Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Feeding and Sewing - Reality

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It's hard to be real. I mean, there are messes when we do real. But, this week has been one very deeply rooted in real.

Last Friday Charlie Brown got food poisoning. We decided to go to a burger place while we were out doing things and allowed him to get a chocolate shake as a treat. On the way home everything he had eaten that day came back up ... on the side of a dirt road ... in the middle of nowhere. Sigh.

At first we figured he had a stomach virus. Then, while working on Saturday, one of my husband's coworkers mentioned his son was sick and had thrown up the previous afternoon like our son had. My husband jokingly asked if he had, by any chance, eaten at the same restaurant (we live an hour from it, he lives in the same town as the burger place). Wouldn't you know it, he had. To top it off, his son had a chocolate milkshake as well. Both of them were the only ones in their family to have a chocolate shake. Mystery solved. Food poisoning.

They called Teledoc to get Phenergan and we went the homeopathic route. Saturday, after they had both gotten sick a few times we both got meds on board and both boys had happier tummies.

However, things aren't that easy in our home. When you have a child with feeding issues already, you don't just bounce back and start eating again once the nausea and vomiting leave. He lost all sense of hunger and hasn't gained it back. Thankfully we have tube feeds and off we went. We started just like if a child had no tube and introduced basic simple items, then got more normal as he held them down. He did great. No nausea at all. Just no hunger either. Yesterday I did a slow tube feed over the entire day for his calorie intake. Not bad. Until supper. He suddenly felt over full. He went to lay down and this is when things get realer than real.

If you don't have a tubie, you don't know the joys horror of how to help. You do a tube feed in reverse. Yep, you pull the food from the tummy instead of putting the food in. I hate that part. UGH! He hates that part. Double UGH! It doesn't hurt, but you can just imagine what it looks like and smells like. Yep. I pulled 10oz off of him. I don't know why he had that much in his belly, but he had stopped digesting quite a while before if 300ml was still in his belly. (there was more, but I stopped there) He felt so much better. He got up, his face pinked up, and he asked for food. I laughed and told him I had just taken dinner out of his belly, was he sure he wanted to eat. Yes, he felt great, he was STARVING. OK, first time we felt hunger so let's roll with it since I knew he only felt icky because of too much food in his belly.

He ate.

He brushed his teeth.

He got his pajamas on.

He hugged us all goodnight.

He went to bed.

He threw up everything he had for dinner plus the food that was left behind from my adventures.

ARGH!

This morning I decided to go low and slow. I gave him 150 calories over a longer period of time. Worked great.

Then it was time for a second feeding. I gave him 2 1/2 syringes full (each is 60ml) and he got sick. Seriously? Before Friday he could have 350ml in a very short period of time without blinking an eye. So we laid him down, asked if he wanted us to pull it from his belly instead of throwing up. He wanted to wait. He felt horrible but it finally passed with just a few very nasty burps.

And THAT, folks, is the reality of a tummy bug with a kid who has feeding issues. I don't know when his sense of hunger will return. I don't know when he will be able to tolerate more volume of food. It's all a mystery.

And that leads me to sewing. This reality of life isn't nearly as UGH worthy.

I picked up a robe pattern for my sons. Yes, in the summer. Yes, where 100 degrees in the summer is a nice day. Yes, in a part of the country that does NOT have a "dry heat". They are all about their robes. They love robes.

Photo Credit
Cute, simple, and yes made of warm fuzzy fleece (I will give you a minute to wipe the sweat from your brow as you think of fleece during the summer).

But this is the reality of my sewing area as I looked at all the pattern pieces, measured the boys with my tape measure to find the size they needed, held up pattern pieces to them to verify the size, and more.


And, yes, that is BB-8 fleece for the robes. The boys love BB-8 and this was on clearance at my Walmart for $2.00/yd. 


The mess will leave, eventually, just like the tummy troubles. But, right now, I feel neck deep in mess. Reality. Hard to show but totally worth it.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Cute Reusable Bag Pattern - Free

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I had some small pieces of fabric left over from other projects and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them. However, when I saw this free market bag pattern from Stitch Upon A Time, I knew I had found the perfect project for my scraps.

Photo Credit - Stitch Upon A Time
Come on, how cute is that? I downloaded the PDF pattern and printed it. By the way, let me stop here. PDF patterns ... have you heard of them? They seem to be all the rage with those who sew. Cheaper than patterns, many times free, lots of options, just a great idea all around. This was my first PDF to make, though I have a few on my computer waiting to be used.

Back to the story. It said it could be made in 30 - 60 minutes. They weren't lying. If you add in the time it took me to tape the pattern together, it was just at 30 minutes total. The best part is, now that I have the pattern together, I can skip that on all future bags. Yes, there will be more made.

