Sunday 30 October 2011

An uneasy truce

 Scruffy has very quickly inveigled himself into our family - finding all the best places to sleep, being first to be fed, demanding to be played with, and trying to be friends with Ginny and Gonga.

 Gonga tolerates him but isn't above swiping him with a paw if he gets too close.

Occasionally, it seems as though they quite like being together.

Monday 24 October 2011

Things I like about Autumn

 A few things I like about Autumn...  The last flowers making the most of precious sunny days (aster novae-angliae, Hydrangea Endless Summer Pink and Clematis Rebecca), giving me colour in the garden.
 A beautiful blue Autumn sky with wispy white clouds.

The right time of year to read Persuasion, accompanied by a cup of tea and a bar of my current favourite chocolate (Lindt Extra Creamy is my top all-time favourite, but Galaxy Bubbles comes a close second).  I indulged myself last week and watched the dramatisation of Persuasion with Amanda Root as Anne Elliot - a perfect treat for this time of year.

Sunday 23 October 2011

More jewellery

I have finally started to use some of my 'stash' of gemstones and have been enjoying being creative.  Above is a set of amazonite jewellery, using different cuts of stone and a bit of silver.  I have been looking for some blouses/tops to match the colour and have found several, but none of them was quite right - too tight, too baggy - you know how it is!  Anyway, I can always wear white until I find the style and type that actually fits. 
I love the different shades in the amazonite, from a milky green/white to a deep almost turquoise blue/green, to teal.  There are lots of other colours in the stones too, from reds and browns through to black and grey.  It never ceases to amaze me how all these colours come from one particular stone.

Thursday 20 October 2011

Latest jewellery for me

The set above is a present for myself and is something I have been meaning to make ever since I bought the gemstones in the summer.  I used kyanite, fluorite, jade, two silver beads and an agate circle and I am very happy with the set.  I love the blues and greens in the pieces.  The bracelet is made using a weave technique and I made the pendant for the necklace separately and used a wrap loop to secure it to the main body.  Now I just have to wear them!

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Latest jewellery creations

Here is one of my latest creations - made for Rachael, my work colleague.  She is kindly being a guinea pig for me by trying out the jewellery to see whether I have finally managed to sort my jump ring issue.  (The jump rings kept working open, despite my best efforts, so I bought some split rings (like key rings) in the hope they would prove to be more secure.)  We shall see.  The above necklace and bracelet are made from fancy agate, kyanite and Patikan wood flower beads.  Rachael asked me to use those particular blues and chocolate browns so that the jewellery would complement an outfit she has.  It took me a couple of tries to get the design right, but I am happy with the end result.

Monday 17 October 2011

Our latest inhabitant

Let me introduce our latest guest who decided to make his presence known last week (a really busy week due to us having a new boiler fitted with all the mess and disruption these things cause).  We know that he had been coming in at night, finishing off Ginny and Gonga's food and sleeping on the table and that this had been going on for quite some time.  However, he had always run away from us.  Last week, he ventured up to the back step and then came in for some food.  Since then, he has been in most of the time!

He has a skin problem and suffers from constant itching, so is licking his fur a lot and consequently has not all that much fur on the lower half of his body.  We took him to the vet and were told it was probably a reaction to fleas (nice) and he was given a jab to hopefully counteract the itching.  Even the vet was impressed with him, saying he was a 'nice little cat', about two years old, he had obviously belonged to someone as he had been neutered, and that we have been judged by the cat as 'coming up to the mark' for providing food, warmth, affection and general care. We have called him Scruffy, because he is, and it seems to suit him.  The vet said that cats must talk amongst themselves when they are outside, word has got around about our house and that this is why we seem to keep attracting them!

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Autumnal Image (and result of the Bishop Competition)

This image really epitomises the feeling of autumn to me.  My colleague Rachael and I were just going for a well deserved cuppa (well, black coffee in her case and hot chocolate in mine) after setting up Bishop Bob's display, when I was stopped in my tracks by this beautiful cobweb covered in raindrops, hanging over a cotoneaster bush (I think).  Luckily, I had my camera with me, and here is the result.

(Unfortunately, Bishop Bob didn't win the Bishop competition, but he has become our office mascot, so has a life after the competition.  The winning entry was Bishop Desmond Tutu.  Apparently, ours would have won the award for "Pure Artistry", had there been such an award!)

Monday 10 October 2011

PeaceFelt 2011

Here is the Peace Felt gift I received from Mary in the USA.  She said it was a wet felted background with everything else needle felted.  I think the autumnal colours she has used are lovely.

A close up of the pumpkin patch - textures and perspective.

 More textures and autumnal colours from the trees at the back.

More texture from the woolly sheep.
Peace Felt is a very interesting project to be involved with as you never know what is going to be sent.  It is also good to make contacts in other parts of the world - all with an interest in felting and craft.  I hope my recipient will like her gift of the Saltfleetby picture.

Saturday 8 October 2011

Bishop Bob in situ

 Well, here is Bishop Bob in situ in the college Theatre bar.  It was quite tricky to find a place without too much natural light and with enough floor space to experiment with the distances for the light.  We really wanted a halogen bulb so that the shadow would be really sharp, but the old fashioned one worked pretty well and gave us the shadow that we imagined.  We were very pleased with the end result.  There is also an element of interaction for the people judging/looking at it, as we made a sign inviting them to switch the light on (and remember to switch it off again, of course) and we hope that this will give a surprise element, when the shadow appears on the wall.  All in all, we are pretty pleased with our achievement! 
A view with all the various cards/explanations/ descriptions and the Tate Modern-inspired information on the back wall.

Friday 7 October 2011

Hello to Bishop Bob

At the University College where I work, the Chaplaincy challenged all the departments to make a Bishop (in the style of a scarecrow) and place them in various locations around college to be viewed on Tuesday.  My colleague, Rachael and I decided to make a small scarecrow Bishop and shine a light on him to project a shadow, as our entry.  Other departments have gone for Bishop Desmond Tutu (in a tutu, naturally) or Harold Bishop (from 'Neighbours') or St Nicholas, who was also a Bishop.  We have devised a Tate Modern inspired description for our installation and have had help from the Maintenance Department who kindly provided the lighting. 

Our Bishop is based on a real person, and we have tried to make him using a medieval image as the inspiration.  Part of the brief was to be frugal and spend no more than ten pounds, but we spent nothing as (due to the fact that Chris and I are hoarders), we had all the materials we needed at home.  Bishop Bob may not look much like a scarecrow, but is in fact made around two pieces of wood, as a traditional scarecrow is.  Rachael made his hat, head and hands and I made his clothes and crozier (shepherd's crook-like staff).  I'll let you know how we get on!

Monday 3 October 2011

Final images for Late Summer/Early Autumn

 Try as we might, there is no denying that Autumn, if not here, is just around the corner, and according to the weather men, will descend in earnest from this coming Wednesday.  However, to celebrate the glorious weather we have been enjoying for the last five days, more like July than September/October,  here are a few images from plants in the garden.  Above is Salvia 'Icing Sugar' which I bought at Gardeners' World Live and which has been flowering since June, despite the difficult conditions.  It still has lots of buds, but is not hardy so I don't think it will survive over the winter.  I'll just enjoy the bright cerise flowers for as long as I can.

 Aster Ericoides, which has become one of my favourite asters.  It is smothered in tiny lilac flowers which the bees love.  There is also a scent, but I haven't yet identified it - there is a honey perfume, but something else too and I'm not sure whether it is pleasant or not!

A lovely combination of an aster with the ever reliable Helianthus Lemon Queen, which has been featured on my blog several times.  I just can't resist the happy yellow flowers.

 A new plant, bought yesterday at the last garden visit of the season for us.  It is Spiraea 'Gold Fountain', although I'm not sure it is, because that is supposed to have white flowers.  Still, whatever it is, it is very pretty and the golden/green leaves give a real splash of colour.

I couldn't leave out the roses, so here is Blush Noisette, with a self seeded verbena bonariensis (and the washing line ...oops!)  Blush Noisette is a pretty rose with a lovely fragrance and I think this is the penultimate cluster of flowers, to celebrate the very last of the summer.

Saturday 1 October 2011

Jewel colours

Owing to my recent felt making, I had to check my stock of lovely merino wool and ordered some more to replace some I'd run out of.  When I opened the box, I was greeted with this selection: turquoise, aqua, sky blue, purple and royal blue.  In gemstone colours they would be: turquoise, amazonite, chalcedony, amethyst and lapis lazuli.  What a gorgeous treasure chest of colours!