That Time I Made Myself Feel Better With Paper

16 07 2022

There’s a lot of sad in the world right now. From world events, to national, to local, and right down to the people in our lives.

And I’m an emotional sponge. I soak in emotions. The easy emotions get released pretty easily. The laughter and smiles, that’s the easy stuff.

The hard ones…those are the emotions I keep in. I hold those close because I don’t WANT to give them to others. I don’t WANT others to feel those same things. So I keep them. I process them. I deal with them.

One of the ways I deal with them is art. But I don’t keep the art. The process and the thought behind the art is where the healing is for me, but that’s not the end of it. The end of that dealing with and healing from comes when I find the person that work belongs to. Sometimes it’s easy, if someone has been on my mind. Sometimes I have to wait and see who comes my way. But every single time I’ve been able to do something like that for someone, that’s really what healed my soul and filled my heart.

My therapist didn’t understand at first when she asked me what I did for ME. The answer is, I make things for someone else. And even if it didn’t fit her idea of what that meant, she realized that it worked for me.

So this last week I spent some time playing with paper because I needed to feel better. And I had a very specific project in mind. I needed the message it created. It didn’t come out exactly like I hoped, but I use the good stuff and once it was in place, that was it, lol.

The design took eight layers of paper to complete. I fell in love with the design right off the bat, and I absolutely love the colors and how they came out. It was tricky trying to get it to look like I wanted it to in the shadow box, but I got it figured out. The only part I’m not too keen on is the wording. I needed to use a lighter color of vinyl, but like I said, this stuff isn’t coming off easily lol.

Anyway, the words say, “You are Always Enough” I just wish I’d done it in white 🙂

Here it is, out of the shadow box, which takes the glare off of it. The designer did a beautiful job and this file was so nice to work with 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! We’re happy to see you 🙂



That Time it Worked

28 06 2022

This post has a sense of deja vu about it. We went back to church again this week. Again…

Quick refresher brief: along with my little boys being autistic, I have my own set of health issues that necessitate taking medication that suppresses my immune system. This makes it hard for my body to fight things off and hard for it to heal. And I had the fantastic adventure of starting this medication at the beginning of the pandemic. Because of this, there’s a lot of time at home and I have to be thoughtful about where and how I spend my time. Now, back to the post 🙂

So yes, I have written something similar to this post before, last year, when we went back after being out for over a year because of health concerns. But it was short lived. When the Delta variant started picking up speed in our area, we started staying home again. And while we were still fighting that, Omicron came in and my area was fighting two variants that overlapped. But things eventually got better, even if they took longer than we wanted, so we tried again.

Our congregation is quite a bit different than it was even last year. I had the opportunity to sit down with new people and try to figure out how to help the boys slide back into things as easily as possible. It was nice to sit and talk about what they needed to know to help them and to let them ask questions so they could best help my boys.

So this Sunday, we gathered things the day before. We made sure things were packed away in the bags I bring so we wouldn’t be scrambling the next morning. The boys and Bandit were clean and spiffy. We went over the things that needed to happen the next morning so we were on the same page. Everything was set… except…I got the start time wrong 🤦🏻‍♀️

We scrambled, panicked, made back up plans for seating since we weren’t there as early as we wanted to be, and had to remember to breathe. Lots of deep breaths later, we walked through the doors. I don’t know how it happened, but the exact spot we needed was still available and we were able to get settled in easier than I anticipated.

Isaac looked a little shell shocked and unsure at first, but quickly settled in. JJ was tense and careening to the fight, flight, or freeze stage of panic that happens when our routine changes and new things are coming at us. We know to expect this now though, and we’re usually prepared. And this is where Bandit comes in…he regulates JJ because JJ’s not able to regulate himself in these types of situations yet (We’re working on it).

Touching Bandit is all it takes to help J’s heart rate start to even out.

Petting Bandit calms my son even more.

THEN, that’s when JJ is ready to interact with me (or others) and let them help him. We have hugs that are really, really helpful, but if J isn’t at this point we can’t use them.

Bandit made it easier for J to sit in church – and he was actually able to focus on what was being said. I know that, because he shared it at dinner with the people who weren’t able to be at church that day.

I remember helping this little boy try to handle the sensory issues that came his way at church (or anywhere really). It wasn’t easy. And we worked on it for YEARS. But after two+ years of watching church from home, that little champ slid into that church pew like no time had passed.

All because of Bandit.

And it’s reasons like this that we do the hard things.

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, info about our organization will be linked below.


