Face the Music Card

I have the time to join in a card challenge again. The card theme on Simply Less is more this week is "Face the Music and Dance".

Not having any dance style stamps,  I have chosen to make a simple but dramatic black & gold card with just music as my theme.

I have aged the torn music sheet with coffee and used multiple layers of Ultra thick embossing enamel on some broken CD tiles as a anchoring point.

It is rather different to what I normally make, but hey it's good to stretch one self from time to time.

Designing a card using a sketch

Whether you are new to card making or an experienced hand, following a sketch when making a card can make you more creative as you can concentrate on different elements. It is like when we were choosing a name for our babies. By limiting the starting letter A for the 1st child, B for the 2nd etc, acutally made it easier and freed us up as instead of having 10,000 names to choose from we limited to 1,000 names. (We ended up having 4 kids Allan, Benita, Camille and Dean. They didn't have to be unique, they just had to not be common for that age. We didn't want half a dozen heads to turn when we called one of our kids!)

Now back on topic, card sketches make it very simple by suggesting a design layout. The card sketch will have basic shapes and designs drawn on the layout but no other instructions are given. You are free to interpret it however you like. You can use your favourite stamps, papers, color schemes etc to create your cards for any occasion you choose. You can even turn the sktch around mirror image it and so forth. Take this week's Simply Less is More challenge: "Week 186"

This single card sketch will be interpreted in so many ways. Just look at all the variations you will see other participants have come up with at the bottom of the blog page. You will be blown away at so many ways to interpret it.

So without further ado, here is my take on it this week.

I have rotated the sketch and used a feather stamp on which I had marbled the inks before stamping  and then fussy cut it and used that for my main image in place of the rectangle and my greeting as per the sketch. As you can see from the lighting and the angle I have embossed the feather with a poly sparkle glitter embossing powder.

I hope you like it and will think of joining us now or in the near future on another challenge at Simply Less is More

More Owl Heat Packs

These cute sleeping owls I made for the Illawarra Cancer Carers Craft Group to sell at one of their many market stalls. The owls also fill a practical purpose. Heat packs certainly don't need to be boring. They can be all sorts of fun shapes.

I prefer heat packs to be filled with low allergenic rice instead of the more common wheat. You can heat them in just the same manner.

I have a tutorial instructions written with lots of photos on how to make the minky owl as shown below on an earlier post here.   These instructions will be easily adaptable for the even simpler owl design I made as shown above.

Here are some other heat packs I have made in the past. I am sure they wont be my last. At the time of writing I have just one zebra one left for sale at $15 plus postage if you are interested then drop me a line.

My Hexagon Bag

I have been keeping busy making QAYG hexagons by hand, generally just keeping my hubby company at night watching TV together.

I had become quite reclusive after my cancer operations and so with the advice of my cancer psychologist, I joined a very active craft group that supports Illawarra Cancer Carers  by having frequent craft stalls. It has been very therapeutic and I feel that what I am doing is worthwhile.

One of the donations to the craft group was someone else's UFO (Un Finished Object) which was a QAYG hexagons. The fabrics were all cut and just a couple of patches were complete. I offered to give it a go. I basically followed the excellent tutorial by knitsnquilts found on the Always Quilting blog, though I had to make a couple of adjustments being someone else's pattern and cutting. My bag is different, but she is the one that gave me the inspiration to make a bag instead of a quilt.

The bag minus the handles

I think the original purpose of the hexagons were to make them into a quilt but I decided to make at least one bag with some of the patches. This is how it turned out. Making the handles were very challenging. I couldn't find any fabric that was close to the colours without over whelming the bag. In the end I decided to twist his cord that was also a donation to the Carers and make my own rope.

I am quite happy with how it turned out! I am happy to make more bags if there appears to be a market for them.

Meal planning: is it a good fit for you?

