Wednesday, December 06, 2006


A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.
She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.
Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft.
The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.
Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked,"What does it mean, mother?"
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity ... boiling water .. each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
"Which are you?" she asked her daughter."When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"
Think of this: Which am I?
Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a break-up, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavour.
If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?
How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?
Count your blessings, not your problems......
Putting others first makes relationships last When the door of happiness closes, another opens; but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don't see the one, which has been opened for us.
Don't go for looks; they can deceive. Don't go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile.
Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.
The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.
Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying. Don't count the years-count the memories...........
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take; but by the moments that take our breath away!

I think I am the coffee bean, in the last month my dad has been rushed into hospital after suffering another heart attack, thankfully he is back home, the day he was rushed in my mum, sister and myself stayed by his bed till he was stable and the doctors told us to go home and get some rest. When we left him to go back to the car it was late evening and we passed a cooking apple tree that was in the hospital grounds laden down with apples no one was picking, my sister not one to pass up an opportunity decided we should not let them go to waste so…. picture this
my sister up a grass bank jumping up and down knocking the tree branches, apples rolling down the bank onto the road being chased by my mum and me and put into a plastic carry bag that mum always seems to have in her handbag for emergencies!!
At one stage I just stood and watched and broke into hysterical laughter which then started my mum and sister off laughing… maybe it was relief that dad was going to be OK or the fact it was a farcical situation… On the way back home there was more laughter and some tears, its how our family copes. Oh the apples made some wonderful pies made by my Dads fair hands a couple of weeks later when he was home and they tasted fantastic.
Then to cap it all last week while out with my mum a car smashed into the back of my car. The other party was fine but his car is a right off and it looks like the police are charging him, my car is in the garage undergoing repair. Mum and I suffered whiplash and back injuries which are going to take time to heal. Although this time there were a few more tears I did manage to make the police officer and paramedic laugh. And I would like to say is our police force, ambulance and recovery services were wonderful and I have the up most respect for what they have to put up with and do. And I am still smiling and more importantly so is the rest of the family.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The SOSF (Society of Secret Fairies) have struck again

A cheery postman still wearing shorts (its very mild for this time of year) knocked on my door this morning with a surprise parcel from across the ocean, the SOSF have struck again.
Clearing a space on my work bench and with camera at hand to record the occasion I preceded to open the box in a careful but excitedly hasty manner, a gorgeous smell wafts from the box and fills the air of my small untidy studio a hint of the season to come... I catch a glimpse through the autumnal coloured packing ... beautifully wrapped parcels.

A coveted box filled with goodies... I begin to open colourfully wrapped parcel after parcel. A handful of magnets... some stickers as well as other little goodies reminding me that Halloween is nearly upon us... Fun pumpkin earrings and necklace jewellery with a not so scary sparkle purple spider ring presented in a lovely little gift box all will be worn while i scare the bejesuses out of the kids who knock on our door this Halloween. Some homemade scented oil and 4 packets of seeds from the SOSF friends garden that I will be planting in the near future… A delectably scented candle that I cannot help but repeatably sniff (does that sound weird? on second thoughts don't answer that) Lots of goodies to eat ... fall harvest pasta and creepy crawly jelly sweets and chocolates that I will be eating while I look through the Home Companion from cover to cover this evening with my feet up which I know I'm going to thoroughly enjoy... and lots more besides if you don't believe me have a look for yourselves....

A thousand thanks to the Fairy that sent it!
Tara you truly are a wonderful fairy... :>)

P.S. I may be a bit slow in returning the favour… but never fear I have been gathering some goodies together and hope to have it winging its way to you soon!!. (now were are those homing pigeons?!!)
Debs x

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I had a lovely surprise waiting for me when I returned from my monthly outing to the Doctors yesterday Tuesday morning, An unofficial SOSF gift from my friends Penny and Toby at Natural Attrill Opening the small box I was greeted by a lovely pair of earrings handmade by the ever talented Toby and I have been wearing them ever since. Thank you again Penny and Toby for my ‘cheer up’ gift they really did put a smile on my face

Thank heavens for digital cameras after several attempts and lots of pics of my left nostril, i was finally able to get a pic with the earring in shot.

Work wise I have spent today working in Photoshop retouching wedding photographs. I would love to show you some before and after shots but I don’t yet have permission. The photos in question are lovely, but the groom has his eyes closed in one particular photo were the bride looks fabulous, so having flicked through the rest of the wedding album and found a photo were the groom is in a similar position with eyes open, I set about superimposing those eyes onto the photo that the couple want a large print from. I also spent a bit of time on the wedding group photos smoothing out clothes and removing blemishes. Finally put together a montage of photos from the day it self which I am in the process of printing out onto A3 premium glossy paper. These will be framed and given to both sets of parents as a memento of the day. I must admit I really do enjoy doing this type of work and seeing the couple involved faces when they see the finished product is priceless… And they say the camera never lies.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A time to reflect

First off I am sorry I have not posted for awhile, but I have a good excuse, I have been unwell. Some of you know that I suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis and after a rather long spell in remission it decided to kick off big time. The past couple of months have been pretty bad with most of my joints being affected, I have had to have help dressing and not been able to walk without doing a seriously good impression of a cross between Quasimodo and Long John Silver. On a positive note I have lost weight woohoo yeah! 12lbs to be exact due to this glitch (the body burns up a lot of energy when the immune system goes into attack joint mode) not really a good way to do it but hey I’m not complaining. And I have been trained to give myself my weekly injection of Methotrexate and have been jabbing myself for a number of weeks now, something I never thought I would ever do. In the mean time my lovely doctor has given me a course of steroids which has helped ease the pain bliss! and I am starting to get back to my normal self (what ever that is)

With my apology in place I thought I’d better to include some photo’s to break up my pitiful excuse for not posting for so long.

The first pears from the tree planted in the garden two years ago. They tasted fantastic.

The apple trees were thwarted at the first post due to the blooming magpies eating the apples when they first started to grow (hope they had belly ache ha ha! ).

It’s that time of year when the lovely landscape treats us to one of nature’s most spectacular displays and as the green ivy covering my house turn to gold’s and reds and wildlife makes its presence known, I have been woken the last two weeks by large flocks of migrating geese flying over head most mornings honking loudly, a sound I must admit does make me smile. I find myself reflecting on what I have accomplished so far this year which if i am honest is not as much as I had wanted to do.

I bought a tiny ivy plant from Woolworth's for £1.89 approximately 15 years ago it now covers two-sides of the house and is home to birds, bees and other numerous creatures. The last photo is taken from my bedroom window

With that in mind I have set my self some goals, some of which I want to accomplish before the year is out, one particular project has got my creative juices flowing again and find myself really excited about getting it of the ground, I will post more details when I can.

A experimental style i did a couple of months ago. Turned out better than i thought it would, and i have several other sketches i am going to colour up. Painted traditionally in watercolour and coloured pencil .

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Idyllic Summer and lovely faeries

It’s a lovely summer day here and with Gretel posting about the Society of Secret Fairies (a wondeful idea!) I thought I’d post a photo I took of my friend Claire’s daughter last summer in my garden. Taken with a Canon A30 Power Shot, worked on in Photoshop, I then printed a 10 x 8 print which I gave to my friend as a reminder of a lovely afternoon.

Hope all of you are having a lovely idyllic summer

Friday, August 04, 2006

Butterflies and Bees

There seems to be an abundance of butterflies and insects about this summer and I have been able to capture some great shots in the garden which I thought I’d share here.

Bumble Bee

The bee on the cornflower seem to be having a good day judging by the pollen he had collected and it’s a win-win situation the butterflies and bees get a well earned pesticide free meal, and we get the pleasure of beautiful flowers and a bumper crop of fruit and vegetables.

Due to the abundance of flowers they don't seem to mind sharing

I was so pleased with the photo below i have decided to used it as my desktop wallpaper. The butterfly in the photo is a Speckled wood Pararge aegeria

Monday, July 17, 2006

Illustration Friday - Sacrifice

One of my personal beliefs are when you get married or decide to live together for that matter; you both sacrifice something of yourself to make the relationship work.
Here is a digital piece “The Wedding Groom” produced in Corel Painter IX

Click here to see a quick step by step progression of the Wedding Groom if you are interested.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Next to art, photography is my second passion and its amazing what you 'don't' see when you take a photograph, for example I was so intent on capturing the frog I did not see the newt until I downloaded the photo's on to my PC.
One of the best inventions ever is the digital camera which I take everywhere I go, as you never know when you might see something worth recording. I took these particular photos when my sister and I went for lunch the other day. Before heading into the pub we went for a walk around the village and I caught this swallow returning to her nest, it's amazing the way the animals adapt to their surroundings this particular nest was on Lacock high street above one of the cottages front door. I could have stayed there all day waiting to capture better photo's but the noises coming from my stomach would have scared the birds away LOL

Thursday, July 13, 2006

One hour painting exercise!

On the AOI discussion board a fellow illustrator, Frog set up an Illustration Wednesday - A weekly sketch-a-thon challenge. The rules, one hour time limit for digital artists, 2 hours for traditional. This week’s theme "Eccentric" I thought I'd give it a go as it’s a great exercise for honing brush skills and producing work quickly. Here is my attempt the eccentric Patrick Moore Astronomer done in Corel Painter IX, brushes used, acrylic, blenders, dodge and burn and my own hair brushes. Time taken, One hour exactly.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The other day I was down by the garden pond watching a beautiful large dragonfly that was flying too fast to capture on camera, so I turned my attention to photographing the water lilies. A few minutes later I heard a splash and was astounded to see that a newt had shot out of the water and captured the dragon fly that I had I had been admiring just a few moments before.

The scene was reminiscent of a wildlife program the one with the crocodiles and the wildebeest crossing a river.

Here are some pics I took of the empty body shells of dragonflys that have already hatched. Amazing that something so beautiful could come from something that looks prehistoric

And a lovely butterfly for those of you that may have been traumatized by the previous photo's

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I am a freelance illustrator, creating illustrations for children's books, greeting cards and editorial. I am hoping that this blog will encourage me to keep exploring my creativity and force me to update my work on a regular base. You may have to put up with various rants and ramblings, which I apologise for now LOL. I have discovered some really inspiring people while looking around illustrator's and various other blogs. And I have decided to join in!