A change in dynamics

My husband put up a great battle, but the cancer overtook him quickly since July this year. The Esophageal cancer metastasized. He had been through surgeries, chemo and radiation July 2013 through March this year and was cancer free at that point in time. Then in June this year he started having back pains and it turned out a large inoperable tumor had already embedded in his spine near the spinal cord. Too delicate an area to operate near. Then a skull lesion, golf ball sized, with successful craniotomy surgery in August removing that diseased chunk and replacing with a titanium mesh panel. Then blood clots in a leg and lungs meant no chemo for almost a month while treating that life threatening situation.

The cancer was so aggressive, taking that time off for the blood clot situation, I think it just went rampant. Then the doc saw cancer activity in liver and lungs. His body could not take any more chemo and he was on hospice for just a week before he passed away Nov. 29.

He was a partner in the architectural firm he worked for and he was yearning to get back to work and do what he loved. This house is his legacy and was meant for our retirement years together that were going to start now, even though he wanted to keep working. He had only three cancer free months in this house, free of doctors and medicines. We only moved in November 2013. He had not even had a chance to get his office set up and the boxes unpacked, or his woodworking shop completed.

Sometimes I feel I can’t stay here, and sometimes I feel I can’t leave it because we put so much time, energy and effort into the design and build. I’ll not rush into any decisions, and the family’s visits here these next months, to visit, relax and fish in the stocked and overflowing pond, will help me decide what to do. We love nature and the outdoors, and we wanted this place to enjoy that feeling, being on 26 acres surrounded by farmland with cows and horses as our neighbors. Also seeing the deer walk to our pond in the mornings and seeing the great hawks soaring, hearing the coyotes a stones throw away, and the owls on top of our tall metal roof whoo-ing to each other. One day we saw a bald eagle catch a fish from our pond so large he couldn’t fly with it. There are great memories in the short twelve months we had here together, it is just that we had hoped for many more.

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Completed: projects


I have had several things on my to-do list and now that the flurry of doctor visits are done, and my husband has started his regimen of chemo medications (pills) at home, I have some time to work on projects with some continuity of time and focus.

I have tried now to focus on the guest rooms and get them organized, decorated, furnished and finished.  This first bedroom is the one we use first for guests; it is very cozy and roomy without being too big.  We based this design on our previous home’s guest room layout, and just enlarged it a bit for more room.  Our three-year old grandson has a cot that we put up in here when he and our son and his wife are here to visit.  It works great.

Right next to this room is the other guest room which we furnished with a sleeper sofa.  That room is also my sewing room and I am working on getting the closet fitted with shelves to hold my sewing stuff.  We did this at our previous home and it worked great and held so much.  We don’t need it to hang anything in, except I did hang my extra fabric yardages on hangers in it and I store the scraps in my collection of picnic baskets.  So this room will get my attention next.

But, I did get the main guest room pretty established and only a couple of projects are left to do. The room is painted in Sherwin Williams Jersey Cream and trimmed in S-W Dover White. The Boathouse picture and my little girl and boy sailor rabbits, on the dresser under the Boathouse, I made years ago in their blue and white sailor outfits and straw boat hats, and started the blue accent idea. Everything worked together nicely.

dresser is 60 years old

dresser is 60 years old

I repainted the dresser a nice Valspar navy color; it was my dresser before I was born (60 years old now), and has been lugged from house to house and repainted at least four times now.  This is the first time I have painted with a spray paint that did not give me the finish I had hoped for.  I struggled with this and am not entirely happy; however, this is the only brand of satin Navy I could find in spray so I will keep working on it.  I may end up painting by brush the same color and try for a  more uniform finish.  The brass pulls were added during one of its previous makeovers.

I also spray painted this little book shelf, between the windows, we made for our son before he was born in 1980.  This has also been repainted several times and lugged from house to house.  I used a navy Valspar gloss spray paint in the same color as the dresser.  The gloss covered better than the satin, although I did go ahead and spray it a Matte Black+Primer before I used the blue to deepen the color and it covered the surface better in fewer applications. It stores our grandson’s blankets and fold up cot.


