Tag Archives: blog

Win Stuff

It’s been a negligently long time since my last post, but I haven’t forgotten about you, dear readers. I’m pleased to see that you haven’t forgotten about me either. My blog has been getting plenty of views in my absence, and my Facebook page has just reached 1000 likers! How exciting. Of course, such a milestone requires a celebration. Right now, I have a competition on Facebook to win my One-of-a-kind Clara necklace (pictured below). Not your thing? How about three tutorials of your choice from my store, instead? Head to Facebook and like my page, and the post containing the instructions and you’re in to win. Share the post too, if you’re so inclined, it’s not necessary to win, but it’s good Karma.

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In other news, everyone is talking about Hubble Stitch! If you haven’t tried it, do it now. Right now. Drop everything and go for it. It’s so addictive and versatile. It was designed by Melanie de Miguel, who has this beautiful book detailing the technique and it’s many uses. Her biggest convert is the lovely Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, who also has a number of tutorials featuring The Hubble in her store Jewelry Tales. I made my own version of her Mermaid Bracelet. I didn’t have the 2mm crystals that her pattern called for, but I substituted 11/0 seed beads and it worked fine. Of course, the instructions were beautifully written and illustrated, as Cynthia’s work always is.

Mermaid Bracelet, Designed by Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, beaded by Jenny Sangster

Mermaid Bracelet, Designed by Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, beaded by Jenny Sangster

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Bitza Bangle

Those of you who follow my personal blog, Unplanned Detour, will be aware of my recent changes; for the sake of those of you who do not, I’ll fill you in. I got a job! Well, two jobs: cleaning, and gardening. It’s hard physical work for my unaccustomed body, but it’s satisfying all the same. Even bigger news, I’ve bought a house! I move in next weekend, and I can’t wait. I’m probably going to be dirt poor, for the next 30 years, but I’ll figure it out. If you want to help me pay my lawyer fees, head over to my Etsy store and go nuts.

Somehow, in amongst all the madness, I managed to complete my new Bitza Bangle. Returning to some of the CGB techniques I’ve grown to love so much, this one features a nice little winged miniskirt and a scalloped edge. The skirt repeats the diamond pattern of the bangle beneath, so it’s a subtle detail which I love to run my fingers over. I’d love to make a tutorial for this one too, if only I can find the time and focus. Tutorials take a bit more cognitive power than beading, I’m not sure I have much cognitive power to spend at the moment.

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Brain Fog Decends on Stalingrad

School has finally returned from the Christmas break, which means everyone is now ill.  It’s a predictable pattern, after the first week, the class numbers start to dwindle as the children succumb to colds,  tummy bugs and chicken pox. Then the wee darlings bring it all home to Mum and Dad.

I’m finding it difficult to self-motivate with my foggy brain and sleepy eyes. Beading is happening in fit and starts.  It would be so bad if I could sit comfortably with my beading tray across my lap, but alas, I was cursed with thighs about three inches too short. This makes tray balancing in front of the television a precarious sport, and comfort is not an option. The soft contours of the couch beckon to me, and while I try to resist, the pull is getting stronger.

Another thing keeping me from achieving my beading goals, is the ruthless and cunning Joseph Stalin. In the evenings he’s at his most demanding, plucking my work-in-progress off my bead mat and hurling it across the room. Pressing his face against mine and forcing me to give him my undivided attention. Melting my heart with his endearing face and loving cuddles, then driving me from the room with his rancid flatulence. In Just a week, Stalin has the entire household under his full control. But we love him anyway.

Stalin, pictured here with his brother "Jerry" or as I like to call him "Lenin".

Stalin, pictured here in the SPCA shelter with his brother “Jerry” or as I like to call him “Lenin”.

Goodbye Old Friend.

Regular readers might recall back in April, when our beautiful cat Zakk went missing after our big move. You may also recall, that upon his joyous return 18 days later, I mentioned that he was on antibiotics for an infected foot. Well, that infected foot, soon turned to four and was diagnosed as Plasma Cell Pododermatitis – also known as Pillow Paw, a painful result of the failure of the immune system.

Zakky was given steroids, which calmed the condition down temporarily, but it came back time and time again. Weekly visits to the Vet meant that he became the perfect patient. Doctor Jess would open his cage, lift him out and he would head-butt her, while purring loudly and walking all over her keyboard as she tried to use her computer  –  just like at home. After a while, I no longer needed to hold him still while she put the needle in. She would hold his neck and he knew it was time to sit down, and when it was done, he’d continue his big show of affection.

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Zakky disapproves of me brushing my teeth before giving him food.

He was screened and cleared for feline AIDS. He was put under anesthetic and biopsied. He was confined inside and still managed to tear his stitches. It was decided he suffered from an unknown autoimmune disease. His feet would continue to cause him trouble, and he would develop other complications over time. The treatment would involve long term steroids use, which would damage his kidneys and liver, and had already begun to lose effectiveness. A few days before Christmas, we decided to just give him one last big dose of steroids, let him have fun painlessly exploring, playing and generally being a cat, with the understanding that when he started deteriorating again, we’d end it before it was too painful. As the doctor took the needle out, she told me that it should hopefully see him through to February. It didn’t. Yesterday we said goodbye to Zakky.

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The evening of his return in April, when he met our new fluffy rug.

I’m sad in quite a profound way, but the shock and anguish that I felt with Angus’s sudden violent departure is not there, for which I’m grateful. We knew it was coming, and the kids were prepared.  I’m glad he was able to go with dignity, with me rubbing his ears in that special way he loved and the doctor whispering gentle, soothing words to him. We buried him near his favourite spot by the fence, where there the iron had been pulled back and the gap created a kitty shortcut. After the gap had been closed, Zakky had taken to sleeping there, as if he just went to the spot out of habit.

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After an incident while snooping around the neighbours garage. Do you know how hard it is to bath a cat?

Zakky was not a cat to dish out affection everywhere, when he gave you love, it was on his terms. Which was probably a good thing because his love was intense. When it was cuddle time, it was Cuddle Time Or Else.  Rubs and scratches were to be contained to the neck/head only, ears were to be rubbed firmly and only one side at a time. Touching his belly was strictly forbidden and picking him up was nothing less than an act of war. But cuddles at bedtime were the best. If I lay down on my stomach, he’d climb on my back and knead for several minutes before curling up to sleep. It’s the closest thing to a massage I’ve had in years. I’m going to miss that.

Taken 2 days ago

Taken 2 days ago, what a gorgeous face, you’d never guess he was such a freakish kitten.

Zakky, from ridiculously ugly, alien-faced, flea-ridden, abused beginnings, to the most handsome kitty on the block. You were there for three changes of address, a marriage, 2 children, 5 other cats, 2 birds and a multitude of rats.  You’ve survived being hit by a car, falling in a drum of oil, being trapped in another car with no water for 9 days, and missing in a bitter winter for 18, but this time you’re not coming back, and that’s ok. I think you deserve your rest.

In the beginning

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Bead weaving is not something I set out to learn I just kind of hazarded upon it. I am restless by nature and I’m not happy unless I’m accomplishing something. For me the sense of satisfaction only comes from creating.

As a child it was play-doh crocodiles, then drawing, painting, crochet, friendship bracelets made out of embroidery thread. I was always looking for something to make. Nothing satisfied me for long. Enter my teenage years, despite being bitter and angry at the world, my need to create expressed itself in other ways. Tie-dyed sarongs hung from my ceiling creating my own personal cave and sanctuary, images of Pan and Kali, peeking out between the twist and turns. Music began to have huge importance in my life.

Later, escaping into my 20’s, I began to find myself again. I knew I needed something, but wasn’t sure what. I studied Biology and Physics, and while I enjoyed it immensely, other things were calling me. I picked up my crochet hooks, my knitting needles, paint brushes, pencils, pastels – I even learned to hand-quilt. I had a young baby and a dozen projects in progress.

Severe carpel-tunnel syndrome in both hands suddenly took hold. It became crippling very quickly and I learned how to change a wriggling baby’s nappy mostly using my feet and forearms. Insurance meant that I didn’t have to wait long for surgery, but it still left me in creative limbo for a frustrating year as recovery was slow. I reached the point that I couldn’t knit anymore, so I put away my half finished jumper. I picked it up again when I recovered and knitted the sleeves. When those were done I tipped everything out of the bag to search for a needle to sew them on, only to discover that I had knitted three sleeves. I guess I was a little over eager, but out pet rats enjoyed their new bed.

That’s when I started making jewellery. I’m still not sure how it came about that I ended up with necklace wire and beads – most likely it was something that my mother bought on a whim and gave to me in a bag of clothes and children’s books. I remember buying some cheap stretch cord and experimenting with thread paths. I didn’t know it then, but I had begun something that would take me on a journey. I had ventured in to the world of peyote stitch and right angle weave. That was three years ago and I haven’t looked back. My yarns and paints sit in their draws, neglected, with the promise of ‘one day’.