Halloween, been-a’-gone!

Dressing up Snow White (me?!) and the Seven Dwarfs (the small dogs!!) wasn’t meant to be this year – the last couple of weeks had been taken up with making  Chihuahua Christmas decorations and setting up the craft shop sites and getting the business cards together, and also, the sale of one of my pups, Maxi. We had been on the fence about whether to keep a seventh (small) dog, but with his constant biting attacks on his smaller brother, Twiglet, with the last attack too severe, we made extra effort to find him a loving home. We’d almost found him one but he’s coming back as we think the situation isn’t ideal, although the people seem kind.

We – Mum in the front passenger seat with Oscar on her lap reading maps – went to visit Maxi in his (temporary) new home, Sunday. They didn’t wish for us to come sooner, in daylight, so I got us lost driving in the dark there. I don’t really know the town which is a mass of tightly knit spaghetti roads, including one-way ones in a small built-up area (Hello modern Britain!). Not having a sat-nav in my classic Honda, but recent maps that were unfortunately not recent enough depicting a new housing estate (why weren’t we told?) aided in the confusion. Driving back was another kind of adventure, in ever thickening fog – my mum did warn me not to take the winding coast road, home! Once home, the background migraine decided to flare and I had to sit still for a while. It wasn’t the stress surrounding the pup’s new home – the woman I liked – or the exciting driving – I don’t mind – it must have been the constant movement of the roadtrip. Bright lights, loud noises and movement…that’s what my body doesn’t like – considerably! – since the injury. The network of my nerve circuits is a big mis-firing mess.

The next day John and I went food shopping – at a budget store which I stopped going to a while ago due to it not being very disabled-friendly (trolleys/carts too low to reach for groceries, the urgency of the autobahn-checkouts, the l-o-n-g queues, the need to bring my own mobility scooter whereas our local Asda has several of them and with big baskets). I thought it another way in which we could save a little extra for Christmas. Wrong! Because I then left with a bundle of fireworks for November the 5th!

“Guy Fawkes, the Gunpowder Plot. This is an important English date for John to get to know,” I said.

Imagine my joy when I come home and see this little chap waiting in the window!

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Wait for it…..

b

See him? Oscar Dandelion, Sentinel of the Home. He’s very popular with the delivery people. He may be small in statue but he’s big on security.

c

Ah. A little bigger.

Did you have fun this Halloween? If so, I’d love to see your blog posts about it – please leave a link below in the comments🙂

Thank you for dropping by

Faith and Oscar Dandelion + co. xox

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Copyright Faith McCord 2016

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

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An Autumn Portrait (ReBlog)

Wow, Jack Henry, so handsomely attired for Halloween!

Little Dogs Laughed

Jack Henry today, offering an autumnal portrait for this week-

Today’s Dog Quote:

“Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well.”
    -Bonnie Wilcox

Image taken with iPhone 5s and processed with Snapseed, iColorama, Formulas, and Pic-Tap-Go

For today: An Autumn Portrait

Autumnal Autumnal

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Red Shoes (short story) #3

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Dear reader, I had said I’d publish this short story in ONE GO, but it ran away with me, growing into a longish short story – too long for one sitting! So, I’m breaking it up into 3 or 4 parts, to be published every Sunday (the usual day when I posted The Hotel Unicus series). I’ll be rating it 16+ due to the mature themes, but as is my way there is more mystery in the absence of gory details, which terrify me. Horror/mystery/pretanatural. I hope you like it.


Have you missed Part Two?

Part 2

Part 1

Just to re-cap…..

I felt my feet burning. “What?”

“The weird graffiti in the loo. OK, OK, don’t kill me!”

I tried toning down my irritation. “What are you talking about?”

Brian looked over both shoulders. “Come on…what was your name, again?”

“Fran.”

“Come on, Fran, you might be very interested in this.”

“Take me a photo!” Fatima called after us.


~ Part Three ~

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Brian remembered – and took – a really good photograph of the graffiti.

On the back of one of the toilet cubicle doors, someone – unknown – had spray painted a pair of stiletto shoes, and the words: Be careful whose shoes you stand in! Underneath that helpful statement, were two further words:

Devil’s Shoes.

It certainly had an impact, what with it being sprayed in bright red, and the warning executed precisely in black – but it wasn’t a Banksy.

