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Le Chop

So, I finally got my hair chopped off.  It usually takes me FOREVER to decide to do it and then I procrastinate because I hate spending the money, and there never seems to be any free time to get it done.  My hair really needed a trim though.  It was ratty and dry and I was starting to resemble something the proverbial cat had dragged in (through a hedge, backwards).  I present you with Exhibit A :

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Channelling Caveman Chic

 

…and most days I woke up like this : (Exhibit B)

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There is no paper bag big enough to cover this up…

So, I got it all cut off.  Well, about 5 inches anyway.FullSizeRender

Haircut 101 : Bobbed and Bouncy

I’m going to try and keep it short for a while and not just be slack and let it all grow back.  That is what I normally do.  I am starting to be aware of the fact that I am getting older and don’t want to be one of those women who keeps the same hairstyle for 50 years and ends up on a talk show having a makeover.  Although the makeover bit would be pretty awesome, I just don’t really want to be one of those people. You know the ones I mean.

I need to dye my hair as the ghost of grey hair past is starting to show through again.  Which sucks but is inevitable.  At least I have less hair to dye now and will be able to get it done quicker and with minimal swearing (and dye all over the place).

How do you prefer your hair?  Short or long, straight or wavy?  I am lucky, I suppose, in that my hair is very thick and strong and wavy.  But it does drive me nuts, because I am rubbish at doing anything with it.  I have no skills in this department.  Having it this shorter length means I have to be less lazy and not just tie it back but, by the same token, it is quicker to wash, looks ok if I just let it dry and do it’s own thing, and is definitely healthier.  Now that the weather is getting cooler (woe is me), I have less need to tie it back anyway, and shorter-messy is better than longer-messy.  I went to the beach on Monday night and even after being blown to bits by the wind, my hair looked ok.  Windswept, rather than tornado-whipped, which is how it would normally respond.

Thanks for dropping by – may all your days be good hair days 🙂  And if you have any tips for  “doing” your hair when you are completely useless at it, let me know.

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Thrifty-Happy

Op-shopping (thrifting), as I have said many times before, is one of my favourite things to do.  Probably THE favourite thing to do, if I’m honest.  I love the element of surprise, of never knowing what you’re going to find.  I have learnt not to actually go in seeking a particular thing, because I won’t find it.  It’s more of a treasure hunt – and sometimes you don’t find any treasure.  Which can really suck 🙂

Recently, on my birthday week, when I had some time off work, I did a bit of solitary op-shopping.  I had nothing to do and nowhere to be except in the rows of second hand goodness.  The weather last week was dreadful – it’s the middle of Summer and it has been cold and rainy and blah.  Which is probably the best kind of weather for trying on clothes because you don’t get hot and sweaty and cranky.

I have recently put on quite a bit of weight which, aside from being really upsetting and depressing, means that a lot of my clothes don’t fit me.  Ugh.  Is there anything more blues-inducing than trying to squeeze into a skirt that USED to be baggy on you but now makes you look like an overstuffed sausage?  No, there is not.

So, I needed to buy a few more items of clothing that would a.) fit me and b.) be suitable for the weird weather we are having.  Longer sleeves were the order of the day, because it’s too cool for short ones, and my arms are hideous.  That’s right, I said it – HIDEOUS.  They should be hidden away in case they scare someone with their white flabbiness.  There should actually be a law against my arms – seriously.  They could incite people to revolt.

Anyway, I went op-shopping.  I found a really nice shop that I hadn’t been to before and it had a great selection of clothes – so much so that I found myself with a basketful just from the first rack.  Reasonably priced and in my size – what could be better?

So here’s what I got :

  1.  Nice, lightweight top for Summer days.  Beachy and bingo-wing covering!

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Beachy!

2.    Cute little jacket that is still cool enough for Summer, or I could even
wear it as a top – it’s a blousey sort of material.

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Hearts!

