Thursday, 26 August 2010

Archie's soggy day - by Archie.

Today I have not been at all impressed with the weather my people provided for me.

My dad let me out early and it was cold and wet, so I came in straight away and shared the wet with my mum by jumping onto the bed and snuggling my dampness into her neck and face - what better way could there be to be woken up?
Then I tried again when she got up. There was still wet everywhere.

Can you see how deep it is outside my door? There was so much wet I had to skip through it and pick up my paws as I ran.

When I came back I was all spiky and had to have a big wash.

I thought I would see if it was different if I went out of the window instead of the door, because you never know.

Unless you try.
Here you see I am a soggy cat sitting hunched up in the garden. I am staring hard at my mum to get her to make it warmer and drier.

This has been the day with the most wet in it that I've ever had.
I have been bored, bored, bored all day, I have ate a lot and slept a lot and been slightly grumpy. It's really not quite an acceptable level of service when humans can't organise some sunshine properly.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Sculpture in the Garden.

We live not far from Leicester in the Midlands, and a few years ago I discovered that they have a sculpture exhibition in the Botanical Gardens each summer - we've been every year since. The sculpture above is called 'Souls'.

I love the Botanical Gardens - beautiful trees and plants, a real escape from the hustle-and-bustle of the city centre, and totally free to get in. I sometimes catch a bus there and sit with a book and read, it's like an oasis of calm in a busy life.

It's also about the only time I ever read apart from when I'm on holiday!

I also love sculpture, and particularly in the setting that a large garden offers, where you can see the light changing all the time and wander along coming across new pieces round each corner.
This year there were lots of sculptures, this one was my favourite - obviously as we're all so different we all are drawn to particular styles and make a connection with perhaps just a few pieces.

It's called 'Hold me Close', there was something about the intense expression, desperately needing to be held, that I found very powerful.

Here are a couple of others I liked.

This one is called 'Tree of Hope'.

These were beautiful transluscent coloured glass, but I couldn't get the sun to shine through them while we were there!

There's also a beautiful tranquil pool:

There's my OH sitting at the far end. There were some clever but not pretty large white flowers all made out of plastic bags, and a very bright bronze man you can just see, but I preferered the reflections.

There are always some flowers around and places to sit,

if your sons don't want to go home as soon as possible after you've dragged them round.

Friday, 20 August 2010

How to make decisions.

Roll the dice. Definitely always time for a cup of tea. A friend gave me this years ago and I found it at the back of my cupboard recently - it would be a great idea if you could personalise it for particular people.
Sadly there is no 'cake' or 'chocolate' option, or 'stroke cat' - I'll show you the others:
No thank you, I don't really iron.

What kind of shopping? Clothes/shoes shopping?

Only if it's cake.

Perhaps later.

Perhaps tomorrow, but I think cleaning's over-rated.

There doesn't seem to be one either for 'pull hair out whilst trying to re-format website', which is what I've been doing for a few weeks now. I'd been meaning to re-do photos for ages and have had a new layout sketched out for over a year, but have been battling with website-composing software versus Internet Explorer (which most people use but we don't - we use Mozilla Firefox because I live with a man who dislikes Microsoft intensely). To cut a long story short the different browsers read some website pages differently meaning that just as I thought I'd finished and published it all I re-checked it on Internet Explorer (had to use sons' computers - they came with it) and everything was all out of line. Thankfully the man who dislikes Microsoft also won't be beaten by a computer and eventually sorted it all, but it has taken SO much longer than I thought, not perfect by any means but better than it was. Wouldn't it be great to just be able to make things and have someone else do all the computer stuff and sales - I think it's rare to find crafting people who really enjoy selling, it's usually more about the making!

And so finally I've been able to get back to felting - tea cosies this week - they are drying on top of the boiler very high up. All felt, whether wool tops in plastic bags, pre-felt, wet felt, drying felt or finished felt, has to be stored on the top of cupboards out of reach of the cat - Archie is obsessed with clawing it and running off with it in his mouth. We keep finding bits under our bed which he's stolen. Last week after I'd re-photographed some of my felt notebooks I came down the next morning to find he'd chewed his way into the box they were in and taken three out and dragged one of them off into his cardboard box to play with, where I have to say it was looking very sorry for itself with puncture marks in the pages and cover. It's not for sale now. Newton never touched the felt, he just stole food - aren't cats funny, and all different?

Elsewhere the garden is still producing, though I'm waiting for my very large Brandywine tomatoes to ripen.

I started them off really early (for me) but I don't think it's been sunny enough here. The courgettes are busily trying to secretly turn into marrows while we're not looking - this photo was taken a couple of weeks ago.

The basket's now sitting in my kitchen full to the brim with much larger ones - just managed to sneak another two into our veggie mexican dinner but there are still so many.

As well as continuing to steal felt, Archie is really growing up and skips about the garden most of the day, very happy to be able to chase so many butterfies. If he runs out of energy he sleeps on the blanket in the old rabbit hutch (can you spot the feather?)

At night he curls up and mainly sleeps on our bed - he's started getting up for a little play with his feathers (if he can't find felt) in the middle of the night. He does like his feathers a lot - would you like to see where he's left them all?

Outside the back door.

By his food bowl.

By his cat tower with his other toys.

In our bedroom.

Under the bed- this one's for playing with in the middle of the night.

Of course boxes are good to play under/in too. With or without added felt.

Despite all the trouble he is, he is still of course my most favourite black cat in the whole world.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Shells on a felt beach

While I was at one of my favourite places on holiday, Studland Bay, I was having a walk through the waves just at the edge of the sand when a big gust of wind blew my new straw hat into the water. I rescued it but it was very soggy and unwearable, so I turned it over and used it to collect some of these shells.

Not particularly beautiful shells but some very shimmery pieces that really caught the light.

I was looking down at the waves and the shells half-buried in the sand, plus the odd bit of seaweed, and thought I'd try to represent it all in felt. Wise family members dissuade me from taking my new-ish camera near water, so I couldn't take a photo.
Can you incorporate real shells in layers of felt? Well, yes you can, if you really want to, but you have to be careful. I laid out two fine layers of fibres, then put some shells and pieces of shells in, then added another two fine layers of fibres so they were covered. I used some edges of silk squares for the swirly froth as the waves break on the sand.

When the piece was felted together well, I rolled it up using bubble-wrap and a foam pool-float - I usually use a bamboo blind but I thought that might be too hard for the shells!
When the felt had shrunk and fulled a bit I gently cut small holes in the top layer just over the shells to expose them a bit, and then carried on rolling.
All was fine until I thought I might throw the felt just a bit since it didn't seem to be hardening as much as I expected (how silly is that - to treat it really carefully to start with then chuck it against a table?)- this was when I broke two of the shells, I thought they might be a bit more protected by their cushion of felt! But they'd lodged in their little pockets of fibres so well that I was able to insert another couple quite securely. The shimmery pieces of shell did break up a bit but stayed lodged in the surface.

Always worth trying out ideas, I like the finished piece as the colours are lovely and soft and it really does remind me of looking down at the beach as I walked.
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