Saturday, 31 August 2013

Summer Time

Today is the last day of summer, according to the meteorological office that is, and the sun is still shining here in Cornwall.  There is a distinct change in the air though, things slowing down, flowers going over, butterflies flitting lazily about .. .. a feeling I can certainly identify with too!  I hope we get a prolonged Indian Summer to enjoy before the autumnal winds and rain arrive.

Here is a card that I've had finished for quite a while but forgot to post.  I stamped the Serendipity image of Queen Anne's Lace with butterfly and coloured with my Copcis, added Stardust Stickles to the flower heads and glazed the butterfly.  My original intention was to enter the Serendipity Stamps blog challenge to have a butterfly on your creation .. .. but that theme was ages ago!  So instead I find that the Marianne Design Divas theme of Summer Sun might fit.

And, here is my card.  My base is a small tent fold created from old SU card that I have to use up, thankfully it's a soft colour that I like, and a pile of slightly smaller than C6 envies - oh yes, I am still on my economy stash drive but have told myself that it doesn't include stamps and dies!  I've run the top through the Swiss Dots CB embossing folder, cut out my stamped and coloured image with Marianne Design die LR0279 inking the embossed areas with a soft chalk ink (a better match to the base in real life).  The layer behind the image is from the same die set, pretty fancy this one!  To finish I simply cut the holly corners from CR1253 and again inked the raised areas.  It's a pretty little card for my stash that I can keep for those awkward occasions .. ..

Update on my personal health issues coming up now so skip past if you'd like.  I have had several medical appointments and my rash has been eczema, psoriasis and now back to eczema with possible patches of psoroasis.  I was prescribed Dovobet but it turns out I'm allergic to it and things got much worse!  I've had my name put forward for UVB light treatments but am not sure if they will help or not.  I got a good Aloe Vera lotion with soothing Calendula and other herbal extracts to help after the bad reaction to Dovobet - thankfully things are clearing up nicely so I am very reluctant to go back down the trial and error route of pharmacological remedies. I have been given an inhaler as I've developed a wheeze and possible allergic asthma, but allergic to what?  It's another indication that my immune system isn't functioning as it should.  I have lost two fillings, one from a tooth only filled a year ago (do you get a warranty with a filling), so will have to go to the emergency dental clinic again as I've not found a National Health dentist in this area with vacancies - needless to say I am not looking forward to yet more treatments from newly qualified dentists needing the practice!  What I need is a holiday .. .. a little crafty break would do nicely!

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Hello there!

Well it's been a while since I posted, and I totally missed adding my last DT card for Totally Papercrafts ... ... I'll share it with you in just a bit.

First to say that although some of life's problems are still causing me stress, I am actually feeling more positive, if tired.  Yesterday I was treated to a day at the Eden Project - wonderful! Thankfully there is a free bus from the car park to the entrance and a little train inside to take you down to the domes.  We strolled down the zig-zag path as I wanted to see the banks of flowers and enjoy the late morning sunshine.  Inside the tropical dome there are dazzling butterflies flitting amongst the foliage, and an occasional flower too.  I was very glad of the Baobab smoothie towards the end of the route through the tropics, a delicious mix of coconut, pineapple and of course the baobab too.  We stopped for lunch, a healthy salad, before visiting the temperate dome. Unfortunately one of the youngsters wasn't feeling too well so we didn't spend as much time in there as I would have liked, but by then I was beginning to tire a little myself so we wondered through the gardens to the outdoor lift that takes you to the high walkway bridge across to the entrance. By then I was walking very slowly and wished I had my poles with me but still managed to browse the gift shop and buy an Aloe vera and a coffee plant for the conservatory.  I was able to validate my ticket so have free entry for a year and will definitely go back.  So much I didn't get to see, especially outside and as dogs are allowed everywhere except in the domes, I could happily spend a few hours wondering about with them on a sunny afternoon.

The Adult Education flyer came the other day and after browsing the various courses I am going to give Sivananda Yoga a try.  There is a course held in Newquay, not too far away, during the day time so I wouldn't have to go out in the dark winter nights.  I am hoping that this type of Yoga will help my balance which is steadily getting worse, it says that it will "enhance wellbeing and self confidence, improve strength, stamina, flexibility and posture. Teach relaxation and breathing techniques to release anxiety and stress" - sounds just what I need!

And here is the card that I made for the Totally Papercrafts challenge on 16 August - ages ago! it was for a favourite colours theme and I must say I like shades of blue for Festive cards.  The image is one of Lili of the Valley's Nativity stamps, coloured with Copics then with a pricked border.  The card base and layers are cut with my set of Frilly #10 dies and I've decorated with Marianne Design die cut mini poinsettias, ivy leaves and swirls, finishing off with little blue gems.

Unfortunately I'm having to take life a day at a time just now and can only craft occasionally, so it will mean that my posts may be few and far between - I really can't tell.  Today is the first time I've been on the pc in a couple of weeks so lots to catch up with on blogger and Pinterest.  I hope if you are one of my followers that you will stay with me - I so appreciate your stopping by.  And, I promise that I will post now and then if only to tell you what I'm doing, until then .. ..

love and hugs,
annie x

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Felty things

Hello again!  I am back with a couple of felty projects that I've finally managed to complete.  The old wrist injury has flared up so colouring is out for a while, and using the computer mouse is agony - but typing is ok and I can managed to sew a little - strange!

Anyway, my first project is something that I was inspired to make after seeing similar designs on Pinterest.  I used my Nestability circles to cut out the wreath from sparkly white felt, and that left me with the bauble.  I blanket stitched the layers together with a little stuffing in the middle for padding and added thin white ribbon hanging loops.  The holly and berries are die cut with Marianne Design die LR0127 and then I've added the stitches to the leaves and little beads to the berries before sewing and gluing them to the wreath and bauble.

I was looking at my blog reading list this morning (first time in days so I haven't gone back too far) and saw that Crafty Creations Challenge is to 'take two' - I hope that my two Christmas decorations will fit the theme for them.

And this is my second project, a little key holder created from felt and Marianne Design dies.  I've cut out the bird and stitched around the edge of the wings and body with running stitches to fix to the base heart.  The heart I've stuffed and fixed the two layers together with blanket stitch.  I've added the veins to the leaves and little pearls for highlights, plus a tiny sequin I found in my bead box.  To finish I cut a length of Marianne's ribbon to make a loop so I could add the split ring for a key.  These are the Marianne Design dies I used to create my key ring:

Heart from CR1225
Bird die COL1301
Leaves from CR1248
Flower from LR0160 (cupcake)

I'm off to the opticians this afternoon so hope the weather clears up before I leave, I hate driving in the rain.  Fingers crossed I don't need all 3 prescriptions renewing .. .. I would like some pennies left for craft goodies this month!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Dieing and Punching - bring it on!

At least it's still Thursday so I'm not technically late this week with my DT card for Cute Card Thursday!   We are sponsored by Katharina at Whiff of Joy - stop by the CCT blog to read all about it and see the DTs inspirational creations.

For my card I found this cute Christmas Bunny I had printed out ages ago - he's by Sylvia Zet for Wee Stamps and you can get him as a digi from here.  I've coloured him with my Copic pens and added Stardust Stickles to the snow and falling flakes.

I have made a relatively simple card this week (it's not been a great week for me) and have just used some of my Marianne Design dies to create a mat for my image and to decorate the card.  The patterned paper is from my stash - no idea where I got it, probably a magazine freebie.  Here's the list of Marianne dies I've used:

pretty square blue mat for my image cut from die in LR0234
snowflakes from CR1225, CR1226, LR0123
text and banner both from COL1325

As I've not been around much to check on the blogs I'm not linking up to any other challenges - if you know of any do let me know.

Now for a bit of a moan - only read if you want to feel as stressed out as me! After a couple of days enjoying the sunshine and pottering about in the garden, I ended up with the most horrific headache last evening and have been taking every medication in the cupboard to get some relief .. .. finally it has eased but I feel like a rung out dishrag.  My own fault - I decided to tidy up a corner flower bed outside my bedroom window, just that little bit of bending and digging and moving a small paving slab or two ... ... it has messed up my neck again big time, every time I move I hear crunching and grinding and the neck muscles are in spasms of protest!

There was good news from the Inland Revenue yesterday regarding my tax mix up .. .. they aren't going to pursue the matter for the moment (probably waiting until Mum pops her clogs and I inherit so they can get hold of the house), however, I had a letter from the DWP who want me to be assessed for returning to work - ha! I am now 60 years old but under the new pension rules have to wait until I'm 63 to officially retire and claim my state pension - so in theory they could squeeze a couple of years hard labour out of me.  I have been medically retired from the Civil Service for the past 7 years as I have a degenerative spinal injury, collapsed vertebrae in my neck (hence the headaches if I try and use my arms too often), spondylosis (curvature of the spine so I walk a bit wonky and one hip is higher than the other) and loss of lordic curve (lower spine giving back ache if I sit or stand in any position for more than a minute or two).  All this was confirmed by x-rays and a Consultant Rheumatologist back in 2006. The consultant doctor appointed by the MoD to review and make a decision for or against medical retirement said I would be crippled in less than 5 years if I continued to work. The DWP seem to think that they are better placed to say if I am fit to work, or not!  

