Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Being Creative Gallery Check In ~ March

Hi Friends!

First of all, apologies for yesterday - Blogger decided to somehow simultaneously publish two posts of mine at once, so I'm very sorry for any confusion there!  I've decided to post the Gallery Check In a day early for the Being Creative participants (originally planned for tomorrow) seeing how that post sort of self published itself, I figured I might as well put it out there now in case participants were looking for it and wondering why they couldn't read it.  

I'm really looking forward to seeing what people have come up with for this month's theme of Garden.
For myself, the project so far has been really inspiring.  I've made time for creating art in mediums that I rarely use and without any real purpose in mind other than having fun with colour and having a theme to work with.  I liked the focus having a theme gave me, and I decided to create some art based on the bird life in my own garden working with collage and pastel crayons.

I think, working as an artist, it was a really relaxing process for me to be able to switch off from the business side of it all and just allow the freedom of Creating For Fun to flow.  I have been blown away by the gorgeous work that has been popping up in our Flickr Group already, and the group has only been established a couple of weeks.  Thank You to everyone who has subscribed to the group so far, and to those who have been adding work to the Flickr Group.

For those of you who would still like to share your work via your blog/Flickr or other photo hosting webpage, then you are very welcome to add your link to the widget below (please just link to the page your work features on).  Don't forget to use the whole caboodle of http://www...etc or else the link won't work.  Anyone who has already posted in the Flickr Group are also encouraged to share your images in the gallery here too!  It's going to be wonderful to have a monthly source to access everyone's work ~ and please don't be shy about sharing...encouragement and support is the key to growing in confidence with your creativity, and although it can feel a little scary, I think you will feel a huge sense of achievement when you share your work and get feedback from the other participants or blog readers here.

You will be able to add your Garden themed work to the gallery here until the end of April.  I will also be creating a list in the sidebar so that the gallery pages are easier for you to find.

For those of you who are working on the project and don't have the facility to share pictures of your work, then you are welcome to add your thoughts about your creative journey so far in the comments section at the bottom of this post.
I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on taking part in the Being Creative Project, so please do share or feel free to email me privately.


Oooh!! An one last thing before we start to add our links - the theme for April is DESSERT

Again, this theme can be interpreted or taken in any direction you wish, or you can use the word as a focus point.  There will be another gallery opening at the end of the month here, but the Flickr group is available for you to add your pictures to every day if you wish.

If you would like to join the Being Creative group and haven't already then you are so very welcome to do so - it's totally free and you can take part on a regular or more infrequent basis, whatever works for you best.  You can register your commitment to taking part by clicking here and adding your link at the bottom of the page. 

And's the gallery for March - it's your turn! :)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Lil' Bits of This and That

Hello!  How are you?

I've been getting a couple of my paintings ready for selection day for the Great Sheffield Art Show.  Harbour is now ready to go, in a gorgeous deep beechwood frame, I'm delighted with it and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it gets chosen.  The other one I'm considering putting in is The Evening Stroll, because Spring is still not completed - it's at that stage where it needs a bit of figuring out and leaving alone, and so rather than rush it and perhaps spoil it, I felt that one of my other most favourite paintings in the universe would suffice:

What do you reckon? :)
Another thing I'm soaking up and loving recently is this fabulous new book by Jennifer Lee.  Now let me just say something about business books.  They used to bore me senseless.  I used to visit the business section of a book store to find something to educate my rather un-educated business brain; I'd take out those boring tomes that were very black and white, and chock full of business plans, charts, graphs and basically ding dang brain numbing, uninspiring chapters that made my heart sink.  Those books had the ability to make me feel like I'd never cut it in the harsh world of business.

Well here's the thing.  It's not all about power dressing and understanding Wall Street. I mean really, did you know business people do not have to wear suits!! Hoorah!! Of course we don't, you can give me a kaftan and a pair of flared jeans any day rather than that :) But seriously, Creative People need a different sort of business guidance, and oh this is it!! I've discovered some rather fantastic creatively based biz books along the way since those uninspiring bibles from way back when, but this is one of the best yet.  Suddenley business is fun, it's colourful and it's...exciting!!! Oh Yes Mama it is!!

