Hunkydory Crafts Design Team

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

6 months with Crohn's Disease

Its been a strange few days, my minds been all over the place and not sure why so i thought id do something that iv never ever done before and write it all down, this then turned into a list on my laptop that then developed into a blog post. I blog for my creative side but never for personal reasons. This blog post has sat in my blog account unpublished and its taken a few weeks for me to think bugger it, lets post it. You have all seen my pictures and posts on social media the past 6 months so why not let everyone read my side of the past 6 months, when it comes to my Crohn's. Of course I could extend on a lot of what I'm saying but that would make my blog post even longer so Iv just included what Iv thought is important. 
  The break up with my fiance does have its part too but with respect to her and her family, there's no need nor reason to go into that. We both have different recollections of how and why things happened so its best left there. The past week or so has felt weird. For 6 months iv been working so hard physically and emotionally trying to get better and get myself back to living a normal life. I have again, won yet another battle with a Crohn's. I have seriously lost count now the amount of battles iv faced and over come, every time i come out the other end as the winner i feel and think to myself i cant face another battle. I then sit and think am i actually winning each time or is it taken a piece of me away each time that now sitting here tonight i feel i cant fight Crohn's again because if i am forced into another fight, i'll lose. However this time, I feel its true, the past 7 months have been hell, but looking back its the past 13 months that has been hell - when it comes to my Crohn's. When i think back to what iv gone through with just this latest fight, i know i cant do it again, i cant fight it, i don't have the strength to fight it and sometimes i feel i don't want to fight it. Funnily enough i can be a very emotional guy, but very few see the emotional side of me when it comes to my flares up, I can only think of 3 people the main one is my Mum, i can be in hospital, lying in the bed and she walks in and I burst into tears and they don't stop, they flow, well actually they don't flow they flood and don't stop till i have a banging headache. Part of that is cause i know in myself i cant hide anything from mum, Mum is my world, We are so close, and do lots together and spend time together that will be the reason she is the one that gets the brunt of my moods. I never mean anything by it, she has and does do a lot for me. Being so close is probably why she gets the brunt of it at times. She knows when i'm putting on a brave face so i don't even attempt to hide my feelings, i couldn't if i wanted to, like i say they just flood out. The only other 2 that have seen this side of me is my Auntie (& Godmother) Jayne and my little cousin Louise. They haven't seen it as much as mum has but they 2 are the only 2 where my body seems to feel comfortable with them so my emotions just flood out. I have to say that this time round, my other cousin (& Louise's brother) Daniel, he seen it this time and by god he seen it big time on one of the days. Why fight it? i cant. I'm a male and i'm 32 so why does that mean i have to hide the tears? don't get me wrong i do hide them from many - the rest of the family, friends, work colleagues basically everyone other than Mum, Jayne and Louise. So going back to being at the point where i can live a normal life now, it doesn't feel like a normal life, for nearly 2 years right up until Jan this year my normal life was with my ex and her wee boy. That was my life, that was my normal life so now i have to get used to this new but different "normal" life again. Iv been single for 6 months but i never had time to think about it or dwell on it or even grieve about it. I went straight from breaking up right into ward 2 of Ninewells hospital where every single nurse and Dr i came across were fantastic. if it wasn't for the healthcare assistants and nurses in ward 2 i would of cracked a lot sooner. They were so much fun, up for a laugh but at the same time, so understanding. When it comes to Crohn's your dignity goes out the window years prior and i never felt embarrassed around them. I was poked and prodded with lines being inserted into my body, TPN feeding being pumped into my body 24/7 to get my weight up. I had lost so much weight with the lead up to the end of 2016, so many people at work where commenting on how unwell i looked but i did feel OK, i really did. I never seen the weight loss myself, but when you see your self in a mirror on a daily basis you never notice the changes in your body. It's not until now when i see the odd pictures from my works Christmas night out that i think "oh shit, i look awful. Was i really that underweight and unwell?". The simple answer to that was yes, i was very unwell, so unwell which was why i had to have 5 weeks of intense TPN feeding. My surgeon who specialises in the bowel and gut and who is my angel was brutally honest and said my body wouldn't cope with another operation so big at the weight i was so i had 1 week of feeding into a line straight into my main arm vein for 24 hours a day for the whole 7 days and a further 4 weeks of feeding during the night for 12 hours. I'm telling you, trying to sleep in hospital is bad enough (and yes at 32 y/o, i still take my own pillows) but when your attached to tubing and a machine where if you moved and lent on the tubing, the machine would go off because of air locks. First time on night one is fine but at 4.30am where its just gone off for the 47th time is hell now carry this on for a further 4 weeks, well no wonder i was sleep deprived. TPN feeding was so full of nutrients that this caused it to be so full of bacteria that the who area of where the tubing entered my body had to be extremely clean and it was like an operation in itself just to connect me each night and detach me each morning. Everything, everyone and every area had to be scrubbed and cleaned with an inch of its life. That was nothing though, for about 5 days before i got my line in my arm - as i had to wait for an slot in the X-ray department to insert it. I had to have the feeding through a canula in the back of my hand but because of cleanliness and bacteria build up, a brand new canula had to be inserted every single day. The pain and rawness on the back of my hand was, well so painful, now this is coming from me who has a very high pain threshold. At least with the 5 weeks of feeding ended and my body was at a safe weight to operate on, the pain was over.........Or so i thought.
Photos of the canulas i had inserted into my arms. Strangely i have no photos of the line that was inserted in the upper part of my arm. 


