Inspired by Type Challenge – January 2016 at Oscraps

siblings 2015

After reading Rita’s tutorial on her blog,  I knew that I had to give this challenge a try. I started out with a Template for the placement of my photo and elements. The template had circles as the clipping masks for the photos, but I deleted them and used a square photo and frame.

To work on the word art, I used the Font “Autumn Chant” for the title, which had some nice swirling on the capital letters. I took one of the Ligatures and placed it over the swirl on the bottom the “S,” lining them up as closely as possible. I took a small hard brush (3px) and brushed  pixels in the gaps between the text and the ligature. I then rasterized the type and merged the layers. I erased any extra pixels from the ligature.
For the swirl on the bottom of the paper, I used the same grey paper as my background and clipped it to it.

Everything by Blue Flower Art

Kit: Letters From Far Away
Doodles: Ligatures
Template: Circle of Friends

Battle For The Net

If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!

via Battle For The Net.

Katie Couric is asking for your Lyme stories.

Katie Couric’s talk show, “Katie,” seeks people with Lyme disease to tell their stories on a future episode.

She asks: Have you had, or do you currently have Lyme disease?

What were/are your symptoms? What do most people misunderstand about Lyme? Share your story with us and you may be featured on an upcoming episode of Katie. – See more at:
I couldn’t really answer all of these questions– It would take years, ya know? But this is what I submitted. I hope that even though I most likely will not be on her show, it gave me another opportunity to share my experience with whoever reads it, and now you too.

A few years ago, I was sitting with a therapist, discussing what it is like to care for  a family that all has Lyme Disease and co-infections. She asked if I had ever given myself time to mourn. I wondered why she would ask that. She said that I had lost a life, a marriage, a family-life, one that I had expected to have, instead of one that is predominated by illness, medications, medical debt. She said that not only am I a person with a chronic illness, but I am now the caregiver to three other chronically ill people; my husband, my son and my daughter.
I really haven’t given myself time to mourn, and I don’t think that I can actually grasp what outsiders see me and my family go through on a daily basis. I think it is because I am an optimist by nature (albeit one wracked with anxiety!!) as well as being a fighter.
A very quick version of our Lyme Story  is that my husband was most likely infected in the 1970’s. He was un/misdiagnosed until 2007. We met in 1990 and he passed it along to me, and then I passed it along to my two children, congenitally. He bacame very sick in 2003-4 and was  diagnosed with a variety of psychiatric disorders.
I knew that he didn’t just become Bipolar overnight so as I researched more, I realized that Lyme disease was most likely the actual disorder. He began seeing a fantastic lyme literate doctor who talked to us about the likelihood of me being infected as well. When I tested positive, we had out kids tested. I sobbed as the doctor gave us the results– both of my kids were also very ill.
That was in 2008 and we are still not better. My husband is completely disabled by this and is basically housebound. My kids struggle with being chronically ill teenagers. As for me, its a daily obstacle course of meds (I color code the bottles so everyone knows how many pills to take in the morning and evening), fights with insurance coverage (We paid out of pocket for 6 months of IV abx for my husband until we couldn’t afford to put any more on our credit cards), doctors visits (also not covered by insurance), tracking symptoms, on top of regular life and all while being ill.
But like I said, I am fighter and I will do everything possible to make my family healthy and whole again. I try to spread the word about Lyme disease and my kids and I attended the Lyme Disease Protest and Rally at Union Square last May.
Things have to change in regards to Lyme disease treatment and I plan to make my voice heard.
Thank you!

PSA: Ticks are exceptionally bad this year.

Yes. Ticks are exceptionally bad this year. Full Stop.

And yes. Ticks are exceptionally bad each and every year, but this one seems to be getting off to a quick and hard start. A few weeks ago, I took my dog into the vet’s for her Lyme vaccine. The vet reminded me that the vaccine is not 100% effective and to make sure we use Frontline year round. She also said to be very careful, that they have been removing ticks from dogs at an alarming rate and have been doing so non-stop since January. Not only have I been hearing about ticks being on dogs, but I am  being told by family and friends that they have been either been bitten or had one crawling on them many times over the last week or so. My dad just called me to tell me he has a tick attached and is off to the doctor to have it removed and tested. Not much can scare and worry me like a tick bite can.

Since it is just the beginning of the Spring/Summer season (it’s been darn cold here in NJ considering it is May!)I feel compelled to share some PSA-type information.

