When the cat’s away…

When the cat’s away…

Christmas Eve.  Normally I love Christmas Eve – it’s magical and atmospheric and the calm before the eventual storm of December 25th.  This year I am up to my eyeballs in packing and moving and I have had barely time to acknowledge what time of year it is.  I’ve finished my gift-buying (if I haven’t gotten you something by now, it ain’t gonna happen!) and can concentrate on the tasks at hand.  Except that I’m not.  Concentrating, that is.  I’m blogging.  Whoops.  I cannot face another box or the sound of packing tape or the smell of marker pens as they are scrawled all over the boxes to tell us what lies inside.  I’m so tired.  My kidneys are not coping well with the stress and my overall inability to take care of myself properly at the moment.  Am looking forward to being settled in the new house though not looking forward to unpacking everything.  Why do I have so much stuff!?

Over the weekend Mum and I had added stress.  19 year old Bronte (the tabby cat) had another bout of cystitis (the 2nd in a month) and we had to rush off to the vets in the middle of the night.  We had to find a 24 hour vet that wasn’t too far away and luckily we did.  They were awesome – very caring and thorough and, despite the late hour and the fact that Bronte had to stay in over the weekend, the account at the end was very reasonable and not at all scary.  Bronte behaved herself (for once) and is now back home with Mum, complaining about not being fed (she’s always being fed but she’s kinda senile and forgets whatever she has just done) and sleeping the rest of the time.  The vet did lots of blood tests and found that Bronte is actually very healthy for such an old cat.  Relief!  She is very dear to us and I would hate to lose her.  Mum would be devastated…   Bronte came to us via my old job as a vet nurse.  Her mother Minnie had been run over (unfortunately by her owner, accidentally) when she was 8 1/2 weeks pregnant.  She had suffered a pelvic fracture and a diaphragmatic hernia plus of course we had to get the kittens out to see if we could save them.  After a lengthy surgery to repair her diaphragm and a caesarean to remove the kittens, and then a hysterectomy, poor Minnie was a bundle of stitches and feeling very sorry for herself.  We managed to get all three kittens out safely – Bronte was the first “born” and she was a fighter from the get-go.  Feisty and much bigger than her siblings she was determined to survive.  She spent the first hour of her life in my pocket as we worked on the other kittens.  Poor Minnie suckled those hungry little kittens despite her pain and discomfort from the surgery and was the best mother ever.  She healed up nicely and was a beautiful cat.  Bronte and her little sister, Beauty, survived but their brother did not and passed away at a few weeks of age.  The owners wanted me to have my pick of the remaining girls and so I chose Bronte (she being the strongest and most wilful – I figured she would be heathy and tough) and at 6 weeks, brought her home.  She ruled the house from day one, bossing our dog and other cat around.  I have photos of her hanging from the Christmas tree and play fighting with our very large German Shorthaird Pointer.  She’s such a character and I will miss her when she finally succumbs to old age.  We’re praying she gets to 20 – that seems a nice round number!

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It is super hot today and will continue to be for the next few days.  I feel sorry for the birds that are outside panting in the heat.  I hope when our landlords move back in they will remember to fill the bird bath each day.  It’s easy to forget and the water evaporates so quickly in this weather.  This poor crow was sheltering in our mulberry tree this afternoon, outside my window.  Such beautiful blue eyes.

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Anyway, I should be packing, not bird-watching or blogging.  Feel free to come over and help me.  I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas.  Think Santa would have room in his sleigh for a few extra boxes?  I’m sure he could just drop a few at my new address for me… 🙂

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We’re moving!

We’re moving!

Yes, we have finally secured a new rental property!  We got the keys yesterday and we are scheduled to move in properly on the 27th.  Yep, two days after Christmas…I am exhausted just thinking about what needs to be done.  There are boxes everywhere and I can’t think straight.  I haven’t even wrapped any gifts yet!  Some of hubby’s gifts haven’t even arrived yet (I ordered them from overseas) and I don’t think he’ll be getting them until the New Year now…

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I am hoping that we can make the new house a happy home.  It’s a much bigger house than what we have now, but newer and less “cute”.  It doesn’t have any garden or even a tree (so sad!) and I will miss the birds that come to drink at the bird bath and demolish the fruit on the mulberry tree. But, we have to move and so that’s that.  I will finally have a craft room all to myself and don’t have to commandeer the dining room table (we will actually HAVE a dining room).  This kitchen is much smaller and I don’t know where we’re going to be able to put everything…I have already gotten rid of so much stuff but there’s still lots we need to bring with us.  