Fatima, Brian and me studied my shoes.

Despite the heat of the shoes, a chill ran through me.

“What am I to do?” I whispered.

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I felt too depressed to come back to the hotel the next day. I went to the park instead and cradled a takeaway coffee on a bench. My legs took up the entire space so I could dangle my painful feet over the edge of the seat.

I counted on my fingers how many miserable days and nights it had been since I hadn’t been able to remove the shoes.

Seven days. A week.

Two weeks ago I was soaring with happiness because of the shoes, but the honeymoon period was over. Just like an abusive relationship, things had turned irrevocably sour.

Would I end up as mad and destitute – worse-off than before – like Mrs Briggs?

I was already feeling the loss of my identity.

Devil’s Shoes.

Was my life in danger?

My eyes wandered along a curving path that disappeared behind large overhanging oak trees and sprawling dog rose bushes. Happy childish cries from playing children, and a man calling a dog, vaguely reached my ears. I followed a jogger with my eyes as he turned the bend in the path, soon disappearing behind the greenery.

Without conscious thought, my eyes rested on a group of three people under the trees. I hadn’t seen them at first. The shade had in part obscured them from sight.

They were those who live on the fringes of society. Invisible. Maybe forgotten.

I could make out one woman and two men – or perhaps the smaller slimmer man was a woman. This genderless one was drinking out of a bottle, whilst the other two, who seemed closer and were physically closer to one another, shared a cigarette or a spliff.

A disturbing thought intruded this almost spaced-out feeling: Had the Red Shoes brought me here only to witness my own imminent downfall?

My mobile phone rang, it was Lilly. She asked me where I was then said she’d be there as soon as she could get there. She wasn’t only concerned for my welfare, she had something to tell me.

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“Mrs Briggs just phoned.” Lilly said, nearing the park bench where I sat and suffered.

“Oh?”

Lilly wore an expression of barely concealed excitement.

“Budge up.” She parked her bottom beside mine and poked with an index finger, her travelling glasses back up her nose. “She actually sounded normal, rational – like she used to when I was her accountant.”

“Sounds suspicious to me.” Lately, for some reason, I’d become rather untrusting.

“She went on to say that she was thrilled to have met you because you have made everything like it used to be. Whatever that means.”

I remembered the awkward encounter – the one outside the police station. Afterwards. How the crazed woman had reacted to me pointing out that my shoes wouldn’t fit her, (being that her feet are so tiny). The stunned look followed by her puzzling words: “That’s a strange thing.”; and then, her quiet relief as she walked away, like a completely different person.

As if the power of the Red Shoes held their sway over her no more. She had been released, her freedom restored.

My feet were so hot and swollen despite the cool shade of the trees. Lilly offered to try pulling the shoes off. She gave it her best go but it was no use. While we were doing this, the group of three – who I’d earlier spied – walked passed. The smaller man, I noticed at this closer distance, was actually a young woman – wearing little makeup, a crumpled trilby hat and an open purple trench coat over frayed denim shorts and a vest top that had been white but was now grubby with stains. She wore dirty lilac coloured canvas shoes with off-white laces.

She stared at my shoes and I stared at her.

A few strands of her chin-length hair had escaped the hat where they stuck out behind her ears.

The blonde woman in the purple trench coat.

The look in her eyes sent shivers down my spine. The whites of her eyes were enlarged in horror. The hand she pointed at my shoes, shook.

“They will bring you nothing but bad luck. Find a way to get rid of them.”

“How?” I asked, the alarm making my voice rise in discordant notes.

“I don’t know. I can’t help. It’s different for everyone.”

“Please stay,” I pleaded with her, “I need to know more about your connection with them – to understand how I can rid myself of them.”

“The relationship we had holds no answers for you. Good luck.”

I couldn’t make her stay. My feet burned brighter while the shoes constricted tighter…

“Fran, I think I know what the answer is.” Lilly said as we watched the threesome hurriedly walk off down the path between flower-beds filled with colourful bedding plants. In the near distance, a woman scolded a child and a chocolate labrador dog barked as it ran after a far-flung tennis ball.

“How can you know that?”

“They say that evil delights in lies. It seems to me that the truth will set you free.”

