Nov 29, 2011

It’s a Cricut Extravaganza here right now & I’m loving it!!!

Hi All!!

Oh, I wish all of you could all see what is going on here.  I am on “vacation” again this week, finishing up a very special project.  In order to get everything done in time (because there was an “industrial accident” here last week that destroyed weeks worth of work I’d already done—can’t talk about that right now or I might seriously start weeping, LOL!!),  I literally have every Cricut machine that I own working away for me, all at the same time.

I have my Expression 2 (which I am now soooo LOVING—thank you soooo much for this machine Provo Craft!!!!), next to my regular Expression, along with my original Cricut (aka Baby Bug) all three working in my craft room.  Then in the family room, I have my Cricut Imagine machine cutting away as well.

I have my laptop permanently logged into the Cricut Craft Room design program and I am just moving the USB cord from one machine to the other in my craft room—when one machine finishes, I start up the other one (so as to not overwork them!).  I have gone through 6 new cutting blades between all the machines in the past few days (thank goodness I am always stocked up on these!!), as well as a gaggle of cutting mats.  (FYI for all Cricut Users—this is why I ALWAYS preach that you MUST keep extra cutting blades and cutting mats on hand at all times!!)  I’m also using my Gypsy on some things that I don’t need to create files for, but am using it to just to help me out with paper placement so I can just whip out those cuts!!  It is truly a Cricut / Provo Craft extravaganza going on here right now!!!  Talk about a party, WooHoo!!!!  I wish I had a spare minute just to make a video to show you the craziness going on here.  There are literally stacks of die cuts (all the things I’ve already cut out), and who know how many packs and containers of papers that have been pulled out and are lining the family room floor, as well as all corners of my desk.  It is QUITE a site, LOL!!!

It’s at times like this that reminds me why I love my Cricut machines so much.  We are sooooo spoiled by these machines that literally take so much of the laborious work out of our hands and do it all for us.  Right now all I can say is “THANK YOU PROVO CRAFT”.  These machines have transformed the entire way in which I craft and I for one, am NEVER going back—only forward!!  I can’t wait to see what Provo Craft has in store for us in the coming year.  I was so happy to see all the digital images that have been added to Cricut Craft Room (and BTW, I found the exact image that I needed and didn’t yet own for a big piece of my project—how handy and wonderful was that!!??) and I can’t wait too see what they’ll give us next.  As you can deduce from the tone of this post, I am on a serious “Cricut high” right now!!!  And when I finish up this project, next I’ll be starting on my Christmas cards and I know that once again, using my Cricut machines, I will whip those out of here in no time, especially with all the great cartridges that have beautiful Christmas designs on them!!!  Isn’t technology a wonderful thing??!!!  I guess that’s why I will forever be the original “Gadget Girl”!!!

Well, got to get back to it!!!  Wish me luck!!

Nov 7, 2011

FYI-On Vacation for “Top Secret Special Assignment” all this week!!

Hi Everybody!!!  Hope everyone is starting to get in the holiday spirit!!!  Wow, the Christmas decorations are already up everywhere it seems!!!  Matches well with the chilly and wet southern CA weekend we’re having here!!!

This is just an informational post to let all of you know that I am going to be taking VACATION time all this week, starting Sunday, November 6th, and I will be returning on Monday, November 14th.  I am going to be on a “special assignment/special project” that I can’t chat about yet (Top Secret—shhhhhh!!!), but I will tell you just as soon as I’m allowed to do so.  But I will say it’s VERY EXCITING and quite an honor!!!  I decided to take vacation time because in order to do the very best job possible on this special assignment, I really need to concentrate ONLY on this one project exclusively, up until the time that I hear the words, “It’s a wrap!!”.

However, as always, if you happen to have a very serious crafting emergency (LOL!!!), and you absolutely must speak to me immediately, you can always call me on my Home Office telephone number.

In the meantime, if you want to place an order, please go ahead and send an email to me at  –and PLEASE put the word “ORDER” in your email subject line!!!  Please include the information for the items that you want to order (product and manufacturer name, and product # if you have it!), along with your shipping address and telephone #, and the PayPal email address you want your invoice sent to.  That way I can get a head start on your orders while I’m on vacation!!

Have a fabulous week and wish me luck!!!!  WooHoo!!!!!!!

Nov 2, 2011

Updates on cancer scares and more

I know I’m really late getting this information updated (based on all the emails and phone calls I’ve received from so many of you!!), and for that, I apologize.  Frankly, I have no excuse except that I have just been worn out thinking and talking about it and frankly, couldn’t bear to talk about it for a short time while just trying to absorb it all and what it might all mean.  It seemed to overshadow my life for the last couple months.  But I know I owe it to all my friends, customers and followers to get this information to you, so here we go.  I will try to make this as short as possible (LOL!!!).

Regarding the Multiple Myeloma cancer:
The news is the results are "inconclusive at this time". One of the main things they look for is an elevated protein in the urine, and mine is elevated, but not much--so this is good news. The not so good news is in reading all the bone scans, skeletal bone survey, etc., they found more black spots, this time on my femoral shaft (which is your thigh bone), so this isn't so good, because now they can see these black spots (which I think are actually little holes in the bone, IF I understand this correctly) on my spine and on the femur.

Some of the main and typical symptoms of Multiple Myeloma (aka MM) are severe fatigue, and problems with the kidney functions, but in my case, I am already always fatigued because I don't sleep well--ever--due to ongoing severe back pain. And as for the kidney issue, because that protein in my urine wasn't elevated very much, right now this isn't a serious concern either—the kidneys look okay for now. Because the main symptoms of MM aren't severe enough at this point in time to cause me too many problems, the decision by the Oncologist was to not do anything invasive, meaning no chemotherapy (thank goodness—WooHoo!!), no blood marrow transfusion, etc. and to re-check everything in 6 months from now. At that time,  if things have progressed, then we will have to re-visit those invasive treatment options, BUT there's also a chance that things could stay the same for an indefinite amount of time.

This Multiple Myeloma is a very strange & different animal from many other cancers, which we typically expect to progress fairly quickly. Apparently people can not only live for a long time with MM, even when the disease is more advanced (based of course on when and what stage of the disease they're diagnosed with), but in cases like mine, there are a lot of people who have it and who live with the more minimal amount of symptoms for years with no change--almost as if it's stagnant!!!

So for right now, I don't have to do anything regarding the MM but wait and do the follow up again in 6 months. And although I am sincerely grateful that I don't have to undergo any treatment, especially chemo, (because the #1 thing I despise and that believe it or not, is the thing I've been most afraid of is the throwing up—(yes, I know--I sound like a big baby, right??) --but I am so seriously afraid of being sick to my stomach for any length of time because it hurts my back soooo badly to throw up--it's the "heaving" that hurts!!), but because I am a person who prefers to have real answers and then, even if the answers aren't good, at least I know what the answers are and can make a plan for what needs to be done, this is going to be tough for me to remain patient. Because for now it's a "wait and see" thing, mentally it's very difficult for me to have absolutely NO control over anything (yes, I am a control freak--no surprise there, LOL!!)--no treatment plan, no preventative measures I can work on (because there's nothing I can do to "get rid of it" since there's no real cure at this time!) --nothing--I just have to wait to see if it progresses or stays the same. I don't know if that makes any sense to anyone else because I'm certainly grateful that things aren't nearly as bad as I'd dreaded they might be, but I feel like now I'm sitting on a ticking time bomb, with no way to diffuse it. And anyone who knows me well, knows that I am not a very patient person, to say the least!! "Sit and wait" is not exactly my style, LOL!!
But all in all, so far the news, regarding the Multiple Myeloma at least, is that it appears that all of you are STUCK WITH ME for the time being!!!! For that I am extremely grateful.

Regarding the red spots that appeared on my legs this summer, I went back to the dermatologist for a follow up and they’d actually gotten worse, so she did a total of 3 biopsies,--2 were very deep and afterwards, it looked like either a crime scene or a Halloween prank gone very wrong in the procedure room—enough said, because if I shared the details, I’m worried some of you might faint, since the doctor almost did!!  These will take about 2 weeks for the results, but the doctor said they way the spots look now (because she says their appearance has changed somewhat since I saw her last), she’s thinking it’s likely not skin cancer (Melanoma), however she’s concerned I might have Lupus or something similar.  Well, it’s not perfect news, but if it’s a toss-up between skin cancer/Melanoma or Lupus, I’ll take the Lupus.  However, this is all speculation until the results from the biopsies come back, so again, I’m in a waiting game.

Next, regarding the iffy Mammogram & the repeat scans where they found an enlarged lymph node in my armpit, I am just waiting for my follow-up appointment for another Mammogram and another scan and those appointments are coming up this month.  So, nothing new to report there—just more waiting.

Last, but not least, I have to see a neurologist because I keep getting severe pain, then numbness, tingling and weakness that begins in the shoulder area of both arms, proceeds down both arms and into both hands and all fingers.  It often feels like my hands and all my fingers are asleep and I’ve been occasionally dropping heavier things  The doctors weren’t sure if they should send me to the neurologist first or to a rheumatologist, but they decided I need to have a Nerve Conduction Study done by the neurologist first, then get those results read and depending on what they show,  decide where to go from there.  All I can say about this is they had better figure this problem out quickly before it effects my crafting!!!  I think I am more ticked off about this than anything else (which might ONLY make sense to other crafters, LOL!!!).  I absolutely refuse to allow anything to take away my ability to craft, because it is the time I feel so joyous and fulfilled, and no matter what else might be going on with me or around me, my crafting and creating time is when I can “go somewhere else” and not worry about anything while I’m in the midst of it.  It is how I relieve stress, it makes me sooooo happy and I will be darned if I’m going to allow anything to mess with that!!!  In the meantime, all I can say is thank goodness I have all my Cricut machines, cartridges and accessories, because my fabulous machines can do all the heavy lifting for me when this flares up, LOL!!!

Well, I think I’ve about covered everything.  In a nutshell, some things are still in a wait and see mode short-term, and others (the Multiple Myeloma) are more of a long-term waiting game.  But for now, I am thankful that the news has been as good as it’s been thus far and I am focusing on being happy and thankful for every single day.  I love my husband, my three sons, my family, my friends and I love helping all of you.  I am a person who absolutely loves to help people and I wish all of you knew the amount of joy and satisfaction I receive from doing all the little extras that I try to do for so many of you. And this is why I hope all of you know that you can always ask me when you need a little extra help, whether it’s in locating a certain product, or if you just want to know the answers to everyday crafty questions, such as which adhesive to use when, or how to use certain features on your Cricut or other die cutting machines, or how to best start collecting Spellbinders dies, or JustRite Stamps, etc. 

I am available by email, by phone and by video-chat using ooVoo (free at --IMHO it’s better than Skype!!!). These are the things that make me want to get up in the morning and I thank all of you for allowing me to do them for you.

So for now, you are still stuck with me!!!  I am here for you, so send me your orders, your requests or your questions because I’ve found that keeping busy is the very best medicine there is!!

Thanks again for all of your messages, inquiries, emails, PMs, phone calls and for some gorgeous and encouraging hand crafted cards!!!  You are truly an amazing group of people!!!

