Sunday, 31 May 2015

More Digging

I keep saying that I am not going to dig out any more borders in this garden and then I seem to find my self digging again.  This time I have been lowering the level of the soil near the house wall as it was above the damp course.  My little builder friend is going to make me a nice wall to retain the lawn, which was already several inches higher than the existing path that was once there. You might be able to see the old bricks we are going to recycle in the background behind the trellis.

It took me all day on Saturday to clear this bit and I ran out of steam so there is a nice pile of turf which needs something doing with it.  I wheelbarrowed all the soil around to the front garden to a section where I have dug out all the plants to create a link between an existing lawn and a new one which is waiting to be turfed - and has been waiting for around a year now.

The tall fir tree thing near to the house was home to a nest full of dunnocks, but we suspect that the squirrel may have had them as the nest is now empty and I do not think they have had time to fledge properly since the last time I looked in and they were there.

In addition to all this activity, I have badly bruised a finger on my right hand and also my thumb has sustained slight damage too whilst sawing wood.  The reason for this is that DH threw a pile of branches that needed cutting up behind the aforesaid pile of bricks as they were annoying him.  I was incensed and decided, as I had just cleared the area and tidied it up, that I had better get the saw out (in between digging you understand) and cut up all the wood into logs and store them away in my hut.  It was my fault it was there in the first place as I had chopped off a load of branches several weeks ago from some of the Hazel trees in the dell.  Since then I have either not had the time or the weather has not been right for me to do anything about them.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Berrington Hall (2)

On Saturday I found the lovely texture above in the drying area for the Laundry in the Walled Garden.  I assume it was an old 'copper' for heating water in the laundry.  It was planted up with lavender.

This one was a water tank in the corner of the main walled garden.  I just loved the seam down the centre.  Looks like stitching.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Berrington Hall

Tayberry flowers

As it was a lovely sunny day on Saturday we decided to have a day out.  I have wanted to go to Berrington Hall for a while and it excelled my expectations.  We started with a tour of the below stairs area which was fascinating, then we went around the walled garden with its wonderful potting shed.

A trio of cans in the Potting Shed

Back to the house for a look around inside.  The costumes on display were amazing.  Some were replicas and others were originals from their collection.  There was a patchwork quilt out on display too.  Downstairs costumes from 'Sense and Sensibility' by Jane Austen are displayed and upstairs we found a room which displays the workbooks, patterns, costings, etc for one of the dresses on display.  The current day cost to reproduce the dress (excluding labour) was around £500.

We had a lovely walk in the grounds which took us across meadow, through a wood and around the lake.  Herons nesting on the island were making a lot of noise.  Plenty of goslings and ducklings about on the lake and lots of wildflowers.  We seemed to spend an awful lot of time in the tea rooms, but that is one of the problems of going somewhere with DH.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Alphabet Printing

I did a bit more to the A3 page of Alphabet print blocks yesterday and was quite pleased with the result.  I added oil pastels in several colours and then used my Inktense blocks to add a colour wash over the top.  I am quite pleased with what I achieved.  I have always liked the resist that occurs when you use oil pastels, and also wax crayons, when they are covered with a watery wash.

Friday, 22 May 2015

It's been one of those weeks ....

It all started on Wednesday when the builder discovered that overnight one of his buckets had leaked water through the floor into the ceiling of the downstairs cloakroom.  It is now drying out, but has left a horrid watermark which will need to be covered up before we repaint the ceiling and wall.

Yesterday I was messing about with the Alphabet Print Blocks I had borrowed and decided to attempt printing on fabric.  It does help if you try out the length of the words and check you have the blocks in the correct order before you start.  Spot my mistakes below .....

There is now no 'N' in Journal and I could not fit all of the word 'Travelling' on the bag.  On looking at the photograph you could assume that the 'N' was a deliberate mistake bridging the two words together and hinting at 'Trevelling Journal'.

Today's 'faux pas' was putting a new T-shirt in with a white wash.  I had put a colour catcher in with the load, however, I discovered that some of the items in there have now got a decidedly creamy/pink tinge to them.  Ah well it could have been much worse I guess.

On the upside I collected three forks from the blacksmith this morning and he has put a new handle on one for me and straightened the very bent prongs on the other two.  What a man!!  I have no excuse not to get on with some gardening now.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Print Blocks

This morning I had to fill in some time whilst the electrician was here fitting an extra double socket in my workroom so I thought I would play with the alphabet print blocks I have currently got on loan from Worcester branch of the Embroiderers' Guild.  There is just a small fee of £1 to borrow them for a month and I have had them several weeks now and done nothing with them.  I was inspired by some work by Jasper Johns.

I used an A3 sketchbook and printed the letters in three different colours.  I will probably add a wash next, or perhaps some wax or oil pastels over parts of it to help retain some colour.  You are not supposed to notice that two letters are missing - 'Z' and 'Q' ....  I could only work with what I had and did intend making the second 'O' into a 'Q' somehow.

Jasper Johns Alphabets

Monday, 18 May 2015

Winter Leaves

At long last I have finished this 5" square for something Worcester branch of the Embroidrers' Guild is putting together.  It was meant to be finished for the May meeting, but I missed the deadline.  The leaves were created using dissolvable fabric and snippets of sheer and silk fabrics.  The background is an offcut from some curtains I made which seemed appropriate and adds interest.

The reason this all got finished was that the builder has been today and I could not get on with anything else I need to be doing.  He has prepared the walls ready for skimming in my workroom amd chased out for a double socket near to the window so I will have more than enough electrical points now when I am ready to do some work up there.  He is back tomorrow to do the actual plastering work so perhaps I will get on with my Yorkshire Travelling Journals ....

Sunday, 17 May 2015

They are like buses .....

I have had no Yorkshire Travelling Journals to do for what seems an age and then what happens .... two arrive at once and I have to send one back to Yorkshire by next Friday!!  Not too worry, I will get it done.
Front Cover of No 1
Back Cover of No 1

Some of us have had to create a new Journal for this year as the old ones were bulging with the wonderful work done by everyone over the past two years.  The cover above, although of simple construction, made my heart sing with the riot of colour and simple use of decorative stitches to hold it together.
Cover of Journal No 2
Another very effective cover using the minimum of materials and stitch.  My dear friend who made this has broken a finger on her right hand, but she has managed to do the entries in both books now that her finger has got a splint on it and stopped hurting so much!!  I wish I could say that was the only reason for the Journals being late, she does have a tendancy to over commit herself and then runs out of time.  Naughty .... Naughty  A fault she is well aware of and promises to resolve to no avail.
Fly Leaf of No 2

Whilst up in Yorkshire earlier in the year the same friend and I played with her new Gelli Plate and the fly leaf above was one of the pieces of paper we made.  Fantastic to see it being put to good use.  There were also some offcuts used on the next two pages in the journal where she had written a little bit of text alongside, together with her name and address in case the books goes astray.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Doodle Birds

Two burly men came to fit a window in my some-time-to-be workroom-cum-studio this morning so I made the most of the time and had a doodle in my sketchbook using a picture of a blue tit I had ripped from an old calendar.

I did a pencil sketch first, then I used my Inktense Blocks to draw the coloured bird.  I love drawing with Inktense pencils and blocks.  It is so exciting when you overlay colours and then get out a paintbrush and add water.

I should really practice more as my drawing improves no end when I do.

Mood is also an important factor when sketching.  I did these quick little drawings a few days ago because I was intrigued by a poem I found in a book of poems from the Underground.  I had to use several bird books to get an idea of what Long Tailed Tits look like and did not come up with anything I was happy with.

The Long Tailed Tits that come into our garden look like lollipops on long sticks, nothing like what the books depicted them as.  Of course, they are not really from the Tit family at all.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Travelling Journals

As I have not posted the contents of any of the Yorkshire Travelling Journals recently I have found a couple of entries from the last round.  We have now started the third round and should exchange them on 22 May.  Unfortunately one person has had to drop out due to family and work commitments and another has not been able to participate during the past few months but should be back to a bit of stitching and creativity later in the year.  However, there are still nine of us.

Simple and very effective, just what is needed.  This one is from 2013.

Inspiration from a book
 Loved this piece.  Also from 2013.  It reminded me of a map.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Masked Invader

Quite a few of my friends know that I dislike these grey furry things with a vengance as they have done untold damage to our house in the past, eat all the birdfood I put out, wreck all the birdboxes in the garden and are a blasted nuisance.

I had to laugh then when I saw this advertisement recently for a well known company showing a grey squirrel in a red cape and mask.  Guess he could be a 'Flying squirrel'?

Bright and Blousey

These flowers have opened up this week.  I am assuming they are some type of azalea as it is a very small shrub.  It has flourished since we moved in and took down a huge tree that was overshadowing it.

The other plant that is thriving now it has more light and I have taken the time to train it up the fence, is this clematis.  It was a weedy twig when we moved in and now it has lots and lots of flowers.

You have to feel sorry for those poor people who are attending Malvern Spring Flower Show this week because all it has done is rain and the forecast for the weekend does not seem to be much better.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Winter Leaves

I spent some more time working on my 5" square of Winter Leaves yesterday and these are my first three samples ....

The first one is made from snippets of sheer and silk fabric trapped between two layers of dissolvable fabric.  I think it was Romeo.  I then stitched the veins with a cream machine embroidery thread, followed by a Madeira metallic thread.

The second leaf had a piece of lovely scrim in the centre together with snippets, but it really has not worked as it is too solid.

Leaf three is just simple machine stitching using two different Madeira threads, one after the other.  I need to practice more on this one, but I think I will be going back to making some more of Leaf one when I get another window of free time.  I am afraid it is back to filling and painting skirting boards again today.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Out and About

It is amazing what you come across here when you are least expecting it.  I popped out this morning to pick up some cinema tickets and had a couple of other jobs to do at the same time and this is what I found ....

Looks like someone has been out 'Yarn Bombing' again!!  It is the Malvern Flower Show starting tomorrow after all.  Poor old Elgar is looking at something decidedly fishy.  It did prompt me to pop into the Bluebird Tearooms (located just across the road from the Elgar statue) though to see the textile exhibition that features the work of several people I know.  Well worth dropping in to see and the bonus is that they serve fantastic coffee, tea and cakes.

 Some of the fishy goings on ....

Even Malvina got decorated.  I think there is a Well Dressing event going on too.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Winter Leaves

I have been trying to produce a 5" square of embroidery based on Winter Leaves without much success to date, mainly due to lack of time.  This was a print I managed to make from a holly leaf impressed into a Formy Block and then inked up.  It was given a wash of acrylic paint mixed with some glazing medium to see if I could get a decent background.  I could not get it to print on fabric very well so shall have to try something else.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Rock Art

I have been looking at the carvings made on stones in wild places recently and actually got round to getting out my Gelli plate as well as creating various methods of printing images ready to start to do some work.
I made two print blocks from funky foam stuck onto a piece of card with double sided tape for the print above.  I printed both from the Gelli plate direct and the inked funky foam blocks.

This was a more ghostly print using the same method.

I patiently cut out a stencil from a piece of stencil card (I think it must be sealed with linseed oil as it has a lovely smell). These images have been rollered with a soft foam roller onto paper in my sketchbook, but I should have remembered to be careful not to go over the edges of the piece of card which has created lines where I did not want them.
Next I rollered an image onto a piece of fabric upon which I had already couched a spiral using some textured wool and I quite like this combination.  Lots more ideas to try yet ... as usual just need some play time.