Tuesday 31 July 2007

Forgotten deckchair

I found so many things I had forgotten in that box last week, like this little sketchbook. I used to do a drawing each day in the garden of my old flat, so this is probably dated about 1997...

Things here are unbelievably hectic, I've not slept on anything comfortable for over a week, my hips are complaining vigorously but I'm paying them no heed. Furniture and boxes are strewn everywhere and the spare room is packed full after gutting out the main bedroom at Mr P's to strip, paper, paint and then lay new flooring (it's been chipboard for 4 years). He now claims he is genetically predisposed to muck up DIY, but with me not on top form he's had to pull his finger out and learn some skills.

It's been quite a torturous process but probably I think it was worth it has he has started to take a pride in his own efforts and, I love this bit, he finally understands the amount of hard work involved in doing a job properly and has been really appreciative of all I've done for him over the years. At one point he was up a ladder scrubbing away at a stain on the ceiling (which he would have just painted over in the past) and I heard him say in a chirpy voice "I think I'm becoming a perfectionist". Cute. I'm now having to teach him the importance of being thorough but not slow. Elbow grease, that's what he needs to learn about, and maybe if he gets a taste for it all he'll help me with my house one day.

Ok, got to run, still crazy busy and still not reading blogs, so I hope you are all ok and no major dramas. Still sunny here, hope your weather is as you wish it.

Sunday 29 July 2007

Sketchbook cover details - corn

Found this old squashed sketchbook last week. I made the cover using the husk and fibres from corn sewed onto Nepalese paper, I think it was in '92.

Friday 27 July 2007

The fish and the moon book

Illustration sketches for a book I started but never finished (1993)

This was a story about a fish that feels the moon pulling on the tides. It decides it wants to somehow travel to the moon since it doesn't feel like it fits in with the shoal anyway, and the moon seems to be calling it. Hmm, wonder what I was feeling when I came up with that! I've talked to some of you about this book on email so I was pleased when I stumbled across a few of the drawings last week. The book was to be illustrated half with drawings and half with photo's of 3D collages that contained jewellery sculptures. I even found one of the sketchbooks for the book. I had totally forgotten about making tiny little silver wings that strapped onto the back of a carved tagua nut fish. I may show more when I have more time.

Thanks for all the comments on that last post, it was feeling pretty ranty and definitely needed to vent a bit. Since then we have been blessed with some sun and today it's been nearly all sun and lots of perfect blustery linen drying wind.

I'm still not on the computer much (not reading blogs at all and not checked email for a week) as I'm still having a bit of bother with my eyes (has taken 3 hours to type this!) and also I need all my time and energy for getting other things done. But for those of you that willed my cold away... I got over the worst of it pretty quickly with huge doses of echinacea and cat's claw. Unfortunately I managed to gain a hideously painful shoulder/arm/wrist injury on my 1st day back with Lucy. Luckily Mr P has been able to cover for me so she's finally getting out (she was restricted for 1 week due to a foot injury). Have a brilliant weekend folks.

Tuesday 24 July 2007

Flood images

The town of Upton-upon-Severn in Worcestershire is pictured surrounded by flood waters. Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images found on BBC website.

Our power is due to go off for a day while new cabling is connected in our area. An inconvenience but nothing in comparison to the situation of those in England just now in towns, villages or cities cut off by the floods who have lost their power and their water supply. I always try to focus on something positive but really the only positive thing for them is that it is summer. Global Warming means they expect us to have a lot more extreme rain in winters and I dread to think of the consequences of this degree of flooding if it was accompanied by cold weather, particularly for the elderly and the sick.

Originally uploaded by Klucniks

I remember watching the film 'Earthquake' in the 70's and the bit that really upset me was when Victoria Principals poodle fell (or nearly fell?) into a crack. 30 years on it's still the animals that upset me, because they don't know what's happening and they never caused it. I dread to think of the number of stranded or abandoned pets. With rescue services stretched to their limits (army and life boat service helping) the priority is airlifting people so a lot of pets must be left to fend for themselves. It's not the focus of the news yet but the costs to livestock and wildlife must be enormous and they are starting to talk about ruined crops and a rise in food prices.

