Wednesday, 30 April 2008

decision time

I had my interview yesterday at college and managed to bag myself a place. I had a very interesting discussion with one of the BA tutors who appreciated my earlier experiments much more than my more recent dishcloth period. He said I was 'interesting' which I got the impression could have meant 'special' or 'unique' in that particular tone that educators use. He also asked whether I was consciously drawing in such an ironic way - what does that mean? He liked my wit (yes, I wrote wit). I felt a little like an unformed being and that he'd be quite interested to see what I turned out like. One of the headteachers I worked with a couple of years ago said a similar thing. He said he was 'intrigued to see how I would evolve'. A few months later one of his colleagues likened me to a 'professional dung beetle'.

In the words of my dear, estranged mother "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!"

No pictures today. It's too rainygloom outside. Have done a short walk in the fresh air. Can't face sweating my 3 glasses of wine out at the gym. I'm contemplating another short walk later and perhaps some gentle stretching. It was book club last night. We'd read (or some of us had) 'An Equal Music' by Vikram Seth. It was all a bit self conscious for me and I don't have a word of musical terminology in my brain so it flew over my head. It's my choice next month, always a nerve wracking time. Will they like it? Will they not care? Will they think its boring? Do I have to read it again to remind myself what its like?

Monday, 28 April 2008

best dressed?



It's a beautiful sunny morning, so much so I can really see the cobwebs wafting across the window in 'my' room. I may not have mentioned this before but my neighbour and I share an allotment. I wished for an allotment for many years before we moved out here. I had one for a little while in Bromley but it was in between pregnancies and babies so it never really got going. That should have been my clue.

Anyway, H and I made great progress yesterday. We now have mixed salad, beetroot, chard, spinach, onion sets and coriander with space for a couple more leafy things. We dug out a weedy bed for my dahlias (I luuuuurrrrve dahlias) and I'd mowed our patch the previous day. I also redressed Ethel our scarecrow who is now sporting a fetching flowery shirt and t-shirt as skirt combo. Gorgeous.

Today I am looking through my work with my tutor in preparation for the interview tomorrow. What I should be doingn is confronting the ground elder in what were quite pleasant flower beds last year.

Although I'm dreading the end of this course for many reasons I am looking forward to spending time at home that isn't squeezed around my usual, shall we say, additional projects. I finish at the end of May which means I have a the summer term to finally do what I wanted to when my youngest started school three years ago - have a proper sort out, organise the garden, pretend I'm Nigella, Sarah Raven and Sophia Loren all at once. Isn't it fantastic to be deluded?!

PS: the credit crunch has reached the west. I overheard several yummy mummies of the gymnastic variety worrying about how they wouldn't be able to afford their Boden addiction this year. The country is doomed.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

hair - enhancing and removing

I spent 1/3 of my waking hours today at a hairdressers in Chippenham. I fidgeted and squirmed and worried about drinking too much tea but it was worth it. I've had horrible hair for the last 8 weeks - it was horrible after I'd had it done and I couldn't justify the cost of getting it repaired. It is, after all, just hair.

Now, my new best hairdresser Hayley has saved the day - it's back to being shiny, dark and curly - just as I like it. I also had my eyebrows shaped but I can't say I'm as convinced by this procedure - it is painful, makes my head sting and the redness takes ages to go down. I don't appear to have Fiona Bruce's eyebrows either - obviously that was the look I was trying to achieve.

No matter - my hair is better and I have just enough fringe to camouflage the eyebrows until they settle down.

I managed a 30 minute cycle before pick up too. The better hair survived but only just, particularly as I seemed to be cycling through and against blustery spring wind. I am now so enamoured of exercise, however, that this has become a good thing - it makes me work harder (note to self: am not Jane Fonda).

Tonight we have a PTA meeting. Mmmm. That's another blog.

College tomorrow - I am putting the finishing touch to my credit crunch handbag. Well, it beats working for a living.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

but is it arrrrrrrrrrrrt!

Thought it was time I revealed some of my artwork. I like the textures on this. I'm also partial to dishcloths, teatowels, green scourers and sponges. Today I drew Karl Lagerfeld on a jeye/jey cloth. I'm sure, if he cared at all, he would be distressed.

Monday, 21 April 2008

flip followed by flop

Having decided categorically, definitely that I would not be presenting my work at interview next week, by lunchtime today I'd convinced myself that I definitely do want to do a BA Fine Art with drawing specialism!

I am amazed by how much work I've amassed at college. I spend a lot of my time at home rummaging and finding space to work or rather leave pieces of work while I do something else. I got to my space today and found it just as I'd left it with my stitching, cloths and cutouts just sitting there being art, or rather trying to be.

So, I did a little research, got a fantastic brand new book from the library about aboriginal art and did some more drawings on dishcloths. What a luxury.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

the end is nigh

75% of our family are back to school and college tomorrow. The other 25% hasn't stopped working. We've had a quiet but pleasant time with only two minor incidents of discord to report. I don't know why I am always amazed when my children get on with each other. I can't remember much of my early relationship with my sister - she was very quiet and I, well, I wasn't. We played a bit and we bickered quite a lot and there were some quite nasty instances of sabotage. We don't see each other now.

Back to the present. I have been stitching domestic cloths and fabrics ready for my return to college tomorrow. I am back in flip mode. I don't think a fortnight of reflection has helped my decision making process. I am boring myself as well as anyone else who asks me 'how's the course going'.

On a craftier note I present an initial stage of my shirt quilt. It is now pieced together waiting for wadding and a backing. I need to carve out a few hours to be able to complete it as I don't think I'll be able to leave it hanging around. It has become bigger than I anticipated and now, as I should have guessed, E wants one as well. Why does one task always lead to another?

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Sunday girl

Blondie are playing in Bristol, yes I said Bristol. The tickets are £35 each. Here is the dilemma - would this be an unforgettable night out seeing one of the icons of 20th Century pop, or, would this be an unforgettable night watching someone who WAS a 20th Century icon and really should just give up now? I've never quite understood the appeal of going to see the Rolling Stones or the Eagles or any one of those shall we say more senior bands. In fact, I've always been quite scathing. Is that just because they were slightly before my time anyway and now that my particular favourites of yesteryear are getting to a similar stage I'm allowing myself some nostalgia? Mmmm....

On the nostalgia front we took the kids to see 'Son of Rambow' which was a bit of a risk as it was a 12a. It was fab though and had all the great qualities of a film - fab soundtrack, totally on the mark settings and clothes and some wonderful acting. Most of the cast are kids but Cheryl from the Royale Family was in it and she was really believable as a widowed member of the Plymouth Brethren. I could watch it all over again. The kids enjoyed it too.

Today I think I might set up my etsy store. I've been meaning to do it for a while and although I haven't got much to sell yet I think I'll get it going so I can pop my crafty notions on there as and when.

It looks like it's going to be one of thos annoying showery days - again.....

Saturday, 12 April 2008

I think I might have overdone it

The gym that is. I've been getting a little over enthusiastic about my progress. I've mentioned a couple of times that I'm enjoying my gym sessions, well, I think I'm addicted. The fact that I've not even lost any weight clobbering the cross trainer doesn't seem to dissuade me from going at least every other day. I know. Those that know me well will snigger at the last few sentences. I have never been one for physical exercise. I am concerned.

The problem is, I feel better now I've got into a routine of going. By better I mean, dare I say it, happier, slightly more cheerful, even energetic. I've been so used to not being any of those things, the last six weeks have come as a bit of a shock.

I have realised two things:
- no-one else is really that bothered and it's really just to please myself
- going to the gym is not going to make me more beautiful

Now, you may disagree with these two points but I have proof. Firstly, does it really matter to anyone else that I'm a size 10 or a size 18? I think not. My family may worry for my health and they may have to wait for me on long walks up big hills but I'm sure that some would only worry if I ate their food as well as mine. Secondly, no matter how many hours you stomp on a treadmill, the wrinkles will not postpone their arrival and it won't change your face. In fact, gym going seems to make me even pinker in the face but, and here's the rub, I don't care.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

up with the lark

I've gone from one extreme to the other, not dressed by lunchtime yesterday and up and doing by 6am this morning.

It's been great to have some comments from across the pond and from Margaret in Londonium. I hope you both come back for another look sometime and I hope, Margaret, you enjoy Cork St as much as I did. I also wanted to visit the Rebecca Hossack Gallery in Conway Street but didn't have the address with me (yes, I know - useless) so if you fancy another lunchtime trip, it would be great to hear what it's like.

It's a lovely sunny day again here in the West. We've got another trip to the paint shop planned for this afternoon as I seem to be incapable of buying the right shade of cream unaccompanied. I know my limits.

I've spent the morning progressing a patchwork quilt for J made of G's old shirts. The blanket he has at the moment came from Jaipur all those years ago when we travelled a bit. Needless to say J has no idea of the deep significance this has for his dear parents so has managed to make quite large holes in said blanket. The patchwork was easier than I had anticipated. I was inspired to continue by Tonya at Lazy Gal Quilts ( when I saw her much more beautiful, fruit-flavoured quilt. She commented on how she liked her slightly wonky seems.

Well, if it's OK for someone who's been quilting for nearly 20 years then, I too, can accept the wonkiness of my seams. Pictures will follow once I've worked out what to do with the 100-squared patch of shirt fabric I now have laid on the kitchen floor.

And what of art? I received an invitation to an interview today with our head of department at college. I am surprisingly terrified. I am expecting my recurring college dream to enter my subconscious tonight - the one where I've gone back and still haven't quite managed to do what I should have done because I was sorting something else out.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

still in my jamas

I know, shocking isn't it - 11am, on my 3rd cup of tea and in my jamas and dressing gown. J is still in bed - I love the school holidays. In my defence, guess what, I've tidied up a bit more! Three bin bags and a full recycling bin of nonsense has left my room. I've still got one more cupboard to go and then I am done, until the next time.

Thought I'd show you a bit of my AIP (art in progress). I'm a beginner, you know. I paint with old store cards. I don't like the way brushes stripe the paint. If anyone has any suggestions or top tips for books to read about painting, please advise. One thing I discovered this year is that you don't go to art college to learn how to paint - that seems to be left to adult education courses or it's something I should have done at school. I wasn't allowed to do art at school - I don't think I ever asked as I'd got the message that it was alright to mess about for an hour a week but other than that it was 'a complete waste of time'. Perhaps that's why I'm enjoying it so much now. Everything else I do is quite functional and practical. I'm relishing the time I've carved out to sit, stitch and think. It's a real luxury and one I'm going to miss when the course finishes.
Anyway - now I've tidied up, I've discovered things I need to do. So, guess what, there's a list now.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

a bit bitty

I seemed to do a little bit of everything today - a bit of slumping (necessary during the school holidays), a bit of legoing, a bit of tidying up and recycling, a bit of gardening (yippee!), a bit of paint buying, a bit of library going, a bit of virtual quilt making and a bit of filing.

The football is on tonight (again) so that means some extra time doing some more sorting this evening. I am a terrible accumulator of stuff, nonsense, pieces of A4 paper. I found some paperwork from a job I had in 1998 - I don't need to keep that.

The kids had their photo taken in the libary - they had to dress up as pirates. They'll be in our local paper next week. The 'Gazette and Herald' is an amazing newspaper. If nothing much happens, they print stories about people falling over kerbs or going to London for the sales - it is true. Do not think I am making this up. Consequently if a school or library are doing anything remotely out of the ordinary, the charming photographer from the paper turns up and does his stuff - bingo! in the paper.

I laugh at this interest in the minutiae of fellow Wiltshire-ites' lives but, equally, I am grateful for it. I love living in a place that's kind of like New Zealand, but in the 50s. A neighbour was recently berated by our stand-in postman for living in a bubble. When I listen to the radio too often, or watch the late news, I'm glad to be living in a bubble - safe, quietly getting on with the life I want to.

Monday, 7 April 2008

and finally, it works...

This is not the best photo in the world but it IS a photo and it has been taken with our previously poorly camera which, thank goodness, is now working. If Blogger allows it to upload, that is. I always have a little trouble with the images on my favourite blog-hoster.

So - first day of the holidays - tick! I've gardened, allotmented, cooked, arted and sorted out how to display my latest creation (see above). I'm wondering whether any one else would like an applique house portrait. Feedback please. I am now experimenting with a more modern looking house and, as I keep looking at, the one above looks a little plain. I think it needs more detail on the windows, or something. Not sure. In any case, it's finished and I was very pleased to be able to use my newly acquired staple gun.
I have, yet again, messed up on the book club reading. I've read my book 'Notes on an Exhibition' by Patrick Gale (next month's book) and finished it last night. I haven't started this month's and I think I've got a fortnight to read something that looks quite deep and meaningful 'An Unequal Music' by Vikram Seth.
The allotment portion of the day was very satisfying although I'm not sure whether bribing the kids to 'help' was really worth the prospect of taking them swimming tomorrow. E kindly spread the soil over the weeds and then stamped it down, really hard and J valiantly took it upon himself to edge the biggest bed and managed to throw an awful lot of weeds into the middle of the bed itself.
That'll learn me....

Friday, 4 April 2008

sore feet

It was worth it though. I saw some great stuff in London yesterday. I didn't want to go as I always think of Tate Britain as being a bit fusty but I take it all back and would say it's definitely as good as Tate Modern. All the exhibitions are listed at and there's some amazing exhibitions coming up too.

I saw '400 years of drawing' which was amazing but didn't have a catalogue with it, I saw a lot of collage and photomontage there and some beautiful works by Victor Passmore who I hadn't come across before.

I found Pimlico tube and had lunch at Green Park on the grass and took myself to see Anthony Gormley's Firmament at the White Cube, Mason's Yard ( The two rooms were so impressive I don't have the words to write about them. I do think it's quite blokey though - how's that for a statement of art appreciation!

Off up to Cork Street and the land where everyone just looks minted. How do they do that? Is it the two weeks in Verbier, the city breaks, the spa hotels? Or is it the lemon sweaters and brylcream? Anyway - I saw John Wesley (, very modern, minimal palette, blackoutlined pieces depicting couples and ladies in various states of undress. Liked those. And Chris Drury ( who went to the Antarctic and has done amazing inkjet prints with writing, lines, drawings and acrylics. Liked those too. My bonus was Balaguer - old master style paintings of shopping bags and cardboard boxes, really, REALLY beautiful ( and so painterly perfect.

I then went on, yes, I did, to the Southbank wanting to go to the Hayward Gallery. I'd forgotten how ugly it was and I sat outside and couldn't face going up the stairs. How pathetic is that!

I rallied shortly afterwards and walked miles to iknit ( - a fantastic knitting shop I've read a lot about. I wasn't disappointed. It had beautiful skeins of amazingly dyed yarn and the best book section I've seen in a knitting shop, ever! Had a little chat with one of the owners and then dragged myself back up the Embankment to Tate Britain - a long, long, walk.

So...that was my day, a little different from the day I'm having today - work, voluntary stuff and the kids' end of term assembly. Not bad for 48 hours.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Viewing figures

I am pleased to report a 100% increase in known readers of projectforty (yes, I know, I need one of those stat thingies). Thank you to those of you who are still with me and the newer members of our little online gatherings.

I am also pleased to announce that I am now able to manage 20 minutes on the scary cross trainer machine at the gym. I noticed on my card that I started at 5 minutes at the end of February. I am beginning to realise that the whole fitness/diet industry is really just based on 'move about a bit more' and 'eat a bit less'. They're all just saying the same damn thing in different leotards.

It is making me feel good though - I know this revelation should have happened at the beginning of projecforty but, hey, it's only me that's really bothered about what I look like. No-one has winced when they've seen me - yet. Or have they, and I didn't notice? Sorry, just off ona tangent here....

ANYWAY...all's well. I've received a letter from UCAS telling me I've applied to do a degree. Another step on my creative 'journey' (aaargh). Am off to London tomorrow with college which I'm really looking forward to. I even like going on the bus and going on the motorway. I am, however, in a pickle as I want to see 4 different shows in 4 different geographical directions. I shall be making myself a cup of tea forthwith to ponder my real artistic desires. I think I might have to wear trainers - not a good luck for a woman of my age in the city. It makes one look American.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

start again

I've just completed my most insightful and witty blog ever and it didn't work! Why's that then. Have to go do tea now and argue with children.