Checking in.

As those of you that read my blog know, I’ve kind of lost my way since my dad died, but I don’t want to give up just yet.

My trip home was good.

I only had a cry three times, including one where my sister lovingly tossed me a used tissue.

Bless her.

Probably why I’ve got the lurgy now.

I’ve come home with a sore throat, cough and achy parts.

Thank you K.

I ate all of the food on my list except for the pie and mash, fish and chips, and the pint of bitter.

So much food, not enough time.

The flights were awful. The most uncomfortable I’ve flown for a long while and took for ever. We did make it there and back in one piece, however, so I’m grateful for that.

I wasn’t as cold there as I expected, which is unusual for someone who usually curls up in a corner with a blanket and doesn’t come out again until all the heaters are turned up high.

In fact, at times it was just as cold here in Houston as it was in England.

We stayed at my brother-in-law’s house which is an old converted barn.

Actually I think it was the pig sty as the large barn is to one side.

I started a painting of their house before we left, but I just can’t get those pesky oil pastels to dry.

They’ll probably get it two years from now.

Our bedroom was behind the larger window in the roof, above the kitchen door.

The house has the original brick floors and some brick walls, but I really only had to curl up once.

Probably the red wine helped.

I’m thinking of painting the barn opposite also.

But not the big black barn.

It’s just all barn and windows.

Nice, but a bit boring.

This is the entrance coming into the old farm.

Before Christmas I made quite a few pieces which I shared on Instagram, but only got into the studio for the first time yesterday.

A friend wanted a piece with topaz and amethyst, but it was hard for me to find anything that I liked.

In the end I found these.

And this is where K and her used tissue comes in.

Usually I’m pretty good at replicating one of my drawings. In fact it always surprises me, but this time.

Well…

Don’t even talk to me about it.

So today I’m off out to get my hair cut, which always makes me feel better, and then I’m boycotting the studio until I feel better.

I’m going to sit on the sofa and switch off BBC and put on some old film.

An old black and white Barbara Stanwyck movie is my preferred choice, but I doubt I’ll be able to find one.

And I might even start back on my embroidery.

 🙂

Today I did something a little out of my comfort zone.

I signed up for a class.

On my own.

All alone and

By myself.

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I’m a bit of an introvert you see,

with extrovert tendencies…

It seems that I will talk with anyone, and actually I do, but really I’m a scaredy cat who frets until I’m there and doing it.

Then I’m like.

Who are you? And what did you do with Deborah?

But not in that, Be gone from me Satan way.

In a good way.

I almost left the page, then I thought Do It! And so I did it.

It still makes my heart skip a little, but I’m sure there are worse things I’ll encounter.

Like my next trip to the dentist.

I also thought that as I’m pretty good at watching a video and picking things up through trial and error that perhaps I should save my money, but I think I really want to go mingle with like-minded people and see what happens.

Can’t be a hermit forever.

In other news.

The tank is back baby!

This is the old one going home to his empty friends

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Doesn’t help calm the nerves that they put that bright red sticker on it.

And here is it’s replacement.

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Looking a little lost with his clown nose.

Anyway he soon got right to it and we made a couple more necklaces.

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Turquoise

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Turquoise

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Ocean Jasper

It’s like my old nan used to say.

The back should be as good as the front.

Could do with a little more work under that second leaf on the right though…

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Yesterday I ruined my painting.

This is it started.

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I haven’t got a photo of it ruined as my darn phone keeps telling me that I have no storage.

It never used to have this problem so I think it’s all just a dastardly plan to get me to buy a new one.

They think I don’t know about their dirty tricks.

It’ll probably work though…

And now I’m off to Austin to visit B, my eldest.

We are going to have a weekend of watching movies, doing some stitching,

I’ve still not finished this.

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Or this.

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And just hanging out.

And so I leave you with a Rumi quote.

Not really into all that touchy feely stuff, but this one kind of makes me feel very centered.

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Have a good weekend y’all…

(Sorry)

So here’s the thing.

Even years used to be my favourite.

Now you might say that this is magical thinking at its best, but I know that when you enter the dark world of odd numbers there’s just gonna be trouble in store.

Just take a look.

1 3  5  7  9

Now you can’t tell me that all those odd numbers don’t look dark, angry, and downright depressed compared to their round and jolly even compadre’s.

2  4  6  8  0

O.K. so the 0 is a bit ominous…

Can’t see it? Then I can’t save you from the consequences of ignoring the possibility of imminent every other year danger.

Sorry.

But, I’m beginning to think I was wrong as so far 2016 has sucked, more so even than 2011 when both my mum and father in law died within a month of each other costing us a small fortune to go back and forth to the U.K. for their funerals. Not to mention the waste of time and energy it took to unpack from the first trip just to load it all back up again.

Oh, and let’s not forget the distress and anguish part.

