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A Gardeners Crafting Diary May 2024

Updated: Jun 2

After the coldest April I can remember with a blanket of constant grey skies, it is so therapeutic and uplifting to get some sunshine! There hasn't been much crafting as Etsy is really quiet and the garden is very busy! I want to make new things but the inspiration just isn't there at the moment. I have been concentrating on writing my new book, which is a collection of 12 stories, each to be illustrated with decorative borders, written and illustrated to get the mind wandering and wondering!

Wednesday 1st May

Watermelon and lime juice
Darkside ladybird!
Look at this chap, he's so shiny he must be box fresh! I took this photograph as I loved the gnarly, rusted framework in contrast to the pristine-looking bug! The shadow on his butt makes him look like he has a startled, shocked expression on his back.

Friday 3rd May

Log burner
Mr Blue Sky
Do you remember, as kids, how the Spring clouds used to look like this?
I don't know about you but as it 'warms' up I like to stock up of natural coconut oil. For about 20 years I haven't used sunscreen, (burning chemicals into your skin just doesn't sit well with me!). Instead after a day in the sun I put coconut oil in my hot bath water and soak. Its a bit stingy getting into hot water if you're sun-kissed, but the soothing coconut oil soon puts a stop to the sting. The combination of hot water and the oil means your open pours absorbs both, preventing your skin from drying out and flaking off. I find in two days my pink bits go brown and glow all healthy. Another way it to have a shower, then with the water still running rub coconut oil into any burnt bits. Soaking in it is far more effective, but the shower way works well, it just takes a little longer for your skin to absorb it! If I have been out in the sun I also use coconut oil in the morning, neat straight on my skin as a top up from the night before soak.

Tuesday 7TH May

Black tulips and apricot wallflowers
Stepping up a gear at doodling
I have decided to draw decorative borders for my new book, and so I have been drawing lots of small tiles and trialling different ways of using colour. I have been considering keeping the drawings as just lines so they can be coloured in by the reader. This is only a little idea at this point, as I would need to consider what sort of paper books are printed on. It would be no good if some pens bled through to the other side!


Thursday 9th May

Orange and cerise wallflowers

Rabbit Juice
For the last few months we have been enjoying the benefits of juicing, but doing it on the cheap. Carrot and orange go together well, and apple and cucumber pair up nicely and we have both of these juices (with herbs from the garden) each week. Stella loves the apple, pear, rosemary and cucumber (all rabbit friendly ingredients) and pokes her head right into the glass, coming out with juice all over her whiskers.


Sunday 12th May

Happy Hen
Spring colour!
This is one of my newly planted flower beds, where I have used yellows and purples. We had an old broom that died, but before it did it made lots of little brooms. It is the first time we have had broom babies, suggesting the plant must have known it was on its last legs. The original was a fabulous rare colour, with each flower having maroon, orange and yellow. The babies have all come out in different colours, one is apricot, a few are various maroons with pinks, several different yellows and everything in between. So far I have found about 15 little brooms and now have the task of relocating them. These two yellows are well established and I plan to grow them as standards- a straight long trunk with a crown of blooms on the top.

Wednesday 15th May

Pretty flowery stickers
Designing illustrations
The following photographs show the illustrations for some of my little stories. Until the book is finished I am not giving any clues as to what is about. The photos are a little rough as I haven't got the designs internet ready yet. I need to make the images smaller and add a watermark. This will protect the drawings from being copied but in this condition they are unusable. This drawing of a loon shows the basic outline of shapes ready to be filled in with 'Zentangle'


Friday 17th May

Curiosity shelf from a hazel tree

Sand dunes and a pottage
These two illustrations are for two stories, called 'Land of the Glass Shore' and 'The Land of Perfumed Spires'. Zentangle is a style where wonderful images can be created by drawing structured patterns. I first started drawing in this style in 2011, but in a lesser uniformed sort of way. Although these two aren't strictly Zentangle, most of the illustrations are.


Saturday 18th May

William Morris matching bedding from Asda

Zentangle Patterns
This illustration is for the story 'Land of the Echo Call'. Although some of the drawing is clearing telling a story, with the white roses at the front, the top is showing shapes filled in with different lines, simple Zentangle patterns, with some areas left blank. Once it is coloured in the blank shapes will have colour, as will the lighter patterned Zentangle shapes. Some parts will be left white, which will really pop off the page. (I have distorted the colours here as the illustration isn't internet ready!)

Monday 20th May

Blue and white pom pom draft excluder

I am so pleased with this wrapping paper I found in Lidls. It's my preferred place for gift wrap as they do great designs on long rolls and it's cheap as chips, so when I find a nice one I bulk buy. This photo shows a parcel ready for its protective wrap and address labels before being posted. I had trouble matching a ribbon as none of the seven colours I use, (cream for the honey gift wrap, purple for the lavender wands etc), but then I remember I had this brown. Although it isn't a perfect match, it certainly does the job!

Wednesday 22nd May

Trimming a pom pom
Lantern plant pots
This plastic fish bowl has been covered in tissue paper, and was originally designed to be a lantern. They work well and look fabulous either indoor or outdoors. This bowl was on my cluttered kitchen windowsill and when tidying I popped this mint plant into the bowl. Da Dahhh! It is now a great plant pot holder and I will make some more for other kitchen windowsill herbs!


Thursday 23rd May

Lemon cut so the juice stays fresh

Golden oldies!
I needed to refresh my memory on how I drew certain things, and came across some old doodles from 2016. I did several themed series, this one is mechanical fish, bees, owls, spiders and a hen. Going through all of my drawings I am shocked as to how many I have, 3 portfolios full, from large A1 to small practise tiles. Each mechanical design have very subtle colourings to not distract from the drawing.


Saturday 27th May

Fluffy bunny butt

Having drawn all of the illustrations for my new book, I now need to colour them in. I have been doing test tiles in my journal so have a good idea of how I want them too look. In case I make a mistake I have scanned all the drawings so I can reprint one if I colour them wrong.

I was messing around with a recent photograph of Nigella using Photoshop and it looks just like a watercolour, I'm so easily distracted!


Thursday 30th May

Bright coloured bowls

Bowl collector!
I sudden realised I may have a bowl problem! I absolutely love a nice bowl, and find we use them more than plates. The majority are 'rice bowl' sized, collected from various cheapo shops, (where are we going to be without Wilko!), and a couple are gifts from abroad.

As it is nearly June, can we expect some blue skies, warm days and sunshine?

You have just read 'A Gardeners Crafting Diary May 2024'!


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