Friday, 26 March 2010

Approaching Easter

The sun was out this morning and it was so lovely to see it illuminating some green shoots in the garden. And the kitchen looked like Spring had finally arrived as I had put out my Easter decorations earlier in the week.

I put out far less than usual because of Archie! He's already broken a couple of (real, painted by me!) eggs and run off with a chicken,

and as for my string of tulips we didn't even get to the hanging stage.

I hang the decorations on twigs from the garden that I painted white a long time ago. Cats have snapped bits off during the years but there are still just about enough to hold the eggs and chickens. I love the feathery fluffy chickens:

but OH hates them with a passion!

In honour of Rocky-Doodle-Doo at felters journey here are my silly cockerels!

Archie likes to play with them too.

A friend took me shopping last week and I finally found what I have been looking for (in John Lewis): a dotty jug to exactly match the kitchen - now I've found it I will ask for more as presents in different sizes because the colour is just perfect.

I've always wanted a life that involves a proper milk jug too, but that means I have to slow down enough to pour the milk into the jug and bother to put it on the table (and the table usually has felt all over it, not breakfast!)

It's been a very busy week and OH has a new job which involved a very tiring day of interviews yesterday, so tonight I have lit my candles and am having a glass of wine to celebrate making it to Friday!

Have a good weekend everybody!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Archie's New Toy

I've found this lovely new toy in the kitchen. I had to climb up my mum's legs to find it but once I got there it was great.
Splashy stuff comes out, I do like playing with it and don't mind even when my ears get wet.

Friday, 19 March 2010

A flowery day

Actually a few flowery days rather than just one, spent making these. I spent a long time putting different colours next to each other to see what contrasted and blended and really enjoyed making them as they're all different. I've got more lined up to do tomorrow if I get the chance too. Archie does tend to try and run off with them so they have to be guarded carefully as they're drying!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Remembering Newton

Now it's getting a bit warmer I've been going out into the garden more and hanging the washing on the line - and that takes me right next to the place where we buried Newton.

I had such a terrible dilemma about what to do with him - cremation is now a very plausible option for a beloved pet, and we have an excellent crematorium nearby which came highly recommended by a friend. Of course the decision is an immensely personal one, and I think if there had just been me to consider I would have taken this option, because I didn't want to leave Newton behind if and when we ever move house and I felt I needed more time with him close by. But son no. 2 was particularly distressed at the thought of cremation, and we do have two of our other cats buried here. So as we were running out of time we took the decision to bury Newton too.
This we had to do in the dark and in the snow late one evening the week he died, as it needed to be a private family event and we had my in-laws coming to stay the next day. In fact the stillness of the evening and the blanket of snow made it perhaps a more special time. He is buried in his favourite outdoor place - he used to curl up and sleep there in the summer, flattening the long grass into a perfect circle in our wild-flower patch.

I had his name inscribed on a large pebble,

and this I found really helpful as it can stay on his grave for as long as we are here, but if we do move I can take the pebble with me as a memorial for him in our new home. I'm hoping to get similar ones inscribed for our previous cats too so we can do the same with theirs. It came from a place called Letterfest which I'd found a while ago, they found me a larger pebble specially.

This week I moved some of my snowdrops and crocuses to just around the pebble - the lovely clear bright white and purple catches the light, I can see them from the kitchen even though it's a long garden, and they'll come up every year. I'll try to find some other bulbs to plant too, perhaps something that flowers in the summer and autumn too. They'd need to be taller to be seen in the longer grass and be able to cope with being a bit dry - if any of you have any ideas of what might be suitable I'd be grateful to hear them!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A very busy week

I know everyone's (quite rightly) posting photos of snowdrops and other spring flowers at the moment, so here are mine. I made the pot years ago at a pottery class I used to go to. It was good just to go into the garden and bring some loveliness back into the house! I was trying to test out my new camera - you know the really posh photos have the background all out-of-focus in a special way - there's even a name for it which I forget. I'm only having success using my super-macro lens and my smallest aperture number, which works for some things.

In fact this particular photo I think isn't mine at all and was probably taken by my friend Tammy at Confessions of an Artist as we were having coffee at the time and she's very good at photography and was helping me!

Anyway, I must confess to being just a bit low this week - I think my hormones may be ganging up on me! The time has definitely come for some healthier eating and more exercise - both very basic things that can make a huge difference to how I feel. I've been very busily making things and filling every minute with tasks of some description - I think that's the problem really - the days pass quickly but sometimes you can feel you've missed something you should have stopped to notice!
I have had a rest today though, and a lovely lunch cooked for me by OH and the boys - salmon en-croute with a watercress sauce inside (very green but even son no. 2 liked it, and he doesn't usually do green!), and lemon souffle pudding - so I hope now I'll feel more ready for the week ahead when I wake up tomorrow!

I've started getting ready for craft fairs coming up later in the spring - I've done a lot of these needle-cases:

which have been popular in the past, just some more pincushions to do this week, then I'll get onto some new flowers and bags.

I've got a few other things to show you:

These are the beautiful cards I bought a little while ago from Sisters Crafty Creations shop - I have a couple of friends who like the colour lilac and these will be perfect for their birthdays coming up - I love the silver embroidery and like all the things in the shop they are real works of art. Wipso was the first person to leave a comment on my blog and it's been lovely getting to know her in blog-land. She and her sister Twiglet always amaze me with their productivity!

And I have very kindly been given this sunshine award by Juliet,

so a big thank you to her. She has very recently lost her dog and of course my heart went out to her having so recently lost Newton myself. As you know by now I'm afraid I break the proper rules of awards and don't pass them on officially, but again will take the opportunity to say thank you to all of you for your friendship.

