Fishy Dude is still belly side down :)

I have had more time to read and research more about my Fishy Dude. It seems that my tank is only about 5.7L and the suggested minimum by an Aussie Fighting Fish Community is 10L. It also turns out that the plastic plant he loves hiding under is not good for him either.

I have at least done some things right – he has a lid over his head and he has a filter, albeit an (un-livably) noisy one. It really is in Fishy Dude’s best interest for his carer to be sane enough to take care of him. For some reason he couldn’t get his mouth around the Betta pellets I bought (which they had been feeding him).  I tried crushing them up today instead which worked, but will lead to a messy tank much faster. Maybe he’ll grow a bit bigger and will be able to eat the pellets. Looking at them in the container there is a great difference in size of the individual pellets. 😦 How can you figure out what amount is optimum to feed your fish if the actual amount is different each time? Maybe the Americans who the pellets were made for have fish with bigger mouths? 😛

I think a fair chunk of my birthday present budget is going to go towards getting Fishy Dude set up in a better environment. I just want him to be happy and to be a good fish-mother. Hopefully the anxiety of being wholly responsible for another life will settle down soon. I’m just afraid that if I didn’t do something right it could harm him, or even kill him.

I can’t imagine how a new parent would feel. Mind you they would have had at least 7-8 months of knowing that their baby was coming into the world to prepare. Unlike me on my self-righteous fish-saving mission. Maybe caring for your own species is easier… maybe not given how some humans behave.

Hopefully this week I can finalise my Fishy Wishies and get a better set-up organised. Maybe the tank I have now would be ok for a few neon tetras? Maybe it isn’t so bad afterall. I’m really not sure. I did have aspirations of putting some tetras in there with him but not it seems cruel in a space that is already too small for him.

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Fishy Dude

I just bought myself a little fish. I think he’s a dude. He hasn’t yet told me what his name is. He’s a Betta or Siamese Fighting fish.

I have wanted one of his species for a while. They are not only beautiful but intriguing, curious and intelligent.

Today we bonded at first sight. Hard to describe bonding with a fish I know. But he stared at me, and I stared back. I could see he was sad and depressed. All his fins were down and not moving much… I wanted to cry. That is until I decided I wanted to take him home. As soon as I said this he started perking up, his little gill fins started flapping furiously, probably because he knew he had found his ticket out of there.

Here are some grainy mobile phone photos of him settling in:

My Fishy Dude Getting Acclimatised

Fishy Dude

(No I didn’t use the flash).

Yes I know I don’t have to keep him in such a large tank. You don’t have to let people out of solitary confinement either. You don’t have to give any being an interesting and stimulating environment but I know that this is what all beings need to thrive – human, cat, dog, child, or even fish.

I have opted for a filter so I can lessen the stress brought on by tank cleaning by not having to do it as often. I haven’t turned it on while he’s in there yet. I don’t want to frighten him while he’s still settling in.

I haven’t yet got a pretty background to go behind the tank to hide the pump and the cords. I’m still getting to know him so I’m not sure what kind of decor he likes. He will be getting more gravel soon as what’s in there at the moment is left over from my zen garden. I really couldn’t bring myself to put in the flouro, multi-coloured gravel that came with the tank. Yes there are rocks and shells in there, as well as some snowflake obsidian and some moonstone. I’m hoping to one day get him some real plants and maybe some friends but for now I think he’s pretty chuffed that he’s got a plastic plant and a whole bunch of space to actually swim around in and a few things to hide behind, as Betta fishy dudes like to play hide and seek.

I really can’t stop smiling. I can see that he’s relaxing and enjoying himself. Even his colour seems to be more vibrant, but that could mean that he’s a little agitated – either from the move or from seeing his own reflection.

He is a little camera shy, can’t blame him really. He’s not used to all the attention.

Aquatically yours,

♥ ♥ Sweetypiedie ♥ ♥

Election Day Outfit

P.S. Election day outfit was good luck after all. (Good luck in finding Fishy Dude that is, time will tell for the outcome of the election).

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Gorgeous things in today’s mail.

You may remember my very excited post about winning the Toastory giveaway on the blog of fellow-Aussie Adelle. My prize arrived today in the mail.

I am so pleased with the quality! It looks really gorgeous in person – better than what my scanner shows. The matching contrast-stitched pouch it came in is a really nice touch. I’m also really chuffed with the 20% discount card that Judy included for me too!

I think I’m going to have to find an occasion to wear it out. Maybe I could wear it when I go to vote on Saturday, it might give us some good luck for a good result!

If you click on a picture it should show you a bigger one. Sorry but you aren’t getting the secret code to my discount card! I’m going to need that!

I hope the world is treating you well this Wednesday.

Fashionably yours,

♥ Sweetypiedie ♥

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Painting Details…

I know you are all probably sick of this one by now but I really would like to show the finished, dry painting here. It is something which was a challenge for me and I am allowing myself to be proud of this. I worked hard on it and I will probably not fully relax until I know it has safely reached its destination.

My Interpretation of The Muses by Maurice Denis © 2010 sweetypiedie

Another reason to blog the full final version is so that my interstate family members can see it and so I will have a record of it if anything should happen to this computer. I promise I’ll blog about something else soon!

♣ Sweetypiedie ♣

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Weekend Without Oil

Now this is an idea that has my inner tree-hugging-hippie dancing around the May pole! Not only will a Weekend Without Oil save the earth a whole bunch of carbon emissions if they reach their goal, hopefully people will learn that it’s not all that hard to go green.

On the 21-22nd of August I have made the pledge to take the following actions:

  1. Walk or ride your bike: Avoid using cars and if you must, always try to carpool. Transportation accounts for 40 percent of our petroleum consumption and is easily one of the biggest areas we need to improve upon.
  2. Enjoy the outdoors: Avoid buying new sporting equipment, since oil makes up nearly 25% of rubber. Footballs or basketballs, for example, can last for many years and used equipment is often just as good and will reduce demand for oil needed to make new rubber.
  3. Use reusable bags: Avoid disposable plastic. Plastic bags are a huge waste for very little benefit. Nearly 10 percent of U.S. oil consumption, approximately 2 million barrels a day, is used to make plastic products alone.
  4. Be conscious about what you eat that weekend: You can reduce oil demand by changing your diet to eat less meat, more local foods that require less transportation and organic food, which doesn’t use petro-based fertilizers.
  5. Don’t buy new make-up that weekend: The majority of cosmetics are petroleum-based, including lip gloss, face powder, nail polish, and more. So avoid buying new make-up products this weekend and research the brands when you purchase in the future.
  6. Drink tap water: Avoid beverages bottled in disposable plastic, they make up nearly 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year, so get a reusable bottle and fill it up.
  7. Make your electronic gadgets last: Avoid buying new electronics. Electronics take a lot of oil to produce and the gadgets you already have can last much longer than the rate at which new ones are released.
  8. Go to the movies or stream them on Hulu: Avoid buying new DVDs/Blu-Rays, as oil is a key ingredient in their production, packaging and shipping.
  9. Skip buying new clothes that weekend: Swap clothes with friends or check out the local vintage store. The less new clothes you buy the less oil is used in the manufacturing process and transportation.
  10. Head to your local library or read online: Avoid using a printer and buying printed material including daily newspapers. Printing doesn’t just waste paper, nearly 100,000 gallons of ink each day is used on daily newspapers alone.
  11. Spread the word! Get 3 friends to sign the pledge and help raise awareness on ways they can help reduce their dependence on oil-related products.

Most of these are things I do already, some for reasons other than the thought of oil consumption. It had never occured to me that oil would be involved in making DVDs. The packaging I may have thought of if I had my thinking cap on.