Now I’m off to go pack some orders!!!!! TTFN (ta ta for now!!!).

P.S.  I think I am finally ready to get another little doggie—I’m thinking this will also be very good for my heart and soul—more about this later!

Sep 23, 2011

Cancer Scares and testing--Please put out good thoughts for me

Please excuse me, but this is not a craft post today, it is instead a very personal post.  I hope all of you don't mind.
 For anyone wondering why I've been mostly absent from my sites (blog, Facebook. Cricut Message Board...),  it's because for the last month or so, I've been undergoing a ton of testing to see if I have Multiple Myeloma, a blood plasma cancer.  After having what I thought was a routine MRI, I was told they found several things on the MRI, listed here in order of least to most serious:   
  1. First, they found a Synovial Cyst on my L2-3 disc, which is the disc above the L4-5, (which is the disc where I've had all the failed back surgery), and this does help explain why I've been having serious and ever-growing pain radiating up above the normal pain zone where all the surgery has been.  Apparently, this type of cyst is fluid-filled and simply will continue to contribute to my ever-growing pain level, and no one will operate on it so it can't be removed (especially with my spinal track record!!), but it's not cancerous--just another way to cause additional and progressive pain.  
  2. Second, I have Facet Arthropathy in my spine, which is a fancy way of saying my spine is arthritic (which we already knew!!) and getting worse.  Yippee--more pain & I really feel like I'm way too young to have arthritis and a deteriorating spine, but there you have it!
  3. Last, but certainly not least, on the spinal MRI, they found that my spine has a "salt and pepper" appearance, which means there are black spots all over it, and this salt and pepper appearance of the spine is indicative of Multiple Myeloma, a blood plasma cancer.
Once getting all this wonderful news, I was sent on a path over the last month or so of first being referred to the Oncologist and being told it would be 3 weeks to even have the first appointment with her.  Well, I was soooo stressed out and knew I would seriously lose my mind if I had to wait 3 more weeks to even get to speak to someone about this, so I pushed back a little (maybe more than a little) and did get an earlier appointment with the Oncologist.  However, once I was at the Oncologist, she breezed in for a few minutes, and very matter of factly told me she couldn't tell me anything yet because I still needed to have a bunch of tests. (I would venture to say she needs some work on her bedside manner, but I suppose with all the very sick people they deal with in an oncology practice, they have to keep their own emotions in check at all time!!) 
 So over the last weeks, I have been back and forth to the hospital, to the Lab, and especially to Radiology, where I've had several CAT Scans, Skeletal Bone Surveys and many more X-Rays and studies.  I have given away so many bodily fluids I worry that I will never replenish them and I've been "nuked" so many times, over and over again in Radiology that I'm pretty sure I will be glowing in the dark soon (that would be a good party trick for Halloween, right??).  
 In the midst of all this, I also needed to have a Bone Density test, and since I was also due for my annual Mammogram and they like to do those 2 tests at the same time, I went ahead and scheduled them both together at their suggestion, but really never gave the Mammogram a second thought (well, except for when they were performing an actual "titty twister" maneuver while I was in the Mammogram machine--yikes!!).  My mind was totally focused on getting results so I could get answers about whether or not I had Multiple Myeloma.  So imagine my surprise when a couple days after the Mammogram, my phone rang, the Caller ID showed the hospital, and I picked it up expecting someone was going to tell me I had to have yet ANOTHER test for the Multiple Myeloma, but instead it turned out to be the Breast Center at the hospital.  They called to inform me there was something the Radiologist didn't like on my right breast when he read the Mammogram and wanted me to come back in either that afternoon or the next morning for some follow up tests.  I went back in the next day and after further testing, I was told there could be a problem with the lymph node under the armpit on the right breast.  They said looking at my baseline films and my subsequent Mammograms from years past (which luckily had all been done in this same hospital, so they could take a good look at the entire history) this had never shown up before.  But, because of all the testing for Multiple Myeloma that had been going on, they weren't sure it might not be tied into that somehow, so the decision was made to wait until after I got those results before following up again about the lymph node!!!  So I already have a follow up appointment for that.  Until then, I just wait and worry.
Also in the midst of all this, I was referred to a dermatologist because I've developed some red spots on both my legs that keep getting worse.  I thought I was probably broken out with some sort of common skin condition or something, but after examining me, she didn't seem to think so.  She gave me some very serious prescription cream and set a follow-up appointment for me in about a month or so, and if these spots haven't cleared up by then, she said she will need to do a biopsy, because it could be the beginning of a different type of cancer, melanoma.  (That's what happens to naughty sun-loving, white-as-paste blond haired/blue eyed girls who live by the beach I suppose!!)
Then earlier today (Thursday), I got another call and this time it was about the Bone Density Test.  I was informed that they found that there was thinning of my bones and I am in pre-osteoporosis (there's another term for it, but I didn't write it down & now can't remember it!!).  This also didn't really surprise me because my Mom has Osteoporosis and has had it for quite a while, but again, this wasn't something I was really even thinking about, because I was concentrating on the tests and upcoming results for the Multiple Myeloma.  But I have thought for a while that this could be a factor and could be contributing to some of the spinal problems I have.
So to say it's been a rough couple of months for me would be a bit of an understatement.  First, I had the unexpected, sudden and horribly sad loss of my darling little dog, Gucci and that about knocked me out with grief, let me tell you, and the timing of it couldn't have been worse because with everything I've been dealing with right now, I need her with me more than ever!!  There's nothing better for what ails me than some seriously unconditional puppy love! Then I had no sooner had started to get back on my feet after Gucci's death, then along comes all this bad news from the MRI, first with the Synovial Cyst, then with the Facet Arthropathy (arthritis), but especially the potential of having this Multiple Myeloma cancer.  And then, after reeling from the possibility of having cancer and all that would entail if it turned out to be so, then I was completely shocked to find out about the lymph node results and breast cancer scare from the Mammogram, And to add insult to injury, apparently my bones are thinning, so I'm on the road to Osteoporosis (which REALLY irritates me because I drink at least 3 huge glasses of milk every day and have done so since I was a tiny child!!), which should REALLY work well with the arthritis in my spine, don't you think?? And of course, let me not forget about the possible melanoma on my legs, woo-hoo!!
If I weren't so exhausted from all the worrying, I would laugh about all this because it has almost been comical, with one thing after another, after another.  I tell you what, if it turns out that (hopefully!!!) I am cancer-free, I'm still not sure that all the stress and worrying won't have killed me when this is all over, LOL!!
I'm asking all my crafty peeps, friends and family out there to please put out lots of positive thoughts for me to get great results when I follow up with the Oncologist tomorrow morning/Friday.  I'm hoping that I get a completely cancer-free result.  Once I do, then I can try to focus my attention on dealing with what the Synovial Cyst and the Facet Arthropathy will bring, as well as watching out for further developments with the lymph node, the pending Osteoporosis as well as the possible Melanoma on my legs!!!  (I’m just a regular party right now, aren’t I??)
But through all of this, I intend to continue helping my customers, just as I have been doing-- in fact, the more I can do that, the better off I'll be because I will have less time to focus or dwell on any problems or concerns I might have!!  So please--keep me BUSY!!!
And most of all, please put those positive thoughts and vibes out there for me, so I can happily report back here after seeing the Oncologist later today (Friday) that the results for the Multiple Myeloma are 100% negative!!
Now I am going to head upstairs to try to catch a couple hours of sleep if possible, because I want to be as sharp and alert as possible when I meet with the Oncologist later!!!  Wish me luck and send up some prayers for me if you can spare them!!!  I could really use them right now!

