Saturday, October 20, 2018

September Recap

Happy Saturday. I made the piece below after seeing something similar on Pinterest.  It was done on my Ipad pro in Procreate.
After an incredibly hot summer we had a few days of fall but then it seemed like we went right into winter. It had been very cold and cloudy for about a week and then we had a few days in the 60's with sun. Snow arrived last Saturday the14th it is suppose to be back in the 60's now though. Hopefully the 60's will stick around for the rest of the month now.
September started out okay but we got some terrible news about Lily the middle of the month.
Saturday morning Sept 15th, I heard her having a really bad backward sneezing episode so I gave her a Cernia which was the med I talked about last month that we thought was helping.  When I went to feed her and she would not eat her dog food or take her Cernia so I tried to open her mouth and put it in but she cried out in pain. I finally got it down her and got her to eat her food after I crushed it up but it was really hard to get her to eat though and she was not chewing at all.  Later in the day I noticed a thick clear mucous coming out of the right side of her mouth and it had a foul odor. A few hours later she would not take any treats and started shaking. We took her to Alameda East ER later that night. They were not able to look in her mouth without it causing her great pain so they convinced me to let them sedate her and have a look. I was shocked to find out there was a tumor in her mouth. I thought the doctor said it was on her tonsil but couldn't be certain as I was still in shock after hearing that. They sent her home and told me to follow up with my vet on Monday to schedule a CAT SCAN and biopsy. She was really out of it when we got her home from all the drugs but made it through the night and the rest of the weekend. 
I sent an email to my vet Sunday night and heard back from him Monday morning but he said he could only do a biopsy so recommend we go to VRCC instead to have them done at the same time but I didn’t want to go there because it was too far. I Ended up going back to Alameda East to see Dr Santen instead. Lily had seen him years ago when she had a problem with her foot. We were able to get an appointment with him that Wednesday. He had a hard time getting her to open her mouth but said he saw the tumor from the quick look he got he did not get a good look though. He said he could do the biopsy and cat scan but we would have to wait 10 days because he was going out of town. I did not want to wait that long so I asked if someone else could do them sooner. He talked to the oncologist and she said she could do them on the 28th. We went in to meet her on the 27th and to do blood and xrays. Those thing came back okay so the procedures were a go on the 28th. I dropped her off early that morning. The procedures were done a few hours later and she was ready to go home by 2:00. They told me everything went well. When I got there to pick her up she was a mess. Totally out of it and covered in blood. I was not happy about that. The Dr. tried to clean her up with some peroxide but it didn’t help much. She also tired to show me the CAT scan but it was hard for me to understand what I was looking at and she said she was not good at reading them and to wait for the report. I did see a lot of white on one side of her throat but they said they had no trouble intubating her which was good. She did say she saw the mass though.  She decided to start her on Piroxicam to hopefully help shrink the tumor and Gabapentin for pain but they had to be compounded. I also asked her to write me a prescription for more Cerina and specially said 16 mgs. We got the Cernia and left. I didn’t bother to look at it though. I later found out she had written it for the wrong strength. The ride home was not good. She bleed all over me, When we got her home I noticed that she kept going outside a lot and discovered that she was bleeding from her behind too. Bright red blood. I was besides myself. I felt so bad for her. I put a call in to the oncologist but she was busy with another patient so had to wait for a call back. They wanted me to bring her back in but I said no. I didn’t want to take her back there after that. The compounding pharmacy called about the prescriptions but I told them to wait until we figured out why she was bleeding from the other end. I finally got a call back from the oncologist and she said she thought she had given herself stress induced colitis and put her on Metrodanazol so Emilia had to go back and get that. It was a pill though so I had to crush it to get it down her. Thankfully she took it with a little cheese. She would not eat anything else though. It was awful.  