Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Friday, 29 May 2009

Album for Hazel

I'm not a "Scrapbooker". I have so many piles of photo's here and at Mum's - and don't make me count the ones on the computer- that it isn't a case of not knowing where to start, it's knowing that it would never end!!!

Then Josephine, a friend since we were both 8, told me that her daughter, Hazel, needed something special for some special photo's.

Hazel is 10 now and had had her favourite toy, MooCoo, since birth. MooCoo went everywhere with her. Unfortunately this is how MooCoo came to be lost, last summer. Well, Hazel dug out any photo with MooCoo on it, and asked if I could put them into a special book together.

Hey ho!

I had a proper 8 x 8 album spare, from a £5 kit I found last year in TK Maxx. So......

That clay cow was part of a box picture left on the kitchen wall by the previous owners of this house. It makes a good decoration on a album about a cow!

First page.

The pages are from Die Cuts With A view, Pocket Full of Posies.
Some of them are quite garish, but we're talking about a girl who loves colour and glitter!


I love this spread-
lots of silver embossed swirls, and the paper matches the watery theme in the photo's.

The paper in this one doesn't show well in the photo, but it's a sort of blue marl with a yellow smudge, so it goes with the yellow top that Hazel's cousin James is wearing.

Here's a close up of my lacé!-

Where the image of Hazel's toy is small, I've used a transparent sticky frame to highlight it- like on this one.

I like this one too, because of my doodling :)

Like I said, garish! LOL! But bright colour and glitter is very Hazel.

The last spread. Click to get it bigger and see it in detail.

There are 29 pages in all, and I've put a few blank ones at the back for her in case she find more pictures to include.

I really enjoyed doing it. Once I'd grouped the photo's and trimmed the ones that needed it, it took just a couple of evenings to do. It was excellent therapy!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Where's Fluffy?

Here's a new game for you- Where's Fluffy??? See if you can spot her in these photo's. She is into "tents" at the moment. I took these over one weekend. There were other places, too.

Is it a snake? Leg? Tail?

What's that lump?
(And while we're on the matter, who did that damage to the chair's corner????!

Mum felt strangely watched.....
Here's a sneak photo of what's under the sheet next to her!

Who's that, watching the world go by?

Out at last! And here she is, playing "Bookends":

Friday, 22 May 2009

A Walk in the Woods....

Apparently, not too many years ago, this whole area was woodland. Houses, roads and shops later, only part of the wood remains. The remainder is now called Highwoods Country Park. Much reduced, but at least this means that it's protected now!

Part of the wood has been coppiced regularly since Tudor times and continues to be managed this way. There is a small log-cabin type visitor centre, serving tea and coffee, and selling little pocket-money things like pens and pencils, and rubbery bugs for scaring sisters with.
There is a lake, a hill covered in grass (it gets covered with picnickers in the summer!), a meadow, and marked walks and cycle routed through the trees. We recently found another bit, a wilder bit, fewer paths. We hadn't known it was there!

It's only a short drive to get there, and we're resolved to go there more often this year. Last week we took a walk there late in the evening, to hear the birdsong as they go to roost. Well, I expected the birds, but what I didn't expect was the scent- as soon as we stepped out of the car, the smell of bluebells and an evening air heavy with May Blossom hit us! It was gorgeous. And apart from one man walking his dog, we were undisturbed the whole hour or so we were there...

The photo's are dark as it was getting late....
it was almost dark by the time we came home again!
The bluebells are on their last legs, but still lovely...
I love the way walkways disappear round the trees....
this next photo is out of focus but I still wanted to keep it :)What the??? Oh dear... well, you can't blame him, it's only what Bears do in the woods...
I think these pink ones are Red Campion but I could be wrong! They look lovely, especially mixed in with the bluebells...There were some places we didn't walk through, out of respect for the flowers, and all the wildlife that must be enjoying them :)We saw lots of these wee fellas, some with babies. They were all over the open spaces and bounced into the hedgerows as we came along. I managed to catch one on film. I think he was playing chicken, or pretending to be invisible:
Lastly, a view over Colchester from the woods:

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Lovely garden things...

Nature is my best lift when I am down.
Here are some highlights from my last week....

