Festive & Frosty

Festive & Frosty

Sunday evening rolls around quicker than…well, something that rolls around quickly!  I don’t know where the year has gone – it’s flying by, and each week seems to go quicker than the last.

Still very sad about Boyo.  So I won’t make this a long post – I know I get overly dramatic at times and I don’t want to do him a disservice by doing that now.  We loved him very much and now he is gone, and we are so very sad.
That’s all there is to write.

I will say that being creative is as good a way as any to take your mind off sorrow and loss. Today I spent a day at home with Mum (she stayed with me all weekend so she wouldn’t have to be in an empty house) and we crafted and read, drank tea and spent time in the garden together.  I made a few more Christmas cards (trying desperately to get enough done for Christmas and my sale in a couple of weeks) and was fairly happy with the results.  It was nice to have someone with me to bounce ideas off.  Sometimes you just need another pair of eyes to tell you if the red button looks better than the green one, if  the card needs lace or ribbon, or if a background would be better in cream or white.

So here are a selection of some of the cards I created today.  What do you think? 🙂

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Goodbye Sweet Boy(o)

Goodbye Sweet Boy(o)

A sad weekend this one.  My Mum and I had to make the difficult decision to have our beloved Alexander (Boyo) put to sleep.  He had developed cancer in the roof of his mouth which was spreading to his nasal passage and sinus area, and behind his eyes.  He also had a newly-diagnosed thyroid problem and a heart murmur.  It broke our hearts.  He has been such a special little man, seeing us through times of sorrow and stress, never bad-tempered or spiteful and always loving and gentle.  He has lived with my Mum for the past 7 years so, although he is technically “mine”, she is devastated to have lost her companion.  She stayed with me all weekend so she didn’t have to go home to an “empty” house.

Boyo’s health had declined quite rapidly over a short space of time and, although he was not depressed or miserable in himself, he had lost all his energy and “zest”.  He slept a lot and wasn’t eating, despite us buying him every tempting treat we could think of.  He had lost a lot of weight and, we believe, was starting to feel uncomfortable with the cancer (we imagine he was getting little feline headaches and at least feeling a pressure in his head and sinus).  Although we couldn’t bear to lose him, we couldn’t stand to see him suffer and would not allow that to happen.  We made the decision to say Goodbye to him on Friday night.  The vet was so good, quick and efficient but caring too.  She gave him a quick sedation to relax him and he basically fell asleep in our arms while she administered the fatal dose.  There was no pain or fear, no struggling or distress.  It all happened so quickly and quietly that it was almost a lovely experience.  I think it helped my Mum a lot, though she was absolutely distraught and guilt-ridden.  We stayed in the room with him, crying and cuddling him until we were ready to say Goodbye forever.  He looked so peaceful and serene and beautiful.  I am glad we chose to do it now, rather than allow him to carry on getting sicker and weaker, out of selfishness and inability to let go.  He had given us so much joy and love over his (almost) 18 years of life, the least we could do was release him from any further pain or suffering, allowing him to go peacefully and while he was still “himself”.

I will miss him so much – he was a truly special cat.  I had hand-reared him from a 4 day old kitten who had lost his mother, so I really do think of him as my baby.

We used to say he had invisible angel wings (because he was so graceful when he leapt and jumped) – now he has them for real.

RIP Boyo – we love you and will miss you forever, until we get to see you again x

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Quick Santa Idea (Kate’s Creative Space)

Quick Santa Idea (Kate’s Creative Space)

Happy Monday!  This afternoon I found this simple little idea for making quick Christmas cards or gift tags, bags or anything else you can think of that needs a Santa on it!  I take no credit for it whatsoever – it comes from the wonderful Kate of Kate’s Creative Space, a blog I follow closely (because it is awesome) and am always inspired by.  These little Santas are so simple to make and take only a few minutes and just a few scraps of card and paper.  I’ve made a bundle of them (what IS the collective term for a group of Santas?) whilst watching Seinfeld tonight ( I never tire of that show, no matter how many times I’ve seen the episodes).  So cute! So easy! (the Santas…not Seinfeld)  They’re just the ticket when you’ve run out of inspiration and time (which is me, most days).  Check out Kate’s amazing blog – there are so many ideas and tutorials on it, you’ll be spoilt for choice (and more than just a little bit jealous of her creative talent!).  Some people are just so clever!

