Happy Kitty Sewing: May 2014   

Friday, May 23, 2014

Awesome giveaway: Cotton+Steel

My favorite LQS, Pink Castle Fabrics, is sponsoring a fabulous giveaway to win a year's subscription to the Cotton+Steel monthly subscription club on one of my favorite blogs: Lily's Quilts. The winner gets a monthly bundle of 12 FQ: 9-10 prints & 2-3 basics. The bundles for purchase come in FQ, 1/2 yd, and full yd increments. Go to their website: pinkcastlefabrics.com to order your bundle today!

I got to meet Brenda last year when she turned her online store into a real store in Ann Arbor. They carry the best fabrics! They carry all the well known designers like Moda, Art Gallery Fabrics, RJR, Michael Miller, Riley Blake, Liberty, plus super awesome Japanese fabrics like Yuwa, Lecein, and Kokka among others. They also carry other types of fabric besides quilting cotton like linen, canvas, voile, double gauze, and I think they might be getting some knits in this summer! They also carry an awesome selection of paper patterns for quilting and sewing patterns! And one of my favorite things in the whole world: a beautiful selection of Aurifil threads! I love going and spending hours in the shop. In fact, that's my plan for tomorrow morning, because they have hundreds of  fabrics on sale for 40%!!!  That is the biggest sale I have ever seen there! They are moving out a bunch of great prints and solids to make room for the spring/summer/fall fabrics that are planned to be released later on this year. I'm super excited because I have some GCs from Christmas that I have been wanting to spend, but birthday and mother's day money! I haven't been getting gifts this year, just requesting money for fabric that is supposed to come out later this year. But with this sale, I might have to restart my savings for that collection! So make sure you enter on Lily's Quilts. So far theres not quite 500 entries!! I am REALLY hoping I win this one because it's so awesome!

Monday, May 12, 2014

SMS Day Giveaway!!! May 2014

***EDIT: Sorry for getting this post up late. My laptop literally died when I restarted it to put up the pictures. Which leads me to apologize for the crappy pics. They died with the laptop and I'm just using the ones off my phone***

I have known about SMS Day and have been entering since 2012. You can read all about the day at sewmamasew.com.  I think it's about time I give something back. Every time it comes around, it kinda comes up when everything is kinda crazy in my life, and I don't have something awesome to share. So before we get to the good stuff, I would like to share some super important information for females, and I appreciate you taking the time to read it before you enter or coming back and reading it later.

I started this blog after I Googled quilting in fall 2011. My sister had passed from cervical cancer at the age of 29 on August 7, 2010, and I was 31, and I was looking for a hobby to help work through my grief. She was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer Stage 3b in January 2009. She had been "leaking" urine when she laughed hard the summer before, and it was getting progressively worse. She had just finished all her exams and graduated from Eastern Michigan University, to become a teacher. She worked as a Store Manager of a Burger King, for the same owner/boss since she started working there at the age of 15. Fast food restaurants do not offer health insurance for all employees (at that time; it may have changed with the Obama Care thing). In fact, to qualify for health insurance you must have a title of "assistant/manager" and work full time at 40 per week. There are two options to choose from, Crappy and Crappier, and then they deduct a chunk of money from your check. My sister was making MORE money working at BK, than she would as a teacher, and every time she went to leave, her boss just kept raising her salary. She was very loyal, but she was getting too old mentally and physically to work there. (This turned out to be a good thing for her; her bosses were so incredibly giving while she was sick by keeping her on PAID leave for over a year, and were paying for the "better" insurance out of their pockets for her) So in the fall of 2008, she made an appointment with a urologist, (but she had to see her primary doctor to get the referral-so add 3 months), and saw him after 3 months. He did a cystoscopy (put a camera/tube up her urethra- aka your "pee hole"), and did some "examining" around the area. He said to make an exam with a gynecologist. He saw a tumor in her vaginal canal, but didn't bother telling her that. She made another 3 month-from-now appointment with a OB-GYN for January. On December 17, the pain that she had been having in her abdomen became much more severe, so she, her fiance Frank, and my Mom, went to the ER. They did a bunch of tests, and sent her home with some pain meds. A week or so later, my Dad called me on my way home from work, and told me that my sister had been diagnosed STAGE 3B. She didn't even get to her scheduled OB-GYN appointment yet. They started treatment immediately, and my life completely changed forever. At this time, I'm a RN and have experience from working at my first hospital on their Oncology floor for 3 years, and worked at St Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, for over a year. I have only worked on Oncology floors, so I understood the treatments and prognosis, and what each entailed. My stomach flipped and I knew how serious it was. Her cancer was the size of a softball (i think?), but had not metastasized (moved to a lymph node or other organ) yet. To make a long story short, she had missed her PAP smear for over 2 years. Cervical cancer is caused from HPV, which is a STI that you can get by SKIN to SKIN contact. You don't even have to exchange any fluids or have intercourse. You can get this by friction. It's possible to get, even if you both can have underwear on! (according to some reputable websites I found during researching: HPV and Cervical Cancer). Cervical cancer has been known to develop on it's own as well.

There is a test that can be done every year to detect if there are any changes to the cervix, such as abnormal cell growth or surrounding infections, and it's called a PAP smear, and it's exactly for detecting cervical cancer. It's been around for a long time. It's the not-so-fun doctor appointment, where you put on a gown and lay on the table in stirrups, and the doctor takes a special Q-tip and swabs inside you for cells to test. One of the cervix's job is to tighten when pregnant, so the baby doesn't emerge early, so it has a very special job to do. The government has recently changed it's policy on PAP smears, from getting them annually to once EVERY 3 years. They changed this to try to save money on "unnecessary" health testing costs. It is true that the majority of tests will come back negative, but this can be deadly for the small amount that have an abnormal test result. Sometimes insurance even states that you shouldn't start getting tested until you are 25!!! Lots of women will get normal results every year, but I think it's dangerous to wait that long for the women who may develop cancer rapidly, like my sister. I suggest that you get a PAP done every year starting when you are sexually active or after you turn 18 years old; whichever comes first. I would suggest to my daughter to get one by the time she is 21, if she is not yet sexually active. A really nice woman emailed me today, said if she would have waited until 25 she would have not gotten treatment in time, and could have died. You need to be an advocate for yourself and demand this every year! The last that I knew, most insurances will still pay annually for one, but "suggests" testing every 3 years. Please tell your female friends about this, if you feel comfortable enough to discuss it with them. Please ask your adult daughters if they are caught up on their annual PAP. My mom feels incredibly guilty that she didn't ask, although it's not her fault. Your friends and daughters may pass the info on to their daughters or their friends, and even if 1 woman is saved, that will make me incredibly happy! For them and their loved ones! I believe my sister got one of the 4 deadliest strains, and both her and I were not vaccinated with Guardisil (a vaccination a girl can get to help prevent the deadliest strains of cervical cancer)  because we were too "old" when it came out. I'm not recommending the vaccine, to each their own, but I have provided the link to their official page if you are interested in reading about it. (Plus I never like to jump into a new treatment without years of post-research, if I can avoid it). It has been out for about ten years now.

 There are like 80 strains of HPV or something like that. It's not the same strain that causes warts or herpes. Sometimes HPV has no symptoms at all, and it's possible to contract and go away on it's own. It says that cancer can take years to develop, but I don't think that is necessarily true in every case. My sister drank alcohol occasionally and was a social smoker, but she did not sleep around (as far as I know). Her boyfriend before her fiance, cheated on my sister and got that girl pregnant. I think it may have come from him, but I hate to make an accusation like that without finding out for sure. Plus it's not like he did it purposefully. This is why it's important *I think* to get a PAP smear annually, especially if you have ever had a past positive test for HPV, or  have had any findings in your PAP smear that may indicate abnormal cell growth. Remember, HPV sometimes does not show any symptoms at all, until it is too late. Many people do not know they even have it, and that's why you should never be embarrassed if you get it. It's not because you are a bad person.  The PAP is not needed if you are pregnant, because your OB should be checking down there frequently anyway. The technology for HIV/AIDS have significantly improved, and thankfully isn't a death sentence anymore, but 20 million Americans have HPV currently, and it's growing. That's one of the reasons why it's also important to get checked out for STI's as needed. Please see here for the government's Center for Disease Control on cervical cancer, to find out more. If you are going through Menopause, you still need to get your annual  PAP exam. It's still possible to get cervical and ovarian cancer after The Change. Please discuss this with your primary care physician. If your doctor says that you no longer need one, that is the old recommendations. Please remember my sister, and be an advocate for yourself and firmly request one if your doctor doesn't think you need one. You may just be saving your life! When I started working at the hospitals I was blown away by the amount of people who have or had a diagnosis of cancer. It's even more than you think! Thank you for reading this. It means a lot to me. SO now let's get to the good stuff!!!

