Welcome to the art of curiosity; my personal amble through the worlds of art, crafts, books & all manner of other curiosities. You'll find examples of my jewellery & art work plus an account of how I'm attempting to confound depression & my bipolarity by pursuing my creativity. There's a lot of whimsy too; my mind set is distinctly frivolous at times!

So, Dear Reader, won't you join me on my journey?

Sunday, 2 December 2007

The Spell of 'Amélie'

I'm a huge fan of French films. This is a slightly guilty pleasure because no one else in this household shares my addiction. Thus I can sit undisturbed without sticky children bouncing all over me or blonde ones rummaging through my dressing table. I've now discovered an exception and it's one I shall encourage - Ellie and 'Amélie'. 'Amélie' is one of my all-time favourite films and when watching it for the three thousand & seventh time the other day, the music lured Miss Ellie into my room and, draping herself along the end of my bed, she watched motionless & transfixed. I noted this in my diary - my children don't do motionless & transfixed so a diary entry was definitely called for!

If you haven't seen 'Amélie', I urge you to snatch up the first copy you come across & watch this funny/poignant/beautiful film. If you have art bones buried in your body, then you are in for a visual feast. Inspiration from 'Amélie' creeps up on me in strange & unusual ways - this blog's vista is a very good example!

( Postscript: I love the BBC!! It's nine o'clock in the morning and whilst I've been writing this, I've also been listening to a reading of 'Portrait of a Lady' by Henry James & in a moment, I'm promised a short story by Evelyn Waugh. Do have a rummage for broadcasts in http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/. For large chunks of time during the day and overnight, the priniciple background noises of my life emanate from Radio 4 & Radio 7 so these qualify for a 'Dangerfield Recommends' nudge as indeed does 'Amélie')

Next time I reappear, I have a Lulaism for you & it's quite a swell one because it involves Emily Dickinson & the school bus. Miss Über Sticky strikes again!!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Dipping a toe in the water!

This isn't a picture of a younger me - I was never cute. I was always too grimy to be cute.

BUT this is quite a sweetly appropriate photo as I'm dipping my toe in Blog Pond for the first time in eons. Look how shallow & safe the water is - it looks cool too! Water wings are handy if you're not sure what you're doing - I guess the bipolar equivalent is diazepam. Well it is for me ;-) I'm going to try paddling for a while until I can swim again.

What have I learnt about life recently? Grab what you can, when you can & whilst you're still able. I'm talking about opportunities. My experience of bipolar is that bad 'episodes' usually teach me something. This episode's homily could have taken the form of 'I wish I'd done such and such when I was younger", but instead it appears to be following the route of, 'whilst there is still breath in your body, try to grab what you can, when you can.' I somehow managed to get close to death a couple of times recently and I'm guessing that this is why Madame Bipolar is trying to proffer a whole life lesson.

As my son is still having problems with troubles, I've been teaching him a poem that I know off by heart. I know that you will know it too - I think everyone should have a copy of 'Still I Rise' by Maya Angelou lodged in their brains.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Ms Dangerfield is absent because...

1. Her brain is full of unwieldy thoughts.
2. Space monkeys sing jingles to her in the middle of the night.
3. She has decided to set herself free.
4. Her metaphysical house has blown down & she needs to reassemble it twig by twig.

No, I haven't lost the plot. I'm simply trying to learn how to live in a new way & part of this involves training myself to avoid being sidetracked by distractions.

Possibly this is something that many of us need to think about from time to time - what to do when our lives become simply too full of 'stuff'.

This stick person has peeled herself back to the bare bones as she is in need of restoration. It's a bit chilly at the moment :-)

Friday, 28 September 2007

Clucking Around a Petrol Station!

This gadzookingly cool postcard was sent to me by Kate McKinnon during the Postcardian Quest. I'm so lucky to have this FABULOUS resource at my fingertips, as do you if you follow the link. It's a collection of the coolest images sent to me by some of the most beautiful people on Planet Earth. My original idea was to incorporate them into an altered book, but the words & names need to be preserved too, so they reside in an immensely grand postcard collector's album along with letters & paper titbits which relate to the Quest & Ovarian Cancer Action. It's an heirloom - maybe one day my heirs will donate it to an auction in aid of ovarian cancer. The Quest will go on...

Don't forget - this is what every woman should know!

It's poetry time again! Dear Reader, don't go sloping off. I try not to run a school room here.

I'm relying upon a commentary by the writer Molly Peacock for help in describing 'Filling Station' by one of my favourite poets, Elizabeth Bishop. They both say things so much more succinctly than I.

Elizabeth Bishop is often described as the painter's poet - she also has a lovely sense of humour. In this poem, she's finding solace in a petrol station!

I'll let Miss Molly take over for a while: 'When you can't make sense of the world in any other way, merely to describe what you see before you leads to understanding.....After all, when you are at a complete loss as to how you came to be where you are, to describe what is before you is the beginning of restoration....The unexpected result of training your eye on detail is that the world becomes beautiful simply because it is noticed & therefore appreciated.'

Miss Ditzey's back and what does she have to say? Somewhere there's a Mother Hen clucking around this filling station. Even the oil cans are fussed over by her unseen hand.

Though not always present, 'Somebody loves us all.'

Wednesday, 26 September 2007


I pray that whom or whatsoever is in charge of the universe, keeps the people of Burma safe & strong in their quest for democracy.

Please Don't Shun a Child!

I'm not brimming with many lucid thoughts at the moment, but I'm borrowing a soap box. I particularly want to make a noise about parental prejudice.

I apologise for copying my own comment on 'The Bad Hair Day Code' on to here, but I'm struggling with coherence at the moment so this seems the best solution.

"Over here, not every doctor understands adult neurological conditions let alone those which become clear in childhood. I've learnt to stand my ground & argue with health professionals, but it does take a while to overcome that fear that

'Mother always says,
that doctor does know best'.

I know this childhood rhyme is droppings from a male ruminant, but I worry about parents who feel unable to fully question what is going on - then both parent AND child are bullied into situations which could prove unhelpful at best, destructive at worst.

I also have a lot to say about the prejudice that children encounter -we know that children bully children, but there is more. My son has been educated in main stream schools & the prejudice exhibited by some parents at his primary school was appalling!

On several occasions in the past, whilst waiting at the school gate, I heard other mothers discussing my son. He was at a small, affluent village school where the staff were WONDERFUL. Were it not for small children milling around, I would have tackled the mother who'd instructed her child not to play with Tom & told her just where to stick her SUV!"

Because it was a small school, it was relatively easy for parents to work out which child had been 'statemented', particularly given the high level of parent-helpers. Statistics about such things are published each year & passed to parents - when only one pupil is registered, the so called secrecy of a statistic destroyed.

The woman who so openly instructed her child what not to do, wasn't the only sad, silly, stupid & ill informed sheep in the flock to do this, which is why I'm on the side of the wolf!

By the way, Tom doesn't read my blog. I've never told him about this. I'm muddle headed & very ditsy at the moment, but rest assured, Tom knows nothing about this & never will.

May I make a plea? I'm truly not overly lucid at the moment, but I loathe discrimination in any form & when it's against a child it's beyond despicable - it's heinous. It's for these reasons that I feel compelled to write about this. BUT if you spot any inconsistencies, goofs, gaffs, blurs or garbage,it's because I'm Miss Ditzy at the moment so I hope you will forgive the errors I make whilst trying to convey my message.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

The Bad Hair Day Code

I'm trying to climb back from a bipolar slump. I don't like to bore people with tales of what life is like if you're a bipolar babe - thankfully when one has spiralled down to the point of no return, one is usually too incapacitated to do anything other than pull the bedclothes ever tighter over one's head, so one couldn't write anything anyway! Sighs of relief all round :-) One can't keep people out of the loop completely though - my family & friends do need some explanation as to why I occasionally disappear from view.

We all develop different strategies of dealing with bipolar swings & mine are particularly irritating because I push people who are close to me away by being flippant & by denying that there's anything wrong. The crash comes & members of my close circle say gently that they did try to warn me - unfortunately I either didn't hear or I wasn't listening.

I'm also a difficult patient because I argue, joke & make light of things - I do my best to switch the focus away from me. I think I do this because I don't perceive myself as being a person - I am merely a thing with a series of human roles: wife, mother, daughter, listener, advocate, etc. Whatever was me was destroyed a long time ago. Please, please don't feel sorry for me - I only mention this for the purposes of illustration. I've never asked any fellow bipolar babe if they feel divorced from life in this way - it wouldn't surprise me if some of us feel that we can only participate in life from the sidelines. That's just the way it is for some of us.

Usually I refer to my bouts of depression as 'blips' & those that include suicide attempts as 'slumps'. I'm being dragged out of a slump this time & I'm fortunate that I'm being monitored via a daily visit from the wonderful health care team who are looking after me at present. Inspired by the hood-proof hair gel, I've now been allowed to add a new term to the monitoring lexicon - 'a bad hair day'. This covers days when one's concentration goes into hiding; when even the smallest things seem mountainous. The positive aspect is that one is at least trying to do something helpful because:

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Dorothy Parker

Sometimes it's essential to be frivolous. Being frivolous is not necessarily frivolous :-)

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

A hair gel that's hood proof??

I've just watched an advert for hair gel that promised it was hood proof. This sends shivers down my spine - surely the hair will mould the hood?

So it's not enough that I have to wade through a swamp of discarded clothes whenever I venture into Tom's room on a plate/bowl/mug hunt. I may now have to clamber over a series of distorted head shapes too? This is either a vision from a nightmare or a future entry for the Turner Prize!

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

An Empty Paradox

I'm having a Paula Rego time at the moment which is a state of mind so hard to describe other than by telling you it has a Paula Rego-ish feel. Motor away from the state of my mind and have a look at Paula's work in the Tate Gallery and in The Saatchi.

Like it or loathe it, one thing is certain about Paula Rego's work and that is the fact that you cannot ignore it. So, as there is an etching by Paula on the cover of the poet Amanda Dalton's book, 'How to Disappear', methinks this is a good example of a paradox.

The title poem is extraordinary & it too reflects my current state of mind, but can I find an example of it on the net? Noooooo! Well that's not quite true because I found one copy, but it was on a site so sharply bleak that I backed out as quickly as can be.

It's a beautiful poem - taut, haunting & another 'sticker' that I would try to persuade you to read over & over again if only I could find you a copy. Dang, dang & double dang!! I can take you by the hand to the Poetry Book Shop to meet Amanda and her poem 'Cut Off', but as I can't find 'H to D', I'm going to leave Aunt Jennifer in the Life's Candle slot.

I've only had my copy of Amanda's collection of poems for a week, but I've been utterly faithful to it ever since, which is a reasonably rare occurence for me. Her work is extraordinarily visual & accessible which are qualities that I greatly appreciate because, not only am I'm a slow thinker, but I'm very lazy too. So lazy in fact, that as I can't find a copy of the poem nor a painting that I'm allowed to paste into this entry, the paradox remains unillustrated!

How's that for saying something about nothing :-)

Saturday, 15 September 2007

A 19th Century Zine?

Look what I found! Could this be an early example of a zine? Click for more information about 'The Saturday Press'. I think I would have enjoyed a conversation with Mr Henry Clapp.

I had a letter this morning from a Mrs Testbutt. What a thought provoking concept!

Friday, 14 September 2007

What to do with a wine rack when you've run out of wine...

My brain is more sieve-like than ever at present - could the changing season be affecting my cells?

I forgot to share a Lulaism - what a heinous crime! Here goes...

The ever inventive Lula has come up with a new use for empty wine racks. On a recent visit to pastures new, it was noticed that she was rather intrigued by the built-in wine rack adjacent to the washing machine in a friend's kitchen.

Now, Lula is not a tidy child - far, far from it. Her wardrobe is the floor. What is clean or unclean can only truly be determined by the sniff test. For any of you who haven't come across the rules of this particular 'snifter', you gauge the cleanliness of clothes by the smell of how much fabric conditioner you can detect. Play safe when you have a cold & are looking for dirty laundry. Stop. Desist. Leave all clothes on the floor. Nurse your cold & leave the offspring's clothes to fester. Rely on their embarrassment about the state of their garments instead.

The above only applies to children of a relevant & youthful age. Leave teenagers to make their own arrangements. If Tom's clothes don't make the journey from bedroom to laundry basket, I'm not bothered. Girl power will exert its influence soon & when it does, I shall be waiting for him by the washing machine along with a words-of-one-syllable guide to how to use the washing machine & dryer. If he masters these, I'll point out the ironing board too.

Where was I?

Lula's interpretation of the wine rack wasn't noticed on the first day nor the second. Daylight dawned on day three when she was spotted carefully inserting her socks & knickers into one of the holes of the wine rack. Careful investigation brought the other two sets to light. 'I fought you put your knickerths in there becoth it'th next to the washing machine. We don't have one of thesths at home. It'th very clever.'

So if for any reason you don't store wine in your wine rack, why not use it as a handy knicker or sock store? It's sure to be a talking point when you're next entertaining!

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Aunt Jennifer's Tigers

I'm not up to full Blog Speed yet so please forgive my plodding pace whilst I ease myself back into training.

It's time for a new poem in Life's Candle ( which is down there in the right hand column) & the one I would like to share with you is a poem that is embedded in my mind. 'Aunt Jennifer's Tigers' by Adrienne Rich is short, but it will say a multitude of things to you.

A lot of people have written thousands of words about this poem - some good, but much twaddle. I no longer spend much time reading 'lit.crit.' because my life is getting shorter by the minute plus I have this egotistical habit of knowing what I myself think. In any case, no matter what is written, no essay will ever be as powerful as this poem.

I always think of Rousseau's painting when I read about Aunt Jennifer. The tiger doesn't remotely resemble the imagery of the poem, but the expression of the painting tolls a bell I can't ignore. Anxiety?

Henri Rousseau 'Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!) 1891

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

On This Day...

I send my heartfelt sympathy,love & tender wishes to all those whose lives changed on that dreadful day in 2001.

Breaking news....I interrupt this absense to report a momentous event....

It's that time of year when a merry band of us join together in order to rejoice & give thanks for

JEAN aka the Rock CHICk!

On behalf of myself & all at Chez Hovel, I wish you a bootilicious, fantabulosa, ginanosaurus. glitzicious ( not quite sure of the spelling of this word), chicidicky, poodletastic


None of these words can be found in the vast volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary, but in my opinion they should be. When I get round to it, I'll petition those in judgement of such things & will pester them until they give in. Watch this space...
(I should warn you that watching this particular space may take quite a long time!)

Wednesday, 15 August 2007


Don't forget -you can always find something entertaining to read at


See you soon!

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

The Blog Sitter Blog Questions

I'm trotting out of town until I don't know when ( 'I don't know when' sounds so free & easy and as much as I would like to reinforce that carefree illusion, in actual fact it means I'll return to Chez Hovel when the trench in our sitting room has been filled in. Call me fussy, but when we're entertaining I prefer to offer our guests a floor to stand on rather than a plank over a hole. I have a pernickety streak in my character which I don't think my husband will ever adjust to ;-)

When we all go travelling, we pick up things which we bring back home with us. These can come in the form of the acquisition of a memento, a shift in perception, a new dream or something requiring medical attention.

What do you go looking for? Have you any favourite mementos? Have you been somewhere or done something that has made you reappraise your life or plans or dreams?

I'm asking these questions because I'm hoping that you might consider answering or talking about them whilst I'm away. Oh boy, am I cheeky by asking if you'd consider doing a little light blog sitting?

Let's me hit you with a list. Here are five things that I'd like to be able to bring home after a journey.

1. A pebble.
2. Fresh drawings in my sketch book.
3. A bottle of milk for the tea I'm going to make as soon as I can lay my hands on the kettle.
4. Dirty washing that has magically laundered itself on the journey home.
5. Something new to be curious about.

How about you?

Monday, 13 August 2007

The Nice Matters Award

My pal, the Rock CHICk gives me such lovely awards & I'm eternally grateful to her. There might be an ocean between me & Long Island, but what's a bit of sea amongst friends. We sit on our beds ( are you sat on your bed yet, Jean?) & write, read, draw & make jewellery. My bed is in a house on what passes for a high hill around here & from my panoramic view, I can look over the valley to the distant hills which lie to the south west. Jean lives somewhere over there (quite a bit over there actually) and I regularly salute her - I'm a respectful creature!