🙂

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It all Fell Apart with a Nap

It all Fell Apart with a Nap

I was so determined to craft like a mad thing today and then clear up my house.  My crafting has spread from one room to another and I am ashamed to let anyone see my home.  I have covered every surface in patterned papers, ribbon, buttons and glue.  There are stamp pads on my kitchen bench and bundles of lace in the lounge room, beads on the carpet (that’s nothing new) and ink stains on my dining room table.  It’s a mess.  I’m a mess.  I got my ironing board out in the week to actually attempt some ironing.  The ironing board is now also covered in cards and paper, ribbons and well, you get the idea. Hopeless.  I am failing as an adult on so many levels yet again.  My determination to tidy up was overcome by my body’s exhaustion.  I have been so tired this week and today by body and brain just went “Nup, we need rest and we’re gonna have it NOW…”  I sat on the couch for a 5 minute break while I brewed a cuppa and, three hours later, woke up, groggy and with a serious case of cushion face.

But I feel better.  Sure, guilty about not tidying up yet again, but rested and renewed.  At least a little bit.  A sneaky nap does wonders.  A sneaky three-hour nap does tremendous wonders.  I blame my new couch – it is comfy and easy to stretch out on and even easier to fall asleep on (as I have done many times in the last month).  I also blame late nights (my fault) and stress at work (don’t get me started on whose fault that is!) and not eating properly or exercising at all.  Lots of reasons.  Not least of which is the stress of going through a divorce.  But I’m trying not to let that last reason be THE reason for everything that doesn’t work out, or frustrates me or drives me nutty.

Before falling asleep, I did manage to make a few cards.  I have seriously lost my card-making mojo.  I’ve said that before but it is starting to really bother me now.  I just have trouble getting anything to look right (at least to my eyes) and I want to be able to make cards quickly but it always takes me AGES.  Anyway, here’s a selection I finished today ;

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1.  I really like this pastel-coloured card.  I think I sometimes have trouble with Xmas cards because I don’t like the general, traditional colour scheme of red, green and white.  I don’t think this card will be especially hardy, with its tiny dried flowers so I’m going to keep it aside and safe until Christmas – it will be a Mum card (she’ll love it and protect it!).

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2. I was quite happy with this card and it came together fairly quickly (well, quick for me!).

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3. This is a similar card in the layered style.  Still not sure about the gingham ribbon but it is staying there now!

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4. Not at all sure about this card.  I was losing the plot at this stage and about to fall asleep.  Still, it is finished and will have to do for now.  I have to stop being so bloody fussy!  I don’t use my rubber stamps very often and I was trying to give them a bit of an outing today and utilise them.  I like the silhouette style of these Xmas ones – nice crisp images.

So, not a completely wasted day.  I made some cards, did my laundry (which reminds me, I have to re-make my bed – Ugh!  Why do I always leave it until the last minute?) and had a long nap which I’m sure my body and spirit will thank me for. I have to be at work early tomorrow and I must get to bed early and try and sleep so I’m not rushing in the morning.

I hope your weekend has been fruitful and fun, lazy and luxurious or whatever you wanted it to be.
Have a lovely week x

Easy Chocolate Oat Cookies

Easy Chocolate Oat Cookies

I have been eating a lot lately.  Bingeing, you might say.  Whether it is to fill an emotional void or just because I am a pig with no self control, I can’t say.  I don’t generally keep “bad” food in the house because I will just eat it.  Rapidly. With no thought to the size of my thighs or any other part of my expanding body.

Today I had my niece’s 1st birthday party to go to.  I was severely hungover (not from alcohol, I don’t drink – it was from some medication I take to ease neck pain and headaches and last night I took a big dose because I just wanted to sleep) and very dopey and unmotivated.  Last night, I had predicted my inevitable last-minute dash to the party, so I had baked some cookies. Easy cookies which take no brain power whatsoever to make.  I added chocolate to the recipe because I am currently also going through some sort of brain fog, whereby I forget that I’m not supposed to eat chocolate (because of my kidneys).  Besides, the cookies were for the party, not strictly for me alone, so I could cheat and eat some batter and pretend it was ok.

The cookies are yummy and turn out really well, even if your oven is rubbish like mine.  The wholegrain porridge oats mean they are super healthy (you can lie to yourself like I did) and should be eaten with abandon.

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Easy Chocolate Oat Cookies

150g Self Raising Floour
150g Wholegrain Quick Oats
150g Dark Brown Sugar
150g Butter
2 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
100g chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
In a saucepan, melt butter, sugar and golden syrup together until sugar is dissolved.
Stir in dry ingredients until all combine. Chocolate will probably melt into mixture but that’s ok!

Spoon mixture onto baking tray and form into rounds.

Bake for approx 20 minutes.  Let cool on trays.  Store in airtight container.

Voila!  Eat and go on a diet tomorrow!

🙂

Oh Christmas Tree! (Made of Scraps)

Oh Christmas Tree! (Made of Scraps)

Another quickie post about a card I made this weekend.  As per usual, I spent all day making cards I wasn’t happy with and then inspiration struck when it was time to down tools and get ready for bed.  Sigh.  Why do I always get inspired the nearer it gets to midnight?  It is NOT helpful!  Anyway, after looking around on Pinterest for simple ideas for cards, I found a few using this method.  It’s a good way to use up scraps of ribbon (or strips of fabric) and is fairly quick to do.  The hardest part is finding coordinating pieces – I am fussy with that stuff and can literally take hours to find the right button/paper/ribbon/embellishment.

For this card, you need a twig (or skewer, broken down to the length you want) and different ribbons – the widths and colours are up to you but it’s best to go for a wider ribbon (at the bottom of the “tree”) and gradually work up to smaller widths as you near the top of the tree.  I used greens and golds and goldy-greens on this one.  I also made a red-themed one but it didn’t look so hot, so I’m not going to show you that one ha ha.  I found that tying the ribbon into a double knot helped to keep it straight, but you can fix things a little when you adhere it to the card.  I used double-sided tape to help stick the ribbon in place on the base card (buckling it a bit so it looked like it was “flowy” rather than just stuck flat) and a little bit of glue on the stick itself if necessary.  A gold star brad was glued to the top (I cut the “legs” of the brad off first.  Are they called legs?  I don’t know… Pins? The bits that normally stick through whatever you’re attaching the brad to!).  Oh, and before attaching the tree, I had used a rub-on sentiment at the bottom of the card but you could obviously use a stamp or stickers or hand write a sentiment.  That’s it – really easy and I think it looks pretty and festive.  I will be making some more, definitely.

Hope you have had a good start to the week 🙂

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Christmas Cards 1 & 2, Cowardly Cats and Some Crazy Dogs

Christmas Cards 1 & 2, Cowardly Cats and Some Crazy Dogs

Hey there…it’s Tuesday!  That’s, like, nearly Wednesday!  Which is almost Friday, right?  Well, maybe not, but today was a better day than I had had in some time and so I am being optimistic and forward-thinking.  Nothing amazing happened – it was just a good day with friends at work (my workmates returning after a short-but-seemingly-long stint away) and some laughs.  I went for a good walk after work and watched the antics of all the neighbourhood dogs in the park which never fails to put a smile on my face.  They are such clowns.  I saw a golden retriever outrunning a greyhound to get to a ball, a beagle becoming suddenly deaf when his owner was calling him back and a tiny terrier trying to take on a much larger dog (always a recipe for disaster!). I also “rescued” a beautiful black cat who was being dive-bombed by a feisty Willy Wagtail.  The cat saw me and bolted towards me meowing pathetically and took refuge in my outstretched arms.  So funny – he’d never seen me before in his life but he knew sanctuary when it walked up to him I guess!

I managed to make a couple of Christmas cards this weekend.  I am so behind on my card-making this year.  I’ve not done any at all in ages.  But usually I get into panic mode and make a few before the situation gets too dire and I have none to sell at my Xmas craft sale.  These two were ok – I like the first one the best as it came together easily and looks co-ordinated.  The second one was less so but it will do.  I did make a 3rd and 4th one but I’m not happy with them so I won’t show you! (so there!).  I bought myself a little guillotine thingy this afternoon so I can cut with a bit more precision.  How have I gotten by all these years without one?  My cards will be less wonky from now on I hope!

Have you started your Christmas preparations?  (If you celebrate Christmas) The count down is on! 🙂

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