Monday 29 June 2015

Me on the last Monday in June

It was a mixed weekend.  Glorious sunshine and hot temperatures on Saturday.  Long dog walks skirting around the perimeter of the field where young kids were playing a five a side tournament; remembering when we were part of that scene.  The hours spent in random playing fields, sitting on a picnic blanket with all the other parents of the team, enthusiastically cheering our boys on, giving sympathetic words after they were knocked out, and generally enjoying a day where we were all out in the fresh air watching boys being boys.  The rough and tumble with their team mates, taking careful notice of what the team manager had to say, seriously warming up and giving their all until the last minute of extra time had been played.  Happy memories. 
It was a lifetime away from the dreadful news that was coming in from Tunisia.  It is resonating with me so much as I have stayed in that resort.  Seen that hotel.  Laid on that beach.  Put my beach towel on those sun loungers.  Relaxed and on holiday, getting ‘away from it all’.  A tragic reminder that we really do need to make the most of every happy moment and memory.
Sunday dawned overcast and with a breeze that took away the temperatures of the day before.  When I was in town buying my meat on Saturday, everyone else in the butchers was stocking up on barbecue foods.  There was a roaring trade in sausages, burgers, steak and surprisingly, butterflied shoulder of lamb ready to throw on the coals.  At the time I thought ‘I bet I’m the only one in town planning a ‘proper roast’ on Sunday’ but after the rain started midmorning maybe I wasn’t the only one cooking inside after all!  The early morning dog walk resulted in a certain person dragging herself through a hedge and coming out covered in those little sticky balls that get in your fur and refuse to come out. Mother in Law joining us for dinner, Mary Berry’s Lemon Meringue pie for dessert, home made scones and jam for tea – ours was a traditional British Sunday.
Monday find me working a half day then home for lunch in the garden.  Carefully supervised by you know who ...

We have a busy week ahead, one which includes a mid week wedding on Wednesday.  Temperatures are forecast to be 30 degrees that day! Seems like Saturday weddings are a thing of the past around here nowadays.  Apparently prices drop by almost 50% if you get married midweek so I can see the attraction!  I can’t remember the last wedding I went to so I’m looking forward to putting on my finery and sharing in the happy day.  Coincidentally, the surname of the bride is Last so this will also be the ‘Last Wedding’ that I go to!
Hope your Monday is going well, let’s give up a wave to Sian and see what she is up to today.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Summer of Colour Week 3

One thing that my blogging has taught me is that if I declare my intention to do something on my blog, it makes me determined to see it through and I am far less likely to fall by the wayside.  Once I have put something out there in cyberspace, I feel like there’s more reason to stick with it.  So I was naturally hesitant to say I would be joining in with Summer of Colour because – hey – I don’t consider myself to be artistic in the true ‘art’ meaning and it certainly sounded like it may be something that might take me totally out of my depth.  (Anyone who knows of my swimming prowess – or lack of it – will know that out of my depth is definitely somewhere I don’t want to be!)  But it sounded fun and it sounded like it was something that could be carried out in a multitude of ways.
This week’s colour combination was 1 purple + 1 purple + 1 yellow and once again, there was plenty of inspiration to be found in the garden. 

Red rose  
I wanted to make this week’s mandala a little more bold with more colouring in rather than lines and I’ve managed to stick to that intention. I’ve also discovered that I’m becoming a little bit addicted to silver and gold pens.  It doesn’t show too much in the photograph but there is a lot of gold pen in the outlines here!
When I thought about photographing it this week I remembered the beautiful sarong that my friend brought me back from her recent trip to Australia – the colours absolutely match this week’s challenge.

Please pop over the the Summer of Colour blog and prepare to be amazed at the clever and inspirational work that people have been doing.  One colour brief yet so many different interpretations of it.
One other thing I want to mention is how lovely the other people are that are joining in too – I’ve never had so many visitors to my blog and the comments are so kind.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  It really makes me pleased I joined in.  Are you in?  It’s not too late – come on, give it a go! 

