Saturday, 15 January 2011

Pay It Forward

I've seen this on other blogs today, and think it's a great idea.  

I promise something handmade or homemade to the FIRST 5 people who leave a comment on this post.  To be eligible, you need to repost this, offering something handmade/homemade to 5 other people.  The rules are that your make must be sent to your 5 people sometime in 2011.  Plenty of time to get inspired then...

I love the thought of trying to make something that the recipient will enjoy, even though it makes me very nervous...  Anyway, the genie is now out of the bottle, and I'm committed.  

Happy commenting!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

*Blushes* I am pleased to accept... first (and possibly only) blog award, which comes from the lovely and hilariously funny Carmen over at whoopidoo...ings, who has made me feel so welcome as a new blogger.  I am both deeply flattered and strangely pleased at the thought of rummaging through my past to find eight things that you don't know about me.  Although as I've only been blogging since September 2010, there are probably lots of things you don't yet know about me.

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I'll begin:

  1. I have a real love of picnics.  Give me a small bag of goodies, and I'll roam the countryside for hours in search of interesting birds, strange water features and additions to my collection of narrow boat names.  Even in winter, I'll lurk in the car with a sarnie and watch the countryside happening outside.  Give me a small group of ducks and I'll be happy for hours.
  2. I used to play the flute and piano and sing in choirs, madrigal groups, and very occasionally opera groups. I only remember that I had so many years of vocal training when I open my mouth now for hymns at weddings and the like and a very loud voice with loads of trained diction comes out. My speaking voice is very little, so I don't know where the BIG voice comes from. (Yes, former singing teacher Mrs C, I am supporting the note from my diaphragm, and using my nose to resonate...)
  3. The Cow Parade (worldwide gallery here) absolutely fascinates me.  I have several of the small beasts dotted around my bookshelves, and I love the full size versions. I am convinced one would look great in the garden, and if I ever learn to make an armature, I'll be giving it a go.  Two years ago, I found a herd in Vigo, and embarrassed OH by tearing around the shopping centre cooing over them.  
  4. I have a strange interest of anorak proportions in accidents and survival.  I could probably cite the flight numbers, causes and survival lessons of the majority of plane crashes.  Despite this, I absolutely love flying.  Side note here - I'll share my Roswell story at some time - now that was a white knuckle flight...
  5. Against my better judgement, I went on a (very cheap) two day cruise three years ago, and was gobsmacked to find that I loved it.  The artwork on the ships is interesting, the music surprisingly good, the food delicious, the people watching potential magnificent and you get to wake up each morning in a different place, without having to haul bags.  I am rather worried as to what this says about me, but from my experience to date, there are as many lovely and rather bohemian cruisers as there are those who fit my pre-existing stereotype. 
  6. I have a BIG BAD book habit.  I've been toying with buying a Kindle, but can't see that it would make me give up my shelves and shelves of beautiful books.  One of the attractions of moving to this house was the ability to have a library full of books, and we've now managed rather more than that.  You see, reader, I married him.  An author, that is.  And he's a journalist too.  So we have my books, his books, and his stock of books.  If books ever became illegal, they'd be round to ours first...
  7. The two books I would give my eye teeth to have written are Donna Tartt's The Secret History and John Fowles' The Magus.  What links them is a deeper meaning based on myth and legend, and a story that can be read at surface level when you are too tired to think much.  Plus an amazing use of language.  Imagine Donna Tartt's "nights bigger than imagining, wild and disordered with stars"...
  8. I've been blogging for three months.  I thought it might be boring, and I would struggle to find things to say.  In fact I've been babbling like a woman possessed, learned loads, laughed more than is becoming, and can't wait for more of the same.
Tagging the following stylish bloggers:
 - The lovely and talented Mrs A at It's an alien life
 - The playing card Queen (of Diamonds, if you consult Wiki) Rachel at katzelbows
 - Wipso (aka Annie), restorer of bears, feeder of pheasants and lover of poppies, at A stitch in time
 - Sue from the school of quick, messy, pretty (those are her words, I just say elegant) at Little Imperfections

Hope that was enough dirt, Carmen... ;)  It's certainly been fun!
Bernie x

Mr Laptop is unwell

Apparently he has a corrupt registry (which I guess can happen to any of us).  I'm awaiting advice from a friend who has infinitely more chance than me of knowing how to fix it.  Failing that, Mr Lappy will be on his way to the lovely IT guy for further TLC.  Mr L is getting a bit demanding; it's not long ago that the bank's "security software" *issues hollow laugh* gave him such indigestion that he had to be purged for three days.

I'm borrowing a laptop for now, but sadly this may be a picture-free zone until Mr L has received surgery.  It may also be a bad spelling zone until I get the hang of a different keyboard.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Playing Cards 2011: The Arden Oak

When I signed up for the 2011 Playing Cards challenge, I was determined that I was going to use this opportunity both to try new things, and to make a pack of cards that had meaning for me.  Well, card number one is now in play and waiting for the rest of its pack.  For more details of the challenge, hosted by Rachel at katzelbows, you'll find the linky button to the left.

I decided to go with suits reflecting the elements: earth, water, air and fire.  I guess I'm an outdoor girl at heart, and this was the best way to work in some ideas and themes that appealed to me.  First up this week is the Ace from the Earth suit, also known as the Arden Oak.  The oak is the symbol of endurance, as the lovely Quercus can live for a thousand years.

The Arden Oak, which is very close to home, is said to be the tree marking the border of the ancient forest of Arden, when a third of the local area was wooded.  Today the Arden Oak sits in the middle of a narrow road, in a little island all of its own, currently growing out a rather embarrassing haircut due to an overenthusiastic pollarding last summer.  I'm sure it dreams of the time when a young Will Shakespeare was inspired to write As You Like It under its shady boughs.

I chose some caramel colours, and a combination of the distinctive silhouette and the bole of the tree to reflect both the "heart" of the oak, and its longevity.