Thursday, 24 March 2011

A Thursday WOYWW, with Funky Hand Matters and a bit of this and that!!!

Well, where do you start when you haven't blogged for a while?  If you have a brain like mine at the moment - that question proves to be a rather difficult one.

First of all, I would like to point out to you that my friend and Funky Hand fellow DT member kicked off this months Blog Challenge on the Funky Fifteenth of March over on 'GET FUNKY' with the theme 'Zing into Spring'.  Lou, who set the challenge, wants to see vibrant spring colours on your projects or cards.  It will be my turn to post my offering on 2nd April - so you may just have to come back to see what I've been up to!  I just want to add a little apology to my teamies at FH for not posting sooner - the trials and tribulations of the Gale household and general life (like everyone has but more manic just recently) have just well, got manic recently...

Now, one thing I can mention, which is timely is a brand new download collection that the lovely Anice (Funky Hand owner and Designer of all the papers and download collections) has put together and is in the Funky Hand on line shop.

Lets say if you are dotty about your spots, she's put together a full rainbow (and then some) of polka dot papers - both positive and negative, go HERE to check them out!!! Perfect colours for all time of year, but in particular - some cracking colours for spring - and at only £3.49 for a collection of 26 papers, they are sure to be a staple in your crafting calendar.

Some of you may recall all my shinanigans of last year, but yesterday was one whole year since I said goodbye to Tommy... I'm not sad that I said goodbye to him, in fact I was rather glad to see him go - but I've been in a tremendous amount of pain since he went.  Who is this Tommy some of you may be wondering.  Well, he was my tumor.  The tumor was in my chest cavity and when first discovered (due to a routine chest x-ray following several bouts of chest infections and a lasting pain in my back), it was thought that it was growing on the outside of my lung - bridging the cavity between my lung and chest wall and actually growing on my ribs.  Luckily, it wasn't actually adhered to my lung, just pressing against it, it wasn't growing on my rib either and thankfully, that meant that I didn't have to have part of my rib removed.  However, it had been growing on my intercostal nerve so part of this was removed in the operation. It wasn't anything to do with the chest infections or the cause of them at all, but the lasting pain was due to me coughing and probably aggravating it as my chest wall and rib cage moved up and down

This has lead to months and months of pain - because as well as that, the actual operation required me being opened up just from under my left shoulder blade - in an operation called a thoracotomy - with a bi-lateral incision.  Obviously when you are opened up in any operation, the surgeon has to cut through a lot of tissue, skin, muscle - and a lot of nerves... and its an extremely delicate operation in itself as to whether you will be put back together with all the nerves intact... I was told it could be up to 6 months before I got all of the feeling back from the operation - around the wound site.  

The thing is - the intercostal nerve goes around the rib cage from the spinal cord (I've been told) and is a pretty major nerve which lots of strands of other nerves run off.  Its some of these nerves that were also damaged in the opening up of the chest - as well as where the tumor, known as a schwanoma (quite a rare tumor - which I've never seen following research on the net) where someone else has been reported as having it where I had it (which I find very strange).  Anyway, here we are 12 months later and I still have pain from the operation (not the tumor) and am on 18 painkillers and a high strenght morphine patch which releases the equivalent of 20mg per hour into my system.  I have to say that even with that amount of medication - it doesn;t completely take all of the pain away - its down to a tolerable level with twinges.  

To add to this, just before Christmas, I was diagnosed as having Fibromyalgia and something called Joint Hypermobility Syndrom.  Both were diagnosed by a Rheumatology Consultant/Specialist who said that he couldn't give me any more medication than I was already onto control the pain of these issues... so godknows what it would feel like if I was on no medication at all...  Added to the 18 painkillers per day, I often have to top these up with paracetamol.  I won't go on much more about it... i'm mainly writing this because of the anniversary of the surgery was here - and because there may be new readers to my blog.

