Poppy Patchwork

My little bit of this big World

Friday 30 April 2021

April roundup

There is always spending in the garden in April, mainly compost, manure and bark, plus of course a few plants. I think this year I am being good, only purchased a couple sets of tea towels for my stash, my cross stich is taking my time and I have everything I need here. I did go mad a purchase a pair of summer trousers, just saw them, loved them and brought them home, and the new Karen Slaughter book, it was on offer in Tesco. 

We did get the new BBQ and loungers for the garden, but we did sell our wooden recliners which paid most of the cost of the replacements, nothing big for the house, just a new rug by the front door, even with the shops now open, we are still not going out much. The waste which came with the BBQ was huge, loads of foam packaging, we recycled the carboard box. Our food bills are much lower this month, we are using our larder and freezer, all the extra items we got for Brexit and the winter Covid surge are now being brought down to our normal levels. We don't walk to our local shops much either, milk keeps and last all week, just a pop to Lidl's every couple of weeks. 

The cold weather had stopped us walking so much, I am outside more often and my steps rise wandering around our tiny garden. We have been good, I ate my last cream egg, no more this year, and no more lemon sherbets, our treats are now home made cakes. No real weight loss this month, but we were not trying hard enough, we hope to focus through May. 

My Be Kind, was to purchase a tea towel and make another bee bag for the lady who works in our local veg shop, she has commented about mine every time she see's it. 

Wednesday 28 April 2021

Stitching and more

The Spanish sampler section is nearly done, just a few places to finish, I really enjoyed stitching this again, I did it first in 2009, it's now a small cushion on my spare bed, Will loves it. There is a white sunbeam on the top right of my work, I did not notice it when I took the photo. 
The colours are very different, I have not changed any of them, there should be more outer panels, I just choose the ones I love to fill this space, it very different to the rest of this project, it was always planned to be part of this project. I have also done the partial red boxes under the design, filling the space with colour.  
I am back down to having just one pattern page, it is tricky when I have more than 1 pattern, but it's handy to have them for checking I'm not making mistakes. These frames make holding the pattern pages close to your work so easy. 

I now believe I have finished 75% of my project and I have just the final quarter to do, I will do a lace panel above the Spanish sampler, probably using a shade of pink from the bottom section,  I'm still undecided if I will add to the middle box on left hand side. The bottom right is going to have loads of lace designs, I always wanted the lace design to be from top to bottom, I have no final design planned, it's going to be a case of stitch and see. I do have a small patchwork design I can add, but I'm not sure if it will look good, so I'm keeping an open mind on it.

I am spending more time outside, the lovely weather helps, it is cooler this week, but there is plenty to do in my warm greenhouse, and I have another book to read, so less stitching time. I did spend a morning pulling out all the extra stuff which has found it's way to our spare bedroom, loads of toys ect, they are all now back where they should be, I have found a new nook for all the boys toys, our spare bedroom is now tidy and uncluttered, ready for my brothers visit, which will be as soon as the rules permit. 

No rain last night, clear blue skies here, I'm almost out of rainwater, I am using a hose on most of my garden, April showers? not this year. 

Monday 26 April 2021


All through the year I love to tend to my plants, so plants inside is a must for me, I love my desk space, I sit here most mornings, with my huge mug of coffee, this group of plants are very pleasing. I have moved my spiral plant from the recommended spot to my desk, it was looking poorly, but now it's looking healthy. 
My pineapple plant is thriving, this spot is beside the office window, does not get direct sunlight, in the months this plant has been here it has grown loads. 
I did have string of pearls in here, but having 5 different pots, I began to think its too many, so this string of hearts is new, the metal drawers are high so they should be good here, again these are in our sunny office. 
Bathroom, I repotted my Christmas cactus, I do love the pot daughter gave me as a birthday gift last year. Once the plants in the other pots gets too big I change them over, I always have tiny babies on hand. 
Kitchen, my herb pots are doing well, each plant is thickening and filling the pots. The African violet is flowering again, it grows well in this spot. 
This is in our sitting room, Ficus Microarpa, I do nothing with it, just a drink, now and then. 
This Orchid is in our sitting room, I purchased it 29th January, such long blooming plants, I have others just with leaves, hoping I can get them to bloom again. 
My coffee plant, these were planted in a coffee mug when I purchased them a couple of years ago, naturally they grow in shade, so they are doing well in our cooler sitting room, loads of new growth. 
I often look back on my post to check how things are doing, so a whole post on houseplants for me is useful, I love to grow different things, giving myself a challenge, I've not found any pips or seeds to grow from fruit, I am trying to see if I can keep an acorn growth small, only time with tell with that. I would have loads more plants inside, but these are enough for hubby. 

We had another quiet fews days, our new recliners have been tested, and we are both pleased with them, I have nothing to do in the garden, in a few weeks I will plant out all the tender plants, but I still look for things to do, I do itch for something to keep me busy, no deadheading, but loads of watering, no rain for weeks and none promised.
Sunday we had a lovely walk along the shore, the tide was out, so no photos, the area was busy with people, but it's so huge, plenty of space to keep apart.
Today we are checking our freezers and cupboards ready for a trip to the big Tesco store, we need a couple of things which I can't get at Lidl's. What plans do you have?

Saturday 24 April 2021


It's been a busy week at home, the boys came over and we walked to our village barber, Will loves his spiky hair and spent time looking at the barbers motorbike parked outside. 
It's not so easy to get Georges hair cut, he does not cry but he won't keep his head still, hubby uses the same barber, he is a very kind family man and understands children are not easy to work with. Both boys have only had their hair cut in this barbers. 
We had new gates fitted to our house in the shared drive, we were planning to have tall wooden gate at the entrance to our garden, our lovely neighbour heard our conversation and said she was not so happy with her security, so after a chat, these gates were chosen across our shared drive. Hubby put a huge padlock on them, so we all feel safe, and bonus for me, I can still access my water butt's and hose, just outside our metal gates, handy for these dry days. 
I am enjoying seeing our garden come to life again, and finding a few surprises, the tall blue flowers in my spring pot, is a total surprise, whilst I planted these, they are not what was shown on the packaging for the bulbs, they are the best surprise. The yellow blooms should have been white, they are again very pretty. I always save the packets fronts on bulbs as I do forget what I have planted, and this year for the 1st time, I have wrongly packed bulbs. 
I have sorted my Belfast sink, one of the grasses was huge, I had split it twice before, but it was too big for this display, I replaced it with Scirpus Cernuus, which has tiny flowers on the fine tips of the grass. It's in the front right hand corner, which is where any water sits.
I got another plant Juncus Spiralis and the blue pot , it's a tender plant so will go into the greenhouse over winter, it loves partial shade, this spot is in shade most of the afternoon. 

Originally we were talking with our neighbour to change her gate when doing ours and bring it level with ours, creating odd angles, but adding the new set in this location looks neat and tidy and our neighbour loves the extra security. One job always leads to more work, we now enter our house through our side door, which now is left unlocked more, instead of our back door into the kitchen. I had become worried, when I am home alone and in the garden, I could not hear if anyone came in, so hubby has fitted an alarm, so every time the door opens I can hear, the bell is plugged in near the patio doors. We also have purchased a much larger mat inside the hall, we can now step inside and drip on the mat not our wooden floor, ever hoping for rain. We are now totally private in the back of our house, we no longer get different cats coming into the garden, Purdy can't get out beyond our garden, she is happy to stay close to home, Grace has not left our garden for years. Hubby replace the net along the side of our garage so foxes can't get in, but there is enough space for hedgehogs to scuttle under the gates, with gaps in fences for them to get out a different route.  We just need to watch in case the cats from next door start coming into our side. 

We did pop to a large independent garden centre, the plants are always healthy and not too expensive, we normally pop there once they have put their Christmas decorations out, I got the couple of grasses, and new reclining chairs for the garden, we sold our wooden steam liner ones, they we getting too heavy for me. 

I am in the garden and greenhouse everyday, and loving it, we have had a sunny week, cool at times, but when pottering around it does not notice. I am now watering a few times a week, having so many tubs requiring more water, I am having to use the hose, I have 1 half full water butt, and I am saving the rainwater for certain plants which need only rain water. Our Magnolia tree is still bare, but it's still a bit early for the leaves to form, I have missed the big pink blooms this spring. I have just sown the French Marigold seeds for 2 long tubs, hubby loves these flowers, so I try and have some each year, my other smaller plants have grown, I have loads of plants to pop out in a few weeks. 

We are enjoying having lunch in the garden again, the outside space enhances our lives so much, the boys were playing outside earlier this week,  having the patio doors open and allowing the birdsong into our home is refreshing and calming. 

