Monday 31 August 2020

Latest cards and other things and a new project?

I have been making cards (of course) and here are a few of the recent makes.  Above was a thank you for my mother-in-law.
This was made for her 90th birthday earlier in August.  I really like this Sizzix 'Romantic layers' die set as it gives such a pretty result.
Here's the inside of the card.
Here are a few cards for the dreaded 'C' word - yes, these are for Christmas!
This card was for another 90th birthday for one of Chris's friends.
Another birthday card using a watercolour background...
...and another, again using a watercolour background.
The 'Other Things' is my neglected hexagon English Paper Piecing project - to make a cushion cover in shades of blue, with the idea of graduating colour.  I have been following Jo at Through the Keyhole and she is just starting an EPP project, which prompted me to get mine going again too.  Since I took the photo above, I have discovered a huge stash of blue fat quarters, so I was busy cutting and stitching more hexagons yesterday, while watching the film 'Tremors' on TV.  You wouldn't think these pastimes would work together, but they did.  Well, I thought they had but then realised that I had cut the paper patterns too big, so had to take them apart, re-cut and re-sew (this time watching three quarters of 'The Day of the Jackal' - a film I have never yet managed to see the whole way through!)  I wonder what anyone would make of my viewing on a Sunday!  Anyway, I am just finishing off re-sewing and then I shall lay them all out again and see what I have got.  The idea for this cushion cover came from a book - Wabi-Sabi Sewing , (I love the idea of 'perfectly imperfect') but I have gone a bit off piste and am making a different version for my cushion.  We shall see how it all goes.
Having finished my Index Card A Day Challenge, (and now constructing a box from an old shoe box to keep the cards in) I have been thinking about what to do next and I think I may have found the perfect thing.  More news on that later in the week, all being well.  I know, how enigmatic...

Saturday 22 August 2020

New plants this year (so far)

Here is a round up of my new plants this year (up to now).  I do have some more on the way.  Above is Weigela Picobella Rosa which is a dwarf Weigela. I thought that a summer flowering little shrub would be a good addition to the pots.
I also bought some geranium sanguineum striatum which are young plants and haven't yet flowered.  (On the right is my first ever success with cuttings, which were from a nemesia confetti.)
A hydrangea to replace a plant that got too wet last winter and rotted.  This is a smaller plant - Hydrangea Paniculata 'Little Spooky' which will have white flowers.
My latest rose, Kew Gardens, with a lovely open flower, lightly scented but stronger in the sun.  The buds open an apricot colour but then age to a creamy white.
Lysimachia Clethroides has already featured, but i do like the white flowers which gracefully arch.
This is a tricolour hibiscus.  It has blue, white and pink flowers on one plant.  I do like these plants and would have more of them, but as space is tight, I thought this would be a good option.  I was a little disappointed that it was a semi-double as they are not that good for pollinators, but I have seen a bee successfully negotiating the extra petals, so perhaps it won't be as bad as I thought.
Here's the white flower...
 ...and the pink.  I look forward to seeing this grow and will try to keep it under control.  
In a 'normal' year, I would have bought plants at the gardens and flower shows I visited, but I am pleased with my new plants and hope they will all do well for me.

Sunday 16 August 2020

Sabotaged by the cat and a summery dessert

I finally got around to cutting out a pair of cropped trousers from some material that I bought about a year ago!  It was all going well until I heard the cat flap go and Scruffy strolled in and promptly laid all over my working space.  I say 'working space' but it was the sitting room floor, as I needed a good space to lay the fabric out on.
Scruffy was in no rush to move... all.  Why do cats always put themselves right into the middle whatever you are trying to do?  I suppose it is all down to attention, or food.  I made sure he didn't get on any pins.  He did eventually move and I was able to finish the cutting out.
 On a totally unconnected theme, I made use of some of the blueberries this year.  I am not really fond of them raw as I always think they should be lovely and juicy and they aren't.  However, they do make a very nice sauce to have with Eton mess - crumbled meringue nest and Quark (soft cheese, fat free, high protein) with a bit of fat free natural yogurt to thin the Quark a bit and the blueberry sauce swirled through. It was a really lovely summery dessert.

Thursday 6 August 2020

Plant portraits

The hydrangeas are looking lovely, so I thought I would meander round the garden and take a few photos. Above is Coco.
Here is Sundae Fraise (I think) which is just starting to turn pink on the very edges of the petals. 
Merveille Sanguine, which I pruned wrongly in Spring, so only have a couple of flowers - lesson learnt!
Gorgeous Arborescens Annabelle - stunning flowers!
Other plants catching my attention include Agapanthus Silver Baby which is looking so delicate and pretty.
A new plant this year - Lysimachia Clethroides - which is flowering.
The flowers hang down and open from the base.
They are small individually, but make a statement together.
Agapanthus Navy Blue, adding that cool blue/purple to the garden...
...echoed with Hibiscus Oiseau Bleu (I hacked this back last autumn and was worried I had killed it, but it came through the winter and is flowering away now, just not with quite so much abandon, or trying to take over the whole border!
Hydrangeas again - some from the Magical Revolution series.  
The one above was a beautiful blue when it arrived, but has more of a pink colour now, even though it was planted in ericaceous compost.  I did give it some hydrangea colorant, but then found that blue hydrangeas need to have the colorant every year after their first, so I am not sure I want to go down that route.  The pearly pinks and purples are pretty. so perhaps I should be happy with them.
White hydrangeas stay white no matter what soil they are in, and this one is right at the end of the garden, in front of the black fence (which needs repainting...).  This one is Endless Summer White, again pruned wrongly, so only two flowers this year.  Note to self: write down the correct pruning for the macrophylla varieties to remember what to do.
A nice bit of the border with roses, geranium, agapanthus and phlox.
This is a lovely white rose called Winchester Cathedral, with one pink rose on it - not sure how that has happened.  I have removed the pink rose, but took this photo prior to doing that.
The crocosmia will be in flower shortly so will inject some orange into all the pastels.  More plants have been purchased in the last couple of weeks so no doubt they will be featuring.

Sunday 2 August 2020

Index Card A Day (ICAD) - Week Nine

The Index Card A Day Challenge has finished after nine weeks and 61 prompts (plus two bonus ones).  Above are the bonus cards: One Staple Collage and Draw or Collage a Bird.  I used gel medium to stick the magazine pieces down and it left a few wrinkles, but they are just part of the image!
The final prompts were: Billiards; Tea Set; Arboretum.  Initially, I didn't feel particularly inspired by Billiards or Arboretum, but managed to create something.  Arboretum was a magazine collage, using a different glue this time.
The final two prompts were: Bossa Nova; Adventure.   I really enjoyed painting Bossa Nova, while listening to appropriate music, of course.  I bought a map stamp a few weeks ago, so was able to use that for the Adventure prompt.  The folded paper hides...
...the countries/places I have travelled to and had my own adventures.  Egypt definitely tops the list for adventures!
I have enjoyed the ICAD challenge and have used lots of different techniques and media to create the pieces. I found making one small piece a day was do-able and the prompts helped me to focus on ideas which I probably wouldn't have followed otherwise.  Deciding to use the prompts each day was also a good choice as again, the words weren't always ones I would have used.   I think my most successful pieces were the mixed media ones - Tiramisu, Camomile, Cappucino, Diagram - but I also like the ones where words have been incorporated too, such as Album and Orchard.  
Here's to next year's ICAD challenge!   

Saturday 1 August 2020

Artist's Trading Card (ATC) - August

The year seems to be going so quickly - it isn't, but it seems that way.  Perhaps this is due to the unusual conditions we have been facing.  Here we are at the beginning of August and my ATC reflects the harvest theme.  I went for a simple image again, with a sort of wheat field, using acrylic paint for the background and stamped images collaged on top.
The gemstones reflect the browns of the wheat - citrine, citrine again, golden rutile quartz, smoky quartz, botswana agate, more botswana agate and tiger's eye.  The gemstone charm is the gemstone for August which is peridot.
The back shows the August poem and a busy bee with some ripe strawberries.  
This card was only just finished in time, due to me being busy with the ICAD challenge.  That has now finished so I can devote myself to other creative activities.