Sunday, 25 May 2008

Arts Weeks panic over.

Well it is underway. Dorset Arts Weeks started on Saturday and I managed to get my things over to Ashmore and set up in time. It has been really hectic for me. I have been making book covers for sketchbooks and there was lots of wet paint and pva glue. Fortunately the weather was beautiful and I could leave things outside to dry while I got on with something else. I love painting up papers and printing and experimenting with colour. I get so involved with this that I forget that I am supposed to be working to a deadline and have to burn the midnight oil to get things finished.

These pictures are of my garden and my shed where I do all the messy work!! My garden is more like a reclamation yard at times as there are bits of salvage all over the place. I saved the gothic arched window with what was left of its coloured glass from a skip about 10 years ago and it is still standing. It was put up to screen my husbands shed, which is not a pretty sight, as this can been seen from the road. My shed on the other hand is pretty and I spend many happy hours in there listening to my music, thinking and making a mess!! The only drawback with it is that from the open door I look straight across to my husband's messy shed. I have tried re-arranging things over there but then I get complaints that he can't find anything so I am going to have to devise some sort of screen that I can put up when I am working up there as I find his mess distracting. Perhaps I will make a make a curtain to string across in front or perhaps a bertter idea would be one of those plastic or beaded curtains that hang in open doors to keep the flies out!!

I am particularly pleased with how my garden looks at the moment. I do not spend an awful lot of time on it. Most of the plants are perennials and there are a lot of self setters. I am inclined to leave these where they appear as I think they deserve the chance to grow on and flower. Consequently there are things like foxgloves growing out of small containers and in the cracks in the paving stones. The ground is heavy clay and at times gets very soggy so there are a lot of plants that wont grow. These of course are some of my favourites. I absolutely adore Iris and have tried for years to grow the beautiful bearded variety with no luck but this year I bought a packet of bulbs from the garden centre and planted them in a container and boy was I excited at the result. They started to come out when I was working in my shed during the beautiful weather. I spent a lot of time just watching them open hour by hour in the sunshine. There are five different colours from the one packet. I shall get some more to plant for next year.
When the ground was being prepared for the concrete base for my shed I had a very anxious time as one of my favourite plants a Japanese Tree Paeony was in they way. I tried to dig it up to move it but it didn't want to come and I was afraid of damaging the roots so it was left in situ and the concrete base laid covering some of the new shoots. It is a big sprawling plant with shoots appearing from the ground all over the place so I crossed my fingers and prayed that it would survive. I gave it a good pruning last Autumn and it is magnificent again though I must say this year there has been more foliage than flowers but I am not complaining I am just glad that it survived concrete and big boots.

I don't seem to have any luck with summer flowers. My garden is a picture during May and June but July and August there is not much going on at all. I will have to take a trip to the Garden Centre again to see what is available. I must confess that I am not much good at watering. I dont do this as a routine - well I am not a routine person - the only thing I do as a routine is go to bed and get up but not always at the same time! I sometimes think my life would be a lot easier if I was a routine person but I can't see that I will change at this late stage in my life.!! I shall always be 'Last Minute Lizzie'.
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Monday, 5 May 2008

English Civil War at Lulworth Castle

On Sunday 4th May I went to an English Civil War re-enactment event held at Lulworth Castle. Lulworth Castle is part of the vast Weld Estate in East Lulworth, Dorset. The Castle was badly damaged by fire in the late 1920's and has now been beautifully restored with the help of English Heritage. The weather wasn't too good on Sunday but we decided to go anyway. The Battle was due to start at 4 p.m. and by then the rain had gone and the sun began to shine. The Battle started with one or two parliamentarians coming out of the woods to survey the situation a few shots were fired and then it started. The drummers led the pikemen on to the field and everyone took up battle stations. There was plenty of rough stuff and lots of bangs and smoke.

The Cavalry was two strong. One of these was a girl. She made a very impressive sight riding around the battle field in her Buff coat and chest armour. The horses were so good and didn't flinch at all the canon fire and musket shots. There were several oxygene breaks while the soldiers got their breath back and were given water by the water carriers who are always on the battlefield. Then the battle seemed to reach stale mate and so there was a call for 'parlez' and during the confusion the Royalists over ran the Parliamentarians who then ran off the battle field and a Royalist Victory was proclaimed.

It was a great day. After the soldiers had left the battlefield we wandered around the Living History Camp. There were a couple of Trade Tents. One was selling the most beautiful fabric. The trader, who had also been on the Battlefield, has done extensive research into the type of wool and linen that was used for clothes in the 17th century. He now has wool especially woven to historical standards. He also had some scrumptious lightweight white linen. This is hand woven and he had two types, one woven with wool and one pure linen. I really wanted to buy some, but as I don't have any need for a historically accurate garment I resisted. I would love to make something for myself in this fabulous fabric but as it is only 27 inches wide and expensive I need to be sure of how much I need first. In the meantime I shall try to dream up a valid reason for buying some.
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Sale at Cowslip Workshops

I was at Cowslip Workshops in Launceston, Cornwall, with my friend and working partner Linda. We were asked to set up a shop with our Vintage French Textiles and were there for 2nd and 3rd May. When we were getting ready and began packing our boxes for the trip we were amazed with just how much we had accumulated. There were lots of lovely linen sheets some with monogrammes and some without. These are usually made up into curtains as they hang so beautifully. We had lots of lovely crunchy rustic linen suitable for soft furnishing projects as well as the lovely finely woven linen. Red and white linen tea towels are very popular and we had a basket of these and a couple of French quilts that I had recently found on my trip to the south of France.

We had a lot of eager customers first thing Friday morning who spent a long time going through everything from linen sheets to small pieces of lace. We had a lovely time made especially pleasurable by being in such a lovely place with the most kind and friendly people. It is always a pleasure to visit Cowslip and we met some customers who were there for the first time who are now completely hooked and will be back many times more.
Cowslip workshops is my favourite place and we are thrilled that Jo has asked us to go back again in August. We will be there for the 22nd and 23rd August , which is Bank Holiday week-end and also the Kaffe Fassett exhibition is on at that time.
We are hoping to have a couple more trips to France before then to restock. This in itself is very exciting as we never know what we are going to find. Hopefully we will be able to get a bit further South to pastures new.

Of course I didn't manage to resist having a look in Jo's lovely shop and just had to buy some of her lovely fabric. All I need now is the time to make it up.
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