Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It’s Australia Day!

IMG_2917 I spent the day trying to tidy up our summer garden where the weeds don’t seem to realise there’s a drought.  They just keep on growing regardless.

We had already celebrated on Sunday, with Moo’s traditional Australia Day party (and march). 

Moo’s table setting was spectacular.


The food brought by everyone was mouth-watering.IMG_2938  IMG_2946IMG_2940 IMG_2939

And the march was more fun than ever with more instruments added this year, and Moo leading the parade!IMG_2933

One happy pup!

Last Wednesday, while 2 people held down our exuberant 7 month old pup, Chester, who just wanted to lick everyone in sight because he was so happy, vet nurse Alyssa took out his stitches. 

This means there is no great necessity for our patient to wear his rather fetching Elizabethan collar any more.  He must continue to be a good boy and resist the impulse to have a good scratch at the scar (and we all know how strong that urge can be, don’t we?), but so far so good.

Dr David watched him as he was walked on a lead a little way along the street, and was very happy with what he saw. 


IMG_2897Good boy, Chester! 

No more bumping against the sides of the cage every time you turn around.  Eating dinner will be much easier too – though we noticed you didn’t let that cumbersome collar affect your ability to lick up every last drop!

Monday, January 18, 2010

A sneak peek…

IMG_2850 IMG_2851 IMG_2853 IMG_2852

I’ve been working on these amiable looking little fellows over the last couple of nights - eight of them in fact.  I’ll show you more very soon.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Last Wednesday, while Chester was undergoing surgery, and I was feeling particularly anxious about what lay ahead, I spent some time Googling canine hip replacements (as you do).

I came upon this heartwarming story. Lacey is a beautiful golden retriever who was rescued from a neglectful home by Wendy Donohue and Trisha Jarvis of the Golden Retriever Rescue Society here in Sydney. I know, you’re probably wondering, as we all do, why anybody would mistreat one of these gentlest of dogs (or any dog, for that matter).

She had the worst case of hip dysplasia (in both hips) that the examining vet had ever seen, and had been compensating by taking all her weight on her knees. Poor Lacey needed two new hips as well as a new knee! And guess who performed this life-changing surgery for her – Chester’s specialist veterinary surgeon, Dr David Lidbetter!

Of course it couldn’t all happen at once. She had her first hip replacement on 23rd September last year, and Lacey is now 6 weeks post-surgery on her second hip. What an inspiration!

But it gets better. Who should we meet, when we were at Dr David’s surgery this week with Chester, but Trisha (L) and Wendy (R) – with Lacey!IMG_2845 Please take a look at the Golden Retriever Rescue Inc website and marvel at the caring work these wonderful ladies, and a huge team of volunteers including my dear friend Di - IMG_2636 - do to help link these beautiful dogs up with suitable owners. They aim to find them “forever homes”.

I’ll be following Lacey’s progress, as she is just 5 weeks ahead of Chester. Wendy and Trisha had more exciting news, too, of an upcoming TV story to be filmed about their star patient. Stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chester – One week post-op

Chester was very excited this morning when we clicked his lead on, and even more excited when we slipped on his car harness and slowly walked him outside into the garden, past the big tree where we usually stop for the necessary sniffs, and  all the way to the garage.  There we carefully lifted him into the back seat of the car and slipped his seat belt through his car harness.  Something was afoot! 

Yes, today was Chester’s one week check-up, and we’re delighted to say he’s doing really well.  His hip prosthesis is sitting firmly where it ought to be, thanks to Dr David’s skillful handiwork.  All our careful management is paying off so far too.IMG_2844 With Dr David’s agreement our local vet Dr Gwilym has given us slightly stronger sedatives for Chester.  In his words, Chester had only been started on the “schooner of beer” strength. 

In our words, he’s now on “a couple of stiff scotches” every few hours!

Is he more settled and mellow?  Oh yeah…

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hot and cross(stitch)

With our Australian summer hotting up it’s been good to have this little cross-stitch pincushion to work on lately while I sit in front of the fan.


