Friday, 28 April 2017

1st May bank holiday

Like this for ever, was brilliant
I could not put it down, the story line was against all my normal choices
Sharon Bolton is becoming a favorite author of mine.
The Stranger in my home is on my pile to read. 
 Aquilegia's are back in the garden
this one is huge with loads of buds.
 I love these flowers, I don't have as many as last year
waiting to see what colours I have. 
 Just a single flower on my Peony
It survived the frosty morning this past week. 
I have no idea where the Iris came from, it's not a plant I would grow. 
Different reading
It's a bank holiday here so no work until Tuesday, we are spending the time at home, I have just one task in our garden, we will dig out a small bed and enhance the soil, replant a few nice flowering plants I have in my greenhouse.
My plan is to have time to read, and for a nice change I got a few gardening magazines, I can't remember when I last purchased magazines, way back in 2016. I never have to justify Gardeners World, Amateur Gardening, had a lovely packet of Dahlia seeds and an article regarding regrowing Orchids, I hope to get a few tips. Modern Gardens, is not about plants and growing things, it's all about putting together gardens, a bit like DIY ground force, without Alan Titchmarsh.
Tonight we are at our daughters house, whilst pregnant she had to give up soft cheese and Pate, so we promised her a cheese, pate and wine party with a bit of port. It's easier for us to go to her's so Will can sleep in his own room.
Tomorrow I'm having a Pedicure, so I can get my summer toes out.
I want to do some sewing, but I've not planned which day, and hubby will not want to spend 3 days at home, so I am hoping a trip out with our trusty camera's will feature.
It's much warmer along the south coast, so a promise of a nice weekend.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Sew good

 It's been a busy few days loads of craft
Monday evening I took up two bridesmaid dresses, well I cut them to length, I could not hem them, the fabric was a stretchy nylon fabric, which in truth, I found horrible, it's OK I work with the bride and she does not know of this blog. I did what was requires of me, they did not want a hem, which would have been a nightmare on the fabric. The bride and bridesmaids are all happy. I just feel it was not a great job.
Tuesday I made my bag which was a quick finish, the bag is huge, but it is perfect for my fabric stash, these soft baby fleece blankets are bulky, but now are together and neat, plus a spare curtain and still loads of room.
 I love the colours, and the handles are double thickness, so really sturdy. 
The cold weather is a nuisance, but doing no damage to my garden, most things planted are growing again, and really hardy. Almost every thing which needs protecting is still in my greenhouse.
The capillary mat is working well in the greenhouse, I cut a piece for my big tray, I keep a couple seedling trays in with my tomato plants, the strip soaked the water from a big pot, the mat stayed wet since Monday and there is still water in the jug.
I have not done anything in the garden, just checking the greenhouse to ensure everything is warm enough inside. I do have plans this weekend to sort one small bed, our soil is almost pure clay and I have to keep adding a good compost and some grit to break it up.
The tree we planted is looking good, no signs of stress.
Hubby has purchased me a book, it was booked out for months in our local library, I am looking forward to reading The Stranger in my Home, by Adele Parks, a new author for me.  I have started reading another Sharon Bolton book, Like this forever, I do enjoy her writing.
To finish, my friend saw this and thought of me, 
can't complain because it's true. 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Moving things

I did a bit of retail at B&Q and Home Bargains this morning, the capillary matting and fence came from B&Q. The plant pot wheels and pot maker from Home Bargains, the wheels are underneath my tomato plants, so I can move them about, and the pot maker was reduced, made of wood and looks pretty. 
 The fencing was £10.47, I got it for the Acer pot, and hoped it would also do this blue pot, but I still have 3 sections left, so a great bargain and it's useful as it keeps the cats out of my pots. 
My twisted willow has lived in a pot since 2012, we both love this tree, and decided it was about time we found it a better home. 
 Firstly we had to ensure this pot still looked good as it's the first part of our back garden you see from the drive. 
 We had long discussions on where the tree would have space to grow, look good in the garden and also not get in the way as it grew bigger. this spot was judged as the best place, the whole area had a woodland feel to it, and a tree here would not look out of place. 
 It was the right decision, as already it looks right, I will stop cutting back the holly bush and let it fill some of the space. I have also planted the snakeshead fritillary, which had gone over in the same area. I have some primroses for the front, to finish to wooded look. 
 I put a small shrub in the pot and placed a little metal bird in front,
 hubby saw the bird and thought of me. 
Every moment spent in the garden at this time of year will be rewarded as the summer comes. The shops were full of bedding plants, and people were filling their baskets, I was a bit worried as our weather fore caste this week is for it to turn much cooler and the temperatures to drop to below normal, thus risking any new and tender plants in the garden. I normally look to plant our bedding plants in the late May bank holiday, when the risks are gone. 
I spent time in the greenhouse again, I have planted some lettuce plants in the raised bed and put in spring onion and radish seeds. I will grow salad items this year, it should keep me happy. 
I used the capillary matting under my seedling trays, I am trying it as a self watering system, being away in early May is making me think of how my plants can survive when we are away. I filled a watering can and dipped two long strips in the water, already the mats are wet, it's looking hopeful. 
I have done no sewing, but when the sun shines we want to be outside, I will do a sewing project each evening after work. 
I have finished reading A dark and twisted tide by Sharon Bolton, a really good book, I have started Thursdays in the park by Hilary Boyd, which is a light read, I'm already half way through. 

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Planting on

Peony time again, first bloom
I love this old plant
 Inside my greenhouse
Cucumber and potatoes in raised bed
Couple of tomato plants 
 Loads of things in the sunlight
 My staging is full, with the olive bush in front
 Outside hosta coming back to life
 Loads of chives around the lemon balm pot
 My succulent tower looking good
 I got a new light box, for a dark corner, 
message it true in this house. 
It's been a busy time, Friday was an extremely busy day at work, which made a nice change.
After my pop to the hairdressers this morning, I drove to Southampton, I have two bridesmaids dresses to take up, the young ladies modeled their outfit s and I pinned the length, that's a job for tomorrow.
Lunch time we walked to the village and had lunch out, Darcy's is a busy bistro, but we always manage to find a table, we then went on to Lidl's and got our shopping, we were good and just got food, our fridge is again full.
Later I spent time in the garden, it is much sunnier and warmer than fore caste, the greenhouse was really warm. I have planted my cucumbers into the raised garden, and have put 2 tomato plants into huge pots, which for now is in the greenhouse. We are away in a couple of weeks and I am hoping the plants will settle in their new home and do better than if I left them in their tiny pots. Everywhere is looking good, I did water my garden again, I think this must be the driest April we have had in ages, we have not seen many April showers. I am also protecting plants as the weather fore caste is for it to be much colder next week. I have not planted anything out, it's much to early for that, but I do have seeds in my raised cut flower bed, I still have the plastic top over the seeds, but I have raised it up higher, I can always move it back down if necessary.
I also got the jobs for the weekend as listed in gardeners world last night, I had forgot my lavender, which is down by the greenhouse, and is now trimmed nicely.
Tomorrow I will get my sewing machine out, finish my bag (which I will use for holding some of my material stash), and take up the dresses. I also want to finish the curtains for the two small windows in the camper van, thank you for your comments before, it's an exciting time, and can't wait to get away in it.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Visitors

The colour is not very good in this photo
Another design off Pintrest, the bag is bigger than I expected. 
This is my colours
Everyone at Portchester Castle
Magnolia tree in the sunshine
After the flowers the seed forming 
Aquilegia, flowers just starting to form. 
It's been a busy few days, we had a lovely Easter long weekend, on Sunday our friends from Spain, Izzy and her daughters Alba and Paula arrived for a few days.
Saturday was a morning at home, in the afternoon, I helped a neighbour cut out a large square cushion cover, we then stitched it together, Marie had not made such a large project before, the fabric had a square design on so we were careful to ensure the lines matched. I hope to be able to do another cushion with Marie next week, she has four to make, the hope is by the last cushion, she will be able to do it herself.
Sunday we traveled to Stanstead airport to collect our guests, of all the London airports it is the longest journey from our house, we were lucky the M25 was kind and we have almost no delays. Sunday evening was home catching up with everyone.
Monday I did some sewing in the morning, in the afternoon we went to Hobby craft and Haskin's garden center, Alba and Paula loved all the craft items.
Tuesday I had to work, but hubby took our friends to Portsmouth and they went up the Spinnaker Tower and did some shopping.
Wednesday we went to the castle, which the girls loved, we then went up Portsdown hill to above the city, another fantastic place to view the whole of the city, The Solent and Isle of Wight. It was cold and breezy, but dry, the girls took some wonderful photo's. It was lovely to look at our local area through eyes of young girls who have never been to England before, simple things like a thatched cottage, which we have walked by many times, became an interesting subject. Yesterday Su also brought baby Will over, so later loads of lovely cuddles.
I worked with Alba, who is 12 and loves sewing, together with me instructing and Alba cutting out and sewing we made the top bag, I did some work on my bag, to show Alba the finish we could achieve, all I now need to do is finish it off, about an hours work.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Vantastic

Today we sorted our camper van, 
it's huge as 6'2" hubby can stand up in it. 
 At the very back, this area converts into a double bed.
The blind at the back covers the back doors which we will not use. 
 Lovely kitchen area, with a good under counter fridge
 Looking forward to the side door, more seating
which can be pulled out for a single bed.
 Shower room, with portaloo
 Nice corner basin unit
This morning we started on the van, it was filthy and took loads of soapy hot water to clean everywhere. We were very pleased there was no signs of damp, the van was completely dry.
I started at the back and worked forward, I cleared all the storage area's, the previous owner left loads of stuff we would not use. Now everywhere is looking bright, clean and ready for use.
I am not a fan of red, but the cushion covers are well made and in good condition, so I decided to add blue to tone the decor down, our two throws are tucked around the cushions, the black and white curtains will be replaced, I have to sew the new ones, the lovely curtain at the front of the van has a blue leaf in and will go well, my sister gifted me the curtains.
I gave the shower room a good scrub, we do not intend to use the shower, and will use it as a toilet, I added a new shower curtain, just to add colour to the room.
We were pleased the fridge was working and clean, the microwave we threw away, it was beyond a clean, we will purchase a new one along with a new battery charger for the leisure battery.
All the kitchen ware, towels, sleeping bags all fit in well, I will make a few holders out of denim for the glasses and dinner service, I have loads of different shade of blue jeans to cut up.
We were able to store the awning, inner tent and other items under the single bed bench, all handy to get at, but out of our way.
We are both excited and looking forward to our first trip away, we hope to get away next month.
Su and David came later afternoon with Will, we enjoyed a meal together, and loads of lovely baby cuddles.
Now I am tired, we will have an early night, so tomorrow, I can clean the house before our Spanish visitors arrive on Sunday.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Lets get fruity

I have loads of flowers all over my fruit bushes, blueberries and strawberries are leading the way, I am hoping for a bumper harvest on both. Raspberries are coming along at the back, but they are late fruiting. 
I cut the center from my gooseberry bushes, and I have sprayed them for the 1st time, each year all the green is eaten by saw flies, so this year is the last chance to rid these plants of the pest. If not the plants will get dumped. 
My blackcurrant is growing well, this is the first full year in this pot and with all the new growth, it is very improved on last year.  
 I don't normally take a photo of my Acer from this angle, but the growth this year after we repotted it is fantastic. 
 My staging is in the greenhouse, it has 3 levels, and gives me so much more space. I have moved a few things from my shed into here, it's handy to have every thing to hand. To protect the top shelf I have used a plastic tray for under grow bags, just a perfect size.
 Loads of tiny French Marigolds in two trays, the 3rd tray has Saliva seeds which I hope will soon start to grow. Plus tomatoes and cucumbers, lemon grass just shooting and coriander, very productive. 
 I have spent loads of time in the garden, I pop out to the greenhouse most evenings, I have already been outside an hour this evening. It all about keeping an eye on everything to ensure I get strong plants. I have transplanted some cosmo plants from my outside raised flower bed, I have 6 plants in a tub outside and 10 plants in two big pots in the greenhouse, I do love these flowers, plus there are still loads in my cut flower bed. The flower seeds I scattered are now coming through, I have huge hopes for cut flowers this summer.
I am pleased with my tender herbs, they have a good start, some I will plant into my herb garden, others will go outside in their pots once the summer is here, my basil stays in the greenhouse, I will plant some in with the tomatoes.
I have earthed up my potatoes, we are both looking forward to harvesting them. I have also sown mixed leaves lettuce and 10 cos, I will try and have a steady supply through out the summer.
We are now planning a restful long Easter weekend, we have friends coming to stay from Spain on Sunday, Friday we are having Will over for a visit. Saturday is just hubby and I.
Tonight I will finish reading Reflection by Diane Chamberlain, a brilliant book.
I gave up on It started with Paris, by Cathy Kelly, I got to page 97 and realised I did not care what happened to the ladies.
I have not added the cost of my staging or the solar lights purchased last week to my stash list, both hubby and I were each given £250 for ourselves, so I used some of this to get these items, they are a one off purchase, I have £100 left, so I am looking for a couple of pieces of art for the garden. I'm not in a hurry it will be a case of wait until I see something special.
The new automatic window opener is working great.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

I see you

Purdy is always watching. 
 Magnolia and Bleeding Hearts
 Anemones, aren't they stunning.
 Blue bells and strawberry flowers. 
Will was very good for me last night, we went to bed at 9.30ish, he woke up at 1.30am for a feed and woke again at 6am, I did not get the best night's sleep, as with any young baby (7 weeks old) he makes many different noises. We watched Take That on TV, which Will enjoyed the music, and I read a bit. We were back here by 8am for breakfast, and later we dropped Will to the hotel with mummy and daddy to enjoy their 1st wedding anniversary. We popped to Garsons garden center, where I got a few rockery plants for one of my dishes, you could get 3 for £10, so I chose 2 and hubby chose the third. I now have 3 displays all looking good.  We also replaced 2 solar lights for our outside table, the old ones rusted, hubby saw they have the same design so 2 came home with us, I will keep them in the greenhouse protected from the wet but charged ready to use.
We have been in the garden this afternoon, the window opener is fitted in the greenhouse, we also cut a lower branch off the Magnolia tree, when all the flowers and leaves are there, we could not see through to the bird feeders, plus it now looks balanced with the other side, which we keep higher as to miss the fence. I also planted my snakeshead fritallery in the front of the raspberry plants, I have bark around this bed, so it does have the feel of woodland. I got my big camera out, hence the close up photo's, Grace did her usual thing and hid whilst the camera was in my hand.
We are in for a while, dare I say it's a bit too hot outside, I will go back out soon and water the garden, we have no rain coming.
We also popped to Saninsbugs for our Olive and butter spread, it was £1.5 instead of £2.60, so we got 10 packs, saving £11, they should last until the next offer.

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