Blogging break

Just a quick post to say that I will be taking a break from blogging for a while. Not sure how long it will be yet. Sorry, I know I have comments to reply to but I am not sure if I will get a chance in the next few days. Also I don’t know how much I will be able to keep up with posts from the blogs I follow. Probably not much.

Apologies, please don’t think I am ignoring you!

No, I am not in prison.

No, I am not in the Witness Protection Programme.

Just someone close to me needs a bit of looking after for a while.

Oh, and they have a LOT of stairs.

PaperPuff is already puffed out. Xx

 

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The kindness and genius of Cobs

Some of you may remember that I mentioned a while ago that my mother had broken her ankle. Cobs, from The Cobweborium Emporium made her a get well card. You might have already seen the card on Cobs’ blog, but if not, or if you are not familiar with Cobs, go see her as she is amazingly creative but also interesting and very funny! Now I wanted to share the card here too (and I did check with Cobs that it was ok), but unfortunately the photos I took at the time were rubbish, so I had to wait until I could take some better ones.

This card has everything you could wish for. It uses gorgeous papers, it is feminine and pretty, it has humour and wit but most of all it is beautifully made and made by someone with a beautiful heart.

Prepare to admire, and to snigger!

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Isn’t it genius? We all had a good laugh, as well as drooling over the fabulous handiwork. So thanks Cobs, for your kindness and your creativity, and for being so bloomin’ lovely!

 

Broken bones, real and imagined. And a ninja cat.

If anyone has noticed a lack of posts and comments from me for a while, the reason is that I have been away from home and a bit busy. My poor mum has broken a limb, again. An ankle. Last time she was in plaster (one arm, one leg) it was about 18 months ago, and because some total idiot (IMO) hit her from behind as she was walking in a supermarket car park. It was life changing. The mere thought of broken bones kind of freaks me out. Apparently I told my sister she was one up from a zombie when she had a leg in plaster, although I honestly cannot remember saying it. Years ago when my partner was found to have been walking around on a broken leg for three days I threw up as they showed us the x-ray. Breaking bones easily, as happened this time, without any impact, trauma or fall is truly scary. All I can say is keep up your calcium intake and hope it doesn’t happen to you. Cheese sandwich, anyone?

But a broken bone needs help and company, so Riley (the cat) and I headed south. Like birds. Or the cavalry. Not that the Cavalry went south, particularly, just wherever the action was. Of course my sister and her partner are doing a grand job of looking after mum, but extra hands are always welcome.

Anyhow, once the exciting train trip with a cat was done, Riley and I took up residence in my mum’s living room, the room Riley had only briefly entered at Christmas before his tiny little melt down.

Hopes were high that this trip might ‘build on’ the last. Or at least that is what they say in those self-help manuals. In reality it just means pray for less of a disaster. Prayer was to be of no help here.

As soon as I brought Riley into the building, two of the three house cats (all girls) Poppy and Sandi came to inspect the sorry male specimen in his travel prison. The pheromones must have given him away. I think I registered distain, ennui and resignation on their furry faces. I let the cat out of the bag. Literally. I have a soft-sided cat carrier (like a sports bag) which I purchased with trepidation and is actually rather good. Riley shot under the sideboard. I say ‘shot’. It was fast, but not dignified as it required a fair bit of belly crawling and some shunting with the back paws. He stayed there for most of the evening, although a couple of times he scooted to the other side of the room and hid behind a chair. Nothing like a change of scene.

Eventually everybody went to bed, and with me being alone Riley emerged from the self-imposed exile. Sleep was had, and I was slept on, sporadically. Hopes were still buoyant.

The following morning I could not initially see Riley, but given his previous behaviour, I was not worried, and figured him to be under a cupboard or behind a chair again. But then I couldn‘t see him anywhere. After a bit of calling (he always comes when I call him) I was slightly less confident. The room had an inside lock, which I had used, in case one of the house cats had summoned up the strength of Hercules and launched themselves at the door. Stupid, I know, but sometimes we do these things just in case! So I KNEW he had to be in the room somewhere. After about 30 minutes I was feeling twitchy. Nobody else was up, so I kept it to myself. Another 30 minutes passed, and I had searched under every cupboard, behind every chair, opened every drawer, and called him about a hundred times. Nothing. No squeak, mew or meow.