3.  Super-soft checked shirt.  I don’t normally get these because I can never find one that looks ok on me.  But this one fits perfectly, is SO SOFT and I loved the blue tones.  It’s good as a cover-up over a t-shirt, or on its own.  I channel Madonna in her “Don’t Tell Me” video when I am wearing it.  Don’t judge me.

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Checks!

4.  Was lucky to find this lovely Review top.  It probably retailed for at least $100 originally, and I got it for $7.  Can’t beat that!  A good one for work.

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Ladylike!

5.  At $10.25, this was perhaps a tad more expensive than I would normally go for in an op-shop.  But it was so pretty, and just what I need for my craft room to organise my paintbrushes, pens, papers etc.

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Shabby Chic!

6.  I found this teeny-weeny religious thingy for only 50c.  It’s about the size of two postage stamps.  So dinky!  I am going to cover it and collage over it and make it completely non-religious, but hey if it has some built-in blessings or divine protection, I won’t argue!  I wish I had been able to find more, so will have to be on the lookout for them.  I guess maybe they are a little travel thingy so you can take your faith with you or something?  Whatever, it’s cute.

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Upcycler!

7.  I snagged this cushion cover for a dollar.  Although it does have a store label on it, it is obviously handmade which neat, little stitches and imperfections.  It is very large so will actually make a nice table mat or it could hang on the back of my couch.  I liked the colours and the slightly rustic quality it has.

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Patchworky!

8.  Shoes!  I have wanted a pair of these chunky heels for ages but have never been able to find exactly the right pair.  So I got these.  They’re a tiny bit small so I might need to stretch them out just slightly.  I got them for $5.  I am a mega klutzoid so I need chunky heels if I am going to wear heels at all.  Otherwise there is falling down and general embarrassment and humiliation.

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Chunky!  I mean the shoes…stop looking at my ankles!!!

So, a good day, and I have already worn a couple of the items which shows they were worthwhile purchases.  I Especially like the checked shirt – I think I will be snuggling up a lot in that in the Autumn months.  And pretending I am Madonna.  When she was still cool and making good music and not gadding about in leotards and pretending she’s 25.

Hope you are having a happy day 🙂

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Op-Shopping 101

It’s a known fact that I enjoy op-shopping (thrifting) just a wee little bit.  If by a “wee little bit” you mean “more than ANYTHING IN THE WORLD!!!!”

If op-shopping was an actual job, I would be quitting the one I already have and preparing to have an awesome, joy-filled career.

In the meantime, here are a few tips and tricks if you are a newbie to op-shopping, or just one of those people who doesn’t really understand it and thinks everything will be stinky and gross and smell like old people :

