I`ve been filling my sketchbook with drawings of garden birds this week. I really want to include birds in my work, especially the ones that fill my garden every day. I try to encourage as many birds as possible to the garden- my apple tree is like a bird cafe, hung with lots of feeders, and the first thing I do in the morning is go out (in my nightie) to feed the birds. They are quite partial to crushed digestive biscuits.
There is a beautiful thrush that can be seen hopping about on the grass most of the time. Thrushes are really welcome, hopefully they`ll keep the large numbers of slugs and snails down a bit. I love to listen to their amazing song on summer evenings too.
Blackbirds are probably my favourite garden birds. The glossy black males are so handsome (they seem to know it too!) and I really love their gorgeous, liquid song. There is a pair of blackbirds that have become quite tame, especially the female, which I have rather unimaginatively called Lady (well she is a ‘lady’ blackbird…). She`s never far away when I`m in the garden and always lets her presence known with a friendly soft clucking noise. She`s quite demanding too and always appears first thing in the morning for her breakfast. They have built their nest in the hedge again this year, as close as possible to the bird table!
Bluetits are so colourful and cute. There are always lots of them around the feeders on the apple tree.
I`m going to continue this week, there are lots more birds I want to try to draw, then hopefully the drawings will inspire some stitched pieces.
Inspired by my forsythia drawings, I made this little stitched sampler this week.
The forsythia twig is ‘drawn’ on some loose woven, vintage linen, framed by scraps of toning cottons, vintage lace, cotton tape and shell buttons, all sewn onto a small piece of pale yellow recycled furnishing fabric. I want to experiment with lots more botanical stitching, based on drawings, I`ll just play around with little samplers till I feel I`m getting it right.
I love seeing forsythia at this time of year. So bright and cheerful, and just so yellow! The forsythia in my garden is growing on the wall behind the greenhouse, so is unfortunately out of reach, but looks great against a blue sky, like the one we have this morning.
Yesterday I visited my Aunt`s new house and there was a lovely forsythia bush in the garden, like a burst of sunshine growing up the garden fence. I picked a few sprigs to bring home to draw and ended up with four small sketches which I`ll pop onto my Etsy shop.
We`ve had such wild, contrasting weather recently. It`s a tiny bit warmer, but with strong, gusty winds that make still feel very chilly. There was a heavy downpour this morning, followed by sunshine and a bright blue sky. When I went outside after the rain there was the most gorgeous, fresh, sweet smell in the garden. I had a little wander to enjoy it.
I had a really good look in my little pond, but I still haven`t spotted any newts this year. I usually see loads by now and I`m getting a bit worried about them. I hope the cold weather hasn`t harmed them. I thought I saw a tug on a pond plant which might have been caused by a newt, but it was so windy I couldn`t be sure. Hopefully I`ll see some soon when they return to the pond to breed. It`s only a tiny pond, but it has quite a large population of newts.
Camelias just coming into bloom.
Seedlings in the greenhouse, full of promise.
A fern unfurling.
Could it be Spring at long last? It`s a bit of a wild and stormy day today, but it`s definately a bit milder. Yesterday was a lovely fresh day, with the temperature finally cranked up to double figures (only just!). We had a bracing walk round a nearby loch in the morning and I spotted a swallow!
Later on I had a wander round the garden and gathered a few budding twigs to draw. I really liked the lines of the almost bare twigs, with each shrub or tree having quite a different character. I laid a selection out on some grey paper to have a closer look, then I filled a double page in my sketchbook with some twig drawings.
I was quite pleased with the sense of line and space and it was an enjoyable excercise. I`m hoping to try and fit in a drawing day at least once a fortnight from now on and to include some small drawings for sale in my Etsy shop very soon. Meanwhile, it`s back to bumble bees! I had a great response to my bees over the weekend- thanks to everone for their lovely comments, special thanks to Emily Heath who featured my brooches in her blog. She is a beekeeper and writes tales from her hives in her blog Adventures in Beeland. Her blog is truly fascinating and well worth a look.
Far too wild and stormy to venture far today, so it`s time to head back to my sewing machine. Hopefully we can all enjoy some lovely Spring weather very soon.
My Edinburgh stockists have been keeping me busy over the last few weeks on the run up to Christmas. I`ve been making lots of all my best sellers to keep them topped up. This batch of heart brooches were for Flux in Leith.
Some of my favourite brooches to make for Autumn/Winter are my leaf corsages. Inspired by Autumn leaves, they`re made from recycled tweed and felt which I`ve dyed in leafy colours. Each corsage is made up of a layer of four leaves, finished off with a rustic wooden button. The leaf shapes are ‘drawn’ freehand on the sewing machine so they are all slightly different.
My new layered corsages have been selling well and I`ve just finished my fourth batch of them. I made some lovely muted ones using recycled velvets and brocades mixed with voiles, tweeds and vintage ties.
I even made myself a silvery one to wear on my sparkly Christmas jumper!
The corsages inspired some little fascinators which I made for Miss Katie Cupcake in Cockburn street. The flowers are layered onto black felt with lots of net. I made them on hairbands so they are very easy to wear, perfect for a Christmas party!
Yesterday I took some time off to gather greenery from the garden to make a wreath for the front door and lots of bunches to hang up in the cottage. I used lots of textures and leaf shapes, mixing holly and ivy with hebe, laurel, golden privet and other evergreens. I always add a few sprigs of rosemary to the indoor garlands for the lovely scent.
Merry Christmas to all and best wishes for 2013!
Look out for my online shop, opening soon in the New Year.
After days of rain, some of it torrential and monsoon-like, this morning was dry with even the occaisional watery ray of sunshine.
I optimistically hung out some washing then took my camera for a walk round the garden. Everything is lush and green after all the rain and more than a bit overgrown. I love all the layered patterns, colours and textures, most of which are happy accidents.
Here are some details which caught my eye –
The disappearing path!
I love this tangle of textures.
Matilda exploring her jungle!
Some more lovely tangles.
Raindrops on ladies` mantle.