Thursday, December 22, 2011

One more Christmas Card

and then I'm done. I'm over Christmas already maybe I should start making the cards a bit earlier in the year then I can spread the pain over a few months lols.
So here it is my last Christmas card for 2011;

MFT dies, Bo bunny paper and a Hero Arts greeting stamp. 

Next I made a couple of birthday cards using a My Favorite Things stamp. One of the cards is colored with copics and the other is also colored with copics and then paper pieced. I'm really getting into paper piecing because it adds nice dimension to a card, I love the 3D effects you can give a card and that's what makes hand made cards special I think. 

MFT stamps and dies and a spellbinders die, Bo bunny paper, copic colored, blue liquid pearls. This image is on pop dots. 

MFT stamps and dies and a spellbinders die, Bo bunny paper, copic colored, blue liquid pearls. This is the image that is paper pieced.

Then I decided to make a few Valentine cards, I wanted to have a bit of fun with this, I love the cheeky Greeting Farm stamps, I really need to buy some more though. I wonder if I can squeeze a few more out of the budget in the next month or so!!!! 

This first card is a more traditional Valentine card.. 

I used non traditional colours for the card though, green don't ask me why, I just went with that colour. The stamp is an I Brake for Stamps stamp that I fussy cut and coloured with my water colour pencils, the petals came out very well I thought. It's very pretty IRL. I used an oval Nestabilities die and an Impression Obsession background stamp and versamark ink because I don't have any matching inks. Again I used Bo bunny paper. 

The next two cards have more nontraditional feel to them. I wanted to use the colours red and black on them, that drove my decision in how I designed the cards. 

This card is a traditional A2 size. The paper is from a wedding love stack from DCWV (die cuts with a view). Again I used Nestabilities and MFT dies, the word love is from the DCWV stack, I used black brads to attach the vellum to the card. I used black and grey recollections roses and red stickles on the scalloped border. I coloured the TGF stamp with copics and then paper pieced her clothing and added the x3 hearts as a last minute thing because I thought the card needed something else after I had finished it. 

Ha ha, I always leave my favorite card until last... 

This card is a non traditional 5.50 x 5.50 inches. The paper is again from a wedding love stack from DCWV (die cuts with a view). Again I used Nestabilities and MFT dies, the love greeting is from MFT, I used black and grey recollections roses and recollection bling. I coloured the TGF stamp with copics but this time with Blond hair and then I paper pieced her clothing but this time I gave her red stickle shoes. I think they look like Dorothy's ruby slippers IRL. She's just as cute as a button.

That's all for today.

Keep Well      =^-^=

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Cards

As so many of us have, I have been making a few Christmas cards to send out to people. It's a time consuming process when you don't have any cards already made. So I've spent the last couple of weeks frantically making cards and then taking a few photographs, who knew that taking the photographs is even harder than making the cards. Plus I have a cat that gets interested every time I get my camera out. See..
Biggsy and card

Biggsy and card

The reason why he has a stump for a tail is that he was run over by a car a couple of years ago and the vet had to amputate it. He must have used up a couple of lives that night!!!

Here's a Christmas card I made for my MIL, she has a passion for sewing so I bought this die and stamp set with her in mind. 

Stamp sets are always a roll of the dice size wise and I feel that the some of the elements are too large for the card now, but it's too late, I've all ready posted this card. Usually I'm careful when choosing the dimension of stamps and dies because I prefer to make the smaller A2 size cards. I think this set would look better on a 5.5x5.5 size card, some inter net sites do not include the size of the items in the stamp sets just the overall set size and that can end up being costly for the unwary. Also my button stash isn't vast and I had to make do with a green button that was probably too large as well but I had it in my mind that I wanted a green button **sighs**. 

Here is a stamp and die set I'm very happy with..

This is a Sweet 'n' Sassy stamp and die set that I feel has the right dimensions for an A2 card, in fact there isn't much I'm unhappy with here so I'll just let the card do the talking. 

I love the stamp in the next card, I've used an emboss resist technique here, the image is embossed in gold and distressed with ranger broken china ink. I don't know if the bow will survive the posting but fingers crossed...... 

The next stamp ended up being my favorite this year coincidentally this is a My Favorite Thing stamp. I really enjoyed colouring and paper piecing it, I think it's very cute. 

