Monday, October 8, 2012

Card class at Scraptopia

Your absentee blogger signing in here!!! Wow, I'm a little embarrassed to see it's been soooo long since I posted anything! It was a very busy summer--well and fall to I guess, seen as it's Thanksgiving Monday here in Canada, as well as the fact that I spent the day in my scrap room creating Christmas cards for my card class at Scraptopia in Nov.

So without further delay, here are the 3 cards I will be offering in the class. The cost is $5, and all you have to supply is the basic tools, and adhesive. All the cutting will be pre-done. You'll simply watch how each card is done, then rotate through the stations and make your creations.

If you are attending Scraptopia in Muskoka this Nov and would like to sign up for the class, send me an e-mail at, and get your name on the list. Space is limited to 20 for this class.

Also let me know if there is anything you would like to order for Scraptopia, send me an e-mail and I will make sure to have it there for you! It's simply that easy.

The floating ornament card; learn how to stamp using 2 colours on the same stamp.

The Cardinal card; relive the joy of colouring!

The "special" gift card; enjoy seeing how easy our new exclusive Cricut "Artiste" Cartridge makes cards! 

a peek at the inside of the Gift Card-card.
Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A new exclusive CTMH cricut cartridge! Oh MY!

You all know how much I LOVE my Art Philosophy cartride, WELL, CTMH has done it again! Another exclusive cartridge called "ARTISTE" and oh my, what a collection!

There is soooo much on this cartridge that you are just going to love! Lot's more 3-D items, along with an instruction book on how to assemble the 3-D items. Cupcake wrappers, lot's more flowers and tags, and cards. And of course a font too! Again over 700 images on one cartridge.

If you want to have a better understanding of what I'm "yappin" about be sure to check out this video that the wonderful Beverly (a sister consultant) posted, and generously gave us permission to share. You can visit her blog here.  She's one lucky duck, who was able to get her consultant preview copy delivered within days.

The cartridge is available for sale begining on Aug 1! Want to pre-order yours, just send me an e-mail at and I will take care of the order for you! Or you can visit my shopping site on Aug 1st and have it delivered directly to your door! Just click on the shopping cart at the top of my blog!

Stay tuned in the next few days for more info regarding the new Idea book and all the great new products!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Catching up with Studio J!!!

Thank Heaven for Studio J!!!
Having gone back to work full time after pretty much being home for the last 2.5 years, I'm finding it a struggle to keep up with my scrappin! Who am I kidding, I've never been caught up, considering I didn't start to scrap until my kids were 3 and 8, I was behind the 8 ball right from the get go. So every once in a while, I do some layouts digitally in Studio J, just to be able to finish off an ablum. As was the case this weekend, I finally got around to taking the finished layouts out of my work in progress ablum, and organizing them into thier permanent home. There were a few holes--I knew extactly which layouts/pictures I wanted in the album, so I left empty page protectors with sticky notes to "save the spot". Then sat down to get them done in Studio J.

Without further delay, here they are.......

this first one was completely lifted from one that consultants that attended the Studio J boot camp were taught during that convention. I knew as soon as I saw it I would be lifting it for these great wedding shots.

The rest I created in Studio J, using their templates. In under an hour I had them all done! I will be adding some traditional embelishments to some of these layouts when I recieve the finished product.

thanks for stopping by and I will endevour to get into my scrap room more often and come and share my creations.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Be sure to check your wish list this month and get some of your stamp sets for FREE!!! Who doesn't love free!
For the month of June only, buy 2 stamp sets and get one free! We haven't seen this sale in a couple of years, so don't wait for "next time" cause it could be a long wait!
If you need help narrowing down your list, I would suggest taking a look at the Fall/Winter 2011 idea book, becuase some of the stamps in that book will be gone come July 31st--so start there!
Simple click on the "shop" button at the top of my page to take advantage of this great deal, or send me and e-mail and I will add it to the next order I submit (and you'll save on shipping!)

Happy Stamping everyone!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Friendship Bouquet Card

Well I've finally stepped away from the Dotty paper!!! (but rest assured it will likely reappear in future posts!!!)

I was inspired by a couple of challenges this week, the Heart 2 Heart challenge to use distressing and the Mojo Monday sketch. So I'm entering this card in both challenges!

