Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Let's go to Hindu Kush!!!

[I had posted this piece and then went to see what the Sunday Scribbling prompt for this week is. It's "Passion". Well - this post is about a place created by a woman with a passion for healing, creativity and bringing people together, and it ends with a photo that could be captioned "Passion", so this is my post for this week's Sunday Scribblings.]

Let's Go To Hindu Kush

No, not the mountain pass in the Himalayas. I called to see if you were home yesterday, if you were free to come with me to visit Jacqui's special place, but you weren't there, so I had to travel out alone. When I arrived, it was so quiet. No-one seemed to be at home. There was the owl that sits outside the healing space that Jacqui has made beside her home.

There was the amethyst goddess waiting at the entrance. And the welcoming wish tree was hung with crystals, chimes and angels. I peeked inside. The table was set for tea. The meditation space was ready - colourful, warm and welcoming. All it needed was people. And then they began to arrive. We shared coffee and scones. We were excited and happy for Jacqui to be hosting this gathering. In her living-room, people who had not yet encountered SoulCollage(R) passed cards from hand to hand, asking questions. I met therapists, artists, healers. We mixed and chatted, while out at the healing centre, a TV crew interviewed one of the workshop presenters. We got to sit for an angelic meditation led by Miffy: relaxing, calming, beautiful.... We got to see the angels that Kim makes. We shared a lunch of delicious home-made vegetable soup. It was a special morning. I'm sorry you couldn't be there. But I hope the pictures give you an idea of what a wonderful space Jacqui has created. - A space in which magic is always ready to enter. At one point, another lady decided to hop up to the kitchen door-step to see if we would let her join in. But, really, she was occupied with other activities, so we told her to stay outside until she was finished with her spring-time business! See? Anything might happen in a space like this. I feel blessed in having a friend like Jacqui, and being able to spend time there. I feel blessed in the old friends and the new friends with whom I got to share that morning. Wish you could have been there, too.


For more passionate Sunday Scribblings, go HERE

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Feast

Have you ever played a practical joke on anyone? If so, what did you do and who was your victim?
I'm so embarrassed to tell you the answer to this. Yes, when I was at school, one of my friends persueded me to phone her boyfriend and tell him that she'd had an accident and been taken to hospital. She was standing beside me as I made the call, and I really didn't want to do it. He was so distressed, she thought it was so funny. I really don't like practical jokes. Never again!

What do your salt and pepper shakers look like?
I'm embarrassed to answer this one, too. My salt is usually shaken from the plastic drum that it comes in. If not, it's in a really plain glass shaker. Not pretty. Utilitarian. My pepper is ground in a simple grinder which doesn't even match that salt-shaker. Must do something about this situation!

Where is the next place you plan to visit (on vacation or business)?
Well... during the Easter break, I've promised myself a writing retreat, and the plan is to go stay at a B&B in Wicklow for a couple of nights, spend some time in Dublin visiting museums and the National Library.

Main Course
What kind of lotion or cream do you use to keep your hands from getting too dry?
[Did someone plan these questions to cause maximum embarrassment to me this week?] I have a skin condition which necessitates two different medicated ointments for my hands. - One at night and one in the morning. During the day, when they feel dry, I use any non-scented cream, often Neutrogena, or Elave.

Make up a dessert, tell us its ingredients, and give it a name.
A layer of pineapple (fresh or tinned), a few scoops of banana ice-cream, a coating of rich vanilla custard. Let's call it "Mel's Mellow Yellow mood food"
- - -
If you'd like to play along, or see what others have said to these questions GO HERE


I'm a Movement!

I thought this was great, because the Impressionists have to be my favourite of all, AND because one of the things I'm most looking forward to this year is visiting Monet's garden at Giverny with my sisters in May. See what illustrates this? Waterlilies from Giverny!
You Are Impressionism

You think the world is quite beautiful, especially if you look at it in new and interesting ways.

You tend to focus on color and movement in art.

For you, seeing the big picture is much more important than recording every little detail.

You can find inspiration anywhere... especially from nature.

HERE's where you can go to see which Art Movement you are

Go on... you know you want to!

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday Scribblings: Sleep

......Before I Sleep

It is way past my bed-time. I should already be in the arms of sleep, but here I am, stretched on my living-room couch, a soft chennille throw around my knees, laptop resting on top, as I tap out the words that will send me, as soon as I've hit the "publish" button, to make my preparations for my night's sleep.

