Saturday, 25 December 2010

ho ho ho - oh! oh! oh!

I asked Arabella and Wesley if they would like to pose for xmas photos this year?

ho ho ho? - I said,

no! no! no! - they said!

well I rarely dress up myself so expecting them to dress up was stretching it a bit too far!

Luckily we could all celebrate in style though - as Jack Rabbit and his red hat wearing admirer arrived in festive style!

This beautiful birch card arrived all the way from Scandinavia and has been one of my favourite images ever. I am completely besotted by rabbits and hares and I could think of no better dream than kissing them.
This birch card is called 'it was JackRabbit's First Kiss and hers too' and it carries me away to a tender loving place!
Did santa not bring you the display-all-year-round-card you had so wished for? - don't worry - JackRabbit is right here.

My JackRabbit birch card will be joining my other 3 xmas cards that I have had out on display for the last, er, goodness me, 5 years!

and also bringing in the festive cheer was our new family member Ram!

young and handsome Ram arrived all decked out in same hat as JackRabbit's admirer! my, my! though it was missing the white pom pom on top and he told me, with big opened eyes, that it had fallen off as he was being put into the post bag and he had not eaten it! nope! no siree!
hmmmm....

He had travelled all the way from Georgia and was rather hungry by the time he got here. No he wasn't wanting festive kisses - it was a mince pie he was after! (mincemeat vegetarian pies that is)

he had a look around the house, admired my Russian paintings then got tucked in to a pie, then another, then ...

(did your xmas ram eat their way out of the wrapping paper and disappear?? - don't worry - there are more here!)

well, JackRabbit was busy kissing, Ram was eating, then this little fellow came by to bring in the festive cheer too!

I asked him where on earth his hat was?
Hat! he snapped, 'can't you see I'm already wearing a black mask? why then would I need a hat??'

well, er, I said, for the season? I put him down and he scurried off to inspect the rabbit collection. Just as well the rabbits are at least 100 times his size and way too big to interest him. Then I spotted him going for the pies...

(did you not get that beautiful statement piece of attire that you wished Santa had brought? - I am sure it is waiting here for you)

as if it was not jolly enough here I then had the very good fortune to welcome Miss Princess to the home!
She came bearing gifts of chocolate and tea - all uneaten and no nibbles!

I had seen these delicate ladies on Shell's blog the Raspberry Rabbits. Sometimes it's hard to get perspective and size right when looking at photos and when I took her out of the bag and welcomed her into my home she just took my breath away!

She has the softest face ever and the green ribbon is 'just my shade' of green! (see my 20 year old cardy I am wearing!?)
She will be on display year round ofcourse ~ now, however, she was off to see what was on Arabella's plate, muttering something about not being able to eat chocolate as it's poisonous for rabbits, and so much for tea leaves!! tut! tut! so tiny, not even a mouthful!

(does your xmas tree still have that single vacant space for one more special handmade with love decoration? - just ask Shell here)

then before I even had time to replenish the mince pies a beautiful Celestial Hare Pendant hopped in to join us all!

Goodness me! surely my xmases have all come at once?! I was not even going to broach the subject of red hats with her, after all she had brought the moon and her magic into my home!

she was happy to meet my reindeer and enchant him with stories of the stars, mother earth and moon!

(did Santa lose your Celestial Hare Pendant amongst the stars as he dashed across the sky with his reindeer? - not to worry - your one is here)

Ram and JackRabbit got together and were whispering away ....

..... Not on your nelly! said Wesley

..... And don't even look at me! said Arabella

- 'if you get to open your presents a week before xmas there is no way we are wearing any silly hats - pom poms or not!' chimed Arabella and Wesley

aaah - xmas day - could it get any better?
(I did infact open all my 5 wrapped presents last week in a very unfestive mood, as well as dissect the special rabbit xmas crackers I ordered online - they will be going in my scrapbooks, the wrappers are just delightful)

I want to say thanks, from my heart, to some very special people, ~ they know who they are ~

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Sea + Gulls + Snow = brrrr

+ a rare Trimeresurus stejnegeri! = wow!

I went for a walk on the snow beach yesterday on my way home from the post office. It started to snow, there were hardly any people and only a couple of terribly excited dogs enjoying the snow and soft sand.

It must be awfully exciting to be a dog - racing wildly over the cold snow. But it was a bitterly cold day. On the weather forecast is said it would reach a high of -2 ! goodness me! and tonight it was to be a low of -7 ! I haven't seen those temperatures outside for years.

There was a beautiful black silt on the beach that made the water's edge black. It's hard to see it in this photo but the waves are actually black. Now I'm wondering - is this pollution?

