What’s on the Easel: 1

Less a mystery and more a what happens next – mainly so I can keep track of my progress……  And hopefully shorter than the last ‘Mystery on the Easel’ that so many of you loyally followed along with.  (Thank you 🙂  )

Here’s what we started with, from the last post.  It’s a big board for me 1200 x 900 mm.  My main thought whenever I look at it is ‘I hope I don’t muck this up!’

Easel1

After two coats of gesso and a bit of fiddling it looked like this.  Why I chose yellow and then mixed orange with white to make peach – I have no clue.  Terrible colour palette!  But I quite liked the way the lower half of the canvas looked ……

1a

I had no real idea where I might be going – except for the vague thought I might like to see if I could paint light …..

I threw a bit more paint around the following day but forgot to photograph it.

By the time I lay the brushes down today this had appeared

3

Let’s see where we go from here – I’m not seeing much light yet and who knows what might happen next!  You old hands know that anything can ……..

Any thoughts?

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

 

A Short History of Siddy and Some Other Things

There was life BS and now there is life AS.

There exists a photo taken the day before I met Siddy for the first time in which I am lolling back on my chair with a large, sleepy cat purring and wuffling softly on my lap. My YD was checking out her old camera prior to passing it on to me as she had just purchased her lovely posh new one.  Despite this being her old and now not good enough camera, it goes better than mine ever did.  She took a photo and shot a short video on a day that we did not then know was the last day of life BS.

I’m not going to show you the photo or the video as neither is the least bit flattering and I still have a modicum of vanity about my appearance!  Suffice to say I don’t loll well!!

I shall forever treasure that shot however for it records life BS and that may well be the last time I loll any where or indeed have a large and heavy Maine Coon purring and wuffling contentedly in my lap!

Yesterday Orlando stayed inside for the first time – though never in the lounge – at least on the kitchen counter or [poutingly] in his window or in my work room.  Every time he moved Siddy bounced joyfully towards him and we all went back to square one.

Orlando decided his window seat was the only place he could be

June5 14 AS

You would have to be pretty insensitive if you do not recognise that this is not a place he is staying because he wants to, but a place he must be because he is a put-upon cat and has nowhere else left to go – this is all that is left to him!!!!

It is very sad!  But then this afternoon there suddenly appeared to be this option too – which has a slight irony to it………Tig on fridge2

I spent an hour this morning re-housing containers of embellishing items and various photos from the top of the tall dresser in my work room and laying a sheepskin rug there instead.  After much coaxing I got Orlando to look at it and even to step onto it – but it wouldn’t do as the puppy was bouncing around on the floor whining that he was missing out on something and Orlando felt the need to exit the building again.

It is a week today since I first met my little black and white ball of fluff and went ‘sqeeeeee!’  The ‘sqeeee’ hasn’t stopped – he is totally gorgeous and when he turns those bright black eyes on me I just melt all over again.  I am sad about my big boy though, as I hate to see him so discombobulated and tense.  I really thought his natural tendency to zen out would see him through, aided by loads of extra attention and reassurance and all those good things – but now I wonder if he is just being bloody minded!

Despite all this tension in our normally content household I have begun a painting:

Face2

I hadn’t painted anything except organiser covers since February – I hadn’t even used my lovely new pencils that I purchased in Wellington at the end of March – I was worried I had forgotten how to draw and paint……..  But no, she’s got potential and I just have to become enlightened about what to do with her next.

And I have managed to finish this gorgeous thing as well, working away in the few quiet moments I get in the evenings – though I may decide to put another white double-row of scallops around the edge to finish off my finishing off  🙂

Bavarian Rug finished

Its rather large, coming in at 1.30 m [approx 50″ for you imperialists] and it is a square, despite the camera making it look like a rectangle.  It is texture rich, reversible, and weighty.  If I ever get my bedroom done up the way I would like to, this will look fantastic on my bed!

In the meantime I have to keep it safe from puppy love….

“Are you really, really sure you don’t want me to pull it? Tug it?  Shake it? …. I can you know, it’s no trouble at all…..  You don’t?  Unbelievable!!  What on earth is it for then?”

Siddy June5 14

If you want to have a go [and I don’t mean ‘a go’  in a Sddy kind of way – I mean in a relaxed and crocheting kind of way] at this gorgeous Bavarian Rug for yourself check out Dani’s tutorial.  I am just going to keep right on making things using this stitch – I love it to pieces!!

Bavarian Rug texture

Siddy went to make friends with the folk at our Veterinary Practice on Tuesday.  He was very happy to be there and went from person to person most amiably – I was happy to have a break quite honestly.  He had put on 800 grams in 8 days.  That’s 100 grams a day – in no time at all he will be a giant!  His big sister YD dropped in to see him after her shift last night and said she thought his tail was longer and thicker.  I hadn’t noticed, but this morning on really looking, I think that is where the 800g has gone!  I also wonder how much weight he would put on if he ever sat still………

As I have never given you the full details – and some of you want to know I’m sure 🙂 here is the background and story of how Sid-Arthur arrived in our lives.

Siddy is short for Sid-Arthur.  Sid-Arthur is a play on ‘Siddhartha’ the prince who became the Buddha.  The name came about because the first time we met the wildly energetic ball of fluff, I was allowed to hold him and he settled and became still and quiet in my arms and the pet shop owner observed that ‘he looks just like a little Buddha….’

Siddy’s mother is a Maltese Terrier X Shih Tzu, variously known as a Matzu, Maltzu or a Mitzu.  Dad is a Lhasa Apso.  All I know is there’s an awful lot of terrier in this boy!

Both the Shih-Tzu and the Lhasa Apso began life as Temple Dogs and are named after Lions, who are revered for their courage and large hearts.  Both these traits are easily seen in my little fellow.  Being just a babe he is courageous to the point of fool-hardiness, but time and experience will temper that.  His large heart is seen in his unabated joy and enthusiasm for EVERYTHING!

Sometimes I just stand and watch pure joy in action.  I thought I was good at living in the moment – I discover I still have much to learn!!  Courage is seen when he lines his tiny body up to get down steps or in the past two days, off the chair.  He jumps.  All four legs work at it, the front two go up and out and the back two propel him high into the air and he sails bravely forth with more speed and height than is really required and lands, increasingly gracefully, on the spot he set his eyes upon.  It is impressive, it is courageous, it is funny!

Siddy was born on Friday April 4th 2014.  I found him on Friday 30th May when he was exactly 8 weeks old.  He came to live with me the next day.  The moment my daughter knew he was coming home with me was a moment I missed.

I had met him and cuddled him and returned him to his pen with his two brothers.  We walked off with the pet shop owner to look at equipment that might be required if I was going to commit to a puppy.  Still deep in conversation we returned to the front of the cage where YD observed the pup stop still in the midst of his playful brothers and with a look of pure joy launch himself happily towards me, his eyes fixed on my face.

I thought he was the most gorgeous bundle of energy I had ever seen – but I was intent on getting an older, female dog – and I preferred a Bichon or Bichon-Shih-Tzu X; the ‘Teddy Bear’ dog, or a Labradoodle or a Spoodle.  I thought a girl and the more mature energy would be easier for me and Orlando to cope with.

Three weeks previously I had had an odd experience regarding an older Bichon girl who had been picked up by the pound.  I had made inquiries and been told she was not suitable for re-homing.  Three days later I found out the Dog Rescue people had taken her.  I made contact, saying I was interested, but heard nothing back.  Ten days later I discovered a message in my facebook message box which had somehow got buried beneath others and had been there for a week, advising me the dog would be re-homed and asking if I was interested in applying formally.  Of course I had responded immediately, but it was too late – she had found her forever home.

I was puzzled – this was the perfect scenario for us, why had it not happened?  Obviously she was not meant for us – but she had fit my order perfectly!

I wrestled all night long with committing to a puppy – a huge undertaking, no matter how cute he was!  Full commitment came when I was delivered a waking picture in my mind of a little black and white puppy all alone in a pet shop cage after his two brothers had gone to their forever homes and his intended forever home had said no.

I was In!  YD told me he was already In! and she saw the whole thing as being Inevitable!  And so Sid-Arthur came home.

My postcard prints of ‘Choose Joy’ finally arrived today.  Time to get those organisers made for those of you who are waiting – and then into the Etsy Store too!

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

 

 

 

 

My Arty Organiser/Faux Filofax

I had a crazy notion about two weeks ago that it would be a good idea – instead of having five different notebooks of varying shapes and sizes plus one note pad scattered over my coffee table, and side table in the lounge and two more large exercise books and various bits of paper with random notes, quotes and ideas on scattered about the creative room – wouldn’t it be a good idea to have it all in one place…..

