Category Archives: Grow your own

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…

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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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