My First Bike (in 39 years)

I know you’ve seen plenty of photos of me with my bike, but I had to do one more …

For a little background info … At 44, I decided I was going to be bedridden if I didn’t get moving. My biggest hurdle was that it hurt to walk. After less than a mile, my right leg tenses up, the muscles contract, my foot goes numb and I lose control of it. It is extremely painful and the pain continues for hours after I stop walking. The first time it happened, more than 20 years ago, I pushed through the pain and actually fell and twisted my ankle. Since then, it has progressively gotten worse.

I didn’t go to a doctor because I didn’t want to hear, “lose weight and it will be fine.” Nor did I want to be one of those people who has an “excuse” for everything they cannot (or don’t want) to do.

So, I was looking for things I could do that wouldn’t hurt my leg and I thought bike riding might be good. Problem is, I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was 18 and I weighed so much that I was afraid it would be impossible. So, I set myself a goal. I decided that if I lost 50 pounds, I would try it.

That day came on Memorial Day in 2016. While my family hung out on the back deck of my mother-in-law’s house, I quietly slipped away and took her bike for a ride. I’m sure if anyone saw me, they were laughing hysterically at how wobbly I was, but after a few times of nearly hitting the curb before remembering that I had breaks, I figured it out. It’s amazing how the body can remember to do something again after so many years of not doing it!

My husband and I realized that this could be something fun to do together, so we each bought bikes. I selected a cruiser that allowed me to sit upright and put both feet firmly on the ground while sitting on the seat.

These photos were taken on our first official ride on a bike path — at a park in Linden, MI. They are some of the most important photos I have ever taken … Yes, they mark an important spot in my journey to losing weight and feeling great, but they mean so much more to me.

They were just quick snapshots my husband took with my phone, but they are the first pictures I looked at in many, many years where I thought, “I look good!” For the past few decades, whenever I saw my pictures, I always cringed because I was so much heavier than the person I saw in the mirror. I hated my photos. I still took them and scrapbooked them because they were important to me, but they made me depressed — often to the point of tears — every time I saw them. But when I saw these, I just kept looking at my thighs and thinking, “Wow! I look really good!”

It took me several weeks to share my feelings with my husband (and nearly a year to share with the world), but after that, it became a “thing.” Whenever we were riding and I was getting tired or thinking the hill was too hard to climb, I would look at my thighs and remember how good they looked in this photo and how much better they would look if I kept this up and it would push me further. My husband picked up on it and he would remind me to look at my thighs whenever the going got too hard. It was all the motivation I needed.

Yes, these two little pictures are responsible for me losing an additional 30 pounds and going from riding a mile to riding 13 miles in just one summer.

Such special photos need special treatment, so I went a little artsy on this page. I used papers from Authentique, a resin bike from Melissa Frances (accented with a bit of Distress Paint) and the Circle Tiles and Tab Die Set from Mosaic Moments to complete my page.

I made a video to show you how fun it can be to create embellishments with the Circle Tiles using different patterned papers. Check it out.

(I am compensated to create videos for Mosaic Moments).

By the way, I have talked to my doctor about my leg. After several tests, she thinks it is a mineral and amino-acid deficiency. I’ve been taking both for the past year. It’s not perfect yet, but I can walk faster and harder and when the pain does hit, it hurts less and it quits almost immediately after resting. Bike riding doesn’t hurt it one bit. And those are things I can live with.

Happy trails!

Celebrate Winter

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Our challenge this month for the Elizabeth Craft Designs’ Design Team is to make a project with the new Tags & More die sets. I decided to turn them into a little mini album.

And since I am obsessed with foxes at the moment, I used Authentique’s new Cozy papers (with foxes and snowflakes) and ordered Dutch the Fox, one of the newest dies from Karen Burniston for ECD.

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Cut four strips of paper 3 1/2″ x 12″. Use Tags & More 1 — Lace and cut the tag on one side. Then, snip and trim the edges so you have four long tags.

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Score at 5 1/8″ and fold each tag. Then ink all of the pieces.

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Take two tags and put them back-to-back so the ends match. Tape the ends together to make a page. Line up another tag so the tops of the tags match and adhere. Then, do another set of bottoms to form the book. It will look like this:

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Cut out the pieces of Dutch the Fox (I used black cardstock, white velvet paper from ECD and some of the Authentique paper) and adhere him to the front of the book. Cut out six flower hole reinforcers and two corners (included in the Tags & More 1 — Lace set). Adhere the corners to the front. Adhere the flowers onto each side of the tops of the tags — making sure they are lined up so you don’t see any backs.

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Add letters to spell Winter and a few Glitter Dots to the cover. Tie ribbon through each of the tags.

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Then, complete each of the inside pages as shown …

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The tree is also a die from ECD.

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I love how the book turned out.

Now, see what the other designers created with the new tag dies on the ECD blog!

Happy Birthday, Bianca

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This month’s challenge at Scrap It Girl is a color challenge. The rules are simple. create something using navy, red, cream and kraft paper.

Since my cousin’s birthday is coming up, I thought I would make her a card in the Americana color scheme.

I used one of the doll stamps from Prima (Becky), but I only kept her bottom half. I love the way she looks hanging around in the top corner of the card. I colored her with Copic markers and then attached her with dimensional foam adhesive.

The paper is from Authentique.

I cut out the words, “Happy Birthday”, with an Elizabeth Craft Designs die.

As a final touch, I added some Glitter Flowers and Glitter Dots from Elizabeth Craft Designs.

Please join me in wishing Bianca a very happy birthday!

Now it’s your turn … grab some supplies and create a project using navy, red, cream and kraft paper and share it on Scrap It Girl. You could win an amazing array of prizes!

Valentine’s Day Card

Heart Challenge Candy SpiegelThis month’s challenge at Scrap It Girl is to use hearts on your project.

I wanted to create a card that was as masculine as possible, given that I was working with pink hearts!

I started with a kraft card as a background.

Then I cut up pieces of Authentique paper and layered them. For the top one, I added a bit of Distress Ink to the edges and used dimensional foam to pop the ticket.

I added a canvas heart from Linnie Blooms that I stamped with a Wendy Vecchi background stamp and Archival Ink. I hung the heart from a 7 Gypsies clip with a bit of wire and added a little more wire on the card as an accent.

Simple, but fun to make. What do you think?

Now, visit Scrap It Girl’s site and add your own heart creation. You could win some amazing prizes!