Thursday, 6 April 2017

Hello again.

I feel as if I am just coming up for air and have spent a pleasant hour or so in the garden today rediscovering the edges of the lawn.  What a difference that makes to the look of it.

While sorting through my husband's things and disposing of them among the family and further afield, I was amazed at how much there was to do.   I decided to give my own possessions the same treatment.   There have been many journeys to the tip, recycling centre, charity shops, and elsewhere, and the house looks beautifully clear and tidy.  I was almost ashamed at the amount of 'stuff' we had both accumulated during the past 35 years.  It definitely pays to move house more frequently.

I had decided not to make any big decisions for some months, but heard of a small flat in a very nice complex for retired people in our little town.  I went to see it and fell in love with it straight away though the time was not right for me and anyway it was soon snapped up.   However, there is a strong possibility that another will soon be on the market, so fingers crossed.   The flats are so conveniently placed for all amenities and have their own beautiful gardens, and I will still be close to my family.

After all the clearing, tidying and sprucing up, I put the house on the market last week and accepted an offer two days ago!   Things are moving fast but fortunately my purchasers are happy to wait and I am under no pressure.

It will be so good not to have stairs or so much house to care for, and a lovely garden to enjoy without the need to get out and keep it looking good myself.   I thought I would hate leaving my garden but the energy levels are not what they were and it requires ever more effort to keep it looking loved.

I think my wonderful family will have earned a rest once I am resettled.   They have worked so hard clearing the garage, two sheds and carting all the stuff away to charity shops, etc., for me.  I can't thank them enough.

When moving day eventually arrives there will be far less to cope with and the whole event should be much easier.

I'll keep you posted as to how things are going.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Southmead Hospital.

I want to sing the praises of all levels of staff at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, particularly in these very difficult times for the NHS.

My husband spent three weeks there early last year, another week in December and a final fortnight more recently.  He died peacefully this morning having received continuing wonderful care from all levels of staff throughout the year.   The last few days have been made so much easier by their level of dedication and kindness, far beyond the call of duty.

My heart is full.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Season's Greetings.

Wishing all my lovely friends on Blogger a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

This and that.

It's amazing what comes to light when you have a clear out.   I was sorting through a box of bits and came across these monoprints.  Nothing special, but I could draw into them to sharpen up the shapes and make them more interesting.   They might be useful for making collages.

The two top ones here are on fabric and have turned out quite nicely.  The ones on paper need help.

The paper napkin has no relation to the other pieces but was at the bottom of the box and too pretty to be missed out.  Again, useful for collage.

The three pieces on the left are the actual print blocks and might look good with a touch of gilding cream.

Perhaps the next book will be made up of collages.  Food for thought.

Keep warm on this beautiful, but very cold winter day.  There is obviously warmth in the sun as the fences and shed roofs are all steaming as it thaws the frost where it shines.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Another book.

I have always liked and admired the work of William Morris and did a project on it some years ago.  I have 2 or 3 books about him and recently looked through them after receiving a pack of 5" squares of patchwork fabric in some of his designs.   I decided to use some of them to make this book and in a few cases managed to match the border fabrics with my chosen designs.

Here I photocopied an example of his calligraphy.  He created designs for wallpaper, tapestries and furniture as well as fabrics.

I made the cover from left over pieces, many of which are the same design in different colourways.
It is edged with a soft blue fabric.

The lining for the cover has quotations from the man himself written on strips of plain fabric and stitched between the patterned ones.  'Have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful'.  And 'My work is the embodiment of dreams in one form or another'.

The backgrounds for each page are some of my eco-dyeing experiments which give the book a nice aged look, as if it has been lying in the back of a cupboard for 100 years, which is probably what it will do for the next 100!

I drew each design onto a separate piece of fabric which had Bondaweb applied to the back of it and gesso on the front.  I then added colour with Derwent pencils - Coloursoft and Inktense - before cutting out the design and bonding it onto the page.  Stitching was then added round each design and to hold and add definition to patterned strips sometimes matching the drawn design, at the edge of the page.

When everything was complete the pages were then bonded together back to back and then edged with an automatic machine stitch on which I worked raised chain band to give a nice firm border.

I just have to finish the cover, bind in the pages, and decide whether it needs a closure or not

There was lots of lovely relaxing hand stitching in the making of it.   The next one might be filled with ancient doors - I have found some lovely inspirational ones on Pinterest.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

And About Time Too!!

I have had these photos on my camera for about a fortnight and have only just got round to putting them on my blog.   Where does the time go?    Here are the remaining pages of my book started on Frances Pickering's late summer workshop.   Harebells above and barn owl below.

Poor old badger looks as if he is being clouted with a lump of wood in my clumsy attempt to make it look like a fallen dead tree, under which he has built his sett.
Gold finch on teasel.


A worm's eye view of mushrooms.

A fox out hunting - the page is much darker than it seems here.

Harvest mouse.

Wild strawberries.

Somewhat regimented bee orchids.

I had great fun making this little book and was brave enough to draw directly on to most of the pages.  For the more difficult subjects I drew on a separate piece of paper then cut out my drawing and stuck it onto the book page.  This was necessary for the birds and animals.

I am starting on a new fabric book working with the designs of William Morris.  Lots of hand stitching, which gives a welcome break from the on-going task of clearing the garden for the winter.  I am gradually winning, but it is slow work as energy is in short supply but I am keen to do it.

I hope you have all had a share of the glorious weather we have had recently, even if only half a day at a time.  However, the dew is so heavy that I am waiting for the grass to dry before I can cut it, even though we haven't had any rain to speak of for some days.  If it gets too long I shall need a scythe, or maybe a couple of sheep.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Nose to the Grindstone.

Last weekend I had a wonderful time on one of Frances Pickering's workshops.  This year's theme was Town or Country.  As you will see I chose Country.  It was held at Hawkwood College, near Stroud.  On Friday night I fell asleep listening to the owls hooting. 
On Saturday morning we awoke to quite a thick mist blotting out quite a bit of the beautiful views from the house.
These were the views from my bedroom window.

We started work straight away on the Friday afternoon and evening.  I made up a little book ready to be filled with drawings.  I was determined to draw on this weekend and to make the most of every minute.  Above is the cover.

And here is the centre spread.  I think it needs a bit more work to make it more obvious that it is an overhanging bank with a fallen tree in the foreground.

I made a hole in one page and then added others to create the view seen through the hole.

I have kept this tawny owl feather since finding it ages ago on our back lawn.  I plucked up the courage to draw what I hope looks like a tawny owl - again this page needs more work.

On my return home I spotted this little coronet of cherry blossom on one of the branches recently cut back on our tree.  Other little bits of blossom are appearing in several other places.  Poor old tree - it is supposed to be dying but still manages to surprise us.   Another lovely surprise on returning home - neighbours whose garden backs on to ours have got rid of a very ugly leylandii hedge and replaced it with a beautiful new tall fence!   It makes such a difference to the garden.

I have plenty of other pages to work on in the book and want to try out quite a few adventurous (for me) ideas for them.  I mustn't get carried away by my enthusiasm!