Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Hydroponic windowsill crops

Returning to the subject of growing salad stuffs hydroponically, I have now set up a floating raft system for lettuce & rocket, and a couple of surplus tomatoes which wouldn't fit in the baskets outside have been put in a homemade hydroponic windowsill pot.

The floating raft has a small water pump adding oxygen to the water for the plants and liquid nutrients are carefully measured into the trough. The lettuce roots grow through clay balls which take up the water and nutrients from the trough. Hopefully in about 3 weeks they will be cropping on a cut and come again basis to keep me supplied through summer.

The tomatoes are suspended in 'Gold' growing medium which can be bought along with the nutrients etc from the hydroponicum website. I have a piece of wicking in the bottom of the pot which goes into the saucer and takes up the water & nutrients which are topped up on a day to day basis. This is a homemade and adapted plastic pot so we'll see if it works and whether the plants are getting enough moisture with the saucer not holding a huge amount of liquid.

Will show the progress of the plants as it becomes noticeable.

Friday, 21 May 2010

A hot day at Sledmere

It certainly was warm today at my Art In The Garden slot up at Sledmere. I did a lot of wandering around the grounds looking for inspiration but it was still a bit early for things to be blooming in the gardens, so whilst there was lots of greenery & beautiful trees, not so many flowers which I was wanting to paint. Anyway I got plenty of photos to work from and I found this very bizarre pink flying cow on a ceiling in the chapel!

Went to see friends in the Triton Gallery and have some of their work to show you here. Potter friend Penny has some new and wonderful English Setter sculptures, really enhanced by the amazing smoke firing crackle glaze effect.

Selina had her animal portraits as well as all these fabulous new collages of beach finds. She turns these bits of rubbish, collected on the beaches around Hornsea, into such unusual artworks.

Also exhibiting was Steve Dove who paints vibrant scenes of East Yorkshire and the coast, I really like his work. I don't think Steve has a website so not able to add a link. Their work is on display for another week.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Sledmere House - Art in the Garden

Tomorrow I am going to do my artist in the garden slot up at Sledmere. I'm really looking forward to it, guess I ought to take a sun hat as the weather is set to hold for at least the next 48 hrs.
This year I think I'm going to take some paints and pencils and just have a bit of fun and see how the mood takes me when I get there.

Some other arty friends are currently having an exhibition at the Triton gallery so it will be nice to catch up with them and see their new work.

I think summer has arrived!

I think it's fair to say it's feeling summery. When I went to Brid the air was heavy with the scent of rapeseed flowers, there seem to be more yellow fields than ever this year or maybe it just looks that way and more colourful as we've had such a long winter.

Today is the first time the thermometer in the house has reached 20 degrees during the daytime since about last summer, it didn't even hit that with the central heating on in winter. I should enjoy it whilst it lasts as we are only a month away from mid summers day and then the nights take off again and then I start thinking and worrying that cold weather is only a few months away!

On a more cheery note I have taken the plunge and thrown caution to the rats ruining my plans to grow things last year and I have planted some growing bags with potatoes, shallots, beans and cherry tomatoes which are coming along a treat outside.
Inside I have just started some peppers which I'm growing hydroponically in an acorn pot, all bought a couple of years ago when visiting the wonderful hydroponicum in North West Scotland.
Hope to get some salad leaves going in a floating hydro system soon, have a look at their site if you are interested in growing such things on a small scale indoors.

Textile exams over!

It's good to finish the exams although I didn't complete one of my projects. The neck piece with the crochet circles is taking more time to stitch than I expected, the picture you see of it here is where I got to in the exam so I will need to finish it at some point. I am cutting the holes away from the backing felt in the centre of each circle so that's a bit fiddly also but I think the lacy / holey effect will be worth it.

I did finish the purse with my embellished plants on the front and my own designed fabric on the back. I'm calling it a 'pod' purse as it is effectively a case for holding things, like a seed pod.

I think we will be expected to do some sort of written work following on from the exams and then hopefully in the month that remains I can catch up on some techniques I never got to try.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Textile exam 3 - preparation

Today I am continuing with prep for tomorrow's final exam. I have a neckpiece to do and a purse.
This is a flowery panel I have been embellishing for the purse and the other pic is the neckpiece. The neckpiece draws inspiration from plant cells and osmosis and I have created crochet circles to symbolise the cells.

Hopefully all will be finished in the next  48hrs!