To be honest this mess of a year did start back in December of 2015, as though it was saving up its winning card to throw onto the table right at the last minute – just when you thought you were safe – so perhaps that’s what set 2016 off on the wrong foot. But let me tell you, from now on the even years have got a lot of making up to do…

The story so far…

December – Cervical scare. Hospital procedure involving Victorian leg tights, deli cap, and stylish hospital gown. Waited a month. Nothing wrong…

Also in December – Kidney’s took a 50% function hit involving blood and pee tests – nothing like keeping your pee in the fridge alongside the dairy to keep life interesting. Two weeks of scouting out unsuspecting, healthy looking, kidney donors in the supermarket – only those in the fruit and veg section of course, didn’t want any of those vitamin deprived kidneys hanging out in my body, and the making of an extensive reading list to keep me going through dialysis.

January – Kidney tests came back A Okay for no apparent reason whatsoever except, I suppose, to keep the hypochondria fed and watered. This lead to a small smacking of the doctor to let him know that it sucked to be fooled into false diagnosis’s even though it wasn’t his fault. He should have known better than to pull his chair up that close to an anxiety ridden hypochondriac.

Also in January – Mammogram scare. Another month of terror. Hanging around. Tests, tests, and more test. Turned out to be a cyst… or did it. I can see that little blot on the landscape may well be hanging around in the depths of my overactive imagination for some time to come…

February – Ovary scare. Loads more tests culminating in the making of a, who get’s what, list. The studio was divvied out and preparations for the Viking send off in the pool were arranged. Couldn’t be doing with all the expense and ceremonious inconvenience of a regular funeral, rather a floaty, a large G&T, and then get the ol’ jewelry torch out for me.

March – Dad died. All of a sudden. No warning. No nothing.

April – Well this week really. Apparent heart attack… O.K. so that was jumping ahead a bit.

On Monday I went to the doctors having had chest pressure the whole week before. They wheeled me right down to the E.R. which was kind of embarrassing, and distressing as apparently there was a 6 hour wait! What! I almost decided to go home when my name was called. For some reason they like to check out the high blood pressure, chest pain, quiet, pale people sooner rather than later. So six tests and two days later I came home. Can’t say they weren’t thorough.

Turns out it’s probably anxiety, although I’m pretty sure it esophageal cancer. You know a hypochondriac is nothing if not vigilant…

So, taking into account that, alongside my dad, all those other lovely people have died. Bowie, Prince, Victoria Woods, Ronnie Corbett, to name just a few, 2016 pretty much sucks.

But, I know its number and where it hangs out so 2016 better be darn well careful from now on is all I can say…

So back to life…

Before the trip to the E.R. I finished the sad girl painting.

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And this little lovely although I’m not enjoying how it looks like a bunny.

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Polychrome Jasper and Turquoise

This, which seems a bit too chunky.

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Candelaria Turquoise

And just before all the excitement I began this

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Which has a long way to go if it’s going to hang around with the others.

The afternoon they released me from you know where I started these.

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And it was wonderful to get back in the studio.

I finished them yesterday 🙂

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Kingman Turquoise, China Mountain Turquoise, and something lovely

I call them my little freedom lovelies…

And now I’m putting chains on all of my older pieces in time for the art festival.

To me this is the most boring part.

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Condor Agate, Ocean Jasper, Larimar, Ocean Jasper

So friends just to finish. I started this blog as a way to put myself out there. I wanted to show myself that it’s not worth living with a lack of confidence, and to face all of my insecurities. And it’s working. I’m growing as a jewelry maker and I found along the way that I wanted to share all of this, warts and all, so that anyone else who struggles knows that’s it’s o.k. and to just do it. In the long run, none of this matters.

So I share my mistakes, my anxieties, my hypochondria, all be it tongue in cheek. I am o.k. It’s all good. And I want to laugh in the face of it all (except for my dad) and just get on with making the most of it all.

None of this is meant to get you down or elicit sympathy, although chocolate never hurts…

Sorry if it does.

TTYL

😉

More paintings…

A while back I decided to take the 100 faces painting challenge.

Why!

I know darn well that I never keep up with these sort of commitments.

So I’d only done two up until now.

This one

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And this one

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But yesterday I fought all day with finishing these

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I just started to get really bored with it all even though I know I’ve the art show coming up and need some more jewelry.

So eventually, after a good amount of moping around while eating all the mint humbugs even though they made me feel guilty because they’re really P’s and I stole them, I gave the jewelry up and started another face.

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She’s a bit sad.

I might have to change her up a little so she doesn’t look as miserable.

I couldn’t do much with it as even though it hadn’t rained for hours the electricity went out around 5 p.m. and I couldn’t see what colours I was picking up in the dim light.

For a heart stopping moment I almost used a brilliant red for her eyebrows which in my honest opinion just wouldn’t have worked.

Perhaps that’s just me.

In other news I have a confession.

I didn’t get out of bed until 12.30 today

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Just couldn’t be bothered.

It’s now 2 p.m. and I still can’t be bothered to do anything.

🙁

Even though the face is waiting, and the jewelry pieces are waiting, and, it seems, everything is waiting.

Maybe a cup of tea will do it…

ttyl.

A few lovelies.

Not a lot going on here at the moment.

The tank ran out again. I think I’m averaging just over six months a pop which means that twice a year my life is on the line.

This time I made the boy come with me. He wasn’t too thrilled about holding the tank in-between his legs though.

Can’t imagine why.

