Wednesday, February 16, 2011

You're nicked!

At least cuffed, so consider yourself nicked.
I spent a few hours yesterday and today whipping up a little something for a girl that has put a smile on my face many times. If you would be so kind, go and check out her magic.

She lives in my town/ city/ village (it depends on my mood what I call Leeds, today it's positively a village!) and is one of the most generous, helpful, JOYful people I have encountered online. And, boy, is she talented! She makes the most gorgeous little art clay critters you could ever hope for, and if you manage NOT to fall in love with her wee beasties, please let me know how you did it.
She made a wee mouse for my Mum before Xmas and kitted her out with black forest gateau- just because she can. At no extra cost, and it was her idea entirely- can you believe that?

Anyway, I owe this lassie big time (for more than just black forest gateau, because it turns out she is also a wonderful friend far, far beyond mere customer service!), and I thought I'd make something for her.
Take felt in various colours, embroidery thread and a whole lot of patience, and you get this "you're nicked... well, cuffed, anyway" bracelet.

It's posted, so all my doubts about it come too late, right?

It's a test run, I've never tried to make a felt cuff bracelet before.
I hope the recipient will not dwell on the shortcomings (like uneven stitches... oh man, I am blushing even thinking about the stitches!)... if anybody wants a tutorial to outdo me (easy!!), I'll be more than happy to let you know what I did. It's not hard, just very time- consuming.
Anyway, I count this as my RAK for yesterday as I spent more hours on this yesterday than I did today.
Hope I'll have something to show you tomorrow; I started something RAK- wise today, but that was as bad a fail as ever you'd see.

Love y'all, don't forget to be kind to random folks as they come along!

Oh, I nearly forgot- proof I delivered my spider- eyed surprise:

We went past the house today and I couldn't see any police cars OR the bug- eyes. I hope my dahlias- to- be were received kindly!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Let there be darkness!

... so I can sneak out and deliver a little parcel to an unsuspecting neighbour!

You are looking into the surprisingly beautiful eyes of a jumping spider, would you have guessed? Inside, there's a plastic flower pot spiked with dahlia seeds; the leftover seeds are attached to where the spider ear would be if spiders had ears, together with a little note thanking the "gardener" for brightening my day, signed "a smiling neighbour".
Well, the recipient will either happy or call the coppers because he or she thinks they're being stalked by a freak!

My second card for Aunt Peaches'  challenge is done; another acrylic paint- job with a little felt owl keyring attached.

I'll show you the third and last tomorrow, hopefully together with the story of another RAK- do you have any ideas for me?

Love y'all, happy St Val's!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Random acts of kindness

Guys, please don't think that St Val gets me all soft- hearted. Far from it.
It's people like Aunt Peaches and Lori that do. Let me tell you how those ladies inspire me, will you?

Lori recently received a lovely gift from somebody who would not disclose their name, so she can't thank the person properly.
Instead, she decided to do some sort of informal giveaway to everybody who wants to participate in what she calls Pay It Forward. She agreed to send everybody who commented on her post a little gift, but in return, everybody has to do random acts of kindness to random people in random situations.
Leaves a lot of room for inspiration, doesn't it?
I have vowed to dedicate all next week, beginning with St Val's day, to random acts of kindness and tell the world about it in the hope that it might spark something. You know, that little extra bit of patience in the queue at the supermarket till, hittig the brake rather than the gas pedal when you see somebody who wants to cross the street, putting out bird food when it's darn cold rather than just think "yeah, I really should..." but never actually get 'round to doing it. 
My first RAK will be something quite odd, and I'll do it tomorrow. First day of  my proclaimed week of kindness!
My neighbourhood is very small. Lots of tiny streets with semi- detached red- brick houses, many of them inhabited by students and some of them freshly bought by what you might call young professionals.
Some houses are more looked- after than others, and only few are lucky enough to have a garden. Bless our house, it HAS a garden, and I often think that the garden would deserve people who would put a lot more care into it.
I know just the right set of people, even though I don't think I have ever seen them in person.
They live only a stone- throw away, in a house that looks a lot like ours. What makes it stand out is the grand display of countless flower pots arranged at both sides of the door. It's like whoever lives in that house gives a big "so what!" to us ignorant folks with gardens that are ill- cared for.
I walk past that house every day on my (short) way to work, and it always makes me feel good to see those tons of flower pots and the care somebody has put into them.
So, to cut this short, I will tomorrow go and purchase a little bag of flower seeds. I have ceramic pots and soil knocking about, and I shall make a little, oh, I don't know, pansie pot? and secretly park it among the dozens of pots around that particular door. I'll leave a little note just thanking the "gardener" for always putting a smile on my face, maybe on the back of the seed pack or so. And with a bit of luck, that person will also smile and have a really good day, who knows. Or maybe they'll never know there's an extra pot, but I will, and it'll be my secret :)
Right, that's one RAK sorted, only 6 to go. Any ideas?

Another thing that makes me go all fuzzy is an idea Aunt Peaches came up with.

