Sunday 31 December 2017

Happy New Year. My message for 2018

Hello. That's it then, the last few hours of 2017. I won't do a looking back thingy, I've forgotten most of it already, ha ha. From what I remember, I've had a pretty good year, holidays, going out, everything has been pretty much hunkydory, apart from one sadness when the Best Cat in the World, sadly came to the end of his life, in January. Bugsy gave me 20 wonderful years of happiness and love, I couldn't have wished for a better, more fabulous, feline friend.

I won't waffle on as I expect you want to get on and party the New Year in. I love a brand spanking sparkly, shining, new year. I get a feeling in my bones that this one will be the best ever. I've made a little video for you, so pour yourself a little tipple, and celebrate the new year with me. By the way, I shall probably be in the land of nod by the time the clock strikes midnight. I've got a whiskey and cranberry juice in my glass, and that's bound to send me to sleep.

A quick reminder. Walking group members should check in tomorrow with your total miles for the year. Let's give everybody a big cheer for making it to the end. If you are joining in for 2018 please post a comment on the same post (Jan 1st) we would love to have you in our group. Newbies and oldbies welcome.

A very Happy New Year to all my blog readers, from me and the pussies, Heidi and Mayze. Let's do it all again in 2018.
Toodle pip

Saturday 30 December 2017

Trying to be an artist.

Hello. I'm back,, well I haven't been anywhere actually, except to town and to Tesco and to my friends house for afternoon sherry and Christmas cake and a natter. Oh, and two dog walks, all these little jobs take up a big chunk of time. And now I have to go and do a three mile walk which will take up another hour. 
So, I spent a bit of money yesterday in town, treated myself for my new hobby. Not sure how this is going to pan out, but I am getting plenty of lessons from yoootoooob. Blimey, don't they paint fast on those videos, I can't keep up with that, ha ha. It's all very well for those professionals to say it's easy to paint, but it flippin isn't. Anyway, now I have the kit I can give it a go. 

My first canvas. This was a cheapie from a charity shop for 50p. I put some colour onto it with pastels which I already had, then gave it a layer of PVA glue. Nope, don't like it, I don't like pastels either, too messy, coloured dust all over the place. so try again with another idea. Apparently you need texture, so what have I got to make the surface lumpy bumpy. I know, that packet of soup mix that I am never going to use. I knew there would be something I can do with it. Even after hours of  soaking and cooking it is still too darn hard to chew, so I give up with it. Stick it on this board with red paint. It's had two coats, now I have an idea to stick string on it. Watch this space.

I found these foam sheets in the craft department while browsing the £1 shops. They look mighty interesting, bright colours, it's fairly stiff foam, can be cut into shapes and stuck together, and maybe painted as well. Something will come to mind. It's best to have some supplies of materials at the ready just in case a brilliant idea materializes.

I had a browse round B & Q, not been in there for ages, I like looking around DIY stores. I wanted to get the low down on electrical tools. I have a sander but it is big and bulky, they make smaller ones now. I might at some point get a circular saw, maybe in the spring when I can get outside more often. I don't have an indoor workshop, maybe if I tidy all the wood up in the garage, I could make room in there for a bench. That's if the garage does not fall down in the next six months. Hey, maybe I could build a new garage, ha ha. In the meantime I had to buy this course sandpaper. I have plenty of fine sandpaper bought in the Woolys sale, but it takes ages to smooth a piece of wood with it. This will do the job a bit quicker.

Right, as I said, I have to go out and do my walk now, so I'll leave you to it. Enjoy your Sunday, because we have a brand spanking new year coming up. Whoooppeeee, this is the bit I like, the start of a new year.
Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Thursday 28 December 2017

A sunny day in the park.

Hello. It was such a lovely afternoon I decided to go to the park. So did quite a few other people as well. Lots of families with children were making the most of the sunshine, everyone was well wrapped up because it was a bit chilly as well. Gloves, scarves, and woolly hats were the order of the day. The main gate is only open when there is an event on, the small gate to the side gives access to pedestrians. 
The walled garden was looking very empty as you would expect at this time of year. Come spring and they will be planting up and sowing seeds for their usual show of vegetables and fruit.

Lots of greenery in the tropical hothouse, with a few flowers.

I had to take this photo, no one wants to play in the splash pool today, I wonder why.

