Monday, April 17, 2017

A little of this, A little of that

In between doctor's appointments, home health nurse visits and home PT visits, I have gotten in a little stitching, a bit more reading and a very little catch-up housework.  My husband led a bachelor existence for a little over a month while I was in hospital and nursing home and the results were pretty much what I expected.  To give you some notion of my husband;s domestic skills: once he found out I'd be laid up for more than two days, he went out and bought a dishwasher.

But on to the stitching:  I have been playing with oddments  from my scrapbag, startimg with a small scrap of 36 count antique ivory linen.

This first Easter Egg ornament is loosely based on two designs from the Better Homes and Gardens 1001 Cross Stitch Designs.  I picked a motif from one pattern [the bunnies] and the size and shape  of the egg from another.  Then I pulled out a bunch of exotic and glitzy fibers left over from old Dragon Dreams, Silver Needle Night and similar projects.  The object was to mimic a bit of Faberge bling.  I have a hard time throwing away usable leftovers and it satisfies some deep-seated aging  hippie need to recycle such odds and ends into new projects.  I thought this was a fairly successful attempt to take what was old and make something new from it.



The next Easter Egg ornament is somewhat more conventional in its conception.  Following roughly the same shape as the first, I allowed the materials at hand to dictate design elements, e.g.: the thickness and placement of the stripes, the size of the flower.  Just an aside, rayon floss is nowhere near the usual pain in the ass to use when you are working with just one strand as I did on this 36ct linen.






The third egg was born after finding some green and lavender rayon floss.  I have always liked the combination of mossy greens and soft lavenders.   I had some vague idea of an egg wrapped up in a bow and found just such a chart in BH&G 1001 Cross Stitch Designs.  With a few adjustments, I had what I wanted.







And this fourth egg is back to Faberge style bling, done in metallic reds and golds.  Just to keep from being bored, I couched a scrap of leftover gold metallic ribbon with some 003HL Kreinik VFB as the center band of this egg.  I am pleased with the effect.  For some crazy reason, I have7 spools of the various red VFB and this was a way of using up a bit of it.  Can't imagine what possessed me to buy so much of the stuff!  It must date from the time I was stitching a lot of Christmas ornaments.



The last egg uses up some fibers in the yellow to gold color way: some Colorwash silk, some amber and bronze VFB, a bit of orange wool, a scrap of bronze metallic ribbon.  To avoid repeating myself, I have decided to go the sampler route and, so far have used cross, long armed cross, satin, box, diamond Rhodes and diamond eyelet  stitches on this egg.    I plan to stitch a band of upright crosses and a band of knotted crosses before I am done.   I liked the couched ribbon effect in the red egg so much that I repeated it here with a scrap of metallic bronze ribbon and the yellow colorwash silk.


One of my 2017 goals is to make a half a dozen Easter ornaments.  With one Mill Hill beaded Easter egg just needing the final finish of a felt backing and four of these just needing flat ornament finishes, I am well on my way to accomplishing that goal.  And once I finish the yellow egg, I do have another Mill Hill beaded egg kit in stash and will probably tackle that while the Easter season is still upon us.   It'll be nice to actually exceed a goal in at least one area after so many health related set backs thus far this year 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Back to Stitching

I find I am somewhat distracted as I return to my stitching, moving from project to project and making little progress on any. Currently, I am working on the Jacobean Elegance afghan, a Rhodes stitch needlepoint sampler, an Easter egg ornament, a napkin and napkin ring reproduction from the Royal Albert museum and a piece of my own design, Beach find pansies.  None of them hold my attention for long.  Like the bee in the napkin design, I flit from stitching stand [the needlepoint] to Q-snaps [the afghan] to hoops [all the others],  I'll post some photos when I can get outdoors with my trusty, if ancient, first generation digital camera.  For now, there is still too much snow in the backyard, being sheltered and overshadowed by 6 foot fences and a retaining wall

