Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Nearly Done.

The front cover of my rune book with the word 'runes' spelt out in runic lettering made from Friendly Plastic.  I may bring up the texture with a little copper gilding cream.   
This is the back cover.   The runes included in the book are Anglo Saxon ones taken from a sword found in the River Thames in the 19th Century.   The cover is made from pelmet vilene and has scraps of lace and muslin randomly stitched in place, then gesso painted on top and sprayed with Quink ink with a further spray of blue Glimmer Mist and copper Moon Shadow Mist.   I lined it with a buff mottled cotton fabric and bound the edges with copper ribbon.

Each label carries the name of the rune, it's meaning and the letter it represents but unfortunately the book I was using had incomplete information for two or three of them and I can find nothing about them so far in any other books so I have left a blank space to be filled later.
I had great fun thinking up the various heads, tails and feet for each character.   Originally I wanted to make them more sinuous but in doing so I lost the true shape of the rune, so I tried to keep the shape and just add the heads and tails. 

This is the Mother Rune from which all the others can be made.   There is no other meaning offered for this one.

I now have to bind each group of pages into the cover and am waiting for courage to arrive to make a start.  I have measured and marked where the stitching should be placed and will be interested to see whether the pages will all lie together evenly when I have done it!   Wish me luck.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Medieval splendour.

Our travels yesterday took us to Tewkesbury where we visited the Abbey and I had actually remembered to take my camera.  I make no apologies for the number of photos and could have taken dozens more!  Above is the view towards the choir and altar beyond.
A closer look at the wonderful painted ceiling.

There are dozens of ceiling bosses in almost every part of the Abbey - when I saw one on the ground which had been moved for repair, I was amazed at it's size.

Looking in the opposite direction back through the open door.

These banners hang on either side of the doorway - not a very good picture, sorry.

Similar ones hang from most of the buildings lining the main road into and through the town.  They are put up at the beginning of May in preparation for the Medieval Fayre which is an annual event over 2 or 3 days and commemorates the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1461.  (I hope that is the right date).  The Fayre is held on fields just outside the town, one of which was the actual battlefield.  The banners seem to be left up throughout the summer months - each one is different and they make the most humdrum shops front more interesting.

There were many of these lovely canvaswork kneelers each with a different design.

The tiles in the choir area and up to the altar really took my fancy.   I wanted to photograph each one!  There were so many different patterns.


They were in such good condition I am sure they are not the genuine article and probably replaced the original ones in Victorian times.  Nonetheless they are beautiful.

The altar cloth is a beautiful piece of ecclesiastical embroidery.  I couldn't get a close look as the area was roped off but it looks as if it is appliqued.

I loved this tiny side chapel with the remnant of a wallpainting still visible.

As well as some original and later stained glass windows, these two modern ones are very striking.  I have lost a lot of the vibrant colour in my photo - they are so rich and deep in reality.

It was only when I looked at my photos back at home that I realised how much the light must have changed while I was in the Abbey.   This view, similar to my earlier one, is so much lighter.  You can just pick out the two banners right at the end there.

This is a bit out of focus but I spotted that lovely almost triangular window at the end.

A clearer view of it.

This arch looks quite impressive for such a small and modest doorway.  Signs of alterations in the past I think.

On the way back to the carpark is this magnificent copper beech tree.  I have taken many photos of it down the years.

At present it is smothered with an enormous crop of beech nuts.

It's branches sweep down almost onto the ground.

The trunk is massive and every spring it sits encircled by a beautiful carpet of purple and white crocuses.

On our way home we stopped to pick some blackberries.   They seem to be very early this year and I didn't want to miss them.   We found we had nearly 4lbs - that's 2kgs to you youngsters!  I must get some more while they are still so good, then we can have blackberry and apple crumbles as well as a few pots of jam this winter.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

This and that.

I came out of hibernation for a couple of hours this morning and before the sun appeared over the tops of the trees I did quite a bit of tidying around the pond.  It amazes me how the thugs of the plant life flourish and take over, sometimes choking favourite plants or growing right up through them.   They are relentless and should come with a warning sticker so that unwary customers at garden centres don't introduce them to small gardens.  There were many evictions and I rediscovered the glass 'waterfall' my daughter made for me many years ago.  She me gave the large glass bottle which had been an indoor garden in her flat and we laid a little stream of glass pebbles from it toward the pond.   I daresay by this time next year it will have all but disappeared again.  Some of the plants in the pond are just as thuggish and cutting them in half, or smaller, seems to encourage them even more.

I am hibernating indoors once more until it cools outside, and have been busy working on pages for my fabric book.   Machining this afternoon and looking forward to relaxing with hand sewing this evening.   I am so lucky - it's not a bad life.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Hot off the Press.