  1. Be Prepared to Rummage : Op shops are not like regular stores – everything isn’t always neatly set out in sizes and colours with multiples of everything.  This is half the fun – you never know what you are going to find.  I know some people hate that.  They want to walk in and walk out with the item they wanted within minutes.  They do not enjoy the chase.  They are missing out on so much.  You have to be prepared to rummage and look through lots of racks and explore.  I personally think it is best to not go in with an exact “want” list in your head because, chances are, you won’t find what you’re looking for.  Just enjoy the search and see what treasures you can unearth.
  2. Wear sensible stuff : What I mean by this is you should wear easy-to-remove clothing items so that, when trying things on, it doesn’t take you forever and you don’t get hot and gross or annoyed.  Don’t wear button-up things (unless they are also easy to just pull off over your head) or pants that need belts.  In fact, avoid trousers if you can.  A skirt is a better option because you can pull things on underneath them.  That way, you don’t even have to get undressed or risk the dreaded op-shop curtain fling (that scary moment when someone yanks open your changing room curtain to “see if anyone is in here” – happens all the time, makes me want to punch people) when you’re sans clothing.  Ideally, a skirt and loose-fitting top works best – then you only have to get half-undressed at any given moment.  Wearing a dress means you have to take it all off if you’re trying on another dress.  But, then, I have been known to try things on over or under whatever I’m wearing.  It’s up to you.  Just go for simple and comfortable and easy to pull on and off.  Same goes for shoes, obviously – don’t wear things that have straps or buckles that need undoing.  It just makes the whole process more laborious.
  3. Where to go : When you’ve been op-shopping for most of your life, you learn the best places to go, and the places to avoid.  I have certain shops that I always frequent because they are cheap, clean and always have great stuff.  In WA, I really like Good Sammy’s.  They have the best prices (which are generally consistent across all of their stores) and they are organised well.  They have regular sales too – 50% off days which apply to all recycled clothing (as opposed to particular colour-tagged items).  I live in hope of those 50% off signs – they make me so happy 🙂   I find Good Sammy’s to be excellent for dresses, shoes and handbags, as well as for books, knick-knacks and other household items.
  4. Don’t Haggle : Op Shops are usually run by charities, who have to make a certain amount of money each week in order to remain viable. Their stock is already very cheap so please don’t ask for a discount of any kind, or haggle, or ask for the price to be reduced if you have bulk items.  Just don’t.  It’s rude.  If you don’t want to pay $3 for that cute little top (that is probably worth $25 new), don’t.  Walk away from it and look for something else.  I am the biggest cheapskate out, but even I won’t ask for a price to be reduced, regardless of condition of the item.
  5. What to buy : Obviously, buy what you like but don’t get caught up in the :Ooooh, it’s so cheap!” frenzy that sometimes affects us all.  Yes, you may be able to buy 15 black t-shirts for under $30, but do you really need to?  Find the one you like best and buy that one.  Just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean you need it.  It’s not a bargain if you don’t wear it.  Keep a look out for designer items you might be able to sell on Ebay, if that’s your thing.  Don’t buy items that require something else in order for you to wear them eg a sheer dress that needs a slip underneath it.  Sure, if you have a slip that would go perfectly underneath, then cool, but if not, put the dress back on the rack and keep looking.  It’s not very clever to buy something that costs you $5, if you then have to go and buy something to go with it that costs $25.  It’s false economy, and the chances of you ACTUALLY going out and buying the extra item are pretty slim.  Trust me, I know this.  I have learnt my lesson.
  6. Don’t shop hungry : As I said before, op-shopping is generally not a quick expedition, where you’re in and out in two minutes.  It takes time to rummage and try things on plus, if you’re lucky, you will have several op-shops in a row in one place, so you’ll be there a while.  Make sure you take some water with you so you don’t get dehydrated (shopping is thirsty work!) and it’s a good idea to have a little snack with you too – some muesli bars or a handful of nuts or whatever.  You make better decisions when you’re not hungry or thirsty.  You don’t want to go home with a pair of lime green stretch pants just because your bloody sugar was low and you momentarily lost your brain.
  7. Know your colours : It makes life easier if you know what suits you and what colours look best with your complexion.  You can scan past a whole rack of stuff and dismiss what doesn’t fit in with your ideal.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try new colours once in a while but, generally, you should stick to what works for you and makes you feel good about yourself.  For instance, I love yellow and mustardy colours, but I know I look like death-warmed-up in them.  They make me look like I am about to be violently ill or have some sort of plague.  I avoid them.
  8. Donate : There is a universal law that what you give out, you get back.  So donate your unwanted clothes often.  Have a good sort out and drop stuff off at the op-shop.  While you’re there, you might as well have a look round, right?
  9. Don’t discriminate : Go thrifting in lots of different places.  I know one particular op-shop that is situated in a less than salubrious suburb that has the BEST stuff.  Sometimes the “posh” towns have crappy op-shops.  There’s no guarantee that postcode equals quality – not in this case anyway.  Some of the smaller, slightly dingy shops in out of the way places have really neat stuff and, because it hasn’t been picked over by all and sundry, you can often find a bargain on some quality items.
  10. Don’t be snooty : Within reason, everything can be washed and disinfected.  I draw the line at buying underpants, but everything else is fair game.  I’ve bought some lovely kitchenware and mugs, Tupperware and cutlery from op-shops.  It just needs a good scrub and some hot soapy water.  A lot of the stuff hasn’t even been used – you can tell by looking at something if it’s lived a hard life.  Use your discretion.
  11. Take a buddy : I personally am happy to shop on my own, but there is something to be said for taking a like-minded friend along.  My cousin and I thrift together often, and we have a pretty good system.  Usually this system consists of me finding awesome things for HER to try on (because she is super skinny and fit and can wear anything) but we always have fun.  It’s good to have a second opinion on items you’re not sure of.  Someone who can shake their head and say “Um, no….” when you try to squeeze into that crushed velvet boob-tube.  If the other person knows your size, they can be on the lookout for things you may not have spotted as you trawl the racks.  A buddy can also guard your changing room for you and stop people barging in, or hold the curtain closed for you if it’s a tad on the not-wide-enough side.
  12. They have new stuff too!  Thrift shops sometimes also stock brand new items.  They get bulk amounts of “reject” products, ie things that haven’t sold somewhere else.  There’s nothing wrong with them, they’re just excess stock.  You can get undies and socks, clothing, and other items brand new, but at a fraction of the normal cost.  I must admit to buying my undies from my local op-shop quite often.  They’re $2.25.  I refuse to pay $10 or $12 for a pair of undies.  They’re a nice fit (I hate undies that ride up your butt!!!) and they are good quality and long-wearing.  I’ve also bought one of those new-fangled bamboo pillows at the thrift shop for about half the price of one in the regular stores.