So I started quilting to help with my grief. I've made a bunch of blankets and a few quilt tops, but have never completely finished them (or blogged about them). But I got some new books to help with that. Since Google Reader died, I have found it easier to keep up by using Instagram. I follow as many people as I can who quilt or sew cute clothes (my other obsession)!

I *am* giving away Heather Ross fabric "scraps" There are 9 pieces total of various sizes. But I have to be honest with you. I bought these from thegreatfabricdestash on IG. The description read "Heather Ross scraps $20". I saw the gnomes and fish, and pounced on it. I was super excited, and couldn't wait until they came. When I opened up the Ziploc, I became less happy. Most of the "scraps" came from PJ pants. These are the first HR prints that I have, besides Briar Rose. I wouldn't have bought them had I known they came from the PJs. I am 99% sure the photo did not show this or was left in the details , so I felt duped. I don't know if they have ever been washed or not, or the history, because I bought them as "scraps", I didn't care if they were washed or not, and I already have pets so I didn't care. My cats come into this room, but don't go by my sewing area, just to let you know. I have a dog, but he stays on the floor or bed. I know that this does not matter to some people, and I know there are HR maniacs (no judging here!) out there that would love to have these! So instead of trying to resell them and make up a fair price -are the PJs even worth as much as the true fabric?!- I *finally* remembered that SMS day was coming up, so I have been holding on to them to giveaway! As you can see, my blog has taken last priority lately and I wanted a bigger audience to have a chance to win these. I have a bunch of projects in progress and I feel confident to finally start to share them here.

The first pic is of the pieces I got that are obviously attached to PJs, except for the dotted fabric. It got cut out of the pic, but the pink gnomes have buttons on them. The bike fabric is folded over so you can see the hems. The dotted fabric is pulled down to show you the selvage, but it's folded exactly in half from selvage to selvage. You can see the picture I posted on my instagram account here, which shows it better. (sorta-it IS from my crappy phone). The other pic I posted is here on IG. As you can see the fabric is switched around in the instagram pics. The coke can is there so you can see how big the fabric is (without me measuring it!)
Pic 1: Pink Gnomes, Sushi and Bikes have definite hems

Picture 2 contains fabric that has been cut with scissors and do not have any sewn hems. The dots above do not have hems either. There are 5 pieces. The striped fabric in this picture is folded in half, and you can see where the wrong side of the fabric is showing at the top. There are: blue gnomes, bags of fish, goldfish, a small pink bike and stripes.
Pic 2: Blue Gnomes, Goldfish, Bags of Fish, Pink Bike and Stripes.

RULES: I'm following the rules from sewmamasew.com. This giveaway will close: Friday, May 16, at 5 pm PST/8 pm EST. I will choose a winner by a computerized randomized draw program. I will try to email the winner by 11 pm, on Friday May 16th EST. I will ship the prize on Monday, May 19, so please respond within 48 hours, by Sunday, May 18th by 11 pm*EST/7 pm*PST, or I will have to draw a new winner, and I don't want to do that!!

I know that some people don't like Rafflecopter, so I made the first question super easy. Just tell me what way you follow me in the COMMENT section. PLEASE make sure you click on the rafflecopter so it can count your vote! Email me (ksmith8@emich.edu) if you have any trouble signing up for Rafflecopter, but I think you just add your email and name to it, and you are done. I promise it's super easy. I wanted to use an electronic counter and not have to go through all the comments myself to see if people did what they were supposed to do, to make it fair for everyone!

EDIT: I made some changes to the rafflecopter on Wednesday May 14, at 9 a.m. I forgot that some people do not have or want a G+ account. I accidentally switched my blog out of blogger to G+, and I can't go back to Blogger. I couldn't remove the original first question in the rafflecopter that asked to leave a comment, so now it's a bonus 5 point question. The new rafflecopter allows you to leave your answer within the rafflecopter box, and if you want to leave a comment below for the same question, you will get 5 extra points. I wanted to be as fair as possible, and that's why I went with rafflecopter.

Thank you very much! I appreciate you taking the time to read this post, more than you know! And thank you to SMS for hosting this awesome event.  Good Luck to all of you, and click here to go back to more giveaways for supplies.

a Rafflecopter giveaway