Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Monday Photos #6

It's been all go in the garden and so much has changed and so much has grown hence a lot more photos:Apricot Tree i grew from an apricot stone, now planted in the ground.

3 tier hanging basket with 12 strawberry plants - still on the wall!
sugarsnap peas on the patio
The back bed 10 days ago
The back bed now, neatly organised with french beans behind a row of oriental salad mix which are under the plastic bottle cloches.
side bed: under the net are red and white onion sets interplanted with carrots and parsnips. to the right of the bean canes is another row of parsnips. mum put 3 runner beans to each cane which will be thinner to 2. in front of the bean run at the top end are some red curly kale and then the bottom half there is spinach sown now. nothing left to be done to that bed now apart from wait, watch and pray.

in the front i've sown a row of chard and a row of beetroot in the smallest bed.

brocolis and cauliflowers doing well and one of the courgettes courgettes and squash need bigger homes too...
white cabbages are one of the 2 things left to be pricked out on the top shelp in the back left corner are red cabbages, front left are oriental salad leaves. the middle row at the back are more red cabbages and the front is more oriental lettuces. the right row at the back are the onions from seed, in the middle are parsnips in toilet rolls and at the front is the rest of the Kale.
Tomatoes could really do with their own pots now, but still looking healthy.
I have 4 fennel that have germinated so far now too, hard to spot with the grass cuttings in there too!
Sadly i didn't spot the germination soon enough and where they were hidden at the back they have gone a tad leggy.....

Monday, 28 April 2008

Art Nouveau ATCs

not my best ATCs by far. each of my 3 partners had one of these:

and then i made another one but used the initial of each partner:

Sunburn - i just don't learn!

I burn really easily i know that. so why don't i put sun tan lotion on when its sunny? 3 weeks or what ever it is after we had snow you just don't expect to get sun burnt. but i did. we were out in the garden saturday pretty much all day. in the morning i scarified the back lawn twice, then cut it, then scarified it again. Then i scarified the front lawn twice but left D to cut the front lawn whilst i watered my veggies and picked out the red cabbages and potted them up.
But by then the sun burn damage was already done!

On friday i planted the onion sets, carrots and parsnips, and then on sunday i planted another row of parsnips, the first lot of beetroot, a row of chard, the sugarsnap peas whilst mum leveled out the back bed, planted some runner beans, planted up the french bean plants and some of the lettuce grandpa gave us using my plastic bottle cloches to give them a little protection for a few days. i also finish doing the recycled brick border on the bigger back bed. Oh and mum and i planted up some of the Kale and sowed some spinach in front of the runners. Was that all? ummmm - no wait, on saturday mum and i planted up the 3 tied hanging basket with the strawberry plants, it's still on the wall so far - the bracket seems to be holding its weight!

T-shirt Tote Bag Swap

The brief for this swap was to create a bag from an old t-shirt using a simple tutorial which meant all you needed to do was sew a seam along the bottom of the t-shirt, cut off the sleeves and cut a semi-circle round the neck to create the handles.

So i found an old t-shirt i didn't want anymore, set up the machine and successfully sewed the bottom edge a few times to give it some stability, cut off the sleeves and cut round the neck. This is what i came up with:

Then i couldn't find another t-shirt that needed to be thrown away so i decided to have a look in the charity shops. My partners profile said she like bright colours, and i found a strappy top, which meant i didn't need to cut the sleeves off or cut the neck so there would be no fear of the edges fraying. However my machine skills let me down this time. i managed to sew the bottom seam the first time but after that the thread kept bunching. i think it was the material which was slightly elasticated, anyway, after the 3rd attempt i gave up and finished it my hand. Machine sewing is certainly one skill i haven't yet mastered. The finish bag was ok tho.

ATC Magnet Favourite Colours Swap

These ATCs were created for the swap host who was my partner. The swap brief was to create 3 ATCs using your partners 5 colours that they had listed but the were to be magnets too. My partner was Weeatcrayons - the name came from her arriving home to find her cats eating a packet of crayons one day! her listed colours were:

  1. Silver

  2. Black

  3. Turquoise

  4. Purple

  5. Dark Green

so here's what i came up with!

she also mentioned that she liked monkeys on her profile.

So there will be on their way to the USA later today with a few packets of milk bottles. I was surprised how hard it was to find milk bottles prepacked, but then they were originally they were designed as penny sweets in the good old days. I found them on a pick 'n' mix counter but i thought i should try and get them prepacked as i was sending them abroad. in the end after searching the larger supermarkets, i found then in the little newsagents in the next village!

Colour Blue ATC Swap

I'm getting slightly more into ATCs but i think my problem is that i won't pay for pre cut and pre made blank ATC cards. instead i reuse old cardboard and cover it with my own white card. Using materials i already have basically rather than wasting money on new stuff.

One set of these went to the USA and one to Devon in the UK.

Bottlecap Blue Bloom

Blue Skies

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Recycle your Bathtub - as a pond!

i spotted this on Geekware, who often features super ways to recycle objects, mainly computer or technology related.

Geekware: Bathtub pond

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Monday Photos #5

French Beans and Parsnips in toilet rolls
(something i saw someone else doing, thought i'd give it a go!)

More French Beans

L-R: Kale, Onions and Cabbages (that i really must prick out and repot!)

A tray of Oriental Salad Mix from Grandpa

I planted some up for the kitchen window sill

I planted some of the kale up too for salad leaves

The packet said young leaves were good as salad leaves

Do you think i have enough brocolis and caulis?

some of their baby leaves are looking a bit sick - but the true leaves seem ok.

courgettes and squash

tomatoes still looking good

bean run is up now too!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

"If you can't get to The Shed..........

..........then we'll bring The Shed to you Nan." (The Company Shed, West Mersea in Essex) That was after i'd teased her saying we only needed 10 minutes to do that actual cooking, when it was asked how long before it was ready "After all microwave meals only take 5 minutes each" I think after an hour of preparing the majority of lunch which was cold she might have sussed that it was going to be something slightly more elaborate than a microwave meal!

A seafood platter is my idea of heaven and once we'd finished there wasn't all that much left. Mum wanted to work out the cost of the meal, with the thought in mind that at the Shed you pay £8 for a platter for one, about £3 for a bowl of salad, £3.50 for a plate of 6 New zealand Mussels grilled with parmesan and herbs, about £4 for a razor clam (or 2) on salad etc etc. and thats not including bread and drink as you have to take your own.

So by our calculations all the shellfish, seafood, bread and salad AND a bottle of bubbly came to £50, which works out £10 a head. So over all if we'd have order the same amount from the shed - which we probably wouldn't because at the shed we would have got a lot more little prawns etc rather that things like New Zealand Mussels and Razor Clams - it would probably have cost more.

In this next photo you can see close up what was on the 2 cold platters: Crab (we bought a whole one and a smaller dressed one too), smoked salmon, smoked mackeral, fantail prawns, new zealand mussels, a whole lobster (frozen from a supermarket helped the budget there!). We also had 2 ramekins of pickled cockles, a small bowl with a couple of roll mops, and 1/2 a dozen whelks for grandpa.

Then on the hot platter which is in the middle of the table in this next photo we had a razor clam each, langoustine and new zealand mussels grilled with a topping mix of bread crumbs, parmesan and mixed herbs.

With a bowl of salad and the bread which you can see in the very first photo (we had a basket of white bloomer and also a granary rustic loaf too) our main course was complete.

A meal thoroughly enjoyed by all. After a break and a clear up, we served the tiramisu which i had made the night before to save time and for ease of transport, the flavour matures nicely too according to mum! Grandpa had one mouthful before we told him he didn't really have to eat it if he didn't want to. so he happily tucked into the Dolcelatte, celery and crackers which we had brought with us for him. but the others enjoyed their tiramisu.

Grandpa claims puddings should carry government health warnings - and the amount of blue cheese he eats shouldn't??!! Nan said he had swapped from 2 thin slices of wholemeal bread to 3 ryvita for lunch and was wondering why he wasn't losing weight or the beer belly - perhaps the name "beer belly" should give him a a clue as to what he needs to really cut down on, or rather simply alcohol in general.