May Lyme Awareness- My Story

Lime Ginkgo and Phlox Sunprinted Fabric

Lime Ginkgo and Phlox Sunprinted Fabric

May was Lyme awareness month, but I didn’t finish writing this post until June is almost over… I am still posting to help others be aware of what Lyme can do. Thanks to my Lyme, I have a hard time getting things into words, so pardon the rambling nature of this post.

I never planned for Lyme Disease to take over my blog, but the past months have left me unable to do much of anything creative and barely able to take my garden camera walks to get photos of my flowers. Since May was Lyme Disease Awareness Month, I decided to tell my story to hopefully help others who might be going through something similar…

My journey with this disease began well over 10  years ago while  I was still working at the greenhouses we owned while raising our 3 sons, and working in my “spare time” making fabric creations to sell at art and craft shows.  Being a “professional” gardener, I also spent as much time as I could (in more “spare time”) digging in the yard to create my many, many gardens.  My Lyme seemed to just slowly sneak up on me, but back then I didn’t have time to be sick so if I felt like I had the flu, which is the usual first symptom of Lyme, I would have just worked through it. I had also been dealing with lots of back pain and sciatica from arthritis in my spine caused by a car accident in 1988, but I had been able to control much of that pain after learning self care in Physical Therapy.  Over-doer’s aches and pains seemed quite normal, and a good night’s rest usually had things feeling better…. Until….

Sometime near 2000 I began experiencing vision problems, so I thought I needed new glasses…  That wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I got the new glasses, but couldn’t see with them.  After 3 tries, the eye Dr gave up on me and I had to go to another one. I finally got glasses I could see out of, but my vision kept changing often.  Good some days, bad others… No rhyme or reason… Eye doctors said it had to be something else going on, so I went to my family Dr.  He had no ideas why my eyes were causing trouble… Tests were run, and everything showed “normal”… no answers.  I also started noticing “floaters” in my vision that concerned me and sent me back to an eye dr.  Things looked OK, but I was told that if the floaters changed, to make an immediate appointment to get things checked out again. While dealing with my eyes, I was also experiencing more and more pain over my whole body… The family Dr. noticed that something was going on when I was in the office with my guys for a regular check-up and I mentioned the new pains. He thought it was from my working too much… Greenhouse work is hard, but when the off season came in Summer, the pain was still there, so not from too much work.  Maybe arthritis from the car accident was the cause??  I was sent to Physical Therapy a number of times over the next few years.  I got a little relief in the first couple weeks, but as each session went on, things would get worse again by the time I was discharged… Frustrating for me and the therapists. The last round of PT landed me with an appointment with a rheumatologist who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia.  Finally, I thought I knew what was going on. There really isn’t anything that can be done for fibro, other than pain medications and modifying my lifestyle… I did OK for a while, but  I was also forgetting things a lot more. Blamed on fibro fog… I just had to learn to live with it… Chronic Fatigue syndrome was added to my diagnosis along with chronic Epstein Barre virus.

Long story short, many years passed with more and more pain, more fatigue, and vision changing from day to day.  I was tested for so many different things and every test came out fine… I was treated for low thyroid and told I would feel like a “new woman”… Not… still wiped out and in pain all the time even with lots of pain meds.  Bursitis in my hips and arthritis in my hands were added to the diagnoses, but things just didn’t make sense… some days everything hurt, other times things were better. For a while pain was in my hips, then they felt better as my knees got worse, and then something else.. Then things would go around again…  I was told by a friend that she had been diagnosed with Lyme disease and had similar symptoms as I had. After a year or so of treatment she was feeling better, but when I mentioned it to my Dr. she didn’t think it was that. A test was ordered that came out negative, so I didn’t have Lyme… the test said so.

