Spring Progress: the Garden

wellies&geraniumsIt’s Spring!  And the weather has been so amazing, all I’ve wanted to do these last few weeks is be outdoors playing in my new garden – it’s been all spades, muck and wellies instead of yarn, hooks, and fabrics for a change.

Remember this post back in March, when I showed you the garden I’d taken on with my new house?BigViewB4Empty, apart from weeds, rocks, and, as it’s turned out, LOTS of broken glass and pottery.  I mean, bucket loads – go figure?!  But nevertheless, progress is being made. The hedge is trimmed, the border by the shed weeded, flower borders and lawn marked out and clearing & planting begun.  My main priority though, was to get my veg beds dug.  Here is my long pea & bean bed, a triumph of pacing for a middle-aged woman with M.E. and a bad back I think you’ll agree:bigview290415Don’t be fooled by bean-bed’s smoothly-raked surface: beneath her lies 3 sacks of rotted horse manure and two of kitchen waste!  To keep out the ubiquitous dandelions (has anyone else noticed what a bumper year for them it seems to be??), I covered each section with cardboard and old carpets as I finished.  In the foreground here you can also see the young willow cuttings I’ve planted that will eventually grown into a screen for the compost area.

Here’s the other side by the fence as it looked in February:WestSideB4

And now, with two lovely new beds, one for spuds & beetroot, one for leeks & roots:WestSide290415

These beds were forked over to remove the worst weeds, then mulched with cardboard and a deep layer of manure.  Nothing much is happening yet, though one or two brave radishes have popped up already!

And yes, ALL those stones I’ve used to start making the paths were dug out of the beds…

There’s still a lot to do, but I am very much enjoying the process of making the garden. Seeds have begun to germinate in the cold frame, both veg and flowers.  And I’m really looking forward to planting the flower and herb borders, finally giving all the plants I’ve had in pots for years on various balconies and front steps a permanent home!  shedborder290415It hasn’t all been gardening this month, and I’ll be back soon with some pics from April to prove that I did do SOME other stuff this month (mostly visiting gardens though haha!).  Til then, wishing you all a lovely weekend and a very happy Beltaine/Mayday 🙂


Spring Progress: Blue Waves Blanket

springdaffsHello all!  What a fabulous time we had last week here in the Marches – glorious sunshine, lighter evenings, and WARM enough to turn off the heating and throw off your jumper!

All this has meant I’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors, but nonetheless, I HAVE been making steady progress on the Blue Waves blanket.  Yesterday I reached wave #45, so I’m more than halfway, and very pleased with the way it’s looking so far:BlueWaves45This is a lovely, rhythmic pattern to be working on right now, perfect for relaxing in front of the TV or radio in the evenings after a day in the garden.  If you’ve been toying with the idea of making a blanket, I encourage you to have a go!  Pattern & tutorial HERE at Attic24.

Wishing you all a bright and beautiful week! 🙂


Colourful plans & projects

NewHQWell HELLO and greetings from my new HQ!  Pretty smart huh?!  Despite it still being box-maze chaos, I’m happy to report that I LOVE my new place.  Especially the big bay window, letting lots of lovely light into my front room and makeshift sewing space!

Last weekend I unearthed the Simplicity dress project (abandoned the week before the move!) and eased myself back in gently by making some bias binding for the sleeves.  One day, there will be a Whoo-Hoo moment, but not before I cross the Great Plateau of The Invisible Zip.  See you on the other side…Grey&Pink Sleeve BindingMeanwhile, I’ve made a start on a second ripple blanket.  This one is for my mum, who wanted a single bed size in shades of blue.  I’ve gone for the Stylecraft Special DK as before, and although the blues are totally gorgeous, I couldn’t resist slipping in a little bit of purple (it’s called ‘Bluebell’ though, so it’s within the remit, right?).  After making my huge, double-bed sized Purple Waves blanket, these rows feel quite quick to work!BlueWavesBlanketSo there’s some colourful crafty projects going on, but I’m also planning to create something much bigger, and much more colourful, starting this year… can you guess what it is?!gardenflowersYep, I finally have MY OWN GARDEN!  For the first time in many, many years I have my own outdoor space to fill with flowers, veg, herbs and all kinds of strange and beautiful things.  I can’t WAIT to get started!  Which is all to the good, because this is what it looks like right now:GardenTodayNever let it be said that I don’t relish a challenge!  I’ll keep you posted on my progress, but if my sewing speed is anything to go by, you know this one’s going to keep me busy for a VERY long time…

How are you getting on with your spring plans & projects I wonder?  – Here’s wishing you all a very colourful, creative week! 🙂

All about August…

After all that sunshine, sewing, and camping in June and July, my August was somewhat blighted by catching a cold during our damp and chilly spell!  But still, there were many things to enjoy… My brother coming to visit, and choosing the last really warm day for a picnic at one of my favourite spots near Cader Idris… cwmmynach …luscious blackberries!  Which I spent a happy afternoon picking, another happy afternoon baking into muffins and crumble, and then several happy afternoons increasing my waistline even further with the yummy results…blackberries…finally finishing the Limeade Dress!LimeadeLongshot …deciding to embark upon a HUGE clearout of my flat, and rediscovering some of my old graphic novels and comics from the early 90s that I haven’t looked at in years, like Alan Moore’s ‘D.R. & Quinch‘…DR&Qpages …and, lo and behold, the sun came out right at the very end of the month, and so did these beauties on my walkway!sunflowers looking forward to the ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’ of September… have a lovely week everyone!

Mini-Tutorial: Magic Roundabout Flowers

Lp&flowers1OK, as promised – Zebedee has arrived with the mini-tutorial on how to make your very own Magic Roundabout flowers!

