Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Hold Fast to Dreams

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken- winged bird
that cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
~Langston Hughes


It's so important for us all to hold tight to our dreams however large or small they maybe. 
Dreams seem even more precious in these fragile times. 
We need them. They nourish our soul and give us something to strive for, to believe in and keep us going on this winding, rocky path of life.
My son's fiancé had a dream to be a violinist from an early age. Here she is playing Eric Whitacre's magical seal lullaby below. After finally seeing them for the first time since the beginning of March, I really enjoyed watching them creating this film at the river the other day. :)
Like many others, they are both talented young people trying to follow their paths and break into the world of music.
In January Taisia was offered a scholarship (tuition fees) to the Royal College of Music in London, to study a Masters Degree in historical performance. With her dream almost in reach she began to save for the remaining fees that are needed to study. Because she is from Moldova which is not in the EU, a study visa is required. To obtain this you have to prove that you have a certain amount of money to show that you are able to support yourself, otherwise the Visa will not be given.  In normal circumstances busking, concert performances, sponsorship and part time jobs would have been enough but the pandemic has affected all in so many ways and the fund raising routes haven't happened. So, as a last resort, she has set up a 'Go Fund Me' page.
If you love music or would like to help a young person achieve their dreams, then please do watch the videos and consider making a donation. Even the smallest amount during these uncertain times would be received with huge gratitude. And if you can't afford anything, then even just a share would be wonderful. 

You can see more of Taisia performing here...
As well as YouTube, you can follow Taisia on her instagram and  Facebook too. Please do give her a follow and share with any music loving friends or with anyone who you think may be interested.
Thanks so much!
 X

Monday, June 29, 2020

Shop Update Preview and Quiet Moments of Lockdown

There will be a small shop update in the 'website' shop (*not Etsy) of 10 wooden items on Tuesday at 8pm. The shop is currently still only shipping to UK though due to the delays because of Covid19. Apologies for this. 
Below are photos of what's to be added.
'Borage and Bee~Hedgerow Hare'
 'Clover, Herb Robert and Bee ~ Green Hedgerow Hare'
Spring Swallow ~Hedgerow Hare
Spring Meadow Hawthorn ~ Hedgerow Hare
Hawthorn and Bee ~ Hedgerow Hare 
Talisman 1 
Talisman 2
Talisman 3
Talisman 4
Talisman 5
I made a little film of some moments from Lockdown. I hope you enjoy.
If you like it, give it a thumbs up on Youtube and subscribe to my channel. I enjoy making films, but they do take me quite a long time. Hopefully I will get faster with more practice? 

Jasper

Silence the birds,
Let the hollyhocks bow their heads,
And the daisies close. 
The scented breeze still and the sun hide behind a cloud.
For our little prince has gone.
Shadow, companion, lap sitter, king of purrs, special friend, and dearest one.
You were quite simply, perfect.
Until we meet again beautiful boy. 
Play to your hearts content amid the starlight gardens.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Every Tree has a Tale to Tell

Standing beneath a large tree I am always in awe. Not just from the magnificence of sheer size and beauty, but often of the age. I like to look at the size of the tree trunk and try to guess when it may have taken root. What style of dress were people wearing when the sapling began to reach for the light? Who sat on the throne or ruled the kingdom? Whose feet trod nearby? And as it grew and grew and became a young tree, who sat and rested beneath it, weary from travelling, injured from battle, or could there be buried near its roots a precious trinket carefully wrapped in calico or leather, or a pot of coins? I wonder if someone climbed it to hide from danger, many years ago, or to laugh and play? What plans or dreams were thought of beneath its boughs?
Every tree has a story to tell, from the storms it has weathered, birds that have sang out from its high canopy, all the new life that has been raised in the nests among the branches, and tiny creatures that live in its crevices or nibble on its leaves. If only trees could talk our language and tell us their stories and the things they have seen. What a tale that would be.
Last Autumn when the ripe berries decorated the fading hedgerows we travelled to Wraysbury near Windsor to visit one of the most ancient trees in England. The Ankerwyke yew.
It stands on ancient water meadows of the river Thames close to the ruins of a benedictine 12th century priory and is believed to be up to 2,500 years old. This old tree is surrounded in history. Popular belief tells of King Henry VIII courting Anne Boleyn beneath it and some say that he proposed to her in the shadows of it. Just over the river Thames close by, is Runnymede where the Magna Carta was signed and sealed. There are those that argue that the signing took place over the other side of the river, perhaps beneath, or in sight of the Ankerwyke yew. A thousand year or more old tree would have been large and significant enough for King John to choose such a place in 1215 I like to believe?

AT Runnymede, at Runnymede
What say the reeds at Runnymede?
The lissom reeds that give and take,
That bend so far, but never break,
They keep the sleepy Thames awake
With tales of John at Runnymede.

