Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Leaping Lords & Piping Pipers

Two month's worth of ATCs in two days!!! I like it. I am being very organised this month and have already made October's 12 Days of Christmas ATCs as I foresee next month being very busy (lots of birthdays and secret projects for friends to be made.)
First up is this month's offering, '10 Lords A Leaping'. I decided to go with a different technique (sort of) this time, as I felt that the pieces were too small for felt which has been what I previously used; instead choosing to just do the stitching side of it, making it more exciting and textural by adding a layer of batting to the underside of the fabrics so it has a quilted appearance.

I think my Lords look rather dashing in their tunics, pantaloons flapping gaily as they leap around.

The eleventh day of Christmas is of course 'Pipers Piping'. As I had enjoyed making the leaping Lords with the stitching and quilting technique, I thought I would have another go for the Pipers. I don't think this is as successful as the Lords, maybe because there are more lines of stitching to take in or the background colours, I don't know. But I am still quite pleased with them and of course they have the added bonus of beading. One for his feathered cap, three for his pipe, a row of sparklers to edge his cape and four to jingle on the end of his shirt.

Only one left to go then I will have a full set!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Elvis Goes To Southover Grange Gardens

Today Elvis and I took a trip to Lewes. It was primarily because we had a dentist appointment which neither of us enjoy- the actual lady is very nice and doesn't seem to want to drill holes in me as much as my previous dentist did, but the whole ordeal of having sharp pointy objects poked around in our mouths is just not pleasant. Still, it went very well. Both myself and Elvis have beautifully clean and tidy teeth and are not needed back until a year's time. Huge sighs of relief all round!!

As a treat to ourselves we first went for a coffee at a nearby cafe and then wandered down to Southover Grange Gardens which is a walled garden in the middle of Lewes. It has quite a long history and dates back to the 16th century, even the Queen (although she was a Princess at the time) planted some trees here when she visited in 1951.

To enter the gardens you walk through a pretty nondescript archway and down a dark path through some trees, which opens out into a big open space dotted with trees and benches.

This time of year everything starts to turn orange/red- a definite sign that Autumn has or is arriving.

The house (or Grange) is built from stones taken from the nearby ruined priory, and there are elements of old priory walls, windows and doorways all through the gardens.

The Winterbourne stream divides the garden into two halves, although it is mostly dried up now and slowly filling up with plants.

There is a beautiful rose garden with all colours, shapes and sizes of roses in, as well as other beautifully coloured flowers.

Elvis tried his hand at being a flower fairy, although he is maybe a little too piratical to be a fairy?

Careful you don't get caught up in the mahoosive spider web Elvis!! (I dread to think of the size of the spider that made this web!!)

At one end of the 'stream', Pampas grasses line the edges, their feathers blowing gaily in the breeze.

Turning a corner into a new part of the garden this glorious sight caught our eyes. What amazing colours!!! It's like a painter gone mad in their studio, throwing brightly colour paints around that are splodging on the walls. So many different tones and textures- Dahlias, Dahlias everywhere! Big and little, floppy and tight, neat and sprawling, like floral fireworks.

It really was the most amazing combination of shapes, I went a little mad taking photos of them all and Elvis was so overcome he was hopping from flower to flower in a very gleeful fashion.

I might actually have to paint some of these photographs, to try and capture the petals and colours and light.

We really had to drag ourselves away from the Dahlia bed as there was still more of the gardens to see.

We followed a little pathway along the stream edge, looking at the very structural, brown leaved plants against the flopsy highly textured and multicoloured plants. The leaves below obviously couldn't decide what shade of green to be so just gave up and used them all.

Even the trees were beautiful. The gorgeous snowy white silver birch, and a sort of red version which was Elvis's favourite.

You can even see Lewes Castle from the gardens.

Can you spot Elvis in these three photos? He is trying to hide whilst I photograph long forgotten parts of the gardens. I think this used to be a doorway but has been blocked up and some kind of inscription installed instead. It is a little weather beaten now though.

I think that these windows are the most complete sections of the Priory left, beautifully ornate carvings in the stone. You may need to zoom in to see Elvis in this one.

This chap looks a little shocked don't you think?

On our way out again, Elvis spotted something shiny in the long grass. On further inspection it was a conker which sparked a long conker treasure hunt. They truly are like little treasures to be found. I don't know what it is about them, the smoothness, the shinyness, the wood-like textures... It is such a thrill to find one, especially one of the really big round ones. A couple of conkers seemed very keen to be taken home by us as they quite literally threw themselves out of the trees and into our path.

This one was still in it's spiky jacket and had to be peeled carefully out. Oh Elvis, is it comfy in your conker shell bed?