Gift horses

My life is currently  a juggling trick extrordinaire, flaming clubs, swords, an axe. While riding a unicycle. On a bed of nails. Wearing a blindfold. And all the things i want to do are the very things that have to go at the bottom of the to do pile. But such is life and while it keeps me away from posting as much as I want to, I just need to keep trying, trying to find time for the things that make me happy, the things I want to do amidst the ever increasing things I need to do. And try to squeeze in time to fill you in with the goings-on!

The babies are thriving – their first trip to the vets was to be spayed which thankfully all went well, despite the hangdog expressions when they were first brought home…



They are a joy to come home to after a long day at work, and never fail to make me smile in the morning, which at 5.30am is no mean feat.



How could you not smile at that?

There’s been a couple of birthays…and couple of presents using my new favourite bracelet design





And Ive had  a package of my own….my dad, who  is now  retired, likes to attend the local auctions. So I’d asked him to keep an eye out for any job  lots of jewellery I could upcycle, but not to  really  spend any money..

 He phoned one night to say he”d picked up a box and it was on its way.  Less than 5  pound  but  he didn’t  know if it was what i needed.

And so i  waited impatiently for the postman….  

Taking stock….and stock taking

Since last i posted (and I’m glossing over the many months) I’ve been at the sticky end or removed by one from birth, death, promotion, resignation, moving house, 16-hour working days, missed holidays and enforced separation. Just as well nobody said it would be easy. Or indeed fair.

But a new year means a new start, and everyone has to start somewhere. And this is as good a way as any.

With some new plans in place to procrastinate less and craft more I needed to literally take stock, having covered off the metaphorical side. I find when my things (be it work, crafts, heck, even the inside of my car) is messy or disorganised, then that’s my headspace. Clear the decks and I’m a whole different bunny, ready to hop right in there and get on. I needed to sort out my multiple craft stashes, make them organised and really find out everything I actually had.

Now, I’ll admit it. I’m a geek. I like databases. I spend quite a lot of time trying to break the one we use at work. I’m so good at it, that sometimes I’m actually asked to do just that. So I decided that was what I needed – a nifty database to catalogue my stash.

And after a good half hour of googling, I finally found one. Sortly. Top name. It’s IOS only, so sorry if you’re not, but trust me; if you have things you need to keep track of, this is what you need. It’s simple to use, but highly personalised too. You can set locations, sub locations and then you list the item by name. Add an image, you can even add quantity and price, plus there’s a section for notes, so you can add whatever extra info you need – such as where it was purchased etc. Tag it and it’s as searchable as all giddy up. SO now, if I have a fancy to craft something in a specific colour – bam, search ‘green’ and everything green pings up to inspire me. Fancy making a keychain charm but not sure if I’ve any lobster clasps? I know now.
Not having to waste time hunting, or checking means I can decide to do something…and then just do it. And I’m really hoping that’s the push I need.

So I’ve taken stock and now I’ve done my stock taking. The new year stretches before me and the opportunities await.

What’s your year shaping up to be?

Well Begun is Half Done

Otherwise known as Let’s Tidy Up my Craft Box.

I had a piece to work on, but I’ve not been able to settle to it this week. I’m no neat freak, but I do find a peace in things having a place and being in them.

All my jewellery making lives in a sparkly box, which was originally a Christmas hamper from family. But I had so many packets of beads and clasps and findings that, ironically, I couldn’t find things.

Because my brain hates me and allows me all of half an hour extra in bed on a Sunday, I decided today was a good day to tackle it.

First, empty the box…

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Wow. I have a lot of stuff. I really should actually make some jewellery and make a dent in it.

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So now I can see what I have….my OCD can really kick in. Yes, those little pots are now housing the contents of the bags. Because the bags have a sticky strip that sticks to everything but the bag and drives me crazy.
And yes. I did write labels telling my what everything is. I really regret not having one of the clicky label makers. It may now be on my wish list.

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And then, as is my way, I had doubt that I’d picked the right storage. I decided to change my mind (I’m female, it’s a basic right), and use a box I keep embroidery thread in. However, my beloved pointed out that I frequently sit on the couch crafting, then go to get up and fall over with dead legs, catapulting whatever I was working on across the room. Which is possibly a nicer way of saying I’m a clumsy sod. So I compromised and put the tubs in the storage box. Belt and braces approach.

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Clean, tidy and ready for me to stop procrastinating.

And 14 partridges not in a pear tree

Finally!! Some time between the evening of Friday 13th and the morning of Saturday 14th Mama Partridge decided it was time to hatch the babies! Up early I checked the nest long distance as usual and saw broken shells (along with one un hatched) but no sign of the occupants. I was so worried she had taken them away and I’d missed it, but a few hours later she brought them back and presented her brood.

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I think she looks pretty proud. And so she should.

