Archive for Gardens

Bead Fairs

Tues evening

Ahoy there. What a wonderful sunny summer we’re having so far! We’ve eventually installed our mini irrigation system in the garden again and I spent some time planting my petunias this evening too, or should I say ragged stalks with a few meagre flowers. honestly I’ve been keeping an eye on them, watering them until I had time to plant them and all of a sudden I go outside to shredded plants……dirty rotten snails and slugs strike again. They obviously thought it a veritable smorgasbord the way they ransacked it overnight. I have planted them anyway so we’ll see what happens, they might recover.

The latest beady news is that unfortunately another of the Beadworks Fairs has been cancelled, the July one at Ardingly.  It seems strange but the snow last winter in January killed it. I may be attending the Hatfield fair but it depends how I am feeling…..cryptic eh! But watch this space…….

Comment on this post

Decisions decisions

Wednesday tea time

Hellooo there, and welcome back. Open Studios are over for another year, and we had a very successful fortnight. Thank you to everyone who came to see me at Sedgwick Park and then at Angela’s in Pondtail Drive. I have to say I loved being at Sedgwick park, it was such a buzz, and a really lovely venue.

So now it’s back to normality and preparations for the Beadwork Fair at Ardingly on Sunday July 21st, I actually started today and also made beads to restock my Etsy shop, which got raided (in a nice way…lots of sales) and needed topping up. I have been preparing some new sets for your delection, so pop over and have a look-see. Here’s one to start you off.

Petunia mini set

Back on the topic of house and garden, I’m supposed to be sorting the gardens this year, but it’s already July, eeeek! I’m dying to visit Hampton Court Flower show again next week, but have to keep telling myself that my day (and money) would be better spent actually gardening and buying some plants/landscaping materials/someone else’s labour. You see the problem is, that I love the idea of having a designer garden to sit in, but find whenever I do garden, that it’s always the same….i.e. pulling out the weeds I pulled out 4 weeks ago. How dull is that? So what’s a girl to do? I obviously need a low maintenance design, and someone to do the boring stuff as I’m’ always so busy……..food for thought…..maybe I should go to the show and get some (more) inspiration …. now where did I put my RHS card?

Comment on this post

Horsham Artists in Action @ Sedgwick Park

Saturday evening
It’s Open Studios weekend 1 and this year we’ve kicked off with Horsham Artists in Action @ Sedgwick Park house, a beautiful private manor house in lovely gardens, which are open tomorrow as part of the National Garden Scheme.
We had a brilliant start to the weekend last night with a very lively and well attended Private View open by the Mayor of Horsham, fortunately the sun shone, the wine was flowing, canapés were consumed and we had wandering minstrels too (the playing type that is, not the choclit ones!) and a lovely June evening was had by all. Today we welcomed lots of visitors and look forward to many more tomorrow. There is an amazing amount of talent to be seen at this show, our first large show as a collective in Horsham, with many colourful paintings, ceramics, jewellery, photography, sculpture, glass, textiles and of course my original glass beads and jewellery.
Do come and see us tomorrow, we’re all really happy to be together! It makes a change from the isolation of Open Studios and means we can all get to enjoy each others art.

20130615-203018.jpg20130615-203124.jpg

If you can’t visit tomorrow then we will all be in our separate venues around Horsham next weekend, 22nd and 23rd June for the artists trail. I’m at venue 5 with Angela Jenkinson, address in on my events page Of course you are very welcome to attend both venues, we have a new video of me creating glass beads tomorrow and next weekend, and you can see me actually working the hot glass next weekend at Venue 5.

You can download your guide here at the Horsham Artists Open Studios new website.

I look forward to welcoming you to one of these events.

20130615-203157.jpg20130615-203209.jpg

Comment on this post

I taught at West Dean College

Wednesday tea time

If you have been following me on Twitter or Facebook you will see that I have been a very busy bunny adding lots of new beads to my shop on an almost daily basis, I’ve ditched the Tuesday listing only and I’m popping stuff up every day at the moment. The only days I didn’t list was when I was suddenly invited to teach at West Dean College a weekend ago. Oh yes, did I tell you I taught at West Dean?!!! Here’s some snaps of the gardens.

