Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Take one background....

What a blissful day it has been, sunshine after four days of rain, coffee with friends, sleep and nothing, that is right,nothing I 'had to"... time to be...
A couple of weeks ago I did the background for two address books, a set of Altered Book pages and five ATC's, I finally finished the projects this week. The first of the ATC's flew the nest this afternoon and the AB was posted weeks ago. If you need a new address book I put them both on my Etsy, along with some plain ones so you can make your own.

I do like Etsy and I must confess I am shopping there more and more. In a world full of packaging and a thousand items made the same - too often in sweatshop conditions - it is a pleasure to buy the handmade and home made. I like using the search by location function and finding other artists in my area and I like the personal contact with both sellers and buyers.

I didn't actually set off to do a promotion, but I have been reflecting on my appreciation of this site as I shopped and listed items today.Where do you shop for gifts?
Whatever you are doing today I wish you peace within and soul food to rest your eyes on.

Monday, April 21, 2008

How Much is that Mummy in the Window?

This pretty dog wanted me to to take her home...
This fellow was so well behaved, and I am grateful because if that tongue had headed for me instead of cleaning his own face I would have needed a towel!

How much is that Mummy in the window? ...or at least that is what I imagine these dogs are saying as they turn themselves inside out trying to get the attention of each possible new home that walks by. The dogs at APS have individual kennels with indoor and outdoor areas; these are small when compared to a home or backyard but clean and safe. Whenever possible all the dogs are walked everyday and they are also let out into a couple of large grassy runs to play. Newer and less social dogs are let out alone, others in groups to play. These are wonderful conditions for a shelter, but they do not compare to the life my little Archer has, rides in the car, walks on the beach and through bush, a tiny piece of my apple as I sit typing this.
When I visited last Monday there was a shortage of volunteers but two students were sweeping the outdoor area, a volunteer had been in to help with the cleaning and walking and Clare was running from task to task, her grand daughters tell me Clare always runs at APS and is always at APS. While I was there Clare was organising the adoption of a little Westie who had found his forever home, phoning for donations of meat – needed by Wednesday, overseeing the students and more. There are many volunteers at APS giving anything from a couple of hours a fortnight to several days a week and more. Thank you so much to all the amazing ladies and man.
It takes a special person to work with these dogs, and volunteers are always needed. As soon as there is space dogs are rescued from the local pound and other sources then vet checked, sterilised (if needed) and hopefully rehomed. There is a lot of work involved in running a shelter and people are needed for all sorts of jobs.
Some dogs have been there a very long time, others like the Westie, had only stayed briefly. All are needy.

See this precious dog press against the fence, it was so very hard to walk away.
Please consider donating time, money or goods APS.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Doll Fever

It is an icy cold, wet and windy day here, perfect for alternating between a good book in bed and the art cave. Somehow sewing seems to work with the weather. This is the second Dotee Doll I bought as a kit from, well, Dotee. I think the combination of these kits and Kelsey's class has me started on a whole new addiction, perhaps that is why I resisted these adorable little dolls for so long.
I adore Matroushka (there are several spellings of this word) dolls, and have several wooden sets, earrings and more. From the moment I saw the Matroushka Dotee Doll families I loved them, imagine my utter delight when this little family arrived in my mailbox, bliss, pure bliss. I have picked them up to examine their tiny beads and happy smiles a dozen times and smiled a hundred smiles as I walked past them in my kitchen. Thank you Dot.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Special Place ...

While in Perth I visited the very special shelter Harvey was chosen from. This shelter houses 65 cats and 25 dogs – at any time, plus kittens, and is staffed by some amazing volunteers. I took the opportunity to let some of the wonderful ladies know how well Harvey is progressing. A couple of ladies told me about their surprise when they saw Harvey’s name on the list of re-homed cats, you can imagine how that made me feel. I took the opportunity to take lots of photographs at APS (The Animal Protection Society). This is a no-kill shelter and is always in need of volunteers, funds and donations.

This young cat was very affectionate, I seemed to find it wrapped around my legs everywhere I went, look at the gorgeous colours: ginger, black and white.
As I wandered around patting and clicking two of the ladies apologised that the lawns were due to be cut, however I delighted in the cats playing in the lush grass. On Monday there was an elderly lady sitting in the cat enclosure with her grand daughter, they spent a happy hour patting some very grateful cats, another ‘smile’ on the inside picture. Meanwhile one volunteer was raking through the sandy areas and litter trays (no more detail needed there) and another was washing food bowls. Looking around it was clear that these cats had lovely clean bedding, healthy coats and a safe environment.