I love distressing and don't do it often enough, but the May Stamp of the month --Friendship Bouquet was calling out to me to be used in combination with some distressing. So I got busy....I used my edge distresser on all pieces of paper--some a little more than others. I also usesd my spray pen with water and pearl paint to spritz the piece of Olive cardstock then proceeded to crumple it up in a ball, then flatten it out again. I then got out my sponge dauber and cocoa ink and inked all the edges as well as some of the spots on the olive cardstock.

I stamped the image directly on the Colonial white cardstock in cocoa ink. I then got another piece of CW cardstock and applied versa mark then cocoa ink onto the stamp (without cleaning the stamp between the 2 inks) and stamped the image, covered it in clear embossing powder, tapped off the excess then heat set it.
Using my blending pen and the honey ink pad I coloured in the flower, then used the cocoa to colour the center. I love that with the blending pen and my ink pad, I can colour in an image without having to have all the markers to match my pads, simply squeeze the ink pad together when closed, and some of the ink transfers to the lid, so that when you open the stamp pad, you simply pick up the ink with the blending pen!

I was really happy with the way this card turned out, and I know I will be getting lots of use out of this stamp set!!!

Thanks for visiting.

Supplies used:
-Stella Papper pack
-Olive, Colonial white and Honey cardstock
-Friendship Bouquet--May SOTM
-Cocoa ink pad
-Honey ink pad
-versa mark pad
-clear embossing powder
-blending pen
-edge distresser
-3D foam tape

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dotty Pinwheel card

I've created this clean and simple birthday card guessed it, the Dotty paper pack! You would think I'd be near the end of my pack, but I still have tons of paper left, (and yes I only had one pack) but with 24 sheets of double sided pattern paper, there are so many possibilities! I have been creating with other paper too, but wanted to get this one posted as I am entering it in the Heart 2 Heart Polka Dots and Stripes challange as well as CR84FN Color Challenge.

With these 2 challenges in mind it was a no brainer to pick up my Dotty For You paper pack. By the way it's still available for only $5, till May 31st, with a purchase of $35.

Thanks for stopping by.

Supplies used:
-Dotty For You paper pack
-Colonial white cardstock
-Paradise asst. of Bakers Twine
-silver brads
-lagoon ink pad
-Card chatter-Birthday stamp set

Friday, May 11, 2012

Teacher Gifts (with Dotty of course!)

I just love how my exclusive Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge makes whipping up some little teacher gifts soooo easy! (Don't know if I've mentioned before how in LOVE I am with this cartridge **sheepish grin**) Seriously though, when I realized that it was Teacher Appreciation week, and mentioned it to my daughter, and we came up with a plan, we were able to pump these babies out in record time!!

The pillow box contains a bag of microwave popcorn, and I'd love to give credit to someone for the poem, but it's been around for a while and I can't quite track down where it originated from. This gift was for her regular classroom teacher, who is diabetic, so the popcorn was a great alternative to the chocolates in the next group!

These next little gifts were for her extra, french, we made 3 of these and  filled them with mini chocolate bars!
 The matchbook cards with Tea bags were for all the other teachers in the school (luckily it's a small school) we were on a roll and didn't want to leave anyone out, so we pumped out 20 of these guys in under an hour! Again super easy with the cartridge and coordinating stamp sets--just set my cricut to cut the desired shape 20x at the size that's conveniently located on the stamp carrier sheet, then did the same thing for the background tag increasing the size by 1/4".
Thanks for stopping by!

Supplies used;
Dotty paper pack
White daisy cardstock
Sweet leaf ink pad
Sunset ink pad
Thoughtful Tidings stamp set (Feb 2012 SOTM)
Art Philosophy exclusive  stamp set and cartridge

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I'm Sew Happy....with Dotty!

Thought I'd share with you this quick card I made. OK making the flower not so quick....but once it was done everything else came together supper fast.

This is also my entry into Heart 2 Hearts April Showers bring May flowers challenge this week.

What made this card soooo simple is the CTMH exclusive Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge, the card base, the sweet leaf dotty paper and all the flowers were cut using the cartridge! I'll also note that the Sweet Leaf stitched grosgrain ribbon made gathering the ribbon easy because the stitching is already in the ribbon, just grab the white stitching and pull the ribbon back.

