“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Friday, 28 November 2014

Wonderful Workshops

I can't complain that I haven't had time to paint this week because I've seriously indulged not once, but twice! (GASP!)
Well for a start how could I clean the house when it's been so dark? 
At 3.00pm I've had to turn on lamps for goodness sake.
I dread to think what I'll see when the sun eventually does shine, but apparently that's not going to happen until at least next Tuesday... if we're lucky. 
So for now all my guilt is shut up tight into the broom cupboard. 

But can you guess what the subject matter was for my art group this week?
A Rainy Afternoon!!!! 
As you can imagine I was thrilled Emoji
I have to say I struggled with this one, not only for the subject, but also trying to keep my piece loose.
I nearly freaked out trying to get a little precision on a building whilst using the palette knife.
I apologised to all my fellow desk mates but they seemed to think it was a giggle... so they're now off my Christmas card list!  
I definitely need more time to work on this... so I'm not going to show you it this week.
I wouldn't wish that on anyone never mind my arty friends. 

I'm still attempting to catch up after being away and had completely forgotten that I'd signed up for a workshop.
Thankfully I'd entered it into my phone diary so didn't miss it. 
I had a great time which was organised by the Jack Tierney Gallery in Cults, Aberdeenshire.
The very talented visiting Russian artist Sofia Perina-Miller gave incredible demo's (four in all) and her enthusiasm was infectious, so we all had a play too.
Her work is so incredibly vibrant and free flowing. 
No pencil in sight. 
Here she is painting a poinsettia
Sofia sees everything in intense colour and transfers that to her paintings.
If you'd like to see more of Sofia's work... click here or visit her Facebook page here
Her energy was tangible and listening to her talk about all of her projects, plans and future work left me feeling a little dizzy. She apparently only has about three to four hours sleep a night. 
(I knew that's were I would find some more time... now I just have to try sleep deprivation... although somehow I don't think it'll be for me... I'm a dizzy blonde already at times) 

I now have an extensive art supplies wish list for Christmas, but unfortunately I don't think I've been that good.... I'll have to work on it!
St.Petersburg White Nights Wooden Box Set
Shin-Gansai watercolour pan
600gsm cold pressed paper 
to name but three...

Here's a painting I managed to do within the time restraints.
I always like to outline in pen so was thrilled when Sofia said that we needed to do that on our finished paintings. 
Yay... I knew I liked her 
This second piece isn't finished but I'll maybe have a play with it using the paints I already have. 
It's so dark here so photographs lately leave a lot to be desired...soz!
I'll certainly be looking out for more workshops to attend and Sofia says she will return in the spring.
Roll on spring for so many reasons...

And finally and more appropriately my sincere apologies if you have visited me recently and I haven't returned the call.
I've been away twice in the last few weeks and there's still two little trips planned (although these aren't cast in stone) I will be revisiting my posts to catch up with replies as and when I can.

In the meantime why don't you nip over to Kristin and Eva's Paint Party Friday there's always lots to see.
Paint Party Friday
I'm also linking to Dion Dior's Friday Sketches... click here to visit Dion
Dion Dior
And the Artist's Play Room over at Jenn's Just Add Water Silly blog
Happy Friday everyone... have fun and hopefully I'll see you again soon
(I'll be concentrating on the Christmas festivities after this weekw)
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xoxo

Saturday, 22 November 2014

There was an old woman....

Do you know the song/nursery rhyme "There was an old woman..."?
Sing along with me if you do...
"There was an old woman who swallowed a fly
I don't know why she swallowed a fly
Perhaps she'll die"
Well thankfully I didn't die, although it was touch and go for a time.

I happened to be busy catching up with a few chores after yet again being away for a few days... 
pulling a few weeds as I passed I must have obviously been hyperventilating, because as I bent over 
a wee beastie decided to take a trip into my mouth! 
I tried desperately not to swallow it, but that little bugger was intent on his mission. 
Coughing and spluttering I staggered into the house and tried to drown him by gulping a glass of water, but alas he'd hidden in between somewhere... neither up nor down. 
(cough, cough, splutter splutter...)
Finally after a coughing fit of about half an hour, he must have decided to give in... 
adding to my protein intake for this last week. 
When I explained what had happened reliving my sorry tale to my hubby, he wasn't in the least bit as sympathetic as I thought he should be... 
but then he explained that's a constant occurrence when you're a cyclist.  
Eew!!!

