Saturday, 27 June 2009

Time Out

Wesley had been enjoying some spring greens when he decided to have a small rest. You can just see the green stains on his mouth ~

He was wondering when the Grey Hare Card draw would take place. I said that the enormous task of putting all the names down on paper, then separating them and then scrunching them all up into small balls would begin soon. Not to mention trying to remember who had voted for all the grey hares!

He wants to hurry up and choose a name - so does Arabella! They know that the names will be put inside their treat ball and are secretly hoping that there will be more treats than names!
There will be 2 winners in this draw!
The card comes with a wedgwood blue envelope that has decreased stickablility so a baby grey hare has been added with some tape on the back to keep the card (and all the hares) in.

As with all my cards there is a small complimentary gift tag. Just incase you are giving a present along with your card.
Or if they already have everything they need, as some people do when they reach a certain age, and never want anything for their birthday then you can give this super card as a present!

(It looks great framed or on a mantlepiece year round, and as increasing age comes with decreasing eyesight they won't be able to see the numbers too well.....)

and as usual all packages from Dragon House of Yuen come beautifully gift wrapped.
Wesley is back to eating his greens.

I'm busy scratching names down! ......

Monday, 22 June 2009

Thank You x 288

My Grey Hare Birthday Card won the Storque Birthday Card voting poll with 288 votes!

I had been ever mindful of the Aesop Fable - The Tortoise and the Hare, especially when I woke up today to see the 2nd place contestant Pup and Pony gain 50+ votes overnight to my 8!

Priceless was concerned because I was acting tetchy, pacing the room, refreshing my browser (even though it doesn't need to be refreshed!), sweating and generally fretting!

The grey hares were concerned too!

They all reminded me that it was merely a game.

So as a BIG thank you I shall be having a prize draw for one of these custom made cards - all the people whom I know voted for me will be entered automatically and if you did vote but didn't tell me - then please send me an etsy convo or leave a comment here.

Anyone else is also very welcome to enter - just leave a comment.

The draw will be done by my rescue rabbit Wesley in about a weeks time since it is his rabbit rescue The Rabbit and Guinea Pig Welfare that is being helped from the sale of these cards.

Perhaps Arabella will be making a draw too? After all there are no losers :)

Thank you as well to my Etsy For Animals Team and to etsy!

Friday, 19 June 2009

No Snoozing Here !

My grey hare "Its That Time Again!!! Happy Birthday" card is in an Etsy Storque Voting Poll -

Arabella was thinking of having a small snooze to contemplate the significance of this!!!

But she was immediately chastised by 60+ very small grey lagomorphs - and I thought that Priceless was pushy when he was in a vote poll!

The little hares have been working very, very hard to garner votes. They have been involved with my treasury making on etsy, the content of my correspondence on etsy, my postings on etsy forum threads .... the list (intervention) goes on .....

They have decided that every one of them should have at least 10 votes minimum. Well, I would like that to happen too! and unlike Priceless, they are not even going to mention what is behind them. Now if that contestant had to have 10 votes for each little thingy on it ..... then, oh! my goodness!!

The grey hare card is available in my etsy shop and they are all custom made. I would get the little furries to help with the cutting out of the new furries, but the scissors are too heavy for them to use and their teeth leave a jagged edge :)

Humphrey and Boggart, two beautiful rabbits waiting for their forever home at the Rabbit and Guinea Pig Welfare in Rugby, England, would like every one to consider voting for the card - and even better - perhaps buying a grey hare card so that they can get 10% from each sale.
Arabella seems to be making a familiar noise ..... 'zzzzz..'

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Interview - Meet Shannon - from etsy shop Pigatopia Studios

Not long after I first joined etsy and started to bookmark my favourite images I came across this very tender piglet painting and even more touching was the description that the little mite only lived for 15 days!
This was my first introduction to Shannon from etsy shop Pigatopia Studios. I was immediately captivated by her honesty and gentleness, and ofcourse her love of all beings porcine. Plus I also liked the delicate way she painted these noble sentient beings.

I now regularly visit Shannon's blog Pigatopia Studio's and have spent much time reading very informative articles on pig nutrition, pig rescues, pig welfare and many other pig issues, regardless of the fact that the only pigs I have are a collection of little money banks!

Shannon regularly has give-aways on her blog and I was lucky enough to participate in one, and to win a prize! I was only a winner because Shannon had carved each entrant's number onto an apple and then let her pigs choose a winning apple! How novel!

I had Wilma choose my 'apple' - isn't that so sweet - and she got to eat the apple aswell!

My prize was a watercolour painting of a subject of my choice done by Shannon. I knew immediately that I wanted to have a painting of a piggie!

Whilst reading Shannon's blog I came across the shockingly sad to happy story of Leila. I loved her beautiful face and gentle demeanour.

This is Leila after being rescued. She has bad wounds to hear body and face after being attacked. Her 'owners' did not want her back and the people who tried to keep her safe were told to 'shoot her and eat her'.

So, it was this photo of Shannon lovingly embracing very beautiful Leila after the lowest ebb in her life that I wanted Shannon to paint.
To me this picture embodies the true spirit of selfless love by those who care for all sentient beings and dedicate their lives to making another's life better.

When I received my painting in the post from America I was very happy indeed! Leila is looking strong and healthy and Shannon is sharing her hope and love!
Thank you kindly Shannon. This will always bring a tear to my eye and a warm feeling in my heart :)

I greatly admire Shannon's tireless rescue work and her deep love for pigs, so I asked her if she would like to answer a few questions for the wonderful folks who take time to stop by here.
Thankfully she said yes!
You have 12 pigs and 6 dogs? What are their names and where they did they come from?

I also had a kitty that was put to sleep a couple of months ago. She was 17 years old and her back gave out on her and she had no blood going to her back legs.
7 of the pigs and all 6 dogs come in and out of the house as they please.
Pigs -
Vinny is my first pigger. He came from a back yard breeder. (Very bad conditions). I had Vinny for about 5 years when I found out about someone who had one of his litter mates, Rosie, and wanted to find her a home. She started off as an outside pig and slowly became an inside pigger who now sleeps outside (by choice) once again.
We wanted a piglet so I called my friend Lynne Bosimer of Noah's Ark Potbellied Pig Sanctuary to help me find a piglet that needed a home. Now both Vinny and Rosie loved Wilma the piglet but they were not as active as her so I contacted Lynne again to find another piglet for Wilma to play with. That is how we got Pebbles.
Then we found out about a pregnant pig and a couple of her daughters that needed a home ASAP or they were going to be shot! We took mama and the twins and when mama had her piglets we kept 2 of them. So that is Big Mama, The Twins and Phread and Barney. We placed the rest of the piglets in awesome homes.
Then we rescued a pig - Piggly - who sleeps in our living room under the TV. His mommy rescued him from being snake food then decided after raising him for 7 years that she couldn't keep him and if I didn't take him she was going to let the neighbour eat him! She said - "I'd have pork chops for, like, a month from him"!!
Heidi and Olivia are both rescues that I took in so that they would not have to be shipped out of Florida when they lost their home.
I have rescued and saved over 27 pigs in 5 years.
Unfortunately I have had to bury some awesome friends.
Dogs -
The newest dog is Charlie. He is a 5 month old black Chow Chow. We rescued him from Webster, a car swap meet. A small scale animal rescue was out there trying to find homes for dogs.
He was well taken care of but needed a home.
Next is Runt. She is a small Shepherd, under 50lbs, and we found her running down the road. She walked in front of my car. The vet guessed she was about 2 months old then.
Then there is Vixin. She came from Friend of Stray's Animal Rescue. She is a 6-7 year old Border Collie.
Abby is a very large Jack Russel Terrier, about 8-9 years old. Abby came from ASPCA when she was 2 years old.
Sandy a Rottie/Pit mix and is 5 years old and spoiled. We have had Sandy since she was 6 weeks old. She was taken from a very bad family.
Bufford is a 4-5 year old American Bulldog. We went to rescue a pig and came back with a puppy!
I take Bufford and Runt to work with me every day. Everyone else just stays at home watching the house and pigs. ;8)
They love swimming every day and they catch and fetch tennis balls from the pool.
What animal organisations do you support - and why?
I started out just promoting Noah's Ark Potbellied Pig Sanctuary because they were the ones to teach me about my pigs and help when ever I had questions.
I now help many charities.
Blockhead Radio Live is a radio station that is for artists by artists. They have helped me learn how to promote my art and sell it.
I also help C.A.R. - Creative Animal Relief which is a sister site to Etsy For Animals - a group of artists trying to help animals in need.
I donate my art to many, many rescues, for example -
Handmade 4 Hounds - Artist helping greyhounds and sighthounds, based in Scotland
Rooterville - a pig placement network
Sandon Shangri La - a farm sanctuary
Pets Jubilee - an artist's sample gift box collection
Gallastar - an Equine Centre
AWBAR - Abandoned Wild babies Animal Rescue
Your tireless advocacy on behalf of the animals is amazing!
I have not been able to bring in any new rescues. I had to say no more, as I have to pay for the animals I have rescued already. I wish I could take more but it would not be fair to the animals I already have. That is why I donate tons of artwork to help animal rescues around the world.

