Last Days & Quotes to Remember

Last Days & Quotes to Remember

Well, today is my 2nd last day at my current job.  All of a sudden, I am filled with sentimentality about a workplace I have been miserable in for the last two years.  I will miss some of my workmates and hope to keep in touch with them and I will certainly miss the regular “nice” patrons that come in every week, know me by name and always have a smile and a kind word for me.  They made the job worth getting up for.  I will miss doing the monthly book displays and helping to organise the Christmas office-decorating each December.  I won’t miss having to deal with overdue fines or cranky customers.  I won’t miss the endless shelving or having to tidy up the kid’s room every five minutes (what’s with parents who don’t get their kids to tidy up after themselves?!) or having to explain to people for the ten-millioneth time that they are responsible for getting their books back on time, not us.

I’m looking forward to having more responsibilities and direction.  In my current job I tend to just float around, doing what needs to be done but not really having any set duties, other than the book displays.  I’m looking forward to having weekends off and public holidays and more pay and a CHRISTMAS BONUS!  I have never had a Christmas bonus in twenty years of working, so that will be nice!  Mostly I’m just hoping to get a bit of self-esteem back and feel like I have something to contribute and offer.

I am, of course, going to miss having the days off to craft and op-shop and do all the things you don’t get time for when you are working full time.  But at least I will have weekends again, and extra pay means more craft supplies can be bought ha ha!  I’m going to have to be more organised (unlikely) and stick to a schedule (yeah right!) in order to make the most of my crafting time.

Am I looking forward to having to get up horribly early every morning? No.  Am I looking forward to driving through peak hour traffic twice a day?  Absolutely not.  But these are things I will have to get used to, like a billion other people do.  I’ve done it before, I can do it again (I keep trying to tell myself).  I want to be on equal footing with my hubby – he’s “carried” me for too long now and my illness was three years ago – I have to start living and being part of the world again, with all its responsibilities and hard work.  I’m a bit worried about having to get up really early – the pain medication I take makes me very drowsy and sleepy and it’s so hard for me to wake up in the mornings…but I guess I will just have to do it and quit complaining!  Time to start a new adventure (even if I’m scared to death of failing and making a fool of myself)!

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I have been going through my lovely Stampington & Co. magazines over the last couple of days.  So many things I want to make!  My Mum phoned this morning and said she just got her latest issue of Somerset Studio magazine and she is already starting one of the projects in it so she can have it finished by the time I see her tomorrow 🙂  I look forward to seeing it, whatever it is!  Mum has had a bit of a break from crafting over the last few months as she was moving house and getting settled – now she’s making up for lost time.  It’s nice to see her back in the swing of things – my Mum without craft or art is not really my Mum!  I don’t think I can ever remember her without a paintbrush in her hand or a pile of sewing on her lap.  Anyway, she’s fully inspired and ready to roll again now – and I am so lucky and blessed that I get to share her love of all things creative with her.  I wish she’d passed on some of her awesome talent to me – I think most of it went to my brother!  But I try  – she’s a patient teacher even if I’m not a very patient student!

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Hope you are all having a lovely day.  Or, failing that, a day which will soon be over and , with a bit of luck, be replaced with a much nicer one tomorrow!  I’d like to share a couple of quotes with you that I pinched from an issue of Where Women Create – they seemed appropriate for where my life is right now.

“If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly.
In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold evermore wonders” –
Andrew Harvey

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” – Thomas A. Edison


“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters” – 
Epictetus

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive” – Howard Thurman

Have a great day everyone – be kind to each other and yourselves 🙂

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Market Day, Mags, & Love from Mum

Market Day, Mags, & Love from Mum

My Mum is awesome.  She is loving and gentle and tolerant and fun and inspiring.  She has nurtured my brother and I, never judging us or making us feel like we weren’t good enough.  She understands us (or at least tries to!) and protects us, even in our adulthood.  She is also super talented and arty.  She and I share a love of all things vintage/shabby chic/collage/mixed media and whimsical.

Yesterday we took some time out to go to the Guildford Fair.  We had not been before but it had a special draw this year – Miss Johnson’s Vintage & Handmade Market.  We have loved Miss Johnson’s Market for years – it showcases beautiful handmade items as well as vintage clothing, jewellery and bric-a-brac.  Always inspiring and always a good way of spending lots of money (you can’t leave without buying something).  In the last year or so, the market has been unable to run in its usual setting – The Guildford Town Hall – due to financial constraints (public liability insurance being the main problem – just too expensive) and so we have missed out on all the goodies.  But this year – huzzah! – they appeared at the Fair and, lucky us, we got to be there and check out all the yummy items for sale and display.

