Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday morning blues

I don't think I am really blue, but tired. 

I had a ridiculously early morning with  my new kitten needing the litter tray and even two cups of coffee are not getting me going today.

Yesterday I got on with more photo processing and got photos onto, as well as some of my bags listed on Etsy, before we had to go out for aperos (French drinkies) and to fetch my mother's day pressie - my new kitten.

 With the computer freezing every couple of minutes from the photo overload, and kittens demanding my time, I never managed to finish all my bag listings yesterday so got on with that today, but still have not managed to get everything on Etsy, so looks as though my afternoon will be taken up with that too.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fantastic day, just 580 photos to process now

Photoshoot over, and we had a great time, making up photos stories and posing with all the decorative objects that make up the background of the lovely house we used.

Just a slight panic when I got home and uploaded all 580 photos and found only 250 on the computer and the memory card in the camera wiped clean. 

Just a complete meltdown actually - took me a gin and tonic to recover and find the photos tucked away in some stupid subfolder on the computer hard drive.  All photos backed up now, may have to consider a real computer this time, not just a second hand thing that can't handle the work load.

Tomorrow - processing, processing and more processing, that is after I remove and re-install half the programmes on the computer first to try to make them work all over again.  That will be the third time, I think I may have to concede defeat with this one.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Next few projects - planning my photoshoot.....

The next few projects will be all about wardrobe refashions with a skirt due to become a top, a top to cut up for the collar and a sarong to go with it to become a dress and a length of material to form the skirt of another top.

As you can see I have once again drawn up detailed (ha) plans on scraps of paper and pinned them to the assorted items to remind me that they have been sidelined for projects.

 I started this afternoon with finishing off the bag handle from the bag yesterday, and running a line of trim all along the hemmed edges for a neater finish. 

 This is now the selection of bags to be photographed and uploaded on Saturday to Etsy.
Having got the last of the bags sorted out I turned my attention to the T-shirt a friend donated the other day (you know who you are).  I had told her that it would make a great waistcoat, and it was time to put my money where my mouth was or something like that. 

Anyway, while hunting around in the studio for bag materials I had found a woolen skirt that I had forgotten about, and thought that would make an ideal waistcoat back, so using the paper template I cut the other day from another waistcoat, I cut out the back, then slightly altered the sides and the length to reflect the look I wanted to acheive with the waistcoat style.

See more photos tomorrow -  now that I have managed to successfully bribe my model and convince another friend to lend me their house as a backdrop, my basket of goodies is packed and hopefully the sun will be on my side tomorrow and I can get a mini fashion photoshoot done.  Half of the items will be available for sale on Etsy, some are for me and some for Thea to keep.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shoe fetish - moi?

I had no motivation today, not a drop, not a trickle, not a teeny tiny 'ickle bit.

I don't really know why, but I think we all have days like that, days when we wish we had stayed in bed with the covers drawn up.  I did manage to drag myself out of bed, had my coffee, tried to read a new book (which was so bad I had to abandon it at the first chapter - you know it is a bad sign when you find three spelling mistakes in the first two pages) then went and watered the greenhouse.

I decided that the best thing to do other than dragging myself listlessly around the house and garden, was to shut myself in my studio.

So with my MP3 player set to play my new Johnny Cash downloads I shut the door, turned the lights and the sewing machine on and got on with the bags I cut yesterday.

And instantly felt lots better.........

....  so with my newly motivated self, I pinned together the black bag lining and the outers ready to be sewn up, and cut another tweed bag and the lining.  One skirt recycled, one dress recycled.

Rather than make material straps for this bag, I took some old brown suede trousers, and cut a single shoulder strap from them, and also some strips to make a suede hem for the bag opening, as well as a button flap.

After work, I finished assembling the bag, got it sewn together, and found a lovely vintage button to use as the fastening.  No photos today as I forgot to charge the battery in my camera - will get some uploaded tomorrow. (edited on Friday to include photos)

Hurrah for the studio - saved by a recycled bread oven!

