Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Christmas Princess

Ta Da ... 

As promised, here is the card that DS1 made using an image which he coloured with Promarkers (for the very first time).

I printed these images and DP's out a while ago, ready for when I started my Christmas card  making, but I never got round to starting because I had/have the wedding stationery to do for my friends wedding... which is only 3 weeks away today (OMG).

DS1 and I had a little colouring session to kick start my Christmas card making on Sunday - it was cold, snow on the ground and nothing else to do - so he agreed to craft with me (gosh).

This card is for my niece and is made with an image called 'Christmas Princess' - drawn by the very talented Christy Croll, owner of Tiddly Inks.  You will find the Tiddly Inks store HERE, where you are sure to find something just for you.  They are whimsical, quirky digi stamps - and for some of them, there are design papers (DP) available too.

I have another Christmas image from Tiddly Inks which will appear on my blog soon - in the meantime - check out Tiddly Inks blog, where the DT has done an amazing job in this weeks challenge.  It showcases just what can be done with these delicious images.

What do you think of DS' first attempt with the Promarkers.  He's quite chuffed with himself and is currently sat watching Dawn Bibby with me (not really - he doesn't have much choice).  He's been talking to the TV when she was 'selling' sets of promarkers - telling her there is nothing she can tell him that he doesn;t already know about using them... i'm sure that's testiment to his mum (that would be me) that he's been shading and doing the hair...

Not too bad for a first attempt.  I think I could get him to have another colouring session.

Here are the details of the card:

A4 made from A3 300 microns white card
Backing paper from Forever Friends CD, printed on 190gsm 
Sentiment - PC generated
Poinsetta flower in glitter card - cut with Marianne Creatables Poinsetta die (glued with Pinflair glue gel)
Image - Chrismas Princess from Tiddly Inks
Silver snowflake border across page - Martha Stewart large snowflake punch
Random snowflakes - all Martha Stewart punches
Stickles used to 'bling' up the fur trim on the outfit
Image coloured with promarkers

Thanks for your visit - hope you enjoyed this post and will come back again soon.


Paula x x x

My First Chrismas Card

Whoop Whoop

I've actually got a Christmas card done - thats my first one under my belt!!  One less on the rather long list.

I've chosen to do my God Daughter and Niece an image from Tiddly Inks, called Christmas Princess.  I bought this back in September and felt humble for being prepared. Huh!

Everytime I've thought of doing some Christmas cards or even had an inkling of energy, I quickly realised that I really should be getting on with my friends wedding stationery - I had the 'Orders of Service' to complete and also completed the menu's.  Here's a pic of some of the finished 'Order of Service' cards:

Since I took this picture, I've added an extra snowflake to the front cover as I felt there was something missing.  Its only one of the tinyest ones I've got, but it did make a difference.  When I have a full set of stationery, which I'm saving for my friend as a small gift, I'll take a pic and show on here.

I still have a few things to finish for the wedding.  Camera covers, place setting name cards (they're nearly finished), the table numbers (which are actually going to be named after Santa's reindeer - the top table being Rudolph!  I have the wedding post box to decorate and the table plan display, but i'm waiting for last minute changes to the table plans.

Anyway, I digress again (nothing new there then)...

Here is the card for my God Daughter with the adorable Tiddly Inks image of the Christmas Princess on.

The sentiment is of course, computer generated.  The tree snowglobe is part of the DP, which is from the Forever Friends collection.  I've blinged this card up to within an inch of its life!!!  The image has been coloured with promarkers, then the trim on the outfit has been 'stickled'.  The larger snowflakes are a mixture of Spellbinders shapeabilities set one and set two, while the smaller snowflakes are made using Martha Stewart punches - as is the border that goes across the page.

If you like this image, check out Christy's Tiddly Inks shop where there are loads more Christmas images - along with images suitable for lots of other ocassions - you really will love them and be spoilt for choice - visit and check out the shop by clicking here.

Here are the Spellbinders snowflake pendants.  I got mine a while back before the christmas rush - i see that most retailers are sold out on these... at least I was prepared and did something early then!!!

