Month: January 2018

This is the Year – Garden Thoughts

Last year Gav kept telling me ‘this is the year’….. He meant that 2017 was the year our garden would finished. He did his absolute best I must admit and was out there working many, many, many more hours than I was. And it is almost there. Almost tidy, almost done.

But you know what? A garden is never really ‘done’. That is the beauty of it. What I mean by done is that it is how you want it at that particular moment in time.

Last year I found it harder than usual to do the routine things. The weeding and tidying. I was wondering what the reason might have been for this…..

Was it the weather that makes it hard work?

Was it that I want to garden in the mornings but I’m (was!) at work?

Was it that I have shifted in my love and rather than have a herbaceous border I want grow annuals?

Is it the fact that basically I’m lazy….. hmm probably!

It’s not that I don’t love a herbaceous border I do, oh I do but the weeding! Have I mentioned the weeding??It kills me and now I have trouble kneeling it makes it even harder work. We have pernicious grass that wends its way through the soil and tangles in the roots of the perennials…..

Over the last couple of years we have both worked hard towards getting the middle border in better shape with a view that border being the only truly herbaceous one, although not truly because it does have a couple of shrubs in it too!

And the other borders are moving more to shrubs and bulbs.

The plan this year then is to get all the greenhouse shelving finished. Gav will be working on that in March when he has a week off. He also wants to finish the garden at the front of the house. I’m going to dig all the plants out of what we call the ‘bump’ bed and weed it throughly a couple of times then plant it back up with a few little shrubs.

I’ll give the middle border a good weed too (insert forced smiling emoji) and move a few plants about a bit and also try to get the living fence into some kind of shape. And of course we will be growing veg and flowers.

It is an ebb and flow that I should be used to by now after all I’ve been gardening for over 20 years…..eek!

Hopefully I’ll be back to chat about those flowers soon, I just need to make my mind up on what to order.

Photo a Day – Week Forty Seven

Hard to believe that another January is almost over! I haven’t finished my December Daily album yet……

Anyway here are a few more pictures…. After that little snow flurry some stick chewing!

Treats for a Tuesday.

A dose of bright sunshine in the kitchen.

You have to look closely… that turned up nose had to be captured. And the seed catalogues have made an appearance.

Not a great photo, although this year we had amazing seats when my Mum, sister, H and I went to see the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour. It was possibly the best tour yet as we were also treated to Dame Darcy Bussell as one of the judges!  This is the only photo I managed to get but I did manage to capture most of the gang from the 2017 T.V show. If you don’t watch the show on television you are definitely missing out on a treat.

And after sequins….. a delicious lunch.

More bread! This time homemade rolls.

And that was that.

Layout Share – But First Coffee

Here we go with another story from our trip. I realised I should have posted this story first as it is at the beginning of our holiday but it doesn’t really matter.

But First Coffee

Here is the story-

So here we are at the airport waiting, excited. And of course we had to get a Starbucks to send us off in style. H and I went to get them from the busy counter. They all went off shopping and I just stood and pondered our adventure to come…..

At last I had the right story to use that lovely cup die cut from a Shimelle collection for American Crafts. And that cute puffy sticker cup too!

I realised just now as I wrote that little bit in the first paragraph about posting the layouts in or out of chronological order that I need an overall plan for this album. So far I have made about ten layouts and used photos from different parts of the trip.

I usually treat these big holiday albums as a story beginning to end, in other words I put  them into the album in chronological order. It just makes sense to me that way and you get an overall feeling of how the holiday happened.

As I get to the final few layouts I review what I have done so far to make sure I haven’t missed an important story. It may have been forgotten because the was no photo directly relating to the tale. This happened with my 2015 USA holiday album. As I was flipping through all the pages I realised I’d forgotten the story about watching the movie on the plane. So I added that one in.

So my plan for last years holiday is to arrange all the photos first. I have stacked them in a box and I’m going to go through the box and sort into order. Once that’s done I’ll sort into particular stories and keep reviewing as I go of course.

I’m in no rush. I don’t feel the pressure to scrap at all, thank goodness. That wouldn’t be much fun and we all know that my scrapbooking goes in phases with all my other hobbies! This week quilting, next week painting…..

I know I have hundreds of stories to tell from years ago as well as ones happening right now so I’ll get to them all or I won’t. It’s all good. But it’s also good to have a little plan.

What I’ve been Reading – January 2018

I made the claim, the other day, that I was going to read at least two books a month, I also said I would come back here and list all the books I read in 2017! Here is a perfect reason for listing the books in a blog post as I read them because I cannot remember them all. Which makes me cross as I’ve kept track of my reading for several years now.

Here are a few I can recall –

  • Tricky Twenty-two by Janet Evanovich
  • Top Secret Twenty-one by Janet Evanovich
  • Dead in the Water by Ann Granger
  • Die Trying by Lee Child
  • A Cotswold Killing by Rebecca Tope
  • Thrones and Dominions by Jill Paton Walsh – Dorothy L. Sayers
  • The Voice of the Violin – by Andrea Camilleri
  • The Patience of a Spider – by Andrea Camilleri
  • Christmas at Tiffanys by Karen Swan

To be honest I didn’t read much last year so this was probably it along with the two I did post about at the time I read them.

But this year will be different. Ha! I’m going to read all I can from my pile of ‘to be read’ before buying any more and I am putting a priority on reading over computer time through practice I should have no trouble in getting through them all.

Here are the first two from this year.

A Cotswold Ordeal – Rebecca Tope

This is the second book in the series (I think she has written fifteen). They are what I would describe as gentle murder mysteries if there could be such a thing. I like the village settings and that look at rural life even if I’m not sure it is realistic. The main character is interesting, she has a dog too so that goes in her favour…. and she is braver than me! My Mum has the whole series so I will most likely read them in time. Not my favourite but still enjoyable.

Next up was Bad Luck and Trouble – Lee Child

My third adventure with Jack Reacher.

I just went back and read my thoughts on the first novel. I laughed at my own comment about not reading just before bed because I did the same with his second adventure, that I read last year and this one. The author is just too good at keeping you on the edge of your seat to read before I try to sleep!

This book is actually the eleventh in the series so I have read them out of order. It doesn’t matter in my opinion. He is still a wanderer, still alone and still as tough as they come. As with both other books this was a page turner, you just have to find out what is going on. Always a twist in there, but then it is a thriller, and often violent and brutal. But I enjoyed it for all that.

And by total coincidence my Mum was over for lunch last Sunday saw my book and said she was sure my sister had mentioned these novels and that she was reading them. I spoke to B and yes, indeed she is reading them. I was surprised as they are so violent. But then I remembered from years ago that my Dad and my sis both used to read the same thrillers. Funny isn’t it the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

And the up shot is I now have another two to read and the way my sis is visiting all our local charity shops I’m sure she’ll have collected the entire series by the end of February!

Photo a Day – Week Forty Six

Another week here we go!

Starting off right, or wrong depending on your point of view…..

A little more snow and some sunshine to show off this lovely Hellebore.

This is a milestone in our salad growing. We have a teeny crop of oriental style leaves coming along. Gav has put an oil filled heater in the greenhouse and lights it on very cold nights. It has taken these seeds months to get here and who knows what they will taste like but at least its a step in the all year salad direction.

Pretty sunrise. The phone camera does not do them justice though.

Visited this cutie.

Made Cinnamon Rolls. They were so good.

More snow. It didn’t last but was lovely all the same.

And there we have it.

Adventures in Quilt Making

Back in August I shared the baby quilt my niece and I made for my great niece and I mentioned that it had re-inspired my love of patchwork and quilting. I dug out all of my previously started quilting projects…….

There were three of them back then. H thought this was dreadful and kept asking why I hadn’t finished them. My answer didn’t go down well as I admitted that I get bored and want to move on to other things. No point in sugar coating it. I can hold my head up high and admit, as I have many times before that my hobbies go in phases. Just because the buying, planning and cutting of fabric seems to come around more often that the sewing together of all the blocks shouldn’t stop me in my quilt adventures!

Here are two of them.

The denim and red has been in the works for longer than I dare admit. I love the idea of re-using denim from old jeans and thought the reds went really well with that faded blue. I added a neutral or two in as well.

I have a pile of jeans legs (that sounds funny!) tucked away and I’m determined to use them one day. It is a heavier material than all the other fabrics and I’m sure I shouldn’t have put lightweight and heavyweight materials together. But the beauty of not having much of a clue about quilting is that I just go with it and sometimes out works out fine. And other times I have to unpick for days…..

The orange triangles have also been around a while. I think I bought the material from Jo-Ann’s in 2015…. Here is another example as learning as I go. While I seem to have done quite a decent job of getting my pinwheel points matched up in the red and denim blocks I’ve managed to do a terrible job with those triangle points. Definitely a steep learning curve. Even my rows are wibbly wobbly!

And then we have the Christmas Tree Quilt which had been a work in progress for a few years too but finally got finished last December.

Inspired by this pin and this blog post. It is the most adorable thing I’ve ever made. I love it and from the remarks I got about it from family I better get cutting trees again and give a few away as Christmas gifts. In a few years of course…….

And as we are doing the full disclosure bit I hold my hand up and admit that while in the US last August I did drag my family to Jo-Ann and bought more fabric.

This time purple and grey to match our living room.

I decided to go more modern with this one and got the design inspiration somewhere online but cannot remember where!

As you can see from the photo at the beginning of the post this one is coming along great and I’ve finished piecing the top.

As of this point in time I have the orange and purple ready to sandwich together and baste.  The poor old red and denim is still in blocks but you never know by the end of the year they could all be finished. Stranger things have happened.

Layout Share – Working it Out

When we were away at the cottage last November I made lots and lots of layouts! Our American adventure was still firmly in my mind and I was excited to get some of those stories told. So here we go with the first of many stories from our 2017 road trip extravaganza.

Working it Out

And the story –

After a great breakfast at Cosi we headed to the metro station to take the train to the Mall for our first full day of Washington. Yay. I stepped back and let them sort out the fares. Love Washington ‘tube’ and we had it right with a station just a block away from the hotel. 

Used some of the Amy Tangerine paper pad I bought at Jo-Ann, a few die cut circles and labels and some enamel dots.

Simple little layout in the album.

Photo a Day – Week Forty-Five

January is zipping along….

While it waits for me to dismantle it the wreath from the front door caught the frost. Looks so pretty!

The way of things. I am trying (I mean practicing) to not tell her off for having the phone in her hand every second she’s here. It is a very hard thing to do……

Hello Hellebore.

Wanted to make this soup forever. It was worth the wait. Thai noodle with sautéed vegetables.

Something else I am working on the practice front, picking up the big camera.

Haven’t caught these two on camera for a long time. My BFF’s adorable pooch and Buddy sleeping peacefully in the same room.

A wonderfully sunny day and these two.

And that was that.

One Little Word® 2018 – Practice

This is the fifth year I am embarking on walking with a word.

Previous words were –

  • Listen
  • Align
  • Whole
  • Light

I usually start strong and enthusiastic. And this year has been no exception. My word showed up in mid November and stuck. Pretty sure it is all linked to the yoga I have been doing. Whenever anyone refers to ‘doing’ yoga they always call it a ‘practice’.

Here in the UK we have two spellings of this word.

Practice – The application or use of an idea, belief, method. “The principles and practice of teaching.”

Practise – Perform an activity repeatedly to improve. 

I hold my hand up and admit that thinking about these two made my head hurt……. I get it. Mostly. I may slip up along the year’s journey and spell it wrong, forgive me in advance!

Anyway onwards.

There are a few areas that spring to mind when thinking about my journey with this word.

You can see from the photo above that I’ve made a note of things that initially came to mind about my word. Yoga, health, kindness, photography, playing music, making art, meditation, being present, giving.

For me this word is not about practice to make perfect. It is more practice to live good. That is the essence of how the word manifested in my mind.

We are all a work in progress right? And I’d like to find a balance between the idea of working, working, working at something till you get fed up and give up (well I do) and saying okay got that wrong lets have another go. There is a difference in the mindset. I want to nudge myself towards having another go because I know I’m the sort of personality that when pushed gives up – I’m stubborn that way. HA!

So lets see if I can acknowledge this, have some understanding and kindness towards myself and hopefully it will help me grow and become more practised in these areas of my life.


One Little Word® is a project developed by Ali Edwards. Read all about it over here.

Layout Share – See it Build it Orrery

I am sure it comes as no surprise that I like all types of scrapbook stories. This story is one of those that could have been left untold. A little story.  One that gathered details and photos from a span of time rather than one day. It also hints towards relationships and quests! All than in one paragraph.

Here’s the story –

The history of this is fuzzy. I think I wanted to see one after Gav had spoken to me about it and we went in search of one at the Science Museum. We saw one at the British Museum too and took H to see it. Poor child! Then I found a model to build and colour in (because Gav’s promise for us to build one didn’t happen!) And gave it to both of them for Christmas. It’s still a work in progress but getting there….

If this page had been included in my 52 Stories I would undoubtedly be saying it does not include enough of the story in that paragraph. And maybe it is light on the nitty gritty but I like it anyway and I love an orrery!