Wednesday, 16 December 2009


At last, Missis is back and yesterday was the last time I have to muck out all six stables until January 4th next year. Yippeeee! Not a moment too soon.
We have had two days of dreadful, miserable weather, thick fog yesterday so it was dark all day, and icy rain all day today. We got the horses in at 2pm as they'd obviously had enough.
I put piles of haylage round the field again today. It seems to be working really well, as it's much more natural for them to walk about and eat than just stand there scoffing. The haylage is stored in the barn where the new stables are being built. It is directly up against the field, and as you slide the brown wooden door open, you can step straight into the field itself, and the plan is eventually to turn the horses out through this door. So I've been opening said door, walking along the outside of the barn with great big piles of haylage in my arms and dropping it at strategic places along the wall.
The first time I opened it, unbeknown to me, Max was standing on the other side, and it frightened the life out of him. He must have leapt six foot backwards, poor boy! I genteely placed a pile of haylage at his feet.
The next time I opened the door, Barnaby was standing there, large as life, poking his head in the door, asking, "Did you just frighten my friend Max?" I couldn't aplogise enough (you don't want to get on the wrong side of Barnaby) and held out the haylage, as a peace offering, which he took. I dropped it, closed the door quickly and beat a hasty retreat.
I am at the stage where my hands have gone very dry, as they are in water all the time, because of washing horse water and feed buckets. I have to be disciplined about putting hand cream on. Likewise my poor feet are itchy and sore, so I have to wash them, dry them and powder them every day, and also have some time going barefoot, to give the skin a chance to breath, poor things. I am in socks and wellies all the time and it's too much for my poor little piggies.
Mr O got up at 4am and left in a van to go to Glasgow. Snow is forecast for tomorrow, so instead of staying overnight, he is driving back again this evening, and won't be back until 11pm.
This has given me the opportunity of making his Christmas card while he's out. And it's a good job as it took me two hours. This is largely because I couldn't decide between two different design schemes. I spent ages cuting out bits of paper, and laying paper on paper, only to cast it aside and start again with something else. I have learned a lot about this card making malarkey.

1. Start with the right sized card. I know that might sound obvious, but the card I've bought is too big really for what I thought I wanted to do, though it has worked out okay in the end. Ditto paper. You need big enough paper sometimes to cover the whole card. Easier said than done. I will know for next time.
2. Don't cut anything out until the very last minute. Plan and plan and plan, and re-arrange everything on the paper until you are completely satisfied, then start cutting and sticking.
3. I have yet to find a way of doing lettering that I am happy with. Stamps are ok, as long as you are very careful with the ink, but the transfer lettering I have bought so far is useless. I shall think very carefully before I buy any more.
4. It doesn't matter if you have seen a design in a magazine or on a website, if your local craft shop doesn't have those things, you will not be able to make that card. You might loosely follow the design, but your card will not look like the card shown.
5. Always have clean hands before you start, and work in a big, well lit space. I am making these cards at my desk, but I think the kitchen table will be better for the next project.

Anyway, this is what I've done for Mr O, and I hope he likes it, as it was a labour of love! A bit amateur for now, but I've got to start somewhere. I am sure he will like it, just because I've made it, anyway. It is a bit shadowy because I've scanned it in rather than taking a photo of it, but I think it's clear enough to see what I've made. Actually it looks quite cute now I'm looking at it again.

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