Sunday, 12 October 2014

Being Creative with Elderberries

 

I have been collecting some of the last Elderberries from the hedgerows. I wanted to capture them before they were gone. The weather has really taken a turn with many wet days. We have had some heavy showers and windy days which have blown the leaves and berries off their branches. The blackberries are over, red berries seem to be scattered over the ground and everything has started to change colour. Today I picked some blackened rosehips, still many bright red ones but this is how they will all soon end up looking once the cold and the first frosts arrive. The nights are getting chilly we are sitting cosy with a fire. So this is how it started with a bowl of dark glossy bunches of elderberries from the hedgerows.

I love the colour of the tiny elderberries and as they stain your fingers you see their rich purple colour. I remember my Dad making wine, we collected bags full that year, such tiny berries and when he squashed them there was so little and it seemed to me So much effort for so little return.

I started a little drawing in ink and a fine dip in pen. I didn't sketch it , just dipped in my pen and made this drawing by observing the details. I mixed my berry colour and used the brown for the stalks, using acrylic inks. Then I made my own elderflower ink. It all began when Claire left her comment.

After a lovely comment from Claire telling me she had made some ink with Blackberries and she thought I would enjoy doing it, my mind was thinking up lots of ideas. I would try making some ink with the Elderberries.

I squashed, cooked, sieved and made my ink, just a little from all those elderberries. It worked beautifully, see the writing on the pages behind , all done with my elderberry ink. My mind cannot stop there...Now what if I tried to dye a piece of fabric with it too, I had seen the gorgeous colour as I sieved it through a piece of loose weave fabric.

There was no stopping me now, off I went collecting more elderberries and I had such fun experimenting with this. Now I am no expert, I just added lots of salt and heated up the berries and then squashed the berries and added the cotton fabric. It felt really exciting as I saw my fabric soaking up the juices.

I then wound some threads to try too, some white cotton and linen thread.

Pink stained fingers and nails, lots of washing up and mess. I dangled pieces of dyed fabric and threads from the fireplace to dry and was eagerly waiting to see the results of my experiments. I will make a little sewing project and make something with it, I have some ideas. Unable to stop there I have been playing with other berries, some interesting results. I will stitch the lovely coloured fabric with the dyed cotton and linen, all from my elderberries. It felt so creative. Very inspiring and exciting to make something with them.

I kept a lovely branch of elderberries to draw in my square book, a little curled leaf and the berries.

I spent a lot of time drawing and carefully painting this one in my square book. I still have not completed the red berries I am doing but put this first.

I loved how it turned out. Drawing, ink, fabric and thread from the same berries which I picked from my village hedgerows.

 

After the high tides the shore was completely covered in sea water, we did have some grey and stormy days. I was so pleased to see how Saturday turned out and of course we went for a walk to enjoy the day.
High tides covering the estuary on Thursday.
And then yesterday......the beautiful view from my house on Saturday, as we went for our walk. The tide creeping in on this still day, love the colour of the sky, such a wonderful day to wake up to. Hope you all had a great weekend.
Hope you enjoyed seeing what I have been up too. I do love reading your comments, so thank you for taking the time to write. See you soon, Millyx

 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Blackberry Time

The hedgerows are full of blackberries, it has been such a good year for these lovely fruits. We went for a long walk and I took the chance to gather some before it is too late because they are ripening and will soon be past their best. They really do taste so delicious.

A pretty butterfly sitting in the sunshine.

 

They were not the only berries to be growing along the hedgerows. It is also time for all my favourite red berries. Guess what I am busy drawing.

 

Look at the glossy blackberries.

The wild rosehips.

And perhaps my true favourites are the Hawthorne berries hanging so delicate from the branches.

Maybe the last of the Lords and Ladies, don't worry Because I have been busy capturing some in my zig zag book. This fallen one came home with me.

While I collected blackberries and took photographs someone kindly carried my bag with drinks and snacks and my iPad. He patiently waited for me as I stopped every two minutes.

And even helped pick some blackberries.

As we walk higher we stopped for a rest and to look down at the village and the shore.

I love this view and the memories from my childhood days. We would climb this gate into the field and run down the steep hill and scream as we ran so fast and couldn't stop until we crashed into the gate at the bottom of the hill. It always makes me smile when I remember those days. Sometimes it was full of cows and calves and they would chase after us and make us run even faster.

