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Things I Need to Achieve on My Holiday (It’s a Long List…and a Short Holiday)

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I wrote the following just before I went on leave last month :

…I have some leave coming up very shortly and it feels like it’s been a long time coming.  Well, it has.  I haven’t had a break for over a year.  And I’m a bit tired and over everything so I need to have some time off.  This is difficult because I don’t have anyone to cover me at my job.  It’s a drama getting one day off for illness, let alone a full fortnight of annual leave.  Luckily, an ex co-worker has agreed to come back and babysit the library for me while I am away.  Hooray!

14 days is not a lot of time to achieve a great deal.  But, of course, I have many plans for the time and am hoping that I will succeed in achieving at least half of my goals.  Ok, maybe a quarter.  Five things.  Look, at least one of the things on my list, ok?

Ideally, I would like to lose 10 pounds, become super fit and healthy, decorate my entire house, create a fabulous garden, write a business plan, organise my life and secure my financial future, all in the space of two weeks.  But, unless I also turn into someone else in that time, these things are possibly not really realistic.  So, I am aiming for a few smaller achievements.  Things I should have already achieved, to be honest….

  1. Decluttering : I have so much stuff.  I am always saying that but, this time, I mean it.  I have the hoard of a demented packrat and I need to get rid of stuff before it all caves in and I am swallowed up by it.  This includes my craft room which is two very short steps away from being condemned in the interest of public safety.
  2. Culling my clothes.  I have a lot of clothes but, sadly, do not have the type of body that really looks good in most of the things I own.  I keep things in the deluded hope that I will one day wake up looking like Gigi Hadid or someone equally “slim” and not middle-aged.  I also have clothes that, although they fit me ok, I have owned for more than a decade.  They have become security blankets or something equally sad.  I should probably try something new and donate/giveaway the items I was wearing in the 90s.  I’m not even kidding.
  3. My garden.  It is laughable that I am even calling it that.  It’s basically some sand with a few twigs and LOTS of weeds on it.  When I moved in, it was just sand.  But at least that sand was tidy.  I have, in my usual crappy adulting style, let it fall to wrack and ruin.  I’m sure my neighbours are appalled at this slovenly slacker who has moved in next door to them and brought down property values.  I must tackle the weeds and at least get them sorted so that it looks somewhat tidy out there.  Also, the weeds are getting so high I am frightened I might get lost in there or be attacked by some children-of-the-corn type figures.  Actually, I have never seen Children of the Corn, but I imagine there are fields of tall corn with demonic/murderous children in them.  I don’t want this to happen in my yard.  Although I am rather fond of corn.
  4. Paperwork.  I am THE WORST at filing and organising my paperwork.  I went into a panic last night because I couldn’t remember if my house is insured.  I mean, really!  Of course it is.  But do you think I could find the paperwork?  No, I could not.  So, that is something I need to be better at.  I need to file things and sort things and keep them all in one place so they are easy to access and find.  I need to shred my bank statements from 1992 and get rid of registration papers for cars that I not only no longer own, but that are probably scrap metal by now.
  5. Exercise.  I need to do some.  Not just to lose weight and look better, but because it is good for me and decreases self-loathing and will get me outside in the fresh air and amongst other human beings.  I need to learn to enjoy it.  I need to see it as “me time” rather than as a punishment.  And I need to do it every day.  Or at least five days a week.
  6. Take time to practice stuff.  I need to make scheduled time to sit and practice my drawing and painting skills.  Do the basics.  Spend a couple of hours studying up on how to draw eyes.  Or noses.  Or little pinky toes.  Until I can do it properly.  And learn to write neatly, in different fonts, so I can add that to my art work where appropriate.  My handwriting is the kind that gets ripped out of school books by disgusted teachers.  I know this because a teacher once ripped a page of my handwriting out of my school book in disgust.
  7. Get my finances in order.  I recently had some HUMONGOUS bills come in and they were very unexpected and they sent me into instant meltdown.  I do okay with money – being a tightwad helps with that – but I need to do better and keep track of things and save for unexpected bills etc.  Be a grown up, basically.
  8. Catch up with people I haven’t seen for a while.  Life is so busy and it can be months, or even years, between visits with some of my friends.  Which is not good enough.  Because I am lucky to have these awesome people in my life and I should make an effort to keep in touch with them. 
  9. Get into a better sleep routine.  At the moment, I go to bed far too late, don’t sleep very well, and then wake up horribly late in the morning.  I need to have a regular bedtime and get up when my alarm goes off, rather than making the snooze button my best friend. 
  10. Clean my house.  Seriously, I am a bit feral, as I have told you before.  I get very overwhelmed by it all sometimes and it just seems easier to ignore it.  But I am going to start being tidier and doing some form of cleaning every day, rather than letting it all pile up.  Even doing the dishes every night will be a start, and will encourage me to be tidier in other areas.  Basically, I need to stop being such a lazy arse….

Now, several weeks later, I can predictably say I did not achieve all of these things.  I tried, really I did.  But two weeks is actually not a very long time.  And things get pushed aside for other, more fun, things.  I did clean my house and it is fit for visitors and doesn’t embarrass me now.  I am doing my dishes every night (well, almost) and I put my laundry items away as soon as they’re off the line.  I even did a basket of ironing the other night!  Crazy!  But good-crazy.

I did cull a lot of my wardrobe.  Skirts that were too short or tight – gone!  Pants I can’t button up – gone!  Jumpers that are just plain ugly and make me look like some sort of sack creature – gone, gone, gone!  I also turfed (ie donated to charity) shoes I can’t walk in and belts I can’t wear unless I refrain from breathing.  I filled my car with bags and bags of stuff, including bed linens and blankets, pyjamas and underwear (un-used, let me just say).  It felt good, but I know I could have culled more if I was less of a hoarder.

Sleeping – hmm, well, I have done a bit better on that front.  I have been going to bed a bit earlier some nights and I am definitely getting up better in the morning.  I now put my alarm so far away from my bed that it is practically in another room.  I HAVE to get up and out of bed in order to switch it off.  This works 90% of the time.  Other days, I still hit that snooze button and go back to bed.  But not as often as before.  I have been having horrible nightmares again and so I am not sleeping well but, on the whole, I am doing the best I can to get a good night’s sleep.

Catching up with people – I achieved this one.  I went out for coffee and walkies and had people over to my (newly-cleaned) house.  It felt good to catch up with friends and family – I need to make more of an effort to not let the time slip by in between seeing them all.  And I need to stop being such a damn hermit.  I’ve even agreed to go out with members of the opposite sex.  Not on “dates” as such (Lord knows I am nowhere near ready for THAT) but just coffee catch-ups etc.  So I can get better at being in the company of blokes again and not be so anxious about it.  And just be out there.  Like a normal, healthy, adult human being.  Instead of some kind of spinster/loner/weirdo/hermit hybrid.

My finances are ok and the wolf at the door is having a little rest and looking less savage.  I just need to not provoke him by overspending or being unprepared for things.  Christmas is tricky because I really love to buy gifts for people and it is difficult to rein it in a little.  But I have kept to my lists and not strayed into gifting overload.

Exercise.  Um…..next!  I am a big slug.

Paperwork.  Erm.  Fail.  Actually, I did start culling it and sorting it out a bit but there is still loads of it and I can’t face it right now.  It scares me.  So it is just sitting there in piles, quietly mocking me.

Garden.  We are still dealing with a Children of the Corn scenario.  There could be anything living in there.  Tramps.  Herds of wildebeest.  Lost civilisations.  Who knows?  All I know is that it still looks bad and now the weather is heating up, I am even more inclined to just ignore it and hope it dies off by itself.  I repotted plants and got rid of some that were really not going to make it.  I did do a little bit of weeding but it was a bit pathetic and half-hearted, to be honest.  Lots of sighing and whinging about my aching back.  I’m sure you can picture it.  Let’s move on.

Practicing my drawing and writing skills.  Um, no.  This did not happen.  Another fail.

Decluttering.  I actually did get some stuff out of the house, which is an achievement for Miss Hoardypants.  I had to think “Will I ever use this?  Does it fit in with my life/house/values/décor?  Will I miss the darn thing if I get rid of it?”  And, more often than not, the answer was a resounding “No”.  But it is still hard though.

It’s funny how most people have time off of work and they think about travel and relaxing and maybe seeing some movies or doing lots of shopping.  Me, I use my time for mundane things like folding towels and repotting my plants.  But hey, that’s ok, right? 