So now that little tragedy waiting to happen is once again over and done with and we didn’t blow up and the possibilities of being a grandmother is still viable, I now have a full acetylene bottle all set to go .

In other news, my final trial is over. The bad mammogram is put to rest for another year.

That was a bit worrying to say the least.

A whole month of waiting!

My hypochondria was never so thrilled.

Is this how it’s going to be from now on I wonder quietly to myself. A slow body breakdown from here on out?

Can she cope.

I think not.

I do seem to have finally got back into the swing of things, however, and am enjoying the studio.

I even bought me some new toys to celebrate the left breast news.

The super quick-change hand-piece.

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And the intriguing hammer hand-piece.

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With all it’s friends and family.

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Not sure I really need them, but as I said, I’m celebrating, and it’s my birthday next week.

So there.

Here are the lovelies.

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Pink Opal
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Back
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Star Ruby
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Powell Butte Agate
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Condor Agate

And some sketches for the biggest stone alive…

This is a paper cut out of the stone which I printed out at the actual size.

I don’t usually do this, but as the stone is larger than I normally work with, 58mm wide I think, I wanted to get a proper feel for it.

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It’s a prudent man cabochon for someone who might like to send me it to set.

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 I like the sketches, but I’m wondering if they will be too much.

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I also grouped my houses together so that I can just look over when I’m making my jewelry and feel at home in the English sea-side towns.

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I’ve always wanted to live by a harbour, in a little house, making my jewelry as the gulls scream and the fish smell.

Strange, but true.

I could also live in my fantasy land, although maybe that’ll be a bit freaky in a Wizard of Oz way.

I might start to feel sick with all the colour and shapes.

Too much sensory overload.

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And it may well be possible that this strangely depressed bird might pluck up the energy to peck me to death in a moment of utter despair.

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Maybe he needs a change of scenery too.

Just not in my harbour is all….

Why you should never mention the words, Kidney Disease, to a hypochondriac…

So for two months I had kidney disease and all that implies.

I was already sorting out what books I could read whilst having dialysis and secretly eyeing up unsuspecting, but totally suitable, donors and wondering just how one goes about asking for one.

Could you just bring it up over coffee perhaps?

Like, So hey, you look like you’ve got a couple of healthy kidneys packed away in there. Do you think you’d be up for sharing one?

I mean seriously, how hard could it be.

But then lo, all this became a moot point as, on my next trip to the doctor, as I sat in the bright, sterile, completely unfriendly room wondering if there was a hidden camera checking up that I wasn’t poking around with the ultrasound machine, I didn’t have it any more…

He didn’t know why.

He was sat so close to me as he showed me all the lab results, like I actually knew what it all meant, that when he came out with the good news I actually smacked his arm as I told him that I’d had a really fun couple of months wondering how long I’d got left on the planet.

Not.

Just to keep the anxiety above the extreme level I also had to have the old ovaries looked at.

Let me tell you… I was on the edge.

Not to waste a good ultrasound I had the sweet tech girl have a quick look at my kidneys just to make sure that they were actually in there and, for good measure I had her check out my liver also.

I think she enjoyed it as she doesn’t often get a chance to rummage around looking for all the other stuff when usually her clients are only interested in those tiny baby things growing inside.

Although to be honest my right kidney did actually look like a baby.

It had that hunched over, floating around look that they have – only in the wrong place.

Of course as she’s not allowed to tell me anything and as I didn’t know what the hell I was looking at, it was all a bit of a futile exercise, but at least I got to make sure that I had them and that they were right where they were supposed to be.

How the hell they can see anything, let alone make out what’s going on in there, is beyond me. It’s like when the doctor pushes around on your outsides and tells you that he can actually feel your organs.

Right.

I go home and have a go and they’ve all disappeared.

Crawled back into the murky abyss I suppose.

So what with that on my mind and the trip home I was completely off going into the studio.

It was enough to drag myself out of bed.

But that’s over now and for the past two or three days P has been well out of luck with any dinner being presented to him on his return from the big outdoors.

I mean how hungry can you get sitting behind a desk all day.

I did feel a little guilty yesterday though, but as I sat finishing up one of my new pieces, it didn’t quite stop me from texting him that the chicken just did not want to get into the oven.

Not my fault…

Here’s what I’ve been working on.

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And before I could actually bother to even look at the jewelry table here’s what I tried to get back into the mood with.

A little colour.

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Now I’m working on this,

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Which was the cause of the chicken protest.

And I leave you with one of the reasons my life is so complicated.

A note from P.

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I get them sometimes.

He leaves them for me so that I don’t forget that sometimes there are important things that need to be done.

Like cooking I suppose.

But really!

What the hell does it mean?

Just a few updates before I head out east, over the horizon to the home land…

Christmas was different but good.

It was the first time we didn’t have it at our house with just immediate family, so that was a bit strange, but still nice.

We got to meet a lot of people we didn’t know. Like at least fifteen of them!

There were twenty odd of us all told, give or take a kid, stuffed into the smallest house possible.

Good job I’m older now and not as shy otherwise it might well have done me in completely.

