Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Hellllllllllllllllllllllooooooooo ECHO ECHO ECHO

It has been such a long time since I wrote a proper blog update... I wonder if there is still anyone out there who stops by occasionally?? Please leave me a comment if you do... just so I don't feel like a Nigel No-Friends. ;)

So, in the immortal worlds of ERII herself,  2012 has pretty much turned out to be MY annus horribilis ... BUT there is much to be thankful for and a midst all the challenges and setbacks and meltdowns and struggles we have plodded along and we are getting there.

My darling husband has returned home to work locally after 8 years of FIFO work on the mines. It was all getting just a bit too much stress with having to stay in hospital.  His work has been so supportive of us and they offered him an adult apprenticeship as a diesel fitter. It is something he has wanted to do since he was a little boy so a wonderful opportunity... but financially it has been very difficult. The kids love having him home but it has taken a little while for us to find our fit... and a HUGE adjustment for me too... love the guy with my life... but I don't know so much about actually LIVING with him! ;)

Austin and Albert are doing really well with their treatment so far despite a few setbacks along the way... Just a few hospital admissions due to viruses that have seen them have breathing issues and requiring oxygen... oh and not to mention Austin playing Evel Knievel and standing on a little table to reach a light switch, falling and breaking his arm! Arrrgggh!!! Kids are going to send me stark raving mad... bless their cotton socks!

You accept a new level of "ok" when you have kids needing medical attention. We are OK... not brilliant... not fabulous... but we are OK... and those boys are a constant source of inspiration to me.  I lamented that they would ever be one of those kids you always hear about with serious illnesses. You know the ones, you hear about them all the time.  The ones that always smile despite all they are going through.  BUT they have gotten so good at coping and even though they still cry at the finger pricks and blood tests and ports being needled they have gotten so much better.  They bounce back as soon as they are done so much quicker... and all the general poking and prodding doesn't bother them hardly at all anymore.

The last blood test did get to me a little.  They both have to have finger prick tests done each time.  It had been a while since we had to have one though and when we walked into the phlebotomy department both of them sat on their hands (they still ride in a pram... there's a LOT of walking for little legs).  Then when the lady said, "Who's going first?" They each pointed to the other and said the other's name in unison. It was so cute but so sad too.  Breaks my heart to have to let the ladies hurt them.  They handle it better than me though and as soon as we were done they were happy again.  Bless.

It is lovely that people keep telling me how strong and amazing I am (and don't get me wrong, I really do appreciate it even if it sort of makes me squirm when people give me a compliment like that) ... but the reality is I am neither... I have had my moments I can tell you... I just prefer not to SHOW you! ;)  I guess my strength lies in continuing to get up and keep on plodding.  It's easy to wallow in a bit of self pity on occasion .. and for me I actually find it helps... pretending everything is all sweetness and light, sunshine, lollipops and rainbows just ain't me!!!  I prefer to confront the tough stuff head on... it knocks me down sometimes and I feel totally defeated... that's just the kinda gal I am! ;) The trick is knowing when and HOW to snap out of it, focus on the positives, set your sights on the task at hand and just get on with it. I am blessed to have that ability even if some days are harder than others.  I am hopeless when people be too nice to me... I can be tough when things are hard... but buy me a cup of coffee and give me a sympathetic look and take your chances... I am not generally a "crier"... takes a lot to set me off (especially in public) but jeez I am an ugly crier when I do! ;)

I keep trying to "learn the lesson"... for me I thought it was asking for help.  I have been blessed with friends who made that much easier than I could have ever imagined.  Well, friends who recognised my need for a helping and hand and offered it BEFORE I had to ask more like. I am so very grateful for them.  Unfortunately, both our extended families live too far to be able to help us physically but of course they are our emotional support.

I HAVE learned to stop "fighting"... to stop getting so wound up in  the injustices and inadequacies of the "system". I still get frustrated but I have learned to roll with it a bit better... and that has been a huge accomplishment in itself.  I have far more important issues to deal with and my energies need to be directed in the right place.   For now we will just keep on plodding... and try to make it look like we are "flowing" with it... sounds so much more at peace don't you think?  Flowing is riding the wave... plodding is trudging... just surviving. Yes, I will flow I tell you! Flow!  So much more romantic. ;)

So anyway, it's been far too long to catch up on everything we have been doing so I am going to share something I have been playing with for the last three years with you... and in a way... it sort of answers the "what have you been up to?" question anyway.