The message here is that this impacts all our lives so I am hoping this sudden and extreme shock will cause a mind-shift in the South of England (and the rest of the UK, but most people live in the south) about the seriousness of Global Warming and the absolute need for everyone to TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY and start changing their own actions and pushing for change in government, communities and industry. Many people are finding that insurance companies are refusing to insure them if their postcode is in a potential flood area.

Originally uploaded by Itspaulkelly

I think maybe this time it will change things because this is happening to the wealthier more influential parts of the UK. There's been been really noticeable difference in TV coverage between last months floods in the poorer North East of England compared to the immense coverage now that the South is flooding. Not that the South doesn't warrant the coverage, of course it does. But it irks me that the further you live from London the less important you are in the eyes of the media and politicians. Of course this is a gross generalisation and there are always cases where this isn't true, but anyone living in the North will tell you that this happens far too often. Even the little things irritate, like when the weatherman (based in London) said recently that the next day would be a washout for everyone with no sunshine, but the map of the UK behind him showed that Scotland,Wales, N.Ireland and North, Central and South West England wouldn't have a drop of rain all day. Ugh, irritating.

Another glimmer of hope is that this country, like many, is obsessed with sport and since sports grounds are being flooded and international games having to stop play (tennis and cricket recently) I think it will get more people thinking.

Ok, I'm ranting again. I've had very little sleep with this cold swelling up my sinuses and so many of my regular rant topics are now on the news it's making me rant all the more. Like building on flood planes. That has always driven me crazy and now more so than ever. One politician yesterday was saying that they have given guidelines to Councils about planning applications to build on flood planes. Guidelines?! As millions of houses are being built on them surely there should only be 1 guideline DON'T DO IT!!!!! Bloody hell is this not OBVIOUS, in fact, why is it not law?!!!!!

Rant over, but I can't promise there won't be more. Let's end on an artist note with some flood inspired art by Terry Roberts, finding the beauty in the destruction...

St. Mark's Reflections, originally uploaded by Bingleyman

Monday 23 July 2007

Greeny yellows...

Petrina Hicks: Shenae and Jade found on Artnet

Lyndi Sales: 1 in 11,000,000 Chances
lasercut newspaper and pins
showed (with other gorgeous pieces) at Bell-Roberts

One of my teapots and a rose from next door before the workmen crushed the rose bush!

Saturday 21 July 2007

Wet & wood & hot food

The smell from this Scots pine wood pile is divine.

Lasercut Skate Deck originally uploaded by Refill Seven

Thanks for the well wishes, I'm I'm continuing to look after myself.

The 7th month usually means summer for us but
things here have been cold, wet and gray all week. I prefered when we had thunder as then at least the sky was interesting. There is something so opressive about this heavy blank sky low cloud (the hills are all missing again).

I had to put the heating back on today as it is now the same temperature as it was in December '03 when I moved into my house. I've resisted 'till now as it seems so un-green but I can't feel my hands and feet. When I went to the dentist* on thursday I had to wear late autumn clothes, usually my summer check-up involves me plotting a route where I can walk in the shadow of trees and buildings because it is too hot for me. *No dental dramas thankfully. They give scores now, I got 95 out of 100 so my obsessive flossing is paying off.

Banana, raspberry & mango milkshake before...

and the view as I wait for those last drops at the end...

Mr P is at a wedding in Bristol today. It's the second event he's had down there in 2 weeks and both times I've had to cancel my chance of going down too as I'm still not well enough. The plan was that I would have a holiday-ish time while he went to his events but now I'm glad I was too sick as it's done nothing but rain rain rain. The groom's sister & brother-in-law, and also the best man, missed the wedding because they were stuck on motorways in yet more floods. Mr P only had to step in for the registry and witnessing part but the best man arrived in time for the speeches at the reception and the family arrived later. The weather folk say there is no sign of the rain stopping in the next few days.

