Month: December 2012

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 29,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 7 Film Festivals

I’m amazed to see that I had so many visitors as my reason for blogging is to write rather than be read, if that makes sense.  I’d like to thank each and every one of you for following my blog in some capacity and especially like to thank those that took the time to ‘like’ and comment on a post. It is very much appreciated. I had forgotten that WordPress kindly do this each year, so it was a bit of a surprise to receive the information. Here’s to another year of blogging, and I’m taking the bull by the horns and doing it once a day again here. This blog has settled into it’s own little niche, and I will continue in a similar vein in 2013. Blogging each day in 2011 helped so much with my creativity that I want to recharge my creative batteries.

I’m looking forward to reading some of your statistics too, I’ve followed some excellent blogs during the last year! I hope to be better at visiting now that I have discoverd I can read more from my iPad.

Have a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR and very best wishes for 2013

Click here to see the complete report.

100 Steps, 30th December

The year is drawing to a close and I’m suffering! I’m not asking for sympathy, I have a virus, and I’ll soon be right as rain. However, it has meant that I can’t do the walk that I wanted. Undaunted I realised that I don’t need to go as far as I planned.

I decided to take stock! To take stock of my immediate environment, and to share a secret with you. I make no apologies for the fact that some of these things might have been shown before, but each of the photographs were taken freshly this morning, and they are all within 100 steps

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Our little herb garden is close to the back door. It’s the best place, of course, not far to run when the rains fall as heavily as they have recently. This is a variegated sage. The texture is rough, easily visible in the picture. The blotches of colour subtle. Of course it isn’t grown for either, it’s smell is pungent and the savoury taste goes well with meat etc. It also is a useful plant for dyeing. There are techniques that create imprints of the leaves, and they can be placed in patterns that will reveal themselves after a day or so. (Did you guess that I couldn’t stay away from my craft for long?)

4Close by is a patch of bare earth, or rather, there was a patch of bare earth. The recent winds have deposited some dried leaves. It’s been too wet to remove them, but just look what has appeared also. A tiny violet is already peeping through. The day started with sun, and it shone brilliantly while I photographed, now it is as dark as night and raining again. This little plant just shows that we must never give up or be despondent – there is always something good around the corner.

5I make no apologies for showing this plant again and again Beautiful bronze leaves all summer and delightful pink flowers that just go on and on during the darkest of winter months. Already there is the promise of leaves, although the part of the picture that showed them is too out of focus to show you today.

7From another view you can see how delicate the tree is from the distance. Next year I might do my 100 steps inside the greenhouse, part of which you can see above. That would be interesting – lots of colour and textures at the height of summer. The shed in the background is very tidy! I’m not allowed in there…… ;)

8The old and the new. Sorry it isn’t in focus. The old seedheads of the michaelmas daisies mingle with the leaves and new soon to be open shoots of the rhododendron. In May and June it will give us glorious red florets, a joy to behold.

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Now for the secret. Does this look a mess? It is the quietest corner of the garden, and we leave it untouched. Underneath the laurel is a secret walkway. It’s used by foxes and badgers during the night on their way to who knows where. We have seen them, often in fact, but they are best left undisturbed.

10More promises and things to encourage us to face a new year. The Californian Poppies are one of my favourite flowers. They are so brash and vibrant. They shout out ‘Look at ME!’ It is from one of last year’s exploded seeds, and has chosen to set up ‘house’ alongside a little polyanthus which is looking a little moth-eaten at the moment. I’m sure it will ‘buck up’ in the spring.

11Close by are more remnants of last year. These seedheads of a yellow clematis are so very delicate. I don’t like to see them cleared away until the last possible moment. They are lodged into the base of a Japanese anenome which is refusing to ‘lie down’ as you can see.

12And we end with one of the choisyas. The long fingered leaves intertwining and weaving a magic. Those deep purple buds will open to white, starlike flowers with a glorious evening scent. It won’t be long, just a few short months.

I hope you have enjoyed my 100 steps today. I could have shown you much more, but that will wait for another day. Thanks for coming with me, and if you would like to take part and show us 100 steps in your area you can find out more here. Make the most of the next few hours. 2013 is almost here. None of us wipe the slate clean and start with a clean sheet, if you need to settle anything now is the time to do it. That is more important than making resolutions. I won’t be making any of those, but I do have other things to do…….

Art is Easy

Are you an artist? Do you strive for perfection? Do you wish you were an artist? Do you dabble in all sorts of media but somehow always miss the mark? Do you just wish that you had the time or inclination to ‘play’ like some others are able? Do you wonder what inspires people and how on earth they create what they do?

I find it very difficult to describe what I do. I do – what I do. To save time I suggest that I’m an artist that currently works in textiles. I’m not a textile artist – I feel that is a title that is not worthy of anyone. Why? How many artists do you know that describe themselves as ‘an oil paint artist’? I work with mixed media, collage, fabrics, stitching, paper….. I’m constantly refining what I do and how I work, and I’ve learnt the hard way to very rarely show anything on the internet that has any value.

We have a 5 year old grandson. He’s a living miracle. Born weeks before his due date he was tiny, problems with breathing and feeding were the first battles, but thankfully he grew from strength to strength and is now full of beans and a joy. We see him regularly, and he was part of the company here on Christmas  Day. He is interested in the mechanics of how things work, how things are made, and he loves to read and to draw. We recently started drawing with two pencils – one in each hand and at the same time. He loved it. His comment a the time is the title of this post! On Christmas Day he decided he wanted to draw a cat. I asked him how he would do that. He thought for a moment or two. ‘I’ll think about what it has’. So, what has it? He named the parts as he drew…

‘a head
a mouth and nose
don’t forget the ears
it’s got a body
legs
and a big bushy tail’

See, it’s easy! You draw what you see

DSCN7413Go on, have a go!

I do so hope he doesn’t lose the freedom of expression that children of this age enjoy. It’s taken some of us a very long time to regain

Weekly Photo Challenge – My 2012 in pictures

The photo challenge this week gives an opportunity to air some pictures that you haven’t seen before, and also to hilight some that are my favourites. I’ll be repeating the exercise at Just Snaps, but no repeats of photographs. There will also be a resume of the tree over here when I can get it all together! So, here is a little collection.

(Click on any photograph to open a slideshow with captions)

Just a few glimpses. I had far too many pictures from which to choose. I hope your 2012 was a happy one, and that you will look back without regret. You can find full details of the challenge here where there are also lots more entries. I hope you will join it too.

What has happened to innocence?

Preparing for Christmas was a mammoth task this year. I won’t go into details, but it not only involved a lot of work, there was a lot of pain and heartache too. However, it was all accomplished on time, and we all enjoyed it. Christmas Day itself was spent with members of the family, including a celebrity

Minnie

Yes, along with her new pink shoes Minnie Mouse paid us a visit. She was very good and ate all her brussel sprouts – even asking for more as they are ‘my favourite’!

Apart from brussel sprouts Minnie adores books, so we spent time having cuddles and reading, At the age of two you are allowed to indulge in books that also have pictures, but I was reminded of one that I read as a child, that is really more appreciated when read as an adult.

book 1This is a newish edition. My original copy was given away long ago to our daughter, but it so well captures the innocence of a time long past that I couldn’t bear to be without a copy! Have you read it? It was written in 1890 but not published until 1919.

1a bookplateJ M Barrie’s preface is almost as long as the book! It begins:

2 Prefaceand ends:

2a Preface

I really don’t want to spoil the story, but here is just a brief extract

book 2

A book of delight – written by a 9 year old

1 Daisy

I remember seeing a dramatised version at some point, but it lost much in its adaptation. If you would like to read it there is a free download here, but there is nothing quite like a hard copy of the actual book. If you want to find out more about Daisy, just do a quick ‘Google‘.

Christmas Greetings

Wherever you are, whoever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you the joy of Christmas.

