Better Late Than Never

If you’ve been puttering along on this blog for a bit you will be aware that our Summer has been a bit of a no-show, a non-event, AWOL even….. I’ve whined about it here and there and it has been the subject of endless comments between myself and the lovely Alys and several others.

My gardening plans for the past three or four months have also been no-shows, non-events and AWOL – I was too busy painting, or it was raining, or, or, or –  and nothing got done.

Poor Sid presided over a random collection of raggedy – desperately in need of a good haircut – climbers and a motley crew of assorted dead or dying herbs, perennials and wild flowers and his meditative Guardian Cat  was weighted down by the neglected sprawling of a lavender gone wild.  The spiders were having a field day and spinning webs from one side of the courtyard to the other and growing extremely large on the bounty that was thereby captured.  The pots sported a random assortment of dead plants and sprouting weeds.

In short my beloved pocket handkerchief outdoor space was a woeful sight and I was feeling somewhat ashamed of myself.

However, as we know, all things pass and finally – some two months after it disappeared, Summer has returned to us.  It has shown up hot and heady and rarin’ to go – better late than never, I said happily.

And so, on a warm and sunny morning, with the help of my YD who is enjoying two weeks vacation from her highly intensive job, we decided to set to it, fix it up, return it to a fraction of its former glory and give it a do-over.

I was thinking to just have a tidy up, a clean up, to make the best of a bad thing and let it go this summer.  YD had other ideas and reminded me of my wish to do something with the inspirations received from the blogs what are writ by the likes of the previously mentioned Alys and Narf7 and Wendy and Robbie –  ‘Better late than never’ she said.  So off we went to Bunnings.

Bunnings has become her favourite store since the Outdoor Entertainment Area adventure – which I must mention to you, my dear friends, I have still have not spent an evening in due to the inclement conditions of our Yuletide Celebrations and subsequent weeks.  The rain would have been okay but the bitter cold and howling southerly winds were quite another thing to deal with!

From the garden centre at Bunnings I purchased punnets of lettuces and perpetual spinach, parsley and lobelia [the deep blue, hanging variety] I saw a well grown 25cm pot of petunias and something else I’ve just forgotten the name of for less than $10, a heliotrope ‘Black Cherry’ which I had to have as soon as the scent hit me [I grew several of them in my Wellington garden and am still totally in love with them]  and YD bought me a little fushia with the most gorgeous pale pink and purple flowers…….Which was quickly nestled in alongside Sid and his Guardian Cat

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I also purchased two brightly coloured plastic containers that look like quite deep baby baths for $4 each and two super dooper large bags of organic compost mix with the bio-grow stamp of approval.

Back in the courtyard we maneuvered carefully around each other and the assortment of goodies and began the cleanup.  It didn’t take long, the whole thing is no larger than six pocket hankies sewn together.  The dead matter was pulled, the soil turned and composted and the colourful tubs had holes vigorously punched into their up-turned bottoms and were also filled with soil and a goodly amount of compost and the seedlings all transplanted into them.

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Sid was given care of the three wild thyme plants I had filched whilst up in the high country just before Christmas.  He seemed to be somewhat thoughtful about that ….

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If you look here though you can see the new growth despite the lack of care this one has received since coming into my possession…

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The existing furniture was given a wash down and any remaining spiders hastily moved on to find new places to spin their webs.

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Same chair, just panning to the right:

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And now you have done the full 360 degrees 🙂

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An hour later it was all done and I was waiting for the sun to go down so I could give everything a good drink.  The bumbles were already dropping in to say hello and then were buzzing off again to spread the word – good times have come, good times have come!!!

Orlando, who had watched the whole frantic debacle from the safety of the conservatory, refusing to come out until the place was all tidy and ship-shape again.  When at last he did emerge, he just as quickly disappeared again.

As a final job, I was about to get a clean bucket of water to wash down my cobweb infested Bay tree when I noticed this:

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Can you see?

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If you still can’t see, click and click again and peer past the assorted webs to the far side….

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Just the perfect place to get a bit of Vitamin D in the late afternoon sun!

I think that by the time Winter arrives, my courtyard garden will be looking most fecund –  almost as good as all those fecund gardens of you real gardeners ….. All together now “Better late than never!”  🙂

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Choose Joy

Today was a trying day for me.  My brother is very ill and in the final stages of cancer and for the past couple of days as I go about my daily doings, my thoughts are mostly with him.  For those of you who read the first installment of my memoir and know some of my history, he is the one I call the memory keeper and I hold him sacred in my heart.

And, more mundanely, despite the fact that the whole world and his dog believes we are in the middle of summer, it was cold and it had rained overnight.  The wind was howling and roaring over head in wild gusts.   I didn’t sleep well and got up at 4 am to finish the latest painting.

Five hours later the last flower was in place, the last leaf embellished and the mantra written.

