Friday, 29 March 2013

Artful Readers Club March ~ Sophie

 My March book for the Artful Readers Club is 'Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking, 17 Years of  Silence'  by John Francis Ph.D. 

I came across this book after following a link to a TED talk by John Francis and have been wanting to read it ever since.  Here is the summary from the back cover,

'In 1971 an oil spill in San Francisco Bay changed John Francis's life forever.  Helping to clean up wasn't enough; he sought a way to contribute to the health of our planet in a personal way.  The solution he came up with was unconventional and courageous - to give up the use of all motorised vehicles and walk everywhere. Several months later, he took a vow of silence, which elicited concern from family and friends for his sanity, but as his memoirs eloquently demonstrate, these were the first steps on a three-decade pilgrimage to wisdom.'

This book follows John's journey from the time of the oil spill until the early 90s and there is an epilogue about his walking and work since.  Along the way John plays the banjo, paints watercolours, learns to build boats and walks to the relevant places to get a degree, masters and Ph.D. What I enjoyed most about the book was John's interactions with others along his journey and how people responded, both positively and negatively to what he was doing.  I was really interested in the silence and how John communicated with others non-verbally.  Although there is a lot about human interaction in the book, there is also the opposite part which is about being on a solitary journey, literally and metaphorically, and about experiencing wilderness. 

For me, this was a great read. It cover a lot of areas of interest for me, environment, communication, nature, music, art, personal journey and human behaviour. I would definitely recommend this book as it is such an unusual and positive story.

Near the beginning of the book, when John has started painting, he discovers bamboo and paints quite a lot of it.  I loved how he suddenly noticed it was everywhere so I decided to do a simple watercolour bamboo for my artwork...


Rocking Your World Friday ~ Sophie

It's Friday again, time to think about this weeks positives. It's not been too bad a week at all :)
We got a night away and saw 'The Stranglers.' I'm not a massive fan but it was a good night and 'The Godfathers' supporting them were great too.  It was nice to get away despite it being freezing! We had some good food, a few drinks and just relaxed.  Also, we experienced a random act of kindness from an old friend who really understands how important these breaks are for us.
Cheers to him!
We went to another concert, midweek. Again not one of my top bands but one of Andy's favourites, 'Stiff Little Fingers'.  I've seen them with him before and they are really good live.  They were supported by 'Ed Tudor Pole' who was very entertaining.  Big thanks to the 2 carers that stayed up late in addition to working both days with our lads, enabling us to go.
The starling murmuration.  I posted about this a while back.  Well it's still here and now about 30 times the size it was then and they are coming right over our garden.  I took lots of photos the other day but they just don't capture the magnificence.  Here is the best of a bad lot...
Being good and sticking to 2 cups of coffee a day.  I'm trying to get off it completely, it really doesn't agree with me and I feel better for cutting it sons autism means they have major sleep disturbances which have gone on for many years and I have got into bad habits with drinking it to stay awake.  I drink this 'Women's Energy' herbal tea quite a lot as a replacement.  It's not quite the same but it tastes nice!
Yesterday I was sent a photograph of a friends finished knitted baby blanket.  This is rocking my week because I helped her get started and passed on a few techniques and she has done an amazing job with it. 
Sitting down in the day time watching the film 'Red'.  We were tired after going out on a 'school night'! It was excellent.
Lemon cake.  Gaby is working hard on her school baking project most weekends and I'm making the huge sacrifice of trying out her cakes for her.  This one was perfect.
Gaby's recipes are in her blog
Linking up with Virginia at Celtic House

Monday, 25 March 2013

Pink Peace Crochet ~ Sophie

First piece for Wool Against Weapons finished....

....second piece underway....

I have plans for a 3rd one which will be knitted.  My pink wool supply is increasing thanks to some donations from my mum :)

Friday, 22 March 2013

Rocking Your World Friday ~ Sophie

I haven't done this for ages and probably should have but hey! Here's a few things that have made the past few weeks a bit better...
Mother's Day cards and flowers. 

Going to see 'Beautiful Creatures' with Andy and Gaby. I love a bit of teenage witchiness and as Gaby has just turned 13, I have a great excuse to see films like this. We all enjoyed it.

Coffees and lunches with friends.

Starting at the gym. I am totally intimidated by gyms. I belong to one but only really joined because of the yoga classes they offer. I haven't been feeling at my fittest and this week I felt like I wanted to start doing something a bit more active. I tagged along with Andy and did 25 mins on the cross trainer. I was all pleased with myself until I realised I was on level 1 and he was on level 14!! It's a start though and I enjoyed it which surprised me.

The King Blues, 'Punk and Poetry'.  An album that I love and always makes me feel upbeat.
Really angelic behaviour from my boys last weekend.

Listening to Jackie Kay reading her book, 'Red Dust Road'. I joined the Womankind Worldwide Book Group on Goodreads and this was the chosen book for International Women's Day. I'm really enjoying it and would highly recommend the audio version as it really makes it having Jackie reading it herself.
My mum turning up with cake. Not much left now..... and walnut cake. Yum :)
Gaby's baking....
More yum!
Linking up over with Virginia at Celtic House

Monday, 18 March 2013

Recent Lifebook Paintings ~ Sophie

I'm still pretty much keeping up with Lifebook this year and feeling rather pleased with myself as a result.  There is a monthly theme and February was courage/bravery.  I got a lot out of this and my pages are really all about life with disabled kids....
....March is about Celebrating Connections. To good things......
......and bad!
 I loved doing this one, it was really good fun!
I've also finished this doodle mandala from last year...

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Artful Readers Club February ~ Sophie

I have no idea what possessed me to think it was a good idea to read my longest Artful Readers Club book during the shortest month of the year when half term was also going to be happening! I finally finished 'Game of Thrones - A Song of Ice and Fire' by George R. R. Martin on Saturday.

I wasn't sure how I would get on with this book.  I have watched the first season of the TV series and loved it so I thought that might influence my feelings about it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the book and TV series very very much in alignment - it does annoy me when TV/films change plots!

So the actual book.....'Game of Thrones' is an epic fantasy, set in a land which has similarities with ours and yet is also very different.  Seasons are long, lasting years and their is a hint of magic and magical creatures which I imagine will be expanded upon through the series.  This first instalment introduces us to many characters and the prominent families to whom they belong.  There is also a lot of extra information in the form of maps at the beginning and family history sections at the back of the book to help understand the different characters and families' relationships to each other and status within the kingdoms which is helpful. The book is structured so that each chapter is focused on a particular character.  I liked this as it helped me get to know the characters but I think there was also a downside in that I would start to get into a particular characters viewpoint and story and then the book switches focus and at times I found myself losing interest because of that.  The last part of the book however became much more enthralling so I raced through it at the end.
What I enjoyed most about the book was how much understanding I gained about different characters motives and intentions.  Almost all the characters have good and bad in them and although it's a fantasy of Kings, Queens, Lords and Ladies, there are no heroes as such.  The behaviour of a lot of the characters can be seen to be a direct result of their own experiences which in turn leads to bitterness and pain for other characters and I ended the book thinking 'what a mess this lot are in!' All the time they are fighting amongst themselves and we are being shown that the real threats are elsewhere.  I did really enjoy reading this and will probably go on to either read or listen to the audio books of the rest of the series at some point.  At the moment I'm waiting for the second TV series to land on my doormat so will probably cheat with that for a while!
This is the artwork I ended up with....
....I wanted to show the dangers being shown to us from 'Ice and Fire' and the families somewhere in between. In the end, after a few messed up attempts at trying to get all the family banners drawn small enough, I cut them out of the information sections :)