The best advice I can give to someone who has been bitten is to SAVE the tick!! Remove it carefully without squeezing or pinching the tick.  There are Labs all over the country that you can send ticks to to be tested to see what infections that carry. You can Google Tick Testing Lab, or here is a link to one that I found: Tick Testing.   The prices might seem high, with the cost averaging $60-$75, but in my experience, that is much less expensive then all of the testing and treatment you might need otherwise. Once you know what diseases the tick carries you will be able to more accurately plan treatment.

The next best bit of advice is to ask for a prophylactic dose of antibiotics, usually doxycycline, from your doctor. Some doctors are willing to prescribe, others might need a bit more coaxing. It is very important keep in mind that treatment of Early Lyme is usually quite easy and successful. It isn’t until the disease become disseminated and chronic that you end up in the hell that my family is in and has been in. Most Lyme literate people believe that enough antibiotics to extend through a full life-cycle of the Borellia bacteria is needed (28 days). If the doctor only prescribes 2 weeks, as is common, see if you can get a refill for the additional 2 weeks. (Disclaimer: I am obviously not a doctor so research and discuss this with your doctor, but don’t let him/her blow you off.) Many people are hesitant to take antibiotics unless truly medically necessary, but again, 4-6 weeks of antibiotics is a better scenario than the 5+ years each of us in my family has done. And we are not done yet.

While not all ticks are infected with Lyme and other co-infections, deer ticks are not the only ticks that carry these bacteria and parasites. Read Know Your Tick Facts for more information.  Common wisdom says that a tick must be attached between 24-48 hours before bacteria is transmitted to the person. However there is evidence that the bacteria is present in the tick’s saliva and can be passed almost immediately to you.

Obviously, prevention is critical as well, because  most  people don’t remember ever getting bitten and very few people actually get a bulls-eye rash. (If you are one of the lucky ones to get a bulls-eye, take a photo of it, with a coin next to it to show its size. Most rashes fade by the time you get to a doctor and the rash is one of the few ways to be “CDC Positive,” and to  get coverage by your insurance company for treatment.”) Always use bug spray. I used to be a all-natural type, and made my own bug spray with essential oils, but now it is “Give me DEET!” There are many different sprays using different chemicals so use what best fits your philosophy. Permethrin is excellent for spraying clothing. I spray a set of gardening clothes that I will use just for yard work. I buy Permethrin from Amazon.

Tick checks are also imperative and ticks gravitate to warm, moist area, like neck and hair, armpits and groin. Keep in mind that ticks– nymphs and deer ticks are tiny- the size of a poppy seed. I always keep my hair pulled back tight when I am outside and will wear a hat sometimes too. Experts say that it is best to wear long sleeves and long pants but when I am doing yard work, I feel that I can sense something on my skin better than if I were wearing long pants. But that is just me.
I know that there is so much more info to share but I can’t think of it all off of the top of my head any more. My brain has decided to shut down, not an uncommon occurrence for anyone with Lyme! The only last bit that I need to share if you get bitten and/or have Lyme symptoms,  is to look for a Lyme Literate Doctor and to get tested at reputable lab such as IGeniX or MDL.

Leave me a comment if you have any specific questions! And please, be careful out there– while it is bad, we cannot let those damn bug win!



Press Release

May 10, 2013

New Jersey Patients Rally to Raise Awareness of Lyme Disease, challenge CDC Treatment Guideline

Many New Jersey people suffer unnecessarily for years with Chronic Lyme disease.

Lyme disease patients from all corners of New Jersey will be traveling to New York City to participate in the Rally to raise Lyme Awareness, particularly of concern in New Jersey since the state, despite its small size, is now #3 in the nation in number of Lyme disease cases,. New Jersey has 4,262 probable cases reported for 2011, with 52,334 Lyme disease cases reported for the period 1990 to 2011.

The CDC has admitted that the actual number of cases nationally is likely 10 to 12 times as high due to variability between their epidemic surveillance criteria and physician diagnostic and treatment criteria.

Many New Jersey tickborne disease patients can not find physicians to treat, or adequate treatment to recover from the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, as well as other tickborne co-infective agents, and they remain chronically ill for years. There are documented cases of death due to Lyme disease.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness month and, for the first time, Lyme disease events are stretching around the world. Lyme events and rallies will take place in over 23 states and, internationally, in 20 countries.

New Jersey Lyme patients will be traveling today to the South Plaza at Union Square Park, in New York City, to take part in the Tri-State International Lyme Awareness Rally, supported by patients in the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

The rally will feature Speakers on Lyme issues from the three states for the four hour at event – physicians, practitioners, patients, authors, a Lyme lawyer, and leaders in the Lyme community.

Pamela Weintraub, stellar author of the comprehensive Lyme book, CURE UNKNOWN, will be on hand for a book signing and to answer questions.

Billed also as a protest, today’s event hopes to draw attention to several issues, including under-reporting of Lyme disease; treatment guidelines that — wrongly, organizers believe — limit antibiotic doses to 28 days; and the existence of so-called chronic Lyme disease, a diagnosis that health authorities largely reject.

“This is not just a local issue, this is a worldwide issue,” said one New Jersey Lyme leader. “Medical professionals have known since the 80s that Lyme disease can be Chronic and Persisting, and a plethora of research and journal-published articles support this. Yet Lyme treatment remains in the Dark Ages, with some government officials and hostile physician bodies playing “The Emperor’s New Clothes” with a national health crisis of epidemic proportions.”

The Tri-State International Lyme Disease Awareness Rally will be held on the South Plaza of Union Square Park near the corner of 14th Street and Union Square West from Noon to 4 PM.

It is important for New Jersey residents, patients and physicians, to remember that Lyme disease is a clinical diagnosis, and that fewer than 50% of patients remember a tick bite. Also fewer than 50% of patients show a bull’s eye rash, so absence of rash does not equal absence of Lyme disease. Studies have shown conventional testing to be up to 40% inaccurate, and false-negatives are common.

The American College of Physicians recognizes that blood tests “cannot diagnose Lyme disease alone, but they are used to confirm a diagnosis,” and that “anti-Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies may take up to 2 to 5 weeks after infection to appear in the blood.” Therefore, a blood test immediately following a tick bite will not be able to determine whether or not a person has been infected.

Lyme disease is most prevalent in children two to 15 years of age and in adults 30 to 59 years of age. Young people are especially hard-hit by Lyme disease and tickborne coinfections in New Jersey, and the consequences can cause physical, neurological, and psychiatric manifestations that interfere with the ability to attend school, perform classwork and meet developmental milestones.

Lyme activists first began coordinating the international series of May events through Facebook, and the idea quickly went global. A rally will be held outside of Parliament in Norway, while in Canberra, Australia, Telstra Tower and other national landmarks will be lit up in symbolic “Lyme” green for the day. In Germany, a Lyme organization will present an open letter to the health minister, demanding improvement in Lyme treatment, and petitions for better care will be presented in Belgium, Denmark, the United Kingdom and South Africa. Rallies in over 23 states in the USA will draw attention to this ongoing crisis and the need for adequate research and treatment, and an end to political controversy by a narrow band of clinicians that has stymied progress.

To raise awareness about Lyme & other tick-borne diseases in New Jersey, the NJ based national non-profit Lyme Disease Association, Inc. (LDA), in cooperation with Congressman Christopher H. Smith (NJ-4), hosted a press conference on Tuesday, April 30. In a press conference packed with New Jersey media, Congressman Smith (NJ-4) spoke about his federal Lyme bills (HR 610, HR 611) to establish a federal tick-borne diseases advisory committee and to provide much needed funding for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases research to combat their spread throughout New Jersey and the country.

Pat Smith, LDA President, presented LDA programs, including research grants awarded by LDA. She broke out the case numbers and underreporting issues, problems with testing, costs, and highlighted the problems of children with Lyme in the schools



See Worldwide Mission Statement for International Lyme Disease Awareness below.



Worldwide Mission Statement for International Lyme Disease Awareness
Worldwide Patients are raising awareness and protesting to highlight the need for:

1. Recognition that Lyme disease/borreliosis, and other tick-borne infections, such as Babesia, Bartonella, Rickettsia, Ehrlichia, are serious, and sometimes fatal illnesses.

2. Awareness of the fact that the transmission of tick-borne pathogens, such as borrelia, babesia, rickettsia, via blood transfusion is of global concern.

3. Agreement that Lyme disease/borreliosis should be listed as a notifiable infection. Notifiable status will aid in ensuring that the incidence and spread of this disease are monitored, a necessary precursor to determining the human suffering and socioeconomic impact of the disease.

4. Education of the healthcare sector regarding the accurate diagnosis of Lyme, which in some cases may be limited to clinical presentation due to limitations of serological testing.

*Education should ensure all doctors are familiar with the CDC caution pertaining to criteria for blood tests for Lyme: “This surveillance case definition was developed for national reporting of Lyme disease; it is NOT appropriate for clinical diagnosis…Surveillance case definitions are created for the purpose of standardization, not patient care.”

* Education that Lyme should be included as a differential diagnosis when considering other illnesses that are also reliant on subjective clinical presentation, or have no known cause. This includes, but is not limited to: Motor Neurone Disease (MND) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) ; Multiple Sclerosis ; Alzheimer’s; Parkinson’s disease; Sarcoidosis.

5. Education of the healthcare sector regarding affordable and effective treatment of both acute and chronic Lyme and other tick-borne infections. This includes the need to update the outdated treatment guidelines of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and to take into account the treatment methods of other Societies such as: The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) and the German Borreliosis Society (Deutsche Borreliose-Gesellschaft : DBG)

6. Funding for research into tick-borne diseases. Including: Funding for medical research into accurate Lyme testing and treatment ; Funding for research into vectors and reservoir hosts to determine what diseases they may carry and transmit.


Here’s our exciting speaker schedule for the International Lyme Disease Awareness Rally in NYC on Fri. May 10, 2013!!!!!! Hope you’ll join us. thanks. please like and share….

International Lyme Disease Awareness Rally – May 10, 2013, NYC, Union Square, South Plaza: 12-4 pm

12:00 Musical lead-in

12:30 Dr. Daniel J. Cameron – NY (past president ILADS, president 2013), Lyme and epidemiologic research

12:45 Dr. Eva Sapi – CT, University of New Haven, Dept of Biology and Environmental Science

1:00 Gerald T. Simons – NY, PA-C, works at the Morrison Center, NYC.

1:15 Dr. Charles Ray Jones – CT (ILADS, pediatrician who has treated 20,000 children in Europe, Australia, US, Canada, Mexico, S Africa, Pakistan, India, Singapore, China, Japan, N. Korea, S. Korea, Saudi Arabia etc.

1:30 Tracy Hans – NJ, LPC, ACS, Lyme literate Psychotherapist

1:45 Jeff Christiansen – NY, Fire Island four poster deer program

2:00 Jill Auerbach – NY, Hudson Valley Lyme Disease Association – tick prevention

2:15 Douglas Nadjari, Esq. – NY, who successfully counseled Dr. Liegner through the OPMC process

2:30 Meghan Harrison – PA, Lyme patient, recipient of TBDA Courage Award, 2013

2:45 Ariana Sierzputowski – NY, Lyme patient

3:00 Dr. Andrea Gaito – NJ (co-founder and former president ILADS, current Treasurer, ILADS) rheumatologist/internist

3:15 Dr. Kenneth B. Liegner – NY, internal medicine/critical care, treating Lyme since 1988

3:45 Musical finale

Pam Weintraub – NY, author “Cure Unknown” – book signin



I have gotten a few messages and requests for an update on how my family is doing with Lyme. I have updates my About Me page is anyone is interested.


The Mscraps iNSD 2013 Blog / Facebook Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Mscraps iDSD Birthday Blog/Facebook Hop!

Hey Everyone!!

You must know by now that we LOVE blogtrains, so ….. here’s another one!!!

It’s the official Mscraps iNSD 2013 Blog / Facebook Hop (Train) !!!
For this train, our CT & Designers have decided to work with the same colorscheme so that at the end of this hop (train ride), you will have collected a beautiful coordinated {huge!!} full kit!

But before I go any further, check out what we’ve got in store for you this weekend!!

Our entire store is 20% – 70% off, receive our latest collab “Pow!” for FREE with every €7,50 purchase and we will be playing lots of fun and games here on the forum!
We’ve got a lot of prizes to give away and for each completed challenge you will get 1 challenge point! (10 points = €4 Gift Certificate, 20 points = €8 Gift Certificate and so on)

Please take a peek at the HUGE kit that you will be able to collect by hopping on this train:
(not all papers & elements shown!! templates and quickpages not shown!!)


THANK YOU, SABRINA for making this gorgeous previews!!!!!

I hope you enjoy all of the fabulous gifts that the MScraps Creative Team & Designers have prepared just for you.
You should have come here from Erica Zwart Designz –
If you’ve become lost or missed a stop along the way, you can visit the Mscraps Forum to get the full blog train list:

Here’s my freebie:

You can download it here:

Now head over to Fanette Design (Stephanie)  page- collect your next gift.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

HAVE FUN, everyone!!!