Sorry, such a miserable post! The weather is getting me down, I need sunshine and blue skies to help me get better and to pe me up through this allergy diet. Pretty much everything I've grown to eat in the garden has been destroyed or stunted by the weather and that is getting me down a bit too, my veg and fruit growth usually bring me so much pleasure. Anyway, I'll probably do pictures not words sporadically 'till things improve. And on that note, some steamed carrot I'm about to add to my hot wintery dinner with mashed potato. They echo the wood pile at the start of the post...

House of Flowers, House of Stars

I couldn't leave things on the low note of the last post so here is a burst of colour from the pages of a book that belonged to Mr P's sister in the 60's which is now living with him but loved by me. 'House of Flowers, House of Stars' illustrated by Beni Montresor...

Friday 13 July 2007

Random numbers

Sorry I'm a bit absent, very tired.

12 june-12 july 7,008

Thursday 12 July 2007

Monday 9 July 2007

Fruit Flower Foliage

From last month, forgot I'd taken them.

PS. Forgot to say I've not altered the colours, the kiwi is a New Zealand 'Golden' kiwi. I heard the staff and customers raving about them at the farm shop and saying they only come in for a short time so I threw caution, finance and eco concerns to the wind so that I could try one, just once. Very unusual, I though it tasted a little bit like a pear.

Sunday 8 July 2007

An entire dry day!

That's more like it, 10pm sky in July and no rain for a whole day. Shame the weather folk said there would be showers, I could have got some washing done if I'd known it would be hot and dry and windy. Instead, I obsessively unscrewed kitchen gadgets that had been stored in the back of Mr P's cupboards so that I could evict the tiny tiny tiny spiders that had set up home inside them. Who could blame them, some of those things hadn't been used for 3 years.

Last week

The things I'll do to take my mind of food cravings. I'm having to go on a pretty serious allergy detox/elimination diet to try and figure out what has been making me sick recently (well, sicker than what I already was). So no naughty treats like chocolate covered sesame snaps. I'm generally wheat free but not always gluten free cause I eat ryvita and oatcakes. I'm dreading the return to only having rice cakes now (the other suitable things are too pricey for me, or too tasty so they don't last). I'm slightly worried that rice and nuts seem to be causing problems recently. But for now I'm just cutting the ones I'm sure of. If there is no improvement in a month I'll try the others.

Last week

I had to go through the cupboards double checking the ingredients on the things I use and sure enough there were offending ingredients hidden in the things I use like my corn syrup (has malt from barley = gluten) and to my soya margarine had bloomin' dairy in it! Mr P bought that one so he's not used to label checking. Lucky I never use it much. Did I talk about the margarine already? This memory thing is freaking me out. The irony is, it's only 2 months since I applied to do voluntary work with Alzheimers patients.

Last week

So anyway, once I started looking in the cupboards I couldn't stop hence the discovery of the spidery gadgets. After the eviction there was some intense washing with lots of vinegar (kills bacteria). I have to be in the right mood for that sort of obsessive cleaning, and today I really was, I think because of the sunshine, it was like getting the spring cleaning urge. My hands, which are normally rough from gardening, are now the softest they have ever been in my adult life. Vinegar is such great stuff. I buy it in big 5 litre bottles for cleaning, chemicals are not given shelf space in this house. There's not much you can't clean with vinegar, bicarb or lemon, and for the rest there's Ecover.

Last week

Another benefit of intense washing was that the warm water really eased my aching hands and wrists after my mini drama yesterday where I locked all my different sets of keys inside my shed! The torrential rain appeared suddenly and before running to the house I closed the shed door and clicked the padlock shut - then yowled as I realised what I had done. Because I was pet sitting everywhere I had lots of keys with me so I couldn't feed anyone's animals without them. Mr P was away at a school reunion so no hope of getting into the house later on both our houses were locked.

