Friday, February 25, 2011

Paint a picture

In spite of having spent most of my 20s studying art history, I'm not much of an artist myself. My perspective is wonky, my brushwork is sloppy, my understanding of light and shade is questionable at best... all of those are the reasons why the more I learned about art, the less I felt capable of creating anything myself. Knowing what great art is can make it very hard to attempt much on your own. The thing is, though, I really kind of enjoy it.

That's why I was quite willing to accept the challenge when Maddy suggested we try our hands at painting this week. Because of my crazy inhibitions, it's only the second thing I've painted in about 7 years. I painted this from a photo of the Tamar bridge in the 2011 Westcountry calendar that my 97 year-old granny sends me every Christmas. I enjoyed working from a photo and trying to interpret the colors in the image through the ones in my paint box, and I liked having something concrete and right in front of me to work from. I took a little bit of artistic license and left a few things out like boats and buildings for a cleaner, simpler image. And, let's be honest, to save time so I could get this post up. I could fiddle with it for ages.

Predictably, the hardest part was finding the time to actually work on it. If I do something while Espen is awake that he can't be an (extremely) active part of, he clings to my jeans and cries piteously. Nap time is therefore the golden time of the day for me to get everything done that I can't do when he's up, like showering, using the computer, reading or any chore that requires both hands and my full attention. So I just grabbed 20 minutes chunks here and there to work on my painting, probably less than two hours in all. The disadvantage to that is that as soon as I got in my groove I'd have to stop, which would cause me to "lose my place" or paint to dry before I had finished what I was doing. However, that was also a bit of an advantage because it allowed things to dry completely before I started the next layer, which made things less smudgy. It was also nice to be able to step away and come back with a fresh eye. I definitely prefer the work-for-hours-without-interruption-approach, but with my current lifestyle, this was the way to go.

I tried to force myself to work quickly and to allow some sloppiness. It's not quite as tight or clean as I'd like it to be, and the more I look at it, the more faults I can find, but I think the important part is that I tried, I had fun doing it, and I managed to fit something a little different into my day.

Any artists out there? We'd love to see your work!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Intermission

Watch this space, my pretties. An unspeakable masterpiece will show up here tomorrow. For now I am watching Top Gear and then going to bed. Oh, the life of the rich and famous!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Painting creative

This week Tamsin and I decided to do something creative- a painting or something of the like, however, as a student of A-level/ and A/S level art, I have a slight unfair advantage, as I will likely spend most of the week painting for my half term homework- Tamsin agreed that I could post what I was working on- though, I feel it a slight cop-out on my part.


This is where I started this morning- slightly risque for our blog, but let it be known, I am a huge fan of Jenny saville, and will paint her works at any given opportunity- this was for an artist's reference page in my sketchbook, I had most of it done bar the arm on the second painting- Now I am thinking I will have to go back to it again, it's bugging me, and not quite right- don't even get me started on the hand.
These are parts taken from a three-section painting called 'strategy' by Jenny saville- done by me in acrylic paints, and a heavily watered down acrylic- so it gives the appearance of a watercolour- for the background.- this goes on to a double page spread.
And now- the start of an unfinished painting- which, I don't like, nor do I think will work out.

We shall see- again done in acrylics.- a copy of a work by Auguste Renoir- again for my sketchbook.
I will also visit some art Gallery's in London this week.
If I am honest, painting is not really my forte, I am much more comfortable with a lead pencil and something to sketch and shade- a sketched portrait is my favourite to draw.

And lastly, a quick colour pencil drawing of an alien toy- obviously, to up my observational drawings count.
This may all seem quite sporadic, but I'm pretty sure it all vaguely fits with my theme.
Vaguely.
If you can't tell already, I've a particularly short attention span, and thus, cannot sit and do one thing for any length of time, normally I flit between several projects as my mood takes me.

{click to enlarge}
Here is some of my old GCSE work, so aged 14-16 if your not familiar with the system.
It was sort of cheating, but I figure the phrase "your whasting precious time!" came into play, and I needed to get my work done, so I thought I'd share what I'm working on today.
I can't wait for Tamsin's unbaised approach to painting on Thursday, I know she's good.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wearing...