And so yesterday I took a moment to myself and went into the studio. I don’t think I’d been in there for about a week.

I almost forgot how to get there.

So I did some more to this.

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I’m liking the mirror finish on the water.

This time around I used oil paints over the oil pastels.

I don’t know if you can do this, and perhaps the painting will spontaneously combust when I’m not looking, but I decided to chance it non the less.

Living on the edge people…

I did the same to this one and I’m quite liking this one too.

(Yep, I said that)

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The one below is on canvas instead of board.

I prefer board as I’m not keen on the texture of canvas and it doesn’t seem to take the paint as well for me.

But I think that’s just me.

Everyone else seems to get good results on it.

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The next two were worked on before the Christmas shut down.

This one, was remarkably orange when you last saw it.IMG_7696

And this one is of a field of Triffids in the Rolling Plains of the Lower Kowlandis.

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Actually it’s a bit too hilly to be rolling plains, but we’ll go with it for now.

I’m still working on them all, as well as the five thousand and sixty-three others hanging out in the studio, but they’ll all have to wait now as I leave for the mother land tomorrow and have still to organized myself.

I just found out that my green card expires at the end of the month so I’m lucky as I’ll just about make it back into the U.S.

Nothing like checking out these things before you decide to travel is there.

I didn’t even think to check my passport, but fortunately P, being the only executive in the house, had it all under control.

Except I thought executives had peeps to do all that organizing stuff for them.

Most likely no one will work for him…

I’m sure it would have been o.k. though.

You can get all the paper work done on-line now and Spud is always willing to help out.

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Except here we see her lying down on the job.

To be fair I think she’s become hypnotized by the psychedelic painting on the screen.

No excuses Spud.

And here are two new jewelry pieces.

I’m thinking of changing up this one because I can’t decided if I like the stone combination.

Isn’t that lavender stone beautiful?

And I think that’s a piece of Royston Turquoise

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I can’t remember what the lavender stone is right now.

And I also made this one (below) which I quite like.

This is a nice piece of turquoise also.

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And so all that’s left for me to do is leave you with Nutmeg, who doesn’t quite understand why the orange seems to be bigger than her head.

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And Wally contemplating the bananas

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And Pickles who has definitely eaten all the pies over the holiday.

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Save yourself girl. Eat more fruit…

And so I wish you all a Happy New Year – when it comes to you.

I’ll see you on the other side…

🙂

I sold it.

But before I posted it yesterday I took another photograph as I wanted to show you the back of the bracelet.

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I love making the backs almost as much as the front.

And I started another painting.

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I’ve begun to realize that I’m a starter painter and not a finisher.

I must have about fifty of the darn things hanging around.

I’ll be that crazy old woman who leaves behind so much stuff that her kids have to pull their hair out deciding what to do with it all.

The cats must be attracted to weird start-up people because this is how I wake up most mornings.

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On my side with at least two cats balanced on top of me.

Glad they’re comfortable.

So

What to do today?

I always wake up at a bit of a loss really.

On the weekends P watches his football team lose.

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This is them running away from the ball.

I used to hate football, but now I love listening to it.

There’s a special football noise that reminds me of home and it’s kind of comforting.

It comes with some danger, however, as I’ll be sitting here in another room, happily dribbling out my thoughts to anyone who cares to read them, and I’ll either hear despondent groans, or loud euphoric yells of victory which make me jump out of my skin.

Fortunately the latter happens rarely.

Good ‘ol West Ham!

You go boys…

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So I’m sitting here wondering what to do today when I know full well it will involve the studio.

I’ve been thinking pottery which kind of annoys me as that’s a whole new ball game when it comes to disappointment.

Worse than the painting as at least you can change a painting where as there’s no hope for a pot once it’s fired except to smash it up and make mosaics.

I don’t want to make mosaics so let’s hope that little urge passes soon.

So all that’s left to say is a happy Sunday to you all and may your football team always win.

But don’t forget to put the ear plugs out for those of us who don’t care…

Thanksgiving.

I started another painting yesterday.

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It’s very orange…

and pink.

I think I shall call it – Blinded by the Light of the Glorious Hills.

I’m determined to persevere with the darn paintings.

Every so often I think I’ll have a go and then spend the day wallowing in and out of disappointment and moaning to P that I can’t do it.

I think he’s kind of over it.

Again.

So today it’s back to the jewelry before the kids come over.

As Thanksgiving has never been that big a holiday for us, especially as we’re English and have no family over here for us all to get together with and make it special, I told the kids that if they wanted to spend the day with their significant others who are American and have deep roots in this wonderful tradition, I would be O.K. with that so long as I get to see them all today.

Friday.

Of course, I forgot all about S who has no significant other and who bemoaned the fact all day that he had no turkey.

And, of course, as soon as the girls said O.K. that’ll be great, I felt completely abandoned.

And I felt bad that I had made this Thanksgiving arrangement without consulting P.

But, hey.

We got to go to see James Bond, which was almost as delicious as eating a turkey leg.

Afterward we thought we’d top off the day and pick up some Indian takeaway, but what d’ya know, even they were closed for the holiday.

Man!

We had to go home to cheese on toast with S giving me the sly, so it doesn’t matter to you that I’m an American, look.

