Category Archives: Veg Patch

Hooray for the Little Red Hen!

Little Red Hen Ladybird Book

click for the story

This is the version of the Little Red Hen story I remember from way back in primary school, how we loved our Ladybird books!

We got to talking about it the other day because my friend Kit was reminiscing about her mum, sadly long gone, who used to quote the Little Red Hen when she had failed to get anyone else to do the necessary thing, whatever it was.

‘ “Then I’ll do it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And so she did.’

I have been chuntering for ages about the overgrown state of my vegetable patch.  It always needs the most attention when I’m tied up with the run up to Open Studios and it’s got more and more overgrown, weedy and wild every season.  However, over the past two weeks I have channelled my inner Little Red Hen and I DID IT MYSELF!

It looks great….I’m exhausted!  I’ve filled a skip bag with rubbish, the beds are topped up with fresh compost and my little mini cold frame cum green house is crammed full of seed trays and seedlings.

Higgins has tried very hard to help.

Miniature Dachshund

Taking the little fences away from the raised beds has meant he could do lots in the way of turning over the soil, and then firming it down afterwards.dachshund in raised bed

He’s carried the trowel about helpfully (and put it away tidily where it couldn’t be lost)veg patch

More little fences have turned into a priority if any of the seedlings are going to make it to maturity once they have been planted out.  Higgins has history, remember the Mixed Greens?

Did you spot the laburnum tree?  This year it’s being completely wonderful – it alternates – and it’s very special as it was a seedling from the one in my parents’ garden.laburnum

And the bees LOVE it! For the last week or so, ever since the very first buds opened the air around the tree has been throbbing with the sound of very happy little bees…listen to this…

So this is why it’s been a little quiet here over the past week, and now there’s a lot of catching up to do.

While all this was going on the Green Man went off to the Forum in Norwich for the Open Studios Taster Exhibition – you can just see him dangling next to the patchwork…

Forum, Norwich NNOS taster exhibition

Taster Exhibition – setting up

Now it’s all systems go for the main event, which starts on May 24th.

You might like to see a glimpse of the other exhibition which was running at the same time, the most amazing knitted and crochet pergola which was made to raise funds for a local charity…

knitted pergola - John Grooms Court

knitted pergola detail

Just amazing, isn’t it?  There’s an interesting post on The Mercerie blog which will tell you more about it.

My next challenge is turning the studio into an exhibition space…eek!  I’ve just got so much STUFF.

And I haven’t forgotten about those extra little Boxes of Delight.…  2014-04-28 21.37.50

The challenge now is seeing just what I can squeeze inside, so watch this space, I’ll be back soon…x

Turf, Surf and Needlefelt Birds

A mixed bag post today, I’ve been lurking inside a lot consoling myself with needlefelt because of the unseasonably cold weather, but then rejoicing in sunshine and warmth when at last we get a brief indication that it’s actually summertime!  I’m only wearing TWO layers today, and no thermal fleece!

The wind seems to have blown constantly for months in this part of the UK and we live in the windiest corner of the village, near the remains of the old mill.  Wind always seems to make everything worse, doesn’t it?  Colder, and so noisy with it whistling around the chimney.  Yesterday’s walk was a bit scary, with small branches being blown off the trees.  I wasn’t sorry to see some rain for the garden though, and Higgins was relieved that the thunderstorm which hit Norwich skirted around us.  Despite all this Mother Nature is flourishing in the hedgerows…

dog rose

green lane

pink campion

white flowerThe grass is long enough now to ripple in the wind like water, and is such a lush green…

grassy meadow

Norfolk field miniature dachshund

But, in true English fashion today the weather is completely different.  The sunshine in the garden brought the bees to the chive flowers…

chive flower and beeI know you are supposed to snip the flowers off if you want nice chives for kitchen use, but how can I deprive the poor bees?

bee on chive flowers

chives with bee

Such a beautiful morning was too good to waste, so Higgins and I headed to the beach before breakfast.  What could be better than a deserted Norfolk beach in the sunshine?

Norfolk beach

The sand is gradually returning after being scoured by the winter gales.  Only a couple of weeks ago this stretch was down to red clay.

Norfolk beach and sunHiggins was very happy..

Norfolk beach and miniature dachshundAnd quite intrepid too in the shallows…

miniature dachshund at the beach

Miniature dachshund paddling…and the pools…

Miniature dachshund in pool

Back home I’m getting ready for the first Needlefelt Workshop next weekend at Art’s Desire Craft Lounge in Norwich.  The first one is all booked up and the second one is filling but fear not, further dates have been added to the calendar!  The   Birds on a Branch piece I created for Open Studios last year is in the shop window because we’ll be making birds, of all descriptions…

needlefelt birds on a branchThis is my latest flight of fancy….

Needlefelt birds

Needlefelt and feather birds

Feather and Needlefelt birds Happy, not Angry Birds!

And, in case you were wondering, there is a winner for last week’s  giveaway of a copy of Caroline Zoob’s gorgeous book, The Hand-Stitched Home.  Thank you, to everyone who entered  with wonderful stitching memories, I really enjoyed reading them.  It seems for every school day horror there was also a wonderful teacher or relative who passed on their own love of the subject.

It  was so hard to choose, I wanted everyone to win, but there’s only one copy of the book!

Please imagine the drum roll, or the pregnant pause beloved of TV Games shows so that I can announce…the winner is… Nikki Pierce who writes her own blog Tales from Swallow Barn.

Congratulations Nikki, I hope you enjoy your copy of the book and that we see some of your creations on your blog before too long (No pressure or anything!)

I’m off now to put the kettle on.  I hope you’ve got your feet up with a cuppa too!

Have a great week and I’ll be back soon…

It’s Spring, It’s Spring!

Wow! Look at the sunshine!

I think Tim brought it back with him.  We went off for a walk in Bacton Woods yesterday.  We haven’t been since the time  Higgins had a play with a very bouncy spaniel, got a sore leg and had to be carried back to the car.  He might be little but he’s very solid!  But it was lovely, and I’ve spotted clumps of bluebells so we must be sure to go back again at the right time.

The gorse made a lovely splash of yellow…

…and Higgins even met a little friend…

I’ve spent the afternoon in the garden today, I’m glad you can’t see the compost under my fingernails! I’m trying very hard to keep up with the Garden Diaries but I’m afraid I’m a bit of a fair weather gardener.  The broad beans are coming on very nicely and I might have a few baby salad leaves to harvest next week, but the carrots and spring onions are taking their time.  I hope a bit of warm weather might do the trick.

More and more things are bursting into flower.  This really is my favourite time of year.  You can feel things growing all around, and I love the fact that the roadsides are filled with daffodils and the hedges with the starry white blackthorn blossom, and every time I go out in the garden something else has popped out.

There’s still the odd garden pest though!

I also love the weeping willow at this time of the year, at the point where the leaves have emerged just enough to turn the branches limey green without hiding its gracefulness.

I’ve been very busy indoors too, and after all the wrapping and packing I’m nearly at the end of this batch of rainbow yarn.  I’ve had so much lovely feedback as the pink parcels have arrived at their destinations.

‘My cotton has just arrived ! It is so so gorgeous (even better than I thought!)’

‘The cotton arrived yesterday afternoon. It is WONDERFUL!!  Better than any cotton I have ever used. I LOVE it! THANK YOU so much for sharing. I am off to crochet a little mouse…  8-)’

And it’s great (and just a little strange) to see the yarn turning up on other blogs in other countries, in Australia and  the USA.

If you haven’t got your pack yet,

 find out all about it here,

Please get in touch with any questions


I’ve been needlefelting, working on the piece for the Taster Exhibition at the Forum in Norwich for Open Studios but I haven’t anything to show you just yet!  What is so frustrating is having a pattern in my head for another crochet idea and NO TIME TO MAKE IT!  I’ll try very hard to fit it in before Handmade Monday comes around again, I do hope it works.

So on that note I’d better stop chatting, and skedaddle off to work again, I hope the sun’s been shining where you are…

See you soon…x


Reasons to be Cheerful

I can’t believe it’s that time again, time flies by so quickly!  I’ve just looked up when, officially, Spring starts in the UK.  Not that I’ve found the definitive answer, the Met Office say it’s the 1st of March but historically it’s the time of the vernal equinox, 20/21st March.  I think it’s best to let nature decide, and we’ll just watch!

But it’s not far away, and so I’ve decided that next week will be the last Reasons to be Cheerful Linky for a while, as I started it to get us through the winter gloom.  Not that I shall stop looking on the bright side wherever possible, Planet Penny is supposed to be jolly place to visit!

So I’m going to share my own Reasons to be Cheerful this week, and hope that as many of you as possible will join in for this week and the next and we can finish on a high.

Firstly, there were flowers, Valentine’s Day flowers, flame coloured tulips, frilly orange roses and lilies, such a lovely surprise…

Despite the cold the seeds I’ve sown in their mini propagators are beginning to germinate, always a moment of magic.  If you are interested in my garden project for this year I’m keeping a note in The Garden Dairies, with weekly updates on the drop down menu at the top of the blog.  Nothing much is happening just yet, mind you, but it won’t be long!

And yesterday I had a small parcel, which made me very cheerful…

Sometimes you see things you just can’t resist, and this was one of them.  Over on Fan my Flame, Gina is on a mission to raise funds for an exhibition and has started a project, putting little books in altered match boxes.  You can read all about it here.

Anyway, one of the had my name on it!  And this is it…

Alice in Wonderland, a teeny tiny Alice in Wonderland, in a matchbox…

She is just exquisite, so tiny… Don’t forget,  a matchbox is only 2″x1.5″ or 5cm x3.5cm, and even enlarged here, the details are perfect.

Gina is making 50 little books in altered matchboxes, for the incredible price of £10 each, no matter how intricate they are.  If you visit Gina’s blog you can follow the project, and see whether you fall in love with a matchbox book like me!