I don't really like full length photos of myself.
 I like to crop them at my waist- this however defies the point of an outfit post, I'm pretty sure.
I've lost weight the past 8 weeks, It was 27 pounds, as of Tuesday it was 22 pounds, don't know how I feel about that- totally getting back on the bandwagon- tomorrow.
I had a half day at sixth form today, I took Eve home with me, we're pretty much glued at the hip these days.
I had planned to do my hair and whatnot in order to post a decent picture on the interweb, but in the end I forgot I was s'posed to take them until I was home, so handed Eve a camera and added bigger flicks to my eyeliner and went with the biker boots instead of two tone pumps before heading outside, panda (the scruffy poodle above) wanted to get in on the action.
I felt like I had a lot to live up to after Tamsin's cute words in her own post, but when it came to it, I wore what I picked last minute- Fun fact, I don't, at present, own a pair of jeans, trousers, etc...not these past three years or so, I just feel more comfortable in dresses and skirts.

{outtakes- click to enlarge}
It was warm out today, It's beginning to feel like spring again- so I dug out my two years old Bleached-denim-faded-painted-mac from Topshop with the worlds best white T-shirt.
Basically I bought it for Eve to wear under other things- I was trying to teach her about layering, instead she gave it back to me and I realised it was the softest, longest, comfiest, best washing T-shirt in the world- plus I was already wearing it under my indecently low cut blouse for sixth form today- from New look.
I threw on- literally- My neutral check skirt from Topshop (where else?) which I think is the oldest Item of clothing I own, at about three years old, it's beginning to show, no matter, it's getting too big anyway(clap)
Biker boots from Boohoo.com
Orb Necklace was a (LOVED!) Christmas gift from Vivienne Westwood
FYI- whilst I am wearing eye liner- tinted moisturiser and lipbalmyglossything here, I am not one of those teenagers who wears a full face of make up everyday, I probably only bother about twice a week.
I don't think that was very interesting really- I like dresses. I don't (ever) wear bare legs cus' it would not look awesome, and frankly, the dresses round these parts are not that long, and, where possibly, I like vintage or vintage inspired.
My whole wardrobe consists of several blazers and Jackets, one cape (think Severus snape or batman) 15 dresses and one skirt- plus three in plain black for school, a couple of blouses and three or four T-shirts.
Is that a lot? I don't know.
I don't care.
I love playing dress up.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Outfit post: How to dress like a tired mom.

When Maddy and I were emailing back and forth this weekend about what to write about this week, I threw out as a sort of half-joke the suggestion that we should do some outfit posts. Y'know, put together an outfit, take a photo of yourself and post it on your blog. I read, and am awed and inspired by, any number of women and mothers who do this, most of them wearing size 2 designer jeans, chunky bracelets and gorgeously disheveled hair. Me, not so much.

But, spurred on by Madsta, who is like the style icon for the 21st century, I decided to give it a try. I picked out one of my favorite news outfits, involving my beloved new boots and a long chunky cardigan that my husband gave me for Christmas. I thought of what to do with my hair. We even had plans to go out and about today, so it wasn't even like I was playing dress-ups just for blogging purposes. I began to feel like maybe, just maybe, I hadn't completely lost my style mojo during the past few years of pregnancy and new motherhood.

Then (very early) Tuesday morning came, and with it a sick little baby boy. I'm not even sure how many times I was up with him in the night, because I can't quite guarantee that I was completely awake for all of the trips to his bedside. So now out and about for us. Espen has spent his day in his pajamas, and I retreated into my easy, comfortable mommy-uniform of jeans and a top. I thought about doing an outfit post, and it just seemed pointless to get changed just so I could take photos of myself, and pretty unthinkable to post photos of me in all my unfinished, unpolished, not-meant-to-be-seen glory. But was it?

