Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's doctor day, so here's more coloring :D

I made a small notebook out of duct tape.
duct tape!
(I started this post on Wednesday, but haven't had the energy to get back to it til tonight. Oops.)

Whew... I see my pain doc again today. It seems so much longer than a month since I've been there. That's what rough months do to you... they make you lose your sense of time, along with other things. Thank goodness for pens, and colored pencils.

Since I haven't had the energy to do much (my nails are even bare at the moment!!), I'll share some more of the goodies I've drawn, trying to maintain something resembling sanity. Just think, I've even managed to only post the decent stuff. If I were to photo everything I've done in the interest of managing my pain, you might just decide I need some time in a lovely padded room.

You might just be right, too. :D

Let me just say how much I love my main drawing pens. I'm very partial to the Pilot G2 gel pens, and I've recently discovered they come in a bold, 1.0 mm tip. So, so much love for these! I have pens I bought years ago that I keep refilling. The G2s write beautifully, and leave a great line which is so helpful when I'm drawing.

This is inspired by MiraculousMosquito on youtube.
I've also been watching drawing videos on YouTube. You'd be surprised the sort of things you can find online! The image to the right is a fun one, all psychedelic swirls and motion. I don't see myself doing any more images like this, but it was lots of fun to do! It's worth clicking to see it bigger, I think.

Then there are the flowers. I seem to doodle flowers fairly often, different styles and types. I don't remember where I saw the image that inspired this next piece. I think it might have been in Creative Doodling & Beyond, a fantastic book for anyone who likes to doodle. I wish I'd taken photos of it in the various stages, but I'm very happy with it.

I love this design! It's so bright and happy...
I'd started adding a colored pencil background but haven't finished it yet. Still, this one is a lot of fun. I'm really happy with it!

Then there's the photo I used at the beginning of this post. Yes, my friends... I made a notebook with duct tape. I've been wanting a notebook with graph paper for a while, but they tend to be a bit expensive. So, I did the logical (to me) thing: I made one.

It's the notebook you see in the first photo. I started with a few sheets each of lined paper, plain white paper, and graph paper. I cut them into sheets 4.5" by 8", then folded each sheet in half, leaving me with folded pages 4.5" by 4". I stacked those with the fold all on the same size, then pressed them against a sheet of duct tape that was sticky-side up. I then glued sheets of thin card that were 4.5" by 4" onto the front and back page, and covered those with duct tape. I then wrapped the covers in clear packing tape, to prevent the edges of the duct tape from getting fuzzy or icky. All done!

Since I photographed the notebook, I realized that I should have done two things: I should have matched the duct tape so that the images would have been continuous, and I should have added a design to the front so I could tell front from back. I've added a small design that I drew on the back of a business card, and taped it up with clear to keep it in place. The seams can wait for the next notebook, which I've already decided how to change up.

Yea, I'm neurotic. So? :D

Also, my doctor's appointment went really well. We changed one medication a bit, and it seems to be positive. I think we'll have it fixed by next month, if it's not fixed right now. We'll see, right?

Regardless, I love my pain team. Not only do I trust them, but I feel like they aren't overseeing me from pedestal like gods. Instead, they're my partners. They work with me to improve my life, and I have to work too. It's a good situation.

If you're struggling with chronic pain, pain that's affecting your life, I highly recommend talking with your doctor to see if there's a good pain management clinic in your area. Even if you have to drive a bit, they can make enormous changes in your life. I honestly thought I was going to spend the rest of my life helpless, in overwhelming pain. This clinic helped change that for me, and while I'm in the middle of a rough spot, there are better times coming.

Making the call was one of the hardest things I ever did. I was scared, ashamed... but I called, and I'm so glad I did. If you're struggling, I hope you can find something to help you too.

Thanks for reading. I'm gonna go sleep a bit, maybe.


I'd lose my mind if someone stole my pens.
See my disclosure statement for more information.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shout Trigger- a well-loved staple for my family.

This post brought to you by Triad Retail Media. All opinions are 100% mine.

shoutIf you've read this blog for very long, then you probably know that I'm fairly frugal. I try to save money every place I can, and I have no problem buying store brands for almost everything. Still, there are a few products that I always reach for the brand name, regardless of what else is cheaper. For whatever reason, these products always seem worth the money. For me, Shout® Trigger is one of those brands.

I've used it for years, mainly because my mom used it when I was still living at home with her. Once I moved out on my own I tried a few other brands but found myself wishing I'd bought Shout® instead. Once I had a child, I was amazed at just how many stains his clothes ended up with, but Shout® was always able to fix them right up.

See, I'm just nitpicky enough to really get annoyed with stains. Now that my son is older, his clothes are more likely to stay stain-free than my own. I seem drawn to messy media, and no matter what I'm working with, I end up with lots of it on me and my clothing. I end up with food stains, cosmetic stains, paint and ink and chalk stains... you name it, it seems we get them!

Thankfully there's Shout® Trigger! It's a stain remover that works in several ways, and it works in any temperature of water! It's safe for all your colorfast washables, and is packed with stain-fighting ingredients and enzymes that can really get into your stains and break them up.
That's another thing I like about it- Shout® works in three ways. First, it clings to your fabric, so that it can stay in contact with the stain. Second, it penetrates well so that it can get to the heart of the stain. Finally, it lifts your stains leaving your fabric stain-free! All this and it comes in a super-convenient trigger bottle so that you can put it just where you need it.

Other stain removers can have some of these qualities, but I've found it hard to find a stain treatment with everything I love about Shout® with enough of a price difference to make it worth buying anything else. Then again, Shout® is a brand I'm pretty loyal to. If you have a problem with stains, you'd probably benefit from using Shout® too!

I was recently sent a bottle of Shout® Trigger to try out again, so I could share my experiences with you. First, my husband used it on a shirt of his that's had a stain for a while. (We've been out of Shout®, so it's been a wear-at-home shirt.) Shout® removed the stain with no problem! Then I used it on several pieces I wear and the stains were all removed like they'd never been there! So much love for this product.

Another thing I really love is the time I save with Shout®. Instead of having to stand at the sink, scrubbing a stain with detergent or soap, rinsing and scrubbing and rinsing and scrubbing, I can simply spray on Shout® and leave it sit for a while. By the time I toss it into the wash, that stain's done for!

You're probably wanting to get some of your own now, and I don't blame you at all. The good news is that you can purchase Shout® Trigger at Walmart! Why not pick some up the next time you're there? I'm sure you can find something to do with the time you aren't spending scrubbing stains!

I was provided with a bottle of Shout Trigger for evaluation, and I was compensated for writing this post.
However, all opinions are my own, and unaffected by either free product or financial compensation.
See my disclosure statement for more information.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Fibromyalgia and pain management through art

I love experimenting with lettering, and I was really sleepy...
You may have noticed the recent lack of posts here. There is a reason, and it's not because I've lost interest in my blog. Instead, it's the usual reason- my fibromyalgia is causing me quite a few problems.

For the past few months, I've been having more and more issues with pain control, and I've been able to do less and less. Not good when you have a life to live, you know? For some reason, instead of telling my doctors how I'm actually doing, I tend to try and suck it up and just power through, hoping things will improve.

Of course, that never works, and I just end up making myself and everyone around me miserable as I try. Then I end up feeling horribly guilty, like somehow I've failed for having so much fibro pain. It makes no sense, and I seem to keep going through this cycle- I improve to a point I'm starting to get more active and feel better, so I want to come down on the medications that help me feel better.

I drew this at the party for my niece's first communion.
I just didn't want to put her name out there on the nets. :D
Now we're in the stage where we fix it. We're making changes to my medications, slowly so that I don't end up an overmedicated zombie. Unfortunately, the change we made last month actually seems to have made things worse. This is definitely not fun...

It's been quite the experience, to say the least. I've been going with unpolished nails for a lot of the time, because I just don't have the energy to paint them, or because I'm shaking too badly from pain to actually do them. My son and my husband have been wonderful, trying to cheer me up and keep me laughing even if they can't make the pain go away.

That's why I'm writing this post- for those of you who have fibromyalgia too, or those of you who have a chronic health condition. Some days are just bad, and that's ok. I like to share what I do to make those days more tolerable.

