Welcome to the  GROW YOUR BLOG  party!!!

My Name is Cathy Ann but on here I go by Catie An.  My husband calls me many nicknames; Katrinka, Katrina, Squeek, Cathy Ann, are a few. But the one most used is  CatieAn.

I was born and raised in the Northwest part of the United States in Washington State.  My husband and I still  live in our home town.  We have four distinct seasons.  We are spoiled by mountains and lakes.

I have most of my information on my profile.  I started my blog about 6 years ago.

 Having been determined 'disabled'  after a bad fall at work, subsequent surgery and therapies, and an unrelentless pain that started to spread around my body, I fell into a major depression.  I loved my job as a pediatric critical care and oncology nurse, all of our kids had migrated to a larger city for job opportunities, were all married and starting their own families and John and all of are family and  friends were still in the work force.

Even our neighbors were gone every day.  I have worked since I was nine years old. For the first time in my life I was anchor less. I did not know what to do with myself.  I went to physical therapy for two hours plus a day, three days a week for two years.  We had a major house fire and were displaced for 7 months before we could move back in.  John's brother died as did my father.

It was in the midst of all this upheaval, emotional and physical, when I fell into blog land quite by accident.
It changed my outlook.  I started connecting with people who had similar interests.  I found other 'artists' in all kinds of medias I didn't even know existed.  I have met so many wonderful people. Many have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy(Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome) just like myself.  Others were just looking for friends who held the same values and wanted to share their lives and their art.

I became focused on photography and wanting to take pictures to share my life.  With the kids all living away, they could visit my blog and see what we, or mostly' what I was doing.  My creativity started improving and I became more involved in making my art.

There have been a few long periods where blogging was not as  important to me and going through major flares with my illness, I lost focus.  Then I went to school for a year and had no time to blog.  Now back to being home alone every day, I am back to blogging on a more regular basis.  I know I need to connect with others throughout my day.  I love to share my life and my ideas.  Knowing someone out there is looking to connect as well, gives me something other than myself to focus on.

Through this blog party, I hope to meet and make lots of new kindred spirits around the world.

I love making assemblage art and  like my 'stuff' to have  that sweet quality about them.  I made up this little sweetheart today as part of my give away to some lucky reader.

I made her from an old antiseptic powder tin, from the 1940's, a doll head from the 50's, a petticoat from a doll from the 50's, and various other miscellaneous parts.  Her hands are fired porcelain that I found in a bag at the thrift store.  Her shoes are plastic doll shoes and also came home from the thrift store. Her name is Antiseptic Annie.  

I will probably make at least one other dolly to give away, as well. I also have a few packets of vintage Victorian ephemera and pieces of vintage quilts and various tidbits to send off to far flung places.

I love to laugh and have a great sense of humor.  I will laugh the longest and loudest  at myself.  There is  never a dull moment when you hang out with me.  My husband and I went to the local mall about two miles from here two nights ago.  We visited one store that we loved.  When asked how long ago they had opened they looked at us and said  " 8 months ago".  Oops.

Me, I can tell you within a 20 miles radius, every thrift, salvage, or antique store and know exactly when they opened or closed.  Forget the new outfit.  Give me a bag of goodies that I can throw in a labeled drawer to pull out and use on that next creation.

I have my sweet kidlets that come once a week for art and crafts, baking, sewing, you name it.  I would be terribly sad to give up my days with them.  Just this week, one of them said. "when I grow up I am going to have art classes just like this in my house."  Awwwww.....made me well up.  even my youngest sister told me recently she wished she had had some place to go like mine after school.

I can't NOT have kids around.  Since our own grandchildren live far away, we have adopted other kids through the years.  Friends who had younger children welcomed us to their kids' sporting events when ours were off on their own as adults.  We started going to the neighbor kids' sporting activities and now go to their school programs.  John and I have often joked that people probably think we are crazy.  "Hey can we come hang out at your kids' football game.  We don't have any of our own near by to play with."  Both of us champion children and think that no one can have too many people who love and support them.          