In 2010 I took part in 365project.  It was a kind of photo a day visual diary / challenge site.  I decided to use it to start keeping a track of our day to day lives.  Then I stumbled across Becky Higgins blog.  Actually, I don't know how I found Project Life originally. I think MAYBE another 365project photographer may have mentioned the album as a solution to storing their 365 {2010} photos. Anyway, I clicked a link, liked what I saw and ordered an album from Craft House.  It was "everything you need in a box"... and the rest, as they say, is history.

I have for the past three years, been doing Project Life.  To me this IS traditional scrapping.  It's a system that Beck Higgins created to take scrapping back to the basics of photos and stories... you can read more about her philosophy on her blog.   It can be anything YOU want.  I approach PL from a photo a day “this is my life, warts and all” perspective... and trust me there are plenty of warts!

So I got my Original kit at the end of 2009 and used it to document 2010... it is now named Cherry... is it just my dirty mind or does anyone else think it's hilarious they named it that?  It WAS the first after all but Becky Higgins is far too sweet a girl to think like me!

Then I used Turquoise for 2011 and this year I am using Clementine. I have Seafoam on pre-order for 2013. ;)


I have what I think is a unique approach in that I use the digital products to plan my LOs in Photoshop. Then I print everything out individually, in the sizes I have decided on, and still create a “real” album using paper, journaling cards and page protectors.

My main LO is usually a double spread using two Design A protectors.  I do include some photo collages and inserts each week because I can never condense this crazy, hectic life into just one photo per day... which has meant a second album to hold all those memories. ;)  Thanks to a fellow PLer (Leah!!!!) I have had this as my mantra ever since she said, "Don't cull the photos, just buy another album."  It's rather symbolic don't you think?  LIVE your life and fill as many albums as you can! ;)

I use my Canon 500D and iPhone (the Hipstamatic and Instamatic apps are personal favourites) to capture our life. 

I also use Photoshop Elements 7 to put journaling and word art onto my photos.  
My journaling is day to day... funny little stories... frustrations and challenges... gratitude and gripes...  the good, the bad and the ugly.

I also do a little embellishing because I have so much “stuff” to use up its ridiculous...
BUT I started Project Life to keep it simple and get back to the basics of photos + stories and that’s mainly what I am doing now.  

So here's MY Project Life 2012.
First of all these are some examples of my PSE "planning" pages... some include the "inserts" so they look bigger than the normal double 12x12 (Design A) REAL pages... as you will see most of them don't have all their journaling yet... that's because, as I said, I print all these out individually and still put them into the divided page protectors.  So I do SOME journaling with PSE7 and then the rest with a combination of handwriting and an old typewriter then I add a few embellishments and I am done.

If you want to see any of these close up just click on the image and it will open larger in another window.



Week 14 has a newspaper clipping... I scanned it for the digital version but have the real thing in my paper album.  I LOVE ephemera! ;)


Week 15 includes some freebie journal card downloads from a blog that I WILL come back and put a link up for... my external hard drive is being a pain in the proverbial so I can't figure out where they are from right at the moment. :(


Week 16 includes some journal cards I designed myself! Seriously SO simple and I printed them out onto Project Life grid cards.  I will also come back and put them up as a freebie if I can ever get this hard drive working.


Oh and yeah, Week 17 has a rude one... hey, I told you warts and all... I was having a bad week! ;) 



Week 35 is COMPLETELY digital... but I will still print these out individually to go into the divided page protectors. 


Week 37 has a WRMK 12x12 9up (4x4s) insert but cut down to only a 6up if that makes sense???  I will get my a into g and show the REAL version soon so you can see exactly what I mean.




  



... and these are my REAL pages in my album...








I have a few links that I need to include for some of the extra items I have used but I am running out of time this morning so if you have any questions about where I got things please ask and I will endeavour to find my sources... THERE'S a lesson for you... keep a track of where you found "freebies"... you want to credit the person that created them and I haven't always kept a very good handle on where I am downloading stuff from!!!

One particular shout out  I do want to make is September Blue.  If you go searching through her blog you will find all the little WEEK badges I have used.  She has some other pretty cool stuff too. ;)

OK... so this is a bit of MY Project {crazy, hectic, boring, wonderful, beautiful, heartbreaking, every day} Life... if you are interested I hope you will come back to see as I share more...

NOW for the good stuff!!

