Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I'm struggling to find time to do everything these days.

Christmas was good, but busy - Dog and parents kept us busy. Do grocery shopping, set the table, clear the table, fill the dishwasher, empty the dishwasher, find things to watch on the telly to please everybody, walk the dog, feed the dog, give computer lessons, keep things tidy, print crosswords, ... And I'm lucky that I'm not the one in charge of food in our household.

Then it took me a while to wind down, and there were all the things I wanted to do - meet friends, go shopping, walk Timber on the beach, ... I was scheduling the days like a project. It all got too much.

Finally, I'm starting to slow down. Today was a good day. Dog park with Timber and BB, feed Timber, have a bath, have lunch, give Willow a scratch on the head, read a book, close my eyes for a while, go to the dog park with Timber and BB, feed Timber, ... and here I am.

Tomorrow will hopefully be the same again. And I'll do a bit of drawing too. But I think it'll be a while before I paint a watercolour again.

Saturday, December 07, 2013


And as soon as I finished watching Blue, I started Susanna! They are like short stories - they only take a small amount of your time, yet, they are completely immersive. Seeing Anna Paquin in this has reminded me that we must catch up on True Blood - we're way behind. Hey, come to think of it, why don't they have True Blood on Netflix? I feel I've run out of things to watch there - I tried Being Erica, and I tried Drop Dead Diva, they are fun, but they lack depth.


Just finished watching Season 2 of Blue. I wish they had stuff as good as this on Netflix!

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Thanks to an understanding husband who walked the dog on his own twice today, I got a bit of time to play with my toys: my Gelli Plate, a Gyro-cut, cheap acrylic paint from the Art & Hobby shop and some Dealz stencils. And a photo of a woman from a magazine... She was confident and sassy and I liked the look of her. 

So, thank you BB!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Siobhan Ryan - 20 November - black lace top and black dress

Maybe I'm not watching the weather as much as I used to? Or maybe there haven't been many new outfits?

Anyways, here is one for you:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Labels and Envelopes

I've been printing labels and envelopes to match my art journals. Not the most exciting video, but I find that video shows the colours much better than pictures. Strange that. Or maybe not. I know nothing about photography. Maybe there is a good explanation.

Only watch this if you have 2.38 minutes to spare. Life is too short!

Another art journal

I've now got 3 journals ready to work with! No excuses!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Art Journal

Another video. Another art journal. With lovely soundtrack by my husband!!

One day I will add pictures and text to these journals. For now, I'm just happy to look at the not-quite-blank pages.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Art Journal Video

I told you I don't like the sound of my voice, didn't I? I couldn't bear to watch my first video because of that. So, this time, I used captions instead. With a soundtrack by Chris Zabriskie, which I got from the Free Music Archive.


Wheiii - Went to a movie! A 3D movie even!

Gravity, with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, is well worth the hour and a half of your time. He's an experienced astronaut on his last space walk. She's a  specialist of some sort on her first space mission. She's done the training. But she doesn't feel comfortable in space.

Something goes wrong. Very wrong. It's just the two of them. In space. Alone. How to survive? How to get home?

A simple story, in a way. But it looks fantastic too. And it doesn't have the annoying Hollywood long introduction and wrapping-up sections. So it just tells the central story, nothing else. And you're grateful for it. That's all you need. That's all you want.

And for those of you who are more interested in the technical details, check out this page and Wikipedia.

Glenveagh National Park

I was going through a few photos this morning, and I decided to put them together into a little slideshow of Glenveagh National Park. It's nice to look back at the summer we had - Today is a grey, cold, November day. But it will be Christmas before you know it!

(Sorry for the abrupt ending to the music!)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Colourful Bubble Wrap

I had a lot of fun printing these. I know they are a bit shapeless, but the colours make me very happy.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Malice or Incompetence

I did say I would try a video to show you my journal pages. I'm starting small. Plus I don't like to watch big long videos on YouTube - life is too short, as far as I'm concerned.

The only problem is that I don't like my voice. But I'll get over it, hopefully!

Timber at Killiney Beach

Friday, November 01, 2013

Pooh Bear Battle

Timber had a wonderful time at the beach on Monday. And afterwards, he got to play tug with Stan!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Asthma life expectancy

Good to know that the life expectancy of a mild asthma sufferer is the same as that of someone without asthma!: http://www.healthcentral.com/asthma/c/52325/70734/interesting-asthma/

Sunday, October 27, 2013

More Art Journals - Work in progress

Art Journals

Instead of cleaning my brayer on a scrap piece of paper after applying it to the Gelli plate, I've started rolling it onto sketchbooks. The resulting colours make a perfect background for journal pages.

On this one, I simply added doodles and writing with a white pen and a few lines with a black marker. A great way to unwind at the end of the day or if you're in a conference call that goes on for too long!

Friday, October 25, 2013

My baby

He's the sweetest dog! And he currently weighs over 27 kg!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gelli print journal

What happens when you have lots and lots of gelli prints and you don't know what to do with them? You start looking for inspiration. My search led me to this lovely page. I didn't feel like I had the energy to go the whole way to assembling a proper bound book, but I found some sites that show the steps for binding pages together using a simple stitching method. Stitching I can do. And that was definitely worth a try. All I needed was an awl. Well, I didn't even know the word in English until three days ago! But our local DIY store sold them and it was only €3.99 (it's "poinçon" in French in case you're wondering)

I still have a lot to figure out - like maybe binding the pages together before I print on them, so that the patterns work across the spine. And maybe I will go to the next stage where you glue booklets together and even make a proper hard cover. I'm not good with glue.So it's baby steps for now.

Over the weekend, I made a couple of booklets that I will be using for art journaling and collages, all set with pretty gelli-printed backgrounds. So let's focus on that.

The next step for me is to figure out a way to photographs these booklets in a way that shows them at their best. Maybe a little video will do the trick?

Here is the cover of the one I stitched at the weekend. That alone was worth my while, I think.

And the centre-page, which shows the stitches nicely:

And a few other pages:

And some that maybe are not so good, but once I've journalled into them will probably work out ok:

And the final page, which I think is particularly lovely:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dolce & Gabbana

I know I don't do much fashion, but I have come across these via a customer of mine, and I love the dresses in Dolce&Gabbana's show!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Texture landscapes

I'm continuing my love story with bubble wrap, it would seem. I did this one a few weeks back, but forgot to post it.

Gilbert Bécaud : Et maintenant (« Champs-Elysée » 1987)

Classic Gilbert Bécaud! Part of my childhood. Polka-dot ties were his trademark.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Eugene Onegin

I wasn't exactly in the humour for opera last Saturday. We've been busy lately and, let's face it, a dog takes a lot of what used to be free time. I find that I make lists for weekends now. And I struggle to complete them. So I felt like I needed a night out like a hole in the head - hey maybe that's why I'm getting dizzy spells!

And I'm not good with new environments - Car parks in particular are a cause of anxiety. So I gave myself plenty of time to get to Dun Laoghaire. I took the company van - it's easier to park than the car. And of course I found a good spot in the multi-story car park with no problem. And enough time for a stroll on the main street - not the most exciting shopping experience - I ended up buying jelly babies in Dealz! But the sun was shining, it was mild and I enjoyed the buzz, with a good half hour to spare to read the synopsis before the start of Eugene Onegin at the Met HD.

The plot isn't too taxing: young girl from a good family down the country falls in love with Eugene Onegin, who is visiting their neighbour, his friend Lenski, who is also the young girl's sister's beau. She declares her love. He rejects her. At a ball for the young girl's name day, Eugene flirts with the sister, upsets the beau. There is a duel. The beau dies. A few years later, Eugene comes back to St Petersburg from his travels and meets the young girl, who is now a sophisticated married young woman. He falls in love (a bit late!!). She tells him she still loves him but she rejects him all the same. The end. Yes, Eugene Onegin has confirmed my impression that Russian operas are on the heavy side.

Beautiful music though, particularly in Acts II and III. I struggled to stay awake during Act I, I am ashamed to say.

I am a fan of Anna Netrebko since I saw her in Anna Bolena. She didn't disappoint. (but oh dear those photos from NY Fashion Week??) And the two male singers, Mariusz Kwiecien and Piotr Beczala, were excellent too.

So, overall, a good evening. And so much for avoiding Russian operas - my next one is The Nose by Shostakovich.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Les feuilles mortes à gogo

Here are more autumn leaves Gelli prints I did last week (or the week before? It's all a blur). All done in one session - When you start gelli-printing, you can't stop.