Before my accident, I spent at least once a year or every two years going to third world countries on medical missions. I miss that most of all when I think of all I have had to give up due to my illness.  I have to rethink what my life is about on a daily basis.  I use a cane whenever I walk out of the house. Inside, I walk short distances so don't fear falling as much as when I have to walk farther and my leg doesn't always want to work.

Before John and I played racquetball three or more times a week and still played on jack and jill sports teams.  I just started going back to the gym to swim as often as possible and do water aerobics.  In the water, I can still make my body work like it used to.

My Faith, my Family and my Friends are the most important parts of my life.  They keep me focused and steer me back on the right path when I find myself wandering. To know that friends in blog land are just a few typewritten words away has also made a difference in my life and my art.

I want to thank  VICKI for hosting this wonderful party!!  THANK YOU for all the time and effort you put into this event for all of us taking part.  I hope it brings you as much joy as we are all anticipating.

I also want to shout out to Karen from Valentine Design for redoing my blog for this wonderful party!  It was what I wanted as my birthday present and I can't think of a nicer one.  You are so wonderful.


Noel Bressler said...

Hey there, new follower through the Party..swing by my site and do the same if you'd like


Thanks, happy Saturday!

Chris Flynn said...

Hi Catie An! Your new blog look is lovely! I'm looking forward to getting to know you through your future blogging. Love what Karen did! And, those granddaughters are sweet!
Sweet Blessings, Chris

Hooked on Quilting said...

Great new blog look! Love your art and hope things continue to improve for you. Stop by my quilting blog if you get a chance!

Whimsey Creations said...

Nice to meet you CatieAn - it sounds as though you are a very giving person. I have fibromyalgia so I understand that there are just some days (or weeks) that you just can't do what you would like. But I'm glad you have found substitutes like swimming for the other types of activities you used to do. It's all about finding whatever will work at the moment. I'll be back to read more later. Hugs!

hula-la said...

Great blog post. And I love the word..."junkin"...Have fun blog partyin'.

Susan said...

I'm visiting from the party. I'm at home a lot and agree the friends we make through blogging become very important. I'm so sorry you are in constaint pain but love your attitude. I know I'm going to enjoy your blog.

Tettelestai said...

It is very hard to find your focus again after a major medical battle! I am glad you found an outlet.

I wish my mother would get into blogging. We are far away also and sometimes phone calls just cut it. I would love to 'see' her more often.

Stopping by from GYP, Kay's Little Korner

Terri said...

Hello CatieAn,
You have a lovely blog! I enjoyed reading your post. I can hear your joy of blogging! Yay! It has been the same for me. Meeting all of you and connecting is really lovely.

Denise said...

Hi, CatieAn from Texas. I absolutely love your blog --- have enjoyed visiting! The photos of the snow are gorgeous.

Thank you for the chance to win your oh-so-cute doll. She is just precious!

I became a follower of your blog and look forward to many more visits in the future.

blessings, denise :D

Jessica @ A Humble Creation said...

Hi CatieAn,
Thanks for paying me a visit today so I could swing by and get to know you. I'm sorry for the troubles you've had but so glad you could find encouragement through blogging and new friends. It's amazing to see how the Lord uses the most difficult situations for good. You have a precious family (I love that first pic) and obviously a heart for others. Thanks for sharing with us!

gin said...

I am blog hopping and am enjoying strolling thru yours . Count me as a new follower.

Anonymous said...

It was wonderful to meet you! You are amazing! It is a blessing to be connecting with so many interesting people.

Will be back soon. The Blog Party is so much fun.

kareninkenai said...

It is wonderful to meet you - a lovely blog. I am visiting from Alaska, so not too far away, truly. I am going to follow. Wonderful life and story. Blessing, kareninkenai@gmail.com (www.alaskabluemoose.blogspot.com) or (www.karendorcas.com)

Lottie said...

