Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year to one and all wherever you are!

In five hours it will be 2006. I still don't have an internet connection and am having to grab odd moments when I use the laptop and upload stuff(but not pictures as I don't have them on the laptop). For some reason although I can receive emails I can't send them. As my email and my broadband are provided by different people I can't understand why this should be. Suffice to say that it is all very annoying and typical of 2005. The year for me has been just like this from beginning to end. Things go wrong but a sort of way out presents itself which is good but not good enough as there are always stray ends that don't get woven in. So I'm hoping that this next year 2006 will be lived on a more even keel. I enjoy the highs and I can cope with the lows but at the end of the day they are both in their own ways very wearing and exhaustive. So give me a quiet life which unfolds before me in a serene and gracious manner.
Because Martin always works on New Year's Eve I spend it very quietly at home, usually on my own. I don't mind this as I have always been comfortable with my own company. It has become a habit with me to ask myself some quite searching questions with regard to looking back over the past year. The first one of these questions is:
What did I accomplish?
My first reaction is to say not a lot but that isn't strictly true as I have actually accomplished a lot though not all of it good. Thinking about it I would say that I managed this year to organise my workroom so that it was acceptable to me and a pleasure to work in. As this entailed completely changing two rooms over this was no mean feat. And the result of this was that I did more work and eventually found the path I wanted to follow.
What roles did I play this last year?
I was wife, mother, daughter first and foremost and this is how it should be. Then I was sister and friend. But closely following this I was also a teacher, mentor, colleague, and student. And also creator, designer, worker and salesman. There are so many roles in my life and each has its own compartment. Was I successful in my roles? I think I was, especially in entwining them all together. Sometimes some roles took on more importance than others and then they would become less intense and others would take the limelight. It is a bit like a play. Every part is important and all are necessary. Without one player the whole would not work.
What are my goals for each role?
My family roles are pre-defined and I hope that I will continue to do my best and be a good wife, daughter and mother plus grand-mother; sister and friend. As a teacher I hope that I will continue to encourage, inspire and reassure my students. I have set several goals for myself as a student. Keeping a sketchbook is one of them and making samples illustrating my learning curve is another. As a designer/maker I am going to clear out the dross and have a clear cut vision of what I want to achieve. It is good to be able to turn one's creative hands to many things but with only a small amount of time at my disposal I'm going to concentrate on the things that make me feel good. I'm going to stop worrying about the commercial side of things; there has never been enough money but we survive so why let it dictate what I do. This is the year when I do it for me and I do it my way as Frankie would say! So the role of salesman is going to take a back seat and sit in the wings.
How can I make sure that I achieve these goals?
By allocating my time wisely. I shall not beat myself up if I can't achieve everything I want to do in the day. I shall be pleased if I can achieve most of what I want to do in the week. I shall keep lists and tick off things as they are done. Into these lists I shall build 'me' time. Time when I can read, sit in the garden, muse, meet with friends. Each day I shall walk down to the beach come rain or come shine. Not only will this be good for my figure but it will also give me thinking time. Time to plan with no interruptions such as the phone or computer. I don't have television so I am ahead already!
What have I enjoyed most about the past year?
The thing that has given me the most pleasure and provided the most fun has been writing my blog and finding other people's blogs to read. Writing my own blog has been carthartic for me and often I have found out things about myself that I was subconsciously hiding. Reading other's blogs has been instructive, amusing, interesting and educational. I have learnt such a lot from people I have never met but who have entered my life, even if only briefly, and opened my eyes. Even if I've been opposed to their opinions it has still been good as it has made me examine my own and work out their worth and place in my thoughts. Sometimes I've even changed my stance from this in depth examination.
I have also enjoyed getting back into painting and drawing. Dyeing has given me all I needed in the way of making colour but actually putting paint onto fabric or charcoal onto paper has enabled me to 'see' so much more deeply. Art is really all about seeing.
My personal goals?
To be a better person. To have more patience and to take more time thinking about things rather than rushing in where angels fear to tread. To be more disciplined! This is important as it will enable me to keep to an exercise program, to follow a sensible eating plan, to produce work regularly and to fit more into my life. Not to worry about the big stuff but to keep the small things under control. And above all to have fun and enjoy life. This last statement I wish for you all in this New Year. And peace and understanding. It is lack of understanding which produces fear and it is fear which breeds mistrust and intolerance and once on that path it isn't far to the bottom! We are each of us unique and wonderful people who together make the world a better place. Lets relish that thought in 2006!
A Happy New Year to You All!

