Photography Today

I have just spent a little while in the garden with my camera. It's nice just to snap away in the hope of getting at least one good image. The squirrel visits every day and I managed to get a couple of pictures before it disappeared.

The dove potters about the garden most days as well.

Ism't this little bird just cute? I took these with a long lens. I have fed the birds throughout the year, I normally stop in the Spring but we were asked to continue feeding them and so I have.

I spent a while laying some hexagonal paving slabs under the bench as the dampness from the grass would, I think, have reduced the life of the bench over time. Norman gave it three coats of a wax like paint to preserve it but I thought it best to give it a better base - I just knew I would do this - laying the grass was a bad idea I just thought it would look better but this is OK I think.

I ordered 15 strawberry plants for Norman which arrived on Thursday so we went and bought a nice pot for them. I suspect it's too late for strawbs this year but they last about 4 or 5 years so we can expect some nice strawbs next year. I did order them about a month ago but had to chase them up as they hadn't arrived.

My potatoes arrived this week as well. I am hoping to have some new potatoes at Christmas - that's the plan! Just this morning I received a lovely email from the potato merchant telling me how I should plant them. It was just as well as I had planned on leaving them aside to chit - apparently they don't need it and I can plant them now.
We have had some lovely courgettes this year, my first attempt at growing them but they seem to be easy to grow. As you can see we have plenty more to come.

I spent a lovely afternoon in the studio yesterday. I managed to get some backgrounds done using Markal paintsticks. I will poist some piccies later as I hope to get some more work done on them today.

The weather was lovely and we had a BBQ in the early evening. I tried some new to me sauce on the pork chops Reggae sauce, it was gorgeous. You can read about it HERE.

It's raining here so I might just play in the studio. Thanks for dropping by.

Kaleidoscope Quilt Finished

I have quilted and bound my Kaleidoscope quilt. Now it's time to move on to another project.

EQ6 New Project for July

This month I have been playing with one block but using different layouts. Just changing some of the colours can make a dramatic difference. Click on the image to download the project file for EQ6.

Back in the Studio

As Norman and I sat in the garden having coffee the other day I said to him you know what would be nice in that border, a bench he said. How spooky is that? Anyway we discussed the idea and decided we would get a teak bench. We both searched the internet looking for inspiration and found what we thought would be a good bench to buy - cost somewhere around £350.

I needed to prepare the area, change it from being a border to and area where a bench could sit. We visited Dobies garden centre last week and we almost bought an arbour instead of a bench but once home in the cool light of day, and with so much in the garden already, I felt an arbour would be too much and a lot of work to keep looking good with all that wood - especially in our climate. Anyway we decided against it.

We went down to B&Q on Wednesday looking for compost and other bits and pieces never thinking we would pick up a bench there but we did. It's beautiful, teak and just the right size and on offer for just over £150. We packed our purchases and drove home so that Norman could put the trailer on the car (a Mazda Rx8 or MX5 just won't carry much) and we went back to get the bench.

After a bit of work removing and repositioning plants, laying some new turf and treating the bench it was in place in it's new home.

It's really nice and is in such a beautiful spot especially in the evening. Once I pack away the table and chairs and cover them it's sometimes too much of a hassle to uncover them if we decide to sit out with a glass of wine in the evening - now we can with no hassle - perhaps just taking the cover off as it will keep it looking good for longer especially after the amount of rain we have had these past few days - it looks like we will have more rain today.

Although we dropped into the garden centre last week the reason for the visit was so that I could get some fabric for a new project I am about to start. I love going to Kaleidoscope, they have such a wonderful selection of fabrics and the books they have has to be seen to be believed.

This is the fabric for my half square rectangle project.

This collection is for another leaf design I plan on doing using markal paint stick. I have other fabrics similar to these but I needed some additional ones.

I bought Jan Krentz Lone Star Quilts and Beyond book some years ago and have loved teaching from it. I had the privilege of meeting Jan when I attended the C&T Teachers Seminar in Moraga, California a few years back. She had just designed her first range of fabrics which I got a preview of. I couldn't resist this new one of Jan's when I saw it on Amazon.

I have a fascination with numbers and so when I saw this at Costco I just had to have it. It's such fun reading about numbers and their uses.

Patsy Thomson has a new DVD out (a double one). Those who have followed my blog will know I have worked through Patsy's other DVDs and loved doing so. I have watched the DVDs and once I have my class samples worked through my treat will be to work through these DVDs - I can't wait. I bought the software from Rio Designs, Lawrence is such a wonderful man and so very helpful and normally delivery is next day.

