Essence of Nature Contest

Ok, I am so super excited to see what you all make with your Essence of Nature CD that I’m running a little challenge for you.

Get your printer running, create something using the CD and post a photograph of it to your blog or online photo album.  Leave a comment here with a link to it and I’ll go take a look.  Remember to link to the post with the picture in.  If you don’t know how to set up the link, just paste in the address of the post (that’s the bit at the top that starts with http://) and I’ll convert it to a link.

We’ll run this through to the end of next week – Saturday August 7th – and I’ll pick a winner who will get the cost of their CD refunded as a Graphicus voucher!

How does that grab you?  And if you haven’t got the CD  yet, we are so super efficient now that orders placed on the Graphicus website before 1.00pm are being despatched SAME DAY!  It’s over £15, so if you’re in the UK that’s free postage too.

Oh – and as a bonus, if there are more than 10 of you who take part, I will upload a delicious new paper to my freebies page – I have one I made recently that’s lovely.

I can’t *wait* to see what you come up with!

PS – I will be picking the winner by random number generator so everyone has an equal chance of winning!

Elusive Images Design Team Call

All you challenge junkies out there, you may want to take a look over at the Elusive Images blog – I’ve just put out a call for new Design Team members.

International members are welcome, we’d love to get some DT members in Europe, Canada, the USA and Australia so we can support our stockists in those areas.

Please read the full brief over on the blog before asking questions, I’ve tried hard to think of likely questions, but if there’s anything else you want to know, do get in touch.

If you have a blog or you’re on a forum, please feel free to pass this call on.  The deadline is June 15th for UK members, June 30th for international.

(No new news on the family front – still fighting!)

Caption Competition

It’s almost a year since Basil lost his brother and he’s definitely a changed cat.  He stays indoors more than he used to, he cries a lot more and over the last few months he has been permanently demanding food.  We found out why this week – he has an overactive thyroid.  Ironically, I have had the same thing myself in the past, so if it affects cats like it does humans, then I know exactly what he’s going through.  Over production of the thyroid hormone stimulates your metabolism, making you burn off the food you eat quicker, often resulting in weight loss (Basil is down from 6.5kg to 4kg).  That might sound like a medical condition you wouldn’t mind having, but there’s too many downsides to make it pleasant.  Increased metabolism means your heart rate speeds up, you are anxious and nervous, overreacting to the slightest little thing.  It can make you very lethargic as your calories are all burnt off so quickly you have no energy and it can play havoc with your concentration and emotions.  Nope, not a pleasant thing at all.


I had this throughout my teenage years, then I was recommended to have an operation to remove part of the thyroid gland.  I still remember the doctor telling me not to worry as if they took too much out, I would then have an underactive thyroid and that was much easier to treat!!  Er, no thanks!  I took matters into my own hands at that point and went for traditional Chinese acupuncture.  It was so effective that six months later (after nine years of constant medication) my thyroid was completely back to normal and I was off the medication altogether.  Apart from one brief flare up, I have had a normal thyroid ever since.

Trouble is, I’m finding it hard to find a cat acupuncturist!  There is a rather expensive operation for the thyroid involving radioactive iodine and there is a vets practice in Ripon which could do it, but I’m not sure I want to subject Basil to that.  He would have to stay there for several weeks as he would be doing radioactive poo for a while (nice) so all his waste has to be disposed of safely and he’d need to be monitored.  I haven’t gone into all the details, but I have visions of the vets in big white protective suits, so I imagine he would be completely starved of cuddles during that time and I don’t think Basil would survive that long without cuddles.

So we’re having to give him a little pink pill every morning and night.  Those of you with cats know what that means.  Those of you who have never tried giving a cat a pill, they simply will not take pills in their food, period. If you crush the pill into their food, they just won’t touch it.  If you hide it inside a chunk of meat, they’ll eat the rest of the bowl and leave that one chunk.  If you push it inside a cat treat, they will spit it back out at you with a hurt look.

These particular tablets are actually toxic if crushed, so it has to be done the hard way, which means I have an ever increasing collection of scratches and a rapidly growing repetoire of tricks to get him ‘in hold’ so I can force the jaws open and pop the pill down.  As you can from the picture below, he’s not impressed.

It’s not been a good week for pets actually.  Derrick and Alma’s 14 year old dog, Shep is in a much worse state than Basil.  He has two massive tumours on his liver and there’s nothing they can do for him, it’s just a matter of time.  He is ok at the moment, he’s not in pain and he’s still eating.  At some point he will stop eating and we’ve been warned he will go downhill rapidly at that point.  Naturally Derrick is distraught.  Alma’s illness means she can’t really express emotions, so we don’t really know if she is feeling it or not.  Shep spends a lot of his time sleeping at her feet during the day, so I am sure she will miss him when he’s gone.

Meanwhile, Basil is feeling a bit sorry for himself.  His trip to the vet was a little traumatic all round and as they couldn’t get blood from his leg vein, they actually had to get it from the jugular vein.  Naturally he’s been milking this for all it’s worth and demanding extra treats, bed priv and lots of cuddles.  He has also expressed a desire to join the ranks of the lolcats featured on the I Can Has Cheezburger website, so I am going through my photo collection looking for photos which I think lend themselves to lolcat style captions.

This one jumped out at me, so I thought we’d have a little caption competition.


If you’re familiar with lolspeak, go right ahead and give it a go. If not, don’t worry, just make a suggestion for a caption that you think would go with this photo.  Leave a comment with your suggestions and if I can’t decide on a winner, we’ll put it to a vote.  To sweeten the deal, I have a prize to give out to the author of the winning caption.  I can’t show you a picture just yet, but I will give out a gorgeous set of brand new stamps that are being released in December.

Have fun!



OK, we finally have two correct guesses.  This has been fun (for you too I hope) and you’ve certainly come up with some fantastic names.  Polly and I are very impressed at all the dedicated research that has obviously gone on, I can picture a flurry of Googling and map searching going on across the country this evening, but our bear is not named after a place, but a person.

This guy to be precise


Veronica was closest with her first guess when she said Aiden, but the first person to guess correctly was Lynn K with …..


Brenda also guessed Cuthbert correctly too, so I am sending you both a set of the stamps.  I’m also sending a set to Veronica because it was Veronica’s original entry that I suspect helped steer the others in the right direction.

Well I just saw some rough sketches of some brand new Cuthbert designs today and they are so sweet.  I can’t wait to get the finished designs through.

So, Veronica, Brenda and Lynne K, can you email me with your snail mail details and we’ll get your prizes out to you next week.  Actually Lynne, it’s your lucky week isn’t it, I’m sure we still have your address from the Elusive Images prize you just won!!    Well done ladies, and commiserations to everyone else.  I’ll be back tomorrow with some cards – we’ve just had a cluster of family birthdays this week, so I have a couple of cards to share, including one done with Clarity stamps and my copic markers.