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?

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Come on over!

I'm neglecting this place in favour of the postcard competition's blog so come on over & feel the warmth generated by 'The Postcardians.'

You can see photographs of the prizes here. I'm offering a set of earrings as third prize & guess what - you get to choose which ones you'd like out of a selection of four pairs. Please visit the prize page & have a closer look.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Say PANTS to Ovarian Cancer

How many times in your life have you been allowed to make a fuss? Once? Twice? Never?

Come on over to the blog belonging to The Postcard Competition because here you can make as much fuss as you want. Postcardians get to shout at people - it's true - though you do have to remember the magic words:

PANTS to Ovarian Cancer!

Come on over & show your support for

If I can help in any way, please email me at

Thank you for reading this message.
Jennifer xox

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

‘the art of curiosity’ postcard competition

Romy's Fork

Do you want to come out & play? I’ve arranged a little competition & it would be an honour if you’d join in. Please tell your friends because I WANT to give
Ovarian Cancer Action the full donation.

We women need to say 'PANTS to Ovarian Cancer!‘ It’s a silent killer. My mother mistook the symptoms for the menopause & by the time she discovered that it wasn’t, it was too late.

Don’t let it be too late for you. Check! Make a fuss! And let’s say ‘PANTS’ to Ovarian Cancer!’

This is the entrance to
the art of curiosity postcard competition Will you come & play?

By the way, yes, you have seen the fork before. Everytime I mention my mother, you will see her fork. It's one way of keeping her with me.

Monday, 21 May 2007

perusing commonplace books

THE Empress of the Sea Necklace

I used to keep a Commonplace Book - well I still do, but it's badly neglected. My grandmother kept one, but her books & diaries disappeared when she died - no doubt Grandfather had a hand in this. Volumes containing the printed word were spared & now belong to me, but anything handwritten wouldn't have registered as important to him and as he was keen, as indeed are so many men, on bonfires ( & the quest for a perfect lawn) I would put my money on the flames.

I differ - I would have traded in the print for the handwritten.

Whilst I was rummaging in my study trying to find 'Moments of Truth: Twelve Twentieth-century Women Writers' by Lorna Sage ( I've got my nose in Djuna Barnes 'Nightwood' - I like to do battle with it every now & then) I found my copy of 'A Gentleman's Commonplace Book' by John G. Murray. You'll probably be relieved to hear that I'm not going to bore you with tales of the much missed publishing house of John Murray and its connections with Katherine Mansfield, Byron et al, but as part of my '100 things to know about me', I'm going to quote some of my favourite quotations from this delightful volume.

1. 'Life is what happens while you are making other plans.' John Lennon

2. 'The advantage of being married to an archaeologist is that the older you get, the more interested he becomes.' Agatha Christie

3. 'If you have nothing good to say about anyone, come and sit by me.' Alice Roosevelt Longworth

4. 'Please don't talk while I'm interrupting.' Todd Rockefeller

5. 'A house unkempt cannot be as distressing as a life unlived.' Rose Macaulay

6. 'Facts are not born free and equal.' C.V.Wedgewood

7. 'Some callers can stay longer in an hour than others in a week.' Anon.

8. 'If you do not expect the unexpected you will never find it.' Heraclitus

9. 'He has not learnt the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.' Emerson

10. 'You must come again when you have less time.' Walter Sickert to Denton Welch

11.' There is less to him than meets the eye.' Tallulah Bankhead

12. 'The wider our experience the deeper our tolerance.' Anon

13. 'News is what governments don't want the public to know.' Donald Telford

14. 'One has to resign oneself to being a nuisance if one wants anything done.' Freya Stark (tell me about it)

15. 'We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all we really need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.' Charles Kingsley.

Why of why, am I always so entertained by the impolite ones? I guess it must stem from my hatred of interruptions. I invariably become irritable & impatient. I wish my mind was fleet enough for wit - God was handing out slug brains on the day I was created.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

'Beloved' by Toni Morrison

I am going to copy a post that I have just made on Jean's blog. I hijacked her blog & now I'm going to thrust this post in your face too. Please forgive my rudeness. I feel so strongly about 'Beloved' that I can't help myself.

Here's a copy of my post.

"Though I have meant to read this book ('The Girl in a Swing' by Richard Adams) for an eon, I haven't. I've just ordered a copy & I am eager to consume it.

A book that I go back to each year is 'Beloved' by Toni Morrison. I HAVE to read it. The emotional response that it pulls out of me makes me look outside of myself & towards the pain of others.

It is poetic - I think of the 'tree' traced on Sethe's back. Each time I read it, fresh imagery appears in my mind.

Jean, I'm sorry to hijack your blog - baaaad manners!"

I cannot add an image to this post. 'Beloved' must always stand alone.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

The Barbara Hepworth Memorial Hole

I've just posted a scan of this postcard on the 'pursuing the art of curiosity' blog & it's reminded me of one of the early disasters which occurred whilst remodelling, re-roofing, rewiring, blah, blah, blahing our house ( it's only taken seven years or is it nine? This year should be the last - I'll believe when I see it. Change that - I'll believe it when I'm in Italy next summer. Every holiday has been consumed by our house, but as soon as it's finished, I can go 'home'.)

OMD decided that he had sufficient experience to remove a wall light in the sitting room. To this day I don't know exactly what went wrong, but we ended up with a large hole in the wall. The plasterer was on holiday & had a number of other jobs to slot in before he rejoined us and so we had to live with this 'exciting' new feature for quite some time. I nicknamed it 'The Barbara Hepworth Memorial Hole' and stuck a make-shift plaque underneath it. It's not the only 'art installation' that we've lived with during all the renovation work that we've done over the years, but it's the one that has stuck in my mind.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Some Battle Books & why I use them.

An Elegant Wrist

Recently I've been asked about manic depression, endogenous depression and, for want of a better expression, crisis recognition. I'm an expert in only one area - me - so I will relate a little of my own story as well as a tale of the moment in which I saw a glimmer of light above me, even though I was at the bottom of a deep, cold & blasted hole. How can one be buffeted by ice cold, stormy winds whilst curled up against the brick & unyielding wall of your own personal pit? I don't know, but that's how it feels sometimes.

Some of you may feel that I shouldn't broadcast what I'm about to say, but I prefer to discuss it in the hope that my one voice will join the many who are now requesting that depression loses its stigma. So many people have themselves experienced depression, debilitating anxiety and other illnesses which bring on the dark night of the soul, but these conditions are viewed by many as guilty secrets. It is my belief that employers must reassess their response to mental illness - such a step would ease the lives of a vast number of people. In my opinion, such a move might also help to bring about an earlier recovery and possibly one that might endow the sufferer with greater resilience too.

So here we go. What is me? Why is me? What is wrong with me?

If you had asked me a year ago to describe myself, I would have said, 'mother, wife, daughter' and that would have been it. I did not know myself or recognise anything within myself. In my mind I was simply a series of roles and not a unified person. For a reason that I won't bore you with, I felt that I - my spirit - the essential me - had mentally died when I was 25. What remained was just a shell - a body - a thing. The professionals who have cared for me over the years haven't just marked me down as lacking self-esteem - they're fighting self-alienation.

During & after a conversation with one of the members of my CP Team last November, something began to change. I think I'm now beginning to 'read' myself & to recognise and identify some of the things about myself which may be useful tools to help me through the rest of my life. If it becomes a rewarding journey, so much the better. I would be happy if I could just say goodbye to the tortured thinking; if it also enables me to make the rest of my life a worthwhile experience, then I shall be blessed.

The CP guy I spoke to is really cool. He's down to earth, funny & full of common sense. He noticeably thought about what I said before asking further questions & he wasn't offended by my black sense of humour - in fact I think he enjoyed it. Sometimes he said that I flummoxed him. For instance, I asked him what was wrong with suicide - you can ask a vet to end your dog's suffering, but when a person wants to do the same for themselves, our society responds by declaring that they have lost their reason & sanity. He thought for a very long time before he smiled at me & said, 'You know, I don't know how to answer that one.'

He came to see me last November & I don't know why & I don't know how, but our conversation rapidly went 'off script' and we talked about a host of other things before he turned our discussion around to ask what I had wanted to do with my life before I hit an early & evil crisis that was unconnected with my troubled childhood. He listened to my answer. I had wanted to be an investigative journalist. It's my belief that most politicians don't themselves identify injustice - they're informed, but not insightful - whereas a writer can reveal & publicise an issue that needs to be addressed & confronted. This was the voice that I wanted to acquire - I didn't want power, but I did want to be a voice. Cool Guy asked why I wasn't doing this now. It took me a long time to confront the answer. I've lost my courage in myself. I have made it easy to hide from myself because I have appropriated blame & conferred it on to people & events that happened when I was younger. In other words, I am not using my early experiences to inform myself. Instead I am reinforcing the damage. By doing this, I avoid 'owning' my reaction to what has happened - instead I am caught up in the vortex of blame. But, as Cool Guy pointed out, this desire to hide & this lack of courage did not arise as a result of my childhood. I had actually emerged from my childhood with an ambition ( which is itself a measure of self-esteem) to write & report on what I had the courage to feel was wrong in the world. This could well have been a positive conduit. Suddenly I felt gripped - I felt that girl alive inside me. My childhood wasn't holding me back. I was not eternally cursed. Before my crisis, bad things had been stored inside me, but they had not overwhelmed me. They were not the trigger that caused my crisis though they did account for the unbearable flood that followed. Having been overwhelmed, I then became fearful & have remained so ever since. Cool Guy's suggestion was a simple one. 'Start with the girl', he said. 'Try to do what that girl would have done if she'd had the support that you have now when she met her crisis.'

That moment of feeling the vitality of the girl disappeared almost as quickly as it had appeared, but I recognised the taste of her freedom - she has reappeared on my horizon. I want to catch up with her. I can't go back & fulfil my earlier ambition, but once again, I WANT to do something of possible significance. I have to be careful though - I must tread carefully around bipolar. This is where the tool of creativity comes in. It's a mindful experience & it heals. I cannot change my thought processes without a lengthy period of careful work, but creativity is my balm & it also begins to feel like my future. If I don't manage to heal myself, I hope I will at least learn a method via which I can express my ideas & imagination. Either way, I hope to learn to be at peace with myself.

I need to scale the cliff faces of my DBT & CGT workbooks, but in these early stages, I am supplementing these tomes with my own researched list of 'Battle Books'. I should warn you that it's quite a long list and it's orientated to developing the life changing skills of mindfulness. It's been vetted by professionals so there's no quackery here.

The works of Nathaniel Branden

'Talking of Love on the Edge of a Precipice' by Boris Cyrulnik

'Fearless Creating: A Step by Step Guide to Starting & Completing Your Work of Art' by Eric Maisel

'Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils & Rewards of Artmaking' by David Bayles & Ted Orland

'The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Person's Path Through Depression' by Eric Maisel

'Visual Journaling: Going Deeper Than Words' by Barbara Ganim & Susan Fox

The fun ones are:

'How to Make a Journal of Your Life' by Danny Price

'Visual Chronicles' by Linda Woods & Karen Dinino *

'Twyla Tharp's 'The Creative Habit; Learn It & Use it for Life'

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain' by Betty Edwards - this book ostensibly teaches you about drawing but in my opinion, it's also a powerful course in mindfulness which is a key skill for people who suffer from stress, anxiety & depression.

'The Creative Licence: Giving Yourself the Licence to be The Artist You Really Are' by Danny Gregory. The latter's 'Everyday Matters' is a wonderful book too.

* To read more about Linda & Karen, head towards the 'Sisters on Sojourn' blog.

So there we are. A list of Battle Books that I thoroughly recommend.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Do you want to play the stream of consciousness game?

Romany Bracelet

This is a new idea - quite possibly a silly idea ( I rely on you to tell me), but I've started to compile a blog called pursuing the art of curiousity which is devoted to the images that inspire me.

If I'm stuck for an idea or I want visual stimulation, I have a big & beautiful Battle Book* at hand. If you want a book to keep a door open on hot, sultry days, then this stunner is the babe for you. I discovered 'The art of looking sideways' late last year. It was put together by the designer Alan Fletcher and though it is a mighty heavy tomb, I try to take it & my ubiquitous sketch book everywhere with me. When it's not travelling, it's yet another of the books that sit by my bed. It's perfect to flick through when your eyelids are drooping, but you're not quite on the edge of wanting to turn the light out. It can also cure brain whirr or brain race - I don't know if it's bipolar or just me, but sometimes my brain goes into a spin cycle. A few ideas or thoughts are reasonable & valid - the majority is garbage . T'was ever thus :-)

So why am I doing this? Let me quote from the 'pursuing the art of curiosity' blog :

No designer or artist can work in a vacuum. We need to explore - to enquire - to seek out those ideas & images which stimulate our imagination. The seeds of creativity require constant nourishment if they are to flourish.

I call this my ‘art blog’. It’s my intention to turn it into a collection of images or ideas that inspire me as I continue to pursue the art of curiosity. I will inevitably include some pictures of the jewellery that I’ve assembled because these pieces contain the art beads that inspire me. Each of the beads that I have the privilege of working with is unique, individual & original - a extraordinary font of creative stimulation. These are the qualities that I am searching for - not to copy, but to learn from & use as a springboard. Life is one long line of lessons.

When looking at an image, to get ‘into it’ I often play what I call the ’stream of consciousness game’. Reviewing these words is often interesting & sometimes surprising. Stay curious - keep playing the game :-) '

Today I've posted a picture of my mother's fork bracelet, but please forgive me for not playing the 'stream of consciousness game' today. Romy's Fork has been my motivator for many years, but I'd cry if I played today. However my entry for yesterday is there - go & have a laugh at me :-)

I am coming to the end now, but not before I ask one final question. I have lost control of my commas. Does anyone know what the New Yorker's policy on commas is today? It's the only publication whose rigorous editing I trust ;-)

* I have different sets of Battle Books to cover various subjects & situations that arise - do you have any Battle Books? What are they?

Monday, 14 May 2007

using 'the art of curiosity' to find feel-good books!

Lime & Lilac Rustic Neck Tease

It is raining - again. Everything is lush & green - too green. The only colour comes from a potted rhododendron. Each year I promise myself that I will plant bulbs but as the time for sinking them into the earth occurs at the same time as my seemingly seasonal blip, this job never gets done. As usual I say to myself that things will be different this year. I wonder.

Jean introduced me to Margot Potter of 'the Impatient Beader' and the 'Impatient Blogger' fame . She is lovely - like Jean she's a doll & I'll put money on her achieving super star status within a few years. If you have not yet treated yourself to one of her books I beg you to buy one. Likewise I urge you to have a look at any of Kathy Cano-Murillo's books too. Margot & Kathy's books are 'feel-good' publications. Even if you don't do any of the projects ( except you will because they're irresistible), the illustrations are fabulous & their prose has a deliciously inviting & witty air. It's akin to having a best friend working by your side. My good friend Emma Ralph also has this knack. Go to your favourite book store & look for all three of these ladies - I predict that you will be hooked within seconds. If you have a stinker of a day, run home from the office & immerse yourself in their books. The tension & stress will disappear in seconds - it works for me. I hope it helps you too.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Life in Lula Land

By now, I think we're all rather comfortable with the fact that my youngest daughter does not come from this planet. I’m told that she is a 'chip off the old block' meaning me. I feel a mixture of pride & fear when people compare our looks & characters. I wouldn't wish being me on my worst enemy. I have mental wreckage in my brain - the edges of this are not too sharp at the moment, but they have the ability to make my brain bleed. Also I now have to take medication to stimulate every neurotransmitter in my brain. Add this to the rollercoaster of bipolar & you will reach a total that explains why I loathe living in my head. I don’t want my babe to be like me. I pray that my children inherit the Dangerfield teeth, but that the majority of their gene pool is Dicksonian. Thankfully my imp seems to have circumvented all of this for she is the one & only, inimitable Lula.

It was inevitable that Lula & school would not form a partnership made in heaven and so it has proved. At this point I must add that Lula isn't an especially naughty child. She's just a little eccentric & as she thinks outside & around the box without spending much time actually looking in it, her learning strategies are a little different to the norm. She's also easily bored & that's the spark that lights the imaginative, rebellious flame in her. Lula has done a lot of strange things at school & for some extraordinary reason she gets away with many of her antics. Let me illustrate with some examples.

Last Sports Day was a hot one. In the middle of her first race, she halted half way down the course & wandered over to the table where her headmaster & the vicar were sitting and announced, 'It'th too hot for runnin around. Can I lie down?' There was a stunned silence followed by a stuttered acquiescence. All the parents were craning their heads to see what was the matter with the cherubic waddler & most missed the finish of the race.

At the final assembly of last year’s summer term, Lula was given an award. God knows why! Emma R has a good theory about this being a carrot. Anyway, a number of the local dignitaries were sat on the stage (once again including the vicar). When called up to receive her award, she was discovered to be wearing only one shoe. Her headmaster had said encouraging words to the other award winners, but he was so stunned by the appearance of this oik that he couldn't think of anything to say bar a murmured word of congratulations.

I’m going to break the habit of a lifetime & brag for a second. I need to give you a fact to consider during the next instalment. Lula might behave like a little devil, but she has the looks & rounded limbs of a cherub. If you’re casting a Nativity Play & you’ve got a child who wouldn’t look out of place in a biblical setting, it must be very tempting to nab her, scrape the grime off her face, untangle her hair, crown her with tinsel & tell her she’s going to be the Star. As the Star stands at the back & can at the first sign of insurrection be removed from the staging by an athletic teacher, Lula was cast in the part.

It started off so well. The vicar sat in the front row & I’ll bet he was feeling rather proud of the youngest members of his congregation. What happened next wasn’t too bad - Lula didn’t have to be forcibly removed from the stage. The audience did giggle but it was muffled. And I’m sure that the vicar & the headmaster had mentally prepared themselves for another public appearance by Lula Dickson; it would have been remiss not to.

Old Man Dickson was filming the tenth Nativity Play that we have sat through. I forget which stage Mary & Joseph had got to, but the Star suddenly perked up & immediately all eyes were on her. She had spotted her father filming her. There was a little eye rolling but frankly all of the cast either did this or went cross-eyed at some stage in the proceedings. However Lula’s favourite method of communication with her father was to give him the thumbs up sign every few minutes. And that’s what most people were watching. Lula sending her father messages that she was behaving herself & being good. I hope the vicar realised this.

This year her teacher is the tough, no nonsense cookie at school & I like her. Before Lula joined her class, Emma & I compared notes and wondered who would win the Battle of Lu. It took Lula's teacher about a term & a half before she finally admitted defeat. Emma & I both 'cheered' - in our hearts we knew which one had sufficient spirit & devious gumption to win.

Fortunately our little Lula has the mental equivalent of an old fashioned ring through a bull's nose. She wants to be a vet. She has never wanted to be anything but a vet. If you tell her that her maths homework will take her one step closer to her goal, she will apply herself with remarkable diligence. THIS HAS NEVER FAILED. Some of you might think I should have imparted this useful piece of information to her teacher at the start of her year with Lula, but to be honest, it's my key into Lula Land & I didn't want anyone changing the rules of the game. But enough was enough so I shared some of the shortcuts that take me to Planet Lula & things have been reasonably sunny ever since.

Lula does have a gem for a teacher because Mrs Elliott has not delulified her ( my made-up verb of the day!) For instance, occasionally the escapee from St Trinians comes home with her school cardigan on back to front. The first time this happened I asked her how long she'd been wearing it like that & was told ' Thinths thith morning ('since this morning' for those of you who haven't got a lisp). 'What did Mrs Elliott say?' 'Oh she doesn’t mind. She likeths me now I'm good.'

Yesterday a new Lulaism or foible sprang forth. I think I owe you a little background on this one. Until she went to school, Lula thought she was a dog. As she was Child Number III, I didn't bat an eyelid. Child Number I was treated like porcelain & I disinfected everything every single day. Indeed James wanted to buy shares in Dettol & Kleenex! Child Number II has spent most of her life living in a building site so until my third pregnancy reached bursting point, I glued her to me in the hip hold for fear of her stumbling in the rubble, but as there weren’t anything to disinfect, I grew lazy through laissez-faire. Hence my shrugging off the puppy play. (Actually I think it’s quite exciting to be a dog when you’re four. If you can’t be a dog or a fairy or a spaceman when you’re four, when can you do it? I refuse to rush my children through their childhoods - I don’t want the magic spoilt.)

To return to school. Lula hasn’t entirely relinquished her canine status though - she still uses the puppy ploy & I have a rather nasty feeling that yesterday she may have exercised her right to be a dog at school. The scoundrel came home with a black nose - during the morning break, she’d borrowed a Biro & inked in her nose! As yet I haven’t received a phone call from Mrs Elliott, but she may need time to collect her thoughts before tackling me about the dog in her class.

I just hope that the vicar wasn’t in school yesterday teaching his Bible Class. Hasn’t the poor guy suffered enough?

Thursday, 10 May 2007

interpreting roses

Ellie's Roses

I want to tell you a little story. It's quite cute so if you don't like cute, please pass over.

My daughter Ellie may only be 8, but she knows her beads. She can identify beads by Melanie Moertel, Laura Sparling, Emma Ralph & Beverly Hickin with ease. She enjoys browsing bead artists' websites & is desperate to play with the torch in the fullness of time. One day I may pass the bead baton on to her & make her my bead heir. The collection of art in my bead trays deserves an appreciative curator who will cherish & cosset the beads as much as I do now.

Of course it's not just beads that are stowed. There's the silver, Swarovski crystals, pearls & semi-precious stones plus the backbone beads that we all have to hand. What are our families going to do with our treasures? Should any potential heirs be reading this post (unlikely?), let me advise you that there's the bead equivalent of gold dust in our boxes & tins & cupboards. Call in the auctioneer & send the house clearance man on his way.

As is my habit, I digress.

Last year, she alighted on Emma Ralph's website & eventually opened the door that led to the Customers' Gallery. If you follow the link & look in the Gallery for yourself, the first thing you will see is a beautiful bracelet made by Jean Yates which features some fabulous polymer clay beads by Emma. You can also spot more examples of Emma's roses in Jean's entry for Art Bead Scene's competition in May (I've entered too. I'm forever copying Jean. I know I should desist, but I'm hooked on her ideas!)

Ellie was enthralled by Emma's depiction of roses & decided that she wanted to draw her own interpretation of the rose. She doodled & sketched diligently and eventually settled on the design up above. This sketch is an early example. She's firmed it up & it's become her trademark - Ellie has 'ellified' everything with her roses. Naturally I'm biased, but I love her roses & I've even taken to doodling them myself. Roses bloom throughout the house so thanks to Emma, via Jean, through Ellie to me, we have all been interpreting roses.

I wonder what the great man would think?

The rose as interpreted by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Monday, 7 May 2007

I belong!

Blue Prom Queen Earrings

This will be a rather teeny tiny entry because I've been adding comments to my previous instalment, namely 'the importance of a blank piece of paper'

I have some happy information which I would like to share. First of all, I'm delighted to report that there are now over 700 members of the
SRAJD scheme! Click on the link and there before you will be a list of artisan jewellery designers that you can trust. I'm proud to be member number 316.

I'm also cock-a-hoop about the fact that I'm now sitting in the Blogs By Women directory. I have been officially approved so rest assured that I'm not harbouring any insidious spam garbage or whatever it is that's nauseous in Web Land. I need to get away from the computer today & make some jewellery (I haven't made anything in the last 36 hours & I'm getting withdrawal symptoms) so I'll have to add a photo to my entry another day, but nevertheless you can find me here: click!

Photograph & jewellery design by Jennifer Dangerfield © 2007

Sunday, 6 May 2007

the importance of a blank piece of paper

I should be celebrating. I should be out on the town with a bottle of champagne in one hand & Daniel Craig in the other. The weather is perfect for fountain paddling at dawn! But alas, I am not the girl I used to be. My hot-to-trot party dresses & stilettos were bought at a closing down sale just before the Ark set sail and where as once upon a time I used to set the pace, all I want to do nowadays is to find somewhere comfortable to sit that is not in a draught. That last phrase is the killer. Caring about draughts is a rite of passage that everyone thinks they will avoid. Unfortunately it has the ability to creep up on one in an insidious fashion. If your knees start cracking when you rise from the ground, be vigilant! If you find yourself mentioning the damp weather & its effect on your bones, you are well on your way to developing a draught avoidance strategy. If this had already begun to happen, STOP RIGHT NOW & reassess your situation. If I may make a suggestion, throwing a cardigan away has an invigorating effect. It demonstrates your insouciance in the face of a draught. Insouciance can be very chic & flirtatious, so cultivate it. Buy that anti-ageing serum from you know where, inject a little insouciance into your life & voila - no one will ever guess your real age unless you leave your birth certificate lying around.

Now where was I? Why should I be celebrating?

I have finally finished work on the bones of my website. I’ve installed all the cupboards & shelves that I need for the moment. With the support of my mother in law and Old Man Dickson I have spent eight weeks working on this project from the moment I woke until the early hours of the morning. I had no idea it would take so long, but conversely I don’t exactly know what I’ve been doing all this time because there’s not a great deal to show for it.

So the end of this endeavour is the reason why I should be thinking of taking a dip & doing an Anita Ekberg - if only I had the right equipment!

Unfortunately I don’t feel like celebrating because I’ve fallen out of love with my website. I don’t like it any more - I’ve grown too ‘accustomed to her face’. I allowed myself to become obsessed with it & now it's pay back time. At my age I really should have learnt my lesson by now!

I miss assembling jewellery. I miss drawing. I miss reading books. Allowing myself to get obsessed is rankly dumb behaviour, but I have coaxed a little pearl of wisdom out of it. I now know why the concept of building your own website was invented! It exists to remind us of the value of a blank piece of paper!

You can make marks on a piece of paper & you can erase them without losing half a page of data with it. If you put a pebble on top of a piece of paper, you won’t lose it. Nothing freaks or is dumped - what you see is what you get. I LOVE PAPER!! It’s so simple & versatile and you don’t need a five year old on hand to show you how to do the most basic piffling task! You can carry it around with ease, wet it, dry it, drop it and tear it apart in rage.

I’m not advocating Luddism - far from it. I’m just saying that computers are the spawn of the devil if you allow yourself to be chained to them.

To move on...

So far I’ve only given you 5 things out of ‘100 things you don’t really want to know about me.’ I’m going to add a few more things to my list now & because I’m enjoying the renaissance of paper in my life, I’m going to tell you 10 paper related things. I bet you can’t wait ;-)

6. I love Ethel M. Dell (my laptop) but I still prefer to write on thick creamy paper.
7. I draw & paint & make collages with paper. Sometimes I make paper collages with paper I have made.
8. I have amassed a lot of cuttings. Two of my most cherished cuttings are the obituaries for John Peel and Spike Milligan.
9. I am a stream-of-consciousness list maker - read my lists & know my life. I can’t do anything unless it’s on a list.
10. I can make paper hats out of the broadsheets. I can do a ‘Wellington’ or a ‘Napoleon’. (I bet you know how to make these hats too.)
11. To date, I have never made a successful paper aeroplane.
12. I am currently reading a paperback called ‘The Deadly Space Between’ by Patricia Duncker.
13. I doodle on any available paper surface
14, I still practise my signature just in case I’m asked for an autograph when I’m a world famous writer/painter/Orla Kiely handbag expert.
15. If a card or something interesting arrives in the post, I use it as a bookmark for whatever book I’m reading. When I’ve finished reading, I leave the card inside the book - it’s a memory marker.

Have you had enough? I thought so. Well done for getting this far :-)

Photograph & design of Exotica necklace © Jennifer Dangerfield 2007