Monday, April 16, 2018

March Recap

Happy Spring and Hello March

March came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. It had been in the 80's last week but that all changed last Friday when we woke to snow and cold. It is suppose to be back in the 60's and 70's this week with snow again this weekend. That's Colorado for you though. Both pieces were made on my Ipad pro using Simply Alison Desgin Watercolor brushes. I would highly recommend them. She has a great tutorial on how to use them too.
The month started off pretty well but we got some devastating news about our Sophie girl the middle of the month. I had been noticing that she was having trouble eating for awhile because she kept dropping food out of her mouth, I thought maybe there was a problem with her teeth and looked in her mouth numerous times but didn't see anything. I kept telling Rich something was wrong but he kept telling me she was fine.  I still had a nagging feeling something was not right though so I called the vet to come and look. At first glance she didn't see anything either but then looked again and she found a huge black mass on the back of her tongue. I never would have seen that because her tongue was black. My heart sank, I knew it was bad.  It was in a terrible spot too so our options for treatment were limited. We decided to try CBD oil and something called Peroxicam which is an antiflamatory with some tumor shrinking properties and was the least invasive for her but the tumor was growing so quickly we never got the chance to try the Peroxicam because it had to be compounded. Less then 3 weeks after the vet discovered it on March 30th it started bleeding and we knew there was nothing more we could do because I could not get it to stop. We had to make the difficult decision to let her go. The worst part was she was not ready to go like out other dogs were. Thankfully our Vet was wonderful and came here to do it so she did not have to pass in a vets office. We knew we did everything we could to save her and she had a great life. My hope is that she is at rainbow bridge now running free and not in any pain. She may not be here in body anymore but will always live in our hearts and we will always have wonderful memories of her. I just wish that dogs had longer lives and never had to suffer.

On a happier note my birthday was on the 25th. We went to my favorite place the day before The Denver Botanic Gardens but unfortunately there was not much to see. Last year there was a lot more in bloom. I did get this cool picture inside the arbroium  though.
On my actual birthday I didn't do anything special but I did get these wonderful gifts from my loved ones. The mug came from Blue Sparrow Designs The clipboard came from Snappys Boutique The pencil purse came from Curly Willow Co The Flowers came from Trader Joes, The vegan ice cream came from High Point Creamery. They still don't have my favorite flavor Coconut Ginger but they came up with a new one that I like in the meantime. The gluten free cookies came from Sugar Bake Shop Denver.
My sister, niece and mom bought me this pointed pen Calligraphy Kit from The Postman's Knock. I am excited to learn pointed pen calligraphy now. I also loved the card they got me too.
Things in our Etsy shop were okay. We didn't make anything make new to share with you but I got this great photo from a buyer of her pup wearing one of my dog party hats and matching bowtie. I think they looked great on him.  Hard to believe he is 14. He looks like a young pup.

I was also able to complete a few other handlettering challenges and even did a real watercolor piece too. This one was done on my Ipad pro with procreate for the Lady Boss Challenge using StefanKunz's new grid bundles. They are a big help with layouts. If you have not tried them I would suggest you do.
This piece was done by watching Authentic By Frani's tutorial on YouTube. I had requested she do a Zinnia and she did. Her work is incredible you should check it out, I used a Micron Pen to draw them and Kelly Creates Aqua Brushes to watercolor them.

Finally I made these Paleo donuts. They were really good. Only problem was I was out of vanilla, I bet they will be even better next time I make them with vanilla.
That's all for now. I hope the rest of your month is a good one and I will be back next month with more to share then.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

February Recap

Happy Saturday. It feels like spring here even though it is not technically spring yet. My tulips are starting to come up.  Still no show and I am not missing it but we did have some rain Thursday night.  I will take that over snow any day. Hope the weather is nice where you are too.

Rich sent Emilia and I flowers for Valentine's Day. He does not do it every year so were surprised. This year he sent me Lillie's he said because he wanted to do something different. I thought that was strange though because I am allergic to them. Somehow he forgot about that. I still appreciated the thought though so I put them somewhere far away from me where I could only see them and not smell them. The next day these arrived to make up for it. I told him he didn't have to do that but they were definitely appreciated, Tulips are my second favorite flower after Sunflowers.

The lower dose of LDN that I talked about in my last post was still too much for me. I asked to try it in an even lower dose and finally got it the middle of Feb. I am taking it about 3 hours before bed which has helped with the sleeping issues I was having when I was taking it at the higher dose right before bed. It still makes me very tired though so I have only been able to take it a few times a week so far. I am hoping with time I will be able to tolerate it better and it will start helping more with my pain. If you have ever tried it or know more about it would love to hear your experience with it.

We were busy making items for St Patrick's Day in our Etsy shop. Someone requested a St. Patrick's Day High Chair tutu banner so we got to create one of those. We have been looking for a wood high chair to use for a prop for awhile now and finally found one on Craig's List for $20.00 which was a great deal. Here is a photo of it on the high chair. Doesn't it look great?

I participated in a Gilmore Girls lettering challenge hosted by Chalkfull of love. If you have not seen her books you should definitely check them out. The challenge was to letter a specific quote from the show every few days. I was not sure I was going to be able to do them all because of how long it takes me to finish something but it totally inspired me and I was able to do all the quotes in time. I was really proud of myself.

I made this morning glory bread from Paleo Gluten Free Eats Ebook. It was really yummy and will be making it again soon. I am also looking forward to trying some of her other recipes in her book soon and will share them here with you too.

That's all for now hope the rest of your March is a good one and I will be back next month with more to share then.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

January Recap

Happy Sunday, It has only snowed 3 times here so far this winter. I am not complaining though. Today it is beautiful and suppose to be in the 60's that is all suppose to change tomorrow with more snow forecasted. I am still counting down the days until spring. How is the weather were you are?
January started off pretty well. I met with the functional medicine doctor again to talk about my health. We decided to give LDN another try. For those of you that don't know what that is it's a low dose of Naltrexon which is usually used for people that are addicted to drugs and alcohol but they are finding that giving it in small doses it helps people with chronic pain and autoimmune issues. I tried it once  before a few years ago but the dose was to high and caused me more pain. This time I tried it in a smaller dose but still had problems with it. I am giving it one more try in an even smaller dose because I really want it to work. I hoping this time it will help if not I don't know what else to do. This doctor does think I have Bechet's but not a lot is known about it though. Just trying to do the best I can to manage the pain in the meantime.
The new studio I talked about in my last post was finally finished and open for business. I put a post on our neighborhood website asking for people to come and try out a new chemical peel product for Emilia and got a lot of response. That kept her busy for a few weeks but unfortunately nothing after that. We have tried posting other services there but so far not much response. We have to be very careful what we post there though because for some reason this webpage does not want people promoting their businesses which makes no sense. She has tried other forms of advertising too but so far it is not working and unfortunately she got scammed by Yelp.  They charged her a lot of money for nothing.  Not sure if it is just the time of year or what but the lack of business has become very discouraging for her. I have told her that it just takes time but who wants to hear that? She has also tried applying for jobs outside of the house but the problem with that is most places want you to have a years experience and you can't have your own business too. Just hoping things will pick up for her soon she put a lot work into doing this and I really want it to pay off for her. If you have any ideas for ways to bring in business for her let me know. Here is a photo of the new studio. We love how it came out hope you do too.

January's are usually busy for us in our Etsy shop but this January it was not as busy so I had some extra time to make this Mad Hatter inspired party hat to go with our Alice in Wonderland themed tutu set.

Still working on my modern calligraphy. I got a little overwhelmed by everything and lost my mojo but I finally saw a challenge that got me going again. This challenge was from Lauren Hom and was to write your name and them add things about you. I have seen others do this kind of thing when they travel and have wanted to do something similar for a long time. I had no idea where to start though. I finally found a class on Britt and Co by Lauren herself and that got me started. A few days later I realized that she showed a little about how to do it in the email she sent out with the challenge so I could have saved the money. Oh well. This piece took me a long time to do because I kept changing things but I finally finished it and am pretty happy with it. It can be very inspiring for me to see others amazing work but intimidating at the same time too because it makes me feel like my work is not good enough. I try to keep reminding myself they have been lettering longer than I have and if I just keep practicing hopefully I will get there one day too.
Finally I made these paleo ginger almond biscotti. Love them! I think I may cut down the amount of ginger next time though because they can't get a little spicy.
That's all for now. I hope the rest of your February is a good one and I will be back next month with more to share then.