My absence was to sadly attend my Uncle J's funeral.
A huge man who both delighted and frightened me.
I remember when he visited my childhood home... he would enter the room and fill the doorway with his frame. He always asked for a kiss from me knowing it would send me running to hide behind the sofa... 
well I was just a little toot back then.  
I'm so glad that upon our last meeting we laughed about this and I willingly volunteered to give him a little wee peck on the cheek after all these years. I remember his smile from that day.
I also remember he fell asleep once, in a deckchair on the beach with his socks on and later that night we all had such a giggle when he showed us the sock pattern in bright red sunburn on his feet.
I don't think his feet were right for at least a week.  
The sun had burnt right through the weave of the socks.
This was accompanied with white strips across his sun burnt tummy.
The sun hadn't reached between the creases on his stomach, as he sat in a deckchair, but all the rest of his middle glowed bright red.
I'll not dwell too long on all of my memories, but I just want to say what a wonderful family I have.
We all came together and shared our memories and bid him a sad final farewell. 
RIP Uncle J
x

Later, I had an opportunity over the remaining few days to visit aunts and cousins that I haven't seen for years... 
...oh the reminiscing, memories and tales we exchanged.
I'm very blessed with my family and appreciate them all because I know that this is special. 
Not everyone has such a great gift..

Keeping that theme... here's where I originate from....
I've often seen this map on my sister's wall but never stopped to appreciate it...
It's where my roots are and my family (as well as my hubby's) are all still located there. 
Here's a closer look...
I'm not sure you'll be able to read any of the fascinating details...apologies if you can't

So that's it for today,
I had lots of posts in my head from both trips, but as often happens I didn't know where to start... 
or what to say... there was just too much.
I think I'll just leave you with this video clip that I took of Mufftypup running across a field yesterday.
I won't say too much about it as it may spoil it, but I think there's a possibility you'll have a giggle.


Apologise for my high pitch voice but all the music I tried just didn't fit.
It's not my normal voice ~ honestly! 

Have fun and enjoy your weekend everyone...
I'll be back to natter soon
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xoxo

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Goodies, Geese and Getaways

Today started brilliantly when a parcel arrived at my door... it had traveled all the way from Australia
from my friend Tracey Fletcher KingI hugged it just in case some of the heat was still contained within but alas it didn't... but then it had traveled 12,000 miles!
Tracey has relaunched her fantastic Cuppa With Friends Project so why not pop over to see her amazing artwork. You will not be disappointed. 
Here's some of my goodies from her The Tea Spot giveaway and I have to say I've been grinning from ear to ear ever since I opened it. 
First thing this morning, even before the postie arrived we had another visitor...
it was a lovely way to start the day. 
It's the nearest that she's come to the house but I hope that she keeps coming. 
The photo above reminds me of yet another gift that I've received in the last week... 
I'm such a lucky bunny aren't I? 
 ... and it's not even Christmas yet.
Isn't he cute... and he helps to keep my cosy too. 
It's just the perfect size for cuddling.
I now have two hotties... the other heart one shown below was from my son as part of my mother's day pressie. 
 As you can see it's well loved
Although the weather has been atrocious over the last few days... hardly getting light yesterday at all. 
But last weekend was glorious. 
The type of day that you just need to get out and enjoy.
So we took a drive further north and stopped off at the little town of Ellon.
Here is the bridge crossing the River Ythan.
Of course we had to stop at a little tea shop for a cuppa and cake to keep us energized.
We also stopped at a farm shop in Crimon and met these inquisitive coos.
The countryside around Aberdeenshire is spectacular with huge skies
I wanted to get a little closer to these visiting geese, as they refueled in a nearby field before moving on... but as you can see even though I thought I was stealth-like in my approach they spotted me and scarpered.
It's good to get out and about especially on a day like this. 
I treasure these things and store them away for wet, dark rainy days.
Roll on spring although I wouldn't mind a little snow. 
(Eek....did I really say that?)
Whatever you are doing this weekend... have fun and enjoy
Thanks for stopping by and I hope to natter again soon
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xoxo

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

What's On Your Workdesk and Paint Party Friday

What is it about WOYWW that makes me post unfinished work? 
I'm going to keep my post to the bare minimum today, because it appears that I'm working the night shift... even though the clock says it's 3.45pm in the afternoon... I'm in pitch darkness other than my desk lamp!
So here's my desk from yesterday and the very astute (or nosy) of you will see that I'm actually sharing it. 
My daughter is painting a house commission (see here) and I was painting my little tribute to the fallen hero's by painting a poppy. 
Note I say I was painting because as usual once I added some background I ruined it!
I'm actually really disappointed that I wasn't able to buy a ceramic poppy from the Tower of London magnificent poppy display, I was too late when I applied. 
But I suppose we should be grateful that they've all been sold... all 888,246 of them.
Have you seen the display... it's amazing

