Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Allotmenteering and Harvest Time

I went to see PDMC at his allotment today and wow, was it hot! I've got a very, very red face and a slighty pink arm- so much for SPF 30. It was good to get out in the sunshine though, as I've spent a lot of time indoors of late. The allotment is rather overgrown again, partly because PDMC has been working a lot lately and partly because it nearly always buckets it down on his day off. I think you have to be very, very dedicated (and slightly bonkers) to venture out to the allotment when it's torrential rain and your shed leaks!

I haven't actually been down to his allotment for a while (possibly as long as a month) and I was surprised to see how much everything had grown.

The last time I was here, we'd managed to cover the peas with netting

as they were just beginning to produce their pods.

The beans were barely flowering

but the onions, garlic and shallotts were really establishing themselves.

If you look closely, you might just be able to make out the little woven edgings around the beds in the left of the photo- I made these! When the artichoke was cut down last year, we were left with a huge pile of woody stems which I thought would make great edgings. It took quite a while to finish them but I think they're fab. They're certainly unique and a great way to recycle something which would otherwise have had to be burned or composted.

Anyway, imagine my surprise and excitement when I cycled up to the allotment earlier today and saw that the beans and peas were dripping with pods

and that the early potatoes, onions, garlic and shallots were all ready to be harvested. 

PDMC was justifiably proud of himself.

I had a lot of fun arranging the produce in the wheelbarrow and I kept wittering on about it being like Harvest Festival, which made PDMC laugh a lot. My kids are total heathens, but as PDMC pointed out, that might actually be my fault!

I kept smelling the potatoes because they smelled divine, not like shop bought ones at all. I've also sat and eaten a rather large amount of pod peas  (everso slightly more than the measley handful which I know is a portion) whilst I've been writing this. They smell and taste so delicious that I can't resist them!

Anyhoo, I'm off to search the tinterweb for recipes I can use broad beans in, as I  have a rather large mound of them on my kitchen worktop...
Any recipes would be gratefully received!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Cushions and Crochet

I love cushions. I love cuddling them when I'm sad, and hiding behind them when I'm watching a scary film. I love how snuggly they are and how they are very nearly as good as a teddy bear for helping you to feel better. Cushions are often so much better than a hug 'cos they're always there, don't tell you to 'just cheer up', and let you snuffle into them for hours on end without complaining. Cushions also make fantastic weapons. They can be launched from long distances to cause maximum disruption, used at close range to inflict serious personal injury and can even be used to suffocate enemies in their sleep. In fact, cushions are so versatile that I'm actually quite surprised that I don't have more of them. Especially as they are so easy to make. I've made a few cushions as gifts just recently though...

I made this applique cushion for EC for her birthday in May.

It has four small ribbon ties as a closure on the back. Prettyful!

I also made EC this cushion out of a Fat Cat fabric which I picked up a few years ago up at my favourite event of the year The Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate. I'll no doubt have lots to tell you about that later in the year.

I'd been meaning to make a cushion out of this fabric for ages.

I made little tie closures out of the leftover scraps of fabric.
It was a bit fiddly to do but they look ok.

I pretty much had the sewing bug after making these two, so I thought I'd make myself a couple for the sofa. Obviously, mine had to be made out of red-and-white gingham because I just adore red-and-white gingham.

NB: My relationship with gingham, especially red-and-white gingham has been a lifelong passion and I'm afraid to say that I don't think it'll be ending any time soon, even though it clashes horribly with my current (fuscia) curtains. I can live with it, in fact I love the fact that they don't match. Who wants homogenous?

I just love how the striped patchwork cushion turned out.

They look quite happy together, don't they?

I made big tie closures for them out of gingham- they're madly fussy, everso slightly 80's and I Love, love, love.

I hadn't used the sewing machine for absolutely ages, so it was good to get some practice in, especially as I had some slightly more ambitious ones in mind for JA's birthday in June. I'm especially pleased with how this one turned out.

It took ages to find the right fabric for the applique, and I fiddled around with it for ages before I was happy with it, but I think that it's really lovely.

I even made button holes and added buttons on this one. I liked it so much that I just had to make another one to go with it.

The applique butterflies were very fiddly to sew, but I'm pleased with the result.

Again, I made button holes and added buttons, which I think makes them look quite professional.

By now I was pretty much on a roll and had an excellent plan for a 21st Birthday cushion for YC. I'd seen some a bit like this online and there was no way that I could afford one, so I decided that I could try and make one myself. It wasn't easy making the letter look right, but just look how cool this is.

A 21st Birthday Scrabble Cushion!

I made buttonholes and used buttons as a closure for this one, too. It gives a nice clean finish and looks suprisingly masculine on this particular cushion.

I decided that YC also needed a chunky and masculine blanket to snuggle up in when he's snoozing on the sofa, so I made him this lovely crochet blanket.

It's made from Patons 'Big Fab' Super Chunky 100% Acrylic yarn in cream. I chose acrylic yarn as it washes well and dries quickly - this has to be a good choice with three cats in the house!

I used a 10mm hook and worked a continuous basic Granny Square for 30 rows, then worked two rows of Double Crochet as an edging before adding a large tassel to each corner. It worked up really quickly but it wasn't the easiest yarn to crochet with and my poor hands ached for days afterwards.

It's a very substantial blanket, though and It also goes perfectly with the Scrabble cushion.

I now have so many ideas for cushions that I aren't quite sure which one to start with! In any case I really will have to try and finish some of my 'unfinished' projects before moving on to anything else. Even so, I'm so addicted to cushions at the moment that I'm sure I'll be posting about new cushions very soon!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Facebook, Androids and Angry Birds

Today I decided to create a Facebook account. I'm not sure why, because I've been on and off this social networking site since it's inception (well, for a while anyway). The only valid reason I can think of to justify going there again is that last week I became the very proud owner of a rather sexy Samsung Galaxy S2 and I'm completely, totally and utterly addicted to it. I want all of the apps (not just the ones which might actually be useful to me) and I want to play on it all of the time. I've already downloaded a Calorie Counter/ Weight Loss app which I'm finding very useful for my incessant and rather depressing yo-yo dieting, and PDMC was kind enough to find me Angry Birds which, as you probably already know, is totally indispensible. No modern woman is complete without Angry Birds on her android phone...

I've actually been meaning to crochet some angry birds for a while now, after finding some fabulous patterns on Ravelry. (Now there is a social networking site which it is worth being a member of).

  Yellow Bird is my particular favourite

    but there's also a brilliant Boomerang Green Bird,

and an impressively grumpy-looking Black Bird.

If I can actually put my 'phone down for more than thirty seconds, I may start crocheting one!