Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...

20/07/2017

Ta-da(rt) garden style :)

I don't normally dedicate a post just to my painterly activities here, I usually waffle about art and coffee on my 'by kate...kjsutcliffe artist' blog but seeing it is connected to my weekly fix of volunteering in the walled garden, I thought ...  well why not!?

The garden I volunteer in has a long history of being a quite a productive little kitchen garden in it's hey day. The house itself was built in circ.1780s with later extensions and alterations in the early and mid 1800s. The garden, although I can not find a definite date of construction, could potentially have been soon after the house.

It was designed with three definite separate but conjoining areas. The first section (a) is an open three sided large square plot where potatoes were planted and grown (in the days before understanding the importance of crop rotation).  This area now acts as a sheep shelter on rough and windy days.

(Image from internet with my extra annotations in yellow)

The middle section (b) is now the allotment style vegetable garden growing traditional crops which have to be tough to survive living and growing on this rather wild moorside hill. I have anecdotal evidence that this is the highest productive walled garden in the UK, there are others in much wilder and wetter places but at a lower altitude.

I must admit not being fired up by rows of vegetables (especially when swamped by cheerfully rampant weeds) but can see a form of functional beauty in the order (or rather the potential of order - this is still work in progress!) I do find it a rather 'sterile' art form.

I am more in to the making of compost, planting in circles, square foot gardening, three sisters planting, potager, mandala and permaculture gardening. Free flowing shapes, flowers and herbs filling a space in joyous celebration of life and growing and flowering.

The top section, also fully walled, (c), used to be a fruiting area - not specifically an orchard from what I can gather but now has a row or two of stunted oak (kept due to their rarity in the locality) a couple of young apple, a recently planted meddler and a variety of herbs in planters. And weeds.
I love this area, it has a more vibrant feel to it - it is untidy and wild and optimistic and has so much potential.  I suspect that despite this part being earmarked as a base for learning and safe play for groups - there hasn't been the woman power to do anything more than keep on top of mowing the pathways and pulling up ragwort.

Hence the link to my art - I decided to leave the weeding to the other volunteers who are 'allotmenteers' and are happy to harrow in straight rows. So, with any passing help I began to tackle the 'sensory garden' (last week I had Eldest, the head ranger and his helper, and this week I had Eldest and Moss!)



What better way than to give the space credence than to give it a physical name.
I'm no sign writer - but I think that harkens back to my aversion to straight lines!


Ta-da(rt!)

Happy? Of course silly!


Gentle reminder (to myself as much as any) that the Photo Scavenger Hunt challenge is coming up fast and is only a little over a week away (Am I the only one still not sorted??)


1. Crane
2. Ring
3. Set
4. Light
5. Bow
6. Spring
7. Open
8. Grand
9. Park
10. My own choice

A photograph inspired by a word,
words inspired by the photograph.
Remember to think laterally and interpret at YOU fancy,
be it a current photo or one from your archives! Enjoy :)

If you want to join in, please do - we'd love you too :) details HERE.  I promise promise promise knitting news next time, I have been a little busy but I do want to share my shawl with you - coz I love it and I hope you will too!

17/07/2017

Monday wool-gathering

I am sitting waiting for images to down load, I thought I would pop in and say hi and see how your weekend went. Was it good? I hope so.

We were up early today, Youngest is off on a four day expedition on his DofE Gold and had to be at school and on the mini-bus for 7.30am.   He doesn't do early at the best of times ......

I could barely lift his rucksack once he'd packed it and right up to the last minute he kept adding 'essentials'... his phone, his charger, his charging cable, pack of cards, speaker for the phone (you get my drift?) I suspect he may have taken a little more than he will need ....  :)

So fingers crossed for good weather, although the BBC weather reporter cheerfully announced that Wednesday was going to be a day of thunderstorms followed by rows of organised rain.... huh? Now everything has been made waterproof or encased in some form of plastic/waterproofing spray - I suspect when I collect him on Thursday he may be a little damp, a little bit sweaty and very tired.

