Thursday, December 24, 2009

I need a kick in the butt.

dec24 2009 003
Originally uploaded by smileypomegranate

I just have not been able to finish this project, even though I know I'll love it and I am pretty sure that it will take less than an hour to finish, maybe even like five minutes. I don't know. I've never made a tassel before, but that's all it needs. And a few ends woven in, but I already did like 80% of those. It's like when I see what it's going to look like in the end, I don't feel compelled to finish it. I definately knit more for the process than the product. When I was pregnant I think I knitted my little guy about a dozen pairs of pants, but I don't think I put a single one on him. Of course, it didn't help that my friend, Lindsay, made me a ton of really gorgeous wool interlock pants and covers. But anyhow, I sure would like to see my big guy wearing this hat!

It's the Hudson Hat, btw, without the earflaps, knitted up in lovely worsted (heavy worsted, imo) malabrigo. The hat is HEAVY. Would be perfect for a New England winter. We complain bitterly when it gets down to 50* here, though.  (As you can see I did not use the yarn that my darling son chose for the hat.  Turned out it was just too darned mature for me.)

So, I've been so busy since we got home from our trip east for Thanksgiving, mostly with shop stuff.  I've done a ton of customs and even sold some of the instock stuff from my shop.  The customs really stress me out.  It's funny because they push me to make stuff that I probably wouldn't have otherwise, and I am always really pleased with the results.  My favorite custom item from this season was a 50x60 inch blanket.  I did two for the same person and they were the first blankets of this size I've sold.  And the last time I made one was about three years ago.  So I was kind of worried, not sure how they would turn out. 

Anyhow, for this blanket that I just love, I didn't have enough natural colored obv to do the whole order.  I had enough to do one layer for each blanket, so I dyed the backs for these but the fronts were all out of my already dyed fabric bin.  Some of the pieces were pretty small.  It was so gratifying to put them together!  And I so did not want to send this blanket off!

And last but not least, I got a new fabric!  A whole awsome roll of organic cotton bamboo double-sided terry, and I'm in love!  I just want to roll in it!  And I wish that I had had it when my little guy was a newborn because it is making scrumptious swaddle blankets.  I am dreaming of the day when I have six or eight different organic rolls in my sewing room (my sewing room will be bigger then!).  Some people dream of fame and fortune, but I'd be pretty pleased by a nice selection of organics. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wanna free lovey?

Come sign up here for a lovey giveaway.  You can choose any lovey you see in my shop, your choice of colors and if you're feeling experimental, we can do a whole new applique, or none at all.  Patchwork if you want.  Totally custom!  I'm looking to add new designs to the shop, so I may use your great ideas for future lovies.  And by the way, the holiday season is kicking my butt -- in a good way! -- so I won't be starting your lovey until after Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I've been looking for somewhere to hang out and I may have found it...

It's always exciting to find an etsy shop I like, whether they're already a great success or not, but somehow it's more fun to find an up and coming shop that doesn't have a bazillion sales already.  I'm always a little disappointed when I click on a thumbnail and find that it's one of those shops that has already made it.  I want to find that unnoticed diamond in the rough and watch them, uh, blossom or get polished or something, and support them and feel like we're in it together.  Somehow it's more satisfying that feeling like the shy new kid in the corner singing the praises of the popular kids. 

So, today I found one such shop.  It's Bags by Claire and I'm drooling over her stuff, especially this bag:

I may have to ask for this for xmas!

