Working out the kinks

Hey friends. I want to first thank you for your kind words after our recent loss, which I talked about here. It really means so much to me to have your support and I am truly grateful.

You may have noticed things look a bit different around here! I recently moved to WordPress and re-did a few things on my website & blog. I am still working out a few glitches, but hopefully regular posts will resume by the end of the week or early next week.

Thanks a lot for your patience and hope to see you here again soon!

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On loss…and moving on.

I have never really shared anything overly personal on my blog. I’ve made that decision for a few reasons – this is supposed to be a place about creativity, paper crafting, stamping – in essence, something fun that we all love. I am going to put my trust in my dear readers now that our connection goes beyond inks & stamps. For those of you who feel this is an inappropriate place to share this news, I’m truly sorry to offend. For those friends who feel they should have received an email or call from me, trust me, I wish I could – this is just easier for now and I hope you can accept my sincere apologies.

For some reason I have a strong need to share the story of my last 48 hours. I’m not sure why. It is NOT for pity – that is a major disclaimer if you choose to read any further – I appreciate your kind wishes, but I don’t want this to turn into an awkward plea for pity or a post full of ‘woe is me’ feelings. At the end of this I hope I find myself somewhere positive – and leave you feeling the same way.

The backstory: we have been struggling with secondary infertility for the last year. We are blessed to have our 2 1/2 year old, Jacob, who keeps our life busy, exciting and full of love. I honestly feel so lucky. But, we want another child. I think secondary infertility is a tough predicament – you don’t feel as entitled to the suffering of someone who has yet to have their first child, but you can’t help but struggle with all the negative, frustrating and despairing emotions of infertility because your desire for a 2nd child is just as strong as your desire was for your 1st child. I want Jacob to be a big brother. I grew up in a big family – I want the same for us. I want a baby (or babies) – pure and simple.

Over the last year we have undergone fertility treatments – shots every day to encourage ovulation, lots of time in the doctors office and a surgery in March of this year. Miraculously, and without any medical help, I fell pregnant in May. We were shocked – as was my doctor – but, it seemed the surgery was a success and the pregnancy was looking good. Having polycystic ovaries placed me in high risk for the first 12 weeks and I was terrified, to say the least. I had a very unsettled feeling the entire time – as do most women in their 1st trimester. Pregnancy is a scary time – it is totally out of your hands – which is hard to accept.

I took care of myself – exercised, took all the meds that might help keep baby safe – and the 12 week scan arrived (after what felt like an eternity) with no issues. We had a wonderful little baby, growing and healthy. A massive weight was lifted after that scan, I felt I could finally take a deep breath. The first 12 weeks were behind me. I was still overwhelmingly exhausted and nauseous, but hopeful that the end of that was in sight and the bliss of the 2nd trimester was about to begin. I began filling up my online shopping carts with cute new maternity clothes and we started thinking about how to change the apartment to accommodate for number 2.

Over the last week I was having very, very minor spotting and some cramps, which I read was totally normal. But, thanks to a cold and needing some advice regarding medicine, I decided to phone my doctor, when I casually mentioned the spotting. He didn’t think much of it, but had me come in a week early for my 16 week scan to check everything. When I drove to his office yesterday I knew something was wrong. My intuition may have been there for longer, but it was masked heavily behind the raging pregnancy hormones that were giving me a growing bump, pushing me to organize frantically and cook freezer meals for weeks on end (not complaining about that now!).

When I arrived at the office, a scan showed a baby with no heartbeat – at 15 weeks pregnant, this came as quite a shock to everyone. In a state of disbelief and total despair I waited for my husband and arrangements were quickly being made for my hospital visit for the hasty removal of the baby. Luckily, my body was functioning normally, so I can’t blame myself or my polycystic ovaries and that gives me hope for when we try again. But the last 24 hours have been a haze of total heartache. I have always known, intellectually, that miscarriage is a terrible thing – but, knowing first hand, at 15 weeks no less – I can say for certain it is awful.

And whilst everyone keeps saying one day at a time, it is impossible not to think of the next steps. For today – and this may change by next week or next month – I want to start trying again as soon as possible. And I wish as soon as possible could be tomorrow. We will have to wait an agonizing 6 weeks- 2 months before we can even consider trying. And that is only trying. There could be months of failed cycles, another miscarriage – of course, anything is possible. And if we are lucky right away, will I find the strength to endure another 1st trimester? The exhaustion (which is so much harder when you are chasing around a toddler), the nausea, the painful wait until the first scan? And how will I ever relax? Will I get to breath the sigh of relief at 12 weeks, when in fact I now know, anything can happen.

