Friday, 25 June 2010

Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

One cool Summer's afternoon, Alice was dreaming alone in the meadow when she was visited by a small black bunny.
"I am the White Rabbit." He announced.
"But you're black." replied Alice.
"How rude," he muttered, "not my fault at all. I've come to tell you of a special Tea Party in Wonderland and you are invited."




With a skip and a hop, he announced that they were late,


late,late....



And so she ran after him,


turning this way and that until finally,


she heard his voice echoing from beneath the tree, "Late, so late."


Down after the rabbit went Alice and came out into a strange place where she was tiny and her hair was now black like the rabbits dark fur.


"What is going on here?" she asked the wise Blue Caterpillar.


"Someone has been baking for a big tea party and magic flour is floating on the breeze, changing everything it touches." he replied.

"Oooh! I'm back to normal." Cried Alice joyfully.
"You're so fearfully big, my dear." He muttered.


Alice carried the Blue Caterpillar through the woods to a clearing, where there was laid out a wonderful feast of Sardines on toast, iced buns and chocolate cakes. There were two tea pots so that no one should go without and the White Rabbit appeared to be his usual colour again, if a good deal smaller!







Suddenly guests appeared as if from nowhere and devoured the feast with much laughter and merriment.


A floaty voice enquired after the sardines,


and they were joined by the Cheshire Cat.


The March Hare had been secretly sipping from a bottle marked 'Drink me'. It had a curious but not unpleasant taste, but sadly, he was now stuck in his cup!


The caterpillar wondered whether or not to tell him the secret of the mushroom, but decided he preferred him this size, he was a lot less trouble!


"Time to go." Announced the Cheshire Cat as first one half and then the other disappeared.


Alice found herself spinning in the woods again,


and then suddenly was totally alone. Had she fallen asleep and had a very curious dream?




Many thanks to my wonderful and magical helpers, and especially to Vanessa for being a delightful and inspiring event organiser.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Making hay.

It's been a busy time here at Oakmoon, and it's not all about art. In fact, squeezing some time in each day to be creative is becoming an art form of it's own!

Having the field and ponies is a big responsibility and I really couldn't do it all by myself, so thank goodness for hubby! We have quite a dilema with our grass situation, and other horse owners will understand this, in that the ponies don't want to eat all the grass! They'll happily strip out the short sweet stuff, full of sugar and calories and ignore the long filling grass. This equals wrecked pasture and very fat ponies. Our solution is to restrict their grazing and feed them the long grass, cut with a scythe.

YOU CANNOT FEED HORSES OR PONIES GRASS CUT WITH A LAWNMOWER. I can't stress that enough, it will compact in their stomaches and kill them, which is why we do it this way.



I do have my own scythe, but apparently I'm 'a bit rubbish' with it, swinging madly like a real grim reaper, haha! So I'm relegated to following hubby, turning the grass daily until it dries out into hay. So we feed some of the grass newly cut, and let the rest dry out into lovely sweet smelling hay which they ponies will have in the Autumn.



There are days when I feel a bit like a pioneer woman!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Join me.

On June 26th there is to be a Mad Hatter's Tea Party. It's being organised by Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist and it would be lovely if you could join me for the celebrations :) I've decided to hold it here at the field.


It doesn't matter how tired or stressed I may be feeling, whenever I step out into this big open sky filled field, I feel refreshed and renewed.

Which is a good thing, as I've been working on these little darlings, despite the sore thumb! They are hanging ornies (ornaments) as opposed to fully detailed dolls. I may call them the Minimas, as they are small and lacking legs!

Alice number one is, to me, an atypical sort of gal, with blonde hair and hair band matching her little blue dress. She's more wistful than whimsical.


Alice number two is altogether darker and a little more scarey, with her wide open eyes and intent expression! She could be an older more worldly Alice, who has gone through the rabbit hole and out the other side, never to be the same again. Kind of like Sarah Connor in Terminator 2 (oh I love that film!).


To prepare for the big day I've been cooking up magic potions and cakes both giant and tiny. My helpers are now back to their normal size, thankfully, and I think all is in order again. The invitations have been sent out and now I'm hoping that all of my guests can make it, so please will you, won't you, will you join me for the party :)

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Ouch!

I can be such a donut sometimes! I was cutting herbs at the weekend, with a very sharp knife, and sliced through my thumb. It's not been too bad, or so I thought, until I tried holding a pencil today! Well, holding the pencil is one thing, but actually moving it around on the paper is agony!

So instead of doing any art this week, I've been organising my working space, paperwork, cards and all the other bits and pieces that don't involve too much movement of my poorly thumb!

Instead, I'll leave you with this lovely picture from my trip to the New Forest in the school holiday. I loved the way these ponies were standing, as their heads were in almost the same position as my valentine painting.


Hopefully tomorrow I can get back to work, as I have a great long list to deal with! My first major country show is coming up, I have the Annual Arts and Crafts Exhibition to organise and at the moment, I'm not prepared for either, eeek!

Monday, 14 June 2010

New Babies.

Far from being a restful weekend, my time was spent taking my duties as a chicken parent very seriously.
I had a call from a friend who is a rare breed poultry farmer. Her hens were ready to go and would I like to choose one before they went to Market. Would I ever???

Now I've had brown hens for about 6years, all of them rescue birds and thought that maybe one pretty indulgence would be ok. I knew what I wanted, a black rock hybrid. They aren't rare but they are gorgeous. Of course, on the way to their pen, I had to have a tour of the rare breeds!

I forget now what these are called, but they lay a very pretty blue egg. I was a little tempted.


These little Polands were amazing and Moomin has been lusting after them for a few years, since seeing them in a farming magazine. My friend offered me a pair at a ridiculously good price.


One of these black girls (the speckled one on the right, I think) and a cockerel for free.


This cockerel to be exact. He was stunningly beautiful, but squeeled and crowed constantly and would not have survived the home journey, he was already driving me bats. No wonder he was free, haha!


After a looooong time deciding, I actually came home with two chickens! It turned out to be a good idea as Mabel was FURIOUS, as you can see from her face here and the new girls had each other for protection (sort of!).


The black rock was instantly snaffled by the Moomin (typical!) and was promptly named Tiger Lilly. That left the silver sussex to name. I really struggled, but finally decided on Oona, it really suits her.


Tiger has a really gentle eye, which is why I chose her out of about 50 birds!


Ooona has pretty black speckles on her chest, which is why she was chosen, but thankfully, she seems to be very gentle too.


So my weekend was spent going to the field at first light and again at twilight to help them all settle together, in between I had to feed the ponies and family, pheweee!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Yaaay and yaaay!

We had a fantastic day last week in the New Forest. The Moomin just loved it soooo much and was totally happy throwing herself around while I took lots of pony pictures. We met up with fellow blogger and very dear friend Bovey Belle from Codlins and Cream. We did a lot of talking and it was very hard to say goodbye again. Hopefully we'll get together again in the Summer holidays :)



Back home and with enough inspiration to keep me painting and sculpting for the rest of the year, I began painting some little boxes I bought a while ago. Last week we found some four and five leaf clovers at the field and carefully brought them home and pressed them. We were amazed at the little patch we found where there were enough of the magical leaves to feed one to both ponies, to keep them lucky :)


I used my son's insect book for the bee details, as they are hard to snap with my little camera, and yes, I'm back in the kitchen for now as I'm getting the clay out in the Studio and the two mediums don't mix well!


Dandelion pot with little bumble bee.



Inside is a light shade of green, while outside is darker with a dandelion pattern on the sides.


Clover pot with a small blue butterfly and a four leaf clover on the lid.



Inside is a periwinkle blue and there are tiny butterflies around the sides.


Lastly, I'm happy to have another portrait just about finished. The background just needs a little tweaking and I'm done.


In the front is Whisp, a darling goat that I wanted to keep forever, she was sooo sweet. Behind her from left to right is Webley and Whisper. They are rare breed English Goats, which are smaller than the Swiss and Nubian goats, but their milk yield is comparable, so very good little goats to own. Sigh, one day maybe :)

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Done!


Fortified by plenty of tea, I managed to get a few things ticked off my list.

Bookmarks finished and packed.
Toffee ridden.
Merlin schooled.
One more portrait finished.
The rest.... to do!!!!

My legs and back ache and speculation in the henhouse is rife as the date draws nearer for the new arrival(s)! Oh my! What to do? Lots of choices and no idea. All will be made clear next week! At the moment, the biggest thing on Mabel and Lotties mind is which is best, greenfly or grubs! The answer of course is CORN!

ps. Mabel isn't great as a hen. She lays an egg when she feels like it and not terribly big ones at that and she often beats up Lottie who is a very good hen! But Mabel makes a great little dog! She follows me everywhere and nearly always comes when called, bringing Lottie with her as she hops in a bandy legged way over grass higher than her head. I suppose you could say that Mabel is a very good little pet!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Lists and a few words from the hens.

I have a list as long as my arm to get through and I'm at the procrastination stage. Sitting here contemplating the work is so much easier than getting up and doing it!

I have
bookmarks to finish
gift cards to print
portraits to start and finish
Merlin needs schooling
Toffee needs riding
vegetables have to be planted
vegetable beds need to be weeded

That's just scratching the surface as housework, cooking and cleaning are all still lurking but for now I'll happily overlook that pile of washing!

While I was sitting under the goat willow drawing, my two hens were constant companions, taking their rest in the shade and catching the occasional greenfly, which is a funny thing to watch! They chattered to each other constantly and at length the talk turned to the extra space in the hen run since my two old girls had passed on.

Mabel - I think she'll be getting us a new sister soon.
Lottie - Huh? Do you think so?
Mabel - Hopefully a small and silly hen that will do as she's told.
Lottie - An ugly hen?
Mabel - Probably. She won't be as gorgeous as me - us, I mean!
Lottie - We are very lovely.
Mabel - Yes very lovely.

and they wandered off, muttering about this and that and the merits of greenfly over larger flies, which are apparently a little bitter! I stiffled a smile thinking about how wrong they are about their new sister!