I did cut the snow ball off about half way to scale the image down for the card but I feel it works very well and the cool blue of the paper just adds to the wintry feel of the card. Can you tell I love it ?.. lols

Happy Holidays


Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Sigh, I'm training for two events, the Houston (Texas) half marathon in January and the Motatapu (New Zealand) marathon in March. I've had problems over the summer with heat exhaustion and another injury that has interrupted my training. Before Summer I was consistently running 8:30 min/mile pace and now I'm lucky if I can run under 9:00 min/mile pace. Then Sunday I ran 12 miles (longer weekend run) and now I have soft tissue damage around my left ankle from the tongue of my trainer consistently hitting my ankle  for 12 miles. I won't even go into toe blisters and munted toe nails. Which makes me wonder why I do it. Heck I'm going to be 50 in June I'm a Grandmother and the grey hair and saggy skin have already started, I should be slowing down or something, shouldn't I? Any other nearly 50s out there reading this, are you training for a marathon? Am I mad?

Heck no girlfriend, you go for it 50 is the new 30.

Having said that immediately after I finish running my marathon in NZ I'm moving on to a yacht (located in the BVIs) and I'm going to sail off into the sunset on a (probably) 10 year circumnavigation. Am I mad?

Heck no girlfriend, you go for it. Next year I'll be blogging and crafting in all kinds of exotic anchorages and locations, me, my Scrubby and my cat.

I hope you get to join me in my adventures, I'm getting quite excited about it and I can think of nothing else at the moment, want to buy some furniture anyone?

My Scrubby

My shaved (because it's hot in Texas) cat

Me before going running, I don't look like that after I've been running, lols. 

Keep Well


A three card share.

I forgot to post some cards I made for Halloween. So this is a quick post for you to catch up on. The stamps are Michaels dollar stamps, they're pretty darn cute and the paper is sweet and sassy I think it was. I inked the paper with memento tuxedo black ink to scruffy it up  a little and the black cat is again a dollar punch I got from Michaels and it was fiddly glueing it onto the paper. I need to get rid of my false nails because it makes crafting just that teensy weensy more difficult, lols.
So the same stamps used in 3 slightly different ways, I colored them in using water color pencils and not my copics, for a change.

Keep well

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hope you can cling to .... a few cards.

In the end I didn't make as many cards as I wanted to because of my trip back home to New Zealand. But I am pleased with a couple of the cards I made. I loved the challenge and for such a wonderful cause, it was a win win situation.

Anyway, enough with the babble, here are a couple of the cards I made.

The theme for this card was circles.

A hint of pink.

All I did with this card was paper piece the kite and write Joy with a gel pen on it.

Here I used a card sketch, which I don't have the link to, for the first time and I was surprised at how easy it was. 

This stamp was incredibly hard to colour because it's a very detailed stamp with little white space on it. But, I did my best and I think it looks Ok, I tried to emboss it and again it doesn't emboss very well, it might just become one of those stamps that was a mistake to purchase and it wasn't a cheap one grrrr.

Ha, I made a huge job for myself with this card it took me hours to fussy cut and paper piece it. The background paper I used, I think, ended up being much too busy but the owl stamp set is very cute.  

Two cards using the same stamp to varying degrees of success. 

This turned out to be my favorite card and it was the easiest one to make. 

I didn't send this card in because it wasn't good enough so I'm calling it my prototype and I shall work on it some more in the future finding the right weight card stock etc to use. 

Keep Well.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hope you can cling to

As you may know, because I blogged about it a few weeks back, my best friend in Los Angeles has breast cancer and is going through a course of chemotherapy. I don't think I'm exaggerating at all when I say she is finding this tougher than she ever imagined it to be.

You may also be aware that I make cards to send to people who are ill, bereaved or who may just need some happy mail. So in October over at splitcoaststamper I am participating in making a card a day for the breast cancer patients at the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston,Texas, they are calling this event "Hope You Can Cling To".

This is an article about the event that appeared in the Houston Chronicle, I hope to be showing you some of the cards I will be making even though I have a 3 week New Zealand trip in October as well. My timing is sometimes a little bit off but I hit the mark more often than not **smiles**. 

Speaking of cards here are three of my most recent ones.

Keep Well,
Nicky =^-^=

Friday, August 12, 2011

Vaccine for Celiac Disease finishes it's Phase 1 Trial

For people who have CD (Celiac Disease) or gluten intolerance as little as 15 milligrams of gluten or 100th of a slice of bread can damage the bowel and with many on a GF (Gluten Free) diet after 5 years up to half of the people studied still have damage and the failure of the "gut" to heal leads to more health problems. It was these findings that led to the search for a vaccine to desensitise the gut to gluten.

34 test subjects were double blinded to test the safety of the new Nexvax2 vaccine for patients diagnosed with CD. All patients were HLA-DQ 2 positive with CD following a strict GF diet.

In all, 19 subjects received the vaccine. Three different doses were administered (30, 60, 90 micrograms). Side effects were common with higher doses and included; nausea, vomiting and one subject having to withdraw from the trial due to “severe gastrointestinal symptoms”. In several cases the injection caused symptoms similar to that of typical gluten exposure. 

I have mixed feelings about the vaccine because I truly think that eating whole foods made by me is the best thing for me therefore I don't need to have a vaccine. But, and this is a big but, when I travel I am at the mercy of others and that's when a vaccine would be good for me. I have been on "vacation" for the last two weeks and I have had to stay in a hotel without any food making opportunities. This has left my health at the mercy of others and I think that I have been "glutened" twice during the two weeks (pain, nausea and diarrhea) and I feel dreadful in myself. 

Don't get me wrong I like to eat out with friends but it's always a roll of the dice when I do. It's a shame for me to feel this way but I can't wait to get home just so I can feel normal again. It absolutely ruins any trip for me if I can't go self-catering, just imagine yourself having to worry about every single meal, having to explain your dietary needs over and over again ad nauseam, it's a real drag and I really do need to have that total control over the food I put in my body. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

: ( I'm Sad

I'm sad for two of my friends. The first is my friend in New Zealand, Renee. It is winter in New Zealand and my good friend Renee slipped on some ice and fell and broke her arm. This comes on top of losing her job due to flying to South Africa to attend her Father's funeral. I mean show some compassion, it's not as if you can fly to SA and attend the funeral in 4 days or however long the bereavement leave period is. Anyway here is a card I am sending to her to cheer her up, well I hope it helps to cheer her up, she's having a pretty tough time of it at the moment.

Renee's card.
And the other of my friends who is having a tough time (I shan't name her here) has just been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. We're all devastated by the news but she's a fighter and she starts treatment shortly,  so I'm thinking good thoughts for her and will continue to do so during her up and coming battle. Here is a card I made for her, it is from a template shared by dini over at splitcoaststampers it was my first attempt and although it's a bit rough and ready I know I'll be able to make a better one next time. I made it in a hurry because I wanted to give it to her while I am in LA for the next 2 weeks because words are just to difficult at a time like this. 

Hugs Card.

Keep Well x 

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Day I Met Patty Boone.

I've known Patty over the internet for getting on close to two years now. She lives in LA and so did I for a little while but we never managed to hook up together even though we'd spoken about it for a while. That was until I came back to LA for a visit, this time we were determined we'd get to see each other in the "flesh". So Patty came to pick me up from my Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. Fortunately I'd already seen Patty's Jeep on a photo so I knew what car I was looking out for. After a couple of wrong turns in the traffic thanks to Patty's new droid app we headed out towards Long Beach where her DH (Scottie) works. Scottie turned out to be as sweet a person as Patty. What a great couple.

Patty and I had lunch at the Crusty Crab and I have to say that although I managed to get something to eat, it took me x2 attempts for them to get it right, the first plate came out with battered zucchini and a slab of sour dough on top. I refused the meal and explained why I couldn't accept the sour dough and zucchini and why it was no good to remove the food from the plate either, the lovely server said and I quote "this doesn't have wheat, it's sour dough" on a positive note they did what I asked and that's OK, I mean I only actually ordered grilled prawns and rice just give me what I ordered for goodness sake, I wish that I didn't have to go through a whole rigmarole to get something to eat just one time.  To be honest even though I managed to get a meal and I wasn't glutened, I wouldn't recommend Crusty Crab as a place for people who require a GF diet because the risk of cross-contamination is just way too high. Here is a photo of my plate after I had finished.

Patty and I took a short walk and then had to head back to downtown LA to her house to avoid all the traffic. I got to meet the famous Pua, Pele and Makamae, well, I only briefly met Pua and Makamae because they hid themselves from me, Pele was much more relaxed about a stranger in the house though and we managed a bit of purr time together.  

Patty looking at the boats.

Me !

Keep Well x 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Naturally Gluten Free Food.

I eat food that is naturally gluten free (GF), for me that is food that is GF and as unprocessed as I can have it, foods such as fresh vegetables, fruit and meat. I also stay as far away from what I consider GF "franken" food as I can, that means that I don't eat cakes, pizzas, biscuits etc etc. This means that I also eat a diet naturally low in carbohydrates. Most of my carbohydrates come from fruit and vegetables. Here are a couple of examples of what I mean.

Octopus salad (not a crouton in sight)

Duck and Daikon wraps (duck wrapped in lettuce leaves)

As a celiac this diet works well for me and keeps the cost down of purchasing food because I don't buy those (what I consider) awful GF bread and cakes etc, etc. It's not that I look down on others for eating what I consider the GF "franken" foods it's just that there is no room in my life for them and guess what after a couple of years you don't even miss or want these foods. You can live without bread, cakes, pizza and biscuits, it's just that most people don't want to.

Keep Well x 

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Heat Exhaustion Blues.

So here in Texas it is hot. In fact it is very hot. We've been regularly hitting the 100+ temperatures for weeks now and I'm running in this heat. Well, I actually run earlier in the day when it is cooler (6 am)  which sounds like a good idea on the whole. The last couple of long runs that I have done on the weekends have been very tough, I usually take a day to recover from them but on Saturday (now to be known as infamous Saturday) I did my run as usual, it was supposed to be a 14 mile run but I cut it short at 12 miles because it was getting hot quite fast and I felt that there was no point in pushing too hard in the heat. So I finished the run and I felt OK, I  got home and started the long rehydration process. I had my shower and then got dressed and pottered around a bit, then I ate breakfast and pottered around a bit more and then I started getting a headache, then I started to feel sick, then I started being sick and then holy of holies I started with the diarrhea and then my head was pounding and I was crying with the pain, my whole body was shaking, my heart was racing and I was feeling really, really unwell.

I knew at this point I was in real trouble, so I walked around to the ER which is a two minute walk from my home and one CT scan, Lumbar Puncture, litre of IV fluids, pain relief and anti-emetic, I felt well enough to insist they let me go home five hours later. They only treated me for the headache and totally disregarded anything else but six days later I know I'm still dehydrated because at 96lb I'm 4lb under my "normal" weight, I still have a pounding headache that has me befuddled in my normal thinking, my ears are ringing fit to bust and I'm feeling as weak as a kitten. But I know that a few more days of rest and rehydration should have me up and running again.

The scariest thing about heat exhaustion is that when it was happening to me I did not have any physical warning signs, there was nothing during the run that had the alarm bells ringing, yes it was a slow run, much slower than I normally run but I was running with two other women and I was running at their pace (a slow pace) and not mine. I consider myself to be a fairly fit and strong person, maybe if I wasn't the consequences could have been dire.

Keep Well x

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mr Bigglesworth gets a shave.

I have a cat, I used to have several but now I just have one, Mr Bigglesworth.
He is an exotic Persian wih a very thick coat......

But with the temperatures soaring up into the 100s we decided that enough was enough and had him shaved on his last visit to the cattery. He is unbelievably a much happier cat now and I have the photo evidence to prove it.

Keep Well x

Washington DC.

This month, July, I visited Washington DC with my DH, he was there on business so I tagged along for the 3 day trip and let me tell you that in the 3 days I only managed to scratch only a very small surface of the city. My first impression of Washington is that it's a very grown up city, the buildings are just amazing. I did a quick round of the usual tourist attractions because we only had a very brief time there and you can't say you've been to DC unless you've seen XY or Z sights.
I started the first day at the Memorial Holocaust Museum. I'm not going to say too much about this apart from that not only is it difficult to comprehend how a human being could do that to another but how it happened on such a large scale and how the people who perpetrated these crimes against humanity could possibly think that what they were doing was the correct and moral thing to do is totally beyond me. In fact it just dumbfounds me.

Day 2 started with a visit to the Smithsonian Museums, well the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Natural History and the National Gallery of Art sculpture Garden. Of course I didn't do a comprehensive tour of the Museums because there just wasn't enough time, so I looked at my favorite parts of the Museums. Such as the Chester Dale Collection and the Sculptures and of course the "rock" collection at the Nat Hist Museum including touching a piece of Mars and looking at the Hope Diamond.

Day 3 saw me visiting the National Museum of the American Indian, they had the best laid out Museum of the lot but not a lot of content on the inside however the grounds made up for that because they were stunning. Then in the afternoon we went to the WWII Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the reflecting pool, Capitol Hill and the White House both of these we viewed from the outside of course. On the evening of day 3 we went to see Wicked which was on at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and all I can say about that is wowser if you haven't seen it get along there tout suite because it's truly rawsome. 

Here are some photos of my adventures...

The Holocaust Museum

The back of the White House

Capitol Hill

This is a sculpture of a Red Horse!

A cute Weta

Touching Mars

I loved this rock

and this one, the Hope Diamond

 blanket design from the American Indian Museum

WWII memorial

Washington Monument

DH at the WWII memorial

the Lincoln Memorial

the empty reflecting pools

the Jefferson Memorial

And to finish today's blog here is a scrapbook page about a 5K run me and the DH participated in on the 4th of July 2011.

Keep Well x