Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Christmas is Coming....!

I've had a great time today playing around making Christmas cards! I'm flying out to England for 3 weeks at the end of November so need to have all cards and gifts made/ purchased by then, and as tomorrow is the last day of the Hero Arts challenge I figured today was a great day to jump in and get started!

I had lots of fun with my Hero Arts stamps, embossing powders and of course my Distress Inks! I don't think I'll ever get bored of watching the embossing powder melt, or trying out different colour combos with my inks!

Here's what I came up with, which is your favourite?

Oh, and in other news... I started Weight Watchers last week. After all the meds I've been on, and sitting around a lot more, and well okay eating too much (!), I decided as part of my taking time out for me I need to lose weight and get down to a healthy BMI. Anyway, I had my first weight in today and I lost 2.6lb, yey me!! I've decided that I will reward myself with a Copic marker for every pound I lose, that way I won't feel as guilty for buying them, hehe!! I'm going to propose this plan to hubby tonight, I already have my first colours picked out so he really can't say no!! Thinking that I will save up until I have lost 5lb each time and then buy them to save on shipping, or maybe 10.... though don't think I can wait that long!! It's good motivation for me though as I'm determined to lose at least 2.5lb this week so I can place my first order!! No Halloween candy for me then, well maybe just one piece!!

Lynsey x

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Etsy Inspired Challenge card

I came across the Etsy Inspired Challenge Blog a few weeks ago via Virginia who is one of their very talented deisgners. Every week they choose a different Etsy store to use as inspiration and challenge followers to create a project inspired by the items in that store. This week they were inspired by Stilleto Heights, a store with very cool vintage collage pieces. I was particularly inspired by this piece in their store

I love the border on the left with the distressed looking green and black, and the vintage picture of the couple with script overlay. The old fashioned picture reminded me of some old photos we were recently given of Jason's great grandparents. No stocking and suspenders in these pics lol, but I love them for the style and colours in the photos. I decided to use my favourite of the family photos to make an anniversary card inspired by the above design. Here's what I came up with..

I printed the photo onto regular paper and then adhered it to a piece of cardstock. Then I black embossed the bottom piece onto a piece of cardstock using Hero Arts S5213 Dots and Flowers and inked over with Faded Jeans Distress Ink, rubbing Metallic Rub Ons on top. These were both adhered to a blue metallic look card. I punched a scallop edge on the bottom of a piece of vellum and attached it to the card using eyelets, and a little Glossy Accents along the bottom edge. I then stamped K5344 La Letter and a Martha Stewert butterfly stamp randomly onto the vellum using Pumice Stone Distress Ink. Finally I embossed the sentiment (from Hero Arts Everyday Sayings) in white at the bottom.

I really enjoyed making this card, and I think it's one of my favourites so far, what do you think?

Thanks for looking,

Lynsey x

Friday, October 22, 2010

Feeling thankful for my Mum!

As most of you will already know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. It is so important for us women to remember to do our self exams monthly and to actually GO to the doctor if we find something that seems unusual, or get unusual pains, to get it checked out. I learned the importance of this ten years ago when my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had been experiencing tenderness and numbness, and was a little worried but kept putting off doing anything about it thinking it would go away. She didn't feel a lump, so figured it couldn't be anything too serious. Luckily, her coworker convinced her to go to the doctor and just get it looked at. The next few months were a whirlwind, as she was rushed through the notoriously slow NHS to be treated for advanced breast cancer.

It's not something I like to think of often, but sometimes I just have to take a minute to be thankful that Mum got the courage to go to the doctor that day. If she had put it off much longer, she may not have been with us today. I know I often take my Mum for granted, especially for everything she has done to support me through my health issues the past couple of years, and I can't even imagine how hard life would be without her. She was so brave throughout her battle, and I can happily report she is now healthy and happy! I wanted to take some time this month seeing as it is the tenth anniversary of her diagnosis, and also breast cancer awareness month to hopefully spread a little awareness myself, but also to let my Mum know how much I love her, and how thankful I am to have her in my life. As I have been getting into card making over the past month, I decided what better way to celebrate my mother than by making her a card!

I was inspired to create this card by the sketch over at EBTKS Challenge #25, and I will be entering it in their challenge to hopefully spread a little awareness over there also!

I made the ribbon stamp myself using my Cricut, Cuttables stamp sheet, SCAL, and a free SVG from SVG Cuts and then clear embossed it onto the pink stripes that had been adhered to the card front. The sentiment was printed from Word onto the backing piece which was cut using the Accent Essentials Cricut cartridge and inked with Spun Sugar and Worn Lipstick Distress Ink. I inked white ribbon with Worn Lipstick and folded it to form the awareness ribbon, and added a little bling with the gems! Finally, as I thought it was missing something, I 'stitched' around the card using a white gel pen!

Love you Mum!! xxxx

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trick or Treat!

Too early for Trick or Treating? Not according to the 2 girls that came to our door on Sunday night dressed in tu-tu's and carrying big pillow cases for their expected loot! When Jase pointed out that they were two weeks early they went on to explain that they were grounded on Halloween so they had to do it early, uhh okay! They were out of luck here as we don't get the candy in until a couple of days before, but I wonder how many other houses on the street they managed to swindle out of some treats! I feel extremely old and boring when I say this, but "ugh, kids!!".

Anyway, our premature trick or treaters combined with the huge (well huge for California) storms that have been passing through the past couple of days have started to get me in the mood for Halloween. Last night, with my flashlight beside me in case the storms knocked the power out, I put together this Halloween card. See below for details:

I created the polished stone background by pouncing Purple Twighlight, Sunset Orange and Pitch Black Tim Holtz Adirondack Alcohol Inks onto acetate until I got my desired effect and then adhered this to white paper to highlight the colours and texture more effectively.

The purple layer was dry embossed using the Cuttlebug Distressed Stripes folder in my new Sizzix Texture Boutique, and then I swiped Black Soot Tim Holtz Distress Ink over the raised pieces. I rounded the corners and then adhered to the card, rounding those corners also.

The haunted house design was cut using my Cricut Expression, from the Pumpkin Carving cartridge, and then heat embossed with clear powder all over to give it a more shiny texture. This was adhered to the acetate background and then adhered to the card front.

The sentiment and crow (which Jase said look like seagulls, yeah thanks lol!!) stickers are from this set by EK Success.

If you click on any of the product links above, you'll see Joann has up to 40% off all their stamping and scrapbooking supplies! I'm a Joann's junkie and lurve shopping online with them. You can always find free shipping codes by searching on Google too, which is great when your local craft stores have a really small selection of goodies!

Oh, one last thing!! I participated in a couple of challenges for Stamptoberfest over at Two Peas, and won the random drawing for one of them!! Woohoo!! I never win anything so it was such a surprise, and I can't wait to get my cute new birdy stamps in the mail from the lovely, generous Daria!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Curious about Copics

Isn't it amazing how when you stumble across a new interest or hobby, you discover just how big that world is, and how many people all around the world discovered it before you!! I have been learning so much over the past month, and meeting so many people who have such a passion, and talent for stamping, and card making. The different techniques and styles out there are amazing. One particular product that keeps catching my eye in card designs that I love is Copics markers. They are very pricey, and being me I would have to have them all, so I am hesitating trying them, but I love the effect they give and I'm so curious to try them out.

Take a look at these wonderful cards that Kathy over at The Daily Marker has created recently....

Aren't they gorgeous!! I love the colours and blending, yum!
I just discovered Kathy last week as she was doing a challenge with Jennifer McGuire, and loved her work. Then to my suprise I woke up this morning to find Kathy had become the second follower to my blog, yey!! Thanks Kathy! Anyway, over on The Daily Marker, there is a Blog Candy giveaway, which I have learned means you can win a load of cool stuff, which is always a good thing!! Take a look at all this:

All you have to do to enter to win is head on over to her blog (using the links above) and either follow her, or post about the candy on your blog (and add the pic to your sidebar) and then put your name on the list for the drawing that ends 11-8. Easy peasy! I'm off to get my name on the list.....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Discovering a creative side...

The first great thing I have discovered since I have been 'taking time for me' is that I do actually have a creative side to me!! I was always the student that was good at science, maths, english etc, but neeevvveeerrr Art, it was just never my thing. Jase and I have always joked that when we do have kids I will help with the 'academic' homework and he will help with the art projects! But, when Mum was over helping after my surgery she got me making a couple of cards. I quite enjoyed it and thought I might carry on doing them on my own. I started looking around online and discovered Stamping. I AM HOOKED!!! It is amazing the things you can do with plain white card and stamps and ink! I found a series of classes called Thinking Inking by a designer called Jennifer McGuire, and was so inspired by her! I've been busily stocking up with supplies and this week got started playing around and making my own cards.

You can see my projects so far displayed on the gallery at here.

Here's one example, my favourite so far....

What's really funny is all those worries and thoughts about work that used to run around my head and keep me up in the early hours of the morning have been replaced by ideas for cards and techniques I want to try LOL! It's much nicer to think about stamping than payroll though, much nicer!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

New beginnings

This is an interesting time in my life. 2010 is the Chinese year of the Tiger. For a reason I can't really remember my husband and I call each other Tiger as a pet name for one another  (I think it was something to do with a cuddly toy he bought me when we were first dating!). We excitedly entered 2010 thinking that as it was the year of the tiger, this would be OUR year. We had all these dreams of me overcoming endo, having a baby, buying our first home, and finding careers that we loved!!! A tall order for one little year! Maybe we jinxed ourselves, but things have really not gone to plan.....

The year started with me having a laparoscopy to excise the endometriosis. I had undergone a 6 month course of Lupron previously, and the plan was that this surgery would clear everything out so we could start trying for a baby. A week later I found myself in the ER, ending up with having a stent put in my right kidney due to a blockage caused by scar tissue. Fast forward to June and I had another minor surgery to do a balloon dilation on the ureter in the hope this would fix the blockage. Unfortunately this wasn't the case. On August 18th I was back on the operating table, this time with a team of specialists, undergoing my next surgery. Two gynecologists preparing to do battle with the remaining large mass of endo, and a urologist all ready to cut away the offending blockage in my ureter and then sew it all back together again! Next thing I knew I was in recovery, wondering to myself  'did this one work?', still holding out hope for our tiger year!

The news? Good and bad. Six weeks later I can happily report that the ureter seems to be fixed. On ultrasound this week it was found to be completely clear and functioning correctly, yey! The endo however, true to form, is still stubbornly resisting defeat. During the surgery the doctors found the mass to be a lot bigger than they could see on ultrasound, and infiltrating a number of organs. They couldn't have removed it without removing my uterus, and part of my bowel. This would obviously permanently cease any chance of us getting pregnant, and could have resulted in such horrific things are colostomy bags....... now I have done catheters a couple of times this year and come out the other side of the experience unscathed, but I am still not ready to entertain the idea of a colostomy, ewww!

So, what now? With the advice of my doctors, I am back on the Lupron for 6 months hoping to shrink the endo mass and prevent any more from growing. I have also been taking Femara for about a year now which also helps with keeping the endo under control.The fact that both drugs put me into a state of chemical menopause is a minor inconvenience, considering the horrific pain they are keeping at bay! After that six months, in March 2011 we start back on the adventure of baby making. Whether this will be naturally or with medical intervention will be decided then. Right now the official plan is to go right into IVF, but we are still holding out for our miracle!! I'm looking into alternative therapies to help our chances, so we'll see.

2010 not looking so good so far in delivering on our demands for it, huh! Endo still running rampant, no screaming babies keeping us up at night...... what about the other hopes?

Well here we're doing a little better though not quite there! No mortgage under our belts yet but there has been career change for both of us, the fact that it has been pushed onto both of us, and not really in the direction we had planned,  I think has really been a blessing in disguise. In June, Jase separated from the Air Force after serving 11 years in the US Military. We had been thinking about him getting out for a while, but after issues with his back, and not passing his required training he was forced to separate. He got an honorable discharge and extended benefits and has just started working doing the exact same job as a civilian so that has definitely worked out for the best! As for me, we have decided it's time for me to leave my job as a manager at Target and take some time to focus on me, and fight the endo head on. I am a bit of a perfectionist (I'm a Virgo after all!) and with the demanding nature of my job, it was becoming impossible for me to give 100% at my job without letting my health deteriorate, and vice-versa. So, when my medical leave ends in October, I will not be returning to work, eek! I'm excited and scared by this at the same time, but mostly feel lucky for us to be in a position financially for me to do this.

So where does all this leave me? Huddled in a corner, snivelling and feeling sorry for myself? Well, honestly, on a bad day, quite possibly! On most days however, I surprise my friends and family by how positive I am in spite of everything. Sometimes I worry that maybe I'm abnormal for not being more miserable about it all, I mean shouldn't I be depressed or something?! Quite honestly though, I am happy. Very happy most days. I have an amazing husband, loving family, and lots of friends rooting for me. I have 3 adorable kitties who keep me laughing and snuggle with me when I'm feeling down. I hate feeling miserable, and feeling sorry for myself won't fix anything. Instead I am hell bent on enjoying each day and making the most of life as it is now. I research as much as I can about my condition and use that knowledge to put myself in control (or at least feel in control).

A few years ago, I came across a picture at Kirklands when we were visiting family in Texas. The quote on it jumped out at me, and I grabbed that frame and ran to the checkout. When we got home it was put up right away, pride of place in the kitchen. I see it every day, and it's now my personal mantra.

What was it?

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass,
it's about learning to dance in the rain."