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...

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Dad's birthday card....

Here's the end result of the picture I showed yesterday.....

I folded an A4 piece of white glossy card to make this.
For the 'sea' I tore strips of b
lue patterned paper, tearing towards me to make white edges.
I layered these to make the waves.
The beach is a piece of paper from the same set and pattern, just different colour.

I made a frame with two pieces of card, covering one with some patterned paper.
I sandwiched the acetate 'window' in between them, and mounted it all onto the background using thick sticky pads:

The papers are made by The English Paper Company, their Siesta Collection. If you see it online in a sale, grab it! -Because it's an enormous packet of papers, every colour of the rainbow, lots of different patterns.

I drew some seagulls with a Sakura Souffle pen, which leaves a slightly 3D effect or embossed look. I drew them on the sky, sea, frame and the acetate.

I really like how this card turned out. I wasn't sure it was going to come together but it did, and I'm really pleased :)

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Shivery stuff

My Dad was in the Royal Navy for over 20 years, spending much of that time as Head Chef on board ship. In the 1970s he was exposed to asbestos, as he had to remain on board when his ship was docked- whilst the old asbestos lagging was stripped out and replaced with something else. When he talks about it, he says that when he walked through the ship his boots looked like they'd been covered in snow.

The dangers of asbestos weren't much known then, but since the 1990s Dad has had regular chest scans. Several of the men he worked with have died from asbestosis. Last June, at a reunion, a friend of his said that he'd been diagnosed in April. In June he looked OK, but he died in October.

Last Autumn, Dad started to sound different over the phone. I couldn't put my finger on it, just a difference. Then, at the end of a phone call, he said, "Love you!", something he has never said.

We went to visit him before Christmas to exchange presents. Sure enough, he told me that this time the scan had showed asbestosis. Much more than that, he wouldnt' say. He didn't want to talk about it much.
Dad and me, last month.

Now, Dad has exaggerated about things before, so I'm a bit confused. If it is asbestosis then I need to be prepared as it could progress really quickly. If that sounds harsh of me, or self-centred, let me explain that Dad has alwayd been a every headache is a migraine, every migraine is a brain tumor type of person! Do you know anyone like that? He has always exagerated health problems. Maybe it is his way of being prepared for the worst. I don't know.

So I don't know how to take it. One half of me says I should prepare to say goodbye, and gather my strength up for when he needs it. The other half of me just says, don't worry, he's got years yet, you just wait and see.

Somehow my gut feeling though, is that he isn't exagerrating this time. The difference, this time, is that he seems scared.

All I can do is make sure that this year isn't one of those years when I hardly see him. I need to be in touch more. Keep an eye on him. I will definitely be there for him.

What I'm not sure I can do is prepare myself to lose him.

I was very close to him as a child. The times when he came home on leave were little breathing spaces for me; no one hit me when he was home. As soon as he left, they turned on me again. I felt like Cinderella; fine when Dad was home, beaten when he wasn't.

As a wee girl, I would see him off at the gate when he left to go back on ship, standing at the gate a good half an hour till he disappeared on the bend of the road in the distance. Nowadays, my siblings aren't in touch with him much at all. In my mind I imagine a funeral where again, I'm alone looking after him, the rest of the family nowhere to be seen, untouched by his departure.

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

It's Dad's birthday this Sunday. He likes nautical pictures and I usually send him a card with boats on (!) but this year I'm making one with a lighthouse:

OoooOOooooO- looks like a spaceship from Star Trek is coming in to land.... it's just the reflection of the light fitting, don't worry, it's not the Romulans!

I bought some acetate and drew the lighthouse with the type of outliner you use in glass painting. I've coloured it with Sakura Stardust pens. I plan to back the lighthouse with white tissue, put it in a frame, then set it onto some blue paper with torn edges to describe waves. I hope I manage to make something nice for him. If not, Tesco is open 24 hours!!!!!!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Foundation building....

Love this photo. Not one of mine. Can't remember where it comes from!