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Artistic Journey – a mixed-media haven of vintage/shabby/altered goodness!  And LOTS of Somerset Studio mags for sale – yay!

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I wanted to tuck all these vintage suitcases under my arm and run off home with them.  Strangely enough, the stall-holder (Mulberry Tree Vintage) wouldn’t let me!

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Pretty, pretty things! (from Tea)

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Love this dress made from old sewing patterns!

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Industrial Chic – lots of yummy altered pieces.

Mum and I LOVE Somerset Studio magazine – in fact, pretty much all the Stampington & Company publications are like drugs to us! – and we were really hoping to snag a few issues from one of our favourite stalls, Artistic Journey (the lady there used to have the most amazing mixed-media supplies shop that was just heaven!  Sadly not a bricks-and-mortar store any more, just online I think…).  As luck would have it, there was a whole rack of magazines just asking to go home with us…and we obliged!

IMG_7752Stampington & Company – magazines, magazines, magazines (what more is there in life!?)

Somerset Studio and the other Stampington mags are just soooo expensive here in Australia – they are totally worth the price but who has $30-$40 to spend on one magazine?  Not us!  So here, at the market, they had back issues at $10 each – heaven!  We bought, between us, ahem, 14 copies of Somerset Studio, Where Women Create and Somerset Life.  Whoops!  There goes my savings!  But totally worth it!  I also bought some rusty wire (you never know when you might need some rusty wire!) but other than that, we just got the mags.

Afterwards, we went back to Mum’s for a cuppa and to look through our haul.  So many inspiring things to look at and use for a creativity boost!  My Mum also surprised me with a little art work she had made the previous day – a Kelly Rae Roberts-inspired mixed-media piece, just for me.  We love Kelly Rae Roberts (in fact, just last week, I bought one of her pieces, the “Become a Possibilitarian” dish featured in one of my previous posts here) and find her work very inspiring.  Mum and I had been watching some of her Youtube videos the week before and Mum had secretly gone home and gotten straight to work, creating and finishing a couple of pieces.  Here’s the one she made for me:

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So pretty!  I am jealous because Mum can “do” faces and I can’t.  The picture is lovely though – don’t you think?  She layered pieces of patterned scrapbook paper, scraps of music sheets, paint and rubber stamps.  I love it.  I want to make one now!  The sentiment is perfect for me too – I don’t believe in myself enough and I really need to work on that!

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So, all in all, a lovely day.  Lots to think about (creativity-wise) and plenty of things to inspire and get us in the mood for craftin’.  Now I just want to ignore all the mess in my house and start painting/stamping/glueing etc.  Cup of tea first methinks and then I’ll get cracking.  Hope you are having a lovely day – thanks ever so much for stopping by.  I appreciate all the “likes” and comments 🙂

Op-Shopping & Earring Day & Some News!

Op-Shopping & Earring Day & Some News!

Hubby and I have a fancy-dress 30th Birthday to go to on the weekend.  It’s an 80’s theme.  We’ve decided to go as “Pretty in Pink” – well, me dressing as closely as possible to Molly Ringwald’s character Andie in the movie and hubby is going as Jon Cryer’s Duckie.  My cousin and I had a date with the op-shops in town today, trying to find some things for us to wear that would fit the theme.  I managed to find an Andie-esque hat and some cool boots, a floral scarf and pink heels (just in case it’s too hot for the boots on the weekend).  I’ve got to get some flowers to go on the hat and I think I can make the rest of the outfit up out of things I already own.  I don’t particularly want to spend a fortune on things I probably won’t wear again.  I managed to get a suitable jacket and waistcoat for hubby – hopefully we can fudge the rest of the outfit to make it look authentic.

I’ve been making a few pairs of earrings and a couple of pendants this afternoon.  My neck and back have been terrible all week so I’ve not done too much craft work the last few days.  Trying to ignore the pain and just get on with things (doesn’t always work but I’m doing it anyway).  Today I made:

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This star, rose and blue/silver combo pendant…

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This pair of blue cube and diamante stud earrings…

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These purple and silver swirl earrings…

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This pair of pretty pink & silver earrings…

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This silver, pink and crystal pendant…

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This blue and green ceramic bead necklace…made the chain a little too long, might have to adjust that!

