Thursday 30 April 2020

Garden, a Metal Mystery and Plastic Heads

It's Iris time again. They don't last long but they are so beautiful that I forgive them. 
 Don't know what these tiny yellow flowers are but they are very pretty. 
The round metal thing in the bottom right of the picture is something I found in the Thames in Woolwich. When I found it I thought it looked interesting and like a wheel or something. It was very muddy and clogged up and it was only when I was cleaning it that I realised that under the mud was lots of tiny pieces of iron, sticking to the very strong magnets on its side. I do not know what it is, but if I had realised it was magnetic when I picked it up, I think I would have left it there. The only things I could think of that are round and magnetic are mines. I will be more careful picking up circular iron objects in future! It is hollow so whatever was in it has gone. And it probably isn't a mine. And I still have not worked out how to remove the iron filings!
Bluebells down the end of the garden. There are foxes living under our shed. I heard them the other night, rustling around and playing with the bamboo canes they have scattered all over the ground. I crept down there, and came face to face with two cubs. They were about 10 inches long, and were the cutest things. They both looked at me for a couple of seconds before deciding they had better run away. One went back under the shed, and one around the pond. Not sure where the parents were, probably out looking for food in the largely take-away rubbish free streets. I hope they are getting enough to eat.
These did not originate in the garden, but in a plastics factory in China. There are ten of them. The first thing I will do is make them all a tiny hat. Not sure what after that!

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Words on a Walk

This was our Sunday walk. Down to the river at the barrier, along and back up. The river below Charlton and along a little way towards Greenwich, is the only part of it near here that is still industrial and not full of brand new high rise flats. There are plans to build some, and protests against them. I hope that they are not built as it still has the character it always had, and is interesting to explore. 
 I couldn't read this when I saw it. Only now do I realise it says tribe. 
 Love a good No Parking sign. The rougher the better. 
 All mod cons.
 Not any more. Glad they left the sign though.
 01 telephone numbers have not been around since 1990. Just looked that up and found this very interesting site. The history of telecommunications.
 The sign above the cafe that isn't there.
 Dusty MOT.
 To the point.
 Not today. There was a man exercising with the help of a tree and a dangly contraption that he was doing weird press ups on. He was annoyingly in the way.
 Ha ha, ha. It did actually make me laugh. I think I was a bit hysterical because of the heat. 
 Advertising but I like it. 
Brand new sign. The Valley is Charlton's football ground.

Saturday 25 April 2020

Faces (Lots of faces-probably too many faces!)

There are so many faces in here, and I thought I would share some of them. I remember where most came from. If you don't like dolls please look away now!
 Cat cushion, a present from Jenny. I have also seen this design on a jumper.
 Doll from Headcorn. She has very beautiful and detailed clothes. with lovely tarnished silver ribbon.
 Modern doll head on the left from Helen, and old one from eBay.
 Cloth doll head I made to go on top of a wire dress form I used at a craft fair to display dolls and scarves.
 Deptford the bear, from Deptford market, re-stuffed and cleaned, with a scarf made from some of his former innards.
 Beautiful 1930s doll from Otford, and early birthday present one year from Chinmoyee. She has a lovely crepe de chine dress and silk petticoat.
 Indian wooden puppet from charity shop on Trafalgar road. I love these puppets and have quite a few. I have used some of them over the years for Diwali storytelling.
 Frog faced mask. Not sure which country he is from. I got him for 50p at the bootfair in Thamesmead which I love going to.
 Three little Chinese dolls from eBay. They sit on a tiny shelf in the hall, under a two year old sunflower seed head.
 Dragon bag from a charity shop. I use this to hold objects for my weekly storytelling activity with Reception children. At least I did until recently.
 Pretty doll from Linda Sue. 
 This is the latest addition to the house. I have not done a lot of internet shopping at all, but I couldn't resist her from eBay and she arrived yesterday. There is such detail in her clothes and she is also very pretty.
 Blue boy, also from Linda Sue. He lives in a basket with his friends.
 This doll was rescued from a skip at the back of the Cats Protection shop as I was donating a bag of stuff. The scarf is my first and most successful attempt at moebius knitting, a technique where you cast on two rows at once on a circular needle, and the piece grows out from the middle. I would like a scarf like this doll, but my attempts at this have produced long skinny things, that do not wrap around like this. I just can't seem to work out the right amount of stitches to start with!
 This is one of two baby faced containers I bought years ago in Greenwich market. They are tobacco jars! It seems like such an inappropriate subject for such a thing.
 Painting found in a charity shop in Edinburgh when we were up there to see Andy's Mum. 
Doll from dark little charity shop in South Norwood, where I went to do an embroidery course. I then embroidered a picture of her, changing Azores to South Norwood.
 Scottish Highlander drummer Staffordshire figure from a local charity shop. 
 Another charity shop face. Another bargain!
 I love dressing this head up. I think it from a larger mannequin and has been mounted on a wooden block. Greenwich market.
 Also Greenwich market. Her hat was a bargain from Rye. There are loads of Russian badges mounted on it, which I intended to sell, but like too much.
 This bunny was in the charity shop for my last three visits there before I bought him. He needs face repairs. I think I will just embroider over the marks.
 The unlikely pairing of serious puppet and Paddington. I think they get on quite well. 
And finally another eBay bargain, again with tarnished silver thread. The turban is silk. I love the variety of ways to make a face, and this embroiderer has made such great eyes.

Thursday 16 April 2020

The Lion and the Rabbit

I was very happy when I found my first dress pins on the Thames foreshore. I thought I would never find anything so tiny, but they do show up quite well due to their coppery greenish hue. Once I had found one, I found quite a lot in one small area. Then I went back a few weeks later to the same spot, as I had had an idea for which I needed more pins. I was lucky again, and collected quite a few. The pins, made of copper alloy, were used to fasten clothes between 1400 and 1800 and each one was made by hand. Many were lost and ended up in sewers and drains, and hence on the Thames foreshore. You can find little wire twists sometimes, which were used to hold the pins in groups when they were sold. I have not found one so far.
My friend Clare is a historian and introduced me to medieval marginalia. These are the strange and often quite obscene little drawings that monks made in the margins of texts they were writing. They remind me of naughty school boy doodlings, but with more artistic talent. Not all of them are rude however, and a lot of them have rabbits wielding swords. My idea involved making a suitable receptacle for some of my possibly medieval pins. I intended this as a present for Clare for Christmas, and just about finished it in time.
I was pleased with how it turned out, and really want to make myself something similar, but have not got around to that yet. I had forgotten about it until the other day when I was looking through photos on my big camera. I didn't want to share it at the time I made it in case it spoiled the surprise!
The lion has a wire armature and is slightly pose-able. The rabbit does not. The sword is made from the silver side of coppery art metal.
The heads of the pins are wound wire which was then soldered on. So much work for such a  tiny object.
I had the perfect curly locks of wool for the lion's mane.

Snails often feature in the marginalia too, though this one seems to be a snail boy.