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Robot

My nephew turned 9 years old today.  Oh, how the years fly!  When he was born, I thought he was the most perfect and precious thing I had ever laid eyes on, and I can’t say my opinion has changed much (although with the subsequent births of his three siblings, I have had to extend my love and adoration to that little trio as well).  He’s a gorgeous little boy – very sweet and well behaved (as much as any nine year old boy is) and he is kind and generous with his brothers and sisters.

I wanted to make him a birthday card.  He and his siblings make the most delightful little cards for us, so I am only too happy to return the favour and make a special one for him.  I didn’t have a lot of time – I was waiting for a handyman to come and fix my garden gate, plus I had lots of errands to run during the day.  I didn’t want to make a mess in my clean house (cleaned up for the handyman who probably couldn’t care less what my house looks like and most likely didn’t even notice if I had vacuumed or not) so I kept it simple and just made this little robot card.  Master Nine likes robots, but I must say, I don’t think I’ve ever had to draw one before – probably not since I was his age anyway.

So, I just doodled a quick sketch or two of some not-very-technical-looking robots, until I came up with one I liked.  I think he’s kinda cute and I don’t even mind my slightly dodgy colouring-in.  I had to give him a heart – partly to add some extra colour, but mostly because, um, I just like hearts on things, and wanted to sneak in some love for my nephew without anything being too “girly”.

I simply attached it to a card blank and wrote “Happy Birthday” underneath.  Nothing too fancy. Master Nine loved it (“Oh Cool!  It’s a robot!  I love robots!”) which made me happy. Doesn’t take much with me!

A handmade card will always trump a bought one, even if it’s simple and not-very-perfect.  Anything made with love is better than a shop-bought product, and so I am glad I spent some time making this one.  The recipient is TOTALLY worth all the handmade love in the world.  Happy Birthday little dude – you will always mean the world to me x

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PS Please excuse my chubby legs in this photo (below).  I was making the card on my lap in the lounge room…

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Blue Flax Lily

Blue Flax Lily

We are very lucky at my work to be surrounded by native bushland and I often go for a wander in my lunch break to spend some time amongst the trees and wildflowers, birds and lizards (and, most likely, a large population of snakes) that inhabit the blocks around us.  We are also fortunate to have a pretty courtyard garden that has been lovingly brought to life and tended by one of my colleagues.  It has succulents and natives, flowering annuals and larger species such as frangipanis and hippeastrums.

Earlier this year, we had our big international dementia conference, and part of our displays included a gorgeous native sensory garden, which I was lucky enough to work in (a nice way to spend a day at work is in a garden – even if it is inside a convention centre!).  It featured lots of beautiful natives that are particularly fragrant or textured – great for people with dementia to touch, smell and experience safely.

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One of the plants displayed was the Blue Flax Lily – a gorgeous grassy-looking native with AMAZING blue “berries”.  The fruit is a ridiculously bright purple-blue and stands out amongst the more muted, dull browns of the bushland.  We also have a potted example in our courtyard garden (a leftover from the Conference) and I have been out there this morning, taking photos of it, as you do.  I desperately want to try one of the berries – they are absolutely edible and a tasty “bush tucker” treat.  At the moment there are only two or three berries on there and I don’t want to pick them because a.)  that would be a bit mean and b.) knowing me, I won’t like the taste and then they’ll be wasted.

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But, if nothing else, they are so darn pretty to look at.  I look forward to them growing bigger and getting more fruit on them.  Then I won’t have to feel guilty about stealing the berries ha ha, but also because those little flashes of blue are a delight.  Nature is so amazing 🙂

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You can read more about the Blue Flax Lily HERE

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 🙂

Bobtail (Blue-Tongued Skink)

Bobtail (Blue-Tongued Skink)

Visitor at work last week – this little guy :

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I had heard some rustling in the undergrowth by our backdoor and went to investigate.  We’d had a snake in the library a couple of weeks ago and so everyone is on the alert for anything scaly and possibly bitey.  I’m not frightened of snakes (yes, I am one of those weird people) but didn’t want anyone else to freak out or get bitten so I had a careful look in and around the leaves and plants growing by the door.  And there he was, a little bobtail.  Not at all uncommon here in Western Australia – most people, at one time or another, have probably had one of these little guys in their garden.  They are omnivorous and eat everything from insects to fruit, snails and flowers.  They also scavenge for carrion.  They are handy to have in the garden as they do keep a few pests at bay (although they will also help themselves to your tomatoes!).

