Monday, 26 April 2010

Growing Pains

Do you remember this? This was our veg plot about a month ago.

And here it is today.

Unfortunately, you can't see the plants in the bed nearest to the camera! They are so small at the moment, but this weekend I've been able to plant out the sweetcorn, broccoli, spinach and onions. It's very exciting and I am really getting into this gardening lark! I'm even going to try growing some flowers for our garden - shock, horror!

Meanwhile, at Crochet Headquarters - the granny squares are multiplying:
I don't even know how big I want this blanket to be, but quite a decent size I should imagine. I am loving working with all this colour - so much more fun than knitting a jumper in one boring old colour.

Oh, by the way, the piglets are growing!

Poor mum - imagine feeding 12 at once!

And I must show you this little ingenious flask which I have taken to carrying around with me practically everywhere I go. It holds just one cuppa, but it's great to take with you in the car if you're going shopping, or to the allotment (of course). Pretty much any time you're going to be away from a kettle for more than an hour or two! It's from Lakeland and was quite pricey at £12.99, but I think it's going to be worth every penny. It keeps it hot for a good 3 hours.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Feast your eyes on ...

... these! Yes, I'm afraid I've gone granny square crazy, now that I've finally got the hang of it, and I decided to treat myself this morning to a quick jaunt over to the lovely wool shop.

As I was using up my stash of Debblie Bliss Cashmerino, I thought I'd keep it simple and just replenish with the one type of yarn - plus, the colours are so lush anyway. I'm thinking jewell-like, so it's going to be quite a nice, bright, summery blanket.

They don't have fly off the needle though! Hence the urgent need for some yarn - hubby is out tomorrow night so I can hook away till my heart's content (not that I don't anyway!). The good thing about these squares is that it's fun to choose your colours, and they don't take long to do so you don't get bored. I'm not sure how you join them altogether into a blanket - shall have to perhaps consult Attic 24 for a bit of help on that one - but I think once all the square are joined, you can crochet a border around it all, just to finish it all off. The other thing is, I think it might be wise to sew the ends in as you go along, otherwise the prospect of hundreds of ends to sew in all at once could be extremely off-putting!
Wishing you all a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A Day of Rest

Woke up this morning and felt completely knackered. I think my sudden leap into the outside world has finally taken its toll on my body. I mean, one minute I'm practically hibernating all winter in my sewing room and the next, I'm out planting veg, painting fences and even - wait for it - going for a bike ride! Yesterday, as there was the coldest ever icy wind blowing, despite an otherwise perfect sunshiney day, I thought I'd give the dresser a lick of paint.

You may be able to just see the wear and tear marks on it - it was looking a bit scruffy really. So I wiped it down, sanded it down and then applied a coat of paint (just the bottom half of it).

It looks much better now. Fresher. Anyhow, I then decided that perhaps I should brave the wind and go and do some more fence painting - which I did, for 3 hours. Brrrrrr! All that bending and stretching - I was very cold and very sore by the time I eventually made it indoors to start cooking the tea.
So today, I think it's a well-earned rest day. By the way, here's the jumper I made for the boy:

It was made with Debblie Bliss Aran and he wore it for the first time over Easter. Unfortunately, he did something he's never done before - puked in the car - all over the new jumper! Arrrgggh! Luckily, as you can see, it has stood up to a good wash! (The flowers, by the way, were a Wedding Anniversary present from hubby - 6 years on the 17th!).

And in a bid to sort of kick-start my creative mojo again, I think I might attempt a granny square blanket. This is my first ever granny square - it took me precisely 4 attempts to master it.

I have some lovely colours in this Debblie Bliss Cashmerino, left over from the fingerless gloves, so think I might just keep it as a slow-burning project. A square here and a square there. And they are pretty simple, once you've mastered the first one. I just can't bare to sit down in the evening and not have something on the needles. Or needle. Watching tv without simultaneously creating something seems like a complete and utter waste of time to me. It just doesn't feel right.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Reaping what you sow

... well, not quite reaping yet, but some progress has been made. You remember that 3 weeks ago I did this:

sowed some seeds. Well, this weekend they looked like this:

this is the spinach we planted. So, yesterday, I had to split them into individual, larger planters. I was able to do this with the courgettes too. They will now go outside, but covered, before they are ready to be actually planted into the ground.

