Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The beaded lady

Gosh I just love making things. Here I present my first necklace, handmade by yours truly. The colourful beads are the result of my sticky paper rolling and the metal 'inbetweeners' I carved with my teeth. Only one of those statements is true. I'll leave you guess which...

It's really pretty and I'm so proud of it. I scanned it which is why it's a bit blurry. I guess you're not supposed to stick jewellery in a scanner (but don't panic, it's not one of those 'feed through a miniscule gap types!).

I'm such a magpie when it comes to jewels, yet my treasures don't need carats or even turnips or potatoes. They just need to sparkle or look pretty. Their job is to make me smile and enhance and reflect Lisa. These, better still, are made by me, a product of my hands, concentration, imagination and creativity.

Getting creative, seeing words flow onto a screen or paper or watching a picture form from splishes and sploshes of paint makes me feel so alive. If I'm too tired to 'do', I think instead. I dream and plan and I learn. Learning is the fuel that is feeding my spiritual and creative growth . The more I write and paint, the more I learn and the more I have to give because I feel so much more stronger from the wonderfully juicy creative sustenance. An abundance of vitamins - A for art; B for boldness; C for creativity and E for energy.

I've never been terribly comfortable admitting emotions out loud, yet suddenly as I sit here in my kitchen at 10 o'clock at night, it seems so right to be throwing these words at the screen and sharing them with whoever happens past.

Perhaps the wine is talking (though only whispering since I'm only just starting on my second small glass). Maybe it's the Muse getting over-excited because some new art supplies plopped through the letterbox today. It could even be the ego which was given something of a boost more than once today. Whatever... today I believe in ME. I am not afraid to say it. I have faith in myself and that can't be a bad thing.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Soothing comfort... Sunday sketching...

I've been like a brittle, coiled spring all day. Wound up beyond my normal calm exterior, tetchy, short-tempered. Remember the pimple on the chin on Thursday? Well, let's just put two and two together, throw in a bloated belly and a few aches here and there and we all know my problem!

I told my boyfriend (who for his own safety is now in his own home) that I might try sketching tonight as a calming mechanism. I was also keen to join in with the Sunday Sketching gang hosted by Sophia; a perfect prompt for a bit of art. My Muse was sulking so I enlisted Suzi Blu to inspire and watched the first of my new online videos for the 3/4 face portrait. Well, it's as if she knew, bless her little cotton socks. She sketched and chatted and extolled the soothing virtues of sketching... She loves how it calms her down before bedtime.... Oh yes, me too! I think I shall have fun practising for this class.

I do actually feel much better. I may go to bed now while I retain this mood of serenity and hope for gentle dreams.



We all know what a proper little scamp that Easter Bunny is... hiding eggs all over the garden and house in the unlikeliest of places. Sometimes they are so hard to find that they don't turn up for months (though that is rather a lovely treat to find come August!).

This year we are ahead of old floppy ears. Yes, we have our very own trick up our sleeve, for look what dances in our cherry tree! Pretty little eggs swing in the breeze just out of his reach. How he will hop and waggle his whiskers as he leaps about trying to catch our eggs.

We will tell him to blame Mixed Media Monday for their egg challenge. It proved a family effort this week as boyfriend drilled holes and blew out yokes with the help of a small assistant. Mummy and small assistant decorated. Mummy got cross trying to tie knots around tiny pieces of cocktail stick, so boyfriend stepped in. Small assistant broke one while sticking... but we'll him allow him one breakage!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Staying Young

It's working... My Staying Young campaign... This morning when I woke I discovered I had a huge spot on my chin. Ah yes, a touch of acne is certainly enough to bring back some reminders of my youth. I think that this weekend, I shall be a real rebel and attempt to stay up past midnight!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Hungary Hitchhikers

No, that's not a typo in the title... Read on and all will be revealed about my (ever so brief) participation in some student adventures. It's all part of my 'Stay Young' campaign. Well, actually I just made that bit up, having read it not one hour ago in The Rules of Life, but it fits in very nicely with what I want to write and goes with my week's theme of coming to terms with being 40!

