White noise and pretty jewels.

Honestly, I feel so much better when I am able to create something. Whether it’s a necklace or editing a photograph or doodling on a page. Much of the time when I don’t have a job to do, my thoughts lead me down dangerous, slightly morbid paths. I have a fairly extreme imagination when I am depressed and sometimes it gets the better of me. It’s why whenever I feel bored I start to feel incredibly unsettled. I start thinking about Things™ and I don’t particularly like thinking about Things™. Doing these little crafty bits gives me a focus and allows me to create a beautiful white noise that consists of nothing but pure concentration on the task at hand. And usually by the end I have something nice to show for it.

Anyway, that’s just a long-assed way of explaining that I MADE SOMETHING this weekend.

Renlish.com - Green Orchid

Renlish.com - Green Orchid

And just for shits and giggles, this is something I started throwing together today… and it’s literally still in its “thrown together” state, because that’s how I roll, yo.

Renlish.com - Serene WIP

And I don’t think I ever showed it on the blog but I had my first go at bead embroidery a little while back and the results turned out pretty nice, if you ask me:

Renlish.com - Red Earth

Renlish.com - Red Earth

To be honest, I think my seed bead curiosity has been sated with this first and probably last piece (at least for a while) but I love how it turned out and the stone is pretty fabulous.

And lastly, I’ve signed up again for the Pretty Things Blog Bead Soup Blog Party for 2014! 2013 was lots of fun and my partner for that hop turned out to be a lovely, sweet lady who I got along with very well so I thought I’d put my hand up for the challenge. Can’t wait to see what I get. I’ve already arranged my “blog soup” for my prospective partner.

Warm Tones on a Summer Walk

A short 15 minute or so walk from my house is a little park with some man-made waterways. It’s well established now and is called home and visited by various birds, mostly wild ducks (or ducks gone wild as the case may be) but there’s the odd water fowl, swan and pelican who stay for brief periods of time. The place is simple but a pretty and fairly easy walk, so I took my camera and bad hip for a hobble and took some photos.

Renlish.com - Warm Tones
Top: Bindis (or burrs) in their prettier, flowery form before they drop off and become the bane of cats and dogs everywhere. Left: Swan. This was one of a pair, parents, who had a handful of cygnets. They didn’t let me get very close. Right: Reedy lens flare – my favourite.
Renlish.com - Warm Tones
Top & Bottom: Various views of the waterways. Right: Ducky who was most disappointed I was carrying a camera and not a bag of stale bread.

Doodly Doodles

Doodled again this weekend. Twice actually, though I wont put the first one up as I think it sucks.

This is a … Thing.

Space compass? Astrology chart? Symbol of some alien deity?

I was listening to an episode of Star Trek (TNG) as I was drawing.

Renlish.com - Doodle
What are this?

This video was the inspiration:

I love Peter’s work.

I started with a circle…

A Pop of Colour

In a fit of abject boredom yesterday afternoon, I popped over to my sister’s place and we went out to the local plaza for a little retail therapy.

Not really, I just needed to buy some cat food and a sun visor for my car, but anyway…

We walked past a florist and she started talking about how she now regularly buys fresh flowers for the house. She recommended I get some.

So I did. I bought some beautiful pink and pale green-almost-all-white roses that reminded me very much of my wedding bouquet (cue sentimentality) and some gorgeous little purple and white carnations. And I spent an hour last night cutting them up and arranging them in a couple of vases (read: large water pitchers since I don’t actually “do” vases), pricking my fingers on just about every bloody thorn on each rose while I was at it.

I discovered two things.

1. I really like fresh flowers.

2. I suck at flower arranging.

I was wandering past this afternoon and realised that all the tight buds had opened up and I had to grab my camera and run off a few shots while they still looked lovely.

Renlish.com - A Pop of Colour

Kitty needs a MONTAGE!

The hours approaching, just give it your best
You’ve got to reach your prime.
That’s when you need to put yourself to the test,
And show us a passage of time,
We’re gonna need a montage…. (Montage!)
Oh it takes a montage…. (Montage!)

Ok, so my cat isn’t quite Rocky Balboa but she’s worthy of a MONTAGE(!)

