Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Monday, 29 September 2008

This week's layout challenge

Here is this week's layout:
And here is my attempt!
This is another Penny Black stamp, coloured with my water-colour pencils and a little water.
Re. the layout, I changed the squares a wee bit: I did have the middle one at an angle at first, but it just didn't look right on my design because I hadn't left enough room.

If you click on the pictures, you should get them to come up larger.

Unfortunately this close-up came out blurred, but you can just see that the snow on the Post Box is 3D- I used my DecoArt Snow Writer again. When it was dry I went over it with a Lacquer pen so that it is shiny.

The robin's breast is fluffy- I used some deep red Flower Soft (yep, I got some at last!!).

I liked this layout, although I don't use large cards and do use large images, so it was a challenge to fit it all in :)

*** *** *** *** ***
And now...

Here's my first card using my new stamp from Little Claire!
Putting glitter on a halo felt like being about 7 years old again :)

And here's one I made with the intention of making a more "boyish" card than usual:
The "Noel" stamp was just 99p, at The Range.

I like these ones!!! Hope they made you smile.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

The Secret Santa Draw!

Well, the draw has been done!

I have scoured emails and comments boxes and come up with a final list of participants. Can I just say that I am SOOO SOOO sorry if you told me along the way that you'd like to take part and then find your name missing from the list. I promise you, if this is the case then it is NOT anything personal, it is just a failure on the part of my brain! So huge apologies if this has happened. If it has, please don't abandon me! Keep an eye on how it all goes and then maybe next year we could do an Easter one, and you can be in on that!

So here we are-

  • Amy
  • Chewy
  • Sally in Norfolk
  • Stardust
  • Lorianna
  • Blue
  • Debbie from Debbie's Blog of Life
  • Debbie from Passion for Crafts
  • Freebird
  • i.beati (Sandy)
  • Miss Peach
  • Rachelle
  • Mousie from Plumpiemousie
  • Mrs Nesbitt
  • Chalky
  • Me
My trusty assistant, Dilly, did the draw last night:......and I am now in the process of emailling you all to tell you who you are making something for. I'm not, of course, telling you who is going to be making yours. That's all part of the surprise!

Have fun!!!!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Secret Santa Update

OK here we go!
I'm a little behind because my back is slowing me right down. Still hobbling about and making sudden "Aaaarrreeeeeehhhhhhhh" noises as it all jars. But getting a bit more mobile.

Might even attack the laundry today- hurray, hey wow and cockadoodle-doo! (Can you detect a wee bit of sarcasm there?)

But I'll start a wee notebook today, of peeps taking part in the card swap, their emails and snail-mail addresses, then do the lucky dip and get to letting you all know who you're making for.


In my unable-to-sleep much, not-able-to-be-doing-much state, I went cyber shopping.... Oh Lor! And I have ordered a new Xmas stamp (very cute) from Little Claire Designs:
Ahhh! Couldn't resist, as, unlike a lot of the Xmas stamps I've seen, this one didn't cost the earth. I also ordered some bargain new papers and glittery stuff, bits and pieces, and some more crochet flowers.

Now look, my mum said she was interested in taking up crochet again (after many decades) and so I bought her a book on it and needles and wool and stuff..... but still no crochet flower factory on tap. What's going on here? LOL!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

This week's layout challenge

Here is this week's layout:
and, thanks to copious codeine and diazepam (see last post!!!) I have managed to have a go!

  • The green paper is from a 6x6 K & Co pad. The other papers were in a freebie stash with Crafts Beautiful magazine out this month.
  • The circle is watercolour card. I drew around a pot for the shape, then drew a wiggly line and cut it out.
  • Then I stabbed it all around with a needle which was very therapeutic :^)
  • I've rubbed a gold stamp-pad round the edges of it, too.

  • I doodled the red flowers then scanned them in and printed them out on thick paper, cut out and coloured with water-colour pencils and water.
  • The snowflakes are white peel-offs with stick-on pearls in the middle.
  • "Happy Christmas" is from a sheet of white peel-offs too.

