Wednesday, March 11, 2015


McLap is up and running!  TaDa!  I have about a week and a half of pictures to show you, so grab a cuppa and settle in.  So good to be back online!  :)
Ian says hi.
 He's crawling slowly about now.  Has figured out how to climb up on his knees next to various pieces of furniture and get safely back down again on his own.  He's eating little tiny baby crackers and getting more vocal.  I was just over for a long visit Monday.  Leah and I were up after Daddy and Ian went to bed working on remaking the pad patterns for the second trial set.  I got home at 1:30am...with McLap.  But then discovered that neither McLap nor my tablet were connected to the internet--lol!  My wifi has been disconnecting occasionally and picked yesterday as a good day to be ornery.  Murphy's Law, right?
So Dagan stopped by after work yesterday because I tried but couldn't get it reconnected myself.  (Took him two minutes, of course.)  Was non-functional yesterday, but better today.  Semi-functional, but here I am.  :):)  
My hard drive backup thingie was used to get the brains back on McLap.  I hadn't backed anything up for over three months...ever since I was having the "too full" problems and began deleting stuff.  I had asked Dagan back then that if I updated my backup would it also delete everything that was now gone...well, he wasn't actually sure and thought it might.  So I quit updating.  Thought I might want all that extraneous stuff.  Which really wasn't a good idea after all.  Because now I am back to the mess I had over three months ago and don't have pictures of Ian past when he was five months old on dropbox (but Leah has those, I guess) or any pics of mine that aren't already on my blog (but that number is always very low--lol!)...and I haven't even begun to check out all I have to delete all over again--LOL!  Oh well.  Live and learn, right?  The point is--McLap is back on the job.  Happy me!  
So...what have I been up to while offline this past week?  Well, I have been out of cards and bookcards for a while now.  I can't show you the first 23 bookcards I put together.  That's what I planned to show you before McLap died...but those pics are gone bye-bye now.  And so are three or four of them that are already guests of the postal service.  ;)  But I will tell you about them...going to sound a bit weird.
Those of you who've been following me for a long time know that I haven't been making handmade paper for a few years again.  (Been getting that itch lately, too.)  Anyways, my dear friend, Ruby, who died a couple years ago had saved all my letters.  She had offered them back to me over the years, but I didn't want them.  The bookcards with the handmade paper she especially loved and had even told me a few times--well, if you don't care about the letters, maybe you could cut them out and recycle the handmade paper covers?  She knew how I liked to recycle and was just tempting me.  She always got me to say maybe some day to that idea.  Ruby loved everything I made and especially the handmade paper, for some reason.  
Anyways, when she died her husband sent me back all my bookcards.  It took me over a year before I could read them...but I read them and I actually did cut out the letters of the handmade paper covers and saved them.  Ruby was probably smiling as I did so.  Even though I kept telling her that many of the very first handmade papers I made were really not good--too thick and stiff and heavy...well, I knew she'd haunt me if I tossed them.  So, I destroyed the letters and all the rest of the bookcards made with just scrapbook paper covers...and kept the handmade paper covers to recycle.  Those empty covers have been just waiting to be filled again.
I sat and cut business paper in half while I watched TV.  Emptied a couple of my boxes...cotton and linen papers.  Also use some Southworth parchment paper, too.  
The business paper is what I generally use for the inside pages of the bookcards--also use for letter writing as stationery, too.
After I did the first batch of 23...I had eleven more left to fill.  I took five of the really plain handmade paper covers and sprayed them with dylusions colors just for the heck of it to see what happened.
The other six have embossed papers glued to the fronts, too.
Not sure why I saved those out from the first batch.  I think they are so heavy that I can't put much paper inside.  But I figured I should recycle them all and that Ruby was smiling as I puttered away.  
Oh, that's right!  I didn't use two of the covers--one has Karma's footprint embedded on the front because she snuck up on the craft table and stepped on the damp paper after I went to bed.  And the other cover is paper with Karma hair added to the pulp as a joke.  Ruby loved-loved-loved critters. 