At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
Oh, hear the reeds at Runnymede:--
"You mustn't sell, delay, deny,
A freeman's right or liberty.
It makes the stubborn Englishry,
We saw 'em roused at Runnymede!

"When through our ranks the Barons came,
With little thought of praise or blame,
But resolute to play the game,
They lumbered up to Runnymede;
And there they launched in solid time 
The first attack on Right Divine--
The curt, uncompromising 'Sign!'
That settled John at Runnymede.

"At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
Your rights were won at Runnymede!
No freeman shall be fined or bound,
Or dispossessed of freehold ground,
Except by lawful judgment found 
And passed upon him by his peers.
Forget not, after all these years,
The Charter Signed at Runnymede."

And still when Mob or Monarch lays
Too rude a hand on English ways,
The whisper wakes, the shudder plays,
Across the reeds at Runnymede.
And Thames, that knows the moods of kings,
And crowds and priests and suchlike things,
Rolls deep and dreadful as he brings
Their warning down from Runnymede!
                      
The Reeds of Runneymede ~ By Rudyard Kipling

Among the broken hollows  an offering sat. Left by a stranger, a silver ring. 
All the while we were there, a robin perched nearby. But seemed a little elusive whenever my camera tried to capture him. 
After visiting, ideas sat in my sketchbook for a while.
Then during the lockdown in April I began to paint.
Until complete...
'Tell me Tales of Magic and Old Kings'

Before we left, I took a couple of old snippets of branch that lie scattered beneath and whittled two little keepsakes back at home, to remember our visit.
It's well worth a visit and is often overlooked when visitors visit Runnymede. But this was first on the list for us. I would rather feel the history of a place through something that was living in the time, than look at all the more modern commemoration statues. Although they are definitely worth a visit too and a cup of tea and slice of cake at the National Trust Magna Carta tea rooms. :)  
~~*~~
If you are interested in buying a print of this new painting, then it's available in the Web shop *here*
The shop has reopened now for physical items, but I shall only be posting out once a week to keep trips to the post office to a bare minimum.  Currently it's only for UK only customers, as international postage seems to be experiencing quite a few delays which I don't want to be dealing with at the moment. Hopefully this will change soon? As soon as it does I will add international again. Downloads are still available to all.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A Poem and a Painting

Walk with me.
Down to the river, in the quiet time.
When all have gone home
and the river witch turns the ripples to gold.
We can sit for a while and hear the sleepy foxes stir.
And as the owls tuck the messages of the night beneath their soft white wings,
we can watch and wonder where the golden path leads
Sit with me beneath the apple blossom.
The drowsy bees will enchant us with their humming song
and we will be drunk on the scent of April days.
Run with me over the summer lands,
past golden kings in their reedy river castles.
Up the old hill, to stir the one that has slumbered too long beneath.
Do you see his white horse waiting in the shadows?
Can you see the glint of silver sword by the light of the moon?
Lie with me upon this old earth.
Beneath us, all that has passed will pass to us.
With the songs of old Wessex in our bones, our souls shall dance in the ghosts of flower meadows
and with all those who loved this land.

Dream with me.
Of a world where beauty in a single raindrop and a dandelion mesmerises all.
And where the golden leaves of a thousand forests are more precious than any gold jangling in our silk or threadbare pockets.
 ~Karen Davis 2019

A poem I wrote last year and a painting titled 'The Starlit Wessex Path' I did earlier this year, just before lockdown.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Gentle Journal Pages and Five Little Things


“What if, once upon a time, there were no stars in the sky at all? What if the stars are not what we think? What if the light from afar doesn't come from the rays of distant suns, but from our wings as we turn into angels? Destiny calls to each of us. And there is a world behind the world where we are all connected, all part of a great and moving plan. Magic is everywhere around us. You just have to look. Look. Look closely. For even time and distance are not what they appear to be. 
No life is more important than another. And nothing has been without purpose. Nothing. What if we are all part of a great pattern that we may someday understand? And one day, when we have done what we alone are capable of doing, we get to rise up and reunite with those we have loved the most, forever embraced. What if we get to become... stars”
~ Beverley Penn, 'Winters Tale' (quote from the movie)

Hello~ I hope you had an enjoyable Easter. Such glorious weather but unable to go out and visit anything or anyone, it felt very strange and yet so peaceful. No noise of any bank holiday traffic in the distance, or planes in the sky. Just birdsong and sunshine.
It's funny how quickly you get into a routine. It's been three weeks of lock down and I was thinking last night of some little things that are keeping me happy during this time. So I thought I would share five of them.
The first is gardening. Planting seeds, potting on cuttings that I took last year. Weeding and moving things around. There is always something to do in the garden. One of my favourite all time annual seeds to plant is Night Scented Stock. I just adore these. The flowers are quite insignificant and close during the day, but at night the scent is surely from Fairyland, and a bonus is they attract the night pollen feeders such as moths. Luckily I bought these before the shops all closed, but I'm sure you can find them online.  
The second is finding small treasures in the garden. I often come across china shards when weeding.  Over the years I have found a few interesting things, coins, clay pipe stems and marbles. Maybe I will show you these in another post? 
Number three is 'Crochet'. My Mum taught me to crochet as a child, but I'm not that good and can only do the basic stitches. I've been making a blanket of squares for about two years now. Now the pile is finally getting bigger and I've even started sewing some of the squares together and a blanket is finally taking shape. I normally crochet while I'm watching TV. Quite a few squares were created whilst binge watching all Seasons of Vikings.  ;) 
Little thing number Four is watching Eivor's live streams from her home every Saturday evening on Facebook. She has an amazing voice which I love. I discovered her after watching the tv series The Last Kingdom. You can see all the past live streams on Youtube. here's last weeks below...



And lastly my number five is... Chocolate
This is most unusual for me as I'm not a chocolate person at all and very rarely eat it. So my husband is loving the fact that suddenly I want to buy chocolate. He loves it, but has to be restrained in normal times from eating it, for his own good of course :-D 
Maybe it is purely scientific, as chocolate apparently does contain compounds associated with mood lifting chemicals. Who knows?  Plus we all know that it helps when dementors are around... 

"Eat, it will make you feel better' Professer Lupin says in The Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling, offering Harry chocolate after his first encounter with dementors. 

In between my little things, work has carried on although concentration levels are up and down. 
Both shops are still closed for physical items until further notice, but this time has given me space to experiment with some digital downloadable items which I had been planning to have ago with for a while now.
I have named them ‘Gentle Journal pages’ because it’s important to be gentle with ourselves at times like these.  They are basically gentle prompts for each day, which I have decorated using some of my work. Available to buy as instant pdf digital downloadable files in both my web shop and Etsy, they print out as an A4 size work sheet or can be cut in half to use as two A5 journal pages which you can glue into a book. 
I’m not sure if this kind of thing would be popular but whether it is or isn’t, I’ve learned  a lot from it.
 I also did some writing paper designs too. Is anyone else writing more letters to friends and loved ones? I have become pen pals with my daughter 😊
 
Anyway until next time... It is time to venture out and do our weekly shop. Stay safe everyone and a huge big THANK YOU to all NHS frontline staff and other key workers. ((xxx))
See you soon ! x

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Surreal Times

It's been a while since I posted here. The last time, back in January I was still very much wanting to be in hibernation. Who knew a kind of enforced hibernation from others, would be on the cards back then. It's all like a strange, bad dream isn't it. Something so tiny having such a huge impact on us all. How powerful humans think they are and yet how fragile we can be. With most of the world confined to their homes I feel extremely grateful. Not just to have a place to call home, but also a garden in which to be able to be outside, whenever I want to be.  
So from the garden is a posy of flowers for you dear readers to brighten your day.
Here in the UK we are allowed a walk outside for exercise once a day. Luckily the countryside is on the doorstep so Mother natures spring gifts are always close by.
When this lockdown was announced last week I made the decision to close both shops for the time being. The reason for this is, the post office that I use is very tiny and although not always particularly busy at this time of year, there is a narrow passageway that makes it difficult to stay at the required distance from people. I will let you know of any changes and when and if I have reopened. But for now I feel it is the right decision. In the meantime there is lots to be getting on with creating stock ready for when the shop does open again. Last week truth be told, I found it very difficult to concentrate. No doubt many of you have felt the same? It was hard to sit still when the news seemed to be constantly changing. So solace was sought in the garden. The weather was lovely, blue clear skies and a real warmth to the sun. each year the the primroses take over the lawn just that little bit more. I made a little video and put it on Youtube. Let me whisk you away, take a look below. 
With all that has happened the beginning of this month seems like an age ago now. But back then when when things were normal, I finished this picture. 'Stone Scent and Spirit' 
It's currently part of The Gathering exhibition at the Inverarity Gallery in Scotland. The Gallery is still open for purchases. So if you are interested in this original which is for sale via them, then do pop across here

These are truly surreal times we are living in but we will get through them. So many wonderful uplifting stories are being shared and acts of kindness. We all have to do our bit however small it may seem. Whether it's sharing beautiful things stories, music and kind words to help lift one another's days, to helping those in need when we can and of course cheering on our wonderful NHS staff and all on the frontlines every Thursday at 8pm from our windows and doorways. Although I can't get out and about to share places on here, there are others things to share and a few places I visited last year that I never got around to blogging about. So I will be checking back here soon.
In the mean time, stay safe
x

"It's like in the great stories Mr Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to how it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass" ~ Sam Wise The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien