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Book Bargain Bonanza

I had a day off this week.  A glorious, nothing-scheduled, I-can-do-what-I-want day off.  Work has been very stressful, I’ve been having lots of migraines, and life just seemed a bit craptastic in general.  I’m always exhausted and just needed a break.  So, a day off was necessary, for my mental health if nothing else.

I got up early (not too early – it was a day off, after all!) and hit the op-shops.  I wanted to visit some I hadn’t been to before, and expand my “territory”.  I didn’t have much luck in finding anything good to start with, but eventually I hit book heaven at one particular Salvos store.  Lordy, lordy, they had the BEST book selection, AND it was in alphabetical order so you could actually search properly in the section you were interested in.

I am always on the lookout for Alice Hoffman titles.  She’s one of my favourite authors, but I never buy books new (who can afford them???!) so I have to wait until I find them in second hand shops.  Normally, I don’t find any of her books or, just as annoying, only ones I have already read and have in my shelf at home.  But on this day, dear readers, I found FIVE!  Woo!  I’d already read a couple of them, but I did snap up two for myself – White Horses, and The Museum of Extraordinary Things.  So happy!  I’m cross at myself because I left another one behind – Blue Diary – because I thought I had it at home, but then found that I didn’t.  You know you have too many books when you can’t remember what you have!  Hopefully it will still be there if I visit the shop again…but I’m glad to have found these two anyway 🙂

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Craft books are not always easy to come across in op-shops, and really nice ones are like hen’s teeth.  That’s why I was thrilled to find these two – French-Inspired Jewellery and The Adventurous Scrapbooker.  The latter has lots of off-the-page ideas for scrapbooks and similar projects.  I actually don’t like scrapbooking at all – I don’t do it and have never liked the concept of it – but there are always awesome ideas and techniques you can apply to other crafts.  So this book is great for that.  The jewellery book is gorgeous – not just for the pretty projects inside, but for the beautiful background layouts they have used for display.  Vintage papers and ephemera, ribbon and other embellishments make for beautiful pages, that are works of art in their own right.  So glad to have found this one!  Especially for the bargain price of $2.25!

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I love dogs.  I had them all my life, right up until I was in my 30s.  But now, with full-time work and a little house of my own, on my own, a dog just isn’t practical.  Maybe one day…sigh…  In the meantime, there are books like Rachel Hale’s 101 Salvations to keep me happy.  Rachel Hale’s photography is always a delight, and this book of doggy pictures is gorgeous.  I want to start doing some proper drawing and thought I might start with some canine-inspired sketches (might as well begin with a subject I know and love!) so I am hoping to use the photos as guides.  In any case, it is a beautiful book in excellent condition and, again, at only $2.25 – I’m sure the original RRP would have been well over $35.00 – I got another bargain.

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As I just mentioned, I am trying to improve my drawing skills (such as they are) and need all the help I can get.  So, with that in mind, I picked up this next book – You Can Draw in 30 Days. I’m not necessarily convinced I will only take 30 days, but hey, it’s a start.  I desperately want to be able to draw eyes so I am really hoping this book will help me.

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I also picked up a couple of titles for my Mum, who is a  voracious reader and is always running out of her own books to read.  So, all in all, a very successful visit to this particular op-shop.  I didn’t have room in my basket for anything else, which is probably a good thing.  Didn’t stop me from going to a few more op-shops afterwards though! 🙂

Hope you are having a good day – thank you for dropping by x

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Critter-Sittin’

This weekend I took some time out of my box-packing schedule to house-sit for my Aunt and Uncle.  They’ve both been dreadfully unwell the last couple of years and my poor cousin has been run ragged looking after them and making sure they’re ok.  She lives several hundred kilometres away so she is forever travelling to and fro to take them to medical appointments and make sure they’re looked after etc.  Every week she drives over 300km both ways to stay with them.  It’s been a very stressful time for all concerned.

Anyway, my cousin decided it would do everyone some good if she arranged a little weekend getaway, now that my Aunt and Uncle were well enough to travel.  My Aunt, though elderly and not in very good health at all, is a very outgoing lady and not one for sitting around doing nothing.  After a long period of recovery from a very serious illness she is pretty much going stir crazy, just being at home and having to “take it easy” all the time.  So a trip away, just for a couple of days, would be just what the doctor ordered.

My Mum and I happily agreed to house-sit for them.  Although I had SO MUCH packing and organising to do at home, it was actually a nice break from all that and gave me some much needed down time.  My Aunt and Uncle have three lovely furry family members – Heidi, a tricolour Rough Collie, Sox, a black and white moggie, and Fibber, a white pony – and so, of course, they were the main priority.  Heidi is an absolute delight – she is loving and gentle, but also fun and playful (she has the biggest box of toys I have ever seen!) and she is a great companion.  She’s pretty happy to just stay by your side most of the time and doesn’t ask for much, other than a few bouts of tug-o-war or “rub my belly”.

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Sox has always been a bit of a devil child – very wild and bad tempered – but she has mellowed a lot in the last couple of years and is now very placid and will give you a smooch if she’s in the right mood.  She makes me laugh because she actually asks to be put to bed at night.  Come 6pm and she meows and gets you to follow her to her “bedroom” (the laundry) where she has every mod-con available, including a cosy bed inside the linen cupboard.  She gets fed, you close the door, and that’s her done for the night.  In the morning, you let her out but she takes her time actually getting up and isn’t in any hurry to rise and shine.  She has the most amazing, upside-down, heart-shaped markings on her face/muzzle.  So pretty!  I’m glad she’s settled down too, because I don’t like to think of her being ill-mannered with my Aunt and Uncle.  She apparently even had a lap the other night with my Uncle, which was a first!

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Fibber is a gentle little pony with a nice temperament.  She unfortunately has laminitis , which is an inflammation of the soft tissue structures that attach the coffin or pedal bone of the foot to the hoof wall.  Very nasty, painful, and can be fatal.  Proper management is essential.  Fibber’s diet is very strict (over-feeding can often result in laminitis) and she is stabled in deep sawdust to give her a comfortable standing position.  Care of her hooves is obviously very important and she has a regular farrier who makes sure her tootsies are in tip-top condition.  She wears little covers over her hooves that help to protect the damaged parts and she is not lame or suffering at the moment.  She put up with my fumbling efforts at putting her covers on at night and whinnied at me across the paddock when I was bringing her food bucket.  Last night was quite stormy and so she was a bit nervous and jittery, but I managed to get her settled and comfy in her stable with her dinner and a warm coat.

She’s actually going to be moving down to the coast, to stay at my other cousin’s equestrian centre.  I think it will be good for her – she will have more company and my Aunt and Uncle will know she’s being cared for.  Her little stable has already been built – it’s really just waiting for when my Aunt and Uncle can bear to say Goodbye to her.  They themselves might be moving to be nearer to my cousin, so it won’t be Goodbye forever, and at least Fibber isn’t going to live with strangers and have an uncertain future.

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So, a nice, relaxing weekend, albeit with extra responsibilities (which I didn’t mind at all).  I am so looking forward to getting my own cats – I have missed being a “proper” animal person.  Having grown up with so many animals around me, I’ve felt like a bit of a fraud the last few years, not having any pets at all, due to renting and ex-hubby being allergic to cat and dog fur.  Be prepared for many, many posts about cats and all things feline-related in the future!  You have been warned! 🙂

I hope my cousin, Aunt and Uncle had a lovely time away.  They’ve all had a rotten couple of years, health-wise, and I know my cousin is really struggling to keep everything together (why does one sibling always carry all the responsibilities?).  I’m glad I could help out, even just for a short time and I hope it gave them a much needed, well deserved break, and some respite from worrying about their health and life in general.

Have a happy day, everyone.  Take care of your four-footed family and friends 🙂

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House Sitting & House Hunting

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been house-sitting this week for a friend (SR) from work, and looking after her two gorgeous wuppets, Sam and Chloe.  They are delightful but a bit nuts (as you would expect from two young labradors!).  I had forgotten how much work dogs are – I don’t mean that in a bad way – and how guilty I feel when I am not entertaining them ha ha.  I stayed home a lot because I didn’t want them to be alone too much and the weather was awful so I wanted them inside in the warm and dry.  I mean, how can you look at this face and put him outside in the cold and wet weather???…….

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They were really good anyway and just liked to be with me, whatever I was doing.  because it was such miserable weather, I actually stayed indoors a lot and watched TV (which I NEVER do normally) – lots of cooking shows and decorating shows and things that basically made me want to eat a lot and paint stuff ha ha.  Sam and Chloe were happy to nap and hang out in the lounge room, with intermittent play times – lots of ball-throwing and mad chasey games around the backyard – before taking another nap.

There is nothing cuter than a sleeping dog 🙂

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Besides house-sitting, I’ve been madly house-HUNTING.  Which is anxiety-inducing and stressful.  I never thought I would be in the position to buy my own home and so I think I haven’t really prepared myself mentally for it.  Everyone keeps telling me how exciting it is and I’m just thinking how scary it is.  And then I feel guilty because I should be grateful I get to even consider buying a house, when some people don’t know where they’ll be sleeping tonight, let alone for years to come.

But I have to think of my future security and the fact that I will probably not be able to afford rent in the decades to come.  I have to put my big girl pants on and be brave and make the commitment and BUY SOMETHING.  But it’s hard.  Borrowing all that money is hard.  Figuring out what neighbourhood to live in is hard.  Making a decision is hard.  I don’t make decisions, I avoid them.  I can’t even decide what colour socks to wear, let alone where I want to live.

Of course, where I will live is very much dependent upon what I can afford.  Which isn’t much.  I can’t afford to buy in my own neighbourhood here, which SUCKS big time because I love it here.  So I am looking at nearby suburbs and faraway suburbs and suburbs I have never even heard of before.

I nearly put an offer on a townhouse last week.  I was all ready to do it.  And then I panicked.  Majorly.  Anxiety-Attack Central.  It didn’t feel right and it all happened too quickly and the seller wanted to settle by the end of June and I have to get out of my rental lease and it will cost me a fortune to do that and AAGHAHAGHGHHHH!  Basically, I had a bit of a conniption.  So, no offer was made.  I will re-look at the property in a couple of months time.  If it’s still there, I will reconsider.  But I think it will sell as it was a pretty good price and in good condition etc.  I regret it a bit, but am also relieved I didn’t go through with it when I wasn’t feeling 100% sure.  I felt the way I did just before I got married – and we all know how THAT turned out!  Sometimes you have to go with your gut.

So, it’s back to the drawing board.  I have banned myself from looking at places for the next couple of months, until I am nearing the end of my lease here.  Then I will be ready, emotionally and financially.  Or I will just find another excuse to not bite the bullet and buy.  It’s just scary.  I’m not good with scary.  I never trust my own instincts with things so don’t know when I am making a sound judgement.  Adulting is hard!

All I know is that I want to feel safe and happy in my home, have room for a cat or two and be able to get to work without too much hassle or commuting time.  If I can win Lotto in the meantime and afford a nice neighbourhood with maybe a cafe strip and pretty streets, that would be a bonus.  Maybe near the River or Ocean, with some friendly-but-not-nosey neighbours and my own lovely garden…I don’t ask for much 🙂