Thursday, 23 May 2013

Sideshow

BEFORE
AFTER

I found this Winnie-the-Pooh clock box in one of my many scavenges through the charity shops and I just knew it was for me to try to upcycle it and paid 50p for it. I started to alter it many months ago and then, as so often happens, my desk disappeared under a pile of nonsense and my real life intervened - my project only recently re-emerged after an epic tidy - I am not known for these!

So there I was, with the base all painted. I always knew I wanted to use my palmistry hand in the aperture, but beyond that, I really hadn't a clue. I'm happy with the end result although I wish now that I'd fancified the wings a little more ... they may yet have a second attempt.

I've struggled to make art, both time and inspiration wise for long months now and its a relief to finally have managed to make something. Now .... its just a question of maintaining the momentum .... any ideas  how to do that? I guess first and foremost, I need to keep my desk clear of all non-arty things and occasionally raise my gaze from the pages of a book! x

Thursday, 21 March 2013


MY DAD & DAVID BOWIE!

This is my 86 year old Dad, Doug, at the preview night of the David Bowie Is ...exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum last night. He is standing in front of a group of photos of Bowie taken by the likes of Herb Ritts, Terry O'Neill and Helmut Newton. His photograph is the Black & White shot on the right top of the picture and it was taken in 1966. It is also included in the book celebrating Bowie's work. The picture came from 'Mr Bowie's Private Collection'. I'm starstruck!

What few will know, is that most of the shots in the exhibition were taken in studio settings, where time and money were of no consequence. My Dad's pic, however, was taken in just 15 mins in the midst of Bowie's recording session at EMI. Now, I may be biased, but I guess that gives this shot an extra edge!


My Dad's stories of the people he's met and worked with are quite simply... endlessly entertaining and he now gives talks on the subject to groups and on cruise ships. It's lovely to see him honoured in such a fabulous way at this stage of his career... whatever next?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Hello World!
After almost a year in the crafting wilderness, I am finding my way back ... slowly, slowly and this bookmark is the result of my first play with paper and ink in all that time. How I have missed it... how I have missed you all... how lovely to be starting over with renewed enthusiasm. pen x

Thursday, 1 December 2011

POETS UNITED - THE THURSDAY THINK TANK #76 The Soul's Whisper


Beyond


At the edge,
where 
fingertips
clutch,
lies a
landscape
of 
immeasurable
beauty.
Beyond 
the reach
of those
yet to learn
the lessons
of endurance.
Admittance
lies at the end
of grieving's path
- the Architect -
your own
sweet soul.


This is the first time I've participated at Poet's United which is a community for poets who blog and which I have only just found. Their Thursday Think Tank #76 is The Soul's Whisper which brought to mind this poem which I wrote back in October. Poet's United can be found at http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com.
I took the photograph of Chagall's stained glass windows at a church near Tonbridge when I visited with my lovely friend Janet. It's a tiny church with the most beautiful light and atmosphere. 

Monday, 21 November 2011

ALTERED PRINTERS TRAY

Quietly, quietly in the background, while I have been playing at poetry, I have been beavering away at altering this Printer Tray. It measures 11.5 x 19 inches and is the largest art I've ever tackled. I started with great enthusiasm, then got stuck for a while, but kept at it. Kept filling the waste paper basket with disasters until the thrill of making it grabbed me all over again and then, suddenly, every aperture was filled and I could stop holding my breath, hoping it would all come together ... done.... Next! 

Monday, 31 October 2011

I, WHO COULD NEVER SEE YOU

You, who were never angry, seethed silently.
You, who never raised your voice, screamed deafeningly.
You, who never minded, objected strongly.
You, who were gently disposed, knife-twisted artfully.
You, who fed us all, poisoned.
You, who had endless patience, were always too busy.
You, who were so attentive, failed to notice.


('Mother & Child', oil painting by Andrea Tyrimos, www.andreatyrimos.com)
I would like to thank the artist for her kind permission to use her beautiful painting. You are most generous Andrea.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

SHRIVELLED


Shrivelled against the 
cold of returning
you are poised, birdlike,
against a backdrop of
accusing branches
pointing in the
direction of
home.


Your eyes no longer
cast their light
but settle sightlessly
as your hands
rest ghost-like
and are 
still.