I hope you will work out what life it about for you right now. It is hard when things change in an instant. Wishing you less pain and more fun. Nice meeting you through the blog hop. I love making dolls too and would love to red more about you.

EvalinaMaria said...

You have a lovely blog. I'm a new follower and participant of 'Grow your Blog'. Have fun at the party!
Evalina, This and that...

Fishcake_random said...

You have such an inspiring story, and such a lovely way to weave words. Have you ever considered writing a book or something?
x x x

Marrianna said...

Okay, so we are kindred spirits in our thrift store adventures. I live in a medium size city in Northern Arizona and we have several but not like in really BIG cities. However, it suits my love of "small" and vintage. If you visit my blog during this Grow Your Blog Party, you'll be able to see my latest repurposed apron from treasures found at estate sales and the local Goodwill Weigh & Pay. I enjoy your blog and will be a new follower. I, too, had Karen Valentine, design my blog in August 2012. I love her style. She's such a special lady.

Email: marrianna65@gmail.com

Bead and Needle said...

Dear Catie An...Happy Blog Party Sunday - so happy to have stumbled along here. You had me at the photo of your beautiful little granddaughters - and the photo of the beautiful painted wall. Here's hoping for a healthy and uplifting 2013! Tanya

Tammy said...

No doubt your positive outlook has taken you far in the recovery process. It's so nice to be able to share out stories and support each other. Your artwork is so creative and imaginative. And it's so great that you share your gift with children. Wishing you all the best, Tammy

Linda said...

Just found your blog thru the party. I am in awe of all your stash. I have become a follower and would love to be entered in your giveaway for the adorable doll. If you have time, please come by my blog and say hi.


Socrates said...

What a great resource, someone who knows all the thrift stores... I['m on my way... :-))Lovely. I came here from Vicki's party, still going strong. Do stop by my blog too and enter the giveaway. See you there.

Joan - South Island, New Zealand. said...

Hello from New Zealand, I too am at home mostly. I love blogging and all it means especially gearing up my creative side.
Best wishes from a fellow party blogger.

Kelly@CCCC said...

Hi, Catie An! So nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying HI! Can't wait to get to know you and yours and share me and mine! I myself am disabled after a major motorcycle accident when I was 18, but it wasn't until 1994 when I had to give up the work ghost and go on disability. I understand where you are coming from with the long bouts of depression. I'm here if you need to vent! I agree with you about the children...I can't NOT have my grandchildren around me, when they are gone it's like an aching hole in my heart and I have to call my children up and beg them to bring their babies over so I can get my fix! You have a wonderful week! Kelly xoxo

Debbie said...

So nice to meet you via the GYB party. You have a wonderful blog!

sandy said...

I enjoyed reading your blog and getting to "know" you through it! It's great that you are a champion for kids! We're blessed to have our three grandchildren live in town. We babysit our four year old grandson and he brings a lot of joy into our home. We attend many events of our grandchildren. That keeps us busy!
I'm following you and have joined the blog party also! sandy :)

Fit and Healthy Baby Boomers said...

Oh wow, you've had quite a time of it the past few years. So happy that things are looking up. I spent my first 50 years in WA State. Thanks for visiting and following my blog. I' following you too.

NormaJ said...

Hi CatieAn - I enjoyed reading your blog and viewing your photos. We aren't too far away in miles from each other. I live north of the border to you.
Visit my blog again if you like.
I will follow yours as well.

Patty C. said...

Nice to meet you- i am a nurse in Florida...
Hoping all the best for you & your beautiful family!

Anonymous said...

Hi CatieAn, it is very nice to meet you! I share several things in common with you having been determined disabled 3 years ago after being diagnosed with severe fibromyalgia. I have not yet tried assemblage art but it is on my list for this year. Currently I am rediscovering crochet and embroidered and beaded cuff bracelets. I am your newest follower from Grow Your Blog and would love to have you as a new friend!
Beth P

Anonymous said...

