Monday, 26 May 2014

Well, it's been a long time!

It's been well over a year since I last posted! Wow how time flies, and how life changes!
Since my last post, life has changed quite a bit for me! First off, I lost all my crafting mojo. I couldn't bear to look at my craft stuff, it caused me to feel stressed.  You wouldn't believe how many times I nearly. Threw every thing into the bin. But something inside me stopped me being so rash and knew I'd regret it later. So I just left it and ignored it.
We put our house up for sale, it took AGES to sell, changed agents etc had lots of viewing but we thought we'd go on holiday, our first ever family holiday, and Sod's law... We had a phone call on the first day that we'd sold our house. So even the holiday was overshadowed with consent "oh my god, where are we going to move to? There's no houses for us out there!" So a week later, I spent a whole day viewing about 10 houses and none felt right. The last one on the list was literally a stones throw from our house but viewed it anyway just for sake of it and OMG as soon as I stepped through the door, I was in love, it felt SO right, I could see the boys playing outside and friends sitting around the large dining table. Fast forward a VERY stressful few months, and we finally got to move in in November.

Back track back to July, I had been volunteering at my local primary primary, the head teacher approached me and offered me a full time post as a one to one teaching assistant with an Autistic boy in mainstream. It felt a dream come true, I jumped at the offer.
August came and that's when the illness hit me.
I had been running on fumes for far to long, years in fact. My weight declined, I was barely 6 stone, I couldn't eat, then I had a full blown panic attack when playing cards with my boys. I had no idea what was happening, thought I was dying, so called for an ambulance. They took me in to be checked over, fast forward a few weeks, it was discovered I had a premature ventricular ectopic heart beat. Nothing serious, something I just have to live with. But I still wasn't eating. Saw a dietician in December, who couldn't help, so was referred to a stress management therapist. That was in February 2014. Wow, that is certainly an eye opener. He instantly diagnosed me with Chronic hyperventilation syndrome, (I over breath), it's caused by stress. Which in turn causes the ectopic heart beats and anxiety I'd been feeling along with it all.

So basically, my life of stress and worry has led me to ill health. It was caught in time, and to be honest I don't think I was that far from death, especially adding the fact I wasn't eating and could barely get off the floor some days. But now, I am weighing just under 8 stone, and eating like a horse and don't eat chocolate any more! I find it gives me palpitations.
I owe SO much to my therapist who has helped with breathing exercises to overcome the chronic over breathing and stress reduction, and helped change my thinking to live in the present, not the past. Not the future. To stop worrying about the small things.

BUT the best part is.... I have my mojo back!! And I have a craft room!! Which was a half finished porch when we bought the house, now it's kitted out with new paint, new skirting boards and. A big big cupboard, all done with my own fair hands.
I'm still in the process of unpacking my zillions of boxes and sorting my craft stuff but I will be doing a blog post soon showing my craft room makeover.

I'm still recovering from the chronic hyperventilation, it's very much like having chronic fatigue syndrome, in fact, as far as I'm aware, I think the two are actually linked! Talking really takes it out of me, I'm currently working on breathing properly when I talk. As does posture. If I'm hunched over I feel dizzy, wobbly and faint.

Moral of the story? Don't stress about little things, breath calmly and from the diaphragm, think about your posture, don't go one holiday and sell your house, don't also have 6 weeks off with 3 hyper boys and then go to work full time with a stressful job, then move house just before Christmas and freeze to death over winter because we couldn't get a chimney sweep to come until March!

So many new things to look forward to over the next couple of months, I can't wait.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Die cut Flower Card

Flowers are my all time favourite item. I love making them out of all sorts of things from Fabric, paper, plastic, jewellery...anything.

For this card I made the flowers using a Marianne Craftables Ovel die that comes with 3 concentric flower dies.
After cutting the flowers, I inked the edges slightly and made small cuts towards the centres so that I could shape and bend the petals. On the centre flower I inserted some teent tiny cake stamens which I coloured using the same ink pad as the flower edges.

The rectangle base was cut using Spellbinders Nestibilities NEW Labels 8 and the flourish was cut using Cheery Lynn Fanciful flourish.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Scotty Dog Card

I love this card, but wish the die was actually quite a bit bigger. The finished card is only slightly larger than A7 and looks a bit lost in a standard A6 envelope.
It was cut from Black mirri card and mounted onto a die cut card base.

For the card base, I folded white card and cut it with the die, making sure the folded edge was just inside the cutting area. Adding a ribbon bow and giant googly eye finished it off.

If you havnt already worked out which die I used, it was a Sizzix Bigz die, Scotty Dog with bone. I have lots of ideas for this die, so hopefully there will be more coming along soon!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Frog Card, Army of Frogs

This card is A6 in size and made as a Thank you card for some lovely generous people. Unfortunately due to the snow we currently have, I cant post it yet! But thes tory goes like this:

I love playing board games. I love playing the standard monopoly style games, but also Eurostyle games like Pandemic, Ticket to ride etc.. Recently I joined a local board gaming group so started buying a few games. My most recent one is Army of Frogs by Gen42 Games. (There is also an app for the same game on iphone/ipad and I LOVE IT!)
Back to the story. I bought the game, and its only suitable for up to 4 players. As we are a fmaily of 5, one of us usually has to sit out. I contacted Gen42 and asked if they sell extra sets of frogs. I thought i could get an extra set and maybe alter it somehow with promarkers or nail polish to make them different. Gen42 came back to say unfortunately they dont sell sets of frogs, but they have an old prototype set laying around that im more than welcome to have! YAY. They wouldnt accept anyhing for the frogs, which arrived in no time at all, so I thought Id send them a lovley Froggy thank you card to show my appreciation and a post on here linking to them to show how fab their games are! (I also have Hive another great addictive game they make).

The card was made using Swiss dots embossing folder and Walnut stain distress ink. The Frog is a Medium Sizzlits die which I distressed with green inks and the Reed I hand cut out of textured brown card.
The Little circle topper was handmade by myself and lightly inked with walnut stain to take off the starkness of the white.

Hope this snow goes soon, I want to get back to normal and post my card off!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Beaded Lanyard Teacher Gifts

 Having 3 boys all at the same school, means they have quite a few teachers and TA's between them! Some even teach all 3 boys at some points in the same week! Thus, it meant at Christmas, I had quite a few gifts to make. Usually I make Snowmake soup, and they're always very well recived, but this year I wanted to do something totally different.I saw one of the teachers wearing a Beaded Lanyard quite a few months ago and instantly knew what I was going to do this Christmas. My biggest task was trying to source good quality beads in vast quantities at good prices. As luck would have it, I came across some gorgeous beads that were new in at my local bead store Crystals and ice and so I practically cleared their shelf of them! Well I did have 10 lanyards to make!

I also raided my stash for various beads which also come from Crystals and Ice and set to work!
The boys helped as best as they could, but they lost all will to live after threading a few beads onto the tigertail.

Once finally made, each was wrapped in a Pillow Box using  my Tim Holtz pillow box die and labelled with the teachers name. 
I did have a few days before giving them thinking "oh no! What ive made a terrible mistake and no one willl like them or use them?" But thankfully the couple of teachers that opened them on the day they were received loved them! They said they had seen another teacher wearing a beaded lanyard and wondered where she had got it from. Phew! Sigh of relief!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Handmade Necklace, Bracelet and Earrings

I made this matching jewellery set for a good friend for Christmas. She is the only other person I know who loves Jewellery as much as I do so I love making bits for her.
Its all made up with a mixture of pearls, silver plated beads and glass crystals randomly threaded onto 3 strands of tigertail.
The pillow box I also made myself using the Tim Holtz pillow box die and black shiny card, embossed with swiss dots embossing folder.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Truck shaped Craft Robo card

Another card I created in Silhouette studio and cut on my Craft Robo. This was for a friends litle boys 1st birthday.
I designed the "lorry" part using circles and squares and using the offset tool, I made the card base. Its actually cut in a matt silver card. All the card used here is Papermill card.
Silver liquid pearls were added to make details for hadles and wheel nuts.
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