So I had an email followed by a phone call the next day, and before I knew it I was booked to teach the Glass Beadmaking weekend class that started the same day, which meant I had 5 hours to organise my tools, glass, books and any other teaching bits I needed, pack my clothes, sort childcare and drive there to start teaching that evening. It was absolutely manic but so worth it. I had a super weekend, wonderful students who were so grateful that I had stepped in at such late notice to teach them, and my lovely Rick came too. He spent the time taking some fabulous photos and bobbing in and out of the teaching room, and also got to go on a short chocolate and wine tasting course (the lucky thing). So while I worked he stuffed chocolate……(It’s normally the other way around, lol).  It’s a fabulous place to spend time and be creative, and I was thrilled to be asked to teach there.

I’ve just added a new tuition date for anyone who is interested in coming to my studio in Horsham for a 2 day introduction to glass beadmaking. The course has one place remaining, but if you are interested in having a go and want to bring a friend, simply drop me a line and I’ll send you a list of other available dates.

New tuition date – Wednesday 18th to Thursday 19th April, Beginners Beadmaking, 1 place.

Here’s some of my latest beads added to Etsy.

 

Comment on this post

The Birds – nightmare in Horsham garden

Saturday evening

Hey there, I am still alive. So Big Bead came and went in a haze of work, then Flame Off, and then the school Easter hols, followed by THE wedding of the decade. Thank you to everyone who came to say hello at the Big Bead show, we had a fantastic day and were so busy that we were still serving customers 40 minutes after the show closed and I didn’t get a proper chance to go shopping myself, apart from the odd snatched minute or two before was summoned back to my stall.

Enough of that though, today the most bizarre and freaky thing happened. We almost had a re-enactment of Hitchcocks’  ‘The Birds’. I saw movement outside the back door, a couple of minutes later I opened it to cool down and noticed a pair of birds hovering around a shrub and squawking really loudly.  I looked down to see a cat holding down a bird on our lovely gravel sitting area, shooed it away and the bird fortunately flew up into the tree above. The cat scampered off and jumped the 6 foot fence nearby. Sounds OK so far? I kept watching while the 2 starlings kept chirping alarm calls and flying from tree to tree to next doors roof and then back again, all the while followed by a little Coal Tit. So far so good. Well, this went on for a while, and I kept watch to see if the bird was injured and make sure the cat didn’t come back. After a while of this, the birds moved to the holly tree over my studio, directly in front of the kitchen, and some blackbirds and blue tits joined them, still chirping alarm calls. Very sweet, they were acting like a pack, and sticking together.

Then, one of the starlings did a loop down at my eye level, from the tree towards me standing in the doorway, and then back again. I thought it was maybe sort of coming to thank me. How sweet. Yer right. A few minutes later the same bird came storming out of the tree, straight at me in the door, and hovered, flapping it’s wings and  squawking very angrily at me for a few seconds. Ah, OK then. Then a couple of minutes later it did it again. OK, so now I’m getting worried, this is no lovely thank you, but a full on hate campaign. eeeeeeek. Rick’s also in the kitchen watching this, and decides that it’s time to shut the door in case we end up with a bird in the house.

He then ventures out after a bit to see if it’s OK, and nothing happens, but when I try opening the door and standing there the bird twitter campaign starts again. I thought maybe I would be stuck indoors all day, but I stayed in and away from the door for about an hour, while Rick decided to placate them with some food. Phew, and there I was thinking it might end up like the day we were chased indoors by marauding bees when we attempted a honey glaze on the barbecue several years ago. Now there’s another story. They we all banging against the windows trying to get in, hundreds of ‘em!

OOO, and I have a few new beads in my Etsy store, including these…….ciao.

Comment on this post

GBUK Bead Fair this Saturday and new Silver Glass course vacancy

Friday morning

So tomorrow is the day…the day when we get our glassy bits from our glass-blowing taster last month. I’m so excited I can barely contain myself. I have to keep myself from bobbing up and down when I think of it. More importantly though, tomorrow is the GBUK Bead Fair at the Loyd Lindsay Rooms, Ardington, Oxon. The fair starts at 1pm and goes through to 5pm and will be amazing. It will be bringing together lampworkers from around the UK, both seasoned veterans (like myself) and exciting newcomers. Days like this are always very sociable, so we’re looking to forward to spending time in the company of our friends and have lots of good natters.

