A mishmash of catch ups.

Putting together the fireplace blanket.

To begin my mishmash here is some progress on the fireplace blanket. I can tell it’s going to be a weighty blanket for its size. Soon it’ll be finished but I am so gonna run out of wool.  More balls have been ordered but not sure yet as to whether it’ll be enough for an impressive border.

new witchy amigurumi

I’m also working on a witchy pattern for Halloween. I’m not 100% happy with her hat yet. And she’s got man hands, which’ll have to get sorted.

A stripey birthday card

My first Sharpie adventure. A simple birthday card.

Say hello to Marceline

We got a cat! This is Marceline the Vampire Queen. She arrived during the last week of the summer holidays. Daughter of Cinnamon, Grandaughter of Nutmeg.

Marcy on the bed.

She’s a lovely girl who likes shades of red.

Marceline in the garden

She has been enjoying some late summer sunshine…

Marcy exploring her new garden

And getting to know the garden. She thinks leeks are tasty.

messy veg patch. end of season.

It’s the end of the season for sure. This is the point where I stop trying to maintain the garden and let it go nuts. I’ve got to be good and go out there for a tidy up. Nemotodes arrived in the post last week so I know I’ve got to get a move on. Hopefully these parasitic wormy friends will sort out my vine weevil problem. The idea is that they’ll feast upon the grub guts like there’s no tomorrow.

salvia patens. cambridge blue.

Salvia Patens. Time to gather their seeds so I can grow more. It’s a bit wet out there right now though.

Autumn berries.

Hawthorn and Holly. I used to get excited about seeing all this red because I thought I could nick it at Christmas to decorate my house Pagan style.  I now know that it’ll all be gone by then. The birds will scoff them all.

Pink cosmos and bee

Pink Cosmos. I’m impressed that I’ve still got flowers in the garden at all. There is still quite a lot of colour out there. Still, it’s not really Autumn yet.

calendula in the front garden.

These Calendula are in the front garden. I don’t really look after the front the way I do the back garden. It gets straggly and neglected.

calendula and bee

It doesn’t seem to matter to the bees and their friends. They still get their buzz on.

Any way, I should go now to continue with the crochet. I’ve got a long list of things to finish and more yet to start. Also, I’m gonna make a pie for tomorrow’s tea. Bake off is making me do it.

The garden in late summer.

baby bonnet. cotton crochet

Before I post endless pictures of the garden, I had better show at least one recent crochet project. This is a cute baby bonnet I made for a friend, whose baby girl was born last week.

tiny crochet baby bonnet

I made it in a DK cotton. I thought cotton would be best for a teeny weeny new born.

baby's crochet bonnet

I found the pattern on Pinterest. It was a lovely pattern, very easy to follow. It is here. You can add a couple more rows to make it bigger. Once I’d finished, I wished I had. However, it fits! Not for long though.

Any way, the following pictures are more for my benefit than any one else. I’m posting them so I can see how the garden looked in the late summer of 2015! The answer is, messy.

spider and bee

I have always taken pictures of the garden and over the years it has changed quite a lot. The photo’s are a reminder because otherwise I’d assume it always looked the same. It’s easy to forget.

fluffy bee on his sunflower

Busy bee.

bee on a sunflower

He didn’t mind having a camera poked at him in the slightest.

summer garden is a mess

It never occurred to me before that sunflowers would seed themselves. I said in a previous post that it is because of my dodgy homemade compost. The Hollyhocks are doing surprisingly well but they’re very spindly. Just the white ones arrived.

summer gardewn flowers

I’ll be interested to look back on these in a year or two. I hope to make some changes to the planting but need to have a think.

garden in late summer

The Honeysuckle had it’s best year so far. Lots of flowers appeared. We hacked it back to just a few inches last year. Did the trick.

A late summer garden

I could have taken some pictures of a different area of the g arden I suppose. Um, Maybe the tatty looking veg patches. Everything is coming to an end.

I have been busy crafting and taking too many pictures. So many, that sorting through them has been blah. So this post is a bit of a filler really. I will be getting my bum in gear and doing some more crafty business in the next couple of weeks.

 

Actually using stuff from the garden.