After we started caring for two granddogs, while our son was stationed in Germany, I started feeling much worse… more crazy things happening. More fatigue, shakes, trembly muscles, etc.  I had trudged through the woods one day shortly after the dogs arrived when they decided to take off from the yard on a romp.  The dogs returned, but by the end of that summer, I was feeling even worse… I didn’t think things could get worse than they were…  By now I was barely functioning. I had lost my ability to create my art, I struggled to make even small art cards.  From 2002 to 2007, I had been quite successful selling my art quilts, table decor and other items at art and craft shows even dealing with my pain. By 2008 I had to stop selling at shows after the pain and fatigue got too bad to allow me to do the set-up and standing needed to do shows.  2008 also began the decline in my creative abilities… I began forgetting names of even close friends, losing words for common items, and more crazy things. I had someone else tell me they thought I might have Lyme again… I should find a Lyme literate doctor… where would I find one of them, and from what I had read, none took insurance, so I gave up on that idea again….  I began going to a seniors aquatics class at a local pool in 2012 which was so wonderful… The only time I was free from pain was in the pool… for about a year… then pain started increasing again… I started having days I could barely get out of bed, and then ended up back in bed within an hour or so after getting up… I made my husband do the grocery shopping, I didn’t want to leave home at all… No life I wanted to live, but no one had any answers.  I had not worked since my last full time year selling my art in 2007, and after a part time season in 2008 at a greenhouse…  I could barely keep up with a few online shops and wasn’t making much new art at all… the scariest was when I started having trouble remembering names of flowers and plants in my gardens… I lived and breathed flowers for nearly 30 years by then.  I was scared to death that I was starting with early onset Alzheimer’s, my memory was so bad.  November 2013, I ended up being treated for a sinus infection with an antibiotic and without realizing it, a lot of my pain left for a bit. I was able to make the Christmas wreaths with less pain meds than in past years. I had 2 weeks of feeling a bit better before things crashed completely… I didn’t care to go anywhere, even to see the grandkids on Christmas morning.  Finally, another friend bumped into me in the grocery store while I was dragging myself, propped on the cart through to get a few things we needed. She said she found she had Lyme disease and was feeling so much better after being treated. She knew I had been feeling bad for a long time and my symptoms seemed similar to some of hers… 3rd time someone mentioned Lyme… She gave me her Dr’s name and number with instructions to call that day for an appointment. I called and a month later, met a wonderful Dr who actually listened to me and looked at all they symptoms I had, and after a bit pf poking and prodding with lots of “ouches” from me, I was told I had Lyme and at least 2 other co-infections from bites of deer ticks.  I left the office less a lot of blood for more tests, a prescription for 4 months of an antibiotic and a list of natural herbs and probiotics that I should also take. I also had a new diet to follow… No sugar, white potatoes, pasta, yeast, artificial sweeteners, peanuts, and more… Whew! what was left!  I was told to hold onto the prescription until my test results came back. I had to have a positive test before I could take them and was told that the tests are not very reliable, but I had hope.  that first test was negative again… the third negative I had had… This time it was suggested I have a test done at a lab in CA that specializes in Tick born diseases. After paying for the tests, and waiting a couple weeks, I got the results… Positive for Lyme!!  All those years of things getting worse and worse, and it was probably Lyme all the time…. Finally a Dr with answers!  We figure I had been bitten at least 3 different times (each time things got worse really fast).  I never gave much thought to the ticks we would pull off the cats and dogs.  I had been crawling around in the perfect tick habitats for years in my gardens and in the woods… the little creatures are so small that they are very easy to miss. I did have some odd rashes, but the Drs that looked at them thought they were allergic reactions or whatever… even though they lasted a long time. They were not the usual bulls-eye type rash that often occurs around a bite site.