As mentioned previously, the flower itself is from Attic 24, so click here for Lucy’s brilliant tutorial on how to make this.  I used the single-petalled flower for this tutorial, but I’ve had a go with the double-petalled one as well (see the Glastonbury Thorn for evidence!) and it works just as nicely.

So, now you have your six-petalled flower, you will be working into the BACK of this.  Begin by pulling up a loop through the back of the ‘missed’ stitch from round one of your flower (the blue round on mine)flowertute0This is a bit hard to show – here’s how it looks from the front, so hopefully you can see where you’re going!flowertute1Ch1, 1sc into this spaceflowertute2Now you will be working into the back of the sc you made between each ch3 loop on round 2 of your flower (mauve on mine).  These might be a bit tight so you may need to wiggle your hook around here until you can pick up two strands to work intoflowertute3Work 3dc (UK tr), ch3, 3dc into this stitchflowertute4

1sc into the next ‘missed’ stitch from round oneflowertute5

and continue round until you have six funky pointed leaves!  Join with a sl-st into your initial ch1flowertute6 Fasten off, and WHOOHOO!  Time to go decorate your roundabout!


The Joys of July!

avalonsunsetIt’s been a glorious July here, with lots of long sunny days (and a few wet ones, too!) that have been perfect for….

…hiking up to Llyn Barfog (Bearded Lake) a few miles from my house for a Sunday picnic and watching the dragonflies flitting amongst the lily pads…LlynBarfog

…spending a wet weekend making my BALCONY BUNTING! and watching the local birdlife’s reaction to it (completely indifferent, as you can see)…birds&bunting

…another ‘glamping’ trip to my beloved Glastonbury, where I spent a wonderful afternoon cooling down at the Chalice Well gardens…

chalice well

…hanging a little wish on the remains of the old Glastonbury Thorn tree (can you guess which one is mine??)…

GlastonburyPeaceFlower…visiting one of my best friends and having a day out at The Lowland Games, the highlight of which was, beyond doubt, the ferret racing!  Oh yeah…ferrets

…and my spectacular lillies, that flower for just two weeks in July and send their heavenly perfume wafting in through the balcony door on warm evenings…


I hope your July has been full of joys as well!

The Magic Roundabout Bag

LpcoverAh… Dougal, Florence, Zebedee and Dylan… what child of the 70s doesn’t have a soft spot for these guys?? – My brother and I loved The Magic Roundabout when we were growing up, and this was one of our favourite records.  (And we loved it again on DVD as grown-ups, once we discovered all the satirical undertones and references we hadn’t picked up on as children!

So when I came to crochet this lovely roundy-round bag by Drops Design I couldn’t help but think of it as The Magic Roundabout Bag, and chose my colour scheme accordingly!bagfront1

It’s a very straightforward pattern, worked in double crochet (UK treble), that comes together in no time.  In my continuing experiment to find yarns I’m not allergic to, I used a lovely smooshy Superwash wool by Cascade, that comes in some gorgeous bright colours.  A little bit itchy on my hands, but nothing worse to report – hurrah!

I did find the instructions for the edging around the top of the bag a little unclear, so I went off on my own somewhat there, but it seems to have turned out OK.peekinside

I really wanted to make this bag a bit special, so not only did I line it with some mauve poplin, I also added a crochet-embellished button and made a crochet-trimmed ‘Secret Pocket’ to go inside.  Want to peek??secretpocket1

Yep, I got totally carried away with this one!  But I love adding all these little details, it’s what making things by hand is all about for me.  Plus it gave me a chance to practice doing some block-printing with the little block I got at the World Textile Day show.

And of course, since this is the Magic Roundabout Bag, I couldn’t resist adding some Magic Roundabout flowers as embellishments!Lp&flowers3

OK, so if I was purist I would have added perhaps a button or bead in the centre, but I wanted them to match the details of the bag so I just did a little embroidered bit in the middle.  bagside1

The flowers are basically the first part of the Attic24 double-petalled flower with the pointed ‘leaves’ worked out of the back.  They’re very simple to do, but I’ll avoid turning this into a mega-post and put a tutorial for them up separately I think!baghanging1So, what do you think – one for Florence, or more suited to Ermintrude?! 🙂

May Moments…

rhododendronspiderAloha!  Well it’s been quite a month for me, and if you’re thinking that not a lot of either crafting or blogging has gone on, then you’d be right!  Many things have taken me away from the sewing room and the computer this month…

…camping in the Black Mountains during our ‘heatwave’ week…blackmountaincamping

…walking up my beloved Mynydd Llangors, my most ambitious walk since I became ill with ME…mynyddllangorsview

…acres of bluebells!  My very favourite wildflowers, mmm, INHALE DEEPLY…bluebellfest

…a fabulous exhibition of quilts, textiles, crafts and paintings at the Minerva Centre, including this beauty by Angela Morris, whom I was lucky enough to meet on our visit…angelamorrisquilt

…a slap-up lunch for my BIRTHDAY at the Great Oak Café, when it was (just about) sunny enough to sit outside in the courtyard…greatoakcourtyard…sadly, leaving my job of 3½ years; saying farewell to the loveliest bunch of colleagues ever, and being overwhelmed with flowers, cards, gifts, and hugs (sniff!)…


…and stunning rhododendron flowers on the shrub opposite my flat, casting a magical purple glow across the walkway and into my sewing room window…walkwayrhods

Yes, that was MAY! So here we go with June, still working away at that bag lining tutorial and all sorts of other projects tumbling around, as always…

Here’s to a sunny solstice month xxx