Friday, June 30, 2006

Today I went into my local town to look for some plants to finish off my garden and a shrub for Pixie. No problem at all in finding a shrub, but there was not much choice in the selection of plants and too many of them looked as though they had lived in their small pots too long. However I did buy two cuphea hyssopifolia, I have never seen these before but one has pretty little blue flowers and the other has white ones, and they are supposed to flower from May to October.

I came back home, went out into the garden and suddenly decided that one of my small flowerbeds was becoming a bit wild. The trouble is that I just filled it this year with plants I was given, and there was quite a bit of guess work involved in what some of the plants were. Now a lot of them are in flower I see that a number of them are too tall for the bed and are blocking my pots of flowers behind the bed. I think a bit of shuffling around is called for and some will have to move to spaces at the back of other beds. I hope they will transplant ok but they certainly cannot stay where they are.

This afternoon I cut back my poppies as their flowering time is over. I collected all the seedheads on long stalks and tied them in bunches, they will hang upside down in the barn to dry out with paper bags over the heads to collect the seeds. When they have dried they will look lovely in vase as part of a dried arrangement.

This photograph taken at the beginning of June shows how the shady spots between my kitchen and barn are shaping up. Everything in this area is grown in pots or whimsical things like old baskets and kettles. The petunias are a lot more mature now. You can just see the old brown kettle with ivy and periwinkle in it.

This photograph shows my fern and some of my hostas. The fern was a tiny little thing when it was first put out in a pot. I don't know if you can see but just behind the basket handle to the left of the hosta there is a solid green tube, this is the stem of an old bird bath, the basin of it is filled with pots of calendulas and nasturtiums, and when they are flowering I will take a photo of the whole area.

Another selection of my hostas against the sandstone wall of the barn. This shady spot does get a little very early morning sun that shines onto the plants through the slatted bars of the fence. I am surprised at how well the petunias are turning out with just that little bit of sunlight.

I just couldn't resist showing you this photograph of my largest red poppy flower, I have never grown one that large before. Everyone that has visited my garden has commented on its size.

I have decided to make tomorrow a 'me' day, and as it is supposed to be sunny I am going to spend it in the garden pottering about and sitting reading my book and some magazines I bought in the town yesterday. After my 'me' day I will have to get busy in the house as my daughter is coming up from London to stay with us for a few days, and I need to get tidying, cooking and baking.

I must just add as a final piece about Pixie, that we had a lovely sympathy card in the mail this morning, from the staff at the animal shelter where she came from. I thought this was a simple but lovely gesture, and they also said in the longterm if we wanted another cat they would be happy for us to house another of theirs. How comforted I felt, although I know that sounds silly, but I just felt pleased that they thought we were blameless and had done a good job with looking after her.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Where the spirit doesnot work with the hand there is no art - Leonardo Da Vinci

First of all I would like to thank all of you for your very kind comments you sent to me on the unexpected sad death of my cat, Pixie. I found solace in them, knowing that people had read about it and taken the trouble to send condolences. I know she is not coming back, although I still find myself looking for her, and I constantly remind myself that she had a wonderful two years with us after she came from the animal shelter. Thank you again.

The photograph opposite, is one of a batch taken this year, at the beginning of June, in my garden. That is my ice blue iris, this is the first year it has flowered. You can just see behind it the stepping stones and bark chipping we have been putting down to make paths and the young clematis that is steadily climbing the back wall.

Above is a photograph of my red oriental poppies, they were enormous this year, and there were nineteen of them on one plant. The largest poppy was as big as a large plate. I will publish it in a later post.

I love the ghostly white petals of this poppy, Royal Wedding, they contrast beautifully with the intense black inside. I am always amazed at the delicate papery thinness of poppy flowers. I am sure if the weather had remained dry and sunny the poppies would have been in flower much longer, but they were too delicate, even when staked, to stand too much wind and rain and they sadly quickly lost their petals.