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Widow's Cruse of Oil!

I have been very good today. Yesterday a plastic envelope was pushed through the letterbox containing a large plastic sack from one of the local charities. Martin had already been through his wardrobe and pulled out loads of jeans that he no longer wore for one reason or another. They were all in good condition so into the sack they went. Then I went through my handbag collection and was totally ruthless - it hurt as I am the Imelda of handbags - but at least I pruned them down to three or four which is very good for me. Finally I took everything out of my wardrobe and chose half a dozen trousers and skirts and matched them with tops and jackets. With what was left I picked out a few things that I couldn't live without and tossed the rest. The pile to give away was huge! I had over 20 spare hangers on the bed but what I found totally amazing was that the wardrobe seemed to be as full as ever. It was the widow's cruse of oil syndrome at work. I had difficulty in getting my head round it. To all intents and purposes the sight of more than twenty empty hangers plus a gigantic heap of clothes should have meant a bare or nearly empty wardrobe! Where had all the clothes come from? Don't ask me as I'm bemused. Its no wonder I could never ever get anything out or in and seemed to be living in the same things from week to week. And remember I did this cleaning out of my clothes a couple of months ago. I think my clothes are multiplying in there on the quiet! Two large sacks I've filled plus I threw in some paperbacks when I got them downstairs. A job well done!
I have no internet connection which is annoying as all get out. Our broadband provider is having a massive update which could last until Jan 4th so I am having to use the laptop on the wireless connection which hooks up .....somewhere! Many thanks for this small mercy whoever and wherever you are! To add to my woes the wireless keyboard I use with my main computer gave up the ghost this morning early. I think the batteries are gone but when I changed them it still didn't work even though I did all the things one has to do when changing batteries. I don't like it anyway so will probably stick with the PS2 keyboard I found in Martin's corner. Today isn't being one of the best so far. I think I will go and look at fabric. This is always very calming.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

My tidy computer desk!  Posted by Picasa

Almost back to normal....

It has been a strange day so far. Martin went off to work this morning and the day started like a normal day would except that I didn't have to go into work this afternoon. Before he left Martin asked what I'd be doing and I said that I thought I'd clear up my computer desk and surrounding area. Fortunately I didn't go any further and think of anything else I could do because that cleaning up of the computer area has taken nearly all day! I wish I'd taken a before picture so that you could actually see the magnitude of my task. As I write this I'm imbibing a much needed cup of coffee (latte) and eating un-iced Christmas cake. Well it has to be finished by the first of the month when my new resolutions kick in! I didn't realise just how much junk I have on, under and around my computer desk. It is a large one and hides a multitude of sins. Some of this junk goes back to 2002! I have been very good and filed things in the proper place and thrown things away that I wasn't going to use, need, look at in a month of Sundays. Plus I dusted and wiped every flat surface so there isn't a speck of dust to be seen. The wood is a golden colour and not grey as might have been imagined! I am really very pleased with myself. There is only one fly in my ointment and that is that the paper men came at 10.00 this morning and took all the waste paper away which was much too early and so I have another pile ready to go already and they won't be back for a fortnight. But that is minor compared with the satisfaction of being able to find and see things on my desk!
Also the day started well as the postman brought me a late Christmas present. I now have Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit book and any moment now I shall be sitting down to start reading it! I heard so many good comments about this book that I decided to put it on my Christmas list. Now I have only one more book to arrive and that is one by Velda Newman. That is the trouble with going around and reading other people's blogs. They will talk about exciting books they've either read or are reading and then I have to look up them up and sometimes just have to have them! Bad or what! I'm going to have to go to the library and see if I can find some Phil Rickman books after being inspired by reading about one of his books on Dakini Dreams blog. I am a sucker for murder mysteries or even just mysteries.
I'm so glad all you anonymous bloggers liked the picture of the 'gum tree'. I can't spell its name so I'm not even going to try! Yes Maureen, it did have an amazing trunk in whites, beiges and grey - almost like a painting but sadly I didn't get a photo at the time as I had to take the opportunity to cross the road while I could. Otherwise I might have stolen a few leaves to make rubbings from. But I will go back expressly for that purpose! I love silver birches for the same reason that their colouring is so exciting especially the trunks.
I'm not doing any sewing, neither am I drawing or doing anything creative at all and I have to say that it isn't bothering me one iota. I am enjoying being able to laze about, do what I feel like doing and read books. This isn't to say that I'm not germanating ideas, just that I am happy to let them percolate for a bit before doing anything about them. This new year is going to be completely different for me and my attitude to life but more of that another day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Isn't this a superb tree! I'm inspired to do something with those leaves!  Posted by Picasa

