Monday, 23 May 2011

Poppies


I'm both delighted and scared about the weather so far this year. We've hardly had a drop of rain throughout May and spring has been gloriously warm so far this year.

Holidaying in France as a child, the poppy fields of Picardy remain firmly in my memory. It must've been in late July or August, but this year poppies began to appear at the start of this month.

Fears that the lack of rain has and will hit many UK farmers hard this year have been played down by the media, most news stations have instead decided to focus on the bumper Strawberry yield and the fact that the warm weather has resulted in the strawberries tasting much sweeter than usual.

And in town, the poppies and wildflowers planted last year are beautiful, here are some I spotted on Edward Street on Saturday morning.


Sunday, 22 May 2011

Gardening update

During my time off work at the start of the month, I prayed for rain and hoped that my little garden was getting enough water.

My boss offered to water the garden for me while I was away but as the days wore on with not a hint of rain, I worried that it was a bit cheeky of me to expect her to water it as often as was needed.

But when I returned to work on Wednesday, I was elated/overjoyed/relieved to see that not only had she been watering it, but so had my friends and some other allotment holders, with the result that everything I had planted before my break was doing really well.

There were tiny green strawberries, dozens of potato plants, the beetroot seedlings had started to come through and the chives had produced pretty lilac flowers. There were also some new additions, my boss had planted a rhubarb and a pumpkin onto my plot.

And best of all, some sweet peas that we had planted last year were already in bloom!

see if you can spot the little strawberry in the centre of the pic

these are my 2 rows of potatoes, there's a real mixture of different types

little beetroot plants

lovely chives that didn't grow last year but have come back from the dead

my scrumptious new rhubarb plant

pumpkin!

these sweet peas have been brightening up the office!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Wildflower window boxes - tutorial


There's still time to plant some wildflowers out in time for late summer blooms.

Here's how to make a window box full of wildflowers....

Acquire the following materials:

1. A wooden disposable (boo!) grocery box from your local greengrocers (thank you to the nice man at Taj)
2. Compost or some nutritious soil
3. Wildflowers Seeds (mine are from wildsacks who mix supporting grasses with the flowers)
4. A carrier bag

Stage 1:
Cut the handles off the carrier bag and cut down the sides to make a rectangle. Cut a few holes into the bag and lay this inside the box. This will help contain the soil and the holes provide drainage. Put a generous amount of soil into the box, mine is about 10cm high.


Stage 2:
Give the soil a good watering and sprinkle with what is probably far too many seeds.

Stage 3:
Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
If you suffer from visits by seagulls or pigeons, you should also bird proof your box. Do this by covering with netting, or attaching something that catches the sunlight (old CDs, a sparkly windmill) to scare them off.


Stage 4:
Wait. And wait some more. And after about 6 weeks of waiting they will look like this:

I'm looking forward to seeing what will grow, it looks like there is a real mixture of different things so I will post a picture as soon as I spot some flowers!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Hello Clive


Meet our new friend Clive who lives in the Greenhouse at work....



Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Leftovers



I know, I know.
But I wasn't just going to throw the canvas away!

These flags are for The Green Centre. Lots of us are volunteering there at the weekend to do some repairs and give the centre a makeover so hopefully we can find a corner to hang them up in.


Monday, 16 May 2011

Beside the seaside.


I'm coming to the end of over 2 weeks of holiday and just about realising that I have hardly done any of the things I was planning to.
I've read just one and a half books, I've made one cushion, done far less yoga than I was hoping to and have blogged roughly three times.

There were so many craft projects that I was looking forward to getting done, but sometimes it's hard to find the motivation.

But following the launch of "Mollie Makes" magazine last week, I have been feeling suitably creative and finally got around to a major project yesterday.

A year or so ago I found some beautiful deckchairs in a second hand shop in Rye. As I bought them I could already imagine how they would look once I'd glammed them up; giving them a personal touch and matching them to the decor in my living room.

Covering one of the deck chairs took me all day and the final result looks nothing like I'd imagined. I had been intending to use deck chair fabric (preferably a red and white or blue and white stripe), but I was unable to find any that I liked so instead I used denim which I thought would be fun.

If you fancy doing something similar you will need:
A chair in need of some attention
Sandpaper, wood varnish and a paintbrush
Some pretty fabric
A trusty sewing machine.
Tacks and a hammer
A good dose of patience

Here's what I did:

Removed the old fabric from the chair, tugged out the scabby staples with a screwdriver and some pliers.

Sanded the chairdown, this really brought out the colour of the wood and removed lots of stains. Once I'd hoovered to remove any excess wood and sand, I covered the chair in varnish.

Meanwhile I measured the denim out based on the previous cover that I'd removed. When I tried it on the frame for size I realised that the fabric wasn't thick enough so had to make another layer which was a real pain.

As if it wasn't difficult enough, I decided that I needed a design on the chair to break up the plain blue denim. I initially wanted to sew some text onto the fabric but realised after a practice that it is impossible to sew anything other than a straight line.

Beach huts were an easier option.

I stitched the edges of the fabric together. My sewing machine really came through for me but I am not really much of a seamstress. Thus it looks as if a child sewed up the edges. Hmm.

Once it was all stitched up I attached the fabric to the chair using the tacks.

Was a bit nervous sitting on it to start with, but it seems to have worked a treat!
Far too posh for the beach!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Counting down...


Carnations





The lift share girls came round for dinner last week and Nicci brought some lovely flowers with her.

Aren't the colours beautiful? I wrapped the vase in the sleeve from an old jumper which became a hot water bottle a while ago. I think the purple and orange really complement each other.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Jardin Flambeau


Brighton Festival started on Saturday and all sorts of weird and wonderful things have begun to pop up around town.

Over the weekend, Compagnie Carabosse turned St Anns Well Gardens into a garden of flames.
The effects were stunning, and on a grand scale, transforming the whole park.

Here are some of the pics from Flickr:




Sunday, 8 May 2011

Sufjan is coming to Brighton

I can hardly control my excitement. An article in the Guardian today reminded me that I've only got to wait until Saturday to see a rare UK appearance by Sufjan Stevens.

Here's an example of why he's so great:

Salad Days



Look at how all the salad is going on my kitchen windowsill!

These salad boxes were so simple to make, I just lined some wooden boxes (courtesy of Taj) with a plastic bag with drainage holes, filled with compost, sprinkled on a selection of seeds about 6 weeks ago, and was able to eat the first rocket and mibuna this week. The spinach is wilting a bit but hopefully that will perk up soon.

So not only will I have a fresh selection of salad on hand over the next few months, but it will save me so much money and my bin won't be filled with plastic bags from the supermarket.

I'm trying to encourage everyone else to do the same, if you've got room on your windowsill please do it too!


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Dodecahedron




The phenomenal Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves are making their eagerly awaited comeback. Whoopee!!

They've recently been signed to Mute records and are on the line up for a number of festivals this year.

The beautiful Dodecahedron has been remixed and you can click here for a free download from NME.