When we were out shopping yesterday, Brendan got some new shoes.

New shoes are my absolutist most favouritist new thing to have.  I love how they smell, how they look in the box, I  love trying them on, posing in the mirror with them and most of all I love wearing them.  I was very sad to get home without a new pair of shoes for me, but then new shoes are really far down my list of things I need to buy.

Once upon a time in a land far far away, when I wore a boring grey suit to work and added up columns of figures for fun, I used to buy a lot of shoes, I mean a LOT of shoes.  A LOT OF SHOES.

In fact when we moved, and downshifted and switched lives with some French peasants from a century ago a lot of people asked me what I was going to do with all my shoes, I replied quite naturally that I was going to bring them to rural France with me - obviously.  What else would you wear when planting spuds in the rain in a muddy field, but some cerise kitten heels from nine west?  As for letting the chickens out, well I have a pair of 5 inch stiletto heels in a very fetching patent black with some contrast piping in turquoise!

I don't really need 200 pairs of shoes, these days I only ever wear my muck boots, and a pair of faux UGG boots as slippers.  I can't sell them though, one day I may need to wear a pair of cream sandals with crocheted flowers and a metallic sculpted heel - probably to plough the field with.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

For sale in my shop today......

I finished this cute little cushion this morning too, ready for sale in my etsy shop here.

This was made by cutting two circles of material, one from a vintage tablecloth and one from an old skirt, then I measured the diameter of the circles and cut a band of 10 centimetres width to create a band between the two circles to give the cushion more depth.

The band was then pinned to the two circles, right sides together for the top and bottom, then I machine stitched the top circle and then the bottom circle, leaving a gap in the band where it overlaps to create a small 'hole'to allow me to add the stuffing.

Firstly the cushion itself had to be turned the right way out, by being pulled through the small gap in the banding.

The stuffing was some polyester kapock, and the cushion was then finished with a handful of vintage buttons from my button drawer in some matching blue and green tones.

Wednesday morning in my studio for a quickie.....

Before shooting off to work this morning I had a couple of hours to myself so I got out the materials and the patterns for the bags that I want to make in the next couple of days and started to snip away.

 This bag will be made from a pair of old black trousers, a shirt in abstract greys and blacks, and the lining from a skirt.  Here are all the layers when I had finished cutting. 

 While I was in the studio I finished off the top that I made the other day with some little belt loops in cotton ready for the satin ribbon that will tie around the waist to finish it off - watch out for the appearing in my shop in the next couple of days - when I can get my model to stand still for long enough to put it on so I can photograph it.

The first photo you see today is a selection of the treasures in my bargain buy of the car boot at the weekend.  A bag of miscallaneous sewing items for one euro.  In there were some nylon threads, some cottons, some wools, some hook and eyes, some mohair sewing thread, some elastic, some ribbon, some bias trim and of course some buttons.

Not that I am button obsessed you know - after all - doesn't everyone have a kitchen drawer packed to the gills with buttons?

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Riders on the storm and a frugal shopping list

With the temperatures of the last few days it is not surprising that we have a storm forecast now.

In a bid to get the garden ready for a good watering, I weeded out the herb garden completely. This will be its last weed of the year, I only have so much time and patience for weeding and I have exhausted it now. Everything is large enough to take care of itself against the influx of clover and grass now. I did sow a last couple of patches with some parsley seeds I found knocking about the bottom of my seed trug, no idea how old they are now but before they get any older I might as well throw them in and see what they do.

The flower bed needs a last weed too, and then the poppies and daisies have to fend for themselves too.

I plant everything very closely together and if something starts to dominate I just cut it back, like the mint or the horseradish. I would rather that the whole area looked green and full than regimented rows of things with bare dirt in between. I jumble stuff up as well and have often sown parsley and chives in with the flowers and asters and marigolds in the herb garden. I like the way it looks when the beds are full and overflowing with life, much more natural, full of vitality and the bees seem to like it too.

