Wednesday, 30 May 2012

WOYWW (Well, Tuesday, actually!)

I don't work on Tuesdays so try to get this post drafted, ready for Mrs Dunnitt.

It's still too hot for me to be outside for long during the day, so if you'd have passed the house at 6.30am you'd have seen me digging over this bed and planting these - just threw on the clothes from yesterday, telling a bleary eyed DH that I'd be in for my shower shortly!

They don't look much at the moment, but I'm hoping they will eventually form a neat, fragrant hedge between us and next door (Choisya Ternata Aztec Pearl)

The postman brought my weekly paper this morning.  When you consider the cost of most magazines, and the amount given over to ads, I reckon this is amazing value - £1pw, delivered to my door, and usually including a free packet of seeds!  It's full of really useful gardening info (no celeb articles etc!) and no, I'm not on commission!

This week it was calendula, ready to sow outside.
The knitting is growing slowly but I'll knuckle down to it this evening.

The last couple of evenings I've been potting on the little plants (a bit late, really, but I hope they'll catch up)

Here's a recipe for a garlic wash, to keep slugs and snails off your hostas - it comes from a friend who has a national collection of them (plants, not pests!) and swears by this -

Crush 2 large garlic bulbs, add to 2 pints of water.  Boil until blanched, cool and strain.  Make back up to 2 pints.  Use 1 tbs per gallon of water in a can and spray over leaves in late afternoon.  Repeat every 14 days.

I thought you might like a tour of the garden - this plant is going over a bit now, but the scent is lovely, just outside the patio doors.

 I need to move some things around, though - you can hardly see the little French lavender peeping out from underneath.

A bit further down, the aquilegias have been flowering their socks off (please ignore the couch grass waiting to be evicted).  There are still lots of bare patches as the garden was only made over last year, and things need to fill out more and need more neighbours to fill the gaps.

The forget-me-nots have seeded themselves all over without waiting for an invitation but they are so pretty.  (Not sure why they look white here, when they are actually very blue).  Some people consider them a weed but I will only dig a few out as and when they become a nuisance.  As you can see, there's still lots of room for them at the moment.

 Down at the bottom, beyond the pear tree, the foxgloves have made themselves at home, seeding themselves alongside the cornflowers.

I can't remember what these are, but I sowed them last year, and they've come up again, I'm pleased to say.

Beyond the patio and greenhouse are the veg beds.  This first one has lettuce, sugar snap, low growing and ordinary peas, broad beans and a wigwam of 4 runner beans.  There are onions and more runners in the next bed, and climbing alongside 2 ballerina apple trees, round an arch.  The last two beds are waiting for the tom's and other veg that are too tiny to go out yet.

 In the fruit bed opposite, the strawberries are coming along well, and I need to net them from the birds very soon.  There are three different gooseberries in this bed, too.

Coming back up the garden to the house, you then come to the pond, and these are growing all around.  This is all new, too, but filling up nicely.

Aaarggghhhh!!!!! Just noticed the bindweed sneaking it's way round this little one, as well as the couch grass.

 Then up the path on the shady side of the garden, there are ferns, heucheras, choisya, a climbing hydrangea, and this little beauty.  I love the way she lights up this otherwise dark spot.

I love all the daisy-type flowers.  Back up in front of the patio is a bed with all sorts in, including geraniums which I love, as they're so hardy and fill in so many blank spots.  I love both the pink and blue shades.

Well, that's the end of the tour.  Between the gardening and the crafting indoors, I haven't even opened my hammock, let alone sat in it yet!  I might bully persuade DH that he wants to help me erect it this evening.

6.30pm - Yayy!!!!

All I need to do now is to work out how to get out of it - alone - and with at least the tiniest amount of 60year old dignity!!  My laughter was verging on the hysterical as DH hauled me out - just hope the neighbours weren't at their windows!!  A lot more practice needed, methinks!

Catch up with all the other WOYWW blogs over at chez Dunnit -

Chris x

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Handmade Monday

Welcome to a lovely, sunny Worcester.  It was too hot for me to go out earlier today, so I finished off this blanket for Esther's baby shower this evening.

 It's made with three trebles, one chain, for the main part, and a scallop of 7 trebles in one hole, 1sl st, for the border (like the one in my cushion - see Granny Meets Cath K post earlier).  It worked best with 11 trebles in one hole for the corners.

 I've just made a start on a new kina pattern (again see earlier post).  The smallest size on the pattern says fits 3 months but I think I must knit rather big, so as each size went up by 6 stitches, I'm doing this 6 stitches smaller than the pattern.  I'll let you know how it works out.

It has been very hot here (at least for me!) so I worked in the shed, where it was nice and cool-ish, potting up tomatoes and peppers and, when some cloud cover came over, dashed out to put the runner beans in, and gave them a good drink to cheer them up.

I'm posting this on Handmade Monday over at so mosey on over and see what everyone else is up to.

Love for now,

Chris x

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

A Warm WOYWW Welcome

to sunny Worcester.  I want to get out in the garden but am going to leave it until cooler this evening.  This morning DH took me to a garden centre to buy these with my birthday vouchers -

They are choisya ternata (Mexican mock orange) so have a delicious scent.  I bought 3 to put in along the bed at the front that I showed you earlier.  They are the variety Aztec Pearl which has a very small leaf, so they will be easy to clip and keep in a neat hedge between ours and next door's drive.
I had several plant pressies for my birthday -

two of these spectacular beauties from Pam, which I've put either side of the front door for now (fast running out of space!) and this little sweetie from Mike and Jean -

for whom I've just finished this thank you card

I told you about my 93 year young neighbour Jim yesterday.  Well, this is his front garden (and next door's, beyond) that he keeps immaculately -

All these flowers will come out next month for his bedding plants.

He has also grown these trees as standards, from seed, and they line his drive -

He gave me a standard forsythia last year that sits on my patio.  I wish I had his stamina at 60, never mind 93!

As it's too hot outside, the blanket for Esther's baby shower is growing apace -

After the next cream round I'll put a blue one, and then repeat the colours from the middle.  That way I'm covered, whatever she has!

It's my friend Mary's birthday on Friday, and the girls are going out for a meal.  I've done this card, and will give her a little something - probably a knitted facecloth and some nice soap - and pay towards her meal.  People do seem to appreciate handmade gifts and cards, don't they?

I've drafted this post on Tuesday (my day off) as I know I won't have time tomorrow, for WOYWW but, if you can put your feet up with a cuppa, pop by Julia's and have a look at what others are up to.

Oh, I forgot to say - I've just spent part of my Amazon voucher from the family - on a hammock for a shady spot in the garden!  I've always wanted one, so I hope we get more days like this.

Love for now,

Chris x

Monday, 21 May 2012

Handmade Monday

Hi - after the recent cushions I was feeling all crocheted-out, so I flutterbied across to knitting.  I'd wanted to try out circular needles, and they've won me over.  I started this kina (inspired by retromummy - ) who seems to knock them out by the dozen!  I really enjoyed knitting something all in one (no seams except for the teeniest bit under the arms).

I finished it this afternoon, and just need to buy three pretty buttons.  I made the mistake of taking it to DD1s last night (only joking, Jen!) and said she could have it for a friend's baby that had arrived the day before.  I now need to do another or find something else for the person I was going to give it to.  Oh well, I suppose that's what being a mum is all about.  On second thoughts, I should have told made encouraged her to have a go herself!

 This is the pattern - it's on Ravelry and cost £2 or £3.  This was the smallest (3 months) but it came out a bit big to my mind.  The pattern goes up to 18 months but you could easily increase it to almost any size.

I loved knitting on the one needle - especially when there were 190 stitches - I'd have struggled to get them on a normal straight one.  I liked that I could push the work onto the plastic cord, off the metal needle part, when not in use - virtually impossible to drop stitches.  However, the cord made counting more difficult than normal, as the stitches were very loose but since I only had to do it once, it wasn't too much of a hardship.

 Knitting that got me over the all crocheted-out feeling I'd had, which was just as well as I heard today of a baby shower for Esther - this Sunday!  So, it was out with the hook again, all systems go with the never-ending cream wool (three granny cushions and the kina so far from a 400g ball!) to link up a selection of pastel yarns from my stash, for a baby blanket. 
 With all this activity, I forgot to plant the baby cos lettuces I was given on Saturday!  They're currently reviving (I hope!) in a bowl.  They came from an amazing neighbour of mine.  Jim is 93 this year, apparently the sole survivor of the Battle of the River Plate.  He looks after his front garden and his next door neighbour's and they look like a public park.  His back garden is given over completely to vegetables and he has won our city in bloom garden award more than once.  On top of all that, he has only just given in to using his bus pass to get to town (3 miles!) but still walks to the Co-op, a good 20-minute walk away.

 He is one of the old-style thrifters ("You won't throw away the containers, will you?!")  They are plastic cups that have been recycled at least twice already - fantastic!

I was given this plant last year (stocks?)  Anyway, the scent is gorgeous, just outside the patio doors.  I must look up if I can propagate them, or whether they are perennials - sorry, rambling here!

Anyway, I'd better get the dinner ready, so I can get out and plant those lettuce and check the greenhouse this evening.

Love for now - pop over and see others at Handmade Monday


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Granny Meets Cath K

Just finished!  Once the blue rounds around the leaves were done, I joined them together (3ch, 1sst, 3ch etc) then did two rounds of doubles.  It looked a bit unfinished so I added a scallop (7 trebles in one hole, 1sst, 7 trebles etc.)

 I couldn't decide how to attach the front to a fabric back, so I made a complete envelope cover in the CK type cotton, and then hand-stitched the front to it, leaving the scallops free.

 I'm very pleased with the way it's turned out, and will start its partner, for my other niece, in pink, at the weekend.  These roses from Apple Blossom Dreams blog are really easy and quick to make, and the 3D effect is great.

This doesn't look very impressive, but it's the edge of the drive between us and next door, and where I dug out 6 huge old lavender bushes yesterday.  It took ages and filled 10 rubbish sacks!  Simon next door came out and put his boot behind the dead tree stump you can just see at the top.  I'm thinking about what to put in next - neat shrubs that won't spread out too much, blocking access to the cars.  I had garden centre vouchers for my birthday, which will come in very handy.

I still need to dig it over thoroughly, and remove all the ivy and other roots that have somehow found their way in.

As a bit of light relief after that, I spent the evening finishing off all the birthday thank you cards.  I was pleased with the way these turned out, too, as most of the bits and pieces were hand-me-downs.

I'm putting this post on WOYWW over at Julia's place    Pop over and see what lots of others have been up to - some great stuff out there.
I'm also sending a link to Astri over at (where the rose pattern came from) to add to her pics of finished grannies - why not visit and see other people's take on this?

I've also put one of the birdie cards over on  Some great cards over there, if you want to mosey over with a cuppa.

Back to writing the thank you cards before bedtime.

'Night, All

Chris x