Ok..... It's a Monday. As usual the weekend has evaporated, not really sure what we did. I know it was a lot of 'bitta'. A bit of this and a bit of that. Bitta-weeding, bitta-gardening, bitta-baking, bitta-knitting. Talking of knitting, my second shawl is now complete and has been worn with great success. So, give me a bitta-time and I'll write down the 'recipe' for you :)

I'll also get Eldest to take some photos of it to show you how it sits on me :) In the meantime you can have this as a sneak preview.
See that colour change?
Well, that was down to simple chance that I had three different yarns all with some degree of compatible variegation. The russet and brown shades happily melded into the green and brown twist which equally happily flowed into the greens - how good it feels to have stash busting power!!

Ok, best stop waffling - have yourselves a lovely Monday afternoon - hope the sun is shining where you are!

13/07/2017

End of the week wafflings

This week, in a quietly-busy-sort-of-way, has just flown by. I have either been gardening, painting, knitting, painting, gardening, knitting, painting and gardening. Other things have occurred, such as sleeping, eating, cooking and knitting, gardening and painting.
On Wednesday I think I managed to fit all activities in one day!
Eldest and I were almost overwhelmed by weeds working in the walled garden for the day,
so for a bit of light relief  away from the weeds, Eldest rediscovered mowed foot paths
 through the wilderness sensory garden.
I chose to empty a compost bin in preference to hoeing the vigorous little blighters 
growing rampantly between the vegetables.
I was pleasantly surprised and definitely pleased 
that the compost was turning into a rather delicious chocolately brown crumbly cake, 
it didn't seem so long ago that we built them :)
We did punctuate garden bashing with tea drinking
and, surprise surprise,
knitting...(Well, I was knitting, Eldest and Moss did not!)
See that glorious green flush?
Weeds....
Despite my anti-weeds mutterings, it was fun, 
we had a National Trust ranger and another volunteer with us for most of the day 
so the banter and chuckles kept us going!

Did I mention painting?
After a number of commissions (still have some waiting)
I decided to treat myself and paint something I wanted...
a hare of course :)


09/07/2017

from little acorns ....

Last year Eldest, prior to going to university, started volunteering with the National Trust. I would drive him up to Malham Tarn Estate and walk the dog for 8 hours (after which, we would both be shattered) then collect him - he would also be tired, filthy but happy.
He very 'kindly' put my name forward to the rangers when it seemed they needed some help in the walled garden.  He said.... My mum is 'a bit of a gardener' ... thanks son.  Any hoo, to cut a long story short, I have been volunteering in the walled garden since July last year. Apart from the genuine fact it is hard work - I love it.
Last week, as a thank you, the rangers took a minibus-load of volunteers off to Acorn Bank for the day. What a treat!
We were lucky enough to be taken on a tour of the house with plenty of stories of the occupants and owners. It was interesting to hear how a house can morph into what is required of it, from humble beginnings of a Knights Templar pilgrim retreat to a tenancy farm, from being requisitioned during the war for railway managers, to being a home for a wealthy socialite then a home for elderly women. Now, as shell needing lots of tender loving care (and an open wallet) the house is still impressive.
The gardens however more than make up for the house. It has an amazing herb garden with the largest selection of culinary and medical herbs of any of the National Trust properties. Eldest and I lingered here the longest and returned several times during the day.
We wandered through the orchards and vegetable gardens. We took so many photographs!
 Having torn ourselves away the herb garden (again) we went down into the 'Well Garden' 
which houses in it's centre, a circular formal pond full of water lilies.... 
and we discovered something amazing.
It was fascinating watching the dragonfly stretch out it's legs one by one. 
The wings, which had been crinkled and pressed against it's body, slowly flattened out and took shape.
All around the pond were empty nymph cases and in the water - 
small crested newtlets (my name for them) pootling around.
If I mentioned that I took 199 photographs during our jolly out - would you be surprised? There were so many lovely corners and delights as we walked around that it was hard not to become snap happy!

And, I may have even partaken in a little knitting too! Yes it is another shawl like my last one, except this time I am writing down the pattern and doing a bit of a test run. So fingers crossed I can share it soon :)
So - was it a good day? 
It certainly was :)

Thank you National Trust x




04/07/2017

July's Scavenger Hunt list!

My word you are a keen bunch!

Before I reveal this month's list I will quickly do an update for newbies (welcome and so glad you are joining in :)  how our Scavenger Hunt goes ...

I supply a list of nine words and the tenth is 'My own choice' where you chose your own image and story.

The words are only a suggestion - so for example if the word is 'wind' it could mean capturing a sailing boat with it's sails filled with wind as it scuds across open water or it could mean a ball of wool being wound up - so - the word is just a guide.

Your challenge is to take those words, add a photo (be it one taken for the hunt or one from your archives) then write a bit of a waffle to go with it.

We usually post our pictures as from the last Friday of the month - this is so you can add your link anytime over the weekend. I post the link-up-party page early Friday morning as I have a dear Australian friend who due to the time zone is up waaaaaaay earlier than me!

There is no pressure and we all do it for fun!  This month's words were inspired by my Eldest son, so with that in mind, this month's words all have more than one meaning. (Ah the deviousness of the teenage mind!)

Welcome to July's Scavenger Hunt list.
A photograph inspired by a word, 
words inspired by the photograph.  
Remember to think laterally and interpret at you fancy, 
be it a current photo or one from your archives - Enjoy!

  1. Crane
  2. Ring
  3. Set
  4. Light
  5. Bow
  6. Spring
  7. Open
  8. Grand
  9. Park
  10. My own choice

I will do a gentle reminder in a week or two and if you have any queries just leave a comment :)

We will reconvene, share and show our photos as from Friday 28th July. All you need to do is add your name to the link up party and then we can all pop in and comment :) 



PS - thank you for your lovely comments on my shawl - there is no pattern except the 'picture' in my head! I am at present knitting another one and writing down as I go along, if it works I shall share the 'pattern' :)

Hi there my new followers - welcome  to my little corner of blogland, it lovely to see you here xx


03/07/2017

Did any one notice?

Did you?

Did you notice that I was quiet for a few days .. just a few?

Did you miss me? I hope so, coz in the honest truth - I kinda missed you lot too!

Firstly, thank you everyone who came along for the ride through June, for all your comments and responses - they made my heart squeeze.

As much as I love the great outdoors, the meadows, the sky, walking, photographing, camping, cloud watching, star spotting, mini-beast hunting (the list goes on and on...) I actually found it hard going 'reporting' daily my #30DaysWild. This was my third year of doing and for some reason the hardest.

So, those comments were just the boost I needed - thank you :)

Now, as promised - normal transmission has resumed. Here is the knitting news.


Early June I was gifted by my brother and fav-sis-in-law two balls of the yummiest, scrummiest, cuddliest, snuggliest balls of delicious yarn of Sirdar Aura in colours that sang of the sea. Sang of the sky and holidays on Scottish islands - I could not wait to start knitting.

Silly me, in my excitement I forgot to take a suitably posed picture of my yarn and needles but I managed to find an image on the net (thanks ebay).

Any hoo, I just wanted a simple asymmetrical shawl that I could wrap on my shoulders for a cooler summer evening.



I researched all my usual resources and patterns and found I was not inspired at all. Until I remembered a simple design I had used for a couple of hats that consisted of a repeated four row arrangement with alternative purl and plain giving a deep and squoshy feeling. Then by increasing by two and decreasing by one, a wing shaped shawl began to grow.
As the rows fell off the needles, it became obvious that the colour changes in the yarn
just by happy lucky chance, changed exactly on the rows.
The ridges and furrows began to develop delicious stripes of their own.
I could not have been more delighted! 
Every time I was a passenger in the car, or while sitting on the settee in the evenings,
I would knit.
Every walk we did, I would shove my knitting into my day-bag and at every stop,
the knitting would appear and I would knit a row or two. 
At our weekly knit and natter, I would knit ... no! that is a lie,
we tend to chat....eat...chat....sip tea....chat....eat cake....
I would occasionally knit a stitch or two.
Then on Saturday, while out collecting keys for Eldest's new Uni digs,
I finally completed and cast off the shawl on the return journey.
We'd planned a picnic lunch along the way and as Himself pulled off the small road
and parked beneath a hawthorn tree, I snipped the last thread.
With a small handful of remaining yarn left, I made a tassel whilst sitting in the sunshine.
Then, lunch forgotten and camera thrust at Eldest,
my new shawl and I 
twirled and posed.
We frolicked in the cool sunshine (we've had a lot of rain recently so I may have gone a little a la-la)
and we just plain showed off!
Now, at home, 
we have both calmed down and are quietly sitting together.
My new shawl and me.
Happy smile :)


PS - I do have more knitting news, but that can wait.