Inside the stables are two life size sculptures, one wood and one steel.

Old Joey is still there, not surprised, he has no legs. Apparently he was killed in a fight with another stag.

They sell bird seed in the shop and when the children scatter it on the ground the ducks all come running.

 Lots more ducks on the pond. There seems a lot more now wonder where they all come from.

The hall is closed for the winter. Christmas trees with lights outside the front door.

I have been reading about a new attraction which is planned for the spring. Not sure I approve of it as it means chopping trees down to build it. They are building a treetop activity course, a zip wire and walkways high up in the trees.

The platform for taking off on the zip wire. The longer platform is where they land. It looks very ugly, and there is still more construction to be carried out. I am not liking this idea at all. I think these things work best in a forest, but this is only a wood, and not a very big wood. Just another money making scheme, which looks ugly in my opinion.

Time to go home, the sun is going down. A nice walk in the park, makes a change, even though I felt a bit sad. Rocky used to love coming here and chasing the squirrels.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Wednesday 27 December 2017

Loads of fruit to get through

Hello. We've had some beautiful sunsets just recently. I've taken to putting my camera in my pocket while walking around the village, just in case I see a nice picture. The church had a lovely orange glow the other day. As you can see by the clock it was only half past three and the sun was already going down, casting long shadows across the front of it. It's funny how the weather starts off dull and miserable in the mornings, but turns to sunshine later on in the day. 
I'm scoffing my way through a load of fruit at the moment. As well as the yellow stickers I bought almost a week ago, I also got some fruit in the hamper from Joyce. I have fruit for breakfast anyway, but I'm having to eat more to get through it all. Here is my four fruit smoothie which I made this afternoon. A satsuma, a pear, some grapes, and a kiwi fruit, with a spoonful of plain yogurt. It was very nice.

I've been trying some painting today, on the three canvases I bought for 50p each from a charity shop. Inspired by watching painting videos on yooootoooob. I don't think it's my bag really, too messy, but I'm having a go. It's not as easy as it looks. One of the problems I have is knowing when it's finished. You can go on forever adding a bit more here and a bit more there. I am trying different techniques, see where it takes me. I am drawn towards cubism, it looks so easy, the hard part is choosing which colours to use. I may not show you the results, so don't get excited, ha ha.

Only four more days to the end of the year, four more days left of the walking challenge. Are you making one last effort? I will reach my target of 1200, but I must say there are days when I think I would like a day off from it. That's why I am dropping back to the 1000 miles for next year, so I can have a day off now and again.

It's been very cold today, but we are lucky that we've had no snow. They've had it in the Midlands and the South, glad I don't have to go out on the motorways at this time of year.

A quickie tonight, thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday 26 December 2017

Zipppeeeee is done.

Hello. Here are the final pictures of the Zipppeeee art work. The colours have come out almost exactly as they are. The size is 16 inches by 18 inches. I had enough of the dark green curtain fabric which I used for the background and the loops, to cover the back as well. The zips make it quite heavy.

The zip tags have all been fastened down with a couple of matching stitches.

Contrasting French knots on the flowers.

The green zips were a bit pale so I painted them with emulsion paint to bring out the colour.

A large knitting needle is just the right length to go through the loops. I shall look for something a bit better.

I'm mighty chuffed with this, the finished article is just how I imagined it when I first thought of the idea. I've still go lots of zips left, but they will be saved for another day when an idea next pops into my head. I fancy doing something else now.

Thank you all for your comments over the past few days. I'm pleased with the response to Marigolds Inspirations, and thank you to Marigold for allowing me to use her emails.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Monday 25 December 2017

A chuckle with Frank

Hello. I'm having the day off today, it's Christmas Day you know, I'm sure you must have noticed. The clue was in the shops being jam packed full of people flinging things into their trolleys like this is the last day before the world implodes, or should that be explodes. I have news for them, the world is not going to spin out of control, or break up into tiny particles, nor is it on a collision course heading for a major catastrophe with the sun. No, nothing is going to happen. The shops will be open tomorrow.

Have a little titter with Frank

Have a wonderful day folks, Merry Christmas, and we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Sunday 24 December 2017

Final inspirations from Marigold.

