Silver Crow Project

Rocking My World Friday - The Almost Didn't Post Edition

The practice of Positive Thinking - Retraining the brain one smile at a time

Good afternoon fair travellers of the Blog Highway. How goes your weekend? I apologise for the late posting of RYWF. To be perfectly honest I wasn't sure I would at all. I'm in a pretty crappy place right now and add to that the hideous goings on around the globe at the moment - it almost seemed just wrong. But then, on reflection that's the point isn't it? To look back and smile, shine a light so bright you burn away the sadness or the hate or the fear.

So here I am and this is where I am glad I take photos throughout the week and add them to a RYWF folder, because when you think it's been crappy you see the smiles that would have been overshadowed. That way lies madness, that's when you open the door a crack to let the darkness in. Believe me - that door is staying locked and bolted with padlocks and chains and all that shebang. 

So my first grateful this week is Virginia for ever starting RYWF in the first place. I've said it before and I'll most definitely say it again. She's rewired my brain and I see the beauty all around me. I don't care if we are getting into happy clappy territory now. It's also the truth.

The Crochet Jumper. On a Woman

While I remember - just for you Helen. The jumper I mentioned last week - Helen commented that she would like to see it on me. Hey, I thought you'd prefer the beardy fella with no vest but whatever floats your boat! 
Whoopidooings: RYWF - Crochet Jumper

Hotdog, Hotdog, Hotdiggetydog

Last Saturday I went to see Dunkirk at the cinema with my best friend, beforehand we went to Wetherspoons and I was  swayed into trying their new hotdog range. I had the State dog which was covered in peppery cheese sauce, gherkins and crispy onions with chips and onion rings on the side. Cor, it was so nice I had it again the next day when I was in Maidstone. (I've lost 2lbs this week! The hotdog diet!)
Whoopidooings: RYWF - Wetherspoons Hot Dog
When we got to the cinema an elderly couple were coming down the stairs from the previous showing. They started trying to speed up when they saw us holding back and I said not to rush, we were really early. That's when the gentleman started talking to us - he said he'd actually been at Dunkirk and that the film was very true to his experience. His wife said she hadn't wanted to go and see it. Can you imagine what that must be like? To have been there and then go and sit through that film? I was so grateful to have met him but wobbly before I even went in.

The film itself was exceptional. I can't really say enough about how good it was - enjoy seems a wrong word because I was in tears throughout. But the whole thing was so well done, the music was used in such a good way, unlike any way I've seen used before. Having chatted with another friend about it - I agree it should be required viewing in schools. It really should. I am so glad I saw it on the big screen though - I think it was a special experience. Our cinema is so small that the sounds were coming up through my feet - it was a real visceral feeling. One I don't think could be replicated with a DVD.

With Julie Kirk

Many of you who read this blog will also know Julie. If not, she is a small business owner and author. Her shop, consists of papery goodness. She puts together collage packs with love and attention. I asked her to put one together for me, to help me with my uni summer project. I wanted the theme to be corvids and anatomy. Julie has a wonderful knack of 'getting' people and she put together an amazing pack for me. So much so that one page even mentions a white crow - you guessed it, the theme of my project is Silver Crow.
Whoopidooings: Collage packs by Julie Kirk on Etsy
Whoopidooings: Collage packs by Julie Kirk on Etsy
Getting one of these packs from Julie is like a present to yourself. Nothing is wasted - even her packaging can be used in one form or another. This really perked up my day. And in case you are wondering - this is not a sponsored mention. She doesn't know she's featuring here and I doubt she'll see. I really am just so pleased at the service and level of care.

Play Park Fun

Today Phe and I took the Bear to a localish park, at his request. We were really pleased to see that in the time since our last visit they had added some new play equipment. Namely a musical corner featuring a drum pad, a piano pad, a rainmaker and a wooden xylophone. No prizes for guessing which two big kids instantly formed their own band and rocked out - much to the disapproval of the nearly 5 year old going on 80.

The other great addition was the new slide. Wide enough to fit all 3 of us going down it at the same time. Plus it was SUPER slippery. After watching Phe trying to run up, belly flopping and nearly knocking herself out, I decided that looked way to much fun and a new game was born. My first attempt saw me run up, laughing madly, assuming I'd done it, lunged for the bar, feet dissapear from under me, bounce off my boobs, then the belly and then slide most undignified back down again.

By this point we were gathering a crowd of children - not mine - who decided to show us how it should be done. Imagine the Gladiators travelator, not moving, and the Gladiators being the kids. Phe and I decided after about the hundredth attempt of sliding back down with bruised knees, belly and boobies that the kids must have way grippier shoes than we did. Oh it was fun though. And you know you've done alright as you walk away and other peoples kids are calling after to you to come back. (The parents? On their phones on the benches. Them that's missing out.)

We were also really surprised to see so many plum trees around the park, we've been going here for years and never noticed them so not only did we exercise Gladiator style, we came away with a healthy foraged haul too.
Whoopidooings: RYWF - Foraged Plums

Here Come the Bullet Point Smiles:

  • The support and cheerleading I'm getting via messages and instagram for my Summer Project. I am being so critical over everything I do. I so want to present a good initial first impression with this uni project and so am picking holes in everything. The support is - well, it's unexpected but it's also so, so appreciated.
  • Getting the workshop straight so I can work out there. I'll take some pictures fo r next week. The aviary is down giving me loads of room and all the walls are now painted fresh and white. It feels like a proper workshop/studio.
I went to B&M to buy a roller to do the walls. I couldn't resist these cast iron keys too - they make me feel like a jailer. I was even more pleased when they all went through the till for a total of £3.49! Bargain!

Whoopidooings: RYWF B&M bargains
  • Getting given a surprise cinnamon bun. Mmmm, I do love anything cinnamon, especially in cake form. (Did I mention I lost 2lbs this week? Cake & hotdog diet.)
  • My bath to have long soaks when needed.
  • Being told I'm the best Mum in the World even though I know I have been a grumpy moo. 
  • The local library - guess who has put in more purchase requests that have been accepted. We may have broken the 20 barrier now.
I'm going to leave you with what I have been playing non-stop this week. I got this Disturbed CD (Immortalized) for my birthday in February (thanks Virginia)  and I adore it. Like, proper love it. If I linked to all my favourite tracks on it I would link to them all so I'll link to two. The one that is on repeat (the first one) and the one that led me to discover the CD in the first place. Enjoy.

And to all my friends who are going travelling over the next few weeks -  please, please be careful, stay alert and have lots of fun x

Thanks for stopping by today - how was your week?

Rocking My World Friday - The FREEEEEEDOM edition

Whoopidooings@ Mixed media artwork by Virginia Hoskings, Celtic House Blog - Founder of Rocking Your World Frioday
The practise of positive thinking - retraining my brain, one smile at a time
Guess when I started writing this post? Guess. Friday! Not the Friday I'm due to post but Friday just gone. Posted in the morning, started writing again in the evening. Oh yeah. (Can we keep it up through the week? Let us see.)

Musical Meanderings

So it's 11pm Friday night, I'm sat at my desk tippy tapping away. A little voice wafts in the door asking if she can sneak in my bed. Sure, go ahead, but I'm working up here. In she gets, get her tucked in, turn back to my desk...

"Mum can you put that lullaby on that you listen to?"


"That soothing lullaby that I hear you listening to. Can you put it on?"

You mean the Pans Labyrinth soundtrack? The one I had on last night?

"Yes - it was really lovely, how long is it?"

Um... it's like a whole CD someone has put on Youtube so... over an hour?

"Whoa - Have you ever listened to the whole hour?"

Er... yeah... last night for one. Most nights I suppose.

"Really? Wow, it must have soothed me to sleep I don't remember it that long. Would I like the film?"

Well - It's in Spanish with subtitles, set during a revolution - which is a type of war and has creatures like that in it? It's a faun. Spelt F.A.U.N (Chavvy accent sounds like forn)

(I point to the picture I've printed out and stuck on my wall of the faun embracing the child. I am saving up for a copy of the real print.)

