Don’t Put Off Til Tomorrow ….

This was to be a post about an opera and some mittens – instead it will be a brief cautionary tale involving thoughts and irons and puppies and Emergency Rooms……..

You know how sometimes a day just starts off wrong?  Something is amiss, something escapes you, something is askew within your psyche…….?  My day started like that yesterday.  I was just a little grumpy, a little out of sorts, vaguely irritated with life.  No reason to be so, no idea why and seemingly no way to step out of it.  I went into the ‘just accept that today is an off day’ mode and watched the cricket, which even though the Black Caps won and We Beat the Aussies didn’t quite dispel the malaise.  And I worked a number of rows on the third incarnation of my crochet jacket [the tale of which is a whole other story] and finally toddled off to bed saying all will be well in the morning!

It was well-er in the morning, but not quite on top of my game I ignored the ironing board still sitting up in my workroom with several lightly steamed mittens laid out drying on its towelled surface.  I looked at the iron and thought, I should put that away and went on to the next thing.

The next thing was to have my shower, wash my hair and return to my workroom to begin the routine of light yoga stretches I had begun [again] to do each morning a couple or several weeks ago and had so far managed three consecutive mornings on. I lay on the floor beside the ironing board and began the alternate leg raising scenarios while puppy thumped me on the head with his latest ‘fetch’ toy.  Being ignored he gave up and skipped happily across my stomach to go sit on his chair.

Siddy had his haircut last week in a #1, he is ready for the army!

Siddy had his haircut last week in a #1, he is ready for the army!

After I finished jerking and moaning with pain from the hefty leaps of the careless puppy, I took a moment to straighten my spine out, stretch myself to my full 5′ 31/2″ and do some slow, deep breathing.  As I relaxed and centred myself Siddy jumped from his chair and something cold and very heavy, reminiscent of a brick, landed just to the left of my left eye.

For a moment I was completely stunned, then I am ashamed to say, I roared something rather akin to “Cheeses Crisp!” as I clutched at my eye to see if it was still there.  The pain was blinding and my hand did not recognise what it fell upon – something hard and cold and heavy.  I pulled it off my face with my right hand and saw it was the iron I had failed to put away.  My left hand was cupping the pain in that eye and when I pulled it back I saw it red with blood.

I don’t do blood!

Luckily there was the towel that had been wrapped about my wet hair and I used that to mop up the red stuff.

Eventually I staggered up to my feet and found a mirror to peer into.  Blood was smeared all about the top of my eye and was still oozing out of a jagged cut that would have, on any pirate, looked rather daring-do!  However on a somewhat tousled, stunned looking upper-middle-aged woman – well, it just lacked that certain debonair charm.

Feeling a tad off my game, which hadn’t been that great to start with you may recall, I sent a text off to my daughter who was on her early shift crying out for help.  My youngest daughter is terribly practical and very clever at fixing things and finding solutions to problems and is my go-to when my brain has shut down.  Which it had.

Within moments she was with me – and within more moments we were in the doors of the Accident and Emergency Dept of Dunedin Hospital where we spent the next half hour waiting to be seen and eventually I was adopted by a lovely nurse, poked with a particularly nasty biting needle, cleaned up, stitched where possible and glued in the other bits and finally eye examined for subterranean problems by a charming resident.  Eventually I was pronounced almost as good as a new one because I would likely now and forever after sport a dashing scar by my eye and sent on my way with dire warnings about wetting, touching or otherwise unduly disturbing the unstitched part of the wound for five days and a tube of antibiotic cream which I must on no account use as it would likely wet, touch or unduly disturb the unstitched part of the wound……..  so I left it in my daughters car.

So here I sit, slightly head-achy, a little the worse for wear – and my dears I am at an age when one needs all the help one can get in terms of ‘wear’ – but with no-one to blame but myself!

What I find really hilarious is that on reading a post from one of my lovely blogger friends early this morning, and still in a slightly irascible frame of mind, I had written a comment that had stated my desire that the world and her husband get their acts together and take responsibility for their choices and decisions.

Now that I have finished roaring with laughter at myself and acknowledged wryly that Karma is indeed a bitch – yes. I should have put the iron away and my morning would have been way more productive and you would now be coming to the end of a lovely post all about opera and mittens and, my friends – freebies!

I still have to write that one and if you would like to come by again to read it and find out about another giveaway, that would indeed be grand!

teal on hand

Until then – thanks for coming by today today, I love that you did!

Grow Where You Are Planted

This past week I have been painting every day, layer after layer on the same painting.  It is week six of the Life Book 2015 course and the second Main Lesson with Tamara Laporte, whom I love having the chance to learn from!  I painted and painted, I lost track after the tenth time I found myself applying more layers of colour and bringing up the lines again …. and doodles.  Doodles for Africa my friends.  I am a person who should not be encouraged to doodle.  I don’t have a ‘stop’ button and now I’m rather afraid the painting looks like it has a sudden attack of measles – or a very bad rash!!

This is such a different style for me, though I didn’t stay so much in the abstract side of the venture but wandered into the whimsical as is my wont.  I enjoyed the slow build up of colour, the challenge to place the right amount of dark and light shading and to blend just so……  I don’t think it’s a brilliant balance of colours, [not enough white and neutral spaces] but for a first go it’s okay.  I loved being able to add in and add in and add in – the miniscule details all add up so that wherever the eye wanders there is something to look at, something to notice.  For some of you it may be too much – it is for me – but the exercise was a great one for layering, building up blocks of colour and then somehow uniting them and for playing around with doodles [and for finding out I don’t know when to stop].

Here’s the whole caboodle for your viewing pleasure:

AbstractGarden

And here a some detail corners – highly magnified so you can see some of the layers and all the mistakes.

Bottom Right

AG Detail2

Top right

AG Detail3

Left side

AG Detail4

I think there are certain little corners of the painting that I quite like.  The colours blend well, the doodles are well balanced – something happened and it came together – but overall I find it a bit too much, what do you REALLY think?

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

The Gift of Friendship

If you have been tagging along with this blog for a while you will have read on many occasions of my appreciation for the delightful people that blogging has introduced into my life.   I love how certain folks circle around different bloggers, how we introduce each other to new and exciting blogs – how we click with new people.  I sometimes forget how I stumbled across someone and then will see another name in the comments and remember that I gatecrashed their party a year ago and have been having a growing relationship ever since …..   I’ve made some really good friends while blogging.  And never actually met a single one of them!

But that is all about to change!

Recently some of these friends put their heads together and decided to make something happen.  They invited me to come stay for a few days.  A week of chatting and outings and chatting and touristing and chatting and just getting to be in the same space in real time – to look, to touch to hug!  To chat.  To just be together.

How cool is this?  How wonderful?  How amazing, how generous!  I have been completely overwhelmed about the whole idea, completely blown away by their kindness and generosity and sometimes stunned to a standstill with excitement.  The adventure of a life time!  An unexpected joy!  A dream come true, a true ‘blogger friendship’ story!

Unexpected gifts!  It’s so amazing to me, how does such an event occur – what serendipitous movement of planets caused this little miracle to take place?

Are you interested yet, do you want to know more?

The plan is for four of the five to travel to the home of the fifth.  There we will be hosted and have a wonderful opportunity to relax and  have fun just spending time together.  Only two of these bloggers have met before, though we have all spent time on Skype together and separately.  We email, message via facebook, communicate through our blogs and have shared aspects of our lives and feelings and have quite simply developed a rapport that is multi-layered and the stuff of real friendship.

So at Easter time I shall find myself wandering among the cherry blossoms of Washington DC

cherry blossom 2

cherryblossom1

Isn’t that just so pretty!  Of course, I am full of hope that the weather gods will be kind and turn on just exactly that kind of early spring vista for us……..

I did some reading and found the history of the cherry trees fascinating:

http://www.nps.gov/cherry/cherry-blossom-history.htm

As the days go by and I look at these pictures, I constantly catch myself thinking – Ah! Washington DC – in the springtime.  Look how pretty – how I should love to wander among all those blossom laden trees  …….  You may notice I have some difficulty with the fact that this is really happening, even though the plane tickets are booked – the passport is being renewed ……. the plans are at ‘GO’………  And then, in a  ‘But you shall go to the ball Cinderella!’ moment, I remember yet again and with a surge of excitement, I shall be there, I shall see this, I will wander along beneath those cherry trees!

And I shall not wander alone.

Laurie of Life on the Bike and Other Fab Things will be driving in her truck from Virginia

Kelly from Boomdeeadda will fly in from Alberta

Alys from Gardening Nirvana will jet in from California

And I, having completely given up on being Contented and become instead Wildly Excited, shall hop, skip and jump all the way from New Zealand

And our generous hostess Julia from Defeat Despair will do the airport runs ………..

High five girls!

puppy high 5

I wish you could all be there with us – what a party we would have!

But if, by some serendipitous placement of plans and or living location, you are in the DC area over Easter, let me know and come on by and say hello – we would all love the opportunity to meet you!

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

 

A ‘FAIL’ and What Came Afterwards

In case you haven’t caught up yet, I am taking Life Book 2015 this year.  This past week we had the opportunity to watch an artist at work and then, if we wished, to follow her process and have a go ourselves.  No instructions were given, so it was a case of wing it, be inspired and have a go.

First up I have to admit I wasn’t that inspired.  It wasn’t the artists fault.  I really enjoyed watching her process and what she made.  I think I felt the process was finished right there.  But as I want to try new things this year I decided to get stuck in.

I decided to use an already collaged A4 water colour paper – the fact that I didn’t like the colours on the paper should have been warning number two – but apparently it wasn’t and I pushed on doggedly.

I made this

Tightrope original

It’s an epic ‘FAIL’ There is nothing in here that is pleasing in any way.  Layers of colour turned muddier and muddier – the figure is – just awful.  I certainly learned a lot about what not to do ……….

So I tried again.

The rest of this post is specifically for Frank, who asked me to document my process – I hope you will enjoy seeing the stages

First I sketched my whimsical walker

tightrope1

Then the first layers of colour are applied to the face and body

tightrope2

tightrope3

I worked with these three colours until I got the shading, shape and depth I wanted – maybe eight or nine layers of colour – I wasn’t counting.   Next some red is introduced

tightrope4

The hair colour is ‘Payne’s Grey’

tightrope5a

tightrope6

She’s well and truly in ‘the ugly stage’.  I know to keep going, it’s just a phase!

tightrope8

I’m still working on the face, adding layers and details, backwards and forwards, switching between eyes, nose, mouth, legs …..

tightrope9

Suddenly and abruptly, she leaves the ugly stage and starts to come alive.  I paint her tutu

tightrope10

tightrope11

Her underskirt appears and words are added.  Later I discover I don’t like the word ‘Walk’ here

Tightrope12

The background colour is painted in and I’m in the zone

tightrope13a

I work for another hour and a half, collaging and adding in the background detail, painting layers over, toning down with gesso and bringing back up with more yellow and green.  ‘Walk’ is discarded.  The face and hair get final attention.  I take no photos, I am too engaged with what I am doing.  Finally I am happy, she is done

tightrope14a

The Tightrope Walker, holds her heart in her hands and walks out onto the high wire.  Her eyes are closed, she is intent on her inner world, her intuition, her trust, her faith and her knowing.  The sounds and activities of the world do not pull her off balance.  She is in the zone.

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

Just Playing Around …..

There’s a lot going on, I have another painting underway and I’m still making other stuff.

One of the exercises in the Life Book course was to make a Gratitude Jar.  Every day you write at least one thing down that was good, date it and pop it in the jar.  It’s a nice idea and I had a rather large, spare jar sitting around, so I had a go.  It hasn’t photographed that well, I took the shots into the light……. [sigh!]

I collaged the jar to death making lots of texture, made a label and stamped the name, drew flowers all around the jar and painted them a stunning shade of teal mixed up from three different colours of paint and I bet I’ll never get this particular hue again!

JarofJoys8

JarofJoys3

I coloured the faux metal lid with alcohol inks, hot glued a chain of silver butterflies around the edge and hung a variety of charms and paper hearts from an old bracelet chain.

JarofJoys2a

And there she is – a bit of fun!  Already filling up with memo’s of the joys of each day.

JarofJoys1

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You all know how I hate waste and love re-purposing stuff – well I’ve been at that again.

I had an opportunity to buy some black fingerless gloves for less than a dollar a pair.  They are classed as ‘seconds’ and without the intervention of an entrepreneur would  end up in the landfill.  I was happy to pay the price asked, the flaws are minor and easily fixed, I love fingerless gloves and have a bag of end bits of yarn looking for something to do …..  So to while away the warm summer evenings I started to play and made these

teal

Aren’t they cute – here’s one on my slightly paint grubby hand

teal on hand

And a pink pair

Pink1

I love that I can take something that is flawed and destined to become rubbish and turn it into something that has a life and is fun too.  These are going to be great when the season changes!  Hands up if you like fingerless gloves – I have another ten pairs to make up………..

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

 

 

Happily Painting …….

Here I am again – already!  It’s only been a few days since my last post – whatever is happening I hear you cry?  It’s cooler today – which is good.  We can actually move and not wilt!  Siddy has more energy to play and even Orlando has woken up for brief periods.  And I am painting

Beacon2 WiP

…… until I am asked to play a game of ‘Fetch’

How can you resist this?

Play3aa

We play ‘Fetch’ for a few minutes – then Siddy retires to cool off and I continue work.

In the previous post I showed you my second version of the ‘Beacon of Light’  that was the first main exercise in Life Book 2015 and she was looking like this

Lighthouse1

She’s under-gone a number of changes and now I think she is finished.  This is just a photo shot, not a scan – I am just so excited to share her with you

Beacon2

This is MY Beacon of Light – she rises from the sea – a metaphor for when I am lost at sea, or ‘all at sea’.  You know that feeling, I’m not standing on firm ground ……. her message is you don’t have to feel like that, you are not alone.  Trust, surrender, relax.

I’m happy!  But what do you think?

She is painted on 300gsm A3 watercolour paper and I think is destined for a frame and my art room wall!  But I’ll probably put a couple of prints into the Etsy shop as well :-)  I’ll show you another shot when she is scanned – then you will get to see all the colour and details.

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

It’s January & It’s Summer!

It’s January, it’s hot, it’s Summer!  We didn’t have one last year.  She must have unilaterally decided to give my part of the country a miss, I believe it wasn’t personal, she just had other places she would rather be.  So there has been unbounded joy in this little corner of the world – long hot days followed by long warm dusks.  It is just now getting dark about 9.30 pm, light by 5.30 am.  And my word, you should see my garden!  It’s a jungle out there folks, no room to sit and sizzle in the hot sun, it’s been taken over by tomatoes and salady stuff and petunias and lobelia and sweet-peas – let’s not forget the sweet-peas!

sweetpeas2

I was getting worried about the lack of fruit on the tomatoes when voila, up these popped overnight.  If you can’t see them, biggify the photo – they are there I promise.  So proud!  :-)

babytomatoes2

Siddy and I water every evening, well I water and Siddy bustles and bumbles about through the undergrowth, rather reminiscent of a rare black and white wombat –  eventually popping up all muddy and wet and happy and puppy-ish again.  [This one’s especially for Jill.]

Siddylaughs

 

This is his ‘Whaddya want mumma?’ face, because I whistled him and he stopped what he was busily bumbling about with and rushed up to me.

As a complete aside, a few days ago we celebrated Siddy’s ninth month birthday.  He has stopped visibly growing, thank heavens.  He is much calmer now, he loves his mumma very much, adores Orlando and his aunty YD is his most favourite person in the whole world – but should he meet you, you would immediately become his next favourite person in the whole world.  Siddy’s joy and enthusiasm for life and people remains unabated.  It is just tempered with slightly better manners these days.

Getting a scenic shot in my small garden is impossible – so here is a little montage

pizap

This tiny garden, organic and companion planted, growing mostly in buckets and tubs is in good looking condition – but something has been eating my peas!

whosbeeneatingmypeas

I’m picking them this evening, ready or not!

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My ‘rhythm of life’ – that thing some of you refer to as routine – has suddenly disengaged.  It erupted!  I knew it would.  I signed on for a year long art course last October.  I’d been waiting since mid-May for the signing date to arrive because I knew I needed and wanted to focus on developing myself as an artist.  I don’t usually refer to myself as ‘an artist’ – I say I ‘muck abart with mixed media’ or ‘I paint’.  Some folks have thought that means I’m a house painter – [which makes me smile because I spent years decorating my homes with paint, now I do it with mostly fabric] and start to ask me which paint is best for this or that problem – or even offer me a job!

Anyway – having taken that little meander off subject, let us return …… the art course has started.  It started for me on January 2nd, with a bang I might add.  Immediately I fell behind as I had, coincidentally, been asked to act as an honorary ‘colour advisory consultant person’  and I was a bit caught up in that process.

But I got my act together and set about creating this

Beacon of Light - Pauline King

Beacon of Light – Pauline King

If you follow my progress with mixed media you will see a huge improvement in the way the paint has been applied especially to the face – I learned so much in just the first lesson!

In case I have piqued your interest, the course is called Life Book 2015 and clicking on that will take you there.  You’re welcome!  :-)

I was so pleased with the result of this first exercise that I set myself the task of doing an older more Contented Crafter version – here she is underway, but with a LOT of work still to be done.  What do you think?

Lighthouse1

 and the eyes, with which I am particularly pleased

Lighthouse2

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If you have noticed me missing from your blog, or missing with my usual long and opinionated ramblings in your comment section all the above is the reason why. Suddenly there is not enough hours in the day.  I wasn’t so busy when I was still a working girl!  [Ooow, did that sound wrong?]  I’m still doing my best to read everyone’s posts – I always feel that if you took the time to write and proof-read and insert photos and anything else you do on each of your wonderful posts, the least I can do is participate fully!   I just can’t fit it all in at the moment –  But, like Arnie, I will be back!

And I nearly forgot – there’s also these, that sometime get a look in during the long warm evenings – but progress is slow

stevienicks1

stevienicks2

Jo'sbavarian

Life is warm, it is busy, it is very happy.  Life is good!  I hope you are enjoying all your busy moments too.

This is my 150th post and I just recently went past 350 followers.  Most don’t read, but to those who do, who come by regularly and leave your endearing messages of support and cheer, thank you, thank you, thank you.  You warm my heart, encourage me in all kinds of crazy directions and inspire me daily.

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