And onwards we go into another week - I do hope you all have a good one.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Archie's Diary no.4

It's been a few weeks since I told you how I was getting on - there's so much happening and I've been doing LOTS of growing.

This is my squeaky mouse - he came from my first home, my mum doesn't like him as he is meant to sound like a real mouse. Dying presumably. I love him.

I'm still very sweet but also have wild times when I charge around the house very fast and hop sideways all bushy with a big puffed-up tail - my mum says I look very silly. It's not polite when people laugh at you.

As you know, my mum was a bit worried about the lump I had on my side, so a while ago now I had to go and see the vet to ask her what she thought. She was the one who stuck a needle in me last time, so I wasn't sure I wanted to see her again. She said she thinks I am swollen up when she put the needle last time, and hopes that the swelling will soon go down as she thinks my body is reacting to my vaccinations. My mum felt mainly better about this, but hopes this will not make me react badly in the future.

I had to have the second half of my vaccinations, and as soon as the vet tried to hold me I ran away, so she had to get another lady to help. When the vet gave me my injection I bit the other lady, but afterwards she and I had a nice cuddle, and then I had a nice cuddle with the vet. She was the same vet lady who looked after Newton (and drove him 20 miles to the heart specialist on her day off) and she said to my mum and dad how lovely he was, and how he was so good-natured during all his treatment.

I am not going to be good natured during any treatment at the vets, I have already decided.

I'm grown-up enough to assist with making the coffee now, here you can see I'm supervising to make sure it's all done properly.

I am also helping with the cooking by climbing up onto my mum's shoulder, wobbling about precariously and peering a bit over the cooker to see what's in the pans. I'm very keen on climbing and can haul myself up on the cooker to get on the work-surface - my mum says I will get my paws burnt this way and must find another way up.

I think people make great ladders, but my mum and dad don't agree.

I've found some great things on the work-surface - here's a nice plant with traily bits:

Whoops, I may have broken it just a little bit:

I've also broken into the forbidden kitchen cupboard under the sink:

I got right down the gap at the back, but then I got out by myself.

My dad has a magnetic catch to fix on it now as I'd like to go in the gap again, every day, and scrabble at the cupboard a lot trying to get in.

I still sleep with my mum and dad and behave very well, but when I wake up I'm SO excited to see everybody that I still charge around pouncing on noses - I can build up quite a speed and charge very fast straight for them - my dad isn't very happy about this and grumbles a bit. My mum just hides her face under the quilt. I get in the bed then and pounce on my tail - then someone gets up and gives me breakfast.

I do love to help my mum get dressed in the mornings - she can't manage properly by herself. Tights, jumper sleeves, skirts, trouser legs, underwear - you name it I can grab hold of it and try and run away with it. She says it's getting a little bit frustrating every morning to have to unhook my claws from everything as she puts it on.

Time to go and do more climbing. See you soon.

Friday, 5 March 2010

A photo shoot

A while ago I had an e-mail asking if I'd like to sign up to try and sell some of my things through a new website - it's launched today and is called WowThankYou (there's a link on the right at the side of the blog if you want to have a look.)
The idea is that it's the place to go if you'd like to buy a hand-made gift for someone. As it was a completely new site there was nothing to see while signing-up which made it hard to judge whether it would suit the kind of things I make, but since I've not yet attempted anything other than my own website I thought I'd try this one, although looking at it today I can't believe anyone will ever find any of my products at all, there are so very many on there. They've also taken mine out of most of the categories I'd put them in - I think they're in an "other" section so I'm not very hopeful! But you never know, there's always a small chance, and in the words of Tesco 'Every little helps'.

So last weekend I spent a LONG time trying to take photos that showed my tea cosies in a nice and hopefully attractive setting.

Of course, we never, never have tea like this, because it requires a tablecloth and some ironing (I don't really iron - I smooth clothes out hopefully on a radiator, which sadly doesn't work for everything). Usually I take a Simpsons mug of tea up to son no. 1 in his dreadfully messy room where he is surgically attached to his computer, and the rest of us wander round with mugs - but I love the idea of this kind of a tea, it is how I'd like my life to look, and I have to say after doing the photos I plan to try and make it a reality occasionally from now on.

I wanted to set up a small table in the sunshine in the garden, but the weather was awful so I had to stay inside. I bought tulips specially in the market for a pound a bunch, and went to the charity shop to find a proper tea-cup and saucer, and plate (70p for the lot!). I made a victoria sponge cake and asked my mum if she had any silver teaspoons (she's got everything in that house). I sent son no. 2 down the road to buy a croissant for an 'Easter breakfast' (he got to eat it when we'd finished), bought some Easter eggs and got my Easter chickens out, which I thought made everything look suitably Easter-y:

though when I looked on the Easter section today they weren't there which is a shame. You might recognise the actual tea cosies as they're both ones that Archie has been helping with!

Even though it was a LOT of work I really quite enjoyed it, and it's made me want to update all the pictures on my own site and re-design it - I think this will take so many hours I probably won't manage, but I'll try. All I did when I started and before I had a better camera was to put everything on the kitchen table, and nothing looks interesting flat on a table, felt has such a beautiful texture it deserves something better!

Even though I'm not sure about the new website suiting me, nothing's ever wasted - this has made me think yet again about how to display things better, and perhaps has taken me a step closer to trying something like Etsy. At the very least I got a tidied-up kitchen and some pretty flowers which are still on the window-sill, and we all had lots of cake!!
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