Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It's time for a new post!

Let's get straight into it, shall we? No waffling about how I haven't posted in over a month - I've got news and pictures to share and don't want to waste any time.

But first - lambs!!!!

Happy Spring, everyone!

Now, in our last episode, I had just met some creative people in Hay-on-Wye. That led to my joining the Marches Book Arts Group (MBAG), which meets monthly in the beautiful little town of Clun, near these fine gentlemen.

sculpture by Jemma Pearson

The group is preparing for an exhibition in Hay-on-Wye in April, the Hay Book Arts Trail, which will have displays in shop windows around town. It'll be up in time for Bookstagram 2017, a weekend of events celebrating Hay's 40th anniversary of 'independence'. It is going to be amazing!

I'll have some work in Timeless Treasures, an antiques shop. But if you can't make it to Hay - maybe you live 5,000 miles away - let me show you my little treasures.

The first one is Alt Album. I made a little photo album using scans of my own travel photos circa 1990. I cut and pasted, analogue-style, little pictures of my grandparents into the scenes - my grandfather is carrying a suitcase, ready for their journey.

cover material taken from old Larousse French encyclopedia - Je seme a tout vent means 'I sow to all winds'

at the White House

in Rome

by the Parthenon in Athens

The next one returns to one of my favourite mediums - an Altoid tin.

I made another Petit Bibliotheque. I really love this one!

The other two are simple small journals. This one is dos-a-dos style with two sets of pages.

The next one has a bird theme and uses repurposed papers for the pages, some with little pockets.

So, that's what's been keeping me busy - and sane and happy. That, and long walks in beautiful scenery, in all kinds of weather.

See you in Hay!


Saturday, February 18, 2017

What the Hay?

(Has it really been a month since my last blog post?)

(Yes, Val, it really has. You've just been too busy with your smarty-pants-phone and Insta-booyah-gram to notice anyone else.
Sniff, sniff.)

My egotistical Id has just informed me that I've been neglecting my blog, so let's have a little wrap-up of me and my life. It's been an eventful - some might even say crazy - month in the world, but in my little corner of Wales the sun always shines and there's no heavy traffic. Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, lambs are gambolling and the coffee is always delicious!

Roberts Coffi Siop in Dolgellau

It's not always perfect here, but even if you're standing in a graveyard with a cold wind clutching at your throat, the views are incredible!

I made plans to go to Hay-on-Wye to meet someone from Instagram, and that expanded to include more people from Instagram as well as from a book arts group. I didn't have any calling cards - and I wanted to impress everyone - so I finally got around to making some Artist Trading Cards (ATCs). Ta da!

I used cut-outs of old family photos (scanned and printed). And then I decided to make some little books.

The one at the front has thumbnails from the back of a calendar.

And then I went to Hay-on-Wye and met these cool people!!

That's Kelly on the right, another American in Wales (on IG and fedoras.and.pearls). On the left is Anne, co-owner of Addyman Books (@addymanbooks), a fantastic shop on many levels with nooks, crannies, steampunk stair rails, and so many books I couldn't even begin to browse (too much chatting!).

miniature books - squeeeeee! 

So, life is SWEET, as long as I don't watch the news.

in Chester

Well, that's probably enough for now, don't you think? Here's one last one from a recent walk near home.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017 So Far

Wow, what a year it's been, huh? Holy cow! It's been windy, rainy, snowy, melty.

Sunny, cloudy, dark and light.

There's been fly-tipping in our local town.

What a tumultuous year so far - and it's only beginning!

our view on a misty morning

But seriously, I am incensed at politics in both the US and UK, and I am about to go cold turkey and quit reading or watching the news at all. That'll show 'em! If politicians give a damn about my opinion (they don't), they'll be sorry I'm not watching their fake news, platitudes and Twitter regurgitations. But I don't want to sully my pristine blog with politics. I want to talk about something important, which is - is anybody blogging anymore?

abandoned chapel near us

I've become very dilatory about blogging - and especially about commenting - since I drank the Instagram Kool-aid. I'm doing this post because I wanted to practice writing again using all ten fingers to type instead of just thumbs. (Actually, I just use my right index finger to text, hunting and pecking on the phone keyboard. Is that a typical old lady thing? How do you text - fingers or thumbs?)

near the abandoned chapel

So I'll throw in a few photos here, because I have loads. And I'll encourage you all to ignore the news and politics and instead have a shot of vodka and play a game of Scrabble. Spring is just around the corner!

spring lamb on butcher shop sign in Llanidloes

door in Llanidloes

door in Winchelsea

church window in Winchelsea



Friday, December 23, 2016

Light out of Darkness

It's been a while since I posted, so let's get the small talk and gossip out of the way first.

The weather has been good here, much better than we expected. I'm sure that will change in the coming weeks. Here are some pictures taken from our bedroom window - our 'view with a room' as I like to call it.

early November

late November


I know, that was boring, right? Well, here's a little tidbit of gossip to liven things up. I turned on the TV the other evening just as a game show was finishing up, and the contestants were none other than Sandra from Peaches McGinty and her husband! Sandra quit blogging last year, but I am happy to report that she's alive and well, she looks exactly the same, and she won £1000 on the game show! I bet there was some celebrating in Liverpool that night.

Now, in spite of my heathen nature and irreverent scepticism, I am sometimes allowed to enter churches if I promise not to kick the pews or sing too loudly.

So Mr. S and I went to a Carol Service at Hereford Cathedral. Here is my report.

First of all, we went to see the Mappa Mundi and the Chained Library, which you can read about by following the links I inserted. The books are chained to stop thieves, I guess, because you can't trust those medieval scholars and monks.

Then we went into the cathedral to look around before the service started.

These huge ancient buildings really take my breath away. I especially love the gigantic piers and big, chunky Romanesque arches, which had crisp detailing that looked so modern, in a way.

Then we did get kicked out.

Haha, we weren't being naughty. The evening service fills up with hundreds of people who have requested tickets - as we had - so we had to go wait on the cold, stone porch with the other ticket-holders for almost an hour before they opened the doors to the congregation.

When the service finally began, the lights were turned off, and the choir and officiants processed by candlelight only - it was magic and beautiful! The lights came on for the rest of the service - we had to read our hymn sheets, after all. I no longer profess to be a Christian, but it was a beautiful service. The boys in the choir sang like angels and the pipe organ stirred my soul. It was a very special way to mark the Solstice.

Just a minute, you're thinking. Solstice? A Christian ceremony? Isn't that hypocritical?

Well, I find commonality between heralding the Solstice and celebrating Christmas. They are both ways that we puny humans try to find light in the darkness. And it feels like 2016 has been pretty damn dark, so we need all the light we can get.

May your days be merry and also bright, and best wishes for signs of light in 2017!