Monday, July 28, 2008

feeling hot hot hot!

Well I don't know about where anyone else is, but it is flippin' hot here in the south of the UK. Far be it for me to complain about this heat but I'm complaining! It's just not a nice kind of heat - it is humid and stuffy, and generally quite uncomfortable - especially at night time. Stevie is now out of her cage and can roam the house - a relief for her and us. We cannot unfortunately open the windows more that a couple of inches (in case she escapes) so the house is like a sauna, and me and Mr Monda are like a couple of wilting lettucesThis is not me or Mr Monda - just a very weird pic i found on google images

It's been too hot to be making anything this last weekend - so there's nothing much to show here. I am thinking cold thoughts though, and have signed up to do a craft fair in Oxford in November. It's called handm@de and you can read all about it here - and sign up too if you fancy it (there are still a few places left). It will be in Oxford town hall - a very cool old building and a great space for what promises to be a great craft fair
As I type, it has now started to rain, and the rain is accompanied by thunder and lightening. There's nothing like a good storm to clear the air.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

what do you do when...

What do you do when someone asks you to make a card with a classic car on it?
Well it's not really my thing I have to say, so I tried to make it like my kind of thing, and I'm fairly happy with the result. This card is to celebrate 25 years with the company I work for, but for the sake of a not completely exposing myself to all and sundry on here (and I'll explain why in a moment) I've blurred out the company nameI used some of my new (old) stamps on the card. A recent purchase from the days when things cost half a pence, and pence were expressed as 'd' - Some time before decimalisation, which Google has reliably informed me was 1971. These were used by a shop I assume.The reason I am a bit apprehensive about showing where I work (although I know some of my regular readers already know this), is because I'm paranoid about having my personal details stolen. Just this week, someone hacked into my paypal account and made 3 payments to themselves totalling $2000! I was quite stunned by this and I have no idea how someone could have found out my paypal password in order to do this. As a result of this, email addresses and passwords have all been changed, but I remain wary.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

swapsies

It seems like ages ago that I signed up to do the Russian doll swap over on I'm a ginger monkey.
I think I have to hold my hands up this time to not being the best swap buddy to my partner Tallulah (sick cats mainly blamed for my lack of making time) and I was massively relieved when she emailed to apologise that her swap would be late, because then I didn't have to feel so bad about being late too - so we had a mutual 'lets be late with our swaps' agreement. I am pleased to say however that I have now beavered away and made my first ever Russian doll, and secretly I am a bit pleased with it. I've never made one before, didn't check out any others on flickr first (honestly), I just drew a picture and away I went.

I'll post pics of the little lady once she has been received, but for now, some little peeks:I forgot to mention, on the Stevie front that all went OK at the RVC on Friday. Her bloods are only just outside of the normal range now, and her pelvis is healing well, although another week in the cage is advised and we've really had to follow this advice, to make sure she does recover from her pelvis injury. Her kidneys are still enlarged and the ultrasound didn't show much difference, so we have to go back again in 3 weeks for another check up and more tests. She's becoming a bit of caged beast though - she hates the cage and she's trashing it on a daily basis out of sheer boredom and frustration - she empties the entire contents of the (thankfully clean) litter tray into her bed, and pulls up her blankets and knocks over her food dish. Like a mini rock star really! Still I guess this all shows improvement, which is good news :o)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

In with the old

Lately, I have become more and more fascinated with 'old' things. I think this is because I'm increasingly enjoying using more recycled and repurposed materials in my work, both because it's better for the environment and because I think something just has more appeal when it has some history in it.

I'm also finding that I want to do more in the way of printing and drawing. I love working with fabric, but miss working with paper and ink and paint. I sometimes think i could and should have done a graphic design course at university. Anything remotely typographical inspires me, and I've found quite a lot of inspiration from HensTeeth and LuSummers of late.
This has definitely informed some of my recent purchases.
Old envelopes and picture postcards:I like these for the fact that they were from a day when people did a actually write letters (does anyone still do this) and also because way back when, people were taught to write properly - and mostly with a fountain pen or pencil - old tools of the trade so to speak.
I especially like that this one has also been used as a shopping list. Bird seed and Bovril - nice combo!Any idea what this is?A hand written recipe book which has been passed between 4 or 5 generations, with each generation adding their own recipes. From what I can tell, it started in 1874. There are some truly bizarre recipes in there by todays standards. Anyone fancy a potted pigs head?I was intending to use this to cut up and collage and print onto, but i'm just not sure I can bring myself to do it. Maybe I will photocopy and scan some of the pages for my work - I'll need to think about this a bit more I think.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

