Speedy Christmas Wreath*

The lovely people at Country Baskets sent me a box of craft ingredients and a challenge – make a Christmas decoration using at least four of them. I’m up against other bloggers and they will judge the competition this week. Eeek!

My box contained florist’s wire, satin ribbon, a frosted (faux) mistletoe spray, a wonderful garland of fluffy white pom poms, silver (faux) poinsettia with wired stems, silver bells on a chain, a pack of cream coloured wire balls and a pack of heart shaped baubles.

I had a wonderful time unpacking them and the cats had a wonderful time exploring the box and the packaging. (Thank you for the unexpected bonus gift of a cat-sized box, Country Baskets!)

But what to make?

Due to the EU VAT fiasco that is still raging, I haven’t had a lot of time for crafting, and I wasn’t sure what would best fit the challenge in the tiny pockets of time I had available. Then I remembered that a few years back I used some similar wire, plus tinsel and baubles to make an evergreen wreath. Those pom poms were crying out to be hung on my front door, so I set to work.

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It is nearly impossible to craft when you have inquisitive cats who are firmly convinced they’re helping…

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But eventually I had a finished wreath – and I’m chuffed with the mistletoe in the middle, as real mistletoe is poisonous to cats so I won’t have it in the house. Here it is:

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And here it is adorning my front door, just in time for Christmas brunches and drinks!

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*Courtesy of Country Baskets – I wasn’t paid for this post but I did receive a free box of products to use in my decoration.

Paws on my shoulder, whiskers in my ear

And what nicer way could there be to wake up?

Luna and Clover have been with me just over a year – I picked them up from Brenda’s amazing rescue at 4pm on 27 November last year.

And I can’t remember what life was like before, nor imagine life without, my wonderful, ridiculous silly kittens.

Here they were on the day they came home:

And here they are, merrily taking over my life in the most wonderful way possible:

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Illustrated by the wonderful Eli Trier:

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Claiming their cat palace (and all the space in my conservatory):

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And immortalised in Christmas decorations by the immensely talented Chloe at Slightly Triangle:

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Wonderful, silly kittens. You can find more of their antics on their blog, Silly Kittens.

They came from Alresford Cat, Kitten & Feral Rescue, which Brenda runs from her home and finds new forever homes for more than 300 abandoned cats and kittens a year. Should you wish to donate, please use the button below and I will ensure funds get to her when I next take cat food over 🙂




Witchy portrait fun

My first Halloween/Samhain with my two familiars, and I thought I’d have a bit of fun.

In preparation for trick or treaters, I had positioned my broom by the front door, bought most of my local shop’s supply of miniature chocolate bars and dug out my pointy hat.

Luna-kitten was looking rather obliging, so I also made a Halloween picture while I was at it…

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Loving my new lens!

Thought I’d share the best outtake too – I’ve never seen her look quite so horrified at my antics.

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Clover was very sensibly snoozing on the back of the sofa, just out of shot. She’s a great witch’s cat but she doesn’t like to flaunt it.

And as Saturday was the start of NaNoWriMo, I have accidentally now written almost 5000 words of a story/book about how Luna and Clover came to be witch’s cats… it’s so much fun letting my imagination out to play!

Simon’s Cat in colour!

I had exciting news this week – Simon’s Cat, a cartoon I loved until I had kitties and now adore, is going to make a longer film, in colour!

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If you’re not familiar with this cheeky little cartoon cat, here’s one of their existing videos…


So you can see how gloriously accurately Simon and his team have captured the ups and downs of cat ownership.

But to make a longer, full colour film (all of which is drawn and animated by hand), they need our help. I love crowdfunding – I think it’s one of the best gifts the internet has given us as business owners. Here’s what the SC team have to say…

You can find out even more and claim your perk at the Simon’s Cat IndieGoGo campaign, open until 6 August.

Go on – and let me know what you claim. I’ve gone for a signed copy of the book 😀

(Disclaimer: this post is in no way affiliated with Simon’s Cat or IndieGoGo – I just want to spread the word and see the film made!)

