Sunday 30 March 2014

This and That.

I have been thoroughly spoilt by my children today, it being Mothering Sunday.   Our son has a ridiculous sense of humour and I couldn't resist showing you the envelope of his card, obviously written in his 'bestest' writing!  He can be quite sensible but is a 56 year old lovable loony!

I have been pondering for ages on whether to buy myself a Gelli plate and finally succumbed last week.  If I'd been an impulse buyer I could have saved myself nearly £5 - the price has shot up since I last looked at them.   I haven't had time to try it out yet but am looking forward to some messy playtime.   I had also looked at a Big Shot embossing and cutting machine but they are very expensive and I'm not sure I would make the most of one.   Also, I think I would find it limiting having to use the dies and plates that someone else has designed, rather than creating my own.    The Gelli plate is quite a different tool of course, but it will encourage me to develop my newly found drawing skills and create my own designs.

Friday was such a cold, wet and miserable day - I couldn't believe the weekend forecast was for warmth 
and sunshine, but it arrived right on time.   I hope it continues a bit longer - I've become a fair weather gardener and want to get out to sow some seeds in the garden and the greenhouse.  

I hope you have had a lovely weekend too.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Spring has sprung.

It's been quite a week so far.   It was my birthday a few days ago and my husband gave me this very smart and comfortable if rather scary chair - it reminds me of the Mastermind one.  My old one had become very wobbly and I was convinced that if I kept using it the seat part would snap off and I would end up impaled one day!   We took a trip to Ikea to buy it and in true Ikea fashion it had a name - Malkolm.  It was love at first sight and I soon found that Malkolm was the most comfortable of all those on display.    My husband, who shuns modern trends,  found the experience quite traumatic and vows never to go there again!   The trauma was not quite over, as he had to assemble the chair when we got it home, but all's well that end's well and here I sit in splendour.

Other gifts included this beautiful machine embroidered blackbird..........

................. some lovely balloons ....................

and this beautiful box.
I had various other gifts including scented candles, art supplies, and chocolates from two of my grandsons.   My children called my grandmother White Granny, my own mother was Sweetie Granny and my husband's mother was Granny Dolly.  I think I'll probably end up being known as Fat Granny!

Even in the garden there were treats waiting for me.    Frogspawn at last - I had begun to give up hope of having any this year.  I hope the newts don't eat it all.

The kingcup is blooming with at least two more buds to look forward to.  I divided it a couple of years ago and it has taken a while to recover.

And the pulmonaria is out - always a welcome sight.
I have also seen buttercups, daisies galore, dandelions and even forget-me-nots in bloom.  It seems a bit early for them and I always think of them as April or May flowers.  Everything is bursting forth.

We have had some lovely days and I've even had lunch in the garden two or three times though I did need a jumper and jacket to ward off the chilly breeze.   There have been loads of butterflies - Clouded Yellows and Small Coppers I think and even a couple of Peacock butterflies - ladybirds, and plenty of bumble bees so I think it's official and whatever the weather does now, Spring has really arrived.

I think that my second cold virus, which came hard on the heels of the previous one, is on the way out and the awful lethargy which came with it is beginning to lift at last.   Hopefully I'll get the greenhouse up and running this weekend and do a bit of tidying among the herb pots on the patio.

Monday 10 March 2014

It's never too late to learn!

I recently saw a photograph somewhere of a lovely crocheted coat made entirely from granny squares.  I thought 'I want a coat like that' but the only way I would get one would be to make it myself.  Unfortunately I can't crochet but have set about learning.   I fell in love with this beautiful yarn which is more vibrant than it appears here, and have decided to make a waistcoat first to see how I get on.  The yarn is 4ply and quite soft.  It will be fine for a waistcoat but already I can see that a double knitting yarn would be better for a coat and make a firmer and more practical fabric.

Granny squares are the simplest type of crochet so I bought myself a little book of designs and started with the basic one.

I am slowly building up a nice stock of these.  What a pity I'm not a size 12 - I wouldn't need nearly so many to make a garment!    I found that I could work out what I was supposed to be doing better from the photographs in the booklet than from the written instructions.  Not the best way to learn perhaps but our local wool shop runs classes for beginners in knitting and crochet which should enable me to learn the terminology and follow a pattern.   I shall put my name down when the next ones are announced.

It is a lovely therapeutic pastime and this weekend I have even sat in the garden making my little squares.  I have also got dirt under my fingernails at last and done my first gardening of the year.  The front garden looks as if it has had it's hair combed as my husband has cut the grass.  There was quite a chorus of lawn mowers from all directions around us over the past few days - the sunshine has obviously stirred all us fairweather gardeners into action.

It has been so lovely to sit outside in a sheltered corner and I have seen several butterflies, ladybirds and bumblebees.  I hope the weather doesn't turn colder again and take them by surprise.   The snowdrops which were such a joy a week ago have suddenly disappeared, but all sorts of other things are arriving to take their place.   It really is a lovely time of year.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Rain, rain, go away!

I nipped out into the garden yesterday to take these photos, and not a moment too soon as it has rained nearly all day today, getting steadily heavier as the day wore on.  This evening the gutter over the front porch was overflowing and even though it is under cover, the rain was reaching the outside doormat.  I hope it hasn't battered my precious hellebores - I love them so much and they were all looking their best.
It's only in recent years that I have been able to grow them, and now they are nicely settled and even beginning to spread so that I can transplant their babies.
I love this delicate pink one - there is also a yellowish green one which I was unable to reach owing to the wet soil.  Parts of the garden are on a slope and it gets very slippery in places.

This one with the lovely freckles is one of my babies which I transplanted last year.  I'm so pleased it likes it's new location.

I must plant some yellow crocuses next autumn.  I used to have some but they have all disappeared.  I think there may be something in the yellow petals that appeals to birds and have noticed that my yellow primulas go the same way.  Just as they come into flower something pecks away all the yellow petals.  The very pale lilac crocuses always flop in wet weather so goodness knows what they'll look like tomorrow.  The purple ones are a little sturdier.   Everywhere was beginning to look springlike yesterday.  It's two steps forward and one back all the time, but at least I'm not waiting for floodwater to recede from my home.

I have seen a wonderful crocheted coat made up of granny squares and would love to make it.  The snag is that I don't crochet!  I must have a word with the lovely lady who runs our local wool shop - I think she gives classes in knitting and crochet.  I shall need a quantity surveyor to work out how many squares I'll need to make a coat in my size!    If it gets too much it could always become a waistcoat, or a cushion, or a potholder!!