Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer days

Warm summer days. Fields of sunshine, with buttercups,  rivers edged with  cream lace of hog weed and hemlock, meadow sweet in bud, blue cranes bill , ragged robin  and the darting of damsel flies, precious  jewels in the golden light of evening.   Scent of  elder flower, honeysuckle and freshly cut hay. And in the garden, honeysuckle again, mock orange and sweet williams. Oh how I love sweet williams.
Elder flowers freshly picked in the sun, insects shaken off and ready to be turned into cordial.  The strong smell of elder takes me back to childhood, not the delicate sweet perfume of the blooms, but the leaves and stems.  Breaking off an elder stick to use as a play bow and arrow  and stripping the bark back.
Lemon zest added.
Then soaked overnight. The kitchen smelled delicious.

The next morning I finished it off, straining, adding sugar, simmering, cooling etc. Now there is a large bottle of thirst quenching 'hedgerow delight' in the fridge for sunny days.
This little prince has been hanging around quite a lot this past week. I'm sure he could tell you a thing or two about Elder? Don't worry I haven't stolen all his future Autumn berries, there are plenty to go around this year. 
Some bits and pieces to show that I've been working on. The pendant, a gift for someone.
Coyote and moth.
I'm having a bit of a break from wooden hangers now and will be concentrating on some paintings. I love doing the hangers, but I have to keep a balance, otherwise the muse gets somewhat grumpy. ;) This is what I've been up to, playing with ink, and pencil in my sketchbook.  
Initial idea then painted onto a piece of wood that I was going to discard because it had a crack in, but I decided that the crack could be incorporated into the picture. A crack in the universe somehow.
                                                                      'Nights Portal'
'There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in' ~Leonard Cohen
This evening, the eve of the summer solstice, we sat out in front of a fire, listening to the song thrush sing it's goodnight song. Enjoying the outdoors at the middle of the year, we watched the clouds gently move away and the sky cleared for the stars to appear. On the window frame there were two Buff Ermine moths in love. Aren't they perfectly beautiful!

                           
Wishing you all a wonderful Midsummer solstice. x

I shall leave you with some Coldplay that I've been listening to all week whilst painting my own sky of stars. I love this and it makes me want to dance around the garden beneath the stars whenever I hear it. I might just do that later today? :) 

                                     

21 comments:

  1. I love those moths, they look so soft and white.

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    1. I had a strong urge to stroke them, they look so fluffy don't they. Of course I didn't though. :)

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  2. I wish I could smell and taste your elderflower cordial. Happy Solstice to you!

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    1. It was very very sweet, a little too sweet for me. Next time I think I will add more lemon. It has all gone already though Jennifer, as my Son with his sweet tooth loved it. Hope you had a lovely Solstice too!

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  3. I love you blog and gorgeous work. It is my birthday on the 21st but I love Solstice because it always hold a air of magic for me xxxx

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    1. Thank you Emma! Belated Happy Birthday wishes to you! x

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  4. I love your blog and gorgeous work the pendant will make a beautiful gift. I love solstice as it always holds a air.of magic I feel and its my birthday. Happy Solstice to all xxxx

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  5. Gorgeous design Karen, the cordial sounds wonderful. Merry midsummer to you!

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  6. Karen, I think you've captured the spirit of summer! I love the wood with the crack in the universe. Very beautiful.

    All the best for a sweet summer. :)

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    1. Thank you Ms. S I hope you have a magical summer yourself :)

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  7. Karen, I LOVE 'Night's Portal'. I had the same dilemna last year with a couple of small slices of nectarine wood that had cracked, and I used Leonard Cohen's beautiful song lyric too, it was SO much better than discarding them because of the flaw. I was reminded of that Japanese aesthetic, wabi sabi I think it is, of the beauty of imperfection.

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    1. I'm glad that you like Christina, I shall have to pop across to yours and take a peep at your cracked pieces. Have neglected time visiting blogs lately I must catch up.
      This piece of wood has sat on my desk for many months and I was almost going to add it to the wood pile. I'm glad I didn't now.
      I shall look into wabi sabi some more. :)

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  8. Fresh homemade elderflower cordial, how lovely! I love your sketchbook pages and the finished piece on wood is aMAZing I lOve it! The way you've used the crack in the wood, perfect. :)
    I used to be afraid of moths but with all your posts about them you've gradually changed my mind and these are fascinating with their glamorous furs!
    Jess xx

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    1. Thanks Jess! :) I'm so glad that you aren't afraid of moths anymore, They really are beautiful. I love finding new ones and get a little over excited. I think I'm a bit of a moth geek at heart. ;) x

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  9. Love the elderberry flowers, my Dad used to make elderberry wine, I remember the crocks fermenting in the basement, I want to try the drink you made, so you use cold water to soak? do not need hot? thanks for the info,
    http://plumfieldhousegardens.blogspot.com/, (please go to plumfield, google will not let me choose this)

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    1. I used hot water from the kettle. Have a look at this recipe, this is the one I used, although adjusted it as I didn't have oranges at hand. http://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/elderflower-cordial/
      I've never made elderberry wine, but have made elderflower wine in the past. :)

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