I can't tell you how much your support and encouragement has meant to me these last few days. I'm feeling better and now know deep in my heart that I WILL find some way to make noses that won't hurt my hands or make my thumbs go numb. I don't exactly know yet what way that will be, but I know some way will become apparent in time and with patience and experimentation.
I really hadn't meant to put all of my problems on my blog--I usually try to keep any trials to myself. When I started writing on Wednesday, I really wasn't feeling sad. I was just amused that when the going gets tough, this bear-maker reaches for the cookie dough and thought you might like to hear that too. However, when I write, I often "figure things out." Well, concern about my hands and making bears has been quietly but heavily hanging over my head for months and I finally put two and two together. It was like a dam burst. The proverbial last straw. I'm sorry you all had to be witness to that.
I feel somewhat embarrassed that I really lost it, but I also feel very grateful and blessed by all of you. Your outpouring of support, encouragement, and ideas touched me so very deeply. I'm still in awe over it. I would like to thank each and every one of you--even if you didn't make a comment. I have truly felt your presence in my life.
I've decided to take some time to let my body and my hands heal. I am incredibly behind on paperwork for both the business side of bear-making and for my job homeschooling the girls. So, for the next month or month and a half, I'm going to catch up on my paperwork, finish Sammy's pattern, and just putter. Hopefully by then I will have the strength and stamina to work out my issue with making bear noses and be able to work on all of the bears dancing around in my head.
I've taken ALL of your advice and ideas to heart (I'm even watching my intake of sugar and chocolate, and tightening up my gluten-free diet--I was getting a bit lax). I think I will be able to continue to embroider if I can find a way to make just one layer for a nose--templates and needlefelting are great ideas as an underlayment. This will be the first thing I try. When I told you that the tip of my thumb had gone numb while embroidering, what I really meant was that completely one-third of my thumb was numb. Yes, I am the queen of understatement. So, if one layer of embroidery still causes havoc with my thumb, then I will try making needlefelted, clay, and/or leather noses. Something WILL work. As Kelly said, there is a solution to everything--the only real problem is death.
I think my emotions may be on a bit of a roller-coaster ride right now (did I mention that I'm the queen of understatement?)--my body is having to adapt to a new level of thyroid replacement hormone and to a new fibromyalgia drug. That's another reason I think it's a good idea to step back from bear-making for a while and let my body heal and adjust. In a month or so I should feel better and have a bit more energy .
Heaps and heaps of hugs to you all,
P.S. If any of you have a tiny bit of a problem with numbness when doing handwork, I can second Katy's advice to use a long doll needle--that and a leather thimble works wonders.