Stitched Journal Project – April

I don’t know about you, but I find it very hard to choose books at the library. I like to try new authors but it’s so difficult to decide which book to pick. One year I decided that I’d work my way through the alphabet; I stalled on A when I had to read every Kate Atkinson book, did the same with B (Raffaella Barker) and when I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read in C, I abandoned the whole thing. In similar vein, for the Stitched Journal Project, I decided to pick a book from the needlecrafts section of the library and learn a new skill. In a fairly random and hasty selection, I brought home a book about nuno felting, which apparently “combines wool fibres with woven fabrics like chiffon and muslin to produce a material that’s lightweight and flexible”.

April colours

Inspiration was easy as the farm and garden are filled with blossom and flowers. Yellows, greens and mauves are everywhere.The bright yellow flowers of oilseed rape stand out against an azure sky (some days), the colours so strong they almost hurt your eyes while lime green coloured shoots on the Christmas tree branches contrast with the dark green growth from last year. In the garden, there are more flowers on the bay tree than I’ve seen before and the forget-me-nots cut a swathe of blue beneath the apple trees. The decision was made to use nuno felting to recreate the spring colours for my April Stitched Journal Project.

wool and silk combined

After ages spent rubbing carded wool with soap, wrapping it around a plastic tube and then rolling in bubble wrap, adding contrasting wool and then silk, I ended up with a scrap of almost combined wool and silk.  As directed, I set my sewing machine to the free embroidery stitch (after searching half hour for the sewing machine instruction book and the bag of attachments) and sewed aimlessly around to make a pattern.

spring colours nuno felting

The silk was duly snipped off in places to reveal the felted wool below and left in other places to create interest. The result was … a mess. I can’t really see the point of it, even when it works properly and I rather lost enthusiasm for the whole thing half way through. Suffice to say, the book has gone back to the library and I shall not be venturing further along that shelf in May.

On the plus side, for the first time, I used the darning plate on my sewing machine. Who knows, next month I could be sewing portraits like Harriet Riddell. Or not.


Linking with Lola Nova for The Stitched Journal Project where all sorts of people make all sorts of things.

jelly printing

striped rhubarb jelly


jelly moulds

You may remember that I have a slight obsession with jelly. I make jelly layered with flowers, jelly with Blackberry Gin, Rose Gin, Sloe Gin or any sort of gin in fact, striped jelly and  plain jelly.  I make star shaped jellies and heart shaped jellies, firm geometric jellies and voluptuously wobbly jellies. In short, I love jelly.

Imagine my delight then, when I picked up a book about printing that included a whole section about Jelly Printing. I was quite aquiver with excitement. So far I’ve only tried making simple mono prints from flowers and leaves, but I can see an enormous range of possibilities.


Very simply, you make a printing surface from extra strength jelly, cover it with ink or paint and then carefully place flowers and leaves on the painted surface.

jelly printing

A piece of paper is then laid over the flowers, carefully pressed down and then peeled off to reveal a silhouette print. The flowers are then quickly removed and another piece of paper laid down and smoothed over.

jelly printing plant

The jelly has a bit of give, so the paint will still remain where the flowers were laid and will make a beautifully detailed print.

Watch this space. I suspect there will be more jelly related posts.

good things for Easter

a few good things for Easter …

playing with fire

Playing with fire as we try out some ideas for  courses at Slamseys Art. Foraging walk with lunch cooked on the campfire anyone?


Bread Huffers, which seemed appropriate for Easter time.

hot cross buns

Cross Buns.

Hot Cross Buns today. Toasted Cross Buns tomorrow. Bread and Butter pudding for Easter Sunday.

Easter biscuits

Easter Biscuits, which should be round but aren’t. Ignoring instructions to roll out the dough and use a cutter, I thought it would be easier to make a log and cut it into slices. Those pesky little currants proved rather difficult to saw through and the log grew flatter and more misshapen as I progressed.

Young people doing good things. Essex Young Farmers is a fantastic organisation whose chart-topping challenge is in aid of the NFYFC’s Rural+ campaign, which is raising money for the charities Young Minds UK and The Farming Community Network. The campaign aims to raise awareness of rural isolation and mental health issues in young people and support those who suffer from, or are affected by them. 

You can read more here:


And now, the sun is shining and I’m going outside to sow seeds and sort out the flower beds. Got to get it looking pretty for June.