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Monday, 30 August 2010

Christmas birds

Last week I visited our local Community Centre.
The Centre supports many activities and it is a home to various groups. It relies greatly on work of volunteers, who also look after a lovely garden.

I joined the Textile group, which meets every week. The purpose of the group is mainly social, where people can just drop in, bring whatever they are working on, have a coffee and a chat, and possibly get help with anything they need.
Occasionally they work on a group project. The current one is the decoration of a Christmas tree.
Every year the Textile group decorates one of the trees in a local church and they choose a different theme every year. This year's theme is "birds". So, I have been playing a little over the weekend and these are my birds for the tree. I will take them with me to the next meeting. They have been fun to do, a welcome change to the things I normally make.


Morning walk in the woods became a "mushroom hunt" after we came across the first mushroom.
Yes, it is the start of the wild mushroom season, a little later then the continental Europe, due to different climate.
Only those of you who have ever been picking wild mushrooms will understand the excitement one mushroom can cause! Because where there is one, there bound to be others, and this is when you forget time and your eyes don't leave the ground, because you can't go home with just one mushroom!
And if you happen to meet another mushroom "hunter", you try to hide what is in your bag/basket and pretend you are there just for the walk and they do the same, because this is a silent competition! But you can always tell, the slow walk, eyes to the ground...
Luckily, there are not so many people in England who know enough about mushrooms and go to look for them. Yes, you need to know what you are picking, there are many nasty mushroom which can make you very, very ill. I was trained in my childhood by the best, my dad and my uncle, who knew the best places to look and jealously guarded their secret! But even I need to consult the book sometimes and I don't pick what I am not sure about.  We did not do very well in the last few years, the weather was never right,  but it looks like this year at last we are lucky again.

So, this was the results of our morning walk. Hopefully, this is just a start.
Some ended up in our breakfast that morning, the rest is drying, to be stored, ready for winter soups and stews.

I have also picked some roses for drying, to be mixed with the lavender I dried earlier.

And, just for change, little cakes with plums, cinnamon and ground poppy seeds. Plums again! No, this is not the last of them!

Friday, 27 August 2010

about dog and sewing machines

This week has been very wet and nothing much could be done outside. But the sun has at last come out today and I could take a couple of pictures in the garden.

We also have a visitor this week. Her little friends, our grandchildren, are away on holidays, so she is having her holiday with us. She is not young any more, and she is enjoying the peace and quite of our home, but I am sure she is also missing the bustle of little voices.
We don't have any pets ourselves any more, because we like to come and go as we like, but she is very welcome to come when she needs us, she is no problem at all.

I have been contacted by a bloger new to me, Barbara from Switzerland. She left a kind comment on my blog.
In the last post on her blog she writes about her grandmother and her sewing machine, which she herself learned to sew on and which is still in the family. 

 If you have never seen an old Pfaff machine, you can visit  Barbara and have a look. You can also see some of her grandmother's embroidered linen. 

Her blog brings back a lot of memories, I too learned to sew on my grandmother's Singer treadle machine. I am sure many of you have similar memories.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

21st August

Today I received a very kind email from a fellow blogger, another Czech living abroad, for the anniversary of the terrible day, 21st August 1968. The events of that day in our country, then Czechoslovakia, will always be in the memory of all who were there.

Thank you Jana, I am thinking of you too.

enough plums?

We have been having very windy weather recently and last night the wind was really strong. This morning we had a surprise in our garden, one of the branches of the last plum tree to ripen has been snapped by the wind. It was full of of not yer ripe plums, a few jars of jam less then!
May be it is the nature's way of telling us: enough is enough.

I must admit that the plum harvest has been huge! Some fruit has been processed, lots given away and I am still working on it!
Today I made a plum and strawberry jam and a plum crumble.

And one for the freezer.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Cerne Abbas

We went to visit an elderly aunt today, who lives in Dorset. We took this opportunity to also visit another Dorset village nearby, Cerne Abbas.

Before we drove into the village, we stopped at The Giant, an outline of a figure carved out of the chalky hillside. Nobody really knows how old he is, but there are many stories about his origin.

The village of Cerne Abbas is a small, pretty village, normally very busy with tourists this time of year.
But it was very quiet today, with only a few people walking about, possibly due to the fact that the weather has changed and we were expecting to have a wet day. The rain held of and I could take a few photographs.

The weather has changed now, we have been having some rain on and of for a couple of weeks now and at last the garden has come back to life again.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

trip to the seaside

No English summer is complete without a trip to the seaside, if you are not spending your holiday there, a day trip is a must!
So, armed with buckets and spades and two grandchildren (including their parents), we sat out for Weymouth on the south coast.

Weymouth is a very old seaside resort, which has not quite stood the test of time, but still very popular, mainly with families, due to the large and safe and clean beach, which slopes very gently to the sea and the water is shallow for long way out.

You can also take a day trip from Weymouth to the islands of Jersey or Guernsey.

After a lot of fun in the water and on the beach, and an ice cream of course, we walked to the harbour area, for the a meal of fish and chips, which were the best we had for some time.

Unfortunately we were too late to visit the Brewers Quay, with it's selection of very individual shops, and which is also a home to Pauline's Patchwork.
Next time...

Weymouth will be the host for sailing events during the 2012 London Olympic Games, so it will need a serious face lift, which is already being worked on, with a brand new approach road being built now, well overdue, as the existing road is struggling to take the summer traffic. There is also a great need for new facilities and hopefully this will all be sorted in the next two years.

Friday, 13 August 2010

freeform designer bag

A couple of days ago I attended a lovely workshop, Freeform Designer Bag with Julia Hall (mother of Jane Hall) at Stitchncraft in Semley.

We were making knitted and crochet bag. The requirements listed Noro yarn, but we could use anything we wanted. I chose Noro as I have never used it before and the colours are so beautiful. In fact, I have not done any knitting for a long time, so I was really looking forward to this workshop. It makes an interesting change from knitting garments.
The idea is to knit and crochet various shapes and then attach them to the plastic bag frame. When the whole bag is covered, it then can be embellished with buttons, beads etc and a handle is stitched on and the bag is lined. Julia brought some bags she designed and made herself, they were fantastic. I can see that it is something which can become addictive, as so much is left to you own imagination, no two bags will ever be the same. Also, it is something that can be picked up and put down at any time, while working on the individual shapes.
I have already been looking up books on knitted and crochet flowers on Amazon!

This is as far as I got on the day! I will try to make as many pieces as I can before arranging them on the frame. So, watch this space!

couple of quilts in making

I am finding it difficult at the moment to do anything which requires me to be inside, I am trying to make most of our summer and I am spending as much time as I can outside. But some days are a lot colder now, or too windy to enjoy being in the garden.
My Tail Feathers quilt is slowly coming along (emphasis being on "slowly"), and I think I have come to the point now when I am getting a little fed up with seeing the same thing.

So just for some change, I have started a new quilt, using fabric from my stash and I am just playing with the colours.

Monday, 9 August 2010

how is my garden?

We are having one the driest summers in many, many years and any occasional rain just doesn't make any difference.
Some plants seem to take it in their stride, but parts of our garden are now suffering and we are even watering some shrubs just to keep them alive, which we have never done before.
We would hate to loose any of the hybrid azaleas, they give us so much pleasure in the spring, they seem to be the most affected.

Hydrangeas too are taking it badly. This is  hydrangea Annabelle, last year's blooms were double the size they are now.

But at least it has some flowers, some of the other hydrangeas struggle to have any flowers at all.

Some shrubs seem to love the dry conditions. The hibiscus was moved to his new position last year and
and it is doing well in the new place.

This is clematis Polish Spirit. It is one of the best, it comes back every year, covered in masses of flowers, and this year it is the same.

There is always the conservatory, where the geraniums are doing very well and give a lot of colour.

                                                 Also the hoya loves it here.
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