What I’ve been doing…

So, I’ve been doing a collage class with the WONDERFULLY talented Nancy B (aka CROWABOUT) and it’s been huge fun!  The kitchen table is a mess and the floors are covered with teeny scraps of cut paper but I’ve been enjoying working with actual physical paper again.

no Shopping

[clicky for bad scan, bigger]

Today was pretty hot – around 37.4 at the computers before we shut them down.  And Summer’s not even “officially” here yet! I slept through most of the hottest part of the day: I’m finding that on the days I have chiropractic treatment, I just CRASH OUT.  Apparently that’s normal – but gosh it’s disconcerting!  I’m not complaining, mind you, since it’s the best sleep I get all week.

kittyangel

(again, clicky for biggy, and apologies for the bad scan – this book is so distended that it’s about to BURST!)

This page isn’t finished yet.. needs a lot more pen work/ doodles. It’s a true story though – I won’t name the very senior person in the Uniting Church  (at the time) involved in the conversation, but it was the start of the end of my belief.

In other news:

Constance J Woodle continues to improve BUT is still pretty much refusing her Special Food.  We figure she’s got a pretty big hump to live on (as do we all, oops!) and so the reduced intake isn’t too much of an issue. (The Vet agrees.)

I have *sob* officially quit the gym.  What with swine flu and the thyroid thang, it hasn’t been a good 6 months for exercise, and I have to allocate the gym money to paying off the debt from Connie’s treatment. Gotta do a lot more walking!

Oh, and I am DEFINITELY on thyroid replacement pills for the rest of my life.  The thyroid is BUNG.  But good news – the dosage is right. Bad news? Any memory loss now is NOT due to thryoid dumbing-down-ness…

Reading:

Oh, I have been awful about not updating my Shelfari list!  In fact, haven’t even got it up here yet, have I?! I am reading library books mostly, since I’ve already read everything we own (duh!)

I Blame Duchamp by Edmund Capon: reading this in bed just won’t do – there are too many images referred to that I am unfamilar with, and so I have to read this with an internet connection open and google ready to go.  The pictures that ARE in the book are beautifully produced, as is the quality of this book overall.  *sigh* I’d own this one if I could!  Great writing, opinionated and learned – just the way I like it.

Last night (in sheer desperation at having Nothing To Read) I started to re-read The Hill by Ray Rigby (I didn’t know til I went to look for a link that it had been made into a movie starring Sean Connery – wow!).  Brutal, but great writing. Probably not the best thing to be reading on a stinking hot night, though, since it’s set in a punishment camp in the desert (Egypt in the book, Libya in the film) and the mentions of thirst are tormenting.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman:  Undecided how to review this one: in some ways it’s a grown up (well, only slightly so, college age) version of Harry Potter – a magical school, yada yada… but could be considered allegorical.  Hmmm.

Chalcot Crescent by Fay Weldon: A favourite author. This is near future dystopia at its most imaginable…  all too plausible.

There have been numerous others, of course, but  – meh.  Mostly forgettable.

Ok, I’m off to see if the house has cooled down enough to let us sleep…

Bwaa haaa haaaa!

art_photography_technotuesdaycom

Mr Beloved sent me the link to this – I laughed SO HARD!

Expect some RIVETING photos from me soon…

Miss Constance J Woodle is continuing to recover, thank you for all your good wishes.  Cost us another $100 today  – the vet (who is a real character, we adore him!) says it’s all part of his Health Plan For The Nation. He figures vet fees come out of disposable income that would otherwise be spent on beer, pizzas, and cigarettes, and that he is actually providing a community service by removing that money.

Hmmm.

Not such a good theory when you have so little disposable income as we do!

Never mind, we’ll get through.

Back to bed for me – my hip is KILLING me!

SHE’S HOME!

We got our baby girl back yesterday arvo!!

She’s still not completely well, and because she’s now had such an acute case of pancreatitis she has to be monitored carefully.  Back to the vet for more blood work next week; and a very special diet ($3.20 per can OUCH!) which has to be low fat.  She can still have broccoli and carrot (which she loves!) but no more corn 🙁 and she gets to eat boiled chicken and rice (not sure we cna afford to ALL eat that well, LOL!

BUT she’s much brighter and back to her smiley self today.  (And so is her Daddy – we worked out he’s NEVER been separated from her before for more than about 6 hours at a time – I’ve been away for various trips but he’s stayed here, so he was really lost without his girl.)

It’s been a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG week… and The Austerity Drive has begun. Nearly $1000 of vet bills later, we will be doing without a lot of “luxuries” like biscuits and soft drinks and magazines and going out for coffees for a long time yet.

But she’s worth every penny.

Update on Constance J. Woodle

You know we don’t have human kids, right, and that Connie is our baby girl? We’re both finding having her in hospital quite traumatic! So I suspect it was more for our benefit than hers that the vet suggested we pop in to visit her this arvo (What? it was only the 2nd time I’d phoned to check on her today, I thought I’d been remarkably restrained.)

