Monday, 24 June 2013

"Keep It In Balance"

I have so much stuff stashed away in the craft (erm ..... spare) room and I've been trying to de-clutter for a while now, as a result of which I keep coming upon items and snippings that I'd forgotten I even had.  One such was a browning sheet of typed paper headed "Keep It In Balance" and containing a note on stress by an 87-year old lady called Nadine Stair from Louisville (Springboard Women's Development Workbook).  I forget how I came by this but I do know it was a good 10 or 15 years ago, so I imagine Nadine may no longer be with us - however, her words do strike a chord with me, so I decided I wanted to add them to a page in my Smash Journal.  

Here's what I did .......

"I'd Pick More Daisies"

I selected a blank lined page and sprayed it with Ranger Dylusions Ink Sprays in Pure Sunshine and Fresh Lime (the only Dylusions inks I had at the time but nice bright colours that I wanted anyhow - I've since acquired several more shades and am looking forward to using them too).  Spritzed with water, heat dried, then sprayed a little Glimmer Mist (Key Lime Pie) over the top.  Heat dried again.

Next I stamped one of Lindsay's "Do Lally Pip" girls onto a piece of white paper with Black Archival Ink, colouring in details with Promarkers, then adhered her to the page.  I then copied out Nadine's words using the black pen supplied with the Smash journal and an orange Marvy Le Plume pen for the heading, outlined with a white pen.  I drew and cut flower shapes out of old dictionary pages and glued them to the page over doodled green stalks and leaves.

I was quite pleased with the result - now all I have to do is take notice of Nadine's advice and try to live a less stressful, more relaxed life - not an easy ask at the moment for sure!  Though the very act of playing about in a journal and messing with inks and paints has a calming effect and engages both the mind and soul.

Thanks for looking and I'll be back to share more "art" with you soon.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

A Bit More Graffiti

I did manage to get into town for a couple of hours at the weekend to take a second look at the Urban Art Festival and see some of the graffiti artists at work - luckily, it was a gloriously sunny afternoon so everything looked at its best.  Here are a few pics .........

These paintings were done on the wall at the back of the Winter Gardens - the large poster areas had been whitewashed in readiness; apparently they date back 100 years and are Grade II listed surprisingly! 

I'd only been gone for a couple of hours but when I returned home discovered Graham was suffering with breathlessness due to the fact that our "thoughtful"  neighbours had set a bonfire in their back yard and were burning all sorts of rubbish - despite having all the windows closed (just what you want on a warm sunny day) the smoke had seeped in throughout the house.  He'd been round to ask them to damp it down, but they hadn't done a very good job and it was still burning away merrily, so I had to go round too and insist that it be put out properly due to Graham's health issues - which it was thankfully (with a final big swoosh of billowing smoke everywhere) - but he suffered for it the remainder of the day.  Still waiting on the test results, but next week he'll be attending a clinic at the doctor's surgery, so maybe we'll know more then.  In the meantime, life goes on as usual for the most part, but in a strange kind of limbo - it feels a bit like when you're on a car journey, you're neither in one place or another, but in a sort of suspended state from reality.  Does that make sense?  I know what I mean anyway!

Have been adding bits and pieces to my Smash journal mostly over the past few days when I've had any free time and I've been gathering all sorts to put in it - I'll share some of what I've done another time.  Tomorrow Lindsay is spending a few hours with me and I'm hoping she'll help me get to grips with the little sewing machine that my son bought me (at my request) for Christmas some long while back, but which I've still not plucked up enough courage to even thread the needle - what a wuss!  My idea was/is to use it to add stitching to some of my journal pages, etc.  Don't know why I've had such a mental block about it though - I have had a sewing machine in the distant past - in fact I managed to make myself a few skirts with it that were presentable enough to wear, though I must admit sewing/making clothes is not something I'm comfortable with!  So .... anyway ..... we'll see how we get on tomorrow.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Look What I Found .....

After showing you all the photograph of our old cat, Chummy's, pawprints in the cement in my previous post I decided to search around amongst some of the many, many old photos I have and sure enough, I came across this one (had to take a picture of it with my digi camera, but it turned out okay).  Not sure when it was taken exactly, but it was after we had moved out of the "yellow" house and into a larger guesthouse.  So here we all are ........

I'm on the left (absolutely HATING the curly hairstyle!) and little Lindsay is on the right (we wore matching dresses made by our mum, the talented dressmaker - they were corduroy and either red or green, can't remember which).  Sat between us is our gorgeous Chummy.  If I picked him up he'd wrap his paws around my neck and I could walk around with him like that for ages.  He had been a rescue kitten - some horrible boys had apparently tied paper to his paws and set fire to it - thankfully, he recovered without any lasting damage either physically or mentally.

Well, I just thought I'd share this photo with you - too late to post any more tonight now but I'll be back soon.  

Childhood Revisited .....

Whilst Lindsay and I were in town the other day, we decided to take a stroll to view the house where we lived when we were growing up.  I was born in Manchester but our family moved to Blackpool when I was two to run a small boarding house just round the corner from our grandparents' larger hotel and quite close to the centre of town.  Essentially, the house from the outside hasn't changed except it was never this bright yellow colour when we lived there and the street itself is much smaller than we remember - isn't everything though, when you revisit?

Lindsay was born in this house - when my dad came into my bedroom in the morning to say there was a surprise for me, the first thing I asked was "is it  snowing"???  In the middle of July - LOL !  Oh well, I had to make do with a little sister instead !  :o)

 Here is the alleyway alongside the house, down which we played .....
 ...... and here, would you believe, are still the pawprints embedded in the alley concrete, belonging to our lovely tortoiseshell cat Chummy, after all these (cough, cough - how many? - I forget) years!
 We had to laugh when we saw this sign posted in the window of a nearby hotel - very strange !

We spotted these tall-heeled glitzy pink shoes in TK Maxx and Lindsay just couldn't resist trying them on - had to laugh at the sight of her tottering around, hanging on to my arm so that she didn't fall over!  She was still smaller than me, even in these heels, though she was having none of it!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Sand Sea and Spray

As I wrote in my last post (and thank you for the kind words of support) Lindsay and I spent a day in Blackpool this week.  I remembered to bring my camera with me this time (it usually gets left at home!) as I intended to take photos of some of the graffiti art that adorns various walls and buildings around the town.  I know it's probably not everybody's "cup of tea" but I have to say I'm a fan.  This is not just any old bit of graffiti sprayed across a wall by some bored teenager with a can of paint in his hand .... it's the work of a number of graffiti artists from around the world who have descended upon Blackpool for the last couple of years to create their works of art.  In fact, even the Model Village boasts a miniature piece of graffiti on the side of one of its little houses courtesy of one of these artists - must remember to take a picture of it next time we're there.

So ..... here are some of the images I captured ........

 A very strange painting !
 A lot of the graffiti art involved these large faces and I was particularly drawn to the eyes in them so I also took close-up photos of each set of eyes (maybe  I was fascinated with them because I'd just come from a check-up at the eye clinic in the hospital that morning) - I thought I'd like to use the images in my Smash journal

 This was one of my favourite images ......

 ...... as was this !

Had a bit of fun trying out some "posy art shots" with Lindsay as the model !!!  (The ones Lindsay took of me are terrible and not for public consumption - LOL) !

 Hmm .... not sure what Lindsay makes of this one !

This weekend around 40 graffiti artists from all corners of the world are here again, ready to create new art at half-a-dozen locations around the town.  The event is called Sand Sea and Spray and has now become an annual one. If I get the chance I'll be popping back into Blackpool on Saturday to see the artists at work and take more photos.

Well, it's been a long day so I'll finish up now and show you what else we got up to another time.  Tomorrow Graham is having some tests, the results of which will tell us more about what's going on and any treatments that might be possible - so looks like another long day beckons! 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Endings and Beginnings .......

I haven't posted for some while now because life has been horribly traumatic lately.  Just a year on from my sister, Lindsay, losing her soul-mate David, my own husband Graham has recently been told that he has a terminal illness.  Shattering and heartbreaking news - now we are waiting on tests to be carried out and for whatever treatment can be offered, we have no time scales so we live each day as it comes .... some good, some bad.

Graham worked for some years at the Model Village here in Blackpool (he has been a model-maker and sculptor in bronze most of his adult life) and we spent a lovely couple of hours there recently, on a day full of glorious sunshine and blue skies, wandering around amongst all the miniature buildings and models, some of which Graham had created.  
 Here's Graham gazing out across some of the model shops - he can only walk a very short distance now so needs a mobility scooter to get around
 Tudor Landscape 
  I love the reflection of the trees in the canal

 Tranquil scenes amongst the windmill and harbour

Some of you already knew a little of what has been happening in our lives recently and a big thank you from me (and Graham) for all the kind thoughts and best wishes sent our way via Lindsay. Much appreciated.

Because of all that's been going on and as a way of helping me cope/relax/be positive, etc, etc, I've found myself returning to a more creative frame of mind, strange though that might sound. Lindsay treated me to a K & Co "Smash" Journal at Christmas and I've gradually been adding bits and pieces to it, but now I intend filling it up with more snippets, photos, quotes, art, from our day to day life.  It's a way of building up little memory prompts to remember all the good and important (or not so important) stuff that happens and I think it will help me in future days.  I'll post photos of some of the pages as I go along.

I'll get round to decorating the front and back covers once the pages are filled.

Today Lindsay and I enjoyed a few relaxing hours together in Blackpool, having a good mooch around, visiting our old house and some of the streets we grew up in, along with a lot of window-shopping and a lovely lunch at the Toast Cafe Bar in town.  It proved very beneficial to be able to take a bit of time out and I'll post pics of our day out in a future post.  For now, that's enough .... I just felt it was about time I posted again and let everyone know the reason for my recent absence from Blogland.