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7/19/2018

Basement Bathroom Update

7/19/2018 0 Comments

In the 9 years we've lived here there's one room that has never been painted and it was our basement bathroom, which our oldest now shares. The latter bit of information threw a wrench into my plans, because don't you know that he has an opinion on what he'd like the bathroom to look like?!

I mean he is my son, so it stands to reason that he'd have an opinion, and in my mad dash to get projects done before surgery his bathroom was on the list.

I've known for a while that I wanted to do this buffalo plaid paint treatment that I saw on BH&G {HERE}. They did theirs in a calm set of colors, but I had no such plans. A few years back, Big Guy and I agreed on a rug and this rug was not allowed to be removed in the update. Big Guy really likes this rug, or maybe, and more likely, he hates change. So inside this rug was a lovely dark red, and that was going to be the color for my plaid wall treatment. The rug also included several greens, which would be the Big Guy's fave color.

So I started on this project by taping 6" stripes all around the walls. This took far more time than I figured it would, but I knew it was going to be great. I marked each stripe that I was going to paint with a small "x" inside it. Otherwise, I would be getting confused with all of the lines going on.
Then it was time for paint. I didn't follow the directions that BH&G had. My glaze to paint ratio was 2:1. I bought a pint of glaze and then got a sample size of my paint color, and it only cost me $15. I was very excited about this economical paint treatment. It'd probably cost a lot more if I was doing a larger room, but this itty bitty bathroom did not have a lot of wall space. There is a bit of a technique when working with glazed paint, but I didn't take me long to get it. Using a roller probably would have been the better choice, but I'd already committed to my brush so that's what I continued to use.
You can see where I drew the very faint vertical 6" stripes over my horizontal stripes. I let the horizontal stripes dry overnight before embarking on the vertical stripes, but I have to say I was really worried about my decision at this point. I hated the stripes. Big Guy really liked them. It was too late to back down now, the vertical stripes needed to go on so I could get a good picture of just what I'd done.
After I got the vertical stripes done, and pulled the tape off I was in love! Big Guy liked it, but he kept calling it a tablecloth. Hubs was not as sure, but I was really happy, and I even managed to match up some of my stripes with the grout lines in the tile. I'm just that good (I'm not... it was a coincidence). I could not wait to get the bathroom accessorized!

Unfortunately, accessories would be where the child and I disagreed. I wanted the bathroom organized, but the boy likes things the way he likes things. He's also picky and opinionated. There may have been more than one argument about how to organize his counter clutter. Not that what he had on the counter wasn't needed, it absolutely was, but it doesn't need to be spread out all over the entire counter. Luckily a trip to Walmart saved the day. Sorry Target, you know I love you, but you didn't have anything that he liked.
The macrame glass containers were just the thing to solve our argument. The glass soapdish was something that we had upstairs in our bathroom, but I was more than willing to donate it to hold all of his various things for his braces and their care. I'm still looking for a towel holder for the hand towel, and none of the artwork is back up, but I figure those are things that I can do as I get stronger. Gives me a goal. We also got a new shower curtain that had all of our colors, and new towels.
I'm happy that my boy likes his bathroom, and I'm extra happy that I won't be embarrassed over the basement bathroom anymore.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

7/18/2018

Mason Jar Lattes: Cardamom Vanilla

7/18/2018 0 Comments
Happy July, friends! Dana here. I'm not gonna talk about how friggin' hot it is because we're probably all painfully aware, and that's all I'm seeing online of late. I feel, y'all *sweats profusely*. Let's try and bring ourselves some relief, shall we?

I used this recipe as a guide, with (as usual) some changes. Specifically, no rosewater. I like rosewater, but 1) I have no idea where to find it 2) I already had all the other ingredients in my house, and why am I gonna change out of my jammies if I don't have to? The original recipe tells you how to make a cold version, whereas mine is hot, though you could easily make this version cold too (see recipe below).

Ingredients
30 whole green cardamom pods
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Combine cardamom pods, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Turn burner to medium-high and bring to a light boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture is bubbling, turn off the burner and let the mixture sit for at least fifteen minutes. This will give the pods more time to steep and infuse the syrup with their flavor. Add vanilla and stir again. Then strain (if desired) into a jar. I personally like leaving the pods in because I think it looks kind of fun and reminds me of what's in the jar. They're big enough to not really cause an issue too. When I make syrups with any kind of bitsy flavorants, though, like zest, I'll filter. It's up to you. Then just flavor your coffee as desired. I personally don't like my coffee too sweet, so I use two tablespoons in a standard coffee cup.

For a hot latte, use Heather's Mason Jar Latte recipe here, sans the sugar. Or you can be lazy like me and just combine coffee and milk and zap in the microwave to heat it up.

For an iced latte, I recommend using my aforementioned lazy method, but add some ice cubes instead of zapping it in the microwave. Easy peasy!


Here you can see my ingredient layout. Anyone else listen to audiobooks while they cook? I use a great app called Librivox. It has loads of classic literature. Currently listening to the leviathan that is Moby Dick. There's a geeky reference in there. ðŸ˜‰ If you've read other guest posts from me, you may notice I make pretty easy recipes. Yeah, because I don't like to have to work too hard for my food! Especially first thing in the morning when I'm stumbling around like a zombie.



I think I did a load of dishes while this baby was doing its thing. It really doesn't get much easier. And you can see what I mean about seeing what's in the jar. I use raw sugar, so my syrups always resemble maple syrup, meat juice, broth, etc., and I am not looking to mix any of those into my coffee. Well, the maple syrup is actually really nice in coffee, but you get my drift.



Once your coffee is ready, it's time to settle in with another book. Yes, more books! I always have at least three going at a time: an audiobook, one on my Kindle, and a physical one. The resulting concoction has a warm, spicy flavor. It's almost got a whisper of something that reminds me of mint and cumin, but it's not at all minty or cumin-y, if that makes any sense. Anyway, it's absolutely delicious. Give it a try and let us know what you thought in the comments below ðŸ‘‡.

I finished reading the book pictured above, Chasing Shadows by KN Salustro, before writing this post, so feel free to have a look at my spoiler-free review over on my blog.

Thanks for reading!

7/17/2018

2 Weeks Out ...

7/17/2018 0 Comments
Or as I wanted to call this post - SQUATS, SQUATS, SQUATS!

So last week, I shared how my first 8 days went. You can find the post {HERE}. I will say that this week was much better in both terms of my recovery and how I spent my days. I really am not one to lay around and do nothing. It drives me crazy which, in turn, drives my family crazy. I can't not do things. True, I've been making great progress on my colorful cow, but there's only so much cross-stitch that I can do before I go all blurry-eyed. Pulling out the computer is ok, but I really need to be active. I miss my endorphins! Luckily, these last 6 days have found me actually working up a sweat while doing my daily PT exercises.

So my last update was right after my first PT visit since then I've had 2 more visits and they've added more exercises to my repertoire! Squee!

First things first, however, Thursday was my first day doing my exercises at home. It was painful for everyone in the house. However, before I woke the hubs so we could do the exercises, I went downstairs and made myself coffee, well two cups of coffee. By myself! Who knew that making yourself a morning cup of coffee would be so liberating? After enjoying both cups of coffee, I went back upstairs to get the real work done. I decided that I wouldn't eat breakfast until my exercises were done. We went through the exercises the way that my PT told me to do. Hubs was super awesome and did his spotter job admirably. The leg lifts were difficult, the knee bends were agonizing, but the quad sets weren't bad until the kids asked my right leg wasn't doing as much as the left leg. It's working children! You just can't see it. The left leg doesn't have to work as hard. There were definitely tears involved. There wasn't pain, but the effort and the newness of moving the leg took its toll. I don't know if I mentioned in my last post, but the ice therapy machine that I got is worth at least 4 times it's water-weight in gold. The ice machine after my exercises is one of my favorite parts of the day.

Friday was day 2 of PT and my therapist was on vacation, so I had a substitute therapist. She was quite nice and competent if a little hesitant to adjust my brace. I was disappointed that my brace wasn't adjusted, but there was improvement during my leg lifts and the addition of side leg lifts was fun. She barely had to help me get my heel off the table during both exercises, which was exciting because that is what I struggled with during those same exercises on Wednesday and Thursday. Also, I discovered that I can walk down the stairs without my crutch. I'm still holding onto the railing, but I managed those stairs by myself!

So I woke up early both Thursday and Friday but didn't think much of it. Then it happened again on Saturday. I mean I didn't have an alarm set, but 6:14 came and my eyeballs were open. Weird, but maybe my internal clock was just resetting itself, but this is 3 days in a row where I've awoken between 6:12 and 6:14. It's just curious. So anyways, I'm awake which means coffee! I walked all the way downstairs, made my coffee, and then enjoyed it without touching my crutch once! Woot! That was pretty amazing. The house woke up fairly early, and we got my exercises done. I didn't need help with any of the leg lifts, and the hubs was duly impressed. It was nice to show off a bit. Afterward, the hubs went downstairs to start working on the garage, and I had the Big Guy bring up the new shower shelves so I could get them built. Building those shelves was a little job, but it was big for me.

Sunday found me waking up early again, and as has become my habit, I wander downstairs for coffee and me-time. The early morning routine has become one of my favorite moments. Its just me, usually, and I can get myself prepped for the day. I write in my journal and organize my bullet journal. I work on little crafts with Baby Girl. I sip my coffee and just enjoy myself. We pick up Small Fry from camp, and then after we get home he gets to see how much I've improved. He's a pretty good cheerleader. We then moved me out of our bedroom and back down into the family room. No more convalescing in the bedroom! The afternoon found me going to my parents' house and visiting with them and my grandparents. It was a lovely day.

