Monday, July 24, 2017

Thanks from Soft Sayings

This beautiful yet simple card was whipped up using the stamp set that comes with the Soft Sayings Card Kit from the Annual Catalog. It can be found on pages 10-11 in the US Annual Catalog.

I repeatedly stamped the THANKS image in the Basic Gray ink spot that comes in the kit. Its an all inclusive kit, which means all the supplies needed are included, except the adhesive. ink, stamps, papers, ribbons, washi and an acrylic block to use with the stamp set. And a cute storage box!

I stamped the flowers in 2 of the new In Colors - Powder Pink and Lemon Lime Twist. There was plenty of the bakers twine ribbon left, even after this card, from the kit to make several more projects.

The cards are gorgeous!

Pieces in the kit

And for at the first time ever, drumroll please, the kit has a refill! Yes, more paper, ribbon and washi at a $21.00 pricetag is pretty darn awesome.

Supplies: 145466 Soft Sayings Card Kit $35.00, 145387 Soft Sayings Refill $21.00

Add on a pack of Whisper White cardstock (100730 $9.00) and White envelopes $7.00 to your kit order and you are already over $50.00 to get your $5 coupon for August purchases. Remember, it is BONUS DA'YS this July. For every $50.00 in merchandise purchased, you get a $5.00 coupon to use for August. Coupon will be emailed to you. Save it for August.

Knee update: had a major setback Saturday evening. Details unimportant. But I have mostly been grounded to the bedroom by my family. Thank goodness I had a bucket of cards that had already been cut and stamped that I can assemble while I wait out my prison sentence..... Just kidding.

Thanks for stopping by. Purchase your Soft Sayings card kit today! ~Sandy

Thank you for stopping by today!

Keep being creative, Sandy

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Soft Flowers - Soft Sayings Card Kit Alternate

This project was created using our prepackaged 3x5 notecards and the stamp set from the Soft Sayings Card kit. Which is a fabulous card kit, gorgeous actually.

Laid up tonight with knee issues. See previous post if you are curious about that. More to come on the Soft Sayings Card kit. Whats not to love!

Thanks for stopping by, Sandy

Thank you for stopping by today!

Keep being creative, Sandy

What Would You Do?

What Would You Do?

Here is an update on Hank, my right knee. It is likely to be my last update for a month.

I have had two doctors appointments in since my last update, today and a week ago. Last week I met Dr. Horst, an orthopedic surgeon working at Tria. 

He asked me some questions, listened, investigated, ordered more tests, and seemed genuinely concerned about the state of my knee and getting to the bottom of the cause.

One of the investigatory things he did was to actually examine and move my knee. For the past four years the doctors listen to part of what i have to offer, look at my chart, look at whatever X-rays I had on file and make their diagnosis. No physical exam, no hands on. And for me the patient, it sounds like, not my department.  

Upon investigation, he did warn me, but he moved my knee side to side. Let me explain the movement, holding my femur steady, moved my lower leg side to side. There was a string of bad words as he committed this atrocity to me. Your knee should not be able to move side to side, ever. He was checking to see if my tibial implant, the lower part of the knee replacement, was loose. 

What the doctor didn’t know, or see, was what he did, and I am glad he did it to truly check out the situation, caused me the worst pain I have ever felt. It was the worst five to ten seconds of my life. And I know pain. I walked around for five and a half weeks and three weeks, respectively, with ruptured disc pieces floating in my spinal column. I gave birth to a child whose head did not squeeze down as it should as the skull bones were fused causing third degree lacerations. I have paddled through the BWCA with an appendicitis. I know pain. And this was otherworldly. I did the thing where you keep replaying it in your brain, over and over, when I got home. Rory finally gave me something to knock me out, or probably, shut me up. It continues to replay in my brain on occasion. Probably will for the rest of my life. 

I felt no ill will towards the doctor for doing what he did, first doctor to actually really investigate and examine. 

The doctor ordered some blood tests, looking for signs of infection. I had to ask him, if there actually an infection what happens. They have to pull all the parts, clean things out and put new parts in. A complete replacement. And every time you go in there, you risk more infection, blood clots, more scar tissue, less bone to work with, and so on. In other words, it is something you do not want to do unless you are absolutely sure that is warranted.