And, on a related note...  of course it would be fun to get to know and talk to other etsians just starting out, compare notes, vent, etc., and I think I found the place.  It's the Etsy D List.  The blog looks like a great resource and there is a team and a forum, I think.  I have to do some more poking around over there.  A few weeks ago, I was starting to feel really frustrated and down about my shop (happy to report I can't even remember why now!) and it sure would've been nice to have some people who understood to talk to.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My little guy's eye: a totally off topic PSA

On the day he was born, his eyelid, like the rest of him, was just perfect and beautiful.  But by day three or so, we noticed what looked like a bright red scratch right above and running parallel to his eyelashes.  By about ten days it was clearly growing like mad.  And at seven weeks it looked like this:

It was a hemangioma, sometimes called a strawberry birthmark, which is normally not any reason for great concern.  Apparently something like 10% of caucasian babies have one or more of them.  They normally grow for six months to a year -- to various sizes, some never getting big at all, but some getting pretty large -- and then begin to receed and eventually, usually by age five, disappear.  They don't usually require any medical treatment.  But because his was on his eyelid there was a chance that it could get so big as to block his vision, which would leave him blind in that eye even after the hemangioma was gone.  Also, hemangiomas can distort the underlying flesh, and can be especially disfiguring if on an eyelid or at the corners of the nose or mouth.  I'm not sure if this is always the case, but my little guy's hemangioma seemed to involve the entire thickness of his lid, so the underside was also beet red. 

Before about a year ago the only treatments for hemangiomas were steroids (either shot into the hemangioma or given systemically) and surgery.  The steroids caused side effects, like growth retardation, thinning of the bones, and adrenal suppression, which obviously would be very scary in a newborn, especially since it would be given for several months.  From what I could gather, surgery on a hemangioma doesn't always lead to great outcomes and is more difficult than other similar surgeries because a hemangioma is a vascular tumor and thus is prone to serious bleeding. 

So, I feel so lucky that he was born when he was!  It was hard being one of the first to use a new treatment, but because the old treatments were so bad, I feel like we really dodged a bullet.  About a year before he was born a pediatric cardiologist in France was using propranolol (a drug that had been used on pediatric heart patients since the 80's, and on adults for much longer) on several patients, and a couple of them had hemangiomas.  Over the course of their treatment, the doctor realized that the hemangiomas didn't grow and may have receeded earlier than what would have been expected.  After that, there was a trial involving 12 babies that had good results, and then my little guy was born.  Very few babies had been treated with propanolol before him and I believe that he was one of the first if not the very first in San Diego. 

Even though propranolol seemed like such a godsend, it was also scary to make the decision to use it.  Side effects included a possible lowering of blood pressure and blood sugar.  And can you imagine looking at your two month old and trying to figure out if his blood pressure might be low?  The most likely symptom would be sleepiness.  So, we had to have blood pressure checks three times a week.  And if you've ever had to have your newborn's blood pressure checked, you know that it doesn't seem like an exact science.  They would take it on each limb (if he was calm enough) and often the results would be all over the map. 

So I wanted to put our story out there for other parents considering propranolol.  When I was googling it eight months ago, there was next to nothing on the web as far first hand experience with it.  And there were a lot of people saying it shouldn't be used for this purpose at all.

If I had it to do again, I would definately do propranolol!  It was scary at first, but after a few weeks of bp checks and with my little guy getting older, it did start to get pretty tolerable.  We saw a noticeable improvement within the first 48 hours, mostly a decrease in intensity of the color.  It went from a deep glaring beet red to a grey/pink.  (This was the day before we started and this was what it looked like 48 hours in.)

From what I was able to find online, it seemed like most or all of the improvement would be seen in the first 48 hours or so, but that wasn't true for us.  His hemangioma was almost completely gone by six months, after being on propranolol for a little more than four months.  This pic was taken about a month before he stopped taking propranolol, and as you can see the lid is still a little misshapen, but not nearly as big and puffy or red.

After he stopped the medication at a week shy of six months, the hemangioma came back a bit, not so much in color, but it is a little puffy.  But it hasn't bounced back enough that it seems like it could be a threat to his vision.  And yesterday, at 9 1/2 months, his dermatologist saw it and thought he was completely out of the woods and would not have to go back on the meds.  He may need some reconstructive surgery, which would happen just before kindergarten, but he probably won't.  I'm really thrilled by how it all turned out!  Phew!