Monday, 30 May 2016

In A Vase On Monday - Columbines

Looking around the garden for materials for In a Vase on Monday this week it soon became obvious it had to be Columbines (aquilegias) because there are so many in bloom at the moment. I know some regard them as weeds but Columbines/Grannies Bonnets are among my favourite flowers. I grow quite a few varieties - but I have still got long way to go before I can call it the National Collection! The named varieties you can see in my vase are Spring Magic (the Blue & White and Rose & White) alpines, bi-coloured Mrs Scott Elliot and Biedermeier. Aquilegia vulgaris is seeding itself everywhere and there's a few gatecrashers I don't know the names of too.
Mrs Scott Elliot
Spring Magic Blue & White (top), Beidermeier (bottom)

Spring Magic Rose and White

I did add a few sprays of London Pride, saxifraga x urbium, and a couple of trailing tendrils of golden hop, humulus lupulus 'Aureus'. For such a cottage garden bunch of flowers the only appropriate 'vase' was the old cottage garden decorated jug.

Unusually for a Bank Holiday weekend we have had nothing but scorching sunshine here so I've been limiting any garden work to the shadier parts of the garden or leaving it until early evening when it hasn't been so hot. Yesterday evening I potted up dark mullien, verbascum thapsus, seedlings - last year's sowing - and the two helleborus lividus bought earlier this year and now outgrown their original pots.  Today I've been weeding, those pesky weeds don't care that it's a holiday, and planting up a couple of cranesbill plants, hardy geraniums, found yesterday on a trip to the nursery in the Walled Garden at Culzean Castle Estate ... g. himalayense  and g. Johnson's Blue. I'm told that they are perfect spreading plants and therefore a help in keeping those weeds at bay.

While out in the garden earlier this afternoon I was devastated to witness a magpie carry off a baby starling despite the screeching of the distraught parents. As soon as I realised what was happening I  clapped my hands loudly scaring of the magpie which dropped the baby bird into our roof guttering. The parents then rallied round and did their best to rouse the baby but I fear it died despite everything. It's the second incident I've witnessed recently of a magpie killing a young starling.

Sorry to finish on such a sad note.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

WOYWW 364 - The 7th Anniversary

Seven years! I can hardly believe that Julia's brainchild, WOYWW, has been going for seven years. Not that I've been submitting my desk for scrutiny all those years, but it's certainly been for a big chunk of them and I so enjoy it too. Not so much for the showing of my desk which is as often as not, to borrow a phrase, a hot mess, but for the opportunity to join in the fun with one of the friendliest bunch of people I've had the pleasure of meeting, sometimes in person but mostly online. And that includes the ever fantastic Jan, LLJ, who is for this week, and a few more to come, standing in for Julia. Many thanks to you all.

There's not much on the craft desk today, except that hot mess I mentioned above, but I have a couple of projects on the go to share.

Another giant granny square in progress. This one in my niece's favourite colours. I'm hoping it will be finished by her birthday ... it's not until August, plenty of time you'd think, but that's no guarantee it will be done by then.
And on the ironing board, materials for a cushion cover. Well, it will be a cushion cover once I've decided how to put it all together. The crochet lace was made by my late mother. It's very precious to me ... so precious I've hesitated to use it up until now but I think it would look perfect with the panel of embroidered lavender.

And finally,

I have made a few ATCs to celebrate the occasion. (Dreadful photo! I'll try to take a better one in daylight to replace it.)

Edit ... a slightly better shot of the ATC. At least it shows the gold thread used.

I've made several so just let me know if you would like to swap.

I'm well aware that I may be the last Desker to participate today. I meant to make an appearance earlier but, as often happens, life got in the way today. Nevertheless, I simply could not let this celebration pass without joining in.

Too late to say have a happy WOYWW so I'll wish you all a wonderful week instead.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Cardmaking - Poppies and Mariposa Petals

Morning Everyone,

Two posts in one morning ... pass me the aspirin!

Hope you are well and having a very good Friday. the EM has his paint brush out, freshening up the living-room walls, so I'm sheltering in the craft room to escaping the paint fumes. It's hard not being able to join in but it does mean I've had time to make a card.

This card fits in with Mrs A's current Butterfly Challenge #55 which calls for an aperture and/or apricot. I couldn't manage the apricot but have created an aperture using an oval die - possibly for the first time ever! It was easier than anticipated so can't think why I haven't done it before.

Supplies used and notes on how the card was made:

- a 4" x 6" white card base

- a scrap of smooth black cardstock (from Papermill Direct) trimmed to a fraction smaller all round than the card front for the first layer

- a piece of red textured card (Papermania) trimmed a fraction smaller than the black layer. I then die-cut the oval shape (from a CArt-Us die set) before embossing with the Crafts-Too Lattice folder

- the poppy stamped piece for the aperture. This is just one of the pieces from a stamping session I had some time last year. I can't remember exactly what I did then but I used the Rubbernecker Poppy Field stamp. These stamps come in two parts. There are several good demos on YouTube showing how to use them. For the coloured part of the poppies I used the watercolour technique with, I think, Tim Holtz Festive Berries distress ink and water. Archival Jet Black, again I think, was used for the outline. I trimmed the piece down a little to fit behind the red embossed topper which I then adhered it down on to the black layer.

- snippets of thin black card, not the same as that from PaperMill Direct but from goodness knows where,  and the red textured card die cut with a Tonic flourish die, Mariposa Petals. I adhered the black flourish on the front letting a part of it lie over the aperture. Then I trimmed the butterfly from the red one and adhered just the body part on top of the black one. I teased the wings up to take the photo but they will fold down flat for posting.

- tiny jet black gems - source forgotten - painstakingly glued on the lattice intersections and the butterfly's body. Note to self: never again!!!

Because I've not been making so many cards lately, the snippet mountain, though not quite as high as Ben Nevis yet, is growing. That being so, I deliberately used as many snippets on the card as I possibly could which means I can also submit it to Di's challenge: Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 229. Something to celebrate :)

Wishing you all a very happy Friday and an enjoyable weekend.