Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Baring all today

 Wonderful Wednesday 59 - Free In Bloom pattern by Jess Wariorka as featured by floresita on Feeling Stitchy

First of all, I want to thank all of the readers who have found me here - I know this sparsely populated personal blog will never have the same reach as the lovely multi-person blog I contribute to, Feeling Stitchy, but I am comforted and encouraged all the same by the people who take the time to read my posts here. I did a post on Feeling Stitchy to account for my frequent quietness and absence lately from the blog, you can view it here. In it, I featured a lovely pattern by Jess Wariorka on the DMC site, because I thought it was a lovely way to "unveil my scars" and bare all, so to speak, you can find the free pattern here.

The long and short of it is, I have breast cancer. This is my second time around with hormone-positive (HER2 negative) breast cancer. My first time, in 2015 was relatively easy, in comparison - I had a lumpectomy on my affected breast and since it had not spread to my lymph nodes, and was caught early, all I had to do was 6 weeks of radiation, and no chemotherapy.

In truth, it was a confusing time - I found myself feeling at times, that I had never had "real cancer" because I was constantly reassured by doctors and other cancer survivors alike, that I had the "best cancer", the most curable cancer, a slow growing cancer that was very unlikely to kill me.

I felt like a fake cancer patient, like I didn't have the right to be frightened or worried, and I did my absolute best to plow forward. I was open with my diagnosis, but that backfired on me many times, as people, confronted with the knowledge that I had cancer, had so many intense reactions, and I found myself having to comfort them, and hear their stories of grief and loss, as they inevitably mentioned people they loved who had lost their fight.

As a result, I began to choose more carefully who I would share this information with, as I didn't want to cause distress to others (and by extension, myself). That was the primary reason I chose not to share my diagnosis online - that, and my desire to remain as private as possible.

My second time around, I simply felt it was time to share my diagnosis with you, and I think the turning point came when I began doing research for wig videos on Youtube. I discovered so many brave women, sharing one of the most intense and frightening battles of their lives, with courage, humor and grace. And their bravery and honesty brought me courage. There were so many different kinds of stories, and just as many different kinds of treatments, but the common thread was their positivity and their unselfish desire to do at least one thing to help calm the fears and worries of another person who is also facing this diagnosis.

Another common thread in these videos was the theme of trusting yourself, being persistent with doctors who are not inclined to diagnose you with cancer, knowing your body, and being aware of when it changes. I experienced the same thing, and I am glad I was insistent, as it would have been easy to accept the "all clear" if I hadn't been in touch with the differences in my body. I had numerous checkups with my surgeon and oncologist, and 3 clear mammograms since my last diagnosis. I had to literally point to the lump I found, otherwise the surgeon would not have noticed anything amiss in what looked like scar tissue.

My second time around I am experiencing what is called a recurrence - cancer in the same spot it was in last time, and cancer in 2 lymph nodes. I had a mastectomy on my affected breast a few weeks ago, and next month I will need to start on 6 months of chemotherapy. I won't lie, I am afraid - I have seen at least 1 person in my family go through chemo, and 1 close friend, and I am not looking forward to it. But I am confident that God, who has brought me safely to this point, will bring me safely through it.

So again, I wanted to thank you, however few you may be, the readers of my personal blog for keeping up with me over the years. Your comments and support and interest have meant so much to me. I'll chime in when I can, here or on Feeling Stitchy, do tune in there, if you haven't already.

And I just wanted to say, if you are fighting this fight, or have fought it as well, you are not alone. Sometimes, there are people like me, fighting it right alongside you, and you aren't aware of our presence. In the same way, God stands by you in your fight, although you can't always sense God's presence. My love and hope to all of you, my blog friends!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

China Obsession

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I have a new obsession to report and it is china. I stumbled on this obsession by chance when planning a birthday party for my sister, who adores Jane Austen. I thought, why not a tea party theme, with authentic British china?

And down the china rabbit hole I plunged!

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I initially thought, quite erroneously, that it would be easy to find lovely teacups in my local Goodwills and thrift shops. Perhaps it once was, but I'm afraid the vintage teacup craze has resulted in there not being much out there to find. And when you do find it, you must buy it immediately, as there's no chance it will be there when you return.

I tried to find lovely pieces that were well-crafted, and that had some historical significance. These pieces were all created in a Blue Onion type design, which originated in the 1740's. There are actually 3 different china patterns up above, you might pick them out stylistically, but I think they blend nicely with each other.

The lovely teapot is a Winterling design that I think was made to look like Meissen and/or Czech Zweibelmuster designs. I can't pinpoint the date exactly from the mark, but it could be anywhere from the 1930's-60's. I love the blue rose finial on the lid.

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The teacup is Blue Danube, made in Japan, while the saucer and plate are Noritake Fair Wind - I scored a set of 4 saucers and 4 plates at Goodwill, for $6:

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Although it's a thrill to find lovely old things at cheap prices, I really enjoy just looking at all of the items, turning them over in my hands and learning to tell quality items from cheaply made, mass-produced ones.

For example, while I think this tiny (2 cup) Blue Willow Sadler teapot is gorgeous and glossy in person, I notice its little defects. There are little gold smears on the inside of the lid, and a raised dot or two.

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In its defense, it is lovely in person - the glaze plays tricks on your camera and makes outlines look rough, when in person they're quite crisp and nice.

There was a small chip on the underside of the spout which the Ebay seller didn't mention, so I unfortunately won't be using it. But I think it was a steal for the price and it is lovely to have around.

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Adorable, isn't it? Do any of you have a china collection? I'd love to hear about it! :)

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Knitting Retreat

Knitting Retreat photos by floresita, from her blog

I've just returned from a knitting retreat, it is my third year going and each time has been something special. This year was misty and grey each morning, a bit cool, perfect for walks and quiet times of solitude.

Knitting Retreat photos by floresita, from her blog

I worked on 2 hats, the first in a nice gray alpaca wool for my husband, and the second in this marvelous Liberty Wool in a shade called Painted Desert. It was donated by a local yarn shop, in the hopes that we might make something they could give away, which I did.

I cast on 88 stitches on size 6 and 7 needles, and as I knit pretty tightly it was rather small, hopefully perfect for a child's hat.

Knitting Retreat photos by floresita, from her blog
Knitting Retreat photos by floresita, from her blog

I really loved the unique colors in this yarn!

Knitting Retreat photos by floresita, from her blog
Knitting Retreat photos by floresita, from her blog

It was such a marvelous gift, watching these ladies knit, and spending time with them in quiet and sometime raucous and silly talk. :)

Knitting Retreat photos by floresita, from her blog
Knitting Retreat photos by floresita, from her blog
Knitting Retreat photos by floresita, from her blog

As I always say, I can't wait for the next one!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Baby Hats for my godson

baby hats for my godson, by floresita for her blog

We had an unusual cold snap in early January, and all I could think about was my little godson's tiny head - yes, I'm sure his parents had prepared for winter, but as cold as it was, I knew he needed wool. I finally put to use some beautiful wool my dear friend Amanda had sent me when I was recovering from surgery over 2 years ago - this alpaca yarn was so divinely soft, I knew it must be for a special project:

baby hats for my godson, by floresita for her blog

I couple of my dear friends in NY sent me that adorable ribbon, and it was perfect for this little gift.

baby hats for my godson, by floresita for her blog

I used the free Very Basic Baby Beanie pattern on Ravelry and lo and behold, it was a perfect fit!

He also seems to find the wool quite tasty, added bonus. :)

dear Teddy, by floresita for her blog