Poppy Patchwork

My little bit of this big World

Friday 30 June 2023

June roundup


It's been a good month, keeping my spend under £100 was great, the spend on sewing and knitting is small as I am using more of my stash, in the garden the main spend was on lavender. 
My half year totals is utterly brilliant, my lower than previous years, it's a good feeling.

I have spent more on clothes, a couple of tops and sandals this month, it's never been about not spending, it always been about use what I have and after four years, I am starting to need some smart clothes. I have started using the library more, so my book spend should reduce. The half year figure include two good quality coats, without them I would have spent under £200.

Again no waste, we are trying to ensure we don't bring any 'wrapping' into the house which can't be recycled, having all our fruit in paper bags is a positive. BUT I do know it takes loads of water to make bags, so I keep them all and reuse them as I can, I am the same when I rarely get a plastic carrier, I pop it in the bottom of my handbag and reuse. My harvest have started, only small crops, but plenty to come.

We have mainly only ate salads, hardly any cooked meats, any cut off waste goes into our composter, we have sliced so many different breads and popped them into the freezer, so we only take out what we need, even the grandchildren know they should not waste food here. 

My steps are brilliant, my weight not so, I do feel as if I have lost some inches from my middle, that will have to do for now, my shorts and trousers waistband are not tight, so that's a win.

Wednesday 28 June 2023

Busy doing nothing

I have added a few more patterns, most were stitched over the weekend, I have not brought it with me to daughters house, so it's on pause for a while, I am working on the green flower pattern, I started the yellow, which is a big design, but I'm not happy, I think I might just finish the flower centre part of the design.
We watched some of Glastonbury on TV, loved Yusuf Cat Stevens, cringed all through Blondie, sadly her voice has gone, the band played so well, loved Rick Astley and adored Sir Elton John, we both watched him live, and then watched it again on Monday night, he is such a great performer, with so many iconic songs, which have become the tracks of our years. 
Nana duties is taking all my time, it's a role I love, time each day with Molly and George, taking and collecting Will from school, I'm sleeping over until early next week. Daughter is walking on her foot, but can't walk far and can't drive, Wills school is too far away to walk.

I do have a book to read, but very little reading time, all the children are in bed by 7.30pm,  daughter and I enjoy a few peaceful hours.

We have not had any rain, none was promised, the storms are all north of us, which happens every year, the south east is the driest area in UK followed by the south coast. Its been dry and cloudy in the past three days, which has helped me and our garden. But I am still hopeful we will get rain, hubby has installed our new larger 200ltrs water but, so enough rain to fill it would make me very happy.

Monday 26 June 2023

Summer colour

Roses are blooming, the dark red one is in it's second year, still quite small, but enough buds for a beautiful show. The yellow flowers have been here over 10 years, the pink flower was planted a couple of years ago as a gift, we did struggle to place it in the garden. 
Pots are looking good, these are just some of my favourite ones, all summer heat loving plants, it's a perfect year for them.  

The Acers are just brilliant. 
My Hosta looking good, 
so far not snail food, sat in an old bronze coal bucket.
Some flowers are better, this tiny cucumber plant is doing well. 
The Olive tree is full of bloom, when sat at the table the blossom floats down in the breeze, feels like your sat in a summer wedding. 
The side bed is filling out well, this year along the front I have Bizzy Lizzies, I purchased 4 plants and grew them on, I also took cuttings, so loads of plants at different sizes. The climbing rose is tucked by the garage, I have popped in a honeysuckle rooted cutting, in hope they mingle. 
This Agapanthus has 18 flower heads, I can't wait for them to open, from this plant I have separated roots and have two other plants around the garden, both have flower spikes. I will separate it again after flowering, I have a spot for it in our old herb bed.
The back bed, this is the last year it will look like this, next year it will become a fruit bed, everything which survives the winter will be transplanted into the new bed. The raised bed is full of colour, again we are pleased with it. 
The old herb bed, looking good, I have loads of smaller new plants which will come back every year, to help fill this bed, but for this year, it's all bedding plants. 

I did watch Gardeners World last Thursday,  it was at Adam Frost's home, very nice to see something different, I loved the water garden. I am back home for the weekend, and return to daughters on Tuesday when SIL goes away working, for the past week I have been sleeping at home but now I will move in with daughter for as long as she needs me, I am mainly doing the school run and bedtimes, daughter is doing the cooking and other things. 

As hubby and I sat on Saturday morning drinking our coffee in the shade, we both agreed the garden was full of colour, it's what most gardeners want, we both like our gardens neat, hubby loves straight lines, hence all the edging around the gardens. All I had to do was dead head around the plot and plant three small plants I purchased in the village, which was useful and it was so bloody hot. We popped to our neighbours at the bottom of our garden for a BBQ, the house is shared by three men, they are brilliant neighbours, they were very helpful through lockdown. 

We are fighting flies again, they are again this year huge bluebottle type, our patio doors are never opened, we leave our kitchen door open with a full length net. I have made a net curtain for our top opener in our bedroom window, it is working, we are getting less flies inside. Where we now sit, there are more flies, but less than on the other side of the garden.

We have purchased another water but, this one is 200ltrs, so will give me extra storage. Hubby is going to have another go at mending the leaking one, he thinking he should be able to fix it, with a different solution and he has a spot at the front of the house, useful for watering in the front garden. 

Friday 23 June 2023

U Turn

I have been really naughty, we popped back to local shops and I purchased a pair of sandals, I love this design where the leather bits wrap around your big toe, they are always comfortable. I saw them the other week, hubby encouraged me, can I blame him.
I have sorted my summer T shirts, a few were looking a bit tatty, so they have all be popped into the Salvation Army bins, I still have plenty, but I will look for a few new cotton tops, so I can look tidy if we are invited out over the coming weeks. 

I have plenty of space in my side of the wardrobe, I can keep all our big winter coats at the back, I don't need to pack away summer and winter, I just move the seasons items to a lower shelf and the other set to the higher shelves. I now own 14 pairs of shoes/sandals and 3 pairs of boots, which is about a fifth of what I used to own.

I also have my fabric stash on 2 shelves as well as in the two baskets, my cardboard boxes are working well, the baskets fit inside and I have a neat shelf, I normally have our sun hats on top. It's so much better to not have this area bulging with clothes, alot if which I never wore.

In the last 4 years I have spent a total of £1,047.74, which is an average of £261.93 per year, this includes footwear and coats, I can only imagine how much clothes I have passed on, most of it 'work style' I do feel really pleased with myself, most of my 'going out evening' clothes are repeatedly worn, I am proud for someone to notice. I still have too many clothes, but I do now wear most items, I mainly wear shorts and T shirts at home in the summer.

This year I have spent more, almost £200 on two good coats and a couple pairs of sandals and a pair of trainers, plus other clothes, it has never been about saving money, just wearing what I already own.

Removing ourselves from the commercial merry-go-round, has been so good, keeping clothes longer works, I mainly purchase natural fibers, I love the feel of cotton, and mainly good leather shoes the quality shines through. Pulling out my summer clothes is reuniting with dear things, clothes I know will fit me, many years old, it does mean I have to watch my weight, and stay at the same size.

Hubby is much better than he was, but he does get through his everyday clothes quicker, he often marks what he is wearing when doing jobs about the place.

It's the same with household and garden things, purchasing quality and making it last, we are also using our 'best' things, daughter won't want any of it, so what's the point of it collecting dust and not being used.

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Little things

 Another new week, how quickly they fly by, Monday was a lazy day, as a treat daughter and I had a spa day, well just a few hours and lunch. Pure rest and relax, lunch was the best bit, this is our local spa and it's not that great, both our meals were wonderful, it's going to be a busy week, so a good start.

Both cats are sleeping ontop of their igloo beds, it's much cooler, don't they look comfortable, both Molly and George leaves them alone when they settle on these beds. They have other spots to snuggle on, both prefer to settle here. Grace was watching me the whole time, Purdy sleeps through everything. 

My sewing is coming along, it's such a restful thing to do, the left hand side is finished, I do love the purple heart and the outer bands, which filled the last space on this side. I have also added the shades of green design, which fits into the space above the gold band.

I am now adding more designs on the right. I look at my design folder and choose something I want to stitch, then I find a spot to place it and finally I chose the colour to use, it sounds hap hazard, but for me it does work, 

These little people are with us again, we will have them all this week, mummy/daughter has had an operation on her foot, after waiting to get to the top of the list, so Nanna and Grancha as having daily fun with them. Tuesday was dinosaur day, lots of roars.

My sewing machine is packed away, I did not get any sewing done, which is OK , I can get it all out once my Nanna duties are done. I am itching to use my machine, I do enjoy sewing, items can be made so quickly.

Early Tuesday morning we finally got our heavy rain storm, we were up at 5.30am to collect George and Molly for a play day, mummy had an early hospital start,  everywhere felt so fresh and lovely, the ground has had a good soak, I now have three full water butts again, so for a while I was happy, sadly the leak hubby hoped he fixed is dripping again so we will purchase a new one.

Doing the school run is good for my steps, the nursery and school are either end of a long road, I park closer to the nursery on days the little ones are in, Will is happy to walk into school, so I get my steps without having to do extra walks. Monday on my spa day I did not reach my 7000 target.

Monday 19 June 2023

Sit with me.

I'm not sorry for another of my garden photo's, this seating area is looking good, with herbs both side, you can touch the chives, lemon balm, rosemary, thyme and mint to release their scents. I have basil in a hanging pot as well. On the shelf I have for the first time put pots of flowers, it makes this area very relaxing and with the parasol loads of lovely shade. We are going to put up trellis between the fence and the Olive tree, you can see the painted green post, will keep it private. We are both enjoying sitting and eating outside most days again. 
Our second small cucumber, we both love these tiny ones, and strawberries, these taste so much better than shop purchased ones, we were very naughty and got some clotted cream for a treat. 
Our fruits are doing well, the blueberries are still green, I am keeping an eye on them, in hope of a meal soon. The strawberries need picking again, the grandchildren are due, so most of them will be ate. Our first raspberry, most of my plants are late summer, so we only get a few at this time of year, not quite ripe. 
Our cucumber plant is doing well, climbing up the frame, the two tomato plants I put in earlier are full of green tomatoes, the last two are both doing well in their new big pot. I always use a growbag for these plants, this year they do not have peat in and dry out very quickly, so two of the pots can hold a good amount of water, the third middle pot I am watering three times a day.
Saturday we had Molly and George for a few hours, mummy took Will to a party, we were outside most of the time, they helped with the strawberry harvest, but I didn't let them eat them all, it was cloudy and humid most of the day, no rain. 

It was our village gala at the castle, but we did not go this year, daughter took little ones home as they were both tired and we enjoyed the birdsong in our peaceful garden.

Sunday we popped to town, I had purchased some shorter exercise trousers, but they were too big, so I returned them, we then drove to a Waitrose shop, we don't normally shop there, we wanted a few different breads and dips, the breads are sliced and in the freezer, we can have a nice mixture for lunches, rather than one loaf we eat over a few days. We have sorted some bottles and are going to create our own herb flavoured olive oil. It was overcast most of the day, cooler with a lovely breeze, sadly we did not get the rain promised,  we did get a light shower. Yet another hot humid night, the fans were on for hours and this morning blue skies. I am still praying for rain, it's promised for Tuesday.

Friday 16 June 2023

Cooler things

Early afternoon when it's too hot outside, I have been inside where its cool and I have been working on my cross stitch, just one area to fill on the left hand side. I have another heart I can put here, it won't fill the area, but I can add something else.
 I saw this book recommended,  I'm not sure where and thought it might be a good read, it was not as I expected,  I think the title was misleading, it should have been called a year of discovery on how to live simply. Kate spent her time talking and working with people, finding out how she could make changes and live the life she craved, it is a lovely book to read. Book 13 read this year. I have already chosen my next book, I have a few here I want to read.
I am making the first blouse, it's basically three pieces of fabric and binding, I am making flat folded seams, a bit like French seams, so no raw edges, if it works I shall look for some expensive fabrics. The design is horizontal and I have matched the white pattern rows, which keeps it neat, the red top I will do vertical, less matching. I took my time in sorting the pattern, I have made the front panels a bit wider, some wriggle room. I hope to sew together this weekend. 

