After the Party & The Winner

I had such a wonderful birthday week – and it featured so many lovely messages and gifts from my friends in this blogging community and on face book that I almost became speechless.   To you all, each and every one of you who so loyally read and comment and interact and join in the spirit of this blog – a huge heartfelt thank you and a great big bear hug :-)  You all really made my week overflow with your warmth and kindness and generosity.

Here is my birthday cake – well, more of a rather lovely birthday dessert really, the recipe for which, I think [I hope I remember this correctly] came to me via the lovely Fran.  It is made with dates and nuts and bananas and coconut and cacao and surrounded with these dear tiny peanut butter chocolates which were a tiny bit fiddly to make, but unbelievably scrummy and I shall be making many more of them  :-)

birthday cake

And here is the delightful Siddy waiting for his piece

Siddy on chair 5 9 14

While the mail man was kept busy bringing interesting and unexpected packages to the door for the birthday event, there were also little packages arriving with items for the ‘Dangler of International Happiness’   I now have items from Australia and Tasmania [yes I know, but it is a different land mass], the UK and Canada.  I’m not showing anything yet as there will be a wee competition held for the unveiling – but my it is going to be so pretty!  And I wish I had taken photos of the gorgeous soaps and creams all wrapped up in lace that the lovely Wendy sent – but suffice to say that when she remembers her recipe for the face cream I shall be among the first customers – it is so soft and creamy and delightful!!

When the door bell chimed in the middle of my birthday I was stuck ungracefully beneath a furry pile of puppy and cat.  My youngest daughter said to me – you have to go get that.  By the time I had disengaged myself and opened the door there was no-one there, but a beautiful bouquet of white flowers lay in front of the screen door.  “Good God!” I exclaimed.  “I brought you flowers my child”  said a cheerful, disembodied voice.  “Thank you God!” I replied.

It wasn’t actually God who sent me a bouquet of white roses and lilies and orchids for my special day – it was the lovely Alys.  Here’s me holding the bouquet looking somewhat befuddled, over-whelmed and over-come and in need of a hair cut!

And, as Alys noted, that’s Siddy attempting his first photo bombing.

birthday flowers

Throughout the birthday week, which was spent primarily with my favourite people in the whole world – my two daughters – the puppy was pretty much the centre of attention. Then Orlando decided it was time to give up his hunger strike and join in.  He began to reclaim all his pampered cat rights and climbed down from his table of discontent and returned to sleeping on the bed, sitting on chairs and knees and generally being sociable again.  Whilst nobody ever remembered to photograph anything we were treated to some lovely moments as my birthday wish came true and my pets began to spend companionable time together.

They now share a bed, a chair, my knee.  I snapped this early this morning surreptitiously so as not to disturb the early morning bathing ritual.

Caught6 5 9 14

And now for your viewing pleasure here is Siddy, his aunt YD and me as filmed by the lovely ED who was experimenting with slo-mo on her iphone camera

One of my birthday gifts was a kick start for my vegetable garden.  It included a large bag of organic compost, salady and herby seedlings and yesterday I made a big mess in the tiny courtyard and got started

Garden3 sept 14

We are going up folks – I have no idea how it will turn out, but I discovered some most handy contraptions at Bunnings which have the advantage of being both flexible and affordable.  They can be used as a trellis or a tripod and will be most handy for the likes of tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and maybe even some sweet peas just because I love them.  I’m also hoping to get some hanging baskets in but not sure what might grow best in them – any suggestions?

Today the mail man brought me my gold card – I am now an official OAP – rolling on the floor, holding my sides, roaring with laughter!  I can ride the buses for free and go half price to the movies.  Whoo-hoo!!

And now here [rather belatedly, for which I am not sorry as it is due to the extortionate amount of partying that has been going on round here] is the announcement you really came by for – the winner of an assortment of postcard size prints of my mixed media paintings.

Twenty-five names written on cut up strips of paper

Draw1 6 9 14

Placed in my favourite coffee mug

Draw2 6 9 14

Vigorously shaken, stirred and tipped over

Draw3 6 9 14

And the winner is ta – daaaaaaaa

The lovely Lady Gallivanta from the shaken but not stirred City of Christchurch.

