Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Anna Griffin Designs Frenzy

I have to admit to having an addiction - to all things Anna Griffin...

Having said that, while I LOVE her gorgeous 12x12 papers,I don't need them, because i'm not (yet) a scrapbooker - and if I were (it is something I fully intend to do one day), I have got the Serif Digital Scrapbooking programme - as I want to give digi, then hybrid scrapbooking a go (I think I am a commitment-phobe!!!)

With real life papers, I KNOW I would change my mind once I had committed a layout with glue even though I would have spent the previous fortnight playing about with where this and that would go.  With digi - I can copy, cut, paste press 'control Z' to undo - and even have half a dozen layouts with ribbon or buttons in a (slightly) different place - like 2 degrees to the clockwise and 3mm down LOL!!!  Yep, I'm a fickle commitment-phobe!!!  However, if any of you lovely readers out there know whether our Anna does digi kits/papers - then you MUST tell me, and i'll get on the case forthwith!!!

Recently, QVC had an Anna Griffin day... I bought all her stamps featured on that day... Christmas and all.  I have her sentiment and ornate stamps set already, so added the backgrounds and Christamas sets to add to my special (and kept separately) Anna Griffin stamp folder... but, the piece de resitance was the lovely tote bag... how gorgeous was that?  They'd featured it before but what did I want one for?  I don't go to crops or card making classes, crafting workshops or get togethers etc...  BUT, this time it was on easy pay... hmmm. Should I? Shouldn't I?... oops! before I knew it, I'd somehow clicked on the 'add to basket', then the 'express checkout' buttons... eek - that was an 'accident'... and its not my fault my computer has stored all my details so that I can buy something before it sells out!!!  

yummy scrumptiousness:

OMG - it arrived on Sunday (yes, I did say Sunday) via the local QVC courier and WOW, what an absolutely gorgeous work of art it is.  Its a large wipe-clean tote made with THE most scrummy Ms Griffin design. 

More views of yumminess:

Inside is another lovely bag in a co-ordinating design in the same colourways, that would double well as a weekend toiletries bag. 

The yummy inside bag:

To my surprise, and something I wasn't aware of [when the button was accidentally clicked], is a set of stationery with card blanks and envelopes, design papers that co-ordinate with the bags and lots of embellishments.



Embellishments made up of felt and crocheted flowers in pinks, brads in browns and pinks, gems etc.

All the gorgeous colours and designs co-ordinate perfectly.  Inside the large bag is a wallet style folder that press studs into the bag, that will hold other bits and bobs...  well worth the money - but even better when you spread it over the 4 easy payments. They are scrummy.  
When the box arrived, my DH couldn't understand why I got all excited (well, i've not had that much to get excited about recently have I?), so he stood over me while I opened it.  Once I'd got into it - he stood there and said "is that it, a bag?"... Bloody hell, they don't know jack!!!!

I keep looking at it and it is right next to the desk...  I have used some of the DP's already - which are slightly larger than our A6 size.  You'll have to come back on Wednesday to see what I did with them.  Put it this way, I didn't make ANY cards with them (yet).

I can imagine this in other colourways (aquamarine is a favourite of mine, plus blue and green respectively).

In my opinion - this set and the designs opitimise everything I love; the colour palette, the bold then the delicate designs that co-ordinate.  The quality is outstanding, and this just HAS to beat a Gucci bag hands down for me!!!

Thanks for reading - please leave a comment to say you've been - and come back again soon. 

hugs, Paula x x x

He's just a 'Funky' gamer boy

In a previous post (WOYWW) I showed a close up of some images that i'd coloured up with my promarkers ready to make a card with.  The image is a digi from Mo Manning, and is just the ticket for most boys this day and age!  Well, this is what the finished card looked like:

I made the easel card from 300gsm paper printed with Funky Hand designs from the latest Papercraft Factory CD - Colour Me Happy.  I love this colour combo.  Each of Anice's CD's from Funky Hand have collections on which are sorted in to colour collections.  Each collection is made up of 5 co-ordinating colourways, which either contrast or compliment each other perfectly.  She gives them the most delightful names.  Here we have one that reminds me of dominoes, and classic and versatile polka dots... who doesn't like polka dots?

The 3D dots are 'card candy' and adhered with small foam pads... they are like faux brads and can be bought in any conceivable colour - and lighter and less fiddly than brads.  The sentiment is a simple computer generated one.