Directions for making the flower:
Cut 4 flowers at 2", and a 5th flower at 2 1/4" (or really whatever sizes you want, but the 5th one needs to be 1/4" bigger than the other 4.
Using the Clear ruler, and a craft knife I cut 3 of the 2" flowers into 6 pieces, between the petals. The 4th one I kept whole and used as a base to glue the other 6 pieces too. This was my solution after trying unsuccessfully to glue the 6 individual pieces directly onto the bigger flower--I kept getting a gap between the last 2 petals!)
I then used the ruler with the hole guide, and my paper piercer to make the guide holes for the stitching. Then stitch away!
Add something to the middle of the flower--I found this necessary (although I would have done it anyways just to finish off the flower) simply because you sew through the middle hole so often that it's a little unsightly!

Supplies used:
-Dotty for You paper pack
-Colonial White cardstock
-Green button assortment
-Sweet leaf ink pad
-Sweet leaf embroidery floss (retired)
-Simple Stitches stamp set (retired)
-2 sided tape to hold the ribbon down
-AP cricut cartridge

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Canada Day with Dotty

The May promotion at CTMH is a Dotty Paper Pack for only $5 when you order $35 in product. I've been playing with mine, and will have lots more to show you in future posts. I've had these pictures printed since last fall and was hitting a road block every time I pulled them out to scrap them! I was cruisin some of my favourite challenge blogs yesterday and was hit with the inspiration I needed to complete this layout! Thanks to Cheryl over at Heart 2 Heart, with her April layout sketch, I was able to put this together in no time!

 Pulled out my Canadian Celebration stamp set and the AP cricut cartridge, to make the layered stars--the cartridge makes it so quick and easy! Also added in some of the new Bakers Twine. I can see getting allot of mileage with all the choices of colours in this new set!

 I had a few photos of the kids with sparklers, that weren't the greatest shots but I still wanted to include them on the layout--so I made a little interactive piece that I will have sit outside the page protector so anyone going through the album can simply untie the bakers twine and view the rest of the photo's. The trick to cutting the page protector, is to use a hole punch at both ends of your slit, to prevent the protector from ripping.
Thanks for stopping by!

Supplies used:
-Dotty paper pack
-Tulip cardstock
-White daisy cardstock
-Tulip ink pad
-bakers twine
-Canadian Celebration stamp set
-Art Philosophy cartridge

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

National Scrapbooking Promotion--"Dotty for You"

Watch the video to learn about this great special being offered from April 17th to May 31st. I have just recieved my pack of paper and will be creating some cards and layouts to share with you over the coming weeks.

Conact me at to get in on this great deal!

Happy Scrapping!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lace & Pearls OR Bling???

I designed these 2 cards using the Mojo Monday sketch#236 and an idea from Tamra Pope  for the beautiful flowers created using the exclusive CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge. Go check out her blog (by clicking on her name) for a fantastic tutorial!! I couldn't decide between going with pearls and lace, which I thought went well with the Lucy paper pack, or the full out BLING (and I love bling!) so I made one of each....both from the same paper pack. How versatile is that!

This is also my entry for the Great Impressions Lots of Flowers challenge.

So here's the Pearls and Lace.....

Here's a close up of the flower--isn't that fantastic! There's 5 different layers to this baby!

And now for the Bling!

On both cards I used the coordinating ink on the dry embossed cardstock to better highlight the embossing. I had a hard time putting the sparkle flourish on the "bling" card--not that it's hard to use, the "hard" part was in using it on something I'm going to give away. I love these sparkles, luckily I know where I can get more!
These are going to make terrific Mothers Day cards!

Supply list:
-Lucy paper pack
-Opaques Gems- pearl
-lace ribbon (non CTMH)
-blush ink pad
-Sparkle flourish
-Bling brads
-grey wool ink pad
-Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge
-Flourish embossing plate (non CTMH) April????

Yes I'm a little out of season on this one. It was actually my club layout from Dec, but I didn't have a picture to go on it when I did the layout....and I'm a little anal about making sure that I get pictures on my layouts before posting it!!!! Luckily, my sister took the perfect picture of our dad on Christmas Eve, sitting on Santa's knee. He lost his wife last year, so we haven't seen him smiling much, so this full out laugh was a welcome site!

This layout was inspired by Merilee Restucci. You can click on her name to go to her blog, she shared the template with consultants a few years ago, but her blog doesn't seem to be updated any longer, so I'm not sure she's even active anymore.