I was rather rebellious today and picked up some hitchhikers - three of them to be precise. I found them at Leicester Forest service station on the M1. They were all wearing matching T-shirts proclaiming their charity hitch across Europe to Budapest - starting this morning in Sheffield. I like to practice the odd random act of kindness so couldn't resist giving them a lift. I've never picked up hitchers before (it's hard not to think of Axe murderers in the same sentence), but these did seem a safe bet (especially as I'd already spotted several more of them when I'd arrived).

I was their fourth chauffeur of the day. They planned on reaching Dover by 7pm and sleeping tonight in France. Ah, the sense of adventure. During the 40 minutes or so they were my passengers I regaled them with stories of my student years. Yes, back then we had to manage without home comforts like the internet, email and mobile phones. In my hall of residence we had one phone for over 120 students that didn't take incoming calls. Still, let's not dwell on that (I'm on this 'Stay Young' mission remember).

Since I got home, I've been able to follow their journey's progression. They gave me their Uni website which details current whereabouts of all the teams. They did warn me it was addictive and I find I have to keep checking... just to make sure they're safe.... or does a secret part of me want to be on a cross-channel ferry with them right now with the sea blowing salty breezes up my nostrils as an appetiser to the Gallic dinner that awaits?

Best of luck Olivia, Lucy and Michael. Hope you raise loads of money and have a fabulous time.

PS - I just found a bee in my kitchen (a very sleepy one). Does this mean that Spring might actually be here at last?

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Time for tea

Pull up a chair and join me for a brew. I'm having Earl Grey. It's the last tea bag in the box but I'm sure we can squeeze two cups out. I've some birthday cake left too - of the chocolate fudge variety - which is terribly naughty but hey, we're not 40 every day.

I decided I would spend a portion of my birthday yesterday 'doing some art'. My Muse however, wanted to lie around in bed and be a prima donna, so my wonderful plans for artistic output instead turned into a bit of a mess. The picture you see above is a digital amalgam of two journal pages on the subject of Afternoon Tea. I layered up the best bits to make a book mark to salvage something from my efforts.

Afternoon Tea.... what a luxury. I've partaken of the indolence at both the Ritz and The Savoy in London. Tiny crustless sandwiches, scones with lashings of cream and jam and the daintiest dolly cakes you can ever imagine. Leaf tea served in dainty flowered china. Quiet whisperings of old ladies that look like Miss Marple in twin-sets. It's all deceptively filling too. I don't think I needed to eat for around 12 hours afterwards.

A tradition few have time for these hectics days but one that feels quintessentially English.

My entry for The Three Muses' teatime challenge. Collaged bits and bobs (that were real and then became digital), acrylics, neocolour crayons (birthday pressie!), tea and coffee stains (for real authenticity(, punchinella, sparkles. No cake crumbs though - now that would be a terrible waste... You need to click and enlarge to see the detail.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Forty Love... or Love Forty?

Well, the day is finally arriving. I'm writing this in the closing hours of my 30s with the big day looming large on the horizon. Is it a fearsome monster that growls and roars in a bad temper as age runs away from it or a mischievous pixie intend on causing more mayhem. I guess it's what you make of it. Shall I grab the latter and be a bit naughty? What do you think?

I certainly don't feel 40 and the last year or so has been a true period of rebirth. So perhaps it's true what they say about life beginning at this grand age. Am I perhaps entering my prime? Well, let's be positive and shout from the rooftops "OH YES!" I am ME. I am LISA. I know who I am and I'm proud of it.

Mother, Friend, Lover, Artist, Entrepreneur, Adventurer, Dreamer, Writer, Creative, Expressive, Communicator.

Let my next 40 years be a welcome product of my first 40. Finally all those lessons make sense perhaps?

Let's not get too philosophical. Perhaps I should just concentrate on the celebrating. It began today at the rather magnificent location you see pictured above. A gourmet meal and a bit of sophistication. I wore my new dress and carried my peacock handbag. My son was invited 'back stage' to meet le Chef (even though he didn't eat all his greens, unlike his mother who would have eaten the plate pattern had there been one!). Spring had arrived and the sound of pheasants croaking and sheep bleating provided the perfect countryside soundtrack to the landscape of snowdrops and oh-so-nearly flowering daffodils. The feeling of rebirth abounds in every way - especially when you look at my heavily pregnant sister... any week now....

