All Our Christmases

Hel-looooooooooooo!!

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Today Orlando and I received a package in the post

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I set about opening the extremely well sealed package wielding knife and scissors carefully and several minutes later

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We were very excited!

 

Orlando was especially keen to see what was inside for him

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“C’mon Mumma” he is saying “Let’s open it!”

While I was trying to enjoy the pretty packaging and practise ‘Anticipation 101′ my cat was nudging my hand and insisting the box be opened.  Once opened the contents were thoroughly investigated and then he went looking – he knew there was something else, he just had to find it ………..15

The whole thing went something like this

Happy Mail2

Then we got to the really exciting part – his present!

Orlando's gift

 

Orlando's gift2

The package was, of course, from the absolute Queen of beautiful gifts, the wondrous Ms Boomdeeadda. While King Orlando snuffled and nudged, I oohed and aahed at the gorgeous packaging, the envelope, the letter, the sweet smelling pot-pourri……  Then I settled down with the gift bag – truly the most impressive gift bag I have ever seen in my life.  So pretty, so detailed, so impeccably put together in terms of colour and combination and detail.  The woman is a genius!

I wish the photos could convey the texture and subtleties better

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The front of the gift bag

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The back of the gift bag

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Bearing all the wonderful signs of my dear blogging friend – I felt it really didn’t matter if there was anything inside the gift bag or not – in itself this is such a treasure.  But there were several more  little treasures and tea bags and chocolates wrapped in aqua foil [of course - if you follow Boomdeeadda then you know how much she loves aqua!  If you don't, go on over and say I sent you - you will love her blog!]

I knew Boomdee had sent me this wee container of pot-pourri as I had squee’ed over it last December when she posted about making them.  With her big heart all aglow she had obligingly wrapped one up and sent it off via a nice postal person who hiked from Alberta, across British Columbia to the sea and then swam southwards across the Pacific to my door.

And here it is at last.  A beautiful, woody, piney, spicy, rich smelling wonder which in 24 hours has wafted through my home filling it with the memory of my Northern Hemisphere Christmases – with perfect timing as Father Winter has just begun to rap loudly on my window pane here at the other end of the world!

potpourri

 

This amazing package also contained a little something from Alyster – see the specially packaged little porcelain toadstool surrounded by some of the gift bag contents – thats especially for us, from Alyster :-)  Next thing I’ll be making fairy gardens!!.

Alyster

And to end, this is this mornings shot of a boy  and his new best friend, who have just been woken from a sound slumber by a crazy woman with a camera.

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This was a lovely break from my house cleaning and tidying – the job has grown and grown.  The bathroom has been re organised and given a good seeing to.  The laundry has had the same treatment and my bedroom is also getting a redo.  My ‘Create Joy’ room is inaccessible as that has become the place where everything gets stored until it is ready for relocation, either here or elsewhere…….. YD is still selling stuff on Trademe and other sites.  Various charity stores have been the recipients of trunk-loads of stuff and other bits and bobs are making the giveaway rounds of family and friends.  I am so light!!  My wardrobe has been halved, my ‘one day it might be useful’ pile has all gone. My ‘cottage by the sea’ accoutrements have also now all gone.  I have left only what I need and use.

And, of course, my arty-crafty stash :-)

And please, do pop over and visit Boomdee – I know you will enjoy her, she is a lot of fun!

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

Still NO ART – Just More Life

I caught myself this morning standing over a kitchen sink full of hot, bubbly water, clapping my hands with joy!  Life is good dear friends – life is very sweet right now!

I had a wonderful week with my ED.  We spent quite a lot of time in her kitchen playing with her new toy – a most fabulous Vitamix Blender – which is really the kitchen appliance version of the Bissell vacuum cleaner I purchased, do you remember that post?

Here’s my girl holding down the uber blender case it takes off:

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That’s almond milk in there – two seconds previously it was almonds, now its milk!  Well, it will be as soon as it is strained through the nut milk bag.

Here is the view from her kitchen window:

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If you go outside onto the deck this is what you see:

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Beautiful New Zealand Bush – Rain-Forest to some.

