Thursday, 11 December 2014

Has it really been a year!

Wow! It's been ages since I last wrote on this page and so much has happened.

Left the beaches of Devon for the woods of the Cotswolds which sadly means almost no driftwood inspired makes any more. Boo! On the other side, my new job means lots of new woodland inspired makes. Yey!

My New Years resolution will be to try and write more posts on here and my blog about woodland and tree related crafts and activities - I'm getting quite good at spoon carving and keep meaning to learn to make cord from nettles.

At the moment I'm trying to create a woodland journal based on the diaries of the great Victorian plant hunters to help inspire teenagers to explore and discover the natural world. I really like Keri Smith's 'Wreck It' series of journals which encourage you to break the rules as far as keeping everything neat and tidy.

I'll keep you all posted.

K

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

You're never too old to play!

The autumnal weather of the past weekend provided some amazing lighting for some arty farty shots. And of course, where there's a beach and where there are boulders, then by law, you have to stack them on top of each other. Mr Goldsworthy, you have a lot to answer for.




Tuesday, 29 October 2013

SeaShore Jar

Another busy day, what with a full day at work and playing catch up on a one of the new Future Learn courses. Been trying to get my head around the inequality of land ownership and access in Nepal. Why - I do not really know.

But anyway, managed to set aside a few minutes to make a couple of seashore jars from some old glass jars, a bit or garden twine, a shell and glass beads. They only take minutes to make, but removing the original lables takes forever. anyway - you may feel like making one so here's how to do it.

Start with a clean, dry glass jar.

Using a craft glue - I use Copydex, paint a wide band around the jar with the glue. I leave about an inch gap at the bottom of the jar and stop about two thirds of the way up. Now wrap the twine around the jar on top of the glue, pressing it firmly down as you go. Snip off the end of the twine when you have reached as far up the jar as you wish to go.

Paint another bans around the neck of the jar - probably about a centimeter wide. Wrap more twine three times around the neck of the jar and tie the ends in a double knot or reef knot to secure, leaving both ends of the twine long enough to hang to the base of the jar.


Thread a shell onto one end of the twine and secure into place with a double knot or reef knot. Now add a large bead to the end of both pieces of twine and secure on with a knot.


Monday, 28 October 2013

Wow - It's shocking to think that this is my first post since February. What have I been doing instead? To be honest, I'm not really sure. 

It's been a hectic summer or workshops, shows and day to day work, with an evening a week of youth club thrown in. And now, it's a hectic autumn of applying for jobs and driving around the country for interviews as my full time job is coming to an end at the end of the year.

I have one last driftwood workshop before the year is out. This time we'll be making driftwood Christmas trees and decorations. Again at the local marine education centre. So I have spent a fair bit of this weekend gathering driftwood, particularly as I was hoping the super storm would bring some ideal pieces of wood in with the tide. Fortunately, (although unfortunately on the driftwood gathering front), the storm was not as severe as predicted, so not a huge amount was collected.

But I did manage to catch a few stormy wave shots though.







Sunday, 10 February 2013

Lazy Sunday Afternoon Creativity

Yey! For the first time in absolutely flipping ages, I've managed to have a Sunday off that actually feels like a Sunday. That is, I've already had the Saturday off work rather than Sunday being my Saturday (if that makes sense) - in fact I've had the whole week off, which is probably why I felt so relaxed and inspired to be creative.

First of all I finally got around to making myself a new scribbling journal from an old French book I bought in a withdrawn from stock sale in the local library months ago. I just liked the cover as it was unusual and thought it would make a great notebook. Also I don't speak French and I'm not really that fussed about Columbus (Shackleton on the other hand would have been a different matter).

I needed to make a photo album for a friend a couple of summers ago and so another friend gave up an afternoon of his summer holidays from teaching to teach me simple book binding. Apart from the photo album, I've made a couple of small notebooks where I made the whole book including the cover and spine. This is the first one I've made to actually fit a pre-made cover.




Of course, obviously, I'm left with all the original pages from inside the book needing a new life.

I found several sites on the tinternet with instructions to make paper flowers, so that was a few pages used up and the flowers used to decorate my ever growing display / pile of driftwood in the front room.




So a few more pages used, but there were a lot of pages in the book), plus a rather ugly picture of C.C. himself).

What else could I make?

Last weekend, when not watching starlings, a group of us explored the mystic streets and magical ley lines of Glastonbury and spied in the window of one of the few shops not filled with rune, dream catchers and scary horned black wooly things, some rather pretty paper bird and butterfly mobiles. So here are my versions using, yep, you've guessed it, some pages from that French book.


These are really easy to make but quite effective (despite my photo's). Simply draw out the shape you would like on several pieces of paper and cut out. Using some of the scraps of paper left over, line up the scraps and cut out shapes as such. (the scraps of paper give you something to sew onto to create to stitched effect in the thread between the shapes).




Using a sewing machine and matching coloured thread,sew along the centre of all the paper in a continuous line. There is no need to secure the beginning of the sewing by reverse stitching as you will tie off the end afterwards. At the end, of all the paper, cut the thread and tie in an overhand knot to secure. Repeat this at the other end.

Carefully remove the unwanted scraps of paper by ripping away from each side of the stitches.

Hey Presto! You have a garland or mobile.





Friday, 8 February 2013

Cooking on a Candle

So, I survived Samba Band - and the Bailey's laced coffee and the pint in the pub afterwards (there seems to be lots of alcohol involved in playing Samba) or maybe this was just to stave off the cold as band practice is in one of the local churches which aren't the snuggest of buildings. Good fun and was volunteered to make up numbers on the largest sirdar? drum which makes up the bass rhythm and which only halfway through did people admit that they had been going for weeks and never had the nerve to give it a go - thanks for not mentioning that earlier!

Tonight I passed on an old bushman survival skill picked up in the outback to a group of teenage boys at the youth club (yep that's where I spend my Friday evenings). Should you find yourself lost in the wilderness and in need of sustenance all you need to create a meal from heaven is the following.

1 nightlight candle
1 box of cornflakes (or rice crispies)
1 bar of chocolate
A small aluminum foil pie dish - cup cake size
1 wooden peg
1 teaspoon
And something to light the candle with. 

Whilst out gathering tucker in the bush I find these things are readily available, especially if your walkabouts take you past the local supermarket.

Heat the chocolate in the foil dish over the candle - using the peg as a handle to stop burning your fingers. When it eventually melts ( and this could take sometime especially if it's cold) quickly mix in some cornflakes before the chocolate solidifies again and hey presto! You've made a chocolate crispie cake thing.

Yum Yum

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Big 40!

Five days ago I reached the big 40. At which, so they say, life begins. In truth, I've never been that fussed about age. Yes, admittedly, as a small child, I always wanted to be older, and there are moments where I would to return to nursary school where there was nothing more stressful than the sand pit to negotiate. But in general, age has always been just a number that plays no direct role in how I lead my life.

However, turning 40 has made me stop and think for a while. Not about getting old nor about my life being half way through (in fact isn't 50 the new 40?), but that somewhere along the line I seem to have lost the believe that nothing is impossible that I possessed at 19. With age comes increased responsibilities and an increased awareness that none of us are invincible, But surely, if anything, being 40 means that I am more confident and have more life experience, knowledge and skills to be able to deal with the new and unexpected more competently that I could at 19?

At 19, along with two friends, I caught a coach from London to the South of France, with £50 in my pocket and a plan to work our way to India. Weeks later, relieved of my money and my friends of their passports, and an epic 24 hour hitch hiking adventure through France, I caught another coach, alone this time, to start a new job in the Lake District. Just after my 20th birthday, I flew to Israel to meet friends (the same ones involved in the French catastrophe) where I danced in nightclubs with armed soldiers and swam with dolphins, picked peach blossom and joined the hundreds of sun burnt tourists floating in the Dead Sea. 

At 39, I tend to put things off until tomorrow.

So, at 40, I've decided to stop procrastinating and grab every opportunity that comes my way. Who knows where it may lead?

So far, over the past five days, I've witnessed the natural spectacle of a starling murmeration where hundreds of thousands of starlings flock together to roost over the Somerset Levels. The sheer number of birds flying over your head is almost too many to get your head around. 



Pulled apart an owl pellet. There's skulls and jaw bones and all sorts in there! 

Helped to coppice a hawthorn wood to provide new growth for dormice and this evening, off to try Samba band practice.

So much for growing old gracefully. I aim to grow old inquisitively.