Sunday, 1 March 2015

Silver Birch Allergy - written by a sufferer!

Hello Friends,

I've got a blog, which I usually use to share my creative side.  I teach card making, scrap booking and I also offer one to one classes on the Silhouette Cameo.  I hold regular events and sell Stampin' Up products.

Today though, I felt I wanted to share with you my story, all about how much my health has suffered over the last few years, with what turned out to be my Silver Birch allergy worsening year by year.

I moved into this home in December 1987, we were only meant to be here for two or three years.   I was very reluctant to purchase the house because of the council trees, right outside.  I worried because I remembered having to move out of my childhood home for a few months whilst our home was being under pinned because the of damage done by a huge Oak tree, right outside of our home!  My husband, at the time, reassured me that the trees were only small and we were only going to be there for a short time, so I wasn't to worry.

Well, the move was never to be!  Long story........but I'm still here now.  I love this home, it's perfect for us, it has space, we have nice people around us and we like the location.  We can't ever imagine moving from here now.

The drawback to this place was the fact that we had two, ever growing, trees right in front of us.  They blocked our light all year, the front of our home was very dark even in the summer because the leaves were out in full!  We compensated, all our internal front rooms are painted white! Not only that, but the autumn was horrible too, because of the usual direction of the wind.  We and our neighbours suffered dreadfully with firstly the seeds, oh those seeds, millions and millions all over our homes and cars and then the leaves!

I soon worked out that those trees were my enemy from the beginning of March until the end of November.

March/April - rotten hayfever, May/June/July/August - my skin was "on fire" with huge allergy swellings all over, but mostly on my face, Sept/Oct/early Nov - really bad skin, swollen hands (which I could hardly use) and a very painful and swollen face, then a break!  The break seemed to happen almost overnight.  It happens about the second week into November.  Suddenly I found myself much better, less tired, my skin "normal", you wouldn't believe it!

Each year my symptoms seemed to get worse.  I begged for allergy tests at the doctors but they wouldn't fund them, until they nearly killed me by giving me penicillin!  I'd told them I was allergic, I wasn't sure how allergic, as all I can remember was that I wasn't allowed it from my childhood days.  So when I was in hospital, for something else, someone slipped up and I was in trouble and had a major allergic reaction and from that they gave in and let me have allergy tests!

So, it turns out I have Pollen Food Allergy, which is associated with Silver Birch Pollen.  I've always known that I was allergic to some foods, some of which were much worse than others.  But over the last few years, the foods I used to be able to eat are now very dangerous to for me to eat.  It didn't take the doctors long to work out that my problems were getting worse year on year because of my constant exposure to Silver Birch pollen, due to the two huge trees on my door step.

My own G.P. spent time researching my skin symptoms last year, as they were the worse they'd ever been and fortunately she found a link to a paper written about the chemicals released by the leaves of the tree.  Apparently the leaves give off a chemical which deters all the aphids, but this chemical is, sometimes, extremely harmful to the skin of someone suffering from Silver Birch/Pollen food allergy.

Now that would be me then!!!  I have always had eczema, but it used to got better in the summer, I used to love the summer, no central heating to dry me out and having fresh air on my skin always felt great, but over the last 3 or 4 years my skin got worse and now we know why.  My skin had been exposed constantly to that chemical each time I walked outside of my home and I think it's common knowledge these days that if you are constantly exposed to the allergen, then allergies can get very dangerous.

So.....I've been fighting with the council for years, firstly because the trees blocked our light, made a huge mess, worried me to death about what their roots were doing to our home but, my fight is over, the trees are NO MORE!!! Whoop whoop!

My doctor wrote to the council last year explaining her findings.  Nothing seemed to be happening and with March just a few days away, I called the council on Wednesday to enquire what was happening and on Friday, without notification, three council workers came to fell those trees, phew!!!