Last night, DS1 was bored, so I got him to do some crafting with me.  I asked him to colour one of these Tiddly Images with me - that will be for my Niece.  I've had them printed out for ages with the DP already in the folded A3 card - as all the little people in my life will be getting large A4 cards this year.  Why not - the beauty of the digi images is that you can size them to go on any size of card - or if something goes tragically wrong with the colouring or something, you merely print out again.  

DS1 chose to do his image in red and did a good job considering it was his first attempt with promarkers (which he called posh felt tips).  I was trying to teach him how to shade (not that i'm any expert), and he didn't do too bad a job.  That image has already been put on the front of the card, but the card its self needs finishing off with snowflakes and stuff.

Here he is crafting at the kitchen table yesterday

Here, he's just die cutting some of the snowflakes from red glitter card.  He also did silver and gold mirri, and green glitter too.  He also cut some of the poinsetta flowers out using Marianne Creatables Poinsetta dies.  Wow - they look stunning constructed in the red and green glitter card.  Aww bless.

Here is the box of snowflakes, the smaller ones are cut using Martha Stewart punches and were done by me for the front of the wedding stationery.

Wait for a future post with the finished card done by DS1.

Thank you for reading, 

Paula x x x

Monday, 6 December 2010

Creative Handcrafted Storage for Earrings

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to sort out my jewellery, because I knew, due to the way i'd been storing it, I was wearing only a fraction of what I had.

Having sorted out my real jewellery from my costume jewellery, I decided to clean my sterling silver.  Wow, what a change.  Pitty I didn't take a picture, or a picture of it spread all over my kitchen table.
After a few days of contemplating how to store my earrings in particular, I decided to see what was available to but to hold all the earrings I have, but wasn't really taken by anything I'd seen.  

I'd started to put them on a piece of card but once a few pairs were on, it wouldn't stand up - but then I'd not thought what to do with all the pieces of card I would have had if I'd continued.  

My next move was to make something myself - so I set about it. Please note that this project can be adjusted to any size - larger or smaller and adapt for other things.

Here goes the stages of my project:
First of all, get a piece of board - it could be chipboard or corrugated cardboard.  I chose the latter seeing as i've had too many (well, the OH would say) deliveries of craft stuff.

My piece of cardboard measured as follows - all measurements are marked on the piece:

Score a spine down the middle - as wide as desired. to do this, either find the centre and mark then score an equal distant from the centre mark.  I chose to have a spine of 4cm.  Alternative way is to measure the width (here it is 30cm), divide by 2 halves (15cm) and take 2cm from each which makes 13cm - therefore, measure 13cm from each edge of the 'page' and mark and score.  Gives the same result, just another way of doing it.

Next, we want to cover the cardboard.  I chose some thick mulberry paper with silk threads in it.

This needs to be trimmed so that it covers the back, then overlaps the inside.  You can choose how far you bring it round as this will be covered again anyway.  Ensure that you cut it large enough to wrap around the top and the bottom, as well as round the pages:

Trim the corners so that they tuck in properly.  I chose to glue my mulberry paper by smothering my cardboard with Anita's tacky glue.  Smooth your corners with some wet glue to stop it from fraying or lifting.

Once outer cover is finished, its time to put the pages in. The 'pages' are what the earrings are going to be fastened to.  I chose to make my pages out of felt.  Its not expensive felt; I got these sheets in a pack from a bargain bag I bought a while back from Create and Craft.  I chose black and white for my project.
Next, cut the felt down to 'page' sizes obviously ensuring that they are smaller than the outer cover.  With black thread, I sewed the black sheet in, then the white sheet in then another black one, giving me plenty (hopefully) to store my earrings.

On the inside cover, I cut another piece of the mulberry paper and covered to hide the edges of the initial covering.
Here's a picture showing the black felt page and the mulberry paper finishing off the inside of the cover.

Here is a pic of the inside pages which shows how I sewed them in.  


Sewing is not my forte and perhaps could have been done neater - or perhaps with a machine, however, I don't have one.... BUT - I've ordered one off a TV shopping channel for £40... it only does 2 stitches: Straight and zig-zag, but that will do me!

