Back On-Line Again

Surely there’s a song in that title – the closest my in-head song repertoire is coming up with is Willie Nelson et al being ‘Back on the Road Again’  – can you do any better?  Share a link in the comments if you can.

It’s been an interesting few months – regular readers and friends on Facebook have the gist of it, with a lot of falling over that began at the end of October (me) and continued on at the end of November (YD) dealing with the results of those, Deep Vein Thrombosis (me) and breaks and fractures (YD) –  interspersed with losses and Christmas and slow healing and excessive and unusual heat, plus thunderstorms and downpours more suited to the tropics than the Riviera of Antarctica…….  and let’s not forget a laptop that completely gave up the ghost on Christmas Day followed soon after by a mobile that went out in sympathy leaving me briefly but entirely devoid of any contact with the outside world.

When life goes south on you it is always a wonderful opportunity to become mindful of how many ways you are loved and supported.  We have had many opportunities to be mindful and grateful.  At the top of my list is my eldest daughter who dropped her life and flew in to care for her sister for the first week she was home from hospital.  And when my phone was declared deceased immediately funded a new one.  Second is the phenomenal rallying around and support offered to YD by her friends and work place as she recovers and after 50 days at home begins to take her first tentative steps back into the world in a moon-boot.

Next comes my phenomenally generous and kind ‘friend who blogs’ the amazing Alys over at Gardening Nirvana who sent a note that left me speechless along with the money for a new lap top.   I was left silent and humbled in the face of such powerful generosity of spirit!

I’m also grateful for an understanding of therapies and foods that feed the body and soul and hasten healing.  I’m grateful for the ability to look at incidents like this and see a bigger picture.  I’m happy that YD and I can laugh at ourselves and support each other even if it is like a couple of old crocks.

But my goodness after almost three months of on and off trauma I was tired out and so was poor Siddy – he has been so busy with visiting and caring and helping out, his little eyes just droop as soon as we get to a ‘sitting’ or ‘waiting’ part of the day.  We were both longing for a day at home in cooler temperatures.  And today we got our wish at last.  Good things ALWAYS arrive if you are patient enough!

So here we are – to say ‘Happy New Year’ even if it is three weeks late and to thank you all for those comments, emails and messages that have kept me buoyed up and forward looking even on days when I wasn’t.

The tiny courtyard garden has thrived this summer and in a few quiet moments we have enjoyed visiting it no matter the weather or time of day.  This was us taking a short break one evening just before getting the hose out ……..

Siddy Jan 18

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Siddy’s new safety gate arrived and was quickly assembled so we can have the kitchen door open and enjoy any passing breeze (and passing people won’t get mobbed and harassed by an over enthusiastic puppy who is convinced they are there just to see him).  Orlando doesn’t think much of it however

O at door Jan 18

I also found time to gather, combine and make up a light catcher and sent it off on its journey to its new home – a delicious combinations of pinks and oranges and coppery hues; sea jasper beads, tiny coral beads, seashell pieces and masses of crystals

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And as days return slowly to a normal rhythm I have even begun to work once more in my art room, stay tuned for anything coming out of there.  And my mind turns also to the upcoming reunion of friends who first met up in Washington DC almost three years ago and who first met through reading each others blog posts here on WordPress.  Stay tuned for more on that…….

Thanks for coming by today and catching up with us here, I love that you do!

 

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Season’s Greetings One and All!

I’ve been mostly absent from my favourite blogs, even more absent than usual from Facebook and other social media platforms and playing catch-up in my daily life for a few weeks or so – did you notice?

Sometimes it just seems that outside influences and the vagaries of life simply get together and decide to invade what is otherwise a peaceful and well modulated existence.  But let’s be honest.  It all started with not paying attention…….

