Monthly Archives: December 2013

Can you name these rats?


This may not be true to the Chinese zodiac, but 2013 has certainly been ‘the year of the rat’ for me! I laid to rest two beautiful girls (Coffee and Flea) and got four handsome new boys to fill our home.

My understanding of these sweet fancy rat pets has deepened over the last year, and my love for them has grown. And you, my dear readers, have borne the brunt of my strange obsession!

I’m sure you didn’t expect the Sunshine Scrapbook to turn into such a rodentcentric blog; neither did I. But this small spot on the web is where I share all the bright, beautiful, sweet and fluffy things that bring joy to my life – and rats just happen to tick all of those boxes 🙂

For a bit of fun as 2013 comes to an end, here are 13 famous rats you may or may not know… How many of them can you name?

Rat #13

Rat #12

Rat #11

Rat #10

Rat #9

Rat #8

Rat #7

Rat #6

Rat #5

Rat #4

Rat #3

Rat #2

Rat #1

Did you get them all? Check your answers below:

#13 – This is a Banksy rat, one of many clever rodents painted by British graffiti artist Banksy. (Photo credit: Unknown/Banksy)

#12 – I don’t know its name, but that’s an Ellen van Deelen rat, of course! If you want an overload of ratty cuteness that can’t be matched, google the excellent photography of Ellen van Deelen. I bet every rat owner wishes they could take such amazing pics of their bubs… (Photo credit: Ellen van Deelen)

#11 – The 11th rat on my list is Hector, a dapper little astronaut sent into space by the French in 1961. (Photo credit: RedScharlach.tumblr/Original unknown)

#10 – This guy won’t make much sense unless you’ve watched the kiddies’ TV show Bananas in Pyjamas. That’s Rat-In-A-Hat. (Photo credit: Bananas in Pyjamas wikia)

#9 – Now this face you must know! Arguably one of the most famous fictional rats around: Templeton from Charlotte’s Web. (Photo credit: Paramount Pictures)

#8 – Yup, that’s a gathering of rats at the Karni Mata temple in India, where tens of thousands of so-called kabbas rats are fed and venerated and allowed to run rampant. Gross, gross, gross. And that’s coming from a rat lover! (Photo credit: Wikimedia)

#7 – The artwork is so distinctive, I’m sure you knew that that fat rat is Beatrix Potter’s Samuel Whiskers 🙂 (Photo credit: Beatrix Potter)

#6 – Booger the dog and Kitty the cat wouldn’t have been the hit they were if they hadn’t been topped by Mousie the rat (admittedly, there were several different Mousies over time). This famous trio or animal pyramid was the brilliant idea of a man named Greg Pike. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

#5 – It’s Ratbert, of course. Ratbert the Consultant, co-worker with Dilbert, Catbert and Dogbert. Hehehe 🙂 (Photo credit: Dilbert wikia)

#4 – His jacket probably gave it away if you didn’t know which rat this was: it’s Rizzo from the Muppets. OK, so I learnt that from Google myself… I’ve never watched a Muppets show in my life! (Photo credit: Muppet wikia)

#3 – The only wise and feisty rat sensei out there: Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#2 – If you think a rat can’t change the world, think again. HeroRATs are trained to do life-saving work such as landmine detection and tubercolosis detection. (Photo credit: APOPO/Wikimedia Commons)

#1 – Oops, I cheated: #1 is actually four rats – my very own fantastic four 😉

Have a happy New Year everyone! See you in 2014!


A Christmas tail

A furry merry Christmas to you!

A furry merry Christmas to you!

Greetings, sunshine lovers!

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas 🙂

At the tail end of the Christmas celebrations, I wanted to share with you the poem I wrote for my friends at the South African rat club this year.

