Monday, December 15, 2014

Ambitious but rubbish

A few weeks ago, B and I were bemoaning the fact that we couldn't use a lot of our Christmas stuff because there just wasn't room in the living room for it. I've wanted to set up a village for the longest time, but don't have the space, and last year we bought a train on after-Christmas clearance at Toys 'R Us but the living room was too small for it. This isn't even considering all the space we can't use in regular decorating because of the open railing. While we were talking, we were in our bedroom--the biggest room in the house--and I said, "I wish that when we were switching everything around way back when, when this was still a toy room, that we had gone ahead and made this a family room so we could have room for stuff like that."

We talked about it a little more over the next few days, then suddenly we had worked out all the "but what room will go where" questions and we--well, B and a friend--were moving furniture. B's game room is now in the living room, and it can function as a formal dining room if we need it to. Our bedroom is in the back, in the former toy room. The toy/sewing room is kind of thrown into the space that used to be B's game room; there's definitely lots of organization to come there.

We've switched rooms around a lot in this house, far more than I ever remember doing anywhere else I've ever lived, but this is by far the most ambitious rearranging project we've ever taken on. In addition to all this, we will be switching Baby Girl's and Mr. Man's rooms around. We will need to do more finishing in the basement (we've spray foamed about half of the rim joist and it's helped a lot, which kind of surprised me), paint the new living room, paint both kids' rooms, and finish up all the other miscellaneous projects I've started in each of those rooms but not finished.

The space we're focusing on right now is the new living room, formerly our bedroom. This is what it looks like right now, first from the door.

This is what it looks like behind the couch.

Facing toward the door. New thrift store desk is too tall to go behind the couch, boo.

It's a pit, and I can't really do much to straighten things out--I was moving little things like magazines and knick knacks this weekend and ended up having to take an anti-inflammatory and two pain pills so I won't be doing that again. B is very motivated to get it done, though, because we want to have the Christmas stuff set up again as soon as possible. But it's going to be a slow process anyway. I really want to have all the decor projects done by Baby Girl's birthday so that maybe for once we can actually have room to have a party here. Judging by my past record, and by the fact that every bit of progress I've made in being less lazy has apparently gone out the window, I'm not super duper hopeful.

On the plus side, I found some pretty awesome toe socks I forgot I had.

Friday, December 5, 2014

It's been a while

I am fully recovered from my surgery, more or less. I still don't like to lift really heavy things, but I no longer have to have a babysitter because Baby Girl is outside of the range I'm allowed to lift. Well, I started lifting her; my follow-up visit isn't for two weeks yet. The house is falling apart; B was just getting the kids to school and then fed at night by the skin of his teeth and everything else went by the wayside. We won't even talk about how the bathroom looks. I'm not blaming him or complaining, though; lord knows there have been plenty of days where it was all I could do to get the kids out the door and then fed at dinner time, and that's my full-time job. (Does anyone else feel like, for someone whose job it is to care for other people, they aren't actually good at caring for other people?) He has an actual 9-5 full-time job, and he was coming home a few hours early, getting the kids off the bus, making sure they didn't murder each other, feeding them dinner, bathing them, doing laundry so they had clothes for school, putting them to bed, then working those hours he took off from home. I think we're all getting back into a routine.

Today Baby Girl and I are going to clean the toy room, the kitchen, and Mr. Man's room. That's the plan, anyway; Baby Girl doesn't nap anymore, which is taking some getting used to. Before I hurt myself we were really making progress on the basement, but all momentum has been lost now. B switched around his game room and the sewing/toy room, which is something I've wanted forever, but he kind of mixed the pieces of furniture instead of having clear toy room/ sewing room sections and I can't move any of it. I mean, I don't really know where I want anything to go, but I couldn't move it if I did. I'm hoping to add "family room" to the list of functions that space performs, because why not.

Anyway, I'm now able to be around more, but I'm still getting back in the habit of doing...everything. I'm still adjusting to the fact that I can bend over and pick things up now. It's been months, and I have to remind myself that no, if I bend over I won't feel severe pain or like I might get down and not be able to get back up.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and will have a great Christmas. I'm renewing my yearly dream of a Christmas village, and I would love to not have to stand guard over it. Wishes and dreams, right?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The big day

Tomorrow is my back surgery. I'm ready to get it over with; I'm tired of being stuck at home, although it sucks that I missed all the nice fall weather and now it's cold and snowy. I'm also tired of my disgusting house; it seems that I'm the only one who knows how the broom, mop, or dishwasher work. Not that I'm allowed to do any of those things for two weeks after my surgery, so...crap.