He had beans on toast.

A traditional English feast so I don’t know what he was complaining about anyway.

So our first non traditional Thanksgiving is over with to which I can only tell you that it has made me very grateful that I have family to miss and that next year I will be happy for everyone else to decide what they would like to do instead of trying to make sure not to upset anyone with wanting my grown ups to be with me only.

Here’s my latest piece.

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Made with beautiful turquoise that warms the soul.

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Thank you for your nice comments Patti, they made me feel good.

🙂

I hope that everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Now let’s get on with it…

I’m back.

I had a good time but am pleased for my own bed as I thought I would have to have both my legs amputated from the buttocks down as I was in so much discomfort from the mattress.

I think it was an IKEA mattress.

‘Nuff said.

Not that I’ve got anything against the Swedish you understand, I’ve purchased my fair share of their products in the past and have appreciated every one of them.

But the beds…

They have a mind of their own.

I’ve still some residual pain, but I think I’m on the mend.

The house is lovely though. We’ve stayed there a few times now and this time it was even better as it wasn’t the summer and so it was cooler and there was hardly anyone else about.

So I read and I drew mandala’s – for no apparent reason except that I had to doodle.

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I don’t like the birdhouse one, but hey.

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There’s a group on FB if you like to draw mandala’s.

HERE

This morning I said to P,

‘So P, what do you think I’m going to do today?’

And for some reason that I swear I’ll never be able to grasp, he answered every other activity except for the studio.

Man! Does he not know me?

He must have thought that the cool air had muddled my senses as he was going on about cleaning the house, doing the washing, and other things too horrific to mention here.

We’ve been married for over 30 years now and he still hasn’t got a clue.

Bless him.

So I’ve to go out for a couple of hours first, I may even pop by the supermarket on the way home.

And then!

My toes are tingling at the thought…

Here are a few photographs of the back of the house.

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I love the veranda. It’s my favourite place.

It’s situated perfectly so that it shields the wind and is always in shade.

Can’t ask for more in Texas.

I present to you the…

Pathetic Lump.

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Looks like a creature from the unknown.

Not to be defeated I went on to make a bigger, better, stronger,

Pathetic Lump

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So that the first Pathetic Lump would have a friend and not feel so alone in its patheticness.

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Little do they know that their friendship cannot last as it’s back to the flames with them.

As soon as I can be bothered to go through the whole process of making yet another mold.

Don’t fret for them my friends as once they stand at the crucible’s edge they will happily sacrifice themselves to the inferno knowing that other forms may come into being.

If the form master can get her act together and figure out how to do the darn thing.

Actually I think I’m close.

It’s just the sprig that needs sorting out is all.

Too much silver is trying to force its way into that little tube and starts to cool before it can fill the mold. I just get too nervous when I’m carving away the sand in case I hit the mold and mess it up.

Obviously I’m nowhere near it and can dig out another centimeter at least.

Onwards and Upwards.

We will never surrender.

In other news.

The painting, or at least one of them, is coming along.

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I call it,

‘I can be a little harbour if I want to so leave me alone and get on with your own stuff why don’t you.’

I’m just going to figure out how to make the houses look not so silly and then I do believe I might even say that I have finished it.

I know right!

Also,

I bought me a cup.

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Ain’t it cool

🙂

Off to make the new generation of Pathetic Lumps now.

So the plan was…

That the chunky chain got a home.

Didn’t happen.

Instead I started a new painting.

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Yes, I know I said I’d given it up again…

So I got this far and then decided I was bored with it.

So I moved over to the jewelry area and half heartedly played around with some sketches and stones.

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And decided on the spider one.

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Even though I knew that it really wasn’t ever going to be the same as the drawing.

Just to step it up a bit I used one of my new stamps on it.

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And then soldered it onto a back plate that was way too large for it.

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That annoyed me as I usually pay a lot of attention to the amount of silver I waste to the point that I often have zero wiggle room to work with which also annoys me because then it’s touch and go that I’ve enough silver around the piece to do what I want with.

Guess the search for a happy medium continues…

Now I will share with you a tip for what to do with all your old pick sticks.

I don’t know about you, but after a while my picks start to loosen from their wooden handle. Even though I try to ignore it for a while they eventually start to swivel in the handle when I’m doing the picking thing with them.

I still try to ignore it, but then it just begins to get ridiculous and I can’t do a thing with them.

That’s when I get excited because I remember that hey! I can just buy a new one.

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I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes.

So, not one to be wasteful, (apart from the huge amount of silver waste above), I keep the pick ends and use them to prop up pieces when I’m soldering.

See.

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Anyway, long story short, it all looks good here, but the soldering flopped due to the funkness and then I had to go in to make dinner…

Not before I added a bit more to the painting though.

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So… that’s it.

In other news, while I was bored with it all and in one of my funks, I bought a new table top to add to the jewelry bench area and now it feels more complete.

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I’m telling you, that small Swedish store is a blessing when you need a funk distraction.

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Now my jewelry area is fantabulous.

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And I feel very fortunate.

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And just so the painting side of the studio didn’t feel left out I bought it a new table and drawers also.