If I've roused your curiosity a bit by my excitable waffling, you can take a peek inside this wonderful book for yourselves right here and you can visit Jennifer's fantabulous website here too.

I feel at this point in proceedings, that you may well be wondering where on earth the Ta~Dahhh moment was that I mentioned at the end of my last post...well, I have had a slight hold up in that I have run out of wool with only a few stitches to go.  Oh the frustration!! I really thought I'd have enough, so for now the Ta~Dahhh is postponed until I can get myself into town to replenish the stocks!!

In my next post, (which I'll be putting up on the 31st) it will be Gallery Day for the Being Creative group.  I'm really excited by the work that's already being appearing in our Flickr Group and am looking forward to seeing other work that individual souls might wish to share from their blog/Flickr links.  There will be a link widget for you to do this on Thursday, and of course, anyone who has already posted pictures in the Flickr group will be encouraged to share links to their work to create a Garden Gallery that everyone can look at via the widget.

I do hope you'll come by to see what we've all been up to - and if you haven't already signed up, you are absolutely most welcome to join us anytime along the way.  Just click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to add your name to the list.
I'll see you on Thursday!  Hope the sun is shining for you today ~ sending love
Julia x

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Artisan Feature: Roslyn Mitchell

Hello lovely souls!

Today I'm really excited to be sharing an interview that I did recently with the very talented and colourful designer maker, Roslyn Mitchell.  I hope you enjoy!

View From Largs

Hi Roslyn, to begin with, will you tell us a bit about yourself?

I live in Largs, on the Ayrshire coast, with my husband & three sons aged 13, 4 & 18months. I've always loved art & design, and studied Interior Design at Glasgow College of Building & Printing. 
After the birth of my first son I was self-employed as a glass-painter which was ideal as it fit in well with having a new baby. However, I eventually had to get a 'proper job' to help buy myself a home but over the last few years, the pull towards doing something creative has been too hard to ignore and I decided to jump in with both feet & start my own business. I've only been trading since November but I'm really excited by how things have taken off. At the moment I do this part time as I still work 2 days in my other job & look after the kiddywinkles during the day, but hopefully in the not too distant future I can make Roslyn Mitchell Designs my full-time job!

Boat Notice Board

When did you first become interested in working with textiles?

I kind of fell into it by accident! At college, my friends & I used to get really annoyed when we were asked if we made curtains and cushions after being told we were studying Interior Design!! ... Oh the irony that I spend most of my time making cushions now! I was a bit of a rock-chick then (I even had a motorbike!) so didn't want to be associated with such things! lol! When my first son was born I made a personalised quilt for his big pram & a few things for his nursery but it was years before I went near a sewing machine again! A couple of years ago, a family friend gave me her old Singer Slant-O-Matic sewing machine (what a great name!) that she no longer used. It was the first one of that model in Scotland & she bought it in 1958... it's a real workhorse & sews like a dream! That inspired me to sew more & I've just kind of taught myself as I've gone along!

Butterfly Cushion

What kind of fabric/materials do you work with?

I work mostly with cotton, denim, linen... that sort of thing. I really love anything bright & cheery! I could spend hours in the fabric shop but I've usually got 2 boys in tow so it's easier said than done!


 How are you inspired/what inspires you?

I LOVE the great outdoors though I've yet to incorporate elements of it in my work. I feel my most alive when I pull on my wellies & traipse outside, or jump on my bike with the boys! I'm lucky to live with the seaside in one direction & the countryside on the other. 

Will you share some of your favourite artist/craftspeople on the interweb with us please?

When I first started sewing again, I bought one of Tone Finnager's books & started sewing house angels... I just love her work, so bright & cheery! Even her website is gorgeous...

I've also very recently stumbled across an artist who sums up all the things I love...  Her work is also bright & cheery, and she uses a lot of inspirational words & sayings in her work. Plus she loves the simple things in life which is what I'm striving for!

I also love Alison Willoughy's skirts & would love to have a go at making one from her book '49 Sensational Skirts'... this is a future project...!__pleat/photostackergallery0=0 ! x

Facebook has been brilliant for 'meeting' lots of creative people! There's such a supportive creative community out there that I knew nothing about... when I first started I thought I was all on my own & that everyone would be fiercly competetive... how wrong I was

Rainbow Bunting

Where do you work?  Home/studio/attic etc?
My workspace is in the upstairs hall, out of the way with my own window... unfortunately I'm extremely messy (oh to be tidy one day!) & my work tends to spread itself all over the house! In the Summer I'm hoping to buy a more portable sewing machine (the Slant-O-Matic is housed in its own table) so that I can work outside in the garden!

 Box Frame

7. How do you deal with creative block?
A walk usually helps, or even just doing something other than stressing about what you should be doing! I usually get ideas when I really shoudn't... I get lots during my meditation class when my mind should be empty!

A Bespoke Order

What's your favourite product that you have created?
I get new favourites all the time! At the moment it's a Christening Cushion that I made for my friend to give to her neice for her Christening, I just love it! It has her name in the clouds & the time of the Christening on the church clock tower!

 Christening Cushion

Are there any other crafts or mediums that you enjoy working with?
I love to paint on glass... that was my first love! When I did glass-painting full time I mostly painted my personalised photo frames... I don't do enough of those these days so would love to start doing more. I also love to paint tealights.

Glass Painted Tealight Holders and Frame

Tell us where we can find your lovely work :)
I have a website - - but Im working on a Proper Website with a shop which Im hoping to get up and running soon.  I also have a Facebook Page and a Folksy Shop.
I'll be doing some craft fairs in Glasgow & I have a pop-up shop (within a shop!) in the West End of Glasgow for a week in June which I'm really excited about!
I also do 'party plan' so if anyone in West Central Scotland would like to host one please get in touch! (roslynmitchelldesigns(at)


Thank you SO much Roslyn for a brilliant interview, I've really enjoyed getting to know a bit more about you and your beautifully colourful work.  I hope you all feel as inspired as I am by Roslyn; I love discovering people who chase their dreams, and I love to follow their journeys as they make them real.

Next week, I will be sharing a little bit of colourful hooky lovliness with you here.  I feel a Ta~Dahhh moment coming on...brace yourself people, for a Ta~Dah of the stripiest, hookiest, most wearable kind...

Til then, sending you arm loads of bright red tulips, sunshine and happy moments.
Julia x 

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Creative Mama

The Hug

I've been thinking about my life as both a Mum and an Artist today.  And I got to thinking about that part of the story where I became a Mum, and how I eventually got reaquainted with my artist self.  I thought I'd share it with you :)

When my dear little egg was born, my world was shaken to the core - rocked by lack of sleep and utter bewilderment at my new status, there was no time to indulge in creativity.  My new job was 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I was an indispensable necessity to this small bundle and I surrendered to the blurry nights and days without question.  I remember holdling that incredible little being and looking into her dark, inquisitive, wise old eyes - and as we looked at one another in the velvety darkness of that night, I realised then that part of my life had disappeared forever.  The days of independance, the days of freedom, of paint, books, wandering, random excursions...those blissful days where I had it all sorted, could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, they were gone.

And nobody tells you that you will grieve for those days sometimes, although I've realised that it's ok to grieve for them.  I used to feel very guilty about that though; hadn't I been handed the most precious of gifts?  How dare I wish for How It Used To Be...I felt bad for wanting that part of my life back for some time.

When our daughter was five weeks old, we drove to North Lincolnshire to deliver some paintings of mine for an exhibition.  These had all been made ready well before our daughter arrived, and I remember the journey being full of stops and starts as we pulled over several times on the way to feed the wee soul, and change her nappy.  The rest of the time she slept, and we were able to tiptoe around a Pete McKee exhibition undisturbed while the curator took care of my work.
However, on that warm grey June day, I recall something stirring inside - a wistful urge.  Nostalgic feelings of How Life Used To Be resurfaced, and I recall feeling envious of the artists who could wake up leisurely and paint to their hearts content ~ long days filled with canvas and acrylic, cups of tea, music, freedom...ahhh,

But I was a Mum now, things were different. 

