Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Thinking about quilting

So I've been thinking about quilting recently.  I think, totally inspired by Soulemama - she is the most amazing woman and I am totally in awe in everything she does!!  So in one of her recent posts Soulemama described how she and her daughter, just decided and then knocked up a quilt - just like that.  Well I thought that looks easy - or it looks easy for someone who has made lots of quilts and is a domestic goddess to boot.  But never put off by my shortcomings and lack of ability, something started to formulate in my mind.  An old and beloved duvet cover which is starting to wear at the edges, which luckily enough is patchwork in design - hmmm this could be an easy way to make a quilt.  What with the fact that our first camping trip of the year is this Friday, it also meant I had a tight deadline too - ah nothing like a bit of pressure!!

My back and knees are a little achey from kneeling on the floor but it is all pinned out - now for a spot of sewing.  And if I have time two mini quilts for the little people and some bunting too - eeekkk!!!  It's definately a case of watch this space . . .

Thursday, 19 May 2011

On my windowsill

at the moment are these amazing flowers.  I got completely carried away by them in the garden centre.  The lady told me to cut the blooms - 'I know it's going to be hard' she said 'but the plants will bush up nicely and you'll get lots more flowers'.  So with slightly trembling secateurs I cut off all the blooms and popped them into a vase.  I'll really loving their colour and jollyness and I'm hoping, fingers crossed, that the plants do indeed bush out and give me lots more flowers!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Summer rain shoes

Here are mine - we all need a pair to wear when it's warm but rainy!!  I bought them last year which is why they are slightly battered looking!  I think if I was going to get a pair this year they would be these ones . . .!

Now my friends have totally jumped on the Summer Rain Shoes bandwagon and they chose these ones

OK i've completely changed my mind on Summer Rain Shoes since I saw these beauties!  Camper Beetle I love you - just have to justify the £85!
I just thought I might need to explain my shoe category!  I realised that living in the UK, we often had warm days which meant I didn't want to wear socks or anything too warm on my feet but needed shoes that would keep my feet dry in the rain - open-toed sandals are just too soggy in the rain.  Ah what I need is Summer Rain Shoes!!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Getting your hands dirty

I was telling DH recently that I had been talking to my mum about composting. "What interesting chats you have with your mum!" replied DH and yes, he's got a point, not the most riveting topic of conversation.  But my previous composting attempts have always failed and I've either ended up with a sludgy  heap or a heap that never seems to rot down and turn into compost.  Anyway, now that we have moved the compost bins and made them more accessible I am determined to get my composting right.  How hard can it be?!  

It's funny that when your attention turns to something new you suddenly notice lots of things written about it!  So I read with interest our local council's leaflet on composting and what can go in your bin - I didn't realise you could put in the contents of your vacuum cleaner or kitchen towels - well there's a thing!  Then I looked online and found this great site which basically showed me where I was going wrong; I was getting the mix wrong - it's all in the mix apparently.  So too much green stuff and you get a sludgy mess and too much brown stuff (ie leaves, branches etc) and the thing doesn't rot.  So a mix of green and brown, ah sounds easy!  The brown stuff can also be egg boxes, ripped up cardboard or scrunched up paper.  So I've also found a way of getting rid of our confidential paperwork too - scrunch it up and pop it in the compost bin!  I'm not sure yet if I'm getting my mix right, every time we put in grass clippings or kitchen waste I now add in some paper or cardboard for good measure - only time will tell!

So back to my chat with mum.  I was telling her all this and she said "Oh you don't want to put in grass clippings they never rot down".  Great - we've nearly filled our bin with grass clippings - but what to do with them? My question was answered this weekend by the gardening goddess Alys Fowler - who said use grass clippings to mulch your potatoes - yes got lots of them - and courgettes - yes got lots of them too!  Hurray, it looks like it's all coming together!

But it made me think about gardening.  Alys also said in her article that gardening was a great leveller and she is right.  Some people think they just don't know anything about gardening or don't know where to start and I guess I felt a little like that when we moved here and was faced with a big garden where before I just had pots on terraces - although I did managed to grow some veg in grow bags on our roof once when we lived in a top floor flat!  But for gardening like other things I think you just have to jump in and have a go and before long you end up talking about compost and being really interested in other peoples views on it!

Anyway, I realise there have been lots of gardening posts recently and not many crafty posts.  Don't worry my last post did the trick and spurred me into action and now my lovely red knitting just needs a bit of blocking before I can show you.  I'm just gearing up for my next project which I'm really really excited about!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Knitting in the Garden

So yesterday I got all over excited talking about my flowers and completely forgot to mention all the sprouting things we have going on in the greenhouse and the veggie patches.  Yes, that patch of bare earth has sprung to life and lines (rather wiggly lines as it turns out) of potato plants are growing up quickly.  Our greenhouse has been taken over by courgettes/tomato/lettuce and pepper plants.  All very exciting.  Of course we have grown far more seeds than we can deal with so will be off loading some of our little seedlings to friends.  But in my experience this is the easy bit - getting them to produce anything is another matter entirely and I am determined to be more vigilant this year and hope we get a good harvest later on.

So you may be wondering what has happened to that lovely red wool I keep teasing you with.  Well, not much and quite a lot at the same time!  I thought I was being really clever with my knitted bunting.  Ha! I thought I will do a provisional cast on, knit my triangles on a circular needle and then knit them all together, casting on stitches in between each triangle.  Well, good idea in theory and yes, it almost worked in practice but I just couldn't get my provisional stitches small enough or neat enough when I knitted up for the band.  So having knitted all my triangles, fiddled about with it, fiddled some more, ripping as I went.  I decided to go back to the more conventional method of knitting my triangles and then picking up stitches to knit the band.  Some how, in all that fiddling and ripping I've lost impetus and although it should really be the quickest project in the world to complete it is still hanging around.  I'm hoping that writing this post will spur me into action and get it finished.  Maybe some nice knitting in the garden after I've picked up Flopsy Bunny from school . . .

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A garden post: Springing and sprouting

Can it really have been just over two months ago that I wrote this post about marking the sunny days off on the calendar because they seemed so few and far between!  Wow, what amazing weather we have been having since.  It has been truly wonderful basking in the sunshine and scampering around outside.  All this lovely sunshine has been having it's effect on the garden too, which has just sprung into action!
My lovely alliums, which have never had a chance to flower until this year (almost four years now since I planted them); the flower heads have always been eaten by the deer in the past.  I'm not sure what has happened to our forest friends but we haven't seen much of them this year.  But I am so so thrilled to see my alliums flowering at last!!

I love this time of the year as our garden is at its best.  I've had to accept that my garden prefers spring plants and that all year colour is something I can only dream about.  I've always been slightly against annual plants as they seem such a lot of bother for just one season, but I can see now how they might have their uses and have been scattering seed around liberally thinking that something might take and that after all my gorgeous spring bulbs and perennials have finished I might have something else to jollify the garden.