I am having a lumbar microdiscectomy (Blogger says that's not spelled right, but I don't care). My cousin just had surgery on her back for a herniated disk and they went in through her stomach, which apparently hurts a lot. They're doing mine through my back and I'm told I should expect a "slightly achey back," which I am 99% sure is a big fat lie, but I have pain pills.

I have to go bathe in disinfectant. Seriously. Tough luck, skin bacteria.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I haven't forgotten about you

I am still mostly bedridden, and it seems I will be until the end of November. I went to see a neurologist last week and it was what I expected but didn't want to hear: my disc is so severely herniated that there is little chance my body will ever heal it on its own. Surgery it is. It's scheduled for November 17, and in the surgical instructions I got today it says no lifting of more than ten pounds for two weeks, and no sitting for more than 20-30 minutes. It says I can (and should) walk, though, so I guess I can do any housework that involves walking or standing but not bending far, picking up heavy stuff, or using the vacuum. I'm sure that includes a lot of stuff.

I have been working on the Yoshi costume, and it's almost done. Here's a picture B took of the head yesterday.

It needs some color correction, but I'm lazy. You get the idea. Anyway, I have to go sew the saddle on the back of his costume then sew it all together. Yay! After that, handsewing. I might procrastinate that until tomorrow. I'm going to try and get the head tutorial written and up tonight, but no promises.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Here I go

So as I wrote last time, I went to the ER a little over a week ago for severe back and leg pain. I made an appointment with a regular doctor and went last Tuesday. I got a shot of toradol, which is an anti-inflammatory, and it helped a bit. She had me get an X-ray, told me she would get me a referral to a neurosurgeon, and had her nurse schedule me for an MRI. The first opening was October 22, which sucked because I didn't want to be in pain that long. But before we even got out to the car, her office called and asked if I could come in for an MRI in forty-five minutes. That's a good sign, right?

We went and got lunch, then B took Baby Girl home and left me there. I looked like a weirdo pacing around the waiting room for an hour--it's very painful for me to sit down--then finally got my MRI. The MRI tried to steal my earrings; the tech said they would be fine, but when I laid down they started getting pulled out of my ears. She said "what kind of earrings are these?" Super cheap, that's what kind. And possibly magnetic. Anyway, the next day I got a call saying that I had a "significantly herniated disc." It's the very last disc, the one between my last vertebrae and my coccyx. I have an appointment with a neurosurgeon Wednesday. That was another situation where the first opening wasn't until sometime in November, but my doctor found someone to get me in sooner.

I've basically been bedridden for the last week, but I do feel that it's getting a little better. I still can't stand up long enough to make my own food, and it's really hard to sit even long enough to go to the bathroom, but I can sit up in bed for short periods of time. Which means I can sew costumes! It's going to be interesting; I'm not sure I can work the pedal with my right foot (my bad leg) and I've never tried with my left foot. I've got all of the green part of Mr. Man's costume cut out, most of Baby Girl's costume cut out, and most of Yaya's costume cut out. Now I just need to get all the pieces assembled.

I'm going to try and get Yaya's and Baby Girl's costumes started today, and I will cut out the rest of the pieces of Mr. Man's costume tonight. I do need to pace myself; I've learned that just because it doesn't hurt when I'm sitting up, it doesn't mean that sitting up won't cause me pain later. Plus if my back is healing on its own, I don't want to jeopardize that. I don't really want to get surgery on my back if I can avoid it.

Alright, wish me luck. I'm going to try and set up a sewing machine on my bed. Sounds like a good idea, right?

Monday, October 13, 2014

I've been delayed

I had hoped to accomplish a lot of stuff this weekend: clean out Yaya's room, clean up the backyard, and work on Halloween costumes so I could have a tutorial to post about the Yoshi head today. However, instead I got to take a trip to the ER on Saturday morning and have spent the rest of the weekend in bed.

For about a year (yes, I know, I'm a horrible procrastinator and should take care of my health problems sooner) I've had varying degrees of leg pain. At first it was just a little bit in my butt, then it was like fire down my butt and thighs. Then it slowly moved down the leg until it was in my calves. All accompanied by lower back pain. WebMD told me it was sciatica several times, and a lot of other websites said "sciatica will probably go away if you give it enough time." And it sucked, but it wasn't debilitating. Until Saturday. I would rather give birth again than have another attack, and I am still having attacks. I can't stand up without triggering another attack. It's like the worst muscle cramps I've ever felt times a hundred, like someone is reaching into my muscles and squeezing and twisting. My whole leg went numb. When I started crying at the breakfast table because the pain was so bad, B insisted we go to the doctor. Getting there was agony because sitting was agony.

