This is worth a look (thanks Laura) Scroll down to How Private Is Your Personal Information?
Have you heard of a reverse advent calendar?
Every day you put something in a box and on Christmas Eve you give it to a food bank or similar..
Nice idea for the children and not too late to start?
This outrageously over-the-top escapist gorgeousness is one of my favourite film clips.
What is yours?
I think the answer to many of life's big questions might be Sometimes.
Is the world a good place? Sometimes.
Am I happy? Sometimes.
Are people essentially good? Sometimes.
Are human beings warlike? Sometimes.
Six year old Scott answers many questions with Maybe or Perhaps or Probly and if you ask him to do something he doesn't want to do he says No thanks with a simplicty and charm that disarms you, and you find yourself saying Oh, ok then to his back as he walks off to do whatever it is he'd much rather be doing...
A book intruigingly called Happy. Why More Or Less Everything Is Absolutely Fine by Derren Brown is on my Christmas wish list. In it is this quotation from Rainer Maria Rilke's Letter To A Young Poet
Things are not all as graspable and sayable
as on the whole we are led to believe.
Most events are unsayable,
occur in a space that no word has ever penetrated
Perhaps this is why we have painting and music, and dance and ritual.
And why the candle placed in the garden by our daughter tonight on what would have been my husband's birthday says so much more than I can possibly say.
One of my ice candles broke as I tried to remove the plastic cups - they are very fragile. See original method here.
The answer is to use two different sizes of cup. (so obvious really!) This has several advantages. It is easier to fit leaves etc between the two layers, it makes a chunkier candle which you can briefly dip in hot water to release from the cup, and it lasts longer. Not quite as delicate perhaps but still rather pretty.
You can remove them from the cups once frozen and put them back in the freezer for instant use at any time.
I was so heartened by your encouraging and kind comments about my piano ambitions! Thank you! (And for the giggles in yesterday's comments.)
I was thinking about why learning to play Bach is such a real pleasure just now and came to the conclusion it is because it doesn't really matter. It demands a lot of concentration so takes me 'out of myself' as the saying goes. No one is listening, or expecting anything of me. There are no deadlines, nothing depends on my success. I don't ever plan to perform it and if I never learn to play another piece of music that will be fine. I will sit no exams or tests. It doesn't cost anything except time and and I only spend about 15 minutes at a time on it, sometimes once a day, sometimes more. It is purely for fun and just for me.
Do you do anything at all which is purely for fun and only for you?
If not, whyever not? And can you think of anything you would like to try?
Tomorrow - the new improved method of making ice candles...
It's always nice to chance upon a new blog you like the look of. I found Nib's End and the post about the price on the sole of her boots reminded me of the time at a family gathering - a wedding I think - when I was kneeling down to do something and my sweet daughter asked in a loud voice 'Mummy, why do all your shoes have red crosses on the bottom?'
Not red soles note (Manolo, or is it Louboutin?), but red felt pen crosses denoting reduced in the sales.
I pretended not to hear.
Another nice find -
£2.95 at Ikea. (Full price!)
I've kept this plan secret till now. (Except I did share it with a 6 year old I know who is very non-judgemental and doesn't make comparisons. He is more advanced than me and can play Hot Cross Buns and Engine, Engine Number Nine with gusto and can also improvise.)
This winter I am learning to play Bach's Prelude No 1 in C Major.
I am starting from scratch. Absolute Zero. On a whim I swapped a painting for a piano. This book made me believe that even I could do this and I cannot tell you what a thrill it gives me to sit down and play the first eleven bars (which is as far as I have got....) There are only thirty two. :-)
I had a lovely time collecting these....
To make these.
Check my Studio page for news of the Edinburgh exhibition (under header photograph)
Lotta (click to read her inspirational post) mentioned a winter plan a few days ago and got me thinking....I do love a plan!
I will sort out my wardrobe, stack up some great reading, try out a new recipe for potatoes cooked in white wine and stock, make the house smell wonderful, move more, and try to be more sociable.
Here are some of the books I may re-read and I have quite a few new ones on my wish list, which, if no-one buys for me for Christmas I will buy for myself. :-)
(I always said I'd never use these silly smiley face thingys but, like exclamation marks which I am aware I overuse, they just do the job of setting the tone sometimes, don't you think?)
Here are the summer clothes I've only just removed from the wardrobe. Step one in sorting the winter wardrobe. Step two is to put like with like. Tomorrow. I was quite surprised to see several yellow items in there (though since I bought them I shouldn't be surprised). I find I can wear yellow in summer if I have a little bit of a suntan, but in winter when my skin tends to sallow/grey I look awful in yellow. Do you have a colour you can only wear in one season? Looking at the photograph I see I need to practice Marie Kondo style folding!
