Saturday, July 28, 2012


I've been bitten by the shawl bug. I've often admired other peoples creations in blogland but didn't see myself as a shawl wearer, but when my friend visited a few weeks ago she was knitting an absolutely beautiful red shawl and I was inspired. I hunted around for something that appealed to me. I didn't fancy anything too fancy or lacy. I eventually found this gorgeous pattern that was just right. It was really easy to do even the crochet edge which looks a bit daunting.What do you think, isn't it beautiful?  

Here's a sneak preview of my next project, what could it be? I will make a start on it this afternoon even though I still haven't finished my African flower hexagon blanket. I'm not ignoring it completely it is coming along nicely. 

Yesterday was Geo's 12th birthday! How has that happened, I can't believe time has passed that quickly. Anyway he had a lovely day and as requested the family favourite Nigellas chicken and sweetcorn pie was made for birthday tea. I also made another favourite Rocky Road. It never lasts long in this house especially when his friends descend on us. I never buy it from shops or cafes as I'm always disappointed as it doesn't taste as good as this one (hope you agree). Anyway here is the recipe so you can try it for yourselves.  

Rocky Road

45g Macadamia nuts
100g Marshmallows
100g Glace cherries halved
50g Dessicated Coconut
250g Chocolate ( I prefer Cadbury's )

Toss together in a big bowl the nuts, marshmallows, cherries and coconut. Melt the chocolate and pour over the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Line a square tin with non stick liner and fill with the mixture and smooth over the top. Place in the fridge until set then cut into pieces. Enjoy.

The garden is looking good now, the corner that was revamped is filling up nicely The cosmos are almost ready to flower. 

The Dahlias are looking beautiful.

The veg patch is very full now, except the patch that Hazel keeps making a beeline for when she escapes from behind her fence. She's such a handful.

The tomatoes are doing well outside. I'm really pleased with them, I wasn't sure at first that they would cope with the conditions in the garden, it's very windy but they are proving me wrong and swelling by the day. These are a variety called Marmande. They are a large tomato, but I'm also growing the small Sungold which will be yellow, and also two plants of Black Cherry which I've never grown before so that will be interesting.

Last year I grew a lot of Alpine strawberry plants and they are doing fantastically well, I can't keep up with the picking. They out- perform normal strawberries, but I'm running out of ideas of what to do with them. All ideas gratefully received.

Better get started on the new project then. Back soon.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Finished items

At long last I can show you my hot water bottle cover. I needed to get the bottle to put in it so the pattern would look better as it would be slightly stretched, but I couldn't find one anywhere. It's typical when you want something you can never find one but any other time you see them everywhere. Of course it may have something to do with the fact that it's summer, although with the summer we are having I'm surprised they are not selling out! Anyway here it is....  

It's my first attempt at fair isle type knitting and I'm very pleased with how it's turned out. I actually think it's quite neat, not at all gappy.

I had been looking all over for buttons that were similar to the ones used in the pattern but was having no luck and then I found these in my button tin and they are just the thing. The pattern was from Nordic Knits by Martin Storey and is knitted in Rowan felted tweed in Paisley and Clay and it's wonderfully soft, ideal for the winter nights.There are plenty more patterns in the book that I want to have a go at. There is a pair of legwarmers that I might try and adapt into a cushion, again an ideal winter item.

Talking of cushions I've just finished another crocheted one and it's beautiful I love,love,love it. I've spotted blankets and cushions on the internet made with these tiny squares and I thought they would be ideal for using up my stash. This wool is leftover from my ripple blanket and consists of Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino, Millamia merino and Sublime baby cashmere. The colours are a lot brighter in real life especially the lime green.

I was originally going to sew the squares together but I couldn't get it neat enough and I spent many a frustrating hour trying to join them together in various ways but none of them were right, until I had the bright idea of using the green and edging each square and joining them together at the corners and I think it sets it all off beautifully. The only problem was that it just ate up the green wool so I ended up having to buy 4 more balls of green, so much for using up my stash!

I was going to fasten it together with buttons but couldn't find ones that would go as there are so many different colours in it, then my good friend who was staying for the weekend suggested making ties in the same green wool and attaching beads to them to finish it off, so that's what I did and it works a treat. She is so full of good ideas, I would never have thought of that.Thanks Pauline.

She is such a good friend and when she came to visit she didn't come empty handed, she brought me two balls of this wool, isn't it lovely? I'm making another scarf from it as you can never have enough scarves in this weather. We had a fun weekend and spent most of it indulging in wool based activities as she was busy knitting a shawl and I have been informed today that it is finished so I will look forward to seeing that soon. 

On a different note my Sweetpeas are flowering at long last, they are a lot later than normal but still just as beautiful and they are my favourite flower, so hopefully I will soon have a houseful of these beauties. Who needs artificial air fresheners?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A garden update

As it's a rainy day today I've got a perfect opportunity to update my blog. The garden is taking up most of my time at the minute. Everything just seems to be racing ahead and I can't keep up. The veg patch is really filling out now, it struggled a bit with the cold damp weather in April but since we have had the hot,dry spell it's really come on.

The broad beans are flowering nicely,

and I've managed to plant out the runner and french beans.There are nasturtiums growing between the rows of beans to attract the blackfly away from the crop, it seems to work well every year.

The French Breakfast radishes are swelling nicely but they are still quite small, but it doesn't stop me eating them as they are lovely and crunchy when they are tiny and they grow alarmingly quickly and rapidly become woolly in the middle. I sow these successionally, as soon as they germinate I sow another row and it keeps us going throughout the summer. I never get sick of pulling radishes for tea, and the chickens love the leaves.    

The lettuces are coming along well. I try to grow a mix of leaves so we get interesting salads. The big green lettuces in the photo are from seeds that I bought whilst in Italy last year. I start my lettuces off in the greenhouse and then transplant outside when large enough I seem to get better results that way.

The fruit cage is doing a great job as the redcurrant bush is dripping with fruit. Last year the blackbirds were stealing them while they were still green, they have got no chance this year. When I go into the fruit cage to weed the Robin likes to follow me in but he's not interested in the fruit so I don't mind.

The greenhouse is still packed with plants ready to go out even though I have planted out loads already. The Tomatoes have come on well and have been potted on a couple of times now. They will be planted in the veg patch when space becomes available. I've found that they don't do so well in the greenhouse as it gets shady on an afternoon so they take ages to ripen, and last year they did better in the open so I will try that again.  

The garden is in it's purple phase at the minute. It starts off in Spring with the yellows, then the purples and then in Summer a mix of pastels and hot shades. The purple phase is my favourite.

The large empty patch has been filled up now with Sunflowers, Nicotiana Sylvestris, Cosmos, Cleome and Dahlias. They look tiny now but my vision for later in the year is a bed of tall,colourful, blowsy, beautiful blooms. Fingers crossed.

The Stipa Gigantea is starting to send up it's tall seed heads which look wonderful backlit with the evening sun.

The Aquilegias are in full flower. Most of mine are deep purple almost black as they have all cross pollinated and self seeded, but I do have a few special ones like this. I can't remember planting it so maybe it's also a self seeded one. 

I've picked a few different ones to display inside, I think they all look beautiful together in my crocheted vase. I'm looking forward to filling this with Sweetpeas.  

I also made these a little while ago to put in my spare egg holder. What do you think? I think they brighten up my windowsill a treat.

Hope you enjoyed that peek into my garden, I know I love looking at other peoples. Back soon with my finished hot water bottle cover.