Saturday, 31 March 2012

Good News

I finally remembered to take my camera (with batteries!) to show the Good News stall that I help man on Saturday mornings, at our local car boot.

 This is the applique lettering and bunting I made the other week - it does make the whole stall look cheerful.

And here you see Paul and Margaret chatting to Brian, one of our regulars.  Lots of people are surprised when we tell them that everything on the stall is free, just to help themselves.  As well as Bibles (we were asked for 3 today) and other literature, you can just make out the baskets and boxes containing crochet flower hairslides, felt emergency sewing kits, and tissue holders that we make on Tuesday mornings at Sew and Sews.

It was cold out there this morning - such a contrast with the last couple of weeks, but there were plenty of people around - probably there for the 'midshires strongest man' competition that was also taking place on the field.

Anyway, must dash now - over to DD2 for a cuppa.

Love for now,

Chris

Friday, 30 March 2012

When is a weed not a weed?

I reckon it's when it's pretty and non-threatening.  On that basis, I leave things like forget me nots, poppies and violets to seed themselves around.  It's only thugs like couch grass, dandelions, brambles and the beautiful but deadly bindweed that I dig out.

 Rosie had the right idea, snoozing under the pear tree until I came along to weed around her.

 This was how the next stretch looked once I'd finished.  I hope to get the rest of the bed done over the weekend.
 Meantime, it's not only the weeds that are growing - the pear blossom is popping out from its buds now.
Esther sent me a photo of our godson, Reuben, clutching the ripple blanket I made for him when he arrived.  She said that he will only go to sleep if he can cuddle it.  Thanks again to Lisa (Attic 24 blog) for the pattern. 

Have a great weekend, All xx

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Babies and zombies!

Hi - I went to our local recycling centre.  If you've got one and never been, they can be real Aladdin's caves.  At ours you can fill a shopping trolley for £13.50 but she reckoned mine was only about 1/3 full, so I got everything for £4.50!!

This is what my car boot looked like afterwards -

Don't panic!  Just 4 baby dolls that had been given in by a charity shop who knew they wouldn't be able to sell them.  Ideal for our Mum & Toddler group!

Underneath them is a pile of cream, crepe bandaging.  I did worry for a bit when Stacey asked me to fetch some - she's doing our church hall out like the Garden of Gethsemane, for folks to come in and pray next week (Holy Week, leading up to Easter).  She reassures me it's not going to contain zombies(!) and I'll take pics next week to show you the finished article.  It does sound lovely - we've even got a 6' olive tree arriving from someone's porch!

I decided I needed to get out in the garden straight away this afternoon for my hour, as DH is taking me out for a meal tonight (16 year anniversary tomorrow!)  Anyway, the sun was hot, so I tackled the bed opposite yesterday's one. 



This pic is taken from the little table & seat tucked away in a shady corner, looking down the garden.  The stone bench at the bottom is made from the same stone as the paths (£400 the lot, last year, from a reclamation yard - enough for both paths, pond wall, big patio at the bottom on the other side, and the seat.  Not bad, eh?)  The bench overlooks the pond, where I'm hoping to watch lots of wildlife later in the year.

Anyway, I'm not sure if I've lost all the hardy fuchsias I put in last year.  I did read that, if you put them in deeply, they would survive the winter.  There's no sign of life yet, I'm just hoping it's still too early.  I do need some Spring flowers for next year - bulbs, etc.  Everything looks very bare at the moment.

No eggs today, I'm trying not to panic.  I've got visions of rat raiding parties the minute my back is turned.

Love for now,

Chris

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

WOYWW - Never Say Die!

Thanks for all the encouraging comments, folks - you do me a power of good!

I didn't keep to my hour in the garden promise yesterday and what with that and eating all the wrong things today so that I didn't want my proper meals (grr!) I was starting to feel sorry for myself.  However, I determined not to finish the day in the same vein, so I got out and

weeded from the house to the pear tree (1/2 way down the border).  You can just see the orange blossom on the chaenomeles (type of quince, I think) and


the pear tree is just beginning to show its blossom (sorry for fuzzy image).

Down in the henhouse DH discovered some more bad news.  There was an empty shell with a very neat hole bitten out of one end - rats?  We know there are lots on the allotment site that backs on to our garden.  Anyway, we will need to be very vigilant, and collect the eggs asap after laying.

All this outside activity (and work this morning) meant that there's not much to show on the work table today.  Thanks for visiting, and I'll pop over to see as many of you as I can, via Mrs Dunnitt at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/whats-on-your-workdesk-wednesday-147.html

Bye for now,

Chris x

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Flower Power

Have you ever grown an amarylis?  I reckon they're amazing!  I'm so convinced that I see it growing that I've put a marker in, to check its daily growth rate.  I know that the bulb is huge, but the energy inside is tremendous.