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That side is still a bit of a mess, but I’m working on it…

But look at all my pastels!

They have a happy home…

🙂

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AND last, but not least, I have to tell you that I’ve hit another milestone.

$40,000!

Next stop $50,000.

See where I’ve sent it – HERE

TTFN

I don’t know where I’ve been all week.

It’s just flown by.

I have been a little bored with the jewelry and just can’t seem to be bothered to start anything new.

I finished this for Serina.

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Larimar

And then decided to use up some more of my larimar beads.

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That bead cap needs a little adjusting.

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And then I started a new chain.

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But apart from that not a lot going on really.

I’ve been watching some BBC videos on artists that I found on Youtube. The series is called, What do Artists do all day? And I’m really enjoying that.

My favourite one so far is the one on John Byrne.

It all started when I stumbled across a series on Youtube called JTV Rock Star Designer because I was too bored to bother going into the studio and needed some inspiration.

I’ve suffered through all six episodes so far, and now have to wait until next week to find out who the two finalists will be. I think the winner gets to design a jewelry line for JTV.

I’m actually very surprised at how horrible the jewelry is and that, in the six hours they’re given to complete a piece, they can’t seem to make something that looks a little more professionally finished, but I suppose they’re under a lot of pressure. Also they’re only given half an hour to come up with an idea. That would be the hardest part for me as I generally make it up as I go along.

They’re also given some pretty gruesome materials to work with.

I’m not particularly impressed with the show, but of course now I have to finish watching it.

Then I discovered the artist videos and I love them.

It makes me want to go back to art school.

I went to Winchester School of Art in the U.K. What I wanted to be was a painter, but somehow I ended up in the sculpture department. I still would like to be a painter, but I’ve never given myself enough time to really get into it and now I just end up making piddly paintings which I enjoy, but which aren’t real paintings in my opinion.

Now these artists are making me a little sad that I never really gave myself to it.

I did love making the sculptures. I especially liked working out how the darn things would actually stand up and not kill someone.

I still think about making a sculpture of a woman sitting with her beautiful legs crossed in her beautiful designer clothes using nothing but used fake finger nails. I mean, what do they do with all of them once they’re done. I imagine that there are bazillions of them, in all shades of lovely, somewhere out there filling land fills and waiting to destroy our world.

Perhaps she could be having drinks with a refugee.

Who knows.

So I got my degree and then, nothing.

Well, there was the marriage part, and then the kids part, so it wasn’t exactly nothing.

Now it’s my part, and I’m really enjoying it.

Problem is that I’d have to get up before yesterday and go to bed after tomorrow, to be able to do all the things I’d like to.

Just pick one laddie!

Anyhow, so while I’ve been away I’ve been dreaming of all the things I started out to be and how I need to start being them.

The time is now people!

We just need to get down and be the people we know we are inside and stop fussing around with all the other stuff.

O.K. Well I do anyway.

😉

Another quickie…

For anyone out there who would like a comprehensive tutorial on prong setting, bezel setting, and flush setting faceted stones, Ann Cahoon has one of the better demonstrations I’ve watched.

You can download it to watch immediately or purchase the dvd.

HERE

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Enjoy.

Actually they have a lot of good dvd’s.

And here’s another piece I’ve just finished because I know you were wondering.

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Silver Onyx and Charoite.

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I’ve decided that my next pieces will concentrate on finishing and polishing.

Jane I know you asked, but I’m really not that good at it.

For the pieces I make with the leaves I simply buff the hell out of them using one of these

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These

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And these.

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The bottom two make it easier to reach into the nooks and crevasses.

You can also use fine sandpaper.

I know steel wool will work also, but I threw mine away because it hurts.

All those tiny slithers of steel get into your skin and even if you wear gloves there are still stragglers on your bench etc..

They really hurt.

I know, I’m a weeny.

I actually find it very hard to finish my pieces.

My journey to correct this starts now…

stay tuned.

When I get frustrated I take it out on a perfectly innocent canvas.

Sorry canvas.

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As you all may know by now I start a lot of paintings, but rarely finish any of them.

I’ve decided not to let it bother me and just enjoy the flow.

Perhaps I’ll get to  finish this one as I’m pretty sure my acetylene is going to run out at any minute and I won’t be able to replace the tank until later next week.

Will I be able to make it…

dum dum dummm…..

I prefer stone collector to addict…

I’ve spoken about my cabochon habit before, but today I thought I’d fess up.

They do say that admitting it is the first step to recovery.

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Ocean Jasper
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African Green Opal, Labradorite, Chalcedony, and some strange pieces at the bottom.
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A mixture of odd yummies
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Some Prudent Man, Ruby things, and other lovelies.
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This is the chrysoprase, chrysocolla, gaspeite, and shattuckite page with a few odd ones sneaking in.
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Crazy Lace
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Things I don’t know what to do with
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Serpentine, blue opal, petrified wood and larimar.
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Red Creek Jasper, Sonoran Dendrite, and a few of their friends.
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The turquoise page, although I think a crysocolla has sneaked in when I wasn’t looking.
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Fossilized Coral
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And, of course, the brecciated mookite page, with some phoychromed something or others, a couple of willow jaspers?, and two stones that don’t know why I bought them.

