Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hearts and Flowers

We were well overdue for a change of picture on this blog, if nothing else.  Dare I say it?  The picture of Charlie in the snow was beginning to look unseasonal. Yes, I know, there's still plenty of winter left for more snow.

But on the other hand, Valentine's Day approaches and M reckons that if you start with midsummer's day being 21st June and then divide the year up accordingly, 14th February marks the beginning of spring.  It's a cheering thought.

Anyway, I'm celebrating this particular season with a new exhibition Downstairs at Cotswold Craftsmen, in Nailsworth. I've always done the silk-painted cards with hearts on and hearts have been one of the shapes on lustred mugs and last year I started making heart-shaped dishes and mugs and bowls with a heart design.  The cards sell out throughout the year and all the heart-shaped dishes sold out too, so it seemed a good opportunity to just go for it and enter the spirit of the thing.

You can't see on the photo but there is a lovely sugar-pink border of hearts on the poster.  What you can see is heart-shaped cut-outs of various work and this was fun to learn.  These days it seems that whatever you need to learn, someone has put a tutorial for it on the internet, and so I was able to learn about heart-shaped masks and produced the poster above. 

Last week was spent firing heart pots, making Valentine cards (of which more in another blog) and delivering to By Local, Gloucestershire Arts and Crafts Centre and The Made In Stroud Shop.  This week I need to make more general greetings cards and pack up for setting up the exhibition next Sunday.  Today, though, is nominally a day off and I'll be ironing and cooking.  And maybe dipping into my book on learning CSS as well ...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


This photo of Charlie, taken in January last year, has nothing to do with lists at all.  It's just a particularly nice photo of him, which I used as our Christmas card and which Heather kindly commented on in my last post and I thought I'd like to share it with those to whom I don't send Christmas cards.

Lists, though.  I'm feeling more like my normal self each day and today realised that I have a mental list of things I want to achieve today, which means I am getting back into the swing of things.  However, it's 10.21 as I start to write this and I haven't done anything on my list yet!  So I'm still obviously taking time out and taking life slowly, which is a Good Thing.

The downside of being more laid back is that I have forgotten to do something that I would normally have done as soon as I was asked, which is to write an A5 page of info for people who may be wanting to book the workshop I am doing at Nature In Art in March.  It annoys me that I have forgotten and it is No. 1 task on my list for today.  It won't take me that long and I really hope I haven't held things up at NIA.  It's the sort of thing I've always been very conscientious about.  Yes, I've the excuses of ill health and (non-)Christmas, but still excuses don't make any difference to deadlines, as I know too well as someone always asking others to send things to me.

This task was written on a list somewhere but because I am recuperating/chilling/getting a life I was trying not to be too anal about everything and making lists literally on the backs of envelopes, together with calculations of how much cash I needed, people's phone numbers and other bits and pieces.

I hope it's the only thing I've overlooked.

The subject of lists needs returning to later on, I feel.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years' Resolutions

I don't usually make New Years' Resolutions, mostly because I'm not very successful at keeping them. This year, however, I have made two and am quietly confident!

My first resolution is to Say No. Not right across the board, you understand, but selectively. It's something I was rubbish at in 2010 and I ended the year with rubbish health as a result of not saying no to whatever I was asked to do. My chiropractor, a very calm man who normally reacts to whatever he finds with knowing nods and quiet sympathy and little else, exclaimed "what on earth have you been doing?" when he saw my back just before Christmas. I hadn't got far through my explanation before he just said, "You've obviously been over-doing it." My acupuncturist told me a couple of months ago that she was worried I would just become ill. I suppose I was worried too, but didn't manage to extract myself soon enough.

When Christmas turned into a non-event because I wasn't able to make presents, buy presents, wrap presents, visit friends or family or cook properly, I made my resolution and I am pleased to say that so far I am sticking to it. To assist me in my resolve, I have told many other people, including, now, you, so I will look even more of an idiot if I don't keep this one.

My second resolution is to learn CSS, which, for those who don't know, is a useful web-designing tool which will save me time in building web pages and save the viewer time in waiting for those pages to download. I've bought a book and will work through it methodically. It's not the way I do everything but it is a method I've used to learn things before and one I like and it's the one I've chosen this time. Building websites is something I'm hoping to move into even more in the future.

To encourage me on my way, and because it would be enjoyable, I wondered today if I could learn to make heart-shaped masks in Photoshop. I had an idea for the publicity of my next exhibition, of which more anon. In the meantime enjoy, or not, the fact that I was successful.  More or less.  If anyone knows why I get a white dot in the middle of some of my hearts, I'd be very grateful for advice for getting rid of it!