Anyway... I must move on... so here's the desk (or kitchen table) 
As usual I was quite happy with the poppy initially, but then I had to go ahead and add some background. 
WRONG! 
I should have left well alone and carried on painting just the poppy. 
Due to me gallivanting and missing my first lesson with acrylics last week,  I had to catch up yesterday and I decided after discussing with my tutor that I should start with the background going on my past record... 
to get it out of the way.
So as you can see 'Teddy Bears' were the theme for this weeks lesson. 
Some students even took their cuddly Teds into class. 
I don't want to scare any young toots that might catch sight of my teddy painting and be traumatized...
so it comes with a warning.... 
The staring unseeing Teddy below no longer looks like he's a cyber Ted. 
He's all sorted, although he now has eyes I can't help thinking he looks like he's been on the pop or a wee bit tipsy. I could put an eye patch on him and make him into Pudsey Bear
(after all Children in Need is tomorrow) 
I have tried for two days to get to finish him... all to no avail. 
I will and then I'll show you the outcome.
(The gin bottle has moved on but still not finished... nor the horse... ho hum)
With attending the art group it makes me try new techniques and subjects as well as medium.
I can't believe that I actually like the background here and feel that my first time wielding a palette knife went quite well.  
So that's it folks for today... I must dash... but I'll be back for a natter soon. 
In the meantime, if you'd like to desk hop around the world then nip over to Julia's blog 
Take care everyone until we meet again.
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Managed to finish Teddy (I think) so am joining the Paint Party Friday gang to have some fun and inspiration. Come and join me by clicking here
Paint Party Friday


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
OOPS... nearly forgot to show you one thing that I have actually finished and that's the flutterby cushion.
It wasn't the best light to take the photo this morning but at least it was better than yesterday.
Anyway, here it is along side my daughters stag cushion.
They are happily settling in on our new sofa bed.
I'm really pleased with the quality of the printing and completed cushion.
If you'd like to check out the website that we've entered into a pillow fight
(the prize being that if we win we could be one of Ooh Deer's illustrators)....then click here
I see there's even 10% discount offered. Woohoo!
Thanks once again to everyone that clicked on the 'like' button to help me in my bid  to win the competition.
I'm happy to report I'm still in the pillow fight!
Have a great day peeps and see you soon

Monday, 27 October 2014

Turning back the time

That's it... we've put the clocks back an hour which means we're now on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) 
I just wish someone would explain how I get my dog to understand this.
Yesterday, she started gruffing and driving me mad for her dinner... which I chose to ignore, but it wasn't until the gentle gruffing reached annoying levels, that I suddenly realised that she wasn't being a pain or greedy... it was in her mind (and stomach) one hour later than the clock stated! 
Doggy dinner-time! 

So the summers passed and we're heading towards winter. 
There's nothing that can be done about it...so we just have to suck it up and embrace it... whatever it brings. 
I'll try not to dwell on the fact that I'm sitting writing this post at 5.00pm and it's nearly pitch black outside!

Anyway, I don't have to keep a check on the time, because I have my very own personal time keeper. 
I'm not one of those people that remember dates for when things have happened previously... other than the obvious birthdays, anniversary's and major dates etc but my hubby remembers the finer details.
He can suddenly announce "do you know that it's blah blah X years to the day that we moved into blah blah (insert address)" or "It was on this day last year that we ate that amazing meal in the blah blah ***** hotel"! 
His powers of retention never cease to amaze me especially for date related details. 
(Oh and especially if there's food involved).
Maybe it's his number favouring left-sided brain that gives him this freaky skill (he's left handed too) whilst I on the other hand (no pun intended... honest) am a right-sided brain (right handed too) who cannot for the life of me remember numbers! 
For example, I've had my mobile phone since I moved back here and I still don't know the number.

Maybe that's why we work so well for all of these years... it's all about balance.

(Digitalis... or commonly know as Foxglove from my garden

And so we're on the run up to Halloween, but I have a confession to make... I don't really like this particular holiday. As a child it used to frighten me, but thankfully it wasn't of the same degree that it is now.
I remember I was scared on this night. 
(just a wee woos really) 

