About thecontentedcrafter

Hello from New Zealand! The Contented Crafter is my blog containing random thoughts on every thing from the weather to the meaning of life, occasional mixed media creations, bead work, handwork and tales about a cat named Orlando and a puppy called Siddy. Swing by and say 'Hi' ......... I love to make new friends!

Today We Are Six

Siddy turns six years old today.
I’d forgotten til I looked at the calendar this morning …. Luckily dogs don’t take too much notice of the passing of time – unless they are waiting for treats that is……

As I prepared this small post in praise of my little companion it struck me that here is the very reason why everybody should have a dog – and most especially those of us who live alone. This guy, named (in case you never knew or may have forgotten) after the prince who became the Buddha, Siddhartha, because the day I first met him and held him in my arms he settled in peaceably, gazing up at me and the woman said “Oh, he looks like a little Buddha there in your arms.” And I thought ‘well, that can’t be a bad thing!’ And he really has enriched every day of my life since.

He takes me walking not once but most often twice every day and makes people smile at us as we walk along. He reminds me what time it is when I lose myself in my art or craft or a good book. Treat time, play time, dinner time……. He pays attention to every move I make and needs me always to be kind. He tells me when someone is approaching my gate, when the postie is at the box, when certain cars pull up outside. He makes sure I cuddle something warm and furry several times a day and that I laugh out loud regularly. He asks that my eyes soften at least three times every day as I tell him what a good and super little fellow he is and he makes me aware that right now is the best time to be doing whatever it is we are doing.

Baby Siddy – taken the day we met, the day he stole my heart…

Siddy six weeks old
July 2014 Siddy takes me to the beach
October 2014 – In need of a hair cut

Almost a year into our relationship Siddy was temporarily deserted when his mumma took off to the US for a couple of weeks to visit with some blogging pals and Siddy spent his first birthday with his second favourite person, Danella. He missed his mum though

Luckily, by this time he was good friends with his kitty

But after that we settled into a routine of simple daily life, interspersed with a few adventures. And so the years have passed on by.

There’s treat time

and cheese time

And mumma time

Siddy still brings joy to every day, loves people more than other dogs and is just managing to survive lockdown – but only just….

Right now I’ve never been more grateful to have this little fellow in my life. He still bounds out of bed every morning, comes at me like a wriggling torpedo, tail waggling his whole body. Good morning, good morning! Let’s have breakfast. Let’s go for a walk. Let’s have at this day!

When I feel the anxiety rising I can look at him and know right here, right now, everything is actually alright. There are things to do, fetches to be fetched, growled at, tossed about. Cuddles to be had. Treats to be entreated for. Comings and goings to be observed out the window. Naps to be taken. Mealtimes to line up for. A spot of hoovering to be done when there is food preparation going on in the kitchen. And sleepy time comes every evening. A kiss, a cuddle and a carry to bed because when a boy is just too tired to make it there himself, his mumma can help out……. All is well in Siddy’s world and therefore in mine.

Happy Birthday Siddy ❤

Thanks for coming by today, we love that you did!

March 29 1970

Three weeks after my estimated due date my first daughter was born. She chose Easter Sunday morning to make her appearance, though I had laboured with her since the afternoon of Good Friday. She was a reluctant enterer to the world. But with her porcelain round face, shock of dark curly hair and large blue eyes that never left mine, she took my breath away.

From the first moment I held her and looked into her eyes I was lost. Right there and then I experienced a wave of love that was so totally unexpected it impressed itself into my memory as I saw I held a little soul about to begin her own journey through life.

The feeling, the thought, the moment, was so profound I have never forgotten it. The words of Khalil Gibran were running through my head while her blue eyes looked deeply into mine. I swear she sent me those words to help get me through the early years of parenting when I had so much to learn and made so many mistakes.

Your children are not your children

They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself

They come through you but not from you

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you……

Khalil Gibran


In those early months I would often lay my little baby on our bed while I changed her nappies and her little hands would reach for my old childhood walkie talkie doll that was gifted to me at the age of three by my aunt and sat atop a dresser in the corner of our bedroom.. After a while I began to lay the doll beside her while I worked and tried to imagine a time when she would be bigger than the doll, so big nappies would no longer be required, how big in a year, five years ….. How big would she get? It was hard to imagine this perfect little baby growing up even though I understood she would.

