Sunday, 24 September 2023

Some cards through the year - part 1

As you know, I enjoy making cards and I like to keep a record of what I have made.  So here are some of the cards from this year.  There are probably more, but I think two posts is enough(!).  The top one was for a friend's birthday - she likes pink.
The next one was for my brother-in-law.  I always find cards for men a little trickier.
I think this card was my piece de resistance this year.  It was for my colleague at work whose partner is an entomologist. My colleague has now become interested in insects, so I made this card for her.  There are pockets and 'slides' with various bugs and beetles on them.
On the back of the card were many bugs too...
Here you can see the 'slides'.
I also added a little money envelope inside.  The only problem now is thinking what to make her for next year!
There have been thank you cards.
Lots of birthday cards...
...some including collage.
Then there have been Mothering Sunday/Mother's Day cards...
...and Easter cards (I love this Tim Holtz/Sizzix rabbit die set)...
...and more Easter cards.
Finally for this post, another birthday card, following inspiration from Tracy Evans, who has been posting lots of helpful 'snippet' videos on Youtube here and I have a few of her stamps so can make my own interpretations.
Part 2 coming soon... 

Tuesday, 12 September 2023


The hydrangeas are looking good again and beginning to turn their autumnal shades.  Above is a dwarf macrophylla white which had these beautiful bright white flowers earlier in the summer. They are now turning more green.
Here is Bobo, another small plant but a paniculata variety. I find these easier when it comes to pruning.
Sundae Fraise starting to turn pink around the edges.
Pinky Winky turning pink.  This has the biggest flowers of the lot.
Macrophylla magical Revolution Pink, with shades of green on the flowers.
Magical Revolution Blue which hasn't done so well this year as it was too shaded out, I think. I have moved it in the hope that it will do better next year.  It is going more purple/lilac now and will probably change to pink another year.
Macrophylla Dark Angel looking pretty good.
Only two flowers from Sanguine Merville, (probably down to my not that brilliant pruning!) but they are rather lovely.
Finally another Magical Revolution Pink at the front door and looking probably the best of them all!

Tuesday, 5 September 2023

Beeing busy in the garden

I just happened to have my camera to hand when I spotted this very busy bee on the japanese anemone Bressingham Glow.
This isn't unusual as the bees have been loving this plant.  However, I also managed to capture a bee in flight in this photo which I was very excited about - actions shots don't always work for me!
We are enjoying some late summer sun and temperatures to match this week.  I have quite enjoyed the cooler temperatures during July and August but I know that a lot of people will be pleased to see the late summer returning.  My three coloured hibiscus is flowering away although you can only see the pink and cream flowers in this photo.  You'll have to take my word for it, there were also blue/purple flowers!
Aster Mrs S T Wright.  Yes, I know that it should be Symphyotrichum novae angliae Mrs S T Wright, but that name doesn't trip off the tongue, does it?  However, the plant itself is a good reliable flowerer and has mildew resistance.  Apparently it was developed pre 1907.
Perennial sunflower - Helianthus Lemon Queen.  It can be invasive but I love it anyway.  It hasn't been to bad in my garden, probably because it doesn't actually have that much space!
Finally for now, a little delicate japanese anemone which I thought I had lost.  Anemone hupehensis Pretty Lady Maria. 
It is indeed very pretty.

Thursday, 24 August 2023

Working small and slowly and The Inchie Challenge 2023

The Inchie Challenge, run by Amy Maricle, at Mindful Art Studio is over for another year.  I discovered Amy back in June/July, through my art journaling course where she was the teacher for one lesson.  I mentioned her in a previous post about the art journaling course.  She used to be an art therapist and her work is about slowing down and also creating big pieces from small pieces.  

My page from the art journaling course

I loved creating the page slowly, using watercolour and a black pen and have since taken two of her courses, bought her book, Draw Yourself Calm, and join in with her weekly slow drawing on Youtube on a Wednesday at 6pm in the UK. 

The Inchie Challenge is twelve daily prompts to encourage a daily art practice.  On the top row, left to right are: Frothy, Woven, Bark and Magnolia. In the centre, left to right are: Spill, Knot, Touching, Boxes.  On the bottom row, left to right are: Fern, River, Art Poem and Moon. These squares are actually 2 x 2 inches in size, so are really twinchies, but she prefers the word inchies.

What has really surprised me is that I like working small using a black permanent pen and watercolours.  I have always thought I was a 'more is more' person, with my love of mixed media, but I am embracing the small format and few supplies this needs. I have lots of scraps of watercolour card from other projects and this is a great way to use them. I am finding it to be incredibly meditative, as repeating shapes and lines is a major element.    

I am now starting to work on two journals for her two courses and slowly starting to work through her book too. 

Sunday, 20 August 2023

Wanderlust 2023 - weeks twenty-five to thirty-two - Mists and Sprays

The next supply focus was mists and sprays, such as Distress Oxides, or Distress Spray stain or Dylusions sprays.  We made a mosaic using misted and sprayed papers together with photos.
Week twenty-six was again about using sprays to make backgrounds and then cutting out shapes.
I threw myself into this portrait.  The background was using sprays but the portrait was done using pencil crayons.  I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this. It was easier drawing someone with their eyes shut!
We mixed sprays and acrylic ink to make these backgrounds and layered up different patterns and marks.
I really enjoyed week twenty-nine as we sprayed the background then masked off the shapes and added stencils and lots of other layers.  Cutting the letters out of the black card was a challenge but it really helped to have a sharp blade on the craft knife!
Then it was a collage background and stencils.  I made myself choose warm colours (as my usual go to are the cooler colours).
I really enjoyed this piece too.  I chose to draw primroses for my Granny, marigolds for my Mum and lilies for me (as they were in my wedding bouquet and the church flowers - many years ago!)  I like the contrast between the black and white drawings and the painted flowers.
The artful musings week was about making an inspiring creative space.  I have started a page but have only started the background and am considering what to do next.

We move on to Pigments and Powders now.

Saturday, 12 August 2023

The garden in mid August

 I have been enjoying the changes in the garden recently.  The first flush of roses are over and other things are having their moment to shine.

I was late to the Salvia Amistad party but can now understand what all the fuss was about.  These plants have been wonderful and show no signs of running out of steam.  The bees love them too.
Reliable japanese anemone Bressingham Glow is putting on a good show and will keep going into Autumn.
Agapanthus Navy Blue is flowering the best it has for some years.  I think it will need dividing next year.
It is a fabulous colour.
The patio apple is fruiting up - I should get about ten apples this year. 
Hibiscus Syriacus Oiseau Bleu is in flower and always manages to look so exotic but is a tough shrub.
Phlox paniculata Bright Eyes (I think) is planted in a poor spot but seems to come back and flower each year.
Another Phlox (unsure of the name) is flowering in a pot but has been a bit battered by the rain through July.
Clematis Blue Angel (also in a pot) has done better than expected.
At the front of the house, I have had more plants to enjoy. These include a cosmos and some nicotiana, nemesia Confetti, another Salvia Amistad, a dwarf Mexican Orange Blossom and a Hydrangea Magical Revolution Pink.  This combination makes me happy.

Thursday, 3 August 2023

Index Card a Day (ICAD) 2023 - Weeks 8 and 9

The final weeks of ICAD 2023 came round so here are my interpretations.  Above are: Note to Self; Topiary; Weathervane; Museum (two of our local museums).
Yahtzee (I remember the adverts and knew this was a game - after asking Google, it was described as a game using five dice); Lemon or Lime; Winter.
The final week's offerings were: Bird (using a collage of various bits and pieces); Illustration and Peaceful (my favourite piano concerto to listen to)...
...Filigree and Mosaic.

It has been enjoyable but I'm not sure whether I shall take part next year.  We'll see.  On to the next project which is the Inchie Challenge with Amy Maricle from 7th-16th August.