I have now been treated for nearly 4 months now. The first 2 months were very frustrating since I felt worse as the bugs started dieing off, but a new medicine added month 3 resulted in fewer of the horrible headaches I had been having.  I still have tons of stiff, painful muscles and joints and I still haven’t gotten much of my brain back, but finally I am seeing some hope for a better life.  I am using natural herbs and supplements along with the medicines to help move things along as fast as possible.  Each change in treatment seems to throw my body for a loop, but slowly I am seeing small improvements.  Finally, I don’t dread the future… I have also had a few tiny peeks of creativity again… small improvements, but improvements.  One of the “bugs” I have in addition to the Lyme is Babesia, which is related to malaria, and tough to get rid of.  It is amazing how much trouble can be caused by a little tick that is not much bigger than a poppy seed… Easy to miss, but carriers of so many diseases.

End of Mound Garden and Woods Garden

End of Mound Garden and Woods Garden… Some of the ticks were found here before the grass started to grow…

For a while, I was afraid to go out into my yard and gardens, especially after finding a bunch of the ticks one day.  I  now use a spray made with Geranium essential oil as a repellent when I go into the gardens. I also check for ticks any time I have been out in tall grass or near the woods… We all need to watch for these nasty little disease delivery systems…  If you find you have been bitten by a tick, and it has been attached for a couple days or you don’t know how long it has been there, be sure to get to a doctor and get treated with doxycycline for a couple weeks to knock out the bacteria before they can get deep into your body when they get much harder to get rid of…  Most early symptoms are feeling like you have the flu, and then arthrits in joints like the knees and more.  If undiagnosed early enough, the bacteria attack the brain and just about every organ in the body… When it gets established, It can hide from our immune system, making it really hard for our bodies to attack it on their own.

Ticks on Tape... My thumb is in the photo to give an idea of the size of these creepy critters.

Ticks on Tape… My thumb is in the photo to give an idea of the size of these creepy critters. These were found within a few minutes during a walk in April, using a white tee shirt placed on the grass.

Learn to be aware of deer ticks habitats… leaf litter, damp areas, tall grass, edges of woods, deer trails in the woods, and more.  The ticks also feed on mice and other small rodents, rabbits and even birds.  They have been found in most states in our country and many other countries… They have been spreading all over…  Using tick repellents when hiking or walking in tall grassy areas, and doing tick checks are needed to be sure you don’t pick one up.  Creepy to think about, but preventing the diseases is much better than trying to get rid of them after they have run amok in the body for years and years… the longer it’s been there, the harder it is to get rid of.

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Posted in Lyme Disease

And Back to Creating Little by Little…

Beginning of Rainbow Sunprint Redo with Inktense Pencils

Beginning of Rainbow Sunprint Redo with Inktense Pencils

It took a while after getting home from the quilt retreat to get back to a little creating and playing again…  It comes mostly in little bits of time, but I  am finding some of the old creativity slowly starting to return… little bit by little bit, now in week 9 of treating my Lyme…  It’s still frustrating when I get started with a little creative project and another “brain blank” hits with everything screeching to a halt, but I have so much more hope now that things  will continue to improve…

The right photo shows one  project that is still in the works… During the quilting retreat, the decision was made to add color to the quilted leaves in the white spaces that seemed to take over. The first thought was green like I had done in the border of the Pulsatilla Sunprint redo in my “Good Therapy” post (just scroll to see the piece if you want to check it out).  There isn’t as much green in this piece, so I thought that might look odd…  Since the sunprint is done in a rainbow of colors, I decided that trying to do the leaves to try to match up with them.  There are still three white sections left, but it is a start!

Doodles Page 2

Doodles Page 2

One thing I have been doing to keep playing in little bits of time is to keep a sketchbook nearby with pens and my Inktense Pencils. I found that by dividing the pages into art card sized sections leaves smaller areas to work in that aren’t as intimidating as a full blank page.  I originally wanted to try to get at least one section filled each day, but that doesn’t always happen, then I might end up filling in a full page on another day… I never seem to know when or what will pop out at any one time…  Just getting anything done has been great.