Ripening figs

We spotted ripening figs on the tree yesterday. I ate one, just to say that I had. One is enough for me, thanks.  They’re so weird.

Inside a fig

The flavour is strange, as is the dual texture. I dislike the pap but the crunchy seeds are interesting. I’ll give most of them away but I like to make one annual figgy gesture by trying them in a recipe. I could do a chutney I suppose. One year I dried them but they were kind of medicinal.

Nasturtium seeds to pickle

These are Nasturtium seed pods. I’m making piccalilli today. I picked these yesterday, as well as other things to accompany them.

vegetables for turning into piccalilli

These are all from my garden and have joined a chopped up onion to attend a piccalilli party. Yesterday, I sliced them up and put them in a giant bowl with lots of salt.

vegetables being salted for piccalilli.

In about an hour I’m going to wash off the salt and then muck about with the pickling ingredients. The recipe is a River Cottage one. I wouldn’t have thought of using the Nasturtium pods. I’ve heard that you can treat them like capers, but I haven’t looked into that.

courgette polpette

With more courgettes than is necessary, I also remembered another recipe I wanted to try; Courgette Polpette. They were OK but I would change the recipe if I made them again. With all that courgette, they were just too wet. And they needed way more cheese. Everything benefits from a shed load of cheese.

Parsley from the garden. Very easy to grow.

The Parsley is from the garden too. I love it. I like to grow it in the veg bed where it can get nice, big roots. Growing it in pots is not the same. It also lasts all season and you can collect seeds the following year, to start all over again!

Mojito in the mint!

Saving the best till last, cocktails! I had a Mojito with my garden Mint. We’ve only got dark rum though, I hope that’s acceptable.

Mojito in the garden

The only other thing I use the Mint for is sauce for roast lamb. I’m so hungry right now.

drinks in the garden

And an order was put in for a G&T, so I plucked a few Borage flowers off of the many many plants I have and popped those in with a slice of cucumber. Borage flowers have a kind of cucumbery flavour too.

Borage and cucumber in a G&T

I’m also quite thirsty.

Gin and Tonic with cucumber and borage flowers

Anyway, I’m off to finish my piccalilli! Hope it works. I have to wait at least four weeks to find out…

Catching up with crochet blankets and changes in the garden.

Not quite half way to go in my new blanket.

I haven’t been working on these squares since the summer holidays began. I honestly didn’t think the holidays would have much of an impact on my crafty gubbins but it absoloutely has. Progress has slowed right down. However, this is still a good batch of squares. So far, there are fifty two and shockingly, ends have already been sewn in. Some ends have been sewn in. A few. I want over a hundred to make this blanket.  I can’t remember the exact number needed. It doesn’t matter at this stage. I’ll have a play and then decide.

I love the pattern for this one. It takes a weeny bit longer to make than a regular Granny but it looks that much more special. It’s called the Petal Patch Motif by Betsy Makes. I’ll give myself an Autumn deadline for this one.

Fireplace tile squares

I’ve also been having a good old tinker around with this pattern. It’s the Lily Pad square and it’s very pretty. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing this one complete. I have a feeling it’ll look lovely.

The first square I made is the one on the bottom right. The middle is tighter and kind of went nipply (?!). I added some chains between stitches for the first couple of rounds, which sorted that out. I have also only just twigged that it’s someone called Lily who will become the owner of this blanket! Lily pads for Lily. Hee!

tiles around the fireplace

This tile is the inspiration for the colours. I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago and haven’t moved on that much further. Fingers crossed that the colours match in real life. It’s tricky colour matching by photographs.

Looking up at the fig tree.

Will I be getting ripe figs this year? Last year, the tree was laden with fruit but none of the blighters ripened. I always get excited about seeing them ripen but truthfully, I thinks figs are a bit pappy. However, I do like to pass them on to friends. People get excited by homegrown figs and I like to hand out bags and bags of them.

Runner beans are easy to grow

My runner beans are in full swing. I flippin love runner beans. I’m tempted to make chutney this year. I have a good recipe somewhere and I haven’t made any for a few years. Hmm. I could make some courgette chutney too…

pink japanese anemone against the sky.

