Sunday 31 October 2010

Chairs and Dolls and How to spend Sunday

This doll is Victorian, and was on the Antiques Roadshow tonight. She was in this case as a display item and could not be removed. Her clothes are really detailed and her face is so sweet. I have not felt inspired to make a doll for a while, but I really like this one, and may be inspired by her. The expert commenting on this doll said that she was worth about £800, but she would be worth more if she was just the doll rather than standing in the case, as doll collectors like to 'cuddle their dolls'. I refute this assertion! Well personally anyway. I do like to pick them up, photograph them and admire them, but I draw the line at cuddling! There were also these chairs, which were perfectly doll sized. They were samples by a furniture maker, and worth between £700 and £1000 each. There were a few more but the picture I took was too blurry. Antiques roadshow is one recommendation for how to spend a Sunday. Especially a Halloween Sunday when the clocks have gone back and it is dark so early. I re- listened to a really creepy radio 4 play too, but other than that spent the whole day either reading or painting. Really lazy but relaxing.
These little dolls are from Greenwich market on Thursday-for a bargain price-there are eight of them in four matching pairs. I really like their simple shapes and have been painting them onto old postcards. I have collected loads of old postcards for this very purpose so am pleased to have done a few. The little chair was also from the market-a number of small plastic dolls house items were bought-one day I will get around to arranging everything in the houses.

I also made a crumble. I did not have enough fruit so it is a strange cakey/biscuity crumble-but tasty. My cooking tip is not the whole recipe, but how to do the fruit. It is from a couple of recipes I found and gives a toffee like taste. All you do is caramelise some sugar then cook your fruit in that. It makes the fruit even more delicious. You also add some lemon juice and zest. I also used allspice and ginger. I wanted cinnamon but we had run out. What the recipes do not say is that when you add the fruit, and juice to the caramel it will spit and hiss and some solid lumps of sugary brittle will be formed. It all comes out alright in the end though!
Here are the postcards. I love how the little bright paintings look, against the worn and faded backgrounds.

Do you think if I had to walk to work past this view of the Tiber in the morning, that getting up for work on a Monday would be any easier? Probably not. Isn't it lovely? I was surprised at the river-well the little bit of it we saw. Compared to the Thames it is so tranquil and small. It looks inviting enough for a swim-which I would not say about the Thames! Have a good week!

Saturday 30 October 2010

Happy Halloween

gif animators

Gif animators

Happy Halloween!

Shadow Shot Sunday

I have not taken part in this for ages and have missed it. I never seemed to have a shadow to show, or not on a Sunday anyway! I did catch a couple in Rome-this one inside the Colosseum-I liked the brick patterns. This is a shot taken this morning when it was really sunny here. It is of my lovely present from Anne and Malcolm-made by Malcolm from beachcombed finds.

This is my shadow on the giant paving slabs under the Arch of Constantine. They are huge and beautifully smoothly worn. It is interesting that the Arc de Triomphe and Marble Arch are inspired by this arch. Amongst other things-info right at the end of the wikipedia article. At least this one has not got cars whizzing around it!

For other shadows around the world, visit Tracy here.

Friday 29 October 2010


A huge wild beast, being lead into the arena by two small beast handlers. Actually, looking at it again, it looks as if they have knives. Can you tell I didn't read the information on this mosaic? Gruesome goings on at the Colisseum, portrayed beautifully.

There were women gladiators, which I didn't know. They were sometimes rich women, but they had to have the permission of their husbands. 'Excuse me dear, but I have a hankering to go and fight a lion at the arena tomorrow night. Is that ok?'
According to some of the books and information I have looked at, sometimes the arena was filled with water so that miniature naval battles could be staged. There are differing reports of how many people the Colisseum could hold-between 45 and 70 thousand.
I wonder how many thousands of tourists visit it each year. We got there early and so it was not too busy. By the time we came out it was though. The weather was really hot and summery.

Outside the building, you can have your photo taken with a gladiator of the modern kind. I just took a photo of them instead. I liked the one wearing socks with his sandals-you may have to enlarge the photo to see that. The SPQR which is on his banner, and which still appears on municipal prpoerty such as drain covers, means 'Senatus Populusque Romanus'-the Senate and the Roman people, and refers to the way the political system worked, with the different responsibilities of the people and the senate for voting on and passing laws.

Thursday 28 October 2010

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning

Our holiday started at this cafe, which was just opposite our apartment. It was so lucky, as we were early and the man with the keys was late. Where the buskers are standing is our front door! Delicious Margarita pizza! It is the perfect excuse to eat pizza, being in Rome!

Once we had the keys, and while waiting for Antony, we went for a little walk.

I love this graffiti. Not very professionally executed, but the message is good.

Later this graffiti man caught my eye.
He was opposite another cafe.
We were lucky to be staying very centrally,
and so there were lots of little places to eat and drink.

I don't know what this notice says, apart from the obvious word. Perhaps it says,
Be very careful when crossing the roads.
To cross them at all, even when there are crossing signs,
You have to force your way out.
Force your way out.
Keep eye contact with the drivers at all times.
Good luck softy English tourist!'
The people we met were all so friendly. But not the ones behind the wheel of a car! In the few very thrilling taxi rides we had, I noticed a habit in the Roman driver of making their own lanes. Where there is no lane, there shall be one! Vrrrooommm!
I do love seeing different driving habits.
It is kind of a boring obsession of mine, along with police driving programmes.

Our street, the Via del Boschetto, in the early morning, before setting off for the Colosseum.
I used a photo of the beautiful ochre painted and weathered wall opposite, as the texture.

This is our view from the cafe where we had breakfast. It had a great view of the Colosseum and the start of the Palatine Hill. We visited the Colosseum, but not the Palatine Hill or the Forum, so I definitely need to go back!

This building was what inspired our trip-Antony was up one weekend and we watched a great programme on the discovery channel all about it.

Birthday Giveaway Winner!

Random scan of a photo of my doll Julie to go with the random number generator draw! She had records that you put in her back, and you pressed her belly button to make her talk. She could walk-kind of-with a bit of help.

Hi, just popping in to do the draw for the 'This is London' Book

And the winner is!!-

True Random Number Generator


Number 21 is Liz! I will send the book tomorrow Liz if you let me have your address today!
I am currently trying to work-doing my books on the children-commenting on the photos and work I have stuck in so far. I am on book number 12 but Cassie has come along and sat on the page so I cannot carry on. So instead I thought I would do the draw. I am craving a glass of wine and may just have one once I have put my work away! Back later hopefully with pictures or ramblings or both!

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Roman Holiday

The thrill of flying, being above the the clouds, free from the ground, and the need to do anything apart from sit there and enjoy the ride, I love it! Rome is a beautiful city, and we saw lots in the couple of days we were there. It all seems quite dream-like now, as the reality of work and washing returns! I shall have a few Roman posts over the next couple of weeks so that I can relive it a little!

The Alps were just there, out of my tiny window. The scene made me think of Frankenstein -I think it was the picture by David Caspar Friedrich that was on my copy's cover. This is the one!
''The ascent is precipitous, but the path is cut into continual and short windings, which enable you to surmount the perpendicularity of the mountain. It is a scene terrifically desolate. In a thousand spots the traces of the winter avalanche may be perceived, where trees lie broken and strewed on the ground; some entirely destroyed, others bent, leaning upon the jutting rocks of the mountain, or transversely upon other trees. The path, as you ascend higher, is intersected by ravines of snow, down which stones continually roll from above; one of them is particularly dangerous, as the slightest sound, such as even speaking in a loud voice, produces a concussion of air sufficient to draw destruction upon the head of the speaker. The pines are not tall or luxuriant, but they are sombre, and add an air of severity to the scene. I looked on the valley beneath; vast mists were rising from the rivers which ran through it, and curling in thick wreaths around the opposite mountains, whose summits were hid in the uniform clouds, while rain poured from the dark sky, and added to the melancholy impression I received from the objects around me. Alas! why does man boast of sensibilities superior to those apparent in the brute; it only renders them more necessary beings. If our impulses were confined to hunger, thirst, and desire, we might be nearly free; but now we are moved by every wind that blows, and a chance word or scene that that word may convey to us.''
Keats and Shelley lived in Rome, in fact Keats died there. I think Mary Shelley lived there too-though I am not sure. I bet she would have loved the view of the mountains from above!

I will draw a name for the London book tomorrow. Hope all is well with everyone. I hope to catch up tomorrow too.

'' Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog'' by Caspar David Friedrich.

Friday 22 October 2010


The full moon with a halo effect around it. It comes out so badly on my camera, but you can see the colours-the icy blue and an orangey tinge.
Just to the right of the boat is an orange buoy. The same orange as the ball below.
I used the ball as the sun in this photo shop collage. The skeleton is a photo hanging from one of my shelves, and the cat is from a Steinlen picture on a postcard from Anairam.

A painting from ages ago, played with the other night. Are heads spheres? What is an oval sphere called? Is it an ovoid? Yes I think it is! The process of talking to myself has worked again! Linda at work is always talking to herself, and when I answer her she says so. She says that she gets the answers she wants to hear from herself!

We are off on our little holiday tomorrow. I will be back with news of it on Tuesday!
I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Thursday 21 October 2010

Morning Glory

7.45 brings beautiful light to the autumn tree in Forest School.
7.50 brings me a fallen rose.

10.45 brings the sun back out from behind the tower to warm up the playground again.

Thanks for the lovely birthday wishes. They made me smile.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Happy Birthday to Me! - Giveaway!

It is my birthday today.

To celebrate I am giving away this book.

It is a reprint of book from the fifties and is part of a series about different cities.

I really love the illustrations.
For some reason I am writing in stacatto sentences.

It has all the major London landmarks and lots of interesting characters.

To enter the giveaway celebration just leave a comment here, between now and next Wednesday-27th October I think. I will draw a name then!

I have been here, and had a lovely meal in their chop house. It is really old and has a great front room-you could be having a pint next to Dickens!
I love the swirlyness of this picture!

Cassie is greatly enjoying my present wrappings!

Monday 18 October 2010


'Circles within circles,wheels within wheels and wave and waft and time and tide and still we wait and comb and look and seek and the treasure beneath our feet sparkles as we reach to touch the stars.'

This was the beautiful comment on yesterday's post from totalfeckineejit.

It led me to discover THE CHARNEL ROSE by Conrad Aiken (which I think it is from-but if it isn't, it is still beautiful and it still led me there!) I am sometimes at a loss for words when trying to say how much I like something-using the same old words from my tired old brain. This leads me to avoiding book reviews-and poetry reviews-I leave them to the good reviewers. However, I will say that this is such beautiful poetry-it is magical, sensual, full of colours, mystical and just amazing, and I had never heard of it! So thank you TFE for leading me there!


'Against an orange twilight sky

The street lamp gleams like clearer fire,

The cold wind spills the huddling leaves,

And cold bells, in the sombre spire,

Shake the wind with a savage sound...

The street lamp gleams like a golden eye.'

'The full moon showered her silver down

Across the sea sands white and brown.

Silver leaves of poplar tree

Shivered in shadow by the sea.'

The visual imagery in the poem is so vivid, and makes me wish I could paint it all.

My next discovery was on Today's Gold. I visited Lyndy on my party travels-which I am still conducting! I love these sparkly bats!

Discovery three-that there are apparently otters living in every county in England-except Kent! How dare those pesky otters reject the home of my fathers-and mothers? What is wrong with Kent, otters? Why have you rejected it?

I am sure they are there really-they are just too clever to be discovered those kentish otters!
The last discovery for tonight is an exciting photoshop one. I am sure I am not the first to find it, but as I did so myself I have no qualms in sharing! It is how to turn a negative back into a photo.

Ages ago, I bought some old glass negatives on Ebay-I think they are French. There were a number in the set-I wanted the one of the dolls house, the one of a cycling man for my Dad, and the one of a boy with a clarinet as a present. The others were good too.

I took pictures of them on my light box ages ago-before the discovery of the magic of PS. I found them and was having a play, when all of a sudden, the indistinct picture of two women in the woods suddenly became real looking. When I did the one of the boy on the bike I was stunned!

Here is the process.

I always say Photoshop-but really it is photoshop elements which has slight differences.

1. Open picture.

2.Duplicate layer. (either ctrl j or right click-duplicate layer)

3. Either drag on top of the picture a pale coloured texture, (which you have first opened!) or click on the little half black/half white circle (adjustment layers) and choose 'solid colour'. Choose white with the colour picker. Then click on the drop down menu at the top where it says 'normal', and choose 'exclusion'. Difference also works but exclusion is better. You will then have a positive where before there was a negative! I will show you all of them soon, but for now it is bedtime-so just the bike man!

Sunday 17 October 2010

Sunday Beach Combing

B is for beach, bottle, boat, birds, broken, bright, billowing. All words that apply to things we saw today by the river. It was busy-much more so than normally-there were even other people on the beach for a while. The tide was really far out, so we could walk along much further than normal.
Sculpture on the shore-made of rubbish washed up there. It is a bench as well as art.

Bright orange sponge ball glowing against the strange coloured sand.

Part of a ship-at least that is what it looks like. It might be more boring and be part of a fence.

The beautifully named Sand Falcon, unloading its goods-some kind of ballast. Some kind of vehicle-part of the muck on the wheels was scraped away and underneath was very shiny silver coloured metal. This doesn't look as if it has moved in a while.
I am so looking forward to Friday-well Saturday really when we are off on our little break. This week is full of potential stress-I am trying to have a positive attitude to it all, but it is proving difficult at times! I hope everyone has a good week!