Monthly Archives: June 2020

Blooming Lovely…

Having more time during lockdown has meant that I could finally get around to working on the garden and make some headway on the plans I’ve been mulling over for several years now.

20200602_091646Every year, inspired by Kit’s garden, I’ve always planned to get more colour in our garden. But the season passes and I’m still no further on with those plans, blaming lack of time. No excuses this year. As a result, the garden is starting to look more colourful.

I’ve done a lot of digging and replanting to make way for new plants, most of which I’ve been lucky enough to get locally from a man who sells small plants he’s propagated from those in his garden. I’ve also acquired lots of cuttings from neighbours after admiring their plants while walking Vivvy around our village and the local allotment. I’ve always found gardeners to be a generous bunch – always keen to discuss plants, share knowledge, and of course hand over those cuttings!

So, here’s a small selection of the plants I’m especially loving this year. My current favourites are the hydrangeas, anemones, and peonies. I also love cutting a selection of flowers and foliage to bring into the house. My offerings are still a bit meagre, but I’m getting there – and having a whole lot of fun doing so.

And of course when the digging, planting, and tidying is done for the day, a girl just wants to find a shady nook for a well-deserved afternoon nap:

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Whatever you’re doing this summer, have fun!

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Check out Faye’s author website at www.fayeavalon.com
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Spring Into Summer

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Spring is over but many of the trees are in full bloom. This one is amazing. The gal that does my hair has them lining the front of her house. The blooms are as big as my hand.  She said … Continue reading

Pushing A Little Harder

So here we are, another month zooming by and we’re halfway through the year already with Midsummer’s Day upon us this weekend. And what a strange year so far it’s been but at least we are slowly returning to normality, or should I say most of the world is. For Dave and me, life has gone on pretty much the same as normal and we’ve enjoyed ourselves. Both in the garden enjoying the glorious weather the UK has experienced the last few months, and indoors, with the TV turned off most times as we’ve listened to music, played computer games, chatted, shopped a lot online, and generally doing not a lot. The planned editing and rewriting work necessary on my latest novel has come to a standstill. Not for any particular reason but I think most of us have during these peculiar times, lost the impetus and mojo. Mine’s slowly returning. Slowly being the operative word.

Instead, I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting and pushing myself out of my comfort zone with my art. For my birthday back in April, Dave treated me to some watercolour pencils. I don’t do watercolours, so this was a big step away from the normal. I’m still practising with them and as yet do not have anything I’m willing to show anyone but one day…

Spring brought forth such beautiful flowers this year and as you know, I love flowers, so I thought I’d paint something different from the usual bluebell scenes, painting lilacs instead after having picked a few sprigs whilst out walking and seeing many photos in magazines and online.

For this work, I painted a different way, one I’d only tried once before, that is painting in most part with cottonbuds instead of a brush. It’s a simple technique – use 1 or more cottonbuds secured together with an elastic band and dab on the canvas. I think it worked well and will certainly be using them again. Apparently, it’s a great fun way for children to paint too.

With my next painting, I pushed myself even further. I am not good at painting or drawing people but often felt my landscapes would benefit from the inclusion of figures. But oh dear! This has often led to the ruination of good work. Then last week, I saw a few photos of the new little lady in our family – little George’s (who’s not so little now) new sister enjoying a day out with her mother at one of the UK’s lovely horticultural gardens.

One photo in particular caught my eye, and because you couldn’t see Daisy’s face, I thought it a good starting point. Also, as she wasn’t fully in the frame, I had to work at drawing the missing part of her figure. I’ve included the original photograph as well as the result of my efforts and hope I have captured her as best I could for the moment.

It worked out well, although the freehand drawing of her I did as practice before committing to canvas was actually better than the one put down using the grid method. Perhaps I’m not so bad as I think! Regardless, I still need to practice my people painting skills, perhaps one day even venturing as far as doing a portrait. Watch this space… but don’t hold your breath.

See you next month, when I hope to bring you an update with news on how little George is progressing. Meanwhile, stay safe, stay happy and enjoy life.

Kit Domino’s Website and Blog

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Where is summer?

