Saturday, October 2, 2021

Finding Joy in the Journey

I am not a pessimist by nature. I try to always see the bright side of things. I try to look past the storms and find the rainbows. That was much harder to do this past seven and a half months. I was beset with illness and infections and pain management and fighting with insurance to get them to cover the same treatments I've had before. That part I'm pretty much used to. What came as a shock was the new diagnosis.

You always hear people comment about how children look like one or the other of their parents and I was always aware that I looked more like my Dad and had his sense of humor, but I had my Mom's sensibility and compassion. These are the kinds of things you hope to inherit from your parents. It never occurred to me that I would inherit their medical conditions as well until I was diagnosed with Diabetes a few years ago. It was diagnosed early and I was determined to do everything I could to minimize the effects. So far, so good.

In an attempt to be proactive with my health, I signed up for this amazing new heart tomography scan that can detect heart disease even before there are symptoms (since it was an issue with my Mom). Thankfully, I showed zero signs of heart disease. No problems at all!  

So when I had a routine eye exam this year and the eye doctor told me of an exceptional new test for Macular Degeneration (which my Mom also suffered from) that could diagnose it before you even had the typical symptoms, I said, "Let's do it." I was all for anything that I could do to prevent any future problems.

I flunked the test! He said there was a longer test I could take that would be more accurate. (My mind went back to when I flunked a one hour test for gestational diabetes and had to take the three hour test. It turned out that my body was just slow to metabolize the sugar but in the end I passed the three hour test with flying colors. This had to be something similar, Right?) "Sign me up!", I said thinking this was going to turn out the same way. I totally flunked the second test. In fact, it was so bad, I knew I flunked it a third of the way through the test when it kept repeating the same series over and over again. 

I was told that this test could diagnose Macular Degeneration before I had any symptoms. Then came the bomb. It turns out that I already had some symptoms and didn't realize it. I had early stage Macular Degeneration and it could start progressing anywhere from 6 months to 10 years from now. There was no way to predict when. It was just a matter of keeping a vigilant watch for symptoms so we could try to slow down the progression of the vision loss.

I'm not na├»ve on this subject. I took my Mom to all of her appointments and treatments. I always knew that this could be a possibility but I thought that if I ever got it, I would be in my eighties like Mom. I'm 56. Suddenly everything I thought I knew to be true was at risk.  I went home and sat in our family room stunned. Across the room was the bookcase with all of the children's books we'd collected over the years while raising our kids. We were saving them for when we (hopefully) had grandchildren. I always pictured myself reading them to the next generation. Now, who knows?

As with any major life change, I was devastated. I began to grieve for a loss that was just out there in the distance somewhere waiting to pounce. As for the stages of grief:

1. Denial and isolation - There was no denying this. I didn't even try. As for isolation, we're all in isolation and wearing masks. I'll admit, it did make it easier to take time to absorb it all.

2. Anger - I wasn't angry. It was more of a sense of loss. I was mugged once by a bike messenger on 23rd street on my way back to work from a lunch break. It felt more like that. It came out of nowhere, took something precious, and left me frozen in the middle of the street dumbfounded.

3. Bargaining - I guess since I didn't deny it, I didn't even think to bargain. This is probably because I trust God with my life and know that his plans and His timing are so much better than anything I could come up with. Yet, it was still a bitter pill to swallow.

4. Depression - Yep! Definitely. It seemed like the more time passed the deeper the reality set in (remember, I had a day by day front row seat to this show with my Mom). I started wondering when I would lose my sight and began researching how one learns to function without sight. 

5. Acceptance - I truly accepted the diagnosis the day I got it. For me the final stage is more like Determination. I realized that there are SO MANY things I want to learn and do (especially as a crafter) and that I'd better get to it because time was a luxury I could no longer count on.

This led to a mini surge of crafty fun. Mind you, I'm still dealing with pain management issues which are still limiting me from being at my craft desk so I've begun by doing whatever I can from my chair in the family room. 

The first thing I did was pull out my stash of yarn. I've always made baby blankets for family & friends when they are having their first child. I like to find patterns with lots of open spaces because I discovered with my own babies that they could stick their little fingers in the holes to pull the blankets up or raise their little legs and put their toes in the holes to pull the blankets back down.

It occurred to me that if I were blessed with grandbabies, I would want to make blankets for them as well. So that's what I've started to do. I don't know if/when I might have grandchildren, but if the day comes, there will be blankets made and ready (whatever my sight might be at the time).

I've also signed up for a series of watercolor projects and purchased some basket making kits (more on those in a future post).I'm about 2 days from finishing the first blanket and I'm very excited about it. It's been a joy to work on it in the evenings while watching tv with my husband. 

One last thing to add was a project just for me. It seems most everything I've made over the years was for other people so I got a very special cross stitch kit just for me. It's a long-term project as it's a 16"x20" of Claude Monet's Garden and I'm so very excited to be working on it.



This pretty much sums up what started out as a "Short Break" and ended with pure determination to take in the sights, learn new things, provide for the future, and find joy in creativity! I hope to post the first of the baby blankets as soon as it's done and to keep updating the blog as the flurry of craftiness continues. I hope this inspires you to find joy in your journey.

Hugs,
Eileen



Friday, February 19, 2021

Rest and Recovery

Taking a short break to rest from a procedure and recover from illness. My trusty little rescue dog is constantly by my side and my sweet husband is taking care of me.


Thanks so much for your patience.  I'll be back soon.

Hugs, Eileen

Monday, January 18, 2021

2021 Pantone Colors Hello Card

Hello and welcome! I've been taking classes over at Altenew.com and the inspiration cards are fabulous! This lesson used the Watercolor Wonders stamp set and I thought it might be nice to try using colors inspired by this years Pantone colors (which are yellow and gray).


The base image is all one layer with the Fancy Hello die on top. I added some tiny Antique Gold Sequins from Altenew to the the flowers. I love that the sequins have several different sizes of sequins in the bottle. I've never had sequins this small and they were perfect for the centers of the flowers.





Supplies Used:

Altenew Stamp Sets -  Watercolor Wonders, Paint-a-Flower: Poppy (subsentiment)

Altenew Inks - Morning Frost, Evening Gray, Lava Rock, Fresh Lemon, Maple Yellow, Honey Drizzle, Jet Black

Sentiment - Fancy Hello Die

Embellishments: Altenew Antique Gold Sequins

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Eileen

Friday, January 15, 2021

Hello Card with Vintage Roses

Hello and welcome! This Vintage Roses stamp set from Altenew was the very first layering stamp set I purchased many years ago and it's still my favorite. The beautiful, realistic images you get by layering images on top of one another with different colors is stunning. The inspiration for this card came from the All About Layering class over at Altenew.com


I used the coordinating die set to cut out my flowers so I could layer them. I had a lot of fun making a whole bunch in different color combinations. I saved the extras for future cards.



Supplies Used:

Cardstock: Neenah Solar White

Altenew Stamp Sets - Vintage Roses, Super Script

Altenew Inks - Frosty Pink, Coral Berry, Ruby Red, Buttercream, Warm Sunshine, Caramel Toffee, Paper Bag, Frayed Leaf, Forest Glades, Evergreen, Jet Black

Embellishments - Altenew Enamel Dots (Red Cosmos)

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Eileen

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Vintage Flowers Encouragement Card

Hello and welcome! This card came as a result of a beautiful inspiration card in my All About Layering card class at Altenew.com and my desire to mix yellow with pinks like the flowers next to the card.


These layering stamp sets do all the shading for you. It's amazing to see how realistic the results are and so much fun to play with the colors.

Supplies Used:

Altenew Stamp Sets: Vintage Flowers, Dahlia Blossoms

Altenew Inks - Buttercream, Frosty Pink, Coral Berry, Ruby Red, Frayed Leaf, Forest Glades, Evergreen

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Eileen

Monday, January 11, 2021

Thank You Card with a Pop of Color

This beautiful Layered Lily stamp set is from Altenew and the card was totally inspired by the All About Layers class at Altenew.com 


Rather than having a plain white background, I used Altenew's Botanical Rhapsody washi tape as a base for the card. The lilies were stamped, cut out, and layered on top. I added some Stickles to the stamens for a little bling.

