Thursday 26 July 2018

Feeling hot, hot, hot!

Like most of the UK, we are 'enjoying' a heatwave. (I realise that our temperatures are tame compared to other parts of the world, but they are unusual for the UK).  There hasn't been any significant rain for a month here.  I am not enjoying it at all.  I am not sleeping well and I'm finding it all a bit oppressive.
We are supposed to be getting thunderstorms tomorrow night with the possibility of flash flooding.
Animals and plants are also suffering without the rain (which I realise that I take for granted so much - perhaps a little less now).
However, there have been some nice photo opportunities.
 My agapanthus Navy Blue is flowering earlier than usual...
(with a helpful bee)... is the hibiscus (usually in August).
Conversely, this foxglove is later than usual.
 The insects seem to be enjoying all the flowers.  Here is a bee on the verbena bonariensis.
 Butterflies on the buddleia...
 ...and more...
 ...and more.
 Here's a hydrangea I forgot in my hydrangea round up post - this is 'Fireworks'.
I think I said this hydrangea was Diamont Rouge.  However, it isn't, it is actually Vanille Sundae.

Always one to state the obvious, this song seems to sum up the UK at the moment...All together now "Feelin' hot, hot, hot!"

Saturday 21 July 2018

Cards and Crafting Live at Doncaster

I have been making a couple of cards recently and really enjoyed creating the splat and splodge background in the one above.  It really looks as though I have gone a bit mad with the inks, but the splats and splodges are stamps.  I need to make more of these in lots of rainbow colours...
I took a long time considering what I was going to make and tried various things, but in the end I found that simple is best for me.  I was pleased with the card above which I think worked well.
Last Sunday on yet another hot day for the UK, Chris and I went to Crafting Live at Doncaster.  This is a shopping show, with around 70 stalls full of all things crafting.  The majority were papercrafting but there were material and sewing stalls and some others, such as beading.  I had been curious about these shows and decided I wanted to go just once.  I got the dies above as a free gift, which was a good start to the event.
I managed to avoid the sewing and material stalls, even though there were some beautiful fabrics.  Above are a couple of stamp sets (I spied the hare stamps from across the aisle and just had to buy them - they are in a lino print style which is something I have been looking for) and some stencils which I bought.  I even managed to stay in budget! 
I nearly forgot to include this stamp, which was the one I actually went to the show for!  It's a layered hydrangea stamp which gives a watercolour look once it is layered up.  I enjoyed the show but am not sure that I need to go to another one.  It was great to have so many shops all in one place though.

Friday 13 July 2018

Fences and Hydrangeas

 I have been enjoying a week off work and have managed to do a few jobs in the garden.  Above is the rather tatty looking fence at the bottom of the garden.  It was painted a nice dark green and did a good job but gradually over the years was looking less than smart.  I had seen a few show gardens on TV and one at RHS Chatsworth where the panels were either painted black or charred so that they were black.  Any green in front of them really looked vibrant. 
As our fence is right at the end of the garden, I thought that painting the panels black would make them 'disappear' when you look down the garden and would also make the plants stand out well.  I painted one coat of black (it said it was one-coat, but I now know better than to believe that) and was really disappointed as it just looked a greyey-green, with the original green showing through.
So, another coat was added and it looked much better.  It the photo above, the sun is making it look lighter than it really is - it does look much darker in real life. Now when you look down the garden, your eye is fooled into thinking it's just a dark area and goes on further.
 The green (camellia) leaves do show up much more effectively now.  However,  I am wondering whether it needs a third coat, just to make really sure...
In other news, my hydrangea collection is doing well, despite the lack of rain.  Above is the newest blue flowered one, looking remarkably pink/lilac.  I would really like a proper blue hydrangea, but seem to be fated not to have one. 
 Here is Diamant Rouge, looking rather more 'vert' than 'rouge' at the moment.
 Merveille Sanguine has a lovely pinky-red flower with cream when it is just opening.
 Really pretty.
 So is Dark Angel...
 .. pinky red and creamy green.
 Annabelle is doing amazingly well and is the only one planted in the ground.  I do give her a bit of extra water, just because it is so dry and she has a lot of flowers to support.
Creamy white with a touch of green.
 Magical Revolution which I am still not sure about due to the colour combination.  It seems happy enough though.
Endless Summer White or The Bride which is a lovely plant with just a hint of pink in the flowers.  It suffered a setback when the wall fell on it, but has recovered really well. 
Perhaps I should give up on a blue one and enjoy the ones I have which are doing so well for me this year.

Thursday 5 July 2018

Crafting and sewing

This made me laugh the other day - Chris found it on the internet. printed it out and slipped it inside yet another crafty supplies parcel which I had ordered.  Obviously it's not just me then...
In other news, I have made a second tunic dress, this time using purple chambray which was gifted to me.  I knew it would come in handy!  The floral material was just a fat quarter, but made the pockets, sleeves and tie ends, so was perfect for this.
The back looks pretty too.  I have finally got the neck right too, without having to add any darts.
I have also got round to making my own bias binding, following a tutorial which I have had for ages, which I am very pleased about.  I am making my third dress at the moment and couldn't find the right shade of bias binding.  So, I used the contrast fabric and made my own, using the nifty little red gadget in the photo above. It isn't difficult although it is a bit time consuming.  However, I am sure the end result will justify the extra time.  Having learnt how to make it, I can now use my own material all the time (unless the pattern needs metres and metres of the stuff, in which case, it is cheaper to buy it!) For the top of the pockets and the neckline for this dress, it is about a metre, so well worth it, I think.  Naturally, I will post a photo of the dress (and hand made bias binding) once it is finished.