Good morning everyone! Have you ever had to do something in secret? Have you ever had to go ‘undercover’?
Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the UK and sadly I didn’t get to see my own mother. But it got me thinking this morning about the time i helped a neighbour secretly arrange a surprise birthday party for her. In the week leading up to my mum’s birthday, I made my excuses and popped around to my neighbour, Sheila’s (who incidentally told me she’d always wanted a little girl, but couldn’t), to bake. In previous posts, I’ve revealed that I dislike cooking, mainly because my mum was a qualified chef and a perfectionist. Anything I did had to be perfect, so I didn’t like baking cakes with her …
in the space of a week, Sheila and I prepared trifles, traybakes (flapjack), a birthday cake and savouries so colourful that there was no need for a table cloth! I faced the complaints by my mum as I kept asking to go over to Sheila’s. We fell out over it, but I couldn’t tell her what we were really up to. That’s a hard thing to do when you’re ten years old!
On the day itself, my mum had to eat her words (she’d said some spiteful things in that week) and I watched as her mouth fell open in amazement when she saw the spread of food. It was a good celebration, but I still hate baking!
Hurtful words linger and dig deep; they create invisible scars.
One person posted a quote and image on Facebook (the social networking site is usually littered with them). I’m not sure where it originated, but on a search, it informs me that it was written by ‘Anonymous’
“One day someone is going to hug you so tight that all your broken pieces will stick back together.”
I wish I could have hugged my mum yesterday, especially after the weekend I’ve just had. I hope she’s enjoying her holiday.
Trying out carving tiny motifs into household erasers proved a little challenging this evening (but then my daughter had fun colouring in the unprinted sections afterwards!).
These erasers were even smaller than the tree I shared in the previous blog post. The barbed wire stretches across 1.5 inches! Sorry metric fans!!!
The border’s all ready to colour in 🙂
Anyone else like trees? I drive past them in winter and try and imagine their branches being limbs and the trunks being the body. I love the fact that they look so magically different during each season and how beautiful they seem when cloaked in a fresh layer of snow. Autumn colours of fallen leaves surround the trunks and carpet the ground like rainbow snow from a distance and blooms from spring blossom always make a great photographic opportunity.
So this evening I had fun carving out a rubber stamp tree using an everyday eraser, then doodling silhouettes of people sitting in them, lying under them reading or painting by an easel. Can you spot them?
I might try this handmade stamp on a sheet for wrapping paper next – it’s my mother’s birthday in a couple of weeks. I thought I’d make her a pair of gloves. I’ve also just crocheted my seventh pair of gloves since Christmas Eve! They’ve become a bit more elaborate since my first pair, using my own pattern, so I hope she will like the pair I plan to give her 🙂
This is my latest pair – complete with a ruffle …
Do you like to receive handmade gifts? What’s the best one you’ve received/or the most special? My mother-in-law (much to my DH’s embarrassment) has a handmade snowman using cotton wool balls and a cardboard tube which makes an appearance every year. Obviously it’s very dear to her. For me, it’s the early drawings of my children, such as a cat my eldest drew when she was 3 1/2 years old. She’d captured our tabby, Samson with giant claws and drew him dressed in rainbow stripes. Delightful 🙂
After scoring the square shape inside each circle, you can fold the sections back and glue the base to a glorious background of colour …
Then start decorating with fun gel pens and fine liners 🙂
After cutting out 32 circles from the Gelliprints I glued two different prints together to end up with 16 double-sides circles.
I then drew out a 3cm square from card and scored around the edge on each circle (so there’s a square in the centre)
Then, using a 3×2 Gelliplate, I decorated my journal page, finding textures and inspiration from a fizzy drink lid, bubble wrap and an empty chocolate box
Watch this space for the next stage of the project … 🙂
This past week has been difficult and a mix of both excitement and sadness.
I’ll start with the sad part and end on the happy part.
On Wednesday evening my youngest child and I snuggled down to watch an episode of ‘six Puppies and Us’. We don’t own a dog, but my eldest has taken up drawing them … lots of dogs. She recently ran a competition called the twelve dogs of Christmas where people posted photos of their dogs and then others voted which should be the top thirteen (twelve dogs – one for each month + one for the cover of a calender). The dogs were voted for and the close of the competition was 6th January.
The programme, as the title suggests is about owners and their puppies. We hadn’t watched the first two programmes and just happened to come across one … The adolescent episode. What transpired was a lot of giggling from my daughter as each dog reached adolescence. However, there was one comment made by one owner that riled me. She said that she decided to buy a dog so that her children could understand death through a dog before having to cope with a person dying. I felt that that was a rather strange reason to take on the responsibility of bringing up a puppy. Anyway, it made my daughter and I have an interesting conversation about the validity of the woman’s comment and whether or not she was doing the right thing for her children.
Later, I went on to watch a film and death seemed to feature in this too. This time, a lad’s pet turtle passed away and was found by his step mother. Urgently, she ran out of the house to find a replacement – one that looked as identical as possible so the child wouldn’t discover the turtle’s sad demise.
It was nearing 11pm and I switched the movie off before it finished. Jobs beckoned me: the dishwasher needed to be filled and I had to go to work the next morning.
With the washing up sorted, I went to say goodnight, as I usually do, to our house rabbit Pom Pom. At that time of night I’m normally greeted with an excited bouncing rabbit eager to say hello and have her head smoothed and her ears rubbed. Not this time. I knew something was up. She was still. She was, well you know. I cried of course. Maybe the film and the programme were preparing me. Happenstance, coincidence. Whatever. Grief struck and I didn’t know how to tell my kid. We all were extremely fond of her. I will say though that despite how difficult this week has been, I have been moved by the outpouring of kind comments and thoughts from friends and family but also people I have met in creative groups and not actually met face-to-face. It’s certainly been appreciated and I know I am among some wonderful, thoughtful people who care very much and hurt too when they know you’re hurting or sad.
The rabbit’s life flashed before me: we went to see her as a tiny bundle of fluff and brought her back as a surprise on Christmas Eve seven years ago. My husband and I were like excited school kids as we hid the hutch in the boot of the car and then presented three squealing children with the bunny who looked like a pom pom ball. She was the most placid and delightful pet and now she’s gone … But Pom Pom won’t be forgotten.
Now to some fun news … My first printed book arrived on Wednesday: I’d spent ages planning out the pages and checked out various outlets for the best offers. I wanted something that would showcase my printmaking – the best prints from lino cuts and using the Gelli. Of course, when choosing the style and shape, I had to go for a square book. My portfolio of prints, now contained in a printed book, fit perfectly in my handbag and has arrived in time for workshops I’m starting to run in February. People taking part in my tutorials will now be able to flick through the glossy pages and find something that will hopefully inspire them in their own journey of creating 🙂
Best wishes everyone … And apologies for being away.
Ever forgotten something on a really important day? How about forgetting to put a 35mm film in the camera for your engagement party? We did. Many years ago my father gave me a Fujica camera for my birthday while studying for my ‘A’ Level art and design. He’s an avid photographer who likes to do nature shots of flowers and he’s got a multitude of boat pictures in his collection of slides and displayed in photo albums.
When it came to the momentous occasion of doing a studio photo shoot for my future husband, one of the 35mm reels of film jammed in the camera and without a darkroom, my future father-in-law thought he was being helpful by opening up the back (big no-no as the light destroys the film). Both my boyfriend and I stood mouth agape at the unravelled roll dangling from the back of the camera like the intestines of a cadaver during autopsy.
Later, during our engagement party, we snapped away photo after photo of the cake and the riotous game of skittles only to find that we’d forgotten to include a camera film when it was too late. The drawing of the Fujica camera was an attempt at creating a picture without removing the fineliner pen from the page. There were occasions when I did have to lift the pen though, such as for the lettering to be readable! It was tricky gauging the right dimensions and trying to keep to scale (reason for wonky lens).
My son, now also an avid photographer, enjoys using the Canon and I’ve watched him create and delete photos he’s not happy with and I’ve observed the glee on his face when he’s captured that perfect moment: sunsets and portraits, deer feeding while surrounded by ground frost. I wonder how he’d get on with a 35mm film in a camera where you can’t check the shot and then have to wait a fortnight for it to be developed and printed like back in the 80s? I hope he likes the rubber stamp I cut this evening for him. He can use it over and over again on letter heads or business cards … Or he can use the eraser and gradually the camera will fade away! Lol!
Meanwhile camera fans who read this blog might appreciate a photograph of my son’s kitten he named Nikon, after another camera. Here she is playing around with the dismantled Christmas tree …
Today my son returned to university. It’s a day mixed with pride and also has a strong emotional tug. I remember well the day I left home – I’d prepared what was known as ‘a bottom drawer’ up in the attic: a collection of pots, plates, cups, cutlery and an assortment of other household items saved for the very moment of moving out. It was different to the moment my son first set off back in September. I got married instead. University came much later and after the arrival of three children. It’s never easy saying goodbye but it is easier keeping in touch now with the use of Skype, instant messagings, texting and emails. We’re wired like birds sitting on the line connecting two telegraph poles. Despite the miles separating us, there is always a virtual hug close at hand, a smiley emoticon or a ringtone alert on the phone. Hopefully, four months won’t seem so long as it does right now… the house is very quiet.
My first drawing was of a pair of shoes … They’re made of velvet and I bought them just before Christmas (in the sale) for £4!
The drawing reminded me of a couple of real stories – hope you can read them on the journal page. As a kid, I watched a programme called Indelible Evidence. It showed how a criminal was brought to justice just because he had an unusual bite. He’d taken a bite out of an apple and tossed it away. The partially eaten apple became the evidence. As children, part of growing up is testing boundaries and seeing what you can or cannot get away with. Children worry about getting told off or having items confiscated due to their behaviour. Being a teacher has shown me the many excuses children try out when they fail to bring their homework in: one told me his house burnt down. Have you ever used an excuse as a child why you didn’t do your homework? I confess, I often left mine to the last minute. I remember being asked to make a 3D junk clock. Reluctantly, I scrabbled around the house and selected a few items such as a cereal box and the lid of of the toothpaste. Randomly, I glued the pieces on and created something that vaguely could be called a clock. Feeling sheepish, I handed it over to my tutor and looked at the floor so he couldn’t see my expression. Odd that something I rushed together was praises. All I wanted to do was chuck it in the trash!
One of the stories in my new journal tells about the time my daughter did do her homework only for her sister to sabotage it! I’ve witnessed pranks being made by adults for adults and enjoyed playing the game Balderdash. My youngest played this game over the festive break and invented a whole new currency: stirfry!
One is about a man my mum worked with many years ago who had very large feet and was the only male worker in a catering department. He liked playing with flour and generally made very clumsy attempts at cooking. The other tales are about my youngest – she loves drawing. Enjoy! I’ll leave the Kitkat story to your imagination!