The pink Japanese Anemone is looking fabulous at the moment. I wish I could say the same for the white one I got a couple of years ago. The white one is in too much shade and I’m not sure the ground, in which it sits, is that nutrient rich. I might dig it up and move it.

great anemone photo

Scroll past these if you like. I’m gonna add another anemone picture next too…

cottage garden with pink japanese anemone

Behind, on the right is Arron’s Rod, I think. A bit weedy but it is adding height. I really need to research some flowering plants that are about 6 foot tall. Any suggestions?

baby garden spider

Helloo baby garden spider. I saw loads of these in the spring when they’d hatched, so I knew they would find themselves homes. He flashed his belly at me.

Going for cottage garden look

The garden in the summer looks a lot different to how it was in the spring. There are brighter flowers and it looks a lot less organised.  I don’t know how to plan planting very well and it shows.

Hollyhocks, crocosmia and a pink weed

I’m astounded that the Hollyhocks flowered. They have been affected by rust. I sprayed them with Rose Clear, which has antifungal things in it. It seems to have helped them to recover just enough. Not just for roses it seems. Beside it, the Crocosmia is mightily happy. It isn’t bothered by rust.

I did not plant this sunflower

Several Sunflowers have come up at the bottom of the garden. I didn’t put them there. What I did put there was homemade compost. I deny putting Sunflowers in the compost though. I have no idea how they got there. Lots of self seeding has gone on down at the bottom of the garden. That Borage has barged its way in. And there is what I suspect to be Verbena Bonariensis coming up too.  The pink flowers are Lavatera but that was deliberately planted.

summer colours in the garden.

So, there are all these colours going on. It’s a bit of a muddle. It looks nice enough but I need lessons in planning. Maybe an overhaul for next year? Do I start now? I’m not sure what to do.

 

Easy homemade curtains.

pink japanese anemone

Whilst I was trying to take photos of my newly made curtains, I went and took a couple of pictures of the garden (I do love the Japanese Anemone). It has been raining a lot since the school holidays started last week. Nice one, thanks very much.

Garden after the rain.

Taking photgraphs of curtains is tricky. They do need to be slightly closed in order to see them but then half your light is gone. I gave up and accepted that most of the pictures were rubbish pictures.

Homemade curtains

Here they are.

sewing on the header tape

Making these curtains involved lots of late night sewing sessions. They were straightforward to make especially since they had stripes I could follow. Hand sewing the hems was the most time consuming bit.

Using Ikea fabric to make curtains

The gather is not that full but I couldn’t afford to buy twice as much fabric. I don’t think it’s much of an issue. I used a very helpful tutorial. Without it, I wouldn’t have known about ‘returns’ or how to make the hem properly.

I made two pairs for the front room and a single curtain for the front door. It all feels much brighter and cleaner now. Making things is fun!

Anyway, I’m off to go and sulk now, I got stung by a wasp this afternoon (on my left ring finger). It really flipping hurts and has left me in danger of throwing some kind of tantrummy strop.

I’m not sure how much crafting will ensue now that the holidays are here. Hopefully I will still be here but maybe not as often. I dunno.

Sewing curtains, re-homing a crochet blanket and enjoying summer.

Last week I said I wasn’t allowed to buy any more fabric…. I have….

Ikea fabric for making curtains

Half a tonne of it. Lots of it. Loads. I’m making curtains, it’s totally legit. When I said I wasn’t allowed to buy any more fabric I had forgotten that I’d planned new curtains. It was not an impulse purchase but a careful, well thought out one. I started on the first curtain the other night but was scuppered by having bought the wrong header tape. I blame IKEA, I don’t think they do the normal header tape anymore and it wasn’t for normal curtains, it was weird. Anyway, by the time the replacement stuff we ordered from Ebay turns up, I’ll have hopefully sorted out all of the other curtains ready for the tape. I can’t wait to have new curtains!

a mixed up granny stripe crochet blanket

I got a request  from a friend on Monday night asking if I had a spare baby blanket they could have to give as a present for someone. Actually, I had three from leftover experiments. This is the one they chose. Unfortunately, it wasn’t actually finished. Thankfully I’d sewn in the ends already. However, it had no border so I had to quickly whizz around it a few times and find  a pretty edge that would suit a baby girl. This is the blanket.

mixed up granny stripe crochet baby blanket.

It was initially going to be for a baby I knew but once I’d almost finished, I decided it wouldn’t suit said baby and stored it away with all the other abandoned projects. Poor blanket. Luckily, someone else saw the potential in it and asked if they could have it. Yes. Good.

Mixed up granny stripe crochet blanket

There isn’t a pattern for it, it’s just a basic granny stripe mixed in with a variety of doubles, half trebles and trebles in a random order. I used Stylecraft Special DK. I quite liked it once it had its border added. The border was inspired by various different patterns I’ve seen around. It’s a bit hotchpotch.

sweet peas in the garden.

The garden is getting pretty again after its June lull. It makes me ponder what I need to do for next year, to ensure I have  colour in more places. I’ve noticed that the greenfly have come to party on my Sweet Peas.

beautiful sweet peas.

My six year old and I went outside this morning and snipped all the Sweet Peas and some Lavender to make posies for his teachers. It’s the last day of school today. I shook off the greenfly before he handed them over.

borage in the herb bed

There is loads of Borage in the herb bed, I didn’t realise it was such a prolific self seeder.  There are so many plants. It’s managed to travel to some other parts of the garden too. I’m going to have to keep on top of that.

Bee bum in the Borage!

The bees flipping love it. It would make me feel guilty if I took too much of it out. I’m going to have to keep it to one part of the garden but still make sure the bees have enough to keep their tummies full.

nastutiums over taking the veg patch

Bees are also having a great time in the Nasturtiums. I’ve spotted more bumble bees here as opposed to the honey bees on the Borage. I don’t know any other type of bees. I could well be mixing my bees.

I’ll soon be running the risk of repeating myself with the garden pics. I’ll need to look at past blog posts to remind myself of my blatherings.

Borage flowers. Bees love them.

Here, another one of Borage! I put them in ice cubes last year. Looked absolutely nothing like those pictures you see on Pinterest.

A few more crafting projects started and some summery garden stuff.

fox and raccoon crochet brooches

Okay, I think these are the only finished things this week. They’re little crochet brooches. The pattern for the raccoon is from issue 33 of Simply Crochet magazine. I made the fox so that he had a friend. Same pattern just different colours. The raccoon pattern is designed by Becky Garratt. I looked at her blog and I like it very much.

Drops Karisma selection

This is new wool for a blanket that has been “commissioned” (my Sister in Law has asked me to make it).  The colours have been taken from a tile from a victorian fireplace. I’m assuming that once the blanket is finished, it will drape beautifully somewhere beside the fire on a cold winter’s day (or something like that). It is Drops Karisma and seems ok, I’ve not used it before. I have made a tentative start but the pattern I’ve chosen might need tweaking.

collection of petal patch granny squares

Last week I started the Petal Patch blanket. I found the pattern for this on Betsy Makes and it makes a change from the standard granny without going crazy. I really like it. I have pretty much pilfered the colour scheme from Attic 24’s Harmony blanket.

petal patch granny square

I can’t decided whether to complete this first, or put it aside whilst I concentrate on the fireplace blanket. I know what I should do but I also know what I want to do. Actually, they will both be fun to make so I guess it doesn’t really matter. This Petal Patch blanket will take at least a few weeks more though as I want about 100 squares and so far I think I only have 25. I haven’t been working as fast as usual either. This is because of a hurty wrist and a yarn tangling toddler.

ardennes fabric

I bought this fabric in May, I think. It isn’t posh quality but it was less than £3 a metre, so I don’t care.

Ardennes dress fabric

I made a bag out of it first and this week I hope to make a summer skirt. If, once I’ve finished, it looks good I will post some pictures. I should probably take a picture of the bag too. I have found what looks to be a good free pattern for the skirt.

embroidered sweet peas

This isn’t my hand, it belongs to my blanket wanting Sister in Law. She is into embroidery and when she visited last Friday, she whipped it out whilst me and some other fab people did our crochet. I wanted to share it simply because I like it!

blue anagallis

Moving on from the crafting projects I am reminded that the garden is thirsty. These Anagallis are my new favourite flower. For about five years it was a Salvia, which I think is called Cambridge Blue but my Mum gave me some Anagallis seedlings after I spotted it in her garden last summer. These guys look like they need a drink.

summer garden flowers

Both the Salvia and the Anagallis are here. I expect the Salvia is feeling a bit miffed now.

garden view

Down at the bottom of the garden, the Crocosmia is just beginning to flower. It was here when we moved in. I don’t mind it too much, so it has been allowed to stay. This picture doesn’t show the Lavatera that has come up behind it but it does show the Salvia, which looks so much better in real life.

summer garden from above

I went upstairs and took a picture. Everything is looking quite nice from this angle!

Hopefully I will get the sewing machine out tonight. I’d like to make a start on that skirt.

 

A finished toadstool handbag and a self indulgent garden tour.

detail handmade toadstool bag

It was weeks ago that I cut out all the fabric pieces for this bag and because I’d never used the pattern before, I had some mild reluctance about starting. It always happens and I know it’s down to the fact that, at some point I’m going to have to concentrate. I am an easily distracted person. I did manage to find some time to focus and I am so pleased with the result!

sewing a mitred corner

I picked it up again a couple of weeks ago to make a start but it was abruptly stopped by a toddler waking from his nap and that means no sewing allowed. I got as far as basting things and stitching mitred corners. I was then disrupted by lost magnetic clasps. Should I even bother with them? Well, I’d bought them and one day they’d turn up so I really ought to give them a go. Two days ago I found them, so sewing resumed.

attaching magnetic clasp

Look! Look at the magnetic clasps! They are so snazzy. I actually put them in. And it was so straightforward. I feel silly now. My one disappointment regarding them is that I placed them too low. They need to be a couple of centimetres higher so that they’re nearer the top. I will know for next time.

toadstool bag detail

I’ve impresssed myself even if I haven’t impressed anyone else. There are straightlines for goodness sake. I never usually manage that sort of thing.

handmade handbag.

There are some untidy areas, such as the attachment of the handles. By that point I was sewing in the evening and getting distracted by the telly so I had some unpicking to do. Strangely I didn’t mind. However, I did mind a little bit when I got a random handle stuck to the handle I was working on. That was unnecessary unpicking. I used this tutorial at thinkliz.com and it was relatively easy. I got the fabric from Etsy.

Anyway, I have been randomly pushing it in peoples faces and parading round looking very pleased with myself, whilst I swing it on my shoulder!

pot plants

A quick tour of the garden in its current state. Here are some flowers I bought at Aldi (!). The salvia and the osteospermum are both Aldi bought.

sun after rain

This is the best hosta I have and I think that must be because it is in a pot. The others are down the bottom of the garden, which once weeded I shall take a photo of.

potted lobelia

I’m starting to wonder if most of this year’s annuals are actually bought from supermarkets because I think this lobelia came from Tesco! I’ve grown them from seed in the past but I’ve had a very lazy year.

pesky horseradish

Yep, the snapdragons are from Aldi too. Beginning to feel embarrassed. Look, I’ve spotted rogue horseradish trying to invade again. The winter before last I spent days digging the biggest hole ever trying to get rid of the stubborn roots…. So, that worked :\

pansy

Pansies from um, Aldi. But that blue salvia isn’t, I grew that from seeds I collected. That is going to look amazing in a few weeks. They all will, I have five or six of them.

nasturtium starting to flower

Self seeded nasturtium. It used to be a deep red but is slowly turning to orange. Each year the orange takes over a little bit more. I still like it.

 

first sweet pea

I was surprised to spot the first sweet peas yesterday. These are one of my favourite flowers. They smell gorgeous and I totally love them. I love you sweet peas!

A little bit of crochet in the garden and yet more plants.

crochet in the garden

I’ve spent two days enjoying a proper sunny day in the garden!  Although I’m prone to burning, the sun heals my rubbish skin so I jumped outside to try and get mending. One of the things I like about crochet is that you can do it any where, so I took it outside with me.

crochet blanket nearly finished

It felt mightily hot ( compared to what I’m used to), but it was lovely. I’m nearly finished with this blanket now. These photos were taken on Thursday and I was stitching together the last row of circles. I’m now on the border.

crochet in the sunshine

Will I finish it this weekend? I dunno. It’s been a stop/starty project that has been interrupted by many other projects, photos of which, I will probably post next week.

emmet playing outside

I discovered that I had company whilst I was sat on the bench. Poor Emmet. He’s obviously been playing in the sand pit because he’s covered in the stuff.

courgettes veg patch etc

The courgette plants seem to have doubled in size in the last few days. Looking forward to eating those. I also got around to putting out the lettuce too, which the pigeons seem to be enjoying. There are a few of us that think about pigeon pie sometimes.

peach roses and fern

This is a nice looking corner of the garden, hidden in there somewhere are some cute little geraniums. The peach rose was in a pot sat in the dark behind a crumbling old shed when we moved in to our house. When we sorted out the garden the following spring, I chucked it in the ground and it is doing very well.

pink geranium small

These little geraniums are very cute but I’m not sure I’ve put them in the right place. They were too far back and getting swamped, so I dug them up and moved them forward. I’m still not sure they’re in the right place and the trauma of moving them might have disrupted their growth. I need to think more about where to place things.

rozanne, geranium.

These rozanne geraniums are crazy and have had no worries at all. This is their third year and I should probably split this plant. I think I’m supposed to do that in the spring. Anyway, I should probably go and help a two year old make a father’s day card. We’ve been painting this morning and it’s only 7.40am. He thinks mornings are great.

A quick sewing project and garden changes

purple lining zipper purse

I enjoy little sewing projects. Usually, they’re  easy and don’t take that long to make up. Just before the weekend I made two identical purses to give out as presents for two birthday girls.

two pleated purses

I didn’t do so well with pressing, meaning, I didn’t really do it. And I should have. They would have looked really tidy if I’d been more careful with the iron. I didn’t not get the iron out, but neither did I use it every time I needed to. Rush rush and being lazy. Also, with a good press, both bags would have opened without the lining repeatedly getting stuck in the zip. One did, one didn’t.

sewn purse with pleats

The tutorial is by Skip to My Lou, and it is really easy to follow. I think it looks a bit more special than a plain purse. The only problem was that the zips I had were too short, so I added a small strip of extra fabric to each end of the zips to make up the length. I got the idea from here at fishsticksdesigns.com and I’m really pleased with the effect. Also, in that tutorial the zip is top stitched, which would help to stop the lining getting stuck in the zip. And, don’t sew too close to the zip teeth, that helps.

pink foxglove

The garden is in a lull. I think it is a common occurrence in June. All the spring flowers have gone or are looking sadly scruffy but the true summer flowers are not yet at full gusto.

erysimum wallflower

I’ve got straggly areas that I don’t know what to do with and they could look much better with some planning. Next year I would like some sweet william and centaurea please. The erysimum is a new addition and I like it, hope it’s happy too.

lupins and a busy bee

The lupins are now tired, however, the bees think they’re awesome and have been buzzing around them constantly. I will take pictures of other plants from now on, these have had their moment.

baby courgettes

It’s time to move on to the veg patch. Things are beginning to appear! I’m excited as I can be about courgettes coming. I’ve also got flowers on the sugarsnap peas and runner beans. I’ve had a couple of batches of spinach for dinner too. It’s all a bit behind other years, I’m sure, but I’m starting to feel relief that production has begun.

baby apple

And, I am so pleased about the apple tree. This is only the second time that fruit has decided to turn up to the party. I bet they get some hideous disease and wither from their branches.

playing in the garden

I love my garden. I hate chunky, plastic garden toys. I do like these wooden blocks though. There is an old baby walker they belong to. I’m not sure where it is at the moment but the blocks have been sat outside for a couple of weeks.

Anyway, This was a bit of a mish mash of garden pics that I’m not really happy with. I think it’s dissapointment that the thrill of spring flowers has past and I don’t know what is going to happen next…. Apart from some crochet, I  know that that is going to happen next. I’m going to get a move on with turning some circles into a blanket.