Saturday, March 21, 2020

Missing Sew-jo

I'm not going to lie, there have been a few things going on lately that ended up burying my sew-jo for the last few weeks. I've been trying to get back at it, but I've been struggling a bit. So I thought maybe emptying my thoughts here would help me clear the brain clutter and move on. But first, a fun quilty picture just because! Check out Barbara's Harry Potter Quilt! I love the green background! It turned out so good! (all the block tutorials can be found *HERE*)

Photo Credit: Barbara Skaret

So the one kinda biggish thing that I had going on for the last couple of months, before the current health crisis situation, that I really hadn't mentioned here, is I had skin cancer on my nose. 😬 I found out in November but they couldn't get me on the schedule to remove it until Feb. 5th. #stress. (I had cancer/chemo, etc. when I was 19 so anything cancer brings back all the feelings 😒) Plus, my NOSE of all places! Right in the middle of my face! As the Dr. says, the sun is not my friend. Of course I grew up when sunscreen wasn't really the thing it is today. There was suntan lotion and suntan OIL of all things. So anyway, in early February I had it removed, and I'm not going to lie. They kind of dug a hole in the side of my nose like the size of a dime, a little bigger. Then they left it open for a week to heal a bit from the inside out, and I had to put Vaseline in it and keep it from drying out. TMI? Sorry.. It really was kind of nauseating and horrifying to look at every day when I had to change the dressing and stick Vaseline in it. I had to psych myself up for it. I wondered if it would ever look normal or if I would just have a mangled nose for the rest of time. That's enough about the open wound. Time for another fun photo! It's my Sew Chatty Fabric! It hit shops March 1st! Colorful fabrics make me happy. It's super exciting, even though it arrived in the middle of some really heavy things going on.

Okay, so a week after the cancer removal, they did skin graft surgery. Which amazingly didn't hurt that bad.. on my nose. But behind my ear, where they took the skin graft from, the donor site, it really hurt like they removed an area of skin where there wasn't any extra to be taken from and then pulled it closed. They should have taken it from my smile lines or crows feet. 😐 Maybe it wouldn't have hurt as bad.. plus free face lift! But no.. It felt like someone had tried to pull skin from the left side of my head and stretch it over to the right side of my head and stitch it in place. It HURT.

After that surgery, I had to have this big dressing on my nose for TWO WEEKS and it could NOT come off. I couldn't even look under it. A big, triangular white dressing of thick gauze folded in thick layers and taped in place with some sort of glue that smelled a bit like paint thinner applied to the tape, because it had to stick literally FOREVER, and WHITE tape! (skin colored tape anyone?) I kinda looked like this guy, but he's way cuter .. And the dressing was way bigger and with miles of gluey tape on my face. Fun pic #3, purely to break up this yucky story.

Sew Chatty Character Preview

It really looked like I had a big cast on my nose. OHH! And to top it off, I couldn't shower OR wash my hair for those TWO WEEKS! Because the dressing could NOT get wet. 😕 Nice, huh. At first I had a pretty good attitude, like hey at least they got all the cancer, small price to pay, I'll just pretend I'm camping in the woods for two weeks, hey wanna sign my nose cast? But by the last couple of days I was so over it. I may or may not have had a small weep. Or big. Okay, it may have been a meltdown, but I felt so much better afterward! And in (finally!) good news, five weeks post-graft, all the stitches are out, and it's healed so wonderfully, you almost can't tell that there was ever a big mangled hole in my nose. It's a little discolored but that will fade with time, the Dr. says. The human body is amazing! But wow, at times, it felt like trudging through a dark tunnel just looking for the light at the end. And now! The light! The light! I'm free.. and my nose miraculously looks like.. a nose! Such a relief. 

But.. 2020 likes to throw curve balls, so here came a VIRUS. smh 

Thankfully, the one week in between, when the plague hadn't made it to our county yet, and the big white bandage was traded in for a normalish size band aid, we were able to pull off my son's school family literacy night! I'm so glad we got it in when we did. We had a bigger turnout than last year, and a good time was had by all! It always takes a lot of time to plan, but it's always so worth it! Here's a pic of the book bag that I designed for it this year. (Dr. Seuss theme!) We would've been sad if we hadn't gotten to do the event before the schools closed. And now kids have some new books to read, hopefully, during this time when schools are closed.