They’ve been back a few times, I’m not sure where she takes them overnight – we’ve a couple of brick outhouses so they may be there, but she’s very good at hiding them underneath her! There still seems to be the same number as I counted that first day, 13, so she’s a clever Mama to keep them all safe. None of the eggs from the first nest have hatched but I’m not sure what to do about them now.

I did think “hurrah, I can weed the path properly now!” as we’ve had to let it grow for nest coverage…..

but, wouldn’t you know it, we seem to have a new resident.

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I can barely explain how ridiculously tiny he is! He’s so relaxed in the garden he fell asleep in the garden beside my car and we almost stepped on him! He twitched an ear when we turned the engine over but went back to sleep. Poppet.

June is the maddest month

Oh I have so much to do in June I almost feel discouraged before I’ve even begun!
I have a friends birthday to make something for – I have one idea but no idea how to do it; a sisters birthday, I’ve at least completed part of that today, Fathers Day – I know what I’m doing, just not quite how to do it and my mum’s birthday. And since she’s usually my guinea pig I may actually buy her something instead!
In amongst all that work is crazy, and my other half may be about to move 130 miles away. And Mama Partridge is still sitting on her eggs…

It’s going to be a long month! Send cake! And wine!

What was old is new again

Jewellery’s a funny thing. It’s one of those things that you really do react to instinctively. Maybe you’re out shopping, and you pass by a jewellers. Some days you’re indifferent to anything in the window. Other days you may see something you think is awful – gaudy, tacky, whatever. And sometimes you’ll just know that one piece is your piece, as if fate has finally brought you together. I felt that way about my unofficial wedding ring – we weren’t shopping for one, it’s not a traditional ring, but then again neither am I (hence being unofficially married).

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So it’s not a great surprise that, no matter what, we find it hard to let jewellery go. A necklace with a broken catch, a bracelet with missing links, the earring that has no matching partner. We can’t wear them, but we can’t let them go either.

I’m guilty of hanging on to all sorts of things that I’d probably be better off letting go – both material and emotional. Jewellery, letters, photos – things I should probably just keep in my head and heart. But decluttering is just the practical side of letting go. And that can be cathartic. So my mum and I gathered some old jewellery

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and with some earrings and a bit of necklace and some of my stash

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made a key/bag charm. Old to new, upcycling memories.

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And so it begins

Such a long time away. Sometimes it’s felt like it’s been too long to come back. But then I think it’s a Catch 22; with nothing to bog about, I won’t craft = with nothing to craft for I’ll have nothing to blog.

So here I start once more. Putting behind me the pressures of work and life that have kept me away. And trying to move on from the hardest part – losing my sweet little Toby.

I find that sometimes, when the bad happens, you just have to wait for the good. Well, maybe not good as such, just something opposite to before. Sometimes it comes the next day, sometimes you have to wait a week. I seem to have had to wait months. But I think it’s here.

I came home from work on Friday to see my tulips had emerged from nowhere.

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Pretty, sure, but not enough to change everything. I went to have a look….and found this.

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After a bit of research, it would appear that the Grey-Legged Partridges that like to wander about the garden and peck at the TTs alloys (they seem to prefer it to the Peugot. Not unlike us.) have decided that between the raspberry canes and the tulips is the perfect spot for building a nest.
This may also explain why the Grey-Legged Partridge is on the RSPB’s red extremely endangered list. But I figure I’m being reminded that life goes on. (Of course, if they don’t hatch, or get foxed/stoated/rated/etc) I’m going to feel crap, but I’m trying to be optimistic.

So there we are. New life, new start. And some spring flowers in my garden.

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Catching up

I know. It’s been a ridiculously long time. But there’s this pesky thing called life and it just keeps on messing with me and my plans. On the flip side, it means I have several posts to make to fill you in on some things I actually have managed to achieve, but first, let me show you one of the main reasons while I’ve been MIA.

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Say hello to Toby’s shaved butt. Let me set the scene for you. Sunday afternoon, Six Nations rugby on the tv. I go to the kitchen in need of a cup of tea and Toby, as is his way, mistaking himself for a dog, follows me out, into the dining room where his pen is. He stands in the kitchen doorway watching me – he won’t come in, as there’s a step down of about an inch, and Toby does not do steps. Nor does he jump. This is important. I head back into the dining room, he follows, sits between his pen and the hearth and I go up to the bathroom. I come back down minutes later and he’s lying on his side, unnaturally, in his pen, breathing wildly.
Unfathomably, he has a transverse fracture to his thigh. Our amazing vet James, sends his xrays to a colleague who specialises in osteo-type ops and he’s booked in for an op 48 hours later. We bring him home, where, ketamined out his mind more than we thought, he does even more damage, fragmenting said bone by trying to move and falling over.
It’s probably fair to say his op day was the longest day off my life. We dropped him off at lunchtime, and his op was due to begin about 5.30, dependant on when the surgeon finished his previous op about 100 miles away. A pretty severe storm began to kick off, just to wind me up more. Also, I kept forgetting to breathe. About 7.30pm our vet called to say he’d come through the op and was in recovery. He’d call us in another hour or so, to tell us more. I swear to you the hands on my clock did not move at their normal speed. Even though I tried not to look at them.
An agonising hour later, the vet phoned, saying ” he’s doing really well, come and take him home!” I didn’t care about the storm outside – I wanted my boy back! James showed us the xrays, complete with his little strip of meccano plate and bolts before Toby was brought out to us. He was so much better than after the xray, I was amazed – he was much brighter and responded to my voice, sticking his nose to the air vent on his box. I admit I nearly cried when the box was opened – Karen, James’ wife, who is also a vet and had assisted in Toby’s op – had arranged his blanket so that it folded up over his poor shaved butt and that simple act of kindness pretty much took me over the edge.
The next 48 hours was pretty much like having a newborn baby – thankfully without the crying. From the slow drive home, like we were carrying explosives that would go off at the slightest bump, to the two-hourly feeds through the night. He went back for a check the next morning, about 12 hours after we picked him up and James was surprised at the change in him in such a short time – no temperature, wound clean and an alert bunny. We got good at syringe feeding, I pretty much bought out the fruit and veg aisle at the supermarket to tempt him back to real food and we perfected the art of scooping out just enough of the centre of a chunk of banana to fit his meds in without him knowing. Two days after that, we had another check up, where James wanted to see if Toby was able to bear any weight, lifted him out his box and set him on the floor. Toby ran across the floor to me, a proper, even series of hops, like nothing had ever happened. And he really, really didn’t want to go back in. It’s lovely to still be able to surprise an expert! James even took Toby’s photo and put him on the surgery’s facebook page, calling him Toby the wonder rabbit.
As I write this, on Sunday morning, 10 days after the op, he’s in a reduced-size pen, next to the couch Im sitting on. He’s eaten some breakfast, hopped in and out of his litter tray and is currently trying to push the pen four inches to the right, because there’s a sunbeam just out of reach and he doesn’t like to waste a sunbeam. He has another check up tomorrow, where James is going to try and gauge how the leg is healing, before another xray in about 4 weeks. We were watching him the other day and worrying as he seems to not sit with his foot flat on the floor, but toes raised. And then we remembered it had only been 8 days since the op, an op that, for an oldish bunny, was a major deal.
I’d always thought it was a myth, that, if you shaved a tiger, he’d have stripes on his skin, but I know it to be true now, as Toby’s grey splotches show! These coloured tufts are growing fast, faster than the white, plus he’s started to shed his winter coat, so his face is looking almost as scruffy as his rear. But I don’t care. He’s home, he’s doing well, he’s my wonder bun.

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Christmas Bonus

A non-crafty post, but I’ve had the worst commute home and feel the need. I don’t like driving, which is a bit unfortunate, given that I drive for an hour to get to work. But 4 years down the line I’ve become used to it. Sort of. Today on the way home, the main road was closed. Luckily, the diversion (and I’m using the word in its loosest term) took me to a garden centre I knew, so I pulled into the car park for a bit, then had a wander around.
After 15 minutes, I cam out and watched the traffic to see if it was still being redirected – hurrah, back to normal. I rejoined the main road, but we crawled at about 5mph for a couple of miles….only to be diverted again. The short version is that I had to drive for an hour on a muddy narrow road, blindly following the cars in front and hoping they (a) knew where they were going and (b) were going the same way I was. I know the mot important thing is that I got home safe, but i’m sooooooooooo tired now. So I wanted to remind myself of a good thing that happened last week – a Christmas bonus.
For those in the UK, you’re more than likely familiar with Lakeland i love them! I love the products, I love getting the catalogues and can spend hours browsing their website. But the best thing about them? Their customer service. It is so good. And, alas, quite rare here! I placed an order on New Year’s Eve…but disaster! There was a snaffu at the warehouse and the wrong order was packed in my name, and I received someone else’s order a few days later. Literally as I went to phone them, they phoned me, as someone else received mine and had called them. They redispatched the order straight away, sending it next day delivery even though that costs more and I hadn’t paid for that, and the truly fab thing? They told me to keep the first parcel, as an apology for the error. Two dinky microwave saucepans, two cute whisks and toaster tongs! We made the best hot chocolate EVER in the pans, whisked to bubbly perfection (admittedly, the cointreau we added helped too!).
So I had to wait another day for my original order – so what? The extra bonus made it worthwhile. And sometimes you need to forget about the bad (a messed up order, a stressful delayed journey home), and focus instead on the flip side (an extra gift, a safe eventual arrival).
Get flipping!

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New Year, new post

The year’s come in with a bit of a bang, weather wise; it’s blowing a gale and raining fit to burst, so other than a run to the woodshed later, I’m staying inside looking out.

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So it’s a good reason/excuse to curl up under a blanket (it’s cold!) and look at the pretty for some inspiration.

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Lets hope some comes before I freeze!