Monthly Archives: December 2017

Hubby has Diabetes

And it’s like the best thing ever!

A little over a week ago, hubby drove himself to the hospital because he thought he was having a small stroke (he was really zoning out, his face felt more numb than usual, and he was drooling a bit; he sounded fine on the phone with me, so I wasn’t super weorried).

He passed all the neurology tests with flying colors, but his blood sugar was through the roof. He refused insulin because a) he has a serious needle phobia (with good reason) and b) he was blaming drinking 6-8 Mountain Dews a day for the past year or so (and Caffeine Free Coke or Fruit Punch soda before that) and figured he just needed to work it through his system.

They kept him overnight and I stayed with him. I was very unimpressed that they did not put him on a diabetic friendly diet, though we chose him the better of the options for lowering his sugar. I was also unimpressed that no one pushed him into alternatives for the injected insulin he was refusing (though, we were in the neurology ward, so there’s probably a different mentality there).

Actually, the nurse that pissed me off most was the one in the ER who told him that his sugar was too high, but yes, he could have “something” to eat then immediately ran out of the room so quickly I couldn’t ask her what would be best for me to get him. She didn’t come back as at all.

Anyway, after more than 12 hours in the hospital with his sugar not getting into normal range despite better eating/drinking practices, I gave him an ultimatum: he either took the insulin with his lunch OR he would go for a brisk 30-45 min walk after lunch, get his sugar checked again, and if it was still to high after some exercise (because laying in a bed wasn’t lowering his sugar) he would accept the insulin without complaint!

He agreed to walk. Keep in mind, the stroke in 2010 took all the feeling from his left side (without affecting muscle tone or motor control), which has slowly been coming back as pins and needles when it’s not numb. In other words, walking is at best uncomfortable and at worst HURTS! 
After checking with the charge nurse, I left him to walking while I went home for a shower and some supplies (they were planning to keep him a second night at the time), but while I was home, he was seen by a doctor who told him they’d release him as soon as they checked his A1C (which he bombed fantastically!).

I wasn’t 100% confident that he would take his new diagnosis seriously enough, so I’ve been his little Dictator about it for the past week. But, he’s surprised me completely!

He’s been walking a lot more! He drinks more water (limiting himself to 1 20 oz Gatorade (or other sugary drink) a day because he doesn’t really like water)! 

And shockingly enough, he’s been getting up “early” (10 or 11 am) AND EATING BREAKFAST!!!

HELL! When he came to bed (4am this morning), he told me to wake him up at about 9am with a specific breakfast request!

Hehe. You see, I’ve been slowly releasing the Dictator reigns as he proves himself capable, but he screwed up yesterday (his first real weekend where no one was likely to call him before noon). He went to bed at 3am, but didn’t wake up until 1:30 pm when I asked him if he was planning to take his medication. Yep, I let him oversleep his pill by a few hours to prove my point about him either setting an alarm or asking for a wake up call.

I was completely shocked this morning when he actually answered my question “What time do you want to get up in the morning?” with real answers, first 8am with just the pill, but later changing to 9am with  breakfast 😊. Good Boy!!

What’s most interesting is seeing his rapid shift into normal wakefulness! You have to realize that for the past 6 months to a year, he’s been sleeping as much as possible (14+ hours) after staying awake as long as possible (often 24+ hours). He had many seemingly valid excuses for his sleep habits, but since the diabetes diagnosis, he’s been practically spry! Getting him out of bed for whatever reason had been a chore, but for the past week all I have to do is offer him breakfast and he’s up for the day! I fully conclude that the trouble getting out of bed and his lethargy had everything to do with his blood sugar â˜ș.

His new medication hasn’t been kind to his stomach, but I already fully expected we’d be spending the next 6 months dealing with all kinds of fun side effects while he and his doctor figure out exactly what he needs. This doesn’t bother me one bit.

His main motivation is to be able to control his diabetes with diet, exercise, and a pill rather than needing insulin shots and in this I’m his biggest cheerleader. My family has every flavor of diabetes you can imagine (including 2 who control it solely with just diet and exercise), so I don’t care how he treats it so long as his sugar gets to where it should be!

Anyway, I should get up and get my butt to the grocery store. Of course he wants food we don’t have in the house for breakfast, haha! {Nah, I kid; I need to do the weekly shopping anyway and I like doing the shopping while most people are at church on Sunday mornings.}

MFT Sketch Challenge #365

So apparently My Favorite Things does 3 different kinds of challenges! I made this is for their Sketch Challenge this week:

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So…I was definitely more interested in playing with the background than matching the sketch for this week’s challenge (I told you I was going to be having fun with Ombre and my free fancy paper).

Funny enough, before I made that last card, I’d scribbled a bit of the marker on some scrap paper to see what would happen if I added some water to it. Pretty much nothing, so I was kind of bummed, but still happy with my markers. Well, I guess I’m a messy drinker or something because while I was coloring the background, I saw a splatter appear where the paper I use to protect my workspace from glue and whatnot had a drop of water on it. Apparently, water does affect these markers at least a little bit while they’re wet. Since this paper is so thin, I actually did most of the water splattering on the back of the paper and got some really pretty results. I added a few more to the front of the paper and was less happy, but that might be the difference between the lighter and the darker markers.

I wasn’t going to add the Happy Birthday at first, but the card seemed really bare without it. This card is a bit too girly for me as it is, but there’s so much potential in the techniques that I’m loving it!

MFT Color Challenge #84

This is my first color challenge! Usually I stick to sketch challenges because while I like coloring, I’m not great at it and I have a really random collection of pretty papers which rarely lend themselves to a color challenge.

But, today I decided to expand my repertoire and…yeah…I’m super happy with how this one turned out!!

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The Ohuhu markers were a treat for myself using my Amazon money (I have an Amazon credit card that gives me cash back) and I really like them.

Well, except, I’m not sure how the quality compares to other brands. You see that red marker in the corner of the picture? It’s my Geranium and I adore this shade of red! It was definitely love at first sight when I was first playing with these. It’s so deep, but not necessarily dark…it’s just perfect! BUT, both ends are broken already and I haven’t been doing that much coloring with them, despite it being my favorite color of the set. Poo. I’ve never been a heavy handed colorer, even as a kid with my crayons, so I know it wasn’t because I hurt the marker; I figure I just got a bad marker. It happens. This is the only one that has broken so far, so I’m reserving judgment on the rest of the set. Color-wise, they’re pretty fantastic and they lay down color beautifully!

I wasn’t really trying to do any fancy shading with the flowers. I just outlined each segment pretty quickly, then lightly filled them in. Each section was colored with a different color, except for the centers which are the same as the main body of the flowers.

The color challenge was specifically called for My Favorite Things colors Lemon Chiffon, Cornflower, Orange Fizz, and Nightshift Blue. I don’t own anything My Favorite Things specific (well, I might have received some items through swaps without my knowledge), so I just grabbed the Ohuhu colors that seemed to match best, then added a couple of shades lighter or darker to give me some variety:

Pastel Peach, Fruit Pink, Light Orange, and Marigold for the oranges and Sky Blue, Napoleon Blue, and Prussian Blue for the Blues (I feel like there’s some irony with Napoleon and Prussian blues).

I tried my hand at a bit of ombreing with the background since I didn’t have the color card stock I wanted. Yeah….There will be a lot more of that in my future! I used a piece of probably expensive, high end linen letterhead paper for the ombre. There are some serious perks to working in a print shop! I have easily 1500 sheets (8.5×11) of this paper from where we were cleaning out the warehouse and it’s soo soft! The watermark says Beckett Enhanced Writing and it’s a warm shade of white (I didn’t pay too much attention of the box it came out of). My fountain pen (which has Platinum Mix-Free Cyclamen Pink in it right now) bled straight through a scrap piece, but it wrote pretty good. A Pilot G2 wrote perfectly and didn’t bleed through. Anyway, I like that the linen texture is very noticeable, but doesn’t affect the performance of the paper. It gives a little bit of depth to the ombre I created.

Ombreing is also the reason I’ve kept my Geranium because it won’t matter that the tip is broken when I’m just laying down the color :-).

The flowers are from a page of an adult coloring book I got for Christmas last year. I love the idea of adult coloring books (the detail of the images), but I don’t have the patience for all the detail. I prefer to color just the main bits and leave the rest of the image uncolored so that everything just pops better. But in this case, I decided to fussy-cut the flowers out and not even worry about the background details. I used a black Sharpie to darken all the cut edges and I’m amazed by what a difference it makes!

I’m ridiculously excited by how cute this card turned out! I love that the ombre isn’t perfect. I tossed in the bit of bronze-foiled washi tape so that I could also enter this into the Freshly Made Sketches challenge for this week as well. And since Simon Says Stamp is still an “Anything Goes”, well, I’ll share this one there as well.

By the way, keep an eye out for my post scheduled for Monday morning!!

A third card tonight

This final card for the evening doesn’t exactly fit the Freshly Made Sketches idea of “cleanliness” in my opinion (but maybe I’m wrong), so it’ll only be submitted to Simon Says Stamp’s Wednesday Challenge

I hadn’t intended to make it, but when I glanced at my scrap paper stash, I saw the dress-form and immediately thought, “I have a die-cut that complements that perfectly!” I popped up the die-cut with some foam dots and yeah, that’s it. I don’t even feel tempted to add any rhinestones, haha.

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I love that there’s actually a third dress-form on this card (as the highlight/shadow around the drawn one). It kind of feels like a scene transition in a film where one scene fades out while the next fades in :-).

Freshly Made Sketches #318 pt.2

I admit that I like the second card I made for the Freshly Made Sketches challenge so much more than I liked the first one!

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I’m really loving the birds! This card actually measures 8.75 x 5.75 because the bird print was just too big for a standard A2-size card. I purposefully didn’t glue it all the way to the edges and I like the depth that is gained form the slightly curled up corners!

This card will also be submitted to the Simon Says Stamp Challenge this week, as well.

Freshly Made Sketches #318 pt.1

Hello!

Hubby is watching Andromeda tonight and although I like the concept, Kevin Sorbo’s Dylan Hunt just annoys me to no end (the whole “I’m the only person capable of saving the Universe” mentality), so I’m here in my room not answering my mail (-_-) and making some cards for challenges :-).

Here’s my first entry into the Freshly Made Sketches challenge #318:

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I didn’t really know where I was going with this one, but I’m pretty okay with how it turned out. I hadn’t intended to add the entire row of rhinestones (I was just going to add 2 or 3 to probably the left side of the card), but these came with adhesive on the back on an acetate sheet and when I tried to pick up one, the entire row came with it, so I completely re-thought my idea :-).

I will also be entering it into the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge Blog, which has an “Anything Goes” theme this week.

Christmas 2017

Okay folks. Confession time:

I cheat at Christmas. 

My family is crafty and each of us has our “thing”: quilting, sewing, embroidery, crochet, knitting, (some overlapping), and me, the papercrafter. We also each have our favorite thing: squirrels, goats, penguins, polar bears, etc.

Most of my aunts and grandma also cheat by making something that the recipient will like utilizing their hobby. I love each of my quilts made by my grandma, the hats made by an aunt, and have found a place for the doilies made by another aunt.

Anyway, I use my papercrafting talents to make my gifts for the family. I decide on one item and then I personalize it for each person.

This year I decorated flower pots. I’d been thinking about it for years, thinking that they’d look like a really fancy engraved/painted flowerpot, using just diecuts and Mod Podge.

I made the diecuts using my Cricut, purchasing some from their store and creating others from images found online (using the upload function in the Cricut Design Space).

Tip #1: When uploading images, be mindful of how you save them. In my account, the default (first option) is to save it as a “print and cut” file. Even when uploading 3 or 4 images in a sitting, I saved all or nearly all of them as a “print and cut” even though I really wanted it to just be a cut file. Sigh. Murphy’s Law: “There’s never enough time to do it right, but plenty of time to do it over.”

Anyway, the first step to making these adorable flower pots is (after purchasing supplies), is to paint an appropriate background. I used cheap Apple Barrel acrylic paints (2 oz)…hmm…I was going to link to these via Walmart, but the website showed them on sale for $1.00 (regular $1.48), but locally these can be had for $0.50 each! Setting the website to my local Walmart did find me the lower price, proving that I’m not crazy.

So, yeah. Shop informed.

So, back to the backgrounds: IMG_0342

This can be anything you like. For most of the ones I made, I went with a simple scenery, either green and blue for grass and sky or, like this one, white and blue for snow and sky.

Tip #2: Rather than buying out the entire store for paint colors, I went with the Red, Blue, Yellow plus White and Black method. I’m sure you remember from elementary school that yellow and blue make green, yellow and red make orange, red and blue make purple. By mixing the paints myself I could create whatever shades I wanted, plus, I liked the the way it looked when there were some streaks in the paint. Apple Barrel paints mix beautifully with each other.

My pots are terracotta (the real kind, not plastic of that color) and took a few coats (or one thick coat) of paint to cover the burnt orange original hue.

With the backgrounds painted and the diecuts cut, it’s time to decoupage, using the standard method (foam brush, undercoat, and overcoat).

Tip #3: “Build” your multilayered diecuts up on the pot rather than flat. Most flower pots are curved in two directions. Around and up and down. If you build the diecut layers up while they’re flat, it may become too stiff to form to the shape of the pot. The Mod Podge helps the paper form to the curves. It also helps if you use a thinner paper for the diecuts, but using a thicker paper adds the depth that I was going for with this project. There are benefits of both.

Also, be aware that because of the dual direction of the curves, straight lines are relative. What lies flat on your table will curve into a smile on the pot. You can either work out the mathematics (or use trial and error) to make things look perfect or you can be like me and enjoy a bit of whimsy.

I knew I wanted the pots to be glossy, so I used a gloss finish Mod Podge. The paint I used was matte finish because it’s cheaper and because I knew the glossy Mod Podge would do the job. You really can’t use too much Mod Podge, which will also protect the outside of the pot from damage during use.

Yes, I fully expect my relatives to use their pots! I included a packet of flower seeds with each.

Which brings me to Tip #4: Go ahead and Mod Podge the tray that comes with your pot that is used to catch any water that overflows. Yeah…I didn’t think to do this because the tray is only painted to complete the look (rather than just being a plain terracotta base). I know that acrylic paint is water soluble, so it is entirely possible that this overflow could dissolve away the paint here. Proceed at your own risk.

And that’s really that! Here’s some eye-candy:

A Concise List of Materials:

*Apple Barrel acrylic paints

*Foam brushes, paper plates, etc for painting/decoupage

*Terracotta flower pots (with base)

*Die Cuts or other shaped paper (I used a Cricut)

*Glossy Mod Podge (or the finish of your choice)

 

Using What I Have pt. 6

As much as I love a pretty piece of stationary, a decorated envelope is always fun!

The purple one is me playing with some Crayola watercolors (I told you I don’t have much money for supplies :-)). That surprised me is that there seems to be a bit of shimmer in this paint. This surprised me.

The three on the right are splatters made with the syringe I use to fill my fountain pen and a bit of water mixed with the fountain pen ink left inside the bottle after filling.

My hubby has a severe needle phobia and I was surprised that he actually stayed in the room with me for a little while while I was squirting ink all over the envelopes and again later when I was in the kitchen cleaning out the syringe. I asked him about it the next day and he said that he’d been ignoring the needle, haha.

I’ve been watching a lot of cardmaking videos via Youtube (mostly Prairie Paper and Ink) and I’m really liking the way she controls splatter by using a paintbrush. I actually tried this with the purple watercolored envelope using the white watercolor. You can’t see it very well in the photo and, in person, if I didn’t know it is there, I probably would never notice it (in many cases, the white watercolor actually took on the color of the purple underneath (or…I may have just had messy paint to start with).

Anyway, I definitely want to play with acrylic splatters, and the next time I finish a fountain pen ink sample, I’m going to experiment with using a paintbrush to splatter this rather than using the syringe.

Note as a reminder: be very careful about not accidentally gluing the envelope closed, haha.

Using What I Have pt. 5

After awhile, I remembered that I was supposed to be using that original die-cut pack for my focal point (instead of grabbing any old random scraps).

I already had a paper pack that I knew would complement these die-cuts, but after the disaster with the “Best Friends” die-cut, I wasn’t hopeful about finding a piece that would actually work.

But, I was pleasantly surprised!

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