October 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Blog!

The Project Chick lives, y'all! I have risen from the piles of thread and scraps of fabric from which I've been hibernating and leaving you, my faithful readers, to wonder what in the world I'm up to! 

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been a busy bee selling dog bandanas and have new items I'm rolling out soon. I've had two whopping big events for work this month and Sunday my handsome husband and I will celebrate one full year of a roller coaster start to our marriage.
I have high hopes that our 2nd year of marriage will be less dramatic. Well, at least I hope it will involve less surgeries. :) 
I'm going to take this ol' 2nd birthday of the blog as a segue back into writing here again. Even if no one reads it, it's good for me to keep writing.
Happy 2nd birthday to The Project Chick!
Quick request for ideas on how to celebrate a 1st wedding anniversary?! We have Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday and are trying not to break the bank... AND GO!

August 4, 2013

New look and big news!

Well hi there faithful followers. You may notice a new look to the page, well we have even bigger news to go with the new look!

We are now... The Project Chick, LLC.!

Almost 2 years ago I hatched this name to use for my blog as a way to catalog my crafty projects and now, my medical melodramas. And really, the name just kind of stuck. I am the project chick. Following Relay for Life in April, I began getting requests for more of my Dog Bandanas that I'd made to sell as a fundraiser for my team, Check Your Neck.Well my dutiful husband decided that I couldn't just start selling these things on my own, that I needed to become official. He filled out the LLC paperwork, and here we are!

Once I get going, I'll transition to a real website and/or Etsy store, but for now I'm taking orders through my Facebook page, you'll be redirected there if you follow: theprojectchick.com.

Happy shopping!

July 13, 2013

Refinishing Our Bedroom Furniture

I realize the vintage/rustic/shabby chic look is on its way out (for now, it'll be back one day), but I've had this vision of distressed furniture for a while. We've only just now gotten around to doing it. It all started with me needing a bedside table when I moved into my apartment over 3 years ago. I just happened to pick out this nightstand at an antique store that was a deadringer for one I knew used to be mine (but had made its way to my dad's hunting camp). After reclaiming the hunting camp table, I was so pleased to find out that they were, in fact, matching pieces, albeit a few differences.

Fast forward 2 years and Kevin has just moved here and is living in our barren rental house. We manage to find a beautiful chest of drawer and dresser set, in very good condition. Mix all of that together and we have nice pieces of furniture but a very mismatched look.

Ladies, you know how you can nag your man OVER and OVER and OVER about something and it never gets done? That's how this furniture has been for us. Guys, you know how you've finally been nagged enough about something that one day you snap and just say, "OKAY, FINE, we're going to Lowe's to get the stuff we're doing it today!" - well that was what happened two Sundays ago and how I finally got my furniture refinished.

Enough talking, I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

View of our bed with the 2 same-style, mismatched-stained nightstands:

Doesn't Louie have quite the "come hither" look?

My side, hence the excess of junk.
Excuse the cords, I have to keep them hidden from Louie.
Kev's side, hence the lack of junk.

The great part about the distressed look is we didn't have to aim for perfection. We had a great time doing this project, spending many late nights on our back porch sanding
then sanding again, 
then painting, 
and sanding again 
before a second coat of paint. 
After one final sanding, we applied Minwax Polycrylic as the top clear coat. 
As fun as this was, I think Kevin is convinced that I won't be doing any painting whenever we buy a house... I am very messy, in fact I still have paint in my hair and on my arms!

Here are a couple extra photos from the bedroom:
Check out the picture of my pup the night we got him!
View of the entire bedroom from our bathroom, all 4 pieces in sight.
There is SOMETHING about that dresser leg, he's already gotten it after we finished the project!

I hope you enjoyed these photos of our bedroom upgrade. Our goal is to use this in our guest bedroom whenever we buy a house and get an actual bedroom suite for us (to include a kingsize bed).
Tell me about any funny bloopers in your home improvement projects...

June 23, 2013

Cloth Napkins, Be Our Guest

Have you ever wondered what The Project Chick does on a Saturday night at 10:30?
She gets a wild hair to make cloth napkins.
That was she does.

