Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Where Have All The Flowers Gone ...

...Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time agoooooo .....

Well I'll tell you what Ms Baez (surely the best version?) they ain't been 'round these parts - this month's mood board is proving a tricky 'un.

Had I got fed up half an hour ago I could have presented you with this

But no, that would have been churlish, so in other plans I though I could maybe post this and claim it as my own

but I think some of you might recognise it as the Klimt adorning my kitchen wall and accuse me of cheating.

So after getting very wet and rather tetchy I found these. Now before I show you I would like to say each month I have tried to post something new, something that hasn't been seen before, but blow me if I could find anything different - last month's boom has been followed by this months bust (ooerr madam!)

Ahem. Here goes. Actually it doesn't look too bad.

And yes that wisteria has snuck (is that a word?) back in but it has just started it's second flush.

We've got sprays

Fennel, marjoram, tansy, dill




Shaggy shastas
                                                  (not quite sure what this is but it makes for a lovely close up)

And annual visitors



But the roses are between flushes, the rosemary and sage are on strike, and no way was I going to pick my courgette flower ( yes - just the one - and we are very excited about our harvest). 

So from a rather soggy Staffordshire I bid you adieu.

Happy gardening!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Stuff and Nonsense

What with the nights drawing in and Winter approaching one can't help but think of warm snuggly clothing and, in particular, hand knitted scarves. That's why I'm so glad that I have finished my lacy zig zag scarf in time for the onset of any sudden blizzards
 I'm quite pleased with how the stitch has worked out as I'm pretty new to lace knitting.
Along with Winter come thoughts of Christmas so I snatched up these metallic threads for the bargain price of £1 each
And admired how the cherry tree has prepared itself with festive red fruits

 Okay Jane, enough of the nonsense, you've stretched that metaphor as far as it will go so what else have you got to show us?

Well I picked up these rather nice etched glasses for 50p each
And a collection of postcards featuring birds with comical names
(although their finery is not really replicated by my resident sparrow)
I've finally finished the skirt for Little Sis that I began at Easter
using this pattern
(the rolled hem was a chore but she loves it)

And I treated myself to some new material from the Rag Market at Birmingham for - £2.50 per metre!
I think this one will be another skirt for Little Sis
And maybe a dress pour moi?
I've been continuing with my crochet project (can you guess what it is yet?)
And staring at my new little note pad (it's magnetic - I don't really understand why but it was half price!)

In other stuff we've been gradually adjusting to the slower pace of the Summer holidays, talking about doing all sorts of improvements to the house (we are very good at talking about them) and enjoying gorgeous evening walks. 

Sending summery wishes (remember the nights are drawing in!)


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Is It Summer Now?

I think that question can now be answered with a resounding 'yes' since the temperatures have rocketed and we are now being advised - take a deep breath here - to have our windows closed during the day to keep the warm air out! Who'd have thought?

Anyhow what could be more Summery than a ukelele in a rose bush?

Maybe I should elaborate. Last Summer Mr K decided to take Big and Little Sis on a road trip - he thought driving across France would be fun and started to choose some appropriate tunes for the journey. Big Sis decided to provide her own version and before long the dastardly duo had mastered 'Aux Champs Elysees' - Big Sis on the ukelele and Little Sis providing the trumpet harmony via a very strange noise through her nose. It was lovely (!) and became the backdrop for most of our Summer. Little Sis is now following suit and has just ordered a ukelele of her very own. Of course 'Champs' is a must learn and the last few evenings have seen the pair of us sitting in the garden trying our very best to master a few chords. (Of course with me being left handed and Little Sis right it did take some time to work out which way up the ukelele was in the first place - happily that has now sorted itself out!)

This is how it should sound.

Summery - oui!

Also providing the taste of Summer was our first bowl of home grown strawberries

And plenty of eating al fresco (ah oui - Francais non?)

