Thursday, 30 October 2008

Nearly the end of the month and....

Yes, it is nearly the end of the month and the 30/30 challenge is nearing its end!

Di's 30/30 challenge has quite a number of us participating.  Each of us setting ourselves different targets which we hoped to achieve during the month of October.

My goals were:

1. To create an encaustic painting to enter into a competition on  Here is my entry entitled Celestial Magic.  It has been created using pigmented beeswax which was then hot air blown.  To enhance the painting I used my trustworthy iron, hot stylus and tissues. encaustic international

The painting has been created on canvas as a support and is painted around the sides, top and bottom so is immediately ready to hang.

Sideways from right to left

When you view the painting from the sides you can see the whole subject which makes it rather fun!



2.  My next goal was to continue using the Wii sports.  This I have done using it to play tennis which is a game I love.  In addition DH and I have taken many walks through local parks to enjoy the beautiful foliage at this time of year.

3. My third goal was to create something every week and this week I have had my encaustic paints out again.  This time to create a painting using one of England's oldest monuments, namely, Stonehenge.  Each year during the summer solstice the druids come from far and wide to celebrate the season.  Stonehenge encaustic international

This particular painting evolved from a greetings card I was trying to create for my DH whose birthday is on Saturday.  He loves the wax art so I began and the first picture that emerged was this one of  P1020378a landscape scene.  I wasn't too happy with it so carried on and then Stonehenge was born!  P1020379





So you can see the different processes and how a painting can evolve from card to canvas.

All these paintings are created by me but under my 'other' personality!  On a Whimsey where I only have encaustic art.

In addition I have managed to keep up my new blog A Precious Memory where I have written some of my father's memoirs of a dark period in his life.

And so, my friends, I feel that I have managed to acquit myself reasonably well by 'just' keeping up with my self set goals.  Now with Christmas just around the corner there are plenty more challenges.  Thank you, Di, for making us get up and get on with things.  It is always easier if someone goads you into being more productive.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Couldn't resist it!

I know I have already been for many walks and posted pictures of scenes I encountered but we went back to Sheffield Park yesterday afternoon and couldn't resist taking more pictures. This Park is famous in our area for beautiful scenery, especially at this time of year. And so, really, I should not have been so surprised when we had to join a lengthy queue at the main entrance. Standing patiently in line, one of the volunteer organisers asked for those with National Trust membership to step forward. We did only to find an astonishing number of people who were handing over not insignificant amounts of cash for the privilege of visiting the gardens for a couple of hours that remained of the cool daylight.

As we walked in we did find some beautiful views even though I thought the colours must have peaked a couple of days ago. Also, the sun was not shining so much so that the bright colours were not highlighted as much.

These are some of the photos I took on our walk.

I love the contrast of the deep green against the reds and orange flame coloured foliage.

coloured trees various pretty contrast

Just look at the contrast of the 'red' carpet with the yellowing leaves still on the tree.

colourful carpet dead cropped tree colourful

Here an old oak tree has been chopped down leaving some of the old trunk for ivy to grow on but it gives an interesting shape/accent with the surrounding trees.

In this shot of the trees across the lake you can still evidence of the lily pads which will later be replaced by slips of ice as the depths of winter approach.lake view, lilly pads and trees

grassy slope nice contrast with water I love this last picture of the lake which shows so many different types of trees. The conifer that is stooping down the water's edge is beautiful. This picture is on my laptop as a screen save!swans

These guys would not look up at me! No matter what noise I made or where I stood, they were far too busy to take any notice of any nosey passerby, no matter what! After a while I did decide to move on since swans can be a little aggressive!

We really enjoyed our walk even though the park was very full of people who were all out to enjoy the last vestiges of autumn. At least I managed to be patient and take the photos after people had moved on!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

A walk down a country lane

With the weather allowing us the chance to explore the countryside we decided to take a walk in the near vicinity to our house along what is known as the Worth Way.

The Worth Way is a 7 mile route between Three Bridges and East Grinstead and is accessible to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. For our purposes today we only walked from Worth, just up the road, to Old Rowfant and back although we have walked the full length to East Grinstead and back.