The Fibromyalgia means that I have good days and bad days when I don't function and can barely move.  On good days I go mad and end up over doing it meaning that I could face 2-3 days afterwards in agony not being able to move or function.  The unpredictability of it all is the worse as you can't really make firm plans about going out because who knows if it is going to be that day.  However, saying all that - I'm not one to rest on my laurels and while I don't drive as much these days and rarely go out, I don't let any of it get me down.  You won't find me being miserable about it anyway - its just something life has dealt me - and I deal with 'it' in turn.  I just get on with it.

Right - enough of all that... I apologise if you came to see my desk and now I finally get to the point - I have to admit that its pretty boring actually.  Here's some random pics of the desk - and the surrounding area 

 A card in the making above on the desk... all the elements for it are from the Funky Hand CD: Craft the Year Away or the new collection of polka dots - details as before.

The butterfly cards are something i've been designing with some new software - i've had it a short while but only opened it up that day so very simple stuff - but I quite like that designer look - wonder if Hallmark are looking for anyone?!

You'll see the DVD shelving at the back.  My DH fastened those two units (9.99 each from Tesco) to the wall because they were precariously resting on top of the radiator and my desk... one sharp move of my desk before and they were all over - shelves over, contents spilled the works.  So he fastened them to the wall.

You may also notice the mug tree that formerly housed my small rolls of tape.  Well, because I now have an ATG gun, I no longer use the small rolls of DST which I hung from there.  Following a re-arrange of my desk area/drawers etc (again), I decided that I'd put my scissors there instead rather than in one of my round tins as they are easier to see and find the right pair for the job.  I have to admit that having them hang there makes it much easier to select the one I need without pulling the wrong ones out more than once and cussing about it (naughty).  It's working well so far.  Here is a better pic which I took putting the stand in my home made photographic studio (cardboard box covered in white packing foam sheets over white copier paper!)


Other than that, I'm in the middle of making some thank you cards to send around the globe to some rather generous people who have really made celebrating my 40th Birthday last weekend (not the one just gone).  Some lovely crafters have sent be some wonderful cards - which at one point during diagnosis last year - I didn't think I'd be here today to celebrate it - but here I am writing long blog posts again (and procrastinating on making those cards)!!  Here is a picture of my Birthday cards on the windowsill:

Right... as I get to this point in the post, its 2.25 and i'm flagging, so I'm going to go to bed and have a sleep and a lie in (that would be nice) and hope that i'm going to be ok and be able to move in the morning.  My shoulders and back are starting to ache as I type - and I've not added any photos yet - so they'll have to be added later when I get up... The next time I type after this paragraph will be in the morning.

Well, its now Thursday - I didn't get anything done the rest of Wednesday, so here I am editing what i'd already written with fresh eyes (they're still mine though!), and have edited the bad grammar (maybe not all of it) and added my photographs.

Enjoy and thank you for your visit - I hope you'll come back!

hugs n stuff

Paula x x x

Monday, 7 March 2011

FUNKY HAND DT offering for February

Even though it is now March, my February DT piece was scheduled for March - its because we launch the new challenge each month on the FUNKY FIFTEENTH.

This month, the challenge was set by Jules - who said 'show us your heart'.  The only stipulation, as well as meeting the challenge criteria, is to use at least one Funky Hand product in your project.

This month, my offering was something that I dedicated to my Mum, who loved it.... 

All the elements in my piece, apart from the ribbon (although ribbon is now available in the store - HERE) are from the new download collection called LOVELOVELOVE... I really loved the papers in this collection because they were perfect for either a feminine card - but even better for a masculine card.  

My project is constructed on the same principle as the project posted HERE.  

6 scalloped hearts cut from the larger die, then 3 hearts cut from a smaller heart nestie.  The letters were from the same LOVELOVELOVE collection, and the heart was from the latest CD ROM called 'Craft the Year Away'.  Basically you cut 2 large shapes for every piece you need in your hanger - these go back to back with the ribbon in between.  One smaller shape for each hanging piece, then whatever you want to put on the front to fit with your theme.  Its not at all complicated to make.