Tell me about when you had your rabbit Jake.
I had Jake before I got so many dogs. He was the softest sweet bunny ever and I miss him very much. He was a rescue bunny who had had a bad home. He got to meet pigs Vinny and Rosie. He was 1 year old when I got him. The pigs were afraid of him because he moved in a motion they were not used to.
What is your full time job?
I run Simply Hydroponics and Organics North. We teach people how to garden inside and out. I love my job! I make art in my spare time.
A sleeping Black Labrador - check out the white whiskers!
How did your etsy shop come about?

I got started on etsy when I was trying to make extra money to pay for vet bills and raise money for Noah's Ark PBP Rescue at the same time.
A fellow piggie friend said to try etsy. I have been here ever since!
and when did you start to paint?
I started painting 2 years ago. I am self taught. I wanted to be able to make realistic 'pigtures' so I picked up a book and started sketching. I got good at cartoony stuff and slowly started doing more portraits.
Where does your inspiration come from for your painting subjects?

Usually my pigtures are made from pigtures people provide me with. I have been told I capture the soul of the animal. When I started doing memorial portraits people told me that it made the loss somehow easier for them.
I hope to continue doing portraits in the future. I have started designing tatoos as well.
Do you have a creating 'ritual'? if so - what is it?
I always start painting the eyes first.
I have to get the eyes right or I cannot move on to the the rest of the portrait.
I love doing watercolours the most but I have been doing airbrushing as well. I airbrushed my hubby's bike tank and tyre (tire) cover on my car. I love airbrushing tee shirts as well. I have recently done a few oil painting portaits, and while it takes a lot longer to dry, oil is very fun to work with.
I also love etching glass and wood burning. They are a little more tricky because I do them freehand and if you mess up you cannot erase it.
Where else do you sell / exhibit / show your work?
I have many websites going -
My etsy shop - Pigatopia Studios
My Artfire shop - Pigatopia Studios
My MadeByHand ByMe shop - Pigatopia by hand
My Deviant Art shop - Pigatopia
My Fine Art America site - Shannon
This is an etched glass cookie jar. Patches will be happy (and full!)

What is your favourite item in your etsy Pigatopia shop and why?

The "PIGATOPIA" book is my favorite because it is a real story.
Everyone who has read the book has loved it very, very much. The book allows you to follow the rescue animals around in every day life and see things from the animal's point of view.
Shannon's book is self illustrated aswell.

What do you collect? and why?
I collect pig stuff and car stuff. I grew up around race cars and I love piggers.
I have 3 favourite cars
- 1969 Camero
- 1979 Corvette
- 1963 Corvette
How many of your dreams have you achieved?
I have achieved a few amazing dreams. I have an awesome family and home. I graduated from college. I have made many friends and helped even more animals than I could have thought to have helped!
And any dreams you would like to share?
It helps me sleep at night knowing I am helping make a difference.
Anything you would like to add?

I would like to let any new people trying to start a business to keep in mind that it takes a little time to get started - do not give up!
You must find your niche or something that only you do or make.
Thanx, Shannon
I would like to thank Shannon for taking the time to answer my questions and for helping the animals that are so dear to her.
I love my painting and Shannon's skillful use of colour and light. Please visit her etsy shop if you would like a painting of your own and remember that all money raised goes directly to helping the animals.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Nothing but Hares at the Harbour!

I am participating in the 3 Harbours Exhibition again this year. It runs for 2 concurrent weekends and the venue I am in is open all week aswell. I am sharing with 6 other artists.

and unlike last year - all my paintings this year are of Hares!

My love of lagomorphs has no bounds though I haven't really painted many of them. However I decided to paint some for this show. Above is a detailed study of a brown hare. I really like this painting!

This is a larger one of a brown hare, having a momentary rest and look around.

and this one of a mother feeding her young, which happens briefly once a day when the mother comes to the youngster's hiding spot, was done quite a few years ago. I felt that it was appropriate for this exhibition.

The show takes place is multiple venues across 3 Scottish sea-side towns, hence the name 3 harbours. I am in a 'house' and have a huge white painted wall. I think the watercolours go quite well together despite their differences.
Can you tell I like black frames? Usually I go for plain wooden ones, preferring the visible grain, but sometimes it just has to be black. Different frames will also 'bring out' different tones and colours in your paintings - so alot of trial and error is involved.

For me, framing is directly related to the subject, not the location of the painting. Paintings may change walls easily and still look exquisite, however a frame is harder to change and may not always do justice to the painting.

I have small tags with the name and the price below each work.

