Sunday, March 26, 2017

I'm Reviving my blog...

Its been 4 years since I have written a post on here. Life sorta stopped in many ways when Andrew died. In other ways it changed. Some things were related to his passing. Others not so much.  We've had quite a few ups and downs during that time, and my creative endeavors have evolved significantly.  I've been thinking about it for awhile and decided I need to bring back my blog. So. I'll start with some housekeeping. I have some updates needed on the overall appearance and I'll get to those little by little.  If you have a blog and would like to be included on my sidebar please send me the info.

What has been going on here? Well. In 4 years I am still battling with the IRS to close out Andrew's final tax return. It has been one delay after another, one request for information they already have after another. Last year I got my senator's staff involved and they are now fighting the IRS on my behalf.  They were finally able to clear out his student loans but it took a phone call from my senator himself to accomplish that.

Ashley, my oldest child and only daughter, has turned 18. She finished high school a full 2 years ahead of schedule (we homeschool) and is completing her first year of college. She is thriving at school, has a circle of friends, good grades, works part time for Kohls, and is working to be selected for an appointment to the Air Force Academy.  She wants to go into politics/public relations.  She and I are planning to work for a campaign this summer and she will likely be interning for one of our senators.  She was also selected by her government professors for student of the year. Pretty impressive for a kid that shouldnt even be in college yet.

My boys are growing up. I have 2 teenagers and my youngest is now 8. He's reading up a storm, getting more and more into these extravagant lego creations, and my boys are becoming little men. I am pretty proud of who they are becoming.

My husband is no longer in the Air Force. His unit was shut down at the end of FY2015, and he landed a civilian job with the Army, and is in the Tx Army National Guard now. Its still weird to see him in army uniforms, but I'll take the Army dress uniform any day over the Air Force. Its been an interesting transition. The Army is not as family friendly as his previous unit was so there's been an adjustment period. He likes his job though.

As for me, I've been on a roller coaster ride of health issues. Not long after my last post, I finally connected the dots to my various health issues as probably being related to having Essure.  I went to doctor after doctor with my research and suggested this as the possible culprit, only to be told over and over again that it wasnt, and all the things I was experienced were simply in my head. Nevermind that I had found a group more than 20,000 strong where many of these women were experiencing much of the same problems as me, many more severe.  In late 2014 my Ob/Gyn agreed that it could potentially be the cause, and my insurance forced me to undergo an ablation before they would approve of a hysterectomy. So in Feb 2015, I did that. It did nothing to help.  In June 2015 I was finally approved for a radical hysterectomy and Bilateral Salpingectomy to remove the essure device.

Now, to back up a bit and explain some of the things I was experiencing,  I got Essure in 2009, about 15 months after my youngest was born. Due to my history of high blood pressure I was unable to use traditional birth control, and my medical history made the possibility of another pregnancy a significant risk to my life. So, while my husband was deployed I got the device. For the first 3 or so years I had no issues. I thought it was fantastic. Slowly over time, I began to become more and more lethargic, with my hair falling out, teeth breaking, joint pain, significant weight gain, insomnia, acid reflux, chronic fatigue, extreme sensitivity to smells, frequent nausea, etc. Numerous things that are seemingly all unrelated.  It was very easy to dismiss as just the price of getting older.  However, I began working with trainers, nutritionists, endocrinologists, etc for more than 2 years and no matter what I did, nothing helped any of these problems. I was also diagnosed with severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  I was burning far more calories than I ate and yet I continued to gain weight. For anyone who has ever tried to lose weight, you know how frustrating it is to work and work and do everything right and see negative results.

So back to my surgery in June 2015. I came out of the recovery and I could instantly tell a difference. Aside from the pain from surgery, I felt amazing. The nurses suggested slowly getting up to walk around the floor, much like they do after a c-section.  I was able to walk several laps at normal pace without any pain just 3 hours after my surgery. I felt AMAZING. I washed my hair and for the first time in years I didnt have clumps of hair in my hands. My doctor came back around and was pretty surprised at the level of energy I had. Turned out one of my essure devices was stretched out, and there were several small cysts around them in my fallopian tubes, among the extensive scar tissue.  By the time I was discharged I had no joint pain, had slept well, had high energy, etc.  The only discomfort I had was the normal healing from incisions.  By 30 days out I had dropped 15 lbs without trying at all, and virtually every single issue I had prior to my surgery was gone.  at 6 weeks post op I travelled to Orlando, FL for a Zumba instructor convention and had no problem dancing for 8+ hours a day for a solid week, where prior to that I struggled to make it through a week of teaching just 3 classes for an hour at a time.  My next checkup with my sleep doctor revealed my Apnea was virtually non existent as well. by 5 months I was completely medication free from all my prior issues.