Will you share your Winter Plan - even if it's not quite deserving of capital letters yet?
Let's call it fun things to do this winter.. and I think I shall find a box and join Lotta.
I was up early this morning as Robbie from Tighnabruaich Gallery was picking up four large paintings to take to Edinburgh this weekend. He and his partner must have been up at six. I never grudge my galleries their commission - they work hard for me.
See more about the exhibition here and should you be in Edinburgh and visiting the gallery, do ask to see my paintings if they are not on the wall - Robbie will take lots of works and rotate them over the weekend.
I shall post them on my studio page tomorrow...(it's been a long day!)
A walk in the forest lifts the spirits. It's good for the body and for the soul.
The paths are carpeted with larch needles. Unlike the crunch of crisp leaves this makes for a very quiet walk. The snow remains only on the higher slopes.
Most of the trees are bare, but the birch and the hazel are hanging on to their leaves.
The elegant shape of the young trees shows up all the more.
It's a shame in a way that we almost always coppice hazel (useful wood, more nuts) when you see what a beautiful single stem tree it can be.
Do you have somewhere you can walk in nature?
And do you have a Winter Plan?
I had to add this shot of the view from the sofa at 4.30 this afternoon. It was so very beautiful (the photo does not do it justice at all!) The sky was pink and the snow was white, then the snow was pink and the sky was blue....I nipped outside for some logs and it was so ferociously stonily cold it was a bit scary. The birds were having a quick last feed on the window feeder but I could not catch one of them on camera - chaffinches, blue tits, great tits and coal tits fast and furious! You do wonder that they survive.
I hope you are warm and cosy wherever you are tonight.
..You've eaten all the pears!
Now I can turn the plate over and show you the marks.
It shows a nude kneeling figure and reads Tulip 1790 K&CoB LATE MAYERS. Probably early 20C and influenced by the Glasgow school. You do see a piece for sale online now and then. I once saw a full dinner service for sale in an antique shop at a not unreasonable price, but I decided it was beyond my means at the time. I do think of it wistfully now and then....and then I just enjoy my one lovely plate.
And the pears.
There had to be one didn't there?
See it here if you have not yet seen it...
It's clever and says a lot about resilience and wit, but I can't quite laugh yet (as Hillary would say 'It hurts') ...I'll stick with the original thanks! See yesterday's post.
The death of a dear uncle is giving me pause. He died early on Wednesday morning and I found myself glad that he would not have known the result of the American election. Even at the age of 97 he took a great interest in politics, philosophy and current affairs. Hopping on and off buses with him when he was 96 I asked him if he ever took taxis and he replied, quite seriously, 'I will when I'm older'.
I will miss him, and am thinking of the ways in which he inspired me in order to build some of his good habits into my own life....
Thank you Cornflower (and John Lewis).
Were we ever in more need of some light relief?
Set aside all your reservations - too soon, too commercial (ignore the 'continuing story' bit for now) blah blah blah - and enjoy this full screen and with the volume turned up.
I've watched it four times.
Still quince. Still smelling sweet.
If you have a minute to say hello to a new blogger - the Lyrical Rambler - especially if you like facing new challenges, love France and/or have ever been an au pair (or employed one!) - I know Heather would love to hear from you :-)
We are lucky to have really good public transport here - if I could only master the timetables I'd have no complaint. A recent trip to Edinburgh involved a bus, a ferry, two further buses, and a taxi when I ran out of patience with timetables on the last leg..
It's the connections of course that are the tricky part, with such variables as summer/winter, schooldays/non-schooldays, schooldays Thu and Fri only/schooldays Mon - Wed only, Saturday only/Sunday only, Bank holidays/local public holidays, holiday service on Glasgow Fair Monday and Paisley Fair Monday (no dates!) departs from up the glen/departs the other end of the village, only comes as far as the next village 6 miles away at certain times of day (varying according to school days as above), The car/passenger ferry is very reliable - only ever cancelled in gale force 8 and above, the passenger only ferry (known as 'the bathtub) is often cancelled when the weather is poor. The timetable states - 'All information is subject to change without notice. Argyll Ferries accepts no liability for any inaccuracy....' This ferry links with trains to Glasgow if 'link' is the right word. Waits can be from only 8 minutes to 50 minutes.
Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project talks of trying to cure herself of impatience in trying situations by finding a calm response with for example a 'waiting in line meditation'. I think I must develop a 'waiting for bus' meditation and 'waiting for ferry' meditation!
..I thought, to look closely at the details of the charts on Seth Godin's blog today.
And to look closely at the autumn beauty all around.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)