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.
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”!
I turned a corner and saw these flowers blooming right next to an old tower on the town walls. I paused to appreciate the color and noticed the tower window behind them. I wonder how long ago it was covered over with that stone …
I enjoy spotting the flowers that are coming out now – I think of February as solidly winter, but it’s so mild here that a number of flowers are showing up. I saw these bright things next to the sidewalk in town:
Interestingly, my husband didn’t notice them until I pointed them out. He is red/green colorblind and the green of the plant is just right for the fuschia petals to blend right in for him.
Every morning, I step out into our garden for at least a moment. On a practical level, I do it to toss the previous day’s coffee grounds into the garden bed before making coffee. But I also like to take a few seconds to smell the sea and feel the fresh air on my face.
Today, the air felt particularly soft and mild. I wasn’t in a hurry for my coffee, so instead of ducking back inside I decided to take a walk around the garden. I padded across the stone patio and around the corner to the side of the house. There, I discovered these newly blooming rhododendrons:
I didn’t get around to buying a Christmas tree — I kept putting it off, not sure what to get, so it never happened. Today, my husband (who didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas and doesn’t have any traditions of his own) decided to surprise me with a beautiful Christmas bouquet:
It’s perfect for adding a little holiday greenery to our home, and getting flowers at random times is always a nice surprise. 🙂