WIP Wednesday 16

Our artwork has been taking a back seat over the past month because the studio where some of the magic happens has been having a facelift.

The UK is still basking in glorious sunshine ~ I genuinely can’t remember the last time it rained, other than a surprise drop or two splatting on the car windscreen sometime last week. If this continues The Water Board will implement a hosepipe ban ~ in fact I’m surprised that there isn’t one in force already.

Martin has been taking advantage of these perfect conditions to continue weather~proofing the Kaboodle ~ raking out and replacing the old mortar and allowing it to dry thoroughly, before applying masonry paint to seal and protect the 100+ year~old brickwork.

This week he has been joined by an enthusiastic young apprentice ~

our nine~year~old grandson Ruan. I bet he never imagined that he’d be working so hard during his school holiday! 😉

Luckily it doesn’t seem to have put him off visiting the Isle of Wight. After downing tools for the day and refuelling on fish and chips, we took an evening stroll along a beautiful sandy beach about 10 minutes from our front door:


Ruan is already planning what he’d like to do on his next visit, in August, with twin brother Mylo.

Hopefully, Grandad will have finished all the repointing and painting by then!










WIP Wednesday 15

The prolonged spell of sunshine that the UK is basking in at the moment has proved perfect for tackling one or two long~standing maintenance issues. This last week we’ve been working in the same confined area ~ The Kitchen Courtyard ~ but on totally seperate projects. We find that usually works best! 😉

Whilst Martin has been preparing the 100 year~old brick walls of the Kaboodle for re~pointing, I’ve painted the much younger, but just as sad~looking, gate and fence:

Once I’d done what it said on the tin, three times, I left the colour to dry and went on to move my pots of herbs and veggies to a shadier (and less dusty) spot. I rearranged the woodpile for the chimenea and fashioned an improvised fruit cage to cover the blueberry bush, using a pair of voile curtains, four garden canes and a handful of bird~shaped clothes pegs:

We’ve been beetling away for days and ~ although my husband doesn’t think the photo on the right shows quite how much effort he’s had to put in ~ we’re both happy with the results. Even Indie is looking impressed.

As light relief from attacking crumbling mortar with power tools, Martin has been painting yet another Work In Progress, on the other side of the fence ~ the bodywork of our second car:

Unlike all those meticulously restored and polished~up vintage vehicles that take part in the Island’s classic car shows, this one is actually being rendered to look like a rusting old barn find, complete with cobwebs.


I’ll let you know how that pans out!


Thank you so much for reading my blog posts and leaving such lovely comments. As you can see we’ve been using this rare UK heatwave to get outdoors and carry on with the restoration projects we started fourteen years ago. When we flop down on the sofa in the evening we’re bushed, so huge apologies for my delay in responding. I’m planning to catch up soon so please bear with me! ❤

WIP 14

I spent the morning at the local WOW Centre, doing artwork and chatting with a lovely friend. The Centre is a calm and inviting space, where girls and women on the Isle of Wight can drop in, attend free courses, receive advice and support on a number of issues and generally get creative. The atmosphere is welcoming and there’s always something going on. 🙂

The Chakra Colouring Course I wrote about in May officially ended last week ~ but Paula and I decided to continue meeting, to work on the templates we didn’t get around to finishing in class:

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It’s so relaxing, this mid~week ‘time out’, when we can allow our imaginations to run free ~ totally justifying our obsession with coloured pencils, felt~tip pens, markers and fine liners.  I still have three designs left to complete and we’re eagerly discussing a joint project that we’d like to do next.

So that’s still a Work In Progress but I’m proud to say that I’ve actually finished another of my projects ~ a multi~media collage of a Sea Horse:


This is my first attempt at working in this way and on the whole I’m pleased with the result ~ but there are a few things that I’ll do differently next time.

I’ll let you know how I get on!


WIP 13 ~ Still Crazy After all These Years

Our Work In Progress this week is a super~special joint effort. Today is our Twentieth Wedding Anniversary.

This is us, long before we even met. We were 18 and I was a in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service, while Martin was serving in the Royal Airforce.

And here we are, over twenty years later, in our little one~bed cottage soon after we became a couple:


These are some memories of the Big Day, when ~ after the ceremony ~ we partied in my mother’s back garden until dawn brought in the Summer Solstice:

And this is the most recent photo of us, taken at a woodfair on the Island last autumn:


We recieved a rose bush called ‘Honeymoon’ as a wedding gift and today, right on cue, it has come into full bloom:


As you can see it’s still going strong after twenty years.

Just like us!


WIP Wednesday 12

I missed the deadline for posting a Work In Progress last week. I had intended to reveal the finished crochet item which I showed a teasing glimpse of in WIP Wednesday 5 but when I came to stitch the two halves together I discovered that one side was bigger than the other. Oops! That will teach me to double check the number of rows in future.

Never mind ~ it was simple enough to add an extra round to the smaller one at Crafty Bees on Monday:

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Now all I have to do is work around the border, pull it into shape and join the two hexagons (because that’s what they are) together.

Remembering, of course, to leave a gap along the top for my head!




WIP Wednesday 10

In WIP Wednesday 8 I mentioned that I’m attending an eight week Chakra Colouring Course at the WOW (Women on the Wight) Centre in Newport. It was class number 4 today, which means we are halfway through.

Having studied Meditation, Indian Head Massage and T’ai Chi Qigong, I was already familiar with these energy centres in the body, which can be found in a variety of Indian, Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese healing traditions.

There are seven basic Chakras, each one linked to a colour which corresponds to those in the rainbow. In the past I’ve memorised them in a straight line, from the Base Chakra at the bottom to the Crown at the top. But in this course we are looking at them spiralling out from the Heart.

Our tutor provides us with affirmations, prompts, and two blank templates of each Chakra ~ one closed, the other open. Then, with meditative music playing in the background we render them, using our imaginations and the art materials provided ~ or ones that we’ve brought from home. (As you can see, I have a fair selection of pens, markers and coloured pencils!)

I’m planning to glue my completed templates into a scrapbook, along with hand~written notes and personal observations, which will be fun to look back on. I may even take the course again in the future ~ it’s completely free and I’ve been told that it’s different every time.

Who’d have thought that colouring~in would be so relaxing? It looks as though this particular Work In Progress will be on~going for quite a while!




Three Day Quote Challenge – Day 2

I’m using ‘A journey of a thouand miles begins with a single step,’ as my quote today ~ because it follows on from yesterday’s post about a time in my life when I was unable to see a way forward.

This quote is taken from the ‘Tao Te Ching’ ~ a Chinese classical text traditionally credited to the 6th-century BC sage Lao Tzu. The meaning of it seems perfectly obvious ~ unless you start doing something, you’re never going to get it done. Right?

Hmmm… Literally translated, this quote becomes:

‘The journey of a thousand leagues begins beneath one’s feet.’  Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher 604 – 531 BC.

which focuses on the stillness before the action of the first step, in the belief that the action of starting the journey will arise naturally out of that stillness.

So Lao Tzu’s words carry two completely different messages, depending on how the text is translated: ‘just get on with it!’…or ‘hang on a minute…!’ Is this some kind of Taoist joke? 😉

I must say that the latter option tends to be my experience. When I try hard to force a desired result it tends not to work out, so I become frustrated and have to set that project aside. Then, when I relax and allow things to develop naturally, they seem to flow without any effort at all.

But ~ either way ~ I have found this ancient text inspiring and I hope you do too! 🙂

 The rules of the challenge are simple:

Thank the person who chose you ~ Many thanks Gilly , it’s fun!
Post a quote for three consecutive days
Say why you like your quotes
Invite three blogging friends to join in ~ I’m leaving that one open, please feel free to take part if you wish! 🙂



3 Day Quote Challenge – Day 1


‘When it gets dark enough, you can see the stars.’ Charles Austin Beard, American Historian and Educator.

Photograph by kind permission of Ainsley Bennett Photography

Gilly, over at Lucid Gypsy invited me to post one of my favourite quotes every day for three days, explaining the reason why I’ve chosen it. Thank you Gilly ~ here goes!

Many moons ago the world as I knew it collapsed around me and I had to build a new life for myself. I didn’t have a clue how or where to begin and ~ for a while ~ the future looked dismal and gloomy, with no glimmer of light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.

Then, one day, I came across this quote and it brought back memories of my childhood in the Welsh countryside. I loved going for evening walks with my step~father and our dogs. On clear winter nights we would pause and stare up at the sky while he pointed out the constellations, teaching me the mythological origins of their names and explaining that the light from them had taken millions of years to reach us. That they were so far away and no longer in existence ~ yet we could still see them twinkling above us ~ blew my tiny little mind!

So this quote ~ and the memories it sparked off  ~ marked a significant turning point for me.

Ainsley Bennett is a talented Isle of Wight photographer, who has won National competitions for his work and whose page I follow on Facebook. He has taken many awesome photographs of our beautiful Island ~ to view them please visit his site by clicking on the link. This particular star~lit image fits the quote ~ and my story ~ perfectly! So thank you Ainsley, for giving me permission to reproduce it.

The rules of the challenge are simple:

Thank the person who chose you
Post a quote for three consecutive days
Say why you like your quotes
Invite three blogging friends to join in ~ I’m leaving that one open, please feel free to take part if you wish! 🙂