Hello. As we creep nearer to Christmas I am pleased that I haven't let myself be swayed by the mayhem of shopping going on around me. I got my yellow stickers on Thursday, so now I am keeping away from the shops. There is really no need for me to go to town, or Tesco, or the Retail Park. I expect it will quieten down later as people realize that they have enough, and with a 4pm closing time, only the least organized will be dashing around at the last minute. It must be very stressful to be a slave to money, tradition, accumulating possessions, and feeling the need to fit in with everyone else. I'm glad I am free of all that.

And so to the fourth and last contribution from our frugal friend, Marigold. A few more pearls of wisdom which might be of interest to our readers.

The thing I find interesting about you is that you seem to be able to free yourself from the"hooks" of money and I am sure that a lot of it is to do with your perspectives.   I feel that frugality is a very prosperous, manifestation mindset but that we really need to control the "impulse buy that satisfies a psychological need" to achieve it.  I also believe sharing is an important part of it so no one holds onto the energy but it keeps flowing.

I'm noticing how often my budget gets into trouble with the agreement to go out and celebrate with a meal or a coffee, to travel with family,....the need to love and be fed?  Now I invite people home for a coffee and some homemade bread, salad from my perma culture garden, pickles from saved food and an egg from the free range chooks.

Another thing that has helped me is to use the Perma Culture idea that everything you grow (I apply to what I do and have) needs to have 3 uses.  My dog is company, security, good for my mental health, she guards the chooks as well as gets me out walking; so I can well justify the money I spend on her.   Now, however, I am looking for cheaper ways to feed her.   I have roses for flowers (sometimes to sell), for gifts, for the bees and insects and I use the thorny stems as seedling protection from the chooks and then they go on the fire when dry.  

At present I justify the car/van as i can get guinea pig and chook food from the roadside, carry wood and sand from the river, sometimes grassclippings and it gives me an opportunity to remove rubbish from the river also.  It is one of my largest expenses (and the earths) so I am trying to use my bike and legs more, find people who will drop their grass clippings here, deliver hay etc. just being really careful about only going to town unless I have multiple uses is making a difference; eg going to library, knitting club, drop off goods and check charity shop, check nearby supermarket for discount buys and on the way home take the dog up the river.

I am aware I am  in a privileged position because I brought a very cheap house (in a not so nice area - which turns out to be great because people are resourceful) and a quarter acre. I have managed to pay it off over about 18 years because I had work.  Having the gardens, the minor outlays, a room to rent etc does certainly make my life easier.  I hope I can keep this better life up; it's a lovely way to go into my older age and your example has definitely helped me to see that and to figure out how to improve it rather than worrying about how am I going to manage for the next thirty years?   It is just a series of challenges to solve and with being frugal I get the opportunity to set up a bit of a backstop, bet the system and see how much money I can make available to me and the people I chose to help.  However, my greatest gift is to be surrounded by friends and family who interact with me.

As you can see she has a very similar mindset to my own. Using her car as a van, multipurpose vehicle, it has to be useful not just for days out and joy riding. Understanding that impulse buying is only to satisfy a psychological need. Being drawn in to socialize with other people feeds a need to be loved. And being aware of the privileged position we are in owning our own house.

Marigold, I thank you for sending these two emails and allowing me to use them here. May I make a suggestion. You have a flare for writing, think about using it to make some extra money. You could contact magazines, newspapers, and web sites, especially blogs, to offer your services as a guest writer. Worth a thought.

The Zippppeeeee wall hanging is finished, and I'm very chuffed at how it has turned out. Pictures to come later. It is the Eve of Christmas Day. I hope you all have a wonderful time, lots to eat and drink, and be merry. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Saturday 23 December 2017

Even more inspiration from Marigold

Hello. And now for the third and final part of Marigold's email. I see her words of wisdom have prompted a lot of readers to share their own experiences of money saving and simple living. Thank you for your comments so far.

So what's this post about? In her first sentence she talks about the fear of being without. It's a natural feeling that most people have at some point in their life. What would happen if my house burnt down, how would I take care of myself if I had no income? We all hope that these disasters don't crop up in our lives, but they could happen to any of us.

So, we take out insurances, and stockpile just in case, because it gives us a cushion if we need it. How many people have gone through the whole of their lives and never claimed off their insurance? How many people have lost food at the back of their cupboards and in the bottom of the freezer, for it to become inedible and have to be thrown away? Be brave, I say. I have house insurance for the fabric of the house, sensible, because I couldn't afford to pay for repairs should a disaster strike. I don't have contents insurance because I can afford to replace things, second hand if needed. I have car insurance because it's a legal requirement. I have breakdown cover because I don't want to leave myself vulnerable in case I break down in the middle of nowhere. I keep minimum food in my cupboards and freezer, nothing gets lost at the back in this house. 

