Adventures, art, Colour me positive 2016 Art Challenge

Colour Me Positive Week 16 Challenge

Art Challenge 18 April

I discovered this weekly art challenge through facebook, ok I am a bit late to the party which began in January, but who cares!  It has been too long since I did any art – and like the saying goes, I lost myself completely. The process was a bit bumpy, I usually jump straight in;  this time, I played around a little with one or two ideas until eventually I came up with a design I am happy with. While I might have a general idea, I never know the outcome as it seems to grow – I just add bits here and there.

After taking about an hour to do this, I thought I would add a final line between the words US and TWO – it was disastrous! Then I put a white marker over which created a large grey splodge right in the middle! The whole thing was ruined at a stroke!

Trying not to panic I pasted a couple of pieces of paper over the bottle top – and re-did it!

So this really does live up to its name, the work was lost but now it is found!


If you fancy having a go – pop over to Lulu’s art blog, there is lots of inspiration and some great journals.

Adventures, art, Sunday Sevens

Sunday Sevens – Glasgow and Mackintosh


We headed north for Mr D’s family gathering, it is the second time I have left a beautiful sunny day only to find Glasgow drizzly and grey, but the weather in Glasgow is its only downfall. It is a wonderful city the people are friendly, they have a sense of humour, this is a famous landmark – Wellington on his horse adorned with traffic cone! It was one of the challenges after a boozy night to place a cone on his head that in the end the cone was left as part of the statue and to save Glaswegian’s from injuring themselves, it is quite high up!  The statue  sums up the sense of humour the Scotts have towards the English – irreverent!


The architecture around the City is abundant with delights especially if you like Art Nouveau – it can be discovered everywhere: this lovely building is just an ordinary pub!  Glasgow  is home of some of the most wonderful examples of the Glasgow Four – Mackintosh being the most well known. He designed the School of Art building (under reconstruction after the fire last year) Several Mrs Cranstons Tea rooms, as well as other projects in the city. Some regarded him as the father of Art Deco movement – you can see that in the wonderful use of simplistic lines, geometry and organic shapes. His house, set within the Huntarian  transforms a traditional Victorian Villa into the cool clean lines of Art Deco – with clever use of colour and optical illusion.


There are small items to spot every few yards – this beautiful Art Nouveau detail was situated on a large building – I could not resist the curving lines and the way the numbers flow into each other.


If you love architecture then you have to look upwards, this beautiful Art Nouveau building shows just how much it influenced the Art Deco period, those long windows and angular lines echo the aesthetics of Mackintosh we later see at Hill House, see below.


Just ten minutes outside of Glasgow the landscape is transformed into wild hills and breathtaking views – we drove along the road past Loch Lomond and on to Helensburgh and Hill House. Now owned by the National Trust for Scotland, it is a complete example of Mackintosh’s work – he was commissioned by Glasgow Publisher Walter Blackie who remained living at the house until the National Trust took it over. Art Nouveau Artists believed their art should encompass every aspect of the house from the building right down to the tiny details  of the room decoration; the internal design was as carefully planned as the house house itself. Even the kitchen shelving contained small flower shaped motifs – even though the owners would never set foot inside as they employed a cook.


I believe Margaret contributed equally to her husband’s work; he praised her often believing she was the real talent of the two although her work was mostly disregarded until a few years ago when the May Queen was bought for 1 million. It was an absolute thrill  to see her artwork up close – she was exceptional -one of the few women to attend Glasgow School of Art in the late Victorian age when women’s education, even for the wealthy, was limited.  She learned smithing, needlework as well as traditional painting and drawing.  The are panels on the walls – her gesso plasterwork was a delight the curved lines and swirls of fay women – reminded me of Beardsley’s Fairy tales. The embroidery on the chairs and two beautiful panels in the main bedroom were her own design as well as curtains featuring flowing geometrics and curving organic shapes in black and white.

The classic rose motif stencilled on to the walls –  is a element throughout the house, the palette is muted, predominantly black and white with a tiny dots of rose coloured blocks or  flowers. The furniture was created to cast shadows that danced with the squares on the carpet, shifting as the sun moved across the sky – while the lamps featured rose circles reminiscent of honesty flowers – their discs harmonising with the straight lines of the lamps continued the effect at night.


On the eastern side of the house a round tower soars above the roof, with a spiral staircase – connecting the nursery to the schoolroom – it is also echoed by a smaller tower in the garden that acts as a toolshed. He designed the nursery on the Eastern side of the house to benefit from the early morning sun – while the Master Bedroom on the opposite side would capture the setting sun. All the living areas face south to make the most of the sunlight.

