Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Christmas Revisited and the Garden.... Again

Due to the total lack of any stitching being done - not even a token few stitches in the Weekly SAL piece, to keep me from going under the naughty chair yet again - I thought I'd show you the Christmas ornies that were revealed when I moved a stack of stuff off a table earlier today. It's amazing what you find lurking, ain't it? LOL

This first piece was stitched some time ago and I finally got around to finishing it towards the back end of last year... I just didn't keep the momentum going enough to actually post a pic of it at the time.

Design: Hardanger Christmas Tree
Designer: Lynda Bodkin - LoopyLou Designs
Fabric: Polstitches 28ct evenweave, Fairy Footprints
Threads: hand dyed, as supplied in kit
Finish: pillow style ornie with beaded edge

After checking in my stitching diary I've just discovered that this was actually stitched way back in 2005.... and I only got around to finishing it in 2009. Oops! > hangs head in shame< Mind, I do have an excuse: I was finishing phobic back then and it wasn't until the Monthly Challenge began on the JA/S&S Forum that I plucked up courage to actually start trying different types of finishes... and the rest is history, as they say. It just took me a while longer to rediscover this stitched piece in the back of the cupboard and do something with it. BTW, that's a piece of Kate's Kloth hand dyed felt backing the hardanger cutwork area..... my stock of that is slowly diminishing and Kate is no longer producing her lovely goodies, so I won't be able to replace it once it's all gone. Does that count towards making these pieces Heirloom standard, me wonders? LOL

Next up is an ornie that I stitched and finished in the same year, I'm pleased to say. In fact, it was stitched and finished on the same day (12th December 2009).... but only because I used a pre-finished tuck ornie that I was lucky enough to win on eBay. LOL

Design: Peace, internet freebie
Designer: Elizabeth's Designs
Fabric: Polstitches 28ct Jobelan, Ice Ltd Ed
Threads: Weeks Dye Works; Carrie's Creations; Wisper thread
Finish: Tuck style ornie, pre-finished

This one was a delight to stitch, as I Love ED pieces... several in my stash that I must dig out and stitch at some point. 

I also discovered some more Christmas ornies that I stitched last year but they are in a little heap, waiting for me to get into a finishing mood. Unfortunately that just hasn't happened recently... guess it's packed its bags and gone off on holiday along with my stitching mojo.  

Still, whilst the stitching mojo has declined the gardening mojo seems to have gone into overdrive. Why does it have to be either or? Why can't we have our cake and eat it? LOL Anyways, earlier this week DH and DS moved the other strawberry planter and removed some of the slabs from the greenhouse base area, then DH did a bit of weeding there, which left us with this:

DH then spent another evening removing the slabs you can see in the foreground and removing the rest of the weeds, then the two Pete's came round with the rotavator on Sunday and flattened the whole area for us. This is what it looks like now: 

We've left the slabs there because we need to re-lay some of them: a path at the end of the workshop, to allow access to the greenhouse door. The door will be at that end so we have all of the growing area within facing sunlight throughout most of the day. The other path will be at the side of it, in line with the one to the workshop. DH wasn't the only one who had been busy out there, as I'd been busy tackling the last area along the new fence, the closest section to the house... the most weed intensive and full of snowdrop and bluebell bulbs. So I did the weeding and went on a bulb rescue mission, whenever it was cool enough to be out there, as the area will end up covered by a patio. Here's what it looks like now:

The soakaway is a temporary measure - when the patio is laid there'll be a water butt in the corner to collect all the run off and that will be used to water the plants. And here's a pic of one of the self-set plants (snapdragon, I think - don't know the posh names) that I left in the border... it's just starting to come into flower now:

Other news: DS has got a part in the LTC's next production, which is An Inspector Calls. Lots of lines to learn, so he's going to be busy! He's also had an interview for a new job today (29th) - it's within the same company but at a different site. It's a big step up the ladder from what he's doing now, so will mean more money to go with the extra responsibility. Fingers and everything else crossed!

DH's Dad (86 years) is currently in hospital undergoing tests. He was getting extremely breathless and that was discovered to be caused by fluid build up in his chest cavity, which has since been drained off, but that has only just been done.... and it's almost two weeks later and we're still none the wiser as to what's actually causing it. So much for merging two smaller hospital's into a much larger, all-singing and all-dancing one.... there's a severe lack of organisation and a worrying lack of communication between all levels of the staff working there (he would have been injected with Warfarin the day before he was due to go for a biopsy if he hadn't queried it!). Thankfully he's been gradually improving during the enforced bed rest and the drainage has helped his breathing.

We are due to go on our annual holiday at the weekend, going to the same cottage in the Langdale Valley, Cumbria, that we stayed in last year. We are hoping that FIL will be OK so we can actually go.... especially as we don't have Cancellation Insurance... mainly because DH doesn't think it's necessary. I sometimes find it really hard to bite my lip.... I'm sure every woman out there will know exactly what I mean. LOL

Thank you for visiting and for all your lovely comments - I really do appreciate it and they really do make my day. Hope you're all enjoying the same lovely weather we've been having. :0)

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Poor Neglected Blog!

Yes, this seems to have become a poor neglected blog of late and you can blame it all on the garden, as I've been out there whenever the opportunity has arisen, often only coming back inside when it's got too dark to see what I'm doing. Of course, that means that there's been a minimum of stitching progress.... and without much stitching progress to show you all there didn't seem much point in blogging.

There has been a little progress on the tiger since my last post though, so I thought I'd pop in to share that:

He's looking like the master of all he surveys now, isn't he? There's still a fair bit to go, as there's his neck area to stitch in, as well as a fancy border down the left side. Unfortunately the stitching mojo has decided to get the hump because the gardening mojo has taken over the evenings, so even when it was raining and I was stuck inside a couple of evenings last week the needles stayed in the case and I had to go find something else to do. Annoying that, ain't it? LOL

Still, the garden is slowly starting to take shape... or, rather, parts of it are. ;0) DH and I spent a little time figuring out what size of greenhouse we would like and doing some measuring out, to get an idea of how much of the garden it would take up. The sticks are placed where the corners of the various sizes would end up being:

We finally decided on a 6'3 x 6'4 layout. The roof will be aligned to face the same way as the workshop, with the door facing the back of the workshop, where we'll be laying a few slabs first to make a small path. So it will be the back of the workshop, then some slabs laid to make the path (about as wide as the slab that the smaller green strawberry pot is on), then the greenhouse. So that means the existing path at the back of the workshop (you can just see it beyond the grass) has to come up and a few things had to be moved. 

So, one evening, DH and I moved the large strawberry pot and the slab it's on to a new spot on the opposite side of the garden and moved the composter and all of its contents into a new home too:

The pipes show the final choice for the position of the greenhouse and that dictated where the composter had to go. All that area has to be weeded, rotavated and flattened. That should, hopefully, get done this coming Saturday (26th). There's a four week wait for delivery, so we will hopefully order it on the Sunday... then we're on our holiday for two weeks, so there should only be another week to wait after that. Perfect timing. :0)

Can you see just how tidy the garden looks to the left of the composter? Well, that's all down to little ole me. During the latter half of last week I felt the need to really connect with Mother Earth, so decided it was time to tackle the weeding in that bed.... and the fact that I've managed to put on half a stone in weight since my operation and want it back off again was an added incentive because while I'm out in the garden I'm not tempted to eat and it's giving me some exercise! LOL I opted for the old fashioned way of working: a hand trowel, a pair of gloves and a plastic seat to sit on, to avoid the worst of the bending, with regular forays to the recycling bin to empty the weed bucket and forays up the garden to empty the stone bucket into the gaps between the path to the workshop. Starting at the end nearest the house I gradually worked my way along, with the aim being to eventually reach the composter, taking out all the weeds and as many stones as I could along the way. I realised if I thought about just how long that piece of garden is it would get really daunting.... so I concentrated on the little patch of earth in front of me at all times and ignored the rest, only stopping when my back told me it needed a rest or when it just got too dark to see. I reached the composter by Saturday tea time and here's what it looked like when I'd done:

Just a few plants got left in, along with the bluebell and tulip bulbs that will hopefully flower again next Spring. The plant in the old tub is waiting expectantly to go back in the bed somewhere.

It was a good end to the week, as it didn't start off too good, as my DH was unwell and had to have three days off work. The first day and a half he spent in bed, gradually picking up as he was able to eat light meals on Tuesday (more exercise, as I was up and down those stairs so often I started to feel like a flippin' yo-yo! LOL)... so it was a relief when he came down on Tuesday afternoon and for all day Wednesday. He went back to work on Thursday. He's feeling much better now. :0)

As he was feeling OK and in the mood for helping out we went back out into the garden tonight (Monday 21st - Litha/Summer Solstice) and he planted out the plant in the tub (you guessed it... I've absolutely no idea what it is! LOL) and two shrubs that my Dad gave us before he passed away. They were being very patient too. ;0) One is a Hebe and the other... well, that's another one that remains nameless. So here's what it looks like now:

My neighbour, Garden Pete, is going to get me some well rotted horse manure and that should also be getting dug in on Saturday, ready to improve the bed for the fruit trees going in this Autumn. Oh, and that old washing line is there for me to tweak, until I get the right curvy look for the edge of the bed. :0)

We had a trip to my DSis's on Sunday. A lovely day, catching up on gossip, indulging in some retail therapy and doing some jobs for her. She now has a flat screen monitor for her computer (no internet connection yet though) and a whole lot less stuff in her loft. Boy, was our Dad a hoarder! LOL Some items were only fit for the bin but I've brought several things back with me and put them up on Freegle, so someone can have the benefit of them. Unfortunately we arrived back home on Sunday night to the news that FIL is in hospital at the moment, undergoing tests. He's 86 so it's a bit of a worry, though I am staying calm in an effort to keep DH calm. Getting him into the garden tonight was a good distraction. Hopefully the results from the tests and today's (Tuesday) biopsy will be back so MIL will be able to tell us more when we phone her tonight. Fingers crossed it's good news.

And to end on a better note, I thought I'd share another pic from my garden. Remeber the new metal scrollwork planter I got for the back wall? Well this is what it looks like now everything is a little better established:

I think they're happy in their new home, don't you? LOL

Hope you're all having and enjoying the same lovely weather we're having in my neck of the woods. Thank you for visiting. :0)

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Stitching, Gardening, Cardmaking and Chatting

After being really good last time around and having two update pics to show - Mother Earth, as well as the tiger - I'm now back under the naughty chair once again, as only the tiger came out to play this time. You can carry on blaming the garden for that because I've been out there whenever the weather allowed..... and that just doesn't leave enough time to put needle to fabric. Still, the tiger has grown some again:

He's looking a lot less disgruntled and much more dignified now, don't you think? LOL I thought I'd have this done in a couple of weeks. Hah! Seriously underestimated that, didn't I? Perhaps if I didn't garden, go to Development Circle or out to the garden centres.... and if I didn't need to eat or sleep too, I might have managed it. ;0)

As for the garden: it's fast becoming obvious that I'm a dab hand at container gardening, as they are all looking rather good now (even if I do say so myself!).... and there have been a couple of additions too - a wall hanging trough and a new small pot; it's also fast becoming obvious that I'm not too hot on the larger scale. The lawn is kept trimmed and tidy but the rest...... well, let's just pretend that you all believe me when I say that it's being left as a wildlife garden. LMAO Rather than post lots of photos I've made a slideshow for you all to view what I've done so far:

Take a good look at the pic of the strawberry plants and compostor - that area should be changing soon. Our lovely neighbours, the two Pete's, have done a job trade with DH: he fixed the electrics in their workshop and, in return, they are going to come round with a rotavator and flatten the area where the strawberry pots and compostor currently are and help us make a base for a greenhouse. We've already made a start ourselves, by moving the compostor and its contents this week - those lighter and cooler nights are a blessing! We have also been to have a look at some greenhouses and have more or less decided which one we would like - an alteration to the original plan, which was seeing if another neighbour would sell one she had that was surplus to requirements. DH is quite tall and, as he fancies pottering in there quite a bit, we need one that can accommodate his height comfortably - so the ones we've looked at have the option of higher eaves and a taller door. It would be so good to get it all sorted and have some tomatoes and cucumbers growing in there before it's too late in the season. :0)

All that bending in the garden has done for my back, so those magic needles my acupuncturist uses have been helping me with that. What it also needs is for me to rest up a little.... but that's not something I'm overly good at - if the weather is fine I want to be out of doors and once out there I find myself pottering, rather than sitting. I shall have to grab a book out of the huge pile and force myself to sit during this current warmer spell though, or I'll really start to suffer.

It hasn't been all gardening and stitching though, as I did finally get around to having a cardmaking session earlier in the week. Nothing too fancy - just basic matting and layering of some Habico pre-printed pictures. Here's another slide show for your perusal:

As you can see, I've also been playing around with my blog layout. DH and DS are out at the Guild Room today (Saturday), helping to lay a new level floor, so I have lots of time to play now my jobs are done. I think I've finally settled on a blog look that I like.... but don't quote me! LOL

I did get my new glasses..... unfortunately I keep forgetting to ask DH to take some pics. Well, it's not my most favourite thing to do. LOL Hopefully I'll remember for my next post, so you can see the total new look. :0)

Oh, before I forget: last week was time for another first for me. As DH and DS were both involved in the Blackadder II performance (DH was stage manager - DS had a small part in it and crewed backstage for the rest of the time) there was no one to go to the theatre with me. So, as I really wanted to see it..... I went on my own. Yup, drove myself there, sat and watched the performance and then drove myself home again. It was well worth the effort too, as I really enjoyed the show. I do like being this strong and independent person. :0)

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to stop by for a visit. Hope you're all enjoying the lovely weather and having a great weekend. :0)