A tiny amount of panic now. Controlled panic. “It’ll be fine. He can’t have gone anywhere”. But then where IS he? I searched the rest of the house as best I could, trying to be quiet, not scream, as it had now been a couple of hours at least. Then the rest of the household got up, and got involved. Now it is worth saying here that we are all experienced cat owners, so that room was searched like a forensic science team employed on a results only commission basis. Sofa and chairs were upturned (in case he had worked his way into the base, somehow). Cupboard doors and chest-of-drawers were opened, repeatedly. Tiny spaces were invaded. “Riley” was called a bajillion times, by four different people. Nothing. Zip.

By now I was freaking out inside, but trying to stay calm and not scream at well-meant suggestions. It seemed we had some sort of Sherlock Holmes thing going on. A locked room, a missing cat. But we also had a really old building to take into account. Riley can get into pretty small spaces and, as he could not be found by four people searching a room, the only other option would seem that he had got out. But surely that was impossible. As the panic took a further grip I was envisioning some horrible incident with plaster and lath walls and a freaked out cat pushing a hole and ending up falling through into a wall cavity and down two storeys. Nuts, I know, but explanations were scarce. Or, had he somehow got out of the building completely and was running around the town, with no idea where he was?

I went to throw some clothes on, intending to look further afield. And then a shout from my sister. Riley had been found. He had, quite amazingly, hidden himself behind the bureau. Amazingly because it is almost the exact same width as the alcove it fits into, so no room to get around the side: he had to go over the top. Amazingly because the cat-savvy people who knew he was coming filled (almost) all the space behind the bureau with boxes and plastic crates. Amazingly because the whole top of the bureau was covered with several large photos in frames, a piece of framed needlework, a lamp and pc monitor, and a random organza ribbon bow, leaving barely an inch or two between each object. And not one thing had been disturbed. It had not seemed credible that a large cat would have been able to negotiate these obstacles cleanly and find the tiny space behind. Never underestimate the ninja….

Relief was huge. But now we had to get him out. He was behind about 50 inches of solid furniture which had been nudged into an alcove barely wider than the object itself. And Riley was making himself flatter, and flatter with every grasp or grab. My sister gamely tried perching on one leg, on a chair, whilst her beloved held her bum so she didn’t fall backwards. Or forwards, to join the cat. No luck, as we are simply too darn short. My BIL volunteered for round 2. Positions were reversed. Contact was made and Riley was dragged, unwillingly, from his hiding place, making like a rag doll. To stop him bolting straight back there I bundled him into the cat bag again and sat him on my knee, relieved, only for him to return the sentiment and relieve himself on me. A dousing of cat pee on my pyjamas. Nice. Thanks mate.

To think we (ok, I) had delusions of providing help and support, some quiet time and company for my mum who is not supposed to weight bear on her leg, and who within a few hours of our arrival was trying to upturn her sofa until we stopped her….

So, I have no card or paper craft to share today. But I have to do something with my hands, so made a trip to a local haberdashery store, bought a couple of balls of this yummy King Cole Riot yarn and have started knitting a scarf.

 

scarf2

 

scarf5

 

The slide show and tiled or mosaic picture options do not seem to be working for me today. Again. Grrrrr! I will just offer up this shot of a half-finished scarf looking a bit like a T-Rex.

Apologies for missing posts and comments. Hopefully now you know I have had my hands full!!

 

 

 

 

I feel bad…

In more ways than one. Still rather under the weather, virus gone, something else has kicked in. Basically I have spent another two days on the sofa, under blankets, watching movies. Doesn’t sound too bad if it is by choice, right? But if it is because you feel completely rubbish then it is not so darn great, frankly.

The second reason I feel bad is because I have put my faith in something that has let me down. Namely the WordPress app for my tablety-thingy. I don’t usually use it very much for WP, although there have been days where I have relied on it completely, but generally I prefer a proper keyboard. However with the pc a whole other room away it seemed a good solution to be able to keep up with everyone’s blogs whilst lounging around feeling sorry for myself.

It looked like everything was pretty quiet out there in blog land. I saw some posts from regulars, but not that many. I figured everyone had maybe started Christmas preparations, or were perhaps just slumped over the kitchen table, trying to rally themselves to hit the shops or internet with November’s pay check.

So I went back to the movie watching. Then today, as I was scrolling through, I noticed that the posts in my ‘followed sites’ feed jumped from -3hrs to -20hrs. It seemed a bit unlikely that NOBODY had posted ANYTHING four hours ago, or eight hours ago, or twelve…you get my drift.

I fired up the pc and, guess what? Posts aplenty! Loads of which I have missed. They simply do not show up in the app, or maybe it is the version I have? I don’t know. Although it has always been a bit temperamental: it keeps stopping, you have to wait 10 seconds after you have ’liked’ before you can move on, sometimes comments or likes on your posts don’t show up and so forth.

So I am sorry if I missed you, and I will try to catch up with everyone as best I can.

In the meantime, this (approximate) quote from one of the several thousand Christmas movies I have watched tickled me. I’ll set the scene. A mother becomes disillusioned with her life for various reasons. And, because it is a Christmas movie, she ends up in an alternate life, married to the wealthy chap she had dated previously. Because the money is all new to her she goes mad, and maybe makes a few OTT faux pas on the clothing/hair/makeup side. She also now has a kindly maid. The woman gets dressed up for what she hopes is a hot date night with her husband. She asks the kindly maid “What do you think? Do I have too much jewellery on?” The maid (kindly) says “well for a float in a parade, no. But for a person, yes”.

Maybe I have just watched one ten too many….

 

Calling All Artists, Adventurerers and Unicorns! — Green Embers

If you’re new to my blog, there was a time creating goals and working towards them was an extremely important part of my life. It was something so important to me that I created my own blogging event called Building Rome. It was meant to be a place where bloggers could come together discuss goals […]

via Calling All Artists, Adventurerers and Unicorns! — Green Embers

 

I haven’t done this ‘sharing’ before so I hope I am doing it right! If not, feel free to let me know what I have done wrong.

I thought this was a great idea and I know some of you out there write stories, poetry, draw, paint, design, do maths (!)… and might be interested.  He’s a nice guy and his blogs are interesting and fun!

Nominations Mash-up

Recently, over a period of about ten days, I was named by five different bloggers for four blogger ‘awards’ or tags.

Obviously I didn’t know that was going to happen. I was just thinking of my answers to the first nomination, when nominations two and three came in within a day or so of each other, for a different award, but the same as each other. Did I explain that OK? I suspect not. Maybe I should do a flow chart…. I figured I’d still join in, but stagger the replies by a few days or more. Then, reading other blogs, I saw nomination four and a tag for number five.

It’s lovely that other bloggers did this, but seriously, there are simply not enough interesting things about me to reply to five nominations. Not even my nearest and dearest would be able to maintain any semblance of interest. Actually they would probably flag after one post, seeing as they know (pretty much) all of it already.

So, to serve the greater good, I have decided on a nominations mash-up. I will join in with the spirit, but answer one question for each of the single nominations and two for the double one. Still with me? Would the flow chart help?

OK, here we go.

First received was the Sunshine Blogger from Madgeface at Little Golden Notebook. Thanks! I am pretty certain there is nothing this lady does not know about knitting, and she has helped me out quite a few times with answers or resources when I have had questions. Also she is surprising – she managed to remind me that sometimes Glenn Miller is just what I need to listen to!

The question I am answering here is: what sound or noise do you hate?

The alarm clock (well phone alarm). I am not a natural really early riser and having to stir at 6-something in the morning is a task I would happily forgo. What happened to those visions of 21st century life we were promised, where technology and robots would combine to allow us to rise, go through all the necessary ablutions and preparations and make it to our desk refreshed and ready to go within 15 minutes of rolling out of bed? Cmon boffins, forget sending probes to mars and deal with the stuff that would make you really popular and maybe get a high school named after you.

Secondly for a nomination for the Versatile Blogger I need to thank Mrs Craft from Craftandothercrazyplans. I can’t think of a better nom-de-blog (does that exist?) for this lady. She is indeed craft personified. She is multi-talented, very supportive, witty, a good writer of a story and highly entertaining.

Thirdly Samantha from samanthamurdochblog nominated me for the same award – thanks! Amazing and interesting cat and crystal knowledge to be found here. I am being educated in a subject I never considered before now, not being a ‘rock chick’ myself. Also, funny, funny, funny, make me laugh out loud kind of funny.

For this you had to share 7 things about yourself. So I will answer once for each nomination, two in total (really should have done that flow chart).

I once trod on Boy Georges foot. Accidentally, because I stepped backwards and he was behind me. He was very nice about it. Im pretty sure I did no lasting damage. I have never seen him limping

I can make a 360 degree circle holding a glass of liquid at arms length without spilling it. A vertical circle, like a ferris wheel, not just standing and turning around! Actually it is really easy. Try it. Outdoors.

Next I would like to thank the Chicken Grandma for the Black Cat Blue Sea Award nomination. You know when you come across someone whose life is radically different from yours, but you just get on and feel like you have known them for ages? That is how I feel about this super person. The Chicken Grandma writes beautifully, from the heart. But she makes me laugh too.

The question I am answering is: what is your favourite thing to do, and with whom?