I have one of my Lucky in Love collages for sale too. This one has a print on watercolour paper that has been hand detailed, of my mandarin ducks. I will put some in my etsy shop shortly as I presently only have one original there.

These two hare paintings were done last year and are based on the rocky, barren mountain scape that I saw often in Norway. In Norwegian these areas are called 'vidder'. These two hares have been outlined in ink. Makes a change from a standard watercolour, no reason not be daring!
If you are in the area then stop by, you may see a beautiful work of art just for you by one of the many talented artists, including Sheila Tocker, a wonderful Scottish artist that I exhibited with last year.

Arabella is moulting slightly for summer.
She is now wearing a beautiful big heart and sends her love to the single, older male rabbits and piggies at The Rabbit and Guinea Pig Rescue in Rugby, wishing they find their forever homes soon. xxx
Not able to adopt a rabbit but still feel for them? Able to afford a $1 or two? then consider a donation to help furries there.
All sales in my etsy shop donate 10% this month to RNGP.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Rabbit and Guinea Pig Welfare - efa charity of the month

I am a member of the Etsy 600 strong global team Etsy For Animals, efa. Every month a charity is chosen to be the lucky recipient of donations from our collective fundraising efforts.

This month my chosen charity The Rabbit and Guinea Pig Welfare in Rugby, Enlgand, was picked. I was delighted to let Tracy know the good news. As you may already know this is the rescue that I got my beautiful Wesley from in November 2007.
Here is Wesley, stirring from a doze, to see what all the commotion is about!

Wesley still has some upper respiratory problems that we handle on a daily basis and treat homeopathically with our wonderful vet Margot. Wesley loves being here and I can have no greater reward than to hear him make small peeping noises when I give him some kale and carrot tops to eat!

and here is why Wesley was dozing - he had just destroyed his kitty litter and done some 'house-keeping'!
Tracy said that she has lots of rabbits and guinea pigs still waiting for their forever homes. She has no females left, only males, and most of them are not young. She would greatly love to find homes for them so that they may have a loving and happy life for the rest of their remaining years.
She would also like to encourage those with a single rabbit to consider adopting a bonded pair from her, so that you may have a happy trio. Tracy will assess your rabbit for suitability with the ones in her rescue and bonding can also be done.

Here is Andrew, playing happily whist waiting for his forever home. Rabbits love to play with toys that can be picked up and thrown around. Andrew is taking his toy with him!!
Tracy has a very informative page all about rabbits that is a must read for any prosepctive rabbit owner and current owner.
Rabbits are not suitable for children and parents are often turned away from rescues because they want to get their child a 'pet' and see rabbits as 'the easy option'. Nothing could be further from the truth and rabbits are very demanding, sometimes destructive beings and need to be accommodated suitably with enough daily attention and stimulation.
The benefit of getting an older rabbit is that you have given a forever home to a furry who would normally be overlooked. Rabbits live up to 14 years in properly cared for environments.
Here is Dasher waiting for a suitable person to take him home. Dasher has one lop ear and one normal ear which is very unusual. He is a very handsome chap indeed!
All of these chaps can be met now at Tracy's rescue.
Please contact her before hand to arrange a suitable time for visiting.

Thomas is enjoying his carrot more than the toys! He is a beautiful silvery coloured lop rabbit.
Irrespective of a rabbits age, I have been lucky to have adopted 3 'adults' whose personalities have grown from the day they came home. Baby rabbits reach full size within 6 months to a year and some rabbits can reach the size of small dogs.
When you are assessed for suitability to adopt a rabbit that has already had a traumatic start to life, sometimes with great psychological problems, then you have taken the first step to giving a very special being a second chance and also helping another needy rabbit come into the rescue centre.
Please do not go to the rescue with preconceived notions about what breed, colour, age and even sex of rabbit you want - in many cases you will meet the right rabbit - just waiting there for you!
Take black Bunny her for instance
- he is beautiful, looks imposing and comes with a plus one! Monty.
He too is beautiful with a huge chocolate spot on his nose.
Yup - that would be great - one big black bunny and a friend to match!
Uh-oh what's this???
....a tiny little black fluffball and a huge plus one!!
Monty and Bunny will make someone doubly happy and they already know each other and are good friends.
When Zai chose Arabella we were surprised And delighted!
She looked and acted like a hare! but Zai went over to her and licked her on the nose as his chosen one.

Here is Buster in a beautiful black silver fox type marking. He has a fluffy face and small white paw pads. He is very inquisitive - look at his ears!
And this is an English Spot called Prancer with gorgeous 'spots' all over him.

If you can travel to Rugby to meet a new friend then Tracy will be only too glad. I made the 600 mile round trip in 19 hours travelling down from Edinburgh, Scotland. Arabella was sleeping for the whole journey!
It bucketed rain for nearly the whole trip with pretty bad fog aswell - typical British weather, but then again, it was November! I had forgottent that 600 miles is roughly 1000km from my long distance driving trips across Australia!

This is Frisky another lop with very soft looking slate grey and fawn coloured fur.
Male rabbits are great house bunnies. All the rabbits at RNGP are neutered and spayed.
Rabbits are very inquisitive and will also mark their territories. They have a scent gland under their chin and will rub it on everything they can reach.
In most cases you will know that your rabbit loves - and owns you because he will 'chin' your knees when you are at his level on the floor!

This amazing chap is Winnie and he has fantastic spots all over plus a muzzle cover! What a fluffy face he has, just imagine all the bits of carrot sticking to his fur!
Wesley gets carrot bits stuck to him! and Arabella sometimes has food on her dewlap! We won't even mention the state I get in when I'm tucking in!

This is Frodo a very handsome silvery grey lop. He looks magnificent with the sun shining on him!
Running a rescue is hard and never ending work. There is always a demand for supplies that are used regularly as well as donations of items and monetary donations (irrespective of size - any amount is GREATLY accepted).
Tracy can accept donations by UK cheque and also by paypal.
When rabbits and guinea pigs are adopted out there is an adoption fee to pay which covers their neutering or spaying costs and vaccinations.
Please, if you can afford it, add on a little more.
Wesley joined our family for £100, as did Arabella, and I know that every single penny went to help the rabbits we were not able to take.

Tracy also has guinea pigs waiting for their forever homes.
Like the rabbits, she has lots of boys too. Here is Dillion, the handsome black one, next to Squeak the tortie.
Guinea pigs and rabbits should never be kept together. They have different dietary habits and rabbits can usually become dominant and aggressive.
There is a very informative page on the RNGP website about guinea pig care.

This is Noel. He has a lovely face with gentle eyes!
If you have either piggies or rabbits then you can buy mail order treats from online shop Pampered Piggies run by Sally. Please quote RNGP when you order so that Tracy may receive 10% from your order.
I have ordered from Sally a couple of times and liked her attentive service and dried plantain, artichhoke and roses that I got for Arabella and Wesley. 10% will be donated to RNGP for any repeat purchases you make aswell, please mention them when re-ordering.
I don't buy my treats from anyone else.
This is Rufuss waiting elegantly for his forever home. Just look at his amazing forward crest!
Tracy has many more little furries - mainly males, usually older ones, waiting for homes. Please consider adding 2 to your family or bonding 2 from Tracy with your own furball.

Maybe you don't have a suitable home at present to take in a lifelong companion but may have some spare time? RNGP would gladly welcome assistance.
In this case there is no broth, so more hands will do better work - and more hearts will share more love with the rabbits and guineas!
Worried that it would break your heart???
(I was always scared of getting a broken heart - not any more!)
Because I can't donate my time I am gladly able to donate some of my earnings. 10% from the sale of these one of a kind, handmade bags will go to the RNGP. All available now in my etsy shop.
I can take lay aways, at no extra cost and I can also make the handles longer if you so desire. I can also take the handles off if you would prefer to have a textile vessel instead.
Wesley in North American Brown Grizzly Bear Applique Jumper. This is my first Wesley bag.

This is Arabella in Vintage Japanese Geisha Kimono Jumper. Great to take premieres of Jet Li movies! (not that he is Japanese...)

and this is Arabella in Opulent Blue Persian Style Jumper. Baby Hare Rosy wanted to be in the pic! (what could I say??)

and this is Arabella in a real Scottish Kilt. My 5yo niece already has a kilt, and it won't fit me!!!
Arabella likes to whirl and burl to the skirling bagpipes!
I would like to thank the founder of Etsy For Animals - Michele - (who just recently got married, has a puppy sight-dog, 2 rescue cats and her own etsy shop!) for starting this fantastic team of international, like-minded, caring people who give so much to the animals
- and for having The Rabbit and Guinea Pig Welfare as the June charity of the month.
All sales in my etsy shop will donate 10% to RNGP this month (except otherwise pledged).
If you are able to donate a $1 or 2 then RNGP will be very grateful indeed.
Wesley is now going back to finish his snooze, but before he does he would like to say
- hello! to Tracy and thank her from the bottom of his heart for taking him in at the very worst moment of his life, for getting him better, giving him love, warmth, kindness and food, and for kindly inviting Annette, Keong and Arabella down to Rugby to meet him and take him home :)