 

I love the seedheads of the cow parsley, another favourite subject to draw.

You can see the Lakeland hills over the stone wall looking to the North.

The views of the quarry, where the stone is being reclaimed by nature, wild flowers and self seeded trees and bushes grow on the old waste stone tipped into large mounds forming this landscape on the edge of the moors.

The sky starts to look dark and we head for home.

Plenty of blackberries.

And my other objects collected along the way.

I made some jam, a great success. It really tastes lovely on toast.

And an apple and blackberry cake.

A pretty jar of my jam I gave for a present. A handmade gift with my printed tag and A little card with my drawing of a basket of blackberries I did some years ago.

And this week I enjoyed recording a pencil drawing of a blackberry.

And I was really pleased with this delicate painting in my square book of a single blackberry. I used my acrylic inks and a very fine paint brush.

We have been so lucky with fine sunny days and a very warm September. Plenty of walks and so much inspiration along the hedgerows.

 

On our way home we go past the cows in the field. Through the old kissing gate and along the cart track leads up to where we have just been, with the moors high above.

Thank you for your comments which I always enjoy reading. I will leave you with this lovely sky I captured last night. Back to my red berries which I am drawing in my square book. I will share with you next time. Hope you enjoyed the walk and seeing what I have been doing. Millyx

 

 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

September Walk on the Moors

This week we have seen some high tides along with the full moon.

We decided to go for a walk on the moors and I packed a picnic and took my iPad to take photographs to show you where we went. Lots of people comment they enjoy seeing the countryside and views of where I live. So we started by walking uphill on the narrow road which leads to the moors.

 
 

It is a steep road and has a deep drop on one side with a fast flowing river and this waterfall, it flows straight down to the sea. We are going to follow it's path to where it begins, it's source.

This is the point where we left the road and the shelter of the Hedgerows and trees behind on this warm day and begin to enter the moors.

 
My husband gets to carry the bag. Whilst I have fun using my iPad and photograph this beautiful Butterfly.
 

I captured both the butterfly and then the harebells on the banking of the old cart track.

The slate quarry is across the moor and every road and field around here is built from the local grey stone. The ground has many large boulders and you will see them in the river too, all shapes and sizes.

All hand built many years ago from the stone, some of the walls are now buckled and collapsing. Can you see them to the right as they weave their patterns up and over and across the steep hills.

A glance back to the sea from our high vantage point.

The river twists and curls on it's journey.

We cross the river over the ancient footbridge made from huge slabs of stone with a layer of sods and turf over the bridge. We used to play here as children and walk underneath the bridge as we paddled in the river. The boys would build a little dam in the summer time. We saw several small trout dart in the clear fresh water.

 

The pretty yellow gorse grows here alongside the purple heather.

Someone found another black feather for me. The collecting begins!

 

Some glimpses of the river and how it bends and twists in this valley.

 

 

Lovely fresh ferns growing by the river. And more found feathers.

 

 

 
 

A surprise to find this foxglove still flowering.

 

The river starts to narrow and the ground becomes more like marsh ground with wet mossy plants and reeds.
 

 

 

A single tree on the whole of the moor, not another one in sight. We can see the wind mills now. I am not a fan of these twelve structures and there are plans for replacing them with much larger and higher ones.

The river is little more than a trickle as we gain height and are at the area where it begins to form.

 

Time for a sit down and something to eat and drink. A favourite place by the big stone.

Memories as I look at the carved initials of two teenagers, many many years ago, who married and have shared their lives living here.

The heather is a lovely shade of purple at this time of the year.

Food tastes so good outdoors after a long walk. And then we turn around to head in the direction we came from. Back down the valley.

 

When we were young we picked the bilberries from the moor, not quite ready as they ripen to a dark blue.

Plenty of wild life up here. We saw a buzzard and a kestrel hawk. We disturbed a flock of pheasants. More feathers found here. And I saw a newt and this black beetle.

 

Lovely views from here. So quiet and not another person anywhere.
 
 

And feeling hot and a little weary I couldn't resist a paddle and a rest with my feet in the cool refreshing water. Whilst someone made a mini dam. Simple pleasures.

 

 

 

We had a lovely day out. The weather has been so nice and warm here, we are making the most of it. I hope you are all enjoying your weekend.

 

I washed my pheasant feathers and will show you my drawings next time. Thank you for the comments . Hope you enjoyed the walk. Millyx