Thursday 11 August 2011

Finding courage . . .

"Life is long, if it is full." ~Seneca

I lead a very full life. It seems each day is stuffed to the hilt with activity of some sort. Now that I am retired, I find myself wondering however did I get everything done that I needed to get done when I worked full time. It boggles my mind, but somehow I did!

I've been working at something quite different these past couple of days, as well as preparing my Relief Society Lesson for Sunday morning. I have been taking an online course, called Flying Lessons. It's being given by an artist named Kelly Rae Roberts, and I have my friend Sheilagh to thank for having pointed me in her direction.

Sheilagh knows how much I have struggled with finding my Artist's Voice and the courage to move forward with my work. It's not easy when you are my age and are beginning to pull in a new direction. I look at my work, and I think that it is good sometimes . . . and then I look at it at other times and the doubt creeps in. I see that nobody seems to want to buy it and then I start to pull it apart and think that it's not very good. I try to promote it when I can . . . but it is always with a little bit of fear . . . and so I probably don't do as much about promoting it as I can and as I should.

"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." ~Andre Gide

There are days when I am totally discouraged by it all and think to myself . . . "Who do you think you are??? You are far too old to be thinking you can do something like this now. It's too late in your life to begin again." I hear those thoughts whispered in my heart far more often than not.

"The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself but creating yourself anew. Seek, therefore, not to find out who you are, seek to determine what you want to be” – Neale Donald Walsch

And then I remember that Grandma Moses was in her 70's before she began to paint. Julia Child was in her 50's when she wrote her first book. Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when she published her first book . . . and then there is Tasha Tudor . . . the list goes on and on. So many talented people who started late in life. When I remember these fine examples the voice quiets and I can squelch my fears a little bit further down . . .

Anyways, I've spent a bit of time this week exploring a new avenue. I'm not sure if I like it or not . . . not sure what it says to me. This is the first piece I did.

It's been done on a box canvas, with sides. I based it with the scrap papers torn and applied first and then I applied a piece of paper which has the Young Women's Values on it to the canvas. I then washed over it with a wash of blue acrylic paint, just dark enough to obscure a lot of the colour beneath, but not enough so that you can't see what's there or read the words. Then I painted one of my little girls over top. You probably recognize this character. This is Little Miss Sunshine . . . one that I did a very long time ago, probably one of the first ones I ever did. She looks a bit different of course, because my style has naturally evolved since then and of course I had to draw this free hand on top of the decoupage and so it's not an exact copy. Then I applied the message that I wanted this painting to carry, "Dare to Be Different." Finally I antiqued it all with some distressing inks, which you probably can't notice in this picture, but it's there, I promise! A final coat of sealant and it's done.

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." ~Winston Churchill

Not sure how I feel about it. It's very different than my usual work for sure, and yet at the same time it holds an essence of what I've always done. I've only done it in a slightly different way . . .and I've held back a bit, because I am still finding my way through the waters of this new technique. What do you think of it??? (Be gentle with me because I am only learning and don't yet have half the equipment I need for all of this . . . I've had to improvise a lot!)

I am not ready to show you the other one yet. I'm not sure about it. I might scrap it and begin all over.

"Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one's own sunshine."

~Ralph Waldo Emmerson

Anyways, I am enjoying the course, finding my voice and trying to be a bit more positive and pro-active about my work. After all . . . if I can't believe in myself, how can I ever expect anyone else to??? . . . you can't bake a cake without breaking a few eggs can you?

On Saturday I am going to a Workshop! I'm very excited about it as it's my very first one! It's called Grandmother's Button Box, and is a gift from my friend Sheilagh for my birthday. I am very much looking forward to it. I have no idea of what it is about, but I know it will be a wonderful day of creativity and when you can spend a day like that and spend it with a friend, it's all the more exciting and enjoyable! Thank you so much Sheilagh! I am just thrilled!

My mouth is feeling a lot better this morning. I am not sure which hurts worse, the empty socket where the tooth once lived, or my gum where they injected the freezing! I actually think it is the latter! Also after having had a very miserable day of weather yesterday, the sun is shining this morning! Yipee!! We were actually almost tempted to put the heat on yesterday but I put my foot down on principle. I will NOT turn on the heat in August! I'd rather freeze! We had a letter earlier this week to say that our electricity and gas will be going up in September. I can't remember how much the electric is going up but the gas is increasing by 18%!! That is outrageous. I'm not sure how we will manage, but we'll have to cope somehow.

Enough of my twaddle for today. I just want to say thank you for all the support you've always given me through the years and for the love. I think my readers are the best in the world, so give yourselves a big pat on the back and a hug from me.

Here's a recipe that I used to make often up at the Big House when I worked there. I sometimes miss those days, but more often than not I thank my lucky stars that I am no longer there! Anyways, I did enjoy the cooking side of it all the time, if nothing else! These delicious chops are perfect for when you have company. I usually just buy a rack of lamb and cut it into chops by myself. Delicious!

*Lamb Chops with Crispy Herbs*

Serves 4

Printable Recipe

Delicious pan fried and succulent Lamb Chops served up with herbs, fried until crispy. This is a perfect company meal!

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

1/8 cup plus 1 TBS rosemary leaves

12 frenched lamb chops, (about 5 1/2 pounds)

Vegetable oil, for frying

8 fresh sage leaves

1/8 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large glass baking dish, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the rosemary together. Add the lamb chops to the marinade, turning to coat. Set this aside to stand for 30 minutes.

In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of rosemary leaves to the hot oil and fry for 15 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the rosemary to paper towels to drain. Fry the sage leaves in the same oil, until the bubbles in the oil subside, about 45 seconds. Scoop out and transfer to the paper towels. Add the parsley leaves to the hot oil, covering the pan immediately to avoid splattering. Fry for 15 seconds, then scoop out and add to the other herbs. Season the herbs with salt. Set aside.

Heat a large grill pan. Scrape any marinade off of the lamb chops, and season them well with salt and pepper. Grill the chops over moderately high heat, turning once, just until pink in the center, about 6 minutes total. Transfer the lamb chops to heated plates, sprinkle with the frizzled herbs and serve.

Cooking in The English Kitchen today, a delicious Apple and Blackberry In and Out. This is a traditional pudding with my added twist. Fabulous!


  1. I am sure every talented person like you have doubts about their abilities. How many books have been written wonderful stories I am sure that will never ever get into print, and yet the authors continue to write cause like you when you love doing something you just can't stop despite the knockbacks,, Please never give up Marie. I do like your new work, are you going to have it as a wall hanging ? I only wish I had unlimited cash and I would be snding so many things my way the post would know it's way to wiltshire !!! Have a great day today I am looking forward to reading all about it. Got your rain this morning but looks like it may ease away soon....fingers crossed.
    Love ALways Sybil x

  2. Oh Marie I was reading your first words and my brain was screaming, "Remember Grandma Moses." Then her name and the others were there.

    I, too, have lost my way and I hope to find a new path soon.

    I agree that the gas price rise is outrageous. We have just had solar panels installed and hope that they will help with our summer power bill.

    God Bless you and keep you.

  3. Dear Marie,Your work is always lovely,Just hang in there the time will come. Right now so many are out of work and time's are hard.But it has to get better.And it's going to take lots of prayers. Don't ever give up. The lord has blessed you such talent. To be used and I know he did so for a reson and he will help you. Love you my dear friend.xxoo

  4. Yup, my blog is on facebook! I'm glad to hear you're doing well!


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!