Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Stash Busting and More

Because I am a crafter, I use all kinds of fabric and all kinds of fabric seems to come my way. Last year I was very lucky to receive a lot of unwanted fabrics. I have never said no!! Up til now I have viewed with envy those Pinterest boards that show shelf upon shelf of organised fabric, in neat serried ranks and scorned those who wonder who it is that has time to do this. 
Well It`s ME folks. I have got the time and I have thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Here are the advantages.....
1. You know what you`ve got
2. You know what you`re short of
3. You can pick out what you need without having to go through every box.
4. The same type of fabrics are all in the same place
5. You can sit right in front of the fire to sort it out
6. You get lots of crafty ideas
7. It takes up less room

It did involve quite a lot of ironing and I did burn a hole through two layers of my ironing board. However this did give me the opportunity to make my own ironing board cover from old curtains. It also involved many trips into the loft.

I started with my small pieces of cotton. They are folded into 
7 x 7 cm bundles.
The boxes were £1 each in Poundland. They have lids.
Next I sorted the bigger bundles which are in 14 x 14 cm folds. These bigger storage boxes came from Tesco and were £11 for 3.

After going through my scraps, I was inspired to make a few things.....lavender bags, tiny lavender pillows and tiny patchwork bags.

I also made bunting from my sisters` pyjamas and an old outdoor tablecloth.

I moved on to the loft, where I store much more.
Velvets, curtaining, silk, brocades, larger pieces of cotton, denim, glittery, plaids etc etc etc.

This quilt is for a Moses basket.....some very small scraps used here.

I treated myself to these roses....reduced in Tesco to under £5....beautiful.

And here is today`s fire....our new woodburner helping to clear all Steve`s unwanted wood and keeping us toasty into the bargain. With snow outside it was lit quite early.

Now all I have to do is keep my fabric in its present state.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

She Seeks Seashells on the Seashore

Ever since I was a child, I have loved shells and no matter where I go in the world, I will be looking for shells on the beaches. I have even dived for shells and I`ve carried conch shells back from St.Lucia in my luggage. Doubt if that would even be allowed these days.

Our local beaches: Pett Level, Rye Harbour and Camber, have been awash with shells this winter.
I have collected them every time we`ve visited, with a view to trying out some new crafts.

This week we went to Camber on a very cold, wintry day.
You can see Fairlight Cliffs in the distance.

Despite the cold, there were many people out and about and afterwards we warmed up in the Green Owl for a rather nice lunch of home-made soup, warm rolls and cheesy chips.

The shells were lying in drifts across the undulating sands.
These are mostly tellins which crunched under our feet as we walked.

This is what we picked up between us. As you can see it is mostly cockles.

At home after a good wash, I began to arrange them in groups for photographs and I spent a very enjoyable half an hour trying to identify them. Some I have always known such as limpets, razor shells and oysters, but many I`ve never bothered to find out.
So here is what I found.
 I used this website to help me...
I also used this book which we`ve had for years...
Ray Ingle`s "A Guide to The Seashore."

Bean Tellins (Tellina Fabula)

Cross Cut Carpet Shell (Venerupis Decussata)

Common Whelks (Buccinum Undatum)
A Whelk has the ability to attach itself to a limpet, bore a hole in the shell, through which it pushes its proboscis and rasps away at its victims flesh. This is conveyed back to its mouth.

Rayed Trough Shells (Mactra Stultorum)

Common Cockles (Cerastoderma Edule)
Prickly Cockles (Acanthocardium Echinata)

When cockles come in on the sand they are often found still joined. 
If they roll in on shingle they usually break apart.

Great Scallop (Pecten Maximus)

Razor shells (Ensis Arcuartus)

The inside and outside of Oyster Shell (Ostrea Edulis)

Think this one has been in the water for quite a while.

Common Mussels (Mytilus Edulis)

Common Limpet (Patella Vulgata)
Limpets are an unusual sight washed up on the beach. This is because they are well-adapted to shore life, due to their shape and their ability to cling on to rocks. It is a measure of the strength of the recent storm,s to find this many.

Slipper Limpets (Crepidula Fornicata)

The book provided some very interesting facts. Slipper Limpets live in piles. At the bottom of the pile are the largest and they are females. At the top of the pile are the males, and in between are the creatures which are changing from male to female. Most intriguing.

I can`t wait to begin some of my new crafty ideas, using my glue gun.....a Xmas present.
This link should take you to a lovely way of displaying shells. I even have the printer`s tray.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Review of 2014

Here is my review for 2014.
The year began on a low when sheep escaped from the field into the garden, trampling over everything and eating anything above ground. I almost wanted to give up.
Otherwise I would call it the year of the rabbit, even though it was horse, according to the Chinese horoscopes. 
Unfortunately 2015 is the year of the sheep. Does this mean I need to be more tolerant!! We had many false starts with planting and ended up fencing two of the large beds.
Again this year, we never got beans growing at Freshwinds though they were fine at home (5 minutes away)

January was a very wet start to the year and our visits were mainly to collect vegetables.

In February, we saw a great deal of wet weather which kept us off the garden for quite a while.

n March, we began to dig the foundations for the new polytunnel.

In April, the cob shed got a new roof recycled from an old shed. By the end of the year it was roofed with sedum and waterproof.

In May, we fenced off several beds because of the rabbit activity.

By June, the polytunnel was up and running. Here are the first tomatoes going in. In 2015, they will be given more room.

In July, we created a new garden round the little house using rabbit proof and shade-loving plants.

In August, we were harvesting every few days and the little plum tree did very well.

By September we were still harvesting regularly. At one point we had picked 17 cucumbers in one day.

In October, the growth in the polytunnel was like a jungle and still producing.

In November, Winston the new  pig arrived. And earlier in the year Alice and Rosie arrived, the two donkeys.

In December, Carols in the Barn was a great success.

Thank you to all the people who have visited the garden and said such nice things...... friends, relations and campers. Thank you too, to Alex and Andy for all the chipped bark they bring. Thanks to my sister Paula for all the work she has done there throughout the year.
And finally many thanks to Anne and Tim for letting us garden here, their support and help with mad projects and loads of manure.
We`ve had a really great time, enjoyed all the animals and we look forward to all the projects for 2015.