April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter!

Best wishes. :)

April 12, 2014

Year 3 of My Flowerpot Garden Begins

Well, here we are, roughly two years on since I began planting My Flowerpot Garden.  I am very excited to report that as the new growing season beckons, I have a mixture of plants from last year and new seeds to try.

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In 2012 I planted: 

Cress, Thyme, Parsley, Chives, Basil, Mint, Rosemary, Rocket, Sage, Hot Chilli Peppers, Strawberries, Carrots and Spring Onions.

On the whole, apart from struggles with the Thyme, Rocket and Rosemary, most of the other seeds grew well.  Obviously, the strawberry plant, having been grown from seed, didn’t yield any actual fruit that year but it established itself authoritatively.

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In 2013 I planted:

More Cress, Thyme, Basil Minette, Rosemary, Rocket and Spring Onions, as well as Lemon Balm, Garlic Chives, Mustard, Oregano, Coriander, Flat Leaved Parsley, Basil Sweet Genovese, Lavender, Watermelons, Tomatoes, Courgettes, Radishes, Lettuces, Petunias, Pinks, Sweet Peas, Dwarf Sunflowers, and  Coleus.

With more variety came slightly more mixed fortunes.  The herbs all grew well.  The watermelons took over!  The vegetable and salad plants flourished except for the lettuces.  I could not make any headway with those at all.  Was it the extremely hot summer?  Or perhaps I just haven’t got the knack of them yet.  Who knows?  My strawberries began to yield very small but deliciously sweet fruit.  The lavender and the Pinks were not due to flower this year, but they moved through their early stages with strength and determination.  This year it is becoming increasingly apparent that leaves I mistook for being those of Pinks at a slightly different growth stage are in fact those of an interloper among the Pinks!  At the moment we are guessing the stealthy flowers are Wallflowers, but time will tell.  The Sweet Peas were a mystery, luscious leaves appearing but never a single flower.  This year the leaves are bigger and greener than ever.  Perhaps this will be their year to flower?  We’ll see.  The Petunias stole the show, even sporting a few last buds on the eve of the first gale in October of last year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                Here, from previously, I have my crazy Thyme and my recently trimmed Sage, Oregano and Rosemary.

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So now that I have begun to order and collect new rustly packets of seeds for this year, I’m finding myself feeling very excited about the promise the little foil pouches inside those packets hold.  This week I’ve dilligently started washing up last year’s used flowerpots.  (I know I should have done it before.  Well, I did wash some, but the clean and dirty ones all got muddled up when the greenhouse had to be emptied in a hurry ahead the first of the forecast autumn gales.)  Today (aside from my experiment with planting a date stone – to no avail) I planted my first seeds of the year.  I love how some of the seeds smell of the plants that will hopefully scroll out of them.

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Drumroll!!!!!

So far we have nine pots of potential.  There are watermelon seeds taken from one of my harvested fruits from last year, just to see whether or not they might produce another plant – or should I say triffid?!  Then there is my first attempt at growing Dill.  For the second year in a row I’ve planted some Flat Leaved Parsley and Garlic Chives seeds.  This year I’m trying some Red Leaved Basil – after all, variety in the spice of life, they say, sorry the herb!  Two more firsts for me will hopefully be Mini Sweetcorn and Aubergines, if they grow.  As another experiment I’ve planted a couple of seeds from the pumpkin I hollowed out for Hallowe’en last year.  (If they grow will the previous pumpkin’s grimace prove genetic?!)  And just to jolly things up further, I’ve planted another Dwarf Sunflower seed.  They strike me such happy plants!

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Having ordered some other seeds too, I hope that they will arrive soon, but for now I’m just so pleased to have got started with another growing season.  I just hope some of each of the seeds will grow.

 

Have a lovely weekend! :)

April 2, 2014

Haberdasher’s Dashed Off

Among all the superstores and the online big names, do you have any favourite little shops you like to visit?  I have a few, spread across a clutch of small towns.  A particular favourite is a bookshop which also sells stationery and art supplies, and where the smell of coffee and the sound of cutlery tinkling on crockery in the tea room out the back welcomes you.  I used to have other favourites, but many of them have closed down over time.

Last week I intended to visit a wool shop I discovered in the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  Down a little alley, it was one of a few shops lining a courtyard.  What a delightful little shop full of cross stitch kits and fabric packs, needles and hooks, ribbons and binding, and a veritable palette of colours in the form of balls of wool of various thicknesses,.  How I kicked myself when the chap behind the counter told me the shop had been there for two years and I’d never realised!  After visiting the shop a couple of times since, I was all set to go and find me a ball of chunky yarn and a larger crochet hook than I’ve previously owned.

Having completed my Mothering Sunday shopping, I victoriously trotted down the little alley, pausing briefly to rearrange the muddle of purchases in my bag.  So imagine my disappointment when I turned the corner and saw the shop shut, large white sheets lining every broad window, all signwriting above the door gone and no sign of a notice of any kind anywhere!  I couldn’t believe it.

Though out of all the Haberdashery shops and wool shops I’ve ever known in small towns, they have nearly all disappeared, this had completely caught me by surprise.  I wonder if these specialised shops are among those with the highest rates of closures.  It’s such a shame when they disappear because each of them is such a treasure trove of trinkets for people who are very enthusiastic about the related crafts, and they’re very useful for when a tool is needed for an emergency darn or mending.

Fortunately for me, I had a Plan B – a tardis of a shop, which I only visited for the first time a week before Christmas Eve.  It may look like an ironmonger’s but it’s really just teasing you.  Among all the tools, there are watering cans, enamel paints, pet foods, toy stuffing, stationery and the cutest little corner devoted to wool and haberdashery, albeit sandwiched between the wellington boots and outdoor lights.  Some shops you appraise with a slight feeling of dread because you suspect they’re on borrowed time, in this current economic climate.  I hope this little tardis of a shop doesn’t become one of them.  At the moment it stands next to a small supermarket in a place that is hard to define as a village or a town.  With a primary school and a high school, a doctor’s surgery, a new veterinary practice, a fire station and various small shops servicing a settlement of  houses that is increasing daily, I’d like to think this shop stands a good chance of staying put and staying open.  On the wall behind its counter hangs a framed black and white photograph depicting what the shop used to look several decades ago.  I hope more photographs are taken of this shop over the decades, and that they are given pride of place along with the first picture.

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So why did I visit that tardis of a shop?  I wanted to make a Hexagon Hat!  Please take a look at my Hexagonal Hat!:)

March 30, 2014

I Finished It!

I Finished It!.

March 29, 2014

Will I Get It Finished In Time?

Will I Get It Finished In Time?.

March 29, 2014

Crocheted Daffodil Panel

Crocheted Daffodil Panel.

February 14, 2014

Crocheted Hearts

Originally posted on Heather Sprinkles:

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I recently learned how to crochet a couple of different heart patterns, so I thought I’d use them to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day if you celebrate it or a Happy Friday if you don’t! :)

View original

February 8, 2014

Stream of Opinion

Like a stream, my opinion I do not share,
Like a stream, my opinion is just there,
Like a stream, it trickles or flows,
Like a stream, it thrives on what it knows,
Like a stream, it’s effected by strangers,
Like a stream, it’s momentum changes,
Like a stream, the more it receives the more can come out,
Like a stream, the more it’s starved the more likely a drought,
Like a stream, it’s wiser not to mould it,
Like a stream, it would be foolish to try to hold it.

January 22, 2014

A Chat in the Haberdashery Department

I walked into the haberdashery corner of a small hardware shop,
When a complete stranger came up to me and exclaimed:  “Oh, look, what a lot
Of beautiful colours, those balls of wool!”
 
She told me she would like to buy them all, to admire, but loves to knit;
I replied what fun to fill a shelved wall with lots of wool, just to see it!
She agreed, chuckling.  “Very colourful.”
 
A nice little chat we had after that, as she thumbed through a pattern book;
She discovered a pattern for a hat and beckoned me to take a look,
As she stood by the long wooden counter.
 
Alas, I did feel rude to take my leave when the time came for me to go,
But she had things to do, too, I believe, so that was a relief to know.
A short but sweet, surprising encounter.
January 3, 2014

The Reindeer Book-Ended The Season

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I didn’t want to take my Christmas decorations down today, but the reindeer “said” it would be OK.

In our house we love Christmas and love to celebrate from December 1st right through to the twelfth day of Christmas.  So when early January comes I’ve gotten so accustomed to my jolly little wooden star festooned tree, Christmas socks pegged up on string across the room, festive acetate pictures hanging in the window and the like, that I really hate having to take them all down again.  But that is merely the flip side of the excitement of the dawn of December 1st and the opening of all the boxes of sentimental treasures that have sat obediently packed away for eleven months, waiting for their special moment again.

On December 1st 2013, amidst the Christmas jumper wearing, Christmas carols, and orange and cranberry tea, one of my abiding memories took place through the glass I was peering through.  Between and beyond the grand oaks, with their loyal sprinkling of golden leaves, I spied a small group of reindeer on the frosty grass.  Maybe half a dozen or so?  I’m not really sure.  Ambling along at first, they were, but then soon thought better of it and sprang into a graceful gallop.  Naturally, there were the inevitable jokes about how they must be searching for Father Christmas, but what an absolutely perfect way to start December: nature sprinkled with a little fantasy.

So imagine my surprise when, as I huffily started to tear down the tinsel and pack away the paper chains earlier today, I glanced out of the window to see…a small group of reindeer!  Could they be the same ones who’d so perfectly pre-fixed the Christmas season?  Whether they were or not, I choose to believe they most definitely were.  Striding across the fields to let me know that it was time to take the decorations down and that I shouldn’t be sad about because maybe, just maybe, there’s a little magic to be had during other seasons of the year, too. ;)

 

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