By the time I drove back from work I was chasing the tails of the storm, and had just enough time to get the last onions and carrots in the ground before the rain started.

Now the sun is back out but the garden smells fresh and clean and is beautifully and evenly watered throughout - perfect.

That just leaves me enough time now to go and sort out some materials ready for my next recycled bag.

Tomorrow my project is to pattern cut - I have several colour schemes in mind but have not had the time to do the unpicking and patching to make enough material in one run to cut the basic bag shapes, so I want to make a start tonight, because as well as some studio time tomorrow I also have to go shopping.

Supermarket hell.

Whilst visiting the local bio (organic) shop is great for the odd bits and pieces we are also living a very frugal life and that means supermarket budget buying, things like creme fraiche and natural yoghurt are a quarter of the price of the bio versions, and my family want sandwich fillers like ham and tuna.

I cook the majority of my meals from scratch and apart from the odd pizza I don't buy any ready meals but there are also occasions when my other half is the meal provider and then we need something simple for him to throw in the oven and forget about, then serve with some chips or salad, (Gordon Ramsey he is not).

And then there are sweeties. We all like a sweetie, especially car sweeties for me, I have to have them otherwise I get car sick - even when I am the one doing the driving!

I would love to be able to ignore the attractions of the supermarket, but even with having cut back on so many of the things that I used to buy in another life, some things just can't come from anywhere else, like coffee - I like a cup of instant mud in the morning, not a fancy pot of arabica.

At least I can grow and raise a large percentage of my family's food requirements, and know that these are organic, free range and pesticide free, but I can't be completely self-sufficient in food.

Frugal and organic are not two sides of the same coin, and when I only have one coin to spend, frugal wins every time.
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Weekend Collage

Just a quick photo montage of the weekends events including the chicks heading outside into the garden for a peck and scratch for the first time, the herb garden going from strength to strength, the CD plant markers, the transplanted peas and last but by no means least the excellent haul from the car boot sale on Sunday morning.
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Monday, May 24, 2010

34 degrees in the shade.

Well it has been an absolutely glorious weekend weather-wise.

Which has been great for my tan and the impromptu BBQ we had last night with friends, but the heat has made it difficult to do any gardening.

The greenhouse has been like an oven, I have just been throwing the door open, letting the heat roll out and then watering in there.  The ground in the veg garden is rock hard again, the deluge we had at the beginning of May has been completely absorbed and the well is almost dry.

High temperatures notwithstanding I have been outside gardening;  early morning and late afternoon, although I was outside yesterday with the mad dogs and English men trying to get the last of my peas transplanted before getting sunstroke.

This weekend was also a bank holiday here in France, so although today feels very much like a Sunday it is actually Monday.  My poor brain is very confused and I know that tomorrow it will be hard to keep track of my clients, thinking it is Monday and not Tuesday.

On to the last few gardening projects of this weekend...

Sunday - final lot of peas transplanted, globe artichokes planted out, final lot of french beans sown, white onion seedlings planted out, general weeding done, small flower bed in front of the studio weeded, succesional salad leaves sown.

Then I had a call from a friend and we ended up getting together for a BBQ, scrounging the last burgers, lamb ribs and bits of pork together with some quick and easy cold pasta and rice salads.

This morning before it got too hot I got my last borlotti beans sown, as well as stringing up all my defunct CDs as bird scarers - I am not sure how well they work at scaring birds, but they are very good for marking which beans are where - just write on the shiny side with a permanent marker and there you are, one plant marker.

Once I was in the swing of things, I banked up my spuds, then had a go at cleaning out the greenhouse when it dropped into some shade.  I have been dumping stuff just inside the door and then wading over empty seedling trays, pairs of gloves and other bits of clutter to get to the table at the back where my seedlings need watering so it was about time I restored some order to my chaos.