Norman was looking to buy me a new book at Kaleidoscope but with the collection of books I have it was hard to find something new so he bought me the Dear Hannah software I bought the book some years ago when it first appeared. It is written by Brenda Papadakis who wrote the Dear Jane book. I love having the software as I can resize the blocks and make some changes to personalize them.
Whilst browsing Rio Designs website I saw Amy Butler software and thought I would try it. It's something different for me but I thought the projects would be interesting. Unfortunately it's not for me but you live and learn.
The weather was dreadful yesterday and so I wasn't tempted into the garden so instead I went into the studio. I made this quilt top earlier this year and thought it was time it was finished. I added the border and plan on layering and quilting it over the next few days.

I wasn't sure what kind of border to add but I think what I have done works well.

Many thanks for dropping by.

A Splash of Colour and Texture

I haven't had much time to sew these past few months but I have spent a while in the garden as the weather has been gorgeous this past little while. Sometimes things in life stop you in your tracks and you refocus which is what I have been doing. Just taking time to do the important things in life and the things I enjoy. One of my blogging friends died suddenly in April and it has come as such a shock - she was in her late 40s and left a little 7 year old daughter.

Earlier this year I planted some potatoes and other veggies. I tried them last year with some success so it was time to expand on that this year. With Norman's workshop and my studio in the garden - together with the conservatory - we have a small space left for flowers and little space for veggies. However, behind my studio there is a small sheltered unused space. The above picture is my wet studio (log cabin).

You would never believe that down this little path - and believe me it's little - you would find vegetables growing would you?
I bought two plastic green houses and started off some of my seeds in there in the Spring. Today they house tomato plants. One has plants I bought and the other are tomato plants I grew from seed. I understand they are difficult to grow from seed but as you can see I had some success - certainly enough for us. I think I will buy a taller green house for them next year as I think they are outgrowing their little home - I may do that next week actually and give these plants the benefit of some more space now that I know it works OK in this "secret garden".
I grew some potatoes, earlies, mid and late season which I had some success with. I have ordered some seed potatoes in the hope to be able to pick my own at Christmas time but rather than buy them from a garden centre I have sent to a seed potato merchant instead (I think I may have told you that before). Anyway in the bags, after having replaced the compost, I have replanted sweetcorn which is coming along nicely.
I have a couple of grow bags, one with beetroot and another with lettuce. We have eaten all the radish. They were gorgeous with much more flavour than shop bought ones.
Norman loves strawberries, I am allergic to them and so I have a pot of strawbs for him which are slowly coming along. I have ordered 15 plants so that he can at least have a nice bowl full rather than one or two at a time.
The courgettes are coming along nicely as you can see. I am going to use the flowers in a tempura as I understand they are delicious cooked. I must keep an eye on the courgettes so they don't get too big as they are better eaten small - about 4 inches I think they should be.
This is feverfew, I just love the daisy like flowers. I started a new herb pot with some lovely herbs. There is nothing like cooking and using home grown veg and herbs.
The garden is so colourful and with such a variety of flowers. The aquilega are gorgeous, so delicate and colourful.
The lillies are coming along nicely and give such a wonderful feast of colour, this is just a small section of the many I have growing next to the conservatory. They just pop their heads up over the window sill so we can enjoy them from inside and out.
I love petunias and they come in a variety of colour. This one is particularly lovely.
I have a few new plants this year and this is one of them
Norman's favourite flower fuschia. I bought four different varieties one of which is a hardy whose colours are gorgeous (may post a picture of that in another post).

This is a new plant to the garden. I bought three of them from Bakkers (mail order). It's called Brugmanisa and grows quite big so I am restricting their size by keeping them in pots. That's something else I did this year I bought lots of lovely new pots. Over the years I have bought many pots but they never last through the winter with the cold frosts. Last year I bought some glazed ones and they survived the winter so I bought more of them this year. They are lovely and add colour and height to the garden. Brugmansia are poisonous and are used for Shamanic intoxication however it can kill. I won't be eating these!

I am trying some outdoor coleus for colour and texture. They seem to be doing well.

The pots are a good way to soften the steps down from the conservatory and add a lot of colour. I have two large pots of lavender which give the conservatory a lovely scent and keeps the midgies at bay.
I have added some more texture with these cordyline - the tall dark spiky plant in the above picture. I couldn't resist these two little watering cans. They add a little fun and colour to the front of my studio.
Here's another cordyline, isn't the colour just beautiful?

This is a miniature chrysanthemum it's just adorable. I have it in yellow which adds a splash of brightness to the border.
Another new plant, two of them actually, added this year are hydrangeas. They are gorgeous but I think I will have to over winter them in the garage - hence the reason why they are in pots. I have had one growing in the front garden for about 5 years and each year it grows lovely leaves but no flowers. I have tried all sorts of feeds to no avail. It is situated where it should be just fine but nope - maybe next year it will bloom.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the fruits of my labour. The colour and texture are an inspiration. I have started a journal of the gardening I have done this year as a record to help me next year when I will try some different and exotic plants.

Isn't nature wonderful?