Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Goldwork project part 3 - the design

This seems to be taking a long while but I am doing so many different things at the moment I am struggling to find time for them all. 

I have chosen the design elements, photocopied them, outlined them in a stronger black and cut them out.  Put some 28count blue linen into a eight inch embroidery frame and arranged the two dragonflies and the flower.  When I was happy with the layout I held each piece behind the frame and traced it onto the fabric.  Then I back stitched over the pencilled lines so I could follow the design once I began the Goldwork.

A chair is a sheltered part of the garden - this is where I sat to do the prep work for my embroidery.  It wasn't really warm enough to be sitting outside but it is supposed to be summer so I thought I would give it a go.

So now the design has been chosen and prepped, I have my birthday present GOLDWORK by Hazel Everette ready by my side so here I go.................


Sunday, 24 June 2012


For my niece's birthday I thought that I would make her one of those sack type bags.  They looked fairly simple to design and sew . . . . or so I thought to begin with.

Having drawn a pattern on a sheet of greaseproof paper I felt that it would it would be best to cut out the sides of the bag in two halves and sew them together. 

She is playing in a Roller Derby team so I decided to decorated the bag with embroidery - a roller skate and her Roller Derby name.

I enjoyed doing the embroidery and got the effect I wanted, eyelets for the bootlace were a little harder to get right and I had a little bit of trouble getting the lace through the fabric.

 The handle gave me the most trouble - because the lining of the bag continues all the way up them.  The zip I used may have been a little long.  It can stick at the ends where the bag curves.

Overall I am very happy with how the bag has turned out, the bits I struggled with really were just the teething problems you would expect with a first time design.  

I am looking forward to making one of these for myself as I like the style.


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Idle musings

Not really quite sure what I have been doing over the last week.  A little of this and a little of that without very much to show for it.  The levels of stuff on the dinning table (my workspace) have been lowered and homes found for most of it.  

the bank outside my house
Some gardening has been done.  I thought the dahlias on the bank outside my house were dead so brought some new ones (the plants are only half hardy and there has been quite a bit of snow the last couple of years). But a couple of days after planting the new plants and putting slug pellets around them I discovered shoots on the old plants.  So not dead just munched every time they showed any sign of growth.  

still a little work to be done but quite pleased so far
The general yukness of the weather has not really been helping at all this year.  We have had to move a couple of the marginal plants higher than originally planted because they were struggling with the water levels, we had to bale the pond out at least twice and all this happened through the draught (and hosepipe ban).  There are bright spots though, yesterday I saw the first bud on the runner beans, the spotted orchid I got at the garden show is beginning to flower and yes the rain has been a pain but at least watering with watering cans twice a day hasn't been necessary. 

Saturday, 9 June 2012

AIR PLANTS (Tillandsia)

Some years ago I saw some air plants at my local garden centre.  They were so beautiful I had to buy some plants.  I didn't like the pre-prepared displays of plants that were glued onto various stands with quite horrid looking ornaments, so I brought several individual plants  I asked my Father for a piece of branch or a bit of a trunk to put them on.

What my Father found for me was this piece of tree root.  Which I thought (and still think) looks like a sculpture.  Absolutely perfect for air plants with all the little nooks and crannies.  My partner put a couple of screws into the bathroom wall to hang it on and attached a wire onto the back of the root to hang it by.

We hung it up and then had several hot days.  It was then that we discovered to our horror that it had woodworm - root taken quickly out of the house and woodworm Beatles hoovered off the bathroom walls and ceiling.  When the house was cleared the root was given a very vigorous woodworm treatment as far from the house as possible.

the root in fact hangs upside down

Once the root was free from woodworm it was put back into the bathroom and after a few weeks the air plants was arranged on it.

The way to care for air plant then was to glue the plants onto the mount and mist with a plant spray twice a day to give the same effect as the rain forest  canopy.

Sadly the air plants did not thrive.  It may be that the plants were not of a particularly good quality to begin with or that they were just not getting the water they needed from misting them, our bathroom was certainly not as humid as I thought it might have been.  The root remained on the wall though.

During the recent bank holiday we went to the garden show at the Kent County Showground, Detling.  As we walked through one of the display halls I saw a stand selling air plants. 
£22.00 worth of air plants
I really wanted to have another go at growing these amazing plants so I chose three of the smaller ones, I would have liked more but there were other plants I wanted at the show then my partner offered to buy me some more.  Six beautiful plants just the right amount for the root. 

Times have changed since the first time I had air plants - no longer are they glued onto anything.  Now they are rested on the chosen mount and removed to be watered by immersing them in rain water every day and allowing them to dry before returning them to their positions.

This seems to be a much better way to do things (so far).  There is the added advantage that the plants can be arranged in a slightly different way each day.

So now the root is restored to former glory and is again a perfect foil for the air plants.


These plants are of a really excellent quality - the colour is good and the plants feel firm.  I am waiting for the flower buds to open on one of them.  If these are a success I will probably get some bromeliads again.

Sunday, 3 June 2012


looking to the west and Folkstone
would I ever get to the woodland at the bottom of the cliff.  There have been several attempts this year.  The first time I was left at the top while my partner went down to the wood. He took some lovely pictures of the ferns that filled the woods.  The next time we tried to get to the woods from the bottom.  It was quite a long walk from the road to the path leading to the woods and when we got there we discovered that there was a climb up to the woods.  This was another time when my fear of heights was stronger than my desire to get to the woods and we failed again to reach them.  On that occasion we walked along the beach and found seaglass, lots and lots of beautiful seaglass.   

the path from the cliff top

Then came the May Day bank holiday weekend and my plan was to get as many people as I could together and try again to get to the woods.  

This time the weather was against me, and after a week of very heavy rain a climb either up or down steep cliffs was not practical.  We did go to some woods that weekend but they were inland not coastal.

So nearly halfway through the year and I was beginning to get desperate,

on our way back

Then one sunday we made one more attempt with some good friends we arrived at the carpark of the Warren.

We took the long walk to the steps at the bottom of the cliff.  This time I had to control my fears because of our friends four year old son.  I was determined not to risk passing my fear of heights to him.  

So I was lead up the uneven steps by my young guide,  In some ways it was like having my very own (much nicer) version of Gollum.

the railway bridge

'There's a long way to go still' he kept telling me with every bend and twist of the path.  

We climbed upwards until we reached the railway line and followed it until we got to the railway bridge.  Here I got out my (prepared earlier) sign thinking that was it I had made it.

It was only when we crossed the bridge we realised that the climb was not over.

While the path closer to the sea was mostly steps the path over the bridge was a narrow dirt path with a fairly steep drop to the railway line.

In the woods looking out to sea

looking for snakes

After more climbing we finally made it to the woods.  I had really made it.  We walked through the woods for a while we tried to decide which way to go - back down the way we had came or up the cliff to the cafe at Capel-le-Ferne. 

walking down to the sea

looking down from the top of the cliff

looking down at the path by the railway bridge

A one stage I was wondering how practical it would be to make my home in the woods.  Having got there I was not sure if I could get back out again.

But as I tried to get back down before my nerve went I rushed ahead of everyone else.

By the time we got to the last part of the climb back down I was feeling quite confident.

So now I am looking forward to my next visit even though I have been told we should walk down from the top.

The tide was in so there wasn't any chance of looking for fossils or more seaglass, but there will always be another day.