Sew Good

Bad pun, I know. It also has a clever double meaning. While I am saying how good it is that I’m sewing agian, you the audience, will be thinking how good the workmanship is. Or not. Frankly. I don’t care because it IS good to be sewing agian.

A recent bout of illness has left me with little energy and all the plans I had for sewing and art stuff have been put very much on hold, especially as I couldn’t keep up with the writing stuff (note the highly technical use of the word stuff here. Obviously the word has a vastly different meaning when paired with art and with writing)

I have managed to get some work done, and I think I’m improving. I’ll leave that judgment up to you. I have also downloaded plenty of new patterns to keep me busy for a while.

Without further ado, may I introduce my new creations-

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This is my little Welsh dragon, made from a pair of leggings for a two year old, that I picked up for £1 at Asda.

It’s actually red, but no matter how I photographed it, against what background, it just comes out orange.

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Tiger Lily the spiky cat. Made with a baby’s t-shirt I bought in the same sale for £1. both used scraps of felt for the decoration but that was it.

I’m quite fond of my kitty. He nods his head and scares the real cats (with a bit of help of course)

And finally, my all times favourite so far, made from the same leggings as the dragon and my third find at the sale, a pink t-shirt.

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March 17th at Romance Reviews Celebration Event-Giveaway: “The Runaway” by Nephy Hart

Flying With Red Haircrow Productions

anniv2017Part of The Romance Reviews month long anniversary celebration. Play games, join the fun and win prizes! Along with hundreds of other writers in all genres of romance, author Nephy Hart offers one of her ebooks, “The Runaway” as a giveaway to prize winners.


Synopsis: “Ciarrai is running away from a past that’s still breathing down his neck. Jack has no past, his memory wiped in the accident that killed his parents. They meet and their lives move forward like stones skimming the surface of the water, dipping into memories that want to surface and those that want to lie buried forever.

Together, they struggle to come to terms with what happened in the past and where they want to go in the future, but can Jack cope with a man who likes to dress in leather mini-skirts and silk kimonos? Can Ciarrai trust Jack with the secrets of his…

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Sewing Frenzy

I have passions that go in cycles so I have to be very careful what I start because once the bug bites I can’t get rid of it until the passion has run its course. Sometimes this takes years and I’m desperate to stop one of them stealing my writing.

This time, the obsession is sewing in general, making soft toys in particular. I thought I might share some of them with you.

I started off with owls. Who wouldn’t? They’re simple, instantly recognizable and ripe with opportunity to personalise. some of these are stuffed with super-soft filling, and some filled with dried lavender. As I keep them in the same bag, they all smell lovely.

I can do a couple of these in one night and they’re fun to experiment with. some thing work, some don’t but I used them to practice my needle skills which have been dormant for quite a while. My favourites are the purple one with a feather, and the red and green one with the perpetually surprised expression.

Next, I ventured onto something a little more complicated. After scouring the internet for cat patterns, I settled on this onemimg_0496Again, it stretched my sewing and stuffing skills, and I made mistakes I (hopefully) won’t make next time I use this pattern.

After a cat, the natural progression (?) was to an elephant!! Yeah, okay maybe not a natural progression, but that’s the way it went. (via dragon but we’ll come to that in a minute).

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The dragon is one of the most complex pieces I have done so far, and although it was fun to do I don’t think I’ll be going there for a while because it really was fiddly and I want to move on to other things. I do love my baby dragon though, I think he has such a sweet expression.

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Although the sea horse seems similar to the dragon, he was a LOT easier to sew and I had fun with him. I did manage to screw up the back fin, but I know what I did wrong and I’ll be better next time.

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My next project is a multi-coloured teddy, so watch this space.

I’ve also taken up cross stitch again so here’s a peep at a piece I started probably ten years ago and which has been sitting patiently in its sewing bag for almost a decade.

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More Talk

Here’s a little snippet from Talk Of The Town, in which Carl is hunting in the early morning–trying to work out his frustrations with Craig. The poor being is becoming impatient– …

Source: More Talk

“Forget Winnetou!” Help Us Reach our #Crowdfunding Goal

Flying With Red Haircrow Productions

crowdfundeditThe crowdfunding campaign for our documentary film Forget Winnetou! Going Beyond Native Stereotypes in Germany is now live. Please drop by, read more about the story behind our film, our aims and who is involved. Check out our perks and consider donating but most of all, we just ask that you please help us out by sharing our message around in some way.