I came across these hungry gulls vying for food that a kind old man was sharing with them. It's good to share your unwanted food with the hungry animals. Where ever you are.

To the gulls a mouthful is the difference between living and dying. Winter time is the hardest for them and they have to expend valuable energy seeking out food. With these freezing temperatures the food calories then keep them warm. There will be no fat reserves on the animals this year.

It was after 3 and the sun was departing for the day. She turned the sky a beautiful pink. Every night she has been giving Edinburgh the most amazing sunsets.

This soft green curvaceous bench is 30 seconds from my house. A perfect point to take in the mood of the sea. I've only ever seen snow lie on the beach once before and it was over 20 years ago. Scotland sure has been hit hard with this early winter.

Solitude comes at a price. Today it cost -2 degrees and a wet bum but it was worth it to see a beach free of humans. It's the only time it happens! Oh, except for lashing rain storms too!

When I was in Stavanger, Norway, earlier this year I visited the local Kunst Museum. They always have a collection of old and new paintings and interesting works of art. I admired these birch trees above and the winter scene next to it.

In their exhibition section were huge photographs showing arctic scenes. brrr.
Well, when you are viewing snow scenes in July they don't really have the same impact as when you revisit the photos in December with icicles on your windows.

Each photo was about 2.5m long! The detail was incredible and the mood plausible.
Don't these huskies look right at home?

I wonder what they are sniffing on the snow? and all in different directions too.

I liked this scene with the huge bergs in the inlet. Can you see the roof tops in the lower left corner? Those bergs are Big!! and there looks to be low lying cloud cover over the mountains.

When it snows the skies turn black. The snow clouds are so omnipresent and there is little telling the boundaries of their clouds. I have watched them in the distance and they just seem to envelope the horizon, swallowing the land and making it all one. It's very moving!

..... meanwhile back on the snow beach by the bitter North Sea I spotted a very rare snake!!

I immediately recognized it as a female and from the viper family as I had seen pictures of them before but never met one. She was a rare Stejneger's pit viper, Trimeresurus stejnegeri, from the very hot Far East and definitely should not have been in frigid Scottish waters!!!

Well, I was going to take her home to meet the rest of the gang but she said to me that was happy spending time one the beach.
She had met a few dogs already and they had had some fun times but they had to leave her behind in favour of driftwood sticks, and it was only a matter of tides before a lucky kid picked her up, washed her in the surf and took her home to their Kung Fu Panda toy collection.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

the White stuff ....

today I received an email asking for my signature to stop the proposed go ahead of the UK's first planned inhumane 'mega dairy' where the cows will never go outside to walk on the earth or eat grass! (are cows now classed as 'living machines'??)

Well, I signed immediately, ofcourse! infact I have been following the progress of this very scary proposed farm in Lincolnshire for a while.

I don't drink milk.
I'm not a vegan because I still eat butter and cheese. But I haven't drank milk for years.
I stopped drinking it because the mother cow has to give birth to a calf every year to be able to produce all that milk. The calf is immediately taken away from her, some mothers cry for ages and never get over losing their babies. And all the male calves are immediately killed on birth and a few of them are put in veal crates for a short miserable life of hell and shipped off to Europe where they have slacker laws than the UK about animal welfare.

So, because I drink masses of cups of tea every day and I really need my tea, I switched to soya milk. I drink Sainsbury's basic brand unsweetened soya. It's the cheapest on the market and I love it. My tea tastes just great and I use soya in the place of milk for absolutely everything, including my haphazard attempts at baking and cooking.

I can't alleviate my guilt about eating cheese and butter. I don't eat cheese very often and only a particular type when I do.
Though I know the milk to make the cheese is the same - from the cows. And the only butter I ever use is Anchor organic salted. I just can't eat margarine. But I can do something about my milk consumption as it is far, far greater than the butter and cheese combined.

I don't want this factory farm to go ahead so I signed the petition. I don't judge anyone else in their eating habits, but I'm happy with the choices I have made and the reasons why I made them. And by making this small change I know I have made a big impact on the dairy industry.

I love cows, they have the most gentle faces and beautiful big expressive eyes. For every piece of cheese and butter I eat I give thanks.

This is the petition Here.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

13 - Lucky for some - then ADD +1!

Today was the draw for the Rabbit and Guinea Pig Welfare Winter Raffle that I held to raise funds for their furries during the leaner winter months.

I was blessed to have 10 very generous artists donate their handmade work as prizes! A BIG thank you!! There were 13 prizes to win and I added on an extra last minute prize to make it 14 in total!

