Monday, 31 August 2009

= charmed =

Someone asked Charles Saatchi "What advice do you and your wife give to your children?".
He replied that his wife's mother gave her an invaluable notion on good behaviour.
*his wife being Nigella Lawson, queen of all things cookery

It is better to be charmed than to charm.

Now there are those who like to engage an audience, to flatter and get a buzz from being listened to.
So Nigella's mother sees this aim to be the most fascinating person in the room as vulgar and misplaced vanity.
Trying to be charming is a self-indulgence whereas allowing oneself to be charmed is good manners.

I can see what she is getting at here ~ no-one likes a show-off, there's enough of those in this mememe-lookatme-wannabe generation.

But if we are to all be charmed ~ who's left to charm us?

Friday, 28 August 2009

_-' quantified '-_

Every Thursday for a year, until this July, I travelled to a local Adult Education Centre to study Maths and English.
2½ hours of Maths in the morning, ½ hour break for lunch, then 2½ hours of English.
Essays, Shakespeare, poems, linear equations, statistics and calculations.
Coursework and modules.
Today my results arrived and I passed them both with flying colours ^_^

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

< little words>

Dear Nanny, thank you for the beautiful ring you sent me. I shall save it for special days and think of you when I am wearing it.

As children we were always encouraged to write 'thank you' notes.
It's a habit that I have lost as an adult.
My Mama still does and I often want to thank her for her thank you.
An appreciation of the time someone has spent making your day a good one.

When I receive a card from my Aunt, she underlines parts of the verse inside or even adds her own.
She endorses the point and has shown that she was thinking of me when writing it.
The best card for me, is a handmade one. Doesn't have to be a masterpiece.
It just shows that someone has taken time to create something just for me.

I feel the same with gifts.
A well thought out surprise means so much more to me than 100 presents or £100.
The real art is in choosing something that has meaning and spirit.
That's not to say that any present isn't gratefully received!

You could apply this to everyday thought and deed.
In this age of celebrity and vacuousness, it's easy to say what people want to hear.
A well thought out word means so much more than 100 spilled or empty ones.
It is always good to be told you're appreciated.
Not pats on the back but a heartfelt word.
I may not be in the habit of writing 'thank you' notes anymore.
But I do love to say it, with sincerity, to anyone who takes time for me.

Monday, 24 August 2009

]-summer squeeze-[

Summer screams abundance.
Bees & butterflies fluttering around, busy doing what bees & butterflies do.
The smell of creosote or cut grass as people push mowers
up and down.
Children laughing and enjoying the fresh outdoors.

There's fruit to be picked, vegetables to harvest, jams and pickles to be made.
Dust down the sunloungers, rummage in the shed.
Walk along the prom, run in the fields, laze in the warm heat of the sun or the cool shade.
Guess shapes in the clouds, see jets make vapour trail sky kisses.

Oh I love summer.

make lemonade ....
1 ½ cups cups water
1 ½ cups cups sugar
1 ½ cups cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of two lemons *four if they are small*

gently heat the water, zest and sugar in a pan until sugar has melted
cool to room temperature then add the lemon juice
decant into a bottle
fill a glass with ice, pour over yummy lemon syrup and top with cold fizzy water or soda
mmmm the taste of summer

Friday, 21 August 2009

_ notes & paper_

I've used many notebooks to sketch, stick & write within. I have an archive that I peep into for inspiration or nostalgia.
People have made me handy sized books to keep in my bag for those bit 'n' bobs that have to be recorded or kept.
Then I received a moleskine.
A black covered book of empty cream pages with an elastic tie to keep it closed and a really handy pouch inside the back cover.
There is something about this sexy book that makes me consider what I put in its pages.
It talks productivity.
I use mine for samples and swatches and found items and labels and photos.
To write website addresses or things to remember or research.
Things that interest me.
My friend Paul allowed me a look inside the covers of his moleskine.
Full of drawings of monsters and colourful spray painted pieces.
He recently shared a page on his blog.

The book artist Louise Best uses hers as a diary and sketchbook ~ the pages are beautifully painted and written and stamped, giving us an insight to how she works, sees and thinks.

There's a local artist Andy Gosling who often shares the pages of his book on flickr and there are groups dedicated to the art of moleskine too!
We each use the same book in a totally different way.

In a recent programme about the artist David Hockney, I spied a moleskine on his table as he said this ....
"We always see with the memory of seeing. Each persons memory is a bit different. We can't be looking at the same things can we? We're all on our own".

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

>- sun & wool -<

Sitting in the sunshine with my pattern and hook, I've started my blanket.
It's like learning a new language or deciphering a code ~ 3ch, 2dk; 3dk, 3ch in same space ....

Then the doorbell rang and a parcel had arrived ~ my book!
It looks great and I am delighted with it *thank you Bleecher*

If you want to be nosey then you can see some of it here >>

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

> by hook or by crook <

"Mama can you help me make a dress?" asked my precious girl.
It had me rummaging in my sewing box for cotton and ribbon.
A little treasure trove of gathered things ~ needles and pins and lace and buttons and an old needle case that I made when I was at Junior school, pin cushions and offcuts of felt and used zips and old brownie badges and feathers and press studs and tins of beads and threads and embroidery silks of every colour.

I wonder where all those knitting needles came from as I readily admit to never being able to keep my knitted creations from getting larger or smaller. It's all to do with tension apparently. I did manage to make a 'cobweb' jumper in my punk days, using cardboard at the end of the biggest needles to stop the stitches falling off.

I found a collection of crochet hooks. One thing I can do is crochet. My mother inspired me to take it up one day.
She has always been a knitter and maker of things. The evenings watching tv with the 'click' of her needles are a good memory. She made clothes for us and matching ones for our dollies ~ still does it now but for the grandchildren.

Taking out the crochet hooks, I took a trip to Bodkins Wool Shop. The lady was oh so helpful as we chose coloured wools and talked about trends for craft in these money-belt tightening times. She holds knitting and crochet classes at her shop and they are very popular.
It's influencing fashion and interior design. Make do and mend will be our motto.
I have decided to make an afghan blanket for my bedroom. You know the kind ~ think granny!

Friday, 7 August 2009

~ turn the page ~

A little folder on my desktop called 'blurb' winked at me today.
It's full of edited photos taken by me, for an imaginary book.
So this afternoon I set to work making that a reality.
Sounds good ~ except the software to do this is painstakingly s-l-o-w.
My poor old mac was groaning nearly as much as me.
Plenty of layouts to choose from, so why not the ones I want?!
Keeping my thought concentration through phone calls and big smiles at a text from Hayley.
Editing and saving, moving and saving, tweaking and saving.
Persevering, I made cups of chai or lady grey in between uploads and rushing out to get the washing in before it rained.

Until finally, after a day of huffs and tuts and yays ....

.... my book is complete and ready for print.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

.'- things are so much brighter in the sun -'.

I'm back from a week of Andalucian sunshine.

Eyeing storks cruise on thermals, their legs dangling oddly while wings
   spread elegantly.
Strolling abandoned streets of Jerez in 47 degree heat after tapas and
Collecting shells and stones on Sancti Petri beach while daydreaming
   to the sea and cloudless sky.
Ambling down cobbled alleys in Cadiz, adoring Moorish cupolas and
   kooky shopfronts.
Paddling in the pool until sundown then waiting for the stars to come
   out and the owls to swoop over the pines.
Eating sweet pink prawns and fresh sardines from the bbq.