I do still use my CPAP, but mainly because it keeps me from snoring and thus lets my husband sleep in peace lol.

Now. On to my creative side. Up until 2013 I had been primarily doing quilting and smaller sewing projects. I got my embroidery machine in late 2012 so it took me a while to get the hang of that, but when I did I took off like a rocket! It now is about 90% of the projects I do, and has allowed me to pay off my machine, my software, a serger, and add significant number of machines to my antique collection. I'll post about that later.

I've also ventured into garment sewing, which I had never done before. I'm getting into digitizing and pattern design as well, but those are further down the road. In the meantime, here's a small sampling of some of the things Ive been making.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Andrew Clinton Jones 1984-2013

On February 12, my youngest brother, mom's "baby", passed away. He was just 28. He had some health issues in the recent months, and had a seizure that he never woke up from. Andrew was the charmer of the family. Always ready with a witty comeback, and always laid back. Rarely did anything get him angry. He loved living in the mountains, and was where he wanted to be, living in the snow, able to ride everyday if he wanted to.  It hasn't sunk in just yet that I can't pick up the phone and text him to tease him when the Avalanche get beat, or that he won't send me random pics anymore of his latest snowboarding trick. He was crazy on that board. Seriously.

He would have been 29 on March 2. We are planning to scatter his ashes this summer on the mountains that he so loved. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Happy 2013! Plans for this year.

Happy 2013 everyone! I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and New Year's holiday! Ours was busy but fun. We had a fabulous concert at our church. We found a new church home at the end of the
summer after searching for a new church home closer to where we moved. We couldn't find anything out here in our area so we had made the decision to return to our old church, only to find out that the very same weekend we made that decision, there was a huge split within the church, and most of the members, as well as the pastor we adored, were gone.  At his recommendation we came to where we are now and we love it. I joined the choir and hubby is working in the Audio/visual booth. The kids are in Awana, and my daughter has found herself a good group of girls in the youth group. It's an hour drive each way, but worth it.

At long last it appears that we will FINALLY be able to convert from just a blog to a fully functioning website within the next couple of months. We may have some talents with a needle and thread, but I know NOTHING about building a website. I have tried unsuccessfully to to do it myself, and I've tried hiring several people over the last 2 years, never to get any results. Fortunately a very good friend of mine has stepped in and offered to help me, and he figures it will be ready to launch around the end of next month. We will have the blog, a gallery, store, and other features.  If you have any suggestions of things you would like to see, please feel free to let us know. I may add some forums as well, so we can discuss patterns, techniques, and whatever else.

We have one new pattern in the works right now. It is done but the pattern writing (i.e. MY PART) needs some tweaking. I am planning on writing up patterns for some of the bags I have designed as well, and we will be working on selling some kits and various other items in the store. My intention is to be able to carry everything that you need to make one of our projects.

I've been playing with my embroidery machine alot more lately. I still have alot to learn about how to properly stitch out designs on it, and I mess up alot but I'm getting much better. I love watching it create beautiful designs. At one point over the holidays I had it going all day long on my kitchen table while I had another machine set up at the other end working on projects for a customer.

I've added a few more antique machines to my collection, but not too many. I lost count of all of them. I was able to get a Singer 24 chain stitch treadle, and a Wheeler Wilson #9 treadle. I have quite a few restoration projects now, so I'm hoping we get an early Spring so I can get to work on restoring more of the cabinets.

Mom is coming to visit next month as well, and I'm anxious for her to teach me a new (to us) method. She's been doing fabric coloring using crayons. I've seen the technique before with some beautiful results. She's an artist anyway, and the stuff she's been creating are amazing. She's going to teach me her secrets, so maybe we will incorporate that into a future design.

Just a few photos of some of the latest additions to my collection. A Jones Hand Crank that is currently pending a transformation into a treadle. A friend of mine is trying to buy a treadle version and we are planning to trade the cabinet for the HC if he's able to buy it. Jones is my maiden name, and aside from being fabulous machines, who wouldn't want a gorgeous antique with your name on it?!

 This is a little toy machine I found in a local antique shop. It is in working condition, and I'm hoping to do a full restoration and paint job on it. Isn't it cute?!

 This is a machine I found on Craigslist. It's a Singer 27 with the Pheasant decals. The cabinet is in kind of sad shape but easily restored.

