Friday, June 27, 2014

New Pillow Cases

Sometime last year I found a very cool pattern for making pillow cases (I paid $6 for it, I think, but it looks like it's free now), and thought I might make pillow cases for the people on my Christmas list. Like most things, though, I was too ambitious, and I ended up making a pair for my parents, several little travel pillow-size ones for myself, and a Halloween one for Bob. He's the one who always changes the sheets on the bed, and ever since I made that case, he's been using it on his pillow.

Last week he remarked that I needed to make some more, and with that encouragement, I spent some time on Sunday making three new sets of cases -- one with fish and various sea creatures (these are on our bed now), one set of Independence Day cases with flags, Victorian children, and fireworks, and one set with cowgirls and western boots. Not because either of us have any particular affinity for cowgirls or boots, I just loved the colors, basically.

It's a super easy way to make a pillow case in no time at all. I've seen other patterns on the web called "burrito" or "sausage" pillow case patterns, and they're all basically the same. This one calls for 3/4 yard of the main fabric, 1/4 yard for the cuff, and a small amount (1-1/2" x width of fabric) for the trim. So I bought 1 yard each of two prints to make two coordinating pillow cases, and used fabric that I already had for the trim. You just cut each of the larger pieces into 3/4 yard and 1/4 yard pieces, and cut the thin strip for the trim, then you stack the fabrics and create the "burrito." I used quilt clips instead of pins, but pins work just as well.

It's kind of funny -- it's been awhile since I made them, and it's hard (for me, at least) to grasp how the pattern works. You just have to take it on faith, both in the burrito-making phase, and the seam sewing phase that produces French, or hidden, seams. There are no raw edges at all once you're finished.

My sewing machine is pretty old, I bought it maybe 15 or 20 years ago. I've had a lot of trouble getting the tension right, and I was about to the point of giving up. I was looking at new sewing machines online, and read one review that said a certain machine didn't do very well if you went too fast, so I experimented with mine, and sure enough, it does a LOT better if I go really slowly, but that's not my default speed. I want to just ZIP through a seam, if it's a straight one. So I'm still thinking about getting a new machine; Bob said I should, that if I'm going to be sewing a lot, I should at least have the right tools. Also, my machine doesn't make buttonholes, and that's something I would really like to have.

This is the one I'm leaning toward, because of the wide table. It has a lot of good reviews. I may try to look at one in person somewhere and see what the prices are locally. I'm not going to rush into anything, but I'm still thinking about it.


Monday, June 09, 2014

Getting better, finally

So I think I'm finally getting better. Like the nurse said, I waited another week to see if the antibiotics were going to help, and they didn't. We went to Omaha for a wedding over the weekend, and while the wedding was nice, and it was great seeing good friends, Bob got food poisoning, and I coughed all night, and it was basically pretty awful.

I ended up at Walgreen's at 6:30 in the morning on Sunday buying Gatorade and various over the counter meds, and then was back again a couple of hours later to pick up prescriptions -- fortunately we were traveling with Bob's best friend, who is a doctor (the father of the groom)!

The hotel graciously allowed us to stay a few extra hours until Bob felt better. By around 2:30 we got him stabilized enough to pour him into the car and drive him home. It took him a couple of days to get his strength back, but he felt a lot better once I got him home, let him sleep for a few hours, and fed him some chicken soup.

I called my doctor again, and got another appointment. They took another chest x-ray and said nothing had changed, so gave me a prescription for prednisone and one for a different, stronger, antibiotic. After taking them for two days, I woke up on Sunday morning with a red, puffy face, which I assumed was an allergic reaction to one of the meds. I wasn't sure what to do, since it was the weekend, so I called my insurance company's Ask-a-Nurse, who recommended I call my doctor's office and talk to the doctor on call, which I did. I was advised to stop taking the antibiotic, and they called yet another one out to the pharmacy for me to pick up. Another $40 prescription down the drain. It's bad enough when you actually get to take them . . .

I took Benadry last night both to calm down the allergic reaction and to sleep, and I slept all night, I think for the first time in weeks. So I don't have to sleep on the couch anymore! I'm still coughing a little, intermittently, but the wheezing is gone, and I'm getting my energy back. Every time I exerted myself at all, I was very short of breath, which was awful. The doctor's diagnosis says "reactive airway disease," which I think actually means asthma. So who knows? All I know is, I feel much better.

And then, to round out my week o'fun, I had a mammogram today and visited my ob-gyn for my annual checkup. Just all fun and games around here!

I've spent the last couple of evenings making jewelry and restocking my Etsy shop with new goodies.