You can see here how we are making the paths round the garden, it will look not quite so sparse next year when some of my new plants have matured more, and will make my small garden much more interesting. There are more photographs to show from this roll of film, but I will save them for later posts. I only have a few spaces to fill in my beds and pots now and I bought two lovely pots of antirrhinums yesterday, one pink and one yellow. I am also looking for a shrub or perennial to plant in memory of Pixie, I like to remember past pets that way. I am going to look in the local market for a shrub, and maybe will be able to find a couple of plants to finish this year's garden off. I say that, but you know me if I see anything really nice in the plant line I won't be able to resist it. You can always find space for another plant.

I am also going to go to a local natural healing shop to buy some more sage smudge sticks, which I will burn around the house, to get rid of negative energies, feeling and moods that have gathered since last Saturday. I like the sage ones best for this. The idea being that you close all doors and windows in your house, light the smudge sticks in a bowl, put out the flames and let them smolder and carry them from room to room to refresh it. When you have gone completely round the house you then open all the windows and the house has brand new energies, should be good for my creativity too.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sunday Scribblings

Music has threaded its way through my life, it has nourished my soul, sometimes I realised that, sometimes I didn't. It is something that I might not think about for a few days at a time, then suddenly a vast need and craving wells over me to hear and be uplifted by it. I can surface from sleep, snatches of a melody playing in my mind, anything from a tune from my youth to a snippet of a vast orchestral work. There always seems to be a piece of music that you can listen to that reflects how you feel and what is happening to you in your life at that time.

I can place music in every stage of my life. My earliest memory, is of jigging up and down, not even old enough to dance around properly, at a family gathering to a song popular at the time 'Papa Piccolina'. My father played the piano and my childhood revolves around and is interspersed with Chopin nocturnes, waltzs and mazurkas, coupled with his other great love Gilbert and Sullivan light operas, which I would stand by the piano and sing whilst he played. I can still sing along with these word perfectly if I hear them now, many years later. For eight years I had piano lessons, which I thoroughly enjoyed, with a strict but wonderful music teacher, whose death coupled with teenage truculence, led me to abadoning the instrument. I was told I would regret it, I had won a cup in a local festival and was passing my music exams with flying colours, but heyho I was young and rebellious, so who cares. If I am truthful, I do now, but in retrospect, who could tell your younger self, that because life, to that self is long and there is plenty of time, but how quickly that time flies, and suddenly it is maybe too late to go back for various reasons.

Then there is the music of youth, which can transport you back to a specific time and still give you a rush when you hear those tunes. The last family holiday we all had together, me lying on an English beach 'Yellow Submarine' by The Beatles blaring from my transistor radio that was constantly by me; end of year school dance, finishing with Procul Haram's 'Whiter Shade of Pale'; standing at a music festival soaked to the skin grooving to the Grateful Dead's 'Trucking' and 'Sugar Magnolia'.

There are musical delights that you unexpectedly come across such as walking into a quiet cathedral to look at the architecture and coming upon the organist practising a Bach tocata and fugue that surges and fills the vast space, or walking on a summer night and hearing a violin sonata wending its way out of open windows into the night. There is music that to me is quintessentially English and could be written by no other nationality, like Vaughan Williams, 'Lark Ascending', a piece that restores me if I am sad and always lifts my soul. How can I explain why I feel he is the epitome of Englishness, I can't as I can not explain why, to me, Debussy could be no other nationality than French.

Music is always part of me like breathing, some days I may not take a great deal of notice of it, but if it was not there, I would feel I was not properly alive.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

This is a very short and sad posting. Our beautiful cat, Pixie, died this morning. She was run over on the road. She was a cat that never strayed far beyond the garden and the common land behind it, but for some reason we shall never know, she ventured further this morning and lost her life. My husband assures me it was sudden and that she cannot have known anything about it. We can only console ourselves with the fact that she did have a wonderful but short life. We will never forget her and she goes to join previous cats we have owned. My daughter, has just emailed me to say that it is fairy day and Pixie will be with the fairies and she will like that.

