Friday, February 26, 2010

Health Update

Saw Dr. Awesome on Wednesday and I'm free to do as I please until my next visit in two months. I'm healing ahead of schedule, the mega-scar closed nicely and everyone continues to be in awe of my ability to feel my once dead big toe a mere ten minutes after waking from surgery.


As for the rest, the swelling, bruising, muscle fury etc. should die down about four months post-surg and the back pain should be 80% relieved by one year. That's a little different than I had it figured. Frankly I would have kept a numb toe and taken the pain relief first if anyone asked - they didn't.

But I am allowed back in the hot tub. Yippee. I was able to reduce my meds significantly as soon as I got my "tools" back.

While it's really nothing to fuss about, I am battling a nasty bug that involves a fever, mild cold and flu ick and a creeping rash that is intent on ruining my days and nights. I am SO itchy and whenever my skin touches something that bit welts up something fierce. In addition to itching, I feel sunburned. Ugh. It's so minor compared to everything else, but so are gnats - and those little buggers are annoying!

Last night between pain and itching I didn't get to sleep until after five this morning. My lovely family let me sleep 'til nine so I don't feel near so bad as I should. Hopefully tonight will be a lot better.

My, that was a lot of whining. My apologies.

Happy Things:

* This is the start of E fortnight ; E is a tricky minx - we'll have to brainstorm a little harder this time or else we'll eat edamame daily, listen to Eddie Vedder and Elvis and call it good.

* I'm considering the Eat Real Food Challenge from March 1st -15th. You can read about it here and here. It seems like an admirable E endeavor. Plus it's not a giant stretch for us as we have been moseying in that direction anyhow.

* I finished A Clash of Kings - a thousand page book in under a week. What amazes me is that aside from a sleepless night, the book was read three to five pages at a time. I think I may have forgot that parenting doesn't exclude reading, it just means you need to work a little harder and remember to steal those moments. The author has slowed down/halted his production on the series and different factions of my circle of friends have both encouraged me to continue with the series and cautioned me against committing to roughly five thousand pages of a story only to be left hanging by an ending that may never come. I was too intrigued to not read Book Two, but I think the break between two and three was "comfortable" enough for me to wait a bit before soldiering on. I think I might read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See next. I've heard good things.

* Thank you to everyone who came by my blog on Wednesday. I had 341 unique visitors. Wow and again, thank you so much for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bombshell Blog Hop

Yippee! It's the Bombshell Stamps Hump Day Hop!

We usually highlight the Bombshell projects we've done since the last hop, but I've done a whopping twelve projects - which is a lot when you factor in surgery, hospitalization etc.

Instead, I've been a good girl and tagged all my Bombshell projects so look over here ----------> at the tag cloud and click on "Bombshell Stamps"; it'll take you to everything I've done. Another handy-dandy feature of the tag cloud is that if you want to just see projects using a certain stamp set (like "Man's Ruin") you can click on that sets name and it will further sort them to just show those ones. Pretty fancy!

I do have something new to show, and it meets with our theme:
The Mission: Mama Said Knock You Out!

Use your punches and Die Cuts to create a Bombshell Masterpiece!

For this card I used Bombshell Angel and a lot of Gauche Alchemy goodies. This was the first time I've added clothes to a Bombshell Stamp - it was fun, but I don't think she's less scandalous for the clothing. *giggle*

It meets the Get Messy Challenge at Tuesday Taggers (which is being sponsored by The Craft Barn) and the distress challenge at Paper Sundaes.

I also made a gel card. Thanks Tonya for posting about them. Here it is:

See the pretty bubbles:

To be honest, I'm not super-happy with it. But, not every card is the greatest thing ever made (in case you're wondering, truly wonderful cards are orange and flee from purple. J/K) - such is life.

HERE is a link to a tutorial of my rather disastrous first brush with gel cards. It's a groovy Comic Life presentation, c'mon, you know you want to clickity, click.

This card met a couple of challenges out in internet-land:

KL Stampin and Scrappin: Recycle something that is usually trash - I used an old, used zip-loc baggies.
Our Creative Corner: Try a New Technique - and boy was this a new one. And....

Bombshell's very own Wet and Wild Challenge dreamed up by the uber-talented Pinkstar who on top of being a seriously talented crafter, she's super-nice. When I got home from the hospital there was a parcel from her full of fun things to play with. And she's Canadian to boot.

The creation can be a card, layout or altered item, but must:

1. use a Bombshell Stamp somewhere
2. project must involve a nautical theme, use a wet medium, or both
3. post a photo of your creation in this thread!

Here are the other blogs to hop to - I hope you make the time to visit, these ladies never disappoint.