Six months old September 5th 1070

Her love for animals was obvious right from the start. There are tons of photos of Jo with cats and dogs, but this one is a special favourite

Joanna and her Birdie

Love seemed to be a thing that exuded from her, her baby sister arrived and it was love at first sight

Danella, Joanna, Pauline

While mumma looked after the new baby, Joanna practised on her teddy bear

Joanna and Teddy

And the mutual admiration society grew

Danella & Joanna
My babies

I think of those early days now when I see my first daughter and know who she is and how special she is and all her struggles and triumphs that have honed her and made her into a woman of grace and strength and beauty with just the teeniest bit of over the top geekdom to add spice…..

She’s hoping #10 will open the door….

Today, because neither her sister or I can be with her to celebrate this special birthday I’m celebrating her on this blog – and sharing with you all how much I love and admire this amazing little piece of grace who grew to become a woman of kindness, felicity and beauty

Happy Birthday Joanna

Love from mummy 🙂

Life Interrupted

I’m on a roll with my post titles 😀 Because yesterday the bottom fell out of my world.

Up to that point I felt I had some control over my world. That’s always a false assumption though isn’t it – we never have control over outer events. over other people, over the weather or anything really. Sometimes things roll quietly along and we believe we do. Then we hit the bumps like this one, more an unexpected canyon at the moment than a bump, but you know what I mean.

Yesterday, on our local Anniversary Day when everyone in Otago enjoys an extra day added to their weekend, New Zealand was given 48 hours notice that we are going into Lock Down.

I am so grateful to our government that they are acting as soon as they could in an attempt to contain the spread of this virus. But still it sent me into a mild fit of panic – I had to get some things done and now I knew, everyone else would be thinking the same.

Now I had no control over the timing of that announcement, I have no control over all the people who will now flood the stores and services to get their last minute things done, but I do have control over myself.

We are creatures of free will, that is our special gift, our super power. We are the ones who can look at an event and look at our own response to that event. We can step back from the fear, the sense of disempowerment, the annoyance that this or that option has suddenly fallen away.

We can take a moment, take a long slow deep breath – or several if that is required – and we can self assess. Where am I, right now? Am I safe, right now? What do I really need, right now?

Very often – most often – when we take these minutes to self assess and re-centre ourselves we realise that right now, in this very moment all is well with us.

The truth is if it isn’t, we are in action, we are dealing with the crisis, we are running from the tiger, lifting the car off our trapped child, lending a hand to someone else or being assisted by another person.

Fear is the enemy.

This is kind of my process when the bottom falls out of my world. I go through my process quietly – well mostly quietly sometimes there is another step that requires a bit of whining. Today was one of those times.

I am fortunate (I know I say that a lot, but it is true) I whine at my chosen listeners. My two daughters. They are experts now at hearing my whines and redirecting me. They shine lights and solve problems and steer me where I need to be steered. I retreat silently to lick my wounds and take a couple more deep breaths and – there I am. Back again in control of the only thing I can ever be in control of – me.

So this was my process earlier today.

I had raced out really early – breaking my self imposed isolation because in a few days time it is going to be my eldest daughters highly significant birthday and with the country about to go into lock down I did not want her to be without her birthday parcel. Her sister was to fly to Wellington to celebrate with her, but that cannot now happen. It made my quest even more urgent.

I had a plan. I was going straight to the courier depot at first light. I would be home again in ten minutes. I got to the depot and found a closed door with a sign ‘WE HAVE MOVED’ it proclaimed. With no further information!!

WHAT? I cried back at the locked door, where are you? But no one replied.

I climbed into my car and raced a couple of kilometres to the next courier depot. The car park was full. I carried on, ‘I’ll try the Post Office’ I said grimly to Siddy who was happily hanging his head out the window as I raced along, clearly enjoying the freezing cold southerly wind brushing up his whiskers. The parks in the vicinity of the Post Office were all filled, the cars still holding their drivers captive as the PO had not yet opened their doors and would not for a further half hour. I envisioned the mad rush when the doors did open and gloomily carried on homewards, my daughters birthday parcel still sitting equally as gloomily on the back seat.