I have spent more of my time reading.  Just before I went into hospital, I had started re-reading the Brother Cadfael Chronicles by Ellis Peters.  I had seen the Masterpiece Mystery series starring Derek Jacobi and read as many of the books as had come to hand back in the day.  But this time around, I decided to read all 20, and in order.  To that end, I had my husband order any of the books missing from my collection.   It would be unfair to expect the same enjoyment from my DVD collection as from my newly completed book collection.   I understand that screenplays are a separate art form with their own advantages and disadvantages.  But I so prefer the stories in book form as richer in detail and imaginative texture.  All the minor characters that are deleted or subsumed within the regular denizens of Shrewsbury in the TV series are present in full individuality, and even quirkiness, in the books.  Incidents glossed over, locales eliminated and historical background lost in the screenplays appear in full glory in the books.  A much more satisfying experience!  Not to mention that the elegance and precision of Ellis Peter's prose style is rarely equaled, especially in your standard mystery or historical fiction genres.

If you have fond memories of the TV programs, I recommend reading the chronicles in their entirety.
I find myself wishing that Derek Jacobi. had had the opportunity to film all the Cadfael stories, as David Suchet did Christie's Poirot stories.  For all that I shall always love the books more dearly, the programs were excellent and true to the spirit of the books.  And in one detail they were certainly superior to the books: the oily piety and false humility of that quintessential weasel, Brother Jerome, is brilliantly portrayed on screen.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Adventures in Health Care

I am back after a little over a month [it all started 2-14] in hospital and nursing home and I have even less faith in the medical institutions than ever.  I trust a few carefully selected doctors but other than that ... well, I seem to have been dealing with the half of the population that was deservedly ranked in the bottom half of their class.  It started out as severe edema, stemming from kidney disease, dominoing into congestive heart failure,IBSD and pneumonia.

Some of the highlights: 

After my first ultra-filtration dialysis, I had a series of low glucose readings culminating in a hypoglycemic episode during which my glucose numbers dropped to 39 at 3a.m.  It presented with all the classic symptoms of hypoglycemia: inability to move, to speak, perceiving the environment as through a darkened glass and people as moving shadows.  I thought I was having a stroke and was unable to call for help except by loud grunting and groaning.  The night nurse, who had known me for three days and knew me to be alert and in full command of my faculties as well as knew me to have had a series of low glucose readings,  came up with the brilliant diagnosis of "nightmares' and restrained me in bed with tightly tucked in blankets.  I was left in that state for three hours until the morning vitals check.  The PCA called the same nurse but luckily she was followed shortly by a more competent colleague who mobilized the rapid response team and brought my sugar numbers up with dextrose.

A nursing home nurse who tried to give me someone else's medicine's even after I pointed out that there were far too many pills in the cup and none of which resembled my pills.  He finally decided to check and lo and behold, came back with my medications and a story about how the pharmacy sometimes substituted one manufacturer's version of a drug for another ... as if trying to cover up the obvious differences in quantity and appearance between the first and second cup of pills.

Not one but two, dietitians who seemed to think beets, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn, carrots peas  and various kugels, kashas and varnishkas [often in pairs] were appropriate choices for a diabetic.

A nurse who tried to administer medication that had been given to me just a half hour previous ... does no one read charts anymore?

A dialysis clinic that was not equipped with blankets to keep patients warm as the procedure induced severe chills.  It gave me a whole new appreciation of the old acronym B.Y.O.B..

I came home to a house I  was ashamed to own as my own.  My husband views every flat surface as a shelf - this includes floors - and the place was littered with stuff he simply hadn't bothered to put away: opened and unopened mail, unfolded laundry, books, dishes [clean and soiled] and whatever happened to have been used in my absence.

Nature conspired with my husband by dumping 24inches of snow on us and creating temps so low that the rear window of one of our cars shattered into spider web cracks and we now have a leaking roof ... a flat roof and heavy snow are not a good combination.

So, that was my month.  I sincerely hope yours was ever so much better.