Pest Patrol – Successes and Failures

Our new Sweet Cherry tree, just a stick in the ground when we planted it back in November, now stood taller and fuller with lots of lush new growth…and was hosting many, many Blackfly. Using the Spray Away technique passed on by his mum – fill plant sprayer with warm soapy water, aim, squirt, bye bye Blackfly – DH worked his way around the tree, diligently turning each leaf, always thorough, some might say obstinate.  Let’s go with persistent. But so were the pesky Blackfly.  Next morning, the Spray Away technique having been…Read more …

Back to the Future

No matter what your sport, it’s probably true to say that if you don’t work up a sweat you’re not putting in enough effort, and not getting much out of that little effort either.  But no matter how hard I work, if my feet and legs are cold I can’t concentrate on isolating my muscles or getting in the zone.  Anyone else have that problem? Thick socks and long woolly socks made my feet slide and overheat;  then my friend’s husband’s 1980’s-themed birthday party prompted a vision of Jane Fonda complete with legwarmers. …Read more …

Cone you believe it?

What is the attraction of traffic cones? Why do people like to move them, wear them or take them home? A friend of a friend (ahem) collected about nineteen of them over a period of six weeks so that…well, I have  no idea why. I do know that he and his friends would joust with them on a Saturday night, one on each arm. They could definitely do some damage with them. And the more he collected them, the more he seemed to come across. Little groups of them congregated on street corners…Read more …

Introducing the Grainfather

Cue haunting music...no, scratch that, this isn't about the Godfather but the Grainfather, a nano brewery and the ideal birthday present for the man who has everything (read that as the man who has very specific tastes).  Duly ordered and delivered, and with no expectation of being wrapped as DH had researched and selected the system himself, the Grainfather took up residence behind the settee in the lounge, ready for action.  But I wanted to come up with a surprise for the day itself. My DH now knows that yarn is likely to…Read more …

Pin it here

The brooch has always conjured up in my mind a piece of jewellery suitable for women of a certain age, a dated kind of embellishment to be worn on a coat collar or jacket lapel.  But wanting a novel gift for my work colleagues, I decided on brooches after discovering the fantastic 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet: A collection of beautiful blooms for embellishing clothes, accessories, cushions and throws by Lesley Stanfield. This book is full of ideas for creating flowers, fruits, vegetables, ladybirds...there was something here for everyone I wanted to knit…Read more …

Hopping into Spring

It's that froggy time of year again; time to find or make something along amphibian lines for my friend's birthday, something that can be sent through the post to arrive on the day.  Now, I've nothing against presents arriving after the event - how can I, after a three-present haul when we met up last month - catching up after a birthday or two...       This felted frog card  was her way of suggesting I expand my creative horizons, so...         Well, painting some pottery at my local…Read more …

Hats off to Head Bands

I’m not a hat person.  Never have been.  Whether it’s a wide-brimmed sun hat, a fascinator, a beanie or a bobble hat, I always look like somebody’s maiden aunt.  Worse, particularly when I remove the hat, I get a glimpse of my future eighty-year-old self.  A baseball cap is slightly better but jars with a smart coat and has few insulating properties.  However, the head band has solved most of those problems. Apart from on the ski slopes, I spotted one, sported by a sharp dresser on the high street.  I looked online,…Read more …

A Woolly Christmas to you all

Ah, Christmas.  What to make and give to friends this year?  In September I started searching for ideas among those free patterns generously shared by other knitters, and struck lucky.  Five different Christmas tree decorations which suited each individual on the receiving end of a knitted gift, and I don't mind telling you I enjoyed every knitting minute of making them (even when those twiddly bits of mistletoe went missing under the sofa).                                        …Read more …

Lavender – the Colour of Summer

What looked like a bruise on the landscape, vivid and dazzling against the hedges and traffic of Croydon Lane, proved to be one of Surrey’s best-kept secrets.  At £1 entry per person (under 16s go free) and plenty of free parking, that was a small price to pay for the opportunity to enjoy the warmth and aroma of Provence...in Banstead. Mayfield Lavender Farm, Shop and Café is a place for all ages – the children I saw were very happily running up and down the rows and watching the organically-grown lavender being hand-cut…Read more …

Bunting Bunting Everywhere

Bunting is IN.  Everywhere I look there’s red, white and blue bunting, floral print fabric bunting, multi-coloured PVC bunting; paper bunting; Liberty print bunting; Vintage doily, print, postcard, sheet music and map bunting; spotty bunting, striped bunting; wooden, ceramic and hessian bunting; themed bunting, even Star Wars and Pride and Prejudice bunting – but no knitted bunting.  Well, there is now...   Psst Did you know - Bunting (or bunt) was originally a specific wool fabric, known as tammy, and manufactured in the early 17th century. It was used to make flags, such…Read more …