Tuesday 31 August 2010

Village Fete

At the village fete we went to last Saturday, at my Mum and Dad's village, there was an interesting display of vintage vehicles. Chris reliably informed me that the motorbike was a 'Vincent' and was a bike that people would love to own. I thought it was beautifully looked after and I loved the licence plate - 'JOY'. No doubt, that's what it brings its owner.

A Routemaster bus - the quintessentially English red bus as seen in London, turning up unexpectedly at a village fete!

We were both intrigued by this grass rolling machine which had obviously been in the field for quite some time, quietly rusting away.

Another beautifully maintained vintage car - they just don't make them like this any more!
The fete was very successful for us as we won two competitions (much to our surprise); the 'guess the curious item' and the 'name the pulses and beans/identify the fudge flavours'. Even the weather co-operated as although the sky went black, there was only a slight shower.

Sunday 29 August 2010

Fruit Crumble - Delicious!

Well, I said I would be contributing a crumble or two, so here is the first one! It is Bramley apple, plum and raspberry, with custard, of course. It was very tasty and we both enjoyed it. I added some porridge oats to the topping, which do seem to give a nice bit of crunch. It is just the thing to be eating when the weather is turning cooler and the wind is blowing, as it has been doing this afternoon.

Fruit crumbles are one of my favourites!

Autumn Harvest

We were visiting my Mum and Dad yesterday, to support their village fete (of that, more in another post) and were very lucky to be able to gather some lovely fruit and vegetables from their garden - Victoria plums, Bramley apples, raspberries, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes. Chris is planning to have a mammoth jam making and pickling event and I shall contribute some delicious fruit crumbles. Yum! The picture above shows cherry plums and damsons in a fantastic colour combination.

Friday 27 August 2010

Photo montage of late summer

I thought I would join three photos together, to make a different image - it shows some of the late summer colours and textures in the garden. Top left is a double clematis, with petals that remind me of faded purple damask or velvet, Clematis viticella purpurea 'Plena Elegans'. Somehow, the long complex Latin name really suits the flower as it is an elegant plant. Top right is a close up of the gorgeous grass Miscanthus sinensis 'Kleine Fontane' and at the bottom is a Hydrangea (the one from the cut price supermarket) which is a riot of beautifully fading lime green, beige, pink and purple. It seems to have a new colour combination every day and reminds me of a well worn ancient embroidery which is slowly fading in the light, but which still retains an element of the beauty it once had.

Monday 23 August 2010

Books, books, books

A small selection of some of the books I have been reading lately, ranging from biographies of Katherine Swnford, Elizabeth I, and Mary, Queen of Scots to how a Victorian House (middle class family) functioned and what life was like for the occupants. I love reading and at work, I make full use of my lunch hour as I can usually be found with my nose in a book. I love the way they lead you off into a new experience, and of course, learning things is always a bonus. I am very keen on biographies about women, from different times and different social circles. I have almost finished the one about Elizabeth I, read in tandem with the one about Mary, Queen of Scots. Both are interesting and full of detail and research. My next reading matter will be based around the Pre-Raphaelite women, such as Georgiana Burne-Jones, Jane Morris and Lizzie Siddal and I am really looking forward to immersing myself in the Victorian era. I have requested two books from the library which I am eagerly awaiting. I wish I had more hours in the day!

Sunday 22 August 2010

Ornamental Grasses - a round of applause!

This is one of my favourite flowering plants at the moment - Miscanthus sinensis 'Kleine Fontane' which has such tactile flower heads that I can't help stroking them as I squeeze past. I am considering getting another one of these, or something similar, to plant in the border, as they are so gorgeous. I like the rustling effect of the leaves too. This particular grass is very well behaved and flowers every year. I had to pot it on this year, as initially it was in a smaller pot and had stems half the size that they are in the photo. Once potted on, you could almost hear the sigh of relief and it rewarded me by growing and flowering so well. The other good thing about it is that it is relatively transparent, so doesn't block the view through to other plants.
Let's hear it for ornamental grasses!

Saturday 21 August 2010

Autumn is on the way

I was despairing of seeing this Japanese anemone in flower this year, as it really seemed to be struggling with the weather conditions - boiling hot for weeks and then showers, showers and more showers. It is a lot shorter than it has been in the past, but it is finally flowering. It is Anemone hupehensis 'Bressingham Glow' and it is very pretty with the semi double pink flowers and gold stamens. I lost Anemone 'Whirlwind' (due to the winter I think), and my Anemone 'Honorine Jobert' isn't looking happy, so this is one of the only ones to flower for me this year. It is a sign that the summer is coming to an end, although hopefully we might manage a good autumn with beautiful colours and sunny days. We can always hope!

Friday 20 August 2010

Felt Hearts

The first four new hearts pictured above, using the stripy felt I made last week. The different colours in the stripes do give them another dimension when compared with the flat colour hearts. I still have several other stripy pieces to cut up, and there will also be small hearts to make too. So far, so good.
I'll keep making, and add photos of the new hearts as and when they are finished.

