Sunday 30 July 2023

For Mum, With Love

Hello friends

Some of you may have noticed that towards the end of the 61 day index card challenge, I started getting more than a little antsy, waiting to move on. I was getting impatient to progress with one of the lessons that had popped up in the Nature Studio, which is the new name for Anna Mason's online art school.  Anna is still the teacher. 

The tutorial to paint a cocker spaniel popped up and I really felt an urge paint it Of course, this was in the middle of the ICAD challenge and it all takes time out of your day so when I found myself ahead on the index card challenge I started on the little spaniel portrait. So it's a spaniel, not the spaniel you were expecting.

I wanted to paint it to the memory of my late mother, who died from Alzheimer's. As a child, she once had a Cocker Spaniel this colour called Rusty. Sadly, Rusty died as a young pup from distemper, but she always remembered him and always loved him. So this one's for you, Mum.

Here's the Ugly Stage {it gets better. You always get an ugly stage to every painting. You just have to work through it}

Thankfully, on the second phase, we dealt with the eyes and nose.  It takes away that freakishly scary look on the first photo. I was glad that happened because I was getting the heapy, cheap piece working on it without eyes and nose. It's amazing what simple features can do to improving a piece.

The next phase involved enhancing some of the shadows, highlights and darker tints.

Moving on to the next stage, I realised I had overworked the bridge of the nose. It. looked very flat so that needed to be sorted out now!

which happened here, by lifting off some layers of paint.  That's so much better now.

It's really starting to come to life.  One thing I have learned is to. use my mobile phone to take many pictures as each. stage progresses because it helps you learn and also helps you to get a better view of what you've done

Almost there!  Just a few final details and careful tweaks to go.  At this stage, I have to be very careful not to overwork things and spoil the work I've done.

Time to walk away now, otherwise I'm afraid I will ruin it. So here's the final outcome. I hope you like it

Until next time
Stay safe, stay well
Debbie xx

Saturday 22 July 2023

A Fresh Twist with Kuretake

Hello Friends!

Here are the next seven pieces of the summer art challenge.  As there are just 10 left to go after today I will probably round them all up in one final post. 

A couple of days ago, I got some new paints by Kuratake Gansai Tambai.  The last couple of pieces are using these new paints, which I'm very excited about.






ICAD 50/61 off prompt

playing with new paints Kuretake Gansai Tambai

51/61 I'm still playing with the new paints today, but I took one of the floral motifs that I've been tangling with for several weeks and adapted it into a bumblebee.

The swatches show you the difference between the colours on white paper and black paper. I think they really designed to go on black paper more so than white because they really pop on the black.

I recently posted some family photographs on Facebook on a private page to which I belong. This has provoked a reaction in me now to write about. to write about the family dog. so in forthcoming entries, I will be writing about Skippy, the English Springer Spaniel. I have long threatened to write a book about his misadventures, of which there were many. Maybe it will become a blog instead. who knows what direction it will take?

Wherever you are in the world, I hope the weather is not being too unkind to you I know some of you are very near to the Canadian border and are getting smoke from the wildfires that are rampaging there It is so cold. I am almost on the point of putting the heating on, seriously, I joke not.

Until next time
stay safe stay well
Debbie xx 

Tuesday 18 July 2023

Heartfelt ❤️💕💗💓💖 With Love

Hello Friends!

I hadn't realised until my dear friend and fellow blogger, Martha Ellen whose delightful blog you can find here, mentioned in her kind comments on my last blog entry about the number of hearts showing up across my artwork lately.  Now I have a thing about hearts. I have a small collection of heart shaped items, mostly fabric, some painted wood, and some ornaments with heart shapes on them. Of course, as you know, the most important heart of them all is the sea glass heart I found and for those of you who don't know it, if you scroll down about halfway on this blog entry you can read all about it if you wish.

I thought I'd share a few of my small collection of hearts with you today. I hope you like them.  Some gifts from special friends, Some are. handmade.  Some I made myself.  They are all treasured and loved

A much treasured gift from a friend

A precious handmade gift

Hand painted by me

A CalicoKate original

Two papers WiP's for a bunting I'm making

Murano glass heart from my Dear Daddy

Random gift with purchase

Another CalicoKate original

Hand painted by me

Handmade gift

A 60th birthday card painted by me

Handmade Valentine

Handmade by a friend

Handmade by a friend

Handmade by another friend

and, of course, the most special one of all

At this point, I'm not going to even mention that I've had yet another photograph selected for the picture of the day on my local newspaper. It's beginning to get more than embarrassing now. I think I'll have to stop submitting photos to the Western Telegraph Camera Club on Facebook.

You may recall a few weeks ago I started experimenting with my cake flavoured range of overnight oats. Some of the variations I experimented with can be found at the end of this blog.  Well, just the other day I decided to experiment with baked oats. Ohh my!  have I discovered another something else delicious. and not particularly unhealthy either. They're really quite simple as well. I read a few recipes and here's my take on it.

Grease an oven proof dish. You can use butter, I used coconut oil.  Place one large or two small mashed bananas in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon, optional. Cover with porridge oats. Pour over enough milk to cover the oats and bananas. I use oat milk. Stir lightly try not to disturb the banana. Sprinkle over lightly with seeds. I used a milled mix of mix of sunflower, pumpkin and linseeds.  If liked, you can lightly sprinkle over with some dark brown sugar or drizzle with a little honey. But don't overdo the sugar. You can always add more later.  Add a small handful of berries of your choice. I used cherries. Finally, a light dusting of ground almonds or desiccated coconut, then bake in a preheated oven about. 200C. for about 25 to 30 minutes until hot through and the oats have absorbed the milk.  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or low fat yogurt for a healthier choice. Optional: sprinkle with toasted nuts and a little toasted oatmeal for some crunch.

I think it would work well with other fruits, such as apple, pear, peach, or mixed berries.

As I'm sure quite a lot of you do, I frequently throw my name into the hat with online prize draws. with reputable companies. Over the years I've won quite a few things from £200 worth of National Garden Centre vouchers to a £50 Lakeland voucher, a lovely hamper of Seed and Bean chocolate and a hamper full of olive oil and olive products to mention a few.  My most recent win was this, courtesy of and Salt of the Earth Deodorants.  It comprises. their latest narrowly and orange scented spray on deodorant, with a 500 ml bottle of refill for the spray, and a lavender and vanilla foaming hand wash. The prize value is over £40.00! I shall be well set for deodorant for several months now I am sure.
{Sorry for the poor quality of the photo, but my tremors are getting worse again}

Until next time 
Stay safe stay well.
Debbie xx 

Saturday 15 July 2023

Rose and ICAD Updates

Hello Friends

No need for explanations This is the weekly round up.  However, please see footnote with update.on my grand great grandmother's rose...






Until next time
Stay safe stay well.
Debbie. xx

Update on my Great Grandmother's Rose 

I have made enquiries and now have the name and contact details of the people who currently own the house where I grew up and where I believe my great grandmothers rose is still growing on the hedge in the garden. I have been told that they are very keen gardeners and are looking after the garden well, which I'm very pleased about. I will get back to you with a further update once I have met with them. I hope they will be interested in hearing a little of the history of the garden.

Thank you for all your wonderful comments on that entry, and for sharing the snippets of your childhood gardens and special plants too.

Thursday 13 July 2023

My Great Grandmother's Rambling Rose

Hello friends!

Well, depending on how you look at it, the weather has been cruel or kind. And a lot depends on where you live. and what you got from heatwave to flooding at the extreme ends of the spectrum.  We have had several days of torrential rain, and high winds coming in.  We needed the rain desperately and everything now looks fresh and new again. No doubt the grass will be growing at a rate of knots and greening up making up for lost time over the recent long dry spell. So will the weeds!  However, I could certainly do without the high winds coming in.

What all of this means is that the garden has not needed any watering. It also means that from this afternoon on it will probably be trashed when it is now reaching its peak of bloom. Well, there's nothing we can do about it, as they say. it is what it is. 

A few entries ago now. and on some of my other social media platforms, I hinted at a rose that belonged to my great grandmother Today is the day to tell you the story as I know it.

I grew up in a house with a very long, narrow garden. Most of the houses in my street had narrow, long gardens. It was the kind of garden tended by generations of my family and had provided us with food and recreational space for decades.  After my father had done the alterations on the house. at the top of the steps that led up from the backyard. there was a small concreted patio area. alongside another small area of lawn Not big enough for anything other than a deck chair. Then there was a retaining stone wall that was built as a rockery. The rockery was covered in plants like snow on the mountain. and various colours of saxophage. red, white, pink, and other similar small plants. I wish we had been a family for taking photographs, but we were not. This would have made my story telling a lot easier.

A narrow footpath lead from the top of the steps right the way up to the top of the garden. It divided, without fences, our garden from next door up. our side was divided into several sections. First there was a lawn area. which had a beautiful big bromley apple tree. and where my swing was located. Further up, was another small Apple tree. Some fruit bushes, including an ancient gooseberry planted by my great grandfather for my mother. There was a long patch. of land that was. cultivated with vegetables. Near the top was Bonzo's kennel. later to become Skippy's kennel. after dear Bonzo's days. and at the very top above the kennel was the hen house, which kept us in eggs and the occasional Sunday roast dinner. The dogs were trained gun dogs because my father hunted for our table. He also fished. We were poor, but we were always well fed.

Returning to the lawn which on three sides had borders full of flowers. The lawn was my Grandmother's domain with occasional. help from my mother. We didn't own a lawn mower I don't think many people did back in those days when. the lawn was cut, my mother used to do it on her hands and knees with the garden shears. It must have taken hours on end, Yet, I never remember the lawn being overgrown or too long.

It was along one side, on top of the hedge that divided us from next door down, that there was a beautiful pink rambling rose. It flowered profusely all summer long. A wall of pink flowers. It was stunning. This rose, along with the Bramley Apple tree. are the two things I remember most from the garden at my childhood home.

Now, as the story goes, this pink rambling rose was planted on the edge by my great grandmother. How true this is. I do not know. however, I will. turn 66 this autumn. and I can never remember a time when that rose was not in the garden. Furthermore, it is still there today and still flowering to day. I am not certain when my great grandmother died but I believe it was in the late 1940s. by my calculations that rose must be in the region of 75 to 80 years old. Even if the story of my great grandmother planting it is a family urban legend given that I can never remember a time when it was not there, it must be well over 60 years old. Would that be some kind of record? I do not know.

Time passed. the other afternoon, I was sitting in my neighbour's garden. Now she has a beautiful pink rambling rose. on her wall overlooking the road.  Often, when I have passed by, I thought. How like my great grandmothers rose hers looks. So naturally, it came up in conversation. I told her the story, For her garden overlooks my old garden. I asked her if she could see the rose I was talking about from. her the end of her garden. Not only can she see it, but it turns out her rose is a cutting from the very rose that my great grandmother planted in my old childhood home.  A daughter from great grandma's rose!!!

As you can see, it is full of the tiniest. perfectly formed pink roses.  It is spectacular to see. even now, when it is a victim of bad weather, it is still beautiful.

I have now come away from my neighbour's garden with a tiny rooted cutting from the daughter of my great grandmother's rose.  I know I won't be around in another 60 or 70 years, but now I can't help wondering, will these roses survive another half century or more?

Do you have any heirloom plants with a story like this in your garden? Maybe you've moved several times and you've taken a potted plant with you that's belonged to your forebears. just because you move house doesn't mean you can't take some plants with you.  I'm sure we'd all be interested to know.

Until next time
Stay safe, stay well
Debbie xx

Saturday 8 July 2023

Over Half Way

Hello friends!

Thank you to everyone for your kind and generous comments on my index card art on my previous blog.  I really appreciate your kind words and support.  It's not easy doing pieces of art, especially small ones. as there's nowhere to hide, and as my tremors worsen, there's more and more to hide. So heartfelt gratitude to those of you who took the time and trouble to comment. Thank you so much.

We're well over halfway now on the annual index card art challenge. Here are the current weeks pieces. If I'm honest, I've lost heart in it and this is reflected in what I put out this week. They're all off prompt, so I haven't included any of the details. Just the numbers for each one.  Hopefully I'll start finding a little more inspiration again shortly.








Until next time.
Stay safe, stay well.