Saturday, 29 September 2012

A Spot of Baking

Friday turned out to be a rainy day, so the best place to be was in the kitchen baking -
Banana Loaf
Oat and Raisin Cookies
Coconut Sponge
That should keep us going for a little while! Maybe! :)

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Garden Stars

There's a definite autumnal chill in the air now and I have started to prepare my garden for winter. Last weekend I cut back a lot of the shrubs; I have to do this regularly, otherwise they will take over my small garden. I have also emptied the summer pots and baskets on the patio and refilled them with cyclamens and pansies. The pansies were a bargain 98p a tray from the supermarket; all they needed was a little TLC! I have left some of the geraniums in the pots for the time being, as they are still flowering beautifully and I have taken cuttings from the rest. Also I am experimenting by leaving a few plants undercover on the patio this year to see if they survive the winter.
The star of the garden this month has to be the sedum. When the sun is shining the flower heads are covered in bees and butterflies.
 My wisteria is flowering yet again! I have lost count of how many times it has bloomed this year! I even have a seasonally-confused foxglove in flower! 
It is a shame to cut back some of the flowers and the garden will look a little sad for a while, but next year it will look so much better - hopefully! And if I can find any bare patches of earth, I plan to plant lots of daffodils. :)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The September Allotment

Still no computer, but on the plus side I have learnt how to use Blogger and Instagram on my phone. :) I have been playing with some of the photos I took at the allotment. As you can see all this rain has encouraged the vegetables to grow big! I wanted the pumpkin to be huge, but not the patty pans and radish! :) The spinach and kale are doing well, ready for winter and the broccoli also. Mind you, the weeds are also loving this weather!!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

I'm Still Here ...

... I haven't flown away!  Unfortunately my computer is broken so I am having to resort to using my phone.  Please bear with me.  Best wishes, Pj x

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Now We Are three ...

 ... at least until the holidays, because yesterday our daughter "Fay" left for university.
Follow your dreams Darling.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Lavender Hearts

As promised, here is the pattern for these lavender-filled hearts
Double Knitting Yarn
Needles - size 2.75 or 3 mm
Ribbon for Hanging

This pattern is for the Stocking Stitch Heart, but you can use any stitch that produces a close-knit fabric. Using the smaller gauge needles helps to stop the lavender from poking through the knitting.
P = Purl  ::  K = Knit  ::  St/s = Stitch/es
M1 = Make 1 by picking up loop between stitches and knitting into the back of it
S1K1PO = Slip 1, Knit 1, Pass Slip Stitch Over
K2tog = Knit 2 together
P2tog = Purl 2 together

Make 2 as follows:-
Cast on 4 sts
Row 1:  P
Row 2:  K1, M1, K to last stitch, M1, K1
Row 3:  P
Rows 4 - 18:  Repeat these last 2 rows until there are 22 sts
Row 19:  P
Row 20:  K
Row 21: P
Row 22: K
Row 23: P
Now it is time to divide the work for the top of the heart.
Row 24:  K1, S1K1PO, K5, K2tog, K1 (9sts)
Turn and work on these stitches
Row 25:  P9
Row 26:  K1, S1K1PO, K3, K2tog, K1 (7sts)
Row 27:  P2tog, P3, P2tog (5sts)
Row 28:  S1K1PO, K3 (4sts)
Row 29: P2tog, P2tog (2sts)
Row 30: K2tog (1st)
Cut yarn and reattach it to remaining stitches on needle.
Repeat Rows 24 -30
Cut yarn leaving a long tail for sewing up.
Place hearts wrong sides together and sew, using mattress stitch.  At centre top, sew in ribbon to form a hanging loop and before continuing to stitch seam, fill with dried lavender.
I use a cone of card to help fill my sachets.  I find that it keeps the edges of the material clean.
Today I knitted another heart and added beads to it.
You will need to thread approximately 70 beads onto the yarn before knitting.
 Randomly place bead by bringing yarn with bead to front of work, slipping the next stitch knitways onto right hand needle and passing yarn to back of work, leaving the bead sitting snugly in front of the slipped stitch.  Ensure that the next stitch is worked firmly.  When completing the next row (purl stitches), make sure that the bead is to the front of the work and keep the tension firm.  
I hope that that made sense!

Whilst I had my dried lavender out I made a couple of wreaths:-
One completely lavender
 and the other one made using hessian for a more rustic look.
 Our living-room now smells strongly of lavender! :)

Monday, 3 September 2012

August Crafting

 This summer holiday I had set myself the task of completing some of my WIPs and other projects that have been in the pipeline for some time.
These chickens had been hanging around unfinished and I am pleased to say that I have not only completed them, but that one has already sold in my friend's shop.
 I had temporarily fallen out of love with this project, but whilst in Norfolk I crocheted 12 more squares and I now nearly have enough to make a cushion.  I have stitched the fabric cushion cover that will be the base for the crochet and hope to have all the squares completed this week.
Having recently made a Battenburg cake using my loaf tin, I decided to buy a proper tin.  I had considered buying one of these before, but they seemed quite pricey.
Now having used it, after previously faffing around with a loaf tin, I am pleased with my purchase.  It was so easy to use and made a better sized cake.
As you can see I got carried away with the red, white and blue theme for the Paralympics! :)

On the same theme - a big thank you to Rae for my lovely All Things British Swap parcel that arrived on Saturday and a big thank you to Laalaa for arranging yet another fun swap.  I previously posted about the parcel I had sent to Rae here.

I am taking part in Annie's A Make A Month 2012 and for August my monthly make is this black and white crocheted cat.
I have been meaning to make him for some time now.  He is crocheted in Rowan Cotton Glace and the pattern is from the book "Super-Super Cute Crochet" by Brigitte Reed.  I adapted the pattern slightly as his body seemed too long and I also changed the feet and tail and added whiskers and a mouth.  His eyes are buttons I had bought from Textile Garden when they were at Unravel 2012.
I still have a lot of homegrown lavender so I decided to knit some heart-shaped sachets, using oddments of DK wool.
 I have been asked on Flickr if there is a pattern for these so I knitted another sachet to check that I could understand my instructions and I will be making a separate post featuring the pattern.
Unfortunately that is as far as I got completing my WIPs as on a shopping trip I was distracted by all the Christmas goodies and I came home with these!
 So instead of finishing off my scrapbook pages I made some cards!

Also I couldn't resist this magazine.  I love the tea cosy and cushion patterns on the front. 
And I'm still collecting material for my quilt!  I keep changing my mind about the design.  Our bedroom is decorated in duck egg blue and cream, but I am tempted to make a quilt in all whites and creams.  I once saw such a quilt on a Scandinavian blog and it was beautiful, but I wonder if it will look too plain in our room.  It would mean that it would fit into any colour scheme when we later redecorate.  I still can't decide! :)
 I have crafted some other items for a swap, but they are a secret for now.
I am back to work later this week as it is the end of the summer holidays, but hopefully I will still find time to craft and maybe I will complete some of those WIPs!! :)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

September Already!

Where have the summer holidays gone?!  I'm sure that they get shorter every year!  Maybe it is the fact that this summer has been the wettest in 100 years, so it just hasn't felt like summer very much.
We were lucky with the weather on our recent trip to Norfolk to stay with my parents and we did get to the beach and into our swimming costumes on the Sunday at Sea Palling,
but a thunderstorm complete with the strong smell of sulphur and ball lightning sent us off the beach!  The sun soon shone again and we drove to the The Great Barn nearby at Waxham.  This is the longest thatched barn in Norfolk, built circa 1570.  Incorporated into the structure are pieces of ships that were wrecked off the coast; a mast and an oar are plainly visible.  We had our first (of this holiday) Ronaldo's ice-cream in the cafe here.  I had three of these throughout the holiday!
 I love the North Norfolk coast and we spent half our holiday visiting favourite locations in the area.
One day we had a picnic at Blakeney Point, before walking along the coastal path to Stiffkey.
 Back at Blakeney Point and time for ice-cream number two!
Another day and another picnic!  This one was on the beach at Wells-Next-The-Sea with its fantastic open skies and miles of sand.

 We walked around the town and ended the day with ... yes another Ronaldo's ice-cream!  They make so many delicious flavours, it would have been rude not to try the different ones!! :)
 Another day and we visited the lovely market town of Holt, another of my favourite places.  We had a picnic on the beautiful Spout Hills and admired the many butterflies,
before walking around the town, peeking into the antique shops and finishing up at Byfords.
This holiday we had three trips into Norwich!  My husband and I went sight-seeing and Geocaching, whilst the children did their own thing.
We re-visited Norwich Cathedral,
which is truly awesome
and we discovered the Cathedral Herb Garden in The Close.
 We found new places such as St George's Church in Colegate; a lovely Medieval church with a Georgian interior.
 This building is entirely covered in the words of "Utopia".  It must have taken the artist a long time to complete.
 We spent time with my parents, including going out to lunch to celebrate Mum's birthday.

On the final day we visited Blickling Hall.  This National Trust property is thought to be the birth place of Anne Boleyn, although there is some debate over the year of her birth.  The ceilings in this house are spectacular.
The servants domain below stairs.
The parterre garden.
We enjoyed beautiful apricot-coloured sunsets over my "home" village.
Our week ended all too quickly and it was time to pack up and leave for my other home.