6:12 and my eyeballs are open. Hello Monday. Why do I even bother setting an alarm at this point? I make my coffee, and spend some time with the Big Guy. We head to PT just before 8. I get to warm-up on the recumbent bike. I was supposed to be on there for 10 minutes, but somehow it ended up being 12. Oops. Not sorry. I also kept asking for resistance, because it was easy. The knee felt good and wasn't fighting the movements at all. My therapist was fussing at me for pushing more, but it was easy. She almost threw my protocol at me, well not really, but she did bring it over and told me we were following it and not going to deviate. She then told her assistant that I was going to have to be reigned in. I don't know which is worse in the world of PT, having a patient that doesn't want to do or having one that wants to do too much. Both probably have their own sets of headaches. After the time on the bike, I got to walk across the area to the barre. It was scary, and they had to fetch me a cane. Then we had to keep lengthening the cane because of tall people problems. I make it to the barre, and I didn't fall. I got to do mini squats, only bending the knees to about 30° and then it was on to calf raises. Love calf raises! So after that, it was onto wearing the brace again and all the leg lifts. We upped my reps to 30. I was working up a definite sweat during this visit, and it felt marvelous. The ice compression machine felt amazing. I took the kids to the pool and let them play for about 90 minutes. The heat took a toll on me, and after we got home I took a shower. My knee felt unstable in the shower after trying to pick the soap up off the floor. That was not very fun, so after I got out of the shower I laid on the couch and proceeded to take a nap.

Today has started just like the last 5 days. 6:12 and I'm awake. I take my time over my coffee this morning though. Baby Girl and I made a perler bead cupcake, and then I head back upstairs to do my exercises. The hubs was nervous for my exercises today because of the addition of the squats and lifts, but it was all good. The knee aches a bit today, probably from all the use and abuse and I've put it through, but it's not terrible.
SQUATS! SQUATS! SQUATS!
So overall week 2 has gone much better and I'm excited to see what the next week brings. I'm still working towards not sleeping with the brace on and being able to drive, but every day I see improvement so I am quite pleased with how everything is progressing.

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

7/13/2018

Going Global in the Family Room

7/13/2018 0 Comments
When we bought the house 9 years ago, the first thing we did after closing was to paint the family room a lovely pumpkin orange. It was my favorite room in the house for a very long time, but then I started getting more adventurous in my paint colors. Painting our master bedroom navy blue was bold and scary for us, but I love how that turned out. So then we started talking about what color to paint the family room. It needed to be refreshed, and I wanted something dramatic. I found this color scheme from Sherwin Williams called Global Spice and it has all the colors I love in it. So it has formed the basis for the new color scheme on the main level of the house.

We started thinking about the colors that we liked, and we settled on a dark purple. We had several shades, but in the end, Sweet Currant by Valspar won the color race. So the next weekend, we started cleaning and clearing out the family room.

It was probably the best cleaning the room had received in the last 5 years. Everyone chipped in. I vacuumed the walls and removed all the cobwebs. The littles scrubbed all the window sills and baseboards. The Big Guy was our gopher and ended up cleaning the trim work that the littles couldn't reach. After all of that, it was finally time to paint, and it was amazing! While the new color is dark and dramatic, it's not overpowering. Not with all of the white trim and curtains. Luckily, the new fabric I bought for the pillows has all those same colors and they really pop off the gray of the couch. The dark purple also allows our artwork to pop.
Speaking of which, we needed some new artwork. I love the lily picture above our fireplace, but it wasn't right for the family room anymore. So I moved it up to our bedroom, where it fills the space above my dresser much better than the art I had up there. Michael's then had a sale for 70% off their canvases so the hubs and I picked up a 36" square canvas for $21. Then $3 worth of paint from Walmart and we were going to have some new abstract art.
The kids and I laid the canvas on the driveway and started throwing paint on it. I tried scraping the paint in straight lines off the canvas, but it muddled the paint too much. So we squirted more paint onto the canvas and then made sweeping arcs with the squeegee and we liked that much better. We just continued to add paint and make sweeping arcs until it looked done.
The art project was so much! I love that it was a group project. I also love how the whole room came together and how well it works with the rest of the main level of the house. Even the messy kitchen table looks right at home.
 All of the new pillows look fabulous on the couch. I may or may not being a bit precious with the striped pillows, because that fabric is a really nice upholstery chenille that can't be washed, dry cleaned only. I love how the gray allows everything to pop.
I figured I'd leave the comparison to how the room used to look to what it looks like now until the very end. I really did love the orange, but the purple is just so much more dramatic and a little more grown-up.

Just one room left for the main level to be done. The dining room! Thanks for stopping by!

7/11/2018

A Week and a Day

7/11/2018 0 Comments
Yesterday marked one week since my ACL/meniscus repair surgery and it has been a week.

It started off innocently enough, but then it got hard, went to ok, and finally ended on terribly wonderful. If you follow me on Instagram {HERE} then you'll have seen some of what my first week was like.