Thursday 22 April 2021

Another addition

I am still finding stitching time, not as much as a few weeks ago, but this is growing. I have filled in a few spaces around the design, places where there was too much white showing. 
The boxes on the left side is done, but I'm not sure if I will add to the middle box, it does look a bit bare.
My 7th design is being added, Spanish sampler, I have not changed any colours here, I won't be using all the panels, so I am picking the ones I love, there will be 1 more panel along the top. I am working out the finish point in each section to ensure it is finished neatly. You can see a dirty spot, where I had to unpick, yes just 1 stitch out, but it showed as the design did not meet up. 
 I am working on 3 panels to ensure I get their placement correct, this is how my work often looks, here I have 3 different sheets clipped to the top and side of my frame. 
As well as sewing and my garden I enjoyed this book, it's from the selection our library picked for me, they are now open, so I will stop this system and pre-book books of my own choice and pop in to pick books. It's not a book I would have chosen, but it was a good story, book 17 this year. 

I have had my 2nd jab yesterday and I have a sore arm, same as last time, I did not sleep well, I kept waking up, I had the jab in my left arm. it's the arm I have huge issues with after an operation back in 2012, I sleep on my left side. I never have injections in my right arm, I had one once and found myself with both arms sore, so I feel it's better to have my left arm with issues, and my right arm OK. 

Not much planned today, hope I can add to my sampler above today, if not I will read, it's another sunny morning here. 

Monday 19 April 2021

Making changes

This was the view as you entered our back garden, our huge BBQ, kept under a weatherproof cover all year round, it was huge 4 burners, a hot plate and a gas burner on one of the shelves, just far too big for us now. The smaller new BBQ can now be kept in the garage
The whole area was covered in concrete a few years ago, hubby always pops his motorbike into the garage, so this area had to be tough to take the wear, it is also a great play area for Will after it has rained, it drains very well and dries very quickly. In creating a new garden green area here, I decided I would try and use some of the many pots I have around the garden, I have loads of pots tucked around the back area and in the greenhouse, filled with beautiful colourful plants. After a throw away comment to hubby we did change plans, moving one of my huge pots already planted up for summer, so I have not spent a penny in the creation on this area, plus the back section is now not so crowded and more how I wanted it to look. 

Our sundial looks better here, and the aeoniums also look good next to it, plus my spring pot. 
The citrus plants are back out, looking good after another winter in the greenhouse, these can withstand light frost, so are safe located here. 
The steps are now clearer, I took a few pots away from here.
The trio of Acers have been moved from here, this pot holder always looks good here, it's a handy place to keep pots which are not in bloom. 
The garden is looking good.

As a result I have had a tidy around everywhere, my worms are now tucked back in a space safe and I can now reach most of the raised bed, and allowing room for my tomato pot this summer, I have been able to use both of my outdoor shelves, grouping smaller pots together. The back area around the greenhouse has always been a bit of a mess, I try and keep it sorted, but it has too much to be placed here, most of my spring pots stay here all summer. 

The old BBQ was collected on Sunday, with one decision and a bit of work we have a tidy garden again. Not all my tender plants are out of the greenhouse, a I have a few and my bedding plants which can wait a few more weeks. It does feel good to have a good sort out and sweep areas, hubby swept the whole access path to the back of the houses. 

Perfect weekend, Saturday working outside, Sunday started the same way, at 11am we popped to our friend and neighbour across the road for outside morning coffee, another couple popped in as well. Later we were working back outside and our neighbours behind called to use and we sat in their garden having a BBQ lunch together, all following the covid rules, but so much fun to see people again.

Sunday 18 April 2021

More or less

I do love this author, his books are set in and around Brighton, DCI Roy Grace is the main character, normally, this book was a bit different, still a very good read. Book 16 read this year. 
Another of my Amaryllis has new leaves, both of these are in my greenhouse, stored on the floor, a bit strange, just will have to see what grows. 
Some of my succulents are flowering.  

Both these Fuchsia's, one a cutting from my garden the other a plug plant, I have potted them into the pots I used for my lime and orange plants.  These are still in my greenhouse.

It's been a bit of a nothing week, after having both Will and George on Wednesday it has been very quiet here, the warmer weather has had me outside much more, just an hour or a bit longer each day, sorting moving pots, and potting on in the greenhouse. 

