Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Modern Madonna?

Fooling about with some colour printing this morning,
one thing leads to another, 
just working purely intuitively
and using whatever came to hand,
this is the image that emerged.

 Hubby came home and, seeing it asked,
"Is it a Madonna and Child?"

God Bless

Monday, 27 June 2011

A Rare Morning- Accepting Who You Are

It's one of those all too rare mornings here in the U.K., 
when it is possible not only to sit in the garden for breakfast,
but to be flooded by the heat of the sun too.  

I snatch the chance to open my journal and slosh some colour and lines onto the page.
I wonder why it is I'm always seeming to try and take a grab at life,
a moment here,
a moment there,
to do the things which feel important to me, 
though they may be absolutely meaningless to anybody else.

I know those parental voices that always demanded I put away my paints,
my books, 
and set aside my thinking,
to make myself useful,
because I was
"neither use nor ornament",
are still strong because over the years I have internalised them
and made them my own.

I have given them permission to still whisper to me.

Again and again, 
I drown them out by my own insistence that 
this is who I am. 

Still, into my paradise of birdsong, 
and sunshine,
and scented flowers, 
along with the realisation of grabbing at the moment
before the "real" issues of the day need to be attended to,
comes the thought that's maybe that's the root of my problem.
Maybe I'm a taker, not a giver.
And the old question unfolds,

 "What use is this?"
i.e."What use are you?"
 So the long fingers of 
worth = usefulness 
that were wedded together 
in my childhood
prod me again. 

If only I had known all those years ago that it was fear for me,
not rejection of me,
that caused my parents to try and mould me to a shape that wasn't mine

 Then my dearly beloved joins me at our al fresco breakfast table,
and I un -thinkingly begin to be apologise for the paints at the table,
and he says the gracious words of accepting love,
"No, carry on.  
That's lovely !"

He accepts me as I am.
That's all it takes really. 

How slow I am to learn to accept myself as I am,
to just be me, 
and to be thankful.

God Bless

Saturday, 25 June 2011

After the Storm

Wandering round my rain battered garden this morning
and  realising how it kind of reflects the last few weeks for me.
After a scary time in the recovery room I have been so weakened 
that at  times I wondered 
if  I was ever going to make the grade again.
 Then my hubby, 
who is usually my rock and mainstay,
almost straight away got back trouble that left him
pretty incapacitated as well.

Just two old farts together really!
(still unable to drive),
yesterday my youngest granddaughter escorted me by bus to the supermarket,
from which we returned triumphant,
with a wheelie suitcase full of foodstuff.
(We do like to get our prirorities right)!

Today the painkillers are working for hubby, 
and he has a lift to the chiropractor.
(Thank you John).
Go to and click on "Design" to see a lovely piece of art that reminds me of this.
The weather  forecast suggests a heat wave.
Things could very well be set fair from here on in.

God Bless

P.S.  Hubby is watching Wimbledon as I write. 
Sharopova is a great girl, but does anybody else want to smack her legs for keeping up that wounded gibbon shrieking?!  If other folks can, and have played great tennis with a buttoned lip, why can't she!    Sorry for the rant.  Perhaps a little venting does help!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


Here's the latest challenge (#27) from

It was by far the most difficult I've done but really does get you hooked so that you just have to have a go.
(Don't know why the paper is reproduced as blue,
but that's the wonders of technology for you.)

The challenge was to use two given Zentangle elements and,
not liking the linear aspects of the one, I found it 
intriguing to turn it into a more fluid form.

Apart from doodling as above life has been quiet, but today,
ta- dada,
roll on the drums please,
I walked to the nearby shops and did a bit of light shopping,
so I feel recovery is underway.

Poor hubby is now on a (very) go slow due to sciatica, and some other back trouble.

It is so much more distressing to see him struggle than to struggle myself,
for a whole raft of reasons.

What with me being unable to drive yet,
and my beloved not so mobile 
we are in for some real voyages of discovery shortly. 
A bit of a challenge of another sort I guess.

Bus stop here I come.

But perhaps just not yet.