Aunt Peaches had a little last- minute challenge up the other day. Send a Valentine to three people also participating in the challenge. No later than Feb 10, so I have already screwed up, but I was really busy!!
I don't think I've ever sent a Valentine in my entire life, so this was a chance for me to experience something new. 
I've been busy today whipping up something half- decent, and here's one of the results, the rest is yet to be finished. The first card I ever made, with acrylic paint, glitter and beads strung on wire.
Don't let the pictures fool you, once the glue is dry, there won't be white splodges, and without the flash, the whole thing doesn't look like a slice of bacon, either.

I just hope my Valentine has some use for those little earrings!

So go on, folks, be kind. Maybe thank the postie for doing such a good job delivering your mail in every weather, or feed some stray cats in your area. You could give some stuff to your local charity shop or hop over to your granny and listen to all those old stories all over again.
Maybe you could drop into your local newsagent/ corner shop with a cuppa coffee and thank the staff for infallably opening the shop at stupid o'clock in the morning so you can read the paper over your breakfast. Or tell your wee ones' teacher how much of an impact their work leaves on your little treasures' mind. Heck, you could even leave a beautiful card in the book you bring back to the library with a nice little message to the stranger that reads it after you. The possibilities are endless.
Be creative, and be sure you tell the world about it. Not to make yourself look better but to inspire somebody else to be just that little bit more kind. 
If I can do it... it'll be a walk in the park for everybody else.

Love y'all, peeps! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Valentines quickie :)

Sorry, I just couldn't help it.
This is something I whipped up this afternoon when a silly idea crossed my mind.
Well, not so much an idea, as this has been done before, but how about giving your loved (little) ones a message in a bottle for Valentines?
Not sure about you (well, those of you who have regular access to a pint- sized version of homo sapiens, anyway), but we kind of delight ourselves in how little it usually takes to make the minions happy. (again- I stole this term from Sunny over at Life in Rehab- you'll find the link in my side bar and I strongly suggest you pour yourself a glass of wine and head over! Maybe finish reading this post first, though...?)
You buy them an oversized toy, and they end up playing with the box. Just like cats. *sigh*
Personalized stuff always hits a straight 10. A few weeks ago, we got them a little set of cutlery each, Abigail got one engraved with little hearts, and Aaron got Dinosaur paw prints. Guys, that was the first time ever I saw the wee bugger polish off his entire plate, no kidding! It might have helped that the veg was cut from an ancient dinosaur forest, and the drumsticks were dino thighs.
You get the picture, right?
And now you'll get the pictures

I thought you could print them out for the wee boys and girls in your life, stick them to some empty bottles (do I hear recycling?) and leave a little love note in the bottle.
I remember when I was a child, my grandmother would write me little poems before I had to do class tests or other unpleasant stuff. She might not have been the best responsible adult, but she used to be quite the poet! So, if you need a little "extra" to spice up a kids' day, maybe this helps.

I made the labels using artwork by cagedbird, redju, mdl and Raspberry Road.

Click on the image to get the full size version. I hope you like them, and I hope even more that the little ones like them! You could maybe soup them up with some glitter or, for the wee men, the odd occasional screw attached to the bottle?

I intend to make my own message in a bottle, I need to justify keeping all those old bottles around anyway :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

A windy Folksy Friday!

Sorry it's been so long, peeps.
I'd love to say I was crazy busy, but no such thing. Quite the opposite is the case- I was crazy lazy, which sounds a lot more like me, right?
There's some good news- to the day 3 months after we were burgled, the insurance FINALLY decided to do what they are supposed to do and replaced our missing goods.
We are now again the proud owners of a laptop, a little digicam and, I am overjoyed to report, a Nikon D5000. Guys, she is a BEAST. You will soon be bombarded with treated to pictures of decent quality again! How I have missed my Nikon... unpacking my new baby was a treat. I took my time, slowly opening the box and every little bag (why the heck does it take so much packaging? Seriously, it's like the moon was waiting to be our next landfill!) and assembling my little beauty. If I was a little bit more of a pansie, I swear I would have cried with joy, and that's no exaggeration. Couldn't stop smiling all day!
Guys, if you have a little bit of disposable income, a favour to call in or a friendly neighbourhood shoplifter that took a shining to you, I'd recommend you get a DSLR. Nobody who's not a pro will ever need a D5000, and I would have never been able to afford one myself- I was so lucky the insurance thought her to be a replacement for the D40 the burglars took off me. Buy a used camera, it won't make a difference. Borrow one (if possible) for a day and experience how amazing the difference between a DSLR and a regular digicam is. I guarantee whichever one you get, it'll shoot ants right up your behind, making you want to go out there and see the world through a lens!
I rest my case showing off Shannon- with every bit of dust visible. Where the heck has she been prior to having her picture taken?

Today it's terribly windy around here- bins falling over, branches breaking off trees and whatnot. So I thought I'd gather some wind- related item for this Folksy Friday and get some air into the dusty old Three Bed Semi! A click on the pic will take you straight to the shop.