Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Baby Squirrel BeeBee

A new baby has made their way to my etsy shop.

Little BeeBee is now out of the drey and scampering around. He has a slight problem that he must overcome though ....

BeeBee is slightly afraid of heights which is very unusual for a squirrel.
He has been tentatively making his way up the very tall branches every day to see if he can become used to the height but on more than one occasion he has had to be helped down by a mother squirrel.
She tutted non-stop right to the bottom and BeeBee wondered what on earth he could do to be more like the others.
One of the other mother squirrels said to him that he shouldn’t worry about this at all – some babies are scared for years before they are able to spring from branch end to branch end. Little BeeBee got a shiver just thinking about it!
He just loves the ground though and spends a lot of time scampering amongst the fallen leaves, twigs, rocks and bushes.

Just now BeeBee is playing happily with the baby hares in my house.
He is the first squirrel I have made and has a rather fine tail - like a real squirrel. If you look closely you will see how thin they really are with fine individual gossamer strands coming off the tail bone.

I met this youngster in early spring in the Botanic gardens in Edinburgh. He/she came over to say hello, not afraid at all. The squirrels usually get food from the garden visitors and the varied trees and plants in the collection.

Though it is a known fact that the Garden culls the squirrels!
Unfortunately in Scotland and the rest of the UK there is a campaign against the Grey Squirrels which were introduced from America around 200 years ago.
It's unfortunate that the media and less informed bodies have blamed the Grey for the decline of the (native) Red Squirrel - but if you read this exerpt from the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames you will see that there is a logical (and human interference) explanation for the decline -
Red vs. grey squirrels
"Despite common belief, the grey squirrel has not been the cause of the decline of the red. The red is less adaptable than the grey, and in Britain is living on the edge of its preferred habitat. Deforestation and habitat loss caused them to disappear from Ireland as early as the 15th century, and from Scotland by the 18th, long before the grey was introduced. In addition, in the late 19th and early 20th century they were considered pests and were killed in their thousands. By the1920s their population had been decimated.
Red squirrels are now protected, and in some areas, coexist with grey squirrels."
Another interesting article is by Nick Paling though maybe he didn't come across the explanation above.
It's not always black and white - or should I say red and grey?
As you can see Baby Squirrel BeeBee is both red and grey-brown in colour.
He would like you to be tolerant of all squirrels and to co-exist peacefully with them. Hopefully by providing lots of tasty nuts and other tidbits for their varied diet.
After all there are many specific instances of a introduced species causing havoc to native populations without having to extend this fallacy to the squirrels (and I'm just referring to human migration here!)
Co-existence, compassion and tolerance are required by all :)

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Happy Christmas!

Arabella heard that if you are good Santa will bring you presents! and she assured me that she has been very, very good this year!

.... as long as I overlook the shredded and eaten curtains, the missing spines from books, the chunks taken out of my papers, the snips on the baby hare noses and many other tiny indiscretions ....

Infact Arabella was so excited that she decided to search for her presents instead (as she knew Santa would have too many to carry at once and must have already made a quick visit here).

...... She searched hard .....

.......... and thoroughly .......

....... but alas!
.................. nothing could be found!
Maybe Santa could carry them all at once after all !

Wesley piped up to say he had been a very good boy too!
but that he was happy to forgo all the presents as long as I gave him a back massage every day and kisses on his nose!
we wish you a Happy Christmas and may Santa be good to you :)

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

and the Winners are ....

As promised here is the Golden Fish Trinket Box with the 358 raffle names cut and curled at it's side and the Arabella's Winners Board ready to hold the winning names!

I asked Personal Trainer Mike Heatlie to do the draw for me.

Mike is personal trainer to Gwen Stefani and this year he opened his luxury fitness gym in Edinburgh.
I've trained in a lot of gyms over the years (decades!) and I highly recommend Mike's gym to anyone who is serious about getting fit and getting in shape. It's got great equipment, both free and machine weights and is clean and tidy at all times. There are also very affordable gym memberships so there is really no excuse not to sweat it!

Mike is a charismatic and friendly chap who takes his vocation seriously so I was delighted when he agreed to draw the winners from the golden fish for me!
Meanwhile little black and silver fluff ball mini Mikey at the Rabbit and Guinea Pig Welfare is making sure that the draw is conducted in the fairest way!
He has his eyes on big Mike!

