Saturday, 31 October 2009

The beginning and end!

Samhain, pronounced sowain, means the beginning and end of things, the year and the wheel. It begins as soon as it gets dark on the 31st of October and generally peaks at around midnight when the veil between this world and others are at their thinnest. Superstitious people used this to their advantage and carried out all kinds of rituals including eating an apple at midnight while gazing into a mirror to see their future spouse, gazing into a dark mirror or bowl of water to see their future and invoking dead spirits to tell their fortunes. This has always been problematic though as spirits have a sense of humour too, and not all spells work out the way we would expect them too, so as the saying goes, 'Be careful what you wish for.'

In the Pagan calender it was believed that tonight was the beginning of the wild hunt. When the horned god rides with his hounds and gathers the souls of those who linger and those who are unwary. Modern Pagans set themselves a challeng to represent the hunt and try to have it completed around the time of Samhain or very shortly after. This can be anything based around nature, as in clearing an area of litter, tending to plants or something more complicated and personal. This time of year can be as general or personal as desired. For me, my favourite all time movie is Hocus Pocus, as it sums up modern expectations with the darker more unpredictable side of magic. Often we dabble in things we know nothing about, hmmm sounds like human nature to me!

This morning was foggy and very atmospheric. I loved the little drops of water on the nettles

and Hawberries.

The Magic Road was truly magical in the mist.

Tonight, I threw on the stripes for an evening Trick or Treating!

How cheesy is that picture? Thank you daughter :)

She looked a lot better than me though. Here she is with her best friend (in the hat) :)

And then what all good Witches love at the end of the evening. Feet up with a glass of mulled wine :)

Oh, and lastly, the disappearing hamster. Magical!

Does anyone else think he's grown. A lot!!!

I hope you all had a magical evening and that the coming year brings all that you could wish for, with a safe and warm Winter ahead. May your store cupboards be full and your provisions be plenty :)

Happy Samhain.

Blessings of this magical day to you all :)

I'll be back a little later with a fuller post, but this morning it's all go. I'm off to pick up my new glasses, so I can actually see what I'm painting/sewing now! Then it's off to our nearby market town for the opening of our Potters Exhibition. I'm not exhibiting this year, for many reasons, and so I think I'll be enjoying myself far more without the usual stress and strains. I'll be dealing with refreshments of mince pies and mulled wine. I know it's a little early, but this is our 'nearly Christmas' exhibition :)

This afternoon will be spent preparing to take the children out, maybe trick or treating, or setting up our garden to recieve the visitors or maybe both :)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


There is a lovely shop near to where I live with the cute name of Thistle. It used to belong to a chain of wool and fabric shops, but was taken over a couple of years ago as a private venture and it's far better now, with all kinds of wonderful little goodies that suddenly I can't live without! It's a tiny unassuming shop that is a little let down by it's outward appearance and surroundings on a busy main road in a little place called Cowplain. But once you walk through the door you are transported to an oasis of craft and charm. The owner is so helpful and friendly and if you are ever passing, please drop in. They will mail order goods, but as yet have no website.

The walls are stacked almost to the ceiling with wool.

There are racks of yarn and bolts of gorgeous fabrics,

and buttons galore. I had to write about this little shop because these small businesses are in danger and they cannot easily compete with the big shops like Hobbycraft and some of the larger department stores, and they really struggle compared to on line shops, having overheads eating into their profits. If you have a little shop like this near you, please support it, or maybe pay a visit to Cowplain and look for Thistle :)

More goodies today. I went to a couple of Charity shops and found these gorgeous pure wool sweaters. Along with a library book called New Clothes from Old, I plan to turn these into something a little more stylish. I was inspired by a couple of posts on Fairysteps blog, and decided to have a go :) I have heaps of clothes that I was going to donate to the Charity shops, but I may well be recycling them for myself.

At the moment these sweaters are in the washing machine on a boil wash! Who knows what will happen next :)

Some homemade goodies now. A couple of felted friperies for the Etsy shop.

I'm just waiting for a delivery of charms to finish these off, but as you know, the posties are a little unreliable at the moment!!!

Finally, a pumpkin pincushion waiting to be finished and turned into something ghoulish :)

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


You know that saying, 'When life hands you lemons, make lemonade'? Well that's been swirling around my head this morning, and I have to think that blogging friends and the wonderful communities that build up are just like lemonade :) Kind words, advice and sometimes even gifts can give us the lift we need to get through.

