Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Butterfly Weekend

Monday has been dark and dismal but we've had a beautiful weekend here in Wales. Perfect weather for the late broods of butterflies which arrived in time for the flowering of my Michaelmas Daisies. There were lots and lots taking advantage of the sunshine yesterday - if you look carefully there are at least 8 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies in this photo - not to mention the bees! I also snapped Red Admirals, Commas and Peacocks but unusually the Painted Ladies were not in evidence so perhaps I'm too late and they have already started their emigration back to Africa - can you believe such a tiny fragile creature can travel over 5000 miles!

I had a birthday a few weeks ago and was delighted with the "bee box" my sister bought me - I've wanted one for ages. I've hung it in the shelter of the clematis that grows over an old tree near my tiny greenhouse. I hope it will soon be providing a snug home for the little creatures looking for somewhere to hibernate this winter. Its really pretty too!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Its been ages....

.....since I managed to post something I've made but I have been getting crafty making stuff to sell in the charity shop where I volunteer a couple of days a week. Anyway - I thought I should post something so here is the birthday pressie I sent my brother in law this week. He's a very keen cyclist and this digi-stamp (coloured with Copics) from Pink Cat Studio is just right! I'm not too keen on cutesy but the designs at Pink Cat have the right combination of cute and simple for me when I want to make something for a child or, as here, where the subject is perfect for an adult I know!

The altered "Pringles" tub (filled with some home baking) has been decorated with my new Teeny Trees stamp set from Waltzing Mouse Stamps. I've been looking for the perfect tree stamp set for ages - and this is it! Love it! I've used the teeny leaves on the card too. The tag on top is from Papertrey's 2009 Autumn Tags - another favourite of mine.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Helfa Gelf 2010 (Art Trail)

This weekend is the first of the three North Wales Art Trail weekends and today my friend and I visited Ann, where we learnt about using oil based printing ink, painting and stencilling to make beautifully vibrant prints, Maud, where we made paper beads and added them to the "community" necklace she was creating from the beads made by her visitors, and Sarah, where we were inspired by what she had produced with things discarded by the rest of us (and admired the pretty beach hut - in her garden!) All three artists were so warm and welcoming, inviting us as complete strangers into their homes and even offering us tea. We were so glad we'd made the last minute decision to follow a tiny piece of the trail.

We loved seeing the artists' work spaces and their works in progress. I came home determined to be more creative with all the "stuff" I've been collecting over the years - I've mountains of stuff stashed away; fabric, yarn, old books, magazines, postcards, ephemera, old linen, lace, beads and all the bits and pieces I can't resist picking up at car boots and charity shops.

I'm looking forward to more visits next and the following weekends - there are 125 studios open over North Wales. And if there's an Art Trail near you why don't you visit some of your own local artists and be inspired.

Oh I do love to be beside the seaside!

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside
I do like to be beside the sea!
I do like to stroll upon the Prom, Prom, Prom!

Where the brass bands play: "Tiddely-om-pom-pom!"

So just let me be beside the seaside

I'll be beside myself with glee

For there's lots of boys besides,

I should like to be beside

Beside the seaside!

Beside the sea!

There's nowhere quite like the British seaside. I was born in a seaside town and maybe that's why I can't keep away from the water's edge if I'm nearby, the sky is blue and the sun warm.

The sun came out late afternoon yesterday at the end of a shopping trip to Llandudno, and even if we were dressed for the shops instead of the beach, our walk back to the car along the seashore was most enjoyable.

Do you remember the excitement of being chased by the waves when you were very small?

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Just Enough Ruffles at dawn!

Much too late I decided to knit Laura Chau's Just Enough Ruffles Scarf for my niece's 15th birthday tomorrow. The sun was rising when I finished it and apart from being so last minute, another trauma arose - I didn't have enough yarn to complete the pattern! But I found adding a couple of rows in white didn't look too bad, although I would have preferred it all one colour. And when I tried it on it felt very comforting and soft around my neck so I think I can call it a success and all it needs is for my niece to like it too. Being last minute also means I have to rely on the Royal Mail to get it there in time but I have to say they've not let me down in the past.
I bought this Rowan Cotton Rope yarn at a car boot sale a couple of years ago and it knitted up beautifully but I think next time I'll use a double knit for a softer, more open fabric. I enjoyed the pattern but at 5.00 am I thought I'd never finish casting off (binding off) the 600 stitches!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

And another gift idea....

Following on from the Sweet Pea gift idea below, I've been using my Papertrey set of the moment - Friendship Jars to make gifts this week. Oh how I love that set and its Filler companion sets. My friend Doreen had a special birthday a week or so ago (which I forgot!!) and I wanted to make her a little something as she really likes hand made gifts and tells me she has kept everything I've made for her over the years - too many years than I care to remember!

So I made her this little gift set using the Friendship Jars Fall Fillers and the bookmark and bookplate dies. Something I really like about Papertrey is that many stamp sets co-ordinate with eachother and here I've used images from an old set, Autumn Tags, to continue the autumn theme on the set of bookplates I made to accompany the bookmark.

Sigh..... don't you just love that little acorn stamp - I almost bought the set just for that one tiny stamp. And as I've used a number of dies and paper punches here, I'm entering this set for the current A Passion for Papertrey challenge - Punch it. I can't believe it.... I'm almost a week and a half early!

A Bunch of Sweet Peas

I like to grow sweet peas every year as my Dad always grew them and my Mum loves them. As I was picking a bunch today I thought of this lovely book, "A Bunch of Sweet Peas". It has been on my shelves ever since it was first published in 1988 and apart from being exactly the sort of story I love (gardening, history, village life, a happy ending, etc), I was originally drawn to the book by the lovely watercolour illustrations painted by Ann Ross Paterson. I remember trying unsuccessfully to copy some of them when I first bought the book. I've never been able to master watercolours.

Henry Donald has written this charming true story about Alec White, a hard-up young parish minister living in a quiet village on the Scottish borders, and the competition for amateur gardeners organised by the Daily Mail in 1911. The newspaper offered a prize of £1,000 (£57,000 today!! - I used this converter) for the best bunch of Sweet Peas grown by an amateur anywhere in the British Isles. What makes this book even more delightful is the fact that Henry was the nephew of that young parish minister whose story this is.

I think a packet of Sweet Pea seeds and this book would make a lovely gift for a keen or even a new gardener. And you could read it yourself before giving it to the recipient!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Birthday Girl!

This little girl has a significant birthday today but a daren't reveal which one! Although my sister doesn't have internet access someone is bound to snitch on me and then I'll be in trouble. So my lips are sealed and I'm just going to reveal what I made for her to mark the occasion.

Cathe Holden is a brilliant designer and crafter and I love everything she does. When I saw her peapod pendant I thought it would be a perfectly sweet birthday gift but little did I think it would pose me with such a problem. I searched high and low, in charity shops, bargain bins, and pound stores for anything made from green leather without success. I almost gave up, until I thought of my Pea Green Copic marker pen. A lightbulb went off in my head and after scrabbling under my bed I found an old beige fake suede slipper that had seen much better days and, hey presto, my peapod! The five "peas" represent my sister's five grandchildren. My little pod is not a neat as Cathe's but I'm very pleased with how it turned out and hope my sister likes it.

However I'm not quite as pleased with how my Almond Cherry Financiers, the birthday cakes, turned out. They don't look exactly like expert baker Sarah Jane's as my cherries have sunk to the bottom of each cake for some reason, and you can only see the stalks sticking out! But never mind - they tasted lovely!

Anyway HAPPY BIRTHDAY HELEN! Hope you have a great one.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

End of Summer Harvest

We are having a lovely Bank Holiday week here in the UK - a proper Indian Summer as they say. And now September is here everything in the garden is taking on that "getting ready for the end of summer" feeling.

Something that I really love about growing your own is being able to harvest just what you need. I can pick just two tomatoes, one apple, enough runner beans for lunch or a couple of corn cobs for tea, and leave the rest on the plant for next time. In this way fruit and veg stays fresh and keeps its nutritional value.

However, even I have to admit home grown is often not beautiful! A recent cookery programme on TV has aimed to highlight how much food in the UK is thrown away as the supermarkets won't accept anything less than beautiful for their shelves. I fear none of my produce would get onto a supermarket shelf. I recently dug up some of my spuds and although they are misshapen and scabby they taste fine and I know nothing chemical has been sprayed on them and no energy (except my own) has been used up in getting them into my kitchen. So I'm happy with that.
There have been a few failures - I grew too much salad and its all gone to seed now, I planted chard for the first time - but we don't like it (however its a very beautiful plant), and I planted peppers where they haven't had enough sun and haven't produced anything bigger than an egg. I'll remember these failures next year and change things round a bit.

I know I'm lucky having my Mum's big garden for my "allotment" but gardening programmes and magazines are always full of ideas for growing fruit and veg in tiny spaces so why don't you have a go!

Oh, and I couldn't resist recording that heart shaped spud for posterity!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

My Rosette Swap arrived in the nick of time!

Today's the day of the Rosette Swap Blog Party. You may have noticed Gypsy Brocante's Rosette Swap badge on my side bar over the past few weeks. My swapee turned out to be Maria in AUSTRALIA and I have to admit I was a bit worried that my swap wouldn't get to her in time as, of course, I was last minute posting it. Luckily it turned out Maria was as last minute as me, so I didn't feel quite as guilty - but I had everything crossed hoping our rosettes would arrive in time for the party - and GUESS WHAT - my rosette arrived this morning! So I'm very pleased to post it here and show it off to anyone who drops by.

So thank you so much Maria for my lovely gift. I hope you can all see the lovely pendant Maria has made with the little vintage girl on it. Isn't she sweet! And as well as that pretty pink silky rose Maria also sent me some lovely vintage ephemera - something I absolutely love to collect. So I'm a very lucky bunny!

And now I'm off to join in the party!


Related Posts with Thumbnails