The best part is, I finally, finally, FINALLY got to use my new serger. I will admit to being a bit intimidated by it. But, I figured a bag was about as basic as you could get and, if I messed it up, big deal. I didn't mess it up. Don't let that scare you off if you don't have a serger. You can totally do this with a regular sewing machine. You will notice red and yellow thread. My serger came with thread already loaded and I didn't feel like rethreading the machine. Since it doesn't show, I just used the 4 colors that came with it. As my younger son said, "that's a good idea Mom, free thread".


How cute is this? I made one of my jeans to skirts out of this fabric and has almost exactly how much I needed left. The tiny piece I had left over is now in my scrap bin and will be used for something cute once I get enough collected. 


I could't be boring and just have that floral print. Inside is a coordinating color. You could EASILY make this reversible with just a bit of forethought on how you put your handles together. That's the only part that shows any seams. 


This bag is a lot sturdier than I thought it would be, especially since this is just a cotton fabric. I will be making more of these with non-scrap fabric. My Walmart is having a big sale on fabric right now and I just happened to see a cute pink bolt that was thicker and would make a wonderful bag (or three).


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Skirts From Old Jeans - The Video

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Don't you love it when you get an idea, figure it all out, and THEN find out YouTube has videos that show you step-by-step what to do? No? I am the only one who forgets the great and wonderful Oz that is YouTube?

The skirt that I made the other day is super easy, but you might want a video to see it actually going together. I found two that are good.

This first one is done with two pairs of jeans, but you simply skip the second pair of jeans (hey, make a second skirt - woo hoo) and use fabric instead (or use the second pair and go totally denim!). My only advice on this video is to ignore her when she says you can't use skinny jeans. My first skirt I made was using skinny jeans and it totally works. You just need a little bit more fabric.




Next is a video of a Mom (I think I heard a little in the background) making a skirt with fabric like I did. It's short but she shows you how it's done.


You should know, I have become a massive fan of this process and how these skirts fit. I rummaged through my closet yesterday to see if I had any more jeans that I could deconstruct in this manner and found a set that the rise has always been a bit shorter than I liked. With a skirt, rise doesn't matter! I spent a bit of time after my kiddos went to bed and ended up with a second skirt that's fuller. My first set was made from skinny jeans. This set was using wide leg with a fun accent on the pockets. 



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Do We Call Them Jerts?

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I have a pair of jeans that are the best. Oh, they are soft, fit me like a glove, move how I move, and are like buttah (in my best Jersey accent). It's like they were custom made for me.



Then I dried them in the dryer a few times, instead of hanging them up like usual, and they shrunk in the length.

No biggie. I wore them with cute flats and pretended they were supposed to look like that. I LOVED these jeans.

Then I lost over 25lbs and they fell off of me ... quite literally.

OK, time to toss them in the donate pile.

Or should I?

Instead I decided to make a skirt out of them.

Here's the process I am going through, all I have left is to stitch them and I will have my finished project.

Step 1: Lay your jeans out and find the inseam. Starting at the ankle, cut up the seam just to the INSIDE of the natural hem that's already sewn into the pants. You can see me doing it below. Yes, you can seam rip, but it's just not as pretty, doesn't give you the same finished edge, and it a lot more work. Scissors take a few minutes. Cut right around the crotch (know there's quite a bit of fabric there, so use quality fabric scissors) and down the other leg to the hem.


Step 2: You will have a place like the below picture where the crotch met the zipper/rise. If you don't not alter this, you will end up with a funky pokey out part (yes, that is a word, just don't look it up in the dictionary - lol). So, you need to cut that to the LEFT of the seam the way you did the inside of the seam on the legs. You want that nice finished seam showing. Repeat for the back or you will have a tail.




Step 3: Once you make this cut, lay your pants out and smooth them out on each side, front, and back. It doesn't have to be perfect for this next part, just flat. Your jeans will look odd now, like they aren't quite finished. This is what you want.

Step 4: The piece you just cut under the zipper is important. You want to now lay the right side (the one with the pretty finished seam) over the left. Make sure it's very flat. If you have a small pucker, cut a tiny bit higher (do a little at a time so you don't have to sew extra). Do this snipping until it will lay nice and flat. Pin the flap down. Repeat this in the back with the flap you made there. 



Step 5: You need to have a contrast fabric. You can also use another pair of similar jean and just cut the legs off as close to the back pocket as you can, cut down the leg the same way you did with this, and use that open flat piece as your fabric. You can have fun with this. I chose a nice color similar to my jeans so I could have a lot of options for shirts and accessories. But chose a funky fabric, a contrasting color, whatever suits your style. 

Either way, cut a piece of fabric bigger than your opening and make sure it's long enough for a hem. How nice it is does NOT matter. You won't see any of it so no biggie. Lay it in the opening and smooth everything out. You want to pin it all the way up and around. Start at one hem at the bottom, pin it up and down to the other hem, making sure it's smooth with no puckers. 

