Thursday, 30 June 2011

Things I Love Thursday...

This week I lurve...

* 40 minute phone calls from my best Brazil lady * the smell of honeysuckle, roses and jasmine * popcorn * lunching with N * crocheting a rag rug * crochet blanket progress * new (to me!) wool and cath kidston duvet off ebay * friendly post man * listening to Texas Really loud * garlic bread * happy gardening times * eating home grown raspberries and strawberries * sunshine * booking a place on a felting workshop tomorrow * I start my new job on Sunday - woop woop! I'll be supervising children on a 3 week summer theatre project, sunday is the audition day where I get to meet them all - can't wait! * Finally getting some pennies from the job centre (I applied for JSA 2 months ago!) * very fluffy pigeon in the garden *

What do you Love this week?  Hope you're having a lovely time! xxx

Crochet T Shirt Rug.

I have crafting schizophrenia at the moment, I have about 17 projects on the go at the moment!

Yesterday I made this, I'm thwarted by a lack of green/purple t shirts now and can't get it finished until I've found more!  My mum took one look at this and decided it was hers for the kitchen (it matches her new washing up bowl!)...

Handmade crochet rag rug, recycling and reusing old textiles and t-shirts

Handmade crochet rag rug, recycling and reusing old textiles and t-shirts

I'm also going great guns with my crochet starburst flower blanket, there are 25 squares here, I plan on making 200, so I'm 1/8th of the way through!

Handmade crochet rag rug, recycling and reusing old textiles and t-shirts

Are you making anything at the moment?

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Product Swap...Puff to Flannel...

Epic battles have been fought in this house hold over this plasticy, nett-y bath puff...while pondering a more eco-friendly replacement for my previous bath puff, my mum got fed up of waiting and bought me a new one, which she now has taken against, because it's old and has gone big and puffy, so I had to think quickly this time...loofah's are too hard, hand crocheted cotton puffs get too soggy and heavy, the crochet hemp 'sponge' I had came unravelled...what to do?  Eventually I settled on a cotton  flannel (or face cloth), I know cotton isn't the most eco friendly fibre in the world, but surely it's better than plastic, at least it will biodegrade, and it's easy to wash.  It's also nice and scrubby, I have super-soft skin since I started using it.  I bought a pack of four, so I can wash them regularly and not run out.  A small, simple swap.

Have you made any swaps, big or small, to be more eco-conscious recently?

Monday, 27 June 2011

Garden Garden...

Yesterday we spent hours in the 34 degree heat pottering about the was lovely!

At the old house we have all these strawberries in pots and planters, which are just about to start giving us lots of lovely berries...

We also have lots of lovely lettuce, and some leeks waiting to be planted...

In the green  house I have some pepper plants, spring onions (no matter what I try I can't get my spring onions to grow when I sow them outside, they grow inside though, very strange!) and some parsley.  The parsley's a bit floppy because I just split it up from one big clump into two (Monty Don says you'll get twice as much parsley then!)

At the new house we have peas!  and lots of nice, big, healthy herbs...

We have soo many gooseberries...we have 5 bushes.  Mum picked 8 pounds yesterday, which didn't even make a dent in the gooseberry overload we have...

In this bed are some of the gooseberry bushes (to the right), Pierre the pumpkin plant (at the front), onions, that are hard to see and which aren't being particularly successful and right at the back against the fence are some blackberries...

Here we have broad beans (front), spinach and beetroot, in between the rows of beans, and more onions...

Something funny happened to my broad beans...when they were in flower something came along and nibbled a round little hole in the top of each flower, now some of the bean pods are black and not nice looking, but the ones nearer the bottom seem to be healthy and big and green...ten points if you can tell me who the nibbler is, cos I have no idea!

In this bed are cabbages and broccoli (left) and huge potatoes (right)

Next we have leeks (at the back), 2 courgettes and a pumpkin (I had to do new courgettes, a slug ate through the main stem of my first one!  These new ones seem much healthier though, I let them grow in pots for a while longer, so if they get nibbled they might have more strength to survive!  I can already see little flower buds forming on them!) Also a row of new broad beans (which I planted when I thought my first beans were ruined), there's a row of spinach seeds just next to it, and just out of shot are some kale plants too...

Great excitement followed when I discovered a raspberry bush!  We didn't know it was there, I ate both the ripe berries there and then, but there a plenty more to come!

Finally, the greenhouse at the new house, some huge tomatoes, some teeny tomatoes, 2 cucumbers and a melon...

How do your garden's grow?

Friday, 24 June 2011

Things I Love (almost on) Thursday...

Haven't done this for a couple of weeks!  This week I love...

* Seeing David Tennant!!!!!!!! * the smell of honeysuckle and roses * popcorn * watching Saved * reading Harry Potter * seeing my lovely friend Luke while in London * new crochet project * rag rugging lots * cute baby sparrows in the garden * listening to Paloma Faith and Regina Spektor * watching repeats of Glee, from the start on E4 * sunshine, blue skies and fluffy white clouds * seeing amazing art in the galleries of london, including Van Goughs, Monets and lots of Pre-Raphelite Brotherhood stuff * on my blog stats, one of the search terms used to find my blog is 'what happens if someone accidentally eats the shrink wrap of a cucumber' lol sorry I can't help you shrink wrap eating person : / * emails from my besties * doing my driving test, I didn't pass, but I only got 6 minors and 2 seriouses (I couldn't get the handbrake on hard enough on my hill start, cos I'm a weak girly and the hill was vertical, and using the left hand lane when turning right in a little quiet road I didn't realise one way system - woops!)  But I didn't do anything to endanger the lives of others, or myself, and the examiner said I was a good driver, so I'm confident to take it on again soon! *

What do you love this week?  Hope you're having a most lovely one!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Mollie Makes Starburst Flower Blanket. New Crochet Project.

I'm currently making a rag rug, a green dress with an elasticated top, a crochet snowman and I have 2 necklaces to restring, so obviously, it's a great time to start a new crochet project!  I went back and looked at this issue of Mollie Makes magazine with this crochet blanket pattern so many times I think the newsagent was getting suspicious, so I bought it and immediately sought out all the little scraps of acrylic yarn to start making the circles.  I'm really enjoying choosing the colours and making the circles, but eventually (when I've bought some cream wool) they'll get a square border, so they can be joined together. 

Mollie Makes magazine star burst flower crochet squares, the start of my new blanket!

Mollie Makes magazine star burst flower crochet squares, the start of my new blanket!

Mollie Makes magazine star burst flower crochet squares, the start of my new blanket!

Are you making anything exciting at the moment?

Happy Blogiversary Tooo Meee!!

Two years ago today I started this blog!!

Thanks sooo much to all of you who read, follow and comment on my always make me smile!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Harvest Time...

I'm so excited to be eating stuff from our garden!

Today we had our first strawberries, very new potatoes (from our next door neighbours garden, our potatoes aren't quite ready yet) and the spinach plants are still going wild!

What are you growing?  Are you eating from your garden yet?

Monday, 20 June 2011

Library Love...Super Cute Crochet, Not Just a Witch...

I had another struggle to find inspiring books this month at the library...the branch local to me is very small, but it's about to get a make over, so I hope they get some new stock too! 

Super Cute Crochet - Nicki Trench
I LOVE this book!  I posted a couple of the projects I've made from this book earlier (crochet chick, snail, Guinea pig and dolly).  The instructions are super easy to follow, I'm a terrible instruction follower and have never been able to understand instructions to make amigurumi before, but this book makes it simple enough for even me to follow!  It definitely helps to keep the book on your lap while you're making a project, so you can keep track of where you are and how many stitches you're supposed to be making (I also found that even if you do the wrong number of stitches the patterns still work!)

Not Just a Witch - Eva Ibbotson
I found myself with another children's book this month...I did get an adult fiction book out (Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart, which I mainly chose for the title, I can't get into it though)  This Eva Ibbtson book was great, it's about a witch who has a toe of transformation and a knuckle of power, and her pet dragworm, and the adventures she gets into trying to make the world a better place (by turning all the bad people into animals, which isn't a bad idea if you ask me!)

Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Day I Saw David Tennant...