Renlish.com - Bindi Montage

And just because you got this far, here’s a Bindi-derp.

Renlish.com - Derpface

Losing and gaining perspective…

It was a question I got from a friend a few weeks ago.

“Have you stopped losing weight?”

It wasn’t meant in a malicious way at all – it was simply curiosity brought on by observation. Correct observation.

I’ve stopped losing weight.

Of course, if I could count up how many times I’ve lost the kilos between the numbers of 105-102, I would have lost about another 30-odd kilos by now.

I am back to feeling the fraud. Weighed in at 103kg today.

Six weeks ago, my last blog post was full of positivity and joy and enthusiasm.

I’m back to where I was the week before that. At a loss.

I seem to have no control when sweets are put before me. I reach for the cake and the biscuits and chocolate.

It’s hard. I know I can just not have it. So many times people say “Ren, just don’t eat it!”

And yeah, they’re right. I should “just” not eat it.

Wouldn’t life be simple if we could just switch off what’s become almost innate within ourselves? 30 years of eating emotions doesn’t just go away. 30 years of living a certain way doesn’t just stop.

The weight loss industry would be seriously fucked if that was the case.

There would be many a starving personal trainer.

Anyway, the thing I find the hardest to deal with is “occasion eating”. Almost every week for the past six weeks or so there’s been a birthday or an outing or something happening that centres around food. And it’s bloody difficult to not eat. And particularly not eat all those sweet things. I make plans along the lines of “Ok, I will only have a small piece of cake and one small sweet”… but when I get there, control FLIES out of the fucking window.

If I don’t allow myself anything at all, then I turn into an absolute hag because I WANT to eat it then. It becomes deprivation and those of us with experience in this game knows just how well that works.

And of course, I turn into a hag when I come down off the sugar rush too.

It’s a lose-lose.

So, as a result, I will have a huge gain over the weekend, fight through the week to re-balance, then start again the following week only to have another occasion thrown at me.

Of course I fell off the tracking wagon again as a result. I don’t want to know or care. Lazy apathy plays a part and that old feeling of “SO SICK OF THIS!” is back, though at the moment I am fairly certain that has more to do with the fact that I’ve only had a few hours sleep after the flight the manbeast was on last night was seriously delayed. Didn’t get home until about 2.30am. Had to be up at 7.15am. ARGH.

Tiredness makes everything seem so much worse.

All of the above means that some friends are noticing that I am not shrinking anymore, when clearly I have a lot further to go.

I do. I set a goal of 77kg to lose. I’ve got another 28kg to knock off.

Sometimes I feel as though I am disappointing them. So many of my friends have found inspiration from me, just like I found inspiration from those who came before me and now – even though I know they’re not – I feel as if they’re looking at me and quietly asking “What’s happened?”

I’m trying to figure out that bit myself.

Just as an aside, upon reading the above post (originally published today on my WW blog), one of my readers left this message for me:

Perspective, hey?

That there is the reason I started doing this, it’s the reason why I still cling to the hope that I can see it through to the end and lead a long, happy life unhindered by excess weight and the pain and illness that is caused by it.

Dear Fred Letters

A while ago, I kept a blog that started to document the life of my nephew, whom I lovingly dubbed Fred while he was in the womb. Turned out his name was going to be Phoenix but I really liked Fred so I wrote about him as Fred.

I happened to find one of the letters I wrote to Fred and it made me grin a bit. So I thought I’d share it.

Dear Fred,

I have a confession to make.

Don’t laugh.

I don’t know how to change a nappy.

I said don’t laugh! I’ve never had the opportunity or when I have, I’ve rather quickly found a handy hiding place in which to take cover until the deed was done by Someone Else™. Now there are no other someone else’s to fall back on. I will inevitably be required to take care of you on my own at one point or another, peanut, so knowing the exact right way to wipe your arse is rather important, I suppose. Ideally, I’d prefer it if you just stayed cute and cuddly and didn’t poop ever for the duration that you’re in my company but in an ideal world I’d be the Supreme Ruler of the Universe with an inexhaustible supply of white chocolate scorched almonds and we all know how soon that’s going to happen. The closest I’ve gotten to either of those things is living ten minutes away from a chocolate factory that produces said chocolate almondy goodness…

At least I can say you’re not like another unfortunate kid (that belongs to a friend) when it comes to the poopage at this stage of your life (yet). You’re shitting like a slot machine – “with monotonous regularity”, to quote a great, hairy man by the name of Big Yin who you will no doubt one day come to love as I do.