Blog Candy

My very talented friend Stephanie (who I will also be gushing about in tomorrows post) has a huge blog candy giveaway and there is only a few more days to enter.

The loot:

Check it out HERE.

While you're there, be sure to drool over her stellar creations.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Piling It On

After a whole week reading The Daily Dare I've found a ton of new challenges. The funniest one so far is Pile It On - their mission is to provide a challenge, but you need to enter as many other challenges as you can with one card. They are very helpful in providing a list of challenges that work well together. For example, this week there is a number of Get Well challenges.

When combining challenges, the easiest way for me to do it, is to choose a sketch, a color challenge, a theme and an embellishment. That way you can make a red and white birthday card with brads to a certain sketch specs and enter four challenges with one card. It ups the ante a bit creatively and helps you stretch your style. I know I can get pretty stuck in my "rut" of orange all-occasion cards.

Here's the card I made (orange is still strongly represented *grin*). Sorry it's a bit dark, we are getting snow so there is little natural light:


This card uses an auxiliary image from Butterfly Queen by Bombshell Stamps

And here is the ridiculous number of challenges it fits:

1. Card Positioning Systems:

2. Corrosive Challenge Blog: Wings
3. Ann's Creative Nook: Ribbon
4. Pile It On: Get Well Card
5. PaperCutz: Get Well Card
6. Stamp with Sarah Kay: Get Well Soon
7. Creative Card Crew: Get Well Soon
8. Flutterby Wednesdays: Butterfly, Fairies or Angels
9. Belli Challenge: Butterflies or dragonflies
10. Lil Red Wagon: Ribbon

Okay, so how crazy was that?

Today is one month from my spinal surgery. I am very stable on my feet and my mobility is much improved. The pain hasn't decreased (yet) and I am feeling really frustrated by the slowness of my recovery. I know this will take months, but I REALLY want to be back to normal. Thank you all so much for the deluge of support. I have a stack of cards about six inches high that I look through whenever I need encouragement. Having something so tangible has been a life line.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Paper Piecing

I'm not a big paper piecer. I adore the look of it, but seldom make the time. I think it might be because I waste a lot of paper doing it as I tend to get ink everywhere, not just on the part of the stamp I'm piecing. So, when I saw the challenge at Cooking with Katie I had to give it a go.

Here's my card:

The challenges it fits are:

Cooking it up with Katie: girly (the floral paper), paper piecing (banner and heart) and at least two patterned papers
Gingersnap Creations: Three colors you love - Mine are orange, red and blue.
And this sketch at The Sweetest Thing:

And Everything But the Kitchen Sink had a very, very similar sketch that I thought I met as well:

This sketch (either one) is a design I plan to use again and again.

The stamp I used is "Til Death by Bombshell Stamps.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Keeping it Simple

I'm trying to find my groove again, but it's really hard when I'm feeling spread so thin by recovery, caring for my family, homeschooling etc. Whenever this hits, I usually try a few challenges. To my extreme pleasure, there was a lot of low-key, simple card challenges out there this week.

Speaking of challenges - have you been to The Daily Dare? They have a list of a huge number of challenges each day. All organized so you don't have to search all day. Love it! This card fit several challenges:

Pals Paper Arts: Kiss: Keep it Simple, Sweetie (to be honest, this is one of the simplest cards I've *ever* made... it's so hard not to do more!)
If the Shoe Fits: Mad for Plaid (see my orange plaid ribbon)
Clean and Simple Stamping had this sketch:

This is my first time using the heart from Madonna Woodcut. One of my favorite things about Bombshell Stamps is how the supporting images are so awesome on their own. Each set is really stuffed with stamps.

Cupcake Stands

I'm blogging at Gauche Alchemy today... want a peek?

CLICK HERE to see the rest :-)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

So Terribly Proud & So Very Homesick

This video does a great job highlighting the majesty of where I am from. I tear up every time I watch it. If you want to know me just a little bit better, spend a minute watching this video of BC. It certainly answers the question of why mountains are so important to me.

Friday, February 12, 2010

D is for Dad

We decided to celebrate Chris today. Besides be an all around top-notch wonder-man for the past fifteen years he's done the job of both mom and dad the last few weeks as I've been recuperating. I wanted to do something nice for him but needed to keep it within my energy and our budget.

The boys and I agree that all good celebrations begin with banners. Not the lovely, crafty, pennant style banners that are all the rage. The butcher paper let-the-boys-free-with-markers kind of banners. The ones I love.

My kiddos made this:

And yes, that is a monster E that craves Food, Blood and Fleash (flesh) LOL.

We made him Nanaimo Bars (a Canadian Speciality) and bought him Bioshock 2, as Bioshock was his favorite game ever.