I had printed and identically coloured 3 images then decoupaged them up... you can't tell very well on this pic, but his arms and his legs stand out like they would IRL - as they would be standing proud of the back of the image.  Inside - under the top of the easel part, I put a strip of the polka dot paper in to make a little pocket to put some money in for my darling Godson.  I can't believe that he is 12 already and remember holding him as soon as he was home (day one or two) and sitting in awe of him and crying cos he was so beautiful.  He is still lovely in everyway, but it doesn't make it any easier to buy a pressie for him, so I thought the money would be more appropriate... besides, I haven't been anywhere to do any shopping anyway - unless you count the hospital shop LOL.

Thanks for stopping by.

Paula x x x

When a Sympathy card isn't quite appropriate

I have a friend who I met sometime ago when on holiday near Barcelona.  Anyway, we've kept in touch ever since through the odd e-mail and silly joke.  On average, we get to see each other once a year.  She lives in Bedfordshire and ocassionally visits these parts for a weekend away.

She came up a couple of months ago, and while we tried to arrange to meet up, it didn't happen due to the fact that I wasn't well and in a lot of pain at the time, and she had other stuff planned while she was here too.

Anyhow, I learned from her some awful news that her Brother had very recently passed.  Infact, he'd taken his own life which, quite understandably, was devastating.  Devastating despite that my friend and her brother weren't very close, and he'd become disengaged from his family, people and life in general and had turned to alcohol.

I wanted to show her that I was thinking about her, but felt that a sympathy card may not be the most appropriate thing to send.

The embossing folder is 'Leafy Tree' from Crafts Too.  The sentiment is Anna Griffin.  I can't remember where I got the polka dot ribbon from, but I do remember there wasn't a lot on the spool!

I think that this embossing folder has to be one of my favourites and it is such a versatile one.  Extremely effective for cards like this, but easily adapted to bright and cheery cards, and ripe for adding bling to to tree, and also looks good when highlighted with a stamp pad - of any colour or type.

Apologies if you find the photo to be too bright, its sometimes difficult to capture an all white card well.

Thanks for looking.

Hugs, Paula x x x

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

WOYWW 25th August

Well, good morning bloggers - looks like the sun is shining (at last) on this fine day...

Here's the desk:

Well, as you can see, it's a bit like a dumping ground this morning (well, its looked like that for the last few days to be honest)... Its not due to crafting either.

I was just relaxing on the sofa yesterday, all surrounded by my pillows and cushions colouring in this image from Mo's Digital Pencil with my promarkers, when my Mum arrived.  Its to go on a card for my Godson, which I've had to do in fits and starts... by the time i've done it, it'll have taken me 4 days to make one card!!!  I love this image as its so appropriate for many boys these days.  I'll share the finished article which will have to be completed today as its his birthday today!!!

Below are some gorgeous Anna Griffin stamps that I bought from QVC recently.  I'd missed the show last week due to being at the pain clinic, so had a look on the website and saw these.  Irresistable???  I can't wait to see what I can do with these... might be waiting for a while though!!!  Apologies for the quality of the photograph, but its difficult to take a good picture of clear stamps.

Anyway, since my WOYWW post last week, its been somewhat cramped in the conservatory/craftroom/house in general, as I've had my Mum and her dog (Pippa) staying.

She was supposed to be coming down to my house last Friday to visit, but she said it was going to have to be a bit later as she was expecting her friend to visit. About lunch time, I got a phone call from her panicked friend, saying that she'd fallen while up the garden and hit her arm on a terracotta pot (it broke the pot).  She'd been feeding the fish in the pond and her knee gave way.

Her friend had tried to clean it - as at the time they were stood on the decking which was a bit grubby round the pond area as she had just had it cleaned out by a friend of mine.  I got DS to drive me to over to Mums - which is 5 mins away, to find her on the sofa in a lot of pain.  Her friend had tried to clean it up best she could but DS and I insisted that she go to hospital to get it checked over, get a tetanus shot and cleaned up properly...

She got seen, had x-rays, cleaned up etc and was told by the Nurse Practitioner in 'See and Treat' that she had a fractured radial head - plus there was something else that she could see but was unsure of.  She also said (and I don't know how many of you out there know this) that she didn't need a tetanus shot if she'd had 5 within her lifetime.  Apparently, they did away with the 10-year booster rule some time ago because studies showed that there were no added benefits if you'd already had 5 - and you have usually had these by the time you've left senior school.  Mum was relieved!!!

Anyway, she had to make an appointment to come back to the fracture clinic on Monday to see a specialist.  Anyway, I insisted she come back to mine as they strapped her up.  I didn't want her coming to any further harm!!!  DH &DS went to fetch Pippa the dog and a few things that Mum may need.  So, for the weekend, it was musical beds at my house.  We only have the three bedrooms so no guest room unfortunately.  I was on the sofa anyway but insisted that my Mum stayed in my bed as its nearest to the bathroom.  DH slept on the other sofa - we managed ok anyway.  Needs must and all that.