  • The robin is a Penny Black stamp which I've coloured with water-colour pencils and a wee wash of water.
  • Then I've used a new toy, a DecoArt Snow Writer, which sets solid. I bought it for adding a bit of snow here and there to things, but used it here on the robin's fur hat. I'd prefer to use something like Flower Soft for this, but I've yet to see this anywhere but online with a large postage fee. So I'm holding out for a special offer somewhere :)

I enjoyed making this one. It's also a wee bit larger than I've made before.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Back break!

The back pain that's been on and off for a few months now has really kicked in. -That's just how it feels! -Like someone has kicked me at the base of my spine. I've been on the look-out for elephants escaped from Colchester zoo, I'm so convinced it must have been one of them that did it.

Anyway, I saw a doc this evening who has prescribed me codeine and diazepam, in an attempt to relieve pain, I can only guess, by (1) strong painkiller and (2) knocking me out completely if all else fails.

The muscle spasms in my back have also caused stomach aches and necessitated sudden rushes to the loo- NOT easy when you can't stand upright! I hope the diazepam stops the spasms, and the sudden 'jarring' of the hip/spine area. Grrrrr. We have a couple of long metal poles for opening the roof windows in the conservatory. I've been using them as walking sticks.

I'm feeling pretty frustrated as I'm completely useless at the moment! I can't clear up or go for a walk or do the garden- and these few nice sunny days aren't here for much longer, I suspect. Grrr... I want to walk into town and feed the squirrels! I want to sprawl across the floor and do some pictures! I want to do the laundry... ok that one isn't so exciting.

I've just taken my first dose and the zombie-fying affects are just starting to creep up my spine and over my skull and...yep, there it is- sleepy eyeball syndrome already. Ahhh....

All this waffle is just an eleborate apology for absence, as blogging is going to be difficult, as is crafting. So, I might not be around for a wee bit now.....

The Secret Santa is still going ahead! On Thursday night I'll check the list of people who want to join in. I'll check the comments sections on my last few posts + my email. I hope I son't miss anybody. Then I'll do the draw and email you all to let you know who you're making something for. Exciting, sin't it? Hehehe!

Meanwhile, one thing I have been doing is looking into Etsy and Folksy (the UK equivalent) websites, with a view to setting up a shop front for my cards and pictures.

I'm not wanting to make a big profit or anything, just to have an outlet that pays for my hobby, really. And perhaps now and then I will be able to say, "this month all money goes to the cat home up the road" or something like that. I have 40+ cards now so that is a good start, I just need to be able to photograph them better. Dang back!! Even this is beyond my capability at the moment.

I've also acquired a couple of books from Amazon secondhand, on making books, albums, and needle-felted decorations and animals. It's so frustrating not to be able to launch into all this stuff!!! I hope, when I'm better, I'll not take being able to move without pain for granted!

Long-term, I may have spondylolisthesis, something my mother has in her lower spine. We've been comparing symptoms. Doc has sent off a form for an Xray request today. Gone are the days when she could have given me the form and told me to report to the Outpatients Dept at the hospital a.s.a.p. to get it done. Now she has to fill in a form and send it off. Eventually, someone behind a desk will review the form and decide whether I really do need an xray. If so, I'll be sent a letter with an appointment date. I hope it comes before my back has righted itself, otherwise it might not pick up what the problem was. Then if it happens again (and if it's what mum's got, it will) I'll have to start the whole paperwork process again.

Grrr.... some progress in other areas- my blood test results came back at last, and I have slightly low iron and thyroid. This might explain the sleep olympics I do from time to time, and also some of the low mood periods. Once I'm able, I'll wander into town and pick up some sea kelp supplement and see if that helps this.

OoooOOoooooOooooOOoooOOoooOooooo getting into the "feels-like-I've-had-a-large-brandy" stage now. Time to log off and go and help Bob T Bear (esq) with his blog while I can.