A Christmas tail


Imagine with me

if you will

that on that starry night


as shepherds praised

and wise men bowed

to meet the Child of light


between the cattle

through the hay

ran tiny gel-pink feet


and whiskers twitched

and black eyes glowed

to see the Child so sweet


With yellow teeth

and scaly tail

and fur as soft as fleece


a humble rodent

scurried in

to greet the Child of peace


Of course a rat

of all things made

could find its way in there


It scampered close

and sat quite still

to watch the Child so fair


Then bursting into

happy bruxing

to witness Christmas morn


a simple ratty

sang its joy-song

to the King there born.

(Please note: As with all the other content on this site, this poem is copyrighted to me. You may not use it without permission. Please contact me for any re-use requests. Thank you. – Zest)

Blessed CHRISTmas!


Hello friends and followers 🙂

It’s Christmas tomorrow, and I’m so thankful at this time for the birth of the only Saviour – Jesus Christ the Son of God. Although perhaps only a few of you reading this actually know and love the Lord, I hope none of you will let the true meaning of Christmas get swept away by the ridiculous hype that the world has made of it.

This Christmas, I hope you will realise that that baby whose birthday we celebrate tomorrow can only bring us joy, hope and peace at Christmas because He also grew up to face the cross at Easter. His birth was only the beginning of the promise – and there’s really no use celebrating it if you haven’t also trusted in His work on the cross. Jesus was sent into this world, not to bring us candy and gifts when we’ve been good, but to stand in our place to take the full wrath of the Most High God for all the times we haven’t been good!

And yet… in His kind providence and common grace, the Lord does also grant us the other side of Christmas as we’ve come to know it: the rest as the year draws to a close, the chance to see friends and family, the opportunity to travel away from home, the fun of sharing gifts with those we love and the time to enjoy delicious meals together.

All of these things, while they have nothing to do with the biblical reason for Christmas, are still good gifts in and of themselves. By grace we have the freedom to enjoy them – with moderation and gratitude, of course. This common grace extends even to those who reject Christ as the only way to reach a holy God. He’s good to them too, even when they don’t acknowledge it.

So tomorrow I look forward to both aspects of the special day. I am eager to celebrate and worship with my church family, knowing that ‘Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief’ (1 Tim 1:15). And I am also keen to spend time with friends and family, enjoying special meals, sharing gifts and thanking God for placing these people in my life.

I wish you the same 🙂

Christmas 2013


Hi and bye


Just a quick note to apologise for my absence of late… I’ve been missing the blogging world but internet connectivity issues – coupled with thunderstorms that require appliances to be unplugged and the general busyness of life – have gotten in the way of my sunny pastime.


Cute rat

Hope to be back again soon!


On the passing of Mandela


I suppose the news from the southern tip of Africa must have reached your shores by now: Nelson Mandela passed away last week. And it’s possible that you might be wondering how it’s affected me, seeing as I’m South African and all.

But I must say, I’ve been hesitant to add my voice to the millions out there already bemoaning his fate and singing his praises. At times like these I’m always wary of the tightrope of saying either too little or too much…

The short version is: to me, Madiba’s passing is big news, but it’s not life-altering news. It hasn’t completely rocked my world or upset my schedule or kept me up at night. I haven’t shed a single tear, and can’t force myself to either.

Yet that doesn’t mean I’m indifferent to his legacy or his effect on my country.

The problem is that I’m too young to remember personally the horrors of apartheid. I grew up in the non-segregated New South Africa. All I recall of that watershed election of South Africa’s first black president was that people were nervous. No one knew how it would turn out, or at least that was the undercurrent I picked up from the adults around me.

It also doesn’t help that I have less than zero interest in politics. It took a long time for me to learn about what Mandela and the other black South Africans suffered under apartheid. I remember finally reading Long Walk to Freedom and being horrified at what previous generations had gotten away with. But by the time I had realised that, it seemed the patched-up Rainbow Nation was well on its way to recovery anyway.

Only much later could I look back at the facts and see how vital Nelson Mandela was in bringing about that relatively peaceful change from white supremacy to multiracial equality.

And now that pivotal role player is done with this short slice of his eternity, and everyone has something to say about it.