First off- music. I can't even begin to explain how much music alters my brain chemistry and takes me someplace else, where the pain is more tolerable. Everyone's musical balms will be different, but mine are Incubus, Jack Conte and Pomplamoose, Jack Johnson... each one creates a different response in me, but they're all useful.

I drew all of these during a particularly nasty
flash flood, in which my mom's house came
within about a half inch of getting water inside.
It was scary.
Laughter is also important for me. Even when I'm in tears from pain, I can laugh, and do. My husband is still my closest friend, and even after 20 years he can make me laugh easily. We snuggle when I can, and when it hurts too much he'll sit with me and talk, and make me laugh.

I really do think I'm the lucky one in our relationship. :D

Finally, I love to be creative when I can. Drawing when I can, and when I can't I color. In fact, when the pain got seriously bad, my husband and I went to WalMart so I could walk for a bit, and when I couldn't walk any more, he got a wheelchair for me and pushed me through the store, looking at cosmetics and toys and electronics. He took me through the coloring book section, where I picked out a sweet Strawberry Shortcake coloring book. I also got some neon colored pencils, since I love bright color.

I don't know why coloring is so satisfying for me, but it really is. It's almost hypnotic for me, watching each section slowly fill with color, coming to life with the rhythmic motion of my hand. I can lose myself in the application of color, even to something as silly as a children's coloring book.

Drawing for me is very similar. I rarely know what I'm going to draw when I start one of the mandala-type things I've been doing lately. I start with a square or a circle, and then just start adding bits. Piece by piece, they expand, each taking on their own style and vibe.

I love the tendrils flowing out from this one. It
makes me think of some sort of underwater creature,
flowing bits swirling around in the currents.
Before long, I've got a piece that seems finished, except for color. Lots of times, I hate what I've got at that point. But I keep going, coloring in the spaces and adding to the piece, sometimes blending pens together to achieve gradients or new colors. Speaking of pens...

I have a bit of an addiction. My purse would be so much lighter without my pens, but I need them. When I'm feeling stressed out or hurting, I pull out my notebook and start to draw, and things feel better. But the pens...

I don't even know how many pens I carry. I've made two small pouches that stand up in my purse so that my pens don't get lost in my bag. I have regular black drawing pens (one super-fine point, one fine point, a couple of medium point, some sharpies...), neon gel pens, metallic pens, glitter pens. I have a set of ballpoint pens in various colors of the rainbow. When I think about which pens I would want to stop carrying? I can't even pick... they're my security blanket, and they go wherever I go.

This little guy is a... well, he's a bird thing. He doesn't honk, he doesn't quack.
He quonks. And that's good enough for me.
I don't always draw mandala things. I seem to get almost obsessed with things. For a while I drew fancy cakes, cupcakes. I even did a couple of paintings of cakes. Then it moved on to other things...

I draw robots and fairies and fantasy landscapes. And now, apparently, I draw bird things. I don't even know... but he's kind of cute.

So yea... pain management. I see my doctor in a couple of weeks, and hopefully I'll be feeling well enough to finish the kick-butt video I'm editing right now, and to do the reviews I've got in my planner. I've got so many plans, if I can get my body to cooperate!

Next month will be better.
See my disclosure statement for more information.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jessica Cosmetics - Desire

Hi! I have some wonderful goodies to share with you over the next few days. I recently got a box full of nail polishes from Jessica Cosmetics, and I fell in love with one of them right away. Let me show you Desire...

Ok, that was cheesy, but I couldn't resist. Still, Desire is a gorgeous raspberry red that waved to me from the box, shouting pick me, pick ME! What could I do? How could I leave that poor little polish unworn, sad and lonely, feeling unfulfilled?

I couldn't!

This deep raspberry is so lush. If I'd been a bit more generous with my application it would be a one-coat polish, but even so two thin coats gave me a deep, rich glossy finish. Drying time was a bit slow, but that could be because my bottle of ProFX is getting old and funky.

One thing amuses me- this polish is part of the bridal collection. For some reason, bright red polish never stuck me as a bridal color. On the other hand, my best friend from college had the most beautiful wedding gown with deep red accents. It was absolutely breathtaking, and she looked like a princess.

