120 Donuts

Never a dull moment at Lil Blue Boo. My last update I managed to fit the words “laxative, beer bong, Grecian and Team Edward” all into one post and it all made sense. This time it’s: maxi pad, maternity jeans, mathematical equation and donuts. Yes, my blog is random…..you never quite know what I’ll be in the mood to write.

I had my chemo this morning at 8:30 am. Just a half pound of weight lost….I thought for SURE I’d gain weight after Thanksgiving. My butt is so flat and sad looking saying “feed me, puhllleeeaseee!” I reply: “I’m trying! But they can’t fit donuts in IVs!”

 

 

Lisa is sick with a bad cold so we are wearing masks around here today. My mask is from the Lucy Curci Center and is lightweight and comfortable….Lisa’s mask is from an apocalyptic nuclear war emergency kit, seriously, that’s Lisa for ya. I kept laughing because her mask was so thick and she kept saying:

“I feel like I’m wearing a maxi pad on my face!!!”

 

I worked my little tushie off this morning because I had some energy and I knew the chemo would kick in by afternoon. It felt really good to work for a while. This weekend Mr. LBB and our friend Chris and his son carpeted the outdoor studio. I really, really wanted to dig in and organize some things but didn’t quite have the energy.

Holy smokes…..I can’t believe the response to the Choose Joy bracelets today. Seriously. Floored. Tears. Speechless. More tears. Giddy. I ordered 2,000 bracelets thinking that they would last a few months……and we already sold more than 1,400 in the first few hours. Mr. LBB and his assistant Bonnie had the bracelets at work today sorting and packaging. I’m going to have to get more help just to ship bracelets out! I feel like it’s my dad’s parting gift to me…..something I can really use to try and make a difference….all from a tiny piece of paper he left behind in his office. That gives me chills. Thank you so much for wanting to spread this message.

 

I’ve got this new project I wanted to start. I’ve gotten emails, unexpected packages and encouragement from so many of you….it just blew me away. In a way it’s made me feel guilty that I’m sucking up too much kindness and encouragement from the earth and that I need to find a way to deflect it to others that need it.  Every once in a while I consciously go out one day and before I come home I have to do something nice for someone….something.that is unexpected. I’ll pick a day soon and make it a day that we can all do something unexpected for someone else on the same day. Hopefully it will keep going on a daily basis! At night I brainstorm ideas and keep lists:

Take extra coupons to a store and hand them out to others who didn’t bring them.
Go out of the way to tell a manager about how great a waiter/waitress was.
Help someone who seems to be struggling with their groceries.
Bring in the neighbors trashcans.
Buy coffee or breakfast for the person behind you in line.
Write a short note to someone who has had a hard time recently.
Smile at the person ringing up your purchases and ask how their day is.
Drop off a new journal and a new pen to someone who could use some reflection.
Offer to organize a friend’s kitchen cabinets.

Every little thing that has been sent in the mail has been so appreciated. I hope many of you won’t mind if I share them with others who need some joy and encouragement. I don’t need one material thing. But the kindness and generosity you’ve shown me has given me the opportunity to share with others and I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart.

*****

I do want to share one delivery that will make you laugh. If you’ve followed me for a while you know my obsession for donuts (heck, I have an entire series devoted to donuts called The Donut Chronicles). After returning from Thanksgiving, we found 10 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts had been hand delivered to our front door…..personally delivered by CEO Jim Morgan. The king of donuts?!? At my front door?!? And I wasn’t here?!? (If you happen to read this Mr. Morgan, thank you so much…..I’m not sure The Donut Chronicles can ever top this. I think it might have to retire.) My dad knew so many wonderful people and Jim is one of them. My dad’s legacy pops up in some way every single day…..even through donuts. That’s something we’ll remember forever “remember when I was going through chemo and had 120 donuts delivered to the front door?” Minus the dozen we ate ourselves, we had fun hand delivering the rest of the donuts to friends and family and neighbors. If I wasn’t going through chemo though I can guarantee you I would have eaten an entire box myself.

 

 

Highlight of my day? Wearing jeans! The chemo makes my skin so sensitive that it makes it impossible to wear normal pants/jeans with my huge incision so I ordered a pair of Gap Maternity jeans (the only ones long enough for me!). The butt needs to be taken in just a bit but they rock. The huge elastic band covers my scar perfectly and I can tolerate it. So I might need a few more pairs to tide me over the next few months!

 

 

My levels continue to go down. I did a mathematical equation and the way the numbers have been it looks like I’ll be doing chemo into March. Maybe next week will be a huge drop and it will change my calculation : ) Angie was the closest with her guess last week in the pool with 1999! I need to find a little prize around here for her. Put in your guess for next week…..it’s my chemo pool….I’ll make chemo fun somehow!

 

Before I sign off tonight….I want to share someone special with you. I’m so moved and inspired by a woman named Jenny Swett. She found out in 2009 that she had breast cancer and then it spread to her liver, her brain and her bones. Jenny is undergoing additional radiation soon and once that is done she’ll start hospice. She is such a pillar of strength for me. I pray every night for a miracle for her and her family and hope you will too. We were introduced by her mother online and I know we were meant to be friends. You can read her and her mother Debby’s updates here.

“I have to say though, I’m not scared. I’m really, not. I feel like I was chosen to live this and I honestly look at it that I was given a gift to learn what most people learn in half the time, if at all. It was also a gift to be given this time to learn to live in the moment and accept life for what it is. The thing is, we make it so complicated. Life is simple, it really is.”

Jenny Swett

 

Life IS simple, it really is. Thank you Jenny.

Love to you all.

Choose joy!

Ash

Stenciled $1 Coaster Sets (A Tutorial)

I used  Martha Stewart holiday stencils and metallic paints to make some easy holiday coasters. The coasters came as a set of 6 from the dollar store! The metallic paints make the coasters festive and sophisticated.

 

The holiday kits are great because they cover a range of holidays….not just one:

[Read more…]

My Li’l List: Sulfate Free

Boo has her list….but there are always so many things that I LOVE and want to share that I needed to start my own list. I’m very frugal so I’m always looking for inexpensive products but I do have the occasional splurge. My Li’l List series = Things I love.

So here’s the first My Li’l List installment…..my shampoo love.  Mr. LBB and Boo have hard to tame hair so we used to use Wen products until I discovered Everpure Sulfate-Free hair products. I have fine hair and I use it too…..and since all three of us use it we go through a LOT of it.  THEN Rite Aid started making a generic version…….and each bottle is under $5.  I buy up the entire shelf when I go! No sulfates…..so no harsh detergents.

My Li’l List series = Things I love.….and think you might too.

Black Friday & Weekend Sale

Just to say ‘Thank You’! A Surprise Black Friday Sale! I got it up late so it will go through some of the weekend too. Use code BLACKFRIDAY on selected items in the Lil Blue Boo shop as well as patterns to get 20% off! Click below to view what’s on sale!

Handmade Hair Bands and Gift Tags (Tutorial and Free Download)

Boo and I are making stocking stuffers today. We’ve made these hairbands before but today we added a cute little wood gift tag.

 

 

I picked up the printed foldover elastic from Target Trim in L.A. If you can’t find your own prints locally or online you can call them and they will ship you an order. 2 yards makes about 8 hair bands.

[Read more…]

So Much to be Thankful For…..

We are at my sister-in-law’s house today for Thanksgiving. It’s Jenn’s first time hosting the entire family for Thanksgiving and she’s done the most amazing job. Jenn (or “TT” as we all lovingly call her…..her nickname was “tattletale” when she was younger). Boo is well on her way to being “mini TT.”

Boo helped me with the place cards this morning (TT got the printables from Over the Big Moon):

 

We’ve all been adding things to the “thankful” tree:

 

The house and tables are all so beautifully decorated…..I hope I don’t have to host anytime soon because this would be hard to top : )

 

 

I want to sit at the kid’s table….why don’t the adults get crayons?

 

 

TT used “The Perfect Turkey” recipe….doesn’t it look perfect?

 

 

We still have an hour or so before we eat so everyone is resting and the kids are playing outside in the amazing weather. We have six cousins under the age of 5 and they are just in heaven playing together! We have a huge blended family and I just think it’s amazing that we have friends, ex husbands, step-siblings etc that all show up to every holiday and everyone gets along so well. The house is filled with laughter and fun. I’m sitting in the living room surrounded by napping adults…..writing this post while listening to the fun banter from the kitchen…..my hubby just got “fired” from helping because he was too messy. Life is good.

 

There is so much to be thankful for.

It’s been a month and three days since my surgery and start of chemotherapy and I’m thankful for every day since.

I’m so thankful to be here today.

I’m so thankful for my sweet daughter and loving husband.

I’m so thankful for all of my wonderful family.

I’m so thankful for my wonderful friends who have helped us out so amazingly and without hesitation over the last month.

I’m thankful that my father passed away peacefully this year and that my mother is such an incredibly strong woman of faith.

I’m so thankful for wonderful doctors and a doting father-in-law who are helping me get better everyday.

I’m so thankful for all of you. I have so many wonderful online friends that I’ve become so close to over the last 2 years.

I’m so thankful for the most wonderful, loyal and hardest working assistant ever: Lisa. I’d wither away without her.

I’m thankful for all my other Lil Blue Boo employees and helpers: Gicela, Dawn, Mariela, Irizima and Carolyn.

I’m thankful for Cole’s progress……getting just a little better each day.

I’m so thankful for health, a roof over our heads, and food on the table.

I’m thankful for the little things.

I’m thankful for spandex.

I could go on and on and on…..


I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families today. I pray for anyone who is having a hard time today and needs uplifting. I pray for everyone to have tons and tons to be thankful for.

Love and thankfulness to all of you!

XOXO,

Ashley

Project Recovery: The Nitty Gritty

So today was my fifth round of chemo! Today was Mr LBB’s turn to take me. I kept Boo home from school because she has the worst cough and allergies mixed in….so Gicela came in early to work to watch her while we went.

Lots of good news today:
:: My levels went down again. 2648 (from 3416 last week). Still a long way to go but it’s going in the right direction! I keep joking that I should start a “pool” so people can guess what the levels will be the following week…..so put a guess out there….chemo can be fun you know.

I was bored while resting today and made this super nerdy, yet informative chart:

 

(Update: a friend asked if I’ve worked out the mathematical equation yet….the answer’s yes. I loved statistics.)

:: I didn’t lose any additional weight. I’ve been able to eat some really random foods and my quinoa/lemon/almond mixture is still the most palatable thing for me oddly enough. I refuse to have my butt photographed anymore…..so here’s a random smiling photo from the infusion center at Lucy Curci right after my blood was drawn.

 

Here’s the nitty gritty about how I’m doing for those that are interested or might be looking for information one day…..and it makes me laugh to write some of this because who knew that my craft blog would one day have pooping info on it:

:: I’m getting my chemotherapy (methotrexate) by an intramuscular shot. I thank my lucky stars that I don’t have to sit for hours in the infusion center…..because I would totally drive them nuts. I’d probably pick up my IV and say “see ya” in 4 hours…..just like how I get discharged from hospitals by unplugging everything myself. I know….patience is a virtue…..I don’t have it.  Since I’ve lost so much weight and kind of have a small frame anyways I’ve learned that I can ask for the “kid size” needles so I don’t have to get the thick long scary needles.

:: Each week I feel like the chemo gets a little harder. I feel fine sometimes and then I get up and start to jump into a normal routine and all the sudden a wave of exhaustion and nausea hit me. I find myself out of breath with the tiniest of tasks….so much so that people are always asking if I’m okay. I lean on walls and hold onto furniture while I’m chatting to someone. I guess it just takes a lot out of you. That’s my biggest side effect right now….exhaustion. I just feel REALLY old all the sudden. I worked on a tutorial the other day for 2 hours and it wiped me out for the rest of the day! BUT chemo is good when it’s working so yeehaw : )

:: Miralax is the bomb. I buy the generic version…..because seriously, who wants to spend their hard earned money on laxatives.  I mix it in a cup of coffee in the morning helps keep me regular too…..and that is a blessing….even if it’s too much information. Constipation after a hysterectomy can make everything more painful. Here’s what no one tells you….when they cut your stomach muscles open you can’t use them to go to the bathroom for a while. Seriously…..if anything is going to come out…..it comes out from my intestines doing what they are supposed to do. This has really been an eye opener for me…..did you know that you aren’t really supposed to have to “push” to poop? Don’t quote me on that though.

 

(Ummm Ashley, there’s a picture of laxative on your blog.)

 

:: Okay….so Boost, Slim Fast, Ensure…..ice cream….none of those worked for my appetite. Honestly, I would need a beer bong to get them down quick enough so I wouldn’t gag. I don’t throw up….but I dry heave……it’s my “false alarm” that tells me to go and lay down. My friend Molly brought me these Susan Snaps cookies (developed while Susan’s daughter and hubby were undergoing chemo) and they are the one thing I can really get down in the morning. Also, I have found that if I lay down while I eat….and just pick at the food over the course of an hour I can get it down….whatever works. Who cares if I look like I’m eating bon bons or grapes Grecian-style!

 

 

:: I still only wear spandex…..so I ordered a small pair of GAP maternity jeans so I can get back to wearing my wardrobe staple! The chemo makes my skin super sensitive and my incision gives me the heebie jeebies to touch  so what better than jeans with spandex on top!

The only frustrating thing for me right now is that the chemotherapy is hampering my recovery from the emergency hysterectomy and surgery. When I had my c-section with Boo I was driving 10 days later and back to the gym after a month and running again after 6 weeks. That was a piece of cake. I guess when they cut you open from above to bellybutton to the va-jay-jay it’s a little harder on your body. I can’t be as active as I want to be. But one day this will all be over and maybe I’ll run a marathon to make up for it. I just have to learn some patience. Oh, and and a few of you have passed along the website Hyster Sisters which I wanted to pass along for anyone else whose had a hysterectomy!

 

So today I was super exhausted and watched Toy Story 3 with Boo FOUR times. I’m glad it’s a cute movie! I sorted through fabric samples on the floor……fabric = happiness.

Oh and this weekend Lisa picked me up to see Breaking Dawn with our friend Jackie…..it was awesome. I’m an Edward fan. And Bella looked so pretty.

 

 

Thanks as always for all the prayers and support : )

Love to everyone tonight! Remember: Choose Joy!

XOXO,

Ash

I’ve linked all the posts about my recent health “adventure” and the loss of my father here. Thanks for reading…..I hope my stories will help others that might be going through similar experiences.

Hey you…..wanna fight? (Handpainted Applique Tutorial)

I’m so excited to be a part of No Big Dill’s Once Upon a Thread this month!

Earlier this year in the first series of Once Upon a Thread I made a dress inspired by The Giving Tree….it was one of my favorite books growing up. This time around I let Boo pick the book and she chose The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carl.

[Read more…]

The Sweet A-Line Dress

Now available in the pattern shop: The Sweet A-Line Dress ePattern. As a special treat I included a doll dress pattern that will fit most dolls ranging from 10″ to 15″ and even American Girl dolls. This knit pattern is a quick sew and perfect for almost any occasion. Make a comfy play dress or nightgown with the pattern or go down a size and make a fitted special occasion dress. Best part? I’ve included the largest range of sizes yet: 6M to 14 Years

 

Here is some inspiration from my fabulous pattern testers. I love to see the different takes on a pattern!

Katherine made an awesome play dress:

Melissa made a sweet floral dress:

 

Trisha and Chrystyna chose black and red palettes….perfect for the holidays:

 

And Melanie and Melissa chose funky! Love the color blocking effect!