Page One of Drawings Outlined with Inktense

Page One of Drawings Outlined with Inktense

The above page was the first one I began with. I have been doing the drawings with a black gel ink pen. Something quite different from anything I have done in the past… I rarely ever drew much, my quilts just seemed to “happen” with the fabric, thread and free flowing ideas.  Maybe it will happen like that again, but for now, it’s good to be doing anything creative…  Once I get a bunch of drawings done, or am just ready to play with color, I break out my Derwent Inktense Watercolor Pencils. They are so nice to work with to add color to my drawings. All I need are the pencils and my blender pen. No water or brushes for watercolor effects. The page above shows the drawings outlined with pencil before any water was added. Below is what things look like after using my blender pen. The colors intensify and the pencil becomes a blend-able ink that becomes permanent when it dries.  The color from the outlines can be pulled  inside the drawing areas to give shaded results.

Drawings with Pencil Blended

Drawings with Pencil Blended

The Inktense pencil colors change quite a bit from their dry state when water is added. When I first got my set of pencils, I made up a “cheat sheet” with all the names of the colors written on fabric, then dampened with water to let me know what the final colors will look like.  It helps me choose just the right colors. You can see it in the photo below, under page 2 of doodles with most colored in. I played with shading in the large flower to see how far I could pull color from just an outline. The photo also shows the blender pen I use. It works well on paper or fabric.

Colored Drawings with Pencils and Blender Pen

Colored Drawings with Pencils and Blender Pen

Large Flower Drawing Outlined, Beginning the Blending.

Large Flower Drawing Outlined, Beginning the Blending.

 

The blender pen is perfect for working with details. the tips on each end of it deliver just enough water.  Also, if it dries out, I just soak it in water for a while and it’s ready to use again.

The photo, right, shows the large flower above as I was beginning to blend the colors in from the outlines.

I have also been trying out some new things with the grandkids after school.  A fun way to pass the time…  Keeping art supplies by the kitchen table makes it easy for everyone to play. Most recently, I found some raspberry scented shaving cream at the dollar store, and also picked up a new cookie sheet for playing with shaving cream printing.

Supplies ready for play...

Supplies ready for play…

Jenna and I had lots of fun…

Shaving Cream on Tray

Shaving cream on tray

Paint Drops

Paint drops after cream was leveled.

Paint drops swirled on top of the shaving cream.

Paint drops swirled on top of the shaving cream.

We used a craft stick to swirl the paint, then it was ready for placing fabric or paper on it.

First Pull... Cotton Fabric

First Pull… Cotton Fabric

 

This photo, right, shows the first print we ended up with. We started with a piece of cotton fabric, pressing it gently into the surface of the shaving cream, then carefully pulling it off…

 

Paper One just after pulling.

Paper One just after pulling.

Paper One with foam scraped off.

Paper One with foam mostly scraped off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The paper we tried next, held a lot more of the shaving cream as it was pulled off.  Once the foam was scraped off, the design was revealed. If we had left the foam on, the design would have looked quite different.

Jenna Swirling Paint

Jenna Swirling Paint

Jenna got right into the fun, dripping and swirling the paint on the top of the shaving cream.

A Great Night's Work

A Great Night’s Work… Jenna posing with our results.

 

Finished Artwork

Finished Artwork

Jenna really liked the the square of fabric above, so I fused a piece of painted and stamped paper I made in January to a piece of mat board, then fused the square in the center after pinking the edges… A finished work of art we made together that she can hang  on her bedroom wall…  A fun night of playing and creating!

This is being linked to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday’s

Posted in Off The Wall Fridays, Play

Lyme Update and The Gardens

Back Yard 3-21-14 Looking pretty dead and brown...