But I do remember that we had one particular great Halloween night when we lived in Qatar. 
We lived on a compound with security guards and gates containing roughly 30 houses, each had it's own big perimeter wall of about 7 or 8 ft high.
So as the excitement mounted, the compound manager notified every house by letter that the outer gates would be locked at 6.pm and the compound lights switched off for one hour of high jinks.
It was great to know that all the little kiddiewinks would be safe to take part in trick or treating. 
All of the houses wishing to participate had a picture of a pumpkin placed strategically on their gate, so the children would know whether to ring the bell or not.
My son went out around the compound and came back with a huge stash of goodies and joked how he and his friends were playing tricks on some of the other older kids... jumping out of bushes etc. 
We had Harry Potter music playing loudly in our garden with lanterns and candles which set the scene. It was very dark, so we sat back on our veranda to listen to the giggles, squeals, and shouts...enjoying the fact that my son could participate without our help.
But my hubby decided that it was time for a little fun and payback. 
He climbed up on to our wall and waited...
When my son came back once again through the gate throughly excited with his goody bag bulging once more... my husband reached over and ruffled his hair! 
OH MY... I kid you not... I think my son must have leap three feet into the air and may even have squealed (although he'll certainly deny this part I'm sure) 
Once he realised who had played the joke on him and his heart rate had returned to a normal rate, he couldn't stop laughing.
He remembers it to this day. 
So have fun and enjoy whilst I pop some garlic around the place... just in case! 
I'm away for a few days for a quick get-away... woohoo... and I'm not sure if I'll have internet connections ... ... so I may be missing for a wee while. 
But I'll no doubt have lots to show you when I return.
There maybe the odd instagram photo just so you don't forget me. 
Thanks for stopping by and I hope to natter with you again soon.
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Toodleloo for now 
xoxo

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

I'll have the Gin please...WOYWW #281 & PPF

I'm having terrible trouble getting going this morning. 
I'm putting it down to the ridiculous temperature of only 5 degrees. 
I've said it before but I'll say it again...
I'm not a happy bunny once the temperature drops below 16 degrees, so I think I may have to rethink this whole thing.
I just couldn't drag myself out of my warm cosy bed, although yesterday could have something to do with it as well as the chilliness. 
Not only did I battle the hurricane (although I think we were very lucky here)
I had lots of running around to fit into the schedule.
Mum's taxi was very much in demand and I even took the car in for a service half way through the day, as well as attending my art group.
Mulit-tasking to the max. 
By the time our dinner was over last night, I was ready to mould myself to the sofa! 

Anyway... I'm here now. 
A few chores have been done and I'm contemplating nipping out a little later, but it is Wednesday after all, so how about taking a peek at my desk. The WOYWW (what's on your work desk Wednesday) group will be well and truly partying by now, so if you want to catch up with Julie and the gang then click here.

As I mentioned I met with my art group yesterday and I grabbed the gin bottle... (cough) 
Let me clarify that statement please. 
Although it had been a busy hectic morning I wasn't that bad, besides the gin bottle was empty. 
It was one of the subjects for us to study and paint. 
There were other options... tins of beans, mustard, oxo boxes but for some reason I gravitated towards the gin.
I think it was the colour.... HONEST!!!

Here it is in the early stages on the desk in my art group.
I think they must suspect we maybe a little messy with such mass amounts of plastic sheeting everywhere.

I didn't realise when I chose the gin bottle just how detailed it was. 
For a start, I didn't know that Queen Victoria makes an appearance.
I can imagine her saying 'One is not amused' if she saw my version.
Then there's all of that lettering! Eek!

Anyway, here's my interpretation so far... yes once again I'm showing you unfinished work, but it took me well over an hour to draw the bottle.
I now wish I'd have thought about it a little more and perhaps changed the angle, so that it isn't so flat.
I'm aware that my blog is heavily into art at the moment, but there's lots of other things happening around here, but just whilst I'm attending this art group it seems to be taking priority.
I'm happy about that so will join in with the Paint Party Friday gang.
Click here if you'd like to be transported to the party too.
(Thanks Eva and Kristin for hosting once again)

Paint Party Friday

Another thing that I am taking part in during October is an instagram photo challenge. 
You may have noticed my instagram link in my sidebar has lots of changing photos.
Some I'd rather not have included here, but I'm following the list for each day's challenge so it's set and not my choice. So far I've managed each day... (quick pat on the back for me).



I'm also getting excited because Aggie (the Aga) is due to wake soon. 
Oh I've missed her and will no doubt be cooking up a storm once she's fully awake and with it! 

Well that'll do for today... I'll love and leave you for now
Enjoy your Wednesday and I hope to see and visit you soon
Toodleloo https://secure.quebles.com/content/hotmail/emoticons/1511763.gif

p.s. Oops I nearly forgot to thank you for your support in the pillow fight Ohh Deer competition.
I'm now on the first page! Woohoo
Here's the link in case you didn't see it last time
If you share or click on the like/share button on the right hand side of their page, you may help me win the competition
Fanks!!! 
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