Saturday, November 5, 2011


The way weeks slide away is scary!  We have had so much going on in the last few weeks I haven't been anywhere near my blog! Summer is over and done with, the boat is hauled and snugged down in the boat yard for the winter, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  What happened?

First was hurricane Irene that whipped through the Northeast causing all sorts of damage.  Duxbury caught the edge of it and we had 72mph gusts howling through.  Lots of downed trees and limbs and loss of electricity for 4 days.  The poor people who were in the direct path as it went North suffered terrible damage.  Some towns in Maine were completely cut off for days.

Dominic had a birthday!

Eight years old - that certainly flew by :)

 My sister and her partner came to visit for two weeks.  We had a great time getting to know one and other and touring the area.

We did the tourist thing and ate at "Cheers" :)

Isabel started playing Soccer.  It's so cute to see the little girls running around in a bunch after the ball!  She plays very well and will probably be keeping it up in the Spring.  Dominic is in year two of the Cub Scouts - I believe he is a Wolf Scout this year.  Isabel has just started Daisies, Brownies in England
Back to school and Dominic has to be at the bus stop by 7am.  That's is proving a little tough.  Isabel is finally in Kindergarten and very happy as she has homework too now.  They are both doing well.  Dominic is working on this project today.  The kids (8 year's old) were told to come up with a business idea, build a prototype, and create advertising for their product.  They will give a talk on what they had developed and why everyone should buy one.  I think in 2nd grade I was still trying to conquer the 9 times table!

Last weekend we had an early snowstorm.  Not too bad here, just a dusting, but in Connecticut they got slammed.  Mandy had a good 18" of heavy snow overnight on Sunday and lost all her power, including the heat.  Halloween was Monday and of course it was cancelled as there were no street lights and piles of snow and broken branches everywhere.  On Tuesday I called her and she bundled up the kids and came to us for a few days.  Thursday was Derek's 72nd birthday and he was delighted to have his whole family here. She went back home yesterday and managed to get the heat working.  No electricity until Sunday at the earliest.

I have been working hard to catch up on my Swaps with Milliande Art Community.  Needless to say I had to join a couple more for Christmas.

Thanksgiving here we come !!  :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Additions to the family

Over the last few weeks we have added a few friends to the family

 On the left we have Ruby, belonging to Isabel, and on the right Bob, belonging to Dominic.

The kids begged and begged for a turtle. Vicki went out and bought the whole turtle set up, tank, heat lamp, big rock to sunbathe on, etc., just to be sure he would be happy here.  This is Squirt owned by, and thoroughly disliked by, both kids.  Squirt is mean - he hisses and snaps and does not like children! Look at that face! He LOOKS like a grumpy old man.

And this my dears is Thomas the Tortoise.

Thomas is mine :). I have wanted a tortoise since I was about 5 year old and fell in love with my friends pet who used to hibernate under their sofa in the winter.  Thomas will not hibernate.  He comes from North Africa and will grow to about 150lbs and live 120 to 150 years.  My great grandchildren will ride him I expect.

Thomas is one spoiled little pet.  He loves the kids and pokes his head out when he hears them.  They pick him up so quickly and swish him through the air so fast I am amazed he puts up with it without complaint.  See how he has his legs and head out as Dominic holds him?  If it's a stranger holding him he is tightly tucked in his shell.

He is not too keen on Chewy the dog.  Chewy gave him a big doggy kiss and Thomas hasn't put his head out around the dog since.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A gentle weekend sail

We decided that a 3 day weekend meant we could take Gypsy and sail down to the Cape on Friday, returning Sunday.  Lovely, lovely long summer weekend.

Thursday night we motored out to Middle Brewster and spent the night there.  We left early Friday morning, as soon as we had enough daylight to see the marks leaving Boston Harbor.  It has been a few years since we left via Hypocrite Channel and there are some really bad rocks out there so we wanted to be a little careful.  As the sun rose higher and higher the wind dropped lower and lower.  So we motored, and motored and motored.  We did get a little sail in, maybe half an hour, about two hours from Provincetown,  (P'town),  but that was all.

I was steering at the time, ( Derek was napping ), and it was hot and sunny - a little breeze was welcome.  All of a sudden we were surrounded by a group of Blue Fin Tuna, jumping right out of the water and slamming back down again with great splashes of white foam .  For about a minute they swam and jumped just ahead of us, and just as suddenly they were gone. I love to see our finny neighbors when we are out in the middle of Mass Bay, but about half an hour later it did occur to me to wonder what had been chasing those big Tuna???

We motored into P'town arriving about 4 o'clock, and were greeted at the harbor entrance by a big grey seal.  One of the biggest we have ever seen.  A good trip, ten hours, even if it was mainly under the Iron Genny, (outboard motor).  Derek dropped the anchor and we were sitting down with beer and snacks 5 minutes later. It is so beautiful down there.  You can see the bottom off the side of the boat and watch little crabs walking around and fish swimming about.  If an orange flag wanders by you know that a diver is below searching for lobsters to make a visitor a good supper.  The seal popped his head out as if to say, "What, you lot back again?" and then swam off and we went to bed.

Saturday dawned fair but with bad weather in the offing.  We ran into P'town for supplies, came back to the mooring and just relaxed.  Derek cleaned the bottom of the boat and fiddled around with a few things.  I read.  Ahhhhh!  Peace!

Sunday dawned with a lot of wind, and promises by the weather radio of rain and thunder storms. We left the harbor at 7am with a reef in the mainsail and under motor because the wind was blowing in the wrong direction.  We went out into a really, REALLY rough sea, a nasty short chop.  We were tossed around quite a bit.  I had the tiller so I could hang on to something which was good.  I have to admit I love it and racing over waves yelling "Yeehah" is probably not what everyone would do but it is like a wild roller coaster and great fun.

We had agreed that the best plan was to head straight to the mainland rather than our usual track which takes us up the middle of the bay. Because the tides force the sea to bend around the Cape the waves get confused, some of them headed for the beach and some for the open seas beyond the hook.  The further out we got the less chop there was and we ended up with big old 5' waves but further apart than before, not so choppy.  I can only describe it as a roller coaster ride where someone takes a bucket of water and slings it in your face every so often. No more "Yeehah"!  Just hang on and keep going.  Eventually we had the waves behind us and the boat surfed on the big waves for miles up the coast.

We would have been fine if we could see.  The rain came down in buckets and we hadn't put batteries in the GPS yet so we had to guess where we were.  Kind of worrying when we got to Minot's light area, but eventually we saw the light through the rain and headed into Boston.  As we entered Boston harbor the skies cleared over us and we had sunshine and some of the most beautiful rainbows I have ever seen.  One of them laid flat on the water.  The spray blowing off the waves in Hull Gut was so dense the rainbow formed right along the sea itself.  Gorgeous.

Ten hours from P'town and we were home.  I must admit I was VERY glad to moor the boat!  A great trip but a wild one.  Monday I could hardly move.  My right arm ached from holding the tiller straight, and my legs felt like I had done a hundred knee bends from continually bracing to stop myself sliding.  Derek is laughing at me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back again!

Oh my goodness - 3 weeks since my last post?  It's not as if nothing has happened.  We went to CT for a weekend to celebrate Zane's eighth birthday. A treasure hunt proved very successful as the kids found hats, compasses, and goodies in a big trunk Mandi had found. Now we have ages 5, 6, 8 and 8.

Look at these cute guys!  It's a shame that the camera just doesn't show the details.  The bead work and embroidery is extraordinary and I have to find out how to do a doll face like Monika - the face on her little earth gnome on the right is just darling.  I want to be able to do that too :)

Gypsy is back in the water and we finally took her out to Middle Brewster Island and stayed overnight a couple of weeks ago.  We stopped for lunch at Lovell's Island and Derek took a quick nap.  He has been working hard on the boat and the table top has been redone with a new blue formica.  The counter matches and he has used a new beautiful warm rose wood, Paducet? as trim.  It looks stunning.

Middle Brewster has a great big sand cliff.  When we first came to Boston you could walk along the top but now it's forbidden as the cliff is gradually falling into the sea.  All the seagulls gather here and if you look carefully at this picture you will see that what looks like white stones is actually gulls clinging to the cliffside.  They made a wonderful racket during the day and at night you can hear them chatting to one and other.

There goes the sun, setting over Boston.  It was a beautiful clear night and we sat and watched the firework displays all along the coast .  There must have been 5 towns at one point sending up fireworks.  Good fun.

Off in the distance we can see Graves Light and right behind our mooring at Middle Brewster is Boston Light.  At night we have a great display of the lights zooming by as they warn off shipping.  Boston Light by the way is the only lighthouse in the USA that is still manned.  All the others are run by computers I suppose.

We are holding a Prayer Flag swap at Milliande's Art Community for Women.  I am running this swap and I made up a quick flag to show the people in the Paper Doll group how easy they are to make.  Most of this is glued with a glue stick :)

Because I am helping with the Paper Doll group I tried my hand at a mermaid.  I love the water color pencils I used.  They are called Inktense and are great to work with.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4th and all that

What a great weekend we have had.  Now we are all exhausted, even the little ones! Saturday the Town of Duxbury had it's traditional bonfire on the beach.  It's a spit of land that curves out 2 miles into the sea.  You drive up one side and park the other - it's only 80ft wide a beautiful sandy beach.  The kids had a ball!

Granddad had a nice nap!

And when it got chilly Vicky and Jay got silly.

 Here it is 8:30 pm and the crowd is ready for the bonfire.  You can see it for miles.

On Sunday we went to the Yacht Club and spent the night on the boat.  The club is in Weymouth and they had their firework display for the 4th.  We had front row seats and the joy of it all - when the fireworks were over we crawled into bed.  No
lines of traffic to go through on the way home.

On Monday we went to a friend's cottage on the lake and had a cookout and more fireworks.  Dave has taken courses in firework handling and he set up a barge and with a little help from Jay and their Dads they gave us a wonderful show.

You can see what a lovely location it is.  The beach area is right next door  and they set up a bouncing house for the kids, and a dunk tank.  There were about 200 people there so it was quite a party.

Isabel is the sleepy head this time - after swimming for 4 hours! She slept for a good 2 hours and was awake for the fireworks so that worked well. She is wrapped in her security blanket - a piece of material I bought to make PJ's for Dominic when he was into Winnie the Pooh.
Now it's Isabel's Tiger Pooh and wearing very thin!

Here is the barge full of fireworks ready to go.

So it was a busy, busy weekend. However,  I did manage to get a bit of work done in my Journal


This collage was rather fun.  I used my new Inktense watercolor pencils.  They are great on the boat where I don't have a lot of room for
regular paints.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gloomy weather approaches

Tomorrow's weather cast is for thunder storms and rain.  Reminds me of Macbeth's three witches chanting,
     "When shall we three meet again,
       In thunder, lightning or in rain?"
I did a quick sketch or how the scene appears in my mind.  For some reason I always see them raising out of a cauldron.  Odd that. I think it comes from the line "Fair is foul, and foul is fair, Hover through the filthy air!"

Well Miss Barnes, wherever you are, I can still remember some of my Macbeth after 50 years. Well taught you! Thank you!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Our second Journal Page prompt for June was titled the 7 Deadly Sins.  Just in case anyone is in doubt I chose Lust!  I have finally finished it but I think I will need to do a little discreet covering of the nipples before it goes anywhere near Miliande's censor! :)  Thank heaven for the little stick on jewels you can buy, I have a sheet of heart shaped ones that will do the trick.

Miles is the local cat.  He visits the neighborbood, sleeps in the neighbors garage, eats here and there, and is friends with the whole street.  He actually belongs to a family 3 street over but they can't keep him home.  This morning it was misty and drizzling and he felt like taking a nap so he crawled into Derek's van. He was sound asleep on the dashboard until I opened the door to take a snap. After being disturbed be just gave me the evil eye and went back to sleep!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Genie in the bottle

Two days past the equinox and it has poured with rain on both of them!  Woe to us - kids out of school and stuck in the house, wet dog, soggy shoes, and damp towels.

Isabel is happy as a Linty however, rain or no rain she rides her bike.  Yesterday she mastered the art of riding with no training wheels so our VERY big girl is all smiles.
Dominic has found something to amuse himself with too.  Nice bright eye, nice pink tongue.  Good and healthy!
Today I finished the Journal Page swap for the Genie.  The quote is,  "If I had one wish it would be..."

I found that to be rather hard to answer. 

 I really need a million wishes to restock the oceans and fix the forests, stop Global warming, end the wars, etc., etc., etc.  So I suppose my answer should have been a million but I don't know how to illustate that!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Solstice and the sun is shining, a glorious Summer's day.  Gypsy splashed in yesterday and is floating happily on the mooring.  Life is good.  All my art goods are "in process" so I thought I would celebrate with a little Summertime album.

I have no idea what this tree is called but it is beautiful with white clusters of leaves instead of the usual flowers.  As Summer goes on the tree will turn completely green.

