Thursday, 24 October 2013

Fruity Prints

In between dodging the rain and the never ending job of stripping the hall door frames and sanding the doors (which have now been returned from being stripped) I have been playing about with some of the windfall crab apples (?) from the garden.

I tried cutting them in half, quarters and across the middle.  I also inked up a leaf and made prints from both it and the image left on the roller.  Some are acrylic ink, some textile printing ink and, as a last resort, good old thick bleach.

The halved apples did not work very well for some reason, although I do like the ones below.

All were printed on Cotman watercolour paper and the background of most is good old walnut ink which has been begging to be used up for what seems ages

I did rub some leaves with wax crayons too using a thinner paper.  These then had an ink wash over them.

Black Textile Ink on Paper

Textile Ink on Fabric
Finally a quick drawing

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Autumn Colours

There are two Amelankiers in our garden one at the front and one at the back, although the one at the back has been damaged by a bonfire at some time in its not too distant past.  Both of them have changed colour this last week and look splendid when the sun shines on them (?) - what sun you might say.  Do not think the leaves will last for much longer as the wet and windy weather is blowing them off.

We also have a huge crop of apples which I am assuming are either crab or cider apples.  I tasted one today to see if it was edible and it was so sour  ...
Last year the Redstarts ate them when the weather got cold, but there is rather a lot on the ground already.  The squirrel has been busy burying the acorns and I have heard either a redstart or fieldfare about.  Earlier in the week we had two herons landed in the trees just up the stream.  They are beautiful to look at but I do not really want them coming and catching all the trout in the stream.  There seems to be a lot of young trout this year and it would be a shame if they were eaten.

Golden Rain Tree

When a friend came to stay not too long ago she discovered that one of my neighbours has a rather unusual tree in their garden which had lots of pods on it.  I have now collected some of them and have been trying to draw them.  Here are some photographs of the pods from the Koelreuteria paniculata.  The pods contain small black seeds the size of a pea and I have now sown some in compost and put them outside to see what happens.You can probably see why I wanted to draw them, there are such lovely shapes inside them.

Friday, 18 October 2013


Looks like some of us in the class have now got our heads around what we are meant to be doing.  We were very confused last week.  Having finally got all my pieces of paper cut out correctly I now had to stitch them all together, and as we are doing leather binding it had to go on a frame over string.

This is my signatures trapped between two boards after they have been in the book lying press and I have used a Backing Saw to put the grooves in the spine ready for the stitching.  The end ones are cut straight and the middle ones are a 'V' shape.  Because, in my stupidity, I originally cut my paper with the grain going the wrong way it made my life very difficult when it came to this bit.

The sections are now laid in the stitching frame with the strings in place ready to start stitching all the signatures together  -  this morning before going to class I had to make some hasty modifications to my homemade frame as it's base was not really wide enough.  It now seems to work fine.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Apron Strings

As my Denim Muji Apron has almost got a hole through it because I have been wearing it whilst stripping paint from doors, skirting boards and architraves I tried to obtain another one.  At first I was not successful so decided to make a new one myself.  It is just a piece of cheap calico but I have added these little chaps to the pocket - one to represent my stitching and the other bookbinding ....

As always the scraps used to make these little creatures were out of my ragbag .... some of which dates back to my first year at Harrogate College when we acquired a bin liner full of items at a Jumble Sale to be washed and recycled for use in our work.

A great idea which cost us all something like 50p as they were leftover items that nobody wanted at the end of the Jumble Sale!

The blue bird is a scrap leftover from some Indigo dyeing.

The good news is that a very dear friend has now got me a new Muji apron from Covent Garden so I have lots of choice when I need to get covered up.  Perhaps better keep this one away from the paint stripper.

Sunday, 13 October 2013


I may have blogged this before, I just find the whole building fascinating.  This is the side wall of the Charity Shop.
These tiles are along the frontage of the building and appear to be bits of tiles put back together in the form of patchwork.  Above them are a row of plaster and paint sunflowers.  Amazing.

Letter O

This is also from Presteigne, being part of a stained glass window in a magnificent building which houses a charity.

Letter P

We went to Presteigne on Saturday to see some of the cars taking part in the VSCC trial and I found this lovely wing mirror on an old Riley that makes the perfect letter 'P'.  Weather was not too nice but not as bad as back at home in Malvern where it had rained most of the day.  We also managed to pop into the Steppes cafe in Pembridge for lunch too.

Thursday, 10 October 2013


An article in the latest edition of 'Stitch' magazine prompted me get out my sample pack and try this material out.  It is called 'Texture Magic' in the article, but the sample pack calls it 'Shrink Polyester'.  I used natural fibres and cotton thread and have now dyed the piece.  Left to right - I stitched circles, random zigzag and straight stitches and finally vermicelli. You then hold the steam iron over the work until it shrinks by approximately 30%.  I then joined the samples together to form a mini quilt and the dyed piece will go into one of the Travelling Journals I am participating in.

I have also been making a calico apron to replace my rather worn out Muji denim one which is developing a hole in it where I keep wiping my paint scraper on it, plus a couple of drawstring bags to store the Travelling Journals in.  I have just received another Yorkshire Travelling Journal in the post and it is wonderful filling me with the enthusiasm I need to get on with some proper stitching instead of messing about.  Unfortunately the next few days will be taken up with household tasks that must be done as the boiler is getting serviced and - at long last - the bedroom, bathroom and ensuite are getting some flooring laid.  It might start to look like a real house now instead of a 'WIP'!!

Letter Q

This looks like a wonderful painting but is actually the waterspout of the Malvinha fountain in the centre of Malvern.  I cropped it in Photoshop to make it look like the Letter 'Q' - inspired or what?

Friday, 4 October 2013


Back to being boring with the Letter 'R'.  This is part of the supports for a bench located at Malvern Link Railway Station and is actually GWR - Great Western Railway.  Exploring the alphabetical possibilities of the station kept a friend and I amused whilst we awaited the train to Hereford recently.  The other passengers on the platform probably thought we were mad!  How right they were ....


Decided I needed to think a bit more out of the box on this Alphabet Challenge I have set myself so collected up some of the millions of acorns on the back lawn and made a letter 'S'.

Thursday, 3 October 2013


Woke up to find what looked like an army of busby clad soldiers marching across the lawn.  There were at least 18 or 19 of them.  They are both comical and beautiful in their own way and something seems to like eating holes in them.  They are short lived and will soon be nothing but a black slimey mess on the lawn.

These are the second flush of them we have had.  There were far fewer of the first ones.  In addition, there are some other flatter orangey red ones which must taste better as they are nibbled all over.


This week I have been trying to make some progress on the hall and landing and have been stripping paint off the skirting boards and architraves ready for them to be painted by DH.  It is a horrid job, but I have decided once it is done I can forget about it and get on with more interesting things.

Inbetween the stripping I found some scraps of pelmet vilene just crying out to be made into postcards so I have done three to date which will eventually be sent to some of my friends as a surprise in the post.  I have not made any for such a long time and really enjoy doing them.

This dandelion is not finished and needs all its threads clipping for sewing in.

This second card was using up lots of scraps of bondaweb and pieces of fabric, something I do not usually do and is a bit out of my comfort zone.

This last one was just using up an old scrap of dyed fabric and some threads that were lying around.