Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Makes and Decorations

I have been making quite a few things over the weeks leading up to Easter.
Steve made this three tiered display some time ago. 
It is perfect for a layered Easter look.
All my favourite Easter bits and pieces are here. It made a good table centre last evening for 
our family meal.

Hollie was 14 last Wednesday and she is mad about One Direction. This was her present.

I made 10 felt bunnies recycling some tiny baskets I`ve had for years. There`s only one left as they have gone to great-nephews, aunties and friends.

These 10 teddies are going to a hospital in Africa with my friend Lark.
I sewed a tiny felt heart to each one. They are made from a fleecy blanket bought at Dunelm for £1.

Finally these tiny mice are made using a recycled T-shirt of mine. The fabric was very pretty and I knew I would use it one day.

We`ve had another lovely family day today and the sun shone. Hooray.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Cracked mugs and fat pigs

Today we visited the garden to do a few jobs and collect leeks. But mainly it was to meet up with some of the family. My nephews and their families have come to stay with my sister for Easter and they came to see the pigs and the lambs. They walked and were therefore dressed like Eskimoes.

Tim was very busy with the lambing. He is bringing the new-borns under cover with their mums where they get a bit of heat and TLC.
One twin looked a bit poorly and had an extra feed from a bottle. They can get quite cold especially if they are born in the night. Tim is up and down the lane all day with the trailer, transporting the new mothers and their lambs. Anne was putting carpet into the Woodland yurt. William is off to Australia again, to help with the cotton harvest.

Steve and I pottered. He flattened yet more molehills.....looks like they are building hotels from the size of them. I half-mooned round the perenniel bed and the asparagus bed to neaten the edges.

I`d just begun a bit of weeding (which was much easier now the ground is drying out,) when all the family arrived.
We looked at the newest lambs with their mums and then the barrel-sized Kuni kuni pigs (I can hardly call them piglets any more)

 They have grown so much since Christmas. 

Then we went to see the orphaned lambs. These three were keeping each other company,

 My newest niece-in-law, Hayley pretending to be a sheep!!!

This is me, looking a bit rosy-cheeked. This little lamb`s heart was beating fast. They were all nuzzling up to my legs thinking I was a surrogate mum I think.

It was so cold at the garden that we decided to squeeze into the greenhouse to brew up some tea.
This is Steve and our great-niece Hollie.

My nephew Toby and his wife Amanda, Aiden our great-nephew and Tom, another great-nephew.

Hayley, Luke (my nephew) and my sister Paula.

When I poured the boiling water into the first cup, it immediately split  
and cracked due to the cold....amazing!
It has now become part of the base in the cob shed!!!
We warmed up, tucked into raspberry cupcakes and Easter fruitcake. Lovely.
When we stepped outside, the sun had broken through, at last, and it was quite wonderful to feel the heat of it on our backs.
The cold weather is set to last for quite a while yet. It still feels like mid-winter rather than the spring equinox.
The clocks go forward one hour tonight.....hooray. Lighter evenings ahead.

Talking about the cob shed we noticed that the door had come away from the walls, 
due I expect to the wind. Let`s hope it can be manoeuvred back.

Let`s also hope that it won`t be long before we can get going with the cobbing once more.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

INDIA Part 6 Indian pattern and decoration

On this blog entry I will be posting some photos of the most incredible decorative work I have ever seen.
It ranges from inlay work with precious jewels  to carved marble, from patchwork to painting, from embroidery to mosaic. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

 Precious and semi-precious stones used in inlay work. This is modern work.

The inlay work at the Taj Mahal.

Modern inlay work.

Modern inlay work.

Beautiful script decorating the walls of the Taj Mahal.

Part of the decorative Ganesh Pol gate at the Amber Fort in Jaipur. It was built in1640.

Patchwork in a rich colour palette using mirrors.

Patchwork by gypsies.

Wall hangings decorating the warehouse!!!

This, unbelievably, is embroidery, thick and luscious.

This is a tree decorated by many many hands at a roadside shrine, with layer upon layer 
of wool, cotton and thread.

The amazing Kanch Burj (glass turret) decorated with red and silver glass.
This room is in the City Palace, Udaipur.

I loved the strong sunlight casting intricate patterns in the darkness.

There is a touch of Celtic in this finely carved disc at the Jain Temple, Ranakpur.

This wonderfully decorated frontage is part of the City Palace, Udaipur.

I have been inspired and astonished by the most wonderful workmanship, the love and care, as well as the time and patience that must have gone into all this decorative work. I am running out of descriptive words!
In my next and probably last India post, I will be describing how I will use my inspiration.
I`ve already made a few things.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Late Spring

I, like many others, am finding it difficult to drag myself away from the fire in order to do the necessary things outdoors or more likely in the greenhouse. This is a most unusual feeling for me. I had to plant seeds last week because we are so far behind. Well they all came up and now need pricking many trays of cornflower do I really need!!

Yesterday I pricked out trays of Marmande and Gardeners Delight the greenhouse.....until my fingers went numb and I couldn`t stand it any more. I rushed back in to the log fire for tea and scones.
Today I was horrified to discover a box of plugs on the doorstep. They were only ordered last week and I never for one moment thought they would be coming so soon. Good job there is a little heat in my greenhouse.

Here they are....160 geraniums.

Nicely potted on into 7 trays. I am sharing these with my brother and sister. I can imagine some people might wonder where I was going to put 160 geraniums.

We have been to the garden but we haven`t stayed long due to the cold. I used molehills to fill in the cow hoofprints. I think I mentioned that they escaped. I thought they`d better be filled in 
before anyone broke an ankle.

Here in the orchard the ground is particularly soft so there was a lot of work to do.
We also made time to go and see the orphaned lambs in one of the stables. They were making an incredibly human sound. I`ve been trying to upload some film of them, but I think it`s a bit too long.

Steve chopped up most of the rest of the brassicas for the compost,
 but these roots were only fit for the green bin. 

At home the potatoes are chitting well but goodness knows when they will go in. Traditionally it should be over the Easter weekend.

One bright spot of the most incredible blue......a clump of "Blue Ensign" pulmonaria in our own garden.
Don`t think my camera can quite capture the intensity of the blue though.

The weather must break soon.....surely. The wood anemones are just struggling through in the woods and things are growing so something must be happening. It just doesn`t feel like it.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

INDIA Part 5 Palaces and forts

Apart from the Taj Mahal, which was the highlight of our holiday, we visited many other spectacular palaces and forts, richly carved and decorated.There were plenty of visitors at all these sights.
Here are just a few of the photos.

This is the Birla Hindu temple in Delhi.
It rained whilst we were here and several members of our group slipped on the wet marble steps wearing over-slipper/socks. We felt safer in bare feet. No-one was seriously hurt, luckily.


The golden domes of the Bangla Sahib Sikh temple
in Delhi. Again it was wet when we visited. The carpets were sodden inside and it smelt of feet but the drum music was so beautiful and the mirror mosaics inside quite stunning.
This temple fed thousands of people every day (free) and we were priviledged to visit the cavern-like kitchens to watch the meal being prepared.

Humayun`s tomb in Delhi.
Humayun was the second Mughal emperor. He is buried here. It is the first example of a garden tomb and was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal.
It was built in 1565, commissioned by Humayun`s senior widow, Haji Begum.

 The Lotus Temple. This is a Baha`i House of  worship.
It was completed in 1986. It is surrounded by nine pools and 227 acres of green lawns, quite something in the middle of Delhi.
Followers of all faiths are invited to
meditate and attend the daily services.
Here I remember crocodiles of waving, smiling
schoolchildren in their matching saris.

The Qutb Minar.
It was built in 1192, a truly outstanding feat for the time.
It announced the advent of the Muslim sultans.

This is the entrance to the Red Fort in Delhi.
The Red Fort remains a powerful symbol of Indian nationhood. It was here that the national flag was raised for the first time when India became an independent nation in 1947.

This is the inside of the Agra Fort.
Begun in 1565, it is surrounded by an empty moat once filled by the River Yamuna.
Inside is a large marble pool which, according to legend, used to be filled in Nur Jahan`s time, with thousands of rose petals so that the empress could bathe in its scented waters.

 Fatehpur Sikri Mughal Capital.
Built in 1571 by the Emperor Akbar, it was the Mughal capital for 14 years.
The five storied building in the photo is where Akbar`s queens and their attendants savoured the cool evening breezes.

This magnificent entrance (Ganesh Pol) is to the Amber Palace in Jaipur. Inside is the Shish Mahal, a chamber of mirrors and quite beautiful. It was difficult to show its beauty in any one photo.

People could visit by hiring elephants to carry them up to the fort (we came by jeep)
It was a truly stunning sight to see many many elephants arriving in the courtyard
to the sound of drums and horns.

  The Meherangarh Fort.
Rudyard Kipling was awe-struck by this "creation of angels, fairies and giants."
The royal apartments are now a fine museum and the richly decorated rooms are a sight to behold.

Jodphur, the Blue City.`

The Ranakpur Jain Temple.
The carvings inside and outside this temple were awe-inspiring. Even the steps were carved. It was actually quiet, and a swarm of bees were hanging quite happily from a gargoyle, (spotted by my sister.)
Our guide told us we would not want to be near them in May.
The gardens were full of black-faced monkeys.

Just some of the fine detail.

Udaipur City Palace.
As we entered this palace, one of the princes passed by, not on an elephant, but driving a
golf buggy of all things.

This photo was taken from our boat on Lake Pichola just as the sun was setting.

This is the Jag Mandir Lake Palace on Lake Pichola.
Inside there are lovely gardens and luxury apartments.
(A very nice loo as well.)

In the extensive site of the Chittogarh Fort was the Kalika Mata temple. It was 38 degrees here.

From here we walked down many steps to see the source of the Gaumukh Reservoir, where I saw the boy diving for coins in the green murky depths.

The following day we travelled back to the UK .....from 39 dgrees to ice and snow!!
Putting this blog entry together has helped to clarify the places we saw, in my mind. Adding the personal memories also helps, otherwise they become a bewildering blur.