Anyway, I digress - here is one of the pages with some of my silver and diamante earrings on:

The next page has some of my larger hooped earrings on:

The above are sterling silver apart from the 2nd pair in.  I have lots more to put on - then I will start on my sets which include colour.  I hope I did enough pages for all of my earrings.  However, this is just a prototype - I may make another one improving on storage - this way I can't use both sides of the page because of the earring backs.  It serves its purpose very well though.

I've decorated the front so that it can sit prettily on my bedroom shelf - and no-one should have any clues what it is:

The flowers on the cover are petaloo plain mulberry ones, purchased from QVC.  The blue ones are also petaloo from QVC - purchased a while ago with lots of other colours.  The blue flower in the top right corner is made with a marianne design die.

Just to recap on how I made it:
1)  measure a piece of cardboard big enough to make it into a book
2)  measure and make a spine down the centre of the book
3)  cover the outside of the cardboard, neatly finishing off the inside
3)  cut up sheets of felt into 'pages', ensuring they are smaller that the cover size
4)  sew or secure with adhesive all the sheets of felt into the cover
5)  decorate the cover

I hope that my (kind of) tutorial for this simple earring book was easy to follow. Let me know if you think this would be suitable for your earrings.  

Thanks for reading and visiting my blog,

Paula x x x 

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Paula's winter wonderland

I love to see pictures of the snow that other bloggers have posted on their blogs, so I thought I'd join in and share a little piece of my world.

I tried to take some amusing pics of the dog on the lawn last night when he went out for a wee - but the flash just bounced off the conservatory window which was a bit useless.  Nonetheless, I've just taken a few to share with you.

I do love photography and have bits and bobs of my efforts around the house (and i'm not talking head and shoulders of the kids)... the water lapping the sand on a Mallorcan beach and another of the ripples the sand makes when the water laps away... some other pics i've done are abstrats of flowers i've had in the garden.  I also love taking pics of veg and have some of the frills on the underneath of a mushroom, the way a leeks leaves criss cross at the ends and then the rings of a red onion sliced down the middle.  Shapes and forms fascinate me.  I might look on my external hard drive to find and show.

Anyway - these are what you'll call snapshots.

The first one is a massive icicle at the end of our gutter at the end of the house... it needs knocking down before it falls on someone.  I took this pic while trying to lean out of the back door.

 Ouch - imagine that hitting you at the back of the head!!!

 A pathway has been cleared to the garage - you may not really appreciate how deep it is on this pic - below is Dylan coming from the garage where he'd gone to avoid coming back in the snow.

 This is how much snow we've really laid down - my car hasn't been cleared since the first flake of snow - so undisturbed, this is how deep its been.  

A view of the drive and the 4x4 which has been useful.

This is what my beautiful pampass grass looks like on the front garden

This is Dylan trotting from the garage (I had to give him the stern 'Dylan come' command as he really wasn't wanting to come out of the garage!  This pic lets you appreciate how deep it is from DH digging in and making the pathway.

This is my more sensible pet - one that sits in the bedroom windowsill to watch everyone else in the snow getting cold and wet!

Here is a late entry - the boys (youngest DS and his friend) have managed to knock the dangerous icicle down from the gutter - although there is a bit of it left - here is how big it is - imagine this hitting you on the head!!!

Here are the boys playing on the lawn
youngest DS is the face in the centre of the pic - he's buried himself - he'll be complaining he's cold soon enough.


DS's friend sitting up.

My outdoor glass table with a couple of chairs lent up.

Eldest DS pointing to a pile of snow

Which was concealing youngest DS... He is so like my brother - these are all the things he typically did when he was younger... he's now got two children of his own!  DS is back in now... yep, complaining he's cold.

I love it that they've been out and been able to enjoy the snow.  My dad used to take us to the local park to go sledging - although compost bags were faster so we used to use those - the dogs we had at the time enjoyed it too.  The boys, despite the snow we had in the New Year, have never experienced it this deep.  DH and I were reminiscing how, when we first started living together and we had our first pets who used to like to jump in and out of the snow at our first house.  A lovely trip down memory lane.

Hope everyone enjoys the snow in their own way - but remember to keep warm and safe.

Paula x x x

WOYWW, Hello - I'm still alive with a bit of an update!

Happy December Crafters, fellow bloggers, blog buddies.

For those who have come to look at the desk - firstly - here's a pic from last week - but I didn't end up doing a post - more on why later (it may become apparent, but I'd been to the hosp and didn't feel much like posting at the time)

I'd just bought some red and green glitter paper from Tesco - we went after finishing at the hospital.  I haven't been that many times to Tesco this year - but always make a bee-line for the stationery aisles...

The white basket was purchased from IKEA and bought it to hang from my poles on the wall - this is something which I've been wanting to get sorted for a while now.  Maybe seeing as there is no hope of going anywhere in the next day or so, I could get my DH to work on it - especially as we didn't have any satellite signal (that will get the menfolk hanging off the walls - tut - they should have a hobby then eh?).

Here's a pic taken Tuesday evening - of THIS week LOL!!!

I've been punching this little lot out with my Martha Stewart Punches - but not for Christmas cards - oh no, some of you will know that I've been working on some wedding stationery for my friend who gets married just after Christmas - in fact on the Tuesday after Christmas - here is where those snowflakes have been going:

Here is the invitation I did - this is the first one she wrote out - while they were still 'hot off the press' when she'd first come to pick them up.

There are still several items of stationery I'm working on - the Order of Service is the first one - I've another 29+ to do... the vicar doesn't want a fancy one - just the insides!!! I'm thinking perhaps I'll be assembling these tomorrow now all the elements are ready.  I'm sure any snowflakes that are left over will (or make that may) be used in my Christmas cards - if I get round to making any that is.

Now, if you don't want to be here all day and find out what I've been up to - you may be excused at this point and make comment only on my WOYWW part of the post.  The remainder is all about where I've been, what I've been up to - and how 2010 just cannot get any worse - and how I can't wait for it to be gone!!!

I haven't joined in the last couple of weeks or so in WOYWW - one of the very few good things to come out of 2010 for me.  Reason being, as you may or may not know, is that I went back to work w/c 15th November.  I know that many many of my fellow bloggers hold down full time jobs and are able to blog, blog hop and create all at the same time - but for me, I've struggled just returning to work after being off sick for 10 months.

Well - the fun hasn't merely stopped at going back to work on a phased basis.

As most people who already read my blog know, I've been constantly battling to get the right combination of medication in order for me to be in a relatively pain free position so that I could return to work.  Well, I'm actually on some pretty serious meds now, which has helped with the 'considerable nerve damage' so for most of the time - I'm pretty good... I do still get the twinges - but nothing constant like it was.  This 'pain free' state has come at quite a high price - I've traded this off with some pretty horrific side-effects.  Some are funny, some were funny and some are not in the slightest bit fun... I can barely string a sentence together.  I can't remember a lot of things - things that I NEED to remember.  I lack focus, I can't get words out and struggle conversationally (anyone who knows me, know that I can talk as an olympic sport - but at work and out and about - its just not happening).  I have a severe lack of concentration, when i'm tired my muscles, particularly in my legs, twitch like mad.  My sleep pattern is all over the place - but it has been for a while - but its definately not improved and is really not in line with returning to work!

I'd asked my GP to put me on the patch (which I refer to as a morphine patch - but is called a buprenorphine - an opioid patch to treat severe chronic pain) which I'd been prescribed by the specialist at the pain clinic.  Team this up with the oral meds: Tramadol, Codeine Phosphate, Pregabalin - and some pretty interesting things have been happening.  I went back to have him sign me fit for work, and also to report that while I felt an improvement after being on the patch - I didn't feel there were enough good days and I wanted more good days to be able to go back to work - this is when he increased my dose from a 5mg/hour patch to 10mg/hour. However, I wanted to speak to him also about other pains that I'd been experiencing  and which, although I hadn't felt as too severe for or a while - I had experience them before - but wondered if they could also be side effects of some of the medication.  I'd mentioned them to him on a few visits before - but he'd always asked me to prioritise what I needed dealing with - and that had always been my nerve pain.

I asked my GP to put on my return to work note, a bit of detail about my forgetfulness etc - and about the side effects of all the meds - but he said if he did that, they probably wouldn't allow me to return.  I am now being asked if there are any H&S issues about me being at work.  HR have said that if the GP thought that i'd not be allowed back due to the side effects - he shouldn't have signed me as fit for work in the first place - which would lead me back to square one and being finished on sickness capability.  Anyway, because of me being unable to elaborate on a couple of questions at my last interview (basic things that I know that I know)- I was unsuccessful - for an Assis. Team Leader post!!!  When I went off, I was a Team Leader but due to the restructure my post no longer exists.  I have an equiv. of a post graduate degree in Business Management - and I can't even get an assistant job at the moment.

Anyway, the pains I'd been experiencing were severe swelling of my hands, fingers, wrists, knees, ankles (or cankles as I call them), feet etc etc.  then a few weeks ago, I started with a pain in my right groin - which has caused me difficulty in lifting my right leg) - this is something that's been re-occurring for years now because i remember getting this when I've been camping - and laughing about it because I've been like an old woman (sorry to all people who consider themselves as old women if this is offensive)!!!    For YEARS now, I've suffered pains when doing simple tasks like peeling potatoes - i can't hold the potato for long - nor the peeler before I have to let go of both; I can't hold a cloth to rub or scrub for long either, have difficulty in holding the stale of a brush - the hoover pipe and have resorted to cleaning the bath and whb in the bathroom with a washing up brush (a new, and separate one I hasten to add). 

Typing is also becoming increasingly difficult so is cutting with small scissors (e.g. decoupage).  I also have trouble griping the steering wheel on longer drives - and this is also something that's been happening for years - and something which my DH has noticed on loads of occasions when we've been out and about - or its been my turn to drive when going on holiday. 

Some readers/followers may also remember a couple or so months ago when I was experiencing a lot of pain in my right arm - which I had put down to me sleeping on it in the wrong position.  Well, I told him all of these things - and he actually listened this time and got me to do a few things. I'd mentioned to him before that my mum suffers from Inflammatory Arthritis and Osteo Arthritis - so without further ado - he referred me to a Rheumatologist and made me an appointment.  This appointment was last Wednesday - first thing in the morning.
Well, the Rheumatologist asked me when we went in what I expected to get out of my visit.  I said I wanted somethings perhaps ruling in, and somethings ruling out.  I wanted him to (hopefully) rule out Arthritis and maybe rule in (more as an explanation) that some of the pains I was experiencing was down to side effects - ones that were a suitable, hopefully short-term trade-off to all the nerve damage pain I'd been experiencing.

OK - first thing first - family medical history, then my symptoms and pains, then examination, then diagnosis.  Towards the end of the examination, I mentioned something I'd forgotten and that was that my Mum and sister both have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  "There you have it" he said.

I have been formally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and also something called Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (I'd never heard of it either).  This is something that people who are/have been 'flexible' get - aching and pain in specific joints around the body - and bingo - I scored full marks on some scoring mechanism or other... Some gymnasts, dancers and sportsmen suffer with it - but usually, they have trained in order to make their joints supple and flexible - he said basically I was born like it...

A lot of pennies started to drop about both conditions - not that I'd heard of one - and the other I'd completely dismissed.  The more I think about it - the more I am now convinced I've probably had both for years.  FM usually flares up with trauma and stress/depression according to the literature I was given - I can safely say I've had my fair share of trauma this year - and as for stress - being hassled into returning to work too early under threat of being finished on sickness capability grounds - then sent home when you do go back due to not being fit enough to be there, going back when feeling a bit better - but too many side effects so that I'm not capable of interviewing - but they go ahead with it any way and I fail both interviews and as a result I'm now at risk of being made redundant on 12 weeks notice - oh yes my friends - its all happened to me - this week, this month and this year.

So, I hope that 2011 promises to be a darn site better.

Thanks to those who persevered and read to the end... I really DO thank you for caring enough to read to the end.

Catch you soon - at either your desk or mine... pop over here to Julia's blog to see exactly what I mean.

With love and hugs

Paula x x x


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