Saturday, March 31, 2007

mary, mary ...

my name may not be Mary but I can be quite contrary and thank you for asking my garden is growing beautifully.

Instead of silver bells and cockle shells I have daffodils in full flower and tulips getting ready to make their appearance.
The lilac is coming into bud, as is the jasmine and I can't wait until they flower they have the most gorgeous scent. I have also bought three blueberry bushes which may fruit this year - fingers crossed. I love blueberries so much but they are pricey at the supermarket and anyway you can't beat homegrown. We should hopefully also have some strawberries this year although one of the plants has perished.

And on their windowsill nursery the tomato seedlings are doing nicely. They are tumbling varieties that I can put into pots rather than a gro-bag and they don't need complicated pinching out. I have also decided to try growing tomatillos as I have never found anywhere to buy the fruit, either tinned or fresh and they make a fantastic Mexican salsa verde.

Hopefully the summer will also see the sweet peas, zinnia and nicotiana flowering just like pretty maids all in a row.

I grandly call it a garden but really it is just a yard which measures about 8 meters by 5 meters. There are no lawns just a small paved area with raised brick beds which get crammed full of plants and there are a myriad of pots everywhere. We are lucky to have an outdoor space and our south facing haven gets the full glow of the summer sun (when it isn't raining). The ideal place to sit in the summer, drink a cold beer, listen to the bees buzzing and enjoy all the hardwork we put in during the spring.

Friday, March 30, 2007

grey skies ...

misty mizzle, drizzley rain and a coldness that gets right into your bones means only one thing, stay indoors and keep warm. It is the perfect opportunity/excuse to just sit on the sofa and flick through some recent book purchases.

Firstly, I am completely smitten with this colouring book.I love the style of the drawings and the colours used. Not one to let the boy actually use so I got him a copy of oodles of doodles. Which is keeping him entertained because sometimes it's nice to have your imagination directed.

The other book I am sitting down and enjoying is the Lotta Jansdotter book.

I thought it sounded like my sort of book but when I read about it on disdressed I knew it was a must have. Well it arrived today and it is full of inspiration and a new take on some projects that have seen in other sewing books and some totally new projects. Liesl really does cover everything I thought about the book so I would point you in the direction of her incisive review.

Other than that I haven't done much else - no sewing, no knitting, no crochet. But I have been enjoying some thinking space and the chance to make my own doodles. So I have a few new project ideas that I hope to work on this weekend.

Monday, March 26, 2007

thank goodness ...

... last week is now over. It was a complete write-off for a variety of reasons, hence no blogging, but today the gorgeous spring sun came up on a new week so lets run with it.

Last Sunday I met up with Monica and Ali and had a lot of fun wandering around the Country Living Fair with them. It makes such a difference going round with other people rather than on your lonely ownsome. We saw Samantha of Plump Pudding fame at her stand which looked wonderful. I was also rather taken with the as twee as can be stand and Jennifer Collier's amazing paper shoes, child dresses and jewellery. And of course Janet Bolton's amazing work made me sigh with admiration. There was so much to look at including a eye-catching knitted sofa cover. I came away with lots of inspiration and a slight hankering to have my own stall. Only a slight hankering mind you.

I was also the happy recipient of a lovely gift from Ali.

Did you spot it? Ali has her own moo cards.

That Sunday was also Mothering Sunday and I thought I would share with you a photo of the card I sent to my mum.Yep, there's one of those felt flower brooches on it.

I have also been working on the crochet granny squares. Thank you for all the words of encouragement and advice. As Liz advised, I did another couple of rounds and yes it did start to click and look more like they should.

They are also highly addictive so I expect to do many more.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

please don't laugh ...

but I have been trying to teach myself how to crochet granny squares.

Here's the first attempt

I didn't put the hook through the ring but rather through the foundation chain so this one is missing the hole in the center. I think I also got confused about how many times I wrapped the yarn around the hook.

So then came the second attempt.

This time it at least has the hole in the center but I still got confused about creating the triple crochet and I really must count how many stitches I am doing so I don't end up too many.

Finally, here is the third attempt.

And it wasn't third time lucky. I went and made some of the same mistakes I made in the second attempt.

