WIP Wednesday

I don’t know if it’s the mood that I’m in or that time of year, but I am looking intently at my routine. What is going to make me happy? What is going to make me feel satisfied?

I’ve decided NOT to follow up on the Reading Challenge. Well, not as printed anyway. I’m still going to read to improve, and to relax. I’m going to follow recommendations more, and I’m definitely going to clean up my eReader to get rid of the crap stuff, or the “oncers” – you know, the things you read once then shelve. And I’m going to journal my “new” reads more, either in my log or on IG.

I’m going to continue to get up early & use that 30 min or so to catch up on social media, on my notebooks, and MAKE something. Even if it’s just a couple of thread lengths, or planning. I started doing this late last year and it made a difference to my sanity, once I got over the shock of not having the snooze option. Being “alone” in my home gives me peace. I want to introduce a daily devotional to this mix as well.

Anyways enough of the WIP that is me. Let’s look at the WIPs I’m making:

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This was my table this morning. My current read (one co-worker expressed shock that I was reading a “real” book, ha-de-ha), my log and the current Small. I am planning a border for this then to make it into a small hanging ornament. It’s the symbol for Year of the Monkey, and I intend for it to be a gift for my local Chinese takeaway place. I’m altering Raven Queen’s border, hence the chart paper – I want to use pencil & avoid the stitch-and-frog part of today’s entertainment!

Hope your week is a little bit awesome.

Catching Up!

Welcome back! Ah! Doesn’t it feel great to be starting out the New Year at work?

Well, maybe not. I may have occasion to rethink that enthusiasm in the near future. Right now I am looking at the diary I’d already prepped before I left for the break and feeling like this week should be a cruise. There doesn’t look like anything urgent popped up, so I shall just attack everything methodically. And play the tunes. As at the post-lunch snooze attack, my personal inbox is cleared & lots of reporting done.

This year I’m going to continue with the Smalls and WIPocalypse, and add in a reading challenge. I’m going with a suggestion of Stone Soup for Five blog’s and putting the Challies poster up at work so I can see some progress. I want to read less trash in 2016 & put more of the good stuff into my head. WARNING: this challenge is compiled by a Christian so if you don’t believe or aren’t exploring Faith, I would suggest that you research another reading challenge. There are plenty out there in Blogland and lots of “tick the box” graphics on Pinterest.

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I’m also part of a One Little Word Repeaters Club on FB. We all gave up the prompts partway thru 2015 & none of us are motivated enough to pay for the prompts again this year, especially when we can easily log back into the 2015 class & re-print. I am still undecided on my word – MAKE or MOVE. MAKE because I feel so much better if I do craft something every day and MOVE because I need to. Maybe I should commit to two words?

Stitching wise, I started the New Year right with #newyearnewmira and kicked off Raven Queen. Surprisingly she does appear to work on the fabric I dyed back in August or September or whenever. The stand from Andie means I can cope with stitching on 32ct again, even if it’s uneven. And blissfully, I’ve had no carpel tunnel symptoms for nearly two weeks (except when I was painting the gate). Taking a complete computer break for the holidays was the right decision to make.

I’ve decided to rotate my Mira WIPs in the expectation that none become a UFO. Plans will be in my January WIPocalypse post – as otherwise I’ll have nothing to say then J but here’s a recap of Decembers Goals:

  • Set up planner for 2016 with monthly layout for stitching goals & rotation notes, and Week-to-View for the normal stuff, including blog planning COMPLETED
  • Work out what WIPs I am taking into “16 in 2016” COMPLETED – I only have 8 including one I need to start, so this could be pathetic!
  • Stitch Lenna’s RR portion – Moonlight Laguna mermaid COMPLETED
  • Keep up with December Daily. I’m opting to use a Heidi Swapp album in a different format from normal, and a Project Life kit that isn’t Christmas-y at all, but I thought better suited for our Summer. I’m also printing the photos on our printer here at work daily & I’ll re-print on proper photo paper later on. Better to have everything recorded than to stop like I did last year as it got too much. COMPLETED TO DEC 23RD so heaps better than last year!
  • Start Mermaids of the Deep Blue so it’s a WIP to take into “16 in 2016” – technically a bit of a cheat, but there you go. STARTED & FIRST ROTATION GOAL REACHED.

In fact, I got further than this with the two smalls stitched and a portion of Rose of Provence. I put her on the stand when I reached the MOTB goal just to see if I would recover my initial enthusiasm or if I really did want to walk away from that fabric. I’m relieved to say that I did settle in for the three days she was on the stand & that I’ve given up on a tidy back. Threads go here there and everywhere on this one – no lumps so it’s OK.

