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

Tuesday, December 31

So long, farewell...

Well, the time has come to say Goodbye to this blog home...

I've been living here since 30 July 2010, and it's been a lovely place to dwell :-)

But now, all my 'stuff' is gathered over here at

... so I do hope you'll come by and visit! 

You're always most welcome :-)

Here's to 2014 and all it may hold - new homes, new friends, new adventures...



Friday, December 27

Focus on Life - Week 52

The last post for 2013 - gulp!

Sally's prompt is Saying Goodbye...

But, I'm not good at goodbyes, so I signed up for next year as soon as I got Sally's email *grin*

So, I hope to see some of us together again in the super-duper new Focus on Life 2014! 
And those who are leaving, I shall miss you, and I hope I'll bump into you in Blogland from time to time :-)

Blessing upon blessing xx

Wednesday, December 25

Focus on Life - Week 51

It's the penultimate week! It's too, too sad :-(

This week's prompt is Togetherness, and I've decided to cheat *gasp* and share a photo from a couple of years ago on my Dad's 70th birthday.

It's my absolute favourite of him and the kids...

... no editing, no playing about, just a gorgeous photo of three beautifully precious people sharing a special moment in time together :-)

Monday, December 16

Focus on Life - Week 50

Only 2 more weeks to go... *sob* What fun we've had! 

I know, for a fact, my photo skills have come on leaps and bounds doing this every week! 
Thank you so much, Sally, you are truly the Hostest with the Mostest :)

This week's prompt is A Pop of Red, as Sally encourages us to 'focus on your surroundings and keep an eye out for pops of red'!

So I give you two shots - one outdoors, and one indoors...

A neighbour's berry-laden hedge - it won't be in a few weeks, the birds adore it!
I haven't edited the photo at all, just 'framed' it...

And our beloved, all-black (except for a few white chest hairs!) Molly-cat wearing her red ID tag

I still have no idea exactly how I created this b+w with a pop of red - I was just playing around in Picasa - but it's exactly the effect I wanted to achieve :-)

Can't wait to see what red pops you've captured this week!

Tuesday, December 10

Focus on Life - Week 49

Oh my, not many weeks left now... too, too sad :(

So I'm glad Sally's given us such a fun prompt this week Add a Little Sparkle!

Now, I'm not a sparkly girl - not really into glitter and sequins - much prefer au naturale...

But this is the  festive season, so tinsel and sparkle abound...

I'm sure we'll see lots of Christmas tree photos this week - lights, tinsel, and a Hama bead snowman E made over 10 years feature in mine :)


Saturday, November 30

Focus on Life - Week 48

No surprises with the week's prompt Giving Thanks...

Although I'm a Brit living in the UK, I am married to an American, and the 4th Thursday in November is marked on our calendar as clearly as any American family's :-)

I know Sally suggested a collage, but I'm afraid I'm too exhausted from a week of hospital appointments, so I just took this...

I've always kept a gratitude journal (except for when I couldn't read/write after the stroke), and when I started using an A4 Filofax a few months ago to collate all my scribblings in one place, I had to make a section for Gratitude!

Every day I write 5 things for which I'm grateful - some days I struggle to write two, and others I could write 12 - such is life!

But here's my bumper list for Thanksgiving Day itself:
  1. A good night's sleep
  2. N's amazing meal
  3. E's homemade brownies - YUM!
  4. A warm, cosy home to share with others
  5. Dinnertime conversation
  6. Being mama to 2 amazing young people
  7. Meeting new people (N invited a friend & his partner to dinner - I hadn't met them before)
  8. Catching up on the blog course
  9. Having internet connection for most of the day (it's been very erratic this week)
  10. This special day :-)

Friday, November 22

Focus on Life - Week 47

I've been back and forth about what to post for this week's prompt Centrepiece - 'the central, most important feature of your day, week, life!', as Sally put it.

Trouble is, the answer is different to each part of the prompt...

The 'centrepiece' of my day, the foundation, is quiet time, prayer and Morning Pages - my day unravels if it doesn't start with them.

The 'centrepiece' of my life is my family - who, what would I be without them?

But the 'centrepiece' of this past week has been my new blog Another Deep Day

For the past 3 weeks I've been doing this course with Susannah Conway

and have been so inspired and motivated (getting up at 3.30am some mornings this week!), I've decided to pool all my favourite writing, photos, etc. in one place and wind down this, and my other, blogs.

I will keep posting the FoL posts here - just to keep them altogether. But if you do have a chance to visit the new blog, I would love to see you there - the kettle's always on :)

PS Last week's prompt asked us to Reflect, and one thing I didn't say - I have so enjoyed sharing this year with you, and I hope we won't all lose touch...
One way would be to follow each other's blogs. I know I'm not great at it (I tend to get overwhelmed by emails, and I really don't want to join google+), but I think I will join/follow many of you before the end of the year :)
Anyway, 'tis just a thought...

Wednesday, November 20

WOYWW 233 - Winding down...

Hello again!

I'm afraid I've been rather absent from the desk party lately...

You may know I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the sheer size of the party, and you gave me some very thoughtful and helpful comments, so thank you for that!!

I've also been busy on this course with Susannah Conway

I've been doing a lot of thinking about why I blog, and what kind of blog I want to create...

This is why yesterday I created a brand new blog, where I plan to pull together my favourite bits of writing and photography from my past few years in Blogland. I created my first blog in September 2006!

I've only just started 'another deep day', and there's A LOT to be done, but it is up and ready to receive visitors :)

All this means I'm thinking of winding down this blog...

I will keep posting each week up to the end of the year, but my main focus will be the new blog...
I don't know where it will go, and in what form, but I do know a new start is called for.

I hope you will drop by my new blog home from time to time. It's been such fun meeting you all over at Ms Julia's, and I know I'll stop by occasionally, to say hello and catch up a bit :)

In the meantime, I wish you all a really wonderful WOYWW, and a fun-filled crafty week xxx

Friday, November 15

Focus of Life - Week 46

This week's prompt was so much easier than last week!

This time of year, as the days get shorter and colder, is the perfect time to Reflect...

This Sunday is both the Full Moon and the local Celtic Service. It's always my favourite - the ancient church full of candles, songs and readings preparing for Advent.

It's always a time for reflecting on the past year, and the family festivities to come...

I've added the words of my daily mantra to this photo - I burn a lot of candles at this time of year :) I can't remember where I first read/heard them, but they centre me each day, and they reflect my daily endeavours to still my racing mind and just BE.

Friday, November 8

Focus on Life - Week 45

Wow, week 45! Oh my...

This week's prompt caused some consternation: Industrial Photography - gulp!

Grantham is a small market town, with almost no industry - especially where we live, so what to do??

Thankfully, on my way into town, I pass a small food factory, hidden behind trees and shrubs...


... and using all the zoom my wee camera can manage, I took this close up of the top of the factory.

I love the contrast between the smooth curves of the pipes and the straight lines of the railings and the corrugated factory sides.

Plus, the sun was shining, even though it was bitterly cold!

How I suffer for my art ;)

PS Thank you for visiting last week! I'm so sorry I didn't return the compliment :( I've started a course of hydrotherapy, and it just wipes me out for days on end! Then, a poorly boy, a husband away, Dad visiting to help out... took away any spare energy and computer time. I will try and visit this week, but I can't promise - sorry!

Friday, November 1

Focus on Life - Week 44

Ummm... The prompt this week was Saints, Souls, Sugar Skulls or Scares.

Now, Halloween isn't a big deal in our house - not since the kids have grown, anyway.

But we do always have one on these on the doorstep, so the Trick and Treaters know they'll be welcome :)

But to me, this picture captures the spirit of November...

Last weekend we changed the clocks in the UK, so it gets dark earlier and earlier. The temperature is dropping, and certainly, I for one, get into hibernation mode...

Warmth and shelter are paramount, and knowing all are safely gathered in around the fire brings me peace...

Tuesday, October 29

WOYWW 230 - All the pretty things...

I missed last week - full of cold and missing our girl - she spent half-term in Italy on a school art trip! And on my desk, you can see my beautiful gifts...

There is a beautiful watercolour from a street artist in Florence...

... and he drew a quick sketch on the wrapper, so I'm keeping it too!

