Thursday, January 28, 2016

Déjà-vu Story by Bruce Mero w Layout from my First Scrapbook

Please be gentle....I dug out this scrapbook page from my first scrapbook for Dad's's from the era of fancy corner punches, stickers, and for me, also known as my Flat Years, lol. However it accomplished what I had the details & date for the story, so it's a successful page. Since the subject matter is now 15, you can imagine how helpful that was...

So let's assume today you did not come here for Art as in the viewing kind, but for Art in the form of a good story....Dad just wrote this the other day so it's brand new! Enjoy!

Déjà-vuby Bruce H. Mero

Within a few minutes of hanging up the phone, the irony began to set in for Gretchen and I. Mitra had just called. She'd taken Lexi to a specialist to check out a heart murmur that their pediatrician had spotted earlier. Rather than "keep an eye on it" as the doctor suggested, Mitra had a hunch and asked for a referral to a specialist.  

          Somewhat emotionally, but matter-of-factly, Mitra described the diagnosis. Lexi's heart murmur was called Patent ductus arteriosus. She would need heart surgery.

          The National Institute of Health describes Patent ductus arteriosus as a heart problem that occurs soon after birth in some babies, where abnormal blood flow occurs between two of the major arteries connected to the heart. Before birth, this blood flow is an essential part of fetal blood circulation. Shortly after birth, this vessel normally closes as a part of the changes occurring in the baby's circulation. In some babies, however, this duct between the arteries remains open, allowing oxygen-rich blood to mix with oxygen-poor blood, putting a strain on the heart and increasing pressure in the lung arteries.

          The heart murmur that Lexi's pediatrician had heard was the gurgle of blood mixing in that duct. The surgery she needed would close that connection.

          To Gretchen and I, the irony in Lexi's diagnosis was palpable. Mitra had the same issue as a child and spent a week in the pediatric ward at Crouse Irving Memorial Hospital in Syracuse, where she underwent heart surgery to correct the condition.

          Mitra's maternal hunch that Lexi had the same thing causing the murmur was spot on. How fortunate that Mitra made that connection?

          Mitra's condition scared the be jeepers out of us. She'd been a sickly child, but because we were on the move so much during that time (Tehran, Kerman, Oneida, Managua, Oneida, Vernon and Sherrill) we didn't have a steady pediatrician for her until we finally settled in Lee Center. Our new neighbor, Annie, suggested a doctor she'd used for her kids. Within a couple of appointments with Dr. Bennett, we were told that Mitra had a heart murmur. She was four years old. Her frequent illnesses might be the result of that murmur, he thought and recommended an immediate referral to a pediatric heart specialist in Syracuse. Patent ductus arteriosus was the diagnosis. Surgery was the only remedy...sooner rather than later. The murmur had been with her since birth and her health would only decline further if the murmur was not fixed. Gretchen and I were in a kind of denial and sought a second opinion at the Buffalo Children's Hospital. Mitra's diagnosis did not change.

          Etched in my memory forever is the sight of our little girl immediately after surgery. It is the scariest moment I have ever experienced. Mitra's color was ashen. Her chest heaved and contorted as her sedated little body tried to get air. The surgeon had split her open, breast to shoulder blade, separated ribs and collapsed a lung to get at her heart. There the physician tied a surgical knot around the offending duct and pulled it tight, then stitched her closed. The nurses had her under an oxygen tent and connected to a ventilator to re-inflate the lung. An IV tube connected her little hand to a bottle of fluid hung over the bed. I cried. Gretchen cried. What a horrible experience we had just put our baby through.

          Before her surgery, Gretchen sewed a pink teddy bear for Mitra. We called the teddy bear Oso. During the bear's construction, Gretchen stitched a little candy heart into Oso's chest. We gave her the bear just before surgery. She hugged that little Oso tightly as she slept.

          Observing our angst, her nurse, David, gave us a hug and promised that in just a couple of days Mitra would be running down the hall to the playroom, she would improve so quickly.

          True to David's word, that actually happened. He had wheeled her there on day two and day three. From then on, no wheelchair was needed. On day four she trotted down the hall to the toys, IV cart in tow and hospital gown flapping behind.

          About day four also, she refused to let the nurse give her a shot for pain. Mitra hated the injections more that the pain. No more shots. The IV came out around the same time.

          Gretchen stayed at the hospital with Mitra most nights. Fortunately, Crouse Irving was near Syracuse University, so she was very familiar with the amenities in the neighborhood. That gave Gretchen a break from hospital food and allowed a bit of outside exercise when Mitra slept.

