Thursday, 17 June 2010

Baby Hares - The Cat's Miaou

Arabella had a small chuckle and smirk so I asked her what was amusing -
she then corrected me to say it should read the Cat's Whiskers and not the Cat's Miaou - but, no, I replied ...

it's actually a shop called The Cat's Miaou in Edinburgh and it now stocks my baby hares, handmade cards and handmade gift tags!

Aaah! said Arabella, giving her own whiskers a good clean before nodding off again.

The cat's whiskers is rather a British/Australian term and the cat's meow is more American, having originated in 1920's America, but both are similar in meaning though being Scottish/Australian I've usually said cat's whiskers.

So when my mum discovered this wonderful shop in Edinburgh selling many different kinds of hares and wonderful gifts I kept it in mind to visit. She also kindly left one of my business cards with the owner Kate.

Time went on, I was busy, months passed, then out of the blue one day I got a phone call from Kate asking about my hares and cards.

So I gathered some up to show Kate and within a week The Cat's Miaou had a small batch of hares, cards and tags for sale! Thank you Kate!

It's a beautiful shop that is just packed with very affordable gifts in all price ranges. There are super cards to choose from, many are from Scotland and there are local artists' work for sale too. I saw some really nice cards that made me smile - quirky Scottish humour playing on Scottish sayings and the most adorable hare brooches from a UK artist. Plus there was also a very handsome bronze resin hare smelling a flower and one of the nicest hare statues I have ever seen.

Kate keeps her shop well stocked with a very eye catching window display and inside it's inviting and warm. There is definitely something for every member of the family and friends here. Just make sure that you spend enough time looking around.

If you are in Edinburgh, it's at 36 Elm Row which is at the top of Leith walk on the East side, just before what used to be the old roundabout, and it's just down from the JPearce pub on the corner.

So patiently waiting for forever homes are real-size Baby Hare Rania who is a consultant and advocate for the countryside animals, Baby Hare Marisol who loves ice cream, Baby Hare Freckle who is studying to be an investigative reporter, Baby Hare Squirrel who loves to climb trees and Baby Hare Lochan who loves to spend time with the Scottish seals on the cold beaches.

Not long after I delivered my order I came up with a new design - one I had been trying to get right for over two years - a moon gazing hare. And I finally did it, unexpectedly one day as I was cutting out patterns for more baby hares.

I'm rather pleased with the smooth lines and delicate stance of these hares. They are very reflective little beings and like all my hares, they carry great hope.
Above is Baby Hare Precious who dreams about visiting the stars with mama.

and here is Baby Hare Whisper who is very shy and loves to research about the stars he has seen in the sky.

Arabella was wondering if they all have clean whiskers? as she stretched out under her favourite table.
I said I sincerely hope so!
I'm very fond of whiskers and Arabella and Wesley have contributed to rather a nice collection. It's harder to see Wesley's all white ones at times amongst his white fleeces but Arabella usually leaves at least two a week to be gathered from the carpet.

Baby hares Whisper, Precious, Wish and Pingu are all keeping their eyes open for whiskers now!

Monday, 14 June 2010

A Squirrel on the hand is Worth .....

Two in the Palm .....
These two tiny Baby Squirrels are now crossing the Atlantic as I write. They are accompanying their friend Baby Hare River to their new forever home.

At the forefront with the green bell on her tail is Baby Squirrel Petra.

Petra studies at the same university as her friend baby hare River and they met one day when she was busy collecting stones and rocks for her architectural studies.
She could hardly carry the huge amount she had amassed and River helped her to pile them on a skateboard that was lying nearby. That made her job far easier!
She is very keen on integrating nature into non natural surroundings, hence her fascination with rocks and stones. She has come up with some of the most beautiful designs her tutors have ever seen and she’s been approached by a couple of environmentally friendly building companies to help them develop complimentary dwellings.
She’s pretty happy that she chose stones to work with. When she first began it was going to be seed pods and cones, but one day she tripped over a rock as she was gathering fallen cones and realized that they were immoveable as well as beautiful. So that was it then – rocks and stones!
In between her studies Petra loves to doze on a high shelf with a view to the garden and the rocks. She would also appreciate a large pad of paper and a pencil for her designs. Oh, and maybe a cone or two, she still loves their shape!

and behind her with the red bell on his tail is Baby Squirrel Pter

Pter is best friends with baby squirrel Petra and baby hare River.
He met them both one day when he nearly crashed into them as he launched himself from a tree branch with his makeshift wings. He landed straight on top of a skateboard full of rocks and stones! Ouch that was sore!
Pter has always loved flying and as a baby inside his nest he watched the birds swooping and soaring above him. As soon as he could scamper about on the branches he has tried many times to duplicate the same flying moves.
He has a very large collection of primary and secondary feathers, all graded into length and width. He’s now wondering whether he has the right amount of each feather on his purpose built wings.
He’s just a little too shy and embarrassed to ask the birds to help him (yet)!
Pter would love to sit on the very highest shelf with his feather collection and asks that the window be left open rather wide. Maybe one day he will have a bird friend who will take him on little outings, that would be exciting!

and this is their good friend Baby Hare River who will be making sure that they have a safe journey. River actually has a job to go to with some very important work to be done.

He his nearly finished his studies and his PhD thesis has already proven to be highly in demand by many different worldwide organisations as all his research so far has been 100% successful. When he arrives he will be off to the Gulf Coast to help with the oil spill.

He has always had a close relationship with the sea and sea life. His mama would take him along the beach every morning just before dawn and sometimes they would help the waders look for invertebrates for breakfast, ofcourse mama and River and strict vegans and occasionally they would try the seaweed!

Ever since he was very tiny River has always wanted to be an ecologist and now he has nearly finished his degree. He is half way thru has his PhD studies to go and has concentrated his thesis on The Impacts of Mans’ Carelessness in the Ocean – primarily that of Preventative Petroleum Release with his speciality in ‘Assisted Bioremediation/ Biodegradation Task Force Immobilisation’.

In other words – how to combat a human-caused oil spill with the tiny and tiniest of organisms at short notice.

He has spent ages conferring with zillions of micro organisms of all types and their individual effectiveness in breaking down oil.

Some microbes have been more eager than others to get to work and he has been able to work with a very strong, albeit nearly invisible task force. They are all happy to be deployed by various methods to get to the spills fast. Some being sea bird aerial deployment, whale, shark and dolphin fast-underwater-site-release and the coral infrastructure networks release.

There is talk that maybe River will be made a professor very soon for his research breakthroughs.

River is happy to continue his work on your shelf but asks that a window be open so that he may deploy fast in an emergency situation. Just now he is busy tackling the Gulf oil spill with his army of miniscule workers and they are making good progress.

There are many people all over the world who are devastated by this oil spill, including me and an etsy shop called Help the Gulf Coast is raising funds for two organisations working directly there to help clean up the mess, Oxfam and the National Audubon Society.
Kate set up this shop and has worked tirelessly to list and liaise with the many etsy sellers who have given stock to generously help raise funds. $1000 has been donated already! Thank you Kate!

I made a Treasury, above, to highlight the plight of the Gulf Coast. It's called Thank You!! for helping the Gulf Coast :) and nearly every seller in it is giving 100% donation.

I always like to make treasuries with messages in them and this one works from top to bottom - pristine beaches, thriving wildlife, uh-oh! what's this? some warnings about listening very carefully and taking only pictures next to a lovely message to bp! who leave only scary places to nest, black coated birds, shiny oil covered seas and death in their wake.

Please visit the treasury and leave your supportive comment. Don't forget to visit the shop, you may find something lovely there?

- like Baby Hare Agnethka. She is working hard to raise funds for the wildlife there.

Agnethka is a very curious little hare and in her first week of life she found herself lost in the woods.
She had explored just a bit too far. She cried and cried but her mama couldn’t hear her, however the woodland deer could and soon she was being taken home by the beautiful doe Isabella. Ever since then Agnethka has made daily visits to the deer and accompanies them in their forays.
Her mama makes sure that Agnethka always takes some tasty shoots with her for Isabella and they pick them together in the glade.
Agnethka has seen some wonderous places with the deer – fast flowing rivers, waterfalls, crags and lush meadows. For a better view (and when she is exhausted) she is always allowed to clamber onto their backs, scamper up their neck and sit between their ears.
She would love to perch on a shelf with the door ajar so that she may visit Isabella every day and explore more places.

I hope that all of these ones here made it - it's from the Guardian Online and they have posted some heart breaking pictures but I'm glad that there are people working tirelessly to save as many lives as they can and do what they can.
Thank you all!
... meantime .... I hope Obama follows these guidelines here - they are great suggestions
and -
I won't be filling up at BP ever again .....

Saturday, 12 June 2010

birth of Moonlight the Moon Gazing Baby Hare

Not that very long ago a special little baby hare was born. Gentle as the soft, caressing wind, quiet as the glistening of the stars - baby hare Moonlight came into the world .....

Araballa gets to meet all the babies and she is particularly taken with young Moonlight. They have been sharing stories about the stars in the night sky ....

but before you hear about Moonlight's taile I wanted to explain to Arabella how I make the babies. Arabella was so excited as she'd only ever seen me do bits and pieces, with stuff lying all over the place in separate bundles of this and thats waiting for their time to travel to the next stage and never followed a baby from start to finish in one piece.