Marigold talks about her credit card trapping her, I bet not many people realize this is happening to them. It's a yoyo way of living. If you take your credit up to the max, and then find you have to empty your bank account to pay it off each month, what's the point? You are living beyond your means and you are trapped. My credit limit is £3,100. I never take it up to that limit, with one exception, when I change my car, every three or four years. And even then I have the cash to pay it off in full.

Marigold mentions her credit rating. In the UK a credit rating is just a number, it means nothing. What lenders look at is your CREDIT HISTORY, how you have been managing your finances over a period of time. I have no idea what my credit rating or history says about me, I don't care. All I know is that I don't owe anyone anything.

I've been rabbiting on a bit here, so I'll shut up and paste the last part of Marigold's email. I have just remembered she has sent a second email and after checking it again I see there are also some important points in there as well. So, tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and to finish off this series I shall post some more of Marigolds wise words from this second email.

Your viewpoint has helped me to face my fear of being without.  My Mum was raised in the Depression and I inherited a lot of her ideas being a Post WW2 baby also.   My cupboards are overstocked (in case of an emergency) and I loose things at the back. Now we are eating through this reserve.  

Also I faced up to the way my credit card use was trapping me.  I would work for ages to get my balance down and then within a week I'd take it back up to the original level.  Then I would try to pay off a bulk amount from saving and again repeat the behaviour.   I faced that I am no good with a Credit Card, I took money out of my saving and closed it and cut the card up.   I am trying to finish my preparations for Christmas and I am making do with a very small budget....usually I realise I would cope by going into debt on the Credit Card.  I'm trying to keep my fear that I will not have a good credit rating now under control...ridiculous as banks will not give me loans now i am 65...not that I need one now!  And also the fear that in an emergency I will not have any rescue resources keeps playing out but is beginning to quieten down.  Without the card I am more prosperous.

Come back tomorrow, even though it's Christmas, the money saving, simple living, whatever you like to call it, still goes on. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Friday 22 December 2017

More inspiration from Marigold.

Hello. Marigolds email has sure got you thinking, and adding to the discussion. She makes a lot of valid points. Her journey towards a frugal and sustainable lifestyle has meant some changes and a different way of thinking. Recapping on yesterday, Marigold doesn't need to read glossy magazines telling her how she should be decorating her house. She doesn't need to buy new, second hand is fine, and she now knows that every small find can save money by reusing it, to stop things going to landfill.

Let's carry on and read more of her email.

Since reading your blog I have been following the policy of making do/using what I already have with a view to doing a big shop once a month. I've started baking bread again...oh it's so yummy! and because I have free range chooks whose eggs I gift to people, this week I have been gifted mushrooms and enough mandarins to make fours pots of marmalade as well as fill the fruit bowl, onions, silverbeet and lettuce.  

For a while I have kept a jar on the window ledge full of white vinegar and when i get citrus peel it is popped in there to make a cleaner.  After about a month the oil from the citrus has seeped into the vinegar.  When I need more cleaner I take a cup of the vinegar and oil, put it into the container and top with water.   

Your talk about using detergent for floor, toilet and dishes got me thinking.  Instead I have been using this mix and it is fantastic.   I am using up old product I had and then refilling the containers with the mix. So now I have a spray cleaner and a toilet cleaner which contain the same product.  I've also noticed that idea of giving the detergent bottle a good squeeze so we get lots of bubbles is  real trap to over spending.   When cooking rice you can save the water and use that as dish washing liquid - no bubbles but squeaky clean dishes for free.......and no reliance on fossil fuels.  

A friend was advised by her Dr to add an anti bacterial product to the rinse cycle of the washing $12 a bottle.  I fell for it too - fear of germs pressure to consume - but as the container is nearly empty I am going to refill it with white vinegar.  It too is antibacterial and apparently anti static so clothes will not have bits sticking to them.

Thinking about your policy of buying on price is certainly making a difference to my budget.  I have also incorporated a new policy for myself: if a product increases in price I reduce my use of it by the same percentage.  This helps with finding new creative solutions as there comes a point where it is no longer viable to keep buying that product.  

