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….. We make
….. We explore
….. We nuture

Three children *** One big, grey dog *** Two parents *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010.

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Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

Life

Thank you….

  • K I think that dress is great. Very sophisticated. The color and texture of the fabric work perfectly. Had to laugh about the dog because mine... 26 Jul
  • Kate Thanks for sharing your tips. Put cream on the strawbs and you will be fine 26 Jul
  • Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... I love experimenting with filters on Instagram and then just put it back to normal when I post! I do like black and white pics... 25 Jul
  • Helena Love the colour of the material and the fish. I also think it's great that you've taken something and put your own twist on it.... 25 Jul
  • Craft Mother That is inspirational. Gives me hope that I can do it. Interesting about flexibility. I hadn't thought of that. Possibly I need to look into... 25 Jul
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Time to smile

"God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles."

- J B S Haldane

Debs Random Writings

crochet

One hook, a needle and some pages.

I finally unravelled my crocheting. Is it just me, but I have to leave a few days between deciding to unravel and actually pulling the yarn? The wool was in the odd balls basket at our local wool shop. Turns out, it wasn’t quite enough to make my yoke, but with a few alterations to the pattern, it will.

I love this stitch. It has the quick and ease of a granny square, but is less clunky to look at. Perfect for my needs. It’s called a shell pattern – split double. I might make a video showing how to do it, if only so I don’t forget.

Altering the design of the yoke should make it more interesting to look at too, so another silver lining.

Reading wise, I’ve not been able to settle into a book. Pick up a book, read a few pages and then abandon it in a pile of sewing. I was quite relieved when I found a copy of When God was a Rabbit  in a local charity shop. It is quirky and, far more importantly, has kept me reading. Only a few chapters in, but at least it hasn’t ended up languishing in the sewing pile. (Not sure why it’s always the sewing pile. Maybe “not great” books inspire me to sew.)

While we’re on the subject of stitching, I have almost finished my latest sewing project. It’s squeezing into the back of the photo. Just too soon for a ta-dah moment. Gardening has definitely delayed this project. I find that if the weather is nice, I can’t waste time inside. No knowing how long it will last, and seeds wait for no-one.

(Technically not true, of course. Poppy seeds, for a start, have been known to lie dormant for 50 years, waiting for the right conditions to germinate and grow. That’s why a slight change in the farmer’s methods can result in an unplanned dash of red in fields, after years of none. They are there, waiting for their chance.)

(ladybird poppy from 2010. Current poppies are just leaves at the moment.)

The point is that, I need to get cucumber seedings potted up and sweetcorn planted out, otherwise I’m losing growing time. I fool myself that I’ll sew later in the day, but then I’m too tired/needed for homework/taxi duties. Sigh. So the sewing has waited. Hopefully I’ll be able to take photos soon and share here.

That’s me. How about you? What have you been making? Have you read a book recently that you couldn’t put down? I’d love to know.

 

Sharing. Good idea.

Discover

This time of year seems to be full of rediscovering. Plants pop up that I had forgotten. Spring cleaning leads to lost treasures seeing the light of day again. Insects* appear in the garden and for a few seconds I have to remind myself what they are called.

So it is always fun when I discover something new. Last night, as I put my garden tools away, I found a brown moth on my shed door. I thought it was a leaf. I can imagine in the right setting, its markings would be a perfect camouflage, but on my blue shed door, it stuck out like a sore thumb. I’m on a mission to find out the type of moth.

I discovered a new crochet stitch . It works perfectly for a yoke I’m working on. Unfortunately, the yarn has run out, so I may need to adapt my design a bit. It is so quick that it won’t take long to crochet it up again.

We discovered that when the instructions say that something stops working after 45 mins they might be right. Our test piece of tie dye, using dye 4 years old (not 45 mins) didn’t take as well as it could, but the results were still pleasing. Better than throwing the dye away. Hopefully this weekend we will break open the new dye and set work on our big project.

Biggest discovery this week is that the bats are back. Regular readers will know I love bats, and each year we host a maternity roost in our attic. I’m convinced that they like our chimney which encases the Aga’s flue. Nice and warm. When the babies are born, they fly each night with them hanging onto the mother’s body. When they get bigger, but not ready to fly, the babies are left in the roost. So our chimney keeps them warm.

I was worried that they wouldn’t return. Last year, we had to fix part of the roof. Our poor builder had very precise instructions from me about how it should be done. No exit points to be sealed and nature friendly wood preservative, with the lowest odour possible. Luckily he understood.

