Last week we visited Missenden Abbey again. I had the chance to wander in the grounds even though it was a dank and dull day. It seemed to rain whenever I was free to wander, but I specifically wanted to take a photo of these flowers.


Rudbeckia, otherwise known as Black Eyed Susans and more, is a popular plant in gardens at this time of the year, and is a welcome splash of colour as the days shorten and the sun is less obvious in the sky. However, it wasn’t the perfect bright petals that had drawn my eye but those that were withering and fading. If it had been dry I would have quickly sketched them, but after taking these shots I ran for cover.


I began my stitching journey many years ago, first at the feet of my mother and grandmother and stitched my first sampler, which, of course, was in cross-stitch. I still have it, somewhere. In the late 1980s I embarked upon a City and Guilds course in Creative Embroidery (in truth I think it was called something different then). and I stitched another sampler. This time the ‘samples’ were of threads – different types and, due to the subject matter, shades and colour too.


The subject of the sampler was Rudbeckia. The flowers were hand drawn, then the design transferred to the fabric via a tracing method. Badly stitched (it was very early in the course) it features about a dozen different types of thread, and if you look closely you will see evidence of my very first hand-dyeing efforts. Seeing the Rudbeckias that morning reminded me of this effort, and I think it’s time to make another. This time I will approach it differently. It is on my ‘to do’ list, but first….

….. draw the Rudbeckia!

OK, so you know I’m odd :)

Yesterday we visited Salisbury. We have great affection for the city as DH lived there for a while, and his parents were residents for many years. We were near the cathedral


and I took this picture from the passenger seat of the car as we drove away.

I was unsure of the finished result until I saw it on the computer, but I love the way the sunlight is just hinting from behind the spire – and the tiny flecks of daylight (behind the tree) that were a total surprise. Most of all, though, I like the way the scaffolding, of all things, is a horizontal foil to the vertical of the main construction.

As I said…… you know I’m odd :)

(And Janet, if you are reading this, ask me if I’ve used the design elements herein when we finally have that lunch ;) )

Strike while the iron is hot.

Actually, there isn’t any ironing involved for me at this stage, but when it comes to preparation it’s just a question of getting on with it. So, instead of just talking about the new project I’ve actually started it.

The first stage is to work on the back. Yes, the BACK! Why? Well that will become apparent as I get a little further down the road, in the meantime, this will be the back



It’s a piece of wrinkled and crinkled cotton, a very fine cotton, and the texture is as a result of the dyeing process. At the moment it’s just as I want it. It won’t stay that way for ever, you will see how it changes way down the line.

So, the first stage is to tack it to another piece of cotton – one that’s slightly heavier.



This shows how fine the cotton is – it only has to be tacked around the edge at the moment – and I’m almost half way! If I get any further I’ll show you, but not tomorrow, because that is Wordless Wednesday ;)

100 Steps

Circumstances mean this is a day later than planned. The photographs have been ready for a while as they are another from the series that was featured both last week and the week before.

This time, however, it is a question of ‘eyes down’. All these marks were made within 100 steps. I can see many possibilities in these marks. I hope you will join in, leave a note below if you do. Details are here.

Related posts:

100 Steps

I’m really enjoying this series, I mentioned it earlier when I illustrated how such a walk had been used (I haven’t told you about that one, yet). The photograph was taken during a walk in the snow which began at our local canal. I’ve mentioned it before, and this 100 steps is actually the same  area that I wrote about here. The comparison with the scene just two months ago is quite interesting.

The last walk began at the canal bridge. Work was going on to drain an area so that a new pipeline could be installed. Well, work is continuing, but at the time of taking these pictures the workmen were hampered by the cold temperatures


By way of introduction, this photograph is taken from the old bridge (no longer open to motorised traffic) and is of the canal in the opposite direction to the way we were intending to walk. You can see the snow lying, obviously, and the frozen water. There is now a solid barrier on both sides of the area in which they are working, and the ice extended beyond, surrounding the dredger and other boats that were there…


Now we start the walk! This is step 0! The barrier grid is still there, and the ice is clearly seen.


Just two steps, though, and what a difference! Water was (and is) still being pumped out causing ripples and unexpected water movement.


The ducks were pleased about this, and those ripples are duly recorded in one of my sketchbooks for use at a later date.


I think of these mallards as being quite colourful ducks, but in this environment they are almost perfectly camouflaged, that surprised me,


The edge of the canal showed signs of ice as we moved along, but it was the reflections and patterns created in the water that interested me here.

5So too here. The uprights of the trees, band of snow and interesting reflections are something I will use in the not too distant future. I like the interest in the foreground too, I would like to have brought this piece home with me, but the seeds are better in their natural environment than on my desk ready for drawing….


This brought us to the basin, and almost the end of 100 steps, do you remember this?


I wonder if it has moved since I photographed it last time!

There are just a couple more photographs I’d like to include today. To show that they aren’t really part of the journey I’ve included them in a little gallery with captions. They were actually of areas that featured in the 100 steps of the following week, but I won’t be devoting a post specifically to that part of the walk this time.

Don’t forget that if you click on a picture in the gallery you will open a slideshow with captions. I hope you have enjoyed coming with me. I’d love it if you took part too. You might like to visit the related posts below for inspiration. 100 steps isn’t far, why not try it? Details here, and please link back to this week’s post, then I can come and visit.

Related posts

100 Steps

It’s cold, very cold, and more snow is forecast. I need cheering up, so I’m looking back at a lovely day last year when I taught in Worthing in W Sussex. We all poured out onto the streets to do our ‘100’, this part of my collection.

The captions are on the photographs. If you click above you will see a slideshow with the comments displayed.

Thanks for taking 100 steps with me. If you would like to join in full details are here, leave a comment below and I’ll come and visit.