So the surgery went well, but coming out of anesthesia took ages, which seems to be the norm me, but it did prompt one of the recovery nurses to ask if I was still breathing. Yep, just want to go back to sleep, but I'm still here.

Getting home was a bit of a trial. The movement of the car plus the meds made me a bit car sick, which I don't know that I've ever suffered from. I do not like it.
Home from surgery.
Once home we settled me on the couch, and then I proceeded to flit between being awake and asleep for the next several hours. Getting up to go the bathroom was awful. The downstairs bathroom is not great for a person whose leg needs to stay fully extended. We made it through the day, and I hobbled my way upstairs at the end of the night.

The 2nd day was much the same, I was feeling quite accomplished at getting dressed and then heading downstairs. I even made it outside to watch the fireworks since it was the 4th of July. Getting upstairs was agonizing.
Watching the kids play with sparklers on the 4th. 
The 3rd day was almost identical to the 2nd day. I enjoyed the time I spent with the kids, but getting up off the couch and into the bathroom was hellish. The trek up the stairs on the 3rd day was the worse one. I was exhausted and there were so many stairs.

Day 4 dawned and I decided to stay upstairs in my bedroom. The kids brought up my computer and cross stitch. The hubs brought up a TV, and while mentally it was the toughest day because I felt like my leg had won, it was really the best decision. Our bed is quite high off the floor and it makes it so much easier for me to get in and out of it. Our bathroom also has a nice half wall next to the toilet so it made a great handrail for me. I was really grumpy about my decision to stay in the bedroom, but it really was the best decision.
Wearing cute socks while locked in my Ivory Tower was my coping mechanism. 
Days 5 - 7 were spent lounging in the bedroom. The kids played the switch, and I got an education in Splatoon 2 that I didn't know I needed. I caught up on computer stuff and made some great progress on my colorful cow cross stitch. I also ventured out to see my parents on Sunday and spent a lovely morning with them. Staying in my bedroom seemed like I was letting the injury win, but in reality, I think I allowed me to heal and rest more comfortably.
Hanging out with Momma!
Watching the men talk about building plans. 
Day 8 or Post-Op Day - I couldn't sleep. I was like a kid at Christmas. I couldn't wait to unwrap my leg and see the damage. I must've woken up 3 or 4 times, and each time it was a fight to get back to sleep. Finally, it was actually time to wake up and get ready. We still made it to my doc appointment 20 minutes before my scheduled time, and then my doc ended up running 20 minutes late. ARGH!

I'm finally called back and the nurse tells me they're gonna take x-rays, but first, we're taking off my bandages! I was still like a kid at Christmas. I was so excited that I was sweating. Seriously the sweat yesterday was bad. I mean I know I'm a sweater, but stress sweat is awful. So she opens up my brace and cuts off my bandages. It's not as bad as I would have thought. The knee is understandably tender, and there wasn't much bruising. So she helps me put my brace back on, and its time to hobble down to x-ray. Laying on the x-ray table is the best thing so far about this whole thing. Being able to lay down on my side! It's wonderful! The tech tells me that most people don't like to lay on their side after surgery. So the x-rays get taken and we're back to the room. The doc comes in and reviews how the surgery went. He goes over the pictures from the procedure and answers my questions. I had no idea that 1) it was even possible that what remained of my ACL scarred itself to my PCL or that 2) it was quite common. We also rehashed that there is some arthritis in my knee cap, but not much. The outside meniscus is quite healthy, but he had to remove a largish chunk from the other. I will say that the meniscii (meniscuses?) look like white fish flesh. There was a surprising lack of blood in the pictures. We reviewed the x-rays and I got to see all the hardware that was installed. 2 screws and a clip. One of the screws will turn to bone in about 2 years, but the doc kept calling them wood screws and now I can't get that out of my head.
What's up evil face?
The doc then examined my leg. We debated whether or not my leg was stained or bruised. We talked about my aches and pains and whether I needed more Percocet (I did not get another scrip, went a step-down because I hate taking narcotics). Also talked about my PT visit the next day, and then onto checking the ligaments. That was not fun, but he said it all felt good. He also told me that I didn't need my crutches anymore. I got very excited about that until I realized what that actually meant. He said that at my PT visit they'd unlock my brace and that until I could raise my leg more easily I would continue to have to wear the stupid thing while sleeping. Oh! Yea, so trying to lift my leg without my brace was the most difficult thing. I was more focused and determined than I have been in a long time on that single exercise and I managed 4". I was proud of myself, but at the same time disappointed that it wasn't enough. That's the next goal. The nurse came back in and put on steri-strips and told me showering was allowed, but I couldn't scrub that leg until the strips came off. So then I was done with the visit and it was time to go home. I "walked" out, using two crutches and applying as much weight as I felt comfortable with on the leg. By the time I got home, I was down to one crutch. I was done with those damn crutches. I almost forgot I am not a crier. I don't cry, but when I got into that car after the doc's visit that was the first thing I did. I burst into tears and I couldn't tell you why, but I felt better after the fact. 