But I digress.

Obviously MS and Grandma thought my lack of nappy-changing was completely unacceptable, as they should, so last night in the cover of semi-darkness (due to the power being out and not some Satanic – well, unless you count the unholy smell – ritual) I was dragged into your room and shown precisely how to disrobe, peel, paint and powder you properly.

I am yet to get over the whole “baby is fragile” thing that I’ve got going at the moment, even though I have been shown time and time again that you little wriggly, whiney, poopy, worm things are actually made of rubber and bounce really well… MS thought my gasp of horror as your Grandma fairly ripped the jumpsuit from your body in the style of which was probably gleaned from all those ridiculous bodice-ripper romance novels she reads, was rather funny. Even funnier was my expression of horror as she then hoicked you up by your legs at an obscene angle to throw your replacement nappy under your butt.

MS cacked herself at my expense. Fortunately I don’t have to change her nappy.

Okay kid, next time I go over to visit you I am on nappy duty.

Be gentle.



BEDIA: Day 15 – Around Town – Melbourne by Phone

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love my home city. Melbourne has always been great. It’s a place where you can be walking down one street that’s lined with the crappiest, cheapest, nastiest souvenier shops and then turn a corner and be walking past the likes of Chanel and Prada. It’s a place where you can be in the middle of China town and then walk down an alley-way to a hidden Irish bar. It’s a place where multi-storey high-rises tower above tiny churches. The people are often freaky or hipster cool. You can be hobnobbing with lawyers and barristers at one end of town, bumping uglies with senators and ministers at the other and singing along with buskers in the middle.

All pictures taken on the way to work on what was my last ever day of working in the city. I miss it.

But only sometimes.

Renlish.com. Melbourne By Phone
Centre Place, Melbourne.

More after the jump!

Continue reading “BEDIA: Day 15 – Around Town – Melbourne by Phone”

BEDIA: Day 12 – A ghost story

Someone had left the gate to the Covenanters Prison open.

It was a chilly, late afternoon. Greyfriars Kirk stood quietly in Edinburgh’s Old Town under the shadow of the castle that reigned over the city. The sound of good cheer from the pubs and restaurants in the Grassmarket rolled over the top of the wall and floated above the kirk like a noisy, life-filled cloud. If one ducked down below that cloud, or sat on one of the stone benches, it was all silence.

A trio of teenagers looking for “Greyfriars Bobby”, that famous yet slightly fictional dog, wandered past, giggling albeit nervously over the mood of the kirkyard. Joggers did their thing, huffing out their conversations. Even other tourists like herself meandered their way between the headstones, determinedly doing at least one circuit of the impressive stone jungle before slipping out to less ominous surroundings.

She looked at the gate again. It was supposed to be locked but it had been clearly left ajar. A chain was slung around the bars but the padlock seemed to be missing. As far as she knew there were no daytime tours of the Covenanters Prison section of the kirkyard and it was far too early for the ghost tours to start but maybe they were setting up. She knew that they often employed ghostly theatrics to scare the thrill-seekers if there were no actual ghosts to oblige them.

She hesitated a moment longer, looking quickly at her watch and then up at the sky. It was starting to get darker but she might be able to have a quick peek before the light was gone completely. And there was something she desperately wanted to see.

Mackenzie’s tomb. The Black Mausoleum.

The big, domed mausoleum stood at the south end of Greyfriars. It seemed almost comical in place up against the tenement buildings which had been constructed right up alongside the kirkyard. To anyone who didn’t know the history, it might have been just another gaudy, ancient tomb but she knew what was supposed to be there. She’d heard enough of the stories.

With no small amount of bravado, she approached the sold black doors and peered in through the tiny windows. Without the aid of a torch there was nothing to see. Just darkness and her own rippled reflection peering back at her. She reached out and tested the handle to those massive doors. It was locked tight, just as it should be but as she began to pull away she felt a breeze race around from behind the structure.

