Saturday, October 07, 2017

Butterflies, Boxes and Back on the Horse

Hello everyone.  Things have finally settled down enough in my "real life" for me to get back, at least in a small way, into my crafting.  I have dragged one of my makes out of my Drafts Folder, it's an "exploding box" card I made for my friend Andrena's 50th birthday, I really like them - she loved it, I hope you like it too.
It is made of quite heavy gold card, the patterned paper is Graphic 45.  I've also used a handmade paper as a mat and there's a ton of embossed velour paper involved too, oh and the trim is ribbon.  
The border on the lid was cut with a die cut, I think it's a Magnolia one... frankly I can't be bothered going to my craft room to check!  It works great as a border of the lid... just bends a bit when you stand it up! 
I used a Memory Box butterfly die cut in gold and trimmed with Swarovski diamantes on the top.  Stripy pink and plain green ribbon from my stash.

You all know how these things work; here's a picture with the lid "off"
The inside butterflies were cut from the Graphic 45 paper and jazzed up with some pearl and iridescent paints before being cut out and stuck to acetate strips to make them "float"  Photos never do these cards justice, it was really lovely in real life, with loads of texture.  The flowers are from my stash, the green ribbon on the inside is SO lush, yum yum. Wooden numerals painted with the same paints and a Happy Birthday die cut from gold (Sissix I think) complete the card
I always find it hard to find a place to write on these box cards... in this instance I made a mini card using some gold card and a scrap of the Graphic 45 paper, embellished it with a border and some bling then stuck it inside the lid of the box; worked really well :-)
That's about it for today's offering.  I hope to be back fairly soon... I do have a LOT in my drafts still, and I have made a few cards in the last year, most of which I photographed though not all :-(
I'd like to enter in the following challenges: 

Fave…Ribbons or Flowers, and Why - loads of flowers here, but I actually prefer ribbon because it's so user-friendly, comes in so many patterns and sits flat - which suits "my" style of card
Border Punches or Border Dies (used a die)
Crafty Cardmakers edit: ineligible... my card/box is entered in more than 15 challenges, whoops. sorry ladies!
Fancy Folds
Die Cuts Only (no image, but yes to sentiment) even my sentiment is die-cut, lol
Autumn - I've used Autumn colours... my favourite!
Anything Goes
#283 Anything but a Card - if you count this as a box!
Anything Goes
Snippets -I've used snippets of card AND ribbon
#Anything Goes opt: Fall - used Autumn colours
Anything but a Square - well it IS square, but not a "square card"... I think that's in the spirit of the challenge
Anything Goes
Anything Goes (Always)

Anything Goes (Always)
Crafting With FriendsCrafting with Friends #52 
Anything Goes (Always)
Anything Goes (Always)
Anything Goes (Always)

Use Patterned Paper 
Anything Goes
#123Anything Goes, opt: Leaves
#51 Anything Goes
Anything Goes (Always)

On a personal note: My Dad has gone into permanent care, which is a hard thing for a family to come to as any of you that have done it would know, but we just couldn't keep him safe at home anymore.  It is a lovely place and he is settling as best as we could hope.

I have sold his house (emptying it first!), very stressful in a buyers market when we had a lower limit on what we "needed" to pay the bond for the home; we nearly made it, and have enough to come up with the shortfall.  Not having to pay $1200 a fortnight INTEREST on the bond (which hubby and I have been coming up with) is going to relieve the stress a lot - this is the first fortnight it won't apply, so we'll see :-)
I have managed to keep only six (albeit large-ish) boxes of "stuff" from Mum and Dad to sort and/or store... they bought a Royal Albert Old Country Roses full dinner and tea set each for us, I have emptied one of the display cabinets in my craft room (which is next to our family room) and installed lighting to display it and SOME of the gazillion matching crystal glasses my son eventually wants as his heirloom - it looks really nice, even though it was never my cup of tea, pardon the pun 
Anyway, until next time, Happy Crafting, Donna                         

Sunday, July 23, 2017

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, in a few minutes in fact, I lost my beloved Mum.  As it turns out I essentially lost my lovely Dad at that moment too.
Dad had started showing signs of dementia well before the accident, but with a strong structure he was able to live very well with my Mum at the helm; with her gone (and the circumstances of her passing) he began to unravel.  Five days after Mum died (the day I was at the Funeral Directors signing the last of the papers - the delay was due to the Coroner being involved) my sister rang and said she couldn't get Dad up.  We went there, thought he'd had a stroke and called the ambulance; turns out he had sepsis and was admitted to hospital where he stayed for ten days - he was allowed out for four hours to attend the funeral five days later.
Long story short the authorities decided on Dad's care without consultation with us - we were deemed "vulnerable" because of the Mum situation, the Power of Attorney I hold for him holding no sway-they treated vigorously an infection that could have easily seen him out, which he has repeatedly stated he wants, that has left him so damaged we were advised to find permanent residential care as soon as possible.  Turns out seven months of caring for a completely dependent, demented, incontinent person is "as soon as possible".  It was very hard, my sister lived with Dad I "did" days she did evenings/nights/mornings.  My husband and I did weekends - anyone who has dealt with caring for a parent with advanced dementia knows exactly the issues we faced, anyone who hasn't can't know; suffice to say "hard" doesn't begin to describe it. We had two sessions of respite, the first one at which he was assaulted by a fellow resident with more advanced dementiam
We got Dad into the facility of our choice on 1st March, then came the chore of preparing his house for sale to finance the $550,000 bond..  Trust us to have to sell (my husband and I are paying the interest on the unpaid bond at the rate of $603 a WEEK until the house sells) when the housing market is at the lowest for over ten years!
It took us two months to clear the house out - my sister returned to her home in the country for several weeks, so it was "my job", turns out Dad's been hoarding for years - cupboards FULL of neatly stacked JUNK!!
Now the house is not selling we are doing what we can (within financial reason) to freshen it up - we are currently repainting inside, it is a big house with four bedrooms three bathrooms and three living rooms so it's a LOT of painting... we are paying a painter to do the formal living and dining rooms as they have huge vaulted ceilings and we're not game to get on scaffold at our advanced age.  The agent can't believe it is not selling as it is a prime property - not much is moving in this section of the market, it should pick up "soon", whatever that means!
So hopefully I will get back to crafting (I've made two cards and two cakes in a year!) once the dust settles on this.  I go to see Dad every other day, but usually that is only an hour or so out of my day - once that's the only "extra" thing I have to fit in I can get back to it.
Of course I have had to sort my own place out too, to make room for some of the stuff that Mum has left us... I don't really want a full Old Country Roses dinner set, but Mum bought one for my sister and one for me, and told us that was her intention so I'll find a place for it :-) it's made me sort my craft stuff out too, ye gods and little fishes... talk about hoarding, lol.
Can't wait for this time of my life to be behind me, not enjoying it at all, but at least things are better than they were this time last year and the year to come should be better than the one gone
I won't post until I have something "craft-dee" to share, I do have LOADS in my drafts, so until then Happy Crafting

Monday, July 25, 2016


 have no craft to share today, only terrible news.
My Mum, New Year 2016
My Darling Mum, who is my best friend, died yesterday morning
My father and she were going for a quick drive to the bank on Friday - despite their advanced age they are fiercely independent - and in a horrendous sequence of events the car rolled into my Mum as she was getting into it on their driveway, the door knocked her to the ground where she hit her head.
She managed to ring my sister Fiona (We live two minutes away but had gone Down South 300km away for a few days, my sister was en route to her home 400km away - she had been up for one of her regular visits, leaving my Mum and Dad's only 40 minutes before.)  Mum managed to dial my sister's number, Dad (who is very confused sometimes these days) told her that Mum had hurt her head.  My sister got her son to go to my folk's house. he was there in five minutes - the ambulance was called and arrived five minutes later.  Mum was still conscious at that point.  My sister had arrived back at their place by then, she didn't get a chance to talk to Mum as she was being put in the ambulance - when she got to the hospital with my Dad my Mum was unconscious.  she had a CT scan which showed a large bleed in her brain.  She never woke again
My husband and I had packed up at the cabin and came back up as fast as we could, we knew by that point there was no hope, I prayed only that Mum would wait for me.  Such was her love and consideration for others, she did.
 My sister and I stayed the night with Mum, playing her favourite Nat King Cole songs and slow swing music. My husband brought my Dad, who has gone to pieces, back up to the hospital at 7am.  Mum took her last breath at 9.46am, she was certified as dead at 11.12
My heart is broken
Mum has bravely battled in the minefield that is old age, with her own health problems and Dad's, she has done this with dignity, grace and love and totally without complaint. She was the most amazing of people; the more so because she really didn't realize just how special she was
I know this terrible pain will pass, we all have so many beautiful memories of her... but right now it's not enough and I am bereft
My sister is staying with my Dad for the foreseeable future; I don't think she is aware of just how much my Mum's life was dedicated to his wellbeing, but for the time being she will do her best to keep Dad in his own home... I have done the lion's share of helping them for the last four years at least, I am tired. I hope I can cope with this next challenging time
I don't know how much time or inclination I will have for my Blog, time will tell
Until then, love your parents... tell them you love them, give them an extra kiss and try not to roll your eyes... ever.  One minute you have all the time in the world to do those things, the next minute the chance is gone, forever

