Thursday, April 10, 2014

The back side of skyline drive

If you head up north 5th street and look over at the hogbacks, you can see this old road going up to the top.  Today was my day to hike it!!!



But let me warn you....it's quite a hike just to the base of the road!


That little area between the 2 hogbacks is where I started.  No small climb.  :o)


And just a little farther up, you learn why this is not a "road" at all.  These are pretty rugged rocks, some steps are a foot high.


Imagine my surprise to find a cave along the "road".


And (drumroll please!) I actually made it to the top.  It only took me 45 minutes!!!  Now more drum rolls...I literally sang all the way to the top.  OK, you may not have understood a word of my huffing and puffing songs....but I did sing!  I only met one other hiker and I quit singing far enough away as to not disturb him.  LOL!  This is skyline drive looking back to the north


and this is looking to the south.


 This is looking out to the southeast.


And this is overlooking Canon City to the east.


When you are up on top and you are trying to find the back road, this is what it looks like.  I wouldn't know it was a road if I was looking for it!


When I got back down, I took this shot.  And yep, I sang all the way down.  No idea how far this is in actual miles....but for me, at the age of 62, it was a substantial hike.  I have not been able to do this due to my back pain, so today was a glorious day!  I love that I made this hike at least once in my life.  If you come to town, I'll be happy to go with you!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Do you believe in miracles?

I do.  But I think even more than miracles, I believe in the amazing grace of God.

I was trying to remember when I first started having back pain.  Kerry's granddaughter was a baby.  They were at our house for dinner and I had to stop preparing the meal right in the middle of cooking as my back hurt so bad.  It felt like it was on fire.  I sat down and just cried.  Kerry, his daughter and his daughter-in-law all finished fixing the meal, but I was in so much pain, I couldn't even enjoy the evening.  And that over 10 years ago.

The pain has been off and on.  You get used to it.  My doctor quit prescribing pain meds with all the new changes in health care regulations.  She told me to make up "pain packs".  2 aspirin, 2 acetametephine, 2 ibuprofen  and take them every 4 hours.   I make up 100 packs at a time stuffing the pills into tiny little ziplock bags (jewelry bags) and keep them everywhere.

 I have heating pads in every single room in the house, in my car, at the scrapbook store.  On every bed.  I lived for my heating pads.

Gradually, the pain has just become a part of my life.  When it gets too bad, I quit what I'm doing and sit on a heating pad.  If you know me, you've probably sat with me.  An hour of cleaning, an hour on the heating pad.  An hour of gardening, 30 minutes on the heating pad.  Some days, it's 30 minutes of gardening and 2 hours on the heating pad.  I refused to have surgery.  I watched Kerry almost die during his spinal fusion surgery....I'll keep the pain.

So I went to Israel knowing that I would probably be in intense pain.  But I was determined to go and to do all the things I wanted to do.  Of course, the first moment I plugged the heating pad into the outlet (with my converter), it "popped" and that was the end of that!  LOL!!!  But I had taken plenty of pain packs and a few prescription pain pills that I had stashed away from my last prescription 2 years ago.

I also threw in my tens pack at the last moment.  I normally do to use it as I don't like the constant prickling feeling it gives.  Needless to say, while in Israel, I would get up every morning and put it on.  Put the gel pads right in the middle of my back and I usually needed to turn in on about an hour into the day.  It saved me.  Truly.  I used it all day long on my back, taking the pain packs as often as I could.

There were times I had to sit.  One day, while standing in line to go to the top of Temple Mount, the pain was so excruciating that I got sick to my stomach.

I prayed every day that God would heal my back.  I went to the Western Wall and touched it, prayed and expected "my" miracle.

Nothing happened.

Nothing.  The pain was still there.  In fact, it was probably worse than it had ever been.  Maybe because I was more aware of it than ever before.  Maybe because we were walking, hiking, doing more exercise than I normally do.  I would turn the tens pack up as high as I could tolerate it and the pain from that was at least a different kind of pain than what I felt in my back.  I sat when it got really bad.  I bought new shoes hoping that would help.

When you are taking 6 pain pills every 4 hours, you have to eat in order to keep from getting nauseated.  OK, I do.  So I ate.  Lots of pita bread.  And the pills did stay down for the most part.  I had moments of relief.....but mostly just severe pain.

I made it to the top of Temple Mount that day I got so sick.  I walked around the outside of the mount and prayed that Jehovah Jesus Messiah would see me.  That He would know I was there.  That he would take note of my request that I simply survive the pain and if it be His will, that He heal my back.

Nothing.

But I didn't give up.  I went to the wall twice that day and prayed.  I stood before Him and while I did not pray for my back to be healed, I prayed for His will to be done.

And I got up the next day and walked even more.  I flooded my system with water, loads of pita and humus.  A little chicken every now and then.  And pain packs every 4 hours.

On our last morning there, we got up at 5 am and walked to get in line to go up on top of Temple Mount.  I put my tens pack on.  I'd wait an hour before I turned it on.  This was my routine.

At 7:30, we entered Temple Mount and we walked the outside edges and I prayed again.  We left and met our tour guide who took us to Jericho that day.  About 10:30 am, I looked at my sister and said, "April, my back hasn't hurt yet."  I hadn't taken any tylenol.  I hadn't turned on the tens pack.  I was almost afraid to breathe!

At lunch, I commented again.  Still no pain.  Not even a hint of pain.  I just sat there and started praising Jehovah.  I sort of wanted to sing....but it was too early.  (Oh me of such little faith!)

We had a very long day that day.  We ended up getting to the airport 7 hours before our flight.  Then 15 hours sitting on the plane to LAX.  Then another 5 hour layover there, a 3 hour flight home, a 2 1/2 hour drive home from the airport.

No pain pack.  No tens pack.  I knew a miracle had happened.  I knew my back had been healed.  I knew God had seen me, He had heard me.  But I was cautious.  I told myself that even if it was only 48 house of no pain, that was a blessing.

And that's when I started to realize just how bad my back had been hurting.  When the pain leaves, you realize how severe it had been.  How limited I had been.  How much of my life I had been sitting on a heating pad.

That was 2 weeks ago.  I have moved furniture, lifted things I couldn't lift in the past, been hiking in the foothills near my home, been taking rather long walks....and still no pain.

A miracle happened to me while I was in Jerusalem.  I am singing.  Every single day.  Literally singing.  And praising His name.  And if I only get these 2 weeks without pain, it has been the biggest blessing in my life.  But I truly believe that my back has been healed.  He showed me His mercy.  He showered me yet again with His amazing grace.  He heard my prayers.  He took away my pain.

I have heating pads to give away.  :o)

And if you wonder why I post on FB about all my hiking....I will be walking, hiking, climbing stairs, gardening.....doing everything I can with a new vengeance, with a song in my heart, with my arms outstretched to Jehovah, praising Him every step of the way!!!

I believe in miracles.  One was given to me.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pop-up bench cards extraordinaire.....

Today's class was on pop-ups.  We learned how to make our own pop-up cuts in paper, the basic construction of pop-ups and then used the Elizabeth Craft Designs bench pop-up die to make our cards.  Amazing results!  Patti Jo made this wonderful card (and once again, the photos just don't do it justice at all.)  The swan is cut in white micro glitter paper.  The tree is a die cut from Dreamweaver.  You can order any product through our local scrapbook store by calling them at 719-275-2526.


This is the front of her card using Graphic 45 paper that has unfortunately been discontinued.  Wouldn't you love to get a card like this and when you opened it up the bench just popped up to greet you?


Rhonda's card would be a complete, total surprise.  The front is just so simple and sweet....


but what a great, wonderful surprise when you open it up!  Who knew a white tree could be so stunning???  Now, want to know a secret?  She's used holly leaves for her flower petals.  Cut and folded - you wouldn't have guessed that if I hadn't told you!!!

And don't those deer look like they are a foot deep in the grass?  How'd she do that anyway???



Mary used some vintage 12xtwelve paper.  The company, sadly, is no longer in business.  But look at what she did to the flower behind the bench!  Cut and curled the petals.  Then hand cut out all the smaller daisies to surround her bench.


Again, the front of the card is so simply, you'd never guess what's inside.  What creativity!!!


Carolyn didn't finish her card, but I can hardly wait to see it.  Just incredibly amazing work - they are all such one-of-a-kind pieces of art.  I had so much fun teaching this class.  We're planning a great pop-up class for April, so check the store blog often!

Bobbie's strawberry bottle

Yesterday I taught an altered wine bottle class at Design U'r Memories here in town.  Just 1 student.  But I simply had to share her amazing creativity!

She used a pink Bailey's bottle.  She loves strawberries.  So she created this centerpiece by using a heart die, then cutting a daisy flower die in half and using a leftover scrap for a stem.  Is that not just amazing???



Rows of bling at the top covered the screw on top.  Circle dies cut and draped, then shaped around the neck of the bottle.  A bottom border die.  Lots of leaves to make a vine and the word Hope.


Lots of rhinestones and bling were added and I think the end result is simply stunning!


Amazing what you can do with a few little die cuts (in Amaco's pewter) and an empty bottle!  Wouldn't you love to have this sitting on your counter?  :o)

The artist is Bobbie Broman - a very talented neighbor and dear friend.  Always so much fun to be in the room when Bobbie is there!!!  Now you know why!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Create - a mirror from a recycled frame

It all started when I saw this frame at the thrifty store.  There was even a big chip out of a corner.  But it was half off of $1.99 - so I had to buy it!!!



Can you believe this is the end result?  And that I could almost imagine it like this when I saw it at the thrift store?    First thing I did was decoupage white burlap over the entire frame.  I have learned (finally) to wear plastic gloves when I work with mod podge!!  Sure makes the clean up quick!



The little paper bench is made by using the new Elizabeth Craft Designs garden bench.  It is meant to be a pop-up die cut, but if you cut it out just right, you can fold the arms and legs back and it makes a perfect 3D element.  I think a lot of crafters see a die only as it is meant to be used.  I really try to find other uses.  OK - the truth?  It's my excuse for buying more dies!  LOL!!!

Note the flowers on and under the bench.  Those were made by using 4-6 layers of these dies:
Flowers 1
Flowers 2
Bunch of Flowers 1
Bunch of Flowers 2
Curvy Vines


I cut some in card stock, some in mulberry paper, and some using shimmer sheets.  I totally forgot that I also used the Snowflakes die as a layering element of the flower.  You can see it in the pink shimmer sheets in the bottom flower in this next photo.  I used stickles crystal glitter on the leaves and stuck rhinestones down in the center of some of the flowers.


I like to use netting or mesh in my flowers.  I rolled the edges, pinched the centers, trying to give some dimension to most of the flowers.  Just fun to play with them!


I wanted to show how you can take the leaves right up the side of the bench, stick flowers down in the corner, up under the bottom...just do so much with this die.  I even covered part of the top of it with stickles glitter.


The word "create" at the bottom was a cream colored fabric stitched embellishment.  I layered a copic marker over it and then blended the color using a paper towel soaked in 91% rubbing alcohol.  Love how that turned out as well!

This frame is actually going to be used as a mirror at the scrapbook store so that when you come in and try on the jewelry that's for sale, your face will be framed in this!!!  But I couldn't get the mirror to photograph, so I used this painting.  My mom's mom in 1906, painted by my mom in 1997.  These two women taught me how to create!



Friday, February 14, 2014

Frosted glass

OK, I have to say, I LOVE how this turned out!  It started as a clear glass jar from the thrifty store.  Look at the bottom - it has frills on the glass!  It was sort of scratched up and yellowed with age.  I cleaned it as best as I could and then I airbrushed the inside of the glass with my copic system.



I took some of the double-sided tape  (using a lot of Elizabeth Craft Designs products on this one)  and put the sticky side up and placed the peel-off on top of that.  I've used the brand new doll peel-offs.  Covered it with microfine (cool) glitter, burnished the glitter, cut out the shape, then peeled the back off and stuck it on the outside of the glass.  Note - I airbrushed the inside of the glass.

Next, using q-tips and 91% rubbing alcohol, I removed the "paint" from the inside of the jar where the oval was:


This gives me a totally glittery, frosted look to the glass!




Tied a silk ribbon around the bottom, added some bling, stuck a candle down inside the jar....and I think it's just perfect!

I haven't done a youtube tutorial in quite some time, but this may just be the next one I do!!!


Monday, February 3, 2014

The bottle

The girls at the retreat drank this bottle Friday evening....it's 18" tall!!  And it came from Las Vegas as I understand it.  I had asked to have the empty bottle....



My "theme" for the weekend was dress forms so I decorated the bottle as such.  It is absolutely gorgeous!  Lots of rhinestones, bling, and pewter.


A second bottle showed up so I could compare the 2 together.  Never toss out a bottle again!  Just decorate it!

Around the top is a Spellbinders die in pewter with a layer of rhinestones and a teardrop crystal.

Next is a Spellbinders label with the word "Create" from Elizabeth Craft Designs.

Then an oval die cut with a dress form die cut in the middle of it.

The bottom border is another spellbinders die.  



I'm calling it "the bottle" - don't think you'll ever see another one like it!  :o)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

More cute dolls

It seems I go back and forth between paper arts and dolls.  I do love both!!!  This first one is a Sweet Sue from the 1950s.  She is a walker doll so her head turns as her feet move.  She is the first walker that I have restored and she came out perfect!  I failed to take before shots, but her hair was a mess and her dress had huge holes in it.  I think she came out great!




While the fabric repair is pretty good, I still covered the front with a vintage necklace.  Doesn't she have the sweetest face ever?


Then next to her is a 1970's Madame Alexander doll that I finished last week.  Her name is "Jenny Lind".  I've decided to keep both of these little cuties for the time being.  I just love their dresses!  The Sweet Sue has her original crinoline, shoes and socks and her floral headband is original.


This little girl is another Madame Alexander doll that I found at a thrift store for $2.99.  Her hair was an absolute mess!



But I managed to bring it back to pretty good condition...




and she ended up looking quite cute.  Original dress and hat.  She's missing her shoes and socks.  She will be going up for sale here pretty soon.


I simply got so busy I forgot to take photos.  I also restrung 5 dolls from the 1930s and 40s earlier this week.  Love it when life keeps me this busy and I get to enjoy these vintage dolls!

Our local scrapbook retreat is this weekend so stay tuned for photos of what I've been up to getting ready for a totally fun weekend!!!