I have always struggled with meal planning.  I just hate the idea of being tied down what I am going to be cooking or eating on any day let alone in 7-14 days time. What if I don't feel like eating that day's designated menu that night, let alone whether I am up to it now that I have frequent attacks of fatigue after my cancer diagnosis?

On the other hand, I have a wonderful friend who home-schools her 5 wonderful kids and who makes up a yearly meal plan covering 6 different meal categories. If your want to or need to be super organized then I recommend Simone's plan here. Whilst I admire her talent and may even desire to emulate it a bit, but it just doesn't suit my personality, even more so now that I have only my husband at home to cook for aside from myself. If you need to learn the whys and how to then I recommend Meal Planning Magic blog which also gives you weekly meal plans to follow until you get into your own groove.

Over the years my 'meal planning' attempts have changed along with my circumstances. In an effort to save dollars, I bought half a side of beef once only to discover that I truly didn't save that much money as I didn't like a lot of the cuts of meat. Next I tried a hind quarter of beef since that gave me more beef for my dollars (taking into consideration the waste of bone, fat and offal - which I absolutely detest the idea of cooking.) The hind quarter was much better value for us and I went down this road for a few years. My hubby loves steak and I love mince and casseroles and I certainly made good use of my slow cooker back then as I do now except I tend to use my Dream Pot both in my RV and at home now days. However I can only eat so much beef in any given month! I crave variety!

For most of my 30 odd years of marriage I have been a stay at home mum but one with a family business. As the kids grew up, I became more and more involved in our business. The 'office' was just 3km away and I go past a big name grocery store with a decent butcher and greengrocer next door to them, to get to work and back each day. I ended up making use of this and picked up food every few days in small amounts especially fresh milk, bread and cut deli meats. I found that by sticking to my 'shopping list' and not buying much more than what was on my list I rarely went over my weekly budget.  The only exception would be when I bought bulk orders of some items that were on special that wouldn't spoil before I got around to using them. This way does take up a little extra time each day, but really not much more than the 90 minutes or so that a 'big shop' when I did it every 2 weeks. I also found that I didn't end up spending more than if I did my fortnightly 'big' shop.
Another way to save money is to buy seasonal fruit and vegetables only.  In these days of a global economy, you can usually find whatever produce you want any time of year, however if the items aren’t in season locally, you’ll end up paying a lot more for it.

A selection of food magazines

I have always cooked more or less from scratch without out using 'packet stuff'. In the early years, I felt more confident using a recipe but as time and confidence increased, I tended to use a recipe as a kicking off point and for inspiration rather than adhering to them religiously.

So just how do I do my meal planing? We do prefer fresh steak, fish and chicken and so occasionally I will pick up something when I am out & about, knowing that I will cook something with that item within the next few days! I also have a well stocked pantry and I have all the meats that we tend to have on a regular basis in the freezer. I would hate to have to run down to the store just for a single item at the last minute.One thing I have introduced in the last few years, is that I aim to try one new recipe per week. Now the reality especially with me being sick these last 7 months is that this generally happens only once every two weeks, but still we try something new every now and then.

Now that my kids have left home and that most of the time there is only my husband and myself, I find that I am cooking too much and so I need to freeze left overs (or we'll consume too much in one sitting - that's a huge part of why we are struggling with a weight issue!) On the days when I am too tired to cook and Robert has to take over, he knows that in addition to the 4 or 5 meals he is comfortable with cooking, he can choose to pull out a pre-made meal to defrost in the microwave oven and dinner is done!

Image from Raw Food for Life
It's much healthier and often tastier than saying you'll pop down & get takeaway tonight and a whole lot cheaper too. So do think about how you plan meals. There is no right or wrong way, as long as you are giving your loved ones healthy, balanced meals from as many raw and 'real' food basics as possible rather than relying on takeaways (takeouts) or package foods including convenience foods.

Sympathy Cards

One of my favourite ways to sit quietly is with some crafts and I decided to join the CAS On Sunday Card challenge this week, which is for Sympathy Cards. Their Clean and Simple policy is very easy on a sluggish brain too! ;)

I ended up making 2 cards in the same lilac colours. Which do you like better?

