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House update..   
07:13pm 08/05/2014
  Word cannot even describe how tough the last couple of weeks have been. I don't know about anyone else, but I deal very badly with uncertainty, especially on something as humongous as this. Over the past couple of weeks the seller has just gotten worse and worse...

Ever since we put in our offer, he had been in constant contact, asking when we would sign and constantly saying he could be out in a week. This was back in April. Seeing the amount we're paying we didn't want to leave any stone unturned, and made sure all is on paper and signed for. But we didn't want to sign the final papers until a finishing date had been put forward. He kept reminding us, and we kept saying we'd be aiming for the end of April.

When the letter with the finishing date finally came through the door, it turned out to be the 2nd of June! A long story short, both myself and my parter will be in full convention and game-fair mode, and hardly at home to begin with. Moving at that date would be impossible. We finally send the papers back saying that it would be August instead.

Seller panicked, and said that the suggested date was no good. We told him it would have to be earlier, otherwise August will stand. In the end, a contract was drawn up for us; we would get the keys and move in on the 9th of May, and the deeds would be send on June 2nd, and money transferred to him.

Today, we phoned up... Only to hear that he has trouble with a house he is buying for himself. As such, he hasn't even moved all his stuff out of the house yet! The keys are not happening on the 9th either because of it. We reminded him, that if we don't have the keys by Monday, Tuesday at the very latest, we'll revert back to the August date.


In the meantime, I am still surrounded by a boxed up house and it just feels nasty. Our home for the past couple of years is now reduced to a house with a ton of boxes in it. I just cannot wait to start moving things and be done with.. Fingers crossed the sale will still stand, because unfortunately in N.Ireland unless you have the actual keys in hand the seller can pull out at any stage.

And for those curious about our (hopefully) forever home-to-be, here is a link;

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07:56pm 13/04/2014
Talk about a response! i am so glad to see I am not the only one that misses the writing and reading. It stimulates conversation of a non-verbal kind, rather than these impatient quick blurbs and all!

The move is... Terrifying me to be honest. It has taken weeks to get barely a fourth of the house packed, only for me to walk into my workshop and realize that, to my horror, it has to move as well. This was also the point where I realized half of my machines are shot bolted to the concrete flooring and don't remove... So I'll have to rent a jackhammer. I can only wait and see what my postman will think of me then! After opening the door to him before in full apron and safety gear on with a power drill larger than half of me in my hand to hollow out antlers and the workshop filled with dust he seemed less enthused and more worried about me!

There is no official date of completion yet, but the seller is eager to move out as he is ready to move to somewhere else, but needs our money to do so. We've made a few demands; windows (which have been checked and okay'd), the security fence to be working and a gas safety certificate, but these demands are VERY reasonable, or so our solicitor keeps saying? Once those requests are met, we will complete. We're still hoping/aiming for the end of the month!

The thing I look forward to the most is the new workshop/studio to be. It is a self contained annex, about 3-4x the size of my current workspace. Don't get me wrong, it has served me (well, 'us' actually) perfectly well, but as things get busier the workshop's quirky narrowness is starting to become a hindrance. As time is going on, larger and larger items have started appearing, and now in greater number as well. The larger space will be dreamy, not to mention that it is fully insulated and heated! Though the current space is insulated, the heating doesn't quite cut it, and in the winters my joints ache under the work.

once we have a bit more solidity to this move I'll proudly post the pictures. It is, again, terrifying me. It is such a humongous change for where we are now, but after crunching numbers again and again I think we can make this work...

oh my.... It's just so... Yeah.  O.O
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I miss writing...   
11:30am 10/04/2014

I know this is going to sound corny... especially after such a long absence from LJ, but I miss writing. I've noticed how, perhaps through the swiftness of status updates, that I've grown less patient in the digital world. But what bothers me moreso is that I've grown tired of writing more elaborate updates on my life. Seeing as life is a gift and how reading back on things can be such a treat, even if the situation you are reading about was a difficult one, I am hoping to change this.

There are a lot of exciting things about to happen. Houwers Taxidermy is a huge success, and with the combined forces of my partner and myself we will soon be moving into a much larger home. The best feature about this new home will be the self contained annex, which will become my new studio. It is going to be a rather hectic move, and one that does unnerve me. Not so much the moving of all that STUFF, but the fact that it is so close to the big conventions and fairs kicking off for us.

Needless to say chaos is around the door, but I am certainly hoping it'll inspire me to write a bit more on my LJ. Is anyone still out here?

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Corsets for sale :)   
04:20pm 21/02/2012
  In hopes to get some funding together for making sure our first couple of rescued ex-battery hens will have a great & safe garden area to roam in, a comfortable home, loads of yummy food and enough supplements or vet-care at hand to get them through the those difficult early stages I am selling a few corsets. Nut House Hen Rescue & Re-homing Centre are currently in the process of getting rescued chickens to new homes and we hope to provide a good one in the very near future :) If you are based on the island of Ireland and wish to give (or know someone that might be able to!) some of these girls a new home be sure to get into contact with the rescue centre :)

Black Leather overbust: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Genuine-Leather-Overbust-Steel-bones-/320852437264
Celtic Inspired corset: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Celtic-Inspired-Corset-Steel-Bones-RENN-SCA-LARP-/320852469277

Nut House Hen Rescue & Re-homing Centre; http://www.facebook.com/NutHouseHenRescue

Thanks for looking, and please share to all whom might be interested! :)
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And the Capercaillie...   
02:58pm 13/11/2011
  The pose is based on the mating display of the capercaillie. :D

I am so happy with the results!

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Good day!   
03:46pm 12/11/2011
  Phew, long time no post... I really need to step away from the easy 'one-liners' on FB, and focus more in the in-depth reports of the day which used to bring me great writing pleasure!

Today has been an amazing day so far. I was rather pooped out from last night's bar shift, but managed to get up early enough to start working on article research and some commission work in the background. Only to find out from my folks that went to the Taxidermy Championships that 2 out of my 3 send-in pieces did incredibly well...

honourable mention for my Capercaillie trophy piece, and a whopping second place with 87 points for my feature piece which also received the public's favourite award and the prizes attached. Another 4 masterpoints added, only 2 more to go until a full master-title!


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04:53pm 25/08/2011
  Mr. Richardson and I just bought our first pair of baby socks.... such excitement!

And low and behold... it fit!

Hole cut for the good wing to come through so the wee one can keep balance, but the elastic ring is tight enough to keep the broken wing set in place without obstructing breathing.

Looks fabulous too!
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Those Passport Nightmares!   
02:38pm 24/08/2011
Yesterday was my appointment at the Embassy in Dublin to get my new passport sorted. Since I've always had the old style one, and not the new style which requires fingerprints and gods know what else I had to make an actual appearance in a fully booked Embassy agenda. Miss it by a few minutes and you'll have to wait another few months, something which wasn't really going to happen, as I've got travelling plans in September.

So, with the appointment booked for August 23rd at 10:40am, we needed to get the earliest train possible. Luckily for us Translink/Irishrail had special deals on, and a return ticket from Bangor to Dublin was £12,50 each. £25 for two adult return tickets to Dublin isn't bad when balanced out against the fuel and parking costs in Dublin. Plus we knew from previous experiences that if we were to park in the wrong place we'd have our car broken into again.

Downside to this was Tennant's Vital. This years big stars are The Script and Eminem. I was planned in for the Tuesday night shift in Jenny's, but not knowing how long the passort-malarkey was going to take, the trains being bunged, and the roads even worse we didn't know if we would be able to make it back in time for my shift at 7pm. After asking the boss he said to 'give it my worst', so I was going to try and 'make it when I make'. In the end, a good friend and hard worker had her holiday plans cancelled, and rather than having the bar-staff team awaiting another member on what could be a rather busy night I asked if she could cover me, which she did.

This atleast opened up part of the day for me and Mr. Richardson, allowing us to look around a bit as well. Plus, it's always nice to be able to take it easy when you have to get up at 5am in the morning to get everything ready.

As said, at 5am we arose, fed Oscar and cleaned the bird's box. Yes, we have a re-hab case again, a juvenile blackbird with a broken wing. We finally got everyone washed and fed, leaving with just minutes to spare to Bangor station, and we managed to just catch the train. We arrived in Belfast 20 minutes before the Enterprise would depart for Dublin, but unlucky for Mr. Richardson none of the food bars were open yet.