Aug 19, 2011

More About the CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge Bundle - and video!

Hi all!! Today I am once again turning my site over to my good friend and CTMH Consultant, Lena, to talk to all of you a bit more about the CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut Bundle.  She has some photos from samples she's been making and she even made her very first video so she could share even more with all of you about this fabulous cartridge.  So here's Lena:

Hi, this is Lena again!  Today I’d like to share a couple of pictures of an altered box I made using the CTMH Cricut Art Philosophy cartridge and a stamp set that contains some images that also coordinate with some of the die cuts on the Cricut cartridge. The tickets, the star, and the No.1 pieces were all stamped on a coordinating die cut from the Cricut Art Philosophy cartridge.  

Below, here are two more close-ups of the altered box. 

I’ve (Lena) also made a video (my first one!!) showing how the 3D flowers are made, as well as how the stamps coordinate with the images you can cut from the Art Philosophy cartridge. Here's the video below:

Also, as mentioned in the video, since Glenda (as always!!) has been very generous by giving me the opportunity to guest blog on her site, I'm offering a $10.00 discount for the CTMH Cricut Art Philosophy Bundle for all of Glenda's customers and her blog readers, which will bring your price for the CTMH Cricut Bundle down to just $89.00 (plus taxes and shipping)!!!  You can also read about all the current fabulous CTMH specials for August and September in the previous post HERE.  To place any orders, or if I can answer any questions for you about the CTMH Cricut Art Philosophy Bundle or anything else regarding CTMH, please email me at . 

Glenda, thanks again for letting me reach out to your Customers and Followers!!

Aug 8, 2011

New CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut Bundle!!

Today I am turning my blog over to my good friend, fabulous customer and CTMH (Close To My Heart) consultant, Lena Bradshaw.  I wanted to give her a chance to explain all the very detailed information about the new CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge bundle, along with all the other available special offers that can be included with the purchase of this bundle, in the same way she had explained it all to me after she returned from her CTMH Convention where this new CTMH Cricut product was introduced.  I had already read a few things about it here and there on some of the message boards, but I hadn’t seen anywhere near all the details that Lena had provided me with, not only about the CTMH Cricut bundle itself, but also about all the OTHER extra freebies and special offers that could be had with the purchase of the bundle!!  As soon as I understood how, as a buyer of the bundle, I could get all the extras and freebies as well, I wanted all my Subscribers and customers to be able to get the best “bang for your buck” when purchasing this new CTMH Cricut bundle also (you KNOW I’m always watching out for all of you!!!)!!!  So, without further ado, let me now turn this over to Lena:

Hi! My name is Lena Bradshaw and as a Close to My Heart (CTMH) consultant, I would like to tell you about our new exclusive CTMH Cricut cartridge available beginning August 1, 2011.  The cartridge is called Art Philosophy and is packed with 700 images!! The 700 images include a font, elegant rosettes, lacey patterns, gift boxes and more! The best part is that this CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge is being sold in a bundle which includes: 3 coordinating My Acrylix D-Size stamp sets (MSRP: $17.95 each), along with 3 coordinating 9” x 12” dimensional elements sheets (MSRP: $4.95 each).
In fact, the stamps sets include the measurements right on the packaging (on the stamp’s carrier sheet!!) so you will always know exactly what size to die cut your image with your Cricut so that you can then stamp your image perfectly onto your die cut. Even the dimensional elements (white coated chipboard elements) can be inked directly with your stamp pads, stamped, or even covered with other assorted papers using your Cricut to again cut out the perfect size, so that you can directly apply your paper to the chipboard elements.
You may also be wondering whether any of our other stamp sets will coordinate with the Art Philosophy cartridge and the answer is YES! Our other stamp sets which include stamps that also match up with images on the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge are indicated in the CTMH catalog in the same manner as the stamp sets that are included as part of the Cricut bundle. Just like the sets in the bundle, if you buy a stamp set that has a stamp (or stamps!) which coordinate with an Art Philosophy cartridge image, the size that you should cut out your image with your Cricut is indicated right on the packaging. There is no guesswork involved! And since our CTMH stamps are made from photo polymer materials (clear stamps), that means it is super simple to see exactly where you are stamping your images onto your Cricut die-cut. Imagine making invitations where you could just have your Cricut machine cut exactly what you need in the perfect size (which is indicated for you!) and all you have to do is to then stamp the matching images---and all the sizes are perfectly matched up for you!!!!!!! Even if you just want to make one card or scrapbook layout, or you could make 3D flowers in the colors and patterns that you want (how about making your own bouquet of flowers?) and again, because your paper is already cut out to the perfect size for the matching stamp, it just makes things all those things so much easier for you to accomplish in much less time. You’ll also be able to create custom boxes for gifts, other home d├ęcor items and much, much more with this beautiful cartridge.
This bundle (which includes the Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge, along with 3 coordinating My Acrylix D-size stamps and 3 coordinating 9” x 12” dimensional elements sheets) is just $99.00!!!!! (Taxes and shipping/handling charges apply.) If you don’t already have a CTMH consultant and would like to order this bundle, or if you have more questions regarding CTMH products, please feel free to contact me at: and please include “CTMH” in the email subject line.
Also, I want to also give you an overview of some of the other specials for the month of August……..
Special Offer #1: From August 1 through 31, 2011, if you spend $50.00 or more in CTMH products (Studio J is not eligible) you can purchase the Stamp of the Month, which is named “Wicked” (My Acrylix D-Size), for just $5.00 and as a bonus, you will also receive a FREE bonus stamp set (My Acrylix A “Typeface”). See the photos below.
Special Offer #2: From August 15 through September 30, 2011, CTMH is celebrating National Stamp Month by offering a free exclusive My Acrylix “Pair-a-Phrase” double stamp set when you place an order of $75.00 or more during this time period. The retail value of this stamp set is $35.90, but it is yours free during this time period with a $75.00 or more purchase.
And YES, ordering the CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge Bundle would make you eligible for both of these special offers for orders from August 15 through September 30, 2011. When you place your orders with me, if you want BOTH of the Special offers (and who wouldn’t??), just tell me that you want your order placed after August 15 (and before September 30), 2011 and I will take care of the rest. *(Tax and shipping/handling charges apply.)
When this new CTMH Cricut bundle was first unveiled at our recent CTMH Convention, as a fellow Cricut user and enthusiast myself, as well as a long-time member of the Cricut Message Board and a Charter member of the Cricut Circle, I was absolutely thrilled with the cartridge images. When I first saw all the beautiful and extremely useful images on the CTMH Art Philosophy cartridge, I was already sold!!! Then when I saw the coordinating stamps which take the guesswork out of trying to figure out what size to cut-out your matching image on your Cricut, I was amazed (how SMART is this??!!).  But then, when I saw that in addition to all of that, there were also 3 large coordinating dimensional elements sheets (which are also already sized for you!!) included in this bundle as well, I was absolutely over the top with happiness and with pride for what my company, CTMH and Provo Craft had managed to create together. It is simply the most well-thought-out Cricut cartridge and coordinating products that I think I’ve ever seen!! It is a perfect bundle of products for any Cricut user, from the beginner to the advanced user. I absolutely can’t wait to see all the amazing projects that the creative Cricut community is going to create with this new CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge bundle!!
To recap, in order to receive your CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge bundle (which includes the 3 coordinating sets of stamps, along with 3 coordinating sets of dimensional elements sheets), as well as the special offers outlined above, please contact me, Lena Bradshaw, at . Please put “CTMH” in your email’s subject line and please be sure to tell me which Special Offer you want (#1 or #2). If you have any other questions about the CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut bundle, please feel free to contact me by email.
Last, I want to thank my good friend (and my favorite scrapbook and paper-crafting supplier!!) Glenda, from Glenda’s Creative Place, for offering this space on her site so that I could get the details out to all her Followers, Subscribers and (fellow) customers about this amazing new CTMH Cricut bundle!!   Because she really does care about all of us, Glenda wanted to make sure that all of you knew how to best optimize your purchase of this new CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge bundle in order to get the most amount of products possible!!  Thanks so much Glenda for letting me share this information!!!
More images and information:
let me show you how®

Jul 18, 2011

I'm Here and I'm Taking ALL CHA Orders!!

Please allow me to begin by saying a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has contacted me in any way since I posted about the loss of my darling little dog, Gucci.  I've had comments from you on the blog, countless emails (almost 4,000 emails!!), Facebook posts, Cricut Message Board messages, many telephone calls (from all over the world!!) and some of you even sent gorgeous Sympathy cards to me.  Please just know that in whatever manner all of you chose to reach out to me, every single one of your very kind words have touched my heart and have offered me a great deal of comfort.  Thank you so much for your amazing thoughtfulness.  I have not been able to respond to all of you directly because in the past week and a half since Gucci's death, I have received almost 4,000 new emails, which you might imagine has literally overwhelmed me.  Please allow this post to serve as my heart-felt thank you to each and every one of you.