To visit the Paws 4 Autism page please click here: Cool Stuff

To visit JJ’s fundraising page, click here: Really Cool Stuff

That Time I Made Lots of Mistakes

2 06 2022

Today, I learned a lot.

Mostly I learned what not to do.

But there is value in making mistakes, if we’re willing to learn from them.

I was playing with an idea to sublimate Bandit’s name onto a few things. I’m trying to put together an emergency bag for him that’s ready to go, including first aid items. We live in Tornado Land and it is that time of year. But we’ve also had ice storms in the winter that knock out power for four days. Gas leaks. People sitting in front of our house watching it…and more, I’m sure, because my life is NOT boring lol.

I found these bags at a good price, so it was worth experimenting with, especially because this one would stay in the basement unless we needed it. And if we need it, it will have character 🙂

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Nylon straps melt at high temps. I’m sure I would have remembered if I’d taken time to think about it. In the future, I’ll just cut off this particular strap. I’ll get a better image that way, too. But I do have to clean the melted nylon glob off my heat press. Luckily, I have a teflon sheet attached to it. If I can’t clean it off, I can replace it. You can see some of the melted strap I’ve already scraped off on the silicone mat.

2. I learned that not only does the nylon strap melt, it impedes the transfer of the image. You can see that on the right hand side of the picture. In this set up, there was no way to move it far enough out of the way for a good transfer. But then again, it also wouldn’t have mattered since the strap melted. On the other hand, I also learned that I CAN sublimate on these bags, and the temp and time seem to work.

3. I also learned that the melted strap I hadn’t gotten off the teflon, was over further than I thought…Maybe I should have tried harder to clean it off, but I thought I had enough room to do the last transfer. I should have paid more attention to exactly where the glob would land. Because some of it got on to the other piece I was sublimating lol. You can see where it transferred on the bottom left. But again, this is an emergency bag, so this gives it character 😉 And I now have a matched set 😀

In addition, the transfer on the bottom left is a little light. So I learned I need to move the image up just a little more to stop the seam from interfering.

4. I learned that the top inside of this bag…melts a little 🙄

When sublimating, it’s usually wise to use some blow out paper on top of the image and under the substrate you’re sublimating on to, to catch any of the ink that could transfer to somewhere you don’t want it to go. The white part inside the zippered pouch…that’s the blowout paper. It’s stuck to the top of the bag now because the material above it melted a little. You can also see the blue tape I used to keep the blow out paper in place…it may also be a permanent part of the bag now lol. But now I know.

I learned I was right to use another teflon sheet inside that zippered pouch. It was placed after the blow out paper, because I wasn’t sure about the material there and how it would react to heat. If it *did* melt a little, I didn’t want it sealing off this pocket and limiting the options I have for this bag.

I learned a lot. Not everything I did was a failure, I saved some of the project by making smart decisions. But other parts, I really messed up on, and learned from them. Knowing what NOT to do can be as important as knowing WHAT to do.

I have another bag like this. It’s for use in the car or for traveling so the labeling will be similar, but a little different. Now, I can take my mistakes and the knowledge they created, and apply it to this other bag 😀

Thanks for stopping by! Bandit and JJ appreciate everyone’s support on this journey ❤️

To find out more about our organization, you can visit us and check out the pups in our program here: Paws 4 Autism

To find out more about JJ and Bandit, you can find their page here: JJ’s Magic


Service Dogs and Shoes

22 05 2022
JJ and Bandit ❤️

People ALWAYS ask about our Paws 4 Autism dogs and their shoes.

Our service dogs wear shoes when there’s snow/ice on the ground to protect their feet from the ice melt/salt used to treat sidewalks and roads. They should also wear them when the ground is hot enough to burn their feet.

Bandit wears them EVERY TIME we go out, here’s why:

  • To keep us and him in practice. Dogs, like people, keep their skills sharp by using them frequently.
  • To protect their feet from things other than heat in the summer and salt in the winter. For example:
    • Sharp rocks
    • Glass shards
    • Chemicals that may be spilled on the ground in places like Home Depot, Lowes, or anywhere else.
  • Floors are slippery
    • Poodles have HAIR instead of fur, so it needs to be cut. Dogs have hair on their feet and between the pads of their feet. It grows just like the rest of the hair on their bodies. And it makes hard surface floors slick. It’s like trying to move around in socks – it’s slippery. The shoes give them traction.

Here’s how this played out in real life a couple days ago.

The other night we went out for dinner. After I was done eating, I took Bandit outside so he could sniff around – I found out it’s a calming thing for them and he’d had a long evening. I wanted to stay in front of the restaurant because that’s where the light was. As we walked down the sidewalk, I noticed things sparkling on the ground. Broken glass was everywhere. If Bandit hadn’t been in his shoes, he would have been stepping all over it.

As a special needs mom, when we go out, I’m ALWAYS going through all the possible scenarios of what could go wrong. Then I figure out how to handle it or figure out an “escape route” in case I can’t. Then I play through all the ways to notice if something’s going to go wrong so I can step in before it goes wrong. I do this for both of my little boys (it’s exhausting). I also look around for things that Bandit might encounter that could startle, upset him, or put him in danger.

I will never be able to see all of the possible pit falls, so I prepare the best I can. For my boys, that’s a bag that has different things in it that usually help if they’re getting overwhelmed. For Bandit, it’s things like shoes.

I can’t predict everything, but I can prepare for many things. I’m so glad we took that extra step getting Bandit ready. It saved us a lot of trouble, but more importantly, it saved him from getting hurt.

And because dog shoes are so important, we’re always on the look out for really good ones. Shoes that stay on. Shoes that fit well so they don’t leave hot spots on the pup’s feet. Shoes that hold up since we’re using them all the time. If you have a personal favorite, feel free to let me know in the comments. We’d love to check them out 🙂

To find out more about our dogs and our organization, you can visit us here: Paws 4 Autism

To find out more about JJ and Bandit and our fundraising efforts, you can visit us here: JJ and Bandit

Thanks for stopping by!



30 11 2021

In the last post, I mentioned the one fundraiser I was able to put together. It’s Christmas ornaments 🙂

I have 24 designs for you to choose from. Half are pet themed, the other half are snarky ’21 themed. They can be ordered in JJ’s Magic Store on his fundraising page here:

JJ’s Magic Store

They’re $10 each, which includes a keepsake box and shipping.

And ALL proceeds go to Paws 4 Autism, to help us keep providing wonderful dogs to wonderful people, and help us get closer to our fundraising goal.

Let me know if you have any questions, and as always, please feel free to share ❤

Ornament preview 👇🏻


Alta and JJ


29 11 2021

The last half of 2021 has been HARD you guys. We’ve lost four family members since the beginning of October. Six people total, if we include friends, since July.

I’ve had these great ideas for fundraising…most of the supplies are still sitting on the rocking chair ten feet from me. But here we are at Giving Tuesday and I haven’t been able to pull much of it together.

So, if you would consider us for a donation on Giving Tuesday (or any other time) we’d appreciate it.

Paws 4 Autism is a not for profit group that trains and places special dogs with special people. We rely completely on the fundraising efforts of our member families to continue providing dogs to families that make some of the biggest differences you may NEVER see.

For instance, you may not see my son have a panic attack when he’s in new and unfamiliar situations. You may not see another of my sons melt down in the hall at church.

What you’ll probably see is a bond between these pups and their people that looks sweet, but is just so much more than that.

We were lucky. Bandit and JJ matched while we were fostering Bandit during training. This allowed JJ to find his dog much sooner than we expected, but we haven’t met our fundraising goal yet. What that means, though, is that ALL of the money we raise, goes back into the program and is directly responsible for helping more families find that missing piece that makes all the difference in their quality of life.

All funds raised this holiday season will be matched (uptown $2,000 per family) by a generous donor. It’s an amazing opportunity to make any donations we receive go twice as far.

If you want to make a straight donation, that can be done on JJ’s page, here:

JJ’s Donation page

BUT, I will also have a holiday ornament fundraiser featuring pet themed sayings as well as snarky sayings for 2021, so please watch for that.

Thanks for stopping by, and please, feel free to share so we can try to get this opportunity in front of as many eyes as possible this holiday season ❤


Alta and JJ

A Card and Heartbreak

2 10 2021

My sweet sister-in-law lost her mother this week and I play with paper so I made a card for her. This is the first time in a LONG time that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with a card I’ve made. But let’s be honest, I just don’t have that many chances to sit and make a card anymore. At first, I wondered if I’d forgotten how, because it wasn’t working. I regrouped, tried something different and got this. I did really like the chance to make my son’s wedding invitations, but those weren’t “mine” as much as they were “theirs”. An awesome opportunity, but not in the same way.

So after this gushing, I hope you like it, too.

In a few days, I’ll be starting another, and it will be one of the most meaningful, but also the hardest that I think I’ve ever done. We lost my 25yo cousin this week and she earned her wings before she ever left this earth. I’m not sure how to pull this off, but I feel driven to do so. The world lost a light this week, but it seems a little bit of my cousin’s light was left with every person she ever met.

Anyway, here’s this one, and like I said, I’m so happy with how it turned out.

Thanks for stopping by


That Time I Made a Few Wedding Invitations

26 09 2021

Besides being a mom to some awesome little kids, I’m a mom to some awesome big kids, too ❤️

One of those big kids is getting married next month. It’s a weird place to be. He’s my baby, but he’s not 😔

He was the first little one to call me mom. The first to hold my finger and smile up at me. The first to think I hung the moon.

I really like his soon to be wife. She just fits. So I was very honored to be able to make their invitations. It took some time, there were 150 of them, but every single one of them was made with love and wishes for an amazing future.

I was able to play with wax seals and had an absolute blast coming up with just the right color combinations for the wax.

This is the outside. The band holds everything together and simply slides off to open it.

Once opened, invitations, registry info, rsvp info, and map info can be found inside. And of course, a picture of the sweet couple.

I found the file in the Silhouette design store and cut out the envelope pieces and attached them.

Then I gathered the info, printed it, and cut it out. All of the cutting was done on my Silhouette Cameo. There’s NO way I would have been able to pull this off without that machine. It’s one of the best paper crafting tools I have 😀

Thanks for stopping by!


That Time JJ Had a Panic Attack, but Didn’t

26 09 2021

Last night I had the opportunity to speak with someone about Bandit and all the good he does. We also talked about why he’s “dressed” in his vest and shoes, and why we have a good leash. Besides being really attached to these pups, service dogs are NOT cheap and we come to rely on them. We take MANY precautions to make sure they can do their jobs and not be injured or lost.

I looked at her and then at the new to me car we downsized to last week, and then back before saying, “This pup costs more than the car I drive.”

So why put in all the time and energy for fundraising? We’ve been trying to fundraise through out covid, when things are uncertain and topsy turvy. Why sit back and come up with ideas you *hope* will help bring some donations in? Honestly, it can be very overwhelming, and I’d really hoped to be much further along than this.

But then there’s a day like we had this week. And it reaffirms why, and it motivates me to try harder. Because Bandit reaches my son on a level I can only dream of.

JJ has started hyperventilating when he’s upset. And of course asking him to calm and breathe doesn’t work – it doesn’t work for most people I know.

But I asked him to come sit with me – which he did and that’s HUGE for him, he usually shuts down and shuts us out. We did some of the things we’ve found that *may* help him calm, but it’s very hard to focus and concentrate.

But Bandit, that boy was on it. He came to us (he wasn’t far) and INSISTED on attention, lol. At first JJ wasn’t touching him, but Bandit wasn’t deterred, he kept rubbing up against his boy.

I helped my son reach out and start petting Bandit, start running his hands through the hair on top of Bandit’s head. And when JJ put his hand on Bandit’s neck, Bandit moved so JJ’s hand ended up sliding down and back up Bandit’s back.

Very quickly, JJ was able to calm and start actively regulating himself. Then he pet his dog on his own. Once he calmed, we talked and ironed things out and he was no longer upset.

I don’t think I could have done this without Bandit. I’ve always been on the outside. And when JJ can’t regulate, we go for DAYS of him trying to get back on track. And it’s hard and exhausting for everyone.

THIS is why we do the hard things.

I’m so grateful for Bandit and for finding Paws 4 Autism ❤️

As always, here’s a link to JJ’s fundraising page. Because Paws 4 Autism is a not for profit organization, ALL of the money we raise goes directly back into the organization to help provide dogs for other children who need a buddy like Bandit.

Thanks for stopping by, and look for some fun fundraising ideas coming up 😀


JJ and Bandit ❤️

That Time I Made a Flower Pail Box Card

25 06 2021

One of my favorite things to do is play with paper. I like making it dimensional with color and design. I’m not skilled enough to design something that will be 3D once all the pieces are assembled, so luckily there are places like

SVG Cuts who has some amazing files to play with. I worked with this one, Flower Pail Box Card for this project. If you don’t already know, one of the great things about box cards, is that they fold flat-ish for mailing, then they can be popped open for display, like you see here 🙂 At the tallest point, this card is about 9 inches, and about 3 inches across when open. When folded flat, it’s about 4 inches across the bottom.

The leaves and flowers were cut out of white paper. Then I used markers and pencils to color them. Yes, I could have made this project easier and less time consuming by just cutting them out on colored card stock, but like I said, I like to add dimension through color 🙂

After I cut out and colored everything, I assembled it. I have a nice envelope and I’ll design an address “label”, print it, then cut it out so the card can be sent.

Thanks for stopping by!