new cards 2016

I say this every year:  “I’m really going to work on my shop and blog.”  Then at some point later in the year I decide not to concentrate on either.  So this year I’ve decide to say this:  “I have no idea what I’m going to do this year, but here’s what I’ve got so far…”.  Some more characters have joined the woodland greetings cards, I finally listed that crow card that I finished months and months ago and my tortie cat collage has been redone as a full size greeting card this time around.  There are new folded gift tags too, but so far there just isn’t enough daylight to photograph them yet, now that I’ve managed to ruin my light tent (don’t ask).

So the year is off to a good start and whatever else happens, I’m happy with that.  Happy 2016  :)

Tipping Point

mena sketch

Well here we are again at the tipping point between seasons.  My squirreling instincts are kicking in, so Autumn must be on its way.  Where has the time gone?

I’ve not been at all active online recently for the simple reason that I’m having a life!  My thoughts are wrapped up with yoga, running, healthy eating, outdoor living and art…and that hasn’t left a lot of time for anything else.  Throw into the mix the fact that I have a new four-legged companion and suddenly there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day.

My new girl is a stripey, sassy miss and is already proving to be something of an artist’s muse (mews).  She’s much easier to sketch than my beautiful tortoiseshell ever was – there’s something to be said for stripes, as they provide useful reference points when resuming an abandoned sketch once she’s moved back into a similar position.  But whether or not I’m drawing the cat, sketching and painting have become the daily habits they always should have been and consequently there’s  been lots of improvement.

Improvements are also being made to the strength in my damaged arm.  I’ve been following specifically strength-building yoga routines for a few weeks now and the difference in my arm (and my whole physique) is incredible.  My muscles are slowly revealing themselves again and my flexibility improves daily.  That handstand is becoming a real possibility, which will be a nice, rude two-fingered salute to my physiotherapist who said I wouldn’t ever be able to.

Ok so that’s all the good stuff out of the way, the not so good thing is that I have some serious obstacles in the way of working on my shop – namely Technology and Time.  At the moment all i can do is keep it ticking over.  Oh well, there are worse situations in life!



New to the shop and new to me

badger peel off tag 1

The latest addition to the tribal style animal characters is one of my favourites yet.  This little badger is only available as a set of gift tags at the moment, but I’ve got some card designs featuring him ready to go to the printers along with a couple of other newbies.  I spent much of yesterday taking photos of new stock (a job I detest!) and bit by bit over the next week I’m adding them to the shop.

I’m taking better care of the shop and better care of myself too.  Something has definitely “clicked” just recently.  A lot of things are suddenly making sense to me and I’ve been working really hard at creating a life that makes me happy.  Improving my diet has made the single biggest difference to me.  I’d always had a reasonable diet, thanks to being vegetarian for most of my life, but I decided to really educate myself about food after I had my accident (because I found out the hard way that the fitter/healthier you are when you have an accident the quicker you recover).

I’ve given my diet an overhaul, making lots of subtle changes that have added up to a whole heap of difference.  And the biggest part of that difference is energy.  I’m positively bursting with the stuff!  Put together with my ever-growing love for a real variety of exercise and the result is that my physique is better, my complexion, my memory, my sleep and my mood.  And it doesn’t feel like just another fad that I’ll get bored with soon enough.

Diet, exercise, meditation, education and improved sleep are making me feel I can do anything.  Long may it last  :)


peel-off tags progress

I’ve been keeping myself out of mischief by updating all my gift tags to the new peel-off back format.  My arm really isn’t fully up to the job of cutting them out, but I think it does it good to be pushed a little.  I’ve been really pushing it with my physiotherapy exercises and it’s definitely paid off – for the first time in 3 months I’ve just managed to touch the tips of my fingers to my shoulder.  Another few weeks and I’m sure I’ll be able to bend it fully.  Extending my arm is a completely different matter – still way more difficult, but I have every faith in being one of the lucky ones who regains full use of their arm.  Yoga really helps, even if all my poses are a bit on the wonky side:  3-legged downward dog?

Actually life in general has been a bit wonky lately.  Some things feel like they are falling apart (my day-job) and some things are going from strength to strength (my health).  I like life this way.  An unpredictable, topsy-turvy roller-coaster ride.

Miss Mardy-Knickers

new cards

new cards just added to my etsy shop

Have you ever wanted to greet your boss with a flying kick to the windpipe?  That’s exactly what I’ve been fantasising about for most of the day (I’ve never claimed to be a sweet little angel, now have I?!).  I have spent the afternoon mostly being blisteringly angry, but also being thankful that my boss had to meet with clients all afternoon, giving me the chance to cool off and think things through.  You don’t need to hear the whole tale but suffice to say that the Universe has just given me another nudge out of the door as far as that job is concerned.  It’s becoming less and less viable to work there.  So annoying because things had really turned around there in the last couple of months.

So I have been thinking what type of person I want to be in this situation.  I’ve already done (to my discredit) the whole “shove your job up your backside, you big tw*t” speech to a previous boss, way back when – and while it was hugely enjoyable, warranted and oh-so-satisfying at the time, I really think I want to be the better person this time around.  My boss really is being a big tw*t and undoubtedly I really do want him to insert his job in his nether regions, BUT there has to be a more evolved adult way of dealing with him.  I just haven’t figured out what it is yet!