Back Yard 3-21-14 Looking pretty dead and brown…

March is flying by and the calender says it is Spring, but the gardens are still pretty brown with frozen earth…  This is another post devoted mostly to my journey with Lyme Disease.  I’ll try to keep it out of most posts, but I feel it is important to journal about my experiences, hoping eventually it can help someone else out in the future. Two weeks ago, I got confirmation of my Lyme disease with the latest test showing positive.  Finally!! After sooo  many years of knowing something was wrong, with doctors treating me like a nut case, I have an answer!  I was able to fill my prescription for the antibiotic the doctor sent me home with 6 weeks earlier. I will be taking it for four months to attempt to get the “bugs” out of my system…  The way things worked out, it may have been for the best, even though waiting for results was extremely frustrating.  I now have been treating the Lyme for 8 weeks altogether… using diet change, herbals and supplements for the first 6 weeks, adding the antibiotic for two weeks so far.  Starting with the herbals first may have kept me from getting as sick starting on the antibiotic as is possible when the disease has gone undiagnosed for so long. The bacteria have had a chance to go wild, and if too many of them are killed off too quickly, it can make one even sicker than before treatment started. I have had some really bad days so far, but know it could have been much worse. Herbal  antimicrobials are started at very low doses and build up slowly.  Many are liquids that are started only a drop at a time and increased over time. (Amazing what just one drop of an herbal tincture can do…)

March 26, 2014... Where is Spring??

March 26, 2014… Where is Spring??

Usually my bad days are the result of treatment dosage increases. A few have been the result of having a good day and using it to catch up on housework or chores that have gone undone on the bad days…  I finally learned that I should enjoy my good days and not “waste” them on the vacuuming, dishes, or whatever… I finally have had a few days where I felt better than I have in years! Every good day is another toward the hope of being back to “normal” again… whatever that will end up looking like…

First Snowdrops of 2014

First Snowdrops of 2014

Using natural treatments along with the prescription(s) has been found to increase the chances of the lyme and co-infections being controlled faster, so that is how I will be treating things. I really would love to be done with it Now, but realize that isn’t an option for me… It took over ten yrs getting sicker and sicker, so if it takes 8 months to a couple years to knock it into remission, I can deal with that… at least now there is hope…

As things start greening up and the gardens begin to show their colors, I will be paying much more attention to how I “play in them…  The top photo shows the back yard and beginning of the shade garden at the top corner of the woods where I most likely picked up the tick(s). Especially in Spring, the woods are quite damp with wet weather springs. Add to that the leaf litter, weeds and grasses in the more open areas and edges, perfect homes for the deer ticks (not to mention the herds of deer, mice, rabbits, squirrels, birds and other critters that help infect the ticks with Lyme).  Ticks are also not limited to the woods, either they have been found often in lawns too. Probably the way I have been building my gardens, I have been giving the critters even more ideal habitats since I include trees, tall plants and grasses that add shade and also attract the various host critters.

No Winter Aconites Yet...

No Winter Aconites Yet… Just Walnut leaves, nuts and branches… possible Tick habitat??

The days of wading through the weeds and crawling around in my gardens without a thought, unprotected, are over…  I will be more careful with letting the grandkids play unprotected also. The doctor told me to get Permethrin to spray on our clothes to repel the ticks. I am not really fond of adding more chemicals to my clothes or my body, so I have been researching other options.  I found that Rose Geranium essential oil made into a spray is supposed to work well as a natural repellent.  Supposedly ticks really Hate the smell of it…. wouldn’t you know…. relatives of my least favorite plant (from spending so many years propagating and growing Geraniums commercially) might be my best ally…  Actually, it is oil from Pelargonium graveolens that is used… It smells just like a cross between the hybrid ones I worked with all those years and various scented varieties…  Funny how life can turn things around…