Barely breathing,
almost inaudible,
you try to explain.
Your words unnecessary
as you are
etched in
suffering.


My indignation 
and outrage
are
dull weapons
as will be
your own
until you
rediscover
them.


(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia. Photographer: Pauline Eccles)

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Unknown Poem ....

(I found this poem recently. It was written back in October '06 when I wrote on scraps and discarded them or tucked them into pages of books to be rediscovered later. I've no memory of writing it and even wondered if it might not have been mine. So uncertain was I, that I searched the internet but without success. And so, happily, I lay claim to this poem. If anyone knows differently, please do let me know!) I think it sounds like mine. What do you think?


I am the figure
naked
crouching
face turned
toward the wall.
Sad eyes cast downward,
tear fringed lashes.
Bones, too big 
for my 
paper thin skin
to contain.
An open wound
weeping.
I am named shame.


[Photo courtesy of wikimedia. Photographer: Tatiana Sapeteiro of Brazil]

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

BEACHED

You were the
shifting sands
beneath me.
Unable to
gain purchase
I faltered
and thrashed
wildly
believing
that you                      
would                            
solidify                           
and 
save me
from
going under.


(Photo courtesy of Flickr. Photoshopped by my son Rowan)



Tuesday, 11 October 2011

HIS UNDOING

In the arms of 
the Seamstress
he came 
undone.
His starched
collar,
in need of
stiffening,
he abandoned
himself
to her
ministrations
while
she
unpicked 
his
selvage edges,
relieving his tension,
all the while
gathering
his stitches
to weave
into her
counterpane
made
entirely
of his
remnants.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

NATIONAL POETRY DAY

Today is National Poetry Day.
Here's one I wrote earlier .... and an old atc to accompany it....


THE BEEKEEPER
The Beekeeper 
and I
keep our
secret conversations
light,
polite
and mostly
avoidant
of the 
memories 
we two 
share
of
the 
honey 
we made together
and
how it's
sweetness
was a
passing luxury,
quite aware
that the
inferior versions
we 
settled for
will never
equal
our 
own
peculiar
brand.



Tuesday, 4 October 2011

MEMORY BOX

I bought this box frame in a charity shop for 75p and had a great time altering it. Painted it with acrylics and Lumiere paint. Decorated with spacings from an old bracelet and stamped the inserts. I'm going to try something similar on a bigger scale next. The triffid in the background is a cutting I took from a plant I was given when my daughter was born - she will be 27 in December. This Sweetheart plant just goes on for miles and forever it seems.


Lovely Jo of Fiddlesnips asked if they were inchies in the box - they aren't Jo but, they could've been. Now I need to scavenge to find more of these boxes to put my inchies in as its a great idea! x

PARCHED

Grief is a
solitary burden
to be borne
over
rough terrain.

Without direction
my bearings
become
insignificant.

Supplies are
destined to
dwindle
at just
the point
from which
there is no
turning back.

Trusted guides
prove, suddenly,
unreliable
and speak
only in
their own
tongue
rendering them,
as your loss,
unfathomable.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Unforseen Dangers

The bombsite beckoned
daily as I hung over
the iron railings
dividing our worlds, and
watched
as you
clambered
among the debris.
A skeleton building
whose ragged walls
pointed upwards
accusingly.
Territory forbidden
due to
unforseen dangers
I longed to explore.
It was, however,
imperative
that I remained
housebound
to save my
skinny knees
from grazing
or scuffing of my
white T-bar sandals
or, heaven forbid,
from unexploded
joy.
You were older
and not female
and therefore,
inevitably,
free of
the
need
to be
careful.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Raptor

Raptor

In order to
spare myself,
I refrain from
morbid curiosity.
I turn away
from
fascinations
which torment
me with their
nightly callings.
Perched precariously
on the most
slender of branches,
my eyes turn
heavenward
in case
I should
suddenly
need to
take
evasive
flight,
thus
neatly avoiding
the harsh reality
that yours
was
a
predatory
shadow
cast
over
my
life.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

