Friday, September 20, 2013

Catching Up - Lots of Pictures

I received an email on Wednesday asking if I was okay.  This person was concerned because I hadn't posted for four days.  I thought "four days?"  I looked at my last blog post & sure enough, four days had gone by. Where does the time go?  A week ago yesterday, I was in the hospital having surgery.  Now here I am, safe & sound at home.  I'll ask it again ... where does the time go?

I am feeling pretty well.  The neck port sites are still somewhat sore & I still end up napping at least once a day, but those are minor complaints.  The heart pain is almost gone as is the raw throat.  No a-fib episodes since the surgery, praise God.  On Wednesday I had a strange stroke-like thing happen but it hasn't happened again so praise God for that too.  It didn't really alarm me.  It was more of a nuisance.  While it was happening, all I could think of was how much I didn't want to get dressed & go to the ER.  The episode itself didn't last too long.  I was typing an email & suddenly I had this odd tingly/numb feeling on the left side of my head.  I could feel it as it traveled down the left side of my neck, across my left shoulder, & down my left arm into my hand & fingers.  It was kind of interesting how it just meandered along at a slow but determined pace.  I was kind of tingly/numb in those areas for a bit of a while, & eventually I was left with just some tingly sensation in my left forearm, the left side of my hand, & my pinkie & ring finger.  It's pretty much all gone now. A fluke incident, I'm sure.  I did promise John that if it happens again, I'll let him take me to the ER or I'll call my doctor to see if it's of any concern.

I have been stitching although my first project, a simple ornament I had kitted to stitch during my recovery, was frogged as much as it was stitched.  I was sure I was counting carefully.  I even counted the same areas 2 or 3 times to make sure I was starting each part of the design where it was supposed to be started.  However, I'd then be stitching along & discover I had miscounted where to start, or I had missed a stitch in one motif which ended up causing me to begin the motif below it in the wrong place.  Be that as it may, I persevered & here is the end result.

Designer:  Blackbird Designs
Design:  Love Letters
(from the book Joyeux Noel)
Floss:  Combination of suggested
Fabric:  32 ct Putty linen ... maybe

I was kind of taken aback by the colors.  I don't know why I didn't notice them when I was looking at the model photos or gathering my floss together.  Very spring-like. If I get ambitious, I may re-design it a bit to look more Christmasy.  I have a couple ideas.

I next started an ornament from the 2013 JCS Ornaments magazine.  There are several in this magazine that I'm looking forward to stitching.  This one called out to me because of the house with smoke coming out of the chimney (because I'm inside stitching by the warmth of the fireplace), all the snow outside, & the deer in the front yard.  I thought the deer looked rather odd with those big kind of yellow eyes so I just kept stitching with the brown.  I am pretending they have their eyes closed in prayer, thanking God for all that beautiful snow & the sweet woman inside the house who takes time from her stitching to feed them   : )
Designer:  Prairie Schooler
Design:  Christmas Tree (2013 JCS Ornaments)
Floss:  Suggested DMC
Fabric:  Suggested 32 ct sage Jobelan

I haven't stitched anything on Jobelan for a while.  I kind of enjoyed using it!

Today starts the September IHSW (click logo on sidebar for details) & I will choose another ornament to stitch.  I haven't decided which one yet.  

I stitched 2 gift items last month & asked Myra if she could finish them for me so I could get them in the mail before I went to the hospital.  Happily she was able to do this.  I stitched this first design for my dear friend & sister in Christ, Vicki.  I'm using Myra's photo ... I hope she won't mind   : )
Designer:  Trail Creek Farm
Design:  Dearest Friend Cross Stitch Collection
Floss:  DMC alternates
Fabric:  Can't remember

This next gift I stitched for Mary (no blog), an old & dear friend in North Dakota.  She is the person I always refer to as "the old bat" because she is so much older than me (5 months older).  I probably should have done something creative here & stitched Old Bats Are Like Angels On Earth, or maybe stitched a little bat on it somewhere.  Hindsight ... what can I say.  Once again, Myra's photo    : )
    Designer:  Lizzie*Kate
Design:  Friends Are Like Angels
Floss:  Suggested DMC
Fabric:  It's anyone's guess

I don't know if I've ever mentioned that I have a brother.  I do.  He is my only sibling, 12 years older than me.  He & I are in some ways the same (us both having OCD, for example), but in other ways we are very, very, very different.  I always knew he was blessed with a talent for drawing.  He could sketch things at the drop of a hat & they actually looked like what they were supposed to be.  He never really used his talent though.  There were times when I wondered why didn't God give that talent to me.  I certainly would've made use of it!  I always wished that I could draw.  I've always been in awe of people who can.  

