Tag Archives: gardening

Days 187- 213: A post at last!


Good morning, afternoon or evening my old friends.

I know you may have been wondering where I have been- well I have been here, and I have been crafting, but I just haven’t found time to blog.

I have really missed the excitement of writing my daily post, and the excitement of looking at my statistics to see how many people have read it. I guess all those years of dreaming of becoming a famous author as a child have just been hidden down in the depths of my brain waiting to come out, and I can honestly say that I have missed you all. So why have I had a little holiday from my blog? Three words……

Back At Work!

Being a responsible adult in charge of littlies takes up so much of my time. The new school year has brought the usual amount of work, and it is so time-consuming. I had to make a choice. Craft or blogging?

I think you can guess which one had to have the holiday! Yes the blogging. I figured that I set out on a year on the make, and so I have got to complete what I set out to do. Believe me, mum has been on my case for you all- giving me gentle reminders that I have not blogged since September the 13th. It has been a constant frustration and one that I am determined to right over the next few weeks.

I am going to make you all a solemn promise. I know that it will be impossible for me to blog everyday- that is just asking too much of myself. So he is what I am going to promise you all-

I, Ickle Ed, Promise that from now till the end of my first year on the make, I will blog at least once a week. I will not let time run away with me again. Cross my heart and hope to die.

Not sure about the last sentence but I think you get the gist.

So what have I been doing? Well big news in the Ickle Ed household is that we have now got these………

I have never been a cat person. I thought I didn’t like cats at all, as they chased my guinea pigs and rabbits when I was a child…….and they still do! DH on the other hand, is a cat person and has frequently commented that he would love a cat, usually followed by a blanket ‘NO!’ response from myself.

During my recuperation, I had time to do a lot of thinking, and decided that it was unfair for me to dictate, after all the Monsters and I went and got the guinea pigs without DH. So I relented and let him explore the ‘idea’ of having ‘a’ cat. (Note the singular!)

He wasted no time in getting me to ring up a local charity and, after a home visit, we were soon on our way to pick up our new feline. On arrival at the foster house, DH decided that one was not enough, but we should have the little brother too. Boo, being there, agreed and I was out-voted. One became two, and the rest is history.

I was determined that it would be DH who was responsible for them- especially the litter tray, and that I would not have anything to do with them at all. So how has it worked out so far? I do have to admit to have being adopted by these two little fellows. The little black one in particular- who we were told did not like human contact, has for the last two weeks followed me around- does this make me an alien? DH is highly amused that I have suddenly been, against my will,  thrust into the role of a cats mother- but the little monkey can not be discouraged and he follows me to bed every night, wakes me up in a morning and sits by me when I find five minutes to watch the TV in an evening.

So does this mean that I have suddenly become a cat fan? Well I like these two!

The other big news is that after about 4- 5 years waiting we have eventually got an allotment. It all happened very quickly in the end. I was saying to DH on Wednesday that I needed something else to focus on as well as school and craft. Many suggestions were made, but then the decision has been made for me with the arrival of the letter on Thursday morning. I am very excited, especially when we visited the site. It is a little over grown, but nothing I can’t rectify so fresh fruit and veg are on the agenda for next year.

The major patchwork is still under construction- hopefully with a Tah dah in a month. With the changing of the colours on the trees, and the smell of bonfires in the air I even took out ‘blast it’ again, staring wistfully at the remaining pieces, wishing that it was made and ready to wear. Who knows it may be completed by Christmas! Chutney has been made using the gorgeous autumnal ingredients that are in abundance in the shops at the minute – (F.I.L. will be very pleased.) I do have to say that as growing seasons go, this year has been rubbish; but I have managed to grow beetroot and celeriac which due to be harvested. Roll on a better crop next year.

Ho hum! Autumn days with the nights drawing in and the christmas trees building up in the local shops- already!  Plenty of time for crafting and blogging in an evening.

It’s nice to be back.




Days….. from my last post to today! (I will work it out later)


Good Morning, afternoon or evening. 🙂 Long time no see? Many apologies, but I intend to address my cyberspace absence in this post.

Have you ever noticed…those of you with children, and those of you without…..how the days just seem to roll into one during the summer? I started this project ready to dedicate myself to making or contributing to a make, everyday for a year. The pace of things seem to have slowed down over the past few weeks, although despite my absence from posting, the makes have continued even if it is only sewing a patch on the mega patchwork.

I am guilty of lots of things over the past few weeks these being……

  • spending time with my children and neglecting my makes
  • starting new child friendly project everyday with not a hint of guilt about ignoring my crafty ones
  • forgetting to write my blog, even though I have taken hundreds of photographs to show
  • Having lots of new inspiring experiences, but not sharing them with anyone on the blog

Am I to be court martialed for being absent without leave from the blog, because I am enjoying time with the little people in my life?