Gallivanta, will you go to the ‘Contact Me’ page below the lovely Orlando’s photo at the top of the blog and send me your address please and then I shall mail off to you as speedily as possible a small assortment of postcards.

To the rest of you, my lovely ethersphere friends, thank you for coming by today, I love that you did  :-)

Summer Spotlight: Pauline King

thecontentedcrafter:

I guest posted on the lovely Jill Weatherholt’s blog and thought I’d share it with my dear friends over here :-)

Originally posted on Jill Weatherholt:

In a serendipitous turn of events Jill gave me my guest post spot on my birthday. Not just any old annual event either, a momentous birth anniversary. The one where society deems you ‘a senior citizen’. An older person, a past-your-best person – an old age pensioner, a retiree, a person with no place left to go but down..

Yes, I have reached the age of 65, from today I am officially retired and now all my time every day is mine and mine alone. Happy dance!! Tango, waltz, hip-hop, jive or jazz – dance with me, celebrate with me – I have never felt younger, or more together, or more content. I laugh out loud everytime someone says the word ‘retired’. I feel like I am playing a monumental trick on the world – I now get paid by the government to live every day with nothing to do…

View original 860 more words

Hanging Out For Spring

Days run one into the other.  I busy myself in the kitchen with my bubbling jars and bottles of ferments; my micro-greens, pots of porridge and mashed veggies for the puppy and some for me too.  I trip over the little puppy that waddles about on the floor at my feet, waiting for any tid-bits that may inadvertently fall his way.  I walk the puppy, play with the puppy, spend hours just watching the puppy attacking life with unmitigated joy.  I cuddle the cat and mollify the cat. I confide to the cat that the puppy will soon enough slow down, calm down and become less joyful about life.  I don’t really believe this, but it helps Orlando cope. I think about the garden I am going to make, but do little more than prepare compost for the soil and dig it in. I clean up and cart back out to the garden the compost the puppy has gleefully dug up and brought inside.  I am often invited by the puppy to check out his potty area which he has just used thereby justifying a treat for being a ‘clever boy’.  I fixed up the bedroom I didn’t really like and made it a little more acceptable to me – you may remember this horrid wall paper that I am stuck with.  I don’t see it any more as the pretty colours on the duvet take my eye instead.Bedroom 28 8 14

I hung some sturdier privacy curtains in my front window that also just happen to be very pretty and filter the morning sun in a lovely way.

These photos are especially for Alys who asked to see them.  They are calico with a cut embroidery design through them and a deep crochet cotton hem finished with beads.

curtains2

 

curtains1

My approaching birthday has intruded into my life again this year.  I struggle for about two months ahead of the date, it is the body and buried memories and emotions recalling a traumatic beginning.  I published a post about it last year, but don’t feel inclined to write the second chapter just yet.  I am used to these annual blues now, and cope quite well I think – but this year I definitely lost my creative ability.  I struggled with my commitments and had no desire to push through and just get on with painting something – anything.

So, I spent little time in my art room – but enough to make a few bookmarks and finish three organisers for my Etsy Store.  I have planned a painting – got a few bits ready for it, but haven’t actually started it yet.  My daily cards went out the window ages back and I am happy to concede defeat on that one!

Here are the organisers

organisers

Here are some of the bookmarks – they are destined for a Little Free Library in California.

Bookmarks 28 8 14

I made a lazy susan for my washi tapes and glues and purchased, at a considerable discount of 60%, a long longed for laminating machine – which made me make the bookmarks :-)

Laminator 28 8 14

I have spent hours filling in forms and organising copies and finding a JP to witness it all for me.  I am about to retire.  I can claim my pension and cash in my KiwiSaver.  I am going to buy a car.  I have been without a car for over a year, reliant on my daughters generosity and on-line shopping.  I want to go to the sea with my puppy and take drives into the countryside.  I need to get out a bit more – I have cabin fever.

