Friday, December 30, 2011

Grandchildren At Christmas

Hollie and Lucie came down from Sunderland to stay for 3 nights on Wednesday,,,they were full of beans to say the least....they got stuck in to opening their pressies..
and Lucie fell in love with Biscuit the doggy,
and they both loved my magical snow globe (that is hidden behind the vase with lights in !)
loving Biscuit the doggy...
and Sally the dolly..
we went visiting on Thursday,,,,,to see Auntie Maureen , Uncle Roger and family..
and poor Lucie was quite tired out by it all bless her...
they we went to see my best friends----they had a whale of a time there....
then home to get changed and have their hair done ready for a party at my brothers house...
little Lucie has the prettiest blonde curls..
my niece Natalie made these beautiful cup cakes...
that the girls just loved...
and then she kept them occupied with the crayons and paper--thanks Nat!
they ended up dancing on the worktops.......
today we  had our youngest little grandson round to the house--Ollie...he joined us along with his mummy for was lovely to see the little cousins getting along together..they grow up soooo fast....the girls are off back to Sunderland tomorrow with their Daddy...and then we are getting ready for our friends to come round for a slap up New Years Eve meal.... Garlic mushrooms, roast pork and all the trimmings and Christmas pudding and brandy sauce...I cant wait!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Snowmans Winter Wonderland

Way back in the summer I met a lovely chap called Trevor and his son Mark when on Ludlow market..we got chatting and Trevor asked if I could do a commission for him.     He explained that he collected Royal Doulton snowmen and every Christmas he set up a nativity scene with them and wanted a backdrop to put behind I got out my oil paints and a 36in x 14in canvas and got cracking!      Trevor wanted Cotswold stone walls, a 5 bar gate, hills and a distant village, all in shades of blue ,black and white. I was pleased with the result and when Mark bought his Dad to collect it -he loved it but I couldn't quite imagine it in situ with the snowmen!    How chuffed was I tonight to open an email from Mark with the photo of it in situ with the snowmen...Trevor had promised me he would let me see what it looked like...I love it! Thank you both so much for letting me see it---Happy New Year to you both, and I will look forward to seeing you both on the market again in the spring when we are back!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 far..

Christmas Eve and I had a large glass of lovely Baileys while I was getting all the Christmas goodies prepared before our friends came round for a few hours....

The ham joint got cooked in Coka Cola....if you have never tryed it-you don't know what you are missing!It gives the meat a beautiful flavour and turns it a dark brown.......I would cook ham any other way now...
the cranberry and port sauce didn't take long to do...
and the luxury bread sauce was done in the microwave,,,I have to make enough for my sisters family as well.......its one of my favourite bits of Christmas dinner..
my special layered stuffing was soon prepared-mainly by Bill this time as I was busy getting the table done..
A black and white theme this year...
The Camembert was studded with loads of garlic and Bill made some mulled wine -and we had a lovely couple of hours with Marion and Phil, dipping crusty french stick into the gloriously melted garlicky cheese,then we started on the pate!  Christmas feel like its really here when we start on the mulled wine with our friends!!
My son Jim called by to drop off some pressies and Jake decided he was going to take advantage of Jim's slightly drunken state and try and tear the buttons off his shirt!
Christmas Day----The turkey this year was one of the smallest and cheapest we have ever had---only me and Bill for Christmas lunch this time so we didn't need a huge one----have to say it was one of the best we have ever had! Bill covered it in bacon , loads of butter under the skin and it was just beautiful and moist and very tasty--thank you Aldi! As it was only a small one we cooked it on Christmas morning instead of Christmas Eve which was another first for us! We had a huge piece of beef to cook in the afternoon ready for Boxing day..
the stuffing was cooked to perfection..lovely and crunchy outside...and moist inside.It was first for us to have just the 2 of us for dinner---its usually a very busy day--so it was nice to have a relaxed day with no pressure to get things done to a lovely daughter Becki and Wayne called by for a couple of hours,which was lovely!
Boxing day we had 15 for lunch so we had a very busy time from when we got up...I got on and made a lemon and lime cheesecake, while Bill was busy making a beautiful cheese,ham and tomato quiche....
the table was groaning with food by the time we had finished--besides the heated food warmer keeping the buttered potatoes, bread sauce and other hot bits warm and another table with all the sauces etc on..
Bill quiche was still warm when everyone arrived---it really was scrummy
Bill got the cream done for the  trifle,,
while everyone was having a breather from all the food--my niece Natalie gave me a manicure, couldnt decide which colour I wanted so ended up with 10 diferent ones...
I wish we had a bigger front room,half of us were in the kitchen lol....
looks like my brother had enough to eat and drink.... we are having another quiet day today  .Hollie and Lucie are coming down from Sunderland with their dad tomorrow and staying for a few nights so the peace will be shattered then , but it will be lovely to see them and help them play with their huge sack of new toys they have off us for Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year

I would like to wish all my family, friends students and future students and very Merry Christmas and a Happy,Healthy New Year....lots to look forward to for me and Bill with our  new baby grandchild expected in May around Bills Birthday....some new shows to attend and new students to meet and teach to exciting year ahead....

Friday, December 23, 2011


A huge big CONGRATULATIONS to my lovely daughter Becki and Wayne her fiance.....they got engaged in Cuba last week while having the holiday of a lifetime!   Wayne did it properly down on one knee on a moonlit beach---very romantic!   I can honestly say I couldn't have picked a more lovely husband for my Becki if  I had tryed..he is a real darling--- and we love him to bits!    Everyone is soooo happy for them...So we are looking forward to a new baby in May  next year followed by a wedding the following year---unless those 6 numbers come up first of course!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Poor Sparky -Again!

Poor Sparky is in the wars AGAIN!  This time he has been fighting with another cat and has 6 yes 6 scratches on his eyeball. So He was down to the vets yesterday who put some dye into his eyes which showed up the scratches. So we have to put cream into his eye 3 times a day and he has to go back tomorrow for the vet to see if its helping. Thank goodness we didn't cancel his pet insurance as we were tempted to do when it came up for renewal....they upped the excess to £100 as he has turned 10 years old now...but its looking like a good job we didn't cancel it , the vet said eyes can be hard work to get right,,so fingers crossed the cream does the job!

Artist Of The Week

Im Artist Of The Week on the Affordable British Art website this week,,,  a briiliant website that Ive sold lots of paintings off--its easy to use both  for the artists and their customers.... Many thanks to Ros Callander who runs the website!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas--Feeling Festive!

Well at last I have got the tree up and am feeling a bit more festive! We have had a very busy day today--Ive shampooed all the downstairs carpets, cleared away all my cat ornaments, given everywhere a good dusting to get rid of the never ending parrot dust that gets in every nook and cranny, while Bill had the unenviable task of cleaning out the parrots cages and giving them a real good deep down clean!  Since Ive been on the steroids for the polymyalgia I'm better some days than others and have to do extra  stuff when I can.   On Friday morning I went out and for the first time completely forgot to have my steroids---by midday I had completely seized up and could hardly drive myself home.. a lesson learned the hard way--there is now a dose of tablets in my handbag in case I ever forget again! I'm seeing the specialist again tomorrow (Monday) so will know a bit more of what is going on....should have the results of my kidney scan as well..
The tree is looking all bright and sparkling--I like to buy a few new decorations each year--mainly in white/silver colours, Ive got some lovely cut glass ones for this year they are catching the light beautifully...
Now the cats are packed away and the Santa's, snowmen and reindeer are out its looking a bit like Santa's Grotto....we have the 2 little granddaughters coming down from Sunderland to stay  for a couple of days on the 27th Dec...they will love it!
We have a huge silver twinkling star on top of the tree this year--the fairy always ended up looking slightly drunk as she slipped from side to side and back to!

A Squirrels Eye View Workshop

We had a last minute panic on Friday when we found out that the room we usually use was double booked for a lunch party of  30....fortunately the other smaller room was available..but we only use that if we have less than 5 booked in and we had 10 booked for the Squirrels Eye View.....we had a lot more work to do when we arrived there--furniture to move out and rearrange...but we managed it--it was a bit of a squash but everyone was very understanding about it.Lunch was cosy to say the least! We had a mix of first timers and more experienced students-it was lovely to welcome Maureen back-she fell and cracked her hip back in the summer so hasn't been able to attend class for a while...also lovely to see Chris and Pauline back as well..
Maureen making a start..
Maureen,Katherine and Pauline adding the trees..
I couldn't get over how much Hannah had grown since she came to class for the first time 6 months ago--she has shot up really tall..She made a beautiful job of her painting, taking her time to make sure she did her trees perfectly..I remember when she came for the first time to paint Mellow Moods she excelled at her trees...
Katherine came for the first time last week,,here she is adding her trees, turing the canvas on its side as she goes round it.makes life easier!
Chris adding the sponging..
Sean came along with Wendy for the first time..we met them at the Food and Drink festival..both seemed to take to it quite easily,,,and they created some stunning pictures..both got their perspective correct and made some great shaped trees..
Wendy wanted to create a wintry scene and added some white paint to the end which worked really well...
Maureen had to leave a little earlier has her son had come to fetch her...didn't she make  lovely job of her picture?

Lovely results--well done everyone...that was the last workshop of 2011...I will be starting back on January 14th painting Mellow Moods..a few spaces left if you want to join us...