Jeans and cardigan from Old Navy, top from Kohl's.
(Look at me, I'm a fashion blogger!)
This, friends, is me as I am today. In my jeans and a t-shirt, wearing an eight year old cardigan and no make-up. I did do you the courtesy of taking my hair out of its standard-issue ponytail, but other than that, this is how you can generally expect to find me. Scary as it is to post online for all the world to see, I think I'm OK with that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

my Angle on Valentines- all 5'8 of me.

To Tamsin and Tana- you did awesome in wake of my unforeseen Laptop-locked in the study incident, I loved reading your posts- an extra happy Valentine to you ladies!

Despite my rather chaste catholic upbringing, I have to say that, really, I've no clue about the relevance of valentine's day- but have gathered that it is the feast day of St. Valentine, which I suspect may have some reverence, but it is, indeed, a day for loving- not just for Lovers.
My Valentine?
My Mutti.
 I used to have a steady boyfriend for a while, every year since reception class (aged 5ish?), a lovely Boy who I knew my whole life would send me a Valentine, he was sweet as butter and- despite being very dyslexic, he would spend hours making me these cards from Scratch, some years he would tape chocolates to the front, or leave some along-side, and his mother would tell my mother how hard he had worked- I kept some of them.
I guess we started "stepping out together" as we got older, and did for a couple years, he was the same for my birthdays, he was lovely.
That ended a couple years ago with a fairly brutal, but mutually fine "we should just be friends" which we were, and he has a lovely new girlfriend now- who I hope he makes cards for.
But I loved being someones special someone.
Who doesn't?
For now my Mutti is my Valentine, my constant, my lovely, and I'm just fine with that for now- because Valentines day is for Loving- not just lovers.
My Mutti agrees.

Have a great day!- if your having a really good day, I hope you read this tomorrow*

*Speaking of tomorrow- stay tuned for Tamsin's post, we're going all Fashion-ee this week!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Guest blogger: Tana

We have a treat for you today! As the first of a series of guest bloggers, the lovely Tana from A Receptacle for Random Thought is gracing us with her presence and writing today. Enjoy, enjoy!

“I told Tamsin I would write tonight,” I said to Cam as I took up my laptop, heading for the bedroom.


“You should mention that it’s been a few years since anyone confiscated anything from you,” he smiled.


We both chuckled, briefly remembering how wonderful and awful being sixteen could be. Our parents had fewer options of things to withhold way back then, but they were oh so creative.


This is what I found on my pillow.


Valentine’s Day is yet a week away and the surprises have already begun.


Cameron and I were married 31 years ago. We had planned a Valentine’s Day wedding, and then, in mid-December, he said, “Let’s just do it now! Why wait?” So, two weeks later and less than six months after our first date, we were wed by our Bishop in front of a few friends and family members, and it seemed perfect to us at the time. In my mind, ours was a love story fit for a sonnet.


I’d like to say that every moment of every day since has been pure bliss, that we never had financial woes, that our health has been perfect, and that we never once raised our voices to one another or said hurtful things. I’d like to say that there were never heartaches, that we were always perfect spouses to one another and perfect parents to our brood of five children.


What I can say is that we tried. In a time and a world where marriage seems to be slipping away, we are still trying. (Sometimes very trying.)


Finding things on my pillow is not a rare occurrence. My often cantankerous husband has a heart of marshmallow. He brings me flowers and jewelry and cards. He fixes things and assembles things and SHOWS me he loves me. He’s a doer. I’m a sayer.


If I thought I possessed the secret to a long and happy marriage, what I would share is this:


1. Work every day to see the traits you originally fell in love with. See the good in the person he/she has become so that you can fall in love over and over again.


2. Forget about changing your spouse. There is only one person you can change and it isn’t him/her. Focusing on your own efforts, without keeping score, is the way to marital happiness. (Sometimes easier said than done, but well worth the effort.)


3. The very few things that make your spouse feel really cherished take a surprisingly small amount of time each day. Give up a time-waster or two and focus on those few things.