The tide was out when we arrived. This is the channel that boats come up from Falmouth when the tide is in. The markers show the way to follow so as not to get stuck on the mud!  Posted by Picasa

Where we were aiming for!  Posted by Picasa

A carousel on the Plaza especially for Mary!  Posted by Picasa

Cars were queued trying to find somewhere to park! That is Martin who wouldn't wait for me to take pictures!  Posted by Picasa

The tide was nearly up when we left.  Posted by Picasa

The little lane where we parked. This is Martin coming down to collect me as I was dawdling taking pictures.  Posted by Picasa

Frost on the verge at the side of the path. The sun was thawing it quickly!  Posted by Picasa

No snow but oh so cold!

Woke up to a heavy frost. And it was so very cold! After a warming porage breakfast we decided as Martin was still on holiday to go into Truro and exchange some of the clothing goodies that were on the big side. There was nothing magical about Truro at all. Why did I think there would be? I have never seen it so crowded and not a space anywhere in a car park but fortunately I was there with my clever man and he knew just the small back lane not a moment's walk from the main plaza and Marks & Spencers and we were able to park easily. And the walk was all on the flat which is quite an accomplishment in Cornwall where we are all hills. Of course there were sales everywhere and hordes of bargain hunting people, especially in M & S where we had to go. I'd never seen it so full and busy. Martin had a great time and ended up with chinos, shirts and jeans. I forced myself to buy a pair of jeans and three pairs of socks. I only bought the socks because I couldn't find the right wool to knit any. OK don't laugh! I know I'm not a knitter but I have this urge to make a pair of soft woolly anklet socks using four/five needles. My granny always made socks and they happened so quickly so I am sure that I can do it! The jeans are lovely with self coloured embroidery up one leg which may be a bit passe but I like them! Then we meandered through town to the bank which again was crowded with folk desperate to get their money out whereas I was putting my money in! Always a good feeling that! By now I was starving so we decided to head home looking in at Asda on the way to get the few things in the food line that I had run out of and for Martin to be able to wash his car in the car wash as the pipes outside at home were frozen. So a good time was had by all and after a very late lunch I fell asleep on the sofa and slept for a couple of hours. I now have to think of what to have for dinner. Life is just one long round of meal getting!
But all this is going to change. Today in the post- the first since before Christmas - I received the DVD I had ordered from Amazon. Pilates for Dummies! And I am going to get stuck into this EVERYDAY! Without fail, religiously, and with the right frame of mind! And also I'm going to cut out the sweets that seem to have crept in there and the other fat producing foods and make the effort to lose some of the extra me! Plus I'm going to walk down to the beach everyday! You all notice I'm not saying 'and going to swim!' I'm not that stupid! Well this is the idea today!Watch this space as they say!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Anti Climax!