Anyways, all the bookcard making made me think about the last of the pre-cut cover papers I still had and wanted to be done with.  I bought up a ton of 12 X 12 scrapbook paper years ago and cut them down for bookcard covers.  I'd get two covers and some scraps out of each sheet and I found this super sale online where the papers were between 10 and 25 cents each (so long ago I can't remember now how much the most expensive ones were--but they were all really cheap).  But after all these years I am ready to be done with these particular patterned papers, you know?  So...
I started folding those, too, while I watched TV.  51 more covers. 
 The next step...
well, as you can see, I had the types of paper for the insides all stacked up and ready...and that is a scale on the left there.   
I'd pick the type of paper, fold, fill each cover, weigh it with an envelope...and then adjust the number of pages to keep the weight under an ounce (for postage costs). 
Just kept plugging away... 
...until they were all filled, weighed, and ready for the next step.  (That's my current turquoise writing journal I have out every morning and my red bullet journal & pen pouch, BTW.)
Meanwhile, we've had some beautiful days!!  Spring seems to have arrived a month or two early.  Sure, we could still have blizzards in April up here...but people were running around with no coats on as soon as it got into the 40s--LOL!  
And it has been into the 50s even!!  
Me?  I kept doing my bookcard assembly-line sessions.  I have made these so many times that I don't have to think and can do them on autopilot (half awake), you know?  Once I have the paper and covers matched up...then it's poking holes for sewing them together.  I use this cardboard cradle (I have re-taped a couple times)... 
...and have hole placement templates made from stiff watercolor paper.  (Lazy--went with the least amount of holes, too--usually prefer five.) 
Finally got done with that step.  
Next step--picking what to sew them together with.  I use dental floss, yarn, and embroidery threads.  I felt very lazy and did all the first handmade paper ones with dental floss.  No picking or sorting for that--all the same.  But then felt better one day--so sat and picked out embroidery threads.  I match colors, pile the threads on top of the covers, and stack them up. 
 Use a blunt needle...and sew them together, comfortably ensconced in my chair, while I watch a good show.
Save all the thread scraps, of course. 
Because I cut these up later into tiny pieces and add them to... 
...handmade paper.  Love these!  Looks like confetti!  One of the favorite papers I made back then.  All were made with crafting paper scraps, packing paper, and junk mail. 
I finished sewing all 85 bookcards together!  TaDa!!  First batch was a little over a day and the second huge batch took me a little over four days, I believe.  Felt very good!!
We've had some passing-clouds mornings... 
...with the sun peeking through. 
Karma's been in seventh heaven!  Warm enough to sit in the sunny corner of the porch mornings to listen to the geese passing overhead.
Finishing off all the scrapbook paper covers made me want to get rid of all the matching scraps, too.  Plus I have had this box of odd colored card stock I had cut and folded many years ago.  Been trying to use them up (obviously very slowly) for has to be around two decades.  I am not kidding you!  I remember they'd been around a good long time before I ever moved up here in 1999--LOL!  I just cannot throw away cardstock.
So I drug out these pre-made card bases and the big stack of scraps leftover from making all the bookcard covers...   
...and I at least matched up and trimmed scraps to go with the card bases.  
There are a lot of strange matches where I said--close enough--LOL!  But I just use them to stuff letters into and most people throw them away, anyways.  These are just the scrapcards.  My totally-absolutely, anything-but-fancy, extra-plain cards.  I'm not sure exactly how I am going to put them together to finish them, but you know it is going to be extremely simply...and I will be mindlessly doing it while I watch TV--LOL!
Anyways, that took another couple days of foggy-brained sorting while I watched three seasons of Hell On Wheels on Netflix Streaming.  Now that self-same old box is full of matched up paper and cards instead of just the card bases. 
Karma has soaked up the morning sunshine. 
The days have been glorious! 
Been sleeping with the bedroom window open because it's only in the 30s and 40s at night. 
Haven't had to have the heat on (3rd floor advantage) for days. 
Oh, and I got a Dick Blick order.  Got me some Pebeo paints.  Tried scraping the three florescent ones around on a gessoed page.  (The rest are shimmery.) 
Even though I had three dollops of each of the three colors on there it is obvious that the orange dominates everything.  I will have to be cautious with it, I guess. 
I was way too tired to do any more layers or even add any more of the other two colors--but I just couldn't resist playing a little.  :)  Now I can add layers...or just start another page.  Who cares.  It felt good to just push some paint around.  
What I was going to tell you before McLap lost its mind...was that, since this fibro flare isn't apparently going away any time soon, I was going to have to adjust to living with a bumped up level of pain and exhaustion, right?  (Even IBS--all the various fibro gifts are involved.)  So, I have really been using the "baby steps" idea to the max!  I make up baby steps lists for projects...with multitudinous steps where I can check off boxes for every little thing--just because it makes me feel good to "see" progress even if it is mostly on paper at first.
I tell can just go do one tiny step.  And then one more little step.  It's hard getting started.  Well, it's hard keeping going, too--LOL!  But if you keep pushing to do those short sessions...time goes will eventually get past the middle so you can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel...and that is wonderful motivation to finish. 
If I don't push myself...well, I will still be drained to the core...I will still hurt like hell...and time will just go by and I won't get any of the things done I want to do.  I'll always be just doing what I have to do and not doing any of the fun things, you know?  I can't wait any more for things to physically change for the better.  They might.  They might not.  They could get worse, for that matter. 
Fibro is a strange bedfellow.  When I was still trying to finish college I got this knife-pain right in my tailbone that would not go away.  What set it off, apparently, was sitting on these hard, high stools in an art class I was taking at the time.  I lived with that...never expected it to go away...had to sit on special pillows...was a miserable pain in the ass--literally.  Two years later it just went away.  Fibro pain can move about...or stay forever.  It can intensify and lessen.  Can be set off quite easily.
You all may have guessed but were too polite to say, that this decline has probably been set off by the very apple of my eye...that little boy who has stolen my heart.  Since Ian I have been out and about more...lifting, bending, carrying, cuddling...and my very touchy body is not used to all that.  Instead of being away from home 3-4 times a year, I was trying to be out almost 3-4 times a first.  You may have noticed I have had to slow that galavanting business waaaay down.  
I always think I can do more than I can.  I want to believe in mind over matter...positive thinking...and all of that.  It is disheartening to be forced to realize the extent to which your life has been compromised, I guess.  How much it has changed.  How physically small it has gotten and how limited I really am.
I hadn't felt such a shocking jolt of reality since I had the series of physical capacity tests a dozen years ago.  This came on more slowly, but being able to live quietly and self-regulate for a decade fooled my optimistic self into thinking I could handle so much more than I actually can.  Face it.  I wouldn't have lasted two weeks babysitting Ian part-time when he was born before I would have been physically incapacitated.  (And we're talking how I can get so bad that it is hard for me to walk or stand--so that I can't wash clothes, hard to stand long enough to shower, or do anything but butter bread or nuke something in the microwave...a struggle just to take care of myself, let alone anyone else.)
I don't talk about it much (at least I hope I don't), but there's definitely an overwhelming bunch of reasons why I am disabled and housebound--LOL!  That's why it takes me forever and a day to get to all the projects I want to do.  And why I do try to finish whatever project I have started before I go on to the next thing (where I used to multitask like the energizer bunny--and my brain still wants to so badly) because I am less likely to finish if I spread myself too thin.  My capabilities being a bit thin to begin with these days--LOL!
So, I am adjusting and adapting.  I can guarantee you that nothing is going to keep me away from Ian!!  ROFL!  So I have to find a balance.  Have to forgive myself for not being the grandma I imagined in my head, you know?  Accepting that the fibro may stay revved up forever (Ian is worth it) and figure out ways to live with it--like the baby steps mentality...and video chats.  ;)
Meanwhile--we've got some beautiful weather in the near future.   
All the snow is long gone--not that we ever had much. 
Karma is catching her beauty sleep. 
Even when our mornings have been like this very Wednesday morning... 
...(which I think is just plain cloud-beautiful)... 
...they have often been clearing away to blue skies and sunshine.  Supposed to get to the mid-50s today!  So I am going to hobble over to my sewing baby-steps list in my bullet journal and check off a step this afternoon.  Good grief--it's already almost 2pm.  Lunch first, I guess.  See?!  It took me four hours to write this.  My life as a snail.  LOL!  But I am so happy to be back in cyberspace.  :):)  Have a great rest of your week.
"The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in." 
Morrie Schwartz


  1. The book & card covers are beautiful, but there's so many!! What do you do with all of them?

  2. i can imagine it is easy to stretch yourself and overdo too much because you want to soak in that grandboy time. as you said, your body rebels. but i'm glad you do have videochats and shared stuff via the web. and happy for sunny days for you and karma with warmer temps, too.

    your memories of ruby are sweet - karma footprint and fur included. :)

  3. Hi, dear Rita! I'm happy to see you back up and running and glad the weather is warming nicely in your part of the country. Karma seems to have the same blank expression regardless of the temperature or conditions outside. :) I am amazed how talented you are and all the lovely crafty things you create with paper and card stock. Ian continues to develop into an adorable, active, happy toddler and he warms my heart.

    Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend Rita!

  4. So good to see a new post. I check several times a day! You have so much to deal with yet always seem to stay positive. You're a wonder and a blessing! And, yes, video chatting is fantastic! The boys are headed to Disney World on Friday and we'll be doing a lot of FaceTime next week. Gotta love technology!

  5. It is good to see you back Rita! And Ian is coming on so well. You always write such interesting posts and do such great art work. I specially like the paper with the threads in it. What a great idea.
    The fibro sounds dreadful, although I am with you in hoping that it willl just go away sometime. And the baby steps idea is the good way to deal with it, perhaps, as you suggest the only way. I don't think Ian will mind if you are not the kind of grandma you have had in mind. To him you will just be his lovely grandma, and he will take you as he finds you and love you just the same! You are lucky to have such a great son and daughter in law as well as this adorable grandson!

  6. Hi Rita, it's great to see you back in the mix. You have been SOO busy doing all those 'bookcards'? What are they dear, and what do you do with them? They have keot you going for a while anyway. Much like that adorable wee Ian chappy, lol
    I hope your current fibro flare goes away/reduces very soon. Hugs for now, :o))

  7. Hi, Ian! I think my favorite cover would be the one with Karma's paw print. I know the time with your favorite McBaby brings you more pain, but it's worth it, isn't it?


  8. That was a long one, but very worth it, Rita. I'm glad everything with the laptop are fixed, and that you can now put pictures up with your posts. And yes, Ian is worth it, but you still need to take care of yourself as best you can. You accomplish quite a lot even with all the disabilities you must deal with. And you are always positive and loving, which amazes me. I think I would be much more grumpy! :-)

  9. wow, you have been busy
    i love the embossed paper delicate
    big hug for IAN...he gets more handsome every posting
    sue xx

  10. Welcome back! :)

    It's difficult to accept our limitations; especially when doing so also means admitting we can do less than we could even a few years ago. But Ian will love you regardless of the type of Grandma you are, and in a few years time he'll understand why his Grandma can't do everything she'd like to. Just enjoy what time you can with him, do what you can, and rest when you need to.

    *Still not getting e-mail replies to comments, so please send replies via regular e-mail. Thanks!

  11. So glad to see you back with us again. My fibro is always in a flare in March and most of April. It's all the ups and downs with the barometric pressures and the onset of tree allergies. Trees start emitting gases in Feb and ramp up in March and then of course the tree pollen kicks in. But like you I just keep pushing myself to do because either way I hurt . I look at March as my "Rites of Passage" to be endured before my favorite seasons start ♥♥♥♥

  12. I wish there was some way to heal and make you feel all better again - perhaps they will discover a "cure" that helps you - it is a shame you can't do your projects as fast as you might wish - because the rest of us get the joy of seeing what you produce - some of it is wonderful art -

    It is good to see you "messing around" with paper(s) again! It's been a while.


