Wednesday, July 1, 2015

American Yo-Yo Flags

I believe our flag is more
than just cloth and ink.
It is a universally recognized symbol
that stands for liberty and freedom.
It is the history of our nation,
and it's marked by the blood
of those who died defending it.
~John Thune

Take one little ol' guess what dropped my jaw when this post popped its pretty little head in my blog Reader. Did you see it?! Over at Jann Olson's blog, Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson?! 

Jann Olson image

Of course, her yo-yo flag! Casually draped over a rustic wooden box. You guessed it: I was smitten!

When I commented on it, she replied, "I do love that yo yo flag. My sis made it for me years ago for my July birthday. It would be fun and easy to make!"

So, happy birthday, Jann!

And a very happy July 4 birthday to my country, the United States of America! To celebrate, like Jann's sis did, I made my own sweet sister a yo-yo flag.

I took this photo below in the Knoxville, Tennessee airport. I'd flown on a Thursday to Florida to spend Father's Day weekend with my dad.

The calico is my favorite!
I think it'd make a darling dress for my Dana.

Here's the flag's progress as of Friday's two-plus-hour car trip to Disney World.

My sister's yo-yo flag,
finished Saturday:
70 yo-yos

At Dad's

Tracing around a Corelle teacup onto cereal box cardboard yielded a four-inch yo-yo circle pattern.

One-fourth yard of each cotton print yielded 20 four-inch fabric yo-yo cuts (four different red prints, four different white prints and four different navy blue prints x 1/4 yard each = three yards of fabric total).

My sis's yo-yo flag

Here's another one I made for my friend Lady Blessington. You can tell I quilted together these yo-yos in a tighter fashion than my sister's flag. This is how my vintage yo-yo quilt was constructed decades ago (seen here and here).

On a flight from Newark, N.J., to Greensboro, N.C.

Having no scraps to use, each yo-yo flag cost under $10 to make.

I'm well on my way to a third yo-yo flag quilt. There's definitely enough navy blue, but I will need a little more white and more-than-a-little red fabric to finish a third yo-yo flag.

Like Jann's sister's yo-yo flag, my flags each required 32 red yo-yos, 26 white yo-yos, and 12 navy blue yo-yos. 

Lady Blessington's flag is exactly one full yo-yo shorter both horizontally and vertically than my sister's. 

Yo-Yo Flag Recap
-- Before mailing them last week, I failed to stitch my name and the date somewhere on the back of the yo-yo flags, like "Joe" was stitched on my vintage yo-yo quilt.

-- I would not use two different dotted fabrics again.
-- I should've steam-pressed all the yo-yos flat.
-- I'd purchase an odd number of seven different red fabric prints, especially for better variety, and five of the navy blue.
-- I wish I could've found some navy and some red plaids like Jann's sister used on her yo-yo flag. Perhaps shirts at a thrift store?
-- I decided I like the tighter yo-yo quilt versus the first version I made. 
-- I could have used some of the star-spangled fabrics I found in the fabric stores, but I didn't like the silver shine nor the sparkly/glittery fabrics.
-- I'd like to make some yo-yo flags to give as gifts next year but will use a three-inch yo-yo pattern instead.
-- A one-inch yo-yo pattern, yielding teensy tiny yo-yos, would make a great card front but a custom envelope would likely have to be made to enclose it. The tiny yo-yo flag could be stitched right to the card, the stitches hidden by an inside liner. That idea is adorable!
-- Country colors of maroon prints instead of red, tan prints (for a stained and vintage patina) instead of white and the navy blue would be really cute.
-- For a coastal, beach appeal, what about coral instead of red, cream instead of white and aqua instead of navy blue? Wouldn't that be precious as a yo-yo flag table runner at my house?! Make a series of flags back to back? Perhaps with a row of periwinkle or soft yellow in between? Yeah!

Thanks again, Jann, for the inspiration,

and God bless America!

★ ☆ 

Linking over at Jann's and Pam's.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Happy Birthday to The Highwayman

Every year on your birthday
you get a chance to start new.
~Sammy Hagar

A very happy birthday
The Highwayman.

I taped his good morning card
to the bathroom mirror.
Even the envelope sparkles a bit!