In the meantime, while I grapple with my day-job-dilemmas, above are the latest cards I’ve had made for my etsy shop.  They turned out way, way better than I’d hoped and make me even more determined to keep plodding away with this work until I find some real direction.

Getting back on track

watercolour hearts

simple little watercolour experiments

Yesterday I went to what turned out to be my last physiotherapy session for my arm.  It’s improved so quickly that they don’t need me to go back, I can do it all myself from here.  My arm is still a long way from being able to completely straighten or completely bend, but its improving every single day.  I can touch my neck now and I’m not too far off being able to touch the tips of my fingers to my shoulder.  The best bit is that I can now begin to stress the joint a little with weights, which opens up so many more forms of exercise.  It’s all looking positive and I’m feeling almost normal again.  I still have to go to regular fracture clinics but these are just to see that the metal in the joint is behaving and staying put.

My arm has not been too much of a problem at my day job.  I can do pretty much everything except cutting with a knife with any precision – I just don’t have the strength or flexibility in my left arm to support and manipulate whatever substrate I’m cutting.  But it will all come back eventually.

At home I’m just beginning to get back to my own design work and yet again I’m having to take a long hard look at my etsy shop – it’s been so neglected!  To be honest I haven’t the faintest idea what I’m going to do about it.  I’m dithering again.  That bloody shop has been the source of so much frustration and yet something inside me tells me to just keep going with it.  To that end I’ve got some new cards at the printers.  They are a mish-mash of old designs presented in a new way and I can’t wait to receive them.  Eventually all the cards that I used to print and cut out myself will be redesigned and printed elsewhere – it’s too time-consuming to produce them myself (and physically impossible at the moment).  The felting and beading side of things is history now as I’ve given away my vast collection of materials and equipment – too fiddly, too slow and too boring.  I’m also gradually going to change over from strung tags to folded, peel and stick versions and retire a lot of my existing stock altogether.  I have no idea what I’m going to replace it all with.

I’m entering a new phase on all levels of my life and it mostly feels so good (apart from being cat-less).  Let’s see what the rest of the year brings  :)

After the good times…

I’m so glad I kept this blog, because I need to use it again for a while.

Life is still going great career-wise, but as is its nature, life has decided to throw me another random test or two which I want to document and resolve here.

Random test 1:  To cut a long (and for once, quite entertaining) story short, I want to use this blog to plot my physical recovery from a really badly broken arm.

After breaking all the bones of my arm at the elbow 6 weeks ago (a complicated series of breaks where large chunks of bone were completely broken off and displaced) I was surgically pinned and screwed back together and luckily (thanks to the skill of the surgeons) I should, in time, have full use of my hand a fingers – something which was in doubt at the beginning.  So I’m stating right now that although recovery is going to be slow and frustrating, I am starting from a place of so much gratitude, as it could have been so much worse.

After several arm casts, my arm is finally naked, except for a wound dressing and a sling that I have to wear for at least 2 more weeks until my next assessment at fracture clinic.  Now that I can begin gentle physiotherapy and take my first steps back to exercising, I want to record my progress to give myself even more determination.  The nature of the injury means – according to the consultants – that I’m unlikely to ever be able to fully straighten my arm again and although that is hardly the worst thing in the world, I still feel this ridiculous need to prove them wrong.  They told me there are actually very few times in day to day life that you need to fully extend an arm, but what if I feel the need to do a handstand?  I have to confess I’ve often felt that need and often done one!

So that’s the aim, to get back the full use of my arm and hand, to FULLY straighten it, to be able to do handstands and just for good measure I’ve decided I want to get my whole self into the best physical shape of my entire life.

Random test 2:  The Universe saw fit to send my beloved 4-legged companion into renal failure the very first day I came out of hospital.  She spent 4 days at the vets having the toxins flushed out of her system, while I organised her special diet and new medications.  We tried everything, but despite everybody’s best efforts, after a glorious week of her seeming in perfect health (and happiness) again, she suddenly deteriorated and I had to make that horrible decision that all pet owners dread.  I immediately unfriended the Universe.

It’s been a month since I lost her and gradually I’m able to see some of the wonderful bits of synchronicity that were so helpful.  For example, if I hadn’t been off work with my arm I would not have been able to provide her with the round-the-clock care and companionship right when she most needed it.  Also although at first I was so pissed off that I only had her for one more week after she came back from the vets, I now see that as the Universe giving us back that week that we missed when I was in hospital for the first 3 days and she was at the vets for the next 4.  I now view that extra week I had her as one of the most precious gifts I’ve ever received.

I know I will get another rescue cat one day, but not yet.  I’m gradually getting myself used to life without her – you don’t realise what a huge part of your life and routine they are until they are gone.  I’ve gained so much time in my day, but it’s time I didn’t want to spend any other way than with her.  Soppy eh?

So there you have it, that’s why I’m back to the blog for a while.