Incidentally I'd love to know how many jewellery designers assemble their jewellery on their beds? I can sit comfortably in amongst all the beads, bits, bobs & tools and s p r e a d myself out as much as I want. My dog doesn't trip over anything & no one gets spiked by my pliers.

I shall now quote Jean who quoted June's friend because June's friend nominated June & then June nominated Jean who sweetly nominated me & my nominations are coming in a minute including one for Candi who is in fact Jean. Is everybody with me?

"The Nice Matters Award is a friendship award. This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. I understand that I have to pass it on to 5 other nice bloggers......."

The following people are a delight to know:






Sunday, 12 August 2007

I Have Committed an Act of Immodesty!!


I've just had the sheer effrontery to describe my blog as humorous. I hope I can fulfil this claim - perhaps Cathy's Award will help?

I know where I'm going to be spending the rest of the day - reading the other blogs listed on Humor-Blogs.com :-) I see some familiar names already!

Cathy & The Oracle

For a long time, 'Learn how to use Photoshop properly' has been on my 'To Do' list. During the past two days, I've given it my best shot. I wanted to design a magnificent & theatrical logo for an award that some of you may not be familiar with. Despite reading two manuals and having lessons from Tom, Ellie & Lula, I failed to learn anything relevant to my project. I do know how far I can throw a Photoshop manual because there's one close to the bottom of our garden. The fox can read it. Despite my love of foxes, I refuse to make friends with this one because I suspect that he or she is responsible for the sudden disappearance of the partridges.

Accidents have been happening in Beadland. Miss Margot & Cathy of Aardvark Art Glass fame are nursing injuries - I wish both of them swift & speedy recoveries. Miss Margot's got a slinky dress to slide into for her birthday celebrations - I hope her wrist dressing can disappear in time ( STUPID BACON!)

Cathy held a high speed meeting with some stairs. Since my own tussle with a door & floor, I have been sporting some rather charming bruises in an array of fetching colours. I was quite proud of mine until I heard about Cathy's accident & saw what a real humdinger of a bruise looks like. Hasten over to 'Bloggidy Blog' & see the Oracle for yourself. You will then see why I felt compelled to give Cathy this award. I wanted it to be an exotic & flamboyant award but Photoshop & I just don't see eye to eye so the logo is as humble & modest as me ;-)

Friday, 10 August 2007

Do You Love Lulu Like I Love Lulu?

Just in case you haven't paid a visit to Lulu Guinness's website recently, please check her out in 'The Treats, Tips & Temptations Scrapbook'

It's froth & frippery, but if the stock markets continue plummeting & inflation goes BOOM, we can still look at pretty things even if belts are being worn tighter for the next few seasons.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

A Vain Passion?

I nurse a passion & thus far in my long & uneventful life, I've not met anyone who shares my love. It's a cousin of my handbag lust.

I hope my handbags cut a dash, but they serve other useful purposes too. If I hold one close in anti-mugger manner, it helps to disguise the disgraceful state of my abdomen. If I'm nervous or panic stricken, I clutch one like a security blanket. They combat boredom too - I reorganise & tidy the contents when I'm early for appointments - I have no shame! Interesting things migrate into my handbag - I don't know why or where they come from - I obviously have a subconscious handbag filler habit.

The handbag's cousin is the vanity case & I'm guessing that my collection has grown well into double figures. Some live with our luggage, but I have others around the house & in the Shack. Only two are truly full of vain things - one lives in the Shack & the second is my bedside companion along with another which houses my journal, diary, note books & other blah, blah things. I have a really useful one which is part of my jewellery kit - it stores all the 'bits' that aren't tool-kitty. I use another to keep my costing notebooks & jewellery 'recipe' files in. I haven't lodged any of the information from these on to my computer - I like using a pen & I love scribbling so please don't take my notebooks away. If my computer died & took my life files with it, so be it - I could take it. I've got things written down on paper - I could start again.

I also keep a hospital stand-by one. I'm accident-prone & I have three children who also fall over. Having to spend the occasional night in hospital is a possibility - indeed the stand-by has proved useful on a number of occasions. If I was stranded in hospital & had to rely on James bringing me in some things to keep me going overnight, he'd probably bring in big black knickers ( panties?), the flimsiest white nightdress available & thick socks. This is the man who after 37 hours of my being in labour with Tom, turned to me & said,'Obviously men have a higher pain threshold than women.' He is clueless & cannot be trusted. Before I started to make my own, he bought me 'old lady' jewellery. I snapped after floral brooch number four. I recall my broaching (ha ha?) the 'Do you ever actually look at me?' question during my tantrum.

Thanks to my vanity case habit, all I have to do now is draw him a diagram of where the stand-by is located & back he trots, secure in the knowledge that his wife is not going to chastise him for bringing in washing up liquid instead of the shampoo that had miraculously hidden itself in the bathroom cabinet.

So there we are. You have just read the confessions of a handbag & vanity case addict who has tantrums about rhinestone brooches. Can you ever forgive me?

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Laurel Sparks & a question for all the artists amongst you

This painting is called ' Beautiful Blah' - I love it. Laurel Sparks is a new artist to me whose work can be seen here and here. There are some more paintings which I'm close to worshiping, but out of respect for Laurel, I won't show any more images on here. You must go & see.

How did I find her? This demonstrates how thoroughly bored I am at present. I typed 'blah' & searched for images! It was undoubtedly worth it because Laurel's work intrigues me & I'm going to ferret around to see if I can find some more of her work.

But doing an image search for 'blah'? Pursuing 'the art of curiosity...' can sometimes lead you into doing odd things :-)

As a matter of interest, what do the artists amongst you feel about about having images such as the above, displayed on people's blogs when they 'discover' you? I would welcome your opinions & guidance. I'm going to send a 'fan letter' to Laurel later, but in the meantime, I would be interested to read your opinions.

