Monday, February 28, 2011

feeling blessed...

I have so many wonderful things in my life that I am grateful for. My family is amazing, my friends are amazing, my husband is amazing and I am grateful everyday for what he has given up and gone through to fight for our country. To those of you that don't know our story - here is a little breakdown. Frank is in the army National Guard and was sent to a heavy combat zone in Afghanistan with his engineering unit to build roads in 2005. He didn't return home until 2007, and shortly afterwards started showing side effects of his service. He was diagnosed with combat PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) in 2008. Then the 'battle' really began of trying to get help through the VA, to find the right combination of treatments, counseling and medication. At times it took everything within us to fight the disorder and not give up on hope. In the summer of 2009 we finally began to get results. We found a team of doctors through our insurance (we gave up on the VA, because they were only medicating him and not treating the problem) and Frank made a huge turn around. It was at that point that I felt for the first time that I had my husband back. I took a deep breath and thanked God that everything was going to be all right. Then within days my body started shutting down, I was very fatigued and started experiencing pain all over. There were days that I couldn't get out of bed, and to make things worse, I couldn't sleep at night either. After 5 months at the doctors office going through test after test, and 1 diagnostic lab surgery I finally got my answer. I had Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome caused by secondary PTSD. I had never heard of secondary PTSD before, so I did some research and found out that it is common amongst military wives that have to take on the stress and anxiety that goes along with deployments. Well, that diagnosis was a year ago today, and even though I still have days that I am laid up in bed, I have more good days then bad. I recently made a commitment with a fellow friend (who also has Fibromyalgia) to join Weight Watchers. I am proud to say that in one weeks time I have already lost 4 pounds. I am exercising everyday too. I am blessed to live in such a beautiful neighborhood that when the weather is nice I like to walk around the lake. This is the view when I step outside.

We live right next to a private lake, and it is so beautiful and peaceful to walk there.

Today was a great day, I walked 3 miles and went jogging too. It is amazing to think how far we have come in 1 year. Frank received a bronze star medal from his service and recently received a promotion at work as a Senior Civil engineer. I am so proud of him and so thankful for the improvements in my health and his too. Just going to keep looking on the bright side of things and enjoy spending time with my family everyday. Feeling so blessed right now.
Can't wait for what tomorrow brings...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's been a busy week...

with the family and school activities with the kids. Just popping on to share some recent layouts that I created with 3 wonderful Glitz lines.

Glitz Hoopla line:

Glitz Love Nest line:

Glitz Scarlet line:

Have you seen the recent Glitz lines that were released at winter CHA? They are all so fabulous! I can't wait to get my hands on all 3 of their new lines. That's it for now, I will be back tomorrow with a fun new Punky Sprouts book that I recently finished using more of Glitz products.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

my wall is no longer bare...

So, I had one of those walls in our house that has been completely bare since we moved in last November. This was a huge problem for me, because it is the first wall you see when you walk in through our front door. I wanted it to feel inviting and warm, but I was struggling with just how to go about it. I initially wanted to hang a large mirror or painting along the wall but that was a problem because this 'wall' has a thermostat control smack dab in the middle of it. Now, I wonder who was the genious that thought of putting it in the middle of such a major focal point? Not, a woman contractor I am sure. I even talked with my Father in law about having the thermosat moved, and unfortunately it cannot be done without going through the attic and rewiring the entire wall. So, I felt hopelessly stuck until I remembered seeing an advertisement for wall quotes. So, I decided to run down to Target and pick one up. The one I chose was made by Die Cuts with a View. I got home, decided to hang it up myself (I couldn't wait for Frank to get home from work - besides he is use to me rearranging the house while he is away) and something magical happened. My blank pathetic wall went from this....

yup, nothing to see here but a boring beige wall

to this....

the quote reads "May our home be filled with laughter, family and friends and the life togetherness brings"

such a small feat, but it made me so happy. I barely notice the thermostat now, and my bare wall is not so bare :)
pics of the rest of our house downstairs are up on an older post and can be viewed here

Monday, February 14, 2011

Finished a new Punky Sprouts book today...

just in time for my Valentine to come home, so that I can share it with him. The book is called 'True Love travels on a gravel road'
and it features new and old photos of us over the years (12 years to be exact). Wow, I can't believe it has been that long. Where does the time go?

I used the Bella Blvd. Lovey Dovey collection by Stephanie Hunt and Punky Sprouts album (rebel sprout). I have long been a punky sprouts fan, but this was my first time ever using this particular album. The book comes with jump rings and gives you the freedom to put it together yourself. It was so cool being able to decide where the pages go! Another feature that was so fun about this book is that I used several shape studio and button studio tools from Epiphany crafts to customize my pages. (Click on each picture for an upclose view of each page.)

front cover

I had a lot of fun with the front cover. I made the heart out of pink felt.

pages 1 & 2

I got creative on this page by making my own custom epoxies with the new 1 inch shape studio tools. I also had fun painting a circular metal grid that I found in the garage to add flair to my canvas page.

upclose picture of a flower I created using cupcake wrappers and an epiphany crafts epoxy

pages 3 & 4

I had fun making a cute little pocket for my picture using Hambly screenprints paper. I topped it off with a flower I made with Tim Holtz paper rosette die and a custom Epiphany epoxy heart.

pages 5 & 6

The corrugated strip at the bottom is a Starbucks coffee sleeve that I recycled and punched with an EK Success border punch. So fun!

pages 7 & 8

pages 9 & 10

Journaling reads"12 years 2 deployments 2 houses 2 kids 2 dogs 2 many good memories to name Here is to the next 12 years+"
I had fun making the banner (on the last page) out of chipboard and Epiphany crafts 1/2 inch epoxies.

view of the whole book and all the fun embellies I used to make it.

I absolutely loved making this album and I am going to enjoy even more, sharing it with my honey tonight as we snuggle up and reminisce about the years past. Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Crazy for Epiphany

Did you hear the news? Ephiphany Crafts is having a design team call. I am so excited about this call. Have you tried out their tools yet? With Epiphany crafts you can make your own custom epoxies and acyrlic buttons at home using your existing scraps. I recently got the chance to play with their new 1 inch shape studio round epoxy tool. This tool is a dream! It is the perfect size to make your own bottle cap jewelry at home, and great for making larger embellishments as well. Here is an example that I made recently using the new 1 inch round studio epoxy tool (lollipop center).
And the 14 mm (1/2 inch) round epoxy tool (small photo in the lollipop center).
I punched my photos to make these awesome epoxy embellishments to match my page. I just love how it turned out!

So, what do you think? Have you decided to try out for their team yet? Don't walk, run to their blog. Owners of Epiphany Crafts Tricia and Brian are very generous, and amazing to work with. I had the opportunity to help out Epiphany Crafts at the Sacramento Expo last year and it was an awesome experience. I am happy to say that I have been asked back to work the Bay area Expo in Pleasanton in March.
Since I had the chance to try out my very first Epiphany tool, I was hooked. I now use them on virtually every project I am making. They are that versatile! So, have you decided to try out yet? I know I have!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sadly, I have been neglecting my blog. We moved into our new house in November, then before we knew it the holidays were here, and I found myself immersed with shopping decorating and enertaining the kids while they were off track for six weeks.
I am finally getting around to posting pictures of our new place.

The entry to our formal living room, which is what you see when you first walk in the house.

Our formal dining room. I am in love with the long dining table that I found at Cost Plus World Market. We also bought a new updated chandelier, but have not had the chance to hang it yet.

My wall of lovely 13x19 photos courtesy of my wonderful job with Canon.

Our family room, which is very cozy. We have used the fireplace on numerous occasions. It is convienient because it is right off of the kitchen. We spend most of our time in this room.

January brought us lots of blessings including a new puppy and a promotion for Frank at work. I am very grateful, and excited to see what February brings.

Our new puppy Lilo. She is a schweenie (shih tzu/ daschund mix). She is very sweet and a great addition to our family. The kids and Roxy just love her, but potty training has been hard. Most days she reminds me of Stitch instead of Lilo. lol

That's it for now, I will be back tomorrow with lots of fun scrapbooking projects that I have been working on.