Friday, 20 December 2013

Your Cards ... Aren't In The Post ... And Why I love Blogging ...

So here we have the painting I did for our Christmas card this year
I picked one of my favourite ornaments
and painted up the blues of the skies and water to warm those of you in freezing weather
It was going to be great and I was going to follow up last year's epic efforts
 I had grand plans to send them out to each and every one of the generous souls
who have made the last six months so much easier
and there have been a hugely humbling number of you
like truly heart achingly incredible support that brings me to tears on a regular basis
but did I get very far... nope
am I bloody hopeless ... yep
but does it mean I treasure any of you any less... not on your sweet nellies people
so this is in lieu of a card this year
you get a look at what I didn't send... bit ordinary when I have been so blessed.
but better than nothing I figure
and at the end of the day you all know I am slightly hopeless at a lot of these things
and even without the whole breast cancer crap
the chances of me getting cards out two years running was going to be slim...

So I am sending you all magic vibes for spectacular presents
not a slipper sock, ugly sweater or foot spa in sight for any of you
unless you like that sort of thing
 in which case I don't quite know what to say... slipper socks ... really????

I hope all your cleaning fairies turn up and your houses magically clean themselves
my bloody fairies are still on an epic bender getting trashed somewhere
but if you see them out and about tell them to get their lazy fairy butts back here!!!!

May all the feasts look like they belong on tv or in some mad cook book
and be completed with out a single need to cry quietly in the corner of the bomb zone that was previously your kitchen

but most importantly go into the mad festivities of Christmas week
knowing that you have made a difference in my life in ways you will never appreciate
and that I feel humbled and blessed to have you by our side
 helping Phantom Steve, Sinus Man, Mushu the wonder mutt and I though this crazy time
I have no clue how I would have got through it all without you
so thank you from the bottom of my overflowing heart
and have the safest and most spectacular holiday season ever!!!!

A few hours later after posting I now sit here
only just recovered from 20 bloody minutes of unrestrained sobbing at the sheer incredible and overwhelming generosity of my dear dear friends over at PPF
Kristin and Eva have hosted a surprise tea party for me and people have created the most extraordinary artworks and posts
so if you want to know why I blog... just pop over to PPF and you will get it totally
these people are the most generous, extraordinary , supportive community
coming home to this today has made me to cry to a point where I couldn't even bloody speak
 which caused both poor Phantom and Sinus have a small panic
at seeing me so awash... I adore my blogging family so much
thank you all so much... I honestly don't know how I would get through this without you all ... seriously... best Christmas ever!!!!

Friday, 13 December 2013

A Nod To The Nog ...

I try to stay away from the controversial here on the blog
so no politics, religion or the freakin Kardashians
but today I am veering into slightly risky territory
and discussing that most divisive of seasonal beverages
Egg Nog ...or The Nog as it is affectionately named around here 
and I know just the sight of it will have some of you rolling eyes and gagging slightly
while others will be licking lips and thinking nutmeg scented thoughts at the sight of it
I just hope you don't judge me too harshly for tipping my hat to the dreaded stuff

Don't worry that I have gone all Martha Stewart on you
and been in the kitchen whipping up jugs of the stuff
not on your Nelly ... oh no  we aren't talking lovely home made here people
we are talking the store bought , out of a carton, has the slight whiff of plastic about it stuff
and in the past I have never been a huge fan, not a hater but more of a take it or leave it deal
maybe one or two laced with some brandy over the course of Christmas and I am set
which is a good thing as I am quite the light weight when it comes to alcohol
does Glug, Glug, Woohoo ring a bell with some of you...

anyway this year it has all changed and I am in love with the bloody stuff
for some reason when all else is impossible to face to eat or drink
and my stomach is doing those delightful chemo somersaults that I loathe so much
the nog sorts it... just one little glass cold out of the fridge
and I am sighing like I have been sipping the nectar of the gods
and just to clarify in case you are thinking I am in permanent glug glug woohoo territory
we are talking unadulterated, virgin nog here
just thought I should clear that up in case you had visions of a lop sided, bald woman singing bad 80's pop tunes at 1 pm in the afternoon

Even better is the combination of the nog with this little gem
it is a Zoku slushy maker and it is crazy marvelous
so in the heat of our Summer days and when the flush of chemo hits I just fill her up with nog
and presto I have a nog slushy... well as long as you don't sneak icy sips
and give it time to actually slushify... which is a great new word right
it is truly a wondrous thing