My own Mum shelved her artistic side when me and my sister were born, and she has dabbled only infrequently over the years that followed.
That day in the gallery, I could fully understand why she had done that, why she had put her drawing pencils and paints away carefully in a drawer and not returned to them.  The tiredness was indescribable, the emotional rollercoaster was not a ride that you could just climb off - my time now belonged to someone else fully, wholeheartedly but I remember feeling guilty as I craved my time back for my own.

As my daughter grew older, I realised I really had to let the creative side of myself live too, alongside my new role as a Mum, alongside my tiny daughter ~ without it I felt dry, empty and increasingly frustrated and irritated.  It certainly wasn't something that could be shoved into a cupboard to gather dust, that much was evident.
My other half was incredibly supportive and encouraged me to spend an afternoon painting, whilst he looked after the little one.

I remember getting everything out ~ it had been such an age since I'd even looked at my art materials...feeling anticipation as I laid my brushes out, excitement as I put paint on my palette...but it had been such a long time...could I still do it?
I lost myself in the time that followed, surrounding myself with rainbow coloured paint, crayons and paintbrushes.  It was all that I needed, it was like a tonic.  
I felt relaxed and happy as I tidied away - I could still paint (I hadn't forgotten after all those months!!) and I knew that despite that wee little girl being my Number One, my art had to be acknowledged as Important too.
It wouldn't be like it was before she was born, those days were long gone - but there were at least glimmers of opportunity in that distant, hazy future that made my heart soar; for snatched moments where art and creativity could be squashed in between toddler activities and the hoovering. Yes, it would be random, and occasionally household chores would be left 'til last thing at night so an hour of daylight could be used for painting instead...yes, it would be messy and possibly (to some) self indulgent.  But it would be worth it.

And it is.

I am very lucky to have a supportive Other Half and helpful parents, and I realise that not everyone is that fortunate.  But I do believe that us Mamas need to make time for ourselves in our busy lives and do things that make us glow inside.  We deserve to acknowledge that our needs are just as important as the others whom we nurture and care for on a daily basis.
As time goes on, I'm getting better at living my life without wondering if I'm meeting everyone elses expectations and whether I'm doing it 'Right'.
This way might not work for everyone, but it works for Us, and that's what matters.  I'm also hoping that by allowing myself time to do the stuff I love, I'm teaching my daughter that she needn't sacrifice everything if she ever decides to have a family herself.  I hope she will discover that with a bit of artful juggling, she will be able to be the best Mama she can be, as well as indulging her own needs; to teach her that her needs are just as valid and as important as the ones of those she loves around her.

Thanks for dropping in today, and for reading ~ welcome also to some new Followers (waving hello).
If you would like to invest some of your sacred time into creating again, for fun or a regular focus, then check out my Being Creative Project (find the tab at the top of the page) where you can join me and a heap of others in making and creating themed art projects each month.

Have a weekend sprinkled with sunshine and Spring flowers...sending you love
Julia x

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Art of Comfort

Hello ~ how are you?

After a bright and Spring like day yesterday, we are today shrouded with thick fog.  Crystals of dew cluster on the leaves of daffodils and the air is cold and damp.  It's days like this that I like a bit of comfort and here are some of the things that warm my soul.

My Sofa is a great source of comfort, a place I comandeer on a regular basis, a rainbow haven of crocheted cushions and blankets - an invitation to snuggle and relax. 

One of my ultimate foody comfort favourites is The New Covent Garden Food Co; Chicken Soup.  This is indeed fodder for the soul, especially a tired and weary one.  I admit to being a person who sometimes turns to food for comfort, but there's nothing wrong with indulging our tastebuds with something nourishing and delicious, that makes us feel good inside and out!

Sarah Ban Breathnach is a wonderful author and I have a couple of her soul soothing books.  Filled with beautiful scoops of wisdom it is a book I turn to when I'm feeling a little lost or in need of replenishment deep within.  It works every time.

Lavender Oil is something that I use for comfort as well as relaxation.  The scent is such a grounding and reassuring one, and I like to use it in a warm sea salt bath (with candles of course!) or to dab on my pulse points.  I've found this oil to be especially helpful when I'm feeling anxious.

I love to watch the film or read the book Chocolat.  It's one of my favourite stories of all time - I never tire of the plot, and of course the fact that it's chocolate based helps enormously (and it's got absolutely Nothing to do with the fact that Johnny Depp plays a rather attractive river gypsy in the film ~ nope, nothing at all!)

Speaking of Chocolate...

...I'm loving trying out different varieties of Raw Chocolate.  Several of these delicious bars arrived at my house last week and I confess to now being addicted to them.  Raw chocolate makes other chocolate pale into insignificance, and a little slice of one of these bars (which you can order online from Living Food of St Ives ) lifts the spirits and gives you that chocolatey comfort that is oh so necessary in life! :)

So those are a few of my favourite comforts - I wonder if you'll share yours with me? :D

Before I go, I'd like to say Thank You's to all of the people who have signed up as Participants for the Being Creative project so far.  The Sign Up is open throughout the year, so if you haven't joined yet and would like to then you are welcome to visit the Being Creative page to find out more and add your name to the list.
Already there are a few images appearing in the Flickr Group which I'm very excited about and I've had rather alot of emails from people about the idea itself which is very, very gratifying - so Thank You for joining me with this, it's going to be a fun and rewarding journey and I can't wait to see what unfolds.

I've just this morning created a little piece of art for the project - the fact that it wasn't work related made the whole process feel different - light hearted, playful, relaxed.  I can't remember the last time I made art just for the sake of it, and as much as I love my painting it was fabulous to work in a different medium just for pleasures sake.

So if you're taking part, how are you getting on with your Garden theme?  Don't forget you can post pictures to our Flickr Group (there is now a link in the right side bar under the Being Creative button), or if you prefer you can wait for the Gallery post at the end of the month to share links of what you are creating here on this blog.

Right - time for a cuppa!  I'll see you again soon - I hope the sun is shining in your part of the world!

Sending love
Julia x

Friday, 11 March 2011

Being Creative


Ta~Dahhhh!!! I have something to share with you today...

Being Creative is an online monthly project I have created, to inspire creativity in both myself and others.

As a busy Mum/Artist with not much time to spare, I realised a while ago that I missed the fun of just creating for the sake of it, without pressure, deadlines or judgement.  I wanted to be able to play with my lino cutting tools, dust off my box of jewel coloured oil pastels and make wild smudgy marks and swirls.  I wanted a focus that wasn't about work and encouraged creative playtime. 

Being Creative grew from that tiny seed of an idea many moons ago...and it grew bigger as I thought about other kinds of people who might like to join in; people who hadn't created for years and who wanted to tentatively start playing with colour again, people who created regularly who would enjoy the fun of a monthly challenge, people who might have been told that they were hopeless (you really are not) or people who wanted to try working with a new medium with a specific theme for focus.

So here are the basics:

Each month I will post up a theme, and you will have the whole of that month to create work in any medium you wish.  You then have the opportunity to share your work with the rest of the group via a monthly Gallery that I will post at the end of each month here, and a Flickr Group.  
There will be a discussion facility within the Flickr Group to chat about the project, or to share support where needed.  I will also offer tips and ideas as well as encouragement and guidance for those who may just be starting out on their creative journey.

There is no pressure to create amazing works of art here, there are no teachers to answer to - this is a project that is all about having fun and allowing creativity into your life - and you don't have to do it every month, be as regular or as random a contributor as you like.

If this sounds like something you would like to take part in then just click here (or on the tab at the top of the page) to find out in more detail how Being Creative works, to see the list of Monthly Themes for 2011 and sign up as a participant.

This theme for March is:  GARDEN

I'm really looking forward to Being Creative - will you join me?

Julia x

Monday, 7 March 2011

Becoming an Artist


  Art Journal ~ 2005

I've been wanting to share my story of how I became an artist with you for a while now, and it seemed like a good time to do it today.

The story starts many years ago in an art class, in a college in Sheffield.  I was generally a good student but like alot of 18 year olds I also enjoyed chatting with my friends and helplessly giggling too.  One particular day my art tutor called me into her office - we were having one on one tutorials.  She was a rather robust woman with a no-nonsense attitude, floaty clothes and Mary Jane shoes.  I remember her asking me what I wanted to do in the future and I told her I wanted to be an artist.  She shuffled some papers together and frowned slightly - I will never forget what she said next; 'You will never make it as an artist, so I suggest you start thinking about an alternative career right now'.

My world crumbled and I felt hopelessly crushed and small.  At 18 in those days, you listened to your tutor, they told you the truth and you respected their opinion and didn't think to argue back.

I left her office, closed up the creative well in my soul and stuffed my paints into a drawer to be forgotten.  I was no good at it, my tutor had told me so - so what was the point?  I left college with three A-Levels and a heavy heart, and took a job in the Payroll Department of the NHS for almost six years.  A few years passed by and one day a chap in the Pensions office brought in a framed painting his daughter had done - he was proudly showing everyone and I felt a wild stirring of envy - I could do that - yet I didn't - not anymore.

From a Sketchbook - Over to Dungworth from Stannington, 2004

That night after work, I went up to my room and dug out my watercolour pad and paints.  I remember drawing the Island in Newquay surrounded by crashing waves from an old postcard and painting it slowly over the next few days.  When it was finished, my Mum asked if she could frame it and hung it in the living room.

From a sketchbook - The Merry Maidens, Cornwall, October 2004

It was a slow process though.  I still had no confidence when it came to my art, I didn't believe I could ever be a painter, hadn't my tutor told me so?  And so I resigned myself to believing that art was a hobby, and I dabbled with it here and there as the years rolled past.  Around this time I got very interested in Interior Design and enrolled on an evening course which led to me applying for university - I got accepted by the University of Plymouth and headed south in 1997.

University was fun, and the course was fabulous.  My tutors were great too, confidence levels soared thanks to their guidance and encouragement and at the end of my course they told me to write off to the big companies in London ~ Conran and Fitch etc for work placements.  By the end of my studies, I really knew I had to do something creative with my life - nothing else would do.

Fate is a funny thing though, and inbetween writing off to all the Big Interior Design Companies begging for employment, I took a 'stepping stone job' (to earn some quick money) as a signwriter!!  I really enjoyed learning the ropes and it was also how I met my current Other Half!  He became a mentor, encouraging me to paint more when and where I could and as a creative person himself we spent alot of time talking about art and visiting galleries together.  Funnily enough though, I still didn't believe I could ever call myself an artist and the self doubt remained.

From a sketchbook - inspiration page

It was around 2005, when we moved into our little house that I rediscovered Sark aka Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, an author and artist with the most outrageously amazing zest for life and living the creative dream.  I had stumbled upon one of her books in a shop in Totnes whilst studying back in 1998, and liked her colourful You Can Do Anything approach to life.

So, a few years later, I bought a couple of her books and joined her forum.  I tentatively posted photographs of some of my work on there, my new online friends wrote such kind, supportive and generous things that I remember having tears in my eyes as I read them - you see, complete strangers were telling me that they liked my work, and that to me was unbelieveable.  On several occasions, Sark wrote comments too - that totally rocked my world!!!

 From an art journal - 2005

I began an art journal with the encouragement of these new friends and discovered creative resources and books that were extremely helpful - that's how I found Julia Cameron and The Artist's Way which I worked through religiously.  

I remember one of my Sark friends getting in touch to ask if she could buy two paintings ~ I was dizzy with joy.  They went to Brisbane in Australia and I began to feel the spark of possibility inside...I could do this, I could artist.

Moon to Australia...
I began to take on less sign writing work, and spend more time painting at home.  In 2006 I made the leap to work full time on my art, which was a short lived affair as soon after doing so I discovered I was expecting my daughter!

However, a milestone had been achieved.  I had rediscovered my confidence as a creative person during those years, and I fnally felt comfortable calling myself an Artist, something that was impossible to imagine ever doing once upon a time.


As my wee girl grew, I found scoops of time to create more art, teach workshops, take part in exhibitions and to begin writing this blog, which I started a few years ago when my girl was a baby.  A friend suggested I do it to keep the grey matter ticking over, when I was sleep deprived and short of time with the demands of a little one to care for.  A blog seemed like a good thing to do, to find something creative to write about each week that could be done whilst the little person napped.

This blog has led to some wonderful things - I have got to know many lovely people, have been endlessly inspired and had the most unexpected opportunities come my way.  You have all been a part of my journey as I reconnected with my artist self during those blurry days as a new Mama, to now (Big Thank You's).


I wanted to write this story here because I know there are other people out there who are afraid they can't do something or have been told that they shouldn't, just like I was.  I am in the process of creating something to help encourage souls who want to get messy with paint, smudge coloured oil pastels onto paper, draw furiously or stitch wildly with rainbow threads...and I will post about this once it's all ready to go :)

Would you like to find your inner artist and let it out to play?  Then come and see me again soon and I will share my new project with you!

Thanks for reading and visiting, Ive enjoyed your company!

Sending love
Julia x

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Crocuses and Crochet

Hello there!
 I hope you are all well - thanks for dropping in to see me today - isn't the weather just lovely?  I am seeing a festival of colour on my travels this week, Spring is well and truly arriving and I am loving the drifts of white snowdrops, and bright splashes of colour from carpets of crocus flowers.

Isn't it just the prettiest sight?  I am amazed at the effect that the weather has upon me, and the seasons too.  I have felt so much happier with blue skies, warm sunshine and flowers - whilst I do appreciate all seasons for what they bring, I think Spring is my favourite and there are two reasons:  1, I am a Spring baby, born right on the equinox and 2, Spring is laden with optimism and promise.  The feeling of the first day after a long, cold winter when the sun actually feels warm on your skin is beyond words - and something inside stirs up and you think...there's more of this to come!! And isn't that a happy feeling?

These pictures were taken on a walk around the grounds of Cannon Hall yesterday and do you know what?  It was warm enough for ice-cream!!! (Raspberry Ripple in case you're wondering!)

We discovered a flock of beautiful geese at the waters edge...

...and fabulously long tree shadows stretching across the grass.
In fact, all that walking about outdoors, listening to woodpeckers, enjoying the sunshine and admiring all those gorgeous flowers reminded me of a painting that needs finishing...

It's been a bit of a slow haul back to feeling 100% after being ill recently, and needless to say all things arty have been neglected - I do miss it but I really haven't had the energy.  I'm looking forward to getting the paints out and finishing this.  And talking of things that need finishing...

The waistcoat!

Bit of a way to go yet, but I'm getting there!  I'm going to fess up now and tell you that at this very moment in time, there is no pattern!  I told you what I was like didn't I?  I go full steam ahead and I was so involved on the first front panel that it wasn't til I'd finished off the last row that I realised I'd neglected to write down the tricksy bits....ooops...

Well, what I'm hoping to do to rectify this, is to write things down on the second panel, once it starts changing shape, and then hopefully from that I might be able to construct a pattern for the first side ( I hope - we shall see).

This is a lovely project that I've been doing in the evening, and I look forward to that bit of time each day, when I can settle down on the sofa and get stuck in.  It's surprisingly therapeutic too, all those lovely stripes and I must say I'm hoping it fits when it's done as I can't wait to wear it!!  Do you think it's looking waist-coaty yet?  Can you see the shape I've made for arm holes?  I'm a little bit pleased so far I have to say! :)

OK - before I go, Im going to tell you about my most recent discovery.

There are probably quite a few of you who already use e-cloths, but it is a new discovery for me.  Ever the one to try and reduce the old carbon footprint, be eco-friendly and all that, I was keen to try them out as they do not require any cleaning chemicals - just water (and I love that idea).
You know what though, they work - they're amazing and I'm over the moon because having a Small Person in the house and the thought of those household cleaners full of nasties has worried me a bit for some time.

It's a bit odd, doing the dishes without washing up liquid - but the pots are just as clean and shiny without the bubbles.  It's true, a bit strange, but true!   

Anyway, I must be away now - I'm hoping to catch up with you in Blogland again now, visits to Blogs from Moi have been very sparse of late because of the nasty bug and I'm sorry if I haven't been to visit you - normal service will soon be resumed!

Thanks for reading today, do say Hello if you have a minute won't you? It's always lovely to hear from you!

Mucho hugs,
Julia x

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