We were walking at this point, following the others – a good way behind – along the path, in the direction of home. Every now and then the purple of the mac flashed through the trees on the curve of the path. Spontanenously, I gave Lilly a quick squeeze of a hug.

Then, as she bent forwards to the ground, to collect her spectacles that had completely fallen off her retrousse nose during the impromptu hug, I said: “But, what truth. Which particular truth will set me free?”

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“You look like hell.” Gran said. This, the same gran who, only recently, told me frightful bedtime stories about red shoes.

I don’t know why folklore has it that grandmothers are sweet, wizened, old women because my gran is none of those things.

She dyes her shoulder-length hair burgundy, sports a tattoo of a Phoenix arising from flames, between her shoulder blades, and her main mode of transport is a 1970s’ Triumph motorcycle – all shiny chrome and black leather and a growl and rumble like the earth is being ripped apart. She’s 73. She also plays scrabble on Sundays with the Reverend. That last bit is true – as is the rest.

Maybe that’s why it’s called folklore.

“Fran didn’t you hear me, girl, I said, ‘you look like hell’.”

Did I forget to mention the outspoken part?

“Mother, I hope you can help our Fran.” Mum said, poking her nose round the door into Gran’s tiny kitchen where we sat at a tiny formica topped table.

“I’ll give it my best shot.” Gran answered without taking her shrewd eyes off me.

She poured us tea from a teapot into big ceramic mugs. This looked like serious business when Gran got the Teapot Out.

“Now,” she began, as she added the milk (neither of us taking sugar), “as you already know, we all have to find our way in the world, and what’s right is sometimes hidden.”

I just nodded, wondering how long the sermon would last.

“But, the truth is an awesome thing: no matter how much, or, for how long for, it is held back, it will always arise like the Phoenix. You can never hide the truth. It always comes out.”

I sipped my hot tea and nodded again when she came to the end of her speech.

“More tea, Dear?”

It was odd that she mentioned the ‘truth’ after it had reared its ugly head, yesterday. Though, I hadn’t connected the two events by then. Why would I? I wasn’t one to believe in synchronicity – and all that hocus-pocus – that’s for loopy people, right?

We drank more tea until my bladder was drowning in it and looked through old photographs of gran when she was another being: a much younger version of herself and much more sensible.

She kept poking a finger at a particular black and white photo; one, where she wore a 1950’s gown and high heels. She was very pretty – all the women are attractive in our family – and had her pale blonde hair pinned up high and wore dark lipstick. Red, she said, we all wore it. The sullen young man beside her wasn’t my grandfather, she informed me, but an ex-boyfriend, who she thought she would marry. That was until he became mean to her and she came to her senses and called curtains on the relationship.

“And, that, Fran, was my truth.”

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“What happened to the red lipstick?” Fatima asked me when I dropped by the Star Hotel.

“I hate red now.” I said, glancing at the Red Shoes (still holding my feet hostage).

She seemed to understand. “They scrubbed that graffiti off the toilet wall.” She told me. “When the manager found out he went ballistic! Thought one of us was playing a joke.”

“Why would he think that? It seems rather paranoid.”

“He is paranoid. He thinks everyone’s got it in for him.”

I told her about the chance encounter with the blonde woman with the purple trench coat in the park. Complete with her utter horror of seeing me wearing the shoes. The same Red Shoes she’d had an unhappy relationship with.

“Apparently, I’m supposed to find my own individual ‘truth’ to set me free.”

“What’s that then?” Brian interjected, strolling over to the reception desk. I never took him for the brightest bulb.

Fatima and I exchanged rolling-of-the-eyes looks.

“What?”

No doubt, still trying to impress the pretty Moroccan, Brian told us of another story concerning the same kind of graffiti he’d seen in a pedestrian underpass, the other side of the city. I say the same, but the wording was slightly different: The, Be careful whose shoes you stand in! was omitted, leaving just, The Devil’s Shoes; and, a single word, Truth.

“Did you take a picture of it?” Fatima wanted to know.

“What?” Brian rolled his eyes.

The photo on his mobile phone was disappointing. It was too dark, badly blurred, showing only a glimmer of bright red.

“What happened?” Fatima asked.

I, on the other hand, wasn’t surprised.

“I don’t think it wanted to be photographed.” Brian said. Then: “Why don’t I take you girls out tonight?”

