Monday, February 28, 2011

Dear Winter, Enough already!

Is it just me that is getting tired of the cold, grey, dreary weather? No I thought not...

I know, I know it's February, it's what the weather does in February (at least we go the snow all over and done earlier this winter!) but I HATE being cooped up indoors and so does Riley. He is a little braver than I, donning wellies and raincoat to go out and jump in 'Big Muddy Puddles' but he rarely lasts more than 15 minutes before coming back in for a hot chocolate and a 'bitbit'! 

Sadly our back garden is a: tiny, b: on a slope and c: northwest facing. What this means is that it gets no sunshine for the best part of four months over winter so it becomes a soggy, slippery mess, with the far end becoming almost 'bog' like. The clay soil clumps together in a sticky mass so even if I felt like going out and doing something it would be very difficult.

Now we are nearing the end of February though, and there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. The grey and dreary days are occasionally punctuated with short periods of intense sunshine as the clouds part, hinting at the promise of spring soon to come...

Whilst some people count the 1st March as the first day of Spring, I prefer to go with the Spring Equinox which falls on the 20th March this year - I guess it's the pagan in me :) On this day the hours of daylight and night are the same and from here until the Summer Solstice (21st June) the light reigns supreme as the sun grows stronger.
Most importantly, as the days lengthen, my little piece of England begins to feel warmth for the first time in months, the sticky mud starts to dry out a bit and the first green shoots begin to tentatively show their faces.

Honeysuckle - always the first to wake from the winter slumber...

Cleared away the dead foliage to reveal new green leaves of my Lemon Balm

Spring bulbs breaking through the wet clay soil.

One little patch must get a little more sun than the rest as the mini daffodil buds are eagerly bending their heads towards the warmth and light...

...and some clearly just couldn't hold back any longer!

What a welcome burst of sunshine :)

Spring is very nearly properly here at last!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Competiton wins!

Do you ever enter competitions on blogs or posted on Twitter or Facebook and then forget all about them? I know I do! Most of them require no more than a click to follow and a retweet or a comment left and then, as I never win anything, most of them get forgotten about!

One I had completely forgotten about was run by Yorkshire Lavender (you can follow them on Twitter @yorkslavender ) to win a kilo of their fabulous dried lavender. So as you can imagine I was thrilled when the congratulations tweet popped up in my mentions column on Tuesday :) My box of lavender arrived on Friday morning. Do you have any idea what a kilo of dried lavender looks like?

...yes that is a carrier bag full!!!
...and it smells divine :)

I use dried lavender a lot in my designs, usually homegrown and dried so I have limited stocks, so this prize was much appreciated!
We will be holidaying in Yorkshire later this year and we may even fit in a trip to the award winning Yorkshire Lavender farm and gardens and buy a few plants to add to my own garden.

As if that win wasn't enough on Saturday night I was notified that I had won another!  This one run by one of my favourite online fabric suppliers SeamStar . Their competitions are always popular and as this as a bumper giveaway open for a month I knew they would have A LOT of entries and my chance of winning would be minimal. But it didn't stop me hoping...
When Courtney at Seamstar tweeted that I had won one of the three amazing hampers I was over the moon!!!
It arrived yesterday. I hope you don't mind if I share...
Beautifully packaged!
It was my birthday last week - this was like an extra special birthday present :)
I mean - just look at all these lovelies. Who could not be inspired by this selection?

There are even a couple of lovely owl prints by one of my favourite designers Saffron Craig. This one might become the netbook sleeve I have been meaning to make...

Riley picked out this funky bright print 'Lollipop Dreams' by Patty Young as his favourite.

...and just look at this selection of gorgeous cotton voiles by Anna Maria Horner I really don't know what I am going to make with them yet, but whatever it is, it will be special!

There was also a big bag of grosgrain ribbons in just about every colour you could ever need!
Not to mention some habdash extras - pins, buttons and zips.

As competition prizes go this was pretty darn amazing so thank you once again Courtney and SeamStar for making my birthday week one to remember :) I can heartily recommend that you visit the wonderful 'Seamzine' blog for all the latest products, projects, competitions and giveaways.

And good time it could be you!

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