I used the exclusive CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge to cut out all the holly leaves for the layout, then gave them a quick spray with pearl paint and water in the spray pen, just for a little glimmer! Also used the cartridge for the bracket and then clear embossed the flourish on it. The paper is from the retired Mistletoe collection from 2010. I do plan to do a 2nd page to go with this layout--maybe by next Christmas I'll have that done!!!

Thanks for looking!

supplies used:
- Mistletoe paper pack (retired)
-new england ivy cardstock
-garden green cardstock
-sweet leaf cardstock
-cranberry cardstock
-chocolate cardstock
-red buttons
-cranberry grosgrain ribbon
-Love Life stamp set
-versa mark
-clear embossing powder
-Martha Stewart punch

Monday, April 9, 2012

Masculine Birthday Cards

April is a busy month for Birthdays in my family--all of them being males!!! So as I was digging through my card box for some cards, I discovered I was lacking in the masculine b-day cards section. I took the time on Friday to sit down and get busy creating. I had earmarked a card that a fellow consultant Delores Byrne had posted (click on her name to visit her blog and see the template for the springfold card) Here's my take on it!

I got my template a little backwards--and didn't realize it till I had attached the paper to it--so I added the brads and waxy flax to assist in holding the card closed! The Victory paper pack was the perfect fit for my nephew Michael, who I was creating the card for.

Next up I needed a card for my brother.....I pulled out some of my scraps from the retired Lucky paper pack, but I knew that I wanted to use this particular sentiment stamp on his card, from the new "Just a Number" stamp set, which is just packed with witty birthday sentiments. The inside of the card reads......
....yours will remain unlisted.

And finally a card for my stepfather. I had debated ordering this stamp set, Perfect Day, wasn't sure I would use it enough! So glad I had it on hand Friday when I was inspired to create this card and brayer the background. I clear embossed the dots to resemble the stars, prior to brayering twilight then outdoor denim. I used a 1/2" circle punch from a post it note for the moon--then removed it once I had finished brayering. I coloured the light in yellow then covered it in liquid glass. The effect was much better in person!

Well now I have to go create some more cards, because I already gave all these away this past weekend!!!! Back to the drawing board!

Thanks for stopping by and please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Footloose layout and Adventure Canada.

This layout was from our Vacation last summer to Pelee Island, Ontario. The southern most spot in Canada--well the inhabited spot anyways, there is one more tiny island just south of Pelee, but no one lives there! We were amazed to find out that when on this spot we were on the same line of latitude as northern California!!!

I used the Adventure Canada stamp set to make the map of Canada, but the island isn't on the map "X" is actually off the map!

 The priority for my husband was to do the 2km hike through the Provincial park that is at the bottom tip of the Island so that he could say that he truly stood on the spot most southern. So that's what inspired the layout as well as the title of the layout.
 This layout went together soooo extremely easy because I used the sand like paper from Footloose as well as a simple 1" stripe from another pattern in the paper pack with the zip strips from the top and a little matting. So easy!

This is also my entry into Scrpbookers Anonymous' April challenge to use a map and brads on your layout.

Supplies used:
-Footloose pattern paper
-creme brulee cardstock
-lagoon cardstock
-cocoa ink pad
-Adventure Canada stamp set
-creme brulee brads

-assorted chipboard (non CTMH)
-paint (non CTMH)
-Cricut (sorry can't recall the cartridge!)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Scrap n Yap all day with me!!!

I just got back from Scraptopia yesterday and had such a wonderful weekend scrappin and yappin, that I'm ready to do it again!!! I will be posting some of my creations from the weekend over the next few days, so be sure to come back and check them out!

My family might protest if I go away for a whole weekend again so soon, so I thought I would set up an all day scrap instead.

When: Saturday May 5th, 2012
Where: Elmvale Lions Hall
Time: 9am to midnight (or as long as you last)
How much: $15 per person
Whats included: Coffee and Tea--brown bag your lunch, and if interested you can throw some money into the pot and we will order pizza for dinner.

This is a "just scrappin" day. No frills, no interuptions. Space is limited to 30!

Here's what you need to do;
1-send me an e-mail and let me know if you are attending (I will add you to the list)
2-get me your money (secure your spot with, cheque or e-mail money transfer)
3-show up and have fun!

Hope you can make it!
Carolyn Crowe
Close to My Heart
Independant Consultant

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Card class at Scraptopia March 30th.

Hello ladies, I wanted to share with you the cards that I (with the creative contribution of my dear friend Karen) have created to teach as the card class at Scraptopia next weekend. The cost of the class is $5. So if you are attending Scraptopia and would like to participate in the card class please e-mail me at to sign up.

