Tuesday 16 April 2024

Plants in mid April

While it is tulip time, there are other plants flowering now and bringing colour to the garden.  Above is Clematis Blue Dancer, which has long elegant flowers.
This clematis is Frankie, which looks a deep purple here but is lighter in real life.
Of course there have been tulips and on sunny days, they have opened up fully. Above is Ballerina.
Here are Brown Sugar (and Ballerina in the bottom left.)
Ballerina has such an elegant shape and a fresh lemony scent.
Brown Sugar in a pot, giving a lovely splash of orange.
Apple blossom from my little patio James Grieve.  I am not sure how well this will do this year (or at all) because when we repotted it earlier in the year, it was infested with vine weevil grubs and had lost a lot of its roots.  We shall see.
Erythronium Pagoda which has grown into a good clump now.  
Tulip Ronaldo in a pot, just starting to flower.
Here it is in full flower and looking lovely.
Self sown primulas under the patio table.  There is also a self sown hardy geranium leaf too.
Finally, Magnolia Susan and the lilac tree have been flowering too and I always enjoy seeing them together. The scent on a sunny day is lovely.

Sunday 7 April 2024

Oh What a Lovely War

 A couple of weekends ago we went to Hull Truck Theatre to see Oh What a Lovely War by Black Eyed Theatre .

There are some very quick trailers on Youtube here and here .
The show itself was originally created by the cast at the time in 1963 and interspersed with songs from the time of the First World War.  However, it is (sadly) all too relevant today and the implication is that despite all the wars and conflicts since, the human race has learnt very little from its mistakes. If you would like to know more about the show, here is a link to a Wikipedia entry. 
The cast were all multi-instrumentalists and singers and they really earned their money. The show was moving, thought provoking and intelligent.  While the action was going on, which was extremely slick and well-choreographed, on the screen behind were projected the horrifying numbers of people killed in the various WWI battles.  Our one slight criticism is that the ladies' voices didn't carry so well we missed some of the lyrics from the songs, but none of the cast had microphones which added to the intimate feeling of the show.  
It was definitely a memorable afternoon. There are a couple of reviews of the show here  and here which give a flavour of the show as a whole and this particular revival.  The remaining dates and places on the tour are here.

Sunday 31 March 2024


To all those celebrating Easter, may I wish you a Happy Easter.  It was a beautiful day yesterday, with sunshine and blue sky but today it has turned misty and cloudy.  I am sure that Easter egg hunts and other festivities will still be enjoyed by those taking part.  Above are some of the Easter cards I sent out this year.  The cat with bunny ears was inspired by Tim Holtz, who was busy putting bunny ears on some of his photos here

I have also made some Easter butterfly cakes which we will be enjoying over the next day or two, assuming they last that long!
In the garden, things are starting to look more Spring-like.  Muscari (grape hyacinth) are flowering...
...and the scillas are bringing their beautiful shade of blue.
Cardamine Quinquefolia has been really pretty but is starting to die down again now.
The tulips at the front door are supposed to be Orange Emperor, but they look decidedly red to me.  however, they are very welcome, whatever they are.
The hellebores in the border are still flowering.
Here are some of the Valerie Finnis muscari I bought late in the season and planted in December, I think it was.  Their shade of pale blue is so pretty...
...and works well against the other muscari shades too.  I keep finding them popping up in the borders where I had forgotten I had planted them, so it's a nice surprise!
It's also the start of tulips in the border, which have flowered once in a pot and then get transplanted.  So far, most keep coming back, which is a bonus.  I planted them deeply and I think they like that.  The ones in pots from last Autumn are in bud, but not near to flowering just yet.
Magnolia Susan is also starting to flower and scent the garden with the lovely lemony, fresh scent. 
There is so much to enjoy and this is my favourite time of year, from now until mid-June.

Sunday 24 March 2024


I recently treated myself to a small piece of Tim Holtz's cotton called Colourblock.  (It's no good, I can't bring myself to spell it the American way!)  When he showed the lovely things his talented team of makers had made, I was inspired.  He also explained the the material was based on a colour swatch of his ink pads which he had then grunged up.  It had been scanned and digitally printed on the material. If you would like to see the video, it is on Youtube here.
I decided to make my own version, using some of my ink pads and some watersoluble crayon to give me the grungy look on the edges. The back of this is some packaging cardboard. All the lovely colours make me happy and I really enjoyed making it.  I haven't decided where I'm going to put it or what I shall do with the material yet though...

Thursday 14 March 2024

Luxmuralis - 'Science' at Lincoln Cathedral

When I heard that Luxmuralis was coming back to Lincoln Cathedral, I booked up as I really enjoyed 'Life' last year.  My blog post about it is here. We were warmly dressed and headed on up last Tuesday night.   This year the presentations were all about 'Chemistry, Biology, molecules, cells, DNA, the history of science, contributions of science to humanity and a reflection on famous scientists past and present' (taken from the description on Youtube).  Above was the development of the study of human anatomy.
The patterns were mesmerising.
I recognised the periodic table...
...and enjoyed watching the development of cells into an embryo...
Equations made some beautiful patterns.
The finale included images of scientists, past and present with their names coming up and I wish this section had been slower so that I could have taken more of it in.  You could stay as long as you wanted up until the Cathedral closed for the night and a lot of people were sitting down to watch.  It was an immersive experience, like being in a giant kaleidoscope, as I said last time.  I am sure it will be a popular event for the Cathedral.
 This video on Youtube will give you a flavour of it - still photos (particularly with a camera which doesn't like low light levels) just don't do it justice.