I’m in love with this painting!  There is something quite magical about it and I am excited to share it.

So off I went to the photocopy shop with it.  I get my mixed media paintings scanned and prints can then be made for my Etsy Shop.  But today I was told “No!”

Whaddaya mean “No!” ??

Turns out that I have missed a vital piece of information and my painting is too big and too inflexible to be put through any of the copy machines.  If it is bigger than an A3, it has to be on paper to go through the flat bed scanner…. Don’t ask, I don’t know why, or how they work.  That appears to be the truth of the matter – I got the same answer in two different places so that is that.

No cards, no prints, no post-cards, no options, just the original.

Battling the cold howling wind and with no sleep to sustain me, I got a little tetchy with the world!

I came home and took some photographs, I propped her up in the corner and there she sits dancing happily urging me to ‘Choose Joy’.

Bah, Humbug! I said to her in my best Ebeneezer Scrooge voice.

I opened my email and ran my eye down the list, there was a post from the lovely Alys over at Gardening Nirvana.

I thought, that will be a nice wee visit to help cheer me up, and opened the link.  Imagine my surprise to see one of my paintings looking back at me – and then I read her words ….. You can follow the link to see what I read.

All my grouchiness vanished in the twinkling of an eye. Wouldn’t yours?  Who would elect to remain grouchy when it is so much more pleasant to feel that actually everything is just fine – it will all work out one way or another – it always does!

Thank you Alys for that beautiful testimonial – in one of those wonderful serendipitous moments that we both love so much, you turned the sun in my direction at the very time I needed it most .  That does indeed make you a true friend!

So here is the latest whimsy girl.  She is mixed media on a rigid canvas board measuring 35 x 46 cm. You can double click for an enlarged view.

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And here she is again propped up in  corner of the bookshelf

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The wind has died down the sky is clearing and we just might get our fifth fine day for January tomorrow 🙂

There are more options, tomorrow I shall call some printing places and see if they can help me out – there will be a solution!

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

Falling Behind …

In the inimitable words of Bruce Springsteen and the Mighty, Mighty E-Street Band ….’If I should fall behind, wait for me’  this is the song my mind always goes to when I’m playing catch-up.  I generally put the DVD on and enjoy the whole concert again – I so love Clarence and his wonderful saxophone!!  I don’t think the band will be the same without him……

Having mentioned it – here ’tis, enjoy!

I’ve ever so slightly over extended myself and am deeply immersed in my latest mixed media – which is taking simply HOURS!  Happy hours, but hours none-the-less.

I am two days behind on my daily cards and don’t want it to become any more – otherwise the spontaneity is lost and that was definitely not the point of doing this exercise!

One good thing about my definitely non-summer summer days is I can happily play inside.  Though I hit the wall recently when I decided to use designer paper for my latest whimsy girl’s dress rather than paint and froze into indecision followed by prevarication for a couple of days but then, happily, if somewhat abruptly, sprang into action again.

Here is where we are up to  I’ve just finished building her hair….. She’s worked on a canvas board which is quite big – 35 x 46 cm so everything takes a lot longer as it is bigger and more definitely there rather than just indicated – but so much fun!

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I still have all the background bits to finish, and flowers and butterflies must be added too –  and the mantra must be placed………. might be another couple of days before I’m back with the finished painting. 🙂

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

365 Words – A Beginning

My personal challenge this year is to make a small art piece every day and to record a word or short phrase that encapsulates some aspect of each day.

I didn’t actually decide to do this until 3 or 4 days into the New Year, so I started on the back foot.  Which is a fairly typical place for me to start anything really.

I settled into work one afternoon and began by preparing a load of old defunct business cards.  I taped two together, then another two, then another two, until I had about a months worth of daily cards.

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I adhered some torn book pages to a few of the cards and then happily sploshed some paint around and got something happening colour-wise:

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Here is what I had produced at the end of the first seven days of January:

365Days1 3These are the second 7 days:

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I journal a bit more detail on the backs of the cards because I know that in six months time I will have no idea where my mojo had got to or why I was urging myself to ‘slow down’ ……..  And why am I surprised that it is virtually impossible for me to stick to one word every day?  If you’ve been tagging along for a while you will be well aware I am a woman of many words – how can I use just one or two words when sixteen or twenty give a more in depth and juicy image?  🙂

Here are a few individual days cards.  This first one refers to how I felt the day after I had remembered to take the long view and see just what had been achieved and how I had been blessed in 2013……

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Surely you know what this one refers to:

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This one celebrates the life and memory of someone very dear to me still:

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This was a happy day – the sun actually shone and we reveled in it – the next day it had gone again!

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This is the latest one.  One of my oldest friends blew into town  – [I’m god-mother to their youngest daughter]. He turns up three or four times a year and we sometimes miss each other as he never thinks to actually give me prior warning.  But this time it all worked out and he took me out for a meal.  We teased the Italian waiter for leaving Sardinia to come to a place that Summer had deserted, ate probably the best fettucine and calamari I have ever tasted, drank good Otago chardonnay and finished with real Italian dessert – I had Tiramisu which had a party in my mouth and he had Chocolate Torte….. We watched the waves thundering and crashing against the sea wall and had a wonderful three hour long conversation that served our souls well.

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So there we are – the first two weeks of January are gone already.  In retrospect I realise I spent it dealing with technology issues, pining for my lost summer and being saved by charming men!  🙂  Happy Dance!!

Thank you for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did  🙂

Happy Mail

It’s a lovely thing to get unexpected gifts –  and my life is rich in them at the moment.

Just prior to Christmas I received an email from another blogging friend Katyoparty over at ArtOutWithYourHeArtOut telling me she had a few spare gelatos and they were winging their way to me, along with ‘a few other bits’ she thought I might quite like.

If you aren’t an arty-crafty type, gelatos are a newish product somewhere between a pastel, a crayon and a paint.  They come in something resembling a lip gloss tube, are richly pigmented, easily moved about with your finger and are water soluble.  You can use them like a crayon, an oil pastel or watercolour paint.  They are a lot of fun and in my part of the world anyway, exorbitantly expensive.

I was very excited – I didn’t have any gelatos and had never received ‘Happy Mail’ before.

The courier delivered a box to my door a few days ago.  It was battered and beaten and torn  open at the top – it looked as if it had been round the world twice and through a few storms along the way.

The first thing I saw was a beautiful wooden box – a cigar box, just perfect for altering.

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And here is what was inside the box or packaged alongside it, all piled on the little table for my delighted eyes to feast in.

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There is an array of flowers large and small, pretty papers, sundry embellishments, templates and masks……… and of course the gelatos.

Here is the pretty hand made card Katie sent and just peeking out from beside it is – I’m guessing – some of her own delightfully hand painted paper.

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And here are more embellishments and masks and some die cut flowers and sundry bits and bobs:

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It quite made my day!  I sift through them as I go about my daily art task of recording a word a day – I’ll show you some of those in another day or two.

So, many happy thank yous to katieoparty – it was a real treat!  Do check out her blog and her videos if you get a chance.

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

Technology Freezing and Me – An Update For Your Amusement

Do you remember the recent post ‘When Technology Freezes – Could I Be the Cause?’

I have the answer to that question!

Stick with me kids, I hope you’ll enjoy the ride!

You know Esmeralda was cured of her freezing ills.  She now runs like a wild horse over a golden prairie.  She glitters and sparkles and does everything I want and even more – she has not frozen – or even chilled out –  not once!

You remember the fridge that thought it was a freezer?  Well, here is its story.

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It’s probably close to a  month now since I first noticed the fridge was running a bit too cold.  I adjusted the thermostat and waited for it to return to its proper temperature.

Some time later I noticed the temperature inside the fridge was still colder than it needed to be, so I moved the slider a bit further down the scale.

Over a period of days I noticed no decrease in the chill level and kept adjusting the thermostat downwards until I had reached the bottom of the bar.  The freezing was just getting worse and salady type foods were now icing up overnight and inedible.   A fresh organic chicken put in one evening was frozen solid the next morning.   My breakfast was made with frozen berry fruits and frozen yoghurt.

Trying to outwit the freezing fridge became a daily event.  What could be stored in the fridge and how could I store the other items?  I gave up trying to keep salad and vegetable items longer than a couple of days in a cupboard and slowly emptied the fridge of its contents – much of it ending in the trash.

Finally realising that being unable to store food in the fridge in the middle of summer was probably a silly status-quo to stick with – and realising I was wasting food and not being able to stick with my preferred food types, thereby compromising my well being, was just as silly…. I decided to bite the bullet and get the darn thing fixed.

I spent some time and gathered together a list of appliance service numbers with the aim of a) finding someone open and b) finding someone I could afford.

In one of those serendiptitous moments we all have,  I had found the Owners Handbook for the fridge when sorting through last years paper work.   Another moment of genius had me decide to actually look at the book and check the trouble shooting page before making the calls to service agents.

I didn’t get far with my reading, for on opening said book, can you imagine my a) amazement to find I had taken out an extended warranty at the time of purchase [I never take out extended warranties!]  and b) unbounded joy to discover there was still 13 days before it expired!  Thirteen days!!

Well, hallooy, hallay!!  Oh Joyous Day – just in time baby – a fridge repair at no cost!!

I capered vigorously around my tiny house and took Orlando with me – he purred and I sang and then we made the phone call.

In an amazingly short amount of time a service tech arrived, he looked like an older statesman in a techie suit and was polite yet remote.  He asked me to explain the problem and then, without hesitation, opened the fridge door and looked inside.

He stuck his head further in and almost immediately pulled it back out.  His face was stern and his voice disapproving,

“You know you’ve got your temperature set at the coldest point” he said and he put his arm in to move the gauge.

“What?” I said – looking, sounding, feeling like a stunned mullet.

He stood aside and ushered me in – if I squinted my eyes, blinked and stared I could just make out the words ‘warmer’ at the top of the scale and ‘colder’ at the bottom.

I pulled my head out of the fridge “I’ve never seen those words before in my life.”  I said to him vigorously.

He ‘tsked’ at me and shook his head.  I buried my face in my hands and wished the floor would just open up and swallow me …. He busied himself hunting through his hi-tech tool-bag and said – “This isn’t covered by the warranty you know.”

I think I groaned out loud.  “I’m not usually this ditzy….”  I think I  said, in a vain attempt to raise myself in his estimation.  He would have none of it.  Just returned an icy silence.

I heard myself give a little moan as I berated myself for being a Bear of Little Brain – apparently out loud, for he looked up at me and said “Winnie-the-Pooh.  I used to read those stories to the grand-kids.”  He looked momentarily wistful.

I  apologised for wasting his time – I could see he thought I was an absolute idiot.  And he was, of course, completely correct!  I told him I absolutely agreed with his every damning thought – I was indeed a person of very little brain – just like Winnie-the-Pooh was a bear of very little brain – and finally he unbent just a little and cracked a smile.

Pooh thinking

While I silently contemplated a bill with several zeros after a two or even a three, he finished packing up and writing out his notes on his electronic thingy-ma-jig.  Eventually he was finished and printed out the invoice with an ominous whirring sound.

As we walked to the door he said “You should probably take a few minutes and read that owners manual.”  He handed the invoice and a business card to me, “I’ve put down that the three point plug was faulty and I’ve changed it.”

He smiled politely, nodded his head firmly at me and left.

I quietly shut the door and with my heart in my mouth, looked at the piece of paper he had given me.

Job: refit loose plug at defrost element.  Test ok.

Call Out charge                 $0.00

Labour                               $0.00

Parts                                  $0.00

Thank you for your custom, have a nice day!

The business card held his names and contact details and bore the title  ‘Company Director’.

How much more good fortune can one brainless bear have?

I paid attention to how I was feeling.  In amongst the mix of shame and elation was that wonderful heart opening sense that another disaster had just been averted, that I, with all my shortcomings, shortsightedness and general idiocies was still, somehow being carried through to a happy ending…..

That seemingly humourless and remote service tech was obviously not a service tech at all!  He was the company owner, probably understaffed, obviously stressed, and needing to fulfill an urgent extended warranty job that turned out to be neither urgent nor even a job……  And he did have a heart – he knew a genuine ditz when he saw one – and he liked Winnie-the-Pooh!

So, to my original question – can I be the cause of technology freezing?  It appears the answer is a resounding  Oh, Yes Indeedy!   🙂

Geez!!

What Day Is It

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

Happy New Year Give-Away Winner

The coffee cup was emptied.  Washed.  Dried.  Refilled with names on paper strips.  And the winner of our latest giveaway – sponsored entirely by our Anonymous Lovely Person is

Alys over at Gardening Nirvana.

Congratulations Alys, at your leisure do have a scramble through the Etsy Store, make your choice and contact me [details on ‘Contact Me’ page]  🙂

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I just want to take a moment to reflect on being the recipient of unexpected gifts.

I think that life gives us gifts all the time, but often it is not really appreciated – I know for me this is absolutely true.  It has taken me a life time to move to a place where I am aware, am open, am accepting and choose to practise acceptance of what is on a daily basis.  To see life as a gift rather than a chore……  and to realise that what I want may not be actually on the list of things I need or can have.

I have some days when I say to myself, I’m not getting out of bed until I feel grateful for something – anything.  Some days I stay a longer time in bed than I should 😉

And I know each day is made up friendly asides, fortuitous events and serendipitous meetings.  I know there are countless occasions when disaster has been narrowly avoided and even more countless occasions when a smile or friendly word has made someones day better.

Yet when, out of the blue, someone does something genuinely kind, caring and generous for me I am utterly blown away – I feel a ‘yes’ move through me like a soft breeze of awakening, my heart opens and expands beyond my physical body, my lips curve in a smile, first of astonishment and then of joy.  I feel a sense of wonder and elation.  It settles and I feel a gentle ‘wow’ that fills my body.  I notice that the negative voice becomes still.

I have paid attention to my physical and emotional response to this gift.  I wonder if it is the same for you all?

I have always been the person who gave and this is the first time I have been given to – in this particular manner.  It has made me really aware of what an amazing thing it is to receive an unexpected gift.

My dear anonymous donor did far more for me than make this give-away possible – it has been a really lovely experience!  Thank you xoxo