I removed the two tier shelving unit, having planted out most of my seedlings now, the last few can stay in pots on the floor.  Then rearranged the floor covering/weed suppressant - when I moved it I found another couple of stray tomato seedlings that were growing up the side of the greenhouse, so I rescued them and planted them out into tubs, the wooden compost bin was moved ready for the rabbit litter and I moved my cold frames from where they were against the wall of the studio to next to the greenhouse.  I should have put them there in the first place for ease of planting and watering, but I was more concerned with finding a sheltered spot than thinking through the logistics of trekking back and forth across the garden between seedlings.
Oh well you live and learn.

It is still 30 degrees in the shade at nearly 7 oclock, and I have had a very good days gardening -the back of my neck is a little bit red now and I have certainly managed to put away double my daily water requirements - time for a rest now.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday's child has far to go .........

...........I don't think that is right but it certainly fitted today.

Today's project was a bit different from studio or gardening time.  Today I went hunting eggs with a friend.

Orpington eggs to be exact. 

My friend likes Orpington chickens, has done for several years, and is now ready to become a chicken mama.  So having found an Orpington breeder on line with eggs and chicks for sale, we drove 180 kms across France today in hot sunny weather to collect some eggs ready to go in the incubator.  I had my first introduction to this breed first hand, and, wow, they are big birds.  Looking forward to the hatching to see what we get.

It has been a glorious day today, 27 celcius this afternoon, and this evening is still very mild, at fast approaching midnight, I have only just closed the front door against the dropping temperatures. 

With Mr Pink happily curled on my lap after an impressive afternoon when he caught 3 mice, following the two he had this morning before we went out, we are both agreed that it is now bed time.

Early start tomorrow for the car boot sale, our favourite of the year - perhaps I'll even get to replace my broken crockery from the other day.

Before and After - quick bag (Friday's project)

Posted by PicasaFriday I had just enough time to run up this quick bag from the skirt of a wedding suit lost in fashion since the 80s.  Photo shows the finished bag and the left over top still to be used.

I made another freepress template from our almost daily publicity material, unpicked the skirt, and added some recycled white cotton for a lining, then cut through the four layers to create an outer patterned bag and an inner lining.

The bag sews together very easily, right sides to right sides for the bag pieces and straps, then place the lining into the outer bag, right sides to right sides again, and sew together the sides and the openings, leaving the strap ends open.

Pull the bag through, do the same with the strap and then fit the ends of the straps into the open ends on the bag pieces and sew together.

One quick and easy shopper now needing a bit of embellishment before it heads for my etsy shop.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Planting out

With it so sunny and warm this afternoon when I got home, I got on with a bit more planting out.

For some reason I have spatial awareness issues when I try to convert plants in the greenhouse to the garden.

I always have so many seedlings, too many in fact. I think it must be to do with the tiny seedling trays all crammed in together, but not looking big and green and foliage-y, yet when I start to plant them out in the garden, trying to maintain some sort of spacing between them I usually find I have a half dozen too many seedlings for each row.

Not that they go to waste, I just add another row or extend the row, and end up not having rows of onions but just planting them in between rows randomly - they are one of the few things that both hubby and teen can identify so I don't have to mark them out - everything else has to be in rows otherwise it comes under the mental banner of weeds for my garden helpers.

I am still cross about my gooseberries - they vanished under the lawnmower as wielded by my other half last year - "well they had thorns I thought they were a bramble and needed to be cut down!"

I still have another tray of cabbages, calabrese and purple sprouting broccoli to go out, but have overrun my designated rows on cabbages, caulis and broccolis already.

Spring has been so slow coming this year, it feels really late to be still planting out, but frost risk has only just gone, and the freak snow the other week would have killed everything if it had not been in the greenhouse still. The deluge that we had at the beginning of May has not done my beans any favours, I suspect they have rotten in the soil, and I need to reseed the french, broad and runner bean canes, as well as a row of gherkins, again I suspect the sheer volume of rain that fell has just rotten the seeds away.

Our quince is finally in flower, as is another of my apple trees with plentiful pollinators buzzing around the garden now, our strawberries are merrily flowering away with the first little green heads appearing, and we even have a couple of swallows back.

Even though the garden still looks a little spartan, we managed to have a 'garden' dinner tonight.

Last year's harvest of potatoes and onions is down to its last couple of buckets and one hanging basket, but I scraped together a plate of chips, an omlette from our chicken eggs (those that Edith isn't trying to sit on - at last count she had a dozen under her!) with some onions and some parsley already growing well, accompanied by a salad of the first few leaves from the bavaria lettuces, some of the red weed, some pea shoots, chives and raddishes.
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One Pot Chorizo Pasta Bake

New neighbours.

After a full day's work and then an hour of lawn mowing we were all starving, so here is my very easy one pot recipe for chorizo pasta bake.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Take a largish oven proof dish, preferably one with a cover.

Chop an onion thinly, chop some chorizo sausage, ours is a ring of sausage, so about half a ring for three people, if you are using the thinly sliced chorizo roll then use as much as you can spare per person, layer sausage and onion in the bottom of the dish.

Pour over some passata sauce - or if you don't have any in the cupboard, take a litre of boiling water, add a veggie stock cube, and add some tomato puree (ours comes in little tins of 70 grams - I would use a whole one of these).

To the mix sauce add a teaspoon of garlic (about 3 cloves), a teapspoon of paprika, a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes depending on your taste and strength of your chilli.  Grind some black pepper in, then add the pasta, about a handful of penne per person and one for the pot.

Stir the pasta through the sauce, and if the pasta is sticking out of the top dry add some more water until the pasta is covered.  Cook covered for 45 minutes checking half way through for the liquid levels, add more water if required.

Serve with some fresh salad leaves from the garden and some crusty bread.

Right I'm off, I can smell my dinner cooking and it is definitely wine o"clock.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Planting out

When I got home from work this afternoon the sun was shining and it was a perfect day to plant out some of my seedlings from the greenhouse.

We have hopefully now passed the last risk of frost and some of the seedlings were starting to take on triffid proportions making the greenhouse a scary place to enter.

I started by moving out my cucumbers, then out went the courgettes, only a couple as we were over run with fruit last year and ended up feeding them as marrows to the chickens.
I managed to freeze some and put some into ragout which was preserved in jars over winter, but to be honest there is only me that willingly eats courgette so no need for huge amounts.

I am going to make some low level climbing frames for my cucumbers as I have 8 plants and they take up a lot of ground space otherwise and it can be easy to lose a cucumber in the foliage until it is too late and has gone over into a yellow mush - voice of experience there - I found 3 like that last year gathered in the poly of the poly tunnel when it had been folded back.

I stole some of the pea canes and have put 3 cucumbers in the pea row to see how they do climbing there.

And then I planted out my first peas. These are my toilet roll peas now all about a foot high and starting to spread their roots out of the tubes and across the bottom of the shoe box they were in, so it was definitely time to move them out.

I also planted out my caulis and broccoli seedlings, these had wilted a bit in the heat of the greenhouse so hopefully they will prefer the milder air outside.

I gave my cabbages a quick weeding around and then it was dinner time, my stomach was rumbling loud enough to scare the birds!

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Boudoir cushions

I have no money to buy magazines but every now and again a magazine falls into my hands.

My ultimate favourites are home and garden style magazines. I know I can't afford the things in them, but sometimes they can be inspirational. I only wish I had the flair to copy what I see.

Anyway - some time ago a couple of these magazines fell into my hands ( I call them my porn mags - because I dribble and drool over them ).

Inside I found some cute boudoir cushion ideas in all sorts of fabrics, styles and sizes, so thought I would have a go at making some myself.

This one, available for sale in my Etsy shop here, is a small round cushion made from some recycled creamy linen from a shirt and some goldy beige satin trousers, that has been stuffed with some polyester kapok and finished with a simple tweed flower design and some vintage buttons.

I started this little cushion this morning, then finished it when I got back from the doctors (not a bad wait this time, just over an hour - wish appointment systems existed at our local quacks).

It was very easy to do, taking an old linen shirt, some old satin trousers (don't ask -  the fashion police have already been on my case about them) and a dinner plate.  Mark out two circles of material, then cut leaving about a centimetre of material for hemming, nip little triangles out of the hem to allow it fold in on itself more easily making sure not to cross over the line that marks the actual cushion. 

I then decorated the linen side of the cushion with some wool, some tweed leftovers and some vintage buttons, then baste right side to right side together with pins and machine sew on a small straight stitch all the way around save for a small gap of about 3 cms for stuffing, following the original line you marked around the dinner plate. 

Turn the cushion back through the hole and stuff with polyester kapok, real kapok or material scraps - what ever you have around, then sew the hole up in a matching thread making the stitches as small as you can.
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Dry day on Sunday - book swap

We had a lovely day on Sunday, it started dry and bright so out went the washing, and out came the hoe. Lots of weeding got done, ready for my onions and beans to be planted out in the week.

In the afternoon a friend and I had a girly trip out to a bookswap.

With English books few and far between and on-line retailers either charging a fortune for postage or a fortune for the books themselves (that is a Euro to Sterling price comparison - most of these sites don't seem to have an up to date exhange rate and in some cases a book for 5.oo GBP can cost over 10 euros), book swaps are an essential part of life.

As well as a bona fide reason to slack off in the afternoon for coffee and cake at someone else's house.

I am very happy with my loot, roll on winter months so I can get some time to sit down and read them.
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sorry mum - here's another one....

Sorry mum - here is another top that you sent me that has been subjected to my scissors.

I loved the black and white bold leaf patterns, but unforunately the top was not my size. I decided to take the original top apart, and detached the bra top from the empire line flared bottom the other night in front of the TV.

I have kept the top because with a bit more work I think I can make it fit and may have another go at a flared empire line top but in a contrasting material.  It has a new home temporarily in my box of 'to be looked again' clothes.

I then put on my halter neck top and chalk marked the empire line on the stretch cotton, and pinned with lots and lots of pins the flared bottom half to the black top.

Working with one non stretch fabric and one stretch fabric is always difficult.   I have found that when pinning the best thing to do is to have the non stretchy fabric underneath, and pull the stretchy fabric over it, keeping the two fabrics together over your finger to pin.  When sewing, especially machine sewing, sew with the stretchy fabric underneath, that way you can pull it into shape against the rigid fabric more easily as you go along.

But the first photo shows you the finished article, which now fits nicely, flares as it should, and means I have another new summery top for when the sun finally makes an appearance.

Best laid plans

The other day when I was feeling inspired but not motivated, I drew up some plans for some wardrobe refashions ready for this little holiday, which I intended to spend locked in my studio.

As it happens I only spent today in there, and only finished one of my plans.

I started on this vibrant pink top refashion, combining a stretch vest top in large scale floral print, with this ruffled top in small rose florals, but then found that in amongst all of my bits and bobs, I had no black ribbon with which to finish my design.

So this top unfortunately has to go on the back burner until I either make some crochet black ribbon or find some relatively inexpensively next time I go to our local city for a shopping trip.
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Finally finished all of Thea's cushions

As I was hunting for some material earlier I spotted the red and black scrollwork upholstery fabric that I bought a few months ago for Thea's floor cushions, and realised that I had not actually finished all the cushions I had promised her.

So before I did anything else I ran up the three cushion covers that I got out of the material, these are for floor cushions, 60 cm x 60 cm fully washable inners, therefore the covers are non removable, the whole cushion can be thrown into the machine.

I was lacking sufficient material for the final cushion, so this is an old black knit dress that I have already used the top of for something else, sewn together at the waist, then finished with a red and black shoe lace sewn in a spiral across one corner to keep in the current decorating theme.

Cushion quickly stuffed inside and sewn across the hem. Four cushion covers finished before lunch.
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Reluctant model

With the rain finally easing off, and after a manic hour of weeding in the garden as well as getting my beetroot seedlings planted out, I finally got my reluctant model to don her coat and head outside for a few photos.

I finished this lastest round of hats the other week, but had not managed to get them listed yet as both the weather and my model were conspiring against me.

With this dry spell possibly continuing into tomorrow I may be able to get the rest of my items photographed and listed. This afternoon I am making a start with these.

Late Spring may seem to be the wrong time to list wooly hats, but as the inclement May has shown us, it is not summer yet.
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May Etsy hat listings

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Another chick pic and grapevine cuttings

All 10 baby chicks survived the night and have voracious appetites.

Today is a bank holiday in France - I am still not used to the idea that you can have a bank holiday on any day other than a Monday, and today has felt very strange all day.

Brendan took off this morning with his band of motobike buddies, and Thea and I headed off to a car boot - it all felt very weird doing this on a Thursday and not a Sunday.

We found nothing to interest us at the car boot, certainly nothing that I was going to break into a note for, so from there we set off to the supermarket for our girly goodies for our night in.

And then we were off for the highlight of our day. A visit to our kittens. Thea's is a little dark tortie, almost all black, and very very mewly, in fact she didn't stop mewling all the time we were there - I think she and Thea are peas in a pod!

My little kitten is white and beige with a grey tail and ears and, at the moment, vivid blue eyes.  He settled in for a cuddle on my neck very quickly, I even managed to get a purr out of him.  We get to take them home on the first of June.

Once home, I was going to do a bit of gardening but it started raining again and therefore I abandoned that idea fairly quickly and went to hunt down something else to do from my 'to do' list. 
One of the things that I have been intending to do for a while is to use one of the paper tape measures that a leading furniture supplier gives out for free, as a table measure in my studio.  
Out came the PVA glue and on it went, now I can run the material upto the line for easy measuring and cutting.  
What is it about PVA glue and the way it coats your hands, it is such a memory invoker of school days and peeling bits of glue from your fingers.
That just needs to dry and another coat to go on top.

Just outside of my studio door is my grape vine cutting.
 I took this cutting last year, and was very pleased to see it survive over winter.  I did take three but only one has budded this Spring, to be fair one never had a chance after Ernie nibbled on it.

Having looked all over for cutting methods and finding several recommendations, I took three cuttings from our most prolific grape vine and tried three different methods.  

This one, which has been the successful one, was cut in summer from a small shooting branch from the main stem of the grapevine.  The rooting end, the base of the stem, was then cut criss cross (like a sprout) and the four quarters pushed open gently.  The French method is to now insert a grain of wheat into the split ends to keep them open, but I did not do this, and hence my neighbour gave me many pitying looks and some teeth sucking and told me it would never grow.  I used some rich compost from the bottom of the manure pile and used the lumpy texture of the soil to keep the ends open, the stem was gentle held on top of the compost the four ends slightly splayed open then I piled more of the same rich compost around the stem until it was buried about 6 centimetres deep, the length of my finger - again much tutting and head shaking from my neighbour.

I have just transplanted it from the pot it was in to the old metal watering can from the barn and was pleased to see the nice healthy root ball it has grown.  It now has pride of place on some reclaimed stone slabs in front of my studio.

Off to watch some day time TV rubbish with my unpicking.  Before I can start on my wardrobe refashions tomorrow, I need to take a couple of things apart and I also have some knitting to finish.  With peace reigning throughout the house I have at least a couple of hours to myself now so should be able to acheive that with no problems.  

Hmmmm - is it wine o 'clock yet?  Well it is a holiday..............