The railway line from Three Bridges to East Grinstead was opened on the 9th July 1855 and extended to Tunbridge Wells in 1866. The line was closed in the 1960s and transformed in the 1970s into Worth Way. It is along here that it is a joy to look at the trees and wild life which lie side by side with open farm land. Across a ploughed field

Further along I couldn't resist take this photograph of how the path wended its way ahead of us. Super view worthway In fact I have this photo as my screen save to remind me of soft warm autumn days.

Walking further on you come to the site of the old railway crossing, the old station building and an old crossing keeper's house remain as a reminder of the architecture once common along railways.

Rowfant station was originally built for a local landowner. This ornate building provided an alcove for his coachman to shelter from the elements. Rowfant station Now totally disused it still has character and you can easily imagine times long gone. The sun was starting to wain a little and the temperature was dropping so we decided to turn around and go back the way we had come.Rowfant board 2

It really is very nice to pass like minded people who are out walking with their dogs, the rest of the family, mothers and fathers taking their youngsters out for a breath of fresh air. At one point we had to stand to one side of the path to allow a horse and its rider to pass us. Horse walking off

Before we arrived home I leave you with one more image of the path along which we walked.

Along worth way

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A new blog!

Whilst going through some paperwork the other day I came across a manuscript of my late Dad. Having been an avid diarist all his life he took it upon himself to record in retrospect his experiences during his internment in Japanese POW camps in Indonesia during WWII.

He had always wanted to prepare these words with a view to recording them in a book but just never got round to doing so. It was with this in mind that I thought I might attempt to use his words but in a blog format. I must say, he would have loved to have done that himself. He was always one to try out new technology!

Rather than intrude on this blog with a subject that needs to be recognised in its own right I decided to start a new blog devoted to his manuscript. There I will transpose his words in the original format as much as possible and hope it will be of interest to others.

Certainly there will be aspects that are not widely known to the younger members of our society and I am sure he would be pleased to help nuture a better understanding of how things were and how we should move on to try and better ourselves.

Without further ado, I invite you to visit where I hope you will find something to hold your interest.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Happy Birthday to a very special English Bear!

Well, who would have thought it? Paddington Bear is 50 years young today!image

Fifty years ago today, on 13 October 1958 "A Bear Called Paddington" was first published. Paddington Bear was created by an English author called Michael Bond.

Michael Bond recalls in his own words how Paddington first came into being:
"I bought a small toy bear on Christmas Eve 1956. I saw it left on a shelf in a London store and felt sorry for it. I took it home as a present for my wife Brenda and named it Paddington as we were living near Paddington Station at the time. I wrote some stories about the bear, more for fun than with the idea of having them published. After ten days I found that I had a book on my hands. It wasn’t written specifically for children, but I think I put into it the kind things I liked reading about when I was young."

Michael Bond sent the book to his agent who liked it and after sending to to several publishers it was eventually accepted by William Collins & Sons (now Harper Collins). The publishers commissioned an illustrator, Peggy Fortnum, and the very first Paddington book "A Bear Called Paddington" was published on 13 October 1958. Michael had been working for the BBC as a cameraman but once he realised he needed to spend more time on his books he retired in 1965.image

Of Paddington himself Michael Bond says:
"The great advantage of having a bear as a central character is that he can combine the innocence of a child with the sophistication of an adult. Paddington is not the sort of bear that would ever go to the moon - he has his paws too firmly on the ground for that. He gets involved in everyday situations. He has a strong sense of right and wrong and doesn't take kindly to the red tape bureaucracy of the sillier rules and regulations with which we humans surround ourselves. As a bear he gets away with things. Paddington is humanised, but he couldn't possibly be 'human'. It just wouldn't work."

These famous books have now sold more than 35 million copies worldwide and been translated into around 40 languages!

To celebrate, Paddington Bear will be taking a tour of London in a black cab. His journey will take him from the Adlwych, Trafalgar Square, London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Natural History Museum and finishing up at Paddington Station (by Paddington’s famous statue). What a trip! Everyone is encouraged to join in the fun, spot him and take a picture so that it can be entered into a competition.

Needless to say, there is a special book being issued for this wonderful occasion called 'A Bear Called Paddington: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Gift Edition' image

For further information do go to the official Paddington Bear web site where you will find loads more information about books and CDs that are being issued in celebration!

