Sunday 29 June 2014

Introducing the Moonlit Night blanket

 I've started a new blanket. I've been working on this for a little while... since we got back into our house in fact, and I was able to unearth some yarn from my stash. I missed having a blanket to work on... there is security in knowing exactly what you will be working on for the next few months, especially when you have the vision in your mind and all you are doing is bringing it to life. That's how I've felt about this one anyway, I can't wait for it to be finished but I'm also enjoying every minute of the process.

I've called it the Moonlit Night blanket because of the soft grey colourway. I'm using the join-as-you-go method too which I'd never tried before and it's brilliant! Because of that I've gotten into a good routine of sewing in the ends on each square before the white round goes on, and then I sew in the white ends as I go. So there won't be such a massive end-stitch later on.

  This is a basic granny square, the most simple crochet design out there which makes it great for working on while watching TV. I'm currently watching Orphan Black season 2, which I've nearly finished and then I'll start on something else, either Sleepy Hollow, Vikings season 2 or Orange is the New Black season 2.

And to top it all off my hyacinth is blooming! How can I not be happy surrounded by cozy crochet and pink flowers. Hope you've had a great weekend too!

Wednesday 25 June 2014

China cabinet

I've just finished unpacking my china cabinet. This is an old cabinet that I repainted - it used to be a dark walnut - and changed the knobs. It has glass leadlight doors which I still need to repaint and fit. It will be great when that's done... hopefully soon (as I say to myself every few months!) but in the meantime I like it with no doors, it's quite fun to see everything inside as long as I keep it tidy!

 I had a good time unpacking my treasures and creating a little display on the top. I chose mainly white objects with highlights of green and pink flowers.

 A little selection from inside the cabinet. I like collecting trinkets both old and new. The oldest is the ammonite fossil!

 Hyacinth bulbs are enjoying the warmth on top of the cabinet, they will be blooming in a couple of weeks. I wonder what colour they will be... or if they will even bloom at all...!

 At least this one will! And it looks like it will be pink.

Can you ever have enough vases and candle holders... ?

I've now got a beautiful mantelpiece to decorate. I'd like to get a big mirror to go above it and it's not really complete until there is bunting of some description! For now it's home to houseplants and candles.

I'm so happy to be back home with spaces to decorate! It does make it easier to look past the mess and clutter in other corners. Have you decorated your home this season?

Sunday 22 June 2014

Winter gardening

 It might have been the winter solstice this weekend, but I had the best gardening day I've had in a while. There was no frost or heavy dew overnight so I was able to get out there quite early, and with a mild, mostly sunny day I managed to tick off several things on my to do list. 

First was planting garlic. The potager is a mess of weeds, but I cleared one corner and applied plenty of compost and sheep pellets. For good measure I added blood and bone and wood ash too. The garlic is some I saved from my last harvest - don't the cloves look pretty with their pink-tinted skins? I also have shallots from last harvest, and a clove of elephant garlic which I was given. I haven't grown this one before and I hope my efforts turn out as big as this beauty! I better keep up the sheep pellet application.

 I love the moss growing on the terracotta sign. Terracotta is my favourite when it's weathered and aged!

 Lui and I went for a walk to see what else was happening in the garden. He got distracted by birds, and I admired the first hellebore of the season. This lemony white beauty will be chartreuse by the end of winter! I wanted to pick it but there are more buds coming so I let it be.

 I did a lot of clearing out in this bed. It had a giant lavatera which was lovely, but was getting much too big for the space. I tried pruning it but it was like Medusa... for each branch I cut, seven more grew back! I took some cuttings and I'm planning to grow one in a big pot there instead, hopefully that will keep it under control. I also dug out some gaura bushes for the same reason, and put back some smaller cuttings. It's a bit hard to see this bed in the photo (harsh low winter sun makes garden photography difficult!) but there are daffodil leaves peeking up, hellebores budding, and at the back is camellia Cinnamon Cindy, showing her first blossoms of the season. For a bit of transitional interest I grouped together some potted polyanthus and put some ranunculus around them.

Here's the bit I haven't got to yet! That monster penstemon (far right) needs dividing. If the weather stays good I'll get onto it soon. Oh, I've also shifted two trees (one this weekend and one last weekend) and transplanted several smaller plants. Who said winter was a quiet time in the garden?

Sunday 15 June 2014

June flowers

Here we are in winter. We've had yet more rain in Christchurch this month, although it wasn't as bad as other recent storms because we didn't bear the brunt of it this time, and the council installed new pumps which meant rivers and creeks didn't rise as high as last time. It's still pretty soggy at my house though, as short days mean that even when it's sunny nothing really dries out. I wondered if I'd have enough flowers to photograph this month because a lot of delicate petals have rotted from all the rain. Luckily I found just enough - I would have liked to be a bit more selective but at this time of year, I'm grateful for any flower I can find, no matter what condition it's in!

Today was surprisingly warm for a time, so I got out and did a little bit in the garden - I moved a shrub and a tree, and managed to weed a little bit of the potager. The ground was so soggy I shouldn't really have been on it, but I cleared enough of a space to plant my garlic soon. And I have a few trees and shrubs I need to shift, so I'll be working my way through those during the winter months while they are dormant.

Here we have some damp and dewy offerings from the June garden (clockwise from top left): camellia fairy blush, iberis, pink geranium (sheltering in the glasshouse), wintersweet (nearly over for another season), primrose, Peace rose, paper daisy buds, pansy, erica, penstemon with dewdrop, hebe (I am scratching the bottom of the barrel when I have to photograph hebes!), primrose. Middle: a scented bunch of wintersweet and camellia.

I am linking up to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Have a look to see flowers in bloom from all around the world!

Monday 9 June 2014

Indoor bulbs for winter cheer

 I've got a few bulbs popping up early out in my garden. Mostly earlicheer daffodils. This happened last year, as I recall, and despite my worries there were still plenty of daffodils left to flower at their proper time. The early hyacinths weren't so lucky, getting soggy with rain and munched on by snails. So this year I thought I'd uproot my hyacinths before they got too comfy in the soil and bring them inside.

 I was given this great glass vase for Christmas to make a terrarium with. I still intend to do that one day, but in the meantime it's perfect for bulbs. I put some stones in the bottom and sat the bulbs on top, then carefully poured in water to the top of the stones, making sure the bulbs weren't actually sitting in the water.

 I also had a couple of empty preserving jars which I filled with decorative gravel before sitting the bulb on top.

I'm looking forward to watching these grow and flower. Once they're done I'll just swap them for fresh bulbs from the garden. Hopefully I can keep doing this right through winter!

Thursday 5 June 2014

Winter morning

Early in the morning, the rising sun is tinting the sky with palest peach. The early birds are busy, holding excited conversations in the topmost branches of the cherry tree.

Everything is still and quiet. It's going to be a beautiful winter day.

The price we usually pay for clear days in winter is a frost on the ground. It's been a good one this morning.

The rather neglected potager is coated with white. The clipped rosemary balls and lavender hedge provide the main accents here, along with some sturdy leeks ready for harvest.

Lovely Swiss chard... nothing knocks this one back! Cold weather only enhances it's rainbow beauty.

Can you hear the crrrrunch of the grass? 

Anything with water in it has frozen solid. These autumn leaves make a pretty pattern in the wheelbarrow.

Five minutes later, and the sun is gilding the top of the tree. The daily defrost begins. The birds descend on the bird feeder, and I go inside for breakfast. Don't you love the beauty of a winter morning?


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