I didn't realize what a toll the day would take on me, but it came down to taking a shower or taking a nap. The nap won. I don't know if it should've because when I did take a shower after my nap those clothes were rank! Ugh. I'm so sorry if I actually stank that bad while out. On my way up the stairs, the hubs says he found my bruise and why the back of my knee has ached so much. 
Yep, that would do it.
 After the gloriousness of my nap, taking a shower was a very daunting thing to do, but it got done, and unfortunately, it was not as miraculous as I wanted it to be. I mean, it felt good being clean, but I was exhausted again. Mostly emotionally exhausted, but exhausted nonetheless. Cue more tears and my Big Guy is the one who held me and calmed me down. Thankfully the rest of the day was more lowkey.

Day 9 or PT Day 1 - I slept much better last night, but I'm still awake at 5am. It is not Christmas! Luckily, my PT appointment is much earlier in the day than my doc appointment so that was good. I got myself ready and actually ate breakfast downstairs. That was a nice change, and then it was time to dash after another short cryfest. We get to the office with plenty of time to spare. The hubs tells me that while he's waiting for me, he's going to meal plan. Is there any question as to why I love him? He's been amazing this whole week. So I hobble back to the PT area of the office, where I meet my therapist. She's a nice lady who is almost as tall as me, and we're wearing the same Brooks' sneaks. I instantly like her.

The visit was difficult but rewarding. She worked my knee and we got it bent to 70* which was not painful, but it was so tight and uncomfortable. I had to close my eyes during some of the exercises, because she told me I was fighting her, which I didn't know I was doing and didn't mean to do, but I figure if I can't see what she's doing and then work solely by feel then maybe it'd go better. The trick worked and I did loosen up while she continued to flex my knee and make it work. She had me go through a series of exercises and then we finished up with ice, compression, and these little electrode things. By the end of the session, I was in a bit of pain, but not to bad. She wasn't going to unlock my brace, but in the end, decided that 10* was enough flexion. She also taught me how to correctly hobble on my one brace. She told me that I wasn't walking great and maybe I should be on both crutches. Well that wasn't going to happen so I tried to "walk" better, and apparently changed my gait and she was quite happy with it. She also adjusted my crutch so that it was better suited to me. Then it was over. I get to go through this happy hell 3 times a week for 6 weeks. Once we get back in the car, cue more tears. These might've been triggered by a little bit of pain, a little bit of emotion, and a little bit over whatever is left.  I did end up taking another half a Percocet today. The pain from the work this morning was just too much. I'm not really happy about it but I also need to be realistic.

So there's my week and a day. I go back to PT on Friday, and on my off days, I have my exercises to work on. Thanks so much for stopping by today.

7/09/2018

A Big Girl's Mermaid Bathroom

7/09/2018 0 Comments

So my girl is turning 5 this year, and as we've done with both of her brothers, 5 is the year they get their "Big" bedroom. Baby Girl is no different. We've been working on her room, and converting it to her Big Girl room for a few weeks now, but she also wanted to do her bathroom, so I gave her carte blanche with her bathroom.

She told me she wanted a mermaid bathroom, so we hopped on Pinterest and start looking at various renditions of mermaid bathrooms. Most of them are blue or green, but my girl wants a pink/purple bathroom. Of course, she does. You know fate is on your side when you're at Lowe's and the mistints are on sale, AND you find the perfect shade of pink for your girl's bathroom. $5 for an entire gallon of paint. That's a steal!

So we had the paint, and we'd just painted the family room, so all the paint supplies were still out and what better time to paint than when everything is out and about?

The hubs helped me take everything down in the bathroom, and then it was time to slap some paint on the walls. Painting it went pretty easily, you know on a bum knee and everything. The hubs wasn't overly happy that I was doing so much, but I am nothing if not foolish and full of blind determination.


Once the paint dried, Baby Girl and I started putting her bathroom back together, but there was something missing. The linen closet creates an almost perfect accent wall in the bathroom, and another quick Pinterest search solves my dilemma.


After buying a quart of the perfect purple, Plum Dandy for those of you wondering, I mixed it with some glaze that I had. It ended up being a 1:1 ratio paint to glaze, and then I rolled it onto the wall. I did one side and then drug my small corn husk broom through it. Vertically then horizontally. I then did the same thing on the adjacent wall. It's not perfect, but I love it and for my first attempt I'm really happy with the whole effect.


Baby Girl decided that she wanted to change up her toothbrush holder. We'd seen on Pinterest some glittered mason jars, and she wanted to do that for her mason jars. So that's what we did. The hubs is not a fan of the glitter, but this was important to the girl.

So then it was just finishing touches, and now my Baby Girl has her big girl mermaid bathroom.


This was in the bathroom when it was originally Small Fry's bathroom. I decided to keep it in there because it's so dang cute, and nostalgia purposes. 
 We found this starfish dish while at Home Goods, and it was on clearance for $3! Baby Girl gingerly carried it around the entire store. She loved that she could pick something out for her bathroom. We added the bag of baubles which I got from Pottery Barn years ago.


We used the old towel rack and turned it into a fun lantern wall. I still need to add fairy lights to it, but I figure when she's older and wants to take a nice relaxing soak, the fairy lights will add a nice ambiance. I kind of want a lantern wall in my bathroom, if I'm being honest.


I'm really happy that she's happy, and that another project is off the list. I'm also happy to report that she's taking care of her new bathroom the way a big girl should take care of her bathroom. I mean there are still towels on the floor, but the days of painting the cabinets in toothpaste seem to be behind us. She takes a lot of care to make sure things are put away, at least on the counter.

7/06/2018

Pattern Review - Kwik Sew K3998

7/06/2018 0 Comments

So it's day 4 in my ACL recovery journey, and I figured it was time that I start writing some of these blog posts that I've been hoarding since I knew I'd be stuck on my butt for a while.


I actually got this pattern done last month, but I got a lot of things done last month in my mad rush to get things done before knee day. I got so many things done that I hope I don't leave anything out.

So this pattern is not difficult and it goes together super quick. The only thing I will say is that I did measure my girl before cutting out the pattern, but I should have made a size bigger.

The pattern is well written, and it is a good introduction to making swimwear.

Swimsuits are fun to sew up because you encase the cotton elastic inside the seam allowance and they usually go together super quick.


The first rendition of this pattern did not fit her lengthwise, and it looked like one of those wrestler outfits. Not a good look.

So I chopped the one piece in half and made it a two-piece number. Voila! The project is saved.

After chopping the suit in two, I realized I shouldn't have cut it right at the seam where the flounce is, but 3/4" above the seam so that the elastic wasn't going to be encased in the flounce, but cest la vie.

My girl loves her suit, and that's all that really matters. It's not going to grow with her, and it'll only be for this season, but that's ok with me because I was able to use up some more of my stash on this project. I also probably still have enough of each of these fabrics to make her another swimsuit for next year.



Thanks so much for stopping by today!

6/12/2018

21 Days and Counting

6/12/2018 0 Comments
Image result for runner injury memes
21 days. 504 hours. 30,240 minutes. All of them equal to the same thing - the day of my ACL reconstruction and meniscectomy surgery. Fun times, I tell ya.

So how did I get here? Well, it took a lot of hard work, some slightly stupid decisions, and then some not so good advice, finally I had to listen to my gut. People listen to your guts! There's a reason it's called a gut instinct.

If you follow me on Instagram or have been a follower of this blog, then you know that in mid-April I dislocated my kneecap. 10 days before I was supposed to run my 13th half marathon down in Nashville. I may have blogged about the annoyance of dealing with this injury a few some a lot.

A few days ago, I told everyone about the severity of my injury. It was a shock when I got the news. So here I am now, trying to get projects done and organize myself for some serious downtime, but first I'd like to share just what happened.

So it all started with cross-training and doing some rounds of jumping squats and high knees. These are not exercises I'm new to. I know better than to jump on the jumping squats. I usually modify. I go up onto my toes and then back down, because I know I have bad knees. Well, my enthusiasm at such a good workout was rewarded with the aforementioned kneecap dislocation. Not my first dislocation, so I knew the drill. Stay off of it. Take it easy. I talked to the orthopedist that the ER recommended and he agreed with my assessment of what I should do. He did say that the half was probably out of the question, but that the 5k was doable.

So I ran the 5k in Nashville with my sister and reinjured the knee, you can read about it {HERE}. I saw the doc the day after I got home from Nashville, and told him what had happened during the 5k. He didn't seem overly concerned, and I went back home and continued to baby, but not baby, the knee. I mention to my husband one day that the knee doesn't feel right, like the muscles aren't in the right spot or something, but figured it was probably just swelling and inflammation.

Then May 12 struck. I was 2 miles into a 3-mile easy run, coming down a hill and turning onto the road that leads back to my neighborhood, and I had to stop running. My leg came down and it felt like I had no kneecap. It felt like my thigh bone had just smacked off the top of my shin bone, and it hurt like the freaking devil. I stopped running immediately, and caught my breath and fought off tears. There may have been some yelling/grunting/snorting there too. I gingerly try to put weight on the leg, and the knee was not having any of that. I do some light stretching and test the knee a few minutes later, and still no dice. The knee was hurting a lot, and I was pissed. I was angry at myself, I was angry at my knee, and I was mostly angry that I was still dealing with this damn forsaken injury. Not to mention I was still a mile from my house. I call my friend and she comes and rescues me. So she stopped getting ready for her planned thing at her house to come rescue me. She's the best type of friend.

I call my doc and he's able to see me that Monday, and I tell him what happened this time. He says this time that no running, and to rest it. He'll see me back in a month. I tried asking him for specific exercises I should be doing, but again I get the generic answer of you should just do quad exercises, and focus on the medial quad a bit. While that is slightly more helpful than your other answer, I'm still not happy. My follow-up would be June 11. The next day after almost falling down my stairs again, I call the orthopedist office that helped my mom when she broke and dislocated her elbow. They're able to see me on May 30.

Between May 12 and May 30, my knee continues to act up. Always when moving in a downward motion, usually on the stairs or stepping down out of our house. It happened so often that Baby Girl became a pro at running and getting my brace or ice and bringing it to me. She also got really good at barking orders to her brothers, because while their shouts of, "Mom!" were cute, they're not helpful in the least. It's to the point that my knee is causing me stress and anxiety.

May 30 finally comes and I'm seen by the new doc. I'm nervous and anxious, but he's very nice and listens to my concerns. He says that he wouldn't have done anything differently than what my other doc did the first visit, but now that I'm continuing to have issues, and nothing showed up on the x-ray then he's going to write orders for an MRI. He also talks a bit about what's going to happen if what he thinks the MRI is going to show and how he'd like to move forward. So the MRI is scheduled for June 5, and my follow-up June 21. It was far out, but even my doc is allowed a vacay.

I walked away from this appointment much calmer and happy that I'd been listened to. The doc was nice, and a runner, but he also listened. Really listened to me. I was not a whiny patient who was complaining that her knee hurt. I was someone who's knee was starting to impede her life, and that was not something he wanted me to have to live with.

June 5th could not get here soon enough. I was excited. I've never had an MRI, but the opportunity to lay completely still uninterrupted seemed like heaven. I know I'm weird. I have 3 kids, even with the noise of the MRI machine, it was still more peaceful and calm than on a typical day at my house. I fully enjoyed the 30 minutes the machine took. So the tech at the MRI place told me that the report would take about 3 days and that they'd send it over to my doc. I had also requested a copy of my MRI images. I wanted to see what was going on in there, even if I didn't know what the heck I was looking at.

I got a phone call at 11:30 the same day, and its the new doc's office. The doctor would like me to come into the office tomorrow even though I have an appointment already scheduled. You know this has to be good news. The nurse tells me I have a torn ACL and meniscus. I have a what now? So we set the appointment for the next day, and I hop onto my computer to actually look at those MRI images. I managed to find my femur, tibia, and patella!

Image result for ACL injury meme

At the new doc's office the next morning, I get the fun news that my ACL is ruptured and the meniscus won't heal on its own. He opens up the MRI images and starts explaining the parts of my knee. The good parts, and the slightly deformed parts (the patella), and the not so good bits. The tibia has a good size bruise on it, there's swelling (duh), and the medial meniscus looks like its shredded on the one end. Then he gets to the PCL and he says that it looks good, and then he moves the cursor to an area kind of in the middle of the knee and moving diagonally and says this is where my ACL should be. Should be? Excuse me? Where is it? Well, that would be the rupture. You can see a little bit of the ACL at the tibia and then there's nothing. The doc needs to do a meniscectomy, and I have 3 choices for the ACL. He does tell me that PT is an option, but it really boils down to whether I want one surgery or two. I will take one surgery, thank you very much. Like any good person in this day and age, after they'd given me the news yesterday, I hopped on old Dr. Google to see what I could be dealing with, so the options the doc gave me for my options were not surprising. I ended up deciding that a hamstring allograft would be my best option for reconstructing my ACL.

Now the surgery is 3 weeks away, I got fitted for my brace today and got to bring home my ice therapy machine. I'm excited and scared. I'm excited for finally being able to move forward. I'm also worried about the giant step backward this is sending me, but I will come back, and I will resume running. My goals are just going to be different. I might never hit a 2:30 half marathon, but at this point, I'll be happy to be running a half again or even at all.

That's not to say that I don't love all the biking I've been doing, but it's just not the same. Coasting down the hills, while so much fun, just isn't the same as running down them. Not to mention, that I think getting up those hills might be worse on the bike than it is running.

I also don't want to diminish what I've still be able to do while dealing with this. I should have probably been doing some seated exercises, but hey, I've got 3 weeks, and some time to spare. Those seated exercises are going to get some run-throughs.

I'm also trying not to panic about all the rest of the projects I want to get done before surgery. I'm trying to keep the list manageable, but its been really, REALLY, REALLY, difficult. Just ask my poor husband. He's been trying to gently remind me to keep it in the pragmatic area.

So there it is. My journey is about to take a big detour and I'm going to really find out what I'm made of.  Thanks for stopping by today.

6/04/2018

Pattern Review - Simplicity 1887

6/04/2018 0 Comments

I am so excited to share this next project with you guys! Summer showed up here for a bit in VA, but it seems now we're gonna need an ark to survive. Hopefully, the warm weather returns so I can bust these super cute shorts back out.


