Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wow! I genuinely didn't see THAT coming!

The new Canucks captain!!!

screw NHL Rule 14-D :O

(and KESLER, Mitchell and Ohlund get the A - yay!!!)

I'm gobsmacked :)

But I say it's a GREAT choice - I just didn't realise there was a way they could!

Congratulations to Clare!

We have a winner over at the Art Raffle, and look at what she won!!!

What a prize, huh????

Please visit the site and check the September 08 gallery for a close up look at all of the individual entries.

And if you want to be in with a chance of winning an equally if not more amazing prize next month, then you need to play! This month's theme is going to be a fun one.

The hockey gods move in mysterious ways

So here was I, lamenting another horrible away result for my beloved 'cats.

I looked over at my hockey shrine, and wondered why it wasn't working.

It's not doing too bad for the Cauncks - granted - unbeaten in the pre-season baybeee!!! GO VANCOUUUUUVER!!!!!

(and I know, I know, they're just exhibition games and they mean diddly squat, but boy, the view's good from the top!!! :D :D :D )

But for Swindon? Well, my prayers didn't seem to be having the same effect :( Sure we looked great at home last Saturday against Guildford - really great - I loved watching them out there putting so much pressure on arguably the top team in the league. This season's Wildcats have got some real presence and some deep talent.

But we just didn't make enough offensive chances, even playing to our strengths, to get that win.

Chants of "bring back Joel!!!" came from the stands, but the word was he was Edinburgh bound.... sigh.....

And then the following night? A horrendous loss at Peterborough, hot on the heels of the equally depressing loss to Telford the week before.

Oh woe was me, and the rest of Wildcat nation. :( Hockey gods - why had you forsaken me????

But then the rumours started to weave their way to the surface about a certain prolific point earner re-routing his plane from Scotland to Wiltshire... could it be true??

And sure enough, this morning, it's official - JOEL PETKOFF IS BACK!

Those HGs, they are clever deities indeed!

How better to persuade Wildcats management to dig deep down the back of the team sofa to find the cash we needed to secure the return of #23 than by dishing us some real low blows?

And now - what do we have? A team that has me salivating!

I just hope that the pressure of being welcomed back like the Messiah doesn't affect Joel's play.

But if he is on form - a team like the Wildcats we saw taking on Guildford last Saturday - defensively sound, intelligent hockey, coupled with Joel's scoring and playmaking abilities - especially once we get Matty back - oh wow - let's GO Swindon!!!!!

This could be our year.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Someone out there is in for a treat and a half....

... as they are about to receive the UK Art Raffle September prize!

We had 40 entries this month - each one amazing

There will be a gallery on the site any day now so you can judge for yourself

Or if you are the mystery winner, you can see them up close tomorrow morning :) :) :)

The new theme will be announced on Wednesday

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our new baby girl

We went to pick up Darby's African Pygmy Hedgehog this morning - isn't she adorable?

Lousy photos as they were taken on my phone in the back of the car on the way home - she is just in her little carry box here - but has since settled in to her whopping great big vivarium-type-thing.

She doesn't have a name yet - Darby is waiting for inspiration to strike...

She's soooo lovely :) And so friendly, she just climbs all over you :) By far the friendliest and least shy of the three we went to see.

Proud daddy :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Five part 2

and here is today's :

1.) Roughly how many all nighters have you pulled in your life?

Gosh. Lots :) For different reasons through the ages. Plenty of through the night partying when I was younger. And the ocasional student all nighter for the last minute finishing of assignments. Nowadays it's much more likely to be hockey related (when you are stupid enough to support a team on the Canadian west coast whose games start at 3am UK time, sometimes sleep takes the back seat) - or I've got on a roll with an art project and before I know it the sun's up. It certainly catches up with me more nowadays than it used to though - I have to have two insanely early nights to recover from every insanely late one.

Incidentally - this pillow thing (in the pic) is called an All Nighter. HOW comfy does that look???? I want one!!! It's supposed to be for pregnant people but I'm sure that bit's not compulsory...

2.) Do you ever write letters or cards to people?

Not as often as I should. I keep meaning to get back into mail art, as I enjoyed dabbling in it a couple of years ago when I belonged to a mail art group on Yahoo. But as with most things, it's finding the time... I do usually send birthday cards though, if I remember.

3.) What is your all time favorite computer game?

