Category Archives: Cyndi’s Ramblings

It’s DONE!

Since December 2015, I’ve been fighting breast cancer at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences. I was extremely lucky in that we caught it early. While the type of cancer (Triple Negative Breast Cancer) can be the worst diagnosis because of its aggressive and invasive nature, for me, it wasn’t. It was very small when discovered (through a regular mammogram). Also in my favor, the cancer responded to the chemotherapy. At the start of chemo (on Dec. 31, 2015), the cancer was 1.4 cm. At the end of treatment (April, 2016), the cancer was 9mm. A very good response.

I had surgery in June to remove the “dead” lump in my breast. Just a simple lumpectomy and sentinel node resection. Both showed no live cancer, which was excellent. The cancer had been in one place of one breast and had not spread outside that area.

Still, my doctors felt breast radiation should be done “just in case” there was even a seed there. So for the past three weeks, I have had daily radiation on that breast. On Friday, (yesterday!) I had a last and final radiation treatment.

That means… I’M DONE! No more chemo. No more radiation. No more surgery.

I hesitate to use the word “cured” so for now, let’s say… there is NO evidence of cancer anywhere in my body! YAY

Now it’s time to get serious about getting back to writing. Don’t you agree?

Advertisements

How I Make Those Cute Boots!

My sister has asked me TWICE to explain how I make the cowboy boots I’ve been giving away. Like this one I made for me for Christmas

IMG_20151221_184332333

So I made one today step by step do my sister could “see” the process. Thought some of you might be interested also!

My machine is a Babylock Ellegante 3. It has a built-in computer that allows me to do editing on my projects right there rather than having to edit on my computer, save to a USB drive and open at the machine.

To start any project, I have to have a computerized / digitized design that is made for machine embroidery. In this case, I bought a cowboy boot that had four different designs. I pick the one I want to work with by selecting it on my machine LCD screen.

IMG_20160112_103539776

The final product will look different but that’s okay. I mostly want the boot design more than the upper leather design.

If you look to the right, you’ll see the list of colors to make this design. As I add other things to the boot, that list of colors will change. Once I set this as my design, I need to make some alterations. Specially, I want to add the date and a name. I can pull up numbers and letters and add to the design.
IMG_20160112_103616778Here I’ve added 2016 from the picture above and added the name “Hannah”

IMG_20160112_103805048_TOP

I know I want to do something “different” on the calf of the boot rather than what is shown. I’m making this for a niece-in-law, so I’m thinking a pretty calla lily might be look good. I go through my machine embroidery designs until I find one I like. Then I lay it OVER the design on the boot calf. When those “swirls” and straight line come up to sew, I’ll simply skip them. Here it the boot with the calla lily.

IMG_20160112_104914447 (1)

I’m ready to sew!

I start by hooping a piece of tearaway stabilizer

IMG_20160112_105210215

Next, I cut a sheet of craft felt in half. One-half goes on top of the stabilizer and I hold on to the other half for later.

Here is early in the stitching. I’m sewing on the 1/2 of sheet of felt (which is white in this case.) I’ve done the heel, sole, toe design and the placemarkers for the material that will comprise the boot calf. Without those placemarkers, I couldn’t be sure that my material would be in the right place.

IMG_20160112_110210953.jpg

I decided that since I’m doing a pretty white calla lily, I’d make the boot calf a chocolate brown. But actually, the boot calf can be any material I might have on hand. Below, I’ve set the silk on the felt and sown down the upper and lower edges of the material. See all the extra hanging off? We have to get rid of that now.

IMG_20160112_110415460 (1).jpg

There. A nice, clean edge that we’ll finish out later.

IMG_20160112_110531167

At this point, the machine wants me to do the “original” design. I simply skip those threads and embroidery the design I want.

If you look to the right, you’ll see what looks like a green arrow in the upper right corner of my LCD screen. Then look at where I’m sewing. I’m doing that green “arrow,” which is actually a leaf.

IMG_20160112_111755642_HDR.jpg

Here is the boot after I finished stitching the design. But we aren’t done yet!

IMG_20160112_113611423 (1)

Remember the other 1/2 of the felt sheet? Now I place it over where I’ve been working (like a lid) and stitch the outline of the boot. This gives me a “back” to the boot.

IMG_20160112_113837795 (1).jpg

The project comes out of the hoop looking like this….

IMG_20160112_114510953 (1)

All that paper (around and inside) the boot has to be torn away, thus the rationale for using tearaway stabilizer. Easy to get off.

Once the stabilizer is gone, I trim around the boot. I don’t have to trim close to the outline stitch as this will all turn into the boot. When I first started making these, I would cut the outline stitch A LOT and then I realized it didn’t have to be sooooo exact!
This is the boot ready to be turned inside out…carefully!

IMG_20160112_115009006

And the final product.

IMG_20160112_115303674_HDR.jpg

So that’s how it’s done!

Questions? Want one?

Leave a comment here and I’ll choose one winner for their own boot!

 

 

My Husband, The Hairdresser

True story.

Yesterday, I was a tad late getting ready for church. I jumped in the shower, and then raced to my makeup table. Now those of you who know me know I don’t wear makeup hardly ever. However, for church, I “put my face on.”

Once I’d done that, my wet hair had to be tamed. Blow dryer and brush. Spritz with hair spray and move on to clothes.

As I’m driving to church, Fisherman and I had this discussion:

ME: I forgot to look at the back of my head. (You KNOW there will be people who have to stare at the back of your head in church!) I’m going to look to the left and you look at my hair. Does it look okay?

FISHERMAN: Looks fine. It’s a little puffy here.

He begins to flatten the little puff I have put at the crown of my hair

ME: Hey! Stop that. It’s supposed to be a little puffy there.

FISHERMAN: Oh. Well, if I had a hairbrush and a squirt bottle of water I could flatten it out for me.

ME: It’s not supposed to be flat on my head.

FISHERMAN: Just trying to help.

I think he need to keep his day job…Fishing!

My Fisherman Helps Me Plot

This is a true story!  A conversation between me and my husband, the Fisherman!

Me: Want to help me write this book I’m working on?

Fisherman: Sure.*pauses* He grabs the sword and swings it toward–

Me: No. I write western romance, remember?

Him: Oh yeah. Let’s see…He pulled his six-shooter and–

Me: No! Wait. I write contemporary western romance.

Him: Okay. I’ve got it…He pulled a Glock and begin shooting. He used a Glock because he’s a modern cowboy.

Me: Hmm…I don’t think so. Thanks anyway.

Him: Any time.

And this is why my husband and I are not a writing team.

Best Commercial EVER

I’m not quite sure what it has to do with Android, but I love it nonetheless.

Pleading for Votes!

Somehow I’ve made it to Round 2 in The Three Bookateers 2014 Book Awards!!!

But the competition is TOUGH!

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE some votes!

1.  Go HERE and vote for TEXAS MONTGOMERY MAVERICKS Series!

2.  Go HERE and vote for CYNTHIA D’ALBA!

Welcome to the Future!

graphics-happy-new-year-347832

It’s hard to believe that it’s 2015. Seems only yesterday the world was preparing for 2000 sure that all the computers would crash, the banking system would falter, and our world, as we knew it, would end because of the 2000 bug.

Yeah. Didn’t happen!

I’m amazed at how much my life has changed in the 15 years since. I’m a published author. Something that wasn’t even on my radar! Hubby and I were both still working 8-5 jobs, slugging away trying to get to retirement.

Now, he’s retired. I’m a full time writer. We live in places we never thought we would back then.

That’s the fun part of life…you just never know what it’ll hold. Right? There’s an old saying…Man Plans. God Laughs. I love that.

Or as John Lennon said…Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans.

So, I don’t make resolutions for New Years.

But I think GOALS are important and different. Goals are targets you reach for. So yeah, I’ll have some GOALS for next year…

  • I’d like to get up to riding a minimum of 5 miles a minimum of 3 days a week.
  • I like to write a minimum of 1500 words a day 5 days/week. I’d like to take weekends off.
  • I like to continue improving my embroidery skills.
  • I like to read a minimum of a book per week. (yeah, that’s one I KNOW I’ll meet!)
  • I’d like to lose 20 pounds.

So that’s what I’m shooting for this year. What about you?

2014 Birthday!

20141220_183247My birthday was Saturday (Dec. 20). Yes, yes, it’s close to Christmas. You don’t have to tell me. Lots of people ask me if I feel “cheated” having a birthday only five days before “the biggest present day of the year.” The answer is no, I don’t. How can I feel cheated when I’ve never known anything else? It’s impossible to feel “Cheated” when you have no idea what it would be like to have a birthday in any other month!

My parents were great about making sure my birthday was a totally separate event from Christmas. I NEVER got a “birthday-Christmas” present from them!

And even my wedding anniversary is around now! Nov. 17! So all the “BIG EVENTS” of my life are bundled around the same time of the year. The only problem is WOW! Does my bank account take a hit this time of the year! LOL

As an adult now, my parents gave up giving me presents, especially given that I’ve been blessed with so much. It’s hard to buy for me. So they usually give me a very sweet card with cash. Same with Christmas. Nice card with cash. This year, I took both presents and bought myself a “Birthday-Christmas” present.

THIS is what i bought me!

20141218_145906 (1)A new writing chair! WOOT! Electric, plush and WAY big. I can stretch out or curl up. Loving it.

So, basically, Santa and the birthday fairy has been to my house.

Have you written to Santa this year? What are you asking for?

Dog Farts and Air Freshener (& Enter contest for Kindle Fire!)

I confess to being behind on book 6 of the Texas Montgomery Mavericks series. It’s entitled Texas Hustle. In case you are interested and join stuff like this, I do have a Pinterest folder with my inspirational pictures!

Check it out here….https://www.pinterest.com/cynthiadalba/texas-hustle-book-6-texas-montgomery-mavericks/

Anyway, I decided I would sit up late and write last night. My faithful retriever (we’ll call her Gaseous) did want to leave my side, which isn’t all that unusual. When I sit up, she’ll wait for me before she goes to bed. That doesn’t mean she stays AWAKE while I’m writing. But she’ll nap in the same room.

20141217_133442Last night, as usual, she flops down in front of my chair with a long sigh.  In a minute, a foul odor drifts up. I lean over my chair in time to hear the next fart and get hit in the face with the odor.

It was B-A-D

Grabbed a can of air freshener from the bathroom and sprayed.

Another toot, and she moves across the room, lays down, stays for less than a minute, gets up and leaves the room. She heads down the hall to the bedroom where my hubby is reading.

“Come get her,” he shouts.

I pretend not to hear.

Trust me. You would have too!

Got a dog too? Tell me about your baby.

And don’t forget to enter my Rafflecopter drawing for a KINDLE FIRE!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/73980ee918/?

My Christmas Golf Cart At Night

 

 

Last night, there was a decorated street here in Florida. To see the lights, hear the music, etc, you had to provide a can of food (per person) as admission. It’s a way to raise money and food for the local food bank.

We decided to fire up our lights and head over. But I wanted to show y’all how it looked all lit up!

The Front

CM cart

 

The Side (see my house shoes and yoga pants? I wasn’t planning on getting out or having my picture taken! LOL) Don’t you love my Razorback shark fin on the top? Cool, huh?

CD Cart Shark Fin

The back of the cart

CD cart Back

So Christmas light tour last night. Any good lights in your area?

%d bloggers like this: