A friend recently suggested that we try doing long-distance walks together. And by “long-distance walks” I don’t mean long walks; I mean that we’re both taking walks but at a distance from one another. We live in different countries, but we both enjoy taking walks and want to do it more often. (And of course it’s always easier to be active with a friend to motivate you!)
So we decided to encourage each other by having a phone call while we walk. To make it a little more interesting, we also decided to listen to an audiobook together while we do it. That way, we’re enjoying a book and we can chat about it as we go.
So several morning a week I’ve been hopping on the phone, cuing up my audiobook, and walking around town. I have been doing it rain or shine, but I’ll admit that it’s more enjoyable when the sun is out. ☀️
I decided to get a couple embroidery kits from Jenny Blair, and today I made real progress on the first one. It’s so satisfying to see it taking shape!
Somewhat randomly the other day, I ended up browsing Etsy shops with embroidery patterns and kits. It was one of those internet rabbit holes, where a blog I follow linked to an article that linked to a bunch of shops full of thread and color and flowers and cute lettering, and all of a sudden I was questioning why I have a drawer full of embroidery supplies that I haven’t used in years.
I ended up watching a bunch of embroidery tutorial videos — most of my past crafts were cross stitch, but I’ve not as keen on those styles anymore — and I was sucked in by a YouTube channel from a fellow American expat in the UK. As I watched, I decided the techniques weren’t so hard, as long as you started with a good pattern. And then I decided that although I liked her style, I didn’t love her patterns.
So I set out to sketch some local wildflowers, things that feel familiar and yet unique, and would allow me to create an overall pattern that felt more like me. I had a great time sketching ferns, cornflowers, Queen Anne’s lace, snowdrops, poppies, lavender … I’m not much for illustrating, but the results felt good. And then I started trying to fit them together into a potential pattern. Holy cow, composition is hard. Especially the sort of abstract, fit-in-a-circle composition that a lot of embroidery has.
So I have some nice little sketches and made a great evening of it. But I might just use someone else pattern instead!
I planted a mix of annual flowers in my garden this spring, in hopes of adding a dash of extra color and fun. They were seeds and I wasn’t sure what to expect or how many would make it. So when these spots of color started popping out this week I got pretty excited! Of course, plenty of weeds are also popping up, so I’ll be busy for a while getting things under control.
I came across this poem while walking in Manchester yesterday. I have walked by here and not noticed it before, but this time I stopped to take a phone call, looked up, and found myself trying to make out the words while paying attention to the person on the line. Such a fitting poem for this city, and also just the sort of surprise art I equate with my visits here.
I took a few minutes from my walk to say hi to this critter making her own way along the South West Coast Path in Cornwall, UK.
This is the most beautiful February I’ve had in a climate that actually has seasons. I have been taking walks, working in the garden, and generally escaping outside as often as I can. This afternoon we took a trip to Bodnant Garden and had a beautiful visit. Most of my photos are still on my camera, but I grabbed this picture of some of the many snowdrops sprinkled throughout the grounds — the only kind of snow we’re likely to for the rest of this “winter”!