Wednesday, 24 June 2009


I think I'm going to need a new camera. This one has been my faithful companion for about 5 years, been dropped more times than I can count, got wet, covered in tea and jam, and generally been mistreated and well loved :) 

Now I've managed to break the display window (or rather, it broke). I can still take pictures, by looking through the view finder like in the old days :) But I can't see how far I've zoomed, can't see which buttons I've pressed. The flash has been broken for a couple of years now, so that's no loss, but it was nice to be able to change the settings once in a while.

Anyway, I shan't be buying a new one for a while (I have other plans for my heard earned cash). So you'll have to bear with me while I adapt my miniscule photography skills. 

The garden's blooming at the minute. The pink rose bush in the front garden was the one I hacked right down to the ground last year, intending to pull it out of where I wanted the veg patch. But I couldn't dig far enough under it, so it got a stay of execution and now proudly presides over the food plants. It's done well after it's brutal treatment - I've never seen so many gorgeous huge roses, and look at that colour! 

The peach coloured rose is by the seating area near the back door. It's in the shade, and I haven't pruned it or anything, it's much smaller than the other one and it has just this one flower on it. Smells lovely though. 

It's been a busy week of work, holidays, hospitals, and flaking out, so projects other than the phd have taken a bit of a hit this week. But I've got a present on the go for a friend's birthday which I'll have finished by Friday, so I'll post pictures when it's done. 

A new skirt!

I have a new skirt! After making a couple of my own full circle skirts a few weeks ago, I was pondering the logistics of making a patchwork skirt. I wanted it to look like an old quilt on an old bed... I wasn't quite sure how to go about it. 

Then my lovely sister offered to make one for me, saying she'd love to make one, but probably wouldn't wear it... So she did, and it arrived in the post on Monday. Apparently there's 92 squares in the bottom layer! 

I love it, it's floaty and swishy and heavy and purple and patchwork and fabulous. And made from lots of pillowcases :) 

I'll post a photo of it being twirled around at some point, but I appear to have broken my camera (aarrgghh!). Hopefully it'll just be the viewing window that's broken, not the whole camera, but I'm almost too scared to look. 

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Sewing, drawing and facing your demons

I love charity shops. Every Saturday afternoon, after a lovely morning of tea and cake and friends at the local Women's Institute country market, we have a quick mooch around the charity shops. This week I found two of these black and white cotton pillowcases for 60p each - a bargain, and they go very nicely with the white and black one I found in the same shop a couple of weeks ago. I used some of that to make a bag, but I'm now pondering a new project that will use both of them together. 

Speaking of projects... I wanted a small but cheery thing I could do and finish this afternoon. Quick projects really are the best I think, especially if you're like me and have too many things to do (or rather, avoid), and a rather short attention span :) 

I decided last week that my diary needed a new cover. I have no idea what possessed me to buy a white diary - a white diary with little pink and blue butterflies on. Needless to say, it's completely filth. I don't seem to be able to keep crumbs and mud and water and grubbiness out of any bag that I own. 

This week I've been reading about drawing over at Soulemama's blog. I've always thought I couldn't draw at all, and therefore I had no business even trying, not even for myself in a corner of my bedroom, where nobody else would see. How daft! So I grabbed a pen and a scrappy bit of paper and had a go. The perfectionist in me wanted a proper pencil and a proper drawing pad and a book to copy out of. But I've noticed lately that the perfectionist is getting her way less and less often these days... 

So here it is, my cheery gardening woman, posted on the internet for all to see. I feel like I'm back at school! So one foot's bigger than the other, and her hat's lopsided, and she looks like she's wearing glasses when she wasn't meant to... but she's got a smile on her face, a plant in her hand and her wellies on. All good. 

After going to all that effort (!) I figured I couldn't really let her go to waste. Again, over at Soulemama, I've been reading about how Amanda traces her children's drawings onto fabric, embroiders them and uses the embroidered squares for quilts, or hangings. Well, I don't have a few arty children lying about the place here... so I thought I'd use my new gardening woman picture :) 

Here she is, slightly altered, with a cup of tea instead of her brush (although you can still see the pencil outline of the brush, and the extra hat (!) on the fabric). Another day I might have embroidered the whole thing, but I needed to do this quickly, before I got too scared.

And here she is, wonkily sewed onto the front of the new cover for my diary :) The cover is black, with small red roses (I thought they were strawberries originally, but either will do!). The fabric is from another charity shop find, a kind of peasant/cowgirl kind of dress, with a gathered neck, and a flared skirt. Sadly it doesn't really fit, so last weekend I lopped the bottom off to make a skirt, and this diary cover is made from one of the sleeves. 

I think she looks happy there, reminding me to plan in a little gardening time, a little resting time, in amongst everything else that goes in the diary :) 

The cover slips off the diary, so I can always use it for next year's, if it survives that long. 

So, a lovely sunny day, lunch with friends, a bit of work (just a bit, mind), and a cheery small project :) Now I'm ready to start another week.

Friday, 12 June 2009


Not much to say today, but I wanted to post some pictures of the beautiful flowers in the garden at the minute - the gorgeous fuchsia, geraniums (I think), broad beans, marigolds, and the clematis I thought was dead, but which is very much alive. 

More later, when I can concentrate on flowers instead of work :) 

Monday, 8 June 2009

A soggy weekend

It was a busy weekend, involving a festival in a local park, an attempt (failed) at fixing my bike, and a fair amount of writing, which seemed to involve lots of post it notes, and not a lot of writing at all. 

After a long day at work today, I finally got round to cutting some of the chive flowers out of the garden. I have a book of edible flowers, and it recommends using chive flowers in scrambled eggs, saying they taste rather oniony, and are quite crunchy. We didn't have any eggs though... 

I ended up freezing them. I can't remember where I read about this method of preserving herbs - packing them into ice cube trays, topping with water, then decanting into bags when they've frozen. I can't think why I haven't got round to it until now. I think herbs are the only thing that's fairly guaranteed to be productive in this tiny garden, so it makes sense to preserve them when I can. Wherever I read about this, it said to just throw a couple in when you're cooking and let them melt - it's apparently as good as using them fresh from the garden. We'll see. 

Another busy week this week, I'm counting the weeks until this is all over (16!). I'm hatching a plan to give myself a bit more time over the next few weeks, but we'll see whether anything comes of it... 

Friday, 5 June 2009

A rainy Friday afternoon

The weather finally broke today, and now it's raining hard. I'm quite enjoying it. I love the spring sunshine, but after a few days I'm itching for a rain shower to wash the dust away. I've had a headache for most of the week, and the a good rain seems to have washed the fugginess away. Of course, it could always be because I've stopped thinking for a few hours... 

I've felt very locked up inside my own head this week, getting through work, but not really connecting. Was it the weather? No idea. But I was glad to see the rain anyway, it makes me want to be inside, up in the attic, not exactly wanting to write, but being a bit more inclined than when it's sunny. 

I've spent much of the week thinking about writing, and very much not getting on with it. I hate time like that! All of the space used up in your head, but none of the work done. Today something had to shift. We went out for a walk, and then I got myself up in the attic, listening to the rain, and decided I needed a project. 

With the sunshine in mind, Peter suggested a peg bag for when our outdoor washing line is finished. A nice way to use up some of the lovely yellow fabric from my birthday. It's not quite a conventional peg bag, and Peter insists it looks like a bra, but hey, these things sometimes just build themselves and you have to go with it :) 

We've since found a wooden hanger, which looks much nicer. Isn't that material gorgeous?

In amongst all the fuzziness this week, we had a lovely day on Thursday when my little sister got married :) A simple ceremony, a few guests, and lunch at the pub. It wasn't a dressy affair, but the weather man said it would be a bit cooler than the rest of the week, which gave a nice excuse for a new cardi :) 

This wasn't a pattern, just based on an idea from a book in a charity shop that I didn't buy. The wool is left over from a Dr Who scarf I knitted Peter for Christmas a couple of years ago. The needles are huge, 15mm, and I just cast on 25 stiches (ended up with 24 - oops!), and knitted every row until the ball ran out (it wasn't a full ball). Then I sewed up a couple of inches at each end for the sleeves (on the train on the way to the wedding - classy). 

I think it turned out quite nicely! I've got a few different colours in this wool, so I might experiment with a few different stiches when I'm not in such a rush - maybe one with longer arms?
Aside from all the moaning I've done this week, I have done other things. Made some more rhubarb and orange jam, which is fast becoming a staple in this house. I really should have planted some of my own rhubarb, I've got no idea why I didn't. The clematis in the garden has got a few gorgeous red flowers on, I'll post a picture when it's sunny. And we've actually managed to stick to our June food budget! (yes, I know, it's only the 5th!). 

It'll be a busy weekend - I'm helping to set up the LETS stall at a local small festival tomorrow morning - hopefully the weather will hold off for a while at least. And a few of our friends are playing in various bands there throughout the day. On Sunday a local woman is running a women's bike ride, which I'd love to go on - I haven't been out on my proper bike since last year. But there's work to be done, and I've put it off all week, so unless I gain an extra day between now and Sunday morning, it's looking unlikely. Just goes to prove you need to prioritise, or you'll miss out. Lesson learned (for now).