She slept okay but was up in the early morning having to go to the bathroom again. The bleeding was not as much. I gave her another pill and went back to bed. She did not want her regular food for breakfast. I got her to eat a little scrambled egg with cheese but not much. She still was not doing well and a big mess. I tried to clean her as best I could without giving her a full bath but it didn’t help much. Later that afternoon my sister came over with some stuff to rub on her gums that was supposed to help her want to eat and thankfully that worked. She ate her dinner that night and was starting to do better. Thankfully we got through the rest of the weekend and the rectal bleeding had stopped. Monday I was told it was okay to stop the Metrodanazole and start the Piroxicam. I thought it was going to take days to get it since it had to be compounded but thankfully the  pharmacy I used Clearsprings got it done quickly and I had it delivered that afternoon. I gave her the first dose that night. A few hours later I noticed that she was more active and wanting our food again. She had not been that alert in a while . I started to have hope again and thought maybe it was lymphoma which I was told would be the easiest of the cancers to treat. Unfortunately my hopes were dashed early the next morning when the oncologist called and said it was Tonsilar squamous cell carcinoma on her right tonsil and it had already spread into a lymph node. Once again I was devastated. She didn’t sound very positive and basically just told me the standard options. I felt like she was just giving up on her. She offered chemo but I was hesitant to do that with all the side effects and she would have to be closely monitored. She said to give the Piroxicam a chance to work and we could talk again in a week. She didn’t just say she would call me she said you can call me or I will call you which I thought was odd. It would have been nice if she said she would call me to follow up We talked about end of life care and she recommended someone so I asked if she could email his name but she never did. I lost it after I hung up. A little while later I ended up calling Caring Pathways to see about hospice care. I had called them when Sophie was diagnosed but never used them. It turned out they wanted a lot of money and it didn’t sound like it would be very helpful since they were not going to do anything to help get her more time. Instead I emailed the holistic vet I had contacted when Sophie got sick but never met because she was going out of town. Her message machine had not been updated since last July though. I thought that was the end of her but emailed her anyways. She finally got back to me a few days later but she was going out of town for 3 weeks so I did not feel comfortable starting with her at that point. She did say that using CBD an THC would be beneficial. That was something that I had been hearing a lot about but the vets I had seen did not know anything about it. She recommended another place to go but it was to far out and I didn’t want to stress Lily out anymore than she already had been. I tried to get in touch with another holistic vet who made housecalls but she would not even talk to me without charging for the call. I tried Googling one more time and came across a home vet I called a few month ago when this first started for another opinion but never used. It said she did holistic too which I had not seen before so I called her again and left a message. She got back to me the next day and said she was out of town but could help us so I made an appointment with her the following week. We met her the following week. She seemed very knowledgeable and came up with a plan to try and get the tumor to at least stop growing which included holistic things including CBD with THC.  She also suggested we do a lower carb diet even though Lily loves the food from the Farmers Dog my sister gave us. I tried to call them to see if they would customize their food to make it lower carb but they would not do it so it that was very disappointing. I also have never heard back from any of the other vets we saw to see how she is doing which is really upsetting especially the one I used for Sophie. She knows what we went through with her and what is going on with Lily and has totally blown us off.  I don't understand how she can do that, she had been our vet for years. The good news is she is doing better than she has been in months so we must be doing something right which gives me some hope. I just pray that we can keep the cancer from spreading at this point and this vet will be able to continue to help us in the meantime.  It is a terrible feeling not to have a vet to depend on. I guess all we can do is keep doing what we are doing, and pray for more time. We will also continue to do things that make her happy like going on walks in her stroller which she is still enjoying. If you have any extra prayers or good thoughts we could definitely use them. 

