Saturday, 18 August 2012

All Things British Swap

Recently I took part in Laalaa's All Things British Swap.  I sent my parcel off before I went on holiday to The Isle of Wight and I know that Rae has received it, so I can blog about it now without spoiling the surprise.
I wanted to do something different so I knitted some bunting in red, white and blue and finished it with I-cord and 3 different types of crocheted flowers.
I stamped and coloured a beach hut card - I have a thing for beach huts; my Husband can't understand it, he says they are just sheds!

All wrapped up and ready to go.

One of the items on my to-do list this summer was to complete these wooden chickens.  My Dad cut out the shapes and I have coloured them with Farrow and Ball paint and crocheted the wings and legs in cotton.
The two above are for me and the ones below are for sale.
I have made some other items, but they are for a Secret Santa-style swap, so no photos and I am still slowly making squares for my crocheted cushion.
My last make this week is this chocolate cake for my Mum's birthday.  It is filled with mint butter-cream and Nutella and topped with more butter-cream and bought mini icing cupcakes.
It has a bit of a journey to reach my Mum, so I hope my Husband drives carefully!
Best wishes, Pj x

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Kew Gardens

Recently my husband won annual tickets to Kew Gardens for two people, so on Sunday we packed a picnic and drove to London.  It was surprisingly quiet and we managed to park not far from the gate.
Our first port of call was the Palm House.  I love this Victorian wrought-iron building.  After walking at ground level we climbed the spiral stairs to the walkway high in the middle section of the glasshouse.
 Then we went into the basement to admire the fish in the aquarium.
It turned out to be another hot day, there wasn't even a breeze up at treetop level on the walkway!
There were sculptures by David Nash dotted around the garden.

We went into Queen Charlotte's Cottage; built just for picnics!

Clockwise - Temple of Aeolus, Davies Alpine House, Minka House, Pagoda
 The Princess of Wales Conservatory.  There are huge catfish in the centre pond inside.
The flower beds were beautiful and there were giant Olympic Rings in front of The Orangery
We spotted a few critters wandering around the garden.
 And if I ever wondered where my son got his sense of humour from ...
... I don't have to look far!! :)

Bees and Butterflies

Help!  The summer holidays are flying by!!  I can't believe that there are only two weeks left!!!
Last week my husband had some time off work and we were out and about on day trips.  One of those trips was to Hinton Ampner, a National Trust property in Hampshire.  It was a really hot day and we were glad to be able to cool off in the lovely house.
The gardens were beautiful.  The two gardeners must work very hard to keep everything looking so good.
 A highlight of the visit was the amount of butterflies and bees in the garden.  It hasn't been a good year for butterflies, but the hot sunshine had brought them out.
 Whilst photographing the butterflies I heard a rustling in the border and this gorgeous puss emerged for a fuss.  How could we resist! :)
We plan to return for more visits in the autumn, winter and spring to see the garden throughout the seasons.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Raining Cats & Dogs!

For the past few days we have had some very heavy showers of rain!
In between the showers the sun has been hot and yesterday we spotted a High Atmospheric Rainbow.

In the greenhouse we have harvested our first Tomatoes.

Still waiting for the Chillis to grow bigger!
I purchased some half-price fruit bushes at the garden centre.  Two Blackcurrant bushes for the new allotment and a pot of mixed berries - a Loganberry, a Tayberry and a Blackberry which we will plant in the fruit cage at the old allotment.  Also I bought some early-season Strawberry plants in the sale.
Whilst weeding a found this little Toad - so sweet!  He hopped into the runner bean bed - I hope he eats up all the slugs and snails!
This Gatekeeper Butterfly was resting on a bean-pole, warming her wings in the sunshine.
I planted out some Leeks and puddled them in.
Down the centre of two raised beds I planted some Purple-sprouting Broccoli.
I harvested a few Beans and a Courgette from the new allotment and my Husband picked these Peas from the old allotment.  I like shelling peas, it always takes me back to the summers of my childhood when I would shell peas with my Mum in the garden.

In the kitchen this weekend I baked some Blondies,

Banana Crunch

and a Chocolate Sponge.  I filled it with Peppermint Butter-cream and topped it with a Dark Chocolate Ganache and Fondant Daisies.
Craft-wise I knitted these Lavender Sachets.  They are decorated with the ribbon roses that I recently received as part of a swap and filled with Lavender from the old allotment.  They were knitted whilst I was watching The Olympics - or at least in between the moments when I was almost bouncing up and down on the sofa willing Team GB to win! :)

I have also made some other items as part of another swap, but they are a secret for now.
Best wishes, Pj x