This is from last year. Best time to see them as they come home.

I have been watching the roost and last week they still weren’t back. Then two nights ago, I watched about 40 fly out, before I lost count, so it looks like our careful repair worked. Phew.

Finally, while visiting my parents this week, I discovered the perfect plant for one of our borders. Next time I visit, I’ll dig up a seedling. In the meantime, I have the seed head, so we will have fun trying to grow a few. Artichoke. I’ve grown it before, but this is a different type. Isn’t the transition of the seed head beautiful?

Linking up to Word of the Week #wotw

The Reading Residence

(*When I grow up I’d like to be an entomologist.)

Sharing. Good idea.

Just-because-I-can garden bunting

I like a crafting challenge. I really do. I’m up for trying something I’ve not attempted craft-wise before. Or done before, but maybe with a twist this time. It usually results in creative, problem solving, which I absolutely adore.

I would put my just-because-I-can garden bunting firmly into this category. I’ve made plenty of granny squares, but never out of garden twine.

Back last year Ali, over on Instagram, shared a photo of her inspirational garden bunting, crocheted with twine. Garden twine? Whoah! I never thought of using that before. I mean, I’ve knitted with plastic bag yarn for outdoors use, but why had I not thought of twine? I didn’t realise that it came in so many different, lovely colours. My brain went into over-drive, contemplating how well it would work out in the garden.

When you think about it, and I’m quite sure it doesn’t takes up much of most people’s pondering time, twine is designed to survive outside, isn’t it? In fact, it is robust and weathers well. Otherwise why would generations of gardeners have paid over good money and purchased a reel of the stuff, for holding up bean poles and tying up over ambitious vines, that threatened to take over? I, for one, have bought enough twine over the years to know how tough it is.

Added to that, it looks like yarn. The perfect medium to crochet garden bunting.

It seemed that the stars were aligned and in my favour, because soon after, I found a clutch of colourful garden twice for sale in a craft shop. It was meant to be.

I started my first square, but soon realised that it wasn’t going to give up without a fight. It turns out that twine would prefer gentle curves. The type of curve that you see around bean poles or branches. Not hairpin turns, where it has to keep turning sharply left all the time. Twine is not very flexible. My hands soon ached from trying to wrestle the twine into a shape that it wasn’t the right structure to take.

Luckily, Ali came to the rescue and suggested a larger crochet hook. I’m pretty new to crocheting. My collection of hooks is limited. I could go down sizes, but not up. If we were talking knitting needles, then no problem. A pair for every occasion, but crochet hooks? No. The brakes were put on the project until I next went to a craft shop.

At this point, the stars dispersed and my garden bunting skulked in the bottom of my work basket. Replaced with more desirable and flexible craft choices. Can you blame me? I did find a larger crochet hook over the winter. Not an inspiring time to make anything for the garden. It wasn’t until a week or two ago that I picked up the stubborn squares again.

I made a square. It was easier, but it looked like it was made of loops. Loose loops. If I was going to finish this project, I needed to return to the original hook again.

So I did.

The twine ran out after four and a half squares. I raided my potting shed and used my run of the mill twine to finish off the last square. I now had five squares and hands that would rather lie flat too.Despite all the aches these squares caused, I am really rather pleased with them. They add a bit of fun to the garden. I was deciding between draping them on the potting shed or the covered bench, but decided on the bench in the end. I think. I may still change my mind and put them somewhere totally different.

The Pup gives them her seal of approval. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if she repositions them, by the morning. She has very definite ideas, does the Pup. I haven’t forgotten about my newly planted lavender that was meant to line the front path. I had images of brushing the scented foliage and flowers as I walked to the front door. Enjoying the fragrance.

There is still one lavender plant that survived, as a constant reminder of one evening’s work for her, when she declared I had planted them in the wrong place. Silly human.

Breathe.

Back to the bunting. I’m happy to have tried the project. I like the way it turned out. I’m pretty sure I won’t be making any more, any time soon. Might just use all subsequent garden twine to tie up my runner beans. It does a remarkably good job at holding up beans.

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Photos

There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

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All my words and photos are copyrighted to me. They cannot be used for commercial benefit by anyone else. If you would like to use any of them, then please ask me first and don't just take. Written permission only. Don't pass my words, photos or ideas off as your own. It's not nice.