So for everybody needing a lift today here's something that made me hoot with laughter, click on it to read the small print :)

Monday, 26 October 2009


I'm trying to decide if a morning run will clear my head or make it worse. I'll let you know in a while!!!

UPDATE: Jubbley says no, stay here and feed him cornflakes, so we will run later (daughter and I) and instead dig the bikes out for a misty morning cycle. That sounds more civilised doesn't it :)

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Bits and Bobs!

This is a post of some random pictures of the last few days. I've been a bit under the weather and have a terrible, trembly head this morning. Not quite a migraine, but not affected by tablets either, so I'm just putting up with it and drinking gallons of ginger and lemon tea. I appologise for any mistakes, as my typing is terrible and I may not be able to correct all the mistakes.

As promised here is daughter in best scarey mode. She was worried that her boyfriend wouldn't like her dressed like this, but as he was a ghoulish zombie, they made a perfect pair :)

Here she is looking sweet again and surprise, surprise, with Jubbley!

Can you believe I allowed this at the breakfast table. If you click on the picture, you can just make out that he is eating a cornflake! Aren't they adorable? :)

It was magical at the field this morning, and despite the pouring rain, I just had to get my camera out. Yesterday these mushrooms were like little towers reaching toward the twilight sky. Today their canopies opened to shield the fairies from the rain.

Here is my hand as a guide to size.

I so love the view from underneath. Lucky fairies to live here :)

Thursday, 22 October 2009

On a better note.

I don't like to leave the blog overnight with a mizzy post, especially as I'm feeling so much happier now. Perspective has been restored and helping the daughter get ready for her Halloween party was, if you pardon the pun, a complete scream. I'll upload the pictures tomorrow, but she looked a lot like Suzie Sioux, if any of you remember her, and I secretly vowed that I'll be borrowing that wig in the future ;)

Bedtime is when the Hamster is most active, and tonight we had lots of fun and cuddles. He pretty much lives in the daughters pocket or jumper when she's home, but I get to play with him too, sometimes. Tonight he sat on my arm, stood on his back feet and planted his front on my cheek to peer at me. Not until later did I reflect that I'd allowed a rodent to touch my face! He is soooo adorable though and we totally love him to bits. How funny that such a wee dot can have such an affect. I'm definitely going to be drawing and painting him as he's just too irresitable. I also had a cuddle from Merlin tonight, but it's not as safe as the hamster and I always have to check that I still have fingers and a nose!!! :)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Step up!

I hope I have stepped up to the mark. I've been trying to improve my standard of painting by pushing myself to try harder. No more of 'good enough' which can be such a bad habit to fall into. I think I'm getting there now with the following pictures though and these are the ones going to the shop along with some of my prints. Again they are miniatures painted on wood roughly 4x4inches square.

This is a copy of Merlin's ACEO.

My Lunar Moth, which is totally my own idea and design, so hands off please :)

and here is the process for my Green Man. I've always loved the Green Men I've seen in shops but never found one special enough to buy, so I'll find it hard to let this one go.

I started with a background wash of yellows,

and then gradually built up the details and greens.

Finally finishing with a green wash overall and picking out highlights and shadows.

I did actually like him most in the first picture and would like to do an Autumn Green Man in browns! Now that I've not seen anywhere :)

My time since my last post has been manic, so sorry for not being around much. After Thursday I get to have a little time off and put some much needed work into my Moleskin swap. More details of that later, but you can take a peek at the blog from my profile page.

I am so looking forward to half term and visiting all my lovely but neglected blog friends. I hope you have all been well and are looking forward to Samhain/Halloween, I sure am :) so TTFN and have fun all :)

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


Today I've had many reasons to count my blessings. To start with I've had a lovely day working in the Studio and have an appointment next week to take some of my work to a popular shop in the New Forest. It's a small start and they may not like my pieces, but making the call was nerve wracking enough, although I'm grateful to the lovely person on the phone who was so helpful. I've worked so very hard for this over the last few months and it's hard to believe that my efforts may begin to pay off. It's helped to have a book of ideas and plans and tick off the work as each item is completed. Most of this work is to test what's popular and to have an example of the sort of art I produce. I hope it will be helpful at the conference next month and maybe I'll sell some things there as well :)

Also this week, I've been given the opportunity to go for a great little job. It has everything I could want, is close to home and with ideal hours. I won't say any more at the moment, because I don't want to jinx it, but I could sure do with the income and it would still give me time to paint, sculpt and look after the house and family.

At the weekend we had a new addition to our household. He is a tiny speck of a hamster. He seems to be very young and sleeps an awful lot, to the point that I got up at silly-o-clock to see if he was still alive. He was back in his bed, but his little cage had been totally rearranged, so I guess he had been active but we just hadn't heard him!

Of course, the daughter is totally smitten and the feeling could be mutual, but it's early days yet and he could get sick of this much love! Although, he did want to snuggle inside her jumper and even settled down for a little grooming session :)

The weather has been wonderful this week, but today was quite chilly, so I made a comforting dinner of sausage plait. It's quite simple, but very delicious.

Take a slab of puff pastry, roll it out and cut slits either side, leaving an area in the middle for the sausage.

Lay the sausage in the center. I put some onion and tomatoes at one end, and left the other plain for fussy children.

Then lay the strips across each other in a plaited fashion.

Bake in a moderate oven until the sausage is thoroughly cooked. We had ours with baked potatoes and veggies :)

There are many things that I can count as blessings and today has been one of them. I hope all my lovely blog friends have had a good day and know that the sun is shining somewhere, it's only resting for now, but will be back soon :)

Monday, 12 October 2009

Little bits of wood!

Sometimes my OH buys offcuts of wood for his hobby, which is making knife handles and walking sticks. Sometimes, I manage to bag a few bits of wood which may not be suitable for him, but are perfect for me.

I selected a few pieces of uniform shape and size and set to with my manic sander. At £12.00 from a DIY store, I couldn't expect too much, could I, but with earplugs firmly in place, it didn't matter too much how loud it was so long as it turned rough wood to smooth.

This lovely block will have a picture on most of it's faces, although sometimes the gentle wave of grain is a beauty all of it's own.

The blocks were painted white, so that the coloured paint would show true, although the center block will be used for something else as it's spalted, which is a random colouration caused by fungi. I'd like to just polish it and leave it natural, but I'll have to see. The round discs are cut from Hawthorn from our field and will be pendants.

This is how the first block turned out, and I really love it, although the photo doesn't do it justice.

My Moongazing Hare, from the old banner was painted on the next block, and I'm quite pleased with it. Now I just need to work out prices. These will be one offs, as the wood won't be available again, although I have four other similar blocks, but they are already earmarked as a Coyote, Crow, Unicorn and Lunar Moth.

I was thinking £10.00 each and they are about the size of a coaster or roughly 3.5inches square, what do you think, I'd be grateful for input?

Sunday, 11 October 2009

School hike.

Last week we went on a 7mile hike with my daughters school. It was fantastic and gave the class a chance to explore Geography at close hand. We followed the path of the river Meon from it's source as a young spring, to it's largest point in the Village of East Meon.

We started our journey at the top of Butser Hill, a mile or so from the school. In the distance is the village we are heading for.

The village really is a chocolate box with Tudor houses and thatched cottages dating back even further. Here the river is still quite small, but integral to the village life.

We climbed the hill behind the village church and looked down over the houses and farms.

The hill was really steep!

In the far distance (with the communications maston top) is Butser hill, where we started from. It looks much farther from this perspective. It was a lovely day and the weather was kind to us, as it rained most of the week, either side of our planned trip, in fact!

Our County sure is a pretty part of the World to live in, I just wish the developers would leave it alone. Another 500 houses are already pencilled in for our village - cheers Labour!!!

Edited to add: The art seems to have been a bit thin on the ground, but never fear, I've still been working hard, and today saw me labouring with a rotary sander and some wood, hmm, what have I been up to now??? More tomorrow......

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


When I used to post to the other blog, I told a story of a wonderful shop that had opened on the route back home from the field, so convenient is it, that it's practically a sin not to visit regularly. It's a shop selling mostly junk, furniture and the occasional treasure from house clearances. I've found a few really nice pieces, including some gorgeous china cups and a dear little flowered egg cup, not to mention the sponge mincer with attachments for £1.00!

At first glance, this was just a pretty little book on gardening, called 'Pot Pourri from a Surrey garden' by Mrs C.W.Earle. I've tried to find a publishing date, but the only dates mentioned were references in the appendix of 1894 and 1897. A very old book in any case with pages as delicate as a butterfly's wing.