This is Tiger.
He lives about 6 doors down from my Mum, but is trying to move in with her. A typical story: a family that gets pet after pet- as soon as the novelty wears off one they get another. Now they have several dogs. Tiger is voting with his paws.
Here he is, asleep in Mum's back garden. Unfortunately she can't adopt him fully, can't encourage him indoors: Fluffy and Scooter are disturbed by him. Scooter has FiV so we can't risk him passing that on. We encourage a diplomatic distance between them. Like here, it was warm and sunny, and all three cats lay belly up in the sun, too comfy to be bothered.

Here is our hawthorn tree, in full blossom. Also called a May tree, so this May Flower, of the ship fame, I suppose :)
It has been windy these last few days and the blossom is blowing like confetti across the garden:

We have a song thrush!They are so rare now, so I am delighted to have one regularly popping in to our garden. Here s/he is, eating sultanas (raisins or currants would serve just as well...)

Here's a pair of love birds. Well, wood pigeon, to be precise :)
I think we are going to have some baby pigeons :)

I also took pic's of all the flowers in the garden, but these are on the other computer. I'll post them another time.

*** *** *** *** ***

Other snips of news:

Re the washing machine:

The engineer came to fix the machine yesterday. Despite my reading that the most probable cause of smoke billowing out of it is a problem with the bearings, he said it was the rubber seal round the door. Isn't it amazing how a man with a white van can tell what's wrong with a machine just by looking at it, not examining or touching it in any way? Wow! Magic! So anyway he changed the seal.

He said, "Yeah, you've had bits of rubber in your washing, aint yer?"
"Er, no." I replied.
"Yeah well you would av."

Fair enough. I gave up! I'll do some washing and see what happens. If I need to call again I'll ask them not to send the guy with the rubber seal obsession.

Re the cats:

Please keep things crossed for Scooter, as he has a dose of cat flu at the moment. With his FiV it is difficult to fight it but he is on anti-biotics. I hope he is ok again soon....

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

More sand...

There is smoke coming out of my washing machine.
You know, that washing machine that was new last summer?

I heard the cycle end so I went to empty the machine and hang out my sheets before going to the shops. It smelt funny even before I opened the door, then when I did, smoke came out and started wafting upwards! It definitely wasn't steam- the sheets weren't hot. And then there was that odd smell. The smoke was wispy, but slightly blue.

Luckily it's not raining (quite!) so I've put the sheets outside- hope that blows the smokey smell off them!

Meanwhile, if you google 'smoke coming out of my washing machine', as I have just been doing, you'll be horrified at how many hits there are!! The general concensus seems to be the belt and/or the 'tub bearings'. I daren't take the back off and investigate though, just in case we have a warranty that that would cancel.


Now the hunt for the receipt is on........

Monday, 4 May 2009


....or "Artist Trading Cards"... these are always 2.5 x 3.5 inches in size and you make them to swap them with people. You can pick any subject and use any media- you can sew them, quilt them, paint them, draw on them, attach stuff to them, whatever you like. The only rules are (1) you have to stick to that saize and (2) they're to be traded, not sold. On the back, you put your name (plus contact details if you like; I'm going to just put my email on mine), and info. re the picture e.g., title; media used; and if it's one of a series, it's number. Why not chop up some bits of card to 2.5 x 3.5" and have a go?

Whilst coming up out of my deep blue funk (!) last week I pootled these ones over a few late nights..... what do you think of them? They were relaxing to do....

I used my Letraset ProMarkers on all these. I love the way you can blend these pens. They don't leave 'lines', just blocks of colour. When you go over other colours you get interesting effects. When you use the blender pen it washes out the colours like with a water-brush, but you don't know the full effect until it dries, so there's an element of risk and suprise :)

"Sunny Poppies"
The edges on this first one were done by just rubbing a dark blue ProMarker round the edge whilst the inks on the cards were still wet, hence the nice bleed effect....
"Silver Breeze"
-not a good photo :(
It's more colourful than this, and those lines are sparkly.

"Amazing Space 1"

Not sure what an Art Therapist would make of these last 2 :)

"Calm Before the Storm"
Is she being swallowed up by one of those flesh-eating plants? ...or waves? Are they petals? ...or the layers of an enormous dress??? I've no idea! It's just where the doodle took me!


What do you think?

More info on ATCs and some yummy examples here: Art In Your Pocket.