Friday, 28 January 2011

Bun Blog Pledge! ... Ms Rabbit travels .....

Last week I started a BUN BLOG PLEDGE to try and help the BUAV get compassionate people to sign their petition on ending animal testing for the cosmetics industry, and I was hoping that fellow bloggers may post the blog badges I made on their blogs and even invite Ms Rabbit in person to their home!

... And I'm delighted to say that Ms Rabbit packed her bag and grabbed her passport this morning and is now visiting her first host - Juliet, of Crafty Green Poet, in Edinburgh!!
Juliet has the kettle on and the biscuit tin stocked!

well, that was very nice of her! said Nettle, Ygraine and Aphrodite. They quite like biscuits and tea too and were about to pack their bags as well but I said they had some work to do here first, and just hold on a second!

I've been stopping by Juliet's blog for quite some time now so it was really a big treat to meet her in person!

She writes the most beautiful haiku that always takes me exactly there, amidst the images and emotions. Haiku is a very exacting medium with many rules so to write haiku that is both correct and moving is a real accomplishment!

Juliet wrote some very fitting haiku on Ms Rabbit's ears to accompany her on her travels -

summer storm
the sweet smell between
my rabbit's ears

mmmm! as a mum to Arabella and Wesley I can attest that the place between their ears is heaven!

I really enjoy writing alot and perhaps one day I shall venture into the world of haikus!

in the mean time, please meet Baby Hare Nettle -

Nettle is a quiet little baby hare and every day she keeps her own company all the time. Mama watches her make her way into the field just after breakfast and doesn’t hear a peep from her until dinner time. Mama has been worried because Nettle comes home every night with no friends and rarely complains, just so not like a baby hare! Not once has she made an ‘I wish I …’ to mama at bedtime story time so mama asked her if she has fun during the day and is she learning any games and skills. Well, well! did that start a torrent of tales from Nettle! She spent nearly half the night telling mama all about her awfully exciting days in the fields with harvest mouse.
She met harvest mouse one day when he was running from a hungry crow and he ran straight behind Nettle’s ear! Gosh, that sure tickled and they were rolling around in the wheat stalks for ages laughing away. Crow decided to look elsewhere for a meal. Harvest mouse then took Nettle across the field to his home and on the way they practiced climbing all the huge stalks, some bigger than others. Big to mouse, but rather, em, slim and bendy to Nettle. Never the less, they made it to the other side and Nettle got to practice her climbing skills amid the stronger bushes on the field edge.
She was a very fast climber and sure footed! Mouse was really impressed! He is now going to show her how to make a harvest mouse mother earth home with all the stalks and leaves and strands and how to weave it together into an indestructible little ball. She is really excited about that!
Nettle is looking forward to climbing up your bookcase and making a comfy nest on your shelves. She would love the window open every day so that she may visit harvest mouse in the fields so they can continue their games and skills together. Perhaps on the rainy cold days he may be allowed in too? and she hopes you don’t mind awfully if they shred some books for nest weaving practice? She promises only to shred the non library books and the ones you haven’t touched for years. You’ll never miss them will you? And perhaps you may like to help too? though no scissors allowed, only teeth!

and please meet Baby Hare Ygraine -

Ygraine is a very brave and caring hare. She can’t remember when she first started to care for others but it was probably while she was still in the nest when she looked after her teddy with great respect and tenderness. Whilst the other babies threw their teddies outside to be pecked by the thrushes or chewed by the squirrels, Ygraine would have ted hugged close to her chest, refusing to give him up, even to mama for a weekly bath.
Now that she is out and about she has made friends with so many needing a little bit of care. She has very little fear when she senses a call for help and wades right in there to give a hug and supportive smile. Goodness me! She sure has startled a few herbivore passers-by as they glimpse her firmly clasping mother fox or papa stoat. Everyone goes thru low periods once in a while and Ygraine really is the best remedy.
Now she is being gladly helped by another eager giver, baby rabbit, who isn’t too good at seeing. Not that that is being held against him, goodness no, because he really has the warmest, firmest little bear hug that any tiny rabbit can give. Partridge gave out quite a squeal when she was in his embrace but his magic sure worked! Now Ygraine and baby rabbit have their biggest task to complete, word just came thru that bear has not been too happy, so they have both packed their knapsacks and are off to meet bear to make things better. Ygraine, as usual, is not worried, but she has been practicing an extra firm handshake just to be on the right footing.
Ygraine is looking forward to a comfy shelf, not too high up mind you, because baby rabbit will be staying too and he can’t jump as high and may miss the shelf with his not so good eyesight. She will love an open window so that she can go out and make her visits at any time for those a little under the weather. Ofcourse you don’t have to be under the weather to get one of her hugs mind you. And if you like she will teach you how to be more caring and perhaps you would also like to accompany her when she cheers up frog, snake, spider and rat? She doesn’t mind who gets a hug, as long as it is received with open arms, or 6.

