I should have known though. The symptoms were severe. Over the next couple weeks I searched the internet for “How to tell if your back is broken” and “Can a person walk around with a broken back.” There were no conclusive answers. Well duh! My husband said most people do NOT walk around with a broken back. Most people seek help immediately, due to immobility or pain. I’m not that smart though. I’ve told my doctors to make a note in my charts “HAS DIFFICULTY INTERPRETING PAIN.”
For the next several weeks I tightly strapped a gallon size bag of ice to my back for 16 hours a day. I wore a back brace day and night as tight as it could be pulled to keep my vertebrae from shifting. I moved slow, walked slower, couldn’t drive, could barely sit. My feet and legs would go numb and I had other worse not-normal symptoms. But I’m not that smart. I thought it was old age. Or just maybe, a popped disk. I do NOT recommend ignoring symptoms.
For the next two and a half months, I helped my husband and sons clean our house, fill and move boxes, reorganize everything as we readied our house for inspection for refinancing. The work was endless and huge. I did it with a bag of ice strapped to my back and silent prayers that God would hold me together, literally.
I finally got surgery two and half months after I broke my back. I had 17 vertebrae fused. It was after surgery that I found out how bad it was. My surgeon told me the upper part of my back wasn’t even connected to the lower part of my back. It is a real, live, unexplainable miracle that I didn’t get paralyzed. Praise be to God!
Today, one year after breaking my back, I am repairing very well. I can walk, sit and drive again. I can bake delicious treats, cook, do laundry, sew on my sewing machine, make crafts, pick figs, and do container gardening. Best of all, I can kneel down and hug my grandchildren.
When I look over the past year, the thing that stands out above all wasn’t the pain, the learning to walk again, learning new ways to do things. The thing that stands out the most, the memory that glows the most intensely all the way from July 16th 2012 to today, was God was with me. He was so close that he fluffed my pillows when I needed, He supported my back when I could feel the vertebrae shifting and grinding, He helped me lay down at night and get up again and fall asleep even when it felt like I was lying on spears of glass. God was there. The entire year glowed with His presence. I sought Him and he was there. There are no words to describe the profound peace and love I felt, even when enduring pain.
As I look ahead, I don’t have to fear because I know God will be there.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
For years I made my own blank journals using a standard codex construction with fabric bound spine and hardcovers. The signatures were sewn onto cords or tapes and then glued into the hard cover. This site, Humblebee & Me, has an excellent tutorial for sewing signatures on tapes.
It’s been a few years since I made a handmade journal so I finally had time to make one a couple months ago. I followed Jeanne Oliver’s video for stitching the signatures together from her wonderful The Journey of Letting Go class online . (I highly recommend the class, not just for the terrific art instruction, but also for the heart-felt inspirational videos. Jeanne, you’re the best!) Jeanne’s stitching process for sewing the pages together was easy and fun.
I didn’t photograph the steps to stitch the text block together but here is how I made the Crown Journal cover if you want to make one. This is an abbreviated tutorial but there’s enough here to give you basic instruction to make the lace crown, which would look great glued to an altered book cover. If you want actual measurements, let me know in the comments and I’ll measure some of the components for you.
It was fun going through my stash of supplies to pull out some pretty options.
The dyed seam binding tape, blue sequin fabric, lace and rhinestone chain were from A Gilded Life.
To make the text block, I cut up a sketch pad.
The linen was purchased from sources online.
Both front and back covers were assembled the same way. Each cover has a piece of ivory linen and natural color linen, one small and one larger piece of chip board (cut from the back of a water color tablet) and a piece of thin cotton batting for padding under the ivory linen.
The batting is lightly glued to the small chip board square and then the ivory linen is placed over top of the batting. This piece is turned over and the ivory linen is glued to the back of the board, mitering the corners on the back.
The natural color linen is glued to the larger board without any batting.
Once the cover pieces are covered with linen, then you get to do the fun stuff!
I lay loose pieces of lace and rhinestone chain on the top of the book cover to see what I liked before gluing anything down.
I also tried several different lace pieces before making up my mind about the crown.
To glue such fine netting, I spread tacky glue on the flat lid of a plastic bin and then laid the blue lace in the glue… then quickly picked up the lace while still wet and smoothed it in position on the padded ivory linen.
There was just enough glue on the thin lace netting to glue all the tiny pieces down securely, with no edges pulling up and no glue squishing up. I want the lace to be durable because this journal will last me at least a year.
The back of this board shows how the edges of the linen and lace are glued down on the back of the padded ivory board.
To make a lace crown, choose lace pieces that will look like the points of a crown when placed together. I used three different pieces of lace. To curve the lace, cut small slits between the motifs of the lace as shown.
