Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Crochet bunting, Yarn Along And Pretty Flowers

Hi Guys :) This week i am joining in with  Yarn Along
for some reason the wee button thing-a-ma-jig won't show up! :/

This was my project yesterday, i painted the wall pink and finally put up my flower canvases, i've had them for a while but didn't know what to do with them, and it occurred to me to make a feature wall out of the! And look how lovely it is! :) 
The room instantly looks brighter, but soft at the same time , and it really makes me happy when i see it :) I'm not normally a pink person, but for this i shall make an exception
I think the wall may need another coat but i shall do that later.
I'm thinking a lovely soft gray for two of the walls on each side
I was thinking about crocheting a bunting to go over the mantel and i forgot this one was hanging up on the window  
Continuing with the flower theme i made myself a new coaster  
                                                    The pattern for it is here

If you go to my Pinterest board for crochet you may notice i have a slight obsession with bunting at the minute haha :)

I'm also making some pretty star bunting for Christmas. i like to start early :) I have another board dedicated to it :)
My reading for this week is The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
One of my favourites :)

Friday, 18 September 2015

Our Speaker Today

Hi guys :) 
I am part of a community growers group, and over the next year or so we are going try and make our village look nicer and have an edible garden and flower beds.
 Co Durham council are going to stop planting flowers in the flower beds on our main street, due to budget cuts, so we got the idea of putting things in the beds ourselves, including lots of herbs, and fruit bushes along the green. We want to really bring the community together and get them involved in growing things and generally making the village look nicer. 
Yesterday, me and a two other members (and friends of course!) went on a wee jolly to Durham, for the Food Durham Annual Gathering.
It is a marvellous initiative called The County Durham Food partnership.More info here
"Launched in May last year, the purpose is to work together for a more equitable,sustainable, fairer food system for County Durham providing access to food that is healthy for people and the planet."

Doesn't it sound great?
As a relatively new group we were keen to learn about sustainable growing, seasonal produce etc
Neither of us had been to the place before, so we got slightly lost and were a wee bit late, so we missed the start.
The bloke below was from our village, and he had a very interesting talk on "Digging For Victory"
we missed the start of his talk, but the gist of it was about how food used to be grown during the wars, and how much families had to grow to keep themselves alive during shortages and rationing. It was really interesting learning about how much they had to produce, and how they went about it.

There was two workshops, the first of which was all about "Food For Free", and it was all about saving seeds, how to test if they were viable (really interesting actually, just drop them in a glass of water, if they sink they are still viable, if they float, they are dead/less likely to germinate)

The second workshop was called "Filling The Hungry Gap"
It was all about how to make the most out of the growing season, such as Succession Planting; Planting two or more crops in succession, after the first crop is harvested, another crop quickly takes that space.
Same Crop Successive Planting;
Where you have several smaller plantings at timed intervals so you have a constant supply of that crop, but you don't have to find room in the freezer for so many at once, you just eat the crop until the next lot is ready to harvest, which helps you have fresh veg without having to find various ways of preserving it.
He also mentioned how to extend the growing season for certain plants, as different varieties have faster cropping rates, such as leeks, you can plant a certain variety of leeks (i forgot to write down the names i'm afraid) in August, and then other varieties over the months up until feb/march and you have 7 months of that crop! 
(i hope this makes sense, my notes got lost in translation a little as i had to write rather quickly and so i got quite a lot of unintelligible scribble!)

There was lots of different info on allotments, composting, recycling etc
There was also a mini marketplace, where lots of local business came to show and sell their wares, give out info and leaflets.
There was a wonderful stall from Durham Beekeepers Association, selling delicious honeys, waxes and candles, sadly i didn't get to buy anything as i had forgotten to put my purse in my bag before i left :( They had lots of great info on educating the public in the importance of bees in the environment.
I didn't get a picture of their stall as i was whisked away to the next one.

I came home with a rather funky little tote bag (which will come in handy for reuse when shopping, and for putting projects in for knit and natter)
A package full of leaflets, a recycled To Do list and a free packet of salad seeds!

Various leaflets on composting, what you can compost, a few recipes, information on the stallholders etc

and a wonderful reproduction leaflet from WW2 on growing all year round and crop rotation 

Oh, and when i came home i got to puppysit this adorable little chap again for the afternoon
(I'm also puppysitting him tonight)

It's clearly hard work having your every whim catered to! 

What have you been up to this week? :)

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Back to the drawing board!

Hi guys
Sadly the washing machine was not to be :( 
We put a load on yesterday and it wouldn't do a proper wash, then it decided it didn't want to finish the spin cycle, and as an added bonus it sprung a leak! 
That was fun! So we ended up having to take the pipes off and flood the kitchen and almost falling on our backsides in the process, I'm very pleased no one could see us haha :)
Then I had to re do all the washing and to cap it all off i couldn't even get it dry outside because this happened! 
Oh well, you live and learn, and sometimes get soaked whilst you are doing it :)

I'm still awaiting a proper reply about the gas pipe. The "gas supervisor" is going to get in touch apparently.
Seriously look at how narrow that gap is!
The first time i emailed they tried to fob me off saying it was my responsibility, but the kitchen was re  furbished before we moved in, and clearly someone didn't know how to design a kitchen!
The bayonet fitting on the supply pipe from the cooker is 2inches long, the gap between the pipe and the cupboard is 1 1/2 inches, if i tried to fit the pipe in that gap, it would create a bend in the supply pipe and damage it, and open up all sorts of complications with the gas flow and pressure, and leaks!
I'd rather not get carbon monoxide poisoning thank you very much!

My nettle tea was finally ready today, and my god! It stinks! Why didn't you warn me? 
I poured it in my "watering can" and i swear i almost fainted haha
Good job it will be used sparingly!
The banana fertilizer seems to be working, the leeks have started to thicken out and the onions are shooting right up! Yay! :)

I also re-purposed some spice jars into flour shakers for when i'm making pastry :)

What have you been up to? :)

Friday, 11 September 2015

Wonderful Surprises and Hows That For Irony?

Well this has been a funny old week.
So far i've had two surprises

If you remember I bought a plunger, all ready for washing and was full of grand plans for making a bucket washing machine, and then a very good friend turns up with this!
 For free! 
So that was surprise number one,how's that for ironic? haha :) 

The bad news, is that after a look under the sink, we don't actually have the pipe that attaches to the waste trap...which is no surprise in this house! 
So, i reported it to the housing association, and am waiting to hear back.
I gave it a try and put the pipe in my washing tub to catch the water!
 My goodness it is loud! After going for so long without one, the noise level gave me quite a shock! Especially on the spin cycle.

Surprise number two was this!
A gas cooker! Brought to me by the same friend, it cost only £20!
More bad news is the gas pipe won't fit because when they refurbished the kitchen before we moved in (though you wouldn't know to look at it lol) they built an extra cupboard next to the sink and now the gas pipe won't fit because the gap between the pipe on the wall and the cupboard is too narrow, and also the pipe is capped, so another problem to report to the housing association!
I have beautiful cooker and i can't even cook on it yet :( 
But i have lots of ideas for what i'm going to make :)

On a happier note, i made my first French onion soup! Oh my goodness! It was delicious!
I sprinkled cheese on top and made cheese on toast to go with it :)

I also spotted my first ever toadstool on a walk with friends.
Isn't it adorable? :)

I couldn't get a very good picture due to slow shutter speed

What have you been up to?

Friday, 4 September 2015

DIY Washing Machine, Leeks and Banana Fertilizer

The forecast said it would be fine,
Perfect drying for laundry time.
Strip the beds, collect the clothes,
Into the machine the first wash goes.
The colours separated from the white,
Why do socks disappear from sight?

Pegs at the ready, machine finished spin,
Hanging out clothes about to begin.
All of a sudden it starts to rain,
Carry the clothes back in again.
Wait awhile and hope it will stop.
Is it worth sorting another lot?
Mary Rose

Hi guys :)
I finally got round to buying a washing machine! Ok, so not in the usual sense of the word. I bought a plunger!
We don't own a washing machine, our old one conked out completely before we moved and we can't afford to replace it. So, i do our washing by hand. 
It's not a hardship, we don't generate much washing, and we wear most things more than once unless it is stained, and as much as i love it (Much quicker, no electricity, relatively eco friendly) it does take its toll on the hands, especially wringing out.
When i came across this tutorial for a diy washing machine i was ecstatic!
The plunger came from Poundland, I cut a few holes in the middle, to help water flow, and got started, i can't begin to explain how much of a difference it has made already!
I plan on buying two buckets next time i go to the nearest town and make the rest.

Remember the wood from the wicker basket?
Well, i tied three together, made two more of these, and tied some netting over the top
Tadah! A cover for the leeks! I'd noticed quite a few birds hovering around,i don't think they like leeks that much,but apart from the onions (the courgettes got eaten) they are my only crop that has survived so far, so i figured it was best to err on the side of caution

Look at those clever things! 
(Getting overrun by weeds as i didn't put a weed cover down. Whoops.)

And the onions have taken well :) (Also being overrun by weeds :( )

Now, onto bananas! A few of you took an interest in my banana fertilizer, so i thought i'd go into it in a little more depth.
As i mentioned in the previous post, just chop the peel, pop it in a jar of water and shake, leave it for  48hrs and you're good to go! Just pop it through a sieve or colander into your watering can and apply generously
 (Well, not too generously, you don't want to drown the poor buggers) 
Now, don't you throw those peels way, they are still useful!
You can pop them on your compost heap, or you can dig them into your vegetable patch, where they will slowly decompose and add even more yummy nutrients and minerals to the soil.
There is more information on the benefits Here

I also made a rather funky looking treacle tart,with home made custard, (low fat Recipe here, i had no cream lol :) )
 It tastes better than it looks :)
I also crocheted this rather pretty square with a flower in the middle, our knit and natter group is making a blanket for a community project :)

What have you been up to this week? :)


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