On the one hand I feel I have no right to throw in my two cents’ worth, considering that this was all a bit before my time. But on the other hand there is truth in what people say, that Tata Madiba did what he did (amazingly!) for all the people of South Africa.

Unlike the presidents before and after him, he made it clear that no matter our skin colour, we all have equal value because of our shared humanity and our heritage in this beautiful country. His goal wasn’t supression of whites to get revenge for the oppression of blacks.

In that way, I respect what he did and I’m grateful that God used this freedom fighter in such a way that even I, as a whitey, can reap the benefits of his long, hard struggle for South Africa. He certainly deserves his title as ‘father of our nation’.

But as I close, I must admit there’s another side to all of this too. For one thing, I’m slightly incredulous at how devastated so many people seem to be by Madiba’s death. As if it took them by surprise. As if we hadn’t had ages to prepare ourselves for the inevitable passing of a weak, tired, sick old man. Did they really think he was going to live forever?

And I’m more than a little uncomfortable with the virtual deification of this man. Honour and respect and lament is definitely his due, but worship is not. Mandela was after all just a human like the rest of us. Not a saint, not a god. He was sinful and in need of a saviour just like you and me.

So I’m trying to keep that in perspective as the world mourns his passing and celebrates his successes. I like the way Albert Mohler has put it in his blog post on the topic; I couldn’t have summed it up better myself 🙂

Goal 53: Get more rat merch


You know, of course, that my beady little eyes are always hunting for any cute rat-themed merchandise 🙂 Well, recently I’ve added two great finds to my ratty collection, which have helped me reach my Goal #53 (that’s in addition to my beautiful rat teapot and Cheddar soft toy). I don’t foresee an end to this collection, but I think I can happily cross off the goal from my list now.

First, I discovered that despite what I think of Halloween, the supposedly scary day can be useful for bring ratties onto the shelves! I unearthed this black plastic rat in the shops as a leftover from Halloween:

painted rat toy 1

It’s really quite pathetic how they tried to make him all beastly, as though you’d ever find a real black rat with red eyes!

painted rat toy 2

I took pity on the poor critter and brought him home. After a good coat of gesso to prime him nicely…

painted rat toy 3

… I painted him to look like Mishka!

painted rat toy 4

What a difference! It just goes to show: put a fancy coat and a cute face on a rat, and suddenly it’s no longer a horrible scary monster 😉

painted rat toy 5

I still have a bit of work to do to finish off the details on his face and tail, but I have already painted a white spot on the back of his head, just like Mishka’s:

painted rat toy 6

(I call that Mishka’s ‘kissy spot’ because when he hangs his head over a ledge or comes within my reach, that’s the spot I kiss to bits!)

I named this plastic rat Loki, because he was meant to be the dark bad guy, but throw in a bit of shape shifting he’s actually just funny! lol :mrgreen:

The other item I snatched up was this wonderful metal coat hook:

rat themed hanger 1

Isn’t that perfect?! I found it at Kamers vol geskenke in Pretoria, but you could swear it was made for me.

The whole contraption fits over a standard door, with the ratties’ tails forming the hooks:

rat themed hanger 2

Call me simple, but this stuff just makes me really, really happy! 😀

Nibbling at the goalposts


I’m sure I’ve said this before, but some achievements come in little steps. Recently I’ve nibbled away at a few more achievements on my list of 101 goals.

For Goal #54 I decorated my hand with a new design in henna, as you know I enjoy mehndi designs like this:

Goal #54b - henna

Goal #54b – henna

And to chip away at Goal #55, I recently got two new button badges for my special hat.

Goal #55 - button badges

Goal #55 – button badges

Ninja won the cute smiley face badge for me during a recent date night at the games arcade, and the floral badge I bought at a super South African craft market called Kamers vol Geskenke (lit. ‘rooms full of gifts’) 🙂

Speaking of Kamers, I discovered another great find there… but that’s for the next post.

Rats in the spotlight


It’s been a week of lows and highs for our ratties Moon and Knight. The lows, firstly, come from the fact that yesterday was their turn to be neutered. Poor wee critters! Little Moonbeam doesn’t seem to be doing too badly but our Sir Tiny is visibly upset by the trauma…

Luckily there was a high to their week too (not that they know it though!): both of these boys won first place in different categories in our rat club’s first online rat show 😀

Moon was picked out for his beautiful colouring, and won first prize in the Prettiest Markings category:

Winner: prettiest markings

Winner: prettiest markings

Ninja’s other boy, Knight, took first place in the mixed category of ‘Best Wannabe’ – and was dubbed ‘Super Ratty’ for his flying leap and determination to get to that salmon:

Winner: Best Wannabe / Super Ratty

Winner: Best Wannabe / Super Ratty

We’re suitably chuffed with these achievements, I have to say 🙂 Now we can tell people we have award-winning pet rats, hehe. We’re expecting their ribbons and prizes to arrive in the post soon, so watch this space!

The exciting thing is that next year there’s every chance of not only more online competitions like this, but also live rat shows hosted at the annual pet expos around the country. Hopefully we can take part in those too 🙂

So proud of all our gorgeous boys!

A Liebster award!


I was kindly nominated for a Liebster award by Busy Darling – an ADHD blogger (that’s meant as a compliment, btw!) who shares my love for rats 🙂 Hint: Go check out her style blog too 🙂


From what I gather, this award is to celebrate those bloggers who are inspirational and/or ‘up and coming’. Plus, there’s a list of questions to answer and ask in return.

So here are my answers to Busy Darling’s questions:

1) What is your earliest memory? – Running to my dad, crying, because I had a thorn (an especially nasty one called a ‘dubbeltjie’ in Afrikaans) stuck in my foot. I must have been about 2 years old, but I can remember the sunlight on that day and the hope that my dad would fix me… which he did 🙂

2) Describe your natural environment. – A very green leafy suburb in Jozi.

3) What is your pet peeve? – Uh, I hate to admit it, but I actually have quite a few ;-P Fake people. Small talk. Crass jokes. Blasphemy and swearing. Et cetera 🙂

4) What is your favourite colour? – How can I choose?! I LOVE colours 😀 It’s probably easier to list the colours I don’t like: ochre, olive green, drab browns and reds. Other than that I love all bright, cheerful and preferably neon colours!

5) What is your maybe-one-day dream car? – If it ever worked out, I would love to drive a restored version of the OLD Fiat 500 (not that new overpriced modern one).

6) And your keep-on-dreaming dream car? – Without a doubt, the Audi R8. In lime green and black. Ahhhh yeahhhh!

7) Name 3 items of clothing that define your style. – I used to have an awesome style all my own but I guess I kinda lost that somewhere on the way… But 3 items that have stayed with me since those days are my funky hat covered in badges, my bright orange beanie and my collection of random jewellery.

8) Do you have any scars on your body? – Yes I do… and my ratties keep adding more (especially during their bathtime when they’re desperately trying to escape the water)!

9) What inspired you lately? – The discovery of customising your own Moleskine diary/planner. Where have you been all my life?!

10) What was your last awkward moment? – Now that I think about it, it’s actually been a while. Great stuff for someone who only opens her mouth to change feet…

11) What was the last thing that made you smile? – The funny way rats groom so fastidiously. It’s as though they try to pull their ears into their mouths to wash them! It results in some funny expressions, as Vodka and Mishka model for us below:

Ear wash

Ear wash 2

Here are my nominations:












And here are my questions:

1. What’s your main reason for blogging?

2. Three favourite flavours?

3. What’s the funkiest thing you’ve ever done with your hair?

4. Where was the last holiday you took?

5. Favourite pet?

6. What do you enjoy most about Christmas?

7. Who’s your role model and why?

8. One dream you think you’ll never realise?

9. Do you use a diary or daily planner?

10. What are your three most cherished possessions?

11. When last did you do a random act of kindness?

Thanks once again Busy Darling! :mrgreen: