17

september…

…sneaked up on me. one minute it was the end of July and then BOOM! it was September. I have been working, working at home, working at the library, working extra hours at the library, seeing family and friends, worrying, over thinking, bike riding and swimming. a few naps were had. I was on a mini roll with the blog posts and here I am again – attempting to keep everything updated. the plan is to keep it as simple as i can to get myself in to a better working routine – a happy working routine. i started yesterday on some little jobs and have kept going today. here is a page from the lion journal – looks like we went to the festival of quilts…we did but we didn’t go this year. I think this page is from a while ago but it is nice to share and show these doodles.

16

june…

…will soon turn in to july. time has flown since I started the Writing for Children’s Picture Books course and attempted to Blog Every Day in May 2014. I managed a few posts but not as many as I would have liked. I may use the blog post ideas for future posts. life kinda got in the way. I have been setting up a home screenprinting area with help from the Mr which is very exciting – we picked up an off-cut of lino for the wash out shed. i have been driving myself about with Mr Robotington for company, up to Huddersfield, Wakefield and across to Lichfield. it can be quite terrifying being in the car on your own and I plan, plan, plan the journey beforehand and use a sat-nav and written instructions together. there has been been wrong turns and unexpected adventures but i have got to where I wanted to go in the end! the plan for the weeks ahead are to draw, write, eBay, photograph and update. the above lion diary page is from early June 2014 – the only thing that isn’t real are the three colourful birds.

15

amazing…

…it has been a while and it has been one of them months. Right at the end of April, I learned that Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL would be touring in the UK. Instantly I put a reminder on my phone and spent the morning of 2nd May glued to my computer in the hope that I would get tickets and I couldn’t believe it when I managed to get two for the first Birmingham show for me and Army Deb. She had sent me a text message that morning to ask if I knew that Prince tickets were going on sale today at 2pm. I replied ‘YES but they go on sale at noon and did she want to come?’ She said ‘Yes’ but she had no idea what she was letting herself in for! She knew a few songs but just under two weeks to learn as many as she could. I was beyond excited in the lead up to the day and on the day itself. I was grinning all over the place. We didn’t have anything purple to wear except purple wool bracelets we made on the fly – basically a bit of wool wrapped round our wrists several times and then knotted – I am still wearing mine and will do so until it falls off. We headed to the Lg Arena around teatime, enjoying the glorious weather and having silly fun times together. We had a couple of beers and laughs, Deb tried to calm me down with chatting but I was on edge, a weird edge of a feeling that my dream to see Prince once in my lifetime had actually come true, a thank god for friends who come on adventures with you feeling, a positive feeling and general all round happiness feeling. We got to our seats and played the broken seal game for over 40 minutes, each of us taking it in turns to run back and forth from the toilets – thank god they were near our seats. It may not sound funny but it was – neither of us wanted to miss Prince & his band coming on stage and we didn’t! The entire concert/evening was amazing and one of the best that I have ever been to. Army Deb and I danced and sang our hearts out from the moment Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL kicked off, right until the very end. He sang one of my current favourites, ‘She’s Always in My Hair’ and the new version of ‘Something in the Water does not Compute‘ is fantastic. He also sang ‘Kiss’, ‘When Doves Cry’, ‘Let’s Go Crazy‘ and many others as well as ‘Purple Rain’ – Army Deb and I were ecstatic! There were about 3/4 songs that I weren’t too familiar with. I would go to another Prince concert again no doubt about it – John did offer me the chance to go again to the Monday one but in the end we decided it would be best to leave it until the next round of dates/tour. I am determined to ride this high for as long as it lasts – this morning I got us tickets to see Slash & Myles Kennedy with The Conspirators for December. Army Deb has a little bit longer to learn more songs this time around. If you fancy a bit of Prince or know a friend who does – try and get tickets if he releases any more dates – you will not be disappointed – GO!

14

sunshine…

…the topic suggested for today’s #BEDM post is Blog Chats. I am in a pickle over what to write about and I usually pick an alternative topic from ones I have missed this year or choose from the 2013 BEDM list but I wanted to be on the same day topic as the other BEDM participants.

I would say that the best thing you can blog about is things you know about, about things you are doing, your work, your interests or travels. Blog when you feel comfortable to do so and seek out challenges like Blog Every Day in May if you want to breathe some fresh air in to your blog post ideas. I have been very fortunate to meet some of my online blogger friends in REAL LIFE! All wonderful people. The best thing about blogging is other bloggers getting in touch, leaving comments, suggestions, critique, sending emails and tweeting – the support is fantastic. To have people from all over the UK, Europe and the World, potentially reading and seeing my work – is exciting – scary – but exciting. Hello.

I am keeping this blog post short and sweet – may edit and adapt it later on once my mind is thinking straight – I am off to see PRINCE & 3RDEYEGIRL this evening! I planned to do some drawing today but that will not be happening as I am shaking with excitement and all drawn lines will end up wiggly.

13

gadgets…

…the topic for this post is from Day 7 of Blog Every Day in May #BEDM – a great project by Rosalilium and you can read more about it here.

Day 7 Gadgets

I have drawn a page especially for this post – OK about half a page as it was time for the words and pictures to work together and on it are some of my favourite gadgets! The kettle is a super gadget in my eyes – it helps with heating/boiling water – mainly to make a brew with – oh yeah! next on the list is my mp3 player – any gadget that helps me carry music around is awesome. past favourites include the various cassette walkmans that i have had over the years – never had a CD one as I wasn’t keen. much preferred to tape CD’s on to cassettes. I often have one ear in and one ear out so i can hear what is around me when out and about. at number three is my camera. it was one of the first things i bought with my first wage packet and I took photos all the time. during my art a-level, we used photos we had taken as reference for our work. in 2005 i was given a digital fujifilm camera which i loved but it stopped working properly about two years ago. it took me over a year to replace it with a super DSLR which i am still getting used to. sneaking in at number four on the list is my DAB radio – it is always on when i am in the work room and i can use it as a speaker for my mp3 player. in fifth place is my computer and associated aids – scanner and external hard-drives. i especially love the scanner as sketchbook images can be made clearer, cleaner, bigger, smaller, rotated, cut and pasted together – oh it is great – like my own personal photocopier. i would still love of these in my workroom though. at number six is the telly. we watch a bit of telly, probably more than we think we do but a lot less than we used to. we use a freesat box and watch 90% of things from the record feature or via on demand services. no more silly channel hopping and watching things for the sake of watching them. i would one day like to live without a telly but i think Dr Mr would say no. Last on the list of top notch gadgets is my mechanical pencil – any other pencil will do too but it’s great to have a pencil that is constantly sharp, ready for any drawing action.

12

passion…

…catching up with #BEDM Blog Every Day in May. this evening I have picked the topic from Day 6 Passion Projects – what do you love and would like to make money from. First off, I am going to explain a little why I have skipped forward. I fell behind due to every day life but Day 4 was Star Wars Day – I have no idea what it/the films are about. My friend Jen tried to get me in to them when we were at uni and I do remember watching the films when I was tiny – all I can remember from that time are the ewoks and robots. Day 5 was Cinco de Mayo – no idea what I would have done for this blog post. It may come to me later on – maybe after May when I need ideas for blog posts – probably be about food!

Day 6 Passion Projects! (on Day 11!)

I love drawing and children’s picture books and would love to illustrate one or a story – hopefully getting to the point where I feel comfortable creating sequential illustrations. i have always drawn and my grandparents encouraged my love of creating, we would do a lot of things together – drawing, writing, painting, reading and making things out of potatoes and plasticine. i did art at school, at college – twice and at university. i never thought of it seriously as a career until i was 23 and returned to full-time education. i love the magic of scrawling something quick, some tiny observation or idea and then doodling it out, bigger, better, sometimes worse, changing it and adding colour and character to it, to create a fun illustration. i have been growing my business since forever but really since 2010. it has changed over the years from craft items to being more about drawing, printing and illustration – this is where my heart lies and where i get the most enjoyment from. i would love to make more money from it but i find that i do not enjoy the business side of it – having to think about what people will like and/or buy amongst other things. i enjoy the freedom of letting it grow for itself, some days i try to get it to grow quicker and some days I worry about money but as long as there is enough to pay for the art with extra to put aside for any future art plans – then it will be ok. i am able to do this and very grateful that i can do so due to my husband working full-time and my part time job. the money i earn from my part time job goes towards the household – it takes the pressure off and part of me enjoys working. i work part time in a city centre library and quite enjoy going to work and making the most of it but if things did take off, i would still work part time – maybe a few less hours but complete self-employment would feel weird. it would have to be in the right circumstances – maybe if i had a studio in a shared working space? lets not get carried away with thinking ahead – it can hinder the creative process and i have been guilty of it in the past – getting myself in to all sorts of trouble and vicious circles. for the moment i am passionate about a new paint and pencil collage i am creating – i am sure it will pop up on this blog very soon.

11

day 3…

…damn it! I have already fallen behind with Blog Every Day in May – BEDM. Day 3 was last Saturday and I was working in the library all day – cue after shift tiredness & bank holiday weekend jazz with eBay, general stuff, visitors, food time and park visits – Tuesday came and sure enough over the week, I descended in to a negative frame of mind.

Day 3- Weekend Morning Routine

I work every other weekend at the library, so there are two routines and one is more structured than the other! On a work weekend, the alarm is set for 6.54am – I like to have the alarm set on certain numbers – it is not allowed to end on a zero! Sometimes I get up at this time to have a shower or I press snooze. After a shower or quick wash, it is then breakfast time – cereal, weetabix, crunchy nut or whatever else we have in that has been on offer at the supermarket. If I am felling super hungry, I often grab a slice of buttered toast or cream cracker too. It takes a couple of minutes to get dressed and put a bit of make up on face watching the news. Next task is to get my lunch ready, could be soup and bread or salad and mayo, pop it into a rucksack with other assorted work bits, grab my bike helmet and keys and we are out of the door. The bike ride to work doesn’t take long and I always try and get there about ten minutes before my shift is due to start. The shift finishes at 4.30pm and sometimes I get a few shopping bits from town or cycle straight home. My husband often makes me a cup of tea when I get in and we decide what to have for tea. We often spend the night watching telly with a snack treat and a beer or two. I sometimes draw and plan things for the next day.

If I am not working, the routine varies a lot. Some mornings I am very good at getting up and out of bed early and some days, like recently I have been pressing snooze so many times that I should just change the time on the alarm clock. I often try and get up early – about 7 to 7.30am, have breakfast and tidy up a tad, respond to as many emails as I can and work through part of the to-do list notebook. I go swimming as often as I can and this usually happens after 9am on days off. It is a great way to get out the house, take a break and really clear my head. Sometimes I run errands in town afterwards and then spend the rest of the day doing a variety of things – cooking, baking, reading, cleaning, gardening, drawing, napping, printing, browsing the net, watching telly/DVDs etc. Sometimes Army Deb and Mollie come to visit too. We take Mollie out to the park, go out on the bikes, play with jigsaws and crayons or read books and sing rhymes together.

I would love my weekends off to be more structured and fun. I have planned to visit some friends in the future and hopefully that will help me to make the most of my other weekends whether they are work ones or not.

10

day 2…

…this post is part of Blog Every Day in May and you can find out more about it here – feel free to sign up and join in too. the BEDM topic for 2nd May is 5 Fave Posts – pimp out your favourite posts on your blog. scrolling through my previous posts has been fun, it has reminded me that i can write if i try and although they may be ramblings – i often try and stick to a point and throw in more personal language so it seems like it is me talking/writing. it is difficult to pick five posts but i have selected one out to share. Four of the things listed about me are true and the final one is half true – I did take part in a short course in Book Illustration last year and will be doing the same again this year but in Cambridge! I am really looking forward to it. I would suggest having a quick scroll through my blog yourself – have a little look around and have a read – see what posts you like the best. Below are five other lines, a kind of follow on from lasts years BEDM post.

Five lines… UPDATE

I finally learned to drive in 2013 and passed my test just before Christmas. I enjoy driving but I do not like going anywhere in the car on my own except to Morrisons – I can manage that. I am trying to drive out of my comfort zone and hope to conquer motorways and long distance driving in 2014 so I can get out to see people and out on mini UK adventures.

I have a bicycle called Edna and I ride it/her to work, to town, to the shops, to the sports centre and lately we have started going on longer cycling adventures. Yesterday, I fell off my bike and bashed up my left knee. I had almost come to a stop and decided to check my map but I lost my balance and fell off! Sounds daft now but I am very glad it wasn’t a serious accident.

Tea – I love cups of tea but sometimes I have to say no – no more tea. I have yet to have a cup of tea today – i would love one but will wait until just before my evening shift at the library.

I started a course on Wednesday – Writing Children’s Picture Books. I am hoping it will help with my half written stories, help me with writing ideas and exercises, structure, developing stories from little sentences and knowing when to draw the line underneath a ‘finished’ story.

Hair – I took the plunge and chopped my hair off in late 2012. it had been long since I was eleven but it was time for a change. i am wondering now whether to grow it or to keep it short. when I look at new photos and old photos, its like looking at a different person and i am not too sure who i am or was. was my long hair part of who i am and do I really miss it – i am not sure.

9

hello…

…this is my first post as part of Rosalilium’s Blogging Every Day in May blogging challenge. I attempted to BEDM last year but only managed about 4/5 posts – I was busy with the library, busy learning to drive, busy with the illustration/printing cycle of ‘shall I, should I’ and just general stuff – living, eating, napping and that.

Day 1 – What is your blog all about? 

I started my blog back in the 2006 when I was doing my illustration degree. It was a way to get my work out there, seen, critiqued and to have some kind of web presence. It encouraged me to work faster and it was very nice to connect with other people of similar interests – some people I have had the pleasure to meet in real life! It gave me the confidence to try but sometimes could leave me wondering what the point was/is. Over the past two years or so, there has been a few posts here or there but no constant regular posting. I would love my blog to gain a second wind and be a place I can post in often, a blog where people can get to know my work, me, my work processes and maybe a little bit about other things – home, work, books, adventures, cycling and nature.

To sum up – my blog is about my work, drawings, doodles, sketches, illustrations, printing, outside things, birds, travels, friends, children’s books, illustrators, artists, books, fiction books, lions, family, painting, naps, tea and food.

My friend, Nell Smith is also blogging as part of BEDM and you can find her first post here.

8

stepping in to spring…

…the time of year i love the most. there is something about the months from April on wards that makes my heart cheer. no more winter napping snuggled up on the sofa with the blankets – time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and blue skies. aye you can do this in the winter months but something about them and the ‘c’ word bog me down. i am armed with pencils and paint, and a shiny new website – the lion diary has been restarted for the umpteenth time and i am working on a layout for a mini zine featuring one of the stories i started at last years Summer School. i plan to do very little craft from now on – there are no more hedgehog pin cushions and other time consuming sewing projects – there may be the odd one off project but the plan is to try and shorten the time it takes to get from initial doodle to finished doodle/illustration and create a new portfolio of work based on characters, stories and fun. its been a struggle these past few weeks to get going – what to draw, what to print – what will people like, what wont they like but its case of keeping on. these ideas will come now i have more time to think about ideas.

EDIT – this sketchbook page is from 2012!

 grab a brew…

…and lets catch up on what happen in London the other weekend at the fantastic Renegade Craft Fair. To start off the story, let us travel even further back in time to Monday 4th November when I started falling ill with the cold germs. I started with a bit of printing which went very well – the tiny waving elephant card but I could feel the cold getting worse. I managed to book Wednesday off from the part time job so I could rest and wish the cold away. I prepped some new designs and printed these on the Thursday and Friday – I forgot how long it would take to wrap said new things up and ended up over doing it – the cold was getting worse by this point. I spoke to my Granma on the phone and she said I sounded like a robot.

A few weeks prior to Renegade, I managed to persuade the Mr to to come and help me as I usually look after the stall myself and having extra hands would allow me to go say hello to other stall holders, friends and look at their work. By Saturday, my voice was squeaky but not sore and I was ready for the weekend ahead, armed with shiny new business cards full of colour – even if I did look very tired. We drove down to London on Saturday morning – meeting up with Kayleigh O’Mara – my amazing friend and stall space pal – you can see her on the left and I am on the right – here we are setting up our tables. Kim Lawler of Finest Imaginary was one of our stall neighbours who you can see to the right – at the top of my card rack.

The Mr took some photos with the new camera and I wish I had taken some photos myself, of everything, of the other stalls and of the space we were in within the Old Truman Brewery. It was so busy on the Saturday, slightly quieter on the Sunday with more families visiting and some photos of it all in action would give anyone who didn’t visit a better idea of what it was like.

The Mr likes to take photos of people pulling faces and I am usually pulling a face of sorts or grinning like a cat but the eyebrows are in full force on this photo. I wasn’t feeling or looking great as we had been up since 4.45am.

One of the first things me and KL did when we could was have a quick walk around to say hello to people and see the other stalls. We came across Ketchup on Everything‘s stall whose work I had seen around the internet and on instagram – I fell in love with the A-Z Animal Alphabet single screenprints but couldn’t decide which one I liked enough to pick so I bought the complete A-Z print which you can see framed in the middle.
Eightbear aka Katie Viggers – was another stall I really liked and the Mr bought her Animal World Map. It is lovely and we have managed to frame it and put in on a wall already which is a record. usually any prints we buy end up living in the folder under the bed – all waiting for when we own a house to do with what we wish. We have spoke to our landlord this past week and says we can hang any pictures we like – in fact he has offered to come and give us a hand which is great so the picture framing mission is on. I also bought the cutest Ghost badge from Asking For Trouble and a Geo Grey Cat badge from Custom Made that I have had my eye on for a while. I also had a lovely natter with Rachel from PricklePress and bought one of her Christmas cards. There was so much I could have bought but I set a limit – there is a list of all the London Makers who took part here.

The weekend was fantastic and it felt great to take part. So many great makers and such a wide variety of different things to look at and choose from. I would like to say a great thanks to my Mr for helping, to KL for always helping and looking after us, everyone who came to say hello – this includes old friends, new friends, twitter and instagram people, fellow stall holders and everyone who bought pieces of my work. I took quite a few new things to Renegade and they were well received which gives me confidence for the further new plans and books.

Renegade was great and I will definitely be applying for next year. As I only do a couple of fairs a year now – I think I underestimated the amount of prep and energy involved and hope to be better prepared next year. I lost my voice over the weekend and so it was a visit to the doctors on Monday as I felt very ill – I have been instructed to rest and take it easy which is difficult when I try and fit as much in as I can. I am slowly getting back to it – catching up with emails, printing and updating my new Not On The High Street shop.

Revealing Craft…

…is a project that started in July 2012 with Folksy and India Hobson. I was fortunate to be asked if I would like to take part and of course I said yes – not sure what I was letting myself in for. India came to visit me at home in August 2012 and took loads of photos of my work area, me at work and photos of everything she found interesting. If i remember correctly – she really liked my cacti family. India was fantastic and made me feel at ease – we chatted about screen-printing, drawing and everything.

Along the way she has photographed 13 creative people and their work processes/materials/spaces, and together with James Boardwell of Folksy and du.st – they have created a beautiful book that they would like to publish. In order to do so – they have created a Kickstarter project and would like help to reach their target. There are 12 days to go – so click on the link – watch the video – read the words that are a lot better than mine and if possible – please donate.

UPDATE! As of 25th November 2013 – The Revealing Craft Kickstarter has been fully backed. A huge massive thank you goes all to everyone who was involved in every aspect of the way, right from the beginning and through to the end but it may not be the very end – there may be other installments and Folksy based adventures out there so please keep your eye on them for future news.

LONDON…

…we will be traveling to London – the mister and I – very early on Saturday morning to meet up with Kayleigh O’Mara as we are taking part in Renegade Craft Fair! It is on both days – Saturday and Sunday from 11am until 6pm. I am doing all I can over the next three days to get ready! Please click on all the links to find out more.

The FEAR descended when I finished the last hedgehog pin cushion – I tried to ward it off with drawing and sorting my workroom out but it still crept in. I have since kicked it up the bum and creating a new work routine. I am trying to lessen the gap between the initial idea and working on the final thing – be it a print, badge, painting or completed drawing. I think I let the ‘doubts’ set in and then hide away the first scribbles, while thinking about it all too much. last thursday I decided to just jump in and hand paint a screen with a design I had been thinking about since February/March – it came out fine! until you print it – you doubt the design, you doubt the layers and just doubt everything about it and wonder what is the point. when it has been printed you wonder what all the stress is about and then itch to do more so I am going to roll with it and start work on another hand painted screen design today.

new…

…camera! for the past year I have been slowly coming to terms with the fact that my trusty fujifilm was not coming back to life, no matter what I tried to do. last weekend, after a couple of months of camera reviewing and camera shop visiting – i plucked up the courage to choose and invest in a fancy bells and whistles DSLR. I haven’t a clue what I am doing but I am back to taking photos – with a bit of help from the Mr but he doesn’t really know whats going on either. Oh – how I have missed the click click of a camera. there is a lot to learn but a lot to take photos of. I tried to take some of a goldfinch on the bird feeder this morning but we are not sure where they are! Up there, above this post is one of ‘fruits’ of today’s photo session. we dug out the old tripod and did the best we could with the autumn natural light. hopefully I will be updating this blog more often now so keep your eyes peeled for photos of my latest pencil, paint and print adventures.

autumn…

…it is getting colder and leaves are starting to fall from the trees – where have I been since the attempted blog reboot? well – I have been busying away on finishing off lots of ‘makes’ amongst other things that I will cover in future posts. the hedgehog pin cushion pile has decreased – just 25 left to stuff and embroider! above is a photo of some of the robin badges I made during a hectic two and a half weeks of frantic sewing which started during the August Bank Holiday. I was determined to get them all ready to send off to my lovely stockists in time as the forthcoming months can get quite busy. there are 54 of the robin badges available this year – all will come on numbered limited edition packaging. 

for the past week I have started feeling anxious and nervous about the future, now the plan of action is finally coming to an end. the plan was to make up everything I could using existing supplies/materials. i have been screenprinting the card designs and enjoyed an afternoon of lino printing with my friend Kayleigh when I last visited her in London – more on that later. the plan is to try and get something out of what I learned at the Summer School, the little stories and characters I created and to maybe work on some of the old ones too. I wonder if I can really draw at times and I still have no solid way of creating an image or some kind of style – it will be case of just starting and seeing what happens.

NEWS

I will be at the Crafty Fox Market on Saturday 5th October 2013 – 11am to 5pm at The Dogstar in Brixton. Please come and say hello.

