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  ūüôā

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!¬† ūüôā 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¬† ūüôā

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 Рthat 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!

ScrapHappy July: Paper Scraps

I really love this scrap happy thing! I don’t always join in, in fact this is only the second time I’ve made it – but I often finish things as a result of seeing what comes by………..

Two days ago, in search of something else, I emptied a pile of papers from my scrap drawer and searching through the leftover-unfinished-discarded pieces

I unearthed these – all patched up and ready to go

paper patchwork

I remembered finding these left over papers – years old – and thinking them terribly unattractive had been about to consign them to the bin when I decided to challenge myself and make ’em into something useful. I’d cut and layered and patched and doodled and still not really liked them very much. Then I’d had a wee flash from ye olde lightbulb and whipped out some black card and white lacy washi tape and voila! You can tart dress anything up with a bit of lace can’t you? But then they had been consigned back into the drawer again, covered over with succeeding layers of half finished items, discarded left overs and assorted bits and bobs…….

Feeling rather pleased with this find and knowing ScrapHappy was due, I decided to finish off these poor neglected scraps. Barely half an hour later, three notecards and one greeting card completed

Perfect for a patchworker or quilter or seamstress or anybody really. And I was so pleased when I put together that sentiment on the greeting card – it’s a universal metaphor isn’t it?

Join in with Kate and all the other ScrapHappy artisans here or just go look, admire and be inspired.

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

October Went By In a Blur ……

Time is shooting past isn’t it.¬† Danella, aka The Official Photographer, went back into hospital and finally, almost eleven months after the initial accident had all the screws,¬† broken and entire, removed from her leg.¬† The steel plates however are left in.

Due to the extraordinarily long wait period, Danella was booked into a private hospital.  We reported to Mercy Hospital  at 9 am on the 21st and she was  checked in and ready to go off with her handsome American surgeon within the hour.

I received a call from said handsome American surgeon an hour and a half later, immediately following the surgery and given full details of what had been done.¬† We had a prolonged and congenial discussion about whether he was a surgeon or a car mechanic after he described having difficulty getting one of the screws out from behind the metal plate and having to use his screwdriver to ‘ping it up’.

It was an almost shocking juxtaposition from the event a year earlier when the Dunedin Hospital had lost my daughter for two hours and no-one could tell me where she was or what was happening to her, followed by the lack of communication over what had been done to her in surgery.

I was incredibly impressed with the quality of care and attention given by the nursing staff at Mercy and by the calm, serene ambience of the reception and the ward.¬† ¬†She was well tended to by her nurse throughout the day and I was encouraged to be there, and¬† be fully¬† informed throughout the process.¬† By 4 pm that day I was driving Danella back home and tucking her in.¬† Within two days she was up and about and caring totally for herself and was back at work a week later, having been at my place the day before cleaning my hard to reach windows.¬† ūüôā¬† It was, all in all, a really great experience.¬† I do love it when life serves us up the very best possible outcome and puts bells on it too.

We’ve been enjoying some lovely weather.¬† ¬†Siddy and I took it into out heads to take an extra walk in the evenings as dusk was falling and the streets were a bit quieter so he could practise his off leash walking.¬† Orlando took it into his head to come with us, each night coming a little further.¬† So there we were last night, all three of us, heading off for a stroll round the block.

I say ‘stroll’, but the thing that got me was that the puppy became quite serious when he saw that the cat stayed with him.¬† He didn’t stop to pick up or leave messages as usual, but trotted along, not deviating from the path as is his usual style, as if he needed to get his kitty back home safely as soon as possible.¬† The kitty trotted along just behind Siddy, tail held high and clearly not bothered.¬† I was quite puffed as we completed the block in record time.¬† ¬†I’m kind of hoping it doesn’t become a regular occurrence and I kind of wished The Official Photographer could have accompanied us, it must have been quite a sight.

I’m still managing to create at least one card every day and a series gets completed in about three days.¬† Here’s a few of them.¬† I do love my owlsimg_20181011_163128.jpgThese are fun and will appeal to certain people in my circle of friends and familydavThis one isn’t a card, I made it for me to put on the fridge just to remind me I don’t need to buy any more crafting supplies – I gave myself an intervention¬† ūüôā¬† ¬†I’m not sure if it’s worked…..davI designed a Christmas card and blinged them up with an increasing amount of diamantes and glitter, which you can’t see here, but believe me they sparkle and shine¬† – these are just the first two, there’s several more….davThen, with the next series, the pets got in on the actimg_20181022_091111.jpgSomewhere along the line I found some unused inky splatter backgrounds and added these gnomes to them¬† – this made me happy!¬† They are so useless and cute and I must make moredavdavdavdavAnd to finish a design still in process¬†davThat’s it, that’s October almost done and dusted.¬† Is it seven weeks til Christmas?

