Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Building a Wildlife Pond.

The list of things to do is always it seems, never ending. No doubt yours is the same? Just when you tick one thing off, another two appear! Isn't it always the way?
A couple of weeks ago I decided to finally do one of the projects that has been on my list for so long,  'build a wild life pond' So I thought I'd share how I did it...
Step 1. Find a good spot. Preferably in sun and slight shade I believe, but the feathered foreman approved of this site.
 Step 2. Dig. I only wanted a small pond, so this didn't take long.
Step 3. Find a home for all the soil that has been dug out. Mine, (3 barrels full) got dispersed between flower beds.
 Step 4. Create the shape you want and make sure it is level.  A deeper bit in the middle with shallow edges. Use a spirit level to check and adjust.
I think that looks okay?
Step 5. Add some sand at the bottom of the hole, to prevent sharp stones puncturing the pond liner. (I also added some garden greenhouse fleece) then put the liner in. Sadly there is no photo of this as I got so carried away I forgot to take any! :-/ You can buy pond liners at garden centres cut off the roll or in packs. The one I used was in a pack and it was the smallest size. Once in, I then filled with water. Preferably rain water as it's got all the good stuff in it. I took mine from the water butt, but if you don't have a supply of rain water, then you can of course just use tap water.  Once the pond was filled up, I cut the edges of the liner and arranged some large stones, around to hide the rubber/plastic and make it look natural.
Step 6. Add gravel/pebbles and decorate.
Once the pond was basically complete I added some more stones inside and some small pebbles/ gravel (not builders) inside and around the edge to make a sloping beach area. This enables small wildlife to easily get out if they happen to fall in. I bought the bag of small stones from a DIY shop.
 Lastly I added some plants. Two oxygenating native plants and a marsh marigold. I may need more plants, but for now will see how these grow as its only a tiny pond?
After only been here two weeks the plants have already spread and the birds are using it to drink from. A damsel fly has been spotted visiting too.
I'm not sure why it took so long to tick this off the list as it didn't take long at all and was straightforward and didn't cost a lot. Most importantly though now I can put my mind at rest. If I'm late topping up the bird bath, there is always a water source nearby for our precious wildlife.

Talking of those precious wildlife...
The birds in the garden have been very active feeding fledglings.
Mr Blackbird has become even tamer and now comes to the table for snacks.
And even this little one is quite brave sometimes. 
 "No this is not too big a piece for me!"

NB: Update on the music player
Since my last post and a lot of pulling of hair out about the music player on here. I seem to have got another player to work. (fingers crossed it keeps working) I will still be limited to songs because of the new EU article 13 stricter policy but I can still find things which are royalty free and use my son's music so all is not lost for those of you that enjoyed the music. For those of you that don't then you can just press 'off' on the button on the player ;)  See you next time x

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Golden Fragments and Thoughts from Old Wessex

The last hours of April before she disappears over the greening hills for another year...
Through ancient woodland awash with bluebells, I followed the deer track. Bewitched by April’s scent, lost in a world away from concrete and roads. 
This world of layered leaf and broken branch, birdsong and new life unfolding. It breathes, quiet, and yet I do not feel alone. All that has passed over this land is still here. Ghost steps, echoes of stories left behind. A single piece of litter carelessly discarded pierces a sad reminder into my heart, that time has moved on. And yet I see horses, horses of old, a procession of them and leading in front a white one with a ragged mane. This old Wessex path, a hawk short flight from Chippenham, is still Alfred’s land.
Ghosts of gold, cuckoo flowers and golden fields.
Apple blossom and golden dusted eggs
Sweet flower cake
Easter time. Precious moments with family.
And a new addition to the Moonlight and Hares studio. Pale pink velvet, complete with sparkly horn and fluffy mane, a unicorn.
Found in a local shop one Saturday whilst  browsing, How could I resist bringing her home with me to watch over and enchant all things with a little more magic when working. 

Enjoy your May day tomorrow and don't forget to bathe your face in the morning dew ;) x
Thank you for stopping by here and commenting. This blog seems to be having a few problems lately with the size of font and I've been unable to reply to comments, but think I may possibly have sussed it now? ( the commenting bit at least) Fingers crossed? Also, sadly the music has had to go! :(  I've always loved putting music on here, even to the extent I kept it as an HTTP site for as long as possible rather than secure HTTPS. Now though it was time to go to the more secure site settings but that has meant the music player is no longer compatible. I may find a way around this but at the moment we are silent here. Another reason it had to go for now, is because of the much stricter laws of sharing content etc that have recently come into force. In the meantime I may try and embed some of my Son's music, we shall see?