My 2 smaller waterbutts are almost empty, I still have rainwater in the bigger one by garage, they are saying no rain for at least 10 days, which is bad news for me, all the April showers has pasted us by, it's at these times I know I have too many pots. 

I have a bit more to do but will need help, on Tuesday when I went shopping at Lidl's, I did what I always do, pop the full bag in the boot of my car, but this time I twisted my back, so yes again I am being very careful, and from now on hubby is coming shopping with me to lift bags, the stupid thing is I did not buy as much as normally, so I can't even say the bag was too heavy, I am feeling stupid again. have done some sewing, but not as much, the garden is calling to me.

Friday I cleaned the greenhouse out, moved a huge pot of Aeoniums out, it was purchased years ago for 99p as a very small plant, they do grow tall, 2 years ago I cut all the stems and planted them in a bin, expecting them all to die, they all lived and got huge.
Saturday a lazy day at home, I spent an hour sat outside reading, the sun was warm, it felt as if spring has arrived, I do hope it stays.

Thursday 15 April 2021

Back to nature

My outside table is still giving so much colour, the tulips were a birthday gift last year, how wonderful to enjoy the gift more than once. My begonia which is in a big blue pot is has started shooting, so I'm looking forward to seeing beautiful flowers here all summer. 
My tulips all around the garden have bloomed earlier than expected, I always grow them in pots, the bulbs rot in our heavy clay soil. The bulbs in my last photo here, were again a birthday gift and they have bloomed here for a couple of years, the hyacinth's have bloomed the best this year. 
My Peonies are both growing well, the smaller photo, is mum's plant and my prized thing in the garden. The 2nd was planted last year, it's 'bowl of beauty'. I am super pleased with this corner, I did loads of work here last year and finally things are growing, before it was just a bare corner. My latest Peony, is in a pot in the greenhouse, once the daffs have been allowed to die back, I will plant it in my side garden, all three colours are shades of pink and should look good together. 
I thought my trio of acers, were just 2 plants, but now all the leaves are formed, I do in fact have all 3 in one pot. My much older Acer is about to bust into colour.

This is my acorn, collected and planted with Will, I am hoping I can bonsai it, if it grows too big, I will have to find someone with a huge garden to take it on.  
Greenhouse is looking good, most of these were dug out of the garden last year, soon they will be planted back outside. 
The top level are the plants I purchased, all potted on, in a few weeks they will be huge and strong enough to be in the ground. Lower level I have again planted cornflower and poppy seed, I do want them in my back raised bed. 
Hubby went looking for a new BBQ yesterday, ours's is just too big, once we have our new one, we will pass the old one on, it has a few years useful life. Well, we were in a garden center, and I love the look of this plant, I have wanted one for ages, it's Albuca spiralis, Frizzle Sizzle,  I have read how to keep it looking good, for now it's in my office, but not on my desk. 
Betty is doing well, as is Proff, best name for a plant which looks like a brain, my new succulents also like their pot and place in the warm sun. They all sit well on my desk. 
My thoughts are now on one spot in the garden, the new BBQ will be stored in the garage, so I have an area along the neighbours fence with the low wall. This area has a concrete base, so I can't easily extend the side garden, but I do have a plan to add more flowers and colours, hubby listened to my suggestions, which include a small task for him, it is close to our gates, so I can't go too big, it a case of watch this space. 

The past week has been sunny very cold days, we did have rain overnight Sunday/Monday, which topped up the water butts, I have been watering some of my pots, the dry spell has started early this year, so much for April showers. Loads of laundry dried on the line, plenty of warm time in the greenhouse. It did rain again yesterday, most of the afternoon, so I'm happy with the promise of a couple dry weeks and warmer days. 

Our hairdresser popped in Monday morning, cut my hair and hubbies, his barbers are fully booked, she also does our neighbour across the road, we are all feeling much better. Coffee morning on Tuesday was fun, we walked to the café in village, they had their tables outside, wrapped up warm it was great to catch up with everyone, later a trip to Lidl's, top up shop, life is feeling a bit better this week. Wednesday we had George as the swimming lessons for Will have again started, both boys stayed with us whilst mummy drive daddy to an eye check up, so it was a toy, fun and laughter day. I have been reading, I got a lovely book from our charity shop on Tuesday, an I'm enjoying reading again.

Hubby has his 2nd jab on Saturday, mine is booked for next Wednesday, mine is Astra Zeneca which I'm happy to have, soon we are both sorted, still no plans to go shopping away from our village or the pub, just staying safe at home. 