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I’m not trying to rush summer or anything. I don’t mind the cooler weather, but I admit I am getting a little sick of the rain. I’m looking forward to a little sunshine. Not much has changed in my little … Continue reading

A Tale of a Tree

Jillian here. It’s June already. Can you believe it? Time is going fast this year even with a lot of places locked down and folks staying home. You’d think that would mean time has slowed,  but it seems like every time I turn around, it’s Thursday again.

June in my backyard means it’s hurricane season. There were two named tropical storms before June 1st which sometimes happens. The third storm, Christobal, hit the Louisiana and Mississipi coast this past weekend. We got some wind, rain and storm surge because of it. We’re about 2 hours from the Louisiana line and 1.3 from Mississippi, so when the storms hit there, we usually get some of it and vice versa.

We have this tree at the office that got struck by lightning a number of years ago in the middle and you can still see the stump of it inside. The cool thing is that the rest of the tree lived and thrived. I think I’ve blogged about it before here. It means a lot to me that this tree defied the odds and kept on going. It seems like our lives are that way. We get hit by bolts—sadness, illness, death of loved ones—yet we keep going. Our core may be hurting, but we keep blooming. Each time I look out my office window, I see that tree and think about it. I watched that lightning strike and worried about the tree, but it didn’t need my worry, it thrived without it.

Tropical storm Christobal did some damage to my little tree, but it’s still standing. We’ll clear away the debris and leave that lightning-struck core (Picture 4) and new growth as another reminder that when life’s storms come, we can weather them. Maybe not in a pretty way,  but weather them we shall.
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Moments of Joy

2020 has been a pretty tough year so far. My household is on Day 87 of sheltering-in-place, though we have made the occasional trip out for necessaries we couldn’t get delivered. And we got to stare at different walls for a few days when we went to my sister’s last week. It hasn’t been easy. I like to travel and we’ve now cancelled our 4th and final trip for 2020.

But that’s peanuts compared to what others are struggling with. With the world in crisis, it can be hard to find joy in life, and that’s the focus of my blog today.

Finding the joy.

To that end, here are some of the joyful things in my life. I hope some of them give you ideas that make you smile.

  1.  Getting along with my husband for this long. Who’da thought? 🙂 Actually, he’s been my rock through all this turmoil and I love him for that. And his hair is getting LONG. I’ve always liked men with longer hair, so I’m a happy camper. Him, not so much. Lol.
  2. Video chats with my family and friends and grandkids. THIS has been the godsend of my at-home time and keeps me from going completely crazy. I miss hugging them, but this is the next best thing.
  3. Sitting outside and reading. Or puttering in the garden. Or, well, staring at the sky, the stars, the neighbors walking.
  4. My journal. Putting words to my fears helps me let them go, at least for a little while. I’m not sure I’ll ever go back and read my 2020 journal, but I think it helps me process.
  5. Practicing kindness. Recently, a family who lives in our neighborhood put a high school grad sign in their front yard. We don’t know them, but I made a congratulations card and dropped it in their mailbox. Just a card with some words. The thank you card we got back floored me. This small act had given their family so much joy, that a stranger would pay homage to an important event in their lives.
  6. Walking around the neighborhood. Seeing the new growth on the evergreens, the rhododendrons blooming, and all the projects people are working on.
  7. Digitizing old VHS tapes – a wonderful walk down memory lane.
  8. Getting my deck chairs recovered. Okay, still waiting on this one. They are with a seamstress and I can hardly wait! (They are about 20 years old, so WAYYYY overdue for a spruce up.

A couple online or television joys (at least, for me):

  1. For anyone who’s a fan of the Lord of the Rings movies:  https://www.gamespot.com/articles/the-lord-of-the-rings-reunion-was-a-delight-heres-/1100-6477912/ This is a cast zoom reunion and I laughed and cried my way through it. Well worth the 50 minutes.
  2. Anything Jeff Dunham. https://www.jeffdunham.com/ Irreverent, but hilarious.
  3. The Great British Baking Show. https://www.pbs.org/food/shows/great-british-baking-show/

Not sure why this has such a calming effect on me because those bakers get pretty frantic. But I’ve come to love watching this show.

I’ve been watching this video lately. I think it’s message is still important:

 

Gosh, I’m sure there’s more, but these are just a few of my favorite things. I don’t really have any pictures to share this month. Most of mine have been of flowers.

Stay safe.

Stay healthy.

Stay calm.

This, too, shall pass. Hopefully, with better communication between all of us and with a kinder world to live in.

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