Category Archives: Gardening

Summery Stitchings…

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No, you’re eyes do not deceive you dearest reader, that is a completed cream quilt of many, many squares in several stitches you see before you! Darling daughter is dutifully delighted with her beautiful blanket and I’m oh-so slightly sad that my pursuit of patterns to tempt my knitting needles is over. Never mind, here’s some close-up pics of those many, many squares (70 to be precise) each and every one unique (yes, 70 different stitch patterns) for you to feast your eyes on dear reader…

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bear with…

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there’s more…

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…and more…

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…ooh, don’t forget that lovely, lacy border…

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If you feel the urge to crack out your knitting needles and grab yourself a stash of yummy yarn to start your own blanket of many, many squares, then go for it dear reader! All I did was to select stitch patterns that required 37-39 stitches per row in order for the squares to be of a similar size. My squares were all knitted in double knit yarn on 4mm needles and I found the stitch patterns from various sources, including Debbie Bliss books, knitting magazines and the Deramores stitch blog amongst others. Of course you don’t have to aim for a huge number of squares, you could always make a smaller, equally lovely blankie, with just a few knitted squares. You could even make a fab textured blanket from simply mixing squares of plain knitted squares, such as stocking stitch, garter stitch and moss stitch, or even choosing cool colour combinations – there are endless possibilities to fit individual abilities, just give it a go…

My summery stitchings continued with a candy-coloured granny square blankie, edged with a splash of sunshine yellow for the scalloped border…

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Isn’t it a cutie? I used shades of lemon, spring green, cloud blue, wisteria and clematis Stylecraft Special DK. Using the same summery shades, a bounty of bunting was also created to match from a pattern by Nicki Trench in her book Cute & Easy Crochet…

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Such a cheerful bunch of bunting! Well that’s it for now dear reader, I do so hope you are muchly blessed with many, many hazy-lazy, sunshiny days until the next time we meet. I’m off to stitch in the sunshine, so shall leave you with a few of my favourite flowery pics from some summery-sunny walks…

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Stitching Seaside Shades

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A warm and sunny hello to you, my lovely reader! I do so hope you have been enjoying some summer sunshine of late and have escaped being drenched in dreaded downpours. As you can see, I have been crocheting delightful-deckchair-style, seaside stripes of cream, mustard, denim and meadow, which will hopefully adorn the headboard of a darling daughter of mine very soon. Simple treble stitch blankets are a pure joy to work on – so simple and soothingly rhythmic.

My pretty pins have now found a new summer abode courtesy of a Mollie Makes free kit, in the shape of a sugary-sweet, pretty-in-pink, shades of summer pin cushion…

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Adorable, isn’t it? Whilst hooking up this little beauty, I also remembered just how fond I am of the rather jolly old granny square. As a result, I am currently working on a candy-coloured granny square blankie, of which I will share a pic of next time (can you bear the wait, dear reader?)

Remember my cream quilt of many, many squares I have been beavering away on for a while now? Well, you’ll be glad to hear that I finally finished stitching together all 70 (yes, 70) of said many, many squares and have subsequently embarked upon the mammoth task of knitting a border. Of course, as darling daughter has selected a lacy stitch for the edging of her cream quilt, said border is not such a chore after all; you know how much I love knitting lovely, lovely lace…

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Ooh, I’ve also been crocheting a bounty of bunting in summery shades too, so shall share pretty pics of their jaunty jolliness next time, promise. I’ll leave you with a few fancy, flowery pics of prettiness, dear reader, as I wish you endless days of lazy, hazy sunshine. Keep on crafting…

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Stitching, squares, shawls and such…

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And a happy-hello to you my dearest reader! I do hope that you are bouncing around in the sunshine, full of the joys of spring like a newborn lamb. However, fear not if you are feeling a little damp and dismal in dreary drizzle, for I have some oh-so-cute-as-a-button pics coming up later, that will have you ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ with delight. As you can see from the above photograph, I have been happily stitching stems for the ‘Azure Bells’ embroidery from Landscape magazine which I’m currently working on. So far I’ve dabbled in stem stitch for the stem (so fitting) along with satin stitch for the leaf and I can’t wait to break out the blue thread to start stitching those tantalising blue bell flowers.

