Sunday, December 27, 2015


Saturday afternoon - I'm not feeling well? Of course I am.
Annie is doing much better, and thanks everyone for their well wishes.

She's still on pain meds and antibiotics, but she doesn't seem to realize there's anything wrong with her.  Which, technically, I guess there isn't anymore.

She had her surgery Tuesday morning, and by Saturday afternoon, she was back out among the other cats, unsupervised.

She's already lost most of the purple surgical adhesive that was used to close the incision -- now that was an interesting thing to find on the pillow -- and though her scar here looks pink and sticky, it's not swollen or red, and she was absolutely fine with me rolling her over to take a look at it.

Lily is up and down.  She responded quickly to Annie's antibiotics (thankfully the vet gave me the supersize bottle), but when she missed a dose yesterday, she started feeling funky again.  Which just proves the point that antibiotics are supposed to be taken for the entire period prescribed, not most of it.  She's back on, and feeling better again today.

Three day incision - not looking bad at all.
Tomorrow and Tuesday I'm doing a little year-end temping, but Mario is home until after the New Year and he can keep an eye on her.  Without supervision, I'm sure that both of them will spend the day upstairs in his office, one on the laptop, one on her cushion on the desk right behind the laptop.  And he says he doesn't spoil her.

The temping is good - what I make there in two days will probably cover December's heating bill (since it's in the 60s here) -- and it will give me a push to want to get back into my workroom come the New Year.

I'm taking a bit of a break right now, just to recover from a very long show season, but I'm getting antsy again.  I woke up on Christmas Eve day in a very cranky mood, and told Mario I didn't even want to make dinner that night, and our Christmas Eve dinner is the one holiday tradition we have.  He was willing to go along with that, but I knew he'd miss it, and in the end I gave in.  Turns out, what I was actually cranky about was not making things for a week or so.  Cooking was enough of an act of creativity to get me in a much better mood, plus at the end of it there was roast duck and potato gratin.  And wine.

Not sure if I'll be checking in here before the end of the month, so if I don't, here's wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tis the Season

Where to start?  Well, first of all, there are roses blooming in my front yard.  There are tomatoes turning red in the back yard.  The outsides of the windows are running with moisture because it's colder indoors than out.

There's doing a final Christmas show and not selling a single pair of mittens because the shoppers were in shorts and flipflops.  In December.

Then, there are cats.  What is more likely on a holiday weekend than a vet emergency?

Last Thursday, I picked Annie up and thought I felt something under her arm.  I poked around and couldn't feel it, and decided I was imagining things.  The next day, I felt it again, and it stayed found.  So I called my regular vet, who is a good distance away from the house.  She had no open appointments that I could get to before the holiday, and I was afraid to let this wait.  I tried another vet; they were already on break.

There's a vet nearby who I've never gone to.  Dog people love him; cat people do not.  I decided, since he's four blocks away, that it was time to make my own evaluation.  He had an appointment for Monday morning, and I walked Annie down in her carrier to get her checked.

The vet is brusque, no-nonsense, no bedside manner whatsoever, but that's okay.  I know I can tend that way myself if I'm busy, and I don't hold it against a provider so long as they do good work.  He examined Annie, felt the lump and gave me my options: I could have him take fluid from the lump, pay for that and have it come back from the lab as malignant, and then schedule a surgery to take it out, or I could just take it out.  The lump, he said, is probably malignant (breast cancer is common in cats her age).  If it's not, leaving it there increases the chances that it will become malignant over time.  Taking it out, if it hasn't spread anywhere else, will give her a very good chance of dying of old age before the cancer returns.

I voted for removal.  We discussed whether or not to do it before Christmas - he was leaving for his own vacation on Wednesday, but he had time to do it on Tuesday.  It was either that, or wait until the Monday after to have it done.  He thought it should be done sooner, but the risk was that if there were any complications, he wouldn't be around.  I thought the risk was letting that thing grow for another week; I have an emergency vet hospital nearby if something unlikely happened post-surgery.

So Tuesday he did the operation.  I picked her up around 4:00 p.m., and attempted to confine her to the bathroom.  She staggered out of her carrier, stoned as a cat can be, fell into her water bowl and then immediately made a break for the wider world.  She's got pain killers and antibiotics, both of which the vet said were optional; he's one of those rare vets who assumes I know my cat and how she's feeling.  (And he normally doesn't give antibiotics after what he calls a minor surgery; these were a just-in-case since he wouldn't be around).

Well, just-in-case is a good thing, because Lily, not to be outdone by her younger sister, decided to brew up her yearly urinary tract infection a little early.  Same issue: regular vet had no appointments, wouldn't call in a prescription over the phone because it had been 13 months since they'd seen her.  Emergency vet hospital declined to prescribe antibiotics because the doctor who treated Lily last time was no longer there, and it would have been her call.  Two friends who work in vet hospitals and who have been able to score the occasional antibiotic before were already on break.

I looked online and the medication Annie was given is also prescribed for bacterial UTIs, so Lily and Annie are sharing the bright pink, cherry flavored antibiotics.  I got a look at Annie's incision this a.m. and it looks amazing - only a thin, dark-red line under her arm.  So she's getting one dose a day and Lily is getting two, and Lil has already started to act more like herself and use the litterbox without discomfort.

Ah, Christmas.  What would you be without three things piling on at once and making me want to crawl under the covers (with wine), forget about cooking dinner, forget about dinner with the in-laws the next day, forget about everything until the new year.

But I can't.  So I won't.  Head down, push on.  Tis the season.

Whatever your holiday (or lack thereof), I wish you all health, happiness and sanity (sanity being as rare in the festive season as cookies are ubiquitous).

Monday, December 14, 2015

Baby's first Christmas

Okay, one last stocking.  (Anybody surprised I managed to squeeze in one last custom order before the shipping cut-off date?  I didn't think so.)

The mom contacted me and said she wanted a stocking for her baby boy.  This will be his first Christmas, and she said she had a few onesies that she wanted to use for the stocking.  She sent me a photo of a stocking she liked at a friend's house as an example, and when I saw pieces she sent, I completely understood why she wanted more of a "crazy quilt" style vs. the smaller pieces I just did on the last baby stockings.

Each tiny garment came with a handwritten tag explaining why it was special.  Mom and Dad are originally from Texas, so there's a tiny Cowboys jersey.  Dad went to Cal, so there's a Cal onesie, with "Baby" on the back because they hadn't decided his name.  He was Batman for his first Halloween; was there a way to use that?  Yes, but on the back - I just couldn't figure out how to fit in black and yellow with the other pastel colors.  A tiny Hilfiger shirt for his first 100 days.  A onesie printed with dogs because he has two "dog sisters", and a green striped one with two cute dog appliques.

I started at the toe with the green stripe and the biggest applique, then used a sleeve from the puppy outfit (the big brown spot is a tiny elbow patch!).  Part of the Cal jersey with the baby's last name is above that, then a stripe of the Hilfiger shirt, the Cowboys star, more puppies, another little applique, more blue shirt, and his name at the top.  I think my favorite part is the little Hilfiger pocket at the bottom.  Just because.

This is going off to the post office along with a few other last-minute vintage sales, and then I think I can officially declare the holiday OVER.

My last show was this past Sunday, and I close out my two-week neighborhood show this coming Sunday (I don't have to be there except for a few cashier shifts, so it's not quite the same as a regular show).

January looms, and I've got a long, involved plan to implement that will hopefully get me to this time next year without quite so much frantic in November and December.

Except I think I thrive on the frantic, so I'm sure I'll find some somewhere.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Stocking Overload

Is there such a thing?   Why yes, I think there might be.

Every year, one thing is more popular than the rest.  Last year it was bears.  I had quite a few custom orders this year, too, but not on par with the stockings.  They've been selling well in shops, at shows and especially online, where people have been able to order embroidered names or customize with their own fabrics.

It's been a busy time.
Custom set made from baby clothes

Personalized vintage quilt set

Personalized family vintage quilt set 

It's Philadelphia.  LOVE is in the air.  Sometimes.

All the things we want for Christmas.  

Nothing succeeds like Victorian excess.

I'll be sad when I run out of vintage quilts.  But then I'll find another one.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Grandpa Bears, Part 2

A while back, I mentioned that I was doing another set of grandpa bears.  Today, they got picked up, so I can finally share them.

My customer gave me 3 jackets, a handful of ties, a cashmere/silk scarf and a monogrammed shirt.  

She requested a mixture of bunnies and bears.  It's the same pattern, other than making floppy bunny ears (which are lined in tie silk, not too noticeable in these photos).

I was also given a peachy lace dress with pearls that belonged to my customer's late mother.  That was a fun addition - I made a lace overlay on the fronts of all the bunnies, and then strung the pearls (which were used to weight the bodice of the dress) and made a choker for each bunny.

The boys were more straightforward - one from each suit jacket, with tie ears and feet that coordinated with their bunny girlfriends.  Instead of neckties, which I made for last year's grandpa bears, I used the silk/cashmere scarf and made three tiny mufflers which were knotted casually around their necks.  One lucky bear got the cuff monogram from the shirt.

When she picked these up today, she brought along a large (almost 3 feet tall) Santa figure that she's had for years.  Her three sisters have similar Santas.  Her question was, after the holidays, would I be able to re-dress the Santas using new fabric and trim them up with her mother's fur coat?  

Also, would I be able to use the remainder of the lace dress to make dresses for three American Girl dolls?

Also, could I think of anything interesting to do with all those leftover ties?

I love a customer who assumes, because I made one thing, that I can make anything she can dream up. 

But you know what?  I'm gonna try.  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

In case you wondered where I've been lately, the holidays have hit, and hit hard.  I have 3 more shows left before the day (one of them runs for two weeks), so I've been busy trying to keep up with the amount of inventory required.  Not a bad problem to have.

Plus, there have been a few custom orders, and I'm never one to turn down a custom order - they're way too much fun.  Two of them are pictured here, a set of personalized Christmas stockings made from two different vintage quilts (the buyer wanted them to be "boy" and "girl" without being obnoxiously pink or blue, and I think this worked) and a t-shirt quilt bought by a mom for her daughter who recently graduated from WVU.  I wonder what she's wearing now that all her t-shirts, sweatshirts and pants have disappeared from her wardrobe.

The quilt has gotten further along - the photo here is of the layout, and it now has strips of denim between all the images, along with a denim border.  It will be backed with navy blue sweatshirt fleece, sometime after I get things organized for this weekend's events.

Back into my cave now; I just wanted to give everyone an update and let you know I'm not buried under an avalanche of fabric.