Don’t judge me.

They actually are more beautiful that the photo’s give them credit for. The colours didn’t come out well.

I took them so that I could keep an eye on what they’re doing and print them out to design around.

Somehow I’ve got to set them before P sends the van to take me away.

I did make some pieces recently that I didn’t show you.

One of the custom pieces.

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Imperial Jasper

Which was followed by his friend who didn’t want to be left out.

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The friend

And I started another painting.

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In other news.

Spud is causing as much trouble as she possibly can.

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Except when she’s so tired she just has to fall asleep wherever she happens to be.

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Here she is at the vets

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And this is what she thought about it.

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I think she’s actually been sent here to cure me of my need for material things as she and Nutmeg continually race back and forth until all my things get broken.

And all my computer and phone wires get chewed through.

And all of my skin gets ripped off.

And my sleep is interrupted by sporadic pounces.

Darn cute kittens…

A hundred days of what?

I came across the 100 day project and thought why not.

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Trouble is I didn’t know what I’d want to do for a hundred days.

I’m not usually up for challenges as I believe they are set ups for failure, but I thought, hey, I might give this one a go.

So I decided I could either:

1. Make a piece of jewelry every day, but as I pretty much do that already it kind of seemed a bit like cheating.

2. Clean a little part of the house every day… Nah. Don’t think so.

3. Stop drinking wine for a hundred days.

That would definitely be a set up for failure.

4. Take a photograph.

5. paint a picture.

6. Create a doodle.

Etc., etc., etc…

I could do all of these things, but my dad’s coming to visit within the hundred day period, and my sister, and I don’t want to take up my time with them. It would have to be something I can do that doesn’t mean going into the isolation tank for long periods of time.

And, of course, number 2 would just about do me in and that wouldn’t be fair to my visitors, or to me.

So I chose Cornelius.

Remember?

My little botanical book?

Titled.

The Ledgers Ledgend of  Cornelius Audenberry III.

Intrepid Explorer and Royal Botanist to HRH Significanta Regina, Queen of Spry.

I started it when I was creating a run of triffid paintings.

HERE

Of which, you can be assured, there are many more.

And of course each triffid begged for a story.

Well, o.k. they didn’t actually beg, but rather was given one whether they liked it or not.

And so began Cornelius’ adventures to document the wildly fantastic flora of the Copstan Islands.

Of course his voyage on the Encumbrance had to be postponed due to his narrator taking all of the time she could be writing making jewelry instead, and whining about the house keeping, so to Cornelius the 100 day project seems to be a brilliant idea.

(Or not)

And one that I can easily do when my dad and sister come.

At first I thought I’d give myself a word or page goal for each day then I realized that I really just needed to write anything and not worry about giving myself rules.

So today is day four.

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And I’ve already discovered a new member of the crew.

Who knew!

I usually get caught up in grammar and spelling and reorganizing the words, but this time I am simple writing it down.

One day at a time.

Other news.

Here’s a picture I’m working on because I was getting a little bored with the jewelry.

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It’s got nothing to do with Cornelius as this is an entirely different world which he hasn’t discovered yet.

And a necklace.

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#the100dayproject

My brain on art.

I had to have a bit of a tidy up yesterday as it was all getting out of control.

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Even I can’t operate under these conditions, and, believe me, I tried.

I truly think that this is what my brain looks like. Cluttered with everything going on at once. No wonder I get nothing done.

I have to ignore the outside world just to survive.

Now it looks a little calmer.

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I can feel my anxiety settling down as I look at it.

A couple of deep breaths and now I’m ready to perform surgery.

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God that’s organized!

Even the, lets pile everything on here because I don’t know what to do with it, table is looking spiffy.

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I’ve almost frightened myself now.

Except for this complete and utter mess I could almost consider myself cured.

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Oh well.

(No hope for the wicked).

P.S. Just so you know, the turquoise is causing trouble. 

To be fair, the turquoise is set nicely, but the design just isn’t doing anything for me.

Have to have a rethink.

However, I did make a nice pair of earrings which I also had a lot of trouble with but I enjoyed figuring out.

I’m never going to make any money from doing this stuff as it takes me all day to make anything worthwhile.

It’s all in the process though, and, (thank heavens), I enjoy that.

Here are the earrings.

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Every time I soldered something new onto them, something else popped off. I really should start using the medium solder as well as the easy solder. I have it but … (I was going to give you a reason for not using it but honestly don’t have one. It’s hanging on its hook all ready and waiting).

Also, one of the gems popped out when I thought I’d finished with them. I think I’m a little too gentle with setting them. It worries me that I’m going to scratch them. I think the more I do it the more confident I’ll get, however, so I’m not too concerned.

Practice, practice, practice …

Shivering in me timbers.

I’ve been cold.

Not quite as cold as some people here in the U.S., but cold enough for me.

I don’t operate well in the cold. I tend to sit and stagnate, and get colder and colder, and more and more paralyzed.

I really wouldn’t survive the End of Days when the ice covers the earth and all that terrible stuff that happens in The Day After Tomorrow. I would just lie down in the middle of the road and die.