But the best part of all (for us at least) was making pie in a jar for Chris. We all hate Cherry Pie and Chris loves it. I saw a recipe by Lollychops on Our Best Bites for Pie in a jar and knew I found my answer. This project was absolutely perfect for my kids skill level, age and stage. It was challenging enough to keep them engaged but easy enough to have results to be proud of. Here's some pics:

One of the things I love most about A-Z is taking the time to let folks you love know how dear they are to you.

Have a great weekend everyone. Whether you are celebrating Valentine's Day, the Olympics or Chinese New Year, make time to make it special.

D is for....Dye!

Today is the first day of "D" fortnight and I celebrated the change or letter with a budget friendly (D)ay Spa at home morning. I was due for some maintenance and feel very proud to have accomplished it reasonably well myself. It's amazing the change in perspective seven months make.

Among other thing, I dyed my hair blue black. *SQUEAL*

There is a lot of red showing through so I might take another crack at it next week. It makes for fun highlights though.

We still have a lot of families joining us on Our A-Z year. If you haven't signed up you can check it out HERE.

We also have a Facebook group. You can visit us here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentine's for Guys

I'll admit it up front, masculine cards are really hard for me. Since the men I know aren't in to buttons and bows; I had to step far, far outside my comfort zone and keep this pretty free of embellishments.

Here's my card:

I combined a whole lot of challenges ~

The sketch (that I tilted a little for a jaunty, mischievous effect) is from The Sweetest Thing

Crazy 4 Challenges has a Valentine Theme Challenge as did Quirky Crafts.

And Tuesday Tagger has a Valentine's card for a friend theme.

Easy Craft Projects and Our Creative Corner also had a Valentine's for Men theme.

I used an image from the Cherry Bomb set by Bombshell Stamps as my main image.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chocolate Cobbler with Caramel Sauce

My new favorite blog is Lollychops. She makes the most amazing things from delicious recipes to adorable printables.

When I saw her recipe for Chocolate Cobbler I was a little perplexed. My recipe is fat-free and I'd only known of cobblers as fat free desserts. Sweet, but really missing something. Imagine my shock to see six tablespoons of butter and pecans! Hoorah!

Here's what we made:

You can click HERE to see the recipe.

I think we're getting a hang of "C" fortnight :-)

C is for (C)ard (C)hallenges

I vowed today to get back in the saddle and try to make a card. Since it's C fortnight, I thought a Card Challenge was even better.

To be honest, it was super hard. My hands are really shaky and getting to my supplies required a lot of moving around. I persevered and got to play with my newest Bombshell Stamp - Madonna Woodcut.

This week's Copic Creations challenge is to "feather" with copics which is having one color merge into another. I don't know if I did it right but it sure was fun. I used the current CPS sketch and the Bombshell Stamps February sketch as they are very similar:

I chose my colors based on this weeks Etsy Inspired Challenge. The Shop is Traveling Mama and the photograph I used is:

I had a lot of scraps left over so I used them to make a card based on the Clean and Simple Stamping Sketch:

Here's my card:

For this one I used Butterfly Queen by Bombshell Stamps

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

C is for (even more) Cookies

We made cookies today. During B we found a delicious recipe for Butterscotch Drop Cookies so we used C as an excuse to make a second batch.

This recipe is from Sweet Maria's Cookie Jar

Butterscotch Drops

1 stick butter
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix until well blended.

Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Stir in chips.

Drop teaspoons of dough onto parchment lined baking sheet. Space 2 inches apart.

Bake 10-12 min.


Physically I am much stronger today and I am trying to spread out my meds to six hours from four. By six I'm suffering horribly but I can do it.

Emotionally, the day has been taxing. I realized I was 31 when this all began. My boys were 6, 5 and 4 and we were still considering adopting a sibling group to add to our family. My diagnosis put everything on hold. Now I have a teenager, we are too far along the family path to want to add more and I'm closer to 40 than 20. I'm sad for barely making it through these last few years, for the kids we didn't bring home and the years we missed big pieces of.

But, I'm not one to cry over spilled milk. We have the family I believe God intended for us and a close-knit strong one at that. It's just weird to pop out the other side of this trial so much older and having missed so much.

Looking forward to making up for lost time :-)

P.S. It's not too late to join A-Z, we still have new members jumping in every day!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

C is for...

This fortnight we've been lost in cookies, chocolate, coffee and cake. Sad, but tasty. Trenton got a big box of baking mixes to help coax him into the kitchen, so nearly everyday he bakes something delectable.

An aside, this totally worked. My kitchen-o-phobe now makes pancakes, grilled cheese, soup and food from mixes. That's amazing for a kid who couldn't toast a bagel. I wonder where we got him in a house of kids who can cook stroganoff and curries... must take after his Dad.