Ok, so I'm getting ahead of myself. So I've been seeing these super cute tie-front shorts everywhere lately, and it just so happens that I have a tie-front shorts pattern, so now is as good a time as any to bust it out. I bought this pattern last year (maybe?) and then did nothing with it because I couldn't decide on fabric for the shorts. I really like the shiny olive gold color in the picture, but don't you know that I can't find fabric like that?

I am also still on that self-imposed ban on buying new fabric until I work through some of my stash. Well as luck would have it, I had 3 different types of denim - all different weights and colors - hiding in the aforementioned stash. I examined all three and figured that the mid-weight denim would be perfect for this pattern. Just enough drape and light enough to still be comfortable in those 90 degree days that we did have a for a bit, and that will be returning.

One of the bonuses of this pattern is that it doesn't take a lot of fabric. 1.25 yards is all it takes, and that's for my size. I did lengthen it 2" because the super short inseam was worrisome, but I shouldn't have worried, because they're so comfortable that I didn't need to lengthen them. I ended up cutting off the added length before I hemmed them.

The pattern goes together super easy, and the guide sheet is well written. I should have measured my elastic at a smaller size because the shorts don't sit where they should on me, but tightening the tie at the front eases that. Stupid curve at the small of my back. Makes fitting pants so dang difficult.

Like I said this pattern is a breeze. It took me an afternoon to sew them up. Threading the elastic through the waistband was the most time-consuming part. So I would definitely recommend this pattern to a beginner. Not only is it easy, but it's also stylish and looks a lot more complicated than it actually is.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

5/29/2018

French Braided Pillow V2.0

5/29/2018 0 Comments

Several years ago, I saw a pillow at Target that I knew I could replicate. The problem at the time with the pillow from Target was that it was the wrong color. So I took some fabric that matched my decor and whipped up a pillow similar to what Target had, and I did it for cheaper. The original French Braided Pillow is {HERE}, and it's still going strong 8 years later.

So I was in Target {again} and I saw the most gorgeous pillow. It was another braided number and the most gorgeous shade of magenta. It was also a velvet type of material, but it had one thing that I really disliked. You could see all of the seam allowances if you moved the sections of woven material on the front of the pillow. This is not practical for a house who has children or will use the pillow as a pillow and has children. I repeated myself, but it's doubly true.
Find this pillow at Target {HERE}
This pillow inspired me to make another, better, version of my braided pillow. One with no visible stitching lines or exposed seam allowances. Luckily, I had a trip planned to Jo-Ann's with Mom and that was a very fruitful trip. I snagged this medium-weight upholstery fabric for $7/yd! I got 2 yards just to be safe since the pillow I was going to make this time around was 16" x 24".  So let's get onto the meat of how to make the fabulous pillow!

Materials

  • 2 yds of fabric
  • 16" x 24" pillow form or stuffing
  • Cutting Mat
  • Ruler
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Writing Stick

Cut List

  • 2 - 16" x 24" rectangles
  • 2 - 16" x 7" rectangles
  • 14 - 16" x 5" rectangles
*keep a few scraps for the last little pleats at the top corners. 

Instructions

  1. Starting at one corner of one of your 16"x 24" rectangles, mark a line that is on the bias and ends about the middle of the pillow. Repeat for the adjacent corner. Measure 1.5" above those lines and make another set of lines. Continue to mark lines all the way up the pillow.

  2. Fold one 16" x 7" rectangles in half lengthwise and line up the raw edges with your first marked line. Stitch in a 1/2" seam. Repeat for opposite side, the ends should overlap in the center of the pillow.

  3. With the remaining strips, you will create the braided pattern. Starting on the first line you stitched, with right sides together, line up raw edges and stitch a 1/2" seam. The two raw edges of the rectangle should align with the first stitched line and the next line above the opposite stitched piece. Refer to the photo to see exactly what I mean. By overlapping the pieces this way there will be no exposed seam allowances.

  4. Fold the strip out with the right side showing and line up the raw edge with the next marked line above the first line you just stitched along. Stitch 1/2" seam.

  5. Repeat steps 3-4 all the way up the pillow until you come to the last two marked lines on your pillow. As you can see in the photos below, all the seams will be neatly encased under all the pleats.



  6. When you reach the very top corners of your pillow, take some of your scrap pieces to cover the seam allowances. Stitch the first line as you have previously, and then measure 1" below your stitched line and fold the scrap back over the corner. Pin and stitch within the seam allowances (5/8") of the edge.



  7. Press your pleated pillow top and then with right sides together, stitch the pillow top to the bottom. Making sure to leave an opening for your stuffing or pillow form. I used a 5/8" seam because I wanted my pillow form to be really stuffed inside. Trim seams and corners, and turn pillow right side out. Stitch the opening closed with your needle and thread. 


Doesn't that pillow look right at home with the rest of my couch? I love the pop of color! 


Thanks so much for stopping by!