First of all I want to thank you for coming by Girl Unwinding and leaving such a warm and heart felt comment for me. I value it very much.
I want to say something to you after reading your introduction about yourself and all that you have traversed through in the last several years. You are made of more potent stuff than your physical body, even in its prime, could ever keep up with! You have within you a vital spirit that will find a way to express itself no matter the pain, barrier, or darkness. It WILL find its way as you have proven with all your creative resources.
I look forward to stopping by and seeing more of what you get up to in the coming months.
Much love and Peace~

Debbie Jones said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. I am now a new follower and will enjoy more of your posts I know. You are very artistic and creative. Thanks for sharing! Enjoy the week ahead.

Marlynne said...

So enjoyed reading about you and your interests and accomplishments, Yeah for you picking up and going on! The painted wall is interesting! Tell us more about it!

Becka said...

Hi Catie An-
I'm returning the visit from Girasole farm via GYB.
You've shared such a meaningful story of yourself and why you started to blog. I see that, indeed, we are kindred spirits.
I'll be following along, and visiting often.
Hugs- Becka @ Girasole Farm

Marilou Bain said...

Hi there Catie An,
Well I think you are delightful and very talented so I'm your newest follower
I'm just on the C's so I have a long way to go on this hop since this weekend was 2 of my grands birthdays.
Wonderful to meet you and I hope to be back for many more visits!
Hugs Marilou

mitz said...

... catie an...what ajoy that was to read.. so glad you have a blog.. and such an adorable give-a-way.. thanks

Kai said...

Old friends, you & I, but I believe I've gotten to know you even better through this post! First of all, you are absolutely 100% ADORABLE! I LOVED seeing the smiling pictures of you (my fave being you painting - way too cute) and I'm so proud to call you friend because you are an inspiration! Maybe you don't KNOW that, but you truly are! Incidentally, my best friend of nearly 25 years lived in Richland, Washington for a loooong time. It's pretty there! I hope someday we get to meet in person 'cause I've got a BUNCH of hugs saved up just for you! LOOOOVE YOU!

Hilary said...

It's great to meet you CatieAn! Found you through the Grow Your Blog party and I'm looking forward to future posts!

Lavender Cottage said...

Nice to meet you through Vicki's blog party and we have the same blog designer in common.
Blogging has made a difference in my life too, I've met so many wonderful women from different parts of the world.
That is a nice family photo, happy smiling faces.

lorik said...

Interesting to read your story - It is amazing how art can distract us from all sorts of things...even dull pain. Love your pics of your family and the one above of the tree branches. Is that ice? the red looks great agains the grey and white.
Nice to meet you Catie.

Shirley said...

Hi Catie-An, I am spending this evening catching up with some more new bloggers here in blog land. We are in agreement that blogging helps all of us one way or the other. I have met people world wide and it is my way of traveling and meeting new people. I will soon be having more time with my job coming to end to visit all of you in the blog party. Vicki is a very special lady. I have enjoyed meeting you. Your New Missouri Friend.

Linda Carole Bloom said...

Your blog is so pretty! I'm a nurse too (trauma/crit care)and will be retiring in about three years. This work is pretty rough on the old knees, especially when we are in the midst of flu season (like right now). And when it's 19 degrees for heaven's sake.
I like to junk too! I'm trying to clear out some clutter right now so I have to be good. So nice to meet you and thanks for stopping by. Love, Linda

Di said...

So happy you stopped by to see me. I am so glad to meet you. We do have alot in common being nurses, I have been out of onoclogy nursing for quite a bit and work at a Family Practice.
We do have fun with our junk (treasures)! Di@Cottage-wishes

Cindy said...

It's so nice to meet you , thank you for sharing so much about yourself! Glad you found the blogging world and a way to connect!

Laurie said...

Oh, we could be thrifting buddies! I hope you visit my blog, too!