Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Oh wow! Look what we won!

Well, I've given away blog candy myself (sorry for delay in posting, Michelle, it's on its way to ya!) and I've entered for other people's without luck :( ......and then, along comes Bob T Bear (esq.), enters for a freebie, and wins first time!!!! Would you believe it??!!! LOL!

Catherine Young, a wonderfully talented artist and mum to all the Bumpkin Bears (-website link. Here is their blog link: Bumpkin Bears Blog), has started to sell her own prints of Bears and to celebrate their launch onto Etsy, she was giving away this beautiful, mounted print:And Bob has won it!!!!! He is over the moon, he is. Been frolicking all afternoon. How wonderful! It's like Christmas has arrived early. It has given me such mood boost!!! LOL! THANK YOU, Catherine! SO much!!!!

We already know where to hang it- alongside my pawtrait of Bob and Chewy's brilliant watercolour of him.

Here is a link to Catherine's Etsy Store, where you can see all her prints, and some of her handmade Bears, too. She is about to launch her own Christmas cards and I'm sure Bob will be queueing up with his shiny penny collection to place an order :) Do pop along and have a look, and support this brilliant artist!

Friday, 28 November 2008


My shop is online!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here it is-


They have a fancy linky for the sidebar but it isn't working yet. Please come and have a look! It is painfully slow uploading each card, only a few on there so far, but I have photographed a boxful and will be uploading them pretty much for the rest of the evening.

Lots of shops on the ShopHandMade site are having a 6 day sale from today, where everything is 10% off & I've decided to join in! So, if you ever fancied one of my cards, this is the time to grab it! LOL!

Prices are LOW! And quoted in USD - the site requires this, but you can pay in any currency. Payment is through PayPal but you don't need an account with PayPal to do so and they don't charge.

OooOOooOOoooOoooOoo I'm worn out but quite excited :)

***** ***** ***** ***** *****


Most of the cards are here, and they are amazing! I am just waiting on 4 now:
1 of these, I know, is in the post, winging its way as I type.

I had intended to photograph them all together and publish the pic here before sending them out, but I think it would be more sensible to send them now and put up a post showing individual pic's, after they have all been received. I'll wait till mid next week then start sending them. You're in for treats!!!! I can't take in all the talent! It has been a privilege to see them all. Thank you!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Art Inspiration

Found this while bloghopping!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008


(Blogger keeps having trouble showing this photo but if you click on its square it'll come up big for you)

-This was the laurel in our garden, Sunday morning. It has finally gone cold here! We have no heating and we've chased up the heating guy again, hoping for a 'diagnostic visit'. It is hard to get a plumber to actually diagnose and fix a heating system these days; most of the ones we've tried look at it for all of 2 minutes, then 'prescibe' a whole new heating system for thousands of pounds.

We have bought a new cylinder, a new thermastat, washed the system through and bled radiators. We have hot water ("OH THANK GOD!!!!") but no heat.

So! we have a couple of plug-in heaters which I am carrying from room to room. We do have a fire as well, though what it has in ornament it lacks in throwing-out-heat ability, it being quite big room.


I am wearing 2 jumpers, 2 pairs of socks and a scarf. The cold has woken up my arthritis. I envy hedgehogs their hibernation instinct.

Hope you are keeping warm!

Monday, 24 November 2008

A "wordle"

If you go to www.wordle.net you can create a word cloud, or "wordle". Just type in some words- random, say, or your favourite poem, copy and paste an essay if you like! And it will produce a word cloud from your text using the most commonly used words.

I typed in the full text of the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and this is what it came with (it lets you choose colours, font, etc.):

(click to go to full size version on the site)

It also lets you print some out- so I printed some in various styles on good A4 paper as I think it could be used in some Xmas crafty projects I have planned :)

Fun huh? :)

Sunday, 23 November 2008

"All manner of things shall be well....."

I took this photo July 2007: wild flowers growing out of the ruins of Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire.

VP has posted about the effect that stress at work had on her a few years ago, and how her life has changed for the better since.

I came to a similar epiphany at the end of 1996. I'd been working in London, mostly in stockbroking, for nearly 12 years. Long, long hours- 12 hour days sometimes, plus standing on overcrowded cummuter trains for an hour to get there, unpaid overtime, pressure pressure pressure, high mortgage rate (10.5% when I took it out, and it never dropped!) bills bills bills, redundancy over and over as things crashed, then the fear and race to get in to another firm and carry on, never seeing my home in daylight, always tired, health slipping, depression etc etc etc.... then BUMPF! I was in hospital with a blood clot on my lung.

Hmmm. I didn't know how serious that was till the nurse came over and said, "Ermmm... we forgot to ask you what religion you are-???"

WHAT the?

Luckily I was OK. I have asthma now and have to watch it if I get a chest infection. But that's OK. But I never went back to work in London.

It dawned on me that what you do is not what you are. It didn't matter. It's what's in you that counts. And it's who you are and how you are that people will remember, not how many hours you worked or whether you had some great "respectable" job. Big deal!

I lay in that bed at age 29 and thought, Eeek! It's true! You DO only live once! Is this it?

I get ribbed for 'underachieving' and my stepmother calls me lazy for not going back to a 'high end job'. Well, as an old departed friend of mine used to say, up yer bum!

I also love that -slightly more poetic- saying from Julian of Norwich:
"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

Saturday, 22 November 2008

I want this cat!!!!

Remember what I said about cats' toes??? No? About me having a thing for toes? (Cute ones, not stinky human ones.) About me loving to sniff Fluffy's warm cheesy toes? Well take a look at THIS cat!

He has 28 toes!!!!

He has strayed and is being looked after by an animal charity's volunteer at the moment. If they don't track his owner they'll rehome him. You can read about it here. Oh, I wish I lived nearer to them! Imagine! A CAT WITH 28 TOES! Heaven!

My Dad's cat, Mr Pepe, has extra toes. The vet called him a 'Marsh Cat' as they adopted him from the Romney Marsh area. The theory is that they have extra toes to manage stalking across marshy ground. Hmmm. I'm not convinced. I reckon they just know how cute it is and that extra cuteness = extra cuddles and treats.

More Candy!

Ooo! Nip over to Debbie's place, Passion For Crafts, and see what great Blog Candy she is offering! The winner will be drawn on 26/11/08.
I would love to win this one, as I really want some of those Copic pens she has! Waah!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Secret Crafter Challenge, brother's birthday & a couple of books....


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I haven't done much crafty stuff lately. Strange, but since clearing and organising a special craft area I seem to have ground to bit of a halt! I hope this inertia doesn't last!
I think the much shorter days are part of it. It's pitch black before 4.30pm here. I hate hate hate that! It also means there is no natural light during the times I have normally carfted and drawn, painted, etc. I need to re-schedule myself!

Hey ho! Here are a couple of things I HAVE managed this last week or so....

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The Secret Crafter's Challenge
this week is the theme "CUTE AS A BUTTON".

I did an ATC, using:
  • my latest stamp, a cute kitten photo-like portrait;
  • strips of paper left over from other projects;
  • buttons from a pot sent to me by Julie :)
  • gold heat-embossed scribble;
  • and white 'Fluffy Stuff' as a touchy-feely frame to mimic a kitten's soft tummy :)
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Here is the birthday card I made for my brother, Roy. The strips of paper underneath the image are from Julie's parcel again :) :

The above photo was taken in artificial light, the one below in daylight- not sure that either shows the card very well!!!

I coloured loose stripes in water-colour pencil then washed over it with a water-pencil.
The forground is the same, but with less water, to leave more of a textured look.
I added small gold stars from a strip of outline stickers to the sky to suggest the night sky coming through.

The tree stamp- I used one stamp twice and a smaller one once. They were freebies from Crafty Individuals.

I put a smaller picture, made the same way but darker, inside the card. The pine cones are rub-on transfers.

I also made a wee book for him as well.
The white square on the front is some shrunk plastic. It was going to be a keyring but wasn't quite up to it :)

  • I bought a small wiro-bound note book for 50p.
  • I took the wire out and covered the covers with paper (by Laura Ashley).
  • Then I reassembled it inserting a patterned first page to show through the window in the cover. The letters are freebie stickers that came with a magazine this month.
  • I laced it all together with gold cord that came free in the same pack :)
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I love the idea of making books, and must get round to doing more. Here's one I did last week. I don't know WHY it turned out so girly. I'm not a girly girl ;)This was really just an excuse to try out a certain birthday present:
Thanks, Luvbug :)
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Update on sales:

  1. The table at the Indoor Craft Market isn't doing very well. I think I've made about £10 so far, and it cost that much to have the table there! I think this is partly because all the cards are upstairs so not all the shoppers see them- the staircase is slim and spiral, so no pushchairs, walking sticks or heavy shopping!
  2. The shop in Ireland that asked for some cards to sell has had more luck- they only arrived there this week and already they have sold three!
  3. I am nearly ready to launch my online store. I have to finish developing my banner and logo and getting all the cards photographed better. I had planned to go my mum's this weekend but given the weather (blowy and snowy!), I might stay in and work on this, instead!

