Monday, 31 May 2010

A Trip Out

As I said in the last post, it was the Chettle House Garden and Craft open weekend. 

Chettle House is about three miles from us and when we went to the show last year we came away with quite a few goodies for the garden and wanting more this year.

I have quite a few hares around the place, 10 I think at the last count, and this is moongazer No 8.  The nesting birds plaque and Green Man were from Hilltop Garden where Paul Harvey of Whitchurch sells and displays some of his stonework. I know he produces quite a few pieces for resale but they are not mass produced on an imported scale and have great unique qualities. I already have one of his horned gargoyles. 

And I finished the Kingfisher.  John would like this one framed rather than just shoved in the folio! 

I am really having trouble keeping my head out of Jan Messant's book.  It really is lovely and a total inspiration.  I am thinking of translating a couple of her ideas into pieces. We live in a very ancient landscape here, we even find oyster shells from the Romans in the garden and we're 20 miles from the sea, and I would like to incorporate this into something.  Thing are stewing with the little fellas in the back of the brain!!

I hope Spring Holiday is good for you where you are.  I keep putting on skirts but I'm usually back in jeans by lunchtime!!  It will be great weather from tomorrow of course.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

A Productive Saturday

My not yet finished Kingfisher I was painting at pastels on Thursday, I hope to do some more on this today to finish it. 

The other thing to sew in last times Stitch magazine.  It can now reside in the growing pile of things that have no home!!  I did not enjoy the making of the wings!  In fact they probably added quite a few weeks to the project as I didn't want to face them!  But it's done now and not lurking in a corner of the room.

And I made some more tea cosies.  They were a bit of fun to make!!

Also in the post was a Goldwork kit from Golden Hinde to try and fit in, some bits from Rainbow Silks and some hand dyed felts etc from 21st Century Yarns.  I think I'd better go and play to reduce the pile a little. If it dries up enough we're going to Chettle House for their open Garden and Craft day.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Feed Me! to Dali

This morning the starling babes were lining up and making their demands. I know they can be a pain but we have more than enough space and feeders and the other birds will actually push them out of the way and, to be honest, when they fly in the evenings it makes your heart fly with them. A couple of years ago we only had about 8 and they used to flit, last year there were possibly 50 or so, This spring there was quite a cloud silently dancing in the perfect formation only a starling flock does. I don’t need all of them in the garden mind! But we’d rather have them than the rooks!

I had an Embroiderers Guild meeting and workshop with Beppy Berlin with bookbinding. It was fab and I’ve put my name down for a possible place in the Autumn for another proper course rather than just a workshop. They are popular enough that there may be a waiting list!

I left early after lunch and took John to visit with Nina at Stewarts Garden Centre where they were setting up for Dorset Arts Week. We did support our local artists, admired other works and had a nice afternoon tea and chat before leaving. I can’t show you what we bought as it’s still on display, maybe in a couple of weeks when it’s free again and home!!

On Sunday I managed to miss the fourth and final (for now) Modern Masters on Dali. I was really upset about this as we can’t have iplayer because of the satellite broadband that bounces through Italy. We’re not English apparently!! Tonight John was looking through the Sky box for a recording and I spotted that I had actually recorded it!! Thank goodness for that lovely little box! What a programme. Great stuff! I know if you read the blogs on it, it has been slammed, but only by those who have their noses so far up their own personalities that it doesn’t matter. For John and I, mere mortals, it was a great series.

We missed the first on Warhol, so have no comment on that one but the other three; Matisse, Picasso and Dali were great. The thing that came across to me the most I think was the amazing ability of their artistic talents at such an early age. They could all produce classic masterpieces and then explored and expressed themselves their own way. You have to know the rules before you can break them. They didn’t slap it around and call it art, they knew art and then slapped it around. Puts a lot of today’s so called wannabes right in the shade.

Tomorrow a trip to Salisbury for some bits for the car and a summer wardrobe for the dogs. Then I have some playtime with Bob!!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

That's Not the Sky!...

It's the window!  Ooops.  Big bang on the window this morning and this little swallow was recovering on the doorstep.

He did pull himself (or herself) together after a few minutes and fly off but I was ready to leap Superwomanish on any cat that happened to come onto the patio for a while there.  I wonder if he/she was in more shock at suddenly being on the ground and stationary, they live such frantic lives.  And would you look at that blue colouring!  fabulous!

Mind you, not quite a fab as this fellow who landed on the roof outside the study this time last year.

Now that's a blue! 

Last night we were up at the G&T hut after sunset watching the bats.  It's stunning how fast they fly!  I sometimes wonder if we mere mortals could actually see some of the things that share our air whether we would be able to function.  The bats and their echo location live such a different spectrum to us, as I guess a lot of the animal kingdom does.  But add the radio waves we put there and the phone signals and even this blog post comes through the ether via a WIFI system that bounces around the house and then through a satellite dish, over to Turin in Italy and back again.  Perhaps its best we don't see those things we can't!!!  

I did the Chelsea Chop on the sedums today and a few others before I had to have physio and acupuncture.  On the drive in to Wimborne we noticed the damage from the Spindle Ermine Moth caterpillars has started.  Huge blocks of grey web in the hedgerows leaving nothing but twigs.  The hawthorn and blackthorn are filling the gaps but it still takes time and the webs are so horrid to look at. 

We had a delivery of 50kgs of bird seed this afternoon too and now the garage smells of aniseed rather than oil.  Much nicer!! We also bought a new plastic bowl to replace the paint roller tray that had served so well as a watering station for them, the terracotta died in the frosts and it was also easier to twist the frozen ice out.

Stitch mag arrived and I am quite relived that there was nothing in it that insisted I make it.  Next months however looks dangerous!  I've just bought a load of small bells and I like the look of the biscornu canvaswork!! Well it was cooler here today, it has been about as much as we can bear really, but that's what so good about living in the UK, a little bit of everything through the year and just when you've really had changes. Usually.

Monday, 24 May 2010

A Day in the Sunshine

We did the thing we like doing the most yesterday, pottering.  It was hot and glorious and just right for being busy doing nothing.

This madam was having a sneaky snooze on the little bench by the feeders first thing.

And shortly after Foxtrot and Oscar had moved in.  You can probably tell, we don't use the bench, the birds and animals do!!

There are fledglings in one of the trains.  They wouldn't dare go for them but that doesn't stop them being interested!  Kept them quite for ages.

A rather rare photo of me up at the G&T hut with some of the family.

I did a little gardening but I'm not going mad, Brian will be here later in the week.  I used to work with a woman who had Wednesday mornings off so she could clean her house before the cleaner arrived in the afternoon.  I'm not that daft! 

Looks promising in some parts.

Ths is the rather innocent but highly scented tree peony we have scattered around.  Beauiful leaves too.

And Clematis Elsa Spathe doing her thing on the pergola while she waits for her partner rose Blush Noisette to catch up.

John is out fishing today, somewhere around The Needles I expect.  The dogs have their sun cream on and the tee tree spray so I'm off to finish a dragonfly.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

I Managed to Stitch... A Little

My sewing group has a stall in the craft marquee at a local country show in August and there are usually things for the children to sew and things for sale to raise money for local charities.  I'm trying to do a few bits to contribute and today I managed to put together some tea cosies.

That was between doing a few other bits around the house and meeting the new gardener.  Yes I succumbed!  John has been trying to convince me to have a gardener help a couple of times a month.  I really am struggling with the knee, just when I think I'm getting somewhere, PING, off it goes.  I was just scared of not finding a plantsman type gardener.  Most around here seem to be the hack and slash kind.  I like my garden!!   Anyway, this one seems nice and he starts next Wednesday.  More power to my knee!

The cuckoo(s) have been regular and in voice most mornings about 5.30.  The willow fluff from the river has been thick in the air and the garden is now leaping forward.  We have a Rosa rugrosa and some of the dog roses out and the rest won't be far behind now.  At the moment the garden is full of the scent of the tree peonies.  Delicious even if the plants are not up to much!!

The BBQ is lit and John has his shorts on.  I may go in the loft for the fans later.  That will then be the end of  Summer!  Happy days!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Nice From the Postman

While we were away several bits arrived.  The first was the Product of the Month from The Thread Studio .  A great way of having tasters of new products. 

And a very new product indeed were the Pinmoors.  I have a complex wall quilt I'm working on and there are lots of pinned on parts.  Yesterday it was on and off the machine and also having hand work done on it. With the Pinmoors I wasn't stabbed so no blood on my work an they stayed in place!  Fabulous things!  They are not available here, yet, but you can order direct from Loretta.

The other couple of deliveries were books.  Layered, Tattered & Stitched by Ruth Rea is a how too book with lots of ideas with transferring, burning and stitching.  

The Celtic, Viking & Anglo Saxon Embroidery is more a reference book from Jan Messent.  She shows you her work and tells you briefly how she did things with ideas to take it further.  A beautiful book that was well worth the long wait!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

And on the Way Home...

We popped into Quilts UK, Malvern 2010!

We were there at 10.10 am and John agreed to come in with me.  I was really pleased, I know how much he hates crowds and enclosed places and I know how busy this could be!!  I listened to his comments carefully and I think I took photos of all the main ones he liked.  Luckily, our tastes seem to match!  There was some fabulous work there and here are some of the photos.

'Floral Dimensions' Pauline Ineson

'A Morris Medley' Valerie Coupland

'Old Gold' Sally Bramald

'Bella Celtica' Linda O'Sullivan

'The Denman Kannon' Susan Briscoe

'Aotearoa' Kathleen Matthews

'Greek Fossils' Ferret

'Leather Star' Ferret

And there were so many more!!   A little retail therapy after John had gone back to the car, it was becoming manic in there, and we were on our way home. 

Tomorrow I'll tell you of some of the goodies that were in the post.

View From a Different Hill

I was whisked away on Tuesday to the lovely Gliffaes, Wales.

The view from our room Wednesday morning was beautiful.

The top of the Salmon Pool on the Usk below the hotel.

There were some fabulous old trees hanging in there, just.

John managed to have a few hours fishing after we came back from a drive around including Hay on Wye and a yum cream tea with Welsh scones.  He did catch a nice little trout but he just loves being down by the water and is never too bothered with landing the fish.  There were otter tracks the size of dog paws, a heron (the real fisher man!) and lots of other wildlife.  I love being in these privileged places.

The view from the balcony this morning was quite misty.

And this was the swimming pool they called a bath!!!

A romantic couple of days, everything was perfect and the food divine!  Of course they are so nice here, they even carpet the mouse holes...

And there was one more thing before we came home......

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Finished Something

At last! 

I pulled out the stops this morning and finished the embroidery sampler from Stitch magazine.

I haven't done pulled thread work before and enjoyed it.  Losing the Mother of Pearl buttons had me actually tidying my work desk, but at least I found them again.

I don't know what happened to the weather.  It's cold, we've had the fires lit for two days, the garden looks miserable even though it's trying to be early summer.

Time to go and dig out another UFO!!  And cook the Sunday roast of course.  And maybe open a bottle of wine....

Thursday, 6 May 2010


Just taken the dogs up the drove road and heard the first one of the season!!!   If they've arrived, so has Spring.  Allegedly.

Woodpecker Families

Tuesday I had to go down to the hospital for the results of the MRI on my knee.  All is well!  No torn cartilage this time so no operation needed.  Yippee!  I have started to become a victim of age though and, with previous damage, the back of my knee cap is starting to fail.  I just have to have some physio to build up the muscles. No impact exercise is on the list too so, as I can't bear the thought of public swimming pools, we've bought an exercise bike!! Eeeek!  (Stop laughing Elsa!)

The past few days have just disappeared somewhere.  We've actually managed a little bit of gardening and everything is looking good.  I must go around a take some photos, they are a good way of keeping track of events.  I have photos from last year of the daffs just about over in March.  I don't think they'd opened this year at that time!

We were watching the birds out of the bedroom window yesterday like we do most mornings and had a nice surprise.  Last year we had a pair of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers visit us regularly and they had a male chick they brought to visit us.

This is him...

He has continued to be a regular all winter.  He is as bold as brass for such a shy breed and not a lot phases him.  John on the mower, the cat sitting on the bench near by, visitors walking up the drive and certainly not the bully boy starlings!  Except  yesterday.  He was hanging on the nut feeder absolutely frozen into place.  Up above him in the ash tree was another GS woodpecker, and it was a girl!  He was smitten!  She was quite a way up, just in his line of sight preening herself and fluffing her feathers.  Of course I actually didn't have a camera to hand, always the way, and after a few minutes they few off.  Together.  Could this be the start of another generation?  Fingers crossed.

I have pastels again today and tomorrow I start another two QU courses.  I really must work at finishing some things!!  And we did our election thing this morning at 07.30, perhaps another week and things will be more normal again!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Greetings on Beltane

This morning's view from the bedroom window was a little ominous with looming black clouds behind the Down! 

Can't fault the colour of the crop though!  With the Berberis, Spirea and now the Oil Seed Rape in full bloom it's like living in a dusty honey pot.  Everything is yellow and we have the Piriton waiting in the wings.  We don't actually suffer hay fever, thank goodness, but John's eyes can itch if he's worn his contacts and I occasionally have sinus sniffles, usually only about now and the other end of the year when the Atlas Cedar puts forth pollen.

We had to go up to Hanson's for some fabric yesterday (yes a Royal we, it's a lovely drive to Sturminster Newton so John doesn't mind the wait while I shop. ) I have a workshop tomorrow at Paulines Patchwork with Jennifer Trollope. 

On the way we passed some woods just starting into bluebellishness. 

Another week and the green will be almost invisible. I was very pleased to see they were all English, not a Spaniard in sight.

I don't think we have ever known such a year for Blackthon flower.  The sloes should be more than plentiful, I'll start stocking up on the gin now. And a for the dandilions!!!! Sheets of them everywhere.  A strange year so far.