PS: does anybody know how to import a nice teal colour from reality to the computer? I've tried scanning, photographing, Picasa, Photoshop, and I can't get the beautiful vibrant teal of my prints onto the screen. It all reverts to a dull blue, and none of the tools at my disposal manage to correct that tint.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

And now, the matching Zazzle card

Shamelessly promoting my Zazzle cards! I buy them all the time. Very handy to always have a few, ready to send to a friend.

Autumn Leaf
Autumn Leaf by _MHBD_
Shop for a card with zazzle.com

Perfecting the art of the autumn leaf

It's a while since I did my last Gelli print. It's been a few busy weeks. But I did get to experiment further with my leaf printing (steps here)! Here is my favourite so far:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Google Translate for iPad

Love the Google Translate for iPhone/iPad - Star Trek communicator crazy sci fi stuff! You talk into it in one language and it will speak it back to you in the language of your choice!

You will never need to learn a new language again.

Oh! But I love learning new languages!! I still want to learn Japanese when I retire!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Water Walk

It's a while since I've painted any watercolours! Lately, all I've found time for has been mono-printing with my Gelli plate. But I was given a commission!! (It sounds very grand!) Someone I know asked me to paint a scene from a recent trip to Lourdes as a gift for a friend. (That sounds better.) I was given a choice of a photo of a religious statue or of the "water walk" by the river. The statue was actually quite nice, but I felt it was way beyond my ability. The scene by the river, on the other hand, had an abstract feel to it that I found very appealing.

When you have a dog, you don't have much time for yourself, let alone for painting. So, when BB took the Sunday morning walk shift, I decided to get up at the same time and get started on my work. Two hours later, I had the bulk of it done. Another hour after breakfast, and it was finished.

Sometimes it's good to take a break - I don't think I've painted as good a watercolour since the start of the year!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dead Set

I'm going to throw in all sorts of movies here. thankfully We haven't watched that many this summer. A combination of nice weather and the arrival of our puppy!

Dead Set is based on a simple but excellent idea - zombie movies are popular - Big Brother is popular. Let's mix the two. A zombie epidemic is plaguing the earth. The only place safe is the Big Brother house. You see, zombies don't know how to open doors - they're not that clever. They're very strong, yes, but not that clever. Will the Big Brother contestants be able to work together to fight off the invasion? What do you think?

You will never be able to look at Davina McCall the same!

Not for the faint hearted!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Autumn Leaves

I did promise you more leafy gelli prints, didn't I? Rather than drip-feeding them to you, here they are all in a neat Picasa collage. (Click for larger size)

But be warned, I may not have done any painting or printing this weekend, but I've been gathering and pressing lots of lovely leaves.

And for those of you wondering what to do with all your lovely gelli prints, don't forget that you can scan them and make gorgeous Zazzle cards with them! They always come out even more beautiful than the originals!

Flight Behavior

Barbara Kingsolver always writes interesting stories. Flight Behavior is set in the Appalachian mountains, in a small town. The main character is a young wife and mother who feels trapped in her life. One day, she sees a wonderful sight, a cloud of light flying through the mountains, catching the light. It turns out the sight is a colony of Monarch butterflies. They are in the wrong place at the wrong time. But they will change her life.

Not quite to the standard of classic Kingsolver, but a good holiday read, I thought.

That's it, I'm all done with my book reviews. Next the movies!

The Virgin's Lover

OK, getting more vague, as it's probably a couple of months since I read this one. The Virgin's Lover is a Philippa Gregory, about Queen Elizabeth I, and her favourite, Robert Dudley. Typical Philippa Gregory. Great story. But not quite as good as The Queen's Fool.

Bring up the Bodies

I'm working in reverse reading order here. So as I move back in time, I
will remember less and less. And you will be delighted to find that my reviews will get shorter and shorter.
Bring up the Bodies is Hilary Mantel's second book in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy. I found it a much easier read than Wolf Hall. A simple thing, like adding the word ", Cromwell" after "he" clarified a lot of situations for me. Her editor must have recommended this after the first book. I actually remember finding it particularly hard in the first book to figure out who "he" was, throughout the book.  

But where the book has gained in clarity, I feel it has lost in dreamy quality. It was something I loved in the first book, this feeling that you were floating inside Cromwell's mind. Bring Up the Bodies tells its story in a more straightforward manner. But I think I preferred Wolf Hall.

La nostalgie heureuse

OK. It's high time I started reviewing the books I've read over the last few months. It's not like I've been reading that much anyway. Maybe it's just a case that I haven't read anything that gripped me to a point where I wanted to tell you all about it.

La Nostalgie heureuse is Amélie Nothomb's latest book. You may not know this but Amélie Nothomb is Belgian, and she lived in Japan at various stages of her life. I never lived in Japan myself but one of my best friends did. And I've always been fascinated by all things Japanese.

This book is the story of the author as she travels to Japan with a TV crew to film her journey as she meets significant people from her past (her minder when she was a small girl, her one-time boyfriend) and visits locations from her childhood (her school, etc.)

It was a pleasant book to read. And I probably will enjoy reading it again in future. But I can't say it was earth-shattering. Am I missing the point somewhere?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

More autumn leaves

You're going to be fed up with me by the time I'm finished with all these leaves. You'll be wishing for a sudden frost or an early winter storm to pluck all those leaves from the trees around me!

And I'm seriously going to have to pick up a book on leaf identification so I can tell you what these are. I remember it was something I was very good at at secondary school, in biology, I guess. But now I'm useless at recognising trees. The same with fish. I never know what is what, and even more so when I'm asked what the name is in French.

(steps on how to make a print like this on my previous blog post)

Now we're talking

While I was enjoying the process, the leaf prints I did at the weekend were nothing to write home about. Last night, I grabbed half an hour to try out a few textures with some other leaves I had picked up on my walks around the area.

I had been looking at a video on pre-inking the stencil, which I had bookmarked on Pinterest. But my previous attempts had not worked out - too much paint, too little, paint drying too quickly,... It was frustrating. But then I thought I could apply this to my leaf prints. How to delineate the overall shape of the leaf and to show the fine detail at the same time. It might be obvious to those of you more experienced in mono-printing techniques, but it was a breakthrough for me!

The steps are:

  1. Apply acrylic paint to your gelli plate and spread it evenly with a brayer
  2. Drop a few leaves onto the paint - textured side down
  3. Press your paper down. Rub it well with the palm of your hand to ensure good adherence of the paint to the page.
  4. Lift the paper - but the trick is to keep an edge of the paper on the plate (just like the lady shows in the video) so you have good registration (alignment) - and pick up the leaves and set them aside
  5. Press your paper down again, pressing gently and evenly with the palm of the hand.
  6. Lift the paper
  7. Voilà!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Day Care

Timber is at day care today. We went back to the gym - the first time since 3 July! He house is clean and peaceful. Cat was able to walk through the house without being chased by dog. I didn't need to take Timber for a walk at lunchtime.
But of course I miss him!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Speaking of Canada

Another variation on the theme (same colours, minus the cadmium yellow, but mixed more, same leaf)

This time with a winter video from a famous Canadian singer - Gilles Vigneault - I used to love that song: "Mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver"

Les feuilles mortes

There'll be a lot of leaves on gelli plates these next few weeks. It's cliché, but it's also so lovely. I loved our beautiful hot sunny summer - the last one this good was 1995, so it felt very special. But I find autumn much more peaceful for the soul. It's a busy time work-wise, but I feel myself more settled into a rhythm. And there is something serene about being the only person in the park at 8 am on a Saturday morning (the only problem being that it's just me and my dog, who needs plenty of running and interaction with other dogs if we want a quiet time at home, so I am so happy to see another lady with a dog that I ask her if she wants to take her little guy to the dog park to play with my big guy, and it ends up in a major play-biting session and two very mucky doggies).

But I digress - Let's come back to gelli printing - here is my ode to the autumn leaves. Or an alternative Canadian flag:

And for those of us from a francophone background:

Friday, September 06, 2013


I usually share those kinds of videos on Facebook. There are millions of cat videos out there. I hope you like it.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Timber at day care

He got accepted at the local day care!

Last day of summer

Yesterday was just the perfect last day of summer. The kind of day that stays with you for a long time. 



Wednesday, September 04, 2013

natural resemblances

This is not a tree...

natural resemblances - Jordi Forniés's exhibition at the Smock Alley Theatre - A Must See!

Running until this Saturday.

After that, the paintings are travelling to a number of museums in Spain.

Don't miss it.

(Picture taken from Olivier Cornet Gallery's facebook page)