GROAN

I am not fond of
Enforced jollity.
Jokes hang in the air
With their expectant pause -
The space where I am supposed
to
laugh
now.
My laughter,
usually throaty
& infectious
regularly
rises
unbidden
in inappropriate
circumstances,
lies
stifled and
unresponsive
to humour
that harbours
an
anticipated
outcome.
Sadly, your
comedic efforts
were
wasted on me -
your
captive
audience
of
one.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Bitten by the Bug

Found this tattered frame in a charity shop and added my own art. More bugs and butterflies to add to my collection. My home has begun to resemble a museum!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

DARWIN'S DILEMMA

I got the inspiration for upcycling this wooden box which originally contained 4 jigsaws after seeing the beautiful cover of the Craft Stamper in July created by Katy Fox. Around the same time I watched the film 'Creation' about Charles Darwin and the route he took to develop his theory. It got me thinking about the wonders of our flora and fauna and this bug related piece was the result. I hadn't crafted for a while and it felt wonderful to work on a larger than usual piece. Many thanks to my dear friend Sue for the loan of her beautiful stamps which fed my sudden passion for all things insect.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

MITTENS

She came
with a warning label.
Tattered and tied
with rasping
twine
that you,
wearing
your best
emotional mittens
found
unfathomable
as your eyes
unwittingly
whispered
'come hither'
and
invited
her in
& to
ride
roughshod
across
your
heart.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Offerings

Buddha sits at the doorway to my greenhouse ... my favourite place to be. At his feet sit home grown parsley, coriander, sweet peas and tomatoes. The greenhouse is filled with more tomatoes and cucumber plants which seem as tho' they love it here as much as I do! We have an abundance of both. Buddhas arms are filled with Philadelphus blossoms - my offerings - my way of saying thank you.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

SHORT & NOT VERY SWEET.

On a good day,
She would describe
herself
as
a woman who'd had
many lovers.

On a bad day,
She would count you
as
one
of
them

Monday, 30 May 2011

TEXT POEMS

My very good friend Jayne and I were talking about writing a few days ago and she commented that the way I write is very similar to the way I text ... erm, economic!

This came to me shortly afterwards ....

PUZZLED
You were the one,
or so I thought.
But you were cross
And I
was nought.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Happy Ending .... (fingers crossed!)

Lovely Jo at Fiddlesnips posted about her darling dog Rosie-Mae. (You will find her on my sidebar and I would urge you to go and visit). Jo's post prompted me to write about the newest edition to our animal family. This little sweety is Ripley when he first came home with us. As cute as a button and sadly .... neurotic as they come. He is still with us and I now adore him, but, it has been a long hard road for us all.

Poor Ripley came to us straight from the breeder in Oxford. He arrived, terrified of being brushed and of people sneezing (but, not of the shooters shooting their guns!). He didn't listen to a word we said, despite taking him to training classes, reading all the books and getting all the advice we could. He was very obedient when it came to commands, but, a law unto  himself. The trainer described him as 'super-intelligent but sly' (which I didn't like!) and, she bred Border Collies.

We got through the puppy stage by the skin of our teeth and with me on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Walking him was a nightmare. He was aggressive to other dogs, bit a man who's dog had attacked him, hassled our other dog who was elderly and turned on our two cats. I was, honestly, at the point of giving up on him and I'm really not a quitter.

One day, in desparation I spoke to the trainer who told me he needed to see a Dog Behaviourist and she gave me the number of Robert Alleyne who appeared in the tv series 'Dog Borstal'. He, she told me, would be able to help but if not, the dog would have to be destroyed.

Rob came and spent four hours here with us questioning us about Ripley's behaviour and ours! He was a lovely, charming man with a really down to earth approach. He encouraged me to have the confidence in the dog which I'd lost and to buy a remote control collar which delivers a puff of compressed air when the dog is doing something we'd rather he didn't. This was pretty often pre-collar! He'd eat horses poo, chase cars, chase cyclists, joggers, horses - the list goes on. I was so stressed and so distressed at the idea of having to have him destroyed. Robs visit and the collar, which I've hardly had to use have made such a difference.

