Catching Up in September

Well hello there – it’s been a while hasn’t it.  Two months since my last post and I’m amazed that there are still new folk following and liking and even reading – thank you so much and welcome, I’m very happy you are all here  🙂

So, please bear with and I’ll give you a quick catch-up and then it’s done and we won’t refer to it ever again.  And if you just want to see what I’ve been making, just scroll down past all these many words to the photos – I won’t mind at all.

Because I have to admit this past winter has been a tough one for me – you know we have times when it’s not all roses and lollipops even though there seems to be no particular reason for it being that way.  So it was this winter.  It’s not that it was particularly cold – it wasn’t. July was the warmest on record and while I don’t know yet about August, the icy Antarctic winds that hit were pretty chilly, so maybe that lowered temps overall.  It wasn’t particularly wet either, no flooding so far this year.  But it was grey, endlessly grey and I don’t do well without blue skies and sunlight.  I simply felt extremely tired and unmotivated.

And it was a shock when my dearest and oldest friend, an active and robustly healthy woman, was abruptly diagnosed with breast cancer and had a radical mastectomy.  (So far so good, she has radiation treatment beginning soon, we feel positive!)

And then there was the personal issues going on.  I have a heart issue, it’s nothing new I’ve had it for over twenty years and I manage it very well usually. But it gave me some problems in the lead up to my significant birthday earlier this month and for a while I doubted I was going to make it – but then I did.  So that was good!  🙂 I have an excellent homeopath and she helped me get to the root cause and cleared the path to recovery with well prescribed therapies and I got on and did my own personal therapy.  I had lost my last surviving sibling, my next youngest brother abruptly, five days after my last birthday.  I found I was still mourning him and mourning all that we had, all five of us, gone through together.  I was/am literally, the last one standing to bear witness.  I had to let it all go, it was time. So, that’s my work and I’m doing it.

On top of all this I was having ongoing issues with being online – such a first world problem!! it was I thought initially, an issue with my wireless keyboard.  So aged and well used the letters had all disappeared from the keys and typing was done by guesswork alone.  It’s connection was erratic and odd things happened when I was online so a new keyboard was purchased.  But the issue got worse.  I announced to whoever was listening in at the time that Google Chrome was about to be replaced by a more reliable search engine – and voila!  An announcement that an urgent update and reboot was imminent was delivered on-screen within minutes and all has been well ever since.  You can’t tell me there isn’t a little man living in there listening to my every word  🙂

I celebrated my seventieth birthday quietly, in the company of my delightful daughters and with welcome interactions with friends both nearby and far away.  It was a lovely way to spend a few days and I was quietly pleased that I had broken another immediate inherited taboo – that of living past the age of 69.  Onwards and upwards!

So, that’s the catch up.  Everything is fine and better than fine and spring is here.  Despite all the challenges and the lack of painting, I have sometimes mucked about with inks and pencils and stamps and dies and made some bits and bobs.  I even did some card designing and worked away with greater and lesser success at some Christmas cards.  If you have a favourite do let me know….

(PS I don’t know why I always have a shadow at the bottom of the photos – clearly I’m doing something wrong, but can’t figure out what – so once again apologies for the less than stellar photography level and if you have a tip I’d be grateful if you wanted to share it)

I started with some luggage tags.  I like these, they are fun and make great gifts.

I had purchased some dies and played around with them. The idea is to use my own papers as backings, only one is in use in this trial collection

Next it was time to start designing this years Christmas card. I started with not a lot of a clue – but thought the one on the left which uses a die of Santa and his favourite reindeer had potential

This came next

Swiftly followed by

Then I threw in a bit of Siddy with offerings

And finally, a couple of days ago I thought I’d better get Santa up off his butt and into the air

It’s a bit meh! but you never know where it will lead. And I have some more to show you too – but it’s been a long catch-up. So I’ll save my favourites for next time. If you stuck with me, thank you. Now, how about you, how are you? How’s things at your place, do share – and if I’ve missed anything, I hope to be popping in soon to catch up.

Oh, and just in case you need a bit of cute – here’s Siddy and his favourite reindeer wondering if anybody mentioned ‘elevenses’ ………………

And as always, thanks so much for coming by, I love that you did!

ScrapHappy July: Paper Scraps

I really love this scrap happy thing! I don’t always join in, in fact this is only the second time I’ve made it – but I often finish things as a result of seeing what comes by………..

Two days ago, in search of something else, I emptied a pile of papers from my scrap drawer and searching through the leftover-unfinished-discarded pieces

I unearthed these – all patched up and ready to go

paper patchwork

I remembered finding these left over papers – years old – and thinking them terribly unattractive had been about to consign them to the bin when I decided to challenge myself and make ’em into something useful. I’d cut and layered and patched and doodled and still not really liked them very much. Then I’d had a wee flash from ye olde lightbulb and whipped out some black card and white lacy washi tape and voila! You can tart dress anything up with a bit of lace can’t you? But then they had been consigned back into the drawer again, covered over with succeeding layers of half finished items, discarded left overs and assorted bits and bobs…….

Feeling rather pleased with this find and knowing ScrapHappy was due, I decided to finish off these poor neglected scraps. Barely half an hour later, three notecards and one greeting card completed

Perfect for a patchworker or quilter or seamstress or anybody really. And I was so pleased when I put together that sentiment on the greeting card – it’s a universal metaphor isn’t it?

Join in with Kate and all the other ScrapHappy artisans here or just go look, admire and be inspired.

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

Vivid Colours

I was asked by a shop owner recently to bring in some of my work as she had heard of it and was interested in offering some for sale.  She gave a glowing description of how she loves to support local artists and has several whose works move swiftly through her shop.

So, a few days ago, I packaged up a range of cards and small art pieces and took them in. I laid a few of the cards in front of her – leaving more cards and all of the artwork in my bag. She swept her hand through the examples and said “No, these aren’t what I sell – too vivid.”

The viewing took maybe five seconds.

I gathered up the rejected work and put them back in my bag.  I didn’t offer her any more to look at and she didn’t ask to see them.

The impeccably attired, ochre clad shop owner then showed me through her little boutique, stuffed to the gunnels with imports from the UK and Asia in varying hues of beige and grey.   Amongst the neutral and impeccably exhibited artifacts sat the odd single hued floral jug. Small, ochre and grey prints in large frames with exorbitant price tags hung from the wall and fine scarves in shades of grey and beige with equally exorbitant price tags were neatly folded and stacked alongside matching, finely spun woollen driving gloves.  Some charmingly autumn hued cushions were stacked on a chair by the front entrance. When I asked where the work of the local artists was I was shown a few small printed ochre and brown greeting cards made by a university student. 

I saw very clearly why my work wasn’t her style, but did rather wonder why she had ever shown any interest.

We are all different and that is a good thing. The world would be a boring place if we were all the same, wouldn’t it? But I left wondering what it must be like to live in a world of dun neutrals and to be unable to even consider a colourful card.

Back home, I rifled through the examples I had packaged up for her and glumly regretted my wasted morning.

It took me a few minutes, but then I remembered that not only does playing with colour make me happy, but I have Marlene (#1 Fan) and all my other friends who applaud loudly from the sidelines and now and again offer valuable feedback.  Plus of course I have an unending supply of cards I can send off for birthdays, holidays and other celebrations. 

I marched myself back into my art room and spent a happy couple of hours making some more highly unsuitable vividly coloured art cards.   Hey ho!!

Oh well, that last one is a bit of a bust! A lot of a bust if I’m being honest. Overcrowded, overworked ….. And really! I don’t know why I decided to go doodle crazy with a white pen – but then, it was my last hurrah at the end of a long and somewhat trying day!

So, okay, let me leave you with this one then, today’s effort features Orlando

So tell me, when choosing cards do you look for more colour or less colour? Do you choose plain or intricate designs, are you attracted to Hallmark or local artisans work? There is no right or wrong answer and I don’t mind hearing if you don’t even like any or all what I’ve shown here – I’m just really interested in your thoughts. And thank you for sharing them!

Painting with Inks

I’m grateful to all my Northern Hemisphere friends posting about their warm days and summer holiday fun and beautiful walks and colourful gardens – it is a sure antidote to dim light, long nights and cold Antarctic winds swirling about my tiny house and trying to knock me off my feet when we venture out for our twice daily walks.

Winter has only been here for a few days but it feels like forever!

The upside to Winter though, is time in my favourite room.
So of course, when I sat down at my desk with my supply of inks and began to play, the series that gradually unfolded mirrored the season.

I began by dotting ink about on my mat and spritzing with water to get colourful backgrounds.  I swooshed (technical term) the card through the wet inks and got what I got.  When dry I splatted (another technical term) some gesso over some and after making  myself a small round mask, dry inked a moon onto one of the ones shown below – can you see it?

The next step was top create some kind of landscape, focal interest, whatever took my fancy. First up I added in hills and trees to join the moons. The splatters of gesso became stars with the aid of teeny drops of glitter

And if I liked what I saw I turned it into a card. If the recipient wishes to frame it is a simple enough job to cut the greeting away and have a self matted petite art work.

Next I played with a wonky village and a cat ….. meh!

Tiring of the random results from wet ink play I turned my sights to dry ink only – but taking with me some ideas I picked up along the way, I made myself some more versions of the feline under the moon. I kept it simple, liked it and turned it into a large A5 greeting card

Next I took some A5 heavy duty cardstock and taped it down and began to work in earnest with the inks and pens and pencils.

This was great – I had the control I wanted with the colour, I had a quirky tree and some doodles and the moon and silhouetted cat and birds were not too shabby. So, I thought, this is winter…….. and the following day set to work on a summer version

They would look lovely in matching frames – but as I took the tape off the summer version it tore a bit along the top margin. Doh!! Might have to chop it down and turn it into yet another card……….

Hope you enjoyed seeing all that – do let me know what you think – and thanks so much for coming by, I’m glad that you did!

It’s Never Too Late #2

Hello friends! It took a while to get back to you on this subject. I spent a fair bit of time wondering about which particular tag to apply to each of the rotund ladies, interspersed with quite a lot of socialising and reading – though not at the same time. Plus of course the particularly thrilling evening when the aged electric fire blew up, taking out all my technology with it – luckily only temporarily …… but that caused a few heart stopping moments I can tell you. Still, there’s a lovely new little fire in situ now thanks to the Queen’s Birthday Weekend sales and silver linings. Don’t we love those silver linings!

Anyhoo, you may remember this was the only finished beauty

But eventually I settled somewhere and went with the ones that follow.

No-one actually came up with this one exactly, the closest was Norah

This one was offered by Jenny, the Ginja Ninja

And this is mine, though of course, before it was mine it was Fleetwood Mac’s and I had temporarily forgotten that. I do hope they won’t mind

I was so pleased with myself, when this phrase popped into my head. I had completed two cards before I realised the song playing in my head was Stevie Nicks singing the words…….. I do sometimes wonder if I’m losing the plot!

So Norah and Jenny, please contact me (form is in the ‘Contact Me’ page found under the header picture) and a pack of four prints will find their way to your letterbox before too long.

Thank you to all who played, it was really hard to choose and some of the suggestions are so good they may find themselves attached to future cards made especially for them.

Let’s finish with a pic of Siddy who apparently wanted a ribbon in his hair too after his groom today and his pal at MudPuppy can never say ‘no’ to him. Posing sleepily and serendipitously in front of the new fire.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

It’s Never Too Late ……

Ha! Did that catch your attention? I hope so, as I’m stuck and I thought, I wondered, I hoped, just maybe you might have a bright idea – or two!

I’ve been making some cards. I found some stamps and thought I could have some fun with them. They feature, ahem, well endowed ladies and will follow a certain theme …………

Here is the first completed one – done in water colours

Isn’t she gorgeous?

Here are the others, all made with inks of various types

Or, maybe this way up?

The last three/four don’t yet have WHAT it is not too late to be.

I have thoughts, but I think they might be a bit, you know – blah! And I don’t want to put you off your creativity by blurting them out here……

So, if you can come up with a tagline that fits any of them and I use it, you’ll receive a set of all four of the printed cards.

Over to you my creative friends. I’ll close this off in just four days ………… and thanks so much for coming by today, I love that you did!

School Days, Reminiscences of Pauline King

Hi all! I thought I’d share with you a conversation I had with my friend Norah on her blog last week. If you don’t know her yet and are a writer or have an interest in education – or both – this is your chance to meet a wonderful friend and blogger, a knowledgeable and talented early educator and an avid supporter of writing prompts. Plus of course a chance to catch up with me sounding off about my old career and an ongoing passion of mine……. Do drop by and say hello to Norah and me and join in the conversation.

Norah Colvin

Welcome to the School Days, Reminiscences series in which my champion bloggers and authors share reminiscences of their school days. It’s my small way of thanking them for their support and of letting you know about their services and publications.

This week, I am pleased to introduce Pauline King, The Contented Crafter. Pauline and I have been online friends for a long time. I can’t quite remember where we met, but I think it may have been through Geoff Le Pard.

Pauline and I clicked straight away as we have a lot in common and share many similar views about education. At one time, each of us even contemplated starting our own school.

I wish I’d known Pauline and had the opportunity of working alongside and learning from her while I was still working in the classroom. Although Pauline says that she has left that part (teaching) of…

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