Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Amazing Knitting In Miniature!

Turn up your speakers

What's New At My Etsy Shop
I have a New Piece in the shop. It is called: "A Rose By Any Other Name Should Smell Like Sheep!"

Buy Handmade

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What Happened To Me Friday (before the rumor mill gets really started)

If you were following the Facebook feed or Twitter feed you know something went terribly wrong with my health on Friday.

First: to let you know I am a diabetic and have been a completely controlled diabetic since 2003. I am a quality eater for my diabetes and I test regularly and I am under complete Dr. control.
I have a type 2 auto-immune disease related diabetes.
I have secondary Sjogrens and I am an C.R.E.S.T. identified arthritic patient.
I am allergic to the regular diabetic meds like Metforman, so I have used either nothing, or one of the cell wall reducer meds like Avandia or Actos when I need medicated relief. (which I do at times when I have bad pain episodes with from the aquired brain injury-trigeminal neualgia from shingles of the brain)

C.R.E.S.T. identified means that I have so many auto-immune symptoms yet the ANA results are stable enough that no specialist can identify at this time what the Sjogrens is secondary to. But folks with the secondary Sjogrens are susceptible to polycystic kidney and/or lung disease and sclaraderma, and lupus. These are connective tissue disorders. So to help you understand better...I have severe arthritis of the glands blood vessels and any tissues that hold your organs in place and any tissue that excretes something. My esophagus, hand blood vessels, all exocrine glands including the pancreas are effected. That is why at 41 I was susceptible to shingles of the brain which only folks over 65 usually get.
I have had almost every exocrine gland removed that can be removed. I have had my abdomen peeled off and put back on and part of my face peeled off and put back on. I have had joints replaced. ( my face-perotid saliva glands will probably be the next removed.)

My pancreas and kidneys do not function at normal speed. My stomach and esophagus have permanent nerve damage. I have lost the frontal laryngeal nerve. So there are some song notes I cannot reach any more.

This has been a long progressing problem that I have been able to deal with and basically lead a normal life through until the brain injury part. I have gotten to be a scientist, a race car driver, an education specialist, an editor, a writer, a transport truck driver, a driving instructor, a musician, and an artist. Plus a few more things in between. I have fulfilled everyone of my dreams in life. I have traveled the world. I want for nothing and I have fun. I have a great and fantastic life even with my limitations. Plus to this day I am coming up with new dreams to fulfill.

Today I live quite normally and look and act fine, but seem to be over weight. It is a weird side-effect off all the meds etc. But I go through periods where I can actually get my weight back to normal often so when folks see me I may be fat or may be thinner depending on which months they see me in. It is a daily work for me with my weight. I keep food diaries and monitor my blood and meds like a religion.

I am the ultimate human experiment. All the specialists want to research me. The person that has helped me the most was my own Grandfather. He was a histologist at Sunnybrook and had done a lot of research on these problems through the years, and my specialists use his notes to help me 23 yrs after his death. He never knew me with these problems and he would have never ever expected that his last years of research would have saved my life.

I am a cheery and very greatful person for my life. I don't let any of this stuff identify me as a person and I know I am a better person for the knowledge I have gained through this weirdness of my life, and I have been very proactive in the research of my issues. I use all of my own education to keep copious research data for my med team, and I get to be active in my own research and care.
I would not be a blogger or and Etsy crafter or a Needle Felting Manual writer or a seminar teacher or a writer of brain injury recovery manuals if none of this happened to me.

Once in a while I get a curve ball in my medical condition that puts me in a life or death situation. That happened Friday.
I had been having some Nephrotic distress (kidney issues) for the last three weeks. Then I had some problems with my lower colon, and these were being investigated in the regular timely fashion. Urine, blood, ultra sound and booking a sigmoidoscopy. All very routine. Then suddenly on Friday my vitals went to shit.
My blood pressure went wonky. Low number was too low and high number was elevating. My sugar went from 7.4mmol to 11.00mmol then to 8.00mmol then started to climb steady and my sugar is always 6 -6.3mmol. My heart rate was high then low, then high then low and nothing would stay steady and I was nearly unconscious. I could not smile and my left eye was drooping and my face was numb. My tongue was sparking like I was licking a battery. My vision was blurred and my mouth was so dry. I was having a hard time speaking and later I got a migraine that transected my head from ear to ear and involved my whole face.
I was having huge neural reactions and I started spasming in my face and knees. Besides having numb shins and numb hands. I got freezing cold and I could not keep my head up. It felt like I was in a weird dreamy state too.

I thought I was having a stroke.

After 12 hours in the hospital the conclusion was that I had an allergic reaction to a new diabetic drug I was trying called Januvia which is a gut hormone which can help with weight gain issues and control sugar if necessary. This is only for folks who are conrolled if you get Januvia alone.

Once I was more stable and out of danger I was sent home on observation.

By this morning I was feeling more normal and I am worn out, like I have been running a marathon.

Next week will mean a week at Sunnybrook Hospital with all the specialists deciding the next plan of action. Lots of meetings and a ton of $18.00/day parking bills to contend with.

Thanks to everyone who sent me well wishes. Thanks to my Husband who just happened to be home on a holiday day when it all went aweful, and thanks to my kids who kept in touch throughout the ordeal and were home waiting when I got back. Thanks to Amber who drove in to help my son Alex who did not go back to Peterborough after work on Friday, and to Cam who kept Alex informed.

I will be low key this week and I am hoping to return to my normal routine by next Saturday.
If I don't satisfy folks by talking to them on the phone this week I am apologizing up front, because I am not gonna be in the mood to do much this week after the huge daily commute to the trauma centre all week for follow-up.