The next order of business is that it turned out that I needed a bit more time to grieve than I'd initially thought, so I am just now really returning to work.  However, last week I did already begin the process of placing various CHA orders with several manufacturers and vendors and I am continuing to do so this week, so please, get your pre-orders emailed to me ASAP so that I know I'm getting the correct quantities of everything ordered for you.  If there are any products you're interested in besides the big, obvious ones that I always order, please don't hesitate to ask me about ordering them for you.  You can either email me, or you are ALWAYS welcome to call me on my home office # (after 10AM Pacific Time!!) at (714) 964-0656.

As always, my prices on all the new CHA Releases are far below the Retail/MSRP prices, typically averaging at least 25% (or more) below the MSRP.  There will always be some exceptions, based on certain manufacturer's restrictions that they place on retailers, but they are very far and few between.

To email your orders to me, please send them to and PLEASE put the word: "ORDER" in your email subject line, so that I can easily separate your orders from the very thoughtful condolence messages that continue to pour in.  Please include the names of the manufacturer and the actual item(s) you want, and if you happen to have the product code for your item(s), that most certainly helps speed things up and is deeply appreciated by me!!

I so appreciate your business (which is right now turning out to be extremely good medicine for me by giving me something else to focus on that's very important to me!!), and more than anything, I deeply appreciate the kindness and friendship that all of you continue to send my way.  You have no idea just how very much all of you are helping to heal my heart right now.  Thank you so much!!!

Jul 7, 2011

More about Gucci's death & knowing what heartbreak actually feels like--also photos

Late last night I stumbled back home after one of the most awful and grueling days and nights of my life. The absolute love of my life, my little Brussels Griffon doggie, Gucci, got sick and was throwing up all night July 5th and throughout the morning of July 6th. I stayed up with her all night, on the kitchen floor (because it stays nice and cool and that’s where she was comfortable).. Then yesterday morning I called the vet and they told me to come there in the mid-afternoon. In the meantime, she had completely stopped eating and then stopped even drinking water, I guess because she would throw up every time she even took a sip. She wasn't looking good, but frankly, since she developed Cushing's Disease about a year and a half ago, she's never been quite the same dog as far as energy levels, etc. Also, because of the Cushings, she has spent a LOT of time at the vet over the past year and a half, having to frequently do these very expensive tests to check her cortisol levels, etc, which are designed to make sure that her $125.00 worth of medicine that she takes for the Cushings each month are working properly. In fact, about a month and a half ago, I asked for this same test to be performed again, because although I couldn't put my finger on it, I just had a feeling things weren't "OK" with her. But, the tests came back saying her levels were within the ranges they should be. However, she still seemed "off" to me, but the vet kept saying no, she was all OK.  

Anyway, yesterday I took her over to the vet around 2:30PM, which was the first available appt time they had, and she seemed weak and lethargic. When she saw the vet and the first set of blood work came back, the vet said the numbers for her kidney functions didn't look very good, so she wanted to do a couple more tests. I told the vet EVERYTHING I could think to tell her about Gucci's behavior and manner being "off" for a while now, so she'd have all the facts needed to treat her. She said Gucci would need to be in the back room (in the treatment area) so they could keep a close eye on her, and they hooked her up to IV solution, so she wouldn't be dehydrated and they sent me home for 2 hours. I came back at closing time (for this regular vet), thinking I was going to pick my baby up and take her home with me, but the vet felt she should stay on IV Fluids all night and have the intake/output monitored and the only way to make that happen was to have her transferred to the closest All Night Animal E.R. Hospital. So, they had me drive her there, (about a 15 minute drive) and I no sooner handed her over to them when all hell broke loose. I guess because the veterinarians in this Vet Hospital typically ONLY deal with emergencies, they are probably much better prepared and know certain signs to look for, and they immediately saw that her tongue and gums were blue, which means she wasn't getting enough oxygen. She went into cardiac arrest and to their credit, the folks in this E.R Vet Hospital valiantly did everything humanly possible--I mean they had a crew of 6 to 7 people working on her at all times, (which included 2 vets and the rest were vet techs) and they worked on her for about 4 hours, pushing all kinds of different meds, keeping her on oxygen, intubating and breathing for her and doing CPR for so long that they had to keep changing the people who were performing it, since they kept getting worn out and covered with sweat. They tried and tried everything to get her back and her sweet little heart kept trying to come back, but then it would go again and these people never stopped until I finally told them they could stop after the last time her little heart hadn't come back for almost 30 minutes (because I knew by then she wasn't coming back and if by some chance she did, because her brain had been deprived of oxygen for soooooo long, she wouldn't have any quality of life and she deserved nothing less than the perfect life she'd always had). So before they took her off all the life support she was hooked up to, I scooped her up in my arms and held her for the last time, rocking her and kissing her, I had her all snuggled up against my heart where she loved to lay, and talked to her for quite a while, just in the off chance she could hear me. Earlier when they were working on her, I had begged her over and over to please stay with me, that I needed her, but now it was time to tell her it was OK for her to go and that I would always love her. And as I held the little love of my life for the last time, I literally physically felt my heart break in a million pieces.

And now I'm left trying to figure out what happened and how things could go so badly, so quickly. Considering this dog has been so closely monitored by the vet because of her Cushing's Disease for sooo long, I don't understand how a underlying condition (like a heart problem!) could be missed. The E.R.vets last night told me they believe she'd been having heart problems for a while, but my question is, how could her own vet miss such a thing?? Believe me, if we'd known, we would have taken her to the best Cardiac vet in the area. In fact last night there was a plan early on to have her transferred to a cardiac surgeon in an animal ambulance, but they could never get her stabilized enough for transfer. I'm left with so many questions right now and yes, I know I can have a doggie autopsy performed, but I just don't want her little body to be put through anything else.

