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Magazine Scrap Cards

Over the last week I have been, among other things, house and dog sitting for a friend.  It’s always hard to do crafting at someone else’s house; you don’t have your stuff there (or enough of it) and it’s not your usual space/routine/cup-of-tea-making-area.  Plus I had two very boisterous dogs to attend to, who did not particularly like me sitting there quietly, ignoring them. At one point, a dog toy came hurtling at me across the table – talk about dropping not-so-subtle hints!

I decided to just bring a very small amount of crafting supplies with me – just glue, scissors, card blanks and mounting tape, plus some old magazines.  I wanted to make some very simple cards for my own personal use and didn’t want to spend too much time agonising over their design.  I went through my magazines (in this instance I used old Frankie magazines – they have that lovely matt-finish paper and lots of pretty images and patterns) and cut out pictures and background designs, text and phrases.

I glued some images to card and cut them out, so I could make them stand out a bit more when mounted on the backing card.  I worked quickly and non-fussily.  It was actually really good fun and freeing – no pressure to make something sale-worthy and I just made designs that I liked myself.  It was easy to make some very cute cards in a short space of time, with limited supplies. It was a great exercise in “just doing”.

First up, a slightly spooky looking deer…

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…and an imperfect gentleman…

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…some good-looking ladies…

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…and a squirrel ready to party (I particularly like his fez!)

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So, just a simple exercise in making do with what you have and creating for the sake of creating, and enjoying some free arty time. Give it a go next time you’re feeling overwhelmed (possibly by your own craft supplies!) or needing to just try something new and simple and satisfying.  It can be a great way to refocus and get back to your self.

Have a lovely week, everyone x

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Gecko

Had a death in the house this week… This tiny little gecko decided to meet his maker, under a pile of my crafting supplies (which I am sure will be my fate someday).  So sad.  I had seen him earlier in the week and had desperately tried to catch him (which also involved me having a conversation with him whereby I tried to convince him he should come out so I could take him outside) but he had disappeared into my book shelves.  Then, when I was clearing up on Sunday, I found his little corpse in between some sheets of scrapbooking paper  😦

Look at his tiny little toes!  Those pretty, gem-like and almost metallic eyes!  The patterns in his skin!  So sweet.  I don’t think he was long gone…his body was still soft and pliant.  I’m glad I didn’t squish him – he wasn’t flattened or anything like that.  Just looked like he was sleeping really.  He may have just gotten dehydrated, stuck in my house, or maybe he was already sickly.  But he’s so tiny!  And perfect!

Apparently geckos are nocturnal and eat insects.  That’s about all I know.  Other than them being cute.  I did have a much larger one in my shed a while back and he scared the living daylights out of me.  He leapt off the wall as I opened the door and basically flung his tail at me.  Which was a bit horrifying.  I (again) was having a conversation with a reptile – “Please keep your tail!  I don’t want to eat you!”- but to no avail.  His tail wriggled and flipped for ages by itself as he ran off into the undergrowth.  Icky!

I’m not sure what kind of gecko this one is.  I guess he’s just some sort of common house gecko.  Let’s go with that.  He wasn’t wearing a name tag.  You can look at some other kinds HERE if you’re in to that sort of thing.

I’ve kept him for now, as my brother sometimes does resin art and uses, ahem, dead things.  But, besides that, he (the gecko) seems too lovely to get rid of.  I’ll bury him if nothing else.  He deserves that, and will go into the earth or be dinner for other critters.

RIP little dude x

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Kangaroo Pause

Kangaroo Pause

I am so behind in posting this…  Last week, I took my Mum and her UK friend down South for a few days.  I was determined that Betty (Mum’s friend)  would see some Australian wildlife and countryside.  I’ll talk about the trip itself, and other stuff we did, in future posts but, for now, this one is about the lovely kangaroos we were lucky enough to meet at the Bunbury Wildlife Park.  I’m not usually in to the whole “meet-and-greet” scenario at animal parks.  Mostly because I feel it puts undue stress on the animals, especially if their enclosures do not allow them to “escape” from people or have hiding spots.  Kangaroos in particular do not respond well to stress.  However, at this particular park, I felt that the majority of the critters and birds were able to get away from people if they wanted to and had plenty of hiding spots and off-limits areas where they could chill out in solitude if they wanted to, have a siesta in the sun, or just be unsociable, if that’s what they felt like being.  That put my mind at rest somewhat.