The boys rediscovered chess. It's nice to see them renew one of their great loves.

As for recipes, I've been pretty laid flat, but I have made syrup a few times.

Our faves:

Cinnamon syrup (seriously, I'll never go back to regular):

Cinnamon Syrup

1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons butter


Mix sugar, salt, flour, and cinnamon.
Add water and bring to a boil.
Boil until thickened.
Stir in butter.
Serve over pancakes, waffles, or french toast.

This is AMAZING on pumpkin pancakes. Wow.

We also made Buttermilk Syrup which we are counting as a "C" as we call it "Caramel Syrup".

You can find the recipe at Our Best Bites, my new favorite blog.


When it looks like this:

Don't taste it. To quote my 80's self - Grody to the max!

You're nearly there when it looks like this:

They say to cook it nine minutes, but if you live on the top of a mountain with a flaky stove it might take up to twelve or thirteen.

Here's a terrible shot of the finished product:

Do not use this on something strong flavored like pumpkin pancakes. It is better, scratch that, AWESOME on waffles or ice cream. Use it to top something mild flavored so the caramel flavor can really shine.

You really should whip up some of that cinnamon syrup. It's liquid heaven.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blog Candy and Hospital Bits

There is a lot of gorgeous blog candy being offered by those near and dear to me. I've been remiss in sharing the good news. Forgive me, sleep and basic tasks have taken precedence over internet fun.

Papergrace, a truly top drawer, lovely lady is celebrating her birthday with a gorgeous giveaway. CLICK HERE for all the details. Here's a peek:

My fellow Bombshell, Gabby, is also celebrating her birthday with a giveaway. You can read about it HERE. You only have until tomorrow though so hurry on over there :-) Did you see, she's giving away Bombshell Stamps. Yippee!


As for me, I'm recovering, slowly. Some missteps have really put me in my place. For example, I was sitting on the couch feeling pretty good and I decided to get myself a cup of coffee. I walked over, noticed no spoons in the drawer and bent to pick up a teaspoon. Then I spent the next ten minutes in a weepy, writhing puddle on the floor. Sad. Yesterday I read that Plaid had screen printing ink. Since I've been needing some for a project I'm desperate to do I thought we'd "zip" into JoAnn and pick some up. Fun little outing. I felt strong and left the wheelchair in the car. The fabric paint aisle is two in from the door and the trip reduced me to a sobbing mess and 18 hours later I'm still feeling it. Not so nice. So when Dr. Awesome says "rest" he wasn't just talking about the wimpy people.

A few more bits from the hospital, on day one I had some major irregular heart beat issues. As a person with a heart condition it was unsettling. I had them again a few days ago. This is the push we needed to get me back to a cardiologist and possibly have my heart repaired. The days of saying, " it's no biggie. Who cares." are behind me now. I also failed a bunch of the neuro tests where you follow the nurses finger with your eyes. Instead of smooth motion my eye jerks in several steps to the finger. It comes and goes and it's been annoying me at home. I have a lazy eye (it focuses slower than the other) and I think it's shorting out from all the spinal cord trauma.

Speaking of nurses... why are they so mean? I have nurse friends who are nice... but not so much at the hospital. My recovery guy said I was going to have to be assertive about meds as I was on a lot before being admitted and they would have a bias against me. No kidding. Before the surgery I was taking 10 mgs of a med every 4 hours. In the hospital I was offered 7mg every 6 hours - for surgical pain. I explained very politely the situation and they said, " That's what happens. If you weren't making yourself so "comfortable" (said sarcastically) at home then you wouldn't be so uncomfortable here." I heard similar quotes from almost all my nurses. One said, "serves me right for taking so much pain meds at home and I wouldn't be suffering after surgery if I had used less." That really bugged me.

Also, watch out if a nurse says, " We're giving you something for your stomach." I expected Zantac or Tums. Instead they pulled up my gown and rammed a needle in my stomach. Twice a day, for clots. And I mean rammed. I have six purple and dark green biscuit size bruises with big black centers where the needle went in and it's been ten days. When I got home I held a heating pad to my belly as it is so sore. Each needle made a spasmy knot. OW.

Other than those blips, I did really well at the hospital. Everyone was surprised by my mobility, my drive to get up and go home and how polite I was. I'll cherish that always.

Home has been tough, I have a lot of headaches and I really can't do anything. We rented a wheelchair and it has been the best thing ever. Not having cabin fever makes this all so much better. Two days ago they took me for a walk in the park along a river. Here's some pics. The angles are a bit off as I was sitting but at least you can see us :-)

Love, love, love and more love to all of you. Sorry I've been really slow replying to comments. I'll get there :-)