Saturday, April 19, 2014

Everything's Coming Up Tulips

Over the last few weeks the tulips in the garden have been beautiful. Some I planted and know what they are like these:

Doll's Minuet

Black Parrot

Spring Green

I love how the rain makes them bend over and then they ping back upright in the sunshine

Others were here when I moved in so I have no idea what they are but I always love this purple one as it contrasts so beautifully with the exochorda above it.

When the sun shines these red ones in the front garden open right up to reveal their yellow centres.

Other just appear from nowhere.

Apart from taking photos of tulips and planting seeds not much has been done in the garden this week due to a certain black cat deciding to swallow some thread and the attached needle on Tuesday evening.  Cue emergency dash to vets where the needle (and thread) was removed from his throat under sedation.  He's recovered fine, it's taken me longer!

Whatever you're doing this Easter weekend I hope you have a lovely time (well mainly be avoiding needles!).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fashions in London

Yesterday I took myself off to London for the day.

It was a beautiful sunny day and after a cuppa at the Festival Hall I wandered off along the south of the river, past many sights, to the Fashion and Textile Museum.

It was my first visit here and I'd taken Gina's advice to go on a Wednesday when there's a free talk at 1pm.  The talk and the exhibition were fascinating, tracing the history of 20th century art in textiles.

It's hard to pick favourites but here are a few:

1950's Designs by Andy Warhol

Screen prints by Estelle Laverne (1947), Ben Rose (1951) and Angelo Testa (1947)

1955 dress designed by Clare McCardell in a fabric designed by Picasso 
and these gorgeous dresses from Horrockses in the 1940s and 50s made from textiles designed by Alastair Morton and Graham Sutherland.

I also loved the smaller exhibition by Sarah Campbell 'From Start to Finish' (of course I knew I would as I'm a big fan of her work) - a room showing a film about her and her work and huge boards like this on the wall showing the journey, from start to finish, of a design  (this one is for M & S bedding 2013).

After spending quite some time in the museum I then wandered up to Somerset House as I wanted to see the Boro exhibition.  These are items made by the Japanese poor who couldn't afford the new cotton cloth so literally pieced together scraps and rags to make clothing and household goods.

Some were quite geometric whereas some really revealed the original shapes of the scraps of cloth.

Outside Somerset house, a costume drama was being filmed, so I stayed and watched for a while. 

I have no idea what it was, or if any of the actors are famous, but it was fascinating to watch and the costumes were amazing.

Finally I made my way to John Lewis, really to look at curtains for the lounge but I seemed to end up in the dress fabric department and ended up coming home with this little lot (and no curtains!)

There's a distinct 1950s influence in the fabric I bought isn't there!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Garden Is Zinging!

The sunshine and blue skies of this weekend have really made the garden zing.

The Chaenomeles Japonica is superb this year, it's smothered in flowers!

There are clematis flowering too

Clematis Constance
Clematis Foxy

Clematis Maidwell Hall

A tulip has opened (I can't remember the name or find the label!) as has the self sown lime green spurge (euphorbia)

Under the maple the epimedium is flowering as are the self sown wild violets

The exochorda has got one flower open and the snake's head fritillaries are doing well (although there are no white ones this year for some reason).

There's just about blossom on the amelanchier

and most of the garden seems to be smiling, apart from the actinidia that is.  It looks as though the sharp frost last week has destroyed most of its leaf and flower buds - maybe it'll recover?

Poor thing!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Row of Tags

In the midst of the lounge decorating that's taken somewhat longer than planned I have finally finished a textile piece.  I've done several over the last year but haven't really liked any enough to finish them or show you.  At one point I got myself so bogged down in the 'rules' and 'balance' etc that I lost all my confidence.  This time I started small and decided to just do things so that I was pleased with them rather than trying to work to someone else's formula etc.

Having said that, I did keep to some self imposed 'rules'. Each piece is on a brown tag and each piece has something 'found' in nature on it and some simple cross stitching.

Each piece also has old lace and buttons,

and they are all of a similar colour palette (one without much colour which is what I always seem to gravitate to!).

Some have text from old books and shredded bark cloth.

All have recycled sari ribbon and some have music and vintage fabric,

and some have string.

They sit side by side, tags in a row, 

and, for the first time in ages, I'm actually pleased with them, and also pleased to have some confidence back! They will hang in my lounge once the floor is laid in a few weeks' time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Take One

Take one skein of very soft 4 ply merino wool in colour way 'Finch' (from Meadow Yarn),

add a couple of weeks and several many stitch markers,

and you end up with a crumpled looking mess!

Now add a couple of days of severe blocking,

and voila, the crumpled mess turns into a lacy shawl.

It's very soft and pretty and I'm looking forward to wearing it on a lovely warm evening.  Soon I hope :-)