Saturday, March 31, 2012

I got there at last!

I finally managed to get down to the allotment on Friday morning for a couple of hours, which is really for not that long considering there is soooo much to do down there. I have to be thankful for the time I had. I spent most of the time digging over what was the parsnip and beetroot area and some of the cabbage area . It was lovely basking in the sun in between digging . I found a whole load of parsnips that we had missed over the winter:

I think we will be eating a lot of parsnip soup! I may even be able to prepare some of the less woody ones, blanch them and then freeze them. I will have to make sure I get down to the lottie over the weekend to try and catch up with my jobs.
On another note younger daughter had a baking session yesterday. She loves making cakes, and tries to make them for her friends birthdays. She made this one for her friend Hollie, who loves Hello Kitty. Isn't the cake fabulous! She really is a very clever girl, I  just don't think she realises quite how clever she is!!

I can't quite keep up with the weather changes- I have only just got accustomed to the warmer weather and now Its cooling again with snow forecast ( in the north at least) next weekend. I know many garden centres will be wanting the warmer weather as I believe it can be one of their busiest weekends in the year. I definitely prefer the warmer weather - so please come back!

Anyway I will try and post this week - the youngsters are off this week but no major plans have been made so have a good weekend and see you next week!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

More sewing!

The last couple of days have been spent sewing- I really should get down to the allotment. Hopefully later! So I thought I'd update you on some of my goodies I made. I have been making shopping bags and I have taken photos of one of them to share with you.
The main part of the bag is made with  fabric from Prestigious fabrics which are made in the uk and is called St Ives. I just loved the colours and the Seaside feel without a boat in sight!

Front of the bag:
 Back of the bag:
Inside the bag: lined with blue and white spotted fabric:

Then  I worked on these lavender bags which have a London theme with a loose interpretation
of the union jack on the front and the changing of the guard on the back

So hopefully back to the garden to enjoy this lovely sunshine. Hoping you are managing to get out and enjoy it too!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunny Sunday at the car boot sale!

In a rash moment after Mr H had been on one of his tirades about the state of the garage I agreed to do a car boot sale. For those of you who haven't been to one- they can be a source of fantastically great bargains but they also can be - as one person I overheard yesterday say- full of the biggest of a load of old  junk he had ever seen!
I decided to Car boot - not sure if it can be a verb or not- on Sunday as the weather looked promising. ( It's not a good idea to do one on a wet cold morning). I had however forgotten that the clocks would go forward. So not only did I have an early start to contend with but it had to be an hour earlier  too!.
I choose  one that was half an hour or so away from us. Funnily no one was particularly keen on helping me at such an early hour. Teenagers love their beds - not at night time I find- but mainly in the mornings. So no luck there and Mr H absolutely detests car boot sales and will diligently help sort and load the car but that's as far as it goes.
I headed off with my car load and was directed to my pitch after paying my pitch fee. My neighbouring pitcher's were all very pleasant and we waved and nodded and I set to unloading. This is by far the worst part. Suddenly people come from nowhere, peering into the deep cavity of the car  hoping to get a glimpse of a bargain. Some are just plain nosey. One lady stood and watched me unload everything bit by bit. I wonder whether she thought I would magically produce a long lost Rembrandt?
It was a bit of a slow day and  it was obvious people have been definitely affected by the recession and it made me wonder how some families survive. I didn't do as well financially as other times but I can't complain. The money I did make will go towards a trip to London.
It was lovely to be out in the fresh air with the sun on my back. There are worst ways to spend a morning ( not according to Mr H!).

After lunch in the garden- I sat in the garden sewing- using my trusty and eco hand machine - Esmerelda!

I didn't need electricity, I didn't disturb the sounds of a lovely summer type day and I got to be productive- fabulous! Later a glass of wine was enjoyed listening to the birds and warming myself in the sun- what better way to finish such a busy day!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hat stand

With two girls in the house, we have a number of hats always lying around. It drives me crackers, so in a moment of enlightenment I turned our stick display in the hall into a funky hat stand. It looks like we are growing hats there now but at least the hats have somewhere to live! What do other people do with their hats ? Do people still have hat stands? Do the likes of modern Swedish stores produce hat stands? I'm not sure that I would buy one tho' as I like our quirky version! What do you do with your hats?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sprouting onions

Whilst clearing an area of the allotment I came across one of my last years onions skulking amongst the weeds. It had sprouted and on checking the Internet I found the Self sufficiency blog which talks about these onions being cooked. In fact  there is a festival  dedicated to them in Catalonia in Spain. You can find the link here: a self sufficient life. I will definitely try  growing the sprouts further to see what happens.
Talking of onions-  My Tiny Plot    also had a tip worth bearing in mind which suggests that if you have too many onion sets left over, you could plant them in pots and you will grow spring onion like onions for later in the year. I like that - waste not want not!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I've been busy sewing

Having given up my job last Summer, we have definitely noticed the drop in household income. We are all doing what we can to help- little things count like turning off lights, not cooking too much food, growing our own veggies, cooking form scratch, and keeping the chickens are all important. Whilst I still work the odd day here and there, I felt I needed to do something else to help with cash flow and something that didn't involve licking envelopes either. I needed something to get my teeth into ( no not being a part-time dentist), something for me to work on, to think about whilst at home. I made a number of gifts at Christmas this year and one of our local shops took several of my cushions and childrens aprons and they did pretty well. I have dusted my sewing machine off and given it an oil and have started beavering away. I made these :

and these this week:

To be honest I'm not going to make a fortune but it should give me a lot of pleasure and if nothing else  it  will give me something to think about in those wee early hours of the morning when I just can't sleep.

