Jun 7, 2018

The Sweetest Moment

Thanks for the comments on my earlier post. I love reading how our lives parallel. It's a good reminder of our shared humanity.

My son was 2 when my mom moved in with us. She was in her sixties and healthy. She watched our son while we both worked, did the grocery shopping, and generally was a huge help to us. As the years moved on, as my long time readers know, things shifted. My mom was no longer helping us; we were helping her. When I look back on those long hard days, I am grateful we decided to take care of my mom in our home as long as possible. But I also regret taking care of my mom in our home as long as possible.

It's taken me decades to figure out that our life decisions are rarely black or white. Almost everything we experience has an upside and a downside. Our moral compass and love compelled us to take care of my mom, but it came at a high cost. It affected our son, who witnessed one too many ambulance arrivals at our home. It affected my husband and our marriage and our family in a million ways -- finances, time, and stress.

For over 5 years we had very limited ability to travel away from our house for more than a few hours. That "always on duty" was exhausting. And if you were reading my blog, or were part of my real life, you heard all about it. While millions of families go through this care-taking, it doesn't feel that way when you are in the middle of it. It is a solitary experience and there are times when it is sweet and fabulous and times when it is awful and maddening.

But now we are in another phase -- we are the "older" family members. I'm now the age my mom was when she moved in with us. For years our son cautioned us that he could never do for us what we did for my mom. We 100% got it. We assured him that we would never want him to be in that position and made plans to ensure that he won't. But as my mother in law's health failed and death looked more and more certain, our son suggested we move down to Dallas so that we could all be together again. He said "I don't think I could do what you did for grandma, but I could give you a ride to the doctor if you needed it."

Dude, we're fine!

But, it was the sweetest moment. Our son had lived through watching how to care for his grandmother and now was there for his other grandmother. And at that moment his thoughts were to pull our family closer. For the first time I saw the upside of his being there when taking care of my mom was so hard. He learned, too, that it was both a blessing and a curse.

The reality is that my heart is getting a little worse. I'm basically fine, but am now dealing with some relatively mild congestive heart failure. Fluid builds up and makes it harder to breathe, particularly when walking up stairs. It's a common condition and I keep it under control by watching my sodium and through medication. But, it's progressive and we can't help but wonder about the future.

So, when the sweetest moment arrives, you seize it, not knowing for sure what's around the corner, but confident that seizing it is the right thing.

I'll keep you posted!

Jun 4, 2018

Change


"Change is great. You go first."  (from Dilbert)

About 2 months ago we got the word that something was wrong with Mike's mother's health. We spent large chunks of April and May with her and other family. Sadly, she died towards the end of May.

We spent a lot of time with Mike's family and our son during this time and it reminded us how important family is. We have no family in the DC area and, at our son's suggestion, have decided to sell our home here and move to Dallas where he (and Mike's brother and his family) live. We will also be closer to family in California.

It's going to take some time to get our house on the market, sell it, and relocate. Needless to say, the realtors took one look at my stamping room and announced that all of it had to be packed up. I hope to make a few cards over the next day or two so I can post them over time, but basically things are going to be very quiet here on the blog.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Happy and freaking out...

May 21, 2018

Two Hellos!


Fell in love with the Stamp Market's Chunky Alphabet Set and the accompanying Outline Chunky Alphabet set.  I bought them from Ellen Hutson when they were on sale over Mother's Day. I had been waiting for a sale as these alphas are pricey.

Made two quick cards and just changed up the colors. The first card I purposely offset the solid stamp and used bright Distress Oxide inks. The second one uses soft inks from Altenew. 

I set up the design on the MISTI, stamped it on copy paper to make sure it was straight, and then stamped on white cardstock.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Good!

I've been traveling a lot this spring and am off to San Diego tomorrow for some family time. There will be more silence on the blog. I'm leaving Mike behind and asked him to stamp and post for me, but for some reason he's declined.

Disclosure:  I worked hard to pay for all this stuff!! HA

May 15, 2018

Stamping Again!


Continuing to keep it very simple -- I always start with the sentiment. Then I stamped a flower and a center with Mermaid Lagoon and Lemonade Distress Oxide inks onto Ellen Hutson White Linen cardstock. Everything's from Altenew's Floral Garden.

And the same card, with Picked Raspberry and Twisted Citron Distress Oxide inks:


MOOD WHEN DONE: Super happy to be back home and I love these bright colors. Hope to stamp and write more soon!

May 5, 2018

Absent!

Thought I'd explain the blog silence to come.

I'm away from home helping out with Mike's mom, so there won't be any posts here for a few days or more (not sure).  And my monthly column with Right at Home will be delayed. 
 
Life happens, doesn't it?

Before I left, I did a "deep clean" of my craft room. So satisfying. Found just a few things that I have no memory of buying, didn't not find my missing scissors (they must have landed in my wastepaper basket at one point), and found one missing clear stamp. To a non stamper this is crazy stuff, but for us, this is big! 

Set aside a large pile of things to give away, so stay tuned for that.

I'm missing Mike, whose home guarding my supplies. Otherwise, I'm good. Hope to be back with cards and talk soon!

Apr 29, 2018

Hello Gorgeous


All of a sudden I've noticed, and fallen in love with, a ton of stamps from The Ton (HA). The first set that caught my eye is an older one, Marvelous Perfumes. Now I have a wish list that's way too long.

Paired one of the perfume bottles in the set with a classic floral set from Altenew, Adore You. Gold embossed and watercolored on some hot press watercolor paper. Hand cut the flowers and leaves and popped up some of them.

Used Hero Arts Indigo liquid watercolor for this card. I need to spend more time figuring out this product.



MOOD WHEN DONE: Happy! While the flowers need work, I love the color combo. This card is already in the hands of its recipient.

Apr 27, 2018

Visible Image + MISTI Blog Hop


Welcome to the Visible Image + MISTI Blog Hop. These two great companies joined forces this month and I'm thrilled to be part of the fun. Plus, there are prizes (details below)!




I'm sure that many, if not all of you, are familiar with the must-have MISTI from My Sweet Petunia.  It really was a stamping game-changer. I use it with almost every card.

But Visible Image stamps and stencils may be new to you (they were to me). They work really well with mixed media projects. Well, guess who doesn't do mixed media? So I adapted Visible Image products to my way of stamping. Once I got started, I fell in love with these unique designs and couldn't stop making cards ...

1. Mom


Stamped one of the flowers from Imperfection is Beauty in Versamark and embossed in white.  Added a sentiment from Essentials by Ellen. Colored with Distress stains, adhered to a yellow card, and added crystal Nuvo jewel drops. Very easy and fast, particularly since the MISTI helped me tuck that sentiment into just the right spot.

2. Vivid Sunset



Isn't this sentiment fantastic? It's from Your Vivid Colors.

Dropped some Adirondack dye reinkers onto watercolor paper that I had spritzed with water. After the paper dried, I thinned some gold acrylic paint with water and painted onto the card to add some depth to the design. Stamped the sentiment after the card dried and then added Gold Jewel drops and adhered to an A2 card.

3. Fibers Stencil Love


Cut typing paper to 4.25 x 5.5. Die cut heart. Placed the typing paper over an A2 white card and then placed the fun Fibres Stencil horizontally over the mask and sponged some gold, pink, and orange inks. Popped up a sentiment from Altenew and added gold Jewel Drops.

4. Be the Reason



Love this sentiment from Reason to Smile! Used the MISTI to stamp 3 circles in the center of a white linen A2 card and then stamped the sentiment in just the right spot. Again, super fast and easy, thanks to the MISTI.

5. Butterflies and the Fibres Stencil




Stamped the gorgeous butterflies from Own Kind of Beautiful with Distress Oxide inks and added a little water. After it dried, I ran the panel through my Big Shot with an embossing pad and impressed the Fibres Stencil pattern onto the panel. Stamped the sentiment and added some sequins. Finally, popped up the panel on an A2 card.

I had so much fun using these products -- proving (I think!) that you can use these gorgeous images in a variety of ways. Can't wait to see how the other stampers used them.

Prizes!




Two lucky commenters from the hop will win one of two prizes: a $50 shopping spree at My Sweet Petunia and a $50 shopping spree at Visible Image. In order to be eligible, you must comment no later than Monday, April 30th, at 11:59 PM central time. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, May 1st, on the Visible Image and My Sweet Petunia blogs

The Blog Hop

Here are the links to all the talented participants in today's hop. 

Joan Bardee  --> me!
My Sweet Petunia

Disclosure: I bought my MISTI eons ago (although My Sweet Petunia kindly sent me a smaller version). Visible Image provided all the stamps and the stencil to me for use in this hop. Thank you to both companies!

MOOD WHEN DONE:  Delighted to be part of this hop. I fell in love with these products. On the other hand, my craft room is a disaster. All this "quick" and "clean and simple" stamping left a mess of epic proportions in my craft room!