Super Succulents

Super Succulents

I am increasingly enamoured of my little succulent collection.  I feel almost guilty about it, seeing as how it was my friends FK and MD who introduced me to them.  They’ve created a monster.

I love watching them develop and grow.  It’s exciting (sadly) to see the little buds of new growth.  I talk to them and encourage them, which is sadder still.  But, when one does not have any pets, one must make do with plants.  They’re still living things, even if they can’t converse with you.  But, if they do start conversing with me, I probably won’t share it on here.  I might start looking at some sort of medication though.

My two little lithops are currently causing me to go “Squeeeee!” a lot because they are splitting and dividing with abandon.  Well, ok, to be truthful, they’ve only done it once each so far.  But that’s exciting, right?  I haven’t killed them or caused them to wilt/rot/disintegrate which is awesome.

The “Living Stone” lithop is particularly wonderful.  Look at that perfect division! I didn’t even know they could send a four-leafed new shoot out.  I just assumed it would be a two-leaf scenario that popped up.  I haven’t seen any that do four before.  Maybe it’s like a four-leafed clover!  Should I rub it and then buy a lottery ticket?

IMG_7964Ooh.. Just starting to split…

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Little bit more…can see the leaves inside now…

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…and – ta daaaaaa!…So cute and pretty 🙂

The same thing is happening with its neighbour, the “Baby Toes” lithop.

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…When I bought baby home…

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…a year later…

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…and now! Hooray!

I am hoping this means they are happy.  My friend’s lithops died fairly quickly after purchase, so the fact that mine have thrived makes me happy and somewhat bemused as to why mine decided not to cark it.  When I don’t really know what the heck I’m doing.  Maybe it’s the idle chatter I spout at them.  I could be on to something.  If only I had thought of doing that with my roses, I might have glorious blooms that would be the envy of the neighbourhood, instead of the sad specimens I currently have.  That look like thorny sticks with wilted pot pourri on them. Oh well…

Have yourself a super day today 🙂

Little Peeps & Helpers

Little Peeps & Helpers

A busy couple of days for me on the weekend.  My car window decided to die (ie wouldn’t go up or down) on Friday night, meaning I had to get it fixed somehow on Saturday.  Which, in turn, meant a very expensive call-out fee for a mobile mechanic and an equally expensive part that I’m sure was worth much less than what I was quoted.  But it was a Saturday and I couldn’t leave my car unsecured all weekend, plus we were due for a thunderstorm that night, so I had to pay the big bucks and get it fixed then and there.  I hate dealing with car stuff – it stresses me out.  How do you know if you’re being ripped off and, even if you are, what can you do about it when you need the thing fixed right away on a weekend?  I even looked up on Youtube how to repair a car window regulator cable yourself, but decided that was fraught with danger and the possibility of me having a tantrum and ending up with a broken door panel as well as a broken window cable.

Waiting around for the mechanic and the repairs took up half of my day.  I then had to go and get my groceries (I had NO food in the house, literally) and do some laundry.  I really wanted to get some crafting done, so I got stuck in to my little Christmas people that I had started last weekend.  I made a handful of them, ready to assemble on to cards.

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I managed to get one card finished, with this little lady in blue :

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On Sunday, it was my niece’s 2nd birthday, so we attended her birthday party in the park.  It was a lovely morning – there was a gorgeous cool breeze (a relief after the heat of the day before when it was RIDICULOUSLY hot for Spring, reaching 40 degrees) and plenty of shade.  Lots of kids running around, having fun with sack races, water-balloon fights and a piñata.  Miss Two was rather bemused by it all, but very well-behaved.  I sat with her while she ate her piece of delicious birthday cake, very lady-like with her little fork and paper plate.  Adorable.  I spent most of the morning carrying her around and, although she is a tiny little thing, she weighs a ton ha ha.  My arm today is about to drop off.  But there were lots of ant nests and I couldn’t really let her just toddle around on the ground, in case she got bitten.

Afterwards, I had to take my Mum grocery shopping.  It just so happens that her local shops are close to an amazing papercraft shop, Scrapbook Secrets, so I took the opportunity to buy a few bits and pieces from there.  Not too many, as I had just shelled out for my car repairs, but enough pretty papers and embellishments to help me finish off some more cards for Christmas.

I made one more card last night – not sure if I am happy with it, but I guess it is quite cute.  I do rather like my little Christmas people – and I am pleased I have been able to use something that is my own design, for the most part.  I must have drawn a hundred little faces and hands by now, but colouring them in and cutting them out is quite therapeutic, if not fiddly and hand-ache-making!  I wish I could do eyes properly, but for now they will all have to have closed eyes.  It makes them look peaceful, anyway, and I suppose that’s what you want at Christmas time!

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Such a dreadful week, internationally, with the bombings and terror attacks in Paris, Lebanon and Syria, as well as other disasters like earthquakes, fires and floods.  Such scary times we are living in – so many people living in terror and fear for their lives, and the lives of their loved ones.  The Paris attacks this weekend got the most attention, and indeed I found myself tearing up over the lives lost and the horrific actions of the perpetrators.  It is impossible to make sense of these things, or to understand what is going through someone’s head when they decide to commit these crimes.  I’m not going to go into the politics of it all – I’m not qualified to do so – I just know it is human beings hurting other human beings.

There’s a quote from Fred Rogers circulating at the moment which encourages us to remember that there is still good in the world, still people who want to help and do the right thing.  I am trying to take some comfort in it and know that, for the most part, human beings are good and kind-hearted, with no desire to hurt anyone.  I like to think that’s true, anyway.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” — Mister Rogers

Crimbo Doodles!

Crimbo Doodles!

Finally, after many weeks of not doing anything crafty at all, I managed to get in a few hours of creativity this weekend.  I was determined to do SOMETHING, even if it was just planning stuff out so I would have a head-start next weekend.

I desperately need to get started on my Christmas cards for this year.  I am so behind – normally I have some done by now but I have zero. Zip. Nada.  Which is pretty bad.  Especially since it takes me FOREVER to make just one and I need about 30 at least.  I don’t like resorting to bought ones, but the last couple of years I have had to.  And it irks me.

Anyway, enough waffling.  I sat down late on Saturday night and doodled a few little designs, so that they would be dry and ready to be coloured/painted on Sunday afternoon.  (Please excuse colouration of photos – I used Instagram and forgot to take any pics on my regular camera).

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On Sunday, after attending a lecture on “Anxiety across the Lifespan” (interesting, I enjoyed the information on how the brain actually works during anxiety, and learnt about the Hand Brain Model which is useful for explaining said processes in an easy-to-visualise format) and having lunch with friends (Yum…Beetroot and Haloumi Salad at Circa), I went home and got stuck into painting my little peeps.  I did them rather brighter this time, not giving them the more pastel/watercolour look that I have done previously.

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I added some elements (skin on face and hands, hair on some of them) with a Copic marker.

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Then I got fed up altogether with using paint at all (I was having a wobbly hand day) and tried just using the Copics.  I only have a few colours and many of them are drying up (Lord knows how old they are…I have had them ages).  I didn’t have a nice bright red – just a deep burgundy colour.  But it looks ok and wasn’t too streaky, although on the larger areas, such as the body, I did feel it showed a bit too many streaks and patches.  Probably more to do with my technique than the pen itself…plus I was using watercolour paper so it probably wasn’t the best medium to use the pens on.

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Finally, as it was nearly time to stop and pack up (ha ha – I say “pack up” like I am actually going to do that, instead of just leaving out for three weeks), I had an epiphany of sorts and decided to try paper-piecing instead of painting or colouring.  The result was the little lady below.  I kinda love her.  She looks a bit Charlie and Lola-esque but that was unintentional.  I really like the effect of the patterned paper and it was so much easier and less curse-word-inducing than painting or colouring in.  I still used the markers for the smaller elements (skin, hair, pom-pom etc) but used paper for the hat and dress.  Voila!

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 I have always liked paper as a medium.  I don’t know why I didn’t just do it like this to start with.  I have a ridiculous amount of patterned paper, so I should be able to make a load of cards like these in no time.  Although, truthfully, it will still take me forever, because I am picky about coordinating colours and patterns.  But still, at least I accomplished something for the weekend!  Last night I finished off the day by sitting and doodling lots of heads and hands, hat bands and pom-poms so that I can put them together with the papers at a later stage.  Hopefully not too much later.  I don’t want to go another month without creating.  It’s too important and too much fun and makes life much more enjoyable 🙂

Hope your weekend was happy and creative and exactly how you wanted it to be x

Procrastination, I am Your Queen

Procrastination, I am Your Queen

I wasted today.  Which is better than saying “I AM wasted today”, I suppose.  However, it is still bad.  I am too old to be wasting time.  Frittering it away.  Getting distracted (in fact, as an example, I am now thinking about fritters).  Doing nothing when I should be doing something.  Or, doing something but it is a something that is basically nothing in the guise of something, you know?  Come Sunday evening, I am wracked with the guilt of procrastination and time wasted.

I promised myself I would ACHIEVE this weekend.  I would write lists and tick them off.  But all I succeeded in doing was ticking myself off with my inability to actually do anything.  The worst part is, I didn’t sit around much at all.  I am not a sitter.  I am always very busy.  VERY busy.  Doing nothing much at all.

I usually find I become very motivated, around about 4 o’clock in the afternoon on a Sunday, when I suddenly realise that I have to go back to work tomorrow and I have had two days off where I could have, y’know, started that best-selling novel, created a Fortune-500 company, built a house or ended third world debt.  I have high hopes for my weekends, but they often don’t pan out.  Basically, because I myself fizzle out.

Now, I must admit, I am having trouble dealing with anything at the moment.  I am weaning myself off my anti-depressants and I am finding it harder than I thought I would.  Harder than I have let anyone around me know. I thought “Oh, it’s been two and a half years, I can come off them now! Piece of cake!”  but it’s been a little trickier than that.  And there was no cake.  But, there’s been crying.  Lots of crying.  I’ve done that super ugly, blubbering kind of crying.  I’ve yelled at people.  I’ve had nightmares.  I’ve been hyper and chatty one minute and then morose and downright jump-off-a-cliff depressed the next.  But I persevere because I have to do it and I don’t want to be on this medication forever.  And before you ask, yes this is being medically supervised and I am being sensible.  It’s just that I am 41 years old and I need to be able to manage things and not hide behind a little happy pill.  Plus, I need to cry every now and then.  It’s a natural state for me and NOT doing it is weird.  I just needed them to get me over the marriage-breaking-down hump and now I have to come back into the real world again.

Which has left me a little bit blue.  Because the real world is a bit shit, to be honest.  Pardon my language.  People are mean and stuff is hard.  So I get bogged down in the mean and the hard.  I find it difficult to get up in the mornings, not just because I don’t want to go to work, but because I am actually sad.  Mostly because I don’t want to go to work but also because I am floundering a little bit.  I’m going through one of those “Who am I and what am I for?” stages.  Which I probably should have gone through at age 18 or something but I was too busy being terrified of the world to even contemplate that I had some sort of place in it.  In some ways, it is worse going through it now because I have less time to figure things out.

Which brings me back to wasting time.  Some people are happy to waste time and don’t see it as actually WASTING TIME.  People think the weekends are for chilling out and lazing about, watching TV and sitting around.  I don’t.  I always feel like I should be doing something constructive or at least making plans that would lead in that direction.  More lists.  Lists that will have ticks against them.  So that when people ask (on Monday morning) “Hey, what did you get up to on the weekend?”, I can say, smugly, “Oh, I rendered the house, put in reticulation, baked 400 muffins for the local homeless shelter, adopted a litter of kittens, ran a marathon, painted my fence and knitted a tea cosy……” instead of answering “Um…not much.  I did some ironing.”  And let’s face it, even ironing is probably not happening in my house most weeks.  Or months, to be fair.  Do I even HAVE an iron?….

I wanted to create things this weekend.  I wanted to have lots of blog posts ready and waiting to be written.  I wanted to have projects on the go.  I wanted to actually have some crafts on here, which would be nice, considering this is supposed to be a crafty kind of blog.

So, what did I achieve this weekend?  Well, I caught up with my best friend, whom I haven’t seen since JULY (holy crap, that is three months ago!) and we set the world to rights and talked up a storm.  I visited my Aunt.  I visited my cousin and nieces.  I went shopping for new bras (to go with the new boobs).  I bought a pineapple/green apple/broccoli/mint drink which was SO DELICIOUS I bought another one today.  I saw a movie with a friend and felt confused by it.  I felt horribly guilty for saying no to said friend when she asked me to dog-sit for her over Christmas.  I went to see my Mum.  I pruned my garden and all the courtyards around my house, weeded and swept up leaves and junk in my yard.  I dyed my hair so I no longer look like rapidly-ageing hag woman.  I went to a little charity fete in my street and bought some more books.  I tried eye-liner for the first time and decided I quite liked it.

So I did SOME things.  I guess.  And seeing friends and family is certainly not NOTHING.  It’s actually very important. And nice. And soul-reparing.  But now it is evening and I have to make dinner and get stuff ready for work tomorrow. But I wanted to make cards.  That didn’t happen.  I wanted to do some drawing.  That didn’t happen.  I wanted to tidy my craft room.  That certainly didn’t happen and, frankly, I was kidding myself that it would.  I wanted to write in my journal and finish off a collage I have been working on (well, “working on” is an overstatement…). None of those things occurred.

So, I guess I have to try again next weekend.  I will write proper lists and endeavour to stick them (and not lose them).  I will not be distracted by whatever it is that normally distracts me (usually involves tea or facebook or cheese) and I will achieve THINGS.  Or, at least try to.  Because time is running out.  And I do not want to leave just a carbon footprint behind.  I want to have been here for some sort of reason and purpose.  Even if that purpose amounts to nothing more than writing a blog post on schedule, with actual useful stuff in it.

What do you hope to achieve on your weekends?  Are you a procrastinator?  Do you get distracted by things and wander off target, like me?  Do you even have a target?  How do you stay on target (if you do)?  How do you gauge your achievements or do you simply think it’s enough to have gotten dressed every day?

Hope your weekend was exactly as you wanted it to be – busy, lazy, crazy, chilled or fulfilling, whatever makes you feel happy and content and not guilty 🙂