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And last, but not least, these little crystal earrings – simple but sophisticated!

Now, my neck is threatening me with more pain and suffering if I don’t step away from the computer and back away from the beads.  I must listen to it otherwise I will be useless tomorrow.

Hope you are all pain-free and feeling fabulous!

PS – Almost forgot!  I got the job I was interviewed for!  I start in about three week’s time.  Am I freaking out?  God, YES!  I haven’t worked full-time for three years and I don’t know how I’m going to manage it again with all my pain issues and health problems…still, I can’t be a slacker forever and it will be nice to have a bit of extra money again.  My job will be a library co-ordinator which encompasses lots of non-library related things too.  I’ll be working in an organisation that assists people living with dementia (as well as people living with or caring for them).  It will be good to work for a place that wants to help people and do good stuff.  I’ve missed being part of something like that.  So wish me luck (again!) and I will keep you updated on my progress.  Hopefully I will still have time to blog, craft and op-shop… 🙂

Letter to Myself at Fourteen

Letter to Myself at Fourteen

I was reading a magazine in my lunch break at work today and it contained an article about writing a letter to yourself (retrospectively) at important ages or moments in your life.  It had various celebrities and sports stars penning letters to their awkward or ugly-duckling selves.  It would be nice if you could do this – go back in time and offer words of comfort and support or maybe even give your struggling, apathetic self a kick up the backside that would jump-start their enthusiasm for life.  If only!  I can think of various times in my life when I just needed someone to tell me it was all going to be ok, or, at least, that sometimes things wouldn’t be ok but that I would be strong enough to get through it.

Fourteen was a tough year.  I was chubby and unfashionable, couldn’t do a thing with my hair (wasn’t sure I wanted to), had crazy hormones that made me cry at the drop of a hat or lash out at unsuspecting family members (usually my elder brother – the two of us never fought until the year I turned fourteen and he, seventeen), I was self-conscious and klutzy, socially awkward and prone to day dreaming about my favourite pop stars or movie actors.  I hated high school, missed my primary school friends and was tormented by an unrequited love that had been going on for several years.

I look back at photos of myself at that age and cringe.  I am embarrassed that that weird-looking, sour-faced and obviously uncomfortable-in-her-own-skin girl was me. I am no beauty queen now, believe you me, but I have “grown” into myself.  I don’t think you truly become who you’re going to be until you’re at least 30 – I’m 39 now and still have a long way to go – before that you’re just trying on different personas and attitudes for size, seeing what fits and what works for you.  I am still socially awkward and klutzy and still don’t consider myself attractive at all (self-esteem, I’m working on it!) but I’ve made it through life, much more than I ever thought I would. So what would I tell myself, if I could go back in time?

1.  You’re right about Milli Vanilli.

2. One day, the popular girls who laughed at you will be fat, married to some jerk from high school and will display terrible spelling & grammar on Facebook posts.  You will laugh at them.

3. Your best friend will always love you and be there for you.  Through boyfriends, marriages, new jobs and children, she will always think you are awesome – no matter what.

4. You WILL have a boyfriend one day.  He won’t be Johnny Depp (sorry) but he will be the next best thing.

5. Jobs will come and go.  Keep trying to find the one that makes you happy.  That doesn’t necessarily mean the one that pays the most.  Or has the cutest boss.  Or the best uniform.

6. Always try to see the best in people.  99.99999% of people are actually pretty nice.  Try to treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.  Karma is alive and well and will be with you through all your days.

7. Your family are awesome.  Nuts, yes, annoying at times, certainly from another planet but absolutely awesome.

8. Hug your Mum.  Tell her you love her on a daily basis.  She loves you more than anything and is always in your corner.  You can’t disappoint her.

9. Men are not all terrible and untrustworthy.  You can trust many of them and even have them as lifelong friends.

10. Believe in your dreams and dream big.  Don’t let life knock them out of you.  The teacher in primary school who told you you couldn’t fly was an idiot.  Who says that to a 10 year old?