Happy 40th Birthday Lisa. Life begins...

Saturday, 20 March 2010

You can't make a silk purse...

... out of a sow's ear... or can you?
I took a stroll by the river in my town. The sun was just making its way through the clouds and there was a definite hint of Spring whispering through the greening willows. The riverside cafés and bars were bursting at the seams with jovial patrons enjoying the sudden warm weather. The punts and row boats had been dragged out of winter storage and laughing lovers paddled and poled their way up and down the river. Ducks, swans, moorhens, herons and even a dodo followed in their happy wake.

Dodo? Riverside café? Boats for hire? Jovial crowds?

Not in my town. River? Yes (and a canal!). Rubbish? Oh yes - there was actually a soiled nappy hanging in a tree. Shopping trolley caked in rust and weed? Yes.

When I saw the challenge at Inspiration Avenue this week to be about our towns there was not much that sprang to mind about mine in terms of artistic creation. Still, this was a challenge and in the end I managed a whole exhibition - turns out there's creative inspiration in the unlikeliest places... (although I didn't quite manage anything with the soiled nappy).
I present my first exhibit: Trolley on radioactive Riverbank (Photoshop helped here)

Hanging nicely next to Traditional English phone boxes (Photoshop again)

With a finale of interesting doorway at the Guildhall (altered photograph using bleach)

As you can see, things got slowly better!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Look in my book bag...

"Look in my book bag Mumma" says a small boy. "I've got something to show you".

I pull out the monthly newsletter. "No, that's not it".

I find some new books to read. "Nope, they aren't it".

I find a leaflet about the football academy. Still not it....

Then I pull out this...

Am I the proudest Mumma in the world? You can see this artwork in a previous post. Another Friday Happy without a doubt. Big Smiles.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

I nose how to do it

When Botticelli woke up the morning after he had finished painting Venus, I wonder how he felt. Do you think he looked and thought... "Yes, Sandro. You've done it. A Masterpiece." Had he any inkling that it would become one of the most famous paintings in the world hundreds of years after he applied that final stroke to canvas? Do you think he woke with a smile? Was he happy? Was he proud of himself?

Well, I'm proud of myself! I sat down tonight for a quick sketch for 10 minutes or so. I'm planning a canvas of my own featuring the lady herself. I thought I'd try a quick graphite practice before I applied her features over my layers of collage on my big canvas.

Several hours later I put pencils down... It may be far removed from the work of a genius but this was, for me, a labour of love. I am not sure I ever enjoyed creating anything so much. I don't care if no one else thinks it is good apart from me and picks up on the mis-matched slightly wonky eyes. This was only ever meant to be a quick 10 minute sketch to get the feel for her. I just couldn't stop. I'm cold from sitting still so long and have a bit of backache from bending over my sketchbook. I had a soundtrack of just three songs playing on repeat keeping my Muse flowing. I daredn't change them for fear of scaring her off. My iTunes shows rather a large number of plays for Hayley Westenra this evening. I am so pleased with this piece.

Oh, and before I go to bed... One more thing. Look at that nose! I did it. I actually drew a nose I'm happy with. Well... I did have some guidance from a Master. Thanks Sandro!

The scan is a bit of a disappointment with some colours going awry and losing the blue background entirely, but you get the gist. And the original has some red blob on it because I was just using up a slightly damaged page in my sketchbook! Typical!

This seems the perfect post to share with Jamie Ridler's Happy Group this week as it certainly put a smile on my face :). It is also my first entry for the Following the Masters group - inspired as it is by the topic this month - the Italian Renaissance.

Still life with child

A small boy in this house is very excited about having his artwork featured on Mummy's blog. He is learning about Picasso and Cezanne at school. I'm impressed!

His project homework for this half term is to create and paint a still life. I pulled up some pics on google to show him some examples of their work and he was all ... “yeah Mummy, I know all these paintings, I’ve seen them at school” – how very cultured he is!!