Swapping clothing is not a concept new to me or my friends. The next clothing swap is planned for spring either just before or after my birthday. I was thinking of having a combined birthday tea party and clothing and book swap. October isn’t that far away now so I really should get myself organised and pick a date and invite some people.

Kudos to Gypsy In The Castle for leading me to the Weekend Without Oil site!

Wishing you all an Earth-friendly day!

Yours in tie-dye,

♥ Sweetypiedie ♥

Note: The statistics listed above are for the USA only as this is a US-based initiative.
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Painting Finished!!

It is with much relief that I present to you my latest masterpiece!

Finished Painting - The Muses

Technically it is my interpretation of someone-else’s masterpiece but it is actually one of the most challenging things I have ever created. This picture was taken using my mobile phone while the paint is still wet. (A pain to try and not get shinyness – hence the weird angle).

I have come a long way this week since the initial drawing. (See earlier post for the initial sketch and the picture I was working from). I have also come a long way in the past 3 years on my creative journey. I really should share that with you another day. I am quite sore and tired from my two-day painting marathon. It really wasn’t made any easier by the neighbour directly above me who was hammering constantly from 8:30 am. (Having stopped only at midnight on Friday night!). I have not slept well and I was working hunched over the coffee table as the craft table is currently the safe haven of the computer. I’m really looking forward to everything being set up properly in here. I think my back will thank me.

Despite all this there are many things I want to do before bed… I will probably only do one or two of them though. The phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” comes to mind but I can’t quite remember the tune. (Brian is still in visual mode, not auditory mode).

Kudos to Maurice Denis who painted the original back in 1893, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris who usually houses the work, and the National Gallery of Australia who exhibited the work earlier this year along with other Masterpieces From Paris (when the Musée d’Orsay was doing renovations); and whose staff made it possible for me to see the exhibition in relative comfort. (Special mention to Jóse who was so friendly, helpful and kind!).

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are now recharged for the week ahead!

♥ ♥ ♥ Sweetypiedie

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A Skinny Giraffe In Chaos

You may be thinking “Aren’t all Giraffes skinny?” Why yes, they are – they obviously don’t have access to the sort of choc-covered honeycomb that I do! But I am talking about a different kind of Skinny. For the uninitiated, a Skinny Card is like an ATC but a little larger in size (3 x 5 inches). For those non-crafty folk reading my blog (like my family) an ATC is an Artist Trading Card.

Giraffe's Lunch Skinny Card

Recently I completed a Giraffe Skinny Swap on Swap-Bot. For a little while my Giraffe Skinny was one of the little photos on the Swap-Bot homepage. This did make me quite happy!

As with many ATCs and Skinny Cards traded on Swap-Bot the technique I used for my Giraffe Skinny was a 3D collage. This is where you take different elements and stick them down next to, and on top of one-another to build up a picture. (Click on the image to see a larger version)

It does take a little imagination to see that a plain old bottle cap would make an excellent stand-in for the sun. It also takes a little bit of memory for what’s in your craft stash and where it is so you can use it! Remembering your stash extends to tools as well. If you want to make a pretty edge on your paper you need to know where your edging scissors are. I think it is for this reason that so many craft rooms are in a constant state of organised chaos! It looks chaotic to the untrained eye but the creative genius that inhabits the space will know where each project is, who it’s for, what needs to be done to complete it and when it needs to be done by. They also know exactly where to find the fabric, ribbon, thread, adhesive, beads, wire, paper, etc they need to add to the project. (Of course I am talking about myself in third person here :)).

I am improving in my organisation and the chaos around me and within me is lessening as I get older. (I hesitate to say ‘mature’ :P). I am looking forward to doing a proper spring clean and setting up this room properly. Unfortunately the ups and downs with my health have prevented me from getting it done. I am a reasonably patient person though, and I know that it will be fabulous when it is done because I can see it in my head, and that’s enough to make me happy for now.