Mmmm – I set my mind to it – I first had the idea for a cover but was a bit woolly about how to actually do the rest when by serendipitous good fortune down the email arrived a link to a You Tube Video, made by a country-woman of pretty darn good creative ability:

All was made clear.  I had about seven notebooks still sitting in a drawer from the summer before last when they were on sale for five cents each – I bought twenty of them, just because they were five cents each!

Organiser3

I took the covers off and painted them.  I painted them with my two favourite colours cerulean blue and viridian green.  There’s a wee touch of white in there too…..

I poured glossy mod podge over to stop the paint scratching off and when that was dry gave each cover a good coating of car polish and buffed them up. Mod podge is not the best sealer around.  When dry it still has a sticky tack and a bad habit of making things stick together when you don’t want them to.  The car polish puts a sleek shiny sealed surface over the mod podge and solves that problem.

Organiser2

I made the cover – and I just love how it has turned out!  I used one of my postcards made from the original painting and embedded it onto the hardboard cover with texture paste which I then painted with the cerulean and viridian paints.

Organiser1

The rest was pretty straight forward.  I made some little pockets to hold the odd bits and pieces that might come floating by.  Fiddled about a bit with the spine to ensure it was strong and sturdy and could do what I wanted it to do.  Bought some hat elastic and wrapped it around the spine inner, which was then glued to the spine outer – meaning no-ones going nowhere baby!  slipped the notebooks into place and voila – one artists organiser complete with the obligatory spot of bling…..

Organiser4

I forgot to say earlier I made the little medallion thingy from a metal embellishment.  I dunked it into embossing ink then into white embossing powder and heated it.  Twice. Then I finished it with a dunk into some sparkly clear embossing powder and got the look I was after. I coloured the elastic with ‘Peacock’ Distress Ink.   Here’s a spine view:

Organiser5

Adding tabs ensured there is, amongst other things, a place for notes, a place to list things I want, a place to list gift ideas, a place to keep track of giveaways and winners of giveaways, a place for ideas, a place for quotes, a place for tracking expenditure and another for tracking earnings [giggle!] and a spare place for something else that might pop up.

Organiser7

If you peer closely into the centre of the book you will see the hat elastic doing its job and holding the notebook into the spine quite snugly.

Organiser9

And here is one of the little pockets which have been scattered throughout to hold the odd random bit of paper that may need holding onto….. and there is the blingy page marker at work too 🙂

Organiser10

And that my friends, is my version of an organiser – now to find out if it holds up and actually works….. she should do everything but make my morning coffee!

Organiser6

If I missed anything and you really, really want to know what I did or how I did it ask away 🙂

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

365 Days – February

Two down – ten to go!  [And today is my first blogging birthday!!  Isn’t that cool.  I had forgotten all about it but the nice folks at WordPress left a note in my comments box.  🙂

Blink and you will have missed it – that’s February done and dusted and there weren’t that many lovely hot days at all……..

Here are the daily ‘snap-shots’ neatly divided up into weekly portions as this is the only month that allows neat freaks like me to arrange the full month into equally numbered piles of four:

DCFeb1

DCFeb2

DCFeb3

DCFeb4

And now, because it’s my blog and I can – here are a few of my favourites:

Obviously feeling pretty good about Life, the Universe and Everything on this particular day.  Despite the fact that the face got smeared and looks like a clown, I like the movement in this one:

DCFeb8

I had a break-through with The Book:

DCFeb6

I like how this one turned out – I had time to play and no particular word for the day, so I just started doodling and kept going – the word ended up being ‘Doodles’  🙂

DCFeb5

And here I was celebrating the sighting of a beautiful skirt I had seen on Etsy that reminded me of days gone by when I was this slim and could dance like this:

DCFeb7

The theme of the month appears to be gifts – I was the recipient of so many wonderful handmade gifts from my bloggie friends and a couple that I gifted myself –  and dancing and skirts – which I did succumb to in the end – not the wildly expensive number I had eyed on Etsy, but another quieter, more mature version…………

Do you have a favourite?

Here’s the collection to date:

DCComplete

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

Unexpected Gifts

‘What day is it?” asked Winnie-the-Pooh

“It’s today.” squeaked Piglet.

“My favourite day!” said Pooh.

I popped out for just a short time late yesterday afternoon and when I returned home a box was sitting at my door.

Not being a slacker when it comes to opening packages I had it opened and emptied in a flash, then I took a moment to check the address [an ever-so-slight tinge of concern had raised its head: was it actually meant for me?] and my eyes fell on a name I know well, so I continued ………

I pulled out the packaging and found two tiny envelopes

Joy6

and inside, two tiny cards:

Joy7

Beautifully hand made with care and attention to detail:

Joy8

After reading the beautiful messages and with tears in my eyes, I began unwrapping the parcel, and immediately knew what was in it.

You know sometimes in life you just have those moments when the thoughtfulness and caring and generosity of spirit shown by another rips your heart wide open – this was one of those moments.

In December last year I read and commented on a post published by the lovely Alys over at Gardening Nirvana.  Alys had just made her first mixed media banner and I was inspired by it, but eventually ran out of time to create something similar – we had a bit of a conversation around it – if you really want you can read it here:

http://gardeningnirvana.com/2013/12/03/watercolor-hummer/

The creative work of Alys Milner from her very first mixed media class now lay spread out on my table

Joy5

Orlando popped up for a look-see and I moved it out of his way and we had a small, quieter version of our happy dance before I, in a soft and thoughtful mood, began preparing my evening meal.

Soon I turned around to see this:

“Whaddya mean I can’t sit on it?”

Joy2

“I can’t see you so you can’t see me!”

Joy3

Only thing for it – hang it up somewhere – I have just the place!

[But please, ignore the mess – there are several projects in varying stages of completion at the moment – it’s hell in here!]

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Isn’t it just perfect?

Joy4

And there it shall stay until there is a need for it somewhere else 🙂

Now, at the risk of sounding maudlin or soppy I will finish with these thoughts:  I have long been a fan of and participator in many Random Acts of Kindness.  It has only been in recent months that I have been the recipient of so many RAKs from so many people whom I have never actually looked into the eyes of or actually touched – yet feel I know quite well.

I am left almost, but not entirely, speechless by the kindness, the generosity and the creativity of our blogging community –  Yes, I have been the recipient of so many wonderful gifts recently – yet the greatest of these gifts is the wide flung arms that give virtual hugs on a daily basis and the friends who uphold and meet my spirit with theirs in complete openness and acceptance.

It surely is a wonderful thing!

Blessings to Alys and all my lovely Bloggie friends!!  🙂

365 Days – January

Didn’t the first month of 2014 go quickly?

I completed the first mile-stone in my year long project [whew!] it was a challenge at times, but I’m getting more and more into the swing of it.  What I have found especially interesting is to see where my attention goes in any given day – there is definitely a theme for the month.

I showed you the first 14 days here if you want to have another peek – and here is the rest of January’s cards – read them as you would a book and double click for enlarged views:

Jan 1

The second card with the sun celebrates the second sunny day of the year – the back has a note ‘two out of fourteen ain’t bad!’ a wry nod to Meatloaf.  The inception of my ‘Choose Joy’ painting is noted, and my brother and other siblings carry the last three.

Jan2

These next six begin with a reminder to keep my thoughts clear, continue with the painting and past memories and end with the gypsy making her entrance into my consciousness.

Jan3

I kept peace for my brother, birthed the gypsy and created a new garden as January ended.

Jan complete

Just one month complete and I begin to wonder how big is this project going to get?

Here are some thoughts from looking at these cards this morning.

My brother’s health is ‘stable’ and I continue to hold him in my thoughts.  It is such a wonderful thing to see that when we deal with our human mortality our instinct is to balance this with life.  Over the years I have lost many loved ones and been at many funerals and noticed that the conversation often turns to birth – stories of birthing and new-borns for example – and have come to see that this is part of our grieving process, for life and death are so beautifully entwined.  And here in January I see I have done the same thing, entwined as the month is with memories of siblings and aunts who were loved and lost, and who I felt draw near from time to time, while I grieved for lives cut short and unfulfilled potential, I birthed my own inner Gypsy [Narf7 gets full credit for her midwifery skills!] and ended by creating a new garden.  🙂

Life and death, life and death – being and becoming, experiencing and letting go, living and dying.  We experience it every day in a hundred different ways yet only become fully conscious when it is our own mortality we are faced with.  Personally I remain convinced it is just another door way we walk through, which unfortunately, once closed cannot be reopened for us to have another shot at this particular life.  Which is why I also think it is really important to learn the lessons we are here to learn and to love one another.  All the rest is rather unimportant and simply the means by which we learn [or do not learn] our lessons.

Right, down off my soap-box, things to do, lessons to be learnt and another day card to be created……

Thanks for coming by, 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!

Choose Joy 1

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!  🙂