This happened with the decaf coffee I buy for my plunger. I have one really nice coffee a day because it is a bronchial dilator and I think its more pleasant to enjoy that coffee than to have to use my asthma preventer everyday (unless I have a cold or hayfever and need the medication).  

I used to go to coffee shops and spend a lot of money each week.  So the process I went through of changing that was first to limit myself to one coffee a day in town.  Then I realized I always ate the same time..probably $10+ per day.  So then I cut out the food, unless there was a complimentary biscuit.  Gradually I realized I was still spending $5+ a day (I like a soy milk decaf latte).  i read someone said to figure out is it the coffee or the milk you enjoy so started having a plunger black coffee instead at home.  

Recently the pack I buy jumped from about $6.50 a pack to $10.50 overnight.  The way i have reduced my use is to make it in a small bowl using less than a teaspoon of grinds compared to 2 tablespoons.  I got 2 small souvenir cups from Paris in the second hand bargain bin for 50cents (I want a coffee in Paris for my 70th birthday in 5 years!) so now I have a couple of small delicious coffees, no soy or cows milk, less coffee used and I really love the flavour....and it reminds me of my goal and how I'm getting closer.

Marigold is making do and using what she already has. A great way to save money. Swapping resources with friends and neighbours. Cheaper ways to clean the house. Watching the prices of products she uses regularly. Buying on price and if it increases look at reducing consumption or finding a cheaper, just as good, alternative.

All these tricks don't come automatically, you have to practice them, you have to want to change your mindset and keep the notion of saving money at the forefront of all your thinking. No need to become obsessive about it, you can cut yourself some slack sometimes, but a little bit of wandering from the straight and narrow means you must make an effort to get back on it again. Don't want to slide down the slippery slope towards that dreaded word debt.

Is anyone else making a success of changing their lifestyle for the better, without it being too much of a chore? Come back tomorrow for the third part of Marigold's email

I struck lucky at Tesco last night. I arrived at 7pm and a warehouse trolley full of yellow stickers was already priced up at the end of the veg aisle. No one was taking much notice of it, the store was full, people were busy stuffing things into their overflowing trolley's, and not looking for the bargains. The third sticker had gone on and everything was very cheap. Yipeeee, lucky me. There was everything I needed, lots of fruit and veg.

The cost of my yellow stickers was £7.18, for that I got £63.15 worth of food. The rest of my shopping was £11.58, giving a total of £18.76 for the whole lot. I gave away two shopping bags to people on the self serve tills, and today I gave some of the food to a friend up the road, and a neighbour across the road. Still plenty left for me. They were gobsmacked at how little I had paid for it. All in all, a successful shopping trip.

I had a nice surprise today. Joyce, the elderly lady who I walk Bailey poodle for gave me a wonderful Christmas hamper that she had made for me. It was very big, and very heavy.

A fantastic assortment of goodies, she has put a lot of thought into it. I am dead chuffed.

So now I have loads to eat, enough for a month or more I would say. Lucky me.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Thursday 21 December 2017

Inspiration from Marigold

Hello. I have a new assistant, a reader who had no idea that she was going to be a guest writer when she sent me an email yesterday. I got such a lot of positive vibes from her that I decided her words were too inspiring to keep for myself and they should be shared with everyone. So with her permission I am able to copy and paste it here. Her name has been changed, I think Marigold suits her fine.

I have found several of your viewpoints have helped me to stop feeling like everything is hard and to enjoy the challenge of frugality.  I too now try to approach life with the view 'I'm beating the system".  I am watching how this happens as a part of a continuum rather than a one off instant change.

Once I started applying 'I'm beating the system" to my life i quickly realized how often i get conned/con myself into spending money...because it makes me feel better....magazines as an escape from the treadmill....all crap unreality lives and advertising.  So I stopped buying them and started to borrow them from the library.   A magazine while I had a coffee break.  Then I started to analyse the many ads for high consumer style lives.   One magazine had an article listed on the front; it turned out to be the only thing I wanted to read in the magazine and it was so small that when I went through page by page (viewing ad after ad) I missed it.   But what I noticed by the time I came to the end of the magazine was a feeling of discontent and dis-ease...brought on by the comparison of my "small but content" life style to the consumer lifestyle.  

Even the alternative lifestyle mags so often seem to push a fanciful reality while making do.   I guess I'm trying to say that what I really appreciate about what you are doing is showing real life and what it is like to live a good life with few financial resources well used.  

I love that you list the things you me that is the reality of how small things are acummulated and are actually important if we allow them to be. I saw a curtain hook on the path today and it wasn't till I got home that I thought, I should have picked that up as I am about to double up my curtains, as you suggested, and I'll need some. The idea that something so small is not important is very damaging to our lives and world...for the earth those unused resources become a burden of waste and replication.

I had a score today as I dropped off an unused item to our local community resource centre and because I popped in I heard that there was a sale, a $2 sale - fill a bag with as much clothing as you wanted.  

I had been looking for a bra in my size and had found about 7 in great condition, right size but was trying to tell myself not to spent too much and to hope that next time I need them they will still be there.  No need.  
Was told about the special so in the bag they went with some new knickers, a winter jersey, a black tee shirt, a flannette shirt, an exercise top, a black work top...all for $2....and as I was walking they had a box of donated buns and loaves...I restrained myself and took only a pack of pita bread as it was perfect for our tea tonight.  I left feeling so pleased.  Then was checking out Freecycle tonight (and putting on an offering) and have managed to get a new watch and a pile of necklaces that my flatmate loves working with to make new bracelets...all free too!

I love the way she is now 'beating the system,' after realizing that it isn't hard after all to lead a frugal life. Now she realizes that advertising is a con, business wants your money and they will do anything to get it. Setting yourself a challenge to live within your means can be fun. Spending money to make yourself feel better is a quick fix and has no long term effects except to roller coaster your life in and out of debt. You run to catch up, then you stumble and fall behind. Like yo yo dieting, it isn't the solution.

Marigold has embraced the second hand and freebie way of acquiring things that you need or want. Even small things that come your way are a bonus when they are free. It also means that sharing your excess with friends means they will share with you. We don't own anything while we are here on this planet, we borrow it for the duration of our stay. We can't take it with us so why not pass things on while we are still alive. Greed and the need for more is like a cancer which eats away at the soul. Being happy with what you have brings about a feeling of utter contentment. Being able to say, I have enough, takes away all insecurities and anxiety. I have lost account of how many times people have said to me, 'you could make more and sell them'.  I don't need any more money, I have enough. I will take some left over shopping bags to Tesco tonight and surprise people with a freebie. That will be fun.

Marigold wrote a very long email, this is only part of it. I will post more tomorrow, and maybe you will find some inspiration from her. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip   

Wednesday 20 December 2017

A doodle a day

Hello. It is often said that if you want to be a writer, you should write every day. That makes sense to me because the more you practice something the better you become at it. This can be true of almost everything. Want to sculpture your body, go to the gym and pump iron every day. Want to create beautiful bridal gowns, sew every day. Want to create award winning cakes, bake every day. Want to make great art, practice every day. 
A lot of artists make journals, or sketches, or scrapbooks, with snippets of their work, which they refer back to for ideas. I have got a doodle notebook. Something comes into my head and I sit and doodle the idea for ten minutes or so. Sometimes I doodle just for the sake of it, even though I have no idea what I am looking for. I use felt tip pens, which most people now call sharpies for some reason. 
I draw straight lines with a ruler, and fill in the spaces. 

I use a template with lots of small circles.

Sometimes silly things come into my head, I make it up.

Use a plastic template, then add fillers of different colours. Squiggly lines to join up the squares.

Circles of different sizes can be filled in.

I have sparkly glitter pens which I like playing with.

Random shapes, colour them in and add detail.

I will probably go back to this one, it needs more colour and detail.

I saw some Mandala painting videos, I like the idea of lots of dots. 

Some of my templates, for basic shapes which then can be doodled on.

You might think this is all a bit juvenile, but it's surprising how the creative juices flow when you let your mind wander. Play with colours, see how they go together, mix up circles, straight lines, and squiggly shapes. Look at your creation as it is growing, work out which direction you want to go in.

