Welcome distractions

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Tigger and Slinky were happily distracted by glimmers of sunshine on this cold winter morning.

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Brrrrrrrrrrr!

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Not satisfied with the odd glimmer of sunshine, though, The Givers have headed way, way north for a couple of weeks in search of much warmer climes.

So we are pet-sitting their border collie – a welcome visitor – whilst they are away.

Here’s Handsome Hamish!HAMISH VISIT 3

He is a welcome distraction for Jet who absolutely loves doggie company on his early morning walks.

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 Another welcome distraction has been reading some fabulous novels – and marking my place in said books with my unique, feel good bookmark all the way from the USA! (OK, so it’s not meant to be a bookmark but it works really well as one and puts a huge smile on my face every time I open my book!)

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Can you see any hints as to who this beautiful handmade card and envelope might be from?

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It’s very “gardeney” and has gorgeous stamps.

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And do I see a neighbourhood cat there called Mighty Mouse?

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Yes, you guessed it!

This beautiful handmade card and envelope (repurposed from a lovely gardening calendar) was sent to me by amazing blogger Alys of Gardening Nirvana.

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And just look at Alys’ beautiful business card below (there were many more details on the card but I blocked them out just in case Alys didn’t want all her details broadcast on the www).

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If you’d like to see more of what Alys makes when recycling her beautiful gardening calendars feel free to click here and here.

The happy vibes emanating from Alys’ pretty business card have inspired my final welcome distraction of the day.

Do you remember I made some flowers for Mother’s Day using the talented and lovely Lucy from Attic 24′s pattern?

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Well, I’ve finally turned them into something that I’ve become a bit obsessed with lately …

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I’ve strung them all together and lookey, lookey …

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a happy flower bunting to grace my newly sorted craft room.

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Yes, I’m a little “hung up” on bunting at the minute and am using all sorts of unusual things to make the joyous dangly things.

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Stay tuned soon for a craft room update and some vintage bunting love and craziness!

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I hope you’ve had plenty of welcome distractions in your day today.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Fallback Comfort

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After the sadness of last week, I’ve been seeking comfort in loads of hugs, walking Jet and in my love of crochet.

Jet and I swapped our sad faces …

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for slightly happier ones …

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when we discovered a new walk with a mysterious path …

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that led to a beautiful little waterfall.

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and nature’s version of the Stairmaster 6000!

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We even felt comforted enough to try our hand at some artistic shots on our walk – à la the amazing Laurie at Life On The Bike And Other Fab Things.

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We are not in the beautiful Laurie’s league when it comes to artistic photography,

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but we love how she inspires us.

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Do yourself a favour and be inspired by Laurie’s incredible blog today, too.

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The walk was good - almost as good as time spent crocheting.

Crochet can be very therapeutic in sad times,

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 so every chance I have had over the past few days, I’ve cried and crocheted, cried and crocheted.

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It has helped a lot – and I have completed a few projects in the process.

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This is an example of my baby girl Bavarian crochet pram blankets in my Etsy shop.

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and an example of my baby boy Bavarian crochet pram blankets – also in said shop.

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This is one side …

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 … and this is the other.

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I’m also in the process of making one of these, a little larger, for a dear friend.

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I have been keeping busy with other crafts and organising my craft room, too – another post for another day.

But perhaps a sneak peek at the reorganised craft room as a very small thank-you for all your wonderful support over the past week.

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I read your comments every day – they are all absolutely beautiful.

Thank-you again.

xoxoxoxoxox

Thank-you xoxoxox

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What an amazing blogging community I am privileged to be a part of.

A beautiful "Black Boy" rose for a delightful and precious black cat.

A beautiful “Black Boy” rose for a delightful and precious black cat.

I’m overwhelmed by the supportive and kind comments I received after my last post.

Tigger and Oscar pay their respects to their dear friend, Dee Dee.

Tigger and Oscar pay their respects to their dear friend, Dee Dee.

Every one of your heartfelt comments meant the world to me.

A final resting place in Dee Dee's beloved Oasis.

A final resting place in Dee Dee’s beloved Oasis.

Thank-you from the bottom of my aching heart.

We love and miss you Dee Dee - our dearest friend and companion. xoxoxoxox

We love and miss you Dee Dee – our dearest friend and companion. xoxoxoxox

xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

The Saddest Day

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How can it be that one day you can be happy and laughing – and the next few days you can be devastated!

We returned from our wonderful holiday and the very moment I saw my beautiful Dee Dee, I knew nothing would be the same again.

Handsome Dee Dee when he was happy and healthy.

Handsome Dee Dee when he was happy and healthy.

He was very thin, hunched and sad-looking. It seemed as though he waited for our return and didn’t have the strength to go on any longer.

The vet confirmed the very worst – acute renal failure – but assured me they were humanely trying to flush his kidneys – and if they responded well he might, with constant treatment, have another 6-12 months ahead of him.

For a young, free-spirited cat of just six years old any extra time – please, he deserved more time.

But it wasn’t to be.

