Monday, 22 December 2008

Winter Solstice walk in the Wildwood

No pictures I'm afraid, but I will try to describe a very special walk we took , this weekend.

A few miles from my home is a beautiful wood, beloved my me for it's Spring flowers. It's an ancient wood, once part of Shakespeare's Forest of Arden, and a remnant of the wildwood that once covered the land.

For me, a magical place.

For Rowan, the perfect place to hunt , play and mud wallow.

It was mid afternoon when we started our walk and I had a mind to try to find the 'ancient ones', my name for a stand of old, old Lime trees that I came across some years ago.
I knew that we had to get right into the middle of the wood, my sense of direction is not good and Mike didn't think it was wise to stray too far from the well worn path. . . .
Rowan, bless her, had other plans.
These included giving chase to a deer, several rabbits and excavating a huge log from the
muddiest quagmire in England. . . then she took off, in pursuit of I don't know what.
We whistled.
We called.
We went after her. . . and deep joy, we ended up by the Lime trees!
Mike wandered off to sort out our miscreant pup and I marvelled at the awesome beauty of the trees.
They stand in a rough circle, their mighty trunks, twisted and bent. Inside the circle I noticed the light had changed , as the sun, low in the sky came out to show off.. . the most beautiful solstice sunset.
I was 'lost' in another time, there, amongst those wonderful trees, aware that the wheel of this year was slowing one last time .

As the sky darkened,we made our way back through the woods, passing a Hazel coppice . The spindly branches proudly displaying the promise of Spring, tiny catkins peeping at me in the dim light.
The wheel turns again.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Weaver of Words.

Some special things have happened to me just lately and I wanted to share them with you. . . .



Some time ago the lovely Dina Kerik, ( from Deepwater Journal ) kindly asked if she could write an article for the Journal, about me!
Now, Dina is a true 'Weaver of Words' and 'Stitcher of Dreams' and I am honoured that she should want to do this. If you would like to read her words, please pop over here !

Thank you Dina!


The next few pictures show the village of Broadway, I took them while doing a little 'light Christmas shopping' in my lunch hour.







The Lygon Arms


Last week, the village playgroup came to the Library for story time. I enjoy this so much, the children are delightful and we have lots of fun. This occasion however, was special.

The children surprised me, they came in costume and gave a performance of their Nativity play, just for me! (Well, and anyone else who happened to be in the Library!)

Their little innocent faces as they sang will stay in my memory for a long time. Bless them.




'Journey of the Magi' 13th. century missal from the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York.


'Christmas Eve' by V E Starkova 1979


As you can tell, I'm in full festive mood so while it lasts, I'll tell you about some dancing birds. .


Yesterday, I was walking Rowan, who was not in my good books . . . it's a good thing that she's pretty. Little minx had decided to write her Christmas cards while I was out, but obviously got bored with that and chewed them up instead, along with numerous other things including my diary!

Anyway, we were way over the fields, a large part of which now resemble a lake , when I noticed a lot of twittering and kerfuffle coming from some nearby Silver Birch trees.

The trees had their feet in the water and were full of dancing Long Tailed Tits.

They are such sweet little birds always rushing around , twittering and calling to each other. There must have been 12 or more of them, I couldn't count them as they performed their delicate 'ballet' .

Tumbling pirouettes through the lower branches, never quite touching the water , casting the most beautiful reflections ( why didn't I have my camera?) loop the loops and games of tag went on for ages, secretly watched by me and Rowan.

Then of course reality returns and I have to leg it back home because somehow an hour has disappeared and I'm going to be late for work . . . .

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

A packet full of magic.

I found a little packet , on the mat, by my front door.

A packet from my friend Fanny, who lives in the Jura mountains in France. It was a packet full of magic. . . .

First of all, I found a piece of beautiful, hand made lace tied up in red silk ribbon. I think it will make something very special . . . . .

Then I found a letter, telling me about a lovely winter walk in the Jura mountains, when the snow fell softly and covered the trees with soft white magic; the world became silent . . .

As Fanny paused a while to drink her flask of tea, she heard a sound. . . .

It was a tiny man in a crooked hat who asked her "Are you Fanny?" "Are you Fanny who has a friend in England, called Annette?"

My friend replied, "Yes, that's me."

The little man said" Vous devez lui dire que, en hiver, il faut mettre des chaussettes dans les chaussures. Les Putins et les fees ne sont pas fais de bois! Il fait aussi tres froid en Angleterre!"

(Which roughly translated means ' You must tell her that , in winter, you must put on socks with shoes. Elves and fairies are not made of wood! Also, it is cold in England!')

He gave her a box and said. . .

"Envoyez - lui!!" (Send them to her )

This is what was in the box, a tiny pair of hand knitted socks to fit in a pair of fairies shoes!


What a wonderful present!
Oh yes, Fanny also said that she would tell only me about this because no one else would believe her. . . . . . what do you think?

Monday, 15 December 2008

Winter Solstice Trees - Silver Birch

The Silver Birch is the first tree of the Celtic Tree Ogham. It is the first tree to colonise new ground and so, signifies new life, new beginnings, birth and opportunity.
Birch twigs were used to sweep out the old years' spirits and make way for the new.
(Info. from Sacred Celebrations by Glennie Kindred)

My picture above, shows little stars made from Silver Birch bark.

There is one there for all of the friends I've made through my blog,

one for each of you ,

to wish you 'new beginnings and opportunity' in the new year to come.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Christmas workshop

Christmas Fairies will be well shod after our workshop at Blue Ginger on Tuesday.
It's such a lovely place to spend the day, stitching, chatting and laughing.


Then, if we can tear ourselves away from all the tempting things in the gallery, there's a home cooked lunch in Sue's farm kitchen.


After lunch, a quick turn around the paddock with two Kuni Kuni pigs called Emin and Gormley, and Tilly, the two year old Bernese mountain dog. ( I hadn't realised that little piggies could run so fast. . . )



Back to work then . . . it's hard , but someone has to do it.
Beautiful shoes appeared before my eyes, created with imagination and care.


Just a bit more stitching needed, then they will be finished and fit for lucky Christmas Fairies.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Here we go round the Mulberry bush . . . .

Jack Frost had been busy this morning, which made me think of the nursery rhyme . . and one thing led to another . . please allow for plenty of 'artistic licence'. . .


*Here we go round the Mulberry bush , on a cold and frosty morning. . .
(no mulberries but lots of frost)
*Two little dickie birds sitting on a . . .tree?
Early morning on the riverbank, the sun not yet strong enough to burn off the mist.
Two Cormorants patiently waiting . . .

* Hickory Dickory Dock, the mouse ran up the clock. . . .
The Jubilee clock in Broadway, Worcestershire.

* Twinkle, twinkle, little star
or is it Cow Parsley?



*Little Miss Muffett, sat on a tuffett


We had to have a major de-clutter this week and I found this picture. It's me aged 2 years (circa 1954), sitting on the dining room table, . . in lieu of a tuffett. . .


This has been a really mixed week, I had to have time off work because someone 'up there' decided that my life was not sufficiently farcical. The coldest spell for ages and our central heating boiler died.
Mike was away in Scotland. . .
I won't go into detail, but replacing it was not easy or quick. . . holes in walls, floorboards up, hardly a room not in chaos, men in the garden, men on the roof. I have never been so cold, it was warmer outside than in my house for 6 days.
Now I feel really pathetic for whinging. . . it's positively tropical in here and plumbers are my favourite people. . .
On the bright side, Rowan and I had some long and lovely walks.
I also met a dear friend for lunch in Burford.
This is Anne with my daughter Rachael and Phoebe. We've been friends since I started school, aged 5 , when she showed me where the Wendy House was.
Anne and I have shared so much through the years, she was my bridesmaid and Rachael's Godmother.
This lady is a talented quilter and a wonderful friend.xxxx

Last but absolutely by no means least, I have been given an award! This has made me smile no end this week, I am honoured and thrilled to be considered worthy of it. . . especially as it was sent to me by a special lady , Lynne Hoppe. She resides in the forest, far away, in the lands across the sea and writes a moving and beautiful blog. Thank you Lynne.

(Here's the piece that comes with the award. . . modesty forbids really.. )

"This blog invests and believes the proximity-nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of the prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers, who must choose eight more and include this cleverly written text into the body of their award."

I need a bit more time to select the next recipients, so please bear with me. . .

Monday, 1 December 2008

The last few apples.

I saw this elegant fisherman today, whilst driving over to visit my Mum.

Monsieur et Madame Mallard, looking rather splendid. . . . .

I've known and loved this tree for many years, it's an old, old Oak, with a huge trunk so wide, two of us struggled to encircle it with our arms. Today I think it is at its most beautiful ,standing there on the ridge way, as it has for who knows how long, with the late afternoon sun behind.



At the other end of the field, a lone apple tree with it's last few offerings. Bright red spots against the grey.



Thursday, 27 November 2008

Bookwraps at Wolverhampton

I wanted to show you some of the beautiful work produced at the workshop in Wolverhampton last Saturday.
It was a super day with lots of laughter , the ideas fairly buzzed around and I felt privileged to be there .



I love how a simple idea can be picked up. . . . . grow . . . . and be passed around in so many different ways. . . . ..


I think we were all exhausted at the end of the day, in a good way.
I for one, was thrilled with the work that these very talented ladies produced.
I had taken more pictures but they were a bit fuzzy so my apologies for not being able to show you more.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Short winter days. . . .

I love these days, where the wheel turns more slowly, night comes earlier each day and a sense of quiet anticipation whispers in my ear.

Dark, wet days when I need to stay in my nest . . . . and rare, dry, bright days when I love to roam.

The river Avon flows nearby and the riverbanks are some of Rowans favourite playgrounds.



I like to get home before night draws in and sit with a cup of tea, by the fire watching the sky darken.



The Solstice preparations will begin soon, small gifts to make, baking and all manner of magic everywhere. . .

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Fairy Shoes Pattern

This post is an unashamed piece of personal advertising. . . . . . . ... I have been very fortunate to receive many enquiries about the pattern for my Fairy Shoes
So . . . . I decided to open an Etsy Shop where I can sell the pattern.
It has taken me all day, a headache and several minor nervous breakdowns to set it up, but I've done it!
Only trouble is I must have taken an extra stupid pill this morning, because I can't put the link advertisement for Etsy on my blog. . . .
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Update..... thanks for your help Anna and Acornmoon, sorted at last!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Warrior Soup and Twelve Golden Birds

I'd like to thank the dear people who left such kind comments on my last post. I admit , I was a little concerned that I had revealed a little too much!

Today was bright and sunny and I had a day to myself at home. Bliss.
Trouble is I always have unrealistic expectations of what I can achieve in a day. . .

I made some soup, I just love the 'chopping vegetable meditation'. This was Minestrone with rice.
When my children were young and needing to be encouraged to eat vegetables, particularly my son,I would often make this soup.
I used to call it Warrior soup, telling them it was perfect food for young warriors, that it had everything needed for growing big strong muscles. Ho ho.
It's still called Warrior soup and they still love it.
After finishing various menial tasks I went for a walk with Rowan, through the orchards and along the river bank. We had the world to ourselves, apart from a small flock of Yellow Hammers and the odd Field Fare.

Back home I started to get my things together for a workshop I'm teaching in Wolverhampton , on Saturday. This always takes ages as I'm paranoid that I'll forget
something vital. Looking forward to this , they're a really nice group.
I then had a bit of time to do some work on my latest wall hanging. It's not finished yet and doesn't have a title?..?
Above, a detail of said hanging.
The colours are all paints made with these pigments from the Clearwell caves in the Forest of Dean. (To be honest, I did titivate the purple bits with a pot of twinkling h2 o)
You can buy these little pots of natural ochres when you visit the caves.


