Saturday, 3 October 2015

In search of tranquility!

We have our little friend with us for the weekend, and there is so much noise and tension in the living room that we have come up for a little peace and quiet.   Husband is watching the rugby and will not be a happy man with the halftime score.  Maybe we'll get a miracle in the second half.

The weather has been glorious this week and there is still so much colour in the garden.   I usually find it difficult to get it to carry through to autumn but this year has been lovely.  The next four pics are down to free packets of seed given with gardening magazines which I bought last spring.  There were several other plants who have already done their stuff and died off.
I must grow zinnias again - I had no idea they were so easy.

The cosmos look as if they could keep going until Christmas but I daresay a frost will see them off.

These nasturtiums were supposed to be the bushy variety but several of them have wandered a good 7 or 8 feet from where they were planted.  I am hoping they will have seeded themselves for next year as they brighten up the end of the garden.

It's a good job this is a crab apple tree.  If those were full size fruits I think the branches would have snapped under their weight.  I shall leave them for the birds as we are supposed to have a hard winter this year.

The bees love this clematis and there were dozens of them among the flowers.  I love the silky tassels too.

A gift from the birds which will provide more food for them later.  A seed must have dropped from the holder above where this little sunflower has germinated.

I have finished the last few pages of my 1920s book.  Clarice Cliff pottery above and ladies of fashion below.
The one on the left looks a bit deformed and as if she has bad feet!    In my defence I must tell you I was trying to copy them from images not much bigger than a postage stamp and find it extremely difficult to draw figures but I was determined to have a go.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I have added the chair, picture and dressing table to this double page.

And finished this one with the mirror and little cabinet and lamp.  I must keep drawing so that I improve.  For this book I had to draw everything on paper with much rubbing out until I got it to an acceptable state, then I traced it onto the fabric page and added colour with pencils.  How nice to have the skill and confidence of going straight onto the page without all that messing about first.

Make the most of tomorrow's fine weather,  I believe it will be all change on Monday and for next week in general.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Work in Progress.

This is as far as I have got with the book I started making on Frances Pickering's workshop at the beginning of the month.  Our theme was the 1920s.   Front cover above and back cover below.
There is still quite a lot of tweaking and finishing to be done.

I am a slow worker on workshops so cheated and traced these first few designs, especially as I am way out of my comfort zone drawing the human figure - as you can see below!   

Some made a book full of shoe or hat designs, others concentrated on architecture, but I decided to go for a bit of everything.  I came across this rubber stamp and thought she was perfect for 'Poor Little Rich Girl'.   I tried to transfer the photocopy of Noel Coward directly onto fabric but it was not a success, so I just used another photocopy and bonded it to the page.

These are pictures from the General Strike of 1926.  My mother worked in London then and travelled to and from by train.   She remembered the volunteer train drivers regularly overshooting the platform and having to reverse so the passengers could get on and off the train.

A little 'flapper' dress.  I have tried to suggest a 1920s bedroom wallpaper with my chosen fabrics and may add a couple more elements to finish the page off.   The dress folds either way and you see the back of it when it is folded to the left.
I still have a lot more drawing to do as well as finishing off the pages I have already started.  I now wish I had tea dyed the fabric first - I'm sure it will be very grubby by the time I have finished, especially the cover.
I looked up from washing up the lunch things the other day and saw no less than 7 longtailed tits on the fatball feeder.   Needless to say, by the time I had fetched the camera most of them had gone and as you see here, a bluetit has joined in.   There must have been 10 or 12 long tailed tits altogether as several were just hopping about in the honeysuckle above them.   The bluetits are adorable but slightly bossy and when a crowd of them arrived the longtailed tits all went.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Too Many Photos!

I have just enjoyed a wonderful weekend Masterclass with Frances Pickering at Hawkwood College, just outside Stroud, Gloucestershire.  It has an atmosphere of faded grandeur and tranquility so the visitor can't help but relax.  The rooms are very comfortable and the food is excellent.  I think most of it is grown or produced on site and the chef(s) really know their business.  We were all talking of dieting this week!
The views from the house are stunning - my photos were taken on my pre-breakfast walk on Sunday morning.
It was a perfect morning. . . . .
. . . . and someone else was up even earlier than I.

I think some of the sheep wanted a lie-in.

The cows were up,
but one lazy pig was still in bed.

In spite of the warm sun there was definitely a feeling of autumn just around the corner.

This lovely lace cap hydrangea was beside the path.

There were twenty of us in the studio which is a perfect place to work in - so light, airy and spacious. Hanging in one window was this delightful piece of stained glass work.  Unfortunately I didn't think to find out who had made it.

Frances gave me permission to take photos of her own work.  Our theme for this workshop was Art Deco or the Roaring Twenties.

Then I went on to photograph some of my fellow students work.

It was fascinating to see the variations in interpretation of our given theme.  I was so busy myself I only had time to photograph about half a dozen student's work and haven't photographed my own yet.  They will have to wait for another post.   This was my third visit and I have signed up for next year and hope that the friends I made this year will be there next September.

Friday, 21 August 2015

What has happened to summer?

These photos were all taken last week when it still seemed to be summer.  I took them during a break from gardening and was hoping to catch the sparrows having a drink or a bath in our mock waterfall, but no such luck.
The garden seemed to be full of young blackbirds for days.  Great big fledglings, larger than the parent birds, and chirruping loudly as they urged Mum and Dad to keep feeding them.   They also enjoyed sunbathing and made the most of it.

I am always trying to get a good shot of bees gathering nectar.  Not a good photo here but you can just about see one on the marjoram.

No such luck on the lavender.  They either moved round to the other side of the flowers or flew off. I must learn to focus more quickly!

I did catch this tiny moth on a clematis leaf.  It's colours are bleached out here but they were wonderful.

 This peacock butterfly obliged me, but they too are so busy and can't keep still long enough for a good picture and just as I am about to press the shutter, they so often close their wings.

This is my next task - there is a path through there somewhere and I must find it again.

Our little friend here has had a few problems lately.   I posted about her having her right eye removed owing to glaucoma and a new lens put into the left eye.  Last week she had to have several teeth removed and was very wobbly for a day after the extractions.  She is very resilient and seems to have bounced back to her normal happy self and we can't call her Dog Breath any more!

Since I took these photos the weather has been more autumnal than summery with a distinct smell of autumn in the air.  We have had strong wind, heavy rain and quite cool temperatures, interspersed with muggy humid conditions.  Maybe next week I shall be able to sit outside again.