What’s unique about our documentary? To date, there is no other film or project like it in Germany that addresses the issue of stereotyping, and which includes a strong, wider perspective from Native Americans. We’ll present “healthier” more culturally respectful ways that decolonize minds and media, while giving Natives an opportunity to present themselves.

Crowdfunding campaign link https://igg.me/at/forgetwinnetoufilm.

Website https://forgetwinnetou.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/forgetwinnetoufilm/
Twitter https://twitter.com/forgetwinnetou/
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Cats, Cats, and More Cats…and a Dog…and a Dragon

I was sitting here last night, laughing at the antics of my insane pets, when I thought they might be a little light relief to blog about, at a time when all of us could do with a little light in our lives. The world outside my walls has gone crazy, and I will continue to fight in it, but just for a while, let’s draw into this safe space and allow ourselves a few moments to smile.

I have five pets (six if you count the boy, but I’m told I can’t, so five) – Three cats, a dog and a dragon. Yes, a dragon. Smaug. Let’s introduce him first.

Smaug is a beautiful, bearded dragon, with one eye. Yes, he’s a one eyed dragon. Long story short, when we went to get Efan his dragon he heard mention of one that had lost an eye because of abuse by a previous owner and immediately had to have him. Even though we went away to wait for the new delivery of adult dragons, we had to go back the very next day because Efan was absolutely set on this one, even before meeting him. He’d practically cried all night because he was so sad about the dragon no one wanted. HE wanted him, and so Smaug became a valued member of the family.

For some reason, I had thought lizards of all kinds to be quite boring. I mean, what do they do? Just sit there and blink and eat worms. Hmm. Well that is kind of all that Smaug does, but he does it with such flair. He also swims, climbs all over Efan,  like’s to sit on his head, and absolutely recognizes the sound of his voice.

When we first had Smaug, in an attempt to be a good Dragon Mommy, I got the little angel some locusts. NEVER AGAIN! OMG those things are gross. The glare at you as if accusing you of being an evil murderer, which of course I was, then make obvious attempts at garnering mercy by fighting so goddam hard to live! I have a quiver even thinking about it. They lost major sympathy though when one escaped and creeped the hell out of me by how they can cling upside down to things. Half an hour of squeals and tantrums later I was more than happy to feed the bloody thing to the dragon, and it could look at me all it liked. Come to think of it I believe that look was a curse rather than a plea, a dare even.

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As a complete aside, have you SEEN the Dragon Caterpillar? It’s one amazing little creature. The moths that come from them are awesome, too but these little fellas are just…

Next, shall we introduce Bella, the dog

Bella is a cross Whippet and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. She loves the world and is persistently joyful, in the face of many trials – more of which we shall come to later.

Bella is Efan’s dog, and she worships him, probably just a little more than he worships her. Never has a boy and his dog been so close and so dippy.

Let me just tell you one thing about Bella – she has VERY sharp claws. I don’t think Efan owns a single piece of clothing that doesn’t contains holes, and as for bedding…. The problem is that we can’t do anything about it. The vet can only cut her claws so far because she bleeds like a stuck pig if they get it a little wrong. I’m scared to death she’s going to jump up on a visitor and shred their best clothes. I suppose I should get a sign. “Beware of the Dog” I suppose I wouldn’t have to entirely define what visitors need beware of “Beware of the Dog – who will try to show you how much she absolutely adores you by leaping all over you tearing clothes and skin indiscriminately.” Doesn’t really run off the tongue and there’s not that much room on a sign.

Bella is a strange dog. She loves to dress up

 

Is part Demon

 

And thinks she’s a cat, and can sit on the back of the sofa behind your shoulder like the cats do

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She also thinks she can sit on your lap, fit into a small box, many other things which are objectively insane. To be fair to Bella, she has to share her home with three small, furry demons, one of which is her arch nemesis.

Cue demonic music

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This brings us nicely on to the subject of the cats. We have three. Between them they are – cute, soft, fluffy, adorable, manic, evil, demonic, bratty, spiteful, grubby, “special”, persistent, loving, mean, crazy, disgusting and absolutely own the house.

I suppose we should start with out first, first so to speak.