However, none of the beautiful animals in these pictures have their own food bowl, heater to lie in front of or human to cuddle. I was, of course, more than tempted by several of the cats and wanted to bring them home with me, so I resisted asking (or checking) gender but I did fit in as many cuddles as possible, which may explain why I looked a little hairy when I arrived at Annie’s, oops.
Monetary donations can be made through the APS website and are tax deductible in Australia; these can either be general donations of take the form of a pet sponsorship – some of the long term residents (such as my Harvey) have benefited from this type of gift in the past. Both the website and blog are updated fairly regularly with pictures of the animals who are looking for forever homes.
Look at this old puss waiting on the table to be petted, so sweet and needy but dignified too.
The animal side of APS is headed up by Dawn’s lovely Mum, Clare; I will blog them later and perhaps you will find some of my other cat photo's appearing in the coming weeks.
This adorable old cat woke up when I took its photo, and I am so glad, because we enjoyed a long smooch and cuddle, just one more?....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Art for and from the heart.

Grrrr.... all the photo's are in the wrong order and I am not sure why...
My visit to Perth was pure bliss and emotionally stretched. Driving along the freeway my heart (as always) swelled with that amazing feeling of coming home; cars racing along, horns blazing, yachts on the water and the city skyline. This country girl lived in the city for almost a decade and still feels a strange sense of pride and ownership when she conquers the lanes of traffic to reach destinations old and new. This beautiful city is growing and changing so many cranes among the buildings and new housing estates, and yet the city still feels the same. There are still tree lined streets, parks, water views and glorious shopping opportunities.

Dawn, and her children, were the hosts to beat all hosts – nope they didn’t cook 5 star meals or have the house bleached from top to toe – they made their home mine. What a privilege and joy it is to be able to relax in a friends home and to treat it as your own. Archer loved the extra cuddles and spending time with his good friend Billy the cocker spaniel.

I recently bought a couple of Dotee Doll kits from Dot’s Etsy and made this one up while I was away. My first ever attempt at a Dotee Doll and I am pleased with this cute little ‘Flying Dog’ doll. My second one is very retro and should be finished in the next day or so.
Eheactl is the beaded doll I made in a class taught by the very talented and patient Kelsey at Scraptivate. Dawn and I were delighted to find our friends Shirley and Gen (who I had not met face-to-face before) in the same class. We laughed and groaned occasionally as we learnt beading techniques and shared stories. We even made plans for Shirley and Dawn to travel south to my home together, Woo Hoo!

I caught up with so many arty friends, and met some I only knew from swapping art on line - as usual I was spoilt rotten. The rust and fork are from my friend Kerry's farm, the tins and shirt from Dawn.

The shirt does not come with designer creases - you have to pack very badly to achieve those; however, it does remind me of Harvey's old home. I took a lot of dog and cat photo's at APS (Animal Protection Society) and will post about the wonderful work (and needs) of this organisation later in the week.
This tin is my March Mystery Muse from Paula, the tin is just the right size for 'moo cards' so now I can keep safe all the beautiful ones I have received from friends. The dichroic glass pendant was made by Jen J - I mentioned I liked it and the next thing I knew it was mine, thank you so much! Ev made me this fabulous journal (with the tiniest sequins in the world, hand stitched) as a PIF gift for a give-away she recently held on her blog.
I am back home, and happy to be here, still basking in the warmth and good times from the past few days.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Beautiful Beads and a Journey

I couldn't resist these simply delicious beads a week or so ago on e-bay, they arrived today just when I do not have time to play. I am off to the 'big smoke' again so Archer will be blogging on our return. Meanwhile Charles, Phantom and Harvey will be working with my terrific cat-sitter to take care of things while we are gone.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Gifts, Group and Experiments

This amazing canvas was created by Dawn, my Mystery Muse partner on INKrediblyRT for February. I love this little yahoo group with its super talented and ultra friendly members, and this swap is my favourite of all that I participate in. Of course Dawn spoilt me further ... my new banner is another Dawn design and I smile every time I see it!
This classy little icicle doll was a work in progress when Dawn visited in December, now she hangs happily on my guest room door.
Somehow this pile of rags screams 'convicts' at me... not sure why. I read somewhere six months ago about burying fabric wrapped around rusty items for six months. The samples I saw were beautifully coloured.
I think the position I chose was too wet as both the plain cotton calico and printed cotton perished. By the looks of it the worms ate their fair share too. I have all the pieces laying out to dry and I know I will love using them, just not in the way I had planned.

For those of you who have not guessed, two blog posts in one day is a sure sign I am avoiding marking...perhaps I could do the ironing now..

From the Ugly Duckling ...

Or in this case, from Sylvester the Cavalier puppy...came Archer. Cleaning out the laundry cupboard yesterday I came across these photographs - put there with puppy food (and other long gone items) the night Archer came into my life.
Archers original family gave me these from the breeder - where Archer was known as Sylvester! See him in the middle of the litter? I don't think anyone seeing a Cav puppy, without one of its parents as an example, could anticipate the beauty to come.
Archer was 11 months when he joined our family, and has now been here 11 months. In some ways it seems like forever, and in others he is still so much a new chum - only Harvey's newness serves to remind me of the difference.
It is nice to know that this part of his journey will be the longest... Off to hug my handsome boy!