Friday, 11 January 2019

Painting, Grandma and reminiscing

Hello, you came along at the right moment, I just stopped for tea, flowers and a bit of painting.  These little miniature narcissus came home tightly shut and within days have sort of unravelled and opened up gracefully, giving out a beautiful perfume.   

Isn't nature clever - so many tiny little blooms all crammed on one stem.  I keep stopping to take a look, and a sniff, between sips of tea and nibbles on my shortbread biscuit.

.... the paintbrushes came out for a bit.
I wondered what would happen if I tried to paint without thinking about it too much, not allowing myself to correct outlines or go over any mistakes, just to keep painting and keep filling the page.  Well, you get a very spontaneous sort of untidy result, but I quite like it.    I was imagining a very untidy potting shed, bulbs that needed planting but had begun to sprout because they couldn't wait any longer to be potted, flowers in full bloom crowding each other out as they didn't care if they were picked and arranged or just fought for light and bloomed where they were.  It was fun.

This week I turned all my clothes out and checked for repairs, bagging up some things for charity recycling.

Very satisfying.  'A place for everything and everything in its place' as my grandma used to say and that brought me to thinking about her.... at moments like this I normally end my blog post and go off to reminisce in private, but I thought today I could tell you a little bit about her....

She was my paternal grandma, very tidy, made all her own dress patterns and clothes - did her best to teach me to sew although I had a short attention span.   For my 21st birthday I was given a sewing machine and my grandma's dressmakers dummy, still set to her exact body measurements.  Unfortunately it had seized up and wouldn't move out of those measurements so I either had to wait to grow into a replica of my 70 year old grandmother, or make it disappear, so it did.  She gardened an acre producing her own veggies and grew dhalias and hid their beauty in brown paper bags, then showed them at the annual flower show; was a very good painter and embroiderer of dainty flowers.  She never showed anyone her art as grandad was an artist and she wanted him to shine (maybe I should tell you about him another day, he designed pubs for Ushers brewery).

 Grandma had a pretty  kitchen painted palest green (which would be very trendy now), her breakfast plates all had pictures of things like chickens and quotes like 'make hay while the sun shines' and 'less haste, more speed'.  There was a a good old fashioned pantry full of her jams.  The house had lovely old wood floors, a sweeping bannister and beautiful indian rugs brought back from grandad's days serving in the British army in India.  The bathroom was  Grandma's only artistic claim to fame - she painted a mural of a mermaid and complete underwater world of sea creatures, shells and seaweed all around the walls, it was beautiful in there.

Anyhow, everything in its place here today....grandma would be pleased, her cuckoo clock would be saying it's 2pm and time for a little nap in her favourite arm chair, followed by a glass of weak orange squash and a cigarette.  I am doing the same, minus the cigarette and have finished my library book - this was a good one, I even skipped a few pages because I couldn't wait to know what happened next and then had to go back and read it properly - that kind of good one.  Really twisting and turning right to the end, which is a big surprise.

Some books are keepers though, I bought myself the next book as a treat -  because it is so full of inspiration which I am lacking right now.  It's by one of my favourite bloggers 5ftinf  I admire her creative photographic work and unique style so was ecstatic when I found she brought this book out; something a little different - not the usual 'how to' so much as a friendly 'why don't you' ....

Book by Philippa Stanton,
I'm off to do my sewing repairs and make a victoria sponge cake now (no kidding!).  Hope my ramblings and reminiscences haven't tired you too much.  Thanks for spending the afternoon with me...


  1. Doesn't your grandmother sound a fascinating lady. How lovely that you have such super memories of her.

    1. It was only on writing my post that I realised how much she has actually influenced me - right down to what colours I should wear and could explain why I have ocd to some extent!

  2. I loved reading about your Grandma Betty. My grandma was a Mother to 11 so had no time for her grandchildren & I think we were a pest to her. I hope to be a wonderful grandma to my grandsons. They bring me such delight. That book looks interesting Betty ... happy weekend to you Xx

    1. You are Julie,you are a wonderfully creative, imaginative and loving grandma - that's my hope too, I so want small people around, the noisier and naughtier the better!

  3. Love your miniature narcissus, and I liked your painting too.

    Lovely reminiscences you've shared. I think memories are to be cherished and shared, I often think about my Grandparents, Great Aunts and of course my Dear parents who passed away some years back. You never forget them, they are always with you and the memories I so cherish.

    I enjoyed your post very much - hope you enjoyed your Victoria Sponge Cake.

    Have a lovely weekend.

    All the best Jan

    1. I have a weird family, this was almost an exercise in finding something normal! I'm glad you liked it though. The Victoria sponge was like lead, shamefully heavy - so much that hubby suggested we eat it as a slab cake and put custard on it - the boys devoured it - cream and jam still in the fridge for another attempt!

  4. I think your painting is lovely. I adore messy work over perfection any day of the week. When I was at college we were told 'there are no mistakes, just happy accidents'.

    I think I'm going to have to check out 5ftinf and her beautiful book!


    I think... I think I want to be your Grandma.


    1. Thanks Hazlxjoy, definitely check out the book it's superb. Being my grandma - I only told the good bits, she wasn't perfect, however I quite like raiding the family album and might do some more posts - I am probably related to the Adams family.

  5. I'm visiting from PomPom's blog again. Enjoyed this post and just now requested that book from the library. Thanks for recommending it.

    1. Thanks for visiting, hope you enjoy the book as much as i did.

  6. You are sooo talented!!!! I wish I could paint but sadly I cannot!! I am definitely going to get that book! I am now following you - you can follow back i fyou wish at Annster's Domain

  7. You've got me thinking about my own grandmas now...three of them of them.... Now I must do some 'a place for everything work' myself. Or...maybe I'll take that nap first.

  8. OH this post sounds like new year's gift from you dear Betty!

    i feel so lucky to read it this morning when sun is showering it's golden rays and after rain my small garden is brightly more colorful

    i felt the grip of your powerful painting of words in which i can so clearly see your dear grandma doing her chores :)

    such a blessing to have such treasured memories my friend!

    we are fortunate to spend sometimes of our life with our grandmas ,mine (maternal) one resembles to your's in many ways and it shows that when life was slow and serene people were more close to nature and their artistic aspect was strongly reflected in their domestic living

    i LOVED this reading and i believe that you can write a book about your childhood memories :)

    Loved these so pretty blooms that inspired you to paint, sometimes you just sit to create something thoughtlessly and art burst out spontaneously :) yes i am talking about a genuine artist !

    wishing you a happy new year my friend blessed with endless health peace joy and prosperity !
    best of luck for your repairing and charity too

  9. What a lovely post. I enjoyed reading about your grandmother and your memories of her. I laughed at the thought of waiting to turn into a 70-year-old in order to use the dressmaker's form. I'd say it would have to go, too.
    Your painting is lovely, free and loose. You are an artist with an artist's heart.


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