Update 5/26/14

Since my last post about my Dad, he has started treatment for the cancer. He will need to go to radiation treatments every day for 30 days and chemotherapy one day a week. The prognosis is not good... The doctors have said he has months to a year, maybe a bit longer. Hence, we have been scrambling to get his and Mom's affairs in order. It's been very stressful on everyone in the immediate family. Treatments seem to be reducing the size of the tumor and he's not in as much pain, so we're considering that a good sign.  I'd like thank everyone for their good wishes and prayers.

We celebrated Mother's Day at my brother's house with a cookout.  My brother did the grilling on a wood burning grill he built.  The food had a delicious smoky flavor. Mmmmm!

Two attempts at hunting yielded a nice bag huge bag of morels that we all split.  The BF and I grilled ours.  Yummo!

Despite not feeling the best, My Dad posed for some photos with his grandson.

Very rarely does my Dad smile in photos.  He either has the goofy look (as in the photo above) or the unemotional look.  Below is Grandson imitating Grandpa:

It'd been a long time since all of us kids had a photo taken with Mom, so I had my niece take a few.  Here's one of the better ones:

As you can see in the photos, the men in my family are big fans of tshirts. lol

Since my Dad's diagnosis, I haven't had time to stitch much. I do have a bit of progress on both JG and Petal Pincushion, though.

On JG, I almost have the third corner ornament finished.

I finished another section of Petal Pincushion. I've started the second to last section. Then I get to attempt assembly. In doing a trial run, Christina has run into an error with the instructions.  She's contacted JCS and received a response:  They're working on contacting the Italian designer to get a correct translation.

I recently came across a cute, fun summer freebie from Keepsake Stitches.  It's called Honey Pincushion.  The front has a beehive surrounded with floral accents.  The back has the same floral accents and space for personalizing your initials and date.

If you haven't heard, Snowflower Diaries is hosting a very nice giveway. Hop on over and check it out.

Until next time,

Stitch from Stash - May

How can it be time to report on May's Stitch From Stash challenge already?  It seems like I just reported on April.  Coordinated by Mel at Epic Stitching, the purpose of SFS is to stitch from our stash in order to reduce spending.  A side effect is actually finishing some of my BAPs and stitching those charts in my stash-to-do pile.  It's a win-win! 

During the month of May, I did not spend anything.  That's two months in a row. Woo Hoo!

My tips for not spending: 
1)  Don't look at the stitchy newsletters that come via email.  If you have to look, delete them right after to reduce temptation to buy. 
2)  For paper catalogs, think of them as a wish book.  Circle things you want, but then set it aside.  Anyone remember the Sears Wish Book catalogs?  As a kid, I used to pour over those things and think about all the things I wanted... and of course, didn't get. 
3)  Think outside the box when stitching and finishing -- try to come up with ways to substitute fabrics and flosses you already have.  There are tons of finishing tutorials (I have some in my sidebar) that walk you step-by-step on how to do them.

Since my last SFS report, I worked on two projects:
1.  Japanese Garden
3.  Petal Pincushion
Progress photos will be in my next post.
Until next time,

May 5, 2014

Adventures in No Poo

Over the past year, I've read a lot about people going the route of "No Poo" or "ShamPhree" meaning using natural products rather than commerical shampoo products that contain lots of chemicals.  Over the weekend, I decided to try it.  OMG... I had a hair nightmare while I was awake.

First, I used a natural recipe from Mother Earth News newsletter.  It contained castile soap, water, and a tiny bit of oil.  Now, to be fair... I do use castile soap for hand washing and general cleaning around the house with no problem.  However, on my hair... Despite using the recommended ACV (apple cider vinegar/water) rinse, "no poo" left a heavy film.  After blow drying, my hair could be styled toward the ceiling using a comb. It would've stayed that way if I'd had the notion!

Obviously, I couldn't leave my hair like that so I opted for the second "no poo" alternative I'd read about.  Baking soda and water followed by the ACV rinse.  I watered my hair down and started again.  Hoping that this mixture would rinse the film out of my hair.  No such luck.  After blow drying, it still had a film on it and I looked like Medusa on a bad hair day.

By this point, I'm 2 hours into my hair routine and had places to go, people to see if you know what I mean.  Obviously, I couldn't subject peeps to what looked like greasy, flyway hair.  I shampoo'd my hair yet a third time with my tried and true commercial products in order to bring back my smooth, soft, somewhat shiny hair.

A couple of other things I found out about after my "no poo" adventure which I hadn't read about before:  Castile soap should not be used on color treated hair.  Baking soda will remove hair color as well.  The two natural recipes may work for some people, but they didn't work for me.

A couple weeks ago, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. I've taken a few days off work here and there in order to go with my parents to the consultation appointments. Dad has so many medical appointments and doctors that he's getting confused and upset. So, I've started keeping a log of the appointments and what's been said at each one by whom.

He's been diagnosed with Soft Tissue Sarcoma. It's a rare cancer with unknown origins. At the consultation appointments, the doctors wouldn't give a prognosis or whether it has spread. Actually, we had some discrepancy between the two doctors as to whether it has spread or not. He had an MRI last week, and this week there is another consultation appoint that I'll be going to with him.

I received my first ever Easter/Spring mailart!  After doing a Christmas themed one (seen HERE and HERE), Anne of Doll's Musings and I agreed to do a private exchange again.  She did such a great job of stitching and putting it together. :)  She included a pretty card telling me about the fabric, designs, and floss she used.  I wish I had thought of that!

Fabric: 28ct Baby Blue Luguna
Fibers:  DMC, Dinky Dyes, and GAST

Design:  Tulips and Chick by Snowflower Diaries

Design:  Breath of Spring by Blackbird Designs

Incidentally, my 16 year old niece was with me when I picked up my mail from the post office.  I showed it to her and explained a little about mailart.  Her eyes lit up and she said, "That is SO the bomb!"  LOL  Later, I showed her my collection of mailart and told her where in the world they came from and she thought it was really cool.
I've had little time for stitching, but have managed to get a few X's in here and there.  Petal Pincushion has become my work lunch hour project now that the Easter/Spring mailart is complete.  I've gotten five of the nine pieces done and am well on my way to have a sixth one done.
As you may recall, I am doing this as a SAL with Christina at A Stitchers Work.  She is farther along than I am and has given me a heads up that the instructions aren't correct as far as the dimensions of the bottm piece.  I scanned over the instructions last week and had questioned it in my mind, too.  Since I'm using a different count fabric, I didn't think too much of it at the time because I've had to re-figure sizes of everything anyway.  Christina has contacted JCS regarding the snafu in the instructions, though.
On to my next project:  I haven't worked on JG since the end of March. Shame on me!  Last night, I pulled it out and worked about an hour and half on it.  Doesn't look like I did much, though.

Recently, Sue finished A Little Beach by Lizzie Kate.  I had commented on how adorable it was (and is!).  She RAK'd it to me along with a very sweet card.  Thank you, SM!

 Until next time,