Thursday, February 9, 2012

Almost a year later - sorry!

UPDATE:  My apologies to my blog followers for the time between posts.  In this past year I have come to feel that my address is c/o my local hospital rather than my own home.  To sum it up, my knees are shot and I am not a candidate for knee replacement surgery because of other health issues.  The most recent admission was scary.  For two days my legs would not allow me to stand up so I spent a weekend in my recliner.  When I developed a high temperature and skin mottling, it was time to call the doctor on call who sent the ambulance.  In the ER the doctors really wanted to find a brain or spinal cord process as the source of the problem but deep in my heart I knew it was my knees and begged them to call my rheumatologist.  It took three days but they finally did call my rheumatologist and he tapped my knees (my right knee went down 2 inches in girth!) and instilled steroids.  I have to accept the fact that this is my life now, so it's a slow down, but not a stop.  I will not give in and if it means an assistive device to get around, then that is what will happen. 

SEWING: On a better note, in late summer I was given quite a gift - the task of turning a wedding gown into a boy's Christening outfit as well as a girl's Christening gown and a Christening coat.  I've been sewing since age 17 (at least 1000 years ago), so I thought I would not have any problems.  However, I had never dealt with "pick-ups" before or what was left when they were removed.  It took three weeks to take the gown apart and with each stitch removed, my heart sunk a little more.  When the pick-ups were released, I was left with 4 inch holes in the skirt fabric where each had been.  It was tricky, to say the least, to find enough solid fabric to cut the pieces needed.  The hem was another problem because it was a balloon hem and had dragged on the ground.  While there was a lot of fabric on the inside, the hemline was badly soiled.  A highly recommended dry cleaner would not touch the gown because of all the beading and sequins, so I had to work with what I had.  Fortunately, since I was cutting an infant pattern,  many of the pieces were small. 

I had started on the gown first but the baby was a beautiful little boy - so I put the gown aside and really got busy on the boy's romper.  The pattern was one piece but since the baby's parents are very tall,  I was afraid of "popping crotch" from diapers, etc. I made it as a two piece garment, adding two inches to the bottom edge of the shirt part, so it could be tucked in the pants.  The Mom liked it so much as it was, that she left the shirt extension out over the pants.  I never had a chance to try it on the baby, but it fit him perfectly.  Sadly, I did not get the coat done in time for the Christening.  The knee incident happened while I was working on it and once I got home, I got a wicked flu (I think we always bring something home from the hospital and it is not always as pleasant as a new baby).   I now have time to finish the gown and the coat for the next baby!  The holes in the skirt made it hard to match beading patterns but I could come close. Here are photos of the gown as I received it, and the resultant boy's outfit which took every inch of plain fabric on the gown. I will post the photos of the others when they are done.   The gown was exquisite and I hated cutting into it but doing so allowed me to create items that can be passed on through the family so that is good.  You cannot see it in the first or second photos but the entire bodice is covered with a very fine champagne colored mesh and  then beaded on top of that.  I was able to leave the bodice intact in case it can someday be used for a little girl's First Communion dress. 

I do have other sewing plans for the year - the get back to sewing for my reproduction and antique Bleuettes and Rosettes, and maybe for my Mary Hoyer dolls.  For the first time in three years, I have ordered another Bleuette and she is due to arrive shortly after my birthday in February.  I sew for these dolls by hand and find it so relaxing but I have not been able to find the type of vintage fabrics that I found while living in Maine.  Maybe in Philadelphia proper.  I also want to work on the great fabric stash in my bedroom that I swear multiplies in the dark!  I have been following  Lynn's wonderful quilting blog at and ordered her Madrigal pattern.  I have never used black in a quilt but I like the look of this one and somehow think navy or hunter green would not be as effective.  She is also working on it in yellows and greens now so I may have found a use for a stash of Folk Art Wedding fabrics which I purchased in Minnesota in 2000.  

TV:  A friend here at the apartment complex has gotten me started on Korean dramas.  Of course, the two shows are on at midnight and 12:35 AM here on the east coast, but I am completely hooked.  It started when I taped the shows for her while she was away last summer.  When she came over to watch them, of course I watched with her, and that was that.  I was hooked.  One is called "To Be With You" and the actress who plays the new mother-in-law  is such a good actress (unless she is this evil in real life) that I truly hate her character and mutter under my breath at her during all her evil actions - worse than JR Ewing!  The second show is called "Happiness in the Wind" and is should be winding up in a week or so.  I missed the beginning but the episodes can be seen online.  One of the ones I taped for her was "Smile Again, Donghae" but that ended and "To Be With You" took its place.  Now, normally when the TV is on, I am doing many other things - reading, cooking, reading e-mails, etc.  With these shows I cannot do that because they are all subtitled.  I am learning so much about Korean culture and it is so interesting.  I wish I could see the Jeju island they talk about as a honeymoon get-away.  In one of the episodes last night they were preparing for a holiday - Chuseok, which is a harvest festival, rather like our Thanksgiving.  Another thing I found interesting is family heierarchy.  The evil mother-in-law has two daughters-in-law, the second of which is older than the first.  However since she came into the family second, she is now of lesser status than the first, and they can no longer address each other by their given names, but by terms that mean older sister-in-law and second sister-in-law.  Very, very interesting.  If you have a DVR or Tivo, you might have fun watching them.  Of course I get up later now, staying up so late,  but it's like getting fun history lessons!