Monday, January 15, 2018

December Recap

Happy New Year even though it is the middle of January. It had been very mild and dry here. We had one snow storm since I last wrote but it was not very much. The only reason it stuck around was because it was really cold. As I write this it is snowing and cold again today.  Hopefully it won't last long though.  Hope the weather is better where you are.
December started out pretty quite. Things with my health continued to be the about the same. Thankfully I did not have to deal with any doctors or insurance drama.
Emilia got her esthetician's  License on the 12th.  She worked very hard to get it and we were all very proud of her.
 After looking into her options for employment we decided the best thing for her to do was to start her own business here at home using my old nail room. We spent the remainder of the month redoing it. She still wanted to offer nail services to her clients as well so we kept the nails too. My space got a makeover though.  It was a lot of work because it also doubled as my old stamping studio as well. We ended up giving a lot of things away because we didn't have the room but thankfully we found lots of people that wanted them. It is usually hard for me to part with things but knowing these items will be put to good use made me happy. I will share the full revel with you next month so stay tuned for that.
I am not a big fan of the holidays but Emilia loves Christmas and went a little crazy buying new Christmas Decorations this year. Her big gift this year was a light up Christmas Village which made her very happy.  Rich and I were not going to do presents for each other this year but he ended up surprising me and  and went to the art store and had someone help him pick out all the art supplies on the right which was a very sweet thing for him to do. Emilia got me the writing tins.
I ended up buying the ISKN Slate on the left myself. Even though I have an IPad Pro and love it the thing I liked about this is you can draw on paper with a real pen and then it becomes digital. Unfortunately it has not been easy to use though because it works with magnets and is very sensitive to anything around it and customer support is in France so it is hard to get help. I am still trying to get the hang of it. It has been frustrating though.
I made these Calligraphy pieces on my IPad Pro in the meantime.

Things in our Etsy shop continued to be busy and the Winter Onederland theme was still very popular. As promised here are  some of the  new penguin things I made for the buyer last month along with a photo of the birthday girl.  

These paleo ginger cookies are my favorite. I eat them all year round but they are perfect for the holidays too. Here is the recipe if you want to try them. 
That's all for now hope it is warmer were you are and you are enjoying January. I will be back next month with more to share then. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

November Recap

Happy Saturday. Can you believe it is the middle of December? We went 65 days with no measurable snow until yesterday. It wasn't much but at least we got some much needed moisture.

The month started off with me going to the dentist. It was just a 6 month checkup but I saw a new dentist this time. Turns out he was very nice and said the spot on my gum is Lichen Planus. He suggested I see an oral surgeon about it but at this point I am just going to wait for now. There is not much they can do for it anyways but it does prove that something autoimmune is going on. The following week I went to get the viral blood work done the neuro virologist suggested. Of course it came back normal like most of my test do so that was another waste of time and money. A week later I ended up with blood blisters on my tongue again. It just so happened to be the week of Thanksgiving so that made it even worse because it was so painful to eat I did not get to enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner.  I emailed the function med doctor the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to get a new prescription for the magic mouthwash that worked the last time. The one I had was expired and separated. I didn't hear back from her until Friday so I had to suffer through for days.  I know it was a holiday week but I got an email that said they would still be checking emails. I didn't think it would take that long to get a response but thankfully I finally got it and once again it worked. I hate the numbness feeling but at least it helped the pain and started the healing process. I have another appointment with her in Jan. Will see where we go from there then.

The appeal we made to Cigna to cover the visit to the vulvar specialist I saw in June was denied so we took it to the Colorado Board of Insurance and thankfully they were able to get them to cover it. We also found out that our current health insurance premium with Cigna was going up over $700.00 a month. It is already over $1000.00 and barely pays for anything because the deductible is so high. I was besides myself when I saw that. I don't understand how that is even possible. Thankfully Rich was able to get us health insurance through his business with United. It is still more than we are paying now but not as much as Cigna was going to charge us and it is a PPO so no more having to get referrals to see specialists so that is good. I created this modern calligraphy piece during that time. It really helps me to see things like this to keep from being so negative.
Emilia and I hosted Thanksgiving again. Emilia did most of the work I mainly just cooked the turkey. This was the tablescape she set up. She did a great job. 
I watercolored and lettered this that morning. I was inspired by something similar I saw online. I don't remember who made it to give credit though.