Hope you are having a happy, uncluttered day – thank you for stopping by 🙂

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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 🙂

Frosty Branches from Nowhere

Frosty Branches from Nowhere

Last night I stayed up later than I should have finishing off some cards and starting new ones.  My house is a mess yet AGAIN.  I don’t know why I can’t craft neatly, in a tidy and organised manner.  Why do I have to spread out from one corner of the house to the other? I guess that’s just how I roll.  I have tried to be neat but I can’t work like that.  It seems chaos is more natural to me than order.

I made this card last night.  It is an improbable design ie there is no explanation as to why there are frosty branches coming out of a door.  Perhaps it is the wonder of Christmas, making miracles occur… We may never know.  But I think it looks ok and I like the colours.  Plus, I just really wanted to use that door because I’d had it hanging round for ages in my paper stash.  And I love the “branches” paper punch (even if it takes all my strength and weight to punch anything out with it) – it’s so cute.

So, here is my card for today.  Improbable, but finished.
Which is good enough for me 🙂

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BFF Weekend

BFF Weekend

A couple of weeks ago, I treated my best friend of 34 years to a weekend away.  CG and I have been friends for so long now, we’ve really become sisters.  I think of her as family.  She’s more important to me than just about anyone.  She’s always been there for me and I can always trust her to support and believe in me.

When we were seven years old, her family built a house on my street.  Long story short, we became neighbours and best friends in a very short space of time.  We saw each other every day, went to school together (our Mums took it in turns to take us to school and pick us up), and then hung out together every afternoon.

In truth, we were, at least superficially, very different people.  I was short and awkward, clumsy and hated sport.  CG was tall and athletic, captain of the sports team, good at everything.  She was fashionable and pretty, I was dorky and a bit clueless where clothes were concerned.  But we bonded over books and toys, music and a love of tadpoling.  We shared hobbies and interests, celebrity crushes and talked about everything under the sun.

I’d never met another kid who knew how to play.  I didn’t have to explain the concept of playing “shop” or “detectives” or anything else.  She knew how to do voices for her Barbie doll and didn’t feel silly doing it.  She was happy to play with baby dolls and Star Wars figures equally.  We built cubby houses together and miniature cities for snails (not one of our best ideas, I have to admit) and dressed our dolls in clothes made from scraps of fabric or tiny sweaters knitted with fine wool on toothpicks.  I had my first proper tea party with her and countless sleepovers.  We sang and danced in my lounge-room with my brother and stayed glued to our radios at night, listening to the Top Ten countdown of chart hits.  We watched “Grease” approximately a million times.  We cried when Johnny Depp’s character was wrongly convicted and sent to jail in “21 Jump Street”.  We stuck posters on our walls and wrote in our diaries and talked about boys.

In year eight, we went to separate high schools.  I thought my world had ended.  I was lost and frightened and lonely and felt sure all my primary school friends would forget about me.  But not CG.  If anything, we were even closer and now had even more to talk about.  We still saw each other most afternoons and started the process of growing up and changing and navigating the trials of teenage-hood.  Throughout high school we remained best friends, even though we had our own separate groups of buddies in our own respective schools.  I was very lucky to have a wonderful group of friends, that I am still close to to this day.  But CG was always by best friend.

Fast forward a couple of decades and here we are – still best friends but with different lives and trials and realities.  CG got married quite young, to her high-school sweetheart (luckily, I approved of him, much to her relief) and went on to have two gorgeous kids.  I did the opposite and got married 15 years later, divorced and remained childless.  But we are still close.  I often say we have nothing in common but, truthfully, we have one major thing in common : each other.  Our core values are the same and I think our hearts beat to pretty much the same rhythm.  Our mothers have remained firm friends over the years and have moved away from each other, only to very quickly move to the same neighbourhood, just streets apart.  My Mum sees CG as another daughter, and I know CG’s Mum feels the same way about me.  We all see each other at Christmas – usually spending Christmas Eve or Christmas night together.  It’s been that way since I can remember.

So, this weekend was a celebration of that bond.  We hardly ever get to spend time together these days.  CG works extremely hard at two jobs, plus she has to coordinate the sporting and social arrangements of her children, one of whom competes at a National level in her chosen sport.  It’s not easy for us to find a window of time that can be spent together.  I wanted to spoil CG and give her a relaxing break and enjoy some time together, like the old days.  This was also a gift for her 40th birthday (which was in December) – I figured the thing she needed more than anything was a rest and some indulgence.

