Thursday, 31 January 2013

A Feast of Cream

A few more of my embroideries, rescued from the chaos of my work bench and set out on display.  The two circular ones are worked, in various weights of cream perle, on a very rough silk noil, with padded calico applique on the larger one.  The cube is on canvas, using some of my favourite canvaswork stitches and the three dimensional piece is on calico, with a silk noil base.  

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Golden Treasure

My posh snowdrops opened out in the sun today.  I bought one bulb of Wendy's Gold from the RHS garden at Wisley a few years ago.  The delightful plant has obligingly, if slowly, increased every season since.  This year I have a group of four flowers all showing the same beautiful golden markings.
Wendy's Gold was first found by Bill Clark on the site of an Iron-age fort.  It was brought into cultivation by Joe Sharman, another galanthophile and a nursery owner.  He named the plant for Bill's wife.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Balloon Bowl

My work bench gets itself into a real muddle sometimes, so I've spent part of the day un-muddling it.  In so doing I unearthed my 'balloon bowl', made some years ago now, in which I store all sorts of small soft things. The base is calico over papier mache and the surface decoration is partly raised stitches in various shades of cotton perle and partly lace knitting in cotton yarn.  Wrapped cords edge the embroidered sections. 

Monday, 28 January 2013

200 Years

You've endured my OU versifying, so today some prose.  A short piece I wrote for a tutorial last year.  It seems appropriate on the day when Pride and Prejudice reaches its two hundredth anniversary.
We were asked to write a character sketch based purely on physical movements and sensory description, mine recalls a time, like Austin's, when young ladies had hours to occupy.


 Her fingers brushed the beautiful fabrics.  Flimsy, gauzy fabrics that gave subtly changing colours when laid one upon another.  Emily’s fingertips gloried in the feel of such finery.  She knelt, heart pounding, at the table on which the chiffons and silks lay, regretting, as she did so, the rough texture of her own linen skirts.  The faintly perfumed aroma, unique to fabrics of this quality, filled her senses. 
Startled by a sound outside the room, she jumped to her feet, smoothing her starched apron and feeling her cheeks burn hotly red. She shouldn’t be in this room.  This was the room where the young ladies of the house spent their free time, fashioning such tiny fripperies as were necessary in their world.
She had no free time, her world didn’t allow it.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Garden Birds

Spent an hour this weekend completing the Big Garden Birdwatch.  I do it every year and usually manage to tick most of the boxes.  Except I'm never sure about dunnocks and we hardly ever see a starling now. 

This year was unusual in that we have no long-tailed tits as yet.  Most years a whole gang of them arrive together and set about pecking the lichen on my old quince tree.  Maybe the colder weather has held them back this year.

As well as our usual tally of blue tits, bullfinch, goldfinch, magpies, robins and doves, the woodpecker and jay put in a timely appearance.  Sadly our visiting pheasant arrived to late to be counted!

atop three,
one under,
arrangement of pigeons
in a birch tree,
waiting out the falling snow

Two more,
next door,
seen only when
I shift my

Three now,
four under
re-huddle, re-shuffle
two who had flown
are now come back.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Where Did all the Snow Go?

Overnight rain has washed all the magic from my garden.  They do say, if a little snow remains after a thaw, then it's waiting for more to come.  That was certainly the case ten days ago, but this time it's different.  The tiny patches left now don't look at all promising.

So faced with a dry day and soil which is cold, but not frozen I've spent a few hours spreading manure around my roses.  This is good thing for three reasons.  It kept me close to the warmth of the house - all our roses are on the front and side walls.  I was able to source the manure while it's still on a discount - our local supplier's offer finishes at the end of the month.  The roses really need a boost, they're not overly fond of our soil and I failed to find time to pamper them in this way last year.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Another Treasure

Another of the very early daffs flowering in my tiny greenhouse at the moment.  This one is called romieuxii and is a beautiful pale lemon colour.  Like cantabricus it is a native of Morocco.

Today's poem comes from an activity in which we were given a long list of wierd titles and asked to write to a few of them.  The one I chose first was 'What the Cow Thought About the Rain'.  My inspiration was the old country belief that cows sit down when rain is on the way.

There’s a smell in the air,
a change in the light.
A promise of rain
that just might

I’ll first choose my spot,
safe under that tree.
Then race there,
who wins?

Ruminating, while sitting
on my warm dry grass.
Waiting among daisies
for the shower to

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Some I Made Earlier

Sticking with the loo roll theme from yesterday I've collected together a few of my tiny containers.  One is still plain calico, waiting to be embroidered.  Others are gesso and zapped 'xpandy paste'.

Our snow is slowly melting, it's reached that in between state where the magic has gone, but the muckyness has not yet arrived. 

Watching a Jay moving around my garden, this morning, I found myself versifying.  Not for an OU assignment, just for my own amusement.  I clearly have too much time on my hands!

Hopping, not stopping, chasing a worm.
Gliding, not hiding, above the snow.
Standing, after landing, in the bare leafed bush
Not whistling, but listening in the morning’s glow.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Snow Time

Woke up this morning with an idea for my next embroidery project.  Having all this snow on the ground seemed like an excellent excuse to make a start right away.  I'd been feeling a little guilty about not spending much time on my stitching.

I've raided all my fabric and thread stashes and put together a spring palette, which I hope to make into a small installation using ideas developed in my West Dean course with Michael Brennand-Wood.

On a 'craft' note, another one of my A215 poetry gems.  We were asked to write about an ordinary household object - for reasons having to do with size I chose a loo roll!

Cylinder of card,
versatile now disrobed
My son will
have you
red crepe wrapped.
My daughter,
an angel,
doily clothed.

more practical,
a starter home
both broad and runner,

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Hidden Treasure

One of the bulbs flowering in my tiny greenhouse at the moment is a very early, very lovely, daffodil called cantabricus.

Whilst whizzing through the poetry section for A215 I came across one or two activities that I thought I might enjoy.  This little verse arrived when we were asked to write in 'another voice'.  The voice is of the blossom on my Prunus autumnalis, subjected to the very low temperatures we've had overnight this week.

So cold, last night.
Stars fearsome bright,
clear points of light.
Frost creeping over us, hurts
stiffening pink frilly skirts

Monday, 21 January 2013

Blue Monday?

The third Monday in January has always been voted the most depressing day of the year, but this year it falls on the 21st, which means we are already one month on from the shortest day.  That's got to be a cheering thought.  So maybe not so depressing this year!  My new year resolution was to blog more often, maybe today should be the start.

We're snowed in, but that's OK.  We're well stocked and the enforced rest has given me time to catch up with my OU work.  My TMA came back, with a higher mark than I expected, so I've decided to whizz through the poetry section, surprisingly I've managed one or two reasonably interesting short poems in response to a few of the activities.

I ventured down the snow covered back garden today to check on my greenhouses.  All is well, everything is surviving and some of the early bulbs are even flowering despite the freeze.