We have a winner!

A big THANK YOU to everyone who visited my blog to enter the Blog Candy draw! In the end, my Blog Candy post attracted 103 comments- wow!

Today is the day of the draw, so I wrote all the names onto slips of paper.......then put them into a bag.......oh, Hallo Bob! Have you come to help?OK! Thanks!
Bob is using the double-sided-sticky-tape-on-the-nose technique for this!Ta-darr!!!!

After a thorough shake of the bag, in he goes....And after a quick frolic about, the winner is................

*** *** *** MICHELE *** *** ***

Congratulations Michele! Email me your address and I'll get your prize in the post to you next week!!!!

Thanks, everyone, that was fun!

And thank you, Bob, have a chocolate chip cookie....."Mmmnnyummyummyummmm..."

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Birthday Blog Candy!!!!

This post is staying at the top till 20/11/08- please scroll down for latest posts :)

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Hullo!!! I am an enormous 41 years old today (8th Nov), and to "celebrate" (huh!) I thought I'd offer up some Blog Candy.

Here's how it works:
To be in with a chance of winning what's in the photo, just add your comment to this post. Then mention it on your own blog and give a link. I shall keep this post at the top till my little brother's birthday, which is 20th November. On that day I'll draw a name and let the winner know! I will post internationally, so come on, join in!
Here's what's on offer (click to make larger, if you want a closer look around!):
List of goodies:
Pile of assorted papers: 8x8 inch and 6x6;
4 packs clear stamps (alphabet, swirls, borders and frames);
pack of assorted stamps from Crafty Individuals;
4 sheets of sticky peel-offs;
pack of die-cut tags, labels, frames and other shapes;
pack of Paperchase 12 assorted coloured blank cards and envelopes;
pack of Paperchase metal heart shape clips;
+ Joanna Sheen catalogue thrown in for fun :)
I might add a few things as time goes on, too :)

Have fun and good luck!!!!!

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  • Crop Til You Drophave a lot of sale items right now, PLUS an extra 20% OFF EVERYTHING for the month of November- just put "NOV2008" as the coupon code at the checkout. E.g., There are single 12 x 12 paper sheets down to 10p, and some stamps 75% off. Lots of goodies in other departments too. Have a look!!!!!
  • Artymiss are offering a great bargain right now- a light box, embossing tool and three brass stencils, all for just £4.99!!! Here's the link. I've ordered mine!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

This will make your day :)

Please please PLEASE go and read this. LOL!!!

Man tries to pay bill with spider.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


My latest hog-sitting..... he was tiny and weighed barely 250g. (about half a pound-??)

He wouldn't settle in his box, which was stressing ME out- thinking about how stressed HE must be, in a box!!

So my partner rang the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and asked for advice (yes, they do exist LOL). They said to him, "You might not like this, or fancy doing this, but they DO seem to like a cuddle in a warm towel or something."
MIGHT NOT WANT TO????? He must be MAD! I couldn't get him out of the box to cuddle quickly enough! LOL!

And so, this was me and hog, for most of the evening....

(if you can't see it there, try here.)

Awww..... I was up all night. I did put him back in his box for a bit, with some food, water and a hot-water bottle, but after a few hours he wanted more cuddles.

A woman from the RSPCA came to collect him at 10 the next morning, after which I fell asleep in the bath :)

Contact with animals is very therapeutic. An instant lift :)

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Sorry I haven't answered your comments- it has been so busy round here lately, and I haven't had time to get onto Blogger! (I have read them, though, as they come through to my email automatically- so thanks, everyone!) I hope to be back to "normal" routine this week, and visiting you all!
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Thursday, 13 November 2008

ANOTHER hedgehog!!!

I'm hog-sitting!!!

Just a few inches long!!!

TINY wee hedgehog, weighing barely 250g, is currently in a box with paper and a hot water bottle, with a tummy full of chopped up corned beef mixed with water and grated apple. He's a happy hog, and a lucky one, as he is off to the sanctuary later.

Ickol hogs are too ickol to be ickling about in November. They need to be 500-600g minimum to get through hibernation. I'm keeping a look out for any litter-buddies he might have. I've left a trail of corned beef across the lawn :)

It could be a long evening.