Mothers Day card

 Fathers Day card
 Generic/friend card
 Also be sure to take a look at the Footloose layout  here, which is the other class option for Scraptopia.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Footloose layout

Here's a layout I did for a class at Scraptopia this spring. The class will cost $5 and include everything needed to create this great layout, just add pictures!!! The layout is based on the Workshop on the Go additional layout, with a few alterations.

If you are attending Scraptopia on March 30, 31 and April 1, and would like to sign up for the class, just send me a quick e-mail at and let me know. Space is limited to 10 for this class.

Supplies used
-Footloose paper pack
-creme brulee ink
-lagoon ink
-olive ink
-Footloose Workshop on the Go stamp set
-sanding block

Quick Cards Butterfly

I knew as soon as I saw this stamp set in the new idea book that I wanted to use it with the shaving cream technique and make it a beautiful Monarch Butterfly. So I promptly ordered the stamp set, and have had it in hand since the middle of Jan. For only $6.95 it's a steal! The problem---the men in my house only use shaving gel--and the technique needs the foam type!!! Of course every time I went shopping I never remembered to get some, and every time I sat down to scrap--I never had the foam!!! I finally remembered to get some, and here is the result.

I am so thrilled with the way it turned out. I actually stamped the image directly on the colonial white card stock then stamped the butterfly in black on the cardstock that I had done the technique on, cut it out and using a pencil, curled the wings just a touch to give the impression of it getting ready to fly off the card. I used a few of the small black opaques gems on the body and did not glue down the wings at all! I used a texture plate to put the swirl pattern on the creme brulee cardstock, and using a sponge, lightly highlighted the texture and edges with creme brulee ink.  

This is also my entry in the Frosted Design Things with Wings challenge.

Supplies used
-colonial white cardstock
-creme brulee cardstock
-Quick Cards Butterfly stamp set
-black ink pad
-creme brulee ink pad
-autumn terracotta re-inker
-desert sand re-inker
-shaving cream (non CTMH, would've had it done allot sooner if we carried it!! Ha ha)
-Opaques Licorice gems
-Sizzix texture plate pattern 1 (non CTMH)

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Name banner

Wanted to share with you this banner that my daughter and I made for one of her friends. This friends mother claims to not be "crafty" ( I haven't been able to convert her yet!!!), so where most of my daughters friends have had a name banner made for them, this friend didn't have one and had mentioned wanting one--so we thought it would be a perfect Birthday gift.
Please excuse the blurry pics--forgot to take pictures until we went to wrap the gift, so just took some quick shots while hubby held it up for me.

The base for each circle is actually beer know the kind that bars and some restaurants put on the table for your drink! They make the perfect sturdy base, and best of all, I get them for free!!!

Most of the products are not CTMH with a few exceptions........

The bling brad on the T (love those things!) And the Colonial white flower on the E.

that adorable butterfly on the A--I inked it up with some sweet leaf and pansy purple ink.
The buttons on the N are also CTMH as well as the Bling button on the I.

This dragon fly is part of the Wooden Garden shapes from the new idea book and I inked it up with some pansy purple ink.

Thanks for looking!
Have a great day.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Florentine Paper Pack

Today I have my version of the layout on pg 50 of the current CTMH Idea Book using the new Florentine paper pack.

It's also my submission for the Frosted Designs Sketch Along Tuesday #35 challenge.

These papers just called to me for a wedding picture, and this candid shot I took of my cousin Craig and his new wife Melissa at their wedding reception was just the one! Their eyes and the twilight papers are a perfect match!
The double row of hand stitching around the boarder was made so much easier with the CTMH ruler, which comes with 2 rows of guide holes to help me keep my stitches evenly spaced. And what would a wedding layout be without some bling!! So I had to get in the Bling buttons, as well as the new Bitty opaque pearls, which come with an adhesive back, sooo much easier (can you imagine trying to glue these little suckers down!)

I even added a few pearls to the body of the butterflies of the new Garden Wooden Shapes (it was a wedding after all--couldn't send them naked!) I layered a couple of the lace flowers, then a flower button, and finished it off with a bling button. It's a pretty thick layer, but it's all held together with liquid glass, so I know it isn't going anywhere. You can't really tell in these shots but I also used the liquid glass to highlight the ring of hearts between the mini pearls, it adds some beautiful dimension. Peaking out from beneath the lace flowers and under the corner of the picture is one of the new sparkle flourishes, then topped it off with a branch of leaves also from the Garden Wooden shapes collection.
The edges of all the papers were distressed and then inked in desert sand using my sponge dauber. The title was cut using the exclusive CTMH Art Philosophy cartridge, and then inked as well.

Supplies used
-Florentine paper pack
-Bitty Pearl opaques
-sparkle flourish
-Bohemian Assortment (lace flowers)
-garden wooden shapes
-Bling buttons
-Blue button assortment
-colonial white embroidery floss
-desert sand ink
-liquid glass
-Art Philosophy cartridge
-edge distresser 
-sponge dauber

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Beach

This year I've been off to a bad start with my blog, but I have been scrappin! So I'm going to share one of the layouts that I created recently (OK well finished lately--I actually started this one last Nov)

It also falls into this weeks Heart 2 Heart challenge--it's a photo inspiration challenge and the colours in the photo definitely remind me of sand and water.
This layout will show how my scrapbooking is always forefront in my mind...what was a last minute trip to the beach to cool off on a hot summer evening, had me planning a layout right from the word go. The kids rushed to get into their bathing suits and I made sure to grab my camera--while they were playing in the water, I was writing words in the sand and taking pictures to use on the layout!!! Can you say obsessed!!!
I used flip flaps to create this layout--but didn't put them in it to take the pictures--they photograph much better out of the flip flaps.
So here's how it will look all closed up.....

This shot shows you the full layout with the 2 6"flaps open--(that's a full 36inches of layout, 48" if you count the other side of the flaps!!! Have I told you how much I love flip flaps!!)
Our white core cardstock is perfect for a project like this---I was able to tear the twilight cardstock so that some of the white showed, and gave the impression of the white caps you see on waves, at least I think so!

Here's a closer look at the left page, I've even used some of the 4x6" flip flaps on this page below the journaling.

And the right page open.
I tried to duplicate the bubbles that you see when the water washes up on the beach, by using a glass bead gel along the edge of the twilight paper (water) where it meets the kraft paper (sand).

I took an idea from the 2012 spring CTMH idea book and braided some embroidery floss then put knots in it to add to my embellishments. I'm actually glad I hadn't finished this layout before the new book came out, otherwise I wouldn't have had these great Seaside Wooden Shapes to add to my layout. I gave them a little coat of Pearl Paint, to give them a bit of shimmer.
The real shells that I put on the pages I first filled with liquid glass in hopes that it would prevent the shells from getting crushed once the layout is in my album---just another use for Liquid glass!
You can see the glass beads better in this picture.

Supplies used
-Kraft cardstock
-Twilight cardstock
-white daisy cardstock
-Sky cardstock
-4"x6" flip flaps
-6"x12" flip flaps (not shown)
-Seaside wooden shapes
-assorted blue buttons
-blue sparkles
-Colonial white embroidery floss
-shells (the real ones!)
-burlap (non CTMH)
-Glass Bead Gel (non CTMH--made by Golden)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A BIG shout out to Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital.

Let me start by apologizing for my lack of posts and updates on my blog for the last month. I have no artwork to show you, so we'll consider this the "yap" portion of my blog, and my excuse for ignoring my blogger duties.

We recently had the need to use the services of Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, and I just wanted to let you all know (especially my local Ontario followers) of the absolutely outstanding Doctors, Nurses and staff at the hospital that deserve all the praise and accolades that I can give them.

Let me explain.....

On Jan 2, my 14yr old son was messing around with caps (the kind you would use in a kids cap gun, although no cap gun was used) and ended up setting them off. I should tell you that my son has always been the inquisitive type, always trying to find out how things work, why they do what they do, and how to make them work "better"!!! Think of Myth busters meets Tim the Tool man Taylor!!! Needless to say he got a result that he was not expecting. He ended up blowing apart the middle of his left index finger. I'll spare you the details, but will say, it was not pretty. After a quick ambulance ride to a local hospital, it was determined that if there was any chance of saving the finger, we would need a specialist. Unfortunately, this was winter in Ontario, and although this winter has been especially mild, on this day there was a snow storm going on. So the helicopter that they would normally have used to air lift him to Sick kids was grounded. A ground ambulance was about a 4 hour wait, on top of the 2 hour ride there. Time that we did not have, so like any other parents out there, we elected to drive him ourselves. I have 4 wheel drive and spent many years commuting to Toronto, off we went.

