Solstice sunset

The view from my craftroom at about 3.50pm today.  A few minutes later it was gone.  We’re hurtling towards summer now! Well, maybe not hurtling exactly.

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It’s the Little Things

Little Things that have caused me disproportionate happiness recently :

1. Finding a place for a spare single bed – it’s now in the wardrobe. Hooray!

There really is a bed in here but I can’t actually prove it without moving a ton of other stuff that’s in front of the door.

2. Visiting Ikea and buying some more storage stuff to put in the vacant bed-space. Hooray!

Still some empty spaces but that won’t last.

3. The thread store carefully made for me by my lovely husband. Thank you so much!


I will play with this for hours.  Rearranging, sorting, arranging again.  And I squeal every time I see it.  I’m a very sad person who worries about the order of things on the washing line, and colour co-ordinating the pegs.  Someone suggested I buy wooden pegs, but where’s the satisfaction in that?

4. Taking books to the charity shop and finding one of the books on my reading list for a quid – yes, One Pound. That’s happened three times recently.

Today’s lucky find was One Day by David Nichols who is new to me.  The person who recommended it is usually spot-on, so I’m hopeful.

Bigger Things that have also created happiness :
1. Listening to the Military Wives Choir and realising they could make Christmas No 1 with this. I don’t really give a fiddler’s about Christmas No. 1 but they so deserve something good.

Very Big Things which have created a lasting euphoria :
1. The Bernina 380 sewing machine my lovely husband bought me for my birthday. This was way back in September, but I haven’t introduced her yet.
There really is only one Very Big Thing in this category.

I hope Bernina will feature large in the coming weeks and months.  I have some things to show, but that thing called Christmas is looming and I’m busy knitting presents that should have been done ages ago.  Hands up, I only started two nights ago.  It’s only 8 December for goodness sake, what’s the panic?

HUGE Things that make me very, very happy and very, very grateful :
1. My Lovely Husband
2. My Lovely Daughter

That last one’s a bit soppy, but nonetheless true.  And no photos because they’d be very mad at me, I think.

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How can I discard you …

when you still look so pretty! I was hoping the allotment would be well and truly abed by now, after my not-so-great season. But then there’s this

They had an unhappy childhood, left too long in their seed trays, yet they’ve bloomed all summer and continue to look cheerful even now. I’m a bit bemused by the ratty, uneven petals but perhaps that’s how they’re meant to be.

I pulled up the main sweetpeas last week but these linger on behind the greenhouse, a mere hop away from the compost heap – yet I don’t have the heart.

The recent spell of warm weather encouraged these – there are many strawberries on the plants lots of which have ripened, but I’m sure the mice are welcome to them. Generosity is my only option really because the mice/slugs always get there first.

Rosalie – if you read this I know you’ll shake your head and tut at me! I know I’ll regret my woosieness when the rain is beating my brains out and my wellies are stuck in the mud and still work to be done, but hey, they’re pretty. A girl can never have too much pretty!

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Which came first …

I’m not even going to try to explain where I’ve been. A word about my chum who had a mastectomy recently though – after waiting months for her surgery wounds to heal, she now has four of her six chemo sessions behind her and doing just grand. Chemo should be done by end November, a month off then 3 weeks radiotherapy. After that, all going well, it will be behind her. Good.

Meantime, the allotment has given all it’s going to give this year apart from a few red cabbages and some leeks to look forward to. I’ll be glad to put it to bed this year and start afresh in spring. Likewise the crafting – a few projects to clean up on, and I’ll be ready to start over.

Which came first – indeed! Here’s who I’ve been talking to these last couple of days while friends go galavanting. I may have found my next venture.

I think the chubby guy looks worth talking to.

Just one thing before I go collect a wee egg or two – if you’re reading this, and I know some folks do pop by, how about saying hi? Just “hi” will do if you’re shy – just so I know I’m not totally alone in the world.

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Boy what an absence!