My Mum absolutely loved it and said she would hang it in her lounge... aaawwwww bless!

If you want to have a look at my post or see what my fellow funkettes have been up to with their interpretation of the theme 'show me your heart', click HERE which takes you to the challenge blog "Get Funky".

Here are more of my projects from the same collection:

And finally, this is the card that I made and sent my husband on valentines day... however, as you can see from the colour scheme - perfect for mens cards - be it birthday or anniversary cards.

If you fancy the look of the collection - believe me, you won't be disappointed - take yourself along here to the Funky Hand Shop - where you'll find other fantastic items of stash.

Thanks for dropping by - hope to see you here soon.

Paula x x x

Sunday, 6 March 2011

At last - the blogaversary Prize Draw is Drawn...


O M G ... How sorry am I that its taken this long?    Very as it happens.

Now, I hope that this isn't going to end up being a massive post (and i'm sure you don't either), but just too much has been going on with me recently.

Firstly and most importantly was the fact that my son has been quite poorly recently.  So much so that he's hardly been in school during February (who stole February anyway)?

He had been suffering with lethargy big style and could barely keep awake.  it wasn't due to burning the candles at both ends because he'd come home from school and fall to sleep.  have the best part of 13 hours sleep, get up and have a bath - then fall to sleep again just to wake up to go to school.  He also complained of a sore throat etc. etc.  This had been going on since at the very least between Christmas and New Year.  To cut a long story short... he had 3 rounds of blood tests over several weeks.  These kept showing abnormal things up - so as you know if you are a mother - you fear the worst - or is this because of past history or even because I worry too much??? Whatever it is, the doctors were perplexed too.  They'd ruled out glandular fever so what could it be?  

In the meantime - I had to take him back again because of the lethargy and knowing it wasn't glandular fever - plus I wanted to put my mind at ease as to what "C Plasma Rentention Protein" meant as I'd had a call from the receptionist saying the doctor has requested a repeat blood test in 3 weeks.  The doctor examined him and gave him a thorough physical examination - but he said to him, he looked a healthy 14 year old...  I said I just know he isn't well - i'm his mother!  His only other symptoms were headaches and tireness.  So I felt loads better - positive thinking now...  just need to know what the next round of tests bring - the doctor brought the test forward a week so to get it over and done with more quickly.

He had another blood test on 10th Feb - then next day woke up saying he felt really poorly - poorlier than ever before.  DH took him to the docs - he was diagnosed as having a bad bout of tonsilitis and received a prescription for some serious antibiotics.  The blood test came back minus the worrying thing before - but showed up with issues with his full blood count.  Another test a week later - and at the end of his antibiotics and it finally came back OK.  Much to my relief!

I believe that he must have had something underlying waiting to come out seeing as his first test was indicitive of an infection - thank goodness he's ok now - and finally, firmly back at school - and happy to be back too!

Other than that, some other news is that my husband who worked for Auto Windscreens was made redundant.  He actually made the windscreens in the factory in Chesterfield which was also the head office and where the call centre is based.  Someone has now bought the call centre, but the factory had no buyer.  We also believe that some of the fitting centres were bought and will retain the brand name Auto Windscreens.  In the meantime, a former employer got wind of what was happening so got in touch with my husband through the kids on the x-box as our youngest played football with his son.  Hubby is now working for the company again, but will be looking for other, better paid work.  However, in the meantime its better than claiming so he's happy.  He said its also easier on his body as he used to spend 9 hours a day lifting and shifting large transit van windscreens (and the like) and it did take a toll on his body.  He worked on the furnace part that actually bent them to the required shape of the windscreen.  He ocassionally did one- off bespoke windscreens and did one for a Morgan once.

On a personal level, I've been struggling and done very little - to no crafting.  I've struggled with my feet, hands, fingers and thumb and my knees.  My neuropathic pain as a result of my surgery last year has come back with a vengence - so one of my painkillers has been increased in dosage (I'm on 18 painkillers per day, plus the patch) so sometimes I'm fit for nothing.  My ankles and feet are currently swollen - but it is a side effect of the pregabalin that i'm on.  This is the medication that the doc has asked me to increase so it could be that.  I'm going to wear my sexy white stockings that I had when I had my ops (they've got a name but it currently evades me).  The doc advised that it wouldn't be a bad idea considering...  I hope that customs are ready for the amount of 'drugs' i'll be taking with me to Malaga... they're not that exciting though.
A couple of weeks ago, I finally (and reluctantly) said goodbye to my BMW and traded it in for a 18month old Corsa (vrum vrum - c'm on) so that my DS who passed his test in January is able to drive.  No one willing to insure a 17 year old for a BMW, and to be honest, I haven't been driving so its been sat there on the drive... no point in DS buying a car when I might as well buy one but allow him to use or i'd be wasing money).  So we went for a corsa which is brill.  I was actually at the desk in the Vauxhall Dealership when my DH phoned to tell me he'd been called for a meeting - thats when they announced that AW had gone into receivership.  I still went ahead with buying the car because I had the money anyway and I driven a really good bargain so it would have been silly not to go through with it... i've bought extended warranty and a plan for the services and MOT's so should never have a big bill...  Anyway - the good news is that DH got another job offered straight away from a former employer who heard about the fate of AW...

Thinking positively certainly eases the stress - although i'm not saying that things are totally brilliant - but all going in the right direction... its just me now messing things up.

Right - remember that blogaversary draw that a fair few people took part in by commenting HERE.

Well, my first idea was to draw this using the gadget - random generator where you put the numbers in 1-64 for example.  But i couldn't because it wasn't as simple as that.

Some comments had come through several times (that would be our Brenda - Butlers Abroad who was having issues with posting not knowing her comments had published - but they had... several times LOL...

Then there were a couple of commenters who didn't want to take part in the draw although they wanted to leave a comment.  Then there was a couple of commenters that used this blog post to get in touch with me.... it was all it took to confuse me... by the time it came round to my OH doing the grand draw for his birthday - I was totally doolally, then that it the time that DS2 got poorly so it was kind of put back in the list of prioritis for a while.  

All the time i'm moving the parcels around from one place to another and back again, so because I'm going away in the morning, i've decided that once and for all to make the draw -even though it must have been a couple of weeks ago when I decided how it had to be done to be on the fair side.... So, those who commented and wanted to take part had their name written down on a piece of paper.  Then for every person who made a second comment, they got an additional chance by having their name written down again on another piece.

Yesterday, DS2 (fully back to peak fitness), cut all the names out and folded them up.  

mixed them round before pulling one out

So - here is the result of the Derbyshire jury... in third place, all the way from the old USA its (drum roll please)...

Okienurse - who can be found HERE

In Second place, I'm absolutely delighted to announce thata price will be going to bonnie Scotland, to

Carolynne - who can be found HERE at her craft table!

And finally... the moment you have all been waiting for.... the winner of the 2011 Playground Blogaversary Blog Candy is.....

the one and only Crafty Chris... - so her parcel will be winging its way to Belfast while I'm winging my way to Malaga no doubt.

Chris and I go back a long way to when I first started blogging.  We 'met' through Julia's Stamping Ground, and the wonderful feature known as 'WOYWW'... Chris was one of the bloggers who was extremely supportive when I was going through my issue with the tumor and the aftermath of the surgery and without her or other fellow bloggers support - recovery would have been very lonely and a great deal harder.
Well done to all three - but a massive thank you for all those who came by and commented.  Also - thank you again to all my wonderful followers old and new - I look forward to 'meeting' many more of you - please feel free to get in touch via email at any time for a chat... anything goes, as they say!!!


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