Mike saw me swish up and mix the names about before I stuffed them into the fish - whew! that was a feat! but I managed to get them all in, so Mike decided that we were good to go and lifted the lid to draw the first winner for Carly's beautiful painting 'Yellow Rabbit on Blue I'

He pulled the winner out - and strained to read my tiny and scratchy writing - and it is ....

NELLIE SIMPSON! Congratulations Nellie!

Gorgeous Cheerio, with the white diamond on her nose, hopes that you will love your painting and it will be with you soon!

Second winner is for the covetable Snowshoe Hare Footprint Bowl by Kirsten!

Mike delves deep and pulls out another illegibly written paper strand ... and it is ...

SUZANNE ROSE!! Congratulations Suzanne!

Bo and Betty know that you will be delighted with that beautiful bowl - they can already see it filled with carrots! yummy!
Third winner is for Pey's tender print set of Esme the Brown Bunny!

Goodness, not another scratchily written name! thinks Mike! .... and the winner is ....

JILL POYSER! Congratulations Jill!

Little Toby knows that you will love Esme to bits! (He's wondering whether Mike needs glasses - then again Annette's writing is actually pretty bad!)
The fourth winner is for my own Baby Hare Hope!
Mike shuffled the strands around and pulled out the lucky name (he can just make it out) .... and it is ....

KEVIN PHILLIPS! Congratulations Kevin!

Kirk knows that all the baby rabbits, and all the adults too, have lots of Hope when they reach a rescue. They know that they will have a warm bed, fresh food and love until that special someone chooses them to go to their forever home.

and the last winner is for a beautful pair of Green and White Pearl Earrings by Caroline!

Gosh! thank goodness this is the last piece of paper I have to decipher! mutters Mike as he just manages to read the scrawls.... and it is .....

THEO SAYER! Congratulations Theo!
Kirk was happy with the way the draw took place, though everyone agreed that I have to go on a 'Learn to Write Legibly not Illegibly' Course!

The Golden Fish was pleased to hold the names of so many generous and giving people and was touched that their thoughts went out to the homeless rabbits and guinea pigs at this time.

Arabellas First to Five were proud to display the winners names on their fringed rugs.
They are sending love and best wishes to the rabbits and guinea pigs in all the rescue centres around the world at this time. They hope that each and everyone of the furries will find that special place in a person's heart and home and their family will be complete.

Candice says that it doesn't matter what length your hair is, or how fluffy your jowls are or how small you happen to be - the size of every rescue's heart is always huge but small enough to fit snugly inside yours.
A grand total of £291 / US$477 was raised - with the help and generosity of so many kind folks.
This was my first ever blog raffle and I am truly grateful and eternally thankful to you all for supporting this raffle and the rabbits and guinea pigs at RNGP have an easier time this winter.
Hopefully in the New Year when adoptions start again (rescue pets are not adopted out for Christmas) there will be many homes for these little chaps.
a very special thank you to Pey, Carly, Kirsten and Caroline for donating such gorgeous art! It couldn't have happened without you :)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Nearly Time .....

the raffle has now closed ....

....... the names are being put into the Golden Fish trinket box ..

....... who's it going to be .... ???
check back tomorrow for the winners
(you are all winners for entering! thank you!!)

Monday, 14 December 2009

the Golden Fish countsdown .......

....... there is just over one day left to get your raffle ticket for the super draw that will take place on Wednesday 16th at lunchtime, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

the 5 winners will be plucked from the belly of my golden fish trinket box (it's a large Chinese goldfish and rather fat).

I did what I usually do in times of need to get the message out - I made a 'treasury' on etsy! and it is ofcourse titled - Rabbits and the Golden Fish!
(on view until Wednesday at 12.23pm)

I like to use art to get messages across and a great way to do this is to make a collection of images in a treasure box compilation. One image by itself is powerful, but 12 (& 4 reserve) together are exceptional!

Arabella is counting down aswell to the raffle deadline on Tuesday 15th at midnight 00:00hrs Greenwich Mean Time GMT (now called Coordinated Universal Time UTC),
which will be
7pm 15th Eastern Standard Time EST (USA),
4pm 15th Pacific Standard Time PST (USA),
2pm 15th Hawaii Standard Time HST,
7am on the 16th Christmas Island Time CXT (Australia),
10:30am on the 16th Central Daylight Time CDT (Australia)
3am on the 16th MSK Moscow Standard Time
all those numbers were far too many for Wesley to keep track off - he's been snoozing since +2hrs GMT!
the paypal button will be up for a little while after midnight incase there are switherers and ditherers -
and just to remind you that it only takes 1 ticket to be a winner but that every single rabbit and cavie at the Rabbit and Guinea Pig Welfare rescue in Rugby, England will ALL be winners - thanks to the amazing generosity of so many giving and caring people!
thank you so much! Arabella and Wesley send zzzzz zeds, em, I mean xxxx kisses!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Robin and the Golden Egg

I bought this amazing North American Robin material a while ago. I've already made an Arabella bag with some of the robins and now I've got two brooches in my shop.

This one is called Robin and the Golden Egg.
Today robin was foraging for a meal and came across a beautiful golden egg! Gosh! how lucky, now she is going to take it home with her. How often do you come across a ready-made golden nest egg?

and this Robin with the White Crown already has a well feathered nest what with all those jewels and sparkly bits.
Robin likes to sit on your breastplate (is that rather an 'outdated' term? like 4 centuries old?) and view the scenery, especially more so if you are having tea and cake where crumbs are readily available.
American robins are exceedingly handsome birds and part of the Thrush family Turtdidae. They are not related to the European robin - the cute little fluff ball that decorates the front of Christmas cards every December.
They have many cousins worldwide with my favourite being the handsome Fieldfare and then the Redwing. In Norway the Fieldfares are very energetic pulling worms from the gardens constantly. Some will occasionally migrate to Britain in winter for the milder weather though I have yet to see them here in Scotland. There are lots of them in Stavanger. In Scotland we have the very pretty Mistle and Song Thrushes.
I also put a couple of tiny baby hare Christmas decorations in my shop. Sunflower at the back has some sparkly bits by the ear and the one at the front has a long white fluffy squirrel tail.
Both ready to take pride of place amongst the ornaments.

This little Princess is called Meadow and she is a foster rabbit being looked after by a very caring lady who has the blog Life with Reno Rabbits. Meadow will be getting spayed soon and her spay costs have been covered by her foster mama.
however she has 3 kittens who also need to be spayed and the Humane Society of Skagit Valley in Washington state will not cover their costs.

These little fluffs do need to be spayed and if you are able to spread the word about Meadow and her babies plight please do so, and if you are able to help towards the spay costs then please read the link above for more info. Thank you.
Unfortunately I have seen what happens when a doe is not spayed. Many, many years ago in Australia I had my first house rabbit Burns. Vets over there at that time weren't very rabbit saavy (Aussies think they are 'pests') and advice was just not forthcoming (pre internet). Burns contracted uterine cysts, which are unfortunately very common for un-spayed does, as is uterine cancer. After a successful operation to remove them, with a caring vet we managed to find, she then passed away a few days later in my arms due to kidney failure. It really is imperative that all female rabbits be spayed from 6 months of age to ensure, amongst other things, good health and quality of life.
On that very sad memory I am glad to be able to help many rabbits now in rescue centres. Just a reminder that my raffle only has 4 days left and these 5 great prizes will soon be going to 5 very generous winners! Will it be you??
Tickets can be purchased on the top right here by paypal.
thank you xxx

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Arabella's Winter Warmth

Last month I was asked to take part in the Winter Warmth Textile Exhibition at The Park Gallery in Falkirk.
Five of my Arabella Art-Accessory Bags would be on display and for sale amongst works of over 50 UK textile artists!

My own Arabella White-Tail Deer Bag, my mum and I went along to look at the art.
(Arabella needed a cup of tea to warm up, it was rather chilly!)

Four of my bags were on display behind glass in The Park Gallery just by the entrance.

They were all so excited to see me and little chirrups were made when we came in. Over 300 people attended on the opening day - goodness that was a lot! and the Arabellas had had plenty of people watching to do (it was very interesting they told me).

I had taken five with me and the Mule Deer Arabella was resting in the back room until space was made for her in one of the glass cabinets too.
That didn't take long because Arabella with the Cardinal and Forest was soon off to a new home!
Thanks to Karina, from the Gallery for selling her.
The Park Gallery opened quite a few years ago with a UK lottery funded grant and it is now in serious danger of being closed by the local council. They don't see the point of making art accessible to the masses and that is a pity because I was very impressed with the gallery and the use of space in this impressive exhibition.
Please take the time to sign this online petition so that the Gallery may remain open for future generations to enjoy where ever they come from.
The Park Gallery is located separate from the other exhibiton space being used in nearby Callendar House. It is wonderfully converted and purpose built from steadings and has just the right ambience to enjoy art of all disciplines.
Here are the five bags -

Arabella with Deer in Forest Glade

with details of a doe and red berries on the pocket.
All bags come with removeable straps so that they can be unique textile vessels on your shelf when not accompanying you to exhibitions.

Arabella with Raccoons, Bear Cub, Rabbit and Red Berries

both sides have different images, as do all the bags.

on this blue snowflake pocket is a cardinal and fir.
All bags have a metal snap hook on the haunches.

This is Arabella in White Blossoms and Waves. A very elegant sculpture!

there is a little bee on the pocket with blossom ruffles.

This is Arabella with an American Robin applique on cream damask.
Actually this bag is not in the exhibition but available in my etsy shop. It was made at the same time as these other bags.

the removeable handles have woollen brown and black tweed snap hook details and hand grips.

and this pocket has a delightful Robin with Selvedge!
What better way to count (spend) your time than with selvedge spots?

Arabella with North American Mule Deer. This side has the detailed pattern showing a mule deer in the distant firs and two white tails bounding across the clearing.

the other side shows the Mule Deer applique. There are removeable brown grip straps.

the pocket has another Mule Deer with friend behind. The applique antlers are very impressive from both sides. You can see the grey wool lining on them here.

and this is the Arabella bag that sold!
With the North American Red Cardinal and Forest on a snowy night. The straps are black and have red and white detailing.

this side also has a cardinal and an owl. The cardinal is up late and the owl is out early tonight!
On both sides by the chest are two recycled brown bear metal buttons.

and on the haunches is another one of the bear buttons.
They all have the frayed denim edging from when I gathered them off my brother's weathered jacket. The jacket has been round the world a few times so the bears are well travelled. Arabella has been hearing their endless tales.
On the pocket is more snow falling and the words 'A Wildlife Christmas'
After we had a look around The Park Gallery we made our way to the historic Callendar House for the other part of the exhibition.
It was just down the road and past some very old trees and is set in a 'park' that is landscaped year round. Dogs come to play and squirrels forage for food.

Inside a very tall room were more textile works of art.
Arabella immediately noticed the tiny baby carrots necklace and was about to open her mouth when I pulled her back!
'Arabella!' I exclaimed - those are chillis!! tut tut! and you're not meant to touch anything in the exhibiton that's why the other Arabellas are all behind glass because everyone instinctively reaches to touch your beautiful white faces.
Arabella went slightly red and sheepish. The Le Chilli Necklace is by Ode Marie.

My mum was very interested in these textile air jellyfish. The photo doesn't do them justice and they really were very impressive. They appeared so fragile as well. They are by Ruth Lee and it's called 'From the Deep' incorporatin hand frame and machine knitting.

Arabella had spotted a rich wall covering.
It was hard to pick the shades she liked the best as there were so many. I liked the rich blues at the top right. Arabella finally decided that she rather liked the carroty, um, er, orangey coloured bits.
It is called Canal by Louise Oppenheimer from Argyll.

Then we came across these fabulous textile blocks! Could stare at (and touch) them all day long.
They are by Anita Hutchison. Ofcourse we never laid a finger or paw on them.

We were nearing the last of the exhibits when Arabella caught sight of these amazing bird brooches by Ode Marie (the chilli necklace lady!). They were awfully dashing and we all loved their cute little crests.
Arabella said her chest was just the right size to have one pinned on and I agreed but we really needed a cup of tea and cake so we popped into the super tea room by the Park Gallery.

We all had Early Grey tea. After our sandwiches I had a slice of the most delicious, freshly baked moist orange cake. Baked there daily! and my mum had warm clootie dumpling also made there. Clootie dumpling is a moist fruit pudding from Scotland. A wee bit goes a long way!
Arabella can't wait to go back at the end of December when the exhibition finishes for another cup of tea and cake! I said to her that would only happen if all the bags aren't already sold!
She crossed her paws! (I'm not sure for which!)
Don't forget to enter the raffle on my blog to win one of 5 great rabbit prizes with all money going to the Rabbit and Guinea Pig Welfare in Rugby, England, Wesley's old rescue.
Let your friends know too - they may be glad of the chance to win a piece of original art made with love and help the animals at the same time. Only two weeks left.
Thank you!