I used to live in the house next door and take full credit for these two finding themselves there the year after I left.

I don’t have a photo to show yet – but I have some Kombucha living in my hot water cupboard and getting ready to give me a pro-biotic blast of goodness and tastiness in another week!  ED and I went to a morning workshop and learned how to make Kombucha and Water Kefir.  We came away with little jars, one bearing a  Kombucha SCOBY and the other kefir grains.   I don’t want to make water kefir – I want to make Milk Kefir which I can use as a replacement for, or addendum to, my organic yoghurt making practises……I left the water kefir grains with ED and she is happily percolating those.

I am still searching for milk kefir grains if you are reading this post and live close by – please let me know.  Don’t try to send me any if you are overseas.  Fran already tried that and the customs people snaffooed them and wouldn’t give them back!

Ooooh look – I made that – it’s a memo holder and lives on ED’s fridge, bearing  a message from her sister:

Fridgesign

Here is ED and SiL enjoying the Belgian Beer while waiting for the Mussels to arrive and keeping me amused with a photo shoot- if you were paying attention in the previous post you may remember what this was all about

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And here is ED about to have a pre dinner snack

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They won’t thank me for these – but I do it for your eddification and enjoyment dear readers!

Here is something for Linne and anybody else who enjoys a touch of Middle Earth

Middle-Earth-Airport-Wellington

This is what you see now when you fly into Wellington Airport – Wellington being Hobbit Central with Weta Workshop just down the road from the airport and Sir Peter himself calling it home – Wellington, not the airport, silly!  We all went to see the first Lord of the Rings here at the made over [by the wealth of Peter* before he was Sir] Embassy Theatre – where incidentally I saw my very first grown up movie a hundred years ago called ‘Exodus’ and fell madly in love with Sal Mineo.  Hands up any one who remembers him……….. Any one?

All New Zealanders used to refer to ‘Peter’ and we all knew immediately which Peter was meant.  Now we all reverently and rightfully refer to Him as ‘Sir Peter’.

Another bit of personal family history will, a couple of years later, see ED and SiL walking alongside some glittering movie stars on the Red Carpet to that same theatre for the World Premiere of a book that ED had on her publishing list which Peter, before he was Sir, made into another film called ‘The Lovely Bones’.

But I digress!

I am happily and slowly recreating my lounge.  I got a bargain in curtain fabric off Trademe – scoring almost 9 metres for a paltry $29 featuring [fasten your set-belt Boomdee] gorgeous aqua flowers on a cream background.

curtain fabric

 

I mentioned to some clients that I would be hanging up my shingle come September when the big birthday number was reached that would allow the government to take care of me in the style to which I am slowly downgrading my living standard to accustom myself to … This was maybe a foolish thing to do for they have suddenly decided that they must now do the work they have been putting off doing for years and my normally tranquil existence is being booked out from under me.  I am blaming my clients for the slow eventuation of my give-away which now looks like being held over til after Easter.

But please do keep an eye out for the chance to win your very own Contented Crafter Organiser!

Organiser4

I took part in a Skyped International Tea-Party with some other Blogger friends at the behest of the aforementioned Boomdee.  We all wore hats and gloves and brought a poem and told a story that hadn’t been told on our blogs  - which was a great deal of fun despite us all talking at once and hardly anybody seeing any one – and me not seeing any thing at all!   There was a small glitch in that we didn’t know we all had to have the latest version of Skype and at least one friend had to have a premium account ………. but we know now and are ready for the next available date!

Any how, there I sat in my hat and aqua fingerless gloves completely in the dark viewing wise – I didn’t mind so much, but poor Orlando had his hat on and was on his best behaviour sitting up beside the computer ready to say hello to all the other fur-friends – and not a one to be seen.  He still hasn’t got over it!Hat3

Here’s me in my hat, cracking up over something Laurie had just said

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Boomdee and I have decided to have a play with Google Hangout and see if that works any better for us – blogging may take on a whole new dimension folks. We’ll all just get together and have a chat instead of all this tedious writing and uploading of photos……….. What do you think?

Here are links to the posts from the other bloggers who took part

The delightful Ms Dani at TeddyandTotty based in Victoria, Australia

The delightful Ms Alys at GardeningNirvana based in California, USA

The delightful instigator of the whole affair Ms Boomdee from Alberta, Canada

The delightful biker chick, explorer and photographer Ms LB from Virginia, USA

And the lovely Ms Julia of Defeat Despair, who hasn’t posted about this yet.

And me.

This morning after the little happy dance at the kitchen sink which is where this all started I received some lovely Happy Mail

 

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Apologies for the quality – it has become dark and threatening rain whilst writing this post!

This delightful collection comes courtesy of Patricia Awapara, a most delightful and talented artist and blogger friend from Miami Florida, US of A!  We did a swap and once again I feel I got the better part of the bargain!  I love the original of the boat painting and Pati kindly made a copy for me.  That was all I was expecting and would have been thrilled to receive.  But – I also received a small original!  The flower vase is an original Patricia Awapara :-)  And a postcard and a tiny print of  the so cute half avocado……. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Have a wander over to her blog and marvel at her colourful and vibrant art works.  I just love what she does!

My courtyard garden turned blazing red while I was away.  I waited too long to take a photo and the weather turned – this one is from last year when Sidd could still be seen through the flaming Boston Ivy.  This year he is a bit more elusive.

Buddha 3 cropped

 

Here is my indoor Sidd – residing peaceably on my table awaiting his new home when the makeover is finished – though I quite like having him here too

Sidd indoors

Well dear friends, that has more or less partly caught you up with why there is still no art appearing on a blog which purports to be all about my arty and crafty adventures – so I shall fall back onto an oldie but a goodie

LIFE IS ART

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

 

 

Box to Book – Finished and Given, At Last!

Cover finished 1 a

It took the better part of a year – but I got there and I am so happy and relieved to report to those of you who have so faithfully and patiently waded through posts and photos that it was well received.

These photos were taken late at night on my ED’s birthday after a long and full day of zooming halfway up the Island and back again and a rather scrumptious dinner of mussels and Belgian Beer at The Leuven in Wellington City………. On the phone to her right is YD, partaking long distance in the present opening and without the benefits of mussels and Belgian Beer!

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Here once more is the history of the Book of Love to refresh memories.

For Christmas 2012 I received a Spellbinders die cutting machine from my lovely Eldest Daughter.  The box was a biggish, strong, brightly coloured affair that sat in my craft room for a couple of months with me looking at it and wondering what it could be used for.

At some point I had the bright idea it could and should be recycled into a book and given back to the giver of the gift the following Christmas.  I was inspired by a beautiful project I had seen on You Tube and also by thoughts of creating something that looked as if it was really old and well loved from ordinary crafting items.

I wanted to give my daughter something that featured my handwriting and lettering, something that could be opened at random and would hold an uplifting message or thought and something that could reveal, or unveil, more layers every time she looked at it.

I ended up deciding to make all my pages and inserts look like palimpsests and consequently spent many happy hours taking ordinary cream coloured card stock and wrinkling, ripping, stamping, dirtying, writing and shaping it to my requirements.  Whilst not strictly meeting the requirements of old parchment that has been recycled and written over many times, it made me feel happy and added depth and interest to the pages that appeared.

The box was roughly cut up into pieces the same size and covered with papers.  Little pieces of the original box however can be seen here and there so the provenance is not altogether lost. I wonder if you spy any of those odd edges and corners as you go through?

The project took longer to complete than expected – mainly due to me getting back into mixed media painting and opening an Etsy Shop and wasn’t ready for last Christmas – but I was determined to get it completed for ED’s birthday last Saturday.  I made it by the skin of my teeth!

We made a little video of the book before I left to come home with my rattly little camera – it is a bit shaky and ends rather abruptly due to me not knowing how to do fade-outs and such like – but may show some aspects that are harder to see in the photos.  Please forgive the quality.

Here we go – I hope you enjoy  :-)

http://youtu.be/VKbOpedaOhc

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The eagle eyed amongst you may notice that I’ve somehow lost a photo here – a page is missing.

