Monday, 24 September 2012

Skull Season

The usual procrastination going on here. Yes, I'm still alive. Alive and made stronger, if a little bitter and twisted, by having done decorating.

Our kitchen, so I've discovered, is approximately the size of a small planet. At least it seems that way when you're putting coat after coat of paint on the walls. Anyway, it's now beautiful in shades of turquoise. I have also realised why people pay people to do this stuff for them. No wonder they charge so much; it's recompense for having their very souls sucked out on a daily basis. Decoraters are our modern day warriors, out fighting on the battlefields of despair.

I painted the hallway too, which is tiny, but has three doors and a window. It was worse than doing the kitchen. I need therapy now. I'll be months getting over it.

Some work is also happening. I finally got round to doing a skull lino cut. It was spurred on by the above decorating, as I wanted most desperately to have a Day of the Dead themed artwork for the wall. It was so enjoyable, doing the design purely to my own taste and requirements. I try to do most of my work this way, but when they're commissions and whatnot it's not possible, obviously. It took me a LONG time and I always spend it wondering if the print will work out well or not. I like the suspense, but I would definitely have thrown a right old wobbly if it had been rubbish. There are always things I'd change, but again, that's life (and art) for you.

I wanted to use a floral motif to symbolise the imagery we use in western culture for celebrations. The idea of celebrating our lost loved ones isn't embraced here the same way as in other countries, but I really like the sentiment. I know skulls aren't everyones' cup of tea either, but to me they signify the mind of a person, the thing that made them what they were when they were living. Does this make sense?

Here he is then, smashing little fella.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Friday's Child

I don't know how it came about, but I appear to spend every Friday cleaning things that are usually (in this house at least) left alone. This morning I cleaned the kitchen windows and before I knew it I was scrubbing all the walls. You know mammoth tasks? Well this makes those look like a quick scratch of the eyebrow. I've been at it for hours. So, now I have a cup of tea and a few minutes to say hello before I take myself off for a lovely relaxing bath.

I was awoken last night by an itchy toe. No, seriously. Some vile bloodsucking creature must have got in and bitten me while I was asleep. My daughter reckons it was the cleaning fairy, hence my new superpowers in that field. I'm not so sure. It's still driving me insane. 

I've been painting this week, concentrating on some larger pieces. I've got one finished and one part done. I'd intended to complete the latter today, but time ran away with me. I'll do some this afternoon, though I'll be fighting it all the way in this hot weather. The washes are drying before I'm done with them. Kh.

Here are a few views of my latest peacock. I'm going to list him in my Etsy shop, as I've sold a few of my bigger paintings on there recently. I feel very appreciated by my US customers :-)

I've enjoyed using a looser style along with realistic elements and I'm especially happy with the pose of the bird. Inspiration was taken from my springtime photos at Walton Gardens in Warrington.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

I Think I Bent My Head Today

Argh argh argh! Here was me being superhuman superspecial housewife and dancing attention on the minging kitchen floor and guess what? Yeah, along came the rain, Incy Wincy Spider style and got all over my blimmin washing on the line. As if that wasn't infuriating enough, it had been out there all morning and was most definitely nice and dry before this unfortunate event. Nothing gets up my trunk quite like my laundry efforts being thwarted. Next person to walk through that door is going to suffer my wrath, even if it wasn't their fault (unless they can prove it without question).

I'm in full on weird, emotional loopiness today. What with all the Olympic ups and downs (how silly of me, but they get me every time), a really brilliant day out at the Tate yesterday with excellent company and a very civilised lunch (yes, I'm at large again nowadays) and being quite tired, I'm all over the place. I've been dancing round this morning to an ill-advised playlist of very questionable 1980s music (hyper and silly, singing along tunelessly) and this afternoon I've been cleaning up. I stopped for a minute and somehow ended up reading things I wrote ages ago about university and all that, which had me in floods of tears while U2 played in the background (Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses - very mind bending - see below). I decided to embrace my mega mood swings and enjoyed a good old cry after the big high of daftness. I reckon this is good for me, as long as nobody's around to get worried at the sight. The weird thing is, I don't feel sad, just extremely feeling stuff. Not sure I've finished yet, but I've got 'til 5pm to let it all out.

In the midst of all this crackers carry on there's been a decision made to cook salmon with cauliflower cheese for dinner. We had it last week and my minions loved it. I am not washing the saucepans afterwards though. There. Stand made.

I have so much housework to do; it's baying at me like a wolf at the moon (what do wolves want from the moon anyway?). Really, I need to be climbing on worktops washing walls, pulling fridges and washing machines from their comfy places to clean behind them, dragging bowls of chemical laden water round the place to aid me in scrubbing paintwork, well you get the idea. I don't think I'm quite ready for such things just yet, shame on me. After all that comes decorating. Is it any wonder I'm scared?

There's also the usual multitude of art doing its best to burst out of my head. I'm working on sketches so I don't lose any of the threads going on. One such drawing is on a Superdrug receipt, but most have been fortunate enough to land on paper this time. I've got keys, sugar skulls, more peacocks and some random plant-like designs, mostly for lino cuts. I need an old clock too, so I can draw the inner mechanism. Not sure what for yet, but it popped into my head this morning.

The rain has stopped now and the birds are chirping. Probably sniggering at my damp bedding, snarky buggers.

And so without further ado, here for the very first time ever, please see song lyrics copied and pasted in ridiculous teenage fashion. I can't stop listening to it. If you want to sing along with me (and I really do recommend it. In fact I hope you cry too and send me a comment to let me know you're joining in the tearfest. Altogether now), click HERE for the link

You're dangerous 'cause you're honest
You're dangerous, you don't know what you want
Well you left my heart empty as a vacant lot
For any spirit to haunt 

You're an accident waiting to happen
You're a piece of glass left in a beach
Well, you tell me things I know you're not supposed to
Then you leave me just out of reach

Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna drown in your blue sea?
Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna fall at the foot of thee? 

Well you stole it 'cause I needed the cash
And you killed it 'cause I wanted revenge
Well you lied to me 'cause I asked you to
Baby, can we still be friends?  

Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna drown in your blue sea?
Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna fall at the foot of thee? 

Oh, the deeper I spin
Oh, the hunter will sin for your ivory skin
Took a drive in the dirty rain
To a place where the wind calls your name
Under the trees the river laughing at you and me
Hallelujah, heavens white rose
The doors you open
I just can't close  

Don't turn around, don't turn around again
Don't turn around, your gypsy heart
Don't turn around, don't turn around again
Don't turn around, and don't look back
Come on now love, don't you look back! 

Who's gonna ride your wild horses?
Who's gonna drown in your blue sea?
Who's gonna taste your salt water kisses?
Who's gonna take the place of me?

Who's gonna ride your wild horses?

Who's gonna tame the heart of thee? 

I've been extremely honest and adult about all this. I hope you lot appreciate that.

Oh I'll so be coming back tomorrow and deleting this nonesense.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Is This Art?

The latest in my peacock adventures. Just a miniature little study, but it's another step in the experiment with a good look at all the colours that flutter around the feathers. I've painted this from a real life feather here on my desk. I can't stop playing with it.

The rollercoaster has been continuing here. Mentally I'm feeling in a whole different place now. This week I've felt some seriously lovely stretches of wellbeing, moving from contentment to being what I can only describe as really happy. It's been quite emotional in a lot of ways, and rather than trying to keep it all inside  I've allowed myself some tears, lots of laughing and oodles of time with my beloved, sharing the joy. He in turn is feeling much better and keeps telling me how good it is to have me back. Who knows how long it'll last? Having said that, I wouldn't have believed anyone if they'd told me six months ago that I'd be having a week like this. I'm grateful indeed.

On the down side, I caught a virus about three or four weeks ago. It's one with a nasty chesty cough and temperature and all that. I went to my GP after about ten days and got some medication, which is gradually helping me show an improvement. I'm still feeling a tad feeble and breathless, but mostly I'm fighting it off now. I reckon this time next week I'll be fighting fit again. I'd better had be - I just won't put up with this nonesense!