I can’t believe I’ve not posted for such a long time.  On the other hand so much has been happening, I’ve not had a lot of spare time.  A close friend recently had a mastectomy which developed complications so we’ve been trailing to hospital 3 or 4 times a week for close on 4 months, my daughter has undertaken a complete life change which has involved her moving away from the area, we are fostering her cat temporarily and I’m looking after my friend’s allotment as well as my own.  That’s enough to go on with.

The allotment is doing just dandy though.  Remember the tomatoes?  And the sweetpeas? Here they are …





And some other random pretty …







We’ve eaten a gazillion strawberries and made over 20 pots of jam, 15 jars of blackcurrant jam and we may turn into raspberries if we consume many more. What a glorious year for fruit and still the brambles to look forward to. The peas are truly scrumptious, as are my favourites the broad beans. Circumstances have prevented a huge variety of produce, but I’m more than happy with what we’ve got. And the allotment is still the happiest place I can imagine.

Knitting has also taken a backseat this summer, but I felt the itch last night when I unearthed a beautiful cardigan pattern. Unfortunately I need to wait for the arrival of the 6.5mm needles tomorrow and I can crack on.

All for now, off to the allotment. I hope to post more soon.

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Allotment Goodness

I haven’t any finished craftiness to talk about, mostly because we’ve had some beautiful weather which I just had to spend in the garden and at the allotment.  I took a few photos last week which I didn’t post, so here they are.  I love to look back and see the difference just a couple of weeks make.  This is the first time I’ve overwintered broadbeans in the greenhouse.  Happily, a huge bee visited the other evening and I watched it pollinate these flowers, so fingers crossed.

These are the sweetpeas I worried about – they’re just fine, now hardening off ready to be planted soon.

 

The tulips have been amazingly early – this was taken on the 8th of April, but I’d already been cutting them for a few days.

The tomatoes are getting too big for their boots again. I was hoping not to have to pot them on for a third time, but I think I’ll have to because they won’t go in the unheated greenhouse for several weeks.

I love the first purple sprouting brocolli of the season. This stuff joined some leeks and greenhouse-spinach with pasta and cheese sauce. Just one variation on Pinkshoes Pasta Muckage. Very yum.

I’ve spent a lot of time pricking out seedlings, not my favourite job but it has to be done. They’re struggling a bit in the over-hot greenhouse and need a lot of juggling around to keep them in the shade – I’m considering applying some cool-glass but it seems ridiculous in April. I guess I should just exercise common sense and do it before any more scorch off. The seedlings are mostly perennials which I’ve not really done before but I’m looking for something more permanent than the annuals I usually use to fill the garden. If I don’t repeat today’s trick of dropping two full trays, things should go well.

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In which I made a doorstop

The problem with our conservatory is that the door to the outside world doesn’t stay open by itself -very annoying.  Ever resourceful, I came up with this solution …

very clever!  Can you see, two doors tied with a piece of (top quality) string.  One slight drawback is the occupant of that chair risks being garotted should they attempt to get up.

So I looked at fabric doorstops in various places but to be honest I felt my money could be better squandered spent on yarn or fabric.  Then I came across the lovely blog of Flossie Teacakes and found that she had designed the perfect doorstop for my needs.  The pattern is available to download (for a mere £3.50 or so) here.  The instructions are so clear and beautifully written that I feel the cat could follow them, though it likely would choose not to.  It didn’t take long at all, and the only modification I made was to use rice for the filling instead of the bird sand recommended by Florence.  The only reason for this was that our petshop has become a florist, apparently overnight, and I didn’t feel like trailing the length and breadth to find sand.  I used 2kg of the cheapest rice I could find (56p a kilo as it happens) and this does the job perfectly.  As an added bonus, should we fall upon hard times we have a secret food stash.  Here’s the doorstop

It’s not stopping the intended door, because this was a better photo.

The fabric is just some random stuff of roughly the colour scheme – not so exciting and if the wits had been working I might have centred the flower motif, but there you go.

Florence mentions the fancy way she’s attached the handles, and I must say it makes for a really strong join – as well as looking like an expert has been at work.

So huge thanks to the very talented Florence – I can now throw open the door to the sunshine, if it comes.

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