Supplies Used:

Altenew Inks - Iceberg, Eastern Sky, Ultramarine, Azurite, Morning Frost, Evening Gray, Lava Rock, Moon Rock

Altenew Washi Tape - Botanical Rhapsody

Embellishments - Black Diamond Stickles, Blue Bayou Stickles, edges of sentiment inked with Lava Rock

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Eileen

Friday, January 8, 2021

Black, White, and Red Anniversary Card

Hello and welcome! Today's card was inspired by a class card from the All About Layering class over at Altenew.com  I've always loved the elegance of  black and white and red together and this Painted Poppy stamp set is perfect for a classy clean and simple card.


Supplies Used:

Altenew Inks - Coral Berry, Ruby Red, Versamark

Embellishments - Ranger Detail Black Embossing Powder, Altenew Enamel Dots (Red Cosmos)

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Eileen


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

You Are Fabulously Perfect Friendship Card

Hello and welcome! I'm continuing with the All About Layering class over at Altenew.com and today's lesson used this Painted Flowers set. I don't have the matching dies for the flowers but they were easy enough to fussy cut so I could layer them into little bouquets at the corners. 


The sentiment came from the Amazing Things stamp set and I used some Metallic Shimmer Ink spray (Warm Sunshine) along with one of the blue inks I stamped with to add some splatters to the center of the card.

Supplies Used:

Altenew Stamp Sets - Painted Flowers, Amazing Things

Altenew Inks - Jet Black, Carribean Sky, Persian Blue, Sapphire, Grass Field, Shadow Creek

Embellishments - Altenew Warm Sunshine Metallic Shimmer Ink 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Rainbow of Flowers Hello Card

Hello and welcome! Today's card was made using Altenew's Whimsical Flowers stamp set and a rainbow of colors.


This was my first time using the set and I couldn't decide which colors to use so I decided to try using the whole rainbow.  I'm taking the All About Layering class over at Altenew.com and their masking/layering technique totally inspired this card. It's a little busier than the class card but hey, I had to work in the whole rainbow ...lol.

Supplies Used:

Altenew Stamp Set - Whimsical Flowers

Altenew Inks - Ultraviolet, Hydrangea, Azurite, Eastern Sky, Teal Cove, Aqualicious, Shadow Creek, Green Fields, Honey Drizzle, Maple Yellow, Marigold, Snapdragon, Rubellite, Pinkalicious

Sentiment: Floral Hello Die

Embellishments: Glossy Accents

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Eileen 


Monday, December 14, 2020

Altenew Scribbled Flowers - Sending Hugs Your Way

I'm taking classes over at Altenew.com and today's challenge was to use the Altenew Scribbled Flowers stamp set to make a simple design. I stamped the flowers and the scroll-shaped leaves onto white cardstock, quickly went over them with Wink of Stella, and fussy cut them out with a scissors. I then inked the edges of the flowers to get rid of the white edge since I was planning to pop the flowers up on the kraft card base and didn't want them to look too flat.


I arranged the flowers on the card base and before I adhered them to the cardstock, I stamped some of the leaves from the stamp set directly onto the card base next to where the flowers were going to be placed. All that was left to do was pop up the flowers and scroll-shaped leaves and stamp the sentiment. 

One of the things I love about Altenew is their color coordination between the papers, inks, markers and accessories. With that in mind, I used the Red Cosmos Enamel Dots (there are dots, stars and hearts) to quickly embellish the card and the card was done.

Supplies Used:

Altenew Scribbled Flowers Stamp Set
Altenew Crisp Dye Inks - Frosty Pink, Coral Berry, Ruby Red, Grapevine, Forest Glades, Jet Black
Altenew Red Cosmos Enamel Dots 
Neenah Solar White Cardstock
Kraft Cardstock
Wink of Stella

Thanks so much for stopping by!  
Hugs, Eileen