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Thank you for reading my blog, and for sharing your journey with me. 2012 has been an odd year for me. I hope to have more time to read and comment on blogs in 2013.

 

100 Steps – looking back

I mentioned somewhere that I sometimes use 100 steps as a tool when I’m teaching. I haven’t had time to take specific photographs this week, the days have been filled with preparations for the family get-togethers in a couple of days. It seemed a good opportunity to show you the pictures that were taken on such an occasion, at a beloved venue that sadly is no longer operating.

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Urchfont Manor closed in September. It’s fate is still unknown, but in the meantime it is left to rot. An ideal situation if your aim is to pull it down or convert it into flats. The pictures were taken on a misty day in March of this year. The object was to look at analogous colours and textures. There is one picture with a touch of contrast. Can you see it? I’ll share other pictures from another session at a later date.

I hope you will consider showing us 100 steps from your week. Full details are here, where you can also find a link to other posts in the series. Don’t forget to leave a link below if you find time to join in this week.

Related links

http://newpillowbook.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/100-steps-winter-in-the-park/

Weekly Photo Challenge – Surprise

The wonderful thing about natural dyeing is that you never quite know what will emerge from the pot!

The wonderful thing about natural dyeing is that you never quite know what will emerge from the pot!

Full information about the challenge, and lots more entries can be found here.

  1. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (mytropicalhome.wordpress.com)
  2. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (photomecrazy.com)
  3. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (belgradestreets.wordpress.com)
  4. A Dr. Who Christmas (aka Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise) (onenotalone.wordpress.com)
  5. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise! (kamialise.com)
  6. RUN! Weekly Photo Challenge (graysonqueen.wordpress.com)
  7. Weekly Photo Challenge Surprise – Primrose, Jester and Family Arriving Any Minute (mybeautfulthings.wordpress.com)
  8. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (mastersquill.wordpress.com)
  9. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (lifeandink.com)
  10. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (pilotfishblog.com)
  11. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (flickrcomments.wordpress.com)
  12. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (chttp://kattermonran.com)
  13. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (joyandwoe.wordpress.com)
  14. Surprise, Surprise!  (playamart.wordpress.com)
  15. Surprises around the world (thirdeyemom.com)
  16. WordPress Photo Challenge: Surprise (December Day 21) (ayearinmyshoes.wordpress.com)
  17. SURPRISE: A GIFT FOR THE BLOGGING COMMUNITY (cardinalguzman.wordpress.com)
  18. Challenge photo hebdo – Surprise (mariadesuede.wordpress.com)
  19. Weekly Photo Challenge : Surprise (lespetitspasdejuls.wordpress.com)
  20. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (jobryantnz.wordpress.com)
  21. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (marantophotography.wordpress.com)
  22. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (windagainstcurrent.com)
  23. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise! Monkeys! (rarasaur.wordpress.com)
  24. WPC: Surprise (shareandconnect.wordpress.com)
  25. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (betigaklaten.wordpress.com)
  26. Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Surprise (managuagunntoday.wordpress.com)
  27. WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: SURPRISE (mothergrogan.wordpress.com)
  28. WPC: SURPRISE (eljaygee.wordpress.com)
  29. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (tomotherearthwithlove.wordpress.com)
  30. Weekly Photo Challenge: Christmas Surprise Triage at Grandma’s (humbledpie.wordpress.com)
  31. Weekly Photo Challenge Surprise – Primrose, Jester and Family Arriving Any Minute (mybeautfulthings.wordpress.com)
  32. Winter Wonderland (rainbowbakery.wordpress.com)
  33. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (mytropicalhome.wordpress.com)
  34. WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: SURPRISE (francineinretirement.wordpress.com)
  35. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (autumninbruges.wordpress.com)
  36. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise (chrisbreebaart.wordpress.com)

So close to the end!

I can’t believe that 2013 is only a few short days away. What happened to 2012? Where did it go? I think it’s time I started thinking about bringing the year together in one post. Not yet, but before the year ends.

What are your plans for next year? Are you planning on a post each day? WordPress want to know!