I’d like to go back in time and give myself a hug and maybe a good dose of self-confidence.  Mostly I would just tell me that I’m ok.  That being different is a good thing and that having a big heart means more than anything.  I would also probably hang on to some of those daggy fashions because, boy, I could sell them now and make a fortune!

Give your inner fourteen-year-old a hug today and forgive them for being a bit of a dork.  Because even dorks grow up to be adults one day and maybe, just maybe, that dork has turned out to be a pretty cool person 🙂

 

 

Bookmarks & Breakfast

Bookmarks & Breakfast

Hubby and I went to breakfast this morning.  One of our favourite restaurants is The Precinct, a local pub/coffee/foodie bar.  It has beautiful food (of the very-tiny-and-just-a-bit-posh variety) and decent coffee and an ever-changing menu.  There is usually something for us vegos on there and we’ve been numerous times and never had a bad meal.  They have gorgeous desserts (most of which I can’t have because they involve chocolate) and an awesome range of “bar snacks” like home-made potato chips, rosemary popcorn and, um, biltong (jerky) which is gross if you ask me (but then you probably wouldn’t ’cause I’m vegetarian).  The place has a trendy, retro feel and they use a lot of recycled bits and pieces for their cutlery holders, plates, water bottles and even the menus are printed on recycled paper.

This morning I went fairly plain and just had some slow cooked eggs on toast with a home-made hash brown (sneaky!  who ordered that?  Oh yeah, I did!) and a nice cup of English Breakfast tea.  It was simple and not so exciting but hit the spot nevertheless.  I’m pretty simple and non-exciting myself!

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Hubby had been hanging out to try the new waffle plate dish which consisted of waffles (duh), maple syrup and a dark chocolate egg filled with a white chocolate/citrus dipping sauce.  He also got a hash brown (to help off-set the sweetness a little he says) and a coffee.

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Afterwards, we headed home for a pretty lazy Sunday.  It was nice to just hang out at home, hubby watching tv and me doing crafts and making a mess (ha!).  I made a bunch of jewellery – earrings, pendants that I will post pics of later – and a few little beaded bookmarks.  I’d seen these in a recent issue of Molly Makes and thought I could give them a go.  I didn’t have all the right materials – should have used velvet ribbon for a more luxe look and had a wider end clasp – but I used up some charms I hadn’t found use for elsewhere and I kinda like the finished product as I first try.  I will pick up some more supplies today and have a go at making some “better” ones.

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This little Aussie Echidna and Gum Tree Bookmark might be a good one to send as a gift to overseas rellies.

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You know I love anything with birds on…and I like the fresh “Spring” colours and theme on this one.

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This one was the first one I made and it might be a little bit lightweight and sparse…it might need a bit of tarting up with some extra beads or bling.  Like the mauve gingham though.

Anyway, I am glad to have found a new project that is quick and easy to do, not expensive and uses up all those leftover beads and charms.  Two thumbs up!

Hope you are having a happy Sunday (or Monday, as it now for me!) and get to enjoy some quiet time at home with your loved ones.  I had a job interview on Friday so now the anxious wait to see if I got the position.  Wish me luck! 🙂

Week of Stuff (plus Date & Almond Slice recipe)

Week of Stuff (plus Date & Almond Slice recipe)

This has been a busy week and the trend will continue for the next few days.  On Monday I started seeing a psychologist (am hoping this one “clicks” with me and can help me).  On Tuesday night, hubby and I started seeing a couples therapist (something I would recommend, however horrible and traumatic it seemed at the time.  Anything that gets you talking and communicating is a good thing) and on Friday I have a job interview.  So, two scary and weepiness-inducing things down, one to go.

I hate job interviews.  They are scary and nerve-wracking and never pleasant.  Actually, that’s not true.  I have had nice job interviews where I have felt comfortable and at ease, but let’s face it, they’e pretty rare, unless you’re a bit full of yourself and super confident.  I’m usually ok at interviews (except for the last one where I completely SUCKED!) and can usually appear competent.  There’s just so much happening in my life right now it is hard to be focused on anything else.  But I will have to pull it together on Friday and be amazingly intelligent (at least pretend to be) and calm and professional.  I had a test run to the interview place today to see how long it would take to get there and find exactly where it was etc.  BIG DRAMAS!  The weather was terrible (rainy and dark and horrible) and I didn’t know the area at all.  The map I got from Google Maps was rubbish and I got so lost and stressed.  Took me an hour and a half to find the place.  Ridiculous!  Hopefully tomorrow’s run will be better.  I plan on leaving super early so I can hopefully get there on time and reduce my own stress.

