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Christmas Wishes (Robin Card)

A quick post to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.
Let’s make a pledge to fill our world with kindness, love, understanding, and empathy this year. We’ve had enough hate, violence and suffering to last us into the next millennium.

I made this quick little Christmas card for my Mum (she loves robins).  I always seem to end up cutting out teeny-weeny bird toes, don’t I?

Best wishes to you all.  Be safe this festive season, and stay close to your loved ones.  Thank you for all your support and comments throughout the year 🙂

Happy Christmas x

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How to Measure Christmas

Christmas Day is just around the corner.  I can’t believe how quickly it has come up this year.  I probably say that every year, but this last twelve months has whizzed by, and so much has happened.  It’s been such a strange, disturbing year, with a lot of loss and grief for so many people.  I don’t know about you, but I am praying for a much kinder 2017.

My Mum is currently suffering with a nasty cough/virus and it makes me very anxious.  I can’t bear for her to be ill.  She is always so healthy and I sometimes forget she is a senior now, and small illnesses can be potentially dangerous.  Also, being sick at Christmas sucks!  I know she feels miserable and concerned and also annoyed that she can’t do a lot – she hates neglecting her garden and other chores.  I just worry incessantly, especially as I am not just around the corner but 30 minutes drive away, and I can’t keep a close eye on her.  Luckily, my best friend’s Mum is just around the corner – in fact, she is taking Mum to the doctor’s this morning (I would have done but had no one to cover me at work). Hopefully she will get some antibiotics (even though she hates taking them, she admits she probably needs some this time) and be on the mend soon.  We’re meant to be spending Christmas Eve with my brother and his family, but I don’t know if she will be well enough at this stage 😦

It’s funny how, in the lead up to Christmas, you think about all the things you would like, and hope that Santa obliges.  This year, I just want my Mum to be well, and for us all to have a nice, peaceful, stress-free time together, with no dramas.

This week, I managed to get all my Christmas shopping done in record time.  I have less people to buy for this year, for one reason or another, and it made it much easier.  I made a few gifts too, which meant less spending (always a good thing) and less stress (a very good thing).  I also decided not to do the fancy wrapping I always do, which usually ends up with me stressed out of my brain and wrapping gifts every night until midnight, making sure they all fit a “theme” and all look decorative and pretty.  Not this year.  I used store-bought wrapping paper and did nothing fancier than tying them with string.  I didn’t even use matching tags!  *gasps*  It just made everything so much easier and quicker and reduced my stress by about a million percent.  I am wrapped and done, ahead of time.

Whilst looking for gifts for my Mum, I pretty much followed the list she had given me (an Ian Rankin book, some gardening stuff, a Michael Buble CD, pyjamas) but I always like to get her some other little extras too, so she has some surprises.  I found this set of measuring cups in an op-shop and thought she might like them.  They look vintage (although I suspect they are not) and I liked the little Wintery scene on them, which I thought would also make them ideal for Christmas decorating, if Mum didn’t want to use them as actual measuring cups.  I just thought they were sweet.  And at $5.00 for the three, I wasn’t exactly breaking the bank.

I hope she likes them, and is well enough to enjoy all of her presents.
That’s all I want for Christmas.

Best wishes to you all.  Stay well and take care of each other x

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Quote for the Day :

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness, And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright, Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble and not conceited, Contented and easily satisfied,
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful, Not proud or demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in safety, May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be; Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none, The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born — May all beings be at ease!

Let none deceive another, Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world: Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths; Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness, One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views, The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires, is not born again into this world.

— Buddhist Prayer

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Strawberry Muffins

We’re having a little lunch at work this week to sort-of-farewell my library volunteer who is taking some time off to manage some family issues for the next couple of months.  She’s the loveliest person ever and always spoils me with home-cooked meals (which make me feel very guilty but not so guilty that I don’t go home and gobble them up, ha ha) and helps me out in the library and basically supports me more than she knows.  I didn’t know what to bring and didn’t have a lot of ingredients in my pantry to make anything very exciting so I did a quick panicked look through my cookbooks to find something I could bake.  I had some strawberries in the fridge that were a bit past it but still fine to eat so I wanted to incorporate them.