She’s hooked up to an IV pump, and has a sign saying ” I BITE!!” in big red letters on her door.  She nipped the junior vet nurse today (Dr Bob was less than sympathetic,  the girl obviously needs to learn to read!) but didn’t draw blood.  I reckon the poor pup is only about as grumpy as I was last time in hospital …

Anyway, she was very glad to see us, and even happier when she got to be cuddled on Daddy’s shoulder – her favourite place in the whole world.  Put her little head down and snuggled. Lots of kisses for us both.

She hasn’t vomited or had diarrhoea all day today – very good signs.  She’s been given long acting antibiotics and regular pain medication.  Still refusing to eat her special food (but hey, she does that at home sometimes too – she’ll eat when no one’s watching and she’s hungry enough.)  Oh, and she’s spent most of the day glaring RESENTFULLY at everyone in the room.

So she’s doing a lot better but still not out of the woods yet.  At least another coupla days in hospital.

Guess who’s going to be selling off whatever spare sewing machines she can?  Anyone want a Sinnger model 221 featherweight (one still on American voltage, one for Australian) an Elna SU, or a Pfaff Expression 2034? Make me an offer… I wonder if I should put an ad in the sewing guild newsletter?

It’s been very hot here today – around 36 degrees. No computer use during that sort of heat – the computers can’t cope and it’s just not pleasant to be working on them.  So I had a big sleep (catching up from night of worry) and cut out lots of bits and pieces for collage.  Found I was being too literal in what I was cutting out until I remembered the trick of turning the magazines upside down so your eye sees colour and pattern, rather than assigning objects to what you see.  Neat, huh?

OK I think it’s cooled down enough to go eat tea…

Pancreatitis

Little Connie Dog is VERY Unwell. Fingers crossed, we’re waiting to see how she is in teh morning after a night in hospital… vet confirmed it is pancreatitis.  Cause? Being a poodle who is middleaged, overweight, and female.  Just like in humans. Possibly she’ll stay in hospital for 2 or 3 days; then hoperfully she’ll be ok on a carefully managed diet.

Of course Mr Beloved and I are worried and miss our baby… there will be about a YEAR of austerity after this, but she’s worth it.  Please send good thoughts…

Worried..

Poor little Constance is at the vets.  We are waiting to hear the results of her blood tests, but the vet suspects she either has pancreatitis or haemorrhagic gastroenteritis.  All I know is that when I saw her with very bloody diarrhoea, I just about fainted and had to be put in a chair with my head between my legs… thank goodness Mr Beloved was the strong one today and was able to hold Connie while the vet got her prepped…

Constance is hooked up to an IV.  I am hooked up to the phone, nervously waiting to hear…

Creative Therapy: Catalyst 85

2009_10_28_ birdcage pageweb

SO over at Creative Therapy blog, this week’s catalyst is “What’s the most daring or scariest thing you’ve ever done?”

When I left my first husband, I truly believed that if I didn’t get away RIGHT THEN, I would die.  He had been drinking and hitting me all afternoon as we drove down the coast from Sydney on our way back to Albury. When he eventually passed out drunk in a caravan park somewhere on the coast I grabbed my bag (no money, lots of cassette tapes, since that was where he insisted they be carried) and ran to the nearest phone box. (This was waaaay back when mobile phones were the size of besser bricks and were rare as hens teeth.)

I remember somehow getting connected via the emergency number to the only local taxi driver – it was a very small town – and he got me to the police station and waited with me until the police came back from patrol (two man station) and left me with them.

Long story short – the police got me to the next biggest town, then their police got me to the next biggest town and bought me a train ticket to Sydney, where my sister rescued me.  (She was always the brave one.)

Now you know that back-story – leaving my second husband was scarier.  Not because I was afraid of violence (although he did put on quite a show for the police and neighbours) – but because I was so ashamed that I was leaving another marriage. I was hurt, angry, miserable with snot and tears running down my face as I drove away  – but I knew that if I stayed I would keep slowly dying, becoming less me every day.

It was absolutely the right thing to do.

This piece took me ALL DAY to make! I really wanted to use the birdcage because it’s such an important symbol to me – but it was from an image I’d torn out of an old magazine, and the cage was hanging over a background of quite blurry leaves and tree limbs:

bridcage web

So it took me AGES to extract just the birdcage from the photo. (For those who care – had to do it ALL with the polygon select tool in small sections, some of it while viewing the image at 200%. Magic wand tool only works when there is a solid colour to select!)

Then I had to learn how to use a torn edge mask over the paper I wanted to use.  EASY in photoshop, apparently, but I’m pov and therefore open source and therefore use GIMP.  So it took me a while to work that out too (but geesh, I’m getting much faster at doing this stuff!)  – and after the second time I mistakenly saved the resulting image as a JPG (low information, doesn’t play well with other layers) instead of a PNG file (saves all the layer information, like saving something as a .PSD in Photoshop) I got even faster!