I have tried my first go at the crochet, it looked a bit saggy, so I unpicked it, I will try again. I'm thinking of having a sewing day on Sunday, handy inside thing to do if we get rain.

Again we have a promise of rain from Sunday, will have to wait and see, its so hot even with watering every few nights, the ground is bone dry, my bedding plants are still OK, but it won't take much for them to go over. We replanted our large Olive tree in the same pot, just gave it new compost and some feed, I popped leaf mulch in the very bottom. I have planted two more tomato plants, I've got four plants this year, the other two have green tomatoes on, I am hoping I can prolong the harvest season. Our blueberry bushes are full with berries which needs to ripen and also loads of new growth, the berries form on the second year growth. Strawberries are giving a nice crop, my frame has kept the birds away, and little hands.

Another slow day here, I ache, at Pilates last night we used resistance bands, and this morning I can feel the muscles I used, no gardening today, I'm going to be a lady of leisure. 

Wednesday 14 June 2023

New starts

This is three stories, two with immediate links to each other, the third, Rachael's story runs along, but it takes a long time to link to the other people, I enjoyed this novel, I find this author can write good and bad books. I enjoyed this book 12 read this year. I am starting the last book I got from our library. 
I have purchased this book, I don't need this book, I'm not good at crochet, but I want to try and make things, the instructions are in a format I understand, so this is a good start, I purchased a pack of mixed colour cotton 4ply months ago, so I have everything I need, I will speak to my friend Shelia for guidance, she is brilliant at making small items. 
I am starting a new project, this is just for me, I have very few dress making patterns, I did look locally for the design below, I purchased the top and loved the style. I would like to make a few cotton tops to replace the T shirts going thin. I aim to trace the basic design, it's three main pieces, and the front button hole bands, The binding I will make myself, either matching or a contrast colour. The red and orange material I have had for about 20 years, I got in in The Gambia, thought youngest daughter would like it, she didn't. So I will make two tops, which I can make to fit me, and then before cutting out, I can gauge how much material I will need for others.
We came home to see our neighbour has chopped her Elderflower 'bush', as you can see it has been hacked, I was totally surprised by this, we have said nothing to her regarding the plants, we do cut anything which overhangs our fence, it all grows so thick and fast. It is nesting season for all of the birds, and loads of tiny birds nest in there every year, so for an animal loving person I can't understand why she did this.
We had a totally lazy weekend, outside when it was not too hot, and inside reading, I have not stitched, my brain and body needed rest, the heat has sucked all life out of me, our fruit and veg was delivered on Saturday, we also walked to our local garage, which has an M&S shop, for a few nicer bits, Monday we had an Asda order delivered, we just could not face a long walk around the store. 

I did try and look at the photo's I took in Chester on my big camera, sadly I have an issue with my ports on my computer, it kept disconnecting the link, so I could only see a few photo's at a time, and I just so frustrated and packed the camera away, I will call our guy in to see what can be done.

Monday the sun came back by mid morning,  I've nothing much to do outside, it's too hot in the middle of the day, we did go for a walk later, ensuring I get my 7,000 daily steps. Tuesday was sign group, which I missed too hot to sit outside with no shade. 

I have booked another felting course, so two day sessions both in July, I am hoping it will give me all the instruction I need to make a start, loads of new starts on the way, and with the finish line on my cross stitch looming, exciting times. Daughter has also booked a spa day for both of us, this coming Monday  I have a pedicure booked.

Monday 12 June 2023


Not a pretty structure, I used what I had to hand and it should stop the birds from feasting on these strawberries. It's going to be a bumper year for me, the frame is too long, it's only going to be in place for a few weeks. We will be eating our own strawberries this week. 
Raspberries growing in the ground are coming along nicely, these are mainly late summer, I hope next year to extend this bed and add some earlier cropping ones. The blueberries are in a huge tub, there are loads of green berries, I do have two plants in the tub, one ripens a bit earlier than the other, giving a longer harvest season.
I have these tubs in my raised bed, earlier in the year I used it as a cold frame, now I am growing salad items in these little tubs, so far it is working. 
This cucumber plant grows the tiny ones, which hubby and I like, it's placed just outside the greenhouse in a sun trap, and is steadily growing, I have only one plant this year. Already I can see 3 growing and more flowers coming. 
Tomatoes are in a huge pot in the greenhouse, I have two types in this pot, the lower bush one will grow small yellow tomatoes, the taller one is bigger red tomatoes. I do have two other much smaller plants, I need to find space for them in the ground. 

I spend time watering these plants every night, and enjoying the slow moment, everything except the blueberries are having tap water, I am saving the rainwater just for my sphagnum moss and these blueberries, I am loving these hot sunny days, but the gardener in me is hoping for rain. Earlier in the week we were promised 2 days of rain over the weekend, Saturday was another hot sunny day, the evening did cool down nicely, Sunday we woke up to a cloudy sky, still very warm, but sadly dry most if the day, we did get light rain for about an hour at tea time, followed by bright sunshine, still desperate for rain here.

Our harvest is never huge, but I do love to grow things, I should have a bit more space next year, I am going to get a rhubarb plant to grow on, we both love it, and I will have space for it next spring.

Hubby and I have moved more things around, making our existing garden work as it will be after the refit. We have time to swap things and try out positions, we have this week made one small tweet to our plans, it's better to get things right over this summer.

Today is dull, with almost no chance of rain.

Saturday 10 June 2023


 We have been to visit Chester for a few days, I have been before way back in 90's, it was every bit lovely as I remembered. This view from a tiny porthole in a cafe on the wall near the main bridge, with the clock tower. 
The centre is exactly as I remembered the twin level shops and all the difference styles of architecture on the many different buildings, there was a lot of fake Tudor, but it did all look good together. We loved the different music sung by buskers through the day here at the centre, and with the great weather it all added to a fantastic atmosphere. 

We walked the walls every day, Tuesday evening we did just the once round, Wednesday and Thursday we spent each day up on the wall and down exploring everywhere else. So much to see along the river, a huge park, lots regarding the Romans, and so many beautiful arches.
Our hotel was inside the walls, so the car was parked the whole time, and we walked as you can see from my steps. On the drive home yesterday my knees and feet were so pleased to be resting.
Having 3 nights away was enough, we saw every thing we wanted, we learnt so much about the area, we sat and listened to lovely music, ate some lovely meals. We did not do any shopping, nothing required, the only shop we entered was M&S, for some sandwiches one afternoon.   

The weather was perfect, shorts and summer tops, sandals were worn, we did spend a couple hours every afternoon reading, allowing us to be rested for an evening outing.

The drive each way was 5 hours, we always make a couple of stops, but choosing midweek traveling helps as we avoid the weekend rush. Friday was busier coming home, but we left early as the main route south A34 is always busy on hot summer Fridays. We did pass a huge lorry fire on the opposite side of the duel carriage,  it looked very scary as the flames and black smoke poured from the lorry, we could feel the heat on our side if the road.

It's always brilliant to come home, our cats were well looked after, a neighbour and her children come in every day, we are so lucky to be able to go away without worry. The garden survived, a few pots were dryish, no plants were lost, I gave everywhere a good soak. Most of these photos were on my Instagram page, which is private, so I can add photos,  here it's open, so always best to post after we arrive home. I've not been able to comment on many post, using my phone when away has been a bit hit and miss.

Thursday 8 June 2023

And rest

I have done more on this cross stich project, the bottom left hand side is almost complete, I have very few plans for this, I stitch a design and then look for the next. As the space gets smaller it does get harder to place things. The finish line is in sight, it will eventually be a cushion, with a nice green back, the very top is wrapped around the frame.
This was a very quick read, it was the authors first published book and it showed in the story plot, it had everything there, but just too simplistic. Book 10 read this year. I have one more of her books left to read  I'm hoping it's a better book.
Very quickly I remembered I had read this book years ago, it was the first book I read from this author, normally I do not read many books twice, but this is such a good story I kept going. Book 11 read this year. 
 I'm making time for more self care, something I'm not good at, I am feeling good at the moment, my Pilates class is helping with my posture and all the issues on my left side and shoulder, having less aches and pain does make me feel good. Normally by now I would have had a pedicure, I am managing without one this year, I file my hard skin on my heals after every shower, and I've started painting my nails. I have very weak nails and for years used them as tools, now I wear gardening gloves and ensure I am not damaging them, they never get long, but I'm happy with them, having said that I expect to break a couple now.

I thought it was time for a non gardening post, most of my time is spent outside, the weather is just so good, our garden has shade at different times of the day. I am hardly reading this year, I read so many forgettable books last year, I have decided to read less and choose my books, rather than read everything being passed around. I popped into our library this week, it's been months since I visited.

Not much crafting being done, I am still looking at my calendar wheel for 2023, so far this year I have not done much, I can't decide if I should start again without each month stitched in segments, in hope I might do more later in the year. I am sketching, so it is moving forward, once I decide I will catch up quickly on the stitching.

I have no other craft projects, most of my time is outside. I do love my sewing machine, but no plans to use it, I have been thinking of finding a simple button through summer top pattern, and make a few, nothing fancy, the tops would make a change from wearing T shirts. I would need to practice making small buttonholes.

Monday 5 June 2023

New growth

This alpine plant is beautiful,  it was the most expensive plant I got, it's called Weldenia Candida, it's native in Mexico, it's central spot in the display is to highlight the flowers when they grow, I should get atleast six flowers this year.
The third bloom has faded from my Amaryllis  so I popped it once again in the greenhouse,  this lovely bulb just keeps giving, I have never seen a side shoot on these bulbs before, and have no idea what is growing, it's a case of wait and see. 
I have loads of cutting in my sphagnum moss, some grow others don't, I have planted a rose and honeysuckle rooted this way. I pop all cutting in, in the hope some will grow. This large plant saucer is full of rainwater and sits in a shady part of my greenhouse. I have had this system for over two years, the moss rejuvenates itself, I gave a huge lump to a friend, who is using it in the same way. I hope to pot on buzzy lizzies soon, they root easily. 
Hubby walked to the village, popped to the pet shop and saw white lavender, lovely huge plants and only £5.40 each, he decided to get two, so the tubs have been changed. We passed the eucalyptus plants to a lady who wants them to feature in her wedding next year, so pleased to pass them on. I purchase almost all my plants from our local pet shop, the quality is always good and with prices I love. I have added the cost to my monthly list, the other new smaller plant will stay where it is until the garden work next spring.
Another unwanted digout, I noticed the new pretty dahlia was missing from the centre front of this garden, cursing our squirrel,  I looked for it and found rat holes and no plant. This bed has an open bottom, so I had to dig it out, found their entrance and a couple of hyacinth bulbs, hubby has lined the bed with chicken wire and some big stones  I refilled it and replanted my shrubs and bulbs. All I can do now is hope the shrubs survive,  this is the reason for the new garden next year, we can't control what is under the decking.

Daughter and the three little ones came over on Saturday, daddy is working away, we had a day outside and a mid afternoon BBQ, so much laughter, they all play well and daughter had a restful day. George at three and a half has been given hearing aids, which he will not wear, we have tried everything, he only has partial hearing loss, I think he hears most things, any tips on how we get past this barrier, as soon as he sees their boxes he is gone, we have tried bribery with chocolate, a treat he loves, nothing works. George fell over at home and bit his top lip, loads of blood, but he was a brave boy.

Sunday another day at home, we work, rest and play well together, having time in the day to sit, enjoy coffee and a chat is wonderful, sitting in the sun even with the cool breeze is good, we enjoy watching the small birds on our feeders, which we fill all year around, I refresh their water every morning as well. At this stage of our lives time is on our side, jobs can be manana, instead of get it done now as we have work tomorrow. 

Today is the start of a busy week, I have a short list of things I want sorting, and then we plan some fun time. 


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