After nights at the vet surgery on a drip – and days where we would visit with his favourite toy mouse, a blanket he shared with Casper and his favourite food – we had to face one of the saddest days today.

Just when I thought I couldn’t cry any more, the vet called and asked us to drop into the surgery at around 12.30pm today. She told us the blood test results were not good – Dee Dee’s kidneys were not functioning at all. Would we like to take him home for a few hours to say goodbye to Slinky, Casper, Tigger, Oscar, Jet and his beloved Oasis – and to us. And then bring him back around 5.30pm to be put down.

I was numb.

I couldn’t move.

Tears of devastation gushed down my face.

How could this be?

I know to the world he is just another rescue cat but to me he is an essential part of my family.

This isn’t right, it isn’t fair, he’s only six!

Why did I go on holiday?

Why didn’t I see any indications he might be sick before I went on holiday?

Did I feed him the wrong food?

Could I have prevented this? How did this happen?

“Mum!

“We need to take Dee Dee home now.”

Yes, I couldn’t have got through one of the saddest days without Teddy and Tottie.

When I couldn’t do things today that needed to be done, my brave Tottie and Teddy did it for me or talked me through it.

The Committee stepped straight off the tarmac and straight into 14-hour working days – about three hours drive from us. He couldn’t be here to be the usual foil to my out-of-control emotions.

But without being asked, Teddy and Tottie stepped up to honour our beautiful, quiet Dee Dee, who truly thought he was a dog, could smell a roast dinner from 150 paces – and who didn’t deserve to die so young.

I’m devastated Dee Dee and can’t stop crying.

You gave us unconditional love and I don’t feel as though I gave you nearly enough in return.

This post was to be titled “Goodbye Dee Dee”, but I’m not ready to say goodbye – I don’t want to say goodbye.

The Flora, the Fauna & the Holiday Craft

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When emerging from Gold Coast airport on arrival, I always feel as though I have stepped right onto the set of Jurassic Park.

The tropical plants have a distinctly prehistoric look about them and I half expect a herd of dinosaurs to come charging through the beautiful flora at any given moment.

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There are a huge variety of palms everywhere,

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and the yuccas and stag horn ferns are magnificent.

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Underneath all of these, happily thriving in the humid, warm, dappled-light, is a plant sometimes described as “an explosion of colour” – Croton Codiaeum Variegatum.

 What a beauty.

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The fauna is a lot less prehistoric-looking, but equally as gorgeous.

The minute I saw this cute koala I wanted to take her home and just cuddle, cuddle, cuddle non-stop.

Koala

And then I remembered we had our very own koala at home already – Casper, of course!

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I’m not a huge fan of wild animals living in captivity, but this seems to be the way of things now – the animals in captivity draw paying tourists who, we are told, fund environmental programs and research for their wild relatives. So, a few sacrifice for the many.

The keepers we met and chatted to at Queensland’s Australia Zoo were extremely dedicated to the animals they looked after – and Tottie (and I!) were overwhelmed by our close encounters.

This little lady is a Queensland koala ((P. cinereus adustus).  She is smaller than her New South Wales and Victorian relatives and has shorter, silver fur.

She is so beautiful.

Tottie and koala

The Eastern Grey kangaroos were very relaxed in the sunshine, but if you want to see a gang of them roaming free in all their glory head on over to the gorgeous Fozziemum’s blog.

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Tottie especially loved this little guy.

Tottie and kangaroo

And, so, finally to the holiday craft I alluded to in this post.

It has to be something that can be squeezed in between lots of fun activities and doesn’t require knitting or crochet needles.

And it would be great if it could incorporate some of the brochures, tickets, pamphlets and magazines I tend to accumulate on holidays.

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Of course, I drew my inspiration from some talented bloggers I am fortunate enough to be able to follow. I am nowhere in their league as far as artistic talent goes, but that’s what I love about blogging and fellow bloggers. They give you the inspiration and the confidence to just give it a go.

Many of you know beautiful Pauline at The Contented Crafter, who recently held a journal giveaway. Her journals are way more artistic and professional than the attempt I’m about to show you, but I want to thank Pauline very much for inspiring me to have a go at my own version of a holiday journal.

Another three bloggers I’d like to thank for the very same reasons are The Junquemail ContessaRadish Blossoms and The Smallest Forest. All of these highly talented bloggers make so-called “Art or Junk Journals” and they are spectacular.

You can also find so many beautiful and inspiring art/junk journals on Pinterest if you have a few spare hours to peruse and oooohhh and aaaaahhh!!

So, without further adieu, here is my first ever attempt at a holiday art/junk journal …

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I have left room to add photos when I get home.

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Teddy and Tottie kindly offered their artistic talents for the cover and in various places throughout our holiday junk journal.

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It’s a start …

and hopefully not too long after we get home I can show you the finished product.

The Beach and the Theme Parks

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Well, on our first day of holidays we headed to the beach and stumbled across these two beauties.

NEVER SMILE AT A CROCODILE

Ha!