and lastly please meet Baby Hare Aphrodite -

Aphrodite is one of the most beautiful hares ever born. She is also rather shy but very wise, and whilst her appearance has attracted great attention it has not gone past her that looks are only fleeting and true beauty comes from the heart and mind. So she has begun to learn as much as possible and to be as compassionate as she can.
She spends most of the day, every day, with her nose in a book and absorbs everything she reads like a sponge. Such devotion to learning has sparked the other babies to follow suit and the mothers are amazed that the babies are so eager to learn. Playing was not all it was cut out to be so instead of daily play sessions with lots of competitiveness and bickering, the baby hares now have planned activities linked to their day’s studies.
Today Aphrodite will be leading the class on a geology lesson. That’s always exciting as there are so many rocks to inspect. Tomorrow they will be learning about flight and eagle has promised to come by after breakfast and take some of them for a demonstration.
And the day after they all want to have lessons on drawing still life, maybe even a mama or papa will pose for them amongst the kale and turnips. No doubt Aphrodite will be very good at drawing as she shows great promise already with her fur nibbling impressions. She has nibbled a hare into the fur on her side and everyone has admired it! Though there will be no fur nibbling in class, as paper and pencils will be provided.
Aphrodite is looking forward to a cosy spot on your bookshelf where she will be reading books all day, and ofcourse continuing her lessons, so she will need the window open to go out and attend them. She hopes you won’t mind if she borrows some books for the day’s lesson plans, she’ll bring them back in the same condition, promise! And perhaps you may be interested in getting a fur nibbling done on the side of your head? She can do nearly any animal, but especially hares!

These 3 hares are in my etsy shop now. They have animals and words all over them from the thrifted tea towel they came from. It's great to see words in unexpected places! I've always liked text on fabric.... what next?

do join in!

SIGN the PETITION Here and perhaps invite Ms Rabbit to ruffle thru your cosmetic bag !

uh oh! someone's spotted the biscuit tin!! .....

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Take the Bun Blog Pledge! ... sign up here ....

I got an email from the BUAV, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection one of the compassionate charities I support, and opened it up to reveal the prettiest pink rabbit with a very Big mission!

One phone call later and I now have the very pretty Ms Rabbit as a guest! (there were only a few in her litter so I was very, very lucky! many thanks Josephine!)

Ms Rabbit is on a mission to gather as many signatures and support from as many caring people as possible and I want to help a little bit more than just signing the petition

- so I propose to start the Bun Blog Pledge!

How does it work?
Well, after you sign the petition and make your pledge to yourself you can
- blog about it,
- display the blog badge I made on your sidebar to get more people involved and spread the word,
- and / or take part in Ms Rabbit's real-life travels and photo shoots!

I will gladly post Ms Rabbit to the first person here who wishes to hold her in their caring hands, and if you have rabbits, or furries, take a photo of them together, sign Ms Rabbit with your name and any online shop/blog link, blog about it then post her on to her next host! Simple!

When Ms Rabbit arrived my hares were surprised to see a lady so white and with such pink eyes. She told them that all her relatives were bred for laboratory experiments and that is the colour and type of rabbit they like to do nasty things to. Her lip quivered when she said that, so the hares all cast their mouths down and asked no more questions. They could feel her trembling.

Mother Hare Eolande turned around to snuggle her warmly and told her not to worry, and that one day the world will be a much better place for all the creatures of mother earth. Ms Rabbit wiped away a small tear of hope and relief.

I immediately signed Ms Rabbit to say that I would not use any cosmetics or products used in them that are tested on animals. To guarantee that you are using cruelty-free products please check the brands on This List Here.

Young Jet was really worried to hear that animals were used in testing! I said to him that he has alot to learn about the world, especially the human world. He wanted to put his hare paw pad on Ms Rabbit too, and I said that was fine.

.... Arabella had been happily munching away until she heard the discussion about the campaign to end animal testing, and that the cosmetics industry was trying to stall the ban....