Reverse Side of Giraffe's Lunch

Wishing you all a fantastic Friday the 13th. Only two months to my birthday!  🙂

♥ Sweetypiedie ♥

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And the winner is….. ME!!!!!

Now I’m feeling the urge to dance! Talk about a mood-swing!

Today shall now be know as WINNING DAY!! First there was the awesome Monday Munchies game in my swap-bot group, and now this! Nothing like AWESOME free stuff to cheer a girl up!! It’s like retail therapy without the cost or sore feet!

Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!

The cute little thing above is a ribbon necklace with can also be worn as a brooch.

Who am I thanking? Well firstly I am thanking Adelle, a fellow Aussie blogger and creative enigma who paints, sculpts, teaches high school kids and makes wearable art pieces who featured Toastory as her Sunday Superstar last week. Each week she features a different creative person who makes lovely, unique or inspiring things of amazing quality. Part of the feature is an interview about the people behind the products. Do you think you’ve got what it takes to be a Sunday Superstar? Then I suggest that you contact Adelle. Maybe one day I will reach for the Super-Stars!

Secondly, I am thanking Toastory for the awesome prize! What I love about the style of Toastory is the combination of fun and elegance. Each piece is unique, so nobody else will ever be wearing the same thing as you! Each piece is entirely hand-crafted too. As well as making cute accessories Toastory also make some very snazzy tote bags from heavily weighted, geometric printed Sateen. Before I knew that I had won, a piece from their Etsy shop was added to my favourites because of the quality, style and because of the reasonable prices. I’ve just seen something else fabulous to add!

I also do need to mention the wonderful tool that is Etsy Giveaways. Without it I would never have found Adelle or Toastory. My Etsy favourites have many items found through the Etsy Giveaways blog.

My adventures into the world of knitting shall have to wait for another day. At this stage I am just knitting, not yet purling, but that’s something to learn next time!

I should probably disclose that other than winning a fantastic prize I have no other interests in the people mentioned in this post. I don’t know them personally, I don’t advertise with them, they have not approached me to write this.
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My Great Art Interpretation: The Muses (Les muses) – Maurice Denis

The Muses (Les muses) - Maurice Denis (1893)

Tonight I’ve been working on ‘My Great Art Interpretation’ swap. I am doing my own interpretation of The Muses (Les muses) by Maurice Denis (Original above). This is one of the many works of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Symbolist art that I viewed at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra as part of The Masterpieces from Paris exhibition in late February of this year. I find that you can really come to appreciate the detail of a painting by trying to copy it. I am learning to appreciate more the proportions, angles and perspectives of the work. I am thinking of using a different colour palette than the original. In time I will see how this goes.

This is my progress so far, next to the original in black and white with the original in  colour below.  (click an image to enlarge):

I know that I need to make the head bigger of the lady with the sketch book open on her lap and add more overall detail but in general I am really happy with how it’s coming along. I can see that my job would have been easier if I was drawing from the black and white scan. I scanned it in black and white by accidentally not changing the settings back to colour. This swap is due next week on the 11th so I will try to remember to share the results with you before I put it in the post.

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Over the Rainbow

Over the rainbow are hopes and dreams
Of all of the folk that remain unseen.
The fairies, the elves and the angels are there
Away from your eyes and the uncomfortable stares.
Over the rainbow they meet to talk and plan
How to help each child, each lady and man.
Some will protect people from harm,
Others will help the growth of a farm.
The ones who are with me, they never tire,
Bringing me creativity and thoughts to inspire!

© sweetypiedie 2010

Inspiration comes in the strangest of places. Today it came from entering a competition on the Green Eyed Monster to win a Rainbow Stack from All Things Simple. If I did win it would most likely be a special Christmas gift for my BFF’s little boy.

I do seem to have a knack for rhyming couplets lately. Maybe I’m channeling Dr. Suess?

Phonetically yours,

♥ Sweetypiedie

P.S. I found the competition via the Etsy Giveaways blog. Which is a great place to find creative people, as well as some free stuff.

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