Monday, December 29, 2008

#11 of 52 projects and Hearts

I wonder if the most universally used motif is the heart followed by? Stars? I rarely use hearts in my work but while drafting a letter to the kidney donors family I suddenly felt very strongly about hearts. The donor will always a piece of my heart and with Valentine's Day approaching, the day my parents were married, what better way to celebrate than to perhaps make a heart series.

I love the look of distressed things but find it difficult to achieve just the right effect. Maybe the Virgo in me always leans toward "safe" work rather than imperfect craggy pieces. Love the word "craggy." The craggier the better!

The needle punched top fabric is similar to the one below, but punched onto green felt. The cut-out area is a piece of rust dyed fabric that I blogged about a few months ago. The stitches took on a life of their own when the thread frayed and refused to cooperate by making perfect stitches. Perfect! Not very evident in this scan are 7 tiny metal hearts scattered around the bottom area.
Quote: New Year's Day is every man's birthday. ~Charles Lamb

Sunday, December 28, 2008

#10 of 52 projects

You might have guessed that the target date for this piece was last week ,somewhere around the 24Th or so. I should be up to #16 by now so why be on time?

Needle punched metallic fabric (red and white print with gold thread running through it) onto gold felt. When punched on both sides quite a lot of the gold came through giving the piece a tapestry effect. The green leaves and bell were cut from an embossed piece of felt. While its not a great piece I learned that any fabric can be transformed when needle punched. The metallic fabric was a remnant that I nearly didn't purchase, the colors didn't do much for me, but the texture is amazing. I also needle punched it onto green felt and will try black next.

One of the things that annoys me about this piece is that the top leaves look like reindeer antlers, but maybe that is indicative of the season rather than a faux pas?

Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!
This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!
I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!”
William Arthur Ward

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Two months later

The red heart marks the area, 4Th floor, where Stacy spent a total of 16 days in Oct. and Nov. after receiving the miracle of a kidney. This view was photographed above LLUMC, rear of the hospital, and shows the mountains that we looked at for hours on end while sitting at Stacy's bedside.

It will be two months tomorrow since the transplant and happily she continues to improve. Her BP is no longer a problem and she's now off of the 5 meds she was taking and much to my delight, she hasn't had one seizure! I predicted that the near daily occurrence of seizures would cease when she was no longer on dialysis. No one agreed with me, after all, I'm only a mother and not a neurologist. The seizures started 3 months after she started dialysis; the announcement of them came with the first Grand Mal I'd ever witnessed in person. She ended up in a coma for 24 hours and was in ICU for 3 days.

On a brighter note, my grandsons brought their parents to stay with us for 2 nights! Watching them open gifts and play with their new treasures was a much-needed event after the hospitalizations and numerous doctor appointments. As Sally Huss says, "To celebrate with family is the best of all presents."

The weather has been colder than the past two winters I've spent here in the desert and a lot wetter. We might be in for a true winter and not the usual dry desert kind. Love the snow-capped mountains.

Monday, December 15, 2008

#9 of 52 projects, purchased Peace . . .

This one didn't turn out anywhere near how I thought it might. One of the rules for the 52-projects, that I might just break, states that a piece needs to be completed no matter what. Acrylic painted cheesecloth, (sulphur green) needle punched onto black felt. Circles and star shapes worked from the back side along with lines. Interesting experiment that I plan to further explore. Actually, the backside the dominant blue stars is should have been the front, except that the composition doesn't work.

I'm excited! I just purchased on of Virginia Spiegel's pieces from her Peace Series. #20. Do check out the series. I try to keep up with her blog.

The word I've chosen for 2009 is peace of mind.

Quote: Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it. - Brian Tracy

Sunday, December 14, 2008

#8 of 52 projects

I have no idea how many weeks I've missed, I guess I could look at a calendar, so I've decided to just say "#8" rather than week 8. The surface fabric is the same one I used on #5. This time instead of netting I experimented with red chiffon, at least I think that's what it is. I love how needle punching distresses fabric. I have the next piece started but who knows when it will be finished.
Thanks for all of the personal emails and comments on this blog! Means a lot to me.
Quote: A day filled with joy awaits your involvement. Sally Huss

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Transplant, abstract painting, and . . .

I'm not sure why the image turned out looking cropped, but I have a feeling it's my lousy photography! The painting is more balanced in real life; the lines on the left aren't as short.
I painted this a few months ago before life became as stressful as it's been since Oct. 28th. Presently, I feel certain that I've lost all of the skills I worked hard to acquire such as working with acrylics and needle-punching. Hopefully, it's just fear.

I have a great fondness for Mandalas but after I painted the circle this painting came to an abrupt stop. Though, looking back it might be because the intense heat of summer also happened at the same time and I could no longer work in the garage. In mid October while walking past the painting on the work table for the umpteenth time I was compelled to work on the piece and a few hours later stopped. I'm pleased with it.

So, since I last posted some time last month Roger had surgery for melanoma which was successful. No sign of cancer spreading, but he picked up a nasty staph infection under his arm where one the drains was and is currently hooked up to a VAC pump 24 hours a day. The battery pack/machine is inside of a cloth bag that he carries over his shoulder. Hopefully, he'll be his old self again soon.

The day before Thanksgiving we ended up rushing to Loma Linda, 1.5 hours away, where Stacy was admitted again to the transplant unit. They gave us the bed next to the window this time in the same room she had in Oct. It took a couple of days to ascertain why she was so ill and by the time the second infection was discovered she was in crises. Her heart rate was so high they feared a stroke and her temp was rising. An emergency trip to the OR to remove the 4 year-old dialysis catheter instantly made a difference. She also had a bladder infection which happens frequently to those with kidney transplants. The third thing that was addressed was low blood levels that required a unit of blood and weekly shots of procrit.

On November 28th, one month exactly after the transplant, the new kidney started working!!! It was also the same day she started dialysis 8 years ago. We have so much to be thankful for and watching her daily improve has been absolutely amazing. She was going downhill rapidly before the transplant and I feared she wasn't going to be with us much longer and then when the new kidney didn't wake up and she became so ill that she wasn't eating I once again panicked. I should have known better though because she's always been my miracle child.

Life after transplant hasn't changed too much yet. We no longer go to dialysis 3 times a week, but Stacy needs to go to Loma Linda weekly for labs and a check-up and Roger is going to the wound center twice a week and mom has been to the ER. Doctors and hospitals have taken over our days! Stacy's diet isn't as restrictive as it was for the 8 years on dialysis, but it's still monitored with lab tests making sure that her potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium levels aren't too high or low. She needed potassium and magnesium IV's during her 9 day "tune-up" at Loma Linda.

The weather has been outstanding here in the desert and today there is a storm brewing that has created the perfect ambiance for winter. It's so much calmer here in the desert and we all sighed when we came over the Banning Pass after 9 days at Loma Linda Hospital. Loma Linda and the surrounding area isn't as hectic as the LA area, but it might as well be. I don't do well in crowds and the traffic wasn't easy to navigate, especially when one is exhausted and stressed. Mom and I stayed in a hotel at night and Roger, bless his heart, slept in a chair at Stacy's side every night. We didn't have anyone to leave mom with this time which added to the stress. But, it's over with and life goes on. Sadly, mom has quickly moved into the 3rd stage of Alzheimer's and only lives in her head now and I wonder when the day will arrive when she no longer knows me. I'm in awe that the kidney transplant happened when it did being that mom wouldn't be able to sit at Stacy's side during dialysis as she once loving did! Life! Who can figure it out?

This is a fun link: