Monday, 13 November 2017

Gerry, Scooby Doo and Tweed

Christmas is creeping up. The Christmas films are on T.V.
There is Christmas music in the shops.
And I am busy with Christmas makes.
If I don`t start early I shan`t have enough time.

On November 25th there is a craft fair at Pett Village Hall.
It runs from 10 until 3.
I shall be having a table there
and I am looking forward to it.
 I`ve made some items to sell and others are for family presents.
Where I can I will give links to the patterns.

I made some tiny Christmas mice and had a lot of scraps left over so I did some mini-patchwork and created tiny sleeping bags with sleepy mice in.

I left one side slightly open to make it easier to put the mice to bed.
Even smaller scraps were used to make heart hangings.
Talking of mice, I made this pattern up as I went along.
My great-nephew, Henry enjoys Tom and Gerry, so I tried it out for him before our last visit.


My nephew, Frazer loves Scooby Doo so I tried him out as well.
Something not quite right round the head but he recognized it anyway. 
Next it was a cute little snowman.
At the moment Advent Calendar gifts are being collected, bought and made around our family.
Here are some patchwork stockings.
 They are made using scraps of velvet and glittery fabric.
It has given them a very rich texture.
Here is a close up of the stitching.

Very haphazard.
I even made one for the dog. It has a doggie gift inside.

On a doggie theme, Scottie dogs to hang on the tree.
Also I am loving this pattern. 
However I did have trouble down-loading it. 

No photos yet but I am trying tweed bunting tonight....the winter alternative to the bright summer coloured bunting.
I have been given a fantastic pile of tweedy fabric and I thought I would give it a go. 
On Pinterest I`ve seen tweed lavender bags, tweed tote bags and even tweed softie toys. Can`t help but think they wouldn`t be too cuddly.
But I`m mulling ideas always.


Monday, 6 November 2017

Chrysalis and Colour

Who would believe that there is still so much colour in the garden at this time of the year.
There have been such lovely sunny days which we have enjoyed so much, despite suffering from heavy colds.
We are just beginning to get back to normal so decided to go to Freshwinds for a short visit.
Oh it was lovely....peaceful, warm and sunny.
Notice the deep shadows across the garden now, leaving the big raised bed in shadow.
Some time ago we put new oak logs by the pond for more seating.
 I started in the polytunnel, where is was so warm I had to take some of my layers off.
I pulled up the last of the aubergines and more tomatoes, at the same time preparing the ground for the dahlia tubers. They will be stored here through the winter.
Here are some of the very last salady vegetables, though there are still a lot of peppers coming.
Here are some vegetables from the rest of the garden.
The gladioli are drying out.
As I pulled up some hazel posts, I found this beautiful chrysalis. Not sure what it was, but I left it there.
There was also a Red Admiral in the polytunnel,
brought out by the warmth. 
Outside Steve pulled up the runner beans which have been so productive this year. Then we cleared the ground.
The black hollyhocks at the front of this bed all look as if they will be coming back next year. 

The helichrysum are better than ever.
What a glorious sight in the sunshine.
Amazing toadstools round by the compost heaps.

 The clary still going strong, which has seeded itself, inula having a last fling and the dahlias I moved from the feeding trough.
 I picked the dahlias.
Altogether a lovely visit.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

October Hangers-on

Well here we are at the end of October, one frost down but lots of colour still hanging on.
The log fires have started, the new central heating boiler is in and the autumn garden jobs are well in hand.
Most of the vulnerable plants are in the clean greenhouses.
 Geraniums are still in full flower.
Even our little scarecrow has decided to come indoors.
The bean row has been dismantled giving us 
a last precious trugful of beans.
Thank goodness for a compost heap ready to dig out.
Now at least there is somewhere to put all the prunings.


The last few roses looking particularly beautiful.
I have pruned back some of my roses extremely hard and they are all sprouting again. I am amazed. Such resilient plants.

And still the dahlias keep coming.
Actually today, I did lift some tubers in order to get some spring bedding in before hard frosts.

The trees at the bottom of our garden look stunning in the last rays of sunshine.