To answer that I have to think about the priorities in my life. What is most important? As this is my blog, therefore it makes me judge and jury. How do I feel about not blogging everyday?

Personally, selfishly, I have missed it; but as a mother, do I put my electronic child before my organic ones? Definitely not! The time that I have spent with the monsters is precious and only happens once. How can I justify spending time at the laptop and sewing machine when there are adventures to be had? I’m glad you agree!

So what have we been up to? Have a look at these………

Home grown potatoes ready for the pot…..

Beetroot coming on nicely!

Potatoes ready for roasting with rosemary.

We then had a little visitor. Mr ED!

Now I have not had a hamster since I was 13 years old and I had forgotton what a racket they make at night! He is really a cute little fellow..just noisy. We got to 1.30am when DH could stand it no longer and had to remove the wheel form the ‘hamster palace’, the sound of which was reverberating through the floor to our room from the sitting room. (We have put it back in again this morning though Mrs H!) Eddie didn’t seem to mind though, he just spent the rest of the night running through his tube and up and down his stairs. I’m sure we will get used to it though. It occured to me why are we spending so much on wind farms when we could have hamster farms with wheels attached to the national grid? It’s a win win situation….they get exercise and fun, we get light!

Unfortunately the monsters now want a hamster!

Back to the garden………..

More rhubarb and ginger jam to replace the diminished store!

And a visit to the latest Sheffield tourist spot…………

Then we had visitors to our road. Roo was loving seeing all the monster trucks come and go. He sat on the garden wall inspecting what was going on for nearly a week.

We had to drive up and down the road a bit to check it out….just like Lightening McQueen.

After all of that Moo decided to have a go a baking……….

Gorgeous cakes…..shame about the state of the kitchen when she had finished!

An eventful two weeks so far I think you’ll agree. I’ll be back tomorrow to show what craft I have been up to.

See you then.


Days 135, 136 and 137.


Good morning, afternoon or evening. Enjoying the sunshine? We have basked in the sun for the past few days, but today it is rather cloudy. I must admit that it is a little of a relief as it means the temperature has dipped a little, and I can get a few household chores done.

Well the summer holidays are in full swing. After the past few years where I have had children following me around wanting to be entertained, I decided this year that I need a time-table of events. We are taking this one week at a time….but making sure we get out for a run around to wear these boys out! Trips out are carefully planned so that cost will not become an issue, and picnics in the lovely weather. I have a bag full of ‘stuff’ for indoor days, but hopefully we won’t need it!

Crafting has become a little bit more of helping the boys express their creative side. Roo in particular, who likes making, but finds it frustrating when it doesn’t quite go his way. PVA glue, scissors, tissue paper, paint and fabric scraps really come in useful. Can’t wait to show you some of their creations.

Unfortunately the patchwork is rather slow going as it always is when it is done by hand. I am currently sewing the first patches of white, and the red are ready to go, so hopefully I will have loads to show you in a few days.

I haven’t been sitting idly watching my boys with their craft however…….

As you can see things have had to be tended in the garden, ready for harvest. The rain has really helped the garden this year and everything is lush and green.

The potatoes are doing marvellously too. I love digging up potatoes. It’s like a lucky dip to find the hidden jewels in the soil.

The salad and lavender certainly are making a fine display this year. And what is this peeping under the foliage?

…..The first of the raspberries. Mmmmmm! My absolute favourite fruit. I normally have to fight Dad for the first ones!

Further up the garden we find the most glorious display…..

I wish I had sound-o-vision, then you could hear the half-dozen bumble bees collecting nectar. Finally….better late then never we find the first strawberries of the season. (A month late!)

Can you see them hiding? Let’s pick a few…………

I can’t wait for tea time. Fresh fruit….yum! I have to admit to completely neglecting the garden this year. Rain, pain and craft have taken over. The little bits that I have done seem to have had a bit of impact however…..and if this is what happens when the garden is neglected, Fantastic!

Anyway, monsters are now baying for food, and my camera needs charging, so I will sign off for another day.

See you tomorrow……..START OF THE OLYMPICS! WOO HOO! (I have to admit DH, it is catching!)


PS. I will be entering the spririt of the Olympics with a give away. Details will follow tomorrow. 🙂

Days 116 and 117


Good evening.

What is this two posts in a day? I know I have been very slack in my posting lately. I can honestly say I have really missed it and I am determined to get back on track this week.

This weekend has been much more settled rain wise. Friday was terrible, it didn’t stop all day. I am really pleased that I live at the top of a hill! Why am I doing the totally British thing of talking about the weather? Well I started a project over two weeks ago…and then the weather changed. Yesterday and today have been the first time that I could get in the garden and try to complete some of my tasks.  Well I cannot say that I have finished what I started, but you judge for yourselves how work is progressing. These are some of the before photo’s………..

…..and these are some of the after……

What do you think?

I still have got lots of work to do. Gardening is definitely like painting the Forth Rail Bridge before the special paint……never ending! The garden has also been subject to the precipitous weather that is our summer so is lush and green, but the lawns need mowing and the weeds are coming up between the flag stones. Let’s hope that the rest of July and August is much better.

I could always invest in these……

See you tomorrow!


Days 98 and 99


Good evening.

I can’t believe that two days have passed since I blogged. The reason is that for the past two days we have had summer. Yes summer! For those of you that blinked, it happened, now the rain is back again. I am currently in the conservatory feeling miserable again as the rain pitter patters down on the roof. For two glorious days Mr Sunshine has made a few appearances lulling us into a false sense of security, the cheeky monkey. Never mind; Wimbledon starts soon…..so get your macs out again.

I decided that as I was feeling more up to it, that I would try to tackle parts of the garden. Most of the garden is my domain. The grass cutting and barbecuing is DH’s. He doesn’t cross onto my domain, and I don’t cross onto his. As I have been out of circulation, the garden looks dreadful!

Gardening is something that I have always been interested in…even when it was not cool I did it secretly. My Grandad loved the outdoors. He grew tomatoes in his attic, (in pots 🙂 ), and I remember my Grandma sending him out to dig up the potatoes for tea. If anyone knows where I can get a Whisky Mac rose, please let me know. This was Grandad’s favourite…it  has a fantastic smell. This is also the only rose I would ever contemplate putting in my garden. I also associate the smell of geraniums with my Grandad. Pots on window ledges in empty margarine tubs. All the things I remember when I potter about in the garden. 🙂

After my day weeding on Monday I have to admit to being a little sore and frustrated. I know what needs doing, but I just haven’t had the energy or the physical capacity to do anything about it. For months I have just been drawing the blinds so I couldn’t see what was happening out there. Now I was at least ready to have a little potter, the work I was facing was immense. It has really made me think how lucky I am. At least I know that there will be an end, eventually, to my current situation.

I set out to look at the damage with a really critical eye. The rain had taken its toll, and everything looked washed out and unloved. Where was I going to start? It didn’t help that the neighbour’s garden looks perfect. I thought to myself that the easiest place to start would be with something I could do without injuring myself and setting myself back a few months. I took stock first of all. What did I need to do? Make a list! The list turned into a shopping list of everything that needed replacing….the winter had certainly taken its toll.

Purchases made, I set about renovating my favourite thing in the garden……my deck chair.

As you can see it has certainly seen better days…..but I couldn’t possibly be without it. Where would I sit and snore in the future?

So what to do? Plan made I moved on to look for other projects.

The garden seats really looked like they had seen better days. Must sort them out too!

Lunch time in the garden is always an event. But today it was definitely a tea day again. Ham and tomato sandwiches with mustard and tea in a tea-cup, a giant one, but a tea-cup. Complete with Cactus tea cosy, milk jug and sugar basin. How English! Well we are in an English summer.

Second cup of tea over, and it was on to work. I have to admit that it was quite nice sitting and painting while the washing machine whirred. I had decided that all the deck chair needed was a lick of paint and the canvas dying. Eventually………

Tadah! Actually this is not quite how I was expecting this to finish up. The actual dye I bought was Olive Green, much darker. I didn’t notice that the canvas was polyester however; not a chance of taking the colour, so it turned out much lighter. But even so I think it looks much better than it did. I also have some calico that I can use to make a new seat. Oh the possibilities.

What next? Oh yes the garden chair.

Tadah! Much better. Oh we are getting there. Slowly and surely, just like the tortoise. I have to admit that when I set out yesterday morning I was very deflated. My gorgeous garden that I have worked very hard to transform from a wasteland into a place to relax, grow food and enjoy the ever-changing weather. But I have managed to claw a little of it back from nature over the past two days. I am aching. It is amazing how many muscles you use sitting down and painting, but it was worth it.

I have pottered on other little bits too, and I have taken before pictures for you to see. Unfortunately I was unable to complete my potters before the weather broke. Hopefully I will be able to finish these little jobs tomorrow and show you the before and after pictures.

It is Ladies Day at Royal Ascot tomorrow, and I have been invited to Auntie M’s for afternoon tea. I will try to get my jobs done before lunch.

I need to say a big congratulations to Cousin B on the arrival of a new baby girl. Well done, and we are thinking of you all…and saying lots of prayers. I feel the knitting needles coming out tonight! 🙂

See you tomorrow.



P.S.    DH. The grass needs cutting. 🙂

Day 97


Good evening,

I hope you have had a really good day. I must admit it has almost been summer here today. We even saw the sun for a couple of hours this afternoon…..how decadent! I have to admit to drinking lots of tea today. I think it must be because I wanted to use my new cactus tea cosy…or as reWOLLuzza called it a peyote, (which I think sounds much nicer than cactus!)

I also have to make a correction to one of my spellings yesterday. DH, who is always on the prowl to catch me out, corrected my plural of cactus. I called it cactuses….he corrected it to cacti! OK! Yes I am a teacher, but I have to confess that we don’t use this plural very often. I should have used the good old teacher  fall back; ‘I was waiting for someone to spot that!’……but I didn’t. I was caught and I will keep myself in at playtime tomorrow. 🙂

So what have I been up to? Well I had another look at the ‘blast it’ cardigan. I am determined to complete it. Some people have been asking why I call it ‘blast it’. Well it comes from something mum used to say when she was typing. Tippex was called ‘Blast it’ because that is what  Mum used to say when she had made a mistake….then reached for the correction fluid, or paper in those days. As I keep making mistakes with the cardigan ‘blast it’ is ringing in the air again…hence the ‘blast it’ cardigan!

Anyway I have finished up undoing all of the right front. The only problem is now I cannot find the pattern anywhere. GRRRRR! So ‘Blast it’ was put away for another day.

As it has eventually stopped raining I decided that the garden needed some of my attention. I am very proud of my garden normally. Not this year. I cannot believe how overgrown it has become, but there again I have not been out there at all this year. I am delighted that the gorgeous lavender has thrived without any input from me.

It was wonderful to pull the weeds out from around these plants as the fragrance is amazing. It’s true…the more you agitate these plants the more you get out of them. It gave me a real lift, and I can’t wait for the crop to really start to flourish. The rosemary is not doing too badly either.

Well after all the clipping, weeding and planting I am aching all over, particularly my left shoulder which I can’t actually move. My own fault I know, but the garden does look a lot better.

See you tomorrow.


Day 64- A change from the stitching.


Good evening! I can tell you are coming home from work and settling down, as my stats for the day have suddenly gone up!

Good Morning/ afternoon to the USA too. I will say good evening to Iceland too, as you have been back over the past two nights….how rude of me to ignore you yesterday.

As you will have guessed by now I absolutely love geography! I loving looking at maps and plans, so the stats map is a big draw everytime I log on. I had a dilemma when I was working out what I was going to do at university, textile design or geography? Geography won! I often regret my decision, wondering what path my life would have taken if I had studied design. You can’t dwell too long on the ifs and buts of decisions. I did what I did.I have always dipped back into the design world however. I designed and made my own wedding dress for instance. I have loved having this time to really experiment with my other love, otherwise it is stolen hours on a Saturday afternoon that all to quickly comes to an end.

Today however, I have not done any stitching for my make, although I have done a little bit on the cardigan that I am making. (How decadent! Something for myself!)

I have taken lots of photos about what I have done today. One of my other ‘loves’ is gardening; growing my own in fact. I have been growing fruit and vegetables for about 10 years now. In fact Boo was really fed up last year that nothing grew in our garden unless we could eat it! Being out of action since the op, as I wasn’t allowed to do any heavy lifting, and then the monsoon season came, the garden has been looking a bit forlorn.

I decided I would get out there this week and fettle. Of course then it started raining again! I have been dipping in and out however, and brought something in today that I usually have had at least one crop of already. Here is my first for this year……

Rhubarb! Freshly cut ready for the pot!

Now what to do with it?

…we need to add apple; chopped!

Chop the rhubarb and put it into a very big pan!

Add a special kind of sugar plus some granulated sugar to the big pan, and some sort of spice. (Have you guessed what it is yet?)

Place over heat to melt the sugar and soften the fruit.

Bring to a rolling boil….check after 4 minutes to see if the mixture will set. If it does………

Place in sterilised jars, place a wax disk on the top. Leave to cool before for a while before placing the lid. Write Rhubarb, apple and ginger jam on labels and enjoy with toast at breakfast!

Hurrah! Can’t wait!

DH is very pleased his jam pan anniversary gift is being used again. The monsters are pleased because they love this jam and have not had some for a very long time. Smiley faces all round!

See you tomorrow.