Here you can see where I snip the lace so it will curve better.
Once the lace is ready, glue the pieces together to form the crown.
Tacky glue is thinly spread on a smooth surface and the lace crown is carefully pressed into the glue.
While the glue is still wet, lift the lace crown piece up and carefully position it on the cover and press it down on the ivory linen. It dried fairly fast when I positioned it but I still pressed down in places to make sure it stuck well on all edges.
Cut rhinestone chain to size using jewelry cutters and glue it down with 527 Multi-Use glue or other strong jewelry glue.
I pressed my needle nose pliers into the book cover to make small indentations so rhinestones would set in deeper and more securely. These were glued with the 527 glue also.
The crown is complete.
The front of the book cover is ready for the next step.
While the glue was drying, I made the ribbon rose buds for the journal spine. A length of ribbon was tied to make a loose knotted ribbon rose bud. I made three of these.
To make a knotted rose bud, the ribbon is tied as if about to make a knot, but the ribbon is looped over and over 4 times, not just once like a standard knot. Then when the ribbon is slowly pulled tighter, the layers of wrapped ribbon overlap and form a pretty bud shape. If the ribbon is pulled too tightly, the flower shape disappears and turns into a big knot. So you have to stop pulling while the ribbon is still loose. The ribbon “tails” are folded to the back and then stitched together so the ribbon bud doesn’t come apart. I cut off the excess ribbon and gently fringed the short ribbon tail under the bud.
I ruffled a long length of seam binding tape to use on the front cover. Here it is pinned down on the larger natural linen-covered board as I adjust the ruffles to fit. But before gluing down the ruffle, I glued on the decorative top of the cover.
I spread tacky glue generously over the back of the ivory cover piece and pressed it down on the larger board.
Some of the glue squished out around the edge but that was good. I used my fingers and a pallet knife to press the folded ruffle into the glue. I used the ruffle folded in half all the way down the length for extra fullness. It was easy to press the center of the ruffled seam binding tape into the glue and it held well. I squeezed more tacky glue into any spaces that didn’t have enough to hold the ruffle well.
The back cover was different. Instead of a ruffle all the way around, I just pleated the four corners and let the seam binding tape stay flat on the sides. I glued this down before gluing on the back piece.
I cut a small motif from the blue lace and laid it in glue as for the front cover.
The glued motif was positioned and pressed down carefully, especially around the lace edges. Here is the finished back cover.
I glued a piece of decorative paper inside the front and back covers to cover the edges of the linen and lace. The same kind of paper was used to wrap the front and back signatures so they would match.
Each signature was folded inside a piece of vintage wallpaper or decorative paper. Here you can see the gap between two signatures in the journal.
I accidentally placed this piece of wallpaper upside down during construction of the journal. I don’t mind because mistakes like this make me smile and remind me life isn’t perfect.
Once the book was sewn together, I stitched and glued the bundle of ribbon rose buds into the spine.
Here you can see the stitching along the spine.
The bundle of rose buds in the spine doesn’t interfere with the book opening fully.
I used a decorative paper punch to punch the edges of pages in random places.
One of the ribbons is threaded in between two signatures to be used as a ribbon bookmark.
This journal will last me about a year because I tend to write very small. I’ve been using it for two months so far and it has shown no signs of loosening and all the lace and gems are glued down tight, even when I slide the journal between books on a bookshelf.
I have to confess that this is the prettiest journal I’ve had in a long time. It’s quite heavy and the covers are soft and silky to hold. All the prettiness has had an unexpected impact on me. Each night, when I pick it up to write, I noticed that my writings have become more optimistic. I’m really glad about that because I have a couple old journals that are genuine but much too sad to reread. This is the perfect journal for this time in my life, a time of transition and full of good things, all sparkled up.
One of my favorite china patterns is Moss Rose, with its lovely dark pink roses and characteristic mossy ferns and leaves. The Moss Rose pattern has been used to decorate china since the early 1800’s. I wish I knew the history of this child-size Moss Rose tea set that belonged to my grandmother.
Inspired by the colors and pattern of the tea set, I gathered beads to make a Moss Rose Bracelet.
The greenery is prominent in a Moss Rose pattern so I wanted to feature the greens more than the pink. I didn’t have any rose beads so was able to give the impression of a rose by adding a calyx to pink beads.
My stock of head pins is limited so I had to make my own. I learned how to make make several styles of head pins by following a terrific Craftsy.com class online – Make Your Own Wirework Findings, taught by Lisa Niven Kelly.
I played with jewelry components, moving them around on my work surface until I came up with several possible configurations.
I haven’t finished the bracelet yet because I haven’t decided what to do next. Just placing the leaf clusters on the bracelet looks complete, especially to someone who loves greenery as much as I do. I will probably finish the bracelet as planned but will save this idea to make another bracelet with a profusion of leaves.
I will post a photo after the bracelet is complete, perhaps tomorrow.
In the meantime, I’m already gathering supplies to make a vintage all-white and pearl bracelet using the beading techniques I made up for this bracelet.
I have too many bracelet ideas! I’ll just have to make some and sell them in my Etsy shop – All Sparkled Up.
I Figured out Plan B. Isn’t that the best feeling ever… When you come up with a plan B that will actually work? :)
Sometimes things are really mixed up and messed up. There’s no order. There is nothing to grasp. You watch Plan A fall away in little bits.
You go through the motions of trying to clean up. Again.
And then you think maybe there’s another way.
You start over.
You try again.
Don’t give up.
I call plan B ….
Plan B is Hope. It’s not perfect. It still has cracks around the edges. Sometimes it’s fragile and not very clear. But Plan B will work.
And Plan B is always crazy BRAVE!
Sometime Bravery is all you need to come up with Plan B.
Don’t give up! God knows exactly where you are. Ask Him to help you make it through.
Go for Brave.
Sara Bareilles sings Brave.
[A huge public Thank You to my son Ethan. Ever since I broke my back last year and had 17 vertebrae fused, I can’t get down to ground level easily. As I shared my idea for this post, Ethan became my Hope. Sometimes Hope from God arrives in the form of a person. They bring light when everything seems fractured and dark. Ethan, you’re the best!]
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Last year I posted about the Hanging Plant Easter Egg Tree I made. It’s time to get it out again. Adding the drops of dew was my favorite part.
After I finished each miniature plant, with it’s tiny leaves and petals, I hung it on the tree. Though pretty, the plant didn’t seem fully alive it was all sparkled up with spring rain or drops of dew.
For each drop, I used tweezers to dab a single crystal seed bead in tacky glue and attach it where it should go, hanging from the tip of a leaf or puddled in the folds of a petal.
If you want to add realistic drops to an artificial plant, remember how real water acts. It flows down hill. So it will puddle at the bottom of a flower center, or hang from the lower tip of a petal or leaf.
Placing the tiny bead droplets on the plants was a very contemplative task, like yoga or painting, with each moment crystallized and beautiful. No it was not tedious, it was restorative and full of light. All sparkled up.
“And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” Isaiah 58:11
Today’s creative activity – hand washing, drying and pressing disassembled men’s ties to use in my first Etsy project for All Sparkled Up. They dried quickly but I decided to leave them hanging up all day just because I liked how they looked in the breeze. Click photos to see a larger image.
Many thanks to my dear friend Janette and daughter-in-law Holly for helping me disassemble them all last night!
I really ought to stop playing with the beads. But once they become a bracelet, they will never again live an alternate life as Words.
The beads are not glued down. One breath or tiny bump to the table sends all the round ones scrambling. Such a challenge to patience! The position is so fleeting. Then I brush them back into the bins and the surface is once again bare.
I keep this little seashell by my computer and use it to hold things temporarily. I’m usually weary by the end of the day so I drop my earrings here. If I find a bead that got away, it gets dropped in the shell too. Eventually I empty the shell and start over. I also empty the shell just when I want to see the words.
Beach days only come once a year or less so I was very sad the day started out difficult. Beach days are supposed to be perfect. As I walked on the beach last summer, I glanced down and picked up a pretty shell. I turned it over and saw these words.
“I’m watching over you.”
I stopped walking instantly and looked around.
Who could have dropped the shell? None of the few groups on the beach seemed likely. And of all the people walking on the beach, why didn’t any of them pick it up before me? I stared at the shell. I had trouble believing the message was for me. Slowly, I let go of doubt and fear and accepted it.
God was watching over me.
He knew my difficult morning. He knew my struggles. He understood my fears and doubts. And he wanted me to know, when I least expected it, that he was watching over me. He was watching over me when I was far down the beach. He was watching over me as I reached down to pick up the shell. He was watching over me as I struggled to believe that He was there.
That day I picked up the shell on the beach, I accepted the words. But now, I am placing the shell back on the “beach”. Like a million grains of sand, a million blogs glisten on Internet Beach. And out of all the blogs on the internet, you ended up here at All Sparkled Up. This photo is for you. These words are for you. It is not by chance you are here. God wants you to know that he is watching over you. When you’re distracted and busy, when you’re exhausted and in pain, when you’re hurt and lonely, God is watching over you.