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You are welcome to copy any of my designs, as long as you do not take credit for them yourself. I am very happy for you to sell them. If I have used anyone else's design, I always try to give credit where it is due. If I have missed anything, please let me know and I will put things right.

This is intended to be mainly about my crafting stories, as a personal record of what I do. However, I interpret crafting quite widely, not just paper crafting but other things too. I have a butterfly mind and like to change from one thing to another depending on what I feel like on a given day - knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, cards, baking and several others.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


 It is Wednesday (well, I cannot tell a lie, it is actually Tuesday while I am writing this) and that means What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW, the day when we all join Julia at Stamping Ground to see what everyone else is doing.

 I was MIA last week but I did have a lot to fit in, getting the caravan and myself ready for my first solo trip.  So this week's post shows you where my desk was, rather than what is on it.

I am quite proud of myself for managing to do all the things I need to know about, although I did accept help with things I knew how to do, like winding the legs up and down. 

This was my destination - Eastnor Deer Park, near Ledbury in Herefordshire, and this was the view from the front window.  The weather was a little mixed, some glorious sunshine and some very heavy rain (not heavy enough to wash the Sahara sand off the caravan or the motor).  The nights were chilly but, fortunately, the gas bottle ran out during the day and was easily changed over (must remember to replace the empty one).
Needless to say, some crafting was done, including a couple of sketches of the views.  I need to redo them before colouring in, and find a better way to show the different kinds of trees and bushes, but with the photo and the sketch I should be able to work it up to something better at my leisure.  The main thing was the practice in something I wanted to do, to draw my own landscapes.  This time of year is a good one to study the way trees grow as the leaves have not yet covered the skeleton of branches.

The birdlife at Eastnor has increased dramatically over the past few years.  On Sunday evening, I hunted the whole caravan to find out what the whirring noise was (others on the field were doing the same) before I suddenly realised it was outside and almost certainly birds.  At first, I thought it was some kind of owl, then I twigged that is was actually nightjars calling to each other.  There must have been around half a dozen around in the trees, and the calls were virtually non-stop until the cocks started to crow at first light.  I have never heard them before in the wild, only on wild life programmes on TV.  This YouTube video gives you a flavour of what we were hearing.
This is what the bird actually looks like.

This is something I have never seen at Eastnor either, a swan flying so low across the park from the castle lake to the fishing ponds at the other end of the park. 
On the whole, the weekend was a success and proved to me that I can continue to use the caravan on my own, which makes it easier to take the dogs away with me.  It also showed up a few faults with the van, which are probably partially due to lack of use over the last twelve months, like cupboards that don't want to open, the barrel of one of the outside locks coming out attached to the key and a couple of others.  However, the adaptations that Broad Lane did for me worked like a dream.  The motor mover had enough battery power to allow me to unhitch in the middle of the road and bring the caravan back onto the drive without having to reverse (don't do that, yet) and no physical effort more than pressing a button.  

Now I just need to get these faults sorted and I can start to book holidays again.  I shall go mainly to more of the type of site with full facilities and flat pitches to save the extra hassle of levelling. 

Then I shall put a permanent set of crafting stuff in the van so I don't forget.  I am curious about what you all think about the different kinds of colouring pencils.  I have always, from childhood, stuck with Derwent media and have most of their products, including my precious electric eraser (not due to laziness, but because of its precision.   However, a lot of people swear by Spectrum Noir so I thought it would be good to see if there were any better.  I took a set with me over the weekend, together with a tin of Derwent for comparison.  So far, the Spectrum Noir have not impressed me and they may get passed on to others to play with.  I am fairly sure that I will stick to the Derwent, which are, after all, made in this country.

This was supposed to be a short and sweet post.  Sorry, Julia, I have waffled on again.  Anyway, dear readers (as they say), if you have stuck with me to the end, I am sure you will enjoy visiting all the other desks on show.  All the instructions on how to join in can be found at Stamping Ground - easy peasy.


Judys Fabrications said...

Maggie, you're fabulous to be going off alone with the van. Good on you!!
I find Prisma Coloured pencils have a nice waxy feel.I use them on fabric because they work smoother.You can blend them nicely too.
Have a great week.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Maggie, I'm so impressed with you. Taking on this challenge has been good for you, and I am proud of how you fared. Glad to read that not many problems occurred. Does this mean you'll drive the caravan to the WOYWW crop?

I don't have any pencils, so you are asking the wrong person in me. I have a couple of mechanical ones, but I know you don't mean those (grin).

Saw the lovely memorial to Geoff below. How sweet of the neighbors. I'm sure it was comforting for you, too.

Happy WOYWW, although I have no number yet.

Helen said...

Hi, Maggie. I am seriously impressed that you take the caravan on your own, good on you - and some crafting to boot, enjoy the sketching/painting! Have a good week. Helen 5

Claire said...

