this is lemonade

A mindful, grateful, creative life: Life constantly hurls lemons at us. I’m on a mission to make lemonade as best I can, by God’s grace.


New Year Firsts (ii): Threaded Thursdays

In a recent post, I shared my goals for 2013. In it, I told you that I wanted to get more creative with thread this year. I have known how to re-sew buttons onto my clothes for as long as I can remember, thanks to my resourceful mother. But I must say, the last time I did anything creative with thread was over ten years ago. In fact, it certainly feels like the last time I did anything truly creative was at least that long ago!

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been inspired by Martin’s Doodles. I’ve been following Martin almost since the beginning of my blogging journey, and if you have not yet popped over you really should. He makes my hometown look beautiful and interesting. Most of all, I love how he portrays people.

Martin entered a sketchbook in the Sketchbook Project in 2012 and is currently sharing what he has done, page by page. I’ve been toying with the idea myself, since a friend mentioned it about three years ago, but seeing that the project is no longer touring in Europe, I’ve decided against trying it.

Then last week, I was inspired by Marc Johns’ post, I make my own sketchbooks. I love Marc’s quirky illustrations, but in this feature post, he shares about his handmade sketchbooks and why he has been making his own for the last six years:

A nice, brand new leatherbound (not cheap!) notebook is intimidating for me. I’d want every sketch to be lovely and perfect. I’d want only my best ideas to grace its pages. In a nutshell, the preciousness would be too restrictive, and put a damper on my creativity. It would put a filter on my ideas. Not good.

I suffer from the inability to put pen to clean, crisp, new paper. I totally got that! And then I remembered a conversation not so long ago with a colleague. We had both done some rudimentary bookbinding in primary school. Some sugar paper and needle and thread. And that’s how, after about half an hour’s work, I came to be in possession of two new mini mini notebooks, made from scrap paper and some heavier grade paper taken from random marketing booklets:

My New Notebooks

I get fed up with all the brochures and junkmail that come through the door. It’s like 90% of the stuff posted through my letterbox goes straight through to the recycling at the back. Now I at least have some of it sewn up waiting to get graffitied on before it ends up in the bin. All I have to do is to start scribbling in them! Easier said than done, because I actually think they’re really cute… haha. Well, watch this space 🙂



10 More Days to Go (ish)!

Well. That depends on where you are in the world. It also depends on when you are reading this post. It might even depend on when the Big Day is to you. And whether or not I can actually count. But as it’s a Friday, we are looking at all things frivolous. Let us not get all tangled up in the intricacies of how many more days there really are until Christmas Day.

The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a real gem to share: do you love the world renowned Gruffalo story, written by Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler? Well, Mr Scheffler was commissioned to illustrate the Royal Mail Christmas 2012 stamps and they are absolutely lovely! A sweet little video on BBC News magazine looking at his work and the Christmas stamps themselves can be found here. Does anyone fancy sending me a few Christmas cards in different sizes and weights? You have until next Tuesday or Thursday to get them to me in time for Christmas, depending on whether or not you are sending them by second or first class post or both from the UK 😉

I am a lover of stamps, having inherited some albums from my mother and then sorted through bagfuls of them from my German landlady many years ago. It’s not just the actual designs, shapes and colours of them that I love, or even the fact that among them are many souvenirs of places I may never visit in my lifetime. I love how much I learned from them. In trying to sort them, I stumbled across nuggets of history, different languages and scripts, important personalities or things of nature and inventions. And then there are the celebratory stamps. No, I did not get the London 2012 collection (of which only the first class stamps can still be purchased until the end of the year), even though I was thinking of it. Will I get the ones of Gruffalo illustrator fame? I don’t know. Perhaps a signed souvenir cover will do!

On another note, did you know that today is… Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day? A day when you can do something good with those embarrassing jumpers your granny gave you every year (mine didn’t, poor you!) If you didn’t realise, or your granny was more like mine and you have not had time to knit your very own silly jumper with Rudolph or Santa on it, then I propose whipping up a quick jumper for your egg cup – oh yes, there are free patterns on the Save the Children website and they are seriously cute! Hopefully that will make up for my abrupt lack of woolly posts and lovely knits recently. My shoulder is still iffy, I think I need to pencil in the doc as my first appointment of 2013 😦

Whatever you are going through today and through this holiday period, take care. I’m sending you some Gruffalo awesomeness – get your shrewd, inventive mind ticking. Wrap yourself up warm and pour a cup of tea, or get out those beach shorts and wriggle your toes in the sand (depending on which of the two is more relevant, and responsible, for you). Have a good weekend!


Introducing Mr. G

Frivolous Fridays are a celebration of the lighter side of life, and we all need some of that. Even if it has to be hidden somewhere in the dark, buried where no one else can see it. Somewhere, there needs to be light, or we can’t live. So, we’ve got to Friday, let’s celebrate!

And what a way to begin the series…with Mr. G and his wonderful kids! I stumbled ROFL onto the Mr. G comic blog just this week (actually, I think the artist Matt Gajdoš might have stumbled onto my blog first, and aren’t I glad for it)! It has been one of those weeks when I won’t even remember what has been happening if I don’t brew myself a quality Earl Grey and sit down for a good long think. Except that I’ve run out of Earl you’re out of luck.

Anyway…where was I?

Aah…here’s a treat for you if, like me, you could do with a daily pick-me-up. Look no further for the reason why I think you should all go on over and have some deep belly chuckles at Mr. G.


Matt Gajdoš : Flowers
(This is the one that got me hooked..aww..*chuckles*)

I love the reference to yellow in this particular post. The more I look at it, the more I love it. I think because yellow is such a bright and cheerful colour. Right now, it’s grey outside and pouring with rain. But yellow is the colour of sunshine, sunflowers, daffodils, dandelions, daisy hearts, buttercups and lemons…which make lemonade! Yellow is in spring, summer and autumn…aaah I’m bursting with bright yellow happiness. I totally know what yellow smells like 😀

Mr. G is “A 100% true comic about stuff kids say in elementary school” and if you have kids or have ever worked with them, I think you’d say it’s the truth in how the kids talk and the spot-on way Matt captures their expressions that makes this a winning, heart-warming comic. Genius!

Needless to say, I am now a follower, and Mr. G even updates every weekday at midnight GMT. Great if you want to have cheerful dreams! Thanks Matt!


ziggyshortcrust : An Elf Child is born

When I started this blog, I never in a million years thought that I would so quickly meet such amazing people with such wonderful talents. I thought that I would look at it as a bit like a personal journal. Write a bit, see how it goes, and maybe tell my friends after a while what I was doing. See if they would be interested in reading.

So I was blown away, when I received my first comment on Monday.

Knowing that someone else out there is reading my blog, that’s something. Getting my first comment, that’s pretty special. Receiving my first comment from someone who deals in “Scribbles, Doodles and Campervan Tootles”…that’s quite charming. Going on that person’s blog and finding that she’s a tea aficionado and works in a museum dedicated to the art in children’s books is kinda getting really magical…then finding that she spends a few minutes a day putting a fine liner to paper and creating elves…that’s simply enchanting stuff…especially if you get to ask for your very own elf! So how could I resist?

An Elf Child is born

ziggyshortcrust : An Elf Child is born

I came home from work yesterday to find that I now have an elf child, and it would be an understatement to say that it made my day. I might be biased, seeing as she is my elf child… but I think that she has the makings of a real children’s story book character…what do you think?

Make sure you pop over to ziggyshortcrust to see the magic for yourself…Thank you again Ziggy!

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A Fish With A Smile

Was just thinking about evocative images, and remembered an illustrator whose whimsical drawings I fell in love with some years ago.

This Taiwanese award-winning short film, based on a book written and illustrated by Jimmy Liao, won best short film at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2006.

Although the film shown here has Chinese subtitles, it’s so beautifully brought to life by the music and illustration that I don’t think you need any particular language for it to move you.



marc johns : this is a stick

this is a stick

I love this drawing, it reminds me of when I was in primary school. At play time, I could often be found squatting among the trees at the bottom of the playground with my best friend, playing with small twigs. Digging moats in the mud, weaving walls and fences, imagining houses out of sticks. Immersed in a world of possibilities where very little was needed to achieve big things.

As an adult, it is easy to become limited by reality and I forget to dream most days. This simple drawing reminds me of something bigger than just myself and my circumstances. Make of it what you will……but whatever situation you’re in right now, think outside of just yourself, see if you can’t be inspired!

I hope you have a meaningful week…

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Urban Sketchers

Urban Sketchers

Be inspired!

I stumbled across this site over a year ago now and was completely inspired! I fancied that one day I might do my own urban sketching…one thing at a time though!

There is no shortage of beautiful sketches of interesting places here as well as links to a whole world of people who are sharing sketches on Flickr and Facebook.

Perhaps you are an urban sketcher of sorts? Or maybe this will help inspire you to pick up a pencil or pen and give your take on the world around you.  Just don’t spend too long browsing. Get sketching!