Posted in Flowers and Gardens, Lyme Disease

Running Away From Home- Good Therapy

Stained Glass Yellow Rose 2

Stained Glass Yellow Rose 2

A week ago I was greatly blessed to be able to attend my local quilt guild’s yearly retreat. With the expense of the treatments for the Lyme, and herx reactions to the treatments, I was not sure how things would work out… I had budgeted the cost of the retreat out of the income from my wreath making, but hadn’t paid ahead due to missing guild meetings from feeling crummy or weather cancellations.  Sales of some of my art and a gift from a good friend helped me to pay for the IGenex test that isn’t covered by insurance, as well as the first herbal antibiotic treatments and supplements, so I could start treatment before the prescription antibiotic can be taken (after a test shows something positive).  I was very conflicted as to whether I should spend money on the retreat or put it all toward treatment costs, until another wonderful friend (and my best customer) offered to sponsor me for the retreat.  Another huge blessing!!   My next worry was how I would feel during the retreat. I did put off increasing dosages of the treatments I am on, from Thursday to Monday after I got home from the retreat, which helped lots… the herx reactions lessen in just under a week for me, so things were calmer than usual while at the retreat. Ken drove me up and helped me unload  everything which made things much easier than other years. I also took much less “stuff” with me since  I was unsure what I would work on (I always dread finding I “need” the one or few things I left home when I get an idea). Since I have been pretty much housebound for a long time (traveling increases fatigue and the horrible headaches),  I was feeling like a total hermit.  Having a chance to spend time with quilty friends was wonderful.  At the conference center our retreat is at, we stay in dorm or hotel rooms in the same building… Very handy… I was sure to take along all my bottles of meds, timer, chart to remind me when to take everything, lots of water from home (we have great water here), and a bunch of foods in case the dining hall had too much I couldn’t eat. I also planned to take regular naps…  Between all the support from my fellow quilters, two naps a day and ignoring all the sweet snacks that are always in abundance, I was able to finish a few projects and get some ideas gelled for a few more.  I was really amazed that I was able to stay away from all the chocolates, cookies, and other things I would have normally snacked on all weekend in the past.  I guess spending a few weeks before that changing my diet helped a lot. I even took along a bag of dark chocolate Hershey Kisses (my former “drug of choice” has been milk chocolate) for occasional treats, and only ate about 5 in 5 days… a major record for me!  Being determined to heal as fast as possible can change one’s habits in a hurry…

Yeast Free Whole Wheat Bread with Spinach

Yeast Free Whole Wheat Bread with Spinach

Dining hall meals were the biggest challenge… I ate so much raw broccoli and cherry tomatoes…. Thankfully, I took a loaf of my homemade yeast free whole grain bread… it worked for breakfasts and even a dinner with alfredo sauce on it on pasta night… I added some chopped up baby spinach to my first loaf to add some more nutrition to the bread.  I’m not a real fan of spinach, but it hid nicely in the bread which toasted nicely.

Once I got unpacked and settled on day one, I took a long nap then made up 3 covers for my 10 ounce glass bottles I now use for my plain or lemon water.  I made it a short day, then the following days, I made sure to take 2 naps each day, timed so that I could time my meds around meals (many have to be taken on empty stomach and at least  15 min from each other and 30 min before food… what a pain…).

Little Bag from Sunprinted Fabric

Little Bag from Sunprinted Fabric

Day two I made a small bag I could wear that could hold my room key and pill box for meal meds. My comfy clothes had no pockets… My first major problem occurred when starting to free motion quilt the plain colored back of the bag…  as soon as I got the needle started in the fabric, my brain totally blanked out…  All of my “go to” designs disappeared from my mind… Thankfully, I had a bit of cheerleading help from my neighbor quilter who helped me remember my favorite vine pattern and that got done… The front was easier since  I followed the sunprint designs…  This took all of day 2 to make… Crazy to think that 5-6 yrs ago I could have designed and knocked it out in less than an hour…  Wow do things change… just from a tiny  little tick!

Arts in the Cards- Maps Theme Cards

Arts in the Cards- Maps Theme Cards

Day three, I finally got my February cards made for the Arts in the Cards ATC trade group. The theme was Maps, and I had cut up maps from an old road atlas of PA, NY and Hawaii. Using an idea I got from an art project Andrue brought home from school, I made interactive cards that used hand cut stamps of mountains in shades of green with more hand cut stamps of Mountain Laurel flowers for the fronts of the cards. This represented my home now and where I grew up in NYS.  I have always dreamed of going to Hawaii, so the inside of the cards were done with rippled texture to resemble waves, tropical looking flowers and tiny footprints from stamps I hand cut nearly 2 years ago. Paints and stamp inks were accented with metallic ink pens and liquid pearls.  Another full day project.  Day four, I could begin to play with art quilts… I had to finish the rose quilt at the beginning of the post that was already sold (remember my best customer and sponsor?)…  After that was finished, I did some couched yarn work on a couple of my “play” pieces… one from a previous post… Remember this cluttered looking one??

