At the centre of your being you have the answer, you know who you are and you know what you want ~ Lao Tzu

Tuesday, March 29

Virtual Coffee Tuesday

Welcome again!
I'm afraid I can only stay for a quick one... I have a busy day ahead, and I know I'll be too shattered to post anything this evening, but I figure a quick post is better than none...

I'm meeting my friend
Tina for lunch (we'll probably go here), then heading for here for this exhibition, followed by a talk on the psychology of women and shoes... Tina's always loved shoes (we met in the Brownies 40 years ago!), and has quite a collection herself, and I love Vivienne Westwood, so it's perfect :)
A day out is always quite a production - not only do I have to remember the basic stuff - money, keys, mobile - I also have to make sure I have all my medication and snacks (I'm diabetic), get fitted up with my
FES to help my walking, get the wheelchair ready to load into the back of the car, remember the disabled packing badge... what a palaver!!
But the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and I have a fun day to look forward to...
I hope you all enjoy your chats over coffee and I'll be here same time, same place next week, with hopefully a bit more time to natter...

Monday, March 28

Monday Music - and a Resounding Victory!

Today's music is from
Lykke Li. I love her blend of technopop and quite tribal/primal music. There must be something in the Scandinavian air to inspire this curious, interesting mix...
You may know Lykke from this Twilight: New Moon
And the resounding victory...???

Oxford won the Boat Race by an awesome 4 lengths on Saturday - even though Cambridge were the favourites with a much more experienced crew - AND the B team, Isis, won their race against the Cambridge Goldie crew.
Hooray for the Dark Blues!!

PS I discovered this great site yesterday. I've put up a button underneath the clock - click it and see which books I'm reading :)

Friday, March 25

Friday Not-So-Fun: EDM challenge no. 15

Draw a tree or trees, leaves or branches

Well, my first attempt at what I now realize is a serious challenge... I thought humans were difficult - trees are not any easier!!
I soooo wanted to capture the essence of this magnolia. They are one of my favourite trees and I was so excited to see we have one in the garden (we moved into this house last August and I can only recognize a magnolia in its pre-leaf stage, as here).

[NOTE: the truncated branches are thanks to Nick's winter 'pruning', i.e. brutal hacking off limbs!! Thankyou, Pooja for noticing that :) ]
If the challenge of the tree wasn't enough, drawing outside is hard. Obviously, with my mobility issues, it was a challenge to get safely outside with my sketchbook and pencils, but once sat on a patio chair I was fine, and away I went... But then, by the time I'd finished the first light sketch, the sun had already moved! And trying to keep track of which line is tree and which is shadow... oh boy!

Still, as I said after my first attempt at drawing human figures, I need to keep trying and trusting I'll improve - eventually...

I'd really appreciate any feedback, especially re. the shadows on the tree itself and the fence. I can see it's not right, but can't verbalize how and where, can you??

Tuesday, March 22

Virtual Coffee Tuesday

Hello! How are you this beautiful Spring morning?
I got myself organized today and set up a photo from home... Yes, I do like my Emma Bridgewater crockery, though I buy the seconds - a lot cheaper and I like the fact they're often a bit wonky :)
(I have to confess, though, I'm coveting her new Splatter range, exclusive to Liberty's, but £20.00 for a mug!! They've got to be joking!!)?
So, what have you been doing this past week? Anything exciting?
On Saturday I went here with a dear friend for the day (we've known each other for over 40 years!) It was a glorious, sunny day and we had a lovely lunch here - salmon and courgette frittate and salad, followed by naughty, delicious, gluten-free cake - yum!! And lots of fun clothes shopping - my friend's flying to Las Vegas today for a trade show and needed some smart casuals...
I've just finished reading this - more of a novella than a novel - having so loved Tom Ford's film last year.
Actually, it's been quite an Isherwood week - his home is featured in this month's World of Interiors, with an interview with Don Bachardy. And I watched an excellent BBC film Christopher and His Kind at the weekend, with a very impressive Matt Smith playing Isherwood (I didn't think of Dr Who once - no mean feat!)
My plan for the week ahead, if the weather holds, is to get out in the garden to draw - I noticed yesterday we have a magnolia tree coming into bud - and I must draw it before the leaves come through and obscure the blooms... I love magnolias - I'm always amazed such an exotic plant can survive our English weather!

So until next week, I hope you keep well and happy and come back with stories to share next Tuesday - I'll have the kettle on :)

PS Amy's now put her Virtual Coffee link up, so pop over the Lucky Number 13 and see who else is enjoying coffee in Blogland...
PPS Of course you don't have to have coffee... I do have an EB teapot... xx

Monday, March 21

Monday Music - and a confession...

... I have a secret crush on Guy Garvey (lead singer of Elbow)...

I love his voice, his flat vowels, his passion for music, for words, for the perfect image *sigh*

Here's the opening lines of 'Lippy Kids', the second track on their new album Build a Rocket Boys!

Lippy kids on the corner again
Lippy kids on the corner begin settling like crows
Though I never perfected the simian stroll
The cigarette scent, it was everything then

Do they know those days are golden?
Build a rocket boys!
Build a rocket boys!

One long June I came down from the trees
And kerbstone cool
You were a freshly painted angel walking on walls
Stealing booze and hour-long hungry kisses...

See, sheer poetry :)

Friday, March 18

Friday Fun: EDM challenge no. 97

Draw a present you have received. Why is it special?
A quick 5-minute sketch of a
poetry book my dear friend from Santa Barbara sent a couple of weeks ago, and a fun doodle of the gift wrap it came in (done a few days ago while listening to the footie... of course...).
There are a number of reasons why it's special:
1. It's from a special person far away...
2. I'd never heard of Tony Hoagland before she sent me a poem in an email a few weeks ago.
3. I love being introduced to writers unknown to me - one of the perks of friendship :)
4. It was bought from a favourite independent bookshop, where they giftwrap beautifully - they even put a sticker over the price.
5. Their logo is a cute black cat who adorns the aforementioned sticker :)
Here's a sample poem:
Field Guide
Once, in the cool blue middle of a lake,
up to my neck in that most precious element of all,
I found a pale-gray, curled-upwards pigeon feather
floating on the tension of the water
at the very instant when a dragonfly,
like a blue-green iridescent bobby pin,
hovered over it, then lit, and rested.
That’s all.
I mention this in the same way
that I fold the corner of a page
in certain library books,
so that the next reader will know
where to look for the good parts.

Wednesday, March 16

Mid-Week Musings... and sketches...

well, i've got my beloved laptop back from the shop, and am hoping the repairs will keep it going for the time being...
two more sketches done while listening to the football commentary :)
drawn from this lovely book - ahh! the bygone days of magazine illustration... and ooooh! the clothes, the hats, the faces of the beautiful people!!
i think this loose sketchy style suits my lack of precise control, and i do like the effects!
but boy! the human figure is hard to draw! so many things are wrong with the lower sketch - almost all the proportionates are off - but i'm confident the more i try to draw difficult things, the better i'll get...
please tell me i'm not deluding myself...

Tuesday, March 15

Virtual Coffee Tuesday

Hello again!! I can't believe it's Tuesday already!
How are you? How has the past week been for you?

A lot can happen in seven days...

Shall we pause a for a moment to send a thought-prayer to the people of Japan... words fail, don't they...?? We are such frail beings, little more substantial than moths....

* * * * *
We've just had our quarterly inspection from the letting agents... a necessary, yet intrusive, part of living in a rental property... still, it means we can insist the kids clean out their rooms every 3 months! :)
It's also meant I've finally cleared my desk/art space, so I now have no excuse not try my hand at watercolour/ a self-portrait/ a journal page/ and a 1000 other things I want to try :)
I'm reading this book, at the moment, having thoroughly enjoyed the recent BBC adaptation. There's a great introduction by Andrew Davies, whose done some truly brilliant screenplays over the years...
On Saturday, we had a lovely family lunch at my daughter's favourite restaurant - my baby brother turned 40, can you believe?? I know I can't, especially since in my head I'm 26 and he's still a teenager... Of course, nobody remembered a camera, so no pics :( but we did have a great meal, and a great time :)
Well, as always it's been lovely to spend time with you, and to get warmed up on such a cold, damp, misty day - ah!! the English Spring....
Do drop by again next Tuesday - there's always room to pull up another chair :)
Have a safe, enjoyable week...
and do drop by amy's blog and meet the other VC bods - there's a new button on my right side-bar :)

