Sunday 23 June 2013

Kittens to cats...

Ginny, the stray ginger mum, and her four kittens have been doing amazingly well in her foster home with A and C . They have decided to give Ginny a  long term home, which is wonderful, and all the kittens have been claimed by prospective owners! They have been such a joy to watch.  They are emerging from the doddery uncoordinated phase to pouncing and climbing, and are now greeting with tails up and today we heard the first chirrup of excitement. We are still set to welcome two into our home and  we have been busily trying to get Kirry, our existing cat ready for this. As cats communicate through scent we have been 'scent swapping'. Blankets and rugs of Kirry's have come back to the house having spent a few days in the kittens nest. Initially Kirry wouldn't go near these, even when in her favourite spot on the bottom of our bed, but now she is less worried and will eat from her food bowl even when on a kitten smelling blanket!
No real names as yet but C has been calling the little ginger male Rupert and the dark tortieshell female Rosie.

Thursday 20 June 2013

June birthdays

The year is running away from me and here we are at the longest day.. The garden is at its height of fecundity so when I do get home without more work to finish I try and tame the jungle outside. So, little time for crafting. But the wonderful June birthdays at least make me sit down for a little while to go through my drawer of papers and create cards!
The green one is a print I made many many years ago on a wet day on st martins with an artist called Mandy who created amazing paper sculptures with findings from the windswept beaches. I have always wanted to emulate her one winters beach walk and will do so one day. The card and gift  of a tiny green handmade notebook is for Richard who spends his life tending trees and plants. 
The pink card is from recycled bits - a moshulu bag and Emma Bridgewater catalogue-  for my dear friend Caroline also with a notebook. This one a bought find of beautiful birch trees and line drawings. It is a wonderful time of year to have a birthday and I wish them both well. 

Monday 17 June 2013

Introduction to Zentangles

Hello everybody! I wonder if there are any readers to this blog? If there are, please leave a comment and say hi!

Now, I've discovered a new way to "waste time." (I'm sure the zentangle community would crucify me for saying "wasting time!") I started doing general doodling a while ago, as a way to keep my mind occupied and whilst searching for inspiration online, I came across zentangles.

So, what is a Zentangle, and how does it differ from "just" doodling?

According to my Zentangle book, a Zentangle "turns drawings into artistic dsegin while reducing stress and focus. This relaxing process can be done anywhere and no 'artistic' talent is needed." (Sounds good to me - I can't draw to save my life!)
"Traditional zentangles...
A very simple process is part of every traditional Zentangle. 1) Make a dot in each corner of a paper tile with a pencil. Connect dots to form a basic frame. 2) Daw guideline 'strings' with the pencil. The shape can be a zigzag, swirl, X, circle of just about anything that divides the area into sections. It represents the 'golden thread' that connects all patterns and events that run through life. The lines will not be erased but become part of the design. 3) Use a black pen to draw Tangle patterns into the sections formed by the 'string.' 4) Rotate the paper tile as you fill each section with a pattern."

So, there you have it! There are "Tangles" in the book I bought, and there's a huge wealth of them online as well. And there's so much you can do with a Zentangle. You can make it into shapes...

And you can add colour...

As well as Tangling on different spaces/different media...

It's all pretty inspiring and exciting stuff! Needless to say, my own attempts are not anywhere near as good as any of the above. I will post some of mine, but I thought that in order to make this post at least somewhat pretty it was important to include some "proper" zentangles! My first attempt was this:

Not anywhere near as impressive as any of the others, but it was quite fun to do. At this point, I decided to buy myself some nice new black fine-line pens, and made some more attempts. Here are some of my later attempts:

Getting a little better, although I think the thing I really need to work on is shading... I'll leave you with one final Zentangle (I think it's technically "Zentangle Inspired Art" as it isn't a "tile") - this one is a card that I sent:

Hope anyone reading this has enjoyed the introduction the world of Zentangling! I may post some more in the future, so watch this space...


Thursday 6 June 2013

May-June Poetry Group

I realise we haven't posted this month's poetry group offerings, so I thought I'd do so now. These were chosen by cousin M - thank you very much!

The first is 'The Horses' by Edwin Muir, a poem that I've read a lot before and really love. M has suggested that we only learn the second part, but here is the poem in full:

Barely a twelvemonth after
The seven days war that put the world to sleep,
Late in the evening the strange horses came.
By then we had made our covenant with silence,
But in the first few days it was so still
We listened to our breathing and were afraid.
On the second day
The radios failed; we turned the knobs; no answer.
On the third day a warship passed us, heading north,
Dead bodies piled on the deck. On the sixth day
A plane plunged over us into the sea. Thereafter
Nothing. The radios dumb;
And still they stand in corners of our kitchens,
And stand, perhaps, turned on, in a million rooms
All over the world. But now if they should speak,
If on a sudden they should speak again,
If on the stroke of noon a voice should speak,
We would not listen, we would not let it bring
That old bad world that swallowed its children quick
At one great gulp. We would not have it again.
Sometimes we think of the nations lying asleep,
Curled blindly in impenetrable sorrow,
And then the thought confounds us with its strangeness.
The tractors lie about our fields; at evening
They look like dank sea-monsters couched and waiting.
We leave them where they are and let them rust:
'They'll molder away and be like other loam.'
We make our oxen drag our rusty plows,
Long laid aside. We have gone back
Far past our fathers' land.
And then, that evening
Late in the summer the strange horses came.
We heard a distant tapping on the road,
A deepening drumming; it stopped, went on again
And at the corner changed to hollow thunder.
We saw the heads
Like a wild wave charging and were afraid.
We had sold our horses in our fathers' time
To buy new tractors. Now they were strange to us
As fabulous steeds set on an ancient shield.
Or illustrations in a book of knights.
We did not dare go near them. Yet they waited,
Stubborn and shy, as if they had been sent
By an old command to find our whereabouts
And that long-lost archaic companionship.
In the first moment we had never a thought
That they were creatures to be owned and used.
Among them were some half a dozen colts
Dropped in some wilderness of the broken world,
Yet new as if they had come from their own Eden.
Since then they have pulled our plows and borne our loads
But that free servitude still can pierce our hearts.
Our life is changed; their coming our beginning. 


The second poem isn't one that I was familiar with before, a Jamaican poet called Louis Simpson, who died last year.

As birds are fitted to the boughs
That blossom on the tree
And whisper when the south wind blows—
So was my love to me.

And still she blossoms in my mind
And whispers softly, though
The clouds are fitted to the wind,
The wind is to the snow. 

Sunday 2 June 2013


With the prospect of a field to fill with animals next Spring E and I visited Buttercups Goat Sanctuary near Maidenhead today. It's a small charity which appears just to house and then re-home unwanted goats.

There were around 130 in a huge field all doing goaty things. As I spent my childhood with a big white goat called Ria I adored it and we had fun looking at all the other permutations of colour size and breed.

George and Heathcliff were our favourites...and the field was full of buttercups.

Saturday 1 June 2013

New kittens on the way...

Our very precious LC (short for 'little cat') died in January. She joined us as a tiny rejected Bengal kitten, one third of the size of her litter mates at 16 weeks of age and was thought to be unlikely to survive. Against the odds she gave us nearly nine noisy and sometimes stressful years before developing an untreatable cancer. She was a huge character - very affectionate, climbed the conservatory roof and sang, had battles with squirrels, dashed up and down the garden as if jet propelled, curled up under the duvet with me and tormented Kirry our sedate tortieshell cat in rather rough play. She always greeted me with such abandonment when i came home. She is irreplaceable.

However, the house is quiet and I feel the need for more cat company. There is nothing like cats to come home to... We think Kirry will cope best and feel less challenged by kittens, especially if there are two of them to entertain each other.

So we will be joined in a couple of months by these two little ones. Ginny, their mum, has been rescued by Sam at my work and is being fostered near us. Ginny is lovely - calm and very affectionate, and the four kittens are all growing well. Their eyes are almost completely open and they are starting to 'creep' at 13 days old. J and I have chosen the little ginger male and the female with the most mottled markings on her face. Little miracles in the making.