Monday 16 August 2010

Geranium and Fuchsia

I am enjoying the combination of colours in the garden, even though some things are starting to look a little past their best. We have been getting lots of rain, which has attempted to flatten everything, but it has improved the soil considerably. The top photo shows Geranium 'Rozanne', which is one of my favourites as it obligingly winds itself through other plants, even coming out at the top of one of the rose bushes!
The above fuchsia is 'Thamar' which has flowers that face upwards - unusual in a fuchsia as most have downward facing flowers. I thought I had lost it due to the cold winter, as it is not supposed to be hardy, (however, it had survived in my garden for about three years) but luckily, it recovered and has come back better than ever. The garden is still colourful, but over the last couple of weeks, it is starting to look a bit more autumnal, probably being prompted by the weather. I do love the autumn, but would like to enjoy a little bit more of the summer first!

Friday 13 August 2010

And more felt...

Here are some more of my latest felt squares. The brown one reminds me of an animal print, although I didn't design them with that in mind. They are destined to be made into hearts too, so once they are, I'll post a photo of them.

The white one reminds me a bit of marble with all the veining. I'm not sure whether this one was quite as successful as the brown one, but again, it will be different. It's good fun to experiment!

Thursday 12 August 2010

More new felt

More new pieces of felt with added interest in form of complimentary colours applied to the top surface. It does give the felt an extra dimension.

The blue one is my favourite because, as you know, I do like blue!

I think this purple one worked particularly well with the combination of colours I used. They do remind me of skies though, although that won't be so apparent once they are cut up and sewn into hearts. That's the next job!

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Latest felt - zingy colours!

I have made this piece of felt to cut up and make into hearts, to add to my stock. I decided to add different colours to the top surface of the felt, to give more interest. I don't think it would work for the embroidered stars, as there would be too much going on with the added embroidery too. The colours work really well together and the hearts should look very good once made up. I'm going to make a few other pieces in different colours too.

The wool laid out, carded, blended and ready to felt, with the lovely fluffy appearance of the fibres.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

More pink!

Yes, I know, it's pink again, but I couldn't resist adding this beautiful Hibiscus 'Woodbridge' to my blog. The plant in front is Nemesia 'Confetti', also pink! I have three Hibiscus plants in the garden; this one, Hibiscus 'Bluebird' (which I have had for two or possibly three years) and Hibiscus 'Hamabo' which is a recent purchase and which isn't yet in flower. They are exotic looking flowers on tough plants and I have found them to be almost maintenance free, apart from a little deadheading if required and a bit of feed in Spring. It has been good to have some rain recently and the plants are looking much happier, but I still have to water my pots.

Sunday 8 August 2010

A new Blog discovered

Christ Church, Spitalfields (courtesy of Wikipedia)
I met up with my friend Angie recently and she told me about a Blog she had discovered that had kept her up until 11.30 pm one night, reading all the entries. It is called Spitalfields Life (http://spitalfieldslife.com/) and is full of all kinds of interesting things. The writer has promised to write daily until 2037 (ten thousand posts). It is a real mixture of life in Spitalfields, London, including how things used to be, to the owner's garden, pets, local markets etc. It is absolutely fascinating and I have just spent at least half an hour reading all the gardening entries!

Saturday 7 August 2010

A pattern of curls

I took this photo when I visited Doddington Hall, earlier in the summer. The contrast of the curls in the wrought iron gate with the straight leaves behind interested me. I like the idea of attempting something similar in felt, but I haven't really explored making linear curls like that as yet. Perhaps it may be time for some more experimentation...
I am still thinking about the embroidery on a sunset piece I made a while ago, and the embroidered grasses on the roadside piece. I think I may have to stop prevaricating and get on with them! I would also like to try to make a representation of the blossom photo I took in May which reminded me of a Van Gogh. Watch this space...

Friday 6 August 2010

Peacefelt - designing the felt

I have received the name of my Peacefelt partners, both of whom are from the USA. I now have a month or so to design the piece I am going to send, and I am thinking of a variation on the sunset above. This was Chris' suggestion and I think it will work very well. Sunset is a peaceful time of the day, when things are quietening down and everything is getting ready to sleep. I really like the colours in this piece too, and the addition of the silk thread gives another texture (and a bit of shine) to the design. I wonder what felt piece will be sent to me? It will be very interesting to find out! When I send the felt out, I can include information about myself and where I live and what my hobbies are too, so hopefully, the person who sends me her piece will do that as well. It's a really nice idea.

Monday 2 August 2010

Cuttings success (I think)

I took some cuttings of Penstemon Garnet in July and only one survived. I took some more towards the end of July and I seem to have been more successful with them. Initially they wilted a bit, but they seem to be growing now. It is exciting to see something growing in front of your eyes, especially as I haven't taken cuttings before. I think I have to leave them for another week or so and I can then pot them into their own pots and start to harden them off, ready for the garden. I already have two Penstemon Garnet plants, so eventually, the garden will be awash with them. Can't wait!