Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Update: I'm Here

Without a doubt, an update is overdue. Forgive me, I've been working on kicking cancer in the hiney.

Before I go on, I must say a giant "Thank You!!" to all of you who have left comments of love and support. It means more than I can express. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Your words have encouraged me many times over.

How am I doing? Great! I am currently at the tail end of 6.5 weeks of radiation therapy. I've been given incredible care at multiple hospitals with amazing staff.

At the end of last June, I had a bilateral mastectomy. Surgery went great. However, they did find that I had two different cancers, in two different places. Imagine that! Unfortunately, it had spread to my lymph nodes on one side. I was diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer. Chemotherapy began at the end of last July.

I cut my shoulder-length hair as a transition for the kids. Sort of a "get used to Mom looking different" cut. About a week after my 38th birthday in August, when a clump of hair felt out, my husband shaved my head. If only losing my hair was the worst of it... Due to the severity of my reaction to the medication, my doctor felt it was best to end my chemo treatments in October.

After a month out from chemo, I began to feel human again. I then began radiation therapy just days before Christmas. Although fatigued, I'm feeling great. Happy to be spending quality time with my husband and children again. Thankfully, we had friends and family, most traveling in from out of state, on a constant rotation from June through November. We can't begin express our gratitude for the constant help and care that was given to me and my children. The Lord has brought many, many good things out of my cancer diagnosis.

The kiddos are 4 and 1 now. My hair is growing back (a spikey pixie). We are all looking forward to a better year. A year of time spent together. Being well. Most importantly, we are thankful to God for carrying us through this difficult season of life. He has never, no never, left my side. Deuteronomy 31:6. Hebrews 13:5.

Words of advice: Know Jesus. Eat well. Listen to your body. And if you hear the word "cancer", fight like a girl!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Breast Cancer

Recently, I found out that I have breast cancer.

In my mind, I've debated about whether or not to share this sad news with you. I cannot tell you the sadness it brings me to share sad news with others.

This is supposed to be a crafty, thrifty, look-what-I-had-fun-making kind of blog. Not a journey-through-surviving-breast-cancer blog. Though I may not blog about it, I plan to beat it.

My goal is to live. To live for my family and my children (ages 3 1/2 and 6 months).

On the horizon, I will have a double mastectomy. I will proceed with chemotherapy.

I may disappear from my little blog here, for a while anyway. My focus will be on recovering and moving forward with life.

God has showered my life with blessings. This is not just empty "Christian-speak"... it's the truth. I can clearly see how, starting several years ago, He set our discovery of this disease in motion. We are grateful.

If you wouldn't mind, would you please say a prayer for me and for my family? There's a bit of a bumpy road ahead.

Thank You

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Southampton Rosette Tunic Apron

My latest creation is this light canvas tunic apron, bespeckled with rosettes. It's perfect for picking berries and apples.... or just trying to keep your clothes free from spit-up, crumbs, cooking grease and laundry detergent drips. And with the linen pockets, you'll always know where your pen/kleenex/cell phone/lip gloss is located.

I've long been in search of just the right tunic apron. Remember this one? Only this time I used a real pattern. Vintage McCall's M5551.
In my attempt to get a fresh, anthro-inspired, outdoor pic of the new apron, you can clearly see that the only item difficult to see is the apron itself. Booo. At least I missed the rain by 20 minutes. Instead, I'll just tell you about the chocolate brown linen dress that I thrifted for $5 and the apple basket for $3.Here's a little close-up of the sweet print. It reminds me of Jane, so I've named it the Southampton Tunic Apron. They probably pick berries in Southampton, right?
This is headed to my shop soon, along with the tote and some other goodies in the works.

To view a variety of inspiring creations, please visit:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thrifted Finds: Time To Knit And Sew

After several months of considering to buy the Pottery Barn clock on the left, I stumbled upon the clock on the right at my local thrift store. It works perfectly and even came with a battery. Patience = Savings of $40!
I hesitate to admit this, but I was a crafter that had no glue gun. For shame! After a yard sale outting on Saturday morning, I finally joined the ranks of millions of other crafters by adding the glue gun to my tool box... for .25 cents, including the glue sticks. Also, worth the wait.
Just as the doors opened at 9 a.m. sharp, I entered a church rummage sale. About 10 seconds later, a woman announced that everything was 50% off. The prices were already excellent, so this was a pure bonus. I beelined it to the craft section. Behold, there was yarn. Not craft yarn, but real merino wool yarn. Each skein still had original tags of between $6 and $9 on them. My final price was .25 cents each. Gee, I wish that knitting and I were not foes. My eyes caught a pile of fabric in the back corner. Like a moth to a flame, I floated to the light. My arms were so full of wonderful colors and prints, that I grabbed a box. It was quickly filled. Upon checkout, the man offered to charge me $4 for the box. I agreed. He then gave me the 50% discount... final price $2 for the whole box.

There is a time for thrifting and a time for crafting. Oh the joy of trying to fit it all in to one day!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Poppies Embellishment Tutorial

Recently, I thrifted this simple gray top with satin trim, for $2.75. It called out to be improved upon.