So yea, red works. :D

Also, I apologize for the scratches on my nails in these photos. I gave my husband a pedicure, and wound up scratching the heck out of my nails with my emery board. They are absolutely all my fault, and not a reflection of the polish.

Since it's 4am and I need sleep, I'm going to upload the rest of the pics. What can I say, I had fun photographing these.

This is the most color-accurate photo I took. Flash definitely washed this color out. I'm in love. :D
Desire is available from the Jessica Cosmetics website for $7.50, or at a salon near you. If you'd like to keep up with this brand, why not follow them on twitter?

Polish was provided by the brand for consideration.
See my disclosure statement for more information.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wow. I'm all sorts of weird.

Do you ever have one of those experiences that just defies explanation? Yea, I just had one of those. Let me see if I can explain...

Right now, I'm reading Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. It's funny and thought-provoking and bizarre, which really isn't a surprise if you've read her blog. Be warned- that last link is probably not at all kid safe or work safe.

She's the type of person who keeps multiple taxidermied animals and often makes up dialogue for them. She's made Christmas cards using the taxidermied head she named James Garfield, and that same James Garfield inadvertently raised $42,000 to help people buy Christmas gifts for their kids and then ended up on Canadian TV for some reason.

She's kind of a cool chick.

Now, you need to realize that when I saw my pain management doctor last week, we changed my meds around a bit. I'd reached the point where I wasn't sleeping much at all anymore. I'd sleep an hour or two and then be awake for another 24-36 hours. You can probably understand how that would make any normal person feel pretty craptacular. It's even worse for people with fibro, and sets off this vicious cycle: I hurt, which means I can't sleep, which makes me hurt more, which keeps me awake... you can probably see where this is headed.

So... here's me a week into the new meds schedule and I'm sleepy all the time. I went from sleeping 1-2 hours a day to being awake 4-5 hours a day. *laughs* It won't stay like this, but man, I'm catching up on sleep.

... and that leads us to the point of this whole rambling blog post. I'd been reading the aforementioned book while sitting up cross-legged in bed when I suddenly looked at my hand. Apparently I'd drifted off to sleep and was dreaming that I was eating Triscuits, only to wake up mid-bite. My hand was poised in perfect Triscuit-holding position, and my mouth was open and everything.

So yea... I was sleep-miming eating Triscuits, and was actually annoyed when I saw that there was no Triscuit in my hand!!

Nope, I've got nothing. I think I need a nap.

At least I'm sleeping more?
See my disclosure statement for more information.

Friday, May 4, 2012

OMG, seriously?!

I suppose I should be used to this. Just when I think I've about got the computer stuff resolved, then comes a camera issue. And a software issue. And a Laynie issue... It's insane.

Somehow, the battery charger and spare battery we have for our camera disappeared. Not sure if it fell out of our camera bag last weekend or if it's somewhere in the house, but without it I'm dead in the water- no photos, no video, no nothing.

So, I figured I'd work on the video I've got already shot, except that suddenly my video editing program isn't recognizing that my video files are actually... you know, video. Makes it hard to edit video...

And finally, between my husband's dental nightmare and my fibro I've been absolutely pooped. I'm finally sleeping again, but holy cow I'm not getting much ELSE done. Stupid body.

I guess what I'm saying is don't give up on me, I am gonna be doing some super fun stuff soon. I just have to get everything together. You know... eventually. *shakes head*

You suck, soap opera writer!
See my disclosure statement for more information.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wheee, I've finally figured it out!

Ok,  I've been working on this for a couple of weeks now, and I finally got it to work the way I wanted it to! I've got a video filmed, and am working on editing it. Until then, here's a teaser for what you'll learn to do soon!

The good news is this technique is quick, easy, and fun! It's also wonderful for you creative types, because you can do just about anything you like- greyscale images, color images, photos, clip art... the sky is the limit!

And since this is so easy, my rarely-seen right hand is making an appearance as well! You can see that they look alike! For once, you don't have to be skilled with your non-dominant hand. You can easily do designs that match!

So, rest assured, I've got the video shot and am working on editing it. I just got so excited I needed to share this!

I am absolutely loving this new technique...
See my disclosure statement for more information.