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Cardmaking

Hello everyone.  I have been very slack about posting lately and I apologise.  No real excuse – just life getting in the way.  Plus I am trying not to use my computer too much at home, just to give my eyeballs a break from screen-time.  Which means I have about eight thousand emails waiting for me right now.  There’s probably bills in there.  Oh well.  I will get to them soon enough, possibly when they turn my power off or cut my water supply.

I have been crafting when I can.  The weekends go by so quickly and the evenings after work just don’t seem to be the right time for me to get my art on.  I am tired and squinty and headachey.  And lazy, to be honest.  So I try and utilise my weekends, which isn’t always easy when you have other commitments to take care of.  I don’t include housework in that.  I think we all know that is very much at the bottom of my “to do” list!

I haven’t made any cards for AGES.  Last weekend I decided to make a few, just to get me over my crappy-collage-why-is-nothing-working-phase.  Working on cards means no base-coating or varnishing or anything that takes too much prep.  And working to a nice small scale always feels right to me – I’m not very good at larger projects.  Even most of my collages are less than 8″ x 8″.  Cards are a prefect size.

These are the three I made one afternoon and I am reasonably happy with them.  Especially the octopus (even if cutting out all those legs was a bit migraine-inducing!).

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More of an exercise in “just getting on with it” than an attempt at perfection, I just wanted to makes some quick little pieces that would help me get back into a crafting groove.  Sometimes you need to change things up a little.

Hope you are all having a happy, creative day.

Thank you for stopping by x

 

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Bells Rapids Hike

In my effort to lose weight, get fit, and be healthier, I have been taking part in some hikes recently.  I have always enjoyed walking, especially if it’s somewhere with nice scenery, and having a group of friends to go with is even nicer.  Makes it feel less like exercise and more like an enjoyable, good-for-the-soul activity.  If you can follow it up with a delicious brunch somewhere, all the better 🙂

I recently went on a lovely 5.5km hike with some friends (one of my friends, SR, is VERY good at organising things and puts me to shame because she MAKES THINGS HAPPEN, unlike me who procrastinates and can’t make decisions) around Bells Rapids, located in Brigadoon, about 45 minutes from Perth City.  A great spot to view the white water rapids of the Avon River while surrounded by beautiful bushland. Plenty of quiet, shady spots to take a rest, with trails for walking – some of them very steep and rocky – and glorious views.  Sitting by the rock pools was lovely and calming, especially after the vigorous hike up the hill.  I don’t have the greatest balance at the best of times, so I found it as bit treacherous at times, trying to keep my footing amid all the loose rocks and gravel.  Still fun though 🙂

There is plenty of parking and dogs are welcome.  Camping is not allowed, but you can certainly have a picnic there or hang out for the day.  The weekends are a popular time, but it isn’t crowded with people.  Room for everyone!  In the Winter months, the rock pools become swirling, white-water rapids, and (crazy) people come from miles around to take part in the annual Avon Descent.

Anyway, I will let my photos illustrate how lovely a spot it was.
I will definitely be back.

Hope you will stop in again here too 🙂

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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 🙂

It all Fell Apart with a Nap

It all Fell Apart with a Nap

I was so determined to craft like a mad thing today and then clear up my house.  My crafting has spread from one room to another and I am ashamed to let anyone see my home.  I have covered every surface in patterned papers, ribbon, buttons and glue.  There are stamp pads on my kitchen bench and bundles of lace in the lounge room, beads on the carpet (that’s nothing new) and ink stains on my dining room table.  It’s a mess.  I’m a mess.  I got my ironing board out in the week to actually attempt some ironing.  The ironing board is now also covered in cards and paper, ribbons and well, you get the idea. Hopeless.  I am failing as an adult on so many levels yet again.  My determination to tidy up was overcome by my body’s exhaustion.  I have been so tired this week and today by body and brain just went “Nup, we need rest and we’re gonna have it NOW…”  I sat on the couch for a 5 minute break while I brewed a cuppa and, three hours later, woke up, groggy and with a serious case of cushion face.

But I feel better.  Sure, guilty about not tidying up yet again, but rested and renewed.  At least a little bit.  A sneaky nap does wonders.  A sneaky three-hour nap does tremendous wonders.  I blame my new couch – it is comfy and easy to stretch out on and even easier to fall asleep on (as I have done many times in the last month).  I also blame late nights (my fault) and stress at work (don’t get me started on whose fault that is!) and not eating properly or exercising at all.  Lots of reasons.  Not least of which is the stress of going through a divorce.  But I’m trying not to let that last reason be THE reason for everything that doesn’t work out, or frustrates me or drives me nutty.