Off to Charlotte for the day (North Carolina, that is), and dinner with his cousin, uncle and friends! ♥︎

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Helpful Advice for a Total Knee Replacement (TKR)

Caregivers play an essential role in the lives 
of people having joint replacement surgery.
As a caregiver, you can... lend a hand
during the recuperation period.
~"Caring for a Loved One After Replacement Surgery"

Mother had a total knee replaced (TKR) April 1. I was her (hopefully loving) post-surgery caregiver for two weeks. Here is some advice which I hope will help anyone whose loved one is to undergo a TKR.

Pray for her before the surgery.
She's in God's good Hands.

Be there when she is taken from recovery to her hospital room.
Mother looked forward to seeing my smiling face and hearing my cheerful voice.

Stay out of the medical staff's and therapist's way.
Let them give Mother all the help she needs.

Ask her questions about a particular matter first and then have her ask the medical staff the question(s).
Listen to the answer, paying close attention to directives, instructions, etc.

Read the take-home packet together before she's released from the hospital.
The two of you can ask questions and make notations for future reference.

At the hospital, let her sleep.
Mother packed in her bag a book she had begun reading before the TKR. When she became too tired to read, she could put it down and sleep. I, too, brought reading material and handiwork, and even curled up and took naps in a wonderful recliner that was in her hospital. (We wanted to take that chair home with us but... )

At home, have everything ready for her release from the hospital.
Have her prescriptions filled on the way back to her clean and tidy home. The night before Mother was discharged, I left the hospital at about six o'clock and worked well into the night to make sure her home looked and smelled nice when she walked in the next morning.

Keep her home tidy while she heals.
I felt that her recovery would go more smoothly if her healing environment was pleasant. I wanted her to sleep in a clean bed, to wear clean clothes, use a clean bathroom, etc. Staying on top of the cleanliness of Mother's home was important to her wellbeing.

Record on paper her medicines.
If you don't record when she takes her medicine, stress the importance of making certain that she records it. As the caregiver, help her stay on top of it. "Mom, when did you take your medicine?" Glance often at the record. This is vital! Memory will fail! Mother appreciated my help.

I put that day's medicines in tiny Pyrex bowls. At a glance we could see which medicine had or had not yet been taken. We learned that certain pills were taken with breakfast, certain pills were taken a number of times each day, etc., but everything was recorded, the quantity and the time it was taken.

Be an informed caregiver.
Every system of her body must function well so she can recover. Is she constipated? Learn some reasons WHY she is dealing with that. Our "trial" was always, "Mother, drink this water." Dehydration is murder on her urinary tract (informed daughter), and we certainly didn't need that complicating her recovery.

The therapist explained on the first day he came: "You are responsible to SEE: Sleep, Eat and Exercise (physical therapy)." If she's not sleeping, not eating or not exercising well, Houston, you WILL have a problem.

Take pictures of her and laugh together!
Send them to her (and her only) to share with whomever she chooses. I captured the funniest picture of Mother while she was sleeping, and we had the best laugh over it! In fact, I saved it and it's her profile photo that I see each time she calls! It's adorably hilarious and "so Mother." Laughter is good medicine, so find things to laugh about.

Pretend there's a new baby in the house.
A baby needs you round the clock. The tables are turned now, though, and the baby is your precious mother. Treat her with the same kind of love you would give a newborn baby!

I slept with my bedroom door ajar. Although several nights she called out and I didn't hear her (I WAS TIRED!), I told her, "Mother, you must call loudly enough to wake me. Do not feel bad! That's why I am here, to help you whenever you need me. The door is open, just keep calling me until I hear you." Several times she called me on my iPhone or texted me, which worked very well!   

When she naps, you should nap.
I often snuck her mobile phone away and put it in another room on silent. Then I would silence mine as well and lie down for a bit, too. Caregivers need rest. I was a busy "cook and bottle washer," but deeply grateful I wasn't on the other side of the Pacific Ocean when my mother needed me most.