BOOKS:  I have done a lot of reading over the last year, most recently reading a book that I read many years ago.  If you are at all interested in the origins of antiseptic care in hospitals, or if you work in the medical field, you may find this book informative.  It is called "The Cry and the Covenant" by Morton Thompson and it is about the life of Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis who discovered something that could put an end to deaths from childbed fever.  He was mocked, ridiculed and basically martyred for his beliefs and findings.  It is a powerful book with a lot of Hungarian-Austrian politics of the time (which I glossed over for the medical parts) and it made my blood boil to think that doctors could be so narrow-minded at the time, while thousands of women were dying from the easily prevented childbed fever.   In a lighter reading vein, I have discovered David Rosenfelt who writes about a lawyer, Andy Carpenter, who has a golden retriever named Tara.  The author has begun a foundation for golden retrievers called "The Tara Foundation".  While I generally prefer medical mystery type books and authors like Robin Cook, Kathy Reichs, etc., these are not so heavily into law that I find them difficult.  Good reads and if there is a dog in it, even better!   I am lucky in that the Bookmobile comes here twice a month and the woman who is in charge of the mobile library does a great job of finding the books on my long lists.  She has even read a few of them.  If you are a Jan Karon fan, read her children's books, especially "Jeremy - The Tale of an Honest Bunny" and "Miss Fannie's Hat".   

I truly am sorry for the delay between postings and thank you for staying with me.  Life just got in my way.   Sadly, I have also recently learned that a dear friend has acute myelogenous leukemia and needs a stem cell transplant.  Friends, donating is not like it used to be with bone marrow donation which was quite painful for the donor.  Now, a donor is given something to increase stem cells and then a few days later, blood is drawn as for a transfusion, with the stem cells being filtered out and the donor's own blood being put back in.  Donors can be between the ages of 18-60 and no matter how healthy the donor may be, he or she comes off the list at age 61.  If you have resisted joining the national registry because of the fear of the harvesting procedure, it is easy now, so please consider joining it.  Doing so requires you to do nothing more than swab the inside of your cheek with the swab sent by the registry.  Sadly, I am too old at 64 to help my friend or anyone, in this way, but if you want to help someone in the future, you can find more information here: 
or here: really could save a life.  

 I promise it will not be another year before I post again.  Hope you are all well.  I have missed you.


Terri said...

Hello Nancy, what a lovely long post! It feels like we have just been chatting. I finally got over to my gmail account and I saw your e-mail (and responded).

I am really sorry to hear about your knees. I hope those helping you do the very best to heal them. Let us know how you are doing.

The wedding gown is totally gorgeous and I too would have cringed to cut into it. What a sweet idea though to make christening outfits for the children!
Hugs and nice to see you here!

Nancy said...

Terri, thanks so much for your lovely comments. Yes, we were just chatting but that's okay. The knees are so-so but I am not ready to give up so I will manage. Thanks so much. Yes, cutting into that gown was scary but I was so grateful for the trust given me.

Pattyskypants said...

OMG, I am hooked on the Korean dramas, too! Out here they are on PBS at 10 pm. LOVE them! They have really helped me communicate more easily with all our Korean students, all of whom are totally shocked that the dramas can be watched here! Glad you're back on PTK.

Loretta said...

Hi Nancy; what a gorgeous outfit you created for the special little boy! How wonderful!
I'm so sorry to learn about your health, but your outlook on life is upbeat and cheery, so I believe that is half the battle.
I will add you to my prayers.
I just joined as a follower to your blog.

Deb H said...

Wow Nancy. Sorry to hear you've been so ill. I hope you start feeling better!

The gown to baby outfit is amazing. Beautiful work. It's good you can still enjoy sewing.

I stay away from medical related stories, books or movies either one. I get enough of that working as a nurse!

I hope you can keep blogging, I love when you can leave comments, & I enjoy returning the visits.

Dru said...

Hi Nancy - I'm so sorry to hear you are having health issues - it's no fun not feeling your best - but it seems you're making the best of it! The outfit you made for the little boy is just beautiful - he looks adorable and what a treasure to take a bridal gown and make heirlooms from it. What a great idea and you did a lovely job! Take care and I hope you have a good week. Hugs, Dru

Linda Carole Bloom said...

Your christening outfit is fabulous! I have made 2 christening dresses - one for my sister from a Little Vogue pattern and one for the lady who used to sit for my precious dogs while I was traveling. That was a Martha Pullen variation - both had embroidery and Looooong skirts and both took me months to make. I've never made one from a wedding dress - can't imagine - must be twice as hard.
Thanks for visiting, I'm waiting for spring - my knees don't like this weather either! Love, Linda

Hitty For Me said...

Good to see you adding to your blog again. Sue

Diane Wild said...

Hi Nancy: I've done the wedding gown/christening gown transformation project. They are challenging, to say the least but very rewarding once finished. You did an amazing job.