Thursday, 26 July 2012

Girl Cave Power (Phase I) - Reclamation

When we moved into our house 9 years ago Darling Husband automatically assumed possession of the garage and at the time I was content to let this happen as this was a novelty for him, not having had a garage at our previous house, only a tiny shoe box of a shed.  He spent many a happy hour in his new garage, organising tools and accoutrements on his newly purchased Ikea Gorm Shelving System. The obligatory Black & Decker Workmate also appeared, an item he had lusted over for many years but never had the space at our old house, along with a variety of power tools to fill those empty Gorm shelves.   I was happy too, in the knowledge that much decorating and carpentry would soon be taking place in our new home so everyone was a winner, even Darling Daughter who now had storage space for her paddling pool, sand pit, swing-ball, all those outdoor room toys which previously would have to stay propped against the side of the house all through winter.

The car did not get a look in of course, consigned to the front drive but then, in these days of rust-free cars, who on earth parks their car in a garage? Garages are destined for men not vehicles!  The Man Cave had  arrived!  

As the years went by though, the Man Cave did not quite live up to its promise, for me at least.  It wasn't the hive of DIY activity I anticipated.  Various bits of home-brewing equipment started creeping in, along with a dart board.  Before long it seemed to have morphed into a micro-brewery/bar/wine cellar/general dumping ground for junk and become a den of inactivity.  Now, almost a decade later, projects to transform rooms linger on from year to year, and plans to renovate the house seem to have been shelved on the Gorm Shelving System.

What is certain now though is I need a studio space to produce my art work so I am making a stand for women everywhere and claiming what is legally half mine by taking over half of the garage - well a quarter at any rate. This of course has not gone down too well with DH as he feels I have encroached on his space. To make matters worse I am also laying claim to the huge solid work bench that we inherited from the previous occupent when his removal men refused to move it because it was too heavy to lift, so it was left behind.   This will be just perfect for my painting, dyeing, printing, mixed-media work and hopefully, maybe even a bit of re-upholstery and furniture renovation. Let's face it, the bench hasn't seen much action in recent years!

This then is the start of the big clean up, de-clutter, reclaimation, call it what you will but Girl Cave Phase I has now commenced.  More updates to follow.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Art in Action 2012

Well the sun really shone yesterday at Art in Action at Waterperry House and Gardens in Oxfordshire.  This is my 4th year  now as a visitor and thanks once again to my friend Lynn for driving.   It's a great way of seeing artists and their work up close and personal.

A particular favourite of ours in the Painting marquee was Turkish artist Ali Yanya who does the most amazing watercolours.  Here he is giving a demonstration of his watercolour techniques where he layers images of figures making them seem almost transparent. He made it look so damned easy.

There were quite a few sculptures out on the lawns.  This bird is made of recycled beer cans woven through chicken wire.

One of the dog sculptures was so real it was set upon by a real dog. 

Loved these wiry ladies.

A really great arty day made all the better for the lovely sunshine. Shenanigans at the end of the day trying to find the car in the car park which was a disused air field.  We walked the full length of the air strip only to find we were parked on the other air strip in the opposite direction.  

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Alderbrook Borneo 2012

The Alderbrook World Challenge Expedition to Borneo Team
 Jack, Amy,  Matt, Jon, Neil, Dan, Rob, Peter,
Beth R ,  Fenella, Emma,  Jess, Jodie, Shivani, Imogen, Beth H, Abbi, Emily

Well at last the day has arrived when the Alderbrook World Challengers depart for their 4 week expedition to Borneo. Challengers and us parents of challengers have been busy fund-raising since September 2010 and now the many cake-bake sales, face painting days, table-top sales, bag-packing weekends (thanks Sainsbury's), raffles, fashion show, quiz night, paper rounds and car washing have finally paid off.

Last night we all gathered at Alderbrook School for the pre-expedition barbecue and to wish them well and bon-voyage on their great trip.  It was a great evening with lots of food, chat, excitement and anticipation not to mention a few tears when it came to leaving them at school and saying our goodbyes to them for 4 weeks. They spent the night in the school with an early morning start at 3.30 to leave for Heathrow and then a 17 hour flight to Brunei, a flight to Kuala Lumpur and then finally flying in to Kuching in Borneo sometime tomorrow.  

Emily with her 15kg backpack

The Great Providers!  Just what is it about men and barbecues?
Amy, Emily & Beth H

Good luck guys.  Have a great time in Borneo!
Follow their big adventure on the Alderbrook Borneo 2012 Blog.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The First Raspberries of Summer

I'm trying to take some inspiration from my garden to create some new work so very bravely ventured out into the garden between the showers and discovered this little beauty.  Despite all the rain the first raspberries are starting to ripen and we had enough for a sprinkling each to eat with some ice-cream.

Still a lot of colour out there although disappointingly a lot of the tall stemmed flowers like the poppies have been flattened by the rain. Not sure what this flower is called but it's a perennial and gives some added sunshine to the borders.

 These little poppies stand up to the rain quite well.

One of my favourite shrubs. I love the delicate pink of this flower almost like tissue paper.

I love the way the raindrops stay on this plant.  For now the name escapes me but it always looks lovelier after it's rained.

 Found this little wee fellow in the rockery.

Campanula - a lovely rockery flower.

Johnson's Blue Geranium plus spider.

I think the poppy seedheads are almost as interesting as the poppy blooms and I always try to keep them for a bit before I get fed up of them flopping everywhere and cut them all down.  A piece of work crying out to be made I think.  For now I'm going to try and work in my sketchbook and see what I come up with.

The Olympic Torch comes to Solihull

Thought I must make mention of this momentous occasion on my blog even though it happened last weekend (well I've had a busy week).   Lots of standing around very early in the morning waiting for it to arrive.  Saw lots of backs of people's heads, some pushing and shoving, jockeying for best viewing position and two little yappy dogs were trying their best to trip me up weaving in and out my ankles as they were obviously frightened of all the noise and crowds.  

But here she is at last...................

Never did find out who the lady was.  If anybody knows please post on comments. 

 Off she goes down towards the Retail Park. She was gone in a flash.  If you blinked you would have missed her but worth getting out of bed for.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Alderbrook School Prom at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

In the garden before leaving
Thought I would post a few pics of Emily's school prom night at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.     Thankfully the rain held off and parents were able to go through onto the terrace to mingle and take photos. All the girls looked lovely in their dresses - so grown up - the boys looked lovely too (in suits of course, not dresses).  Here's a few of my favourite shots.
Proud Dad
The boys are in the Fire Engine
Dan's got his arms full

Wonderful view from the terrace with peacock