Saturday, 31 March 2012

Unpacking the garden

It really did feel like I was unpacking the garden this week - getting the garden furniture out, raking up the remainder of the Autumn leaves and weeding, weeding, weeding. The lawn has been mown a couple of times, we have had four BBQs (yes 4, in March, like that's ever going to happen again!) and the kids have been out on the swings and playing games until dark. The blossom is out on all the trees (this one is our neighbours - it's beautiful), such a lovely view.

We bought a stainless steel kitchen trolley from Ikea last year which we are using as extra worktop space for the BBQ. I still haven't made the cushion covers for these chairs yet. Ho hum.

Some grape hyacinths which are nestled in amongst the many bluebells which are due to flower within the next few weeks.  I think the previous owners loved blue flowers.

Luckily, I haven't managed to kill the rhubarb. I hope I get a bit more than last year, there was only enough for one crumble! The gooseberry bushs are covered in leaves and flowers, I am hoping for a better gooseberry crop too.

I weeded the weed border. Yes, you read that right. There were some weeds growing that the tortoises can't eat so I weeded all of those ones out, just leaving the weeds they are allowed and the vast array of bluebells (which they aren't allowed but I don't want to dig up as they are so pretty). It just means that picking the weeds is a bit easier now and there is more space for further weeds that I have growing in other untended parts of the garden - believe me, there are many weeds in our garden.

This is how the new lawn is looking. So glad we planted it last year and not this year as we have a hosepipe ban coming into force in April. I weeded the border along the fence in manageable 30-60 minute sessions. It was mainly pulling up ivy as opposed to weeding but it is nice and clear now, all ready for the tayberries and blackcurrants to do their thing.

There are lots of bluebells in this border too.

Whilst I have been mooching around the garden finding more and more jobs to keep me occupied, Gerard has been playing a spot of Swingball.

He loves sitting under the slide, waiting to pounce on the next person to walk past.

We are off on holiday soon, going to visit my sister and brother in law in Hong Kong. Really really really excited, can't wait to see them and can't wait to explore Hong Kong. Blogging will be a bit quiet over the next couple of weeks but I am sure there will be plenty to talk about when we get back. Hope you all have a wonderful Easter. xxx

A perfect weekend

Remember I told you about a crochet/sewing project last week which had to be completed for the weekend? I have been planning this project for quite a while, it took time to find the right yarn (good old charity shop came up trumps with some just off white yarn - it had to be off white, not white or cream which proved quite difficult to find). I used my knitted and crocheted flowers book and tested out a few different flowers to see which would be the right one. Above is the flower I chose and I crocheted 38 of them using a 1.5mm crochet hook. Lots of ends to sew in!
Then I sewed 6 tiny glass beads on each one - that took the best part of a day to do. Next I had to make a waistband and sew the flowers on - another day taken doing this. Definitely a labour of love. And the project was almost complete - just the final finishing touches, sewing on buttons and attaching to the dress (made by the lovely lady who made my wedding dress).

This dress was worn by my eldest two years ago with a pearl waistband but my youngest wanted it to be slightly different for her special day.
Her First Holy Communion day. She really did look beautiful and had the best time with 40 of her school friends all taking their first communion at the local church. A party tea in the church hall then back to our house for champagne, nibbles and cake...

Chocolate cake, as requested by the special girl.

We had a fantastic day but boy were we all exhausted come Monday!

So that's another crochet project completed. Still working on and off on the chevron garden blanket, I wonder if it will be finished before the summer is over. I have really lost interest in it but I will try hard to get back on track as really, there is only a little bit left to go before it's done.

I've been out in the garden again over the past couple of days, digging up yet more mandrakes. Can't wait til it's all cleared and ready to turf. The kids are getting quite excited too as it means they will have double the amount of lawn to play on. Roll on summer.


Friday, 30 March 2012

Mollie Makes Blanket pattern

I've had a couple of requests for the pattern for these squares. I looked very carefully at the Mollie Makes blanket and worked out roughly how to do them. I didn't bother looking for a pattern online as the blanket looked very vintage and I wasn't certain there would be anyone out there with the pattern written up.

However, I have since discovered that this lovely lady has sourced the pattern and it is on her blog. So that saves me time trying to discover where I left my little post it note with the handwritten instructions on, that only I would understand!

Have fun with whatever craft project you are working on this weekend. xx

Monday, 26 March 2012

Hexagon Fun

I spent most of last week not crocheting. It was difficult. I couldn't decide what I wanted to make with the wool that I had. I was quite out of sorts that week, it really bothered me that I couldn't crochet as I didn't want to make something that wasn't right and waste the yarn that I had bought. I had originally meant to use this yarn (the milk protein cotton) to make a ripple/chevron. But when I tried out a few different patterns, it just didn't seem to work. I have concluded that for the ripple blanket I want to make, I need a thicker yarn or to use two strands at once. That idea was therefore shelved as I have no funds to start buying more yarn.

I needed a new project and I began a meandering search on blogs, flickr and pinterest, trying to muster up some inspiration. Then I saw an image of some hexagon patterned fabric and thought I could just make some small one colour hexagons and see how it looked.

I used this pattern, which I found searching Google for crochet hexagon pattern images. I think it works perfectly as a one colour hexagon and is a lovely size - about 2.5 inches wide.

These little guys are joined as you go and only take 8 minutes a piece to make. Just perfect for the odd bit of crochet here and there. The blanket has grown to over double the above size since taking these photos on Friday. A fair bit of crochet was done over the weekend in the sunshine, cup of tea to hand, kids playing in the garden. Bliss.

I bought three 50g balls of the chocolate brown yarn to tone down the brightness of the orange and pink. I think it's just about doing the job nicely. E has claimed this blanket already, draping it over her lap during the evening whilst watching a bit of tv. I'm not entirely sure how big this blanket will get and what kind of border it will have, but I am going to wing it and see what happens. I'm just enjoying making it, it feels right for the wool I am using so I'm quite happily going with the flow. So so nice to be crocheting again. I think it's safe to say I am well and truly addicted.

We have had the most gorgeous weather over the past few days so I have spent a great deal of time in the garden, pottering about, mainly pulling out weeds and ivy and tidying the place up a bit. Big plans for this year (many left over from last year, ahem), lots to sort out in order to make the garden more manageable. Will dedicate another post to this subject as I have quite a few photos. We've done so much to the garden but there's still plenty to do before it's looking more like our kind of space.

Gerard has been having the time of his life out in the sunshine. He has managed to scare off all the local cats so he finally has his garden all to himself. I've never seen a cat rolling around in dusty dirt like a lion before but that is top of Gerard's list of favourite things to do. He's also quite partial to hiding in the undergrowth for a little nap. :) Tearing around like a maniac and getting supremely over excited when one of us goes out into the garden is also a popular pastime. Sometimes I wonder whether he thinks he's a dog.  The tortoises are also enjoying the sunshine, their appetite has improved greatly as they are spending more time wandering around in their enclosure. So much to enjoy at this time of year, it's great to be able to get out in the garden again. Hope you are enjoying your outside space too. xx

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Birthday Boy and Round Crochet Blanket

Yes, this little man turned 3 years old today! We have had him now for 6 months and we couldn't imagine our lives without him. He's quite a talkative little chap and loves company. He also loves sleeping on beds. In these photos he is asleep on my eldest's bed, on top of her recently made blanket. About a year ago she decided she would like a crochet blanket - a round one. After looking for a pattern for some time, I discovered the one that Dottie Angel used by this clever lady - Mille Makes. After making the flower middle, I just kept going, trying to get the right amount of stitches per round so that the blanket would lay flat. As you can see from the photos, I didn't succeed and I wasn't happy about this at all. It also took a long time to make, what with all the petals and each time I finished a round, the blanket looked no bigger - all very disheartening as you can well imagine. Much muttering under my breath occurred and the blanket was shoved with some force into a bag and kicked under a chair and forgotten about for a few months! I eventually got it out when I was in a WIP blitzing frame of mind and managed to finish it off fairly quickly. E loves the fact that it is a bit frilly and is very pleased with the colour combo (wouldn't be my first choice, that's for sure! Colours are Stylecraft Special DK in Black, Violet and Plum, I think). It was finished off with a picot edging and draped over her bed, where the cat promptly plonked himself down, probably thinking how lucky he was that Mum had made him yet another blanket to sleep on!

Due to the terrible weather today, Gerard has done a lot of sleeping on his birthday. He got up briefly to have some cat treats before retiring to F's bed for an afternoon nap, on top of her crochet blanket, using a cuddly toy as a pillow. Oh to be a cat. xx