God Bless

Friday, 17 June 2011

Looking Into the Heart

Looking at some of the petunias  in the
hanging baskets around
our place,
I was struck at how
beautiful the colours
at the centre of them are.

No wonder the insects are
inexorably drawn to the 
sweetness at the centre,
in the very heart 
of the flower.

If, as my zentangle yesterday illustrated, 
it's the root from which the branches and the fruit and flowers grow,
then it's surely from the heart,
  that place that has so long been seen as
the centre of our true identity, and essential being,
 that all that we are, and do proceeds.
To paraphraseProverbs 3:27,
"as a man or woman thinks in their heart, so they are.

Sometimes we may get an unexpected peep at 
the real motives of our hearts which have previously been unknown to us,
and well,
we may not like what we see
too much.

In reality this is when we can be encouraged
for we never see what we aren't ready to deal with,
and can know that
just humbly acknowledging
what we see, 
and wanting something different,
can be the starting point
for that difference to begin.
Christians call this movement towards light, and truth,
and change in the heart,
I've also heard it given the lovely Hebrew name  
which I believe means "return,"
meaning that we are turning back to God 
so that sin, evil,
and all the things which have the ability
to hide the real "us"
are being changed by
the spark of God 
being renewed in our hearts.
God Bless

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

From the Root...

Having to take it a little slowly today, due to a really good, 
perhaps overly ambitious day yesterday, 
so thought what better time to do the new zentangle challenge than now.
So here's the result.

I've called it "From the Root the Branch."

If you would like to have a go at doodling your own zentangle click on:-

God Bless

Monday, 13 June 2011

Where the Bee Sucks...

Wandering among the foxgloves in the garden,
and again watching  the bees,
  I found myself thinking of the song,
""Where the bee sucks, there suck I,
In a foxglove's bell I lie.. "
You see when I was a chirruping little girl growing up in Wales, singing was second nature,
and each Sunday School, school, and often town, 
would, from time to time have it's mini  
(If you don't know what this is you can read the foot note below*taken from

Local Eisteddfodau
aren't such grand affairs of course,
but they are still the platform for much fine rendering of verse and music
and are highly competetive affairs. 
Non of us would have dreamt that out own Eistedffod was "mini" in any way,
and hours of practice went in before the great day itself.

I sang in a choir and one of our performance pieces was,
"Where the bee sucks, there suck I:
In a cowslip’s bell I lie;..."
Sweet as the cowslip is,
don't you think it's too narrow for
a bee?
The words, are of course by Shakespeare,
who was born  in Stratford on Avon,
just down the road from where I live now.

 The thing is, I really think old Shakepeare got it wrong.

I know that if I were a bee,
(no, honestly, it isn't any meds I'm on ),
I would find the glorious speckled bell of a foxglove much more enticing.
 Wouldn't you? 
 God Bless

*Strictly speaking  "Eisteddfod" is Welsh for "session, 
and is the formal assembly of Welsh bards and minstrels
that originated in the traditions of medieval court bards. 
Early eisteddfods were competitions of musicians 
(especially harpists)and poets
from which new musical, literary, 
and oratorical forms emerged.
The assembly at Carmarthen in 1451 authoritatively established the arrangement
of the strict metres of Welsh poetry. 
The modern annual National Eisteddfod, revived in the 19th century,
includes awards for music, prose, drama, and art,
but the investiture of the winning poet remains its high point.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Bees Amongst the Beans

Can you see which are real bees and which the mock bees that decorate the flowers?
If you return to this blog often 
you will have noticed how many of the simple pleasures enriching my life involve
a little toothful of sustenance 
of one sort or another.

There are all sorts of sustenance of course.
and the spiritual reality of the 

By chance my present post, and the last one, mentions the more mundane delights of
the humble sandwich.
I must digress a moment and say I hope you noticed that rather unusually that other post,
"A Cheese Sandwich and Bath Water - Yum Yum!,"
wasn't illustrated in any way.
As my subject revolved around me sitting in the bath
I thought this best 
so as to protect readers of a nervous disposition. 
But back to today.

Sitting in the beauty of our sunlit garden with hubby,
we shared a few sandwiches, olives, feta,  (a cuppa of course),
and the company of the bees who were busy amongst the broad bean flowers.