I was hurrying.  My mind already several tasks ahead of where my feet were going and in that unmindful state I tripped over the leg of my easel – you know that one sitting just to the left of the doorway encumbered with the 140cm wide, still unfinished painting

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Hurrying past, I tripped, I lurched into the door of the art room at such speed I bounced off it and hit the opposite side of the doorway.  Bang, bang!  I knew I was going down and I knew I was going down hard.  You know how time slows at these moments and everything is really clear and you have time to think things through.  I’d whacked my left arm really hard and now I knew I was going to do the same to my right.  Don’t break, please don’t break.  I was alone.  My daughter had just left town visiting her sister for a few days.  My neighbours were away for the weekend.  Don’t break anything.  Don’t break anything……  I went down full force onto my right leg as I spun through the doorway and crashed my head into the opposite wall.  It’s only a little house – there’s no wide expanses here to topple gracefully into and rise again unharmed.

I lay face down on the floor trying to figure out which bits hurt and could I move them.  Siddy was delighted.  He bounced around me making quick darts in and dancing back flapping one paw in the air.  A lovely new game.  “No!”  I said.  He darted and bounced some more.  “Stop!” I cried.  He smiled at me and bounced some more.  “You’re no (beeped) Lassie!”  I snarled as I tried to roll over in the awkward space and find some way of sitting up.  My head hurt.  My arm hurt.  My leg really hurt.  Eventually I gathered myself from doorway and walls and decided nothing was broken.  Sitting up having become impossible I pushed myself up from the floor in a complex series of steps that kept head, arm and leg attached to body sufficiently for me to crawl – yes crawl – into a slightly larger open space where I felt the need to have a wee lie down for a few minutes.  By this time the puppy had ceased his invitation to play and, having watched this new activity with some interest, bustled off and returned with his favourite soft toy.  I was invited to partake in a game of fetch which I again declined reminding him that he had a long way to go to catch up with the rescuing abilities of Lassie.   He wasn’t bothered.

Eventually I got myself up and inspected.  Nothing was broken, there was no blood.  I was shaken and sore and felt just a tad ridiculous I decided.  Thank heavens no-one was here to witness that little display of indignity!  I felt so fortunate I played a short round of victory fetch with the pup while I swallowed arnica pillules for shock and rubbed arnica cream onto the sore bits.

I was however pulled up sharply from my rushing about and forced to spend the next few days resting up as the bruises slowly came out and the aches and pains settled down.  A trip to the chiropractor graunched the bones back into their proper  places and we were getting back into normal life when the swollen left leg became too painful to walk on and I knew I’d gotten myself a blood clot –  a ‘Deep Vein Thrombosis’ a thing that has always made my GP’s panic given the family history.   A quick call to my homeopath and I was in her rooms and we were sorting a plan to fix that little sucker.  It’s the first time I’ve refused to consider allopathic care for a blood clot – I’m not a fan of warfarin or hospitals and that is the usual route when I get a DVT.  I’m happy to report that within three days the leg was completely restored to health and I was striding out again.  No side effects, except perhaps for a rather grumpy mood for several days.  I used the time to work on getting as many Christmas cards made as I could manage and my Sewchet organised ‘Secret Santa’ parcel completed, wrapped up and ready for sending.  It includes this delicious bamboo-cotton crochet wrap

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With just six cards still to make I ran out of time.  My youngest daughter, returned from visiting her sister and back at work, took her turn at a nasty fall and not being as fortunate as me, was outside in the middle of the night, looking up not down and tripped over a very high speed bump in a narrow University back lot lane, broke her leg in two places and fractured the ankle – all on the same leg.

I took this photo when I finally found her.  She hasn’t slept for close to 36 hours except for the induced sleep of the operating table………  She’s on a morphine drip, still feeling the pain and just wants to go home…….

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What followed was three nightmarish days in a less than happy hospital environment during which she had surgery and post-operative recovery followed by one full day of black comedy waiting for the hospital to organise it’s bits of paper and allow her to leave.  From 9 am until 5.30 pm she practised patiently waiting while being told it would ‘just be another half hour, we just need to……’    Siddy and I practised patiently waiting less effectively at her home.  But eventually we were rewarded and so great was poor Siddy’s joy at seeing his second-favourite person in the entire world that he fell off the bedroom window sill where he was waiting and found himself jammed down the side of a bed and wall with no room to move.  Extricated he rushed off to continue his ecstatic over-the-top greeting ritual as an exhausted Danella was carefully maneuvered from car to couch by her caring friends.   One half of that pair of friends, Karen, stayed that night which was wonderful and allowed me to go home and recuperate too.

