Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cushion reveal

Here at last is my cushion that was inspired by our holiday to Italy, and was actually started in the blazing sun, seems such a distant memory now. The colours represent different aspects of our Italian holiday. The red is obviously the gorgeous red tomatoes, of which we had many. The green represents the olive trees and basil and the beige is the colour of the parched earth ( they hadn't had any rain for two months and it was incredibly dusty).

On the otherside of the cushion are the bright colours, the yellow is the sun, and the bright blue is indicative of the beautiful, cloudless sky and the cool water of the swimming pool. I don't know which side I like best. 

I do like the sunflower though on the front.

It started off life as an idea for a blanket but I started to run out of wool quite quickly and I didn't want to buy more as I already have a stash that's getting larger by the day, plus I have loads more ideas I want to get on with, so it was changed to a cushion.

The buttons I bought from Duttons in Harrogate at the weekend. I spend ages deliberating over the enormous selection in every colour you could imagine,and I change my mind so many times until the right one jumps out at me. I could happily while away a whole morning in there.

Even though I am supposed to be cracking on with my knitted denim blanket and the mohair scarf, I can't resist starting something else that I spotted on one of my many internet browsing sessions. (I really should stop looking). I convinced myself that it's worth doing as it's going to use up my stash, so I got started straight away. Here is the beginning of my odd bits of wool blanket. 

It's a project that I have copied from MeMe Rose quite unashamedly. It's such a simple idea, and I can use all my old bits of sock and other wool that is too small to make something else with. I'm also going to use up my acrylic to add colour. It's going to look fab when it's finished.  

Some of these hexagons are made using scraps of Sirdar Crofter and they create a fantastic effect. I hope all the different wool weights work together, well there's only one way to find out. Watch this space.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Yesterday was my birthday so I thought I would share my day with you. I got some wonderful pressies from my family and friends. My two good friends bought me these, the wool is a super kid mohair and silk mix and is soooo soft. 

It begs to be made into something special, so I trawled the internet looking for inspiration to do it justice. I have decided to make a crocheted scarf out of what is actually small snowflakes from the Attic 24 blog, i'm hoping they will fit together to form a lovely lacy scarf. This is the first one I have made and will look a lot lacier when it has been blocked. I will keep you up to date on it's progress, but I expect it will be slow as the yarn is very fluffy and takes a lot of concentration. 

From my family I got money to spend on what my husband would describe as "tat" but what I would call gorgeous must haves such as this body scrub from Molten Brown which I have had my eye on for ages and couldn't justify the price tag, but that's what birthday money is for.

From my lovely hubby I got an i-phone, how fantastic. I don't class myself as a gadget freak but I am hooked it is the best phone I have ever had. I love it. From Little T I got a bouquet of flowers and these three swarovski crystal penguins. Aren't they adorable?

They are to go with the crystal ducks that he got me for my very first mother's day 11 years ago. They sit on my bedroom windowsill which gets the full sun so they really sparkle.

After opening my pressies and feeling really spoilt we set off for a day out in Harrogate. We spent the morning wandering round the shops (separately, as I don't fancy the wargaming shops and they don't fancy the "tat" shops). I spent quite a long time in the button shop choosing something to go on my new cushion. There are so many to choose from in Duttons and I keep changing my mind but I get there in the end. I will show them next time when I reveal the cushion.
 We met for lunch in the Tapas restaurant and then went to Harlow Carr RHS gardens for the afternoon. I made a bee-line for the veg patch as it's always my favourite.

It's still looking good even though it's nearing the end of the growing season. I left Little T in charge of taking some photos for my blog and I wandered off to look at the rest of the gardens. He hasn't done a bad job has he?

I love this plant it would make a great design for a cushion.

I rounded off the day with a quick visit to the shop to purchase my Sarah Raven diary for next year. I have had this diary for the last few years now and use it to keep garden and weather notes.

I also bought some tulip bulbs for a vibrant splash of colour next spring. I will have lots of fun deciding where to plant them.

So we had a great day out and it was finished off with fish and chips and Champagne, how decadent. As I type Hubby and Little T are busy in the kitchen making chicken pie for the very first time! It sounds very calm in there. They both request it for their birthdays so I did the same. I am looking forward to it immensely and it is going to be accompanied by my homegrown parsnips and carrots roasted in maple syrup. Yum.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


This year was the first year for a crab apple harvest. The tree is only a few years old and yielded 1.5kgs of fruit, exactly the amount I needed for an apple and herb jelly recipe that I wanted to try. The recipe can be found in Pam Corbins Preserve book.

These lovely blush crab apples made this gorgeous pink apple and thyme jelly and it was surprisingly easy. It made four jars in total for use over winter. I have since made another jelly using bramley apples and mint but that only made two jars even though I followed the same recipe.

A quick look at the vegetable patch which has performed fantastically this year. Digging all that chicken manure into it has obviously worked a treat.

I mix calendulas, nasturtiums and marigolds in with the veg to encourage the pollinating insects to visit. I also like to pick the calendulas to put in the house as they are so beautiful.

I grew Cleomes from seed this year for the first time and they have performed wonderfully, a definite must have for next year. They also make fantastic cut flowers for the house but they can be a bit spikey. 

Back to sewing my cushion together, more on that next time.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


 Sorry it's been months since my last post, but now the weather has turned autumnal I will probably update it more as I spend more time indoors.This post is about our fabulous holiday in Tuscany. We actually drove which was an experience, it took us four days there and four days back and we saw some fantastic scenery , especially the Alps and Mont Blanc.

The drive was worth it because this was the villa that greeted us when we arrived. 

It stood in it's own grounds and with it's own swimming pool which Little T jumped into as soon as we arrived. He didn't appreciate the view from the pool obviously but we did it was acres of olive groves and vineyards. 

He did like the wildlife though, this is Phillip the Praying Mantis,

and this is Frederick the frog.

We didn't manage to get any photos of Oscar or Leonardo the lizards. My favourite were the lizards which just scuttled around the house with so much energy when we could barely move because of the heat, it touched 100 degrees some days. 
  The owner brought us this magnificent crate of tomatoes to try, don't they look great? We had fun making lots of pasta sauce and tomato and mozzarella salads with all the fresh local ingredients. I was itching to see what my tomatoes would be like at home thinking they would be ripe like these, but I was very disappointed on returning home to find that they were still green as the weather had been rubbish. 

I managed to find plenty of time to start a new crochet project. I decided to make a blanket inspired by the colours of Italy.

But I have downgraded it now to a cushion as I don't want to buy more wool as I have too many other ideas I want to get on with (including the knitted blanket, remember that?). 

I didn't actually crochet with my feet in the pool ( that's an accident waiting to happen) it's just artistic licence.The cushion is nearly finished now so will show it soon, plus other crochet projects I have finished. I will have to change the title of this blog as there isn't much knitting going on.

We all loved Italy and will go back next year if only for the gelato.