Six on Saturday 22nd August

Hey there! Hope everyone survived the wind yesterday (meteorological, of course, not gastronomical!) We have some really tall, thin trees at the bottom of our garden (must find out what they are) and I just love the rustling sound they make in the wind, and as my home office overlooks the back garden, that was the soundtrack to my Friday.

I was afraid that the wind would scupper the homemade plant tourniquet that I fashioned on Thursday! This is my first point.

On Thursday afternoon sitting in my home office, I was forced to watch in silence (because I was on a conference call) as a squirrel climbed up my second tallest Sunflower until its weight overcame it and it snapped over. To add to my dismay, it then picked one of my Sunflower Teddy Bears and sat on the fence post nibbling it without a care in the world!

Anyway, conference call duly completed, I hot footed it out to the garden to see if I could salvage the toppled Sunflower. It’s days away from flowering and I really want the poor thing to fulfil its floral destiny. So, I made sure its bottom half was securely inside the metal support, then added a taller bamboo support and tied it securely in a couple of times and then wrapped the snapped part in gaffer tape. I then had to sit and watch yesterday as the wind buffeted it all day. I was expecting by today, for its leaves to be wilted, but so far it seems to be holding up. Fingers crossed enough goodness is getting up that stem to allow it to flower on.

Moving on to the greenhouse and I finally have what looks like tomatoey success appearing in the tomato jungle!

I’ve no idea what type of tomatoes these are as I got the labels mixed up when I potted them on, but all the plants have flowers so hopefully I’ll get some of each of the three varieties that I planted. Just need it to stay warm enough for them to develop. To be honest, given how late I sowed them (because I changed my mind about growing them) I’ll be happy if I just get one tomato! As you can see, they’ve completely taken over my greenhouse. I was intending to take some cuttings to get myself some free plants, but there’s no room!

The only thing I do have room for in there is my pepper plant.

This is one of the first two peppers that grew on the plant weeks ago and I’ve left it and left it to ripen because I prefer my peppers any colour other than green, but I was starting to doubt that it would ever change colour, so I was delighted to see this morning a very definite red tinge to it! It’s a bit tricky to see in the photo, but if you squint at the back of it, you may just see the redness developing. it’s tied up to any support I could find in the greenhouse because there are seven peppers growing on it, so it’s somewhat top heavy. Hooray!

Continuing with the veg theme for now, I harvested my carrots this week – isn’t there something very satisfying about the pop with which they come out of the ground?

They’re not the biggest carrots in the world, but they’re mine and I grew them so I’m happy. We had a couple with a chicken dinner in the week and they were delicious. I haven’t brought myself to eat the one with legs yet because it’s cute, but I guess I should steel myself to chop it up and devour before it’s too late. If feels like we should have some kind of ritual death ceremony for it.

Moving back to the non-edible, and I have quite a few seed heads around the garden. Some of them may have already scattered themselves but I might be able to harvest some seeds to save for next year.

Left it right, we have Aquilegia (which itself, self seeded from somewhere unknown), Welsh Poppies which were a beautiful yellow (also self seeded on our bistro) and Nigella which I grew from seed and which flowered beautifully, but somewhat short lived. I have to decide whether to save these seeds to grow more next year, or whether to keep them to use in the kitchen – they’re delicious stirred into rice.

Finally I’m going to finish with one of my favourite flowers of this year as it probably won’t last much longer now that the weather’s going decidedly Autumnal (sob!)

Delightful, dazzling, delicate Dahlia. I really think I could become a Dahlia enthusiast if I had the time and space to dedicate to them. As it is, I satisfy myself with buying one or two each Summer and enjoying their gorgeousness for a couple of months. This year I’ve enjoyed this one more than usual because it lives in a pot on our bistro where I spent much of my time furloughed and it’s right in my eyeline to the side of my laptop now I’m back in the home office.

There’s my Six. I’m off to do some cross stitch now while I wait for Tesco to deliver our shopping, then I’m off out for an afternoon tea with my best friend and, would you know it, we’re having it in a garden centre! I feel a purchase coming on!

As ever, check out the Propagator’s blog for more Sixes.


Six on Saturday 8th August

I’m popping in a little late this week with my Six because we were visiting the Confetti Fields in Pershore this morning. I think they’ll make up two of my six points today. I missed last Saturday because we were holidaying in Norfolk (and getting bitten by a dog on the beach, as it turns out, but I’m over my woe is me phase on that now!)

So, I’ll start with two Confetti Field points as I’ve primed you ready for them! It was a different experience there this year because corona virus scuppered their usual routine and they had to replant the field to bloom later in the year. This means the Delphiniums are shorter than usual (last year they were as tall as me!) but they were still super pretty, maybe not quite as impactful, but I still loved them.

Due to the later opening, they’ve also added a huge area of Sunflowers.

They were just delightful and they’re attracting millions of bees. It seemed like each Sunflower had at least one bee bumbling around in it. Perhaps you can get some perspective on the size of the flower heads from the bees in the first pic.

The buds were enormous! I’m very envious – my Sunflower Teddy Bear are starting to bloom, but my Autumn Beauties are still some way off. I don’t think we get enough sun in our garden.

Moving back to our garden now and I feel it’s been far too long since I’ve shared a photo of my Eupatorium – probably my favourite plant in the garden.

It hasn’t grown as tall as it did in its first two years of existence. I guess there’s time yet. It’s still gorgeous. I just love the contrast between the purple and dark green of the leaves. I should take some cuttings.

My next point is a comparison of two hanging baskets.

On the left are new Begonias that I ordered during lockdown and on the right are last years plants that somehow managed to survive the Winter. I can’t actually decide which looks better. Last years have certainly not grown as big as they did last year, and they took a long time to get going. The new ones have gone quite leggy but have produced beautiful blousy blooms.

I’m going to end with two veg points.

Tomato flowers. Finally! I sowed these late and feared I’d get no fruit, but it looks like they’re going to do me proud. I don’t like eating tomatoes but I do enjoy growing them.

And some runner beans to finish. This is my first year of growing them and I’m amazed at how quickly they go from tiny baby runner beans to proper full sized beans. They taste soooo much better than shop bought too.

So there you have it, my Six for this week. Don’t forget to check the Propagator for more links.

Crafting Achievements during Lockdown

Like lots of people, at the beginning of lockdown I felt a need, I wouldn’t go so far as to say pressure, but a definite need to be productive. To not waste the enforced time at home. I guess, to make a bad situation a little less negative so I started making a list of all my crafting ‘drumroll’ moments during lockdown. The mistake I made was to assume that firstly lockdown would only be a couple of weeks and secondly that there would be a defined moment when lockdown ended and normality resumed in the same way that normal did before 23rd March and that that would be the time for me to proudly list and record all my achievements on this little platform.

Well, reality’s gone a little bit differently, hasn’t it? Are we still in lockdown? Kind of, sort of, ish! I could, if I wanted to, go to a pub or a restaurant, but I’d likely be surrounded by people wearing masks, I may have a timed slot and I wouldn’t be allowed to stand at the bar. I could jet off on holiday, but again masks would be ever present, lots of attractions wouldn’t be open and I may get stranded or have to unexpectedly quarantine on my return. I’ve had my hair cut and coloured (thank the Lord) but my lovely hairdresser was wearing a visor, she couldn’t offer me a drink or a magazine and while my colour was cooking I had to sit in my own little cocoon (being the stereotypical introvert I actually quite liked this part). I’ve been to the dentist but I felt like I was on the set of Ghostbusters! So, we have what seems like partial normality, but it may be the new normal, at least for the foreseeable future.

Anyhow, the point behind this rambling, is that I’ve decided to share my crafting makes, some more impressive than others, now as it doesn’t seem that there will be a definitive return to normal point. So, bear with me while I scroll back eleventy million weeks on my photo reel to the beginning of this weirdness.

Week one of lockdown and I finished my first project and posted it off to its intended recipient (or his mum and dad anyway).

It’s the Bunny Parade blanket by Kerry Jane Designs and it’s currently (actually, probably not literally ‘currently’ given that it’s eighty in the shade today) being enjoyed by my new nephew, Leon.

Next to be finished was a knitted project rather than my usual crochet.

I bought the pattern and yarn for this jumper over a year ago when some friends and I visited Wool Warehouse and met Lucy from Attic24. I knitted it on and off and used this extra time to finally finish and assemble it. I love it, but again, far too *warm *hot *sweltering (delete as appropriate) to wear it right now.

Next I made some masks eases for a nurse friend.

Wearing masks all day, every day becomes very uncomfortable, but is obviously necessary for our key workers, and becoming more so for us all. I hope these helped keep her a bit more comfortable.

Speaking of key workers, I crocheted two rainbows to display in our windows to show support for NHS workers and other key workers.

The bears are there to cheer up children as they walk past. I saw this idea on the news and knew I had to join in.

Next I decided to catch up on some Little Boxes of Crochet that I hadn’t found time to do. First was this delicious tea cup.

Included with this box was a little sewing kit to make Margaret the Corgi.

How thoroughly British!

Next up was the fabulous beachcombing blanket CAL (crochet along) by Eleonora of Coastal Crochet. This is truly my lockdown blanket and it filled my days with yarny wonderfulness and dreams of the seaside at a time when it could’ve been so easy to be fed up (to say the least).

After this things got a bit festive!

These were a kit from Aldi the Christmas before last. We even had a Christmas dinner around this time. Everything was just so strange that. Christmas dinner seemed appropriate!

A bright and colourful bag came next. This was another Little Box of Crochet project.

Niffler looks really cosy in there.

Another Little Box of Crochet next, this time Honey Bloom the Cockapoo.

Next was a little project that I saw Attic24 do ages ago.

I bought the hangers from Amazon a couple of years ago but never got round to making the covers.

I was spending such a lot of time in the garden during lockdown, especially when I was furloughed and the weather was so good so I decided I needed a pair of shoes that I could keep by the door to slip on when I came out. So I made some.

Next came the most recent Little Box of Crochet which was designed by Eleonora from Coastal Crochet (such a busy lady!)

It’s Marilla the Mermaid. Amanda from Little Box of Crochet and Eleonora came up with this gorgeous project way before the awful incident in America with George Floyd and the ensuing Black Lives Mather campaign but the timing of the box was very apt. BAME people are very under represented in the crafting world, both as designers and in the actual projects, so I hope this starts to redress the balance and that things change for the better.

Marilla fits in perfectly to my new Harry Potter themed office. As do my newly framed mystical cross stitches and long stitch.

I can’t give lockdown the credit for these because I actually finished them in the year 2000, but I did get them framed during lockdown.

Finally, I decided to get crocheting some wreaths. I’ve always wanted seasonal wreaths to hang on the front door throughout the year but have never found the time to make them.

Here are the first three that I’ve completed.

On the left is my Autumn wreath. The fox curled up at the bottom was a previous Little Box of Crochet project. He’s called Gareth. I designed the spider, the bonfire, fireworks and sun and cloud myself and I scoured the internet for patterns for the rest of the elements.

The middle is my Winter wreath. I love this one. It almost makes me want it to be Winter (almost!) Most of this is from patterns I found on the internet or in various books. The snowdrops are knitted rather than crocheted. I embellished it with diamanté pins.

The final one is the latest special kit from Little Box of Crochet designed by Kate Eastwood of Just Pootling. Some of the elements of this were quite fiddly, especially as my tension means everything I do turns out small (even when I go up a hook size!) but it was so worth it because I’m really happy with how it turned out and it makes me smile every time I come in the front door (even if that is less often than usual given lockdown!)

I’ve also done quite a bit of jigsawing during lockdown. Luckily I got back into this at Christmas so I had a few lying around, and also got a couple from Amazon.

I’m very glad that I also made masks, because, while I’ve been sat here on the swing chair writing this, it’s popped up on sky news that masks are going to be mandatory in all public indoor settings from 8th August.

Here’s me rocking the masked look!

Right, I have got to skedaddle because we’re off to the seaside for the weekend the minute hubby finishes work and I haven’t packed anything yet! Toodles!