In just under 3 hours (normally the snow belt that lies around the Hwy #89 boundary, continued right down to the top of Toronto on this night) we were at Sick Kids. They were expecting us, and the staff in emerg. were great about getting him settled in and getting the plastic surgeon in to see him. After a quick consult, and a thorough explanation of what they thought they could do and what the worst case scenario would be, he was off to surgery. My husband and I settled in for what we were told could be 5 to 8 hours. Up until this point in raising our children we have been very lucky and not had any serious or life threatening situations that we've had to deal with when it comes to our children. The odd broken bone, but that's about it. So this experience of "waiting" was new to us, and I will say, I would be happy to never have to go through it again. I also have the greatest respect and sympathy for any parent who has had to sit in a waiting room for a child in surgery. Up until this point I had held it together pretty good, you know the mode, when you have to be strong and have things that need to be taken care of. Now all of a sudden, it was out of my hands, and being a little bit of a control freak, this did not sit well with me. There was plenty of quiet reflection and prayer going on in the waiting room, as well as a whole lot of restlessness. Within half an hour a nurse had given us an update that the Brendan had gone under without incident and all was going well. You could certainly tell that the staff at this hospital was completely aware and respectful of what the parents were going through.

About 1 1/2 hours into the operation, the surgeon came out to see us, as soon as I saw him in the door of the waiting room, my heart sank to the bottom of my gut, knowing that this could not be good. My first reaction was that something had gone wrong, it was after all, the first time my son had ever been put under! He was quick to assure us Brendan was doing fine, but that once they really got into the surgery, the shock wave damage, from the blast, had gone farther into the bottom half of his finger and possible the palm of the hand than anticipated, and at this point they were recommending that they amputate the top half of his finger. I'll spare you the whole explanation, but essentially this was the worst case scenario previously explained to us, and left us with a new worst case/best case situation.  For me emotionally this was the breaking point, how were we going to tell our child when he woke up from surgery that they had to amputate half his finger! We made sure going into the surgery that he understood that this was a possibility, but we were very hopeful that the "best case" was going to be the result.

When he woke up in recovery and we were allowed to go in and see him, (as fitting for a 14 yr old who hadn't eaten since breakfast the day before and it was now about 3:30 in the morning) his first concern was when could he have a burger! His hand was partially casted and fully bandaged, so he could not really tell at this point what the outcome was. So we told him what had happened during the surgery, and he took it like a trooper and said he thought that might happen.

He was released later that day, and a week after the surgery we went back for a follow up and to get the cast/bandages removed. I was dreading this day because as I'd mentioned with the casting you really didn't get an idea of what his new reality was going to look like, and his spirits had been so great during his recovery that I was afraid that actually seeing it would send him crashing (well and me too!) Like the trooper that he is, he took it all in stride, and once he started chasing his sister around the house with the "finger" and making jokes about it, I knew all was going to be OK.

It amazes me sometimes the resiliency kids have. I knew this experience was going to show us another piece of his personality. Was he a glass half empty, or a glass half full kinda person. I am so proud to say that he appears to be the glass half full kinda guy! well in this situation anyways, after all he's still a teenage boy who's parents don't have a clue, and are making it their life's mission to ruin his life by having rules. How dare us! We do hope that this doesn't crush his natural curiosity....maybe just temper it a little--OK allot, until his decision making skills are a little more honed, and allot more safer!

Back to my original reason for this post....

I cannot express accurately in words my gratitude for all the staff at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. I had heard from others, who had the need for their services in the past, how truly amazing they are, but have a whole new appreciation for them. Having supported them and other hospital lotteries in the past, I am all the more driven to continue to do so in the future, knowing how very worthwhile they are. And I hope you will never need their services in the future, but if you do, I hope you can find some comfort knowing that you will be in the very best of hands.

As an after thought, let me also say thanks for letting me ramble. I actually have found this post a little therapeutic for myself. I am not quite at the point where I am ready to scrapbook this story, although I do believe that it is one of those life altering moments that I need to capture. When I do get to doing it, I know I can come back to this post and capture some of my emotions from that day. And give your kids an extra hug today, because it's at times like this that when you try for that extra cuddle, you realize how hard it is to fit that 6 foot frame on your lap!

Thanks for visiting.