Ripley is now a happy dog, who looks to me (or Rowan) to check if his behaviour is acceptable or not. He knows now that he is ours and we, are his. He gets it! Finally and, not a  moment too soon. He is a pleasure to walk now and has gained confidence in us and in himself and we, equally, respect that he will seize each opportunity to succeed that we present him with. It is still, early days but I am confident that, with our continued training, we can provide him with the best home for him. He is sweet natured, gentle, loyal and funny and I am no longer a frazzled, half scared to death dog owner and I'm looking forward to our lives together. Until recently, I never thought I'd be saying that.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

POOL

My instincts
told me
you were
Damaged Goods.
Ignoring
my own advice
my heart
leaned in
and listened,
intently,
for the
rhythms
of your
hidden depths.
Murky and
indistinct
though they were
I heard
the
soft
beats of
compassion,
love and
loyalty.
Believing
we could,
together,
nurture
ripples
that would
flourish
I dived
in a
graceful arc
and waited.
But,
you never
braved
the depths
preferring
to tread water
at the
shallow end.
Shivering,
you left
the pool,
your water wings
deflated.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

CLOTH

Longingly, we remember
the gossamer swaddling
of infancy
draped against
our
tender skin.

But the
cloth we are
cut from
often
chafes
and
irritates.

With barely disguised
horror
we realise
that
suddenly
we are wearing
Worsted.

Echinacea

I haven't used this Echinacea flower stamp before despite it being one of my favourite images. I had more messy fun making this as it was a combination of distress inks, water, paint and holographic embossing powder. Everything,including me got a good drenching plus I went to bed covered in glitter. I felt like Fairy Tinkerbell.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Poppies & Rock Salt

I was scratching around late last night looking for inspiration and found Trish Latimer's article on creating backgrounds using salt in a Craft Stamper magazine. I had to improvise a bit and really enjoyed using some products I haven't handled in a while. The background strip on the right was made using Colour Washes and Glimmer Mists which I then sprinkled with rock salt and dried overnight. I was delighted with the textured finish the salt created. I got in a real mess ... my favourite kind of technique!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

SKIN (written Jan 2006)

You are a matter which cannot be ignored,
put off until later,
delayed until the time is right.
There is no wrong which cannot be undone
by the call of your skin
luring me to place my fingers gently
upon the cool landscape of your years
where rivulets have run
and tributaries formed.
Where, for my part,
there is no fraction
with which I am unfamiliar,
that I have not traced
in my efforts to know you
inside
and
out.
And now,
now that I know enough of you
to be
certain,
that there is no other skin
upon this earth
which calls to me
as does your own,
I wander its expanses
as if in banishment,
seeking the wound
which will admit me
to your
inner reaches.

Friday, 6 May 2011

IDEAL FAMILY

As I headed for my bed last night, a piece of paper with a circle cut out caught my eye and this was what I had to turn it into before I could retire. So much happier to be crafting again even if at inappropriate moments.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

MORE WORDS...

DEFLATED

I will throw you a rope.
Rescue you.
Provide you a future and
Charm your existence
He promised.
She trusted, tentatively
Having heard such promises
Previously
And watched
As the dust of them
Drifted from
Her fingers.
Eventually
She softened
Her centre
And trusted.
Reaching for his
Proffered Lifebelt
Little suspecting
It harboured
A
Slow Puncture.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

HARLEQUIN BACKGROUND/BUTTERFLY GIRL

I had some further adventures with the distress reinkers to create this background in the same style as my previous post. The stamp of the little girl in the butterfly dress is one I've had for a long time but never used. I love the look on her face ... I think she's a tomboy who'd be much happier out playing with the boys than in this fanciful little number.

Friday, 29 April 2011

STAINED GLASS

I had fun playing about with distress reinkers and watercolour paper. All very  uncontrolled, but I really like the way it turned out. A beautifully messy, random technique. Just how I like them!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

POTENTIAL DANGERS

On the steps of the zoo
you told me,

as I nustled against you,

that you

Do Not do

Public Displays of Affection.

‘You’ll learn’, I told you,

optimistically.

I should have listened.

The arctic wolves

had warmer

hearts

I

found.

 
I will hold your hand

Only in Private

you later said.

I will hold yours

everywhere

I replied,

eyes misty with

love.

But you were right.

Hands were for smoking,

tricks using matches

and clutching glasses

but, never for

holding or

for tenderly

stroking,

I later

grew

to

understand.



You needed

coaxing

gently

from

out of

your

tightly buttoned

defensive position.