So, there’s nothing to it, really.  Just go in with an open mind and find some treasures.  And be prepared to walk away with nothing and be ok with that.  The hunt is half the fun.

Happy thrifting everyone 🙂

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Thrifty Goodness (Even though officially I am banned from buying anything more…)

So, I’ve had three glorious weeks off work.  GLORIOUS.  Not because I have done anything exciting or life-changing, but because I JUST WASN’T AT WORK.  Which is pretty damn good to me.  But the time has gone dizzingly fast.  Depressingly so.  Like, where did the last two weeks go?  Where did the last 5 days go?  The last three hours?  I don’t know.  I am a terrible time-waster, one of those people who is always “busy doing something close to nothing” (Thank you, Prince).  I have so many things I want to do, I end up faffing about doing nothing.  Which is horrible and makes me very annoyed.  I don’t sit around doing nothing, I move around and never sit still, but at the same time doing nothing constructive.

I was supposed to get fit and lose weight on my holiday, but that hasn’t happened.  I have pretty much eaten my way from one end of Perth to the other.  Lots of lunches and breakfasts and dinners out.  A coffee break here, an afternoon tea there – it all adds up.  So, predictably, I gave up on the whole losing weight scenario.  That will have to wait until I am back at work (although the workplace is often THE WORST place for trying to stick to a diet).  But I have caught up with lots of friends and family, so I am not complaining really.  I can’t do up my pants, but I am not complaining.

Because I am looking at moving out soon, I have tried to limit the amount of shopping I do.  I need to declutter, not get more stuff.  I sorted through my wardrobe and culled a bunch of stuff that I no longer needed or fitted in to (giving up the dream of ever being skinny again any time soon).  I didn’t go op-shopping for a few weeks.  I stayed away from those havens of thrifty goodness because I don’t want to fill my wardrobe again.  And I thought it would be incentive to lose weight – the promise of new clothes down the track.

Well, that lasted all of about three weeks, which is actually pretty good for me.  Probably a record, in fact.  I even took stuff TO the op shop in order to donate it, and did not go inside “to have a quick look”.  I was a good girl.  For a little while.  Hey, an accomplishment is an accomplishment, no matter how small, right?  I will try and hold out for longer next time.

So, this last week, unable to stand the withdrawal symptoms any longer, I stopped into a couple of my “locals”, ie the op shops that get all my money.  I desperately needed a new pair of black boots for Winter – mine are getting very beaten up and scuffed because I wear them to death, and have done for several Winters – so I did actually have a goal and purpose.  I wasn’t just wandering aimlessly, as I would normally do. Most of the boots in “proper” shops are a.) too expensive and b.) too high in the heel for me.  I have trouble finding shoes in general, but finding boots I like is a nightmare.

Almost immediately, I came across these boots, which were nearly new and in great condition , and in my size (which doesn’t happen very often).  They fit really well and are comfortable so I popped them in my basket (whilst secretly doing a little happy dance).

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Next up, I found this cute little handbag.  My own bag (sorry about cruddy photo – half of these were taken on my rapidly ageing phone) is VERY ANNOYING because it just won’t stay on my shoulder, it sits funny and I am just over it!  This one was a perfect size, nearly new and a great colour (pewter goes with everything) so it too went into my basket. My old bag will be donated – I am trying to donate one thing for every other thing I bring in to the house.  That way, I don’t become an official hoarder.

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Was super pleased to find these little pots for only $1.00 each!  I got five in all different colours.  Perfect for my succulents 🙂

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Then, I found this denim jacket.  It fits really well (I’m not skinny but I am petite, and jackets are often too wide with ridiculously long arms!) and I like the distressed detail and zip-up front.  It’s fitted so isn’t too bulky on me, but will be nice and warm for the coming colder months (ugh!).

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Another jacket – this time a leather-look one.  I did have a nice faux leather one, but it has been worn to death and was starting to fall to pieces, as faux leather will do after a while.

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My cousin actually bought this top but ended up giving it to me.  I like grey, and the little zippered pocket is a nice detail.  It’s long enough to wear with leggings and will be nice with jeans too, if I am brave enough to wear skinny ones this year.  Which seems unlikely, but you never know…

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Yes, I did buy another faux leather jacket – don’t judge me!  This one was so cute and feminine, and super soft.  Brand new with tags on still, it only cost $4.50!  It’s a bit dressier than your run-of-the-mill jacket and I love the detailing on the back (see following photo).  Hard to take a picture of, so hopefully you can get an idea of what it looks like.  It feels like one of those lovely old leather gloves – so soft!

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My friend thrifted this dress (sorry about blurry photo – I am hopeless today) but decided to give it to me.  I’m not sure about the bright colours on me, but it fit well so will probably wear it with some opaque black tights and a cardigan, for work.

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I wore this one today – a comfy oversized top.  Good for this in-between weather that we are currently experiencing.  I like the faux suede on the shoulders and fake pocket area.  I don’t wear a lot of pink but I didn’t mind this one as it had the grey/black through it.

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A cute little knitted jumper.  Not my usual colours, but I kinda liked it and it fits well.  I generally wear a lot of dark things so this will make a nice change.  It is also very soft and cosy, without being bulky or heavy.

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Last, but not least, this jumper.  I am going to go ahead and call it the Muppet jumper.  Because it looks like someone skinned the Cookie Monster.  It is ridiculously soft (I have a thing for soft, apparently) and makes me want to cuddle myself.  It’s a bit more cropped than I would normally wear, but I’m sure with a high-waisted skirt or pants it will be fine.  The lady at the counter charged it as a kid’s knit, so I only paid like $2.00 or something crazy.  I love it.  Have no idea where I will wear it but maybe I will just wear it around the house and stroke myself a lot.  Which would be weird.  So maybe I won’t do that.

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So, that’s it for now.  I tend to get in a bit of a frenzy, where op shopping is concerned.  It’s a bit addictive so I have to pace myself and remind myself that I am supposed to be de-cluttering and culling.  But I have already worn several of these items so I know they weren’t frivolous purchases, and many of them were half price so they cost me less than $5.00 each.  Not gonna feel guilty about that.

