Monday, 23 June 2014

New beginnings.

The idea for a new mixed media book came to me just before I went on holiday so I was able to sketch out a few ideas while I was away.   I am fascinated by runes which are an early type of alphabet.   At first I thought I would make the book historically correct and very rustic with each character formed from little pieces of driftwood.  Sadly there was nothing suitable on the beach near our holiday bungalow.  I then decided to have fun and place each runic character onto a colourful medieval style background and started to draw them instead.  Should they be on a plain background with decorative border or placed directly onto the patterned background?  Should they all be the same size and shape?

If they are going to have a medieval style background why not give them zoomorphic heads and tails?
The ideas keep coming and things keep changing.

 In the set of runes I am using there are 28 characters and I am working on seven different shapes for the backgrounds, using four of each.   I am enjoying myself choosing colours and designs for them.  The four coloured ones above are completed but those little quarter inch squares seem to get smaller the longer I spend working on them!

These are ready for further embellishment.   I had thought of woven ribbons and hand stitching to make them, but couldn't find the right colours in the widths I wanted, and that could have been very fiddly.

The background shapes will be cut out and may have a gold border - the runic characters will probably be cut out of gold card or gold painted paper and placed on top.   The next question is - should the runes be small enough to fit inside the background or allowed to stray over the edges?   The designs are evolving and decisions are being made as I go along.   I usually like to be able to visualise the finished article before I start work but I couldn't wait for that to happen this time.  

It has been so humid today that I have hibernated - my body seems to want to stop functioning in humid conditions.  Thankfully our house is beautifully cool with doors and windows open and curtains drawn on the sunny side.  The garden is as dry as a bone in spite of having been watered and on Thursday, when heavy showers are forecast for this area, it will sigh a grateful sigh of relief.  I might even go out and play in it myself.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

A Father's Day Treat?

I was sitting up in bed on Sunday morning, enjoying my first cuppa of the day at about 7.45am, when I heard the unmistakable sound of a hot air balloon's gas burners.   I looked out of the window and it obligingly came into view.
It seemed to be losing height rapidly and disappeared behind the roof of the house opposite us.  I hope, if it was a Father's Day treat, that he had started off really early to make it worthwhile.   I also hope he found a safe place to land as in that direction there is the A38, a plant nursery full of glass houses, a quarry and then the M4 to avoid.  At least he would have got home in time for a good breakfast!   There has been nothing in the local news about an emergency landing so I assume all is well.

It was a case of 'sun stopped play' today.  I had planned a lot of gardening jobs but the heat defeated me.  I did quite a bit out there but had to keep coming indoors to cool off.   However, the washing dried so all was not lost, and there is always tomorrow.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

At last!

At last it has been warm enough on a free day to sit outside and christen the new garden table and chairs.  They fit into this little corner quite well.   

When I went away last week I took a bag of bits and pieces with me to play with in case the weather was bad.  I had no idea what I was going to do with them and just fished random items out whose colours blended nicely, then doodled with needle and thread.  I did everything by eye and nothing was planned.  It was fun and I was not constrained by any preconceived ideas.  I don't know what to do with it now - it might become a page for another book and that will mean having the pleasure of making some more pages - I have loads more bits which need using. The colours are quite vibrant and stronger than they appear here.

I have a couple of ideas for very different books buzzing around in my head - nothing definite yet but I'll take some pics as soon as there is anything to show you.   Trust me to get ideas when the garden is crying out for my attention.

Monday, 9 June 2014

A pebbly, stony, rocky post!

The weather was very deceptive - warm sun, cool breeze - lulling us into a false assumption that we wouldn't get burnt.  Luckily we were sufficiently covered and no harm was done.  The pathways to the beach are full of flowering plants - wild geraniums, tiny cream roses, vetches, gorse and many more.
We were entertained by Poppy trying frantically to dig a hole in soft dry sand.  It kept her busy for ages.
The water was too cold for swimming but a fairly deep paddle was most beneficial.

 I took this photo halfway up the hill from the beach when we walked up and paused for a much needed rest - it was like the side of a house.

Just across the road was this plot of land up for development.  It had once been a little quarry.  A great spot for a house but I wouldn't fancy taming the garden.

We could see this ruin from 'our' beach across the bay and had to go for a closer look.   It is known as the Old Salt House and back in the 1750s salt was produced here and shipped out to other parts.  It also has connections with smuggling.

There were all sorts of nooks and crannies, and little walkways.  I think that is my daughter taking a photo of me, taking a photo of her, through that tiny window!

I love these little plants growing out of the walls. 
Another little bay - there are so many round here.
Look at that lovely blue sky - perhaps it is just as well that it didn't stay longer!

We watched this heron fishing for his lunch - he had to be very patient.

And to our surprise and delight we spotted this lovely chap as the tide came in.   Yes, that little blob in the middle of my photo is a seal.  He stayed for a long time and was joined by another.

Above the fields which border the bay was this lovely wooded footpath.  Most of the fields are now campsites for tents and caravans.  The hedgerows are full of birds and all around the edges of the fields we saw rabbits. On one of her explorations my daughter saw a lizard on the path and masses of tiny blue butterflies.  
I love these tangled, windswept little hawthorn trees.

The day before we left The Gower, we decided to go hunting for the standing stones which were marked on our OS map.  There were four or five and we thought it would be straightforward enough to find them.  My son-in-law had rejoined us so we could drive to them all.   Try as we might, we never did find the first two on the list and a local told us that he thought farmers were not keen to publicise them and have people tramping over their land, even though there were public footpaths to them.  The one here turned out to be the other side of a hedge when we followed the suggested footpath - obviously shy of strangers!
We found Arthur's Stone easily enough and on a large expanse of common land so access was easy.  It looks quite small in my photo but was in fact quite hefty.
I wonder what it looked like hundreds of years ago and whether the stones were more formally arranged.
There was no information available so I must try to find out more about it.  Someone had left flowers among the smaller stones and there was brackish water running under the base of it.

I have tried to limit the number of photos so you don't get bored but couldn't resist including this very large dock leaf which has been turned to lace by some tiny creatures. Ideas for synthetic fabrics and soldering iron.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Happily installed in Welsh Wales!

We had a very good journey down on Saturday, driven by my son-in-law who stayed overnight and went home yesterday.  He will be back later in the week to drive us around to see various places of interest and take us home again.   This is our little courtyard garden complete with solar lanterns on the fence.  The bungalow is very comfortable and well appointed - we just need the weather to perk up a bit at it will be perfect. 
We went exploring as soon as we could and found this lovely sandy beach with rocks and rockpools.   I love beaches that are countryside right down to the sea.  Above is the view to our left -
- and above is the view to our right.   The weather is rather grey but the air is quite warm and soft - not warm enough to swim but a paddle was wonderful.  We had overnight rain but in spite of threatening looking clouds have not actually been rained on yet.
This is my daughter and her husband and Poppy the dog, who has been sitting on my lap while I type this.
There are some wonderful and very varied rocks here - lovely colours and textures, and tiny rivulets across the sand making their way down to the sea.  Lots of sea anemones, mussels, etc., and birds everywhere, and  the walk through the dunes to the beach is a mass of wild flowers.

I love the colours in this rock - pinks, greens, and ochres but they don't show up well in this photo.  If the sun had been shining it might have been better.

Lovely crevices and barnacles adding 'french knots' of texture.

My daughter's labyrinth - I wonder if it will still be there when we return?   Some of the pebbles look quite blue when the sun shines while others are so varied it makes me wonder if stone and rock has been brought in from other areas to build up the beach at some time.

We have been for a walk this morning and are being lazy for the rest of the day having done quite a bit yesterday.  The afternoon will be spent arting and crafting, and possibly the evening too!