I also have a give away (actually THREE)... because I went a little crazy and ordered a few too many Potty People washi tapes... then I found some Turquoise Project Life stuff from last year that isn't getting used... so I thought I should share the love... leave me a comment and you will be in the draw for one of THREE sets... designs may vary! ;)



Thanks so much for stopping by...Take care and have fun cultivating some great stuff to record... but don't leave out the not so great stuff... it's what make life REAL and teaches us to appreciate the good stuff a bit better... even if it is crappy when you are in the middle of it! ;)

Monday, 8 October 2012

Finn's CreARTe Tour in Austalia

If you missed out on Finn this year... she is coming baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaackkk!!!!



Go check out the Facebook page here...  you might need to message Rae Cooper to add you.



It doesn't matter if you call yourself a scrapbooker, a card maker, a OTPer, an artist, a mixed media mogul... a beginner or advanced... trust me you will love these workshops... and I PROMISE you ANYONE can create using Finn's methods.   You will learn some very cool techniques and interesting ways to combine old ones.  You will walk away with a project that is truly unique and you own.

The amazing team at Tomorrow's Memories have a fabulous day organised for us on the 2nd of March 2013... these girls will not let Perth down.  Hope you can make it.

Monday, 9 July 2012

This small boy is Austin

He goes into hospital for his port to be inserted this afternoon.

This whole general anaesthetic thing doesn't get any easier... especially when the medical fraternity seem hell bent on giving us the "there's a risk with every general anaesthetic" speech every. single. damn. time...  IN TRIPLICATE!

On Tuesday Austin and Albert will have chemotherapy together.



Please keep him in your hearts and thoughts. Your prayers and well wishes have been such a huge support throughout these past months. I cannot thank you enough.


I have been doubly blessed with amazing friends who have done so much for us at this time.


It really is the most amazing and humbling experience. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart.


Now be a good little man and get better Austin, my darling boy.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

TAKE 2

So here we go round again...

As you might have suspected or even assumed being that oh, I don't know, they ARE identical twins... (pity the doctors are too scared to make an ass out of themselves because I KNEW I WAS RIGHT!) Austin has now also (finally) been diagnosed with the same condition as Albert.

Langerhan's Cell Histiocytosis or LCH.

The "ear infection" was no infection at all and despite me asking three different doctors if we should be having Austin tested I was repeatedly told that it would be very rare, very unlikely and unnecessary. Go figure huh?

I took Austin to see a private ENT specialist. She didn't know what to make of it.

The pathologist didn't know what to make of it.

I asked again (that's four doctors now) if they thought perhaps Albert's diagnosis was relevant.

The pathologist tested and said, "Thanks for that additional information (which they'd had all along, Albert was examined by this doctor also).  The pathology is consistent with LCH."

I diagnosed my own child.

They didn't listen.

I had to ask FOUR doctors.

I was angry and feeling more than a little self righteous last week...

Then I was sad...

Then I was worried...

Now I am back to frustrated.

The thing is no one really knows much about this disease (I prefer the term disorder, I know it's semantics but disease just makes it sound contagious which it's not).

 So yeah, feeling angry, frustrated, sad, worried...

Not really a great combination of emotions. I am trying to stay positive...

 I am trying to put my faith in the doctors and hospital...

I am trying to put the fear aside and strengthen my heart with love and hope...

But it's hard.

Today we are back at PMH.  Albert is in his second round of chemotherapy.  He is handling it ok at the moment.  Unfortunately, the tumour isn't responding as quickly as we had hoped to the treatment and has only "reduced slightly".

Austin supposedly starts his chemotherapy today.   I say "supposedly" because right now we have been here for an hour and a half and they haven't even decided what blood tests he needs.

I know I've been a needy Facebook friend lately. I owe you my deepest gratitude. Thank you for keeping my boys in your thoughts and prayers.

I know it is helping...

Please keep it up...

And if you can spare an extra thought or prayer can you point it my way...

For patience, you know, so I don't throttle the shit out of the next doctor who won't listen to me? ;)

Please get better darling boys...

Friday, 1 June 2012

I'm playing...


... but I can't promise it will pretty or polite.

I got some issues to SMASH out. ;)

This link will take you to Mel Nunn's Blog... she is a long time favourite of mine. ;)

#1 Yourself.

I'm finding if I let out the frustrations and negativity... acknowledge them and deal with them rather than pretend it is all sunshine and light... it is easier to focus on the task at hand and stay on track... focus on loving this boy better and staying strong for my family.







