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.

Monday, October 6, 2014

I've been featured!

My DIY fire pit is in a roundup of DIY fire pits on! You can see them all here. As an update, the fire pit is still going strong. B just used it the other day, although he hasn't had much opportunity lately since we've been in the rainy season for two months. The only thing I'd do differently is maybe put some capstones on top of the open cinderblock holes, which I can do as soon as I remember that while I'm at Home Depot. Anyway, check it out!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The last decluttering

Hahaha, who am I kidding? Kids are a constant ongoing source of clutter; there will be more. But maybe at this point I can stay ahead of it.

Last Friday I went downstairs to cut out Mr. Man's Halloween costume. My sewing room and the toy room have been haphazardly smushed together, and I haven't paid any attention to it over the summer, so it looked like this.

Obviously not the easiest situation to work in. Lately I've promised myself that I would be more merciless when I get rid of things; I'm very sentimental, plus I like to keep things that might be useful someday. Not trash or anything like that, but furniture, toys that will someday be age-appropriate, fabric, etc. I'm still working on the fabric and furniture, but I'm making progress on the toys. I didn't want this to turn into yet another rearranging and organizing of all the stuff we had, and I made sure to keep that in mind as I worked.

It was hard to get rid of toys that were gifts and toys that Baby Girl would grow into in the next few years. Some of the things I got rid of were both; those were hardest. Some were both and I couldn't get rid of them, like this awesome train set that my mom got the boys a few years ago. We've never had the room to use it properly, but we are planning on selling the house soon, so maybe our next house will have a place where it can be set up. We also had at least three doctor's kits (why?), and I hesitated before putting those in the donate bag--pretend play toys are so good for them!--but the boys are too old for them and she could care less. Actually none of them really played with stuff like that, so it could have gone a while ago. On the other hand, it was very easy to get rid of all the old boy toys. I'm all for going against gender roles and all that, but she could have cared less about the cars that didn't make noise, the dinosaurs, or the sports toys and that kind of thing. If I'm honest with myself, she probably won't care about that train set even if it can be set up all the time, but I'm going to wait and see.

It took a day and a half, but eventually we got to this point.

You can see that Baby Girl is already unpacking the drawers. Every time I got out of the chair, it was immediately filled with play food. I didn't really get much rearranged in the sewing area--I need to get those cigar boxes with thread moved somewhere else; I hate having to unstack them all and dig--but now I have a few choices of where to put them. The dresser on the opposite side of the room has a few empty drawers, and I could empty out another if I could learn to let go of fabric. The stuff on top of the dresser is all her Barbies and the various stuffed animals that are staying down there. I haven't decided where to put those yet. The toy box is completely empty, just needs to be vacuumed out (the attachment that hooks the hose up to the regular vacuum has disappeared, so I have to drag the shop vac down). Maybe when that's done I can put them in there.

There's still a lot going on, but it's definitely better. We took a vanload of stuff to Goodwill, which included two trash bags and a few smaller Walmart sacks. Plus I took out one bag of trash, two forty gallon Rubbermaid totes, and a shelving unit. There are two of those colorful drawer stacks in the picture, but only one has anything in it. I'm leery of getting rid of storage furniture (or any furniture, really), so the other stack is in a dead spot in the corner for now. I'm sure I can use it for my sewing stuff; there's plenty that needs to be moved over still.

Oh, and I still haven't cut out Mr. Man's Halloween costume. Tomorrow, I swear.