The window coverings are a sheer burnout leaf pattern, and we brought them from our previous house and I just hemmed them shorter and hung them by tension rods in front of the wood blinds.  I had just enough room for the rod.  I like the clean look of not having any rods above the window.

I spray painted Navy the ledge shelf above the dresser; we have several my husband made, in various lengths, and we have also used these in the previous house as picture ledges.  I like the added dimension it gives to a wall without too much intrusion into the room.  It is nice to change artwork and not worry about nail holes.  We have repainted and used these in several places in the new house.  The artwork is from an art gallery in my hometown Wichita, KS, that was going to toss it, and it is a vintage black and white photo of the old Riverside boathouse that is no longer there along the Arkansas river in Wichita, with people in boats and enjoying the water,  from 1928. I love the matting around it in a very art deco design in soft blues and greens and the weathered look frame is a wiped on gray over the wood. http://www.wichitaphotos.org/graphics/wschm_M1-2.3.4BoatHouse.jpg

I created a gallery wall between the windows.  I had the picture by B. Cummings of quilts on a fenceline outside Gray’s Store, and plates (Carol Endres’ “Visitors” series), and plate racks;
I recently purchased the French look wall clock from Decor Steals and had it in the laundry room, but prefer it in the guest room.

The old iron bed I got years ago from neighbors in an old farmhouse who were selling some things; I got it for $100 and feel lucky I found it. I painted it in a navy enamel at that time and it’s stayed that way since.  I like the airiness of the frame and the true oldness of it.  The salvaged window above it has mirror squares attached into each square.  It is perfect to reflect light in the room and I found it in a consignment store at a good price: $25.

This wall opposite the windows will soon be completed and roughly mirrors the opposite wall of two windows and center “art gallery”.  I have it measured into three “panels” of 24″Wx48″H.  This is the dimension of the salvaged ceiling tin tiles I have in the shop that need some attention before attaching to the wall.  They will flank the center picture gallery and I will frame those edges in with molding so the rough edges are concealed. 

The sweet Sunbonnet baby is something I needlepointed years ago. I like her bright blue bonnet and surrounded by the colorful flowers.

Sunbonnet Baby

Sunbonnet Baby

The centered art was framed in dollar store frames I spray painted in first the gloss blue, and then a second coat sprayed in the satin blue.  I like the way they turned out.  The artwork came from three books I got on Amazon.com, by Jamin+Ashley Mills of thehandmadehome.net.  They each contain tear out ready to frame artwork for an 8×10 frame.  The artist and their artwork descriptions are in the back of each book.  I can easily change out art when they need a new look.
I am also working on getting the bed’s nightstands in place.  For the moment, I may use two filing cabinets taking up space in my sewing room, and either paint them the same S-W Jersey Cream color as the walls, or sew up some fabric covers  in either a yellow or blue to coordinate. Pinterest has some good ideas for covering filing cabinets.  They are a little deeper than I would prefer, but can work.

My other option I am considering is sawing in half a vintage table I was using, that can attach to the wall on each side of the bed and not be too deep, but hold a small lamp.  I won’t be moving this furniture around, so I don’t need it portable.

The postage stamp style quilt and shams I have on the bed is by Ralph Lauren that I scored on Ebay for a great price and in perfect condition.  It has the navy, light blue, white and yellow that are in the room, and the small pops of red are also found in some of the art on the walls.

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Projects around the house

I decided to post some things I’ve done around here, because it will:
1. remind me I have been productive
2. I have completed projects on my list
3. prod me to move on to a new project

For one, outside I did finish, mostly, the front garden area since it’s seen when approaching. I keep moving the birdbath to different spots to see how it feels for me, but basically I got that done as soon as it warmed up in the spring. It is amazing how many bags of mulch this thing took, and really it’s still thin and needs more. At Lowe’s, they tend to clear out plants in groups by around June. They don’t advertise these sales, so I found myself dropping in every other day, if not almost daily, to see what new bargains they had. This photo doesn’t have the birdbath in it and the plants have grown and filled in. I have also added a few others since the photo was taken. The edging was not finished then, and more mulch has been added.

I also kind of got my sewing room in order. With my husband ill, some shelving I need designed and installed in the sewing closet will have to be on the back burner and my room is a bit unfinished, but I can work on a project if I shuffle things around a bit. We bought tables at Ikea that are nice and sturdy and fit around the room well.

I had a vanity I bought for my designated space in the bedroom, and it’s actually a drop down secretary desk.
vanity front
The front drops down open to give me access to all my makeup tools without having to drag things out and then put them away. Just close that door and it’s tidy again. I loved the paint I used, which was a spray paint, Rustoleum Metallic in Soft Iron and also Silver Nickel for the drop down interior.
Satin Nickel interior empty
Satin Nickel interior filled
The drawers I just painted the fronts, but the sides I am considering a stenciled on pattern like I saw on Pinterest to dress them up a bit, but really not necessary at all.
frames and old escutcheons
My little collection of owls and my peacock prints and textile art decorate my space. I painted those frames, as well as the old door knob escutcheon plates, the same Soft Iron to make the space feel coordinated. I like the way it all turned out and that paint is so durable.
paint used
vanity space

I am working one of the guest rooms now. I hung some pictures and my plate holders and decorative plates I like, hemmed up some sheer blue drapes, and plan to paint my personal 1950’s dresser in a very pretty navy Velvet finish spray paint by Valspar. And I want to repaint the bedside table and a small book shelf my husband made in 1980 for our son’s nursery. It has traveled with us all these years. I have a very old iron bed in there that I painted navy blue years ago and I like that blue a lot. It will go well with the Ralph Lauren postage stamp patchwork quilt and shams I currently have on the bed. I hope to get that going this weekend, but we have company coming so it may be delayed a few days.

My projects are a great diversion each day once the daily drive to take my husband to radiation is completed. Since gardening is probably going to wait till Spring, this will give the inside of the house some new focus.

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Waiting for Fall

We got a taste of Fall last week here in north Texas. The air conditioning was off and the windows thrown open. The temperature dropped to highs of 60’s for a few days. Of course, this week, we are back into the 90’s, but the hurricane is bringing us some much needed rain. We may get drenched this weekend.

My husband’s illness has limited my time and energy in getting to work as I had planned in the flower beds. I have decided to do what I can here and there as I feel like it. For me, working after a rain is really nice because I can just hand pull those weeds out and easily hand spade a flower bed.

At our last house the previous owner raised buffalo and built a very sturdy corral. We had that taken down and put a nice barn in place for our alpacas. The stockpile of pressure treated fence posts were great to use as garden edging around the house. When the plants matured they covered the edges of the posts and you couldn’t really see them. I wish I had some of those here to use. I may just gather some downed wood from the trees along our fence line to use. Metal edging and wood posts are more than I care to spend right now.

I really want to get some more perennials in place. I have had good luck with purple coneflower, Shasta daisies, rock rose and any salvias. I planted Black and Blue salvias and really like the looks of those. The rock rose reseeds and offers up new seedlings that can be replanted elsewhere. The coneflower does as well and is a very sturdy plant. My Knockout roses, rosemary, and Russian sage are also dependable. The roses even bloom for me through most of the winter. I read that the Knockout roses bloom in cycles, so that explained for me flushes of growth and blooming and then no blooms, followed by more blooms. I have not had any issues with pests with them.

And so, my husband’s brain surgery was successful and uneventful. His surgery that day was delayed a couple hours as his surgeon had an emergency surgery first, and so our surgery was not started till 9 pm and finished at 11 pm. My husband was already being taken for a walk down the corridor early the next morning, and bounced back from surgery so quickly they released him at noon on day two in the hospital. He never had any swelling or pain from the removal of his golf ball sized tumor. He started two weeks of whole head radiation this week. After these two weeks are completed, chemo will start for about 12 weeks of treatments. I said in my last post, after surgery we would make lemonade with our lemons, and so we did.

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Those cancer demons, again

Well, a visit to the neurosurgeon revealed a tumor on the outer membrane of his brain and so he will be going into surgery on Tuesday. They want to remove this before it can get into the brain; hopefully it has not yet and the doctor indicates it is contained there but needs to be removed. A 3 1/2 hour surgery and titanium plate should be the answer. Radiation after surgery will be done, as will more radiation to the spine, and chemo after all radiation is complete.

It is very hard to make lemonade out of the lemons right now. We keep getting hit with more cancer concerns that must be addressed and the spine is one area he can’t have surgery done, so radiation and chemo is all we can do for that.

Fingers crossed that Tuesday is a success. Then I can make lemonade.

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Billy Jacobs Art: An Art With Unique Charisma


I really like Billy Jacobs art; shop for him also on Amazon.com

Originally posted on Quality Framed Art ~ Affordable prices:

The most popular type of art form that has been extensively used to decorate houses is the Billy Jacobs Art. As the Billy Jacobs Poster can add unique charm to the home decor, it has become the popular choice of thousands of home owners and decorators. It will depend up on the liking and creativity of the people to use these pieces of Billy Jacobs Artwork in bedrooms, dining rooms, or on the walls of living room. This is because, the uniquely Framed Billy Jacobs master pieces has capacityto turn any dull place into an amazing one and can ideally enhance and refresh any home decor.

If you are planning to modify the décor of your home, office, restaurants, etc. you can indeed decorate the walls with an extraordinary piece of Billy Jacobs Art Print that can render exclusivity to every décor. As these Billy Jacobs Framed Print

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A little set-back

We thought the road ahead was clear from cancer. My husband went through esophageal treatment last summer, with radiation, chemo and surgery (removing the esophagus and resectioning to stomach; recovered nicely) and a final round of chemo in Feb this year to zap all the lingering meanies. Well, lo and behold, a few renegades lingered and he has a tumor on his spine that caused tremendous pain for two months until it was found with an MRI in July, last month. Needless to say, we felt like we had been hit by a truck. It was wonderful to finally get his pain diagnosed and treated, but we had not expected this.

He was immediately put in the hospital (from doctor’s office visit down the hall, he walked into hospital admitting) for more tests, and radiation started within two days. That’s how urgent it was. He was on radiation for two weeks and now has two weeks “off”. He’s ready to start chemo in two weeks for a 9 week session (three 3-week rounds).

I had a “to do” list for around the house, but now that’s all on hold. I am going to keep doing a few little projects around here that I can manage and will post what seems worthy, watch the hummingbirds, work on my genealogy, and probably some posts including our 3 year old grandson’s visits.

Since we have been through this before it’s not quite as daunting to think about, and no surgery this time, but still it kind of puts your life on hold. Since his immune system gets destroyed during treatment, he must avoid crowds and sickness, so we tend to not go anywhere and he may not feel like it anyway. The wedding we planned to attend in Kansas City will have to be declined; the visits to our grandson in Okla City will have to be delayed. He cannot drive and will have to work from home as he is able (as an architect, a lot of things he can do from here; job site visits he cannot do). I run my errands as needed by myself. I’ve been doing all the yardwork (mowing 4 acres or our 26, and planting and working the flower beds before the scorcher weather set in) as he has been recovering from his last chemo.

Last year we were building a new house amidst his treatments, and so this year it is nice to be in the house and not have any additional stress with that. Looking for any silver linings I can think of.

I researched this type of tumor, and 5-10 percent of all cancer patients develop it. It is not operable as it is in a very sensitive area of nerves and things. Chemo and radiation will hopefully kill the cells and keep it from spreading, and maybe shrink it down a bit to relive some pressure. He may have pain to be controlled from this point on, and will need to be monitored and dealt with as needed. He will be on regular monitoring
with CT, MRI and bone scans. He just filled out all the paperwork for his disability insurance assistance.

Heading into fall, we can just hibernate for several weeks and enjoy the cooler weather that I hope is heading our way.

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