 A Davis treadle. This is a New Vertical Feed. My second Davis treadle. These do not use traditional feed dogs to move fabric under the needle.  It's a pretty innovative machine for its time, and one of my favorites. This was a gift to me from a friend.

Please post some comments or feel free to email us and let us know what you would like to see on the website. I would love some feedback!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Crosses of Ryan and Tarah Block 12 FINAL BLOCK!

At long last we are at the final block for our Crosses of Ryan and Tarah series. Thank you for all your patience and kind words. I hope you all have enjoyed this series as much as we have. Please please share your photos on our FACEBOOK page.

The final block is (appropriately) named "JOY"!

The pattern for block 12 can be found HERE

Crosses of Ryan and Tarah Block 11

Block 11 is done! This block celebrates love :)

You can find the pattern for Block 11 HERE

Crosses of Ryan and Tarah Block 10

At long last! Today you will get the final three blocks in our series. I know we've been a bit slow, and hopefully life will cooperate with us a little more in the future when we are offering our designs!

Block 10 is a bit of an art deco design. This one is one of my favorites so far:

The pattern for block 10 can be found HERE

An Update to Block 9 Crosses of Ryan and Tarah

Mom kept looking at her last cross we published and felt like it needed "something". So, after much thought, she decided to add some flair to it.  Here is the addition she made if you care to add it to yours as well:

I have updated the download for this block with both the original as well as the added design so you can choose which one you prefer.  You can find the pattern HERE

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Quick update and some sewing eye candy...

I didn't realize how long it had been since I updated. bad. Quick update on things:
Mom- She is doing better, and coping with my sister's treatments. She's had to play musical medications and it has had her on a roller coaster with some really good days and some really bad days. She's hoping to have the next cross design ready to post in a few days. I appreciate all the emails I've gotten and rest assured we will publish 3 final designs to this series.

Lara-is breezing through Chemo like its no big deal. She goes about her days as usual and it doesn't seem to be affecting her at all. I guess this is proof positive that side effects from Chemo may be somewhat controllable with a different mental state. She's unaware of all that is going on around her once she's away from it and isn't really feeling many of the common side effects once she leaves treatment. This is a HUGE relief for us, because we were really unsure how she would take this but she's probably doing better with it than all the rest of us. So far, so good!

Me- well...I have been working here and there on some small projects, but the best news for me is that just a couple of weeks after my last post, my hubby bought me a brand new sewing machine! I got a Viking Designer Ruby, and I love love love her! I've been practicing with the embroidery unit and hopefully before too long I will be a pro. I've made a few things so far, and I'm working on a custom baby bedding set for a friend. Here's a couple of pics of the dust ruffle and coordinating pillow I've done so far:

When I haven't been sewing and starting school, I've been pushing my husband around in a wheelchair (well, for the last 3 weeks, with another 3 or so to go). He's ok. He had surgery to correct a problem he's had since childhood, and had both of his achilles tendons lengthened. This should take care of the pain he's had recently and it greatly increased his range of motion. The doctor said he gained about 20% more movement. He's all excited because he can actually touch his toes without bending his knees for the first time in his life. It's the little things!

Well, aside from that, I've sort of been inundated with something I've wanted for YEARS. I've been wanting to find treadle machines and learn how to use them. Well, the first one I stumbled across by chance for 20.00 in June from a lady who had started to restore it but didn't have the time, so I picked up my first treadle machine, a 1917 Davis New Vertical Feed. The machine itself is in great shape, and I've already finished restoring the irons and I'm now working on the cabinet. Here's a picture of her:

 I have to say that I have literally been looking for YEARS for a treadle machine that I could afford. Now, it seems as if they just keep finding me and I can't say no! I've added about 30 machines to my collection since finding this one. (Yeah, I lost count.) All antiques. I'll post a few of them for y'all to drool over :D I found some on Craigslist, 1 from Ebay, some from Goodwill, and the rest came from a collection that was formerly the Arlington Sewing Machine Museum. The entire collection had been in storage for over a decade and the owner passed away last year. The whole unit fell into the hands of a neat lady, and when I answered her CL ad for a machine, the more we talked the more we became friends. I ended up helping her move the entire unit from the storage unit to her home, and we went over many of the machines, cleaning them, figuring out what they were, etc. She gave me a few machines, and then let me purchase several more for about 5.00 per machine. I now have 20 from that collection. These first few machines are from that collection.

Then there's the unbelievable find I had at a garage sale recently...a 1954 WHITE singer Featherweight 221 in IMMACULATE condition...picked that one up for 90.00. That is by far the most I've paid for any of my machines but I know how envious some of you will be to hear that I got it that cheap. :)

There's many more where these came from, but that should hold y'all for a bit. :) Hopefully I should be back in a couple of days with a new cross design for you!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

What's been going on in 2012...

