Something For You!

Thank you for reading Mimi & Tilly and for being so supportive.  Here is something I've painted for you.  A little gift to carry with you through 2013 as you set your dreams in motion.


Please feel free to download your art gift to your phones as a screen saver or wallpaper by following the instructions below.

Instructions for Download to Phone
  • Visit this page on your phone
  • Click on the image
  • Hold your finger on it
  • Save it
  • Go to settings, then Wallpaper
  • Choose photo from Camera
You can also print off this painting for your own use at home.  All I ask is that you don't use it for resale purposes.  It is a gift from my heart to you.

I hope 2013 is all you wish it to be and much, much more.  Are you doing something special to bring in the New Year?


With love,

Love & Smiles Across The Miles

I hope you had a very happy Christmas day.  I did.  It was wonderful to spend time with my family, watch everyone open presents, and eat a fabulous roast turkey dinner lovingly prepared by my brother-in-law, Al, and sister, Charlotte.  Al knows how much I love my Christmas dinner and so always insists I have seconds. He's a top bloke...

Did you have a lovely time? I hope so.

I have a confession to make.

I'm a stationery fiend. I love all kinds of stationery and art supplies.

So when I opened my gifts this year and saw a box of Tombow dual brush art pens, a brand spanking new diary, and a book of Cath Kidston stickers, it was hard not to spontaneously combust. I'm very lucky.

Here are some lettering doodles I did yesterday on my Cath Kidston stickers in my new 2013 diary.  Words I want to remember in 2013.




It was a very happy time for me!

I've been very much counting my blessings this Christmas season and it has felt amazing to know how lucky I am to have family and friends who love me and who I love.  I have a roof over my head, food to eat, and cats to squeeze.  And a red fleecie onesie.  With feet included.  So I don't even need to wear slippers. Back of the net.

I'm very grateful.

Do you love starting your new diary?  Do you choose special words at the beginning of each year? Have you had lots of blessings this Christmas season?  I hope so. ♥

Wishing you glitter and sparkle this New Year, with a big pinch of magic for 2013. Sending love and smiles across the miles.

Happy Holidays!

It's December, so I finally feel comfortable showing you these two pages from my art journal. Everything I have by way of art materials has been thrown at them!  Sometimes "less is more" is a crock.

Watercolour paints
Watercolour art pens
Acrylic paints
Sharpie markers
Gel pens
Glitter pens

If I'd had access to a tub of fairy dust that would have been liberally sprinkled on there too.  I didn't.

Bobble hats, snowmen, bunting, and little fat robins are some of my favourite things...

snowman-1

snowman

Little fat birds, all plumped up feathers and tiny feet, make me smile...

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And shiny red holly berries, and the blue tinge of snow, ironically, warm my heart...

robin

I've seen in the tv listings that "Elf" with Will Ferrell is on tomorrow evening.  Men in tights who love decorating for Christmas.  What's not to love?

 I have my candy canes at the ready.
What do you love about Winter and Christmas?
I'm linking up with the fantabulous Lakota at FHC for her Ta-Dah Tuesday!

Look Into My Eyes...

My two cats, Eric and Ernie, are very loving.

When it comes to food there isn't anything they won't do to prostitute themselves.

Stand in front of the food cupboard making a racket.
Stare me out with silent but accusatory eyes.
Sit on my head.

I have always believed cats to be mostly benevolent animals... unless you're a mouse, vole or wing-ed creature, obviously.  Recently, though, I've begun to get a sense that they may be planning my demise.

There have been rumblings in the past, from the vet, that Eric and Ernie might be a tad on the rotund side of things.  On their last visit to the vet, it was loudly and vehemently declared that Eric and Ernie are, in fact, fat.

Since then, I have noticed a change in their behaviour.  As I've been cutting down on the amount of food finding it's way into their bowl, they have taken a much more proactive approach to securing adequate rations...

ericandernie


It's a tad unsettling.

Do you ever feel, given half a chance, your cats could cause you some damage?

A Sneaky Peek...



I know it's November, and not quite yet the season to be jolly.  But, screw that.  My Christmas tree is up and I'm excited. 



Do you celebrate Christmas?  When do you crack out your Christmas decorations?

Let's Get The Ball Rolling Again

For the past couple of months, I've needed some time away from blogging.  Just to have some quiet to really rest and do a bit of reflecting.  There's been a lot going on.  Big stuff.  Small stuff.  And some stuff in between.

I thought I'd come back and find I'd lost a good chunk of my readers.  It's lovely to know you're still here. How have you been?

*smile*

While I was having a good think, I realised I seem to have two distinct sides to who I am.

The quiet, solitary soul who loves silence, peacefulness and no clutter.

And the giggly, naughty Emma who can get so over-excited I've been known to start gurning.

My art journalling and my jewellery designs seem to show this contrast really clearly.

I wear little jewellery, except one or two bits.  I like jewellery that has clean lines, a minimalist look and that doesn't feel too "fussy".  So I tend to wear a chunky ring, a plain thin, round silver bangle and maybe a small pair of studs or honking great hoops.  When I design a piece of jewellery, I find myself making pieces that are simple to look at and easy on the eye. I like textured metal, with gemstones to add a little bit of magic.  But that's it.  I don't know why, but that's what I love.

I only started drawing again in February of this year.  When I picked up my art pens and started to doodle in my journal, I made the conscious decision not to judge what came out onto the page.  I decided to turn off the critical voice that told me I needed to do things a certain way, and instead, I just followed my painting/drawing heart.

Who knew my paintings would be an embarrassment of colour riches?

This has been a bit of a problem when it's come to designing my blog.  One side of me says "keep it simple, don't scare people away with your colour-love, go for minimal white with a simple bold header". The other side of me says "RED, PINK, OOH OOH MORE RED. WAHAAAAY."

*shrug*

I've decided I need to honour and look after both sides of who I am and embrace the contrast they bring to my life. Enjoy the quiet when I need to, and roll with the gurning ...

So as a contrast to all the bright doodles I've been sharing here's a quiet moment of minimalist lines. Two pieces of jewellery I made way back in January, just before I picked up my art pens...


A silver pendant with fresh water pearls.  This design was inspired by the leaves falling from the trees outside my house last autumn. The rich reds of the leaves reflected in the red pearls. It was a gift for a friend. (Although the little bit of wire poking up on the bottom left-hand side is mashing my swede.  A pox on my fantastic macro setting!)

The ring is one I made to remind myself to be kind to myself.  Each time I look at that bobby dazzler on my finger I hear the words "You, yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." Buddha.

Words to live by.

It's A Kind Of Magic


I had a big dose of twinkly wonder happen this week.

After letting go of all my struggle around dealing with the life admin I had going on, the Universe/Life/a special kind of magic stepped in, sprinkled a little glitter onto things, and I found my way to lovely kind people who heard me and resolved the issues quickly, kindly and with no fuss or muss.

The very next day.  

And then yesterday I had an unexpected phone call letting me know that another piece of life admin that I knew was coming up, and that I would need to deal with very soon, had already been resolved and they wanted to give a courtesy call and let me know.

*big beaming smile*

When I stopped struggling against life, a space seemed to open up big enough for magic to happen.

Here's Twinkly Matilda with some magic of her own...



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I'm aware that the word "twirly" has taken on a new meaning thanks to the ever-quirky gorgeousness of Zooey Deschanel in "New Girl", but here I mean it exactly as it was originally meant...  twirling around, spinning, rotating quickly on the spot just for the fun of it. *ahem*

Thank you for your kind support after my last post.  Your friendship and support mean oodles to me, and I appreciate you.  

Grateful

Have you ever had one of those days/weeks/months where it feels like nothing seems to go smoothly? The harder you try, the more out of your control things feel?  And suddenly, you're feeling overwhelmed, upset, and frustrated?

I'm currently experiencing one of those right now. I've been feeling particularly s***e (that's a technical medical term) over the past wee while.  More than the usual pain, nausea, headaches, and so very, very little energy. And at the same time, a situation has arisen where, for the past week I've been trying to deal with some "life admin" that has required my attention.  It's also required me asking for some other people, as part of an organisation on the end of a telephone, to help me by dealing with stuff at their end. It is proving to be one of those situations where you feel like poking yourself in the eye and then hitting yourself with a spade would be a lot less painful...

This morning, I made further attempts to resolve the situation and found myself, yet again, feeling blocked and unheard by the people I have been asking to hear me.  The little energy I have today, diverted to a situation where it felt my energy was being wasted rather than put to good use.  Absorbed and dismissed by someone who doesn't understand how precious my energy is.

And I started to feel frustrated, upset, angry and completely overwhelmed.

I sat down and listened to the rain on the window.  I took some deep breaths. I contemplated getting the spade out of the shed.

And then I had some interesting thoughts...

What if I didn't get upset? What if I put my energy where I wanted it to go and thought about all the things in my life that are supporting me, running smoothly, helping me on my way?  What if I stopped fighting how things are and let go of all my upset?

So, instead of chucking fuel onto my fire of frustration, I sat and wrote a short message of love and encouragement to someone I know needed it.   And then I made a list in my head of all the things in my life that are amazing, supportive and cheering me on. Then I had a cup of tea (tea really does have magical powers!), and I took another deep breath and breathed out all the junk.

Sometimes, things just don't go the way I hope, or want them to go.  Sometimes people just don't understand where I'm coming from.  Sometimes I need to use the little energy I have on things that don't make me smile or feel glittery, but I need to do it anyway. Sometimes I can find myself fighting life before I realise what I'm doing.

And even with all that going on, life is still amazing, and I am so very grateful for all of it.


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Sending love and smiles your way.

Twinkly Matilda

The weather's started to turn, and my thoughts have drifted towards cardies and ponchos (I'm not keen on  heavy coats but rock a good woolly poncho). I was pondering recently what to wear now that things seem to have got a bit chilly. I love wearing colour, but tend to spend the winter months in various ensembles consisiting of a variety of  itchy woolly garments, supplemented with black woolly garments.  And that's just my undercrackers. A pox on this damp, cold British weather. 

This Autumn, if Twinkly Matilda has anything to do with it, I'll be a vision in pink platform wellies.

Go Matilda!

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 For more Twinkly Matilda inspiration go to her very own page by clicking on the Twinkly Matilda button in the sidebar, or by going HERE.

Twinkly Matilda©Emma Saunders 2012.  All rights reserved.

I hope you have a lovely warm weekend filled with flowers and fun wherever you are.

Teacher Tidbits

Before I developed a long-term illness, I was a teacher and lecturer.  During term time I worked as a primary school teacher, and in the school holidays I lectured at a local university on how to teach English as a Foreign Language. I taught a whole range of age groups during my 12 years as a full-time teacher, finally finding the age group that made my heart sing when I was given a reception class of 4 and 5 year olds.  They creased me up.

I've never spent so much time counting heads.  Small children are fast on their feet, and frankly, pretty slippery.  I was determined to have the same number of heads at the end of the day as at the beginning.

The children made me smile, were playful, fun-loving, and unendingly curious about life, why they were here, and what the world was all about.  What's not to love about being around little people like that?  (OK, there was an inordinate amount of vomit and more than enough toilet accidents to go around, and a very unfortunate incident with a child who released the most enormously gassy emission on the OFSTED inspector and apologised to her with "I'm awfully sorry, I'm just a bit windy today", but hey, you get the rough with the smooth.)

One of the funniest things that I ever experienced as a teacher was with a little guy we'll call Roger. Not his real name.  One afternoon, as the school day was winding down, we were all sitting on the story carpet as I read to the children.  Roger politely put up his hand and told me he needed the toilet.  Off he went to the boys toilets, at the other end of the corridor from our classroom.  He was cool, calm and collected, and wasn't particularly in a hurry to get to the loo.

I carried on reading to the children, and after a good few minutes became aware that Roger hadn't come back. He was perfectly safe as there was no way he could get out of the building, but I wanted to be sure he was OK.  Just as I was getting up to go and seek him out, the classroom door was flung open and Roger nonchalantly sauntered in.  He smiled broadly and walked in a bit of a wonky manner onto the carpet where he'd been sitting.  He didn't sit down.

