Sunday, 6 September 2015

How does your garden grow?

Over on Crafts by Carolyn we have been talking "gardens!" To be more specific...SLATE and it was mentioned about our borders. I ended up looking back to some of the work we did in the garden back in 2011 (I think) not long after we put the fencing up. The top border was almost completely stripped back and nearly all we had was a few potted shrubs.

Below is a picture of the same border today and as you can see it has filled out quite a bit. Look at the change in the Dogwood, this really looked pretty last winter, the first year it's stems turned a beautiful shade of red. Fingers crossed for this winter too.

It's still be no means finished, but is a garden ever finished? I MUST take an up to date picture of our box tree......LOL my feeble attempt at topiary.

As I hung my washing out this morning I noticed these fungi growing alongside by palm and it is amazing how I see things in nature now I have started to Zentangle. I took some photographs a few weeks ago when we went away for our Anniversary. Hopefully I can share then soon, alongside my interpretation of them!!! LOL

Not sure what we are going to do with these, it's the best year we have had with them and Chris is now considering wine making!

Other borders are not quite so established as we have lost a few big plants leaving us with chunks of border to fill. We lost a lovely big Mahonia a few years ago so we decided to replace it, hopefully it will fill the gap, especially when some of the surrounding plants loose their leaves. 

This year we turned the old Belfast sink into a little herb garden and I have got some white gravel to help retain moisture as it's in quite a sunny spot. Once again, it's a work in progress, I stood our lavender in as a filler and I have left the chives and the mint in their own pots so that they don't take over. Next year I may take them out and replace with a few other herbs. Unfortunately little Brucie Boy has very recently started to take interest in it so I may need to move the chives sooner than planned.

Today I am needing to do a bit more concrete laying as it would be lovely to get it all finished while the weather holds out. I am getting quite obsesses about my pebble border, I feel I want to get the hoover out to clean it up and then varnish it so the colours in the stones can be seen better.

Here is a close up, again, by no means perfect but it's fun (and back-breaking) work and Brucie Boy can't dig it up like he does the slate that we still have around the edge of the patio.

(PS. I have wet the pebbles to show some of the colours better.)

Right, waffle over. Chris is already out in the garden and waiting to mix up the cement for me. I am going to put the kettle on first though.


Saturday, 5 September 2015

Christmas!!!!! EEEK!

I am NOT going to frighten myself........but I sat down this morning a flicked through the Lakeland Christmas Ideas book as I drank my tea!!!!!!! :

Now for a long as I can remember, I have never been prepared for Christmas, certainly not since having the children. This year I have no real work commitments so I actually stand a chance of being a bit more organised.

As well as hoping to make my Xmas cards this year, I have high hopes (or pie in the sky) ideas of making Christmas cakes, Gingerbread houses, truffles, decorations, gifts...........

If I can achieve even a few of my creative Christmas ideas I will be very happy. I think it is time for me to sit down and sort myself a few targets.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Pre-School Book Corner Re-vamp

Well another school year started. Jack is now in Year 12 and starting A Levels and Amelia is starting Year 9. It has been a long and difficult Summer Break this year, what with Chris starting a new job, not being able to get away as a family, lack of respite available for Amelia and my health.......the list could go on. I feel disappointed that the Summer has passed us by and that I have not done the things I had planned.

Hey ho, it's no good pondering over that now, it's too late to worry about what could have been. I know I need more in my life, I need a focus, a direction, a few goals.....but exactly what that means.....I do not yet know. I am going around in circles with my health but I have now been referred to the Rheumatology Department at the hospital. 

Shattered and full of aches and pains I should have spent my first few "child-free" days pampering myself but instead I offered my creative services (if you can call them that!) to the little Pre-school I used to work with. It has been something I have said about doing for many years whilst working there, and that is re-vamping the book corner.

Never done anything like this before and I was very limited with paint colours. On day 1 I only had one tin of blue and 1 tin of very pale I improvised and added a dash or two of the kiddies ready made, squirty paint to help add a bit of detail. Not great but as a first attempt I was quite pleased with how it turned out.

On one wall I did a daytime scene which spread around the corner and into night time.
I would have liked to have gone a lot darker with the night sky but was concerned about the paint mixes. By the time I got to mixing colours for the darker grass, I just decided to go for it and see!

Today I did a few details, the sun (which still needs another coat and perhaps a few sun rays) a few fluffy clouds, some faceless sheep (because paint was still wet to add details) and the most enjoyable part.......some glittery stars and a rather obscure looking moon. Oh yes and a few scattered flowers  dotted around too. 

I also painted the corner of the ceiling a cloud shaped blue with a few clouds and stars.

I'd like to think of it as a work in progress and would love to go back and add to it. Any ideas would be much appreciated. 

I am now crashed out on the sofa with a cup of coffee, a heat pad and a tube of gel for my back pain but with a little smile on my face. I do hope the children will like it when they arrive on Monday morning.


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Paper mache meets Zentangle??????

Now several years ago, when Amelia was back in Infant School, part of a school project was to make an animal that was over 1 metre tall. She chose to make a giraffe but due to some of her delayed development and sensory issues, it was me that ended up doing most of the work.

(it was funny looking back at these especially as Jack turns 16 today!)

Amelia called him "Hula Hoop" which were one of her favourite treats at the time and over the years he has been moved around the house and garden. A couple of years ago, after decorating our dining room I felt that I would like to give Hula Hoop a bit of a re-vamp. Now this never happened, and it may never ever happen as there will always be other things that will be put first. lets face it, when I can prioritise decorating a 5ft paper mache giraffe, my life will need to be pretty relaxed.

I did have visions of tidying up a few places, reinforcing here and there, giving him some better eyes and eyelashes, possibly decoupaging him in wacky colours (well wacky colours for a giraffe!) and giving him a pretty beaded mane and tail.............pie in the sky? Maybe but who knows.

Recently old Hula Hoop was moved out into the garden where we have been trying to tidy up and make a little covered seating area. Work is still in progress and I still have a little list of crafty ideas to try. But, here is Hula Hoop in situ on the patio.

Out of the blue the other day, Amelia was cuddled up on the sofa next to me, she turned and asked "Mummy, are you going to Zentangle Hula Hoop?"

WOW, now that wouldn't that be a great idea!!!!!!!!!!!


Friday, 28 August 2015

Yeah, Day 11 Zentangle complete.

Well, I've finished. Not 100% sure of it, especially about the white spaces, but over all I am quite pleased considering I threw myself out of my depth with this, my first A5 piece of work.

Here is the piece before shading.


And a few comparisons.

Ok, it's not perfect. I have a lot to learn
It's funny how I seem to have changed. On the first few days I was more comfortable about the Tangle Patterns and unsure of the shading but now, when it comes down to actually using creativity, my confidence flies out the window .......but I feel happier with my shading!

I am looking forward to moving on to day 12 on a more positive note. 

Thank you for looking.

See you soon,


Still working on Day 11, One Zentangle a Day

Now yesterday I was just about ready to throw my Zentangle Book into the hidden depths of my craft room but I am glad to say I stuck with it. As unsure as I am, I just went with it, not sure of how it "flows" or what artistic composition it has as I know nothing about those. I was also unsure of the big white space I'd left! Should I have filled it in? If so with what pattern? 

I bit the bullet and left the space, if it doesn't work I will take a "so what" attitiude and try to learn from the experience.

I MUST remember that this whole journey should be enjoyable and relaxing and not have me ready to cast off my feeble attempt by Day 11. Get a grip Adele!!!! LOL

I am actually looking forward to shading this now.

Onwards and upwards!


Thursday, 27 August 2015

Day 11 Zentangle. Auras and Rounding!

Oh my, feeling more and more out of my depth here but I will continue plodding along in the hope that practice will make perfect better!

In my utter stupidity, rather than sticking to something I would have been more "comfortable" with to help my confidence I have thrown myself, head first into some mad mixture of Tangle patterns on an A5 sheet! Considering all but one of my practice attempts have only been approximately 2 inch squares, I was immediately out of the tiny comfort zone I have.

Not sure where this is going (apart from in the bin!) but I will attempt to do some more today in the hope that a bit of shading with help "bring it all together!"

One thing I have discovered  is that I love using FLUX!

....and I have a regret making my attempt at MOOKA so big! LOL

I feel mine is going to be less of a learning curve and more of a learning spiral or roller coaster.


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

One Zentangle a Day, Day 10

Yes, I know, I skipped a page! I didn't have everything I needed for Day 9 so I went straight on to Day 10! Sorry!

Now I know I am not a confident person, especially when it comes to doing something out of my comfort zone (not sure I actually have one of those any more!) but once again I found these quite daunting and I am very critical of my work. I did the designs quite quickly, one after the other and I don't think I put the care and attention into them as I would have liked, but Amelia was bouncing around the room on the Wii and getting stressed out and puppy Bruce was having one of his mad moments....chasing his tail, attacking cushions, pulling throws off of the sofa.......puppy madness in general. It was absolutely pouring down with rain and looking back although my heart was into it perhaps my head wasn't.

I do feel however, it came out quite natural, messy but perhaps more relaxed in some ways.

Now I had up to this point been blending with my finger, and using an eraser to rub out small areas I wanted to highlight. BUT I braved the chaos of my craft room, clambered over boxes and furniture  that were dumped in there as we are sorting Jack's room, and recovered my box of Prismacolor Pencils, half a bottle of Sansodor  and some tortillions. Now these haven't seen the light of day since my Copic craze began several years ago!

I used a tortillion to shade on these Tangle patterns and I took the leap into the unknown and TRIED some colour work. Really not happy with the results and I am surprised as I loved the look of these tangles!

Perhaps I made too many changes to my "normal" way of working.

Today has been a rather busy, stressful day but fingers crossed, this afternoon I can move on to the next page, Day 11 in an attempt to stay positive.


Monday, 24 August 2015

My Zentangle Journey, Day 8 complete

Oh yeah!!! I am SO enjoying this. In fact I am enjoying it so much I have ordered myself a few pens, a 4B pencil to try out for my shading....and a new pencil case to hold all my new goodies. I may well need to put a padlock on it to stop Amelia from"borrowing" them!

Here is my finished attempt at Day 8's patterns. I wasn't sure of them at first but as I worked on the twirly "thing" at the bottom I became a bit more confident with it all.

I don't know whether digital photography is a good thing or not but it was interesting to blow up the image and see the detail (or lack of it) in my work. I do think I will need to invest in a better light and  it may well be time for me to go to the Opticians as I do think I am starting to struggle with detailed, close up work.....and reading the cooking instructions on some small packaging! LOL

As much as I am loving my new pastime I keep telling myself how self indulgent it is and wondering  "of what use it will be?"

Does everything in life need a purpose? 

Who knows!

My sketch book is calling me.



Sunday, 23 August 2015

One Zentangle a Day, Day 8

I haven't managed to sit down with my Zentangle book all week, so when I actually MADE time yesterday evening, I really enjoyed my "me time!"

I did struggle with the two new Tangle patterns and I don't think my attempts are true to the examples given in the book. With PURK in particular I really don't think I have the dimensions and perspectives right....but I am not sure they actually need to be "true to life!" That's my excuse and I am sticking to it!

Here is my latest attempts in progress, the lower example shows my basic guideline sketch, the outlines only and some parts complete with shading. I am concerned that my shading is always too heavy, they say if that happens you can end up with a dull, flat, grey design!
hey ho, it's a large learning curve for me and I am well out of my comfort zone but enjoying the journey.

Once I have become more confident with the actual basic concepts, then I think I need to concentrate on the shading and even bring in some colour....that will be both scary and fun.

Bye for now.


Friday, 21 August 2015

Cavachon Bruce!

This little lad is nearly 7 months old now and is truly finding his voice, he seems to yap at anything and everything at the moment. The quietest unusual noise, the slightest moment in the garden.....other animals on the TV!!! LOL

Here is Bruce caught in the act, looking out of the conservatory windows. 
One of his favourite pastimes!

