Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Illustration Friday - Fresh

I was after a fresh approach to fresh...

This grew out of pen and watercolour but then got seriously mangled in a paint program.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Dining room - grubby walls?

Do these walls look grubby to you? That's what the agent we rented from claimed... But notice the horrible purple patch - something he'd promised to paint over in June 2004. This photo was taken 7 August 2005.

Fully maintained gardens?

Would you consider these well-maintained? This was the state of the gardens of the cottage we were renting from April 2004 - August 2005. They were advertised as fully maintained.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Reading - Tears & Crow

Shaman-Ka-Ro-Li's reading (above) looks like it is for me and for a friend.
The cards used are all from the Wild Spirit Tarot and except one circular card from the Oracle of the Dreamtime.
The Wild Spirit's major arcana come with long stories, and the minor with shorter ones. I have had to be very selective in which bits to use here.

The centre card is Tears which indicates an emotional release. On top of it is Crow, in this situation it is asking:

What are the "exchange rates"? Are they fair, or is there something there which could backfire?

The Crow is on top as this is the apparent situation. What we think we are facing. But under it is the need for emotional acceptance and release.

SE: Ancestors - 17 Source - Connection
S: Emotions - 8 of Earth - The Trap
SW: Self-image - 6 of Air - Dawn Chorus
W: Physical - 9 of Air - Soaring
NW: Karma - 5 of Fire - Blaze
N: Thought - 13 Rebirth - Spirit of Change
NE: Constraints - Page of Earth - Jack-in-the-Green
E: Spirit - 19 Sky Dancer - Morning Star

SE: Ancestors - 17 Source - Connection

The card depicts a pregnant woman connecting above and below. The story is about connecting to source. In the story the need to allow oneself to cry is mentioned.

Its message for this reading is:

If we do not fix our own spirit's damage, then we act as broken conductors for the energy, putting out random and confused messages into the world.

S: Emotions - 8 of Earth - The Trap

The card depicts a rather jolly pirate (Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow?) and a person bound to a post. There is treasure here too!

The message is of falling into a trap of ones own making. Held hostage by one's own foolish oversight. As this is in the position of the emotions, it is some emotion that needs to be untied, released. And then there is all that treasure which could be discovered. The need for an emotional release ties in with the central Wild Spirit card of Tears.

SW: Self-image - 6 of Air - Dawn Chorus

The card depicts a mother and daughter playing recorders, a bird singing and a wild spirit piping, all as the sun rises.

The message is that all play their own different songs.

W: Physical - 9 of Air - Soaring

The card is of seagulls soaring with Wild Spirits hanging on to get lifts into the air.

The message of being where one belongs, of mastering the art of living, despite the freeloaders. Finding freedom in being oneself and accepting one's own voice (seagulls have harsh voices).

NW: Karma - 5 of Fire - Blaze

A card of sheer heat and light.

Those who hang their heads or are unwilling to be changed and transformed into Beings of Light - they will feel my full burning heat. Their dreams will become ash, their will shall turn to dust and all they have stood for will crumble.

A karmic card indeed. This is a time of challenge and transformation. It is not a time of ease!

N: Thought - 13 Rebirth - Spirit of Change

And here is the card of transformation. A wizard holds a child and a rabbit sits in the magician's hat. Bones lie in front of the hat. The place they are in is decorated in black and white.

This is the card that is Death in standard Tarot. The end of a cycle. A time of traumatic change, the trauma will be less the more you accept that change is indeed part of life and that life as we know it only emerges from change.

NE: Constraints - Page of Earth - Jack-in-the-Green

The green man and his shadow dance around a camp fire.

And here is the pirate again, Jack Sparrow! Pirates of the Caribbean had a message of freedom and adventure. But even Jack Sparrow had to sit in prison for a while...

E: Spirit - 19 Sky Dancer - Morning Star

Are you willing to spring out of bed today and open your own curtains with a renewed sense of vigour and purpose? Let there be light!


This is a tough time, there is no denying it. The best way to ride the currents, like the seagulls, is to accept one's own voice, one's self, whether your being meets the world's apparent standards of beauty or not.

Let yourself cry. Let the repressed emotions out. Accept them as your own and then let them go.

Rejoice in the light, sing and let the light pour through you. Be yourself as you are; not as others would have you, or as you assume they would.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Collage from my new journal

These are 3 details from my first double-spread of collage in my new journal.

And this is another which I may yet work on further:

Sunday, September 18, 2005

New blank journal

JournalI felt so inspired by these journals that I made a blank journal today. I found various suggestions for how to make them but gave glue a miss and used gaffer tape instead which I've covered in prettier sticky paper. The finished journal's pages are not quite 11" x just over 15". So a double page spread is almost 22" x 15" ish.

Friday, September 16, 2005


The first non-sparkling wine we've both liked.
The label says:


Indicazione Geografica Tipica

Got this from Bottom's Up last week on their 3 for 2 (cheapest free) deal.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Another synchronicity

Just a small one, again whilst reading Staying at Daisy's. Just as I was reading about someone recalling a dream, my darling suddenly started telling me all about his dream. Very different content so no deeper than that.

Lunch in Cafe Neo

My friend suggested Cafe Neo for lunch today and it was great - the chicken mayo panini, strawberry milkshake and hot chocolate were yummy!

She's looking great too having had her colours done recently and now I'm wondering about splashing out:


Monday, September 12, 2005

Cops and Robbers

One of the other exciting things that happened whilst we were in Blueboys Cottage was the day that there was a police chase through our garden!

What's more a camera was dropped in our rhubarb patch.

Later accomplices returned looking for the camera which had already been taken away by the police.

It was just a single-use film camera. I've often wondered what those pictures might have contained...

As I said before, so much for sleepy Cotswolds...

Zara Phillips

I just googled "Minchinhampton Blueboys" and was surprised to find that so many of the results were about Zara Phillips! She certainly was not to be seen on Blueboys corner, or if she was I missed her. The nearest I got was signing for a packet one day and noticing that she was next on the list!

I've also just looked at a page all about Minchinhampton which claims that it is the least accessible of the Cotswold towns - why then do so many cars and lorries go through it on their way to Stroud?

They don't go down the main street but they do whiz (despite the 40 mph speed limit and the cows) over the common and through the Blue Boys end of Minch.

Jill Mansell

I've read quite a few of Jill Mansell's books, I like the fact that she knows Bristol and the Cotswolds so her local details, even when ascribed to fictional places, are good and also familiar to me. But she does keep on making out that Costwold villages are all wonderful. After 16 months in Minchinhampton (technically a town but no larger than a village) I haven't got the same rosy tinted view that she portrays.

Minchinhampton's Cirencester Road is very busy and noisy. The cows roam over the common and the Cirencester Road in the summer months but this leads to angry motorists beeping. Which has no effect whatsoever on the cows who just stand there and stare! But of course it wakes up anyone still trying to sleep at 6.30 am....

And later at night Blueboys Corner seems to attract all the local yobs.

Not quite the sleepy Cotswold village picture drawn in Jill Mansell's books!

Synchronicity - Staying at Daisy's

I love synchronicities. One of the reasons I read fiction is that this often brings up synchronicities.

One of my friends rang yesterday to say that she had a brand new niece of the name of Daisy. So I wasn't surprised when I looked at my pile of books to see that the next one I was planning on reading (rereading actually) was "Staying at Daisy's" by Jill Mansell.

But that's not the interesting synchronicity. I was just reading chapter 13 where Maggie and Hector are interrupted by the doorbell ringing and as my eyes reached "Rrrrrinnnnngggg" - my own door bell went - I almost jumped out of my skin! When I got to the end of this chapter I was pulled up short again with:

"It was a b****y wonder she had any hair left, Maggie thought sourly as she signed on the dotted line."

I've removed the hair-pulling pictures that I'd put up - I decided I didn't need reminding...

Do such synchronicities mean anything? Probably not. Just interesting. And from now on I'll blog them! (How odd the spell checker didn't have "blog" in it!)

Friday's lunch

On Friday we went to the Primrose Cafe in Clifton. This has been one of our favourite cafes. He was as satisfied as usual. But I was not.

They do sandwiches and things along with 3 salads. The sandwich part was great but
I don't know what they are adding to their salads - maybe something with olives in? I used to love olives then a little over a year ago I suddenly went off them, and not just off but to the point where the smell made me nauseous! At first I thought I must be pregnant but I wasn't and it carried on. I'm not that bad any more but I really don't like them. Its funny but olive oil is still fine!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sunday Brunch

We went out for brunch and tried a cafe that is "under new management" on the Gloucester Road.

He had a couple of "pain au chocolat" but they were served cold - yuk! I had the "full English" with scrambled egg (not fried), tomato (not beans), white toast (not brown) and hot chocolate (neither the tea nor the coffee). This didn't look anything special but tasted good. I was glad I'd gone for a hot breakfast; yesterday the weather was on the cool side.

We are unlikely to go back to give them another go because the seats were very uncomfortable - made from metal and with tiny pads that did not cover the whole seat. They do have leather sofas and coffee tables - they looked like they'd be more comfortable to sit in but inconvenient for eating a knife and fork type meal. Maybe I'll go back and have just a hot chocolate and try the sofas out.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


The cards used in the reading below were:

Centre card: Australian Dreamtime Oracle

Others: Tree Spirit Oracle

Shaman Ka-Ro-Li is the persona I take on when I read cards - she's really good at it! I'm constantly amazed at the results. I did a few readings on ebay but found I was spending more on new cards than I was ever going to make on readings... however I did get some amazing feedback.

Other favourite sets of cards are:

The Faeries Oracle

The Shapeshifter's Tarot

I do readings to examine where I am now and give myself ideas on what to do next.


Shaman Ka-Ro-Li's reading on the situation we are currently in:

Quick summary:
Central issue - 24 - Brush Turkey - Revenge - seeking "justice" emotionally, not rationally
SE - Ancestors - 29 - Bird Cherry - needs of the body, physical state
S - Emotion - 60 - Eucalyptus - Self-discipline and frugality
SW - Self-image - 23 - Persian Ironwood - Source of strength
W - Physical - 11 - Availability of the correct information
NW - Karma - 43 - Thuja - Ability to maintain steadiness
N - Intellect - 31 - Red Oak - Basic Structures
NE - Constraints - 39 reversed, 12, 53 - Yellow Buckeye - Tuning in, Laburnum - Poison, Douglas Fir - Working with groups
E - Spirit - 18 reversed - recognizing influences

This reading is a warning that one must maintain the intent of justice and detachment, do not get caught up emotionally. It is not an emotional problem but it is one with a big game attached. Watch out, come out of the game! Justice will be better served by a cool head. This applies to all who are involved.

In the centre the Beech bottle with a feather in it represents the need to maintain control of the mind and the words. This reading is about facing the challenge of an eloquent opposition. Not all the others will pay attention to this reading... but if you take it on board and emanate detachment the others will benefit.

The card in the centre is Brush Turkey which is all about getting burnt up with emotion and acting irresponsibly. Use the lightning for enlightenment instead of destruction. Let the light show you the path and share it with others generously not maliciously. You will recognize your state by how steady you feel. Take time out and breathe - 1 - 2 - 3...

Ancestors are in the SE.
They say through Bird Cherry that you need to take care of your physical body and attend to the physical details. So don't just breathe but put your awareness into the very depths of your body - the Tan Tien.

Emotion is in the S.
Here we have Eucalyptus. Again the message is one of maintaining control. You will be able to cope and find sustenance through the self-discipline of being aware. Also this is not a time to comfort eat! Better to eat nothing and let yourself be purged.

Self-image is in the SW. The Persian Ironwood is a tree that survives in earthquake zones. Take on the strength and stability of this tree and you will survive this earthquake too. Remember that being grounded is the way to gain connection to spirit. Being lost in mental or emotional games is not.

Physical in the W. Hazel points the need for more information. Continue to seek more. In this case facing your fears and overcoming your anger will enable you to find out far more about both the matter in hand and yourself.

Karma in the NW. Thuja's image is that of weathering the storm. Your emotions are not the whole of you. Have you ever wondered how odd it is that a few words can change a person from happy to sad, or calm to angry? And that the words of a report may have a very different effect from witnessing the events for yourself. WORDS. This issue is one tangled in words at all levels. Stick to the facts and seeking the facts. Catch yourself pushing buttons and notice your own getting tweaked. Notice how easy it is to get side-tracked? Stop and back up. Keep on seeking the facts.

Intellect in the N. Red Oak is about basic structures. Avoid clutter and elaborate decoration. Stick to the bare bones. This will improve your focus and make your own communication clearer. Write it all out and then extract a clear argument. Find out where you need more information and seek it. Don't rely on telepathy!

Constraints in the NE. Here 3 cards came up. So this is a small mini-reading within the larger one.

Card 39, Yellow Buckeye, was reversed. Beware of losing contact with Spirit. You need to be connected to your sources of strength wherever those are.

Card 12, Laburnum represents Poison. Don't let it get into your system. Keep your distance emotionally. Without letting yourself down by running away.

Card 53, Douglas Fir. Working with groups. Working with others is easier if you maintain your respect for them - its hard to respect someone who acts in disrespectful ways towards you but rise above the situation, call in Spirit to help and guide you. And stay grounded.

Spirit in the E. The cards here is that of Maple and it is reversed. This warns of lack of self-awareness. Dark moods and potentially poor health too. Allow the mood to exist without becoming the mood. Notice the mood. Name it. Give your attention to how you really feel and how it is affecting your physical state - is your brow creased? Have you tensed your jaw? Don't look for people or events to blame for the mood, this is your own state right now. Similarly don't reach for external crutches to change the mood, everything you need to do that is available inside you. Go back to where we came into this circle (the ancestors) and read about breathing and awareness.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Treasure and maps

Last night we watched the Map Man (Mon 5 Sep, 8:00 pm - 8:30 pm BBC 2) cycle around the lake district on a 70 year old bike, using a 100 year old cycling map. It got me thinking about maps and what a great doll's skin one could make based on a map. I'm in the throws of designing a doll after realising that yesterdays images were the start of one. This picture is of my first doll made last year using the simplest pattern in Creative Cloth Doll Making (us or uk). In October I'm booked on a course run by Patti Medaris Culea to improve my doll making skills.

I looked for some good historical maps on the web but the images I've found are too poor to read clearly. But I did find a good site with ideas for making treasure maps with/for children.

Long ago I made maps by using footprints in washable non-toxic paints on interesting papers. Once dry I added in contours etc. in permanent black ink.

Treasure maps and buried treasure are exciting. What is it that is such fun about it? Solving the puzzle, digging for treasure, or what? The very idea that there are treasures to be found and then that one might have a (secret) map to it; this seems to me to be behind lots of human activities from science to religion...

Books I read in August - part 1

I read quite a few books in August. Here are some short reviews of them. I've also included links to amazon.com and amazon.co.uk for each, just in case I don't actually put you off reading them! See my website for my amazon bookshop proper though its not currently in a very good shape :-( only the knitting section is half-way done.

Laptop of the Gods (uk or us) - on the uk site its available for 1p plus £2.75 postage and packing - save your money! I returned my copy to the charity shop. But I did read it first. I like the general idea; the Greek/Roman Gods today but I found the whole concept of God as an operating system left too much room for Deus ex machina!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
(uk or us). I found this very depressing. I won't give a spoiler here but I wish I hadn't read it. I think JK was expecting the Tories to win the 2005 UK elections, otherwise why the hint of vampirism in the new minister for magic.... At least Harry seems to have got over the totally unable-to-communicate-teen-stage he was in throughout the previous book (uk or us).

Cause Celeb by Helen Fielding (uk or us). This was v.g.! The life of a volunteer in Africa has never appealed to me before but after reading this I could understand how Africa gets into people's blood. She wrote this before Bridget Jones's Diaries (uk or us). And whilst I'm on Helen Fiedling I was recently lent Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination [UNABRIDGED] (Audio CD) (us only - you can get it on tape in the uk) which I enjoyed listening to - worth borrowing!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Drawing on the imagination

Click on any picture to see a larger version.
Edgy Crime SceneToday I drew. First I picked some images and mangled them a bit; on paper as a collage and then in the gimp.

Stage 1I went on to make this drawing. I wasn't sure whether to stop with the first version or go on to the second, so using the magic of photography I got both.

Stage 2Which do you prefer?

If you don't like either that doesn't matter, its those people who are drawn to one or the other whose opinion's I'm seeking on this occasion!!!

Title: Shadow Boxing

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Hello from me

Hello, hello wherever you are
Hello, hello whomever you be
The rite of lines along the right lines and
or left

Saturday, September 03, 2005


This is an image I made recently at CFDG: Context-Free Design Grammar. I haven't done any programming in years but this was quite easy to get the hang of. And I produced lots of images that I liked too. You can see more of them in their gallery.