Of course I have some new beads, I’ve been playing with my new hand shaped nugget which I love  and have strung the faux bo beads shown below into lovely sets for you to buy and use. I’ve also been playing with animal print designs in amber colours, as these are all the rage this season.

But now I have to show you what the spiders have been getting up to on the hedge outside our front door (photos taken 8am Tues 21st Oct)……

Ah, I should add that I have a new course vacancy….

***1 place on a 1 day silver glass and sparkly bits course Thurs 14th October***
On this class we will be covering – using silver glass, dichroic glass, sparkly stuff (see my tuition page), encasing, presses and shaping, long tubes and flame know-how – or as much as we can get through on this massive list in one day!
Contact me now to book your place on this jam packed day.

Comment on this post

Here comes summer

Thursday afternoon

I have sore fingers. that would be down to the couple of hundred or so beads that I have just removed from their mandrels. And I still have 7 soaking in Coke as we speak. You know you can always tell how busy I am these days by the lack of blogging. I’m feeling a bit all over the place, my mind is going here and there right now, thinking about all the stuff I’ve done since I last checked in here, all the emails I’ve replied to, beads I’ve sold, places I’ve been, people I’ve met. It’s been a very busy but fulfilling few weeks. Open studios went really well, our numbers weren’t massive, but everyone who came left happy bearing Popped Bubble Designs or gorgeous lampwork bead jewellery. They were treated to Elderflower Cordial and demos from myself and Katherine.

After that I had to have a quick turnaround and prepare my work to put on permanent display at Shop Maltings. This is our new venture as a collective with the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen and Farnham Maltings. We have been invited to use the cabinets in the foyer, glass wall cabinets along a very busy corridor and a small retail space. So last week saw me preparing for that, going there to set up last Thursday (very challenging as my plan for the display didn’t work due to the different stands and the shelf depth) and then returning last Friday for the private view. My daughter and I had a lovely evening over there with drinks and canapés, then a trip to the local Pizza Express while Rick gigged in Haywards Heath with the band he’s in.

There’s always lots on this time of year, and I had been planning to go to the Hampton Court flower show this week, but you know I’m not sure I have the energy, after attending sports day this morning and parents induction at our daughters new school last night….can you believe it she starts secondary school in September! She had a great day at her induction yesterday and we returned in the evening to meet her new tutor and managed to get her kitted out with her new uniform. The first thing she did when we got home was to try it all on properly, she’s so excited and can’t wait to start….long may that last!

Here’s a few shots I took outside Farnham Maltings.

Comment on this post

Open Studios have begun

Monday morning lunchtime

Well hello there! At last I’ve managed to get outside and take up my new position to write something. Once again it’s been all go with exhibition preparation, web site stuff and general hecticalilty (good new word that, whatcha fink?). I managed to get my work priced up early, but only by 4 days, as doing the New Surrey Guild of Craftsmen website took over that week. I’m not going to post a link to that just yet as we have to finish tweaking the front page before we put it up, and we’re doing that this week.

We’ve also been working hard on trying to get our garden looking respectable after a year of barrenness, well, several actually. I couldn’t understand why the garden was in such a bad state, and have to keep reminding myself that neglect of anything not top priority is what happens when you are unwell/disabled or having whatever problem you have. You really don’t realise what an impact bad stuff has on your life until you look back from your better place and see the effects of whatever it was around you. Life has to be prioritised into what you need to do to keep you happy (which in my case was making beads and building up my business), and to live from day to day, like food! Oh and a wee bit of the dreaded washing and cleaning.

So today I’m very pleased to be sitting in my new blogging seat, which is actually a problem area in the garden where we can’t plant anything because of the manhole cover that the daft builders positioned next to our fence and over the drain that runs exactly along our sunniest border, nutters. Now this is extremely annoying as we only have one sunny edge in our garden and this is it. So I devised a cunning plan to make a Mediterranean style gravel seating are over the cover. This can be lifted if access is needed as the gravel sits on a membrane. I love it.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to sit outside with a steaming hot mug of tea and enjoy the lovely weather and relax a bit after my hectic week last week and a weekend of welcoming visitors to our Open Studio in Horsham. We fling our doors open again this coming weekend, and it would be lovely to welcome some of you too. For more details please follow this link.