Also while I was going through all this with Lily one of my sisters dogs was not doing well either. They thought she had autoimmune encephalitis but nothing she tried was helping and she lost the battle the same time we found out about Lily. My heart breaks for her too. It has been a terrible year for our dogs but hoping there is still some light at the end of the tunnel. 

Even with all this going on I still had work to do. I found out Etsy made a lot of changes to their SEO last month so I have been working on that too. I am not changing everything all at once though I want to see if the changes are really going to help or not first. So far I have not noticed much of a difference. Sales in our Etsy shop were pretty good. We had a custom order for a wild one tutu set and matching party hat. That is a new theme for us and we love how it came out. 
I also got a request for matching banners to go with our purple elephant tutu set. 

This one has a different elephant than the one I have done before. These are the banners with the new elephant to match. Zoom in the see them close up.

Right before all this happened with Lily I was really excited for Watercolor Bootcamp to start but my beginning it was bit delayed because of that. I finally got a chance to dive in though which has been a good distraction from everything else. This was my first piece. An abstract floral landscape. 
I also made this piece to help me through this difficult time. My faith has definitely been tested through all of this and when I saw this verse I thought it would be perfect for this lesson. 

I also did these pieces from more Skillshare Classes.  The first one was from Liz Kohler Browns Chalk Hand Lettering On Your Ipad In Procreate

 I did this piece while I was waiting for the Ipad Watercolor Wonders class to start. It was done in Adobe Sketch and the class was called Learn How To Make Wonderful Digital Watercolor Paintings by Mandar Marathe.

Finally I made these Peach Bars. The recipe was from Flora and Vino. They were pretty good. The granola I used had too much Almond Flavor in it for my liking though.
That's all for now. I hope the rest of your month will be a good one and I will be back next month with more to share then.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

August Recap

Happy Tuesday. Hope your September is going well. Summer is still hanging on here. It has been in the 90's for weeks with no rain in sight. It is finally suppose to cool off in the next few days with some rain and feel more like fall.
I made this piece on my Ipad Pro. I was inspired by something similar I saw on Pinterest.

August started out pretty well  Rich sent me these flowers for our 24th Wedding anniversary on the 3rd. He said he didn't want to buy me sunflowers again since we had a ton of them outside so he asked the florist for something different and these are what they sent. These are not my usual colors  but it was a nice change.  I especially loved the hot pink gerber daisies and it was nice of him to think of me. 
Speaking of flowers. I planted zinnias again in the back yard this year but they did not do very well Especially the ones on the south side. I think it was because it was too hot. We did end up with a lot of surprise sunflowers though. They just magically appeared. They could have been from the birds dropping seeds however they got there I loved them though.

The new vet we took Lily to agreed with me and did not think her teeth were the problem, He came up with a plan for some different meds to try. The first one an antihistamine did not help but the second one did especially with the backwards sneezing. The med is used for dogs with uncontrolled vomiting but off label is used for dogs with this kind of issue. Unfortunately it has not helped with her eating issues where she turns her head when she starts to eat though. Hopefully we can come up with something that will help both problems.  We also got her a doggy stroller because she was having a hard time going on long walks with Indie. She loves it. Now we just need it to cool off here so we can go on more walks. Here is a video of her in it.

Things in our Etsy shop started out strong but then sales started to dwindle. Thinking it may have had something to do with the end of summer and back to school. I had a return buyer that wanted a bunny themed set for her 3rd child. This is what I came up with. She loved it.
I also got this great photo from a buyer of her son wearing my nautical party hat. Isn't he adorable?

I did some more homework from Ipadbootcamp. This time it was the photo lettering technique. The writing was suppose to be woven into the background. This one was a challenge for me and am still not sure I got it right but am calling it done. I also combined it with a Ladyboss lettering challenge which was to letter your astrological sign. I am an Aries and found this great photo of a ram to signify it. I have a lot of Aries traits especially the stubborn and strong willed part but am also very driven and will get things done. Emilia is also an Aries and Rich is a Leo so we are all fire signs which means there can be a lot of butting heads around here sometimes. 
I took a couple of more Skillshare classes. This one is from Lisa Long Designs 3D Lettering Class
This one is from Jspcreates Handlettering Turning Words Into Art Class. I enjoyed both classes a lot.
My sister's birthday was on the 20th. I decided to do a real watercolor floral monogram this time.  She loved it and I loved how it came out too.

Finally I made these Paleo strawberry cheesecake bites they were super yummy. You can get the recipe here.
That's all for now. I hope the rest of your month is a good one and I will be back with more to share then.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

July Recap

Happy Tuesday. Summer was still holding strong here. It had been in the 90's for weeks. It finally cooled down into the 70's the last few days with some much needed rain which has been nice The hot weather was making it really hard to do things outside especially with the dogs. It was just to hot for them. Hopefully the cooler weather will continue so we can be outside more again but looks like the 90's are suppose to return the end of the week.

July started out with this piece. The inspiration came from Erin The Petite Planner again. I just love her work. I used a Micron Pen and Kelly Creates Fine Liners to color it in

Lily has been having health problems. It started the first part of June. She has been having breathing spasms that are like backward sneezes. She had something similar a few years ago but it resolved itself. This time her nose has become really stuffy at times with green mucous on and off though. She has been on 2 different antibiotics and neither helped much. We also treated her mites which did not help either. There are some days when there is no green at all. She has good and bad days. I cannot figure out what is causing this. She has been to 2 different vets and and they are both pushing me to put her under to clean her teeth and look around. I am not in favor of that though. I do not feel that her teeth are the main cause for this and putting her under would be very risky not knowing what is really going on. I am taking her to a third vet this week hoping he will be able to help us. It is just so upsetting to have another dog with health problems after everything we went through with Sophie, I just pray it is nothing serious. In the meantime we had been taking her to the dog park with Indie. She loves to go watch. The day I took this photo she had jumped up on a rock and looked so happy.

Sales in our Etsy shop continued to keep us busy which was great. I had a custom order for rubber ducky themed items to match our tutu set. Here is a collage showing all the pieces.
We had another order for just the outfit with the ribbon skirt and the buyer shared this photo with us. Isn't she a cutie?

I forgot to share this piece last month that I  learned how to do from a Skillshare Class, If you have not taken any classes there you should definitely check it out. They have a lot of great classes. This one was from Liz Kohler Brown called Digital Watercolors on your Ipad Using Procreate.  It was a great class and I love how this piece came out. I think it looks like real watercolors.  She has lots of other great classes that I am going to take from her too so be on the lookout for more projects from her soon.
Rich's 50th Birthday was on the 24th. He was not happy about and did not want to do anything special to celebrate. He told Emilia and I that is done celebrating birthdays which I find very sad. I know it can be hard to get older for some people but I think if you are lucky enough to make it to 50 you should be grateful and celebrate it because a lot of people don’t get that opportunity. I tried to respect his wishes but decided to make him this painting as a gift anyways. He loves birds and hummingbirds are one of his favorites. I actually love them too. I am hoping this painting will help remind him to find his happiness in this new decade of life like the hummingbird has found within the nectar. I learned how to paint the hummingbird from another Skillshare Class  this one was called Watercolor Hummingbird: Easy and Fun Watercolor Project by Irina Trzaskos. I added the all the other elements on my own.

This piece was for a Create, Inspire Positivity challenge. I used Ian Bernard's Grid brushes which are very helpful with layouts.

I also did this piece using another prompt from CIP and combined it with a new technique I learned in Ipad Bootcamp called the streaky chalk technique.
I also learned how to put my digital Ipad work into a flat layout in Ipad Bootcamp too.

I finished 2 more digital letters in my floral monogram alphabet. Both were done on the Ipad in Procreate.

I  drew this sunflower using another great tutorial from Authentic By Frani.

Finally I made these Paleo Thumbprint cookies recipe from Against All Grain. They are very yummy. I especially enjoy them with a coconut banana smoothie before bed
Thanks all for now I hope the rest of your August is a good one and I will be back next month with more to share then.

Friday, July 20, 2018

June Recap

Happy Friday. Hope you are enjoying summer where you are. It is has been unseasonably hot here with temps in the 90's most everyday. I like the warm weather but it is too hot to do much outside during the day especially with the dogs which is kind of a bummer. It is better than cold and snow though. Speaking of the dogs. I wanted to share this photo with you. Rich found Lily and Indie like this one morning  on the couch in his office before he left for work. We all thought it was really funny especially how Indie barely fits on the couch. You could say they are laying cheek to cheek.
June started out okay I did this handrawn piece to welcome it in. It was inspired by one the Petite planner did again.
She only did half a wreath on hers I decided to do a whole circle. I really like how it came out I hope you do too.
I met with the functional med doctor the first part of June. I decide to give CBD Oil a try along with the LDN. I had a hard time deciding which kind to take since there are so many options but finally decided on a liquid tinture so I could have more control over the dose since I am so sensitive to meds. Thankfully I made the right decision and am doing okay with it but it is making me very tired. Hoping that will get better with time and I will be able to go down on the antinflamatories. We are going to meet again in September.