I'd pinned the idea a while back and like most of the other things I 
lust-over-for-a-second-and-then-forget on Pinterest it got pushed aside for other projects. 
I also had the idea when Mr. K and I were at Crate and Barrel on Black Friday
and I saw what they were charging for something I knew I could do...
So I finally did it and I'm going to make more. Super easy.
I'm hoping we'll use them instead of so many paper towels.
Plus, using a cloth napkin is just plain fancy.

If you're a faithful follower, you may recognize this Civil War fabric from the quilt I made in my 
Beginner's Quilting Class at Janet's Quilting Bee. I had enough left over to make 4 napkins.
I started with 12.5" squares.
Next time I'll make them bigger, though. 
My clever napkin folds look a little silly on such a small napkin.
I cut the corners so I could miter them later.
Folded the edges down 1/4"(ish) and then folded the corners in. 
The iron is your friend for this part.
I forgot to take a picture, but after that, I folded it down again and then sewed a continuous seam 
around the edges. Next time I'll make them bigger and might try a double sided design.

In my line of work, I see a lot of unique napkin folds, but I kind of made this one up. 
I also tried a fan design.
I had fun setting the table with our casual china. I don't believe I've ever shown it to y'all, but we still love it. 
It's Mikasa Antique White. Our fine china (not shown here) is Mikasa Cameo Platinum.
Maybe I'll bring that out once we have a bigger house. :)
I love our table settings. The flatware is Easton by Oneida.

And lastly, I just have to brag about our vegetables from our garden. The orange and pepper are store-bought, but everything else, we grew! Don't you just love that bowl? 
It was a wedding gift from Elise, a good friend of mine from college who's got a 
beautiful family of both 2 and 4-legged babies.
Thanks for humoring me by checking out my 10 pics of our old, hand-me-down dining room table. 
One day we'll have a fancy one, but for now, I love the history of this one. 

June 17, 2013

Bedtime for Louie! Doggie pillow case

I can't believe how long I've been without posting. It's kind of embarrassing. I would've updated you all on the cancer situation but I'm really just tired of talking about it.
Long-story-short: We went to MD Anderson in Houston, I'm cancer free, am not going to be having radioactive iodine, and I have this BRAF genetic mutation that I'll find out more about when I go for follow-up in November. Oh. And right now I have shingles and a new blood clot. So that's all we're going to say about that.
I've actually been getting around to doing some projects again and that's made me really happy.

Today's post is about something I made for my little guy, Louie. He's almost 8 months old now so we thought it was time to give him his own bed. Not sure if he'd destroy it right away, we didn't want to spend a fortune. So I found this super comfy bed at Marshall's for only $10.

 Only problem - it's pink and fluffy. And Louie was clearly not impressed.

Have no fear! I was able to quickly whip up a Louie-themed pillow case to match his placemat and voila! My boy now has a manly looking bed and as an added bonus I'll be able to wash the whole thing!
 So far, so good, he hasn't destroyed it!
Yes, he drooled on it as soon as I gave it to him. He loves it!
Fun doggie print. Dogs at the park.
More projects to come! And look for an exciting development to be announced soon (and NO, it's not a baby).

May 7, 2013

These are the Hands

Kiss the bride.
Oy. I would like to tell you that I just realized it's been nearly a month since my last post. But I knew how long it has been. I have just been trying to wait until I had good news to share. Not quite yet, I've had some ups and downs with doctors, lab work, and now I'm heading to Houston soon. But that's not what this post is about.

This post is about someone who is often forgotten when people ask how I'm doing, but he feels the same emotions I'm feeling right now. He is someone who has had to put trips to see family and his own doctors' appointments on hold because of my issues. My gentle-giant husband of just over 6 months has taken our vow of "in sickness and in health" seriously and has already seen me in my happiest days and my lowest days in a very short amount of time. I'd be lying if I said it's been easy. It's been downright hard some days. As awesome as it was, I don't think there's any way our Engaged Encounter last April could have come close to preparing us for what our first half-year of marriage would hold: a cancer diagnosis, a surgery, failed attempt radiation, a second surgery, and now a trip to MD Anderson in Houston.

