Sunday, 20 July 2014

From a little acorn

I have been having a day carving and printing just for fun. I decided to carve a little acorn from a square rubber, the kind you buy for a child in a stationery shop. I quickly sketched out an acorn from memory and then carved it out with the Lino tool.

Now the fun begins. Three fabric paint colours of red yellow and brown and a paintbrush. I can mix different shades of paler browns that resemble an acorn. I tried it on paper and it worked fine, a little bit blurry on the linen fabric.

On the left side are the pieces of printed linen, which were later sewn into two pincushions. The oak leaf and the acorn is the prize pincushion for the giveaway.

This is the teatowel for the giveaway.

This is the messy side of printing with all the bits of rubber cut away, mixing colours and then painting it on the leaf stamp. My finger ends covered in fabric paint. What is more astonishing, it was all performed on the ironing board. I was really just going to iron the fabric here. If I am at the ironing board I can look out across the shore and watch the sea coming in and the birds flying around and watch the hills and the sky changing. I feel like I am outside, high up from this upstairs window my view looks for miles over the estuary. So I stayed and printed there!

I played all afternoon. I printed on tags and other pieces of fabrics and used different colours. I discovered some lovely patterns and ideas fill my head. So my message is just enjoy, play and be the child and take pleasure from being creative. Then after a lovely time I do all the tidying up, cleaning and washing up of all the mess. I so enjoyed my afternoon. The fabric needs to dry and then be ironed to fix the paint. The next day I sewed the teatowel and pincushion for my lucky winners. I will make myself something another time with my printed bits of fabric.

I guess if you entered the giveaway you are waiting to hear the winners. All comments on 14th July names were included. I put all the names in a draw, my husband picked out the winner of the teatowel........MELODY. The pincushion is.........PONDSIDE. And an extra name was Katherine Thomas who I will send a pack of my cards to.

Thank you for the 19 comments, all your names were in the draw. I will post the three winners their prize as soon as I have your address, if you can please send them by my contact email, thank you.

If anyone would like to read a guest post I have written for Lin please go over to her blog, Lin's Creative Journey.... press this title on her page as there will be three parts, 2nd Tuesday and 3rd Wednesday. She is a talented calligraphy artist and teacher.

And as we have been enjoying some glorious weather I have been a tourist, riding on the steam train, going on the boat to Lake Windermere and to The Beatrix Potter gallery. Spending a lovely day out with my little five year companion from Scotland, drawing, feeding the swans and having strawberry scones at the Beatrix Potter tea shop. We made a scrapbook of our day. I once did this same trip with a class of thirty as our end of year school trip, very relaxing with just one and her mum.

And then a day sitting in the garden. Watching the sunset.

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend. See you soon. Millyx


Sunday, 6 July 2014

At snail pace!

In my garden I have a collection of snail shells, pale blue empty shells that I pick up on my walks and bring home and drop them into a plant pot. The cheeky birds have been playing amongst them and scatter them all around. I keep telling them they are empty! I just want them to draw. I pick them up every morning! Perhaps the birds are telling me to get on with it then. So I did.

My life seems to be going along a little at a time, a stitch at a time, a little bit of painting and a little drawing here and there, nice and slowly does it. I am realising I can get things done as long as I take it slowly, it feels rather like I am working at snail pace.

I have been working on some small projects, finally drawing those snail shells.

I deliberately just challenged myself with something small, postcard size. I sketched all three in pencil. My aim was to complete one a day.

Slowly I painted each one, a little at a time on the kitchen table, whilst those cheeky blackbirds are now in my tray of seaside finds, flicking the mermaids purse into the air and dragging off the bits of seaweed. Attention seeking behaviour, you have already been fed. The three postcard snail shells, using acrylic inks.

We have had some lovely sunny days. Each night the windows are open, each morning a moth has been on the wall. I am keeping my eyes open for the lovely Magpie moth which I love to draw each year. It reminded me I had one I needed to finish. I started to paint it on the front cover of this black paper sketchbook but my eyes were so bad and it never got finished. I worked on the black paper, then got carried away and painted a new moth.

Wouldn't it be fun to paint one on fabric, my head loves to throw up ideas!

So I sat outside in the sunshine and just went for it, just painted straight onto the little piece of linen. It was a little tricky but I like a challenge.

So my Magpie moth is now on wood, black paper book cover, a new painting and a piece of linen. Now I have just the thing, an idea how to use that linen. A bowl of newly washed sheep wool collected off the fence on the shore.