“Only if we get to see the mysterious mural first.” The receptionist winked.

“OK.” I said, feeling I was running out of time.

And, in response, the Red Shoes burned a little more.

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rs05

…………to be continued!

animated-horror-ghost-33 Did you enjoy this story?

If so, I’d love to hear from you! gif_tongue_teeth_shoes

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Words: 1,886

Inspired by: My own red Italian shoes (in another life when my life was more high heels than wheels).

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The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Andersen

The Red Shoes, the film, 1948

Animated gifs from giphy.com and gifandgif.eu

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Copyright Faith McCord 2016

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in short story, Short Story Series | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

2 Friends – Chester + Oscar 2013

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My little dandelion pup, Oscar Dandelion, 3 years ago, together with the lady, Chester.

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Copyright Faith McCord 2016

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

“The Little Log Cabin” e-shops

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My ordered business cards look something like this (above). I worked through the night trying to get it ‘right’ and my poor eyes are burning today!

I’ve set up two e-shopswww.folksy.com/shops/TheLittleLogCabin and www.amazon.co.uk/handmade/TheLittleLogCabin

The shops aren’t looking too pretty at the moment because I haven’t got round to that yet! When you’re on your own trying to sell something you’re having to ‘wear all kinds of hats’, doing it all yourself. I’m lucky if I get the odd cup of coffee or tea from John, lol.

You can always order direct from me, too – please express your interest in the comments below, or, email me at the email address above.

Crafting is a kind of therapy for me – I live with chronic pain and cannot work a normal job, anymore – and the little extra money will come in useful for the Christmas period.

I’m thinking of making Jack Russells too… (Chester agrees).

Thanks for dropping by!

Faith xox

You can see my first Christmas Chihuahua ornament *here*

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Copyright Faith McCord 2016

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in The Little Log Cabin | Tagged , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Christmas Chihuahuas – The Little Log Cabin

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I’ve some good news!

I’ve been approved by Amazon to sell my handmade ornaments. So far, I’m making Christmas Chihuahuas to stand and also ones to hang from the Christmas tree.

They’re very small, the base is 5 or 6 cms wide; with Christmas tree 6 cms tall; the tiny chi 4 cms tall. All sizes approximate.

Each one is unique. Made without molds, hand painted clay and wooden shapes with acrylics, sealed with gloss. With varying colours and embellishments. And, a fine sprinkle of mica glitters! The standing ones have a protective layer of felt to their bases.

They will be safely packed in strong cardboard boxes with internal packing as they are delicate. Each one arrives with its own organza bag and artist card. So, they make great gifts.

I don’t know if I can also sell them on Amazon / North America… But, I will also be selling them direct – just message me in the comments – and, via Folksy, the British based handmade web site. I’m on Amazon Europe.

Each one is £20 plus postage and packing.

I’m open to requests for certain colours.

Faith, “The Little Log Cabin”

chihuahua.kisses@yahoo.co.uk


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~ SOME SHIPPING RATES ~

CANADA

1. Royal Mail International Economy; 42 days;  Up to £20 for loss or damage; Not Tracked; £5.40*
2. Royal Mail International Standard; 5 to 7 working days;  Up to £20 for loss or damage; Not Tracked; £7.80*
3. Royal Mail International Tracked & Signed; 5 to 7 working days;  Up to £50 for loss or damage; Delivery Confirmation; £12.45*

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Copyright Faith McCord 2016

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in The Little Log Cabin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Maxi says Don’t Forget!

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I’m thinking of dressing up the pups this Halloween. Beatrix as a bat; Oscar as a ghost; Chester as a witch; CoCo as a witch’es cat (I’m not sure she’d agree!); Twiglet as a pumpkin (he’s already orange); CreamScone as a pumpkin or a bonbon; and, Maxi as the Hulk (he’s a big Chihuahua). John can go as the Sasquatch monster because he’s fluffy and got big feet – he’s also from the White North. (Actually, I’m thinking, if you Canadians haven’t see the Sasquatch recently, I could really be harbouring him). If my mum is in a bad mood, she can dress up as a witch. And, me? Any suggestions???😮

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oscar_story_leaves_100

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Copyright Faith McCord 2016

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in life | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments