Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Young Stitchers

Today I would like to show you some needlework from my young stitchers. It was our village produce show over the summer bank holiday weekend and there was a handicraft class. I put in a crocheted blanket and came third but I was pipped to the post by my youngest and her demon stitchery who came second. The first prize went to a beautiful fair isle knitted hat with the most complex pattern.

They both picked up some embroidery this past week that they had started a while back and used the show as a bit of a finishing target.

Aren't they fabulous? They also do this thing that I have in no way modelled where they won't start a new thing until they have finished the last! Little M completed a cactus cross stitch but chose one of her hoops from earlier in the year to enter.

She is back on a new embroidery now...

Big girl has started an epic elephant cross stitch which will be wonderful. Look at her little magnetic needle minder, isn't it fab? Both the cross stitch kits and the magnets were sent as much appreciated gifts from their auntie.

We are getting quite a gallery above the inglenook of their endeavors. All of these were completed by the girls except the big one on the easel which is mine from about 23 years ago. 

In the end I won show champion because I entered loads of our veg, fruit, jam and baking. It was all a bit of beginners luck, that and I entered nearly everything which seemed to be a good strategy!

Our last week before the new school year starts which will be a big one for youngest as she starts secondary school. All very exciting... Jo xx

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

DIY garden fun

For my three word gardening post this month I am going to have a flash back to the beginning of the summer. This is the first summer in our new house - the kind where you get to sit down rather than just build a house so we needed some home comforts. In fact on Monday it was our first anniversary in our house.

I asked the male folk of our family to knock up a table that would sit at least eight; the males are the dog and Andy. Andy found some oak left in the shed from building our porch and asked lots of, "What do you mean?" questions. I suggested we scout around and find something that already resembled legs and found an unused metal workbench in the shed. "Stick those on there!" I chimed. Anyway, after not being sure about my scant requests, he made it and it looks great. I know it is not flat but it doesn't matter - it was free and homemade.

I have managed to make our deckchairs limp on another summer but in my heart I know they are really finished. They are a little bit like 'Triggers broom' for anyone who gets that reference. The dowels have been replaced between the legs, they are on their third set of covers and I have forgotten how many times I have painted them. This third set is made from a sturdy tablecloth someone gave me when they were moving house. This will be the last time I do it.

This is the view from those patio chairs. I took this photo using a panoramic feature on my phone to capture the moon and the sun in the same shot.

In the veg patch things are going well. The round courgettes are producing well but steadily meaning we are not smothered in courgettes for eating but pleased with what we pick - a rare phenomenon for a courgette grower.

My Supersweet cherry tomato variety are fabulous, both runner and french beans are going well and there are a few more sticks of late rhubarb. I grew gherkins but they have not come at the same time for me to pickle a batch so we skin them and eat them like salad cucumbers in vinegar with a pinch of sugar like my nan used to do.

The girls have been keeping us in lettuce with interval sowing.

After this photo I realised that the cabbage white butterflies had laid eggs all over my purple sprouting because the net was not far enough away from the leaves. Bah! First fail.

The same has happened to my nasturtiums. I imagined the Belfast sinks at the front of the house, would be trailing with orange flowers,but they have been decimated. I had to pull them all up and give them to the chickens. They made light work of the caterpillars and remaining leaves, a rather upmarket salad for them if you will.

In the front garden that Geum on the left (totally tangerine) is STILL flowering and has been since early May! The cosmos I grew from seed is filling the bed in this first year while I continue to collect perennials and shrubs to complete the structure.

I have never grown Dahlias before because the slugs ate them all at our old house so this part of my gardening repertoire has been a very pleasant surprise. I have also been mighty impressed with my espresso gladioli, there are so many too.

The back garden remains looking good with its sweep towards the Shropshire landscape. The whole family spent a lot of effort weeding the lawn in Spring and it has paid off. Thistle free... for now.

Finally, apples. These are 'Discovery' I have only left six on the tree so as not to stress the tree in the first year. The nursery owner told me to remove all flowers and fruit in the first year to allow strength to go to the roots but I couldn't bring myself to do it!

Today I took delivery of a half whisky barrel to plant a Campsis in which my neighbour gave me. It needs full sun which I can provide but living on a ridge makes for a windy garden so I hope I can get it climbing before it blows over.

What are you growing? Jo xx

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Twit Whoooo!


I have been making the Owls sweater by Kate Davies designs. It is a bit of a crazy affair because my friend gave me a random bag of stylecraft chunky yarn. There were two balls of teal and the rest were mixed colours. I have not used all the colours given to me here but I tried to make a cohesive selection. My plans didn't quite work out. The mustard cuffs on the waist, wrists and neck went well however I wanted the teal colour to complete the owl section but it was further on in the pattern than I realised and I ran out of teal for the owls ears and had to revert to stripes. I could have kicked myself because there was a chance to carry on the stripes prior to the owls but I was too busy concentrating on the raglan decreases. There is a VERY annoying pulled stitch right at the front but I just have to live with that because I didn't notice that until I tried it on at the end and all the ends had been woven in by then - and oh my the ends!!!

Anyway, I love it. It is super cosy, super wacky and dare I say it very me :)

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxx

Wednesday, 11 August 2021


 August...ing, in no particular order...

Visiting - Croft Castle and Hay-on-wye for some outdoor holiday days out. My big girl bought an old gardening book in Hay with beautiful pen illustrations - she was inspired by the garden at Croft.

Crafting - a new tribal belly dance bra by pulling apart my old one (which was too small!) and adding to it with things I found when tidying up.

Dancing - for our first time out in 18 months. We were a bit nervous and did smile in parts of the dance! Lots of people enjoyed the performance as we joined in with a charity 'busk' in Shrewsbury.

Picking - some good veg. I had very low expectations for these ugly tomatoes but boy, were they tasty and sweet when dressed up with a sharp knife.

Celebrating - my big girl's birthday with a red velvet loaf cake decorated with a random selection of things I found in the kitchen drawer! It was deliciously moist.

Enjoying - a birthday trip to the safari park. I second guessed other people's parenting style which I thought would involve the sentence: "We can go on the rides later if you are good." and we went to the rides in the morning. Bingo! no queues so the girls hopped from ride to ride. It was so busy there in the late afternoon.

Eating - more extravagant breakfasts while the girls are on summer hols.

Loving - my new gladioli named espresso. It is so rich and velvety.

Buying - a new sewing chair: comfy, wheely and spinny.

Choosing - some wonderful sweatshirt fabric. Sometimes I just want to choose what I want from the Minerva website rather than being limited to the fabrics I use for my job. I couldn't resist this. I am thinking ahead to some Autumn sewing.

Dyeing - My faded jeans with Rit. Success.

Using - these seven vintage buttons that have been in my jar for about four years waiting for the perfect partner. Aren't they genius? They screw in! I have used them on a dress called the Sorrel dress by Jennifer Lauren. The fabric is from here.

Cooking - with my family. Still one of our greatest joys in family life is eating together every evening. 

Changing - landscape. The view is changing from vibrant green to a harvested spent summer. 

Thanks for calling in. I am popping over to see your news now. Jo x