Thursday, 25 August 2016

Just a Trifle ~~~

Hello Friends!

Isn't it glorious at this time of year? The morning air has that certain feel that I just cannot put into words, but my heart knows what it is ~~~ it is Autumn, arriving in all her glory as the year shouts a last Hurrah before Winter comes upon us again ~~~

The Earth breathes gently as she winds down, the air is cooler, the sun slips slowly lower in the sky with each new early morning sunrise, the daylight softens, all is mellow, and the ripening fruits of the hedgerows beg to be picked and stored for the lean days ahead. Blackberries ripen on brambles, shiny, glossy jewels of deliciousness, and the apples are ready for picking; this very week I plan to make Crock Pot Apple Butter. This soul~soothing activity will happen here in the cottage in the next few days, photos and words will follow ~~~

There was company at the cottage this lunchtime, and I made my favourite Mary Berry's Three Fish Pie which I served with simple Braised Red Cabbage and Petit Pois.  Of course, I have already started playing with, and tweaking, Mary's recipe ~ when don't I play with my food?  A small handful of prawns and a tablespoon of grainy mustard into the sauce gives extra flavour and bite.  I also use a mature Cheddar instead of the Gruyere suggested by Mary Berry.

I also made individual trifles in jam jars ~~~ this way, I was able to give a couple to my guests to take  home with them for a treat to eat tomorrow ~~~ very useful if you don't like plastic and the lid keeps everything in place ~~~

My Nigella hardly returned this year at all, normally they are very freely self seeding, but were strangely absent this Summer. However, a few put in an appearance and they were the most delightful pale purple colour I've not seen in the garden before ~~~ seed harvesting will be on the agenda very soon!

Earlier in the year, I found the most unusual poppy in an abandoned corner, it has all the attributes of a Field Poppy in respect of leaves and size, but is much paler in colour than the usual deep red, but more unusually is a double, like a poppy tutu dancing in the breeze ~~~

If this comes true from seed then I shall be very happy indeed!

Lastly, today, I'll show you a lovely envelope that arrived in my post the other day from my favourite book store Much Ado Books.  I bought a new treat to play with in the lengthening evenings, a book on making art from maps which arrived with a small packet of old and vintage maps with which to get started, and some other lovely things to make the package special ~~~ including a tea bag for a hot drink to sip while reading ~~~ I love a parcel thoughtfully put together, don't you?