Now where was that jar of marmalade?

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Advertise on my blog!

Now you can advertise on my blog too AND it won't cost the earth! Check out where you can create ad boxes to advertise on other sites or get folk to advertise on yours - like me!!

PW talks you through each stage.

Ads are sold through PW, you bid on an advertising slot, and for as long as you are the high bidder, your ad is displayed. You can bid whatever price you'd like for as long as you'd like: two days, a week, a year - it's your choice. All bids are in "cost per day" - you simply tell them how much you're willing to pay for a day's worth of advertising, and whenever you are the high bidder, your ad will be displayed! You're only charged for the time periods when your ad is shown. You can also set hard expense limits on your bids, so you'll never get charged more than you expect.

So what are you waiting for? Go on, you can't lose, only 0.10!!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Week #2 - Update on Di's 30/30 challenge!

As I come to the end of Week #2 of Di's 30/30 challenge I can report that I have done some WII sessions! You would think by using a machine you could sneak a session here and there. Let me tell you! I had not used it for a little while. Do you know the comment I got from it once it had fired up and I stood on the WII board? "Nice of you to join us!" Cheek!!!!

Anyway, I completed the steps program and have now graduated to the next 'step', excuse the pun! This one is far more exciting, not only stepping up and down but sideways and twisting on the board.

A new painting was created in my aka ego of On a Whimsey. This one is entitled, Red Flower, and uses a new technique that I am rather pleased about.

So, that just leaves me this week with still my head to scratch to find an idea/inspiration for my contest picture, which one to enter.

Here's to another productive week!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

A stroll in the gardens of Sheffield Park

The weather is being so kind at the moment that it would have been a terrible shame not to have taken advantage yesterday afternoon. The decision was made to visit Sheffield Park, one of our favourite National Trust gardens. At this time of year it shows off all its splendorous glory!

Sheffield Park

The word Sheffield, in old English, means sheep clearing and is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. In 1538 Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, entertained Henry VIII here. By 1700 the Deer Park had been partially formalised by Lord De La Warr who planted avenues of trees radiating from the house and cleared areas to establish lawns. In 1796 it was sold to John Holroyd, created Baron Sheffield in 1781.

'Capability' Brown, a famous English landscape designer, was commissioned to landscape the garden. He created irregular belts and clumps of trees and cleared informal paths through the woods.

The third Earl, inherited the estate in 1876. One of his first tasks was to establish a cricket field. Australian teamThe Australian XI opened their tour at Sheffield Park between 1884 and 1896. Lord Sheffield's team included W.G. Grace, one of England's all time best cricketers!

During the Second World War the house and garden became the headquarters for a Canadian armoured division and Nissan huts were sited in the garden and woods. Can you imagine being posted to this part of the country! The estate was split up and sold in lots in 1953.

The National Trust purchased approximately 100 acres in 1954. Further acquisitions have increased this to 200 acres much of whiAcross the lakech are open as formal gardens and lakes for members to enjoy throughout the year.

You can walk all around this lake and bey0nd. At this time of year the gardens are very busy with visitors coming from near and far to enjoy the start of the annual Autumnal show of glorious colours! Many arrive with amazing camera equipment ready to capture some of the beautiful sites. Yesterday, we found some beautiful coloured foliage but need to return next week when the colours will be more developed.

View of lake against the light

Depending on where the sun is positioned photographs can be taken to reflect the different moods. Here the lake is shown to be framed by numerous trees which provide such a sheltered environment. Not a breath of air seemed to disturb the leaves.

It's a duck's life

I just couldn't resist taking this photo of a group of ducks taking it Glorious coloureasy! Who said it was a 'duck's' life? Obviously used to many visitors, the ducks did not appear nervous at all.

And finally, this picture shows some of the beautiful colours that are bidding their farewell until next year. I love how the foliage leaves us with such a powerful reminder of nature in all its glory!

The glory of Autumn

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Christmas comes but once a year - or does it?

The saying does say, Christmas comes but once a year! However, today Tuesday 7 October it was Christmas for me!! Our Postman could not believe it and wondered if it was my birthday?