4. Laugh every day.


5. And just like you learned in Kindergarten: Be nice. Share, Say “I’m sorry”, and “please” and “thank you” and “I love you”. (Or, like us, “I love you most.”)

I know it’s not the same for everyone. We are the lucky ones. And sharing a belief in something larger than ourselves has been the divine glue holding us together. Yes, we are the lucky ones.



Monday, February 7, 2011

Tamsin's Guide to Valentine's Day

Let me start this post by clearly stating that I am a great lover of Valentine's Day. For a more in-depth discussion of why, go here. Beyond that, let me just say that February is one of the dreariest months that ever there was, so why not put a celebration in it?

Of course, Valentine's Day doesn't feel like a celebration to a lot of people. For some it's Singles Awareness Day - a day that can seem like it was designed to making you feel inferior for not being in a relationship. Of course, even if you do have a significant other, Valentine's Day can feel like treacherous waters as you try to navigate each other's expectations and place the appropriate amount of significance on the day. You don't want to be a joyless old miseryguts and not celebrate the one you love on The Day of Love, but you also don't want to be the one jumping out of a cake when all they got you was a stick of gum either (hint: don't give someone a stick of gum for Valentine's Day). Similarly, having pink and fluffy daydreams of celebrating the day with hand-holding and chocolate dipped strawberries in front of a blazing fire when their idea of romance is a heart-shaped pizza and some quality time with the Xbox.

So, how do you have a happy Valentine's Day, regardless of your situation? The answer is simple, and two-fold:
  1. Celebrate. I don't care who you are, who you're with or where you are. This is one of those "be-your-own-rainbow" type situations where you're not going to have any fun unless you are the fun.
  2. Throw the rules out the window. Give up on any preconceived notions of what Valentine's Day should be, and start making it what you want to be.
Case in point: Valentine's Day is supposed to involve going out to a romantic dinner for two. The reality of that is packed restaurants, no parking and long lines. Solution: don't go out to dinner. Cook something at home, or order take-out and have a picnic at home. Throw a party, have dinner with friends, do your thing. In fact, on Valentine's Day when we had only been engaged for two days, instead of going out to eat just the two of us, Nick and I made dinner with my roommates and had a little party. And it was really fun!

Now that we're married and going on our sixth Valentine's Day together, I feel like Nick and I have figured how to make it work for us. For the last couple of years, we've pooled our resources and bought a gift together for both of us to enjoy, rather than getting individual gifts. We discovered several years ago that take-out from the Bombay House eaten at home was much more enjoyable than spending half the night waiting for a table. Nick always gets me flowers because I love them, but he usually buys them for the anniversary of our engagement on the 12th, rather than spend three times the price on the 14th, which is just irksome, in my opinion. Most of all, we try to make the holiday about us and spending our time together.

Which is really where I'm going with all of this: If you want to have a happy Valentine's Day, then have a happy Valentine's Day. Whether you'll be celebrating yourself by yourself, with friends, family or your loved one, make it happy. Your own kind of happy.

Image borrowed here.

And now, the news:

Hello, and welcome to a new week at Me Here Her There!

Today's headlines:
  • As we are in the week leading up to Valentines Day/Singles Awareness Day, this week we will each be writing a post about our thoughts on V-day.
  • A first for MHHT! We will be joined this week by a very special guest star, so be sure to come back on Wednesday to see who it is :)
  • Another first! Madsta's laptop has been confiscated and placed under lock and key for the week. The laptop has been reported to being held somewhere in the vicinity of the paternal study. Several liberation attempts have been made, but the laptop remains incarcerated. We will continue to follow this story throughout the week, and will keep you updated as new developments occur.
  • Please return later today as Tamsin will be posting her Guide to Valentine's Day.
Thank you, and good luck.

Image borrowed here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My town. pronounced Rye-slip

I live just behind this church- not my church, it isn't catholic, but gorgeous non the less.
My Grandparents moved to Ruislip from the beachy town of Bournemouth- and before that Wales.
When my Dad was young, I've always lived here- It's familiar, like my poodle.
I am a creature of Habit; I read the same blogs each day, visit the same websites, and some time's, wear the same tights- because who has that many pairs? (for example, this week alone, I've put my thumb through two pairs)
I also frequent the same places, moan about the same things and drink from the same kind of water bottle.
I like living where I live, I like that if the mood so takes us my girlfriends and I can hop on a train and be in Oxford street, or Trafalgar square- portabello road, The National Gallery, shepherds bush or Camden In under an hour.
For example, tomorrow I'm being paid to try and sort through my Mutti's wardrobe (those that enter rarely leave)- but if the inspiration so took I could head to Topshop, oxford circus.
To me, that is cool.
Ruislip people, is where it's at. I think.
I love it in the summertime- because we can go to the park through the gate in my back garden, or head to the fields and our favourite spot- the bridge, where we sit and listen to the trickling stream and tan our chests in the summertime.
When I'm not dieting (I like to think on Fridays, but in reality, I always am)
I like to eat in Cinnamon square in the high street, it's like heaven- once I had a GIANT cinnamon square and though it nearly killed me- I took one for the team and ate it all.
And it has a Tesco- I'm a big fan, I can't believe people in America don't have them!- then I s'pose we don't have Target- it haunts me.
Was that anything to do with my town- this is what it would be like if we were having a chat- I just keep talking about nothing until I'm stopped.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My little town; Spanish Fork edition

This week we thought we would show you around where we live, and I am jumping right in with my own illustrious metropole of Spanish Fork, Utah.

It's no secret, friends, I love this little town of mine. It's just close enough to nearby Provo and Orem that I can get essentially anything I want, and just far enough away that we're away from the city. While we live in a townhouse, there is a pond behind our house and we just have to cross the street to see farmland with horses and sheep. I grew up in a small rural area, and I guess the country girl in me just wants the same thing for my family. I was never entirely completely at home in Utah until I could see trees and a little bit of water from my window.

Tamsin's Five Favorites in Spanish Fork, Utah.


1. North Park
Last summer the city opened this new park within walking distance of our house, and it is just fantastic! As well as walking trails, lots of open green space, pavilions, and an enormous playground, it includes the splash pad in the photo above, which seems to be in constant use when the weather is warm. I can't wait to bring Espen there to cool off in the summer.


2. Spanish Fork Library
It's small, it's old, it's pokey, and it holds a rather impressive collection of romance novels. In spite of, or maybe because of this, the Spanish Fork library just has a charm all of its own. I love to go there and peruse the shelves in search of something to read, which is entirely doable seeing as the library basically consists of two rooms. I love the 1960s architecture, the original wood book shelves and the small town library feel. Every time I go, I get this crazy sense of doing my civic duty even though, clearly, the pleasure is all mine.


3. Macey's
You bet your britches I'm including our little grocery store! Macey's is, after all, the reason Nick and I started coming to Spanish Fork in the first place, when we lived one town over in Springville. It's a typical Western, smalltown grocery store where big-haired women dish out free samples in the back and the kid who bags your shopping offers to help you bring it out to the car. They also offer some of the best produce of any grocery stores around here, and oddly enough, some specialty and hard-to-find goods that much bigger places don't carry. Macey's in my heart!


4. The windmills
Some people think they're an eyesore, but I've loved the windmills at the mouth of the canyon since I first saw them. They're so stark and clean and modern against the canyons that it's almost like having a permanent modern art installation. You can see them all the way across the valley, and it's always a sure sign that we're almost home.

5. The duck pond
One of the instant attractions when we first saw what is now our house, was the pond directly behind it. As I have waxed lyrically about above, I love it. Sometimes when we're feeling housebound, Espen and I will bundle up for a quick walk around the pond, or to feed the ducks. It's just a little piece of nature right outside for us to enjoy.

And that's it! Just a little taste of this place we call home. Don't forget to come back on Thursday for a look at Madsta's home of Ruislip!

Images borrowed here, here and here because it's January and frankly too cold and dark to be rushing around with a camera.
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