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October 2012
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December 2012

with the sun comes the cold

Welcome
Welcome

We've spent a lot of time behind this door over the last week and a half. The incredible storms that have caused the flooding around here were not to be reckoned with. We tucked up, filled our little coal stove and huddled around it. The wind and rain were intense. I took this photo when the sun started to reappear, not sure I captured the gold and purples showing through the window but the light was amazing. I only noticed afterwards that my larch wreath on the door didn't fair so well, it might need a small repair.

Wet

When I did venture out for dog walks and to run (literally) down to the shop we were met with mud, water and more mud. We were stranded for a day or two by roads out of our village into town and T's school closed one day but we got off easy as our village is mostly on a hill. Friends in Devon were stranded by rising streams turned to rivers and another friend nearby flooded by the rising stream near them. But people round here are hardy and made of sturdy stuff. The flooded friends were brought dinner and cake and wine and an industrial pump by a bloke they didn't know.

Rays

And though we now have sun, the water is taking it's time receding. On my usual walk through the orchard I came across a rushing stream where there's never been one before which made me then think how stupid I was leaving the house without my wellies just because the sun had come out.

Sunny today

I mentioned to Kristy that the benefit of dull, grey days is that the sun is that much brighter and colours more vibrant when clouds clear, or something to that effect.

But now that our blanket of cloud has cleared, in has come the cold.

First big frost

There was lots of crunching this morning and the rest of the week there will be too. I've even heard the sledge might need dusting off (if I can find it).

Leaf party

Apart from weather, we had an event this week. T got his first series of fittings for braces on Tuesday, and he now has two rather large looking appliances to wear all the time. He's pleasantly surprising me with his dedication so far to wearing them; he's not complaining a bit and coping with the irritating dull ache. He'll be even more handsome when it's all finished :)

With the weather disruption not many of us have thought too much about Christmas around here, it will be a lowkey affair for us anyway, and I'm very okay with that (my children are taking more convincing). Here's a great read about getting priorities right at Christmas time from Kathrin at annekata, it's titled "Golf Balls and Beer" how can you not read that one right?! I loved it and resolved to make it to the pub with a friend this week. And something else I loved, Lisa's snowfolk, click over to them if you need a smile.

Happy Friday,

Jx


blustery benefits

In the making

The severe storms we've experienced this week have left some pretty detritus in it's wake. On my walks I've been pocketing these bits and pieces that are littering the ground. I love them. On one of our windiest, rainiest days this week I got so carried away hunting for these pieces that I walked further than intended and returned home soaked all the way down to my toes, even with wellies on. It was worth it though; when I emptied my pockets and saw my treasure, along with the odd slug too, I was giddy. I put it all on a dish, sat the lichen and myself next to the Rayburn and warmed up. 
This little wreath was easy to make and only a little fiddly, this is how I made it:
  • Gather lichen, preferably after a storm and not during one :) Find it on the ground, it flies off trees easily in windy weather, don't pull it off of branches. Lichen love big old trees like oaks. Our local apple orchard was a good hunting ground too, specifically under the oldest, biggest apple trees.
  • Use wire to thread through the slightly thicker parts of the lichen near where it previously was attached to the tree and just keep threading, like stringing popcorn. Pack the lichen together on the wire firmly but gently. (I'm not sure what gage this wire is, it's thin yet strong enough to poke like a needle through the lichen).
  • When you have enough threaded to make a sturdy circle (my wreath is about 13 inches in diametre) twist the ends but don't cut the wire at the twist, cut a long length about four inches longer than the circumference of the circle.
  • On the under side of the wreath loosely string another circle of wire. No need to thread it through every piece, just in four of five places, this will help the wreath hold it's shape and be sturdier.
  • Twist a small loop in the wire for hanging and trim any excess wire. If you have any slightly bald patches, just glue some loose piece of lichen in here and there.
Lichen-wreath

I added a simple gold ribbon but I think I'd prefer a simple silver one. I might try adding some hawthorne berries like in this picture and when I saw some mother of pearl buttons on my desk I couldn't help thinking how lovely they would be dotted around it instead of berries. 
I'm not sure how long this wreath will hold it's colour, if it were to hang outside I'd have made the wreath with fresh lichen instead of dried. I might have to make one for our tiny garden shed. There are loads of lichen filled trees on a hill where I'll be tomorrow (if the floods allow us to travel), I'd better take big pockets. 
My wreath has four or five different types of lichen, if you want to identify the lichen you find there's a great site I've found and a whole society dedicated to the stuff right here, how cool is that?!
It's been an exciting week of weather around here, if you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen some of the craziness. If you're in the UK, no doubt you've seen it in the news.
Hope you're having a smashing weekend.
Jx
PS, Grrrrr to Typepad, it won't let me make paragraph breaks. Also, the colour in the second photo isn't as accurate as in the first photo, if your a lichen lover you probably already guessed that ;)

remembering

Mollie
mollie with her poppy

This weekend the children at the stables made sure all the animals were wearing their poppies and made sure the people had them too. I like that Rememberance Day has a visual symbol. But everyday when I amble through the churchyard at the start of my walk I'm reminded, even when its not Rememberance Day. The huge cross that bears the names of all the villagers who lost their lives in the World Wars looms large. Sometimes I stop and read them, many families lost more than one son, it makes my heart ache. 

Ivy

Radio Four had a fantastic programme this morning about the Art of Remembrance. One artist and soldier wanted his art to remind people to live full lives so that those who lost theirs didn't die in vain.

Colour

I'm also reminded today of one of my favourite books, A Farewell to Arms. A new edition came out a few months back that includes the 47 alternate endings Hemingway wrote for the novel. I've wanted to get it, I love to see an artist's process but I can't help wondering if he would have wanted his readers to see this process. Read more about the new edition here

Autumn ferns

The sun shone brightly yesterday and today so Gracie and I headed out to our favourite wood and took in the colour. Though we got stuck here and there in the squelchy mud it was gorgeous and crisp out.

Mud

The dog hopped over branches, we munched on chocolate tucked in our pockets and let the sun shine on our faces. After she found the perfect branch to make herself a new bow we headed home to soak up the warmth of the Rayburn. A perfect kind of autumn day, and one that felt very full indeed.

Way home

I hope yours was very full too.

Jx


needle felting, cakes and laughs

Glammed egg
Goose eggs glammed up

With goose eggs in hand and fleece fluffed and packed Naomi and I arrived at Moorish for an early morning start.

Wrens in light
Wren brooches in progress

Walking in to a lit fire and the smell of coffee on a clear and frosty morning, all felt perfect.

Demonstrating carding
Demonstrating hand carding and colour blending

And it was.
We met a lovely group of ladies and in just minutes we were laughing and making like crazy. 

Nancy, lovely light
Nancy robin making

It wasn't long before blue tits were chirpping, wrens were tweeting and robins were perching on branches.

Tipsy blue tits
Tipsy blue tits

It went so smoothly we actually sat down and ate cake Naomi and I, and amazing cake it was! Thank you chef Sally.

Robin in egg
Cheeky robin

The fine glitter in the eyes, glued to my phone, my hair and the dog was definitely worth it. We can't wait to do it all again. 

Happy Tuesday.

Now I'm off to check out the election news before I snooze.

Jx

PS, I have no idea how I managed to only get photos of serious faces, this was not a serious group, they were loads of fun.