Before falling asleep, I did manage to make a few cards.  I have seriously lost my card-making mojo.  I’ve said that before but it is starting to really bother me now.  I just have trouble getting anything to look right (at least to my eyes) and I want to be able to make cards quickly but it always takes me AGES.  Anyway, here’s a selection I finished today ;

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1.  I really like this pastel-coloured card.  I think I sometimes have trouble with Xmas cards because I don’t like the general, traditional colour scheme of red, green and white.  I don’t think this card will be especially hardy, with its tiny dried flowers so I’m going to keep it aside and safe until Christmas – it will be a Mum card (she’ll love it and protect it!).

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2. I was quite happy with this card and it came together fairly quickly (well, quick for me!).

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3. This is a similar card in the layered style.  Still not sure about the gingham ribbon but it is staying there now!

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4. Not at all sure about this card.  I was losing the plot at this stage and about to fall asleep.  Still, it is finished and will have to do for now.  I have to stop being so bloody fussy!  I don’t use my rubber stamps very often and I was trying to give them a bit of an outing today and utilise them.  I like the silhouette style of these Xmas ones – nice crisp images.

So, not a completely wasted day.  I made some cards, did my laundry (which reminds me, I have to re-make my bed – Ugh!  Why do I always leave it until the last minute?) and had a long nap which I’m sure my body and spirit will thank me for. I have to be at work early tomorrow and I must get to bed early and try and sleep so I’m not rushing in the morning.

I hope your weekend has been fruitful and fun, lazy and luxurious or whatever you wanted it to be.
Have a lovely week x

Op-Shopping is good for the Soul (but not so good for the purse…)

Op-Shopping is good for the Soul (but not so good for the purse…)

It has been a long week.  A. Long. Week.  At short notice I had to empty my entire library within the space of two days.  Not an easy feat, even with a tiny library such as mine.  But it was done with the kind help of several of my workmates (not library staff – counsellors and other lovely staff members just giving me a hand) and as of Friday afternoon we had moved everything out and covered what was left with plastic sheeting, ready for several walls to be knocked out over the weekend.  I am exhausted to say the least.  I’ve been getting to work at 7:45 and working until 5.30, trying to get it all done while still attempting to get some of my normal work completed (I gave up on that by friday morning – it was just too hard).  I’d like to say when I go in to work tomorrow morning that all I will have to do it move everything back, but, unfortunately, we are also, at some stage soon, having the entire building painted and re-carpeted.  I am having slight stress-outs about the whole process, but have so far not collapsed in a heap or burst into tears.

I haven’t had time to really miss all my other colleagues.  Which is probably a good thing.  I have had phone calls and emails and some visits from them so I’ve not been abandoned entirely.  When the library is all back in one piece and things have settled, I will “feel” the loss of my work buddies and be sad, but right now I don’t have time.

Anyway, the weekend was very, very welcome by the time it came around and although I had promised myself I wouldn’t spend money, I failed miserably and did exactly that.  After meeting up with a friend in the morning for a coffee and catch-up session, I drove over to my Mum’s as we had planned to go to a movie together.  Both of us were so tired and really not in the mood to go to a noisy shopping centre and deal with people and lining up for a movie etc.  So we piked on that idea and decided to just go op-shopping and then back to my house for dinner and a DVD.  Bliss!  So much better to be comfy at home and chill out with cups of tea and a good movie.  Mum has been planning and designing her garden – she’s been painting little models of the plants she wants so she can have them standing up on the design plans, to show what they will look like as you look over the garden.  Smart huh?  And how pretty are her little painted models?

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And the op-shopping!  Oh Lord, the op-shopping!  You can do a lot of damage to your purse over the course of an hour in a good op-shop!  Yesterday was no exception.  I was looking for some nice knits – cardigans and jumpers and tops – and boy did I find them!  I ended up buying seven.  Ridiculous!  I have nowhere to fit them all so have had to have a bit of a cull this morning of my old stuff (time for a clear-out anyway, I’m starting to look like a bag lady).  The knits I found were in such good condition (which can sometimes be hard to find where 2nd hand knits are concerned) and in lovely colours and styles.  I got stripes ( I have a thing for stripes…I blame it on Tim Burton) and plains, studded details and interesting necklines.  Anyway, this is what my couch looked like when I brought them all home…

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I also bought a few magazines and a little plastic bead box (only 75c and I can never have enough bead storage).  I found a cute little salt shaker for a dollar – it is just right for storing some of my little beads and will look pretty on the shelf with all my others jars…

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I also went a bit crazy with scarves…I’d already gotten two on Ebay this week (couldn’t find any in the shops I liked) – an animal print one and a butterfly-patterened one :

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…and then Mum found two pretty ones in the op-shop that I really liked (if I’m truthful she went “Oh, these are nice!” and I sorta-maybe-kinda snatched them up for myself – hey, it’s every man for himself when you’re op-shopping!  She stopped me feeling too guilty by grabbing a photo frame I had spotted, so we’re even now) :

