Wednesday, 30 July 2014


I have pushed aside everything on my workspace today because it looked like a mountain and I needed to get organised. I am starting to run Book Making classes this week and after making an example I discovered a re-love for those little wooden alpha stamps.  You know the ones?  They come in a box (usually without a lid) and they have a nasty habit of falling out all too easily!  But having decided I want to use them more often something needed to be done to contain them, so I simply cut strips of thick card and folded it over the stamps, held in place by an elastic band.  So that I can identify
the stamps I took a photo of each set and resized it to fit the lid of the box.  I then printed them out and glued them in place. 

I now have neat looking boxes and hopefully no more escaping stamps!I am ready to add to my collection so I printed an extra copy of the stamp sets to put in my purse, that way I might avoid buying

It's been ages since I last visited so off now for a browse at other workspaces and to see what others have been up to!     

This post is part of Julia's weekly sharing of 'What's On Your Work Desk?' To see what others have been up to why not pop over and see.

5 in 5 - And the winner is!

This month  saw the 12th post for '5 in 5' which means it is one year old!  As way of celebrating I decided to offer a giveaway to one of the contributors who have joined in, and looking back over the year it was lovely to see so many who have taken part regularly.  Thank you - it does mean a lot!  I look forward to visiting your '5 in 5' posts each month and I have decided to continue for another year.  I hope you will join me when you can and that others will take part too, it is simple, quick to do, and fun!  But lets get on to the important part - announcing the winner. 

I went through all the back posts and made a name slip for every contribution. 

I decided to make a short video of the draw and am feeling frustrated because I have sat here for a long time and I am unable to upload it.  Grrrr....!  

I will continue to work on this but
rather than waste time I announce the winner and it is:  MELANIE! 

The draw was fair and square so as Melanie has contributed every month without fail, even when going through a family crisis and on travels abroad, it is well deserved.  Thank you again to everyone who has taken part and contributed and I'll be back on the 5th with more photos. 


Monday, 14 July 2014


Today I am officially no longer in full time employment and it feels incredibly exciting to say this!  I have chosen to leave my professional role and this feels a huge leap of faith into the unknown with loss of  financial security.  
But it feels so right!!

It wasn't a decision made lightly and it took a long time for me to reach this point.  But once I got here handing in my resignation was easy.  One friend called it zeitgeist, a term I had not come across before.  But when I looked it up, I saw what she meant.  ‘Zeitgeist’ is made from two German words, zeit, which means time, and geist, which means spirit.  The push and pull between doing what I love, and love what I am doing, was becoming ever stronger. 

Because, yes!  There were parts of my professional role that did love and I am sad to leave behind.  There are things that I will miss....  BUT giving this up frees me to focus on other areas of my life that have been long time put-on-hold or neglected.  The tension between the two was ever growing............

And now there is a sense of liberation:

There will be no more regularly getting up at 5am
No more long commutes - sometimes sitting for hours in traffic
No more commitment and having to fit my life around work
No more push and pull

So what will I do?! 

Well, it has been my long-term dream to spend more time being creative and sharing what I do.  Back in March I took my books to an ArtBookArt fair and I was encouraged to arrange space in a local community art-café project.  But there was no point.  I didn't have time to make the stock to fill a shelf, and like other opportunities this had to wait until my situation changed. 

And so now I have arranged space in the shop and I DO have my work displayed and on sale!  It is a pop-up project and not sustainable, but at least it gets my work shown and other opportunities might follow.
But even more exciting!


Three classes are booked through August and I have also been asked to run Scrapbook classes, so dates for these are planned too.  I have been encouraged to take examples of my work to another shop and I have other ideas planned.  I didn't imagine that one door would close and that another would open so fast, but I am so excited!  Finally I have time to follow my dream. 

Financial security is important, we all have bills to pay.  But life is short.  I cannot be true to myself and carry on as I was.  The time feels right to take a risk and to follow my heart rather than my head.....   


Thursday, 10 July 2014

ZOOM IN ZOOM OUT - Seed heads

Today I am joining in with Helena's 'ZOOM IN ZOOM OUT' and as the name suggests you take 2 photos of the same scene.  I find myself paying more attention and sometimes find unexpected surprises.  I was spoilt for choice this time so I am including two ZIZO's ! 
These amazing seed heads were seen at Paycockes House, owned by the National Trust.  I may not have noticed their size if I wasn't looking so closely.
The seeds heads look so much smaller here!  They were drying in a beautiful open sided barn and I have posted more photos of the barn and garden here.
I took another ZIZO in the garden:

These are the seeds of a plant called Honesty.  How amazing that one side looks almost purple, and yet translucent with the sun shining though. They will turn silver as they dry... a seed pod of many colours.  They used to be popular in flower arranging once.  Anyone else remember them?
Thank you to Helena for this great idea, it helps me to see things in a different way.

And if you like photo challenges do pop over to here because I am offering a GIVE AWAY to celebrate the first anniversary of  '5 in 5'.


This month I am celebrating the first Anniversary
of my monthly neme '5 in 5'. 
Where does the time go?!  This started as a bit of fun to keep me focused and I have grown to love the monthly challenge of taking as many photos as I can in five minutes.  It has made me look at things differently, and I have loved some of the ways others have taken on this challenge and linked in.  Thank you to everyone involved, you have certainly added something extra and I have loved visiting your posts. I know others have too! 

And so I thought I would offer a GIVE AWAY as way of saying thank you for joining in, either by participating or reading posts (or sometimes both!).  This is how you enter a chance to win:

1.  Take part in this months 5 in 5 challenge and add a link here.  It's a simple challenge and details of how to play a long are shown.  You will receive 2 entries for taking part.

2.  Leave a comment below and tell me 3 of your favourite '5 in 5' posts. 

3. Share this post so that your friends can also be in for a chance to win.  Leave a comment below to let me know you have done this.

4.  If you have taken part in '5 in 5' challenges over the past year and linked in this will automatically gain you an extra point. 

So, you have a chance of your name being entered up to 4 or even 5 times !!

             You have up to 25th to add your 5 in 5 photos to the link
 and I will randomly select a winner on Sunday 27th July. 


Monday, 7 July 2014

le Tour de France seizes the day

After driving along the route of the le Tour de France yesterday and seeing the buzz on Face Book this morning, the excitement was catching.  So I checked details and travel and quickly packed the camper. The route actually came quite close to my home, but I decided to drive further afield to a small village, where  there looked to be easy parking.  As well as liking village atmosphere, I'd seen photos of a bike that had been yarn bombed.  I was told it would be on the village green and as I had seen this creation come together on Face Book I wanted to see the actual thing.  

Interestingly, despite copious warnings about heavy traffic, delays and road blocks, my chosen journey was a dream.  And when I arrived, even though in good time, the official car park was full but a farmer had opened a large field.  Perfect!

There was a buzz of excitement in the village centre and I have NEVER seen so many cyclists and bikes.  And no, these were not part of the le Tour de France!  Just cycling clubs and individuals who had come to be part of this amazing event.

I never did find the yarn bombed cycle,  but this one made me smile....

And then after much anticipation and trying to find a good spot to watch from, the race was preceded by the colourful 'Caravanne Publicitaire', led by a cavalcade of police on motorbikes and official cars.  There was a great atmosphere.

There was nearly two hours to wait for the cyclists to pass through but I rejected my plan to go back to the camper as everyone else stayed in position.  I didn't want to loose the chance of seeing the race and taking photos because I had a bad position.  As it was, I wandered around and found a better place.  And just as 5 helicopters overhead announced the cyclists were approaching I was able to squeeze into a small gap and had prime position!!  I couldn't believe my luck! 

And when the cyclists arrived it happened in fast motion...

I took a video but it seems to play continuously so I will try and sort out a better way of downloading it.  Meanwhile, please imagine the cheers and the excitement as the cyclists whizzed past!
Then they were followed by another cavalcade, this time support teams. 

I read that there are 200 riders, 2,000 vehicles and up to 5,000 officials and press staff.  It certainly seemed an endless stream that passed through, quite an experience and I was so glad that I made a last minute decision to go and be there.

And then it was time to go home.  But even then the bikes didn't stop coming, because the 100's of cyclists that had come to watch had to leave by the narrow lanes that lead to this village, along with all the cars and people on foot.

Me?  I sat in the camper and made myself some lunch while and led the crowds dispersed, and then I had a lovely  quiet drive home.  Perfect!!  

5 in 5 - MELANIE - July 2014

Melanie is my friend who lives in Australia and she loves photography. Every month Melanie has taken part in this monthly neme and we managed to find a way round her not having a blog by posting here. I love that we have found a way for her to take part!  When I began this photo challenge last July I did not anticipate that this partnership would develop. It was not planned but I am SO glad that it happened because it has added something unexpected. I am so excited each month when I open Melanie's email with her monthly photos so once again Melanie, a big thank you, and over to you:

I’ve just returned from a three week holiday and while we have been away there was lots of rain which could account for why the garden is so alive.  I thought it would be appropriate to mark the start of another year of 5 in 5 by taking photos in our garden which is where my first 5 in 5 began July last year. My photo on the top LHS is of marigolds which now seem to be overrunning the garden but I love them so colourful and weeds are no competition for them.  The top RHS photo is of the broccoli which has changed from a seedling to a broccoli head in the time we have been away. The bottom LHS photo is of our fish pond.  I love the way the palm tree is reflected in the water and the water level is a good indication of the amount of rain that fell.  The photo in the middle at the bottom shows off our new gates.  My husband has spent the weekend making them in the hope that they will keep the chickens out of the veg plot.  Then my final photo on the bottom RHS show a group of narcissus.  It is winter here in Adelaide but these flowers seem to have been tricked into thinking it is spring. 

As always Melanie's photos reached me on the 5th even though she'd been away travelling for most of the month. I wondered if her photos would be taken on a different continent - but Spring in Winter is good to me!

If this has inspired you to take part in 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 joined in or left comments. Links for this months posts are here and hopefully I'll be back with more photos from Melanie and myself next month. I hope you will join me!

This month is an anniversary - one year since the first '5 in 5' post.  There has been a lot going on here and no time to plan but I will be back with an idea to celebrate.....!

Sunday, 6 July 2014


As owners of a VW campervan we have become part of a strong community and this weekend saw us at a 'Bundle of Dubz'.  This is a familiar weekend activity for us, and I love the diverse group of people we meet and have come to know.  But todays event was marked by something else, because on our journey we discovered that we were driving along the route of tomorrows le Tour de France.  The cyclists will be coming through Essex and all along the route there were houses decorated with bunting and the stirring of excitement.  I couldn't resist some photos as we travelled and I may go and watch the cyclists as they pass through.  Last time we saw so many cyclists was at the British Olympics, when Haleigh Farm hosted the Mountain Bike event.  But back to today, here are some of the photos I mentioned:


Extra car parking has been set up as roads are to be blocked off for the event.

An elephant decorated with bunting

Barriers are already  in position, the arrows show the cyclists the route.
And as for the Bundle of Dubz....  here are a couple of photos I took.
No - this one is not in need of repair.  This VW is known as a 'Ratty'  and it is meant to look rusty and like this.  People go to great lengths to achieve this look!

In contrast, this is an iconic 'split screen' VW that has been slightly modified!  As the information below shows, it has been shortened by 4ft 10 inches but what it lacks in size it makes up for in engine.   I believe the photo below was taken at Santa Pod race track.  It's raring to go!!

As for our camper - it does not stand out like these. It was designed for practically, comfort and as an every-day vehicle .  It is a second home-on-wheels and we get away in it as much as we can.  And while we did not expect to be placed, for a bit of fun we decided to enter the 'Show and Shine' competition.  The added information on our entry said:

 'We didn't plan to enter, so no shine - just show!' 

Needless to say we didn't come anywhere, but it was a fun day made memorable by the le Tour de France route.  And it was all the better because it was unexpected.  I love it when that happens!

Friday, 4 July 2014

5 in 5 - July 2014 - PAYCOCKES HOUSE

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

I received an email from a friend offering me free admission to a National Trust property and not wishing to waste this opportunity we took a drive out to Coggeshall. It is some years since we last visited Paycockes House and our day turned out somuch more than we expected.  Don't you love it when that happens!  The admission also allowed us entry to Grange Barn which is the largest barn in Europe and looked the size of a cathedral. At the barn there was an impressive exhibition of tools once owned by a local Ecclesiastical Master wood-carver Bryan Saunders,  his work is renowned in churches throughout the country and in USA. I noted some are in local churches, so visits are planned. Also nearby is part of a remaining Abbey and a Mill House, so lots to see and do in Coggeshall.  And Paycockes House also has a beautiful garden - just perfect this months 5 in 5 photos:


I hope you are inspired to get out your camera and join in this photo challenge. Here is the plan:

1.  Choose a location.

2.  Have your camera ready.

3.  Set a timer for 5 minutes (I use my mobile phone).

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 below.
     You have until the 25th of the month to add your photos.

There are more 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
  Thanks for popping by! 
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