I hope you’ve liked my little dose of cheerfulness this week and I do hope you join in by adding a link to your blog on the Linky below, or in the comments.  It’s always lovely to hear from you…

See you soon…! x

A Reason to be Cheerful? It’s February!

I don’t want to wish the year away, but I’m never sorry to wave goodbye to January.  There’s an optimistic feeling to February, an anticipation of Spring, even when it bitterly cold and wintery.

I have to work a little harder at being cheerful this week because Tim went back to work yesterday, so Higgins, Henry and I are  keeping the home fires burning while he’s away.  It’s good for me that, in Tim’s absence, I have to do more Higgins walking, even when the weather isn’t very nice, like yesterday…

Back at home, exciting things were happening in the garden.  My gardening gurus were giving the whole thing a once over, clearing out ‘ground cover’ plants which have been threatening to smother us in our beds (and have certainly smothered quite a lot of pretty plants in theirs…) creating fixings for over enthusiastic climbers and generally getting things into shape for Spring.  They also mostly finished off what I had started in the veg patch, which has always been my responsibility, so I’m still on target there for when the weather starts to warm up.

The excitement for Higgins was the appearance of long lost toys which have lurked in the undergrowth for months.  He didn’t know where to turn!

Another cheerful thing has been the arrival of a wonderful piece of equipment.  I’ve been wanting for ages to dye some more yarn, (you’ll remember the adventures I have with dyeing here and here) but I’ve struggled to  prepare the undyed yarn.  The yarn arrives in 100gm hanks and I dye it in 25gm mini hanks, in the microwave.  A while ago I bought a winder, not the beautiful antique one I would have preferred at a vast sum, but a cheap and cheerful annoying one, which has never, ever worked properly. There was no where I could easily attach it, every time the yarn got tangled it fell off etc. etc… And the whole winding thing just became such a time consuming back breaking faff I just haven’t bothered.

Until it was mentioned to my friend Bill.   Kit (my buddy and partner in craft) is married to Bill, and Bill, apart from being an amazing artist, a builder of cars, and all round good egg, does like a challenge, even a little one like making a wool winder.

So I now have a be-yoo-tilful wool winder or ‘Swift’, made of mahogany, which will sit on the table and twirl merrily as I get the wool ready for  the dye…

And today, as you can see from the photos of Higgins above, has been glorious…

if very cold.

I had hoped to have finished a new project to show you, but I may have to squeeze in another post instead!  Instead I shall add the Linky on the end, and hope that you have some Reasons to be Cheerful to share.  And if you haven’t got a blog, you can still join in via the comments.

Looking forward to hearing from you…

see you soon ! x


Reasons to be Cheerful – Lucky 13!

The first thing I found this morning when I went on the computer is that the Guardian has a feature called Reasons to be Cheerful, so we are in good company!  And one of their reasons made me very happy, new in at IKEA is this…

Oh how I love raspberry pink!  Now IKEA is a day trip for us, we have to do the meatballs and everything, but I might have to work on a visit very soon.  I realise there’s a whole love/hate thing with IKEA too.  When we introduced Aimee to it she nearly had to be carried sobbing and screaming into the carpark after half an hour but lured in by something like raspberry pink dishes I think I can be brave!

Going from one extreme to another, in this case a multinational Super Store to an individual business, I love the way most of the things I buy on line from small retailers tend to arrive looking like little presents…

…bamboo crochet hooks from Wool and Buttons

I love using bamboo knitting needles, I’ll let you know how I get on with these…

I’m being optimistic about the garden too, although the last few days have been too gloomy and wet to get anything done at all.  I went out in the drizzle this morning to encourage Higgins to follow, he’d really rather not when it’s wet.

I had spotted the yellow crocuses which grow in the lawn were about to open and thought I could get a lovely shot of Higgins smelling the flowers…

‘Higgins! Look! What’s this?’

Gallopy gallopy…CHOMP!

…one less crocus to brighten the gloom…will I ever learn?

We went off to the garden centre to replace the mini plastic greenhouse which was really useful for starting off seeds but had been ripped off the wall and seen off by the gales.  Fortunately, still half price so it didn’t break the bank at less than £15.00.  This time we’ll put in stronger fixings.  This is a problem when you live in windswept Norfolk.

A new trowel and fork in bright blue. New because you might have noticed someone chewed the handles off the old ones, and bright blue so I don’t keep mislaying them…

…and they look very jolly along with my gardening gloves…

And while I’m waiting to get to grips with the great outdoors, I have a few indoor projects from the cut price shelf to be going on with.

I’m very cheerful that I’ve sold one of my Love Bird Hearts on Folksy and later today I will be adding the larger one, which has been finished off with a primrose…

So, despite the gloom, I’m managing to keep my spirits up, how about you?  If you’ve got some cheerfulness to share please join in with the Linky below, or leave a comment on the post.  It’s always lovely to hear from you….!

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