Monday 26 January 2015

New Art work

We went to an Art sale at the weekend, featuring local glass artists, photographers and print makers.  Needless to say, we came home with some new additions to our collection of pictures.

 We both loved the seed head and branches by photographer Jane Wright - they are so atmospheric and just jumped out at us.
We also saw some of Alison Read's work (it was her house and we were able to see her studio which was fantastic!).  Chris loved this dog woodcut print...
 ...whereas I was after cat 'Furball' here...
 ...and I thought that this one looks a bit like Scruffy (so, of course, it had to come home with us!)
Right, all we need to do is to get them framed and then decide where they are going.  We are thinking of having a mini-gallery in the hall...

Monday 19 January 2015

New roses

 I am itching to get into the garden and get going again, but as we are forecast to have a cold week, that will have to wait.  I am always like this in January - Christmas is over, the start of a new year and a new gardening year!  However, I have been buying already...
Above is Rosa 'Frilly Cuff', which is a new introduction from last year.  I chose it because it is a lovely colour and will grow in a pot (quite important when you have no room in the garden!)  It will be arriving in February. (Photo from Peter Beales)
 I have ordered and received these two from Apuldram Roses (photos from their website), which I have stuck in pots for now, just to keep their roots from drying out.  Trust me to pick a cold week!  The one above is Rosa Chandos Beauty which I saw at Haddon Hall in Derbyshire quite a few years ago, but decided now was the time to purchase it.  (It grows well in a pot too, apparently!)
The final one is Rosa William Shakespeare 2000, a David Austin rose.  I don't have any roses this colour in the garden, so thought it would be a good addition.  I'm not sure it will be happy in a pot so I may have to re-jig a few things...
I will be planting the roses properly once the weather is better.  In the meantime, I am looking forward to a summer full of roses!

edited 21.01.15
Oh no, I have just succumbed and bought another rose - Charles de Mills!  Right, I need to stop now.  This one will need to go in a border too...Major re-jigging of borders now required...gulp

Sunday 11 January 2015

Just a little light reading?

 I love reading.  It is one of my favourite things to do.  I do have a Kindle, which is great for work, as it is light, portable and can store lots on it, but nothing can beat the excitement of a book, whether new or just new to me.  However, I have had to have a serious talk with myself.  I have got too many books which I haven't read.  So, after ordering four more over Christmas(!), I have decided not to order any more until I have read all of the ones in the photo above and possibly a few more as well (there are many more yet to be read).  I enjoy many types/genres of books and the selection above encompasses fiction, factual, biography, gardening, art, cats and social history, to name but a few.  Now, which one to start with?
I usually have a few on the go at once, but if one really grabs my interest then it gets my undivided attention.  The ones above have the potential for this, I think.  I bought 'Merry Hall' for my Mum for Christmas as she likes Beverley Nichols and I had a sneaky peek before wrapping it.  I loved it, so had to get a copy for myself and then, as it was a trilogy, what could I do but buy the others as well?  You see my problem...
So these are first on the list and I must admit that 'The Lost Pre-Raphaelite' may be the very first to be read,  as it has intrigued me.  I have been keeping a record of the books I have read over the last couple of years and it is fascinating to look back.  Last year, I read 86 books and many were on my kindle.  I wonder whether I'll read more or fewer in 2015?  I am reading the Mapp and Lucia series on my Kindle at the moment but I am ready to start a real book too, so off I go!

Thursday 8 January 2015

Positive signs in the garden

 With all the terrible things going on in the world recently, it is sometimes difficult to believe there is anything much to celebrate.  However, nature reminds us to go on, despite everything.  The stoic attitude of the snowdrop is one such example.
 This delicate little flower has a core of steel running through it and it will fight to bloom every year, despite the weather.
 Something for us to try and emulate, perhaps?
 The winter flowering jasmine is also a plant I admire, even though it spends much of the year resembling a straggly bird's nest.  For a few weeks and sometimes months, it enlivens the winter garden, creating a little sunshine with its flowers.
For the ultimate optimist, how about this?  (Apologies for the awful glare on the photo, but the flash insisted on being used, despite my best intentions!) This is a flower of Erigeron Karvinskianus - Mexican Fleabane - which by rights should not be flowering at this time of year, or through the snow we had or through the frosts, but here it is.  Positive signs indeed.

Thursday 1 January 2015

Happy New Year 2015!

(photos from Daily Mail website)
 As seems to be a bit of a tradition, the first post of the year is one where I review last year and see how I got on with the things I wanted to achieve. I kept it pretty simple and did reasonably well (with the exception of the first one).
Make more felt - hmm, this wasn't achieved at all, so I must do better with that this year.
Read interesting books - achieved (total of 86, up from 63 in 2013) and will be continued.
Be creative - achieved but could do more! I'd like to learn a japanese braiding technique (kumihimo) to add to my jewellery making.
Get rid of/donate things I do not want or need - I am a hoarder, so this is one I struggle with. However, I am going to improve and for the last few weeks have been consciously removing at least two things a day from the house.  I just need to carry that on!
So, not bad, but will do better in 2015.
Happy New Year to you all and I hope it is a healthy and prosperous one.