Probably get eaten by the starving wolves first.

And then, the very next day, the sun would come out again and melt all of the ice, and if I’d only just hung on, one more day, everything would have been alright, and I would be warm and get on with my life and lived to see my grandchildren, and lived peacefully until the next disaster happened, at which point I would probably lay down and die again.

I’m a bit of a defeatist that way.

What is happening with the weather anyway.

We’re freezing. California’s droughting, and England’s sinking. And that’s not including the rest of the world.

Really best just to stay in bed.

Other news.

I had to say goodbye to Spencer the One Eyed Wonder.

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He had a good life.

Look at that eye. He might just have had one, but it was a beautiful one.

And I’ve been painting.

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Most of them aren’t finished because I’ve given up painting again.

I’m not good at it.

But look at this one by Jean Miro.

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Why is this one good 🙁

I do like Jean Miro though.

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Big difference here.

So, it’s back to the jewelry for me.

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This is Chrysoprase.

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 And this stone is Prudent Man Plume Agate.

Great name.

If you don’t hear from me for another long while it’s probably got cold again and I’ve lain down with the wolves.

No worries though …

The Yellow Spotted Wimple Head

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Found on the Higher Island of the Bora Kowlandis.

The Yellow Spotted Wimple Head is one of the more remarkable species of plant on the Higher Kowlandis. As seen here, it appears to have a symbiotic relationship with the Lesser Open Mouthed Gargle Spore, which you can see is attached to the Wimple Head’s stem causing the larger headed plant to droop significantly. As to why this relationship exists Cornelius Audenberry, along with his more experienced assistant, Dudley Hargrove, has simulated the plants’ exact environmental conditions in the Palace Greenhouses. It is in these greenhouses that they intend to cultivate more than one of the wild plants they have brought home from their latest expedition to the Bora Kowlandis Islands so as to enable them to continue studying these fascinating plants.

 

The Purple Tentrilled Whooping Stalk

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This particular variety of Tendrillus Boutonius is found on the rolling plains of  the Copstan Region of Middle Kowlandis, and, as unfortunately discovered by Audenberry’s field hand, Dudley Hargrove, is poisonous to the touch.

Dudley, now fully recovered from his agonizing experience, has vowed to, ‘never be within three feet of this godawful specimen again.’

The Yellow Spotted Wimple Head

 

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Christmas has now taken over. I spent yesterday decorating the house and doing some shopping chores, all the while fighting not being able to get into the studio. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that it’s not worth the struggle. 

It’s a bit like trying to read the newspaper when the kids are little. You might as well just give up on the idea completely and settle into not fighting it.

 

The Elephant Trunk Dimple Leaf.

So named because of its elephant trunk and dimple leaves is a rare beauty typically found at the foot of the volatile Banetonga volcanic range located on the middle island of The Knowlandis.

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As one textile artists observed when she first saw Trevor de Manous’ oil representation of Audenberry’s botanical sample, “The Elephant Trunk Dimple Leaf is a quilt block just waiting to happen”.

The quilt, Kumbaya, and, ‘why’ drawings.

The quilt is finished!

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And the back.

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I’ve enjoyed it.

Taken my time quilting it.

Decided I didn’t like the orange half way through.

Thought it would take forever about two thirds through.

Got fed up quilting it.

Felt sad when it was all over as now I have nothing to quilt.

Decided perhaps the orange was o.k. after all.

Thought it was a silly quilt and who the hell would want it in their house.

Realized it was for a five year old, and that perhaps she would like it.

Got told (several times) by that man who lives in the house with me that it would cost a fortune to post and that he’d take it back with him when he goes back to England in January for a business trip.

Got defensive about getting my Christmas gift there on time.

Got told again.

Decided that perhaps he was right.

And finally …

Bought this for Hope’s gift instead.

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click photo to get your own

 (Come on. How cute is that!)

She’ll still get her quilt, but as a, because gift, instead of a, Christmas gift.

We all have to pick our battles.

In the meantime, I’ve still been drawing my ‘why’ drawings.

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But I don’t know why.

Perhaps they need to be quilts.

Perhaps not.

And lastly.

I’m still worried about the Philippines 🙁

I go to bed every night loving how comfortable my bed is.

I wake up, amazed that I can shower every day in hot water.

The power went out the other day due to a storm, and I appreciated how lucky I am to have electricity.

Now. Believe me when I tell you that I’m not a sappy, let’s all hold hands together and sing Kumbaya in voices just off tune enough to make you want to throw up a little, sort of person. (Although that’s o.k. if you are) (Except for the throwing up bit) (And the fact that I might just have to leave you to it and run away from you quickly bit). I’m English for heaven’s sake. A true cynic if ever there was one. But perhaps I’m just getting a little soggy in my old age.

(not really)

But I

Can’t do the suffering any more.

Can’t do the, what the hell is happening here, any more.

And.

I’m just going to have to stop listening to stuff like this.

Because, no matter how much it has always been one of my favourite songs, it’s just not good for my mental health any more.

Oh well, that’s me bummed out for the day.

So what are you up to?