Tuesday 12 March 2024

All about green

I am enjoying the Whimsies, Words and Watercolours class run by Joanne Sharpe I am doing this year.  Each month, there are pages to complete and one of these is a focus on colour. For March, it is all about green.  We chose nine watercolours, three each of blue, yellow and green and then made a grid mixing them together.  Above is my mixing plate when I had finished - it is almost as pretty as the page in my journal.
Here's the finished mixing grid.  It was a lovely way to spend some time on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  There are a lot of different colours you can make with just nine to start with.  Colour grids or swatches  like these make me happy!

Saturday 2 March 2024

Wanderlust 2024 - Weeks one to eight - Brushes and Tools

I have joined Wanderlust 2024 - the year long mixed media journaling course I have done since 2021. This year, there are star supplies which are the focus for eight week blocks. The first of these is Brushes and Tools.  We started with an overview of brushes and then I created the page above.  With life as it is now, resilience seemed like a good word to choose for the year.  We all need some of that. 
The next week was more calm with a focus on watercolour brushes, using a round brush, a fan brush and a rigger brush (with a toothbrush as well), to create the different effects.  It is based on looking into a rock pool.
Week three was all about a palette knife.  I found this quite tricky but kept on going.
Week Four we used gel plates to make collage papers, some of which we added a tea dye to.  I used a photo I had taken as my inspiration for this, but it has a few imagined details too.  I loved creating this collage.
We had to make our own tools for this one. We wrapped bits of sponge around sticks/skewers and used these to make patterns based on nature.  These then became the background collage.  The sponge sticks made fantastic splats (you can see them in the top right and top left corners).
Using a bottle with a fine liner tip was the next tool. We wrote with it and then outlined a face.  I used a stamp to start with, as my face drawing, while improving a lot, isn't quite there yet.
Paper punches were the tool for week seven.  I don't have any except for a one inch circle, but what I do have a lot of are dies. I used these for the different sized circles and to create the paper lace. My focal image is from The Secret Garden and the muted colours of the image, where Mary is finding the door in the wall, worked beautifully with this page.  I enjoyed creating the shading too, using an inktense pencil and water brush.
Week eight was an 'Artful Musings' week, where we heard about organising a studio space from a mixed media artist.  I created this page, again using collage but adding tissue paper, embossing and some stamping.  The face was a stamp which I then added to, with paint and black pen.

Now we are on to Texture, which should be fun!

Saturday 24 February 2024

Spring is on the way...but more Winter to come yet...probably

It has been very mild recently and the plants are thinking it is nearly Spring.  The hellebores are still looking beautiful but the camellias have now joined in.  I think this is quite early for them, so I am enjoying their flowers in case the frosts get them.  Above is the flower from the unnamed double variety that my Mum gave me. 
Here is another unnamed variety but I think this is a japonica type.
Here is Camellia St Ewe - I bought this a few years ago and it seems happy at the bottom of the garden, in a west facing position.  
I noticed the three flowers in a row and thought they would make a good photo.
I also have a few narcissus Tete a Tete in flower. I do like these small ones and need to get more!
Finally here is my standard cherry - Kojo-no-mai, with its delicate flowers.  Again, this seems quite early, but is telling us that Spring might not be too far away.

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Junk Journal January 2024

Last month I took part in Junk Journal January for the first time.  This is organised by Meg from megjournals on Youtube and there is a list of prompts and daily videos from different people showing what they have made. I decided that it would be a good thing to start using some of the paper, digikits, and ephemera I have been collecting and this seemed do-able. Below are some of my favourite pages.
This is 'throwback' so I went for a vintage feeling, making a pretend slide with insects on it.  I made my colleague a birthday card similar to this last year so used some of the digital images I had left over, together with stamps, a postage stamp and some digi labels. 
There was 'eclectic' which was a mix of gel prints, a digikit photo, a die cut flower which I watercoloured, a leaf and a flower I made from last year's art journal, and a label I had inked and stamped.  An eclectic mix indeed, but I like it!!
'Fabric' was a sort of patchwork of scraps with an inked and dried baby wipe used as the focal heart.  
'Ombre' was easy with a watercolour background but I didn't know what I wanted to put on top until I thought about slow drawing so I added these ginkgo leaves, which are so relaxing to draw as they are lots of repeated lines.
'Translucent' was inspired by a piece of gel printed paper. I echoed the brushstroke pattern on a piece of tracing paper to become the translucent element.
Here's what's underneath - music paper, book page, the gel print paper, labels and a digikit camellia.
Finally, here is 'reflect' which I took to be reflecting on the whole Junk Journal January experience.  This page has a piece of paper pad, labels, book pages, ivy from a napkin, a piece of packaging from some bulbs and a digikit photo.  

I made this little journal for the challenge and I really enjoyed filling the small pages. Junk Journal July is also a challenge, so I may join in with that too.