I will persist though as there is a bandwagon to jump on. Next up to try and master is the ripple stitch because why restrict yourself to one bandwagon when there is another raring to go.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

show and tell ...

Well here is a very belated show and tell of my Liberty evening with Flibbertygibbet and Knitterrooney. Crying out loud it was almost a week ago and I have not shown or told yet - just how slovenly am I? (no please don't answer that).

So in true better late than never style here is a tour of my purchases. Firstly, I got me some Rowan fabric. More of the flower fabric that I think I may make a skirt from and some very yummy cupcake fabric.

Also in my basket was some Rowan DK wool in fun colours. Liberty really had the best array of DK wool that I have seen anywhere and it was a joy to behold all those gorgeous jewel colours beautifully racked up. John Lewis only seem to have the dingier colours and then only about 7 colours to choose from. Liberty had easily double that.

The collection of Liberty print fabric this year is fabulous - more patterns, colourways and fabric types than in previous years. Yummy yummy. The big problem though is that Liberty fabric isn't cheap so I shied away from buying any until Flib enlightened me to the minimum cut. I always thought, somewhat mistakenly, that the minimum was 50cm but no it is 30 cm. So it felt only right to treat myself to strips from 3 of their gorgeous new fabrics.
Aside from the opportunity to spend some money, the evening was a wonderful chance to catch up with fellow bloggers and chew the fat and share ideas. Thanks Flib and Ting it was a wonderful evening.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

happy post ...

Somedays I just love it when the postman comes, especially if he has to ring the doorbell. The days when it isn't just bills plopping on to the doormat. Those are Happy Post days and I've had a few of them recently.

Firstly, bing bong, the postman brought me a copy of Romantic Homes. Not just any copy though but the now famous Alicia issue. It was a swap with Toni she got a copy of Marie Claire Idees and I got this delight and some Jelly Bellys.

Bing Bong another day and another parcel this time from Monica a copy of this month's Real Simple. Which I love and this month there are a couple of recipes that have really taken my fancy and a couple or crafty ideas too.The picture also shows one of Monica's lovely moo cards - the colours on the card compliment the magazine cover beautifully.

Then today, no bing bong, but when I came home from my run there was a parcel waiting for me. Luckily my husband was home to answer the door. This time it was the most amazing handmade felt from Simmy.

She had kindly offered to send me some of her off cuts when I expressed a desire to use real wool felt for my brooches. Apparently she thought the offcuts too small to be useful so she put this package together. I love the orange and blue colours sadly the photo doesn't do them justice.

I am such a lucky girl to get such happy post.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

blooming blooms ...

Last night I sat down with some felt, embroidery thread, stuffing, beads, other bits and bobs and not forgetting a glass of good red wine.

I had no real plans just decided to have a little fun. First up was another felt brooch but this time a flower rather than a heart.
Then I made this key fob.Neither are that well executed the stitching leaves a little to be desired - maybe the wine had a something to answer for!? But they were good fun and easy to make - perfect head candy and just the right level for me to cope with at the moment. However, I am now beginning to get the urge to make a skirt using the Built by Wendy pattern in Sew U.

Oh, and Matilda asked me to pass on her thanks for your kind comments.

Monday, March 05, 2007

meet matilda ...

Oh dear me. I am trying to get my grip on things again I seem to have been running to stand still and have only to managed to blog twice in the last three weeks or so. I'm also just feeling horribly tired and lethargic for no apparent reason and totally lacking in any impetus or enthusiasm - I need a serious dose of sunshine.

But I haven't been doing absolutely nothing (not quite anyway). There are a few things to show you.

So today I would like to introduce you to Matilda.
She is a another sock dog but this time she's a variation on the theme. She stands on two legs rather than on all fours and as a result I felt she need to be clothed. She looked obscenely naked otherwise. So I made her a little dress from some of my patchwork fabric.
I so want a dress like hers but the amount of fabric I would need would make it disgustingly expensive. But having said that I bought the fabric from Liberty a little while ago and this Wednesday they have 15% off event for Liberty card holders - maybe that dress will be mine. I am hoping to meet up with flibbertygibbet on the evening for some parting with cash and drinks courtesy of Liberty.

Something I neglected to say on my last post was why I craft. I offered up the question and then failed to answer it myself - doh. The answer is simple - it makes my head happy.