A day later and we were all immensely grateful when my eldest daughter dropped her entire life and came flying down to be with her sister for the next six days.  Having another person on hand as we nutted out ways to make doing the most mundane activities possible for a person in a plaster half cast, still in shock and a lot of pain was invaluable.  Joanna and I role played the showering scenario and so found a way to meet every possible need.  We tried it out on the patient and finding it all went rather well, her mother, sister and Siddy, stood around watching carefully as she soaped herself and laughed uproariously as she remarked morosely on the fact that all privacy and dignity was now a thing of the past.

Joanna companioned, cooked, sorted and tidied and even put up the Christmas tree for her sister before returning to her abandoned partner and job and leaving us better off and very grateful for her special presence.

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As I drove back home after delivering Jo to the airport my phone was tinging with constant messages.  I discovered that my youngest brother had died suddenly and unexpectedly following a massive heart attack.  It is a very private devastation and remembering that followed that news.

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My remaining sibling, who lives in Australia, and I connected on a deep level later that day.  I am filled with affection and pride for both my brothers, and especially my remaining brother Colin.  We have overcome!

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Let’s fast-forward another week and return to Danella who is doing well.  She now sports a lovely purple fibreglass leg brace and has returned to her usual positive and sunny self, dealing with her changed circumstances with grace and dignity and using her incredible ability to nut out challenges and problems and come up with ingenious solutions.  Her home is organised and everything she needs has a place.   Her workplace, Otago University has been incredible.  Danella’s boss is the University Proctor and I can’t speak too highly of him.  Help and assistance has been put in place at so many levels, making both her life, and therefore mine, so much easier to cope with.   We are grateful!

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Siddy and I visit every day.  While he bathes her in love and happiness I potter about and clean and tidy and prepare nutritious smoothies.  Yesterday we got her down the steps and out into her courtyard garden where we spent a happy couple of hours weeding, dead heading and tidying up.  Today the bird feeders, neglected for a week, were all refilled, calling the birds back into her garden.

The final half dozen cards never did get made.  It might have to be e-cards again this year……. or this……….

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It’s dreadfully true, he’s no Lassie.  But Sid-Arthur has his own unique ability to spread happiness and smiles and pure love.  In case I don’t make it back before – Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, Blessed Hanukkah and Merry Christmas Y’all  ❤

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

Another Month….

I’m turning out to be a bit you-know-what at posting recently.  I’m full of good intentions and then somehow I just wander off and get to doing something else.

I’ve been busy of course, Siddy now visits twice a week with his elder care friends – most of whom now remember that they know him, though some need to be reintroduced every visit.  He is learning how to walk beside a power chair so that a) he doesn’t get run over and b) doesn’t cause his friend to find herself suddenly toppled upside down on the grass – now that wouldn’t be good!  At the same time I am learning how to help when required and how to take over if required and of course also how not to run over a puppy or topple a lovely lady out on her ear at any time.  All this so we can go for a walk in the park or take off into town and do a pub crawl – who knows!  🙂

I’m joining in with Sheila’s Secret Santa this year, much to my delight – I’ve been making and hoarding for a while now and today began to wrap up some bits – I remembered to take a photo of this

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A delicious assortment of pure New Zealand kid mohair for the recipient to make something magical with.   I’m having fun making and gathering bits I think my recipient might like.