I am going to attempt to make this a daily challenge... but I might not post here that often... let's face it... I'm not exactly blogger of the year material now am I? ;)

Anyone going to play along?

Monday, 14 May 2012

the toughest year of our lives so far...


So life has rushed by at a million miles an hour... or so it seems... and at the same time seems to have stood still.

The big girl turned 10



The little boys turned 3



We’ve been to the circus
We visited the Harry Potter Exhibition in Sydney
We saw Mary Poppins on stage
We’ve been roller skating
We’ve been water sliding
We’ve been to playgroup
We’ve been to speech therapy
We’ve been to the paediatrician
We’ve barbequed with friends
We’ve entertained family
The girls have had tutoring and school
Callie received an Honour Certificate
We’ve celebrated Harmony Day and participated in ANZAC Day ceremonies
We’ve had haircuts
We’ve ridden Thomas the Train in the shopping centre
We’ve had lunch at the park
We’ve seen Lion King under the stars
We’ve finally had the back sliding door repaired
We’ve been grocery shopping... a LOT
We’ve done art and craft, painted and created
We’ve walked the dog
We’ve taken the pets to the vet
We’ve worked
We’ve played
We’ve payed bills
We’ve done chores
We’ve had gastro
Dylan has gone to karate and got a yellow belt
We’ve celebrated Easter
I have been to Darwin to create with Finnabair
I’ve had conjunctivitis
Callie has started netball
We’ve been slammed in the rear bumper by a motorist travelling to close behind
We’ve been to the cinema

We even got a Mother’s Day photo



However, none of this really compares to what we have spent most of our time doing this year...

Albert has had doctors’ appointments, xrays, blood tests, hospital admissions, echocardiograms, ultrasounds, CT scans, general anaesthetics and a MRI guided biopsy.

He has spent 4 days is the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and been poked and prodded and jabbed more times than I’d care to remember... and he looks to me... with his eyes pleading for help... and my heart breaks as he screams in protest.  

Eight long months it has taken to find some answers...

And as it turns out our darling boy Albert, the baby of the bunch, has Langerhan’s Cell Histiocytosis.

It’s a “good” prognosis they tell us... the best of a bad bunch as it were.

It basically means his immune cells are accumulating where they shouldn’t... namely his chest.

The tumour it has created is putting pressure on his heart and lungs...  Thus explaining the breathing issues he has been having.

Normally, in children, it shows up in the skull and bones... his looks more like the adult version of the condition.

It means he has to undergo a year long course of chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumour.
He will possibly have surgery at a later date to remove it.



It’s going to be a long, tough year... we are ready... but we are not going to fight... this is not a battle... this thing is just a part of him that needs our attention... it needs a hug like a naughty child needs guidance...  no, we are not going to fight... 

We are going to love our boy better.  

All positive, healing vibes and donations of love gratefully accepted.

Hell, I'll dance naked under the full moon in the rain if it'll help. ;)

Get better darling boy... our hearts depend on it.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Tomorrow's Memories

Do you still love the touchy, feely, take it home straight away, shopping experience?  I do. ;)

It saddens me deeply to hear of yet another Perth bricks and mortar scrapbooking store closing its doors.  That's three in the last six months.  As others have said before me, if we don't support our stores we will lose them.  We want to let you all know that Tomorrow's Memories is still open and we want to be your LSS!!!

Come along and join our Facebook page competition... send you friends to like our page and say who sent them and you could win this...




We also have a few spaces in our Moonlight Scrap tonight (Friday 9th March 6pm - 11:30pm.  Plus we have the fabulous Mel Connell doing a demo with her stunning 'Moulds by Mel'.  Come along and learn some great techniques!  Phone 92792183 to book your seat.






This was for a kit for Tomorrow's Memories... inspired by Finnabair's amazing style.  I am not sure if they have any of this one left in stock but there are always HEAPS of gorgeous kits available put together by the DT girls.  Grab a pack, scrap a page... all the hard work is done you just get to have fun putting a lovely LO together.

Why hello there...

My poor sadly neglected blog.  Life seems to have been doubly hectic lately...  My husband's 40th Birthday, end of school, Christmas, New Years, two summer holiday trips away, my 40th birthday, husband and big boy  back to work,  kids back to school, sick kids and hospital visits and more sick kids, big boy's 20th birthday (holy shitballs... my kid isn't even a teenager anymore!!!) and little girl's 7th birthday... half way through Term 1 already and a quick trip to Sydney to treat my daughters to a "girls only" weekend and see the Harry Potter Exhibition.