SUPER SALE…
…time to get your hands on my favourite screen print. The Wanted Robber Bird Poster was created during the final weeks of my degree, the degree I nearly quit and left from and thankfully completed in 2008. This print was created from a hand drawn illustration and then hand pulled using Lascaux Inks on to Somerset Satin Paper. I have 8 left and available for the great price of £40 each – this includes UK P+P. The printed image is about A2 in size and the paper is roughly A1.
I wish to sell this prints for a number of reasons. One – because they are so big – it is hard to get them out and seen, whether that be at markets/fairs or to shops & galleries. Two – they have been in a folder under my bed for a couple of years now and they need to be in frames and on walls! Three – my trusty old Fujifilm camera ‘died’ last year after seven years and I desperately wish to replace it with a DSLR. I am struggling with two cameras that were gratefully given /loaned to me last year. One is a little point and click while the other, though similar to my old Fujifilm – I really find difficult to use and it sounds daft but I haven’t ‘clicked’ with this camera. John manages to use it but I have only managed to get a couple of decent photos out of it.
My camera (and past cameras) would go everywhere with me in a camera bag and I have lost count of how many photos I have taken. I used it to take photos of everything. There are only a handful of photos of me as a little baby/child/growing up but there were lots of my brother and sister, so I vowed there would be photos of everyone and everything from then on. I bought my first camera when I started full-time work at 15. I took photos of pets, friends, family, my bedroom, outside, on nights out, it was always there at some party or celebration – nothing fancy just photos. Photos I love looking through. I remember taking a photo of the first cake I made for my friend’s 21st birthday. As an illustrator, I used it to take reference photos and product shots and of course, I take photos for this blog. Another reason it has been neglected somewhat is due to the lack of decent camera. I have tried numerous times with the two I currently have but once they are in the computer – the photos are not great.
Photography is not something I have a great knowledge about – just something I really enjoy doing and I would love to have a good quality camera again. If you would like to buy a print or would like more information please email me – deb at debbiegreenaway dot com and I will be in touch as quickly as I can.

hello again…

…it has been a while since my last post (AGAIN!) but I have been busy – nothing major but just busy. i would like to let you all know that Kayleigh O’Mara and I will be showing and selling our handmade work at designers/makers this SATURDAY 17th AUGUST from 11am until about 5pm (maybe a little later). Please do come along and say hello, and spend some pennies with us if you can. It is my first fair of 2013 and I am getting a little excited.

after various busy things – day job, art job, summer school, new niece, learning to drive, holiday visits, new garden etc – everything has calmed down a tad and I hope to carry on with the Blog Every Day Challenge and get back to updating more often as I was. Please bear with me – thank you.

exercise…

…this post is part of Rosalilium’s Blog Every Day in May – #BEDM but I am going to create a post as often as I can throughout June and beyond. It can be difficult to blog every day but my aim is to make it to the end and hopefully it will help me to kick start this blog.

Day 5 – Fit and Healthy

What do I do to stay fit or keep healthy? One big answer is swimming. For the past 15 years, I have swam once or twice a week – give or take a year or so out and last year I finally signed up to a monthly swim pass at my local sports centre. One swim session is nearly £4 and a pass costs me £21 per month which I can use every available day in the month! Last year I was swimming about five times a week – mainly on weekdays as it was a way to get out the house when I didn’t have a job. I cant do any fancy or quick swimming but I am considering taking swimming lessons as it would be great to improve and vary my swim strokes. I often swim 28m lengths for 45 to 60 minutes. I enjoy it – I was once recommended swimming by a mental health nurse and it helped at the time and continues to help me. It gives me time to take a break, relax and after the first lengths, I find my brain clears while I concentrate on my breathing and swim rhythm. While in the water, I think about daily or future tasks, how best to approach these tasks and what to cook for tea or eat when I get back.

Walking is another thing that keeps me active. I live very close to the city centre and there is no point catching bus as I am two stops out of the ring road. I walk to and from the sports centre and do the same again to get to my part time job. Holidays are often spent in the UK, taking short breaks to places that have walking routes nearby and we enjoy gentle roaming about taking in the local scenery. We visited Falmouth at the end of April this year and spent two days doing three walks we found in guide books borrowed from the library. Again – Porthcurno and the Lizard are both stunning places to go for a walk and cream tea. The next holiday place on the list is going to be somewhere in Wales. Now we have a car – we may spend more time out walking.

Future fitness plans include maybe buying a new or second hand bicycle and taking up squash again as John enjoys playing squash – it is something we have done in the past but now kept up on a regular basis. I would like to have more strength in my arms/upper body but I am more of a have fun while keeping fit person and only enjoy the weight sessions with a workout friend – some one to keep me going and vice versa.

sun…

…the weather outside is beautiful. I have been out enjoying it today. Third load of washing is out on the line and drying. I have been out on a driving lesson – went well and I went for an hours swim at the sports centre. it was so warm walking back that I had to take a layer off – a thin jumper. It was so nice to feel the summer warmth on my skin.

Day 6 – Bank Holiday Fun

Do not panic – there isn’t a new one on the calendar – it is a Blog Every Day in May post #BEDM but I am doing it in June as I didn’t keep up AND I have swapped Day 5 and Day 6 around. Day 5 will be posted tomorrow instead.

The question is – what are my favourite ways to enjoy the extra long weekends off?

An extra long weekend off happens every two weeks as my part time job runs to a two week rota. For example, this week I finished work on Wednesday at 5pm and my next working shift is on Tuesday from 5pm. Bank holidays do not affect me that much and it is only in recent years that I have been able to enjoy them. In previous employments, I have had to work regardless.

If I get any kind of time off – weekend, day, an hour or two, here are some of things I get up to. If the weather is nice, John and I go out on the motorbike to somewhere close by – a park/walking area place, a little village or town or just out riding/exploring. We don’t go out on the bike if it is raining as it’s not great to ride around in rain. Sometimes we go and sit in our back yard with a beer or watch a bit of telly – Time Team or a film. Army Deb and Mollie are usually come to visit or I may go Lichfield to see them. One of my favourite things to do with spare time is to read a book and then have a nap on the sofa with a blanket. Bliss. I love reading curled up. I am an avid reader but when it hits the summer months I tend to slow down and make the most of going outside. If I can, I will take a book outside to sit on the chair swing we have under the trees. Weekends or time off is mainly enjoyed at a leisurely pace whether that be making work or relaxing.

I thought the image above would suit this post. It was drawn back in March and I finally spent some time creating it in to a colour image. It would be cool to sit with a lion and read a book. There are ideas floating about with these two characters and the plan is to continue working with colour in any available form. I am really enjoyed the past three days in the work room. John has had to peel me away to eat!

june…
…it is now JUNE! May was madness and I have decided to continue with the Blog Every Day in May #BEDM task but use it for June best I can. I have printed out the list from Rosalilium’s website in the hope it will get me going more. May was a very busy month. We came back from a short holiday and I picked up some overtime hours at the library which resulted in me almost working full time which is great news for the money pockets but not for my art work as it kinda got pushed to the side. There were other things we did and enjoyed but the blog and workroom were neglected.
Day 4 – Five Fave Blogs

After Day 3 of #BEDM, I began thinking about the next post – this one and struggled. In a way I was putting it off as the amount of blog reading I do has declined a lot over the last two years or so. With the boom of other social media networks, I think the power of blogs has gone as there are quicker ways of getting ‘news’ out there. I also spend less time on the computer as I try to work without any distractions. No click click travelling from one blog to another and so on.

Yesterday evening was spent creating an initial list and a specific illustration for this post. I have now whittled down my original list of 11 to just five that I like to look at the most. All of them are creative blogs in some way – illustrators and/or print-makers, who’s work I really admire and are my inspiration when putting my thinking cap on. Click on the links to find out more for yourselves as if I were to add a few descriptive lines – my words wouldn’t do their blogs justice. In A-Z order to keep it fair – here are my five fave blogs.

Alex T Smith – Alex T Smith
Emm@ – Illustration, The Universe and Everything
Flora – Through The Round Window
Kristyna Baczynski – Kristyna Baczynski – Comics, Illustration & Design
Lisa Stubbs – Lil Sonny Sky