Lobelia Sunprint Renovation-5

Lobelia Sunprint Renovation-5

Lobelia Sunprint With Couched Yarn

Lobelia Sunprint With Couched Yarn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was given the idea to add black satin stitching between the inner sunprint and the border, so I couched black with silver yarn there and around the outside edge.  Thank You Sue K!  It does look much better!  The colors in the photos aren’t great… the left photo shows it a bit too yellowish, the right a bit too bright white…  I may try to intensify the colors of the birds…. Not sure…

Pulsatilla Sunprint Redo before couched yarn.

Pulsatilla Sunprint Redo before couched yarn.

This was the next piece to be worked on… For some reason, I didn’t get a photo of it after I added the black yarn couched on, but I did it the same way I did the above Lobelia piece.  It was amazing how such a little touch made such a difference. It now has the black around the sunprint and for the binding.

Peony Raspberry Swirl photo turned into fused applique quilt.

Peony Raspberry Swirl photo turned into fused applique quilt.

 

 

 

 

 

The last piece to be worked on was this piece that has been literally hanging on my design wall for nearly 3 years since I took the photo.  I had many comments on it, and decided I needed help to decide what was going to happen next… I guess that is where that was blocked….

I got a few ideas from a few of my quilty friends, and decided that it was time to put things into Photoshop to trial ideas….

Random WIP 1

Random WIP 1

Random WIP 2

Random WIP 2

 

 

 

 

 

These two “Random” WIP’s were pinned to the same little design wall as the Peony, and one friend thought that the way these are pieced would look good around it.  I gave it a try… Another friend thought that the “stonework” like I use in my “Stones and Walls” series of quilts might look good, so I pulled pieces of other quilts and played more…

Peony with Stones and Roses Border

Peony with Stones and Roses Border

Peony with deeper colored pieced border.

Peony with deeper colored pieced border.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first version is the one on the left with pieces of the random WIP’s as the border, the right one shows what it would look like with the stone wall type border with a few sprays of applique’d roses in the corners.  When I polled everyone i could, these were both tied for favorite… Then I lightened the border on the left version…

Peony with lighter pieced border

Peony with lighter pieced border

This version, above, ended up getting more votes… The stonework border still was liked by some, so I am still not sure exactly which way this will end up….  I have considered making up a pattern to sell for this flower, so I may end up with a second one and do one with the stones and one like the lighter bordered one…  Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite version…. It will be interesting!

Even thought this retreat resulted in the least finished work compared to past years, I believe the therapeutic value of getting out of the house and with a number of real live adults to talk to and bounce ideas off of was wonderful and extremely therapeutic and a needed change… I did crash pretty bad the day after I got home, and have had to lay low again due to adding more herbals, little by little, in addition to increasing doses of what I have been taking.  With the natural treatments, the dosages are slowly increased daily or weekly based on the herx reactions to keep things from getting too bad, unlike prescription antibiotics that start out at higher dosages right away and can cause worse reactions since they can kill off the bacterial loads faster.  The roller coaster continues…  At least there are small peaks of better days than I have had in a lonnnggg time…  Much better to keep the nasty ticks away and not have to deal with the disease(s) they cause…. Repel those buggers if you plan to wander in the woods or through tall grass…. I will be making up some repellent with geranium essential oil with a bit of vodka and water to make a spray that is supposed to work well for a natural version.
This post is being linked to Nina Marie’s Off The Wall Friday Link-up…  Finally some quilt projects to show!

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Posted in Art Quilts, Lyme Disease

Play- Not Always Successful

The kitchen art tables have been getting lots of use.