Sales in our Etsy shop finally started to return in June and we were really grateful for that. I had customer request a boy sunshine ribbon and fabric high chair banner like the girl one but in boy colors so I added that to my shop. It goes perfectly with the party hat.
We also got this great appreciation photo of a buyers daughter wearing a custom pink elephant tutu outfit. Isn't she adorable? I made matching decor to go with it too.

I took a class through Brit and Company taught by Peggy Dean called line drawing how to illustrate your home and came up with this. It took me a awhile to complete but I really enjoyed the process and am pretty happy with the final result. This is not my house but looks like the kind of house I would want to live in. I really love my house that I live in now though.

I also took a workshop from Holly Pixels and learn how to letter this piece. It was a lot of work but I learned a lot. Creativity is definitely a drug I cannot live with out.
I finished a few more lessons from Ipad Bootcamp. The one on the left is a colorful background technique with paint splatters and the one on the right is the rainbow smudge technique
I finished the letter D in my floral monogram alphabet. This one was done with peonies and ranaculus.
Finally I found this recipe for Paleo Strawberry Shortcake and Emilia made it for us. It was pretty good but I think it needed to be a bit sweeter.
That's all for now. I hope the rest of your July is a good one and I will be back next month with more to share then.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

May Recap

Happy Saturday. The warm weather returned and summer has definitely arrived here. It has been in the 90's for weeks with not much rain in sight. That is all suppose to change next week back to the 70's with rain. I love warm weather but we could definitely use some rain I just hope it is not a monsoon though.
May started out okay, I drew this piece using another great tutorial from the Petite Planner. Love how it came out.
Our sales in our Etsy shop were horrible though the worst they have ever been since I started. We have had some slow periods but nothing like this. Some people will say it was just the time of the year but last May was one of our best months ever so it didn't make any sense. I really feel that something has to have changed within Etsy but what?? I spent the majority of the month trying to figure that out and get our sales back. I still don't know the exact cause of the dramatic drop in sales but they finally picked up again the end of the month. They are still not where I want them to be though.  The biggest problem is getting buyers to purchase more than 1 thing. I especially want to find a way to get the party decor to sell with the outfits.  My 3 piece prop sets use to be a great seller now they hardly sell at all. I just don't understand it. I am going to continue to try and find a way to get these kinds of sales but if anyone has any suggestions in the meantime let us know. Something positive to share though we got this great photo of a buyers twins wearing a custom twin set and matching banner. Aren't they adorable?

We didn't do anything special for Mother's Day because I don't really like to make a big deal out of it because I am just grateful to be a mom but Emilia got me these pens from Kelly Creates anyways. I love her products. Now I have all her pens. Rich got me the flowers.

I am a big fan of Karin Ipadletterings work and when I found out she was teaching an online class with Amanda Arneill called Ipad Bootcamp I could not pass up the chance to take it even though it was not really in my budget. I am still working my way through the course but so far I have enjoyed it. Here are a few things I have done.
I also did 2 more floral monograms. You can get more information about those in last months post.

Finally these Paleo ginger peach muffins are great for breakfast or a late night snack. You can get the recipe here.
That's all for now I hope the rest of your month is a good one and I will be back next month to share more then.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

April Recap

Happy Sunday. Hope your May started off well even though I know it is already almost the end of the month. It has been raining and cold here all weekend which has not been very enjoyable. The warm weather is suppose to come back this week thankfully though.

I was inspired to make this April watercolor wreath from Erin The Petite Planner, She is an amazing journal artist and has some awesome online courses with a Facebook group. I would highly recommend you check her out.
April started off with Emilia's 20th birthday on the 2nd, I know I say this every year but were did the time go? Sometimes I wish I could turn back time and go back to this stage. She has become a beautiful young woman inside and out though.
We were going to go to Top Golf the Saturday before but there was over an hour wait when we got there so that didn't happen. Next time we go we will be making reservations. I never thought it would be that busy. If you have been what do you think of it? We ended up going to look around Ikea instead which was close by. I had never been there but was not that impressed. It kind of felt like a museum to me.  I will be sticking to the catalog for future purchases. On her actual birthday she and I  spent part of the day shopping at Nordstroms. She had a gift certificate left over from Christmas that Rich had given her and I added to it. It still didn't get her much but she came out with a cute outfit. Later that night we had my mom sister and niece over for cake. As you can see she went all chocolate this year. We got the cake from the same lady that made her cake last year. Overall I think she had a good day.

Shortly after that we added a new member to the family. Meet Indigo. Indie for short.

As devastating as it was to lose Sophie we knew there was another dog out there that needed a home. So after a few days of grieving we started looking again. We knew we wanted another black dog so that narrowed it down. We ended up meeting 2 others before her. The first one was so nervous that it would not let any of use even pet her, The second one had too much energy for me and Emilia but Rich loved her. She ended up being adopted by someone else anyways. Indie or Midnight/Maggie which was the name she came with was the 3rd dog we met and we all agreed she was the one. We got her through an organization called Paws on the Ground. She was a little shy at first but warmed up quickly and now it feels like she has been a member of our family for a long time. The only problem we had was she was not spayed before we got her so that still had to be done. The rescue took care of it but about a week later she started bleeding. I could not figure out where the blood was coming from. It finally dawned on me that she was in heat. I didn't understand how that could happen though since she had just been spayed but found out it can happen if she was about to go into heat before the spay which made sense since she is around 1. Thankfully it didn't last to long. I also found out that she was found in a kill shelter in New Mexico and only had 1 more day to live. I am even happier we adopted her now. She is the sweetest dog. I don't understand why it took so long for her to be adopted I would like to think that it was because she was waiting for us though. Sophie will never be forgotten and continue to live on in our hearts. Speaking of Sophie we received these beautiful flowers from Ollie after she passed. Click the photo to read the card.  I was so touched by their kindness.
I was feeding Sophie their dog food in the end because it was nutritious and soft. I would highly recommend them if you are looking for soft fresh food.
I also made this hand lettered piece in honor of Sophie too. I used a another gird from Stefan Kunz as for the layout.
Lily also turned 12 on the 10th.
You would never know she is that old just by looking at her. I sure hope the inside of her stays young too. I told her I need at least 5 more years. Of course I would love for her and all dogs to live forever though.

Things in our  Etsy shop were not great but were still keeping us busy. I made this monster hat and Emilia made the matching onesie for a return buyer. This is the 3rd outfit she has bought for her grandchildren now. I love buyers like that.

We also got this great photo from a past buyers sister as well. Her sister got a hat for baby boy when he was 6 months too.

I also did a few more art pieces. I  drew the tulips and watercolored them using another tutorial from Authenic Frani.

Last year I took the Show Me Your Florals course from Stefanie Fehrenbach and Karin
Ipadlettering. I mainly did the digital part though. This April they did it again so I was finally able to finish the peony that I started last year.
I was eagerly awaiting the new Monogram Floral course that was offered at the end. It was finally released the the middle of April and I have been loving creating them every since. So far I have only done it on the Ipad though. I am hoping to do the whole alphabet. This was my first attempt with the letter A. I love how it came out. I hope you do too
Finally I found this great recipe for a loaded tofu scramble on Flora and Vino's Blog. Tofu is not Paleo but I still eat it in small amounts. If you like Tofu you will love this. It is vegetarian, gluten and  dairy free too. 

I also made this Paleo banana bread from Paleo Gluten Free Eats. I made it in mini loaf pans though. Emilia is in love with it. I added chocolate chips for her. If you like banana bread and are looking for one that is Paleo definitely give it a try.
That's it for now. I hope the rest of your May is a good one and I will be back next month with more to share then.