Pleasure in small things

LAST weekend’s Bank Holiday brought us the most glorious hot weather and sensibly we made the most of it. The boys and I went to Bury and enjoyed an ice cream in the Abbey Gardens, which were packed with people, colour and blossom.  And my parent points went sky high when I agreed to a water bomb fight with my youngest. Inevitably I came off worst when he finished by throwing a bucket of water over me. I think it might be more fun not to be the Fun Parent…

In the garden everything is just starting to get going and I’m impatiently waiting for the small plants I’ve grown so start settling in and producing flowers. There’s hope – the roses are in bud and I cut my first bunches of aquilegias and hellebores on Tuesday. This morning I picked an enormous bunch of buttercups from the verge alongside one of our village meadows. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them look so lush and vivid with great long stems and masses of flowers. Next to the greenhouse the good weather has allowed me to bring out lots of my pots to harden off on the patio table. As usual its impossible to eat outside as the entire table is covered with Godetia, Lupins, Poppies, Stock, Marigolds, all waiting their turn to go into the ground! The studio is shady and cool in the summer but I find it hard to be inside when there’s so much sunshine to be enjoyed outdoors. So the last few days have been a mixture of work and pleasure as I juggle what has to be done with what I want to do. Sometimes those things are the same.

I caught up with my talented friend Kate last Friday and as usual she was working on some lovely things. Kate is a regular exhibitor with the Border Craft Collective and you can see more of her work on her Facebook page here. Lots of her work is miniature and she has a passion for insects and wildlife so visiting is never dull because she lets me browse around her work space and discover things. One of her latest projects are tiny glass dome sets which she fills with butterflies, insects, leaves and flowers. Some of her moths and butterflies are so detailed I wasn’t sure she’d actually made them. The work involved in these is so precise.

I also caught up with another friend and kindred spirit, Netty, who shares my love of flowers, papercuts and all things vintage. Over tea and scones we got cheerfully sunburnt as the tearoom’s parasols were yet to be delivered and they’d got caught on the hop by the unexpectedly good weather.

A few days later and the fun sun times are over as orders come in (yippee) and I have accounts to sort out and the joys of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to grapple with as I finally get round to working on my online shops. I’ve also (say it in a whisper) begun to think about Christmas… This year I’m hoping to do a limited run of Christmas cards which I’ll linocut. Papercut cards are an impossibility unless you have a small army of overseas workers prepared to cut your designs by the hundred for about 10p an hour. And funnily enough I don’t and won’t go down that road. Linocuts on the other hand use the same sorts of techniques as papercuts with the advantage you can print the designs endlessly. I’m a newcomer so I have a lot of practice to get under my belt before the autumn but I also quite like the naivety of some of my prints so its something to think about and practice for the next few weeks.

IMG_1847
My favourite design of the week printed on handmade paper which gives it a nice book-ish feel.

Enjoy the sunshine if you have it and if you’re sitting exams next week (I know a few who are), or have pupils who will be, then I wish you lots of luck.

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