I am feeling a large sense of anti climax after the great rush and activity of the last few days. Suddenly Christmas was upon us and there was still so much to do and then it was the actual day and lots was going on, including yesterday which was Boxing Day here in England. But today it is very cold, the sun is shining, the eastern side of the country is covered in snow and I am at a loss as to what to do. It is actually a holiday here today so everywhere has a holiday feel to it still. This could also be because Martin is at home today still being on holiday. At the moment he is under my car fixing my alternator which is very dear of him as it is freezing out there! But the mere fact that he is at home and could want feeding at any time means that I can't get stuck in to anything big. I would dearly love to go and organise my workroom and put all my new goodies into place but I wandered in and wandered out again after fifteen minutes not knowing where to start. I have all these lovely new drawing things but don't feel like drawing, painting or even sewing. To put it bluntly I am at a loss as to know what to do with myself. I feel limp and the only thing that really interests me at the moment is to read a book and dip into a box of chocolates every now and then. There are things I really could be doing but for the moment I am going to indulge myself and chill out. Later on I might play with some pictures for the Simple Still Life for this month. I think doing this will get me back into the creative mode and from then on it will all unfold as normal but for now its going to be books and chocolate. So very decadent this early in the afternoon!

Monday, December 26, 2005

The journey home. End of a perfect day!  Posted by Picasa

Pretty table decorations! Posted by Picasa

My Mum and niece Sophie Posted by Picasa

This bird watched us through the plate glass windows all the way through lunch even though he had already had food! I felt he was monitoring every mouthful I took!  Posted by Picasa

Festive table! Posted by Picasa

Family get together

We had a lovely lunch and the food was fantastic but I was told strictly no photographs. So I have no photos to show except for the few I snuck in! My sister has a phobia about photographs being taken so I had to be discreet! We had a great time with lots of laughs and our team lost at Trivial Pursuit but then we were against the youngsters and their knowledge of events and modern music is far superior to mine or any of the others on my team. But it was a good laugh. Now I'm going back to reading the Da Vinci Code which was hard to put down. I shall be lost for the evening. And isn't it lovely...another holiday tomorrow in lieu of the fact that Christmas Day was on a Sunday. So all in all a three day holiday! Martin is off until Thursday and I don't go back to work until Tuesday week and by the time that comes round I'll have forgotten what work is like! Plenty of time in between to work on my New Year's plans.

Lovely, lovely pens and inks! These are double ended with a fine tip one end and a blunt tip the other! Also some fine tip markers loose and marking templates for spirals.  Posted by Picasa

Books to keep me occupied plus I have the Da Vinci Code to read from Martin.  Posted by Picasa

The pie ready to go in the oven. I forgot to take a picture of it cooked but it looked fantastic! Take my word for it!  Posted by Picasa

Boxing Day

Today is Boxing Day! Boxing Day is a centuries old holiday going back to the early Middle Ages when servants had to work over Christmas but were given the next day off plus a box of goodies from their master,hence the name. It was also the day that alms were distributed to the poor. Also known as the Feast of St Stephen (remember Good King Wenceleslas?). That carol is always associated with snowy weather but today it is a lovely crisp sunny day. A good day for a walk on the beach! After the exertions of yesterday we (Martin, I and Mum) are going over to my sisters for lunch. There will be eight of us as the niece and nephews are all home and a good time will be had by all. My sister is a fantastic cook and she does this Christmas thing so well with all the decorations and the tree etc. So I'm really looking forward to a very relaxing afternoon.
Yesterday was quiet. The meal went very well with everything being cooked and ready on time. I don't do the traditional turkey dinner. We had a chicken,leek and cheese pie with roast potatoes, bread sauce, roast parsnips, the ubiquitous sprouts, carrots, brocolli and gravy. Followed by Christmas pudding and cream or creme anglais, plus trifle. And then cheese and biscuits with coffee. I was stuffed as we don't normally eat on this scale. And then during the present giving we were snacking on chocolates and fruit cake. I'm amazed I can still get into my jeans!
Everyone was so generous. My booty was considerable! Martin gave me an MP3 player which for a while almost had me laid out as the instruction booklet was totally useless. No pictures and no clear step by step instructions. However between us we eventually worked out how to use it and I am wearing it now and listening to my favourite tracks. Also loads of quilty things and drawing stuff! Plus perfume and smellies, and joy of joys for Martin and me both, a superb knife set! Martin suggested going down to Swanpool beach, tying me to a wooden door and he'd practise his knife throwing. He even suggested making money out of it by offering me up to passers by at £5 a throw! Nah, I didn't think this was quite the way I wanted to spend my Christmas so declined gracefully! But he can use them in the kitchen; I won't stop him from chopping meat and veg! Grin.
I have to go and change as we'll be leaving soon. Depending on what time we get back I might post some more photos later of the dinner.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