What a great post - so much in it - and I love your sketch! I love Derwent - esp. the electric eraser which I can use one-handed - it's a godsend :)
Happy WOYWW!
no. 2

sandra de said...

Your english countryside side is absolutely stunning and I love the sketch you have done. I am trying to do more drawing and you are so right Practice is the key.
Sandra @20

Chrysalis said...

Congratulations, Maggie - you are one brave lady! Geoff would be so proud. I've gone camping on my own (and with kids) but find driving a car bad enough! Eastnor is such a lovely place - DD2 has signed up for a mud run(!) there in the summer, and I hope we'll go to cheer her on, and enjoy a picnic there. Have a lovely week - the tree looks great BTW. Chris # 19

Vikki said...

What an awesome post Maggie...you are a very brave lady taking off in a caravan all by yourself, well done and I hope you get much joy from your trips away. Vikki #22

Lunch Lady Jan said...

Good on you girl! I've said before that I think you're one of the bravest people I know....but I'll say it again. You're brave in all sorts of ways. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip (as well asserting it as a bit of a test) and your sketching is really good!
Hugs, LLJ 14 xx

Eliza said...

Can I come caravaning with you I need a holiday and it sounds like fun. Hey I would stick with the Derwents, I am a Derwent girl too, they are permanently on my desk watercolor, studio and artist ones. Oh and that bird sound is just beautiful, had to be careful to not fall asleep it had that effect on me. Thanks for sharing and have a great week.

Hugs Eliza & Yoda 28

Neet said...

Lovely photos - thanks for sharing.
Neet 27 x

Twiglet said...

Wow Maggie - I can't tell you how impressed I am! I am sure I couldn't have done that - how brave and clever are you!! AND what a lovely place to visit. I am a keen bird watcher but never heard or seen Nightjars - what a spot. x Jo


G'day Maggie
and happy WOYWW.Oh good for you getting brave and doing a caravan trip on your own! I too am wanting to sketch and paint lately and yr sketch is great. Maggie the tree the people of your street planted to remember Geoff by is gorgeous and a lovely idea too
Annette In Oz #8

Shaz Brooks said...

Hi Marg, been seeing the pics on Fb- at least the weather was reasonably kind to you. So glad the caravan is working out- Geoff would be so pleased that you can still enjoy it.
Not heard many good things about the Spectrum Noir pencils, I have to say. Rather like the pens, people either love them or hate them, I find. Not bothered going there, sticking with my Promarkers. Speak soon, Love Shaz xxx

Chrysalis said...

Me again! The mud run that DD2 is doing is a charity run - about 6 miles, I think. She says they're a national organisation. We only live in Worcester, so Eastnor isn't too far away. I just commented on a blog (sorry, forgot which one) whose writer had just been to Lower Brockhampton - love going there, too. Chris xx

Linda Simpson said...

What a brave lady you are, congratulations. Stunning photographs and your drawing is brilliant.
Linda xxx

Princess Judy Palmer said...

Kudos to you for venturing out on your own in the caravan. How exciting to learn that you can do it! Such adventures you and the dogs can have now. I enjoyed your scenic views right along with you with your photograph and sketch. Oh, those whirling birds! What a crazy sound they make, and all night long too?! Oh my! As for the pencils, I say stick with what you know and love.

Caro said...

Congratulations Maggie...I am so glad that your solo trip was a success. You are one very brave lady! Thanks for sharing. Happy WOYWW. Caro x (#89)

Julia Dunnit said...

Well done Maggie - well done! I think towing and pitching on your own are really amazing achievements and I'm really pleased to read that you'll be continuing. Your sketch is great, Eastnor looks absolutely beautiful.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Maggie, I salute you for your courage in taking out the caravan on your own! Having towed a caravan in the past I know just what an achievement it feels the first time you do it. And I certainly never learned to reverse either ... that was just a step too far! I'm not surprised you were all checking inside rather than outside ... I wouldn't have thought of a bird either. Your sketch is great - the view from your caravan is so peacefully beautiful ... look forward to seeing the finished work. Have a good week. Elizabeth x #39

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

awesome Maggie.. wonderful post not rambling at all :D
loved hearing how it all went.. oh and those nightjars are well called aren't they :D

great job on adventuring with your dogs like that... and would love to see shot of the caravan set up too.
re the pencils here is what I did when chosing a set and just for record have complete set of artists Derwent (144?) but also have large set of Caran D'ache Supracolours (80) and a large set of Prismalcolors (120).
I bought at artist shop individual colours of the top range.. then brought them home and played with them, and worked out what suited my purpose.
Derwent are the hardest I find and least blend-able of sets I have then come Caran D'ache (which blend well with water) and lastly Prismas, which blend well with stumps etc. My sister gave me these for Christmas as she was upgrading so they were not bought.

Hope that helps, happy WOYWW Shaz in Oz.x #42