She will become addicted to the painkillers.
We were told that this is a fact, and we were told right. You will watch it happen before your eyes. You will see your mother addicted to a painkiller. Fortunately in her situation, her body began rebelling to all the medicine when she started vomiting for "no reason." (Her body was telling her the reason!) One day the therapist was measuring the capability of the new knee or helping her with an exercise and Mother suddenly needed her "bucket."

Toward the end of my stay with her, she was nauseated constantly, her appetite left and her spirit took a nosedive. I'd lay my hands on her and pray for her and we'd discuss her need to wean herself off of the painkillers. She had lost at least 10 pounds (and eventually lost another 10!) and finally came to herself. "I'm done with these!" she exclaimed. "No more painkillers for me!" and that was that. 

Encourage healthful eating and prepare meals and snacks that not only help her heal and recover but feed her body well. Fruits, vegetables, slow-and-low-cooked meats, slow-and-low cooked eggs and good fats like grass-fed cow's butter, nut oils, nuts and avocados are all ideal foods to feed the human body. Avoid potatoes, rice, cereals, dairy, any sweets of any kind and all processed foods. 

Help her feel and stay beautiful. I helped Mother with her hair and daily ironed and set out an outfit of her choice so she wasn't lying around in a nightgown all day. (She did not want to lie around in a nightgown all day!) Until the surgical site's dressing was clean and dry (no drainage), she gave herself a morning birdbath of the upper two-thirds of her body. For this I would prepare a sink of warm, sudsy water and set out a fresh face cloth.

Each morning after her birdbath, she sat in the kitchen in her "therapy chair" while I washed her lower legs and feet before she performed her chair exercises. I remember the first time I washed Mother's feet. This was a deeply moving experience, and I venture to say that I am not the only daughter who had never before washed her own mother's feet. As I thought of all the loving things she has done to serve me in my lifetime, my eyes filled with tears. I will never forget lowering my face to kiss her legs. My lip quivered when I whispered, "I love you, Mom." After I dried her skin, I smoothed lotion into it and helped her put on those "confounded TED hose" as she called them (prevented blood clots).

Be patient and don't argue with her. Just get out her take-home packet and show her the facts as you know them about her recovery responsibilities. Remember you both have read that packet and discussed it together. If you feel she's not doing an exercise correctly, gently remind her, "Remember what the therapist said about ABC and XYZ." There were several times when Mother "talked back" to me, but I would remind her of our motto:

"There will be no limping in this house."

We've seen someone limping, using a cane or a walker and now we know: Yep, they had a knee replaced and they didn't do their therapy! All the more reason we must help her to see that the bottom line is this: The full and normal use of her replaced knee is completely her decision. If she wants to limp and use a cane or walker the rest of her life, and you feel she just wasted more than two months and a whole lot of money, too, that was her choice, not yours. When it comes time for you to have your knee replaced, that'll be a deposit you've already made in the lessons of life learned at your mother's knee.

Kiss her before she goes to bed each night.
She's your mama and you're so glad to still have her in your life.

Monday, June 22, 2015


No one who cooks
cooks alone.
Even at her most solitary,
a cook in the kitchen
is surrounded by generations
of cooks past,
the advice and menus
of cooks present,
and the wisdom of
cookbook writers.
~Laurie Cowan

The other day my vintage Joy of Cooking was garnished with equally delightful vintage yo-yos.

Two pairs.

Stitched back to back
to the ends of its bookmarks.

Friday, June 19, 2015

In the Still of This Life

Not a day goes by

That I don't wish

You knew how much I love you.

Not a day goes by

That I don't wish better for you. . . .

No matter

What hard times we've been through,

My love

Has kept on growing for you. . . .

I hope you can see

That it is you I need. . . .

Yet in the still of this life,

Not a day goes by

That I'm not praying for you,

and still loving you.

"Not a Day Goes By"
By April M. Dawson

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dear Ol' Dad

To a father growing old
nothing is dearer
than a daughter.

The Highwayman put me on a plane today. I'm spending Father's Day weekend with this handsome man, my dad. 

Flying back to Knoxville Monday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mail Kalikimaka: Get Well. Soon.

What a wonderful thing is mail


of conveying across continents

a warm human handclasp.

Pastor and dear Tina de Guzman
sent a lovingly sentimented card, too.
Where it went is anyone's guess.