At home I melted down. All I wanted to do was give my girl a bit of joy on a day that had changed so much for her.

I breathed deeply. I breathed some more. It helped, but didn’t bring me fully into myself. So I opened Messenger, hit our page and whined. I whined about not being able to send my package, I whined about how cold it is and I whined about not being able to place a grocery order online (because the store is overwhelmed with grocery orders)

My girls, champions that they are sprang into action. I was reminded that it wasn’t really that important – the parcel could arrive later quite easily. Danella would do any shopping required in a few days when things quietened down. We exchanged some thoughts about the effectiveness of wearing dust masks in public and whether looking like a tit was any compensation for indeterminate safety and agreed that scarves did as good a job, provided you weren’t mistaken for a bandit.

I was instructed to burn some essential oils, turn on the heating and make myself a lovely warm drink. Obediently I did all that, and enjoyed a hot chocolate in my special cup with frothed milk. I also listened to a brief talk by Eckhart Tolle and then put on some gentle music.

And now here I am – sharing my day so far with you and laughing at myself.

How has your day been?

Here’s Siddy, a photo taken a couple of days ago after his bath when he is all white and super fluffy and smelling delicious

Siddy March 2020

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you do!






Blogging Interrupted

When last you heard from me I was off to my daughter Danella’s place with Orlando and Siddy for a couple of weeks while the tiny house had some repairs done to it. Then, back home I had trouble with WP and accessing posts, liking and commenting and my own blog was quite elusive too. Any way, all resolved now. This all happened when Covid 19 was just a ‘thing’ that was happening far far away and, I was sure, like all ‘things’ would cause a bit of mad panic then die away…… Alas, I was wrong! But, we aren’t here yet, back to my story…..

Those two weeks stretched into three. We had a fun time staying with Danella. It felt a bit like I was holiday – except for Orlando spitting at George every time he moved and purring lovingly at everyone else.

Orlando being mean to George

However lucky Mr O’s personal servant took his personal watering can on holiday and so he made himself at home on Danella’s kitchen counter

Orlando and his drinking fountain

Then, just as O settled in and began to mind his manners he was moved back to his own home. He wasn’t very pleased for an hour or so, too many new smells – but he soon settled in.

Siddy of course didn’t mind where he was as long as his food bowl and mumma are close by, he’s a boy who enjoys life. Here he is, on one of our morning walks, on a mission, checking out his messages

Siddy

We went for some lovely morning walks and I took photos that I posted on Instagram. Here’s one for those of you who don’t indulge over there. I call it ‘The High Road’ It’s proper name is John Wilson Drive but I don’t know who John Wilson was and I’ve never quite gotten round to checking him out.

view towards the lookout

The road is wide and follows the crest of a hill. It is bollarded and closed to all traffic except between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm. Outside of those hours it is a haven for families and runners and dog walkers.

Chile is somewhere over that horizon

On one side is the expansive southern Pacific Ocean, with nothing between us and Chile and the other side sports the rolling green and patchy brown hills of a not very posh golf course where locals walk themselves and their dogs and both are given to unexpectedly clambering out of the undergrowth beside those of us wandering quietly along the high road minding our own business with a cheery ‘Good Morning!’.

the golf course

At the very end of the road there is a steepish hill we (that’s the royal ‘we’) puff our way up to the lookout point where we admire the view, take a photo and about face for the walk back.

At the Lookout

The view on the return journey looks across the beaches of St Kilda and St Clair, south towards the southern suburbs of Dunedin. It’s not terribly far from those hills to Antarctica – just a tad over 4000 km.

looking south

Siddy and I have continued to make the walk most mornings since our return home. It’s a brief five minute car ride to access all this beauty and fresh air, why wouldn’t we! Now that the days are growing shorter we can set off while it is still dark and get to the Lookout in time for an early sunrise photo.

