Monday, 30 April 2012

... and the story goes ..

... about a week and a bit ago I set up my Furrytailes of Adventure exhibition at my local library

It had been booked a couple of months before, and for some probably easily explained reasoning, which escapes me entirely, I did what comes naturally to me ...

... I left it till the last minute to prepare!

the night before the start I grabbed some hares, a few stories I stuck on old book pages (a story on a story ~ pourquoi non??), my old advertising postcard bookmarks from last years exhibition (just changed the date and year ~ why not?) 

and tumbled them into the cabinets

along with some great new kissing hare posters I had made to advertise my shop, plus my new mugs and postcards

anyway, it took less than an hour to set up, and that included polishing all that endless expanse of glass, inside and out, and wiping down the shelves, ripping some slithers of paper to line the shelves and ...

setting the beasties up on their state of the art display platforms

(em, I left that to the last minute as I couldn't imagine what on earth to support them with, so I raided my cupboard and pulled out all my packaging / shoe boxes that I ship my orders out in)

and voila! a nice homely display of friendly hares and squirrels and stories

My exhibition will be on until some time in the beginning of May - I lost my piece of paper with the dates on it, so next time I go to the library I shall check their booking folder.

I think it is at least a full week anyway

so if you are in Edinburgh, Scotland and wish to spend a relaxing time that brings a smile, then do stop by for a read and look

it's at Portobello Library, just off the main road in Portobello, which is a short car or bus ride (or bike ride) from Edinburgh city centre

Leaving things to the last minute always bring the most innovative ideas (in my opinion - but then again, I do that alot, so I should know!)

and my pair of Norwegian snowflake and polar bear gloves look perfect holding up baby hare Velvet and baby hare Clipper 

would be nice to see you there, so if you'd like to say hi, send me an etsy convo and I shall turn up there too (on time!)

aaaauuuuhhhhh yaaaaawn!!!!  
what a palaver! flying by the seat of her pa... p.. ...

I don't know why Annette just didn't let the hares set themselves up - they get away with mu... mu... what's that word? in here ....

.... anyway, better not stir the... the... rats! what's that word? my mind escapes me?

aaauuuhhh  yaaaawwwwwnnn,   ...chuup..chuup,

ZZZzzzzzz...   *shouldn't have eaten that piece of paper she left on the ground ...*  *note to self - visit library to borrow a dictionary to spruce up on my vocab*  ...zzzzzz

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

long story *short - Australia - Scotland - America - England

Last year when I was busy making a treasury on etsy, choosing the images and purusing the sellers shops, I came across a gorgeous stormy sea photo by Penny in Australia, that I absolutely loved!
and when I visited Penny's blog and started reading, as you do, - well, I loved that too!

Penny, from Sparrow Salvage, wrote that she grew up reading Conan!
Well, wouldn't you know, but I did too!

and a short while after that Penny posted a very helpful insight into the marketing and tag system for selling on etsy.
I'm pretty challenged when it comes to the marketing aspects of a business, so I was incredibly grateful for her post.
Infact, I was so grateful that as a thank you for her sharing the tips on her blog - I said I'd love to make her a hare, if she wanted. And she did. So I did.

Please meet Baby Hare Cimmeria!

Inspired by Penny's and my love of Conan of Cimmeria!
More commonly known as Conan the Barbarian - and portrayed by the indomitable Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has been my hero since I was 14 years old.

When we moved to Australia in 1981 I came across the tall, dark, handsome warrior Conan and started to read and collect all the Conan paperbacks and the comics and then thanks to Arnold and the movie, I took up bodybuilding at 15 (I was the youngest female bodybuilder in Darwin - maybe even the only one!).
Not that I was huge, I surely wasn't - never more than a size8 (UK size, not American - which is probably -00 :) but I was sleek and lean and ....

anyway, Arnold was a great role model for me - and I see Mr Obama is also a self confessed Conan fan!
even the new Conan movie was pretty good, but there will only ever be one Austrian Oak!

so, back to the hare -

I asked Penny if she had any colours in particular that she liked and I would look thru my stash and find something appropriate ...

and she said that she liked muted pinks, greens and creams. Plus I could also see her warrior-type-style from her etsy shops and her blog so I looked thru my threads and

found this greeny/red kinda old-age warrior type pattern and I said I would bleach it, and that way the colours would be about right.

Well, I tried 3 types of bleaches, even used a bucket of real lemon juice too, soaking the fabric in it for minutes, then hours, then a day or two, and not one of them whittled the hues any lighter. I thought bleach was bleach! and this was only a scrap of cotton after all!

