It’s been a windy and cold in Manchester this week. There’s still some summer flowers hanging on, but mostly it’s full-on autumn colours reds, orange and yellow. I’ve not been out in the garden to do any jobs as the weather has been foul. Planting tulips in pots in the porch have been my main focus this week. Also, I’ve been busy crafting felt poppies for my Remembrance Day Poppy Door Wreath.
There are many poppies too – as there should be at this time of year. There are some stunning installations near Churches and memorials, in parks and in railway stations. Our WI sent poppies to one of our sister groups out in a small village in Lancashire who was making felt and wool poppy wreaths for their war memorial – I made 16 felt poppies.
This is one of two standard viburnum trees that came as a wedding gift to us last year; they were in full bloom for our wedding in September 2017. Since then – they’ve flowered at very random times – I think the very cold weather in March and boiling heat in June/July has confused the plants. They’ve been re-potted so I hope they survive the winter OK.
I don’t know the variety, as M and S didn’t admit it. I’ll take some bud photos next time it’s sunny to help me identify it – no scent though.
Do my gardening pals have any ideas what variety it might be?
My garden is looking a bit bashed about at the moment – it’s either been hurling down with rain or it’s been sunny but very windy. I’ve been tidying in the garden and planting Spring bulbs (go big or go home). There’s plenty of Autumn colour around the garden – with the leaves turning too. Life has been very hectic recently – I feel like I’ve been doing 27 things at once and not achieving much. But there’s been some good times too. Last week, I went on a pottery course to ‘hand building a clay ornament’ held at Create Bolton (in Lancashire). I’d been to a few fundraising events there as a pal works for them, and knew their work well. So I was very pleased to see something I could manage with my arthritic hands. I don’t think I could make pottery using a wheel as the water would make my hands too cold and make my arthritis pain worse.
Pottery – Handbuilding a daisy style flower
Regular readers of my blog, will NOT BE surprised to hear I decided to make two flowers 🙂 for the garden I’m not going to go into great detail here how to make them, as there’s youtube videos and Pinterest. But I thought I’d show you a few photos of the initial work I’ve done.
Draw a paper template and pick out the lines where to cut with a needle tool – you do dots that you join up – either to mark the decorations or cut away the clay.
cut and shape the clay, wipe with sponges to get smooth edges.
Mark out the internal decorations and use a scraper to ‘clean’ the lines
I cut out extra decorations for the leaves and added these with slip (which is like clay glue) and hashes on both sides
Next step – my flowers dry out for a couple of weeks – then they’re fired in the kiln
Then we go back to glaze and allowed to dry
the flowers are fired again – and I collect to take home – they’ll be on big metal poles in the back garden next year.
Note: It’s very important not to get any air/bubbles in the pottery as this will cause the clay to crack when it’s fired.
Fingers crossed they survive 🙂 I’ll show you the result in a few weeks 🙂
clay flower paper template
clay flower just about to score out and clean the petals and centre
As you can see it’s going to be a big, abstract daisy flower – I made two. I’m already thinking about what colours to choose for my flowers.
If you’re local to Manchester have a look at the courses – painting, creative writing, lampshade making 🙂 and look out for their events around Christmas. They also run 6 week beginners pottery classes – one of my pals from Cottonopolis has signed up – she makes fimo jewellery already.
My fellow learner at the course made a penguin for the garden (a round one using a balloon as a base). He’s very cute. I’m looking forward to seeing how he turns out. A couple of years ago, I did some pottery painting using glass paints at local pottery cafe in Chorlton, Manchester. It was very relaxing. I’m not an artist so the hardest thing was choosing a design which I could do easily. Hardly a surprise as lavender is my favourite flower.
Purple painted pottery fired – at Pottery Corner Chorlton Manchester
I went with my pals from Cottonopolis WI to do pottery painting. It was great fun – we used glass paints as they’re easy to use and have strong colours. The owner of the pottery cafe paints a clear glaze and fires the pots and you get to take them home a few weeks later.
Red rose blue pottery pot with gone for lunch book walk book
Miniature Red Rose -In a Vase on Monday
The rose is from a miniature patio rose – it usually lives on our green bistro set – it’s a scarlet red – very jaunty. I bought the pot at a craft fair many years ago but it seemed like the sort of thing I might be able to make one day – who knows. I don’t post roses very often in In Vase on Monday – mainly because I only have an orange rose in the front garden. It’s a stunner though – started flowering again last week. Check out #rose
Rose – full bloom – 10 August 2015
As usual, I’m linking up with Cathy and the In a Vase on Monday crew at Rambling in the Garden. She has a stunning collection of blue flowers in a vase which could be the big brother of the one I’ve used. I promise I took the photos before looking at her post for the week. The idea of In a Vase on Monday is very simple – it’s to pick flowers or plants around your garden or locality on a Monday. It’s truly fascinating to see what people grow and find. It’s not dull in the winter either. Do join in 🙂
Micro-actions and books
I picked these books as props for my photo, as they seemed to be about small changes or activities – miniature things.
Gone for lunch – 52 things to do in your lunch break – by Laura Archer
This is dived into four sections – Inside, Outside, Sitting and Active – many good ideas within some need planning and some are more spontaneous. It did make me smile as not everyone has a lunch hour but I know what Laura means – short activities 😉
Walk – the path to a more mindful life – by Sholto Radford
As readers will know I try my best to get outside into the fresh air every day #OneHourOutside It helps me be more mindful, concentrate on ‘being in the moment’. I’m going to review both these books in more detail shortly. I wrote more about micro-actions last week too.