But we're making it. 

And I hope we've seen the worst of it. At least for a while.
Celebrating my 25th birthday in 2011. Love this one.

Our household roles right now are anything but 'traditional' and Mr. K has taken on more than his fair share of responsibilities (seriously. If you need help setting up a venue for a baby shower, call him). We are both growing in so many ways and I truly think through all the really crappy days, enduring cancer together is making us stronger.

This is super sappy, but in some of my really dark moments I've gone back to this one exercise from  Engaged Encounter last year and it turns my angry tears to sobs of sweet memories and joyful hopes for the future. Some may have heard it or seen it at weddings, but here goes. Thanks to Modern Day Southern Belle for posting this version online.

I held Kevin's hands as they said:

These are the hands, young and strong and vibrant with love, that hold yours on your wedding day, as he promises to love you all the days of his life.

These are the hands you will place with expectant joy against your stomach, until he too, feels his child stir within your womb.

These are the hands that look so large and clumsy, yet will be so gentle as he holds your baby for the first time.

These are the hands that will work long hours to earn money for you and your family.

These are the hands that will be nicked and bruised from fixing things around the house to make you more comfortable.

These are the hands that will caress your body through the years, to make the passion of love come alive in you.

These are the hands that will countless times wipe tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief rack your mind.

These are the hands that will tenderly lift your chin and brush your check as they raise your face to look into his eyes; eyes that are filled completely with his overwhelming love and desire for you. 

 And then he held mine:
These are the hands hold yours on your wedding day as she gives you her pledge to love you, and accepts your ring.

These are the hands that are smooth and young and carefree now, but will be lined and rougher, working to make you comfortable.

These are the hands that will hold each child in tender love, soothing them through illness, disciplining them when naughty, and wringing themselves in worry when trouble comes.

These are the hands that will hold your face and wipe tears from your eyes in wonder and awe that you would cry for her.

These are the hands that will hold you in joy, excitement and hope each time she tells you that you are to have another child; that together you have created a new life.

Perhaps these are the hands that will comfort you when you are told you cannot have a child, and will convince you that together you will create a new life in other ways.

These are the hands that through the years will caress your body in the passion of love, to enhance your intimacy.

These are the hands that will enter the Sacrament of Matrimony. These four hands will be your armor and shield against the evils and temptations of the world.

These are the hands that will reach out, first to each other, then united, will spread your love and your sacrament to all they touch.

These are the hands that will ease your parents loneliness as you leave the nest, will first teach your own children the marvels of married life, and will be a sign to friends and strangers alike as to just how wonderful married life can be.

Through these four hands, God will renew His Church. These hands are the hope of a troubled humanity. These are the hands that will change the world.
I can't even read it and manage to keep myself from crying. Maybe because I'm hormonal (dude, WHERE is my thyroid) or maybe it's because it's so real and raw and I'm living this hypothetical life they describe in this exercise. Anyway, I love it and it serves as a powerful reminder to me how perfectly my husband and I were created for each other.

April 11, 2013

Thank you, Father!

Johnathon, my groom and I
As I mentioned in my last post, I was blessed to receive a hospital visit from one of my good friends, Johnathon Goff, who's currently a seminarian in New Orleans. He'll be a priest in 2 years and I'm so proud of him, he even was an altar server for our wedding.

Johnathon was in town visiting family and came to see me the day after my surgery and again the day I was being discharged. On the second visit he had Father Dennis Carver with him. They prayed with me and Fr. Carver gave me the Anointing of the Sick and my mother and I both received Communion. It was a very special moment and I felt so blessed to have visited with them that morning.

Father Carver
Have I mentioned yet the little cocktails I was being given while there? I get extremely nauseated from a lot of the pain medications so they kept me rotated between Lortabs and Morphine + Phenergan so I wouldn't get sick. I. Was. Loopy. 

So fast forward to Easter Sunday, I'd been out of the hospital 3 days. Kevin and I overslept through our normal Mass at St. Alphonsus, so I quickly remembered that we could catch the 10 am at St. Michael's in Biloxi. The church was so packed we had to sit in the window sill! 

As we're sitting through Mass, it hits me... "I think that's the priest that prayed with me in the hospital... I think..." So I whisper my discovery to Mr. K. He shushes me and I keep thinking. By the time Mass is over, I've convinced myself that it's definitely the same priest and I want to thank him again for praying with me and I wanted to introduce him to my husband. 

I hobble my stiff-necked-self through the crowd to get a good shot at shaking his hand before he's overwhelmed. I shake his hand and gush, "Father, thank you so much for praying with me in the hospital on Thursday! You have no idea how much that meant to me! Let me introduce you to my husband, this is Kevin." Not saying his name, the priest abruptly asks, "What hospital were you in?"

Thinking this guy must be crazy I say, "Uhh. Ocean Springs. I was the girl you visited with Johnathon, I'd just had surgery for Thyroid Cancer. This was on Thursday."

He thinks and then looks at me blankly and says he's got a terrible memory these days, so he may have, but he doesn't remember me. He told me he was glad I was up and and Mass either way and to have a Happy Easter. 

Father Greg Barras
Uh. Seriously? I was thinking... Does a priest do THAT much Anointing of the Sick that he wouldn't remember me from just a few days ago? 

A little embarrassed and upset, we hurry out of the church, grabbing a bulletin at the door. 

Telling Kev I couldn't believe Fr. Carver didn't remember me, I pick up the bulletin to read it and guess what I find out...

That wasn't Father Carver. That was Father Barras. Definitely not the same guy who prayed with me at the Hospital. Oh boy, you can just imagine that my husband had a good time retelling that story at our family lunch after church. I just feel a little guilty that I had Fr. Barras thinking he's losing his mind! HA! I included the best two pics I could find of each, you think they look alike, don't you?!

I also got confused last weekend and tried to argue with my family that it was a Catfish that killed The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, not a sting ray. Oops.

Have any of you ever done or said anything goofy after surgery?

April 10, 2013

Two-weeks Post-Op

My Grammy Blanchard's rosary.
So here's the long-procrastinated post-op report. I went back to work on Monday and today was a big day for two reasons:
1) It's been 2 weeks since the throat-slitting happened
2) 1 year ago tonight, I was admitted to the hospital and was being told my left leg had almost 100% blockage of blood clots below the knee. Read more here.

This sister needs a break and a half, y'all. But back to the present issue.

While I'm usually never at a loss for words, there are few to describe how I've felt the past few weeks.











To say I've been on a roller coaster would be to put it mildly. My emotions go crazy and I don't know if that's partially the ole' thyroid getting to me or just mental issues. I've been so surprised by the people who've shown up and shown out during this time; in contrast, I've been curious at others who remain absent but I try not to dwell on that. 

Sweet little drain hole.
The facts:
The day after surgery I was still sporting my drain and enjoying my morphine-induced trips to La-La-Land as my surgeon (who I really do have a crush on) explains that the surgery went as planned. They removed FIVE compartments of lymph nodes. I believe the stats ended up that 3 of the 11 nodes were cancerous. Be gone, cancer, be gone. After spending 2 days in the hospital, I went home on Holy Thursday after receiving the Anointing of the Sick from a local priest. In a later post, I've got a good story to go with that one. For now, enjoy this little nugget:
This might be TMI for some, but oh well, one funny moment was definitely when I had to pee for the first time following the surgery. And of course my nurse and nurse tech needed to be all in the know about this so when they asked how it went, I said it was very painful. At which point they said nonchalantly, "Oh, yeah, that's probably from where they had the catheter in, that's typical.
Excuse me? EXCUSE ME?
Ain't nobody said nothin' 'bout no catheters!? Seriously. I wince at the thought of those things the way a guy sympathizes with another guy being hit in his manhood (I have the same reaction upon reading the word episiotomy, as well, yikes). Okay, okay, healthcare friends, I know you're thinking I'm an idiot, that catheters are pretty common when you have surgery, I get that. But no one mentioned it to me before that moment. So I know I had this look of surprise on my face. I was thankful though (that at least my peeps in surgery spared my dignity by waiting 'til I was passed out to violate me). If anything, I know the look on my doped-up face gave my nurses a smile for the evening. :)

I am so fortunate to have my mother live only 7 miles from me and that she is willing to dote on me when my husband has to be at work and I need some TLC. She cleaned up around my house, cooked for me, ran errands for me and was all around amazing to me during my recuperation time. We spent most of my 2 weeks off together as she had Spring Break last week.

I go see Dr. Frieze (Endocrinologist) on Friday where I plan to tell him that I'm ready to rock and roll on some radiation and stick a fork in this cancer bidness.

I do have some retro-posting to do about some funny stories and sweet gifts I've gotten, look for those soon.
Post-op photos via Aunt Deb

1-week post-op, bandage removal, fresh meat!
2-weeks post-op, still some swelling

April 2, 2013

Vegetable Garden Project

So I realize I owe y'all a surgery update. And it's coming. But I am going to wait until after my 1-week
appointment with my surgeon today to tell you how the surgery went and unveil my new 'necklace' of sorts. But I'm here. I'm alive. And seemingly okay. Thank you all for your sweet sweet prayers and thoughts.

To round out this beautiful Mississippi Easter weekend, Mr. K and I took advantage of his day off and transplanted our seeds to the raised beds my PawPaw used for years and years. I decided to share the pics here since my followers here are probably more interested in these kinds of activities than the mass Facebook populous.

If you know my husband then you know one of the things I love about him the most is that he does everything with his whole self: mind, body, and soul. Seriously, any guys looking to buy engagement rings, don't bother researching online, Kevin's practically a certified diamond-ologist and schooled the salespeople at most of the mall jewelry stores on the properties and values of a diamond. If you really want to nerd out on that subject, ask to see his spreadsheet. Yes, I know, I'm talking dirty to him now. He had a spreadsheet of the different properties of diamond shopping and made what he considered to be the most educated decision when he bought mine (I agree). And just ASK him about his homebrewing. I won't even begin to describe the passion he has for that science. Anyway - he's done the same with our little garden project. He's researched for hours, developed timetables and spreadsheets on the maturation dates and productivity estimations for each different seed. I can only imagine what he'll be like when the time comes for a Baby K (don't worry y'all, it's still a ways off).

How does our garden grow?

We began with the seeds in rows (that are documented on the spreadsheet) on the cornhole board I made him last Christmas (that our sweet pup Louie had a snack from a while back if you remember). They were put on this platform so we could easily carry them inside when temperatures got below 
freezing a few times in the last month or so. 
Louie's failed attempt to ruin our seeds.
He then marked out in the soil (that we turned over a few weeks ago) where each of the different types of plants would go. My PawPaw had the greenest thumb you ever saw so all it took was an hour or so of  shoveling to revive the rich soil hiding beneath the overgrown weeds that had taken root in the 2 years since he died.

Planted and watered (and guarded by Louie).

Now we will watch our garden grow! I'll update you as we go! 
We're looking forward to sunflowers, sweet peppers, hot peppers, jalapenos, cucumbers, tomatoes, summer squash, Brussels sprouts, cilantro and parsley.
Modern day American Gothic painting. :)
And as a bonus, you know it's hard for me to post without including pics of my sweet pup Louie. To save you from clicking through picture after picture, I compiled today's shots into this sweet little collage. :)

March 20, 2013

Surgery and Serendipity

So I've REALLY been putting off making this blog post. I think I kept hoping the outcome would change. But before you start seeing new 'scar pics' from me, I wanted to update y'all on the latest.

About a month ago I was on my low-iodine diet getting ready for Radioactive Iodine treatments and preparing to be in isolation for three days. I had all kinds of blog posts planned for my isolation period, I had books and movies and crafts all lined up to occupy my time. Well none of that happened. I even had enough flowers sent to me to fill a small florist. But the Radioactive Iodine never happened so neither did the isolation.