Miffy, Snoopy & wool

I saw the Modern Art documentary last week about Matisse and was delighted to see Dick Bruna interviewed about how Matisse inspired the simple shapes and colours of Miffy. 
As a huge fan of Miffy I also realised that I didn't have the Miffy At The Gallery book so whilst in York yesterday I tracked it down in a shop with some fab retro cartoon character merchandise. I also couldn't resist these Snoopy badges for my Peanuts collection.

The 'wool' is some rather groovy thread which is made from recycled saris and I thought it would crochet up into some nice, colourful flower brooches.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Fabric - designed & printed

Here is some preparation for the final exam next Monday. I have designed this fabric from some rough sketches and it has been repeated and printed out on cotton. It is only at A4 size and done on an inkjet but hopefully it will be ok to use in a purse which I'm planning on making.

I have a piece of neckwear to do first in the exam and it's only a 2 hour session so I might be a bit optimistic thinking I can make a purse also but we'll see how it goes.

Textile exam 2 - finished piece

The piece of work I made in my textile exam on Monday was a wrist piece, made of the woven & embroidered fabric I made and also the felt I created and embellished. The 2 pieces were joined together and lined, with hook & eye fasteners. 
Here is the finished thing being modelled.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Japanese Sewing Circle workshop

The day of the course arrived and I was really looking forward to going over the Humber Bridge as not been over regularly since living on that side, weather not great for pictures as you can see.
The Ropewalk in Barton had really developed since the last time I was there, and now there was a lovely cafe too. Saw some fantastic arty gifts in the shop and picked up a few new ideas, lovely brooches, bags, ceramics etc.

The course was run by Wendy Chan and there were just 7 of us so you did get personal attention which was good. Wendy started us off with a traditional cup of Japanese green tea in the most lovely tea cups. We then set about our first fabric, origami style project of a little bird or crane as it was supposed to be. With hindsight I picked the wrong fabric to make the bird from, I chose some silky, difficult to sew fabric and it was tricky to fold, stitch and form the bird shape so my result shown here is a bit odd looking. We all decided that making it from cotton would be easier to crease and shape.

We then moved on to the next project which was a little daffodil shaped bag cum pouch, which traditionally would have lavender, pot pourri or even sweeties in it to give as a gift. I had more luck with this and was quite pleased with the result. Wendy had fat quarters which you could buy if you hadn't taken your own fabric and I bought the selection you see here as they were so pretty and appropriate for the gifts we were making.

Time seemed to pass really quickly after lunch and I just had time to start one other project which was a little brooch but I haven't finished that yet.
I came away with the instructions to continue on that.

It was a really great course and the venue was excellent, thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to try more of this Japanese style sewing of gifts.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Japanese Sewing Circle tomorrow

Really looking forward to a course I'm booked on tomorrow, it is a Japanese inspired sewing circle, happening at the Ropewalk Gallery in Barton on Humber.

The course will take inspiration from the Japanese tradition of Omiyage which means gift. We will be doing origami in fabric techniques using scraps of silks & cotton to create small gifts.
Hope to have some results and pictures over the weekend.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Textile exam 2 - preparation

On Monday I will be doing my next textile exam and I've just been doing some pre-exam embellishing. I made this piece of felt with natural coloured merino fleece with a few subtle hints of colour in there too. I have then embroidered a few flowers, couched a few threads and finished with a few beads.

This will hopefully, if all goes to plan on Monday, form part of a wrist piece. I quite like it how it is so I hope I don't spoil it when it starts to evolve into something else!

The other picture I'm posting is a basin which took my eye in Lakeland the other day, I thought some of the colours and flowers were similar to the embroidery I was working on so I had to buy it to bring it home to compare.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Boundary Cottage Eco Bakery - Burniston

A friend of mine had mentioned this place to me, where the lady makes bread in her shed, and it sounded intriguing so as I was in the Scarborough area yesterday I went to find it.
It's only about 10 mins north of Scarborough and very easy to find as they put a blackboard out on the main road in Burniston to say it's open.

The bakery is just open on a Thursday and Saturday, from 2pm.

You walk past the cottage at the front with its lovely flower boxes and down the driveway, past the piles of logs, to the bakehouse in the shed. 
Open the door and the heat and wonderful smell hits you, this is quite some shed! Inside is a fabulous wood burning bread oven, the shed is like a delightful little country cottage and the tables are lined with the mornings baking of breads, muffins, cakes, brownies etc.
The lady is most welcoming and encourages you to sample her wares, so with no further ado I dived in happily to some green olive bread, marmalade & apple cake, banana muffins, fresh strawberry muffins... yum! yum! It was all quite delicious and I look forward to visiting again sometime.

You can even have a tea or coffee too, well worth a visit.

Here are the pictures and the baking I bought.