The kitchen art tables have been getting lots of use.

Nearing the end of February, I have had a few days here and there I didn’t do much artful play practice.  Some of those days I did help the grandkids to play with art, so I guess that would count for my play too…   The kitchen tables have remained pretty piled with projects in progress that get worked on while I watch Andrue and Jenna after school.  There have been a few really messy days with a certain little girl splashing herself with paint or glimmer spray puddles nearly hitting the floor, but it has been a great way to keep busy kids occupied, especially on the crash days when I am the “couch grammy”…

 

Pulsatilla Sunprint Renovation

Pulsatilla Sunprint Renovation

 

 

One thing I have been playing with, is updating or renovating some of my least interesting sunprint mini art quilts.  I used to sell gobs of these when I sold at shows, but still have a huge inventory on hand (see my Mega Art Quilt Sale post to see what I am selling at a big discount to reduce inventory and earn funds for my Lyme disease treatments). The photo here, shows one piece where I have used my Inktense pencils to outline and color in the quilting in the border of the piece.  This one still looks like this since I am not sure where to go next. I am not sure I want to go quite as far as I did with the next one…

 

The other piece I have been working on got a bit out of hand…

Lobelia Sunprint Renovation- 2

Lobelia Sunprint Renovation- 2

Lobelia Sunprint Renovation- 1

Lobelia Sunprint Renovation- 1

 

 

The Lobelia Sunprint piece didn’t get it’s first photo taken till I had already added a couple of stamped images.  I began with Queen Ann’s Lace images stamped in a shade of blue that is similar to the paint on the piece.

Lobelia Sunprint Renovation- 3

Lobelia Sunprint Renovation- 3

 

After adding the blue images, I decided to play with a couple of bird stamps I had. I used a new black ink on the upper bird and a Versafine ink pad that I got as part of my Christmas splurge.  After adding the bird stamps, I colored them in with Inktense pencils. Next, I began outlining the quilting in the border of the piece with green Inktense pencil and lightly added color to the leaves.  This helped to tie the birds into the piece a bit better, but the border seemed to call for more…  Looking back, I might have better stopped here, but I AM PLAYING, right??

Lobelia Sunprint Renovation- 4

Lobelia Sunprint Renovation- 4

Hand Cut Flower Stamp

Hand Cut Flower Stamp

 

I pulled out a piece of Speedy Cut (I think that is what it is called…) to cut a flower stamp. I was pleased that it turned out nicely.  The #4 version above, shows one flower stamped on…  If one looks OK, then more will look Better,  right???   Well….   Not sure, but the next photo shows what it now looks like after cutting another stamp for a bud…

 

Lobelia Sunprint Renovation-5

Lobelia Sunprint Renovation-5

I think I went a bit overboard with this…  I got a bit carried away playing with my new stamps… Now it looks cluttered and the border seems to look more “disjointed” (the only word my brain will come up with right now) from the central sunprint.  I added white centers to the flowers using a correction pen, and the few flowers in the sunprint section nearly hide, but the centers really shine…  I even played with a glaze pen over the blue inked images to deepen the color.

I can’t make things any worse, so some over-stamping with some white paint and one of my large stamps all over, or maybe some of the blue in the border, hmmmm…..  I guess this one will be good to play with, without worrying about ruining it, but then, learning to play without thinking about the final product being perfect, or even “just good” is my goal here.  Randomly stamping, doodling, or even cutting stamps are great ways to help out on those days when sitting upright is a challenge (well, cutting stamps are better done on non-shaky days), and I really need something to take my mind off how I am feeling… Doodling on paper has already helped on some days when my current treatments make me feel like I’ve been hit by a couple trains…

Posted in Art Quilt Process
A Little About Me

I love to create beautiful art with fabric, paint and thread; using flowers, gardens and my surroundings as inspiration. Painting and sunprinting fabric, Nature photography, Printing photos to fabric and more help me to bring my inspirations into my Art.

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