Black and white

Copyrighted images.  Please do not copy or share without my express written permission.  Thanks 🙂

Trees have always fascinated me.  My DH and I had a discussion about what makes a perfect tree.  Does it have to have evenly spread branches, be covered in snow or blossom, or should it be standing solo, tall and magestic?

Some of the most magical trees I’ve seen have been deep in forests covered in moss.  I love also how in the saddest places such as abandoned cemeteries, among crumbling tombstones, life returns in the form of meandering branches, tree trunks and wild plants.

I took several black and white images the other day and loved the eeriness of them; so what do you think?

   
           

Tiny trees and tiny silhouette people

Anyone else like trees? I drive past them in winter and try and imagine their branches being limbs and the trunks being the body. I love the fact that they look so magically different during each season and how beautiful they seem when cloaked in a fresh layer of snow. Autumn colours of fallen leaves surround the trunks and carpet the ground like rainbow snow from a distance and blooms from spring blossom always make a great photographic opportunity.

So this evening I had fun carving out a rubber stamp tree using an everyday eraser, then doodling silhouettes of people sitting in them, lying under them reading or painting by an easel. Can you spot them?

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I might try this handmade stamp on a sheet for wrapping paper next – it’s my mother’s birthday in a couple of weeks. I thought I’d make her a pair of gloves. I’ve also just crocheted my seventh pair of gloves since Christmas Eve! They’ve become a bit more elaborate since my first pair, using my own pattern, so I hope she will like the pair I plan to give her 🙂
This is my latest pair – complete with a ruffle …

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Do you like to receive handmade gifts? What’s the best one you’ve received/or the most special? My mother-in-law (much to my DH’s embarrassment) has a handmade snowman using cotton wool balls and a cardboard tube which makes an appearance every year. Obviously it’s very dear to her. For me, it’s the early drawings of my children, such as a cat my eldest drew when she was 3 1/2 years old. She’d captured our tabby, Samson with giant claws and drew him dressed in rainbow stripes. Delightful 🙂

Happy Christmas Everyone :-)

Just a short post to wish everyone on WordPress a very merry and happy Christmas! Things have been hectic these past few weeks, but I promise I’ll have some more craft to share in the future. In the meantime, I thought you’d all like to see Nikon, the kitten’s new favourite sleeping place … In the Christmas tree!

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Have fun everyone 🙂

Fairy House Hunt

DSCN5366Today my family finally managed to get to the woods and go on a fairy house hunt among the trees.  The sun came out and children were swinging from the monkey bars and a tethered tyre.  It was great to get some fresh air after feeling poorly all week and I’m sure the walk did me some good.

Here are few photographs of some of the fairy doors/houses we found tucked up against the tree trunks.  They weren’t that easy to spot as they were well spread out. Occasionally we found fairy stickers on the trees and even some pink glitter, but these were all decoys! As super sleuths, we had to retrace our steps to uncover all fifteen ‘hidden’ doors.
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We also were entertained by the natural wildlife – the wood was full of squirrels scurrying about and nibbling at the nuts in among the fallen leaves. Their antics were amusing, as was the time I saw a gorgeous robin sitting so still and silently on a wooden fence that I thought it wasn’t real on the entrance to the woods! It flew off at the sight of my camera before I could get a decent picture of it!

opening and shutting doors

We had a guest a few years ago who travelled all the way from Europe to spend five weeks with us while she studied English.  Her fascination with the range of cakes and biscuits available at the supermarkets meant we were able to sample something new every night.

While exploring the avenues in Somerset, she commented on the ‘quaint’ or cute little houses , the meandering roads and door knockers!  She wanted to take one back as a souvenir and asked us where she could buy one.  My DH disappeared into the garden and removed the door knocker from the spare door propped up along the side of our house and presented her with the brass accessory.  It wasn’t elaborate, ornate or really that decorative, but she danced around on the balls of her feet as if she’d been given the best gift in the world!