So I have crossed the divide and it is nog all the way through to Christmas baby
I am trying to not think about what will happen when the season passes
and it disappears from the shelves
I will be nog less ... which isn't going to be pretty
or may force me to actually make the stuff from scratch.... or to play the cancer card and make Phantom be the dutiful daughter and make it for me
either way I think this might be just the thing to see me through to the end of chemo
weird I know
but better than the 10 weeks of not being able to stomach chocolate
that was just cruel

So as you read this I will probably be lying around
and scooping my slushy nog with a smile on my face
or maybe at my desk contemplating just what happened to this Cuppa with Friends piece
which was a fab mug emailed in from Lori 
It just didn't quite work the way I wanted it to
it might have to be revisited when I am not on such a sugar high from all the nog 
and when I don't have a brain freeze from the said stuff being slushified
or whatever other lame excuse I can come up with
So I leave you with my nod to the nog
and wish you all a great week...xx

Mug for the Cuppa With Friends Project from Lori over at The Paisley Turtle

Friday, 6 December 2013

Just Call Me Patchy ...

Tea cup from Jana at Tangled Pen
It would appear that patchiness is the order of the day at the moment
because in yet another joy that comes with chemotherapy
 I have lost parts of my eyebrows, not all of them... just most of them
which is hilarious in some ways, and bloody awful in others
for a couple of weeks I had just lost half of one 
so I looked like I had been the victim of some mad practical joke
but then bit by bit most of the others went out in sympathy... 
Phantom keeps threatening to stick fake mustaches over my eyes while I sleep one day
so the first thing I do when ever I wake up now is madly clutch above my eyes
to check to see if she has done it
cheeky sod is doing my head in

tea cup from Pat at Artfully Ooglebloops
So while my eyebrows fell out bit by bit... and eyelashes people...
 did I mention that... those suckers fell out too
I am somehow getting some fuzz on my head... I have like a five o'clock shadow on my dome
now some weeks this shadow falls out after my weekly dose
and others it hangs around... no rhyme nor reason
and not all of it falls out... like the brows and lashes... I have crazy, stubborn patches
 while other patches seem to fling themselves out of my head with great abandon
one day I wake up and it looks like someone has been shaving on my pillow
and the next week it hangs in there... bizarre... but kind of exciting too
I never know what I am going to look like from week to week

Mug from Boo from Stamp, Laugh Play
Following on with the patchy theme is that I finally got back to my
I didn't abandon it intentionally or mean to take such a break
and while part of me would like to say that I was associating it with my breast cancer diagnosis
because I was in the midst of it all when it happening
I know that I am just not that deep ... nothing wrong with being a shallow pool
and distraction got the better of me over the last few months
but I got back to it and completed these three new ones over the last two weeks
hardly settling the project back on fire, but I have another two started 
and it feels good to be back at it
even though I am a bit rusty on the drawing of handles
the first two were conveniently chosen due to lack of handles to ease me back into it
If you haven't emailed me a mug or a cup yet then get to it
who knows when I will get distracted again

The desk is now beckoning me to move my patchy haired head away from the computer
and get stuck into the hydrangeas I have had drawn up for a week
not the cups I have started... did I mention I get distracted!!!
the blooms on the plant are looking a bit patchy and faded in the summer heat
 so I had better get to it before they go the way of the hairs on my head
and they drop their insanely pink blooms completely 
have a great painting week everyone... xx

PS  ... a totally non patchy happening this week was that I won a spot in Soul Food
courtesy of Kristin Powers ... which totally made the week a great one ... excited to get started ... check out the link over on Kristin's blog if you want some info ... 

Friday, 22 November 2013

Things I Never Thought I Would See ...

I opened this slightly weird week by seeing a dog drive a car
I was getting the bags from the back of the car at the grocery shop
when out of the corner of my eye I saw a car gently rolling across the car park
which is unusual enough but add to that there was a dog sitting very calmly in the drivers seat
and I was fairly gob smacked... so what did I do
I stood and giggled... I mean come on there was a dog driving a car
 it kept rolling until it came to rest against a now slightly crumpled BMW SUV
the dog continued to sit there tongue out  and looking fairly pleased with itself
turns out he wasn't much of a driver because there were plenty of older cars he could have come to rest against, but no he picked the newest and shiniest to act as his brake
I realized there was another witness to this madness because there was an elderly gentleman laughing so hard that he could barely speak
eventually he stopped laughing and all he could choke out was
that dog is a rubbish driver ...
 no kidding that is what he said
anyway I have no clue how it all turned out because he said he would wait and tell the driver what happened because he wanted to shake the hand of the dog
he seemed so amused by the whole thing that I left him to it
of course I couldn't wait to tell Sinus and Phantom,
though they took some convincing that I had seen a dog drive

Next on the list of things I never thought I would see is the laundry room floor
the great wall of washing is no more because it turns out that I am not the only one capable of making the washing machine work
Sinus and Phantom have stepped in and done some washing to help out
when I am laid up by the dreaded chemo and it turns out it isn't that hard
well as long as you don't mind a few misshapen clothes 
and some creatively tie dyed numbers as a result or mixing colours and whites
not to mention the poor washer has danced across the floor so often due to uneven loads 
I have renamed it John Travolta
but the great wall is gone and that is quite something

The final thing I never thought I would see is that I finally lost my rogue hair
due to the onslaught of chemo I lost my locks months ago now
but there was one random very grey hair that stubbornly hung on behind my ear
not one of the really long past my shoulder type hairs thank goodness
that would have looked very odd
but a shortish single grey hair ... It may sound a bit weird but I was quite fond of that grey hair
and the tenacity it showed so I named him Nigel
not for Nigel over at freebird... that would be oddly inappropriate
but Nigel as in Nigel No Mates
but this week I woke to find poor Nigel had finally given up the ghost
and was lying forlornly on my pillow
poor Nige ... he was a good hair

So it has been a week of odd happenings
so I am also posting the odd drawings I have done in my sketchbooks this week
did I paint a dog driving a car ... no
or a washer named John Travolta ... nope
or a lone tenacious hair that deserved to be immortalized for hanging in there for so long... sadly even poor Nigel didn't get a look in
instead I painted my water well pens, some masking fluid
and the Buddha wall hanging from outside... 
which like everything else this week is a combination I never thought I would see...
happy painting all... xx

Friday, 15 November 2013

Endings And Beginnings ...

This week has been all about endings and beginnings
Sinus man said goodbye to 45 and a big hello to 46
and 46 suits him very well I have to say... 
the flowers I got last week gave up the ghost
but not before I got the painting finished
but then I got to say a big hello to some new blooms
they weren't for me mind you but for our precious daughter, Phantom Steve
who is graduating high school today
that is a big ending and beginning right...

The blooms were from Super Aunty Karyn Happy Feet
who sent them to her niece as a congratulations for scooping 7 different awards
at her final speech night
which means Phants is going out covered in glory and magnificence
she can't tell the difference between a grasshopper and a lobster
and she can't even spell geography let alone find anything on a map
but her brilliantly stupid genius is boundless and I can't express how proud we are of her
as a nice little side bonus for me I get to paint her well deserved flowers
and I am thinking I may just use my new Golden flows
another new beginning... no ending to go with it... just lovely little pots of colour

The colours are just perfect for these blooms,so nice work Karyn Happy Feet
and if you are wondering why my sister has the name happy feet
it is because she took the unprecedented step of wearing bright pink shoes 
to her youngest son, Tim's, formal last night
now Karyn is not known to wear girly gear at all
her daughter Grace is another matter all together
 she was born for pink and leaves a trail of glitter in her wake that is legendary
however Karyn in pink shoes with blooms on them are the least likely shoe choice... ever
but they looked magnificent and she pulled them off with style

Tim looked suitably handsome of course and he is graduating today as well
albeit two and a half hours away, but sharing a graduation day with his cousin is kinda cool
and I am insanely proud of them both
Now I don't get Super Aunt status because what did I send Tim???
Nada... nothing... bumpkis... bad aunt... 
doesn't mean I don't love him to bits
or that I am not embarrassingly gushy about the creative, interesting and caring young man Tim has become
I am just a slack ass at these sorts of things
so happy graduation to Tim and Phantom Steve 
hope you both enjoy the big ending today
and wake up tomorrow full of excitement of the new beginnings... xx

Friday, 8 November 2013

Back In The Studio.... Finally ....

Feels awesome to be back in the studio after the longest break I have taken in years
weeks without painting and drawing have taken quite the toll on my sanity
and before you all snort and scoff that I was ever completely sane
I admit it is all relative, though I have been a touch loopier than normal lately

But  luckily there is something about the scratch of a pen on paper
the smell of the paints, splotching them on the palette
the swish of the paint brush in the water container 
that calms the brain and makes all seem a little bit more manageable
even cancer and chemo are easier to take with a brush in my hand
it is totally the best therapy around

More great therapy is having amazing flowers delivered 
and these crazy gorgeous blooms from my sister in law Kris are stunning
I love these lilies which smell so diving
and they are a favourite to draw though I haven't attempted them in a while
but I jumped in and was hugely and happily surprised that I still had some skills

There is always that moment when the pen pauses
and you wonder if you have suddenly forgotten how to draw
I almost resorted to using a pencil for a minute
but in the end I couldn't be assed hunting one down so I ended up with this pen drawing
which I was thrilled with... maybe the break was a good thing all round

I was quite excited to get started on it this morning
and then I glanced up and saw one I had drawn a few years ago
and was completely overcome by panic that I wouldn't be able to capture it as well
I used watercolours and prismacolour pencils and it is a bit of a favourite
and it is right there front and centre gazing down at me from the studio wall
just daring me to do a crap job of the new one

so with rather uncharacteristic restraint
I decided to maybe do some painting on something else first and not risk ruining the drawing
so I painted up the last drawing I had completed before my enforced break
which was an ever so fascinating view of my kitchen window
hardly that thrilling I know but a good way to ease back into paint mode

and while the end result may not be my most light handed piece
it was sound enough to restore some confidence so I jumped in to the lilies

layer one all good ... 

and layer two came along pretty well too
and that is as far as I have gotten with it at this stage
because it is on the last layer that it could all go terribly wrong
so I am going to go and make another cup of tea and fortify myself with some chocolate
and attack it while the painting gods are being kind
happy painting all ... xx

PS ...  thanks so much to all of you who have been sending cards and messages and emails
you have been such amazing support and have kept a smile on my face through this whole horrible mess... seriously you are all gloriously amazingly perfect people to have in my life and I am grateful for each and every one of you... xx

Thursday, 17 October 2013

A Break In Transmission ....

I am taking a teeny weeny mini blog break for a time
as chemo is kinda kicking my butt at the moment
so I am going to be resting up, drinking tea and dreaming about George Clooney
 in an effort to get back on my feet quick smart
and get that paint brush back in my hands
happy painting all...xx

Friday, 11 October 2013

A Mixed Bag ...

It has been a bit of a mixed bag this week
the gecko has not put in an appearance so hasn't been painted
in fact we are thinking he may have succumbed to the curse of being named
or in his case of almost being named
years ago we had a Siamese fighting fish which remained unnamed for years
as we were sure he would go the way of our goldfish
but eventually we figured he was hardy enough to be named
and within days was belly up
so maybe the gecko is in protective mode
 or maybe he is just a wuss and is scared of the moth
or maybe the moth has taken him out

This is quite the moth mind you so maybe we can cut the gecko some slack
it freaked out poor Phantom by dive bombing her while she was brushing her teeth
which led to a comical moment of brushing teeth at kitchen sink while miming the attack
quite the performance it was
but she was still traumatized from a spider running down her arm earlier
so it may go somewhere to explain her nerves
though it doesn't explain why she randomly shed a safety pin on the floor yesterday
which she called a paper clip by the way... brilliantly stupid my child
but it was seriously random as we have no clue where it came from... bizarre

Also in the mixed bag category was getting my last round of the rubbish nightmare chemo
which is kicking my butt more with every round
but on the plus side it is kicking it so much I get two weeks off to get some strength back
before they move me onto the weekly doses which are much easier... apparently
I was bummed for a couple of days because I was totally focused on Jan 7 being my last dose of chemo and pushing it back two weeks seemed like it was going backwards 
and it means I am stuck at home longer which is starting to test my mental health big time
which also means you will be getting more drawings and sketches from around the house like this one of the chair by our front door
being stuck at home is feeling a tad restrictive and all a bit boring and I was grumping big time

but then I put on my big girl pants and started looking for the positives
after all these cute little tea cup themed snacks were waiting for us at chemo the other
hard to be down when you are faced with that fabulousness right
 plus I can start swimming again once this round is done
and I think the feel of water on my baldy head will be quite the thing
and of course the extra weeks off mean being stronger for the next type of chemo
which also means more time and energy to paint... I miss it more than I can tell you
though most of you understand exactly what I am saying
 it is like missing a limb not drawing and painting every day
so I promptly went and ordered more art supplies
in the brightest colours I could find and they are now tempting me with their lusciousness
can't wait to get into them and the studio looks like a happy place with them gracing the desk

Another mood lifter was receiving tea and elderflower flavoured vodka from my dear friends Jacket and Scarey and their gorgeous girls
who knew such a thing existed
seriously cool birthday present and  it came as part of a fab Bridget Jones themed hamper full of wonderfullness to get me through the next round
 and brighten the fact that I am going to feel like rubbish for my birthday tomorrow
I am so spoilt for fabulous friends, family and support it is impossible to be down for long

plus I had a lovely member from the golf club Keith, who made me a gorgeous pineapple and coconut slice to cheer me up and it is crazy delicious
and we are fighting over the last pieces
though I cleverly played the cancer card and am so getting the last of it... nice....

So despite the fact that the moth may have taken out the still nameless giant gecko
and that my daughter is about to graduate high school and doesn't know the difference
between a safety pin and a paper clip
and that I turn 46 tomorrow ... where did 46 come from???
There are lots of things to look forward to
I have so many fabulous online friends and supporters
 and your emails, cards, comments and notes make a difference to every day on this journey
the mixed bag this week hasn't turned out too bad when I sit and think about it
happy painting all ... xx

Friday, 4 October 2013

Nature's Fight Club ....

This week it has been attack of the bugs around here
well as far as the daughter is concerned anyway
you would think that a 17 year old would be bulletproof
especially when you have a nickname like Phantom Steve
it isn't like she is buttercup or something, though we are thinking a change might be in order
it has been hot this week ... like summer hot
so Phants has been out catching some rays and having a swim
but I noticed she was getting quite the tan line
not the tan line you would expect either this one runs down the sides of her body
so that from the front she looks tan, but the back is still glowingly white
I let it ride for a day or two thinking she might even it up... but no three days later still two toned
eventually I caved in and asked why
have to say I didn't see the reasoning coming

Phantom Steve claimed that two giant hornets were fighting
and, preoccupied with trying to kill each other, flew into her leg
she said that if they hadn't been in a death match they would have turned on her
and she probably would have died, or at the very least been traumatized for life
in fact she claims she has a bruise from the encounter... really...
now I accepted this explanation with grace and good humour 
while inside giggling like a maniac... two hornets... really ???
 never seen a hornet in our neck of the woods
but hey this is the kid who thought a grasshopper was a lobster
so the hornets could have been pretty much any winged bug
and I asked for clarification about the only lying on her back thing
apparently it has to do with being able to make swift evasive maneuvers
fair enough I suppose

Now I have been tempted to remind her that she is only seeing bugs
coming at her from the front and they could be lying in wait behind her while she suns herself
but I think I will save that one for when she is being a bit annoying
the look on her face when it dawns that she could be surrounded will be priceless
bugs are not her thing at all... they freak her out in a most satisfying way

which is not optimal as it has been quite the bugg-ish week
we have a huge moth that has made its way to the top floor of our house
and I hate moths... they are just creepy
and so we are waiting for our resident giant gecko to take him on
this gecko kindly eats all the mozzies for us, so after a few wet summers he is huge
and we are quite fond of him despite his slightly alarming size
and at this stage if he takes on the dreaded moth then he will earn himself a name I think
not sure what a suitable name would be for a moth eating gecko would be
and we have come to the conclusion that he talks like a surfer dude
 he has that sort of a laid back swagger about him so the name has to take that into account
but some time will be spent in consideration and suggestions will be welcomed...

So other than having a front row seat to nature's fight club
I have been doing some sketching in my books
little quick paintings I can do in no time to keep my hand in
I find it annoying that they don't scan well from sketchbooks
but as long as I am drawing and painting all will be well in the world
happy painting all ...xx