Thursday, 20 April 2017

Easter

 I hope those who celebrate had a lovely Easter weekend.  Above is my seasonal tree bedecked in Easter decorations.  (I have always embraced the 'more is more' style of decoration).
 My tulips are still bringing lots of colour to the garden. Above are Purissima and Angelique which really open up in a bit of sunshine.
 Here are Ronaldo and Princess Irene showing how lovely purple and orange look when they are together.  It's one of my favourite combinations.
 Princess Irene again...
 ...and again, showing the fiery red patterns.
Finally, here is Angelique in a pot in the back garden.  I  bought these on a bit of an impulse, but now, I am pleased I did.  Every year I say that I need more tulips for the next year, and this year is no exception...I definitely need more!  They bring so much colour and pleasure every year.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Creative Projects

 I have been busy with a couple of creative projects over the last few days.  One was this MDF landscape paper storage rack which I wanted to decorate.  I painted it in a duck egg blue emulsion and then found some papers I liked to glue on.

Here it is with the top decorated.  In my head, I was after a turquoise chinoiserie pattern, but ended up with various floral designs.

 This is the pattern I chose for the top...
 ...the side...
 ...the back

...and the other side.  I do like the quirky, not matching effect.  I just need to varnish it now and then find a space on a shelf so that I can fill it up with paper.
 My other project I bought last March and it had been languishing about, waiting for me to get on with it.  It is a tote bag kit, which came with the pattern and all the material.  I ordered it from Create and Craft, but looking at the shop, it seems they only offer the pattern now, not the whole kit.   The outer is a cotton oilcloth fabric and I was interested to see how it would sew.  It was all going fine until it came to the top stitching around the top edge, then my trusty machine just couldn't get a grip on the slippery fabric.  I don't have a walking foot for my machine, so used a tip from the pattern, of placing tissue over the top, sewing through it and then removing it once finished, which worked well.
The lining fabric was a classic olive green spotty cotton.  This bag is going to get a lot of use as it will be my work bag.
I am pleased with the way these projects turned out.  I just need to get on with all the other projects waiting for me!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Early April in the Garden

 I do like this time of year - in fact I would go so far as saying that April to June is my favourite time of the year.  Everything is fresh and beautiful.
Above are tulip 'Negrita' from last year, which I forgot to remove from their pot and they have flowered again this year, so that was a lovely surprise.  This was last week.  The large expanse of gravel is in next door's garden, as since the wall came down, there is no boundary. However, we have decided to have a wall again, not a fence, so Chris has been very busy removing the remains of the wall and digging down to the foundations, ready for the new foundation and wall. It will look lovely, I'm sure. We are hoping to have it done by the summer.
 Lathyrus vernus has beautiful purples and pinks and brightens up a shady corner.
 Erythronium Pagoda looks so exotic and I am always pleased to see it back.  I took this photo last week too.
I planted a small tub of tulips in the Autumn which is brightening up the front door.  Purissima is the cream/white/green one and Angelique is the pinky/white double.
Angelique has a delicate blush of pink spreading over the petals.
 In the back garden, I have a couple of pots of lily of the valley.  I tried growing them in the border in the past but they weren't happy.  So far, they seem to like the pots.
 A Peony bud on 'Athens', I think.
Tulip Negrita this morning, opening out in the sunshine.
 My favourite, Ballerina, in the sunny border, enjoying a sunbathe.
 More Purissima and Angelique, with a Ronaldo at the back.
 Ballerina in the border.  The ones in the border have flowered much earlier than the new ones I planted last autumn.  I love the way the sun lights up the petals.
 Erythronium Pagoda this morning - lots more flowers now.
 A little group of Spring flowers - Hellebore, Pulmonaria, Lathyrus vernus, Anemone blanda, and lots of leaves,
 Magnolia Susan and the lilac tree against a Spring sky.
 I think this is Ronaldo, just getting ready to flower.
 Leaves of Camellia Yoimachi, an autumn/winter flowering camellia which I bought earlier in the year.  I am looking forward to seeing it flower later in the year.
Nemesia Confetti flowers - this plant has lasted outside over winter with no problems and has a delicate honey scent.
So, that's what I saw this morning...

Thursday, 30 March 2017

March Birthdays

March has been a month filled with birthdays for friends and colleagues and it is times like these that I am really pleased I can make gifts. Above is a memory wire bracelet with aquamarine, apatite, peridot, amazonite and lapis lazuli for a colleague.

I also made a card for her, using the Altenew 'Simple Flowers' stamp set, which has a lovely 'retro' feel. I was pleased with the end result. 
 Another colleague was given this memory wire bracelet, with aquamarine, agate, apatite, amazonite, tanzanite and lapis lazuli.
 I made her card using the Altenew 'Half tone circles' stamp set in shades of blues.
 A friend had their 40th birthday, so I printed some wrapping paper using a Blockwallah stamp 'Curious fox' (as she likes foxes).
 I also stamped the envelope...
...and the card (apologies for the bad lighting!)
Inside the card, I used my dies and die cutter to create the 40 (using glitter card) in a silver circle. I made her a beryl stretchy bracelet with sterling silver spacers, like mine from the previous post, and bought her a Blockwallah Curious Fox stamp. some fox material and a few other bits and pieces which I think she liked.
A good thing about making cards and presents is that it is unlikely they will be duplicated!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Reassessing...

Before I continue with my post, I would just like to say how saddened I was about what happened in London yesterday.  We should be very proud of the emergency services, as well as all the people who did their best to help the injured.  In the midst of horror, there is good.

*****

It seems a little inappropriate to continue with a post about jewellery, but I had planned to do that today, so I shall carry on as normal.  I have been making (well, constructing) jewellery for a few years now and have enjoyed learning new skills such as macrame, kumihimo and using polymer clay. Initially, I made jewellery using larger sizes of bead/gemstones, around 10mm or 12mm.  However, as time has gone on, I have reassessed what I like and realised that I actually prefer smaller stones/beads, so I have been making a few simple elasticated bracelets for myself using those smaller stones.  Above is a beryl bracelet, in pastel shades, using 6mm gemstones with sterling silver spacer beads.
Then there is a Burmese jadeite 6mm bracelet, again using sterling silver spacers. Simple, but pretty and very easy to wear.
I was looking at some bracelet designs on the internet (as you do) and saw one made with memory wire and seed beads,  I didn't think I was that keen on seed beads (as I had become a bit of a gemstone snob - only the real thing, thank you) but when I searched some of the bead shops, I was impressed by the colours and prices. So, I placed an order and made up a couple of bracelets in my favourite colours.  I am really pleased with how they have turned out.
They are easy to wear - you just coil the memory wire around your wrist - and there they sit.  I made some little charms just to finish off the ends nicely.  The one above is my favourite as it looks like a stacker bracelet when it is on, but is all one piece in reality.  I have since order more seed beads, and feel that several more of these bracelets will be created very soon!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Signs of Spring

There are signs of Spring which makes me feel so cheerful.  In a pot at the front of the house, Prunus Kojo-no-mai  is flowering beautifully.  It only had a few flowers last year so is doing much better now.
 A blue hyacinth in the back garden is flowering for the third year in a row (I think).
 Primroses are blooming...
 ...as are Tete a Tete daffodils.  The smaller daffodils seem to come back more reliably in my garden.
 Crocus 'Jeanne D'Arc with the palest lilac lines inside the petals.
 Reliable grape hyacinth...
 ...and a single anemone blanda.
 More crocuses with some beautiful veining.
 Pale blue scillas, shyly facing away from the camera.
 Narcissus Jetfire - a single but very welcome survivor from a large group I planted a few years ago.
 The stars of the garden must be the hellebores - this is a new one this year 'Harvington Single Red' which I bought mail order from here and would happily recommend as the plant was in lovely condition and has three buds on it, which I wasn't expecting.
 This is Harvington Pink Speckled, (I think) and it has made a lovely clump in the garden.  To see the markings, you do have to lift the flower up though.
 Finally, Harvington Pink Picotee (I think) which is clumping up nicely too.  Lots of colour to enjoy and more to look forward to, including tulips!  I really enjoy this time of year.