So I am not dead and I didn't have a heart attack or a stroke. I am the same as I ever was, but had a bad allergic reaction, and in the mean time we now know that the Nephrotic irritation is not a bad infection as we did do the labs that were missing while I was in the hospital. So now I just need a bit of rest and to figure out the diabetic treatment we will use for the next few weeks.

So unfortunately my artwork did not go up in value this week cuz I am not dying today LOL.

And believe I am putting the problem behind me. :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Am So Proud Of This Commissioned Piece

I hope I don't give away a surprise! I hope I don't.
When a pet dies it is devistating. We get so attached to our pets they become a member of the family.
I received a very emotional letter from a person inquiring about rabbits on my site.
After a brief interchange of emails I realized the person was looking for a present to help overcome a loss of a pet.
I suggested a commissioned miniature replica of the pet.

On my Etsy page I have examples of commissioned pieces that I have done, which act as commission order for your own commissioned miniature. I suggest your pets or your favourite teddy bear. My Son (the Rock Star) who is so Heavy Metal and wears black-commissioned a miniature of his favourite teddy bear so he can have it in his pocket when he travels (see Pinky on Etsy)

As I wrote earlier this week. I used my new technique of Tufting to add petable fur to the rabbit.

So today I introduce to you the finished piece after his Garden Photo Shoot! This little rabbit is so special to me he got to perch on my very special Amethyst with the Maple Leaf (Canada) flaw.
Finished May 20, 2009
You can click on the photo to make it bigger

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tufted Needle-Felting

I have tufted needle-felted works before for effect, but I have never tufted a whole piece before.

Today is a landmark day for me in this aspect.
Today I spent 8 hours tufting a commissioned piece I am doing.
After I finished the great little needled felted rabbit, it was just missing something.
I could not put my finger on what it needed.
I knew I wanted to tuft a bit of the top of the head and face and after I finished that I realized that the piece took on a life of its own and began to get the dimension that the rabbit needed to look realistic.

I then set out to tuft the whole piece.
Tufting is basically adding hair strands individually to create 3D fur.
You can trim the fur to the depth you want. What I wanted was something petable so I went with a velour consistancy.

My first exposure to tufting by hand was with Canadian Aboriginal women who tuft beaver and elk and moose hair into small 3D pictures. I took my skill as a needle-feltor and applied this ancient technique of tufting to it. Needle Feltors do use a similar technique for adding long shaggy hair to a piece, but I have never actually seen it trimmed and tufted before my own works.

I am so stoked by doing this I think I will write a manual on it. I am really happy with the

I am thinking that this might be the world's first completely tufted animal miniature. The fur is now dense and about 3cm thick. The tufting brightens the colours and make the sculpture so soft.

I do realize that I will have to charge more for future tufted pieces. So this customer is getting a real bargain because I was inspired to tuft on a regular commissioned piece quote.

I will write the seminar and create the book quickly so I can pimp it to publishers! I want to be a ground-breaker in this aspect of Needle-Felting!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Got Credit In A Video

My Tweet Buddy Bryan Brinkman (Twitter @bryanbrinkman) is a really talented Short Film Maker. He is known for his short "Coffee Bird" which I think is just the cutest little film out there.
A few weeks ago he sent out a Tweet asking for circle pics. Any pic you could take of something circular.
That night everyone was going crazy looking for circles to post. I posted about 10 pics of different circles from drums to cymbals to centrepieces...and a huge wall hanging in my home which is this huge celtic knot. I am certain my celtic knot is in the final cut of the film and possibly others I cannot recognize because of the speed with which they pass by....

I hope you enjoy this short film. I think it is really interesting.
I made a few friends on Twitter from chatting with others about their photos, so the whole experience was quite rewarding.

I even get credit as @WitchAmy for my can pause the credits to see that if you like.

Here is the Short

#CIRCLEPIC from Bryan Brinkman on Vimeo.

Bryan Brinkman's film "Coffee Bird"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Where In Canada Is Vicki Pinkerton!

Standby and in a short while you will see my first video-cast about Vicki Pinkerton the Durham Region writer who has set out on her dream journey.

Perhaps you can help her...

She left on Monday May 11th and is heading west. She needs a few new friends to help her out along the way. If you can help her let us know..
Can you spare the time to let her have a shower at your place? Can you accommodate a couch surfer?

Do you live in Calgary or Vancouver or Victoria? Do you have a spare free room or land for a camper? Can you accommodate a person who will earn their keep? Does your community group need motivational speaker?

Vicki is setting out westward as the beginning of a huge journey. Her plan is to travel from sea to sea to sea and to find out what the definition of what a Canadian is today. Does a cultural identity exist for the Canadian today or is the identity lost? She will also write a work of fiction and journals.

This is not a summer vacation, it is quest that could take many years. Vicki wants to join communities and work in them and then write about what makes the community tick...

Come back and see more soon.....

Friday, May 01, 2009

Etsy TweetUp in Toronto Today!

As per usual I am a couple of steps behind on news.
I found out last night that there is an Etsy TweetUP in Toronto today!

I was so excited to hear this!
I also saw about the TweetUP on Jessica Doyle's TweetFeed.
She said she had traveled into Ontario for the TweetUP!

In 2006, when I became a serious blogger, Jessica Doyle's blog was one of the first I started to read regularly. She is a great artist who has written about her work, her struggles, at times being homesick, and lifesick, and her about her artistic routine.

I was tickled pink to think that now we could meet face to face.

West coast, to East coast and now Here!

I will be attending the Etsy, Toronto TweetUP today.
At The WorkRoom on Queen St. West 5-8PM

If you are an Etsy seller or buyer in the GTA please take the time to come visit today.
I want to meet you! I am excited to meet you!