I am afraid we have lost this one.  It only has a few leaves on one branch and a lot of dead wood by the looks of it.  Derek is giving it another week before he makes any trimming decisions.  I hope it perks up - It was lovely last year.
Just look at this large patch of clover in the middle of the lawn!  I think clover and dandylions are quite lovely but the sentiment is not shared by the gardener. Why can't weeds be flowers too?  I  keep remembering my father's patch of golden rod he carefully tended year to year.  Here it's a weed!

And here is my little tree god.  I coaxed
 him out of a pieice of driftwood we
found on the beach one day with a hammer
and chisel.  You are not supposed to
remove any wood but I took a chance - I
couldn't let this little god be thrown out
with the other beach trash!

The alligator isn't real by the way  :) . We love different
garden ornaments.  No gnomes!

The Bohdisat sits outside the back porch
all year long. The dragon is on the front porch.  I am not sure why he seems to be glowing.  Maybe I was too near his gold!

          Happy Solstice everyone!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Launching soon

In New England the Winters are rather hard and boats are pulled up onto the hard for the cold seasons.  Now that Spring has sprung and is almost gone Derek is hard at work prettying "Gypsy".  Our little boat is the joy of our lives in the Summer and over the years Derek has turned her from a hoyden into a really pretty lady.  Unfortunately this means I don't see him for weeks on end except to feed him and watch him sleep!  He works so hard on the boat he is exhausted by the time night rolls around.  Now he is under the gun as we have a launch date - Monday June 20th, and the tides will be just right at 3pm so "Gypsy" had better be ready to float.

Here is a quick sketch of the "in progress" :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Journal Pages and Dye Experiments

I had a fun day today and as a reward for being so good I received these two beautiful Journal pages from Mary Larner in England.
The titles of the pages for this month were "It's been a slice" and "I want to lose myself in your song" . Mary, as always, had created perfect pages to illustrate the challenge. Last month I received Mary's pages too and I will be quite happy to create an album just with Mary's work!  I love her blog which you can find in the sidebar. Tin Can Tart.

The fun part of the day was creating my first dyed silk scarf.  I want to try silk painting but I am a little nervous about it so I thought I would start with a method Judith Baker Montano describes as "Blobs".  It was very interesting seeing how much the dye spread out.  I used a dry white silk scarf as the dye is water based.  Next time I will dampen the scarf to see whether it spreads further.  I did learn not to leave the material folded as there is a slight line on the fold, noticable if you are really scrutinizing the scarf. I am very please with the end result, after all I haven't tried to dye anything, (hair doesn't count does it?), since I tie dyed back in the 60's.  Silk painting here I come :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday Storms

It’s a wild night here.  Rain, thunder and lightning.  After a broiling hot day we have a cool night.  Great for sleeping Smile

I purchased a new thermometer so that I can tell my sister how hot or cold it is here.  Derek has the same problem calling NZ.  Everyone is Celsius based except us.  Well, just for you Sally Anne it was 30.5 C here at 5 pm and it’s 24.5 now at 8 pm.  A significant drop we are happy to say.


On this piece I wanted to try a woven material background, and also I wanted to play with some Lautrec. The weaving was a success but the little bar of Lautrec blends in too much.The figure is just sewn around and painted.  I made a little clay face and added some Pearlex to the paint on the complete doll. 

Unfortunately I was having too much fun with the gold and mauve. Never having just poured paint onto a project before I really had to take myself in hand and let loose. The thought of making an "error" keeps me way too uptight.  I took one photo of it under the light in the bedroom and another in the living room quite a dramatic difference!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Our latest swap is entitled "Midnight in the garden of good and evil".  I am not sure I quite acheived what they are looking for.  I know it's the title of a film but I haven't seen it and as it's a horror story I am not about to see it.  I get nightmares I do!!

Anyway, good bad or indifferent here they are!

I am also tacking onto this a picture of my now completely 5 year old granddaughter whose birthday is indeed today!  She is proudly displaying a pin she received from her Aunty Sally Anne in England.  She couldn't wait for me to get home and see it.  Perfect timing - it arrived in the mail this morning.


It all went beautifully! Here is our birthday girl enjoying her spaghetti taco.  Sounds weird but the kids LOVED them!  I can see we will have many orders for them from now on.  Wonder if Sally Anne and Dick will like them?  :)
Cousin Jacki
The Play doh queens

Pin the tail on the donkey
Zane and Gemma were there along with Collin. Poor Scottie was on the sofa with a high temp and feeling very sick. He had to go home early with Mum leaving Collin to go home with Nana and Pa.