Thursday, 30 January 2014

Lotty Update

Firstly I wanted to share the fact that I have now collected my Eglu and am booked on a beginners course to learn how to keep chickens. It is on March 1st and costs £15 for two hours. To say I am excited is an understatement. I can't sleep properly at the moment due to having 'Too many chickens in my head'. Anyway, here is the rest of the lotty news.....

When you inherit an allotment that has previously been looked after by someone else, it is wonderful as you don't have to do all the ground work which is back breaking and incredibly time consuming but what you do have to do is solve a few puzzles.You aren't meant to grow many crops in the same place as the previous year, which is a challenge if you're not sure what was there before and you end up being a bit of a detective trying to find clues. A bit of a root here or an old half rubbed off marker there.

Another puzzle I had, was whether my summer fruiting raspberries had already been pruned. My Autumn ones were not a problem as you cut all the canes back, but with the summer ones you have to prune out the the old canes that fruited and leave the newer ones. It's not as easy as it sounds, to identify which are which. After watching lots of u tube videos I finally plucked up the courage and just went for it. I'm hoping I've not lobbed off any new canes in my enthusiasm and that I will get some fruit this summer. The same goes for the blackberries and the tayberries (which I had never even heard of).  Talk about a steep learning curve. I just have to keep reminding myself that it's meant to be fun and I don't have to live up to the standards of the previous owner - who only retired due to ill health and who did a marvelous job by all accounts. My mum's new patriotic wellies helped keep my spirits up even when we were sliding around in the mud!

Whilst at the lotty, I took a little peek at my garlic which I planted in November and which has been tucked away under some fleece to help it keep warm and also to keep the birds from pulling it up.
It might not be much, but it is quite a thrill to see my first little crop growing. I'm going to put in some Spring planting garlic but the ones planted prior to Christmas are meant to grow bigger bulbs - so we shall see!

I don't want to be accused of all style and no substance but when it's decent weather I want to paint my shed a lovely colour like this sea grass colour above. (Ronseal advert!) Ok, so my shed isn't half as cute as this one, but I it would look a lot prettier in sea grass and I may as well make the most of it as I'll be spending a lot of time there!

Another day I will show you a few little plans I have for the inside :)

I shall also be needing a comfy chair and a pile of magazines for when its too wet to do anything but wait it out and drink tea! x

Monday, 27 January 2014

Catch up

As I have found my blogging feet again, I thought a quick catch up was in order.

Recently I have had help with my baking in the form of my two gorgeous nephews (aged 6 and 7) - we have made the usual child friendly fare - choc chip cookies, mars bar cake etc. We also made some rather delicious honey flapjack which is definitely worth a mention and even attempted  bread rolls last weekend which were a great success.  I have been making fruit crumbles with windfallen apples, lots of gluten free biscuits, scones and banana muffins. Also been cooking up some Winter dishes I've never made before such as home made tomato soup, leek and potato soup and beef and mushroom stroganoff. Yum.. I love Winter comfort food - don't you?

As for knitting - I spent a ridiculously long time making this little chap who was a birthday present for a very good friend.
 It took so long because it was a rather complicated pattern (for me) and needed concentration. I prefer to knit whilst watching period dramas and the poor little bear had to be unravelled more times than I care to remember!!  Still, I loved the result and took a few photos before posting him off to the big smoke for his new life in the city.

As well as knitting teddies I have knitted several scarves, hats, and tea cosies for presents.

Regarding my sewing attempts - I did a term of dressmaking at a local college hoping it would build up my confidence in making my own clothes. Unfortunately the teacher who is very skilled was also a perfectionist and spent the term teaching us everything apart from using a sewing machine! My skirt was hand sewn together and I made the decision that the cost of the course was outweighing the pleasure. I want to learn to sew a few simple skirts and dresses but not to be a couture seamstress!! So I finished off the skirt on my own in the end on the machine.
 I have now joined the seaside stitchers in Blackpool (A branch of the Embroiders Guild) We meet twice a week and have some weekend workshops. I had a first attempt at appliqué/ free machine embroidery under the expert eye of Lilian Taylor who does some lovely work. I loved it but I need soooo much more practice and that is one of my goals for this year. I was pleased to have my little piece in an exhibition in the Victorian Tea Rooms on the Pier during the Summer. Since taking this photograph I have free machined the words time for tea on the right hand side. (Which for a beginner was quite a challenge!)

With this little catch up complete I feel that I can start blogging again for real! It wont be on specific days but it will be much more often so I hope you will stop by again soon!x

Friday, 24 January 2014

Lotty Adventures

Hello to anyone who is still interested in reading my little blog after all this time. I am still alive despite not posting for an age. My health and personal circumstances meant I needed time out. Apologies for dropping off the face of the planet for a couple of years. Whilst things have changed considerably for me, I am still happily plodding on in with my dreams and goals. Still loving textiles, still trying little forays into the good life and still wishing I was living in the country. I miss having this little space to document the minutiae of my everyday life. So I am back.

I would like to share with you a few little things I have been up to over the past months.

One of the major changes since I last posted is that I now have a wonderful little allotment to call my own. Complete with shed and fruit cage. I know this was really a textile blog but for the time being I'm also going to use it to post my adventures on ' the lotty.' I was very blessed to be offered an allotment which has been very well cared for and I was even able to harvest the end of last years produce without having put in the work (felt a little guilty - but soon got over it!)

It is next to a field and I often have sheep watching me work! The lotty looks a little different now. I have made some more substantial raised beds with the help of my lovely brother and everything was put to bed for Winter. There are some garlic shoots growing but not much else yet.There has been some storm damage to some of my frames but nothing too drastic. My seed potatoes should be here soon and I have ordered a mountain of veg seeds. So as they say - 'watch this space!'

The second exciting thing I have to share is that I won a lovely green Eglu Go on Ebay which I am going to collect this weekend. For those of you not in the know, an Eglo is a rather groovy looking chicken house. Not old and wooden and very expensive normally so I was extremely chuffed to find one selling at a good price quite close to where I live. I am being sensible and waiting until Spring to purchase the three chickens I am dreaming of adopting and have already got names for!!

I make no apologies for my change in direction -  it is all part of the same wonderful life I am living and I hope it will be of some interest to a few people out there! As I said, I will be recording my progress with the allotment and with textiles side by side from now on. Maybe one day I will separate the two but for now it is easier to write about both in one place. What better way to do that, than to show you the lovely new material I ordered to make curtains for my shed. (Excuse the shadow)
Isn't it scrumptious and so perfect for an allotment shed?

In my next post I'll be giving a little catch up as to what I've been up to textile wise! See you again soon x

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