No wonder I am so fucking tired!

I think I was right when I predicted the next few years of my life were going to be the toughest.  The two little boys are starting speech therapy... I know where we are heading... but 4 month's wait to see a pediatrician to pay him a fortune to tell him everything I have studied and observed and have him merely confirm what I already know seems a bit of an insult.  I do all the work... he gets paid the big bucks.  Where's the logic (or justice) in that?

I haven't been blogging because I haven't been scrapping... and I don't really have anything to share.

I hung up my Twiddley Angel wings and resigned from my DT position with Twiddleybitz because of my total lack of mojo and inability to get my a into g and meet a deadline.  I LOVE this product and you couldn't hope to work for a more wonderful couple or with a more fabulous group of creative chicks.  I was bummed about it but I know it was the right thing to do.  Thank you so much to Mr & Mrs Twiddleybitz for the wonderful opportunity to work with the best chipboard on the market.  Thank you to all the other DT girls who are a never ending fountain of inspiration, support and fun.  Don't worry... I won't be going too far... I still have a bit of Twiddley goodness to play with here... and I promise not to do a Madison Lee on you... though I WISH I looked that hot in a bikini. ;)

I was thrilled that The Irrepressible Tiff Sawyer asked me to join in with This One's A Winner...  its a blog for the purpose of sharing your favourite project for the month.  I am thinking (and hoping) it will be just the thing to let me get back into scrapping... just for me... no pressure...  just for fun.  I hope you will pop over and see all the amazing work the girls have shared...  then play along and show us what you have been up to this month.

This was my favourite project from LAST month... It was a canvas I started in Sherry Mendoza's class at Camp Mojo... was it REALLY almost a year ago already?  Anyway, I of course couldn't leave it alone and while I loved the teal and orange tones Sherry's sample had I wanted it to match my black and white home decor and HAD to add Twiddleybitz to it and Anita Tillman's shopping bag roses (featured in SBM a few months back) too... and the little hot air balloon that Lisa Oxley gave me... and well yeah...  it sort of took on a life of it's own but I love how it turned out.


Well better get back to the grindstone... hope you and yours are well and enjoying 2012 so far.  Thanks for stopping by...

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Happy Birthday...

...to my dear, old Dad.
  
76 years old today!

Many happy returns old man. ;)


I know we never say it out loud... and I really wish we did... but I love you Dad. ;)

Tomorrow's Memories

The NEW Newsletter and Class Timetable are on the blog!


Have you checked out the Create @ Home Kits from Tomorrow Memories?

Tomorrow's Memories are thrilled to introduce our very own kits appropriately named 'Create At Home'. Each kit is individually designed and created by Tomorrow's Memories and at times will feature "guest artists" who will add their creative flair to the kit. 

A great deal of thought is given to the content of each kit and we pride ourselves on creating our kits with quality, up-to-date and inspiring products.

Sometimes it's lovely to create in the comfort of your own home. 
'Create At Home' kits offer a selection of co-ordinating papers, embellishments, chipboard and other products all carefully packed and presented in a box that gets delivered right to your door.Each kit contains:
A co-ordinated assortment of quality product
One project complete with instructions and a photo
One project easily created with an included photo
Ample product to complete both projects and much more!

A limited number of each 'Create At Home' kit will be released bi-monthly. 
Once the kit is sold, it will not be re-run.













I'll show you mine if you show me yours!




Have you checked this challenge blog with a difference?  

We just want to share our favourite projects, spread a little inspiration and see yours too.

Email us your favourite project or layout each month, it's that simple. No criteria involved, just 2 mins of your time to send what you consider your best work for us all to enjoy. 

Each entry is entitled to one vote for another entry. 

1st, 2nd & 3rd prizes shall be awarded each month including Scrap Sanity store vouchers and beautiful supplies from your favourite manufacturers. 

So join in the fun, we'd love to see your wonderful work and have you play along.


CANNOT WAIT!!!!

A truly inspirational and wonderful, creative soul... who I have unashamedly admired for a few years now... is sharing her amazing talent.

I'm all signed up... are YOU coming to play????




Registrations are open here NOW !
Course starts 27th April 2012. ;) 

Monday, 30 January 2012

... Just can't hardly wait! ;)

Perth Extravaganza 2012 with Finnabair and Gerry van Gent... I can't actually believe its for real!!!!