The photo of myself was taken the week before my TPN started in early February and shows how unwell i was.  Then the 2nd photo of myself was taken 5 weeks later.



I was discharged for 2 weeks with the line still in my arm before being brought in again for my operation. While i was in hospital for feeding, i was classed as a priority for my operation, then when i was discharged for the 2 weeks, i was told i was still a priority and could be asked come in any day for my operation. So would it surprise you if i told you they forgot about me, when i contacted the person in charge of the beds, i was told i wasn't a priority because i wasn't an "in" patient with a bed, so others with simple procedures needing done comes first. Shock horror within these 2 weeks, i was losing all the weight i put back on. What a complete waste of money and time having me in for 5 weeks to be told i'm not a priority and i just have to wait. After several phone calls to the hospital, and keeping in mind i still have this line in my arm that's not being used and could get infected at any point, i get a phone call to say my surgeon - Miss Ziyaie wants me in immediately to ward 10. The carry on of being told i'm no longer a priority was nothing to do with Miss Ziyaie, she wanted to operate, all this time shes put into me for what? So only thing i can think of is she found out what was happening and how i was losing weight again so hauled me back into hospital awaiting the first emergency theatre spot to open up. This happened on a Monday and she operated on me on the Saturday afternoon into late evening. The 5 days in-between were spend back on TPN feeding getting as much weight back on me ready to operate. 

The reason she had to operate on me was because i had fistulas forming down the old scar line on my stomach and around my Illiostomy. Which over time had caused a large infection inside my body. Bet your thinking what are fistulas? Fistulas are when instead of my body waste flowing out the remaining part of my small bowel into my Illiostomy bag, it finds ways to escape via the surface of my skin. What first appears as wee absess's on my old scar line on my stomach, its actually body waste coming out. This time round, not only did i have large holes in my stomach oozing body waste and infection, the remaining waste was still travelling to my Illiostomy but it was pouring out from where my Stoma (Illiostomy) should join with the surface of my skin. As you can imagine this was not a pretty site and all this had been going on since around November. So they had to be fixed and sorted however because iv had so many operations over the years, the skin around my Stoma was all dead, nothing would heal or fuse to it SO Miss Ziyaie had to give me a brand new Stoma (Illiostomy) on the other side of my body. At that one time, i basically had 3 operations done in a oner, that will be why i was in theatre a lot longer than thought. She had to sort my fistulas, move and create a new Stoma for myself and then to clean and tidy up the old site of my original Stoma because it was so infected and the whole area was dead. i wont go into the other area of concern where previously Miss Ziyaie had to wrap my inside with fusible mesh which is used to prevent hernias. She had that to battle against too. But she done it, i knew she would and of course i was worried and scared, Iv been in this situation before where without her hard work and my consultants hard work, i wouldn't be alive today but i had no doubt that Miss Ziyaie would do what she had to do and always had my best interests and future in mind. If she had to do something i didn't want done, i knew she would of had to do it because it was what was needed to be done and save my life. Thankfully this time round, i wasn't faced with any decisions or realisations when wakening up from the anaesthetic.  The after care i received from ward 10 (surgical) was amazing. The really do give everything they have, yes you get the odd nurse that isn't very nice and you wonder why they are in the profession but the good ones out way the bad.
I briefly mentioned how good the staff were in ward 2 and also in ward 10. Ward 2 was where I felt most comfortable, there were a lot more nurses, junior dr's and health care assistants either the same age as me or even younger. Nurse and Drs can get such a hard time, they are going in on a daily basis on a very poor wage looking after each patient, but not just caring for patients in physical needs such as dealing with lines, cleaning wounds, mopping up sick and all the rest. They are dealing with our emotions too as well as the family interference. I have to be honest, my family are good, we all trust the nurses and trust what they do so we don't question them. I may ask them to explain the reasoning if they haven't already done so but I trust them so much to follow the Drs instructions especially when Iv been in for so long and a trusting relationship has grown in many cases. Christ, many of them seen me more than they seen their family's and friends. When they finish their shift whether it's an early or late or even night shift, 9 times out of 10 they are still there finishing off paper work. In so many cases and I'm speaking for myself here, the paper work required from them is ridiculous. There is so much they need to monitor and note that isn't necessary, all it's doing it taken their time away from the patient and taken time away from their personal lives. They are one profession that I whole hardheartedly agree that are understaffed and truly under paid. Don't get me started on the patients that for what ever reason are in hospital but are physically capable of seeing to their own needs, they treat the ward like a holiday camp and expect the nurses to do things for them that aren't acceptable - they are only acceptably when it comes to patients that can't physically do things for themselves. I was attached to a pole on wheels for 24/7 - doesn't mean I couldn't get up and go to the toilet myself. If I could do it myself, why would I lay there and have the nurses deal with me when they could be dealing with a patient who needs help with genuine toilet needs? I have a whole list of things like this but I'll stop there as I may say to much and get myself into bother. 
 I will finish this off by saying if your a nurse, a DR, a Jr DR, healthcare assistant or any NHS worker reading this, I take me hat off to you and to everyone who personally dealt with myself over the past 6 months, I owe you all so much for the time and attention you gave me. 


It was all over, the past 6 months have come to an end and its all about recovering and recuperating. I could go on with other things that happened and what i went through but lets Fast forward 8 weeks later to today, i'm feeling great, iv not felt this good in such a long time. Yes iv had a couple of blips but nothing that has set me back. I'm on track to returning to my job in food retail with The Coop in August. I should say The Coop have been brilliant and understanding which they have been but its all been down to my boss and store manage of the Carnoustie Coop - Lorraine Doig. I go back years with Lorraine who helped me climb the retail ladder to management before having to step down due to my Crohn's around 6 years ago. I was worried, i felt sick every time i thought about the amount of time i knew i would need off. I never ever thought i would be off for 8 months, that's the longest iv ever been off my work due to my Crohn's. Lorraine made sure and crystal clear that my job would still be waiting for me no matter how long i needed off. If there was to be any issues, she would go down fighting for me. Saying thanks to Lorraine will never be enough, ill never be able to thank her for all the support she has given me both professionally and personally. So i'm not sure if you will read this blog post Lorraine but if you are, i want to publicly thank you for everything.

Below are some photos of how my body looks at the moment, there will still be some healing to be done but over all this is my life and always will be. I'm not ashamed of my body its unique to me, its kept me alive. Yes id love a bit more weight on me and a bit more muscle but this will never happen, well muscle wont happen. Getting into a relationship is so hard because you don't know how the girl will react, all i can do is be honest and all i ask for is her honesty in return, if she feels its too much to deal with then tell me, I will respect her so much for her honesty. I wasn't going to post pictures of my body, i kept going back and fourth on whether i should or not then i re-read my 2nd sentence again where i said i'm not ashamed of my body. i thought to myself "well Craig if your not ashamed of your body, prove it, show it to the world". The joy of social media helps raise awareness of illnesses and conditions and brings them to the forefront. Its one thing reading about someones life with Crohn's down south or in another country but its a completely different aspect when your reading about someone you know, or someone you know of who lives in the same town as yourself and didn't know anything about this persons illness. Surprisingly 19 years after first having my illiosymy, i still get some people who in conversations with me, didn't realise iv been living with a illiostomy. 