Unfortunately we occasionally need Sympathy cards and it is always handy to have some on hand. Here is my entry for this week's card challenge. Pop over to CAS on Sunday to see all the wonderful cards to inspire your next card creation. The second card also fits with the monochromatic theme over on the Paper Players Challenge this week too! Popover there to see more ideas too.

I loved having my 3 of my 4 kids here over the weekend along with my daughter in law and 2 young grand daughters however, I am feeling absolutely exhausted. I really must remember I can not do anywhere near what I used to be able to do pre-cancer. Still one must make the most of every opportunity one can even if I have to conk out when they leave and have a few very quiet days afterwards to recoup my energy. I can see a few quiet days doing queit craft work is just what I need to start this week.

Have a wonderful week yourselves!

Fingerprint Owl Cards

The Less is More challenge this week is to adapt a fingerprint on a single layer.
So many times we discard a botched card that has a stray print on it esp if we can't cover it up some how. So this week's challenge is a fun one where we are to actually create a finger print on a card and turn it into something.

One layer cards have always been a challenge for me... I love the simplicity others seem to create but for me I find it extra ordinarily difficult to not to add a layer or accent of some sort. I just have to keep practicing. You know the saying, "practice makes perfect" ... well some of us need one heck of a lot of practicing!

The word art was computer generated. I would be willing to post it up if someone would teach me how to do that.
Do join in this fun one and show me how it is done! These finger print cards would also make a terrific craft to do with your kids and grand kids too!

Asking God a few questions

I had a dream where I was able to ask God a few questions. It went like this:

"Come in," God said to me, "what would you like to ask me?"
 "Do you have the time," I began tentatively.
God smile and said "My precious child, I have all the time to talk to you. My time is called eternity and is enough to do everything. What questions do you have?"

I asked. "What's the one thing that surprises you most about humankind?"

God answered,
"That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.
That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.
That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future.
That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived..."

God held my hands in his and we were silent as we thought about his response.
After a while, I asked if I could pose another question, which was this:

"If you were a parent, what would you ask your children to do?"

He replied with a smile.
"To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved.
To learn that it takes years to build trust, and a few seconds to destroy it.
To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives.
To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. There will be others better or worse off than they are.
To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but who is contented with everything they already have.
To learn that they should control their attitudes, otherwise their attitudes will control them.
To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them.
To learn that one learns to forgive by practicing forgiveness.
To learn that there are people who love them dearly, but simply do not know how to show their feelings.
To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.
To learn that while at times they may be entitled to be upset, that does not give them the right to upset those around them.
To learn that great dreams do not require great wings, but a landing gear to achieve.
To learn that true friends are scarce, he/she who has found one has found a true treasure.
To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they forgive themselves. To learn that they are masters of what they keep to themselves and slaves of what they say.
To learn that they shall reap what they plant; if they plant gossip they will harvest intrigues, if they plant love they will harvest happiness.
To learn that true happiness is not to achieve their goals but to learn to be satisfied with what they already achieved. Happiness is a decision: that they can determine to be happy with what they are and have, or die from envy and jealousy of what they lack.
To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see something totally different.
To learn that those who are honest with themselves without considering the consequences go far in life.
To learn that even though they may think they have nothing to give, when a friend cries with them, they find the strength to appease the pain.
To learn that by trying to hold on to love ones, they very quickly push them away; and by letting go of those they love, they will be side by side forever.
To learn that even though the word "love" has many different meanings, it loses value when it is overstated.
To learn that they can never do something extraordinary for Me to love them; I just simply do love them. The shortest distance they could be from Me is the distance of a prayer."

I awoke from my dream and remembered everything He had said. I will write this up and read it frequently to remind myself of these great truths!

Use a pretty fabric on a handmade card

It has been simply ages since I have done any stamping (or any other craft either) mainly because of serious health issues just sapping all my motivation. But I am well and truly on the road back. Then having a friend stay with us who was very interested in learning how to stamp, just had me resurrecting my dormant card making skills!

In addition to this I have decided to join this week's Less is More Challenge which is to use a recycled item in our card this week. Here is my take. It was an image from an old cot sheet that had seen better days. It is not quite a fabric applique card but just as pretty.

Instructions for recycling fabric as a centre piece on your card

Cut and fold a navy card as the base. Then cut a light blue leather grain card to 9 x 13cm as a layer and adhere on top of navy card. Cut the image into a oval shape from the fabric and glue the edges to the light blue card with craft glue. Using craft glue to adhere a lovely decorative ribbon to cover cut edges of fabric. Tie a knot in the centre of a double sided satin ribbon and adhere to the base of the oval. So simple and yet effective.

What do you think?

Simple Complimentary Cancer Treatments

Many people, myself included,will look at various aspects of their lives when faced with cancer. Our priorities change and often we might be motivated to make certain changes in our habits. With cancer there is rarely a single cause and there neither a straightforward cure. Many of us might consider such things as traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, hypnosis, detoxification diets etc.

Our diets these days embrace a multitude of processed foods and this may contribute to cancer. Certainly there are chemicals and such in our environments that we come into contact with indirectly or directly in the course of our daily lives. I will not eschew traditional medicine. I want to work alongside it to bring about the best possible outcomes for my cancer. I do not wish to, nor ever would encourage anyone to abandon traditional medical advice. There are certain things we can take control of ourselves and certainly there are treatments we can follow that can only enhance our health let alone might improve our chances of fighting the cancer cells within us.

Which treatment is the right one?

One of the things I quickly noticed is that there are many possible treatments. Some are alternative treatments done often instead of traditional medicine. Some are more complimentary treatments that can be implemented alongside standard traditional medical procedures. Some treatments require purchasing ‘special’ things through the mail. I accept that there are some things are not available locally, however I don’t want to fall into the trap or the hands of people that just want to make money from people who are desperate to try anything to save themselves or their loved ones.

This is just a collation of my own personal notes. I didn’t think to get the references for each point so research it for yourself first – some of my notes don’t mention how much to take...Some of these treatments offer conflicting advice.

It is important that you do YOUR OWN RESEARCH and check with a medical professional before commencing ANY of these points!!! In a later post I will write of what changes I have personally made from this list and how well I am sticking to it. (The italics in the points below are comments added by me.) Some of these comments might not be able to be done simultaneously. Again I stress that you do your own research and check with a medical professional before commencing most of these.

  • Have a positive mind set, keep your immune system strong - probably the single most important thing you can do.
  • Don’t eat sugar, research data supports that it feeds the cancer.
  • Drink LOTS of water - keep your body hydrated and it helps flush toxins out.
  • Drink water with Bi carb soda - add 1 tsp bi carb to a glass of water twice per day only for first week in 6 week cycle then 1 tsp once per day for 5 weeks then repeat. It is critical not to have more than 1 tsp per day after the first week. Maple syrup will carry the bi carb to the cancer like a Trojan horse - use 3 tsp maple syrup to 1 tsp of bicarb. (How does this fit with the don’t eat sugar in point 1?)
  • Vitamin C: add 5 grams in large glass water twice a day BUT 1 hour apart from Bi carb
  • MSM in crystal form. MSM is actually organic sulfur and is a superb cancer treatment by itself as it grabs oxygen from water and shoves it inside of both cancer cells and non-cancer cells!
  • LIPH kills microbes and the cancer cells think LIPH is nothing but water. Thus, LIPH can get inside of cancer cells by itself to kill the microbes inside the cancer cells. MSM gets oxygen inside of all cells (which can kill the microbes inside the cancer cells) and helps get LIPH inside the cancer cells.
  • Di Robose (found in body building shops & health food shops) >5grams per day Cannabis Oil can be orally ingested (I think this is illegal in Australia)
  • Eat raw organic foods.
  • Turmeric and ginger kill cancer microbes, Recommended to use honey as a Trojan horse. Eg 1 tsp herb with 1 tsp honey. Take on alternate days. (How does this fit with the don’t eat sugar in point 1?)
  • Vegetable Juice detoxes are great particularly carrot, broccoli, beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, ginger, orange & apple. When we cook food it reduces the chemical toxins in it but also reduces all the nutrients our bodies need. Our bodies can only heal when the toxic overload stops. (Be careful of the sugar content of juices especially with the fruit juices!)
  • Super foods include kale, asparagus (cook & puree it and have 4T twice a day), carrot (juice it & have 1 glass twice a day with 2T beet juice)
  • Essiac tea. you need to make it though, don’t buy the capsules etc.
  • Eat some soursop. It’s a cancer fighting fruit and it’s delicious
  • WARNING: DMSO, MSM, Turmeric/Curcumin/Curry, Cinnamon, Cayenne Pepper/Capsicum, Ginger, Green Tea, Celery, Cinnamon, etc., etc. etc. are all capable of thinning the blood.
  • Detox baths: For emergency purposes, 1 to 5 pounds of bicarbonate (for children much less) can be used as long as that amount is balanced with magnesium salts found in Dead Sea salt, Epsom salts and magnesium chloride bath flakes (1 to 5 pounds as well). Soak in bath at least 20 minutes or as long as desired.
  • Read “You Can Cure Cancer” by Ian Gawler
  • Read “The China Study” Very informative for beneficial foods.
  • Read “Sweet Poison” by David Gillespie (I am reading this one at present!)
  • Read “Treatment Essentials” by Dr Sircus http://drsircus.com/books/e-book/treatment-essentials/
  • Read “ Eat well: be well” low fat vegetarian meals. 

Shortly I will write of what changes I have personally made from this list and how well I am sticking to it. I will also make note of any improvements I have noticed along the way though this might need to be in the form of updates as most of the changes might be gradual.

I would be very interested to hear in the comments below or by private email, how you have coped or adjusted your lifestyle if you have undergone cancer.

Top 10 Valentine's Day Crafts

If you're looking for some pretty Valentines crafts, then I have this top 10 selection for you. Some are great to do with your kids and some are special projects for the love of your life.

It has been a long dark tunnel, since I have been most unwell over the past 3 months, but I am seeing the light at the end now that the doctors have changed my pain meds!  I haven't even done one craft even for Christmas since getting sick.

However I am well enough to scour the internet and put together 10 of my favourite finds. These are lovely crafts suitable for your loved ones to celebrate Valentine's Day this year. I hope it inkspires you to do some craft for your loved ones this Valentine's Day.

Wooden Love Sign

Foot Prints on our hearts

Valentine Bookmark

Valentine Throw Pillow

Cupcake liner cards

Valentine's Day Votive

Rustic No Sew Valentine's Love Banner

Super Easy Sun catcher for the kids to do.
Hearts on a Stick - another one for the kids

Valentine's Love Blocks

So now you have no excuse not to celebrate Cupid's holiday with one of these lovely Valentine's Day crafts for kids and adults. Show your love to the people you care about. Do send me a post as well as letting the original artist know if you post a photo of your creation. We just love to see what you have made.

A beautiful Bed for a beautiful daughter

Once upon a time there was a loving dad who doted on his 4 children and as they became wonderful, young adults, he dreamed of how he would still fit in their lives.

For our second daughter, he asked her what she wanted one time for her birthday, and she replied she wanted him to make her a beautiful bed.

It took many, many months of working on various design options. Trends have changed and fathers and daughters have different ideas of what constitutes a lovely bed. Eventually they settle on a design and bit by bit the bed started. There were quite a few hold-ups along the way. Holidays, lack of working room and the big bus conversion that was consuming a lot of the father's time and energy, but eventually the bed grew into a fully fledged project.

The loving father decided to make the bed with a steel frame as the daughter was likely to move a few times in the life of the bed especially as she was just renting at the moment as most young ladies do when they fly the coop.

Some drawers were added under the bed's frame to increase the practicality of the bed.

A father presented his love in a practical manner to his daughter. 

A beautiful bed made with a father's love. - What more can a daughter ask for?

On the Outside

Cancer is an odd place to be. I find that I am in a sort of limbo land. All around me life goes on - as it should. But that just makes me feel very isolated & lonely. Everyone is enjoying life, laughing, doing things, experiencing things that I took for granted at one stage too. They are all getting on with their lives and thus moving on. I feel isolated like I am on the outside, looking in.

Whereas I am caught up in a grey world of fog, an island of pain and 4 hour cycles of pain meds. I don’t even have the energy to do some light crafts or read a book most of the time. If I was lucky there might be something on television that would be absorbing enough to fill in the time between my frequent naps.

The Silence of Loneliness by Winterregen

Oddly enough when the rare visitor came, I was able to come out of my cocoon and interact and we both enjoyed the time together. It is sort of sad that some people whom I had thought would be ‘there’ for me are not. It is also amazing to see the support I am getting from others, some whom I hardly knew before all this came to light. The visits are a welcome break in my days of grey nothingness.

It is also noticeable that no-one has actually offered any practical help. I get the rare ‘call me if you need me.’ But these are from people who hardly know me. It doesn’t seem right to impose on them. Many will say I will pray for you and you know it is genuine for some, and a real blessing especially from those that I know are prayer warriors or live too far to be of any practical assistance and yet I wonder at others. It is so easy to say some words. No one has actually said, I will come and vacuum for you or do the shopping for you. There are many things I am not allowed to do as far as housework goes and anyway I just don’t have the energy to do much at all. If I pace myself,. I can start dinner preparation in the morning and actually have it ready by dinner time. Some days I can’t even do that. My husband can do a limited amount of cooking, he does a mean steak and a fabulous baked dinner, however I am thankful we can afford to buy frozen dinners from Woolies.

Yet oddly at this stage through all this fog, it is not one of depression, nor is not a time of despair, it is more like a time of waiting, of being patient, of letting my body dictate my days. Sure sometimes I wonder if I am being lazy and there are the odd times when I am energetic enough to do something whether it be to catch up on some light housework, cook some dinners to pop in the freezer or find some other way to make things a tad easier on my husband for a bit. Sometimes we’d go for a drive whether it be to visit a friend or do some shopping. These little burst of energy had to be tempered as inevitably I would pay for it later and be totally exhausted for a greater period of time than the outing required.

Oh the joys of these precious gems that came once in a while were also to be treasured and revisited in my mind during the times when I stayed home in my little grey world. Other than being concerned and careful regarding my health, I had to be careful not to be selfish. My husband has to carry a lot of this too. He has a wife who can be very testy, who doesn’t want to share some of the pleasures we shared together as a husband and wife, who doesn’t want or is able to share in a social life with friends and family. He suffers too!

I guess there is a realisation that life will never be the same even when I’ve licked this cancer. Our experiences will change the way we see things and people. I have no idea this early in the game just what or who the causalities will be. It does mean that our priorities have changed, our outlook has changed and all this means we have changed, hopefully for the better. But change is inevitable.

Though the road might not be the one I would have chosen, I know that I am where I am meant to be. I might not know his plans for my life, but I know that God will give me the grace, help and assistance as I need it. There are times when I can not 'feel' God, but I know that he is faithful. I am so grateful that I have been a Christian now for some 30 years and have a history with Him. I can look back in my life and know that through other difficult times when I 'couldn't feel his presence', I can look back and see that He had been there all the time. I am relying on His promise that He will be there for me, even to the point of carrying me when I can no longer walk the road under my own steam. Now that is reassuring, knowing that no matter what, my future lies with him.