Monday, December 6, 2010

Heart Transplant Update

You haven't heard from me in a while, and I promised I would keep you all updated so here is the latest.

God is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good! Our family was blessed with my sister's new heart on Monday, October 25, 2010. We send prayers of thanksgiving and comfort for the family who lost their loved one and chose to give the gift of life. We have been told that the heart came from Minnesota, and was a young, strong heart that had a trauma at death. I pray that the donor did not suffer any pain and that the Lord made her passing peaceful. Our family has been blessed with this generous gift because the young lady who passed on was an organ donor and let her loved ones know that wish. We know because of this gift, my sister will be able to fulfill the plans God has made for her life.

Our journey since the 25th has certainly been tumultuous. She started her surgery with two allergic reactions in the operating room that they couldn't determine the cause of. They started the surgery around 6:45pm. and we were able to finally see her at around 2:00 am on Tuesday, the 26th. She actually had color to her face. I've never seen her with pink cheeks! It was extremely emotional for me. Later in the day on Tuesday things started to turn bad. They were unable to get the volume of the heart to the levels they needed it to, so they continued pushing fluids, but that wasn't working and only succeeded in causing the rest of the cells to fill with fluid. by Tuesday night the new heart was in distress and they made the decision to go back into OR to reopen her chest to relieve some of the pressure the heart had from all the excess fluid and from the small chest cavity which didn't offer much space. They saw improvement so left the chest open and sent us back to ICU.

By Wednesday, the 27th, the new heart was failing and my sister was in liver and renal failure. They decided that there was a need to bring her back to surgery and put her on a heart and lung bypass machine called ECMO to try to let the new heart rest. They thought is was failing due to all of the excess fluid and if they could let it rest it would begin to work properly. Things continued to get worse and my sister became unresponsive (they had her sedated to ensure she didn't have pain, but they would wake her up to check brain activity and she would respond appropriately when asked to squeeze a hand or wiggle a toe). The were not getting the responses they needed from the new heart function and the liver and kidney function continued to decline. They were talking about the need for dialysis. They were trying to hold off to let her body have time to work though this, but it wasn't figuring it out.

On Thursday, the 28th, they found there was a problem in the cannula that drained the heart into the bypass machine. The also suspected that there was a problem with the connection of her body to the new heart, so back to the OR they went. The surgeons confirmed the obstructions of the heart at both areas they suspected. They were able to adjust the connections and immediately the cardiac output (the heart's function) doubled! This proved to be the most stressful and the most relieving of the days after the transplant. By Halloween there was enough improvement in the function of the heart and the rest of her bodies functions that they removed her from the heart/lung bypass and with the fifth and final surgery, closed everything up. She's been making steady progress every since.

The doctors and nurses that worked with her have told us and her how her recovery has been a miracle. We were very close to losing her and God's faithfulness to the prayers of those around us brought her to the place we are today. She's doing really well. She stays at the transplant house near the hospital and will until the end of January or beginning of February. She make great progress every day. She has lost all of the 60 pounds of fluid that she gained from the numerous liters they filled her system with, and she is up to 35 minutes on the treadmill for cardiac rehab. She feels good, and she is so happy.

God has surrounded us with an amazing support unit in our family, friends and those we haven't met. Our Thanksgiving was one celebrated with a different and truer understanding of the day. I look forward to the upcoming Christmas holiday and the celebration with my sister, family and friends. I am blessed to be a part of this journey and I am so proud of my courageous, and strong sister.

God Bless!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fun Baby Bib Embellishment

Recently I've had a large need for baby gifts and cards, and I wanted each item to be unique, but I ran out of ideas after the 8th one. I decided I wanted to cut out a baby bib, but I didn't like any of the options on my Cricut cardtridges, so I made my own. The neat thing is that with the steps I took, I can make the size and color of the items match my project needs exactly.

Here is a picture of one of the bib I made for a paper bag album for a friend that gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Brecken Lee.


  • oval cut out in pattern paper or cardstock (however large you want the bib to be)
  • circle punch (proportionate to the oval--used to make the "neck" hole
  • ribbon for "ties"
  • border punch
  • crimper
  • coordinating 1 1/2" wide x 11 or 12" long cardstock for "ruffle"

  • Use your border punch to along the length edge of the paper

  • Run the strip of cardstock through your crimper to make it pliable. You may also want to crumple the paper to make it "softer"

  • Trace and cut or use punches (oval for the bib and circle for the neck) to make the bib the size you desire.

  • Apply adhesive around the edge of the back paper that makes the main portion of the bib, leaving the neck free from adhesive
  • Begin shaping the ruffle by placing the cardstock around the bib as desired.

  • Once the ruffle is in place (I had to cut another small piece to finish with the look I liked), this is what you'll have.

  • Now it's time to place the ribbon for tying.

  • And here is the final result. It matches my project perfectly!

Let me know what you think and what you come up with!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thrifty Thursday--Using Your Scraps

Today's thrifty tip is regarding how to make your paper go further. There are some pattern papers that I LOVE! But we all know that they can be fairly expensive, and when you use them it's rare to use the entire sheet. Well today's trick will tell you how to get even more from your paper scraps. I keep my scraps in plastic bins or Ziploc bags so when I'm making something that just needs a "little something" or I want to thin out the stacks, I grab those supplies and my square punches. Many of you have see the patchwork quilt patterns and that is today's project. I'll show you how I use every bit of my favorite, inspirational papers. The joy of this technique is that there is that it works just like a real quilt in that you don't have to have matching papers. The other nice thing is that it will work with any sized square. I tend to use 1" or 3/4" because I have so many scraps. :)
Step one: Punch out squares from your scrap paper. I don't really count, I just punch until I'm out of paper.
Step two: Decide what size you'd like to make you paper quilt and start gluing your squares down.
Step 3: assemble your project.
Here are two examples. In the first one, I chose to leave the quilt as my entire background. In the second sample, I used my top note die and shaped the quilt.
Let's see what you can make with your scraps!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Hello everyone.

I've been MIA for a few months and I've missed my blog time. We've had some exciting news on the home front. My twin sister has been on the heart transplant list for a number of years now, and at the end of July her condition got much worse. The transplant team at Mayo Clinic here in Minnesota moved her into "active" status on the list and they feel she will have a new heart by Thanksgiving! We are all excited about this new step in the journey with the exception of my sister. As you can imaging, there are a lots of emotions someone has to go through with this process.

I'm hopeful that everything will work out, and I'm also remembering that I have to take time for me as well. Our extended family has been wonderful in taking turns driving her to appointments at staying with her in the hospital when needed so that the burden doesn't fall completely on my shoulders. My wonderful husband is also being amazing. He hasn't been working since February, so he's taking the role I would normally have in attending appointments, etc., which has also been very helpful.

Through this whole adventure over the last few months, I've learned that God's timing is truly perfect, and He has a plan for everything. I was completely humbled and overwhelmed by the response to this situation from family and friends. God is good!

I hope to be back on track with my blogging now that sissy is more stable, but I know you'll all understand if you don't see from me at times. I will also make a commitment to try and blog a minimum of once a week. I will also keep you updated on my sister through the blog for those of you that are interested.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

First ever BLOG CANDY!

Well, as I promised, I've gone through my supplies after moving and I've put together some great BLOG CANDY for those of you interested. If you want a chance and this candy, you have until July 31st to sign up. I'll draw a random winner on August 1st. To be eligible, you must do the following:

  1. Follow my blog if you aren't already
  2. Link my candy to your blog and leave me a link to your blog in your comment so that I can check out your blog too.
  3. use inlinkz below to sign up
  4. Stop back on August 1st to see if you've won the candy

Included in my first ever BLOG CANDY is:

  1. Penny Black clear stamp set titled Holly Day Critters
  2. ki Memories 12 x 12 paper pack titled Family Time
  3. a DIY 12 x 12 scrapbook calendar
  4. Deja Views Home for the Holidays 8 x 8 paper pack
  5. Jim Holtz idea-ology Game Spinners
  6. Dress It Up swirl center flower buttons
  7. Paperbilities Daisy Flower Accents
  8. Leisure Arts memories in the Making Collection SWEET embellishments
  9. Rhinestone stickers
  10. Jolee's by You dimensional stickers
  11. Two packages of Making Memories label holders
  12. AMM Expressions Rectangular Zipper Pulls
  13. Stampendous Class A'Peel Congratulations stickers
  14. Sticko Stuffed Ups adhesive envelopes

That's 15 items and all you have to do for your chance to win is follow the four simple steps above! GOOD LUCK and thanks for stopping by! I hope you'll like the tips and samples that I share with you. HAPPY CRAFTING!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Formula Friday #3--Simple Cards

There is something to be said for simplicity in cards. There is a way to bring elegance and beauty in simple touches. Look at the two cards below. Beautiful cards don't have to take hours to create. Don't get me wrong, I spend plenty of hours on some of my cards, but my point is that you don't have to. :0) Both of these samples I made for my stamping club card exchange. They're simple, but I'm still proud to share them with others.