There was a big storm this afternoon.  Thunder and lightning and all that dramatic stuff.  I was baking (helps calm the nerves!) and I heard a knock at the back door.  Outside, shivering,  was a little poodle, very wet and very scared.  I picked him up and brought him inside, towelled him off and gave him some blankets to lie on in the bathroom.  He was so scared of the storm but also a bit wild and wooly in general.  He got a little bit snappy when I tried to get past him to get out of the bathroom…but he was otherwise well-behaved.  I eventually found his owners (our next door neighbour) – I was pretty sure he was theirs but I wasn’t 100% certain until I heard them come home and start screaming that “the dog’s gotten out!”  The lady was a bit hysterical about the whole thing, which is fair enough.  I would hate to lose my dog (if I had one).  Anyway, all’s well that ends well.  I’m sure he is being spoilt and looked after right now.  My bathroom smells of wet dog though 🙂

As for the baking…hubby had made a vegan cheesecake last week (which consists of lots of nuts and dates) and he had heaps of ingredients left over.  He asked me to do some baking so as not to waste all the goodies.  I made a carrot, walnut and oat slice (not sure about that one – did NOT look attractive so I won’t include the recipe here) and my old favourite Date & Almond Slice.  I can’t eat nuts or dates (my life really does suck!) but I used to make this slice all the time.  It’s easy and yummy and everyone seems to like it.  So here’s the recipe:

DATE & ALMOND SLICE

150g almond meal

100g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

115g unsalted butter

150g light brown sugar

1 egg

75g chopped dates

Mix together the flour, almond meal, salt, flour and baking powder together in a large bowl.

Melt the butter over a low heat.  Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and egg.

Mix in other ingredients.

Spread into a lined square baking tin.

Bake at 175 C for approx 20-25 minutes.

Cool in the tin.

Lift out of tin (with baking paper) and drizzle with icing if desired (is just as nice without).  When icing is set, cut into squares or fingers.  Demolish!

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Wish me luck for the interview.  I pray that the Gods of Intelligent Conversation and Competence hear me and do not let the Demons of Dumbness and Inability to Construct Sentences turn up and ruin the show.

Zombie Fail

Zombie Fail

I met with my lovely friend GK yesterday for a cuppa and catch-up.  She is my own personal little cheer squad when I am feeling down.  She is funny and smart and talented and just a bit nuts (thankfully – hanging out with super sane people just makes me insecure!).  We talked about life, love and what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-men type of things.  I need someone like her right now.  We’ve known each other for about 25 years – if I haven’t scared her off yet, hopefully she’ll stick around some more.

GK asked me (for reasons unknown) to “do something with zombies!” for the blog.  I can’t say that zombies are my forte.  I’ve watched The Walking Dead a bit (only in the day time though ’cause it is scary!) and a couple of zombie movies but I’m hardly an expert.  I know they moan a lot and look kinda gross and possibly have brains hanging out of their skulls.  I know they eat people.  I know they walk really slowly (like those people in shopping centres who WILL NOT GET OUT OF YOUR WAY WHEN YOU’RE IN A HURRY!) and they don’t have much fashion sense.  I can’t say I’ve ever drawn one before or thought much about them.

So I got to doodling last night and decided very quickly that a.) my drawing skills are rubbish and b.) that is especially true when zombies are in the mix.  It is safe to say my zombie craft night was a bit of a fail.  Examples:

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Ok, so this guy looks like a cross between Frankenstein’s Monster and a member of a boy-band.  I only had bright pink marker pens so his brain is a little bit lively for a zombie.  I don’t even know what “zombie love” is.  I sincerely hope I don’t find out!

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Coloured in outside the lines on the hearts… *slaps wrist and goes in the naughty corner for bad colouring*

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This chap is possibly more zombie-like but I smudged him when I was colouring…annoying!  He looks more like an alien than a zombie.  But I tried!

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See?  Smudgy neck…maybe it’s blood?

Well, anyway, I hope GK appreciates the effort and knows that I love her even if I can’t draw very well or colour INSIDE the lines.  Hope these little doodles brighten her day as she helped to brighten mine yesterday.

Zombie Love to you all!  🙂