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!
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.
26/08/2016 § 1 Comment
enjoying the sunshine …
If I’m in the garden, Flora is never far away. She loves my pink slippers and given any opportunity, and if I’m still for long enough, will waddle over and comfortably settle herself next to them!
She is a rather plump duck who has, for a week or so, been spending a generous part of each day sitting on an egg. I left it in her ‘nest’ (a leafy bower by the pond) as it’s been a shady spot for her during these long hot, humid days that we’ve been having recently. However, I relieved her of her nesting duties last week and now she’s totally forgotten about it all and is back to being a busy presence around the garden, gobbling up slugs and snails.
I can’t quite believe that she’s over 5 years old. That tiny scrap of feather and beak that followed me back to the cottage we were staying in by the sea in Cornwall, with such an instinct to follow and make herself heard so that I would rescue her from the seagulls. To this day, I’ve never seen any domestic ducks in that village!
Here are a few posts that follow her progress over the years …
Edited to add “Flora’s little life ended on 27 March 2017 – she was very much loved and is hugely missed”. Rest Easy Flora
I’m busy quilting – I know, as my daughter says ‘Same old, same old’! But I LOVE it and am trying a new technique, so will take some photos when the quilt’s all done. I can’t put it down, so hopefully it won’t be long before there’s another quilt finished. I’ve posted some photos of recently finished quilts over on my Patchwork Quilts page (look left) and am trying very hard to keep up-to-date with all the photographs as I make them here. Such fun!
It’s a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK, this weekend and the weather’s set fair. I think the roads will be packed, so I’m going to put my feet up in the garden and enjoy watching Flora as she snuggles up to my slippers!
Enjoy the sunshine …
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.
28/10/2015 § 3 Comments
My motto for this year has been
Onwards & Upwards
well, it’s all happening here …
Trevor-the-builder is being assisted by my son J1 who does a lot of shifting stuff (as he puts it)! He says he’s going to start a business and call it ‘A to B Logistics’!!!!! One afternoon he single-handedly carted over 500 tiles up to the top of the scaffold.
Whilst Trevor-the-builder is doing master-craftsman work within the new walls, J1 is also transforming the garden – new cabin, veg plots and paths are taking shape. It’s wonderful to see our much loved home having a face-lift.
I’ll show you around the inside very soon – the bijou bathroom is going to be a picture with the unlikely addition of patchwork – naturally! You’ll have to wait and see – Trevor-the-builder will be cracking on with it tomorrow!
Flora isn’t sure …
She’s quite defensive about the invasion of her garden space by these Size 12’s!
15/06/2015 § 3 Comments
In the raised bed by the patio, many years ago, I planted a climber – for colour and perfume. Last winter I really cut it back very hard, fed it regularly and I’m being rewarded with the most glorious display ever. On these still, warm June evenings the perfume is quite delicious. Every day intensely deep burnt orange buds open into full glorious blooms then fade to pale parchment before the petals fall.
For Father’s Day a good while back, the children bought my husband a Dublin Bay rose. He loved Dublin very much and every year returned to his grandfather’s home nation to take his students on a trip – so many who came to his memorial remember those trips as the highlight of their entire degree course! Dublin Bay rose is sublime, the colour indescribable – such an impossibly red, red! It clambers over the workshop verandah and I love, love, love it.
Back in the grey days of winter, I had a vision of the front of my house, covered in a pretty rambling rose and I treated myself to Albertine. I wrote about in my 400th post, and all the other landscaping works that were done, here. Today I gasped as the first bloom appeared …
I think it needs a bit of a drink and the rose had probably opened yesterday, but still it’s in bloom and I can’t wait for it to grow and grow all up and over the front of the house.
Pure Abundance is a white patio rose that delivers beautiful blooms every year and today I treated myself to yet another pretty patio rose that just needs a suitable pot to plant it in (more treats)!
I love using industrial/utilitarian pieces in the garden and at the local recycling place the other day, I spied a rusty old oil funnel and swapped it for 2 irreparable garden seats. The lawnmower bucket came home with me over 20 years ago, with a lawnmower attached! Last Spring it went onto a skip and then, when the boys weren’t looking, I got it out again. It’s been hanging around for years and I’ve never known quite what to do with it but the other afternoon, after bringing my trophy oil can home, I took a pickaxe to the side of it to create a hole (and a very large dent) and created something that makes me smile – and I’m certain in the knowledge that there’s not another one of these planters in the world!
There are sweet peas clambering up a trellis by the greenhouse, irises in the front garden and foxgloves everywhere …
Did you spot the happy duck in the photo above?
Flora sends you all her love (from the pond) …
Enjoy your garden and the sunshine
15/04/2015 § 7 Comments
What do you think of my beautiful table cover? Ultra pretty colours and oh so practical. I’ve got 4 of them! One’s round – for the patio table; all the others are rectangular – to fit the larger garden tables. Have I been busy or what???????
Well no, I haven’t been busy with my crochet hook !!!! They’re from our local discount supermarket and cost under £4 each – ultimate bargain – and they’re huge. When I popped in there yesterday another lady saw mine at the till and whizzed off to buy a couple for herself – they really are pretty and machine washable. The crochet stitches are so lifelike. It’s Aldi, if you want one – but I think you’ll have to be quick!
Here’s my garden sewing studio – can’t believe I’m sewing in the garden in April …
Misty and Mrs Quacky say Hello – Belle was too busy to be photographed. She was ‘helping’ J2 with his latest artwork. She lays there and gazes at him all day.
All the photos are with my new little pocket camera – a Canon SX600. Zoom x18, video recorder and so much more – I’m very pleased with the photos too.
Now, I’ve another quilt on my big machine upstairs so I’ll do my sewing indoors in the morning, and set up some tasks for outside for the sunny afternoons – long may they last.
19/02/2015 § 12 Comments
Mother Duck has been snatching sunny moments in the garden. She’s been having a lovely time finding worms for me – such a tasty treat – and I’ve been helping by getting under her feet and pushing my beak in where her trowel is digging and planting. I can’t wait till she gets going in the main garden instead of faffing around with pots of bulbs and those big white sinks.
I thought you might like to see some rare winter colours and pretty corners of my garden …
Then, I had a waddle down to see what was happening under the rose arch, then back to my daytime perch on the verandah – it’s a bit chilly and damp today. Good weather for ducks!!!
Mother Duck’s been doing a lot of quilting so I’m sure she’ll have lots to show you next time!
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