Off down the garden first thing, to water the seeds I sowed last night.  I hope they don't grow quite as fast as my indoor plant, though!  Probably some sharp frosts still to come before these babies can venture into the great outdoors.

Sweetcorn, Brussel sprouts, squash and courgettes top right, tomatoes top left, and different varieties of dwarf beans on the lower shelf.  I cannibalised the shelving from a mini greenhouse that had seen better days.


There's always an appreciative audience when I go down the end of the garden - they usually get some titbits from me, but you're out of luck this time, ladies - I'll be down again this afternoon.  See how shiny red their combs are now?  When we had them (almost a year ago now) they were very anaemic pink.  What a difference fresh air and sunshine make to all of us!


I picked up these beauties at our local recycling centre last week, for £3 each.  They are shoe box size and beautifully made, originally for artists' paints.  I'm trying to decide how to decorate them for the DDs birthdays - fortunately, I have until January to make up my mind!


When I'm not crafting or daydreaming at the moment, I'm reading this, about Lady Jane Grey.  Boy, am I glad I live in this century, for all its problems!

Chris x

PS After 8 hours the amarylis has grown an inch!

A good night's work

It's 1.15am and when I've finished this post I'm off to bed.  I was on a roll tonight and potted up the seeds


The top of the chest freezer in the lean-to makes a great potting table, and the light in there means I can work after the sun goes down. 

I did actually go to bed about 10.30pm but lay awake thinking about this


in the craft/computer room and decided to get up and tackle it.  Does anyone else out there do things like this??

After a couple of hours it's whittled down to


Yes, I know it doesn't look much better, but now we have two boxes of patterned fabric, one of plain and two large bags of trimmings, plus a basket of curtain tape, zips, etc.  Now all I need is somewhere to hide it all!

Hidden Treasure -

I don't know how they got there but, amongst it all were 7 cotton dish cloths that I'd knitted but had never found their way into circulation


Plus - the christening cape and dress worn by my DDs 32 and 30 years ago!  The cape was knitted and I made the dress out of my wedding dress.




I'm now off to bed (again), a very happy flutterby. 

Night night, All xx

Monday, 26 March 2012

Spring Fever

Well, I've managed to rein in my flutterby leanings for day one of the new regime.  It's so lovely having the extra hour in the evenings now, isn't it?  I did get out in the garden and turn over a raised bed, ready for some of the veggies that I'm going to sow in trays once this post is finished.

Also, just before dinner, DH offered to help me down from the loft with my fabric stash .  It has been up there for years, being picked over when I was looking for just the right thing, so was in a terrible mess.  We brought down 6 boxes and bags, and I'm sifting and sorting.  Most of it is cotton, so I'm just dividing it into patterned and plain for now - in fact, I might just keep it that way.  We'll see.  In the meantime, it's just lovely to have most of it to hand (I haven't told him how much is still up there - hmm!?)

So, back out into the garden and the seeds and then, when it gets dark, try to clear the remainder of the fabric off the bed.

The cowl is gradually growing, but a long way to go yet -

Bye for now - I will visit all you lovely Handmade Monday people tomorrow (my day off).

Chris x

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The sap is rising!

It's a sure sign that Spring has sprung when I'm torn between working in the garden or inside.  If I'm not careful, I start to beat myself up over not getting things done, and they cease to be the pleasure they should be.  But how to tackle this perennial problem?

Well, I've decided to spend just an hour outside each day that the weather is fine - after that I'm shattered anyway.  I've managed to put back on 12 lbs of the 1 1/2 stone I lost last year, and feel puffed and lethargic a lot of the time.  Losing it again has got to be a priority - both for my health and emotions.  It's amazing how low it drags my spirits - is anyone out there like me?

Anyway, the sun has been shining all day so this afternoon, I mowed the lawn.  The plan for tomorrow is to dig over one raised bed and sow some vegetable seeds in trays, and pop them on shelving in the greenhouse.

Indoors, I've finished off another dozen flower brooches that we give away on our car boot sale on Sat mornings - in case I've not explained before, I help with a Good News stall at our local market where we give stuff away - Bibles and other literature, get into some great conversations, hear about some really tough life stuff, and pray with and for people.  We started again last week, after the winter, for an 8th year.

Finished brooches, waiting to be put on a card with an encouraging Bible verse.

Then, tonight I came across several fabric teddies, I'd cut out and left in envelopes, along with the Prima pattern (Jan 1994!!) so I'm starting to put them together.


