A Bathing Belle ~ an ATC painted for World Watercolour Month

The inspiration for this ‘Bathing Belle’ came from an [unused] sticker in my Craft Room.  I’ve had this lovely sticker for about 7 years – bought in a sale at Hobby Craft here in the UK.  It’s quite large compared to this little watercolour painting.   I came across the sticker a few days ago and thought it would make a lovely image on a little ATC (sized at 2.5″x 3.5″).  However … I changed the style of the dress part of her bathing suit.

Bathing Belle 2

‘Bathing Belle’ ~ an ATC sized painting for ~ #WorldWatercolorMonth

Originally the dress was more puffed up and ’rounded’ in it’s design, but I wanted to make a play on words for the Bathing BELLE (Bell) so thought I could change her slightly and turn her actually into a Bell shaped Bathing Belle.

I changed her hair also, from a deep, warm brown colour, to a salt and pepper (or rather more salt than pepper) bathing beauty.  After all, Grandmas, Nanna, Nanny and (in my case) Grammy’s can be just as glam as any young thing, so I thought I’d give a shout out for those of us who have a bit of stray grey going on!

The last photograph above, was taken with a light from two desk lamps – one either side of the painting – shining onto the ATC and mount.  However the next photo has no desk lamps on, as I wanted to use the flash on the camera to try to make the ‘Starry’ water colours put in an appearance and I think I managed it …. take a peep …

Bathing Belle 1

‘Bathing Belle’ ~ an ATC sized painting for ~ #WorldWatercolorMonth

… if you compare this last photograph with the one before it, you’ll see that the sea has sparkling white horses to the ocean.  The sand has some sparkling wet sand, and our Bathing Belle has a twinkling sea-horse hair ornament.  This sparkle and twinkle comes from using Kuretake,  Gansai Tambi Starry water-colour paints.  When they dry these paints have a  fabulous twinkle and sparkle to them.

Bathing Belle 3

‘Bathing Belle’ ~ an ATC sized painting for ~ #WorldWatercolorMonth

Because I changed the shape of her dress, to make her look more ‘Bell’ shaped like,  if you use your imagination now and cut the ATC at where her dress ends at the bottom …  you’d find that you had a Bell which you could ring by grasping hold of her head!  LOL!!

But of course … we’re not going to do that.  We’re not savages!!  Grief!  😀

Bit of paint.  Scrap of Watercolour Card.  Tub of water.  And that’s all there was to it!

Happy Sunday!  May today find you happy, healthy and with few jobs or chores to do, but lots of happiness waiting for you to discover it.

Sending you Sunday Squidges, and lots of lovely love ~

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Things I’ve learned this week

Aaand  it’s Friday again.  Can you believe how quickly Fridays seem to arrive?  Or is that just me being old and weird? 

Well we’re here to find out what I’ve learned this week  and I’ve learned a lot…

Dragonfly

I’ve learned that although I’m scared stupid of spiders, I’m not scared of Dragonflies.  In fact, I’m SO not scared of them that I tried to collect up and save the life of a Dragonfly who’d popping into my craft room, through the open window.  I was trying to be so very careful with him and not hurt his little wings or anything – but I was being too careful and so couldn’t catch him.  In the end I called on Mr.Cobs to come and help, as I was concerned that he could end up not being able to get out and then I’d find his little body,  lifeless, on the windowsill …  and then I’d feel a huge sense of guilt,  for ever and ever, that I hadn’t tried harder.

Mr.Cobs thankfully managed to guide him to the open window where he neatly popped out and flew away.  (The dragonfly flew away, not Mr.Cobs.  I think Mr. Cobs would have great difficulty getting off the ground).

and

I learned that the ampersand (in the picture above and here: &) has a most fascinating history.  It first came to light over 2,000 years ago!  Now that alone was enough to turn my eyes into the size of saucers.  I mean to say … look at that funky shape (above) …  that isn’t something which you perhaps would have expected to be around over 2,000 years ago.  But there’s more: …  It started out as the Latin word: et – which meant  ‘and’.  But because of the way Latin was written (all curls and flicks) the ‘e‘ and the ‘t‘  sometimes looked as if they were as one letter, which was the beginning of the ampersand  ‘&’.

