Sunday, 31 December 2017

Bye 2017!

This past year must have been one of the fastest on record!  Yes I know it still had 365 days but I swear there's been a time warp somewhere! I can remember things like the charity walks for MacMillian and GSP Rescue Trust and the long time spent in hospital but there's a lot of blur in between.  That's where blogs are handy, if you keep them up, just to remind you.

We had a lovely Christmas.  We started the day with the dogs opening their Secret Santapaws presents.  

It's another charity based event and such great fun. 

You are paired with someone with the same number of dogs as yours so it's very fair too.

As well as treats they had toys and personalised towels, all very much enjoyed so thank you Secret Santapaws.

I have a new studio apprentice.

I could be vying for space in the not too distant future! Perhaps I should have signed Olivia up for the sketchbook challenges too as she is such a good artist.

Yesterday was our Twixtmas Pointy Blast.  

Most of the gang
This year we travelled down to West Wittering and the weather was so kind to us considering the horrid storms we've been having! 

The light level was still quite low so a lot of the photos are a bit on the dark side. 

It was fabulous to see 18 dogs all having so much fun together and not a cross word between them as always. 

Even little Tully is one of the mob. 
Willow, Tully and Talis

It's an amazing beach for dogs as there is nowhere for them to go and it's huge when the tide is out.  there were several other dog groups and plenty of room to zoom.

In preparation for tomorrow's new year I have joined the 30 day Sketchbook Challenge with Susan of Magenta Sky and the January Challenge with 64 Million Artists.  Both promise to be quick think things so lets see how long I last with those! 

I've braced myself for a new round of healthy eating, not diet.  I am, one day, actually going to win on that score too.  Tum does suffer a fair bit since the gallbladder op so even more reason to try and get it right! 

My email box has been having a major clear out too ready for the new year.  I've unsubscribed from more places than I care to think about but that should me less time sifting through the rubbish! 

John is spending today playing with his motorbike in the garage so I'm putting something Moroccan in the slow cooker and going to play in the studio.  

I've chosen Complete as a word for the New Year.  I have plenty on that score to try and get on with!! 

Have a happy, healthy and creative New Year!

Monday, 18 December 2017


I've been on a bit of a roll lately and I'm loving it! 

I've organised more of my collected junk into another Junk Journal to go with the one I made in September HERE.

Plenty of writing pages and places to tuck things in.

I made a piece inspired by a beautiful sunrise one morning on our dog walk.  19.5 x 8 inches.

Knowle Dawn
Rock of Ages finally had a backing put on.  I'm just waiting for the hanger to be forged by Colleen du Pon and it will be complete. 
Rock of Ages
And I'm now working on a piece taken from the edge of a holly leaf.  

I hope this momentum keeps up!! 

Sunday, 10 December 2017

The Dread C Word

Well this past week I decided to just get on with Christmas.  There.  Now it's December I can say it without shuddering.  Almost.

I was fed up with the wrapping paper in the bottom of the wardrobe always being a mess so I made a hanger thing with pockets to hang in there instead. 

I think I may tighten the elastic on the pockets a little but it is nice to be able to see whats in there without a fight. 

All the cards have been bought and sent. Then I saw this post HERE by Gina Ferrari so had a go at making a dozen. 

OK, so no good for this year but they're all packaged up and put away for next year.  Probably for the village Christmas Fare or something, if I don't lose them like I seem to have done with a load of printed ones.   

Please don't tell me I'm the only one making things now that will do for next year as it's too late for this? 

I also finished my little piece I started in a Fay Maxwell workshop back in September.  

It was an enjoyable little thing to do and has finished at 8 inches so I'll probably mount it onto a sketchbook slip. 

So I'm quite pleased I have finished the horror of Christmas shopping all bar a few bits and my lists have lots of ticks beside them.  My desk is sort of clear and I think I can try a few new things. I feel quite happy! We might find the decorations over the next week sometime.  Maybe. 

I must say a HUGE congratulations to Daughter Elsa who was told last week she passed her Masters with merit!! So proud of her!! It was a long 5 years and she did it all holding down a job and producing two beautiful babies too! Wonder Woman if you ask me. 

Have a good week. 

PS Darren, I've been using the infamous blue felt you'll be pleased to hear! 

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

More Catchup

I've been MIA for a few weeks because it's just been one of those times!  I had 2 weeks exhibiting in Shaftesbury again with Karren Burkett and Andrea Jenkins, painters, and Colleen du Pon a blacksmith.  For some reason the planets aligned and though I only stewarded for three and a half days every other meeting, appointment, event, coffee or anything to keep me away from home seems to of happened then too.  I was constantly in the car going somewhere.  These are from the PV evening. 

I sold a lot of my little books so will have to make more of those for the Art Weeks next year.  I had to make a couple of batches of cards too.  I think I have one left.  Here's the second lot.

In the few moments I managed to snatch I completed a few C Word gifts including these bling collars.

and hand stamping over 20 metres of Santa Paws wrapping paper for the GSP Rescue charity! 

I hope you can make out the pointer head with hat on, my own design of course!! 

This week saw the launch of the all new Workshop on the Web format!! It's gone from a quarterly online magazine to a half yearly book with online extras including videos.  

Here's a few snippets with articles by Hilary Beattie

Laura Edgar

As well as Caroline Bell, Angie Hughes and of course Maggie Grey.

There an interview with Jan Beany and Jean Littlejohn and an article by me on Soluables.

Maggie will be starting a course in January to join in with and there's plenty going on online with it's very own website with access via the magazine and Facebook page. It's thicker than any high end American magazine and it's not pages and pages of adverts!! Worth every penny.  If anyone would like to buy one I have a few copies here, just message me. 

I have also decided to start having a clear out and have popped a few things in my Folksy store.  These may change as I will be doing the Art Weeks next year so will be making more for that.  I haven't figured out long distance postage yet but it could be done! I will put the gadget thing back in the side menu but a link is HERE

Other than that Ruger has had a few lumps removed so he's back to the vets for the stitches out today, I've had all my hair cut off and I'm learning sign language again with a deaf awareness group at the pub as the landlords daughter is profoundly deaf and we all thought it would be nice to learn.  I did it many, many years ago as part of Duke of Edinburgh and can just about do an alphabet still!  Must learn more.  

Right, off to stamp more paper as another order has come in before vets and if I don't do creative again soon I will pop!! 

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Distracting Tactics

Last Tuesday I was going to be doing the pub quiz which I was more than a little nervous about so to take my mind off things I took myself off to Salisbury for a nosey around. 

The Salisbury Museum has a special exhibition on at the moment celebrating local author Terry Pratchett who sadly died of Alzheimer's in 2015.

We all have to start on something! 

A very recognisable ensemble.

The Octavo. 

His actual writing station.  The desk has hidden compartments, including one for the cat. 

And just incase you were wondering what is on all those screens! 

Some of Paul Kidby's original art work. A'Tuin herself.

The full cast.

Death and Binky.  I hope he and Terry are now sat by the fire with thier feet up.

And my favorite character, Cohen the Barbarian.
There was obviously plenty more on show from both Terry and Paul and well worth the visit.

I then took myself across the Close to the Cathedral and on a Tower Tour!! It's not something John could have done even if he was with me, lots of very long, narrow spiral staircases! 

Our first stop was a look down the nave to the Quire and Trinity Chapel.  You can see the font which was made by William Pye and installed in 2008 to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the cathedral.  Both Olivia and Cillian were christened there.  

Looking up to the vaulted ceiling which was once very brightly coloured until the reformation. 

The tower topped with the spire.  The roof to the left is over the nave. The first set of windows in the tower was where it stopped originally, square and squat.  Someone had the bright idea for building the rest on at a later date.  Good job they made good foundations back then!  Remember this photo, I'll mention it below.

Inside the roof over the nave.  The white under the oak beams at the bottom is the lime plaster they backed all the stone with to hold it in place.  That and clever cutting of course.  We walked along the walkway to the left to the end. 

Through a door and into the tower.  There were a couple of wooden staircases like this too.  They needed to save weight that's why they're very scarce in the covering department! You can see all the various rods and girders added over the years to stop the walls pushing out with the weight of the tower and spire on top.  I am now on the gantry walkway around those lower windows in the photo above. 

As part of a fundraising scheme when they refurbished the tower they reset a lot of the glass and asked for donations to have inscriptions put on them.  Several local dentists provided drills no longer used for teeth and you could write your message for posterity. 

As we have just had a major refurbishment of the bells and cradle at our village church it was great to see these three in a very much more accessible space! These windows are the upper row of windows in the above photo.

And the big one which sits underneath the others.  

They rang the half past while we were there. A Westminster Chime.

This is looking down through the floor hatch from the bell level. 

We then climbed to the top level of the tower which is the bit where the main spire starts and there are mini ones surrounding it in the photo.  This is looking up into the spire itself. 

A drawing showing all the beams and structural work carried out to make sure it stays up there! 

Very high up now. We had climbed 332 steps which is 225 feet above the ground. 

On the horizon is Old Sarum where the first cathedral and castle were built.  It is said that the clergy couldn't put up with the military being in charge and charging so much for the use of water from the well which was inside the castle.  It had been dug out over 500 feet deep so not as though the church could really dig another one easily.  Instead they chose to use the water meadows down by the river which was owned by the church and to decide exactly where an arrow was shot from the site of the old cathedral.  The arrow actually hit a deer and the deer ran on and it was 2 miles until it finally collapsed and died on the site of the current cathedral. The church you can see in the foreground was built for the workers to use during the 38 years of the build. 

And there is the actual spire.  The tallest in the UK.  It's still another 185 feet from where I was standing to the top. 

It was a fascinating trip up and amazing to see the workmanship up close.  Certainly took my mind of that quiz!!