Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Treasure Trove.

We are fortunate enough to have an excellent charity bookshop here run by volunteers of the Lions Club, and on my way back from my little walk this morning I popped in.  I found a biography of William Morris by Fiona MacCarthy,  'The sea, the sea' by Iris Murdoch and Susan Howatch's 'A question of Integrity'.   That will set me up for quite a while.   The William Morris book weighs almost 2kg and is 5cms thick!   While reading it I shall count it as exercise!

I have been making books again, but in a very different style from the usual ones.  I take pages out of a no longer wanted book but one that has a strong cover, and cover it with fabric before binding  in my own pages.  The first one has turned out to be a sort of scrapbook, holding bits and pieces too precious to throw away, plus odds and end of pictures of a variety of things I particularly like.  It is not complete yet but is already fatter than it should be.

The second one is a sketchbook full of plain white pages just waiting to be coloured and drawn onto.  I found that I had so many sheets of various papers that it seemed a good way of sorting them out and tidying things up a bit.

 My collection of knitting yarns is gradually diminishing and the pile of Twiddle Muffs for dementia patients is steadily growing.   I must get them finished and off to the hospital.

The shower room is complete and looks so nice.  It is lovely to have everything back to normal again.

I am slowing recovering from the glorious summer weather which just about knocked me out.  I have done things like cleaning windows and ironing during the past week, as well as catching up on lost sleep.  Today is overcast but not sticky, thank goodness, and I have just had to close the window as I felt a bit too cool.

I live in hope of getting rid of the 'wont-post-pictures' gremlin which lives in my laptop and am just waiting for my daughter to stop being so busy before I shout for her help.

Spending time reading the blogs of others is no excuse for not making more frequent blog posts myself but the days and weeks just fly by and become months before I know it.  Maybe I wont leave it so long next time.


Saturday, 28 July 2018

Oh, the relief!!

I woke up to see puddles in the road this morning and by the time I was eating my breakfast I was listening to another heavy shower.   It is comfortably cool today and by the look of the sky, there will be more lovely rain to come.   Sorry to those who wanted a dry weekend, but I am revelling in it.

The plumber has been working his magic and my shower room is looking good already.  He wont be back until Wednesday as B&Q can't deliver the shower panel until then.  First of all it was left off my original order so I had to phone for one.   I had hoped to order and pay for it over the phone but that wasn't possible, so it meant another trip to do that.  Then just when I thought it was sorted, I was told that the one I had ordered was damaged.  Hence the wait for a replacement.  Luckily the plumber isn't going on holiday until the week after next.

I haven't been out for three days and am looking forward to a walk.  I don't even care if I get wet.  I am definitely not a tropical bloom - just a regular wild flower!   If you are still waiting for some rain I hope yours will arrive soon.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Still no pictures.

Today is S-Day.   8.30am and the plumber has just arrived to demolish my shower room and refit it for me.  He is a treasure and answers his phone and turns up when he says he will.  I have been waiting for this day since the end of March, when a plumber I thought I could trust first came to see what needed to be done.  He even went as far as bringing catalogues for me to look through to choose the fittings.  I last saw him toward the end of April when he promised me an estimate after the May bank holiday.   That came and went and I phoned several times but no-one answered, and left messages,  but have not heard from him at all.  My son put me onto this new plumber and I am keeping him a secret - he is too good to share!

I have just learned that the heat is supposed to increase next week.  Where can I hide?  If our heat was not so humid I'd be OK but I wasn't made for these very un-English summers.  The grass everywhere around here is bleached to the colour of hay.   So many times lovely clouds have built up, looking very promising, but they drift by without a drop of rain.   I can't help thinking that farmers and fruit growers will have a bad year this year.

My teddy bears have all been distributed to their new owners as my count of great-grandchildren has risen to 8 this year.   Proud fathers, tired mothers and beautiful babies, and one very happy pair of grandparents as the other two pairs were already grandparents.

Production of the 'twiddle muffs' has been slowed right down owing to the hot weather.  My hands get so sticky,  but I have managed to make a couple of books using a new method of construction.   It does entail murdering a perfectly sound book so some of you may find that a bit much, however I only use those books which no-one wants any more and recycle them.  I have found some very useful tutorials on Pinterest.  I wonder if they offer tutorials on how to cope with these rather extreme conditions.




Friday, 22 June 2018

I can't post pictures again.

I have been busy knitting teddy bears for my three new great-grandchildren.  Two have arrived and the third is due next month.  That applies to the teddy bears too!

 I have also been knitting 'twiddle muffs'.  I had never heard of these until one of my grand-daughters asked me if I would like to make some.  She works with dementia patients at a local hospital.
The muffs are decorated with various knitted textures and then buttons, ribbons, beads and any other interesting items are stitched on to provide something for restless fingers to play with.

I have photos of them all ready to post but cannot get them from the camera onto the laptop.  I shall need the help of my daughter again as soon as she has a spare half-hour.

The muffs have been a godsend during the recent humid weather.  My body seems to shut down and I can't concentrate on anything, so a bit of freestyle knitting was a wonderful excuse for sitting with feet up and all the windows open until things got a bit cooler.  Hayfever hasn't helped.

I must go in search of a few bedding plants tomorrow as slugs have eaten all my petunias.  I don't have a garden as such but there is a tiny bit under my kitchen window which needs brightening up in time for the Britain in Bloom judges and I want to do my tiny bit as one of our residents is a keen gardener and has won several awards for her skill.  Our communal garden is lovely and her efforts are much admired and appreciated.

Hope you are all able to enjoy this lovely weather.


Thursday, 7 June 2018

First attempts.

The application of matt medium makes the surface more receptive of water colour paint.  I think the paint would bleed without it.    However, it doesn't take the ink from rubber stamp ink pads so I couldn't cheat!

My nice flat tea bags all curled up during the drying process for the medium.  I think this way of working is definitely a case for 'less is more' - keep it simple.

This was done on an ordinary tea bag and my wren is rather overweight.  I didn't want my pencil markings to show and they were very difficult to see against the tea stained bag.  Once I had gone over the lines with the black pen there was no going back.

I will try single layers of tea bag next and have seen them applied to card to make greetings cards.

This is all showing signs of a misspent old age!

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

No. I haven't gone mad!

 I bet you can't guess what I have been doing this afternoon.

A few days ago I was nosing around on Pinterest and came upon examples of lovely little pieces of art made on used tea bags!  They looked so delicate and I became very interested.   One kind person even included instructions on how to prepare the bags for use.

So this afternoon, having collected my haul of steeped, dried, emptied and ironed tea bags, I have just given each one a coat of matt medium.  I counted them and there are 85 - do you think that will be enough?!!

I couldn't wait long enough to amass more than half an dozen, so cheated and bought some very cheap herbal ones to get me started.

There is an idea forming for a tiny book featuring all the minute weeds that grow in the grass beside the footpath to the supermarket.  The plants would never be very large if left to grow, but as the grass is regularly cut they become smaller than usual.  Considering the amount of traffic, two nearby roundabouts and a filling station, it is as pleasant as it could be with the first part of the walk through a little stand of silver birch trees and a lovely view over the River Severn to Chepstow.  Further on the path becomes lined on one side by eight or more large lime trees looking their best just now.

I will have to wait for the bags to dry to see what kind of surface they provide.  I will let you know how I get on.   At the moment they are spread all over the dining table, so it's supper on a tray tonight.


Monday, 4 June 2018

Monday's post - part 2! Subtitle: If at first you don't succeed .....!

Meet Bubba.  I'm not sure about the name but just look at that lovely little face.  He is not able to be re-homed but is very well looked after by the Dogs' Trust.

This is the cover for the Hare book.  I might try to improve it as the soldering iron hasn't scorched the fabric enough around the edges, and I'd like a bit more definition on the motif itself.   To fiddle, or not to fiddle?   That is the question.

I think this is my favourite page as it reminds me of the leveret we, or rather our labrador, discovered in the paddock behind a house we lived in years ago.  Fortunately the dog was a great softy and just stood looking at the leveret wagging his tail.  I was thrilled to think we had hares breeding in our little field.

I'm quiet pleased with this page and drew it in pen on the reverse of a printed fabric.  Much easier to work on than the silk pages previously shown.

Lastly the running hare.  I don't think his hind quarters are big enough and want to strengthen the colouring of the background and foreground, but am scared of mucking it up.  When in doubt do nowt.

After all my technical struggles I am now going to recline in my reclining chair with a cuppa.