"Oh. Oh no. I wouldn't like that. But the music is lovely."

I'll put it on then. 

Massive smile. And yes, she is soundo now.

The British Tea Party

My neighbour hosted a tea party in aid of Cancer Research on Saturday. We had been invited along and the kids were really excited.  My neighbour had been telling me, the day before, that she was worried about the heat and people sitting out in the full glare all afternoon.

She needn't have worried.

Cue thunder. Cue lightning. Cue torrential rain. Add a dash of high spirits and laughter and you've got yourself a British tea party. We all felt so bad for her, she'd worked so hard. But the atmosphere was one of fun and "wouldn't you just know it?" We had cakes and scones, sandwiches and tea. Bear was made up to have a cup and saucer. He takes after his Mama Bear - loves his tea.
Whoopidooings: British tea party - in a thunder and lightning storm.
The next day my neighbour popped round to let me know that they had raised over £300. How brilliant is that? Plus - I won a little basket on the raffle, full of goodies to have a cheese and cracker feast. Perfect. Do love cheese and crackers.
Whoopidooings: The hamper I won at the teaparty


For the first time in 20 years I have the house completely to myself for more than an evening. If you disregard a grumpy dog. Roo has gone to Canterbury to stay with Devvie for a few days, Phe has gone to see her Dad and Bear is unexpectedly in Hastings. His Daddy surprised me by whisking him off on Monday so that I can get some project work done and just basically recharge I think. It's been a bit of a bonkers time here and I was losing the plot just a tiny bit. By the time they are all back I will have had two full days and two part days completely. Utterly. On my own. It's weird. It's quiet. It's bloody lovely.

I have gone to bed when I want, I have got up when I want, I have had the bed to myself - apart from aforementioned grumpy dog - I have had my dinners late and there have been no more than one set of dishes at any time. No mountains spontaneously spawning in the sink. I've been wandering out to the workshop as and when I like without someone trailing after me, touching stuff they shouldn't. I've been playing with my new spray paints - getting a wee bit wheeeeeeee  in the process. I'm sat on my pc now having downloaded a trial of Photoshop Elements and can spend as long as I want up here without having to roar down the stairs that I am going to bang heads together if they don't stop squabbling. 

Bliss. Utter, utter bliss.

* Legal disclaimer. Of course I miss the little darlings madly and cannot wait for them to come home and follow me round trailing their mess and carnage as they go. I also really miss their constant whinging, whining and bickering. Of course I do. (Actually - they do give good cuddles.)

I do love them. But this time has been brilliant. I probably haven't got as much done as I should - I have had catnaps during the day and don't feel so tired and cranky even though I still have broken sleep at night. I do feel recharged. 

I was able to spend a whole morning on my business plan and it's now finished! Hurrah! My mentor says she thinks it and my proposal is really good and I should have no problems getting it passed ready for the next stage. Hurrah, hurrah!

So yes, a little bit of solitary confinement has been good for the soul I think. I can remember when I was at school - the first time round - as a class we had to write an essay on what we wanted to be. I wrote two things. Hermit living in a book lined cave with loads of rescued cats or long distance lorry driver but it had to be a sixteen wheeler. (I believe I was obsessed with the films Convoy and Over The Top at the time) Both pretty solitary past times though eh? I also remember my teacher saying "I can always rely on you!" I wasn't sure what she meant at the time but I take it as a compliment when I look back now.

Here Come The Bullet Point Smiles

  • I ate a whole pizza to myself while the kids were away! (I haven't lost weight this week and baby I don't care)
  • I bought a new man jumper and it wasn't even in the sales or from a charity shop. Oh, what a rebel! It's huge, ginormously baggy and comfy and is crochet (I have a thing for black crochet effect jumpers) and I love it. Want to see a picture of it on a man?
    Whoopidooings: Mens crochet jumper bought from ASOS
    Mens crochet jumper - ASOS - Source
    I wear a vest underneath - let me just put that out there. The sleeves come right down past my hands. Snuggly buggly in this Autumnal Summer weather.
  • A surprise present from a very, very naughty friend to keep me organised while at uni. Isn't it beautiful? The black book is a bullet journal, Jack Skellington is actually a beautiful watch and I just love the crow art work too - I'm taking it as a dare to do well! I am. Challenge accepted. She knows me so well.
  • My new spray paints. I'm going to have a go at grafitti style as one of the pieces for my Summer project. I LOVE THEM! But don't have a flaming clue what I'm doing. No change there then. Going to have a go at stencil cutting when PS Elements and I become friends.
    Whoopidooings: First Spray paints - Kobra spray paints
  • I have been sourcing some of the books on my uni Summer reading list. Found a couple in the library, owned one already and good old Amazon used & new has come up trumps. So postie has been bringing me lots of happy mail this week. Well, I say happy, I did feel sorry for him in the torrential rain but he always has a smile on his face so... And OK, yes, the list did say you don't actually have to read them all just those you can get your hands on... they jest of course. You need to buy all the books. Especially if you find them for 1p plus postage... Crikey - no wonder I'm skint this week! When they all show up I'll post my haul. 
That'll do me this week. A little of what I've been watching then - I shall leave you with a bit of Jim Carrey. But not as we know him. I'm not a massive fan of his films, there are a couple I like and I must admit that at first I thought this would be a mickey take. But it's not - it's quite lovely.
Jim Carrey: I Needed Color from JC on Vimeo.

My second share is Glen Campbell. So sad to hear the news this week of his passing. He was part of the soundtrack to my childhood. I went onto Youtube to hear a few favourites and came upon this one that I didn't know. It's beautiful and affected me the same way Hurt by Johnny Cash does. So I apologise if it affects you the same way but thought it was to beautiful not to share.

Thank you for stopping by today - how has your week been?

Rocking My World Friday - The Oops I Did It Again Edition

Artwork by Virginia Hoskings of Celtic House blog - Founder of Rocking Your World Friday
The practise of positive thinking - retraining my brain, one smile at a time.

(TL;DR: Food, food, trains, books, a new camera and oil pastels and the uni Summer Project)

Guess what day it is? Thursday. How much of this post have I written up to now? That's right - none. I've decided it's the kids fault - they need to go back to school already. Blame them. Lets see if I actually can get this written and posted by Friday shall we? Game face ON!

Lady What Lunched... Again!

Crikey this is becoming a bit of a habit! I only went and socialised again. Alright it was with the eldest but I don't see her that often so I reckon it counts. We decided to meet each other roughly half way between the two of us which was Faversham. We both haven't been for years and we decided to have a day hitting the boutiques. (Charity shops.) It was lovely, we walked, we talked, we shopped, we found some bargains. I was particularly chuffed to pick up this ceramic pen pot, originally from Tiger but found at the back of a shelf in the Shelter shop. £2.00! I love the squished up jar shape of it.
Whoopidooings: Charity shop bargain! Tiger Stores ceramic scrunched jar found in a Shelter shop.

We ended up in Wetherspoons, just in time for breakfast. Devvie convinced me to try the Eggs Benedict and we added a bowl of fruit to share between us. It was one of their "under 500cals" meals. We accompanied it with some refillable coffees and ate and chatted and ate and chatted some more. We polished our healthy halo's and then ordered  a squidgy cookie dough cake and ice-cream each! 
Whoopidooings: Wetherspoons Eggs Benedict - Cookie Dough cake & ice-cream

... I tell you what. I lost 2lbs this week! Judge me not! It obviously works ;)

So we ate and chatted and ate and chatted some more! The food was absolutely lush, that Eggs Benedict, so good... never tried it before. Would definitely have it again.  And I don't need to tell you how good the cake was. We were stuffed and groaned our way around the rest of the walking we did.

To top it off. As well as babysitting the kiddo's, when I got home Phe presented me with a cuppa and one of the rice crispy cakes they'd made while I was out.
Whoopidooings: Cuppa and rice crispy cake
Did I mention I lost 2lbs this week? I did!

Public Transport

I've been using the train a lot more over the past few weeks. I've decided that when it's just me travelling it's probably cheaper in the long run when you factor in parking costs... and stress levels. I used to adore driving, it used to be one of my favourite things in the world. Not any more. Drivers round here seem to have got really aggressive and angry lately, they take unnecessary risks, jump lights, cut you off on roundabouts... is it really worth that extra few seconds? I can remember doing Rocking Friday posts where I was champing at the bit to do the drive up to Scotland. Not just the getting to Scotland but I loved the pure act of driving up there, seeing the scenery change, hearing the accents change at the rest stops. The thought fills me with apprehension now. It makes me sad and a bit angry that other people have taken that away.

However, the positive in this is that I have rediscovered train journeys. OK - there is the waiting around and the delays occasionally - particularly on some lines there has been terrible disruption . It probably does take longer in some cases to get where I want. But on the two journeys this week I think there wouldn't have been much difference. Other than I got to sit there and read my books instead of having my eyes everywhere. In fact I nearly missed my stop on the way to see Devvie, I was so into my book. It was a particularly good bit!

Also, where I'm not sleeping well still, it feels a bit safer to take public transport where I can. I am honestly thinking that when the kids are older I will probably be happy to do away with the car - better for the environment too. I'm going to be driving all the time during the week in a month or so - it's nice to have that break. And no - it's not feasible to train to uni. Not if I have to be leaving at lunch time to be sure of getting back for the kids.  It wouldn't be worth my going. I wish I could.

The books? Of course. I'm glad you asked. I finished the Dreams & Shadows one and now am about half way through Heart Shaped Box. Both so good. Thoroughly recommend. Heart Shaped Box nearly made me miss my stop. If anyone wants to read Dreams & Shadows give me a shout, I'll send it on.
Whoopidooings: Books read and reading: Dreams & Shadows C.Robert Cargill - Heart Shaped Box Joe Hill

Naughty Purchases

I finally saved enough for my camera this week! So that was my second train journey and my second socialisation. A friend has been kind enough to do me a good deal. It takes lovely photos, he demonstrated it all and ran through all the functions of the many, many buttons... and I promptly forgot it all the minute I walked away. It no longer takes lovely photos. It mocks me even as I talk to it nicely. However, once again Youtube is coming to my rescue. Amazing what you find when you type in your subject and "for dummies" into Google. There is a whole world out there, uploaded just for me. Plus the former owner has said I can ask away anytime but - I pester you guys a lot don't I? I never know when I pester to much. I will try and exhaust Youtube first before I exhaust the humans. I do like the chchchchch sound it makes. I might have sung Lady Gaga; Paparazzi while trying to make it work... could be why it mocks me. The machines - they know.

Ain't she purty though?
I have been looking back over old work this week - getting ideas. I found an old index card face I did when I was dabbling in oil pastels. And it made my fingers itchy to try them again. My old original pack is nearly dead so I bought some more. These are my very favourite oil pastels. To be fair I've only tried two brands. These and the uber expensive Sennelier. I do like the Sennelier but, dare I say, I prefer these? These were just under £6.00 for 50 pastels on Amazon. No brainer really. Once you warm them up and work with them a bit they are lovely and smooth and creamy - they blend so well. I still felt naughty buying them after the camera but - in a good way.

This was the old image that made me want to have another go - remember her? 
Carmen Wing - Wide eyed girl portrait in mixed media - predominantly oil pastel & water colour

Summer Project

Today, literally the day after I got my camera, the uni emailed me it's welcome pack, first week timetable and... Summer Project.  We have to complete the Summer Project ready to hand in on induction week. Eight pieces - that's EIGHT pieces of artwork ready to be shown in a pop-up gallery. I may have had a mini meltdown. Alright it was a full blown freak out. A real "what the actual Hell do I think I'm doing?" moment.

But I've calmed down now. I've re-read the brief about 20 times. I think I can do this. I think I can. When it's done I'll upload it all on the arty page. So that'll be about September 11th. I've been advised by a couple of uni friends not to upload before because apparently, sadly, some people do just steal other peoples ideas off the internet. Don't really see the point of that but apparently it's rife. I might do snippets of works in progress on instagram though - that can't hurt.
Whoopidooings: So apparently I'm going to uni - at 40! Yikes. BA in Illustration & Animation here I come!
The screen - the reaction
Oh yeah - and as you can see, it has been so windy I have been cool enough to be back in my paint stained man jumpers. Yeah. Classy. Trend setter. Comfy - that's what I am ;)


I've been recommended a couple of apps this week. Well, one indirectly - I just ran with it. That one was the Peak brain training app (Android, Apple) which Virginia recommended on her Rocking Friday post last week. I am a big fan of brain training games as I think -  I hope -  it helps with my bad memory. Surely anything that keeps your mind active has got to be good right? I also already use another called Lumosity which I really recommend. (Android, Apple) Anyway - I have been enjoying Peak equally as much as Lumosity, so thanks Virginia.

The second is called Twilight (Android,  Don't think it's on Apple, unusually.) and this is one that Devvie recommended to me when we were chatting over lunch and I mentioned my not sleeping. It's an app that filters the blue light emitted on your phone. Description borrowed from the app store:  
Recent research suggests that exposure to blue light before sleep may distort your natural (circadian) rhythm and cause inability to fall asleep.

The cause is the photoreceptor in your eyes, called Melanopsin. This receptor is sensitive to a narrow band of blue light in the 460-480nm range which may suppress Melatonin production - a hormone responsible for your healthy sleep-wake cycles.

In experimental scientific studies it has been shown an average person reading on a tablet or smart phone for a couple of hours before bed time may find their sleep delayed by about an hour.

The Twilight app makes your device screen adapt to the time of the day. It filters the flux of blue light emitted by your phone or tablet after sunset and protects your eyes with a soft and pleasant red filter. The filter intensity is smoothly adjusted to the sun cycle based on your local sunset and sunrise times.

I only remembered to download it last night and it has been interesting to watch the screen start to change from about 8.30pm. It's not a BAM in your face change, it's gradual over the evening. It is more easy on my eyes tonight for sure. However, I did try and edit some photos to add to this post and it kind of makes judging colours when doing that a bit harder. So if my photos look weird - you know why. But so far - I'm hoping it will help. Something has to!

Here's a screenshot of what a Youtube page looks like on my phone with what I am guessing is the full filter on. (It's now 10.30pm) 
Whoopidooings: Example of YouTube page with the Twilight filter app on.

Quickie But Still Appreciated Smiles:

  • Friends that seem to genuinely like me for being me. I sometimes can't fathom why - I don't think I bring much to the table. I feel like such a boring person - I'm not fishing I swear I'm not. It's honest truth. But somehow, somewhere along the way - I seem to have gathered the most amazing little group of friends and I'm not quite sure how it happened. True what they say it's definitely quality over quantity. 
  • Art therapy. I was not in a very good place during the week. So I pulled this canvas down, squirted some paint on and just moved it around with my hands. Added some texture eh? Lost myself for a bit there too.
Carmen Wing - Canvas - textured work in progress
  • Conversations with far away friends that make you laugh out loud. Properly, belly laugh out loud.
  • The internet for enabling such conversations to happen.
  • Talking to the train guard on the station about her unintentional new pet. A butterfly that had moved in two days before and it kept flitting playfully in front of her as she tried to print my tickets.
  • My quilt and my comfy bed. I am so tired, it looks so inviting - I'm hoping that means some shut-eye tonight!
Well, it's pretty much 1am Friday morning now - we did it! I am going to leave you with Savage Garden and also the Song of the Sea soundtrack this week. Thanks for the comments about these videos - am glad you like them. It's just literally what's on the tabs in front of me so I share what I've been listening to or watching :)
Thank you as always, for stopping by :) How has your week been?