I'll keep you updated on my progress in between my allotment and other posts. Now where did I leave the scissors.....................

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Allotment update

I have had a lovely day down at the allotment dodging the odd shower. I'm not sure why I spent so much time washing and drying my hair this morning as the showers have definitely had an adverse effect on my hair. The helmet didn't help. I cycled down to the allotment- going is okay as it seems to be on a gentle slope downwards,  consequently the return trip is a little harder . My hair now is flat and very wayward and another wash and dry is necessary.

I've been trimming - the lavender bushes and my so called willow arch- its less of an arch and more of  unruly wayward triffid. Not forgetting the autumn raspberries- which I cut back down to the ground. I did leave some however as I read on  My Tiny Plot blog that an earlier crop may be had by doing so. I shall test this out this summer. It would be good to have a longer cropping period.

I have two raised beds in which I grew carrots last year. They desperately needed digging out as they were rapidly filling up with couch grass and docks.  I managed to clear them- I couldn't believe how many couch grass roots I found. My strawberries were a bit of a disaster last year - as I just shoved them in anywhere- the raised beds seemed an ideal place for them and they are all snug now in their new beds.
 Then mid morning I had a lovely surprise, just when I was beginning to flag, tea and cake was delivered-
Thank you younger daughter for organising! I really appreciated both!

Recently I acquired a couple of suitcases. Mr H took one look at them and declared that they were not to enter the house under any circumstances! So any plans on renovating them were rapidly put on hold. I have to say on second inspection perhaps they weren't  in the best condition. I put my thinking hat on ( as I hate waste ) and came up with the idea that the bases would make ideal raised beds for my carrots and that's what their new role will be. The lids ?- I may use these for salad leaves but any suggestions would be  greatly welcomed.

I can't believe how much I achieved today. A good day- wishing you all a happy mothers day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

I've been away and now I'm back!

And we are at Friday again! March has been extremely busy so and this week has been no exception. Sometimes I wonder how I ever managed to do the hours I was working last year - and then I remember - not very well and not happily either.
This week started with a plaster cast that needed repairing so another visit to the hospital but at least we only had to visit the plaster room this time.
Then elder daughter and I headed up to Lancaster for an open day and interview at the University. It takes four and a half hours for us to travel not including stops, so we headed up the day before and stayed in a Premier Inn. It was a pretty good experience much better than my previous stay in one of these hotels. The open day took up most of Wednesday and Thursday was spent coming home and then food shopping. So you can see how the time flies. Lancaster is a lovely city ( I think it is technically a city but it is more like a large market town) with lovely light cloured stone buildings. It's so close to countryside, the Lake District and the seaside at Morecambe. So a good variety of  landscapes to be had. I just wished we had more time to explore. I'm attaching a link to the tourist information site here if you are interested to know more about the city- lancaster-city information
So it's back home and time to catch up on all those pressing chores!

Monday, March 12, 2012

I've been collecting more wool!

Over the last couple of weeks I have been collecting more wool. It's funny how at one moment there is no wool wanting to be collected and needing a new home and then wham there's  a quite a lot to be found!
 It all started the other week in Lancaster when visiting with my daughter when we found these four cones of wool.

I don' t think they are pure wool but they did say to me please take me home and thats just what I did. I think they will be great for edging.

On my travels to Kent I found more wool including the lovely purple heather shetland wool- towards the bottom left hand corner of the photo- this really took my fancy. I'm not sure whether I will use this in a project of its own or whether I will use it in another Granny square blanket.

Other daughter would also like a blanket of her own and has even indicated that during the summer she might like to learn how to crochet- oh music to my ears! and that a friend could also want to learn too! More music!!! I dearly would love to pass what basic knowledge I have. I am so looking forward to sharing this craft, I musn't get too excited and scare them off. So I need to get planning! It's  also a good excuse for further acquisitions!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Winchester vintage market

As previously posted I visited the Vintage market In Winchester last Sunday. Its a monthly market and has a variety of stalls selling furniture, china, furnishings, clothing and some stalls sell a mixture of all of these.
It was a extremely wet morning and was very cold when I made my visit. In fact I made two visits. the first being in the morning and the second at lunchtime when I decided to return to purchase some china. A blue and white spotted cup, saucer and plate from Torquay that I had seen previously for my friends birthday. I thought it was lovely as my friend comes from Devon and has some blue Denby china already, so thats the theory anyway.

 Anyway here's a photo of Debbie and Rick in the rain

with their stall and all their lovely furniture that they refurbish decorate and upholster themselves.  Their stall is called " Behind called doors".