If you could provide this curious searcher with a little guidance, as soon as I'm able, I promise to skip along with respect, purpose & a large ladle of loopiness.

With love from Ditzy Daisy xox

Tuesday, 7 August 2007


I've neglected 'The Treats, Tips & Temptations Scrapbook' on my website recently which is naughty! I've added something luxurious today & I'm going to rummage through my address book in search of a few more delicacies for you. It's my way of saying sorry!

Monday, 6 August 2007

Introducing 'The Big Easy: Savannah'

May I introduce you to 'The Big Easy' bracelet. Why have I chosen this name? Because these are big babes with a big agenda - these are not your regular chain bracelet. No matter what you are wearing, put one of these on & you are DRESSED - you've got seemingly effortless Parisian shrug-off chic nailed! No one will miss the fact that you are a stylish force of nature - that you are creative & artistic right down to your bones. You are someone to pay attention to - 'The Big Easy' is your calling card. It's as simple as that!

I'm making a lot of claims about 'The Big Easy' but I can do so because of the sheer mass of compliments that these ladies have attracted. As soon as my rib allows me to pick up my jewellery kit again, I've already got two commissions to fulfil. My clients had a wonderful time looking through my bead trays!

Not only do I play with beautiful art beads, semi precious stones & my signature totem adornments, but I pay attention to space too. As any artist will tell you, negative space is an integral element in the composition of a work of art - in assembling The Big Easy' bracelets, my aim is to embrace this concept too.

'Savannah' features some of Beverley Hicklin's exotic, graphic beads from her 'Out of Africa' series. Two sets of beads by Emma Ralph are also on display - her flamboyant Flamenco Tabs and the hauntingly, beautiful Lunaris nuggets. These soft, luminous & ethereal beads shift colour & pattern in a glorious yet delicate interplay with light.

I hope you like 'The Big Easy' bracelets. Assembling them is a wonderful adventure for me :-)

Saturday, 4 August 2007


I'm one of the most accident prone people in the world so it will come as no surprise to hear that I've had to pay another trip to Casualty with a cracked rib - I think this is the third time I done this. The last time it happened was when I was pregnant with Lula so this time round, I'm lucky as I CAN take pain killers. I don't recommend sleeping in a chair though.

Woe is me because I can't assemble any jewellery for a while - I'm scuppered :-(

Before my accident, I took a few OK-ish shots of one of The Big Easy bracelets, so l'll be able to show you these some day soon.

In the meantime, I beg you all to take very good care of yourselves!!

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Sitting with The Vicious Circle

Before you read the following paragraphs, please pay a visit to Jean Yates' blog, otherwise it won't make any sense. I call Jean 'The Rock CHICk' because she put the chic into rock. Earlier today, I called on Miss Margot * of 'The Impatient Beader' & 'Sparkletastic' fame (Margot's books are superb - you will love them. If you're a Brit like me, 'Sparkletastic' will appear on our shores any minute now, but until then, buy 'The Impatient Beader' books & frolic in the fun) and I read her post about titles. I would hereby like to make an official application to whomsoever deals with these things, that Miss Jean be also known as The Rock CHICk™.

Have you read Miss Jean's post yet? Her wish is my command :-)

"Today I lunched with the Vicious Circle, though why they allowed me to join them is beyond me. I cannot get my copy past the editorial team at the New Yorker - they are SO picky - but Mrs Parker made a scathing comment about me & I sniped back with a witty retort so I was invited to join them. I could tell this irked her - I suspect that Mr Benchley's invitation was an attempt to hold my flimsy red rag in front of her dangerous, piercing bull. Thankfully I sat next to Mr Ross so my meat wasn't minced today."

I do enjoy a nice day dream from time to time :-)

* I call her Miss Margot because she's a belle who wears beautiful dresses & has skin like porcelain. She also has a mind like a razor & this demands respect!

More Postcards for the Annals!

Greetings from a chalky ridge somewhere in Hampshire - très dull! The island of Baltrum does not suffer from this problem - isn't it stunning?

The glass artist, Elke Szeklinski lives here and she has very kindly sent me some postcards. Zip over to the Postcardian blog where you can see her lovely postcards, two of which feature her delectable beads. You will also be able to check out my dodgy German - please accept my apologies for any mistakes.

I've also added another message of love & gratitude from me. I will NEVER forget the Postcardian experience!

As yet, I haven't found time to start work on the 'Annals of The Postcardian Quest' which is rather frustrating. Various workmen, aided & abetted by OMD, have moved into the central part of our house & they are pulling it apart. Add three children on their summer break from school & you've got a recipe for chaos in your hands.

When they're ready to rip up the floor, I'm going to lock up my Shack & study & head for the moor.

Man + hammer = stress! Man + pick axe = panic attacks!

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Come Back Lens - All is Forgiven!

My photographs are suffering at the moment because my favourite lens has flown off to Nikon to have his motor mended. This is such a shame because I have a ' The Big Easy' bracelet to unveil which uses THREE Sets of art beads! I love it - I hope you do too.

I'm going to try to capture a few photographs with my second favourite lens, but it's not the same. I need my best friend back - I hope he's OK in Japan. I'm so sorry that I shouted at him when he didn't behave in the way that I wanted him too.

Dear Lens, please get better soon :-)

( PS: am I crazy?)

Monday, 30 July 2007

The Setting Sun

I was rummaging through a memory card & found some of James' photographs of the wonderful sunsets we enjoy from our view across the valley.