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…how cute is the cat one?  And I love polka dots, plus that magenta colour is awesome 🙂

I had a quick look at the jewellery section to see if there were any nice beads…found this bracelet made with heavy glass beads (love the purple) so I bought it too:

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So, all in all, a pretty successful day.  My purse may be a tad on the light side now, but I didn’t really spend that much, all things considered (a heck of a lot less than I would have spent in a shop selling new stuff) and it was a nice way to spend a couple of hours, instead of moving furniture and bookshelves.  I’ve done some gardening this morning and hoovered the house, done a couple of loads of laundry and washed the dishes.  That’s enough housework for one day.  If I’m feeling energetic I should go for a walk later (was supposed to go this morning with a friend but she had to cancel) but I can see that not happening.  It’s cold and miserable outside – better to stay indoors and do some crafting or, if I’m sensible, some ironing (how does one person accumulate so many baskets of ironing???). I should also be completing my tax return (ugh!) and sorting out my divorce papers (double ugh!) but I am procrastinating on both.  Neither fills me with joy or happiness, and I think things like that should be avoided…although I really did mean to get the divorce stuff sorted this week – just ran out of time and kept working late each day.

Hope you are having a good weekend, doing whatever you enjoy doing most 🙂  I don’t suggest filling out divorce papers OR tax returns.
Filling your tummy would be far more acceptable – go eat a cookie (on me) 🙂

Small Accomplishments (Hey, I’ll take what I can get!)

Small Accomplishments (Hey, I’ll take what I can get!)

Howdy folks!  It’s the start of another week and the year is just flying by.  It seems that each week gets shorter and shorter and in no time at all it will be Christmas again.  I had wanted to achieve so much by the middle of the year, but it is already past that and I am no closer to my goals.  But, with four months until the end of the year, maybe I still have time to accomplish some things.

This weekend just gone I managed to complete one thing that had been on my to-do list since, ahem, February: I got my hair cut.  I am terrible at getting regular trims – I just don’t do it.  I don’t even think about it and when I do, it always seems like there is something better to spend my money on (always the cheapskate).  However, this time, the slowly-spreading tide of grey in my hair made it impossible for me to ignore the chop any longer.  I wanted it to be a bit shorter so it would be easier to dye (and also cheaper – God, I really AM a cheapskate!) and I had liked it last time I got it cut so I made the appointment and made the commitment to go.  I coloured it as soon as I got home – the grey had to go!  What do you think?

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The weather has been lovely over the last few days – still cold inside but beautiful sunny weather outside.  Perfect for getting the dreaded washing done (another tick on my list – there is only so much you can hang on an airer in your lounge room…sheets and towels really need a good sunny day to get dry) and for soaking up some Vitamin D.  I had a delicious lunch out with my best friend and we had a nice catch-up over a cup of tea at my house.  We don’t get to see each other much due to family and work commitments, so it was great to spend some time together.

I managed to get a little bit of crafting done.  I have some orders to get done for my lovely friend K who has always been my biggest supporter, in terms of my jewellery work.  She left a bag of beads at my door a couple of weeks ago, with a list of what she wanted me to make from it, plus some instruction for fixing a couple of things for her that had broken (she will insist on wearing everything in the swimming pool or in the ocean and they don’t hold up well to that sort of activity).  She’s probably reading this right now – hello K! *waves*  She had bought a large turquoise bead to make a necklace for her friend with.  I made this one in a similar style to one I had made for K earlier:

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Next up was an “ethnic”-inspired necklace using a large, yellow Nepalese bead she had bought ages ago.  I paired it with some similar amber beads and a couple of turquoise ones I bought a while back.  Hope she likes it:

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K had also left me some lovely red coral beads, which she wanted made into a bracelet.  That was easy enough (and there’s plenty left over so I will make something else for her too…):

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I did try and make some cards much I am still struggling with that for some reason.  I just can’t get my groove back, with regards to cards.  I’m hoping it’s just the cold weather (I blame everything on that…) and that when Spring comes I will be inspired and able to make some nice cards.  I did complete one, but I don’t like it at all so I’m not going to show you!

Today was a work day so no crafting for me.  We had a fire drill in the afternoon which was actually pretty organised and we all got a pat on the back for doing what we were supposed to do in an emergency.  I am a deputy fire warden – I am not good at being forceful with people but everyone got out when I told them to and no one got cranky at me for sounding the air horn (bloody awful things they are!).  Other than that, an uneventful day (the kind I like!).

