Sunday, 26 July 2020


Hello everyone.

Erika at "Art Journal Journey" is asking us to make a journal page on the theme "When it's hot".
One thing we do when it is hot is go for a coffee and bun at one of our favourite cool cafes.

One of our favourites is Mimi's cafe.   Mimi always gives you a very warm welcome.

She looks cross but I assure you she is not.
There are many Mimis serving in the cafe and they are all happy to see you.

When we were driving here we got caught in a bad traffic jam and turned up a side road.  We ended up as the filling in a van and lorry sandwich and while Mr. E. drove through endless twisty and one-way streets I admired the variety of the architecture of the old buildings we were driving through.

Another of our favourite cafes is fairly new and has a sweet little room you can rent for an hour to sit and read a book in.
It also serves excellent coffee and vegetarian food.

The garden is growing like a rocket, a vast spreading rocket where you plant a little seedling one minute and the next minute it has taken over the whole bed.   This is due to alternating hot weather and pouring cold rain, sometimes at the same time.

The only plant I put in this bed was the magenta geranium and look what happened.  You can just see the magenta flowers peeking out.  I claim no credit for this.

Have you been supporting your local corner shops more than usual in the past months?
Our teddies certainly have.

The elderly teddy at the front of the queue is causing a queue backlog.  I don't know what he is asking for but the shop-keeper is beginning to look slightly stressed.

It's good to be in Blogland again and I'll see you all soon.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020


Hello everyone.
I've missed you a lot.

In early March I went out into the garden and, apart from eating and sleeping, came back indoors yesterday because it was raining heavily.

Is there anything more wonderful than these poppies?
They are tall (45 inches, 114 cms), seed profusely but are easy to thin out, stand up straight on strong stems, look perfect and the bees go crazy over them.

I grew loads of foxgloves especially for the bees.   
They had huge fat individual flower heads and every time you went near them you would hear several bees buzzing inside.  It was amusing to see the bees come out backwards.

This is the path round the vegetable garden, and yes, the vegetable garden does have quite a lot of flowers.

And here is Douglas on gardening duties showing the first broccoli which will be eaten tonight.

I haven't painted much but I did occasionally add a little bit to this painting.   It was very hot and sunny here for many weeks and when it got too hot I sometimes deserted the flowers in the garden and painted flowers instead.

I'm offering this to "Art Journal Journey" where Erika is asking us to make art on the theme "When it's hot".
Of course I couldn't resist cropping it and changing colours, just for fun.

Finally, because we couldn't visit our favourite cafes we created our own, borrowing Mr. E's studio.
We "own" several cafes now including the one below, Lara's cafe, and a Breakfast Bistro which I will show you later.
Lara is welcoming us at the bottom left of the table.
She runs a superb cafe with her helpful and enthusiastic staff.

My friend EN supplied her legendary home-baked scones and the delightful teenage girl next door baked snowballs.  Do you remember snowballs from olden days?

Hope you enjoyed your trip to the garden and the cafe culture at Orange Esmeralda's house.
See you all soon.

Friday, 1 May 2020


Hello everyone.

Every morning starts with tea.  These are two of the delightful tea ladies who bring my tea.

I've been doing things other than painting (mostly gardening) and made one of these crochet hexagons for a change from knitting and then got quite addicted to making them, one every evening.
They are rather nice as cheerful coffee cup mats, a different one each day.

I've also finished these socks which are made from many bits of yarn left over from making "ordinary" socks.

And I've being making designs for wrapping paper and here is one which fits to Mia's theme of "Flowers" at "Art Journal Journey".

Over the past couple of months the teddies have been finding new ways to amuse themselves and are endlessly inventive.
We're all easily amused here.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the fun and games that goes on at Orange Esmeralda's house.

Thursday, 20 February 2020


Elizabeth and Bleubeard at  "Art Journal Journey" are asking us to make art on the theme "Hearts".

I painted a pink page in my sketchbook and added a heart and a little house.

Millicent has been wandering around in the darkness of space for a while and she thinks she has finally found home.


At another great challenge site, the team at "Try it on Tuesday" is asking us to "Go Green or Recycle it".
I had a lot of fun with recycling on this one.

While I was splishing and sploshing in my studio, Mr. E. was in his studio next door making delicate paintings with a number 000 paintbrush.  His test paint patches are carefully cut squares about 3 inches square.  My test patch paper is often whatever is nearest.
This is what Mr. E's test papers look like.

I went next door to see what was going on and found some rather nice paint sample squares and carried one away to play with.

You will have to use your imagination as I got too excited and didn't take any progress photos, not even one of the original square.
However Mr. E. made me a copy and this is roughly how the original looked before I started playing with it.

Here is what I did with it very quickly using watercolours, metallic pencils and collaged painted paper glued on at the bottom.

Then I started to change it with Photo-editing and that's when it began to get exciting.

I really love the way Photo-editing can produce strange and beautiful colours

and produce different colourways.

Here is Sapphire showing off some of the new card designs.  
She would also like you to admire her off-the-shoulder organza shawl.

I hope you enjoyed looking at these experiments.
See you soon!

Tuesday, 11 February 2020


It started with a heart for Elizabeth and Bleubeard's challenge at "Art Journal Journey" to make art with a heart

and was finished with watercolours, stamps and pens.

This little heart stamp has been hanging about for years waiting patiently.

My ancient computer with an equally ancient Photo-editing program went to the PC heaven in the clouds so I took up the challenge of using a new computer and different Photo-editing program.

After many hours and lots of help from Mr. Esmeralda, the kindest and most patient of helpers, I think these results are not too bad. (Would you believe cropping a photo could have been so difficult?).



Mr. E. likes the blue one best.  Which do you like?
I turned the designs into wrapping paper and cards and this is a special present for a special person, my niece.

Hope you have a great week and see you again soon.

Saturday, 1 February 2020


Hello everyone.

What to make when you want to get back to making art but you are out of the habit?

I got out my bowl of bossy prompts.

The rules are - take out a prompt one by one and 

And I gave myself another two rules - 
do everything quickly, no faffing, 
and take four prompts sequentially.

First up was - "Use a heading from a magazine".
I've got a good supply of magazines, took the first "reasonable"(?) magazine I found and very quickly tore out a random heading.
I coloured in the lettering with a nice pink.

Next out was - "Make zigzags".

Then - "Make a shape and repeat it in different sizes".
I painted some grey stripes on paper and cut three diamonds, quick, quick.

Finally was - "Add a doodle".

First layout. 
You can see I added a little orange leaf. (I'm allowed to add anything).

Second layout with a pencilled grid.

Third layout.
I do quite like this next one, nice and lined up but there is something wrong.  Do you see what it is?  One of these elements is not right.

The magazine heading was killing it so I drew a new header.
I left it for a few days to see if it would improve and on the 1st of February the theme by Elizabeth and Bleubeard at  "Art Journal Journey" was "Hearts", just the thing for an "Energy Source" collage, thanks Elizabeth.

I rearranged everything, gave it a narrower lined pencil grid, added five energetic hearts to go with the title and stuck everything down before it became a lifetime project.

I quite like it but I'm not sure that either the prompts or I knew what we were doing.  
There is one piece I would remove, but it is well stuck down. What do you think it is?