See you around, peeps! And please, sit up straight, don't slouch, and don't carry the toddler/shopping/ironing board/lawn mower on one hip. Believe me. It isn't worth it.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Been busy...

(If you're looking for the SKETCH SATURDAY challenge, please scroll down- it's the next post!)

*** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Ahhh well here we go then... don't blame me; someone on the radio said it XX days to Christmas (did you see how I censored that, so that you don't have to suffer it??? :^) )

I was -sometimes literally- floored last week with bad stomach pains. Which, apart from anything else, is pretty boring. SO I spent a couple of evenings sprawled in front of the fire, pootling. Most of these are the result....

This is my favourite. I had no idea what I was building. I was just playing with paper scraps, scissors and embossing stuff. I like how it came out :^)

I don't have any 'greetings' stamps, so I've typed some up in Word and put them in fancy fonts, then printed them onto card......... I didn't have this robin stamp, either. I saw it on a website, drew it, then scanned it in, enlarged it, and printed it out- then coloured it with watercolour pencils........ I put oneinside, too-
This next one was another experiment, i.e., nothing in my mind to work to. Just pootling. The flower is two pieces of card with a brad through the centre, and an embossed circle underneath...

These next ones use stamped images from Penny Black... water colour pencils + a little water, again.....
The "surprise" stamp here was one of a freebie set on Crafts Beautiful magazine the other month....
....I like this character, "House Mouse" :^)
Another mousie......

Ahhhh... here comes my favourite species....
..... look, I've discovered buttons!I like this one. I like the darker colours...
This next one is my partner's favourite!
Well, there are more, but I haven't photographed them. Oops! I'll get to it, and load them up another time.

Hope you smiled!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

This week's layout challenge

(Click on logo to go to the Sketch Saturday site and see lots more examples.)

Here is this week's sketch:
And here is my interpretation, another Christmas card:
.....a close up of the angel image, frame and paper- all from Crafty Individuals:.... close up of corner, some peel-off stickers, filled in with a clear crystal glaze pen:
....and another angle:

Here's one I've made for my Godmother's birthday next week. I drew some daisies, scanned them, printed them out in different sizes. Then I coloured them with water-colour pencils and used a little water to wash it over. Then a few strokes of gold acrylic paint. I snipped a few of the petals so that I could lift and curl them...
It's a plain brown Kraft card, rubbed round the edge with a pale pink ink pad. The glittery leaf die cuts are from a K & Co sheet.

I like it; it's so simple. I shall have to make a little box to send it in, so that the petals don't get squished. I put it here because I suddenly realised that, at a stretch, it matches this week's layout! Well, sort of :^)

Monday, 15 September 2008


I have names for some of the blackbirds that visit regularly.
Smudge has a white mark on his chest.
Groucho has white eyebrows.
This one is Snowy-
the first photo shows why!These last two aren't quite in focus but never mind...I love to see the birds in our garden.
I love to lie awake early and hear the robin outside my window, always just a little earlier than the blackbirds...

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Two birthday cards

Another old school friend, Caroline, turns 40 this week...... (eeeeek!).....

And Alex, my nephew, turns 8 later this month......


These images are from stamps by Penny Black. It would be hideously expensive to buy up a big range of them.... so! A search on Ebay revealed a cheaper option.... some people use their stamps to make images onto white card, then sell a bundle of them! A envelope arrived today containing a dozen different cat images, stamped with waterproof ink onto good quality watercolour card. This cost me £2.90, including postage. Bearing in mind how often I would get to use one stamp, I think this is a bargain for such variety!

She also sells some ready coloured-in and mounted. But that's the fun bit, isn't it? So I'm happy to do that bit myself.

If this way of breaking into stamping appeals to you, put "Rubber Stamp Images" into the search box at Ebay. There are a few sellers doing this, but the one I bought from is called c_daniels.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Secret Santa

OK peeps! The Secret Santa idea has got the thumbs up!!!

So far we have...

