Monday, 23 September 2013

Out and about and back home again

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


  1. I turned into my mother too! It is astonishing. I remember her running to turn off the news especially when it had to do with something terrible happening to animals. When I was much younger I would scoff at such behaviour. And now I often do the same thing. I grapple with allowing myself to be joyful and in a world that, as you said, seems so broken. But allowing myself to believe in my drawing, quilting and painting is helping - your Sketchbook course, which I finished last year, the Creative Quilting course and your various blogs have and continue to provide inspiration and joy. Thank you!

  2. You are not alone... I sometimes just close my eyes or look to my sleeping cat, when the new at the TV gets too bad. I am so sorry for people that are hurt, but it doesn't help them if I watch it.
    On the other hand, we are (Dutch) members of the English Caravan Club and The National Trust, which makes a good combo. We like visiting the different properties and love to have tea with something sweet or savoury in their tearooms.

  3. I knew I was becoming my mother when I had a child and opened my mouth and...there Mom was! I haven't watched television news in years (in fact, I no longer own a 'telly' -- just use my computer for The Quilt Show and DMTV and things like Royal weddings that are joyful)...I look forward to your next bird series on those glorious red panels. Bless you!

  4. I turned into my mother about 10 years ago, when I was going to a 60s party. I went to the hairdresser and asked for a 60s cut. As I sat in front of the mirror, and the stylist took the curlers out of my hair (yes, really!), I looked in the glass, and my Mother looked back at me! Scary! and true!