I have a posting ready for tomorrow, which I shall probably upload, but I may take a day or two off blogging, depending how I feel, but if I do rest assured I will be back in a few days.

I feel I should end on a positive note and so will, regardless of my sorrow, wish everyone a happy fairy day.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Shhh! say it quietly the rain has finally stopped and I got out into the garden this morning. The plants had stood up to the winter better than I thought they would. I only lost one lily in bud, the stem was broken and the last of the poppies lost their petals quicker than then would have done. I weeded and I deadheaded and in general gave the garden a litle TLC. A few of my lilies have buds on them. there are buds on the phlox and my shasta daisies are coming out. My troughs and pots on the back wall are beginning to flower, although the nasturiums are not doing anything yet. One of my nasturium boxes was blown off the wall in the wind, but luckily, it landed the right was up, so was not really damaged. I don't think this is going to be a great year for my sweetpeas, due to the bad weather earlier in the year. I also made a 'comfrey mixture' which is comfrey leaves covered in water, left for a fortnight, stirred occasionally, and then it can be used 50/50 with water as a plant food. A few weeks ago I planted some Coleus seeds, and after a slow start they finally germinated and now have outgrown their seedtray. At the garden table this morning I potted them on into small individual pots, although I am still keeping them indoors on various windowsills. I hope eventually they will look as diverse as the ones in the picture above. I love the varigation of coleus leaves and use them as houseplants.

I love looking at clouds especially near sunset when they are tinged with the most beautiful colours. These two cloud photos were actually taken to finish off rolls of film. In the first one I can see a giant bird pulling a chariot containing a lady across the sky. In the second photo, wait for it, and I know no one else will probably see this, but I assure you I can, it's a sheep jumping through a hedge, you can even see his eyes.

Have you seen the sheep then? Well the head is near the front of main cloud, you can even see its two eyes and the left part of the cloud is the hedge it is jumping through. Well I am convinced!

I spent yesterday, reorganising the table I work on in one of the bedrooms. That's my crafting and sewing table, not where I sit at the computer. I sorted and cleared and put necessary materials near to hand but still leaving me room to work. At the moment this table is in my daughter's bedroom, although she lives in London, she loves her room which she decorated herself, when she comes home to visit. I have decided to redecorate the spare bedroom and turn it into a crafting room, because I can move all my fabrics which are in bags and boxes at the bottom of the linen cupboard, into here and have more space for my books, magazines etc. I can then have a working table and a sewing table. I doubt it will be as serene and dainty as the illustration above, knowing my chaotic working ways, but I can dream. I think this will be my autumn project, because I always need something exciting to do when the nights darken and gardening activity dies down.

I don't want to spell this out in detail yet, but I am mulling over doing something I have never done before, but have always wanted to, and privately have dabbled in it. It's nothing earth shattering but to me a big step. I can do it once a week and will be virtually participating with other people who have taken this step. I have to decide by the end of tomorrow, and have the first part of what I want to do 'done and dusted' if I am going to participate. Sorry to sound so mysterious but I needed to put something in my post to prove to myself that I am serious about this thing. Will let you know how I get on and what I decide. Please indulge me the above silliness.

Just to remind you that it's almost Fairy Day and they are gathering to celebrate.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I am making today's post what I call a 'scrap bag' post, it's all sorts of odds and ends I keep meaning to mention. Also posting quite a few images because I want the post to look cheerful as we are in the middle of a bout of dreadful weather. After almost two weeks of lovely sunshine and just about living in the garden, the weather has turned. I cheered the first day it rained as I knew how much the garden would relish it. A few days on, I am more subdued, the temperature has dropped, the rain has been lashing down and to make matters worse we have had very heavy winds. The sort of winds that gust and make me start fretting about the taller plants in the garden, although most of them are staked. It is the summer solstice, the longest day today, and I had hoped to spend it in the garden celebrating the goodness of summer, light days, garden growth. This weather is just not right for this time of year, something is wrong, I think Earth, the planet we live on, is upset by the way we treat it. My cat, Pixie, hates this weather, the wind, especially, makes her capricious, her fur is sticking up on end and her ears are pricked as she rushes around the house, eyes flashing green. She can't settle, she pops her head outside and then decides 'no way', but she is missing her sunning spots in the garden.