Here is a brief history, if you are not familiar with my story. 
  • Up until 2013 degenerative osteoarthritis progressing in both knees. Maximum lifetime of corticosteroids reached. Supartz replacement disc tried. 
  • July 2013 fall in Salt Lake City, leading to a hot spot of pain on my knee, still present in a hot spot. 
  • September 2013 total knee replacement R knee. Hank is born.
  • Post replacement, hot spot continues to be a problem. Coincidence or not.
  • Mid September 2014 - Second physical therapy post op appointment. Therapist pulls and manipulates knee to beyond 90 degrees siting there is no reason a patient cannot achieve a full range of motion within the first 30 days post op. This is after I am in tears and screaming at him to stop because the pain was unbearable. He refused to stop until I started to kick toward him with my other foot. Not sure if there was damage from this. In theory this should not have let the glue loose, and likely didn’t. But the hot spot of pain had finally started to settle down until he did this. 
  • February 2014 total knee replacement L knee. Heisenberg is born.
  • May 2014, noted with doctor hot spot hurts. X-rays show nothing terribly unusual.
  • Post both physical therapy is not able to give me a good range of motion.  Pain is increasing in right knee hot spot. Life continues. I do what movement I can, which is limited due to poor range of motion. Noted to family and a few medical people, it feels like the joint is sliding around. I could stand and squeeze my quad really tight and make my knee straight and it felt like it slid into my tibia. 
  • April 2015 major fall. I actually slid underneath my car because my knee buckled, right knee. Seek urgent care. New X-rays are ordered. Shows a slight possibility that the glue on the implant let loose in the area of my hot spot. Suspect shadowing under the tibial implant, to be exact.
  • Summer 2015, pain growing at a monthly rate.
  • Fall 2015 seek advise from trusted source in Orthopedic Surgery, a physicians assistant. Meet with initial surgeon also. He puts in an order for a revision, just replacing the tibial component, though zero guarantees that is the cause of the pain. PA also sends me to Rheumatology, Podiatry and a few other specialties, just to be sure that there is not another root cause. All negative. No one orders new X-rays. Only Rheumatology tests are ordered. Knee now bends to the left and into my L knee when I walk causing me to further swing my leg out to walk. Otherwise it feels like it pushes the other leg out of the way. Its weird and getting more uncomfortable. 
  • Winter 2016 - June 2017, pain is progressing and problematic. Mobility is decreasing. Days I can hardly move. Range of motion of both knees barely reaches 60 degrees. The world, as I have learned, is set up for people with a minimum of a 90 degree range of motion. I now use a rollator often to get around, mobility scooters help but you need to be able to sit with a 90 degree bend in your knees. Cannot stand for more than a half minute at best, making showers challenging, and standing in lines a bit of a pickle. Must fly first class due to having enough room to straighten my legs in flight and be able to get in and out of seat. Again a 90 degree world issue. Sitting too long has its own problems and complicates the situation also. No new X-rays ordered. Nadda happened. I took a break from running around looking for a diagnosis. Mentally I needed the break from dead ends. Gait is unsteady and unusual due to the odd V sideways gait. It is painful to watch myself walk in windows and mirrors. It just looks so darn wrong. 
  • June 15, 2017 I was having a fairly low pain day. I was flying back from Albuquerque and decided to take advantage of my low pain day. Normally I get airport assistance, again, the 90 degree bend in the knees thing in a wheelchair exacerbates the pain in fun ways. I decided to forego all help and walked half of the ABQ airport (small airport), landed at the farthest gate at MSP, pretty sure we were in Wisconsin, and walked. Walked all over the airport (it was admittedly starting to hurt quite a bit but felt good to be ambulatory). Walked all the way out to the park & ride pick up zone. Walked to get dinner. Walked a bit more. And finally I had had enough and I was home. Came home and rested a few hours. By midnight my knee was a raging ball of pain like I hadn’t felt since I fell in Salt Lake. By morning, the nature of it was changing, instead of it being a hot spot, it was a bright sun, with a hot center and pain rays radiating out in many directions, including up my thigh and down into my ankle. My other knee was now bearing the brunt of my weight and Heisenberg was cranky because of that. 
  • June 16-29, 2017 I treated this as a flare up from overuse, as one would imagine after the 2.65 miles I supposedly walked (or more) that one day. Not a huge amount of walking, a significant amount for me though. 
  • June 29, 2017 pain continues to increase, not decrease. It is time to see a doctor. Acute Injury Clinic visit. X-rays, etc. And scheduled appointment with Orthopedic Surgeon. Acute doctor sees that shadow, and it looks darker now than it did in April 2015. I switch from Motrin to Aspirin for pain management. I find it reduces inflammation a lot better with me. Oh, Lyme test was negative, but it was worth testing for it.
  • July 14, 2017 Meet Dr. Horst. He listened, he tested. He examined physically. He seem to truly care. He was also not quick to diagnose. He took a very thorough and methodological approach to diagnosis. He wanted to be sure before he said any more to me. He also twisted the shit out of my knee, creating an even greater level of pain and in new areas. I ended up taking a narcotic, partly due to pain, which was riding above a ten after that, mostly trying to forget the twisting motion. He was right to do that, and I would never encourage it, heck no, but it did show that possibly the joint was loose. And that Sandy has reached her lifetime pain tolerance. I was left mostly bedridden for the week. Knee very unstable, aside from the pain issue, hip irritated, and just generally miserable. 
  • July 21, 2017 Today. Follow up appointment with Dr. Horst. Zero signs of infection. I was relieved. He reviewed the results of the bone scan.  His interpretation was that the radioactive uptake was far stronger in the right leg.  The radiologist hadn’t thought significant.  He ordered one last set of X-rays, a full leg length, before giving his diagnosis.  He also had me move my knee one last time for him, to test if the tendon was still viable. It is.

