My slower blog rate this year so far doesn’t reflect a diminishing creative motivation. No, the ideas are still there and, with the exception of last Wednesday (don’t ask: late boozy night), I have kept to my resolution and have done something creative every day.

There’s a lot going on at the moment. I’ll be 60 in a week and, while I am trying not to see this as a milestone, culturally 60 seems to have become that. Less than a week later (on Valentine’s Day) I am due to have a hernia repaired. Hopefully, this can be done laparoscopically and the recovery time will be quick. But, if it requires more extensive surgery, I’ll be out of action for a while. Work is busy, and I’m due to adjudicate for a few days in Limerick at the end of this week. So, there’s all that. Just a tad too much to think about, really. Add my customary emotional incontinence into the mix and, well … things get tangled. The strands will straighten out eventually (they always do) but they do affect the mood albeit temporarily.

So, this blog has taken a bit of a back seat and the Breakfast blog hasn’t been active since last November.

Every so often, I pick up an avocado stone and try and put a face on it. I’ve described avocado stone carving before. The stone, fresh from the avocado, has a skin on it. A few days drying out loosens this and it peels off with little effort. The seed underneath is, like many seeds, in two parts and they come apart easily, resulting in two canvasses, so to speak. The flesh is soft which makes carving it challenging. I’ve tried letting the seed dry out for a few days more to see if that makes it easier. It does, although blemishes and bruises oxidise quickly and you can get tough bits. To overcome this, I’ve tried shaving the seed a bit to get a more even oxidisation. That seems to work quite well. Anyway, here are some efforts. Looking at them from top left to right, I think I’m getting a bit better. Gruesome-looking though, aren’t they?

Continuing the anatomical theme, I’ve been playing with skulls. It’s still to do with a planned tuna can. They’re more difficult to draw than I thought but, as with all of these things, the more you do the better you get. Theoretically.

I love making boxes and here’s a pillow box, made in black card from a template found on Pinterest.

I bought these beautiful things below from India around Christmas-time last year. They are hand carved (from teak) block printing stamps and they are very attractive to look at.

I’ve been messing with them, using them to print with gold on black card with a varying degree of success. Here’s a few that worked well.

I’ve also been planning more cyanotypes (those blue images from the last post). I bought some items in Sostrene Grene yesterday to create interesting textured images, and I found some lovely jellyfish images that I’ve turned into negatives. I’m also looking at the possibility of using the cyanotype chemicals on used teabags, pebbles and other surfaces to see if I can produce images on them.

I’ve been playing music too. Just over a year ago, my step-mum Jane gave me a ukulele for my birthday. Since I bought a guitar, the ukulele has been rested but I reacquainted myself with it the other evening, and I plan to pay another visit to Ukulele Tuesday in the Stag’s Head soon.

As with most weeks, I’ve also doodled and tinkered and experimented. Sometimes I even surprise myself.

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