I don't know if anyone's ever caught the TV show called Show Me the Monet? Someone recommended it to me and I've been really getting into it (BBC2 iPlayer on catchup). My heart is in my mouth for the artists and I am transported back to my university application interview where I received a very similar grilling. Really scary stuff. My hub watched an episode with me last night and we had a good old meaty discussion about what is and isn't art, especially when applied to the work we both do. 

Please step this way into my can of worms......

I have no doubt that the panel would hate my stuff and throw me out for being merely a decorative artist. I don't think I have ever used art as an expression of my emotions, as seems to be the requirement for these guys. I've asked myself whether I would consider it as an approach, and right now I'd say no. I simply don't have any desire to intentionally "speak" via a painting. I don't even feel a need to create a dialogue with the viewer. Does this make me fall short? That one's open to much debate I suppose.

All I can say is that I've spent my whole life with ideas desperate to burst from my head onto a page, or a creation. In recent years I've had the opportunity (and confidence) to let rip with it. Interestingly, this has come many years after completing my art degree. I never really became comfortable with my work back then like I am now. I am always delighted when someone connects enough with a painting to want to own it, so that's my dialogue happening organically I guess, which is what I'm most comfortable with.

In conclusion, I think I'm a sneaky one, hovering round the edges of "art" (am I allowed to tag myself thusly?) and loving it when a person stumbles into me. Appreciation is a fine reward, but I don't force it. That's pretty similar to the sort of character I am too, so at least there's some continuity round here in a way.

Friday, 6 July 2012

July's Here Already. Blimey.

It's been a long month here.

I'd intended to write frequently, but I couldn't bring myself to spew forth pages of blah blah without having any artwork to sweeten the pill for you poor readers. After all, this is my arty blog, and while personality is part of it, it's not the whole.

This week I've painted. Aside from that last picture I posted (which sold a few days later, amazingly!), I was unable to pick up a pencil and do anything for quite a while.

The medication rendered me a shaking wreck, and despite reviews and alterations to what I was taking, I kept getting worse. Eventually one morning, after taking the nine pills I was having every day, I decided enough was enough.

I've had similar medication before in the past and it was difficult getting to grips with it, but this time I found myself eight weeks in, with nothing to show but extreme anxiety and a lack of anything positive in my life. So I went cold turkey. I quit taking everything all in one go, which is not recommended, but I strongly felt I needed the freedom from it.

It's been a tough few weeks, though I do feel a lot more human. There have been one or two really bad days that I thought I wouldn't get through, but I did. Better that I battle my own demons than those of drugs that change everything for the worse. I know this isn't the way for everyone and I wouldn't urge anyone to follow my lead, but it's definitely the best way for me right now.

So, on Tuesday, after a hideous day Monday, I woke up feeling more positive than I can remember being in a long time. By 7am I was at my previously abandoned desk, painting and painting. I barely stopped to come up for air, which is how I always used to work. I actually felt normal, real and whole for the first time in months. I'm not naive enough to think that this is the end of the troubles, but I take great solace and pleasure from having achieved something.

I had a review at the doctor's on Wednesday. I was concerned that I'd get a telling off when I admitted to what I'd done with the medication. As it turns out, I got quite the opposite. Heidi, the lady who has been looking after me since the beginning of all this, told me that she had never previously seen me smiling as I was that day. I hadn't realised that I'd never once given her a smile or a laugh, which is a big part of my personality. She must have thought I was just a miserable bugger! She approved of the change in me and also commented that I've lost weight. The latter will of course reverse itself soon enough, as it was the pills taking away my appetite. On the other hand, I do have a minor desire to start cycling and there's a bike in our shed that could be make servicable again, so you never know.

I can't make a summary here, or offer any great insights. All I can do it potter on day after day going with whatever my daft brain happens to throw at me. I can however show my paintings, which have already been aired on Facebook, Folksy and goodness knows where else. Plenty of you will have seen them already, but just for the record:

Large painting, one of my faves so far

And some ACEOs, all framed up nice

Friday, 25 May 2012

Dull But Oh So Thrilling

After a huge drama here yesterday caused by teenage daughter, I was in a right old pickle. I honestly didn't think I could be any more anxious than at the crisis point of this 'ere illness, but she proved me wrong. What a pallava. I swear I almost blew my own socks off with stress, but it's all over now thank goodness.

This may have been a turning point for me; you know, one of those little steps that isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but gives you a perspective.

I got up today feeling alright. I'm noticing that early mornings, despite the tiredness, are just about the best place my head is in all day. I've worked other things out too, like I need to eat first thing, which has never been a habit of mine. A small bowl of cereal forced down (I hate the stuff) is light and stops the physical shakes setting in quite as badly.

My decision today was to do as much as I could. I've been nursing myself and taking things easy for weeks now, despising my inability to cope with even the most minor of tasks. At the risk of being told off when hub gets home, I can announce with pride that I have:

1. Done four loads of washing and hung them outside to dry in the blazing sunshine.
2. Washed the dishes.
3. Filled a bin bag with clothes I don't need and thrown them out.
4. Tidied up.
5. Hoovered and dusted.
6. Mopped the floors.
7. Eaten a sandwich for lunch.

I do feel a bit knackered now, but the sense of accomplishment is worth it.

Tonight is a hen party for a friend of mine. I wasn't going to go, but I now think I can manage it, even if just for an hour. If it freaks me out then I have the whole weekend with my beloved to recover. Worth the risk I say.

Next on the list it to dye my (hideous looking) hair, have a bath and get ready. I'm doing this mega early so I can spend a bit of time chilling out.

I am determined to have a normal day, just to see what it's like. At this rate I'll be painting and doing all the stuff I've been planning, and a lot sooner than I'd expected.

My appointment for assessment came through yesterday, so I'll be off in a few weeks to see what treatment I'll be getting. The medication is definitely helping my anxiety now, apart from when ghastly things happen. I say this rather tentatively, but I almost feel like I'm getting back to my old self. It could all change in the blink of an eye of course, but right here, right now it's not so bad.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

On We Go

Firstly, I want to say thank you for all the messages of support during my loopy times just now. I was considering deleting that last post, but I decided not to (for now at least), because just maybe someone else is travelling the same road and it can be good to know you're not alone.

I've reached the sleepy stage now. This means the medication is starting to grab me. They do say it takes at least a fortnight to start making a difference, and that's exactly where I'm at with it. Sleeping in the daytime vexes me because I simply don't do that, but I'm trying to get over myself (ha!) and allow it to happen.

Yesterday I put in a full six hours of kip in the daytime, after a whole night's sleep, then had no trouble whatsoever snoozing all night. For someone who frequently suffers with insomnia this is a tremendous shock. I can't say it's unpleasant though, being able to relax so much that I nod off. Quite a welcome change in a lot of ways really.

Before all this happened I was out taking photographs. It's not always practical to draw from the source (my preferred way), so I wanted to gather some images to inspire work over the next few months. As it happens, I'm really glad I did this.

I have peacocks.

And dandelions.

This is a tiny selection of course. I have gazillions, all just waiting for me to work some magic, hopefully quite soon.

Hub has also asked me to do a few projects for him and his gaming (long explanation avoided here, you should thank me for that). We agree that I need a list of small jobs to work my way through, no pressure on timing, but a way of focussing my mind when needed.

I'm pretty good at keeping up my own work, to the point of obsession most of the time. I really ought to do stuff for my beloved as well though, while he's spending so much time and effort doing all the things around here.

Yesterday, as well as doing my doormouse impersonation, I did manage something else. After dinner we decided to go for a little drive.

I'm not seeing the outdoors too much at the moment, not that I care, but an exercise in blowing the cobwebs away seemed like a good idea.

We went to the river and sat outside a pub for half an hour. Imagine our amazement when a troupe of the most peculiar looking morris dancers appeared and started doing their thing! I couldn't help but chuckle, and despite myself I actually rather enjoyed it. They were a bit rubbish and kept tripping over each other, which only added to the hilarity. As far as impomptu loveliness goes, we had a splendid evening. It felt normal and sweet and almost romantic to be sharing those giggles, giving us a surprise break from the seriousness that's enveloped us of late. I could see the relief and relaxation on my hub's face, a wonderful feeling after all he's going through.

