Friday, 1 March 2013

Day 60 - A have a new friend to talk to and I have a confession.....

Friday 1st March


OMG I am writing this from my new studio.  I don’t have internet so it is on a word document to transfer later.  This is so exciting.  The only thing I can hear is birdsong.  As soon as I started to type I knew this space was going to work for me.  There is the already established calmness but now something else has moved in with me.  I am not quite sure what it is yet but I do feel different in here and that was the plan.  I needed a space where I could be alone because I am too easily distracted by life.  I already want to invite people into this space and can see it being used as a wonderful venue for small, intimate courses.  I still love teaching and I think this will be the beginning of a new phase.  Whilst in Derbyshire I had courses running most weekends and we also opened up the farm to other teachers to deliver courses.  We offered everything from floristry to Reiki to drumming workshops.  As a result the farm had a creative and dynamic vibe to it and I want to do something similar on Hazelbank.  My flower school next week is an excellent starting point but I am going to sit down and plan the next few months and see where that takes me.  The magic of this space is already beginning to work. 

We are blessed with another wonderful day on the island.  As I watched the weather forecast on the BBC news last night I swear Arran beamed its own light.  It can do that very well and on days like today it just shines spreading happiness to all.  Very soon I will be taking off round the island to do my spring photographic journal to share with you all.  I want to capture new growth where ever I go and the light that is so associated with this time of year.  March last year was absolutely stunning so I have everything crossed for this year. 
Max has just popped in and spotted an hibernating ladybird in the ceiling, how fabulous.  I have a little friend to talk to now.  Home school was enchanting because we started by remembering a spring growing project that we had completed in our first year in Derbyshire.  All four children were home schooled then and we did a huge project all about the spring and I still have their journals in my special mummy box.  This is the last year that we will have more than one child in home school as this time next year George will have moved onto distance learning to get his qualifications.  George, Max and I agreed to do the project one last time but with some new activities added.  We brainstormed a list of things we would like to do.  These included:
  • Filling a sketch book with references to spring
  • Building a bug hotel
  • Setting up a spring camp and melting marshmellows
  • Writing a spring story
  • Designing a brand new spring cupcake
  • Setting up a spring nature table
  • Creating a spring collage from natural materials
  • Creating a spring garden in a large pot and photographing it weekly
  • Joining me on my photographic assignment around the island
  • Learning more about spring tides
  • Designing and building a nest box each
  • Surveying birds and their young on HazelbankLooking at how Artists from the 19th century were inspired by spring
  • Creating an Easter wreath
That was just a start list as we will add to it as we go.  They wanted to make the cupcake task a competition and I would love to win that one but I know, before I start, that George will win.  He has already hit his collection of recipe books for some new ones to try. 

I will share as much as I can on the blog but I might have to make a new page to accommodate all of it.  The boys wanted to begin with a sketch study to discover and capture six different signs of spring on Hazelbank.  Off they went with their sketch books and stack of colouring pencils.  I found them, sometime later, sitting on the steps of my new studio colouring in their drawings.  I should have taken a photo, silly me. 

I am continuing to add bits and pieces to my studio while trying very hard not to clutter it.  I do want to be able to turn my hand to any of my projects without having to constantly visit the house to get materials.  Today I set up a sewing kit for the studio and it took me right back to when my beloved grandmother set me up with my very first kit.  So now I can sew, write and paint in here and that is a very good start.  I even have a little gas stove for tea making that will also enable me to melt wax for my batik silk painting.  

The neighbour’s cat has just appeared to check out my new space.  I wonder what she will make of it?  She obviously approves….


I think I have re-potted everything on Hazelbank and now they can all enjoy the sunshine and reward me with a fabulous season.  One of my ambitions for my studio moved a step closer as I planted up a strawberry pot with six healthy plants.  I have a confession to make.  Last year we have an excellent strawberry crop but probably only half of it made it into the kitchen.  We used to add them to our yogurts and muesli but the other half when straight into my tummy!  If Pete and Harry can eat all the peas I can so the same with strawberries.  The good news for the family is that I have approx double the amount of plants of last year so they stand a better chance of having strawberries everyday during June and July. 

My seeds are all germinating really well and I am especially keen to extend the range of cut flowers I grow on the smallholding.  I have a poster in my new studio which is a drawing of an herb garden and it includes some herbs that I have never grown before.  I showed it to Pete and he has agreed to build me a smaller version of it in front of my studio.  My herb courses were really popular on the farm in Derbyshire.  The courses focused on the herb story from cultivation to use and the feedback was that people did grow herbs but they were very unsure of what to do with them.  One of my favourite courses was making a culinary herb drying wreath that can be hung in your kitchen and used in your cooking.  I spent some time today taking some cuttings from my mint selection.  I just popped the cuttings in a jam jar full of water and placed them on the kitchen windowsill.  I will let nature do the rest and in a few weeks I will have new plants complete with an excellent root system.  I adore my Indian mint but as yet I have not researched how best to use it.  I have just added that to my ‘to do’ list. 

So today is a milestone for my new little space and from tomorrow I will be creating art and crafts projects just for here.  This will be hard because I usually sell everything I make so I will have to pin it down firmly. 

I am ending by wishing you all the most wonderful March ever.  May we all get buckets of sunshine.

Until tomorrow. xx