Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Advent Calendar - Finally

 Greetings friends
I have finally got a few spare minutes on my hand and instead of starting a new craft I decided that I should let you all see my advent calendar :)

So here it is :)

This is what the calendar looked like when I bought it! It is made of super wood and i had big ideas for the middle section!

It took a while for me to get started on the decorating because i had to find the perfect colour and design.  I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted and wasn't really prepared to budge even a little.

I started by painting the front area and borders white and the sides a nice dark green.

 Long ago I found this stunning cottagey type Christmas paper at Mr Price home and fell in love with it so in my true hoarder nature I bought 10 rolls - just in case - well I wrapped many gifts that Christmas and made lots of beautiful cards and still  had a few rolls left over thank goodness, because it was exactly what I was looking for so . . . the draws got decoupaged in this cottage Christmas themed paper. The sides of the drawers I painted a bright Christmas red.

On a visit to my moms shop I was browsing her scrapbook paper and she asked if I was planning to scrap a page LOL what a joke - I explained that I was looking for "wall paper" for my advent calendar - she laughed :) I explained that it had to have a classic olde look, be pretty, have reds and not be too busy, that once my furniture was in it would take all the attention, she found the PERFECT piece for me it was as if she had seen the image in my head, so yay we now had wall paper!!!

Now it was time for the absolute fun part, the furnishing of the little room!!! I had been shopping for this for AGES and would now finally get to use all the goodies that Jess and I had made, bought, found and collected! First the chairs, I got these cut for me by laser and then I just had to assemble them, I did this and then took votes on whether I should paint them or not - the not won hands down! 
At the miniature and Christmas market we bought the little metal nativity scene, and the baking tray, the tree, the advent wreath on the table, and the Christmas cards.  

The cushions on the chairs as well as the advent wreath on the table will look familiar to Erna as the fantastic creator of these little treasures. I made the cake (as I do) and the little stockings hanging on the table are buttons :) the coke was donated by Jess from her collection of "little things" and all I needed was a plate for the cake and a table to put all these treasures on!! It didn't take too long as I found the perfect little plate while looking on the internet for a ceiling light.  At the last miniature fair for the year in Parkhurst Jess and I found this little table it was a dining room table or a side table but I took a little off the bottom of each leg and turned it into a coffee table.

The match box is just there to show the size relation it didn't end up becoming a permanent feature :) BTW!

Next came the lights which I got from The Miniature House - online shop and they just suited so well! The only sad bit is that these lights guzzle batteries like I have never seen before - stealing the (lime) light from the tree and the other fairy lights.  Here you see the hanging ceiling lights and the red satin curtains.

The hanging garland type decor in the back I made as I had nowhere left on the table to put my Christmas cards, but that needed lights too :) I finally tracked down the creator of the beautiful Christmas tree I bought and managed to get somemore little lights which I twisted around the green, hung on some cards and put it up!  What you see poking out the bottom is a framed Christmas picture I printed :)

A couple more spare minutes - well not acctually but I want to tell my GREAT news and made a deal with myself that I would not post again until this one was finished!!

Above are all the specially hand chasen and handmade little gifts under the tree, A paint set for our artist Tori, A frog statue for our frog collecter jess (and in the box underneath the frog is a set of icing tools), a wooden toy hammer bench for Ben, A smart work shirt for Al, and a cupcake tray for me :)  Gifts for everyone and so perfectly chosen!

And here is the completed scene ->

The little teddy on the chair on the left is from our tray of "little things" and the calendar on the wall I printed, it says December 2010 on it, and I have been asked if I am going to change it each year but I have decided to keep it as 2010 as a reminder of when it was created.

i had a very thin piece of glass cut to fit in front of the scene to protect it and keep little fingers out, it will also hopefully preserve the little scene for many years to come.  On a visit to Annmarie to find more lights for the Christmas tree she had a little gift bag decoration that when wound up, played Christmas music, so I bought this and took the mechanism out of the little paper bag and attached it at the back of the calendar.  So now with the pretty lights on and festive music playing on a wind up box, it gives goose bumps to all who have seen it :)

Here is a photo of the completed project.

I would be happy to assist you if you would like to mak a calendar similar to this, for more info please email me.

Till next time (which i hope will be ALOT sooner)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Greetings special friends,
Just a little update :)

It has been a long hard road, mom spent a good part of February in hospital where she underwent many tests and scans, it was discovered in the MIR of her spine that she has a hernia on her spine - they were going to operate but then decided against it as she is is not all the mobile and doesn't take part in any sports - so from now on she will have to just watch Rugby and Wrestling and be satisfied with that LOL! 

She is still staying with me, and she is doing a little better, she had a couple of rather nasty seizures in hospital and was put onto medication for that, but as we know heat is not a very good friend of MS and her hospital ward was extremely warm, much like sitting in the sun really!
So I spose we could put down the progression to the heat and the fact that she refused to eat ( I hardly blame her) and just got more and more depressed in hospital.

She was discharged and was so very happy to come home :) She has been much better since she got back home ( to my house) and is eating well again and has not (touch wood) had any more seizures! 

I went to a meeting with her Neurologist - what a stunning woman! And she gave us the news of the treatments available to her. . . there are two available that she can afford, the first is that she is a suitable candidate for a clinical trial of interferons, this was good news until we found out that there is only a 50% chance she will be given the medication and 50% chance she will receive a placebo.  We never have been gamblers so we decided that this was not an option, the Dr also said if she did get the placebo she wouldn't have much of her life left :( with no medication.  The second option is to go onto a drip for 5 days and intravenously receive a very high dose of cortisone, the reason it is given with a drip is that it is such a strong dose that the damage it would do to the recipients insides is terrifying.  So my mom will be hooked up to the drip - and be in hospital - even after much detesting, and receive a whole big fat bunch of good juice!

We have heard and I have researched that this treatment can last for about a year, worst case it will last for 6 months and best case ( but very unlikely in this instance) is that it lasts and lasts and she won't require another one again.  Wouldn't that be amazing - oh we can all dream!  So early April I will be taking my mom off to start she will, as I said be in hospital for 5 days and then for about a week following the treatment her immune system will be be non-existent and she will be susceptible to any bugs, viruses and other assorted and unwanted uglies in the air. So we have to keep this precious lady super safe and cared for during this difficult time!!

I will let you know how the treatment goes but in the mean time please continue to keep her in your prayers - if you have met her you will know why she deserves your prayers and if you haven't just trust me, this is one very special lady!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The saddest story. . .

Greeting Friends and fellow crafters,

As you will have noticed I have not posted since the 22nd November 2010 - which is, roughly when my world started falling apart.  My mom had been not too well since about September but we were assured that with time and some regular physio that she would soon be as right as rain.   This didn't happen tho and her physio even suggested that she may have parkinsons, but we scort of scoffed at the idea - this healthy wonderful mom have a debilitating disease NO WAY!!

As the days went on she got worse, lost more use in her left arm and started having moments when the left side of her face would just have no control, and then the scariest - she started falling.  This was very scary because it happened at very random times, her legs would just give in. If she was in bed or even sitting it was ok but if she was standing or walking it could be so dangerous.  So I called our GP under the advice of the physio and due to the obvious need (and to be honest out of sheer desparation) and he saw mom that afternoon, it was a Friday early in December,  he did the usual ears, throat etc checking and then asked about her recent symptoms and said it sounded like MS so we both said oh, ok.  He recomended that mom go straight for an MRI which is not that easy when you have no medical aid, however I made a plan as I didn't like the urgency in the doctors tone.  

So off we went to the Flora clinic to get the MRI - took the results and the scans back to the doctor who had waited for us (even after hours) we decided that this MS must be serious if he had waited for us.  Oh well, what ever it was the doctor could fix it  . . . so we thort!  He took a brief look at the scans and with a very solemn face confirmed "my mom had MS" - which stood for????  
He then pointed out the little gray-white patches, the scaring on her brain and it started to become very real and very very scary!  But still at this point we no clue just how scary things would become.

Mom's symptoms progressed so fast, that by Christmas eve we had to cut her food into tiny bits for her because she couldn't use a knife and fork, the shaking had gotten so much worse and in what seemed like no time at all she was having episodes of violent muscle spasms and by the end of December she couldn't even use a pen or a pair of scissors.  The doc had also referred her to a Neurologist at the JHB hospital as he said the medication for MS was so very expensive, we had no idea just HOW expensive. 

So we went off to the JHB gen at night  as we agreed that there may not be that many cues at that time, we were correct and the only wait was for the doctor to actually get there.  He looked at mom for all of about 3 seconds - scribbled on a piece of paper and mumbled next  . . . so we asked what we should do now and he again mumbled that we should come back tomorrow and pointed to the ward number on the piece of paper he had just scribbled on - so bright and very very early the next morning (mug n bean muffins and cappuccinos) off we went to the JHB gen again, found parking . . . found the ward . . . and found the note on the door that stated CLOSED!! will re-open on 3rd January 2011.  OK thanks guys!! 

So we left - had a good cry in the car and started counting down the days till the 3rd of Jan!  In the mean time (over Christmas and new year) I tried to fond a neurologist who would be able to see mom and get her started on the medication from the JHB gen - I also called my pharmacist to see just how expensive this medication was, if we all clubbed together maybe we could afford it for a couple of month, I was told that one dose of this medication would cost in the region of about R12500.00 this was for ONE dose - and as the pharmacist pointed out, what if she needed a double dose ie R25000.00 OH MY GOSH!!!!! ok so not an option - we might be able to swing it for one month but thats all!  So the only choice we have is to sit and wait  - hands tied till the 3rd Jan 2011.  

On the 3rd we went of bright and early again to the JHB gen and after waiting and then filling in a form and then waiting and then filling in a form and then waiting and waiting we were finally given a date to come back and see a neurologist! YAY YAY YAY we were finally going to see someone and get some help for my very special mom!!! until . . . i opened the little booklet and saw that the date to come back was the 23rd of Feb!?!?!? Thats like 2 months away I thort!  So once again we play the waiting game, i did do lots of researh and investigating and reading up on MS and found some really helpful tips and tricks like just how useful an elastic band can be to an MS sufferer, to help them grip so many things like a glass or a fork or a pen so many things.  So we got mom a whole BIG box :)  

I also found a sight that had such a lovely post written by an MS sufferer - "Things you might want to avoid saying to someone with MS" I love it it is so apt and anyone wondering what they should or shouldn't say, should RTFM :)
Another BRILLIANT find was this summary of the day to day life of an MS sufferer called MS SUX it is written with such truth and raw fact that it can really help someone understand what an MS sufferer is or could go through at times it is funny at other times it is very sad, but over all it is a very good read, if you have never heard of MS or are even not to sure what it is give it a read it will give you a whole new understanding of this ugly wicked disease that just creeps in and steals lives from such special people. MS SUXS
Thank you for taking the time to read my very sad story, it has a little bit of a happier ending tho - today my mom has been staying with me for one week and has been on anti-depressants for about 3 weeks and the improvement has been amazing, I cant believe its the same mom of two weeks ago.  Thank you God and please stay near to my mom and continue shining your healing love on her.  

I can only hope she gets better and better and its not long now till the 23rd of Feb :)