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!

The Colors of My Kitchen

This month’s challenge at Scrap It Girl is to use the colors of your kitchen to create a card, layout or altered project.

I decided to create a card using the colors in my kitchen — red, blue and yellow.

First, I thought I would share a couple of photos of my kitchen. It is the smallest kitchen I have ever had, but it is also my favorite.


It is a little bit vintage


A little bit ecclectic


a little bit chicken


and full of color


So, I used the main colors in my kitchen, red, yellow and blue, to create this card:

color_Candy_Spiegel_ScrapitgirlThe stamp is from Melissa Frances and colored with Copics. The papers are from Bo Bunny and Fancy Pants Designs. The washi tape is from Tim Holtz and We R Memory Keepers and the little embellishment is from Webster’s Pages.

Now it is time to create a project with the colors from your kitchen. Once you are finished, post it at Scrap It Girl and you could win this amazing gift donated by Kelly, one of the designers for Scrap It Girl:


Good luck!

Star-struck weekend

It has been quite a week. In fact, I have been working so hard, I forgot to post!

Of course, my blog isn’t the only thing that has been neglected. I think every surface of my home is piled with clutter and the laundry hamper is overflowing. I am sure I will get to all of that in time …

I have several projects to share with you over the coming days, but first I wanted to share my weekend fun. I spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Great Lakes Mega Meet (and spent Sunday recovering from the lack of sleep, 10 hours of standing on concrete each day, caffeine and the stress of driving, or sitting, in rush-hour traffic each day). It was wonderful to see people I hadn’t seen in a while, get tons of ideas and meet some paper-crafting celebrities. While most of my time was spent working in the Globecraft & Piccolo booth, I did escape for a few minutes to see Melissa Frances.

She has launched a new line of rubber stamps (I bought one, of course).


Melissa showed me how to make these amazing flowers (although I neglected to get a photo of her)
melissa_frances2And I bought some of these beautiful embellishments to experiment with (I have an idea)


Then I found time to visit with Wendy Vecchi


I learn so many new ideas and great tips every time I watch her …wendy_vecchi2 These are a few of her samples … I can’t wait to order a few more of her stamps and stencils (they sold out at the show)wendy_vecchiTim Holtz was there, too …

tim_holtzHere are a few samples from him …


tim_holtz3And, I got to meet Mario! He was so nice and made me feel like it was an honor for him to meet me!

049I also spent some time in the Michigan Scrapbooker Magazine booth. One of my friends insisted on getting my autograph, which cracked me up so much I had to take a photo … here is Carol with the autographed copy of my article in this month’s magazine.



This year’s Mega Meet was one of the best ever. Thanks for letting me share some of my excitement! (if you have e-mailed me a question, I am getting to it. I had 295 e-mails when I got back and I am still working my way through them all!)





Chicken Scratch

This project just sort of evolved, but I absolutely love it!

It started with paper I found from Melissa Frances. Since I have chickens on the brain, it was a no-brainer, so I bought it. I originally intended to use it for a scrapbook page, but it is so cute, I wanted to look at it all of the time. So, I used it to cover a sheet of chipboard, added a bit of ink and ribbon, letters from Maya Road covered with crackle paint and a die cut from QuicKutz. I attached a stack of Post It Notes (it will look better once I get yellow ones!) and glued some magnets to the back.

Now, I can look at it on my fridge all of the time AND I have a place to write things we need to get.

Perfect. Just perfect!