Friday, April 12, 2019

What Was Once There Is Now Returned

After posting daily over on Instagram throughout March things have become a little quieter.
I took a couple of days off and spent them in the garden, soaking up the primrose magic.
The painting I was working on is now finished.
                                   'What Was Once There Is Now Returned'
And is now available to buy as a print and a greeting card in the shop.
With Easter just around the corner, it was time to play with the theme of eggs. Well why not? ;) Miniature paintings with gold leaf. These four tiny originals will be available in the shop after 4pm today.
I've matted them ready to pop into 6x4 frames.
Have a good weekend. x

Sunday, March 31, 2019

March Meet the Maker Part Four

It's the last day of March and the final instalment of posts for the 'March Meet the Maker Challenge' over on instagram.
Day 26.
Self Care
I’m always thinking about my lists of ‘to do’ or new ideas and rarely switch off as I enjoy what I do. Sometimes though things can get out of balance if you don’t take breaks and recharge. Taking time out is important. Things I like to do are: spending quiet time outside in nature, looking and listening, gardening, feeding and watching the birds, lighting an outdoor fire and sitting beside it. Going for walks, visiting historic sites, day trips, listening to meditative music, writing, burning incense, and soaking in a candle lit bath with the latest book that I’m reading. How do you rebalance? Image is my ‘Be still and listen.The Earth is singing’ that I created in 2012
Day 27.
Anything goes
Today I can choose whatever I want so I thought I would share my little Robin friend who I was lucky to know for two years. For those of you that don’t know the story, he began following me around in 2014 making it clear that he wanted to be friends. I even caught him on the windowsill peeping in. Within a few days he was feeding from my hand. Then most days apart from nesting seasons he would be there waiting for treats and chasing any other robin away. He was a sweet inspiration and can often be seen in my paintings. One of the last times I saw him he let me stroke his red breast. I think he knew he didn’t have long left and was his way of saying thank you and goodbye. I will never forget him.
Day 28. 
When you purchase your items from Moonlight and Hares it will be packaged in a cardboard pip box or board backed envelope. Prints are protected in biodegradable cellophane sleeves that can be dIsposed of on a compost heap, or veg waste box. ( I get mine from @ecocraft ) A little reminder is added in with the print. Cards now mostly get sent naked, although sometimes if they are to go in an envelope rather than a box I will put them into the bio cello sleeves too. I don’t print receipts unless specifically asked for to save on paper and ink. All orders receive a card with a thank you note. I use paper packing tape instead of plastic which is great and soooo much less noisy! 
Day 29.
Most difficult to make. 
I suppose my ‘most difficult’ to make would be wooden hangers. Mote time consuming than difficult though, as they have to be cut out by hand and sanded before I even begin the enjoyable part of painting them. Many folks have asked when I will be making more. And yes I hope to get a batch underway soon. I do love making them but because I love painting pictures as well, it’s trying to strike a balance. I also get asked if I do commissions for them. Sadly the answer to that is no. I made the decision to stop taking commissions a few years back as found I worked so much better without any pressure, worry or commitment on a piece. 
Day 30.
Working on your own can be quite hard sometimes, so I’m grateful for all online support on social media. Your comments and wonderful messages continue to support me. So thank you! Here at home I have support around me in the form of a personal furry assistant. He makes sure I tidy up and never leave anything on the floor as if I do, he will quickly sit on it. He would really like to be chief sorter of the cards on the shelf as occasionally knocks them down with his paws, mainly when I’m concentrating and have forgotten that it was his lunchtime 10 minutes ago. When I’m feeling a bit down he reminds me that it’s time to go out into the garden, to look at the flowers and clouds and to give him a cuddle. Of course I also have support from my wonderful hubby who is also my best friend. He encourages me 24/7 through all ups and downs. And if the printer or computer is playing silly games, he will be there with his tech savvy skills.
Day 31
Product in use/wild
It’s the last day of March Meet the Maker today and I can’t quite believe I’ve managed to do the whole thing!   Thanks for accompanying me along the way, it’s been fun. Here’s a picture of my print Fox Chestnut all framed up. 
 Have a great Sunday and Mother’s Day xx 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

March Meet The Maker Part Three

Part three of the month long challenge 'question and answers' that I'm doing on social media. Almost there now, only a few days left  :-) Hope you've had a good week?
Day 16. 
'Workspace' (tidy/mess) 
This is my new workspace, looking very neat and tidy. I do find it really difficult to work in a mess though, I have always had to have a clean space for my mind to feel clear. I’m still settling into this bigger room and making it feel just right. I only moved in here in January. There is a lot more space to store stock, although I haven’t got all the shelves up yet that I’m planning.
Day 17. 
'What I’m working on'
I'm currently working on this painting.
Day 18.
'Mistakes and Lessons'
‘Mistakes happen and the milk gets spilled and spoiled’ ...I drew this naughty pixie spoiling the milk a few years back and thought he was appropriate for today’s topic. 
You never stop making mistakes or learning lessons do you?  So far this year I’ve already made two mistakes.  Firstly I said yes to a print proof when my intuition was telling me no. (Intuition is always right) and secondly, I made a stupid obvious mistake designing something which cost me. 
Over the years I’ve learned a few lessons, for instance only do a job if your heart is telling you to, regardless of the money, involved. Easier said than done I know, when you may only have enough pennies for bread  and jam for the kids tea. (Have been there) Remember to put watermarks/your name on your work, as they go far and wide on this big wide digital world and any share without one could mean one less sale. Never ever sign your copyright away (yes that did used to happen) And only ever work for free under exceptional circumstances ie: if it’s for your absolute favourite ever charity and lastly, it’s absolutely okay to say no. 
Day 19.
'Dream collaboration' 
Ooh not sure about this one today? Maybe some of my designs on ceramics? That would be cool? 
 Day 20.
'Design process'
Being a night owl that often wishes she was a lark, I just can’t help getting my ideas late at night when all is quiet. The beginnings of an image may emerge like secrets of silver moonlight revealed when the clouds have passed or a shaft of golden sunlight through a crack in curtains that suddenly turns invisible dust motes into dancing sparks of light. Those ideas then move to my sketchbook as drawings, scribbles or words, where some will remain. But others will be played around with and developed and created into finished original pieces. Once complete I then play around again with them and see whether I would like to use the images in designs as cards, notebooks or prints, and design/ edit them accordingly ready for print. 
Day 21.
This is a painting I created in 2011,  but it really only seems the other day. ‘Indigo Wood'  
Day 22
'Proud of'
As a bit of a perfectionist and my own worst critic, I often find it difficult to feel proud of my work. Whenever I look back on pieces 99% of the time I find fault with something and normally my inner self will have a conversation with my outer self, saying something like...”Hmm...yeah that’s okay, but it probably would have been better if you had done it like this...” and me replying “ yeah, that’s true... 
I am proud of my shop though, that I’ve stuck with and all its sales which I have lovingly wrapped, packed and sent. I've now sailed past 12,000! so I thank you if you have supported it.  
Day 23. 
My top tip or advice would be to keep going. Even if it’s snails pace or one tiny step each day, do it! Don’t wait to be inspired, for a muse to drift along. Small steps are better than no steps. Also, even though I mentioned this the other day on the lessons and mistakes topic and for some it may seem obvious. I want to say it again. Please please put your name on your work before you release on the web. When I began I let pieces go without marking and have learned the hard way. Only yesterday a page on Facebook shared one of these old unmarked pictures without giving any reference to me as the artist. It had been shared over 1,400 times and nobody knew that I had created it! Over a 1,000 potential people that may have visited my shop if my name had been added. Never ever rely on others to add your name, put it on there yourself right from the beginning.
 Day 24.
 'Customers feedback'  
It’s always so wonderful to get feedback from you. Words can make all the difference, especially when you may be having a day when you feel like everything is going wrong. They lift me up! I enjoy reading all messages and feedback and am grateful that someone has taken a moment out of their day to contact me. Some of the messages are just so beautiful and I’m still amazed that pictures can have such a powerful effect on people. Hearing from a happy customer is like the final ingredient in the magical recipe. So thank you.
 Day 25
‘How it’s made’
“I dream my painting and then I paint my dream”~ Vincent Van GoghMy creations begin as a rough idea in the sketchbook. I go on to paint them with acrylic paints either on paper, canvas or wood and add any decorations, ie gold leaf or beads and adornments if it’s a hanging piece. Designs often evolve over the process of creating and sometimes end up a little different from the initial sketch. As you can see in the sketch here I left the running fox out of the final design and changed the words slightly and added a moon. Once the piece is finished I can then create other items like the card in the picture.
Day 26. 
'Self care'
I’m always thinking about my lists of ‘to do’ or new ideas and rarely switch off as I enjoy what I do. Sometimes though things can get out of balance if you don’t take breaks and recharge. Taking time is important. Things I like to do are ...spending time outside in nature, looking and listening, gardening, feeding and watching the birds, lighting an outdoor fire and sitting beside it. Going for walks, visiting historic sites, day trips, listening to meditative music, writing, burning incense, and soaking in a candle lit bath with the latest book that I’m reading. How do you rebalance?