I slept here and there on the train journey and we arrived at Connolly around 9:45. We asked on how to get to the correct street and were send on the Dart service going the wrong way. Typical. Mistake was soon fixed, and we were on our way again. I think we finally made it to the building with 5 minutes to spare. I handed over my forms, ID, and photos... only to be told the passport photos were UK sized and too large, so I had to get new ones taken. My heart sank, but the lady at the desk assured me she'd keep the slot open as all she needed was the photos. Ran down the street, found a photo place got the pictures taken and 20 minutes later we were at her desk again. Got my prints taken, and all was now sorted. The new passport will be send to me within two weeks.

Taking a breather we headed back to the Dart service, and got off at Pearse Station. From there we walked to the Grand Canal Docks and sat in the sun for a while. There was an amazing sculpture of a bull near the docks as well in the shape of a bull. From the docks we walked all the way to Echlin Street and decided it was about time we paid the Guinness Storehouse a visit..

Had a grand day relaxing and mucking about in that HUGE place. It was fun, and I even got Mr. Richardson to pour (and drink part of!) a pint of Guinness. One of the few Irish people I know that doesn't like Guinness... though I'm sure I make up for the both of us!

We tried getting the train back to Belfast at 5pm, but it was bunged and we missed it. Heading outside again I promised Mr. Richardson I wanted to buy him dinner, so after a few blocks we ended up in "Le Bon Crubeen", which was absolutely delightful, and entertained us with plenty of time to catch the 7pm service to Belfast.

It was BUNGED, and people were standing in HUGE groups to get in. I spied a way around, and told Mr. Richardson to make a dash for it, as after a day of running and walking around Dublin neither of us fancied standing on the way back! We managed to get a seat, thankfully, and two lovely old ladies which had been out for a last couple of days travelling the entire island were sitting next to us. It wasn't long after the train started moving I dozed off again.

Finally, at 10:30pm we sat foot in the door and were well and truly knackered. After checking on Oscar (which was hyper) and the bird (fast asleep) I hit the bed and almost instantly fell asleep. The noises of Tennant's Vital (and their bloody blimp, which was pretty noisey!) soon faded and I had one of the better sleeps I've had in a LONG time.

(Click on the picture to be taken to the FaceBook Album)

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Oscar Update   
12:15pm 16/07/2011
  Well, with Mr. Richardson off to Limerick for yet another convention I'll be sharing the house with Oscar, whom after his recent vet visit seems to have taken a turn for the worse.

He's losing weight/mass rapidly and is drinking a bit more water than usual. He's also fairly inactive (more then usual for a ferret) and play doesn't seem to be high on his list anymore. With worry rising I decided to book another vet appointment, and luckily enough they were able to fit me in that same night.

Since his last visit Oscar has lost more weight, and is now just under a kilo... fairly alarming for a male that used to be big and bulky, around 1.5kg on average. The vet took another few looks, and decided a blood-test was in order to see what might be the matter.

The options were to run the test now and wait for the results to treat accordingly, or it'd have to wait until after the weekend. Seeing as I was in no rush to go anywhere I decided now was as good as ever and stayed for the results.

After about 40 minutes of waiting or so the results came in. All seemed fine, including kidney function... there was a slightly elevated number of white blood cells possibly indicating an infection somewhere.

Since no solid answer came from this the choice was made to give him an antibiotic treatment. I opted for injection, as I have no problem giving him this and I find it a lot quicker and less stressing for the little man as well. A tube of Nutri-gel was also given to hopefully stabilize him a bit.

On monday is the follow-up check to see if it has made a difference.....

fingers crossed
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Worst night ever!   
11:41pm 13/07/2011
  Well, that bonfire night was the worst yet, and I didn't sleep a wink. At around midnight we went to bed, and all we could see was the fire blazing high above the houses. Youths were out by the ton, and none of them from our area. By the time the Churchill people had gone to bed others had invaded, and the bonfire became a stopping point to all on their way across bonfires. Drunk driving was the least of the police concerns, and to be fair there was nothing they could do. The phones were ringing hot and nobody was stupid enough to just come on a check. It was the whole platoon or nothing.

In our case, when the fires started dying down around 2-3am the front yards were being used as public toilets, for all ends of manners. Taking a leak, a dump or even a vomit were common to see, along with dumping rubbish bags from the off-licenses. We saw very young people absolutely plastered off their heads, stumbling into someone's garden to take a leak. Such fabulous behaviourism.. Not only that, but all the blokes seemed to be driven by trying car doors. It later on moved to trying to break into cars, which got Mr.Richardson up in his clothing waiting for that 'one move too far'.

Eventually the 'main cause of concern' left the area, which allow Mr.Richardson to go out and talk to one of the neighbours which had also seen the 'fiddle-play' and was observing in the shadows. They had a talk, recalling history.... The bonfire had stopped in our area around 4-5 years ago, when a young kid got bottled in the neck. If our neighbour hadn't been up keeping watch the kid would have bled to death. The bonfire was ceased, and the first year we were in Churchill it wasn't there. The second year a small one was erected and when people complained cars were damaged as well as properties.. this was the third year, and the bonfire was massive.

Needless to say I didn't get any sleep and constantly kept watch. Zombies putting their beer bottles on top of cars, people passing out in front lawns....  the neighbour we talked to said he had lived in the Churchill area for 16 years... but only recently has he considered moving..
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Been too long   
12:15pm 10/07/2011
  It's been too long since my last LJ entry... I just have to find the time more often to actually write things down, as it's in a sorry state of neglect right now. Facebook seems to have taken the upper spot, and short and impersonal messages take away my focus from writing more in-depth reports on the daily going-ons. My apologies to watchers/followers.

As a big part of news we had to go to the vets with Oscar. I've seen a opaque-ness forming in his left eye and had a feeling it was cataract, but because it came on within the span of 14 days or so I was slightly worried about more dire causes for the poor thing. The vet concluded cataracts as well, but I'm still not calmed by the short time frame it has taken hold in. The other eye seems fine, and Oscar in general doesn't seem to have noticed a change at all.

The Great Game Fairs of Ireland at Shane's castle was a blast again this year. Tons of people interested and talking away, loads of people commenting on the quality.. but sadly the follow-up of phone calls after the fair this year seem to be on the down. It may be because of the exceptional weather, and most people don't feel like rummaging through their freezers to look for something they want preserved, but fingers crossed those calls will start coming in again later on, gods know I need them!

As we're approaching mid July here in good ole Norn Iron tensions are once again high. Riots and fight are part of the daily the news, and until the end of Orange Marching season I'm afraid it'll stay that way. The bonfire for the night of the 11th that has been erected on the green in Churchill is massive, and I can't help but wonder how many people inside Churchill (Park and Crescent combined) actually want the damned thing. Personally I'd prefer one big bonfire in the town center, and making the whole event open and public. Ofcourse nothing can really be done about it, because anyone standing up to say they don't want it are likely to have their tyres slashed and houses damaged. Such joys

Six police officers were hurt in riots last night in Antrim, and on the news all we hear is 'loyalists this' and 'nationalists that'. Personally I'd like them all to chuck all that 'us and them' muck out of the window, and just resort to saying the obvious; that 'idiots' were involved.
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Torc Torc Torc <- Celtic Chef!   
12:54pm 25/05/2011
  Motoring away.... the work on the house is still ongoing. After the bathroom finally 'gave the ghost' and died. It was expected, and perfect timing as far as the arrival of my dad was concerned, whom instantly started working on all the preparations we had made. House feels like a money-pit at the moment, but I'm sure it'll get there in the end.

In the meantime I'm trying to continue work as best as I can. It's slow with all the various things in the way, but I think I've found a bit of a ritual :)

So, with no further ado, and me shooting back to work, I give you two of the recently finished torcs;

The Capricorn torc, featuring garnet eyes

Duality torc - Cats vs. dogs! Cat has malachite eyes and dog has tigereye :)
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snowbunting and promo shirt :)   
04:03pm 14/05/2011
  Finished this wee one today. Such a beautiful bird, and what a rare find indeed! A hiker found it here in N.Ireland on one of his trips. At first he thought his mind has tricked him into thinking it was just a bunch of leaves, but he quickly backtracked and realized it was a snow bunting.