And it is jolly hot today.   What a lovely summer we are having, but what a shame I can't go out in it!   I have  had the doors and windows open all day so I do get some fresh air. 
  I sampled various materials for making my figures and finally chose pelmet, or craft vilene.  It is firm and tough, can be stitched and painted or written on.   So far I have only placed the figures on top of each central panel and think I may have to secure them with a few tiny stitches as I don't really want to use glue.
Originally I had planned to make the figures very curved and flowing, but this was so difficult while trying to keep the essence of the rune shape, so I resorted to working with the accurate shape and have had great fun adding the various heads, tails and feet to each one.  I have also added a label to each page with the basic rune, it's name, it's meaning and the letter it represents.

Some of the pages have become very crumpled and I can't press or block them yet as I have had to pin them together in the order in which I want to join them.   I daren't remove the pins or I'll forget the order they must be placed in.  It has to be this order and no other as my measurements let me down and I spent a happy evening re-arranging them in pairs before I found acceptable pairings.   I have even had to cut half an inch off one page and rework a new border!  I blame the heat and humidity.

I haven't worked out how to attach them to their partners yet - they will be going back to back.   I think it will have to be done by hand as I can probably get away with a bit of fudging more easily than with the machine.  I'm becoming a very good fudger!
The further I get with this project, the more stressful it becomes.  We are in a love/hate relationship!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Drastic measures.

Our poor white lilac is overshadowed by a tall wooden fence and the conifers you can see in the background here.  It had become very straggly and the few flowers that we had this year were nearly all at the top.  I asked my husband if he thought it might be a good idea to cut it back quite drastically after flowering.  As he loves cutting things down he was very happy to oblige, and only a few weeks later we see lovely fresh new shoots sprouting all over it.   I wonder if it will bear flowers next spring or will we have to be patient? 

Elsewhere in the garden I am enjoying these gorgeous day lilies.  They are so velvety and such a wonderful colour - much richer than it appears here.

We have a classic stone birdbath but also a fibreglass imitation stone pool one which stands on the lawn.  When lifted to cut the grass today one of the residents was at home - sometimes there are two or three under it.  Feast on all the slugs little fellow.

A favourite visitor is this lovely thrush.  It was years before any came into the garden and I am so pleased that they have become regular visitors and that we sometimes get two or three at a time.  I have seen adults and young ones together so I imagine they must have nested close by.

Progress on the rune book is slow but steady.  It is taking ages to do all that machine stitching on each page but I think it is worthwhile.  It has been such a long time since I did any machine embroidery and I am very much out of practice but it is buying me time to work out how to make the runes themselves.

The heat and humidity have slowed me right down this week and I have hibernated when possible.  Last night's thunderstorm was interesting.  Some areas must have had a real humdinger but it wasn't very noisy here though the lightning was spectacular and it has been more comfortable today.

Shall I machine another page background or shall I just have a cuppa?  Maybe I shall do both.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

It's been quite a day.

This morning we stopped to take a look at the new motorway services which have recently opened on the M4 just outside Gloucester.   We have passed the site a number of times over the past year or more, wondering what was being built on such a large area.  The whole complex is built into a man made hill gently contoured to the landscape and is like a very modern Hobbit house!   I was struck by the tranquility and lack of noise when we got out of the car, even though we were only yards away from the motorway, and inside was just as peaceful, very spacious and stylish.  There is a large farm shop selling all kinds of local produce of excellent quality, though it is a bit expensive.   Breakfasts seemed very healthy, as did the light lunches but as we were there at 10.30am we couldn't see a lunch menu.  It was all a very far cry from the old style motorway service cafes I remember where all I felt safe to order was a cup of tea.

After we had done our weekly shop we came home down the A38 and stopped off at Frampton-on-Severn for lunch at the Bell Inn there.   Our son had recommended it and now we know why.   The inside has been modernised but is somehow in keeping with the age of the building.  I didn't like to take photos outside as there were quite a few people having lunch out there.

I don't quite know what has happened to my pictures but they have loaded in the wrong order.  Below is a lovely house just off the village green in Frampton and next to the village shop.

When we got home we found a houseful of offspring who had asked us not to put the double lock on when we went out as youngest daughter had left something behind and wanted to collect it.   All fibs!   They had to get us out of the way so that our son and son-in-law could unpack and assemble this lovely double garden seat with table for our 60th wedding anniversary.   As the actual date is at the end of September they thought we should have it early to be able to enjoy it in this fine summer weather.   We can sit in the shade like Derby and Joan!

Back to the Bell Inn at Frampton.   This was my lunch - scallops and black pudding with roasted tomatoes on a green salad - delicious and perfect as I can never eat a full meal at lunch time.
 My husband has no trouble in that direction and had fish and chips which the Inn is known for.

This must be one of the most elegant village shops in the country.  The whole village is full of wonderful houses from many different eras and in different styles though mainly Georgian.

Here we have the village pond, surrounded by lush plants obscuring the water.  In spring, before everything has put on so much growth, it is lovely to see the moorhens with their chicks dashing about.

I love the cricket pavilion and as I was taking this picture I wondered where the pitch was - perhaps behind the pavilion?

 Then I turned round and of course, it was right in front of me in the centre of the village green which is surrounded by more quaint houses and cottages.

I think it is time I christened that new seat and sat out there with a cup of tea.