Here’s Siddy getting his aunty Jo’s bed ready for her Christmas visit.¬† If you look closely you might catch a glimpse of his ‘Superdog’ harness.¬† He’s looking a little porky on account of too many treats, so not really capable of flying ………¬†davThanks for coming by today, I love that you did.

Handcrafting Happiness

Well my friends, March disappeared in a puff of smoke, snap, just like that and the first week of April has also hiked through pretty quickly.

I crocheted with my beautiful Corriedale Yarns  and formed the first Persian Tile after a couple of false starts just getting the colour relationships right

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With one down fifteen to go, I decided to streamline things and am now forming four tiles at a time

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If you read last weeks post you might remember I mentioned the colour of the pink yarn wasn’t showing properly – it looked red, here you see it actual shade – isn’t it stunning set alongside those blues!

I’ve been playing with my coloured pencils, my alcohol ink pens, distress inks and various other bits and pieces and making more cards.¬† Having a stash of cards to meet all possible festive occasions, or just to send little notes to friends, is never a bad thing.

I worked on some I had started earlier and felt needed a bit more work – it’s important they look as finished as possible.¬†¬†These three are made using embossing folders and inks to achieve deeply textured, yet simple card fronts.¬† I need to make more that are suitable for giving to the male of the species.

These next two are the same idea, just bigger.  The textured background is inked and  silhouettes made from die cuts added.  A bit of bling and I have two A5 cards ready to go

dav

Using my Spectrum Noir colour pencils and Gamsol – which is a brand of odourless spirits – two more cards were produced.¬† The Gamsol acts as a blending agent with the colours and also can be used to blur the lines slightly, softening the effect, though I’m not that sure that I like it personally

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And this one, which like the last card above, was photographed in its cellophane jacket, hence the slightly blurred and muted aspect – sorry about that.

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Then I moved on to produce a couple of A6 size cards made with alcohol ink pens on Distress inked backgrounds

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Again a Distress Ink background with a die cut house.  The girl is stamped  and fussy cut and attached with foam dots slightly off-set from the background.  IMG_20180405_094442.jpg

I’m enjoying the vibrancy of the alcohol ink pens and plan on doing more cards with them.¬† Though really, I can’t say why I’m making all these cutesie girly cards – maybe I’m pining for my lost youth¬† ūüôā¬† (Where did I put him?)¬† ¬†All I can say is it’s a good way to bring myself back into using these different mediums and finding my feet again so to speak.¬† ¬†I’m hoping I’ll be feeling ready to make originals again soon.

If you have a favourite, I’d love to know.

And of course, we celebrated Siddy’s fourth birthday on the 4th day of the 4th month – most assuredly an auspicious occasion!

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

 

Crafting Again…

There’s activity in the happy making room again …¬† well, I shouldn’t say ‘again’ in some ways it didn’t really stop.¬† I made lots of cards there for a bit, but forgot to take photos of any of them except this one, which kind of reminds me of Siddy and so I kept it

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But there’s been some playing with beads going on

A few new light catchers are emerging – I’m playing with odd colour combinations to see what happens.

Also, somewhere along the line I had decided to make a concerted effort to rid myself, or at least make a serious dent in, the cupboard full of of left over and unused yarns that have been accumulated over the past two decades.  I had been on the lookout for an idea or inspiration and then happened to mention it to Nana Cathy who sent me over to Coastal Crochet and voila!  The perfect thing for me and, at just nine weeks behind,  I caught up in two weeks.  As you can see my yarn cupboard holds many different shades and hues of blue and even that green has a blue thread running through it РI have no clue how that grape colour got in there!

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It’s a slow project, the designer Eleonora is adding just 4 or so rows every week, leaving plenty of time for other creative projects to continue too.¬† Which is really good, because on arriving home from my Blogging Babes Reunion and collecting a bag of mail from my lovely neighbour I found it included two big letters.

One, from The Wool Company, contained a catalogue and a gift voucher and a note saying to do nothing until I received an explanatory letter….. and the other from¬†my friend who blogs, Jan, over at The Snail of Happiness containing the explanatory letter and a ‘Persian Tiles’ crochet pattern

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Jan explained she had seen a comment I had left on a mutual friends blog who was making the Persian Jewels blanket, that if I lived in the UK I’d be definitely buying that kit to make up and she decided that not living in the UK was no reason to not be able to make my own ……

You can see why I wax eloquent about the joys of blogging right?¬† ¬†I am once again made speechless by the kindness, love and generosity heaped on my tiny head by fabulous people!!¬† I sat in silence for a long time reading and rereading Jan’s letter and looking at the note from The Wool Company, then I packed it all up and drove off to my daughter’s place and showed her and we both sat in silence and revelled in the wonder of having wonderful friends, met purely through blogging.

A week passed by while I looked and considered colour options, eventually this is what I chose – it’s 100% NZ Corriedale wool, 8 ply from The Wool Company

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Aren’t those just the best colours!¬† Though that red hank is not red, it’s ‘Azalea’ a bright pink.¬† There are seven different colours and as soon as I have finished wrangling those 200g hanks into giant balls I will begin to crochet my first square – I can’t wait to get it underway!

You know it is going to be mostly blue don’t you¬† ūüôā

Jan you are brilliant and thoughtful and kind and I am so happy to have you as a friend – thank you so much!!

And to finish, here’s a shot I took of Siddy and two of his favourite admirers having coffee a couple of weeks back – I wonder what they are talking about …..

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That’s what I’m up to, I’ll be back with more in a week or so.¬† What are you making right now?

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

 

I Wonder Where Summer Went?

She was here for a couple of days earlier in the month, Lady Summer, but seems to have given way to a resurgent and surly Winter who still has something to say.

I used to call the city where I live ‘The Riviera of Antarctica’. ¬†I had good reason for doing so, low rainfall in the extremes of the year and high sunshine hours too. ¬† ¬†Lately though it seems we have been upgraded and now reside as the Capital of Antarctica.

There were, I was told a couple of days ago, four cruise ships coming into harbour to dispel their thousands of well-heeled patrons into our fair city to enjoy a day or two of Southern Hospitality. ¬†(Please bear in mind I don’t read the papers or listen to the radio so all my gossipy news is picked up at the dog park, where I loiter around with a mismatch of folk while our pets chase each other round in ever decreasing circles in an attempt to keep warm. ¬†So I may get actual facts slightly wrong.) ¬† Anyway, they picked the wrong day to arrive. ¬†For a ‘Weather Bomb’ also chose this time to put in an appearance.

Apparently old man Winter was really p***ed off about something and he hurled a few icicles our way along with torrential rain and winds that drove the rain horizontally against the landscape. ¬† I spent yesterday with the heating on, tucked in a blanket watching the one hundred videos saved to my ‘watch later’ tab on You Tube and pretending I lived in the far north of Canada where I was enjoying a really pleasantly mild winter.

I have no idea what happened to the hundreds of well-heeled tourists, but I imagine they retreated back to their cruise liners and waited patiently to be taken to a more salubrious part of the world.  I did hear that one of the ships, an especially large one which sometimes has trouble making port due to time and tides and its immense size, nearly keeled over in the wind, but that might just be an unfounded rumour.

Just bear all this in mind if you ever meet somebody who says they went to New Zealand one summer, had a cold and miserable time and the hurricane level winds almost caused their gigantic ship to capsize. They were probably on that particular liner.

Any way, with all this inclement summer weather I’ve spent a deal of time playing about in the art room and trying to find my painting mojo again.

I made cards. ¬†I cleaned up and cleared out THE STASH…. ¬†We crafters never throw anything away because it ¬†can be used on something, somewhere, one day. ¬†I have stuff I’ve kept for ten years or more and, as I’ve cleared out everything else in my tiny house, it’s now time to clear out some of the ‘someday stuff’ that makes up a lot of THE STASH. ¬†I figure that if I live to be 100 and make a card every day, I still won’t have used up all the stuff lurking about in that pile of ‘someday I might be just what you are looking for’ ¬†stuff. ¬†So, I used a lot¬†teeny bit of that stuff on the cards I made, which slowed me down no end and made me realise why I’d never actually used it up before. ¬† I’d spend so much time sifting through piles of stuff I’d forget¬†what I wanted it for by the time I found it.

To be honest, I was also prevaricating. ¬†Delaying the actual moment when I would start work on an actual canvas……. ¬†it’s always so terrifying for me – I wonder if it is so for every other person who paints.

Any -hoo, back to the cards, here’s a selection of cards ready for next Christmas ¬†– made using the same embossing folder and different paper remnants, some worked, some didn’t……

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

The onto the stash scraps and bits and pieces.  Small note cards to start

Hisilicon K3

Large greeting cards, all made using my hand made papers and various ‘stash’ items

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

In between card making I spent some time acting as Chief Consultant and Shopping Assistant to my daughter, the Official Photographer who is doing up her new flat and who had decided she wanted a ‘pinkish’ bedroom.

We made the headboard and used that as the jumping off point for what ever came next. ¬†While we were busily attending to the fiddly bits, young Sidd-Arthur was also busy making sure the bed was nice and comfortable for her…… that’s his rear end you are looking at

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Furiously digging his way through duvet, sheets and pillows

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Thoroughly rumpled and immensely satisfied

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Sigh!  So funny!  Pure gorgeous furriness!

I managed some sketching. ¬†The last two while I was keeping warm and indulging in that ‘Watch Later’ channel on You Tube I mentioned earlier

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

The birds got doodled in when I tired of sketching in wrinkles…..

And finally – I have to tell you – finally, I did some work on canvas…….. it’s not finished yet, but it’s a good start. ¬†Oh the relief!!

Unfinished 'Believe'

Unfinished ‘Believe’

So, that’s January up to date. ¬†How’s your January going?

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