On the crochet front, my first ever shawl has been completed (the one from a Mollie Makes pattern) and I have to confess dear reader that I am rather chuffed with it…

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Of course now that I’ve finished it, I’m itching to get started on another one…But, my darling daughter’s cream quilt is so very nearly finished that I’m cracking on with it at full steam now, as I’m just finishing off the very last knitted square…

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…after which I can start sewing all those many, many, many squares together. Of course that does involve totally monopolising the lounge floor for a few days, while I rearrange said many, many, many knitted squares into a pleasing pattern! Anyway, now the moment you’ve been waiting for: the cutie-pie pic parade! I was lucky enough to visit the rather marvellous Devon County Show on Saturday, so summon up all those ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ in preparation for some cute creatures of the rural variety. First, gorgeous goslings…

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I know, fabulously fluffy. Now for one of my favourites – baby Indian runner ducks!

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And then there were the cuddly and comical alpacas…

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I also watched a bit of horse jumping for the first time and was suitably impressed…

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…such stunning animals…

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Well I do hope you are all overloaded with cuteness and feeling all warm and toasty inside. If you are still sadly lacking on the sunshine front, I do have some fabulous flowers to banish any remnants of dull dreariness you may be suffering with…

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Well, by now you should be full-to-the-brim with heart-warming cuteness and summery sunshine meaning my work here is done, so I shall leave you basking in a rosy glow of gladness while I crack on with the crafting. Until next time dear reader, take care…

So, a Sunless Summer Spent…Saving the Universe!

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Well hello my lovely blog-reading friends! I hope you managed to have some fun this summer, despite all the gloomy damp weather. It was all a bit disappointing wasn’t it? As the sun failed to make many appearances in the sky for us, I have added a sunny yellow glow to my bloggings for you, by way of the delightful dahlia pic above. I just adore dahlias: so vervaciously vibrant they can’t fail to cheer you up.

If you managed to escape to anywhere exciting for the summer dear reader, I hope you managed to find some sunshine, for we certainly did when we visited wonderful Wales for our hols. During our time there we enjoyed the many delights of Cardiff such as the castle..

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…all very impressive with rather a lot of steep steps that were fine to climb up but somewhat scarier to descend (eek!) We also loved ambling around the many Edwardian and Victorian shopping arcades…

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…enjoyed a brew and Barabrith in the many cosy coffee bars…

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…we wondered at the many delights of Cardiff Bay, or Tiger Bay as the locals call it…

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…such as The Roald Dahl Plas…

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…the mighty Millenium Centre…

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Oh, and did I mention that we saved the universe there too? Yes indeed, we visited The Doctor Who Experience and had an epic-awesome adventure working with the current Doctor Who to save the planet from various aliens…

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…and generally had a fab out-of-this-world experience…

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We also visited the beautiful Barry and Barry Island, where we walked in the footsteps of TV’s Gavin and Stacey and I’m not gonna lie to you, it was crackin’!

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We were made up to visit Trinity Street where Stacey, Gwen (not Gwen from Budgeons), Bryn (don’t mention the fishing trip) and Doris lived, Marco’s where Stacey worked, the arcade where Nessa (sort of ) worked…

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…Boofy’s their chip shop of choice…

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…and sat on the same wall that Gavin, Stacey, Smithy and Nessa all perched on for that final episode and looked out to sea…

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…genuine!

Back in England, we had a delightful day out in Teignmouth: still as serene as ever…

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…a trip to Totness and Dartington…

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…and gazed in awe at the beautiful, big, big skies of Budleigh…

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What have I been crafting up this summer? Well for starters I’ve only been at the chalk paint and had a go at a bit of upcycling! Yes I ‘updated’ my ‘dated’ solid pine bed with a lick of pebble grey chalk paint and I have to confess, I am rather chuffed with it…

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I must warn you though dear reader, painting furniture is seriously addictive, as I have been eyeing up other suitable candidates around my abode that look ripe for a quick makeover! My new watercolour paints had a quick testing too…

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…and my ink pen enjoyed a little ‘mindfulness zentangling’ or doodling as we know it…

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My crochet hook worked up a sweat on a chic chevron cushion I designed with a buttoned closure on the reverse…

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…along with a whimsical wall hanging for darling daughter, complete with tickly tassels and dreamy driftwood…

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A trio of charm bracelets were crocheted from a Mollie Makes’ kit and as there were three I let my two darling daughters squabble out the distribution between themselves; far too dangerous an area for me to venture into…

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My knitting needles have been happily stitching up some cosy treats for autumn, such as a textured caress of a cover for my notebook…

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…several squares in many, many patterns, in glorious greys for what will one day become a warming throw…

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…and a cosy cushion cover in gorgeous grey stripes of a selection of stitch patterns…

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I had a little go at crafting with leatherette via another Mollie Makes kit, this time a tropical cocktail of a couple of brooches…

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Thankfully there were two of them, so I was spared any teenage traumas when it came to sharing them out – phew! A bit of baking was also enjoyed which produced a lush lemon loaf…

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…it didn’t last long mind you! Bit like our summer… Well I will leave you now dear reader and as I began my bloggings with a dahlia, so I shall end with a dahlia, well, a jug full of the dashing darlings actually! Keep on crafting…

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Bountiful Blossoming Blooms

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Yes indeed dear reader, summer has well and truly arrived in my garden, as you can tell from the bountiful blossoming flowers that have appeared on my courgette plant in the photo above! Courgette flowers are definately not ‘backwards in coming forwards’ as far as blooms go, for they are indeed rather enormous and rather yellow. They do however perform the most breathtaking magic, by turning into one of these beauties…

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Rather impressive is it not, dear reader? My first ‘crop’ I do declare, but maybe just a ‘cropette’ seeing as it’s just the one. My pepper plants are also producing perfect peppers of the green variety…

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…and to top it all, I’ve only gone and grown real live olives on my little olive tree!

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There has been much excitement in our household dear reader, at the tentative initial success of our petite patio potted allotment efforts!
It’s delightful to sit amongst the bounty of blooms in my garden, all buzzing with the hum of happy honey bees. Ho hum…

There have also been a few ‘blooms’ in evidence in my latest sewing project, for I have finally finished the cute-as-pie Lucky Bear free project from Mollie Makes. The flowery embroidery was a joy to stitch and has left me yearning for more floral-fancy needlework and as for the little bear himself, well I was so enamoured with the cheerful chappy that I just had to draw him…

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He’s quite a flowery, fanciful fellow isn’t he? Talking of fancy flowers, my coloured pencil sketch of the cottage garden hollyhock ‘bloomed’ (pardon the pun) this week…

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I just love the blousy blooms of the handsome hollyhock, don’t you? On the knitting front, the delightful diamond lace stitch cowl I was knitting is now complete…

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…which leaves me with an empty pair of knitting needles and in a bit of a quandry as to what project to pick next, from my infinite list of ‘oh I must try that’ to-do list! I also have an endless list of ‘ooh I so have to bake those beauties’ cakes and cookies to-do list. One such scrummy delight was baked up during a rather miserably muggy day of rain at the weekend: my oat and chocolate chip cookies. A Facebook pal has requested the recipe, so as promised here it is…

Oat & Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients:
4oz (115g) butter
4oz (115g) dark brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3-4tbsp milk
1tsp vanilla essence
5oz (150g) plain flour
1tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
4oz (115g) rolled oats
7oz (200g) milk chocolate chips

Apologies for all the ‘ounces’ reader, for although I declare myself to be fully ‘metrical’ whilst in public, at home behind closed doors I am totally beholden to my dear old imperial chums: pound and ounce!

Method:
1. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy, then add the beaten eggs, milk and vanilla essence, beating well. I usually add a little flour with each glug of eggy mix, so as to prevent curdling hazards.
2. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, stirring until well mixed.
3. Fold in the rolled oats and mix well, then add the chocolate chips.
4. Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour.
5. Place 2 teaspoon-sized heaps of the mixture on a greased baking sheet or one lined with baking parchment. Leave room for them to spread a little and press them down a bit in the centre with the back of a spoon. You should be able to make about 20.
6. Bake the little beauties in a preheated oven set at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 10-12 minutes, until they are just starting to colour at the edges, then carefully transfer them to a wire cooling rack with a spatula.

These cookies are of the soft and squidgy variety even once cooled, but you must devour at least one whilst it is still warm from the oven, as they are divine! They are also extremely fabulous when warmed slightly and eaten with ice-cream but they are also lovely just enjoyed with a cuppa…

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Mmm, don’t they look delicious…sorry dear reader, but my cookies are calling me so I will leave you to bake, blossom and bloom my friend!