 

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I had a wonderful week away, we were so busy and so happy and it went by in  flash – and I took almost no photos – completely hopeless!

But here is a photo of Wellington Airport for you Lord of The Rings and Hobbit fans:

Middle-Earth-Airport-Wellington

Thanks for coming by today – I’m so happy that you did!   :-)

No Paintings – Just Life!

I haven’t posted for some three weeks – some of you have even messaged me   :-)   Those of you who follow along on the Contented Crafter Facebook page are kind of in the loop…… briefly put it’s been a little bit crazy with not much going on in the Create Joy room that can be shared.

First off I decided – completely out of the blue – to give my tiny house a wee bit of a makeover, a do-up, a preparation for winter if you like …… in my usual inimitable fashion and with not much spare cash I began a one woman crusade to find how best to gain space, colour, comfort and energy into a room measuring roughly 3.20 x 5 metres [or for you non-metric types: 10'6" x 15']  It’s a challenge!

Then other activities began to intrude – there is my ED’s birthday gift to finish.  I’ve been working at it on and off [mostly off] for a year now and you can follow it’s earlier progress here and here and, if you are really interested, here.

I dislike leaving things unfinished and so it must be completed even if I wish I could have a complete re-do.  I’ve discovered [again!] that you learn so much from an activity and get better at it the more you do – hence the wish to start again!  But I can’t as the original idea was to recycle a box in an unusual and worthwhile way and the box is now no more and we have what we have.  So on I went with my project, all the time backtracking to add in, embellish up and do over.  Like Topsy it has grown and grown and developed and evolved and is ending looking nothing like the original idea.  Isn’t this the way of life?

Intruding into this work came several more activities.  YD is on a five week long vacation from her job.  She spent most of the first three weeks taking me out shopping with her – just for fun she said, and I am always up for some fun!  I never ‘go shopping’ any more and found it fun, but quite exhausting.  Several items have found their way into my room makeover stash.

With all this time on her hands and nothing but good ideas in her head, YD turned to me as we drove home from one of our shopping trips and said “Let’s have a garage sale on Saturday!”  It was Thursday afternoon.

We have been talking about having a garage sale for months.  We have stuff to get rid of.  I have a tiny house and can’t keep stuff like I used to.  I have too much stuff.   I have stuff in boxes and cupboards and in the way.  I would like to get it gone.  And it would supply me with some much needed cash for my beloved redo…….. But, like, in 36 hours time?

“But we haven’t advertised it”  I said.  That was no concern to YD, we would put up some big notices on lamp posts and attract all the Saturday morning strollers who would be heading to the Esplanade for their Saturday morning Latte’s……

“But, we haven’t sorted” I said.  No problem!  We would do that this very evening and transport all my stuff to her place, where said Garage Sale was to be held, tomorrow.

I don’t seem to have the word ‘no’ available for use with either of my girls and so we were off and running!  Cupboards were emptied of boxes, sifted through and piled into cars.  Cupboards got a quick once over, drawers were emptied out and resorted.  The bookshelves were relieved of some of their burden.  The boxes of stuff that had already been set aside for our garage sale day were loaded up and disappeared.  My house felt lighter immediately.

Over at YD’s house on Friday we did the same activity for her and the piles of stuff accumulated in her carport.  I discovered my inner hoarder and pulled a couple of items back, strictly with the living room makeover in mind….

Friday night, and again at 6 o’clock on Saturday morning, we drove around the area and stapled notices to lamp posts exhorting any one who could read to come to YD’s house and spend their money on our unwanted stuff.  What we were both blissfully unaware of was that my neatly handwritten invitations – black Sharpie on brown cardboard – were far too dull and small to be readily seen by all the latte seeking hordes……….

Our Garage Sale was a fizzer.  The fact that we made $60 was a small miracle according to YD’s best friend tLK who had driven around looking for the signs on her way to help fend off the hordes of bargain hunters.

What I was really pleased about is that all my junk is now at YD’s place living in her guest bedroom and YD and tLK decided they would have a second go at a Garage Sale – and do it properly this time with advertising in the media and readable lamp post signs and everything else required for a successful day on ED’s birthday – when I will be in Wellington celebrating said event with the ever-so-lovely and aging ED!

