Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that makes you smile. We're not quantified; there's no chart of desire. When the roaring flames of your heart have burned down to embers, may you find that you have married your best friend. [Steven Tyler]

Monday, January 29, 2007

Finished Art Work

On the left is a sample board of techniques which resulted in the canvas above.

The canvas features an image taken from a photograph of the heron on top of the fountain outside Graphicus, together with bird feathers, yarns, mosaics and images (by Elusive Images) stamped onto tissue paper and adhered to the canvas.

The canvas (below) features an image transferred by gel medium from a photograph of a stone carved fountain (photograph courtesy of Glenda Waterworth, thank you Glenda). Images again stamped onto tissue paper, stencils, metal embellishments and dried flowers by Joanna Sheen complete the collage.

This is the result of my shopping expedition last weekend. 'What a Stash'! Haven't started anything yet as I have several projects underway and a whole load of work to do for the
trade show which is coming up in February. Me thinks I am going to be very busy!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Shop 'till You Drop!

The last time I blogged, I did say I might be quiet for a while as I had a lot of prep work to do for the TV show last weekend. Well, I was quieter than I had imagined for longer than I imagined.
The night before filming the TV show, whilst still madly putting things together and trying to get my mind, my equipment, demonstrations and samples ready to go, I started with a burning sensation in the back of my throat. I didn't really have much time to think about it but when I got up at six in the morning to drive to the TV studio my throat was on fire and I was streaming. Fortunately, my husband Stuart had agreed to share the driving. It's a long haul, over 350 miles round trip. Anyhow, as soon as we arrived I went to the pharmacy and got Night & Day Nurse capsules, nasal spray, Strepsils and anything else I could think of that would keep me going and stop me from sounding as if I had a peg on my nose.
It worked! but by the time I finished the show I had a raging headache as well. We drove home Sunday night and on Monday I felt like blah! It got worse and by Monday night I had a touch of gastro-enteritis to add to the list. Quite unusually for me, I stayed home and slept most of Tuesday and Wednesday. Just to add insult to injury, on Wednesday night I started with conjunctivitis and on Thursday morning my left eye was welded together and needed bathing before I could get it open even a little. So most of Thursday was spent with and ice pack on it.
Friday I felt much better. Still taking the 'Night Nurse' capsules - they really do work, I headed off to work and got through the day without any major relapse.
By now, I was getting withdrawal symptoms on two fronts. Having not been out all week I needed some retail therapy and I was longing to get into my studio and do some crafting without all the pressure of having to do something specific..... I just wanted to play. I decided to satisfy both yearnings in one fell swoop - I'd shop for 'crafty things'. Bright and early Saturday morning after filling up the windscreen washer on my car, I headed off up the A1(M) to Ikea at the Metro Centre. The wind was still very strong and gusting across the motorway but I got there safely and the traffic was quite light.
Ikea brought a good yield of bargains: I bought a fabulous Zamioculcas house plant reduced from £20 to £9.99, a pack of three metal storage tins with glass tops, and a couple of packs of cards with an architectural theme in what look like pen and ink drawings which have been water coloured - very usable and recommended by friend Kathleen. Also, three stems of aubergine velvet poppies (great for crafting projects) and my best buy of all - several broad frame mirrors just screaming "alter ME!"
I left Ikea and was heading towards my next stop at Team Valley when I realised that I was on the same road as Ward Graphics soooo, my little car decided all on its own, to turn into Wards and have a little rest in their car park. While it rested I did the descent thing and left it in peace and quiet and had a wonder around store. It was quite well stocked and I added a few more things to my Saturday morning shopping stash - a miniature canvas and wooden easel, awe cute. Rob & Bob Studio mini clipboards, a pack of sticky stuff applicators, and a selection of PM brads which were on offer.
Next stop Hobbycraft at Team Valley. Boy did I get some bargains here. A 6"x6" fabric gate fold scrapbook from K&Company at a clearance price of £6.99, loads of Making Memories metal frames, snaps and decorative pewter brads all with 50% off, two balls of beautiful ribbon yarn, one in green/aqua the other in coral/mushroom shades and both reduced, an 8"x8" bevelled edged canvas with 50% off and a lovely selection of ribbons - some of which have adhesive backing, all for 99p per spool. Most surprisingly, I also found a large pack of Freezer Paper (really hard to find in the north east). Oh! I'm on a roll now. Back in the car, the weather is really beginning to look foul and while I'm entering the details of the Scrapbook Shop at Framwellgate Moor into Thomas (my Tom Tom) it begins to throw it down.
Thomas safely navigates to Durham and deposits me right outside the Scrapbook Shop. One of the projects on my 'to do' list is to make a Christmas scrapbook for my brother and one for my parents, so I need to get papers. I'm fancying the new 'Fruitcake' range from Basic Grey and I need some Bazzill card too. Half an hour later and with two more bags full of goodies, I'm finished for the day. As well as a great selection of paper and card I also found some lovely ribbon collections, Making Memories acrylic scrapbook paints, a beautiful tin full of Prima Flowers, some Bazzill Blossoms and last but not least some Playing Cards in a tin for ATC's.
By now, I can hardly put one foot in front of the other, I'm exhausted but so happy and eager to get home to examine my stash more closely. Bliss.......... it was a wonderful day. Retail therapy really does work but such a pity that it's not available on the NHS!
I have taken photos of my haul but having just changed to the new Blogger, I'm having a few problems posting photo's to my blog - strange that I never had problems before. I thought it was supposed to be easier? No doubt, I've done something wrong along the way so the photos will have to wait until I've had time to sort it out. That's enough for now. I'm going to go and admire my finds and swoon one more time before retiring for the night.

