Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Happy New Year

Today brings a new year. 
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year filled with peace and kindness.

A few weeks ago I walked past this lovely old oak tree.  Then last month when the leaves were brown and falling I found a single acorn on the ground, I picked it up and looked at it, your coming home with me I said. Unable to resist I climbed the wooden gate and dropped down into the wood.  It is like entering another world, leaves crunch and twigs send out loud cracks as you walk through the wood.  Whilst my acorn is held softly in my hands so not to harm it.  I had a special place where I wanted to draw it.  My handmade book I created to draw and record my home made inks.

First page of my book of drawings from my own homemade inks
Eileen Postlethwaite
I  like small things, they surprise you, as size means nothing when you know the potential and power that little acorn has.  As  I  look up into the spreading branches of the oak and know this tree started life as a tiny  acorn.
I once  planted an acorn and now it grows behind my house,  last year was the first time it had acorns and this year the first time it had oak galls but each year it gets stronger and grows some more.

I made ink from the oak Galls  and used it to draw oaks.
Eileen Postlethwaite

I decided to draw acorns and oak leaves,and  because of my love of brown inks make my own.  This picture above shows my drawings using my own ink made using some oak galls I found.  A dip in pen and my ink records oak finds......... a little piece of magic as my natural ink  records nature. All found in my own village.
As I have slowly watched my book fill up, a little at a time.  I have used plants and flowers and berries and seeds to make different colours to draw with.  Just as nature takes its time,  I have to wait patiently until things are ready, each season brings something new.   During 2019  it has been  so exciting finding different colours from nature.

New Years Eve....the sky at sunset.
Eileen Postlethwaite
Nature constantly surprises us with  colours. To end the year this was the sunset from my bedroom window.  What a way to end the year.....better than any firework display.

Snakehead Fritillary flowers in my garden,  looking forward to seeing them again soon.
Eileen Postlethwaite

And I have just planted some more tiny creamy coloured bulbs to grow and add to the  snakehead frillary flowers already in my garden.  Small things have such  potential to make beautiful things happen.  I often see my drawings and realise in my own little way I can send and share my love of nature to so many people and  make a difference. 

Wishing you all a Happy New Year.  Perhaps we could all spread some peace and kindness for 2020. 

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Sunshine and flowers

Hello.  It is beautiful weather here and we  are enjoying being outside and  going for walks around the village. The verges and  hedgerows are full of wild flowers, it is so lovely to see so many wild flowers thriving in this changeable weather we have experienced over the last few months. It is hot and we are not used to it!   Then  it can turn so cool and oh dear, can it rain here in the English  Lake district!  So as it is now officially Summer,  it is lovely to have some sunshine.

eco printing with flowers from my garden  by Eileen Postlethwaite
I have been capturing colours with different flowers  from my garden.  I did this last year and experimented with different coloured flowers.  It was trial and error, as I sat and rubbed different flower heads and squeezed the colours to create an image.

Lace capped primula  on paper by Eileen Postlethwaite
 I tried whatever flowers were in my garden, some worked beautifully and others not so well. I used a pebble to roll across the flowers,  and I  become more aware of  what techniques worked.  How much  pressure to apply and more aware of the different types of  paper to use to  create a better image. First I used a watercolour paper then tried  other various papers, the best way is to just experiment and play to discover what you can use.

Now its time to try the process on fabric by Eileen Postlethwaite
    After a lot of  different coloured flowers and many skills learnt I  felt like I was capable of moving on to fabric and chose a cotton handkerchief which was new and unused.  I placed the cotton between two sheets of paper and decided to use a metal soup spoon to rub these delicate flower heads.

peeling back the top layer of paper was really exciting, by Eileen Postlethwaite
    It was a slow careful process as I rubbed a single flower at a time, sitting at the table. I had to be careful not to move or brush across the flower heads.  It actually took about four hours to complete but the moment I peeled back the paper was really exciting.  These were all done last summer so I had to try again this year.  I  decided to go bigger and not just small flowers but try the whole plant, so here we go.  A hammer was used to carefully bash the stalks and leaves and flowers, a small headed hammer and the same techniques.  It all takes time and patience to achieve a good result.  It is exciting to try diffrerent plants and discover what works well.  Have a go and see.

eco printing by Eileen Postlethwaite 
  I really love using nature for creative work. I have also been making natural dyes and  my own nature inks to draw with.  I am drawing with my home made inks and again it so exciting to discover colours using my own garden plants,  hedgerow  berries and seeds.

elderberry dyed fabric by Eileen Postlethwaite

The dyed fabrics will be made into something.  Do you remember my little miniature quilt from Elderberries? sadly it faded to a paler version, as many natural dyes do.  I  still enjoy dyeing and discovering colours and sewing them.  My lovely hare drawing on the pincushion,  watching me as I sew. 

using my own homemade inks to draw with by Eileen Postlethwaite
  I am using my own  homemade inks and have been working  on some new  drawings using only my new colours of  ink.   It  feels so me,  using my local colours,  from picking berries, making inks and  using them recording natural objects  I have found on my walks. In this fast world it is good to slow down and use a dip pen and  quietly work at my drawings,  slowly and carefully, no rush just take my time recording my found objects. 
 Can you imagine the feeling of  using your own inks to draw with?  Here I used my Elderberry, and Walnut made in 2016,  the sycamore is from an elderberry made back in 2015.  I am always  full of ideas and inspired by where I live.  When a peacock butterfly appears on your curtain one morning.

a visitor delighted us with her beauty on the living room curtain.  Eileen Postlethwaite
Last Friday evening we walked on  the shore and my daughter took this photograph just before the sun went down. I think it speaks for itself.  We have had such beautiful sunsets.  It is nice to share.  

photograph  by my daughter Jane Postlethwaite 30 June 2019 

I hope you enjoy seeing what I have been doing.  Let me know what your project is and if you have been creative, I would love to hear.  
Bye for now  Milly.x
Eileen Postlethwaite

Saturday, 1 June 2019


So happy to be writing a post . I hope you enjoy reading it.
  Hello.  I walked to the bottom of my garden to see what was growing and I was delighted to find my foxgloves flowering. I have scattered wild flower seeds and Woodland plants and letting it become even  more of a wild garden. This is going to be an exciting year watching what happens and seeing how many different varieties grow. The garden has been full of butterflies on sunny days. the birds sing each morning and it is so lovely to know we have birds nesting in our garden, two blackbird nests with eggs all safely hatched and playing in the shrubs and hedges.  Our bird box has also attracted a great tit nesting and raising a family,  We were delighted after hanging the box  three years ago, we have seen the two adults busy feeding the young.  One day as I was hanging the washing out I saw a little head peep out !

natural colours from my eco dyeing. Eileen Postlethwaite
My washing line has also been used to hang up my experiments with natural dyeing. These are some of the lovely colours from plants hanging out to dry, from last summer.  I have also been using lots of different  berries and plants to make my homemade inks. 

One of my favourites Blackberry.Eileen Postlethwaite
I really love working like this, collecting the berries and making the ink and then drawing with my homemade colours.  It is so exciting drawing blackberries with ink made from my own village hedgerows.  I will share some other colours and drawings using my inks over the year. 

found acorns in ink and dip in pen. Eileen Postlethwaite
During the last few months I have been recording some of my finds.  I have been drawing leaves and acorns and my favourite Magpie moth. the moth was painted on a recycled box, our porridge box which has lovely parchment coloured card once you turn it inside out!  I can't think of a better way to recycle than use it to paint a beautiful Magpie Moth. 