Often enough when people exclaim how lovely our garden is, 
I demure , 
seeing only what needs to be done,
or in my minds eye how it should look,
or will look, 
when my plans for it are only worked out a bit better.

Now, when I'm not yet strong enough to entertain my plans 
even as a mental exercise,
and when I've had even this small break from it, 
I see it with fresh eyes.

Yes, it is beautiful.

I wonder how often we are so busy planning
how we can improve things,
our lives,
our circumstances,
even ourselves;
and we miss the beauty of what is already here.

I hope this weekend will be a time for you to discover
some unexpected beauty very near at hand.

Don't be afraid to take a little time to see it in yourself will you?

God Bless

P.S.   I'd love to know.  Do you call broad beans something else where you come from?

Thursday, 9 June 2011

A Cheese Sandwich and Bath Water - Yum Yum!

The days seem pretty featureless at present but this week has had a few bright spots.
Along with the "Get Well" cards, messages and visits there was 
one unexepected joy.

Anybody who has taken a first post operation bath
will  know the utter bliss of sinking into the warm, silky water,
and feeling it caress the bruises, and sore patches.

In itself it's pure delight,
but I topped it with further
sybaritic pleasure.

I asked kind hubby to bring me a cheese and lettuce sandwich 
and reclining in the golden warmth of the bath,
I took my first ever

For those of you who are Brits
and can remember the episode of "Steptoe and Son", 
where the old man is sitting eating pickled onions whilst bathing in a tin bath in the living room,
it didn't have that same" this isn't right" feeling at all.
(Actually I think it was the fact he was 
fishing the onions out of the bath water
that made it so wrong)! 

It felt SO right I'm recomending to you.

Perhaps you already do and have a favourite yourself?
If not,


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Just Enough Energy for This...

This is another one of those Zentangles like the "doodle" one  I did before going into hospital.

You can get the basic template from

It's good fun, and was about all I could manage to do yesterday,
though it felt a bit like I was grandma 
still doing her colourings in,
there is much more to it than that.  
I found myself thinking of all the interconnectedness
there is in the universe.
And that's a lot for my little brain!

God Bless

Monday, 6 June 2011

Allo Tout le Monde!

Water coloured signature paper for the art journal "I Am A Vessel"
No, I don't know why I signed off last week and then signed back on again today in French either. 
I have been reading the excellent 
"Suite Francaise" by Irene Nemirovsky 
so perhaps that's what it is.

Any old how I'm back from my brief stay in the hospital, 
where yet again I was reassured that there are some pretty wonderful people in this world. 

There is so much that could be said about the quiet dignity and humility of the very sick,
the old, and the helpless, on the one side,
and about the dedication, care, and sheer stamina
of those who work in this great 
National Health Service 
of ours, on the other. 

Along with my own experience of this last week, 
I have a great deal to think about,
and to give thanks for.

At this moment I am supposed to be convalescing from major surgery. 

After the other similar experiences in my life you would think I'd have got the hang of it by now, but no; 
it's still as hard as ever to get the balance just right
and to even out the peaks of feeling good,
and the troughs of feeling just terrible.

Reminder to self, -
it is still not a week until tomorrow since I had surgery.

Before I was hospitalised I was working on an art journal,
(new concept for me),
and had been following an on-line class with the excellent 
Diana Trout.

The title we were working with was
"I Am  A Vessel".

As I enjoyed working on this so much, and have little else to offer you at the moment,
I thought I'd share the first completed double pages.
I'm sure you know that you can click on the image to enlarge it and take a better look
The central warning to myself that I need other people came through very forcibly
as I was working on this piece.

From an early start as a self nurturer I really do have to look out for being overly independent,
and thinking that it is all down to me. 

This last week has yet again underlined the fact that we are all interdependent.
At one time being the giver,
and at another very much reliant on the strength and generosity
of others.

I'm sure those who know me will also recognise the fact that 
I am cracked, 
but at least I've 'fessed up about it.

I will be posting as and when I can in the next few weeks, 
so thanks for your patience if you do drop by.

God Bless