Saturday, 14 May 2022

Early May in the garden and buying some plants

I have one clump of English bluebells which have grown at the base of a potted box bush.  
One of my camellias is in flower and looks beautiful.
I visited a local garden centre last weekend and just had a couple of things on my list - a salvia and some compost.  Well, you know what it is like - I came back with an osteospermum, a dianthus, lemon thyme...  
...a nemesia...
...three ferns, a salvia, some compost, some grit and some slow release fertiliser!  It was lovely to have a trip out and indulge in some garden retail therapy (even if I spent more than I planned!)

Monday, 9 May 2022

Recent stamp carving

I have been trying some different materials for stamp carving, such as soft cut, which worked OK but was a little tough to cut with my basic lino blades.  I also tried EssDee Mastercut, which is a white material, a bit like eraser material and that cuts much more easily.  I saw some designs which I liked, so set about cutting my own stamps.  I used some mop up sheets from my acrylic paint experiments and I think they will make very nice collage papers.  Even though they haven't all printed perfectly, I like the result.  
I then had a go at a different design and after a little refining, am pleased with the second one.  I used black acrylic paint to print them and kept the paint wet until I cleaned them up properly.  I really like the way they look hand made.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Spring in the Garden with lots of tulips

Spring has arrived now, although it has been a bit colder again this week.  However, the plants don't seem to have minded.  This is quite a photo heavy post, but I just couldn't help it - I love this time of year! Above is Clematis Frankie...
and here is elegant 'Blue Dancer', both growing up the arch.
Tulips in the border have done well - Brown Sugar or Cairo - not sure which.
Brown Sugar/Cairo with a little Ronaldo.
Narcissus Triandrus which came back this year.
Clematis 'Rosy Pagoda' looking pretty.
Lathyrus vernus with pink and purple pea-like flowers.
Clematis 'Rosy Pagoda' again.
Tulip Ballerina...
...more Clematis Frankie...
...and again with tulip 'Danceline'.
New Ronaldo tulips, planted in a pot.
Brown Sugar/Cairo, Ballerina and apple blossom.
Ballerina, Brown Sugar/Cairo and Danceline.
Ballerina,  Ronaldo and a little Red Shine - I love this colour combination.
Erythronium Pagoda with its delicate swept back petals...
...near to an Epimedium x versicolor sulphureum, I think.
These tulips are out at the front, in a pot.  They started off yellow but have turned a lovely orange. They are 'Sunlover'.
Lovely flowers.
The fringed tulip which seems to come back each year now.  
More Ronaldo.
More fringed tulip.
Magnolia Susan and Lilac flowers...
...and again.
Ballerina in a pot, really glowing.
Finally (well done if you made it this far), a rest for the eyes in the form of Ginkgo Biloba Mariken.  It will be the turn of alliums, aquilegia and astrantias next and then roses!

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Easter

The Easter long weekend was lovely and I enjoyed having some time away from work.  I had been busy making cards, using lots of different dies and making some Easter egg stamps which I used to decorate some of the envelopes.  The Tree of Life was a newish die set which also included blossom and leaves as dies too. I am looking forward to creating a four seasons tree picture.
Snarky cats made their appearance for a few friends who I knew would appreciate them.
I bought a couple of bunches of daffodils and we enjoyed their happy colours.
The paler ones were very pretty...
...I liked the apricot pink tones of the trumpet.  They lasted pretty well and gave the sitting room a nice splash of colour. Of course we treated ourselves to some little chocolate eggs - it had to be done!

In other news, much to my surprise, my Sansevieria (Mother in Law's Tongue/Snake plant) plant decided to flower.  Apparently, this is relatively rare but due to either stress and poor conditions and its roots being crowded, or the opposite.  As this particular plant is in a small pot and really needs a bit of care, I am assuming in this case, it is the first of these!  I really must take pity on it and pot it on.  The flower was very sticky but sweetly scented while it lasted.

Thursday, 14 April 2022

Wanderlust 2022 - Weeks nine to fourteen - Image transfer and Texture paste

I am really enjoying this year's mixed media art journaling course.  Each block of seven weeks focuses on different media.  This block was about image transfer and texture paste/modelling paste.  The page above has image transfer using gel medium, image transfer using acetone and texture paste through a stencil.  The image transfer using gel medium was a new technique and one which worked well.  The big photo is of my granny's family, the small one is my Dad when he was little and the rather ghostly bride and groom are my Mum and Dad (that transfer was using acetone).
Week ten was all about texture paste.  We made marks in it and then added a tag and images around it.
I loved making this page, which was based around a gel plate transfer using a magazine image and words from a magazine.  Using the monotone colour scheme was not something I would normally choose but I loved it! I also added some mark making tissue paper pieces and stencilled letters in gold, and printed back to front to the collage.
Week eleven involved making our own flower and leaf stamps and using watercolour to stamp into the texture paste - something I had never done before.  The image has ended up with lots of texture, which isn't obvious from the picture.  We also stamped the leaf and flower shapes onto separate papers and used these to create the vase.
Week twelve was all about layers around an image transfer.  I didn't have a family photo big enough for this and as you need a laserprint image for this to work, I ended up choosing a magazine image to transfer using the gel medium technique.  I based the page on some of my Granny's interests which were nature and the countryside.  She knew all about wild flowers and trees and so I have incorporated these into the page.  I also used the leaf and flower stamps I had made from the previous week.
Week thirteen was based about texture paste through stencils onto tissue paper.  I also incorporated collage papers I had made on my gel plate.  this stencil is one of my favourites - It is Klimt Spiral pattern by Stamperia.  I have used it quite a lot since I bought it!  I hadn't intended using my Mum's two favourite colours, turquoise and orange (well, cadmium red acrylic paint actually with a bit of Spiced Marmalade Distress crayon for good measure).
Last week was based around a napkin which was applied around the edge of a page.  The texture paste was used to hold a pressed flower on the central cluster element.  However, my flower is still being pressed!  (I will add it in when it is dried and pressed and if it looks OK).  It's a very happy page.

The next material we'll be exploring is artists' acrylic paints.
 

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Baking

 I enjoy baking - especially biscuits and cakes.  Above is a chocolate cake which I made for my sister in law's birthday last month. It is my much used go-to recipe as the cake lasts well (if you can manage not to eat it) and it stays nice and moist.  I topped it with chocolate buttercream icing and some large chocolate buttons.

We had some lemons hanging about in the kitchen so I decided to make some lemon curd.  I have said this before, but it is a very 'Spring-y' thing to make. 

 I used Delia Smith's ingredients but Nigel Slater's method and it came out beautifully - lovely and tangy. The ingredients gave me one small jar (1 lemon, 2 eggs, 3 oz sugar, 2 oz butter.)  I added some to the butter icing in these butterfly cakes and an extra splodge (technical term!) on top.  They are yummy!  

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Nearly...but not quite...Spring

We have been very lucky with the weather during the last two weeks in March. My little standard cherry (Prunus incisa Kojo-no-mai) has looked lovely. It lived up to its name which means 'Flight of the Butterflies'.
Here it is, flowering away.  It is a little difficult to see without a dark backdrop - I have pruned the buddleia which is behind it. 
Lovely primroses have been showing their faces in the border...
...even if they have been nibbled by something, they are still lovely.
An unnamed pink camellia has been flowering really well.
It has been the best ever, well, it was.  It is a little more brown now.
There was one flower on the other unnamed camellia.  I am pleased I took the photos when I did because everything is looking rather more brown and frosted now.  We are in a cold snap with minus temperatures at night and Winter is back in charge.  Certainly not that cold compared to other places in the World, but a shock to the system after the last two weeks. This is sometimes the case, but with our drier and brighter Springs over the last couple of years, it is easy to forget that Winter can come back in April.  I remember a holiday in Oxfordshire during April when I was younger and we visited Rousham gardens (a fabulous place) accompanied by hail and snow - a bit like yesterday.   It is due to warm up a bit next week, so hopefully the Spring flowers can continue without too much disruption.