I am posting another of my window images, this one by Dufy, a cheerful summer view of the landscape. Just look out that window and take a deep breath, smell the wonderful scents of thyme and oregano, feel the early morning breeze in your hair and listen to the sound of the birds. Hmm that's better.

I have been busy this afternoon, after doing necessary chores this morning, I carried on with my ripping articles out of magazines, [see many posts back] in my declutter mode. Also made a list of boxes I need to make, to sort craft materials of various sorts in. Yes I am a great listmaker, I run my life with lists. I have lists of lists, notebooks full of lists, ah but the satisfaction of crossing items off a list. My daughter is an avid list maker too, she blames it all on me. Are you reading this Sweetpea? Also made three more ATC's for another blogger, who has asked to swop with me. I am really loving this altered work and now I realise how much I love doing it I must stock up on things like better scissors, some new crayons and paints. Yummy another of my favourite occupations, stationery shopping, my husband ponders on why women are crazy for stationery. I think it stems back to when we were little girls, colouring in, paper dolls, writing secret diaries, playing post offices.

I have posted the image of this vintage couple opposite, because a fellow blogger Vintage Pretty, was getting married today. I am sure we all wish that her and her new husbands 'cups runneth over with happiness' and that they have a contented future together.

I think with this dreary weather that I need to have a comfort evening tonight, also to get away from all the football matches that are on the television. I think I will indulge in some magazine reading, hot chocolate and fresh buttered toast for supper and watch a dvd either 'Howards End' or 'Room with a View' two of my favourite films you can't beat Merchant Ivory films for beautiful settings and costumes. If I could be in film it would have to be one of these. Does anyone else love these two films?

To finish off today I am posting a fairy picture by Margaret Tarrant, just to keep reminding everyone that it is Fairy Day this Saturday. Hope the weather will improve by then and on this midsummer's eve we can sit out in the garden and perhaps like these children watch the fae people dance around us, that is if we are very quiet, have left them some food and do not disturb them. Oh what fun it will be and what tales we will have to tell, as long as we are not enchanted by them and follow them to their bowers. Remember that and to help I'll leave you with this quote. 'Out of this wood do not desire to go: Thous shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no. I am a spirit of no common rate: The summer still doth tend upon my state....' Titania, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

If you remember yesterday I was talking about the two sets of ATC's I made at the weekend. Here is the set that are not part of a swop. It is a three of three, and is about three ages in a woman's life. The first card is really about childhood, and hopefully carefree days as a beloved and innocent child, when the whole day, never mind your whole life, stretches out in front of you and everything is a discovery. The sun always seemed to be shining and casting a golden glow over everything. A walk through a field of long grass was a trip through the jungle, from climbing a tree you could see the world, you could have adventures in different lands and be back in time for tea. Play with the fairies, talk to the animals, keep caterpillars in a jar, fish for minnows, have your own small garden patch full of virginia stock, calendulas and nasturiums.

The second card is about being a maiden, dewfresh, maybe an ugly duckling that has become a swan. Your school days are over and you take your first tentative steps out into the world either to college, university, or into a job. You are having fun, going out with friends, meeting your first love, thinking the world is your oyster and nothing is insurmountable. Life is waiting for you to take it with both hands and live. You want to experience everything, to make your mistakes and make things right again. A time to experience far off lands, to try different looks to wear crazy fashions, a time to take risks without worrying about your commitments. This is the time you will reminisce about with your friends in later years, laughing gently, at the mad things you said and did, your silly hairstyles and wild clothes.