Merlin is now around 13 years old and the only cat we had from birth (practically) She is – how shall I put it – a special snowflake. We were forced to take her at four or five weeks, a couple of weeks sooner than I wanted. She and her sister both fit in one of my hands, they were so small. Strangely, her sister, Gandalf (yes, we thought they were both boys at the beginning) was the runt of the litter and much smaller than Merlin, but she was a right little fighter and so much brighter. She once brought in a rat that was bigger than she was. I wasn’t appreciative of the dead rat in the middle of the floor but was very proud of the cat.

Merlin, on the other hand is…special. She is unable to retract her claws so rather than a padding, stealthy huntress she’s more of a clacking princess tottering around on her high heels and batting her eyelashes. She’s such a pretty little thing but she dribbles like crazy so it’s impossible to snuggle properly without drowning.

Merlin is definitely the clumsiest of our cats. She can’t quite judge distance so it takes her a couple of tries to get up on things, and then often ends in a scrabble, and faceplants on a depressingly regular basis. We’ve had to put a ladder outside our bathroom so she can get in and out of the window like the other cats.

Our special little Merlin likes boxes. Any box will do, no matter how big or small. As soon as the box goes down, Merlin sniffs around. This happened almost as we were taking out the contents.

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Last night, the incident which prompted this blog post occurred. We had a big box in our living room. It was a very big box, so big Efan could fit into it. Merlin had been eyeing the box for a while, walking around, sniffing, and finally climbing onto the back of the chair to have a look inside. There was some wrapping paper and a few pieces of card, nothing much. Two of the flaps were down – one on the back and one on the side.

After watching for a while, Merlin must have made up her mind it was safe, and jumped. She clearly intended to land on the flap, which admittedly looked fairly solid, so she could get a better look inside. The problem was that the flap wasn’t solid and it gave way under her tipping her into the box with a flurry, some strange mewling sounds and a thump.

Bad furbaby mummy that I am, I almost wet myself laughing before checking she was okay. In the meantime she starts scrabbling and growling, and the next thing I know she has the box on its side and rolls out like a Tribble. I had SUCH a glare before she stalked off.

 

Charlie, our middle cat is special in a completely different way. If he were human he’d be James Bond. Talk about suave. He doesn’t walk, he sashays and he knows exactly what to do to get good attention. He’s long, fluffy and sleek with amazing eyes and the kind of personality that would see him tear a bird to shreds in one moment, then allow himself to be dressed as a baby and pushed around in a pram the next.

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Sure, while you’re doing that he’d be looking at you in a way that makes it clear he’s plotting out exactly what he’s going to do to you when cats take over the world

Charlie came to us as a fully grown cat. He was originally Efan’s father’s cat, but came to us when Ian moved to a flat where cats weren’t allowed. Charlie had originally gone to Ian from a friend because Charlie was being bullied by the other cats there – twin Siamese; evil incarnate. This makes it even more surprising that Charlie has gone through periods, on and off, when he had bullied Merlin horribly. At the moment, he’s being relentless, to the point of claiming all boxes and even pouncing on her to get her off cushions so he can take her place.

He’s always been a bit of a shit at mealtimes. Once he’s finished he’ll go for anyone else’s, even the dog if they haven’t finished before him. Nowadays, he moves from bowl to bowl pushing the others away if he’s not being watched. Delusions of grandeur much?

 

The final cat, and final animal is Dora

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She likes boxes too

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Dora is absolutely adorable, and absolutely evil. I have never heard such sounds coming from a cat before. She literally yells at the other cats, and the dog. Charlie ignores her, Merlin avoids her and Bella is downright terrified of her.

It’s funny to see the different ways the animals react to her aggressiveness. Merlin tries to ignore her as best she can, but she is skittish and avoids her whenever possible. If they have to cross paths, Merlin will stand her ground to a point but when testing the ground results in racking up the racket Merlin backs off and looks for another way.

Charlie, on the other hand, goes straight on through regardless. I’ve seen him literally jump over Dora’s head when she blocked a doorway.

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Who would have thought such an adorable little thing could be so mean!

The worst affected is poor Bella. For all that she could probably eat Dora in two bites, Bella is terrified of her and won’t come into the room if Dora is having a hissy fit. She gives Dora a wide berth and whines quietly to herself when Dora is “going off” on one of the other cats.

There are, however, rare times when they get along, and they are real Awwww moments

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Although Bella is still keeping a very wary eye on the little ball off fluff who might go off like a firework at any moment.