I had to borrow a rusty almost blunt hacksaw off a neighbour and stand in highly inappropriate clothing (it had been very hot and sunny before the rain) hacking at the padlock for half an hour before I managed to cut through. I tell you, if ever there was a reason to treat myself to a naughty snack that would have been it, but I was good, I resisted temptation! This morning when I woke my body had seized up completely. I t took 4 hours to get enough movement to go and pee (too much detail, I know). I won't be locking my keys in the shed again.

Saturday 7 July 2007

My Metalwork - bowl

'Mermaids purse' bowl (detail) 1993
(real shark eggs shown for scale)

'Mermaids purse' bowl filled with water
Approx 40cm across

I was looking out an old ceramics photo for Paula and I remembered I said ages ago I'd show a some mermaids purse (sharks egg) inspired metalwork of mine. Photo's are of out of focus photo's from years ago, not ideal but you can kind of see the shapes.

I still have this bowl. I love when themes I've been working with interconnect, eggs and pods, and the sharks egg is both in it's way. Then the aquatic element, and the fact that the common name, here at least, is mermaids purse, and mermaids are another of my themes.

I made this from scrap copper (and old hot water tank) with fused edges to add to the decayed feeling that I like in my work. I used the silver dust that people made when sawing their earrings to fuse onto the 3 bumps in the raised detail. Me and my 3's.

No thunder today! Lots of sun and rain in equal measure.

Thursday 5 July 2007

Thunder in July Sky

Each photo taken on a different day July '07

So good to get some sunshine at last. The skies have been amazing, each day the dark part of the rain clouds will have a different hue, sometimes blue-ish, other times purpley or charcoal gray. As the clouds build every day (as the sun evaporates the soaked fields and hills) and eventually they crack with thunder and we get a downpour. Fortunately they are taking longer to reach critical mass each day so we are getting mostly dry mornings and when the sun comes through it is hot summer sun. Yesterday it only rained heavily 3 times and we saw another sunset. Beautiful.

Last night I even saw the moon! This may not sound unusual but the clouds always build by evening so I haven't seen the moon for over a month which I find astounding and freaky. I couldn't see all of it but it looked big and beautiful.

Wednesday 4 July 2007

Mary-Clare Buckle felt maker

Stars and Stripes by UK fibre/textile artist Mary-Clare Buckle

Happy Independence day to my US readers and friends.
We had sun all day until the thunder and rain started 30 minutes ago. I managed to get my washing dried outside and save it before the rain hit, so it's been a very good 4th of July for me. Hope you are all having some sort of fun too.

Tuesday 3 July 2007

Scotland is so green

Details on St. Stephen's Street, Edinburgh

Thanks to everyone who has sent me links, ideas, recipes etc. I've got lots of fresh new inspiration and all I need now is a sunny day to start experimenting. It's one of my 'things', I can only be creative or try new recipes on beautiful clear sunny days. Yesterday we had four, yes four, small thunder & lightning bursts through the day, all before 6pm, and all accompanied by heavy rain. That might not sound much, but this close to the coast we usually only get 1 or 2 a year. We've had about 20 in the last week, mostly short though a few have been more impressive. Not creative cooking weather, though it is lovely to watch, all those dark clouds against tiny patches of white or blue sky.

Every day someone round here hopefully attempts a BBQ during the dry moments, so each time there is a downpour you see huge clouds of smoke coming from one of the gardens. On the subject of outdoor eating, Delphine posted one of the Minuscule Series Pique-Nique on her blog, I had never heard/seen these before and they were exactly the kind of gentle funny I was in the mood for. There are lots of them on You Tube. If you've not seen them they are comical little animations of the lives of insects in real life settings.

We are seeing more of the hill between showers
Scotland is greener than ever this July

Lucy finds an old path with no mud!

Couldn't fix my link problem from yesterday without retyping it (no way). But the links are there, they just don't show up highlighted. If you hover over the names or blogs I listed you can still link to them. Not sure if it will be the same today but I won't keep trying if doesn't work. Off out now while the sun is peeking through the clouds, the very very heavy dark gray clouds. I will be wearing my waterproof and anticipating wet legs again.

ps. will do more arty links when my mushy brain starts working again.

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