Every year has a different theme, and this is the 6th year another mom and I have helped to plan it. 📚 There was free pizza, free book bag, cotton candy, a photo booth, a therapy dog for the kids to read to, a juggler, face painting, lots of fun activities and tables and tables of free books! The kids start donating their gently used/outgrown books in the weeks before, and then on that night, it's a big free book exchange and kids fill their bags with new-to-them books. That was the bright spot between the nose cast and the virus. 

So now, this last week, our schools shut down, and yesterday our (CA) governor issued a stay at home order. And today, my dad texted me that my mom has bronchitis. Which she gets a couple of times a year probably, but please don't let it be the virus, as she would be in the high risk group. And they live 1500 miles from me. I hate living so far away, esp. at times of uncertainty like these. Praying that she stays free from the virus. All of this is so crazy and I hope you all are staying safe and healthy. 

It's been such an emotional and stressful couple of months. I managed to keep stitching through most of it. I tried to keep doing my National Days blocks, and Harry Potter block tutorials, just carrying on like normal, and it worked for a while, but eventually something had to give and I just had to take a break. 

While I was holed up with the big dressing on my nose, I focused on writing three out of the four patterns that I needed to get written for some other Riley Blake fabric lines, and they are tested and done! I'll blog about them soon! Here's just one of them. It's for a Fisher Price licensed line for Riley Blake. You should see the kit box, it's so cute! I'll share it soon! The dog block is my favorite! 

You can see the other new patterns on my Patterns page or in my shop *HERE*, if you're interested. That was the one thing I could hang out on the couch and do right after my graft surgery, write patterns with my laptop.  Time for another Sew Chatty character! This one makes me sing the Partridge Family theme song in my head. haha! Also.. it's a double wedding ring..

I was so excited about the fabric being released this month, but kinda feel bad that I didn't have anything special planned to celebrate it here. I had wanted to but all the things happened. All. The. Things. I am going to try to plan a giveaway for it soon, though, and Riley Blake is having a blog tour for it for three Fridays. Last Friday, yesterday, and next Friday, if you want to see some really cute projects that were made with it! I'll link the first two here and then come back and link the third one after next Friday:

A Bit of Scrap Stuff
Melanie made some throw pillows, a zip pouch, and some pillow cases.

Cream Craft Goods
Karen made an awesome sewing machine mat with vinyl pockets that doubles as a machine cover. And she included a tutorial. I really want to make it! 

OHH! Another thing that I just want to mention --briefly, because I don't want to give it any more of my brain energy-- while I was going through the tunnel of skin cancer surgery, I got an email from someone who was very critical of my pattern writing. Not of the design, not of the measurements-this pattern is well tested, even by a confident beginner-, but super critical of my writing 'style', I guess. It was very hateful. She used words like diabolical, unforgiveable, and dylexic. Yes, she even threw out an actual disability as an insult. Talk about receiving a kick to the gut when you're already down! It made me want to just quit writing patterns. Quit sharing anything with all of you. I scoured this pattern, trying to figure out what she was talking about, in case there was anything that I could change to make it better. Because I really do appreciate constructive criticism (preferably KIND). It's what helps us all improve. But please, please be kind. There are humans on the other end of your computers, and while it may feel good to "VENT" and click send, being hateful and mean doesn't solve anything. After a few days of digesting her rant, I did try to send a nice message back to her, but of course it was "undeliverable". 🙄 Please, just be kind. 

Well, I think I've now effectively purged everything out that's been cluttering up my brain so hopefully I can find my sew-jo again, and get over this underlying feeling of stress. Because there were a few National Day blocks that got skipped and I want to go back and do them anyway! And it's overdue time for another HP tutorial. And I want to sew something with Sew Chatty and do a proper giveaway! And all the fun things. Boo stress. 

If you've read this far, thank you for this therapy session.. I'll be getting off your couch now and paying the fee on my way out. I just might book another appointment next week. ~haha

Please be careful, stay healthy, and remember not to touch your face! I'll be back soon, hopefully back on track with fun, quilty stuff.




Fran said...

Thanks for the blog, I read right through to the end! Poor you!
I live in Tasmania , Australia and appreciate the time you take to do your blogs and free patterns. It’s a nasty time in the world now, we all should be nicer to each other, lots of love and best wishes from the very Deep South.

Jfelb said...

Sorry you’ve had a rough month or so. Thank you so much for all your patterns and quilt alongs. I think I’ve done just about all of them..Mario to Minecraft to Harry and anything in between. Your directions have been clear and easy to follow. I look forward to your posts and the new fun things coming our way. I wasn’t going to do the national days blocks but got sucked in...they are fun and I’m playing catch up for the weeks I held out. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Anna said...

I am so glad they got all the cancer removed. I’m sure your sew-jo will return. Times are difficult now, but thank goodness most people are listening to the guidelines that have been laid out. Prayers for your mother.

Ouch! Glad the nose is healing well. Hubby had a huge cancer cut out of his back (the size of the bottom of a soda can, and about 1/4" deep. No, not on his face, but the scar is still huge. The doctor did do a nice blanket stitch (but you can't see that part anymore). Sorry about rude people. Some people are so insecure that they feel they need to bring other people down to their level. Sad people. Now to figure out where I can get some of your fabric. Quilt stores aren't 'essential' under Illinois' shutdown. Hopefully I can find it online. Hope you get your mo-jo back. It's kinda hard to concentrate at the moment, with everything going on.

What an ordeal you've been through, but I'm glad your at the end of all these procedures. Your new line of fabric is beautiful, and my daughter would love the Harry Potter quilt you shared. Diabolical, unforgivable,and dyslexic?? Boy, somebody sure got up on the wrong side of the bed with her panties in the biggest bunch ever. Sometimes one just really has to wonder what is wrong with some people. Stay safe and sending prayers for continued recovery and your family during all this craziness.

Donna said...

Wow what a roller coaster you have been on the last few months! Glad your nose is going to be normal! My husband had skin cancer on his cheek a few years ago. It left a scar but he thinks it makes him look fierce! Ha! He says it also reminds him to always wear sunscreen! We are also of the age when we grew up without sunscreen! I love your little blocks that you post for free. I haven’t made any yet but plan on making some donation doll quilts for Christmas using them. I guess people think they can be so hateful and mean since they are behind a computer! Take care and hope you get your mojo back and get lots of quilting in!

Goodness! You have a had a rough couple of months! Please don't let one whiny critic douse your enthusiasm, I love your tutorials and am still in the throes of the Harry Potter blocks although real life has gotten me sidetracked from them for the time being. Please take care of your self! Happy Sewing!

AliceM said...

Hello from Ontario, Canada where we await our leaders announcement of enacting the War Measures Act forcing folks to follow the "rules" or else. You have certainly faced a terrible time over the past month or so however haters will always be with us. Glad to hear you have risen above it! Hopefully this will pass in time but am not sure what our new normal will look like. However I do know that I will continue to look forward to your blog and your patterns. Take care, be strong and try to ignore the "haters" that hide behind their keyboard!

kvanatta said...

Goodness gracious, Kelli!! What a mess! My lovely sister has had that surgery - smack on her nose! - and more this year above her lip... and it is so frightening. But like you said - the human body is amazing!! And you would never guess she had gone through it when you first meet her.. I am sorry about the sew-jo - BUT maybe it's time to chill... you've been seriously cranking it out for a while now... Thank you for all you share with this community! ~Kay :-)

I enjoy your blog and love your patterns...thank you for them. I started singing the Partridge Family song also. Be safe. Sandra

Well, like so many of us you have had your hands full. I am sorry about your nose. Sending up prayers that it heals well. I just love your fabrics. Such a cute quilt with the fisher price people. I remember when my kiddos had a ton of these peoples. LOL Hurt like the dickens to step on. LOL. Well shoot, that lady had no call to do this to you about your pattern writing. I personally love your style. It is easy enough for me to understand and learn something at the same time. Thank You, I appreciate your style of pattern writing. Keep it up. And if this lady could not be nice about what she said 1)she should not have said anything and 2)that was really selfish of her. Thank you for what you do and share with us. I really love it all. I will be staying here with you and I share what I find here. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

Sarah said...

I’m sorry to hear you were going through such tough times. It’s unfortunate that people are so rude - you can’t please everyone. If people criticize you in the future, please just delete the email and move on. Let your real followers lift you up- we all appreciate you and everything you do. You are a good person- don’t forget that!
You and your family stay healthy and if you need to vent- we’re listening.

Great to hear from you. I appreciate a blogger who tells what's really happening in their life and not just be sunny and happy. You are a real person and we learn about you with the good and the bad. I'm glad all worked out with the cancer. That can be so scary.

I look forward to your future posts - happy or frustrated. Take care, Sarah

Shirley said...

Thanks for the update. You've had quite a year - I really think it's tie to ditch this subscription and start over. Less than 3 months and everything that's happened is a bit overwhelming.

Take care - and please keep writing patterns. I tried one the other day - utter fail!

