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

Friday, August 30

Focus on Life - Week 35

Several times throughout this year, Sally's prompts have been just perfect for the week's happenings...

... and this is one such week :)

The prompt was Growth and Change and boy, has a lot grown and changed in the past 7 days!

I have realized a dream, 6 years in the making,
and opened my very own Etsy shop, 
I joined Etsy in early 2007, and just loved it, and thought about opening a shop. Then, in May that year, the stroke happened and everything changed...

Throughout the past 6 years, day-to-day living has taken most of my energy, but slowly my stamina has increased, and this year, I really wanted to make the shop dream a reality.

Last week's long Bank Holiday weekend seemed the perfect time!

I started by taking a photo of vintage book pages, fabrics and lace, which I carefully arranged to create my shop banner - little realizing I literally needed just the tiniest sliver!
Anyway, following the helpful step-by-step instructions provided by Etsy, I used GIMP to create this
 And each day, I've been adding new items to it...
 ... starting with art books I made before the stroke.
Then, I added some recent paintings, I've done post-stroke with my left-hand (my right side is still paralyzed), so now, the shop has 10 items in it!!
(I found Picasa makes these cool collages automatically with pics in the same folder!)
 I fully expect (and hope!) this shop will grow and change as my skill-set (and stamina!) grows and changes.
I leave you with this quote (borrowed with permission from Anca's blog):
may my mind come alive today
to the invisible geography
that invites me to new frontiers,
to break the dead shell of yesterdays,
to risk being disturbed and changed.

John O’Donohue from 'A Morning Offering'
PS Sorry for length of post... but apparently it's my 250th!!

Tuesday, August 27

WOYWW 221 - So busy, so happy, so excited...

A busy, busy desk as of Tuesday afternoon.

I'm mounting some sketchbook paintings to sell in my new shop.

Yes, a shop!!

I spent the whole Bank Holiday weekend setting up Cara whispers... and I'd love for you to stop by...

I've been an avid Etsy user since early 2007, buying handmade gifts for friends (and yes, myself!), and always intended to open a shop of my very own. And then the stroke hit...

It's taken 6 years, but I've finally done it - and I am such a happy bunny :)

I've listed some mini art books I made before the stroke, when I had two functioning hands, and what you see on my desk is some post-stroke paintings, which I'll list very soon.

There's also some crafting supplies, and an art journal I made earlier this year. I'm listing new things all the time, as my energy dictates...

I will be sharing any end-of-year profits with the Stroke Association.

And now, I'm going to expend some energy globe-trotting around your wonderful desks gathered over at St Julia's Stamping Ground.

Till next week xx

Saturday, August 24

Focus on Life - Week 34

Finally, Sally Russick's got her website back, after it was horribly hacked - and it's better than ever :)

This week's prompt was to Add Something!

And I knew exactly which photo effect I wanted to play with... Picasa's Pencil Sketch. I've tried several times in the past, but with little success :(

But this photo of Shakespeare's birthplace, taken in Stratford the other weekend, worked really well. I guess it had strong lines to start with!

Click on the sketch to enlarge, and you can really all see the detail!

And here's the original, unedited, photo to compare...

Just scroll down to the previous post to see a few more pics of our fun weekend sans kids - including a rather shiny one of me (FYI - purple velvet isn't the best choice for a wedding outfit - it really bounces back the flash in photos!)

Wednesday, August 21

WOYWW 220 - Missed last week, so lots to share...

Here's my desk Tuesday afternoon...

I decided to play on a canvas board, using my desk easel - lots of sticking and pasting, totally random elements...

Here's a close-up - I'm sure it's not finished yet, but I had a jolly hour or so playing :)
A definite travel theme is emerging...

And I'll leave you with a few pics of our weekend in Stratford, for friends' wedding. It was a wonderful two days, but it took me most of the following week to recover *sigh*

Our hotel in the heart of Stratford, we were in the Hamlet suite (it has an easy access, walk-in shower) 
Heather and Duke, the bride and groom 
Nick and I 
The Garrick Inn
Carving on the church tower
Wonky buildings are everywhere
Barges on the River Avon
Shakespeare's birthplace
Anne Hathaway's cottage
I'm looking forward to catching up with all your desks over at Ms Dunnit's Stamping Ground :)

Have a great week!!

Saturday, August 17

Focus on Life - Week 33

Sally's site is still down, so here's what's In Season in my part of the world.

It's very much in-between seasons here, with Summer's fullness coming to an end, but before the ripeness of Autumn's harvest reaches its height.

Different hedgerows on my way into town - some still in bloom, others beginning to burst with berries...

Enjoy :)
(I haven't edited any of the photos, other than cropping a couple.)


Saturday, August 10

Focus on Life - Week 32

This week's prompt from Sally is From Where I Stand...

Here I stand at the patio door feeling the morning air having just let Molly-cat out into the back garden.

I always stand a moment, especially in the warmer months, just to greet the day...

I can't stand long, physically, but it only takes a few seconds to take in the weather (cloudy, yet warm, today), the birds, the vegetation - very lush at the moment! - and to say Thank you for this new day :)

Today we are going away for the weekend, to my hubbie's work colleague's wedding in Stratford, but I hope to visit as many of you as possible on Monday, to see where you stand on this day.

Sally's site's been hacked(!!), so I'm hoping this inlinkz code works...

See you all later :) xx

Wednesday, August 7

WOYWW 218 - Returning to an old friend...

It's been ages since I worked in this wonderful journal...

You can read more about it here.

But I had a hankering, so here's my desk mid-creation Tuesday afternoon...

... fabrics, buttons, Mod-podge, and my new Smash date stamp (upper left corner just above the journal)

And here's a close-up of the page - it's the inside back cover, actually, which is why I (unconsciously) chose the 'etcetera' flashcard, I think...

The main image is from a Sweaty Betty catalogue I cut up - never through anything away, me! As you can see, the glue's still rather wet.

I hope to visit your desks later today - I have physiotherapy at 9am with a new therapist to see what she makes of my right hip, which has been giving me jip since February!

In the meantime, there's still plenty of time to enter my Giveaway, more details here, or you can click on the magazine image on the right sidebar. Good luck :)

Till next week xxx

Saturday, August 3

Focus on Life - Week 31

The weeks are evaporating at a rather dizzying rate, and here we are in August!!
This week's prompt is Hues of Blue, and I decided to make another still-life arrangement as I had done for the prompt Green...

But, I wasn't at all happy with the composition, so I drew this instead...

Is she melancholy or lost in prayer? I'll let you decide...
See you over at Sally's Studio Sublime for more blue hues :)
Can I draw your eye over to the right sidebar, where I'm having a Summer Giveaway?
Either click on the magazine image, or click here for more details.