"Where there is creativity, there is hope." ~ Donna Karan

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas @ Chronically Creative 2011

 This is just a post full of pictures from over the Christmas weekend. I hope you enjoy them!

Our Christmas tree! This tree is so old, I remember decorating it when I was twelve! You can see straight through it now. We definitely need a new tree, and decorations for that matter. Ah well, it does the job. Mamma Bear did a lovely job decorating the tree.

This is one of the presents that I wrapped. Wrapping presents is my favourite part of Christmas- an excuse to go over the top with ribbon, pretty paper, cute tags and candy canes? Heck, yes!

Our Christmas lunch table. We didn't bother with decorating it this year, it's not very practical when there is so many of us... yes, we had even more people than the table could fit (we add extra chairs at the corners too) so it was squishy enough without all the table decoration crap.

My expedit bookcase is finally all set up. I'm SO excited about this. I couldn't resist decorating it with some tinsel. It had to be pink and purple, of course!

Papa Bear made us a roast chicken dinner for Christmas Eve. Delicious much?

 And what's a Christmas tree without any pretty lights!

I made some Christmas chocolate butternut snap tartlets to wrap up and give as gifts. How stinkin' cute are they? I am so thrilled with how they turned out! They tasted pretty darn great too. I wrapped them up in pretty cellophane with matching ribbon, but I forgot to take a photo in my brain fogged state after spending hours on them (I made heaps). Darn it.

Pretty presents ♥

 Our gorgeous Christmas cups.

Guess who ate most of that fruit platter? Don't put a fruit platter in front of someone who has a fruit addiction. Just sayin'

Me and Mamma Bear ♥ ( I should have just moved the chair instead of leaning awkwardly. Awkward. My face is getting fuller and I'm now forming a double chin thanks to good ole Prednisolone.... I fear I'll morph into a pudding soon... noooooooooo!)

Caramel cheesecake, lemon meringue pie and pavlova from the Cheesecake Shop. I plan on attempting pavlova one of these days, although, I doubt it will turn out anywhere near as amazing.

What I wore.

My Christmas cupcakes turned out a treat! I'm glad because they have stolen all my energy.


I was blessed with some ace pressies! I mainly got cupcake stuff. Yay! I got heaps of baking books and the cutest cupcake apron! Sweet Sister got me a cupcake mug which I love and I even got a massaging foot spa. Oh yeah!

As much as I love Christmas, I am so glad it's over... I'm trashed y'all!

I hope you all had the most wonderful Christmas and I hope you enjoyed all the crafty Christmas posts this year. Here's a recap of all the crafts I posted in case you missed any or wanted to re-visit any:


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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When Chronic Illness Gets You Down

(via google)

Since I've been ill, I've found that this time of year really gets me down. Bad. Don't get me wrong, I'm not some Grinch that hates Christmas, I love everything about it. Shopping for Christmas gifts excites me to no end, although, the pain and fatigue do not. I adore Christmas crafting, gift wrapping, great food and I could go on and on...

'Tis the season to be jolly. This I know. I can be jolly. I can get wrapped up in the excitement of Christmas. My latest blog posts are proof of this; but no amount of cheerful Christmas carols, pretty presents and fabulous food can change the fact that deep down, I'm sad.

The fact that Christmas is so close means that next year is just around the corner. Next year. The future. Another year of being sick. Another year of going around in circles. Another year of the same old boring stuff. I don't know if I can do another year of this.

Chronic illness has got me down in the dumps. Again.

It doesn't help that I'm also struggling a little with Humira side effects and that all the university courses for next year are being advertised. A reminder that I'm twenty three (and a half, if we're being precise) with no qualifications or experience to my name besides retail, and, had things not gone all pear shaped, I would probably be a kindergarten teacher right now.

With next year looming, I find myself longing to do the course that I so desperately want to do.

So here I am again getting my hopes up, looking at the study options and trying to work out a way to somehow cope with study in an attempt to pull myself out of this ditch. I also feel pressured to "do" something next year, and, of course I want to do something, but as much as my mind wants to do something, it's whether my body will follow through that's the problem.

Being ill at a young age can be challenging. It's challenging at any age, but when you're my age- staying at home isn't acceptable. I'm too tired doesn't cut it.

I know that people just want my life to be better than what it is, but they don't realise that I feel pressured. Pressured to do what I can't do yet, and this makes me feel like a failure, like my good enough just isn't good enough.

When it comes to thinking about what I'm going to do next year, I feel overwhelmed. Thinking about next year gets me down. What am I going to do? Where is my life going?

The only place my life seems to be going at the moment is down the drain. Five years, now going on six, of my life lost to stupid illnesses that doctors don't even know how to treat. Years that I can't get back- years that are suppose to be the best years of my life.