We stayed at the Hotel Rendezvous in Scarborough, overlooking the ocean.  The view was lovely, even if it was too cold to actually go out on the beach itself.  We watched the (crazy) surfers out there on the water and enjoyed the sunset.  We went out to dinner and ate our bodyweight in desserts.  We stayed up late talking and catching up, in our PJs of course, just like we would have done 30 years ago.  We drank tea and relaxed and bemoaned our ever-increasing age (although we think we look pretty ok for two women in their forties) and slept in.  We went to a movie and had afternoon tea (there was a lot of food involved in this weekend – can you tell?) and a delightful couple of hours in IKEA looking at all the pretty things we wanted to buy but didn’t really need.It was so nice just to hang out together with nowhere to be and no one to bother us.

I am so lucky to have had a lifelong friend and I hope we will always be close, no matter where life takes us.

To CG, I will say this : Thank you for always being my friend, through all the ups and downs, through boyfriends and heartache, from childhood to adulthood and beyond, through weight gain and weight loss, from illness to health, babies and career changes – I love you lots and wish you nothing but happiness and contentment all the days of your life.

With love xxx

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Rustic Country Easter

Rustic Country Easter

Happy Easter or Eostre or Smyngus-Dyngus or whatever you celebrate (if you celebrate) this weekend.  As a good-for-nothing heathen, I basically celebrate having a few days off work, seeing my family and bemoaning the fact I can’t eat chocolate.  My brother and sister-in-law, however, are making up for my lack of respectful worship and/or church-going abilities by taking their four children to church this morning so that they could learn a bit about one of the real reasons we even have Easter in the first place.  They themselves are not religious in any way, but they felt it was important the children understood that the holiday is not all about chocolate and bunnies and going on egg hunts.  I myself lean towards the older, pagan traditions and meanings behind Easter but that is just a personal preference and belief – I don’t judge anyone else for what they believe in.

Anyway, moving away from the heavy and slightly inflammatory subject of religion…  This weekend I spent a lovely couple of days at my Dad and Step-Mum’s farm in Boyanup with my Mum.  I have spoken before of how well my parents get along and how my Mum really enjoys going down to see my Dad and Step Mum.  It’s such a relief.  It wasn’t always this easy and pleasant, believe me, but they have built bridges and gotten over them and now it is just NICE to spend time in their company.  My Mum and Step Mum get along well and have a laugh (I mean, nobody knows my Dad as well as they both do) and my Dad is just so happy that he can have us all there with him and it’s not weird or uncomfortable.

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Dad had quite a bit of work around the farm to do so us gals went sight-seeing and shopping.  Lots of little vintage shops and antique stores were open, as well as cafes and other places of interest.  I haven’t gone antiquing for ages so this was a fun afternoon for me and the prices in many of the shops were unbelievably cheap.  At a shop called “The Quirky Den“, I got this adorable little W H Goss vase for just $4.  It’s so cute.

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At first I was put off but the bear baiting / dancing bear image but then I couldn’t “bear” to leave him behind.  He can be safe with me and never have to perform again (except to just look cute on my display cabinet).  He can sit with my miniature bears.  My Mum bought a nice blue and white plate and my Step-Mum picked up several nice pieces of china to decorate her walls, including a little miniature house which she collects.  The Quirky Den was indeed quirky, but well worth a visit 🙂
Their prices are very reasonable and they have lots of great stuff.

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We also visited a GORGEOUS little shop called “Rustic French Living“.  Ooh la la!  So pretty and chic and gorgeous.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves – I wish I had bought something in there…I was eye-ing off the lovely little rabbit/Easter tags but then didn’t get them.  Regret!  Will definitely have to go back another time and spend a longer period there.  It was getting late and so we only looked around for a little while.  But beautiful stuff 🙂  They also have cakes and tea/coffee if you’re partial to a bit of refined refreshment. If you’re in Western Australia and travelling through the South-West, do stop in and have a look.  I wanted to buy everything…the lovely ladies in the shop were very welcoming and did not mind me taking photos (sometimes shop people get a bit huffy when you do it, so I always ask first and tell them what it is for).  You can also visit their awesome Facebook page here

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That evening we were treated to the most gorgeous sunset – the colours were amazing and I am so glad the photo does it justice.  Just beautiful – isn’t nature amazing?

