The Owl and The Pussy Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful 'red and white'(!) boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, 'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are!What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Edward Lear

Sunday, 29 September 2013

A book of winter pleasures

I made about 5 of these as christmas presents a few years ago. I meant to make one for myself but had run out of enthusiasm by the time I'd made 5 of them! I was very pleased with them but they were quite time consuming. It would make a lovely workshop one day.
This is the one I made for my mum, she gets it out every autumn and has it on display over the winter then puts it away in the spring. Posting this makes me realise how lucky I am to have a mum who appreciates my creations.
One page isn't shown which has a silhouette of a pair of feet and says 'putting your feet up in front of a fire'

The patterns of fallen leaves

The silhouettes of trees

Looking forward to snowdrops

"Things to enjoy in winter"

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Lovely Larder

I'm inspired by some strange things. I spend too much time reading blogs, but earlier this year I was inspired to look at my larder with fresh eyes. I am fortunate to live in a house old enough to have a proper larder. I've been  collecting jars for some time now (you don't think I'd go and buy a set of jars do you?) This is what my larder looks like, I took these a while ago, and I don't think I tidied it up much. That's home made vinegar on the bottom left, top picture.

Thanks to
Lynne    (a fellow stitcher, musician, journaler and cook)
at 'Textile Treasury' for this appreciation of the simple things in life.
I'm not organised enough to do menu plans tho' that's a bit too much.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Silver washed fritillaries

One of the things Vince and I share is our love of plants, flowers and wildlife in general. One of the things we love doing together is wandering round the garden or field looking at flowers or spotting wildlife, and on Sunday mornings we will often have tea in bed and get out some books. We have an extensive library from both my collection and Vince's dad who was also a keen wildlife spotter. We browse through the books finding out what butterfly/bird we saw, or try to find out what wasps and hornets eat. It's such a simple pleasure.
I planted two buddleia bushes in our garden this spring. They have given us hours of fun bee and butterfly spotting. We got quite excited when these fritillaries arrived. I took lots of pictures like this...
 and finally got some decent close ups, and (with the help of several books) identified this one as a male silver washed fritillary

 and this one as a female silver washed fritillary (and a bumble bee, unidentified)

Once again, as I write this, I am reminded how very lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

My "Scraps" book in progress

I've been spending more time filling books than making them recently. This one is my "scraps" book. Actually it should be called my 'precious scraps' book because most of these scraps are from particular places, people or events, or are images that remind me of such. Some of these scraps I have had for years, some are from a few days ago. There is a sketch dated 2010, and some pieces I know I've had since art college days over 10 years ago, and a bus ticket from last week. I love doing this book, I could sit and do it all day, but life keeps getting in the way. I hope I finish it before I get obsessed with something else!

After several unsuccessful attempts I managed to do this flip through of it. The book isn't finished, but I like the fact that you can see pages in all stages from finished to barely started. There's a funny bit at the end where I'm scowling at the laptop trying to work out how to stop it. I could have edited this out, but I like those quirky 'I'm not perfect' moments!
Clicking on this image should run a you tube video.

The book contains some of the following:
photos (mine and other peoples), pages from books that I've taken apart, bits from colouring books, sketches I've done, notes, bus tickets, my decorated paper scraps, and others scraps from workshops I've run, paint, songs from wedding and other ceremonies, bits of cloth, a few images from the internet, napkin scraps, magazine and newspaper clippings, photocopies of book pages, stamped and punched scraps.

A red geranium

Just because...

Friday, 20 September 2013

A Commission

I have done a few commissions in the past, some I have enjoyed doing, some I have not.
Laura Denning who I met a few months ago emailed me to ask if I would bind some work for her. I waited two weeks before replying, half hoping she would have found someone else, but saying that yes, I was prepared to consider doing it. She brought the work round and we discussed options. I have learnt not to offer people too many options! A technique and price was agreed upon and I have to say I enjoyed the process and was really happy with the finished books and so was my customer.
They were two books of sun prints, both covered in sun print paper. They looked so lovely when they were finished that I am inspired to make some books like this with my own decorated papers.


spines glued with some very well matched cloth
as I realised it would show between some of the sections

covers made

cover detail


inside ...  beautiful

spine detail
Happy customer, happy me

Here is her website with information about the exhibition at Dartington Hall

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Art Journalling

I've been drooling over images of art journals on the internet for ages. I had a dabble back in February here, but I just didn't get into it, I felt I need to know why I was doing.
Recently I discovered Michelle at 'Lost Coast Post' doing a "scraps" journal, and I finally felt I had permission to just play.
Some time ago ago a friend gave me a huge (32inches x 23inches when open) blank sketchbook with several pages torn out. I set to, daubing, and doodling and gluing. All my life I've been a compulsive collector and cutter-outer of images and paper ephemera in general, so it was easy to rummage through my stash and have fun. I've also long admired the work of Caatje who writes an everyday journal in her art journal, so I've added spaces to write. I dream of this writing being deep and profound, but at the moment it's just, well, stuff.
Here are some of the pages in various stages. (click on image to see it larger)
First two pages pretty well finished

A butterfly themed page in progress

Page one close up

Page two with a bit of space to fill

Page three finished

Two more pages in progress
(that's a tree from 'pixie lane' on the right)

Another two pages in progress
I started at the front of the book but I'm decorating the pages fairly randomly. I try and get the pages at the front finished, so that the writing is chronological. It's really just a highly decorated diary/journal whatever you want to call it.
Filled with new enthusiasm I've also got a couple of smaller books on the go. One is just collage and colour, the other is a book of lists. This was also inspired by Michelle's book of lists at "Lost Coast Post"
When I ran the paper play workshops I felt liberated because I had broken away from only doing book making workshops. I'd love to teach art journalling workshops one day, but need to feel comfortable doing it myself for a while.
Not a whimsical dreamy female face in sight.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Pixie Lane