The ER doctor didn't want to do an MRI without me going to a regular doctor first, so I have to call Monday. And I will. Until then I have a muscle relaxer, an anti-inflammatory, and Vicodin for the pain. (I joked to B that I've been diagnosed with Vicodin for leg pain, now I just need to become an acerbic but brilliant diagnostician.) I am actually taking the Vicodin, which, if you knew me, would tell you how much it hurts. I didn't need anything stronger than Tylenol after I had a C-section and I don't like taking prescription pain pills. I took the muscle relaxer three hours ago but I can feel my calf trying to cramp. I have it on a heating pad, and that helps a little.

Anyway, I'm going to try my best to get back to work on the costumes. I have less than three weeks, so I need to get going even if it hurts.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hacking a commercial pattern to make a Yoshi costume, part one

That's a mouthful.

This year, Mr. Man wanted to be Yoshi for Halloween. I kind of hoped he'd change his mind to something I could just buy at the Halloween store, or at least something I could buy a pattern for, but he stayed steady. No problem, though; I've used commercial patterns to create costumes before, and I've also just freehanded from what I had around. This is a little daunting, but once I get into it I think things will come together. In case I'm not the only one out there whose kid wants to be Yoshi, I thought I'd do a series of posts about how I turn a commercial pattern into something it's not.

I did consider commercial Yoshi costumes, but the reviews I saw for the kid version were kind of unclear about the fit, with most saying it ran small but some saying it fit just fine. The largest I could find was a children's large, which apparently fit like a children's small or medium, and Mr. Man is a size 8-10, so I didn't think small would fit the bill. I also didn't want to buy it and have to deal with the hassle of sending it back if it didn't work. Plus it just looked chintzy. I also looked on Etsy, and probably would have paid up to $50, but I'm too much of a tightwad to pay $90+ for a Halloween costume, even if he will wear it as pajamas. The costumes I saw were worth the $90+, but I have more time than money.

This is the pattern I'm using, view A.

This is my Yoshi reference picture.

I also have a Yoshi Happy Meal toy around here somewhere, but my kids keep stealing it.

I cut out pieces 1-4, 6-9, 12-14, 16, and 17. The pattern comes with three different sizes of spike patterns, which I believe are pieces 8, 9, and 10. I cut out 8 and 9 and was kicking myself for not cutting out 10, but then I found an awesome Yoshi plush pattern with hair, so I will be using that. More about that pattern next post.

I'm using fleece and felt for the fabric on this, but since I'm doing a few things that aren't in the instructions, I'm using some cheap to practice on. I like to check Wal-Mart's fabric section to see what I can get for a dollar or two a yard, but it can be hard to find just regular cotton there. It's also helpful to be a fabric hoarder or be related to a fabric hoarder. In my case, I am both.

Mr. Man's size requires 2 1/2 yards of fleece. Yoshi has a white belly and spots on the egg that I'd like to make as a bag, so I got a yard of white fleece for that. I also bought half a yard of red felt. I would have bought fleece, but they didn't have any in the right color red. Felt comes on a 60" bolt like fleece, so I was comfortable getting a smaller amount. I failed to notice that Yoshi's shoes are orange, so I may have to go back and get 3/8 yard of that, but I'm going to see if I have some felt I can use here. If you have a Hobby Lobby, look there for your fleece. It was $2 a yard cheaper than the regular fabric store, then it was on one of their always-on sales for 30% off. It ended up costing me around $5.60 a yard.

I don't foresee needing it for this project, but if you're doing significant alterations to a commercial pattern, it's a good idea to trace and cut a new piece. For this I use banner paper from Hobby Lobby. I bought a huge roll years ago and still have a lot of it, so it lasts for a while. Oh, and make sure you have scissors just for cutting paper. I will be using a printed pattern later on, so I need to have paper scissors so I don't ruin my good scissors.

The upcoming part two post will be about making the head. I figured I might as well eat the frog and do the hardest part, and I hope that the rest of the costume goes smoothly and quickly after that. It's one of those things that takes forever because I drag my feet, but I have two other costumes to make. I need to get moving. I'm about 80% of the way through the head muslin right now, so fingers crossed I can finish that up tomorrow and have a post up before the weekend. B has the rest of the week off so I will have some sewing time where I don't have to stop working when Baby Girl wants me to read a book or hold a toy while she plays with it. In theory, anyway.