It’s a gift for my friend Averil, for her 80th birthday in a couple of days. She has always done the most exquisite heirloom embroidery, but was adventurous enough to join our Stitchin’ Mission last year.  Now I think she’s caught the quilting bug!

IMG_2841 (No, Averil doesn’t read my blog)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chester Day 6 – OK, I’ve had enough!

That’s what poor Chester seems to be telling us today.

He’s been a bit restless, like a little kid after a few days in bed. Only it’s harder to keep a puppy amused and stimulated.IMG_2814 No amount of sitting and paw-holding would calm him for long.

Dr David had said we could increase his sedative, and I think it’s time.

Chester Day 5 – Lots of TLC

There’s been a good deal of this today. Hand paw holding.IMG_2821 Life’s pretty dull for a young pup whose little world has shrunk to a crate, so I brought Chester out of his “prison” and spent 3 hours sitting on the laundry floor while he snuggled up to me with grateful licks and dozed on and off.

Until now I hadn’t realised how often we pat and cuddle him just in passing as we go about our daily activities, and I think he was just grateful for some body-contact.

Chester Day 4 – Adjusting to life as an invalid

How undignified is this for poor Chester. Just to go outside for a toilet stop his rear end needs to be supported by an improvised sling.IMG_2834 As you can see, we sometimes use these briefest of outings as an opportunity to let him go Elizabethan collar-free.

Chester Day 3 - Confinement

This has to be the original “hang-dog” look! Poor Chester!

IMG_2779 Running, jumping, even walking more than a few steps, is strictly forbidden, so Chester is confined to our small laundry. Most doggy THR patients spend their recovery in a “crate” (or cage) but David felt that by simply restricting him to this little room, and binding his leg up in a sling, we’d minimise his weight-bearing.

IMG_2785 As if this wasn’t enough to spoil his fun, by now poor Chester was sporting an Elizabethan collar designed to make it impossible for him to do damage to his stitches.

However, after spending all morning sitting beside him on the floor, stroking him and making soothing noises – the only way we could keep him off his leg – we decided we just couldn’t keep this up 24/7 for 6 weeks. It was time to crate him.

Again, I doubt if Chester feels the same sense of relief as we do now that he’s safely confined to his new quarters.IMG_2809

Chester Day 2 - Homecoming

Alyssa, Dr David’s vet nurse, phoned early to tell us Chester had passed a good night (sedated with morphine) and had eaten breakfast with what sounded like his usual relish.

He was discharged later in the afternoon with a list of instructions which are going to test our, and Chester’s, patience over the next couple of months. IMG_2776

Chester Day 1 - Surgery

Have I told you about Chester’s boundless enthusiasm for life? OK, I have. With the bone in his hip and upper leg necrosing by the hour he must have been in so much pain. Yet there was never a whimper from him over the 10 days leading up to his diagnosis. In fact he seemed to forget from time to time that he was even in pain.

When we arrived at Dr David Lidbetter’s surgery Chester was beside himself with excitement, his big black paws skidding on the vinyl flooring, and looking such a fraud.

“What’s your dog here for?”, another client asked, trying to sound solicitous as she clutched a plastic carrier containing a haughty looking feline I was to discover was suffering with a torn cruciate ligament.

“Oh, he’s having a total hip replacement”. I tried to convey the gravity of the situation, but it wasn’t easy with a squirming puppy on the end of the lead, grinning in his doggy way and wagging his tail at everyone who passed by.

You could just imagine them thinking doubtfully, “Oh, yeah?”


This will give you an idea of the amazing hardware Chester will carry around for the rest of his life.

It’s a Biomedtrix BFX cementless prosthetic hip.

We were warned that there was a possibility that the necrosis might have spread too far, and David would not find enough healthy leg bone into which to fit the new hip. I’ll leave you to imagine what would have been the alternative in that case.

What a relief when we heard, late in the afternoon, that the surgery had gone smoothly!

Medical emergency

Chester was soon bouncing around, and we were relieved to have our healthy boy back again.

However over the course of the following week he became more and more reluctant to put his weight on that leg and on re-examination the experts told us the blood supply to Chester’s hip had been cut off by the impact of the accident and his hip bone was dying.

He needed an immediate total hip replacement (THR). At the ripe old age of 7 months!

Fortunately a highly recommended specialist veterinary surgeon, Dr David Lidbetter, was able to fit him in, and by last Wednesday afternoon (6th January) Chester had a brand new hip.

We were somewhat more excited about this than he was.


Chester’s First Christmas

In doggy years young Chester has become an adventurous teenager, so you won’t be surprised to hear that he’s landed himself in a spot of bother after a Christmas Eve escapade.

IMG_1673 With all the busyness of Christmas preparations distracting us, our young explorer seized the moment to escape from our front garden, only to be bumped by a (fortunately slow-moving) car a moment later.

Apart from the fact that he was limping on his left hind leg he appeared to have come off lightly.  The diagnosis, after an emergency vet examination and x-rays, was severe bruising. and he spent a very quiet Christmas at home rattling with painkillers, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory tablets. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Great Wall of Fabric

Here’s a rare glimpse of one corner of my sewing room.  In case you think it’s all as organised as this … just hold that thought :-))

I keep most of my fabric stash on shelves in these CD storage units.

IMG_2748 It’s an easy way for me to keep track of what I have, and I can even store yardage of up to about 2 metres. 

IMG_2747 A glance at my stash will tell you that while I have nearly enough reproductions to last a lifetime, I need to seriously expand my meagre collection of fresh, modern colours and prints. 

Oh dear, an excuse to buy more fabric…

Thursday, January 7, 2010

View from my sewing room window

It’s that time of year, isn’t it. When you just want to stop, breathe deeply and smell the roses. I know, I know, we should make time to do this all through the year. But somehow I always seem to reach the end of the year exhausted and feeling like an athlete breasting the string, with my tongue hanging out and ready for a good drink. OK forget the “athlete” thing – but you know what I mean.

January is my cool drink time, the time when I can at least try to get my chaotic life in order, and spend guilt-free time doing what I enjoy best. Quiltmaking.

But sometimes I just like to sit and gaze out the window.

Quite a few of my online friends have been sharing the view from their sewing rooms. Del has an unusual outlook. You'll love Margaret's cool, peaceful little courtyard. And Julie's garden view. And Kali's water view, with some of the Sydney to Hobart yachts in the distance. And you might feel sorry for Linda – until you see her perfectly organised sewing space!

I thought you might like to see my outlook.


From my upstairs window I can see right along the road to the church, and this day I saw guests gathering in the sunshine for a wedding.

A little later I saw something even more exciting… I ran downstairs to the garden to get a closer look.


What a fun way to transport your guests to the reception.

IMG_2772 The view from my sewing room window is never dull!

What do you see from yours?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

This is what generosity looks like

As you will know by now, our Stitchin' Mission quilts are destined to wrap around the little ones at the KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre at Liverpool in Sydney's south west.
Margaret, the Director of the kindy, has a wonderful vision. She would like to compile an album for the children where they can flip through and see the faces of all our generous quiltmakers. How touching is that.

So I'm trying very hard to get a photo of every Stitchin' Mission quiltmaker with her quilt.

Not everyone attended the actual course at St Mark's, when I took photos of all our quilters on the final day. So today's Sydney Scquilters monthly gathering at the Blue Gum was a great opportunity to photograph some of these other quilters.

Robbie with her sunshine yellow Noah's Ark quilt.

Lyn with dotty and girly Disappearing Nine Patches.

Marilyn with a boy's quilt that's certain to become a favourite for some little man.

and Pennie with a perfectly pink quilt for a Princess!

Thanks a million, girls!

Posted by Picasa