Last month my favourite team, Boomers and Beyond Etsy Street Team (BBEST for short) had a swap. The theme as that of butterflies. The reason being that my avatar is that of a butterfly image and I stood down last month from being the group's leader. With the team now 300 strong I decided that to continue on my own was taking up too much of my time. So, I have handed the leader's baton over to three lovely ladies, Chauncey, Sixsisters and Joonie. It was their idea to base the theme on my avie as a thank you! To make the swap even more interesting it was decided to put a twist at the end. That twist was revealed on the last day of the swap and meant everyone was told which member to send their swap to!

My lucky swap came from Dayna from Scottieacres in the form of a lovely mauve sweClose up of Scottieatshirt with an amazing decoration consisting of a Christmas tree collage adorned with different coloured butterflies along with colourful jewels with the tree being topped by a bright yellow star. An awful lot of work went into this gem! I have tried to take a close up photograph to show you all the lovely butterflies.

Thank you so much Dayna!!!!

The swap I made went to another member who I cannot name yet nor can I show you what it was - I will as soon as I know they have received it safely! Otherwise it won't be a secret or a surprise anymore so that will be another post.

Meanwhile, for me there was another twist! Our three new leaders chatted amongst themselves and decided to show their swaps at the last moment. However, their twist was that their items were not for swapping but were being sent as a gift to me!!!!!! That was such a generous idea and today I received not only Dayna's sweatshirt but also a wonderful plaque from Chaunce.

Chaunce's swap First of all Chaunce, apologies for the lowsy picture but this is gorgeous!!!!! At the top are the words... Thanks PQ. You're the bbest! Underneath a basket of beautiful hydrangeas with some butterflies hovering. It came with a very handy stand.

Thank you Chaunce!

Then I opened the next package! Six swap Again, the camera has not really done the painting proper justice. This most beautiful butterfly came from Six and will find itself being framed and hung on my wall.

Thank you Six!

Now I had to ask Terry to take a picture of me wearing and holding my wonderful pressies, didn't I! me in office with all swaps Hopefully the pressies will detract from my scruffy appearance, no make up, messy hair, yukky!!!

For good measure, and I know you will be able to laugh with me here.......

I asked Terry to take a picture of me holding my new treasures in our new shower!!! We haven't actually used it yet since we want to wait until the whole shower is totally complete before doing so. But I just couldn't resist a picture in the shower, so check this out and have a giggle! in my new shower with swaps

I also received another present but I want to thank the sender before I mention anything about that in this blog post. Gosh, another post to look forward to!!!! The excitement must be overwhelming.

However, my team..... and especially those mentioned above... You are simply the BBEST!

Friday, 3 October 2008

I've been tagged!!!!

Thank you for tagging me..... I was tagged this morning by so now I guess I will have to reveal 6 secrets, or little known things about me before I tag 6 others!!!

  1. I love food.... well, that is no secret but did you know I subscribe to the BBC Good Food magazine? Here I get some lovely recipes and loads of inspiration.
  2. My first few years of schooling were done at home by my mother who received help through a postal school course from Brisbane, Australia. We lived in Indonesia where there was a shortage of English speaking schools. I still remember the handwriting exercises. The pages were all lined with solid lines and dotted lines so that you knew how to draw the loops in the various letters. Rewards consisted of different stamps of various wild life of Australia like kangaroos, flat billed platypus etc depending on the range of merit awarded.
  3. I did ballet from the age of 3 until I was about 9 years old. Never quite managed to stand on ballet pointes! Originally started ballet to strengthen my ankles.
  4. Dutch was my first language until the age of 8. We lived in Indonesia which at the time was a Dutch colony, the Dutch East Indies.
  5. Whenever my parents went out to their cocktail parties etc (in Indonesia) I used to get up and sneak to the servant's quarters where I used to have great fun playing with their children! Once or twice did get caught and was suitably punished!
  6. Whilst in the WRAF (many years ago!) I first travelled to the US on what was called a.... US Trainer! It was mainly for the flight deck but you had to have cabin crew consisting of Air Loadmasters and Stewards. We had three or four crews on board, did all our own catering by shopping in the military BX (on base shopping centre) with cash from the flight imprest. Once we thought we would be clever and bought frozen prawns which looked huge to us! Only thing was they were raw. Now, thawing them out and then peeling them in a confined aircraft galley... not good!