The Goddess, is the third card, your later mature life, if you had children, they have left the nest, you now have a world of experience behind you. The time is right for you to reflect, making more time for yourself, a time to feed your soul with beauty that matters to you, creating objects, through paint,or fabric or paper perhaps, making music, reading poetry, enjoying a garden. You can be confident in your little quirks, hang crystals, have a meditation space, know your herblore and fragrance your home with incense and candles. I called this, the time of the Goddess, because we hopefully have survived most of what life has thrown at us. It is a nicer word than middle-aged.

I hope you have enjoyed the meaning of my cards. I don't expect every set of cards to have such a deep meaning I just felt as though it was important to me to make a trio concerning different stages of a woman's life. I know there are other stages I could have added, such as mother etc but I can always do another woman type theme another time.

Its the Summer Solstice tomorrow, the longest day already, I hope the weather is better for it than it is today, very cool, with fresh winds and heavy rain. The heart of summer already, then its midsummers eve on Saturday, so don't forget its fairy day [see previous post].

Monday, June 19, 2006

'Use the light that dwells within you to regain your natural clarity of sight.'- Lao Tzu-

I love to take photographs of doors, I also love collecting art images of views from windows, especially open windows. I think looking at beautiful views from windows in a painting can be a very peaceful and serene thing to do. There is something tranquil and fresh about an open window with a vase of flowers in it. I love doors, especially old doors like the one in my photograph, and I like to wonder what is behind them. I would also have come to a nasty end as Bluebeard's wife, I feel a door is meant to be pushed open to see what is behind it. I think my fascination with doors stems from my childhood when I read books such as 'The Secret Garden', with its hidden garden door, and famous five books with their hidden doors and mystery passages. The painting from a window is called 'Easter Morning' by Winifred Nicholson, who is an artist I love, and she also lived in my area for some of her life; it is the Cumberland hills in the distance in this painting. I have a print of this painting framed and hung on my bedroom wall opposite my real bedroom window. I love the yellow spring flowers, though this image I have uploaded is rather harsh in its colouring, the actual painting has more delicate colouring.

You will notice I have started this post with a quote, I love quotes and copy them frequently into my journal. I thought once a week I would select one and post it for us all to enjoy, not really original, I know I'm not the first to do it but I don't care, I like to think of a quote as a gift for people's souls. It might not be the same day every week but it will be once a week. I am also periodically going to post some of my collection of doors and windows. Does any one else collect images of certain things. Oh, and I also collect art postcards with people dancing, either solo, with a partner, in a circle or a group. Its just fun finding new ones.

After all the sunshine of the past two weeks, it has rained yesterday and today, but I am not complaining because the garden desperately needed a good soaking, that no amount of running backwards and forwards to the barn tap with watering cans was going to achieve.
Here is a photo of my bedding begonias, although mine are all in pots, they are really growing and look cheerful and sunny. I spent one rainy afternoon making two more sets of ATC's, I have only made them once before. One set I wasn't too pleased with, but was not bad for a second attempt, I'll post them here next time. But the last set of three I made, yesterday, I was pleased with, I am sending these three as a swop with another blogger, so I won't be posting them here for a while, as I don't want her to see them before I have sent them to her.

Don't forget, for those who are interested, this Saturday, 24th June, is Fairy Day. You can visit the Fairy Day website and find out more about it and upload a poster.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

One of my favourite walks in the village takes me down a bridle path, which is edged on one side with cultivated fields and on the other with a copse, which is eventually replaced by fields, then the church and churchyard. The copse is beautiful, and these are photographs of it. Whenever I see the copse the lines 'I know a bank where the wild thyme blows...' go through my head, although that's not what grows here, it just is another of those magical places. The photographs from a few weeks ago show it carpeted with bluebells in the spring sunlight. I think you can just make out the blue carpet across the middle of the photo. As the bluebell season progresses all you can see is this wonderful blue. Then slowly as the spring season progresses the bluebells die, the undergrowth springs up to cover them and the canopy of leaves on the trees becomes denser. The sweet innocence of the bluebells is replaced by a darker flowering.

Up spring the ferns, slightly reptilian and primordial and with them, the foxgloves, tall spires of deep pink velvety bells with their spotted brown interiors. What is hiding under these ferns and behind the foxgloves watching your passing?

As summer moves onward those ferns become denser and the tree canopy thicker, just occasional slats of sunlight hit the copse floor, it is a cool dark place in the heat of the summers day, but would it entice you to linger and rest within its confines, or would you be scared to sleep and fall under an enchantment, from which when you woke you would find the world had passed you by and minutes had become years.

Best to pass the copse by without lingering, especially when evening is nigh and the church bell tolls calling honest workers back to their supper, best to hurry on to where you can see the spire of the church ahead of you to the safety of the churchyard and through the kissing gate, down the steps and along the road to home, safe from the temptations of enchantment.

I hope you have enjoyed this embroidered magical walk with me along the bridle path, but it is a walk where you can let your imagination roam unfettered. I do enjoy looking at photographs I have taken of places of beauty and weaving a story around them, try it, it is such fun. The picture of the church is taken from around the bend in the river late in the day, sorry if it has printed rather darkly. It is just so lovely to have my scanner working properly again and be able to upload photographs I want to show you all.

I just want to thank all the new friends who have commented and, of course, all of the old friends who continue to visit, I am enjoying my blog so much, and I check on yours just about every day, although I don't always leave a comment. We all have so many ideas we can exchange and we can learn so much from each other.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Earlier this week I popped into my nearest libray to return some books and search for some more. There is something about going to the library, the anticipation of wondering what treasures you will find, books you have been looking for, but do not want to buy yet, unlooked for books that seem to catch your eye and say 'look at me, I am just what you need', I have found some great books that way. Sometimes I have the feeling that if I go to the library that day I will definitely come across a book I have wanted, it is on the shelf, as though it is waiting for me, that has happened to me frequently. I digress, I really went to find some new gardening books to browse through. Now I have the shape of my garden right and most of the planting, what I need to concentrate on is blooms throughout the year, a sort of smooth run of colour, so there are always areas of interest, I am very aware that at the moment my garden is really at its best from May to October, yes I do have some spring bulbs etc, but I really want things to happen all year round, something to delight in every month. This is why I am browsing the gardening books I borrowed, to see how I can make the garden an all year delight. In case anyone is wondering the above illustration is a painting by Matisse, one of my favourite artists.

My mother gave me some old linen, table cloths, etc that a great aunt of mine once embroidered. I was washing them yesterday, when one of the pieces unrolled and a pile of embroidery threads fell out, the runner had never been finished and the blue transfer was still intact at the other end. I have now decided to finish this runner myself and have been looking at a 'how to' book on embroidery. Now I have done tapestry work and cross stitch and bargello but never embroidery. What has held me back is the fact that I am left handed and I find it hard to follow the photos when the needle is held in the right hand, strangely enought, I crochet righthandedly but can not sew that way. I am determined to try to finish this cloth, as to me it is an heirloom, and I am really going to try embroidery and take it slowly and not get frustrated if I do not get a lot done quickly or it is hard to do the stitches.