Monday, March 14

Monday Music

Something a bit more mainstream today...
This isn't my favourite Bruno Mars track, but it is my favourite video :) Just love the animation of the cassette tape!

Wednesday, March 9


my laptop has died again, and is going back for repair :(
so no posts for the foreseeable future - sooooo frustrating!!

BUT i do have my new artists brush pens to play with and this fun
book to explore, so i won't be idle :)
hope to be back soon...

Tuesday, March 8

Virtual Coffee Tuesday

Welcome to my first Virual Coffee Tuesday :)
A couple of weeks ago i discovered Amy over at
Lucky Number 13 and grabbed a button (it's over on my right sidebar, but this the first time i've remembered it - on a Tuesday!! i think it's a great idea to meet with blog friends over a virtual coffee, and Tuesday's as good a day as any...

sooooo, what have you been up to this week?

How's the family/ your work/ your health/ the cat/ the dog/ the budgie....??

Seen any good movies lately?

We all enjoyed this on DVD over the weekend - really funny and only a 12 rating, so we could all enjoy it :)
my kids are 15 and 13, which makes choosing family films quite difficult...

What else....

ooooh! i picked up a real bargain this week on ebay...

i've been coveting these for months and months, but at anywhere from £70--£115, i wasn't going to get them anytime soon :(

but lo and behold, someone was selling their set on ebay, barely used, and i won them for half the price of amazon's!! they arrived safely yesterday, and when i've played with them some more, i'll post some pictures... they have beautiful brush tips, which just glide over the paper *sigh*

also, in yesterday's mail was the lastest issue of this beauty! i know i've waxed lyrical about it before, but it truly is a joyful treasure and i can't praise it enough :)

Well, that's maybe a long enough post... and i've finished my coffee... it was really lovely to meet you, and i'll hope to see you same time, same place next Tuesday...
i'll save you a seat :)

Monday, March 7

Monday Music

this is the first time i've embedded a video, so we'll see how it goes...
i'm loving the Big C - thursdays on More4 - Laura Linney is one of my favourite actors.

last week i managed to catch who's doing the theme tune, and the
Leftover Cuties are fun - my kind of music! sadly they don't have a physical CD to buy yet, but i hope they will have soon...
enjoy :)

Sunday, March 6

Sunday sketch

reading shirley's post at paper and threads, i remembered i did this figure exercise - completing the other side of a face - back in the summer. it's a great way to learn the placings/proportions of a face's features. it's drawn with ordinary coloured pencils - i'd thought they were watercolour pencils, and tried to blend them over the cheek - oops!
the image is from an old toast catalogue. i adore their clothes (and housewares) and keep all their catalogues - beautiful images, wonderfully produced - and the models are beautiful!

Friday, March 4

Friday Fun: Spot the original :)

Finally, i've got my laptop back!! the nasty noise was a rattly CPU fan - it's been oiled, but may need replacing if it rattles again... still, much cheaper than a new laptop *phew*
i said i'd been drawing :)
playing with copying some favourite artists...
here's van gogh's landscape with cottages - it's on the cover of a great book Van Gogh: The Master Draughtsman
and my take - drawn while half-listening to the footbal commentary...
it's very freeing to just follow the flow of another's vision, but you do have to concentrate to imitate their pen/brush strokes.

Tuesday, March 1

Quick hello

i'm borrowing my daughter's laptop as mine is in the repair shop :(
still waiting to hear if it's terminal - it certainly didn't sound good when the hard drive crashed!!
hence no posts or pictures since last week - for some reason i can't post from my husband's computer *weird*
but just to let you know, i'm still here and still drawing...