Rusts and oranges for autumn and salt for winter

It’s been a real challenge finding oak leaves in my area, yet I love the shapes they create in printing. I’m taking part in a Gelliprint leaf postcard swap and already had several printed a few weeks ago just as the leaves were falling. Now the leaves have gone crisp and are beginning to disintegrate because of either being trampled into the earth or through the persistent downpours we’ve experienced this week in the UK.
First up, I thought I’d showcase my Gelliprinted lion (details of how I printed this can be found on my other blog


Also this week, there was a discussion at work about grit containers for the roads. Every one we’ve seen have been yellow, but the people I work with don’t want a yellow container and would prefer a more contemporary grey. The main reason they’re yellow of course, is so that they’re visible!

I also belong to an Autumn Journal group led by Myfanwy Hart. Every day she has been prompting us with a word and on this occasion we had the prompt word ‘SEASON’. I considered the various options for this word such as the different seasons we go through and then decided on creating a snowflake out of rock salt from my kitchen. Salt as you know can be used for seasoning food, but also as a grit to dissolve ice on the roads. There’s a link with winter for you!

Not long after I took this photo our kitten walked all over the salt.


It’s currently autumn and here is one of my leaf prints from today. I managed to finally pick up some oak leaves, a bit damp, but usable, while out with my OH. During the week, I did take the country route home in search of some decent leaves and I saw sycamore after sycamore! It’s amazing what you notice when you are actually looking!

Then I chopped up some apples for this delicate print. The Gelli really does pick up the smallest texture and it’s exciting waiting to pull the paper back from the plate to see how the image has turned out 🙂


The print above is before any embellishments and is a lot larger than the sizes needed for postcards. I will be working on the postcard prints over the next few days quite probably to the sound of another downpour!





The voice is silent

but the gesture speaks volumes:

an act of kindness.


Today has been special.  I received an amazing response from a work colleague.  It was a simple gesture – I gave her a hand-printed bookmark.  It bowled her over and she kept it on view on her desk for most of the day and even showed the managing director!  I was taken aback.  There have been many a time I’ve created something and it’s ended up hidden in a drawer somewhere for years.  It has taken guts and a bit of audacity to post my creativity and showcase it through a blog; through Pinterest and on Facebook.  There have been times when I’ve considered removing  posts of my writing, my photography and my craft efforts.  Then I read the lovely comments that people have posted and I’m inspired again … to keep going.  So thank you bloggers who’ve liked my posts and those who’ve taken the time to write.  I appreciate every one that is uplifting, kind, thoughtful, generous …

I’ve mentioned on here before that I’m not that confident in the kitchen.  I’ve avoided baking in the past.  It stems from growing up in a household where there’s a qualified chef!  However, I took the step recently to bake cakes and take them into work.  The reaction is immense.  The smiles on my colleagues faces are enough for me to go and do it again.  The famous saying, ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’.  How true that has become.  The chococorn bakes I made last night were a success.  The cornflakes stayed crispy and people went back for seconds and thirds!  I’ve seen joy at work today and I’ve felt the joy to.  That feeling that bubbles up like little butterflies and makes your cheeks tingle as you too begin to smile.

My kitten has also brought much joy to the home, yet she doesn’t want to curl up on your lap and sleep.  Yet, any excuse, and she’s purring or playing.  She made no exception even for the sunflowers in my kitchen. I love this photograph of Nikon and was eager to share it.  My son would be critical of the lighting or the exposure.  He’d find something to say about it that I hadn’t quite got right (but then he’s off to uni and he did this week get the top grade in his exam results). He hasn’t seen this image yet, so I’m going to post it here as I’m in a celebratory mood: my son got the grades he needed for university; I’ve started a new job; my husband has finished painting my studio and laid the flooring; I’ve taken part in my first postcard print swap that I organised, and my daughter came home last night and told me she survived a car crash which happened…

DSC05054 DSC05056 DSC05058 DSC05060 DSC05049

…on Monday.  What a week!  Have a fantastic weekend everyone.  Watch this space for a new free giveaway coming soon to celebrate 5000 hits on this blog!


Painting with natural dyes from the garden and fridge

I’ve had tremendous fun this weekend pulling dandelions up; peeling onions; boiling cabbage; mashing raspberries, blueberries and strawberries in aid of making some homemade dyes in the kitchen.

There were a few surprises with the colours and so I used the selection from pots, jam jars and saucepans to paint my star model, Nikon 🙂





Tomorrow, I will show you some monoprinting I’ve also been doing this weekend, but for now I will say goodnight as it’s late in the UK 🙂

Colour wheel of naturalness :-)

Hi there!   Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend 🙂  I’ve been having fun in the kitchen today as it’s been raining, plus decorating my bedroom with a kitten on the loose!