And so, I have disclosed some secrets so will now announce who I will tag! Oh Joy!!!!

AlwaysAmy or see this blog
NaturalAmber or see this blog
Raechele's or see this blog
blazingneedles or see this blog
BrighidsForge or see this blog
gunnelsvensson or see this blog

Di's 30/30 challenge!

As I sit here with my head in my hands I stare at the screen wondering at what I have done! Sounds dramatic doesn't it?

Di, from invited people to join her in a challenge that whoever joined in would want to commit themselves to making a positive change in their lives. At this time of year many of us tend to procrastinate and need that kick up the whatsit to get going again. If you read Di's page you will be able to find out who is in the challenge and what their individual challenges are.

Mine? Oh yes, I suppose you want to know! Well, I thought long and hard about it and finally came up with three, yes, three!

  1. Exercise on my new WII.
    I love this machine! I am not into games or anything but find the Fitness program really good. Yoga, Aerobics, Running and muscle building floor exercises start you off. I really like doing the aerobics because it reminds me of the game the kids used to play. You know, Simon Says? Well, here you use the step to copy the images on the screen as they do a step classes. You can either watch the image people doing it or follow the purple feet pattern at the side! Great fun when I first started, getting into a right muddle!!! Tripping off the step because I stepped to the left but everyone else stepped to the right! Talk about 3 left feet.
  2. I wanted to get into the habit of creating and listing something at least once a week. Well in my On a Whimsey guise I produced this ACEO entitled Fairies Darting. Fairy on dark brown background Since we are having workmen in I am finding the house really cold what with windows and doors being left open. So I decided I needed something to keep me warm and what better than an old hairdryer! For this ACEO I used the hairdryer and stylus. The finished effect made me think of fairies darting around very busily catching rides on leaves and twigs.

  3. I belong to an organisation called which is for all manner of artists. At the moment they are having a drive to gain more members and to do that a competition run by Art Calendar. Great prizes are on offer but more than that I thought it would be a good opportunity for more exposure to the wider world! So, I have painted an encaustic but haven't yet decided if I am to enter it or not. Actually, if truth be known I have submitted it to a group on Etsy called the BEE Team (beeswaxteam) for their monthly challenge. October's challenge is called 'Awakening' and so I thought this might suit. Close up the awakening

Imagine the atmosphere awakening and the turmoil of the gasses in the sky, the colours that would be produced.

And so, we draw near the end of the first week of Di's challenge. I will be very pleased if I can keep up this momentum!

Each week I shall give you an update for both good and bad days so that you can follow my progress. Psst.... it makes me do it too! Can't lose face, can I?

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The Tiling is nearly done!

I promised you an update on the shower room.  Today, the builders spent many hours cutting and sticking tiles to walls and floors in preparation for the next step - the grouting! where the sink goes

This is a view to the front of the house showing the window and piping below.  Here the wash basin and loo are to be fitted as soon as we receive the carcass which is on order!  We wanted everything off the floor for a cleaner, sleeker look.


On the opposite wall is THE radiator!  Remember the old one which you can see in a previous post?  This looks a little better, don't you think?  At the end you can see the shower cubicle minus its screen.  The shower itself just needs to be fitted.  Meanwhile, all the tools etc that were stored overnight in this room had to be placed elsewhere..... guess what!  Why not store it all in the spare room?  So, that's exactly what has happened.  You can even just make out the shower screen too!!



Once all this has been finished I will really need to blitz the whole house.  I cannot believe how all that fine dust from cutting the tiles etc has permeated everywhere.  Everything you touch has a sandy feel to it!

Oh well, no pain, no gain!!! 

Tomorrow the grouting should be completed and then we need to find out when the remainder of the equipment will be delivered.  Good job we have another bathroom!!!

Sale Corner!

Occasionally I will show items that are for sale from me direct which can be paid for using Paypal. Always check to see shipping charges which will need to be added to the item amount!

For regular prices check out my Etsy shop, as well as my sister shop on Etsy which also sells encaustic art

Some paintings can be bought directly from my website

Some samples of my present & past work to give you inspiration for that special gift!
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