Sunday, 19 January 2014


On my way home from my Mum's I decided to stop at the reservoir. It seemed a shame not to make the most of this beautiful day and I like to grab opportunities. 

Last summer the water was edged with vast borders of cracked earth, plant life had grown and the geese enjoyed the extra area to forage. But today the water was high. Underneath there was once a
beautiful 19 bedroom mansion that was demolished to make way for the reservoir.  It was a magnificent house with wood panelling and a moat. It is reputed that in 1605 Guy Fawkes met here and plotted to blow up the houses of Parliament. If walls could talk we would have to go under water, for the 700 year old stone walls were used to build foundations for the dams. 11 cottages and 2 farms were also demolished. How sad.

Today I stood on the edge and scanned the water. I saw a seagull and zoomed in....  just as I clicked I heard noise.
A  l-o-t  of noise.
I looked up and saw a huge flock of coots flying towards me brushing the surface of the water with their wings. I quickly repositioned the camera and shot fast.  The resulting image is slightly blurred, but I am happy with it. I have stopped needing to be picture perfect.  Photos should tell a story and this captures the instant my attention was drawn to the noise and the number of birds landing.   

And then, all was quiet again.

This post is part of Helena's weekly neme: ZOOM IN ZOOM OUT.  I love trying out different photography challenges and this is fun. Thank you Helena! 

Saturday, 18 January 2014


Have you chosen JUST ONE WORD for 2014? 

This is my fourth year of doing this and each time I have found it a powerful experience.  

First year was 'INTUITION'.  I knew it would be a difficult time one way or another and sometimes to sit still and just listen can be what is needed. So it was a good reminder to do just that, and I learnt that I can trust my intuition. It has made me more relaxed,
confident, and more self reliant.

Next came 'PROGRESS', and again, how well chosen. So many personal, practical, and creative projects were started. It felt much was in progress and I wanted it to continue and for it to be a positive year with some of these things finally coming towards completion. 
And they did!!
And so last year I chose 'TRANSFORMATION'. And TRANSFORMATION happened in many ways. I completed Julia Cameron's book 'The Artists Way' and I was really sad when the book came to an end. But then on the final pages Julia suggested to start all over again - and so I did. Only this time round I set up a FaceBook group and invited others to join me. We are working through one chapter a month and I love to hear about everyone's experience and journey. I truly believe this book has influenced and inspired me so much.

I also wanted to become more healthy and I set up another online group 'Fit For Fun'!  A year on we are still supporting each other, cheering each other on and sharing ideas and motivation.
I was more confident and motivated to try new things and here's a few more that I achieved through 2013:

I ran another mini-book class
At a retreat I was asked if I sold copies of the mini-book and received 4 commissions. So I stopped what I was doing and put kits together while I was there!
I made my first video and posted it on YouTube
Began a monthly neme called '5 in 5'
I sold handmade notebooks in a Gallery
I went canoeing, on a solo three day Road Trip,  had sessions in a Floatation Tank, tried archery, drumming, and meditation.
And there were so many other things besides. 2013 WAS a transformation! 

And this year? I am going to:   CREATE

Yes, this is going to be a year of more action. Things I have started will be continued or completed and I have other things I want to fulfil. But it is not just about doing
This is about me putting my heart into it!  I will be taking more risks and challenges, and more time to create the life that I want.
And so 2014 sees me:
Decluttering and making my creative space and home into spaces that I love and want to be.

Creating more space and order in my life.
Making more time for doing things I enjoy. 
Regularly trying new recipes and inviting friends round.

I have so many creative ideas. It's time now to bring them out, including new ones such as Documented Life Project.

And creating new adventures! I have booked a day sailing, it is far too many years since I last went. But this is on a small boat, not a large Thames Sailing Barge like the one I spent many happy weeks aboard. So it's an exciting new experience. 

I want to create structure in my day so that I achieve more. This means less time on Facebook and browsing the computer. I'm sure I am not alone in whiling away hours doing this!!  

And I want to create focus back into some areas of my life. For the past 4 years I have done Project 365. Towards the end of 2013 a few days here and there got missed and I wondered whether to commit again this year.  I have 1000's of photos saved on my computer and I have got out of the routine of organising downloads into albums.  It is now overwhelming and I want to create a routine to get back on track. I also want to share my 365 photos. What's the point of them just sitting on a computer? And while revisiting a post I discovered

Project 365 photos for 2010. And do you know what? I got a buzz of excitement seeing them, recapturing memories and seasons, and a whole year of photos like a diary in pictures. And I realised this is the inspiration I need to organise my photo albums. So I will slowly work through and add all my Project 365 photos to Flickr. I think that's why I lost momentum. I stopped sharing them. If you would like to flick through my first year they are here. I hope there will be more sets added soon.

And if you would like to visit my other 'Just One Word' posts, click on the words below for the link:

So, DID you choose a word for 2014?  If you did I hope it brings you everything that you want. I am planning to make CREATE into a banner or bunting to hang in my study and craft space.  Hopefully I'll be able to show you it soon. Thanks for popping by!

Monday, 6 January 2014

5 in 5 - MELANIE January 2014

Those who follow my posts might know that Melanie is my friend who lives in Australia.  She loves photography and enjoys taking part in this monthly challenge.... there is just one problem.  Melanie does not have a blog!  And so each month I post her photos and I love that we have found a way for her to take part. 
Thanks Melanie, over to you:

January  '5 in 5' and I was very excited to be able to plan to take photos back home. Yes I made it back to my home town of Adelaide before Christmas.  I planned for my photo shoot a walk in the nearby National Park not for the first time and now it looks like it is not the last time as the plan once again didn’t happen. 

This was because I also planned a morning of clearing out my ‘cupboard under the stairs’.  I’ll include an explanation of my ‘cupboard under the stairs’.   I do not have any stairs but I really wanted a ‘cupboard under the stairs’ one of those places where there is little space but you can throw lots of things into the little space.  So my husband partitioned off a slice of our big lounge and I have my ‘cupboard under the stairs’.  My daughter offered to help with the clearing out and it of course took longer than either of us anticipated.  We filled three and a half wheelie bins, two with recyclable stuff and one and a half with throw out stuff.  Fortunately a neighbour was on holiday and gave me the use of their bins.  At 3pm the clear out was complete and my daughter left me to put stuff back in.  That took me another hour and a half and left me with no motivation to take the drive required to the National Park. 

So my 5 in 5 this month is just down the end of the road by the sculpture that lives there.  It was a very windy day so splendid waves on the sea and the two trees one on either side of the sculpture where swaying from side to side.  So shots through the sculpture and shots of those trees.  Hope the rest of you enjoyed your January photos and I wish you all a Happy New Year.

I love the shape of the sculptures and the blue sky, we haven't seen many of those lately in UK!

If this has inspired you to take photos to add to this challenge you have until 25th before the link closes! It's great fun and this post should answer any questions or give any other information that you need.

Thank you to Melanie and everyone else who has taken part so far this month. Links for these posts are here. I'll be back next month with hopefully more photos from Melanie. 

Sunday, 5 January 2014

5 in 5 - January 2014 - FEELING GROUNDED

               Welcome to '5 in 5' where on the 5th of
               each month I post 5 photos that I have
taken in 5 minutes. 

When I woke to a crisp frosty morning I immediately had the urge to go outside with my camera. I didn't want to go far so after getting myself together I set off for the village church. It's only across the road and at this time of year bare trees offer a glimpse of the
church from my kitchen window. I am not a church goer, but I love the sense of community and to hear the bells. 
It is a place that is quiet and reflective. Somewhere I can gather my thoughts.  The perfect place for an Artist Date. I often see something that inspires me when I am there and this occasion it was Christmas garlands hung from a tree. It made me think of a photo a friend sent me. She had gone for a walk in a Scottish glen and had come across a small fir tree decorated with baubles. It was unexpected and she realised that something so simple can bring so much pleasure. And so next year, when she is home with her family at Christmas, she has decided to take some baubles in her pocket and to add them to the little tree.  And knowing how much I delighted in seeing the wreaths, I have decided to do the same.  I will find a small tree and hang a few decorations in hope that it might brighten the day of an unsuspecting passer by.   

The church is set on a hill, it is an imposing landmark and I love to see it in the distance as I drive home from work. It gives comfort and it has stood here for many years. Regardless of beliefs it central to the community.  A place where we celebrate births, deaths and marriages, as well as have flower festivals and open days where homemade cakes and tea are sold.  Once you could climb to the top of the tower on open days, the views were magnificent. It's likely that health & safety would mean this is no longer possible.  We miss out on so many wonderful experiences because we are overprotected. Life should not be without risk and some pleasure.

I once liked the idea of being a bell ringer but the commitment is too much right now. The chance might be there one day, when my life slows down and I become part of the village community again. I was once very active, on various committees and involved in groups and the village pantomime. Those were happy days. Sadly life has to move on.
I liked how the shadow of this bench cast itself onto the wall. The bench looks out over the hill across fields and to other villages.  A place where you can sit and rest.  Maybe I'll take a book there to read one day, or do writing. But today it was too nippy to linger.

Lots of the headstones are old and lichen covered. They are inscribed with names of those who have lived in this village, sometimes for generations. Other graves are marked with cast iron
Celtic crosses. Those are my favourites. I care little for the 
marble that is used today. It is soulless and I can not imagine the beautiful lichen and mellow aging that comes with these beautiful headstones. Cemetery's were once known as places to go to see wild life. Luckily ours is not kept manicured, around the edge and in some older parts nature is allowed some space. The grass is allowed to grow a little and there are wild flowers and insects. It is a place I like to go and ground myself. Interesting then my choice of photos for this "5 in 5". I did not plan a theme but sometimes things are what they are. 

Thank you for popping by and to everyone who has taken part so far.  I really look forward to seeing your photos and if you would like to join in this months challenge you would be VERY welcome. I hope this simple challenge will inspire you to get out your camera and join in. Here is the plan:

1.  Choose a location.

2.  Have your camera ready.

3.  Set a mobile timer for 5 minutes.

4.  Take as many photos you can until the time is up.

5.  Choose 5 photos to download and share by using the link tool.
   You have until the 25th of the month to add your photos. 
If you want to know more there are details here.

And one more thing - when you use the link tool, please click on your post title.  This will show the web address. Please right click, copy and paste this as your link.  This will take readers directly to your '5 in 5' blog page and be easier for them to find.
Thank you to those who have taken part so far. I have loved seeing your photos and hope you will be back with more. 

And don't forget, you have until 25th to post your link!

Friday, 3 January 2014


A Happy New Year to you!!  I hope it has got off to a good start and that you have good things to look forward to.

My head is popping with ideas and plans (as always) and today I am off work.  I considered a day of play and my dining room is raring to go.  Every surface is covered, left from card and gift making, unpacking from my last retreat and crop, and new projects. BUT - my urge was to be creative in a different way. I have 2 bedrooms and a cabin that have lost floors and surfaces. Believe it or not I am a home-maker, though my long hours of paid work leave me little energy or time left to have the home I want and once had. They have become dumping ground for everything we don't know where to put. And so this morning instead of surrounding myself with paper and glue and pretty things I have rolled up my sleeves and waded in to the small bedroom.  There are so many books I don't know what to do with. Many are my children's, once much loved and fondly remembered. I kept them for grand children but they too have so many books. I can be grateful for this love being passed on but they also do not have room for more. And so I need to make big decisions, what to keep, pass on, or take to charity shops. And if it were just books, perhaps the room would not be so cluttered. But I also have my Dad's LP's and other treasured belongings. Most we have parted with, but some are hard.  He died in 2008 so it really is time to make decisions.

                            Eric Maisel

I need my home and space back. I need to tread slowly but I need to make progress this year.  

Eric Maisel
So right now it is time to get back.  It's not all work and no play though.  My friend Jill is coming round this evening so I have that to look forward to. It's always good to have a goal!   
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