Last half term we had to make a pair of shoes for a fairytale character… they don’t make it easy these teachers do they? But at least it’s fun, and one thing we are not short of in this house is art supplies!

I, naturally, had great fun becoming 'art teacher' this week. First we selected some items for our assemblage. Our googling had revealed that artists in the 'olden days' liked a lot of fruit, flowers and wine... Clearly they enjoyed painting while under the influence!

My Mother's Day daffodils fitted the bill perfectly, so they went in. Next I attempted a little lesson in proportion which he sucked up. I taught him to look at the size of items in relation to both each other and the picture as a whole. We had a practice sketch... then another...

There's always a fine line to draw (excuse the pun) with correcting mistakes and encouraging a bit of free creativity. I resisted the urge to grab the pencil but I did convince him to rub out an overly small orange and to give his bananas a bit of bend so they looked less like sausages. When it comes down to it though, this is his art and I want him to be as creative as he likes.

What's interesting though is trying to teach them to really look. Notice how all of his items sit independently on the page - though in reality they all overlapped each other. The young brain is seeing them all individually rather than one composition. We do a lot of painting but normally he colours in a picture or paints without instruction. This was a fun exercise for us both.

Panic this morning when we arrived at school only to discover that it was mufti day for Sport Relief. Was mine the only child wearing his school uniform? Eek, a quick dash home and collection of Scooby-Doo trousers and Ben 10 T-shirt and all was saved.

Acrylics on watercolour paper (he got to use Mummy's posh stuff as it was a special project!).

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Do mermaids ever catch colds I wonder? What do they blow their nose on?

I've been meaning to hook up on this great challenge site for ages and finally am participating in Michelle Ward's GPP Street Team. This month we're 'grabbing a tissue'.

I love using tissue paper in my mixed media work - in fact, it was one of the first additional media I experimented with when I began this exciting artistic foray. For this piece I had in mind to conjure an angel. I have some lovely tissue paper covered with cupids and some sparkly globes as well as some thicker golden samples. I gave her strong wings and soft hair but somehow the picture just wasn't working. The wings did not look like they would ever unfurl, much less fly. It's funny because I was working on this Monday night, just as I had written my post about being 'prepared to change our paintings', where I was talking about life as well as art. So, undaunted I quite literally ripped the wings off* and angelic creature of the stars became siren of the sea instead. I like this. There's so much texture and layered colour from the tissue - in fact, I can't actually close my journal now owing to the layers of tissue and the addition of some real shells. Well, a mermaid must have adornment mustn't she?

I'm still not happy with my noses. I want them to look all cutesy but instead she looks like she's been slapped around the face with a shark's tail. I think I may just practice nose after nose in my journal until I form one I'm happy with. I guess I would never make a terribly good plastic surgeon.

Mixed media journal page (well, sketchbook really since I rarely write in it!). Coloured pencil, acrylics, tissue papers, oil pastel, clear gesso, shells.

* No angels or mermaids were harmed in the creation of this painting.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


When I started thinking about the challenge this week at the Three Muses - the art of disguise -I was reminded of those wonderful bodyart paintings where the subjects blend into the background. I googled and found this link to some incredible examples which are really worth a look. Suitably inspired, I asked my boyfriend if he'd mind posing for a few hours while I blended him into a background of the Milton Keynes concrete cows - can you spot him? I think I did a really good job, don't you? He moaned a lot about being cold and getting cramp and having better things to do, but it was worth all the effort in the end.... Until he discovered the paint wouldn't wash off... round about the same time I discovered just how fast I could run...

Ha! Sorry for my dodgy sense of humour. Well, you may have guessed by now that I didn't quite get around to creating a 'proper' entry but I couldn't resist this little wheeze. I may get around to my entry later in the week.