And so to bed. Ahhhhhh!

Credits:
Background paper: Thao Cosgrove paper from Simple Life Paper Super Mini collection (part of the October Scrap Girls Club package)
Thao Cosgrove paper (used under journaling) from Beautiful Life Paper Biggie collection (part of the October Scrap Girls Club package)
Birdcage extracted from magazine image
Thao Cosgrove leaves from from Beautiful Life Embelishment Biggie collection (part of the October Scrap Girls Club package)
Torn edge from Curled Edges Five kit by Anna Aspnes at Designer Digitals
Header font Angelic War
Journal font Andalus

DigiDare #152

I’m lovin’ how The Digi Dares push me forwards! Oh yeah!

The Dare:
YES, NO, two simple but powerful words, each with their own meaning. Have you ever had a moment where you said, or at least thought, “yes” but meant “no”? Or the other way round? That you said “yes” only because you felt pressured? Or said “no” to that job offer because it was on the end of the country? Or maybe when you had to tell that little white lie because you wanted someone’s day to be a little brighter? I want you to tell about one of those moments.

The Flairs:
– Photo or not, that is up to you
– Use both YES and NO at least once on your layout, in your journaling, your title, anywhere
– They can not be written in the same font or alpha
– I want you to use neutral colors and a little pop of color
– Go ahead and grab a brush/stamp, be it a doodle, an alpha or swirl

digidare 152 web

So – the template is ChrissyW’s Freebie #32, and the paper and all the elements are from ChrissyW’s “Sew Cute” mini kit from Elemental Scraps; except for the sitting skeleton which is a new brush I made from an old illustration out of the Encyclopaedia of Illustration – no, I’m not getting up to check the details, grrrmph. And the “Fragile Don’t Crush ” brush is from somewhere on the interwubs, fair dinkum, I don’t know HOW  anyone manages to keep all this stuff labelled and organised!! Sorry whoever it is, when I remember I will give you proper credit. (Obsidian Dawn, perhaps? Oh crikey, must get my shit TOGETHER!!) Fonts are Inked God and CatShop.

Me, working in neutrals – yeah, I’m shocked, too! It was really hard to get going because of that.  But once I decided to include pictures from the Chiropractor’s report, I had the pop of colour I needed to work with .

My heart (and body!) are saying YES to chiropractic treatment while my mind is saying NO… but my compromise is that it’s worth trying. ANYTHING is worth trying if I can get my pain levels back to manageable and get back to exercising – ewwwwww that photo of me makes me CRINGE!

What do you think? I really like that I used a digital kit that I bought to use for sewing layouts for something so NOT sewing related!

Digital Card for my baby brother

gordy bday web

[clicky for biggy – reduced size and pixels for web, unfortunately, the original is MUCH clearer!]

All papers and elements from the Steampunk kit by Maya from ScrapbookGraphics.com; except the fish, which is from Itkupilli’s Steampunk & Skellies digital design kit. (Why did I add the fish? I don’t need – it just needed to be there!)

Hard to believe my baby brother will be 37 on Monday… he was so very very sick when he was born, had his first major operation at just 8 hours old (and that was after being flown in the air abulance from country NSW to Sydney).  He developed cardiomyopathy a couple of years back after a severe bout of flu (who knew that flu could trigger an underlying condition? We didn’t!)  But these days he’s doing ok – it helps that his wonderful wife is a specialist nurse in echocardiography (I hope I got what she does right…)

My brother was always very close to our sister – they were “the little two”.  He’s a brilliant man, very smart, funny, clever with his hands, and does a great job being Dad to his 18 year old son.  Did I mention musical? He’s that too.

LOVE  YA, GORDY!

(I don’t think he reads the blog, but the sentiment remains.)

A DigiDare

Digidare151bycaity

So I’m stretching myself, trying to make interesting journal pages etc DIGITALLY.. I used  Digidare #151 (they give you a topic, colour to include, etc) to kick start this one.

(I’m still working on how to get this to looks ok online – tell me if it’s unreadable, please?)

Hoping to paint some backgrounds later today – we were woken this morning by the koels (still no sign of rain, dammit, stupid birds!) and the incessant barking of the bad neighbour’s @$!%&^#!! dogs. AGAIN. Grrrr.

The fine print:  Background is a scanned section of what Mr Beloved calls my “splat boards” – the paper I keep underneath the current painting project – often these turn out cooler than the page I’m working on!  I knocked the colour right back so it wouldn’t intrude.  Template was a freebie from Designs by Sine, and the papers were mine except for the pink one (from the freebie mini kit Girl Time by Meredith at Elemental Scraps) and the green graph paper from Katie Pertiet’s Notebook Pages #2, available at Designer Digitals. Butterfly brushes (stamps) from Blah Blah Blahg (*mwah!* Love that blog!)