And the new TaxidermNI promotional shirt. Can't remember for the life of me where I first saw that pun, and I know it's probably as old as the book of fate, but I figured it would make an excellent support shirt for Houwers Taxidermy. Plus, a silly bit of anatomy humour never fails to bring a smile.

So if you find this 'Humerus' make sure to get yours today at; http://www.printfection.com/taxidermyni

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Game fair   
02:10pm 29/04/2011
  Well, tomorrow is the big day... the BallyWalter Game fair. During the coming two days I'll be doing my taxidermy trade and hoping to educate people a wee bit on wildlife, their preservation and the art of taxidermy, hopefully taking some prejudice away at the same time.

The weather has been glorious, and I'm really looking forward to it. Per usual it'll be a very busy weekend, and the preparations have been non-stop, but in the end it'll all be worth it!

And in the meantime, here are two preview pieces;

Pair of Teal, resting in the reeds.

Wigeon, A wigeon looks up from a muddy bank.

Beltaine and stuff   
01:12pm 23/04/2011
  The weather in Northern Ireland has become almost surreal; it's warm, the sun it beating down as if it was summer and the clouds are something Bob Ross would be proud to call 'happy'. It this weather the veggie beds are doing VERY well. Plants are shooting out of the ground and are growing at an incredible pace. I often catch myself sitting in front of those beds wondering if I can catch a glimpse of one of the plants going through a growth-spurt.

The neighbours dogs however on both sides of my garden are not quite as impressed, nor do they understand that those lovely loose soil beds are not to be walked on. I can't really blame the dogs, and every time a plant got trampled I just nursed it back to health and put it back in the ground, but since the plants are now starting to get rather large it was getting a bit risky in their survival department.

So I popped over to the garden center to get some bamboo rods. I had been meaning to get them anyways to get my runner bean posts up and running. Digging a bed in the soil over here is a right nightmare. It is littered with rocks and by those means not easy going. And they are right below the top soil, so you can never dig far. But the gods must have been smiling down on me, because after a hard days labour I did manage to get the bean bed to the preferred depth.

With the rods that were left I cornered off my veggie beds, and added some string and 'flagging'. The flags were the plastic ties that rods had been tied with, and they do a grand job in letting the dogs know they are not to be crossed. It works a treat!

Now all I have to do is wait patiently for the blisters on my hands to heal. Well worth it though!

For Beltaine this year I am thinking about hosting a Pyro-cue. A beach BBQ with all the fire spinners, and all that wish to come along. We don't have a lot of financial power behind us.... in fact, we're pretty much at rock bottom, but hopefully people would love to join in a sharing=caring sort of a party, where people could bring their own home made foods and such. Either way there's still a bit of planning to do, so we'll see how it goes :)

Taking advantage of the gorgeous weather Mr. Richardson and I went walking. We decided the day was too good not to bring Oscar along, and so all of us went to Crawfordsburn Country park for a dander. The waterfall route is our favourite, and it's a walk Oscar can manage, and usually enjoys.

Sadly, at mid point where you walk past the falls it was all fenced off. Unstable cliffs... so we couldn't complete our walk the traditional way. By this time Oscar was ready to go home as well, and was pulling on his lead in his mad dash back for the car.

After a while we took a small break as to not over-exert the ferret is this warm weather, and like a proper posterchild he was the perfect poser for a picture. It is such a cute shot of him as he rests on Mr. Richardson's lap!

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St. Hubertus Folio   
11:08am 17/04/2011
  Finally it's done; the folio page dedicated to St.Hubertus, hence the stag with the crucifix between the antlers. Done on commission for the Great Game Fairs of Ireland; [link], especially the Shane's Castle edition, so make sure to come along for the great craic and a chance to see this piece in person! :)

Top carries the stag, with the cross between it's antlers and a gild-detailed halo. Visually it'll pull the readers eyes downwards from there, directing focus on the calligraphy. For the side-fillers, and in harmony with the vision of the stag to Hubert, a 'tree of life' pattern featuring foliage is depicted.