I know I am lucky – this could have happened later in the pregnancy, or god forbid, after birth. Or later. Or I could have brought a baby into this world that would have struggled and life is hard enough. For those things I am truly thankful.

I know I need to take my time now to heal and move on. Lose the weight from a baby I didn’t have, get back to my work, my family, my life. But, I’m not quite ready. I’m sad and shocked.  I want to press fast forward to January or February when our baby would have been due, but instead I want to hear the heartbeats of 2 little babies in our 12 week scan. And, even as I type that, I can’t imagine possibly waiting that long for another 12 week scan – and that is best-case scenario.

So, here I am, asking into the abyss of the internet for something – I’m not sure what. Success stories? Prayers (I’d like twins – for those who pray)? Maybe I’m just writing for the blissful release that comes with having shared – having poured your heart onto paper (or a screen) in hopes that it will remove the pain from your soul and scatter it into millions of tiny fragments too small to even notice. Maybe I just needed to get it off my chest so I can nap.

I know things will be better – I know our hearts will heal. We’ll squeeze Jacob a little tighter and move on. We will try again, for as long as it takes – of this I am certain. Maybe we’ll get a dog. I believe in the power of positive thinking – if you truly believe something will happen and wish it into the universe – it will manifest itself. I think if I’m honest with myself, these last 2 years have not been my most positive. I hope to genuinely change that. I hope I can believe my next cycle will bring a healthy pregnancy, and then that will be so.

I have a lot of lovely projects to share, but I’m sure you’ll understand if things are a bit quiet around here. I appreciate all of my readers and my friends from this lovely world of card making, scrapbooking, blogging and life. Thanks for your ear.

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Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-faire Take 2

Hello! I’m back again for another super quick post – another late night with our little one. If anyone has any tips for getting a toddler to bed in a reasonable fashion, I’d love to hear!

Anyway, I wanted to play along again with the Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-Faire Timer Challenge. I went with the same color scheme as yesterday, but chose a different sketch. I loved this color scheme, but it didn’t have quite the same ‘punch’ on this card for some reason.

It is hard to see in the photos, but I used the Canvas & Linen Impression Plate – I still love this one – so subtle. 
Ok, time to call it a night. I have more to share this week so see you back here soon I hope! Have a great night.
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Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-Faire

I am popping in for a very quick post tonight – already 10:15pm on a Sunday night and I just got the little guy in bed & finished dinner. A much later night than intended & I’m exhausted! I had a few minutes to play this afternoon and decided to participate in Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-faire – lots of fun challenges. I opted for the Morning Timer Challenge – I can’t resist a good sketch & color combo.

I used Watercolor Wonder and the gorgeous color combo below for this simple, one-layer card. The sentiment is from Winnie and Walter and I went over the ‘hello’ with a black gel pen to give it a little pop. I love the sketch too – will definitely be revisiting this again in the future. I finished this in just about 10 minutes. 

Ok, that is all for this tired mamma. Have a great rest of your weekend and a good Monday!
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For the super quiet blog at the moment! I am swamped with life stuff right now and haven’t had a chance to make much or photograph what I have made. More coming this week to the blog as things hopefully get back to normal.

Thanks for your understanding!

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On the Reading List

I used to be an avid reader. Ever since having Jacob (over 2 years now!), reading has taken a major backseat  – it might not be even be in the proverbial car! I have really tried to make an effort lately to read more – a few minutes here and there – and I’m so happy I have. The total transformative power of a book is truly amazing and I really relish those moments I get to disconnect. Here is my current reading list – would love to hear some of your recommendations too!

I recently purchased the Kindle Paperwhite, and it has been a game changer – reading is easier in bed, at the gym, traveling – I love it.

I just finished reading Life After Life and I loved it. The premise of the book is one that I find really fascinating – the concept that if one event changes, or one scenario, the outcome of the rest of your life could be altered forever – sort of like the movie Sliding Doors (a classic!). I found the book very readable, gripping and thoroughly enjoyable. Some parts are a bit fantastical, but overall highly recommended. If you haven’t read any other Kate Atkinson I can also wholeheartedly suggest Case Histories. 

I also recently read The Goldfinch . Wow, wow and wow. I was totally engrossed in this book – I could hardly put it down. It is long, and admittedly tedious at times, but so wonderful. The writing is so descriptive and vivid, you can easily lose yourself and imagine totally that you’ve ended up in the world of the book’s characters. A must read in my opinion!

The Happiness Project is a fun read and has a lot of good lessons on finding more happiness in your everyday life. I read this awhile ago, made some resolutions and never stuck with them. I think I will re-read this one when the time is right. Nothing earth-shattering here, but an enjoyable book and interesting approach to being your best self.

I have heard many great things about The Artist’s Wayby Julia Cameron. I am always looking for ways to push myself creatively – apparently this book is just the ticket. I look forward to reading it and sharing what I learn!

I hope you’re inspired to do some summer reading. I would love any suggestions to add to my current reading list!

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1 hour with Studio Calico Penny Arcade

So, its been awhile….

We are back from our month-long trip to the states and getting settled again in Zurich. It is always a tough transition after such a long time away. Jacob has to re-adjust to a daycare where he doesn’t speak the language, the time change is brutal for everyone and normal life takes a bit of getting used to all over again. This time has been especially hard – my husband had been off work for a few months and Jacob was LOVING having him around. He started working again & mommy is paying the price with a very angry toddler who misses daddy. But, one day at a time. It is good to be back and I always welcome routine.

I haven’t had tons of time to get in the craft room, but when I get my new kits each month, I can’t wait to put them to use. I always give myself a challenge to see how many cards I can create in 1 hour using only the kit contents (not including ink and other crafting tool essentials).

For this month’s Studio Calico release, I ordered both main card kit & the add-on – I wasn’t over the moon about the stamp set in the Penny Arcade main kit, but loved the Pinball add-on set. Despite not even touching the June kit yet, I went straight to work on July – here is what I managed in 1 hour (and that time included 1 mess up card which I ditched after about 15 minutes!).

This first card came together in a flash, thanks to a gorgeous big sentiment stamp & lovely patterned papers. This is also one of my go-to sketches, so a real no-brainer :-)
This is the 2nd version of this card – the first being the aforementioned card, now in the trash can! I stamped the outline flower images from Pinball in Hero Arts Soft Sand and used Prismacolor colored pencils and Gamasol to do some very quick, sketchy coloring. A simple sentiment and rounded corners kept this to a simple, 1 layer creation.
This is the last card I managed to squeeze in during the 1 hour session – super simple one. I love the sentiment and the pop of subtle color from the flower. 
Ok, I have a few more cards to share from this kit so I’ll be back tomorrow with those. Have a great weekend – hope you are having better weather than us here in Zurich!
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Project Life – February

Hello from rainy Florida! So sorry for the long absence on the blog. I am traveling my family in the states and I thought I would have a lot more time to blog. Turns out running after my 2 year old and his cousins, along with a jammed-packed schedule, didn’t leave much time for anything else. Thats ok with me – it has been a lot of fun and Jacob adores spending time with his extended family, which makes me so happy.

Before we left for our vacation I tried to catch up on some Project Life spreads – and I’m still ridiculously behind. But, here is February – which was actually our last trip to see my parents in California. A simple, picture-heavy spread with some Ali Edwards digital elements and some assorted Studio Calico kit goodies.

And an insert -
Thats all for today. Thanks so much for stopping by – I really appreciate it!
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Project Life – January

Hello! Sorry for the little break here. I’m finally emerging from the black hole of jet lag-induced exhaustion after my trans-Atlantic trip. I am so happy to be home for our short little visit. My little one, who is just over 2 years old, absolutely adores his older cousins, who are 5 & 7.. They played together all weekend and it was so much fun.

I caught up on some Project Life before heading off to the states. I’m perpetually behind on this project – it really drives me nuts – but, I’m committed to sticking with it. The photo editing and planning all the pockets is what takes me forever. Sometimes I wonder if switching to traditional 12×12 scrapbooking might be more time efficient. I may give it a try after our holiday…
Anyway, I digress – here is my spread from January.

Lots of everyday life captured in these spreads. January was a busy month, but also a very ‘home’ month – we weren’t traveling and just getting back into our routine for the new year. It was good to capture the little details that seem so insignificant now – I’m sure one day we’ll all treasure them.
Thats all for me today – hope you all had a great weekend!
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Studio Calico Camelot

Life is hectic right now – heading off for a 3 week trip in the states on Thursday and mountains to do before we go. I did manage to squeeze in 1 quick card this weekend with the Studio Calico Camelot kit. This was a lovely kit – lots of nice colors & a great stamp set. I hope I have more time to play after my trip.

I never think to stamp on patterned paper, but I really like how it turned out on this card – the subtle pattern was a nice backdrop for the stamped flowers. And the flair, oh the flair – love, love, love it.
Ok, thats all for tonight. Thanks so much for stopping by – really appreciate it! Have a great night. 

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