(wet felted snails)
There are some tasks that seem destined to constant interruption. Forever work in progresses. As soon as all the tools are assembled, and work on the verge to commence, a voice pipes up and my priorities are changed in a moment. A different task beckons. Sigh. I know I’m not alone.
All week, I’ve been trying to clear a
weed flower bed to plant a few new plants. All week. Finally Sunday, I woke early, before the rest of the household, and dug.
Among the plants are a pair of delphiniums that the slugs and snails had munched through while they waited in their pots to be planted. I brought them inside and they have recovered. Bunches of new leaves, although I’m not sure they will produce flowers.
(poached egg plant)
Poor plants. They are going to need extra defences in their new location. I’ve liberally sprinkled egg shells around, to deter the slugs and snails. Without wishing to tempt fate, this method usually works well in our garden.
So far, so good. I’ve not spotted any snails or the tell-tale signs of their sneaky visits. Admittedly, I did relocate a fair few snails to one of our wild areas in the garden, as I cleared the area of weeds.
Fortunately these particular snails are 100% harmless. The children recently made them by wet felting and needle-felting merino fleece. They used the technique of making long thin rods of felt (details here) and also had a go at needle-felting. They decided wet felting has the best technique when it comes to snail making.
The felted snails are back up above our inglenook, among the felted leaves and crocheted daisies. While I’m left to keep a beady eye on my delphiniums. I have a plan B, a plan C and a plan D. I hope I’m not pushed into resorting to Plan D.
I love nature and I love it when nature inspires my crafting. I’ve been experimenting with feathers and paint. My original idea morphed into something quite different. This was all inspired by a trip to the North Somerset Butterfly House. One of the best kept secrets in Somerset.
This is my kind of place. It’s no secret that I would love to be an entomologist. Where better to spend a Sunday afternoon than in a butterfly house. I love learning more about minibeasts. Fortunately, so does the rest of the family. As we waited to pay, the Bug Man showed us a hissing cockcroach. Very neat. It’s neck was perfectly protected by the shaped armour on its back and when it pulled in its head, it fitted snug. Nothing sticking out to enable a predator to strike. Fabulous engineering. It’s shiny back enabled it to slip though the forest’s leaf mould easily.
Then on to the butterfly house. First butterfly spotted was this amazing Owl butterfly (above). Amazing patterns on it’s underside.
There were masses of Zebra Longwing (above) fluttering lazily around our heads. Totally unbothered by our presence. The yellow and black peril colours. Apparently they are not fakes. They are poisonous. Only if you eat them though.
The Zebra Mosaic fooled me. I focused on the fake head! Do you see the yellow tip. It looks like the head, while the real head has the same markings as the wings, and blends in perfectly. It is a clever little butterfly. Most butterflies land on tree trunks so that they are facing up. This one lands facing down, with its fake head up the tree. Predators aim at the top where the tasty butterfly’s head should be. In this case, as they will be hopefully fooled, only the tip of the wings are damaged. Leaving the Zebra Mosaic to fly away.
No butterfly house would be complete without the butterfly nursery.
The children loved feeding the terrapins.
So many different types of butterfly. Above is the Common Mormon.
The banana skins on the feeding stations made it easy to study the butterflies. Might try using this technique to attract our garden butterflies, although I suspect the fruit flies might engulf the skins.
The butterfly on the left is a Blue Morpho.
Each butterfly finds its way to survive. Whether by behaviour or markings. Or both. It wasn’t until we got home and looked at the photos that I realised that the Owl butterflies had clever markings too.
I don’t know about you, but I think its markings look a lot like a scaly lizard as you look down on them feeding.
In case you can’t make out……
If you go up to the original, it should jump out at you. Not literally, of course!
Last of all are the Blue Morpho. My inspiration for a spot of crafting. I love the blue, but also the way that another butterfly seems to be superimposed onto it. I think the light behind has allowed the eye markings of the underside, to show through.
They have such a slow flutter, you wonder how they stay up. This one took a rest on my leg. Almost pleading to inspire me.
Back home, I cut feathers into the shape butterfly shape and anchored them with white tack. Using watercolours, I added colour.
Simple. Not sure I’ll get it off the cardboard, but that’s OK. I rather like the effect of the paint hitting the cardboard as the feather bits peter out. I’d like to try this again.
If you are in North Somerset, then I can recommend the Butterfly House. No need to be a budding entomologist. The butterflies are just lovely to watch. The butterfly house is next door to Cadbury’s Garden Centre. Makes a nice stop off as you head down to Cornwall on the M5.
This is NOT a sponsored post in any way, I’m just an unabashed enthusiast!
Linking up to #CountryKids. For more getting out and about family fun, I can recommend hopping on over.