I suppose it's inevitable but I am gradually turning into my mother. I used to think it was terrible when she refused to watch news on TV or read the newspapers. She said she couldn't cope with all the horrors and unhappiness. I'm beginning to feel that way myself - it seems that everyday there's yet another tale of child neglect and abuse, of terrorism and disaster. Our society seems to be broken and beyond repair. And then, without being trite about such things, we have a day out at a National Trust property and order is restored. The people you meet are so civilised, the food in the restaurant is local and organic and all of a sudden all is right with the world. I honestly think I could live in a National Trust shop - it's so wholesome and worthy. It may not be the real world but in many ways it's preferable!
This is the front facade of the house at Baddesley Clinton. It has had many additions since it started out as a farmstead.
Much of the present house was built in 1500 and is surrounded on all sides by a moat.
And there are several tranquil fishponds dating back to the 1400s when they would have been a useful source of food. Although it looks so peaceful now it has had its share of drama - home to 12 generations of one family for 500 years, the house was a sanctuary for persecuted Catholics in the 1500s and a number of secret hiding places still exist today.
After such a lovely day out, and with faith in human nature somewhat restored, I felt more positive and it was time to get to work back home. I have made a decision to paint all the birds that visit my garden. Not every individual bird you understand - just one of each variety. In preparation I started work on the wooden panels and why would anyone paint one when you can paint four or five almost as quickly? The paint is out and the brush is wet after all! Now they've had their undercoat of red acrylic paint they'll have two layers of gold metallic next. The red under layer glows through the gold to give lots of warmth to the areas around the birds. I've made a list of birds and it's a long enough list to keep me busy for quite a while.
If you're already a DMTV member you'll recognise the Banjara inspired quilt above. I'm pleased with how authentic it looks sitting on top of my old pine box. This was so enjoyable to stitch I will certainly make more. In fact I've already found out the fabrics I'll use for the next one. I warn you, it's compulsive!
It's very satisfying to finish something isn't it? I'm not the only one being productive though - Anne has recently finished her Creative Sketchbooks course with us and was kind enough to let me share a few images of her hand made sketchbooks with you.
She's produced some beautiful prints and put them to great use as pages and book covers.
Thank you Anne!
It's good to get out and about to recharge the batteries from time to time and this last week Laura and I also escaped the office to visit the current exhibition at Bilston Craft Gallery. If you'd like to see a few pictures please drop by her blog.
I'll write with more news soon. Thanks for reading - Linda