  13. Anonymous12:01 PM

    Glad to see you back. You amaze me by how much you do get done.
    You always have!
    It is hard to have to evaluate the amount you can do....again.
    To want to do more than you can...again.
    But you are so gracious about it.
    You are able to find your limits and live with them and still have joy and do so much. It is so wonderful. You don't give up. You are an inspiration.
    Take care of you.
    and you can do more with that little man.
    I do so enjoy hearing about your days and seeing your art.
    I love your paper work!
    Ruby was right, it is beautiful.

  14. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Ian will just have to be a VERY early walker!
    You are very positive about things, and don't complain.
    Karma's footprint would be my fave.

  15. I remember one time I was making paper and, after removing it from the mold, I laid the pages on the ground. A bird walked in the wet papers and Bleubeard chased the bird. I had cat AND bird prints on about six of the sheets of still wet paper. At that time, I was making paper for a charity, and I didn't want to have to remake more, but I did. When I explained that some had prints on it, the charity people wanted THOSE papers more than anything else. Just goes to show.

    I'm with everyone else. You have learned to accept your limits. I can't seem to do that. BUT, it takes me forever to finish a project, too, so I can totally relate. Like you, I try not to talk about it.

    Hope Karma and Ian are fine. I'll say hi back (grin).

  16. rita!!! you DO so much!! your covers are awesome...the embossed fronts are gorgeous! don't forget to take a rest!! between your art and Ian and!!

  17. You are such an accomplished book maker, you do so many things so well. I'm sure you are just the kind of Grandma Ian wants even it it isn't the kind you had in your head - as you said. I really admire you!


  18. Dear Rita, I know so well what you are talking about. For a long stretch you may be well, at least better than normal, BECAUSE you have been taking care but then you forget and do things which you can’t really do, so off it goes again. When I’m well I think i can rip up trees by the root, do a bit too much and WHAM, my heart tells me how silly I’ve been.

    But you do so much even in your disabled state, it must give you such satisfaction.

    As for Ian, he is a darling and I understand that you have to push yourself for him. I am glad your MacFamily is so kind and helps you out whenever you need it.

    Have a good week and take care.

  19. So good to have you back.
    Thanks for the comment on my card.
    That Ian is growing way too fast!!! LOL

  20. Cute Ian photo!
    You just keep on keeping on and doing the best your body will allow. That beautiful weather was a great pick me up for us I hope it was for you too and Karma too on the porch:)

  21. Beautiful paper, lovely story about your friend Ruby and Karma is too cute. I lost my job in November but when I was working we had a little girl, named Karma as a patient. One day she came in with her mom and they sat down next to a couple of ladies who were in full Buddhist robes. I took a quick break and text my friend Dr. T. who is an audiologist and worked with me at one time. She is native to Japan and I told her a girl named Karma was sitting next to a couple traditional Buddhists.! What are the odds?! We still chuckle about that day. The lil fellow Ian is sweet as could be. Always a pleasure to visit bloggy friends. Be kind to yourself and do not overdo it! Wise words my hubby tells me all the time and some days I listen!

  22. We've had bitter cold weather lately. We got a couple inches of snow on Friday, and it snowed again Saturday morning. It was 20 degrees this morning and it's supposed to be in the teens tonight. I'm waiting for spring to arrive. They say by mid-week we will be close to 60, but with it comes rain. The warmer weather will be short-lived. Supposed to be back down in the 30s on Saturday.

    Yes, it is disheartening facing the fact that your body is no longer able to accomplish the things it once did. It's disheartening realizing you are no able to be the grandma you'd like to be. I find myself in that predicament, too. It gets to me sometimes, when I would like to do the things for my second grandson that I did for my first, but I can't. My body won't let me. Five and a half years have taken a toll.

    I'm glad you're able to work with the papers sent you by Ruby's husband. I'm sure she is smiling. :-)

    Ian is adorable and growing up so quickly.


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Have a really great day! :) :)