As iv said above, it will still take some time getting used to normal life again but i'm so thankful to be able to be at the point where i can actually plan my life. I would love to focus my future more in the crafting market and work somewhere in the craft industry but in the mean time I'm looking forward to a long weekend in London where Mum and myself will be going to see Celine Dion at the O2. I used to get a lot of stick for liking her music, i don't anymore as iv never let things like this bother me, we are all individuals and we like what we like. Why cant a straight guy love the voice of someone like Celine Dion? I love her so much, that i will be going through to Glasgow 5 days later to see her again in the Hydro. Life is about living and having fun and enjoy the things that make you smile. 

Thank you for taken the time to read this very long blog post. This evening started as a normal evening. It then progressed with myself writing notes down that then turned into a full on blog post that i originally had no intention of posting. I'm more than happy for you share my blog post on all of your social media sites to get Crohn's and illiostomy's known more. 

Craig x

Monday, 10 July 2017

Birthday Wishes from Across the Pond

So the return of my recent blogging has all be revolving around Christmas. Although this is normal for crafter's as we have to start early to ensure we have plenty ready come August/September for the Autumn and Winter fares. I know for non crafter's this can be a shock to the system and many don't really want to see Christmas this early on, so although I will have some future Christmas blog posts, for the time being here are some non Christmas Card and projects. 
This first blog post away from Christmas is a shaker birthday card I have made using Sue Wilson's die collections. There are 3 separate die collections from Sue used on this card. There are her Australian die collection and 2 of her finishing touches die collections. I love Sue Wilson's die's, they are by far my favourite die collections to use. They really are fun to use, not to mention so detailed and pretty. Many are so different in other styles out there, but not in a way where you look at them and think I don't know what id create with them as believe me there are some die ranges out there that try to bring out some very different styles and I think "I haven't got a clue how I will use them".          So the finished card that I have created can be seen in the photo below this paragraph. Beyond that you will see the full list of products that I have used and additional photos of how I have created the card. The finished card that I have created looks like this;


The Products I have used to create this card are below;

Sue Wilson die collections by Creative Expressions;
 Finishing touches;
 sweetheart flowers - CED1455
 Beaded swirl flourish - CED1457
Australian collection;
 Sydney - CED8104

PaperMill Direct;
Baby Pink plain 240gsm card stock
 White linen 255gsm card stock
 White super smooth 250gsm card stock (sentiment & insert)

Stix2 Anything;
 Glue glider pro - S57128
 19mm x 38mm x 3mm 3D foam pads - S57137
 5mm x 1mm x 50m double sided foam tape on a roll - GPAL11035151
 Pva glue with metal tip - S56890 
 6mm red liner tape - S57090
 8x8" card blank & envelope (6 pack) - S57340
 8x8 clear cello bag - K624
 Silicone glue - S57100
 Low tack stencil tape - S56994
 Non stick craft sheet - S57132
 Acetate 100 micron - S57131  
 Pick up tool twin pack (pokey tool) - S57373

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When die cutting the heart flowers in pink, keep the inner hearts that have come out and keep them to create the shaker centre of the card. I have also die cut a couple of the hearts in white card just so i can get some white hearts for the centre of my shaker card.

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Papermill Direct Baby Pink, White super smooth                                                    and White Linen card stock.

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Just some of Stix2 anything Adhesives and product range                                     used to create this shaker card.

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All the die cut elements cut out using Papermill Directs card stock. The only thing I changed after I had taken this photo was that I die cut the flourish in Pink and not white. 

