Archive for February, 2009



February 12, 2009

While it is still cold and wintery, especially this time of year when the “exciting” part of winter (i.e. Christmas) is over, I often feel like snuggling up with a blanket, a book and a cup of tea. This is equally comforting substituting hot chocolate, or an art journal, but the idea is the same; to cosy up and ignore the grey and miserable outside. While this nesting impulse is felt by many people at this time of year, it won’t be all that long before some more serious nesting is going on out in the avian world.


Next week is National Nest Box Week so this is the perfect time to clean out old nest boxes or put up new ones for our feathered friends. The trusty old box above has been used in our garden by blue tits for the last four years, when it replaced an even older one.

This is the remains of last years nest that we have taken out. One of their favourite nest lining materials seems to be hair so when I had quite a bit cut off last year I put some in a little net bag in the garden and they were constantly pulling bits out of it and flying with it back up to the box. (Just to explain the red stuff in the picture. Sorry if anyone thinks it’s gross.)


There is a lot of info on the BTO website, including this handy how-to for building your own box.

Of course, I don’t actually do the hard bit up the ladder. Thanks Dad!



Young People Today…

February 5, 2009

Today I went to a conference on youth-led volunteering. It was so encouraging to see so many young people gaining skills and confidence and getting involved in their communities, and to see how much can be done to inspire them to want to make a difference in the world. It also made me realise how many obstacles there are in the way of many of these projects, how many barriers are put in place to prevent young people from being able to volunteer in their community, whether these are down to funding, training, transport or insurance. Hopefully today was the first step in developing a county-wide network of projects ane resources that will help more young people become involved in volunteering.


I started making ATCs a few years ago, they were one of the things that got me into art again after I left school. These are 2 I made recently for a swap.

I’m always looking for new images to use in my art, and I’ve just discovered a beautiful site by Lisa Vollrath with lots of inspiration and some beautiful images for sale. She is running a Valentine’s countdown with free images every day until the 14th. Click here to see the lovely Valentine images.



February 3, 2009

The last 2 days have seen a very rare thing in this part of the world. Actual snow! We had barely an inch, but thats better than nothing! (Which has been the average snowfall here for the last 10 years or so)


I know there must be many people in more northerly places who are sick of the sight of it, and having their lives disrupted by power cuts and being snowed in, so sorry to you guys! And those of you down under who’d probably love a bit of this weather at the moment!


I find it quite amusing how we can’t cope with snow in England. Everything sort of grinds to a halt. As I said, we only had about an inch of snow here, but that has been enough to close most of the schools in the area and put out warnings that people should only travel if it is really necessary. How do people live in areas that have several feet of snow every year? How does the transport network keep going? And phones? And power? We just couldn’t do it.

squirrel tracks