I love the the clock face table and the lamps with their fluffy edgings are to die for!

They use different paint techniques and have painted sideboards and cupboards in amazing blues and greens too!

Some other friends, also have a stall at the market and their particular things is china. They have some lovely pieces and thats where I bought the blue and white china. Unfortunately, the ditsy person I am I forgot to photograph before wrapping it. However I did buy this dish for me.

I'm not sure what it would have been used for - lipsticks?.

 The colours are lovely pale pink and green. Hydrangeas ( I think) in the corners. It is a Beswick piece with the stamp on the bottom.

I have found it most useful for holding my dress making pins whilst sewing, although I think its too pretty to be used for that long term. I think its lovely.

So thats it for now, have a lovely weekend . I hope to catch up with you in a day or so!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rain,sleet,snow wind and flowers!

What a week- Sunday was a complete washout here. My friends had a stall at the Winchester vintage Market and it was a wet and chilly day we even had snow/sleet. More about the Market later. I was a bit down in the dumps- the weather wasn't helping and so I bought these to cheer myself up.

 Aren't they beautiful. They are full of that happy sunshine yellow- their little faces grinning from ear to ear!

We had some  discussion Mr H and I about which receptacle was best for them. He thought the pale yellow jug and I'm afraid I disagreed and went for this jug.

 The circles complement the roses beautifully. I can't help but smile when I see these roses. They really cheer me up. They are so full of sunshine with promises of spring and summer!
They were on my dining room table but have since moved to the kitchen window- where I can admire them when washing up.
I have been trying to catch up with chores here. It seems to be never ending , I seemed to have got behind after my busy week recently. Yesterday we did a uni visit to Oxford Brookes, but the course was not what my daughter wanted, so I think we can safely cross that one of the list. More uni visits in the next few weeks.

 On returning home  from shopping on Tuesday - there was a lovely surprise waiting for me a beautiful big bunch of tulips had been delivered.

My daughter had wanted to thank me for taking her on her uni visits. They were so unexpected and so beautiful and they now take pride of place on the dining room table.

I will post later about my visit to the vintage market, so until then............

Sunday, March 4, 2012

ABC Blog award

The lovely Janie from Hedgecombers has nominated me for the ABC ‘Awesome Blog Content’ award!  I have been so excited that some one enjoyed my blog enough to nominate me!  Go check out Janie's blog at   
One of the criteria is that I must share something of myself using the letters of the alphabet.... so here goes:

A is for my lovely Allotment
B is for Blogging
C is for my childhood holidays in Cumbria
D I am reading a book called December where the young girl stops speaking.
E I have a large extended family of sisters, sister and brother in laws
F I love our family holidays in France
G My husband is a Geordie
H I am  dreadful hoarder trying to control my hoarding habits
I I hate how my Ipad manages to loose things even tho I have saved them
J I am addicted to making jams and chutneys
K I was brought up in Kent
L I love my family of four children and my hubby
M I made 24 jars of seville marmalade in January  and will be making other varieties during the year
N I love our family trips to Northumberland
O I dislike orange juice but like eating satsumas
P I have two chickens and a cat as pets
Q I am enjoying my new quality time with my family
R I love reading historical novels
S I have two sewing machines - an electric singer and a vintage hand machine
T I loved the TV series Call the midwife
I 'm not sure I will ever totally understand teenagers but I love them all the same
V My parents had VW beetles when we were growing up
W I would love a craft room of my own
I spent last Tuesday morning in the Xray dept waiting for my son to have his X-ray
Y I love yellow roses and daffodils they remind me of spring
Z I love my bed  and sleep ZZZZZZZZZZ

The second is to nominate other bloggers for the ward- as many as you wish. Therefore 
 I would like to nominate the following blogs for the award too :
The Linen Cat
Christians Blog
Our new life in the country
Our 21st century guide of the good life
Real Men Sow
Thinking of the days
Thank you Janie- It was certainly thought provoking  and I loved being nominated! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

A busy week!

Its been a rather busy week with hospital appointments for people on crutches and a university visit to Lancaster for my student . The hospital visit went well just took forever  to tell us not a lot - 4 hours to be precise- never mind. This was followed by a trip to Lancaster to look at the uni with my elder daughter who is not enjoying her time at her current uni. Glad to say all went well  but I am feeling  rather jet lagged. Anyway off tomorrow to visit a sister in Kent for a special birthday. I have been busy putting together some items that may be useful when you get to a certain age eg talc, lavender bags, soap. chillblain stuff, rain hat, walking stick, certain brands  antiseptic creams, wethers original, very strong reading glasses, a Mills and Boon book, The People magazine etc etc. I know that each of these  items on their own are quite useful  in fact I have some of the above ( and I am NOT old despite what my children say) but together they work well as gifts to help in the next few years- I think she will enjoy the humour or at least I hope so!
 I have been busy making a bag to put all the bits in and thought I would post the pictures. I hope she isn't reading this..........

I am pretty pleased with the results. I had to make it using Esmeralda as singer Suzy needs to be serviced or at least needs a check up . Anyway more about Esmerelda another day !