Monday 12 April 2021

Bottom line

My work as a whole photo, I've mainly stitched the left side, ensuring the top designs tumble into the lower ones, I feel it works for me. The whole design is clear in my mind, the only issue is if it fits as well as I think, I have room for change as so many of these designs tumble into each other.

I love these red squares from my cushion, I hope to have a line of  designs along the bottom, I'm not sure if I will sew all 10, I do also want some more lace falling to the bottom, one to be in front of the squares and another falling behind.

I have been counting, recounting and working where to place the next design, should the edges butt up nice to my existing work, or tuck behind, I am worried I could miss count and have silly gaps. The design is not a simple one, lots of fine lace panels and not easy to stitch from outside in, it's a case of which keeps me happy and not concerned as I am stitching. I'm off to count again.

Counted cross stitch is my love, these charts fill me with joy, even ones with so many tiny different shapes and colours, as the design forms I am always happy. 

I still have loads of designs to finish off, but I am focusing on ensuring the bottom and sides look good and not just where the stitching stops. 

Thank you for your kind comments I have received as I am stitching this, I am not sure if this will be my last fine work, my eyes are not as good as they were, I love the smaller work using just 1 strand, it sits smoothly, using 2 strands  can often lead to them twisting and the finished work not looking as smooth. You all know me by now, in everything I am a neat tidy freak, I like control, but also freedom when it comes to my craft. I always struggle with random, I'm not good at just adding anything, I have to know the whole design, each design on this work is thought about, shape and then colour, the balance has to be there, even any mad contrast is always thought about, it's who I am.  

With all the cold weather back, it has given me loads of stitching time, most afternoons and evenings I stitch, having such a huge design helps eat up so much time, stops me thinking about life and everything. This again is growing, I would like to bulk of it done in the next few weeks, once the warmer weather is here the garden will call and often win my time. I've again not read much, this project has taken over and is timed to perfection keeps me feeling calm and busy and not bored at all. 

I was home alone most of Sunday, listen to the radio, lots of reference to Prince Philip who passed away on Friday, our thoughts are with our Queen, anyone who has lost a partner will understand her loss, it also focus our minds on all those passed away in the last 12 months, far too many. 

Friday 9 April 2021

My week

We had our coffee get together on Tuesday in our garden, with extra blankets, it was really cold, but we stayed warm and chatted for ages, for once it was pleasing to have so many smaller lap blankets. We did have some snow in the afternoon, it was bitterly cold in the afternoon and overnight. 
Wednesday was again really cold, so I cleaned our bedroom and bathroom, hubby had changed the bedding the day before, nothing like housework to warm you up. Hubby was out for a couple of hours playing Petanque, he is so pleased they can meet again. Rest of the day was spent stitching with Grace my cat on my lap, not easy but we manage. 
Thursday another cold start, are we going back into winter, I spent time in my greenhouse, I went to our local shop and got plants for my garden, they are small so I have potted them on, I will plant then in a few weeks when they are larger, I also started more cornflower and poppy seeds, the last lot dried on the hot days we had. I am behind with loads of things, they will catch up once the warmer weather is here.

Today it's sunny and cold, should stay dry most of the day, I am going to water some of my outside pots, and give everything a good drink in the greenhouse, normally I would water in late afternoon, but I will water this morning, so the pots do not have water sitting in them overnight. 

It's been a bit of a nothing week, having my big sewing project has helped pass so much spare time, I have enjoyed being out in the greenhouse, normally at this time of year I would be planning my planting, but it's far too cold, everything will be later this spring. My mum would never sort her bedding plants until late May, it's a rule I try and follow. 

We both have a hair cut booked for Monday morning, I have used the same lady for years, she cuts my very straight hair just how I like it, for the last couple of years she pops to our house, she left the salon after the birth of her 1st baby, and choose a few customers to offer her services, thank goodness I was one of them. Hubby is having his hair cut as well, he normally goes to the local barber, but he is fully booked. 

Hubby has his 2nd jab booked, mine should be early next month, I had the Astra Zeneca, and will be happy to have the 2nd injection. Slowly we are thinking of our freedom, but I don't think I want to be anywhere with huge crowds, I have no desire to pop to any of the non essential shops once they open, life to start with is not going to change much for us. I am looking forward to my brother visiting, it's been over a year since we saw him last, he will finally get to see his daughter and her family, who live local to us. 


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