Monday, 15 March 2010

The pull

I am feeling out of sorts. Not exactly in a bad way but certainly like something strange is occurring deep within. My mind feels like a tower of champagne glasses filled with nectar bubbling over looking most pretty but somewhat out of control. It seems like there is too much I want to do. It's actually pretty exciting though - sitting here with big plans for the future. It's an uncertain one as who knows what direction my business may turn in; but it feels good. I think of myself in five years as a bit of a dilettante - writing, painting, making, maybe teaching or doing some kind of coaching. I'd like to be seen as an expert communicator. I'd love to host an exhibition. I want to be good Mum. I have to believe all this else what is the point?

What I'm feeling is a strong pull. The strength of it comes from within me as much as outside influences. In the last year or so I've found the real Lisa and now it is time we went places together. I have renewed confidence, drive and ambition.

We read all these self-help books and watch gurus telling us to state our ambitions and they'll come true. It does make sense. How can they come true if we don't form what they are? However, I think we should also be prepared to modify them as we go along - not necessarily compromising on what we want, but embracing change. If I think about when I paint, I might have an idea in mind when the first stroke of graphite goes onto the paper, but artistic circumstance often intervenes and I'm forced to adapt and shoot off in other directions. Sometimes the end result is more than I ever hoped for.

If I think back 11 years ago as I prepared to get married, I guess a divorce was never part of the plan. But it happened and I adapted my life painting. I erased and blended, embellished and glossed. The result today is a different Lisa from the one I envisioned when I walked up the aisle, but I think a stronger and better person - in the end (let's not pretend it wasn't painful getting here).

This post itself is nothing how I planned it. I just had an urge to write about this 'pull'. The words just flowed. It's not quite my usual frivolous nonsense, but fear not readers - tomorrow's post is already created and written and frankly, couldn't be more different to this one! Come back soon for your regular dose of nonsense.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Mothers' Day

I spent several hours labouring over a card for my Mum the other evening. I'd watched a Suzi Blu lesson and got stuck in with my mixed media to create a Goddess. I liked the result and proudly took it to my boyfriend's to show him before presenting to my Mum... I left it at his house, along with the rest of my overnight bag and contents - including hairdryer, something I had forgotten about until dripping after the shower this morning. Sometimes I wonder if I lost some memory cells somewhere along the way. I must have had to climb over the bag to get out of the door. What is wrong with me?

Anyway, luckily for Mum I had scanned it in for 'posterity' and so she gets her very own blog post instead (and the real card a few days late - sorry!).

Happy Mother's Day Mum - love you and thank you for EVERYTHING!

While we are the subject. I am of course a Mother myself. I am also a smug Mumma too laden as I am with goodies all weekend. I got chocolates from my boyfriend's daughter - which I also left at his house. DON'T EAT THEM MR...

Yesterday we took a trip to the shops where I was required to wait patiently on a bench while boyfriend and children went a-buying. A notebook to treasure from Paperchase and a pretty pink bracelet from my son. Thank you!

Then this morning, it was breakfast in bed made by my son. I was a little nervous when he ran downstairs with that intention in mind and he was gone a LONG time. I could hear him chatting away to himself while creating a culinary masterpiece. Finally I was presented with a bowl of Shreddies - bless his little cotton socks. He wants to cook lunch too. Fish fingers, chips and peas... Trouble is I am already cooking lunch for my Mum - something a little more exotic. Perhaps he can cook me dinner tomorrow.
So Mums of the World. Whether it is Mother's Day in your country today or not. Have a wonderful day and enjoy lots of love and hugs.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Glue picking

I've been picking glue out of my fingernails all week. Well you know how I love to get sticky. I found another little hobby to play with. Paper bead making. Now how easy is this? You just get an old magazine, newspaper or some scrapbook paper, make a long thin triange, roll it up around a cocktail stick, stick it with some glue et voila - one bead. Then you like that so much that make another - two beads - and other and another, all the while experimenting with sizes and shapes until suddenly you realise you've got enough for a full set of jewellery. Well, nearly!

I do feel I might get bored of this hobby fairly quickly, but for this week it has been fun and strangely soothing so I will share as my Happy Friday post.

The beads in the picture aren't 'ones I made earlier'. I figured that 'borrowing' someone else's picture may be easier and quicker than trying to photograph mine (and they have made a few more) - I'm on a hectic schedule today. In fact, if you like the look, but can't be doing with all that fiddly stickiness, then you might like to buy these to support women in Uganda. Here's the link to where I found the picture.
Before I go, a quick reminder that the Inspiration Avenue art auction for the Angel Faces charity ends on Sunday. Don't miss your chance to buy something pretty and help disfigured girls.

Must dash... Have a great weekend...

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Walk on the wild side

Don't you think there's something very exotic and interesting about foreign newspapers? I mean my local rag is pretty dull to me; but there's a real intrigue about a copy of the Ventura County Star I have in front of me. I've also got the Los Angeles Times. How glamorous does that sound? And check out these homes for sale in The Northland Age Property Express - at the moment I'm favouring a beachside property in Whatuwhiwhi with enticing views of Perehipe Bay...

Well they say one girl's rubbish is another's treasure and the packaging that came wrapped around some treats from California and New Zealand recently has had me intrigued enough to hang onto it - I am so rubbish at throwing anything away!

Some of the adverts make absolutely no sense. What on earth is this one selling? I figured it was some kind of mobile home until it mentioned the cameras and a basement...

So, I was planning a rambling post of this variety when serendipity turned up on my doorstep with an art challenge to go with it. The Three Muses are asking for newspapers to be used in our creations this week so I found an alternative use for all these pages other than planning my emigration to Whatuwhiwhi.

I was also missing getting sticky with collage. I present my Hollywood homage. This is Holly, she's just arrived in the City of Angels after hitchhiking from Florida F.L.A. She's scouring the papers for a place to live while she waits for her big break. She hadn't previously considered dental implants and wonders if they'll hurt. Maybe she should just buy a doggie costume...

There are many layers to this piece - just like Holly's story... Mixed media collage: Canvas block; newspapers from around the globe; a picture of Holly from a magazine; pink and aqua acrylics; some paper flowers; some sparkles; tissue paper; a feather I found in the street yesterday (I didn't realise we had pink birds in England); a little shining star (in the corner of her eye). The LA Times header was placed using a cool technique. I stuck some cellotape over the newspaper. Soaked it in water and rubbed off the backing. Voila, a see through transfer that still retained enough stickiness to glue right on!
I'm also rather obsessed with these colours at the moment - this will go rather nicely in my pink and aqua bathroom me thinks...
Said, Hey babe,
Take a walk on the wild side
I said, Hey honey,
Take a walk on the wild side
And the coloured girls say,
Doo do doo do doo do do doo

Monday, 8 March 2010

My new little venture

I am very excited to be sharing this with you. For a long time now I have been reading somewhat jealously about wonderful creative retreats many of my blogging friends are going on. I've loved reading how women get to step off life’s hectic treadmill for a weekend and spend some time just for them – letting themselves be a little creative, making new friends and finding out a little about what makes them tick.

The majority of the ones I have read about take place in the US so are somewhat prohibitive in terms of cost and distance, so initially I put aside all thoughts about attending.

Then I had a lightbulb moment of the mountain and Mohammed variety. Well, why not organise one myself? So, the idea was born. I was a little nervous of doing this all by myself but knew immediately who my partner in crime would be. My friend Tina – a Learning & Development expert as well as a Style & Colour coach would be the perfect sidekick in this little venture. She is also quite good at reeling me in when I get a little too over-enthusiastic – her first influence being to cut down our first attempt to one Saturday afternoon in a church hall just around the corner, rather than a whole weekend in a stone farmhouse in the Peak District which was where my fantasies were taking me.

We had a bit of a think and scribbled some notes. We rang round some friends to rope in on presenting. We formed our agenda and we found our venue.

All we need now is some participants! If you are within an easy travel of Northamptonshire and fancy joining us, then do get in touch and I'll send you all the details! The date for the diaries is Saturday 17th April.
Disclaimer: While the image shown is not actually our venue, by the time we've finished with you, you'll feel like it was... hopefully!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Not everything is black and white

An intriguing play with this week's theme at Mixed Media Monday - not everything is black and white. Quite. Let's face it, life rarely is - there are always so many hidden agendas, particularly in the world of fiction and drama.

