Sunday 19 April 2015

Crochet musings

 I'm nearly finished my Moonlit Night blanket. 99% in fact - so close I can taste it - but, as always happens when I'm close to completing something, I've lost interest in it and can't concentrate due to thinking about what I'll start next. So many possibilities! But before I start trawling Pinterest for yet more ideas, I thought I'd better cast around and see what else is lying around that I could do. There are plenty of other projects at the 80-90% mark, and also supplies I've bought and not got around to using yet... maybe just maybe I could actually use up something I've already got on hand!

 I've got this white jar cosy almost finished. All I have to do is edge it, and then I want to cross stitch a rose on it, a bit like this pin. I also have this pretty vintage pillowcase which I think will suit a pink lacy border.

 Every year I crochet myself a new pair of fingerless gloves. Last year I made the super cute Mr Fox fingerless gloves. This year I want to do this pattern by Crejjtion. I've even got the yarn, this lovely soft grey.

 I've also been obsessing over this hat - again, it has a cross stitch rose on it, clearly I need to make at least one thing embroidered with a rose before I'm able to move on! I still have this strip, left over from another project, to use and there should be enough colours in my cotton thread stash. Hmm, ponder ponder.

There's also a skirt which I want to hem with a lacy border and I'd like to make some more padded coat hangers. I've had plans for ages to make another crochet handbag and my life isn't really complete unless I'm working on some kind of blanket. So... there's no shortage of things to do, the biggest trouble is just deciding which project to work on!

Wednesday 15 April 2015

April flowers

We had a short sharp introduction to winter this week as a cold front blew across the country. It's not really acceptable, snow forming on the hills and sleety showers in the city - what is this, June? and as I write this gale force southerlies are still slamming the house. So, summer has gone and at this stage it feels like we skipped autumn and went straight into winter! Luckily there is still plenty of colour in the flower garden and there are even some surprises this month, including some confused anemones which are sending up flower buds!

Above, clockwise from top left: salvia, Cecille Brunner rose, astrantia, dahlia, pink-tinted succulent, sedum flower, fairy mushrooms, camellia Elfin Rose (another surprise. I bought this in a bargain bin last spring and it had a couple of flowers then, so I wasn't expecting that it would flower so early in the season), cosmos, cosmos and scabiosa backlit by the sun (a quintessentially autumn combination for me), calibrachoa, penstemon Blackbird.

How is your garden this month? Hope you're having good weather and good flowers. Don't forget to check out Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for more flowers from all around the globe!

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Gardening in Tinyland - my miniature garden

 This summer I planted a new garden, on a slightly different scale than my normal one. This is a miniature garden in a pot. All the plants are living, but by using miniature and small scale plants and combining them with tiny accessories, you can create the illusion of a complete garden within a very small space!

I was inspired after reading Janit Calvo's book, Gardening in Miniature. I've always loved tiny things and as soon as I realised it was possible to garden on a miniature scale I knew I had to get in on it. This garden was about a year in the planning, but was paved and planted in an afternoon! 

I used leftover tiles from our fireplace for the paving stones. I used a hammer and chisel to chip them into roughly rounded paving stone shapes. I set them on a bed of sand and then swept Pavelock sand between them to hold them in place.

 You can see how much the plants have filled in during the 2 months since I planted it! The plants I used are:
Tree - Irish Yew. Not really a miniature, but it's slow growing and I hope I can prune it to keep it small. I actually cut about half of the tree off when I planted it so it no longer has its distinctive conifer shape. I also trimmed the lowest branches off to expose the trunk. I'm not sure how long the branches will grow but perhaps a bit of selective pruning will enhance them. Don't you love the red berries for autumn colour!
Groundcover - creeping thyme. Small leafed and low growing.
The pink flowered shrub is Serissa Pink Mystique. I've seen it trained as bonsai so I thought it would go well in this tiny garden. I'll keep it trimmed to large bush scale, I think it looks like hibiscus or rhododendron.
To the left of the yew tree at the back is a miniature fuchsia called Lottie Hobby. I bought it years ago (this is a cutting) and it has tiny flowers the size of your pinky nail. It grows quite vigorously so I intend to keep it trimmed to a small tree scale.
The neat round bush just behind the two terracotta pots is Calluna. It's a true miniature form of Erica that I got from the alpine plants show. The stallholder I bought it from said it won't grow much bigger than that - perfect! It has the most delicate tiny foliage.
And to the left of the calluna is leptinella. This is a groundcover with tiny fernlike leaves. 
Succulent cuttings last well in the pots - just don't forget to water them occasionally!