Despite their talent Margaret and Rene died in relative poverty, the first world war brought Art Nouveau to an abrupt end – it seems such a pity that they were not given the recognition in their lifetime, they could have had the commercial success of William Morris, but their influence and vision continued through to the Art Deco movement at its height in the 1930s.


There was so much to delight the eye – meticulous attention to detail from every nook!  It is so inspirational that I am sketching again with an idea of a painting forming.

For any Art Nouveau lover – Hill House it is well worth a visit – the gardens have the most wonderful view across the river and are beautiful even in cold frosty April.

My only advice is – no- matter how delightfully sunny the weather when you set off – always take an umbrella when you visit Glasgow!

ttfn x

Sunday sevens is the brain child of Nat at Threads and Bobbins a round up of your life in 7 pictures, posted on a Sunday. I don’t  post every week – (my life isn’t that exciting) but I do post when there is more in my life than cake baking, washing and housework!




Adventures, Sunday Sevens

Sunday Sevens- March 2016 -Country walks and sewing


What a delightful spot – the millpond on the South Downs was a perfect start to our Easter Break – the weather forecast suggested that Friday would be the best day so I escaped the sewing room for a while and headed to the Downs. This picture doesn’t capture the beauty and serenity that had us pause for a while – watching ducks take flight, while the soft clouds drifted ahead – sunlight glinting off the water and dancing on the bank.


Further round the pond was a big level dock – where two fishermen were dangling rods in hopeful contemplation. The cascade of water was exhilarating standing on the plank just above the water lock – watching reeds dance around the rusty bars with their coats of weeds.

We followed the footpath through woodland eventually coming out into Burton Park, an old Manor House (now converted into flats) that had a lovely little chapel in the grounds.

Burton Church


It was a quaint old building – obviously built for the Manor House, but they hold services in the chapel once a month. These places have a sense of timelessness about them -carvings and painted walls – hard church pews – nothing has changed for at least a 100 years. I felt if I sat long enough I might just travel back in time! We ended the trip with a lovely coffee at Petworth – we bought mountains of cheese, crisp fresh bread and feasted on them the whole weekend.


I popped to my to my Son’s Salon for a hair cut (he has been quietly turning me lighter over the last year), he is such a talented young man!  We had a lovely family gathering my daughter and son-in-law also had their hair done – then went out for a meal to celebrate his upcoming birthday before he headed to Valencia.

Every month they have a Vintage and Very Nice Bazaars at Chichester Assembly Rooms, we slipped away from the rain one dreary March  Saturday,  meandering through the stalls; bric a brac, old maps and relics from the past all cleaned up and ready for sale. I wonder if any of my beloved items will be prized by a stall holder years ahead?   I spend a great deal of time looking at vintage clothing – there were so many lovely dresses,  especially this unapologetic cashmere soft girlie jumper!  (It would not fit me, sadly!)- the lady kindly allowed me to take a few photos.  I really liked the neckline and have a cashmere jumper at home that might just be the transformation it is waiting for.


I also cherished this beautiful Kimono – which came home with me! It feels luxurious to wear – I have never looked so elegant in my pjs!

7-Kate Jersey dress finished front

I completed this jersey dress – the embroidery detail was inspired by my trip to the Museum of Fashion and Textiles at the end of February.


I made a lovely wool skirt with a bit of embroidery to avoid the classic  librarian look!- it has taken me quite a long time to complete but it fits like a glove.. will be posting on my sewing blog.


We had visitors and family most of the holiday – it was good to have a break from the sewing room for a while.  Monday I fished out an old UFO – this little lap quilt! It has tiny cakes, cups of tea and little patterned fabrics! There was no real game plan, but I worked it randomly among the fixed blocks of cakes and coffee cups.

It is mostly the quilting that is taking the time – my sewing machine has had a few hiccups and hissy fits during the process -lining up the quilting blocks and squeezing it into the tiny embroidery frame was challenging!  – It was the project that made me realise that my sewing machine was faulty which is why it was discarded a few times. Two new motherboards and a couple of services in the years in-between and thankfully it was progressing much faster.

Free motion quilting


It was easier to simply free motion quilt it –  by the end of the day it is just a little hand stitching  to bind it. It is far from perfect, in fact it is more wrong than right, but I can’t discard the hours of sewing I did to put it together; in a strange way, the imperections give it a sense of the journey it has been to complete it.  I have learned a lot since I began the quilt back in 2006 I have far more patience and skill lining up the quilt in the frame. If there is a slow sew movement to grow alongside the slow food movement – I would be a paid up member.

March is going out like a lion – thankfully just a few roof tiles and bit of fencing our only casualties in the storm, but oh my, spring is definitely here.

ttfn x

Susanna Signature