Thursday, 25 June 2015


If you were born (like the subject of the story in Life 17 - The Inexorable Tide of Dinner) in 1947, and were married in 1965. If you then had your first baby in 1966, your second baby in 1968, and your third baby in 1970, and, supposing you were responsible for 3 meals a day (including breakfasts, packed lunches, cooked dinners, picnics, birthday celebrations, dinner parties, invalid meals, sudden arrivals, friends and family, and holiday masterpieces over camp stoves), you will have cooked: 273,050 meals.

I've allowed for your children leaving home at 20 and the occasional illness and meals out.  Well done you, that's a lot of dinners. I think you deserve a medal if no one else does!!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Mint Tea and Phlegm

For our recent wedding anniversary, I suggested to DH that we visit the theatre. Of course, he said, I'll go to The Strand and you can go to the Lyceum!  Typical.

We went in fact to the local theatre at Stratford Upon Avon.  We live on the doorstep of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and people travel from all over the world just to go there, but are we regulars at such a wondrous place? No, ashamedly, of course not, because we don't appreciate that it's there.

So we took ourselves off to have a meal out and an evening with The Merchant of Venice. Whilst tucking into our meal, we were regaled by the young lady next to us telling her friend in a loud voice, about various people, her love life, her voice, singing, and fellow workers. At one point whilst she was sipping mint tea, we heard all about her battle with phlegm and white spots on her throat. Nice. However all is forgiven, because when we got to the theatre we both recognised her as Portia!  And jolly good she was too - quite made the play.

We have vowed to go more often of course, and even rashly began a plan to see every Shakespeare play ever written. Now there's a challenge.

Monday, 22 June 2015

The start of Life 17 - The Inexorable Tide of Dinner

 I've sandwiched the fabric layers together with the wadding, and traced an outline from my sketchbook to the cloth in pencil, and I've just completed the under painting on the face. It looks rather alarming doesn't it, but fortunately it won't stay like that for long. I think I shall do some stitching before the next bit of painting though as I'm not keen on adding it afterwards - it's too harsh. The layers of paint have the effect of hiding the thread colour and making it recede. I realize this may be slightly different from the norm.

Here's the Life Story tea towels that will be available - should you need a gift for someone who has everything!! I'm not sure of the price yet but it won't be huge. Hopefully aprons will be available for the 1st and 3rd below. It's not really possible to put the words on the tea towels so it's very much about taking the image at face value, and if that amuses, then that's more than fine!

Saturday, 20 June 2015

I love a good box!

One of the things I like to collect in a small way is boxes.  I love them! I've been looking for one to house my small collection of gardening memorabilia including the sketchbook I've made of my time as a guerrilla gardener (nb I still am one but a bit more quietly these days!) I've combed charity shops, antique centres and of course eBay.

But I was lucky enough to meet someone at the Leamington Peace Festival who makes them and imports them from Morocco, and he's made one especially for me to my design and sizes. Whoop!

It's thuja wood, and just over A4 sized - really thick and substantial - so I'm very happy.

Should anyone else fancy a box of some description (and the above is quite plain) there isn't a website but Miloud can be contacted by email on

Monday, 15 June 2015

I've been a bit daft again.

It's a nice sunny day today, and having recently visited the Farrier to get my feet "summer ready" I thought today would be a good chance to don the sandals for the first time for my shopping trip to Stratford.  I suffer slightly from arthritic toes, so always expect some discomfort foot-wise in anything other than slippers.

I had been walking for about 20 minutes, and had noticed that one hip seemed slightly uncomfortable - at an odd angle - and it was making me walk with a slight limp.  When you're young you wonder about these sudden pains and oddities, but when you get older you just hope it'll go away if you forget about it. DH walks at a fair old pace, so I was beginning to struggle to keep up.  Ah me, the arthritis was obviously working it's way to my hip. I tried very hard not to limp.

Eventually I wended a weary way home, and it was as I was throwing myself down in a chair with a soothing cup of coffee, that I saw the problem. I'd spent the entire morning walking round Stratford in odd sandals. My hip wasn't playing me up; one sole of one shoe was a good 2cms higher than the other. How come I didn't notice before? Plop knows.

Mind you, it's been a while since I've done anything daft (last time I think was wearing my trousers inside out all day) so I guess I'm overdue.

Here's the beginnings of a portrait - the under painting in acrylic.  It looks very odd doesn't it?  It'll get better when the eyes are defined. I'm going to switch to oils for this one, but wanted to get the basics down in something quick drying.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Tea towels

Here's Evie again. Thank you for your kind words, and congratulations on the birth of my second granddaughter, and also on the loss of 10lbs!

I've not got a lot further with my little virtuous weight loss streak, and an earnest light starvation has bought no more slackening of elastic anywhere in my wardrobe.

In fact, as I looked at the thin people in the coffee shop this morning, who seemed to trough golden syrup lattes with whipped cream, and really huge shortbread biscuits for breakfast, (think paving slab) I wonder if there is something wrong with me and my inability to get rid of more than 12 calories a day. Why do thin people eat like horses?

My only consolation is that come the apocalypse, (and let's look for the positive.) thin people will be trying to eke out an existence by living on dirty water and weak gruel, and let's be honest, starving, (sorry thin people) whilst I shall be in a corner somewhere like a Duracell battery, quietly putting on weight - and possibly forming a ruling co-operative with all those other bird boned, post menopausal, non-eaters, but nevertheless slightly round women. Rock on.

BTW, coming soon. Need a present for the woman who has everything: how about a Life Story tea towel?! I'm hoping they'll be at the NEC for Festival of Quilts in August, but if the hemming goes well, I'll put them in the TOH shop before.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Speeding Up

Given my age and the sparsity of postings recently, you could be forgiven for thinking that I was slowing down a bit.  Of course the opposite is true, and there are more things to do each day than it seems possible to cope with.  They are good things however, and for that I say a heartfelt thank you!!

Here's my first bit of good news. A new granddaughter, Isabel Grace, and a sister for Evelyn. She's gorgeous of course, and all is well, but two youngsters are hard work as many mums out there can testify!

The exhibition at Bilston, looks absolutely splendid and Laura and I worked really hard to ensure that it did, and that the artists work was shown to best advantage.  Our thanks of course to the staff at Bilston Gallery who did a wonderful job of hanging the work, but the responsibility for organization and selecting the work, dealing with postage, customs, battens and display materials, catalogues etc., and delivering it all was ours!  Laura did a really splendid job designing the catalogue, and it looks fabulous.  Don't forget to pick yours up if you visit the exhibition which is open until 25th July.  Details in a posting below.

If that wasn't enough, we've also produced a new edition of the Through Our Hands, The Magazine, and details of how to get your copy are on the last posting. Laura does all the layouts for it and is really clever at doing it because they look amazing.  Linda and I peddle hard behind the scenes, but it's thanks to Linda that you can actually read it...her proof reading is second to none!

And, we have an all new exhibition to organize for Festival of Quilts, in August.  All the work will be different to Bilston, and we hope you will enjoy it just as much.  We will be joined by new Affiliate Artists at Through Our Hands, Genevieve Attinger, Sue Stone, and, possibly, Jenni Dutton.

 I'm also at Leamington Spa Art Gallery - or at least Life 15 is, and I've been involved in 2 articles which should appear in magazines very shortly, and they take some writing.  

Finally, we're often asked how to join Through Our Hands, so to everyone out there, Laura and I warmly invite you to be part of it all as a member of The Registry. You can now have your own portfolio on our website, access to the shop to sell your work, and free magazine downloads. If you'd like to know more just get in touch here, or at and we'll let you know more. We're just working out the details now!

 All that, and I've managed to lose 10lbs too!  Excellent.