Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Update

Well, I am two weeks out from surgery and wanted to give you an update on where I am now. But first I want to offer a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have offered your encouragement as I recover. So many of you have stopped by faithfully to see how I am doing and to let me know you are praying. I appreciate your support more than you know, and each comment has given my spirits a lift.

Unfortunately, my recovery has been much slower than I had hoped. I continue to have painful muscle spasms in my lower back that have confined me to bed since the surgery. The surgery itself was successful in alleviating the leg pain that has accompanied my back issues, and I am thankful to have avoided post-op nerve pain that can be an issue. The surgeon's nurse revealed to me last week that she was afraid I would have horrific leg pain because the disc fragment was lodged under the nerve root. I am blessed indeed not to have suffered that complication, but these muscle spasms have been debilitating.

My surgeon noted instability in my spine, which he says is why my back has become so prone to these painful flare-ups. He knew that I would probably need a back brace down the road, but had hoped to delay that step in favor of quick recovery and physical therapy. I still plan to do PT, but will be fitted for a back brace today and hope it will hasten my recovery.

My mother continues her treatment for multiple myeloma. Doctors believe her stem cell transplant was successful, but auxiliary problems have made this an agonizing process. She is on a ventilator now and requires constant dialysis. We are seeing small signs of progress each day, so hope she will soon regain her health. My heart aches to be with her during this trying time. My father, sister, brother and sister-in-law are keeping vigil with Mother at the hospital, so I ask your prayers for the whole family at this time.

The posts I have shared since my surgery feature projects completed before my surgery. I have a few more photographs to share in the days to come and hope to be back on my feet soon doing the things I love -- and sharing all the fun with you!

Blessings to You My Friends,  

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bow-Tie Pasta Toss

Pictured above is the bow tie pasta toss we enjoyed warm days before my back surgery. I have enjoyed it cold during my recovery.

Bow Tie Pasta Toss
I discovered this recipe a few years ago in Southern Living -- refreshing as a main course or side dish.
8 ounces uncooked bow tie pasta
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 (4 ounce) package crumbled feta cheese
Garnish: fresh oregano sprigs
Prepare pasta according to package directions, adding 1/2 teaspoon salt to water; drain well. Place pasta in a large bowl and stir in tomatoes, olives and garlic. Whisk together next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; add to pasta mixture, tossing to coat. Let stand 10 minutes; stir in feta. Garnish, if desired. (Substitute 6 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette for dressing, if desired.) Yield: 2-3 main dish servings or 4-6 side dish servings. (Note: I added a little red onion for extra flavor.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Red, White and Blue Table

I'm not sure how I will feel by the Fourth of July, but I'm hoping I'll be up to entertaining family. Just in case I'm still recovering, I celebrated the holiday early with a cookout by the pool with Joe and the children. A menu of grilled chicken, spinach salad, bowtie pasta toss, garlic bread and strawberry swirl ice cream with sweetened berries was a great way to celebrate summer -- as well as give Carson and Christian a proper send-off for a week at church camp.

Hydrangeas from our yard made a lovely centerpiece for dinner by the pool, and tableware from the Better Homes and Gardens collection at Wal-Mart set a festive table. I couldn't decide which combination of plates I liked best, so bought three red and three blue of each piece. I would like to have a complete set of each color -- or at least the blue. While I'm recuperating and Joe is doing our shopping, I wonder if he would complete our collection if I add these items to our grocery list? Or perhaps I'd better focus on getting better so I can purchase these "grocery staples" myself.

Tomorrow, the recipe for our refreshing summer pasta!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Garden Giveaway

Congratulations to the three readers of A Little Loveliness who won a free sewing tutorial from Etsy designer Whimsy Couture: Kristy Busby, Julie A. Cox and Wendy Schifflin. Please share your e-mail addresses with me, and I will pass them along to Whimsy Couture.

And congratulations to the winner of the May/June 2010 issue of Sew Beautiful, which features an adorable toddler bikini pattern: Dana Wingard. I will get your magazine to you as soon as possible.

Happy Sewing, Friends!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Stroll Through the Garden

After our recent tea party, the girls and I enjoyed roaming the grounds of Southern Homes and Gardens. Here are some of my favorite images from our stroll through the garden.


"In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful." -- Abram L. Urban

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sweet Treats

Aren't these cookies just darling? With flowers, ladybugs and butterflies, these soft honey vanilla cookies were perfect for our recent garden tea party.

The girls and I were thrilled to find these adorable springtime treats in the bakery section of our local Wal-Mart. At only $2 for a package of 12, these cookies would be an economical party favor or teatime treat.

Simply adorable!

Be sure to enter yesterday's giveaway, and come back tomorrow for some favorite garden images.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Garden Tea and a Giveaway

My boys were at church camp last week, so I had planned to have lots of special girl time with my daughters. Surgery last Wednesday put a kink in those plans, but it was really important to me to share teatime with Mary Ashley and Emma the day before my procedure.

I wanted to go into surgery with my mind full of beautiful memories rather than fears.

With tea parties in mind, I made pillowcase rompers for the girls using a pattern from Whimsy Couture. You might remember the casual rompers I made for the girls last year, shown here. This summer I wanted to make dressier capri-alls using some of the heirloom techniques I have learned this year. 

I chose white fabric and tatting for the rompers and pink satin ribbon for the ties.

Extra details like pin tucks and bullion roses made the rompers look more special. I added 20 sweet pink roses to Mary Ashley's romper, but did not have time to complete Emma's before our tea party. I am hoping I will feel up to working on hers during my "down time" this week. 


Doesn't Emma look precious?


Our tea party followed a four-hour pre-op appointment, so I decided beforehand that we would pick up food for our picnic tea party.


Mary Ashley suggested we pick up sandwiches from a favorite sub shop, and that was fine with me. I really enjoyed taking time out of a busy day to share lunch with my sweet girls. What special memories we made that day!

If you love this pillowcase romper pattern as much as I do, you will be thrilled to know that Whimsy Couture is giving away three sewing tutorials to readers of A Little Loveliness. Leave a comment below to enter, and I will announce the winners Friday.

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