My inspiration for the hanging came from the lovely church of St. Peter at Rowlstone in Herefordshire.
It's such a pretty place , up a leafy lane from Pontrilas. We're almost in Wales here.
There is much to see, but in particular the candelabra.
There are two, one each side of the nave.
Twelve golden birds, six swans and six cocks with little fleur de lis in between.





These beauties were made by the local blacksmith in the fifteenth century and I think that they are my favourite amongst many treasures I have seen whilst loitering in churches. . . .
They still light the church even though a note in the porch says that the congregation has dwindled to nine people.

Now, before I go to bed, I must just make a start on the 24 little gifts to go in Phoebe's Advent Calendar. Or perhaps I'll do some knitting instead.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Playing Tag

I've been Tagged twice in the last few days, by acornmoon and by Deb at art4sol
Do have a look at these blogs, they are beautiful and interesting in different ways.

So after much thought, panic and deliberation, here are 7 unusual things about me -


  1. I have a good capacity for remembering completely useless information, but can't for the life of me remember the important stuff, like the security code at work or my phone number.
  2. I'm fascinated by Ley Lines, or Dragon Paths as they're sometimes called. I look out for signs that I might be on one wherever I go.
  3. When I was little, I would rather eat Marmite sandwiches than roast turkey, or anything else for that matter.
  4. I love the smell of new books, magazines and sketchbooks.
  5. I believe that there is a veil between this world and the 'otherworld', in places this veil is very thin. Glastonbury is one such place but they are everywhere if you look.That's where the magic is.
  6. I would like to cultivate my eccentricities to the point where I can go and live in a small cottage (It will be white) on the side of a hill in mid Wales. There will be geese in the field and I will live without wearing shoes or makeup.
  7. I smell things in colour.

Oh dear, that's bound to mean a few more people are convinced I'm potty. . . . ..

My last task is to tag 7 more blogs , here goes.-

sharon

Heather

notes from the rookery

chrissy

Carol

art4moi

jollygoodyarn

I hope you enjoy looking at these fascinating places!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Pale green skin with brown spots.

Thought I'd better just say that the title of this post refers to a sick dragon, not me, although , there are those who would say 'And the difference is?'
Anyway, I asked Maud and she said it would be fine for us to have a peep in her book of Dragon Lore. . . . .


Maud also said to be sure to put the book back in it's hiding place when we've finished. . . .




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Changing the subject completely, Today was grey, wet and well, Novembery.
My lovely Mum caught the bus over to see me. She lives in Malvern, about 25 miles from here. Now my Mum is nearly 80 years old but she doesn't know, or perhaps I should say, she doesn't act like it. She is hilarious and keeps us all well amused and entertained.
Wherever she goes she has adventures, mostly caused by her 'hearing problem' (never suggest that she might be a bit deaf, unless you can run fast ). She will admit to being in 'early middle age' but definitely not elderly or heaven forbid OLD.
Mum lives life to the full, walks miles, swims regularly , cooks like a dream and we all love her to pieces.
I just wanted to shout out loud 'I LOVE YOU MUM!'
I feel better now.
I drove mum home, late afternoon and took Rowan for a walk across the fields nearby.
Everything was grey and sodden, the rain was that fine misty drizzle that makes you cold inside and out , the fields were completely waterlogged, with little streams running down the hill.
Rowan loved it and so did I. She ran around with 'mad legs', charging up and down the streams splashing and skidding, finding imaginary mice in the grass and huge sticks in the hedges, joy!
All around the old oak trees were having a final flourish of colour before the next winds take their leaves and the rooks , about 30 of them were holding their parliament, noisily in the highest branches.I loved it all.
It was growing dark as I got back to Mum's, there she was in the doorway smiling at me. (well I did have wellies, waterproof trousers, old wax jacket and Mikes fishing hat on. . .)

So, if I was making a gratitude list, My lovely Mum would be right there, at the top.