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When it comes to making the shaker element of the card, you want to make sure the are no gaps in the surrounding 3D element. For this, the best thing to use is Stix2 foam on a roll. This enables you to run the foam around corners and circles without creating a break where your shaker elements can fall out. Please note that when you run the foam around in a circle, it is normal for the backing to tear slightly. This is ok as you will find the actual foam is in tacked. I also recommend using a 2mm or 3mm foam on a roll. I only had a 1mm roll so just doubled up the layers of 1mm foam tape.

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The end result turned out like this. For the insert I have printed my verse onto White super smooth and matted and layered it onto Baby Pink card. 

Thank you for taken the time to pop across to my blog and have a wee look and read. Feel free to leave any comments or ask any questions and I will get back to you. 
In the mean time please also pop across to my                                             Facebook page and give me a Like;
www.facebook.com/craigscardcreations.

www.creative-expressions.uk.com
www.papermilldirect.co.uk
www.stix2.co.uk

Until next time, sleep tight!

Craig x

Friday, 7 July 2017

A Very Merry Christmas Deco Large Hunkydory Crafts Design Team Samples.

Every year, Hunkydory fans are always waiting on the new Christmas decoupage collection. Last year in 2016 everyone waited on the first Christmas Deco Large Collection released by Hunkydory Crafts and as always, they did not disappoint  Then comes the 2017 Christmas Deco Large collection which is just phenomenal  Decopage is my favourite card style to make and I love the Deco Large collections and this one is by far my favourite. The images are simply stunning, the detail is outstanding and the foiling as always is just  on point. The turn around for making my samples was quite short however I enjoyed every second of it, took me a while to come up with some ideas but the ideas I came up with are different, well some are different but I am really pleased with them all. It was a full on weekend last weekend making the samples and late nights too but it was so worth it. I am especially pleased with the Christmas shaker parcel I made that you will find at the end of this blog post. 
When it comes to the layers I prefer and love to use 3D foam pads, I do occasionally use Silicone glue by Stix2 or Glue Gel by Pinflair but over all its 3D foam pads. I love to use larger 3D foam pads as you can cut them down to any size you want however dont forget you can also get 5mm foam pad squares and even smaller ones that are perfect for Deco large, it just means you dont clog up your scissors with adhesive residue. 
For the first time ever I have blogged all my Design Time samples on the day the collection has launch. Usually what I do is post some of my samples day by day on my Facebook page. Which if you have a minute  please head across and give my page a like - www.facebook.com/craigscardcreations 
So enough blabbering on, below you will find photos of all my samples I have made using the "A Very Merry Christmas" Deco Large Collection. Some that have extra dimension when it comes to acetate will have additional photos. 

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This 8x8" card has been made using the "Santa Claus is coming to town" Deco Large sheets. I decopaged the elements onto the back ground card instead of the main topper image. I then created a acetate box wrap using the snowfall foiled acetate. The layers are Black Adorable Scorable and Gold Mirri card.




I made a co-ordinated box to gift the card in. The box has been made using Hunkydory Crafts A3 Adorable Scorable and the layers co-ordinate with the card when it comes to the Black A/S and Gold Mirri Card. The embossed layer is a piece of Ink Me card stock and embossed with a Crafters Companion 8x8" embossing folder. The small square layer is left over from the backgroud card blank.

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This is an A5 card made using the Robin Redbreast Deco Large sheet. The bottom of the background card has a lovely holly border that I cut out using my small Fiskars scissors and created a bridge or a border wrap at the bottom to give extra dimention. The layers are EverGreen Adorable Scorable and Gold Mirri card. 

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I kept this 8x8" card quite simple where it was all about matting and layering. The image used is called "Christmas Choir" The layers are Deep Purple Adorable Scorable, in actual fact it is a Purple from one of HD first limited edition A/S bundles they have done. The Mirri layer is their Rainbow Mirri card.

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I Love this image from the collection, it is titled "A classic Christmas" and I love it because its just that - A classic Christmas. The main base is Ever Green A/S on a layer of Gold Mirri card. I placed a sheet of Snowfall foiled acetate on top. The Deco Large image its self also has a small lager of foiled acetate on the 2nd or 3rd layer and then have created an acetate dome again using the foiled acetate and the borders from  the background card. I have also added some Snow Drift diamond sparkles.