My daughter took this photo as I tried to clean Nikon’s painted paw!  My other daughter, who is twelve has this week been asking questions about the colours on the colour wheel because she wanted to do some painting.  I’ve created a different sort of colour wheel today …

I ventured outside to pull up some dandelions, gave some leaves to the guinea pigs and then added the roots to one saucepan and a few leaves to another.  I let a small amount of water boil.  I have never tried to make my own dye before, although when I was a little girl I remember collected lots of rose petals and mashing them up to try and make perfume.  There was an air of mystery surround how the dyes would turn out, but I drew inspiration from the website:

With my minimal gardening knowledge, I recognised some of the natural products and decided to stick with them first, before researching the less familiar.  I intend to get a red cabbage, a red onion and perhaps eucalyptus (based on the list of colours that you can get from both the bark and the leaves). I did try and locate some rusty nails while the rain was coming down.

I’ve filled ten segments of my circle using all natural ingredients from tumerick to walnut and dandelions to onion skins.  Here are some images taken from the day:


Boiled walnuts (the nuts) … dark brown


White onion (boiled the skins) … Orange


Yellow Rose leqves (boiled) …cream


Dandelion leaves (boiled, then simmered) … green


Dandelion roots (boiled, then simmered) … Speckled grey


Raspberries ….dark pink


Turmeric … Yellow


Blueberries … Deep purple


Coffee granules … Lighter brown than walnut

Here are the colours on my colour wheel so far … Planning to do some more and will showcase them in another post soon 🙂



A spot of archaeological gardening

Decided to finally tackle the overgrown back garden and sort out my printing space … Up until now it’s been used for storage.

I soon got covered in these

which the kitten took a liking to (she wanted to eat them)

and then I found some stencils I designed for a lingerie shop …
here are a couple of them:



and then I found the alphabet stencils I designed for my first child’s nursery (and for some peculiar reason, never used them and bought some stick-on teddy bears instead).


Plus there were two crates full of creative writing from over eight years ago that I still need to sift through.

We’ve moved sand and cement packs, a mini greenhouse, pulled up grasses appearing above the membrane holding the gravel and burned some wood scraps … and it started raining!

blooms and blooming gardening – Summer Journal 2014

The prompt from Myfanwy today – July 29 – for the Summer Journal is:
list 5 flowers that you love. Are they in your garden? Will they be in your garden? Have they been in your garden? Why are they your favourites? You can see the prompt for yourselves here:

My list of flowers I love:
1. A Bladder Senna

Although the name doesn’t suggest anything that beautiful, I remember my grandmother having a bladder senna plant in her vast garden. I was attracted to the seed pods which would expand and we as children would pull them off and delight in putting them between our thumb and fingers and popping them. It became known as a popper tree.
When my two eldest children were about 5 and 8, I did a search for a popper tree as I didn’t know it’s technical name and eventually a kind gardener directed me to the bladder senna. It had to be ordered from a garden centre and later, as it grew, my own children also joined in the fun of popping the seed pods! The sound was sublime! I was saddened when my husband dug the bush up to make way for a vegetable plot; he doesn’t share the same enthusiasm as me for popper trees. However, there is a plan afoot: one day I will buy myself another bladder senna 🙂

2. Daffodil/Narcissus

I love the glorious yellow petals of the daffodil; I also like the many varieties and sizes of the Narcissus. The miniature ones, Tete a Tete are sweet and delicate looking. My wedding took place at the time of year as the daffodil blooms. I therefore see it as more romantic than the traditional rose and would prefer my husband bringing me a bunch home costing just over £1 than spending a fortune on roses.
When I sadly lost a baby many years ago, I planted daffodil bulbs in its memory, so daffodils will always be a reminder of the baby that was due to be born in the spring.

This is a photograph of a tile from The Tile Museum in Shropshire illustrating these lovely flowers, which we visited today.

3. Iris

Another favourite colour of mine is purple. Each petal gives the impression of a painted feather splaying out from the flower’s centre. I don’t have these in my garden either

4. Daisy
Daisies remind me of childhood, of sitting in the grass with school friends and making daisy chains, then wearing them on our heads and around our necks. They’re also in my garden among blades of grass and dandelions … momentarily until my husband or son mow the lawn.

A couple of Christmases ago, there was a market held near Bath Abbey and one of the stall holders was selling life-like daisies which you can thread together just like the real thing!
I bought a packet for my youngest child and she absolutely loves them and gets comments every time she wears them on non-uniform day to school.

It’s funny what things you can find out by doing a Google search. I just typed in Daisy Chain and it came up with a map of Shropshire and lots of companies which call themselves, Daisy Chain. Why is that so funny? I’m on holiday in Shropshire! Lol!

5. Sunflower
Another yellow flower; bright and reminding me of the sun. My children and I also love eating sunflower seeds.
Once when I was working in a school, every child in Year 9 was given a little envelope containing a sunflower seed to grow over the summer.. I thought this was such a fabulous idea, I’ll never forget the faces of the students in the tutor group I was in as they packed their little envelopes in their bags and rucksacks. I’ll never know how many went onto to grow those sunflowers, but the memory has stayed with me.

This is another photograph I took today at the Tile Museum. I was very tempted to buy one of the Sunflower tiles in the shop!

Cone roses and calligraphy sketch

Today, with the sun gloriously shining above us, we headed out to a park with a house steeped in history. I took photographs of the deer, but haven’t had a chance to review them yet. In the meantime, I thought I’d share with you something I found with my daughter beneath the trees.

They look like roses because the grass in the park has been mowed recently and sliced the cones up. As the air has got to them, they’ve opened slightly like little petals


I sketched flowers in the walled garden where a lot of vegetables had reached maturity: pumpkins, celeriac, runner beans, brightened every height from the soil to above our heads. I selected a small sunflower to sketch using a calligraphy pen until I could no longer stand the bees buzzing around my head. Then on return to base, I sketched some of my collected cone roses 🙂

Hopefully, I will be able to share some photographs from our visit tomorrow of the deer and sights around the park. Here are my sketches for today:


Clover leaf and number four :). 39 Squares Project and Haiku

Nearly there now!

Today I sketched out and stitched a clover leaf.
 When I was eight, I found a four leaf clover, but I’ve not seen one since!  I look among the daisies and see the little green leaves spread out like parachutes waiting to catch floating dandelion seeds.  Whether you believe clover leaves are lucky or not, they are a fascinating feature of the lawn albeit it temporary and adds a moment of excitement to a little girl’s life 🙂

I came across this saying recently and wanted to share it with you: 

Every blade of grass has its Angel bending over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.’ (The Talmud). How lovely is that thought?  We are all like blades of grass and I’d like to think that there is an angel watching over me 🙂

in response to the above, I wrote a Haiku …


Sweet grasses listen;

heads together in the wind

Chinese whispering.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this 39 square project and the little stories that have accompanied each stitched square.  I have one more square to do (the number 1), so will hopefully be able to share with you my finished project over the weekend.


curiouser and curiouser … prompts for my 39 square story project and The Story Museum

As promised, for those who read my post on the Daily Press photo prompt yesterday, here are a few more photographs of art installations at The Story Museum.  I’m not going to post lots, because you have to see it yourself to really get into these interactive galleries artists have created.  It was fun, it was curious, it was inspiring.  My mother, now in her seventies enjoyed dressing up and sitting on a throne (15 minutes of royalty fame!), just as much as my 12 year old did.  Being formally announced as you walk up the red carpet and take your seat is a memorable experience and one I won’t forget in a hurry.

Remember the telephone box I posted a while ago which had a little library? Well, this phone box tells a different story
On our way to the museum, these were bouncing and twirling around the car park. My daughter caught one, the size of a ball of cottonwool. We were trying to decide what they were when my daughter blew fiercely on the one on her hand. They weren’t dandelion seedheads. Can anyone identify what it is? Any gardening enthusiasts?
The exhibition covered three floors, but this window caught my eye on the second floor:


As I said, these are just a few pictures of our visit. I don’t want to spoil it for people wanting to visit. I recommend it as there is lots to see and interact with, including touch screens and walk throughs.

Today’s embroidery square, then, for those who have been following this little project was inspired by the red telephone box, the bat phone at work – a red phone for emergencies – and my memory of answering the phones at primary school. Everyone took ages to dial the numbers as you placed your finger in the hole in the dial and pulled it round to the stopper and then wait for it to return to its original position (no such thing as speed dials). We were taught at school how to answer the phone politely for the class teacher and took it in turns. At home, my parents were able to place a lock on the main phone to stop people (mainly my brother) from dialing long distance calls! It involved inserting a key, a bit like a padlock! Our phone was in the hall, so there was no opportunity to hold a private conversation with my boyfriend of the time; no chance of silent texting in the early hours of the morning or under the bed covers! We had to either meet in person; keep our conversations short and sweet or write longhand letters to each other! So, here is my retro phone:
Retro phone