The wind swept over her but did not pass by as she expected. Instead the icy chill hovered – closed in – pressed her in closer to the door until she realised she was flat against the wood panels. Pin-pricks of cold darted into her clothes, tickling her arms and back before finally receding.

It dawned on her then that whatever she was supposed to be frightened of was not inside the mausoleum.

“Ok, I’m leaving now,” she said quietly and stepped back, breaking the physical connection. At the same time, the breeze seemed to recede and calm settled over the kirkyard.

She wanted to run but she forced herself to walk back through the prison graveyard. The smiling, dancing skeletons all seemed to be watching her as she moved amongst them. Or were they watching something else?

With darkness – or something infinitely more frightening – snapping at her heels, she slipped out of the gate to the Covenantors Prison and out of Greyfriars Kirkyard entirely.

The hostel just across the road offered a bright, warm respite from the approaching evening but she couldn’t help that sensation of someone peeking in through the windows at her whenever she cast her gaze outside.

“So, did you see Mackenzie?” Asked her friend who had absolutely no interest in the supernatural at all.

“Not as such…” She answered at length, drawing a hand up over her arm to rub away the memory of that chill and the odd sensation of numbness that remained. “Though I’m pretty sure he’s there.”

The proof of that – three long and angry red welts – remained hidden for the time being under her sleeve.

“Bluidy Mackingie, come oot if ye daur, lift the sneck and draw the bar!”

Pintester Movement v.2: The Hairpins of Ugly

So when Sonja from The Pintester once again shouted out that she was having ANOTHER movement… (hurr hurr)… I signed up right off the bat. The first one I did – The Pigs In Mud Cake – was loads of fun and I thought I could do the same again with something different.

But! New rules. We had to try a Pintest that The Pintester had already pintested.

Get it?

Got it?


So I scrolled through the blog and decided I would do something crafty again since I am not the craftiest and like a challenge and I found the pintest for Button Bobby Pins. Sonja got the idea from a Pinterest pin via A Homemaker’s Journal.

I immediately remembered I had hairpins (aka bobby pins) in my bathroom and I had a container of “vintage” (aka crappy plastic) buttons somewhere in my craft supply which I had been saving for another project which has been taking it’s sweet time coming to fruition.

So… here’s what I did…

Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
Ye olde jar of buttons and tube of old hair pins.
Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
A slightly better view of ye olde buttons and pins. Those pins are meant for blonde hair. I am yet to meet a blonde person with that colour hair.
Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
Flash forward – I’ve already glued these together. The original instructions say to sew buttons onto the hair pins but mine had shanks that I had to cut off and file down. As you can see, I had some mishap with the glue on one… :(
Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
Here’s the thing. I am not a patient person… so not only did I borrow the manbeast’s super glue for the project but also his accelerator. One quick spray of this stuff on glue sets that shit hard immediately. It also works rather well on nail polish but I am not telling him why there’s suddenly hardly any left in the can. Ahem.
Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
So this is where I started to get all artsy with the pin. I can’t do this shit and not put my own spin on it. So I grabbed some extra stuff like wire and beads and pearls… and… well…
Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
… this started happening…
Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
… and this…
Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
… and then I decided to go for broke and add some ugly!
Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
And this is what I finished up with. It looks particularly ugly here but in the hair it actually looks ok. It does. I swear!
Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
The collection so far! But I wanted MOAR!
Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
I grabbed a packet of teeny-tiny watch parts I’d bought and glues some to a washer, like this…
Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
Oops – not a hairpin! The manbeast and I share a craft table and he had this guy out waiting for the next lick of paint. Inneecute? (Cute in a bitey-rip-you-apart way.)
Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
Steampunky goodness! This was a little cameo button which I fell in love with. Again, I had to cut and file the shank away before I glued it on.
Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
Ta-dah! The finished product and possibly my first ever steampunk ANYTHING.
Renlish.com - The Pintester Movement V2. Button Bobby Pins
All of the bobby pins. Take a bow.

Nailed it.

(The steampunk hairpin has already been claimed.)