I knew from Day 1 that this could be a possibility. "But it only happens very rarely," my doctor said. HA! I am ALWAYS the 1% or 5% or whatever. Pretty much when I'm told, "This hardly ever happens," I know it's going to happen to me, I'm 1 in a million, what can I say?

Anyway - I had my Thyrogen injections on Monday and Tuesday and that went fine (these injections are made from the ovaries of hamsters, BTW, wild, huh). Tuesday afternoon I was given a small dose of the R131 treatment. After that I had a scan done of just my neck/head region.

The next morning I woke up and Mama Wanda drove me to the hospital. I just had this feeling that things weren't going to go as planned. The day before they'd explained that when I got there, I'd go in, get the pill, and leave immediately, it was to be a very quick morning. It took them too long to call my name when we checked in. Way too long. And it's never a good sign when Nancy my Nuclear Medicine chica summons me not cheerily, but by saying, "Dr. Frieze is on the phone, he wants to talk to you." Crap.

Dr. Frieze explains that there was an area that showed a high concentration of iodine and that is worrisome considering it means that there is remaining thyroid tissue and with no thyroid - that ain't 'sposed to be there!

He orders an ultrasound to get a better look at the area and possibly an MRI (well, with my luck, I knew I'd have to have the MRI). This is where the story gets cool:
I lay down on the ultrasound table and try to get as comfortable as I can. The tech immediately recognizes me from my biopsy I had back in July and asks how I've been, I give her the 30-second version, "IgotmarriedinOctoberfoundoutIhadthyroidcancerinNovemberhadsurgeryinDecemberandamsupposedtobegettingradiationrightnowbutinsteadIamhere."
She then confides in me that she's been dealing with her own struggles as she had recently miscarried a baby at 36 weeks pregnant. My heart dropped. She was feeling a pain much deeper than my pity party. My eyes watered up and we talked about our prayer lives and how calming it can be sometimes to just trust that somehow God has a plan, even in our darkest days. We truly connected in that few minutes and I'm still trying to find a way to do something nice for her. Figuring it was time to get back to business, she asks me where the questionable spot was on the scan, I just casually pointed to my right side of my neck, "I think it's here." She does the ultrasound and finds not one, but two sketchy masses and does her cool little picture taking of them (it makes a cool swishing sound). Before finishing though, she says she better send the images quickly and make sure that's what they wanted before she sends me back. She returns with a funny look on her face and tells me that she's not sure why I pointed her in the direction of the right side of my neck, because the spot that had shown up on the scan was in the front of my neck, where my thyroid used to be. But that now my doctor was more concerned with the two spots she found... accidentally... The original spot ended up being normal. Go figure. My surgeon is still amazed at that chain of events and he even surmised that someone was winking at me, that it was total serendipity that the ultrasound tech checked that side. I get goosebumps thinking about if I had known to tell her to check the front of my neck and if she might not have even check the right side...
Back to the big picture: I ended up getting the MRI, had a panic attack in the first 2 minutes and got to take a nice little trip to Ativan-land where I was able to relive my wedding day, but we didn't look like ourselves... we were all GUMMY BEARS. Yes, it was awesome. The MRI proved inconclusive, so I had a biopsy the next day.

I think you can guess by now what the biopsy showed, but yes - it showed that both lymph nodes were positive for metastatic cancer. Fast forward and I'm googling the terms Modified + Radical + Neck + Dissection. Barf-city. Don't do it. And don't be like my smart friends who, when I gave them the news in a text message and told them not to google it, and they did anyway.

I'm going to have a much larger incision this time and will most likely have a drain in place to get rid of the excess fluid. Surgery is next Tuesday, March 26. The reason it's taken so long is because my surgeon wanted me to be his only case of the day. Womp womp.

Sooner or later I'll post my sweet little project that is going to be my Relay for Life fundraiser.

Until then - peace! <3
Not your average "here's my ultrasound" pic,
but those are the two heifers in my neck .

Pinterest button