Friday, 30 April 2010

A new house please!!

I thought that once I had left work my house would look like a shiny new pin. But no, it actually it looks worse than ever, a bit like a university art classroom. There are ongoing projects all over the place, bits of wool and cotton that have got caught on peoples feet and walked through each room, bits of paper that I've been making templates with, paint brushes in jars, books in piles and fabric in no order at all. And don't get me started on the dog, Labrador hair is just awful, it drifts across the floor like the weed in a western, no matter how much you brush him or sweep up after him. 

I need more room, or at least a room dedicated for my use only. My very own hobby room, or even better the dream house that I keep going on about with an outdoor garden room just for me. I can see it now, a pretty day bed, a kettle, lots of shelves for my books, an old cupboard for storing my fabric and a proper sewing table. I'd have roses and lavender growing outside and maybe a little porch with a rocking chair. Dream on I hear you say, we all want that. But I am determined that one day it will be mine and hopefully before I am too old to enjoy it too.  

Anyway enough of the moaning and daydreaming, today I managed to get some photos of my finished cardigan with my great niece wearing it, thank you Mia.

But I think my favourite has to be this one.

And now at least there is something new in my shop.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Craft Juice

I've been having a bit of a confidence crisis lately when it comes to my crafting ideas, Folksy and blogging. It's not that I don't enjoy doing any of it, I really do, its just that sometimes you wonder if there is in fact anybody out there!

So today I started getting to grips with doing a bit if networking, well I was pushed into it actually and joined a site called Craft Juice

I added the picture of my hat that is for sale on Folksy

and low and behold so far I have received the most amount of votes for the day. Now that is a confidence boost.

My hippy headbands

Over the last week I have been making headbands. 

I started with a pattern but moved on and decided to do some with my own designs. I'm really happy with how they have come out.

A wide band from Loop Vintage Crochet. The problem with this one is that I didn't use the wool recommended and it is probably a bit wider than it should have been, but hey I learnt how to do spike stitch.

The following are my own designs which I am hoping to be able to sell in my Folksy shop. The pink one has already been taken by Rhiannon though and very pretty it looks too.

I also wanted to see if I could make a fabric one and made this one reversible. I'm very happy with this one.

I'm definitely going to be making more of these, but will first need to buy myself a thimble for the fabric ones, as my fingers are still aching.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The third hottest London Marathon!!

Today is supposed to be one of the three hottest London Marathons ever! 

It looks like the weather men have got it wrong again though as I've got up this morning and its raining, the first rain in two weeks actually.  I'm sure the cooler weather will make things easier for the runners but we had plans today based on the sunshine we were promised and running was definitely not one of the things on my agenda. 

First thing this morning we are going to a car boot sale, if I can get Jourdan out of bed to come with me that is. I'm looking for fabric and china. The fabric can come from any garment really, as after a wash I want to have a go at making a rag rug. The china I want to break up and mosaic a table for the garden. I've figured that its all very well having plants and flowers again, but why not have pretty furniture out there as well, I might even go as far as making some cushions for the bench, one day. 

We've also been invited to Rhiannon's for a barbecue this afternoon. Maybe it will be an indoor one again, just Mark standing outside in the rain, lonely and cold, cooking with the rest of us watching him through the patio window, cheering him on, enjoying a glass of wine and keeping dry. Or maybe it will brighten up over the next few hours and be glorious, yeah right!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Can I have a pea please?

I can't tell you how much I am enjoying life not being at work. I get up every morning and can't wait to see whats sprouting each day, or how much each seedling has grown. Its quite sad really especially when I shout in from the garden "Look Roy, come and see! we've got a pea shoot". The first one popped up on Monday and now each day they are getting bigger and better. A couple of weeks and we will have pea shoots for our salads. Not bad from a £0.24 box of dried peas from Tesco.

We've been working on the allotment and have dug up most of the remaining parsnips, I don't know how many kilo's we have but a lot are now in the freezer and some I have made into a pie. A parsnip, cabbage and apple pie, which sounds weird even to me, but the smell of the mixture is lovely. I'll update on the taste when we've eaten it and if any good I'll add the recipe. We still have a whole bucket load of parsnips to deal with over the next couple of days and I can feel a soup coming on as well as some parsnip and sage bread. 

Whats also been great this week is that I have hardly had to shop at all, I needed an apple for the pie but everything else was here. I made bread when we ran out of the shop bought and a feta and pea frittata from the eggs that are supplied fresh each day. I'm going to try my hand at home made yoghurt soon to go with the granola I also made this week. We've been eating sprouted pulses each day, which I love and generally we are getting a much healthier diet now that there is more time to think about cooking.

I've been doing some crocheting and made a little cardigan for my shop, but first I need to borrow a small child to model it, just as well I know one as I had no intention of stealing one.

I've also started a headband for Rhiannon, in the colours requested.

On the downside there are bills to pay and one of the big expenses is the car. We had to buy four and yes I do mean four new tyres this morning to get it ready for the MOT. But looking on the bright side I got to walk around the pond in the industrial estate while we waited.

I have to say I never realised how noisy geese were, maybe they will be taken of my list of future animals I want once I get my land.

Monday, 19 April 2010

On the allotment

The allotment is coming into its own now that the weather has warmed up. The potatoes are in (new and main crop), as well as the peas, broad beans, onions, shallots, beetroot and carrots. Things are popping up all over the place, as well as hundreds of Ash seedlings which need to be pulled out as soon as seen.

We have lots of seed trays around containing the tomatoes, peppers, chillies, aubergines, lettuce, squash, artichokes, cucumbers and leeks. Some of these will be grown in bags in the garden. More seeds are expected through the post too, including fennel and celery to try out this year.

Broad beans, awaiting the aphids.

Onions, coming along nicely.

The black currants are looking great this year. Hopefully we will get some before the birds eat them all.

Just one of the robins that comes to visit when the digging commences. Its a good job we have worms to spare.

But the star of the show over the last week has been the purple sprouting broccoli. The pigeons love it, but they did leave us some and not only is it beautiful to look at, it tastes it too.

Waiting to be cooked in my pink cabbage bowl from from Oxfam.

Now I would like to say that I have had a lot to do with the allotment production that has been going on, but that wouldn't be quite truthful, although I have helped a bit and I did shop for the bowl.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Garden update

Its been a week since the girls were moved to the bottom of the garden and they are really not happy about it. They walk up and down the fence like lions in a cage, but its the company they seem to miss the most. So time is taken out every day to sit in the enclosure with them, chat to them and get shouted back in return. 

Quiet a lot has been done to make the garden look like a garden again. We have redone the herb bed. We now have Chives, Oregano, Marjoram, Rosemary, Lavender, Sorrel, Thyme, Sage and have sowed the parsley, rocket and coriander seeds. We have strawberry plants along the bottom edge too and I'm also trying to bring the Bay back to life.

We moved a lilac from another bed where it couldn't be seen, its only a small one and me being me originally planted it in completely the wrong place, but so far it seems to have taken quite well to its new environment. The chickens only managed to eat the bottom of it, so hopefully it will do its best this year to get new leaves. I've also planted a rose that has been hanging around in a pot in the front garden for a long time, along with more flower seeds and a peony for free.

Another bed dug and another plant planted, I've been after a Buddleia for ages and found this variegated one at a very good price. Hopefully the birds, bees and butterflies will now start getting attracted to my desert, I mean garden. I've also planted some bulbs for more colour.

Now I know that none of this looks great, but it definitely looks 100% better then last week.  I've even made a start on cleaning the garden furniture. Who knew that chairs could become so green, or so white again with just soapy water, a scrubbing brush and elbow grease...

The best thing though is that Spring has finally arrived to the garden and the blossom is finally out.

On the cherry tree

On the tiny little plum tree planted last year

And thinking about it on the equally small apple tree

Oh and I've got flowers, just the one tub so far!

Monday, 12 April 2010


I've had some sad news in the garden today, but I haven't found a body, so maybe its not as bad as it seems.

There is, or was, a pair of collared doves that has been frequenting the garden, for the chicken feed and not the view I'm presuming and I've really looked forward to seeing them everyday. They have been lovely to watch, especially when they would fly down off the fence, when the chickens backs were turned, to grab a bite to eat. 

This morning though I went out only to be greeted with a layer of feathers covering a pretty large area of what should be grass and can only surmise that it is in fact left overs of one of the collared doves. Feeling quite sad I collected up a lot of the feathers, mostly so that I didn't have to see them every time I ventured outside but also because, although plain in colour, they are actually quite beautiful.

Rhiannon came over and was pretty horrified to find the feathers in a jar on the dresser. 

Maybe she thought I'd finally lost it, but actually I just wanted to take some pictures.

I quite like them too.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

The joy of owning chickens

Two summers ago my grass got so out of control that we had to use two strimmer's to get it to a reasonable length in order to mow.

Last year it was just mowing and then we got the chickens. I knew that they would have some impact on the garden, but not quite as much as they have.

Last year - grass and plants.

See how helpful the girls are, always ready and waiting to assist.

A herb bed too, all netted off and chicken proof, or not as the case may be.

And this year.

Shameful isn't it? Not one blade of grass and I really mean not one.
You can see some of the patio in the next picture, there's at least one inch of dried mud all over it.  

And just look at my beautiful herb bed now.

I've no plants left in the border either and I had spent so long digging and stocking it up over the last few years. My evergreen shrubs are only green from chicken jumping height upwards, everything below that has gone and be assured chickens that can actually jump pretty high.

Well its spring now and enough is enough. The chickens are getting banished to the bottom of the garden. At least that is until they all work together to escape and that is a real possibility. Just ask my next door neighbour, many a time she has entered her garden and had 6 chickens running around. And looking at these pictures I can safely say that the grass is definitely greener on the other side of the fence, ha, ha.  

So yesterday we started. Here's Roy with his little helpers, all wondering what was going on.

Sectioned off. Obviously still a mess everywhere else at the moment.

In their new area

And checking the new premises out.  Hmm not sure though.

The lady next door knocked yesterday to ask if we wanted some turfs from her garden, she thought maybe I could start a new lawn. Thats embarrassing, even the neighbours have noticed my lack of grass. We had the turfs anyway for the compost and gave one to the girls. The sheer pleasure they had with it, like pigs round a trough.

Whilst writing this Susan, the brown and very naughty chicken managed to find her way out of the pen (already!) and was very happily digging a hole. So out I went, picked her up and put her back in, she was really not happy and very vocal she was about it too. We will have to keep an eye on her in the coming days as she is a bit of a ring leader. But how can you not love them though and I would definitely not be without them.

Butter wouldn't melt.

So now the wedding is over, my next project just has to be the garden.