Monday, July 27, 2009

Getting crafty- chandelier shades

Distracting myself with the pleasures of home decorating for a moment...

I knew that I wanted chandeliers in the kitchen from the beginning- loved the elegance that they imparted to an otherwise utilitarian space. I was very happy with the ones we found- the sizing was right, the oil rubbed bronze fit in with everything and even the glass details picked up the glass cabinet knobs. That said, I was not thrilled with the way the bare candle bulbs looked...

Hence my latest craft project. Did you know they make chandelier shades that are especially for covering them in your own fabric? So exciting!
That said, it was WAY more labor intensive than I had anticipated. After employing a slightly different technique for each of the six shades, I still don't feel like I "have it down". The shades have a template that you peel off to reveal a sticky surface; I used the template to cut the fabric with a bit of overhang, but the trick/problem was making that overhang look good. The hot glue gun was imperative. At first I free-handed folding it over and securing it, but later tried the iron to crease the fold...

From a distance, they look good to me!

Up close, I see a million little flaws. There is no denying that these are handmade. Still, it's fun that we could choose our own fabric and ribbon and was still probably more cost-effective than buying each shade for $20 or more(!).... so maybe in a few years I can justify changing out the shades and work on perfecting my technique! In the meantime, I'm very happy with the way they turned out.

I do want to add another grosgrain ribbon around the top of each shade.... I just ran out of ribbon!

thank you.

I have been reading and rereading the incredibly kind comments from my last posting. I have been so skeptical of the Internet as a social platform because I feel that people so often underestimate the public nature of everything from blogs to facebook and run the risk of sharing too much. With that said, I think I'm slowly starting to feel that the the pitfalls of sharing too much are actually outweighed by the benefits of having a wider network than one would otherwise have....
For example, I came across a couple of online support group/message boards for people with pituitary tumors(!) I casually perused the message board and came across someone who had many of the same symptoms as I did.... I decided to email her and we've been exchanging emails back and forth-- turns out she is about my age and a public school teacher in Brooklyn. It's been really nice to email with someone (even a stranger!) who is going through the same thing right now. I actually emailed her the list of questions I made and brought to my surgeon/endocrinologist so she could bring it along to her appointment and we've been exchanging info on the various NYC doctors.
... and while I hesitated to post anything about this on my blog, I'm happy that I did. Selfishly because I really do read through the comments when I'm feeling discouraged or down-- but also because maybe months or years from now someone will be newly diagnosed with this and looking for information or advice or a sympathetic ear....
With that in mind, I will continue to post about this pituitary tumor thing until it's (hopefully) resolved... but I wanted to say a sincere, heartfelt thank you to everyone that has left a comment-- it really has raised my spirits and bolstered my strength.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Feeling blue

Again I've let a terrible amount of time go between posts. I'll cut right to it- two weeks ago I found out that I have a pituitary tumor. The good news is that these are almost always benign. The bad news is that they grow and start messing around with your hormones and impairing your vision. Needless to say I'm still reeling from the news. The past few weeks have been blood work and and MRI and this past week consults with two different neurosurgeons. Yesterday I called to schedule my surgery which will be August 5th- about three weeks from now.

Even though the surgery is straightforward (as far a brain surgery goes), I'm still really scared. And while I hate being like this, I sometimes feel like calling "mercy"- to whomever is calling the shots because I feel like I've done a pretty good job of generally holding it together through the difficult times this past year... and now this. After the fire, really until we moved back home, I felt so distant from "normal" life... like on a completely different plain of existence than everyone else just going about their business. Being present for my father's final days and losing him.... it was maybe even more so- just so detached from the life that everyone else was living. I was just beginning to feel like I could emerge from that space back into the 'real world' when I got the news of this.

I can't really group any of these things together. They all feel so different but that feeling on the outside of life, looking in (or maybe the other way around) is similar. I happened upon a quote the other day, "life's beauty is bound to its fragility" and that resonated strongly with me.

I feel out of sorts... I think I will until the surgery is over. To cope, I've promised myself lots of gardening and lots of yoga. Today I bought delphiniums and hydrangeas to plant. Gardening is wonderful work- it's artistic, it's exhausting, it's rewarding.. but behind it all is a connection to life and that delicate balance between what one can control and what one can't. There's beauty in that balance. Yoga is similar. It's about accepting what "is" and living within it.

Life hasn't been so easy lately, but life is beautiful. I am profoundly lucky in so many ways and I know I'll get through this next challenge... but wanted to explain why I've been and will be absent from here for a while.