Sunday, June 2, 2013

ICAD Day 2

  Yesterday I didn't follow the prompt, I just followed myself.  Today, however,I looked at the prompt and found it to be 'Candyland'. This made me think of sweets, icecreams, lollies and children so that's what I tried to reflect.  I stuck with rainbow colours and found a Pink Petticoat digistamp of an ice cream sundae - kept that pastel because that's how ice cream should be!  I then collaged some love heart sweets down in the bottom right hand corner - found these on the interweb and shaped them to fit my card.  Then I slipped easily into papercraft mode, punching circles from coloured paper and adding spirals to make lollipops with strips of craft paper for sticks.  To maintain the childlike look, I used colouring pencils and felt tipped pens to do my colouring with a few touches of glitter just to top it off!  No work of art, but I think it works!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

New Challenge


Today I began a new project.  It’s an art project and Art is something I struggle with.  I have begun many art projects and they become stuck, delayed, postponed because of my lack of confidence in this area.  I have two younger sisters – the youngest of us was ‘the musical one’ and was allowed to learn piano.  The middle of us was ‘the arty one’ and was presented with paper, pens and colouring books.  I’m not sure what I was but whatever, I grew up believing that art was not for me.  Over the past weeks, I’ve become acquainted with a number of artists through my facebook page – Julie Gibbons, Effy Wild and Tamara Laporte to name but a few – and a recent reference by Julie led me to a website where the lovely Tammy is running a new challenge – ICAD (Index Card A Day).  The challenge being: to decorate an index card every day throughout the months of June and July.  That means 61 days and 61 cards.

So, with the limited amount of art experience I have (and the very helpful tips from the wonderful aforementioned artists) I have decided to take up this challenge and I plan to share my adventure here with you.

I got up this morning and dove to the drawer where I was sure we had a supply of index cards – and lo and behold, nothing!  Fortunately a trip to the shops was on the cards today so a supply was acquired and this afternoon I began.  The sun was streaming into the dining room and so I was inspired to do something bright and cheerful – a rainbow (how cool was it that when I checked out the website, this is the theme for the week?)  Watercolours topped with twinkling H2Os for a bit of sparkle, a couple of sunny flowers and mainly the date marking the beginning.  Not bad for a first go right?

I have put the image up on my flickr page ( and shared on Facebook.
If any of you is interested in joining in the challenge or finding out more, click on the link to take you to Tammy’s page - Daisy Yellow Art - Index Card A Day  Looking forward to seeing everyone’s artwork!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I'm Moving!

Just a quick note to let you know that I have moved my contributions to Beautiful Beliefs to my new website -

Please come on over and join me there - I love to have your company and hear your comments about my posts - and about anything else you'd like to talk about!

I'll continue to post here about the little sunny things that go on in my life - so if you enjoy hearing about them then stay with me - or better still, visit both blogs!

See you there!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I Believe 5

Image by Karen Blackburn

I believe that the desire or need for control comes from fear.

For me, the fear is that if I have to deal with the spontaneous or the unexpected I’ll be found wanting – I’ll be seen, attention will be focused on me and I’ll be found out as not being good enough or important enough.  I am aware that this desire resides in me and I think it was born when my Mother retained all the control in my life (friends, money, social time) – right up until I married my first husband at the age of 21. Thereafter, being away from the controlling situation, I needed to have control myself. I needed to be right.   I needed to know where things were going and what would happen. I planned things to death, lists were the order of the day and so were tantrums if things didn’t go my way! Over the last year or so – since I began my spiritual journey - I have come to understand that we have no real control over anything other than ourselves (though I do frequently still experience this desire to control, just as I fear being exposed as not being good enough). When I get into this place of resistance (need to control or opposition to what I believe), I feel it as tension, both physically and in my soul. It feels like there is a large, strong, solid fence resisting the wind, and the anxiety, anger, frustration and hurt that I feel is the turbulence caused by the wind hitting this immovable force. When I visualise it like this, I can imagine the fence changing into a tree with beautiful pliable branches, thus allowing everything through. The turbulence stops, and it really does feel like softening, and the anxiety, anger and hurt can dissipate. My soul feels gentler and more able to allow love in. 

Photo from

This really is a work in progress – it’s not easy to break down the walls that I have taken 30 years to build up, but brick by brick I am dismantling them.  Ultimately, they will go and the ‘me’ that I have been afraid to show the world will be there in all my glory – with no need to control, because I will understand that I am good enough and I am important!

This post was inspired by Julie Daley's post 'Softening into the Silk of the Soul'. You can find it here -  Unabashedly Female by Julie Daley

This post is published as a contribution to Amy Palko's Beautiful Beliefs Project.  If you would like to know more about Amy's Beautiful Beliefs Project, then click here Amy Palko or on the box - it'll take you straight there! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Believe 4

I believe that I am one of the luckiest women alive!