          I had to return to work at Griffiss Air Force Base after a couple of days. My boss was sympathetic to my situation, however. He gave me time off frequently, so I was able to drive to Syracuse in the afternoon most days to spend time with my girls. My boss also told the Base Commander about Mitra's surgery and he, in turn, asked the Red Cross to dedicate the next scheduled blood drive on base to our little girl. Later that week I discovered a huge stuffed dog on my desk when I went into my office. A tag on the dog's collar stated his name was Griff and that he belonged to Mitra. Of course, Griff was a hit and shared the hospital bed with Mitra and Oso, though that little pink bear was her very best pal. Early on, Mitra had discovered the little candy heart inside of Oso and a pink stain soon emerged on the bear's chest where Mitra sucked the sugar out of the candy until it disappeared.

          When she wasn't in the toy room, Gretchen tried to keep her down by reading stories to her. One of the books she read was by Dr Seuss called Green Eggs and Ham. Mitra's reaction to the story was immediately visceral...she puked all over David. Gretchen blames herself for the incident by feeding her a bad milkshake. Mitra insists it was the book. To this day she hates that story. She was not the least bit remorseful for puking on David. Mitra admitted years later that she really wasn't particularly fond of David. He was responsible for her daily Physical Therapy, which involved thumping on her chest to relieve lung congestion from the surgery. It was more reviled than the painful injections. David was hardly her favorite. 

          After a week we went back home. It took much effort on Gretchen's part to keep her from opening her stitches. Mitra was feeling so much better that she wanted to experience all of the kid stuff she'd missed when she was so sick. After a couple of follow-up visits with the surgeon in Syracuse, Mitra was declared completely cured. In fact the Dr's office sent us a letter to that physical restrictions whatsoever.

          Twenty plus years later Mitra and Nate faced the same conundrum. Mitra's hunch that Lexi might suffer from Patent ductus arteriosus was confirmed. (Girls, incidentally, are twice as likely as boys to have this problem, according to the National Institute of Health. Lucas was subsequently rested for the condition. No murmur was found.)  

          Lexi would need surgery to correct the condition. Ironically, it was at the same hospital, Crouse Irving Memorial. It may have been the same pediatric ward. David was gone, however, but Lexi took her favorite stuffed toy, a bear named Doby. A handmade Oso with a candy heart, sewed by Grandma Gretch, found its way to the hospital bed, but Doby remained her favorite once the candy was sucked out. During her short stay at Crouse Irving, Mitra also read her Green Eggs and Ham. Lexi did not puke.

          Two decades had profoundly changed the medical procedure to fix the murmur. Rather than the chest incision, rib parting and lung collapsing horror that her mom faced, Lexi had a catheter inserted into a large blood vessel in her groin, which was then guided into the unclosed duct in Lexi's heart. A small metal coil was then passed through the catheter and inserted into the duct, eventually blocking the blood flow and fixing the problem. Lexi and her parents spent the night in the hospital. She was released the next day. Her cure from Patent ductus arteriosus is complete.

          Mom and Dad were just as terrified as Gretchen and I prior to surgery. We were there and saw it on their faces. It is not something any parent foresees for their child, nor should have to deal with. We could also detect a confidence in both of those guys that day, however. That confidence was a result of having been there once before and experienced a positive outcome...déjà-vu.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

THE MUSEUM: Kraft + Layout

I admit that I always have a piece of kraft on hand as my monthly kit comes with a nice stiff piece of cardboard...And I always gravitate to using it for SOMETHING each month. I might build something from it this case, use it for a challenge! Haven't entered one of those in a dog's age....grabbed some scraps, a circle & oval cutter, and a white pen and went to town!

Huge thanks to Kraft + and DT Lizzy Hill for such inspiration! The challenge this month is to use handwring!

 Love how this page turned out! I even switched to a black pen down towards the bottom when I ran out of room....

I even added a little hand drawn star on the one edge...and edged the page with the same white marker. And check out those vellum paint splots! Totally dig those little mirrors that Yvonne Yam sent me along with ribbom and those blue flowers from my Mom...

The silver letters also came from Mom and those little adorable gold doilies from Lisa over at Life of a BZ Scrapper! Love them!

Happy Hump Day! A couple more days to get your kraft on!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Pocket Letter for Chris from The Cutting Cafe Shop

I got hit by the Pocket Letter bug when I got my first pocket letter from Miss Lizzy Hill all the way Australia. I LOVE how they fit into a standard nine page pocket protector (the ones that would hold baseball cards) and can be folded up to fit into a standard envelope!

Mine is extra special because I got to use some really nice clear stamps that were designed by my friend Regina called From Owl of Us and are sold over at THE CUTTING CAFE SHOP. If you aren't into clear stamps, you can also purchase the digital stamps from the sister site here. They are VERY good quality. I was excited to use them so wanted to use EVERY SINGLE ONE, hence the idea for a pocket letter!

I gold embossed them and then used water colors to color them in. I really liked the big leaves and stamped those on vellum. The great part about pocket letters is using up A TON of scraps on top of show casing an entire stamp set. Also you can really get blingy! I am hoping my friend Chris enjoys these! She loves making cards so if she wants to take apart the letter, these would make nice card fronts!

I borrowed this photo from Regina where you can see the From Owl of Us set and others. These are in a limited supply so I'd fly on over and grab some if you like them. The same goes for the ribbon sets she has out there and her other goodies!

Hope you love your letter, Chris! It was a HOOT to create!

Happy Tuesday and thanks for entrusting me with your new stamps, Regina!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Memorandum Monday: Saturday at the Restore

Usually I don't get a chance to pop into the second hand store on the weekend. I hear that Saturday is probably the best day to go, but that is also the day that most things get scheduled. I had stuff to drop off before grocerying so I popped in. Lucky me! I've started planning for Easter decorations so was pleased to score that single candlestick and that yellow glass egg...can you see the two of them all paired up...

I am a sucker for vintage glitter so scored both gold and silver as well as some snowflakey glitter. As you can see, Snowmageddon missed us here so I'll have to settle for using glitter instead. Oh well, I am so sad about that. Love that Valentiney string!

I was REALLY excited to bring home that huge silver tray for $10. It's plated so was really much more of a score from the decoration side of things. I quickly learned once I got home that not everyone can see your vision but sometimes people are smart enough not to ask.

The oldest who was trying to work around a huge silver tray in the kitchen asked out loud what I planned to do with this HUGE silver tray. THE MAN winced. He looked at her and said...AND you asked her that out loud? You really want to know the answer?

I ignored them all and went to find my white tooth paste which is best for removing tarnish because it smells minty, cleans tarnish, and isn't rough on your hands. I had photographed something for my blog a couple of weeks back and needed a tray, but the one I had wasn't quite big enough...which was my excuse for picking this one up...and then I can stash it behind things as a decoration...OR I suppose I could actually USE it as a tray. Having carried things on it outside for this photo I can tell you that the maids in olden times that served up food on these massive things must have had pipes! Jeepers cats it's heavy!

Happy Monday! A wave from here to Sian where she is also doing Memorandum Monday!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fabulous Fall Layout

Wrapping up the last page from 2015! Boy, this one has been done for ages and ages, but I just didn't get a chance to get it blogged. We had a second opportunity to to go on a wine tour! I paired that up with a crafy afternoon where I got to work with some pretty Close to My Heart  papers and that awesome title my friend Jean made.

Love the colors of those papers! And the sparkly glitter glue I added.

I took a photo of the paper we used when we were sampling the wines with a wine token and a pencil, snuck that in on the side like it was a piece of paper. Looks kinda cool, I think. And that black bus is our Party Bus Limo! We were pretty tame, but I am SURE that bus has stories it could tell!

So glad I finally got this page up on the blog! It's been on my list for ages!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mad Mad Mad for Bendy Bendi Cards: THE CUTTING CAFE

Mad Hatter: “Have I gone mad?”
Alice Kingsley: “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. 
But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”

My very first bendy bendi card ever and I wish I had a whole WEEK to spend making them. What fun! They are really quite genus with one main piece and then a smaller strip that goes in one way and another smaller piece that goes the other way. You get quite the 3-D card. 

Regina over at THE CUTTING CAFE created the awesome & easy to use cutting file that I used. 
Take a peek at her cutting file here and see how she used it! It comes with snow drifts and hers is a snowman card! 

I will confess that I used some little staples in strategic places due to how much weight I added to this card. I added three real playing cards, and lots of cool images from Alice in Wonderland and flowers so lots to hold in place! 

Can you see one peeking out of the top right there? I also added a few words to the scroll that the rabbit is holding for a sentiment! This card is going to friend who is going through a rough time! Hoping it makes her laugh!

Love that imagine of Alice on the one side I used! Super pretty with the yellow crinkle ribbon!

Hope this has made you MAD for Bendy Bendi Cards!

Linking this up to Lori's ChouxChoux Paper Art's Valentine's Day Challenge! Can you spot the hearts I used? ;-)

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Penny Candy Ribbon Jars with Pink Glass Knobs

I realized right before Christmas I had a slight problem. Ribbon runneth over. I promised myself that I would take care if it during break. I procrastinated for a bit because I really could not find any cool storage at the second hand store. I did finally turn up these penny candy jars at Walmart for
cheap. I hated the silver tops and chintzy handles though.

Figured I'd use some black spray paint, use real vintage glass knobs and the same sticker images I used on my spice jars.   LuvCrystals on Etsy hooked me up and I made HUGE round stickers for the tops of my jars. I sourced those pink knobs from John over at Wood N What-Knots. Love them! 

I did also notice that one of my jars has a little bit of space left in maybe I should get more ribbon? Just kidding! I was sent a lovely project over the holidays that would be a great use of ribbon and it's from Lisa over at Life of a BZscrapper. Isn't it delicious?

And now that you have looked at all that pretty is my shameful photo of the ribbon area in my cabinet...

Hot mess! It's much better now. Still need to come up with a wee bit more storage...which is why the after photo is of the doors shut.....Much better!

Happy Neat and Tidy Tuesday! Hugs!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Memorandum Monday: Mail & Musing

It was a David Bowie Pandora station weekend with all the normal things like laundry, grocerying, and some tidying up. Other normal stuff like crafting and blogging were also on the agenda. Several new fish were purchased for oldest and the youngest was shuttled to and from his Civil Air Patrol weekend long training. So in all, it wasn't an epic weekend, but one where things were set up for the next busy work week.

It was a bit of an up and a down kind of weekend, as life has it's twists and turns. It was at a down kind of moment when a carefully wrapped brown paper package arrived with interesting stamps and lovely hand writing. The oldest stalked the package first. Asked where Singapore was and oogled the stamps. THE MAN walked in on the awkward moment where I was near tears at the lovely happy mail. Huge hug for my very lovely canvas, Yvonne over at Do More With Less! Somehow she figured out that I really really wanted this! It was those roses and the glitter, and the green sequins and pink roses! She really added sunshine when I was feeling sad.

This is Yvonne's photo of her amazing canvas. I didn't manage a photo of it myself as of yet. I have it on my scrap table where it is giving me plenty of inspiration. It must have been inspirational as I learned how to make my first Bendy Bendi card this weekend and I was thrilled with the results! That will be on the blog soon!

Hope your week is fantastic! Waving over at Sian from High in the Sky who is also very inspirational with her cool bloggy posts, awesome layouts, and Memorandum Mondays! Hugs!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

12 tags of 2016-January & One Little Quote

Having watched the Tim Tag fun for years, I finally decided it was time to join the club. Besides, I had an idea hatching that I wanted to try...but let me show you the January Tim Holtz tag first and you can see why it might have caught my eye....

Yes, metal tape. A staple around here at Pratt Inc. and black. 

Now for my idea....

It's intriguing to make one similar piece of art monthly...even more so if you are being sneaky and adding part of a quote. So in December of 2016, you will find out the whole quote! See how much fun this can be?

So at the bottom you can see....IF I HAVE....which is clearly part of something bigger...and now for the extra fun part. Instead of picking ONE LITTLE WORD like I have in the past, I picked an entire quote.   

See last year's one little word was Grace and I did try to emulate that word. Since things went a whole ton smoother for me this past year, I might have accomplished something...but I kinda forgot what the word was so it was more subliminal. Hoping a quote I have to work with monthly might do the trick and stick in the noggin....time will tell!

In keeping with the whole Tim Tag thing, I tried to use mostly his stuff. I couldn't bare to run with the black and white look, hence the alcohol ink. Also couldn't handle not adding a flower, glitter, or something vintage. So the top pink metal piece with the crown is from some old ribbon and the gold sparkly P is from my stash. I also added washi tape due to my addiction with it & staples...Guess it's now a Mitra tag now! 

Happy Day before Friday!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Joy Layout with a Jean Green Hidden Journaling Card

Just started some Christmas scrapbooking the other day! Two people helped me make this page..both Jeans! The one Jean cut that pretty little scallop out at the top and all that fancy smancy holly. We were at a Crafternoon and those goodies were part of the page kit!

The second Jean made me that lovely black card with the deer and joy on it! I used it to hide some journaling that I promised to keep quiet. See where I wrote open me right at the top? Just in case someone looking at this later doesn't know that it flips...I mean there are hinges and all....

Just a bunch of pretty stuff on this page, some washi, some gold embossed grungy paper...I made that out of a gold wrapper and a piece of was upcycled! Love that little dangle on the twine!

Hope you enjoy this photo of Miss Lexi-lou!

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Purple Mercury Glass Jar & Junkin Finds

I'm always on the look out for something that can be altered with Krylon Looking Glass paint. That purple round jar on the left was just a plain purple until I got crazy with the silver and gold paint. It looked more similar to the glass goblet on the right. Both paints were sprayed on the inside of the jar although some of the gold sprayed over to the front. Gives it a fancy metallic look that makes me happy!

How do you like that little rose plate? It was super cheap at the Restore but is hand painted! Check out those little pink vintage glass knobs. Those are there as a sneak peek...have something I'm working on at the moment that I will use those for....Huge thanks for local guy John over at Wood N What-Knots for hooking me up!

I added some hand dyed seam binding ribbon to the top and some velvet petaloo flowers. Now that the holidays are over I'm enjoying some different colors out on display! Valentine's Day is right around the corner and that means pinks and purples to me!

I'm still finding things for next year for Christmas...but these little heart frames will be put to use before then! We're approaching that holiday soon! Love junkin!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Memorandum Monday: Gigantic Glass Mint Chocolate Chip Cone & Riggies in Boonville

THE MAN asked me mid last week if we had any plans for the weekend. For once the little people did not need to be driven anywhere, so it seemed pretty straight forward.

Later I realized that the weekend happened to us despite any planning.

Things were pretty much a blur from Friday afternoon to late Sunday evening. My sister in law drove up from North Carolina to attend calling hours on Sunday. Of course that meant we had to go Junkin on Saturday and hit a couple of stores. We went to Friendly's in town for lunch and ice cream. I had no idea that the Corning Museum of Glass made them a gigantic glass mint chocolate chip ice cream cone. It made me all kinds of happy. Having been local here for over a year, it was a nice surprise to find that glass cone and learn that I share a favorite ice cream flavor with a local glass artist. I believe Chris is the same dude that made Pumpkin Fysh.

Sunday found us surrounded by family celebrating the life of Uncle Bob who is at peace finally from being terribly ill. It was nice to catch up with some family members we rarely see and then out to a late supper at the Booneville Hotel. I enjoyed shrimp riggies which is a local specialty. Even though I spent years near Booneville, I had never eaten in this particular place nor heard of it. Check out that vintage register. Love it!

I am vowing to let more weekends happen to us, although maybe with a wee bit more rest in between things! Hugs and Happy Monday!

Oh and a wave over at Sian who is hosting Memorandum Monday!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

LESSology Brightly Altered Candlestick Bird Cages

I have been holding on to these little bird cages from the second hand store for ages! Since the July time frame to be exact. It wasn't until recently that I glued them up with two different metal candlesticks using some epoxy. I had planned on spraying them black or white and then fancying them up with some flowers. However, when I originally had posted them on my blog, someone commented on their pretty bright colors! So, I saved myself a step and just painted their bases with some gold spray paint!

I also added a smidge of gold spray at the top and used epoxy to adhere upcycled toppers. The crystal one is a knob and the gold a lamp finial. The only new items used on these bird cages are the rock star glass birds and velvet flowers. The birds were on sale at the Corning Musuem of Glass and I had to have them. They were Christmas ornaments but I took the clip off the bottom so I could snuggle them down into that deep green spanish moss.

Those gold mesh leaves were also Christmas ornaments and were hanging out at the second hand store. I wired them them on and then hot glued on those velvet petaloo flowers. Loved the peachy rose color! All these bright colors fit right in with our challenge over at LESSology to use the colors of gameboards to inspire your work!

It hasn't been acting much like winter here lately so I've got them out on display in the kitchen where I can enjoy them! They remind me of spring!

Hope you can join us!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


I totally enjoyed pairing up this Hershey Kiss Window Box from THE CUTTING CAFE with the Kiss Card from the Valentine Window Card Tops Set to make something quite unique! Now my box is upsized because I wanted to put quite a lot of kisses in it! And I wanted the word KISS to stand out!

I used a lot of washi tape to cover the box. I cut it out of cardboard on my Silly and then fancied it up with gold & geometric tape. I even found washi in my stash with some with little hearts on it! It's already adhesive so works really well to make something pretty quick. Adhesive lace is another short cut! Added that around the box lid. I hot glued on the kiss letters after making a little easel out of them.

Gold embossing power gave the Kiss letters a pretty patten. Love those bright little pink roses with velvet leaves! They are like icing! Some crystals add to the bling! My favorite part of the whole thing though are those little gold feet!

They are like little gold branches and a bit of hot glue holds them right on! They were a recent purchase from Linda's Funkie Junkie Boutique. They match the gold kisses!

Hope your Wednesday is awesome!