A little Madness in the Spring

“A little Madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King.” Emily Dickinson

It was with great amusement, that we have been watching some rather unusual behaviour from our neighbours. We observed neighbours exiting and entering their house under large umbrellas on a sunny day, a business man, whirling his suit jacket wildly above his head, people ducking and weaving, a woman holding a clipboard on her head and my father, visiting with magazines atop his head.

It was all very funny, until, the swooping magpie parents, turned their attention to our side of the street. Going out to check the mail box has become a thrill seeking adventure. You cast your eyes about, then swiftly run to the mailbox. To your horror you hear tck tck and feel a brush of wings stir your hair. I now wear a hat to collect the mail.

In order to share my experience with you, I have been fairly brave. I stood photographing the magpies, standing my ground, until the last moment, I ran shrieking inside.

2014-10-17 13.00.19

A magpie in our tree, with me hiding under the safety of our porch.

2014-10-17 13.02.35

Magpie pretends not to be observing me.

2014-10-17 13.02.52-1

Here she comes, I hold my ground.

2014-10-17 13.02.52-2

A blurry magpie but I was not going to stand and focus.

2014-10-18 13.13.58 baby 2

Hidden safely in the shrubbery, the prince or princess awaits their lunch.

2014-10-18 13.15.03 baby

Ah, lunch is approaching…



Advice of the day, just revel in it

When I was younger, I was far too concerned about what people would think. Now, I’m much less self-conscious, much to my boys’ embarrassment at times. Sometimes, they’ve even applied the label “weirdo” to me. Oh well.

I still wish though, that I could completely get lost in a moment, just revel in it like my Ruby does. Here she is, fresh green grass, spring sunshine. She just looks rapturous. I would have joined her if we weren’t at the Botanical gardens, with me in a dress, surrounded by people, one of whom was, my sixteen year old son….

2014-09-23 16.56.23 2014-09-23 16.56.39 2014-09-23 16.56.41

Owls in the Heart tree

Where does inspiration spring from? I sit and people watch in coffee shops, doodle in a sketchbook, or stare into my coffee, ideas start to form. Or perhaps, I might get inspired leafing through a magazine, or sifting through piles of vintage buttons and old aprons. Sometimes it strikes at inconvenient times, I often catch myself drawing in the steam from the shower…….

The inspiration for “Owls in the Heart tree” came from my beautiful Forest Pansy tree. In winter its branches are bare. Dark pink blossom blooms briefly in spring, followed by tiny, exquisite heart shaped burgundy leaves. In summer the leaves grow to the size of my hand, in autumn they turn yellow and softly fall.

I have been dithering about opening an Etsy (click here) shop since last year. But I have had a push from life. On December the 31st I am being given the boot, retrenched, made redundant, sacked, fired from work! No, don’t panic, I haven’t done anything wrong. Due to funding cuts from the government, the course I teach to young adults with mild intellectual disabilities is being discontinued. It’s a sad feeling, wondering where all my lovely students will go and I have been doing this job for ten years so it will feel quite strange not being there any more.

So, I have taken the plunge and opened a shop which you can visit by clicking on the Etsy Shop button on the sidebar. So far I have a few prints in there, but plan to add original paintings and soft owls too. I would love to know what you think of my shop. I know it is very difficult to make a living from art and craft but I really would like to try. Perhaps also having a part-time job somewhere else too will be needed, hmm but what kind of job? I’m tired of having a job where I bring home worries about my students, I’d really like to try something different. No ridiculous suggestions please, like the ones my husband has been giving me!

“Owls in the Heart tree”

Detail of “Owls in the Heart tree”

Forest Pansy in bloom

Spring has sprung

Spring feels like it’s been a long time coming, but finally, I can feel and smell it in the air. To me, one of the first signs of spring, is cherry blossom. It dots itself on bare branches, opens, and then petals fall like snow to the earth.

I have a lovely young friend Julia, whose favourite flower is cherry blossom. Julia is a  feminine girl who I love; having two boys I don’t get a lot of pink in my life. So here’s to spring and to pink in all its shades.

Cherry blossom for Julia

First sign of spring

Delicate Cecile Brunner

Vintage sweater

My great grandmother’s bowl