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?

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!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Power to The Zimmers

I know this might be old news but please forgive me. I have an irresistible urge to stand on my soap box again.

A couple of nights ago, I watched a repeat of ‘Power to the People’ which featured ‘The Zimmers.’ I’m sure you’ll have heard of them. I had, but I didn’t catch the documentaries when they were first aired on the television. Thankfully I was able to rectify this omission two nights ago.

‘Power to the People’ was a lighted hearted documentary with a devastating message about a sad & terrible story, namely the cruelty and stultifying boredom endured by the elderly citizens who live in this country. How dare we treat the elderly like this! How dare we shunt them into old people’s homes & allow them to waste away. Our apathy is a disgrace.

If young children were treated in this way, the horror & outrage in our society would fell the Government of this country in a matter of days. Bar a few protests, we are disgracefully unconcerned about the care of the elderly & the attention we pay to them & their needs.

We are going to get old. This is going to affect you and me and her and him. What are we going to do about it?

Of the people featured in the documentary, I particularly fell for Winifred who is THE most wonderful lady. She's a journalist, she’s 99 & she’s gorgeous! She does need a little help to look after herself and the only option available for her is to live in a residential care home. She's lived in 25 homes so far - she gets so bored because there's no one for her to talk to so she keeps moving homes! I can empathize with this. Can’t you?

Posing as a sound recordist with a small BBC documentary unit which was filming outside the Houses of Parliament. she managed to charm MPs into handing over their watches in the hope that one of them would lose the plot & have her arrested for stealing a watch. She wanted to publicise her belief that she would be better off living in a prison than in yet another residential home!

She has a point. She has a damn good point. Would an open prison be allowed to treat its inmates in the same way as we treat the older members of our society?

So Mr Brown, Mr Cameron & Mr Campbell -what are we going to do about it ?

Visit My Space to enjoy The Zimmer sound!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Postcardian Alert - more postcards have moved into the blog house!

I'm in deep, deep love with this guy who must surely be the coolest bird on Planet Earth. I'm going to look through Cathy's Gallery to see what other remarkable things she has created.

Three more postcards arrived today so I've added them to the Postcardian Blog Cathy, Heather & Roland - thank you very much!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

A gold medal for a lark!

This morning Lula announced that she couldn't go to school today because ' I have lothd my memory.' OMD was lightening fast & said she'd probably left it at school so she'd better go & look for it there.

This was a good effort on Lula's part, but I think James deserves the gold medal for his demonstration of mental agility at a quarter to seven in the morning. I rise from my bed at this time, but I don't actually wake up until the clock has struck nine. Indeed I have been known to sleep walk until ten!

Needless to say, I'm an owl!

Monday, 9 July 2007

Chain charmer alert

If you'd like to see Melanie Moertel's 'Dark Chocolate' set of beads, please have a look at 'The Power & The Glory' in the 'Hands Up' section of my website.

Her beads are SO cool!.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

'The Hug' by Tess Gallagher

I have a lovely poem for you today. It was incredibly hard to find a legible copy online & this is the best that I can find at present.

'But when you hug someone you want it
to be a masterpiece of connection,'

Isn't that perfect?

Friday, 6 July 2007

Alan Fletcher & 'The Art of Looking Sideways'

Today Ditsy Daisy would like to recommend two books by the graphic designer Alan Fletcher. 'The Art of Looking Sideways' has been my thousand page friend since I discovered it earlier this year & yesterday the substantial 'Picturing and Poeting' was delivered. How can I describe them? This article is helpful.

They're not to be looked at or read progressively - the idea is that you open them at any page you wish. They're rich with succulent ideas, images & inspiration. When I'm on an even keel I 'eat' books, but I lose this ability when I experience a blip. I'm particularly drawn to these volumes because it doesn't matter if your mind is in grasshopper mode - they keep up with you!

For the aforementioned reasons, I hereby declare that 'The Art of Looking Sideaways' & 'Picturing & Poeting' are Official Battle Books!

Monday, 2 July 2007

Will the world disintegrate?

Yeat's poem, 'The Second Coming' grows more pertinent day by day.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Are you ready for cute?

OMD ( Old Man Dickson) schlepped around the supermarket this morning & bumped into the cook at Ellie & Lula's school. On hearing the words, 'I saw your youngest daughter the other day' he mentally battened down the hatches in preparation for yet another list of Lula's sins. He judged in haste - the imp had actually been good.

Ellie & Lula go to the village school which is small & cosy. There is a stable door between the school kitchen & the dining hall - Miss Loopy is just about tall enough to look over the bottom section of the door. Mrs Ralph spotted the oik watching what was going on in the kitchen & asked if there was any problem; was there something she wanted? A drink perhaps?

'No fank you. My Mummy givths me a bottle of water every day so I don't need a dwink. Doeth your Mummy give you a bottle too?'

Mrs Ralph said no. 'Well I fink you should ask her for a bottle. You might get firsty!'

That's OK, but it's not the cute bit. This is. A couple of days after the bottle conversation, a little head reappeared at the kitchen door. What was the matter now? 'Did you talk to your Mummy - did she give you a bottle of water to dwink? You should never get firsty!'

It's not polite to discuss a lady's age, but I will tell you this. Mrs Ralph was very flattered!

The Postcardian competition draws to a close

Dance over to the Postcardian competition to see who will be wearing what. I wish I could have awarded everyone a prize - the Postcardians are a very special group!

Look around their websites & read their blogs - talent, intelligence & imagination are rife!