Tuesday, 15 April 2014


I have to admit that last month's reading got slightly blown off-track by an inability to gauge my reaction to one of March's selected books, THE ROSIE PROJECT. Did I like it? Did I hate it? Did I feel it was great for the main character to be on the autistic spectrum? Did I loathe the book's handling of special-needs or applaud it? As a mum of a child with special-needs I really couldn't fathom what I thought and kept leaving the book for days on end while I pondered!

Finally, as I read more of the book I relaxed more into it but I have to say there were moments when I hated the glibness and the humour derived from the character's 'quirks'. Yes, admittedly the book never ever strayed into the territory of laughing AT special-needs but the very fact it derived most its humour from this source, grated on my mama's heart! 

As for the other books...Gone Girl was great and The Five People You Meet In Heaven was an awesome  'must read' that I just couldn't put down....a one sitting book!

April has a line-up that features more non-fiction than usual and I am truly excited about it all!

The non-fiction is inspired by my year of creative habits project that you can catch up with daily at my tumblr site here! Most of these books come recommended by Crystal here.....see I am paying attention Crystal! 

The first of  the non-fiction is one I didn't get to last month....Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky. Then there is Show Your Work by Austin Kleon and The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp.

And for fiction this month I have two beauties in the mix, THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS by Arundhati Roy and THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern.

So what are you reading this month....do tell!

Come find me at GOODREADS here!

Joining in with the lovely Laura over at CIRCLE OF PINE TREES here!

Sunday, 13 April 2014


Here is this week's collection for Art-Stopping Sunday...a selection of the art and creativity that has made my heart stop and skip a beat across the week!

 Please enjoy because I did!

1: The hauntingly mysterious, beautiful and equally uncomfortable work of Jana Brike here...originally found here.
2: The amazing work of Tuija Helena Markonsalo.
3: The square paintings of Janet L Hamilton.
4: The embroidery of Sophie Standing.
5: The art installation 'Skinned'
6: The polyester sculpture of Do Ho Suh, found here and here.
7. The paper art of Cecilia Levy.
8. Spencer Byles spends a year in a french forest!
9. The illustration, embroidery and collage of Laura McKellar.

Do you have some magic to share...please leave a link in the comments if you do! It could be art, craft, fashion, photography, the written word....whatever captured your creative soul this week! Have a beautiful Sunday everybody. xxxxx

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Saturday, 12 April 2014


1. The start of the week saw Tilly off from school recovering from illness. Her and Busby enjoyed the time together just the two of them, snuggled under blankets, sharing DS games and giggles. As I ran to get my camera I heard Busby say, 'Tilly I love you so much, you are my best friend'. 

2. A rather exhausted Poppy returning from a gym class followed by rather long cycle ride with her dad. How she loves to be out and about on two wheels.

Some of my favourites last week were...

Snow and siblings at JANE MABEL
Chalk delight at ALIGHT
Joining in with Jodi here and also The Living Arrows project here.

living arrows

HAVE A PEN NEARBY AND WEAR A HAT! {my art-process and a drawing challenge}

As I begin to work on bigger pieces in my art studio inspired by my year of creative habits and the ongoing project A YEAR OF DOLLS AND ME there are without doubt some distinct themes emerging!  

MOTHERHOOD has reared its head again, it is as big a surprise to me as anybody else that this theme has become present again in this body of work. I was pushed there by the dolls themselves, speaking to me, telling me where to journey next as I worked. Grabbing a pen and writing down what their voices were saying, alongside my thoughts and reactions as I work...I have discovered it is them leading the way as I run to keep up, pen in hand! The writing of their words and the reviewing of the conversation probably the most vital part of this process.

I simply cannot imagine drawing, sewing, painting, or any of my art process without pen and paper next to me. Writing down thoughts, connections, clarifications of what the piece in front of me is saying, obvious next steps...the list in endless! Often my written thoughts come out as 'titles'....these I circle or underline in order to keep them separate to general notes. 

And it's in the immediate writing down that my working process comes to life! It is breathtaking how quickly an amazing connection, a new thought, a next step can fade into the realms of  forgotten without an instant action to seize it. 


And so these notes and scribbled thoughts led me back to MOTHERHOOD. And as I created, I scribbled down the connected memories. I remembered the days before my eldest daughter was diagnosed with SMITH MAGENIS SYNDROME when I watched my life, as if from the sidelines, in exhausted tears. I remembered watching, what I later discovered was sensory processing disorder, her wild reactions to the world and her inability to withstand touch, especially of her head or hair. I revisited in my notes the nightmare of that double-buggy with a tiny Poppy reaching forward to play with Tilly's hair and the hour long meltdowns that would ensue. The weird stares I would receive as strangers noticed the re-organised buggy with newborn in front and the 15 month old wedged in the back....anything to protect that hair from being pulled!

I remember the heart-breaking news of her diagnosis, a self-harming syndrome!! The mothering through a fog of the deepest and darkest depression and then my little boy being born....carrying him for a year in a backpack to keep him safe from the hurled objects and the SMS behaviours. The circle had rolled round, now it was my turn for the hair pulling, that constant torture of his little hands ripping my own hair and the despair as my shoulders ached.  All of this accompanied by the seemingly ever-present soundtrack of screaming and hair-ripping as my oldest child's behaviours escalated in adjoining rooms. These were some of the darkest times of motherhood for me and sweeping up hair was a part of it all! 

And then I catch myself writing WEAR A HAT!! I laugh when I think of it...despair escaped by the simple act of putting on a hat! Sometimes life throws up weird truths like that (especially if you create with a pen next to you!)

Some of the daily doll drawings that explore motherhood.

WEAR A HAT....the words play in my head as I begin work on one of the larger pieces inspired by the doll drawings. Only the mum I am now can flippantly suggest 'Put a hat on!', back then, things were too bleak to be flippant about anything...and at the end of the day Tilly would never have worn a hat anyway!

I am linking this post with some wonderful people this morning, firstly my blogging best-mate Crystal and her Year Of Creative Habits project here and over at her tagboard here. Also I'm taking part in THE DRAWING CHALLENGE and linking with Tammie Lee, this week's host, here the theme this week is HAT. To find out about this challenge visit Rose here and keep an eye on her drawing challenge list on the right side of her blog for the following week's host and prompt and also linking to Paper Saturdays here and Sunday Sketches here.

Thursday, 10 April 2014


When the yellow skirt arrived on my doorstep, (sent by the wondrous Curtise festooned with pressies! mwah lovely lady!)  it was such a thrill. It was like having a  celebrity to stay, for this item of clothing is so very special. In its travels around the world, it is visiting some very special ladies whom I adore, spreading a gloriously liberating and joyous message of self-love, bad-ass womanhood and creative spirit. I adored my time with the yellow skirt!

But the skirt itself it would seem, just like us, has many faces and tales to tell, for without doubt it is also taking on a role as 'art form' as it travels!  Its weight increasing on each visit with the customised signatures of its wearers...oh yes for sure, this yellow skirt is as much art as it is skirt as it is message!

Looking at the skirt and all those names was like holding hands with these women and yelling alongside them with one joined voice! These are some truly vibrant women, if you are going to be in company then this is a crowd I'm kinda excited to be keeping!

And so my signature was added, with a tear in my eye...yeah I don't mind admitting it! Can you see it.....bottom right?

My contribution to the skirt tied in with my current year-long art project...A YEAR OF DOLLS AND ME! I am drawing a doll a day for a year and on the day of the yellow skirt photo shoot I was on day 55. And so my doll drawing that day paid homage to the skirt, how could it not as the doll project is also an exploration of identity and in many ways holds hands with the yellow skirt and all it represents.

Doll 55 was drawn with a void....a cut out...an invisible woman! How often we are forced to know that feeling as we age...that invisibility! Well not in yellow skirts so bright and so the cut out body parts of doll 55 were added to my skirt signature, a nod to the ethos of remaining visible, along with this message....

Don't be shy
Push open the door
And explode in extravagant beauty.

Red stitches depicting the continuing journey were then added alongside my name. What an honour to add my bit to the skirt!

 Wow, just look at the company I am keeping!

And so my signature really has two pieces...the drawing and the skirt addition. Eventually the 2 will be joined once more for Doll 55 is to be eventually gifted to the beautiful and amazing Mel who began all of this! Mel you are a constant delight and inspiration....thank you!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014


And so it begins... the growing, the tending, the not forgetting to water alongside the more regular forgetting, the feeling overwhelmed and overjoyed in equal measure, the surprises of nature, the mental reminders that it's the journey that matters not the destination and the internal battling between wanting control but wanting the kids to 'help'.

Oh those kids....my gardening team of tiny helpers, my bee screaming posse....with their innate ability to crush one plant underfoot whilst tending to another, to pull plants up by roots whilst de-heading and their skills of tipping entire packets of seeds in one spot only instead of the much demonstrated general sprinkle! 

And so it begins again, another spring and summer in the garden....why do I feel so behind in the game already when we have only really just begun?

I have finally begun to plant the top of the garden around the trampoline. Last year saw the mammoth task of clearing this area of rubble, rubbish and bindweed! A makeshift bank was built from recycled tyres collected form the local tip and then 4 tonnes of soil and 3 tonnes of slate were shifted from the front of the house to complete the project. Not bad for one woman, a broken wheelbarrow and a 3 year old, even if I do say so myself! But now the daunting task of softening the garden and all those tyres and planting the area....oh on zero budget!

Dug up lavatera has been unceremoniously snapped and shoved here and there....let's see? Cheap plants form my local village shop have been added and last year's plants all seem to be coming back....young growth being willed to life!

And elsewhere spring flowers continue to give much needed colour. Oh how I love flowers, how I love time spent in the garden. So many plans, so little time and even less money! I wonder what this year will bring?

 Linking this post with the wonderful Annie over at Mammasaurus. x

Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?

Tuesday, 8 April 2014


The 'are we nearly there yets', the constant bickering, the never-ending twisting to retrieve toys or pass food and drink. The breaking up squabbles and feet kicking chairs...little thuds in the middle of my back, the yelling and noise, the heart-melting conversations you have with each other when you think nobody is listening. 

The constant questions, the 'did you see thats' the eye-spy games and lunch-boxes balanced on knees when we do late-night school runs. The car-seat pockets full of toys, stones, stickers, leaves and feathers...oh yes the mess everywhere! The coats and wellies, school bags, abandoned lunch boxes, the reading books lost under seats for weeks!

Our special tree that we wait to see, watching the seasons roll by on its branches, the place where the dead fox was who you never forget, Coco the dog who sits on the pub roof...will he be there today? Then the sudden calm, the snores and the drooped heads. Your beautiful little faces in my mirror...when these days are gone my car will be clean and quiet once more and I will miss every single moment of this!