... and she ran off in fear, thinking they would be looking for more rabbits

but I told her that she was absolutely safe here with me, and always would be.

... and Wesley was munching happily away until ... gulp! ...

.... he heard Ms Rabbit say that they used white rabbits with pink eyes for testing!!!

but I assured Wesley that he was going nowhere, he had already had an abusive start to life, like Arabella, and there are bad humans on this planet but we know lots of very, very good ones and things Will change for the better!

These days I like to use a little lash gel on my lashes and eyebrows and I currently use the Bodyshop one. The Bodyshop is actually owned by L'Oreal the US cosmetics giant who DO test on animals, so this is a product that I shall be looking at buying elsewhere on the BUAV cruelty free list when I have used it up.

My lip salve comes from etsy seller Amber at Mud and Twig and I really love the taste and smoothness, plus it's made by Amber in her own home!
and my face cream comes from etsy seller Yvonne at Karramandi and I'm on my second jar. I use the Rose Otto & Frankincense Face & Body Cream on my face and neck only, and it's been super, plus Yvonne makes it in her home.

Arabella came out of her room to meet Ms Rabbit, since she had nothing to fear, and she wished her well on her travels.
Arabella hopes that you will pledge to buy cruelty free when you need a new lipstick, or lash gel or face cream. After all, money talks and don't dismiss your cash as being irrelevant - it's anything but. Every dollar and pound adds up.

Welsey welcomed Ms Rabbit too and shared some of his kale with her. They struck up a very affectionate bond and just as I was about to take Ms Rabbit thru to the hares again, I saw Welsey kissing her!

SO! are YOU going to take part???

If you are saying Yes to Compassion
then please download the blog badges above for your sidebar and blog post,
post about this pledge with the LINK to the PETITION on your blog,
and don't forget to invite Ms Rabbit to your home and SIGN her!
and - take photos!!
just imagine Ms Rabbit kissing Charlie, Max and Molly, Biffy and Sogna, Amelia, Harriet, Sydney and Tyler, Buttons and Bella, Nuage and Bells, Cadbury, Micky, Sugie and Harrington, The Princess, Humphrey, Kareltje and Betsie, Millie and Haven, Tango, Mojo and Dudley, Bean, Prince, Ermine, Coco, Cooper, Charisma, Graysie, Ferd, Dot, Smudge, Seal, Otto and Bella, Scamp and Alfie, Buttons, Yohj, Sherry and Bailey, Arwen, Franklin, Dobby and Tasha, Spanky, Lucy and Rocky, Turbo, Bully, Digger, Ginger and Sandi ... I know I've left fur friends out ....

.... so any invites??

The first person to invite Ms Rabbit to their home will receive her in the post from me pronto! just leave a comment below.

I will keep a blog sidebar link of all her travels .... what are you waiting for girl??!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

One small leap for HareKind

Late last year I drew some new hare illustrations for a project I was doing and I have now turned them into soft sculptures.

These are tiny ornament hares made from scraps of deer in snow fabric I had. Waste not want not. The shreds left over from even these tiny bits, plus the thread ends I have left from my hand sewing all get used as stuffing. In our very modern world is it not strange that no-one has come up with an everlasting length of thread? I always have lots of 10cm lengths that are too small to sew with.

These tiny hares have perhaps a nose on an ankle,

or a chest on a nose!

and this little chap was made from a thrifted instructional apron cloth. I always find it fascinating to see printed instructions along with the colourful cut out bits, a diy on cloth! So ofcourse I had to the use words as well ... creative suggestions ...

the tiny white hares are already in my etsy shop and the bounding hares will making their way there very soon

These are some more of my new illustrations that I am printing directly onto cards and will be in my etsy shop too. I rather like the simple black line on white.
I've already given 2 of these cards out to little birthday girls (testing the market!) and they were accepted with smiles and thank yous.

and these are my bounding hares which I used for my soft sculptures above.
When I was in the Army I trained as an 'Illustrator Reprographic' - this was in the days before computers and everything was done by hand. On civvie street I would be called Graphic Designer, but I am very fond of the military nomenclature of everything classed back to front with a descending order of calibration.

and even way back then, when I was drawing booby traps, mines and tanks, I still made sure to draw a rabbit outline amongst the camouflage pattern of the NBC warfare suits. I have the original amongst my portfolio and when I uncover it one day I'll take a snap of the military lagomorph. I was very lucky to be posted to a base that had plenty of hares living on it and I would see them in the early morning and at dusk. It was truly magical!

Now that I march to my own beat I have found that there is less a market for tanks and more for squirrels. Then again perhaps I could make a range of armoured soft sculptures? T72s, APCs, Challengers, Chieftains ...

Above is Baby Squirrel Bud with her tiny squirrel toy. Bud is living happily in her forever home now.

Bud is a very energetic baby and from her first day in the nest she has been intent on getting out and about to explore the world. Mama had a job trying to keep her in for the first couple of weeks, what with her thin newborn fur and finding her balance! But she learned very fast and most mornings mama would find her on top of the nest reaching for the lower twigs to haul herself up to start the day’s explorations. She may be an eager explorer but it doesn’t stop her still being a youngster though, and she takes her little toy squirrel everywhere with her. It has a tiny bell on the tail that tinkles away as Bud scampers around the forest and mama can easily keep track of her, whew! that’s a relief!
Bud has been spending time with the dexterous nuthatches as they scamper up and down the tree trunks. She has learnt a lot about gripping and foot placement from them. She has a programme all worked out and next on her lesson plan is wood mouse’s long grass survival springing skills. Goodness! That sounds rather exciting!
Bud loves to sit on a comfy shelf surrounded by lots of activity going on. She is particularly interested in the Kitchen Show and would love to help with the salad preparation. In the winter she loves to snuggle up on a cosy chair and snooze in front of the fire, occasionally watching the snow fall from her apartment window in between snacking on walnuts and hazelnuts.

and Baby Squirrel Seedling also has her own toy - the Creative Suggestions bounding hare, to keep her company in her forever home.

Seedling is very intelligent baby squirrel and she taught herself to read amid the paper scraps lining the nest. Mama chose the scraps well and picked only the positive and interesting bits, so Seedling has had a good diet of Latin, French, Russian, advanced mathematics and all the Zeds in the Concise Oxford.
She really is very bright and when mama brings in supper Seedling rattles off a few facts, usually in Russian! Just as well mama is as learned too. Seedling has been making small trips to the outside world and has surprised all the woodland animals, including the usually very smart forest rats with her identification skills and knowledge. Normally the rats impart relevant and pertinent information to the new-out-of-the-nest babies, what with their very worldly ways and diverse living habits, but nope, not this time!
Seedling has shocked the rats with her snippets of knowledge and some of the visiting city rats have now left the city for good to come back and live in the hygienic forest instead. Seedling has been inspired to continue her learning and is doing an online degree with honours. Mama is very proud of her.
Seedling loves to snuggle cosily on an armchair with her (rather large) collection of snippets stored nearby. She would love her own shelf on your bookcase where she can put her university texts though, and her small collection of complete books. She will be spending many hours a day studying so requires some peace and quiet but afterwards she will have lots of time to go book collecting with you. You do love books and snippets of this and that too don’t you?

It will be The Year of the Hare in precisely 2 weeks now. Time sure does fly.

I rather like my new bounding hares - they are any-time decorations I feel!

This will be a good year for a lagomorph lover like me as there will be even more hare art to choose from, and drool over!
Though ofcourse I am blessed to have two of the real deal - Arabella and Wesley!
They want to remind you that it is customary in the Year of the Hare to support your local rabbit rescue!
- now that's an order!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Animate - InAnimate

99% of all objects in my house are 'animate', meaning that they are either an animal ornament/sculpture full of life or they have an animal on their design somewhere

and I'm talking about cups, saucers, dishes, bowls, books, covers, paintings, bags

... the list goes on and on ... until yesterday ....

.... when I received in the mail, all the way from Texas, my very first ornamental 'inanimate' object!
It is Redwood Assemblage No29 and was given life by Paula from etsy shop PaulaArt!
As I was unwrapping the parcel my first thought was that I must let Arabella and Wesley inspect it for approval!

- and so here you have Animate - Arabella & InAnimate - Redwood Assemblage29

.... uh oh! what's this in my personal space??

.... redwood what? red.. ready or not ...

.... out red spot, out! ....

..... hmph!

I fell in love with this gorgeous piece of art as soon as I saw it in Paula's shop. The burnt slivers of red and black wood in the centre, all uneven, and the scuffed grey wood triangle ends - this piece spoke to me and I could already feel it in my hands.

and like all good dreams a few months later it Was in my hands!

Paula wrote such an evocative description of this assemblage that my connection to it grew even stronger. I have know Paula on etsy for a while and admired her artwork in metal so when I saw her wood creations I knew I would be able to invest in a keepsake piece that would be light enough to ship all the way to Scotland.

... and now for Wesley's consideration ...

hey! what's this treat?

... mmmmm, gnaw, gnaw ..... 100% approval!

As any house rabbit parent will know, when your rabbit attacks or claims an object in their personal space they are making it 'theirs'. Arabella loves to throw her toys around and Wesley always drags his toys in towards him, so it is a paws up for No29!

Paula has a few more of these reclaimed wood pieces and this photo shows them beautifully in all their grandeur. The photo itself is a work of art! There are a few artists on etsy who sell photos of 'collections' and this is one of the most impressive collection photos I have ever seen.

And Paula describes each assemblage - 'like pieces of a puzzle. Experimentation. Play. The love and joy in discovering the beauty of Redwood. These small 'blocks' have been assembled for you to enjoy, ponder and use however you see fit. Place a candle on them, hang them on the wall in sets...put them on your coffee table and let them speak to you as you take in the raw earthiness that resides in each piece. These wood assemblages are a study in simplicity. Wabi Sabi. Minimalism. Use them wisely.'

a description to make you fall in love with them!

here is piece Number 39. It almost looks like a clock! I love the balance in this.

All of Paula's work uses reclaimed materials from the redwood to the puzzle piece flowers and fence insulator flowers to old metal pipe vases and contemporary wall clocks from found pieces. A woman after my own heart, only in different mediums!

love the hint of russet red at the top of this vase with the worn black. It sets off the fence insulator flowers perfectly! And the photo is taken in such a perfect setting - are you enjoying the texture and colours of the wall as much as me?

Great art is great by itself, but great art placed in just the right spot is unbeatable!

and one more vase! love the reds and black and white, plus the rust! and another great vase in a perfect setting!

and as Paula advised earlier I 'put it on my coffee table', - itself a treasured old oak table that is as old as, er, the hills and came into the family just before me. So, actually it wouldn't really be as old as the hills! It's now Arabella's table and she likes to sleep underneath so I placed it between my treasured JackRabbit's First kiss and my precious Ram!

Ram immediately turned around to admire it and was about to nibble on the end when I said 'hey! what do you think you are doing? No29 has had enough kisses for today'

but he knew I was only joking and as I turned my back I could hear some gnawing noises ...

I want to say a very Big Thank You to Paula for shipping this all the way from Texas to Scotland for me. It's a gorgeous piece of art that has so much warmth and meaning, doubly so, because I know Paula as well! and I will cherish it every day, and yes, together we will contemplate life and just 'take the air' my new inanimate No29 and me.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Snow Fall on the Jade garden

There is still snow about though most of the city snow has gone.
My home has had quite a bit of snowfall in the Jade Garden though and some mothers and babies have come in for some warmth.

As always I try to use as much 'thrifted' material as possible. Isn't that such a nice word? thrifted! it has a nicer ring than 'charity shop find' or 'second hand shop scrap'. I am always on the look out for nice material in which to welcome a hare and I am very fond of this amazing flowery jade turquoise material. It was an oval tablecloth once! The white quilted satiny material was a bedspread!

This is Mother Hare Morgana

and Mother Hare Muskova

and Mother Hare Eolande

and this is real size Baby Hare Isolde

and real size Baby Hare Jet

now I just have to spend some time with each of them as they tell me their stories.

I love writing these stories and I shall be publishing my very first book this year. Ofcourse a wonderful dream would be to have a publisher 'publish' them for me and I could do a book signing and read a few of the stories to all the adults sitting around. It is adults that I write for. Though the children would love them just as much I am sure.

amongst the snow in the Jade Garden were the WinterGarden Baby Squirrels

these little ones were stitched one day and sold the next! they didn't even make my etsy shop!

they came from a very beautiful unused linen tea towel

I could think of nothing else but cutting it into animals as soon as I set eyes on it. That happens alot when I look admiringly at fabrics that I come across, in shops, on passers-by, taking tea in a friend's house, online .....

and what could be more complimentary than to give a life to a scrap of fabric?

time is getting on, it is 2011 after all, and the hares are heading off to my etsy shop ....

Only 1 month left before the tension and frustration of the tiger year dissipates and the Yin Metal Rabbit Year begins! I am looking forward to the lagomorph year! Could I ask for any other animal to carry me in the next 12 months? ... I don't think so ..!

wishing you all a prosperous, healthy and happy 2011