How are y’all doing?

This Speaks to Me

Where the Light Is – Dan Bremnes

Lyrics:

This is me / Grew up in church / Raised on the gospel trained in the word / Had a faith so fearless thought it was all I needed / But life hit me hard / More than I planned / It knocked me down / Like an avalanche / On the edge of hopeless I called you from the darkness // God, come quickly / Only You can save me / Will You lead me where the light is / God be with me / Don’t know where I’m going / Will You lead me where the light is / I’ve been living in the dark / I’ve been looking for daylight, / You’re my daylight / So God, come quickly / Only You can save me / And lead me where the light is // There’s no hurt / No scar or bruise / There’s not a wound / Too deep for You / ‘Cause You’re everything / You say you are / You’re bigger than a broken heart / So hear me now, hear me now, I’m calling // When I’m lost in the night / When I’m losing the fight / Lead me where the light is / When the tears fill my eyes / When the hope’s hard to find / Lead me where the light is

Produced by David Garcia and Ben Glover Recorded at The GloveBox and SuperPhonic Studios, Nashville, TN / Engineered by Ben Glover, Ben Phillips, and Paul Rossetti / Additional Editing: Paul Rossetti / Mixed by David Garcia / Mastered by Joe LaPorta / Bass: Mark Hill / Drums: Ben Phillips / Guitars: Chris Lacorte and Ben Glover / Keys/Programming: Ben Glover and David Garcia / Background Vocals: Dan Bremnes and Ben Glover Written by Dan Bremnes and Ben Glover © 2015 Capitol CMG Paragon (BMI) / 9T One Songs / Ariose Music (ASCAP)

WIP Wednesday

This is (who/what) I need to be:

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Not being able to stitch is doing my head in! Writing can be painful too but today I’m going to start channeling some of my energy into re-designing to combine two pieces, a Lizzie*Kate and some Piglet/Pooh type figures for a baby sampler.

Looking up. This is temporary.

The actual, real life, daily bonus? The older boys are having to do all the housework. Loving that. Camera please!

monday – when work & play meet & I go OUCH!!!

I have physio this afternoon, so today in between work crap, I am looking at articles around stitching with RSI/OOSE/blahblahwriteyourownacronym. This pathetically small ammt of stitching took me an hour on Sunday! I would normally have completed the figure in the same time. FYI it’s intended to be Inspector Poirot in a Cloudsfactory-type adaptation for one of the bookmarks.

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SO my One Little Word piece for today is:

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Any tips that you might have would be very welcome! I am thinking that I will need to give up “stitching in hand” & use a stand system which will require a lot of adapting, & I’m not looking forward to that at all!

“The following article was written by Debi Feyh of Nordic Needle and published in their weekly e-mail newsletter. Permission was granted by Nordic Needle to share this article in (name of your publication). For information on subscribing to their weekly e-mail newsletter, visit www.nordicneedle.com. A free mail-order catalog is available to you upon request if you live in the USA or Canada.”

Hand Health

Well, I never imagined that I would do a newsletter talking about anatomy. However, by the end of last weekend my right hand was killing me. I have noticed it is happening more often, and surely it can’t be due to the fact I have another birthday coming up and I am on the other side of the 50 hill??? (Picture me pouting–Debi)

Okay, back on track! I decided to find out if there is something I can do about my hand. What I found out was very interesting and I thought I would share it with you this week. According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, our hands are very complicated machines. Each hand is made up of approximately 29 bones, 29 major joints, at least 123 ligaments, 34 muscles, and 48 nerves.

When people talk about hand and wrist pain, the symptoms often point to arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. Let me explain the difference and then show you some ways that we might be able to relieve some of the stress and pain.

To better understand why our hands hurt, let’s look at how our hand works. The bones are connected at a joint and held together with a ligament, which works like a rubber band keeping everything together. To keep the bones from grinding against each other, they are covered with a padding called cartilage. Just like many machines, the joint needs some lubrication. So, the joint is surrounded by a capsule filled with fluid. When things go wrong, our hands hurt. Arthritis is one of those things, which is inflammation of the joints. The causes are varied, including trauma, infection, degenerative issues, and even autoimmune diseases. There are actually over 100 medical conditions associated with arthritis. I bet you didn’t know that arthritis is the main cause of disability for those fifty-five years and older. However, there are many forms of arthritis that impact young people.

Here are two of the more common types of arthritis:

Osteoarthritis concerns the cartilage, which begins to wear away. It reminds me of my car brakes when the pads wear down. When I apply the brakes, they scream and squeal. It’s because the parts are rubbing together. In our hands the tendons and ligaments get stretched and over time the bones may actually start to rub against each other. The symptoms get worse over time. The joint is painful and may be tender. Your joint loses its flexibility and you may develop bone spurs with a grating sensation. Hands, knees, hips and spine are the most likely areas to get osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis concerns the fluid capsule, which becomes inflamed. This type of arthritis can lead to deformity. Ladies, it affects us more often than mean and is most common when we are between 40 and 60 years old. Often the joints are painful and stiff first thing in the morning. Most people have several areas affected all at the same time, beginning with the smaller joints. Often you will see bumps appear around the joints. This is a progressive disease often moving from the hands and wrists or ankles and feet to the hip, neck, shoulders, and even into the jaw.

Laurel Burch suffered from osteopetrosis. I talked briefly about that condition in the August 27, 2012 newsletter on Hemstitching.

My big question was whether exercise helps or hurts the condition. For arthritis, inactivity can actually make it worse because joints become stiffer and your muscles get weaker, which can impact your entire well being. In fact, if you remain physically active you are most likely to live longer and be able to function better during the day and sleep better at night. The pain is often caused by muscle spasms around the joint. At home, a heating pad can help relax the muscles and thus reduce the pain.

A BIT OF TRIVIA: According to WebMD “Knuckle “cracking” has not been shown to be harmful or beneficial. More specifically, knuckle cracking does not cause arthritis. Joint “cracking” can result from a negative pressure pulling nitrogen gas temporarily into the joint, such as when knuckles are “cracked.” This is not harmful. “Cracking” sounds can also be heard if tendons snap over tissues because of minor adjustments in their gliding paths. This can occur with aging as muscle mass and action change.” However, WebMD does go on to say if there is pain or discomfort with the cracking, you need to see your doctor.

How does arthritis differ from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome involves the nerve that runs from your palm into your forearm. This nerve is the median nerve and is responsible for the feeling in the palm side of your thumb and first three fingers. The little finger is not impacted by this nerve. The tunnel is really a narrow passage of bones and ligaments at the base of your hand that the median nerve and tendon goes through. When something happens to that passage or tendons swell, it decreases the size of the tunnel and compresses the nerves. Depending on the severity you might have a little pain or your hand and wrist may be completely numb. It’s important to note that this is a problem with pressure on the nerve. You could have pain in your wrist due to an injury to the muscle like a sprain or a fracture to the wrist. Those conditions can lead to swelling which may aggravate the nerve as well.

Carpal tunnel syndrome usually impacts your dominate hand first. You may not even notice symptoms at first. As the condition continues you may get a tingling or itching in your palm. You are likely to notice it more when you first wake up because of the way your wrists are flexed when you sleep. Then symptoms will begin to occur during the day. Your thumb is an indicator of possible trouble. If your thumb doesn’t function well, like picking up small things, or can’t distinguish between cold and hot, then you should see a doctor.

I was under the impression that it was caused by repetitive motion. However, it can also be associated with hypothyroidism, an overactive pituitary gland, or fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause. Women are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than men. It is possible that repetitive jobs can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. However, assembly line workers are three times more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than those who work on the computer all day.

Keeping our Hands Healthy

Let’s look at a few things we can do to make our stitching time more enjoyable.

Foremost is paying attention to where you are stitching and watching your posture. This is a big problem for me. I love to stitch while sitting on my couch. However, the cushion is really too wide for me to sit comfortably for long. If I sit clear to the back of the couch, my legs don’t dangle right, cutting off my circulation and causing cramps. If I sit towards the edge, I need to put a solid cushion behind my back to keep me from slouching. Then my next problem is I sit in that position for a long time. To help remedy this situation, I bought a cheap kitchen timer that I set for no more than 30 minutes. When it goes off, I get up and take a short break. HINT: I found when the timer went off I would take one more stitch, then another stitch, and then I had to finish this little area…..ending up stitching another 30 minutes or so. I moved the timer across the room, so I have to get up to turn it off!

What if we think of our hands in an athletic sense? A 5K course is 3.1 miles long. An average walker will take about 45 minutes to finish the course. That walker is not going to start the 5K without warming up first. I know you are saying that it is not the same thing as stitching. However, do you remember how many muscles there were in our hands? I know I stitch at least 45 minutes at a time. So shouldn’t I be warming up my stitching muscles as well? There is something to be said about building up hand strength and endurance as well, but that sounds like a topic for a later day.

One of the best warm up routines I found was from a booklet written by Frederikka T. Payne called Pain Prevention Exercises for Knitters published in 1996. She recommends filling a bucket or basin of water with as hot of water as you can comfortably stand. You want to be able to put your arm in up to your elbow if possible. You start by relaxing your hand and letting it soak for two minutes. Next repeat the first two exercises ten times. Stretch your fingers wide and hold for a count of 5. Then bend your fingertips down and hold for a count of 5. Then push your stretch further by repeating the next two exercises ten times also. Stretch your fingers wide and hold for a count of 5. Make a first and hold for a count of five. Here are the three hand positions: open, fingertips down, fist.

Here are a couple of other exercises that you can do before, during, and after your stitching session.

Wrist Stretch: Place your hands in a praying position at chest level with your fingers closed. Then raise your elbows up so they are parallel to the ground. While your hands and elbows are in this position slowly spread your fingers apart, keeping your palms together and then close them again. Repeat this five times.

Wrist Flex: Extend your arm out and bend your hand up. With your other hand, gently bend your wrist back to give it a little stretch. Change hands.

Wrist drop: Just like your thread sometimes your wrists need to “unwind”. Let your arms drop to your sides and gently shake your hands. Slowly rotate your hands in a clockwise circle, then reverse directions.

A pair of special gloves can gently support and massage your hands while you stitch. Nordic Needle sells two brands, each in small, medium, and large sizes.

After a session of stitching, pamper your hands with some lotion and a light massage.

Nordic Needle sells a wonderful Stitcher’s Lotion!

My pain is in the middle of the back of my right hand. I found this wonderful website showing how to release wrist trigger points and other sore spots on your hand.

It involves massaging the muscles of the forearm. Boy, when I first tried this technique, those muscles along my forearm were extremely sore. I think keeping up this massage technique will help my painful hand.

The lesson I learned is that I take my hands for granted. In fact, I abuse them for hours while stitching or typing. With just a little TLC, they will be happier longer….and maybe I can get a few more inches done on my UFO’s!!! Later this year, I plan to do a newsletter on how to prepare your body for stitching. So if you have any tips about posture, back and hand exercises, please let me know!


Book Review: Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

  • Subtitle: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life
  • Publisher: Nelson Books
  • Subject: 248.843 – women, conduct of life, stress + time management
  • Recommended by: library find
  • Author blog/website: www.moneysavingmom.com/

Moments for me: Comparison is the thief of Joy.

Joy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are – Marianne Williamson.

While a lot of the financial tips are United States-centric there’s more to be found in this book from the main blogger at www.moneysavingmom.com

wpid-20150913_080916.jpgThese are the things I took from this book. Yours will be utterly personal to you (as it’s that sort of book) but hopefully you’ll be encouraged to pick this title up from your local library. It’s available on most e formats too.

  • Changing attitudes – it’s OK to let routines go when I need to bc I can always impose them later
  • Give, give give – time effort or money, the recipient will be blessed.
  • Involve others in running the home
  • Budget to bring down your big monthly household spends
  • Plan to use my wardrobe (this is working out well, I’ve given away 4 tops already)
  • Get up 30 min earlier to get peace, time to myself, complete my devotional without interruption

On Sunday Si & I talked about the visa (which is linked to his account so I can’t see the balances). We agreed to take this more seriously and a/p $100 a week to it regardless of the balance (our bank pays interest on positive balances). Load lifted by such a simple action!

Blurb: Calling the super busy, the stressed out, the overtired.

You know you’re made for a more fulfilling life. With this book, you’ll know where to start.

You wake up tired. Your to-do list is too long. The commitments—and the laundry—are piling up, but your energy keeps dwindling. You feel like you’re simply making it through the days, not living or enjoying any part of them.

In Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, you’ll find both practical ideas and big-picture perspective that will inspire you to live life on purpose. As a wife, mother of three, and founder of the wildly successful blog MoneySavingMom.com, Crystal Paine has walked the road from barely surviving to living with intention. With the warmth and candor of a dear friend, she shares what she’s learned along the way, helping you:

  • feel healthier and more energetic by setting priorities and boundaries
  • eliminate stress with savvy management of your time, money, and home
  • get more done by setting realistic goals and embracing discipline
  • rediscover your passions—and the confidence to pursue them

Packed with straightforward solutions you’ll use today and inspirational stories you’ll remember for years, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode is a must for any woman who’s ever longed for the freedom to enjoy life, not just survive it.