Friday, October 15, 2010

Hello Cupcake!

When I saw this tutorial on how to make a no-sew cupcake costume, I knew I had to make this! Thing was, I had already decided that I wanted Brooke to be Minnie Mouse for Halloween. Well... after some thinking, I've decided she can wear her Minne Mouse get up for her birthday in March instead. (I will be making her skirt following using this pattern, but in pink. It will be to. die. for!) Let's face it, I just don't have the time to do a lot between now and Halloween! I have school work to catch up on, report cards to do, oh and since I'm off of my meds my energy level is dwindling by the day!
The cupcake was so super easy and really didn't take very long at all to make! In the tutorial above the lady didn't sew ANYTHING! I just couldn't do that, and ony hot glued ONE thing on this- the circles on the "icing"!. She also had a price list and she spent about $19. I used fabric remnants and ribbon I already had on hand. All I bought was the sheets of felt for the dots, 1/2 yard of felt for the wrapper and the white ruffle trim. All in all, less than $3 out of pocket for me! Woo-hoo!

I used a t-shirt to cut out the neckline.

(this is folded over)

This is the second layer, you don't need to cut it, it will slip right over the head of the little girl.

I stacked the felt pieces before cutting out the circles for decorating the cupcake.

To get the bottom "wrapper", I sewed the brown felt yardage into a circle, slightly wider than Brooke. Then I flipped it inside out and sewed down one side, at an angle from the top to the bottom.
The bottom is more narrow than the top, like on a real cupcake.

You can see the lines in the brown fleece there on the bottom part of the "wrapper". In the tutorial, she cut strips out and glued them on. I had this brown fleece with lines in it and it was PERFECT! I got the same look w/ no effort! I sewed the brown fleece on to the brown felt (underneath) at the top and the bottom.

I used a wide ribbon for the straps here and the same ribbon at
the bottom of the wrapper as a contrasting trim.

She LOVED it!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Custest Cookie Monster costume!

Last year Brooke was 1 1/2 years old for halloween. She has had a few nicknames in her time. She's been Brookie, Brookie Cookie, Cookie, and from those we sometimes would call her a Cookie Monster. She is keen on cookies and cupcakes. So.. since she is a toddler and I am an adult, I still am in control of what she is for Halloween! ;) Last year she really had NO clue who Cookie Monster was and she still really isn't in to TV or characters (unless it is "Mick Mousey or Min Mousey"). I'm also not in to character stuff, but I wanted her to be Cookie Monster. So.... I decided to make her costume myself.

It was really very easy. I made her a tutu using teal and white tulle. I buy the 6" spools from Hobby Lobby (on sale, of course) and use 3/4" non-roll elastic. I also added some thin white and teal ribbon streamers that I just tie on to the waistband, spaced evenly, in between the knots of tulle. The bow is just sewn on with a needle and thread- sewn down in every which way so it doesn't come off. I also sew it down so that the bow can not come untied. I finished it off with a great Gerber daisy flower that I bought as a stem. I snip it off and just hot glue it on top of the ribbon bow.

I used a long sleeved onesie and ironed on a blingy applique of Cookie Monster's face that I purchased for a few dollars from an Ebay or Etsy seller. I also purchased the Cookie Monster eye headband from a party supply place for a few bucks (came in a pack of two). The furry teal blue stuff is just a thin feather boa I picked up on sale and cut up. Beware- when you cut this stuff it looks like a blue bird met a fan and feathers poof up everywhere! I hot glued it on the headband and then made ankle and wrist cuffs by hot gluing it on some elastic. She loved it and carried around her little Cookie Monster doll (that someone gave her). I LOVE this costume and she got so many compliments on it!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Appointment with the Endocrinologist