Step 6: Do you see the jeans factory hem going down both legs on the front and back? You will want to follow that hem. Just stitch right over their stitching. You have a few choices. You can use the jean thread that comes on most jeans, choose a blue thread so it blends in, or choose a funky color if you want that exposed stitching to show. I will be using navy as I want the jeans and fabric to be the star.

Make sure you stitch down the flap you made cutting below the zipper and you are ready to hem. all you need to do is hem the new fabric. The rest is done for you since the jeans are already hemmed. If you have used a second set of jeans to make the entire thing denim, you don't even have to hem. You are ready to go onto the final step.

Step 7: Hem your fabric. this is the part I do not have finished yet and will have to show you once I take a picture of my entire skirt on me. You simply want to fold up the fabric, pin it to the length you need to match your denim, and hem it with a coordinating thread. I will be using navy since it matches my denim and also coordinates with my print fabric. 

That's it. You are done. You have made a skirt. This can easily, easily be done in an hour. Imagine the possibilities. You could find old jeans second hand and have a fun time making a whole new wardrobe cheaply. 

I popped around the internet to find you some inspiration. Check out these cute skirts. 








Friday, May 19, 2017

Mother's Day Again

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My husband's plans for my mother's day present fell through ... hard. But, I am not so sure I am upset about it. Because of that, this little beauty is on it's way to me this coming week. I already had 7 projects in the works for it. 

Photo Credit
It's been years since I used a serger. I won't tell you the exact number, but it involved a high school home ec. course. I am excited and nervous all rolled up into one. I will be practicing and figuring it out for the first few days, that's for sure.

If all goes well I will have a few projects to show you soon. If not, just look for the crazy lady running down the road with old pieces of thread and bits of fabric trailing behind her.



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day in an Alien Land

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Before I was convicted about some of my movie watching, I saw Twilight. I remember a scene where Bella and Edward and his brother were trying to get her to safety. They were driving in her truck running from a very dangerous situation. She looked out the window to see, in slow motion, her high school friends all coming out of a local coffee shop/diner. They were happy, laughing, just going on with their typical teen lives and she felt so outside of that, so removed from it, like that was her life and now this is. She felt alien to it.

That's so often what it feels like to be a special needs Mom. This weekend as families celebrated mother's day with flowers, fun meals, laughter, and more. I was giving my child with pale skin and huge dark circles under his eyes a breathing treatment trying to help him stop coughing so hard he couldn't breathe. I was giving him tube feeds because food just wasn't in the picture. I saw Moms, as I went to the pharmacy and the ER, laughing with their kids, walking with them, wearing cute skirts, and just having a wonderful weekend. I don't wish they knew this life. I am glad they have THAT life. It's just that it feels so alien to me to see such a relaxed situation, such ease, and I feel so removed from it.

Even when we were in the ER I saw parents bring in children with some typical pains and illnesses of childhood (a young girl got hurt on the soccer field, a young child woke up with a little fever and a slight cough but he was young and Mom was nervous, and a third child had a rash). I pray each of them feels 100% better today. But even then I felt so removed. I was wondering if the hospital had medicine that was safe for my son (sometimes they don't). I was contemplating how to get the medical food to the hospital because I DEFINITELY knew they didn't have his medical food for his tube feeds. I was praying we had a doctor/nurse/staff that wouldn't use the N word (needle) because that would set him off and I needed to prep him for anything that would hurt. I prayed he wouldn't beg me, AGAIN, to not "let them do this to me Mommy, please." because my Mom heart couldn't handle it.

I love my boys, as they say, to the moon and back. I adore them. I would walk this journey with them for a thousand years if that's what they needed and I had the ability. But it just seems the world keeps on turning, people keep living and breathing and smiling and laughing, and wearing cute dresses with kids in matching outfits and I am walking around with a thousand thoughts in my head wondering if anyone notices the medical food I spilled on my pants that morning as the med port of the extension popped open.

I am not looking for sympathy. It's just the feelings I have each day. I am so grateful I have a God that loves me through these raw feelings, these feelings of being so removed from reality and gives me strength to face another day of it.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Book Recommendation

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We have started to use some homeopathy in our home with our family. So far it's working well and we are appreciating the effects we are seeing in our health. We have addressed this two-fold. We are using a homeopath that we feel comfortable with her methods and we have a "self-care" book that helps us with acute issues as they arise. (headaches, stomach problems, injuries, etc)

I really like how the book I chose is set up and think its explains everything well to the common user and makes finding remedies very easy. Thus, I wanted to share it with you. It is called Homeopathic Self-Care: The Quick & Easy Guide for the Whole Family by Robert Ullman, N.D. and Judyth Reichenerg-Ullman, N.D., MSW

I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I have. Click on the picture to take you directly to an Amazon page that sells it. I get no money if you look at it/purchase it from the link. It is just provided for your ease.
 

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