31/10/2017 § 1 Comment
Rewind back to the Spring – see that old patio table that’s sprayed red in the bottom right corner?
It’s been sitting there all summer, with the odd pot stuck on top of it. It’s in the wrong place for a coffee cup and whilst sitting up on the top patio, over many cuppas, I’ve been making plans for it. Ta-Dah … an alpine garden …
I initially planned a stone edge but then on a visit to a builders’ merchant, I spied the bamboo edging and thought how easy it would be to wire it to the mesh table top. The soil is on top of a weed-proof membrane to allow easy drainage. It was easy – less than an hour’s work. But it needed something as a focal point …
aaaawwwwwww – I so miss Flora Puddleduck and she so loved water so when I found this little water feature I thought what a fitting memorial to Flora it would be, as well as providing my new alpine garden with a proper feature. The gentle sound of water is so relaxing and always reminds me of Flora’s splashing and bathing. She’s have loved to have ducklings, I’m sure!
I just love it – although I know it’s a bit ‘naff’!
I stained the bamboo edging with black wood preservative and I can’t wait for the alpines and sedums to cover the bare earth. Roll on next Spring! There are loads of miniature Spring bulbs already planted too.
The weather has been absolutely beautiful for the best part of a week – chilly, bright, golden Autumn days with the first overnight frost of the season just a couple of days ago. I haven’t been able to stay indoors and have undertaken a massive garden tidy up. The front gates have been stained smart black (well, the tub of wood preservative was open so I thought I’d better make use of it). And another paint pot was prized open this afternoon …
I recently acquired an unloved metal patio set and in today’s mellow sunshine, I donned gloves and an apron and set about removing all the peeling paint with a wire brush. I found half a tin of Hammerite in the shed and have finished one chair …
That’s better! All spruced up and ready for a sit down on a chilly morning with a steaming mug of hot chocolate. I just LOVE this time of year. Cosying up over long evenings, quilts and crochet blankets on the bed and layered up over the sofas, frosty breath in the mornings, golden leaves and red berries.
Do you love Autumn or are you craving hot summer sunshine already? Embrace cosy – go on, get quilting!
27/02/2017 § 10 Comments
My darling Flora Puddleduck went to sleep today. I’m heartbroken but take some comfort from knowing that she had a wonderful life and was so much loved and well looked after every day of her little life. She’d have been 6 this Spring.
A while ago I did a post about her here with links to some of my favourite posts. When my husband passed away and I didn’t want to blog, I spoke through Flora who became my guest blogger. She’s been a constantly cheerful garden companion, a feisty character and a charming member of our family who has regarded me as her Mother Duck, since she first spied me that morning in Cornwall when she was a tiny, newly hatched scrap of feather and beak.
I’ll look back through the hundreds photos of her one day but it’s too soon at the moment. Today, the garden seems very quiet without her quiet quacking whenever I venture outside. She used to quack a louder greeting whenever I drew up in the car and Belle has been looking for her in all her secret places this afternoon.
This poem will always be a poignant reminder of my darling Flora Puddleduck …
With a bit of luck, a duck will come into your life.
When you are at the peak of your great powers
And your achievement towers like a smoking chimney stack
There’ll be a quack,
And right at your feet, a little duck will stand.
She will take you by the hand and lead you,
Like a child with no defence;
She will lead you into wisdom, joy and innocence.
That little duck.
We wish you luck.
Night, night Flora
13/01/2017 § 3 Comments
Gypsy Wife is proving to be a challenge …
I’ve been quite enjoying this type of patchwork that is so different from my usual style. I am loving the fun of putting different colours together and how they make these blocks work (or not). Some didn’t work out quite as planned so will be redone – I HATE redoing anything!
My favourites so far …
I’m hoping to have it pieced in a month – too much of a challenge? Well, maybe!
Breakfast each day for the last week has been colourful – starting with green, then various shades of orangey gold and yesterday pink. The blender-thing is doing its stuff and I have to admit to enjoying the orangey/pinky drinks more than the green – maybe it’s the sweeter flavour from mango, raspberries & blueberries as opposed to cucumber & kale!
