Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Shades of blue

At this time of year there seems to be so much beautiful blue around. As you may have guessed, purply-blue is a colour I love. Our front door and gate are painted this colour, as are the bathroom, our dresser and the back of the house! The garden is also full of blue. These grape hyacinths, or muscari, have frilly white edges to their 'bells', and I love the way the stem turns from green to blue as it reaches the flowers.

It's so good to be able to look closely at tiny forget-me-not flowers and see, not only their yellow centres, but streaks of pink in their petals.

Here is a rosemary flower in close-up. The flowers are surprisingly complicated. Because our garden is quite small, space is limited, so I bought a variety called 'Mrs Jessop's Upright' in the hope that it wouldn't sprawl across its neighbours. It's still attempting to, though!

This a gorgeous early-flowering clematis. It grows up the side of our shed (I forgot - that's blue too), and is a delight in April. The colour is truly heavenly.

Below is a little primrose that I bought last year. It's called 'Zebra Blue', and you can see why. Look at those amazing stripes!

Of course, I mustn't forget bluebells. These are the most common garden ones, Spanish bluebells. They aren't as delicate as their wild relatives, but the colour is still intense.

And here is something altogether more purple ... violets.They self- seed around my garden, and are so sweet, but often easy to miss. Wordsworth described them in his 'Lucy' poems:
'A violet by a mossy stone
Half-hidden from the eye!'

And now a bit more blue - that fabulous spring sky.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Lilac Time

I love this time of year! The evenings are lengthening, and suddenly gardens are full of colour.

My favourite flower and perfume of all is lilac. In my front garden we have a small lilac bush and this year it has bloomed early, because we had such a mild winter.

 I adore that heavenly smell and colour

and the heart-shaped leaves.

It's produced lots of blooms, so I've been able to indulge myself and bring some inside. The lilac season is a short one, and I try to make the most of it. I like to put it in a green vase because the colours go so well together.

Walt Whitman described the flower in his poem 'When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom'd':

'In the door-yard fronting an old farm-house, near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac bush, tall-growing, with heart-shaped leaves of rich green'

Lilac has long been regarded with superstition, and many people still do not bring it into the house in case it invites disaster. This is especially true of the white variety, but also of hawthorn, or 'may' blossom. I, however, am not superstitious, and continue to revel in its perfume and colour, as well as being inspired to make things.

Here is a lilac cross-stitched bookmark which I made from a kit. I really enjoyed sewing it, and love the tactile nature of the stitches.

I also made a crochet patchwork blanket in the same colour combination, with the addition of cream. It's a very simple one which is sewed together, instead of crocheted, and quite small.

Those colours really make me think of this time of year!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Woolly stuff

I've been wondering what to do with my collection of coloured wool rovings and merino tops for a little while now. These are dyed, carded lengths of wool which are twisted into hanks ready for use.

I originally bought them for spinning using a drop-spindle a couple of years ago and produced a very uneven yarn. Chunky, I think you'd call it! I also did a wet-felting workshop, making abstract designs and colour-combinations.

Recently a friend showed me how to needle-felt, and I so enjoyed it. I played around with the different sizes of needles and backings, and produced this little daffodil picture. Hand-embroidering over it was fun, and I was quite pleased with my first effort.

My dad's birthday was approaching, so I decided to make him a tiny picture. As it is an April birthday it seemed appropriate to make a spring scene. I used tiny stitches for the sheep's heads and legs, and french knots for the flowers.

I was very pleased with the results, and so was he! I really love the zingy colours of the wool, and the softness of the fibres. I now have several more ideas buzzing around in my head for designs, and plan to have a go at 3D needle-felting too.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


I've been enjoying and inspired by some amazing blogs for several years now and harboured a secret yearning to have one of my own. So, spurred on by my lovely family, I have taken the plunge and decided to have a go! I love watching the seasons come and go, being creative, and recording the routines and rhythms of everyday domestic life. Flowers, crochet, knitting, sewing, baking, gardening and beautiful words all feature highly on my list of life's important things, and this is where I shall share them with anyone who'd like to pop in.

The weather has been glorious this Easter, a little chilly but so sunshiney. Cornflower blue skies and little cotton-white clouds have been a daily feature for a fortnight, and they make me feel like Mole in The Wind in the Willows when he exclaims "Hang spring-cleaning!"

Shall we go for a bit of a pootle around the garden to see what's out?

Our cherry tree has been in bloom for a week or so now, and the blossom looks wonderful against the blue sky. I have enjoyed several early morning cups of tea underneath it recently, sitting on the bench with the sun on my face.

I defy anyone not to smile at the sight of these eye-scorchingly yellow daffodils.

I love the flowers of this tiny anenome blanda. They pop up from nowhere with the most heavenly blue flowers, just the colour of our front door.

The hellebores have been fabulous this year too, and are just about over now. I picked some and displayed them in a bowl of water to appreciate their gorgeousness. Such rich colours, and each one different. Just look at those speckles!

I was delighted to find this snake's head fritillary in our front garden this spring. I planted some years ago, and forgot they were there. It certainly does live up to its name.

Thank you for joining me in my garden. I'm looking forward to seeing you again soon x