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New Horizons

After months of not doing very much (creatively speaking) and basically procrastinating and hiding from the world in general, I have decided to apply to be part of a design team at a local scrapbooking and paper craft store. I haven't heard back from them yet and am not sure what the actual process will be if I DO get the position but I had to give myself a push and try something new. It's not a paid job or anything. But I will get to play with new supplies and crafty stuff each month so it could be fun and challenging...we'll see...

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Piggly Wiggly

I have a guinea pig! A gorgeous, tri-coloured, cheeky little boy named Roderick Orinoco (the Orinoco part comes from the fact he looks a bit like a Womble, not because he's into Enya). My cousin bought him for me for my recent birthday. Within minutes of me meeting him, I loved him. I haven't had a pet for a while because of rental restrictions but I figured a quinea pig would be ok as he'd be outside (well, he's actually inside A LOT but the landlord doesn't need to know that).



He has grown so much in the 4 months I've had him. He is a BIG boy. He is such a character too - anyone who thinks only dogs and cats have personalities, you are wrong! He's cheeky and playful and inquisitive. He loves a cuddle and will snuggle up and sleep for ages in my arms or on my lap. He likes being up high, so, despite me buying him a lovely "cuddle cup" from Puffy Pets (http://puffypets.bigcartel.com/product/guinea-pig-cuddle-cups-made-to-order), he prefers sleeping on top of his cardboard box with a blanket over him.




He is very agile (which will probably change as he grows bigger and heavier) and loves to jump. He "popcorns" around his enclosures when he's excited or super happy. He purrs and squeaks and is just lovely. He's had trouble with mites but has been treated (he had to have a course of injections after the topical treatments didn't work - poor little man) and seems ok now.

I had forgotten just how time-consuming having a pet can be. Time-consuming in a good way, but still... He comes first in everything now. He gets fed first, his house gets "done" first. When buying groceries, he gets considered first - what veggies will he eat, has he had this fruit before? My husband took a while to warm to him, particularly as Roderick kept peeing on him, but he likes him well enough now.

I've become slightly obsessed about him and his happiness. Like, does he have enough "toys" and other things to keep him happy and stimulated? Is his house big enough (it's not but I'm working on that)? Does he get enough free-run time? Do I spend enough time with him every day? Is he warm/cold? Etc etc etc. I've bought him play-pens and heat pads and blankets and beds and toys and all sorts of things. He gets the best food, the best hay, the best of everything I can afford really. Because I don't believe in having a pet if you're not going to do the best you can for them. He can't do it for himself so it's up to me. I want his days to be sunshine-filled and happy. Which is all anyone could ask for really.


Craftin'

Finally! I have gotten my creative streak back. Managed to make ten (count 'em! Ten!) cards in the last couple of days that I am actually pleased with...behold (a selection) :










Maybe there is hope for me yet!

:)

Gonna make a pie...

Mmmmm, pie...who doesn't love pie? All that pastry and yummy filling... Hubby and I are going to dinner at my brother's tonight so I am attempting my first "proper" apple pie (well, apple and raspberry actually) with real pastry made from scratch.




I've made lots of pies before but usually I cheat and use bought pastry. So today I made my first successful batch of sweet crust... It was so easy and worked amazingly well. Now we just have to see if the finished, baked product is as good as the raw (not that I ate any of it raw or anything...ahem...well, you have to try it, right?). Had to borrow a pie tin from my cousin who lives down the road...kinda forgot I needed something to bake it in! I had a couple of dishes and cake tins that would have worked at a pinch but ended up borrowing a spring form cake tin so I can hopefully remove the pie easily without cracking it and ending up with filling all over my kitchen floor.

The recipe for the pastry is as follows :

SWEETCRUST PASTRY

250g unsalted butter
3 cups plain Flour
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 egg yolks
2 TBS chilled water

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large food processor. Add egg yolks and water and process until dough forms. Form into a ball (don't overwork) and wrap in cling film - chill in fridge for 30 minutes. I added a little more flour during the rolling out process when assembling the pie as the dough was quite sticky (it's a warm day - maybe that's the problem). It may or may not help if you sing the "Baby don't you cry" song from "Waitress"...(or maybe it's imagining baking the pie for Nathan Fillion...not sure...). The filling was just diced apples (stewed a little until tender), a little bit of sugar, little bit of water, some cinnamon, a wee bit of cornflour made into a paste with some cold water, and a cup or so of frozen berries. No real recipe - just bung it in. You can't go horribly wrong with fruit can you? (Can you???).


In other exciting (?) news, I dug up four potatoes from the garden today...so cute and perfect, no blemishes on them at all. Going to make that patch of garden a proper veggie patch now as the soil seems ok (ish) and might support some of the hardier vegetables like potatoes and peas. We'll see...no harm in trying anyway. There's only so many things I can grow in pots and I'm running out of space on the patio!



Well, the pie is out of the oven now...it's not that pretty but hopefully will taste ok. I had visions of a beautiful, lustrous, golden-topped treasure that would impress everyone and make me happy. But it looks, well, homemade and "first effort-y". I tried though and that is supposed to count. My brother will eat pretty much anything, as will my hubby and nephews so I know it will get gobbled up despite it's rather homely appearance. And anyway, who doesn't love pie?

Beadin' Heck!

My brain is not working today. I had cortisone injections in my neck and back on Monday and have been sore all week because of it. I blame my total spazziness on this fact. Today I made a beaded necklace - pretty simple, nothing fancy - just wanted to use up some pretty red rose beads I had. Well, everything went swimmingly until I finished the necklace and held it up to inspect my work. Apparently I have made the necklace for someone with a neck circumference of about 20cm. I don't know what I was thinking - apparently I wasn't. I will have to take it all apart and start again. Grrrrrr... I should just give up.