Went to the fracture clinic on Monday and received the good news that it wasn't infact fractured, but had flared up her osteo arthritis pretty bad and she'd got some classic tell tale signs on the x-rays of that.  The upshot of it all was that her knee had let her down (again) so I made her an appointment the same afternoon for the doctors to set the ball rolling (again) for her knee to be sorted - and to be taken seriously.  Last time all they gave her was 2 courses of cortisone injections and told her to lose weight before they'd consider anything.  This time I went to the docs with her and had a fight in me that would not let her be fobbed off again.  She can't exercise because of her knee - and sponylosis, oeseo arthritis etc, is a type 2 diabetic, so controls her diet well to control the diabetes - so what more can she do?  I told the doctor that no human being should be in the pain she's suffering and insisted on better pain medication - she was on less than me!!!  Which I told the doctor.  So he's increased it and she has to see how she gets on.  Now we need to see how she gets on when the x-rays come back.  She went home happily of her own accord on Monday evening.  Then came to see me yesterday for a couple of hours (actually, she cadged some papers off me for a card she's going to make)...

Me?  I'm using the chilli paste/cream - some of the electrical activity which was the stabbing pains seem to have reduced.  I'm taking the additional medication as directed by the pain specialist - so far so good.  having said that, I really needed to rest up yesterday as I ached like mad and needed to do NOTHING!!!  But I live in hope!!!

Anyway, to join in the desk/work area blog hop - hop on over to Julia at the Stamping Ground - she's in charge and will give you all the details. Leave a comment, say hi - don't just leave without saying you've been - we love to hear from old blogging friends and those blogging friends we've not yet met.

If you read to the end... well done, and thanks for sticking with it!!!

Happy Wednesday - or what everday you happen to land in the playground.

Come back again. hugs, Paula x x x

Thursday, 19 August 2010

House Mouse Stamp from Joanna Sheen

I coloured one of my new stamps up bought from Joanna Sheen (which are gorgeous), and made it into a card for a very special lady across the pond in Mississippi.  Her name is Shirley and she has a blog HERE

I coloured up with my promarkers and love how the poppy turned out.  The fern leaves were made using a Leoni Em punch (ash branch), sentiment is from my Anna Griffin sentiment stamp collection, glittery flower from the mass amount I bought from QVC some time ago - they're Petalloo.  Martha Stewart punch to create border.  Image stamped on a nestie label (that I'd cut ages ago) then inlade into a black mat in which an aperture had been cut using the same size nestie label (also cut a while ago). Thats it.

I'd forgotten to take a pic before I sealed the envelope up so when Shirley let me know she'd received it, she kindly took a pic of it for me and emailed so that I could share on my blog.

Don't you find something very theraputic about colouring in?  I always used to enjoy colouring in when I was younger, and took inspiration from my Mum who also enjoyed colouring. I still have a picture of a cat with a great big bow round its neck that my Mum coloured for me when I was a little girl.  I stuck it to the inside lid of my desk - which I also still have in the garage.

Many times i've been camping and bought a cheap colouring book and pencils to colour in as a wind down or relaxer.  Obviously these days, more of us do it as part of our overall hobby and take these images we colour and make a card or project out of them. 

Since I have been off work, (and going stir crazy most of the time, becoming somewhat housebound), crafts and colouring have been a great therapy to me and i've found that many people find cardmaking as a hobby as some kind of rehabilitation due to an illness or accident, and think its great that so many people who have to live with illness, pain or a disability can enjoy crafting.  At the end of the day, while we may not be active and able to do the day to day norm, colouring etc is a great therapy.  Obviously there have been restrictions for me in terms of the lenght of time I can do any activity, let alone craft although mostly, crafting is (supposed to be) sedatery and relaxing and keeps the mind active. I'd like to say that it takes my mind off the chronic pain but its always there, niggling and reminding me that its there - especially when the stabbing pains alsi start (its like some one sticking many many blunt needles in, in one go - I can only describe it to you as if someone was typing on a keyboard - for every letter they touch, a stabing pain occurs.  Sometimes they're typing a sentence - sometimes a whole blog post (the size of mine :O(). 

Sadly, I've not been able to use my rotary trimmer or my cuttlebug as much as I could as the strength in having to hold it steady with my left hand/side has gone.  However, I have a very helpful Mum and Husband who have been able to do such things for me.  Although pre-scored and cut cards are a godsend!  I suppose thats why you will have found a lot of my crafting has been the 'click and print' type of late, unless I've used stuff that i'd say, decoupaged ages ago, or using die cut decoupage. Its sitting to the table that presents a problem, so I try to do things that i can do on my lap.  Also, its a good job that I have a little stash box of ready made cards done pre illness (and blogging).  Of course commissions have taken a back seat as i've all on doing cards for my own family, but I would NEVER resort to buying one!!!

Before I go, I thought you'd appreciate a little update following my hospital visit to see the Pain Consultant yesterday.  He confirmed considerable nerve damage all around the operation site and wasn't surprised at the amount of pain I am continuing to suffer.  All my symptoms about not being able to sit comfortably, lay on my back or left side, not being able to walk very far or for very long, (or very fast) excrutiating pain when coughing, sneezing or even clearing my throat (and even taking deep breaths - the type where you fill your lungs properly, not being able to reach down to pick things up, put pressure on or lean on my left side - or drive... - none of these were a surprise to him. 

He said that nerve damage is often caused to a degree during the thoracotomy - but I actually had part of my intercostal nerve removed (first time i've been told this as I just thought it had been cut as part of the op) as the tumor was growing on it - the tumor is  known as a schwanomma and quite rare (I don't like to be common LOL)!!!

When we discussed my pain medication, and also the medication I'd had to drop because of the abnormal liver function test results, he said I wasn't on a high enough dose of the Gabapentin i'm taking (a great big orange capsule tablet), which is a medication for neurological pain/nerve damage - he's asked me to double this for a few days, then up it to three per day. I have to go back in November to have a trial on a TENS machine (under clinical supervision), then progress if there is no progress (weird how they are the same words but you day them differently) to more invasive intervention such as freezing the nerves and then possible a nerve block (he said there were several options).  I have another follow-on appointment in January.  He said that it could take two to three years to see any improvement.

He has also given me some cream to put on around my scar area - this is other pain caused by nerve damage to my skin; I have surface skin pain and a mix of a lot of numbness, then some deeper down pain which feels like its nearer to the actual bones.  The cream is called capsaicin which is apparently made of chemicals from chillies.  Aparently, the chemicals in the chillies send messages to your brain and confuse it (and it doesn't take much lol)!!!!  I've been given gloves to apply this with and haven't got to get it anywhere else.... I don't think I can put it in a curry either LOL!!!  I'll have to get my OH to put it on cos I can't reach - but will have to make sure he doesn't scratch any delicate areas LOL or goes to the loo with the gloves still on!!!... just like the raw chillies - you have to avoid rubbing your eyes or touching anywhere else, particularly your face..  

I told the consultant (Mr Dale) that I was pretty miserable about the whole thing (which he wasn't surprised at either). 

Oh, how it has changed my life considerably beyond anything I would ever have imagined when I brought the New Year in wishing every one much health and happiness for 2010... little did I know :O(... still - you bloggers out there have kept me going - and just want to thank you for your ongoing support - humouring me when I keep going on about my aches and pains, keeping in touch, and always asking after me.  A big hug to each and every one of you.

Despite the news that I could be like this for 2-3 years (and possibly forever), seeing the consultant today has really verified everything I have been suffering - and I know that none of it is psychosomatic - and people will hopefully stop thinking that I'm making it up (as I'm sure some think I do)!!!

Hope you enjoy this lovely House Mouse image, I look forward to being able to colour many more.

Thanks for reading - please leave a comment to say you've been,

hugs, Paula x x x

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

WOYWW 18th August

Hello Bloggers

Hope you are all well this Wednesday.  Just a quick post from me today.

Here is the desk

Nothing special going on  here - just a little minor untidyness ... this can easily be resolved by sweeping everything off and putting somewhere else... et voila - I have a tidy desk :O)

Off to the pain clinic this afternoon - been in a lot of pain and discomfort the last couple of days and still have to sit with my pillow and cushions behind me.  Anyway, will make some visits the best I can when I come back. The appointment says I have to allow 2 hours.  Thats probably one hour 55 minutes to wait to see the specialist and 5 minutes with the specialist  :o)

I think this may just be the record for the shortest post from me.

Pop over to Julia at the Stamping Ground for the weekly desk hop known as Whats On Your Workdesk Wednesday - also affectionately known as WOYWW....  Happy hopping.

Thanks for reading - please leave a comment to say you've been.

Paula x x x

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

WOYWW 11th August

Hello and welcome to my blog if you've never been here before.  Welcome all followers old and new and thank you for returning.
This isn't going to be a massivly big post   Sorry for the usual big post!!  (edited at the end once previewed what i'd typed)

I would like to apologise (again) for not visiting anyone in recent weeks - its nothing personal, its just that i've not been blogging and have somewhat lost my way a bit - both for blogging and crafting - maybe my medication hasn't helped or the fact that i'm completely fed up. Thank you to all those who have missed me and sent an e-mail - and sorry if I didn't get back to you... i didn't mean not to get back to you - hope you can forgive me! (pretty please).

Anyway, I have an appointment with a pain specialist next week which surely can only be a good thing - right?  I really hope he can sort stuff out because the doctor has been forced to stop some of my pain medication due to the posibility of this being the cause of my liver problems which i've been having for the last few weeks.  I now have to see a liver specialist and will be going to have a liver scan week after next, and if the results of the blood test I have to have on Friday are no better - he told me and OH (he actually came into the consultation with me) he's going to admit me to hospital in order to get it sorted out more quickly - so fingers crossed.

My Mum, bless her, has been coming to visit me quite regularly as i've not been able to get out and about - I am still not allowed to drive - and have to rely on others to take me out and about - when I say out and about, I mean to the doctors as that's the only place i've been recently :O(.  Fortunately, when my OH is at work, my DS has been able to drive me as he has the use of the MIL's car (due to the fact that its cheaper to insure hers for a learner driver than it is either of our cars) and he's not doing too badly.

Anyway, as I said, my Mum has been coming to visit on a regular basis and the other day, she basically did a total reorganisation of the craft room - well, its not like i'm using much of the stuff recently - although i did do the click and print Forever Friends cards in a previous post which weren't very taxing.
Here's a pic of the craft room this morning:

Nothing really going on here - but she moved the (bathroom) shelf to the higher pole so that more stuff could be fitted on the actual desktop area.  The 'new' rack in the left corner is a DVD rack i found in the garage - another 'cast-off' from the boys... its got all my spellbinders dies on so they are to hand (when I can use my cuttlebug properly - its really hard for me to turn the handle and put pressure on the top to stop it moving so i've not bothered in ages).  The techy looking thing on the top of the rack is my external hard drive.

Just peeking into shot to the left of the desktop is the rear of my Silhouette Cutter.  Next to the DVD rack is a cd rack (where the spellbinders were the last time I posted for WOYWW) - this now houses my CD's that aren't installed on the laptop already and makes them more accessible - and more likely to get used.  The little round box on the right from of the desk is a box which I'd like to decorate for a friends daughters B'day and know I'll only be able to do it in fits and starts so I need to look at doing that - or preferably, get OH or my Mum to paint it for me - in like a team effort kind of way!!!  

We (meaning the royal we) have also sorted out the pots that hung from the poles on the wall - and have moved my pens and the like to hang them in the metal canisters - which are also IKEA - and which I've had in the kitchen for years... I still have one with all my teaspoons in (cos I hate having to find them in the cuttelery drawer), but may swap that and bring it into the craft room to hang of the pole... my Mum will think of something it can be used for.  Each time she comes she'll say, what can we organise today? She's done all the boxes in the next pic - i just did the labels!!!  She even does my filing for me...

Also since I last posted, I've bought a Cinch from QVC (it only came on Monday) - they were doing it at a price I couldn't ignore, so ordered it for when i'm able to get back into proper crafting.  It was about £10 cheaper than most other retailers and was on 3 easy pay installments - so thought it was rude not to!!

I also had some new spellbinders and some new Martha Stewarts punches - I bought the snowflake set when they were the TSV a couple of weeks ago... little did I know that my Mum bought the same set too - if i'd have known - i'd have negotiated with her and one of us would have purchased the other set - but not to worry.

Here is a view of the shelving from Ikea which I love love love...  I wrote the labels out for the boxes while Mum organised where they went etc.  She combined some of the contents of the boxes in order to reduce the amount of boxed needing shelf space (then cadged a spare one for herself).  Its amazing how untidy this room became, despite me not doing any crafting - I suppose when you're not using the space for its proper purpose, you tend to neglect the tidying up a bit - and thats still a bit beyond me at the moment.  5-10 mins of activity and i'm done for!!!  My friend said that i'm like an old woman... and that's without her seeing me trying to get up of the sofa or get out of bed and try and walk walk to the bathroom in the morning or even trying to get dressed :O(

Anyway, less of that - if you want to join in with WOYWW - or just check out what it's all about - pop over to Julia at the Stamping Ground -she's the founder and leader of the 'cult' and will explain all.... when you visit someone - remember to say hi, just to let them know you've popped in for a nose around.  Its all good stuff.

Bye from me.

Paula x x x


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