Monday 22 June 2015

Me on the Monday after Father's Day

Someone in our house got 'spoilt rotten' this weekend. Someone managed to start his Father's Day celebrations on Friday evening and continue them on until Sunday night. Our son came home especially to cook a meal for us him on Friday then on Saturday our daughter planned an Italian evening at her house. We had Italian food, Italian drink, Italian music and even Coco dressed up
It was a really lovely weekend.  I think he felt well and truly loved and appreciated which, let's be honest, is what Father's Day should be all about.
Monday has found me checking out my Scavenger Hunt list and gathering together the early captures 
A bouquet, a tent, a turtle (or four) and a college for starters.  Followed by architectural columns, traffic signals, public toilets and a natural body of water.
I think the inside of a public toilet is one of the oddest ones we've had on a list! It is rare to find an empty 'ladies loo' in England, there's usually someone else around and hard to explain why you're taking a photo! So I quickly popped into Marks and Spencer last week when it all seemed quiet. Not very elegant I'm afraid but it may have to do.  As it's in a shop I wonder if it's monitored by cctv - can you imagine the person monitoring the screens wondering why on earth some strange woman was taking a photo? My husband saw the photo as I was loading it on here and said 'Deb, I think you've misunderstood the instructions, it's probably the outside of the ladies you were supposed to be taking.'  Probably ought to check that out!  I'm hoping to get better traffic signals too but I love the old building in the background of that shot, it's one of the older buildings in town and has a lot of character.
Monday is also finding me doing my next mandala for the Summer of Colour (more of that tomorrow!) I can't believe how much I am loving this little project, it's so relaxing and although I don't consider myself to be artistic at all, I'm quite happy with how they are turning out.
Let's pop over to see Sian who invited us all to share our Mondays.  Poor Little E has been in the wars, we need to give him a big 'get well soon' wave too.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Summer Of Colour Week 2

This idea of drawing mandalas to join in with the Summer of Colour was one of my better ideas. 
I blogged yesterday about the joys of organising the Awards Evening, if I'd blogged about it today it would have been a far more stressful post.  It's not been a relaxing day!  First I thought I'd lost a book, then I almost stuck the wrong book plate in the wrong book and had to carefully remove and replace it, then I couldn't find the 'safe' place I'd stored all the cheques that needed to be handed out ... if ever I needed something to calm me down, today was the day!
So, let me share a mandala that I made in the chosen colours of 1 pink + 1 pink + 1 orange last night.
From this I have learnt that not only do I need more practice in dissecting a circle equally, but I really do need to invest in some new colouring pencils. 
So after the stresses of today, I came straight home, took the dog for a quick walk and then headed out into the garden for some sunshine and just to clear my head.  I noticed that Mother Nature has been taking part in Summer of Colour too ...

I love that Rock Rose, but the petals are so fragile and they last such a short space of time, just like the orange poppy - I guess that will be gone by the weekend.
So I got myself a cold drink, gathered my pad and pencils together and sat quietly for half an hour, trying to gain inspiration from my garden.  Trying to add a bit of a flower into the design.  So version two is this.  It kind of reminds me of a ceramic tile and once I've got myself a few new crayons I think I'll come back to this colour way again! 

Please head on over to the webpage here where you will see some amazing examples of what everyone else is up to!  While you're there, why not join in too?

Monday 15 June 2015

Me on a book loving Monday

One of my responsibilities at work is to be in charge of the administration of the annual School Awards Evening.  There's a lot of paperwork involved.  It involves 70 school prize winners and 44 people getting silver cups and glass trophies.  There are parts of it which make me almost a nervous wreck.  But today is the day that makes it all worthwhile.  The students are all given a set amount of money to put towards a book of their choice and then a week before the event the bookshop delivers them to school to have book plates and book marks put inside them.  Today was the day.  The day when £750 worth of books are delivered to ME.  I love it!  I love the diversity of choices and have spent a happy Monday morning sorting and browsing.
Here's what £750 worth of books looks like:
Some people had chosen books I probably ought to have read
Some chose books I would never read even if I lived to be 100

Some look fascinating
Some made you want to pop down the travel agent
Some were really interesting - the secrets that the museums keep for themselves hidden away
Some were amusing
A few people had chosen a 'classic'
One chose one that I think I could learn a lot from
And one was lucky not to be brought home with me
All in all, it's been a pretty good Monday. 
Which followed on from a pretty good weekend too - there was much tea and cake involved.  A neighbour held a coffee morning as a charity fundraiser for Nepal so naturally I had to go and drink coffee and eat cake.  Then we finally moved everything back into the kitchen as the flooring was completed and I had to check the oven was working properly and the only way to do that was to make a cake.  After three weeks I was getting withdrawal symptoms from not being allowed to use my cooker! 
Let's give up a wave to Sian and see what she's up to this Monday!

Thursday 11 June 2015

Summer of colour 1

When I remember my school art lessons the thing that first springs to mind is that our art room was at the top of the East block of classrooms. Five floors up. So for many of my art lessons I was out of breath for the first five minutes after running up the stairs after the previous lesson elsewhere in the school.  I remember one lesson in particular which was immediately after us all having our BCG inoculations.   I remember sitting in a circle with our easels, drawing some still life in the centre of the classroom. My friend Nicky wanted to get my attention so she punched me on the arm.  The same arm that had just had an injection in it – ouch!  So you see although I have memories of art lessons, they don’t really involve drawing or painting, in fact they seem to involve pain of one type or another!  You won't be surprise to hear that when we had to choose our O level options at the beginning of the 4th year, art did not appear on my list.

I would love to be good at drawing. My husband is, and can easily sketch something.  I see him pick up a sketch pad and a pencil and he is able to capture a scene.  But for me, it just doesn’t happen. So when I decided to join in with the Summer of Colour, it never once crossed my mind to do something that involved drawing.  My first thought was to do something that involved fabric.  But then I decided it was time to step out of my comfort zone; have a go at something different.  I felt sure that maybe the nature of the project would find me if I just opened my mind.

Fast forward to me checking Instagram.  I see several pictures from Deb at PaperTurtle drawing mandalas.  They are beautiful, and she sure manages to draw a lot of them!  So I decided to give it a try and guess what?  I found it incredibly relaxing.  I was really absorbed in the task and whilst the end result was definitely not to Deb Turtle's standard, I was quietly pleased with it.  You can see where the ‘Eureka’ moment is coming from can’t you?  So yes, my Summer of Colour will be done via mandalas.  It’s a simple way to interpret the colour schemes and also pushing me to try something new.  Who knows, by the end of it I may be able to draw a straight line with a ruler and a circle with a compass (at the moment, both of these things are causing me grief!)

The first choice was blue + blue + green.  And this is what I have made ...
I know it's really simple and that when I check out what other people have done I'm going to feel like I should have done something more dramatic and arty but I really enjoyed doing it so I'm going to stick with my plan.
Linking up with Summer of Colour here 





Wednesday 10 June 2015

One photo twenty words

Choosing a colour for the walls of the new kitchen is proving to be significantly harder than we first imagined.

Linking up with Abi Who challenges us to describe one photo in just 20 words.

Monday 8 June 2015

Me on Monday

When you look at this photo of what I'm up to this morning 
You would be forgiven for thinking you've turned up at the wrong Deb's blog and were visiting Paper Turtle instead.  Because I'm drawing a mandala.  Deb has been raving about these for a while now and I was wondering what the attraction was, so naturally had to give it a go.  I see it now - it's really absorbing, and a brilliant way of clearing your mind as you concentrate on the design which just appears as you add another row to the pattern.  Of course it has reinforced my belief that I am unable to draw a straight line even with a ruler but I'm convincing myself that the imperfections are what make it a unique piece of 'art'. 
What a glorious weekend we had in our corner of the country. Wall to wall sun shine.  Of course some of us didn't get to enjoy it as much as others as we were busy returning things to our new kitchen
I have become very choosy about what's going back and full of good intentions not to have a drawer full of old tat useful things, keeping clutter off the work surfaces and having no out of date items in the cupboards. I can't put everything back just yet as we still have to have the water softener fitted, new flooring laid and someone has to paint the ceiling, walls, skirting boards, doors ... Can you guess who?  Well, to be honest, it's been a completely shared experience, him with a paintbrush doing the fiddly bits and me with a roller filling in the blank space in between.  We still haven't chosen a colour but I think we're narrowing it down to one of three. 
At the moment I've got three workmen in the kitchen, one under the sink, one struggling to get a 6ft vertical radiator on the wall and one fitting recycling bins under the sink.  Me and the dog are upstairs relaxing.  Her asleep on the floor and me drawing a mandala.  It's a close run contest as to who is the most relaxed.  Oh, hang on a minute - one of us is snoring.  The dog wins!
So that's me on Monday, the brainchild of Sian, pop over and give her a wave and tell her what you are doing today as well!  

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Colour co-ordination

When I was checking blogs this morning, I saw that Rinda had posted about something called the Summer of Colour.
Now, I've seen this pop up on a few blogs recently, so being of an inquisitive nature I had to click on the link she had provided to learn a little more.
Regular visitors to my blog will know that we've been having a bit of a tidy up in our house and there's been a few litres of paint used in the last year while we refresh, declutter and redecorate some of our house.  I'm quite the expert on Farrow and Ball paint charts now so anything to do with colour has caught my interest!  When I was buying some cushions in a local interior design shop recently the lady who owned the shop told me that no matter how much you like a neutral palette, every room must have at least one pop of colour. Even if it's just a candle! 
I passed this nugget of wisdom onto my daughter who has painted her house a beautiful crisp collection of grey based neutrals.  She was having none of it.  She likes the clean lines of greys and stone shades.  But I think I may have convinced her otherwise.  As a thank you for letting us use her kitchen, I bought her a bunch of ranunculus in a glorious orange colour.  Once we had put them in a vase she had to admit that they really did enhance the room.  Plus it gave me the opportunity to claim my first Summertime Scavenger Hunt picture of a 'bouquet'!
So I figure that I could have a lot to learn from the Summer of Colour and will be joining in.  Week one involves spreading the word so please do click on the link and have a look.  Last year Rinda made a collection of little houses in each colour scheme and they make a fab display.  I'm trying to think of a way to incorporate a bit of sewing into it.  I recently made a little origami bag and I'm wondering if I can use that as my medium.  I have a week to decide!

Will you be joining in too?

Monday 1 June 2015

Me on the Monday after half term

I think an alternative title for this post could be 'Be careful what you wish for on a Monday'.
I obviously mentioned {maybe once or twice} to the family that it was so boring being stuck at home while the kitchen was being done.  I didn't realise quite how much time I spent in there or how much I loved cooking until the doors were sealed and I was without any facilities.  Also, the kitchen doubles up as a dog's bedroom.  It's the one place we can keep her secure when we go out as it's the only downstairs room that isn't wired up to our alarm system plus if we shut her in a bedroom I'd be worried we'd come home to find the duvet in shreds. Or worse!  So there's no way we can go out and leave her home alone which means when my husband's been out working - I've been home and bored.
My daughter obviously took pity on me, as I've run out of sewing projects and suggested that I might like to alter a few things for her friend.  No problem.  Great, it will give me something to do.  
Ah, it's more than just one thing
Still no problem, I've got another five days to fill. 

Which is why this Monday finds me doing this

Altering three bridesmaids dresses.  No pressure there then.  Only the biggest day in her friend's life.  Wanting to be picture perfect. 
Oh and also can you shorten a dress for me to take on the hen weekend as well?  Of course. 
We leave in the early hours of Thursday and I'm sharing a suitcase with a friend so I need to take all my stuff to her house on Wednesday for her to pack so is there any chance I could have it on Tuesday? 
And when her friend came round for a fitting at the weekend she brought a swimsuit with her that was a bit too long in the body. 
Is there anything you could do to shorten the bit under the bra cups? 
Hey, I'm 5' 1", my life is full of shortening bits and pieces.
Let's just say that I won't be complaining that I'm bored this week!

So what did my weekend contain?  Gardening, and enjoying the sunshine.  Buying a new kettle to go in my new kitchen when it's finished.  Saturday night Indian Take-Away. Going round to my daughter's and cooking a proper meal in a proper oven in a proper kitchen - oh how I've missed that!  Her boyfriend was in York this weekend with his parents and sister for a family wedding where partners weren't invited.  His parents live in Hampshire and the original plan was for him to go back with them and then come home on the train.  However, at very short notice they decided to do a rather drastic detour to drop him off at his home and see their house for the first time.  Our daughter thought this was also an excellent opportunity for the two sets of parents to meet!  So after clearing away our Sunday lunch at her house, we came home for a few hours and then went back later for tea and scones.  They seem a really nice, friendly couple and I came home feeling happy that R has found someone with such a lovely family to join in with.
Me on Monday - happy behind my sewing machine.  Giving up a wave to Sian who had an exciting blog friend meeting last week and maybe fell in love with a younger man.