Friday, 10 June 2011

Digging For Victory & Knitting Inspiration!

A few months ago, well February to be precise my best friend Diane and I finally got our hands on an allotment! We had been on the waiting list for just over a year and are very lucky to have one considering the demand for them in London at the moment! We both love growing things, and we both love eating things so it seemed the perfect solution to grow things to eat!

I have for the past few years been growing a few veggies on my balcony, mainly salad, radish, tomatoes and potatoes essentially anything that doesn't mind being in a pot and is easy to look after. So I was over the moon when we got the plot, finally a chance to do some proper gardening! I haven't mentioned it before, as I was a little worried that it may be an epic failure, as you will see from the pics below it needed (and still needs) a lot of work...oh and a massive skip!

The last occupier was a real hoarder, she seems to have kept most of her household junk in her shed. We found big plastic boxes full of fitness magazines, video tapes, gardening and history books all of which had been totally ruined by the water that had been pouring in from the hole in the roof.
The ramshackle old shed made up of old doors! You can see the hole which the foxes got in through by the recycling box!
Perhaps the worst thing we found was a dead fox and cub, we think they were sheltering in the shed over winter and either ate some rat poison that was stored in the shed or could not find enough food to survive the really cold winter we had. Either way, they gave us both a huge fright, as the shed has no window it is very dark in there so we didn't see them until we had almost touched them!
This is the Green House, there is certainly a frame can't vouch for more than one pain of glass!
So the Progress so far...
February 2011 - Where to start?!?
 All manner of junk seems to have been dumped on our plot!!

March 2011 - Progress is under way! The first row of potatoes and shallots are in. Also some Gooseberry bushes and a Blackcurrant bush, that I have had in pots on my balcony for a few years, and some new Poundland Blackcurrant & Redcurrant bushes (under the bottles).

April 2011- More digging done and some more of the junk has been removed. Another two rows of potatoes have been planted and the shallots are just starting to peek through.

May/June 2011- More digging has been done but the ground is getting a bit tough to dig as it been very so dry. I never thought I would wish for it to rain! Planted Peas, Onions, Runner Beans, strawberry's, sweet peas, beetroot and broad beans.

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The aim for next year, when we have more of the land dug over and more of the rubbish removed, is to follow the Dig for Victory 'Grow for Winter as well as Summer' Leaflet (click photos for links to pdf files) for all year round crops. I am hoping as we are sharing the produce this will mean that although we won't be totally self-sufficient we will be at least optimising the land and getting the most veg possible!

All of this digging and planting lark has given me the inspiration to do a bit of knitting, so I've started on my very own land girl style jumper. I am using a free pattern for a women's V-neck Jumper found on the V & A website, and knitting it up in bottle green wool (although I'm sure at 16 I vowed never to wear bottle green again after having it as my school uniform for 5 years!) it is just the thing to create perfect Land Girl look and with fingers crossed should be finished in time for chilly old autumn!

Wendy x

Thursday, 9 June 2011

High Days and Holidays

Right, my bags are packed and tickets collected and I am about to toddle off to catch a train and then ferry down to the Isle of Wight for a week.

I will be spending my time charity shopping, cream tea eating, sandy beach walking, and most excitingly of all festival going!!

I've been to the Isle of Wight festival a fair few times now and have loved every minute (well apart from the occasional flying cups of pee, not nice, not nice at all).So for the next few days, I will be letting my hair down releasing my inner hippie, although armed with my factor 50 and enjoying lots of loud music, eating loads of falafel and hummus, experiencing the horror that is the chemical loo and hopefully also dodging the odd dubious missile!

I have scheduled a few little posts to pop up whilst I am away which hopefully you should enjoy!  So I shall see you on the other side! 

Wendy x

Friday, 3 June 2011

Sew It - A Bank Holiday Blogging Ban

I am painfully slow at this blogging lark. It takes me so long to type what I want to say that I tend to lose enthusiasm for it halfway through and give up. I always know what I want to say until the moment I actually have to say it then my mind goes blank. It doesn't help also that the minute I get online I get tend to get sucked into the time eating vortex that is the Internet and more over that evil temptress Google.

I don't really need to know the name of the very first single by The Who ('Zoot Suit' 1964 if you ever wanted to know, which I doubt) any more than I need to know why a Pirate is called a Pirate (I'll let you Google that one) or even the lyrics to 'It's Only a Paper Moon' (well that one was kind of necessary it was an ear worm and driving me crazy!). Yet I spend way too much time on these random searches, so much so I seldom achieve what I set out to when I turn my PC on. So I decide that this Bank Holiday weekend I was going to  devote my time purely to blog worthy pursuits namely sewing, meaning my PC was going to be out of bounds! So what did I spend my time on?

Well, after much prevaricating over what to do first, oh and a spot of charity and fabric shopping, I finally started and finished a very cute poncho-dress-top-beach cover up-dressing gown-Kimono-thingummy!! After spotting a fab free pattern for a Scallop waist skirt on Grosgrain. I went to the designers own blog Vivat Veritas and after having a nosey around I found a fab tutorial for a poncho top, it looked really simple to do and best of all it was quick - It's great when the pattern you suddenly become obsessed with only puts your current projects a teeny bit back!

I had seen on Etsy a while ago a beautiful flappers dressing gown made from chiffon almost the same way, so I decide this could be my own version of a dressing gown to flounce around the house in.

I managed to get 2 meters of the most lovely pink fabric from my local high street at £1 a meter. It's a medium weight polyester mix fabric (oh that almost sounds like I have a clue! It don't go crinkly when squashed up that's my way of telling!) It is a bit heavier weight than I would of liked but it was the only poly fabric which was in a pretty colour so it had to be!

The only change I made to the pattern was to make giant buttonholes in the sides rather than using elastic gathered at the waist. In truth, I did try the elastic route, but because the fabric was heavier or slightly wider than the example, it did not pull the waist in enough. Also, the elastic line rode up at the back and looked truly ridiculous! So to bring it all together neatly and to stop me look like I had been eaten by a giant pink marshmallow, I decide on holes for the belt to pass through and believe me it looks 100% better for it!

One thing that I will change a bit later on is the hem. I did a double hem to hide the raw edges but again as the fabric is a little heavy it feels a bit too chunky I will address this by sewing on some bias tape along the edge instead at some point - that's going to be a lot of bias tape!
I definitely want to make this again, If I can find a lighter weight fabric on the weekend I will make another one as I think It would be perfect for floating around the Isle of Wight Festival which I'm off to next week Oh, and another great thing about this pattern is, if you get bored with it, you still have a good sized piece of fabric to re-fashion, well that is if you don't stick two ruddy great Buttonholes in it like me!
Wendy x

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

And the Winner is....

Wow, I never expected so many entries's into the competition, thank you all again for you lovely comments.

So on to the winner of the 'Stitchcraft Mag and Crocheted Beret'.

I used a Random No. gizmo to work out the winner and so the winner is...

Comment No. 17 which is Nicole from Nicole Needles blogspot!

Also as I had a bit of wool left and plenty of time, I decided to make a runner up prize of another red 'Crochet Beret'

So again, by the powers of the Random No. gizmo the winner is....

Comment No. 24 Which is Anabelle from the Vintage History Student Blogspot!

Congratulations Ladies!!!

Wendy x