The idea of study next year excites me but after looking at my different options- the possibility may not be a reality, and, for another year, I'll have to be OK with that. It's not the study itself that's necessarily the problem (well aside from frustrating brain fog)- it's the study load, the deadlines, the inappropriate class times for a chronic illness sufferer, and keeping at something week after week when I don't have that sort of energy. Oh and there's teaching placement too- working full days teaching kindergarten and primary school children is challenging enough for the healthy.

There are days when I think I could surely manage some part time study, but then there are many days when I think I'm even foolish for entertaining the idea. That said, my options for next year are:

#1. Study a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education part-time at a university in the city: I'm not being negative but I know that this isn't even a realistic option for next year. I've already tried this option three times over the years and failed (and I was even feeling better than I do right now back then). The work load was too much and the travel to and from... not even worth contemplating.

#2. Study a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education part-time online: This seems like a smart sensible option, right? The lecture times won't be an issue because there are none, and I can study at home around pain, fatigue, and side effects. Sounds great in theory, but there are still assignment deadlines and what's worse is that the actual campus is in another state so getting help may be much harder and make it more difficult and stressful for me.

Although the good thing about this course is that teaching placement isn't until second year, so I'd just be at home studying for a year without having to work... but the problem is I don't want to struggle through a year of study only to find out I'm still not fit enough to manage placement. A year of hard work wasted? No thanks.

#3. Study a Certificate III in children's services full-time at a tafe twenty minutes drive from home: I'm pretty bummed they don't offer this course part-time. It might just be doable part-time, but then again there is the issue of placement. Full time it's only three days a week for six months... yeah not really realistic at the moment, but maybe in the future.

I really didn't want to resort to a tafe course when I worked my butt off to get into university. I'd much prefer a degree because then I can work as a kindergarten teacher but I'm now looking at tafe options because the study load will be much more manageable, and it will qualify me to work in childcare centres or as a nanny. Not what I wanted, but it's the next best thing.

The thought of next year scares me, but I've made it a goal to at least sit down with a disability officer from these courses to see if they can make any exceptions for me, like make placement more achievable for me. I'm hoping if I bat my eyelashes and smile sweetly, they'll change the whole course structure just for me. Miracles happen, ya know.

Going by previous years- I've been basically told that I am crazy for even considering studying education with the health issues that I've got going on. But I keep hoping. Knowing that with each year that passes, I'm another closer to achieving my dream. Hope is what keeps me going when chronic illness gets me down.

When chronic illness gets you down, you hold onto hope like never before. You learn to dream bigger, better. When chronic illness gets you down, you fight with gratitude- you find the smallest and simplest of things to be thankful for. You focus on what you can still do and you celebrate the smallest of achievements for what they are- amazing accomplishments. You delight in the good days and learn from the bad.

When chronic illness gets you down, you learn to thrive in the tough times- you get your creative freak on, adapt and find new ways of achieving things. When chronic illness gets you down, you pick yourself back up and carry on, knowing that you're one day closer to health. When chronic illness gets you down, you choose joy and pursue the power of your limitless potential.

*** Post script: It has taken me over two days to draft this post and a few frustrating hours putting it together for publishing. Oh the joy of fatigue and brain fog. And I want to attempt study. Ha. Ha. HA! A girl can dream, right?


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Monday, December 19, 2011

Card Making Monday: Stamped Snowman Card

This is the last Christmas edition of Card Making Monday for this year, I hope you enjoy it! I tried out my new Christmas stamp today! Here is the result:

I am very happy with how it turned out, although, I still need a lot more practice using my copic markers- I've gotta get the technique right, it's so tricky. That's definitely a goal I have for next year. Anyway, how sparkly awesome is this card! It took me a while to get it right- halfway through I changed papers and design. Initially I wanted to heat emboss my snowflake paper (the background paper behind the stamped image) with blue and silver glitter powder. I thought it was a brilliant idea, however, it didn't go do plan at all. I really need a better quality watermark ink pad, I have a craaaappy one, yo. I know what I'm buying in the boxing day sales. Yay! OK... I'm gettin' off track, as usual...

For this card I even got to use some paper that I've had in my stash for years but haven't found a use for yet, so I'm pretty excited about that! For this card I used pre-cut white cardstock, some patterned paper and some glitter paper which I got from Spotlight.

I stamped my image on some white cardstock, cut it out and stuck it down on some blue polka dot paper which I embossed with snowflakes using my beloved cuttlebug. I used Stickles clear glitter glue to decorate the border of the stamp and the snowflakes.

I used a snowflake punch to cut out some snow flakes from some gorgeous pearlescent paper, stuck them down in random spots and decorated with some pearls. Pretty!

And of course I couldn't resist adding some sparkly ribbon!

Materials used: White cardstock, patterned paper, polka dot paper, pearlescent paper, silver glitter paper, cuttlebug snowflake embossing folder, snowman stamp, Memento ink in Tuxedo black, Stickles clear glitter glue, small snowflake punch, Merry Xmas silver flat sticker, Kaisercraft self adhesive pearls in Denium, The Paper Mill silver speckle ribbon, Orange watercolour pencil, Copic sketch markers in Honey and Process Blue.

with flash

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Poetry and Praise: In Your Sight

In Your Sight

In your sight I am alright
You are watching over me
There is nothing you don't see
In your presence I am free
In your presence I love to be
In you I delight
I worship you with all my might
I am never out of your sight
You see me through the darkest night
And I know everything's alright
For I am precious in your sight

© 2008 by Emily Ruth


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Thursday, December 15, 2011

On second thought, maybe a walk wasn't such a good idea.

I've made it my mission to get out and about more seeing as back pain isn't as troublesome these days. You know, getting fit and all that. I've even kept up the exercise since I stopped going to the gym some months ago now and since I don't have a scheduled work-out time with an exercise physiologist, I can exercise on my good days rather than on my bad.

I only saw an exercise physiologist following advice from a fatigue specialist, but it just didn't work for me. Exercising on my worst days just seemed ludicrous- I'd come home from the gym, lump myself on a chair and cry, feeling so damn awful. And they'd wonder why I wasn't improving. Un-freaking-believable.

I'm much more happier now that I'm just exercising on my good days and when I feel I can. I enjoy it more (mentally speaking that is, physically... well that's another story). The aftermath, not so. I wish I could say that all this getting active is improving my fatigue but alas, I am feeling pretty darn crap-tacular. I've been getting out for a walk at least once a week, and, on top of that I'll go out to the shops too. Some weeks I can manage to get out of the house between two and four times, which is an incredible improvement, but just because I can manage that, doesn't mean that I am coping with it.

There have been some weeks when I just haven't been able to exercise because Humira side effects have held me hostage but when I have been able to, I have found myself feeling even more worse for wear because of it. I'm beginning to think Humira side effects and exercise just don't gel. Maybe I need to rest more and give it more time, I don't know but what I do know is Humira has increased my fatigue dramatically. Just what a CFS sufferer needs.
I need one of these. Pronto.

I've recently had a few shocking weeks with fatigue and good ole brain fog, so when I had a good day the other day, I took the opportunity to go for a short walk in the afternoon sun. Wrong move. I spent the rest of the day feeling not so fabulous. The following day, a pain flare rocked up at my doorstep and last night I even had to crack open some codeine, and I still had trouble sleeping.

Today, I've been feeling less than lovely but I bravely ventured to the shops because Christmas presents aren't going to buy and wrap themselves. Besides, I wanted to get out for a bit- beyond the four walls of my craft studio. There is after all, a world outside of glue and glitter. Now I'm feeling something shocking. Every time I go out, or every time I exercise I end up feeling dreadful- to the point where I feel like dying can't be any worse. To top things off, for some unknown reason, the stabbing chest pain has decided to make a return.

'Tis the season to be jolly.

I'm all for exercise, but not when it has me up in the night trying to get aches and pangs of pain under control I'm not. I'm not for exercise when it leaves me feeling like I'd rather die for days following. This is where I draw the line. Right here I am drawing the line. I used to be able to exercise despite pain and fatigue but suddenly my symptoms spiraled out of control- forcing me to stop. There is a reason why that happened and if being a lazy sloth didn't cause my downward spiral, how in heck is it going to get me out of it?

I need to exercise. I want to exercise. However, I also don't want to feel like this. So I'm stopping the exercise. I'm going back to my doctors' to discuss this whole exercise issue. Surely there must be something they can do to help me feel more human... Humira has me feeling oh so horrid. It has helped a lot with the back pain, but it's making me feel so strange. This is a temporary setback though, I have to believe that. I'm going to get back to exercising, I'm going to get my strength back and I'm going to get better. It's days like today that make me determined.


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Monday, December 12, 2011

Card Making Monday: Lace Tree Christmas Card {design #1}

Papa Bear re-arranged my craft studio and set up my expedit storage yesterday! All that is left to do now is to put up some shelves. It's so exciting!! This morning I managed to find some new homes for things and make a start on getting more organised. With that out of the way, I sat down this afternoon to create a card and this is what I came up with:

Oh my golly gosh was this card a challenge to make. It took me five attempts to get this result and still the ink is smudged in places. Ink embossing with a cuttlebug folder that does not have a full pattern is ridiculously difficult as I discovered today.

I think that is about as good as it's going to get. This card really did my head in. It still turned out so pretty though, so I'm really happy. I just love the colours, and of course, I just couldn't resist adding some pearls!

Materials used: white cardstock, multi-coloured metallic ink pad, cuttlebug machine, lace tree embossing folder, adhesive pear strip.

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