I'll wander the house flicking blinds closed, switching off kettle and microwave, turning keys. I'll gather the pile of newspapers that sit on my coffee-table and move them to the kitchen. I may pause at the study window to check whether the moon is visible tonight, and if it is, if the garden is illuminated at all, my gaze is likely to pause a little while at Trixie's resting place. Before I sleep most nights, sometimes silently, often in a whisper I will say "Miss you, Girlie".

I will do the tooth-brushing and the face-cleaning, gather my spectacles and mobile phone up, and check the front-door is locked properly before I move to the stairs.

These nights, my pyjamas are big, loose, softly-brushed cotton, in pale green with sprigs of pink flowers. Cosy, comfy, winter pyjamas. If the night is really frosty, I may take my ric-rac rainbow afghan and spread it over the centre of my bed, to add a layer of extra weight and warmth to the light and airy duvet that usually covers me. I am always glad to slip between the Egyptian cotton sheets that I love. They are cool at first, and smooth, but then as they warm, they offer such comfort, such pleasure.

Two books rest on the shelf behind my bed, one to write, and one to read. The reading is from a daily devotional book with Baha'i readings called "Nearness to God". My Gratitude Notebook (#7) receives a paragraph, or sometimes a bulleted list of 10 things for which I am grateful today. Tonight it will read:

Saturday, 16th February, 2008: Tonight I am grateful for A, for her travelling despite the problem with her car, for her determination to not let me down. I'm grateful for the wonderful breakfast we shared, and that we got to town to meet K for coffee. I'm grateful for the exhibition of photos we got to see, and the special book I found to take home. I'm grateful for the laughter we shared as we watched Ratatouille. I'm grateful for the lady in the art shop who cut the cards I needed at short notice. I'm grateful for the food I had in the fridge that allowed me to put together such a strange but satisfying dinner for us. I'm grateful for the happiness A has in her life, and I am grateful for her presence in mine.

I will close the books, return them to their shelf, slip my glasses into their case, leave my wristwatch on the shelf beside my phone, I'll rub some ointment on my feet and hands, turn off the light, and turn on my side, snuggle down into my wonderful bed, and allow myself to slip easily and gladly into sleep.

Other Sunday Scribblings on the topic of Sleep will be found Here.

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Friday, February 15, 2008


Today has been a day of abundance indeed. I came home from a day that had its share of difficulty, opened my emails, and a flood of gifts was waiting there for me:

Laurel at Rue's Daftique informed me I'd been the winner of one of her beautiful pendant/charms.

And then, Catherine at This Girl Remembers let me know that I'd been selected to receive this series of prints:

Pam, whose beautiful prints are at her Etsy shop, will let me choose which one I would like to have. I'm having a hard time choosing, but think I may be opting for one which features a Hummingbird, because I love them. I also like the lady in the Orange Dress. Oooh. Decisions... decisions!!!

Then... Elaine at NZFlutterby let me know that I'd turned up as a winner of the wonderful horse-themed postcards which she has on offer:

Mary Ann at Firstborn, had 5 gifts on offer, and I was lucky enough to turn up for this heart-shaped tin, containing little goodies and charms

.... I know, I know... By now you are thinking "She's got enough... she's got her fair share... "

But there's more! Fatma, of Fatmasplace offered this wonderful soldered house, and now it's mine!

And Sophie, or Miss KoolAid, let me know that I'm among the winners of her altered slide mailers. Pretty?

And, And, And

In the post came an unexpected gift from a friend, a book of marvellous poetry by Angela Patten. I hadn't had a chance to read her in the past, but am so glad my friend shared this with me.

Have I been blessed with abundance or what? I have loved the experience of sharing in One World One Heart. I'm looking forward to visiting all the blogs on the list over the coming weeks and months. Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway, thank you to the generous women whose beautiful gifts are coming my way, and thank you again, to Lisa Oceandreamer for putting it all together.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008


I've just made the draw for my One World One Heart Giveaway, and the winner was the 23rd commenter of 104 (comment #105 was to tell me that I had won a prize!!!). The lucky recipient of my handmade book is Linda, who told me she'd been a long-time reader of my blog, although I hadn't known that at all. In other words - a lurker won the prize! Isn't that wonderful? And I know she was really reading, because when I went to look at her blog (I have visited all those who commented here - and quite a few more OWOH participants besides), back among her archives was a post in which she mentions her favourite poets - and lo and behold! There was my name! I blush!