This is one of my drives to work, it's about half a mile from where I live.
It's very steep and riddled with pot holes, but it's unbelievably beautiful. I went to a wonderful exhibition at out local art gallery this summer which was all about fairys and pixies and other such magical stuff. 
I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, but I loved it and visited it 5 times. I was moved to photograph this lane with this sun shining down through the leaves. Even in winter it is amazing, with great curtains of ivy dripping down from the trees.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

"Do it with a passion or not at all"

One of the things I love about getting older is the understanding that comes with all those years of experience. Something about myself that I am getting used to is the fact that I am rather an all or nothing person. I will spin wool or play the guitar or sew obsessively for several weeks, then won't touch it again for six months. This used to bother me. I would feel haunted by the spinning wheel/guitar/sewing and worry that I'd never do it again. Now I am ok about being like this. I know that the urge to do things that are special to me will return.
So, right now I'm into blogging. I've no idea why, I just suddenly feel like putting 'out there' all the things I've been up to. I find it slightly disturbing that I don't know why I'm doing it, I like to know the whys of things. I'm hoping one day it will become clear to me. In the meantime I'm enjoying sorting/labelling/resizing my pictures, and good grief I've even got a little notebook for keeping blogging ideas in. That's a bit disturbingly organised. I'll probably mostly ignore it and ramble on about what comes to me when I sit down. I do dream of being one of those people who is really organised. I dream of being the sort of person who would keep a track of what they spend their money on, what the weather is like every day, when the sowed what in the garden. Occasionally I get to be in that place for short periods of time, but ultimately it's not me, and that's ok. I'm really quite happy as I am, but there's no harm in aspiring to be better.
And so, from my library of (currently) well organised and labelled pictures here are two things I'm working on ..... when the urge takes me.
 One finished hat for the winter for me. One hat in progress for Vince. I'm a slow knitter, and I get bored after a few rows. It always makes me chuckle that a friend of mine will think nothing of knitting a couple of blankets and a  jumper in the time it takes me to knit one hat. I'm hoping to have Vince's hat ready for this winter, I'm making fairly good progress.
Both handspun wool (of course?)
Patchwork quilt in progress. These are quite large pieces, you can just see the toe of my left foot for scale. It's all made from scraps/offcuts/old clothes. Being a peasant at heart I think it's cheating to buy brand new perfectly good pieces of fabric from a shop and cut them into small pieces and sew them all together again.
The plan for this is to make it triangular for our triangular bed in the boat (the bedroom in the boat is in the pointy bit at the front of the boat). The longer term plan will then be to extend it into a normal shaped quilt when we get back from our travels.
These are pretty long term plans, which is a good job because I can see this is going to be a long time in the making..

Friday, 13 September 2013

Craft workshops

I ran a few workshops this summer. I did a couple for children or adults called 'paper play' The first workshop was a dull showery day and we had a reasonable attendance. They made little books

 Did printing
 and made paper bunting

At the second workshop the sun shone, and mostly adults turned up (and most of them were helpers!) They made some beautiful little collaged concertina cards. This was a much more enjoyable day for me, although not very lucrative. 
I reminded myself that I don't enjoy working with children, although I always feel I 'ought' to. I just feel too precious about my materials, even though they are only scraps of paper, pritt sticks and cheap scissors. I just find it all too stressful. I was making so little money I decided I'd rather do my own thing and earn nothing and at least enjoy myself!
These cards are lovely, and I've been inspired to do stuff like this at home

Dartmoor Folk Festival

Ok, so I'm easily persuaded that it's ok to just keep bunging everything on one blog! Those who are interested in the sailing will just have to wait until next season, or until we sell the house which ever happens soonest.
As I haven't blogged for ages I've got some catching up to do. I thought I'd break myself in gently with a few what we did this summer stuff. First here's some folky stuff. 
The Dartmoor Folk Festival is a lovely little festival held in South Zeal, a village half an hours drive from here. We emptied Vince's works van, threw a mattress and a camping stove in, and went away for the weekend. The sun shone most of the time and we had a lovely time.

The main stage
 Local morris side the Tinners Morris Men, with their own safety officer!
(ok so he's the festival safety officer, but I thought this looked really funny, I'm easily pleased!)
 One of the many local border morris sides, and a view down the pretty village high street. I'm not dancing with my border morris side now, for reasons I won't go into here, but I have decided to join another ladies morris side this autumn, so more news on that later.
Me in a dress, a rare sight
 Vince, not in a dress

Ah, happy memories ...

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

A quick hello there ..

Hello people, just popping in to say I'm planning to come back to blogging. It's been lovely to have a break, in fact I've been saying no to so much stuff recently that some days I get up and think 'what shall I do today'. I'm sure you can all imagine how wonderful that feels (I'm not looking too closely at the bank balance yet!). Now I just need to keep it up and not launch into trying to do too much again. I'm considering splitting the blog/having a new blog because this 'Owl and Pussy Cat' one was sort of intended as a sailing blog (hence the title), but sailing has taken a back seat for a while, so I might separate the sailing and arty stuff, but haven't decided for sure yet. So, ha, you thought this might me interesting and informative, but it's a total ramble about what I may or may not do! Anyway that's enough rambling, I've been doing some very enjoyable arty stuff, writing letters, sending people hand made cards, playing the guitar, and soonish I'll get it together to share some of it. Thanks for reading this far, more soon, but don't hold your breath ........