Friday, July 31, 2015

Quilt Ambassador

My oldest sister Gwynn goes to Russia every summer, leading a study abroad as part of her work as a Clemson professor (details here). This summer she also had the privilege of representing the U.S. at the 90th anniversary of another camp, Artek. I made this table runner for her to present as the gift from the U.S. to Artek. Pretty cool! I made it with leftover blocks from a quilt shown in this post.

Here are a few older finishes I thought I'd share. Last year I made two baby quilts for a cousin's new baby and my boyfriend's new baby niece. They're made from 30's bow tie swap blocks and I think they turned out really sweet. I haven't been able to stop making these cute blocks, so I still have lots more of them. The second one was quilted by Dianne Dye in Roberta, GA.

These cute little animal blocks are a combination of two different swaps, and went to another of my boyfriend's nieces for her birthday.

Now for my most recent project. Earlier this summer I got my Grand Illusion (Bonnie Hunter's-2014-15 mystery quilt) quilt top finished and have started quilting it. 

So that will be the next finish up, hopefully before too much longer.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

5 Things I Wish a Doctor Had Told Me About Migraines

Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor. Please consult your doctor; you know the drill.

I've dealt with migraines all my life. Lots of them. My official diagnosis is "chronic daily migraine". Here are some things I never heard from any of the many doctors I've seen, but have picked up along the way other places or just figured out on my own. Maybe some you've heard of, maybe others you haven't and they'll help you, too.

1. Chocolate milk

This is a tip my Mom overheard about a year ago. Where, oh where has it been all my life?!? What she heard was chocolate ice cream, which I started out trying, and soon shortened it to chocolate milk which is quicker, plus easier on the budget and the waistline. The key here is to give yourself an ice cream headache. Sounds weird but it works. The instant you start to feel a headache coming on, drink a whole glass down as quickly as you can. It works great for me, and hopefully will for you, too. In a pinch, a few chocolate chips and ice water will work, too.

Update: A reader commented on facebook to use organic milk only. She says the additives in regular milk cause inflammation. (Inflammation is thought to cause headaches.) So I've switched to organic milk. It's only been a few days, but may be helping. Too soon to say, but I'd never heard this before, and it's definitely worth a try!

2. Crystallized ginger

This doesn't work nearly as well for me as chocolate milk, but it travels a lot better in my purse than chocolate milk does. Lol (Although you can find chocolate milk, or at least Yoo Hoo at almost any convenience store.) Anyway, the person I heard this from said a piece about the size of a quarter works for him. That amount didn't work for me, but several pieces can hold off headache progression for me long enough until I can get to some chocolate milk. The taste is really strong, but of course better than the pain of a headache.

3. Avoid heat

This is a tip from a friend with MS. It's summertime in the south, so this can mean rearranging my schedule, and sometimes just staying in, but if you've ever had a migraine, you know you'll do anything to avoid another one. Staying inside in the heat of the day is a small price to pay to avoid a headache.

4. Sit up in bed

I spent years and years trying to sleep off headaches...lying flat in the bed. A few years ago when I went to a headache clinic, (MHNI, which I highly recommend) for the inpatient part we were in hospital beds which were tilted upright. The connection didn't dawn on me until sometime after that. Do your headaches get worse if you lean forward? If so, then when you're in pain, instead of lying flat in bed, try propping yourself up with pillows, or sit up in a recliner. Also, I've been waking up with headaches, so have started sleeping more propped up instead of flat, and it's helping me wake up with fewer headaches.

5. Avoid eye strain

Avoiding glare from the sun is something I've known about for years. But did you know you shouldn't look at a computer/phone/tv screen in the dark? My sister mentioned this to me a year or two ago and it's been helpful. I've also got my computer and phone brightness settings turned down pretty low.

Here are 2 bonus tips:
Bonus 1. Ice the back of your head, too

This isn't on the list above because I learned it from my doctors at MHNI. You probably feel relief from putting ice on your forehead, or whichever temple is throbbing. Did you know the pain originates in the back of your head? Feel behind your ear, just above your neck. Feel that knob? There's one on each side of the back of your head. Whichever temple hurts, the pain starts in the knob on that side. Put ice on that knob, plus that temple. Be careful though, because too much pressure there can be aggravating. And if I don't have a headache, massaging that area can cause one.

Bonus 2. Flonase

This didn't make the list above because I haven't tried it yet. The other day my dentist told me he saw evidence that I have "airway issues" and said there's some evidence that could be a factor in headaches for some people. He suggested I look into it, and my doctor and pharmacist gave it the green light, so I picked some up today.

Update: It's only been a few days, and the switch to organic milk happened at the same time as trying Flonase, so I don't know whether Flonase or organice milk gets the credit, but I've been better for the last few days. When the Flonase runs out, I'll keep the organic milk and skip the Flonase to test it. I'll keep y'all posted.

You've probably already spent time looking for your triggers, but in case you need a refresher, here's a good article on food triggers, and here's an overview that also covers several environmental triggers.

Do you have any tried and true remedies? And if you find some of my tips helpful, please let me know.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Peach Crisp

Some people think summer starts with Memorial Day or Summer Solstice. That's fine for them, but for me it starts with the first peach crisp of the season. This year that came with the peach crisp I made for my Dad for Father's Day. was so good! So I thought I'd share the recipe.

My recipe came from my Mom. She scrawled it out on the back of an envelope, and I still keep it that way. As with many great, classic recipes, it's also simple and easy. I think that's why they stand the test of time.

Peach Crisp:
12-15 medium peaches (or whatever fruit you like, but what's better than peaches?!?)
1 c sugar, divided
2 T instant tapioca (if you use apples, leave this out but adding cinnamon would be good)
1 c flour
1 t baking powder
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted

Blanche peaches for 30 seconds in boiling water and put immediately in cold water. Rub peaches, and the skin will fall off. Cut peaches into bite size pieces and put into casserole dish (mine is 3.2 quart, 8" square and 4" deep; anything similar is fine). Mix in about 1/2 cup sugar (less if fruit is really sweet, or to taste) and instant tapioca. (I prefer my crisp less runny, so I use lots more than 2 T, maybe 4 or 5.)

Topping: Mix together flour, baking powder and 1/2 c sugar. Add egg. Mixture will be crumbly. Sprinkle topping over fruit. Pour melted butter over top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and edges are bubbly.

Serve with vanilla ice cream and try not to lick the bowl in front of company! :)

Serves 6-8.
My casserole dish is deep enough that I could have easily used 20-24 peaches with the same amount of topping and served more people. You could also double the whole thing and put it into a bigger container. I once served about 24 people by using 4 large cans of (drained) canned peaches (no need to add any sugar because they're packed in syrup) and quadrupled the topping. I used a large disposable aluminum pan (on a cookie sheet to support the weight).

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!