Monday, January 08, 2007

12th Night's Been and Gone

Well, that's it all over for another year! Saturday was a very busy day taking down all the Christmas decorations and packing everything back into the loft. Believe me, it did take all day.
All the external decorations came down first and were packed off to my sister-in-law's house - she has spare space to store them for us.

Then, this little lot all had to be dismantled, the baubles dusted off and packed carefully away until the end of November when we do it all again! Whoopee, I can't wait - but I'm not wishing the year away. I'll just look forward to it and plan an early start and hope beyond hope, that this time I might come close to being ready on time and have the luxury of being able to sit and enjoy all the hard work.
My brother Clive came home for the festivities this year, he lives in West Sussex and works for an airline. So it's not often that we have the luxury of all being together at such a special time. He is an absolute whiz with computers, if ever anything goes wrong with mine, he's my 'help' at the end of the phone and he always sorts it out for me. This year, we decided that our parents needed to be dragged into the techie world and together Clive, Stuart and I bought them everything they needed to get started. Clive was an absolute brick! Apart from Christmas day he spent the whole time getting Dad's system up and running and giving him the guidance and knowledge he needed to be able to carry on once he returned to West Sussex. In between, Clive helped me to changed over my system to a much faster dual core processor, got my internet connection re-established and took out the old hard drive from my previous tower. He worked so hard and I have got to say, it's fantastic.
This is Clive with all his Pressies!
Much more stable than before and so fast it's untrue.
One of my pressies from Stuart er, I mean Santa, was a brilliant Epson R1800 printer. It prints up to A3 size and is capable of doing 12"x12" edge to edge scrapbook papers. Wowwee! It's brill. I've installed it and have it running along side my HP Officejet printer which does a pretty good job. But the new one has a firewire connection and it sure can go some. I'm getting some great results and I'm really looking forward to doing some scrapbooking projects this year.
I still have a lot of software that I need to install on my system after the change-over. I keep looking for fonts and programmes I had added over the years and can't find them. Then I remember....... I also had a lot of web-sites saved to my 'favorites' file which I forgot to save to the external hard drive before changing over and I lost them.
Well, this week I have got to get into my little studio and do some work. I have a TV show next Sunday to prepare for. The studio looks like World War III started and ended in there. It was a dumping ground over the holidays and I've been in there most of today putting it back into some semblance of order so that I can work in it. So, I may be quiet this week but in the words of Arnie - 'I'll be back' soon and I'll have some arty pics next time.
Is it really the second week of the New Year?

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year - New Look!

'BLOG' urr what's that? I think I've been suffering from amnesia or something of that ilk! No seriously, it's been a long time since I've blogged and for many reasons but the one that preoccupied me the most occurred at the back end of November.

My parents were involved in a four vehicle pile-up on the M62. Thank God, they had their Angel with them (Daddy calls the Angel 'Toyota') and although injured and taken to hospital they are on the mend. But it made me realise how easily things could have turned out to be so different. Anyway, their car is a write-off and having got them home, I've been helping out where I could and more recently, ferrying them around. Dad has decided to start looking at new cars but he still swears that they owe their lives to the robust build of the Toyota.

I had planned to have our Christmas decorations all up and ready to 'switch on' the first week of December.
Er....... Late! but better late than never I say!
The tree was up with its lights on but no decorations for several weeks. We had so many problems with the lights. It's a pre-lit tree with over 1000 lights and some worked, some didn't, then they did then they didn't. My poor husband sat for many an hours sorting them out - he's 'Part P' qualified to mess with electrics thank goodness, and very talented. So after sticking at it with the patients of a Saint and me tearing my hair out and having minor breakdowns every 15 minutes when his latest endeavors failed, he finally won the battle and this was the result........
We added another 120 lights which are programmable and it was ready to decorate but it was the last week before Christmas that I made a concerted effort and got everything done. Three trees decorated, one in the hall, one in the lounge and the third in the dining room. It looked pretty good in the end!
Christmas Eve, our German Shepherd dog 'Diesel' went to the K9 Therapy Pool in Middlesborough. Instead of swimming he had a lovely hot bath and then went in the drier. He came home all lovely and fluffy, very shiny and full of hell!!! I think you could safely say he hates being bathed and loathes being groomed.
It was a real rush in the end to get everything ready for the family arriving on Christmas Day. We sat up into the wee small hours wrapping pressies and putting them under the tree. We did manage to get a few hours sleep and then it was all systems go to get the turkey and pork in on time.
Now, I'm extremely lucky with Stuart being in the Kitchen business and I myself having previously been a Kitchen Designer, to have a really well equipped kitchen. So the turkey dully went into the built-in oven and the pork into the oven of the range cooker which, as I closed the door having safely installed the joint, suddenly shut down and all the lights went out! Panic, scream and another minor break-down while I got my brain into gear (it had only had a few hours down time after all and like the oven, really didn't want to work). The pork was retrieved and quickly put into the second small oven in the built-in unit but this left me with a dilemma as to where I could roast the veg, I do so hate microwave ovens for anything other than warming things up. Anyhow, Stuart tried changing the fuse which had no effect then I messed with the timer - the oven came on and promptly went off again. But after much fiddling it became apparent that it was the fan element that was causing the problem so I re-set it to conventional cooking and we were up and running again. Dinner was somewhat delayed but we enjoyed it in the end.
After dinner, we all sat back and opened the stash that Santa Claus had left around the tree and then we watched 'National Lampoons Christmas Vacation' on DVD. It always guarantees to leave you holding your ribs and wiping the tears of laughter from your cheeks and it didn't disappoint.
A great day was had by all........... But next year I'm going to be ready! (I wonder how many times I've said that)?
The New Year was heralded in last night in a quiet way. We decided to stay home and ordered a Cantonese banquet which we laid out on the coffee table in the lounge and sat on the floor stuffing our faces and drinking bubbly.
So today we have had the first day of the New Year and 2007 has started relatively quietly. I hope that it will be a year where we will all enjoy better health and if it remains uneventful, that will be just perfect.
In honor of the new year, I'm changing the look of my blog......... It will definitely be more arty and I will make a real effort to post more regularly. I have some more pictures of Christmas to post but for now I will wish you all a very Happy and Peaceful New Year and leave you with this........
stand quietly and listen
to your inner voice which sees
through life and its illusions
for it isn't what it seems__________
excerpt from: Journey thru Maya
Linda O'Brien