Well, this bug must really love me because it just doesn't want to let go!!! Just as I think it's gone, another symptom comes back. This has been going on since January 2nd now. Grrr....

Yesterday I was out and about, feeling fine. Then, in the evening, the stomach bug part of it came back. Today, the bad throat is back too. It must be a circular bug. Round and round we go. Oh boy!

Hence, I haven't been able to post all the lovely photo's from Ireland that I had hoped to have done by now. I haven't done any crafting, either :( We've had no luck at all with getting someone in to give an estimate for a new heating system, so my craft room/study is still pretty much out of bounds.

I've been occupying myself doing a spring clean. I used to tell myself, do one room a day. And I used to find the job of organising, tidying and deep cleaning really frustrating and stressful. This time I'm telling myself something slightly different: do one room at a time. Ha! Little change there, see it? But a nice one. No pressure.

And whereas, in the past, I would have started with the rooms most used and most needed, this time I've started with the spare bedroom. By starting with the least used room, getting that one cleared and organised, you then have space for all the stuff you move from tidying the other rooms! Ta-daarr!!!

So obvious. Why didn't I think of that before?

I'm looking forward to me being 100% well, to the house being nice, and then settling down to a routine that includes regular crafting and writing: January is my getting ready month, I've decided.

Thank you for all your emails. Sorry if I haven't responded yet. Emailing is another thing that has taken a back seat. As has blogging. But this doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about the people who visit and get in touch. All those names and nicknames mean a lot to me. I hope you all come back. I hope my absence doesn't mean you forget about me!

Take care; hope you don't have the bug!

Monday, 12 January 2009

A few cards, and lots of heating problems!

One rotten side effect of having a bug at the start of the year is that all the good intentions you had stored up for "new Year" get sidelined. It's hard to stay psyched up for them.

Hence, my intention to lose weight was put off with "not while I have a cold, I'm going to treat myself!" The one about tidying up and re-organising much of the house had to be dropped and the one about crafting and writing seems a long time ago now!

But the calendar keeps pushing forward and new, important dates come around... 4 birthdays this week! Here are two cards I managed to make last night, one for my mum, the other for a friend I made in an online depression support group 9 years ago (good grief! NINE years???? It can't be!)

I used the last of the papers Julie sent me in the one for my mum (above). I like the ribbon- I'd seen something similar in craft shops but it was very expensive. This one was 90p a metre (about $1.75 for 40 inches) at a traditional haberdasher's shop in Colchester.
I decorated the envelopes and the insides this time, too...
-I haven't met Donna (yet?) but she has been a great friend over the years. She has MS and has ups and downs with that. At the moment she isn't too well. Her husband, John, is a vet and they have adopted lots of animals- 11 dogs at the last count, lots of semi-feral cats out in a barn, plus a family of gliders (google them, they're really cute!).

Luvbug bought me these metallic watercolours for Christmas:-he let me have them early so that I could do these cards, one for his mum, one for mine :)
I only started making cards last August, so I've done mainly Christmas cards. I'm feeling a bit lost now I'm to make 'normal' ones. I suppose there is Valentine's and Easter coming up though.... I have been visiting a few crafty sites (see list, left) for inspiration and to get back into the mood. Seeing what others are doing, I feel more left behind than ever!

The study/craft room, where I organised all my arty stuff, is as cold as the garage. I made these sprawled across the living-room floor, in front of the fire! Remember the heating engineer that came and went? He left us with one working radiator, out of nine. Unfortunately it wasn't one of the downstairs ones.

As an experiment, I left a plug-in radiator switched on in the study last night. I went in there today around noon. The heater had been on its highest setting for about eleven hours, and had barely made any impression at all; still too cold to work in there, even with fingerless gloves. OK, I can put on extra layers, but I would still be breathing in cold air. With asthma, that isn't a good idea!

It's really frustrating to have parts of the house you can't use. It starts to affect how tidy the rest of the place is- you know where things need to go, but put off taking them there because it means opening doors to draughts and freezing cold rooms.

We've put our heating problems on the 'rated people' site, hoping for a few quotes from engineers. Hope we can get it sorted soon.

I want to get stuck into things before long, as I am starting to feel the year slipping away from me. I want to shout, "Wait for me! Come back!" but I need some damn heating, and to shift this cold/bug once and for all, first. I'm wary of getting bored, as boredom really does lead to depression.

Soooo frustrating....

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Packing away old stuff

The sun setting today, at 4pm. This is progress! It was getting dark at 3.30 when we went away!
It doesn't really show here but the sun was huge and so red, it made me think of a big, juicy, blood-orange.

Well, I took down our three Christmas decorations today. Big job, but someone had to do it :)

And all our cards, too. I never put cards away immediately; I sit them in a box for a few days, so that we can browse through them and rediscover who they're all from and enjoy them again. This is also where I pick up on the "please write" and "would love to hear from you" pleas. Oops. Sudden guilt. I resolve to answer them this year. They usually get put to the back of things because I have so many birthdays to remember in January (6 at last count). (Oops no -7 - just remembered someone else.)

There is a big push in the English media to recycle all our used Christmas Cards. A charity called The Woodland Trust -of which I'm a member so I should pay attention- is putting collection boxes into shops for this purpose. They promise to plant new trees if we do this. I forget how many trees for how many cards. I'm a useless ambassador, aren't I?

Even more so because most of my cards end up sealed in large manilla envelopes (I'm not even sure if they're recycled manilla envelopes), marked with the year in big black marker pen and stored in a box. I've kept the cards and Advent calenders from each Christmas K and I have been together. So far then, I have 6 manilla envelopes.

I do part with the ones we get from businesses. And most of the ones from the kids at the schools where K teaches. But the rest, I just can't part with them.

Maybe when I turn 70 (touch wood- quick!) I'll gather up our 35 manilla envelopes and drive them in a truck to the Woodland Trust's head office and ask for a forest.


My cold bug is progressing nicely.
I am in the running-to-the-toilet-for-the-sake-of-both-ends stage.
Sorry about that.

I've uploaded our photo's from Ireland, so that is some progress! Hope I can blog some this week.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Only Two Things To Worry About!

Hullo and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

We got back from Ireland Thursday night. We were there 12 days and it didn't rain once! This is a first for me!!

I can't process the photo's at the moment as I'm feeling pretty awful!

The cough that K has had since November and which came and went and came again throughout our holiday, has now become a full-blown cold, with dizziness and weakness, shivering, temperature, sneezing, the works.

Yesterday I was still ok, so went into town and bought up lots of chicken and vegetables. I made a chicken, onion and sweet potato soup with fennel, ginger and mace. It was yummy and very warming. I was pleased for it as much as K was, as the cold was reaching for me. By this morning it had caught me. Now I am as bad as he.

We're hoping this isn't the same bug as some of his nephews have had. When we last popped in on them to say goodbye before coming home, two of them were suffering a new dose of it. K's niece had already been through it. Apparently, it really floors you, and lasts for weeks! WAAH! (Oh well. It will kick-start my New Year diet plan, won't it?!)

My throat is like sandpaper, my chest aches already from coughing and my eyes (and nose!) are watering.

I hope it doesn't settle on my chest, as my asthma doesn't go well with chesty colds. To try to prevent this happening I am taking to sleeping upright on the sofa, propped up with cushions. It isn't the most comfortable. But this, along with drinking tons of water and taking paracetamol, has proved to shorten colds in the past.

But I shan't be worrying too much.
Here is a bit of wisdom I picked up in Ireland:

There are only 2 things to worry about: either you are well or you are sick. If you are well there is nothing to worry about: but if you are sick there are 2 things to worry about: either you will get well or you will die. If you get well, then there is nothing to worry about. But if you die then there are 2 things to worry about: either you will go up or you will do down. If you go up there is nothing to worry about. But if you go down you will be so busy shaking hands with old friends that you won't have time to worry.
So there you are :)

Ahhh.... K has just offered to get me some soup! Oh good. I do feel I need a little nursing today!