 Once I had the garden planted up it was time to start making accessories. Overseas, mini and fairy gardening is a fast developing hobby and big industry but not so much here in NZ (although a few people have heard of fairy gardens). I managed to source a few furniture items but I made most of the garden accessories myself, including the hanging bird feeder, birdhouse, solar lights and hanging lantern.

I even made this fish pond! I actually wanted some kind of ceramic or polyresin one that could hold real water, but couldn't find one. So I made this one out of a small metal pie dish, coated with clay and painted to look like stone. I put some gravel and rocks in the dish and poured in a layer of resin. Then I added a tiny koi fish and poured in another layer of resin so the little fish is suspended. It looks pretty good I think, and you can still 'float' leaves or flowers on the surface.

 There is a lady here in Christchurch who has a dolls house miniatures business and I sourced a few items from her, including the mini teracotta pots and the birds nest. I got the metal wheelbarrow from a fellow mini garden enthusiast and knew I had to make some gardening items to go with it. So I made the little crochet hat and the garden gloves, and this wooden trug full of spring bulbs (must get these planted out for tiny blooms in spring! ;)

 Hope you've enjoyed this peek into my tinyland garden! Have you heard of miniature gardening before, or tried it yourself? (For more information have a look at Janit Calvo's book or excellent website, Two Green Thumbs.)

Sunday 5 April 2015

Styling the Seasons and Urban Jungle Bloggers - April 2015

This month I've decided to combine my entry for Styling the Seasons and Urban Jungle Bloggers. I hope it's not against the rules, but since it's Easter and that would have been my theme regardless, it seemed a bit much to recreate the same thing twice for different posts. So here is my hall table, bedecked with eggs and flowers and lights in celebration of Easter and autumn.

 Styling the Seasons is a vignette created to show what this month means to me. April in NZ is autumn, the end of Daylight Savings time and Easter. The Easter part is obvious - I've put up my decorated Easter egg tree! This is one semi-commercial trend I really enjoy... why should a decorated tree be just for Christmas? Especially when eggs are the perfect size and shape for decorating.

 It might be autumn but I'm still in denial a little bit, and as long as the dahlias are still flowering I'll keep pretending it's summer! One thing I can't deny is the end of Daylight Savings time this weekend. Longer nights call for more lights, so I fashioned a wreath of sorts from a bamboo circlet wrapped with ribbon and my string of beaded fairy lights. (Side note: aren't we lucky to live in a time of great advancement in decorative lighting options? Fairy lights, solar lights, flameless candles, waterproof candles, LEDs, battery powered lights... it almost makes long dark evenings fun!)

The theme for Urban Jungle Bloggers this month is Happy Green Easter. I've brought in my lovely pink cyclamen, whose blossom co-ordinates most beautifully with the pink foil Easter eggs!

 I had my niece and nephew over for an Easter egg hunt yesterday. They had a blast running round the garden with baskets, finding chocolate eggs. They didn't find these ones though... Greedy Rabbit and I are pleased about that :)

 These Easter eggs are ones I decorated a couple of years ago. I shared the tutorial here if you'd like to make some of your own! It's not too late... I for one won't be taking this lot down until I've had a good few weeks' enjoyment out of them.

 Urban Jungle Bloggers is hosted by Judith at and Igor at Happy Interior Blog. Find out more at

Styling The Seasons is hosted by Katy at Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte at Lotts and Lots. Find out more by searching the hashtag #stylingtheseasons on social media.


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