Monday, 27 April 2015

Pins I Love - Try Something New For Spring!

I honestly don't see why trying something new should be something you do in the new year. Let's face it. New Year is slap bang in the middle of winter. It's miserable and most of us are still reeling from the financial cost of Christmas. So what better time to try new things than spring. Spring is the proper time for the new. Everything is fresh. For most it brings us that spring in our steps that has been missing in the winter. Therefore I bring back my pinterest posts with some new things to try.

The first are these geeky cookies. I am hopeless at decorating of any kind although good at the baking part. I think even I could manage these though. There is a fab tutorial over at a fab baking blog, When Adobo Met Feijoada. You will need google translate though.

As always click on the image to get to the precise tutorial.

Okay, I tried to find a simple sewing pattern suitable for a beginner but struggled. As someone who has yet to pluck up the courage to sew much it all looks difficult to me. This tunic though looked quite nice and it has a good tutorial over at The Southern Institute. It shows you this tunic being made up in some lovely bright fabric. It's amazing how much a pattern can change just from the fabric.

I have taken part in tutorials and taught a few myself. What keeps people interested is the idea that they will have made something by the end of it. These mini granny squares are fantastic for anyone wanting to learn to crochet them. Plus you get a cute pocket for your ipad or ereader at the end of it. You will find this tutorial at Sugar Beans. Worth checking this blog out as it seams to have a lot of lovely tutorials.

I picked this lovely shawl for anyone wanting to move on with their knitting. It's a simple lace pattern and the shawl itself is lovely. You could even mix it up and add some stripes of colour in there. This one comes from ravelry.

It seemed only apt given my numerous gardening posts that I should have a gardening tutorial on this list. I picked this one because not everyone has a large garden or has direct sunlight. This website gives a tutorial into creating your own shade garden.

As I said earlier, clicking on to the images will take you direct to the tutorials. The few blogs that I have mentioned I will also add to my blog list.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Last Week I Planted a Tree

I really did. My mum was sent a lavender tree from her friends at work. Mum is known to love her garden. The good thing about being sent a plant is that she can keep it. Which meant I had to re pot it with no instructions. I didn't want it to die before my mum even got the chance to see it. I picked out the biggest pot we had available at that time and it was just as well. The poor roots were all squashed to the sides. For now they have a little room to breath. A week on it is still with us.

I also planted these Nasturtium's that my mum likes to have in her hanging baskets. No sign of growth yet but as they are just little seeds I need to be patient.

Her tulips are looking lovely too. The pack of bulbs were mixed and supposed to be a whole range of colours. Not just red and yellow. Still they are pretty, even if they don't last long.

I love how they close up again at night.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Spring Garden Week 2

Mum was asking how her garden was getting on. There is a hint of yellow in the marigolds we planted but not enough to make them photogenic. As I am working all weekend I thought I would schedule a post with some of the photo's I took for her.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Giving Shetland a Go

This really should be titled 'In Which I Cannae See Green Cheese'. The Scot's out there will know what that means. Basically I saw something on instagram, wanted to join in and this is the result. There is a knit-along going on. It's a hap knit-along, or rather a hap-along. I saw quite a few people mentioning it on instagram (I follow a lot of yarny people it would seem) and I wanted a piece of the action. It is run by a lady who has a fab blog about using British based yarns. In keeping with that a hap is a Scottish word for something to wrap round and keep you warm. The only rule to joining in is that it had to have hap in the title or description.

I searched and searched and while I saw a few pattern liked I instantly fell in love with this pattern called Halligrath designed by Gudrun Johnston for Brooklyn Tweed (I have rave about Brooklyn Tweed many many times). While it is inspired by Shetland design (and most haps are of Shetland design) it does not mention the word. You have no idea how much I don't care. I instantly fell in love with the pattern. I even like it in that green which is not a colour I would ever choose.

Instead I decided to go with a Shetland yarn. I picked Jamieson and Smith. It's a yarn that I have used just once before. It was for a class on colour work. I thought it would have the right texture and the muted tones suited to it. I actually wanted more of a teal colour but as it wasn't available I picked this petrol blue instead.

This is the start of the chart and one repeat of the pattern. I have plenty of yarn to knit up the large size and then have some left over. You can see from the first image that I bought it in a cone rather than the 25g balls. Basically, the thought of all those loose ends is demoralising. The downside is that the cones are meant for machine knitting and so have an oily residue. However, the website stated that you could still use it for hand knitting so long as you wash it after. Since I am going to have to block the garment it's going to get washed anyway. Win win in my book and I will have plenty of yarn left over for some socks (yes, it's the equivalent of 4ply).

If you are interested in the hap-along you can find it on the organisers blog Knit British, which is also listed on my blogs page. Although I won't be joining in I still love seeing the photo's from others who are joining in and maybe I will join in another knit-along (hopefully after I have finished something).

Keeping with the blue I picked this up from my good friend of For the Love of Yarn. I fell in love with the colour as soon as she posted an image of it. It didn't matter that it was lace weight. I thought it would entice me back to lace knitting.

As I wanted to try something new I thought of a book I bought years ago, Arctic Lace by Donna Druchunas. I thought it was about time I knitted something from it. I thought the mobius scarf would be perfect!

Sadly I am not in love with how it is knitting up. I love the way the colours are striping but you can't see the pattern at all. I know pinning brings out the pattern with lace. Having stretched it out though I just can't see it. I think this pattern needs a slightly thicker yarn even though it calls for lace weight. I also have more yarn than I need for this scarf (a lot more) and I really don't want to waste it. I haven't totally decided but I am thinking I should start again with a new pattern.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Spring Garden

I am on night shift so thought I would post these photo's of my mum's garden before I have to get ready. Just to prove that there are flowers in there. I don't know the names of all of them but I am sharing anyway (obviously I know what a Daffodil is).

This last one is a Hebe or rather a Hebe Vernicosa (learnt that from my mum). I love it because of the structure of the leaves. I had just watered it which is why it looks all wet. Apparently it does flower early in the summer. Even if it doesn't though it's still pretty.

On that note I will leave you with the promise that my next post will be yarn related.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Giving Gardening a Go

My poor mum's garden has been suffering from neglect this year. Every time we have planned to go out and do some work in it the weather has had other ideas. This week though the weather gods were shining on us. It has been lovely and so we got to work. Or rather, I got to work and mum gave out her orders (I am a newbie gardener, orders were needed).

I wish I had taken some before photo's of the garden as it would really show the difference. I tidied up quite a bit. Especially the Horstas (which I hate). They needed quite a bit of tidying and as soon as I did that the green shoots were shining through. There was also a fern which badly needed cut back. I'm not convinced anything will grow from it but mum has faith. That and she knows better.

We were also able to get some planting done. First of all I picked up this plant for my mum. I know she likes her shrubs and I quite liked the colour of the leaves. It's an Acer which is known as the Japanese Maple. Mum liked it too. So much so she pointed out one she already had - oops. To be fair the one in the garden had only just begun to bud so a newbie like me would never recognise it for what it was.

This one is a Fuchsia plant. Another one that I know my mum loves. She has had these both as indoor and outdoor plants over the years. They are quite pretty when the bloom.

Mum planted these ones. These are her tomato seeds. My sister got her this wee set of pots for her Mother's day one year and she has used it for her tomato plants ever since. They will go indoors until the start to sprout and then they will go outdoors. We actually have a pot in the garden already for them.

That was enough for one day and the garden looked pretty good once we were finished.

Today I went out plant shopping again and picked up some pink geraniums. My mum had asked to get them for her and they were planted in the wheel barrow. The black bin bag underneath helps contain the soil. There are holes in it so that the water can still drain and it doesn't pool in the soil.

I also picked up some marigolds as I remember my mum had them last year and I am sure that she mentioned to get some at some point. These went into the chest that was initially filled with chocolate many moons ago. I am sure I wrote about it in a post about her upcycling this a while ago. I am having trouble finding that first post. I can only find this one from last year although I know I took photo's from the previous year.

There were nine marigolds in the tray and the chest only held 6 so we put the remaining three in this cute little wooden planter.

As you can see I got a wee bit of sun. I have colour in my cheeks that's not been the result of make up. So here are a few things I learned over the last couple of days.

1. The most disgusting looking beasties will get into plant pots no matter how high up they are and I will squeal like a little girl.

2. Walking past slugs is not the same as having to deal with them in the garden and again I will run away squealing.

3. Don't through out your broken plates or plant post. Break them up and put pieces at the bottom of your planters as this will help with drainage.

4. You should really go out earlier than this to do your tidying. Don't leave it like we did, although we didn't have much choice.

5. Don't give up on a new plant. It may come round and flower the following year.

There will be some more things to do next week, weather permitting. Before that I will post some photo's of the plants flowering just now.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Happy Easter

I hope everyone had a good Easter. Here at our household we are all about the chocolate and the Easter treats so I hope everyone had a chocolate filled day. I can't take credit for the Easter cake. My sister brought baked it at home and then decorated it at our house. The base was a lovely, lemon sponge. Tasted lovely as well as looked lovely.

The day before mum and I made dumpling. Or rather mum attempted to teach me how to make her famous dumpling.

Thanks to the vegetable suit this is one bowl and spoon you don't want to lick after baking. I had to make sure that all the flour was away. I was sorely tempted to use my hands.

Mum has a clootie dumpling cloth which was given to her by her mum. You wrap the dumpling in the cloth and make sure there are no gaps. You also give it a little bit of room so that it has space to expand.

It then simmers away for a few hours until done.

It's a little paler than when my mum makes it. It should be a lot darker than this. I've been told that it tastes okay though.

I think that this was the culprit. I didn't put enough treacle in which isn't like me. I would normally go over board with my flavourings. I will be able to get more practise in though as I accidentally bought too much suet and we already had enough at home. No excuses then.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Spring Plans

It's been an awful week for weather. Every time we think the sun is going to stay out it starts raining with the occasional hail stones and even a flurry of snow. This spring I have been promising to help my mum with her garden. However, every time we plan to do something the bad weather interferes. I was able to sneak out and take a few photo's of her daffodils.

It hasn't stopped me from picking up some seeds and there are still some time to plant them. I usually buy seeds for my mum each year. It's something both my sister and I have always done. This year I have picked up a few extra. Some of which my mum had requested for her hanging basket and some I picked because of the colours (and because they attract bees).

I also couldn't resist picking up some bulbs even though they can't be planted until much later. As my mum has a love of red I couldn't walk away from the Canna Lily. Fingers crossed the weather will better the next time we plan to go into the garden.

In the meantime I have the next yarn from the blanket club to work on. I love the green which is fitting for spring. I have only managed a few of this months squares but they do seem to work up quickly. This months little extras are the two pretty crochet flowers. Lisa has asked that we send some photo's of what we do with them. It might be a while before I am able to do it but I have plans for them already!

I have also been buying up a fair share of magazines. After a few years of limiting myself to one or two I have went a little mad of late. I really need to work on something from at least one of them so it doesn't look like I'm needlessly wasting money.

One of my recent magazine purchases was Simply Crochet. It's not a magazine I regularly buy unless I spot a project I know that I will do. This time though it was the freebie that caught my attention. It came with a tunisian crochet hook and there is a pattern in there for beginners. I have always wanted to give this a go since a friend of mine took it up a few years ago. Maybe this will encourage me to do finally try it.

It also contained an article on blogging. It gave hints and tips from various bloggers. I thought it was quite interesting and worth reading if you are thinking of starting up your own blog. It also has a good list of some crafting blogs which are worth checking out.

Speaking of which, I have updated my crafting blog page and added a few more to it. If you like a good crafting blog please go have a look. Oh and if anyone would like to get into blogging and would like to do a guest post here then please feel free to let me know. I don't get anything out of it other than the chance to showcase some talented people.

Lastly, I have a few planned posts coming up. Including some pinterest posts which I have been missing.