Friday, 30 March 2012

What a load of balls... (and a bit of a fun way to win something) Read on...

... that I have in this bag:

This is something that my DH brought home to me a few days ago... They're painted polystyrene balls.  Quite why they are painted is any ones guess.  The truth is, DH retrieved them from a bonfire pile.  Yes, in March there is a bonfire pile building already for 5th November.  He works on like a trading park with lots of units on there.  The whole 'estate' is owned by a guy who, for the locals, builds a bonfire on part of his land and anyone can put things on the pile (within reason).  So, DH and a colleague had a trundle down one lunch time and came back with this little bag of balls.

In actual fact, the balls aren't that little - I measured the circumference at just over 12" (approx 31cm).    I've got an idea about what I want to do with them (11 in total) but I want to know if you readers have any idea of what you would do with one of these balls.

Its not the only thing he got while he was there.  Here are a couple of  other things he brought me (how kind of him to get me something off a bonfire lol)!!!

this music book will be great for some distress techniques and to be used as background papers.  There are no words so there are no restrictions as far as using them for Christmas or weddings for example.

Here is something else that I've got ideas for:

I want to make one of those hollowed out book things then decorate it.  My son and I recently went out and while out, called in a few charity shops to see if there was anything I could buy to redecorate and to buy a book especially to 'chop up'.  Well, I couldn't bring myself to do it.  The books were all in really good condition and it would have felt sacrilege.  So, because I'd told my DH this, he 'rescued' this book for me which had probably been out in all weathers and conditions, was damp and a bit musty.  I put it on the radiator to dry out.  Trouble is, it is a bit warped now so will have to work around that.

I actually want to do something like hollow out the middle pages and do some fabulous techniques on it.  I think a visit to Elizabeth so see how I go about achieving an altered book.  Elizabeth has a fabulous blog which is all about doing things such as hollowing books out and getting the gesso out (which I have already in my stash) - here is her little space in blogland called Altered Book Lover .

HERE I've found an easy to follow and very pictorial step by step guide on how to hollow out a book.  I shall be consulting this again when I come round to actually working on mine.  

I recently saw a good example of one while doing the WOYWW blog hop. Sherry, from Sherry's Simple Blog has actually been following Elizabeth from Altered Book Lover.  Elizabeth has not only inspired Sherry, but has inspired me - but then Sherry's attempt has inspired me too.  I know I won't be doing this in the immediate future - too much to do, but I know where I will be visiting come the time to start mine.  

So, what do you think about my newly acquired items.  What would you do with the balls - or even just one of them?  If you leave a comment and guess correctly what I intend to use just one of them for (if successful, more will follow), I might just do a random drawer to win some goodies...  Please leave a comment on this post - you have until Midnight on Sunday 1st April - and no, it's not an April Fool's joke!!!

To be in with an additional chance of winning something, tell me what is the most unusual item(s) you have found that you have managed to incorporate into your crafting or have made a project with.

Hope you enjoyed my post..

Big crafty hugs to all

Paula x x x

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


**Waving** to all of you WOYWWer's - and to you non-WOYWWer's.

It's the early hours of Wednesday morning (sleeping pattern a tad awry at the moment) so popped over to Julia's (lead WOYWWer) and couldn't believe that there were 24 people already linked up.  So I thought before I ended up at 160+ again, I'd get a move on with my blog post.  It's just a good job I'd taken my photo's already - even if it was turned midnight and the light was not condusive to the task in hand!

Right, I promise to keep this post short and sweet because I recon that while you are here reading my usual lengthy posts, you could have covered two or three more in the same time (maybe more?)!

First picture of the left hand side of my desk:


In this picture you can see my green collapsible 'bit bin' where I throw all the bits and bobs made while card making, like the backs off of foam pads or double sided tape - you know the things... I am really good though because on the floor I have a small cardboard box where I recycle all the bigger unusable bits plus shiny leaflets like the ones you get in your parcels from Create and Craft - gardening brochures and programme schedules (usually out of date) etc.  Then the sheets of cardboard/thin chipboard that come out of packaging is all saved in a drawer with other similar items.  One day I'm going to cut loads of mini albums.  One day. 

Also in shot is some pink tissue paper which my mum gave me - some beads/jewellery supplies came packed in it.  The walnut stain is from my sister towards my birthday a fortnight or so ago and i'd literally just opened it.  The basket at the back has little card sentiments in it, all sorted by type/greeting and kept in little bags.  I bought an A5 box off QVC - they're Kanban ones - there are hundreds of them.  I made a card earlier this evening so that's why they're out.  The image for the card was already coloured in and die-cut with an oval Spellbinders die - I did that a few days ago along with die cutting the mats for layering (stamped images die cut with oval nesties look great layered on top of labels 10 nesties).  The image is of roses which is from a floral collection by Anna Griffin.  I'll show them properly in another post.

You can see my small guillotine which is really handy for the small jobs and for matting and layering.  The pack of pencils were free from a craft magazine recently, then there is my trusty carousel which is great but takes up a lot of room so sometimes I have to pop it down on the floor to give me a bigger working area on the desk.

Here is the far right of the desk (I could have stitched the pics together for a big panoramic view eh?!!!)... just hanging on the edge of the desk in my trusty ATG tape gun.  I've run out of tape and struggling to find somewhere with a good price.  The cheapest I've found is Viking-tapes.  If anyone knows of anywhere cheaper - I'd really appreciate the details please.  I'm after 12mm.

My last picture this week is of a project I've started on but need to finish.  I've been sorting out all of my stamps, which are mainly acrylic/clear with some rubber.  I put the stamps in an A5 poly-pocket with a sheet of A5 card stock in to support the pocket and prevent it from sagging in.  I then file those in A5 ring binders, but I've acquired that many more stamps recently from one or two purchases and loads of free ones from craft magazines, that I need an overhaul of my folders.  I bought the green and pink folders from Tesco, but they've stopped doing them - and they were what originally defined the colour scheme in the craft room. It's lacking a bit of colour at the moment, but i'm always pre-occupied with trying to make all the stuff I have in there tidy.  I think some of it is going to have to be resigned to the garage.

Apologies for the state of the picture here, my camera seems to be on a setting that I must have accidentally chosen.  I'll sort that out and rectify it.

Anyway, that concludes the tour this Wednesday - I hope it was short and sweet (well, short-er anyway).

To join in with the desk hop, go over to Julia HERE and
  • Read her post and the directions for taking part
  • Leave a comment
  • Blog about your own desk
  • Link your post to mr linky on Julia's post
  • Visit and be visited
While its difficult to get round each and every desk (its a week long job actually), just visit as many people as humanly possible, or that your schedule/life allows.

I'm out this afternoon but will try harder this week to make more visits.  Promise.

Anyway, that's me, so enjoy your day, your hopping and happy crafting.

Big hugs

Paula x x x 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


Hi WOYWWer's - and to all those that aren't aware what WOYWW is.  Basically it stands for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - although the host Julia doesn't mind whether its a desk or not, or whether you post earlier or later than a Wednesday - you see she's cool like that!!!

The question will usually be the title of your blog post if you join in and then you'll go on to write about your desk - and hopefully show picture (cos that's the point - for others to see what's on your desk/area you work on) or two.  Here's the thing too - you don't have to be a card maker, stamper, CD crafter, mixed media artist, seamstress, painter etc etc - then again, you could be all of the above.  The thing that we all tend to have in common is that we do something as part of a hobby or past-time.  Some might even make a living out of it - some might like to do it more than they currently do (wouldn't we all Mrs!?)lol... but we all identify with each other in that we collectively call ourselves by the umbrella name of 'crafters'.

Me? Firstly, I make a mess more often than I actually create anything (some may even call it procrastination), secondly comes my inate ability to 'sort', 'arrange' and 'organise' - until it looks like this again (my 3rd photo) a couple of weeks down the line, then I realise that I get to do it all again.  Oh, I almost forgot the 'thirdly' - and that's that I like cardmaking and papercrafting.  A bit of a broad spectrum really because it could involve digital OR regular stamping, then a number of ways of colouring in, I like using my cutting machines - but am equally happy with a pair of scissors for the smaller quicker items - unless I'm doing it en mass... then I like paper construction (making boxes and 3d elements).  I like to collect and buy digital papers so that I can print my favourites to my hearts content and don't get stuck with expensive paper packs where I don't like some of them, but wished there were more of the nicer ones than there usually is... In fact that I have that many now that I'm going to have to move them back over to the external hard-drive despite having a new laptop with a bigger HD and RAM to hold them all...   I like to digitally design using Craft Artist, My Craft Studio and Docrafts Digital Designer as well as playing with paper and my cutting dies and paper punches to design by hand - playing with glue and distress inks.  This year, I want to do some altered art using different mediums - paint, paper and other kinds of materials that I don't tend to use in my card making.  I have a few projects lined up and recently bought some paper mache blanks to decorate and turn into something delicious.

Here is a shot of the left hand side of the desk where I tend to have the laptop - the picture is a shot taken minutes before I started writing this post, having just brought it back in from the lounge.

The little guillotine cutter at the back is really useful for the small things like matting and layering.  I can't remember where I got it from now, but it's a Kars one and is never far away from me when I'm crafting.  On top of that is a new pen pot.  Went to Tesco last week and there were some stationery sets which included 2 ring binders, memo block, A4 refil pad, pen pot, and should also have inluded 2 x A5 Casebound (hardbacked) notebook - but it only had one in, so it was reduced - get this... from £1.25 to £1.00.  I'd have happily paid £1.25 without the 2nd notebook in the firstplace - if you bought these individually in the store - there is no way you would have got the penpot and the memo block for £1.25 never mind anything else.  Also in this picture is my tablet case with alarm, my next pain clinic appointment card, my Blackberry USB cable, glue, 2xpritsticks (I used this over some very powerful and unforgiving ATG gun tape so that I could make it a little repositional and so that it didn't 'grab' the paper, as the tape tends to...,  a packet of rich tea biscuits (or rather less than half a packet) - they were my sisters and she left them for me after opening them when I made her a coffee when she came a few days ago. Also in the pic is my housephone, USB for the cutting machine, a little watering can which did have my pens etc in - but it was straining as its only made of card-stock from an MCS die-cut sheet, Anna Griffin stamper thingybob and my credit card - which should be in my purse and isn't out for any other reason - because I'm not going to be buying any craft stuff (honest)!!!

This next shot is of the right hand side of the desk where I keep my Silhouette Cameo cutter towards the back - if I use it I just pull it forwards so that the paper can feed in and out.  At the back are all of my cutting dies kept in slim DVD cases on a strip of magnetic mat (usually no more than one inch in width but long enough that it runs through the largest dies - all the others fit on it in a nesting position.  I then made a sleeve for each one making sure I put the name of the set in position where it would sit in the spine.  I made a master file, downloaded a picture of each of the ones I had - which is printed on the front with details of the name of the set on the front and back too (just in case they are on the floor???)!! (they shouldn't be, but who knows?)!  I also have some Marianne dies, Nelly Sneddon dies and Cuttlebug too - plus a Cuttlebug Alphabet die set too from before I had my electronic cutting machines.  I also keep some of my papercrafting CD's/DVD's in the spare slots Recently, I bought the most gorgeous little butterfly set of dies (3 in the set) from Cheery Lyn.  The set is called 'Exotic Butterfly small #2).  I still need to put this set in a DVD case.

The glue pens you can see are useless.  Oh, they still have glue in them - it's just the rubbish fibre nib that isn't carrying the glue down.  I shan't be buying anymore of those.  I do need to buy some quicky glue pens though as I've completely run out of them.  I bought 12 on ebay some 4 years ago for an astonishing price, but the vendor is no longer on and hasn't been for sometime because I've tried to buy some since.  The letter is confirming a Create and Craft Flexi-pay for the Papermania Capsule Collection DVD for the Digital Docrafts Designer software.  I treated myself to the DVD for my birthday.  Well, no one else did!!!

For those of you who have spotted the skittles (well, they're not hard to see as it's a big bag)... they have been in my bag above a week now and are on the desk because I was emptying my bag to look for my phone.  When I say they were in my bag, I'm referring to my craft bag, my lovely pink Anna Griffin tote bag that I carry - or rather someone else carries, up and down the stairs for me.  Sometimes when I feel bad and need bedrest - or I just go to bed before I'm really tired or ready for sleeping, I take my magazines and laptop and maybe something that i'm working on, all in the bag which I bought off QVC a good while ago.

The glue gun is still out from yesterday when I was making cards.  I only needed to use it for 2 cards - one embellishment per card and while maybe Pinflair glue gel would have done the job - I wanted it dried and stuck faster than Pinflair would have done.  The jar of flowers are out because of another card yesterday - the same as with the other bits and bobs of crafting items.

Talking of making cards yesterday - it really links to me not getting round - or back to many people last week following WOYWW...  You see, March is a really busy month for chez Gale.  As mentioned last week, mine and my sons birthday was on the 11th, my cousins on the 13th but having had the migraine the day before my birthday, I had some thing to catch up on - being out for the day knocked my plans and 'to-do's' back somewhat.  On Wednesday I did WOYWW and caught up on some e-mailing in the afternoon, on the Thursday my son and I went out for the afternoon (when I bought my Cheery Lyn dies from a new craftshop (well, new to me anyway) then Friday I had my appointment at Pain Psychology the called at a local stationers for some coloured card (and bought other stuff while there) then the rest of the weekend, I was card making as it was my younger sons birthday on Sunday (yep - 3 of us within the space of 7 days) the same day it was Mothers Day, then it was my MIL's 70th Birthday yesterday.  In the meantime, my oldest son's friend came round and asked me to do him a couple of cards; one for his Mum and one for a friend who was 70 on Monday.  Yesterday, I got up at 7am as I had loads of cards to get done before my son went to visit my MIL and I didn't want to go empty handed.

Because of the various issues I'd had - which are all massive to me at the moment (but probably only be simple tasks to others (hence the Health Psychology sessions), I only got to make my Mum's Mothers Day card yesterday.  I would rather get a card late to someone and know that I put the effort and love into making it the card I hoped for, rather than get one out of my box or do a quick one for someone.  That goes for every card I send out.  Very very rarely do I send one of the cards I have in my box or drawer.  They're just cards to me with no meaning behind them - and no purpose to be fair.  I've made them for no-one in mind, so I give them to no-one.  These are usually what I show people who want me to either make on on spec or want to look at them with a view to buying.  Anyway, therein lies the problem.  When I make a specific card (and this goes for my crafting friends, friends, family etc), I make a card that I think will suit that person - and always make a fresh one in mind.  This is usually why I am so bad at getting them to the intended recipient on time.  I usually think 'oh, I've got plenty of time yet' - or it could be that I've not been well so just not had the time... then I haven't left myself enough time so because I'm so adamant that I make each card new for each person, I've not left myself enough time.  A mix of complacency 'oh, I don't need to start it yet' and a mix of absolute frustration that I set myself back when I'm not well - and that is the greater of my bug-bears.  So in a nutshell, to anyone reading this who is likely - or has ever received a card from me - please know that the card you received was made especially for you.  That makes me very happy that I can and do. 

Oh, I already know what the answers are to my own problems... I should make the special cards way ahead of time - whether or not I think it's too early, because time has this really bad habit of catching up with you quicker than you appreciate - and more quickly the older you get.  It's a mindset of mine that I have to change and which, I think, comes of working with a CEO and Senior Management who, even if they had done all their reports and papers in time for the board meeting, (I arranged all and everything to do with the Board of Directors in my last job, including their training and development etc) they would still be changing the reports 5 minutes before the meeting started and even when the Board Directors were seated and ready to start.  This was despite the papers having been circulated to the board a week in advance so that the reports could be digested enough for the decision making process, and had been put on the internet for the public to see (if they were open reports to the public), and maybe for the odd board member, printed and photocopied in full.  So, even if we were ready in time with plenty of time left - there would still be changes.  There would still be something that meant that being ready and prepared, being efficient and organised actually meant nothing at all - and in a job where being organised, efficient, prepared and ready actually meant everything and probably be the basis on which the role fundamentally required you to work and act.  So there you have it, even if I'm going to an appointment, I'll look at the clock and think - "I've got half an hour before I get ready yet", then get involved in something and start getting ready 3 minutes before I needed to be out of the door (and sometimes 3 minutes before the actual appointment time).  The crux of all of the above is that in my effort to please, appease and impress... I pull every stop out possible to ensure I get things done, I arrive at places, meet deadlines send cards out making sure that no-one else is compromised and there is as little collateral damage as possible. I don't always achieve what I set out to do though.

Anyway - in the third picture, you can see what happens when I let my eye off the ball and engross myself in the card making and getting those cards out to people (late or not)... it looks like a bomb has hit my conservatory.  Even the dog refuses to come in sometimes (not) - he knows that there is more likely to be something he can pick up and run away with.  He's in seventh heaven because I've got lots of off-cuts of paper in my 'bit bin', even the cat came and sat on the desk yesterday because I was cutting slithers of paper off one of my projects - she saw them as things to grab and play with - so the dopey dog joined in... but even better for him was the fact that there were used baby wipes/hand wipes in the bin that he could steal and then shred under the kitchen table. Note to self... pick up shredded wipes off floor under the table while the dog isn't looking...

If you want to join in with this madness that we put ourselves through each week, (where some are so dedicated that they NEVER miss a single week)- pop over to Julia's blog and read the rules, leave a comment (please) and then go and visit other places of crafting loveliness to inspect and adore.  All we ask is that if you visit, you'll leave us a comment.

Since I started writing this post, I've been and put another layer of clothes on (well, another cardigan), put the heating back on as, while it is beautiful outside, the sun is on the front of the house and I'm at the back so its cooled down no-end.  I'm also typing with one glove on because my hands are like blocks of ice.  I've only got one on because I couldn't find the other.  If I had, I was going to cut the fingertips out so I could type better - I've justified to myself that it's ok to cut the tips off the fingers because they only cost me £1 from Decathlon - and its something they always have in bins around the store which is a good job really because while we all have a pair - and I have several pairs somewhere, somehow I can only find this one!!!

Thanks for reading another one of my short blog posts... I'll have to start and think about something to write about in future to make them a bit longer!!

Bye for now and happy crafting ;0)

Paula x x x 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday?

Hello you fabby readers.  Hope you are doing fine after a couple of lovely spring days (well, 3 actually).  Sunday was particularly lovely, and seeing as it was mine and my sons birthday, the weather was very welcomed and made for an even happier day.  I even managed to sit out on the patio for all of a few minutes before I needed to get up to do something else... no rest for the wicked eh?

Friday before I was at health psychology, then my sister and mum visited (always loud and tense when they visit together - we're all very loud and talkative so I find that we are all competing to be heard.  Now, I'm not saying that these two things are linked in any way, but when I went to bed on Friday night I had a really bad blinding headache.  I didn't sleep all night because of the headache and consequently on Saturday, it had turned into a migraine of the highest magnitude.  I felt sick and could barely lift my head.  I even had to resort to having eye patch things on (which were courtesy of Virgin Atlantic a few years back).  I spent all day in bed - the 3 men folk were thankfully very considerate and were quiet - then went to the local later on to watch the football.  I think I eventually ventured downstairs around 7.30pm, when Harry Hill cheered me up no end.

Anyway, believe it or not, I've been somewhat productive this week so far.  On Sunday I had to make my son his birthday card - because I'd not been able to do what I'd planned on Saturday.  He moaned that I only did it on his actual birthday - so I reminded him that it was mine too and I was spending the time on him!!!  I used Craft Artist to make him a 'quick' one.  I had planned to do a tennis one using the Cricut, but obviously time wasn't on my side at this point, so a digital design and print was called for. 

I found out that a couple of blogging friends also celebrated birthdays at the weekend, so if you know them, please wish them a Happy Birthday.  That would be our Angie (Shozzy, from Shozzy's place) who celebrated on Saturday 10th March, then Karen (of Karen's Carry Ons) shared her birthday with me on the 11th.  I know more people with the same birthday as me and Ashley.... Anyway, please wish Karen a Happy Birthday too.

OK, back to the desk and my creativity.  Because I thought I would up the anti on a few cards to send out (and a few retrospective ones shall we say!), I decided to do some stamping so got my Anna Griffin floral stamps out and tried out a few mediums like water colouring with distress inks, promarkers, flexmarkers and coloured pencils... Comparing them all, and because of the intricate details and etchings of the stamps, the pencils gave the best finish by far.

On the desk you may just be able to see some of the matting and layering die cuts I did (far right infront of the CAMEO under the rose image (there is a pile there, but it might be a bit difficult to see).  I cut the stamped images using Spellbinders Petite Ovals, so did some of my mats using Spellbinders label 10 dies and for a contrasting shape, I used Spellbinders Label 15 dies. At first I cut them all out in pink and green parchment cardstock (not parchment paper - completely different).  I then cut some out in hot pink and a dark grey colour which will look lovely layered up - quite contemporary, particularly if I leave the stamp uncoloured and stamp in either hot pink, black or dark grey... I'll show the results if I decide to do that.

In the meantime, I've made a couple more cards using the Forever Friends Black and Gold collection.  I'll show those in a separate post - otherwise this will become a very long post and I'm not used to doing long posts (**wink**)...

The sheet above was created yesterday by my sister on Craft Artist from Serif.  She'd come to visit then realised she hadn't got a card for her friend who lives locally.  Her friend was 40 yesterday and was in the same class as my sister at school.  My sister and brother (twins) are 40 in April... more cards to create!  Anyway, I ended up making a card for her friend (I did a Forever Friends Black and Gold card (Surprise surprise) but didn't have a number '40' to put on the front, so I started to create one rather than use peel-offs which I personally find a bit naff (sorry to all peel off users).  Anyway, while we were at it I thought that seeing as I have loads of birthdays and lots of milestone ones, we'd make a sheet full.  My sister really is a whizz with Craft Artist and had this done quite quickly.  They were spaced perfectly to be able to be punched with a 1.5" circle punch - I used my Woodware one:

Oops - I thought I'd cropped this picture, oh well, at least it shows what I wanted it to.  I've saved it so that I can print it again or change the numbers to suit.  The alpha/numbers used are from the 1920's collection for Craft Artist and have a gold effect to them - perfect for the job.  However, they can be changed using many different options within the program, it really is impressive and can do everything that Photoshop can do - only its far easier and far far cheaper than Photoshop.  I have Photoshop Elements and am bamboozled when I open it - I think it really does need you to spend a lot of time getting familiar with what it can do, however, Craft Artist (CA) is pretty much very simple and very visual in that most of the functions and options are visible on the screen so you don't need to open too many menu's to find out how to do stuff.  If you go to Daisy Trail, there is a free limited version of the software.  Infact, I prefer it much more than My Craft Studio (MCS) and automatically use CA when I want to do something or print something out.  You can import anything in it so all the artwork from MCS won't go waste, it's just the program I won't be using - while they keep updating it, it still doesn't have the full functionality that CA has, plus Serif provide free updates while you have to either be in the MCS Platinum club or purchase new released CD's.  I also like Docraft Digital Designer as that is coming on leaps and bounds with its functionality and free updates, and is really easy to use too; not quite the functionality of CA, but overtaking MSC by a short mile.  I have purchased all but one of the DDD releases so far - I missed the 'Me to You Spring Collection' but refuse to pay the full asking price for it.  I only buy when it's launched for the offer price.  I've just ordered the POTD from C&C which is the Papermania Capsule DVD-ROM.

If you think you could make use of the sheet of numbers, I've made the sheet into a PNG.  Not sure what is going to turn out like - but please feel free to download:

If it doesn't work and you would like a copy, drop me an e-mail and i'll send you a copy.  I've been playing about with it and the bottom right number 16 now has a stone effect (just playin'....)!

This post has been brought to you because I'm linking it up to Julia at Stamping Ground as she does a fantastic job of hosting the largest desk 'link party', 'blog hop' - call it what you will, on the interweb.  We get to go and look at our fellow crafters desks and learn more about them and about what they are creating or not creating and whether they have a clean or untidy desk (mine is clean compared to my usual standard btw).  It may not even be a desk you link up - but go and check out Julia's blog HERE and visit a few of your fellow crafters, quite literally across the globe.  Leave some love and they will return it right back atcha!

Big hugs to all who read and hope you are well and will leave me a little comment to say 'Hi', or just to say you've stopped by. 

Until next time,

Paula x x x

Sunday, 4 March 2012

A Long Time Coming

Hello peeps, especially to those who follow my blog (which I've sadly neglected over the last few months).  I say this each time I do blog, and promise to bring more - then something gets in the way and I seem to crash and burn before I carry out my own promise.

Hmm, i've just thought of a better way to make it look like I blog regularly while only writing posts when I'm in the mood or when I feel I have the time energy or inclination - I'll schedule them...  You know, that little bit of technology that everyone else in the blogesphere seems to use, but I neglect to use or get in the habit of using...
In the past, when I have the urge to write, I tend to post one after another in quick  succession, but find that no one seems to comment on them all if they've read one.  I suppose I like to read one blog at a time, rather than one comment on one blog at a time rather than then coming back to comment again.  I've seen some wicked posts out there just recently and the talent is awesome.  When I'm on bedrest and I have some energy to do a little surfing, I like to have a look on some of the fabulous DIY blogs that seem to be really popular in the States.  I love some of the names they call their blogs, but this is something I want to touch on in a later post, so i'll not say too much right now.  

I hope when you have read this post and visited my blog that you would be so kind and leave me your comments or just say hi.  Just to reassure me that I am still writing the kinds of things that are interesting.  I know that predominantly I set this up as a craft blog, but I always said that I wear my heart on my sleeve and would bring you stories about my life.  As it so happens, finding out I had the tumour only happened one week after I started my blog, so people who followed me from the outset from January 2010 have been through everything with me which mean I tend to update a lot about my ongoing health issues.  Had it not been the case, I would have been talking about how busy work was and how this meeting and that meeting had gone and then perhaps would have been able to talk about the holidays i'd been on or had got planned.  Unfortunately work and holidays all went belly up because of the hand fate dealt me, so you get updates on my health issues and cards instead.  

Blogging therefore now has become a way of keeping in touch with the outside world seeing as I spend most of my time in my little house.  To receive a comment reassures me that people out there still want to keep in touch and take an interest in what I have to say or show.  Its the reassurance that people are still there that means the most so to receive comments means a heck of a lot.  So, please leave a little comments to say you've popped by -even if it is to say hi... Right now, I feel like I need a bit of 'love' leaving in my comments box, and this is why...

Last week, I had my latest appointment at the pain clinic at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital.  I've been going to the pain clinic ever since the surgeon referred me after I went back to see him about the pains I still had following my surgery (which will be 2 years ago this month - wow where's that gone)!  I was getting nowhere fast with my doctor at that time, so I was fortunate that the surgeon had 'left his door open' for me to go and see him if I had any concerns after the surgery... It must have been a while after because pain just wasn't getting any better and I was planning on returning to work sometime in the future (that's another story that can be found in the depths of this blog).