We are SO blessed!

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Project Procrastination & the Mslexia Effect

I procrastinate every single day of my life. Indeed I would go so far as to say that it's become a fully fledged hobby - let's call it 'Project Procrastination'. So far I've worked on three projects today. Dreaming up the name 'Project Procrastination' was the third.

Number one took place when I added one of the two photographs that I like of myself to my profile. It was a toss up between me aged two & me aged twenty five. Twenty five won. It's a totally misleading photo, but I can be whoever I want to be on the web, so I'm a twenty five year old with permanently wet hair.

For number two, I thought about sorting through the pile of things to read which totters by my bed. This is dangerous - this shows that unconsciously at least, I had no real intention of doing anything today. Fortunately I picked up my copy of July/August's edition of 'Mslexia', a UK magazine for 'women who write' - there is always something in here that I want to talk about so finally I'm active.

In my humble opinion, 'Mslexia' is one of the finest magazines currently in print. Each page is absorbing & full of interest. It's published every two months which is perfect because this gives one adequate time to assimilate the content of each issue.

In 'Diary of a Literary Agent', you can read how 'It's odd to receive a wastepaper bin in the mail.' There's also an update on the 'Save Our Short Story' campaign, an article about shoes (writing about them rather than a retail recommendation) and a feature about writers on the web, 'the marketing tool that's taken the ether by storm'. This is soooooooooo interesting!

My friend, the Rock CHICk spoke to me recently about Tracy Chevalier - Tracy's sister has developed a cool website for her. Erica Wagner is a writer & journalist whose opinion I have never knowingly disagreed with. I could go on ( and on and on), but now that I have dropped these titbits into your lap, I feel I have accomplished something so it's time to move on & do the work I've been trying to avoid.

Having said that, I may have to pay page 5 another visit & re-read the article about shoes by Julie Farnworth. She describes the effect that a pair of ring-a-ding shoes ( my expression & not Julie's) has on her:

'but when I do occasionally wear them I am transformed from a stewed cup of tea leaving an unsightly ring on a glass coffee table into a firecracker.'

I know what she means. I've got a pair of boots that can perform the same trick!

Friday, 27 July 2007

If You Like Drawing...

then please pay a visit to 'The Treats, Tips & Temptations Scrapbook' page on my website.

I hope you like some of my recommendations. If you have any of your own, I would be delighted to add them to the Scrapbook & I will of course include your name & any links you would like me to add.

Possibly it's frippery - perhaps it's fun too :-)

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Keeping Mobile!

I love this mobile. It's a picture that I've borrowed from one of my Swatch Books - 'the art of curiosity...' has numerous facets & 'The Swatch Books' are part of the plan ;-)

If life seems quiet in Jewellery Land, it's because I'm learning new skills. One should never rest on one's laurels - taken literally, what an uncomfortable position to be in! One must evolve - surely that's one of life's lessons?

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

A Poem for People Who Don't Like Poems!

A copy of 'Poetry' by Marianne Moore is permanently pinned to one of the corkboards in my study. When I began the reading adventure that led me to give part of my heart to poetry, I struck gold by coming across this one at an early stage in my journey.

As I've mentioned before, I use poetry as a sieve. I use it to make sense of things which are elusive. Here comes another metaphor - it helps me to sew thoughts & feeling into comprehensible strands.

Marianne Moore is a poet that I often turn to. She's a very special tutor.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

The Paul Klee Guide to Child Management

Add the school summer holidays to a 13 year old chap who doesn't care for sisters (especially as there's a large age gap,)plus an 8 year old blonde & peachy party girl and a 7 year old tomboy who worships her brother and what do you get? Chaos & frequent cries of 'What can I do?'

One can arrange trips, treats & 'let's get the modelling clay out', but ideas to cover the fifteen minutes or so before they remember something more interesting to do, are harder to deal with. I used to read books - around the age of 10 or 11, I spent one summer holiday reading the complete works of Agatha Christie. 'Why?' I hear you ask. I hereby confess to being a sucker for 'who-done-its' & remain so to this day. Give me a P.D.James, pat me on the head, & you won't hear a word out of me for the rest of the day.

The brood don't respond to the 'read a book' suggestion. Indeed they look at me as if I'm an idiot for even proffering this as a idea. Their life is full of electronic paraphernalia - I do sincerely worry about their respective carbon footprints - and these thrills & spills dominate their lives.

I do however, manage to inject a large wedge of art & craft time into their lives, but I can't wave a magic wand & produce a table laden with projects in an instant. Harry Potter has led them astray - I can't perform magic.

Today Paul Klee helped me out - I'll bet he never envisaged helping a mother out of a sticky moment during a school holiday! I managed to capture 15 minutes for Ellie by us taking a line for a walk. It worked - and we're going to do it again.

Paul Klee's work, be it art or words, has always held me in its thrall, but I've even more reason to be grateful to him today.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Fourth Post of the Day - Pencil Revolution

I've been out hunting for Tom Friedman on the internet & I came across what to me is an interesting site: Pencil Revolution If you're not a devotee of Moleskine notebooks or the owner of a KUM automatic long point sharpener, bypass this site & bypass me. I draw - I want the special edition Palomino Long Point Sharpener. I also like Bob Newhart & one post features a photograph of a statue of him simply because he is holding a pencil. I love the internet!

I'm not overly fond of Tom Friedman's pencil sculpture - I prefer the toothpicks, as seen above. I wonder if there is a toothpick blog? Please don't tell me if there is - I can't handle too many exciting things in one day.

Third Post of The Day - the 'Rockin' Girl Blogger' Awards

Here are my five choices for the 'Rockin' Girl Blogger Award'.