Instead he put all his weight on one leg, lifted up his other leg and gave it a really good shake.

With a lovely little thump, a perfectly formed lump of poop dropped out of the leg of his trousers and landed on the story carpet.

Roger smiled and uttered words that will stay with me forever...

"Oh, there it is!  I wondered where that had gone cos it wasn't in the toilet when I flushed it."

Frankly, you would think that carpet cleared of children pretty quickly wouldn't you?

Nope.

Every kid wanted to take a better look at what Roger had left for us.  One child even started building a little castle of books around it.  Creativity is a wonderful thing.

How Roger walked back up the long corridor with that gift rattling around in his trouser leg is beyond me.

The reason for his delay?  "I spent quite a long time looking for my poo Miss cos I couldn't find it nowhere and it wasn't in the toilet."

Very fond memories.

In honour of Roger's fantastic nonchalance, and the unending enthusiasm of the children I taught, to be fascinated with everything, I've painted a picture of butterflies and birds.  Not poop.


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Do you have any "funny children" stories?


There's Someone I'd Like You To Meet...

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting drinking a cup of tea, when I got a quiet but excited feeling telling me I needed to pick up my art journal and drawing pens.  I did as I was told (!) and my pen started to move across the paper.  The date was Tuesday 17th July 2012.                      .

 When I'd finished, this little treasure was on the page.  Do you remember me posting her picture a couple of weeks ago?


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Well, ever since then, every couple of days or so, I get that excited, itchy feeling, telling me she's wanting to come out onto the page again.  I know this sounds daft, but that's what happens.  Each appearance she makes leaves me smiling.   So far, she's shown up a few times with messages telling me how to enjoy the glitter of each day.  How to make sparkly moments.  How to see the little things that shine brightly.  And how to shine myself.  I've decided not to keep her to myself, as she seems to have a lot to say and wants to say it to more people than just me.  So here she is.

 She's very twinkly, so I named her Twinkly Matilda.  I'll post about her as and when she shows up on the pages of my art journal.  And as I have a feeling she's going to be around for a while, I've added a button to my sidebar so that you can go directly to her whenever you need to find a little nugget of sparkle and glitter to add to your day.

I hope Twinkly Matilda brings you as many smiles as she brings me.

Under The Sea

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I love the sea.

Ever since I was a little girl, I've been fascinated by life under the waves.  I also love aquariums, fish tanks, and any programmes, books or films about sea life. "Splash" and "The Big Blue" are on my list of favourite things to watch.  "Flipper" and "Free Willy" are not.  I'm not good with films about wildlife in peril. They stress me out.
 
Strangely enough, I'm not so fascinated by life under the water in lakes.  It's something about the bottom of lakes being muddy and sticky.  The sea seems full of life and motion to me.  Lakes seem a bit stagnant.  With one exception.  If it's something to do with Nessie, I'm all over it.

One of my favourite things to do if I'm feeling stressed out, is to close my eyes and imagine I'm diving into the sea and can swim and breathe underwater.  I imagine the water flowing over me, cool and fresh. The sunlight filtered in rays through the water.  I especially imagine the water flowing over my head and washing away all my worries.  When I come up from the water, all my stresses are gone.

When I was little I wanted to be a mermaid so I could swim like this for real.  I was forever getting told off by the lifeguards at the swimming baths, for putting my armbands on my legs so my head would go under.  I couldn't swim at the time so it was a tad risky.

When I sleep, I do sometimes dream of mermaids.

Do you love the sea?
     


P.S. Thank you for all your lovely comments about my hair.  I'm loving it.

A New Do

I pulled a book off my friend's bookcase this week, and inside there was a photo of a girl with the most gorgeous do.  The book was full of knitting patterns for scarves (lush) and so the model had her hair styled differently in each picture.  I fell in hair lust.

As is my wont, I phoned my hairdresser friend and asked her if she could fit me in as I'd decided to have all my hair cut off like the model in the book, and was hoping to get it done before I talked myself out of it.  She came over to my house today, smiling and up for the challenge (she is a total star and never fails to style my limp locks into something gorgeous).  Here is the result...


I feel as cute as a button!

Made From The Stars


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A page from my art journal.
I hope the sun is shining in your neck of the woods.
 And that you are shining brightly too.


Heart

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I am.  'Tis true.
Thank you for reading Mimi and Tilly.
And a big welcome to Mimi and Tilly's new followers.
*cheeky wave*

Embracing The Pink

When I was in my twenties, I dabbled with drawing and painting. It did not go well. There was a lot of black. And the odd figure on their knees shouting to the heavens things like "Why?"

I found those journals last summer and had a flick through.  Upon careful inspection, I decided it was time for them to go to the Big Journal In The Sky.  And what better way to do it than to have a ceremonial purging in my barbecue?  I kid you not.

It was brilliant.  I merrily sent pages of journal entries out into the world via a cloud of smoke.  Then I got a tad over excited.  This time last year, I was in the middle of my weight loss journey and had lost about 28lbs.  I decided it was time to burn my "big pants".  You know the ones you buy because they're comfy?  And you can tuck your vest into them because they go right up to your arm pits? Don't look at me like that.  It was a cold winter.

As it happens it was a learning experience.  I learnt that Marks and Spencer cotton pants take a lot of lighter fuel before they'll at least start to smoulder.  And no matter how much flammable liquid you fling on them, you'll still be left with a barbecue full of gussets. (You'll be pleased to know I now have a vast selection of iddy biddy pants with frilly bits on them that only need one peg to be hung on the line.)

Anyhoo, the reason I'm sharing this is because I sat down this week to "draw what was on the inside" and, expecting the possibility of at least a little black, I was stunned by what came out of the end of my pens onto the paper.  It isn't exactly a picture of me but it's a picture that reflects what I feel about me.

Here it is...


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Just so you know...  I don't look like this, I've just always wanted big, bodacious hair that didn't crackle with static at the mere mention of bri-nylon.

Anyhoo, it's so good to know, we're out of the black and into the pink.

I hope you're having a great week.



P.S. DISCLAIMER:  I am not advocating setting fire to things in your barbecue, unless it's your standard sausage or burger.  I am also not advocating the use of lighter fuel. Always use extreme caution around naked flames/barbecues.  I am simply recounting a tale of what may or may not have taken place in my garden under adult supervision. Thank you.

My First Ever Portrait!

When I was at school, I was forever being admonished by my lovely art teacher to "draw what you see, not what you think you see!".  I never understsood what the David Dickenson she was talking about until yesterday, when I sat down to face a fear (isn't it mad what you become afraid of?); drawing and painting a portrait.

When I was at school I'd try and draw and paint something and usually managed to accidentally invent a new school of art.  There was my Face In A Spoon era, where every person I tried to draw looked back at me from the paper as if they were melting and reflected in a dinner spoon.  My Trianglist era, where figures were basically triangular with mishapen limbs.  And then my Maybe I'm Really S**t at this era, which has been the most prolonged so far.

So, yesterday, I took myself in hand.  I had a little chat with myself that went something like this....

"Emma.  Maybe you found this difficult 25 years ago.  25 YEARS AGO.  Perhaps now you could actually have another go. You noodle."

So I dug out a photo and had a little draw/paint.

I know it's a little off perspective-wise.  There's still a hint of dinner spoon about it.  But it looks like a human being!  A human being, people!

I'm a little bit pleased.

     






Live Like You Are Very, Very Precious.





Live like you are very, very precious.
Because you are.

Those words flitted across my mind this week.  And I decided to paint a picture around them.

The image of a beautifully feathered, exotic looking bird kept coming into my head.  Do you know the kind I mean?  Absolutely stunning but somehow very fragile looking.  That's kind of how we are isn't it?  All stunning in our own beautiful way, but also fragile and vulnerable.

I used my new Tombow art pens on this design.  My Significant Other (Let's call him Steve.  Because that's his name.) bought them for me.  They are the Roll's Royce of art pens, and come in 96 different shades.  As Tombow is my witness, I intend to own all 96 colours at some point on the space time continuum.  They glide across the page, have gorgeously rich pigment, and make my eyeballs fizz with joy at their colour.  Thank you Steve.

I hope this weekend, you are able to find some time to live as if you are very, very precious.  Because you are.

Happy Saturday.

Peonies



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Last weekend my dad cut some peonies for me from his and my mum's garden.
Here they are in full bloom.
Peonies are one of my favourite flowers.
What's your favourite flower?

Ernie Says "I'm Free! I'm Free!"


Ernie, enjoying his new-found freedom in the garden.
I tried to get a photo of Eric but he wouldn't keep his swollen head still long enough.
A big hello and wave to my new Mimi and Tilly followers.  It's lovely to meet you. 
I hope you're having a great day. 



My Desk Today.



My desk today.  
Art supplies and jam jars make me happy.
What makes you happy?




Free Art For You



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My cats, Eric and Ernie, are rescue cats from a nearby cat shelter.  They could fit on the palm of my hand when I brought them home, they were so small.  Ernie was a really curious kitten.  He wanted to explore every space he could find.  Eric was the runt of the litter.  He was a bit poorly when we picked him up.  He had runny eyes and a runny nose, and wouldn't uncurl from the back of the little basket he was in.

Over time, both Eric and Ernie have grown into beautiful cats.  They are loving, playful, and quick to head-bonk you and say hello.  They purr constantly, and are very happy with life.

For the past 7 years they have both been house cats.  Snoozing, playing with fluffy toys and generally enjoying all the good stuff that life has to offer.  Except prowling on the wild side.

In recent months they've begun to miaow to go out. After much lip chewing and fretting on my part, I decided it was cruel to keep them indoors now that they were clearly telling me they wanted to go outside. Last week was the big "Born Free" moment I let them have a run round the garden.

It was fab...  With one unexpected result.

Unbeknown to me, I have been living with a cat hooligan.

Eric has decided that, whether it's animal, vegetable, or mineral, he's not bothered, if it comes into his garden and moves, he's all over it.

So far, he has attacked the neighbour's dog (yes, you read that right, dog), the cat belonging to the neighbours on the other side, several other neighbourhood cats.  And, he's got himself into a red-mist kind of a sid-uation where he's attacked his own brother Ernie, just because he caught a glimpse of him when he was having a cat stand-off with a cat from across the street and wanted to show his prowess.

Frankly, my friends, my "Born Free" fantasy has been turned into a Reservoir Dogs/Cats kind of a scenario. It's been ugly.

Mainly because my cat Eric has the kind of self belief I can only dream of.  He doesn't care if he's a cat.  He doesn't care that cats are supposed to run away from dogs.  He doesn't care if other cats are bigger, fatter, scarier than he is.  He is a cat kung fu fighter and he's doing his kung fu thing.

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Eric prefers the "are you eye-balling me?" approach to life.


This got me thinking about being fearless.  Doing your thing no matter what obstacles cross your path.

Ernie has decided to deal with other cats and dogs invading or coming close to his space by running indoors and hiding under the bed.  Eric has faced all the obstacles that have crossed his path this week with bravery and determination to stand his ground.  I have to say, to watch him see off a dog that was encroaching on his space was actually quite moving.  He was strong, assertive and feisty.



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Ernie prefers the "if I can't see it it's not there" approach to life.


So with Eric's tenacity on my mind, I painted this week's art journal page.  Believing in yourself is a lovely thing to do. (As long as you don't end up with a scratched eyeball and a swollen head like Eric.  Remember believing in yourself is one thing, but fighting is never big or clever unless you're a kung fu fighting cat.)

In honour of Eric's foolhardiness bravery, I've painted today's art journal entry for you to use as a smartphone screensaver.  To upload the painting to your phone, just follow these simple instructions:


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  • Visit this page on your phone
  • Click on the image
  • Hold your finger on it
  • Save it
  • Go to settings, then Wallpaper
  • Choose photo from Camera

Please let me know if you have any problems downloading my painting, so that I can sort out any technical hitches!  And the next time you're feeling nervous or unsure, just look at your screen saver, think of Eric, and believe in yourself!

Much love,


P.S.  In honour of the recent Diamond Jubilee here in Blighty, I have a jewellery give-away coming up.  I'll post the details of how to enter soon.
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