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.

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 moment of color

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 …

Bright winter flowers

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.

Discovering flowers in the winter

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: