Listen to your bits…

shopping

I have spent 24 years drawing with my mouse on the computer. For the last several years, I used Apple’s magic mouse which is touch-sensitive and allows you to swipe across it to move the cursor and it has been wonderful — until a few weeks ago when I was doing a whole lot of drawing in Illustrator.

My right index finger (the mouse-finger) started to hurt, a lot. And it got swollen. And then it hurt worse. It is at this point that many people go into denial. I do not.

I treat my body like a used car. If warning lights start flashing on your car, you take it to a mechanic, right? We should all head to the doctor when our bodies send us similar warnings.

It may not be this way in your town, but here plastic surgeons are the hand guys. I visited Dr. Swamy who has been in practice here a long time and is much beloved. I took my mouse and asked if that was the problem. Yes, it was. I asked if rest would make it better enough to be able to use the mouse again. No, it would not. We agreed that I had to find a new way to draw in the computer and I had to also find a more ergonomic mouse.

 

 

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The mouse was easy. I got a Logitech M570. I’ll have to be careful not to overuse any of my fingers but I can do that.

I won’t be using the mouse to draw. I am, instead, viewing this as an opportunity to buy a tool that I have lusted after — a Wacom Cintiq tablet! (Imagine a quilt-y picture instead of a lizard.)

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The Cintiq tablet is actually a very fancy computer monitor that is touch-sensitive and that you can draw on. It’s similar to the iPad Pro, but you hook to to your computer and the Cintiq mirrors whatever is on screen. I’ll be able draw in Illustrator with a special pen. I’ll be able to use the pen in Photoshop as well, and I’m sure there’s more. I suspect that I’ll be able to move the mouse on the screen with my finger, much like you can on your smartphone.

On the advice of a friend (thank you, Amanda) I got the biggest Cintiq. I have gotten used to using a very big monitor and there isn’t any going back from there. Thankfully, this is piece of business equipment that I should have gotten a long time ago. I think it might actually make me more productive while also helping me to preserve my right hand – my sewing hand!

The bigger issue, and the point of this post, is that you need to pay attention to your body! Don’t ignore warnings, take care of your bits early rather than after damage has been done. Because I said so :-).

 

Visiting the Dallas Arboretum…

NOTE: If you got the way-too-early link to next week’s Wednesday Giveaway it’s only sort of gone. It will post on time next Wednesday. If you already commented, your comments should still be there.

Lorna, the kids, and I went to the Dallas Arboretum yesterday and it looks like spring is already here! Jack took way more pictures than I did.

Jack Taking Pictures

Bear rarely wanted to stop for a photo.

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The cherry trees have begun to bloom. That was a surprise to me — I didn’t know there were cherry trees there!

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The crepe myrtles are lovely even when they have not leafed out.

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This is for my friend, Catherine :-).

 

Let it go…

I make quilts because I can’t not make them. But, once finished, I am more in love with the next quilt. Finished quilts tend to end up in my closet. It seems that I am not finished with the urge to tidy up because I can no longer ignore the shelves stuffed with quilts.

It began with the need to take better photos of my quilts. As I unload the shelves, I’ve found quilts that I haven’t seen in years, like this Amish pinwheel. It’s one of the few that I kept from before Linda and I started Piece O’ Cake in 1994. I had time to hand quilt back in the day!

Amish Pinwheel

I gave away most of the quilts that I made before-POC. I’ve given quilts away since then, but I kept way too many made for books and patterns. I thought that I might need them in the future! Well, the future is here and I don’t need to keep them all. What to do with the quilts that need a new home?

Several are finding new homes with my friends. It’s easier than I thought it would be to choose the right quilt for a particular person — it’s a lot like the wand choosing the wizard. Giving quilts is one of the funnest things ever. I LOVE putting a quilt-smile on a friend’s face.

I know that I will run out of quilts before I run out of friends to give them to, but that’s OK. There will be more quilts. And there are quilts that don’t fit anyone I know — those are traveling with me and will be offered for sale. One this is for sure, I’m done stuffing the closet!

Daisy

 

The Daisy quilt, above, was made for a magazine article for Rodale Press. Or maybe it was for inclusion in a book. 

He did it!

I remember when our oldest son, Christopher, first went to school. He was cute, and smart, and on the quiet and serious side.

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We were proud of him then and we are proud of him today, on his last day of school*. He has successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at SMU. Oh happy, happy, very happy day!

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This was a long time coming. Chris and Lorna have had 3 children, bought and remodeled a house, and worked hard to survive during his journey through higher education. Steve and I are proud of his achievement on every level. Way to go, son!

*Chris’s area of study is the long 18th century of British literature. His dissertation is currently titled Primal Filth. I have not yet read it, but Chris is an excellent writer so I expect to be entertained.

More from St. Maarten…

My selfies are getting better. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

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We went on a snorkel tour on boat with Octopus Diving. The fish were pretty, the water was warm, and the Dramamine kept me from getting motion sickness. All good.

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We snorkeled out by that rocky island. IMG_8055

When I wasn’t snorkeling, I was visiting with Captain Kyle who is 27, has lived all over the world, and who can put all he owns in a small duffle bag. His life sounds really interesting, probably because it is so different from my own life. Just thinking about how to live that way and still quilt was enough to make my head hurt.

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Shadow selfie…

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I’ll sign off with these two beach photos. St. Maarten was wonderful, and the vacation shared with friends made it even better!

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I took this with the iPhone Camera+ app which is a very cool app. I used the in-app editing tool that is a whole lot like Lightroom. I’m visiting St Maarten and I thought I’d have my big camera out and about with me but it’s not working out that way. My iPhone is turning into my camera on this trip and it’s working pretty well.

I’m back!

I am happy to report that I was able to stand on my now bunion-less right foot. I am stunned. I can walk and it doesn’t hurt! I thought the doctor was crazy when he said this would be the case but I’m happy that he was right. [I had the same surgery, done by a different surgeon, on my other foot years ago and it hurt a lot more, a lot longer.] I am being very careful not to overdo it.

The day I found out that I could walk, I also found out that I had a screamingly bad case of thrush. I’ve never had thrush. My family practitioner said it could have been the stress of surgery. I’ve taken the anti-fungal drugs and given up sugar. Now I’m taking caprylic acid, probiotics, and drinking water laced with vinegar. I really miss sugar. Even though I’ve dropped 4 pounds, I think I like sugar more than the weight loss.

But wait, there’s more! I also got a sinus infection in the middle of all this, along with the 2 1/2-day headache that goes with it. Today I woke up finally feeling like myself and am happy happy happy!

That leads me to this video. A friend (thank you Mark H.) told me about the elf yourself app for your smart phone. Try it. You’ll love it! That’s me and Steve and Celia and Jeff dancing with the kittens :-). Ho ho ho!

Thinking deep thoughts…

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Those middle-of-the-night thoughts…

I sometimes wake up at night, thinking and/or worrying. Do most women do that? For me it’s not an every-night occurrence—it happens in spurts.

When Steve and I were younger and made a lot less, I woke up worrying about money. Steve never did, and he thought I was crazy to lose sleep worrying about problems that would work themselves out. (It takes a lot to make him wake up worrying.) He was right; those worries tended to dissipate with time.

These days I am more likely to wake up thinking about how I’ve managed to do or say something stupid the day before, the week before, or farther back. I wish I could say that I always say and do the right thing. I try, but I fail often enough to wake me up—thankfully, not every night.

What gets me back to sleep is the thought that where there is life, there is hope. Every day really is a new day, with a chance to do better. Goodness knows, I keep trying and maybe someday I’ll be like those people who always seem to know the right thing to say or not say, at exactly the right time. If you do this too, take heart in the fact that you are not alone. We are each of us a work in progress :-).

Creative thoughts…

Then there are the times I wake up with creative ideas. I like this a whole lot better, even if I do lose sleep, which brings me back to the topic at hand… deep thoughts.

Most of us don’t create in a vacuum—our creativity is fed by that of others. So it makes sense to be open to new ideas, new ways of seeing and interpreting the world around us. With that in mind, I’d like to direct you to this post by Pam Holland. I especially enjoyed the video she posted. Pam is a beautiful photographer and her images do flutter around in my head. Thank you, Pam, for posting them!

I also very much enjoyed the TED talk by Béatrice Coron, a papercutter artist whose work I had not seen until I found this video (bottom of post). Her work is inspiring, beautiful, and thought-provoking. FYI: I found this talk by going to TED and searching for ‘creativity’. I’ll bet searching for ‘inspiration’ would yield wonderful results as well.

I am currently feeling my way toward new ideas, even as I work on quilts that are stylistically similar to those I’ve made in the past. Once these are complete, I can turn my attention to quilts that are, I hope, completely different for me. Until then, ideas are constantly swirling around in my head, and I’m enjoying the thinking process.

In closing, let’s all sleep well, turn off the worries, trust in a new day, and think about being creative!