They are such delicate little things, it's amazing to think that they will grow into something you can actually eat.
And this is Mildred - mummy to 12 piglets! See what I mean when I say she's MASSIVE?
And these are the ever-growing piglets, all cutched up together, having an afternoon nap!

And here we have 2 brooding hens, sitting atop some eggs which will not become scrambled or fried, but actual little chicks. If, like my hubby, you were to try to steal an egg, you will received a rather nasty peck!

Yes, I do feel a bit like I'm turning into Barbara Goode (from The Goode Life). But I have to say I'm really enjoying it all so far. It's nice to be part of the whole animal/small holding thing, but not actually be responsible for it all (we have a 'share' in it).

I managed to make this apron for my brother's birthday last week - the things on the front are meant to be chillies, not carrots - at my sewing class. I have to admit to having lost a little of my sewing mojo at the moment, probably because the weather has been tempting me outside and I seem to have a lot of jobs to do out there. But that's okay - this happens sometimes, and I know the urge will return sooner or later. Who can figure the creative mind?

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Snowballs in Spring

Isn't it funny how things snowball? The planting of these:

led to the purchasing of this:

which led to the painting of this:

which led to the painting of this:

to this:

Don't worry - there's only 8 fence panels, 4 gates and a shed left to paint ... good job the sun is shining, eh?

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The Good Old Days

Isn't the weather cracking at the moment? As I walked the boy up the hill to school this morning, I decided it would be a crime if I didn't take a walk through the lanes and into the wood, on a little circular route. It was truly breathtaking - at one point, I stood still and closed my eyes and all I could hear was the birds chirruping away and the bleating of sheep from the fields. Absolute bliss.

As I came back towards the house I passed a farmer unloading his trailer - 'Morning!' he sing-songed, 'Out for your morning constitutional?' And I thought yes, what a lovely old-fashioned word for a walk. A morning constitutional sounds so much more relaxed than 'walk' (which sounds like a bit of a chore to me). Constitutional conjures up an image of a slow-paced, enjoyable amble, taking in the sights and sounds and smells, breathing in the fresh air and generally marvelling at the wonder of such a lovely day. And then I thought, what a shame that we just rush around all over the place these days - keeping fit on treadmills and dancing around our living rooms on plastic boards - when we simply need to step outside our front door and into the fresh air. There you go - a thought for today!

So yesterday I managed to apply Teak Oil to our new garden furniture - we splashed out at the weekend, in anticipation of a lovely summer.

You have to apply oil to it to protect it from the elements.

My next challenge, today, is to try to find some wood stain for the wall seat to match the furniture.

Can I just show-off a bit here and show the garden as it was when we finished the house? My lovely hubby made this whole garden and patio area, and the seat.

Where the dustbin is, is where the patio is now! I could write a book about the story of our house renovation ...

Sunday, 11 April 2010

New life

These are just a few of the new arrivals over Easter ...
ickle lamb,

ickle chicks,

and ickle piggies!
Mildred, the sow, gave birth to 20 - yes, TWENTY! - piglets over Easter! Well done Mildred (and also well done George!) Poor old sow, her teets are hanging on the ground! Actually, 3 were still born and 5 were sadly squashed by her - but nature has her way - she only has 12 teets and 12 survived.
And this is a rather funny sign we came across yesterday on our walk - talk about a sign of the times - see the quad bike?!
Not much in the way of creativity over the Easter I'm afraid, due to our soujourn to see the family. I did manage to get 2 out of the 3 girls knitting though, which was a good result. However, the french knitting bobbins for the younger ones were no good - far to tricky for little fingers to master. I lost count of the amount of times I was asked to sort them out - with no stitches left on the pins!
School is back tomorrow, so hopefully I shall return to my usual activities this week. Let's hope the sun keeps shining, eh?