I did take time out to go for a walk around town in my lunch break and I just happened to find myself in an op-shop, looking for beads (like I need any more!).  
I couldn’t resist these beautiful acid-green ones:

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…or these pretty little glass ones that look like ice chips :

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…there was also a couple of bracelets for 50c that had some interesting beads on them:

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My main reason for going out was to get up off my butt and get away from my desk.  I am bad at taking breaks – sometimes I just eat lunch at my desk, sometimes I forget lunch altogether or have it at some ridiculous time.  I am trying desperately to lose some weight and I have not been exercising at all lately.  I blame it (again) on the cold weather but really I am just lazy and a bit of a hermit.  I have now filled my fridge and freezer with healthy foods, lots of fruit and veggies so I have no excuse for being a heifer and snacking on “bad” things.  I need to say “no thank you” to the food that is constantly being offered at work.  No to the Monday chai latte from the coffee van.  No to the afternoon cookie break.  No to the sweets and in-between-meals snacking.  Boy, that is a lot of “No’s”!  I used to be a lot bigger than I am now (like, A LOT bigger) and I do not want to go down that path again.  It’s so hard though and I am an emotional eater so food is a bit of a friend / enemy for me.  Anyway, I am going to try hard to be good 90% of the time, with a few treats here and there, and try and walk every day.  This is the plan.  I have no excuse and I have given myself until the end of the year to lose 3-5kg.  You are my witnesses!  Be kind if I fail 🙂

Hope you accomplished lots of what you wanted to get done today.  If not, there’s always tomorrow – that “to-do” list will still be there! 

x

Workin’ up (beads) of sweat…

Workin’ up (beads) of sweat…

It was a lovely sunny day in Perth today – nice and breezy but still hot out in the sun.  I went for an early morning walk with my pal A.M. and got some exercise in (I went out to dinner last night – seriously needed to walk THAT off!).  We had a good catch up and gossip and did a fair bit of walking, working up a sweat (which is gross, let’s face it, but supposedly good).  A.M. is currently house-sharing with my soon-to-be-ex-hubby and it was good to get someone else’s perspective on living with him!  She’s in a new relationship herself and it was so nice to hear that she’s happy and doing well, being supported emotionally and looked after as she should be.  I try not to be jealous of that – mostly I am just happy she’s happy ’cause she is pretty awesome 🙂

The rest of the day was spent crafting up a storm.  I sometimes feel like my home is a sweatshop…a happy little sweatshop though!  I have lots and lots of jewellery orders to get done and I am a bit behind on them, so wanted to get lots done today to reduce my backlog a little bit.  My friend K has pages and pages of stuff ordered so I tried to knock a few of her requests off the list so she won’t be waiting too long for it all.  I feel rested and revived after a day of crafting, whether it be card-making or jewellery or anything else creative.  Just hanging out at home on my own with the stereo on, or some daggy dvds that I’ve watched a million times (it was “Cry Baby” today – love it, can’t stop humming the tunes now), restores my spirit and revitalises me, ready for the week ahead.

So…here’s what I made for K today.  She had bought a few different beads she wanted me to use so I had to incorporate them where I could.  I hope she likes what I’ve done.  Some of them were a little bit tricky as they were beads that would normally be strung rather than have a headpin through them.
For instance, these turquoise “spikes”…

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…I had to create a fiddly figure-of-eight attachment for them, which had me cursing a little bit but worked in the end.  I looped the tiger tail wire through the crimping beads and clamped them in nice and tightly, snipping the rough ends off.  I then made them into earrings with some wooden beads.  I think they look ok!

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Next up, I made a necklace and earring set using the beads I bought a couple of weeks ago. K had wanted some yellow beaded items to go with a bright yellow dress she has.  Hopefully she likes the yellow and orange combo!

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Next on the agenda, K had given me some tiger-eye beads to use in necklaces and earrings.
I thought they would look good with wooden beads and I happened to have a couple of tiger eye beads of my own as well to help the design along…I’m pleased with the result and think it looks ok (hope K thinks the same!)

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I had made a bracelet featuring black and pearl beads for K before – now she wanted a matching set of earrings and a necklace (as you do!).  So I whipped them up as quickly as possible so I could move on to the next thing.

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I made a purple and black onyx pair of earrings…

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…a red coral pair…

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…and onyx, glass, wood and coral necklace…

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…this simple pair using some multicoloured beads K provided…

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…a black, shell and quartz (? I’m guessing here – K provided these hard-to-use chips…I think they’re quartz but I’m no geologist!)…

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…a pair of pretty earrings using these beads K gave me.  They remind me of eyeballs or frog spawn!

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…similar beads, different look with ceramic leaves added…

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…and last, but not least – black, wooden and coral beaded earrings…

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So I was a busy little bee today.  Feeling accomplished and satisfied that I got a lot done.  I even did my washing, walked down to buy groceries (twice – I forgot to take my purse the first time – duh!) and made dinner.  I did, however, forget that I was supposed to be working on a report for tomorrow at work – whoops!  Better get on to that now…or make a cup of tea…or another pair of earrings? 🙂

Hope you’ve had a great weekend x