Then a beautiful Venetian brooch...

... and a stunning leather journal embossed with the Bridge of Sighs.

She had a really wonderful, if exhausting, time, and I shall treasure all these pretty things :)

Hoping to visit lots of desks over at Ms Julia's Stamping Ground this week to catch up!

With love xxx

PS We were very lucky to miss the worst of the storms battering the UK on Monday - our thoughts and prayers go to those who suffered damage, injury and sadly, some fatalities...

Friday, October 25

Focus on Life - Week 43

This week's prompt was a real challenge - In the Shadows.

Mainly because all week in the UK, it has been dull, grey, rainy... No real light source from which to find even one lonely shadow!!

I feared I'd have to resort to an old photo somewhere...

Then, thankfully, Thursday began relatively bright and breezy - phew!!

In one sudden burst of sun, I captured this...

... a patch of sunlight on the wall showing the window pane and a bush in shadow.

Personally, I hate these windows - especially on a modern, tacky, Mock-Tudor house - but we rent the house, so I'm stuck with them. I see them only as obscuring what little light there is at this time of year, but I admit, they do make cool shadows :)

The sun didn't stay long and by the afternoon, we were back to dull and grey and rainy *sigh*

Looking forward to seeing all your shadowy photos...

PS Daughter has returned from Italy - early hours of Friday morning, again! - full of stories, photos and souvenirs! She had a really great, if exhausting, time :)

Saturday, October 19

Focus on Life - Week 42

Another great prompt for this week: All in a Day
So here's my Friday...

Started really early at 2am (hence the fuzzy pic) - had to set the alarm to get our daughter to her school for 3am to catch a bus to Heathrow. She's on a school art trip for 6 days - first to Florence, then Venice *sigh*

Then back to bed for a few hours... I still got up to see the dawn and have my breakfast at 7am - being diabetic, I need to eat at regular times as much as possible.

Molly had to get in an the act, enjoying some early morning sun, sitting on my desk, till I shooed her off as most of the day was taken up making my Full Moon journal spread...

I wore the necklace you saw on my altar last week, and the bottom first 3 photos show its construction from random images at 11am to the finished spread at 3pm (I took lots of breaks, as I can't sit upright that long!)

You can read a more about the spread here :)

The fruit features as regular snacks throughout my day, and the hot chocolate and wee muffin were my naughty treat before I went to bed - early!

One very full Friday :)

Looking forward to seeing all your busy 24-hour images...

Wednesday, October 16

WOYWW 228 - Joy mixed with sadness...

Here's my desk on Tuesday afternoon - the sun suddenly appeared just as I was getting the camera ready...

I'm making a card for Hayley, my hairdresser, who I see on Saturday for the last time :(

She's leaving to have a baby, which is such a wonderful reason to leave, but I shall miss her. She has been doing my hair for over 10 years, and while she isn't a friend, as such, you do build up a special relationship with the person who cuts and styles your hair every couple of months.

I'm just hoping she can recommend someone else in the salon...

And thank you for all your lovely comments last week. I'm so glad I shared my concerns. I now feel I can visit only as many desks as I can manage, without feeling guilty :)

You are all such lovely people gathered over at the Stamping Ground!!

Saturday, October 12

Focus on Life - Week 41

Ah, what a prompt this week - Connections...

I sense this whole year has been about connections, so where does one start!

As I've been doing the Journal Your Life course, which finished yesterday :( I've been connecting a lot with my journal (see post below), and thereby with my spirit, my soul, my identity...

Last weekend, I made an altar - on top of the DVD cupboard I sit opposite on the sofa!

The 'cloth' is a small wall-hanging a dear friend made last year as a birthday gift. It shows a haiku she wrote for me.

On the  front left is a coaster my daughter made in DT last year showing the deathly hallows (she's Harry Potter mad!)

Behind that is my Mary Magdalene statue, I found on ebay from France. I'm fascinated by MM having read this amazing book, and believe she has been misrepresented/misunderstood by 2000 years of male-dominated Christianity.

Next to Mary are two artworks bought from Birdie Fincham.