The recipe for this delicious herb and lemon fried chicken came from Amelia over at Musing with Max (look at her recipe for caramel ice cream too - scrumptious)

It went down very well last night with a mix of freshly picked salad from the garden - so well that I squirrelled a piece away to enjoy this evening when I got home from school. All afternoon I had sat with a class of eight year olds trying to replicate the rainforest by means of some A4 paper and glue sticks - drooling at the idea of a post work tasty snack. Imagine my surprise when I opened the fridge and it was gone! Mr K was very open about it's whereabouts - 'Oh that bit of chicken - yes I gave it to Jessie Dog for a treat.' Hmm.

Moving on. Yesterday I received two prizes that I had won at the craft day I had attended here

A wonderful silk embroidery cushion kit (there's a turn up!)

And a giant ladybird the size of a spaceship

Oh okay it's a row counter and I love it!

To his credit Mr K has come up trumps this week. Firstly he sought out one of the wee birdie sculptures from the college show and brought him home to roost

Then, bearing in mind we live about as central as you can, he bought me a book about food from the South West

To be fair I'm rather relieved - two hours ago I could never have guessed the definition of a Dorset Knob but now that future embarrassing situation has been averted

My recent spate of W.C.s  has allowed me room to start something new

Can you guess what it is?

So things are looking pretty rosey around here at the moment and with the school holidays just around the corner I guess we can say yes - Summer is officially here.

Oh and by the way remember I asked what was more Summery than a ukelele in a rose bush?
How about this?

One with a strawberry on top!

Enjoy the sunshine if you have it and if not try to have sunny thoughts!


Saturday, 13 July 2013

A Gathering of W.C.'s

Now  I must first get something straight - if you have arrived here expecting to see a wealth of water closets then I am afraid you will be sorely disappointed. This is not THAT sort of post. I'm sure there will be a website dedicated to them somewhere but it is not here. Kindly take your leave. For those of you who are curious let me explain - my W.C.'s are indeed 'works completed'! They have been W.I.P.s for so long that I thought it was only fair to celebrate their new found status with another acronym.

Are you still there?
Let me begin.

Many moons ago I decided I was going to make a sunburst granny blanket. After sixteen squares my boredom threshold had been reached, breached and left way behind so I decided to downsize to a cushion. After I had stitched the squares together (see here) I became totally disheartened with the whole thing and put it somewhere it would not bother me. Today I bit the bullet, stitched it on a simple envelope cover et voila - 

One slightly imperfect very laboured yet much loved cushion. Phew - one down!

More recently I was inspired to have a little go at some patchwork. In true Jane fashion I grabbed completely the wrong sort of material and almost reached giving up stage trying to use my proudly purchased rotary cutter on some rather thick furnishing material. I persisted for a while. Then I threw it in a corner. Today through sheer magic I managed to get it finished. I have completely cut corners - ie: there is no zip or opening whatsoever - but I reckon I can now say it's complete.

I also had a couple of 'cheating' cushion covers that I began last year. By cheating I mean I actually covered an old cushion - cover and all - and then happily stitched the fabric around the existing zip. It was this last bit that hadn't been finished until today.

And here's the cheating bit (ooh you cheeky monkey!)

Hmm. Rather a lot of cushions there Jane. And yet none of them seem to match or go with each other in any way, shape or form. One might think that you were something of a flibberty gibbet.
Have you done anything else?

Why yes indeed - I crocheted a bag!

 But then it needed lining. Can you guess when that got finished?

I may add some crocheted flowers on the outside but to my mind it's as good as done!

Wait! I'm sure there's something else. Can you see?

Let's move in closer.

Why have you stitched two floppy socks to the top of your bag?

If we take a peek inside we may find out more.

A rabbit! In my bag! Let's wake him up and see if he wants to play!

Not looking too lively so far. Maybe if I stretch his ears?

No - there's no waking him.
Does he have a pulse?

He's soon to fly off down South to befriend a new baby cousin but for now I think I'm going to leave him be.

Of course my unfinished ripple blanket is still snoozing happily in it's basket, Big Sis' dress is fully cut out and ready for assembly but currently residing in a shoebox, and Little Sis' skirt just needs hemming. But five projects down - surely now I can think about starting something new?

Time to consider some W.Y.T.B. (Works Yet To Be).