Last Christmas my sister-in-law surprised my brother with a gift certificate for an icon painting class taught by a nun in some convent somewhere.  Obviously I don't know the details   : )   I'm guessing this is somehow connected to my cousin Susie who is a nun. Perhaps the icon nun is in her order? Whatever the details, it turns out that my brother not only can draw ... he can paint! He very much enjoyed his first class & has finished painting 2 icons & is almost finished with a third.  I received an email from him the other day.  In it he mentioned that there is a professional icon painter coming to Pittsburgh to give a workshop & this icon nun is encouraging him to attend.  He is not sure if he can.  He has very bad arthritis & attending 8-hour-per-day classes for a week might be too much for him.  You are probably wondering why I'm sharing this information about my brother with you.  It's because he sent me photos of the icons he's painted (the last one still a work in progress) & I thought I would share them with you.

This first one is archangel Gabriel.  
Pictured in this second icon is St. Raphael, the healing saint.  My brother painted this for my sister-in-law who has had several health problems over the past few years.
My niece (their daughter) is named Patricia. Her name saint is St. Patrick.  Needless to say, my brother is in the process of painting this third icon for Patty.
I just wanted to share these paintings with you.  I think they're pretty impressive   : )

I will leave you with some bird photos I was able to take yesterday.  We have 2 very small birdbaths in the garden off the back porch.  We have always enjoyed watching the birds splash around in them.  Up until this past month or two, a few birds would come throughout the day & that was great! However, suddenly a huge influx of birds started flying in around 5 o'clock in the afternoon.  John has started needing to go out to refill the birdbaths 2 or 3 times to give them all enough water!  First to arrive are these little brown birds we don't know the name of.  They always look a bit unkempt so we we call them scruffy birds.  More than a dozen of these scruffies vie for their place to bathe in these teeny tiny birdbaths.  While they are finishing up, the bluebirds fly in. During our first four summers here, a pair of bluebirds would sometimes make an appearance.  Seeing them was a rare treat & I used to wonder how we could get them to come more often, maybe bring some friends, maybe build nests on our property & raise families.  Well, I don't know where they're living but more than a dozen of them fly in every afternoon to take their baths. Unfortunately the photos showing more than one of the bluebirds turned out blurry.  I'll try again the next time they fly in   : ) 

Now I had better choose my next stitching project so I can get my IHSW off & running! Some breakfast might be a good idea too  : )


butterfly said...

Hi Shirlee , so happy you are feeling better. Love your stitching and photos, BIG HUGS June.

willmania said...

So good to hear you're doing better!! I stitched that Blackbird "Noel" for a Christmas card last year & my husband informed me it just didn't look Christmasy, so I'll look forward to seeing your Christmas-tized version. (Sometimes I get bored w/ the typical red & green so that's what drew me to it!) Continue to take care.

Beth said...

Wonderful stitching! I think your birds are Goldfinches that have molted out of their bright summer colors to their dull winter feathers. Lucky you, Bluebirds!

cucki said...

Hello dear, so happy that you are feeling better...
I love your stitching so much always :)
Pretty photos
Huge hugs x

Chocolates4Breakfast (TerriBoog) said...

So glad you're doing well! Very sweet finishes and I have to agree, that BBD design, while lovely doesn't look to winterty or Christmasy.
Your brother's paintings are beautiful!
Live the bluebirds -we rarely see the around here.

Vickie said...

Shirlee, I still think you should check in with the doctor over the odd symptoms.
Love those bird pictures. How cool to be entertained daily that way.
Wow! I shared your pictures of the icons with Brian. We are both impressed with your brother's work. How awesome. What a gift he has. So special. Brian is especially fond of icons.
I am praying for you dear friend.

gracie said...

So good to read that you are feeling better. Love the stitching.

marly said...

Good to see a post! I really enjoyed the communal bathing! What fun to see so many splashing around.

The Inspired Stitcher said...

I'm glad you are feeling up to posting. I like your finishes. They look great. I think your brother has some real talent there. He definitely should keep it up.

Judy said...

Glad you are feeling better. Wow, how impressive your brother's painting is. That is a talent I wish I had also. But then I would have another addiction, so I guess I'll stick to cross stitch. Love all the birds. Have a nice weekend.

Judy heartland stitcher

Farmhouse prims said...

So glad that you are doing better, your stitching is just beautiful. Lecia

Sarah in Stitches said...

Hi Shirlee! So glad you're feeling better now. Your ornaments are so cute! And your brother is very talented - those paintings are so detailed. :D

Mouse said...

glad to hear things have improved greatly and yes you should ring your dr ... just to check .... and the wee scruffy birds look like sparrows to me or a brown finch ??? gorgeous blue birds and yeahhh way to go on the stitching and your brother is very talented with the paint brush :) love mouse xxxxx

Linda said...

So great to hear that you are doing better. BUT, if you get another one of those episodes you get your behind to the hospital.
Love your ornaments.


Kaisievic said...

Great post as always, my dear Shirlee. Gorgeous stitching and your brother is indeed very talented.
We call those little brown birds Wee Willie wagtails here in Oz (probably not their real name but cute!). Lovely to read your posts again, take care and be well.

~Sara said...

Good to hear from you. Glad you are feeling better, (I would let me Dr know about the tingling).You sure are keeping busy, that is a good sign. Blessings~Sara

Maggee said...

Hello there! Your brother has talent! I was wondering what Icons meant... And your stitching with finishes are wonderful! I will remember your post about the BBD pattern, since I have that book also. Christmas-y colors would be more apropos. Not sure you shouldn't have gone to the doctor after the episode you described. Don't like it one bit actually! But you said you will go if it happens again, and that is that! Big hugs! More later...

Krista said...

Hi Shirlee, what a lovely post with great pics! Such sweet stitching and baby birdies! :) I am also looking forward to IHSW. Have fun stitching!

TheCrankyCrow said...

Well, sounds like you're truly on the mend!! Glad to see you posting, stitching, bird watching and being wonderful you. Your stitching is magnificent as always.....And wowsers on your brother's talent.... Holy smokes!!! He has a wonderful naive-ish folk-arty kinda look to his pieces that I so adore. I hope the stinking arthritis doesn't steal too much of his painting days from him..... You're in my thoughts and prayers....Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

Myra said...

What a wonderful post Shirlee. I love your brother's painting and I am so glad you shared them with us. He is very talented and I do hope he can continue.

I love your ornament finishes. I really like the colors in the BBD piece - something about turquoise and red for Christmas just tickles my fancy.

Take care of yourself and continue to heal my friend.

Annette-California said...

So great to hear from you Shirlee! I have you in my prayers everyday. Thank goodness your doing well but those odd symptoms definitely need to be reported to your doctor. Aren't you doing too much too soon?
Your brother's paintings are remarkable. What a talented artist he is. Sending you love and well wishes. love Annette

Mii Stitch said...

You sound like you're back on track, I'm so glad everything went well. Lovely stitching & finishes and I'm so impressed with your brother's painting! WOW!!! I hope he can make it to the course with the professional, I think he'll see too the talent your brother has :) Take care x

Marilyn said...

Glad you are feeling better.
You will have a nice collection of ornaments.
Your brother sure has a talent in painting.
The birdies are too cute!

Barb said...

Hi Shirlee, how wonderful to see a post from you, great you feel up to it. Oh wow I loved the pictures of the sparrows enjoying a bath. Your stitching is lovely and hope you soon get back to being frog free. Hugs from me to you.

bettyj said...

so glad you are feeling betters. Prayers have been said, Talent must run in your family! Wow those are beautiful. Your stitchings are gorgeous too. I know. I have one on a chair that stays out 24/7, 52/12. Hope you continue to heal My hous is off the market in 10 days. I am so looking forward to that.

Michelle said...

Lovely to hear you're feeling better now Shirlee. I have stitched that Blackbird "Noel" for a Christmas ornament just got to make it up. Your photos are lovely thanks for sharing them with us my friend, xx

Carol said...

Hi Shirlee! I'm so happy you are feeling well enough to stitch and blog already! Isn't modern medicine amazing? Do keep track of that tingly arm thing, though...

Love your little ornaments, especially the PS one (of course!!)... And wow--your brother is so very talented! As someone who can't even draw a straight line, I'm always in awe of people who can draw paint or draw at all. I hope his arthritis calms down enough for him to be able to enjoy the classes.

Oh, your bluebirds--I'm so, so jealous--have never seen one in real life!! They are so sweet.

Continue to take such good care of yourself--I know John is making sure you do :)

Pam in IL said...

Wonderful post! Love the stitching, your brother's paintings and all the bird pics. I don't know what kind of birds the scruffy ones are, but I had them all around here in July and August. I haven't seen them lately though so maybe they all went to your house!

Simply Victoria said...

What a gift your brother has! Let us know if he decides to take the class. He would probably really enjoy it even if he couldn't do the intensive 8 hour days.
You have a nice start to your ornaments. Hope your IHSW was productive!
Great bird photos. The scruffies are cute!
Prayers and hugs!

Anne said...

Um, which convent? Those are Orthodox icons! I can't believe he's painting them! Wow!! That takes a lot of concentration, fasting and prayer to paint icons. The St. Patrick icon is wonderful. Oh and also your lovely gifts for your friends...Myra does such a lovely job!

Catherine said...

So glad you are feeling better ~ that episode sounds scary though! Lovely stitches ~ very sweet. Your brother is doing amazing work ~ so beautiful and amazing colors! Sweet pictures of the birds ~ bluebirds are a favorite of mine!