I finally got to see my endocrinologist. They actually got me in very quickly- just four days! Sadly, my husband couldn't make it to the appointment because daycare called saying that the little guy had a fever of 101.8 and had to be picked up. Luckily my parents went with me so I wasn't alone. It was like a class reunion at the appointment! Turns out my Endo went to medical school with my parents at University of Kentucky! Small, small world! He was a good guy and very honest about things, which we all appreciated. I had two tumors on my thyroid (one on the right and one on the left). The right tumor was Papillary cancer and the left one was Follicular cancer- they were both primaries, meaning it wasn't on one side and then metastasized to the other. He said that it was extremely rare to have what I have; that most people if they do have cancer only have it on one side and the size of it is very small. He also said that I had a significant amount of cancer. So, with all of that I am a medium to high risk for recurrence, and will be monitored more closely than someone with fewer risk factors. I certainly am glad to know all of this and not be left wondering and guessing. I will go back on November 1st to have my TSH level checked and will begin the LID (low iodine diet) on this day and continue it for the next two weeks. Assuming my levels are where they need them to be (TSH high enough for the RAI), then I will be taking the pill on November 15th. I will be doing my isolation at my parents house since their guest room is in a separate wing of the house. It will be a long week away from my babies and my husband, but the following week is Thanksgiving and I sure will have a TON to be thankful for and I will get a whole week to enjoy my family!

Thank you all for the support and prayers! Enough of this cancer stuff... let's get back to crafting and sewing!! I have a lot of posting to catch up on!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I had my stitches removed at my follow-up with my surgeon. Holy fire in your neck! Whew! But, they are out, the glue is still there and obviously the stitches inside. My incision is starting to look better and finally when I sneeze now I don't feel like my insides are going to spew out through my neck! I will see him again in three weeks and will be seeing an endocrinologist in the next week or two. I am looking forward to seeing him so that I can get some questions answered from him- instead of doing my own research. I love the information superhighway, but would rather hear it from the horse's mouth, so to speak! My surgeon stopped my meds since I will be having the RAI treatment in six weeks and you have to be off of them completely for 6 weeks. My body will become "hypo". I'm not sure if my Endo will put me on Cytomel or not since I haven't seen him yet. I also don't yet know how long I will have to be isolated from everyone. This will be the hardest part of it all. Being away from my kids for up to 8 days (from what I've read), makes me so very sad! I will have to do a Low Iodine diet for the two weeks before the RAI. It isn't horrible, basically I can't eat anything that is pre-packaged or pre-manufactured, no dairy at all, nothing with salt (I can add Kosher salt to my own food), no egg yolks and nothing with whole eggs in it, and only 5oz of meat a day. I will be eating a lot of fresh fruits, veggies, my serving of meat, and baking my own bread. There is a wonderful resource for this diet that is chock full of allowed recipes. My mom is being amazing and we are going to have a day or two of meal prep and will be making some meals that can be frozen ahead of time.
Even though this isn't going to be a rip-roaring fun time, it is completely do-able and manageable. It could be SO much worse and I am thankful that I only have to do this pill and not go through Chemo. God is good.
Here is what I have to look forward to when "going hypo". This is more of a warning to my family and friends! LOL!

"Going Hypo"

Our bodies require thyroid hormone (T4); a hormone taken in synthetic form (by a daily pill) once the thyroid has been removed. The body also requires T3 which it converts from T4. Without thyroid hormone, the body produces an increasing amount of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). An elevated TSH of at least 30 mIU/L is needed for the RAI treatment to be effective. To achieve this rise in TSH, patients may be instructed to stop taking their thyroid hormone replacement pills.
Becoming hypothyroid by hormone withdrawal, involves stopping levothyroxine (T4; the drug’s brand names in Canada are Synthroid and Eltroxin) for approximately 4-6 weeks prior to RAI treatment. During the time that levothyroxine is not taken, Cytomel (T3) may be prescribed. Cytomel is a fast-acting (and fast dissipating) form of thyroid hormone used to minimize the symptoms of hypothyroidism during hormone withdrawal. Cytomel is stopped approximately 2 weeks prior to RAI treatment.
‘Going hypo’ is a gradual process with symptoms increasing slowly over the six week period. The longer the patient is off of thyroid hormone, especially during the last two weeks prior to RAI treatment when no thyroid hormone is taken, the more likely the patient will experience symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Some Symptoms Associated with Hypothyroidism:
*Tiredness, loss of energy, weakness
*Trouble sleeping, nightmares or excess sleep
*Puffiness especially in the face and bloating
*Loss of ability to concentrate, memory loss, absentmindedness
*Weight gain
*Anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, mood swings
*Dry eyes, skin and hair; hair loss
*Change in menstrual cycle
*Joint pains and stiffness, muscle cramps
*Intolerance to cold
*Tingling or numbness in fingers or toes
*Ringing in ears
*Slight changes in eyesight

In other news, Olivia received her blanket and pants. Her sister said that she brings the blanket with her everywhere and that she loves it! Yay! I'm so glad! :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Quilt for a cause!

A few weeks after finding out about my own cancer deal, I was on Babycenter (a website for mommies). They have a lot of different groups for common interests such as birth clubs for your baby, or my personal favorite- a crafting and sewing group!  I have gotten a lot of neat ideas and inspiration from the ladies over there and then I read about a 14 year old girl name Olivia.

This is the original post:
Yes, it is odd to make a 'lovie' for a 14 yo girl, but this is a special girl who found on on Friday that she has a cancerous mass around her knee, and started very aggressive chemo therapy on Monday, after having surgery to put in 2 ports in her chest.

She has a very long road ahead of her and I want to make her something that she can take back and forth with her to hold onto when she is having a bad day. She was told to expect her hair to fall out so I will probably make some fleece hats for her when it gets a little colder out.
We have our house on the market to sell, so I don't want to get a ton of sewing stuff out that will take a lot of time to clean up if we have a showing.
And if any of you are the praying type, please pray for Olivia.

I read this on a Wednesday and I was going to be out for my own surgery starting on Friday, but I knew I had to do something! I replied saying that I was touched by this and wanted to make something for her. I asked Debbe (the person who posted) what the teenager liked and *shocker* the response was TWILIGHT!! (with the caveat that she did NOT like Jacob! But, um he's the hot one!!! I digress..). I am a teacher and have a huge network of other teachers and people in the district available via a virtual "bulletin board", so I posted that I was in search of Twilight t-shirts that would be used for a quilt for Olivia, but that I needed them by Friday! I was impressed with the responses I received and ended up collecting six shirts! Some of them even came from students in the district! Amazing!
I went home and found a large piece of black fleece that I could use for the back of the blanket and hadn't yet decided what I would do for the borders. I packed up the shirts and fleece along with my hospital bags and "after hospital" bag that would be taken out to my parents house where I would be for a few days after I was released from the hospital. I had my surgery on Tuesday and was at my parents from Thursday evening until Sunday. I managed to get the shirts cut apart, laid out in a design that would work for the blanket, and then sewn together. I also made one of the shirts into a pair of yoga pants following this tutorial. I finished up the blanket after I got home and was able to get into my fabric stash and figure out what I was going to use for my borders. I found a mustardy colored fleece that I think coordinated well with some of the colors in the t-shirt graphics. I am super pleased with the final product, but I learned a big lesson when making this! I should have treated it like a quilt and pinned the heck out of the sucker!! There is some bunching on the back, but it doesn't affect the purpose or function of the blanket and hopefully Olivia won't mind!! At least the front looks fab! :)

Here it is- all laid out on the floor of my mom's sewing room. All of the fabric here (besides the fleece back) is from the t-shirts. I cut them up and used as much as I could!

Here we are on the floor of my 2-year old's bedroom with the top and bottom border added.

Side borders have been added. I ended up having to trim down the side borders because um.. it was bigger than the back  of the blanket. Totally should measure the back of the blanket to make sure it is squared up *before* making the front! Just sayin'..

It is all pinned and ready to be sewn!

VIOLA! There she be! Team Edward... and stuff!

 Here's the super awesome and amazingly comfortable yoga pants from a t-shirt!

I received the following message from one of Olivia's sisters. THIS is why I took the time to do this. Reading this letter brought tears to my eyes. I hope Olivia loves this and that it can bring comfort to her during this difficult time.

Tracy, My name in Erin and I am the oldest sister of Olivia to whom the blanket is for. I can not begin to tell you how much I appreciate you and what you are doing for Olivia. Olivia LOVES Twilight and when Debbie first told me that she had a friend who could make this kind of thing, I didn't realize she meant right away. She told me about your cancer and b/c I see what Olivia is going through everyday, I didn't think this would have been something you could feel up to doing now. Words can not decribe how perfect the blanket is and she will just be as blown away as I am. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for making the blanket and pray that our Lord will help you to heal quickly. If there's anything I can do, I know Debbie said you don't want payment, but maybe a donation??? I would be more than willing. Neither Olivia or our parent's know about this b/c I didn't realize how quick it would be so they will be so happy. thank you once again and know that you will be in my heart and prayers. Sincerley, Erin

FYI- I did not, and will not, accept payment for this. Thinking about and working on this blanket was therapeutic for me and I enjoyed it, every step of the way!
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