Thursday, 29 January 2009

Little things .....

Just to prove that I eventually DID finish my City and Guilds homework in time - here's the proof - I made a concertina book to display my texture samples.

I was full of good intention to come home and do this week's homework straight away, but I hadn't bargained on having a really bad cold which has since turned into a cough, and I didn't feel like doing anything for a few days, although I did manage a little gentle 'colouring in' whilst watching Midsomer Murders yesterday afternoon. (I was ill, ok!)
I feel more or less back to normal (whatever that is) today, and as it was quite bright and sunny I went to assist my friend's husband who was cutting back some trees in my garden. He decided to light a bonfire, to get rid of the branches, and I saw the opportunity to do some serious cutting back and get rid of the rubbish on the bonfire. He packed up at lunch time, but I was so full of enthusiasm that I stayed out pruning and hacking back for another couple of hours. I've never had a bonfire of my very own before - I didn't realise it would be such fun. I even considered breaking up furniture just to give me something else to burn. (Only joking!) I sent my sister a text message with a picture of the fire and she texted back "Where are you?" Like I'm gonna start fires in other people's gardens?!?!?
Anyway, I rang her, and she was equally excited by the fact that she has had a great response to her request in her local newsletter for old buttons. So, while other women may need to have a weekend at an exclusive health spa, or treat themselves to a pair of Jimmy Choo's - just give me and little sis a bonfire or an old button jar, and we're as happy as Larry.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Thieving squirrels and day of culture

I've been very busy doing my City and Guilds homework - and it's nearly all done now. I so love playing down in my studio - and I know I'm lucky being able to leave mess out - although it is now tidied. Forgot to take pictures, so those will have to wait until the next post, after class on Wednesday. Talk about leaving things to the last minute!
You may remember I mentioned that I had a deluxe Bird Feeding Station for Christmas. Well, I installed it down the bottom of the garden, near my shed, so I could watch it from the window. Great idea, except that I had bargained without the pesky squirrels. Twice I found the remains of the green plastic net bags that had once contained fat balls, and call me cynical, but somehow I don't think the average blue tit could chew through plastic netting. Anyway, I decided to re-locate the bird feeder nearer the house, as I figured that Mr Squirrel would be less likely to come right up the garden, and wouldn't have anywhere to leap from.
However, to be on the safe side, I bought a holder for the fat balls, took them out of the bags and put them straight in the holder, and then wired the top shut. I also bought half a coconut filled with fat and seeds which I hung up too.
I came out into the garden yesterday morning, to find string from the coconut chewed through, the knot of the string on the tray, and no sign of the coconut half. And you DEFINITELY can't tell me that the blue tits did that! I found the coconut shell further down the garden, it was completely empty and almost looked like it had been washed up. Fat little squirrel - hope he made himself sick!
Anyway, here's the posh bird feeder,
and here's the empty shell and the knot from the string.Had a trip up to London today with some painting friends - we went to the Royal Academy to see the Byzantium Exhibition. We met in a lovely little coffee shop in Picadilly - none of your Starbucks for us! We enjoyed the exhibition, and I did a few little sketches to inspire me later.
Came out of the exhibition, and I remembered that Stuart (ex-employee of Art Van Go) now works in the very exclusive chocolate shop along the road from the Royal Academy. I looked in the window and there he was, looking ultra smart. I popped in to say 'Hello' and as he had his back to the counter, I said "Excuse me, do you sell Smarties?" In spite of that, I wasn't ejected from the premises, and he did give me a couple of chocolates, probably in an effort to get rid of me. Thanks Stuart, they were delicious - but then they should be at those prices.
Came back out into Picadilly and saw this cab - isn't it pretty. Bet it still does u-turns without indicating though.

We walked up to Leicester Square and stopped for lunch at an Italian restaurant, then Bridget and Nicole went on to Covent Garden, and Jill and I (who are still having a frugal January) decided to give the shopping a miss and went to the British Museum instead. There was an exhibition of sculptor's drawings, so we decided to have a look at that. Bit of a mixture, but some things I liked and this was my favourite. Jill said I liked it just because it's pink. I'm not quite sure what it is, but it looks like a figure in a pink frock to me. Nice waist, shame about the face.

Right, I'm off now to get a DNA test on half a coconut shell.
PS Leyton lost 2-1 to Bristol on Saturday. Like you're interested.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Sunset and sunrise

Back to Leyton Orient again on Saturday - wrapped up very warm as it was so cold last week. However, there were a lot of concerns about the pitch which was still frozen and after numerous pitch inspections, and what at times appeared to be an outdoor cocktail party, with various groups of blokes looking very intent and talking earnestly about not very much, they decided to call the game off. Which meant a bit of an early day for me, although not as early as you'd expect.
Must have been a disappointment for all the Sheffield fans who had travelled down en masse to see their team (presumably) win.
On the plus side, Orient didn't lose, and I get to go and work an extra day for the re-scheduled game. And, leaving a bit earlier, I was able to catch a 'romantic sunset over Leyton' shot.
On Sunday I went for a lovely long walk around Tewin, and although it was really cold, it was a beautiful day and at least my boots didn't get muddy as the ground was frozen. Saw this lovely little bridge with interesting reflections in the water. Maybe I'll paint it.

I'd never noticed this before - a horseshoe horse in the car park opposite Card Inspirations barn. Not sure if it's new or if I just haven't seen it because I'm not usually walking.
Woke up yesterday morning to a light covering of snow, and it was very icy, so decided to stay in all day and potter. Made a serious start on C&G homework, and I'm going to continue today. I seem to be making a bit of a meal of it - I must stop procrastinating. (But not yet). Full of good intentions, it's now 8.30am and I'm up, showered and dressed, I've cleaned the bathroom and put some washing on. And, as I had a 'sunset over Leyton' I thought I'd also include a 'sunrise over Hertford'.

I must say, I thought all the settings on my camera were a bit of a gimmick, but changing it to the 'sunset' setting made a real difference, so you learn something every day. That's me done - now I'm going to start work!

Friday, 2 January 2009

I said I'd be back!

Right, I've got a bit more time now, and I've sorted out the pictures from my camera. I had a lovely Christmas, spent the 25th with some friends locally, then worked at Leyton Orient on Boxing Day - very cold, and yes, I'm afraid they lost again - 2-1 to Swindon. Then on the Saturday I went up to Norfolk to see my family, and for more eating and drinking. I had my presents up there when I arrived, and look at the beautiful chocolates I got from my sister! At first I thought they were real, but closer inspection revealed that they were made from felt, beautifully stitched and beaded.
On the back she had printed a label which says -
"Ever Felt Like Chocolates"
Original no calories, eye candy. Produced in a home where nuts are consumed (almost daily)
Suitable for allergy sufferers. Absolutely no sell by/use by date. Felt sourced throughout Norfolk/E Bay. No animals were harmed in the production of these chocolates, just stroked."
I think they are just brilliant. Then my other present from her was a voucher for a day's workshop making felted bags with a lady in Surrey - how lovely. I told my sister that clearly she likes to make her presents felt. (Think about it)
I had lots of other lovely presents too - a Bird Feeder unit which I have put together and installed at the bottom of the garden so I can see it from my Studio, and lots of 'heart' related goodies - a hand made book, teatowels, a "Gilly Pink" candle holder & make up bags all with hearts on. Then I got some cupcake related presents - a pink glass cake plate, muffin cases and pink and purple sparkly stuff to sprinkle on iced cakes - see, everyone knows that I've turned into Nigella now! And of course, NY resolution related presents - a revolving cutting mat and machine embroidery threads to do my homework, and a guitar tuition book as this is the year that I really will learn to play. You heard it hear first!
On the Sunday as it was such a beautiful day (although VERY cold) we went for a walk at Sandringham. I just had to take a picture, it looks like a summer's day - well, if you ignore the fact that the trees don't have any leaves. We saw the Royals arrive for church - or to be more precise, we saw their cars - we were in the coffee shop by that time, warming up. And at least we'd had a walk - they didn't even do that and the church is only in the bottom of their garden!

Sunday evening we had yet more food at my sister's and my nephew brought his Wii (I think that's how you spell it. Here is my Dad snowboarding (and he hadn't even had a drink!) I've told him there's no way we are buying him one for his 81st birthday this month.
On Monday I went shopping with my niece to find a top for her to wear New Years Eve - an unsuccessful shopping trip - I hate the sales, everywhere looks like a jumble sale. So neither of us bought anything. As we walked past a closed and empty Woolworths, all the staff climbed into the window and started waving at passers by. I still think it's a real shame about Woolies - my first job and all that. And more importantly - what is life without Pick'n'Mix??

Anyway, I'm back at home now, I had a quiet New Years Eve with Jools Holland and a relaxing day yesterday, although I got lots of stuff done and tidied. I watched one of my favourite films - 'Pollyanna', (oh come on, I was doing the ironing at the same time so I don't have to feel guilty!) and anyone who knows the film will understand why I had to take this picture of rainbows dancing in my bedroom this morning!

Right, off for a walk and then to do some homework. Definitely!

Happy New Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! anyone who is still reading this after such a long gap! I can't believe it - nearly three weeks have gone by since my last post. But, if I've been too busy to write it, hopefully you'll have been too busy to read it. Shopping, wrapping presents, writing and posting cards, eating, drinking - all the usual stuff.
My New Year resolution is to spend (much!) less, and to make lots more arty stuff. And, possibly to update my blog more than once in a blue moon. And to lose a few more pounds. And to learn to play the guitar. And to do my homework on time. But then, nobody's perfect.
This is a very short post, but I will definitely be back tomorrow - with pictures!! (Can't wait to show you what my sister made for me) x