7 am at the look out

So now, here we are at home. Our home is fixed and revamped and a pleasure to be in – something it wasn’t for a long time. I am both relieved and very, very happy. And if I have to self isolate I am happy to do it here in my safe, warm little home.

Take care, look after each other, look for the good in people and the world and remember that fear lowers our resistance to disease. Practise contentment, be grateful and let your eyes rest on beauty. Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did,

Creating Interrupted

I’m currently packing up my house for the re-building work that has to take place thanks to a sneaky, slow leaking hot water cylinder that has rotted out a large part of the floors in the utility rooms and possibly further areas as yet unidentified.

Several large and burly men from different trades have been through to identify their part in the reconstruction and renovation required. Almost all of them have stamped a big burly boot somewhere on the floor causing further collapse to occur, making it increasingly difficult for me to negotiate my way through my tiny house without twisting an ankle or inadvertently going completely upside down .

We won’t discuss here the amount of stress this has all caused, but we can celebrate the fact that Siddy, Orlando and I get a holiday with our dear Danella. None of us is sure how her kitty George will handle this influx, but time will tell.

George

Due to the need to move things from places of immediate danger – and the original idea that work would be started some four weeks ago – my makings room has been untenable for that amount of time. I rummaged through though and I’ve packed up a large amount of painting/crafting gear, a change of clothes and all the food, toys and etcetera that the furry chaps might need and we move on out today.

I found this as I was sorting through – it’s my version of Yoda in his forest. One of the few photos I’ve remembered to take of work in progress – it’s a bit blurry 🙂

The weather has been worse this summer than last – but here is a pic from a walk we took one day when the wind wasn’t howling and the rain had yet to tumble down

Taking the High Road Feb 2020

I don’t think I’ll be posting here much, but I am on Instagram as ‘contentedcrafter’ if you want to see what might go up there as the days pass by. I’d love you to join me there.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you do!

Surprise!!

Hello, hello!!  Are you still there?  Here I am – it’s only been four months and a couple or so weeks ….. Life got in the way of blogging, things happened, we got through it all and now I’m even back making again. 

Siddy is visiting his second favourite place today. He’s up at MudPuppy for his monthly beauty treatment and play date with his girls. My car is in the hospital having its own spa treatment and I have a whole day to myself.  So I thought I’d pop by and get this show on the road again.

While I’ve been gone I spent a couple of weeks sifting and sorting through my makings room.  I found stuff tucked away in drawers and cupboards and boxes that I never used because I couldn’t see them.  When you are a crafter it’s important to have the supplies out where you can see them isn’t it.  I discovered I have so much stuff it was overwhelming and I scarce knew where to begin.  I decided to start slow, to work my way through my stamp collection and to use as many supplies as humanly possible while I did so…….

Starting slow.  

A card for a friend who is plagued by lagomorphs in her garden plot.  I have a wicked and mean sense of humour and just wanted to send her something cute to alleviate her garden angst ……  She may not appreciate it, but I think it’s hilarious.  If you follow Lisa over at  https://arlingwords.wordpress.com you’ll know what I’m referring to.   (Good heavens, what’s happened to my ability to link to blogs?)

I’m still making starry night sky backgrounds – they are satisfying way of playing with all kinds of inks and sparkly stuff, there are bunny dies and word dies and that leafy surround is also a die.  Finished off with some faux grass I found tucked away in a drawer

Not a card, a pen and ink and glitter making for an old client who needs some cheering. It measures 24 x 21 cm.

Llamas have replaced owls as my new fad for fun cards. I started with plain Llamas and dressed them up. One stamp, two cards ……….

This first one is an A4 card, Ms Llama sports a jaunty turban, stylish neckwear and a begemmed blanket and the card is strewn with gold leaf flakes and various sparkly facets that add to the necessary gorgeousness of it all.

The second, a smaller A5 card utilised some of the shiny cardstock in the stash, a larger turban and just as much bling

I think 2020 is going to be a year of sparkle and bling…….

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did.

Catching Up in September

Well hello there – it’s been a while hasn’t it.  Two months since my last post and I’m amazed that there are still new folk following and liking and even reading – thank you so much and welcome, I’m very happy you are all here  🙂

So, please bear with and I’ll give you a quick catch-up and then it’s done and we won’t refer to it ever again.  And if you just want to see what I’ve been making, just scroll down past all these many words to the photos – I won’t mind at all.

Because I have to admit this past winter has been a tough one for me – you know we have times when it’s not all roses and lollipops even though there seems to be no particular reason for it being that way.  So it was this winter.  It’s not that it was particularly cold – it wasn’t. July was the warmest on record and while I don’t know yet about August, the icy Antarctic winds that hit were pretty chilly, so maybe that lowered temps overall.  It wasn’t particularly wet either, no flooding so far this year.  But it was grey, endlessly grey and I don’t do well without blue skies and sunlight.  I simply felt extremely tired and unmotivated.

And it was a shock when my dearest and oldest friend, an active and robustly healthy woman, was abruptly diagnosed with breast cancer and had a radical mastectomy.  (So far so good, she has radiation treatment beginning soon, we feel positive!)

And then there was the personal issues going on.  I have a heart issue, it’s nothing new I’ve had it for over twenty years and I manage it very well usually. But it gave me some problems in the lead up to my significant birthday earlier this month and for a while I doubted I was going to make it – but then I did.  So that was good!  🙂 I have an excellent homeopath and she helped me get to the root cause and cleared the path to recovery with well prescribed therapies and I got on and did my own personal therapy.  I had lost my last surviving sibling, my next youngest brother abruptly, five days after my last birthday.  I found I was still mourning him and mourning all that we had, all five of us, gone through together.  I was/am literally, the last one standing to bear witness.  I had to let it all go, it was time. So, that’s my work and I’m doing it.

On top of all this I was having ongoing issues with being online – such a first world problem!! it was I thought initially, an issue with my wireless keyboard.  So aged and well used the letters had all disappeared from the keys and typing was done by guesswork alone.  It’s connection was erratic and odd things happened when I was online so a new keyboard was purchased.  But the issue got worse.  I announced to whoever was listening in at the time that Google Chrome was about to be replaced by a more reliable search engine – and voila!  An announcement that an urgent update and reboot was imminent was delivered on-screen within minutes and all has been well ever since.  You can’t tell me there isn’t a little man living in there listening to my every word  🙂

I celebrated my seventieth birthday quietly, in the company of my delightful daughters and with welcome interactions with friends both nearby and far away.  It was a lovely way to spend a few days and I was quietly pleased that I had broken another immediate inherited taboo – that of living past the age of 69.  Onwards and upwards!

So, that’s the catch up.  Everything is fine and better than fine and spring is here.  Despite all the challenges and the lack of painting, I have sometimes mucked about with inks and pencils and stamps and dies and made some bits and bobs.  I even did some card designing and worked away with greater and lesser success at some Christmas cards.  If you have a favourite do let me know….

(PS I don’t know why I always have a shadow at the bottom of the photos – clearly I’m doing something wrong, but can’t figure out what – so once again apologies for the less than stellar photography level and if you have a tip I’d be grateful if you wanted to share it)

I started with some luggage tags.  I like these, they are fun and make great gifts.

I had purchased some dies and played around with them. The idea is to use my own papers as backings, only one is in use in this trial collection

Next it was time to start designing this years Christmas card. I started with not a lot of a clue – but thought the one on the left which uses a die of Santa and his favourite reindeer had potential

This came next

Swiftly followed by

Then I threw in a bit of Siddy with offerings

And finally, a couple of days ago I thought I’d better get Santa up off his butt and into the air

It’s a bit meh! but you never know where it will lead. And I have some more to show you too – but it’s been a long catch-up. So I’ll save my favourites for next time. If you stuck with me, thank you. Now, how about you, how are you? How’s things at your place, do share – and if I’ve missed anything, I hope to be popping in soon to catch up.

Oh, and just in case you need a bit of cute – here’s Siddy and his favourite reindeer wondering if anybody mentioned ‘elevenses’ ………………

And as always, thanks so much for coming by, I love that you did!