Back to work next week.  I’m so sad my time off is over, but I have really needed it and feel somewhat human again after feeling like I was at risk of curling up into a ball under my desk and never coming out.  I may well feel like that on my first day back, but at least I will have new boots to help get me through.  Shoes are very powerful – just ask Dorothy!

May the thrifting Gods smile on you all today 🙂

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Fringe Benefits

So I got my hair cut today.  Bravely, I might add, because I hate going to the hairdresser.  I never know what to ask for, and having to sit and look at myself for an hour is not fun for me.  But I knew I needed to get at least the ends cut today because they were getting a bit ratty.  I decided to also get a fringe.  I took some pictures of Alexa Chung with me because I like her hair.  Do I now look like a 20-something super model?  No, sadly not.  But I think I like it anyway.  Just gotta work out how to style it myself (this is not my forte) and get used to having hair in my face again.

The hairdresser blow-dried it kinda funny at the bottom so it is doing a weird,curly, kinky thing, but it will settle I guess (and then it will go back to just being my normal, boofy, uncontrollable hair).  Anyway, it’s done now – can’t glue it back on.  It’s a fresh look for my birthday next week anyway.  I didn’t want to turn another year older with the same hair I’ve had for nearly 10 years.  And I am trying to be braver this year.  Even small little changes are scary to me, so getting my hair cut is actually a fairly big step (dumb, I know). Because I never trust my own judgement about anything.  But hair grows back, right?  So it’s less scary than, say, getting a tattoo or moving to another country.

It is going to be VERY hot this week and so getting a fringe was probably not the best idea but, let’s be honest, good ideas are not really my thing.  I can always pin it back or wear a hair band or something.  Or shave it – there’s always that option 🙂

Little Maids All in A Row (2)

Little Maids All in A Row (2)

Just a quickie post today, showing you some of the cards I made on the weekend.  I wanted to get some more of these little dress cards done.  They’re so quick and simple and quite effective.  I started to lose to plot after a while so finished with the “Beautiful” tartan-inspired one at the end here.  Sometimes you have to know when to stop.  I’m not good at the whole “production line” method of making things – I get bored if I have to do a similar design over and over.  So it was time for a change – will show you the results of that in a later post.  But, for now, here are some more pretty little maids (or, at least, their dresses).

 Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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Little Maids all in a Row

Little Maids all in a Row

Finally a crafting day!  I have been hanging out to do something crafty for the last few weeks, but was trying to get my house tidy and sorted, plus I had the dreaded rent inspection, so getting all my supplies out was not conducive of that happening.

But, today I got stuck back in, albeit gently and slowly with not much achieved.  Also, annoyingly, I slept in, so I reduced my actual productive time by a few hours.  Whoopsie.  I am having issues with my sleeping patterns right now, so sleeping in is a common occurence, unfortunately.  It wastes so much time, but I just cannot get up in the mornings when I haven’t slept well.

Anyway, I managed to make three cards today (well, four actually, but the last one was rubbish so I’m not showing you, ha ha).  My inspiration was a birthday card my Mum made for me a year or so ago.  It is a simple little design but very effective and cute, plus I have been looking for a different style to try out.  These ones were a perfect detour from my usual style. This is her card here :

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So, I made a template from a scrap piece of card, traced it and cut and folded a few cards to use as bases.  Then I added different papers, ribbon, lace, buttons and embellishments, trying not to be too fussy or take too long on any one card (I’m trying, I’m trying…).  And here are the results :

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What do you think?  I was quite pleased with them, especially the last one for some reason (probably because it’s blue and has birds on it…).  It has been a stressful, worrying week and I was very happy to just switch off and be creative and not think.  Thinking is bad.  Thinking leads to more thinking which, in my case, leads to less sleeping and more bad moods and ill-health. These cards gave me a few hours of zoning out, which I desperately needed.

Hope you have had a wonderful, switched off (or on, if that is your preference!) weekend and managed to get some creativity in.

Thanks for popping by x