Sketching wildflowers

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!

Tiny spots of color

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.

Surprise poetry

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.

A day at the garden

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”!

A little trivial

Last year we started going occasionally to a local pub quiz. It’s an excuse to go out and see friends during the week, and get some trivia while we’re at it. (We are also avid Jeopardy watchers.)

Last night, we won! We even did some quick global surface area calculations to win a tie-breaker question about the size of the Pacific Ocean. I’m not sure I contributed much (my knowledge overlaps a lot with the other folks we play with) but I had a good time.

Before going to the quiz, we also looked up the etymology of the word trivia. Did you know that the root of trivia is the Latin trivium? It referred to the three subjects of grammar, logic, and rhetoric that formed the basis of a classical education. So it turns out that trivia is far from trivial! 😉