It seems that everywhere you look this season, you'll see flower embellished tops like this and this. Since I wanted to hide the slightly uneven empire waist seam, here's my version...
It's easy to make your own poppies. Start with any fabric that includes synthetic fibers (such as polyester). I used a sheer formal wear fabric in grey.
Cut out a circle. It doesn't have to be perfect, in fact, they look better if they're not perfectly round.
Cut out more in various sizes. I use 6-7 per flower.
Safely light a tea light (or something with a low controlled flame). Hold your fabric edge near the flame and rotate. The heat melts the synthetic fibers to seal the edges and curl your petals. Tip: keep the fabric moving to prevent over-synging. This may take practice on a few circles to get comfortable.
Lay your petals together to start forming your flower. Stitch beads, sequins or buttons to the center to hold all your petals in place. Apply everywhere! They can be stitched in place or glued, depending on your application. (Keep in mind that hot glue will also melt the synthetic fabric.)
Make a little or a lot!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lace Doily Reversable Tote - The Elinor Tote

Being a fan of all things floral and lace, I set out to make a new feminine tote. Since sewing time is guaranteed once a week during my sewing class, I took advantage and completed my bag.A sneek peek inside at the lining...
and it is fully reversible as well. It's constructed from white canvas, a vintage beige doily and a floral pillowcase.

During class, I did not have my camera with me, so there's no tutorial here. But I did find an excellent tutorial for you here, that is very nearly the exact tote that I made.

Since I know that there are more to come, I've named this one the Elinor Tote. I figured that if Jane Austen, or any of her characters, carried a tote, it might just look like this one.
This new tote is the perfect bag for carrying around my Mother's Day gifts - a stunning copy of Pride and Prejudice (available here) and this card from my daughter (transcribed by my Dear H).

Sniff sniff. I hope that you had a lovely Mother's Day too.

(I linked to Tea Rose Home. Please check out their other great posts!)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Yard Sale Crafting Goodies

I did not intend to find a yard sale, it was only two houses away. Tell me who has the will power to pass up a yard sale only two houses away?? Not I.

Even though I can usually assess a yard sale in the first 30 seconds, I've also learned it might be worth a few more moments of browsing... after all, my daughter was only playing with the internal car lights, not honking the horn today.

Riding out the overpriced holiday decor paid off. I picked up a smallish box of ric rac, hem and bias tapes... at .05 cents each I didn't put the box back down. (So there were 26 packages, I realize that I have a problem.) The lady running the sale glared at me, "It's not .05 cents for the WHOLE BOX!"

I smiled in return, "Oh, I know (since they were all individually marked .05 cents) but I like to sew."

She relaxed, "Well, then, you might like the craft stuff around the corner."


Loads of pipe cleaners, wooden beads, craft sticks, wooden clothes pins with instructions for doll making, pieces of fabric with samples and sizes measured out... were all marked at near giveaway prices. The woman obviously valued holiday decor, but not crafting goods. I also scored manila envelopes, cards, patches, yarn, elastic and stationary. Filling up a whole box, I happily paid $7.50 for a years worth of crafting supplies. I thanked her for myself and my toddler.

I only stopped there after cruising by "free estate sale leftovers" sign a couple of blocks away. Another major score with...
organizational freebies! I never have enough of these. Plus I nabbed a free Fiskars scissors sharpener.

I'm juuust figuring this out... if I locate the organizational supplies first, the craft supplies find me!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Personalized Washer Necklace

Last week, I made this washer necklace for a friend, for Mother's Day.
After a quick trip to the hardward store, where I found multiple sizes of washers, I picked up the necklace clasps and rat tail satin cord at my local craft store. I already owned the metal letter stamps and a hammer.

Then, I set to work on the concrete. Eleven washers later, I was happy with how it turned out. (Never attempt making these necklaces with a curious toddler at your side!)

There are about 10 more necklaces that I want to make, but I'm not sure the city of Seattle has enough washers for all of my mistakes! But, I think they're just too cute not to try, try again.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Footstool Re-do

It's only been 2 years in the making, but I finally recovered this footstool. It was nearly purchased at a yard sale, until the woman just gave it to me. Love it! The tapestry fabric never really fit our decor...
and I guess this cowhide underneath the tapestry didn't fit her decor. It wasn't going to work for me either, but I did find some apple green fabric, on sale, that suits our living room perfectly. Staple gun + new fabric = Happiness. Even Dear H gave it a thumbs up!
Also, I recently thrifted these books because, well, I'm pretty sure that I've needed them many times and just didn't know it. Plus, they'll come in handy for the sewing class that I started tonight. They're both very thick, but at $2 a piece I couldn't pass them up. Now if I could only learn everything in the books just by owning them...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Toddler Shirt Refashion: Add Spring Roses!

We all need a basic white t-shirt... but what happens when you already have one? Add roses of course! This one is for my daughter, but I definitely see one heading to my closet too.

I took a couple of thrifted sheets (pink and white), cut imperfect concentric circles and fray checked 'em. Then I scrunched them a bit and stitched them together. Finally, I added pearls.

Girlie perfection!
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