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The Deco Large image used on this card is called "Winter Woodland". The background card as two pattered columns on each end so I have cut them off and made a couple of  foiled columns using the Snowfall Foiled acetate. The Adorable Scorable used is like a Metallic Blue colour and I have used some Rainbow Mirri card.

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This card is very different and it is in fact a card. I have created a large snowflake card using my Brother ScanNCut and Hunkydory's A3 White ink me card block and A3 Rainbow Mirri card. The image used is called "Santa's Sleigh Ride". On the inside I have created a square matt where it can be written on. 

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This image again is one of my favourites if not my absolute favourite, I love Labrador dogs and this image is just so cute. It is titled "Cosy Christmas Eve". This card like a previous one I layered the elements onto the background card instead of the foiled base that comes with the collection. I created an easel card added some ribbon to finish off. The border flag ends have been cut from a border on the background card. 

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I thought I would created a wall hanging using this image called "Let's Build a Snowman". I used a set of square layering dies by Tonic Studios and sandwiched between the layers is a sheet of Snowfall Foiled acetate. 

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Then it comes to my final project which was actually my first project I made. It wont surprise you it took a long time to create. It took the full Sunday and Sunday night to make. It has been made using the image called "Christmas Cottage". The idea started as a simple shaker card that then evolved to a shaker box that then turned into a shaker parcel. The Adorable Scorable used is Poinsettia Red and again the snowfall foiled acetate. The inside is filled with diamond sparkle snowdrift, glitter and small snowflakes cut from my Brother ScanNCut. Considering it took a long time to make, it was well worth it and I am so pleased with the end result. 

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There are also another 3 Deco large sheets in the collection that I was unable to make samples using due to running out of time. They are called "Little Shepherd Boy", "Winter on the Canal" and "Toyshop Treasures". This full collection really is simply stunning and you will enjoy using it. 

I really hope you like my samples whether your a Hunkydory user or not and please feel free to leave any comments and again head across to my Facebook page and give it a like. 

Craig x



Saturday, 24 June 2017

DL Poinsettia Card

Cant believe I'm actually doing  blog post, the last time I blogged was back on the 6th September 2016. Iv been meaning to get into blogging again but it can be a time consuming thing to do. I have taken photos and written instructions of previous cards and projects iv made with the intent to blog them, but i never did get round to it.
So here we are, fingers crossed and all going well, the start of many blog posts. This one I have kept quite east and straight forward but as I continue over time they will get more detailed with better photos and instructions including step by step instructions.

So for this blog post, I have recently received the new Poinsettia dies by Tattered Lace, well its from the flower forming range that purchased off Create and Create. When making some Christmas cards from previous Hunkydory Crafts Christmas collections, I came across a strip of background card left over that was a perfect size for a DL card so the idea of mixing the 2 together just instantly popped out at me. I was really pleased with the end result. The Ruby Red card stock is by Papermill Direct and the Gold Mirri card is from the Mirriboard brand. The Card blank and adhesives are by Stix2 anything including the DL cello back to keep it safe once finished. 

Hope you like the end result and feel free to leave a comment. 


I couldn't craft without my Stix2 products. For this card iv used their DL card blank, 3D foam pads, Silicone glue, double sided tape and their pokey (piercing tool). I also used their pva glue with metal tip which I forgot to include in this photo.


To create the Poinsettias i have used the flower forming poinsettia die range by Tattered Lace. I used Papermill Directs ruby Red 240gsm for the flowers  and dark Green 240gsm card stock for the leaves. the leaves didnt come with this collection. They came with a previous flower collection also by Tattered Lace. For the centre of the poinsettias I have used gold Mirri card by the Mirri Board brand. 


I made 2 sets of Poinsettias and on 1 of the sets I used Pebeo renaissance Gold gilding wax and lights rubbed the edges to give a slight distressed look to the Poinsettias. I really loved the look if these however I did choose to used the un gilded Poinsettias for my finished card.





Photos of different views of my finished DL Poinsettia Christmas card.

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Thank you for checking out my blog post.                                                      I appreciate you taken the time to look.


Craig x