Rainbow bubblewrap haiku

Burst forth in colour –
Smooth out the indigo clouds;
Pop up the violets.

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a late Monday night – so photographs of a washed out carnival

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Every year we’ve only had to walk to the end of our road to watch the carnival.  Today was no exception, however the carnival organisers decided to change the route and instead of doing the straight circuit, they travelled down the High Street and extended the route so it covered 2.5 miles.  We left our house at 7.30 and the street was empty apart from a couple of Candy Floss and Burger Vans.  We walked back home at 7.35 after a marshall said it wouldn’t reach us for another 30 minutes.  One and a half hours later, we heard music in the distance, so we left our house again and caught sight of the first majorettes.  The rain fell; puddles formed and children cried.  For the first time ever, the carnival ended at the bottom of our road – literally. Float after float got stuck at the bottom of the hill and we witnessed large gaps between floats and some floats were empty of people – they got off, so we watched silent floats pass by.  It was such a shame and there were many disappointed children, however, I admire those little ones that braved the downpours and the long walk as we were still hearing the noise of the floats, when back in the warm, at nearly 11pm!

Fairy House Hunt

DSCN5366Today my family finally managed to get to the woods and go on a fairy house hunt among the trees.  The sun came out and children were swinging from the monkey bars and a tethered tyre.  It was great to get some fresh air after feeling poorly all week and I’m sure the walk did me some good.

Here are few photographs of some of the fairy doors/houses we found tucked up against the tree trunks.  They weren’t that easy to spot as they were well spread out. Occasionally we found fairy stickers on the trees and even some pink glitter, but these were all decoys! As super sleuths, we had to retrace our steps to uncover all fifteen ‘hidden’ doors.
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We also were entertained by the natural wildlife – the wood was full of squirrels scurrying about and nibbling at the nuts in among the fallen leaves. Their antics were amusing, as was the time I saw a gorgeous robin sitting so still and silently on a wooden fence that I thought it wasn’t real on the entrance to the woods! It flew off at the sight of my camera before I could get a decent picture of it!

a November wedding: the spider and the butterfly

Today, November 1st, is the beginning of a cousin’s married life and the start of National Novel Writing Month.  This has meant that the crafts were put on hold today (unless you can class my photo as a craft or even my writing).

I managed it.   I managed to write 1,695 words on day one of NaNoWriMo.  At first, I was faced with a blank page and I thought I’d struggle to make a start on it, but it flowed.  Whether this is because I’ve been thinking about the 50000 word novel for a while, or because the house is quiet remains to be seen.

The day’s been interesting.  We travelled into the city for a family wedding (my husband’s cousin) and the forecast wasn’t that great, but the sun shone.  The little church has been the venue for several family members including my in-laws and they chose the same hymn as my husband and I had at our wedding.  According to my father-in-law, everyone has ‘Morning has broken’.  I’m not so sure.  There are so many hymns people can choose from, but some words just ‘stick’ don’t they:  ‘The blackbird has spoken, like the first bird’ (humming it now, can you tell?).  You don’t have to struggle to remember them and there’s no need to grasp a hymn book while trying to hold onto your fascinator during a winter wedding.

The church is pretty old; unusually it still has pews unlike many churches nowadays.  There’s a little arch that you have to walk through to get to the church and the aisle is so short that it’s possible to hold your breath for a minute and the father and bride have reached the front!

The church cobwebs were also noticeable.  At one point, the perfectly coiffured hair on the bridesmaid became the cobweb: my sister-in-law had to surreptitiously remove a spider happily crawling through the braiding.  The said spider returned, climbing up the bridesmaid’s back later on in the service while a tortoiseshell butterfly distracted everyone’s eyes away from the bride and groom coming back from signing the register.

The young bridesmaid and pageboy were my niece and nephew; they had more fun tossing the confetti rose petals on the floor that at the bride, but I did manage to take this photograph before the bride headed off to the reception.

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opening and shutting doors

We had a guest a few years ago who travelled all the way from Europe to spend five weeks with us while she studied English.  Her fascination with the range of cakes and biscuits available at the supermarkets meant we were able to sample something new every night.

While exploring the avenues in Somerset, she commented on the ‘quaint’ or cute little houses , the meandering roads and door knockers!  She wanted to take one back as a souvenir and asked us where she could buy one.  My DH disappeared into the garden and removed the door knocker from the spare door propped up along the side of our house and presented her with the brass accessory.  It wasn’t elaborate, ornate or really that decorative, but she danced around on the balls of her feet as if she’d been given the best gift in the world!

Another visitor who came to stay with us from Italy decided he wanted to ram a full size cricket set, Christmas crackers and a fancy dress policeman’s helmet in his suitcase.  It took a while to explain to him that he couldn’t have cricket stumps sticking out of his backpack on the plane.  He wore the fancy dress helmet and somehow got the cricket bat lying across the inside of his case.

I do like old doors like the one in the picture, but unlike my youngest child, I struggle with keys (she can look at a bunch of keys and select the one we need, while I would have to try all of them!).  She also liked to shut doors while my OH likes opening them – and leaving them open!

I recently saw a post on Facebook about doors of opportunity closing and wondered how many times people are prepared to try going for something, for example, how many times would you be prepared to apply for the same job at the same place if it came up again?  Sometimes it feels as if someone is trying to tell you something: try a different route; a different road; a different pathway to get there.  Have there been any places you’ve really wanted to work and so you’ve applied for everything going?  My sister-in-law did just this: she kept on applying to the same company; she kept knocking on their door.  Nothing stopped her enthusiasm and eventually she did get offered a job at that company.

While writing this, I think back to the times I sent off letter after letter to publishing companies and duly received thank you letters with various reasons why they couldn’t publish my short story or reader’s letter.  Through perseverance and probably a lot of gutsy determination, I started getting pieces of my creative writing published.  I began to receive phone calls from editors and prizes.  The buzz began to happen and I began to believe.

Years later, I look back on the doors that slammed shut and the doors that creaked open.  Occasionally, there were doors of opportunity open to me, but I was the one who shut the door.  Have you ever done that?  It can be scary; you start to doubt yourself and that’s when you decide to shut the door and stay on the path that you know.

This evening, I attempted to make an origami rose. I got as far as this and was stumped! I will return to this another day when I’m less tired.

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Digital image

Yesterday was one of those days where the doors decided to shut. The plan was to take my daughter somewhere special to take her mind off the dentist appointment. Considering there is a minor link between fairies, doors and teeth (the tooth fairy), I’m going to share with you what we’d planned. We were going fairy hunting. Yes, after a discussion at work, I found out there was a woodland fairy trail that contains fifteen wooden fairy doors hidden in the trunks of the trees.

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Now, a twelve year old might be a bit old in some people’s eyes to believe in fairies, but when it comes to having teeth out, there is the expectation that the tooth fairy will pay a visit 😉
We will endeavour to explore the fairy trail on a less drizzly day and I will share with you some of the dainty little fairy doors that we find. In the meantime, this was a ten minute sketch I did of one of the door knockers as we are going to keep knocking on those doors of opportunity!

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Hamsters, Fairies and Angels

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I’ve posted this tonight as it’s half term holiday and tomorrow we’re taking our daughter on a special morning out – I’ll hopefully be able to share some photographs of our adventure (weather dependent), but as she has to have some teeth out at the dentist to prepare her for braces, she may need a bit of TLC on our return. I hope the arts and crafts event at an outdoors National Trust park will take her mind off things and stop her getting anxious (so I’m praying for lovely weather).
In the meantime, here is a quick sketch to illustrate our hamster stirring things up in the household …now of course, we have Nikon – the kitten who loves to nick my paintbrushes, pens, clothes pegs, tights, drinking straws and likes to sleep in the most awkward places!

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Rusts and oranges for autumn and salt for winter

It’s been a real challenge finding oak leaves in my area, yet I love the shapes they create in printing. I’m taking part in a Gelliprint leaf postcard swap and already had several printed a few weeks ago just as the leaves were falling. Now the leaves have gone crisp and are beginning to disintegrate because of either being trampled into the earth or through the persistent downpours we’ve experienced this week in the UK.
First up, I thought I’d showcase my Gelliprinted lion (details of how I printed this can be found on my other blog http://www.theelevatorpress.wordpress.com)

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Also this week, there was a discussion at work about grit containers for the roads. Every one we’ve seen have been yellow, but the people I work with don’t want a yellow container and would prefer a more contemporary grey. The main reason they’re yellow of course, is so that they’re visible!

I also belong to an Autumn Journal group led by Myfanwy Hart. Every day she has been prompting us with a word and on this occasion we had the prompt word ‘SEASON’. I considered the various options for this word such as the different seasons we go through and then decided on creating a snowflake out of rock salt from my kitchen. Salt as you know can be used for seasoning food, but also as a grit to dissolve ice on the roads. There’s a link with winter for you!

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Not long after I took this photo our kitten walked all over the salt.

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It’s currently autumn and here is one of my leaf prints from today. I managed to finally pick up some oak leaves, a bit damp, but usable, while out with my OH. During the week, I did take the country route home in search of some decent leaves and I saw sycamore after sycamore! It’s amazing what you notice when you are actually looking!

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Then I chopped up some apples for this delicate print. The Gelli really does pick up the smallest texture and it’s exciting waiting to pull the paper back from the plate to see how the image has turned out 🙂

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The print above is before any embellishments and is a lot larger than the sizes needed for postcards. I will be working on the postcard prints over the next few days quite probably to the sound of another downpour!

A visit to a museum and art gallery

After reading yesterday’s post, you lovely people will know that we’ve been away. We drove for five hours up to the north of England to deliver a computer my son needed at university. He is the son who named his kitten Nikon (after a camera) and loves to use his Canon for photo opportunities such as a special trip to the Silverstone race track and pit lanes a couple of weeks ago. After dropping off the computer, he took us to one of his favourite eating places … a restaurant called The Olympus (another famous name of a camera make). It was obviously a popular venue and the restaurant had teamed up with the theatre to offer a meal and tickets to see Grease. We just ate and walked our son back to his flat, before heading off to a hotel for the night – you would have read what happened next in yesterday’s brief blog post!
We returned the next morning to spend some more time with him and he took us to the library (he knows I like books – what English teacher doesn’t?). But there wasn’t just books in the library building, there was also a basement aquarium and on the upper floors, an art gallery; exhibition of embroidery and a vast collection of taxidermy plus several Egyptian exhibits.
The embroidery guild asked for the public to cast a vote on the design that was believed to deserve to win. I had a good look around and chose a delicately stitched picture of birds in flight on fabric which shimmered (it looked like various shades of voile). I chose it because it changed depending on where you stood in the room to view it, reminding me of holograms. Interestingly, when my daughter and I went to write down our choices I discovered my selection was called , ‘Going home’ and it made me realise that all too soon, we’d be heading back down the motorway and knew it would take about five hours to get back.
The front entrance to the art gallery, library and museum was through this archway, across the road from the station.

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The exit was equally interesting as it had a gorgeous crescent shape that had impressed my son too.

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Some more crafting will take place over the next few days, but for now I will share with you the fish print I created this evening on our return, to remind me of our visit to the aquarium.

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Mini books – a shed load of colour!

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I decided to make a miniature watercolour book this evening. Here is the start of it

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And now the stitching is done, I need to find a suitable cover

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Then I can have a go at using this Pentel Aqua pen/brush (which I think is awesome as I won’t need to carry a pot of water around with me when I go out tomorrow collecting autumn leaves for my next printing project 🙂