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

Monday, December 31, 2012

The most popular posts of 2012

I've been going back through all the posts I've published this year. For the first time it feels great to have done this. It's amazing to look back and see how far I've come. I've made so much progress this year. Progress I really didn't expect to make. Yes, there were a lot things I couldn't do, but there has also been many things that I have been able to do too.
Year after year I have been left disappointed by what I still haven't achieved, and another new year has only been daunting, but this year I am proud of what I've achieved, and I am feeling much more positive about next year.
There have been many times this year when I have struggled and have been mighty tempted to give up, but the good has far outweighed the bad. 2012 was the year when I lived the life of a healthy person for a week and did what I thought I wouldn't be able to do. It was the year that I celebrated my strength in singleness and admired my achievement of keeping a blog going for two years. It was the year I attempted working again and had to swallow my pride and admit defeat. It was the year that I actually won something decent, and enjoyed seeing Lady Gaga in concert.
It was the year I discovered that dexamphetimine is a horrible drug. It was the year I tried new hairstyles and failed. Miserably. It was the year I learnt to double check for drug interactions. It was the year I started graded exercise therapy, and successfully achieved my exercise goals. It was the year I gave chronic illness the finger. It was the year that I dreamt big fat crazy dreams and found hope in the little things. It was the year I kicked social anxiety's ass and spoke at Sweet Nan's memorial service.
I've survived another year of chronic pain and fatigue more motivated and determined than ever. Proud I am.
I am proud of these posts that I've worked hard on during the year too. Here's what has been the most popular in 2012...
Counting down the ten most popular blog entries:

Counting down the ten most popular crafty posts of 2012:




Wishing you all a fab new year, darlings! ♥




Sunday, December 30, 2012

I survived another christmas with chronic fatigue

I've survived another christmas with CFS. Just. Here's proof...
We had the usual family christmas lunch. Nothing exciting. It was quite boring to be honest. I wasn't really feeling the best so I'm glad it's over. I always seem really good at overdoing things at christmas time. Oh heck. Exhausted is an understatement. I'm still struggling. I really shouldn't have taken on as much as I did, you think I would have learnt by now, but I just can't help myself when it comes to christmas shopping and baking- I did enjoy these activities greatly.
I do love gift giving, too. I get a bit carried away with the excitement, which probably explains my insanity in going late night shopping. I'm talking 11pm. I thought it would be quieter, and it actually was! But just some advice if you have chronic fatigue and arthritis- don't go shopping really late at night. Just don't. Or you may just find yourself limping to your car crying.
The four christmas shopping trips I made this month were worth it though. I was really happy with the gifts that I gave. I especially love what I got Sweet Sister. I made her a uni survival kit for next year.
You can't go wrong with a cute mug filled with chocolates, lip gloss and cool stationary. I wrapped it up in pretty cellophane. Adorable gift, no? She's so excited about studying next year.
While I was looking for an arty gift for Brother Bear, I stumbled across some scrapbooking paper that I really liked. I didn't end up finding anything for my brother that day, but I did come home with a bag full of paper to play with. Why is it that when you're looking for a present you always find things for yourself instead?
I love how scrapbook papers are double sided.
These papers are all by My memories.
I received some pretty cool things, too. I scored some baking goodies and a few pretty girly things. I got given a ridiculous amount of gift cards this year as well. I have so many!
I've already spent two in the boxing day sales. My grandad sent me a gift card in the mail. Inside the card it says "Have a ball". Have a ball I did- spent it the same day I got it. I'm enjoying my new super soft pillows and cushions. So blessed.
My new european cushions. So comfy.
For christmas day I baked chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese peppermint candy cane frosting. I also made some truffles to give as gifts- chocolate coconut balls, milk chocolate candy cane truffles and white chocolate candy cane truffles.
I gave them in these cute gift boxes..
I was super happy with how they turned out, although people were complaining that they were too sweet, so I don't think I'll be wasting my energy on baking these again. I'll save it for those that I know have a big sweet tooth.
I survived, people. I survived. Now excuse me while I go collapse in a heap on the couch.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The day I gave chronic illness the finger

The thing I'm most proud of doing this year was driving into the city and checking out the Craft & Quilt Fair. ALL BY MYSELF! This is a pretty big deal for me, people! Usually I don't dare attempt these events on my own because I am too scared, but this year, I had no one to go with and I really wanted to go.
So, I gave chronic illness and social anxiety the finger, put on my big girl boots and went.
What makes this achievement even more amazing is that I drove into the city haven never driven in there before. Not the wisest thing to do with chronic fatigue, but the strangest confidence and determination came over me, and I thought that driving would be more energy efficient than taking public transport which involved driving to the station, catching two trains, a tram, and a twenty minute walk.
I had to park in a massive car park that had a ticketing system and I've never done this before either. Car parks of these size usually scare me (I really didn't have much experience with them as a learner). I'm usually terrified when someone is with me, but that day, I drove in like I had done it countless times before and knew where I was going.
The real miracle was that I did all this while battling brain fog and I didn't get lost! I am never driving that distance again though, I tell you! Never again.
I payed dearly for that day. I felt extra sickly for weeks and some days the post exertional malaise was so bad that I just wanted to die.
But I did it because I so badly wanted to go. I so wanted to enjoy myself for one day, and enjoy myself I did.
The show was beyond amazing. The inspiration was incredible. I learnt so much and got so many new ideas. I bought a new craft toy- a scoring board (which I'll show you later on), some pretty papers and some beautiful beyond the page projects to work on.
These paper were too gorgeous not to buy. I'm thinking pretty birthday cards.
Cute christmas papers.
I'm planning to use the girly paper for a scrapbook page and the teddy paper for some adorable cards.
I have a new flower die cut to play with. This one is by Marianne design.
As soon as I saw the display all done up of this clock I knew I had to make it for my craft studio wall. It's a Twiddleybitz Steampunk Clock. Their stand was delicious!
These papers are great for journalling or scrapping. So beautiful.

I called my Mama a couple of times throughout the afternoon just because I was so excited by what I saw. It was so nice just walking around the stalls and soaking up the creativity. My head was so full by the end that I had a headache!
I even got brave and attended a cardmaking class too. I would have never done that a few years ago. I think I'm officially all grown up. I really loved the class. It was focused on using tags to make simple and quick cards. Brain fog friendly craft. I'd have never of thought to use tags in my cardmaking as I always thought they were more for scrapbooking. Such a clever idea. Here's what I made:
I don't really like the design of this card, but I do think using washi tape as a border is a great idea. The grey decorative tag down the bottom is supposed to be matching, I accidentally tore the green one I was given. Ooops!
Now this card I like a lot. I need to make another one though as this one is such poor quality. The class was really rushed. I needed to cut more twine for that banner, it does look quite ridiculous. Ha!
This card is my favourite out of the three. I want to buy that border punch. It's quite fabulous!
This was the day I proved to myself that I am confident and independent. That even though I'm exhausted and in pain, I can function like a normal person for a day. I may be a bit broken, but my body still works.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Oh Happy Day

"I love you, Lord, you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety." ~ Psalm 18:1-2
One of my Nan's favourite scriptures which was featured on the front page of the order of service booklet at her memorial service.
Last month I kicked CFS and social anxiety's ass when I spoke at Sweet Nan's memorial service. That's right, I got up in front of family, acquaintances, and people I've never met before and delivered a three page tribute speech, speaking into a microphone. And I somehow managed to not cry while reading it. So many people assured me that I didn't look nervous, but boy did I feel it! I wasn't even sure if I was reading what I had written down correctly. For all I knew it could have made no sense at all- I was too busy freaking out!
But I did it. And going by the countless compliments I received I must have done a good job. I'm extremely proud of myself and I'm sure Nan would be too.
It was a beautiful service. The pastor of the church we attended with Nan was kind enough to conduct the service and did a wonderful job. Some of the tribute speeches were giggle worthy. We ended the service singing Happy Day by Tim Hughes. It was Nan's favourite song.
The bite sized sweets served after the service were delicious. I'm sure Nan would have approved- she always made sure she had some nice desserts to serve.
It was a happy celebration, exactly what Sweet Nan wanted.
This was my tribute speech:
If my Nan were here today, she would say to me "Oh that's a pretty dress, I haven't seen that, now where did you buy that one?" She was always asking me that question, and nine times out of ten, I'd reply with "I can't remember, I've had this for years". Yes, I have that many clothes that I can wear something and it won't be seen again for a year or two - so Nan would usually assume that I was wearing something new.
Whenever I visited she would compliment me on the colour of my outfit, feel the fabric and admire the lovely lace and pretty ruffles. In recent years, whenever she asked me where I bought my pretty top from, she would throw her hands up, shrug her shoulders and say "Let me guess - had it for years".
Even when I saw her in hospital a month ago, she told me how pretty the top and cardigan I was wearing were and she wanted to know where I bought them from. As usual, I told her "Oh these aren't new, I've had these for years too." This time she just rolled her eyes and shook her head. I'll never forget that look she gave me.
Today though, I'd tell her that my dress is new. She would probably say "Oh it's lovely isn't it! That colour looks nice on you".
I bought this dress to wear especially for her today, because today is a celebration, and what's a celebration without a new party dress?
To me every weekend seemed like a celebration of sorts with her around. Every single Saturday, my family and I would burst through her back door and sit down to enjoy the scrumptious lunch she had prepared for us. It had been our family tradition ever since I was little, and she liked to make sure we were well fed. There was always plenty of food on the table. Anyone would think that we hadn't eaten much in a month, it was like a Christmas feast every weekend without fail. We would always be taking home left overs. And during the week, I would have to work really hard to keep the kilos off.
Nan always made Saturday's special. During my final years in high school, her lunches were what I looked forward to most every week. They became a real treat, especially during exam time. We would sit in the back room, stuff our faces and chat until mid afternoon. I always sat next to Nan and she would have her usual banana sandwich along with a cup of tea. I very rarely saw her eat anything that she had made for us.
Things that she enjoyed cooking regularly were fish pie, chicken broccoli, lasagna, and meat pie. She usually put a couple of those dishes on the table along with a salad, a plate of party pies and sausage rolls, and a pot of rice. If we were lucky there were even hot dogs, too.
And then there were the tempting desserts, that no matter how hard you tried, you just couldn't resist. She would usually bake a chocolate cake and cover the icing with flake chocolate. Sometimes she would make a chocolate ripple cake. The cakes would sit on the kitchen bench next to a huge plate filled with biscuits, vanilla slices and tarts that she had bought from the bakery. Some weeks she even made chocolate balls that were flat instead of round. She did this because one time she made them, and for some reason, she didn't roll them into a proper ball and they turned out flat- my sister found this quite amusing, so she continued to make them flat, just for her. We called them flat balls.
Nan was always warning us that her cake was very dry and the rice very gluggy, even though it was perfect every time. Even after all of that food, she would still offer us icecreams from her freezer - our pick of a magnam or gaytime.
Whenever I drove up to visit her during the week she was offering me chocolate biscuits and she always made sure I knew that there was apple juice in the fridge for me. I rarely said no to the food, not because I had no self control but because for some reason, I always felt guilty saying no. She loved and enjoyed spoiling us. Even when she was in hospital starting her chemo treatment she was loading me up with the biscuits someone had brought her for me to take home.
If one of us had a birthday she would make sure that she prepared a special meal that we liked. One year she cooked me a roast for lunch - it was her speciality. Everyone knows that she cooked the most amazing kick ass roast with the most beautiful vegetables and mashed potato I have ever tasted. The mashed potato was particularly divine, especially considering that I don't like potatoes all that much. It was by far the best birthday meal I have had and ever will have. I'll always remember the taste.
My Nan would have to have been one of the most cooler-than-cool-trendy, in-tune-with-the-times, elderly person on the planet. She enjoyed watching the same television dramas as I did - Downton Abbey and Revenge. Whenever I visited, she would ask me if I'd seen that weeks episode and we would talk about the shocking scandals, and how clever and talented the actors and writers are to draw us in and have us so engaged every week.
She was also the most sweetest soul. A week before she went to be with God, barely awake, she wanted me to know how much she loved the last cake I had baked for her. Our last conversation was about cake.
She was always asking about everyone even when she was struggling the most. A few years ago straight after she had surgery, my Mum came home and told me that she was asking about how my first day at university went.
When I was young and had to have surgery, she would send my Mum home with a gift bag filled with goodies and a few of my favourite things. As a fruit lover, I've never forgotten the excitement of finding a mango or two in amongst the treats.
Nan has given me so many memories that I'll cherish. She brought such joy into my life. Joy that I'll carry with me the rest of my life.
As a child, I remember the sleepovers and fun that we had. I always looked forward to sleeping over, especially in the middle of winter. She would turn on the spare bed's electric blanket a couple of hours before she tucked me into bed so that it was really warm. She would turn it off before saying goodnight and switching off the light. The warmth of an electric blanket back then was a real luxury for me as I wasn't allowed to have one as I wasn't old enough nor responsible enough. In the morning, Nan would have those fun sized cocoa pops, fruit loops and nutra-grain cereal boxes ready for us to consume- a bowl full of sugar that Mum normally wouldn't allow.
In my early teenage years I admired my Nan's beautiful cursive handwriting. I wanted to write just like her, and I begged her to teach me. One morning after I slept over, she gave me a demonstration, handed me a whole heap of paper and told me it would take lots and lots of practise. Throughout my high school years I practised and by the time I reached year 10 it felt more natural for me to write in cursive. My friends and teachers were always telling me how beautiful my handwriting was- so thanks Nan!
In more recent years she taught me how to knit. When I began, she raided her knitting stash and sent me home with a bag full of needles and practise yarn. Sometimes I'd sit and knit next to her after lunch on a Saturday in case I made a mistake. Whether I somehow added an extra 5 stitches, or dropped 10, she always knew how to fix the mess I had made.
What I loved and admired most about my Nan was her faith. It was always a comfort to know that I had her praying for me.
Her trust in God and her love for Him, especially throughout her cancer treatment this year was something that has helped me in my own struggles and walk with God. I wrote a poem earlier this year about finding faith in spite of the unrelenting weariness I was facing when all I felt like doing was giving up and letting my faith go.
I had planned to by a frame from a craft store, decorate it and type up the poem on pretty scrapbooking paper to give her as a Christmas gift had she still been here. I'm sure she would have loved it. It's called I Have Faith For This.