I'm a member of the esteemed etsy team Artisans Gallery. It's a juried team of artisans of distinction, vetted by peers for excellence in design, skill, presentation, integrity, and customer service. I'm very thankful that I was nominated and invited to join and hope to live up to my very talented peers.

The Artisans Gallery blog always features a diverse range of work by it's members. One of the posts that I love reading about is the Work in Progress where it shows an artisan producing one of their works in a few informative steps.

So here I am explaining to Arabella, my rescue rabbit, about the birth of Baby Hare Moonlight -

Not that long ago I was on the floor with all my materials spread out amidst the tracing paper patterns of my real size baby hares. One of the patterns was at an angle, overlapping another hare, looking up to the stars and I immediately knew that I had my moon gazing that I had been longing to make for nearly two years.

I opened my pad and placed the two patterns on top, making sure not to adjust their position. Ten minutes later I had my new pattern. I laid it over some fabric to capture the best pattern overlay for the body position and pinned and cut the shape out, leaving a generous edge. I did the same for the other side, flipping the tracing paper pattern over.

I then lined up the pattern, insides facing out. I held the material up to the windows to align the design as this was a 'same pattern each side hare' and then pinned the material together.

I stitched both side together on the machine, making sure Arabella didn't try to bite the electrical cable. I have all my electric cables wrapped in big plastic sleeves except my small appliances that I move around such as my sewing machine and hair dryer. They are tucked away neatly out of rabbit's way when not in use. All rabbits are drawn to electric cables like moths to a light so I sew with one eye on Arabella and one on the material.

I leave a gap at the bottom to turn it inside out, or should that be outside out?? I snip the material edges before I do the turning, especially on the curves, otherwise the material will not lie flat. I have to be careful not to snip thru the stitching, it's happened a few times!

Then I end up with the picture above - of the baby hare body .... (whew!! - still here??)

Next I add their eyes. My real size baby hares all have brown eyes (so far). I also give them a white felt backing. real hares and wild rabbits have a white patch around their eyes.

I read somewhere, not that long ago that some prey species have the white patch to reflect sunlight from their eye area, therefore giving them a better chance of not being blinded by the sun and of seeing their predator better in daylight.

So my felt patches are cut out by hand and even though I use a pattern they all turn out slightly imperfect.

My real size babies are now getting an oval shaped patch under their brown eyes to give them more 'wonderment'.

I use a small very, very sharp scalpel to slit the fabric after I have held the eye and patch to the face to ascertain the best position. Sometimes that takes a few minutes of moving it millimetre by millimetre and me moving my head side to side (Arabella nods - she's seen this alot!)

After they have their eyes on they start to become very expressive. I can already see how very gentle little Moonlight is. I start to get names flit thru my mind as I finish the eyes. Some stay, some go. I write them all down on my sheet of names paper.

The smaller baby hares have different coloured eyes and this really brings out their personalities, as too the baby rabbits, baby squirrels and baby felines above.

Then comes the stuffing. This can take a while and a few cups of tea. Arabella loves to come into the bedroom when I am doing this on the floor by Wesley's den. Wesley and Arabella aren't friends - they had a huge fight after I took Wesley home from the rescue so they each have half the house.

But when I am stuffing the hares I sit on the carpet next to Wesley and keep him in his spacious den and Arabella comes in to explore under the bed, rip at my raffia sewing box and tear the clothes on the floor. She also makes sure to 'chin' everything she can reach!
Rabbits have a scent gland under their chin and the mark their possessions this way. I've been chinned a couple of times! (Wesley re-chins after Arabella has gone!)

By the time I have sewn up the hole at the base the baby hare usually has a name and part of a story. I get sentences flitting thru my head about their life. I also collect sentences that I hear in my every day travels. And I cut out printed sentences that I find useful and keep them in a small pocket of mutterings.

Then the baby comes to the computer with me as I have a very special hot cup of tea, sits by me, looking at me, and I spend about an hour writing their story. After writing I re-read it and make any adjustments to the flow.

little Moonlight would like to tell Arabella her story -

Little Moonlight is entranced by the night sky and every evening she gets rather excited as dusk falls and the sky beings to come alive with many little diamonds glistening away.
She always likes this quiet time and spends nearly the whole of the night gazing up, her big eyes rarely blinking.
She asked mama where her name came from and mama said that the night she was born a single beam of ethereal moon light gently fell on her as she opened her eyes for the first time.
Mama knew that was a very special little baby.
Moonlight knows all the biggest stars now in the galaxy and is busy memorizing the smaller ones and their placement.
She has a big notebook and every morning there are many new pages of notes with lots of little scratchy stars drawn in!

Moonlight loves to sit comfily on a chair and every dusk she will appreciate a view to the sky so that she may watch the beautiful diamonds sparkling away.

and this is Baby Hare Rania, she's in The Cat's Miaou in Edinburgh for sale

Rania is the most beautiful baby hare ever and she enchants all those who meet her.
Her mama knew she was very special when she was first born as her eyes sparkled like deep, rich jewels and she smiled warmly at everything and everyone.
She is a very fast learner and extremely intelligent, getting A+ in all her tests. She makes friends easily and many in high places are fascinated by her wisdom and beauty. She always makes sure to impart small words of wisdom to them and hoping for good changes.
She has always wanted to improve the conditions of the countryside for the animals and bring positive change so she recently opened her consulting business to liaise with the humans, Rania Baby Hare Consulting for Furs and Others.
Things are going very well and she has had 2 Bills pass thru parliament already – the Full Year-Round Protection for Hares of All Kinds Bill and the Driver Awareness and Adherence to Slow Speed and Give-Way to Road Crossers Bill and she has many more planned.

Rania loves to study and work on a high shelf and would appreciate the window being open so that she may meet with her many contacts and make new ones.

and this is Baby Hare Snuggle

Snuggle is a dexterous and fit youngster and he has spent many hours on his mountaineering techniques.
He was born with the whitest of white coats unlike all the other mountain hares and with the longest ears! Goodness! There was talk that his father may have been a brown hare from the meadow because of his ear size, or an artic hare because of his white coat but his mother would hear none of it.
She told Snuggle to be proud of their length and to use them wisely and to show his gleaming coat with pride.
And ofcourse he does!
He listens so carefully on the mountain tops to the howling winds, the snow bunting chirps and the ptarmigan foraging. And he washes his coat daily to reflect the sun when there is no snow around so that anybody with unfriendly intentions will be temporarily blinded!
Mama taught him well because he is not afraid of being different.

Snuggle loves to keep fit and every morning he will be off for his climbs and runs so would appreciate an open window. He loves to rest after this on a shelf with white books (for some privacy).

so, I said to Arabella, only a couple more names and stories to go ....

...but I could see her no-where,

though in the silence of the night I could hear a faint snoring ....

sometimes even the shortest of explanations can become a odyssey!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

A Private Viewing

Last week I was invited along to a private view of Rhiannon's exhibition 'Island and Cities' showing Rhiannon's Polaroid Paintings alongside her father Kevin's Paintings of Iona and Orkney.

Arabella loves invites and started to get ready because she knows that means nibbles and drinks .....

Wesley wanted to come too, he'd never been to an exhibition before and quite fancied a nibble ...

.... but I said that the drinks wouldn't be water, nor the nibbles clover nor plantain ...

aaaah! said Arabella, suddenly professing to be tired and having 'nothing to wear',

hmmm, said Wesley, I'd forgotten I had something to do, as he wandered off....

So I made my way along with my mum to this very special view.

Very special because I have been following Rhiannon's blog Starry Blue Sky and reading her very informative posts with so many useful tips on being a professional artist and I was excited to be meeting her in person!

Her Polariod Paintings encompass 12 European cities that she visited for her 12 City Project. The above study is in her exhibition.
Her images hint of a time gone by and are enchanting and inviting, drawing you into a dream. The more you looked the more you saw. My mum and I both had favourites of Rhiannon's and Kevin's pieces.

I absolutely love the coast of Scotland, especially the further West and North West you go. The sea colours are the truly magical and the beaches are pristine. I saw all this and more in her dad's work.

It was a very well presented exhibition with both styles complimenting each other. Rhiannon has made a video of the exhibition on her blog.

If you are in Edinburgh, Scotland, do go for a viewing. It's being held at Newington Library, 17-21 Fountainhall Road, EH9 2LN. There is plenty of free parking at the library and chairs to take in the pieces and room to browse at your own pace.

Rhiannon sells her art in her etsy shop Starry Blue Sky and you can purchase pieces from her 12 City Project there and you can also purchase any of the exhibited work by contacting her direct.

The polaroid above is from the garden of a museum in Paris. Rhiannon has exceptional work in her shop and this photo combines her exquisite flower photography with the architectural pieces very nicely.

If Rhiannon's work looks familiar it's because I mentioned it in an earlier post about a calendar that I won. The months sure are flying past!!

Just to make sure that Rhiannon recognised me I took my own Arabella bag along. My beautiful felt rabbit brooch is by Kim from Veganessa. She has more of them!

Arabella decided to have a nibble at home instead and selects some new plantain leaves .....

...and Wesley was busying himself with some clover ....