As many of you noticed, we have had a pretty big lapse in posting this year. Thank you all for all the emails and comments, checking in with us. We appreciate the kind words and prayers that have been offered for us and our families.

As most of you know, I moved at the end of 2011. While we moved, we had a total renovation of the house we purchased going on. The house had been abandoned for a couple of years and had extensive repairs needed just to make it liveable. Pretty much the only thing we still have are the kitchen cabinets and the walls. Everything else has been replaced. Subfloors, sinks, toilets, flooring, plumbing, electrical, you name it..Well, the major work was supposed to be completed prior to moving in. Halfway through the process our original contractor decided he wasn't going to complete the work, so we had to stop everything, and deal with the legal issues surrounding that. As anyone can attest, moving in itself is stressful. Couple that with moving into an incomplete house, with 4 kids, and being unable to do anything to complete the work ourselves until the legal mess was straightened out was literally a nightmare. We had to wait 3 months, through the holidays, before we could finally get a new contractor to start fixing the mess left behind.  After 4 weeks of intense long days, the rest of the work was completed and 6 months after moving in, I was finally able to hang a picture on the walls. We've lived with most of our stuff in storage (including my entire sewing studio) for months and months, so now we are in the midst of finally getting settled into the house, and making it "home". Throw in that we homeschool, and you can only imagine the chaos. Needless to say, we'll be doing school through the summer to help make up lost days due to all the upheaval.

Well, that takes care of me, but mom has had her own chaos of her own. Both her and my step-dad have had a few medical issues in the last few months, but those appear to be winding down. The biggest issue now, is with my older sister. For those who do not know, in May 1991, my then, 22 yr old sister was involved in a major car accident. The car she was riding in was hit by a drunk driver, and my sister sustained a traumatic brain injury. At the time we had no idea what the outcome would be. After about a year in the hospital and various therapy programs, Lara was able to speak and walk again, but she has massive damage that has never recovered. She has little to no short term memory. She cannot read and comprehend. She cannot carry on a conversation. She cannot care for herself at all. It's sort of like having a toddler in an adult body. She cannot do most things for herself without some form of assistance. She requires 24/7 care and monitoring.  In January, Lara was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer.  February was spent meeting with a myriad of doctors. March brought a mastectomy. Since Lara is not a typical patient, there is more to weigh than just physical treatment. We had to consider how she might handle and react to treatments, and try to see things not only from our standpoint, but from that of someone who might not understand why she is being poked and prodded, and be unable to communicate properly to us if she is in pain, sick, or if something is wrong.  We consulted with a handful of doctors, and we also reached out to people we know who have gone through the surgeries, chemo, etc. to try and figure out what the best plan of action might be for my sister.  While her quality of life has certainly not been all that wonderful since her accident, we still hold out some hope that something might be discovered in her lifetime that might restore some of what she has lost. Lara has 2 children who were just toddlers at the time of her accident, and they've never really had the chance to know who their mom really was, because they were too young to really remember her.  Anyway, mom is her legal guardian so all of this has really taken a toll on her in many ways. During this time we've been battling with the facility that cares for my sister, about inadequate care and several other issues. Finally, just a couple of weeks ago, the powers that be came in and "cleaned house", and the director, and staff that we were having issues with were all removed, and Lara was moved to a higher care level, where we are now confident that she will be properly monitored and cared for through this ordeal.  Chemo is scheduled to begin in a couple of weeks, so we will keep everyone informed of the progress.

Aside from all of that, we have taken in a childhood friend of my husband to live with us, and will have his 2 children with us soon. He is disabled, and we are his "representatives" for Social Security, Medicaid, etc....a nightmare all its own to deal with. I now fully see why these government programs are so rampantly wasting money. They are all bureaucratic nightmares. It took 3 months and 4 visits in person, and countless phone calls-just to change a mailing address for him.

So...all that said...its chaos as usual around here! Yesterday I finally decided that I wasn't going to do I sat down with one of my cross stitch projects and thats the only thing that I accomplished.  (Ok that and dinner...) It was wonderful!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Crosses of Ryan and Tarah BOM Block 9

Well, finally I have a few moments to try and get the latest cross block published! I have one more to get published and the last 2 are close behind.  If you have any trouble downloading the pattern please send us an email and we will send it to you. Thank you again for all your kind words and patience as we have dealt with various issues between ourselves and our families. I will update more on that later! This month's block is angel wings, and simple backstitch. Enjoy! You can download the pattern HERE