I am hanging out for Spring.  Not that it has been a hard winter – it hasn’t.  The icy antarctic blasts were irregular and interspersed with surprisingly balmy days.  Daffodils are out already, some trees are flowering and some are  budding.  I’m hanging out for September to start because then I step out of my pre-birthday blues and return to my usual self.  My girls and I will spend a week together and kick start my new year off in fine fashion.  I’m looking forward to that – I’m ready for it!

To celebrate my milestone birthday, in conjunction with my anonymous friend, I am offering another giveaway.  Just some postcard sized prints of some paintings this time – but great for giving away, writing notes on or using as book marks  :-)

If you leave a comment, you get your name in the coffee cup.  Closing date is September 6th.  Please leave a comment – I love to know what you think.

We went off for our usual walk this morning, prior to publishing this post.  Siddy came home with a little something that he found along the way and this is what I caught on camera [and I have to say that my rug is not that dirty - it just is not very photogenic!]

Todays find 28 8 14Yes, he found a baby’s dummy – pacifier to you foreign types – and what’s more he knows how to use it!

Orlando came to have a lookTodays find3 28 8 14

and puppy offered to share

Todays find4 28 8 14

Orlando pretended not to be interested and puppy waited

Todays find5 28 8 14

He who waits is often rewarded for his patience

Todays find3a 28 8 14

You saw it here folks – it’s the nose bump and the first time I’ve managed to [almost] catch it on camera.  I’m a happy and contented mumma!!

First kiss 28 8 14

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

About Pets and Blogging Friends

I know, I know – it’s been a while…. I am a poor blogger, incapable of keeping to a schedule, or even regular posts.  But as most of you know, this is supposed to be a blog about my arty-crafty output – and my arty-crafty life has been severely curtailed by a bouncy little fat puppy who LOVES the work room because his mumma zones out somewhere else altogether and he gets to rearrange and change up – or down – all he likes until she eventually becomes aware all is not well ……..  usually by picking up on the fact that it has been Q-U-I-E-T for a long time…………

Last time I zoned out and was concentrating on a work in progress he removed all the paints from the shelf at the back of the easel. took them into the lounge and chomped holes through two of them leaving artistic stripes of blue and red – and therefore purple too – along the bottom of my lovely white door curtain……….. Oh, look – another excuse to change up the decor.  :-)

For me it has been interesting to discover that when I’m in the zone, artistically speaking, I hear nothing.  I am totally immersed.  Totally in the moment, totally zen  :-)  Who knew!

Right now I’m not though.  Right now I’m typing this with a little round puppy sitting beside me doing his best Marx Brother impersonation with a chew stick poking out the side of his mouth which he is chomping on most enthusiastically while occasionally leering up at me and giving me a gentle nudge.

Don’t you love this photo?  Does it make you smile or laugh out loud?Marx Bros 17 8 14

Orlando is asleep on the table which has become his new residence and which he shows no signs of being prepared to give up.  Anything for a quiet life – I don’t host dinner parties any more any way.

Tig 9

 

Life these days starts with Siddy and me going for an hour long walk, which includes a good twenty minute romp at the dog park.  Except for two or three mornings when the bitter cold Antarctic blast sent all us wimpy puppy owners running for home. While our usual claim to be the Riviera of Antarctica suits us pretty well, sometimes it feels like we are right down there at Scott Base!

Due to any outing being curtailed we must then come home and, after his breakfast of porridge, milk kefer, DE and savoury yeast, its a rambunctious game of fetch up and down the hallway.  Then I can get on with my tasks – but always constantly accompanied by a keen and eager little pup – ‘Whadda we doing now?” “Where we going now?”  “This way?”  “That way?” “Where now?”  “Whadda we doing? Whadda we doing?  Where are we going?”

But I have to say yet again – he is probably the best little puppy in the whole world!

Here are a couple of shots so you can see how much he has grown – I know you want to know!  It’s the same toy in both shots, the first one taken when he was about 9 weeks old and the second one today and he is now 19 weeks old.

toystoys 17 8 14

We have had our up’s and downs since last I graced your lovely reading spaces – YD’s beloved cat Stanley became unexpectedly and quite seriously ill and was eventually diagnosed with feline aids, picked up many years ago most probably in a fight [he always was a bit of a bovver-boy]  Stanley is a rescue kitty, adopted when he was grown and therefore most likely spent the first three years of his life living in kitty poverty.  Nobody knows for sure.  A cat of much charisma, great charm and friendly demeanour, YD had said a while back, ‘He is not the boy he used to be!’

Stanley

It was devastating diagnosis.  Getting medication into this cat has always been claimed by his mumma to be an impossibility.  Our slightly raised eyebrows and quiet disbelief in this claim was blown completely away when we found out it took the vet and two practise nurses to hold him down and administer an oral dose. The vet was preparing us for the worst and I was mopping my baby girl’s tears.  But Stanley is not a boy to take anything much lying down, including dying.  He fought back and after three days was on the mend enough to go home.  The vet whacked an intravenous shot of antibiotics into him and since then he has spent most of his time sleeping, waking long enough to eat – and eating more and more every day – then back to bed again.

We got lucky and have more time with this lovely boy.

Recently my dear friend from Serendipity Farm, the lovely Fran aka narf77 had one of her dastardly good ideas and announced that I was to become the proud owner of ‘A Dangler of International Happiness’  This all came about because I admired her dangler in this post.  If you go on to read the comments you will see how she coerced encouraged our shared friends to take part.

A few days back I received a wee package from Hawaii with the first items enclosed.  It was most fortunate that they got through NZ Customs who are notoriously anal about allowing foreign flora into our country in case it grows legs in the middle of the night and eats us all in our sleep …… and look, an original stick figure sketch from the BO exactly as they appear in this fabulous blog ‘Farmlet’ subtitled ‘Living cheaply and richly on an acre in Puna, Hawaii’.

HM Christi1

Christi is a writer, married to the Bearded One, who, it appears, is master of anything that needs doing and cartooning as well.  They recently relocated from Washington State to Hawaii and are busily involved with preparing to live as much off the grid as possible.  These are good folks with huge hearts – I love them to pieces!

I have more for you too friends – take a look here.

I admired these on The Twisted Yarn ……………..

storkscissors

and next thing I know I am happily cutting threads with my very own pair of stork scissors sent all the way from the UK.  Aren’t they gorgeous!!  Phil made the pretty cover and I now have a sample of her so neat crochet work  :-)   If you are into things like crazy good knitting and yarn bombing go check her out and see what she gets up to when there’s a break from paying attention to her toddler twinnage, her day job or her allotment!  I know you will enjoy her as much as I do!

HM StorkScissors

I am working in my art room, just small projects that can be worked at without me losing track of the doings of one little puppy.  I hope to have something to show you next week.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering how the detente is going – I now have a daily ritual of a purring cat on my knee with a quivering puppy trying very hard to contain himself beside us – and last night both of them were cuddled up in bed with me for about an hour.  Orlando teases Siddy, Siddy ‘bites’ beautifully and usually gets wapped for his trouble.  It’s great fun to observe :-)

I’ve requested a ‘family portrait’ for my birthday.   We’ll see.

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

Creating Bunnies – A Work In Progress

It’s been a busy week.  We had one of our favourite visitors who needed to be loved to bits especially because she always leaves a little treat :-) &Danella 8 July 2014 There were many walks to be taken.  We went to the dog park and the beach.  We made new friends and met up with some old ones too.  We did training.  And despite all this busyness and exercise, Siddy keeps right on growing.  He now weighs over 4 kg.  He is becoming a ‘big boy’. We’ve been concentrating on trying to convince puppy that jumping, biting, licking and whining at every one who enters the house is not a good idea.  Cries of “No, stop, cease, desist!” just weren’t working so we were forced to listen to the training experts and do the whole tuck hands away and ignore procedure.  It worked remarkably well and Siddy has learnt to wait mostly patiently for whatever attention or activity is about to be offered.  Life is slowly gaining some order I thought to myself smugly. Then Siddy surprised himself – and me most of all – when he discovered he could jump onto the lounge chairs. on a chair 18 7 14 Once he was on a chair, things that once were safe became decidedly at risk

Hellloooo! 20 7 14

Orlando is cool with it all though.  He has his trusty right hook and knows how to use it!  Wap, wap wap!!  We have head butts and nose touches and even a little leaning in for a nuzzle first thing in the morning.  Puppy has lowered his energy and is calm and quiet [mostly] around the cat.

In the evenings I have been busy learning how to make knitted bunnies for a project I am working on.  [Teaser: The project is a very long overdue secret gift for two blogger friends!]  As this particular creative process wasn’t anywhere on my radar until it was suggested, my crocheted mandala is still on the back-burner – well off the stove altogether if I am honest – as Siddy found the beginning rounds I had made and disappeared with them under the sofa, where I eventually discovered them chewed to a felted, matted mess.

The suggestion and pattern link was sent to me by my new friend Gallivanta at Silkannthreades  I got the germ of a good idea and another great blog to follow  :-)  Heaven!  First I made this bunny as per the recipe

Bunny1a

So cute huh?  You just knit a square, run a few stitches and voila a bunny :-)  But way too big for what I have in mind.  I wondered if a crochet bunny would do it – so I made this one

Bunny2

Sorry about the very poor shot – Suffice to say it didn’t work.  The crochet left too many gaps and the bunny was still too big – and anyway this is what happened to him

Bunny2A

Next I made two much smaller bunnies and finally arrived where I wanted to be  – Meet the little Hug Bunnies

HugBunnies1

I haven’t made pom-poms for many years, but it’s a bit like riding a bike and a happy hour was spent making bunny tails.

And finally, the second successful set – even smaller:

HugBunnies2

I’m quite pleased with them, they look really cute and are completely unsuitable for anything else except looking cute!

So that is step one of the project completed, the next bits should be quite straight forward.  Stay tuned.

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

Blog Hop Around The World

‘The meaning of life is to find your gift.  The purpose of life is to give it away.’  – William Shakespeare

My friend Boomdeeadda invited me to join in the fun and made a lovely introduction for three of us in her last blog post.  Boomdee is a Canadian blogger with an amazing eye for colour, form and detail in her paper crafting.  She once sent me a gift that included a handmade paper bag that was so intricately made, full of fine detail including special words and images that fit me perfectly – it was awe inspiring – really!  It still sits on a shelf in my art room and is often picked up and admired!  Boomdee is genuinely sweet and kind and generous and is much loved by her many followers.  If you have never met her you really must pop over and say hello and tell her I sent you!

HM2

Gift Bag from Boomdeeadda

I have to answer four questions for this Hop – so here we go:

Why Do I Create What I Do?

I have spent the past few years working as a Life Coach.  Much of my life has been spent helping others move from despair into positivity and contentment and healing.  First, of course, I had to start with myself.  Part of my personal process was painting. I painted huge landscapes, often empty, but full of potential.  I painted the sea – it’s changing colours and patterns and the vast sky above it with all its changing colours and moods.  I painted for a year and In a manner of speaking I painted myself back to health.  I put it away for a time, and went back out into the world but then as life began to slow down and as I prepared for retirement, I found myself returning to it.  This time I started painted whimsical faces and little mantras, sentences that mean something to me or are especially formulated for someone I know who would benefit from this thought.  Some are quotes from others, some are my own words.  It just depends.

How Does My Creative Process Work?

There is no one way into a painting.  Sometimes I have a quote I want to use and that is my starting point – I simply lay some colour down and see where it takes me.  Other times I start with a painting and wait for the quote to reveal itself.  Sometimes I collage a background first, other times I paint the face then create the back drop as an after thought.  I have favourite colours that I return to again and again – and then I will challenge myself and pull out a different palette to see what emerges.  Again, it just depends……

How Does My Work Differ From Others of It’s Genre?