I ended up finding this recipe at Food.com and it worked a treat.  I adapted it slightly, but it was so easy and the muffins are very tasty.  I’m not actually a huge muffin fan, but I wolfed down a few of these – purely as a taste-testing exercise, you understand.  They were delicious.  And they’re a one-bowl wonder which is always good.  No butter to beat or anything fiddly or fussy.  A good standby recipe to have when you’ve got people coming over and have nothing to serve them.  This recipe took less than 30 minutes – from making to baking and then eating.  So quick!  This would be a good recipe for kids (and first-time cooks) to have a  go at.  You could substitute any fruit in the recipe so give them a try with raspberries or blueberries, apple or even pineapple.

Strawberry Muffins

Ingredients

1 2/3 cup strawberries, chopped
2 eggs
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
1 1/2 cup plain flour
2 tbs milk
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180 c
  2. Put a paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups, or grease just the bottoms of 12 muffin cups.
  3. Slightly smash strawberries in large bowl, using fork.
  4. Stir in sugar, oil and eggs and milk until mixed.
  5. Stir in other ingredients just until moistened.
  6. Spoon batter into muffin cups.
  7. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until light golden brown or toothpick poked in center comes out clean.
  8. Sprinkle with a little bit of sugar, if desired
  9. Cool 5 minutes.
  10. Makes 12 muffins.

Enjoy! (Best eaten the day you make them)

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Market Doldrums

So, my stall at the Handmade Market was a bit of a downer.  I had worked so hard getting everything ready and staying up late every night making stuff and then it was a big fat fail on the day.  I barely covered the cost of my table hire and parking.  Barely.  And then I spent my awesome $5 profit on a gift for my niece (from one of the other stalls)!

I’ve been really lucky in the past and generally have very successful market days.  Maybe this is because I have them at home and invite people I know.  But I thought if I went to a “proper” market and there were 10 times the amount of people coming in to look, that I would do even better.  So, I’m feeling a bit dejected today – it makes you feel like your stuff is rubbish and not worth anyone’s time.

I am trying to be positive about it.  I met some really nice people – the other stall-holders were lovely and so kind and friendly.  They didn’t do super well either so it wasn’t just me.  It just felt like it was only me, ha ha.  Because I’m a pouty baby 🙂

I was just looking forward to making some money for the Christmas period because I am really short this year.  But it was not to be!  I was genuinely pleased to meet the other artists – they were awesome and I think I could maybe contact some of them for creative advice and brain-picking.  And I had plenty of time to just sit and think about what I could do better, what new things I would like to tackle etc.  Maybe my “art” is too handmade and people prefer things to be more polished, more mass-produced?  Should I look at getting my designs printed up, rather than making individual cards by hand?  Do I need to think about better packaging?  Should I give up altogether and become an accountant?

Some of the other stalls included :

Little Mo & Friends
(This is the lovely lady I bought a little doll from)

Bubba Lentil

Samantha Hughes

So, all in all I am grateful for the experience, even if it didn’t turn out as I had hoped.  I enjoyed making all the cards and other items – it makes me happy to be creative so, if nothing else, I spent many (many!) hours engaged in an activity that relaxes me and helps with anxiety and stress.   Shame that didn’t translate to sales on the day – but it WAS just a day, after all – not the end of the world.  It’s just disappointing.  But I have to chalk it up to “just one of those days” and move on.  And find somewhere to put all these boxes of stuff I had to bring home again with me! 🙂

Have a happy, successful day, everyone x

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…and a partridge (sans) a pear tree

Last-minute mad card-making and doodling for Sunday’s market stall.  Why I always think I can make things right up to the eleventh hour, I do not know.  It’s craziness.  These are my little partridges sans a pear tree.  They all look different – the front one is probably the best and then it all went south from there (I can never draw the same thing twice – the bird at the back looks like a budgie) but I’m still quite happy with them.  I am remembering to wear my new glasses most of the time, which is helping when I am doing detailed colouring.  I still have to mount these on card blanks and maybe stamp a little sentiment underneath (which is always fraught with danger because I am hopeless at stamping straight!) and package them up.

Hope your day is happy – wish me luck at the market! 🙂

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