But, I

grew

weary
of
tediously tunnelling

under your

barricades.



And now?

Now,

you are back

in

your

dugout.

Your sniper’s eye

trained on

the horizon

seeking out

the

potential

dangers

of

intimacy.










Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Come Take A Walk Around our House...

These pictures are of a bunch of stuff around our house. The skull is not used for satanic rituals but stands guard over the fridge door to keep the pup out!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Flower Girl

I had great fun making my flower girl. Mind you, its just nice to make something positive rather than just a hash of things sometimes isn't it!
The background is white embossed with a mixture of distress inks that have been spritzed. The watercolour paper just soaks it up The hydrangea flowers I'd saved out of my garden and pressed last year. They are a lovely shade of sepia. (I'm having a happy day - I have now lost two stone since Xmas! SkinnyMiniMe ... not quite!)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

HOUSE-TRAINED

She was a gatherer of strays.
Man or beast
She did not discriminate.
Sadly.
She took them in,
tamed their wild ways,
calmed their restless natures,
taught them manners
And
removed unwanted hairs
from her pillow
without complaint.
She was devoted,
even in the face of
disappointment.
Stalwart & loyal
as they let their training slip
and their animal natures re-surface.
When they would wander
she would bring them home
from unfamililar doorways.
She would not admonish them.
It was enough that
she was displeased.
No need for leash or halter.
She was mistress.
They would, in time,
be house-trained
when promptly they
would find themselves
re-homed.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

More Words

Our writing theme a couple of weeks ago was the colour Purple. This is my effort on the subject:

The Rules

Purple leaves her cold.
It is not her colour
Because of her hair
Having the tendency
To clash
Which might
Draw attention.
Most of it
Unwanted.

She may wear blue,
or sometimes green,
but never together.
It is unseemly
without
a colour
in between.
Or so,
She is told.

Pink is also disallowed.
It makes her skin look sallow.
Allegedly.
A colour clamouring for grown-up status
Beyond the nursery walls.
Mutton, dressing as lamb?
She hardly thinks so!

Red will not be tolerated.
The colour of blood
and of passion,
it is,
therefore,
Highly Dangerous.
Particularly when paired with golden earrings.
Especially if they should dangle,
Tantalisingly.
Someone might mistake
her for a
gypsy.

Orange is too bold and brash,
Reminiscent of places
foreign and exotic.
Not fo her then.
She who is not allowed
to emerge from
under her bushel
in case
She
should
be
noticed.

These are the rules.
Make no mistake.
Consequently,
Her favourite colour is taupe.
Her wardrobe proffers every conceivable
shade of black.
Very fitting
For sombre occasions.
Mostly funerals.
Where finally
She'll get a chance
To
Cut

A
Dash.

WILL YOU TAKE A WALK WITH ME?

I took these photos in my garden earlier this week when the sun was weaving its magic on the world.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

LADY LUCK

At last! I managed to actually make something. I'm so relieved. It's been such a long time. This card is for my lovely neighbour Jo's birthday which is today .... I'm so late in the day getting it to her but I was determined not to cave in and give her a bought offering. It's not big and it's not clever but it is 'by me'. (I so hope my Muse does me the kindness of sticking around for a while now!)

Monday, 11 April 2011

Exposing Myself

I recently joined a Creative Writing Group and have found a lovely place to share the words inside me in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. And that made me think that Blogland would be a good place to 'expose myself' as it too is a friendly and supportive place.

We were given the title 'Why Didn't You Call?' and this was my offering.

Only silence.
No ricochet of voices
Nor footfall on the stair.
Inhabiting a
Museum of Memories,
I am the Curator now
it seems.
Preserving the past
For posterity
or for
House Clearance.

There were three babies.
Now all scattered, successful
Forty-somethings.
When tiny

I marvelled at their
Translucence.
Grew up to be
Just plain invisible.
I keep their photo frames
Neatly polished
In the hope
They may
Drop by.

Outside there are family noises.
Cheery children &
Feet scrunching
Before the slamming of car doors.
The designated driver
Not quite as merry as the rest.
Another day,
Like any other
Is over and so,
I tear the page
from the calendar.
The 25th December
Lies crumpled
In the wastebasket.
Why didn't you call?