Plus there is the Chronic Fatigue/ME that I was diagnosed with at the same time as the neck problems arose and after a bout of pneumonia.  That gives me memory loss problems as well as exhaustion at the drop of a hat, but it is unpredictable as anyone with the condition will know - but CF/ME isn't recognised as a disease by the DWP, and ME can only be diagnosed by a brain biopsy and that's not something that can be done whilst you are still alive and kicking!  Some days are good, others you can hardly remember your own name let alone any other details about life.  I had the top ME specialist in the land as my Consultant and although my symptoms are relatively mild, and therefore only treated with rest, my immune system is easily knocked for six so getting an infection as simple as the common cold can be debilitating. Mixing with 'the public' is a risky business especially during the cold/flu months of the year - hence trying to avoid doctors surgeries and supermarkets as much as possible!  When my consultant moved on to pastures new just before my father died, we decided that I didn't need any further reviews unless my symptoms deteriorated significantly, thankfully they have not although there have been times when I have been battling an infection that I have definitely felt like death warmed up!

And more recently there is the weird rash that the doctors can't figure out, and increasing tinnitus and deafness from the constricted nerves in my neck caused by the collapsed vertebrae.  Oh, and to be on the safe side I've made an opticians appointment just in case there's something more unusual going on there. Two years ago my eyes were being affected by high blood pressure but then it went the other way and now I have low blood pressure so who knows what will be revealed!  So, all in all, with the stress of looking after Mother, trying to get this place done up (will it ever be fit for company to call), keeping the garden tidy, figuring out what the hell is going on in my relationship with DH, and generally getting through a day without something falling in on me - I'm doing ok!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Just For You

Good Morning!  I am relieved that my poor old pc is working this morning after all the flashes and bangs we had here on the coast last evening and overnight.  At least the garden is looking perky from all the rain and the skies are blue again, albeit with the odd pile of white fluffy stuff on the horizon.  Hopefully it will stay fine for a while as the grandkids are planning another visit tomorrow .. ..

This is my very late DT card for Cute Card Thursday where we have an anything goes theme - I must remember to add it to the blog.

I coloured this cutie Dawn stamped image from Nellie's Choice with my Copic pens then cut her out and added a row of faux stitches around the edge to tie in with the rest of my stitched details on the card .. .. ..

And here is the card.  I've used my Frilly #10 dies again to cut the base and layers but kept my embellishments minimal this time.  The fancy mat behind my image and the flowers and leaves are all from Marianne Design die set CR1248.  I've stitched the veins of the leaves with a green embroidery floss, and around the fancy circle and the centre of the flowers with a peachy pink floss.  The embossed areas on the flowers I've inked in peachy pink chalk ink then finished them off with pink gems.  The little text banner is one of my new dies COL1325 that comes with Christmas text stamps, however, I found that some of my old Papermania clear sets would curve around a bit and fit in nicely.

Stampin' for the Weekend would like to see shaped cards this week, while over at the ABC challenge  blog they are up to the letter S for stitching, so perfect!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Home Sweet Home

Where has time gone, where have the days gone! I am all over the place and have had a couple of very stressful days and completely forgot what day it has been.  But better late than never, here is my card for this week's Totally Papercrafts challenge theme of inspired by a song.  I made the card thinking there must be plenty of songs that could fit the bill .. .. but when I googled Home Sweet Home it appeared to be just the one heavy metal version by Motley Crue (not on my play list), or various versions of an old traditional song written by American John Howard Payne with the traditional tune by Englishman Henry Rowley Bishop.

The 'card' came about as I have new Marianne dies to play with and actually isn't a card as yet.  I might make it into a hanger, or then again add a card blank behind if I need to send it to someone.  The papers are by Nitwits from the Spring Whimsy Too collection, I've cut the layers using Marianne Design die LRO242, then added the little extras with mostly my new dies.  The trees and lamp post are from COL1330, and the house and the text are from COL1333.  The tag shape behind the base is cut from LR0187, the butterfly from LR0158, and the flowers from CR1210.

I hope you like it - I didn't have time to make anything fancier but I think it's turned out ok.

The Allsorts challenge has been to use kraft card and over at the Die Cuttin' Divas the challenge is anything goes!

I hope to be back later, or tomorrow morning with my DT card that I should have posted yesterday for Cute Card Thursday .. .. first though I have to go shopping as the cupboards are bare.  At least my car is now back on the road so I can escape from time to time!  Catch up with you all later - bye for now!