Thursday, 29 May 2014

Rain, Rain ... Rain

Yep, you've guessed it, we've had a lot of rain! This morning is the first since Sunday that the rain has held off.  I wouldn't go as far as to say that the skies are clear though!
My climbing/rambling roses are beginning to flower.  These are partially sheltered under the covered patio.
Rambling Rector
 The rest of the flowers are not so sheltered from the rain!  Many are laden with raindrops, which have a beauty all of their own.

 The bees are still busy in the garden.
We get lots of different types of bees visiting our garden.

 I love the loud buzzing that they make inside the foxglove flowers. :)
I have quite a few foxgloves in bloom at the moment.
The alliums are still looking beautiful
and more hardy geraniums are in flower.

 While it has been raining I have been busy catching up with my WIP's.
I posted my Yarndale mandala to Lucy at Attic24 and made this little gift tag to go with it.
I forgot to photograph the mandala once I had stitched the snail and flowers on, so this is it with the motifs sitting on top prior to my fixing them.
I made a card for my best friend L.  Unfortunately it seems to have got lost in the post! :(
 I have also completed my 36 squares for the Dahlia Cushion, which I will post about when I have finished the cushion.  I cut out the backing fabric last night ready to sew.
Yesterday I also made these two items from Mollie Makes free kits.
 I altered the pattern by changing the yellow felt for lavender felt and I also stuffed the face and tummy.  He is filled with stuffing and homegrown lavender.   I also changed the shape of his nose into a little heart and double stitched the tweed as it frayed a lot.
 The second kit was for a flower brooch.
 I made my petals bigger than suggested (I used a golden syrup tin to draw around), but followed the rest of the pattern as it was written, with the exception of using glue to attach the button and brooch pin.  I'm not a fan of using glue on fabric, so I stitched the button onto a circle of felt, through the centre of the flower and stitched that to the back of the petals.  I then stitched the pin onto another circle of felt, the same size as the first piece and then blanket stitched the two together.
The only other item I have crafted is for a swap, so I can't show it here.
It has been good to do some sewing for a change.  I am taking baby steps towards doing some dressmaking again!  The next step is an artisan apron.  I have ordered this pattern from Janet Clare.
I'm looking forward to it arriving in the post! :)

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Bank Holiday Monday

Yesterday it was wet and cold here.  The warmest room in our house was the kitchen.  I did some washing, which meant having the tumble-dryer on and then I cooked lunch which meant having the oven on.  Noddy had rosy cheeks with all that warmth! ;)
As I was in winter mode, I made these mini steamed syrup sponges for our desert - with custard of course!
 While the oven was on for lunch I also baked some cheese and herb crackers.

I will post the recipe on My Recipes blog soon.
 Maurice likes to warm his whiskers in front of the oven when it is on.  He makes me laugh! :)
 Other cats keep me company in the kitchen too.  I have a thing for ginger cats and collected these ones when we had our first furbaby - Pippa.
The cookie jar is a little chipped, but still loved.
 My Mum bought this jug for me and she has a matching one.  Mine sits on the kitchen window sill.
My best friend L gifted this picture to me as a birthday present one year and I bought the little wooden cat, hanging on the side of the frame, from Germany one holiday.
 There is also a slightly grumpy looking (in my view) black cat picture on one wall.
I purchased this miniature picture when we were first married and lived in Cornwall for a couple of years.  And of course there is my other real cat Ella to keep me company, but at the time she was curled up in her basket.
This morning it is still a little chilly, but at least the rain has stopped ... for the moment!  More rain is forecast, so I guess I will just have to stay indoors with my crochet! ;)
Hope you all had a lovely weekend.  Best wishes, Pj x

My Sunday

Sunday was predicted to be the only sunny day of the bank holiday weekend so I took the opportunity to spend most of my time outside.
After breakfast I went for a walk through the field of buttercups near our house.
This area is so beautiful at this time of year!
The yellow flag irises are in flower next to the pond.
There are pretty patches of ragged robin amongst the buttercups

And lots of clover.  The bees love this!
Next I made a flask of coffee and set off for the allotment.  Recently I was asked how we hold down the nets and micro fleece on our raised beds, so I took the following photos:-
Our hoops of pipe are attached to the beds using clips and are stabilsed by a length of wood at the top and ends.

All around the beds are these buttons.
Elastic is threaded through the net, near the edge and looped over these buttons.
The micro fleece is draped over the bed and held on with lengths of wood that sit on top of the boards.  They are held in place by a loop of elastic between two buttons at each corner.  A further length of elastic secures the edge of the fleece and stops it flapping around.  The long lengths of wood can be a little cumbersome to replace after working on the bed, but the system works.  It all stayed in place throughout the winter gales.
Finally we have a fruitcage.  The net is simply held in place by more of those buttons.

The buttons came from here. I hope that is helpful.
Next on my agenda was the planting of my tomato plants.  They have gone a little spindly in the greenhouse and needed to be either potted on or planted out.  As I grew so many this year (I got rather carried away when seed sowing this year!) my greenhouse can't hold all the tomato plants, so having given some away, the remainder are now planted out at both allotments.  I also transplanted some strawberries plants into this bed.
I then sowed a few dwarf beans, two types of radish, two types of spring onion,
two types of beetroot and two types of carrots.  All repeat sowings apart from the carrots Royal Chanteney 3 and Purple Dragon, the latter seeds were free with two other purchases of seeds.
I harvested a few more peas and a handful of salad leaves for my cheese sandwich at lunchtime! :)
Once I had watered everything in, including the sunflowers recently planted along the fence, it was time to go home.

Back home I did some housework, baked some cakes -
espresso muffins
(yes, those are sugar snowflakes on the muffins!  They were leftover from Christmas!)
  and a golden syrup loaf,
then cooked the evening meal.  Later that evening, knowing that rain was predicted for bank holiday Monday, I went out into the garden and cut the lawn and pulled up the forget-me-nots.  I was hoping that their removal would give me some more room in the garden for my summer plants, but I will need to cut down the hardy geraniums to find enough space.  My poor patio table is covered with plants waiting to go into the garden.  Next thing I knew it was 9:45pm and getting dark!  Time for a soak in the bath after such a busy day!  Then it started raining.  Good timing!