Another visitor who came to stay with us from Italy decided he wanted to ram a full size cricket set, Christmas crackers and a fancy dress policeman’s helmet in his suitcase.  It took a while to explain to him that he couldn’t have cricket stumps sticking out of his backpack on the plane.  He wore the fancy dress helmet and somehow got the cricket bat lying across the inside of his case.

I do like old doors like the one in the picture, but unlike my youngest child, I struggle with keys (she can look at a bunch of keys and select the one we need, while I would have to try all of them!).  She also liked to shut doors while my OH likes opening them – and leaving them open!

I recently saw a post on Facebook about doors of opportunity closing and wondered how many times people are prepared to try going for something, for example, how many times would you be prepared to apply for the same job at the same place if it came up again?  Sometimes it feels as if someone is trying to tell you something: try a different route; a different road; a different pathway to get there.  Have there been any places you’ve really wanted to work and so you’ve applied for everything going?  My sister-in-law did just this: she kept on applying to the same company; she kept knocking on their door.  Nothing stopped her enthusiasm and eventually she did get offered a job at that company.

While writing this, I think back to the times I sent off letter after letter to publishing companies and duly received thank you letters with various reasons why they couldn’t publish my short story or reader’s letter.  Through perseverance and probably a lot of gutsy determination, I started getting pieces of my creative writing published.  I began to receive phone calls from editors and prizes.  The buzz began to happen and I began to believe.

Years later, I look back on the doors that slammed shut and the doors that creaked open.  Occasionally, there were doors of opportunity open to me, but I was the one who shut the door.  Have you ever done that?  It can be scary; you start to doubt yourself and that’s when you decide to shut the door and stay on the path that you know.

This evening, I attempted to make an origami rose. I got as far as this and was stumped! I will return to this another day when I’m less tired.

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Digital image

Yesterday was one of those days where the doors decided to shut. The plan was to take my daughter somewhere special to take her mind off the dentist appointment. Considering there is a minor link between fairies, doors and teeth (the tooth fairy), I’m going to share with you what we’d planned. We were going fairy hunting. Yes, after a discussion at work, I found out there was a woodland fairy trail that contains fifteen wooden fairy doors hidden in the trunks of the trees.

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Now, a twelve year old might be a bit old in some people’s eyes to believe in fairies, but when it comes to having teeth out, there is the expectation that the tooth fairy will pay a visit 😉
We will endeavour to explore the fairy trail on a less drizzly day and I will share with you some of the dainty little fairy doors that we find. In the meantime, this was a ten minute sketch I did of one of the door knockers as we are going to keep knocking on those doors of opportunity!

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Communicating – a haiku

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Its hit the bullseye:
A central hub on radar
Pulsing waves to shore.

(Communicating with my two children who have headed off to uni has been challenging this weekend with broken or lost signals and sending blank messages. This image I took of a section of a tree today inspired me to write a haiku about improved communication as we travelled home after dropping our middle child off to university for the first time and we were able to call him properly after a five hour drive.)

Tree lino print

As you may remember, I shared a picture of a rubbing I made from the edge of a pencil over the top of a lino cut showing the raised and lower surfaces through the tones of grey. This morning, I managed to get out into my printing shed before heading off to work with my fog lights on. It was the first time I’ve been printing before work and I like a child having to go to school, I dug my heels in and wanted to print some more!

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Pencil rubbings

Another great thing about cutting into lino is that you can do a test rubbing before actually covering it in ink or paint. Also, if you use the edge of a pencil or crayon and direct the nib in one direction (in this case example from left to right) so that the lines all go in the same direction you will notice that the image is the same way around as what you have drawn on the lino! This contrasts with when the lino is inked up and turned over onto paper or card. The impression made from the lino plate is always mirrored or in reverse.

In these two example pencil rubbings, I’ve cut two lino prints – one in soft pale grey lino (several tree trunks) and the other using a lino which has a mesh on the back (single tree).

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There is a further stage to this technique … If you use a blunt tip or a ball point pen which has run out of ink, you can rub over the surface and into the groves left by the lino tools and create an embossed picture.

Tomorrow I will show you the results of the lino print trees so that you can compare the pencil rubbing with the print 🙂