Monday 28 June 2010

A riot of Clematis

Here is Clematis Piilu again, with the biggest number of flowers on it that there have ever been! I was amazed at the number of buds this year, and now that they are opening, it is fantastic.

I don't think I have done anything differently this year - I have fed and watered it as usual - it is in a pot, so needs watering regularly. I am just enjoying the flowers for as long as they last. Gardening is a funny thing because nothing ever stays the same. Sometimes this is good because it means 'there's always next year' if you have a disaster, but sometimes you just want to stop everything and keep it like that forever - totally impossible in reality, but it can be done with a camera or your own memory. A bit like life, really.

Sunday 27 June 2010

Oat Biscuit Recipe

Since putting a photo of these oat biscuits on my blog, I have been asked to add the recipe, so here it is. (It is in imperial measurements, so apologies if you work in metric).

4oz butter
4oz brown sugar
60z rolled oats (I use ordinary porridge oats which seem to be fine)
6oz plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 tablespoons milk

Makes approx 36 biscuits.
Oven temperature: Gas 2/300 degrees F

Method: Grease baking trays/sheets. Cream butter and sugar together. Mix in oats, sifted flour and bicarb of soda - mix thoroughly. Add milk to make a stiff-ish dough. Turn out onto a floured surface (I use half the dough at a time to make it more manageable when rolling out) and roll out thinly. Cut out with a 2 inch cutter. Place onto greased baking trays and bake for approx 20 mins until golden brown. Place on wire rack to cool.
Enjoy eating them!

Friday 25 June 2010

A Symphony of Pink!

My garden is flowering madly at the moment and I have a huge number of plants with pink flowers - not necessarily by design. There are also touches of blue, white and purple, but at the moment it is predominantly pink. Still, when the flowers are this gorgeous, I don't mind.

From the top - Rosa Mundi (Gallica Versicolour), Cottage Rose, Penstemon Garnet. I love this penstemon as it came through the coldest winter for 30 years completely unscathed and it is in a pot. I tried to take some cuttings but all but one have wilted and died. Undaunted, I shall try again because I would like lots more of this plant.

Clematis 'Piilu' which is very reliable and floriferous. For the first time this year, it has produced double flowers (below) at the same time as single flowers (above). It also has produced a multitude of buds too. It is a great plant.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Present for a baby

I made this little felt star as a present for a friend's baby. It isn't designed for the baby due to the satin ribbon, but it is meant to be hung up in the baby's room. Congratulations to Katy and Steve! The star is made out of merino wool and is embroidered with stars in a random pattern. I then stitched it together using small running stitches and stuffed it with toy stuffing (one that conforms to all the safety standards). I hope they like it.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

More felt!

Above is my most recent felt piece (made yesterday, in fact), and hopefully destined for my colleague at work as part of her commissioned pieces, (if she likes it, of course!) It is made from merino wool with pre-felted circles applied onto the top surface and then the whole lot is felted. Again, it is about A4 size.

Monday 21 June 2010

Open gardens

I went to an Open Gardens on Saturday, to Navenby, near Lincoln. I love looking at other people's gardens - for ideas, to be nosey and to discover new planting combinations and new plants. Below was my favourite garden, tucked away but with lots of cottage garden plants. I particularly liked the different areas in the garden and the fact that you couldn't see everything at once.
This clematis was in the same garden and was amazing, both for its colour and number of flowers. It was happily growing up an apple tree.
This was the view across the fields (plus sheep) and a lovely old stone wall encrusted with moss. The weather was reasonable but my hands got cold. There were 9 different gardens, ranging from acres to back yards, but all with dedicated gardeners tending them. The tea and cakes in the church hall were very welcome, and the cakes themselves were absolutely delicious. A great way to spend a Saturday!

Friday 18 June 2010

Second new piece

This is the second new piece I have been working on. Again, it is bigger than I usually make and I used Merino wool and hand blended all the colours to match (well, nearly) the natural colours of the Texel cross Black Welsh wool. It took me two hours to make, but felted well and has a smooth texture, which contrasts well with the slightly more coarse Texel cross Black Welsh. I am going to make another one, probably using the natural wool with the blue silk threads running vertically through the cream strips. Should be interesting...

Monday 14 June 2010

New felt piece

Here is my latest felt piece, using the natural coloured wool from my sister's sheep and a little navy blue silk thread. It is slightly bigger than I usually make, about A4 size. I am going to make a similar piece in merino wool to compare the results.
I spent Saturday afternoon making this piece. I had the TV on for company, and it took the whole of the film 'Death on the Nile' to complete! The Texel cross Black Welsh wool requires a lot of carding as all the pieces of twigs, grasses and other oddments have to be removed as you go along and the actual felting takes about 45 minutes too. The wool does make a really solid, tactile felt though, so all the hard work is worth it.

Friday 11 June 2010

Seven followers!

I am thrilled to see I now have seven followers! Hooray! I thought I would add this photo of a felt piece I made, based on tractor tyre patterns in the mud. It is always interesting to see what provides inspiration.
I have received a commission for two, possibly three, pieces of felt from a colleague at work, which is very encouraging. I am hoping to get started tomorrow. I also have some small sample pieces to make, experimenting with silk threads...and gardening and sewing my quilt and starting a patchwork quilt and... if only I had more hours in a day!

Home Baking

I really enjoy baking cakes and biscuits and recently found this simple but very tasty oat biscuit recipe. It makes thin, crunchy biscuits which are not too sweet, so you can pretend they are good for you! I make them pretty much every week as Chris and I take them to work for break times. Delicious!

Friday 4 June 2010


Three of the beautiful clematis flowering in my garden at the moment. Above is 'Ice Blue', then 'Kingfisher' and the red one is 'Rebecca'. They are great plants for adding height and I grow several of them in pots (only because I don't have any more room in the borders!)

Thursday 3 June 2010

Doddington Hall, Lincoln

Yesterday, I went to Doddington Hall, Lincoln, ( with my friend Angie and enjoyed a very nice lunch in the Farm shop and Cafe, before heading out to enjoy the gardens. Doddington is known for its irises, and although some had gone over, some were still beautiful. The above photo was taken in the woodland area, looking across the fields to a barn.

The irises looking gorgeous in the formal garden.

The vibrant colours of the rhododendrons and azaleas which greeted us. We spotted lots of others on our walk round the gardens. I think they look best in a woodland area - they seem to 'belong' there. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

A new project

I have been having the most enormous clear out of the bedroom (something that has been needed for ages!) and after removing eight bags of bits and pieces and donating them to the charity shop, I am feeling very virtuous. The room looks twice as big as it used to and it is a huge improvement. While going through some of the accumulated stuff, I came across this Laura Ashley double duvet cover. I bought it on a whim from a vintage-type shop because I loved the colours and the floral pattern. However, that was when I had a duvet! I now have blankets and quilts, because I like the layers. So, reluctantly, I was going to put it on Ebay. I then had a real lightbulb moment and decided to turn it into a quilt, with a wadding filling and stitching to hold the layers in place. Brilliant - I can be a bit creative as well as making something that I can use and enjoy. It will also be a gentle introduction to quilting as I do want to have a go at a patchwork quilt at some point. I'll let you know how I get on.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Knock, knock!

I saw the spade shaped door knocker in the June edition of Gardeners' World magazine and loved it, so on an impulse, decided to order it. (I got it from for £5.99 with postage of £5.99 too(!), but other suppliers such as the National Trust catalogues were also suggested.) Chris suggested it could go on the shed, but I think I'm going to save it for the back door on our next house (ever hopeful!) It's made of cast iron and has a loud knock. The quirky, hand made look really appeals to me.