Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...

22/01/2019

My day measured in mugs of tea

Good morning!
The initial mug in the morning is made for me,  it is about the first thing I reach for as I stumble into the kitchen. Dressed but still asleep. I try to drink it fairly quickly, particularly this time of year - the kitchen is cold, slow to warm - quick to cool, so a mug of steaming of tea is a fleeting pleasure and should not be ignored.

My first mug is a painting of mine, made for a left handed user - me. So many mugs do not even consider a left-handed owner. 

My next is usually an hour later - a solitary brew of coffee - savoured in my tall 'Miro' Japanese style no handled mug. Perfect for wrapping cold hands around a warm vessel.  After that I return to tea.

When I am in the studio I take a humongous flask of hot water out with me and up to lunch time I quietly sip or slurp a mug roughly every hour as I work on my latest project or commission. It is that comfort thing of reaching for a warm drink as I ponder my next move or lean back to assess my progress. Mug in hand.

After lunch, Moss and I set off to add to our #walk1000miles challenge and once back,  I quietly drink a fresh hot drink in my large hare mug - recently a hot chocolate (all I have really been able to taste for the last couple of weeks) - and observe the birds through the window as they flit to and fro the bird table before I return to painting/carving/needle felting/writing/sketching.

The afternoon usually flies by - accompanied by a mug or two (some times three ...) then by 4 I start to tidy up, leaving my workbench ready for the next day and return home.

The family fall through the back door, the dog is ravenous as is the husband. The kettle is on as we chat and catch up - for me my smaller bone china mug, for him his favourite chunky mug. Then we eat.
Later, nestled on the settee, fire crackling away, something on the tv or radio quietly chuntering away in the background - we have the last mug of the day - Tea.





20/01/2019

Totoro forest spirits

Inspired by the magical creatures of My Neighbour - Totoro and the need for a subject for a mini-workshop ... these fellows were created.

Meet Totoro (large grey) Chu-totoro (blue) and Chibi-totoro (smallest little forest spirit).
 
A really good way to spend a couple of evenings - one to practice and the second to share the knowledge :)

I rather like needle felting :)



11/01/2019

The mythical healing properties of the (Not so) humble cat

My dear human,
you are a sniveling, snotty mess.
You appear to have completely melted into the settee.
As a superior  cat,  I can neither condone or condemn this shameful dropping of standards.
You appear to be weak and defenseless against my powers!
I shall stomp on you,  meow loudly on your face with my fish-biscuity breath to give you much needed encouragement.
I shall knead your chest as I  purr-chant magical feline sagas to expel all coughs and hairballs.
At night,  when you are at your most germ-ridden weakest, I will  walk on you, whisper sweet cat-charms as I bestow upon you a mystical spell to aid your healing.

You can thank me later. No, I insist ... You will thank me later, but you can start by getting off the settee and feed me.... gah what does a superior cat have to do around here to keep some sort of order!
I will be keeping a beady eye on you ...
love
Pepper (your superior cat)

08/01/2019

Hebden Bridge

It starts drizzling - lightly. Not enough to make you reach for a coat but enough to make you squint up your eyes and frown. Which is what I am doing.
Then the rain really starts - heavy fat plop-lets as we run to the car.
We have a day planned and we want to see it through. Despite all feeling under the weather and bombarded by it too. We sit in a steamed up car, snuffling and sneezing feeling damp and cold.
Right.
Let's go.
The road is running wet as it, ribbon-like, heads up and over the moor. We peer through rainstained car windows at the standing huddle-close sheep, sodden and dripping, heads down patiently waiting. Inside we chat and listen or complain about the music - a standing source of mock irritation and amusement.
Finally we stop and pile out of the car - hunkering down in our coats against the damp air. The path into the town is a steep hillside cobbled stepped route, slipping its way past industrial ghosts, ivy covered mill chimneys and factory remains, bursting out on the main road down in the valley.

We dart between shops, lingering in the warmer ones as we browse over books and fettle through charity shops. Youngest feels weary, his head heavy and his throat sore. I agree that I too feel rough. The others nod - so we step into a cafe, order tea, toast and honey and toasted tea cakes.

People, bending against the rain plod past the windows, as we begin to feel better, warmer, drier.

Leaving the warmth of the tea room almost sends us back to the car and home as I remind them there is one place I still want to see before we go. We quicken our step. 

In the quirky pottery shop we drift between the precarious towers of plates or pots. Carefully lifting cups and jugs to admire. The narrow paths between the crockery invite us to slow down and inspect mugs with painted beetles, plates adorned with skulls in top hats, teapots sporting black and green tractors, butter dishes covered in delicate painterly bird's eggs patterns.

We came away bearing treasures - Youngest a metallic oily-dark and masculine glazed mug, Eldest purchases a heavy stoneware bowl as he fantasies about filling it with muesli, Eldest's GF a delightfully wonky white mug that, when she cradles in her hands - fits perfectly.

And I find a mug that pulls at my heart strings and I will use as soon as we get home.

Which I do.

And it is perfect.


05/01/2019

A little more light

Today is 5th January - a day to celebrate as the evenings start to feel lighter - actually be lighter.

So I am going to make a sun cake - a dark fruit filled cake, cooked slowly, filling the house with the scent of warming spices, dried fruit and apple.
 
Then later, we'll take the still warm cake for a bit of a walk, find a view, open the flask and look at the view and quietly relish the coming of spring.

03/01/2019

The crunch of beech leaves beneath my feet

Today the air was crisp with a sharp nip to it. The earth was cool and damp and trees were resting. We walked through the wooded valley of Hardcastle Crags - a National Trust property. Even rotting trees and the fallen branches had an extraordinary beauty. The bird song although not prolific was a delicate background to the burbling rivers and crunch of the leaves and twigs beneath our feet.
There were hints and quiet suggestions of buds and shoots all around - little tips of spring forging ahead courtesy of the mild weather.
Others walked with their dogs or families too - all in their own way, celebrating the protective enclosure the sleeping trees seemed to give.

When we reached the mill - our turning point to the walk - the air seemed impossibly still and because the cafe had just closed, the more sedentary visitors were shuffling off back to the car park. We went round to the mill pond and it was mirror calm. The reflections were perfect - mirror perfect.
Magical.

Before I go - 
Just in case you think I had forgotten -
January's words :)


metallic
plate
made
aged
modern
My own choice


And a gentle reminder how to join in.
All you need to do is be inspired by the list.
It can be a current image or one from your archives
interpret it as YOU please - think outside the box, 
think laterally, take photos
 and most importantly - have FUN!

Ok, it is now down to YOU - we shall reconvene and and reveal our pictures with a little bit of waffle, over the final weekend of January (starting Friday 25th).
How exciting is that! 
I can't wait to see what we all come up with!

#walk1000miles

01/01/2019

New Year new day

Today dawned beautifully - the sky glowed the most delicate blue and not a cloud was to be seen, it was a joy to be outside. Himself and I wordlessly drank our mugs of tea as we sat in the (relatively) early morning silence. The rest of the family still asleep - even Moss.
The first thing we did for 2019? 
We went into the garden and carefully cleared away winter debris. We didn't want to disturb anything small and beetle shaped whilst hibernating - I even managed to turn the compost - a job I'd been saving for a (non)rainy day.

Then after lunch we went for a walk. I had been initially intrigued by then inspired by Sharon from Sunshine and Celandines  when she mentioned #walk1000miles on her blog during 2018. After a little investigation I decided that I was going to sign up and join in.  Youngest set up on my cellphone a walking/speed/altitude monitor  (the company pitch says built by athletes for athletes .... and me - a plodder!) so I can keep a real time record of my route, steps, speed and more importantly - distance.

The clear cool air was sublime. It seemed that half the village were also making the most of the day - we all were relishing the beauty and clarity of it all.

New Year went quietly too - as planned, we are not into the hype and hullabaloo and never have been - so today's gentle start to 2019 seemed just perfect.

I have a good feeling about this year xxx

29/12/2018

What we do in between the showers.