Ross Minett from OneKind was doing the draw for me. When I arrived at their office this morning I was warmly greeted by the office managers Esme and Paddy.

Esme is the most adorable and very beautiful stafforshire terrier and she smiled and wagged her tail non stop! In the pic above her white tail is waggily madly - can you see the blur?

Paddy is there too, coming to say hello!

Esme was rescued after she had been used for breeding purposes. I was amazed by her love and gentleness and playfulness after having had such a sad life. She is utterly adorable and I fell for her straight away! plus we got on really well, as she showed me where the Treats tin was kept!

Ross rescued Paddy 9 years ago after he was found unconscious by the side of the road with no collar, no micro chip or tag. He was only 18 months old. Paddy is a darling and I warmed to him immediately but he was wary of me at first and had a good sniff of me!

Paddy did the supervising of the draw as Ross chose the tickets from the Golden Fish trinket dish. Isn't he such a handsome dog, and he was was friendly with me by the end of the draw!

Ross chose the order of the prizes, out of a bag (see all the creases?)

and each prize had it's winner drawn at the same time from the Golden Fish. The fish was very popular!

So - without further adoo -

Prize Number 1 - Felt Rabbit Brooch by Kim from MidnightRabbits and Veganessa

Winner - Paul Mellor, UK !!! congratulations Paul!

Prize Number 2 - Doggie Bag by Eline from Elineof

Winner - Ann Mari Tait, Norway !!! congratulations Ann Mari! (er, Ann Mari is my tiny niece! :) just as well Ross was doing the draw!

Prize Number 3 - The Protector Original Watercolour by Alison from Eastwitching

Winner - Pey Lu, Canada !!! congratulations Pey!

Prize Number 4 - Esme the Rabbit by er, Pey, the winner above, from Peylu

Winner - Kay Waugh, UK !!! congratulations Kay!

Prize Number 5 - Pattern Rabbit by Carly from NakedCarlyArt

Winner - Kevin Phillips, UK !!! congratulations Kevin!

Prize Number 6 - Mother Hare Ermine by me! Annette from DragonHouseofYuen

Winner - Frumerie's Glass Menagerie, USA !!! congratulations!

Prize Number 7 - Greyhound is Disguise screenprinted Tea Towel by Jane from TheDogHouse



Winner - Brad Davis, UK !!! congratulations Brad!

Prize Number 8 - Snuggle Sweet Nothings photo print by Debbie from ShadedMemories

Winner - Colin Freeman, UK !!! congratulations Colin!

Prize Number 9 - Dancing Hare Brooch by Jeanette from SquareHare

Winner - Gabriella Atzori, UK !!! congratulations Gabriella!

Prize Number 10 - Celestial Hare Pendant by Jeanette from SquareHare

Winner - Katie Gould, UK !!! congratulations Katie!

Prize Number 11 - Snowshoe Hare Mug by Kirsten from KirstensClay

Winner - Sue Wolfe, UK !!! congratulations Sue!

Prize Number 12 - The Faun Brooch by Jeanette from SquareHare

Winner - the rabbit and guinea pig rescuer herself! - Tracy Wadsworth !!! congratulations Tracy!

Prize Number 13 - Set of 4 Luxury Photo Notecards by Jen from McGuinnessPhotography

Winner - Inger Maaike, Norway !!! congratulations Inger!

and bonus Prize Number 14 - a tiny hare Ornament decoration by me, Annette from DragonHouseofYuen
Winner - Theo Sayer, UK !!! congratulations Theo!

here are the winners next to their prizes (I still had to add No14 here!)
As you can see all addresses have been tippexed out (for privacy, hope no-one minds)

Whew!! that was a BIG raffle Paddy said and now he's all raffled out!

Esme is looking for another treat - how could anyone say no?? I sure couldn't! and Paddy is now showing me the door! Thank you Paddy!

thanks so much to all the prize givers - Pey, Jen, Alison, Jeanette, Jane, Carly, Eline, Kim, Kirsten and Debbie! I could not have done this without you all,
and thanks so much to everyone who bought a ticket! The raffle would not have been a raffle without the very generous buyers! or the people who helped spread the word via FB, twitter and blogs! Thank You all!!
If you didn't win the prize you had your eyes on, there are links above to the prize givers shops - you never know, you may get exactly what you wished for this Christmas!

and if you would like to stay informed about OneKind and help in their internet campaigns by signing online petitions to help the welfare of animals, please sign up for their newsletter - they are serious about animals and making the world a more caring place for all beings!

Many thanks Ross! and cuddles and treasts for Esme and Paddy - you were all the icing on the cake!