I also made my first beaded ring...it's ok. Needs some practice at that particular design but it's ok. A super quick pair of silver angel wing earrings and that was my lot for the day. Just trying to get things done. The pain in my neck makes it hard for me to concentrate and my creativity is severely lacking most days. I've lost my mojo :(





Creative Creating (A Cheat's Guide)...

Today I had to go and get my neck and back "treated" (i.e. pummelled) at the Osteopath's. On the way home, I got a bit lost (I decided to try an different route and won't be doing that again...) and ended up stopping off at a favourite scrapbooking store (whoops...). I went in (of course), just for a look and to get some inspiration. Well, $43.00 worth of inspiration later, I left the store with a load of papers, stickers and embellishments. I've just been so desperate to find something that would get my creative juices flowing (so to speak) that I bought lots of what I call "cheat" pieces. They are all matching papers and tags and embellishments that need very little else done to them. Just cut or pop them out and stick on the co-ordinating papers to create cards. Voila! I don't normally like to buy these type of supplies - I like to create from scratch and mix and match my own pieces but I was DESPERATE! I wanted to just get started and finish something so I would get back into the swing of things.

Using these "cheat' pieces, I made a few Christmas cards today that I don't hate and I feel a bit more inspired now... they're not perfect but at least I got something done and maybe it will help me start some other things...maybe.


Writer's Block: Desert island Books

List three books that have changed your life:


I love to read. I don't get to do it as often as I would like (can't sit for long periods because of my darned neck and back problems) but I do like to read as much as I can, even if it's only for a few minutes in my lunch break at work. Three books that have "changed my life'? Hmmmmm, well I guess the following left a lasting impression on me for one reason or another and are always on my "favourites" list :

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - Love, Love, Love this book - it makes me cry and feel sad and hopeful all at the same time. It's a beautiful, honest book and I recommend to everyone I know.

The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak - A gorgeous, heartbreaking book. I normally don't like books that have been best-sellers and that everyone else has read but this one is just wonderful and I think everyone should read it. Go on, now! I loaned it to my Mum and she loved it so much I nearly didn't get it back...

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty - I know, seems an odd choice, but the writing is SO good and the character are SO believable and human and I wish I could write like that. The follow-up, "Legion" is even better.

Aside from these three there are lots, lots more. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is an obvious choice and something that I have read many times. "Catch-22" is awesome. "The Neverending Story" is beautiful and sad and so detailed an wonderful. "The Princess Bride" makes me laugh. "Cold Comfort Farm" makes me laugh out loud. "The History of Love" by Nicole Krauss is great too (another one my Mum nearly stole from me after she'd read it). So lots of great books...can't narrow it down to just three! What are yours? Do you disagree with any of mine?

You're Never Too Old...

Today is my cousin's 40th birthday. She is very special to me and always there where I need someone to talk to or have a cry with. So a special gift was needed. After failing to come up with anything particularly thrilling or different, I decided to go with what I know - a hamper of goodies. I went with the "40th" theme and packaged up little parcels of things you are never too old for. Each parcel had a tag with it giving a clue to what was inside. I attached a card to the basket that read "Happy 40th Birthday...just remember, you're never too old for...(open the packages to find out)...". The little gifts included:

"...Someone to cuddle" (a tiny stuffed teddy)
"...an intense experience" (bar of extra dark choccy)
"...giving a bit of lip" (Bonne Bell Lip Smacker - who doesn't love lip gloss???)
"...something comfy" (a tank top)
"...a bit of bling" (a cute silver lovebird necklace)
..."a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down..." (totally cute little measuring spoons with "pinch, dash and smidgen" on them
"...highlights" (set of miniature highlighter pens)
"...a cute new do" (hair clips)
"...something sweet" (sherbet - I have a feeling the kids will end up with that!)

- and so on. It was fun to put together, not expensive (much of it was bought at discount stores) and brought her a lot of enjoyment and delight as each parcel was unwrapped (whilst fending off the kids who wanted to unwrap them as well). I wish I had taken a photo of it to include here...but you get the idea!

You could do the same with other themes too. I am a bit obsessed with care packages, hampers and the like. I feel like I am putting more effort in and giving the person something they will remember and things that are specifically tailored to their personality. And who doesn't love having lots of little gifts to open?

Writer's Block: The Sweetest Thing

What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?


So, the nicest things anyone has ever said to me... Hmmm, well, I have been lucky in life to be surrounded by wonderful friends and a loving family and every day of my life I have probably had something nice said to me. You should never, ever take "I Love You" for granted. Ever! The one thing that stands out for me is an old work mate once wrote in my Christmas card "You are a truly cherished part of my life...". That made me feel warm and fuzzy and special. It was from a male colleague and was not coming from a weird, romantic place or inappropriate behaviour. I felt lucky that he would feel comfortable enough to say something like that to me and that I had made a difference in his life, just by being a friend. Sometimes people say things and they don't realise how much their words mean to you...this was one of those times. Be careful what you say, and say it carefully...

Sharing the Love

My penal Rem's partner Dianne has an awesome blog - puts mine to shame, that's for sure. Great recipes, craft ideas and other stuff. Do yourself a favour and have a look. She is having tough times with her father being ill with cancer right now so if you do visit the blog, leave a message and share some love. I know how much the caring thoughts and actions of others can make a huge difference. They can save a life or, at the very least, make life a little easier to deal with. I want to make her Mocha Guinness Cupcakes...too bad they contain all the things I'm not allowed to eat anymore. Make (and eat) a batch for me!

http://diannefaw.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/mocha-guinness-cupcakes/

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