BUT … the actual name ‘ampersand‘ didn’t exist until around the 1830’s, when ‘&’ was (would you believe it ..) … the 27th letter of the alphabet!  WHO KNEW?!    The ‘&’ mark ended the alphabet like this: X  ..  Y  ..  Z  ..   and per se and‘  (and=&)  –  and since ‘and per se’ meant: ‘and by itself’  …  this final phrase ‘and per se’ was lazily mumbled and stumbled over by English school children when they were reciting the alphabet,  it was, through use of the mumbled English,  eventually re-born as  ‘ampersand’

(If you say the original  ‘and per se and’  out loud a few times until your mouth gets used to saying it, you can eventually ‘hear’ how you could slur it, as a bored child would do when being made to recite the alphabet for the fourth time, and make it sound like ‘ampersand’)

I’ve also learned this week that a picture very much like this little picture (below) hit just the right spot in me and spoke to me like it was the Lord talking gently over my shoulder, into my ear:

Love what you do 02.09.16

My incredible, amazing,  the funshine of my life Grandson,  Little Cobs, has developed an all-encompassing love of his teddy bear over the summer (school) holidays, and that teddy bear travels everywhere with him.  From morning till night, that little bear is carted around like it’s tied to him.  His mummy (our daughter) sent a text message to her father (Mr. Cobs)  asking if he could make a bed for ‘Round‘ (the name of Little Cobs teddy bear.  I know!  RoundI have no idea why either, but that’s the name Little C. gave the bear and we know better than to question it).   I said I’d design it, and Mr. Cobs could make it.  But until it’s made we sorted out a lightweight (so easy to pick up and carry for a small boy), plastic (but that flexible plastic which you can bend – so that it won’t break) box,  which I donated from my craft room, as a bed for ‘Round’,  and when Little Cobs came to visit for the day on Wednesday this week, I told Little C that I would make a pillow and bed throw (duvet) for Round so that she (oh yes, ‘Round’ is a girl, I think I forgot to say that) .. so that Round would have a comfy pillow to rest her head and a lovely bed throw to cover herself up with so that she was snuggly in her bed.

Mr. Cobs lifted my sewing machine from its sewing bag and set it down on the table for me, . . .  and as I sat cutting some material to make the throw …  I became aware of a performance over to my right, coming from the living room.  I stopped what I was doing to see Little Cobs fighting his way through the living room with one of the chairs from his drawing table.  …. huff, puff, huff  ….  He was rather firmly informing Grandad that  NO, he didn’t need any help, he could do it himself!  So Mr. Cobs opened the door wider so that Little C could manly bring in his own chair to sit and keep me company as I sat sewing bed ‘stuff’ for Round. (Keep in mind that this little boy has cerebral palsy which affects his walking and co-ordination, and his articulation of words to some degree, and you’ll understand why seeing him struggling purposefully with this chair made my heart sing).   It was right then, as I looked at the little man now sat to my right, that I realised I couldn’t have a more perfect moment than those few seconds.  Here was this tiny scrap, sat on a chair a quarter of the size of mine, keeping me company and watching me sew and make things for his beloved bear,   as he sat hugging said bear and waited for the magic to happen.  In that moment I knew that I LOVED what I am able to do.  I love that I can craft.  That I can paint, stamp and colour things with him. I love that I have a pile of stuff in my craft room which is just for him.  I love that there is a huge jar filled with all manner of wonderful craft goodies, which he’s seen and knows is sat waiting until this Saturday when he and I are going to have a crafting day, just Grammy and Little Cobs.

And I loved and gave thanks, in that very moment, that I knew enough about sewing dolly and teddy things from when our girls were young,  to quickly make a quilted bed throw and soft, squishy pillow for  Round the Bear, who has a fluffy  heart on her bottom, and holds my grandsons heart in her paw.

Hello God, it’s me again.  Please don’t let him lose Round,  for he will be inconsolable if he ever does. Thank you.

When I had finally finished sewing, and cut off all the loose threads, I gave the new bedding to Little Cobs and helped him put them in Rounds temporary bed, with Round tucked up snuggly, like a bear should be.  He gazed at the bed throw and touched it gently.  Feeling how soft and squishy it was and then he looked at me in a way which I hadn’t seen him look at me before.  I saw that his little brain was trying to work out something that he hadn’t noticed before – that being that his Grammy obviously had a magic wand and was a witch who could magic up wondrous things he’d never dreamed of.  I’m dreading him coming on Saturday and asking me to make him a full size Racing Car.  There’s only so far that my magic can stretch to.  I’m great with ‘swish and flick’  for small things   … but anything big requires Harry Potter himself!  lol

And finally …

I’ve learned that I care more deeply about the blogging friends I’ve made here than I realised.

I received a message from a blogging friend who I ‘met’ when I first began blogging (2 years ago).  I clicked to follow her, she clicked to follow me, and so it went on.  We would read each others blog posts and comment, like you do.  Then … she posted a blog post on June the 30th this year in celebration of being married to her husband for 50 years!  I can tell you that this surprised the heck out of me – and told myself that I’d obviously read it incorrectly because I ‘knew’ she couldn’t be anywhere near 50 years old!  She was too vibrant, too ‘with it’, too …. aw – just TOO.   No way could she have been married for 50 years!  However, when I checked with her, she told me that yes indeed, she and her wonderful husband had been married for 50 years!  (You could have knocked me down with a feather!  I was SO surprised).

Then, last week, I heard from Beverly after a  period of ‘quiet’  (I’d noticed a lack of posts on her blog for about a month, but guessed that they may be away on a summer holiday or off seeing relatives).

Last week Beverly commented on a post on the blog here and told me that she had something to tell me and she would tell me later.  True to her word, she came back and told me that she has lost her husband a few short weeks after their 5oth Wedding Anniversary.  He’d had a fatal heart attack.  When I read the message I felt like someone had placed a hand around my throat and was holding it in a tight grip.  I couldn’t swallow, couldn’t breathe properly and neither could I make this news register with my brain. This surely couldn’t be correct.  It COULDN’T be.  They’d only just celebrated their anniversary.

I read that message three times,  and on the third reading I had to read it out loud so that I could be sure that I was understanding what I was reading.  And then … I didn’t understand why.  Why was this man taken?  What exactly was the ‘plan’ here?  How could it be that there were really bad people left alive and roaming the planet, killing people, blowing them up, and causing so much heartache, anguish and pain, and yet, here was this man,  a wonderful husband to Beverly and father to their children, taken – without warning.  Why?   I don’t understand the plan.

Hello God, it’s me again.  I don’t understand.  Forgive me.  I know you have a plan and that it’s probably a great plan, but sometimes I have to admit that I wonder why some things happen, when there are, to me, more obvious things that could have happened which surely would make the world a better place.  Aw, I know I probably don’t know what I’m talking about … but you know how I like to run these things past you when I can’t figure them out for myself.  Thank you for listening.  ~ me. x

I’ve always known that I develop a feeling of ‘caring’ for people I get to know via my blog here.  The ‘comments’ facility is such a wonderful thing.  I get to know people because of it, and more often than not, we get to have a bit of a giggle together.

And … if one of you doesn’t post for a while then you’ll no doubt find me putting a comment on your blog saying hello and trying to make sure that everything in your world is groovy.

This heartbreaking loss which Beverly is coping with,  has shown me exactly how much I care for all of my blogging friends.   Don’t get me wrong I knew I cared …  I care enough to go up and down my list of blogs that I follow, every month,  in order to look for names of people who I haven’t heard from for a few weeks and will pop to their blog and leave a message saying hello.  But I didn’t realise how much I cared.  I do now.

I’ve learned a lot this week.

And now … it’s your turn my friend(s).  Tell me, in the ‘comments’ facility,  what you’ve learned this week.  Let’s turn this into a mutual learning experience.

Don’t think you have to use the comments to ‘comment on a post’any post.  You can use the comments simply because you have something you wanted to say.  You can chat away to your hearts desire.  If you have a problem and need to off-load it, then you’re very welcome to do so.  It can be a craft thing, a worldly thing, a ‘which dress to wear’ thing …. a heart thing …  any  thing.  If you want to talk about ‘it’  then go for it.  I think the ‘Comments’ should be re-named.  Not sure what to …  maybe you have a suggestion?

Sending you my love and good wishes for a wonderful weekend my friends.  Be safe out there.  Oh … and make memories.  Days are made for you to make memories.

Thanks for coming and sharing a coffee with me.  I love seeing you here.  Have a truly blessed rest of your day,

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Mangled Musings – or – how I learned that a dastardly destiny can lay in wait even for the most ‘innocent’.

A week or so ago a lady called Eva,  the author of one of the blogs I followwrote a wonderfully evocative post about a time gone by,  when her mother had talked her father into buying a Mangle.  Eva wrote her memories so beautifully that it caused followers to recall our own memories of days gone by.  My own memory was so vivid that I wrote about it in a comment on Eva’s blog, – just to make Eva laugh really,  –  but it also caused a laugh with a couple of folks who said I should share the memories on my blog too.

Now although I’m not entirely certain that anyone will be really interested,  in the spirit of sharing the smiles – and perhaps bringing back memories from your own childhood …  I share my woeful tale of my encounter with ….  The Mangle Monster!

Oh. MY. WORD!!! Do I remember mangles!!!

My Grandma had one.  The metal parts were painted bright pillarbox red, and it had long grey/white rubber rollers.  I loved it when Grandma allowed me to turn the mangle handle.

She would stand on one side of the thing, with her sheets, which she had washed in her really old-fashioned top load washing machine, removed, and then folded whilst wet, and then feed them into the ‘jaws’ of the mangle

I had to turn the mangle at just the right speed – because if I went too fast and she hadn’t had the chance to make sure the folds were in the right place, then I’d get a telling off!

Ohhh, I loved the mangle!

My mother too, had a mangle – but this was an electric one which was attached to the top of her electric, top loading, washing machine.  I’d been warned and warned  (accompanied by a stern wagging finger)  to “keep away from the mangle!” – but, it was no good.   I was bewitched by it.

One day,  the phone rang while Mom was about to feed washing through her mangle.  Everything was set and ready for her to wring the water out of the freshly washed washing, using the electric mangle, but just at that precise moment the phone rang, so she raced off to the hallway to answer it.  I was left in the kitchen, all alone, with the mangle rollers turning round and round.  I moved closer to the washing machine so that I could see better.  Yes, they were going round.  Just turning.  Not too fast, not too slow.  I could see the shiny red rubber rollers moving.  My fingers began to walk the walk over the metal of the washing machine.  I so wanted to touch the rollers.  The rubber looked as if it would be soft, and I wondered if it really was soft.  Surely it wouldn’t hurt just to touch it to see?  It wasn’t as if I was going to do anything to it.  I only wanted to just touch the roller to see how soft it felt.

I reached up and put my fingers on the roller.  All I wanted to do was just feel the smoothness of the roller.

And that, ladies and gentlemen,  was the day that I was acquainted with a very important lesson in life:  When your mother says not to do something – then you’d better not do it,  otherwise an unpleasant and disastrous destiny will descend upon your head!

Or upon . . .   no, – let me continue:

I felt my fingers touch the rollers.  Just ever so lightly – but not enough for me to get an actual feeling about how soft or hard the rollers were, so I touched them again, this time knowing that I had to touch a little harder and leave my fingers there just a teeny bit longer.

Mistake.  BIG  mistake.

Those rollers grabbed hold of my fingers and sucked on them really hard.  They stuck my finger tips to the rollers and then proceeded to pull them into the mouth of the mangle monster!   The rollers continued to roll steadily,  . . .   dragging all my fingers into the rollers   . . .    I screamed!!

“MOM! MO-O-OM!”  I yelled from where I stood, slowly being eaten by this vile dragon in the middle of our kitchen.  I could feel my eyes growing to the size of saucers.  “MOMM!!”  Panic was setting in.

I looked back at where my hand should have been on the end of my arm, and it had been swallowed!   It was NOW STARTING TO EAT MY WRIST!!!

“MOM. MOO-OM. I’M STUCK.  MO-O-O-O-O-O-M!” by now I was screeching.

I could vaguely hear her voice in the distance.  I knew she was still on the phone because I could hear her posh  ‘telephone voice’.

I looked at where my wrist had once been, and could see that my whole arm was now about to be taken forcibly and violently into the point of no return.  I was going to be eaten by this machine.  I knew I was going to be squished flat and very probably dead.

The machine began to make a very bad noise. It was growling, moaning and groaning.

This was it  . . .   this was where my short life was going to end.

I was just about to scream the living daylights  . . .   when suddenly,  like an Angel which had been sent from God,  there was my mom coming through the door to the kitchen  . . .  My Mom, – My Hero!  She was going to save me!

Thank you God for inventing Moms!

“HELP   . . . ” I cried.   “IT’S GOT ME!  IT WON’T STOP!!!” … by now I was feeling the pain of  me  pulling against the pull of the mangle rollers.  This machine was way stronger than I was.

My mother stood for a second,  took in the scene like only Moms can,  and instantly knew what to do.  She sprang into action.  Turning the machine off at the electric socket, she pulled out the plug,  and instantly the growling, groaning noise stopped and the mangle became still.   She lifted something on the top of each side of the rollers – sort of like a little metal cap – and then lifted the top roller out.  I was free, – and   . . . I was alive!  ALIVE!

Not only that but  . . . There was my arm!   It was still there.   I was incredulous!   I stood gazing, open mouthed, marvelling like an idiot at the wonderment of my arm still being intact – and not at all grizzled or eaten.  There wasn’t even any blood or anything!

I was feeling so much gratitude and thankfulness towards my mom for saving me from the gates of purgatory that I flung myself at her.  I was going to give her the love of her life, and squish her in a big hug like she’d never had ever before in her life.

She caught me with her hands on my shoulders.  One hand on each shoulder,  and just for a second I thought she was going to ask me if I was ok, and then probably kiss me and hug me and love me as one would love a favourite child.

But I couldn’t have been more further from reality if I’d have suddenly found myself on Mars.

There she stood,  one hand on each of my little shoulders (one of which by the way, was attached to the very arm which had just been eaten by the Mangle Monster, and so needed to be treated carefully so that it didn’t fall off!)  – she bent over just slightly and  . . . .  shook the living daylights out of me,  – and gave me the biggest telling off I’d had in my life, at the same time.

I heard exactly how much pocket-money I was going to be paying for the rest of my life if that dream machine was broken.

I heard that I should:   “wait till your father hears about this, young lady!”.

And I also was told that my mom was   “going to tell Grandma that you mustn’t be trusted with a mangle ever again!”

I was bewildered.   Did this woman not realise the danger I’d just been in?  Did she not understand that the very machine she was concerned about had just nearly eaten me alive?   Surely she had to see that this very machine was evil?!

Strangely enough – it was that last threat,  regarding her telling my Grandma that I shouldn’t be trusted with a mangle – which was the one that made me howl.   I was sent to my room to wait there until I was told to come out again.  (But quite frankly, I was in so much misery at that point that I didn’t care if I wasn’t allowed out of my room ever again!  What was the point if I couldn’t roll the handles of my Grandma’s Mangle,  – and even worse – I had been shown that my mother loved the Mangle Monster more than she loved me!   Surely it was the Mangle which should have been thrown out. Not me!!)

Oh yes … I have fond memories of Mangles. 😀

… and yes, –  it really is a true story. ~ Cobs. x