Sunday, 23 May 2010

Wildlife in the Garden

I love seeing wildlife into the garden. We try to attract and support local wildlife, and put out birdfood, have a bird bath, etc. We've had a wide variety of birds (including an owl who was fond of sitting on our chimney pot and robins that are so friendly that they'll literally land on your shoe while you're gardening), hedge hogs, mice, a degu (very unexpected in this part of the world, but that's definitely what it was...we think it was an escaped pet.), rabbits, etc.

Right now, we have hundreds of tadpoles living in our paddling pool. It's been exciting seeing them grow from frogspawn into the large tadpoles they are now, and we're looking forward to seeing them turn into frogs. The girls have loved watching them grow and go check on them everyday. (You can hear Anya giggling in the background of the video of the tadpoles. She thinks they're funny, and both the girls like imitating the way they wiggle.)

There are also several frogs who are normally around the paddling pool enjoying the shade and water.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

More artwork

A lot of people have asked to see Jared's artwork, so when I did the last post on his wood carvings, I decided to go ahead and add some photos of his other recent work as well. For the past couple of weeks, he's been in a modelling class at school. He's sculpting a half-life size figure from clay working from a life model. He'd never done anything like this before, but I think he should be pleased with what he's managed to sculpt.

Here are some pictures of his sculpture taken in the studio.

Jared's Woodcarvings

I think I've mentioned before that my husband is a very talented artist. Right now he's a postgraduate student at the City and Guilds of London Art School studying historic and ornamental woodcarving. I just wanted to show off a few of his recent projects.

This is a work-in-progress. It's a copy of a hand clutching a scroll carved by Donatello (he's working from a cast of the original). It's carved in yew, and the hand is slightly larger than life size. I'm excited to see this one when it's finished.

I really love this acanthus. Jared carved it in lime, and it's a really lovely decorative piece. I'm really lucky to have this decorating my kitchen right now! (He does take commissions and has carved a lot of gifts for people as well, so we don't get to keep many of his pieces. It's exciting to watch the process and then get to keep it.)

This is a piece of lettering practice (his initials) carved in beech.

These two pictures are both of a strapwork carving in English brown oak. This is a copy of a fragment of an early 16th century Flemish carving.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

The Secret Post Club

This month I joined a kind of cool group called The Post Secret Club. Basically it's a group of bloggers. Each month you send a present to somebody in the club, and you receive a present from somebody in the club. It's a fun idea and a good way to get to know more bloggers (and get a pressie every month).

This month I sent my present to Audrey at Audrey's Country Crafts. I'd never visited her blog before, so it was nice to get to know her a little through her blog. It's packed full of crafty things, and has some great giveaways that you can enter.

I was also excited to receive my package. A huge thank you goes out to Jo at Arctic-Mummy for my new goodies. She sent me some Willie's Dark Chocolate (this is good stuff if, like me, you love dark, rich's great for baking with, especially if you want desserts that are very chocolatey, but not too sweet.) and The Help Yourself (and others) Cook Book. All of the proceeds go to the Ghana Education Project, so it's a cookbook for a great cause.

Now I'm looking forward to next month's Post Secret Club....

Monday, 10 May 2010

Furzey Gardens

Over the weekend we enjoyed a fantastic family day out at Furzey Gardens in the New Forest. It's a beautiful garden with breathtaking azaleas, wildlife, thatching projects, an art gallery, and a lake with lily pads. Goregous and very peaceful. What we really loved about Furzey, though, was that Furzey is a fairy land. That's right: fairies. All over the garden there's evidence of fairies: tiny doors in the sides of trees, miniature boats and bridges, fairy sized notic boards, etc.

The girls LOVED finding where all of the fairies live (and even got to see one up in the trees! They stayed very still and quiet so they wouldn't scare her off.). It was really exciting to go around Furzey Gardens finding all the secret little fairy spots. (Jared was by far the best at spotting them.) Miriam and Anya tried knocking at the doors, but most of the fairies were a bit shy. It was a lot of fun and Furzey really made a great family day out.

To see more pictures from Furzey Gardens, click here.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Fine Doodles!

A lot of people think that they have cool families. In my case, it's actually true. On my dad's side of the family, the family "business" is the CIA. I'm not even joking. On my mom's side of the family, pretty much everybody is an artist of some type: musicians, sculptors, etc. Pretty much everybody has the type of career that really is interesting, rather than the type of career where you politely mutter "oh, how interesting", and then try to get away as they start talking about how fascinating accounting is. (No offense to any accountants out there. I'm sure you're really interesting people.)

My cousin, Summer, is an artist and young mother who has started a very cool new company called Fine Doodles. Basically she recreates your child's drawing(s) into an amazing new painting. It's your kid's drawing, but turned into a piece of artwork that is beautiful, unique, and will last until your kid has kids of their own to admire their work. In short, the things are dang adorable. (The collage above is of kids' drawings and their re-imaginings as Fine Doodles.)

The really cool part is that I'm going to get one! The hard part is picking which drawing to choose. My house is overflowing with my childrens' artwork, and Miriam's pictures especially are really good. So I have to pick which picture to have transformed into a Fine Doodle. Maybe I'll put some options on here and see what everybody thinks...

To find out more about Fine Doodles, click here.