Some of my finds...A recycled box adorned with My favourite Magpie Moth. Eileen Postlethwaite

Last year I contributed to a wonderful project by printing over a hundred Moths for the " Moth Migration Project" by  Hilary Lorenz , you can read about it HERE  .I carved and printed my designs and posted them to the USA .  We  received a certificate and personal thank you from Hilary Lorenz from the USA, who is exhibiting over 20,000 Moths.  I was just one person along with so many others from around the world who contributed,  so pleased I did.

collecting shells at the beach .  Eileen Postlethwaite
Walks on the beaches have been blustery and cold during the winter months.  Just the thought of going to the sea inspires me.   I always find so many natural objects, then I arrive back home and  get out my big box of coloured pencils to record the pretty pastel shades.  A rainbow of colours on a winters day. they are tiny simple shells but I love collecting them and drawing them.  Of course I never  stop at shells....feathers, seaweed, mermaids purses, oak leaves, pieces of blue china, sea glass......all sit in dishes waiting! 

Amazing sunsets, evening sky in the  Duddon Estuary, 

Waiting and dreaming of Springtime and the thought of my beautiful Snakehead Fritillaries filling the garden.  And once again the snowdrops push through, then the daffodils and primroses and violets.
violets in my path make me smile
 And then they arrive, fragile and so beautiful, hundreds of tiny chequered heads, the Snake head Fritillaries,   everyone planted over the years from tiny white bulbs. I wander down just to sit and look at them and then choose one to draw.

my beautiful fritillary garden
  A study of one of the flowers,  each one seems to have different patterns.  I had pink shades and lots of white ones too and even some with double heads.  I love their elegant shapes and the way they droop their heads and the leaves create movement.

drawings by Eileen Postlethwaite

beautiful patterns on my favourite flower

Time seems to pass so quickly,  but gladly it seems a slower pace here in our little village.  The  other weekend we were reminded of a different time when things were slower and handsome steam powered trains travelled along the railway lines and passed through villages and people waved at the train and the passengers waved back with smiles from one to another. I think everyone would agree for a few moments we captured the spirit of  that age, as I also captured some photographs to share with you. I  hope my blog makes you smile and you find the time to send a little message back, it would be lovely to hear from you wherever you are.

The Steam train approaching our village station. they always pull the hooter and spit out the steam to delight us all.

Train whistle blowing. 

And I will leave you with another beautiful sky...the colours of my pink foxgloves.

Have a wonderful weekend.
see you soon

Milly x

Eileen Postlethwaite 

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Nature delights as she starts a New and Wonderful year.

Each day I wander down to the bottom of my garden to see the snowdrops.   From the muddy leaf covered ground once again they appear, peeping green shoots.  In no time  the clumps of white buds open their petals and show their pretty flowers.  I wonder if they know just how pleased we are to see them.  I picked a handful and placed them in the kitchen window, each time I wash the dishes I marvel at their clean white petals.   It is magical how they appeared  again on time, when we so needed to see some sign that spring is on the way.  Today I felt so happy to see all my bulbs growing, the first yellow daffodils flowering,  blue and white crocus starting to open.   I planted lots of new bulbs last Autumn and feel like a child waiting for them to flower.

 My fritillary are coming on well and I even noticed one has got off to a fast start showing a bud already.   I have been sitting drawing in front of the window so each  time I look up I can see the view across the shore to the Lakeland hills.  Our lovely view, always changing, always so inspiring whatever the season.  Rainbows and sunsets and blue sky,   as I need to remind myself of the promise of more  colour in these gloomy grey days of winter.

There is always a pot of gold  here, natures treasures to find.

Beautiful sunsets to end the day.

The blackbirds are pulling out moss from the lawn and flying off into the Ivy with  their beak full of moss and grass.  A nest is being build!  The birds are singing.

The primroses are coming too along with all my memories of childhood collecting them along the hedgerows.  Now I only pick them from my own garden and enjoy seeing them on my walks because sadly they are no longer as plentiful and common as when I was a child and they grew in huge clusters and nobody minded you picking a bunch or two.

This is one of my favourite views, I always stop and stand  and look down across the estuary leaning on the wooden gate.  This place is so special,  I have spent my life here and I am so lucky to have been born in such a beautiful environment.   Just as the snowdrops  grow like a miracle each new year,  I am hoping there will be another.

There is a sadness that it may be blighted by huge, well no giant metal pylons to carry electricity to the national grid from a proposed nuclear power station up the coast.  They have proposed to build the route around the estuary and across the village and along this side of the estuary. On New Year's Eve I made a banner  which I painted, " NO PYLONS  .  SAVE OUR BEAUTIFUL DUDDON ESTUARY.   NO PYLONS ".   We placed it on the shore between two fence posts .  It was a day when people came together to make their feelings heard and walked from two villages to  gather here.   I wrote a letter with my feelings,  along with many others, it would certainly have a great effect on our lives and on our well being if it is allowed to happen.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

A simple Country Christmas

Wishing you all A Very Happy Christmas Time.

The mantelpiece has been decorated with Ivy collected from my garden. The hyacinths are putting down roots into the water and the green shoots are growing well. The holly was picked but no berries to see but I can add some in my drawing. I did find a few red berries left by the hungry birds as they have feasted each day on the cotoneaster bushes. I popped them into the glass lanterns to decorate the white candles. A few favourite little decorations and my lovely angel cards, collected from past years and brought together for this little celebration of Christmas. The twinkling lights make it all feel magical and cosy and it feels like my home.
Nature features, seedheads of white Honesty, growing bulbs and green branches, a fir cone and the holly and Ivy. And a bowl full of brightly coloured glossy red apples.
I made some little stars with twigs and a red wreath with woven twigs I twisted into a circle. This is how Christmas feels for me, simple,honest, homemade and using nature just as my mum did. I remembered how she placed holly over pictures and it all looked so pretty and special and how we all helped decorate the real tree.
I painted a holly leaf, looking at the shape and glossy greens and thinking of times gone by. I know where there is red berried holly in the hedgerows but I will enjoy seeing it as I wander though the lanes. I love the red berries in the hedgerows, one of my favourite subjects to draw.
I won't have to wait much longer to smell the sweet hyacinths, such a welcome flower to remind us of the joy of growing and the pleasure we are given with the perfume that fills a room and greets us in the morning.
Simple pleasures, I try to remind myself how grateful I am to live in the countryside and know the joys and beauty that surround me. It seems my pictures do not want to be displayed so I will leave you with just words, my words and thoughts for now. And a promise I will post soon.
It does not seem long now until Spring will arrive, the snowdrops are already pushing up green shoots. I have planted so many pots of spring bulbs and feel excited waiting for them to appear. Almost a hundred new fritillary bulbs and how beautiful they will be when they grow and flower along with all the others in the garden. I shall once again sit and marvel at their beauty, intricate patterns on those elegant flowers heads as they grace my garden. And I shall fall in love with them all over again.
The log burner keeps the room so warm and cosy despite the stormy weather outside, the rain lashing against the windows and wind howling. I feel safe and warm, hot drinks and a mince pie warmed on the top of the hot burner enjoyed with visitors. Sitting quietly writing this post to wish you all a very Happy Christmas time wherever you are and whatever you do.
Wishing you all a peaceful Milly

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Lost and Found

I have never lost my interest or appreciation of nature. Every single day I wake up and pull back the curtains and see where I live I am so full of wonder and happy and grateful that I live in this beautiful place.

I picked the violets and primroses from my garden the day I left to travel to see my friends and knew they would be gone by the time I returned home. The idea came into my head to press them and then they would be here. As a child I loved to press flowers but I don't do it very often theses days. I opened a book, carefully arranged them on the page just as I would have done all those years ago.


I found them as I opened that book and I knew it gave me so much joy. Yes joy, I knew it would. So I decided to promise myself, to do all the things that give me joy.


I have been away to both London and Edinburgh. In London I visited art galleries, saw the live butterflies at the Natural History museumn and saw many beautiful shops such as Liberty. If I was to pick my favourite thing it would be that day in the haberdashery department full of fabrics, like swimming through a sea of fabrics and I found myself inspired, my head was filled with lots of ideas. I promised myself I would come home and finish off that quilt that has been going on for many years, made from Liberty fabrics. I did make something for a present, for a special birthday and the reason the four of us made this trip. And yes I used some Liberty fabric. And sent it with a handmade tag of course.

In Edinburgh I had a special person to spend time with. My beautiful daughter Jane who made me feel very proud of her achievements, as she had her own show at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. Her solo show "Made in Cumbria", which she wrote and performed each day and had a five star review.

As for me I walked miles, got lost wandering and discovering secret places, art galleries, craft shops and street entertainers around the city. I laughed at shows, smiled along with everyone else at this lovely exciting and fun filled place with such a friendly atmosphere. I sat in the park, browsed the craft stalls and watched more entertainers. The sun shone all week and we ate outside the healthy cafe each day watching all The people in this busy city. It rained and it poured on my last day but it didn't dampened my enthusiasm and I came home feeling very inspired.


One of my souvenirs from Edinburgh, a lovely Scottish lambs wool rug. Already needed it on these chilly nights. I bought a necklace made from a piece of blue and white China, I chose a piece with a ship on it.

Back home I am walking along the beach at the next village to me. Last week with a China blue sky above me and I am on a mission to find some.

It felt so strange to have this place to ourselves, all this space after being in two busy cities, both full of people. So quiet, so calm and so, so beautiful. After all the excitement of visiting other places it feels good to return to my own world and gentle pace of life.

I wasn't disappointed, little pieces of China with worn smooth edges from years of being washed and worn by the sea as the tides come in and out day after day, year after year. All those little treasures waiting for me to find them, as every time you turn that white shape over and discover the blue and white pattern, it makes me smile. We sat down on the sand and ate our sandwiches and fruit, with sand of course!

Looking out to sea as the tide is coming in, just as we are leaving.


The view towards home. It was a lovely walk and I couldn't wait to get home and empty my bag.


Here I am sorting it out into sea glass and China and my beautiful feathers I collected along the way. Lots to choose from and add to a drawing.


Lost and found, where they lost, well I definitely found them.



And my mind was telling me I must go and collect some blackberries along the hedgerows and so the very next day I was up and off first thing and this is what I found. Four pounds of blackberries, found, picked , washed and made into jam when I got home.


Four jars of blackberry jam, well three and a bit now. Now to me, that is such a nice feeling nice to know you made it, it tastes so good and as it came from the hedgerows in my own village. JOY indeed, on toast, in scones and I even poured some on ice cream.

After finding some fallen Lords and Ladies, drawing subjects, I added them to my book.


I have been working on a little creative project. After a night out at the pictures, watching the wonderful BFG film. I was so inspired, it was a magical film. I was entranced with the dream jars as I had seen some of the large jars in London. But, I couldn't get the image of one of the huge Giants holding the tiny patchwork quilt in his massive hands out of my mind. I had the idea to make one, a tiny quilt, so I did.



I hand printed it with a tiny triangle and then hand quilted it. I finished the border a few days ago. Yes it made my happy to make this pretty little quilt.

I love making things, completely hand made, hand printed, hand stitched and using an old white sheet, recycled. It feels like me. I loved the finished quilt.




I started a new little project and made a new needle case and pincushion with some left over pieces from my new cushions. It is lovely to see my drawings on things I have made and I thought it would make a nice matching pair with my egg and feather I did for peony and sage.

My new little Feather pincushion and egg needle case, trimmed with some of my blackberries and bees, ready for the next sewing project.

So what shall I make next? Something that brings me Joy!

Maybe a slice of toast and blackberry

And go and sit on my front step and enjoy the view.


See you soon, hope everyone has enjoyed their summer and looking forward to Autumn. Millyx

The view as Summer ........... turns to Autumn.