Up close with the bunnehs

Well up close with one particular bunneh actually.  This one came right up under my craft room window the other day.  I managed to get some shots through the glass, but when I tried to open the window quietly, he took fright and scampered off.

I saw a basement bunneh this morning, hopping and bouncing around with several other bunnies, but I didn’t have my camera to hand.  Shame as I saw something I have never seen before – a real live dust bunneh!  One of the bigger rabbits was rolling around on its back in the dust, kicking its little legs in what could only be a gesture of pure enjoyment – certainly a joy to watch!

Basement bunneh made another appearance this evening too, but again, ran off as soon as I reached for the camera.  I’m thinking of investing in CCTV just so I can catch him!

Meanwhile, Derrick is enjoying a wild last night party down at Bishop Auckland hospital at the moment.  We left the three inmates of his ward enjoying hot buttered toast – they know how to live, those boys.  Derrick’s really bonded with them and they’re swapping phone numbers, so I hope the other guys make as good a recovery as well.  He goes home tomorrow morning!!  When I look back over the last six months, there were times when we thought this day would never come.

My artistic output is a little thin on the ground this week with all the decluttering that’s going on. We actually had a day off work today and the two of us managed to generate another 8 bin bags plus two full suitcases for the charity shops.  My wardrobe is amazing – it used to be full of all the clothes I didn’t wear, while the ones I did would go from laundry basket to washing machine to clothes airer to ironing pile and never actually make it to a wardrobe or cupboard before they got worn again.  Now that I’ve got rid of all the junk, my wardrobe has all my favourite clothes in, all sorted by colour no less!  My drawers and shelves are all tidy, including my jewellery which all got tidied up and put away in a new jewellery pouch that is lined with special stuff to keep it from tarnishing (a very useful birthday pressie from our stamp designer Sue – thanks Sue).  Even handbags got the tidy treatment (though very few made it into the charity shop bag) and are neatly sorted and stored in the wardrobe cupboard.

I think perhaps when you don’t have children to set an example to, you can get awfully lazy about keeping tidy, especially when you are going through tough times and feel so exhausted you just don’t have the energy.  Having cats also made us tidier – you really don’t want your clean laundry covered in cat fur which would inevitably happen if you left it lying around.  Now we’ve made such a mammoth effort to clean our act up, we’re more determined than ever to keep it like this.

Here’s what my craft room is looking like at the moment.

Impressive isn’t it?  Well I have a lot of work coming up and some of it is going to be welcome news to you all.  Remember a while ago I was asking you all whether you’d be interested in online classes?   Well, I have actually been invited to join a prestigious American teaching site where I will be – you guessed it – teaching online classes!  I start off with two basic classes, basically stamping for beginners (or a back to basics refresher for those who already stamp) and an intermediate stamping class.  These will be open for registration in August and will start in September.  I promise I’ll bring you more detail on those once it’s all set up and I know my way around the site.

Once I have passed my ‘probation’ then I’m free to introduce more adventurous classes, so watch out world because I have some great ideas for the next semester.  I have to get the two classes prepared next week, so my lovely tidy workspace is going to make it all much easier.

You may notice in the photo above that I finally got my Ranger mirror finished off.

I wasn’t happy with the original colour, so I rubbed some Peeled Paint ink over it and much preferred the new tone that gave it.  This mirror will be available for sale at the Paradise Boutique – just one of the little extras we are setting up for the Paradise Weekend Retreat in September.  (We have the timetable all worked out, but it’s all scraps of paper at the moment – I’m trying to get that up on the website as soon as I can).

This weekend however, the de-clutter continues as we move on to the kitchen and futility room.  Our stalwart helpers are once again coming over, dressed for painting as we attempt to give both rooms a lick of paint – particularly the area around the new boiler which is just bare plaster at the moment.  Here’s the ‘before’ shot, let’s hope the violent sneezing I’m currently experiencing is just a reaction to all the dust and not the start of a cold, or you may not be seeing any ‘after’ shots for a while.

Wish us luck …

PS – As I’ve got a big pile of craft stuff that I’ve cleared out, this weekend, I’m going to give a random prize to a random winner from a random blog post in the last month.  That’s a lot of random – it could be you!

Busy, but good busy

Adrian and I are on a mission to declutter.

For two people with no kids, we just have WAY too much stuff.  So the next two weekends, we have made a commitment to each other, we are having a declutter fest and will be busy filling bin bags,  boxes and possibly several large skips.

I have lots of brand new craft stash that I will be taking down to the office to put in the clearance section, plus some used stuff that I may actually put on ebay.  Don’t worry, I’ll let you all know when that happens.  I have something like 30 scrapbook boxes full of printed and plain 12×12 that I’m never going to use, some of them with coordinating stickers, journal cards, etc.  Plus a ton of other paper, pre-scored cards which I rarely use these days (I prefer to make my own with a score board), old punches, ribbon, flowers, etc.

We’re also getting ready for an event we honestly thought would never happen – Derrick is coming home next week.  He had a home assessment visit on Wednesday and they’re getting him prepared to leave hospital early next week.

This year has been a tough one and I really appreciate all the encouraging and comforting comments my readers leave me.  I really appreciate that you’ve taken the time to leave those words, particularly as I just haven’t had the time to keep up with other people’s blogs this year the way that I would like to.