It all worked out rather well I thought.

While all the above activities were going on I had discovered that my vacuum cleaner wasn’t actually doing any more than picking up the minimal amount of dust and debris it could get away with.  I had cleaned the floors vigorously with it and when that activity was over got down on my hands and knees with a lint brush and brushed up a rather remarkable amount of dust and debris – and hair from one Orlando King.  The cleaner, despite its roaring and puffing and vigorous movements, had done minimal work and was due for a sideways promotion.

I spent several days perusing my options online and armed with my new found knowledge and requirements set off to visit three stores and see what they had on offer.  Imagine my joy when, at the very first store I was approached by a tiny young woman with a friendly demeanour and an extensive knowledge of vacuum cleaners!  Imagine – there she was, working in the appliance section of a store and knowing her subject!  Fantastic!

vc sales girl

I spent a happy ninety minutes with her, discussing so many different aspects about cleaners in general and three in particular that I am now a walking encyclopedia regarding the pros and cons of the things!  Having educated me enough we began to play with the possibilities.  I happily cleaned large areas of floor for the department store, scuttling customers and servers out of the way with my vigorous brushstrokes.  My friendly and capable retail person scuttled about too, finding more dirt and debris to scatter in front of my searching motorised broom while I oohed and aahed at the sight of all that muck disappearing up the pipes despite her valiant attempts to rub it into the carpet and scatter it about in inaccessible places.

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With two cleaners tried out and my back beginning to get a bit stiff from the bending it was on to number three.  Now to be honest here, I was a reluctant trialler of this model.  It was an upright – the ones that look like they used in the UK pre-war days and I have always been a girl who uses a lowdown cleaner – you know, the ones modelled on the electrolux in days of yore – there are still people in the world who refer to ‘luxing’ when they talk about vacuum cleaning their floors.

My friendly, but determined sales girl really wanted me to try it and honestly, I was just doing it to make her happy as she had been such fun to play with.

She plugged it in, showed me where all the switches were and I dutifully turned it on and ………..Wheeeeeee!  It dragged me around the store at a rate of knots.  If I was cartooning it for you you would see me hanging onto the handle, airborne like a para glider, grinning like an idiot!

I couldn’t find one of those but this may give you an idea:

cleaning frenzy

Of course it came home with me!  The absolute bonus on a fun afternoon was that that particular model was marked down, for that weekend only, by $100.  How much better does it get?

Here is a picture of the box, newly emptied of it’s goodies, proudly posing beside Orlando’s metre high wardrobe cat:

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And here it is a moment or two later – look carefully:

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Do you see that hovering bird of light in the photo?  It’s a complete mystery to me how that got there!

As we are on Orlando, lets finish this post with a bit more about his latest obsession.

Due to my imminent room make-over the refrigerator has been moved to a fairly unlikely place, [but there is a good reason for it of which more later.]  This allows his little kingship full access to the back of said fridge, where the motorised bit lives and which gurgles in a most enticing way apparently.  He spends hours watching closely:

Morning,

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noon

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and night:

Fridgeguard1

Sometimes he falls asleep watching it.  Then it makes a big gurgle, or the motor switches on and he jumps.  He does that four feet off the ground, backwards leap that cats do when they get a scare.  Sadly for him, this makes his mumma laugh!

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

My Arty Organiser/Faux Filofax

I had a crazy notion about two weeks ago that it would be a good idea – instead of having five different notebooks of varying shapes and sizes plus one note pad scattered over my coffee table, and side table in the lounge and two more large exercise books and various bits of paper with random notes, quotes and ideas on scattered about the creative room – wouldn’t it be a good idea to have it all in one place…..

Mmmm – I set my mind to it – I first had the idea for a cover but was a bit woolly about how to actually do the rest when by serendipitous good fortune down the email arrived a link to a You Tube Video, made by a country-woman of pretty darn good creative ability:

All was made clear.  I had about seven notebooks still sitting in a drawer from the summer before last when they were on sale for five cents each – I bought twenty of them, just because they were five cents each!

Organiser3

I took the covers off and painted them.  I painted them with my two favourite colours cerulean blue and viridian green.  There’s a wee touch of white in there too…..

I poured glossy mod podge over to stop the paint scratching off and when that was dry gave each cover a good coating of car polish and buffed them up. Mod podge is not the best sealer around.  When dry it still has a sticky tack and a bad habit of making things stick together when you don’t want them to.  The car polish puts a sleek shiny sealed surface over the mod podge and solves that problem.

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I made the cover – and I just love how it has turned out!  I used one of my postcards made from the original painting and embedded it onto the hardboard cover with texture paste which I then painted with the cerulean and viridian paints.

Organiser1

The rest was pretty straight forward.  I made some little pockets to hold the odd bits and pieces that might come floating by.  Fiddled about a bit with the spine to ensure it was strong and sturdy and could do what I wanted it to do.  Bought some hat elastic and wrapped it around the spine inner, which was then glued to the spine outer – meaning no-ones going nowhere baby!  slipped the notebooks into place and voila – one artists organiser complete with the obligatory spot of bling…..

Organiser4

I forgot to say earlier I made the little medallion thingy from a metal embellishment.  I dunked it into embossing ink then into white embossing powder and heated it.  Twice. Then I finished it with a dunk into some sparkly clear embossing powder and got the look I was after. I coloured the elastic with ‘Peacock’ Distress Ink.   Here’s a spine view:

Organiser5

Adding tabs ensured there is, amongst other things, a place for notes, a place to list things I want, a place to list gift ideas, a place to keep track of giveaways and winners of giveaways, a place for ideas, a place for quotes, a place for tracking expenditure and another for tracking earnings [giggle!] and a spare place for something else that might pop up.

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If you peer closely into the centre of the book you will see the hat elastic doing its job and holding the notebook into the spine quite snugly.

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And here is one of the little pockets which have been scattered throughout to hold the odd random bit of paper that may need holding onto….. and there is the blingy page marker at work too :-)

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And that my friends, is my version of an organiser – now to find out if it holds up and actually works….. she should do everything but make my morning coffee!

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If I missed anything and you really, really want to know what I did or how I did it ask away :-)

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

365 Days – February

Two down – ten to go!  [And today is my first blogging birthday!!  Isn’t that cool.  I had forgotten all about it but the nice folks at WordPress left a note in my comments box.  :-)

Blink and you will have missed it – that’s February done and dusted and there weren’t that many lovely hot days at all……..

Here are the daily ‘snap-shots’ neatly divided up into weekly portions as this is the only month that allows neat freaks like me to arrange the full month into equally numbered piles of four:

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DCFeb2

DCFeb3

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And now, because it’s my blog and I can – here are a few of my favourites:

Obviously feeling pretty good about Life, the Universe and Everything on this particular day.  Despite the fact that the face got smeared and looks like a clown, I like the movement in this one:

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I had a break-through with The Book:

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I like how this one turned out – I had time to play and no particular word for the day, so I just started doodling and kept going – the word ended up being ‘Doodles’  :-)

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And here I was celebrating the sighting of a beautiful skirt I had seen on Etsy that reminded me of days gone by when I was this slim and could dance like this:

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The theme of the month appears to be gifts – I was the recipient of so many wonderful handmade gifts from my bloggie friends and a couple that I gifted myself –  and dancing and skirts – which I did succumb to in the end – not the wildly expensive number I had eyed on Etsy, but another quieter, more mature version…………

Do you have a favourite?

Here’s the collection to date:

DCComplete

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

Becoming Well

In May of 1999 I fell down a flight of concrete stairs.

This seemingly disastrous occurrence actually saved my life, for at the time I had a ream of health problems that I was busy ignoring.  In the end – and after a couple of months of harrowing hospital stays and specialist visits – I  had become one of those people who had a list as long as her arm of all the things that were wrong with her.

Some were hospital diagnosis:

I’d had several unreported heart attacks

I had unstable angina

I had several Deep Vein Thrombosis [DVT's] in both legs, but most were in the left

I had a malformed bone in my spine that was responsible for the searing pain I suffered throughout my adult life

Some health issues were GP diagnosed:

My thyroid was under-active

I had high cholesterol

I had high blood pressure

Medication was prescribed for all the above diagnosis.

There were side effects of the medications, some of them so severe that I decided to take myself off them. Some I stayed on.

Some health issues were diagnosed as ‘give them time’:

My left knee and right hip were damaged in the fall and never came right – walking was painful.  My left leg became shorter.

I was deep in menopause.

My lymph system was a disaster area, I retained water as if in danger of imminent drought.

My eyes wept every morning and in the cold and in the wind.

I had violent attacks of sinusitis.

I had headaches

backache

hip pain

neck ache

acid reflux

thinning hair

puffy eyes

low energy

poor sleep patterns

And a raft of undiagnosed un-wellnesses that left me drained, exhausted, irritable and putting on weight at a rate of knots.

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It wasn’t quite that extreme but it felt like it!

The years passed and I made many changes to my life.  In an attempt to recover completely and to reassess who I was and what I needed to do with my life, I quit teaching and training and administering and moved 800 kms away, to a place where I knew no-one except my youngest daughter, who had accompanied me.

I spent a year living by the sea and painting and quietly and almost imperceptibly regained my inner equilibrium.

In the way it does, life stepped it up a notch and I found myself back in the work force in a role that was different yet the same.  I was still teaching only now it was unemployed youth and unemployed women.  This role segued into opening a community centre for women where I ran courses in employment skills and life skills and self empowerment.

This work led me directly into life coaching.  When the government withdrew all funding for my kind of community care work and channeled their attention into youth unemployment – which they did as the global recession hit, my little centre came to a stop as well and I had to try and make it on my own.

All this happened over a seven year period and throughout this time I was developing a deeper understanding and relationship with myself and my own health.

I ate healthily and despite that still had that never-ending list of on-going painful maladies in my body.  I had got myself a a treadmill and despite the pain and discomfort in my hips and joints, walked every morning and every evening on it.

But still I never felt well and I never lost any weight – in fact I was slowly and steadily putting more on. I consulted naturopaths and doctors and specialists.  All kinds of tests, drugs and potions were tried and nothing helped.  There was one quite spectacular moment when my doctor actually threw his hands in the air and said he didn’t know what else to do.  I was on my own.

weight-loss-cartoon-the-invisible-man-and-wonder-woman

I knew that most of my health issues were caused by inflammation, I just didn’t know what to do about and it seemed the professionals didn’t either.  The doctor had prescribed various diuretics and diet pills that did nothing much and came with unpleasant side effects.  The naturopath had given me herbal tinctures to take that made little difference to my health.

I resigned myself to the fact that the best was over.  I didn’t like that thought at all.

My life had taught me that my core beliefs held the answer to my health issues.  The experiences of my early years had driven me out of my body and into my head.  I was well aware of my thoughts, my phobias, my spiritual path; I was less aware of what my body was telling me.  It was the thing that was often in pain and slowed me down and stopped me doing what I wanted to do.  I sailed on despite my body, not because of it.

And then my very clever ED gave me a book for Christmas 2112.  ‘I Quit Sugar’ by Sarah Wilson.  The premise of the book is relatively simple – society’s over consumption of processed sugar is the cause of rampant ill-health. In the author’s case it was ‘a life time of mood swings, fluctuating weight issues, sleep problems and thyroid disease’.  I could relate!

The time must have been right, for I read it, it made sense to me, it struck a chord – and immediately I began to prepare for a change in life style.

It wasn’t so much that I consumed a lot of sugar, I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth, I don’t drink fizzy drinks [sodas as Americans call them] I’ve always thought they were a really bad call given that coke can be used to make a rusted on cap move.  But the book had reminded me and made me really aware of the hidden sugars in prepared foodstuffs and that was what needed to change.

Really what was being called for was a return to eating foods I prepared myself from good old fashioned whole food ingredients.  Returning to the way I used to eat before I got busy and didn’t have anybody to cook for except me so I didn’t always bother – I’d just grab something quick or convenient that I could slap in the oven while I did something else.

Having said that I didn’t have that bad of a diet either.  I ate a lot of salads, they were always quick and easy and convenient.  But I also ate a lot of bread – sandwiches for lunch, sometimes toast for my evening meal …. and bread contains sugar.  I never ate breakfast.  I sometimes grazed in the evening, looking for a pick-me-up I’d end up with my head in the fridge – or worse the freezer, because that was where the icecream lived……

I didn’t know if I would last very long with this new regime of eating breakfast, snacks of activated spicy nuts, a  salad lunch, evening meals that required some forethought if it wasn’t going to be another salad ….. but I was prepared to give it a go and see if my health issues would be alleviated.

I quit sugar sometime in late February 2013.

I never noted down the exact date – I didn’t expect a mind blowing transformation in my health or that I would have any reason to talk about life BQ or AQ. [Before Quitting and After Quitting]

I decided a couple of weeks later that seeing as how it appeared I was going to stay off sugar I might as well quit wheat as well.

I never said I would do it for forever, or even until next week.  I simply said, I will do it today.  And today.  And today.

And now it is a year later and I have changed my lifestyle completely and discovered that I like it this way and that because I feel so good I would never, never consider trading that in for the wrong food choices again.

It changed my life!

I have no illness.  I feel no pain.  I take absolutely no medication.

Without dieting or following a rigorous exercise programme I’ve dropped 4 dress sizes.

I live well, sleep well and eat well.  I have a stable emotional life, a pain free physical body and am inwardly quiet and serene.  For the first time in my life I am in tune with my body, I listen to it, respect it, care for it and nurture it.  It’s a little miracle really and I am in awe at its ability to reclaim health.

For me personally I discovered that I am extremely sensitive to sugar, even natural sugars found in fruit and root vegetables can be tough on my system.  I can only eat one piece of fruit per day – any more and my body suffers.  The very foods that I was happily ingesting, believing I was being healthy were in fact poisoning me.

I stay quite far away from sugar these days, but of course now and again give myself a ‘treat’ and indulge in a dessert.  I’ve found that if I don’t do that very often my body doesn’t suffer too much – but the instant onset of  severe ADHD is hilarious to anyone observing this calm serene, middle aged woman who abruptly and without warning becomes a wriggling, jiggling maniac who needs to fling her arms around like a windmill and do jumping jacks just to get the sugar rush out of her system.

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I’ve done a lot of research over this past year into the food and health industries.  I am very clear about what is going on, I am very clear about how the food we eat affects our health and general well being and I am very clear about my responsibility for my own health and well being.

I have learned that we are all different, there is not a one size fits all solution to our health.  Fad diets are not the answer.  Boot-camp exercise programmes are not the answer.

We must eat and we must move.  We must find the foods that give us health and ensure that our bodies are allowed to move in a free and healthy manner every day for the amount of time that our particular body best benefits from.

Moss

We are all different and so are our food and exercise requirements.

We have to pay attention.  We have to observe how certain foods make our bodies feel.  If there is ill-health there may well be a dietary reason for it.  It is a consideration worth considering.  I have learned that there are three main food groups.

1.  Foods that give me health

2.  Foods that are neutral for me

3. Foods that are poison to me

I eat mostly the foods from group 1.  I can eat a small selection from group 2, but as they do not add to my sense of well-being I do not use them as a major part of my meal planning.

I can and sometimes do choose to eat foods from Group 3.  I then have to suffer the consequences.  :-)  But mostly I choose not to eat them any more, I don’t like the consequences!

But, when all is said and done, I’ve simply chosen to be responsible for my own health.

There’s a great and empowering freedom in that.

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Please do be aware, this is just my own journey, my own experience.  My life has taught me that when I get my head straight, when I understand what is required of me, when I listen to what my body is telling me, I can get myself a bit more sorted.  This is just another step on the path I’m walking, taking responsibility for my own well being as far as I am able.

If you have questions please feel free to ask them.  If you have something to share and contribute, please do  - don’t be shy.

Experience3

Thanks for coming by today.