Oh, and I've just eaten half a Xmas chocolate log, nuked in the microwave, and covered in cream. -It's that time of the month when chocolate is a screaming medical necessity again.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Birthday animal treats!!!

Hurray! Now I know what my partner had been plotting when I wasn't around!!! My main birthday pressie is............ a trip to a London theatre tomorrow night to see The Lion King!!!!! Hurray!!! I've wanted to see that for years- ever since I saw a clip on TV about how the actors do all the different animals. Brilliant!!! I can't wait.

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My birthday itself was quite a sleepy day. We had toyed with the idea of going out for a meal in the evening, but instead we had a curry indoors. We were at my mum's from mid-afternoon and just had a lazy weekend all together, eating too much :)

But look what we found on the way to her house.....
.....just a minute or two from mum's place, we spotted a wee hedgehog just ambling along, beside the road, in broad daylight. Well, we had to rescue him-
-some hogs are having second litters in the summer months, but they don't always reach a big enough size or weight for hibernation, so they don't survive the winter. This one wasn't a baby, but at most was a young teen! No way was he big enough. And they should NEVER be out and about in the day- that always means something is wrong.
Now, I don't think I ever mentioned that I owned a woolly hat. Why would I? Let's just say it was a sort of Beanie type hat, but one worn by 40 year olds. (Can't say if a 41 year old would wear it, as I never had the chance.) So! I jumped out of the car, scooted across the road and ran along behind the hog, knees bent, with said hat opened in both hands. It must have looked a bit odd. I slipped the hat over him like a tea-cosy and scooped him up. Et voila-

One be-hatted hog.We stopped at mum's long enough to explain and to get her to come with us to a RSPCA woman in the next town who takes in strays of all types and sizes. Mum is hog mad, so wanted these souvenir photo's taken :) It's a pity we didn't keep the camera on us, because in the warmth of the car he began to relax and unfurl, sticking his nose out above the hat, and very soon we were all being observed.

Now, have you ever noticed that some animals get smellier the longer you hold them???? Rabbits are like that. And guinea pigs. Yes, definitely guinea pigs, in particular, I think. Do you know, when he lived in Ecuador, my partner ate a guinea pig? But that's another story and not at all cute. Anyway. Yes. The hedgehog is right up there with his guinea pig/hog friend. Phwar!

OK he was still cute and scrummy and loveable, just from a greater distance, that's all.

We dropped him off at the woman's house.
Another birthday present of mine had been a £10 note, slipped inside a card by my aunt. Well, I gave this to the woman as a donation towards his keep, not that I suspect it will go far, as she ends up with so many hoglets in the Autumn.

He was quite snotty, and, as I had held him on the journey, I had felt his breathing was a little laboured, and I could feel his lungs seemed a bit gravelly, like when you have a chesty cough. Never mind. He is in safe hands now; she said that she would go and put him straight under a heat lamp.

As we turned to go, she asked, "Would you like your hat back?"
I passed.

I think this close encounter was my best present of all.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Ooo another award! Coo, ta!!!

I've just received this lovely award from Els G. (Check out her blog if you have a moment, here!)


There are some rules attached, as I have to pass it on!
The rules are :-
1. The winner may put the logo on their blog.
2. Put a link to the person who sent you the award.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to their blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

I have lots of links to other blogs on here, in the column on the left, and more at the foot of the page, too! I am running out of room for listing great blogs! This means picking 5 isn't easy. But I've chosen 5 of the most creative blogs I've found to date. Ones that are really inspiring. If you haven't been to see them yet, I urge you too, and leave them a hullo, too :)

  1. Chewy
  2. Rach
  3. Plumpiemousie
  4. Julie
  5. Dan
Thanks again, Els :)

Autumn pictures

I took these the other day, at Colchester Castle Park.....

My partner spotted this scene (above) and said it would be a good shot.
If it wasn't for him I'd have missed it!
I took it quickly, as it was getting chilly and the light was fading fast.
I had intended to crop it, but I like it as it is now!

This is a little ornamental pond in the gardens with the side of the castle in the background. In the summer this area smells strongly of lavender and roses.

There is a large house nearby, now a museum, called Hollytrees:You can just about see my partner walking around the side of the house here...

Here he is!

Don't know why the water in the fountain was blue...
Beautiful leaves on the walls...
Pity this next one was a bit blurred....
I remember my mum showing me how to make little dolls out of these when I was little :)
Ahh! Gotcha!