In addition to colourful breakfasts, yesterday just as it was getting dark, the rain gave way to a brief spell of snow and for a very short time the brown winter garden took on that magical cloak of white. It was all too fleeting-a shower and then it froze so this morning was crisp, to say the least. The girls enjoyed a long walk in the woods yesterday, just before it started to rain …
and Flora was very cuddly in this morning’s chill – she’s such a sweet character.
I think that’s my first published ‘selfie’ – a bit of a challenge when cuddling a duck with one arm and trying to hold the camera and press the dot with the other!
I treated myself to a large jug to brighten up a corner of the lounge. I love handmade Mary Rose Young pottery and have quite a few pieces but it’s out of my budget these days, so I was pleased to find this ‘designed by MRY’ jug that is perfect – gorgeous colours …
Oh – I almost forgot – more orange – I made marmalade –
12 jars of Christmas Spiced Marmalade (which may not last than long)
and 12 jars of Dark Ginger Marmalade – my favourite!
Have a lovely weekend and stay warm.
10/07/2016 § Leave a comment
Well, it’s raining and yesterday in Alton, it was blustery (but very warm and dry, thankfully). So good to meet up with such lovely folk from Alton and the surrounding villages, at the monthly market when us ‘Makers’ team up with those ‘Farmers’ and set up our stalls on and around the High Street, whatever the weather!
Everything in my garden is growing like crazy – I thought you may like a few photos …
The Dublin Bay rose is in full and glorious bloom, as is the red rose over the archway down to the pond.
One of my favourite places to sit and enjoy the afternoon sun (so I haven’t been sitting there very much recently)!
The veg plot is very green – runner beans, peas, broad beans, sunflowers, lettuce, radishes and tomatoes in the greenhouse – I can’t wait for the runner beans to be ready. My friend introduced me to a stunningly simple but delicious meal – freshly boiled runners topped with crispy bacon rashers, to be enjoyed on their own or with a hunk of bread and butter. Do try it – it’s amazing!
But possibly my garden favourites this week are the sedums in my miniature gardens, planted up in galvanised trays, and made into outdoor coffee tables with an upturned baker’s rack and a couple of concrete pots. I love this little feature on the lower patio. Here it was in May before those sedums started to bloom …
and now …
Mrs Quacky, aka Flora Puddleduck, is very vocal at the moment. She’s guarding her nest and hides her eggs so effectively, I sometimes don’t catch up with her latest secret nesting spot for a few days!
Flora says ‘Hello’, in a rare moment of sunshine last week!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend – I have LOTS of sewing to do …
PS – I’ve just been notified that my Carnival Blanket has been featured on Houzz, in an article about the benefits for those of us who knit and crochet (and I suspect sew, too).
06/05/2016 § 2 Comments
This is a commissioned quilt – a 25th Anniversary Wedding present. I’m only posting a couple of photos as it’s being delivered tomorrow, when I’m hoping the weather will stay ‘set fair’ for the Alton Makers’ Market.
Here it is …
I spent a blissful day yesterday, in the sunshine hand-stitching all around the 8m binding! But I had company …
Flora was fascinated as I sat with this huge quilt over my lap. She’s not used to me sitting down for so long at once and kept pecking at my feet! Eventually she decided to sunbathe from the verandah and just watch!! (She was 5 years old last weekend).
I’ll post some other photos after it’s been delivered and maybe we’ll take a stroll around the garden too – everything’s beginning to grow like crazy out there!
Have a lovely weekend and do pop by and say Hello if you’re visiting Alton.
Linking up, one again to Finish it up Friday.
10/05/2015 § 7 Comments
April’s arrived in May, with a blast of heavy showers, high winds and chilly evenings. Just a month ago, it was incredibly sunny and warm – I was even sewing in the garden! I’m not complaining – the garden was so dry and I feared for my newly sown grass. Here are some catch-up photos of the garden, wonderful wisteria, Dorset cottage gems and last week’s mooch around the glorious bluebell woods here in Hampshire …
and yesterday, in Alton’s Makers’ Market …
Back soon …
03/02/2015 § 14 Comments
it’s a SNOW day!
Have you had any snow? Please leave me a comment and let me know –
Mother Duck likes reading comments too!
29/01/2015 § 3 Comments
Pretty things have been happening in the kitchen …
Sometimes patchwork has to be ordered, co-ordinated and requires lots of thought. Sometimes it just gets thrown together and ends up looking really pretty – like the little cushion pad for the pink chair that was a project from a while ago. There’s Misty gazing out towards the back door where Flora has been tapping at the window …
Pink accessories have been appearing in the kitchen – life has to be pink!
and in the garden …
and Flora, relieved of blogging duties for the day, is taking shelter from the biting wind and frequent showers on the verandah of the toolshed …
Keep warm and toasty in the winter’s chill.
23/01/2015 § 5 Comments
Firstly, congratulations to Sooz ‘cos she’s the one I chose to receive the Calendar of Quilts. I had to choose from a row of grapes and wasn’t really sure what was going on because I ate them all, but it was important which one I chose first apparently – strange creatures, humans!
There’s been a lot of barking up at the house today, and over the past few days. Usually just after lunch, Belle tells me that a chap in shorts and a brightly coloured top, with a big red bag, marches up to the front door. He does it just to wake Misty up from her slumbers because no sooner has he walked down the path than he walks back up again. Then Mother Duck the rushes to the front door to collect packages and envelopes. Sometimes she sighs and mutters but over the past few days she often squeaks with excitement as she opens a package. Today, Belle tells me that a present from *C* arrived – a beautiful fountain pen. Lucky Mother Duck!
Everything in my garden’s been in a right old state for 2 days. This is how it looked yesterday morning …
I had to stay up on the top patio, out of the way of Andy and his team of fellas who worked so hard for 2 days and have transformed the back garden. It’s nothing to what’s happened out at the front though …
It’s all been very exciting and lots of Mother Duck’s friends have been around to say hello to me – and probably to see the garden too! J1 (my big brother duck) turned up with his enormous boots and I think there are lots more plans in Mother Duck’s head about what he can help with in the garden. I expect I’ll have to move ‘sharpish’ if he’s coming in my direction!
MD fairly squeaked with excitement yesterday afternoon, after the fellas had left. She was down by the old apple tree where one of Storm’s horseshoe’s always hangs and you’ll never guess – there’s MISTLETOE growing in the apple tree!!!!!
“Mistletoe was once strongly associated with luck – and many of the older traditions and legends can be interpreted as suggesting it has some sort of protective role. The popular kissing custom has, today, rather eclipsed many of these older traditions – but 100 years ago more customs may have still thrived. The location of the fighting in northern France and Belgium may have helped as French-speaking areas, even today, still hold on to the custom of mistletoe for luck – a ‘Porte Bonheur’.” Jonathon’s Mistletoe Diary
We’re all hoping that 2015 will be a good year – for the garden, for our family of ducks and for collie dogs!
Have a lovely weekend.
11/01/2015 § 1 Comment
Mother Duck has been busy all day today. She popped down to open up my little duck-house this morning then later on this afternoon, I was cuddled (not all that willingly) and fed a little treat of mealworms sprinkled on my water bowl (I gobbled those up very willingly), and then she was off again with a can of spray paint in her paws. Or is it just Belle and Misty who have paws? I get a bit confused about these things sometimes!
Here’s what she’s been up to today …
Here it is all lit up and sparkly …
And Mother Duck has also been playing with some beads …
but I’m not sure what she’s been sewing yet. Belle said she spent an hour or so doing some patchwork upstairs in her sewing studio so watch this space.
Belle and Misty have been really tired this afternoon since they returned from a long walk up at St Catherine’s Hill, near Winchester. Misty said it was a really steep walk up to the top and Belle says she had to pull Mother Duck all the way up! Apparently the views from up there are awesome and then Mother Duck and son J1 walked back to Winchester where the collies were treated to some nibbles from their brunch at Maison Blanc in the High Street. Lucky collies!
It’s definitely been a busy day up at the house and now that it’s just getting dark, I’m all tucked up in my duck-house, with my evening meal of chopped grapes, mealworms and chicken feed – yum, yum!
Quackers for now …