I am not financially wealthy.  I don’t live in a mansion.  I don’t drive a fancy sports car.  I don’t take expensive holidays.  My bank account is overdrawn and I sit on a second hand sofa.  But my life is perfect.  I am married to a wonderful man whose mission in life seems to be to ensure my happiness.  I have three beautiful accomplished daughters and a son-in-law whose mission in life seems to be to ensure my daughter’s happiness.  I have two cats who can be cuddly when they want to be fed and haughty once they’ve eaten.  Who entertain us when they are chasing rainbows or hunting hair bands.  I don’t work, so my husband and I have time – time to spend together, time to watch the birds out of the window and time to get out in nature and wonder at her bounty.

I get to enjoy the sun shine and the rain fall.  I love it when I’m being blown over by a blustery gale and when I can be warm and cosy indoors when it’s cold and snowy outside or when the hailstones are stinging my cheeks on the way to bouncing off the path.  I love to watch the butterflies flitting among the flowers and I love to catch sight of a deer in the distance when I’m out in the country.

I can meditate – even though I’m still just learning and not very good at it yet – and I love my crystals.  I love reading and learning and sharing what I’ve learned.  I love quiet time to myself and I love noisy time with my family (sometimes!).  I love that I’m learning that I don’t have to be perfect at everything at the same time as being perfect because I’m unique.  I have the privilege of access to the blogs and websites of many inspiring women who have helped me on my adventure and of the friendship of others who have supported me in the establishment of my own.

All of this and so much more enriches my life and demonstrates to me that I am, indeed, one of the luckiest women alive!

This post is published as a contribution to Amy Palko's Beautiful Beliefs Project.  If you would like to know more about Amy's Beautiful Beliefs Project, then click here Amy Palko or on the box - it'll take you straight there!  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunshine on a Sunny Day 2

Sunshine on a Sunny Day, MoFest 2012, Sunday

Awesome Daughter Number Three!

 Another stunning day!  Dressed for the summer and, minus awesome daughter number three again (she had better things to do, like go to the beach), off we headed to take in some fantastic musical offerings.  First stop the Rock Star bar, where we were to be initiated into the delights that are Medicine Well – very rock, quite heavy, not very sure if it’s my cup of tea!  However, I was pleasantly surprised – for heavy rock music it was uncharacteristically tuneful and the crowd were great – the hour long set passed in, what seemed like, a much shorter time!  Well done guys! 

Medicine Well (Photo Courtesy of Wendy Adie)

A quick stop for a bite to eat and on to see Burlesque at the Yard.  Very hot, dark and crowded.  Once I’d heard a couple of notes and prised my feet off the incredibly sticky floor we left and headed down the road to the Anchor Bar.  Much quieter (until the music started), much cooler and without the sticky floor, much more inviting.  We were here to listen to Blues Deluxe.  Tech guy wasn’t sure if I’d like them (the blues that is), but once I got used to the decibel level (turn the volume down guys – it’s just a small pub!!!) I really enjoyed them.

Next stop The George Hotel for Heidrum – a folk group from Montrose – and a very welcome bowl of chips!  Clearly very popular (the band, not the chips), the crowds were out in numbers for these guys.  We were lucky to get a seat next to some friends and settled in for a fantastic set.  All the favourites came out – Loch Lomond, Wild Rover, 500 Miles and much dancing and singing were participated in!

Heidrum (photo courtesy of Heidrum)
It was seven o’clock by now and the last of our groups for the day at the Lochside Bar, F&3G’s.  Four guys who do cover versions of rock tracks.  Another rousing session of singing, dancing and a very individual performance by our very own Gordon Allan.

Apart from Medicine Well, all the bands performed two-hour long sets – it was like watching four full-length concerts back to back!  The effort these guys go to is amazing – especially considering that some of the groups had played two and three times over the two main days of the festival and some of the guys were in more than one band!

My highlight of the day was Heidrum, but the whole weekend of music was just incredible.  The organisers (a completely new committee this year) did a spectacular job of co-ordinating everything and of recruiting some amazing bands.  And so, I’d like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to everyone involved.

As you may be aware, this is a fairly new blog and my intention is to have a Monday post which expressed Gratitude, and in this spirit, I’d just like to say that today I am grateful for having the opportunity to spend this weekend with my wonderful Tech Guy and for the experience of MoFest!  Roll on the next one!

If All Else Fails (Photo courtesy of If All Else Fails)
 Oh, and I got a telling off because Tech Guy went off to watch If All Else Fails on Saturday – really enjoyed their live performance – and I didn’t mention them in my Saturday post – so, sorry guys!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunshine on a Sunny Day: Mofest 2012

Sunshine on a Sunny Day:  MoFest 2012 (Day 1)

Montrose Music Festival, MoFest, is our local music festival, held over three days, which not only showcases local talent, but attracts bands and musicians from across the country to come and perform in a beautifully organised event.  It pulls the whole community together, eliciting performances from Rock and Pop, Jazz and Blues, Country and Folk as well as Pipe bands, Dancers and our resident celebrities Jo Wishart and Tom Murray who are our MC’s for the weekend – in fact, there’s something for everyone!  This year, we had an opening concert on Friday night by Eddi Reader to set the tone – the only event with an admission fee!

This year’s event takes place this weekend and the sun and the crowds have turned out in force.  On Saturday, the town’s Piazza was closed to vehicles and traffic and was transformed into a concert arena – a stage for the musicians and an area for the dancers – and the streets were lined with vendors catering to the culinary requirements of the audience.  Face painters on hand to decorate the faces and bodies of the young and not so young, and hairdressers just to ensure that everyone looked their best. And for those not interested in the main stage, various performers were entertaining in the pubs and hotels around the town – pretty much every musical taste was covered.  You could hear music in Montrose from 10.30am right through to 1.00am on Sunday!

  (The crowd in the Piazza)

The sun, making an appearance for the fifth year in a row, ensured that everyone turned out in their best summer finery, T shirts and shorts the order of the day – even I was inspired to buy a hat! – and the brightness of the weather was reflected in the mood of the crowd.

The performances on stage began in a rousing manner with the Carnoustie Pipe Band, followed by a young group, Charlie, who had won their well deserved spot in a talent competition.  Local boy Stooshy next, entertaining us with some covers from the Beatles and the Foo Fighters. 

 Stooshy (photo by Karen Blackburn)
Evolution dance group performed some street dance, highlighting the talent of their members, followed by the popular local band F & 3Gs.  Their set of rock covers had us dancing in our seats.  Another dance group, Gordon School of Dance, entertained with a show of traditional Scottish and Irish dancing, and then following an impromptue flashmob courtesy of Evolution dance group, Peyton Place, our local boy band!

Peyton Place (Photo by Karen Blackburn)

 Aviator sunglasses to the fore, we were treated to a number of their own songs – ‘Sherlock’ being a particular favourite.  The third, and final, dance group of the day were from Esk Academy of Dance.  Again, dancers with a range of ages performed – including the little elves.   

Esk Academy of Dance (Photo by Karen Blackburn)

 But the highlight for me was the Can-Can – difficult to resist the temptation of joining in with the high kicks!  The Coaltown Daisies, a folk duo from Fife were next up and their performance was sufficient to encourage me to seek them out for one of their longer sets in a local pub later in the evening.

Back to local talent, Lauren, Emily and Meghan, three Montrose sisters – clearly popular with the crowd – performed cover songs, their individual voices complementing one another over the set.  Then for the fans of Rock, The Mandrakes – not quite my cup of tea!  At this point heat and hunger took over and in pursuit of an ice cream we missed the next few performers – sorry folks!  but returned in time to catch Last Orders.  Described as “a four piece Rock tribute band - no tape,s no backing tracks, just great live rock music”, I was a bit wary.  Metal T-shirts, long hair (well the lead singer anyway) and lots of amps and speakers, I wasn’t holding out much hope.

 Last Orders (Photo by Karen Blackburn)

They kicked off with some Guns’n’Roses and Bon Jovi covers, and then the highlight of the day for me – Abba – heavy rock style!  Followed closely by Lady Gaga – a performance which produced some impromptu dancing by a member of the audience!  Absolutely cracking!  Definitely want to see them again!

This year, for the first time, awesome daughter number three, while not old enough to join us in the pub, is old enough to stay home and look after herself.  So Tech Guy and I could head off to check out some of the bands in more detail, Coaltown Daisies and Last Orders being the bands of choice for tonight, neither of which disappointed and I would definitely seek them out again in future festivals.  The Daisies showed us an extended repertoire of their own music and threw in a couple of covers, while Last Orders continued the theme of rock covers.  Much dancing and audience participation were the order of the evening and a repeat of Mama Mia was warmly welcomed.

Home at midnight, narrowly missing the ‘turn back into a pumpkin’ problem and off to bed before more of the same tomorrow – this time around the pubs again, checking out the new and not so new bands (and keeping out of the sun today)!

If you would like any more information about the bands taking part today - and where you can see them, please visit Montrose Music Festival -  The Montrose Music Festival's Official site.