‘Beauty is not in the face.  Beauty is a light in the heart’  – Khalil Gibran

I have no idea how to answer this question.  There are a lot of women working in a similar fashion to me, some are really well known.  I am not. I wonder if my intent makes my work different.  I want my painting to offer something deeper than just a pretty picture – I want it to wake you up, touch you in some subtle way, lift the spirits, speak to a quiet hope.

pizap collage

Selection of mixed media paintings

What Am I Presently Working On?

I am currently finishing off some organisers to put in my Etsy Shop.  There won’t be any more – these have been quite a challenge to get made!  I have begun work on a small gift idea that I picked up recently from another of my favourite bloggers which keeps me busy in the evenings and am re-finishing a small book that just needed a little something extra – I am terribly sanguine in my creating at the moment – blame it on ‘puppy brain’ – there must be such a thing!

I am mumma to a new puppy and it would seem that he is my current work  He certainly takes up the majority of my time.  I have two more paintings currently sitting in my head and several more little craft projects I really want to get on with too – but……. time is scarce and here is why:

pizap Siddy

Siddy the Mi-tzu Pup

The delightful Siddy who elicits the excited cry which all fans of ‘Despicable Me’ are familiar with “He’s so fluffy I could die!”  [And please, we mustn't forget Orlando, the beautiful boy who sits on the header to this blog - currently very hard done by and not very pleased with the way his home and mumma have been usurped.]

Enough about me and my pseudo-grandbabies, let’s move on……  because now it is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to two more ‘down-under’ bloggers both of whom I really admire.

We are popping over to Australia first – to Tasmania actually, where the redoubtable narf77 – otherwise known as Fran – writes a weekly post about her life and escapades in her totally random and vastly amusing style in her blog ‘The Road to Serendipity.

Fran’s writings often feature her husband Stevie-boy, no slack hand with a whittling knife and a guitar, and Earl and Beziel their poor benighted  energetic dogs.  A student of something which I really don’t understand, a pretty knowledgeable horticulturist, permaculturist, gardener, avid shopper for exotic foodstuffs,  keen cook and pinterest surfer, Fran’s blog is never without a cup of humour, a dash of introspection and more than a tablespoon or two of common sense.

NB:- These pictures don’t show the ‘common sense’ aspect:

DSCF0968

Used with permission from Serendipity Farm

DSCF0977

Used with permission from Serendipity Farm

If you want to know what these photos are about pop on over.  If you time it right – and maybe even if you don’t – there is sure to be a glass of wine or two offered …….

Next we will zoom back to New Zealand and visit the top of the South Island where Wendy resides on her quarter acre piece of paradise with her husband and cat.

In her blog Quarter Acre Lifestyle, Wendy posts about living frugally, recycling and growing and preserving as much of their own food as possible.  She shares recipes and how-to’s, brings our attention to different life-styles, choices and options and wings her way into our hearts with her kind and caring heart.  Wendy is also a talented crafter and artist – though I know she will deny that.

This is a Wendy do-up and make-over:

Used with permission of Quarter Acre Lifestyle

Wendy’s latest post is about her first attempt at soap making – it seemed to go quite well, except for the part about the cat……….. Looks good enough to eat don’t you think?

Used with permission of Quarter Acre Lifestyle

I do hope you will pop into Wendy’s place for a visit – she is a treasure and is sure to offer a cup of tea and show you you her amazing stash of preserves and alcoholically dazed fruits.  Enjoy!!

That’s it from me and my little part in the great ‘Blog Hop Around the World’ – which was I know just a sojourn in the southern hemisphere – my northern hemisphere choices were AWOL, I expect it’s all that lovely summer weather they are enjoying!   But, please do pop over to these two blogs next Monday and see where they take you next.

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

The Path to Friendship

First there was a tetchy cat and a leaping puppy

The tetchy cat batted at the puppy’s nose.

The puppy whimpered and sat down – and became still.

The cat was amazed and hit him again.  And again.  Wap, wap, wap!

The puppy became very quiet.  The cat was no longer tetchy, in fact he was quite pleased with himself………

9 July 2014 1

 

Until the puppy became just a little too keen and eager again………..

9 July 2014 3

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