Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Great Bluebell Hunt

Around this time of year the English countryside plays host to the wonderful Hyacinthoides non-scripta, which to you and I is known as the English Bluebell, a glorious deep violet blue scented flower which dominates the woodland round here. In fact we have many of England's most beautiful bluebells woods right here in my native county. It’s illegal to pick any wild flowers here in Britain, or to dig up any to move them to your garden for example, but each year many people go in search of the glorious swathe of blue and that wonderful scent.

Sadly the English Bluebell is under threat from the prolific Spanish Bluebell which looks similar, but does not have such a gracefully curved stem (the Spanish is completely straight) and has no scent. Saldy, even when the two are cross pollinated, the strains of the Spanish take over. I went with my sister and Mum to a local English Heritage site where we could stroll through the bluebells woods, and the gardens of the manor house.

There were many different varieties of chickens strolling about..this cheeky chappy caught my eye…

And these darling hairy piggies which I’ve been trying to find the breed name…they are sooo cute! If you know what they are, let me know!

These are definitely not native to Britain, but they were certainly pretty to look at!

The garden were full of stunning flowers

And lovely little surprises at every step…

The weather was beautiful. Sadly it’s been chilly aswell. I’ve found some cultivated English Bluebells at a local garden centre, so I’ve planted some which will hopefully give me my own little bluebell wood next year!

I have also been having fibre adventures as well as floral adventures. I finally finished my Mosey Legwarmers! Yay!

I love the cabled back ‘seam’


I ran out of the lavender yarn before I got round to the pompoms, so I chose this lovely lilac colour to make them

and then so it didn’t seem odd, I crocheted a ruffle at the bottom in the lilac. I really like how it turned out….

I also crocheted a tribal fringe belt which I found on Ravelry here

I’ve been doing a Tribal Dance class for the last month, so tribal accessories have been in my mind a lot recently. I don’t have any dancewear in green, so I used some stash yarn to create this. I actually really love this belt now it’s finished and I think I’m going to use some of the left over yarn to create some matching falls, or to plait into my hair in long pigtails.

The yarn is a mixture of acrylic, fancy novelty stuff, cotton and chenille. I fancied a mixture of textures and colours.

Love it!!

And then ‘cos I was on a roll, I took apart several silk flowers, and mixed them together for a hair slide.

And then because I obviously have startitus at the moment, I started this Tribal Tassel Belt which was on Craftster ages ago. I’ve had it bookmarked for ages and finally got round to starting it. I’ve had to learn Tunisian Crochet in order to do it, and not just any old Tunisian Crochet, but double sided Tunisian crochet no less! You use a long crochet hook with two hooks, one at each end!

But look at the gorgeousness that it creates!

I love that you get a different effect on each side.

Yes, I know, I succumbed to my favourite colours…


Monday, May 03, 2010

Ash, Rings and Wings

Well, it’s been an unusual couple of weeks. Unless you live in Europe, you probably won’t have taken much notice of an Icelandic volcano eruption, but over here, particularly in the UK, it’s caused chaos! Why is that you may ask? Well, it seems that volcanic ash is not very good for aeroplane engines. And as that cloud of volcanic ash was headed our way, planes were grounded and airports closed. Even the RAF weren’t taking chances, and in my mind, that’s be good enough for me! For almost two weeks, our skies were quiet and unmarred by the sight of plane trails. It also coincided with the most beautiful warm weather…coincidence?? I wonder!

Of course this has meant that thousands of Britons have been stranded overseas, unable to get home. As it was the Easter holidays/Spring break, many of our students had gone home and were unable to get back. We also had teachers who had gone abroad for a holiday and not been able to get back. Some of our students have only just been able to get flights now, and some are still waiting. I’ve had classes of perhaps only one or two students. Our GCSE students were supposed to take the first part of their exams on the 24th, and we had to get special dispensation to postpone it. I’m sure it will all be okay in the end though.

The warm weather has meant that everything has leapt into blossom, my cherry tree is starting to look glorious! We planted grass seed and bulbs out over the holiday, but I’ve had to water regularly, and the ground is dry and cracked, so yesterdays rain shower was welcomed by the garden.

I drove home from yoga the other night to see the most stunning full moon; huge with a glowing ring of light around it. I grabbed my camera when I got home and experimenting with different settings got these shots.

This one was taken with a different setting about half an hour later, partially obscured by a tree.

And then this one was taken much later, high in the sky…


I’ve spent spare moments over the last week reconning an old fleece top that I had acquired, I loved the colour, but it was a plain boring v-necked fleece top, so I had some ideas in the back of my mind and attacked it with a pair of scissors to create a shrug style fairy top.

It was really easy to do, I cut down the V at the front and then scooped under the bust, and round the sides to a point in the back. I was watching Ugly Betty at the time, so maybe I got a little Mode style inspiration…

I also cut the sleeves to a point.

I serged around the raw edges, then added the finishing touches, beads, and then appliqu├ęd wings on the back! I totally love it now!

I’ve also been knitting away creating my Mosey legwarmers..

On The May Day Bank Holiday, M and I decided to take a day trip. It would have been nice to get away for the weekend, but we haven’t got around to getting a tow bar fitted on the car yet. Anyway, we decided to go to St. Albans for the day, which was one of the oldest Roman settlements in Briton (after Londinium). The weather was nice and we spent a lovely day strolling around the market, where I bought a lovely flower pendant, and the Cathedral…


and then we went to the Verulamium Museum, which showed how the Romans lived along with some of the stunning mosaics that their homes were decorated in…

I could totally live with one of these on my floor!

There were lots of displays with artefacts discovered by archaeologists (my friend was on a dig here when she was an archaeologist). I was fascinated by these  key rings..keys that were worn on the fingers and is probably were the expression ‘key ring’ comes from!!  

And a mosaic floor, still in situ with the hypocaust (under floor heating)  exposed at the corner.


It was a lovely day out…



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