I've been reading the third in the Twilight series this week where for our poor heroine, life's twists and turns keep the poor lass in a state of permanent confusion where nothing is even close to black and white. If it's not a vampire declaring undying love then its a besotted werewolf. What a state of affairs to find yourself - and that's without all the maniacs trying to kill her.

Anyway, Bella and 'friends' inspired me this week. I thought it would be fun to create a soulful face and then take away that innocence with a drop or two of blood and some disturbing eye contact...
She began as a pencil sketch, then I gave her a bit more form with some acrylics mixed with glazing medium (so you could still see the pencil). I decided to scan her in before transforming her to a creature of the dark side. Well, dear readers, this is where something strange and mysterious happened. For look what happened when my simple black and white portrait went through the scanner... I don't know about you, but I'm sleeping with a ready supply of garlic tonight...


I loved the idea of creating a black and white piece with a tiny splash of significant colour. This is a fabulous theme and one I may continue exploring over the coming weeks. It is quite a challenge to reign in my love of colour!

If you were 'enchanted' by my entry last week and would love to own it as well as contribute to charity, well you can. It is currently up for auction on the Inspiration Avenue Etsy team blog together with a gallery of other treasures. All money raised is for Angel Faces, a charity that supports young girls with burns and facial disfigurements. If you have a moment do pop along and have a look at all the pretty things.

Charity Art Auction

As a member of the Inspiration Avenue Etsy team I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the talented ladies in hosting an auction of lovely things for the Angel Faces charity and offering up this piece - Enchanted.

Angel Faces offers healing retreats and ongoing support designed to inspire adolescent girls with severe facial disfigurements to achieve their optimum potential.

I am poised with my gavel friends because the date has at last arrived when you can take a stroll around the gallery and marvel at the treasures that await your bids.

Bidding opens today and closes on Sunday 14th at noon EST (time zone converter here). It couldn't be simpler to place a bid. Just follow this link to the actual auction rooms on Inspiration Avenue where you will find an (almost) identical post sitting among all the other delightful lots. Open the comments to that post and add your bid a bit higher than the last one - you all know how auctions work!

As we are an international group with a worldwide readership we decided to keep things as simple as we could, so please place your bid in US dollars. Please round your bid up to the nearest $. (currency converter here). Should you win, you will be sent a paypal invoice, so please ensure you have a paypal account or are prepared to set one up before bidding and leave us your email address so we can get in touch.

There are many more treasures to be found on the Inspiration Avenue site - just scroll through the items in our 'catalogue' and see what takes your fancy. We are hoping to raise at least $500 for the charity, so dig deep.

Starting bid $10.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

That'll teach 'em

It would be nice to have the time to have a word or two with my son's school about the timing of their communications to parents. Take this week for example. On Tuesday evening I discover that a fancy dress costume will be required on Thursday for World Book Day. Children are encouraged to become their favourite book character for the day. Now, how can a competitive Mum who works possibly have time to create a 'fox in socks' (on Knox on box with a noodle eating poodle and a tweetle beetle paddle battle in puddle in a bottle) in two evenings?

Add to this the problem of trying to dissuade my son from going as Ben 10 or a power ranger. Explaining the difference between a TV character made into a book and vice versa is no easy task. Eventually we settled on 'revenge on the teachers for suggesting this at the last minute'. Behold... the Old Saucepan Man from the Faraway Tree stories. What a delightful noise he made as he clanged and clanked his way into the classroom! And, as if he wasn't happy enough with this original and tuneful costume, the icing on the cake was discovering that his future bride, the girl he loves 'with all his heart', went as Silky the Fairy - another character from the same books.

Lots of brownie points for Mum this week, though I'm dreading the next parent's evening...

Friday, 5 March 2010

In the pink

I don't know why this didn't occur to me before... Since my ex-husband I separated and he moved out, I never really thought much about decoration. In fact, the whole idea just seemed like too much effort - what with bringing up a small boy and working and everything else.

