Thursday, 31 January 2013

Flowers like silk

Creating my own pot-pourri
I went shopping into town today and would normally have bought fresh flowers. But the beautiful amaryllis about which I posted on 12th January are ageing with elegant grace. To me, they still look beautiful with a silken air to them. I am adopting my method of 'water-drying'. You can only do this with certain flowers - roses, lavender, feverfew, hyacinths and the like. You just leave them in the water  (better if it has had the cut-flower sachet added which comes with some bunches, at least it does from our supermarket). Strange though it may seem, you achieve a much more realistic result when water drying; the petals dry more naturally without so much shrivelling. I have bowls all over the house; they do not last for ever, but rose petals retain their fragrance for years.

Gradually, the petals become papery and eventually quite desiccated; at which point the petals can be snipped off the stalk; they can be laid on a cake rack covered in muslin until they are quite dry, and then heaped onto a platter or into a bowl. Eventually you will have a collection of 'pot-pourri' that will last for years; just keep it free of dust! I do not add fragrance sprays or anything like that; it's the beauty of the petals that I like, and anyway, I am allergic to scent of any kind!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Which way now?

So much nostalgia; a visit to Cornwall, and a  Daphne du Maurier novel
Many dilemmas tonight, which I will not pursue;  but will post this nostalgic delight from times past. I think that if you visit my more personal blog - Wild Somerset Child - you may gain more insight into the past couple of years. The posts on this blog are not meant to be soul-searching, but the D&D title is a double-edged sword.  Its inception was in fact never intended, but a trial to setting up blogs for a magazine article I was writing at the time; and it grew from there. Most of my posts have been 'delights', but it worries me somewhat when it comes to 'dilemmas'. Dilemmas occur for all of us I guess every day. So why did I choose such a title?

Because it was never intended to be an actual blog! 'Dilemma' at the time seemed to encapsulate some sort of flippancy; and, always enjoying the sound of words, 'Delights' followed: a sort of alliteration to which I remember being introduced in my 1947 English class. The joys of childhood. OK, I have rambled enough. Delights outweigh Dilemmas, and surely that is sufficient?

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Saturday cheer

Cheerful and demanding to be sketched
These seemed such fun on a cold January day; not snowing or raining, but a sharp wind from the east. I love amaryllis and these glorious flaming flowers have been gradually unfolding on the lounge window cill all week; bought as a bouquet of three blooms, they were only a couple of pounds and far cheaper than if I had grown my own from a tuber, and much more magnificent. So I post them to celebrate a good and productive week; much accomplished, office work in order, a large trailer-load of scrap wood collected this morning to heat the house, the sun is now shining (14.23 hrs) and I am about to disappear beneath ground into my workroom-cum-laundery room to stitch my 'Florilegium' which has been languishing since the Open Studios event in July. Need to finish it as I am demonstrating at our local embroiderer's guild on Thursday night - so long as it doesn't snow and I can get there!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

What you can do with paper ....

Paper fabric made from bits of torn wrapping paper,
pages from a dictionary and tissue
pasted and stitched onto a muslin backing
I'm having a lazy day - sorting photos, writing and typing 'word whispers' for a new textile book and generally enjoying myself. I came across this gift bag I made for a magazine feature a few years bag. Basically you make fabric out of paper which you then stitch into whatever you want. The feature was a step-by-step tutorial; an idea I had put to an editor who thought the technique was a little different and so she said, "go ahead". Which I did, but the paper I chose to use was somewhat too substantial and by the time I had created the 'fabric' and then quilted and stitched it, it was so tough that it could not be used for what had been intended; to fill it with lavender harvested from my own garden. Instead, it is perfect as a gift bag with a bar of scented soap tucked inside. I learned a lesson that day: don't offer an article using techniques you have not worked to completion! The technique is perfectly OK for lighter weight papers - if you care to read the article, leave me a comment and I will email you a scan as a pdf (it's only a single page), so long as you have an email address in your profile.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Back in bed !!!

From my iPad photo trawl
You will not believe that only two days into the new year I am back in bed. And all was going so well, not been overdoing it, making time to play and read and full of plans for my 2013 working commissions. At least I can trial my new iPad blogger app, and the iPhoto one and see if I can post without fetching the laptop from the office. Thought that has to be done as I have a really complicated schedule to prepare in chart form. This 'under-the-weather' dilemma is one that it seems may pursue me; horrible, for I have never been a shirker. P.S. Didn't work from iPad - I need to practise using the apps!