The four corners feature icons of the hunt, along with gild detailing. One design has the hunting horn and sword, the other features the rifle and the fishing rod.

Top banner, just below the main-crown, features two dogs/hounds pointing and flushing out pheasants. It is a repeated pattern for the side borders, but in the sides design we also see two hounds retrieving a bird.

The half-circles feature falcons with rabbits in their talons, and the bottom border has two fishing figures (one male, one female). The ferret and rabbit corners stand as a reflection of life itself, a dance of life and death.

The original poem, though you could almost call it a oath, is by Oskar von Riesenthal, and was first published in 1880. The translation was done by me into English, and kept the rhyme and meter intact as best as possible;

This is the hunter’s badge of glory,
That he protect and tend his quarry,
Hunt with honour, as is due,
And through the beast to God is true!

Weapons of war are by hate run,
yet love for game fires our gun.
Therefor ponder, your daily bread;
Did your game not suffer dread?

Guard game from man and beast alike,
Make brief its death and sure your strike!
Be outside rough, yet mild inside,
And badge of glory pure abide!

And the original in German;

Waidmannsheil - Oskar von Riesenthal

Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild,
Daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild.
Waidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört,
Den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt!

Das Kriegsgeschoß der Haß regiert,
Die Lieb’ zum Wild den Stutzen führt.
Drum denk’ bei Deinem täglich Brot;
Ob auch Dein Wild nicht leidet Noth?

Behüt’s vor Mensch und Thier zumal.
Verkürze ihm die Todesqual!
Sei außen rauh, doch innen mild,
Dann bleibet blank Dein Ehrenschild!

(and yes, the first part also features on the Jägermeister bottle)
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2011 Tag!   
02:08pm 02/04/2011

It's finally here, the new Pathtag! Four Celtic wolves running and dancing around, sneaking a lick at the golden wheel. Is it a dance of chaos? A dance around the wheel of the year? Whatever is going on these crazy Celts are having a grand time indeed judging by those smiles!

Our Celtic Wolves Wheel is now available as a fancy pathtag! You can hang them from your bag, key chain or even convert them into a pendant to wear!

A pathtag is a single-sided metal tag about the size and weight of a one Euro coin. The precise dimension of Pathtags are 23mm in diameter and 2.0mm thick.

Pathtags are made from a solid iron base and are plated in a protective silver plating. Only €4.50, and shipping is FREE around the globe!

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When pictures say a thousand words...   
11:10am 21/03/2011
Never laughed so much in my life...

More photos of the Holi celebrations in Belfast behind this cutCollapse )
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And now that it's over...   
11:24pm 19/03/2011
  I can finally post this...

Research... done! I'd like to take a moment to thank the 254 names I've managed to track down that made me and my brother happen ;)

Booyah! 8-generation chart, COMPLETE

The oldest one on here was from 1685, but some branches have been traced back to the 12 generation and the end of the 1500! Sadly, it'll be a couple of years before all the branches will be traced, but seeing as a family tree is endless it'll always be a work in progress... but upto the 8th generation is now complete!

Next year? Who knows... we might try to track down the 9th... or 10th...

This was the birthday present for my brother on the 18th of March! Happy Navelday Bro!

By popular request I've uploaded the empty chart onto my website. It's best printed on A2 size :) Enjoy everyone! Go here to download it; http://www.imbascreations.com/share/8gentree.jpg

Speaking of celebrations... tomorrow is the festival of Colours!

Sunday, St. George's Market (May Street, Belfast) from 1-6pm. Belfast celebrates Holi, the Indian festival of the coming of Spring, signifying brotherhood and unity. The festival uses colour to symbolise equality, whereby visitors are drenched in different colours, to lose their identity and become one.

Don't forget...... to wear white!!! Entrance £1 whos coming?! :D

For more info on Ireland's largest celebration of Holi; http://www.artsekta.org.uk/news/article2/celebrating-culture-colour-creativity

‎(Colour throwing starts around 3:45pm... for those only after the main event, which will miss out on all the foods, music and all that jazz!! ;) )
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Happy International women's pancake tuesday day!   
12:34pm 08/03/2011
  Happy Pancake tuesday and happy International women's day! Have a snoozy ferret in his new red blankie;

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