Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Raised beds

Progress is being made on the raised bed project. I rescued plants I wanted to save.
Chris has worked hard to remove the rest and sort the ground out.
Richard helped by removing the very heavy rockery stones, when they called for Fathers Day.
This corner of the garden was rather overgrown and a bit of a shambles. 
The day lilies are well past their best and the rockery never did really work.

The corner has been cleared, view from the house

View from the summer house. There will be 3 raised beds joined together in the far corner.
The tall Acer tree has had a ‘haircut’ to allow more light to the corner.

Yesterday the wood arrived from Hassett’s Wood Yard and was left of the front lawn, Chris moved it to the side of the house.

While all this was happening I was busy in the kitchen making my usual 2 loaves of bread. One to eat now and one to freeze.
The Courgette plant, seed sent me by my sister, has been going mad producing so I made two  Zucchini and Banana loaves substituting the nuts and cranberries with sultanas as that was all I had... the kitchen smelt delicious and as this was the first time I had made a Courgette/Zucchini loaf I am very pleased with the result. One frozen and one to eat now.
2 loaves and 2 Courgette loaves cooling on a rack.

I like to use the paper liners when making a cake and I only have one left so Amazon to the rescue, without thinking I ordered another pack of 40 and then realised deliver is August 10th... so no more cake making for 6 weeks!

Friday, 26 June 2020

Moda Blockheads Catch up

In between watching the Battle of the Brits Tennis on Amazon Prime I have managed to do a little sewing.
It is really too hot to do much in the way of sewing but I so want t catch up with this weekly block offered for free by a number of different designers.

Block 23: Lucky Penny by Vanessa Goertzen. I made a sight error in the size of my cream squares, but I can live with it.
I buy my sewing machine needles by the hundred and change them often, always Schmetz 80.
I keep an old camera film case for the ‘dead needles’ and really like the little gadget I have for making it easy to change the needles, it has a hole shaped like the top of the needle which means the needle goes in the machine the right way round every time.

Top: Block 22, Hen and Chicks by Laurie Simpson
Middle: Block 19 Compass Point by Brigitte Heitland
Bottom: Block 16 Dream by Sherri McConnell

Four down and five left to catch up before next Wednesday, when block 25 will be ready to pick up. There are a total of 52 [ I think] .

Thursday, 25 June 2020

The chair saga

I have been looking for another chair for the Summer House and keeping my eye on those for sale on Marketplace.
A brown chair that would just fit the bill was offered for sale, so I offered to buy it and arranged to meet the seller outside his shop.
Taking every precaution as it was the first time I had been out in my car since February, other than for a walk, and the Covid 19 is still with us.
The arrangement was the seller would just put the chair in the back of my car, I had already lowered the seats and emptied the boot, so social distancing would be easy. I donned a mask and arrived fifteen minutes early so waited for over half an hour and he did not show up! It was also midday and the sun was baking hot!! Needless to say I went home disappointed.

Back home I contacted him and he was waiting outside a different shop not realising the address on the advert was for one of the many second hand shops he seems to own and not the one with the chair !!! 
The only good thing to come out of this was driving in my air con car while the temperature soared. 

Later that’s evening he offered me a discount and the correct address, so I agreed to meet him and the chair this morning, all went well and I came home used anti bacteria wipes on the chair and footstool and myself you cannot be too careful.
Once it was in the summer house Chris tried it and said he really liked it, so alls well that ends well.
Plus on another baking hot day I got to spend time in my air con car.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

How did I get so far behind?

At the start of the pandemic I joined the Moda Blockheads weekly free block group. Each week I eagerly awaited for the next pattern to arrive in my mail box and cut out the fabric and made the block, sometimes 12 inch and sometimes 8 inch. I thought the different sizes would make for an interesting quilt layout.

Suddenly I am NINE blocks behind including todays block. How did that happen? I have managed to cut out the fabric for some of my missing blocks and really must find the ‘umph’ from somewhere to get sewing. 
I think like many people we were all eager to start new projects whether it be sewing, knitting, crochet etc at the start of the lockdown, but it is wearing a bit thin now and I am finding it harder and harder to get going.
Chris has been told to ‘shield’ until the end of July, so another five weeks minimum of staying home other than the occasional walk.
Five weeks will mean five more Moda Blockheads patterns, so I’ll close now and thread up my sewing machine.

How are you coping ?
Love to hear from you if you can spare a minute to leave a comment...

Monday, 22 June 2020

Fathers Day part 2

We spent the best Father’s Day yesterday when the family arrived for a social distance afternoon.
To prepare for these unusual circumstances we arranged the gazebo over the lawn in case of rain as we are not allowed to let the family in the house, other than to use the toilet, set up a table and benches that had not seen the light of day for years plus a small table and two chairs for us 6ft away.
Setting up the garden ready for Fathers Day.

The family arrived and it was just the best day ever to see them again after over 100 days of lockdown.
Eleanor had made a delicious cake and we had a wonderful chatty time eating the mountain of food I had prepared.
Time for cake’s both Eleanor’s Rainbow cake and my Orange cake.

Love our little family so much, happy Father’s Day Chris and Richard.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day to my dad, Stanley Douglas Simons
11th March 1917 - 20th November 2003

Such happy memories, sadly missed.

I would also like to wish my husband Chris and son Richard a Happy Fathers Day,
 looking forward to a social distanced get together this afternoon in the garden.

Friday, 19 June 2020

100 days today

Well we have made it to 100 days of lockdown, shielding, social distancing, whatever you want to call it.
To start with it was nice having time at home and getting jobs done, learning new skills and generally enjoying each other’s company.
Now I am getting bored and finding a lack of energy and enthusiasm for anything.
It is so frustrating when you want / need something and cannot just pop down the shops and get it. Many shops are now open but from what I hear many disregard the 2 metre social distancing, so I’ll not be going into a shops for a while.

To try and motivate myself I purchases two new quilting books, first time I have invested in quilt books for years, I already have enough to keep me sewing for the rest of my life!
I love seeing Edyta Sitar on You Tube and reading her blogs, so sent for the miniature quilt book.
The book starts with pictures of vintage quilts that have inspired some of the 32 patterns.
A truly inspiring book and I hope to make a number of her quilts for my ‘miniature wall’.

While looking for something else I came across this Miniature Quilt book on EBay and decided to buy it.
Wow does she use some tiny pieces of fabric!
The cover picture is called Night Cruise on the River Thames and only measures 22 x 22 inches. That is an awful lot of very tiny pieces!

One project that has been on the back burner for sometime is the left hand corner of our back garden, different things have been tried but nothing really works, so I thought a raised bed would be good and easier for me to manage. Chris gave me that look of ‘what now’ but came out and helped me measure up for the wood we will need. The landscape sleepers all cut to size arrive a week on Monday !!!
Trying not to fall into the pond, a start has been made to remove the day lilies, rockery in the corner and plants behind the seat.
A ‘L’ shaped raised bed will replace this area.  I have estimated we will need 3 tons of top soil, so that should be good exercise to move it from the front drive around the house to the back garden ! Better wait until the wooden structures are in place before ordering it.

We still continue to shop on line and take local walks, many of which are around the cemetery that backs onto the neighbours garden.
We ventured into a different area and saw this lovely painting of the Last Supper on one of the grave stones.

I hope you are staying safe and social distancing if you have to go out. Chris has been asked by the NHS to shield until the end of July, so I think we are a long way away from being safe ‘out there’.

Love to hear from you, I read all comments before they appear on the blog. Diana.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Sun is shining

The sun is shining so I stuffed, with difficulty, the quilt from our bed into the washing machine.
It is a large King Size quilt and their was hardly room to put the washing bubble in with it!

Hanging on my sagging line, it is so heavy when wet, the picture shows half of the quilt.

I have started a new mini project, more about it latter.
Trying out ideas for these Half Square Triangles, measuring 2 1/4 inch square [1 3/4 inch sewn]

Happy baby

My neighbours first grandchild looks happy with the quilt that I made.
Looks like he is pointing to the J for his name.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

A wet walk

Out for our early morning walk, after resting my pulled muscle for a day. We went to the woods we visited a few days ago but it was so wet underfoot that I had to wring my socks out when I got home, better foot ware needed next time!
8.30 am and the sun is out, no need for a jacket. 
The past few days have been really cold and wet so there were lots of people about including a man releasing butterflies into the wood.
Happy to say everyone was respecting the two metre social distancing rule, and saying ‘good morning’.

As it was so wet we walked back along the side of the old railway, two volunteer men were busy building a new boarding ramp and working hard. I know the Railway Trust, which is run purely by volunteers, has been asking for donations as they have not been able to organise any fund raising events since the pandemic started. The Covid 19 has been so hard on small companies and charities.

As we passed the Ménage a couple of girls were riding their horses

Back home after I dried my feet, a cup of hot chocolate went down well, and three of my water lily flowers were just coming out.
Looks like it is going to be a nice day... stay safe everyone and leave me a comment if you have the time.

All comments are read by me before appearing on the blog.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Rug and box cover

I was either given or won a 12 pack set of Fat Quarters, can’t actually remember where they came from but thought the colours were just right for the new summer house.

I started by cutting the FQ’s into 2 1/2 inch strips, and cutting the only wadding I have to hand into 2 1/4 inch strips.
Joined the strips together, still having to use my left foot on the pedal, into one extremely long snake.

Next the strips were lined with the wadding and both sides folded into the centre and machined down the middle.

The strips were then Zig Zagged together and ends covered.
A very old box, that has seen many different colours of fabric was then covered with the strips I had left over.
I also managed to find a piece of foam so it has a nice comfy top. It is such a handy box.

The colours go so well in the Summer House and the box is ideal for storage and putting my feet on... all I need is some sun!

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

8 am walking the railway

Early morning start today but determined not to let the rain stop us going for a walk.
Due to the rain we decided to walk along side the railway starting at Brampton Crossing. It’s a nice flat walk and reasonable underfoot. The big bonus is there is always something interesting to look at. The local railway enthusiasts seem to have an endless line of train engines and carriages they are restoring.  What stories these carriages could tell!
Gloomy rainy day but we have the walk to ourselves.
A little Roe deer was too quick for my camera as it darted off into the undergrowth.

The end of the walk for us today

Very tempted to pick a bunch of these pretty ox eyed daisies, but will leave them for others to enjoy.

As we approached the car park I spotted this frog/toad, I never know the difference, but he/she was very green!

Time to head for home and a hot chocolate.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Martin Moore Wood

Today is the day we go out in the car for the first time in 90 days!  It was so liberating just to drive down to the Brampton Valley Way Car Park, about a mile from home, cross the road and walk through the Martin Moore Wood.
We had never been here before, but passed it lots of times n our way to walk along the old railway line.
What a pleasant surprise, lots of tracks and only met one other person with a dog.
We will definitely be going again.
Start of the walk, on a well trodden tail.

The lady with dog that we met [safe distance] told us about the bench surrounded with oak trees.

I could sit here all day, but I have left bread rising at home!

Lots of dog roses

Sad to leave but we will be back.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Growing fruit and veg

I don’t have a lot of room for growing fruit and veg, but like to try my hand at a few.
Along  side the garden wall is now a Raspberry patch and they are growing like mad. We usually get enough raspberry’s to see us through the year.
They are an autumn raspberry but seem to start fruiting earlier and earlier, I have already picked a few [and eaten them before even getting back into the house!]

I have two compost bins and as soon as one is full I plant a courgette in it and the first flower has just appeared.

There will soon be lots of courgettes and I must search out the recipe for a zucchini [courgette] loaf. 
If any one has a recipe please send me it.

Just outside my black door I have a raised bed that started life as a herb garden but never did very well, so last year I planted runner beans in it and they produced lots of snap beans. I have done the same again this year and they are just climbing up the poles.
The first one to the trellis wins a prize !!
The wire mesh is to keep the cats off until everything is well established.

My two rhubarb plants have not done very well this year, but I picked enough to cut up and boil down, add two packets of sugar free jelly to make 5 bowls full. I love rhubarb cooked like this.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Sunday Church and ABC quilt

Sundays are a little different these days with an hours church service via Zoom.
It is so nice to be in the company and to be able to see other members of the Church of Latter Day Saints Ward I belong to.

My ‘Church’ set up, scriptures and iPad perched on a home made tissue box!
Although these are terrible times for many people, there is so much goodness being shown by neighbours and volunteers.
We all pray the Covid 19 virus will be kept under control very soon, and we can get back to our church meetings, jobs and seeing our families.

Talking of seeing our families, my neighbour, who I hardly knew before the pandemic, has become a life line helping me out with shopping, collecting prescriptions etc. They also became grandparents for the first time four weeks ago, but are unable to see the new baby while the restrictions are still in place. I offered to make the baby a quilt, and have spent every morning this week working on it.
Starting the alphabet quilt, with a theme of grey and a little blue and white. 

The machine embroidery letters each consist of 4500 to 5500 stitches, using Batik grey with fleece letters.
I machined simple quilting around the blocks in grey thread.
The quilt is backed with blue fleece to make a nice snuggle blanket.

The completed quilt, with the baby’s name and date of birth machine embroidered on the last block.

Friday, 5 June 2020

June is busting out all over

June is busting out all over... and here we are still in this pandemic and trying to get back to some sort of normality.

We have been enjoying some wonderfully sunny weather.
Chris decided to get on his knees and hand weed the drive and path around the house, a massive job, but it is looking really good.

We seem to have a grass snake take up residence around the pond, I tried to take a photo but he slid under the decking.
I would really appreciate it if he moved to someone else’s garden.. I really do not like snakes, but they are a protected species.

My friend Robina sadly passed away this week, she had been ill for some time. I met Robina when I was ten years old, 65 years ago! And we enjoyed each other’s company, even going on a wild holiday to the Lake District together when I was about 15, she was older than me so my parents let me go.
After she married and had twins she moved to the USA with her family, but we kept in touch and visited each other a number of times both in England and the USA, she will be sadly missed.
While sorting out her belongs her daughter found a bobbin I had given her, on one side it says “when this you see remember me” and my name and the date on the reverse. A happy memory that she kept it, even though she did not make lace.

Yesterday should have been our IAM craft meeting, as we still cannot meet I set up a Zoom meeting. Two members were unable to join us, two had a problem with Zoom, but the rest of us had a good time. Seeing and hearing each other was a real tonic, we even managed to have a ‘show and tell’.

Time to start the day today and rain is forecast,  the garden is in desperate need. A beautiful sunrise from the bedroom window.

Stay safe everyone, and if you have a moment I love to hear from you in the comments, they are all read by me before they appear on the blog.

Biopsy, bruises and a block finish

Thursday I went into hospital at 10.30 for my lung biopsy, the staff could not have been nicer and put me at ease. The procedure meant lying...