What bothers me is that I've been telling her own vet for a couple months that she seemed "off", which is why I had asked for that last test that checks her cortisol levels to make sure they were alright (because of her Cushings disease). When the cortisol levels on those tests came back as normal, I still knew something was not OK with her, but I couldn't pin down what it was. And I guess because those tests came back as OK, my regular vet decided not to investigate any further.

However, I knew this little doggie better than anyone else, because I was with her day in, day out for her entire life (10 years). And because of that, I really feel as if my concerns should have carried more weight and her regular vet should have done some more investigating and testing.

Gucci is what I call my "Once in a Lifetime Dog". Because dogs have shorter life spans than we humans, most of us dog lovers own several dogs within our lives. But I do believe within that group, although we love them all, we each get one, very, very special dog that we love and adore above all others, and this is what I call our "ONCE IN A LIFETIME DOG". Without question, Gucci was certainly that for me.

I've spent literally almost 24 hours a day with Gucci for her entire life (she was only 10 years old when she died last night and should have had a life expectancy of average 15 years). Wherever I was, there was Gucci, literally making the well-known description of the Brussels Griffon breed as the "true Velcro dog" completely true (they are never happier when they are velcro’d and stuck up against their owner). When I got up in the mornings and took a shower, she'd be right there with her little paws pressed against the glass shower doors, waiting for me to hurry up and get out, and as soon as I stepped out of the shower, I was greeted by tail-wagging and foot-kissing, as if I'd been away for months, LOL!! When I worked my online business at the computer, whether it was answering emails, typing the blog, editing together videos (where Gucci was always named as the Assistant to the Director!), she was always right there, laying across my feet as I typed. When I'd be going back and forth packing and weighing shipments for customers, she would be "velcro’d" to my leg, no matter how many times I went back and forth--she didn't care, because all she wanted was to be as close to me as possible (I always said if she could have lived inside my skin, I know she would have!!).

She was quite the traveler as well, whether it was going "bye-bye" in the car (in her own car seat!), or just hanging out with her family at our main family business in Downtown Huntington Beach, CA by the Pier. And she knew how to work people to get them to come into the store, even if they thought they were going to just hurry by on the way to the beach--all it took was one look from Gucci and they were putty in her little paws. She was well-known by those who worked in the Huntington Beach Downtown Business District and she knew which businesses were ready to hand her some "doggie treats". But also, from the very beginning of her life, Gucci was also a long-distance traveler. She always traveled with me in the airline cabin, with her little dog carrier tucked underneath the seat in front of me (where my feet should have been!) - in fact, she took her first jet ride with me about 1 week after I first got her, (so she would have only been about 12-13 weeks old!!) and she continued to travel with me, especially when I'd fly back home to Omaha where my parents and my only sibling live. She even had her very own Doggie Frequent Flyer Card with one of the main airlines we used for those trips!! For last summer's CHA Convention (in Chicago) she and I first flew into Omaha, where I got her settled in with my Mom (they adored one another!), I spent the night there and then I traveled onto Chicago on my own, while she stayed and partied with my Mom and my sister, Gail (they also had a mutual love-fest!!). When CHA was over, I flew back to Omaha, where we hung out with my family for a while longer. That would now have been her last plane trip.

She was the most amazing dog I've ever known and everyone that met her knew she was something very special and precious. I've never known another dog who was as loving and absolutely devoted to me, as well as the rest of our family. The fact that this breed, Brussels Griffon, have the most-human-like face of any dog breed (which is why they used this breed in the movie, "As Good As It Gets" with Jack Nicholson), made her able to have facial expressions like a little person, especially with her huge, amazingly expressive, beautiful eyes. This fabulous dog has seen me through several failed back surgeries and the 24/7 pain those failed back surgeries have left me with. Many days when I was in such horrific pain, Gucci was the one and ONLY reason I would actually get up out of bed. I know that this darling dog has quite literally saved my life, more than once. And all she ever asked in return for everything she gave to me and everyone around her was love, a little snuggle, a tummy rub and one of her favorite cookies. It was truly unconditional love.

Right now while typing this I am still sobbing and have been all night and morning long and even sleeping pills didn't work last night, even though I'd been awake with Gucci all night long the night before, so I'm now 48 hours with no sleep!! My own heart felt as if it broke into a million pieces last night when it was finally over and right now it still feels the same. I actually feel as if I've been run over by a big truck and I hurt everywhere. I can say without question that this is what heartbreak feels like, because my heart physically hurts so badly right now, it even hurts to breathe. I'm not sure how long this will last. I haven't eaten since day before yesterday and haven't slept for 2 nights and all I want to do is crawl into a hole and never come out.

Everywhere I look I see Gucci's things all around me and each time I do, it's another hard blow to the chest. I wish these stupid sleeping pills would actually work, because I keep thinking if I could just go to sleep, even for a while, that I might get some relief from these devastating feelings as well as the physical pain.

I will be taking a few days off while I try to recover and hopefully anesthetize myself with large doses of Ambien. I keep hoping that maybe this will have all been a nightmare. I am broken and devastated beyond words. Please understand that I will be AWOL for a few days, probably until the beginning of next week…

I know the timing is bad with the brand new Spellbinders releases being shown on the Spellbinder's blog, but just know that (as always) you can send me your orders in email and I will take care of getting them for you. Please email me with your orders at and please out the word "ORDER" in your email subject line.

Thank you for your understanding, I'm going to now crawl back under the covers again with Gucci's blankie (it still smells like her) and stay there (I hope) for a very long time.
OK, I finally was able to come back and add some photos of Gucci:

Gucci as Puppy-1

Gucci as Puppy-2

Gucci as Puppy-3

Gucci in Glenda's arms, with her sister Gail & Mom Gwen.

