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Thursday, 7 June 2018

New Fabric & Other Things


I went shopping the other day and as well as coming home with two new plants – a cactus and a succulent - (I’m dangerous when I go shopping; you never know what I’ll come back with!), I bought some lovely new fabric.

Here are the plants, if you’d like to see them:


(I re-potted them in some bigger pots.)

These are the fabrics I’m planning to use in a few new project ideas I have whirling around my head. (I’ve also written them down so I don’t forget!)


I hadn’t planned to buy so many, but when in a fabric shop, I can’t help myself; they’re all so gorgeous and spark beautiful new ideas. It’s the same in a book shop – I have a stack of books waiting to be read – and in art shops and I also have a bit of a weakness for shiny things like beads and jewellery findings. This is why I shouldn’t go to animal shelters: I’d end up bringing the whole lot home. I wouldn’t be able to move for little furry creatures. There’s enough to do looking after one.

I’ve got some feathery creatures in the garden though. A couple of weeks ago, my mother noticed a wren flying back and fore to the ivy around the cherry tree and when I listened a few days later, I heard a riot of tweeting coming from there, like there were chicks competing for food when the adult came back with a beak full. I didn’t want to disturb them at the time, but this week I had a look and found the nest.



It was empty, so the chicks have fledged and I’ve seen three flitting around. They’re tiny! I tried to take a photo of the mother as she left the nest, but ended up with a photo fail, getting just her leg and tail because she hopped off the branch as my finger pressed the button.



 I did manage to get this one though:



 A female chaffinch on the bowl of water I put out for them. She almost looks like she’s smiling to me. Then there was another one perching on a branch:



 And a woodpigeon on a tree:



 It wouldn’t be my usual blog post without some flowers, so, if you haven’t had enough, I’ll leave you with some poppies, an aquilegia and droplets on grass and an aquilegia leaf:









Thursday, 24 May 2018

Wild Nature II


With the wonderful weather we’ve had the last few weeks, I’ve been inspired and more energised to create more textile pieces. I’ve been working on another version of my Wild Nature wall hanging; the one I made before was a bit too small so I had to make it again to my satisfaction. It’s still in the work in progress stage, but here are some shots of its development.

As with the Wild Nature no.1, it began with strips of satin in varying shades of green:

Then I printed organza with a leaf pattern and layered it on top:




And now I’m hand sewing swirls through all layers:




It’s important to me to get this right because

1, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I like to make sure everything is done to the best standard I can achieve, although I’m aware that being a perfectionist can have its downfall in that you can sometimes not want to let something go, to believe that it’s done and done well. I’ve mellowed a bit in the last few years and I’m happy if something is “good enough”. I’m also more inclined to see a problem as a challenge to overcome rather than immediately thinking “it’s not working!” and having a meltdown. But if a line of stitching isn’t straight or isn’t going the right way, I’ll unpick it and do it again, otherwise it will be on my mind all the time. Someone else might not notice, but I’ll know it’s not right!

2, It’s all part of the goal I have for this year. I know I keep mentioning this goal then not telling you much about it, but I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to shout about things until they’re definite. It seems to be coming together at the moment though, so hopefully it won’t be too long before I can tell you everything.

Meanwhile… the flowers are continuing to grow and bloom. The bluebells have chimed…



 …and the tulips have shone with bright colours.






 My aquilegias have unveiled their glory…





 …and this beautiful flower appeared nearby.




I think it’s Cuckooflower, also known as lady’s smock and it’s beautiful, but then I think all flowers are beautiful. 😊🌺🌼

Enjoy the holiday weekend. 

Friday, 18 May 2018

Rusting Away


As promised last week, I spent the weekend preparing an experiment in rusting. If you’ve seen my blog before, you may have seen my trials in this a while ago but this time I’ve used tin cans. I cleaned them up first, of course, then dunked the fabric in vinegar and wrapped it around them.

I also put a few leaves in between the folds of fabric to see if they’d leave an impression or some colour. Hand-picked from my garden, I used the leaves from dandelion, honeysuckle, herb Robert (Geranium robertianum), sycamore, ivy and lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria).
This is how they looked in the middle of the week:





I’ve kept them wrapped for a long time to try to get the best transfer of rust I could and to give the leaves time to do their thing.

After leaving them to dry on the cans, I unwrapped them, gave them a wash and hung them on the line to dry. This is how they looked then, bringing to mind the song about green bottles: “there were six rusted fabrics hanging on the line…..” I just hoped none of them would blow away! With the warm weather, they dried quite quickly.




Here are a few close-ups:





I love the colour that the rust produces on the fabric. It’s colourful yet subtle at the same time and the patterns it creates are unpredictable but always pretty.

The question now is, what am I going to do with the fabric? I’ve got a few ideas floating around in my head and some lovely lace to go with it, some embroidery thread, ribbon and maybe some printed fabric to layer it with.

I don’t know if I’ll have anything made by next week, I’ll have to see how I go, but I have got other works in progress which I’m going to share.

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, 11 May 2018

A Profusion of Flowers


I’ve been absent from my blog for a while. When did I last post? Anyway, I return with lots of things.

First of all, if you remember from the beginning of the year, I was planning to do a drawing every day. Well, I managed for a while but then failed completely. Life just took over and I didn’t have time. Sometimes I didn’t have the energy, sometimes I just didn’t feel like drawing. But that’s ok. I’ve learned in recent years not to be bothered by little things that don’t get done; it’s not worth it. I’ve also learned not to force myself into something because it never works; it ends up being my worst work and something I’m really not happy with.

I’ve been doing a bit of quick sketching in the last few days though and here are the results.


I’ve also been photographing like mad with all the flowers finally coming into bloom. You may have seen them on my social media. At the moment it’s like a cherry blossom explosion! 













The blooms are starting to fall now though and the petals slowly fluttering down are like a snowstorm. They’re carpeting the garden in a profusion of pink. (And the neighbour’s garden too probably.)

I’m extremely proud of these little flowers in particular.




I sowed some wildflower seeds two years ago but only a few actually grew. They didn’t bloom last year so I’m assuming that they’re biennials and it means I’ve only discovered what they are this week. I think they’re Red Campion; I’ve looked in my wildlife book, compared the pictures and that’s the nearest likeness I can find.

I’m going to be doing some experiments in the next week and will be posting the results on social media during the week and here next Friday, so if you’re interested, come along and have a look.

Have a lovely weekend.