Hmmm - I enjoy Guitar Hero, Mario Kart and Mortal Kombat, despite being fairly rubbish at all of them. I think probably it'd be one of the games we used to have on the PS1 that used a dance mat - I got so addicted to them... in fact I ought to treat myself to a dance mat for the Wii, it's a great way to get in shape without realising you are doing anything other than having shedloads of fun.

4.) Do you ever investigate the random things on Google's home page? (You can click on whatever is changed, and a Wikipedia link is there)

Um, nope. Should I?

5.) Would you rather have 4, 10 hour work days, or 5, 8 hour work days?

4 10 hour days without a shadow of a doubt. I would kill for a 3 day weekend.

the Friday Five is back!

well - it is Friday, just :)

I used to do the original Friday Fiver every week.... but it just stopped without explanation back in June. I miss it!

I have a godawful memory - always have had - and I figure it will only deteriorate as I age - so I like doing stuff like this, because I figure it will help the future me understand what made the current me tick.

So, in my upsetness at the disappearance of the "proper" Friday Fiver site, I forgot that the hlog girls still post Friday Five questions! yay!

So I'm going to do the last few weeks-worth now, until I run out of steam or fall asleep :)

Friday, September 19, 2008
Friday Five

1.) Do you like fruit snacks?

Yup - who doesn't like fruit? (except my 6 year old) Bananas are a particular favourite for a snack - but I also have a real thing for summer fruits like strawberries and raspberries - and peaches and nectarines, yum :)

2.) Has your favorite TV show come back yet?

My current favourite is probably Dr Who - and that won't be back until 2010!!!!! sob!!!! but Heores starts again next week, and that will do.

3.) What song is stuck in your head right now?

*embarrassed smiley* The Pussycat Dolls "When I Grow Up"

4.) How important is it for your team to have entertaining commercials?

Not as important as the winning. But - two words - Swedish Twins :)

5.) Do you fold your clothes or just hang them up?

ummmm - neither??? :D

Friday, September 12, 2008
Friday Five

1.) How many pillows do you have on your bed?

Four. It's a double bed, 2 each side.

2.) Do you like to swim?

I <3 love <3 swimming. It was always my favourite exercise. And now I go with my little boy as often as possible.

3.) Have you ever donated blood?
Kind of :) well I tried to! but I have really bad veins. Whenever I have to have a blood test it takes them about 20 attempts to get a drop. So my donation attempt basically just involved lots of frustration all round. They still gave me a glass of OJ and a biscuit though :)

4.) Do texts or phone calls in the middle of the night wake you up?

Nope. Once I'm asleep I'm dead to the world.

5.) Hot or cold showers?

Fairly warm

Friday, September 05, 2008
Friday Five

1.) Do you color code things when organizing?

Organising???? what's that????
(the answer would be no :))

2.) Do you like to be warm or cold when you sleep?

Definitely cozy tucked up warm

3.) What summer/fall fashion trend can you do without?

Ummmmm - I'm fairly blissfully ignorant of fashion trends, to be honest. I doubt I've even noticed any summer ones, mainly because we haven't really had a summer this year. The last fashiony thing I noticed was girls wearing smart shorts to work. I won't be joining in with that particular trend :)

4.) Do you have your ears pierced?

Yup - three holes in one ear and one in the other. I actually wore earrings in them last month, as I went to a wedding and wanted to dress up a little. I think that's the first time I have worn earrings for at least 10 years.

5.) Where have you not been in forever that you want to go back to?

Depends on your definition of "forever". I am dying to go back to Canada.

Friday, August 29, 2008
Friday Five

1.) What is your favorite kind of fruit juice?
Pear, I think, if we can only pick a single fruit - or Apricot. If we are allowed a combo, it would be a mango and pineapple smoothie - or maybe pressed apple and raspberry. I love fruit juice.

2.) Any labo(u)r day weekend plans?

Well, we don't do labour day here. But I think it's around the same time as our August Bank Holiday weekend. I didn't do much, to be honest, just enjoyed the extra day off work.

3.) How dark do you like your toast?

Not dark. Definitely golden. Barely sunkissed at all.

4.) What's the best part about summer being almost over?


5.) How many email accounts do you have?

A few - one at work, one at home, a Hotmail account I never use, one for my Kesler site, one for the Art Raffle, one for the Little Boxes swap and one for Alison's charm bracelet

Friday, August 15, 2008
Friday Five

1.) Do you make countdowns to upcoming events?

Absolutely. You have to have something to look forward to. I have a little countdown ticker on my siggy of the forum I use most - it counts down to all my major events. At the moment it's just showing till puck drop this Saturday as that's my most exciting imminent occasion right now.

2.) What is your favorite comfort food?

Umm - something warm and stodgy - maybe cheese on toast all melted under the grill with BBQ or Worcester sauce

3.) Which TV commercial is funny every time you see it?

Hmmmm, good question. Can I go for the Swedish Twins again?

4.) How often do you wear a watch?


5.) Do you make to-do lists?

Sometimes, purely out of necessity. It's that dodgy memory I told you about up there ^

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hockey gods, have mercy!

Those of you that know me well know that I make little appeals to the hockey gods on a regular basis. And it usually works - they gave us nice weather for the Wildcats BBQ, they gave us a lovely home win to start the season, and they gave the baby Canucks the opportunity to stick their tongues firmly out at the Oilers' starting line up :)

I need to make sure they remain appeased, however, so that results like a 4-0 loss to Telford are few and far between - and to this end I've been meaning to make this little shrine for ages...

And as luck would have it - a new challenge blog was launched this week, with a shrine-making competition for starters - and a nice prize too.

So that was all the incentive I needed. That and the fact that I was doing some work-work from home (in the evening I hasten to add, I wasn't slacking off during the day, oh no siree), and it involved me running queries that went off and thought amongst themselves for 20 minutes at a time. I SHOULD have used those 20 minute breaks to do housework, really :) But making my little hockey shrine was MUCH more fun.

The shrine base is a little masonite kit that I bought from the Retro Art Cafe - a lovely little online shop that I can thoroughly recommend as, not only does it have a super cool range of products, but also Kristin who is the head honcho there, is very nice indeed.

It makes a nice dimensional shrine with various layers to add interest.

Unusually for me I have used patterned papers to decorate it rather than paints and inks and stamps - they are all Basic Grey from the Archaic range. I did use a bit of gold and copper leaf and pearl ex too though.

The rusty star at the top is also from Retro Art Cafe, and the sprocket thing is Tim Holtz.

And the skates stamp is one of my huge collection of hockey related stamps that I feel compelled to buy whenever I see them, but never actually use, so I'm glad I got to use them on this :) The skates were stamped with dark brown ink, watercoloured, and then clear embossed a few times, and adhered to the shrine raised on foam squares, above a gold leafed halo.

And the stand for the shrine? Yes, that's a real puck :) And the inscription reads "hockey gods have mercy!", on olive coloured dymo tape from Around The Block, scuffed up a bit with olive Stazon ink applied with the edge of a credit card.

I enjoyed this a lot - I think I shall keep this on my desk at work, for lunchtime prayers :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm sorry Anam.... I'm trying not to gloat, I really am

I know, I know that the pre season don't mean diddly squat, but boy does it put me in a good mood when a virtually full strength Oilers bench can't beat our rookies!! :D :D :D

I have decided I have some sort of weird mental condition whereby my mood is entirely dependent on hockey results.

Yesterday I was in a total strop because what I had read about the Swindon/Telford game sounded like a totally undisciplined embarassment.... it really got to me .... although to be fair having now seen the footage on Telford's local paper's website, I don't think it was anywhere near as bad as some were making out.... (in fact I've pretty much come around to the idea that all that testosterone and passion that our new squad have in buckets is a GOOD thing, as long as Pete Russell can channel it for the greater good)

Today in contrast I am skipping on clouds because the baby Canucks had such a great result last night - and it's just so good to have my NHL hockey back, even if it is only half strength so far.

I wonder if there is a recognised psychiatric term for hockey induced mood swings? I definitely felt more mentally balanced in the off season :)

The only thing I'm a little worried about is Kes's bladder control:

Don't drink too much of that water, mate

Because you might get caught short:

hee hee

Guess who's back (back, back)
Back again (gain, gain)
Nucks are back (back, back)
Tell a friend (friend, friend)


Monday, September 22, 2008

Blimey - I'm SEWING - like a GIRL!

Working with textiles is something I have wanted to do for a very long time - but simply didn't have the cojones to give it a try.

But, spurred on by some of the lovely fabric pieces arriving for the raffle, I rather impulsively signed up for a pure fabric CJ on UKS a couple of weeks ago, when I noticed that one of their members had dropped out and they needed to fill her space.

There are 12 of us taking part, and so, rather than making a traditional book, I am simply asking each participant to make a 6" x 6" quilted square, and I will assemble them into a patchwork type wall hanging (4 squares by 3) when they come home.

Boy oh boy, though, did I ever feel out of my depth during the making of this piece!

The design was simple (in fact too simple - I wish I had done something a little more adventurous as it feels almost like a Flo-by-numbers composition) - I decided to do something "typically me" - in the hope that the other players will also do something very true to their own styles. So I used my current top colour palette of red, blue and purple - and my favourite Green Pepper Press tree rubber stamp.

But it proved so difficult.

First of all - HOW do you cut fabric straight???? I kept going off course and ruined loads of pieces of material.

Then why doesn't stamping with black neopaque paint work? And, talking of paint, you have to use so much because it absorbs.

And colour wash comes out so much darker than on paper.

Anyway - it's done now, and I am pleased to have overcome my mental blocks about textile arts and given it a go.

A quick how-to. I dyed all the fabrics for the piece (except the brown velour) using Ranger colourwash sprays in denim, cranberry and eggplant. All I did was spray, and let the colour pool and drip in places.

You can see it closer on the back:

Like I said, everything came out a little too dark so I lightened up the fabric used for the centre panel with pearlescent pink and lavender inks sponged through sequin waste, and a bit of silver ink stippled here and there, and I also gave it a good spray with irridescent gold Glimmer Mists, which has given it a lovely sparkle.

Then I attempted to stamp the tree, but it came out really patchy, so I freehanded most of it in with black acrylic paint.

Rusty tin stars were sewn on to the front panel, and little seed beads also. And then I sewed it onto the full front panel and some quilters' wadding.

The chocolate coloured velour fabric at the bottom was cut with a heat tool (the one I use for cutting stencils - it went through the velour like butter), and applied with fabric glue.

Faric certainly is a challenging medium for me to work in - especially as I don't own a sewing machine :) - but I am really looking forward to the next 12 months and making pages / quilts for all the other players. I hope I will have come a long way past this very basic effort by the end of the year.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Up and down

Yes, sorry, more Wildcats talk. Arty farty stuff will be back soon, straight after this post in fact. But I need to get my thoughts about the weekend's hockey out of my head first.

First of all, Saturday - what a GREAT day. The weather was amazing, and there was a funfair in the rink carpark - I love it when the fair comes to town :)

Connor and I got up to the Link about an hour before the game (first "proper" match of the season, vs Sheffield Scims) and went on the rides for a bit. We had particular fun with the hall of mirrors, as you can see :) And the pic of Cons on the little roller coaster models his new gap perfectly - he lost his first milk tooth the day before.

We played until the last possible second and got to our seats within seconds of the puck drop. The first period was worrying - we seemed to be almost permanently down a man with powerplay after powerplay for Sheffield. I started muttering about lack of discipline. With good reason, it turns out, but let's stay on Saturday for the moment. Thanks mainly to Kudrna, we got to the end of the period with no score, and Connor and I headed back to the fair for the break, collecting Ben and Michelle along the way.

Michelle then proceeded to make my day BIG time. You remember the BBQ? And Jon Sitko's fetching pinny? Well - Connor and I had to leave said BBQ early, but Michelle and Ben had stuck around to the end - when the Wildcats pinnies that had been in active service were auctioned off. You know where this is going :) She only went and outbid all comers and won the pinny as a pressie for me! :D :D :D

Sits had already signed it, but he added a little dedication for me too, it's very cool indeed :) Totally unexpected - I was, and am still, so chuffed!!!

Anyway - back to the game - we finished the second period a goal down, but I actually think we played better in that period than the first. There were plenty of chances we just didn't get lucky on any of them. I know I'm biased but Sitko had an amazing game, doing everything he should do, using his size, lining up a few great slaps from the blue line, and generally making his presence felt. Lee Richardson was on fire too.

The one decidedly dodgy piece of the puzzle was still Racek. When is this guy going to wake up and start delivering on all the promises? The easy answer to that one is "about 8 mins before the final horn" as he does seem to have an uncanny knack of getting his act together in the final minutes of the game - and indeed he did it again in this game - Ivan the Equaliser evened it up for us in the last half of the last period - and set us up nicely to clinch the game with a second goal from Watt the Elder shortly after. But for the first 50 minutes he is all over the place. I know it's early days but he really needs to start playing a full 60 minutes, because underperforming imports don't stick around for long in this league.

