Thursday, 19 December 2013

Merry Christmas

Christmas is getting here faster than I anticipated and I still have a lot to do - however, the decorations are up, a lot of the presents are wrapped and I've just had a wonderful pre-Christmas meal with relatives  - real Christmas pud always makes me feel festive (and full!)

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

In the mood for Autumn

Having had a few weeks since getting home from holiday where I completely lost my mojo I have gained a little enthusiasm for house decor and am fully in the mood for Autumn!  This is the mantlepiece - all decorated for Autumn - I found the tiny little ebony candle holders in a junk shop and couldn't resist them - they make a perfect stand for the little white pumpkins!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Back in the Land of Blog

Well, I am back in the Land of Blog after a wonderful holiday to the USA visiting my step-son and his lovely family.  The unpacking and washing is done, post holiday blues are slowly disappearing, and I am now getting back into the routine of normal life.
Thought I'd share a few pics of Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania - they are stunning and we had such a fantastic day there.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Focus On Life Week 31

Over at the Studio Sublime the prompt for this weeks photo challenge was 'Hues of Blue'.   I don't usually work with blue, although it's a colour I love, especially in the garden, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to photograph this beautiful sea holly that is growing just outside my back door - it was quite a painful experience as it's about 90% prickles! 

I also found the Ceratostigma in bloom and looking glorious - such a wonderful shade of blue - and decided it would look quite good against some old, blue books. 

I gave all the photos a 'bluish' feel using textures from Pixel Dust and French Kiss.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Focus On Life Week 30 and Waddesdon Manor

For the Focus On Life photography challenge over at Studio Sublime our prompt has been to 'catch the sun'!   This weeks photo was taken at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, where we went for a wonderful day to meet up with friends and visit this wonderful French chateau style house.  I love the way the sun is streaming through the windows and glinting on the stairs.

A few favourite images - slightly less fussy and more neutral in colour than most of the decor!

From May through to October 27th Waddesdon are holding an exhibition of work by Joan Sallas based on the art of napkin folding.  Most of the exhibits were made from linen napkins, or larger pieces of table linen, and they were quite stunning.  These are little bonnets, all folded using traditional designs and techniques.

Chandeliers everywhere, and lots of gold and more gold! 

 The bottom right image is of the dining table with more folded linen on it, in the shape of a Griffin and a table fountain. 

I am linking up with Mary over at Mosaic Monday this week.    

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Focus On Life Week 29

This week over at Studio Sublime the prompt for the photo challenge was 'routine'.
Focusing on my routine I decided to show a photograph of one of my favourite regular routines - the first cuppa of the day, reading my emails and browsing other blogs!
And yes, it's another Anthropologie mug - and it matches my little collection of quartz and stones perfectly, which is why I couldn't resist it! 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Summer of Colour Week 6

Well, the final week of Summer of Colour is here and I have managed to complete something for each week - which was a bit of a surprise to me, as I'm not terribly productive in very hot weather!
This week the colours are Sage green and Sepia - lovely gentle, subtle shades.  As my studio is a converted roof space it gets sooooo hot, so I have worked in my cool and shady computer room to texture and enhance this photo of Hawthorn blossom I took earlier this year.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Afternoon Tea!

What could be more delightful than afternoon tea at a picturesque little cafe on a disused railway station in the heart of Hampshire?   I heard about Horsebridge Station through my blog friend Karen over at Little Crafting Miss, and as it's fairly near to where we live I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of it before!  So the hubs and I set off, and had the most delicious cake I've ever eaten, and tea with real tea leaves and a tea strainer - just like the old days!  Thank you Karen!

 I am linking up with Mary over at Mosaic Monday.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Focus On Life Week 28

This week over at Studio Sublime the photo challenge is 'pretty patterns'.  I photographed this spectacular black and white butterfly in a local wildlife centre - it had only just hatched so the wings were in perfect condition and I thought the markings were so beautiful - isn't nature wonderful!  

I also added pictures of my tea knife handles, an etched glass water jug, my old typewriter and a bean flower in my local garden centre - I hope it's not cheating too much but from my archives I pulled out the mosaic floor pictures and the wrought iron gate - they just matched so well I thought!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Summer of Colour Week 5 and WOYWW #124

On my work desk this week I have a selection of silk paper I've been making, and a small card I made for the Summer of Colour challenge - the colours this week being candy apple red and yellow.  I'm afraid my offering this week is very meagre - too much time spent in the garden in this glorious weather!

To see what's on other people's desks why not pop over to Julia at WOYWW.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Focus On Life Week 27

For the Focus On Life challenge over at the Studio Sublime the prompt for this week was 'texture'.  Ooh, so much to choose from, but finally I focused on a large lump of coral that has been out on my desk while I've recently been doing some coral design artwork.  I decided to photograph it against some old antique lace as it has a similar delicate, lacy look but is so completely opposite in texture.  It's surprisingly rough to the touch for something that looks so 'spongey', and it's actually disappointingly unpleasant to hold considering it's so beautiful!   

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Summer Of Color Week 4 and ICAD

Well, this weeks colours of charcoal grey and pink for the Summer of Color challenge have been an unmitigated disaster!  I have long had a love of Japanese gardens - I think the order and symmetry appeals to my slightly obsessive compulsive personality!  To me the colours conjured up the simplicity and tranquility of Japanese gardens, and I tried to capture the essence of it, leaving some areas unworked and keeping the design quite minimal.  However, what was going on in my head wouldn't transfer down through my hands into the work!  I don't think my ideas gelled really - the colours are too 'thick' - maybe a more watery delicate background, like a translucent colour wash would have worked better.  I don't like feeling this is unresolved so I might have another go at it!

I'm also linking up to the index-card-a-day challenge over at Daisy Yellow.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

WOYWW #213

On my work desk this week has been an embroidery sent to me by the super-talented Lynn over at One I Made Earlier Today - it is on a UK tour and I was delighted to be asked to add some embroidery to it, and then pass it on to continue it's journey.  It's a beautiful and large piece of work done on dyed scrim and I was quite nervous of working on someone else's piece of art - it has just been posted on and I am hoping Lynn will like the little bit I've added. 

I am linking up to WOYWW - why not pop over and visit some more desks - it's fun!


Saturday, 29 June 2013

Focus On Life #26 and the Tate Modern

This week for the Focus on Life challenge over at the Studio Sublime, we were given a free choice to photograph something we had focused on this week.  For me it had to be my visit to the Tate Modern in London.  I had a wonderful time wandering through the galleries and photographing all the amazing art that took my eye.

Lunch at the Tate cafe - and what a wonderful view of St Paul's Cathedral from the cafe balcony!  

I loved these pieces of work - clockwise from top left:
Chen Zhen, Eileen Agar, Pino Pascali and Mark Rothko.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Summer Of Color Week 3 and ICAD

This week over at the Summer of Color the challenge was to work with purple and lime green.  My immediate thought was the Iris and the garden, and I decided to do a series of index cards based on garden design and it's history - a subject I love and keep going back to.  The index cards are for the ICAD challenge over at Daisy Yellow.   

Some close-up shots of the cards

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Summer of Color week 2 and ICAD

For this week over at Summer of Color the colour scheme is hot pink and orange.  I decided to combine this challenge with the index-card-a-day challenge at Daisy Yellow.  
I ended up doing six cards based on a coral theme - I had to work hard at not making them red as that is the colour I had been using for my coral based work a few weeks ago.

I used gelli prints for the backgrounds and prepared a selection of cards ready to use each day with the backgrounds already glued on.  The gelli prints looked too dark against the buff background so I painted the cards cream.  I then spent about half an hour a day machine stitching, gluing and hand sewing them.

Some close-up shots

Focus On Life #25

I found this weeks challenge quite hard - Sally at Studio Sublime asked us to take a photo that represented who I am, and come up with one positive word that describes me.
 The last few months have been quite difficult for me, but I am coming out of it slowly, and this made me realise I am a lot of good things: a wife, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, friend, artist, tutor... and I am lucky enough to be able to live in my own home, doing the things I love - creating in my studio, photographing my garden, baking, socialising.....! 
So this week "I am ME - and I very much appreciate it!"

I saved this little cabinet from the local tip years ago - it used to hold scientific scales - anyone old enough to remember them from school days?   I sanded and waxed the wood, and the hubs fitted a glass shelf in it.  It lives in my bedroom and holds all my precious bits.  It represents ME!
A prayer book given on my Christening, a monkey egg cup from my dad because as a child I used to have an imaginary friend called Monkey Boy, a crystal from a friend, an invitation to my degree show, the pretty heart my sister gave me for my wedding last year, a little turtle from my mum when we were on a girls holiday in Austria, my Dad's RAF button,  my great-grandmothers silver thimble..... and so on, and so on - hope you haven't nodded off!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

WOYWW #211 and ICAD

  I would like to say a big thank you to Tamara at To Bee Studio who was so kind and complimentary when mentioning me on her blog last week.   Tamara's work is beautifully delicate and has a wonderful vintage feel to it - I would definitely recommend a visit to her blog!

On my desk at the moment are this weeks index cards for ICAD over at Daisy Yellow.  The challenge is to decorate an index card every day for the 6 weeks of the challenge - or in my case 'nearly' every day, as I only managed 6 and not 7 this week! 

I used left over scraps of gelli prints for the backgrounds and added machine stitching, vintage lace, glass beads and scraps.  I thought the flower head (bottom left) looked rather like a pin cushion so I added some tiny little brass pins that I found in my lace-making equipment.   I must also point out that the lace butterfly cut out of a strip of lace was an idea I took directly from the wonderfully talented Terri at art-life-rust, as last week she cut a butterfly out of her strip of lace!  Hope you don't mind Terri - yours was so much bigger and better!

Why not hop over to WOYWW and have a snoop at other people's work desks - it's great fun! 

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Focus On Life #24

This week's prompt for the Focus On Life challenge over at The Studio Sublime is green. 

This was taken in the garden and I used an Eva Ricci texture on it.

I wasn't sure if this worked or not, but it's growing on me - I quite like that shade of green with the brownish sepia tones.

This is the large platter that lives in my kitchen with the fruit on it - and the occasional good-looking veg! 
 The smaller bowl is from Anthropologie and I love it - I do tend to buy more lemons and limes than I can get through because they look so good in it!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Summer of Colour - Week 1

   This week's colour prompt for this year's new Summer of Colour was Citron Green and Turquoise.   For inspiration I played about with gelli printing using just those two colours, and I then used a couple of the prints for the background.  I also used a stamp I carved of a fern leaf, and added stencilled dots and shapes.   

Some detail shots - showing the 3D butterfly, and details of the background gelli prints.

The two colours haven't quite gelled for me in this mosaic, but I thought I'd include it anyway as I'd done the work on it!   The cat was made by my mum who loved working in clay, the butterfly wing and beetle are from my collection of dead things - isn't he gorgeous!  And as you can see from the Alchemella Mollis in the centre, we've been having a lot of rain! 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


For WOYWW this week my desk is covered in gelli prints I made for the new Summer of Colour 2013.  The colour theme for this week is Citron green and Turquoise.  I didn't know where to begin on this so I've printed some backgrounds and started playing - I thought that might be a good way to find a starting point - and I'll see where I end up!   

Also this week I have been taking part in the new Index Card a Day challenge (ICAD), over at Daisy Yellow.
My idea for the cards started with this gorgeous fern that I planted in the garden last summer while in the throws of the Summer of Colour 2012 - it helped feed my obsession with pollen and spores!

It has settled in to the garden beautifully and is looking very lush and quite spectacular - so of course it had to be photographed!  I used the 'design' of it to hand carve a stamp, which became the basis for the 7 index cards. 

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Focus On Life #23

This weeks photographic prompt for Focus on Life over at the Studio Sublime was 'Typography'.  I LOVE books - I have books pretty much in every room of the house, from brand-new to very, very old!  I quite often buy books simply because I am drawn to the title - which can lead to disappointment or sometimes an amazingly good read if lucky!  Barbara Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible has to be one of my all time favourite books - the cover is delicately plain yet appealing, with gold embossing and a simple, intriguing title.  I am also drawn to the beautiful titles of Gail Tsukiyama's books - a wonderful author, she is definitely another favourite - who could resist titles such as the Language of Threads and Dreaming Water!

   I am sure I will never be a Kindle kind of girl - I often just hold my books, and rub my hands over the cover and drink in the beauty and texture of the book cover - it is a huge part of the enjoyment of reading a good book!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

WOYWW #209

I don't have much on my desk to show this week so I thought I would take a photo of the dish that has water, sponges and pins always handy - and of course the stuff that shouldn't be there, like an necklace that needs mending and some corkboard pins awaiting a new corkboard!  There is nothing like taking a photo of your desk to show just how much your water pot needs cleaning - I really hadn't noticed how messy it was until I saw the photo!

I had to include a close-up of my favourite mug from Anthropologie and my treasured vintage style pincushion.  
If you want to see what's on other people's desks this week why not pop over to WOYWW and have a snoop.