Okay, so the end result is he recommended a revision of the tibial plateau piece of the knee replacement for Hank. He still suspects the glue let loose in the area of the hot spot of pain.   Unfortunately, knee revisions are generally a much more painful ordeal than an initial revision, though given my current pain he acknowledged it might not be much worse that I was already experiencing.  It also brought additional risks:  Risks of additional infection, scar tissue, a potential worsening or non-improvement in my already limited range of motion, would require lengthening the incisions both at the top and bottom, possibly breaking through the bone to get the current implant out and repairing it afterward as my range of motion would limit bending the knee, and most notably, it was not guaranteed to fix my specific issue.  It was a hell of a lot to take in. I did throw up in my mouth a little as he explained all of this to me. 

As I left the clinic, I let the tears flow as they should.  I am scared, confused and unsure of my future. There are huge risks to any surgery, any joint replacement surgery, and the risks compound with revision surgery. Right now the surgery is scheduled for August 21st, ironically what would be my mothers 88th birthday, if she were still alive. Maybe that is a prophecy of a good thing, a bad thing (you would have had to known my mother well) or just a date on the calendar.  

Looking at the Xray, the implant in question looks to be in the tibia at a funny angle, whether that is common or not, I am not sure, and two surgeons and others have poo pood it as significant. I do notice that my Right pelvic bone is tilted, a chronic problem. Did that contribute to the pressure on the knee, especially given my Right foot drop? Difficult to say, and I am not even sure there is an answer or whom I would ask for an answer, as the hip would involve Neurosurgery and reflects back to my first back rupture surgery, which was, shall we say, hmmm... Lets just leave that one open right now.

Rory and I spent the evening discussing and researching. Would going to a Pain Clinic provide a cause, a fix or a cure? Would Seeing Mayo really provide a different outcome, given the diagnostic results? The 90 minute car ride to Mayo sounds like Hell on Earth right now. Is there a discipline that has been missed getting an opinion from? The end of the discussion is there is no magic smoking gun. I enter the surgery at my own risk. Not having the surgery, my quality of life continues to erode, really leaving the only option, if it is an option, if not the only option, of risking the revision surgery. Long term pain management means narcotics, which is a zero option with me. Period. End of discussion.

So, my friends, I truly am asking you, what would you do? Would you risk the surgery knowing the outcome is murky, and could potentially make it worse? I really want to know what you would do. 

Thank you for stopping by today!

Keep being creative, Sandy

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Christmas in July for You!

Who doesn't love an early celebration?

Ho, ho, ho! Our Christmas in July promotion makes it easier than ever to sign up to be a demonstrator! Your new recruits will receive a FREE Essentials Gift Pack including Paper Snips, SNAIL Adhesive, Grid Paper, two D Blocks (one for them and one for a stamping friend!), and a Bone Folder. That’s an added value of $52 US/$68 CAN! And to give your recruits a taste of the perks of being a demonstrator, we will also include the Carols of Christmas Stamp Set from the holiday catalog for FREE ($20 US/$26 CAN)! With so many basic items provided for them, they’ll be able to get their brand, new business off to a fast start—and spend their Starter Kit dollars on things like their favorite stamp sets and accessories!

This is the amazing stamp set you can get for FREE!

WAIT! There is more free items!

Essentials Gift Pack
D Block (X2)
Grid Paper
Paper Snips
SNAIL Adhesive
Bone Folder
How do you get all this for FREE? Join my team for $99 (plus tax) and get this fantastic bonus. Let's not forget you can choose what is in your starter kit, worth $125 of items. 

What is holding you back from joining? Great company. Great benefits. Great opportunity. Join for the discount, stay for the fun!

Thank you for stopping by today!

Keep being creative, Sandy

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Pen is the Tongue of the Mind - Horace

I think I am in love with this stamp set and watercoloring with re-inkers and an aqua painter!

This was another simple to create card using the Crafting Forever stamp set which meets our *Angel Policy guidelines.

I used about 3 drops of re-inker in a container and a few drops of water to create this Lemon Lime watercolor wash for the card layer. I made sure my aqua painter was quite wet before spreading it on the white paper. It was a fairly thick coat of wash that I applied. Make sure you have a silicon craft sheet or something else underneath your paper before doing the wash. I applied it so heavy it soaked through the paper a bit. Set aside to dry for at least a half hour, or use a heat tool to speed up the process.

Then stamp your image on the wash layer. You want to make sure that paper is completely dry before stamping or your image that is stamped in black will bleed and ruin that entire sheet of paper.

Gentle reminder that July is Bonus Days with Stampin' Up! Every $50.00 US in merchandise you spend you get a $5.00 coupon that will be emailed to you to use for shopping in August. And in August this stamp set will be available for the general public to pre-order before the release of the Holiday Catalog 2017 on September 1st! Get shopping now.

Stamps: Crafting Forever  • 9 rubber stamps 143955 $28.00 (wood blocks included) • 143958 $20.00 (suggested clear blocks: a, b, c, d, g) Available in French
Inks: Memento Black Memento Pad & Refill Tuxedo Black. Acid free.Pad • 132708 $6.00 Refill (0.5 fl. oz.) • 133456 $5.00, 144091 Lemon Lime Twist re-inker $3.75 144092
Papers: Whisper White 100730 $9.00, Basic Black cardstock 121045 $8.00, 
Accessories:  Aqua Painters 103954 2 pack $17.00, Layering Circles Framelits $35.00 141705, Silicone Craft  Sheet 127853 $6.00, Heat Tool 129053 $30.00, 

Health update: I am counting down the hours until I see the orthopedic surgeon on Friday. Sleep is elusive as I cannot get comfortable. I have more odd shaped pillows and whatnot to try and get comfortable and it really isn't working.

I did not get down to my studio today. Sad for me :-( and no matter what that is unusual for me. I do get down there to do something most days. Which is probably why I end up with a large volume of projects and many not getting every shared here. LOL!!!

Thanks for stopping by today. Please share if you try the watercolor wash technique, which is an old technique, by the way. But watercoloring is making a resurgence right now.

Keep on being your creative best, Sandy


*You can sell projects you’ve made with Stampin’ Up! copyrighted images if they include “© Stampin’ Up!” on them (see Crafting Forever Stamp Set below).
To learn more, visit or talk to your demonstrator.  

Stampin' Up! welcomes artists who would like to use our copyrighted images in their own handmade craftwork and other projects that they produce to sell. Therefore, we give permission in the form of a limited license to use any Stampin' Up! images for the purpose of creating items for sale, under the following criteria: 
  1. Handmade craftwork created for sale must be personally and individually created by the selling artist and may not be reproduced or copied in any form by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying. Mass production, assembly-line construction, production by workers for hire, or syndication of craftwork for sale is strictly prohibited. Digitally created projects intended for sale must be personally created by the selling artist.
  2. All of Stampin' Up!'s images are copyrighted, which means that they may not be copied without permission. To help protect the rights granted by these copyrights, all items for sale using Stampin' Up! images must be marked with one of the images from the official Stampin' Up! Limited License stamp sets shown in the catalog, or the digital copyright image included in the My Digital Studio program, or available online.
  3. There are no quantity limits for for-sale, handmade craftworks that abide by the restrictions as stated in this policy. However, you may only sell 150 total individual items per calendar year of printed projects that were digitally created containing Stampin' Up! images unless other permission has been requested and granted. Calendars, cards, photo books, or other digitally created projects apply to this limit.
  4. Completed, handmade or digitally created projects may be sold at competitive and non-competitive permanent retail locations, as well as temporary craft events, community fundraisers, and over the Internet. In selling handmade or digitally created projects, the seller must make it clear that the items are handmade or personally created by the seller, and not a product of the company. The seller may indicate that the supplies used are from Stampin' Up!, but the Stampin' Up! logo may not be used in any way for the sole purpose of promoting the sale of handmade or digitally created projects. 
  5. You may not use Stampin' Up! images for the purpose of creating logos or company trademarks. 
  6. Digital files of any type containing Stampin' Up! images may not be sold under any condition. 
  7. Persons creating handmade or digitally created items for sale are responsible for complying with any state and local business and tax regulations.
  8. Persons participating in this angel policy assume all liability for suitability of their work and agree to indemnify Stampin' Up! from disputes arising from their work. 
  9. Stampin' Up! is a Utah corporation. The laws of the State of Utah govern the policy. The state and federal courts for Salt Lake County, Utah, will have exclusive jurisdiction over any proceeding arising from this policy and Salt Lake County, Utah shall be the exclusive venue. Any failure by Stampin' Up! to enforce any of its rights will not constitute a waiver of such rights.

Does not apply to projects that are gifted or used in your home, only if money exchanges hands.

Thank you for stopping by today!

Keep being creative, Sandy