Mrs Nesbitt
Sally in Norfolk
Debbie- from Debbie's Blog of LIfe
and Shrinky is thinking about it. (Now look, Shrinks, you've made it an odd number. We can't have an odd number or it won't work. You either have to do it or pay one of us lots and lots of money to drop out. HAHAHA.)

OK, how about I do the draw on September 25th, then tell you all who you're making a card/atc for. Then how about November 25th as the date by which all cards have to be sent to me. Then I can take a big pic of them all and send them out the first week of December. If you can see any problems with these dates, let me know ok?

SO........ SEPTEMBER 25th is the cut off date for anyone else who wants in!

If you want to join in read my original post (the one after the next one) and leave a comment there or here to let me know.



D'oh! Of COURSE you can do this with an odd number! What was I thinking? Hey ho! Well, it was the middle of the night, I suppose.... LOL!

This week's card challenge

Here is this week's layout challenge from Sketch Saturday... Well, those circles were a challenge, for a start! I don't have any fancy tools for cutting circles, just a small pair of scissors and whatever I can find in the house to cut around!

So, one wine glass, one tub of body scrub and the inner ring of a roll of sticky tape later, here's my attempt....

OK I cheated. The circles got to me. I had to add one up there, it didn't look balanced with them all down there!

The bear image is one of two sheets I got free on a magazine (Do Crafts Creativity). The brads are glittery, and I got them today at The Range. 24 for £1.49. Bargain!

Other doobrys are from my stash, except for the 'Merry Christmas' message, which I typed in Word and printed out on card.

I didn't realise the stickers were so thin, and if you look closely you'll see that the pattern on the tartan circle actually shows through his belly! I should have stuck him onto white card first and then cut around him. Hey ho! I'll know next time. I just wasn't with it today!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Secret Santa???

I'm wondering if to have a go at organising a Christmas Papercraft Swap.
It would be a way of getting bloggers from different places to exchange a card or ATC for Christmas. I haven't thought it through completely but what about this-

  1. People leave a message to say they're "in" (I'd need a cut-off date, or a quantity date!) and privately email me their address.
  2. I put all the names in a hat and then do a "Secret Santa".
  3. I tell each person who they're crafting for but not who is crafting for them (that's a surprise for them, when they get theirs). They should then have a look through that person's blog to see what their taste is e.g., so you don't send a cat card to someone who loathes cats! (Oh! Who could loathe cats?).
  4. Everyone sends their card to me by 30th November.
  5. I take a photo of them all in a big group photo to post on my blog in Christmas week.
  6. I send out all the cards.
  7. Everyone gets a nice, handmade card, perhaps from a blogger in another country!
What do you think???

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

This week's card challenge

OK, enough of the sad stuff. Let's lighten up..... ;^)

Here is this week's layout challenge:

Even though the rules say you can turn it round and use it from any side up, I still had some trouble with this one! I just couldn't get those 3 circles in. So I compromised a wee bit!

I used:

  • dragon stamp from ebay- it's a Funstamps one
  • dragon is coloured with water colour pencils and then a little water
  • skeleton leaves coloured with chalk
  • brown "texture look" paper from a small booklet of assorted sheets by Artsy Collage
  • sky background torn from a large sheet by Dovecraft, Kate Knight floral
  • Zzzzs were cut from a piece of card that came in an enormous freebie pack with this month's Crafts Beautiful
  • "Have a relaxing birthday" - I wrote this in Print Shop, changed the shape,colour, etc., then printed out and cut out
  • Sakura pens have been used to do little raised dots and doodles around the Zzzzs
  • sparkly bits stuck on from the same freebie pack mentioned above
  • flower brad from a sheet of assorted ones from Tesco

As I said, I found the layout a challenge, - but I loved the opportunity to use the dragon stamp on the hump of a hill. LOL!!!! The layout made me think carefully how to use the dragon and I appreciated that.

Hope you like him!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Update: Fluffy. And a bit of a rant! (Sorry!)