Oh my goodness, I cant believe all you have gone through ( and are still going through). I am so sorry! I hope things improve from here on in. You are one of the most positive and cheerful people out there so if you need to vent that is totally a good thing! Be well, and this too shall pass. P.s. there are always nasty people who think they can hide behind the anonymity of the internet. They are not worth worrying about. Easier said than done, I know, but try and put that out of your mind! Xx Monique

Jean said...

I did read to the end and sad to hear you have so many challenges at the same time. Incredible! You are so positive, I'm sure you'll get your sewjo back soon. I love all of your patterns and they are fine. I hope you can ignore that reader who complained, totally not worth your angst and very glad you felt you could vent here. Thinking about you and hope you know there are more folks that think very highly of you. PS I love your new fabric line and patterns. Take care and stay healthy.

Kathleen said...

Oh my goodness, all you've been through!! And add to that the nasty critique of your pattern. Not acceptable behavior, ever!
You probably won't notice this comment because my google account won't send you an email for my post (I'll add my email address in case you find the comment in your blog post), but know I read all the way through to the end and I'm looking forward to your fabric line. Love the chatty blocks :o)
Kathleen - kakingsbury at verizon dot net

Lisa Lisa said...

Kelli - You already know I love your patterns (ignore the mean people!) and I’m so glad you finally made it through the nose ordeal, but we somehow didn’t chat much at all about Literacy night this year 🤔 PS I read the entire post 😁

Wow, Kelli. Sorry it's been pouring on you lately. I hope & pray Bonnie gets well soon! So thankful this bout with cancer is over for you! And that you can look at yourself with confidence still! Love you, dear!!

susan kg said...

I have saved every pattern that I come across, thank you for being someone who cares about all of us that appreciate you. Sorry you had to go through so much. Be like a duck and let all the bad stuff run off your back. You are a super star in my world.

I'm glad you are past the skin cancer problem. Thinking of your mother and others with similar health issues in this stressful time. Looking forward to more of your fun blocks. thanks for All you share.

elincp said...

Kelli, I only "know" you through your blog and you are the most positive, glowing, happy, extremely talented, generous, kind, loving online person I know! Shame on that person for being so hateful to you. They say we don't know what the other person is going through and we need to be patient and kind to all. I think she missed that lesson in life. Please stay safe and well through all this craziness. Don't stop your special way of creating and sharing your gifts with the world. I am praying for you! p.s. I love your new fabric line. virtual hugs!!!

MissPat said...

You are really so lucky that your cancer surgery was done before the virus took hold. We have a friend who starts chemo next week in FL and I'm very worried for him. I think lots of people are distracted and unable to get much productive work done. And, of course, the negativity of that person hit you at a very bad time. You can see from these many comments that you have many more virtual friends who support your efforts. Just take a deep breath and then get back to doing what you enjoy most. Love the new fabrics.

I wish you all the very best after what you've been through! One never knows what others are dealing with. I very seriously did miss your creativity & wondered what was up .. checked the National Days page every day! Very glad to have read your recent post all the way to the end & know things are somewhat positive. Many thanks for sharing your stresses (venting) with all of us & may your load be lightened! Things are very different & uncertain these days but there is Absolutely no excuse for being rude. We are all in this together, need to support plus be kind & helpful if/when we can. May your sew MoJo be quick to return. Know that many quilters greatly appreciate all you have done/do for us. Love the new fabrics! Hang in there: be smart & safe.

Oh Kelli I'm so sorry things have been so hard this year. I have had skin cancer surgery on my face and other places as well and it is really hard. Sending you lots of healing thoughts for the wounding caused by the surgeries, and by other humans. i remind myself that there are a lot of mental health issues going on and it's awful when some folks who are very unwell have a computer and cause harm to others. I know it's hard believe me, but try to let all the injuries heal as quick as possible, put it behind you and build your immune system for more creative endeavours to come! Big hugs!

CA Bobbie said...

Truth be told- I'm one of your "silent" readers". BUT I LOVE YOUR BLOG, YOUR STYLE, AND YOUR PATTERNS. From my own experience I know it's so hard to ignore such vile comments. Just do what my Mom always said- consider the source. Vile comments come out of vile people.

CA Bobbie said...

I'm sorry for the skin cancer issues- I've also had to have removal and skin graft-never fun. I'm 100 % in your corner.

I am really sorry about your diagnosis and that you required surgery on your nose (ouch!), but I’m relieved you’re healing well. Take care xxxxx

P.S. Barbara’s quilt is fantastic!

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