Things in our Etsy shop continued to keep us busy. I received a custom order that was the largest I have ever done and am very grateful for it. I wish all my buyers could be like this one. She has 2 kids who's birthdays are both in Jan. This crab nautical theme is for her soon to be 3 year old.
She went with the purple, aqua and pink penguin theme for her soon to be 1 yr old. I am still working on a few new items to go with that theme so will share those next month.

Finally I made this Paleo cranberry coffee cake from Paleo Gluten Free Eats  I was out of vanilla so I substituted almond extract. It was okay but I think I would like it better with the vanilla.

That's all for now I hope your holidays are good ones and I will be back in the new year with more to share then.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

October Recap

Happy Saturday. Hope the weather is nice where you are. We are currently enjoying warm and dry weather here. I even saw some dandelions the other day. Not complaing though.  I am sure snow and cold are right around the corner.
October started out with me having a bad reaction to all the supplements I was taking. I ended up with terrible pain in my hands and arms. I could barely use them which is not good especially when you need your hands to do your work. I emailed the functional med doctor about it and it did not go well. She was not very kind or helpful at all so I ended up stopping all the supplements until our next appointment. I was really suffering in the meantime though. I was about ready to quit seeing her but something I said during that appointment seemed to turn it around and I think she finally got it. I won't boar you with all the details but she seems much more willing to help now and finally got a hold of the neuroviralogist that I have been wanting her to talk to. After telling her about my case she thought it could be something viral or Bechet's. This is not the first time Bechet's has been brought up and I have often thought it could be the cause of my symptoms too but have never been given the diagnosis. She wanted met to have some specific blood work done. If the viral blood work comes back normal then that is probably what we are dealing with. In the meantime we decided to try a few different supplements this time. These are the ones that work on the mitochondria cells. NAD and L Carnitine. I started off very slowly this time and so far am doing okay with them. I am also doing a detox smoothie in the morning too. I am waiting to hear what the blood work shows and then go from there. In the meantime I spent countless hours on the phone trying to get prices for the bloodwork. It was a nightmare. I was going to use a mobile lab but both of the ones I called never followed through so I ended up going to Labcorp and it worked out okay so far. I don't understand why it was so hard to get prices though.
Unfortunately the 2nd visit with the health coach did not go well which was disappointing especially after how much I liked her the first time. She gave me a lot of suggestions for natural things to try like sitting in a sauna, guided meditation, Epsom salt and baking soda baths, dry brushing, tumeric, yoga, many of which I had already tried. She also seemed to feel that I did not give them enough of a chance but once again I know my body and if something is going to work or not. I also do not have unlimited funds to keep doing something especially if I feel it is not working or making things worse. I also got the feeling that she felt what I was going through was more in my head and I could help myself more with my mind then meds. That really upset me. I do believe that there is a mind body connections but I also believe there is something physically wrong too so I will just be dealing with the doctor and the NP for now.

 I am continuing to work on my modern calligraphy. After all this happened I thought this saying was very fitting and created it with some brushes from Ipadlettering and a chalkboard background.
I also made this one for Halloween too.
I am starting to see improvement which makes me happy.

We finally got to see Rich's new office downtown. His business is continuing to grow and do very well. I am very proud of him for all he has accomplished. With any small business it is not always easy. I think he is doing a great job though.

Sales in our Etsy shop returned and we have been busy again, for that I am very thankful. I have been working on my titles and tags with the help of Marmalead and Etsy Rank I think it may be helping some. It can be so hard to know what it takes to get buyers to find us though. This is one of the new items we made.  It was a candyland themed birthday for twins. We are very happy with how it turned out.
Rich brought home some germs the end of the month and shared with Emilia, I think I may have had a milder version of it but they are both still coughing. I made some Jewish Penicillin to help the healing process. I have been making this soup for a long time. It is very simple and delicious and is paleo too.
That's all for now. I hope the rest of your month is a good one and you have enjoy your Thanksgiving with those you love. I will be back next month with more to share then.

Friday, October 20, 2017

September Recap

Happy Friday. Fall has definitely found it's way here. We had our first snow of the season a few weeks ago The next day everything looked like Fall, Last year we didn't have our first snow until the middle of November. The colors are really pretty but now all my beautiful plants are dead. At least I have the photos to look at until next year though.
September was a not a good month. It started when my mother in law came for a visit and my dad ended up in the ER the same day. Talk about bad timing Turns out my dad had a bad reaction to an antibiotic that caused his already bad kidneys to get even worse. He ended up in the hospital for almost a week. They finally got his kidneys back to normal and the catheter out then decided to release him but by they time my mom got there to bring him home they put it back in so she had to take him home with a catheter in. What a mess. They finally got it removed about a week later after going to multiple doctors. Now they say his kidneys are really bad again but he decided to wait to see his kidney doctor in November. He seems to be doing okay in the meantime so who knows how bad they are really are. I guess they will find out then. In the meantime he has fallen twice and is back to eating horribly so it is just a matter of time until things go bad again. It is really hard to deal with parents like this because they won't do anything to change things and and they won't let you help them either.
Things in our Etsy shop were really bad in September too. The worst they have ever been. The only thing I could think of that caused it was all the weather disasters. I ended up hiring someone to help us get our sales back but but she turned out to be a scam. Thankfully I didn't take her advice and was able to get my money back. It is just sad that there are people like that. On a happier note I did have a return buyer who requested a pink and gold pumpkin prop set for her daughter. I really like how it came out. She loved it too.

One of our buyers also sent us this appreciation photo of her daughter Violet wearing our Rainbow Unicorn tutu outfit. Isn't she cute?

I met with the Health Coach from the functional medicine doctors office the end of September. She seemed to be very nice and kind. I thought we were just suppose to talk about my diet but that was not the case. She wanted to know more about me and what else was going on in my life. I told her how overwhelmed I was by the appointment with the Dr and how she made me feel bad by accusing me of arguing with her when I was only trying to tell her that I needed to start  out slowly and work my way up on the supplements. She seemed to understand that and was going to have the nurse practitioner call me to try and explain it better. I also told her about the extra testing being too expensive for me to do at that his time and how hard it was for me to get information about that. I also told her I was very stressed out by what was happening with my dad and lack of business. Most of all we talked about my symptoms and my concern with not being able to find a diagnosis. She kept telling me that I have to trust my body which I really liked.
We talked about my diet some too I told her I was really afraid of eliminating/taking any more out and that I was already eating well. When I filled out the paperwork in the beginning they asked me to list of what I eat each day and I thought she would have seen that and have that in front of her but she didn’t. I have been trying to think of anything I am eating now that could be contributing to my symptoms and was wondering if it could be the soy. I drink soy milk in my tea 3 times a week and use Tamari and a soy based margarine sometimes too so I mentioned it to her. She thought it would be a good idea to try and take that out for a few weeks and see if it would make a difference. She also seemed a bit concerned that I was eating too many almonds and suggested I cut back some and replace them with walnuts or macadamia nuts instead because almonds are good but too much of them is not so I agreed to try that too. She also suggested I add in collagen protein and try a specific kind of almond and coconut combination milk which I also agreed to try.
We also talked about exercise. I told her I walk on my treadmill and do the recumbent bike a couple times of week. She suggested I go outside and walk instead. I told her I don’t do that very often because of my balance issues and I am more comfortable on the treadmill. She kept trying to push it though saying that it can be calming to be outside with all the sounds and things to look at but for someone like me light, sounds, and just struggling to keep my balance can be very hard and does not make it easy for me to enjoy those things. I also think she was pushing this because getting out in the sunlight can help with the vitamin D which I already know so I told her I would think about it.
She also mentioned something about detoxing but didn’t really get specific about that. Detoxing is something I am not really interested in anyways especially if it has anything to do with cleaning out your colon. We are suppose to meet again next week. 

I am still working on my modern calligraphy and made this piece. It was done on my Ipad Pro again with the I pencil and Procreate.  I used more of the digital flowers from Ipad lettering's Show Me Your Floral's Bundle. It is still really hard for me to get the thick and thin strokes so I am still working on that. I can see a little improvement though.

Rich, Emilia and I visited the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. It is a place I have wanted to visit for awhile now.
It is not as nice as the Botanic Gardens here in the city but it was still fun to visit. They also had a corn maze there. None of us had ever done one of those before but decided to try it. Thankfully we had a map to help get us out because I would not have wanted to be in there any longer than I was. At least I can say I have done a corn maze now but don't think I will be doing one again any time soon though.

Finally I wanted to share these fig bars I made using this recipe. They are easy to make and really yummy too.
Thanks all for now. Hope you are enjoying fall where you are. I will be back next month with more to share then.