Simple Wedding card

This card is very simple. There is one piece of pattern paper, one piece of cardstock that is embossed with a Cuttlebug embossing folder, one piece of carstock cut with a border punch on both sides to make the "banner", and two stamped images cut out with a punch and adhered with pop-dots.

Simple Sympathy card

Next is this simple sympathy card. I again used an embossing folder to make the background textureds, and then a simple sentiment and coordinating ribbon.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thrifty Thursday--Handmade Embellishments

Sorry for being late with the post today. I wasn't feeling well so I cam home early from my paying job and took a nap. So, here it today's finished product and the tips to help you be a thrifty paper crafter.

One of the things that I do to help save money in my paper crafting is making my own of some things. For example, flowers, mock-brads, or even buttons. In some of my recent work that I've shared with you, I've used this money-saving techniques. I made the two blue flowers from punches and a brad. Below are step by steps for the flowers as well as a button, and the final project that I used them on.
This card has a handmade button and flower. By using scraps of paper you can create the perfect touches of coordinating embellishments.
We'll start with the quick button.

You'll need (4) 3/4" circles in the scrap cardstock for the thickness of the button. You'll need a 5th cut from the same cardstock for a template to punch the holes. You'll need (1) 3/4" circle of the pattern paper or whatever you want the top layer to be.

You'll place glue on four of the layers leaving the top layer of your button without adhesive. Take the fifth carstock circle and fold it in half to form a "x" through the center for hole placement.
Once all your layers are adhered, place your template on the top and pierce two holes.

Here is a side view of the button.

Here is the final button finished with hemp twine tied in a knot.
Now onto the pink flower.

I used the following supplies:
large flower and 5-petal punches from Stampin Up!, a pearl brad for the center, scrap paper for the petals and the leaves.

Punch three of the large flowers and 1 of the 5-petal flowers for the leaves.

Crumple up the three flowers

Open the flowers and arrange the layers as you'd like.

Pierce the center of the layered flowers.

Cut a section of two petals for the first set of leaves.

Then cut the "extra" petal to make another set of two leaves

Place adhesive only on the very bottom of your leaves sections

Place the glued leaves as you desire onto the back of your flower.

Repeat with the second set of leaves

Here is your finished flower.

And here is a final look at the finsihed card with two thrifty embellishments that coordiante perfectly!
Thanks for stopping!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Card Organizer

I've been working on a card organizer that utilizes 6 x 9" envelopes and chipboard. I finished this late last night, so the picture are only of the front, but I hope to get you better photos of it tonight. There is an envelope for each month that is decorated on the front and back, but the back is a list of lines so that you can make note of the dates you need to send a card for that month. I'll be listing it over on eBay or Etsy, but I haven't gotten that far yet. :0)

Here is a sample of the monthly envelopes inside the album. I tried to use some techniques that are out of my norm. I used lots of stamping and distressing.

I'll try to get more pictures ready for later today.

If you're intersted in knowing how I made this, please let me know.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Two Challenge Tuesday #8 and Tutorial

Hello All! Today's Two challenge Tuesday is sketch and technique challenge. Use the sketch below and use a background stamp. Here is my sample and the steps I took to make the card. I used to be afraid of background stamps because I struggled to get an even image.
First, here is the sketch to today's super simple card.

I started by scoring my paper.

In order to make sure that the inked image only shows on the side of my card that I want it to, I masked it with a scratch piece of paper.

Then I inked up my background stamp with a good layer of ink.

Lined it up with the edge of my guide (masked), and applied even pressure, rubbing the stamp back and forth without picking it up off the paper.

Now this is what my card looks like. You'll note that the background image doesn't go all the way to the bottom of the card, but that's fine since there will be a layer of patterned paper covering that section.

Here is the front of the card with the pattern paper in place

Next I stamped my sentiment and punched it out. I then inked the edges with the same color ink that I used to stamp my background.

Here is the completed inked sentiment.

Then I used the horizontal slot punch to make the "buckles" on the sentiment.

I slipped my ribbon through the holes.

Used glue dots to secure the ribbon to the card, and I'm done.

How will you answer this challenge?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Because I Care

Today I'm sharing a card with you that I made using my newest stamp set called Because I Care by SU. I love hydrangeas, so this stamp set was calling my name the minute I saw it! Because of all the detail in the stamp I didn't color it. I worked with Krafy and Bravo Burgundy cardstock and Timber Brown Stazon ink. I used punches, embossing folders, border punches and pop dots for the embellishments, and that's it. I actually like this card. For me it was a stretch to make a card taller and narrower than the traditional 4 1/4 x 5 1/2, but I think it works.

What do you think?