Besides that, I really LOVE kangaroos and desperately wanted to pat one.  We had one when I was a child (it sadly did not survive into adulthood) and my Aunt has several on her property that are tame, so it’s not like I’ve never been close to them.  But it is always nice to be able to touch and see them up close.  They are such beautiful, gentle creatures and it is such a privilege to be allowed into their space.

We were given a small bag of feed upon entry to share with the various animals and birds in the park.  Gone are the days of feeding wildlife bread (ugh! so bad for them!) or those packaged pellets that I’m sure are not very exciting to the average critter.  We had a mixture of different grains as well as seeds and plant fibres.  This way, it was suitable for everybody and wherever you dropped it, it was sure to be enjoyed by one inhabitant or another.  Parrots, ducks, wallabies and emus all shared the food, picking out the bits they liked.

The first kangaroo we encountered was a young Western Grey.  She was happy to approach us and gladly accepted handfuls of the feed.  Betty was glad to get this opportunity (she felt she would never live it down if she came all the way to Oz and didn’t get to feed a kangaroo!).  The young female gently held Betty’s hands while she munched on the food. She was soft and beautiful.  Western Greys have course brown-grey fur, with darker paws.  They have pale underbelly fur and have longer forearms than some other species of kangaroo.  They have lovely long eyelashes 🙂

The males can reach up to 6-7 feet in height (which is a bit scary if you come across them in darkness whilst out on a walk.  been there, done that!), while the females are much smaller. Their average lifespan is 9-15 years, although they have been known to live to 20 years in the wild.

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Nom Nom…

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Look at those lashes!

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Just Chillin…

The next fellow we encountered was a young male Red Kangaroo.  The Reds are the largest species of Kangaroo, with the males often reaching in excess of 7 feet tall when standing fully erect.  They are powerful and muscly (just type “muscled red kangaroo” into Google).  This is reflected in their fighting style, with males generally getting into wrestling matches rather than adopting a kick-boxing style like their Western Grey counterparts.  If you get “hugged” by a Red, you know about it.  Luckily for us, this boy was very friendly, gentle and not interested in battling anyone.  He stayed with us for ages, eating the feed and enjoying a pat.  The fur of the Red is softer and the hairs shorter than the Grey’s – it is velvety to the touch, somewhat like a cross between rabbit fur and lambswool.  They have distinctive black and white markings on their muzzles and have short forearms.  They have quite a broader-shaped head than a Grey and their large ears can rotate in all different directions.

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Look at this handsome fellow!

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More nom noms…

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Hello there!

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This is me getting all up in his grill.  He didn’t mind.  I scratched his chest, he licked my arms.  We had a thing going.

We saw lots of beautiful animals at the Bunbury Wildlife Park, but I am very fond of the kangaroos.  I was so glad we could give Betty the opportunity of seeing some in the flesh – not just in the wild as we whizzed past in the car, or dead on the side of the road (so many – it’s so sad 😦 ) and that she got to feed and touch them.  I would recommend the park.  It was clean and spacious and, most importantly, the animals seemed happy and well-cared for.  Of course, it is nicer to see them in the wild, doing what they were born to do but, on the other hand, it’s nice to be able to get close to them and say Hello.

If you’re visiting the South West of Western Australia, take some time to visit and spend an afternoon with our beautiful native marsupials.  The more people get to know them, and experience their gentle natures up close, the more they will be protected and respected in the wild.  As humans, we take over their habitats and then wonder why they make a nuisance of themselves on the roads and on farming properties.  We need to ensure they can stay safe in the wild, unhindered and un-harassed by so-called human progress and development.

And don’t call them Skippy.  They don’t like it 🙂

Butterfly (It’s like love, apparently)

Butterfly (It’s like love, apparently)

Happy Monday everyone!  I wouldn’t often say those words because, ugh, Mondays!  Normally a pretty rotten day and not exactly joy-filled.  But today is a public holiday so I’m not at work.  Instead, I am procrastinating and getting nothing done in the house.  Nothing new there, right?  I have yet another rent inspection this week so I am supposed to be sorting stuff out and getting thing tidy, but I’m not.  So far today I have done one load of laundry, put away two items of clothing and watered my plants.  That’s pretty much it.  Sigh.  I have chronic slacker’s syndrome today.

I am also very much behind with regards to posting any blog stuff.  Sorry about that.  No excuses – just been busy and also a bit down in the dumps.  I try not to post when I am crabby or sad or mopey.  It doesn’t make for good writing.  I have also been away for the last few days (more on that later).  But, really, no valid excuses.

I was going to write a post about my weekend trip away but then I got distracted (as is my wont) and took some photos of a lovely little butterfly in my garden.  I’m sure he is some sort of succulent-ravaging beastie, but I think he is cute.  Look at those eyes!  And the jaunty way he holds himself!  I don’t know what kind of butterfly he is – lepidoptery isn’t exactly my forte.  But he is cute and made me smile, so that will have to do.

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I’ve had the song “Love is like a Butterfly”  in my head for the past couple of hours now.  If you don’t know the song (because you’re not old like me), here’s a couple of links to people singing it :

Dolly Parton Check out the outfit! 🙂

Clare Torry Theme song version from the show “Butterflies”

And the lyrics if you’re so inclined to sing along ;

Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicoloured moods of love are like it’s satin wings

Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing
I feel it when you’re with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
The multicoloured moods of love are like it’s satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

Your laughter brings me sunshine
Everyday is spring time
And I am only happy when you are by my side
How precious is this love we share
How very precious, sweet and rare
Together we belong like daffodils and butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like it’s satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

So that’s my silly post for today.  I will try and do better next time, I promise 🙂

Have a great week x

Leapin’ Lizards & Lurgies

Leapin’ Lizards & Lurgies

I am suffering from a horrible sore-throat lurgy this week.  I’ve had two days off work and haven’t accomplished very much at all, although I did attempt some more painting on the weekend before giving up and relegating myself to the couch and bad day time TV.  Shame, as the weather was lovely (though cool) and the sun was shining.  I did manage to get a few shots of the local skink population in my garden having a grand old time in the sun, catching bugs and soaking up the rays.

They are gorgeous little critters (generally 5-15cms) – shiny and sleek and so perfect with their little miniature scales and dark eyes.  Some of my friends don’t agree, but I think they are wonderful and fascinating.  I read up on them in the week (when I was busy doing nothing but sniffling and feeling sorry for myself) and found out a few facts I did not know:

  1. The common name for these little guys that are found everywhere in Australia is Fence Skink (or Wall Skink) – basically because they are usually found sunning themselves on outside walls and fences!
  2. They lay clutches of about 5 eggs and often have them in communal nests with other skinks.  The ideal spot is somewhere warm, dark and moist eg under logs, in damp garden beds etc. 
  3. The eggs resemble perfect miniature chicken eggs.  They are soft and leathery and become enlarged as they absorb moisture from the surrounding soil.

Now I am a bit obsessed about finding a skink nest but it is pretty unlikely.  I’ve never seen one before…but then I guess I wasn’t looking for one!  I am a bit paranoid about disturbing one now or accidentally digging one up so I will be extra careful in the garden from now on.

I really enjoyed capturing these guys on film – they were quite willing participants, all things considered.  Normally shy and timid, they kept quite still and didn’t run and hide which was lovely as I got to get up close to them.  I think the sun was just too gorgeous for them to want to hide away.

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Beautiful eyes!

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So many colour variations!

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This little guy was very bolshy and jumped down (he actually landed with quite a thud) to where I was standing in order to catch a spider right I front of me.  I don’t think he could have cared less that I was there – he just wanted his lunch! 🙂

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This tiny little fellow was so shiny and handsome.  He was only about 3cm long so I think he was a new hatchling.  I nearly trod on him as he was so tiny and blended in with his surroundings.  Beautiful though.

Hope you enjoyed seeing a few of my fabulous garden friends – I love having them around 🙂

Close Encounter

Close Encounter

Just a really quick post today… We had a different kind of visitor in the library last week – another bobtail!  They are so lovely 🙂 This little guy decided to check out the library (I think he came in to get cool but then he was laying in a sunny spot by the window so he may have been a little bit confused!) and I always attempt to catch them (I can’t help myself) if it can be done quickly and with as little stress to them as possible.  It’s better than having them running all over the place, frightening the not-so-reptile-friendly people in the building.  This one was very placid and I caught him easily – I think he must have been quite cool as he was slow and not particularly bothered by me handling him.  No hissing or aggression displays (no sign of that lovely blue tongue!) and not struggling either.  I wasn’t holding him very tight – he seemed fairly docile and not stressed.  I showed a few people (the ones I knew wouldn’t squeal) and then let him go into the bushland next door, away from cars and people.

You can’t see him very well in this picture (and I’ve been told I look way too pleased with myself) but he was a fairly big specimen, very healthy-looking with no ticks or scars.  Very handsome! (Or beautiful – I don’t claim to be able to tell the sex of these critters) If you’re not sure of what a bobtail looks like, check out my other post on a previous visitor HERE

Ah, Australia – you never know what you’re going to encounter next, even in the workplace 🙂

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