Now, following my kitchen painting exercise I appear to have bitten the bug. Whilst I admit that I didn't actually have to do much actual labouring in my kitchen owing to the fact that the insurance company paid for it (I had a rather unfortunate water leak in my airing cupboard which came through the kitchen ceiling - messy!), I am nonetheless on a roll.

However, I'm also sensible (well, sometimes). I'm starting slowly with the smallest room. With only 1.5 walls not tiled, this is not too onerous. In fact, most decorating can be done by purchases from lovely shops like John Lewis and HomeSense (oh joy!).

It all began when I was wandering around BHS looking for inspiration for boyfriend's birthday. Well, truthfully, I was walking past en route to a 'man' shop and got distracted by the thought of pretty things for my kitchen in their homeware department. I spotted such a lovely little towel ... for my bathroom.

What gorgeous colours. I could go all aqua...

No! Suddenly an idea sprang to mind that put a large smile upon my face. Never mind the aqua - let's be a little more daring... let's go PINK! With no grown man in permanent residence I can be as girlie as I like...
Well, dear readers, let's just say that as you approach my bathroom now you may be forgiven for thinking that some strange alien technology is beating in there as it pulsates a pink glow from the neon shower curtain and larger than life bathmat. And this is before I paint me some artwork...
I have decided that the walls will be aqua though. I think there's only so much pink that even I can handle.
PS - six year old son not that impressed... "but pink's a girls' colour Mummy...." Boyfriend has yet to see - I fear this post may put him off visiting!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

It's nearly 8pm

It's nearly 8pm, I need to do an hour or two of work then off to bed for me. I rather naively believed that when I went self-employed I'd have more time to myself but that does not appear to be the case. I'm either working, networking, doing admin or feeling guilty about not doing admin. I've hardly picked up a paintbrush in the last couple of weeks and need to complete (well, to be truthful 'start' would be... well... a start!) a special painting by Sunday.

Sunday my friends begins a wonderful art auction with the Inspiration Avenue Etsy Group - a very talented group of ladies who allowed me to join their ranks. We are all auctioning one of our creations for the Angel Faces charity (just click on the blog badge for more details). Do pop along - you may just spot something with your name on. Now there's an idea. Maybe I should create a painting and give her a popular girl's name so some doting relative can't resist buying... Hmm.

It's wishcasting today with Jamie Ridler. She asks us what we wish to have more time for. I'm careful about wishing for more time when self employed as a sudden rush of free hours means I'm not getting paid! So maybe I'll pass this week and wish instead for better time management. You see, I shouldn't really be here blogging when there is work to do and it's nearly 8pm already...

On the bright side, I got to spend time with my boyfriend today when I took him out to celebrate his birthday with a yummy lunch. A grand time was had by all! Happy Birthday Babes! xx

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The adventures of a peacock handbag

Come on now, admit it, what lady doesn't love a handbag? And what lady doesn't covet one that stands out from the crowd, jumping on shoulders and yelling "Hey, look at me!" Funny then that the term 'peacock' as well as having the obvious avian connotation also means someone rather proud of themselves; a bit of a show off. That's me my friends when I'm out with this feathered beauty. What do you think? Likey?

When I saw this for sale on the Etsy shop of one of my new blog chums I knew we were made for each other. So what that it had to cross half the world to get to me - that's obviously what the feathers were for! It comes from a truly magical place of the Raven Moon. You should pop along to the blog to be enticed by stories of spider people and pebble power.

Handbags and Gladrags

A bag of such beauty and magic deserves more than sitting in a cupboard waiting for an extra-special occasion so I've taken it out to meet a few people (and make them turn a little green around the gills).

A ladies' networking event was an outing opportunity not to be missed. If nothing else, when you're standing in a room where you barely know a soul, a handbag like this is talking point enough to break the ice. We had a wonderful time together and made the beginnings of some new friendships. It felt wonderful to be in a room of 'like minded women' (for that is indeed the name of said group), a bit like suddenly being surrounded by your peers when you've been all alone for ages. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait for the next one.

Today, I was working with one of my regular client companies. I just knew that my 'boss' there would love to see my purchase and she did not disappoint. In fact, she went so far as to say that it made her happy! Ah me too... The power of the handbag....
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