Thank you for the messages of support. I rang the vet today but I'm not much clearer.
Fluffy went on thyroid tablets last autumn because she was losing weight and found to have hyperthyroidism. She is still on these drugs, but much improved- gained weight, etc.

The blood test he did last week, after finding a lump at the base of her neck, was meant to check for cancer. Today I was told the following-

  • her thyroid level is high, though controlled. VERY high would be "66". She is "55". Although controlled by the drugs, he recommends removal of the thyroid glands.
  • her white cell blood count is down. Possibly this means she may have been infected with FiV, as her brother, Scooter, has this. He was diagnosed some years ago, but we had Fluffy tested last November and she was clear
  • Nothing whatsoever to report on the lump.

What the?

That blood test cost over £120 ($230) and I am still no wiser re cancer.

I asked him about this, and he said that he would have to cut out the lump and send it off. NO WAY!!!!! Her sister, Figs, had a lump on her side. They removed it and tested it, only to find it was a fibrocarsoma- a particularly vicious form of cancer. Before fur had even grown back, the lump was back, twice as big. We removed it again, leaving a wide margin around it- this meant an enormous wound. But again, it came back. It seemed the more it was interfered with, the faster and wider it grew. It looked like fingers under her skin, stretching out. I kept her while she showed no change in behaviour. As soon as she was in pain, I had to let her go.

Now he wants to remove Fluffy's lump to biopsy it? NO WAY! I asked, couldn't he aspirate the lump with a needle and test to see IF it is cancer and then WHAT TYPE? At this point I was told it was the vet's lunch break!

And why recommend to remove her thyroid? Her drugs are on the lower dose at the moment- why not increase it? I've found the same drug on the internet and I know it comes in 10mg and 15mg doses. So why not increase? I'd rather be able to discuss this sort of alternative, not just give the go-ahead for an operation.

Fluffy already has lower renal function and an general anaesthetic isn't going to help her kidneys, is it?

No. I've left it at this- he wants to do another blood test in 4 weeks' time to check the thyroid function. If it's still high, I'll then talk to him about the drug dose. Maybe her kidneys can't take it. (In which case, how can he operate?)

Which is best for your pet, to try everything possible- including operations, or to say, no, I'm not putting her through that; I'll keep an eye on her and see she is ok, comfortable, etc. And then say goodbye when I have to. This might mean she lives slightly less long, but she won't be having operations and being scared, stressed and hurt.

Fluffy is 15. I'm told this is a good age. That doesn't make it easier. I once had a wee rescue-cat, Katie, who lived to be over 19. So anything less seems robbery of time due to her for lying in the sun, watching butterflies and having her tummy rubbed.

There is, of course, an element of "I don't want to go through this again." Neither does my mum- Fluffy and Scooter live with her. (She takes them to the vet and it all gets stuck on my card, so that looking after them doesn't mean she is out of pocket.)

I am annoyed with the vet anyway, as I have found another vet, "VioVet", that sells Fluffy's tablets online (so long as your own vet provides a written prescription) at 46p each, whereas mine sells them at 68p each. And some Fish Oil capsules that he sold us for her- he charged £10 for a month's supply. Now I have found the exact same brand, in the exact same packaging, at the same supplier he uses- and they are just £5. So he has passed a 100% mark-up to me.

His fees are sky high but there is no other vet in the area to take them to. I think he is taking advantage. He shrugs and says, "You can claim it back on insurance" - but my pet insurance has such a high excess now, I am lucky if I get half the bill back. No wonder the premiums are getting higher each year- if all vets take the attitude that they can charge what they please.

It's awful to love your pets, and to not totally trust your vet. I'm not sure he has Fluffy's best interests at heart. Maybe she is just nearing the end of her days, and he needs to make as much money out of her as possible. Can you tell I'm a little wound up????

Monday, 1 September 2008

Oh dear.....

I find out tomorrow whether Fluffy has cancer.
Please keep all your paws crossed for her..........