Until next time ~~~

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Tiny Spider and Egg Sack

Hello Friends ~~~

~~~ you have had the warning in the title of this short post. It contains images of a tiny spider. Read on, and peek, at your peril ~~~

I will take a moment to clarify, for those of you who don't know, I am arachnophobic, so I do go to great extremes of bravery to capture pictures of spiders, and sometimes the barrier of a lens between me and the creature helps immensely!

For some of us, Summer simply never made the grade ~ we had a total of possibly five days where we broke the 70 degree mark and even hit 80 degrees, but for the most Summer stayed in a comfortable low 60's, or an uncomfortably chilly mid 50's ~~~ nothing we can do, what we get is what we have to put up with ~~~ still ~~~

The next few days are going to be unseasonably stormy with forecast winds of in excess of fifty miles an hour, with some very heavy rain, and generally miserable days for the poor holiday makers who have come here for our beautiful sandy beaches and stunning coastal walks.   It is not often I have to apply Winter Storage Mode to the garden in August, but this morning I had to scurry around putting under cover anything that could blow over, or away, in the coming days ~~~Sighs~~~

While I was emptying a bin of garden waste that had been set to one side to dry, I saw two tiny blue balls, with a soft, fuzzy, felt~like texture, suspended between the drying brambles. What were they?  They were very tiny, only about 4mm in diameter, and quite a bright, almost duck egg blue, so they stood out against the drying foliage. Upon closer investigation, I found the tiniest of spiders clinging on to one and straight away I realised these tiny blue spheres are egg sacks. I have never seen the like before.  The spider itself is also rather "cute" in the loosest sense of the word, as it is bright green with some orange markings ~~~

So, if you've read this far, you are probably going to look, so here they are ~~~

I hope you braved the tiny spider and are as fascinated as I am!

Until next time ~~~

Monday, 1 August 2016

Closing Out ICAD 2016

Hello Friends!

Well, it is August 1st and ICAD is now officially over, so here are the remainder of my cards for July. Lots of different subjects and techniques, all lots of fun.

Here is what I wrote on the {closed} ICAD Facebook page this morning ~~~

Feeling kinda odd today ~ who isn't? ~ even though I still have five catch ups to do by mid month it isn't quite the same this morning somehow. Still, this year has reignited my spark and now I can't wait to get started on watercolour paper {it's been in the cottage for about six weeks waiting in the wings ~ how good am I?}

ICAD saved me this summer, truly it did, and I am so happy and grateful f
or the chance to reconnect with old friends and make some new ones along the way. It makes the experience so rewarding.

Heartfelt Thanks to Tammy and her Wonderful Team of moderators who make ICAD possible.
Enormous Gratitude to everyone for the inspiration, the comments and likes, the camaraderie, and just for making ICAD a unique experience for all of us to escape to for two whole months of Summer ~~~ without you it just wouldn't happen!

As before, I'll put the daily prompts in the caption, and please remember that, although I painted, drew, and collaged these myself, some of the images are not my own original art but used as they fit the daily prompt. So, here are my favourites from July, with a montage of all the cards at the end ~~~

A bonus card and background card

100 so I did a rendition of AA Milne's Hundred Aker Wood



Statue of Liberty ~ I reiterate, as I have done constantly on FB and other social media platforms, this is NOT a political statement but the Statue of Liberty as a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who.

Meditation ~ I guess eating a pomegranate is sort of meditative or annoying!

Folk Art

Bonus card beachscape


Lens ~ using my own photography cut in circles ~ as seen through a lens


Rainbow Making Machine

Play on Words
A Woolly Jumper

Lighthouse ~ this is the Smalls Lighthouse 21 miles off the coast


Aurora Borealis

Superhero ~ if the competitors taking part in Invictus Games are not Superheroes, then I don't know who is


Cloud ~ oh, look, yet another Doctor Who reference!


Aquarium ~ a dendritic print from which a Weedy Sea Dragon emerges

The Olympics 

Graffiti ~ oh! look, another Doctor Who obscurity! 

Hopscotch or Tic Tac Toe {Noughts and Crosses}

Sorbet ~ a sorbet sunset over the lamp-lit village

Path ~ as a personal homage to Beatrix Potter during the week we celebrated the anniversary of her 150th birthday, I copied one of her little watercolour paintings.

July 2016

June 2016

So, it is over and it feels strange to wake up and not have half an hour before my day starts looking at all the wonderful miniature pieces done by all the members of the group as I drink my coffee, but my creative spark has reignited and I am eager to start making small compositions using watercolour paints and other mediums as soon as I can. There are several in this collection that I want to work on a slightly larger scale and on good quality watercolour paper.

Which is your favourite? I'd love to know!

If you want to see my entry for June's ICAD you can read it here.

Until next time~~~

Saturday, 30 July 2016

ICAD 2016 June

Hello Friends!

Do you remember last year in June and July I got involved in an online art challenge called ICAD, which stands for Index Card A Day? It is an annual event organised by Tammy Garcia over on Daisy Yellow. Although ICAD is now closed for the year, there's lots of other things to discover on Tammy's blog, so you can pop over for a quick peek {well, there's so much to read, it won't be that quick} ~~~

It's such great fun, with lots of wonderful and imaginative creations to see from so many talented people taking part, such an inspirational and friendly group of people, and making lots of lovely new friends along the way ~~~

Well, I joined in and I've been up to it again!   I've picked out two or three that I want to do again on proper watercolour paper as soon as I can. When you are looking at these, please remember that they are made on index cards, so the scale is quite small ~~~

With the weather being anything but summery it has been a lot of fun to have something creative to do indoors. Some of the daily prompts were challenging, others were quick and easy, and some took ages to do. Here is a quick summary of what I did in June with a montage of all my June cards, and some of my favourite ones are singled out underneath ~~~ I'll put the daily prompt underneath each one ~~~

Mix Tape ~ I did a play on words and used sewing tapes

Snoopy ~ I copied an image and drew it freehand

Cloud ~ always battling the clouds here!

Island ~ a collage using a dendritic print and found images

Compass ~ stamps, handwritten wording and quotes from Lord of The Rings

Cobalt Blue ~ I just had to do the TARDIS

Baseball ~ hand drawn images cut out and collaged

Bouquet ~ I did Autumn Fruits

Landscape ~ I did Carn Llidi which you may recognise from my photographs

Orange ~ I did a collage of found orange papers

Snowflake ~ die punched flakes on an inked background


Invent A Prompt ~ I chose to do arches

Winter ~ a simple, freehand line drawing in ink

Space Invaders ~ dandelion seeds in the wind

Aqua or Pool ~ I did an aqua pool

I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed making them. The challenge finishes tomorrow, so in a day or two I'll put up the July cards for you to see ~~~

Until next time ~~~

p.s. do you have a favourite? I'd love to know which it is!