Saturday, June 30, 2012

It's the Little Things...

A couple of weeks back someone left an anonymous comment on this blog. For some reason they felt the need to point out that my blog was filled with little things. Anonymous went on to say that I am (obviously) seeking to fill some unamed void in my life with 'stuff'; that there is something BIG missing from my life and so I am seeking to convince the world and myself that I am happy by wittering on about unimportant little things...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

#TheGallery - Hands

I have a 'thing' about hands. When my OH first came into the bookshop where I worked to place an advert in the local rag all I could do was stare at his hands - big, slightly dirty - he worked in his dad's motorbike shop - and I was smitten (his just over 6ft stature and long blond surfer dude hair may have had a little bit to do with it too . . .) My collegue noticed straight away (not that I was flustered or anything), a friend passed on my phone number and the rest, as they say, is history.

So, yeah, hands are very important to me...

When I read this weeks Gallery theme ONE photo immediately sprang to mind.

It's a picture that melts my heart everytime I look at it...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Handmade Heart Swap

I love blog swaps! It's an opportunity to get to know other bloggers a bit better and even discover new blogs you may not have read before. I took part in my first proper blog swap a couple of months ago - a button swap - and thoroughly enjoyed rooting through my button stash and picking out 50 buttons for my swap partner.

This month I have taken part in Mary Poppins' Handmade Heart Swap

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Getting organised...

It's nearly the end of June already. How did that happen? Summer Solstice (the longest day of the year) has been and gone. Before we know it the Autumnal nip will be in the air and we'll all be digging out our hats and scarves again...

What do you mean you haven't put them away from last winter yet?

To be honest, neither have I, and that is the main prompt behind this post. Not hats and scarves particularly but just putting things away generally.

Last year I was determined to become more organised. And I did. A bit. But really not enough...

#SilentSunday 24/06/12

Love All Blogs

Friday, June 22, 2012

Welch's Grape Juice - Review

A while back I had a email inviting me to the launch of Welch's new Rose Grape Juice. Unfortunately it was the same week we were off on holiday and besides, as much as I love grape juice, London is an awful long way to go to just for a slurp of the stuff. 'No problem' says my lovely pr contact, 'I'll send you some...'

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Woodland walk...

I know I have blogged this walk before but it's one of our favourites - a stroll to the end of our road, across the fields where the mares have foaled (although they were all tucked away out of view today), into the woods along the well used green lanes down to Nonny's house...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lovely things...

Do you ever wake up thinking 'Oh pants, it's Thursday. I hate Thursdays'?
(or maybe it's just me . . . )

You know those days when you have a lot to do and you don't really feel like doing it, but it has to be done. Thursdays are my paperwork days. Little Man goes off to nursery and I have to immerse myself in invoices, spreadsheets and bank statements. It's not my favourite way to pass the time, especially when it's the only bit of time I have had to myself all week!

Today was a little bit different.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How is your garden growing?

So after the brief respite the shitty weather is back again. And (sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings) it's not looking like things are gonna improve much in the next couple of weeks.

The garden has taken a bit of a battering again this weekend - the marsh mallow has fallen over and I really must stake the raspberry canes and the tomatoes before they follow suite!

Our little veggie patch isn't doing too badly. The slugs/snails had a go at a couple of the pea shoots and something (birds? cat? LM looking for treasure?) has been scrabbling about dislodging some of the carrot and lettuce seedlings, but for the most part it's looking good. . .

Monday, June 11, 2012

#CreativeBudget Giveaway - winner

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions for my next #CreativeBudget post.

Something for Father's Day was a popular idea but I figured by the time I had received the next bundle of goodies from Abakhan, planned the tutorial, made the item and posted it on the blog Father's Day would be long gone so I'm afraid that idea went out the window - never fear though, I have a couple of ideas for 'man' gifts which I hope to do later in the year in preparation for your Handmade Christmas ;-)

The other popular suggestion was something for outside - it is summer after all (no, really, it is!). I had a browse through the Abakhan website and came across some exceptionally well priced 'shower proof' fabric (the kind of stuff used for sport clothing) and came up with an idea. If all goes well there will be a tutorial too. . .

As a thank you for all the comments and suggestions I wrote the names of everyone who commented into the post on little bits of paper, put them in the Union Jack Handbag and asked the Little Man to pick out the lucky winner of the Union Jack shopper and strawberry scented Jubilee Crown bag charm.

And the winner is. . .

Louise @CraftyGuider

Congratulations Louise -get in touch and I will get your prizes in the post as soon as possible :-)

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Ribbon and Button Corsage - Tutorial

Due to the overwhelming response to Jubilee Ribbon Corsage I made as part of the Abakhan 'Creative Budget' challenge, I have decided to add a tutorial for those of you wish to make one for yourselves. (For those of you who don't or feel they can't, but would love one anyway, keep an eye on my Folksy shop where I hope to be listing some for sale very soon . . . )

So here you go - How to make your very own Ribbon and Button Corsage

Assemble your ingredients

You will need:

12 x 10cm lengths of ribbon
6 x 6cm lengths of ribbon
button centre piece
brooch back
needle and thread

I used ribbon that was 15mm wide. You can use wider or narrower but the effect will be different.

Thread needle with approx 1m of thread, double it up and tie a knot in the end. Take 6 pieces of 10cm ribbon lengths you want to make the first round. You can use the same colour or alternate the colours and/or patterns as wish.

Fold the first piece of ribbon in half an sew a line of small running stitches across the open end.

Do the same with the other five pieces of ribbon. Pull the thread tight to gather the ribbon petals and stitch the last piece to the first to form a circle. Secure with a couple of stitches making sure the thread ends up on the correct side of the work to begin the next row of petals.

Repeat this process for the second round of petals but once you have secured the circle, stitch through the two layers of petals to hold them in place. Try and keep the stitches fairly small and close to the centre but don't worry too much as they will be covered by the next layer...

 The third round is worked in exactly the same way but using the shorter lengths of ribbon. Join the circle, secure the petals and stitch into place.

Now add your button centre piece. Use one big focal button or layer up two or three for a different look. Make sure your centre piece is big enough to cover up the stitching on your ribbon petals!

Finally stitch your brooch back in place and you're done!

* If you are at all concerned about the security of your stitches or ribbon fraying feel free to add a little fabric glue to the corsage before you attach the brooch back

There you go, couldn't be easier! Try experimenting with different coloured ribbons and different widths too. Why stop at three layers? Start with larger pieces of wider ribbon for the first round - say 16cm lengths - before doing the three rounds shown here for an absolute show stopper of a corsage!

#SilentSunday 03/06/12

Love All Blogs

Friday, June 01, 2012

Growing our own...

Little Man told me last year that he wanted to grow carrots and peas in our garden (I blame Mr Bloom...) We already have a respectable crop of raspberries and strawberries and I usually have a few pots of herbs on the go. I have also grown tomatoes and peppers in the conservatory (though not for a couple of years - I always forget to start them off in time! Or I forget to water them. . .) and the occasional courgette plant has found it's way into the flower bed.  You may remember last year we had a go at runner beans, which were hugely successful but as neither of us really like them that much, ultimately a pointless exercise!

In an ideal world I would love to grow all our own veggies - I dream of nicely laid out plots ala River Cottage, with a green house and potting shed. We will grow spuds all year round, pick our salad fresh every day, make jams, cordials and chutneys with the glut of fruit at the end of summer and serve home grown sprouts with our festive turkey dinner. Hey let's take the dream a step further and collect eggs daily from our little troop of chickens. I may even call on the mother in law to teach me how to milk a goat! Then I can wear dungarees and you can all call me Barbara . . .

Unfortunately our little patch of England is not really good for much more than supporting the dandelion and slug population (I have moaned and whinged about the lack of size, light, decent soil etc. in the past so I won't do it again...) But I was determined that we would grow something other than weeds this year so I invested in a simple, slot together wooden raised bed and set it up in the only flat(ish) bit of garden that gets sunlight and isn't covered in gravel.

When last summer's growing season was over I filled it with some left over potting compost and compost from our compost bin, gave it a good dig over and left it over winter.  Once the soil started to warm up we had a root through my packets of seeds (some of which I had bought and some my mum gave us) and decided what had the best chance of (a) growing and (b) being eaten in the event that it actually grew big enough to harvest . . .

Little Man said he wanted peas and carrots but we also found some beetroot and lettuce seeds.

Dividing the raised bed into quarters we planted a different vegetable in each quarter. Then Little Man watered them with his very own little watering can . . .

We added a giant blue windmill in the corner of the plot as a 'scarecrow' to discourage birds from digging around and hopefully the cat from viewing the freshly dug over plot as her very own personal toilet... (it's working so far! On both counts!!)

Now we just have to sit back and wait (and remember to water it when it's dry).

I am very much looking forward to being able to harvest carrots and eat them straight out of the ground, and peas straight from the pods. I have even remembered to start the tomatoes off this year and have three plants in a grow bag against the sunny wall so we may, at some point this summer, be able to boast a fully homegrown salad for tea!

It's a long way from my little dream of vegetable self-sufficiency but it's as much as we can do with what we've got and I know the Little Man will get so much more out of it than just fresh carrots on his plate.

Are you growing any of your own fruit and veg this summer? Have you in the past? Was it worth all the effort? And did the kids really help like they said they would or lose interest before the first seedling poked it's head through the soil? ;-)

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