Saturday, 31 October 2015

Hot Water Bottle covers

Hot water bottle hand crocheted for my mums birthday

I've put aside all my WIPs this week and used my crochet time (mainly in the evenings) to make two hot water bottle covers. This one is for my mum whose birthday it is on Sunday, the family is getting together to see her and have a meal out tomorrow.

The yarn is Stylecraft Special DK in acrylic and the colours are the vintage ones that Stylecraft launched earlier in the year which I bought on Yarn Shop Day; Sage, Storm Blue and Parma Violet. They look really nice together and for contrast, I've teamed them with Petrol.

Vintage yarn colours of Stylecraft Special DK plus Petrol

I used a 3.5mm hook instead of the 4mm recommended for this yarn, I wanted a firmer fabric for the covers. The squares are standard grannies with one chain in the corner. They're joined together using double crochet* and the top is stripes of trebles*.

The other is for my dad, more masculine colours for him; parchment, walnut, gold and mocha. He already had one of the books that I bought him as a present recently and so this is a nice replacement for that.

Dads hand crocheted hot water bottle cover

I liked some I saw online which were made from standard granny squares crocheted together. Most of the ones I found with patterns relies on you rolling the hot water bottle up and inserting it in through the top or had button fastenings. I couldn't imagine having buttons on a hot water bottle when trying to warm my feet, I think I'd find them annoying and rolling up a hot water bottle is quite difficult to do for me, let alone my elderly parents. Mum has arthritis in her hands and my dad isn't that good at fiddly stuff any more.

I decided a flap opening would be better and simpler for them Buttons aren't necessary as the fit is snug and the snugness will hold the flap in place. As none of the patterns were exactly what I wanted, I made it up as I went and I'm hoping the recipients will like them!

I'm doing one for me now ... have a happy (and warm) Halloween weekend!

EDITED: A pattern for my Crochet pattern for hot water bottle cover is now available to purchase (just click the underlined link).

*Using UK crochet terminology

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Homemade turnip soup

From these pulled fresh from my vegetable patch ....
add some onions, potatoes, stock, herbs, cream and seasoning and then you get ...
homemade cream of turnip soup! Delicious for lunch on a rainy Saturday afternoon!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Another building weekend

The greenhouse is really coming along! Here's MTM adding the finishing touches to the frame.

We got the glazing, vents and door finished in the early part of the week. MTM went back to work on Wednesday, I continued with some bubblewrap insulation and fitted some shelving and staging (photos of the interior to follow soon).

More materials were delivered on Friday for a weekend of building work.

We've been paving inside the greenhouse yesterday and will hopefully finish today. I couldn't resist taking this picture when I saw the conjunction of the sticker and a particularly wonderful builder's bum! (Click the pic to see a larger version so you can read the sticker ....)

Monday, 5 October 2015

Gardening all weekend long!

The weather has been lovely for days and days here, it was great that it extended into the weekend when I was planting bulbs, these are Iris Reticulata which will flower in the Spring and hopefully look pretty with the Violas that are going in at the same time.

However it's all gone down hill today, drizzly rain here at the moment ... just in time for the arrival of the greenhouse in a couple of days time. Let's hope it cheers up again!

I also planted some dry snowdrops in this bed I cleared under the Willow tree. It was just a mess of weeds and straggly grass. I know dry snowdrops don't establish well but by the time I got it all cleared, it was way too late to buy any in the green earlier in the year.  I lost count of the number of dandilions I forked up, fortunately the soil is really good and so I was able to get out pretty much all of the roots. It is my fond hope that some of the bulbs will take and naturalise this area.

I've got some Cyclamen Coum tubers (for Spring colour) and some Cyclamen Hederifolium plants to go in there too. The Cyclamen Hederifolium plants are flowering right now so a bit of instant colour. I haven't got a big enough budget to completely plant it up, For now, nine will make a nice splash of flowering and I'm hoping if I leave them alone, they will also self seed and spread out to create a carpet of colour.

I have plans to put some shade loving herbaceous plants in too, hopefully I will be able to split clumps and take root cutting to make the most of my budget. Some will be grown from seed next year. Got several on my shopping list!

Whilst I was getting on with the nicer side of gardening, planting and dreaming of future flowers, MTM was concreting the top of the steps which is a bit of a convergence point. It joins up the steps coming down from the house, the slope coming down from the top gravel garden, the new steps going down into the bottom half of the garden and the timber decking area where the patio furniture lives. I will do photographs of that when the slabs are down.

Can you see the timber mowing edge I have added where the bed meets (what I laughingly call) my lawn. This year, the moles haven't really left me me much left to mow! DON'T get  me started on moles .... I have asked next door's cats to catch them for me, I often find decapitated mice which they thoughfully leave on the path for me. Mice do dig up cyclamen tubers so they're doing their bit on that front but the moles are far more troublesome ..... get to it kitties!