Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Winter Wonderland in North Merchiston Cemetery

It snowed last night and while in most of our local area, the snow quickly melted, it was still lying in the cemeteries when we walked round them on our Daily Exercise lockdown walk this lunchtime. The photos are all from North Merchiston Cemetery




The snowdrops continue to bloom, even as they're covered in snow 




Monday, 18 January 2021

Tree Following - January Update

I thought I'd take a closer look at the silver birch tree that I've selected to follow for Tree Following this year. 

The tree stands in North Merchiston Cemetery in Edinburgh. The whole cemetery is covered by a tree preservation order, which means that no trees can be removed without explicit permission from the council and can only be removed for health and safety reasons.

Silver birches are very familiar trees of rural and urban areas in the UK. They're very easy to identify at any time of the year as they have very distinctive white and black bark. They don't grow very tall but as they age, their trunks become more gnarled. You can find out more about silver birches on the Woodland trust website here

Our silver birch is quite mature and has developed a gnarled trunk with a few fissures in it




 A holly bush is growing right next to the tree 

and there's what looks like the remains of some sort of fungus at the base of the trunk 

In common with all trees in Edinburgh, our silver birch has a number 

It also has a nest box that was recently attached by the council forestry officer (you can read about the day Friends of North Merchiston Cemetery put up bird boxes here). I look forward to seeing which species of bird will set up its home in this lovely nest box 


If you look closely at the twigs, you can see the buds and last year's catkins.

 

Edited to add: I just found this interesting article on the Trees for Cities website about the benefits of trees

 

for Tree Following and Nature Notes.

Sunday, 17 January 2021

The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell

 

 In the 1970s Tom Michell was a teacher in a boarding school in Argentina. One day when at the coast, he came across the heartbreaking sight of a beach full of dead penguins, killed by a huge oil spill. Amazingly he found one penguin that wasn't dead and rescued it, calling it Juan Salvado (John the Saved) and taking it back to school with him. 

This is the wonderful true story about a Magallenic penguin with a huge personality who won the hearts of everyone who met him, who became a swimming coach and the mascot for the school rugby team and helped shy students build their confidence. 

Interwoven with the stories about Juan Salvador are facts and observations about marine pollution and Argentinian politics and living standards in the 1970s. 

It's a wonderfully entertaining and moving read. With beautiful portraits of Juan Salvador drawn by Neil Baker.

The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell published (2015) by Penguin.


Thursday, 14 January 2021

Pretty handmade gift bag

 I blogged recently about the goodie bag that East Lothian Creative Club had sent me. It contained a lovely inspiring collection of small items to use in craft projects. Well yesterday evening I finished my first project including items from the bag - a little gift bag! 


The bag is made up of three items from the goodie bag (the plain turquoise fabric, the ribbon bow and the green pom-pom) the rest of the materials are from my stash. 

I already have some ideas for what I might make using some of the other items from the goodie bag! 

**

I've recently added a few pairs of handmade earrings to my Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop, you can see them here!



Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Homemade Valentines Card

Given that Crafty Green Boyfriend is now working from home he may see this post, though I hope I can keep it secret as he rarely reads my blog.

East Lothian Creatives Club recently posted a prompt on their social media to create something inspired by hearts, so I made this Valentine's Card. 

This is the front 

and this is the back

All elements of the card came from second hand shops (including the 'Handmade by' stamp).

East Lothian Creative Club is a very inspiring group, offering regular inspiration for creative people in East Lothian (and Edinburgh!). You can catch up with them on Facebook (their page is here and the group is here) and Twitter.


Tuesday, 12 January 2021

New Year, New Tree -Tree Following Update

 Last year I took part in Tree Following and chose a horse chestnut tree in North Merchiston Cemetery, which is part of our lockdown #DailyExercise route. Little did I know back then that still in 2021 we would be confined to a limited area for exercise. 

So this year, I have chosen another tree in the same cemetery to study. This is a lovely silver birch tree, all gnarled with age. It's also one of the trees that the forestry officer of Edinburgh City Council put a bird box on while we walked round the cemetery as part of our discussions about the new Friends of North Merchiston Cemetery Group (you can read about our meeting here). So hopefully while following the tree I can also keep an eye on any bird family that chooses to nest there! 

The birch looked beautiful today in the cold winter sunshine 


There are a number of graves around the tree, many of which have seen better days. 

Some of the gravestones will have been laid flat by the council after becoming unstable. Very few people have been buried in this cemetery for many years and there are no new plots left, though you can still be buried there if your family has a family plot there. 

I look forward to being able to watch the birch tree through the year, though I do hope lockdown restrictions can be lifted sooner rather than later!



Monday, 11 January 2021

Creative Inspiration and the first snowdrops of the year

 Today I was delighted to receive a parcel in the post! A goodie bag from the East Lothian Creative Club, which is a group that started during lockdown to offer creative inspiration to people in East Lothian. I seem to have been accepted as an honorary member (Edinburgh is next door to East Lothian but not part of it, and current COVID restrictions mean we cannot travel there, which is a shame as I enjoy birdwatching in Musselburgh (see this post for unsettling news about a potential development in Musselburgh).)

This is what was in the parcel:


So I will need to start thinking and creating! 

I was annoyed recently when this lovely container, that I use to store the threads I'm using in current sewing projects, got damaged

but then I realised I could take advantage of the damaged area 

Crafty Green Boyfriend and I took our usual exercise route through the local cemeteries at lunchtime today and were happy to see that the first snowdrops are showing themselves!