There’s a garden been planted up last month and it is now starting to come away – when I say ‘garden’ you all know I mean the very tiny courtyard right?  Let’s be clear it’s really not much more than a narrow pathway down the side of my tiny house – but it is all I have that is private so I like it to be pretty every summer.  Last summer was so very awful that it never got its annual make-over done and then a new fence was put in and the whole thing fell apart and we started again.  My wonderful friend Alys kick started me off with a generous gift voucher for my birthday which resulted in a miniature maple being planted up into an up-cycled trash bin which I use as my version of a water-wicking planter

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and lots of daisies – this was the year for going bonkers over daisies.  And Pukekoes – I’m trying to frighten off the slugs and snails with a little flock of wall art……..  Aren’t they the cutest things – rowdy little critters and quarrelsome too first thing in the morning so I’m quite glad mine are made of metal……

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Even the lemon tree which I nearly killed is making a come back and the perfume of those tiny flowers, mixed with the jasmine, is filling the air

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The Senior Sidd is almost disappearing already

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and Junior Sidd has chosen his chair

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So that’s it from me for now, just checking in to let you know I’m still going strong and absolutely ecstatic over our election results.  Oh, and what about this as an idea for our little town that time forgot – do have a look and let me know what you think.   Things are looking up!

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

Living With Orlando

Winter is often a challenging time for this contentment seeker.  Greyness and coldness and long hours of darkness don’t always sit easily with my need for sun and light and balmy air.  But this year something is different, I feel a mellowness, a silent waiting, a sense of gratitude for being allowed to love.  I feel these things and they are mixed with a certain irritability and impatience   – caused entirely by watching my dear old kitty age and slow down and show signs of incipient dementia.    I was concerned – I looked it up – it’s a thing.

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Orlando wearing his hat for a special Skype meeting in 2014

Orlando has always been a cat who has excellent message collecting skills.  But, being Maine Coon, he also glories in being one of those special creatures ‘the dog of the cat world’.  He comes when whistled.  He used to like going for little walks with me BP (Before Puppy).  He loves water and the seaside.   When I lived by the sea he would often be seen trotting along the sand at low tide, coming home smelling of salt and seaweed.  All my early attempts to have him be an inside cat were completely ignored by him and after a few months I gave up trying.  He would usually be home and indoors with me when I was home and indoors.

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Nowhere is sacred – tables are for getting closer to his favourite person

Orlando hasn’t had a cat door for some time.  Not since his inclination to catch rats and bring them home and set them free became an issue for me.  In these later years he would knock at the door, I would open it and he would enter.

Last summer things began to change.  He stopped knocking.  So I would open the door to see if he was there and wanted to come in.  Any or all of the following messages could be the result of multiple door openings:

‘I wanted to come inside,  but you opened the door too fast, now I can’t come in’

‘I want to come inside, but the puppy looked at me, I can’t come in when he looks at me’

‘I can’t come in right now, I’m thinking’

‘I wanted to come inside, but you opened the door too slowly, I can’t possibly come in’

‘I want to come inside,  but I’m not sure – what have you got hiding in there?   No, I can’t possibly come inside now’

‘Why did you open that door?  You disturbed me.  I’m thinking, I can’t possibly move!’

‘I WANT to come inside – but is it safe?  Yes? Maybe? No, it’s not safe.  I can’t possibly come inside when there’s a shadow somewhere’

‘I want to come inside!  About time!  What’s for dinner, I’m soooo hungry mumma!’

‘I can’t possibly eat that!’

‘I have to go outside’

‘No, I want to stay inside now.  No, maybe I want to go out  ….   I don’t know – I’ll think about it’

‘I have to go outside NOW’

Of course I always knew that my lovely orange marmalade boy would have a shortish stay with me, all of us who share our lives with pets know it is not forever – but heck time flies past so quickly!   Orlando is approaching 12 years old,  which puts him up there, in the upper average life span of a Maine Coon cat which is 10 – 12 years.    I was hoping he would make it with the 25% of MC cats to really old age, which is 16 and possibly even beyond – but this in-out thing is stretching my patience somewhat and I sometimes find myself wondering if he will last past tomorrow!

Stretching my patience but also making me very aware that our time is limited.  Every moment counts in an animals life – after all, one of our years is equal to seven of theirs.   I look at him and feel that little rush of affection for all his catlike foibles and recognise how they mirror my own.  I’m more ‘cat’ than I like to admit!  But still, I feel concern at this change of ‘in-out’ behaviour.

He’s still a lovely boy, a liquid ripple of orange-blonde fur, a magnificent tail often coated in leaves gathered from the garden and a wide variety of vocalisations that include hurrunphing, gurgling, chirruping and purring at different volumes and speeds.

He is a boy who adores his mumma and loathes when the house has other people come in and look at him and disturb his peace.  He has learned over the years to ‘quite like’ or even ‘become rather fond of’  some regular visitors and even, reluctantly, a puppy who moved in to profoundly upset his kingdom three years ago.  At that time he was forced to live on top of the fridge for a whole year as being at ground level meant being at eye level with an extremely enthusiastic black and white fluff ball that just wanted to play.   But time and familiarity and a great deal of coaxing persuaded him down and into the happy orbit of his new best friend.

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Orlando, a person he is quite fond of and his puppy friend. Photo taken last summer

 

He’s a boy who waits for the sound of the car returning and then he trots through the front garden, gathering more leaves on his tail,  moving with that liquid flow that so identifies him to me, calling out as he approaches.  The puppy tumbles out of the car and rushes up to say ‘Hullo!’ but the cat ignores him, his eyes fixed on me, waiting.

He’s waiting for me to organise myself.  I cram as much as I can under one arm for both hands are now required.   I walk to the edge of the garden and hold out my arms, as you would to a small child.  Orlando sits up on his back legs and holds his forepaws up to me, I lift him, like a little child and I scoot him over onto my right hip and arm.  He puts a paw about my neck and cuddles in, looking satisfied, harrumphing and purring.  I stagger indoors under the weight of my golden cat and anything else I happen to be carrying.  The puppy trots along at our heels looking up at us and smiling.

Well Hello! 2016

We go inside.  I put down my paraphenalia and eventually coax the cat from my arms. He jumps to the floor and sits by the kitchen door.

‘I need to go outside now.’

I sigh.  Then I open the door and let him do whatever he wants to do.  He is my precious cat, probably my last one and I will let him do and be as he likes for whatever time we have left.  The puppy bounds up and scrambles at my knees.  “I’m here” he seems to be saying “I’ll stay with you til kitty comes back.”

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Orlando waiting for Santa Christmas 2015

I hope kitty keeps coming back for a while longer!

O sleeping duo June

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Does the Time Go?

Heavens, I’m in catch-up mode again!  Time flew by with ED here for a week, YD on three weeks break and needing daily visits by Siddy, which were mostly fitted in soon after the morning walk and second breakfast so that he arrived for elevenses ……..  Then there was our promotion at the retirement home from half hour ambling visits where Siddy trots around smiling at everyone and I get made happy by watching eyes light up and sparks of life sparkle out of tired old eyes.  We were asked to widen our brief and include helping out at the two hour crafting session every week, of course I said yes.   And  of course there is painting and crafting time to fit in here somewhere.  So the days have simply been eaten up by the minute munching monsters.

Here’s Siddy posing with his Aunty Jo – show that boy a camera and he puts on his best sartorial pose

March 2017

The lovely Alys  purchased two items from my collection on Vida when it first opened.  One she purchased secretly and sent straight to me, reducing me to tears of wonder, gratitude and astonishment that I had such a generous and kind friend.  You may remember my disappointment when I discovered I couldn’t afford to purchase my own designs as the shipping cost was astronomical.  Well, now I have a lovely tote bag and here’s me still looking somewhat stunned at the event, just arrived at YD’s in time for elevenses……..

Tote March 2017

A week or so later and the lovely Alys sent me photos of her Inky Doodle design scarf that she purchased from Vida.  Photographed by her youngest son, Alys rocks the colourful fabric and is well on her way to becoming the world’s next super model.  And isn’t the fabric gorgeous, I am so happy to see my doodles come to life like this.  It’s simply great!

Pauline King design alys

After prolonged imploring from three people I agreed to reopen my collection on Vida.  My stance remains that it is a pyramid selling scheme and therefore not ethical – but it allows my work to reach a wider audience and to be taken down from the wall and worn.  I am made happy when my friends and family are happy and, as I make art to spread joy, and Vida allows that process to happen we have, it seems, reached accord.

There’s a painting on the easel, this is phase 1, where do you think it might be heading?

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We’ve been mostly enjoying lovely late summer weather this month, which has been much appreciated  and greeted with cries of ‘Better late than never’ and ‘Great Scott, what is that bright yellow orb in the sky?’  We have taken heart, all is not lost for our Blogging Babes reunion this time next year!  (That’s a teaser, more on this later)

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

Happily Painting …….

Here I am again – already!  It’s only been a few days since my last post – whatever is happening I hear you cry?  It’s cooler today – which is good.  We can actually move and not wilt!  Siddy has more energy to play and even Orlando has woken up for brief periods.  And I am painting

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…… until I am asked to play a game of ‘Fetch’

How can you resist this?

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We play ‘Fetch’ for a few minutes – then Siddy retires to cool off and I continue work.

In the previous post I showed you my second version of the ‘Beacon of Light’  that was the first main exercise in Life Book 2015 and she was looking like this

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She’s under-gone a number of changes and now I think she is finished.  This is just a photo shot, not a scan – I am just so excited to share her with you

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This is MY Beacon of Light – she rises from the sea – a metaphor for when I am lost at sea, or ‘all at sea’.  You know that feeling, I’m not standing on firm ground ……. her message is you don’t have to feel like that, you are not alone.  Trust, surrender, relax.

I’m happy!  But what do you think?

She is painted on 300gsm A3 watercolour paper and I think is destined for a frame and my art room wall!  But I’ll probably put a couple of prints into the Etsy shop as well 🙂  I’ll show you another shot when she is scanned – then you will get to see all the colour and details.

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

Siddy Gets Happy Mail

This was hand delivered by our smiling Postie this morning HM1

‘Ooooh!  Look Siddy,” I cooed, pulling him off the happy Postie whom he was trying to lick to death, ‘you’ve got mail!”

I knew what was in it as our friend Claire had said she was sending something to Siddy especially for Christmas.  Orlando waited patiently for the opening, not at all miffed that the gift was not for him.

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Once opened the package revealed this rather cute wee Christmas doggie bag

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and inside, rather more than I was expecting 🙂  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the pretty pink star bunting before somewhere in Claire’s blog, I liked it very much and had no clue it was destined for me.  I am a very happy Contented Crafter, this gorgeous star bunting made from the most deliciously soft yarn will end up in the revamped art room eventually – you will see it again! HM4

Siddy and his gift

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Oooooh!  Siddy’s Christmas flower, made from some magical thing that makes petals – and packed full of colourful, tiny bells for stamens [apologies for the blurry shot- sigh!] HMFlower

And Siddy wearing his Christmas flower which, alas, due to his extreme hirsuteness is difficult to see, but can be heard – he tinkles like Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer and is quite pleased with himself!

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Siddy and I send a big hug to our friend Claire of MollieandClaire who made this lovely package and sent it off whilst coping with an awful water event in her house.  If you like crochet and knitting and such like pop over – have a look at the waistcoat she is making her dad for Christmas – it is pretty fabulous!!

Thank you Claire – this is the most lovely and thoughtful gift and has begun our Christmas season most happily!

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The same happy postie also bought another package with her – it contains this huge ‘Tree of Life’ wall hanging.  I thought it might go in my new, revamped art room – but it is too fabulous and is going into my living room on my ‘faux wall’ – I shall find something else for the art room!

Tree of Life Decor

The art room is coming along extremely slowly due to a million interruptions, all of the most welcome kind – like assisting YD in her move to a new and exciting chapter of her life and old friends coming to stay and all the other stuff that takes up time at this wonderful season of the year.  Tomorrow is curtain making day!!

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