A Couple of updates, I am still reading 'The Historian' by Elizabeth Kostova, a 600 page read, it moves at quite a leisurely pace for a page turner and there are some lovely descriptions, of places where the action happens, almost like a travelogue, I am enjoying it though. Also hope to have my scanner working again in a couple days, as it was getting an overhaul as part of my computer fixing, when that is working and my film is returned, will post photos of the garden from the last two weeks.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Hullo again, I have missed blogging and reading blogs these last three days! My computer has been looked at and has been temporarily fixed, though I might need a little more work done to it, but it should last until my son makes a flying visit again [as he was the one who fixed it for me]. I think I have caught up now with what people have been doing. I have had a busy few days since I last posted, and I have just had a walk around my garden and promised that if the weather is fine tomorrow I will do some work in it, I always like to keep on top of weeding and deadheading. I thought my garden felt it was a little neglected, never mind, I will give it some TLC tomorrow. I have just been sitting at my garden table listing the few things I would still like to get for the garden this year. In the evening I love to sit facing a silver birch tree that is over the other side of my wall, I love the way the wind rustles through its leaves and it sounds like whispers. Silver birch is my favourite tree. I am quite concerned about my honeysuckle, I have had it three years, and every year it starts off with beautiful lush growth, but about the middle of June, its leaves start dying, they look as if they have a white powder on them, I don't use chemicals and can't find what I can do to help it. I find this very frustrating this year as it it the first year it has grown buds and is about to flower. Anybody got any ideas?

I have been trying to launch a local history group in my village. I held an afternoon session, about a month ago and only one person turned up, which was disappointing. On Monday I held an evening session, and achieved four people. I am moving the evening to a Thursday, because I have been told there is another activity in the village on a Monday evening, that some people who were interested in the group attended. I am all set to go now, on the first Thursday of every month I am so pleased I gave it a second chance, and hope that it will keep going. The photograph, above is of a house in our village. It was built in a Victorian Gothic style and is what is called a calendar house. The whole house is to do with measurements of time, in this case, this means there were 365 windows, 52 rooms, 24 chimneys, 12 reception rooms etc. It was built by a local manufacturer, then it became a nunnery and now has been converted into luxury apartments. There are some interesting buildings and stories in and around my village and this is why I wanted to set up a group to research these.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

This is what I was busy doing yesterday morning, and I am so excited about it. I made my first two ATC cards, I know they are not brilliant but I am really pleased with them and now my mind is buzzing with many other ideas for more ATCs and other collage projects. I had to make these cards out of materials that I had in my craft set of drawers [but believe me I am such a hoarder there were plenty pieces of old wrapping paper, ribbons, scraps, and used greetings cards there!]. Now,I probably will need to invest in some better scissors, that have good points, and maybe some papers and perhaps some magazines to see what other people are doing and to learn different methods of doing these crafts. I just love messing around with crafts and this winter am hoping to get back to doing patchwork, which I used to love doing and perhaps making some bags and other things. In the meantime I am going to make collage and altered things my summer project, for days when I am not in the garden. If anyone out there has any advice or recommendations of good magazines that write about these subjects, I will be happy to hear from them.

I was reading a blog today, 'Little Sips of Tea', that had posted about the inspiration other bloggers can give you, and for the short time I have been posting I find that this is so true. One blog inspired me to get last autumn's apples out of the freezer and make an apple and almond crumble for pudding and Naturegirl left a comment recommending a book which I might like. I think we all can enrich each others lives in the good times and the bad times, and I know there are some bloggers at the moment going through some bad times, that I hope will get better soon.

My garden is looking better with each day, and today I have found two beautiful pale ice blue irises have just bloomed, they are sensational. I am taking a film to be developed tomorrow so hopefully by the end of the month I should have some photos to post showing how my summer blooms are coming along.

Just a short posting today, as the computer has been misbehaving the past two weeks, and is waiting to be checked out, so if I disappear for a day or two, it means something in the computer is having to be fixed, but don't worry I will be back, but maybe the problem is not as bad as I think, I am not very good with computer hardware maintenance.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The weather has been sensational all week, and I am not complaining, but I decided it was so hot today that I would just spend it leisurely sitting in the garden alternating between sunny and shady parts. First though, I went out into the garden early, and made many trips with my watercans to feed my thirsty plants before the sun reached them, then I pricked out my last two trays of seedlings. I then settled down in my garden chair to undertake another of my favourite activities, reading. After reading for a while I began to think about books I have enjoyed as a child, mainly because over the course of the past week there have been mentions in different blogs about books enjoyed in childhood and sometimes read again in adulthood because they were so loved or for comfort reading. I then thought I would make a list of my ten best childhood books and post it for anyone who is interested. Note the ten are not in order of most loved, they are all loved and just randomly numbered. Here goes then:-

1. The Secret Garden
2. Ballet Shoes
3. The Borrowers
4. Anne of Green Gables [or any of the Anne books]
5. What Katy Did [again, all the Katy books]
6. Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
7. Girl of the Limberlost
8. Little Women [and again, the rest of the Little Women boks]
9. All Nancy Drew Mysteries
10. All Famous Five books [ Even though they get a bad press these days]

There are many more books that I adored as a child, but strangely, some I missed, that I only picked up later as a dippy hippy teenager or to read to my children, such as the Narnia series and 'The Wind in the Willows'. As a younger child my very faviourite books were Milly, Molly, Mandy stories, I used to love the map of the village on the inside pages and trace my way with my finger round the village to and from Milly, Molly, Mandy's house. What books did you love as children?

I am posting, by popular request, another photo of my cat Pixie, this photo was taken when she was a year old and she is sitting in the dining room window. I am due to take more photos of her shortly, and I will post them when I have taken them and got them printed, I am also in the process of taking this year's photos of my garden which I will continue to photo all summer, I will start posting them as soon as I finish films and get them printed.

For a while I have been interested in doing some ATC cards and other collage work, the only collage work I have done so far is in one of my journals. I am very excited because I asked a lovely blogger for some advice which she happily gave and she offered to do a one to one swop with me of a ATC. I am very excited about this and already thinking of different ideas for the card. I will let you know how I get on.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Here is the first of some photographs that my husband took of a beautiful, enchanting place not too far from where we live. For anyone reading this who lives in England, I am giving no further directions, and if any one stumbles upon it, and many have in Cumbria, they will know it when they find it. These photos are for all to enjoy, but especially for Naturegirl, who also seems to find the most exquisite fairytale places, and teases us by just posting a few of them at a time leaving us wanting to know and see more. The place in these photographs, if you go there early in the morning or in the right season, seems timeless, and you would not be surprised to either come across fairy and elves flitting around the trees or meet villagers from times long gone collecting firewood. It could be where Little Red Riding Hood picked flowers on her way to grandmas, or where Snow White found the cottage of the seven dwarves. It is just a magical, serene and peaceful place.

B Before I post the rest of the photographs, below, I would just like to mention this book I have just read, [I've started to have more than one book on the go because there is always so much to read]'A Gift from the Sea' by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, it was mentioned in another book I read, and I managed to get a copy from my local library, though I must try to track down a copy for myself. There are so many pieces in it that are so apt, and I have noted down some of them in my journal. I felt these two quotes, here were important to me, this one about true identity ' is found in creative activity springing from within.' and this one about middle age,'There is still the afternoon opening up, which one can spend not in the feverish pace of the morning but having time at last for those cultured and spiritual activites that were pushed aside in the heat of the race.' amd I am trying to keep both these quotes in mind from day to day. I think they are both very true. It is not a thick book, quite slim, but very thought provoking and satisfying.

Here are the rest of the photographs of the enchanted wood. I hope you all enjoy them.

A trail through the woods, who is watching in the trees and noting our passing?

The sun's rays shine through the trees and their foliage make dappled patterns on the woodland ground.

In the depth of the woods a stream runs through. The water is clear and sparkling.

A path runs alongside the stream, where does it go and where do the steps lead?

Looking back along the path, the river is babbling, the birds are singing and the breeze rustles the leaves on the trees, is that glimmer of light the sun rays or a spirit of the wood? Well what do you think? All of us need places like this where we can be at one with nature.