I Have Faith For This

Written by Emily Ruth © ChronicallyCreative.net
Without victory in the valley
Blinded by a dark alley
I declare- I have faith for this.
In the depths of great despair
When it seems as none do care
At the bottom I know
You, oh Lord are there.
Through desperation
And in times of drought
When my mind filled with doubt
I will shout- I have faith for this.
In the mid-day scorching sun
Will I pick up my shield and run
In grace divine, sovereignty sublime
Is where I'll find- I have faith for this.
Drowning in an ocean
To you oh Lord I give my devotion
Be still my shaking soul
Let faith bind the broken hole.
When the mountain cannot be moved
And in attempt at conquer
I am left bleeding and bruised
When the ground beneath is shaking
It is faith which I pursue.
In trepidation, my spirit weak, heart breaking
In the crackling of quaking thunder
In whatever may encumber
Through trembling lips
I'll speak- I have faith for this.
Upon unsteadiness of rugged terrain
Faith be the one thing that remains
Caught in raging rapids where rescue
Seems beyond belief
I'll scream- I have faith for this.
When buried under rubble
Battling strain and struggle
My mind a chaotic muddle
I'll repeat- I have faith for this.
During a mighty downpour
When I feel I can go no more
I will kneel in reverent bliss
Arms outstretched, hands raised
Hope I uplift- I have faith for this.
Faith that better days are coming
Faith that I'll soon be soaring
Faith that the dawn overcome darkness
Faith that there is an end to this hardness.
Faith in the rising of the sun
Faith that this battle will be won
Faith that God's will be done
Faith that His promises will prevail
Faith in dreams setting sail.
No matter how hard it gets
Nor how wide my problems stretch
I continue to believe for
What I wish to receive
I have faith for this
I have faith for this.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Glitter Star Cards

These christmas cards are so simple to make and I love that they hardly require any brain power. All you need to do is buy some star die cut cards and the all the hard work is pretty much done for you. All that's left to do is choose your colour cardstock, attach it behind the stars and seal the backing. You can add embellishments if you wish to add some bling.

For these cards I've chosen to use glitter cardstock and have added matching rhinestones for extra sparkly christmas cards.
 I used kaisercraft self adhesive rhinestones in: soft pink, lilac, orange, red, ice blue and silver.
Merry Christmas!


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