Sunday, December 2, 2018

Pretty in Pink

I have a new appreciation for anyone going through the process of dealing with and healing from it breast or lung or ....what I had...cancer on my tongue.

On June 7, 2018 I was in surgery to remove a squamous cell carcinoma from my tongue.  I was under for 13 hours during which my head and neck surgeon (an amazing doctor and human!) removed the tumor, and two plastic surgeons (I love them both!) took tissue from my left wrist/forearm along with my radial artery, to use to rebuild my tongue and cover this donor site with a temporary reconstructive dressing.  

I spent four days in ICU after this, because the treatment team needed to monitor my tongue reconstruction and make sure the tissue was viable.  Everything went according to plan and I was transferred to a trauma recovery unit at the same hospital for another eight days.  I had amazing, nurturing, attentive care, including a reiki session that I will remember for the rest of my life, during the remainder of my stay at Sharp Memorial Hospital.  My doctors checked on me regularly.  I had visitors and family with me constantly.  I was always in good spirits...knowing I was in good hands and that I had the power to influence what was going on in my body.  I had the good news during my hospital stay that all of the lymph nodes removed from the left side of my face and neck were clear of cancer, so I didn't need chemotherapy.

In follow up, on consultation with my oncologist and a tumor board who examined my case, it was determined that I did not need radiation therapy, either.  Surgical removal had been the solution for me.  I count myself extremely blessed and fortunate.  I have since experienced the constant support of Sharp doctors along with occupational and speech therapists, and feel even more grateful to be back to work in all capacities, taking care of my family, and enjoying all my hobbies...

...including making cards for iHanna's swap this fall.  It's extraordinary to me to think that I experienced all of this between Swaps!  

Once you experience cancer, you have a sensitivity to it...and I've since learned about so many friends and acquaintances that have gone through breast cancer diagnoses or other cancer issues.... Sadly, I think we (my age group) will encounter this more often.  

For me, it has been a transformative and positive experience.  I value the important things more and easily let go of the little things.  I'm a better mom, co-worker, human...because of this.  I realize I am loved by many, when I assumed no one really gave me a second thought, before all of this... (unnecessarily!) lonely and pathetic I was.

  I want everyone to know that they are loved deeply...even by me...I may not even know you...I may just follow you on the internet...but your life has meaning and I value are don't need to get cancer to understand this....please...know you are many...including me.

Thank you for visiting...I love you!
XO  Sarah

Thursday, May 3, 2018

More Layers than You'll Ever Need...But You Know You Want Them!

I have actually been making more art over the past few months than prior to past iHanna International DIY Postcard Swaps, and sharing it on Instagram. I've also been taking art journaling classes (online and in person), 
so I am not as desperate to make cards this time.  

But I AM very inspired to make them!  

I recently finished my art journal spread for the wonderful online class "Hallowed Ground" by my favorite teacher, Roxanne Coble, bybun.  In every class she teaches, I learn several techniques that I love and continue to put to use in my art!  Her style and lessons have inspired the last few batches of cards I've made for Hanna's swap.  
(I posted about the process of making these cards here and here.)  
I highly recommend her online classes...she's an amazing teacher, the videos are beautiful, and they are rich in content and instruction.

 There are so many layers to the process here, and I don't want to give anything away.  But the cards did start with a set of pens my husband gave me for Valentine's Day,
(Finally! after 20 years he learns I'm addicted to office/art supplies!!!),
 and an inspiration to doodle some mandalas.

I'm including the ten postcards I am sending out today!  I always make extras, and you can see all 18 of the cards I made on my flickr account here

Thanks for stopping by!  
I always love to see a comment from you...then I know you were here!
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Friday, December 29, 2017

Calling All ClubMAKErs!

Almost two years ago I started a group, kind of like a book club, where we alternate hosting, but no books, just creativity.  I didn't want people to feel pressured into making "art" because sometimes that can be intimidating...depending on your view of "art"... so I called it ClubMAKE.  The host can choose anything to "make":  crafts, food, something they saw on Pinterest.
I didn't really expect the response I got, and the nine of us have pretty consistently "met up for making" several times a year since we started.  It has been so fun to hang out, eat good food, drink wine, and bust out the art supplies!  As it happens, we have made more art than crafts or other projects together.  I'm including just a few photos of what I've made so far.  This creative gathering means a lot to me because I sometimes do not take enough time to do this stuff!  But I also think it has helped my friends see that "art" is not that can just play around and enjoy the process even if you don't end up framing the result.  We've all made time to get creative, and that has been a truly positive addition to my schedule.  
I am looking forward to another year of ClubMAKing!

Do you have a group of friends you get together with to just be creative?  
Let me know you were here with a quick comment and thank you for stopping by!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

More Mail Art

Because I feel you can never have enough art in your mail
...or your life...
I keep making these sewn collage cards.
I use a sheet of Tyvek envelope for my substrate.
The process is pretty simple:
1. Collage a layer of scrapbook paper, art paper, book text, etc.;
2. Collage a layer of magazine images and other ephemera;
3. Sew the collage with different colors of thread (2-3), with different stitches
all over it, leaving a trail of straight and zigzag stitching over the collage, 
framing some of the images/text; making little stars or shapes.
4. Find notecards and postcards with envelopes to use as the base 
(I get cheapies at Target or Marshalls);
5.  Cut up the collage to the card sizes and sew the collage pieces to the cards.

Sometimes I love how they turn out so much that I don't want to send/give them away.
Then I realize that's what I made them for...
and they end up as gift cards, birthday cards, or cards to say "Hello" or "Thank You"
But I've found a solution to my problem...I always scan the cards.
Sometimes I'll use the scans to get printed postcards made by Moo.
That way, I've never let go of them completely and can send the same card again!

Here's the latest collection:

Thank you for visiting!
I always appreciate your comments...then I know you were here!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fall Flow

It's time for another swap...iHanna style!  Hanna's DIY Postcard Swaps always seem to happen right when I need inspiration and motivation.  This time,  I started on a big sheet of mixed media paper, got a few steps in, laying down some layers; and then I cut this up and started adding more layers and details.  So each card has a similar beginning, and some similarities along the way, but they all ended up being unique.  It was a fun way to work, because it added a random quality that helped me engage in the moment and work with what was right in front of me, instead of being focused on the end result.  This is always the most fulfilling way for me to work.  I really feel more in "flow" when I am responding to randomness and making little choices one at a time.

A base of collage in neutrals

Black and white paint, more high contrast collage pieces.

More black and white paint, transparent acrylics, pastel, and a "blob" pattern on top.

White wash over some areas to tone it down; then I cut it into 6 cards.

Each cut card got a last dose of collage (torn paper); and then I added some gold leaf.  This was the first time I've ever used gold leaf and it was a learning experience...a fast-drying adhesive is key!  I love the way it looks on the cards!  You can see the whole batch here on my flickr account.

I liked the muted simple abstract feel of this, so once I added the gold leaf, I left it alone

This one got the gold leaf and a lot more stuff!

Here are a few more finished cards:

Thanks for stopping by!