Friday, September 9, 2016

A Perspective on Life: Where are we Going?

Hello dear friends! This post has been a long time coming, and I'm sorry it took so long. Since my last post, a lot has happened in our lives. Generally, I don't share too much about my personal life. In my experience with "popular" blogs, most readers seem to like to read about the "sunny" side of life. But real lives are not always sunny, and have their stormy periods as well. And as it goes with real lives, in late spring a storm began to blow through ours.

I may have mentioned last year that we spent a good portion of the summer having an infected wound treated on the bottom of the Mister's right foot. Not a great thing when you are a Type 1 diabetic. But with a lot of professional treatment, it did heal, and all was good. Until this past April, when another wound appeared on the side of the same foot. In spite of various rounds of oral antibiotics, it got even worse, so he was finally admitted into the hospital where he spent a week on IV antibiotics with various teams of doctors and surgeons assessing what the best plan would be. After a lot of discussion we decided to go with the recommended course of action, and it was scheduled for a later date. He came home with a PICC line, and we spent 10 days with me administering more IV antibiotics to keep the infection from spreading further, since they had determined that the infection had moved to the bones in his foot. There is no "cure" for infected bones.

So, on August 9th his leg was amputated about 8 inches below the knee. Though this was not the outcome we had hoped for, it was the best one for long-term recovery. The other choice would have been to have major surgery on his foot to remove the infected bone, a lot of pain, and then up to six more months of antibiotics. All of this for an only 50-50 chance that it would work, and a possibility of the infection spreading further and possibly into his bloodstream. The amputation that he had was clean and neat, affording him the "luxury" of knowing that the infection is gone, no further antibiotics would be needed, and the best probability for being able to resume an almost normal life with a fairly functional prosthesis. He came home on August 26th, after spending the last part of his hospital stay in rehab. And it is here that I feel compelled to mention VA hospitals.

Though we have regular medical insurance and could go to basically any hospital,  he is also 100% covered at the VA from his days in the military. The surgery was done at the VA, since who has more experience in dealing with amputations? We have all heard the negative publicity about VA hospitals, and yes, a lot of this is true when it comes to routine medical appointments, wait times to get them, and the hospitals not always being very close to where the patients live. And yes, we ourselves realize that the system needs some major improvements. But between the hospital side, and then the rehab center, we found the entire staff, no matter what their role, to be caring and professional people who were obviously dedicated to the patients. They were patient and upbeat, and we can truly say that we did not have one complaint. This hospital is what I wish could be a microcosm of the world at large. Namely, a group of people of all different nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, religions, native languages, and sexual orientations getting along with and respecting each other, and coming together to reach a common goal. In this case, the recovery of the patient. Oh, that this could become the standing example for the rest of the world!

Driving to the hospital every day, about one hour each way, offered me a lot of time to reflect on our lives in general and where we are going. And you know what? It's going to be OK. In life, everything is relative. We see young men coming home from war missing three limbs or with brain damage, and seeing their child perhaps for the first time. Men who gave it their all in the military, and will forever pay the price of being good patriots. Then we look out ourselves and say "What the hell, its only a leg. We can deal with it".

Where are we going? We are going  forward!

By the way, the above photo was taken in the outside area at the rehab center. The birds were pretty tame! There is beauty everywhere.

Thanks for stopping by. I so appreciate your visit!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Christmas in July: Vintage Santa Photos

Merry Christmas! Well, not exactly, but I am celebrating "Christmas in July" in my etsy shop by listing a few vintage Santa Claus photos.

I have scanned six photos from my personal collection 
and made them available as digital downloads....

They would be perfect for holiday cards or gift tags.
Or, a few of them would be lovely incorporated into a Christmas banner.
If you like them you can find them here.

I would love to see what you might make with them!
Don't eat too much Christmas ham today.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Zingaro Dahlia

"What grows in the garden,
so lovely and rare?
Roses and Dahlias
and people grow there."
--From the TV show A Gardener's Diary

A while back I started some dahlias in pots.
I know that I had previously written about 
some others that I started and later transplanted into the garden.
But I never have much luck with them out there,
as some of our local critters seem to munch on my babies before they ever amount to much.
So, I purchased some more dahlia starts when it was getting late in the season 
when they were at a substantially reduced cost, 
and decided to try my luck with them in the porch.
One of them just started to bloom.
 How pretty is this?!

When they get near the end of their season, I will transplant them into 
one of the gardens that is a little more sheltered from the "wild things".
In the meantime, though, I think that I'll just enjoy them on the porch!

I hope your week is going well.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Start of a New Project and New Photo Fabric

Hello there. I hope that your July has gotten off to a good start.

Having finished the collages that I was working on, 
I put together some things to begin a new one.
An old and stained piece of a cutter quilt...

Some goat cart photos printed onto photo fabric,
along with some wide burlap ribbon...

Sari ribbon, laces, trims, and an array
of buttons...

...along with some pretty fabrics...

Can you tell what my color scheme is going to be?...


By the way, I was reading one of my books about crazy
quilting, and the author recommended this photo fabric...

Have you tried it yet? 
It seems to take the ink very nicely,
and the paper backing is quite easy to pull off.
It comes on a roll, so you can just cut off what you need.
The only thing that I do not like about it is that the texture
is a little rough, and you tend to see that on your printout.
I did use it for my patriotic collages that I featured here and here.
If you look closely, you may be able to see the texture on the photos.
But it doesn't bother me enough to hold me back from using this product.
I purchased it on Amazon.

Have you tried any new products lately?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Rhinestone Cowgirls and Straight Shooters

Good morning friends. A while back I showed you a glimpse of some cowgirl fabric collages that I had started to put together, and am happy to say that I have finally completed them! They are companion pieces of sorts, since I used bits of the same fabrics on each. Don't you find it so much easier to create a couple of pieces when you don't have to keep choosing fabrics and embellishments over and over again?

The fabrics that I used absolutely don't in any way go with the photos, but I thought it would be fun to experiment a little with the unexpected. I hope that you like them!

The photos used on both pieces were old RPPCs from
the early 1900s. 
I assume that they were souvenir or prop photos.
I copied them onto fabric, as usual!
For each of them I collaged everything onto muslin. 
I incorporated various vintage fabrics:
velvet, silk, dupioni,
chiffon, and sari silk.
I then added vintage laces, 
and small pieces of sequined sheer fabric
from an old flapper dress.


To this one I added a rhinestone button onto a small crocheted
These ladies look like they would have worn anything in the
world but rhinestones, silk and lace!
Still, I couldn't resist...

The sequined flapper dress piece goes along the right 
side of the photo...

To the bottom I added a portion of a vintage doily,
which I embellished with a vintage button to match the flapper 
dress trim...

The hanger is made of coordinating sari silk tied in a bow...

For these straight-shootin' gals,
I pretty much used the same materials,
but in a different way.
These ladies were  far more comfortable holding
six-shooters than getting prettied up, 
but I wasn't going to let that stop me!...

But, even they deserve a little respect, 
so I gave them a wooden button instead of one with rhinestones...

The vintage silk velvet used towards the top of this one
was used on the bottom of the other piece.
It is a beautiful faded rust color...

...and the colors in the cowgirl boot chiffon that you see at
the left below dictated the color scheme of both pieces,
namely dusty rust, dusty peach, and shades of teal...

It was so much fun trying to incorporate my two favorite pieces
into this collage, namely the cowgirl boot chiffon and the sequined
flapper piece, which I have more of and will be using some time
in the future, I'm sure.

I have listed these in my Etsy shop,
which you can find here.

Have you used "the unexpected" in any of your creations lately?