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Hope your weekend was as relaxing and happy as mine.  If you can eat chocolate, I hope the Easter/Eostre Bunny was generous.  Have a great week everybody 🙂

Not-long-enough Weekend

Not-long-enough Weekend

Well, it is late Monday afternoon on a long weekend.  I think they should call them “longish” weekends…they never seem to go any less quickly than regular weekends and I am still wishing I had gotten more done.  I did make an effort to be sociable this weekend and actually hang out with people other than my Mum.  I went to my best friend’s on Saturday evening for a catch-up, saw another friend yesterday for brunch (she gave me a belated birthday gift – a voucher to an AWESOME bead shop that I haven’t been to yet.  Can’t wait to go!) , my other good friend this morning for a walk and late breakfast and my brother came over this afternoon with his partner and their four munchkins (whom I adore but my little house is not really very kid-friendly, in that it is small and probably boring when all I have is Jenga to play and maybe some colouring-in stuff if they’re lucky).  So I did see actually people this weekend and did not hole up like a hermit (which is my usual M.O.).

I did get some things made.  My friend K came over last week and bought a whole bunch of jewellery from me and then ordered a whole bunch more.  I think I am not her partner’s favourite person because money keeps tending to waft over in my direction which isn’t good when they’re supposed to be saving for their next holiday.  However, K and I have come to an agreement that I have to complete this latest order for her and then we will most likely have a break.  I need to make things for my upcoming market (still now sure when it will be or where) and she needs to not spend a large proportion of her pay packet on things I have made for her on her request. But she is awesome and makes me laugh so I don’t begrudge her (or her money ha ha) in the slightest.

I finally finished off one of her sea-shell necklaces.  This thing has been bugging me for weeks.  The shell refuses to hang straight.  I guess when Mother Nature creates these things she is not making “must hang straight so pendants can be fashioned” a priority over “must make a nice house for sea-dwelling creatures”.  Which is fair enough.  However, after much cursing and several attempts, I managed to finish it and get it to hang somewhat satisfactorily.  That’s a bit of a lie – I’m still not happy with it but it is the best I can do with my limited skills!  K wanted this large shell (I think she found it in Bali or somewhere like that…) to have some bright reds and ethnic tones to complement it.  I did the best I could…

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She had also picked out some pretty blue and white beads from my stash and wanted something with a sort-of-Mexican feel:

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Next up, a fairly simple necklace with some other beads she picked out.  I’m not sure about this one…I might re-jig it.  I’m not happy with it and it doesn’t “sit” right with me when I’m not happy with something!

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Next was a bright turquoise and red number which turned out ok.  K had picked the beads and I just added a few extra ones to complete it.
Red and turquoise ALWAYS works (thank goodness):

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After that, I quickly put a few other pieces together before the light got too bad and I got too tired and over it.  I’m trying to work on a few bolder pieces here and there, just to try and cater for people who like things bright and chunky, not dainty or delicate.  I really like the square, ceramic beads on the next necklace – they give a different look to the usual round or oval ones;

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Then I made this one using a large howlite red bead that I had been saving and not using (which is dumb and I do it a lot – just use it already!):

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Some pretty silver and polished magnet earrings (these don’t fit in the colourful and bold category…).

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I made lots more cabochon hair clips today too – they are good sellers and handy for last minute gifts etc…

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Another batch of rings made from panels from a broken bracelet.  I look out for the bracelets in op-shops all the time now – they made great pendants and rings, even earrings.

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I also made these funny little earrings.  Red and black are pretty popular colours and these are actually quite heavy, good quality ceramic beads.

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Last and definitely, in this case, least are these earrings.  Possibly the world’s ugliest pair.  Chocolate brown and gold – hmmmm, not exactly a winning combination but I am trying really hard to not just make things that appeal to me.  I’ve been wrong in the past with things I’ve thought were so ugly but someone else loved them – you just can’t tell.  Anyway, you have to allow for people with bad eyesight or strange fashion sense ha ha!

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So, that’s me done for the weekend.  I have nothing else planned now except for some ironing and rustling up some dinner.  At the moment I am living on steamed veggies and a little grated cheese on top.  I’m just not in the mood to cook much for myself and at least with steamed veg I am getting SOME nutrients and not living on cereal or toast.  Which I could do very easily.  Trust me.

Hope your weekend has been productive or restful (whichever you prefer) and that your week ahead will be fabulous!

All the best x

 

Tidings of Family Joy

Tidings of Family Joy

So, Christmas is over, technically.  The tree is bereft of gifts and the turkey is nothing but a carcass being picked apart for sandwiches and stock (unless you’re vegetarian, like me, in which case you’re probably so glad right now you don’t have to deal with a turkey/chicken skeleton in your fridge).  The rush to get cards written and sent has passed and now it’s time to ponder the cards you did get (and why you didn’t get as many as last year or why so-and-so didn’t send you one this year) and try to figure out where to put all the presents you received (if you’re lucky).

I had a lovely Christmas.  I was going to have a really quiet one, away from family and basically mope around and be miserable with myself.  My Mum was going to be co-conspirator in this – she wanted to do whatever would make me happy and figured if I wanted to boycott the family Christmas, then so be it, she’d help me and keep me company so I wasn’t completely on my own.  A couple of family members weren’t happy about this.  Christmas is a big deal in my family – our grandparents believed in family and togetherness and so we have always spent Christmas as a united whole – cousins, Aunts, Uncles, siblings and parents.  So, when I announced I wanted a break from it (for my own selfish needs I must admit), there were a few grumbles of discontent.

In a loving, caring way, I was bullied a little into joining in the festivities.  I’m so glad I was.  I love my family and I don’t know what made me think I would want to be away from them at such an important time.  I guess, after the year I’ve had, I didn’t exactly feel like celebrating or making with the merry.  But that’s the whole point.  When you’re feeling down in the dumps and completely unsociable, your family should be the ones to pull you out of the doldrums, give you a kick up the bum and make you remember that you are still loved and wanted around.

So, needless to say, I had a lovely Christmas Day, spent with loved ones who have supported me and comforted me this year, as they always do.  It would have been insulting if I had ended up not making an appearance.  Moral to the story – be grateful for family and be with them whenever you can, because they love you even when you don’t love yourself and are more than willing to drag you, kicking and screaming, into the familial bosom for a little distraction and fun.

There was one awkward moment when my young nephew asked where Uncle “E” was, but all in all, I forgot I was on my own for the most part and just joined in with the over-indulging, gift-giving frenzy. There is something very heart warming and comforting about watching little ones open their gifts and I am so glad I got to share this Christmas with my nephews and nieces. Their squeals and cries of delight made me feel happy and content.  Blessed and thankful.

I stayed with my Mum for the night.  She goes all out with her Christmas decorating (I am too lazy and don’t have the space).  She has six Christmas trees, throughout the house, each one with a different theme and colour scheme.  They are usually beautiful and co-ordinated.  In other words, they put my decorating to shame.  Her home is a Christmas wonderland…no tacky neon Santas or inflatable reindeers, Mum tends towards the vintage, traditional or classy, elegant looks.  There are snowmen on shelves and snow-globes on tables, baubles in boxes and enough stars and tiny twinkling lights to fill Santa’s workshop.

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We spent a few nice days together, Mum and I.  We even went and stayed with my Dad and Step-Mother in the country for a day and night.  I am so proud of my parents for getting on with their lives and, after the initial emotionally trying time that comes with all divorces when hearts are bruised and battered and lives need to be rebuilt, they are friends and still care about one another.  My two “Mums” had a heart-to-heart while my Dad and I pottered about in the paddocks, checking on fences and livestock, and I think it was good for both of them to speak freely and find some common ground.  I can only hope that I do not succumb to bitterness as my separation continues and divorce looms ever closer.  On that subject, “he” did not call, message or contact me at all over Christmas which has hurt me more than I can say but I suppose has solidified in my mind how much I mean to him (or rather, how little I mean to him).  I don’t think I am asking for too much to have the person I have loved for the past seven years to send me a little text message or email just saying “Merry Christmas”.  Maybe I am dumb and naive.  But it still hurts and makes me wonder what a terrible person I must have been to him to not deserve even the smallest of kindnesses.

But I digress…

Christmas this year has been restorative and soothing to me.  I am rather ashamed that I thought I would be better off avoiding it (*slaps wrist and looks suitably guilty*) and hope that next year I am a little more gung-ho and enthusiastic, if only because I am so amazingly lucky to have the family I do and I should celebrate that whenever the opportunity arises.

I hope you enjoyed Christmas (for those who celebrate it) or some time off or just had a good week.  I am looking forward to a New Year with new opportunities and challenges, a fully-mended (if somewhat fragile) heart and a healthier, happier, less stressed and sad me.  I want 2014 to be a year of joy and well-being for all of you too.

Thank you for reading (and sorry for the self-indulgent wallowing associated with my break-up.  It will pass soon enough but I hope you can forgive me a little while longer.  I’m still mending…)

x