Thursday 31 May 2012


The rain came with a vengeance late yesterday afternoon. It fell so hard it bounced. I hoped it would bounce right back into the earth and judging by the greenness this morning, I would say it certainly did.

Within minutes of it falling, the sun was back out giving the garden that bejewelled look that I so love to capture.

My Precious Love roses are out and are looking and smelling divine. I'm wondering why I've never thought to have roses in my garden before. Idiot.

The irises took a bit of a battering but I'm relieved to see they have recovered their regal poise this morning.

My sweet peas have now dried off and I have picked my first small posy.

Combined with some mint and peppermint in a tiny tin, their beauty is the best start to the day.

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Watch this space...

Because it may not look much at the moment but I have very high hopes for it in the not so distant future.

I have spent the long months of winter planning my cut flower garden since my fantastic course day at Green and Gorgeous last September (was it really that long ago?)

The raised beds that were originally used for my disastrous attempt at growing my own, then became redundant and then were pecked free of weeds by the hens as part of Plan B to keep them off the rest of the garden.

To have blank canvases to play with was a dream. The seedlings were all sown in the greenhouse or on my conservatory windowsill in April.

I had lots of packets of seeds that I ordered from the notes I made on the course and then I topped them up with a fabulous selection from Higgledy Garden. Mr Higgledy does all the hard work in putting together collections and his blog is jam-packed with tips and ideas.

I love it when the first true leaves appear and the plant becomes recognisable, like these cosmos seedlings. I had so many leftover seedlings, I have planted up loads of pots around the deck with them which will save me lots of money on buying trays of summer bedding plants at the nursery. It's a win-win situation!

I'm hoping it won't be long before this big wooden tub is bursting its seams with flowers. There are cosmos and this amazing zinnia in there.

The cornflowers I sowed at Green and Gorgeous are just about to flower - I have been watching them like a hawk!

At last! My very first one! Hastily picked, along with some alkanet that has happily self-seeded in the garden ...

... and I have another jug full of flowers, freshly picked from my garden. The happiest of days.

I am hoping for a summer filled with blog posts like this one, filled with my own flowers.

Oh! And guess what? I got some more hens. My garden feels whole again.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

From my garden...

... for everyone who left me the most encouraging comments on my last post:

A homegrown jugful of flowers from my garden. Thank you, it truly means so much.

Friday 18 May 2012


It has been a long journey but today, for the first time, I held my book in my hand.

It feels like an age since I first posted about it here on my blog.

You may remember seeing the photo used on the cover, here.

No2 wants me to sign his copy. Sweet.

I have to confess to becoming overwhelmed with emotion when I opened the package from the courier.

Should you know someone who you think would benefit from reading it, you can find it here. It is a little earlier than anticipated, so I'm sure you won't have to wait until 1st June for despatch.

We are having a launch celebration next Friday at Helen and Douglas House. I have new shoes and an appointment at the hairdresser. It's not every day that something quite so exciting happens.

Wednesday 16 May 2012


Let's talk about cushions. I love making cushions. I can never have too many cushions. When I don't have room for any more cushions, I love making new cushion covers to swap over with the ones I already have. Oh, yes. I do love cushions.

It goes with the territory of loving fabric, I suppose. They are quick and easy to make and a great way of trying out techniques or patterns on a smaller scale than a quilt.

The quilt WIP that I posted about last week is this pattern, which I'm loving, and so I thought it would be fun to upsize a block and make it cushion-sized. I cut the squares at 5½" rather than 2½" and it just about fitted a 20" cushion pad. I adore those peacocks!

I used my usual method of an envelope back, added a tiny bit of the selvedge as a label and made binding to sew the fronts and backs together.

For the two smaller cushions, I just sewed strips of the remaining fabrics together and did a bit of slicing and dicing to make the fronts.

Then I got stuck into a tutorial* that I have had bookmarked forever for inserting an invisible zip. I bought both the zips and the special foot for my sewing machine some time ago too and have been waiting for an opportunity to get stuck in. Would you believe me if I said it was simple? Really, it was.

Very neat, even if I do say so myself. There will be more of these to come. I can feel it.

They brighten up the conservatory and they hide a sofa that I'm not that keen on but happens to be very comfy and has lasted for years.

 Most importantly, they get the paws up of approval.

*the tutorial is actually part of this pattern which I purchased but I'm sure there are others out there.

Monday 14 May 2012

Ups and downs...

I find that usually my life meanders along at a steady and usually slow pace. There are peaks and troughs but they are generally spaced out manageably. Or so I like to think.

This weekend, though, felt like a roller coaster with highs and lows jostling for attention.

Yesterday was Tom's 19th birthday. You may think this is a low, but I manage these occasions now with a gently sadness rather than a real physical pain. Time does that. The high came with these flowers that I took to his grave. A small select few from M & S with the addition of a little of this and that from my own garden.

I made a cake. The sweet and salty chocolate cake from Cake Days. Oh my. The most time-consuming cake I have ever made. The low was not only the actual time it took, but also that I burnt one lot of caramel and had to start over. I was so out of kilter yesterday, it felt like the end of the world.

The high was the calorific intake that just a small slice provided. I chopped some fudge to sprinkle on the top just to give it a final push in the sickliness department!

Flowers, again, came to my rescue and having been inspired by what I took for Tom, I picked a small jarful from the garden and placed them next to my knitting chair in the conservatory. I get an extraordinary amount of pleasure from such simple things. I've never thought to pick my clematis before and am wondering why as it looks so pretty amongst the other flowers.

Looking back, there were more highs than lows: I booked a summer holiday and am off to Mallorca with my sister and her family for a week in July, I mastered the art of the invisible zip (more of which soon) and there was sunshine and plenty of it.

Today, though, has delivered another mind-numbing low. My fancy new chicken run has not deterred the hungry fox and I made the gruesome discovery of an empty chicken coop again this morning. To say I am upset is an understatement. It was some time before I could stomach the cake for breakfast as prescribed by my Tweeple.

So, do I get more hens or do I let the extortionate amount of hen-keeping kit that is now languishing in my back garden go to waste? Answers on a postcard, please.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Right now...

  • I am looking forward to my next knitting project. With thanks to Nancy and Suze for the inspiration.
  • I am feeling that good ache that yoga brings. 

  • I am at a standstill with my current quilting project as I have run out of the white solid. More on order so ready to pounce on the postman.
  • I am drinking my third mug of coffee when I should be thinking about lunch.

  • I am scratching the sewing itch by cutting into my Alegria stack that I mentioned here
  • I am wearing flip-flops even though it is raining.

  • I am keeping an hourly daily vigil on my seedlings, willing them to grow despite the low temperatures. They are responding nicely.
  • I am dreaming of my cutting patch and the thought of having fresh flowers in abundance around the house in a couple of months.

  • I am smiling at the frothiness of the clematis outside the conservatory and loving the lime green stamens against the white of the petals.
  • I am full of emotion at the thought of No2's last day of compulsory education tomorrow. A milestone that is making me sad for some reason.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Linen for spring...

I usually have a little knitting project on the back burner. Having worn to death the eternity cowl I made back in the thick of winter, I decided to try it out in a lighter weight for spring.

The yarn is creative linen from Rowan and I picked the natural colour way. It has knit up much looser than the original, which I like.

In spite of being the 1st of May, and the last month of spring, I am yet to wear it and have still been snuggling up in my yummy alpaca version.

Any ideas for a summery shawl, all you knitters out there?