When making a picture there are lots of techniques you can use. You can paint with oils, water colour, acrylics, add texture, collage, spray paint. Outline with crayons, felt tip pens, pencils. Paint with fingers, sponge, plastic cards. Use rubber stamps, glue fabric to the picture, doodle and scribble on it. There are lots of yoootoooob videos about making art with every medium you can think of. Nothing is off limits. People say to me, I don't know where you get your ideas from. Looking at other people's art gives me ideas, also reading craft and sewing books and magazines. One of my favourite web sites is Cassie Stevens. She is an art teacher, her link is on the sidebar.

I am going to carry on doodling and see where it takes me. something will click, there will be bits of it which I can use in future projects. A bit like keeping a notebook if you are writing a novel. If you want to make art, give doodling a go. Take a blank piece of paper, draw a shape, circle, square, or whatever, then fill it in. Draw lots of circles and link them together. Put them in a box. Colour them in. Scribble a few words on them. See where you end up. Happy doodling.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Simply spirals.

Hello. It's been a bit warmer today, I went outside for a while to clean up some driftwood. Not needed any heating on, the house has been warm enough without it. 
Do you remember that spiralizer thingy  I bought, which was pretty hopeless. I took it back to the store and got my money back. Well I've now got this gadget which is a lot simpler and actually works fine. Put your vegetable in it and twist. Dead easy, and simple to wash after. 

 Dinner tonight. Chopped onion, soften in oil. I defrosted a couple of Quorn fillets in the microwave, cut them into small pieces and added them to the onions. Throw in a handful of frozen mushrooms. Then add carrot and parsnip, and chopped Brussels Sprouts, and a tin of chick peas, and chopped spinach. Add water and orange juice, season with vegetable granules and half a packet of Korma curry sauce mix. Simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.

It tastes bloomin lovely. Plenty left for tomorrow. Can be eaten with rice, pasta, couscous, bread, or a jacket potato. I ate it on it's own. A filling meal cooked in one pan.

One email with three rejections came through today from Ferens Art Gallery. It seems they didn't think my pictures were good enough to hang in their Open Exhibition.

Thank you for your submission to this year’s Open Exhibition.
Unfortunately on this occasion your submission has not been selected for this year's exhibition - Octopuses Garden

Unfortunately on this occasion your submission has not been selected for this year's exhibition - Shapes

Unfortunately on this occasion your submission has not been selected for this year's exhibition - Beach Huts

Oh well, bit disappointed, never mind. They obviously have no idea what a work of art looks like, and wouldn't recognize a talented artist even if they fell over one in the street. My work is too good for that place anyway. They needn't come begging me to apply next year  :o)

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Monday 18 December 2017

Confessions of a skipaholic.

Hello. My name is ilona, and I am a skipaholic. I can't pinpoint exactly when this habit started, but I have always been a scavenger, looking through piles of rubbish to see if there is anything useful. If I come across a pile of fly tipping in a country lane I feel compelled to inspect it, just in case there is something I can rescue and take home. If someone leaves an unwanted item outside their house with a notice on saying 'Free to good home', I am sorely tempted to go back in my car and pick it up. I like free stuff, and I can't bare to see anything dumped if it can be re purposed, re cycled, or re used.  
Rummaging through a skip is my idea of heaven. What treasures am I likely to find if I dig deep down to the bottom. Why oh why wasn't I here when they started filling the skip, now it is too full and there must be something underneath that could have been rescued. 
If a skip is in front of a house for a week or more, I have to go back daily to check if anything else has been added. I laugh and joke with the builders and the house owners, they don't mind me looking through what they think is rubbish. In my eyes, it isn't rubbish. They let me take what I want, indeed if I am there while they are bringing stuff out of the house they offer it to me before they throw it in the skip. That's good because it saves me having to pick things out from under a dirty heap of rubble. 
Wood is my weakness, any wood which might be useful for DIY projects in the garden or in the home. In fact a lot of stuff dumped in a skip I can find a use for. 

My garage is now so full of wood, and other useful stuff, that I can hardly get inside. Now I have started to use the summer house for storage, which is not good, I must stop that.

Every time I go out and come across a skip I think, oh no, not another one. It draws me like a magnet, I have to look in it. Even tonight on my walk I brought home a griddle from a barbeque. That will make an interesting art project I thought. I saw some brand new bricks in another skip, should I go back tomorrow with my car and bring them home. It's such a shame to throw new bricks away.

Oh my, I have to try and fight this urge to save everything from being dumped in a big hole in the ground. I am just too darned sentimental. I am a skipaholic and I need help.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip