Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Bill's Big Game Hunting

Bill has been a very naughty boy. Luckily I was in the garden photographing my journal when he came over the wall with the biggest chick I've ever seen. It was still alive so I waited for him to drop it, got on my gardening gloves and put it into a shoe box. No easy feat when you have a phobia about birds but I just kept saying to myself, it's a duck, it's a duck and I got through it. Off I went to the end of the road where the riverside is and released him but he was going nowhere and he was easy prey to others. Luckily a neighbour came along, and after identifying the chick as a heron, no webbed feet (thank goodness I didn't know because that is definately a flappy bird, arghhh) she offered to take him to the RSPCA, bless her.

I got back home and Bill was flat out from the effort of bringing home a bird, a third the size of himself, and over a veritable obstacle course of walled gardens. He was so proud of himself. I love cats but hate this aspect, it just reminds me that a killer sits on my knee and purrs. I'm just so pleased I was in the garden otherwise he would have brought it through the cat flap and into the house and that would have been even more traumatic for me and the poor chick.

Favourite Rose is Out

It's called Jubilee Celebration by David Austen roses, and I just adore it. It is, dare I say it, so shabby chic and with the most divine perfume.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Nice Afternoon

The anticipation has started for my favourite rose - Jubilee Celebration, to come into flower. I didn't realise I had this cheeky chappy on the bud until I uploaded the photo.

My sister in law got a couple of these funky curtains recently and has given me one. Oh, what to do, what to do, any suggestions??

Here's a sneeky peek at the Heavenly Journal's progress, alot more to do yet and I have to post out by Wednesday, cripes!
Had to put a little picture of me on it somewhere, lol.

PS Also finished something for the Boudoir Swap today but can't show you that until Anne hopefully receives it later in the week, my lips are sealed :)

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Inspiration for Heavenly Gardens Journal

The inspiration for Heavenly Gardens came initially from a lovely Saturday afternoon spent doodling in my garden. I couldn’t think of a more perfect or heavenly way to spend a few hours. It was warm and sunny, my cats kept dropping by and keeping me company for a while, bees were buzzing and birds were singing. I knew I had found my title

But gardens mean more to me than that. I’ve always loved being in my garden, be it actually gardening, or reading, or knitting, or having a cup of tea etc. My garden is my oasis of calm. It’s my space to paint with plants, to watch nature and to chart the passage of the seasons. It helps me to put things into perspective as it reminds me of the great cycle of life and that my petty worries are just that, petty worries.

My garden is a small town garden that I’ve transformed from a square of gravel with shrubs around the edge into a curvy, flowing, riot of colours, textures and scents. It is tousled, abundant and productive, with vegetables mingled in with flowers.

My artist’s eye is always on the look out for vignettes, so empty clay pots are not just stacked up but ‘displayed’, alongside old-fashioned metal watering cans and some of my own clay vessels. I hang charms from trees and arches.

I love my roses best of all. Even though my garden is small I have still managed to get 7 roses in so far. I love ramblers, climbers and bush roses, nothing neat and manicured, just alive with colour, scent and sheer exuberance.

The title Heavenly Gardens also links with my love of old cemetaries, the calmness, the serenity and most of all the statues. I adore the Victorian angels, broken columns and cherubs, overgrown with ivy. Alive with bygone symbolism and elegance.

So this is what Heavenly Gardens encapsulates for me. It will be really interesting to see what it means to the other 14 artists in this swap.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

International Journal Swap update

I'm in the process of decorating the cover of my journal. The theme is Heavenly Gardens. I've got a button on the sidebar that will take you right to it but as yet there is nothing there. Myself and the other 14 artists are due to post out our journals by 1st July. The tension is mounting! But I've got my idea for the sign in page now and this is half the battle, deciding on which route to take. I'll upload more piccys before it goes and then I won't see it for over a year, but I'll be able to follow it's progress via the button. There are some really challenging themes in others journals and I'm looking forward to working in them with some trepidation and excitment all rolled into one. This is the first time I'll have participated in a swap of this kind.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Wonderful ATCs in the Post

This lovely envelope of beautiful ATCs dropped through my letterbox today and it was worth bending down for - still got the bad back. It's from a swap I participated in with the Roses on the Table ladies. I absolutely love them all, very creative and inventive. So big thanks go out to JoAnn, Marilyn, Deb, SA Burnett, Maryann and a lady from Mexico whose name I can't read - sorry. And a very big thank you to Cristina for organising and hosting the swap. If you like ATCs then check out this group, they are very friendly and so creative - there's a button on my sidebar.

Monday, 21 June 2010

My First Tag Swap

Finished these tags yesterday for my first ever tag swap, the only rules were that there had to be lace, a paper flower, an inspirational message and they had to be 6"x3". At first I thought that the size was enormous, but I think that's because I've become so used to the ATC sizing. I had a lot of fun working with alot of the embellishments that people have sent me whilst hosting other swaps. Thanks you guys :)

Now I have to get them to the post office, no mean feat as I've woken up with a very bad back and I'm hobbling around in agony. I picked up something really heavy yesterday, a slab of marble from the top of my new edwardian washstand. I kind of knew I shouldn't but I still did and now I'm regretting it big time. The washstand looks lovely in my bathroom - photos when I've decorated - that's some consolation. I think I'm going to hobble to the chemist at the end of the road for some painkillers and then sofa rest and maybe watch New Moon or the latest George Clooney, Up in the Air. So cautionary tale, listen to your little voice screaming "Do you think you should be doing this?" It knows what it's talking about, lol

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Bill Biggles Progress

I've finally managed to get a nice photo of Bill, think he was tired because he stayed where he was until I'd run and got my camera. He's a real teenager, all long legs, long tail, big paws and ears, all gawky and full of life. Forget breakfast he's off out the cat flap, then he'll come back, give a little delightful chirp and have his biscuits.

He still has the adorable eyebrow whiskers that set him apart in the shelter. He still bites but not as much and never in temper, he's playing but is a bit rough, ouch! In short I love him to bits, a real character.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

ATCs Around the World Challenge

I was so moved yesterday when I opened an envelope and found the above ATC. It is a painting of my cat Merlin Maximus by a lady called Beth Meador. Not only is it remarkable as it is a striking likeness of his looks and character, but that someone, out of the blue, would take the time and trouble to create something so personal to me but that the artist has only 1% of her vision left.

Beth has retinitis pigmentosa which means that she suffers from retinal degeneration and will lose her sight completely eventually. Her challenge is to get her art and her story out all over the world, to raise awareness of this and similar conditions, for which there is no cure, before she loses her sight completely. She is a member of the Milliande artist group and she put out a call for people willing to receive an ATC from her with the aim to get to as many regions of the world with her story. If you are a member of the group and live in an area of the world where there are not too many artists, (so not UK, USA, Canada, etc) she would particularly like to hear from you. If you are not a member but would like to find out more about this project and Beth's progress please use this link Please help her to reach her goal and spread the word, thank you.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Mermaid Treasures ATC swap

I've been hosting a Mermaid Treasures ATC swap and this is one of mine - Love Letter from a Sailor. I just love hosting a swap, it's a real pleasure seeing the amazing creativity of other artists, seeing their interpretations of my theme.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

And Finally She Flowers

Finally my peony is flowering, normally she flowers in May and gets dashed to bits by the heavy showers in May. But this year she stayed in tight buds through the unusual heatwave in May and now has opened out. Hooray I thought, I'll be able to enjoy her spectacle for longer this year. But no, the heavy showers have migrated as well and as I type I can hear the heavens opening and the heaviest raindrops descending to dash her petals to the ground. Maybe I should construct some kind of peony umbrella next year or am I becoming slightly obsessive, you be the judge :)

Monday, 7 June 2010

I'm All Set for Winter Chills

I've finally finished my crocheted blanket. I started it in the really cold spell we had last winter. I sat, cold and shivering, in my front room and looked across at the big bag of wool I'd recently bought for the peasantly sum of £3 from the local charity shop and I started to crochet. As soon as it was as big as my lap I felt warmer but then as the weather warmed up my crocheting slowed up until it has taken me about 4 months to complete. But I'm now ready for the next big freeze, lol.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Anya Golightly

15/7/2001 - 27/5/2010
The name Anya came from the ex-demon in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it suited her because she could be a little tinker. She was named Golightly after Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffanys as she looked as if she was wearing long black gloves. She would wake me by roughly licking my cheek which you just couldn't ignore. She was a beautiful girl, very nice eyes and the longest fur between her pads and I loved her. I'll miss her so much.

Thank you for all your encouragement and support when she was missing, I really have been so touched. She was found yesterday.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

It's Rose Season

This is Mary Rose, a really prolific flowerer, at least 2 flushes per year
This is Zephirine Drouhin, a climbing rose that I planted last year to one side of my arch. It has the most amazing perfume - and I know this because I sniffed all the roses at the David Austin nursery!
Last but not least this is St Swithun, nicely perfumed and lots and lots of blooms. Are you noticing a bit of a pink theme going on? As well as pink I allow white, blue, purple and shades thereof in the back garden and this is for all plants not just my roses. I wanted to have some sense of calm and serenity but not sure I've achieved that as the variety of colour within this palette is actually vast, but I do love my little garden. My other 4 roses are not in bloom yet so there is more joy to come :)

Friday, 4 June 2010

Journal Making

This is my first attempt at making my own journal and once I'd let the paper stand for a week, leering at me that I'd make a hash of it, I faced down that demon yesterday and set to work. I loved it. I'd watched a video how to on Youtube, (thank you Moriah Betterley ) a couple of times and got started. I used Artistico + Fabriano paper instead of manilla folders but the principle is the same. I also incorporated some flaps like Teesha Moore in her journals.

I found that I needed to be tighter on the stitching but I'm pleased with the final outcome. It'll have a new cloth cover on it when it comes back to me in about 14 months. This journal is going to be used in the International Journal Swap I've signed up for with 14 other artists. We all send off an A5 journal to the next person in line and then that person does a two page journal page on the theme of that particular journal. My journal's theme is Heavenly Gardens. I now have to make a temporary cover and sign in page. I'm so looking forward to this swap, there are some really interesting themes to tackle and I'm really excited. I've been looking to join one of these types of swap since I read True Colors.

Thank you so much of your kindness and support about my little Anya cat going missing. I'm afraid she is still not back but I've not given up hope. I'd like to think she's found herself a nice male slave/owner, she's always prefered men, but just wish she could send me a postcard.