There is 1 Comment

Tapas on the Tapas Tree

Sunday evening

We have a bird tree. Everyone is doing stuff online, it’s all Facebook, Bebo, forums and twitter. Remember Cameron and his funny faux pas on Absolute Radio when asked if he uses Twitter? ‘Too many twitters make a t**t’?  I think we have the coolest twitter place here, I can see it as I sit here typing this post. I can hear it too.

We have a bird tree and right now the birds are twittering in it to their hearts content. It’s a holly tree in the corner of our small garden, one that sits over the corner of my studio and shelters one half of it from the ravages of the winter. The tree keeps my studio dry in the rain but sheds (no pun intended) many holly leaves down the gap between the fence and the studio in the autumn.

I can’t help thinking one of the funniest lines I ever heard in a song……’mangos on the mango tree, tapas on the Tapas tree’.

We have a bird tree….and I love it.

Comment on this post

Nuts!

Friday evening

They’ve been sat outside in our new nut dispenser for birds since Sunday now, and have they touched them yet? I’ve been concerned about the birds and wanted to feed them during the snow, and I know it can take up to 3 weeks for them to find a feeder, but how sad that they don’t seem to have noticed it yet. My daughter thought she saw movement on it late this afternoon, let’s hope she right. I’ve been trying to entice them with fresh water in the large pot saucer that the blackbird normally uses, that definitely caused a stir when I uncovered the dish and refilled it yesterday with slightly warm water… a female blackbird came and wallowed in it for about 15 minutes while all the other birds bobbed around to see what she was doing. I also moved the filled coconut shell near the bath and nut feeder and put out a halved apple. If that doesn’t work I don’t know what will!

It’s been a lovely week watching the birds forage for food. They’ve been raiding the Bud-lea next door and the shrub we have which I don’t really like, but I may decide to keep for the sake of the bees in the spring and the birds in the winter. We’ve had our regular robins and blue tits, sparrows and blackbirds. But we also have some other finches, I’m not sure yet what they are. Don’t forget next weekend is the Big Garden Birdwatch, you can get details from the RSPB website

Comment on this post

Snoooooooooooooooooow

Thursday evening

Snoooooooooooooooooooow. Yes it came 2 nights ago and there’s loads of it. Yesterday we went for a walk and admired all the huge snowmen and women. Normally when you make a snowman all the snow on the lawn disappears and you get left with patchy snow and a straggly sad looking snowman. Not this time. There are loads of monster snow families around the place and still masses of snow left to play with. We had several snowball fights, my daughter came off worse than me (oops) and I made my first snow angel. So she’s home again tomorrow, that’s the third day in a row, let’s hope she can go back next week or I’m really going to struggle to get my work done. I’m loving it, but below I’m going to have a rather huge moan about something…..

So my question is, what on earth is going on with this country when people are too scarred of being sued to clear the snow? I remember when I was a kid, most people used to clear the snow in front of their house, much to my annoyance. Now it would appear we all sit home and whinge about the councils not gritting everywhere, instead of taking responsibility for our paths and clearing up. This really gets me hot under the collar, especially as my approach to life is that if you need to complain, then something obviously needs doing about whatever you’re complaining about, so why not get off your derrière and do something about it? But apparently now people won’t clear the snow because if you do and someone has an accident, then it’s your fault! What’s that all about? I think this government should do us all a favour and make it compulsory to clear snow and ice like many of the countries in Europe and stop pandering to this compensation culture. I think things have got into a bad state when people are too scarred to help their fellow human beings when help is needed. Moan over!

I have to say though that all this snow keeps reminding me of a Cat in the Hat story I had as child. The Cat had a bath and left a pink ring around the bath, and his friends tried everything to get rid of the pink, which gradually got transferred from one item to another. Things came to a head when they used a fan and splayed all the pink on to the snow outside and ended up with a huge pink snowdrift! And on that note…have a pink warm and toasty evening.

Comment on this post

Free food!