After days of rain, although dry today - the air is thick with moisture.
The ground oozes and creaks as water moves through the saturated earth. 
Springs and streams burble joyously regurgitating their watery loads.
 We follow a damp muddy farmland track through glistening wet fields. 
The hedges and copses look sparse in their winter garb while the old trees seem to reach up 
and scratch the thin sky.
As we walk, we talk and relish the solitude.
Our path keeps leading us to and away from the railway - although still used, is quiet today. 
Strewn along the way is evidence of things from a more industrial past.
Sitting on the edge of a dried oxbow lake, 
we drink tea and eat mincepies as we watch Youngest and Moss play. 
The scars on the landscape just hint at the history of the valley. 
Shadows left from a Roman villa, lynchets, dried river beds, ancient hedgerows and tracks.
  
The canal is also quiet. A few ducks rest on the far side. 
A row of geese preen before settling down for the night.
One narrow-boat moored up, gently chuffing out a strand of smoke into the cool air.
As the light fades, the temperature drops and the sky becomes fiery.
My feet are tired, as am I 
but I feel elated,
feel whole
feel alive. 


I hope that this week of chrimbo-limbo
has been good to you
and good for you.

blessings x

18/12/2018

Things we do

There are somethings that never change yet are never the same. 

Our chrimbly card delivery walk is a perfect example.  

Ever since we moved to the village (17 years ago ... where does life go?) we hand deliver as many cards as we can. The week before,  cards are written, wreathes made, then on the Sunday, we wrap up and walk out.

The route is initially dictated by the addresses we need to deliver too and over the years it has altered slightly. The weather also plays a major factor in our choice of path. One winter we galloped round in torrential rain, we left the boys at home and just took a giddy dog. There have been delivery days through deep snow and sledges, dank grey skies days with boys wrapped up warmly, bright blue brittle icy days or gentle, thin blue cold finger days.

Sunday was this year's delivery day. We were only three plus dog this time. Wrapped up against the cutting breeze we set out, past houses with jolly lights and doors decorated with wreathes. A handful of cards dropped off we jumped over puddles (Moss jumped into them) up the stone steps and up up the hill to drop another. We turned off the road down a narrow 'secret' pathway, snaking its way down below the cottage gardens, popping out by the chicken pens. Down another muddy track, through a field, Moss playing playing, never tiring - asking for more.

Across the main road, up into another field, up up that hill, step into another sneaky path behind a row of terraced houses. Drop off a wreath and cards, chat and leave best wishes. Onwards up the hill, up up and on to the playing fields at the top of the village. Dogs and their walkers making the best in the break in the weather, filled the space. We walked diagonally across the huge field entering another farmland track. Slip and slide our way down another muddy field and re-enter the village from the far side. Time to start delivering cards again. 

Daylight is fading, homes are switching on their lights, making the street look cozy. Trees twinkle through windows and fairy lights adorn front gardens. More cards left, nearly home. We've been out for almost two hours and we are so ready for a mug of tea and mince pie by the fire.

Time to switch our tree and lights on. Another festive ritual completed and there is a slightly damp happy dog fast asleep toasting her toes by the fire.

Wishing you all a love filled festive time,
where skies are blue - whether they are icy cold or brilliantly warm,
blessings xx

15/12/2018

Festive Advent Calendar doors 16 to 20

Carols

Bow
A small piece of yule cake, wrapped ready to slip into a pocket as we go out for a walk.

Wintery Scene

Tree before and after
At small 'twig tree' before and after :)

Star
Mincepie - nom nom nom


The next five are.....


Sleigh
Nativity Scene
A Christmas Carol from YouTube
A Christmas cartoon from YouTube


Julie of Julie's Journal & Scrapbook

10/12/2018

Festive Advent Calendar Doors 11 - 15

Joining in with Julie of Julie's Journal & Scrapbook's Festive Advent Calendar 2018

Festive Chocolate

Festive Jumper
When you ask your son (who's at uni) to send a photo of his festive jumper,
and he sends 19. It takes all your motherly instincts and restraint to NOT share immediately
but to crop off his face and string them together in a slide show.
For your amusement.
You are welcome!!

Red and Green

Candles/candle light

Wrapped
A Princess in hiding. 
'Wrapped' in a bag that usually holds
decorations.
You can't see her - can you?
Good - just like she likes it :)



The next five are.....
Carols
Bow
Wintery Scene
Tree before and after
Star