I will make a pincushion. But Before I put the fabric paints away I had a play with the alphabet stamps, now this has great potential, my head is spitting up numerous ideas.

DREAM IT THEN CREATE IT. The words I stamped on my new pincushion. Hand painted, then stuffed with wool I found and stitched by me. It is my favourite moth, really magical, going to help me sew beautiful things I dream up. Talking of sewing I have been working away at my initial E.

A stitch at a time. I printed this beautiful letter from a wooden block my sister gave me for a birthday present. Maybe another pincushion, a rather large one for all those sewing ideas that keep filling my head.

And just for fun, last year after I had eaten my cake I painted a moth on the cake box. Why not?
I think I am like a Magpie, always collecting. Please tell me I am not the only one, what do you collect? Leave me a comment telling me what you collect and I will pick a winner for a little Give away prize. Yes a hand printed tea towel and a pincushion....that is two names in a hat picked out Monday 14th July.
(Comments accepted by email if not a google account. drawingsfromnature at )
Thank you for the comments on last post, Anita lovely to hear from you.x
Just taken this photograph, 9pm, another lovely day here. Hope it is nice weather where you are too. And you have enjoyed your weekend. Millyx






Sunday, 15 June 2014

Having fun

All art work copyright Eileen Postlethwaite.

Inspired by a walk in the woods I decided to have some fun printing. It was a little area of an old ancient woodland which we entered as we followed one of the village footpaths. Once inside the wood we found lots of little well worn foot paths criss crossing through the trees to other parts of the village. As we followed several different paths we listened to the bird song and a loud screech of a Jay above us. There were lots of old oak trees, with trunks covered in moss. I picked up two green leaves off the ground and I found a beautiful brown feather possibly from a buzzard. I brought them home and decided to make a little block of the oak leaf to print with.

The new leaves were both green. I placed them next to one that has turned brown, a reminder of how many colours changes they have. I really love oak leaves and collect them on my walks throughout the year. I have so many drawings and paintings of my found leaves.
Art work copyright Eileen Postlethwaite
So I sketched an oak shape and carved it out of the Lino. Then I decided to try a hawthorne, so I chose a little leaf from the dish, do you remember this?They are still there, but of course the berries are looking very dull. So after I made A little Hawthorne leaf carved in the soft lino I couldn't resist a red berry. Yes I might just need to carve a red berry or two.
Art work copyright Eileen Postlethwaite
And as I take over the kitchen, I happily play with my newly carved leaves. I only had green and red printing ink, so I mixed them to make brown too.
It all looked fine so I wanted to try it with some fabric paint and a piece of natural linen. Everything from the printing needs washing and tidying first! Then I could move on to the printing on the fabric with a ready made brown fabric paint using the oak block.
Now for a couple of new tea-towels. So I sewed some new linen fabric and made two tea towels. I know I should have really washed the new fabric but I was so enthusiastic to print I just went for it. I will have to hope all is well. I dried it in the sunshine and then ironed it to fix the fabric paint.
I really love this, my values, simple, honest, authentic, and completely handmade. From me finding the leaf, carving the block and then hand printing it onto my hand made linen tea-towel.
And then I had to try my little Hawthorne leaf and berry too, inspired by my own drawings.
Art work copyright Eileen Postlethwaite
I have always loved these pretty little leaves and red berries. I saw a tree today and the little green berries are just forming. Here is one of my drawings I made several years ago, I have always like the simplicity of this composition. I have used these as my drawing subject so many times. Now I have a tea towel.
Art work copy right Eileen Postlethwaite.
Hope you enjoyed seeing my little fun project. Today i collected some pure white sheep wool off the shore all caught on the wire fence, I have it soaking in soap flakes and then a new pincushion project, maybe from the leaf prints. I do have a few other ideas to print and to try some different colours of oak leaves and an acorn to carve. It really is an enjoyable technique, In the past I have used a simple potato and a kitchen knife and made lovely prints.
Something else I have been doing was a few quick sketches of this little red and black Cinnabar moth. I found it on the ground and brought it home. A red and a black fine ink pen was grabbed and I had a few rough sketches as it moved around on my page.
Then a more detailed study in pencil.
It was a lovely moth, set free in my garden after I spent my hour doing this page. I will paint it soon. The real moth is pictured above and below, it just wandered around on my page, sometimes so still and quiet that I was able to do these little drawings of it.
I will leave you with the night sky, at 10pm on Friday. I love seeing the evening sky, so many beautiful colours.
The ash tree at the bottom of my garden, looking North west to the Lakeland hills.
The view from my window, looking west.
Thank you for your lovely comments. Hope you enjoyed seeing what I have been inspired with. What are you doing, have you made something handmade? i would love to hear. Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.


Saturday, 24 May 2014

New life

I am sitting watching the birds and they have been looking at my window watching and waiting for me to give them their usual scraps. We have two brown blackbirds with spotted chests, young birds that are getting really tame.

A cheeky blackbird or two, the usual sparrows and a blue tit. Some pretty collared Doves to name a few all fighting over it. A large magpie flew in yesterday which is not good news as they steal eggs from other birds nests. As we are so pleased to have found we have two nests in the garden, a Robin and a Wren, both sitting on eggs. You would laugh if you could see me trying to capture a photo of the birds feeding, way to quick for me! The photographer managed it.

Each time I have been for a walk I have found eggs, just there on the ground, some on the railway station, some on the shore and some on the road. A walk by a river and one through a footpath in the woods all had some egg shells on the ground. I collect them, wrap them in a tissue or whatever I have and hope they arrive home, some do and others are just crushed up pieces.

The tiny white ones with speckles of reddy brown belong to one of our smallest birds, the Wren. I found them at Kirkby Lonsdale. After sitting and enjoying the beautiful valley of the River Lune, famously known as Ruskin's View, we went down the many steps to the river walk. It was here on the bank I found the little white egg shells.

So I am going to watch and see if the Wren in our garden has a tidy up and throws the hatched egg shells out of the nest. I had hoped to draw them but my eyes are not yet allowing me to. It is taking time to adjust to my new glasses. But I did paint these last year, and enjoyed learning more about the shapes and patterns on lots of different eggs.

I really love the colour of this next egg found in the woods on Thursday. Two eggs obviously just been stolen from a nest as there was still fresh runny yolk inside one. The expert said it is a Song Thrush, now that would make sense if you had heard the beautiful birdsong in this wood. We had actually gone to see a Heron nest high up in the trees but we could not find it, I suspect the growth of all the leaves was making a thick green canopy and it was too hard for us to see. Someone shared her sighting of it and said you could see the young birds poking their heads over the nest. The Heron was seen flying up to the nest and gave it away where she had built and had her young. Never mind we discovered a new walk by a river and heard such a lovely bird chorus, all in the rain along with such big fat blobs of rain dropping from the trees.

Every year I marvel at the sight of a bird's nest, so delicately made and woven with their beak. We have seen so many this year in the hedgerows and on our walks, I have to say all spotted by the expert. My sister has a blackbird's nest with five blue eggs in her greenhouse, we can view it through the glass window as it is hidden behind plant pots. And then a dove sitting in her apple tree, on what looks like a flat plate of sticks, her nest. She had a Dove's nest last year and that is the white egg shell on my first photograph.

I have been collecting other shells, snail shells from on my walks. I love it when the brown outer skin peels away and blue and grey patterns appear. They seem to be everywhere and I have to stop myself collecting them.

Then we have found some new treasures on the shore at low tides. The sand is moved and shifted around and it uncovers pieces like this, oh I love finding them. I really am thrilled each time I wash the new pieces and see the patterns and the crackles in the glaze, more to add to my growing list of things to draw.


A blue sheen on the duck feather and a blue shell were my finds on a shore walk. See how good I am just collecting two things.

My two skeleton leaves from the garden, so many beautiful things catch my eye. My photograph of Ferns and bluebells and white bells. I managed to capture the big bumble bee visiting the flowers, it has been literally buzzing with them.

And I know you must be wondering if I have anything to show you that I have been drawing, yes I have, one of my favourites, the Lords and Ladies I found on a walk.

I saw so many wonderful specimens, a couple of fallen ones came home with me, stems eaten by snails.

And added to my zigzag book of the life cycle of the Lords and Ladies.

I had gaps in the pages so drawings had to fit the space.

The brown sepia study with a dip in pen looking good in my book alongside last years drawings.

And then some interesting sketches of the young green berries and the purple coloured finger, as I peeled back the skin and revealed the structure. I like them best when they are in their bright red clusters about September time. Sadly we have had some thunder storms and such heavy showers, this usually sees the end to many of the plants as they rot and collapse and the snails do the rest! I am keeping my fingers crossed there will still be lots that have survived and continue to grow and develop.


What wonderful sights and views we see living here, always changing ,and always amazing , one very atmospheric sky we have witnessed.

And a very pale blue like the colour of a bird's egg.

Thank you for the lovely comments, I do enjoy reading them. Millyx