It was only after carefully separating the first page from the cover that I discovered little verses and notes from the book's owner. If you click on the pictures you may be able to make out some of the words.

The newspaper clipping is a letter to a paper arguing quite strongly against 'The Spinster's Empty Years'! Below it was this quote that touched me so deeply,

'In life, how hard it is that every unhappiness seems to be invited towards the close of our journey - pain, fatigue and want of spirit.'

Throughout the book, pages are marked, corners turned over and the occasional remark in pencil in the margin. The more I read this book and focus on the paragraphs highlighted, the more this lady's life seems to reveal itself to me. Deep within the book is a 'favour' from a Christmas cracker, so unlike the vacuous drivel we accept these days, this one speaks of a meaning far deeper and all the more important for being hidden within treasured pages.
It reads:

'Come back to me, Oh love, with a spirit pure,
And keep once more thy watches by my side,
Lest, like the barque upon the stormy sea,
My heart is wrecked by passion's throbbing tide.'

One would assume that he didn't return, for whatever reason, and that is how the dear lady came to spend her life as a Spinster.

On the back pages, more notes, a little picture and a recipe for hair tonic. The writing is less tidy and harder to read, maybe as age made her hand less sure.

I do so love finding little treasures like this, and will keep this book safely with me until I decide to pass it on. My daughter has already earmarked it for her own, recognising in it the same magic that I can see. Also, on a practical note, it has some wonderful recipes for pot pourri, tips on growing plants month by month and of course, what every family needs a chapter covering 'A Woman's Vocation, Delicate Girls, Children's Tempers and What Young Girls Should Read.' What more could I ask for :)

Monday, 5 October 2009

Oh dear!

It's been one of those days, so far! First an unwelcome letter in the post and then a struggle to clear my mind for painting. I managed to get a heap of housework finished over the weekend, but I still find it hard to paint when things are so disorganised. Eventually, I forced myself out to the Studio where I finished making some colour charts ready for my new project. But you know how it is, one moment of procrastination can easily lead to another and I decided that I couldn't possibly paint when my board is so big and I've been wanting to cut it down for ages. Hubby is out for the day so I took the opportunity to get the board cut, realising quite quickly why he has banned me from using his tools in the the garage!

I was merrily cutting away and it must have taken quite a while before it dawned on me that the board was getting hard to cut. Can you guess what comes next? I'd been happily sawing through the craft table that I was resting on!!! OHMIGOSH! He is soooo going to kill me, as he recounts all the mishaps I've had in the past and all the reasons why I should stay away from sharp cutting instruments!

Even now, much later, I still can't get my head straight to go and paint. Is it any wonder? Am I the only daft person to have such disasters???

Saturday, 3 October 2009


Well I'm sat with a face covered in sticky peanut butter and honey, so I guess I must be! It's a homemade face mask and my son is looking very warily at his Mum's brown, melty face! I'm not paying out for an expensive mask and my skin could really do with a treat, so I'm relaxing in my best Winnie the Pooh kind of way and hoping for a wonderful result, he,he! For obvious reasons, this post is without pictures :) I'll let you know the results and how long I can keep it on for :) :)

Edited to add: Well, I've not erupted in spots and my skin seems to be lovely, taught and moisturised, so you can keep your expensive, tested on animals, shop stuff and in future I'll be making more home made treatments :)

Friday, 2 October 2009

Where do the days go?

I've tried to write this post so many times now, but have either been interupted or too busy to think of anything to say. I've had my daughter home sick from school for most of the week with a conjested chest and a barking cough that sounds like a scabby dog. Poor little mite was really quite rough to start with, but as she got better began to drive me mad with her demands for hot drinks, cool drinks, soothing sweets, you name it she needed it.

I did take the time though to sit and knit her this scarf of such red gorgeousness, that now I want one for myself :)

Another side effect of having her home poorly has been all of the movies we've been watching. I made this little sketch during 'The Dragon Hunters' which is a little known movie of great entertainment. I love this character, although I can't remember her name (I've not watched it as many times as the children - yet!), but her funny little face amused me so much, that I needed to copy her. I'm sure she'll pop up in a painting at some time, I just need to find the right one.

After our weekends maintenance splurge, I didn't manage take any pictures of the finished rabbit hutch, as the rest of the garden looked so appalling, but when it's all finished, I'll get out there with the camera. Here are the rabbits supervising the work.

Aren't they just adorable?