Happy New Year!

Welcome to Paradise spread with copyright

Hello friends

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and I wish you a very happy and healthy New Year.

I’ve been on leave from work since mid afternoon on December 22nd and I go back on Tuesday January 2nd 2018.  Christmas was a quiet time for us, we had lunch and spent most of the day at my parents house on Christmas Day, and on Boxing Day we had a friend visit us for lunch.

Other than that we have been decorating.  On Christmas Eve I started ripping wallpaper off the bedroom walls.  I’ve been meaning to make a start on this for some time and I figured that once I had made a start we would have to finish.  We have lived in this house since 1996, the bed was given to us, the furniture was either ‘hand me downs’ or the cheapest we could get (as that was all we could afford) and the carpet had previously been in the living room of the flat we lived in before moving here.  We have repainted the walls a couple of times, but still the room was looking very tired and neglected.   So this work was well overdue.

I am planning on retiring some time in the next 3 years and before I do that I want to get the house up together as much as I can, so the bedroom is now going to get a complete makeover – new bed and furniture, new carpet and new wallpaper, I’m excited about this :-).

It’s going to be a massive job and because of the cost of the new furniture we can’t afford to get someone in to do the work so we are having to do most of the physical work ourselves.  Unfortunately we don’t have another room we can sleep in so we have to move furniture and keep tidying up in order to sleep in there at night, even so it’s still really dusty and unpleasant.  I think it will take us several weeks to get this work done.  Painting the ceiling is going to be the hardest thing, we both struggle now doing things above our heads (I’m  pretty sure that’s an age thing)! When we were younger we did things faster, but the older we get the slower we get too.  Still it will be worth it in the end (I hope).

The cats are not happy about all this disruption either they are quite disturbed and grizzley with each other and need lots of reassurance from us!

So that will be the start to our New Year, however you spend yours I hope you have a lovely time.

The image above is from my ‘Bringing down the Moon Journal’ and it’s a another spread I did at the Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat in an workshop run by Orly Aveneri, you can see the first page I did in her workshop here.  The first page was a collaboration with another artist but this page was supposed to be more personal, my page was actually about my wedding in Tobago in 2007, but unfortunately when I got home after the retreat the pages were stuck together and the spread was spoilt.  The only things remaining from that original page are the ‘Welcome to Paradise’ sign in the top left hand corner and the statue on the right hand page.  Ever since then I have occassionally tried to add things and improve it, it’s never been a great success but it is what it is.

I shall probably be missing again for a while now until we get the house back in some kind of order but please know that I wish you all the very best.

At the close of the year I just want to share this with you by the fantastic artist Ephemeral Gecko aka Mixy Gecko aka Penn Gregory:

 

I love this artist she has a You Tube channel  here a blog/website here.  If you are a colour addict like me you will LOVE her art.

That’s all for now folks see you sometime in the New Year and in the meantime stay happy and healthy.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2017 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

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Happy New Year!

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I hope everyone is doing well.  I hope too that you all had a lovely Christmas and I wish you all the very best for 2016!

I knew I had been neglecting my blog but i didn’t realise it was four and half months since my last post!  I guess I just needed some space to get myself together after the cancer treatment.

The Bongo!

On the one year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis (mid-September) T and I did something exciting and possibly crazy, we spent a lot of money and bought ourselves a Bongo.  In case you don’t know what a Bongo is here’s a picture of ours:

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It’s an old vehicle but it’s in really good condition and it has everything we could possibly need for our planned adventures.  Inside it has been converted into a campervan and has a fridge, 2-ring gas stove, sink, loads of cupboard space and the seats convert into a bed. The roof also lifts up and there is a tent/bed up there too.  It also came with an awning/tent which can be attached to the vehicle, when it is parked up.  We think it will be perfect for us and it’s great to drive, so far we have only been out for day trips, but we are looking forward to going camping in it in 2016 once the warmer weather and longer days come back.

Making a space for another vehicle

Having got the Bongo I needed to create somewhere to park it.  There was space to park one vehicle on our land and I needed that for my car. While I am working I still need to keep my car. So T had to sacrifice a piece of the garden so I could create another parking space. It took me about a month to do that and it was REALLY hard physical work – digging out shrubs, removing about 4 car loads of soil and transporting them to the local landfill site, then building a low retaining wall from heavy blocks and filling the space with 1 tonne of gravel and more blocks.  T offered to help, but I was worried he would put too much strain on his heart so I did most of the work on my own.  Here’s the end result, unfortunately there was not enough room to make the new space for the van so my car is now parked here and the van is parked where the car used to go.

Here’s the space after the fence was removed and most of the soil taken out:

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And here is it finished 🙂

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This is the old parking space where the Bongo has to be parked now, I also built that wall along the side of the path.  The garden used to slope down to the path, and by building the wall I was able to level out the garden with some of the soil I had to remove for the new parking bay, that saved me a couple of trips to the local landfill site, but boy oh boy those blocks were heavy to move about!

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All the while I was doing this work the weather was great, in fact perfect camping weather but I had to get on and finish the project and by the time it was done (mid October) the weather was much cooler and the nights were drawing in. So still no camping for us.

Taking a break from the local history group

In mid October I stood down from my role of Chairman and committee member of the local history group, Ryde Social Heritage Group I am still a member of the group but I felt that I needed a break from the total involvement I’ve had with the group since we formed it in 2002 and I’ve been Chairman since 2007.  I started the group with two friends in 2002 and have seen it develop and grow into an award winning group.  It’s something I’m really proud of, but after 13 years of it being a high priority for me I realised that I had left much of ‘normal life’ for T to sort out. It just wasn’t fair to expect him to carry on doing the lion’s share of the house and garden work. It felt like we needed to be spending more time together.  But I am confident that the people remaining on the Committee are as committed to the success of the group as I was, so I know it’s in safe hands and will continue the good work started all those years ago.  I have quite a bit more space in my room now that all the history stuff has been handed over, but I must admit it’s still untidy and chaotic in my room and there is still far too much ‘stuff’ in here!  That’s something I shall be addressing in the New Year (she said).

Decorating

After a short rest following the building work I decided to start another project and we redecorated our living room together: we stripped the walls, repainted the ceiling and woodwork, then repapered the walls.  We finished that job just before Christmas. Actually there are still some shelves to put up but we finished it enough to be able to use the room again over the Xmas holidays and at least it is looking fresher and cleaner now.

In Remission 🙂

I had another meeting with my oncologist earlier in December, it was a good meeting and I was told the usual ‘Everything looks OK, come back in three months’. It had been bugging me a bit that other people I know who have been treated for cancer have been told that they are in remission but no-one had ever said that to me.  So I decided to ask the doctor if ‘Everything looks OK’ means that I’m in remission and she said ‘Yes it does, I’m sorry but I can’t promise you that you will never get cancer again but at the moment there are no signs that you have it, so yes you are in remission’. So I left the hospital feeling considerably lighter and happier.

T’s health is still not 100% he has been off work for another two months and we are not sure he will be able to return to work, but most of the time we are both doing OK and mood-wise at the moment we are fine.

The strange Christmas Tree

I decided not to have a Christmas tree this year as I had seen this really cool idea on Pinterest so on the weekend before Christmas I went out in to the Cemetery (my house is just inside the cemetery gates) and collected a load of holly, ivy, yew and spruce cuttings and then spent a day decorating my dress form.  So for Christmas we had this headless and armless ‘festive’ lady standing in the corner of the room.  The cats were not sure what to make of her, but then Billy Kat discovered he could get underneath her skirt and there was a magical cat cave inside 🙂

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Unfortunately I didn’t realise quite how heavy all the greenery would be and by the time Christmas was over the skirt had dropped a bit, but apart from that it did look quite effective.  If I do it again next year I’ll make sure I fix the rabbit wire skirt more securely to the torso so it will stay in place.

Art

The building and decorating projects, health issues and my return to full time working have meant that I have had very little time for art in the past 4 months, but I consoled myself that I was nevertheless still being creative even if I wasn’t making ‘my art’.  The project with my radiotherapy mask is still ongoing but it was stalled for a long while and is not complete enough to share at the moment.

The image at the top of the page is from my small journal (6″ x 9″) and was completed in April 2015 when I was having radiotherapy.  Because I had to travel to the mainland for the treatment, it meant there was a lot of hanging around waiting for ferries, buses and treatment so it was good to have a small journal and some pens with me.

Here is what the 3 page spread looked like before I played about with the pens:

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So that’s all my news, in a long an boring post!  Don’t suppose anyone has managed to get through all that text (I wouldn’t have) but that’s OK because this blog is for me more than anyone else.  So that in a few years time I’ll be able to look back and say “Oh that’s what happened in 2015”  as I will probably have forgotten.

Hope all is good with you in your part of the Universe.

Big love AJ 🙂

xxxxx

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2015 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.