Wednesday, 31 March 2010

And The Rest of the Week

Some more snow photos which I finally got downloaded. Here a couple of roads away from where we live there were some brilliant snow buildings - a Tardis and a Dalek. They looked fantastic and hung around for quite a bit of time, very clever and talented builders!

I was spending quite a bit of time doing college work as assignment deadlines were looming! But I was also looking forward to the Flower Club annual dinner which was at The Navigation at Cosgrove. I seem to be spending quite a bit of time in and around Cosgrove these days!! It was a very enjoyable evening - well it was once we found the place!! It did take us a couple of drives around to spot it, but we are looking forward to heading back again possibly in the summer for a drink or two and enjoy having a look around, as it appeared to be on the canal side.

It was lovely to be able to have a good natter with some of the members of the club, which it isn't always possible to do at the meetings and lovely to take husbands and meet husbands - Mike even enjoyed himself. We were sat with June and Steve and it was lovely to meet Steve and have the chance to have a chat when I have usually been dropping June home after the club meeting and helping her in with her raffle won arrangement!!

The food was excellent and for starters Mike and I both had Maple and Seasame Glazed Chicken (yummy), mains Mike and I both had (its not often we both choose the same things so much!! - probably because we were choosing from a set menu) Steak and new potatoes and then for desert we both had Ginger and Plum Crumble (I had made a bit of a boob and ordered Mike the wrong thing!! which turned into a bigger boob when he saw the desert he should have had!! Chocolate Caramel and Peanut Slice (which was huge)) but all in all an enjoyable evening with lots of new friends.

As I don't have too much else to natter about, due to the college work (!) here are some more piccies of the snow, Mike with Binnie, Jamie and his friend Kian, we had been out enjoying another walk in the snow.

Despite the snow there had been a lot of sunshine and the outside lighting (solar powered) had come on, which was quite disconcerting to see in the snow, it somehow looked wrong! although later on it did give the snow a lovely eerie quality.

Ducks waddling about on the frozen pond, they are lucky as they are very well fed ducks and didn't seem to be struggling too much despite the poor conditions. They must get fed several times a day and are fairly tame, they are always happy to see people especially when they turn up with bread. They do wander all over EV too and have been seen in our street and as far away as Teletubby mound (if you know EV you will know where that is!)

A warning to everyone near the pond - although the ducks weren't paying any attention!

Back home and in the warmth again, Jamie and Kian boxing on the Wii, Mike was probably working on his Friars website and I was working on as assignment again - well I was after taking the photos!!




Reading challenge 10/16 - I was currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban until it disappeared so am now reading Songbird by Josephine Cox.

Spring Term Week 3

This week at college we started something totally different and something which breaks all the rules of traditional floristry - form linear design. Form linear has a strong European influence and is very design orientated, you can also see some Ikebana influence in there too. It often uses very few flowers and their position in the design is paramount.

They are a little complex to explain but each design consists of 3 main elements and these elements are given a numerical significance - 8 the most significant, important, or the flower/foliage with the most impact, 5 is of medium importance or the supporting flower or foliage and 3 is the lowest significance. There is more to it than that but that is the first bit to try and get your head around, and it took us some time to do that in class!

Above is my first attempt at form linear - the phormium leaves are my 8 they are the most striking aspect of the design, the iris my 5 as they support and bring interest into the design and then the fatsia leaves the 3. The other elements that need thinking about are creating a triangle between the 3 elements of this design and ensuring none of the stems are crossing. It is an unusual style of design with some complex rules and as we are only covering it at a basic level we have not gone too deeply into the whys and wherefores of this style at level 2, that is covered more in level 3.

A final element is leaf manipulation and positioning, above in the picture the fatsia leaves are shadowing or umbrellaing each other which is as far as we took leaf manipulation, but it can be extended into plaiting and folding etc.

This first attempt was not too bad, the elements are all there and I used sand to cover up the foam bringing in an additional texture, but this design isn't really too exciting the way some form linear designs can be.

This was my second attempt, the Iris are now the 8, the salix 5 and the leaves again 3, you can see the umbrella effect more clearly in this photo and I think the stones set the arrangement off much better than sand. None of the stems are crossing but I don't like the way they are moving out of the arrangement at either side, I think it takes focus away from the iris, but this is definitely a much more designy style of floristry and I think in time I will like this one very much.

The same principles are applied to form linear hand tied, but rather than being in foam these are hand tied, and these are not easy. In regular hand tied we spiral the stems, in this form you cannot cross the stems, the stems cross at an imaginary point below the design (!). This is very difficult to manage the stems even if you know what you want to put where, it is getting the flowers and foliage to stay put which makes this very complicated. And as I am not yet happy with hand tieds it seems to be much harder!

All the elements are here, the gerbera my 8, the salix my 5 and the foliage my 3, there is the shadowing too, but as this is basic form linear we couldn't do any leaf manipulation and I felt this design was calling out for the aspidistra leaf to be rolled or folded which would have made it less sticky out! Below is something much more traditional, an all round design in a basket with a candle.

I was pretty pleased with this and as it was a practice for an assessment I felt I was on my way with that one - a nice big chunky candle and some salix to give added areas of interest. Onto the final push with assignments too, 2 are done and gone and 2 more are due for hand in next week. It has been a little bit stressful for a couple of weeks!




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban (which has disappeared (?) and I am now reading Songbird by Josephine Cox.

And For The Rest of the Week

We still have snow, its fun to start with but as it continues, it is getting less so! Here is a still from video of Binnie playing in the snow in the garden. She was having fun but was finding it difficult to get to her usual look out spot on the treehouse.

She did make it up there eventually .....

and now she can check out her little kingdom and make sure all is well!!

Jamie and I were watching a film when we kept hearing a thud thud and at first I thought nothing of it, but eventually decided to check it out. I thought it was snow starting to thaw and fall off the garden furniture, but after it continued I explored a little further and found someone was throwing snowballs at the back of the house. As Jamie's room is at this side I was a little concerned as we know that silliness can often lead to 'accidents', I checked it out further and found that snowballs were being thrown at the house from a nearby house. This is a picture of remnants a couple of days later.

This is a picture of the retarded moron (used here in its definition of underdeveloped mentally - which he clearly is) who was throwing the snowballs. It has been reported to the police as I have a strong belief in naming and shaming - although I should think shame is an unknown emotion to this creature.

On a brighter note one of the things the cold weather does bring is some interesting and unusual photo opportunities and here is one of my hanging baskets covered in fairly large icicles, it did look amazing and took quite a few days before it thawed and disappeared completely. It was something I hadn't noticed in previous bad weather, but I guess the weather hadn't gone on as long as this patch had.

And here is a small conifer which was frozen, the picture here doesn't do it justice but it looked amazing. I just hope it survives for the summer after all this bad treatment!

At least having so much college work means I haven't had to venture too far and the bad weather makes it easier to stay in.




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban (which has disappeared (?) and I am now reading Songbird by Josephine Cox.

Spring Term Week 2

Back to college again, after the snow - well after that batch of snow! We were trying to round off bits of the units we had been doing to get to the point of being able to start new units before half term. Below is an all around parallel arrangement. All round as the arrangement is meant to be viewed from any and all angles, so I guess this would be suitable for some kind of table centre, although perhaps not a dining table as it may impede the flow of conversation. This is quite a good attempt, apart from the one liatris which is drifting off to the left in the picture, he needs standing up straight again.

This is called a parallel arrangement as you have groups of flowers arranged in parallel to each other so in this arrangement you have the liatris, the carnation and the tulips. This is a European style arrangement and is also known as a continental, but is also one of my personal favourites, as you can also introduce some different elements such as the fir cones and Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) which give additional textures and areas of interest. I love the tulips extending from each side of the arrangement, they give it an entirely different feel and take the arrangement into the space (negative space) around the design.

I have a few plans for this blog once I've finished the course as I would like to do some step by step arrangements that will be easy to follow (hopefully) and pass on some of the love I have for flowers, designing and arranging them.

Tulips are beautiful flowers but have soft stems which makes them quite difficult to place easily, but they can be wired (which can be a bit of a job) to ensure they stay in the proper place. Tulips also carry on growing after they have been cut so wiring them helps keep them in the position you want them in the design, it also helps to place the stems into the oasis.

I tackled a totally new style of arrangement to me as well this week, vegetative. When you hear the name it is easy to think it's one of those arrangements which has some added interest in the form of fruit or vegetables but it gets its name from the natural look of the arrangement. With this style of arrangement you are trying to create as natural a look as possible, so you would take a theme such as spring or autumn and all the flowers used in the arrangement would need to be sympathetic to that theme (there natural time to flower would be spring in a spring arrangement for example). Below I have created a spring themed arrangement using narcissus, iris and tulips.

There are lots of rules in flower arranging/floristry one of them being that you place buds and smaller blooms at the outer edges of your design and increase the size of blooms as you go into the centre, well in this style you don't. It has to have a very natural look, just as they would in the garden, so the taller/tallest flowers are the most open and the buds are placed lower in a design (the exact opposite to what you would normally do!)

I was going for a springtime woodland glade look with this arrangement and am pretty pleased with it, this style isn't to everyone's taste but I like the informality of it. I think I've achieved the look I wanted and used chipped bark and larger pieces of bark with ivy weaving through. This design isn't supposed to look too designed so there is one tulip branching out from the side as it would in nature. In this style of arrangement you wouldn't wire or manipulate anything, it would be out of keeping with the natural look.

There is a lot of written course work at the moment and I have four assignments on the go, these are our Task A's in which you have to discuss and reflect upon styles of arrangement and discuss how the elements and principles of design are applied, how the designs are used, stored, transported etc, within the areas we have covered so far. There is also a lot of drawing and art work involved which is somewhat challenging for me as I cannot draw!

I am working on an assignment on the Elements and Principles of Design within Floristry, and then three covering Funeral Designs, Floral Arrangements and Hand Tied Designs. Lots and lots of work going on at the moment. I may have some drawings to show next time.




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban (I will get this book finished eventually maybe about July!!)

And For the Rest of the Week

Well - the next few days could be summed up in 1 word - SNOW!!!!!! and lots of it. College was closed, school was closed and everything almost came to a standstill. So as we didn't have to go out anywhere at least we didn't have to worry about trying to get about in it and just enjoyed it!!

Jamie and I headed out for a walk with Binnie in the snow, we didn't get too far before it started snowing again - here Jamie is being snowed on!

Binnie wasn't liking it much by this point, the snow was almost up to her tummy!
She looks warm in her coat, but the snow packed into her pads and she didn't like it after a few minutes so with the snow getting heavier and Binnie struggling to walk in it we headed home.

An 'arty' shot of the cornus covered in snow.

Our local park looks wonderful in the snow, it was starting to snow quite heavily by this point so we decided to turn around and head home.

Here school is closed, the snow was still pristine everywhere, no-one was venturing out too far.

I am well wrapped up and even though we had only just set off was getting covered in snow.

When we got home and put Binnie inside to warm up - we had the obligatory snowball fight - the cars provided lots of ammunition!!

Jamie is having lots of fun, but the snow was getting heavier and we got cold, so it was inside for some hot chocolate.




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban

Back to College for Spring Term - Week 1

So it was back to college for the start of Spring Term and the second of three terms of my course. It turned out to be a bit of a strange week as I had been gearing up for completing some assignments and preparing for some practical assessments but that didn't happen. We spent most of the first day back reorganising the deadlines for the next few assignments and dates for practical assessments. In the end we didn't really get anything practical done, except receive and condition our flowers.

On Tuesday it was onto funeral work but in the hand tied unit and it was a second go at a funeral sheaf, here are a couple of pictures of mine. This design is a cross between a hand tied, a flat backed bouquet and a sheaf. It is hand tied and can be made in the hand (if you have large and strong hands, it is like a flat backed bouquet in the way you spiral the stems front and back of main line in the arrangement and it is like a sheaf with the stems sticking out of one end of the arrangement. The design has something slightly unusual as it has what is referred to as a 'return end' - that is where you have some leaves pointing in the opposite direction to the flowers to finish the design off, here some leatherleaf (arachniodes adiantiformis) is acting as the return end just above the purple bow.

Below is my practice for the first practical assessment which is a decorative wrap, this one was much better than the one I created in the assessment. On Wednesday college was shut because of SNOW!




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban

New Year's Day

Happy New Year to All

We had a quiet day and went out for a walk, I captured the sunset on the first day of the year. It was a bright day but very cold (and as I am writing this a little behind at the moment little did we know quite what the weather had in store for us!!)

Here is a picture from a neighbourhood house, it looks like someone has either lost his way, is very late or perhaps had to go back because he forgot someone!! This decoration is out every year and is so effective, it looks super from a distance.

Another picture of the sunset through the trees as we enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the linear park with Binnie.

I had of course been very hard at work with my college work, well not really so had a bit of catching up to do before heading back to college a couple of days later!!




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban
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