Twice now this week I've watched my beloved with the old look in his eyes and heard him say he's seen a glimpse of his wifey again. This spurs me on to keep fighting. Last time I was ill like this I didn't have anybody and it was so much darker for me. He doesn't read this blog, but one day he might have a nosey and I will want him to know just how great a part he's playing here. I do try to tell him, but he just says it's what he does and what he'll always do for me. Have I mentioned what a hero he is? I think so, but it's so very true.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Painful Honesty

I've argued with myself for over a week about writing this. It's always been a very lighthearted and "arty" type blog with a touch of real life in it, but how far do you go with the latter?

I've been involved in forum discussions with other artists and designers enough to know that my problem touches many people, so I feel it's appropriate to talk about it here.

As regular readers know, I had to stop my full time artwork lifestyle last year and go back to work. I managed to keep up my painting on my days off and enjoyed the delving back into it once or twice a week. I'd been somewhat reclusive as a painter, which was a lifestyle I loved very much. I also enjoyed some aspects of being out at work, meeting and befriending a lot of really wonderful people and forming many great relationships on the outside, so to speak.

Almost a year on, I found myself another job, this time in a more creative role. I'm not sure if this was a catalyst, but the move coincided with a pretty horrendous lapse into symptoms I last suffered over ten years ago (though I have had the occasional minor blip here and there).

I've described it to my doctor as a sense of feeling so tightly wound for the past year and suddenly snapping under the strain. A lot of you probably know the scenario - you have a family, financial and work committments, a need to soldier on and make life right in as many ways as you physically can. Your needs come way down in the list of priorities, so you get on with it. This is me in a nutshell.

My husband is a truly remarkable man. Of course, he's known all along that I've been gritting my teeth and bearing up, etc. It's been partly for him that I've tried to carry on as normal, because he really doesn't deserve the upset that comes with me throwing a total wobbly.

Forcing oneself to be a certain way takes its toll. When you're being stoic and focussing on what is required of you, well it wears off the edges of your personality in a way. My husband has told me so many times that he wants his "wifey" back and I've called him a silly head, assuring him that I'm fine and he's imagining things. He wasn't though, he was facing up to what's been happening and I wasn't/couldn't.

So I guess it's obvious where I'm going with this.

Something silly happened; as simple as me laughing with abandon one evening the other week (for the first time in ages) and the next thing I knew I was having a full on crash into a thing I can't even describe. I imagine that allowing myself that emotional high of laughter facilitated the opposite immediately afterwards. That was me done.

There's so much I could write here to illustrate what happened next, but I won't. You've probably heard it all before. Most importantly, I have sought medical help, which I should have done a goodly time ago. I've known I needed this, but I have an immense fear of medication. Not for the reasons most fear it, but rather because I suffer quite serious side effects for the first month or so, and they scare the bejesus out of me. 

Imagine being aware that in order to help yourself, you're going to have to endure the most dreadful attacks of anxiety, physical shakes and tremors, memory loss, dizziness and general stupid, mind-numbing oafishness. Your life will be on hold for that time. How will you go to work, cook a meal, answer the door or go to the shops? Life doesn't fit round this crap at all.

I'm writing this early in the morning before the major effects of today's pills are with me. I'll feel I've achieved something if I can just get my thoughts out there. Each day I've tried to do something worthwhile. Sometimes it's been making a cup of tea, other days I've managed to write an email. Over the space of a few days last week I worked very slowly on a painting that I'd started ages ago and already done the fiddly bits of. Yesterday I went with my husband and did the food shop, which was my biggest achievement so far. It pretty much knocked me out for the rest of the day, but I did it.

This isn't meant to sound melodramatic, though I fear it may. I'm not yet in a place to look back on it and assess my behaviour; I'm very much fighting the battle and doing what I can each day. I don't look ill, just a bit dishevelled and not quite myself, and I find it impossible to tell people what's going on. Writing it down is a lot easier, even than having to explain to my doctor what's going on in my stupid head.

Here's the bit where I tell you the good and the amazing.

My husband. He is a star. Even in my confuddled state I am aware of the things he's doing on the quiet; probably not everything he's up to, but some of it.

He has worked on a spreadsheet (that's his thing) and done a twelve month budget. 

