My best friend Sandra is a Christmas baby. Yesterday she had lunch with her family, then came to us for birthday dinner & wines and spent the night. Her dog Bruno and Faith sort of ignore each other in a friendly way – Faith isn’t well socialised to put it bluntly. Today Tony took her to Hawera to visit a few family graves. This journal page, using some of my more recent supplies, is about our friendship.

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It’s beginning to look

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … at least on my craft desk. As I said to my sister Ailsa last night, why buy 20 Christmas tags for 70c when you can use $100s of dollars of product and oodles of people-hours to achieve the same thing? I occasionally see a meme about crafting being cheaper than a therapist, and just as good for you. That’s just not true; if you buy enough supplies, it’s way dearer than therapy ūüėČ

Also, Dimmie has hung our exhibition in Eltham for ArtsFest – thanks so much for all your hard work Dimmie. She sent me some quick installation photos before her phone ran out of battery.

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It’s looking a lot like…

Christmas? Yes, I’m making Christmas cards in July. Why? Because I can.¬†Also, ¬†I don’t have the energy for mass crafting yet so but doing a card or two at a time is manageable.

I bought three new rubber stamps recently, designed by Jo Firth-Young. These are only¬†ATC size so the cards will need more than just this image (I think…) I love their hand drawn quality. I tried a couple using Copics but prefer colouring them with pencils.

I’m thinking of torn embossed borders, layers of patterned paper, ribbon, or mounted on plain¬†kraft cardstock maybe? Who knows how these will turn out…

Inspiration art tray for my wall

My best friend Sandra gave me an mdf Art Tray from for Christmas and some lovely wee things to go in it. In the end I kept the bits for my art journals, and used the tray to create something for my office wall as a reminder of what’s important to me. This has some tiny details in it, and I loved making it.

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A different kind of Christmas

When life changes sometimes the impacts are obvious, and other times there’s what a friend would call collateral damage that keeps on appearing for ages afterwards. Last year I had my birthday on the 11th December, Mum died on the 15th December and, to be honest, I have no recollection of Christmas Day 2012 at all. By New Year’s Eve I was at A&E as a result of damage collateral damage to my wrist, caused by injury to my shoulder in a car accident 6 months earlier. This year my sister, brother-in-law and nephew came down for early Christmas on the 14th and we out Mum’s ashes in with Dad on the 15th.

So what does Christmas Day mean to us now? I’m not sure to be honest. A phone call to Tony’s daughter and grandson, to my sister and her family, and Tony’s brother. Connecting with a few people via email and Twitter. My best friend’s birthday. What does all that mean to me? Not a lot really. I could phone them any time, and do.

I’m not a Christian, I have no children of my own, and none of our extended family lives close. We choose to stay home because of our pets, as we don’t think it’s fair to ask others to housesit at this time of year. Really it doesn’t mean a lot to me, but I guess over time we’ll find ways of making it special for us as a couple; with Tony unwell our guess our focus is on other things.

What I do have is a greater understanding than ever before of how hard Christmas can be for some people. A Twitter friend, a librarian in Australia, said as someone who suffers from depression she started the day “bawling at 7am”. My heart goes out to her and all those who are feeling similarly lonely or sad. Whatever today means to you, stay safe and be kind to yourself.

Surgery isn’t all go after all

Tony’s surgery has been postponed to 13 January as there is someone else whose need is more urgent. To ensure Tony doesn’t wait any longer than is absolutely necessary, they are booking him under a different surgeon at Waikato because it saves a week’s delay. We’re disappointed and upset but, having had Mum in and out of hospital for the last 14 years of her life – mucking up waiting lists in all directions, we know how quickly someone else can take precedence.¬†I hope the person who is getting urgent surgery recoveries quickly and starts 2014 feeling a whole lot better than they currently do.

I’m also sad that I’m now not spending Christmas and Sandra’s 50th birthday with her – I was so looking forward to it, and to helping her through a difficult bunch of firsts without her Mum. But, as she knows, I’ll be with her in spirit, as always.

Surgery confirmed – all systems are go

Tony’s surgery is confirmed for Monday afternoon; we need to be at Waikato Hospital early Sunday afternoon for scans, pre-op etc. Although it’s awful timing, in the sense that he’ll spend Christmas and probably New Year in hospital, and I have to come home and do the newspaper and look after the animals, we’re so grateful it is being done urgently.

Last year, when they did the first bypass, he was only in hospital 2 or 3 nights but this time they expect it to be between 7 and 10 days. I suspect this is more major surgery because of what’s gone wrong – whatever that might be. We won’t know for sure till they do the scan Sunday afternoon.

I’m also grateful that I can stay with Sandra, my best mate of more than 45 years (not that I’m actually that old). It’s her first Christmas and 25 Dec birthday without her Mum so it’ll be great to share it, and the stress, with her. Plus she has wine…



A little Christmas house

I am a regular follow of Tim Holtz’s blog and have been looking at the Christmas decorations people make with considerable envy, although I admit most of them are way too fiddly for my patience level. The other day I was in @yourlotto in Hawera looking at the KaiserCraft mdf projects and there was a small fairy castle. It’s only about 5″ square and $11 – perfect! Finally, a wee Christmas decoration I felt I could tackle.

I painted the inside white and then stenciled a pattern in silver onto it using one of Michelle Ward’s stencils. I covered the outside using KaiserCraft “Just Believe” 6.5″ papers, and had plenty left over for making more Christmas cards too. I added some die cuts and a mountain of Kindy Glitz round the tops of the spires to look like snow or icicles. I don’t usually use Kindy Glitz but I loved it for this project.

The only problem I ran into was that I painted and papered over the tabs that hold it together and then they wouldn’t fit into the slots, so I had to sand them back. Other than that, it’s the first time I have tried one of KaiserCraft’s mdf projects and I’m sold on them.

My icy fairy castle is now on our mantle piece with a candle in the centre, looking very snowy and festive.

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Making Christmas gifts: farm dog painting

Some of my close friends and family will be getting home-made¬†gifts this year. This is for a good friend whose farm dog likes nothing better than to sleep in an old armchair in the corner of the lounge. Done in acrylics, the matted size is 25 x 21cm. I love the black and white coat of Border Collies; in this case I have captured it in purples, white and a little blue. I took serious liberties with the wall colour behind her, but I’m sure the owner won’t mind!

It’s the 25th of December, so…

Whatever you believe, and however you choose to celebrate, I hope you have a lovely peaceful day. With no children in the house it is hard to get too carried away, but we’ll be phoning family later on to see how their day is going.¬†We’re just pottering round the house and then having a roast chicken for dinner. We’ll swap presents late afternoon and that’s about it really. Because it is a week day, Tony is on ambulance duty as normal, so let’s hope it is uneventful…

Merry Christmas