DD2 bought me a Prima recently, and I was so disappointed!  I've got loads of back numbers stored away, and way back when I bought it regularly, it was full of sewing and knitting patterns, and loads of other craft ideas.  Now it seems that you have to send away (and pay for) patterns, and the whole thing just seemed so superficial, somehow.  I hope it's not just my age showing, and I'm becoming a grumpy old woman!
Love for now, Chris x

PS  Adding this post to http://www.1stuniquegifts.co.uk/blog/about-handmade-monday/

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Mixed Blessings

I was happy to get the house cleaned through this morning, wash out the fridge and clear the ironing.  The blind man (teehee) came, and I reckon it was £99 well spent -

There was the downstairs front room (craft/computer room)


our bedroom


and the bathroom.  Not bad, eh?  I'm glad I chose pale cream (although it looks white here) as I reckon that would have been too stark.

Then I started DD2s cowl


It looks quite pink here, but is actually pale lilac (like the mittens, previously)

The not so good happening?  The courier arrived with two parcels, probably while I was down with the hens.  They only have an automated answering system so I can only arrange a whole-day slot, not an afternoon when I get home from work.  If they don't catch us in tomorrow, we have to go and collect - an hour or more round trip - grrhh!

Oh well - such is life.

Love for now, Chris

Saturday, 17 March 2012

In the nick of time ...

I just managed to finish DD2s mittens before she and DD1 arrived this afternoon, for a premature Mother's Day visit.

I managed to cannibalize another mitten pattern for the flip tops, and am pleased with the result - more so because DD2 likes them, too.  I wan't sure if she'd be happy with the colour.  I'm now going to start her cowl, using the same wool and the great ripple pattern that Lisa provided over on her Attic 24 blog.  If you thought crochet was boring, and only for grannies, you really need to visit her - beautiful stuff!

Anyway, they've both gone so I'm going to sit with DH, put my feet up with a glass of white, and think about starting the cowl. 

I did take my camera today, to take pics of the bunting and fabric lettering - and the batteries had died!  Oh well, I'll take it again next Sat (with new batteries) and try again.

Love to all for now - enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Chris x

PS Girls, if you're reading this, thanks for the tulips, peace lily, smellie candle, sweeties and cards.  I love you both LOADS xx

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

WOYWW A little bit of this and a little bit of that ...

... truly a flutterby week!

The weather was so lovely at the weekend, I spent most of it in the garden.  I managed to plant my broad beans and onions, then clean out the greenhouse, ready for germinating seeds in trays, followed by the tomatoes.  I finished the hair cut for one plum tree and did about 1/2 the other one.  By that time my arms were killing me and DH has offered to finish the other 1/2, bless his cotton socks!  It's probably too late really, as I've had to be careful not to knock the blossom off, but if I leave it til next year, I won't be able to reach the branches at all.

Indoors, I've been using zig zag stitch to put fabric letters onto a sheet - I'll take a pic on Saturday, to show you.  I'm so glad I had the sewing machine serviced, and can use it so much now.

I've started DD2s fingerless gloves - a great pattern by Marlene at http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/knitting/Accessory/Easy-Two-Needle-Fingerless-Mitts/5102 using two ordinary knitting needles, rather than DP ones. 

They're a joy to whizz up after DHs Man Mountain jumper!

I am going to customize them, though, by adding covers to pull over to make complete mittens (I'll post a pic later, if that doesn't make sense).

My day off today and so far I've done washing & got it out, cleaned the bathroom and straightened the bedroom, cleaned the sewing/computer/junk room, been to Sew & Sews (my craft/Bible Study group), dropped off a load of stuff to a charity shop, made a banana loaf, am now sitting at the PC - and it's still only 3pm!  The reason for the hasty cleaning wasn't that I'm particularly houseproud but that the blind man (fabric, not optically challenged!) said he'd be here 1-2pm to measure up for new vertical blinds to the front of the house.  I couldn't believe it when my friend told me this company do three windows for £99!!  I've really missed my lace curtains since having double glazing fitted - feel like we're living in a goldfish bowl!  They're coming to fit them next Tuesday, so I expect that will mean another mad dash round the house to tidy up!

Again, I'm posting this on Tuesday in time for WOYWW over at Julia's Stamping Ground blog.  Pop over and visit all the great stuff there.

Love for now, Chris x

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Before I start ANYTHING new -

- I must do something about this!

Even Rosie is walking away, disgustedly.   This is the accumulation of needles I've bought/inherited over the years, and just rammed in the pot when not in use, and it can't go on.

So, phase one -

Crumbs!

Phase two - fabric from the stash that I'm unlikely to use for anything else (yes, I know it's not ended up quite square!)


I divided it into 12 pockets, with a couple of the very largest sizes sharing one.

That's better!


All ready to sit on a shelf ready for use.  Tomorrow evening I'll make a drawstring bag from the rest of the fabric, to hold the odd things like stitch counters, circular needles, DPNs and crochet hooks.

Another bit of Spring cleaning today - I updated all my favourite blogs.  When I started mine, my main interest was cardmaking.  However, in true flutterby style, I've discovered lots of other great craft and other blogs.  I hope you enjoy sharing them with me.

One self-satisfied flutterby is off to soak in the bath and re-read a Georgette Heyer (started these when I was 15 and can still enjoy them).

Love for now x

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

And another!

I'm playing around with the blog at the mo, having a Spring clean.  Although I still love papercrafts, my humungous list of fave blogs and competitions didn't leave room for all the other crafty stuff.  So I've cleared most of them out to make room for all those flutterby interests.  I'll still be visiting all the previous ones (kept in my 'Favorites') but will add the other stuff to my blog list as I go along. 

Please be patient with me as I stumble around in techno land, and I hope you'll still come to visit me, and the other scrummy stuff I start to mention - there's some incredible talent out there, loads of yummy ideas, tips and tutorials.  Can you remember life before You Tube?!

xx

WOYWW - just in time!

Hi - I didn't think I'd get back on here tonight, but I got home from a meeting earlier than I expected.

I don't know about you, but Spring certainly zips me up and I seem to get loads done.  I now only go to work in the mornings, so this afternoon I moved the settee into the conservatory, to make the most of sunny days (I hope they stay for a while!)  This is it's place until next Winter starts to bite.  I then sat knitting, watching the courting couple in our garden (don't panic - only pigeons!)  There he was, strutting his stuff and she just turned up her beak, playing hard to get.

The jumper on the seat is the one I finished at 7.10pm this evening (I went out at 7.20!!) so that DH could wear it when he went out with the lads tonight, to celebrate a birthday.

I get really excited when I finish a project (especially a big one like this) and have now got out the next on the list.  DD2 has asked me to knit a cowl and fingerless gloves, and I found this in Wilkinsons -


It doesn't look much in this light, but is actually a lovely delicate lilac, which will go great with her black coat.

I don't make NY resolutions but I have promised myself that for every new project I start, I'll finish another WIP.  Here's the next one -


 I fell in love with blackwork when I first saw it, and got quite a lot done - that top section is almost complete, and I now need to do the filling on the middle part.

But - hang my head in shame - see the date on the bottom part, that I started it!  That'll teach me to be premature with the personalizing!!  Some unpicking needed there, methinks!  However, now I've come out of the closet, you can hold me to this, and I'll post progress.  I've got a sneaky feeling that I bought a second, similar kit at the time, that never got started, but I'm determined not to look for that, at least until this one is complete.

 I really have all the bad habits of a butterfly - here's a candlewick project I finished about 5 years ago, and still haven't had framed!

Another 'hold me to it' moment - I'll get it done by Easter!

Night night for now x

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

WOYWW - Spring is in the air!

The sun is out, the sky is blue, there's not a cloud to spoil the view...... but it's certainly not raining in my heart!  Last night I finally finished knitting the jumper for DH that I started before Christmas.  I just need to sew it up later in the week.  It's dragged on, but partly because my flutterby tendencies sometimes got the better of me.  Whilst knitting, I've

experimented with crocheted pot covers (compliments of the lovely Lisa at Attic 24)


tried my hand at crocheted (also Lisa) flower and fabric brooches


and made a load of fabric bunting from my stash.  So, you see it's not all the jumper's fault it's taken so long!
Today has been beautiful here - especially as it was my day off.  I've got three lots of washing done and dried outside (don't you just love to see washing blowing in the breeze?!)  Then I was merrily pruning a plum tree in the hedge bordering my allotment when - drat - the rope came off the loppers and I can't see how it goes back on.

It looks a bit odd with only half a haircut but will have to wait til Saturday when the loppers are fixed.

I did the pear tree a couple of weeks ago, and do it each year to keep it all reasonably within reach.


One the leaves are on, it makes a lovely umbrella shape - ideal for sitting in the shade during all the lovely summer days to come (she says, hopefully!)

Having given up on the pruning, I shifted a pile of timber (where does it all come from?) and dug a big bucket of fresh weeds - the girls were in their element, as they luurrrvve these - not to mention the woodlice and slugs from the half-covered timber.

I just love this time of the year - lots of little surprise gems in the garden if you look hard, with the promise of things to come.

I'll finish off with a pic of Rosie doing her parrot impression, on DH's shoulder!

I know it's not quite Wednesday here yet, but it is somewhere.  I won't get a chance to post all this in the morning.  I'm adding it to all the WOYWW blogs over with Mrs Dunnit at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/2012/03/whats-on-your-workdesk-wednesday-144.html.  Make sure you get over and visit some great blogs.

Chris x