You may have noticed it's been a little quiet here the last few days...because I've been in London, with my mummy, getting very wet (it rained a LOT!) and mostly being very over excited about seeing David Tennant in Much Ado About Nothing!  We did some other touristy things like the Tate Britain, The National Gallery and Portrait Gallery and Westminster, but seeing David was the most exciting part.  I won't say much about the play, in case you have tickets I don't want to give it away, but it was brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.  It was in Wyndham's Theatre, which is very beautiful and small, so even though we were on the second circle up, we still had a nice clear view and felt very close to the action.  And then afterwards we ran down to the stage door and I got my programme signed.  Unfortunately I didn't get to the front, so I didn't get to speak to Mr Tennant, he didn't even see me, I was just a hand, reaching over the crowd waving a programme at him, but I was still very close and it was very exciting!

Here are some photos, normal blogging will resume after I've recovered!


Sunday, 12 June 2011

Angry Letter Reply...ASDA and Cucumbers...

So, even though ASDA are an evil corporation who double wrap their cucumbers at least their complaints department emailed me back quickly.  Here's what they have to say for themselves...

'Hello Susie

Thank you for your email about the packaging on our cucumbers.

I'm sorry that you were disappointed that the cucumber you bought was double wrapped. As you are aware of our recycling and zero waste policy I can understand your disappointment.

As you have read our commitment to reducing waste you will have seen how much we try to do to help the environment. What we also have to think about is ensuring that our products arrive with our customers in the freshest state possible. This is why we choose to use both a shrink wrap and a cellophane packaging on our cucumbers. I have however passed your email on to the relevant team and asked them to look into ways of reducing this packaging. I'm sure if they can find an effective way of doing this they will as soon as possible.

Thank you again for getting in touch. If there is anything else I can help you with, please let me know.

Kind regards'

Which is pretty much the sort of answer I was expecting.  Funny how our home grown cucumbers keep for weeks without 1 layer of plastic, never mind 2!  Tut, tut, I shake my head at you ASDA and will not be (letting my mum be!) buying your cucumbers in the future.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Things I Love Thursday...

This week I'm lovin'

* sunshine warming my back * sitting outside the pub and not needing a cardigan * laughing at the thought of my male friend dressed as a Christmas elf * making a crochet hamster and a pink haired doll * seeing old work colleagues * buying a Cath Kidston strawberry mug and 2 sparkly necklaces with the gift vouchers I was given when I left my old work * nice phone call with my old school friend * people viewing our house * reading 'Not Just a Witch' by Eva Ibbotson * buying a duck brooch and a bunny jug from the charity shop * having 4 walks in one day * the smell of roses * lots and lots of rag rugging * chickens *

What do you love this week?  Hope you're having a grrrrreat one!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Angry Letter of the Month...Adsa and Cucumbers...

Last week me and my mum came home from the supermarket (Asda, which we don't usually use) with a very suspicious item...half a cucumber wrapped not only in plastic shrink wrap, but in a printed plastic bag AS WELL!!!!  My mum usually does the shopping and buys a half cucumber which is usually shrink wrapped, which is bad enough, if I do the shopping I try to find a whole, unwrapped one, but to have TWO layers of plastic wrapping is madness.  Madness I say!  Especially as you can't really tell just by looking at it that there are two layers there, you see the outer bag, but it's quite hard to see the shrink wrapping until the beg is open.  Argh!     

Which means I have to write to them to complain!

" Dear Asda,

My mother recently bought half a cucumber from your store. Where my food comes from is important to me, so I was pleased to read on the packaging that the cucumber was grown in England. However, I was disappointed with the packaging of the cucumber. I usually try to buy unpackaged fruit and vegetables to prevent having to put unrecyclable plastic into landfill. So I was horrified to see that the cucumber we bought was wrapped in a printed plastic bag AND shrink wrapped in plastic inside. Your website ( makes a lot of claims about reducing waste, heading towards zero waste and helping your customers reduce their waste. I would be interested to know how double wrapping cucumber halves in plastic fits in with this policy? I would also like to know if you are planning on changing the packaging of these cucumbers in the future?

I look forward to hearing from you soon. "

I'll post their reply when it arrives.
Have you bought an environmentally terrible product recently?  Did you let the company know you weren't impressed?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

How to Make Spinach Crisps...Dealing With a Spinach Overload...

I didn't go to the new garden for a week, in a week about this much spinach will grow...

I'm the only person in my house who eats spinach, which leaves me with severe spinach overload! 

I've read a lot about spinach or kale crisps on the internet and thought I'd try to make those first.  After following many tutorials online, which didn't work, I found spreading them out on a sheet of greaseproof paper (VERY important, otherwise they just stick to the tray and are VERY hard to get off!) on a baking tray, sprinkling with salt and pepper and putting on the top shelf of the oven on the highest heat setting for about 5 minutes (check regularly so they don't burn, burnt spinach crisps do not taste good!) works for me!  They are soo yummy! 

I also made Mangocheeks recipe for spiced cabbage flat breads, substituting the spinach for cabbage, which worked really well.  So well in fact that I was so busy eating my flat bread that I forgot to take a photo of it!

I have plans to add spinach to the top of homemade pizza too!

Do you have any yummy spinach ideas to help me deal with my glut?

Monday, 6 June 2011

Another Amigurumi...Crochet Pink Haired Dolly...

I can't stop making these!  This is the girl doll pattern from So Cute Crochet, I love her!  I've even made her a dress from vintage cotton, with poppers on the shoulders, so it comes off easily if I want to make her another one!  She's made from 6ply cotton yarn, stuffed with a bit of old tshirt and is about 4 or 5 inches tall.  I don't know why her hair is soo big, but I like it!

Here she is hanging out with her animal friends on the bookshelf!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Amigurumi Friends...Crochet Chick, Guinea Pig and Snail...

Last week I borrowed Super Cute Crochet by Nicki Trench from the library, and since then it's been all crochet, all the time chez moi!  I've tried to make amigurumi (cure Japanese crochet animals) before, but it went horribly wrong, but the instructions in this book made sense to me!  So far I've made a punky chick, a baby hamster/guinea pig/moomin and a snail.  I'm especially proud of the snail's shell, I used purple and blue yarn together to make it and it turned out really nice. 

This chick's name is punky chick, cos his hair looks like a mohawk!  He's made from 6ply cotton and a 2.5mm hook.  I maked him first!  I'm supposed to give him felt feet, but I don't like the look of them, so he can't stand up on his own at the moment, he has to lean on something!  All these ami's are about 2 inches long or wide, and all of them are stuffed with a bit of left over t shirt arm.  They're loads smaller than the examples in the book, because I used smaller yarn and a smaller hook.

This pattern is for a guinea pig, but I think my version looks more like a baby hamster, and also like a moomin!  He's made from 4ply acrylic and I embroidered his eyes on, which I like better than the beads I used for the punky chicks eyes.

of course, I HAD to make a snail, I made his head a little more realistic than the pattern suggested, I'm still deciding how to do his face, so at the moment he is featureless!

There's a pattern for a dolly I'm working on now, she's going to have pink hair!  Have you ever made amigurumis?  Do you have any recommendations for more ami books?  

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Things I Love Thursday...

Extra big things I love this week, to include last week because I didn't have time to post (I can't actually remember fully what I loved last week, but for years I have written down at least 5 things I'm grateful for each day before bed, it's one of the routines I have for staying it's easy peasy for me to copy them out every Thursday)

* Glee * listening to Paulo Nutini * new skirt * giggly phone calls with my bestie * blue tits nesting in the new garden * being asked to help at the children's bug hunt at volunteering * the smell of Lush bath bombs * lovely emails * watching Black Cat White Cat * sorting out all my vintage fabrics * nice, sunny garden times * dancing to The Who in my bedroom * Dr Who * sofa +  blanket + saturday morning TV * baby birds in our garden growing up and getting cleverer * watching Horrible Histories * rice noodles * Miranda Hart on radio 2 * fluffy not being dead * coconut cakey biscuits * garlic bread * strawberries * Becky bringing me bourbons in the rain * sausage sandwhich * wearing antennae * when I was doing the bug hunt at volunteering two cute little boys chose wooden frog castanets as their prizes, as they drove out of the car park both of them were snapping their frogs wildy and laughing manically while waving them at me! * happy worms in the new compost * getting the final veggie plot dug * a line of baby starlings following a very confused looking pigeon round the garden * crocheting an amigurumi chicky * meeting nice new Theatre Project people *

What do you love this week? xxx