A Mad Cat Woman’s attempt at humour there … luckily we’re not far enough north here in south-east Queensland to have crocodiles on beaches.

There was a Tottie doing lots of gymnastics, though,

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and a Teddy playing lots of footy with The Committee,

C TEDDY on beach

not to mention tonnes of kilometres carved out on our morning beach walks.

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And plenty of holes being dug.

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Swims were essential – and we were all itching to join in with the organised beach volleyball.

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But, we had to make haste instead to the Gold Coast’s theme parks, because as well as 3 out of 4 in this family being sun-worshippers, 3 out of 4 are also thrill-seekers.

THE CLAW

No roller coaster or thrill ride is too scary for my hardy bunch.

Me?

I go for the churros, the junky souvenirs, the fun, the laughs – and because I’m a sucker for the poor souls dressed up in fluffy costumes.

PUSS IN BOOTS

What?

Every Mad Cat Woman needs her photo taken cuddling a life-sized Puss-In-Boots!

We’re shameful, aren’t we? What a shallow bunch of holiday goers. Theme parks? I mean, really?

But, truly, we laugh and laugh – and sometimes a family just needs to be completely silly together.

Although we originate from polar opposite sides of the galaxy, The Committee and I probably have one major thing in common – we’re both a bit childish. Theme parks are a cheats way of getting in touch with your inner, fun-loving child – and much more expensive than therapy! Ha!

Oh, and the actual kids love them, too.

But, rather than subject you to a barrage of blurred photos of thrilling rides, oodles of synthetic fur, or copious amounts of Spanish doughnuts being dipped into chocolate sauce (they’re for the family album!), I wandered around and found some inspiration in unusual nooks and crannies of a couple of the theme parks.

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You might remember how much I love anything vintage … so I couldn’t pass by these old magazine covers.

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These are two of my favourites …

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A REPLACEMENT PIC

I also fell in love with these stylised “Wild West” decorations.

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Yes, truly something for everyone.

May we all have the opportunity every now and again to get in touch with our inner child.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Chasing The Sun

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Continued from:

Be Careful What You Wish For

So, it was snowing on a mountain not too far from us and I saw this as a brilliant opportunity to snuggle up at home in front of the fire and lose myself in some knitting.

But I had no sooner put my derrière to the chair in front of the fire when:

Teddy: “Um? Mum have you forgotten about something?”

Oh! Poop!

Yes – a BIG something.

Up I get! Lots to do!

Winter (and knitting/crochet) will have to wait.

I had to pack a suitcase, direct others to pack suitcases and – most importantly – get TeddyandTottieland whipped into shape for the imminent arrival of our Pet-Minding Duo Extraordinaire – The Givers.

Good Gosh! Not another holiday, you say.

Please allow me to explain …

Those of you who kindly follow me in this teeny, tiny corner of the World Wide Web will know I’m a little odd when it comes to the seasons.

Put simply – I love Autumn and Winter and am a little so-so about Spring and Summer.

So, this time of the year I feel super lucky because we live in an area that usually gets very wintry.

Ha, ha!

You hardy souls in the Northern Hemisphere have just keeled over laughing at our version of Winter, haven’t you?

And I think that’s the issue for me; our Summers can be extreme, but our Winters are manageable and cosy.

Life tends to slow down a little – and that’s a heavenly thing for someone who likes to make things with wool – and who tends to yearn for a slower, simpler life.

But everyone has to make sacrifices in life, right? And, this year, I seem to have sacrificed my precious wintry, crafty, quieter time to global warming and my family.

You see, Autumn this year could easily have passed as Spring  - and I married a sun-worshipper, The Committee, and gave birth to two little twin (sunsmart!) sun-worshippers, Teddy and Tottie – so any time even a glimmer of a chance presents itself – you’ll find them chasing the sun!

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Despite my best efforts -

eg: “we’ll only be able to afford to eat Baked Beans for the rest of the year if we go!”

- it was three against one.

They were determined – and before I knew it they had whisked me off to the airport terminal.

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Yes, I had to get in a plane again (yikes!) and off we headed to the same destination as last winter …

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Now we may not be very adventurous in our choice of holiday destinations, but I have to admit we had a brilliant time here last year – and it’s drawn us back.

The beach is beautiful (and on our doorstep),

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the water’s warm,

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and we get to eat scrumptious tucker at our favourite Japanese cafe.

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So, I’m no martyr, really, am I?

I have to admit I’m thoroughly enjoying this year as much as last.

I don’t think I could handle the sun or heat up here in Queensland in Summer, but in Winter it’s just my speed.

Airlines get a little tetchy about sharp objects – so I didn’t even try to pack crochet or knitting needles, but I do have another little craft project taking shape up here.

If you stop by again, I’ll show you my first ever foray into this type of craft, inspired by three very special fellow bloggers.

I might also sneak in some pics of our time here so far if that’s OK – no full-on, horror slide night of my holiday, I promise.

So, what the heck!

Here’s to Baked Beans dinners for the rest of the year!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox