An artist-in-residence

I have an artist- in – residence?  Do you?

As a way of bringing a lighter, brighter look to my house, I have let her creative spirit have free rein in my domain.  There are new paintings everywhere.  And some of her old ones, too.

They make me smile. They remind me that spring is nearly here; that the magnolia is about to bloom again. They remind me that my dreary, old soul will soon be revived by  longer hours of daylight;  longer hours of sunshine.

Here’s a look at some of my artist’s work. Do you know who she is? If you are long time reader of this blog, you have met her before.  Of course, she isn’t physically in residence, but what fun it would be if she really were.

The little girl in me

The little girl in me

Portrait of Gallivanta's Magnolia

Portrait of Gallivanta’s Magnolia

More Magnolias

More Magnolias

Just the two of us

Just the two of us

Dog in residence

Dog in residence

Jack, the perfect artist's model-in-residence

Jack, the perfect artist’s model-in-residence

I haven’t taken photos for a while. I am out of practice. It shows.  I think I need a photographer-in-residence!

 

 

© silkannthreades

 

 

 

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An Honest House: A Memoir by Cynthia Reyes

I don’t often reblog but Diane’s review expressed, so perfectly, my feelings about Cynthia’s latest memoir that I couldn’t resist. Thank you, Diane; thank you, Cynthia.

Diane Taylor

An Honest House is a rich memoir that moves through a ten-year period of Cynthia Reyes’s life. In the midst of a successful career, family life with children blooming, she and her husband move to an old farmhouse surrounded by gardens they love. It’s just north of Toronto. Against this idyllic backdrop, PTSD strikes.

An Honest House, a second memoir by Cynthia Reyes An Honest House, a second memoir by Cynthia Reyes

A car accident leaves Reyes with debilitating pain and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and its attendant depression, inability to concentrate, inability to sleep, nightmares, regimens of pain killers, difficulty walking and years of physio. The dream house becomes a prison.

In case you are thinking this is a hard luck story, it’s not. Good memoirs bring light into the world, and An Honest House beams light from every page. Bit by bit, from deepest despair to light-hearted jocularity, we accompany Cynthia Reyes as she “grows up”, to use…

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‘ A Wigwam for a Goose’s Bridle’

Some of you will have noticed that I have been peeking round the cyber curtain lately, much like the child who has been sent to bed on the night of the party, but can’t resist peering round the door to see what  the grown ups are doing.

And, like that child, I am enjoying my glimpses into the other room ( of  WordPress ). Am I ready to cast aside the curtain and boldly enter  into your presence?  Not quite.  Not yet. I am still busy gathering up the riches of a lovely warm autumn; storing them away for the winter ahead.

I have also been gathering memories, like this one. In April I spent time with my parents who live in Australia. My mother and I worked on a small art project which involved threads and beads and ribbons and decorative butterflies. When it was finished I held it up, and said to my mother, “It’s very pretty but I have no idea what we have made, or what it is for? What do you think it is for ?” She looked at it, uncertainly, and said, after a moment’s reflection, ” A wigwam for a goose’s bridle.

I laughed. A truer word was never spoken.  (Though I don’t think she meant the saying  in its “mind your own business” sense. It was more that she thought we had made something nonsensical!)

'A wigwam for a goose's bridle' April 2016

‘A wigwam for a goose’s bridle’ April 2016

And with that piece of nonsense, I am going to retire for the night. I love knowing you are just on the other side, with your songs and stories, your words and your wisdom, your photos and fine art, your feelings and foibles, your heart, your smiles.  In the hush of my room I  listen to  the hum of your cyber chatter.   Bliss…….

Goodnight.

 

 

It’s me time

Just a quick post to let you know that I will be away quite a lot from my blog (and your blogs) for the next  6 weeks.

I will be preoccupied with family matters, visiting, and being visited.  It’s also my 60th birthday towards the end of March. I am not planning a big celebration, or even a small one, but I am planning some ‘me’ time.

This is not of me, but a painting made for me. I am very fond of it, and it somehow sits well with my upcoming birthday and my proposed time for myself.

Growing Younger Each Day

Growing Younger Each Day

Be back soonish.

© silkannthreades

 

 

 

Valuing the strands and threads

As if I needed any more challenges in life, but apparently I do;

because last month, I added  another task to my portfolio, by challenging myself to help an older family member declutter items which have been in the family for at least 60 years, and possibly longer.

As the expression goes, ‘What was I thinking?’  Some rather vainglorious and grandiose thoughts, I must confess, especially considering I haven’t even finished decluttering my home.  Be that as it may, part of the challenge, for me, is to learn how to sell online.

And I am  learning….. things like, it’s not easy to get your product noticed, and it’s not easy to make any money. ( I can hear some of the writers among you having a  knowing giggle!)  So far, I have had 5 sales out of the 6 items placed on the New Zealand  equivalent of eBay, known as Trade Me. I have made enough for two cups of coffee.😀

Take a look at what I have done, and what I may do yet to add some cream to the coffee.

Sold!

Sold! a beautiful, unfinished retro tray cloth

Sold! a beautiful, unfinished retro tray cloth

Sold!

Sold! Vintage crochet thread remnants

Sold! Vintage crochet thread remnants

Yet to sell!

Yet to sell! Vintage embroidery cottons and nasturtium embroidery piece

Yet to sell! Vintage embroidery cottons and nasturtium embroidery piece

Unsold! Unwanted? Unloved? Uncool?

Unsold, potentially unwanted! Powder puff and crochet holder.

Unsold, potentially unwanted! Powder puff and crochet holder.

Yet to list!

Lister's knitting silk, reels and cotton

Lister’s knitting silk, reels and cotton; possibly antique

Looking at these photos, you might ask, wouldn’t it be easier and more efficient to help by dispatching everything to a thrift store or a skiff? Undoubtedly it would.

BUT

my heart says every item in my relative’s house arrived  there through love and/or hard work, and  often via much saving of pennies. Cottons and threads, for example, would have been gifted, or chosen with  care and extreme thrift. At one time, they meant a great deal to someone or other in my extended family. They gave pleasure, and comfort, and much-needed beauty, and, sometimes, a little extra cash.  So, the very least I can do is honour them and give them a gracious,  kindly send-off to a new home.🙂

PS (post strands): Many of you will know that on  22nd February we, the people of Christchurch, will  commemorate  the 5th anniversary of the ruinous earthquake of 2011. Most of us were hoping for an easier and quieter  commemoration than in other years. We were beginning to feel well- adjusted to the ‘new normal’. Unfortunately, the peace in our minds was badly scrambled by a 5.7 earthquake last week. Old, unwelcome memories came racing back. And, as the ground has rumbled and rocked all week to varying degrees,  the old memories have taken a firm hold again.

Preparing  the old threads and cottons for sale, holding them, admiring them, wondering about them,  saying goodbye, reminds me that although we say, in times of natural disaster, that possessions are unimportant, that is not entirely true. Possessions have their own ‘life’, their own history, which is intimately connected to ours.  As I write I am remembering all  those people in Christchurch who lost homes and belongings 5 years ago, and who didn’t have the luxury of saying a proper goodbye to them and everything they represented; memories, love, beauty, place, friends, birthdays, hard work, extravagance, thrift, income, hope, laughter, grief……..

And on another strand; the small island nation of Fiji is  tonight meeting one of the greatest challenges in its history ~ Cyclone Winston https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/02/19/catastrophic-cyclone-winston-bears-down-on-fijis-main-island-in-worst-case-scenario/  Please hold Fiji and its people tight in your thoughts over the next few days as they face the prospect of losing life and property.

© silkannthreades

Along Came Funny Bones

Most of us like to post our best possible work, but, sometimes, our best possible work is not all that flash.

Such is the case with my latest video. The camera work is poor, the editing is  poorer, the captions are poorly synchronized,  and so on and so forth…..

Should I subject you to it?  Probably not, but even the poorest of efforts has some merit. Surely?

You may watch (or not) and decide for yourselves.

For me, there is merit in the slow-ish progression of the video, which gives one time to move through weariness and respite to  jaunty, dog-eared joy. There is merit in learning new skills, such as caption writing. And there is merit in finding my public voice again.

But the greatest merit of all is the mirth that came to me from the video,

because it reminded me

of how slowly I talk ,

and of another slow-talking character called Jones,

Slow-walkin’ Jones, Slow-talkin’ Jones, immortalized/mythologized  in song http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/the_coasters/along_came_jones.html and in  Cary Cooper’s film,  Along Came Jones.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAweLY10lUo

I started out bone weary. I finished with seriously tickled funny bones. The best possible outcome, I reckon, from my less than perfect but best possible effort.

ps I am not tall and thin, nor lean and lanky; I am more teapot, short and stout.

pps The monarch butterflies and their offspring have joined the cicadas in the garden  since I made the video.

© silkannthreades

Love, loss, life, love

All year long, I have been in the mood for nothing ~ glorious nothing. After a  tough 2015, it was bliss to begin 2016 luxuriating in slow, slothful, living.

But, yesterday, my friend, Liz , (aka Mrs LeapingTracks) , introduced me to her zippy new blog,  LeapingLife, and my fingers suddenly twitched, and expressed a desire to add a little something to my gaping, indolent, whole lot of nothing.

And this is what happened; my collage homage to those we loved and lost in 2015 ~ pets included.

In this collage, ‘Best Beloved’, I superimposed one of my mini-meadow photos on an old photo of a beloved friend who died last October. She was an important presence in my life for nearly 45 years. In the collage, the lighter area is the  photo of my friend holding my baby son. The lightness represents my feeling that she remains nearby, but just ever so slightly out of my reach.

Best Beloved

Best Beloved

The second collage is ‘Best Beloved’, subjected to some more tinkering.

The heart of the matter is love.

The heart of the matter is love.

I used a Picasa editing setting called Heat Map, and, to my delight, my friend’s  pale image became a green heart-like shape. Entirely appropriate since she had very  green thumbs  and one of her great loves was gardening.

Speaking of loves, what/who we love and how we love,  Su Leslie asked me back in October to participate in the 3 Days 3 Quotes challenge.   It’s a bit late to enter the challenge, but here is my contribution from a passage,  (I Corinthians 13 ), which is pertinent to this post, and which always inspires me   ~  “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Ain’t that the truth! Love, the heart of the matter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post is dedicated to love, loss, life, and love, and, in particular to my friend ( and her family),  and to Lavinia and Rick. Lavinia turns loss into life by adding plants to her garden in memory of loved ones.

My friend’s family asked us to remember her by donating to the Millennium Seed Bank http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/collections/millennium-seed-bank/about-millennium-seed-bank  coordinated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  (What the excellent video on that link if you have time. ) Both are wonderful ways to express  our  love for one life, and all life.  And much more useful than the collage homage.😉

© silkannthreades