Anyway, as usual, the consultant starts off asking me about my medication and how I feel, so I explained how I was still in pain around my ribs (where I was opened up), and around my left shoulder blade and under my left breast (the ribs there).  It still hurts as if someone had hit me with a baseball bat.  It aches like crazy at times, although not as much as it used to, and my skin is so sensitive that I can't bare to have it touched. Without too much thinking - and no debate at all, he finally decided to do a nerve block which he did there and then.  This is something they were talking about doing almost 18 months ago but never actually carried it out - instead they had me try this and that - infact I'm still on the same medication and have been told that it is likely that i'll be on it for a very long time.  I asked him if he was happy for me to be on it long term - he said that it was necessary for me to take all what I was taking and be on the patches too because it is managing the pain, but concurred that it would never get rid of my pain completely, and that if I thought that would happen, then my expectations were too high... if only things like this had been explained to me all that time ago!!!  Anyway, the nerve block consisted of several cortisone injections around the left side of my back/ribs all with the idea of blocking the signals from my intercostal nerve.  The nurse told me that I would feel worse before I felt better.  This week has been mixed between the usual tiredness and the pain that these injections kicked up which also made the usual pain feel ten fold.  The nurse said that I could feel the benefit of the nerve block for weeks or months - this is down to the individual and all cases are different.  I've also been given the Capsaicin cream to try again only have been told to put plenty on.  The last time I was asked to try it, I felt very little benefit from it.  For those who don't know (and i'm no expert either), I'm aware that it has chemicals extracted from chilli's that do funny things to the nerve receptors stopping them from sending signals to the brain telling it you're in pain (well, that's my understanding anyway).

So, this treatment had been a long time coming, but very welcome indeed.  I'm hoping that the benefits from the injections are felt sooner than later.  I asked him about the Fibromyalgia and Joint Hypermobility pain, but he said that I was on enough of the right medication to manage that even though this pain is very tough to deal with sometimes, and something that I also have to deal with on a daily basis.  I am currently seeing a health psychologist who is helping to manage pain through relaxation, coping strategies through some cognitive therapy and generally making sure I don't overdo it all in one go; something known as pacing.  Apparently it's harder to do than read about!

Anyway, that's what's been happening on the health front.  Apart from that, I've been able to complete a wedding stationery order (mentioned in a previous post) in between bedrest etc.  They are already packed waiting for delivery to the bride to be... As she is the manageress at our local, and it's my Birthday next Sunday (also my son will be 19), I think that could be the perfect excuse to deliver them and have a drink while watching the Sunday entertainment - whoever it may be!

Now to show you a card that I did a few weeks ago for a little boy.  Even though I have 2 boys myself, when they were small I didn't craft or make cards (I did do stuff with the boys and make them their birthday cakes every year (well, until they told me they wanted them from Tesco... I don't know whether I was glad at not having to spend all night baking and decorating one, or whether I felt put out that they no longer wanted my efforts! 

oops, back to the card.  This card was made using Serif Craft Artist... I love this software, it's so versatile, easy to use and full of features but produces quality artwork each and every time.  I have started to use it more than MCS actually and if you look hard enough, there are plenty of free digi kits out there to use with Craft Artist.

Here is the card (at last):

picture taken while card laying down on my laptop, hence the funny angle/perspective

This was made using the American Crafts 'Junior Bumper' kit which is great for boys projects.  There are also sports themes within this kit.  I embossed a panel of holographic card with an embossing folder... sorry but the name evades me at the moment.  I'm sure someone will remember or know it.  The card base was an 8x8" size which is fabulous for large cards if you don't want to go the whole hog of an A4.

oops... a bit of reflection to blind you...

I do apologise about the quality of the photographs.  I did them at night on top of the laptop so the flash came on and reflected back.  Unfortunately, I also forgot to edit them in my editing software (having said that, this is also something that Craft Artist can take care of).  If I manage to get a better version of either of these pics, I'll come back and edit the post and add it in at the end just to compare the difference (if any).  If no pic appears at a later date - i've either forgotten, or I wasn't able to improve on the one above.

Thanks for reading, I know there isn't a lot of craft going on in this pic - apart from the late offering, but I just want to give those who might be interested, an update with the goings on with my pain etc.

Crafty Hugs to one and all

Paula x x x


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