Tuesday 20 February 2024

Junk Journal January 2024

Last month I took part in Junk Journal January for the first time.  This is organised by Meg from megjournals on Youtube and there is a list of prompts and daily videos from different people showing what they have made. I decided that it would be a good thing to start using some of the paper, digikits, and ephemera I have been collecting and this seemed do-able. Below are some of my favourite pages.
This is 'throwback' so I went for a vintage feeling, making a pretend slide with insects on it.  I made my colleague a birthday card similar to this last year so used some of the digital images I had left over, together with stamps, a postage stamp and some digi labels. 
There was 'eclectic' which was a mix of gel prints, a digikit photo, a die cut flower which I watercoloured, a leaf and a flower I made from last year's art journal, and a label I had inked and stamped.  An eclectic mix indeed, but I like it!!
'Fabric' was a sort of patchwork of scraps with an inked and dried baby wipe used as the focal heart.  
'Ombre' was easy with a watercolour background but I didn't know what I wanted to put on top until I thought about slow drawing so I added these ginkgo leaves, which are so relaxing to draw as they are lots of repeated lines.
'Translucent' was inspired by a piece of gel printed paper. I echoed the brushstroke pattern on a piece of tracing paper to become the translucent element.
Here's what's underneath - music paper, book page, the gel print paper, labels and a digikit camellia.
Finally, here is 'reflect' which I took to be reflecting on the whole Junk Journal January experience.  This page has a piece of paper pad, labels, book pages, ivy from a napkin, a piece of packaging from some bulbs and a digikit photo.  

I made this little journal for the challenge and I really enjoyed filling the small pages. Junk Journal July is also a challenge, so I may join in with that too.

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Snowdrops 2024

We last visited this ancient cemetery in February 2021, when gardens that usually had snowdrops to visit were closed.  You can read about it here.  On the spur of the moment, making the most of a sunny morning we decided to head out again, so that I could get a snowdrop fix!  I do have a few snowdrops in the garden, but I love to see them in drifts.
There were lots of snowdrops and aconites and a few crocuses.
They were all enjoying the winter sunshine.
The trees made some lovely shadows too.
The tree bark was very textured.  There are London Plane trees, Sycamores and Limes here.
You can see the aconites better in this photo.
We were lucky that it was so quiet, with not many people about and we could enjoy the lovely birdsong as we wandered.
Just beautiful!
The blue sky was such a bonus and the tree branches made a wonderful tracery.
It isn't a very big space, but was a lovely place to spend some time with nature.

Thursday 1 February 2024

Good things to come

I am enjoying wandering round the garden at the moment.  Above are some snowdrops in the border, tantalisingly close to being fully open.  These tall ones, probably Elwesii or something similar were from my Mum's garden many years ago.  They may need to be divided, if I could ever remember to do this at the right time!
More promise of things to come. Here is a camellia, probably a japonica  which was a present from Mum and I have no idea what variety it is. It is a double and has nice plump flower buds.  It needs to be in a bigger pot now.
I was pruning some of my roses this afternoon and the scent from the winter flowering honeysuckle was lovely. The scent is best on a sunny day and it is like lily of the valley - a fresh, delicious scent.  As I have said before, this is a straggly birds' nest of a shrub but all is forgiven when it is flowering on a sunny day!

Tuesday 30 January 2024

Welcome Hellebores

I love seeing the hellebores starting to flower. While Winter is not over, they are always a promise of Spring.  These are all grown in pots and are ahead of the hellebores in the border.  Above is the rich plum/pink of Hello Ruby.
The deep colour of the petals contrasts beautifully with the green/lemon stamens.
Hellebore Eric Smithii Winter Sunshine is proving itself to be a reliable and floriferous addition to the garden. 
The pink buds open to a white/pink flower, with a touch of green.
This is Hello White Pearl which is again a reliable performer. The pink speckling is so pretty - it almost looks like a lily flower.
There are more flowers to come.
Hellebore Princess Victoria is on the way - her flowers are a deep purply/red.
This is Hellebore Harvington Pink.  It is a really pretty pink but has seemed a little shy, not flowering last year.  There are three flowers on that stem, so I shall enjoy watching them grow.

My newly planted (in December) grape hyacinths are starting to grow too so I am watching them (with some excitement!).  They should have a pale blue flower.  I do like this time of year with the promise of lovely things to come.

Thursday 18 January 2024

Slow Drawing and a new pen

I have been enjoying joining in with Slow Drawing with Amy Maricle at Mindful Art Studio since last summer.  I have mentioned her on my blog before, but wanted to focus on her for this post and share the joy! I thik she started the slow drawing classes during 2020 but I only found them last year.  She was an art therapist and has created lots of courses, as well as the weekly slow drawing class (in the UK, on a  Wednesday at 6 pm, but the videos are available until Friday).  She provides a prompt and an example each week,  (except for a break over Christmas) and I have been loving it.  There is a quiet meditation, just to help focus on the here and now and then the drawing for the remainder of the hour.  

I have been surprised just how much I like using simple media - a black waterproof pen, watercolour card and sometimes watercolours.  From next week, to get the link to the video, you will need to be on her mailing list, but it is free.  I have been using a Uniball Eye micro pen, which is really good and is my go to permanent black pen, but I decided to buy the pen Amy recommends, as she is trying to not use non-refillable pens.     

This is the Lamy Safari fountain pen with an extra fine nib.  It can be used with cartridges but I bought a converter so it can be refilled with ink. I tried it out last night and it was very good.
This was the pattern last night - the patterns are usually taken from nature - and I found the repetitive lines very relaxing to draw.  
Here is my index book with all the patterns I have drawn so far...page 1...
...and pages 2 and 3.  Initially, the patterns seem complicated, but they are broken down to make them easy to draw. 

I have taken a couple of her courses which I enjoyed, particularly 'Little Book of Wonder'.  I thoroughly recommend Amy's book too - Draw Yourself Calm.  I am looking forward to adding to my index book as well as to the little journals I made when taking her classes and using my new pen much more.

Sunday 14 January 2024

First cards of 2024 and first plants in flower

I have started making cards for 2024 and these are first ones.  Some simple stamped thank you cards - I really like the sketchy style of these floral stamps.
This was a birthday card for a friend who likes pink.  I used die cut flowers in the background which was an idea I saw last week during a Sizzix die release by Tim Holtz. If you would like to know more, it is all available on his blog here. He shows fantastic ideas by his very talented makers team, so I always try to watch the releases and lives if I can.
In the garden this Rhodanthemum Casablanca has surprised me by flowering throughout December and now into January.  I have lost two of these plants before, so am doubly surprised by this one.
This snowdrop is the one nearest to being fully open.  It is in a pot and is Galanthus Elwesii.. The ones in the border are nearly there and will no doubt feature in a week or two.   
Here is Hellebore Ericsmithii Winter Sunshine, braving our colder temperatures.  We are due more frosts next week, so I shall be checking on the garden as the week progresses.

Thursday 4 January 2024

2023 - a year in plants

I had seen a lovely idea for a review of plants during 2023 on a blog I follow (Elephant's Child - the blog owner is in Australia) and she said she would like to see my version, so here it is.
January 2023 is Winter flowering honeysuckle, (Lonicera Fragrantissima or Purpusii) which has small flowers, but on a sunny day they pack a punch of lily of the valley scent.  
February is the 'common' snowdrop - Galanthus nivalis.  One of my all time favourites.
March had to be the daffodil - Narcissus Tete a Tete.
April is Tulip Ronaldo, which for me is a reliable repeat flowerer and lasts well in the garden.
May is the Allium, which could be Purple Sensation or Globemaster.
June is all about the roses in my garden and here is Rosa Eyes for You.
July is Salvia Amistad which was a joy and delight all the summer and into Autumn and Winter.
August is Hibiscus Syriacus Oiseau Bleu, again a reliable and beautiful plant.
September is Helianthus Lemon Queen which is a perennial sunflower and can be a bit of a thug. I love the cheerful flowers.  
October is Liriope Muscari which is left to its own devices and flowers away each year.
November is Salvia Cerro Potosi which is a vibrant fuchsia colour and continued to flower through the summer and right up to December in 2023. 
December is represented by Camellia Yuletide and it did flower in December 2023.
So, there is my review.  I could have chosen many others, such as clematis, hydrangeas, astrantias, jasmine, miscanthus etc, but they all get their moment on my blog during the year anyway.  I wonder what plants will do well in the coming year?