Thursday, 30 August 2012

Hugglets preparation 2

I have been having SO MUCH FUN making bears from the mohair I hand-dyed in the last post.  I wanted to make some bears that would display nicely alongside my trolley animals and so had to develop a new pattern.

The three little 'uns above will be coming to Hugglets with me at the end of next week.  They are called (left to right) Peaches, Peony and Kiwi.  I have used a variety of methods to age them.  They are about 8 inches tall and slouch beautifully!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Hugglets Preparation - 1

I am presently well and truly in bearmaking mode with Hugglets just under two weeks away.  I have a confession to make - although I am best known for realistic style bears, I adore bright and pastel shades.  These are not really suitable for realistic bears, so I have designed a new pattern that will, I hope allow me to use some of the colours I have been hankering to use for so long.  I have finished two prototypes and so, now I needed some interesting mohair colours

Out came my 'all in one dyes'.  I wanted apricot or muted orange, a green, bright pink and very pale blue colours.  I didn't have any green dye so mixed some hyacinth blue with lemon yellow to get green.  I am pretty happy with the colours - maybe the green is a little strong, but hope I can coffee dye it later to tone it down.

Now to get cutting out and sewing!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

August Catch Up

I just don't know where time has gone?  I have been busy on the home front.  I decided to redecorate our sitting room...but to do that I needed to convert our dining room into a snug, so we would have somewhere to sit in the evenings.  That meant turning the conservatory into a dining room.  I guess you can see where this is going.  One medium sized job turns into a BIG job.  So, the furniture was all moved, I stripped the old wallpaper - one week, Mike removed the plaster dado rail and picture wall mouldings.  I then made good the plaster and sanded the walls - 2 weeks.  I painted the Victorian coving, woodwork, door, window frames and radiators - another 10 days.  I got half the papering done, then decided I didn't like the way it looks on the wall - I forgot to check that all the batch numbers were the same...grrr (Not a mistake I will ever make again!) so now it's got to come down and I will need to start again.  This may take some time as I now need to prepare for Hugglets.

This is a photo of the mantlepiece in my snug (old diningroom) taken this morning.   I think you can tell a bear lover lives here.

I love this time of the year.  We always used to be away from home this time of the year, but now I'm retired, we took our holiday early, so I'm at home to gather fruit and vegetables from the garden and enjoy the flowers.

My son, James came to visit on Sunday.  He told me my garden looked like a 'Secret Garden'.  Maybe he meant it is overgrown and needs a good pair of shears taken to it, but I love the way I can sit hidden away enjoying the peace and quiet.

Seeing as I had a camera in my hand this morning, I took a few photos.  I decided at the start of the year that I wanted to keep a photo record of the garden through the year.  This year has been a real challenge in the garden due to the weather - very hot, early Spring drought, followed by cold and very wet weather.  We are having an indifferent summer.  The tree fruit has really suffered this year and crops will be poor compared to the bumper harvest we has last year.
 Conference pears

James Grieve apples

We are inundated with lovely, fresh raspberries, so those we cannot eat straight away will be frozen for tarts and pies in the winter.  We start picking in early June and they go on until late October.

I have grown some different tomatoes this year.  I grew Harbinger, a Victorian variety, for the past two years, but thought I would try something different this year.  I have grown Tigerella, a red tomato with orange stripes, Black Cherry, a small chocolate coloured cherry tom and San Marzano, an Italian plum tomato.  They do not crop as heavily as Harbinger but the Black Cherry and Tigerella have a very good flavour.  We have been picking tomatoes for a few weeks, but the plum tomatoes have not started ripening yet, so I'm not sure how they will taste.  I tried growing some tomatoes outside this year, but they were badly affected by blight, so a disaster. Thank goodness for the greenhouse - they seem to not get blight in there. 

I also tried growing cucumbers in containers in the greenhouse.  We have had a really big crop from just two plants.  I grew the variete Spacemaster 80.  I highly recommend them.
I grew White Lady runner beans this year. They have been wonderful so far - stringless, so no waste and heavy croppers with a wonderful flavour - food for the Gods.  I also grew some peas and French beans.  The peas have been poor - the plants were attacked by birds early on and never really recovered.  I bought some Italian dwawf french bean seeds - Boby Bianco it says on the packet.  They have done quite well and taste good, but the plant leaves are being eaten by something at the moment which will no doubt reduce the crop.  I don't spray anything we are going to eat, so everything has to take its chance.

I have also taken a few snaps of flowers and plants in the garden this morning.
 Ferdinand Pichard - second lot of flowers this year
 A deciduous shrub I bought at a nursery in Wales about 10 years ago.  I don't know it's name but I love it's beautiful variegated foliage.
 My father grew this hibiscus from seed several years ago, so it is precious as I lost him earlier this year.
 A white hydrangia with pretty mauve bracts
One of lots of planters scattered around the garden
A lovely pale yellow shrub rose - a David Austin variety - cannot remember which one!

We have been lucky enough to get tickets for the athletics at the Paralympics in September.  We were at the Olympics on Super Saturday.  We had tickets for the swimming.  We saw two new world records set and Michael Phelps last ever Olympic race.

I guess you can tell I love flowers - stunning wild flower plantings all around the Olympic Park.

 Oh well, I'd better get on with some sewing!