The monoprint (The Blessing of Water), I think perfectly shows one part of my soul; and hanging on the frame is a sweet altar ornament showing an angel surrounded by dried rosebuds. I've had it years - it was hanging on our bedpost :)

The painting (The Pilgrims) shows another part of my soul - I am a Taurean, and that white bull head scares me, but she is a part of me, as much as the calm, praying pilgrim next to it.

The canvas saying was given to me by a dear friend last birthday.

The wee green box housed earrings on my dressing table, but now it contains my prayer beads, made several years ago by Deborah Globus. They sit nicely in my gammy, right hand when I pray.

Then there's a heart stone with an earth symbol engraved on it (Taurus is an earth sign), and two necklaces - on the left is my Full Moon necklace...

... and on the right is my sanctuary pendant.

At the front and centre is a handmade Mary pocket stone - she's very tactile!

And finally, a coconut offering bowl bought from Lauren.
To me, it's the perfect representation of my word for 2013 Be a Vessel, and inside I've placed a wee murano glass heart, which I've had for years and truly cannot remember how I acquired it!

I'm sorry, this is so photo-laden, but I think you can tell why these items are on my altar...

I have a deep connection to every piece on it, and to the people who gave them to me, or who made them for me to purchase, and I treasure them all!

Now, enjoy visiting all the other great connections below:

Tuesday, October 8

WOYWW 227 - Who needs a desk...

... when you've found the perfect journal??

Meet my new best friend, and my new wonderful pen :)

As you know, I've been doing Susannah Conway's Journal Your Life course (which finishes this week :( ) And just last week, I found THE perfect writing journal and the perfect pen; and I've returned to my long-lost practice of Morning Pages (lost since the stroke, that is!)

For the first time since the stroke 6 years ago, I am really writing - joined-up, cursive, not laborious printing! I used to write as fast as I thought, so I'm not up to that speed yet, but with the combination of this pen, which just glides across this paper, I have returned to the magical place of being lost as I write each day!

As you can just see, I have different sections, so no more flitting around several notebooks! I have my Morning Pages, my To Do lists, my Gratitude pages (where I record at least 5 things I'm grateful for each day), my ever-growing list of favourite Quotes, a section for random Scribbles, and finally, an Inspiration section, where I gather images and pictures from magazines and catalogues.

I still play in my Creative Dream Journal, which sits on my desk, but this is the perfect place to gather all my daily scribbles and written thoughts!

So there is no desk to see today :)

I must mention here that through my journalling, I've realized I find the huge gathering of desks over at the Stamping Ground increasingly overwhelming...
So I've decided to visit as many desks each week as I feel able, and as always try and respond to all who kindly visit me, but please forgive me if I don't always manage it!
Admitting this sense of overwhelm has been difficult for me, but I know I need to. I so enjoy WOYWW, and don't want to leave the party, so I'm trying to find a strategy that is do-able...
With much love xxx

Friday, October 4

Focus on Life - Week 40

Week 40 feels like something of a landmark - hooray for us for having made it this far!

This week's prompt was fun (of course!): 'This week focus on the positive and Give Us a Smile!' says Sally, so I give you two photos...

One of this week's exercises in the Journal Your Life I'm dong was writing down what makes us happy - do feel free to enlarge and read. How many of these make you smile?

And for you to see my grin, here I am with my friend Tina taken last year by Andrea at a girlie lunch...
Me, Tina (been friends since Brownies!)
Good food shared with good friends definitely makes me smile!

Tuesday, October 1

WOYWW 226 - Creative chaos :)

Hello October!

My desk as of Tuesday afternoon...

I have repurposed a scrapbook into a new project - A Full Moon Journal!
I've added a new badge to my right sidebar. Susannah Conway interviewed Jamie Ridler last week as part of the Journal Your Life course, and Jamie's Full Moon Dreamboards really struck a chord. I've never made a dreamboard before (I'm not crazy about the whole manifestation philosophy...), but I always have been very aware of the moon and her phases...

So, I've made a start
It's a New Moon this Friday/Saturday, and this first page is about that... I intend for the Full Moon spreads to be double-page :)

So, that's what's on my desk, how about yours?
I'm heading to Julia's Stamping Ground to find out...