He's taken full control of all the finances, including the food and other bills, which have always been my responsibility. 

I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that there’s no pressure for me to go back to work until at least March 2013, unless I should feel I want to.  

Any money I bring in from my painting is a bonus, so he wants me to continue with that as much as possible, for therapy if nothing else. 

He’s doing all the house stuff, refusing to let me cook a meal or wash up. 

He’s spent countless hours writing letters, including the whole headache of form filling in order to claim back PPI monies for the past ten years. 

I know there’s more, but he’s doing it all out of my sight and without comment.

In short, this wonderful man is working his socks off in order to give me the time, space and emotional peace to get myself better. I didn’t ask him to do this, nor did I for one moment expect it. Bear in mind that he works a forty hour week on top of all this and you’ll have some idea of what kind of gift he is giving me here. He jokes that he’s always wanted to be a superhero, but he already is, isn’t he?

Maybe in writing this I will strike a chord with others who are suffering similar. I don't know. Maybe I'm letting too much out, making me look a total idiot. Either way, it's been my project for today and I'll finish with a photo of the painting that I've completed in the midst of my crazy.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Silversmith Course

I recently had the absolute joy of attending a one day silversmith course run by Angela Ruth Kennedy at The Potters' Barn in Sandbach. My beloved bought me the day as a present, possibly the best gift I've ever had. I've wanted to learn some silver making skills for as long as I can remember, but never had the opportunity before.

The course was held in a workshop based in a pretty little summer house by the side of the main building. There were five of us in attendance, making it very relaxed and allowing all of us to have as much time as we needed with Angela. This was excellent for me, as I was a little nervous. Some of the others had been on courses before and had experience, so I had a lot of catching up to do. I was way out of my comfort zone and had no idea if I'd be any good at it at all. Scary stuff!

We made two silver rings each. The first one was done after a brilliant step by step demonstration by Angela, in which I have to say she made it look terribly easy. I found it tricky learning to work with metal and panicked a few times when it looked like it was going horribly wrong, but she was very reassuring and taught me that pretty much anything can be fixed.

We learned to bend, solder, shape, and size our rings correctly, then turned them into something that looked like a real piece of jewellery. Astonishing! I'm used to delicate painstaking work, so I enjoyed it thoroughly. The use of hammers and saws was completely new to me though, so I had to get over my delicacy and not be afraid of treating the silver like the metal it is, rather than tickling it like it was paper and paints.

We had a complimentary buffet lunch which was quite a lovely little touch. There was also a constant stream of hot drinks brought in to us, along with biscuits and chocolate. What more could one ask for?

In the afternoon, once we'd grasped the basics, we were let loose to make another ring of our own design. I hadn't gone along with any pre-made plans, as I had absolutely no idea what I'd be capable of or what would be involved. On the hop, I decided to just go with the first thing in my head, which was inspired by my paintings. Seemed the sensible thing to do. I drew a very quick little sketch, using the idea of a hole drilled in the centre, lines cut out from it and little blobs all around. In my head this was a dandelion shaped thing, but some people have called it a starburst pattern, which is also probably a good description.

The making of the little silver balls was possibly my favourite part. I never grew tired of watching them form under the torch and could have made them all day. As it was, I made exactly the right amount of them for the ring and didn't leave behind a gazillion spares, which could have been slightly embarrassing.

So, without further ado, here are some photos of me in action.

Check out the custom made work stations and all the tools supplied for me to use. I didn't expect anything quite so thoughtful or organised as this. It's not often that things exceed my expectations, but this most definitely did.

And here are those exciting little silver blobs. I was terrified that they would all fall off once I'd tried to solder them into place, but they stuck well. I actually couldn't watch as Angela tested each one - it was like watching a dentist wobbling teeth!

This is me learning to hammer a ring into the correct shape and size. It took a while to get round to giving it enough welly. I think you can see how tentative I was being at this point.

Here I am starting off a hole ready for drilling.

Soldering the two ends of my ring together. I should also add that it's stayed in one piece ever since, despite my reluctance to believe it would!

And here are the finished pieces. I am totally thrilled with them and have worn them every day since. Several people have asked me to make them one and I have to explain that I am actually pretty clueless so therefore unable to! If I win the lottery I will be hot footing it off to buy myself a workshop and every tool needed, but until then, I'll just admire these and smile every time.

I can't recommend this course highly enough to anyone who wants to learn how to work with silver. It was a truly remarkable day and one that I would repeat in a heartbeat. I have seen Angela since and discussed doing a one to one workshop at her house, where she has a fully equipped studio for teaching. This will be my next project, as I want to learn how to do cabachon setting. It means so much more to actually make a piece of jewellery than to go and buy it off the shelf. Admittedly, I am a huge lover of silver and an avid collector of unique rings, so I'm probably quite biased in my opinion. I have spent more on a piece from a shop than it cost me to do this course, and I didn't have the huge sense of satisfaction that I felt from actually creating it myself. I am a total convert to this skill and I hope to do lots more in the future.

Thank you Angela!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Up Early With the Birds

OK, first of all I need to let all involved know that your prints are on the way, apart from Lemur Lady's, because she's off gallivanting for a few weeks. Sorry for the delay, but I've been stuck in work and marooned miles away from a post office. All is well now though.

I'm enjoying a little holiday from work now for a week. There are all kinds of plans afoot for painting and some more lino cuts. Also much relaxing and spending time with my sweetie.

Yesterday we went shopping and bought a new couch and chair. I then developed blsiters on my eyes searching online for rungs and whatnot. In my travels I came across some wallpaper that made my soul sing, two lots of it actually. One is peacock feathers, which I adore, but the other is also gorgeous and (kind of) matches the patterned bits of the couch. I have pictures here, but not of the chair. if you can imagine a little seat made entirely of the patterned fabric from the couch cushions, then that's it. I have the squee.


The two wonderful wallpapers

I've sent off for samples of these. I desperately want the peacock pattern, but the leaves will go better with the furniture. I'll decide 100% when I see them in the flesh, but the leaves are definitely the sensible option. Me. Sensible. Imagine it.

Oddly enough I do like to live in a monochromatic environment. I find this peculiar since I work with colour all the time and find nature with all its variety so inspiring. Maybe I need restful dullness in order to relax? I did spend some time looking at bright purples and teals, but when it came to actually doing the deed I hopped straight back to black and grey (exactly the "colours" I have now). I think my hub was pleased; I could see him looking a bit panicky when I talked about decorating in wild peacock colours. He'd live with whatever I picked, bless him, but I'd rather not see him wince every time he steps into the living room.

Speaking of my better half, I'm going to wake him up now. I've been up by myself since silly o'clock and it's about time someone entertained me. He wins the honour. Not sure he'll see it that way, mind you.

Monday, 9 April 2012

And the Winners Are....

A massive thank you to all who joined in the giveaway. I really mean it when I say I'd like to give you all something, but alas I just can't afford to*** (see below for an addition to this)

I hope you will all be as happy as I am to congratulate:

Octopus Winner - Lemur Lady

Peacock Winner - Nanfan Jewellery

Turquoise Garden Winner - Janice Ashworth

And just to show you all that it was all done with scientific accuracy, here are the screen grabs

If the winners will be so kind as to message me on Folksy, Facebook or at joolsy (at) gmail (dot) com I'll have your art in the post later in the week.

*** And if anyone who entered and didn't win is really desperate to have one of the prints, please also message me and you can have one for £5 plus postage (just to cover my costs). This is limited to those whose names are on the spreadsheet here, as a thank you for your support and all the lovely kind words, which I really wasn't expecting.

Sunday, 1 April 2012


Well I've finally reached the magic 300 likers on Facebook. This marks a huge milestone and since there are no bells and whistles over there I'm making some right here.

To celebrate, I am giving away three, yes THREE lino prints. All you need to do is comment here and let me know which one you'd choose for yourself.

At the end of this week I'll put all of your names into a random number generator and the winning three folks will receive their choice of print in the post.


Here are the choices:

Octopus (in this colour)

Peacock (in black, lilac, turquoise or green)

Turquoise Garden

Also, if you bring your friends to my Facebook page and I manage another 50 likes this week I'll add another print to the offer.