He is a bit of a scruff here, due for his second grooming next week.

Love him to bits. 


Monday, 17 August 2015

Zentangle a day- catch up!

It was our 18th Wedding Anniversary yesterday and we managed to have a last minute break . It was great to just relax for a few days and do absolutely nothing, well apart from eat, drink and walk the dog!

I opened the curtains to this view on Saturday morning and it was inviting me out there to sip my morning tea and "doodle" in the sunshine as I listened to the breeze in the trees, the birds singing and the sounds of the water in the pond.....what a difference to hearing the children constantly squabbling!

I hadn't worked from my "One Zentangle a Day" book for a few days so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to pay catch up as I sat in the sunshine.

(Spot the error!)

I worked through Day 4 and 5 but felt I struggled with the shading.

I continued onto Day 6 with 3 more new patterns then sort of flowed into Day 7 where I tried combining a few different variations, It was great fun but I look at what I feel are true Zentangle creations and feel I have such a long way to go.

BUT, isn't there a saying about Life is a journey and not a destination? 
I will keep telling myself that anyway.

Bye for now.


Wednesday, 12 August 2015

One Zentangle a day, Day 3

I was a naughty girl yesterday and didn't get around to doing Day 3 on my Zentangle book, I did however have a little play around with some of the tangle patterns I have already covered. This little attempt is quite angular and I am not sure at all about it, I think I am more of a softer, swirly sort of person but it was good to try.

Today I had a try of the patterns for day 3,  not sure about my shading, whether it's too light or too dark but I am just trying to go with the flow.

Still feel this is very self indulgent but hey ho.

Yesterday I was asked about the pens I am using, and as you can see I am such a newbie please don't take my word as gospel but I chose a slightly cheaper option of a set of Uni-Ball Pin Drawing pens, I got a pack of assorted nib sizes (0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5 & 0.8) for under £5 with free delivery so for now they will do fine....I may need to put some more on my wishlist soon as well as dusting off my Copics and Prismacolor Pencils! 

Right, I may even have a chance to start Day 4 this evening, play a bit of catch up.

Bye for now,


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Zentangle day 2

Yesterday I continued to work through my "One Zentangle a day" book covering another 3 different Zentangle patterns.

Knightsbridge was quite daunting at first, the blocks of colour seemed very bold at first but great fun to do, I can see me using this pattern a lot.

 I found Nekton rather tricky, I think it was the randomness of it and my little attempts came out rather messy looking.

Fescu was quite quick and simple but it still took me time to actually have the confidence to put pen to paper and go with the flow. 

Here is a close up of my first attempt mixing up these patterns, my sample tangles are only 2 inches square so blowing them up on screen really highlights my errors-sorry. 
I started with the Knightsbridge "O" as I had seen some example with holes in patterns and liked the effect. Then I built up the tangles behind, even drawing the Fescu twirls before the Tipple behind it! Why I worked this way I don't know, it's just the way it evolved!

PS. Note the error in Nekton where I had been using a wider tipped pen and went back to filling in a few gaps I didn't like! Oops.

Not sure if I will get a chance to work on Day 3 of my book today, I have another mad idea to try out first!

Bye for now.


Monday, 10 August 2015

A Zentangle a day keeps the doctor away.....

LOL. IF ONLY but I can try.

I had this mad idea a short while ago and I thought that a bit of creative "doodling" might be a good activity for me to try with Amelia.......and they do say it's yoga for the mind!

I treated myself to a book called "One Zentangle a day" and a few new pens, and yesterday I succumbed to my first "proper" little sketch book. It was nothing fancy but I have warned Amelia "HANDS OFF!"

I sat down yesterday afternoon and started my Zentangle journey, I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed it but it did feel VERY self indulgent, it's one thing to sit and create a card or a piece of jewellery but just sitting doodling seemed to have no real purpose at all and I did feel rather guilty when I have so many other things to do.

My self guilt is not going to stop me, I hope to move on to Day 2 of my book today but long term what I plan to do with my attempts at Zentangle is a mystery!

Here are my pathetic attempts for Day 1 where the "Tangles" of STATIC, TIPPLE and CRESCENT MOON were covered. The top row of Tangles are taken from the book, the lower row is my vague interpretation of them! Please be gentle, I am really out of my comfort zone here!

As they say:

Things can only get better! LOL

Bye for now,


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Garden (and doggie) update!

It's been a long time since I last blogged, my health is still suffering and I have now been referred to a Rheumatologist as my back pain is driving me mad. The school holidays are in full swing and I am desperately trying to keep Amelia occupied.

Bruce is now 6 months old and is an absolute little darling, he is still rather bouncy and excitable but that's what puppies and loving. He is a bit of a poser when it comes to having his photo taken!

I thought I'd update about the state of our little garden "re-vamp" and puppy proofing attempts! Progress is very slow but it's been enjoyable along the way. At the weekend I eventually finished my second bargain "garden mirror." It was another £3 bargain from ebay. I painted the frame with a pot of £5 garden paint, leaded it and added a splash of colour with some very old glass paints I had in my craft room.

I am quite pleased with the way it turned out but I don't like the white triangle shapes, they didn't dry as clear as I would have liked and have opaque clumps on! I am tempted to try and scrape it off an re-do as I have found some "etched glass" effect paint in another box now! I'll see how it weathers first!

And here is how our little patio area is coming along. It was an unused, unloved area of the garden where rubbish just seemed to accumulate: a old BBQ, gas bottles, bins, tubs, wood for the name it. AS you can see, space is quite tight as the extension came out further than planned and we didn't want to excavate too much more of the raised garden.

It wasn't until Brucie boy came along and we felt in would be nice to have a covered area that we have finally started making use of the unloved little space.

I painted up part of the little lower wall, lifted all the slate around the outside of the paving which Bruce loved to dig in (but I am still making pwetty patterns in concrete with coloured pebbles and glass!) Chris built the pergola and fitted a few pieces of trellis.....and I then went mad with several pots of coloured garden paint. 

I am mid way of re-vamping an old cottage suite type sofa, it's not the sophisticated rattan sofa I would like but it's comfy and will do for the time being! I still need to recover the cushion covers and add a few more arty farty bits and bobs.

It's sheltered, the roofing has some UV protection, my fairy lights make it nice and cosy feeling during the evenings and I cannot believe how relaxing it is just sitting out there with Bruce snuggled up by my feet. 

Hopefully a few more....ahem...purchases will arrive over the next few days too! 

Bye for now.


Sunday, 7 June 2015

Patio re-vamp and garden mirrors!

Progress on our puppy proof patio has been slow going. Half term was particularly difficult as the dreaded sickness bug worked it's wicked way through our family and we seemed to achieve very little apart from actually getting through it day by day.

The pergola is now up and this weekend we (well mainly Chris) put the roofing on it. I love it already and hope to spend many hours sitting out in the garden and relaxing. Still got lots to do; the slate around the edges of the patio still needs lifting and replacing with concrete to stop little Brucie Boy from digging! Tedious work but I am sure it will be worth it when it's done.

One thing I have done that I was pleased with was re-vamping an old mirror, which we got from ebay for a grand sum of £3! Paint cost about £5, leaded strips were another ebay bargain for about £2, glass, stashed in cupboard from yonks ago!

Initially I just painted the frame and hung it and although I liked it, it did look a bit too much "mirror like" if you know what I mean. it looked too big and bare for it's setting so I thought I'd attack it with a bit of self adhesive lead and some glass paints.

I was a bit unsure when first applying the paints, they are very old (I think I bought them about 12 years ago) and I was concerned that I wasn't getting the nice smooth and even coverageI was hoping for. So I went back to my childhood and remembered the big stained glass door we used to have up in London and how some pieces of coloured glass had a textured effect within the glass. SO, I blotched and bodged to my heart's content and just kept hopeful it would look ok!

WELL, it wasn't as elaborated or professional looking as I would have liked but I still love it. 
I have another £3 mirror I will be attacking shortly!