Exasperated I ended up buying some 'dye remover' off eBay. Eagerly I put the fabric in a tub with the dye stuff, and I added in a piece of other material, just to make sure the remover works. 10 minutes later the other material is as white as a ghost, and this warrior-fabric - well - like a warrior - is still going strong and holding those colours!

So I let it soak for a couple of days, thinking that that should do the trick.

hmmm - 3 bleachings + a tub of lemon juice + 1 dye remover = 2 bits of fabric that are now as strong as a spiders web in a hailstorm and held together by their few remaining threads!

The fabric fell apart in my hands! tsk, tsk!

So, not wanting to give up, and having no other pale pink, light green or cream materials, I decided to salvage the remnants and stitched the shapes onto a white base, and a little while later -


~ tufty furred Baby Hare Cimmeria!

One day when Cimmeria was still very young and had just left the nest he got caught up in a bramble bush. He had no idea how it happened but before he knew it he was in the middle and trapped by thorns and branches and just couldn’t get out.

He squealed for mama and she came running straight away and managed to snip the branches with her teeth and tear the thorny ones out of the way with her big paws but not before little Cimmeria was covered in scratches and some rather deep cuts! My, my, what a sight he was – a tufty baby and only just out of the nest!

Normally the mid term kinder babies were the ones ending up with such furrows in their fur from their rough play games but Cimmeria had beaten them all to it! His mama licked him better straight away and pulled out a couple of wayward thorns. Not once did he flinch though, he merely blinked an eyelid as if a bee had buzzed by too close. Mama was rather surprised as the thorns really were very sharp though she suspected that his pride was damaged the most, not so much his tiny frame.

Shortly after that excursion he was amusing himself on the mountain scree, after being enticed up there by some goats. Well, well, to add a bit more insult to his already injured coat he found himself in a landslide and couldn’t hop out of the way fast enough, unlike his more nimble footed and longer legged goat friends! All the way down to the bottom of the slope did he go, amongst those rough and sharp rocks and bits of old, dried branches and spiky sticks! Mama was indeed shocked when he came in for dinner that night. More blood to be licked up, and goodness me, so many cuts and scrapes and missing patches of fur!

He was getting a bit of a reputation amongst the other babies for being a bit of a daredevil, though Cimmeria surely wasn’t one, he knew that. It was just that things seemed to happen around him and he really wasn’t afraid of much at all so he had no fear of climbing out onto the weakest branch, or jumping onto the smallest, slippiest rock in the fast flowing river or slinking between the tiny gaps in the largest nettle patches, nope, he had very little fear of things. And so the other babies learnt by his mistakes about what not to do when out and about! But ofcourse some of them were just a little bit jealous of him as they thought he must be having much more fun than them!

Cimmeria’s mama tried to get him interested in a couple of more sedentary pursuits to give his furless patches time to grow over and the wounds to heal and one day she came back from her excursions around the meadow with a small present for him. He unfolded the piece of paper she was carrying and out fell some grey plastic pieces! Wow! what’s this mama? he gasped in delight, and she said that it was a tiny fighter plane that had to be glued together, and to go and get some sap from the pine tree to help you. She pointed to the sheet to show him the instructions and immediately his keen green eyes lit up and off he scampered to the conifers. Cimmeria found a fallen cone and scratched some bark away from a trunk then tore at the tree skin to get the amber glue running and before long the cone had collected some of the sticky gold in its open flanges. Cimmeria got to work putting those grey bits together and before the day’s end he had nearly assembled it. Mama was so proud of him! and he was rather chuffed himself! plus – not a cut or scratch in sight!

Cimmeria is looking forward to dozing cosily on your armchair and would like the French doors left open a little please as he will still be going out to play and explore and do all those things that youngsters love to do. Some might call it getting into trouble, but goodness me! ofcourse it’s not. And make sure to make room on the shelf for his plane too thanks. He has finished it now (it’s a little Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1a) and he just adores it!

And he is wanting to add to his collection so if you could kindly bring some more of these grey plastic bits home for him to stick together that would be super. He’s not needing any glue mind, he will get some more sap from the pines, it really did a good job. Though he does say that it was awfy messy and my goodness it even got stuck in his fur, on his tail and all over his ears! tut tut! Mama ended up having to nibble the dried bits off and that left him with even less fur and he heard her muttering something about making more of a mess of his coat than any scree or bramble bush ever could!

You are welcome to help in the construction of the planes too but just be careful and make sure that you don’t stick the rotor where the cockpit should go or put the undercarriage on upside down because that was how you thought it was supposed to fit in – he’s heard all those excuses from mama already!

Cimmeria is now by Penny's side regrowing some of his fur patches!

Penny makes beautiful jewellery and accessories in her etsy shop. And her style is warrior-romantic with an edge!
This gorgeous cuff is just like those threads on Cimmeria! All that bleaching was 'meant to be' after all :)

and her necklaces are tribal and stellar inspired!
this one is called Charon, named after the largest satellite of Pluto. Love the metals and the rustic wear, plus the piece of vintage uneven cotton.

and from Scotland to Australia and back to England - Penny loves all things British/English!
hence this evocative photo of one of our typical phone boxes here in the UK.

Not that I don't miss Australia, I surely do! but it's nice to live in this hemisphere too, with it's greys and drizzle and cold and amazing flashes of bright colour

and because this is the year of Britain being more British than it usually is - what with an Olympic coming up,
all things Union Jack are suddenly being seen everywhere, even between breasts - and that is a rare occurrence indeed!

even if I had wanted to achieve such a tatty and frayed look with Cimmeria, I reckon it was the journey that made the hare more so than the fabric. Some things just can not be planned.
Love the subdued and tatty Union Jack in Penny's shop - I reckon this would look good even between Conan's breasts - or should I say chest? (I'll have either thanks :)

and Cimmeria didn't want to go all the way Down Under to Penny empty-pawed.

So he came bearing a gift!
A small Supermarine Spitfire in kit form to make up.

I was hoping that he wouldn't have it finished by the time he arrived and that Penny would help him glue it together.

he wrapped the plane inside the instruction sheets. Not that we read instruction sheets in this house - it doesn't make any difference what it says on the bleach bottles! We just figure things out as we go along!

Supermarine Spitfires are my favourite WWII fighter plane! and that little diecast model above lives in my glass cabinet here.

love Spitfires? - love this video of them - just feel the power of them! - would have loved to be there for sure!

ofcourse I love Tanks too! this is my book on world tanks that my papa gave me for xmas. Cimmeria tried to fit that into his knapsack too but I found it in time!

many thanks Penny for your sharing, your beautiful inspiring jewellery and photos and your excellent blog - I love visiting and always smile!

and not long ago, from America to Scotland, came a beautiful package!

containing an Anam Cara Soul Friend brooch made by Jude!

and not just any Soul Friend brooch - but woven into the fabrics of this beautiful brooch are the whiskers of my Soul Friend ...

Arabella :)

Jude made this especially for me and I sent some of my princess's whiskers over the Atlantic for Jude to work with. Jude told me that one whisker left on the wind and now resides on the land of Eastern America, and like Jude, I feel that this is right - Arabella was always a free spirit.

From the very first time I saw Arabella at the rescue centre, she stood like a hare infront of me, lifted her head and sniffed the wind. I knew she was like no other rabbit. She had very little rabbit features about her and carried herself like a hare most of the time.
Always elegant, always beautiful, always ethereal.

and when I wear this brooch I know that Arabella is near.

I love the sparkles in it, so beautiful! so rich!

and the golds and browns and purples are such a complimentary galaxy of colours. I have already worn this gem out with me, where it caught the light like a small earth star on my chest.

it came with a beautiful handmade stitched card with a small stone and celtic wire wrapping the stone, and a gorgeous little pink and green bird and handwritten poetic note.
So, so pretty, and I shed a few tears when I opened it because the sun was streaming in my windows and the brooch sparkled so much and I knew the love that Jude made it with ~ it will always be cherished!

thank you so much Jude!

Jude is from Scotland but now resides on the eastern seaboard - though looking from Scotland it would be the Western seafront!
and she makes her celtic inspired fibre crafts in her new home.

I love the hearts and wistful clouds in this tapestry, above.

and I really love the textures, composition and colours of this Protector of the Woods, with it's little pocket.

these fabric art pieces are gorgeous and I would display them in a black gloss wood frame, no glass, on a black background for maximum impact.

and Jude is very talented, because not only does she make brooches and textile art works, but wearable hats too!

And what could be nicer on your head than a Heart fascinator?!
Truly unique, so bold and so strong!
And I'm not into ordinary, I like my clothes and accessories to be an extension of me and to be brave and honest and I just adore hearts!

so the journey is complete! it's a small world! Australia, Scotland, America, England ....

hey! - mmmm, yum yum, is that a cookie with sprinkles?
Wesley was saying something about you made cookies Annette? and I wanted to take some with me to Australia before I left ...

yeah right! keep your paws off Cimmeria! - the cookies in this house are for me!

I repeat - for me! ...

'c'mon Annette - serve them up'! enough of these parsnips ...

*and, em, since when have I ever written a long story short? I don't do long-story-short-s :)