Delightfully Doodly Days

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A happy hello to you dearest reader! I hope this latest bloggy-bit finds you with a smile in your step and sunshine filling your soul, whilst enjoying the hazy-lazy days of summer. As you can see, I have been dabbling with doodles and giving my faithful Sharpie pen a good workout…

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Wait,there’s more…

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Oooh, I do love a doodle; I find it so mesmerisingly medatative and relaxing. If you’ve never tried it, do give it a go dear reader. You don’t need to be an amazing artist – just grab a pen, take it for a wiggly-squiggly walk across a piece of paper and then add a few patterns of your choosing to all the shapes you have created. Go on, grab those felt tips and embrace your inner child! But don’t draw on your face or on the furniture…

My notebook has also been subjected to a few jaunty jottings of the floral variety…

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…and I was so taken with the hollyhock sketch I was toying with, that I drew another version in my sketchbook so that I could add a blush of colour to it with coloured pencils. Here is a work-in-progress pic…

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My knitting needles have been busy recently, as I’ve been passing through one of my ‘loving-lace-knitting’ phases. In times of stress (two teenagers in residence: I need say no more) I often seek solace within the rhythmic and repetitive repeating patterns of a lovely lace stitch. So far my stressed inner karma has been gently eased by the fanciful Fishtail Stitch…

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…then nicely nurtured by the beautiful Branching Lace Stitch…

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and finally gently jollied along by the dazzling Diamond Lace Stitch…

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My glorious garden has been flowing with fanciful flowers in abundance whilst the sun has been shining dear reader, including my rock rose and forget-me-nots…

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…the lovely love-in-a-mist (can you spot the bee?)…

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…my fabulous fig, which one day will yield fruit, one day…

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…oh-so-pretty violas…

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…heavenly herbs…

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…and such succulents…

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Gardening for flowers feeds the soul, but this year I have dabbled my green fingers into the world of gardening for food to feed my family! It’s all very exciting dear reader, for now I am the proud owner of a fledgling gooseberry bush…

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Did you spot the gooseberries? As well as an oh-so-young olive tree that has teeny-tiny olives growing on it; a selection of strawberry plants…

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…and a tiny-but-terrific tomato plant…

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…from which we picked our first few sun-blushed tomatoes at the weekend, causing huge excitement in our household: our first crop!

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These little beauties were added to our first crop of salad leaves and herbs that had been happily sprouting away in the sunshine…

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…and although it wasn’t a bountiful yield by any stretch of the imagination, it tasted divine. Fear not dear reader, for those meagre morsels were not the sole source of our sustenance this weekend: they merely formed a small accompaniment to our main meal, as I would hate to leave you with an image of me and two ravenous teenagers squabbling over a couple of tomatoes and a handful of herbs and salad leaves! Growing flowers is fun and growing food is further fun and I can highly recommend it, even when you start (exceedingly) small as I have. So go out and enjoy the sunshine and remember…

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Finding Feathers Fascinating…

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And a happy-hello to you dear reader! I hope my latest bloggings finds you in a sunny place, with a smile on your face. It certainly warms the soul to feel some sunshine on MY face, I have to confess dear reader! What arty-crafty doodahs have I been up to lately I hear you ask? Well, the feather-floating-above is rather a fat, fluffy clue as to my latest faddy fascination and hopefully there will be more to follow; possibly in watercolour paints, mmmm…

I also have a little pretty-playful-patterning to share with you;another one of my wandering walks with pretty pens…

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I might even let you have a teeny-tiny peeky-pook in my notebook next time, to peruse my jolly jottings, but only if you’re good…

On the crochet front, I have finally finished my first ever wearable crocheted garment! Woo-hoo!and ta-dah! and all that. I have to say I did have my doubts as to its wearability, or the possibility of it even resembling a recognisable piece of clothing, at certain points during its construction. I followed a pattern from Simply Crochet Magazine and it’s a cardi with three-quarter length sleeves in denim blue, 4 ply yarn…

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I have also been inundated with bunny orders lately – it must be Spring! My lounge has rather resembled a bunny autopsy area, what with all the bits of bunny-under-construction laying around! Here’s a pic of some beautiful bunny buddies who have already hopped off to new homes…

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My darling daughters have remarked that at least having bits of bunny all over the place all the time makes a change from bits of unicorn… Despite all the bunny making, I have found time to start knitting a lovely lacy scarf in gorgeous green yarn, made from recycled t-shirts; so that’s ‘green’ in colour and ‘green’ as in eco-friendly too, dear reader! Ho hum…

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Well I have a bunch of bunnies to make, so I had better hop to it (pardon the pun) and I’ll leave you with a couple of springtime shots from my garden, dearest reader chum. Keep on making…

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