taking a breath

I've just sat down after a really busy week at work and an equally busy week at home and I'm thoroughly shattered.
I've been working on a commission for wedding invitations each evening this week, and I've finally finished printing, embellishing, folding and inserting. It was quite a long process from start to finish, and I have to say that the final designs are not really something I would have chosen to do, but I was working to my clients brief so had to go with what they wanted. I'm very happy with the quality of the finished cards however - no pics of the cards as the names of the clients are on the front and I'm sure they wouldn't want them splashed all over my blog.

I'm sitting here now on my sofa with a little baby Stevie next to me - sleeping away quietly. We have been a bit naughty and let her come out of the cage for the last few days. She's quite immobile so she either sits on the sofa, or sleeps on the end of the bed in our spare/work room with Mr Monda who works at home at the moment.

Here's a couple of pics of her. Firstly last weekend: and then just yesterday: - she's looking a lot better I have to say (albeit still a bit grumpy). She's eating really well, and toilet functions are all normal. She is sleeping quite a lot but when she is awake she is quite bright and she wants to walk around the house and find hiding places in all the usual spots (under the bed, or tucked under the dining table).
I'm hoping that our trip to the RVC tomorrow will tell us what our senses have been telling us all week - that our little Stevie is slowly improving.

I have the day off work tomorrow (for the vet trip), and I can sleep in a little longer than I usually do on a work day - how nice!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

a near miss and a grumpy cat in a cage

Yesterday, on the way back from picking up Stevie we had a real fright. The weather was horrible - torrential rain which made the driving conditions appalling. On one of the smaller roads nearer to my house, a lorry veered across the road right in front of us and I had to put the car into the hedgerow and slam on the brakes in order to avoid it hitting us. It missed us by about an inch. Then it started slowly moving backwards in the direction of the car so I just put my foot on the accelerator and sped off. I think the driver had lost control or something - it was all very weird. I was quite shaken and more than anything I just wanted to get poor Stevie home, so I didn't stop.

Stevie is home and we are both very happy about this. She on the other hand is less than happy to be in her cage. When we put her in she constantly miaowed and was pushing her paws through the bars and biting the cage. We had to cover the cage with towels and blankets on all but one side to get her to calm down. She doesn't want us to stroke her at the moment - she keeps pulling her head away from us. I think she just feels a bit grumpy with us.
She is eating well and drinking a lot (classic symptom of kidney damage) and she has to stay in her cage for the next week.
We'll be back at the RVC next friday for more blood tests and a further ultrasound as her kidneys are still showing as being abnormal (perhaps due to being saturated by the drip) and the RVC hope that a week off the drip will show signs of improvement. She's not quite out of the woods yet, but she's well enough to be at home, albeit a bit grumpy.

In this pic you can see one of her many shaven patches. She has lost quite a bit of weight and where is is shaven you can see that there really is nothing of her. And this was when she was desperately trying to get out of the cage:The vet we saw at the RVC yesterday was great. He said he was sorry not be to working next friday when we go back in as he would like to see her again - they gave us some written notes on her treatment to date, and at the end of the notes, he added that she is a 'very sweet cat'. I feel that she has been really well looked after by the RVC, and I'm happy she was there getting treatment for the last 9 days. I won't mention how much this has cost us to date but lets just say, I'll need to sell a heck of a lot of monsters over the next few months to counteract this!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Radley

I had an email today from Radley, announcing their Autumn/Winter collection. Hello Radley, I think you'll find it still is Summer. Of course, you might be forgiven however for showing me winter things because they are rather nice!
Also today, the vet told us that Stevie could come home tomorrow. We're going to collect her in the afternoon - I'm really, really chuffed about this :o)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

eBay love

I'm going through a phase at the moment - it's called the 'totally addicted to eBay' phase. I fall in an out with eBay and at the moment I'm definitely in. Is there anything you cannot buy on eBay?
This is one of my latest purchases:I bought a small amount of leather when I was in Denmark with the intention of using it in brooches. Whilst I was making brooches at the weekend I used the some leather and really like the effect - although I have to say it wasn't the easiest thing to sew, by machine or hand. You must be able to get a leather foot for machine sewing (anyone?). This little lot is destined for brooches - and maybe the odd monster will get a bit of leather treatment too.

I also wanted to share a couple of other things. First up, these two ceramic pen pots :I purchased these at the Reveal show at the weekend. They were made by Lauren Denney who organised Reveal. I love that she uses buttons in her work, and I couldn't resist these two pots.

Also, I was very lucky to be randomly picked for a freebie from Emma of silverpebble recently.
I was chuffed to bits to be the freebie winner, but even more chuffed when I received this gorgeous charm bracelet:This is just the kind of thing I would have picked for myself. What I find more amazing is that Emma managed to make this just after having her second baby. Amazing!
Pop over and check out her website and blog - you won't be disappointed I promise.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Reveal

Today was the first day of the Reveal Exhibition in Henley on Thames. It runs from 6th-12th July.
Weather wise it was pretty horrible, but the exhibition itself was great - the space is really good and Henley as a location is good too. There is a lot going on in Henley over the next week so hopefully it will drive a fair few people in to see the work on display.

I got very far behind on my schedule of work due to Stevie's unforeseen accident, but yesterday I worked like a trooper to get as much done as possible. My mum and Mr Monda were up with me until the small hours of this morning making sure everything was tagged and labelled and inventoried (they were a godsend really). Here are some of my new brooches:The jumper monsters:and one of the tags which Mr Monda kindly helped me to make for them:Mr Monda posing next to some of my work:and lastly a wet but rather pretty pavement in Henley:
We also went over to the RVC to see Stevie yesterday. She is in the intensive care unit and we were allowed to go in and see her in there. The RVC is one of the best hospitals I've seen - better than many regular people hospitals by far, and Stevie is being well cared for. Her blood tests are slowly showing signs of improvement, which I am encouraged by, but this will be a slow process to see if she if her kidneys are able to cope as they reduce her drip, which they will possibly start to do next week. She looked pretty comfortable in a little bed, and whilst she didn't get up to see us, she was responding to being stroked. I'm still getting a stomach in mouth feeling every time the vet calls but the signs are pointing in a more positive direction, and I'm happy about this.

I'm off to make a few more bits and pieces for my shop - things that have been half finished will actually get finished now!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Stevie

I am thinking that my craft blog is turning into a cat blog, but does that matter?
Well I guess if you are visiting to read about my crafty endeavours then it probably does.The only thing I feel compelled to write about is Stevie, so that's what I'm going to do.

After spending the last 5 days at the vet on a drip, having daily blood tests, the vet has told us that they just don't know why Stevie is so ill. They are still talking about acute renal failure and the possible explanation they can give is that it could be a result of the pain killing drugs they had given her when she broke her pelvis. I find this piece of news totally devastating, although I don't blame the vet, they didn't know she would react badly to a painkiller.

Today the vet referred our little Stevie to the Royal Veterinary College Hospital and at lunch time we picked Stevie up from the vet, and took her on a 45 minute journey to the hospital.
We were at the hospital for an hour until Stevie was admitted. In one way this was nice because we got to see her, and she was so pleased to see us - she was perky and bright eyed, purring and butting our hands so we would stroke her, but she was also quite stressed and jumpy, and I felt so bad to have to leave her in yet another unfamiliar place.
The RVC is the best place for her to get the best treatment - they will ultrasound her, take a biopsy of her kidneys, and if necessary give her a blood transfusion (in an attempt normalise her blood). None of these things are without risk, and I am honestly fearful of the outcome of all these tests.

I feel so strange. I'm feel sick to my stomach, tired beyond belief and so many things seem very trivial to me at the moment - especially my day job, where I have to try to act normally. Today I had to run a 2 hour training session and I found it so hard, because it just didn't mean anything to me.

We're still just hoping and praying that we will get some kind of positive news from the RVC.
We told Stevie when we left her at the hospital how much we loved her and how she had to be brave and strong. This pic is of our baby just a couple of weeks ago - she was hiding behind the garden fenceThanks once again for all the lovely supportive comments, especially from those people who have never commented on here before. The people I meet in blogland are truly caring and thoughtful and I'm very appreciative of the kind words and well wishes.