Colouring in and desktop geekery

Ahem. So a couple of weeks ago I started an art journal. As predicted, I haven’t managed to use it every day (because some days are wordy days, and some days are illustrated days, and some days I’m just so tired there is no journalling at all).

But this week I have mostly been buying ADULT COLOURING IN BOOKS. Well. Actually, they’re children’s ones that I have commandeered, but that makes them no less valid for adults. Right?

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I am having so much fun… and it’s surprisingly therapeutic, especially since now I’m the grand old age of 28, there’s no pesky “art” teacher telling me I must colour inside the lines OR ELSE. (I never understood that – how are we supposed to stretch the bounds of our creativity if we have to keep inside pre-drawn areas even when we’re really small? But I digress.)

The “colouring for girls” did make me hesitate before buying it – but I really liked most of the images inside, so into my basket it went.

Other happy-making news this week:

Luna has learned to sit on my shoulder like a proper witch’s familiar. This is awesome…

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And I’ve finally organised myself into a proper, Photoshop and InDesign-friendly desk layout at home, thanks to a new screen and a cheap but pretty wireless keyboard. And I have a new barcode scanner – squeak!!

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Yes, my desk is always that messy and always contains Pepsi and cat treats. It works for me.

There has been cake and Pimms (spiked with vodka, as my mum gleefully informed me halfway through the afternoon), and my kittens’ first mouse, and beautiful skies and strange weather and wonderful conversations and new collaborations and an electric feeling in the air… excitement reigns in my enchanted realm!

I also launched my Magical Manifesto this week – I have more excitement up my sleeve on that front in the form of an email series, an online experience and a book. July is shaping up nicely after my horrible June. Which can only be a good thing.

Before I go and do some more colouring in (squee!), should you fancy brightening up your own desk, or sending some handwritten missives instead of emails and tweets, I refilled the Ink Drops Etsy shop today – pop over and have a nose 🙂

Postbox: Custom cats!

A few weeks ago, I spotted a post by my friend Chloe on her artist page on Facebook, of two hanging decorations which had been painted as portraits of cats.

After some excited squeeeee-ing and some emails backwards and forwards, my very own commission was in the works. It arrived last  Saturday – and look how gorgeous they are!!

The parcel:

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The decorations:

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Squee-inducing extras (I adore Chloe’s work, and one of her paintings has pride of place on my mantelpiece):

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And finally, Clover investigating her miniature self. Luna wouldn’t sit still long enough and has sharper claws, so I didn’t let her anywhere near her mini alter ego!

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Chloe is an artist specialising in mixed media illustration – her work makes me squee on a regular basis, and we are hoping to feature some of her prints in Ink Drops boxes later in the year.

You can find her at Slightly Triangle, and also on Etsy (so much gorgeousness there!) and if you want to commission your own pet portrait or custom work, you can get in touch with her via her website or her Etsy shop.

I haven’t decided quite where to hang them yet – they’re making themselves at home on my mantelpiece in the meantime 🙂

Two kittens and six months later…

Somehow, time has flown past, and these two little darlings…

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have been with me a whole six months, and have become these rather gorgeous young ladies…

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You’ll notice Luna still hasn’t grown into her ears…

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They don’t snooze together much, but they’ve grown into the most loving, affectionate, perfect pair of cats I could ever wish for. It’s their first birthday next month (so the vet says from their teeth) and I think I might treat them to some kind of jumpy scratchy post with platforms.

Most recent pics, when I just got home from holiday and they were happy to be home, happy to see me and especially happy to “help” with the unpacking…

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I do love my silly kittens cats!

Most of the Luna & Clover pics live over at Silly Kittens – pop over and subscribe (at the bottom of the page) if you’d like to see more kitty pics than make it onto this blog!

Carla xx

Sneak peek: best ever cat toys

Or so my kitties think!

Now, the downside of living by myself is that it’s nearly impossible to play with my kitties and photograph them leaping through the air at the same time.

However, here’s a quick sneak peek of the cat toys that arrived in the post on Give A Girl A Unicorn Day:

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I was particularly taken with the Las Vegas Show Gulls!

The butterfly is from the same people that make Da Bird and the Cat Catcher, which I have to say are my cats’ favourite things (so much so that they’ve managed to break both – there’s a lot of gaffer tape used in this household) and early tests have proved that they find the butterfly equally captivating. And anyone would be entertained by the sight of me running around the house and garden like a lunatic, waving a pink butterfly around and hotly pursued by two excited kittens at high speed.

My poor neighbours.

The last of the bunch is a mat with a rustly insert, and a clever twist – you unzip the side, pour in some catnip and re-zip the side.

Luna and Clover have never taken the slightest bit of notice of any of the catnip toys I’d bought them before – I assume they were too young. But when I took this downstairs, they were definitely more enthusiastic about it… and are now crashed out on the landing, snoozing.

It’s exhausting, this playing thing!

Keep an eye on Instagram and Twitter, and their own Silly Kittens blog, for more pics of them using their new playthings!

Home in spring

Spring is most definitely sprunging (is that a word?!) in my little corner of the world. Here’s my photo roundup of the last couple of weeks…

Dad cutting the overgrown lawn in my little garden

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Shafts of sunlight at long last in my living roomfireplace-sunlight

Yarn bomb at This One Wallthis-one-wall-yarn

My glorious, silly kittens posing most obligingly (we’ll ignore the hoover in the background)beautiful-kitties

Creative Courage and Creative Bloom – courses that are changing the trajectory of my life right nowcc-joy-effect

How have you marked the beginning of Spring?

A new way of working – single-tasking

We spend so much time these days doing eight things at once. At my day job today I had 19 tabs open across three different browsers, 17 programs on my start bar, 9 of which were running, plus two productivity timers. I also have two notebooks (one personal, one business), my mobile, my tablet and my desk phone.

My desk at home isn’t much better…

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… though muchly improved by the kitten. They’re usually up here when I’m working, one on the desk and one on the floor. But even here, where I choose what I do, I have multiple notebooks, folders, tabs in my browser, scraps of paper with interesting snippets on them, my mobile which is constantly pinging, letters and postcards to reply to.

You know what it’s like – you barely finish reading one article before shifting to the next. Sometimes you’ll click on a tab halfway through the day and realise you only got halfway through that tutorial on how to procrastinate less before *BOOM*, the Shiny Thing Problem resurfaced and you flew off to look at the next exciting thing.

This is partly to do with personality (creatives and entrepreneurs often find it nearly impossible to switch off bits of their brain and focus on one thing at a time), but is also because this is WAY too much information for one human being to process at once.

Among this mass of technology I often try to eat breakfast, do yesterday’s paper filing and talk to my colleagues about reasonably important things that need doing. I am forever making to-do lists which seem to grow rather than shrink as I achieve the items on them.

Enough is enough, and I want to try an experiement.  I want to try to do one single thing at a time – eat breakfast, have a conversation, read an article, write a post, finish a list of website edits… without hopping from one thing to another. I’d like to extend this to home and social life as well as my various working lives.

To cook without reading, play with the cats without being on the phone, talk to my friends on the phone without folding the washing (and doing the laundry without tripping over the cat?!).

I tend to subscribe to the view that if you’re busy, you’re getting things done. But my pleasantly busy has rapidly become complete overwhelm, where I have time for neither the things that must be done nor the things I want to do.

My friend Morwhenna says that to achieve more, you need to slow right down. I’ve fairly recently become officially properly single, which gives me incredible freedom to do exactly what I want without having to worry about anyone else. This seems like a good time to start the experiment.

I want to pay attention to everything that I do, whether mundane, necessary or exciting. Be in the moment more, be grateful that I am able to do these things, even if I’m not enjoying them much. Be aware of my senses – the movement, noises, smells and sights.

I’ll try it. I’ll let you know how I get on.

What can you do to slow down?