I'm sure this won't be the end to my problems.  Trees are all over, we even have another Silver Birch tree down the road, but at least, I ought to be able to go out of my front door in the summer without being hit by the chemical being released by those two trees, that were right there!  And, as for the one down the road, well, I'll be crossing the road and walking on the other side!

Here are some photos of before and after...

Seeds got everywhere, our cars, our homes, our hair and everyone of those that touched me, felt like I'd touched a peanut!

Carrier bags full of seeds in the autumn, if I didn't wear gloves to sweep I wouldn't be able to use my hands due to the allergic swellings for days!

Our home in darkness all summer and all those leaves giving off chemicals that attack my skin!

They're gone, but not forgotten!

I hope my story helps anyone with Silver Birch/Pollen Food allergy.  We need to get these trees away from populated areas, they are not good for us ;)!

Carole x

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Silhouette Cameo & Stampin' Up

Hello Friends,

I've been making a couple of little gifts and whilst making them, I couldn't help thinking again how easy the making of little gifts like these is using my Silhouette Cameo and the coordinated products, like the stamps & punches and the papers, card and ink from Stampin' Up.

I've used the "Hello Pillow box" cut file from the Silhouette store, along with a whole host of matching stash from Stampin' Up.

Thanks for popping by today and happy crafting.

Carole x

Monday, 2 February 2015

Clean & Simple 4

Hello Friends,

Here is another card, made using inspiration from those On-line Card Classes girls and Shelli, the co-founder and and CEO of Stampin' Up.

As a Stampin' Up demonstrator, I was able to log into the live streaming from the American Stampin' Up conference in the States where Shelli demonstrated some tips and techniques.  She showed us how to make feathers, just like the ones on my card, out of Washi Tape.

I used Julie Ebersoles special splattering technique for the background splatters.

The card base was made joining two large die cut peices from the Floral Frames Collection, by Stampin' Up.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Happy crafting.

Carole x

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Clean & Simple 4 - Day 2

Hello Friends,

Here is my "homework" from yesterday's class.....

Kristina was using border die cuts in a different way for her clean and simple card.  I only have two border dies, one of which I've used, in white, down the right side edge.  I decided to use an old Nestability die for the mats on the front and the different way of using them, was to cut the section off with the sentiment on it.

I hope you like my card today, here are the details if you want to see what you are missing!

Happy crafting.

Carole x

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Clean & Simple 4 - Day one, Card 3

Hello Friends,

I'm on a roll and trying to be more organised ;)!  I've gotten into a little routine, the last few cards I've made, I've got all the stash out to make the card I have in mind and then what I've been doing is, making another card whilst putting all the stash back away!

With this in mind, here is the second card I made today.......

.....the inspiration came from the Online Card Class - Clean & Simple 4, it really is a must do class, in my opinion ;)!

Happy crafting and clearing away!

Carole x

Cean & Simple 4 - Day 1 card 2

Hello Friends,

I'm back with a card that I've made using a technique Jennifer showed us, in class, yesterday.  I've used the new background stamp from Stampin' Up called "Something Lacy" along with Silver and Melon Mambo embossing powders, also by Stampin' Up.

The decorative "Friend" and mat for it, have both been cut out using my Silhouette Cameo.

It's not too late to sign up for this fabulous class, if you want to know how to make it ;)!

Can't wait to see what ideas those amazing girls have in store for us today!

Happy crafting.

Carole x

Monday, 26 January 2015

On-line card classes, Clean & Simple 4

Hello Friends,

I'm back with something a little (actually, I mean "a lot") different today.  I've joined the latest class from On-Line Card Classes, those girls over there do usually stretch me right out of my comfort zone ;)!

I chose to make a card using a technique that Julie Ebersole shared with us all today, which was to make a tile like effect, for the main feature of the card.

Here is my tile, heart shaped ;)!

I'm not altogether happy with the card, I'd really like the time to make another tile!  If I get some time I will!

Happy crafting.

Carole x