Now I was going to put something about sharing a meal (preferably outdoors, on a lovely day, but no wasps in sight) with family and friends that I don’t see very often, but in writing this I have changed my mind. I realise that my most favourite thing to do, at any time of the day, and with absolutely anyone, is share a laugh. It makes the day better. It’s as simple as that.

Finally my thanks go to Cobs, from the Cobweborium Emporium for the Happiness Tag. This lady is kind, encouraging, knowledgeable and hugely talented. And guess what? Yes, she makes me laugh! Like a naughty kid, hoping not to be found out. We have some totally daft conversations and I enjoy every single one.

I am supposed to say something that makes me happy. All the obvious stuff, of course, but I figure a different kind of answer is called for here. So I am going with small acts of kindness from one stranger to another. It’s a great thing, and should happen rather more often.

I feel like I have made too long a speech at the Oscars and the ‘get her off’ music has started.

Now, because I didn’t really ‘obey the rules’ I am not using any of the logos or icons or whatever they are called, and for the same reasons I am not going to nominate anyone else. But it was fun to join in. Apologies to the above five that it took me so long to work out how I was going to do it!

 

How do you do it?

Blogwise, how do you roll?

How do you plan your posts? Do you schedule well in advance and have it all written and ready to go?

Do you have an outline plan, to which you add detail as you get close to posting?

Do you post on set days?

And, seeing as we are on the subject, do you set your posts to publish ahead of time?

Or, do you think, write, post as the mood takes you?

So, I’ll go first. That’s a given, right?

Generally, almost everything I post here is spontaneous, off the cuff, however you want to call it. I very rarely have any cards made in advance, or even planned, so if I want to post I have to make something in the evening after work, then the following day take a photo or two, think of a title, write the post and publish. Plus go have a look at what everyone else is doing (in fact I usually do this before posting myself). It can take a lot of time. Don’t get me wrong – I am not complaining. This is a voluntary undertaking and I am having a ball. I also love to visit other blogs and check in with my bloggy pals. It’s the whole flipping point of this after all! But I do wonder if I could do it better?

However, this is one post I did actually plan a bit in advance, mainly because I am really, really interested in knowing how everyone else goes about the task. If you are someone who has to ‘make first, post second‘, how do you do it? How do you make it work? I know some people post WIP, and if you garden, grow, draw, paint, knit, sew, crochet or stitch this makes absolute sense, because your projects can take weeks or months to complete. But if like me your end product is a relatively quick thing, but you also work, have a household, a social life etc etc, well I can‘t help thinking that I should be more organised. Or is the answer just to post less?

Sometimes I have an idea in advance, and then I can plan better, and write something (which I generally change radically anyway), but not often. Usually I sit down, and think hmmmnnn….for quite a while…..

Thing is, this is so against my nature! I am someone whose comfort zone is firmly in the ’be prepared’ department; I am the woman who sends emails to the boss explaining everything I have done and covering every possible scenario when I am away from work for a week. Flying by the seat of my pants would definitely require a sick bag. I have no idea why I am ok to abandon all my natural tendencies when it comes to blogging. Maybe it is just time pressure.

I would love to have nice posts, all neatly lined up and ready to go, like little glittery packages sitting, waiting to be picked up by virtual carrier pigeons. Maybe one day! In the meantime, here’s a quick card, and yes, I had to rustle it up before I could post this!!

cb-elliecb-ellie-detail

Supplies: Clearly Besotted Baby Shower and Mini Basic Banners stamps and dies; Lawn Fawn ink in Hippo

 

Some technical hitches…

…and YAY definitely NOT me to blame this time! I think…

Is this happening to anyone else? I start to go through my Notifications. I see a comment so type my reply and hit send. Then I get that sad, slow circle that looks like it barely has the energy to complete itself…creeping…slowly progressing around and around…and finally a red box telling me my message has failed and to try again later.

I used to follow this instruction and wait a bit (although to be fair, probably not long enough) but the message would never send, and it seemed to struggle with a couple of fellow bloggers in particular. Now when this happens I just click into the other sites to reply, or reply via my posts.

I can live with this I guess. Maybe it is my pc? No, because it is not limited to only the pc. Maybe I am doing something wrong? Maybe it is just how it is sometimes?

But it happened to me again last night. I had quickly scanned through the Notifications, then typed the first reply, which would not send. Plan B (as described in great tactical detail above) to be implemented. A cold drink would surely help as the UK has turned into Bermuda for the last few days. Armed with something chilled I log back in. Some of the comments I just saw are no longer in the Notifications. Horror! Scroll up, down, up again just in case (I know, but hope springs eternal). Gone. Close down, go back in, still gone.

So now I am playing a version of that party game we ’enjoyed’ as kids. Where the mum uncovered a random selection of items on a dinner tray and you had a few seconds to memorise, wait a bit, then itemise. Time to deploy those skills!! See? Partying is not a waste of time after all.

Think hard, visualise the screen…who commented, who replied to my comments…and to which post… I remembered some, but have no clue if I remembered them all. This is not the first time comments or ‘likes’ have just not appeared in Notifications either. And I haven’t accidentally deleted any comments for a long time now. Really. I am a reformed blogger. Or at least a marginally more competent one.

So apologies if it looks like I have ignored you – it has not been deliberate. If someone is nice enough to make a comment or reply to mine, I always intend to respond in some way.

But also, is this just me? Does it happen to you? Can I fix it? Easily? Or shall I just jump up and down and go ‘waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah’? Yep, not gonna lie, I feel a bit better for that!

 

Gettin’ reflective

Not another post about mirrors. I have been blogging for exactly 6 months today, and thought I might do one of those ‘looking back, what have I learnt’ posts. Hmmnn.

Firstly I have learnt not to look back too quickly, makes me dizzy.

What else? Well, OK, I have learnt that I like blogging, which is actually a surprise, because I didn‘t think I would. I don‘t know why I had felt that way, maybe just the whole ’social media’ thing daunted me a bit. I cannot cope with Facebook: it is just too ‘busy‘ visually and literally. But blogging is different. It is BRILLIANT fun to have little chats or exchanges with total strangers. Blogging puts you in touch with amazing people you would never normally meet.

Some of my preconceptions have been challenged. People I thought were super-cool, or super-talented, or super-funny and would therefore never look at my blog, or comment, or click to follow have done just that. It’s a lovely thing.

I have had some of the most fun and funniest ‘conversations’ here or on other blogs. There’s a wealth of wit out there.

People are nice. The times I have posted about a (creative) disaster, or dearth of ideas, bloggers ALWAYS step up and say something kind, or supportive, or just laugh at the disaster with me.

I should have read the manual. Is there a manual? Blogging for the Inept? I didn’t read it. I got talked though my first post over the phone by my sister and then got typing. If I had read the manual I might have saved myself a LOT of time. I would have found that I had email followers as well as WordPress ones. It took me a while to find the WordPress ones too! I would have worked out what the Notifications button did, instead of flicking back and forth from email to other sites to comment or reply. I would have learnt earlier to search using tags to find other blogs that would be fun to read or follow. I should probably read the manual now anyway…. Based on this track record I think it is fair to assume I am still probably doing a bajillion things wrong!

Anything else? Oh yes, blogging is starting to creep into everyday life a little too much. I have found myself typing replies to work emails and then realising I have gone way too heavy on the exclamation marks, and smiley faces are really not an appropriate response to a Senior Partner. Nor is telling him that I ‘love his work’. He took it pretty well though.

Lastly I have learnt that no matter how hard I try, I cannot break the internet. Good to know.

 

Thanks, Mrs Craft

Subtitle: Not sure if I can ‘link’, I think. Sounds like a modern Winnie the Pooh poem.

So I’m still relatively new to blogging and don’t want to get my etiquette wrong. Manners are important, but if I don’t know the ‘done thing’ then I have to do my own thing and hope for the best.

A fellow blogger tagged me in on a Blogger Recognition Award. Thank you so much craftandothercrazyplans for the nomination. It was lovely of you to include me. However, I don’t think I have enough other bloggers that I ‘know’ well enough to tag forward, so cannot join in right now, but another time maybe?

I have though had a ball browsing through some of the blogs on Mrs Craft’s list, and will work my way through everyone soon. This is one of the best things about blogging – I love seeing what other people are doing, even if it is not what I am currently ‘in to’. It inspires you, reminds you. I have a whole room full of paper and card, but I am eyeing up yarn again. And don’t get me started on the Sewing Bee: I can almost smell the machine oil and pressing cloth…

Thanks, Mrs Craft! I had a lovely time checking out your blogging chums and finding more people to follow!

This is the bit you say really, really fast like they do in the last two seconds of insurance/credit card adverts: sorry if I broke any rules. I didn’t include the word nomination in the heading or tags so as not to transgress. Any further transgressions or faux pas are purely unintentional. Really, I don’t actually know what I am doing! Before today I did not know how to ‘link’ to another site or person so this may or may not work. It looks ok from my end but we’ll see. If not, I have no idea how to sort it out. I suggest old-fashioned typing. And, breathe!