But - yes - the gist is - thorouhgly enjoyable game - our goalie is like a less good looking Luongo and will be saving much Swindon bacon this year - everyone made a lot of noise - everyone looked good out there except Racek - and, most importantly WE WON!!!!!!

oh - and Ryan Watt and Jon Sitko were on autograph duty after the game - and Michelle was kind enough to tell Sits that I was the crazy-fangirl-lady she had bought the pinny for - at which point I blushed beetroot. So there you go - it took Janak almost the whole season to realise he had a stalker - #24 has got it sussed one game in :)

So there I was last night - celebrating, buzzing with the victory.

Tonight? Whole different story.

We lost away 4-0 to the Telford Tigers - and by all acounts it was a sorry old state of a game. A ref who wouldn't put a single decision our way. A ten minute misconduct for our goalie for pointing out that fact. A HUGE brawl that got FIVE of our boys removed from the game. And allegations of Crawford/Bertuzzi proportions against our Pete.

We can't afford this lads. There is a line between being hot headed and being stupid. If the ref is already against us, don't wind him up even more, ffs!!!
And how exactly does a player help his team by leaving the bench to fight and getting sent on the long walk?


Sore losers? you bet. Well, so am I. Nothing can build up my mood and then batter it back down to earth like this beautiful game.

A 4-0 shut out is hard to take.

Early days, early days.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Nothing like starting the season with a nailbiter!

I think I experienced every emotion known to mankind during tonight's hockey game :)

I went from excited to wary to fed up to hopeful through excited again and thoroughly entertained to absolutely ELATED when we equalised with 39 seconds on the clock.

I'm hoarse from shouting and so, so hyped for the new season :)

Laaaadiiiisssllllaaaaavvvvv made some brilliant judgement calls and made up for a couple of dodgy loking rebounds early in the first period to completely win me over.

Sitko is a beast.

Racek? hmmmm, not convinced yet. He seemed uneasy out there. Until he got that last minute goal in, anyway :) But then again Janak started off dodgy as hell and ended up pretty solid. Must be a Slovakian thing.

Wheats looked like he was having fun out there and had some great chances.

The Watts bros are very entertaining indeed.

Matty had some chances too.

And bad boy Fiddes took the first penalty of the season :) Tsk! hee hee

(vid courtesy of Rick - who by complete coincidence also shot the vid of the Kings/Ducks at the O2 last year with me in it :))

and another video just added from the game - fiesty Sitko having a little tussle - this was actually quite a sweet little fight, if a fight can be sweet :) At least the aftermath was, they were both chatting away in the sin bin and having a good giggle :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

I've got my hockey back!!!!!

Wildcats party time :)

Our new team for 08/09 was launched today, and I have to say the 'cats ain't looking too shabby this season!

Smart new kit, interesting new players, and a really positive vibe in the air.

I couldn't get down to rinkside to take any extreme closeups, but here are some pics from today's photoshoot and scrimmage.

(Sorry the action shots look a bit garish, I had to tweak the curves a fair bit to correct the Link's nasty yellow cast)

Willie's got his new kit:

Euan Forsyth, one of our new Scots - looks ready for a fight and there isn't even an opposing team in the building yet...
It's hockey, not golf dear:

Nelly the younger - who I think will be a hit with the younger puck bunnies:

Lee "Two Sticks" Richardson:


Mikey Farn:

Shane (it's cool we have a Shane and a Wayne :) now we just need a Blaine):

Talk of the devil - this one's for Tracey - Wayne does the striptease - ba da da daaaa, ba da da daaaa....

and here's our fab captain again:

Oli takes a break:

Wheats scores on Oli (that'll teach him for relaxing :)):

Our last signing of the summer, from Kitchener Ontario, home of Mr Toddney Bertuzzi, looking like a cuter version of Russell Crowe, my new crush, Mr Jon Sitko:

Now you know my usual preference would be for defensively minded forwards (ya can't spell Kesler without Selke!), but I might have to make an exception for an offensively minded D-man who can pull a mean spinorama:

And doesn't he have a cute smile:


And here's me thinking I'd have nobody to crush on now that Tomas has gone - the hockey gods have smiled upon me :)

After the scrimmage we all retired to the local pub for a BBQ - luckily it was nice and sunny - first sunshine we've seen around these parts in a while (hockey gods working overtime....)

Connor was reunited with his hero of heroes, young Mr Richardson - look how happy Connor looks, I think he has missed the 'cats as much as I have:

And I got served some surprisingly tasty Quorn burgers by our Kitchener boy, in a very fetching pinny. I think that really did happen. Or maybe it was just one of those happy daydreams that starts off with Brad Pitt calling by for a cup of sugar :)

All in all, a good day, and I can't wait till Wednesday to see a proper game. The summer has been too long.