I don't know how much time I'll get to blog over the next few days. But I'll be taking lots of pictures. I have enjoyed getting to know so many of you through your blogs. Keep up the good work! May I wish everyone an extremely WONDERFUL TIME! ENJOY! Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 23, 2005

I made this when I was a teenager! I'm amazed I still have it, but I was obviously into layering and slashing even then!  Posted by Picasa

Crazy quilted chatelaine.  Posted by Picasa

Picture of the day. Twisted silk ribbon flowers on a notebook cover.  Posted by Picasa


Into each life some rain must fall. Today is a sad day as my Bon Jovi video clip has dropped off the bottom of my blog! No more 'Have a Nice Day' when you open it! Just as well I bought the CD or I might get withdrawal symptoms. Now do I put another one on? Hmmm!

Button saga continued!

Well thanks to Gabrielle I was able to post some buttons in my links. And I think I have finally cracked making a button. I certainly hope so as this was more brain work than I really intended at this early hour!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I give up!

I give up! Not only can I not make my own button but neither can I add other people's buttons to my sidebar! I am obviously not firing on all cylinders tonight. Its been a long day but the worrying thing is - will it be any better tomorrow? So unless there is a kind soul out there who will give me step by step instructions I rather feel I shall remain buttonless all round.

Button, button! Who's got the button?

Well not me! I want a button. Everyone is gettting a button so that people can link to their blog and I want one so that people can link to mine but it is proving beyond me to work out how to do it. The brain is rapidly becoming mashed sprouts! I need help like yesterday! Heeeeelp!
Liz at Dreaming Spirals has the best tutorial on making concertina books. I used to make these with my students to use as design notebooks for C & G work. And as well we used to make them in a very simple fashion just end to end so that a design series could be either read like a normal book or opened out to be a long banner profiling the design process. And it was while looking at the lovely little books she had made that I saw the button! Which made me want one too! I must go round collecting buttons to put on my site. Perhaps while doing that I will actually work out how to get one of my own. Well I can hope can't I? Remember hope springs eternal!
During my major clean up of the house in preparation for Christmas I came across a whole pile of hand made paper. Lots of lovely different colours and textures. Some with flower petals inserted into the paper, and others with lavender seeds which give the sheets of paper a truly delicious smell. Martin says that the paper looks as if its covered with rats droppings but then the man has no soul! Grin On my website I've got a recipe for making hand made paper. It is such an easy thing to do and is ideal for making journals and notebooks. Also good for using with Bondawebbed flowers. Tomorrow I have to find homes for all the piles of stuff I have removed from the top of chairs and tables. That is the downside of clearing up - the stuff removed has to go back to where it originally came from and often that place no longer exists. Oh woe is me!

Wired ribbon flowers. I have just found in my clearing up an enormous box of wired ribbon so will have to think of things to use it up in 2006!  Posted by Picasa

Page from my sketchbook. I did this some time ago but in 2006 I want to do something with dragons!  Posted by Picasa

More dragon ideas! Posted by Picasa