I'm absolutely delighted to share another few of my poems with Linda,


How did I get to be so lucky?

I have won no less than FIVE prizes in One World One Heart! I was really excited about picking "my" winner, but this puts jam on it altogether! I really feel blessed with all the wonderful gifts coming my way. But the best gift of all has been meeting so many bloggers whose paths had not yet crossed with mine. I want to thank Lisa from the bottom of my heart for arranging this wonderful event.

I'll make a post later tonight showing the goodness I'm being gifted with, but wanted to announce the winner of my giveaway today!

Hope everyone is having a happy and love-filled Valentine's Day!

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

One World One Heart

The post with my One World One Heart giveaway is HERE. Just Click.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Pay It Forward

Pay it Forward

"Upon my many and joyous wanderings through One World One Heart posts this evening I was invited to join yet another inspired idea: The very artistic 'ladybug' from living in the light I find has invited everyone to take part in this Pay It Forward. I think this is a great idea...What happens you ask? Well, the first three people to leave a comment on my blog will receive a handmade gift from me. Don't look for it too soon - it may be a few weeks, but I will get them out to you as soon as possible. My request is that once you sign up, copy and paste the above on your blog and "Pay it Forward" by making the same promise"

I found the above among the new bloggers I have encountered through One World One Heart. Ellie felt she'd joined in too late to make something, but wanted to participate anyway, so she has two beautiful tiles on offer. And then, she posted that she had decided to make something to give to the next 3 people to post in a "Pay it Forward" idea started by AlteredDiva.

Now that I've put my name down on hers, I've agreed to do the same here, so within the next couple of weeks, hopefully, I'll be making a few more little books, each with a slightly different selection of my poems, stories, memoir-bits, to offer to the first 3 people to request one in a comment, and to commit to paying it forward on their blogs.

If you arrive after the first 3 commenters, you can still enter the giveaway I am offering for One World One Heart. It is HERE

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Sunday Scribbling: Fridge Space

Firstly..... The post with my One World One Heart giveaway is HERE. Just Click.


And now to Sunday Scribblings. This week's prompt is rather strange. We are asked to write about "Fridge Space" Ok. We'll see.

My fridge is nothing like the size of an American fridge. It may be half the size of one of your smaller fridges. My fridge is not made to hold gallon-containers of milk and juice. I buy more refined, dainty litre or even half-litre bottles. Space in my fridge is scarce, and therefore, every new item that goes in there has to earn its space. Top shelf holds a range of condiments and sauces that I value highly. Curiously hot mustard, mojo sauce (pronounced Mo-Ho) from Lanzarote, a hot sauce made at a Spanish bodega my nephew introduced me to - the wonderful Salsalella, ketchup, soy sauce (light and regular). Here you will also find jams. Usually apricot, often raspberry, and recently either lime or lemon marmalade.

On the door, eggs, and my cheeses. Soft cheese, plain and herb and garlic. Low fat. Even very low fat. There may be cheddar. There is almost always a triangle of parmesan. I used to buy ready-grated cartons of parmesan, until I discovered the difference that freshly-grated or shaved parmesan can make. There is no going back. There is half a small bottle of diet coke (bought tonight to accompany my comfort-food dinner of fish and chips), a litre of Orange juice, and two bottles of beer (which I usually resent having take up space in my fridge, but somehow, I have allowed to stay there, even a full month and more since my son's been here.)

There's half-a can of sweetcorn, decanted into a sandwich bag; a carton of chestnut mushrooms, a carton of cherry tomatoes, a punnet of ordinary tomatoes, a tub of spread, and one lonely fruit fromage-frais (look closely: it may be out of date by a few days). Down in the vegetable drawer, some pak-choi, some chinese leaves, garlic and a green pepper.

Tomorrow is shopping day. All the available space will be filled up with more vegetables. I will be stuffing aubergines (eggplant), courgettes (zuchini), scallions, more peppers, bags of rocket (aragula), mange-tout peas, baby corn into the fridge. There will be a new tub of natural yogurt, and some fruity drinks. Maybe a smoothie.

