Nurturing Thursday 83

Recently my friend Debra posted on her blog breathelighter that installing a new driveway to her home is causing chaos. I can certainly identify with that at the moment! 

In the course of carrying out renovations to their property, our neighbours discovered several leaks in our shared water main. As the system is over a hundred years old, repairs aren’t an option ~ it has to be completely replaced. Deep trenches have been dug on both sides of our adjoining garden wall ~ turning  my ‘Secret Courtyard’……

…..into a building site!

What with taking part in endless discussion at every stage of the process and keeping a watchful eye on a highly inquisitive terrier when allowing workmen access, I have little time to indulge in my own pursuits. It feels like it’s been going on forever and we’re not quite on the home stretch yet ~ the new pipe has to be fed through a hole in the wall ~ which hasn’t even been drilled yet ~ and connected to the stop~cock on our side, before the trench can be back~filled and order restored. 

We hadn’t budgeted for this emergency (which is classed as ‘wear and tear’ and therefore not covered by buildings insurance,) or planned on having any more outside work done this year. But ~ like Debra ~ I’m choosing not to allow the mess and disruption to upset me. 

‘Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens. Kahlil Gibran

We are so fortunate to be living in a country where clean water, piped right into our houses, is available at the turn of a tap (faucet.)

And I’ve been meaning to change that courtyard around for a while, anyway! 


Nurturing Thursday is hosted by Becca Givens, author of the inspiring blog ‘On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea.’ To read more about it, or to find out how you can join in, press this link. 

Other ‘Nurturing’ contributors are: 

Crowing Crone Joss 

Inside the Mind of Isadora 

Laurie’s Notes 

Pocket Perspectives 


Tea and Paper 

Meg Evans 

Bowl of Cherries 


Nurturing Thursday 82

When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.’  ~ Jean Shinoda Bolen


Pages from my Art Journal ~ an activity I love for absolutely no reason at all, except that it fills me with joy! 😊

Nurturing Thursday is hosted by Becca Givens, author of the inspiring blog ‘On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea.’ To read more about it, or to find out how you can join in, follow this link.

Other ‘Nurturing’ contributors are:

Crowing Crone Joss 

Inside the Mind of Isadora 

Pocket Perspectives 


Tea and Paper 

Meg Evans 

Bowl of Cherries 


Requiem for The Arctic

Oil company Shell are in the Arctic right now, waiting for the go~ahead to start drilling into the sea floor, risking irreparable damage to our fragile ecosystem and potentially catastrophic oil spillage.

Meanwhile a group of musicians are protesting against these unscrupulous plans in a brilliantly creative way!  Inspired by the string quartet who continued to play as RMS Titanic sank, they are performing the beautifully haunting piece, Requiem For The Artctic over and over, all day, every day for a month, outside Shell’s London HQ. 

This is the longest single protest that Shell has ever faced and the environmental organisation Greenpeace has made it really easy for anyone to add their voice and swell the music. 

So far this morning I have signed the protest; shared details of it on Social Media, written a polite comment on Shell’s Facebook page, asking them to stop and set up a Soundcloud account so that I can listen to the four movements of the Requiem, whilst composing this blogpost. (I’ll have to investigate that more fully and find out how to stop it later!) If I could play a musical instrument, I’d seriously consider travelling to the Capital to join in. 

If you haven’t already done so, please join me ~ and over seven million others by contributing to this peaceful and dignified protest against the destruction of our beautiful planet, before Shell gets the green light and it’s too late! 

Thank you. 


Requiem For The Arctic

Nurturing Thursday 81

“You were born with potential. 

You were born with goodness and trust. 

You were born with ideals and dreams. 

You were born with greatness. 

You were born with wings. 

You are not meant for crawling, so don’t. 

You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.”


  Page from my Art Journal 2014

Nurturing Thursday is hosted by Becca Givens, author of the inspiring blog ‘On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea.’ To read more about it, or to find out how you can join in, follow this link:

Some Other ‘Nurturing’ contributors are:

Crowing Crone Joss

Inside the Mind of Isadora

Pocket Perspectives


Tea and Paper

Meg Evans 

Bowl of Cherries


Crafty Bees, July 6th 2015

At the end of my ‘Crafty Bees at the Show’ post I wondered whether any of the people who’d stopped by our promotional stall would come along to join us. 

And the answer is…Yes!!  

At the following meeting we welcomed two new recruits, whom I’d met at the show! 😃

The first person I saw when I walked into The Living Room was Irene:

Irene is knitting these lovely cushion covers in a diamond design, worked in a way that requires no sewing up. She’d tried to describe this method to me when she saw all the untidy ‘tails’ on the back of the UFO’s I’d taken to display…… but I couldn’t quite picture it. She insists that the pattern is easy ~ and she did knit up a fair few diamonds in the course of the evening…….

  ….but it still looks intricate and quite complicated to me! 

The second newcomer to arrive was Andrea, who commented that she’d been looking forward to two hours of guilty pleasure, sipping tea and eating cake while her husband looked after their children! ‘Ahh! bliss!’ ;)

Andrea was finishing off this super~cute Jelly Baby.

 And here’s another, gift wrapped and ready to go. I love them ~ they’re so soft and cuddly and the juicy colours make my mouth water (or maybe that’s the sweets!)  

Although we do swap tips and ideas, the conversations at Crafty Bees aren’t always centered around what we are making. The topics this week included the Agricultural Show (of course!); childcare, the potential closure of a local high school and what to do with out~of~date frozen breast milk. We wondered whether a posh restaurant could turn it into a Heston Blumenthal~style delicacy, given that Alex James, from the boy band Blue, used his wife’s milk to make a cappuccino. On a more serious note Emma, who works in the maternity unit, told us that the Bat Hospital is always grateful for it ~ so now you know! ;)

We’ve taken a vote and have decided to continue fortnightly throughout the school holidays, with the next meeting being on Monday July 20th. Looking forward to it already! 


Nurturing Thursday 80


“May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.” ― Saint Terese of Liseaux 

 Nurturing Thursday is hosted by Becca Givens, author of the inspiring blog ‘On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea.’ To read more about it, or to find out how you can join in, press here

Some Other ‘Nurturing’ contributors are:

Crowing Crone Joss

Inside the Mind of Isadora

Pocket Perspectives


Tea and Paper 

Meg Evans 

Bowl of Cherries 


(Not Quite) First Post 

Ten days ago I was tagged in the ‘First Post’ challenge by ladyleemanila.

The rules of the challenge are:

Copy-paste, link, pingback or whatever, your first post.

– State what type of post it was (e.g. introduction, story, poem).

– Explain why that was your first post.

– Nominate five other bloggers.

My first ever post was on ‘Wightrabbit’s Blog’ on 23rd August 2010. It set out my commitment to what I hoped would be a creative semi~retirement for myself and husband Martin. But real life often derails the best laid plans and ~ although some of my objectives have come to pass, others have either fallen by the wayside or morphed into more achievable aims. Basically I’m still practising my passions ~ writing, crochet and artwork ~ but I haven’t turned any of them into a business. Which actually works better for me ~ I’ve discovered that I’m not that way inclined and I enjoy them so much more without the pressure. 

I started ‘Tao of Scrumble’ on Blogspot ~ intending to keep the two blogs separate. But, when I couldn’t access that site and all my work disappeared, I opened up this one on WP. In my first post I simply directed anyone who wished to learn more about scrumbling to Wightrabbit’s Blog, where I’d previously written about it.

It’s all too messy and confusing. 

So, I’ve taken liberties with the conditions of the challenge and have copied and pasted my second ‘Tao’ post, which explains the ‘Scrumble’ of the title:

I’m all fired up with enthusiasm. So excited about the possibilities I’ve tapped into that I don’t know where to start. My heart is pounding, my brain racing – and not simply because I’ve just finished my second (huge) mug of coffee.
It’s all down to ‘scrumbling’ – a word I found in a book on crochet. Not very rock and roll, I agree, but that single word has given me creative licence.

‘Scrumbling’ is freeform crochet (and knitting – but that doesn’t ‘grow’ quickly enough for me). There are no restricting rules to observe, no patterns to adhere to. Experimenting with conventional techniques, you simply follow your instincts and see what happens. And – judging from the illustrations in my book and further research online – the results can be stunning; the process liberating.

Thinking about it (and I have been, almost constantly since I discovered it), the concept of scrumbling could be applied to almost every area of life – relationships; childcare; cooking; interior decoration; landscape gardening; obtaining qualifications; building a career….. (and blogging!)

I’ve always felt that – by not doing things the way they are ‘meant’ to be done – I was a failure.

Now I can happily describe myself as a ‘scrumbler’, my mantra being ‘You’re supposed to…but…’.

If only I’d known sooner that this is, in fact, an art form.’

Whew! Fascinating though it was, that trip down memory lane became rather complicated and now I’m too exhausted to nominate anyone else for this challenge. But if any of my blog buddies would like to join in, please feel free to follow the rules above. 

Not that I have ~ but then, as I said, my whole life’s a Scrumble! 


The Artist and Me at the County Show

Even though this is our twelfth summer on the island, Martin and I have never been to the annual County Show ~ until this year, when I volunteered to help run a stall promoting The Crafty Bees, in return for free entry. (Well there had to be some perks!)

During the afternoon my lovely husband turned up unexpectedly on his motorbike and ~ in between chatting and handing out information to prospective new members ~ I took a stroll around the showground with him, soaking up the atmosphere. 

It was a sunny day with a frisky breeze, so not too hot. There were classes for the ‘best’ animals, show~jumping competitions, a dog show, various displays, a Women’s Institute tent, fairground rides, food concessions, retail stalls and so much more.

The Artist took some snapshots of his favourite attractions on my iPhone, not realising that he’d I’d accidentally applied a colour filter until we reviewed them. I guess that’s one of the drawbacks of using a touchscreen in direct sunlight but it actually it suits the retro~vibe of the show, reminiscent of my 1950’s childhood,:

A vegetarian restaurant in a converted Routemaster bus ~ from which I bought a filling and very tasty (but not exactly traditional) lunch of nachos and veggie chilli.

Two Classic British cars and an early delivery van.

A pristine working stem engine.

A long line of tractors.

Maypole dancers ~ better late than never! 

No comment. (In fact this better NOT be a comment, Martin King.)  

LOL! 😉

Crafty Bees at the Show

In my last blog post I posed a little teaser, asking what connection the ‘mystery photograph’ had to the National Farmers Union (NFU)

Lord David Prosser guessed that the picture was of a bull tether, and Debra at Breathelighter thought it might be some kind of leash. They are both on the right track, though the ‘bull’ in question might be of the terrier, rather than the bovine variety:

As I can now reveal, they are beautifully crafted collars for dogs. 

Fashioned from paracord by CB member Katrina, they are strong and practical and come in a range of attractive colours to flatter any self~respecting pooch. But what’s the link to the farmers? 

Katrina’s husband is the County Secretary of the NFU on the island and serves on the executive committee of the Isle of Wight County Show. Knowing about her involvement with Crafty Bees, the committee asked if we’d like to publicise the group in the craft tent at this year’s show. 

There were several other events taking place on the Island on that day, so Katrina and I were the only Crafty Bees available to take advantage of this kind offer. As the theme was ‘Craft in the Community’, I took along piles of my crochet, scrumbling, papier~mâché, hand~made paper, a couple of small collages and some Kumihimo templates, just in case anyone fancied having a go. I also displayed an art journal and several books, from which I draw inspiration and (sometimes) instruction. (Although I generally change the weight of the yarn, use a different size hook and ‘forget’ to check my tension.) 


Katrina printed off a couple of small posters with the details of Crafty Bees and some hand~outs on Kumihimo, along with colour charts for her collars and photographs of proud dogs modelling them! 

Her display of snazzy canine neckwear attracted a great deal of interest ~ and not only from dog~owners, who were impressed by the bespoke nature of the collars and the variety of colours available. A mother and her four~year~old daughter commissioned a pair to wear as matching bracelets, which Katrina whipped up while they waited. When my husband, who’d turned up to support us, heard about this he ordered one in black and Harley Davidson orange for himself.

It was a lovely sunny day and the atmosphere at the show was relaxed and friendly, which was a huge relief. I must confess that I’d panicked the night before, when I realised that I only had ornaments and pictures from my home and unfinished projects to display, having given all my completed work away. I asked myself why on earth I’d volunteered……

But, as it happens, this haphazard approach seemed to tap into common experience ~ almost everyone who stopped by said that they also had stashes of fascinating materials, which they planned to use ‘one day, when they had more free time.’ Or piles of made up crochet and knitted squares. Or that they used to do loads of craftwork but they’d kinda got out of the habit for some reason, they didn’t really know why.  

Children ran their hands over the textured patches in my throws and handled my paper~mâché, surprised to be told that it was constructed from paper and glue. Women shared their own tips and tricks: from how to thread beads on Kumihimo braid or join knitted seams without stitching, (sewing~up squares or strips seems to be a common bugbear,) to which items are desperately needed by charities ~ such as blankets for newborns in Africa, who might otherwise be wrapped in newspaper and tiny clothes for premature babies here on the Island.

All day long Katrina and I promoted the benefits of belonging to a group, stressing how easy~going and friendly we are and mentioning the availability of home~made cake! I brought up my Crafty Bees blogs on iPad, showing photographs of everyone doing their ‘thing’, which generated a lot of discussion about forging new friendships and being part of a crafting community. We didn’t have printed cards so when anyone asked for contact details, we encouraged them to take a shot of the poster on their smartphones. People offered to publicise the group on Church notice boards and at W.I. meetings and to spread the word among their friends. 

So, despite my earlier concerns this was a positive experience ~ one which I thoroughly enjoyed. There’s another meeting this evening and it will be interesting to find out if any of the people we spoke to decides to drop in or called the contact number for more information on Crafty Bees.   

It would be lovely to welcome new members ~ but I’m looking forward to another great evening anyway! 


Crafty Bees Monday June 22nd ~ part 2

Two members of our group are called Dawn. In an earlier ‘Crafty Bees’ blog I posted a photo of the lace that one had made to edge a blouse, this week she was weaving a bathroom mat on a peg loom:


As the loom is narrow enough to hold on her lap, Dawn is planning to join two strips together to achieve the right width ~ I wonder whether she’ll match the vibrant stripes, or work them in a different pattern? I do hope she brings it along next time, so that we can admire the completed project. 😊 

The other Dawn is making these gorgeous cuddly toys to send to the charity organisation Knit for Peace:

 Items donated by knitters are distributed ‘to over 80 outlets, including hospitals, women’s refuges, refugee drop in centres, prisons, community groups, and hospices as well as to developing countries.’ I was really interested when she told me about this co~operative ~ the website explains their ethos and initiatives more fully, with patterns and details about how anyone who’s interested can contribute. In the background of the picture Dawn (the weaver) is chatting to Hazel…..

…….who is concentrating on the cute dolls house furniture she’s sewing. 

Hazel has three young children and co~authors the website Pound Shop Play with her husband, in which they share inexpensive/totally free ideas for sensory and messy play. She gets really excited when Charlie has bags of used packing peanuts to give away ~ there are so many fun, educational ways in which her children can re~use them. 

I still have more to ‘show and tell’ so I’ll close with a little teaser: what are these mystery objects and how are they connected to the National Farmers Union? 


All will be revealed next time………