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This fellow was hiding in the shade and looked comfortable enough, but as it was a particularly hot day, I left him a dish of water, just in case he was thirsty.  Later that day he decided to take a walk right round to the front of the building and try and get in the front door ) attracted by the air-conditioned coolness within I guess.  It was suggested he might frighten some of our dementia day centre members, so I attempted to catch him and escort him away from the building.

Normally they are reasonably easy to catch (although you do need to watch out for the bitey end!) but this one – crikey! – he was FAST!  I had to chase him down the verandah with a towel, hoping to grab him while his head was covered.  But, he was too speedy and very feisty, and as it was such a warm day, I didn’t want to stress him, so I just coerced him back into the undergrowth, hoping he’d stay there for the rest of the day, or at least until people had left the day centre.

I managed to get a couple of good photos of him – isn’t he beautiful?  He sadly had one deformed back leg but it didn’t seem to slow him down at all.  He was pretty big too – maybe a foot long and very strong and healthy.  Apparently, bobtails are usually monogamous when pairing up and can stay “faithful” to their mates for up to 20 years.  They give birth to 1 – 4 fully developed young.  The offspring stay with their parents for a few months before heading off on their own, but stay in close proximity to the family group.  It’s not uncommon to see two or three bobtails walking along together (very cute, if you like that sort of thing!) and they will show you their bright blue tongues if feeling threatened.  They don’t have sharp teeth as such, but do have powerful jaws and can give a nasty bite which, due to their scavenger diet can harbour lots of icky bacteria.

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A different sort of visitor to have at the library, but certainly one I was happy to see 🙂

Beady TGIF

Beady TGIF

Thank Goodness it is Friday.  It’s been a long week.  My first week back at work after the Christmas holidays.  I was good the first few days and got up at 5:30am to go walking, feeling that this year is gonna be the year that I get back into shape, the year that I make exercise a habit rather than a chore.  Well, that lasted about three days.  On day four, after a particularly late night out with my Mum (it’s her fault – she leads me astray!) I slept in.  Until 7am.  And I leave for work at 7:30am.  Not good.  No early morning walk that day.  Or the next.  Or today either.  On the other days when I missed the morning stroll, I walked in the afternoons after work.  But today, I didn’t even get that far.  As I said, it’s been a long week and the excuses are already setting in.

I have, however, been busy making jewellery for one of the lovely ladies at work.  She knows who she is (Hi! *waves*) and she is my number one customer and cheer squad at the moment.  It is likely, with her around, I will get a big head.  But it is nice to have someone appreciating what you do and making you feel good about yourself.  In the meantime, I feel slightly guilty about taking her money all the time.  I have always had trouble with that part of the equation.  Taking money from people seems…wrong somehow.  Like, who the hell do I think I am, charging for the things I make?!  But, in all honesty, I need the money, so the guilt doesn’t last that long and in the end I am just very grateful I have a modicum of skill and talent which enables me to make some extra cash when I need it.  Which is now.

I was very happy with an anklet I made her (let’s call her “K” for now) and she was too (which is the main thing).  I like working with blues and turquoises and white so when she requested those colours I was more than happy to oblige
(please ignore my dry old lady’s hands):

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I also made some other pieces for K (see, I told you…she is basically paying my rent right now) and she has put in a request for others.  Which is fine by me 🙂  I desperately need to buy some new beads and findings because I have gotten very low on everything and I have a bit of an aversion to using the same beads or colour combinations more than a few times.  Thankfully, and perhaps slightly fortuitously, one of the other ladies at work was having a sort out of her old jewellery and so you just know I made a beeline for her desk when I heard.  K had already bolted down the hallway and snaffled quite a few nice pieces, but apparently there had been quite a lot more stuff there.  But I missed out.  But that’s ok. I cannot be on the scrounge all the time.  I did pick up a few bits though that will be taken apart very soon (including some that K decided would be better in my hands and then forwarded to her as finished products ha ha).  I got:

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…this anklet which I think looks like a tree or an underwater coral kingdom.  Can’t you just see it as part of a gorgeous mixed-media collage?  I am definitely going to do something with this and I don’t think I will alter it in any way.  It’s nice and worn and a bit rusty.  Lovely for a collage.  I am thinking some embroidery as well…

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…this piece has some lovely colours and shapes in it.  Also slightly “ocean-esque” so it may get utilised with the item above (as well as being turned in to lots of other jewellery pieces)…oooh, I am seeing a moon here too…hmmmm…

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…some nice pearls.  a bit on the yellow side for my taste but they will get used quite a bit.  It will take me forever to get them off the strands but hey, I have no life so I’m sure I will manage!

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…continuing with the sea theme I seem to have going on here, these necklaces look like fishing nets to me.
Albeit very pretty, sparkly ones.  Glass beads in varying shapes and sizes are always welcome.

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…more pearly delights.  Love the slightly odd shapes ones (even the rude looking ones to the left!).  Looking forward
to making some nice pieces with these.

So, a good day to come to work.  Even if I was really busy and had so much to do and had a slight panic attack by the end of the day because the work kept piling up and people kept requesting more things.  I never want to look at another journal article as long as I live.  Which is unfortunate as searching for journal articles for people makes up a large proportion of my job.

As well as getting’ beady this week, I have also been working on my 40th birthday invitations.  A classy High Tea for me and several close friends and family members at a lovely restaurant in the city.  I wanted to ask a ridiculous amount of people, but it was getting out of control so, with no concept of how I am going to achieve this, I am going to have several events over the course of a few days, to fit everyone in.  You only have one 40th birthday, right?  Although… I don’t look my age (supposedly) so maybe I could get away with another one…?  My invitations have cupcakes on them (naturally) made out of various scrapbooking papers.  I can’t show you the whole thing because it has my phone numbers, address etc on it.  As much as I do love over-sharing, there is a limit to what parts of my life I will publish on the internet.  So here’s a sample of cakes for you…

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So, that’s week one of the new year done and dusted.  Hope your week has been a good one and that the year is shaping up to be everything you hoped it would be (and if it isn’t – give it time…that’s what I am doing…it’s early days yet!).

x

New Job & The TARDIS

New Job & The TARDIS

Hi everybody,

Well, I survived my first week at my new job.  It wasn’t so bad and I think I did OK.  I have basically been left to my own devices a lot and still don’t have a clear idea of what I’m supposed to be doing or, rather, how I should go about doing it, but I am hoping to get some more direction and instruction as time goes on.  I knew it would be an autonomous role (which I liked) but I thought I would be given some procedures or directives to follow.  At the moment I am just wading through a backlog of work that has been piling up – but, as I don’t know exactly how to go about things, I am just shuffling paper around for most of the day, trying to make sense of things.  My neck pain has been terrible (always made worse with stress) and I had a bit of a meltdown on Thursday evening – just trying to cope with everything AND be in chronic pain AND cope with relationship problems AND feel like I’ve gotten myself into a bad situation again.  Anyway, week one over and done with.  The people are very nice and friendly, I can make myself cups of tea whenever I feel the need (salvation!) and I have worked out the best route to travel to and fro (still takes me up to an hour to get to work but it’s ok and not too stressful).  Now I just have to figure out how to do my job! 🙂

On a sadder note, we had to say Goodbye to our beloved tabby cat, Bronte, on Monday night.  She had gone down hill rapidly this year and despite us desperately wanting her to reach the grand old age of 20 in November, we had to make the decision to let her go.  I was with her at her birth and will love her forever.  I hope Heaven has a sunny spot for her somewhere – she will be greatly missed and left a great big pawprint on all of our hearts.

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Hubby and I went to a fancy dress party last night.  It had a Time Travel theme.  I have to admit, I really hate parties.  I am not good at them and I don’t enjoy them at all.  Most of my hubby’s friends are much younger than I am and so I always feel out of place and like an old fuddy-duddy.  I hate the super loud music (God, I am a fuddy-duddy!) and I’m not good at small talk with strangers and I can just feel myself projecting a “Hello – I am very dull” vibe.  Anyway, it was ok.  I went as The TARDIS from Doctor Who.  Well, an approximation of it anyway! I hadn’t had time in the week to get together an outfit to wear so two hours before the party I started making things…

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TARDIS POLICE BOX HAT/HEADPIECE

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TARDIS POLICE BOX JACKET (didn’t want to pin anything to my dress…)

So, not the world’s best costume but hey, I only had a couple of hours… At least people knew what I was.  Poor hubby went as Rufus, from “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” but no one knew who he was.  I think they were all too young – some of them wouldn’t even have been born when the movie came out.  But I thought he looked awesome anyway.  My outfit wasn’t completely authentic or even correct (in terms of some of the wording on the hat and jacket) but I didn’t care.  I’m just happy I managed to put something together and that people didn’t keep asking me who I was supposed to be.  Luckily there was quite a few “Doctors” in the house so I fitted in well!

Today we got up an 1.30 In the Afternoon!!!!  Disgusting!  I hate wasting the weekends but we were obviously both tired and needed the sleep.  Now I don’t have time to do any crafting as there is housework to do and errands to run.

Just a short post today – if I get anything made or have something ground-breaking to write about, I will let you know!  Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend, wherever you are in space or time 🙂

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Stitches & Glitches

Stitches & Glitches

Well, Roderick the Wonder Guinea Pig has now had his stitches out from his desexing operation.  The plan was to take him to the vets today to have the sutures removed and have him checked over etc.  I was just putting him into his carry box and I had a quick look at “the area” to see if all was as it should be before I took him to the vets.  Good job I looked.  NO STITCHES!  The little bugger must have yanked them out in the last couple of days because they were definitely there before.  He has healed beautifully – I can barely see a scar – and his fur is growing back well.  So all is good.  I guess he got tired of the stitches scratching him or whatever.  I think he’s been really good to leave them in for as long as he did and not chew at them.  So he’s all ready for a wifey – well, in the next couple of weeks.  Gotta wait at least a month after the surgery.  There will be no impregnating on my watch thank you!  Have already picked out a name for the little gal but you’ll have to wait for the official unveiling before I reveal it.  Anyway, I’m just glad my little man is all ok and suffered no ill effects from the surgery.  He’s back to eating everything in sight and running about the place like he owns it.

This month I’ve been working on my “projects” for the Design Team.  We had to use papers from the Melissa Frances range and some pretty ribbon, flowers and plain cardstock.  I can’t say I loved the papers.  They were closer to what I would normally use than some other ranges, but the palette itself was quite pale and, dare I say it, insipid.  As we are only given a few pages, not an entire range with all its different sets and embellishments, ribbons or matching “bits”, we have to just work with what we have and not add too many of our own pieces to it.  This is, of course, so that people wanting to make the same things we have produced won’t be disappointed if the store doesn’t carry some of the materials.  It is hard though and quite limiting but onwards and upwards! (etc).  Here’s the few things I made.  Some I like, some were a bit blah and I struggled through lots of glitches in execution of my ideas…anyway, check them out and see what you think.

“Dolly” Card

“Keep it Together” Peg Set & Tags

Decorated Jar

“Adore” Card (Pretty plain this one but just wanted to use exactly the stuff I’d been given for a quick, simple card)

Altered Book (It turned out kinda ugly.  I just lost the plot while making it…I’m not gonna even show you inside! The cover is sweet enough though…)

So, all in all, I was fairly happy with what I made.  It’s good to be challenged and try new things.  Am hoping next month’s paper pack is something cool.  Now I just have to find my craft room under all the debris and carnage of the last couple of week’s crafting…

Hope Spring is treating you well (if you’re in my part of the world) and that September has been a good month.  It’s been kinda up and down for me so I am looking forward to a fresh start in October.  And a new piggy to add to the family!  🙂