Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day Weekend

So far it's been a great weekend!  Yesterday we went to the annual Geisinger Medical Center and Gift of Life Transplant Picnic at Knoebel's Grove Amusement Park.  It was really nice seeing some of our friends from the transplant office in a social situation instead of at clinic.  Devan is doing ok, no change in his numbers.  Unfortunately that means he's not improving though either.  They are talking some more about the biopsy, and it looks like we may be going through with it in August.

Here are some pictures of the boys being "boys" at Knoebels:

This is Devan on the motor boats

Here are Devan (in the back), Paul Jr and Brandon playing with the "diggers".  Boys never outgrow cool toys!

On a weight loss note, I was very happy to finally ride the two wooden roller coasters at Knoebels!  The Twister coaster is actually an old favorite of mine.  When I lived in Colorado, Twister was at the "old" Elitch Gardens in Denver.  They sold the original park, and Twister moved to Knoebels!  I was one of the last people to ride it when it was in Denver, so couldn't wait to finally fit in it here!  Twister 2 is at the new Elitch Gardens, and the last time I rode it I came away with very bruised hips because I had gained so much weight.  That was the last time I ever rode a wooden coaster, so for me to fit comfortably on TWO coasters yesterday was a big thrill!

Lastly, I wanted to share the card I made for my dad for Father's Day.  I finally got my Square Lattice Embossing folder for the Big Shot.  It has been on backorder forever!  No wonder though, it is the COOLEST and most versatile texture I have played with in a long time.  You can do so much with it!  I used it to mimic the chrome skid-proofing on the foot rests of my dad's bike as a base for the card.  
Here are the deets:

Stamps:  Motorcycle (I love our single stamp options!)
Paper:  Brushed Silver, Basic Black, Shimmery White
Ink: Black Staz-on
Accessories:  Photo Corners Punch, Square Lattice Embossing Folder, Big Shot, Clips Assortment, Silver Brads, Watercolor Wonder Crayons, Aqua Painter, Paper Piercing tool

Dad loved the card and the metal motorcycle sculpture I found for him at Hobby Lobby in Ithica.  Much better than the standard gift card he usually gets!  So glad I found the sculpture.  Dad normally buys anything and everything he ever wants or needs, so he's the toughest guy to buy for.  When I saw the sculpture, I knew it was perfect!

Well, off to finish some graduation cards and other projects.  I'm the arts and crafts director for our summer Parks and Rec program, so have to get some samples finished for next week's session.  I am so thankful for losing 144 pounds and having so much more energy!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sharing some things I made recently....

My son and 7 of his friends were just recently confirmed into our church family.  One of the mentors asked me to make a special card for her student.  This is what I came up with....

This over-sized card is made with the following items:
Shimmery White cardstock
Real Red cardstock
Vellum Cardstock
Bride Designer Series Paper
Pretties Kit
Big Shot Embosslits Beautiful Wings
Big Shot die Beautiful Butterflies
Big Shot embossing folder Perfect Polka Dots
Big Shot Bigz die Table Setting

inspiration for this card came from the wonderful Big Shot quilted purse cake from Dream Night.  You can see it in my previous post....

And this is one of the graduation party invitations I was hired to make for a student from my school. This was inspired by one of the shoe box swaps we made at Dream Night...

 Items used in this card:
Whisper White cardstock
Real Red cardstock
Basic Black cardstock
Staz-on ink
Go, Graduate stamp set
Various Stampin' Write Markers

And lastly, I was hired to make a set of retirement cards by a co-worker.  We have 12 teachers retiring this year.
Items used in this card are:
Ballet Blue cardstock
So Saffron cardstock
Regal Rose cardstock
Gable Green cardstock
Whisper White cardstock
Gable Green Classic ink
Glorious Green Classic ink
Chocolate Chip Stampin' Write marker
Gable Green Stampin' Write marker
Branch Out stamp set
Teeny Tiny Wishes stamp set
Modern Label punch
Stampin' Dimentionals

I hope you like the projects!

Lots of exciting stuff going on!

Earlier this month I was blessed to be invited to Dawn Rapsas' Dream Night with Shelli Gardner!  Dawn is amazing.  I've known her for just about 2 years now, having first met her at Convention 2008.  She's had us down to New Jersey several times to join her downline groups shoebox swaps.  These girls are amazing stampers, and just so much fun to hang out with!  Dawn is so personable and down-right friendly.  You'd never guess that she's one of Stampin' Up's top demonstrators... she's that down to earth....

I'm uploading a few of the pictures taken at Dream Night!
This is me and my CRAZY upline and best friend, Cathy Maltby.
 The Short Hills Hilton was simply beautiful!  This was just outside the meeting room where 100+ stampers gathered to stamp, eat delicious fruit and pastries from the chocolate fountain, and just chat!

This is Cathy and I with the "QUEEN OF STAMPING" Shelli Gardner!  I can't tell you what a thrill it was to meet her.  She is SO classy!  She's also very genuine.  After just a few minutes talking to her, she made you feel like you've been life-long friends.  She ate dessert at our table, so we had an extra chance to get to know her.  Her friend Sue actually has family ties to our area, and even spends many weekends during the summer not more than 10 miles from my house!  Talk about 6 degrees of separation!

These fun girls are some of Dawn's downline who have become good stamping buddies with Cathy and I.  We LOVE going to visit our "Jersey Girls"!  Never a dull moment, and tons of laughs!  Can't wait to come down again!

This is just part of the incredible chocolate fountain dessert bar!  AND we not only had this dessert, but a SECOND dessert later that night.  YUM!  (Thank you Dawn for making sure there was plenty of fresh fruit!!)

and here are some of the stamping displays!  After all, what is a Stampin' Up event without lots and lots of samples to drool over!

This incredible "cake" was made up entirely of Big Shot quilted purses!  Everyone attending Dream Night got to take one home!  Thanks so much Dawn and crew for the awesome gifts!
In addition to meeting Shelli and visiting our awesome friends, the "Jersey Girls", Cathy and I had the great pleasure of meeting THIS crazy bunch of stampers from New York and Florida. These girls had us laughing so hard our sides hurt!  Can't wait to see them all again, hopefully soon!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Color Renovation!

Stampin' Up has always prided itself on staying up to date on the latest and greatest in the paper crafting world.  Sometimes that means taking a look at some of its core products and deciding if a change is needed.  Well, one such change is here!  We've revamped our color palette!  I'm very excited about this change!  We'll still continue to offer great color coordination, as well as fresh, new looks!  Below is a chart showing the colors that will be discontinued as of June 30th.  If there are any colors you must have, don't wait to call me with your order!  I plan on stocking up on Blush Blossom since it is PERFECT for flesh tones.  I simply can't live without it for making paper dolls and punch art people!

Change is never easy, but I am very excited about this one!  By keeping things fresh and retiring some of the less popular colors, Stampin' Up is making room for awesome new colors.  These new colors will be available in all of our color products... Watercolor Wonder Crayons, cardstock, markers, Designer Series Paper, ribbons, and many other items!  I can't wait to see the new catalog in July!

Remember, if you want to stock up on some of the retiring colors, email or call me soon!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Neglecting my blog!

I am so sorry I've been neglecting to update!  Things have been so crazy around here! 

In January we had a health scare with my youngest.  He's been having random stomach aches for the past 3 years, and had a diagnosis of IBS.  Well, when he had the same old stomach ache in January, I asked him to tell me what the pain felt like.  Low and behold, it was EXACTLY what I had with my gall bladder!  Who would have thought that a 12 year old could have gall bladder problems starting at age 9??  Well, certainly NOT his doctor, who kept telling me I was crazy (not in those words obviously).  So after many appointments and finally finding a pediatric gastroenterologist who actually believed me, he had his gall bladder removed in February.  Dr. Tvetenstrand (the same doc I had for the gastric bypass and gall bladder removal) said that he'd never seen a gall bladder so full of lesions on such a young person.  THANK GOD I went through all that back in December, or my baby would STILL be suffering with the extreme pain!

Now that we have Brandon's health crisis over, we're dealing with more issues with our oldest son, Devan.  He had a kidney transplant 8 years ago.  Unfortunately his kidney function is declining.  It isn't at critical levels yet, but we're watching him very closely.  He's scheduled for many tests over the next few weeks so we should know more when they are completed.  Please, if you pray, I'd really appreciate it!

Now for a stamping update!  As many of you know, the Syracuse regional was canceled due to adverse weather.  While making my swaps, the punch I was using started getting really stiff and hard to use. I decided to check out my other punches and see what I could come up with.  This is what I did....

Believe it or not, these are made using the Butterfly punch!  Here are the directions:
  • Use butterfly punch and cut two pieces using Whisper White or other light colored cardstock.
  • With Stampin' Write markers, color edges of butterfly wings.
  • Spritz both sides with water, and scrunch the butterflies wings together
  • Let dry slightly
  • Glue the punched pieces together to form flower.
  • Punch 5 petal flower using green cardstock (Certainly Celery and Old Olive are my favorites)
  • Repeat spritzing process to make the leaves
  • Glue to bottom of flower
  • When flower is completely dry, color centers using Summer Sun and More Mustard dots.
You can then add these wonderful flowers to cards, boxes, pin backs, or anything else you can think of!  They are very easy to make, and the possible color combos are endless!

Now on the weight loss front.  I am now 6 months out from surgery, and happy to say I've lost 128 pounds!  I'm just 2 pounds away from being under 200!  I'm so excited!  I'm wearing a 14 regular in pants, and a large shirt!  I recently sold my 3X Stampin' Up sweater I got at convention and bought it in a large!  I am SO STINKIN' EXCITED!

Here are the latest pics....

I am finally feeling full of energy, and just enjoying life again!  Saturday morning it was nice enough here in northeast PA to finally walk outside.  I took the same route I had been walking before the surgery.  When I got to my usual turn around spot, I went right on by!  I ended up walking over 5 miles!  If you would have said even last fall that I'd be doing that, I'd have said YOU WERE CRAZY!  I even jogged part of it!

I still have about 40 lbs to go to goal, but I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Still having occasional issues with keeping certain things down, but it's getting better all the time.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.  I couldn't do it without you!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Do not ignore the pain...

Well, it's easy for me to say that now!  For three weeks I had been experiencing some pretty significant pain.  I didn't blog about it because I thought "TMI" and that nobody would want to hear about it.  But then I realized that I really SHOULD blog about it so that everyone realizes that this process isn't always sunshine and rainbows, and that it definitely ISN'T the "easy way out" like so many seem to think.

At first I thought the pain was due to constipation which has been an issue from the beginning.  When you're eating so little, and most of that is dense protein, you're going to have issues.  Miralax is my new best friend, and I have to use it at least three times a week just to stay regular.  When the pain I've been experiencing didn't go away even after good "results", I knew it was something else.

It is common for someone with rapid weight loss to experience problems with their gall bladder.  I knew this, but guess I was in denial.  I didn't want to have to admit I needed another surgery and would have to miss more work.  So I put off going to the doctor.  I did call my surgeon last week to get my 3 month follow-up moved up so he could see me.  I never made it to the appointment.

On Thursday (Dec 17th) I went to school as usual even though I was in considerable pain.  It was so bad that I didn't eat anything even knowing that I HAVE to eat.  I just had a protein shake.  I managed to make it through 2 classes but couldn't fool my sister (she's the teacher for period 3) who insisted I go to the ER.  I'm so glad we work together.  If she hadn't made me, I'd probably still be suffering through this.  So she had me call mom and I drove as far as TI to meet dad.  He took me on up to Wilson.  Paul met us there.

Well, seems everyone in the triple cities needed the ER that day, so we sat there from 10:30 to 3:00 before I even saw a nurse.  Then another 2 hours and finally saw a doctor.  I asked them to consult Dr. Tvetenstrand, and then things finally started moving along.  Dr. T admitted me and ordered a hidascan (I think that's how you spell it... it's a nuclear imaging test anyway).  He said I had the classic symptoms of a bad gall bladder and would most likely remove it Friday afternoon.

So off I go to spend the night in the hospital.  THANK GOD for pain medication!  You never realize just how much you hurt until the pain is no longer there!

The next morning around 10 am they take me down for the scan.  It took 1 1/2 hours.  I have to admit I was really nervous that they wouldn't find anything wrong since the pain meds were working.  I thought for sure the scan would come back negative.  I had nothing to worry about though, because Dr. T said when he came in later that my scan was "very abnormal" and that he was taking me to the OR.  So at 4pm on Friday I had my gall bladder removed.  After I was back in my room Dr. T came in to discuss the procedure and said I didn't have any stones, but it was full of very tiny crystals.  He said he didn't know how I managed to function as long as I did with the obvious pain I must have been in.  Told y'all I have a high pain tolerance and when I say it hurts, it HURTS!

Funny how having surgery for something like that didn't make me nearly as nervous as the bypass itself.  The only thing I felt was relief that my pain would soon be over.

The surgery went well, and I spent an additional night in the hospital.  Came home at 4 pm on Saturday.  I do have to say that I am pretty sore from the procedure.  Maybe it's because I don't have as much fat padding my insides and the instruments bruised me more.  Not sure but it HURTS.  I can't lay flat in bed yet, something I was really proud of myself for after the bypass.  But then again, this is the second major surgery in 3 months and my body has changed a lot over that time.

Each day gets a little better as far as pain goes, so I'm sure by the time school starts again after Christmas break I'll be more than ready to go back.  It was actually pretty good timing.  I'll only miss 5 days of school, and got it taken care of before the huge increase in out of pocket insurance expenses with Paul's "new" insurance plan.  Gotta love Corporate and their "it will be better in the long run" approach... better for them maybe, but I can't even imagine what our bills are going to be like if anything major happens next year....

 I just went back and looked at my last few entries and realized that I didn't post recent pics!  These are from 12/12/09 at my hubby's Christmas party.  I'm down 102lbs since my high weight (I've gained back 4 of that post op, but mostly fluid and swelling... should be gone by next week)..

Also, Devan and I were in a car accident on 12/4/09.  We're both ok, obviously, but my "Flower Power" van is no more.  I do want to share a pic with you though that shows just how durable the Decor Elements are!  She (the person who hit me) wiped out the entire driver side of my van, but didn't rip the decor element!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dormant sets fixin' to retire!

Dormant Stamp Sets Discontinued on January 4, 2010

December 2, 2009 As promised, many of the stamp sets currently on our dormant list have been available for a year and now it is time to say goodbye. The following stamp sets will be discontinued on January 4, 2010.
 Item Number
 Stamp Set
 Back Woods  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 102
 Beautiful Baby 2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 208
 Birthday Wish  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 208
 Branch Out  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 100
 Celebrations  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 208
 Central Park  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 106
 Classic Sketches  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 119
 Classy & Fabulous  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 51
 Flowers in Silhouette  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 208
 Font of You  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 46
 For the Bride  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 61
 Forever  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 208
 Friend by Definition  2008 Fall/Winter Catalog pg. 135
 Fun Flowers   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 208
 Garden Greetings  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 55
 Glad Friends   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 208
 Grand Soiree   2008 Fall/Winter Catalog pg. 126
 Hit the Road  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 103
 Lexicon of Leaves   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 101
 Man's Best Friend  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 72
 Ocean Commotion  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 97
 Playful Petals  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 99
 Polka Dot   2008 Fall/Winter Catalog pg. 135
 Putt Putt    2008 Fall/Winter Catalog pg. 81
 Quilt Quips   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 53
  Really Retro   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 132
 Sip by Sip   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 51
 Sweet Stems   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 99
 That's Funny   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 63
 Wonderful Watercolors   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 85
  Para la novia
 Acuarelas Maravillosas   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 85
If any of these stamp sets are on your wish list, make sure to purchase them before they are gone for good!  Don't forget during the month of December pay no tax or shipping on any order placed through me!