So much fabric and so little time…

Amanda Barnes Textile Artist

I have an admirable fabric stash (not including the tweed which deserves a room all of it’s own) and I’ll never use it all. Ever. That doesn’t stop me buying more though and although I have been trying to cut down, there’s still that rash moment when I’m in the fabric shop to buy thread and I wander up to the counter with 6 fat quarters of assorted colours. I did that this weekend. Went in for thread and came out with extra fabric, more Oliver Twist threads and some amazingly red sequins in various sizes. I need an intervention. At least I don’t live in the same town as the fabric shop anymore!

One of the fabrics I bought was this gorgeously vibrant green and blue patterned cotton. The moment I saw it, it was in my hand. Not a good start, I’d only been in the shop 30…

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#Monday Motivation…

Amanda Barnes Textile Artist

is apparently the trending hashtag on Twitter. My #MondayMotivation is coffee, big dollop of cream (I’m still drinking it like that whether we low carb or not) and no sugar. So here I sit, trying to get motivated.

I haven’t written a list, the postit note to remind me fell off my mac and floated under my desk and I haven’t been motivated enough to retrieve it yet. It’s one of those days, can you tell?

Sunday was spent finishing off my newest cosplay mouse, a rather dark and mysterious black Harris Tweed mouse dressed up as Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. It all seemed easy enough until I realised that a. I didn’t have any black shearling and b. I was going to have to replicate his sword ‘Longclaw’ in polymer clay. I’ve only just mastered Negan’s bat….

Negan's bat 'Lucille'

I’m a real bodger and will try to find a…

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The big list of what’s holding you back…

Amanda Barnes Textile Artist

It isn’t a big list. It’s one word. One bloody horrible short little word that can paralyse you.

Doubt. 

It is the enemy of every artist, crafter, maker whoever thought that they might be able to sell their work. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, it’s there. It feeds on your insecurities and niggles away at you like some irritating little gnat buzzing around your head. It’s always there and no amount of swatting at it will make it go away. Even if you do manage to kill the damn thing, there’s another one making a beeline straight for you.

I don’t have an answer. I can give you all the things I’ve tried or been told to try. Some will work but most won’t. I will tell you one thing though, how can anyone else love your work if you don’t? I think you already do love your…

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Evening Primrose

rambling ratz

As the name suggests the evening primrose, family Onagraceae, flowers during the evening and throughout the night. The flowers are supposed to last until noon. These particular flowers in my garden look just like evening primrose, but they flower all day and all night. Unless someone can tell me otherwise I shall assume that they are indeed evening primrose, but perhaps a variety that flowers all blooming day!

They are American natives that were introduced to the UK in the 1600s. They are also known as « Sundrop » or « Evening Star ». I believe that all of the plant is edible, but the roots were particularly favoured as a meal. Native Americans also used the leaves to make tea. The seeds are a source of Gamma-Linolenic Acid and the oil from the seeds is used in many herbal preparations.Photo of evening primrose

They are an important food source for moths which feed on the…

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To be in Clover

rambling ratz

You may have heard the expression « to be in clover », it is a happy, prosperous state to be in and refers to the cattle fattening properties of clover.photo of honey bee on clover

To a lot of people clover is a nuisance plant, spoiling the look of their lawn, which it does if you like your lawns uniformly green and devoid of insect life. It is actually grown as a crop, providing excellent fodder for livestock. It gives us an example of farmers and bee keepers living in harmony, the clover needs pollination from bees and the bees need the clover to make their honey.photo of clover

As clover is a member of the legume family, which also includes peas and beans, it is an excellent nitrogen fixer for soil. Such plants obtain nitrogen from the atmosphere and fix it into the soil benefiting other plants as well as themselves and meaning the farmer doesn’t have to…

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July in the Woods

rambling ratz

woods-1If I had to describe the British woods in July with one word, it would be « green ». Everything is just so … green.

All of the ferns have unfurled, giving the woodland floor as green and leafy a look as the canopy above. Ferns are some of the earliest and most primitive plants. They reproduce by spores rather than seeds. Fern fossils have been found that date back 360 million years when trilobites filled the oceans. There is childlike joy in the tactility of fondling fern fronds as you walk through them.

Well, okay it isn’t just green. There are lots of woodland flowers in bloom at the moment. These are really testing my amateur flower ID skills, so please do let me know if I have got them wrong!

Photo of St John's WortFirst up, St John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum. This cheery yellow flower is associated today with the treatment of mild…

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Cinderella Story

TRASH ON THE MONOCACY

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Last August, it was Barbie. This June, it’s Cinderella. I found her after wading through a growing jumble of invasive japanese hops on « the island. » My son was throwing stones into the water on the opposite side of the river, where the trees are tall and plentiful enough to offer relief against the heat that has overtaken us the last few days. On « the island, » I sweated, dust and gnats and plant juices clinging to my damp legs, and collected my stash of garbage.

As I photographed Cinderella, turning her over to catch her at different angles, recording her placement on the disturbed earth, I began to feel as if I was in some twisted parody of a police procedural. Later, when I mentioned this to my husband, he conjured his best Lenny from Law and Order and quipped, « Well, it looks like she won’t be getting back before…

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