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

Saturday, April 27

Focus on Life - Week 17

This week's prompt was Color/Colour - I'm so glad Sally made we, non-Americans, feel included :)

And again, I decided to take the prompt literally, especially Sally's opening remark,

Did you ever notice the way color can effect our mood
and perception of the environment around us?

and brought out my watercolours to paint whatever, and wherever, my mood took me...

This is the result - totally non-edited and non-tweaked - our camera really isn't the best!

No idea where my mood was - Mars??

And here's the image cropped and colour-boosted in Picasa...

... definitely Mars :)

Looking forward to seeing all your colourful responses over at The Studio Sublime, and can I remind you there's still time to enter my Birthday Giveaway - either follow this link or click the button in the right sidebar.

Have a bright and colour-filled week!!


Wednesday, April 24

WOYWW 203 - Short and sweet...

... as I rambled too long last week (sorry!), but lots of you persevered - and took the time to comment - for which I am hugely grateful!

The sharp-eyed among you will notice a new profile pic...

Meet Quinlan* my new companion and helper.

He's already making himself very useful, sorting out my supplies...

He's an early birthday gift to myself (using hoped-for pennies from Dad!). He's handmade by Rowan over at BearBovis, and I already love him dearly!

Speaking of birthdays - can I direct you to my Birthday Giveaway? Either follow this link or click the new button on the right sidebar - I didn't want to clutter up this post with details, since I'm trying to keep it short!

Now, I'm heading straight over to Julia's Stamping Ground to see what you lovely WOYWWers have been up to this past week. I managed to visit over 100 desks last week (a record for me!), but several links didn't open, so I apologize for not visiting/commenting, but I did try :)

Till next week xxxx

*Quinlan is Gaelic for 'a gently shaped fellow', which means 'eminently huggable', in my book ;-D

Saturday, April 20

Focus on Life - Week 16

This week's prompt from Sally at The Studio Sublime was Take a Walk!

My first thought was to get on my disability scooter and show you the sights of Grantham - not that there are any... 

But then, I thought, 'No, I will take the prompt literally, and walk into the back garden!'

Now, this is no mean feat for me, as there's a BIG step out of the patio door, and it has been incredibly windy in our part of the UK this week, and wind can knock me off balance... But with my trusty stick (and my camera), I made the 15 metres or so, there and back without incident - phew!

Then I played in Picasa, trying a different effect for each photo...

I have no idea what each flower is, as they're all self-seeded, but they all show that Spring is finally arriving in our part of the world... hooray!!!!

And in the same mood of celebration, can I draw your eye to the Birthday Giveaway I'm having - hit this link, scroll down to the previous post, or hit the button on the righthand sidebar, and leave a comment if you'd like your name in the hat... 

I didn't want fill up this post with the details :)

One quick, final note - the sharp-eyed will notice a new profile picture...

This is Quinlan*, my new companion, who also had his photo taken outside.

He is my early birthday present to myself (using expected birthday pennies from my Dad!). He is a very fine fellow, handmade by Rowan, over at BearBovis, and I already love him dearly :)

*Quinlan is Gaelic for 'a gently shaped fellow', which means 'eminently huggable', in my book!

Have a great week xx

Thursday, April 18

Birthday Giveaway - Are you the Winner???

OK - It was actually 6.01am when I hit the Random Generator widget-thingy...

And it came up with no. 12

And the 12th person to comment was Nan G at Froggy Designs, so well done Nan :)

Thank you to all who joined in - I really enjoyed having a giveaway, so I know there will be another one soon :)

It will be my 49th birthday on Sunday 28 April, so I wanted to have a special giveaway...

This recycled silver and copper necklace was lovingly made by Lynda at Private Road. The chain is about 18" long and the pendant about 2". It has a great rustic, funky feel to it, and I want someone to have it :)

So just leave a comment on this post, and your name will go in the hat.

I will draw the winner on Wednesday 1 May - the auspicious day of Beltane/Mayday - at 6am BST, which is the time Magdalen College Choir sing in the May morning from the top of Magdalen Tower, Oxford - a 500-year tradition, which is one of the most magical sights I've ever witnessed in my life...

Good luck, and I leave you with some more pics of the prize necklace - enjoy :)

Wednesday, April 17

WOYWW 202 - Lots to show and share...

... so do bear with me :)

It's Wednesday again (!) and here's my desk, taken late Tuesday afternoon.

I was making a card for my friend Sue, whose birthday is on Friday (it's alright, she doesn't read my blog!)

Here's a close up of the card and envelope...

... and of the lil owl decoration, I'll pop in with the card :)

And here's the new set of Anna Griffin stamps, which arrived the other day - another ebay bargain!

The box was a little damaged, but everything inside was brand new - all for £2.70 :)

Now, this was to have been the end of the post, as I imagined it, as I merrily crafted away...

But then, we finally got our postal delivery at 4.30pm - we have a new postman...

And look what was in it?

I won one of the three ATC beauties Cindy was giving away last week to celebrate her 500 posts!! Aren't I a lucky girl? And look at the extra pretties she included... Thank you so much, Cindy!!

And if that was not enough, I also got what I think has to be one of the most beautifully produced magazines I've ever seen...

I noticed a mention of The Foodie Bugle in my The Simple Things this month, and thought, 'I'll try that...' This is their first print issue, and oh my...

... 120 pages of exquisitely beautiful photography, which reminds me a lot of the Toast catalogue...

... and diversely interesting articles...

... and beautiful artwork *sigh*

... and all produced with matte soy inks - my absolute favourite!!!

Guess what I'll be doing most of the coming week :)

But first, I'll be popping over to Julia's Stamping Ground to visit all you lovely, creative peeps from all corners, and time-zones, of the globe...

I can't wait!!

Have a very happy Wednesday xxx

Oops, nearly forgot - here's today's quote - I've forgotten quite a few, sorry!

Amen to that! May your soul be joyful today :) xx

Saturday, April 13

Focus on Life - Week 15

This week's challenge was a toughie for me.

Sally's prompt was 'Aged Beauty', and I totally agree with everything she said about, 'Aged pieces have a beauty all their own, a beauty that draws us in to look a little deeper into a past time.'

Trouble is, we have no OLD things - no family heirlooms, no period furniture, we live in modern house built in the 1990s, so no old charm there (despite the ghastly mock-Tudor styling!) I even ventured into the garage to hunt out old tools, but to no avail :(

The saving grace came in the last phrase of the prompt: '... snap a shot of a vintage beauty'.

On my bedroom dresser sits this...

... a photo of my maternal grandmother, in its original 1930s/40s frame, which a distant cousin of my mother's gave me last year. I never met her - sadly she died of breast cancer aged 32, on my mother's 10th birthday.

My Mum actually looked a lot like her, especially with her thick, wavy hair and open face (but no dimple), but she rarely spoke of her - it was too painful, I guess.

So I grew up knowing nothing about this grandmother (not even her name!), except she was from an Irish family, and she named my Mum, Kathleen Margaret.

It was only when I went to register mum's death in June 2000 (she too died quite young, aged 55), that I saw Mum's birth certificate, and read her mother's name - Florence Esther.

This gave me quite a jolt, as we had named our own daughter (born 1997) Esther Florence without even realizing!

Esther is a family name from my husband's side - his mother, grandmother, great-grandmother are all called Esther - but I chose Florence for our baby's second name. Clearly, some how, some way, those names meant something to me...

So when I see this photo each day, of a real vintage beauty, a young woman who died 10 years before I was even born, I feel a deep, deep connection to her.

For in that lovely open face, I see a glimpse of my own mother, and a resemblance to my own features (especially the chin!), and that of my daughter (the sweet smile!)... four women, four generations, one familial thread of DNA.

Wednesday, April 10

WOYWW 201 - Back in the saddle...

... and busily working on scrapbook pages :)

Finally, everyone's feeling better, and we were able to have our postponed Easter get-together with my dad. Sadly, my brother couldn't make it :(

I managed to ask Dad about who's who and what's what in some old family photos, and he started filling in this chart I got...

I could only get this in 12x12, as are most scrapbooks, but I plan to fold it to fit my 8x8 albums. I simply can't handle one-handed the larger scrapbooks, but 8x8 seems to be an ideal size :)

We'll fill in the blanks when Dad's got more info from his elder brother...

And I'll leave you with a close-up of these button flowers I'm playing around with - you saw the bottles of paper flowers and a lil' notions box last time. I haven't stuck anything down yet, as I'm still pondering...

Right, that's my desk for this week, so hop on over to Ms Dunnit's Stamping Ground to see ALL the others busy, busy desks - there are more and more being each week!

Have fun xxx

PS The page I was working on, now finished - young love... aaahhhh!

Saturday, April 6

Focus on Life - Weeks 13 and 14

The family were all unwell last weekend and the preceding week, with coughs, colds, sniffles, sore throats, so I missed last week's photo challenge :(

So this week, I'm combining them :)

Last week's theme was 'Have Faith'...

I have faith in a lot of things - the basic goodness of people, art, beauty, poetry - and I've already shared my return to the Anglican Church...

The other week, I bought myself a plain, olive wood cross, made in the Holy Land.

I don't like ornate crosses/crucifixes (they remind me too much of the Church's centuries of abusive wealth and power). My faith is in a carpenter from Galilee, who showed us what real, authentic faith is about - trust, humility, honesty, and a deep, deep love for God and humanity.

And this week's prompt is 'Up Close!'

Once again, Sally encouraged us to discover what our cameras can do...

Ours is a very basic digi-camera, and several years old. We have no idea where the manual is, but by pressing buttons, I discovered it has a 'close up' option... It's not a macro lens, so I can't get any amazing, disorientating, ultra close ups...

But I could get this...

... which shows the beautiful grain of the olive wood in the cross arm, and the knot in the upright.

I think this photo shows the essential contrasts at the centre of any faith - the sheer beauty of holiness, and the knotty, flawed reality of life.

Both need to be held in perfect tension - the beauty uplifting the earthy, imperfect reality, and the flawed knots tempering the ethereal beauty...

Till next week xx

Wednesday, April 3

WOYWW 200 - What's on my desk, you ask...

... answer, piles of STUFF!!

And, not a lot of working/creating!

Sadly, the family colds continued to spread - I spent Thursday and Friday in bed, the kids then got other colds/coughs/sore throats, even robust hubbie succumbed!!

So, we decided to postpone Dad's birthday/Easter get-together to this coming weekend - a sad, but sensible, decision :(

And, as I haven't been at my desk for several days, it's become a dumping ground, and my chair has become a favourite sleeping spot...

Actually, now I'm feeling almost myself, I'm itching to tidy and play with a couple of new things...

... paper flowers, buttons, clips, etc. to adorn scrapbook pages. I know what I want to do, now I just need to muster the energy, and wait for Molly to vacate my chair, to actually do it!

So, I'll spend some time visiting other, highly more active, desks over at Julia's Stamping Ground, and be suitably energized and inspired :)

Can you believe Julia and Co have racked up 200 WOYWW???
WOW, indeed!!!!