The rent is a lot more expensive than what we are currently paying…it worries me a bit but I guess it is good practice for when we get an actual mortgage.  And besides, we have been SO lucky the last four years to have an extremely low rent (the landlords liked us and wanted us to stay so they kept the rent down) so we have saved money and besides, we live pretty frugally anyway. 

At the end of the day, we are lucky and grateful to have a roof (any roof!) over our heads, food in the cupboards and loved ones to help us pack and move and cope with the stress of relocating.  I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a wonderful New Year.  Can you believe it will be 2013? May it be a great year for us all.  Thank you for all your “likes” and “follows” – I hope to be able to write more often next year and hope you’ll stick around to see what we’re up to in the new house. Wish me luck! 🙂

Deck the halls (of the office)…

Deck the halls (of the office)…

My workplace has been hard at work decorating the office as part of the council’s “best dressed workplace” competition.  We tried to use recycled supplies eg scrap paper, old boxes, leftover craft bits and pieces and just worked with whatever items we had lying about the place.

My co-workers created a lavish Christmas table, complete with paper turkey and fruit mince pies.  They also made a Christmas train with tracks that went all the way around the room.  We had a glittery North Pole, a jolly Santa (actually, a couple of those), some snowmen and a whole host of elves.  I made two reindeer our of a couple of kid’s play toys – ok, so they’re blue…but it’s cold at the North Pole, right?

The whole thing was kinda daggy and a mish-mash of styles but that’s what made it fun – no one “took over” or tried to make everything super perfect.  Even the supposedly non-creative people had a go and really made the place look festive.

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It was nice to see everyone working together (my workplace is not the most cohesive) towards a collective goal.  Sadly, we did not win.  But it’s ok – we had fun anyway and we know we did our best with what little supplies we had.

As for hubby and I, well, we are still madly racing around looking at rental properties, trying to find something that suits, that we can afford and that hasn’t already been snapped up.  We are waiting to hear back from one today so fingers crossed…

But I don’t have time for Christmas!

But I don’t have time for Christmas!

Things are pretty crazy here.  I end each day wondering where the heck all the hours went and how I’m going to get all the things I need to do before Christmas done.  In between packing and organising rental applications, I am trying to finish Christmas shopping, write cards and taxi my Mum around so she can do her Christmas shopping.  That’s on the days I don’t have to go to work as well.  Because I am having to take an hour off here and there to attend property viewings and then submit all the necessary renter information to the Real Estate offices, I am having to make up the time at work so I’m going in earlier or leaving later.  Then of course there’s “catch-ups” and get-togethers with the people you somehow don’t find time for during the year but get the guilts about at this time of year.  Which means more gifts to be bought or, at the very least, more cards to be written or made.  I am very, very lucky that my Christmas to-do list is so long – it’s proof that I have lots of people I care about in my life and I’m certainly not complaining about that.  A few extra hours in the day would come in very handy though…

So what does a super busy person do who has little time and is currently living in a house filled with packing boxes and has packed up most of her craft stuff?  Well, she makes more cards of course!  It’s like a disease.  I just don’t like giving bought cards – there’s some lovely ones out there but I feel like I’ve let people down if I give them pre-packaged cards.  So, the word of the day was “keep it simple, stupid”.  Ok, so that’s four words but you get what I’m saying.  I had to make some cards that would take little time and effort and even less materials.

Today I bought a strand of gold snowflakes (used for garlands) and cut it up to make a handful of easy, simple cards for the festive season (whilst sitting in the lounge which is the only place free at the moment).

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I used a couple of sheets (that had gold highlights to match with the snowflakes) from a Kaiser Craft “Sweet Nothings” pad and a few scraps of sheet music. These were super-easy and I resisted the temptation to “fiddle” and add extra bits.  I used one little Merry Christmas stamp (a freebie from a magazine – love those!) and I’m quite pleased with the results.

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Wish I had made them earlier though instead of waiting ’til the last minute.  But let’s face it – if it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done 🙂

Movers and Bloomers

Movers and Bloomers

Just a short post today – none of my usual waffle (you’ll be pleased to know).  I am drowning in a sea of boxes and packing tape and despite the fact we packed until 8.30 last night and there is roughly 30 full boxes sitting in my living room, we have barely made a dent…the trouble with being library folk (and avid readers) is that we surround ourselves with books which take up a lot of room and a heck of a lot of boxes to pack.  Sigh.  We’ll get there, I know, but I’m a little stressed out with Christmas and work and relationship worries and just, y’know, stuff.

Anyway, decided I am not going to get any more cards or other crafting down before we move so I have started packing up the craft room.  I finished off one more card yesterday morning.  It’s for an old work friend of mine.  He always loved my cards – so much so that he keeps them year after year on his pin up board because, he says, they make him smile.  Good enough for me!  So every year I try to make him a card I think he’ll be amused by.  It’s nice to make things and have them appreciated.  I don’t know how his girlfriend feels about him keeping this stuff but that’s not my business!

Anyway, I was trying to think of how I could change a well-known Christmas carol or poem into something funnier.  Being Aussies I thought I had better have a go at changing an Australian song.  So, I went with “Six White Boomers” – the chorus to that goes (for those who don’t live down under or aren’t familiar with the song):

…six white boomers
snow white boomers
racing santa claus through the blazing sun
six white boomers
snow white boomers
on his australian run…

Boomers are kangaroos, in case you didn’t know.

Anyway, I changed it to “…six white bloomers, snow white bloomers, hanging on the line in the blazing sun…”.  I printed out some images of frilly knickers, cut them out and stuck them on a “line” (which in hindsight I should have wrapped around the backing paper but never mind…I was in a rush!) and added the words below.  I should have probably added a bit of colour to the bloomers themselves and my cutting out was a bit shoddy but I am pretty happy with it otherwise.  I would have made some more of these cards if I’d had time but one will have to do for now.  Hope my friend likes it.  Hope you do too 🙂

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Sorry, that wasn’t so short a post after all…:)

 

Card Recycling

Card Recycling

As I have mentioned before (many, many times!), I am a bit of a hoarder.  Now that we are having to move, I am trying to get rid of some things that I have had forever and really don’t need.  One such thing is cards.  LOTS of cards.  I keep them in scrapbooks and in boxes and under beds and shoved in between books on the bookshelf.  I have, literally, hundreds of them.  I don’t like to throw them out – I feel like I am throwing away a memory or the person that gave me the card.  Which is dumb.  I can pretty much guarantee than the people who gave me the cards in the first place have not kept every card I ever gave them.

So, this week I did my best to sort through piles and piles of cards and work out which ones I absolutely had to keep and which ones could be put in the recycling bin.  I also kept a pile back to cut up and make into new cards.  Sadly, the pile for the recycling bin was much smaller than the other two and I am not really any closer to freeing up some space or getting rid of stuff.

Anyway, I’m not even sure if I can keep making cards (or anything else) this month.  We need to find a new house and pack everything up and I really shouldn’t be making more mess…  That’s the theory anyway.  I made a couple of cards this week from bits and pieces I had cut from the old ones.  I’ll try to make a few more this weekend, in between house-hunting and and packing.  Oh, and I used some printable tags from Hey Look to accent the reindeer card.  I love, love, love their hand drawn gift tags – I’m going to be using them on my gifts this year (if I can get my butt into gear and actually buy some gifts before Christmas arrives…).

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Hope your festive season is shapely up nicely and that you’re organised and ready to go (unlike me).

Magazine Box & A Move

Magazine Box & A Move

We have to move.  I spoke to our landlord today and she said that she and her husband were struggling financially and that they needed their house back because they couldn’t afford to rent as well.  I am so bummed.  Not because I don’t want to move – our house is old and in a bad neighbourhood and we’ve been here for four years and it’s probably time to go – but because I JUST FINISHED MOVING MY MUM OUT OF HER HOUSE!  I don’t think I can cope with packing and unpacking and shifting furniture and changing addresses on mail etc etc etc.  Especially before Christmas.  Hopefully we have until the end of January but, as our actual lease expired months ago (the landlords are pretty slack about that sort of thing), technically they could kick us out at any time.

So the search for a new abode begins.  I’ve already been on the ‘net this evening, looking at new places and cringing at the hefty rental prices.  We’ve been so lucky with our rent for the time we’ve been here.  Wish us luck!

A little bit of crafting helps soothe frazzled nerves (maybe) so today I finished off a project I have been working on this week.  I nabbed a grotty brown magazine holder from my Mum before she moved out (she was in a throw out/donate/give away frenzy) and decided I would give it a coat of paint and jazz it up a bit so it was worthy of being on display.

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I also rescued some nice vintage drawer knobs from Mum’s (before they got thrown out with an old sideboard) and thought they would look nice on the front of the box.  They don’t serve any purpose…I just like knobs on things!

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So, a couple of hastily added coats of white house paint later, the box was starting to look a little fancier.  I sanded the edges to give it a shabby chic look (actually, my crappy paint job was probably shabby enough – I’m a little bit impatient when it comes to painting…I might fix it up later) and drilled a couple of holes at the front for the knobs.  Then I added a french advertising label  – I used Lesley Riley’s TAP – Transfer Artist Paper.  The design is printed out and then just ironed it on – simple!  I’m sure with a bit more practice I could get better at the actual technique, but it was ok for a first go.  Oh, and the lovely french label is from the lovely Graphics Fairy.

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What do you think?