I love the work & the wit that the following ladies produce. I admire them with a genuine heart. They have spirit & they explore - they go that extra mile. In other words they ROCK!

Laura Sparling

French Toast Girl



Someone somewhere deserves more than one 'Rockin' Girl Blogger' award. May I therefore present the Rock CHICk with her second?

Second Post of the Day - Aspens & THE Rockin' Girl?

My beloved mentor & one of my 'aspens dear' has kindly awarded me the 'Rockin' Girl Blogger' Award. I've just managed to add the logo to the right hand column & it's landed above dear Dorothy. Don't you think that Dorothy would have been the EPITOME of a Rockin' Girl Blogger?

Did you know this about the beautiful aspen tree?

Lying under a tree, a good friend read 'Binsey Poplars' to me when I was 18. He was cute!

First Post of the Day

We all have blind spots. Whoops - there I go again making assumptions for which I can offer no evidence. Back in the days of educational yore, I would have been 'slapped down' for my posit. Please allow me to re-write my opening sentence.

In my experience, most of us have blind spots. I have one about the writers Thomas Keneally ( Schindler's Ark') & William Styron ( 'Sophie's Choice'). Sometimes I mix their work up but worst of all, I occasionally morph them into one writer!!

I'm telling you this because I've just been listening to Thomas Keneally being interviewed on 'Desert Island Discs'. ( BBC Radio 4 is one of our national treasures & it's quite literally in the background of my life because I listen to it all day, every day.) Aha, I thought, he'll talk about 'Darkness Visible'. It took about 30 seconds before the light dawned & I realised that, once again, I'd mixed them up.

'Darkness Visible' by William Styron & not Thomas Keneally is a window which looks into the experience of depression. I'm certain that I'm responsible for a fair sized slice of royalites because I buy a copy of this book, lend it to a friend & never see it back again. This is one of those books that I'm delighted to lend on a permanent basis. It's a bell that rings true - it's a bell that sings out loud.

My copy is packed away ( the bulk of my library is packed away whilst our house is being torn into shreds & as I live with a man who boasts that the only non-fiction book he's read is 'Lord of the Rings', I do get rather acerbic when I try to explain that, frankly yes, I do need to refer to such & such book) so I'm going to buy another copy because I want to read it again.

It's a joy to find a book that one can read over & over - one that will be a legend for the amount of copies which are borrowed on a permanent basis. Such a book is 'Just this Side of Normal - Glimpses into Life with Autism' by Elizabeth King Gerlach. It's wonderful - so pure & beautiful. I'm going to order at least 10 copies!

Elizabeth - thank you :-)

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Rockin' Girl Blogger award

A Saucy Set

I am a lucky lass! Jean has bestowed another award on me -isn't she just the coolest cookie in the whole wide world! So many good things emanate from Jean - Jim & Jean have souls which radiate a heady warmth & shine.

I haven't managed to adhere the button on to my blog - I'll work it out tomorrow when I let you know who my five Rockin' girls are.

I've also got a new entry to add to 'The Treats, Tips & Temptations Scrapbook' - something pretty to look out for tomorrow!

This is a tatty message to leave on my blog - it's devoid of all the usual Ditzey Daisiness. I hope that normal service will be restored tomorrow!

Friday, 20 July 2007


It had to happen. I do not dazzle. I do not have Margot Potter's wit, glamour, sex appeal & lustre - she's darn intelligent too & was born to write as well as sparkle. I'm not jealous because I love Margot - she works SO extraordinarily hard & when she's President, everyone in the States will surely sing with delight!! But she is a perminent fixture on Top Momma where as I reside under a stone at the bottom of Blog Land's gadren.

The reason for this despondency: I've been booted off Top Momma because I'm not popular :-(

Woe is me! Woe is me! Woe is me! Woe is me!

I was handed a copy of a new book today: 'The Dialectical Behaviour Therapy ( i.e. DBT )Skills Workbook' - looks good. BUT! The school holidays have begun. How am I going to find the time and peaceful lucid moments in which to work on this?

I mean no disrespect to people without children, but why do some of them assume that children play happily together & do not need tending & that processing laundry for two adults, two children & a Lula is a mind-numbing activity which shrivels your brain to the size of a walnut. Brothers & sisters hate each other at the top of their voices during the day, but glue together at bedtime & refuse to be parted. There's also the matter of trying to keep a household running in a building site. We've had one wall removed & another is partly built - please don't ask. Why did he marry me? What was it about me that attracted a man who would eventually fall in love with a mallet?

I squeeze in as much work as I can, but nevertheless, finding enough quality time for work is a problem.

I tend to work at night, even though it breaks my doctor's cardinal rule about a regular sleep pattern. If I work until four in the morning, I can take full advantage of a head that clears at about eleven at night. I can survive on short bouts of sleeps for quite a long length of time, but eventually I pay for it.

What a dull & dismal entry too - how bored you must feel! When you have such feelings or think you are approaching the end of a nappy soaked road, have a go at what I occasionally do. Try it for one minute & progress as required. Pick up or pluck someone ( or something) & pretend to waltz around the room with them. Do not attempt to do this in a supermarket though - the management will not comprehend.

When the brood are whining that I haven't done this or that or are in ' full-on whinge & whine mode', I announce that I'm a mere human being and therefore fallible. A short silence ensues during which, they try to work out what fallible means. Eventually they walk away muttering rather than whinging - I can cope with muttering - and then they start to murder one another again. The 'good enough' idea is a superb piece of advice which I gleaned from the excellent, helpful, and comforting book called ''Families & How to Survive them' by Robyn Skinner % John Cleese. The idea of being a 'good enough' parent is manna!. It's pointless trying to be a perfect parent with a perfect child - these parnerships do not exist. Why not experiment by aiming to be a 'good enough' parent for a while- it cures some of the wilder guilts that afflict a parent.

Top Momma & a Big Favour!

I'm a Top Mommma!

My photo has finally floated on to the front page of 'Top Momma' since I submitted it a full eon ago. Now it's there, I'd love to keep it there for as long as possible.

So pretty, pretty, pretty please, would you click on Momma for me? The more clicks I get, the longer my picture stays on the front page. I would love to collect a badge so will you help me?

Flamenco Fans and a knitted Bambi!

Today's treat is a delicious shop called 'Couverture' In which you will indeed find a knitted Bambi & Flamenco Fans. Come over to The Treats, Tips & Temptations section on the art of curiosity website & I'll show you a little more.

I LOVE compiling this section - there are so many cute things!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Treats and Temptations!

I've oomphed up the colour in this little annex & I've added yet more to my website in the form of a new section entitled 'The Treats, Tips & Temptations Scrapbook'. This is going to grow up to be a veritable festival of delights - I have a feeling that it might become addictive!

It's the heir to a page which has proved very popular on my website, namely 'A Few of My Favourite Things'.
If you haven't browsed this page yet, why not take a peep?

Here's a sample. I LOVE these plates! They're melamine so they're child friendly. Would you like to know who makes them & where you can buy them? I'll tell you tomorrow on the website :-)

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Sunday Part I: Schmooze Award

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

My dear friend & mentor, Jean Yates has very kindly honoured me with this award. Jean has taught me so many things & explained things to me which have never made sense until now - momentous things such as events in my childhood, being a mother & how to befriend bipolar. She is also a lady who knows what I'm talking about when I send her a letter addressed to 'Dear Shoes' which I eventually sign off with 'Love Hats'.

I'm hopeless at explanations which is why I continually drop links into my blog. These take you to other websites which are better equipped for these tasks. Follow this one today: Do you have the power to schmooze?

Queen Jean is the Empress of Schmooze. BJ (Before Jean) I would not have had the confidence to push along the Postcardian Quest to raise awareness of ovarian cancer. Indeed were it not for Jean & the amazing momentum she generated, I would have floundered and fallen to my knees within days! She produced contacts like bouquets & each and every one of them has a beautiful soul. Jean collects angels & they are her friends.

Let me now turn to the awards that I would like to pass on. Please allow me to quote from the award site. 'When it comes to blogging, schmoozing is your ticket to making new friends, getting yourself noticed and building a reputation.'

Emma Ralph
Hands up anyone who hasn't heard of Emma? No paws waving in the air? I thought not - I rest my case! Anybody who is anybody has heard of Emma. Emma keeps an enormous amount of jars of genius in her brain & amongst them is one labelled 'Schmoozability'. If she so desired, Emma could move a mountain. She is a force of nature.

Laura Sparling
If you've been unfortunate enough not to have seen or held a bead by Laura, please visit her gallery & goggle at her beads. Perfect precision - her work is astonishing. It is for this reason that people seek her advice and 'they come not single spies but in battalions', to quote Shakespeare (who, by the way, was speaking about sorrows & not espionage or warfare).

Laura must have one of the biggest mailbags in Bead Land because not only is she a Bead Maestro, but she's also a born teacher who writes in beautifully constructed sentences. Her Inbox must be packed to the rafters with people desperate to schmooze - that's what happens when you've built a reputation like Laura's.

I've known Emma & Laura for a long time. Recently I've had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of some more ladies who impress me with their intelligence, talents & integrity - surely these are prerequisites for schmoozing?

Sisters on Sojourn -Karen & Linda are two of my journalling heroines & their schmoozing is a work of art. They are the authors of 'Visual Chronicles' which just happens to be one of my Battle Books.

Jafabrit's Art Prams in trees, dolls which are not dolly, skunks, the theme from Austin Powers & a looooooooooong list of contacts. I like!!

Penelope Illustration One of the founders of Illustration Friday - need I say more? Actually I will say one more thing - I LOVE Penelope's work!

Clarice Bean is the ultimate schmoozer, but she doesn't have a blog so sadly I can't pass on an award to her. She confines her schmoozing to books & her website - nevertheless she is the belle of the schmoozing ball. In the words of my daughter, Clarice is 'awethome!'

Sunday Part II: Art Bead Scene submissions for July

The theme for July's Art Bead Scene challenge is Mermaid's Grotto. Here are the pieces which I’ve submitted.

Mermaid Netscape
Featuring polymer clay beads by Emma Ralph.

Kronos Crab
Featuring a focal by Sally Carver & two 'handmaiden' beads by Beverley Hicklin

Diving Belle Barbed Bracelet
Featuring art glass beads by Emma Ralph

Featuring polymer clay beads by Emma Ralph & glass nuggets & slices by Sally Carver

Sunday Part III: a Zimmer update!

Calling all UK Zimmer fans!

'The Zimmers Go To Hollywood' is on BBC 2 tonight at 10.00 pm.

I can't wait to see Winifred again!

Friday, 13 July 2007

'Warning' - JJ's poem for Winifred & others of her ilk

Everyone in the UK knows this poem so why we should all want to do these things, but overlook the matter of where we might be forced to live is a puzzle.

Jenny Joseph, please step forward & take a bow for 'Warning'.

I need some images for this. Back in a moment or nine.

Incidentally nine is my number - what's yours?

Red is my favourite colour so red & nine are totally sublime!