NurturingThursday 99

‘Over every mountain there is a path, athough it may not always be seen from the valley.’ ~ Theodore Roethke

IMG_0260Watercolour and Wax Resist by Martin King

This painting ~ by my husband Martin ~ illustrates how I’ve been feeling about the current situation in the UK. Enough has been said and written about last Thursday’s EU referendum, so I’m not going to add to the confusion ~ I’ll let the picture speak for me!

The quote above it (shared on Facebook by Serendipity Corner) reminded me that there is usually a solution to the most challenging of situations, even if we aren’t able to see that at the time.

So I’m focusing on the welcoming light in the little cottage and trusting that we will be guided safely over the mountain of chaos facing our country right now. May you be guided on your path too!


Nurturing Thursday’ is hosted by Becca Givens, author of the inspiring blog On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea. If you would like to learn more about it please visit her site.

N.B. Due to the expiration of my Premium WordPress Subscription this site might not be available after Monday 4th July 2016. If so please come and visit me on Wightrabbit’s Blog.







Kaboodle Doodle Number 6

When Gilly, author of the excellent blog Lucid Gypsy, read my last Kaboodle Doodle she commented that she didn’t understand the ‘chocolate box’ reference. So I thought I’d better explain.

Anyone who has ever given me a present knows that I’m excited by the wrapping paper and ribbons almost as much as what they conceal. I save them ~ not to wrap my gifts to other people, like my grandmother did (although if you iron them they can save the day in an emergency)  ~ but for future art and craft projects.

It doesn’t stop there ~ I think about the potential of all my ‘rubbish’, before (reluctantly) consigning it to the recycling bin. Plastic containers, glass jars and bottles, labels from items of clothing…..etc…..etc….. get stashed on shelves and in empty shoe boxes and ~ until they started charging us 5p for each one ~ plastic carrier bags. Which is why it takes an entire building to house my collection of art materials.

I’ve even been influenced to buy certain products, based on the desirability of the packaging ~ £1 shop chocolates being an excellent example:IMG_1799

Once we’d scoffed the contents, which tasted surprisingly good, the empty box reminded me of a deep~sided picture frame:


So I masked the holes on the inside and papered over the cracks……


…..primed it, painted it and added special effects ~ the one below (yes, I bought several more) has had a coat of home~made moulding paste slapped all over it and the protective material from some flat~pack furniture wrapped around the edges, to give it a more rustic feel:IMG_1806.jpg

So there you have it ~ empty chocolate box picture frame done!

Now all that’s left  is to decide what I’m going to put in it. Maybe it will end up with hearts and flowers, like Kaboodle Doodle Number 5.

Or perhaps it’ll turn out like this:

Kaboodle Doodle Number 6 ~ The Circles of My Mind


The design in the middle was originally intended as part of a larger, Steampunk~themed project but when it didn’t fit in as well as I’d hoped, I decided to use it as a stand~alone piece. Martin created the background of cogs, which I distressed with used tea~bags; the studs around the edge are dead batteries and the washers, nuts and other round thingamajigs were simply lying around.

Putting it together was so relaxing that I didn’t have to concentrate too much. I could allow my thoughts to wander while my hands worked and suddenly it was done ~ hence the title, ‘The Circles of My Mind.’

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m just popping into town for another box of bargain chocolates.


p.s. I’m lying ~ I gave up refined sugar weeks ago, so the current ‘chocbox’ series will be a strictly ‘limited edition.’


The Return of Kaboodle Doodle ~ Number 5: My Valentine

Way back in 2014 The Artist and I converted a derelict outbuilding into an art studio, intending to share the space. But as soon as I started to gather up my extensive collection of recycled and found materials ~ squirrelled away in dark corners of the attic, beneath the spare bed and at the back of the cupboard under the stairs ~ it became obvious that it would be just large enough for one. So it became my Kaboodle.

Whilst I was busy moving my ‘stuff’ in, Martin painted the master bedroom deep blue and claimed it as his ‘man~cave’. Which works well ~ we now sleep in the quieter room at the back of the house, his trusty iMac remains indoors, where he can easily fire it up and I can make as much mess as I like without having to clear it away!

At the time I began to publish a series of blogs called ‘Kaboodle Doodles’, documenting  ~ for myself as much as anyone ~ the process of learning to work in mixed and unusual media. Scrolling back I can see that I only managed four posts, before other priorities claimed my attention ~ but that doesn’t mean that I gave up experimenting. Because that’s what this is ~ a challenging, exciting, liberating experiment in expressing something I know but can’t seem to put into words.

Finally the hours of sketching, researching and ‘trying’ to get it ‘right’, of dumping failures in the bin and starting anew seem to be paying off. Whilst the pictures and 3D objects I’m designing aren’t conventional works of art, they are literally ‘Works in Progress’, which satisfy me in all sorts of ways. And, as The Artist himself keeps reminding me, that’s all they have to do.

So, without further preamble and sixteen months after it’s predecessor, may I humbly present:

Kaboodle Doodle Number 5 

Heart My Valentine 

The content of this simple composition, with it’s traditional message of Peace and Love, is secondary to my original purpose ~ to discover whether I could create an ornate frame out of a pound shop chocolate box. Having said that, the papier~mache heart is also the basis for a more intricate design that is taking shape in my mind ~ luckily (but not surprisingly) I made several at the same time! As I said, ‘Work in Progress.’

It proved tricky to photograph, owing to reflections from the metallic finishes and shadows cast by the deep edges of the frame. So  a big ‘thank you’ to Martin for taking the time to make this image the best that it can be and for encouraging me to keep going.

He’s My Valentine!







Nurturing Thursday 92


Blue Moon Reiki on Facebook

The above quote is resonating with me right now ~ for some reason I haven’t been sleeping well lately. Finding myself wide awake in the wee small hours a thousand thoughts fight for my attention. Eventually I remember to run through a meditation routine, finally dropping into deep slumber around about dawn. 😟

I know from experience that when I get tired and tetchy the best solution is to take myself off and become absorbed in something creative ~ whether or not I actually feel like it. 

With temperatures in my Kitchen Courtyard hovering around zero, the plants look enchanting in their pots ~ but gardening defntely isn’t an option just yet:


So I’ve been spending time in the warm and cosy Kaboodle, messing around with a ‘Steampunk’ themed collage that I’m currently experimenting with……


……. upcycling empty chocolate boxes (yum yum) into picture frames …..


…..and writing a Gratitude List:


It takes a bit of focused concentration to shift my grumpy mind~set but once I get into the groove my spirits begin lift, chasing those mid~winter blues away! 


Nurturing Thursday was created by Becca Givens ~ to bring a shot of uplifting positivity to the blogosphere. Please visit her inspiring blog On Dragonfly Wings With Buttercup Tea.

(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! 


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! 


Kaboodle Doodle No. 4

Today, as promised, I’m going to show you some actual doodles!

Drawing is not my favourite art form ~ as you can see, it doesn’t come naturally to me:


But I am working on developing the skill, with practical advice from The Artist:


Here are some of the exercises he suggested, to help me draw basic shapes:





And straight lines:

Oh dear ~ epic fail! I’d better do that one again, (and again…..and again!) 😦

Martin’s input has definitely helped me to improve, though:


And I’m satisfied with my progress so far.

My next challenge will be to sketch more complex subject matter ~ I’ll let you know how that works out!