‘Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la la la la! ‘Tis the season to be jolly‘ Welsh carol dating from 16th century.
In this case it’s spruce but I’m sure you’ll get the idea 😉
Last Sunday, I went to a wreath making course at Ordsall Hall, a couple of miles from where we live. I’d decided earlier in the year to make our door wreath – My Chap usually comes home with a really blingy one from one of his florist pals. So I’d been on the look out for a course… the one at the Hall, you could bring your own greenery too….and it was a good price too.
How to make a wreath
Huge thanks to Kate from the Gardening team at the Hall – she was great. Do have a look at their plans for the garden for 2018. Their 1918-style allotment is back for 2018.
We could take cuttings from our garden so I took rosemary, some cinnamon sticks from the spice cupboard, pine cones we’d picked up from Worsley woods and some extra spruce branches. There were all sorts of things to add, sparkly ribbons, baubles etc, but I decided to keep the wreath fairly minimalist – and emphasise food 😉
There was a ring of moss (on the back) and spruce branches on the ring already which I added to. It’s time-consuming to make this yourself (and hard on the fingers) and we were only there for a couple of hours.
Lay out where you want everything to go first, and think about the layers of decoration – branches first.
It’s exactly the same principle to attach anything to the wreath, wrap the wire tightly around twigs and, and poke the wire through the moss and thread back through tightly and snip off. For the pine cones, wrap around the lowest level of
Group things in odd numbers, as it looks more natural – same in gardening too.
I tried dried chillies but they disintegrated 🙁
Remember to water your wreath carefully, with a jug now and again, otherwise the foliage will fade.
After I took the picture on our front door I added bells on ribbons too.
17 December 2017 – my wreath hanging by the door of the Great Hall, Ordsall Hall
dried moss is available online (be careful about the weight you order).
the ring is metal with an inner ring which contains the damp moss wired in. It’s possible to buy the rings online or at florist’s sundaries companies. They come in all sorts of styles – the Spring wreath has a flat two ring style.
lime twigs (from Ordsall Hall Garden), new growth is bright green and red. Any Cornus (Dogwood) is a good substitute.
cinnamon – wrapped with wire then covered raffia
dried orange slices – tied in threes with wire.
I’ve made a few wreaths before, with willow, on courses up in Rawtenstall and at Lancashire WI, but usually haven’t taken many photos – but I’ll include some of these in future posts.
Cathy who hosts In a Vase on Monday, had a holly door wreath she made on 4 December 2017. Quite a few people who follow the meme have made door wreaths – each one different and beautiful. There are so much foliage options – have you got something you could use.
This week Cathy has hyacinths, honeysuckle and Salvia – Winter Beauties all of them.
Here’s a spring wreath at Denman College In a vase on Monday (not)- Spring wreath – 10 April 2016. It’s a completely different style with straw covering bubblewrap around the ring (and some oasis hiding behind the red roses). Again the decorations are attached with wires.
I think I’ll make some more wreaths in 2018…maybe a different one for each month, as you don’t even have to use flowers… there are rag wreaths too.
Ordsall Hall is a Grade 1 listed, Tudor mansion, in the heart of the city; it’s entirely encircled by houses and businesses (Note: the 1960s tower block and 1990s houses on the right of the picture). It was extensively refurbished a few years ago with a Heritage Lottery Grant. It’s been owned since 1959 by Salford Council who’d used it as a local history museum. Most of my local pals can remember going there on school trips right up to the 1980s. It’s also supposed to be the most haunted building in Salford…there are three ghosts and a webcam.
Originally, the manor would have had a moat, with substantial lands, including farms. The manor house dates from 1175, with the oldest part of the current Hall is from the 15th century. Neighbouring manor houses, were either repurposed in the Industrial Revolution, (some were sold to America) but most were just demolished. There were no planning controls then. It staggers me that Ordsall Hall survived the Industrial Revolution but it certainly helped that it was used a working mens’ club from 1875 which existed in one form or another until 1940. In 1883 the Hall was bought by the Earl Egerton of Tatton, and restored during 1896–98 at a cost of £6,000 (£610,000 in 2017). The Earl set up a seminary from 1898 and a St Cyprian’s Church was built and more servant’s quarters. These were both demolished in the 1960s.
Neighbouring manor houses, were either repurposed in the Industrial Revolution, (some were sold to America) but most were just demolished. There were no planning controls then.
For the gardeners it has a knot garden, an 1918-style allotment, many heritage varieties especially fruit trees.
We visit it fairly often – it’s a really lovely building – it’s open Sun to Thursday throughout the year. It’s free to visit and has a very good tea shop too. You can follow them on:
They run many courses including fabrics, gardening and activities for children. I’ll definitely on a course again.*
Late – it’s never to late to change
‘The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something‘. Antoine de Saint-Exupery – Author of the Little Prince (1900-1944)
Once again I’m late with my contribution to the week’s vases – nearly a week late in fact,as I’ve had a great deal to do this week, preparing for Christmas. It’s going to be very different but I’ll write more tomorrow.
I cannot stress how much I agree with Antoine’s words.
Looking to the future
I’m not a believer, I echo these sentiments, peace and loveto all in 2018:
‘Oh! like a wreath, let Christmas mirth To-day encircle all the earth, And bind the nations with the love That Jesus brought from heaven above’. Maud Lindsay, American Teacher, (1874-1941).
Oh, and remind someone important to you, how much you love them… it’s never too late.
Happy Christmas Eve everyone, though it’s already Christmas Day in Australia…
24 December 2017 – Christmas cheer and a willow angel I made #iamWI