Monday, 20 February 2017

Sketchbook

It has taken many many months of procrastination before I was able to finally start using a sketchbook.  I have bought all kinds of sketchbooks but I have been 'scared' of using them in case I muck up the pristine pages.  However, after intense reading about other people's sketchbooks on Anne's sketchbook conversations, I have started my own.

My style isn't to leap in and tackle the page. No!  I have to pre-sketch in another book!  Once I have an idea what I want to put in the book I can then proceed.  Another problem I had was not knowing what to put in the book.  My focus for the first page was on 17th century needlework and lace designs.  I put my own spin on them using my micron and gelly roll pens.

Now I have a focus on what I want to use the book for I am looking forward to filling the pages!  Oh, I also decided that I won't be using watercolour paints in my sketchbook but will use unbound sheets instead for that and stick to micron pens, gelly roll pens and coloured pencils for my sketchbook.  One page down, 49 more to go!

Friday, 17 February 2017

St Mary's Hall Coventry

On the brief stop at Coventry (see yesterday's post), I took a look at an interesting courtyard which was home to a magnificent building - St Mary's Hall.  You can read further about it here.
It was so atmospheric on a gloomy afternoon in February.  I would love to go back one day and have a look inside.  Mary, Queen of Scots and Shakespeare are said to have passed through the doors!





Thursday, 16 February 2017

Coventry Cathedral Ruins

I had a short stop in the city of Coventry yesterday.  There was so much to see and do yet the heavy rain put the kibosh on taking many good photos.  I have tried to portray some of the internal remains of the cathedral. Despite the weather I found it a beautiful place to be and felt a great sense of peace. You can read all about the history here. 

*''The majority of the great ruined churches and cathedrals of England are the outcome of the violence of the dissolution in 1539. The ruins of St Michael’s are the consequence of violence in our own time. On the night of 14 November 1940, the city of Coventry was devastated by bombs dropped by the Luftwaffe. The Cathedral burned with the city, having been hit by several incendiary devices.''

 * Source: Coventry Cathedral














Friday, 10 February 2017

Busy Beading

I have been busy with beads enjoying the slow motion of pulling the thread in and out of the fabric.  The above picture is a work in progress.  I am not too sure where  I am going with it yet or if it will even end up being a completed piece, but for now I am just enjoying the process of creating.  I have not bought anything extra to do this but have been consolidating the things I already have in the craft room.

If you are in a creating and crafting frame of mind you may wish to join Anne of My Giant Strawberry in her Handmade Joy Exchange.  I will be joining in this year, making and sending a little handmade joy made with love.  Please do go along to Anne's blog and join in if you wish to do so.

Despite the cold and grey days I have been a little bit hyper with excitement this week as I have been jolted into a realisation of what I want to do with my life and where I want to be.  I dare not share it with you all yet as my dream is in the early stages and may only ever be a dream but at least I have hope in moving forward and not being stuck at the crossroads!

Wishing you all a weekend full of wonder!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

A Personal Manifesto

Today I  rediscovered my Tome for Life at the bottom of a large pile of unsorted bric-a-brac.   I started a 'Tome for Life' or Simone's daily 'bible' back in September 2012.  You can read about it here. 

Flicking through the pages I came across a personal manifesto that I had written.  I can't remember where I found the guidelines for writing a personal manifesto, but recall that it is a declaration of your core values and beliefs, what you stand for, and how you intend to live your life.  I thought I would share some of my personal manifesto with you.

  • I shall cultivate peace of mind.  I know that I can change the way that I feel at any moment, simply by changing my thoughts.

  • 'I intend to enrich my mind by reading books.' James Allen (philosopher).

  • I shall improve myself every day in some way, whether it's by dropping a negative belief, learning a new word, or adding to my knowledge of the World.

  • I shall not take things personally.  I know that what others say and do is a projection of their own reality; it has nothing to do with me. 'Expecting the World to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.' Dennis Wholey.

  • I shall make home sacred space. 'Home interprets heaven' Charles Henry Parkhurst.

  • I shall see mistakes as feedback, I will adjust my aim, and I will try again.  'Failure, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement.  One fails forward towards success.' Charles F Kettering.


The above words are just a snapshot of my values and how I want to live my life.  It is a pity that the words were tucked away in Simone's daily 'bible' which I had totally forgotten about!  I will make a concerted effort to look at this book daily and see how much I am adhering to my manifesto. 

If you are feeling lost or looking for a frame for your life, I recommend a personal manifesto for moving forward. Just don't do as I do and forget to read it!

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Not in a Painting Frame of Mind

I started out the year with good intentions.  I was going to do this and I was going to do that and I was going to embrace art every day.  The reality is that I have hardly done a thing.  Today I 'forced' myself to stick down a sheet of watercolour paper and drop some paint on to it.  I just watched the paint do its thing.  I wasn't particular about the colours I chose and ignored if they would blend well together and whether or not they were warm or cool colour families.   Normally I would just throw away the 'wasted' paper but not this time. 

Doing art isn't just about the end result.  Doing art is a self expression.  Doing art is a learning process.

I read a really useful quote recently which is rather than saying 'practice makes perfect' a better terminology is 'practice makes progress'.  I know I need to practice to make progress with my art and unless I practice I am not going to even start to make progress!

So, today I made baby steps in putting down some paint onto paper.  I just need to keep doing this in order to build my confidence in expressing my creativity.

Monday, 30 January 2017

My Nans Hand Bag

* Photograph taken from Ron Woollacott's book 'A Historical Tour of Nunhead and Peckham Rye.

Drifting off to sleep last night I started to recall when my Nan (pictured above with my Grandad in the 1930's) used to give me a peak at the contents of her hand bag.  As a young girl it was fascinating to me to see the various items that she pulled out:

  • Smelling salts
  • Ladies handkerchief with embroidery in one corner
  • 2 lipsticks - one orange/red and one pink/red
  • Face powder compact with pressed powder and mirror
  • Small container of Bourjois rouge powder blush
  • Rain hat
  • Emergency sewing kit
  • Scented cachous to sweeten the breath
  • Nail clippers
  • Emery board
  • Nail polish
  • Orange wood nail stick (for pushing back the cuticles)

I notice that all her products are connected with self care, grooming and appearance.  People of a certain era used to take pride in their appearance.  They were presentable without being self absorbed about how they looked.  People used to sew on buttons, turn up hems and polish shoes.

My Nan was born in 1912 and lived through two World wars.  She came from a generation who truly knew the meaning of hardship.  Younger generations could learn a lot from such people.  They had to face daily problems head on, cope in a crisis and just get on with it.  They didn't have a choice.

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