Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Home again

Home again after a quiet, but nice, Christmas with my folks. The drive back yesterday was hideous, though. A combination of snow on the A1 and people heading for the sales meant the roads were sluggish. What was a 3 hour journey on the way up became a 5 hour journey back down. We comforted ourselves on arrival with a huge nosh-up at The Wharf pub.

Today, we've been farm-shopping again to lay in stocks so we can relax for the rest of the holiday. Then we pulled boots on and went out for a walk on the hard frosty ground. It was a relief to be doing some exercise after a lot of sofa-sitting.

Tomorrow we intend to have our own private 'Christmas Day'. It will start with a good cup of coffee, followed by fry up and a big walk, then roast pork (no poultry left unsurprisingly.)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I'm just catching up online while munching my organic, gluten free porridge (quite nice, surprisingly) and sipping echinacea herbal tea (feeling a bit under the weather so taking precautions.)

Tomorrow, we are off up to Darlington to spend Christmas with my Gran and parents. We plan to fuel up on a big breakfast at the Long Itchington diner (discovered last weekend - fantastic!) to keep us going up the M1/A1.

We shall return on Tuesday. Have a very good Christmas/not-Christmas, depending on your persuasion!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Feeling Earthy

I put some sunflower seeds out last week. Boy, are they popular! We've suddenly got flocks of blue-tits and coal-tits, and the occasional gold-finch. So I nipped out today to give them a refill, as they'd nearly scoffed the lot. And so I can now report that there are signs of life from the bulbs - the leaves are just pushing through the earth. Good timing.

I don't know whether it's making me feel 'earthy', but I got my lump of clay out this afternoon. It had dried out a bit, so I pulled some lumps off, watered them and started to knead it to soften it up. This got very messy, but was great fun. When it was workable again, I started to form it into shapes, working intuitively with no outcome in mind. I now have three pieces, which I'm leaving to dry. Two of them are a bit Henry Moore-ish, but definitely not 3 tonnes :)

I've also commenced making up the cotton t-shirt top that I've been knitting for months. I've only got the sleeves to stitch now - I've set them in with knotted threads and am hoping the stitching will be straightforward.

I've also started my Colinette hat. I just love Point Five.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Last day at work today - and it was a very LONG day. But all done now, and I'm on holiday - hooray!

Anyone planning a solstice celebration for tomorrow? It's offically at 18:35, or so my Mum says. I love it when it starts to get light again, and am usually looking for signs of spring before we've even got Christmas and New Year over. The ewes are looking pretty plump and distinctly broody, and the trees are budding. Just need to check on my bulbs in daylight tomorrow ... :)

Monday, December 19, 2005


Well, I needed a journal ... so I reckoned it was about time I used some of that paper I've been making. I can always make more.

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside ...

Whitby in Winter. You can't beat it. The wind was howling through the double-glazing, blowing the external door open and hammering the hail against the windows. But we didn't care, because we were cozy in our cottage overlooking the harbour. On Saturday morning, I was sitting in bed looking at the waves curling over into white horses. A dark blue line crept towards the right hand harbour wall. Two minutes later, the view disappeared into a complete whiteout, punctuated by lightening. It was all over again by the time Rick came out of the shower.

Inbetween squalls, we managed to shuffle round the cobbled streets, well wrapped up. I had a wonderful time in Bobbins wool shop, which is inside an old church hall and sells Colinette yarns. I succumbed to a hank of rich purples, pinks, greens and blues which is destined to become yet another hat. I also bought a craft pack of yarns with a view to constructing something with my hand-made paper.

We attempted to look around the Abbey, but the wind was fierce enough up there to chase us back inside. No problem; they had this bench where you could put a piece of paper over a plate of lettering, rub a crayon over it and create your own manuscript. Lots of inky stamps stood near at hand to decorate the edges with. Once the six-year olds had finished hogging it, I had a great time.

Batteries should definitely be recharged, as we must have had about ten hours sleep each night. No excuse for feeling tired now.

On the way home, we visited Yorkshire Sculpture Park. It has grown another gallery space, currently showing a light installation. There was an exhibition and sale of crafts, and I found some found object sculptures which I really liked. Perhaps I've found something to do with the bits of driftwood that I picked up in Whitby - half way up the street, I might add. The tide obviously came up pretty high.

I felt overwhelmingly creative up there - partly due to looking round some of the galleries, and drooling over the oil paintings. I found myself getting my journal out and jotting down all the creative projects I could do. A list I can return to now I'm home again with all my materials around me.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A mini-break

We're off to Whitby today for a long weekend - back on Monday.

Life has been a little hectic of late and batteries are in much need of recharging.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Visual Music

Today's art was practising synasthesia (sp?) - experiencing one sense using another. In this case, interpreting the music I could hear into visual shapes and colours. I have no idea what I'm doing, but here's what I produced. I have to say, I missed having the guidance of my tutor and the company of my fellow students.

Studio Day

Today is a studio day. I have to go to a team-day for work tomorrow, and therefore miss art class. So I'm at home today, easel primed and ready. This week we are painting music. So I'm going to stick on my CD of Eastern music (Phil Thornton) and see what emerges from the end of my paint brush. Wish me luck!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Splish splosh

I highly recommend a brisk walk to raise the spirits. This morning, the rain let up for long enough for me to splash round the village, and then up and down Mill Hill just for the view and the exercise. The air smelled fresh after all the rain, and the clay is holding rather a lot of water. When I went out to empty the compost, the lawn squelched alarmingly.

I've had hoover and duster out today, so am feeling smug. I've also done a couple of drawings.

I have a question. Two of the things I most want to do with my spare time are art and writing. So why do I resist actually doing them? Does anyone else have this problem?

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I've just been asleep. It's the only sane thing to do in this weather. The wind is whistling outside and it's been grey, dark and soggy all day. I can't function properly unless I can go outside. Which I could, of course, but not without getting wet and blown about.

This morning, I had a go at papier mache. I seem obsessed with making things with old paper. I like the idea of transforming junk mail and old newspapers into something new. I used some paper that had been soaking since my last paper-making session, so it was good and soft. I covered a bowl with cling film and put a layer of the soaked paper into the inside, overlapping strips across each other. Then I pasted on a good layer of wallpaper paste. I repeated the process until I'd used all the soaked paper. Then I finished with a layer of my handmade paper that I'd made with the same soaked paper last week.

It is clearly going to take days to dry, but was strangely satisfying to make. I have no idea what it will become, or what I will do with it, but it's great fun relearning how to do papier mache.

I started knitting again, but was so dopy I kept dropping stitches. Hence the nap. I feel more able to do something now. Sometimes you just have to have a kip.