Sunday, July 17, 2016

If You're Hot, You're Hot

New challenge starting today (yup, another fortnight flew by!) the theme this time around is "Hot, Bright Colours".  No challenge for me at all this one, I LOVE colour and I'm not afraid to use it, lol.  Here's my card
The oh-so-cute image is called "Slumber Sunflower Time" and it's available here.  I printed it up pretty big (another thing I love about digis) so I could make a big card, actually I made a big card so I could print the image bigger than average... so much easier to get some detail into it that way!  
As You Like It want to see our Favourite or "Trademark" style and say how or why we consider it so; I love digis, use them ALL the time, love colour and this minimally embellished but not really CAS look is as close as I get to "a" style; I love colouring and like the image to be the star of the show.
I coloured with Copics, with just a tad of Prismacolor pencil shading and a big dollop of gloss on the ladybird.   
I used the sketch from Catch the Bug's Stella Says Sketch challenge.I found some My Minds Eye papers in  local craft store super cheap... I bought this sheet then decided I loved it, went back next day... yep, you guesed it all gone!  I did buy ten sheets of other patterns, but this is my fave.  The card base is kraft and the red cardstock is from my stash... as is the ribbon.
  The fence is a MFT die, the sentiment is computer generated.  I added some stitched borders to the image panel with Paper Smooches Dots and Dashes dies, the flower brads on the corners are from my stash, as are the orange rhinestones.
As usual I decorated the inside of the card to match the outside.  The brads looked out of scale so I used mini buttons instead... and that was it :-)  
I'd like to enter my card in the following challenges;
Polkadoodles  Summertime
Fab'n'Funky Challenges  Add A Sentiment
4 Crafty Chicks Flowers
Pile It On Use Your Favourite Colour(s)
OSAAT Elements of Nature
Animal Friends  Animals with Punches and or Dies
Creatalicious Challenges Anything Goes + Opt: Add a Flower
Simon Says Stamp Create a Scene (hope my fence is enough!)
I hope you get a chance to check out the rest of the team's Hot Bright work, hope you get a chance to enter the challenge too; great prize on offer as always - from the Crafting Desert Diva, and as always if you use one of Di's cute digis, or one of the Candibean rubber stamps you get entered into a draw for an extra prize!
I'm going away on Tuesday to "our" cabin in the bush (Margaret River, wine country... rammed earth house, GOOD wine, nice cheese... aah; rubbish internet though!)  I hope to put up a post or two when I'm down there, though I'm taking my colouring and that's easier to do!  So, until next time, whenever that may be, Happy Crafting, Donna

Sunday, July 03, 2016

It's Christmas Time... well it is at Di's Digis

I'm ba-ack!!  Here I am with my DT card for Di's Digi Designs Challenge. The challenge starting today has a "Christmas in July" theme, so I got to make another card for "The Pile"
The image I've used is called Pass the Parcel Mice, and you can get it here.  I coloured with Copics, adding detail with Prismacolor pencils and Ranger's Glossy Accents to the berries.
I softened the edges of all the panels with some brown ink, the circles are cut with Lifestyle Crafts nesting circle dies. 
I've used the sketch from Stella Says Sketch, I haven't used a sketch for a while, it's nice to get back to it, lol.  The background paper is ancient (it was a 12" sheet) the feature paper is from my scraps box; it's Kaisercraft but I'm not really short which pad but it has nice glittery features on it :-) I used some pearlized brown card for the image mat, the rest of the brown card is textured... I think it's Bazzil but I'm not certain.  I used the last of my favourite lace on this card, snipping it a little to facilitate getting it around the edge of the circle, I used the same brown ink to help the lace stand out against the background paper.  I've popped all the layers up on foam dots. 
I kept the bells from the Lindt bunnies my son bought us (and everyone in the family) for Easter; I was fishing them out of the recycling bin when they all left home, lol.  They are really nice tinkling bells, they came with different ribbon - this one is from my stash and is bright red; I toned it down with a Maroon Copic.  
As always I've used elements from the front to complete the inside, the sentiment is one of my favourite Christmas sentiments... it was from Tickled Pink Stamps, but they're sadly defunct now. It's stamped with Archival Ink in Cocoa Brown (I think)
That's about it... easy peasy. I'd like to enter my card in the following challenges: (sorry the formatting has gone haywire!!)