Monday evening

Nearly back to normal at last. School started again last Friday and today is the first full week of the new academic year. I have many plans, mainly ones that involve a better work/life balance, with hopes to sort out our house and at the very least do some much needed decorating in our bedroom (was that a pig I saw fluttering above my head?). We have been working hard on the garden to landscape the area around my new studio, and to try and get some order and de-somninfy (new word) the garden. We still have 2 yellow Hippo bags of earth but plans are afoot to make raised beds and dump the earth in them. It is at this point that I realise that as much as I love gardens and enjoy going to The Hampton Court Flower Show and specialist garden centres, that I don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to planning a plant border. I know what I like, very architectural type plants, and would like to have lots of jungle type plants but also want to have a couple of fruit trees, an apple and maybe something else, but do these really fit with olive trees and Eucalyptus? I have to admit though, it will be just lovely to actually have a proper space to put some plants in the prime sun catching area of our garden.

Maybe we should also have some brambles, they seem to grow where they want, but I’d love to have them where I’d like them. I think the garden probably isn’t large enough, and who needs their own brambles when there are so many bushes producing blackberries along the main road 2 minutes from our front door? Free food? oh yes, 570 grammes of hand – picked blackberries, enough to make Nigellas’ Blackberry Crisp, which apparently isn’t crisp but soggy. The process took about an hour and a quarter to gather enough fruit, as the bushes weren’t exactly dripping with perfectly ripe berries. I think it would have been cheaper to buy them and make beads to sell for the same time, it’s all relative you know, but I did get to spend quality time with my daughter during picking, and you can’t really put a price on that.  Pudding tomorrow night I hope. Yum.

Comments are disabled

Phew..it’s been mad

Monday evening

Oh woops! I’m back, yes I do apologise for the long gap between posts. It has been manic and I’ve had to have my head down and keep focused and working hard to fit everything in over the past month. Open Houses, which were in full swing on each weekend sandwiching my sponsored walk, were successful, we had several visitors, and almost everyone left with some sort of goodies from one of the 3 of us. We had a lovely 2 weekends, with good weather and fun together in Ediths beautiful sloping garden, making new friends and enjoying each others company.

After that I had to prepare for the Contemporary Art, Craft and Design Fair at Winchester, this included getting all my stock ready, then a trip down with my cabinet to set up, 2 days stewarding on the Thursday and Friday, and then another trip last Sunday to break down the exhibition. I saved my energy and booked the salubrious Travelodge north of Winchester, and enjoyed 2 days there, with some fun but very rushed shopping in my lunchtime, and a very quick visit to my friend Simon’s bead shop there called World of Beads. Oh, and I managed to squeeze in a trip to the Hampton Court Flower Show the same week as the Winchester show, phew.

Then it was back home to yet more teaching, trying to tidy the house and catch up with stuff in general, and prepare for the next bead fair, which is this coming Sunday, at Ardingly. I will have my usual mix of yummy colour beads as focals and sets, and my fun bargain pots, which I have restocked since the last fair at Dorking. Catch you there, I expect I’ll be upstairs so do come and say hello and get yourself some of my new bead designs.

Comments are disabled

New tuition dates and 3 days to go to Open Studios

Tuesday morning

I have space on another 2 day Beginners Glass Beadmaking Course next week, Mon 22nd – Tues 23rd June. Email me now to reserve your place on this or the other course from Mon 29th – Tues 30th June (one space remaining) running the following week…….

3 days until I have to set up my cabinet for Horsham Open Studios and counting (do you see my necklace at the top of the link web page? eh? eh?)……all is going well, if not a bit manic, as I am working from when I get up,  almost until I go to bed, with only enough of a stop just to eat lunch and dinner. But I’m getting there, at my last count I had 50 pieces of jewellery to put in my cabinet, not including beads on thongs or phone dangles, so I’m almost there. All I have to do now (ha ha…all) is clear out my cabinet which I use as a store most of the time, dust down the shelves and try laying out my display. Then I have to label my pieces with codes and prices and do a stock list so I know what’s sold, organise my packaging, leaflets, mirror, earring holder etc….I always forget how long that part takes. Then I have to find the lights, keys, extension leads etc…it all takes so long, so if I can get most of my work made and finished today that gives me a couple of days to sort the rest hopefully. Roll on Saturday….slowly please.

In amongst all this I have managed to book my ticket to the Hampton Court Flower Show (yipee), but more importantly I need to find time to go for walks, as my Race for Life sponsored walk is next Wednesday.  Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far, you know who you are, but there is still time for more sponsoring for those of you who haven’t so far and would like to. It’s very easy, just follow this link to sponsor me on-line and help such a worthy cause that affects all of us at some time and in some way.

I have to admit to struggling with this post today, as I’m outside on my favourite bench (well, it’s the only one we have actually but I love sitting here) in the very bright sunshine, with my brightness turned up so high, and I’m still struggling to read what I’ve put or even worse find the cursor! I thought I should pop outside and get some fresh air after being cooped up indoors all day yesterday. Well, I’d better get back to the grindstone…laters.

Comments are disabled

I love my new studio!

Tuesday morning

I love my new studio! I can’t get over how spacious it feels inside, you could really swing a cat in there (apologies to all cat lovers), whereas the last one you could pick up a mouse but not even swing it…not that there were any mice in there of course. I have 2 workspaces set up in a sort of minimal way, and I’m determined to keep it as clear as I can until we start lining the walls, however I don’t seem to be succeeding. I keep needing more things to be able to work, ‘oh just that tool’ and ‘I really want to try that glass I bought at the Flame Off‘. What’s a girl to do? All that scrumptious new glass and lovely new colours from CIM, I’m aching to try CIM Sapphire and Cornflower and TAG Taxco Silver Turquoise. OH dear, I’m going to have to take the rest of my box of goodies down to the studio today and start using it, I can always stash it in one of the wire drawers I have.

I really don’t know where the last 2 months have gone, well I do, but didn’t get the jobs done that I’d hoped to, as I thought I’d have loads of time to update my website, write tutorials and generally tart things up a bit. But taking down the studio and preparing for the new one took all my energies and thoughts, I suppose I thought that may be the case, but had hoped that I’d be able to take advantage of the time and sort some indoor jobs. But I’m not going to beat myself up about it, I have a huge new studio and can make handmade glass beads again, which is bliss. I also started my glass beadmaking courses again last week, and have a couple of days this week and several dates to look forward to throughout June. Anyway, enough of my wittering, I need to get my kiln on and get making beadies for the Bead Fair at Dorking Halls on 31st May.

Comments are disabled

New studio arrived!….at last

Friday morning

Where did the last week go? So much for blogging 3 times a week. We have been busy, honest, and you already know how hard I find it to concentrate when works are happening at home as I have to be tech (which I like)  and nourishment support, doing all the stuff that women normally do, and you know how much I can’t stand doing that for long. lol. Well, we bought our sleepers and got them down bit by bit (hmm, sounds like putting a baby to bed), but work had to stop as we weren’t totally confident where the door would be and how high it would be off the ground, but most are in and holding back the slope while we speak, and we’re going to get a couple more tomorrow to finish the job neatly. Our garden looks a bit like the Somme at the moment, with trenches and piles of earth all over the place, together with piles of slabs, yes they’ve been piled up in 3 places now during this job, 2 Hippo bags of earth, one forming a temporary home for an old Hydrangea, and general mess around.

The shed arrived and was installed yesterday morning, much to my relief, and looks lovely in the garden, well, I think it does, but our daughter keeps saying it’s too big. It is big, 12 x 8 foot, but actually sits down quite nicely, even if it is a bit pale and eye catching at the moment. I had thought I’d leave it ‘au natural’ but I think it could do with painting a nice colour so that it merges into the garden a bit while remaining a feature due to it’s size, but that will have to wait for a couple of months until the timber has dried a bit from the pressure treating. Plans were to have it all neatly fitted out for when I start teaching again next week, but as it’s arrived so late we’re only putting in the bare essentials to get started and so I can prepare for my next bead fair in May and Open Houses in June. We did have 3 weeks clear for the lining and fitting but that was truly mucked up by the shed people.

Here’s a few pics to keep you amused, a bit of a photo story

Old studioInside the old studioinside old empty studioEmpty space baseNew baseLovely sleeperssides comingNew shed!inside new studio

Comments are disabled

Big Plan(t)s

Friday afternoon

So I’m sat here, in the shade, on the new patio, as our neighbours have called it. Only I haven’t told them that a new studio is coming next week, when they said ‘we saw your new patio, didn’t you used to have a shed there?’,  I just smiled sweetly (yes it is possible) and quietly said yes. Hmmm. I wonder what they’ll think. When we put up our last shed there were comments from one of their daughters like ‘That’s a big shed for your garden’…..it wasn’t actually, I’ve seen as large in much smaller ones. So I’m getting a bit nervous about when the new one arrives and is errected. I mean, it’s not really a problem, as our garden is almost the shed width longer than theirs (about 6 foot), so it will be further back than the end of their garden, and it’s also wider by 3 foot, and lower down. Poor dicky had to dig 2 Hippo bags of earth out to cut into the slope of the garden, and even that level is lower than theirs, the corner with the studio is at least 2 foot lower than the bottom of their garden (which is terraced down away from them), so even though the new building will be taller, it will also sit snugly into the lawn and not peek out too much more than the last one, and it will look really smart. Ho hum. Actually I know it will be OK, they may just be a bit surprised.

It’s been a really lovely day, very relaxed and enjoyable. I started by trotting down to the Doc’s for my 84 day weigh in, pre breakfast and mugs of tea of course as you have to be as light as possible don’t you?  I thought I hadn’t lost much this time, but the graph he’s keeping is still showing the same gradient, so that can’t be bad, I’ve now lost 2 stone 9 pounds, and my jeans I used to wear years ago before I really ballooned out are getting really baggy all over and loose around my waist so that I have to hitch them up regularly. Can’t be bad. I just wish it would come off faster, but to be honest I’m not really having to try that hard and certainly not starving myself as that is so counter productive.

After breakfast I drove down to my friends house in Ashington for a coffee morning, than followed that with my first visit to Big Plant nursery nearby to ogle the plants and get ideas for our garden.  I stayed much longer than I planned, as I had intended to just whiz around and see what they’ve got. At around 1pm I took to the car again and had a very pleasant drive to Horsham Fencing, past the fabulously blousy Leonardslee Gardens, to look at the sleepers and get prices. I arrived home in time to have a leisurely lunch while watching Neighbours (bye bye Harold) and then do the school run, well, walk actually, I can quite categorically say I have never run it!

And now I’m here, outside on the new patio, lol, blogging and contemplating how many sleepers we need, enjoying the twittering of the birds, yep, they were there first, and watching the bees or wasps come and go in between their digging holes in the bare earth. Watch out Rick when you cut away to put the sleepers down tomorrow!

Comments are disabled

Never ending story, well, job actually

Saturday evening

You know how when you start a job you think ‘Oh, we just have to move this, do that, buy the other, then we can move the wangle, relay the wotsit and job’s done’? Well, how come it never is? and why am I always surprised that what I thought would be a simple job is never straightforward or easy? I’m talking about the garden reorganisation and overhaul that started off as a simple, ‘let’s take down the studio, lay a few more slabs’ and is now a major remodeling and terracing of the garden, especially as we have 2 huge Hippo Bags full of earth and another one threatening to be filled as we have to cut away yet more earth on the non slopey slope just to allow the new shed door to open. Oh my, so poor Rick has to chop away another load of earth, but I’ve had this wizzard idea that we should pile it on the slope next to it to form a flat terrace, result. All I have to do is decide how many sleepers I need and get them deliverd. We also have to sort the surface in front of the door, clear a path or make a new one (more decisions and possible cost), repair or replace the back fence – see I said it had gotten complicated, that’s what comes of  tearing down our back fence to reveal all the pernicious squibs…sorry  Virginia Creeper. We also have a huge Climbing Hydangea to replant, which at the moment is precariously perched in a Hippo bag full and overflowing with earth. This relocation in turn means preparing a raised border, which also means removing yet more crazy paving path…..arggghhhh…….I can’t cope with all the crazy paving. There’s masses of it, the previous owners obviously liked the stuff and very generously decided to have a path that went all the way around the garden and back again, in addition to the patio and a path around the patio.

I feel a few days (maybe weeks)  coming on of chipping away at these York stone slabs, diligently removing concrete so we could maybe reuse the good ones, if I can persuade Rick that he wants to lay them instead of forking out for new slabs.

Hmmmm, so while I drone on about all the jobs to do, I should also announce that I’m taking part in an exhibiton that starts next week at a  new gallery in Chobham that opens next week. The gallery is called Bank Gallery, the exhibition is a ‘taste of what’s to come’, and is due to be opened by the Rt Hon. Michael Grove MP. Please see my events page for more details.

Comments are disabled

Studio progress update

Monday tea time

Where did the Easter holiday go? Why am I sooooo tired? Why am I skint? Why is there a huge pile of washing up in the kitchen, you know, all the posh stuff you don’t want to ruin in the dishwasher? Why are there masses of glass jars and bits all over the lounge floor? and who left that shed in pieces around the side of the house?

OK, so here’s the plot, Monday before Easter we emptied my studio, that took longer than I thought it would, even with my packing things and tidying stuff away the week beforehand. Late Monday afternoon Rick removed the benches, power and stuff screwed to the walls. Tuesday we took the shed apart and carted it around the side of the house, this was very enjoyable as there was no way I could have done that for the last 10 or so years previous. Then Rick started excavating the plot to lay the next 12 slabs we needed, including digging out the pesky Virginia Creeper shoots and ivy plants everywhere. We managed to fill 2 of those Hippo bags you can get from builders merchants with the soil from the slope, which didn’t look particularly slopey until he started digging of course. Then he had to lug 12 bags of sand, 12 huge slabs, move the 2 heavy sleepers that were holding back the lawn, then move them 3 or 4 more times as they kept gettong in the way. After the slabs were laid we started repairing the surrounding fences, and removed 2 panels from the back of our garden so that we have slightly more room to walk along the back of the new studio to remove leaves and stuff. The panel removal revealed a huge tangle of more Virginia Creeper, which all had to be prised off the fence and chopped to fill the recycling bags, and the huge root dug up and disposed of. I also went around the garden and pulled out all the brown long leaves from the Crocosmia and grasses around the place, cut back the Pyrocantha and the Fatsia Japonica to reveal the Hellibores we planted last spring, and generally got rid of the plant rubbish. I then attacked the front garden border and had several subsequent trips to the dump, which in itself was entertaining as the bags were so heavy I had to drag them, then pull individual handfuls of plant bits into the skips until the bag was light enough to pick up and tip the contents away. Phew. Oh and we also had 2 trips down to look at cars, one of them to buy a car we wanted and had rung up to check it was still there, only to be told casually ‘Oh we sold that one yesterday’ when we got there. Typical.

That’s the progress so far, we now have to finish repairing the fences, paint them, and decide how many new sleepers and slabs we need to complete the area around the studio and the path down to it. I also need to organise the insulating materials, the internal cladding, the flooring, the ventilation and what benches I want. I’m also trying to choose a couple of lovely garden shades to paint the shed when it’s been up for a while. That’s all the good news, the bad news is that I’ve been let down on when the studio is being delivered, which is after I was supposed to be starting teaching again. This is very annoying and stressful because I now have almost 3 weeks without a studio, the time slot that I had planned for fitting out my studio perfectly, and now we have to make it just ‘OK’ to start teaching on time, and that’s with having had to rearrange a couple of students to come in June instead now. Of course even OK will be plenty to actually teach properly, it just won’t be fixed up permanently and decorated.

As far as the rest of the holiday and my tireness, that’s probably down to going away to the Flame Off last Friday and Saturday, but thats another post!

Comments are disabled

Harrow Bead Fair this Sunday

Wednesday teatime

As of last night I now have a table at the Harrow Bead fair this Sunday. Yipee. This has to be my favourite fair, not sure why really, but somehow it seems like ‘The’ bead fair of the year, maybe because it was one of the first. So I’m beavering away this week getting ready for it, well, not so much beavering, but working steadily and not too hard like last week, as we were both shattered after last weekend….partly because I worked soooo hard in the run up, then Rick continued with replacing the fence down the side of our house, then we had a party in the evening which we were both involved with helping, got to bed at 2:00am then up at 6:30 am for the Hatfield Bead Fair………oooooo no sleep. I’m teaching again this Saturday too. Phew I’m really going to need a rest next week.

My life seems to be pretty much back to normal now, it was officially 4 months on Saturday since I became a bionic hippy, and I can’t believe how good I feel, so much better already than the last 3 years, and I have the next 8 months to really get over the experiance. I haven’t used my stick at all for over a week, yay, and have been walking to the school unaided, which is all a bit wierd for me at the moment as I’ve been using a stick for the last 15 years. I have to really concentrate on how I walk, as bad habits formed in my endeavor to walk without pain, and I’m having physiotherapy to help me reach my foot again, it’s funny needing to have someone else tie up my shoelaces! and of course once lace ups are on they have to stay on all day. But hey, I feel good.

Comments are disabled

Next Page »