And after shopping day comes cooking day, and later in the week, as the fresh produce is removed and cooked, various little containers will be packed in there holding a portion of that sauce, the remains of this chilli, some brown basmati rice, a cooked chicken fillet, a few baby potatoes left over from a dinner. Then they will be used up, and come next Friday, the fridge may look much as it does now. Waiting for the cycle to begin all over again, and the fridge space to be filled.

[and added next morning...] When I opened the fridge to get milk out for my morning coffee, I noticed the things I'd left out in my writing from memory last night. My fridge also contains olives (green, with garlic; and black in a small jar), preserved lemons to use in the lemon chicken dish my friend Pam shared when I was in California last year, pesto sauce, salad dressings of various types, a tub of salsa... and perhaps there are still things in at the back I have't named. A fridge is truly a world of its own, it seems!

As to the freezer compartment... I think that deserves a post all of its own! Another day!


If you found this thoroughly rivetting and would like to read more Sunday Scribblings on this topic, go HERE

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Who Makes my Day?

I have been honoured by Deirdre at Writing Anam Cara (I love her blog name, because I know what it means... it means "Soul Friend", and the words resonate in a deep place within me) with an award that is being passed from blogger to blogger. It says "You make my Day" and she named me along with 9 (or did she mention 10? 11?) other bloggers whose blogs mean something special to her.

When I say "honoured", I really mean that I do feel honoured to be in the company of the people she named in her post. And I feel a bit overwhelmed when I am asked to select just 10 from all the blogs I check in with regularly and say that those are the ones that make my day. It has made my day over the past couple of days, participating in One World One Heart, and browsing around participants, to meet new-to-me blogs with something about them that captivated me. Some, I meant to just drop by, and found myself running back through archived posts, looking to see how did that blog start, evolve... learning more of the person who was sharing in their little corner of blogland.

I digress. Or perhaps I do not. What I am saying is that it is difficult. There are a couple of people whose blogs have been really important sources of inspiration and joy for me who have chosen recently to close down their blogs, or to take a break from blogging while they do other things, decide on direction, give their energy to new projects, so they will not be named here. There are many blogs I visit regularly and I am going to offer - in no particular order - ten that always make me happy to see a new post.
1...Christine at Notes from the Laundromat. She is going for her dreams. She makes wonderful wire art. She makes my day today when I read what she wrote about taking a big jump in her life: "Going for the gusto, the big dream requires taking a leap, walking into uncertainty and going with your gut, hoping that your intuition does not fail you and that you can hold on, trusting that God is faithful and will not let you wander too far off course.
2... Lisa Oceandreamer at Heart of the Nest. Because she too dreams big. And risks. And is generous of heart, of spirit, with her energy and time and art. And because she is responsible for One World One Heart.

3... Jessie, at Diary of a Self-Portrait. Because she is brave (even when she doesn't feel brave). And because she shares so many aspects of her life. She has a beautifully-designed blog, too. I love that painting in the bottom left corner. Gives me a feeling of loose freedom to see that when I click to go visit. And because she makes wonderful art. And loves dogs.

4... Julie Marie at Celtic Woman. She makes my day with the eclectic information she gathers and offers, the pictures and paintings and cards she finds to share. Her book-loving is infectious, and impressive, and her sense of humour is wonderful.

5... Cate at Kerrdelune offers photographs and words that always allow me to sink down a little more towards a place of peace and calm. She is wise and my words are absolutely inadequate to describe the oasis that is her blog.

6... Fran at Sacred Ordinary. I believe hers was the first blog I began to read, and it was through her that I found my way to the Artist's Way group for which I decided to set up my blog. I love that her blogging is part of her spiritual practice, and that one day she can have a post addressing a deep philosophical question, followed by the "ordinary" details of her day, followed by some piece of beauty or, as this week, an account of a reading by Mary Oliver which transported me, and had me brushing tears from my cheeks.

7... Liz at Be Present, Be here. Because she is loving and kind, open and willing to be however she might be. I love her enthusiasms, love seeing the fabrics she is so excited by at the moment on her blog.

8... Lisa at Groggy Froggy. She makes wonderfull dolls. She is another believer. And she is a SoulCollage sister, and her blog makes me happy. Her happiness with her Patrick makes me happy.

9... Becca at Becca's Byline. She writes beautifully. She's started up a wonderful bookish blog lately, called Bookstack, too. One of the things that really makes my day about Becca is the generous, encouraging comments I see her leaving on so many people's posts for Sunday Scribbling.

... and, although she's on a blogging hiatus in order to make some inroads into her own personal bookstack, I'm finishing this particular list with

10... Amber at The Believing Soul because she is feisty and brght and irreverant and real and because she absolutely adores her kids and is so proud of them and writes wonderful stuff that lifts my heart.

Whew! And the amazing thing is... these are a few of the wonderful, amazing (oops, just used that word twice!) women who make my day so often. By being there, by turning up here, by offering a few words just when I need them, by being believing mirrors all. I know that many will have been awarded the "You Make My Day" badge already, in some cases many times over, but that doesn't matter, because no matter how many other people have already said it, I want to say it here to each of them.

........You Make My Day.......

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How did I get to be a Rock Star?

It's amazing the things you'll find as you wander about meeting new bloggers in the course of an hour's One World One Heart browsing.

I found out how to become an instant rock star, for instance. All you have to do is (I found these details HERE) :

Through a random search, you come up with your bands name, the title of your album and the album cover photo.The rule's are, you can't keep refreshing the link ... work with what you get. Let’s make a band:

1. The first article title is the name of your band.

2. The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.Now take your photo, add the band name and title to it, then post it.

I particularly like "Police Dog" as the name of my band. But I also really like the picture. Unfortunately I left Flickr after I'd copied the photo, and forgot to take details of the photographer. The page wasn't stored on my browser, so i couldn't go back to find out. My apologies.

I'm having such fun meeting all these new-to-me bloggers. And so far I've only gotten to visit the people who've entered my draw (Scroll down! Scroll down!) and a few others. There are lots and lots.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

One World, One Heart Giveaway

Lisa Oceandreamer does wonderful things at her blog, Heart of the Nest, and one of them is the bringing together of people from all over blogland in this event.

She invites bloggers to sign up to One World, One Heart, to give away something - preferably but not necessarily, handmade. You can read all about it Here .

I thought I'd like to have something to give away, but my time is short these days, and I thought I wouldn't get around to making something, and then, today, it struck me that I could offer something I've already half-made, by gathering some of my poems and a couple of small stories (some previously unpublished) into a little hand-made book. Here it is:

It's quite plain, but is embellished here and there with gilt decorations, and a little colour where appropriate. It is a one-off, so if you would like to have it, then join in by putting your name in a comment. The draw to select a winner will be made on Valentine's Day, February 14th, and I will contact the winner for details of where to mail the book.

Then go and check out the huge list of other participants whose blogs you can visit to put your name in the draw for their artwork and other items. And having visited once, the idea is that we get to know a whole lot of other bloggers through this event. Enjoy!

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday's Feast

Appetizer What is your favorite kind of cereal?
I eat branflakes most mornings, but what I really like is Jordan's Nutty Crunch cereal, or meusli with plenty of nuts and fruit. I eat them rarely, though.

Soup When was the last time you purchased something for your home, what was it, and in which room did it go?
I couldn't resist a beautiful creamy-yellow orchid when I found it on sale a couple of weeks ago. It came in a nice white ceramic planter, and I've put in my therapy room, in which I like to keep a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. I felt the orchid belonged there.

Salad What is the funniest commercial you’ve ever seen?
Oh... it tickled me hugely. The Gorilla advertising Cadbury's Dairy Milk. I've already put a link up HERE. I watched it many, many times, and laughed over and over. My sister and I are great advert afficionados, and often text one another to draw attention to some new gem.

Main Course Make up a name for a company by using a spice and an animal (example: Cinnamon Monkey).
Umm.... Ginger Fox?

Dessert Fill in the blank: I haven’t ______ since ______.
I haven't been swimming since September 2006... Now, that is much, much too long ago. Did I really, really go through all of 2007 without swimming once? I did. That has to be remedied. Maybe part of the problem is that my last swimming experience was at the beautiful Valras Plage in the South of France, and after swimming in the lovely warm Mediterranean, nowhere else seemed that attractive. Maybe this year...

Find other people's Friday Feasts HERE