Friday, 8 June 2012

Growing blanket

From small acorns grow...

(look at the gorgeous sunshine in this photo - I had been sat in the shade as it was so hot. Just heavy rain and strong winds today.)

...over half way there...

...and onto the final few rows, until...'s finished - well, apart from sewing in three trillion ends and doing the border. At this point in time, I am desperately trying to like the ends so I don't have to deal with them!!

Have a wonderful weekend. x

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Homemade Cat Bed

Wow, what a weekend. Not sure how the Queen managed to keep going through all the festivites and the functions she attended. (which quite frankly, seemed to go on forever.) Just seeing her stood on that boat for hours in a dress coat and flimsy little scarf made me feel cold and I was in a nice warm room, merrily sewing a Union Jack flag from vintage fabrics to alleviate the boredom!

Anyway, I had a spare Friday about three weeks ago where I decided I would just have a little go at decorating the charity shop cat basket I bought for £3.50. Now, Gerard had not really been anywhere near this basket and my husband and kids quite rightly pointed out that a bit of bunting with his name on was highly unlikely to persuade him to sit in it. But I had in my mind how I wanted the basket to be as it is going to look pretty in our kitchen once it's all finished.

So I spent a couple of hours snipping into my favourite vintage fabrics and making a little row of flags, which I embroidered with floss - a letter for each flag - you might just be able to see in the above photo. Then I set to work on a round crochet blanket, the pattern for which I found on this blog. Alice is a very clever lady for producing such a clear and easy to follow tutorial for this mandala, perfect for round blankets, cushions and pot holders. Raymond the cat is super cute too!

Of course I went straight to my stash of Stylecraft yarns to make this blanket and chose colours to match the colours of accessories in my kitchen.

This is a Joseph Joseph glass worktop saver that I bought a short while ago, which we have been using mainly as a bread board. Luckily I had some very similar colours which match very well. All in all I had a fun day making this and was really chuffed with the end result. Shame Gerard still hasn't sat in the basket though! Ungrateful cat. :)

This project reminded me of something I made back in February when it was extremely cold. I found a pattern for a granny rectangle (can't remember from where, I googled it though if that's any help) and used some Stylecraft yarn to match the colours of the curtains in F's bedroom.

This was really quick to make - once you get the first two rows done, it's just like making a big granny square. Once it was done, I put it in place on the windowsill...

... where Gerard promptly jumped up and sat down. We have tiled windowsills in our house which get icy cold in winter (see the snow in the garden outside) and Gerard loves to sit on the sill and watch the world go by. He was very pleased to have a nice warm and comfy place to sit whilst watching the girls having a snowball fight outside.

And seeing as I don't have a photo of Gerard in his basket, here is one of him on next door's chimney, annoying a magpie! It's mainly bungalows down our road so he has lots of fun jumping up onto the roofs and getting a good view into the distance.

Will be back soon with news of charity shop bargains, new garden furniture and a growing blanket. x

Friday, 1 June 2012

Paving the way

Apologies for my absence, been busy in the garden and E has been very poorly, off school for 7 days with some kind of virus. Hopefully she will get some much needed rest over the half term holidays and will feel better soon.

Anyway, last weekend we decided to tackle the paving that we had planned to the side of the decking, making this area a weed free zone and much easier to keep tidy. Whilst my husband was levelling the area, I weeded under the pyracantha and started pruning off lots of dead branches. You can really notice a difference between these two photos, the photo below was taken at the end of February this year. It's lovely to be able to see the shape of the trunk/branches and the kids have already said that they would love to have a hanging chair here!

Gerard also got in on the action, he loves a roll in the sunshine, always wandering into the house covered in bits!

You may remember that we were given some paving slabs about 18 months ago by a relative who was working on a gardening job. The owners didn't want the slabs so they were lifted (and had only been down for two years so still in excellent condition) and promptly brought round to our house. These are really good quality slabs and extremely heavy.

Some of them had been cut to fit for their previous location so we had to make do with what we had been given and make it work for the space we have.

It was a hot day when M was laying these slabs, truly back breaking work. The slabs were far too heavy for me to lift so I felt like a spare part, only being needed to bring yet more squash and to fill up the watering can. I also have this really annoying habit of just sitting and watching someone work if I am unable to help. M only complained once (that I could hear anyway!).


We were extremely lucky to find these half price pots at a local garden centre. At first we only found one so dismissed it as we knew we needed a few to plant some bamboo to give us extra privacy along the fence. Just before we left the garden centre, we found some more pots on offer and another four were lurking at the back. Perfect for our requirements and I think they look very simple and understated.

We have paved behind the tortoise enclosure too as I sometimes need access to this side of the enclosure and trudging over mud on a rainy day in my slippers is not pleasant.  This is where we had to use some of the pre-cut slabs so we did some nifty filling in with mortar and slate paddlestones. We have a few slabs left so will be paving down the side of the enclosure that meets the lawn. We had laid some new turf down here last year but it is constantly in the shade so it never took so I think some paving will be the best solution for this area.

I think it looks great, so tidy and I can't wait to plant up the pots. Just need to find the right type of bamboo at a reasonable price. I used the rest of the slate paddlestones in the tortoise enclosure as a basking area for them. At first they were curious and crawled all over them but I haven't seen them on there since. Apparently tortoises don't like change so we'll see how it goes over the next few days.

We also finally found a parasol which fitted our requirements for this area (believe me, we are very picky) and that arrived yesterday, just in time for the bad weather we are due to have over the Jubilee weekend. Typical. Maybe we could shelter under it whilst toasting the Queen?  What are your plans this weekend? We are meeting up with all our neighbours for a BBQ on Sunday and there are lots of other things planned in our village to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. We are also hoping to lay the rest of the decking tiles along the long concrete path to the side of the house, and to pop out at some point to have some brunch at a lovely little tea house nearby. Can't wait. Have fun whatever you are doing this weekend. x