Gucci making Glenda's sis Gail and nephew Andrew laugh.

Gucci with Glenda's Dad, Jerry.

Gucci as tiny puppy trying to show Dad's dog, Trouble, just who is the boss!

Gucci with Glenda's Mom, Gwen.

Again, Gucci attempts to show Dad's dog, Trouble who is large (well, maybe not large!) and in charge!

Gucci with Glenda's sister, Gail.

Gucci with Catherine-the Party Girls have turned to party poopers, LOL!! 

Gucci-official Party Girl with Glenda and Moe.
Gucci collage
Gucci- just too sweet and too cute.
Gucci with cute hair bow!
Gucci hanging out in the porch swing with Glenda on another gorgeous southern California day.
Gucci, ready for a nap, laying in the porch swing with Glenda.
Gucci-more hanging out with Glenda in the porch swing.
Gucci begging Glenda for a tummy rub in the porch swing!
Gucci-1 more on Porch swing
Gucci snuggling in Glenda's arms on Glenda's Birthday!

Gucci with Glenda-Partying at my sister's house on another Omaha Vacation!!
Gucci with my nephew, Andrew at another Omaha Vacation party!
Gucci being a lazy girl on vacation in Omaha!
Gucci with Glenda and her cousin, Dick at his Kentucky ranch.
Gucci with Glenda's Mom, Gwen-returning to an autumn snowstorm (Gucci's first and only time in the snow ever!!) from vacation in Kentucky.
Gucci-rocking her Christmas outfit!
Gucci with Matthew--Matt was helping her open her gifts, LOL!!!
Gucci sitting at Moe's feet on Christmas morning.
Gucci in Moe's arms Christmas morning.
Gucci modeling new Santa hat on Christmas morning.
Gucci snuggled in Moe's arms, ready for a Christmas morning nap.
Gucci with Bubba (Matt's dog, my grandpuppy!!) Christmas morning.
Gucci trying to show Matthew her new Christmas outfit!
Gucci on Christmas morning,  wondering if all those gifts under the tree belong to her.
Gucci and Bubba (my grandpuppy!) snuggling in with Moe for a long Christmas nap.
Gucci in Glenda's arms. along with Shawn, Moe and friend, Ali.
Gucci snuggling with Shawn for a nap and a tummy rub.
Gucci, my best friend, love of my life and greatest dog that ever lived.  R.I.P. Gucci, July 6th, 2011.  Gucci, I love you and I miss you more than I can ever say.  Please wait for me at the Rainbow Bridge.

Jul 6, 2011

I lost my darling dog, Gucci tonight

I just came home from grueling day & night.  The absolute love of my life, my little Brussels Griffon doggie, Gucci got sick & was throwing up last night, I was up all night with her, took her to vet today, where she was put on IV fluids, then at closing time at the regular vet, they had me take Gucci to an all night ER Animal Hospital where all hell broke loose & she went into cardiac arrest. They valiantly tried & tried to bring her back for several hours, but they couldn't. I just held the love of my life for the last time & I literally felt my heart break in a million pieces, or so it feels. I will be taking a couple days off while I try to anesthetize myself with large doses of Ambien. Maybe I'll wake up & this will have all been a nightmare. I am broken & devastated beyond words. Please understand that I will be AWOL for a few days, probably until the beginning of next week.. 

I know the timing is bad with the brand new Spellbinders being shown on the blog, but just know that (as always) you can send me your orders in email  & I will take care of getting them for you.  Please email me with your orders at , 

Thank you for your understanding,  I'm going to now crawl under the covers with Gucci's blankie & stay there for a very long time I think. 

Jun 13, 2011

I'mmm back!! And a Great Article about Spellbinders GRAND Nestabilities!

Well, I'm FINALLY back & recovered from that horrific bought of pneumonia & its complications!! I've missed all of you & am ramping up to have a really great social networking summer via this blog/website & my business Facebook page. BTW—please, please  "LIKE" my business Facebook page because I am reeeeaaallllly trying to migrate my entire Crafting Group that was originally set up on my personal Facebook page on over to where it really should be, which is on the business side!! I set it up incorrectly at the beginning—my bad! Oh well, live & learn, LOL!!! And of course, I would also LOVE lots of new crafty members as well! So be sure to SUBSCRIBE to this blog using the email subscription (found down a ways on the right sidebar) and then please LIKE me here:  !!!  THANKS!!

There's going to be lots of fabulous things happening at Glenda's Creative Place this summer, from Featured Customers as Guest Designers (let me know if you are interested in being featured!!), other fabulous Guest Designers, as well as really, really great give-aways coming up—and there will be a seriously big, big give-away and believe me, it's one I know none of you want to miss (seriously!!!), so stay tuned in & linked up to me in every way possible (subscribe to this blog, business Facebook page...)!!!

So, onto crafting!! I'm still getting lots of questions about how best to utilize the Spellbinders GRAND Nestabilities and I thought today would be a great day to share this page from the Spellbinder's blog with you, because it helps explain a LOT about the GRAND Nesties!!! Please give it a read and let me know if you have any other questions!! And remember, I sell ALL the Spellbinder's products, among many other manufacturers. All you have to do to place an order with me is to email me at with the list of what you want, then I’ll invoice you and get your shipment sent out to you – easy peasy!!!

Here’s the link to the Spellbinder’s article from their blog (but be sure to do all your Subscriptions with me here and on Facebook before you leave me here—thanks!!):   HTH!

Have a wonderful crafting day!!  I have REALLY missed all of you!!!!!

ADD This buttons


Blog Widget by LinkWithin