We are still picking the odd raspberry.
Even a poppy has flowered, appropriately enough.
And how can I discard these when they look like this.
The next heavy frost will knock them back.
The sweet honeysuckle is still providing us with perfume.
All the children in the family have had their pumpkins.
They have been carved and displayed this evening.
We`ve had delicious roast pumpkin and red pepper soup.
Lots left to keep us going for the rest of the year.
The autumn has been lovely so far. 
Brilliant gardening days
and lots of sunshine.
 But the clocks have gone back 
so the evenings are darker. 
And ..... we heard Christmas music in one of 
the garden centres today!!!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Seaham Seaglass

The very next day we spent a total of four hours on 
Seaham Hall Beach.
 It was a decent enough day, not too cold and not drizzling until mid afternoon. We were well wrapped up.
We made our way to the steps....

 ......all 80 of them, but we were very excited.
The tide was out which was perfect for us.
The waves were calmer than the day before but the rough tide had ensured rich pickings for us. 
As we glanced along the beach we could see other seaglass searchers armed with bags and pots.
I have to say that I was particularly glad that I had increased my squats, both in quantity and deepness because it helped me no end.
The locals call us ZOMBIES because our heads are down and nothing distracts us from our task.
But we spoke to lots of walkers, fellow searchers, ramblers, jewellers.....all very nice people.
I even had one couple finding glass for me.
One lady told us that the previous week, the whole beach had been only sand, so we were lucky to find the shingle!!
We wondered how we would have felt to arrive and find only sand.

When I was researching Seaham, the one thing I wanted to know more than anything, was just how much seaglass was on the beach.
Well here is the answer...
.....A LOT
How can I convey to you the reader, exactly how much....
.....a picture?....just as it was found.
The fact that you didn`t have to move very far to find a great deal.
Paula did film me picking it up and I hope to add that clip here soon.
She did tell me that all she could hear from my direction was 
PING PING PING as the pieces flew into my collection pot.
I was amazed at the number of people who didn`t know what we were all doing and once or twice I found myself telling a rather potted history of the area....rather amusing since it was my first time on the beach.

In Victorian times there were glassworks in the area. At the end of each day they tipped the waste glass into the sea. The rough seas have rounded and frosted the waste glass into the most beautiful seaglass, a lot of which is multi-coloured.

Here is a link to a lovely piece, well worth a read.

Part of my first day`s haul.
When 4 hours had passed, and I hardly knew it had gone, we were glad to go to Tonia`s Cafe for cheesy chips and my hands at last warmed up.
 Back at the hotel, much later, we sorted through our finds.
Paula arranged hers so beautifully.
I sorted my special ones and here they are unwashed 
and not colour sorted.
 We were well pleased with our treasure trove and decided there and then to spend two hours there the following day. 
How could we not?
The next day I had to be dragged kicking and screaming from Seaham Beach in order to drive home!!
A very interesting we were searching on that first day, a lady came up to us and said she thought we looked as if we knew what we were doing and could we help her identify the fossil-like stones in her hand. 
We said we had come from Hastings and it was our first time. 
She told us she was born in Hastings and she knew Pett Level because her grandad lived nearby.
 His name was Don Lander, Anne`s dad.
So this lady turns out to be Tim and Anne`s niece, Senita.
(I hope I`ve spelt it correctly) 
We could hardly believe it.

A few tips.
  • check the tides
  • check the is an exposed shoreline
  • wrap up well
  • stand up and talk to will learn a great deal
  • be friendly to dogs....Paula swears they helped her find special glass
  • also beware of disobedient dogs....yes one actually peed in my collection bag 
  • there is plenty of glass for everyone so don`t panic
  • take a trowel and bags/pots for your treasures

 When we got home a week later, I was able to sort through my seaglass properly. I washed it in a sieve and sorted by colour.
I spent a pleasurable late afternoon taking photos, zooming in with Belinda`s advice.
Then I found out I could take great photos with my phone magnifier. They are really worth a close look.
Here are just some of them.
The special colours.
The extra specials.
The wonderful pebbles.
Steve`s extra specials.
The myriad greens after oiling.
The oranges after oiling.
The whites which weren`t white after all.

Some closer views.

We had a wonderful time.
I thought it would spoil me for searching on our own beach but we`ve spent a lovely day on the beach at Pett Level today and we`
ve all found a decent amount of seaglass, including blues....alas no "doubles," "triples" or "eyes."

Am I an addict?