Some of you have commented on how I have stayed positive throughout.  Like I’ve said before, this year has been a life lesson in stoicism, keep calm and carry on kind of thing.  I have also actively sought out resources to keep me sane and I found an awful lot out there on the internet, from lifestyle gurus to daily quotations – the things you need have a way of seeking you out if you put your attention on it.

It’s been a difficult trading year too – lots of our trade customers are reporting the same thing, people are just spending less and for those of us in business, that’s scary.  But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt this year, it’s that there will always be something to scare you and it’s when you react to that fear that you lose yourself.  I have had to learn to acknowledge fear and examine it for what it really is – irrational or real.  If it’s an irrational fear, you have to let go, if the fear points to something real, you can’t procrastinate, you have to stand up and face the issues.

Throughout the period where Derrick was critically ill, we felt like we were in limbo – not knowing what was going to happen was a big drain on energy as your mind is constantly preparing for all the possible scenarios.  Now he’s stable, a lot of that ‘what if’ stuff goes away and your mind feels clearer.  My Nanna was a wise lady – my mum reminded me of one of the things she would say whenever any of us were going through tough times – she would listen, then just quietly say, “it will pass”. And of course, she was always right.

So right now, I seem to be busier than ever – but it’s a good busy, not an anxious, fearful, worried busy.  There’s lots in the pipeline at Graphicus, (next Open Days August 13/14th) but this weekend I have a house to declutter.

PS, talking of spending less – here’s a quick heads up – we’ve just put all our nestabilities on sale!  They are in the Special Offers section on the website.

It's all about the bunnehs

Who needs a lawnmower?
Run, bunneh, run
nom nom nom
No! I won't pose for photos ...
Rabbit proof fence - yeah right!

I think the bunnehs have been sent to add a much needed dose of daily cuteness to our lives.

My thoughts are all with my Dad tonight – his brother died yesterday and as if that wasn’t bad enough, a close friend of his died today.  Life sucks sometimes.  I have only a hazy memory of my uncle Reg as my parents split up when I was young and I don’t know many from the extended family on my Dad’s side.  My Dad is the youngest of seven kids and the family had a cottage at Robin Hood’s Bay which they used for holidays.  I remember Reg from a family get together there when I was about 5 or 6 – my lasting memory is sleeping in a real feather bed.  So while I am not grieving myself for an uncle I hardly knew, my heart goes out to my Dad for such a sad double blow.

But to balance things up, Derrick is doing incredibly well – walking around with just one stick and, get this, he’s got a home assessment visit tomorrow!!  So I’m guessing that he is going to be heading home sometime soon and then the cotton wool effect will kick in (that’s the depression that is common after a long hospital stay, when suddenly you don’t have an army of people at your beck and call with drugs or food when you need it) and we’ll have a bumpy few weeks while he adjusts to home life.  Well, we’ve been there before, let’s hope he continues to improve once he’s home.

Meanwhile, the garden is just flooded with rabbits and they do bring a smile to our faces, sometimes a downright guffaw at some of their antics.  I don’t know what those lady bunnehs do to reject their would be suitors, but I saw one yesterday literally flung off backwards after she made it perfectly clear she wasn’t in the mood – poor fella looked like he’d just had his bunny parts electrocuted!!  I’m sure the keen gardeners would view them as plant munching menaces, but we are enjoying our new visitors.  We’re almost learning to tell them apart!

Lo, he bears the mark of the Basement Bunneh!

You can just see the little white marking on this one’s forehead – the basement gene thrives …

Retro florals meets Essence of Nature

These Essence of Nature papers are proving to be some of the most versatile ever.

This subtle background ties in beautifully with the Eastern Grasses stamp set, but here I’ve used it with a stamp from Retro Vases and ‘Thanks’ from Words of Gratitude.  I stamped everything using chalk inks and I’ve finished it with a couple of Prima flowers that I’ve had in my stash for ages (sorry, we’ve sold out of this particular type).

As it’s Father’s Day today, I thought I’d give you a quick update on Derrick.  He is now in Bishop Auckland hospital, so it has cut down our journey time enormously which is wonderful.  He is back under the care of a doctor who has known him for years and he has put a stop to all scans, tests, x-rays, etc which he seemed to be constantly having at Durham.  (He said it took over an hour to read his notes – for a doctor it must have been like reading an action thriller – what on earth is he going to catch next?) He’s reduced his medication quite drastically too and his approach is to do as little as possible to him, but keep him fed via the tube, encourage him to eat normally and try to build his strength back up.  He has started on physio as well and he is looking a million times better.

With various work things this week, Friday night was the first chance I have had to see him in his new home and I ended up in tears of relief because he is such a different man.   A few weeks ago, we spent every day thinking it was his last after the doctors sat Adrian and I down and had “the chat” with us.  As he continued to fight off infection after infection, the doctors continued scratching their heads and we were just on auto pilot, not daring to give up hope, but at the same time fearing he would never recover.

So it’s nothing short of a miracle to see him now.  He’s still got a long way to go – he was sick again last night – too much food seems to do that to him.  But he knows now how close a brush with death he has had and he is full of fighting spirit.

This weekend also marks the first time since Easter that Adrian hasn’t had to see to his Mum as the new carer started on Monday and she’s taking on the weekend routine now.

So we have spent the weekend being utterly lazy – long lie-ins on both days, some half hearted tidying up, lots of playing Wii (just got a new game, Rabbids Go Home – very silly), some bits of card making for me and reading and surfing for Adrian.

Oh, and bunneh watching of course.