Inky Chicks Christmas in Summer
Addicted to  Stamps Anything Summer (Christmas IS Summer here)
Winter Wonderland 3+ Embellishments (Bell, Lace, Ribbon)
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge Anything Goes (Christmas)
The Crazy Challenge R is for… (Red, Robin Redbreast, Round, Ring, as in bell!)
As You Like It Markers Ink or Pencils (Markers because they blend well, Pencils for crisp detail)
Polkadoodles Use a Diecut
Animal Friends Animals with Punches and or Dies

I hope you get a chance to check out the rest of the team's work... and that it inspires you to get into "Christmas Card" mode; it's funny, Christmas IS in Summer here so this theme may seem odd to all of you in the Northern Hemisphere- but it's not odd to me at all, lol.  In fact my son has a Christmas in July party every year (the weather then being more conducive to Christmas Fare) that this year - due to circumstances beyond management's control - it will be in August!
Hope you get a chance to enter the challenge too... there's a great prize on offer from Magnolia-licious, with extra opportunites if you use one of Di's fab digis (I know I use her cute meeces a LOT, but there ARE a whole load of other characters for you to love in the Digi  Store) or a Candibean Rubber Stamp available at Little Darlings
On a personal note: I nearly didn't get this card up in time.... I spent the evening I WAS going to spend making it worrying about my darling hubby.  His heartbeat was soooo fast and erratic from dinner time on Thursday, he has had an episode of Atrial Fibrillation before, 12 years ago so we had an idea that that that's what it was.  We went to Emergency at 9pm, they took him straight in - they decided that defibrillation (or cardioversion) was the best course of action; as he'd eaten at six we had to wait until 11pm (because of the risks with eating close to having sedation) long story short they let me stay with him, gave him the IV anesthetic (I held his hand while he "went under) then let me stay in Resus while they "paddled" him at exactly midnight. 
I am not generally fazed by medical procedures, though I have to say having the love of your life defibrillated in front of you was a bit more confronting than I thought it would be.  The staff were amazing; the doctor explained everything, told me he would convulse (which I was ready for) but didn't warn me his face would contort as it did - bit distressing.  The nurse checked I was okay straight after the procedure, so that was kind. 
It WAS amazing to see though; his heart rate IMMEDIATELY dropped from an erratic 160bpm to his normal steady 65 with the first charge, they let me help wake him, which was lovely and we left the hospital with him feeling fine (a bit sore, but SO much less-ill than when we went in) only half an hour later!  We didn't get home until after 1am but he still got up and went to work - allowing himself an extra half hour in bed and getting up at 6 instead of 5.40!  our son, who COULD have done his work for the day was taking his family on a 800km trip that morning and it would have been very disruptive for him to pick up the slack (which of course he would have done if necessary)  The fact he went ahead with his job for the day could be testament to hubby's work ethic or his combination pig headedness/denial ("all good here", I'm fighting fit yadayada") who knows, lol
Anyway, until next time, Happy Crafting, Donna

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Guest Designer at Cute as a Button Challenge Blog

I recently won a challenge over at the Cute as a Button Challenge Blog, WooHoo!  They asked if I'd like to do a Guest spot on the DT... of course I jumped at the opportunity :-)  I got to use this cuter than cute digi to make a card for the challenge starting today with the theme "Summer".
The image is called "Surfing USA" and you can get it in the Etsy store, here.  I am SO pleased with my colouring on this one, it's hard to see the detail in the pics because the quality of the pic reduces so much when you reduce the size of the file for uploading... you know how it goes! Either way, I'm happy with it :-) 
I coloured with Copic markers and Prismacolor pencils... and added absolutely NO shine or glitter, which is unusual :-)  The sky was inked in using a home-made stencil and Versamark ink.
I used papers from Kaisercraft's Seaside Collection.  The floral paper has gloss detail, the top of it is cut with Memory Box's Nottingham Border Die... I thought the flowers matched the hibiscus on the surfboard and patterned paper.  I inked the edges of all panels with a bit of brown ink to tone it all down a bit.
The sentiment tag "Life is a Beach" was from the same pad, I attached it with a brad - my thinking being that I can more easily change it out for a more celebration-appropriate sentiment if I want to later.  The image panel is popped up on foam dots so it's easy to access the brad.
The horizontal scalloped border is from the same pad again, and the blue twine is in fact paper string... I got a couple of packs in different colours in my local $2 shop, the enamel dots (well acrylic, but enamel-look, lol) are either from the same place or my Mum and Dad bought them back from Malaysia.
As usual I decorated the inside of the card to suit the front, using more of the same papers and elements.
I'd like to enter the following challenges:
Cuttlebug Mania Midsummer (Flowers and or Wreaths)
Addicted to  Stamps Anything Summer
As You Like It Favourite Markers, Inks or Pencils (I like 'em all... well, I haven't really tried inks, but I use Markers AND Pencils on practically every card, love the smooth blending of markers and the fine detail you can add with pencils!)
Polkadoodles Use a Diecut
OSAAT Flowers
So that's it for now, check out the Cute as a Button Blog , fab inspiration!  I hope you get a chance to enter the challenge too - you could win some of Francesca's fab digis!  Thnaks for having me as your Guest this time around, 
I'll be back later with another DT card, Until then... Happy Crafting :-)