Monday, 29 February 2016

Log Cabin Ta-Daah

Would you look at this cat!! It is always handy to have multi-purpose items in your house, and baskets are well known for their versatility. This particular basket can house wool on one side and a cat on the other, ingenious!!

He got himself snuggled on this perch by climbing through the basket, under the handle, from the other side, then kicking out as many balls of wool as needed to make a hole and wiggling to secure his bottom. Purrrr-fect.

And a little wool ball to rest his weary head on!! Really, we humans think of everything.

Luckily I managed to keep him off of my log cabin blanket, which is now finished!!!! Huzzah!! It looks so amazing in the sunshine, quite literally glowing with colour.

My edging was a simple three rows of double crochet and two rows of the spotted edging as designed by Attic24. Just enough to secure the squares and finish the look but not enough to shout, 'I'm a border!'

Ahh, I just can't stop staring at it, it's like gazing into the heart of a rainbow.

Even when the sun goes in and gloom threatens, the blanket doesn't give two hoots- it is warm and beautiful and doesn't need the sunshine to make happy thoughts. This is snuggle-tastic!!

Heart singy happiness.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Newspaper & Buttons

We are starting to get to the time of year when I wake up at the same time as the sun which leads to some very lovely morning skies. A few more days and the sun will be peeping over the tops of the trees. Be warned now, there will probably be lots of photos of this as I am mildly obsessed with colourful skies.

This week I have been working on this months ATC group projects, postcards and ATCs using newspaper and buttons as the main feature.
For the postcards I layered strips of newspaper over some batting to give a padded, slightly quilted effect. I have played with having the newspaper in different directions and slightly different colours. The red thread gives great contrast and I have added texture around the buttons with white long stitches, giving a spiky, washed  appearance.

For the ATCs I kept with the simple theme, layering batting and a patterned cotton then stitching on some newspaper petals and a button centre.

I would like to make more ATCs but things are quite quiet in the online group I am part of. Maybe I could make some of my own as spares, perhaps inspired by the lovely Daffodils blooming on the kitchen counter.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Log Cabin Squares

Spring is coming!! We have Snowdrops and Bluebells in the garden making things look pretty amongst the green. It is so nice to have green back again, I get very bored with all of the damp browns and greys. The first few buds of green, little fresh shoots coming out of the soil are always very exciting.

Inside we still have our Primroses left over from the Chinese New Year celebrations. They aren't quite as red now, the colour is fading, but they are still adding a pop of colour to our sitting room.

In the kitchen, my faithful and highly fruitful Christmas Cactus is doing it's thing, flowering like crazy. It is the best plant purchase I have ever made I think as it flowers about three times a year and needs barely any looking after. My other Cacti (Cactuses?) have never lasted so long or flowered so well. The colour is just beautiful and I love the shaping of the flowers as well, kind of like little dragon heads with a tongue sticking out at the end.

But anyway, enough flower chat. I have finished all of the squares for my log cabin blanket!!! It was so exciting laying them all out, and a little bit worrying in case I had done a huge boo-boo and got my number of alternate squares wrong. Thankfully there were just the right amount of both.

I just love the colours in this blanket, and when the hot/cold combos line up and you get the blocks of light and dark, it is just so exuberant and well, happy. Which is good as that's what the whole idea is about.

So, having laid all of the squares out and played with how they work together, I could stat stitching them together. I went with the invisible stitching where you just catch the top loops of the final round and use the same colour of thread so it blends in and creates an invisible seam.

Eventually, a couple of hours later all squares were stitched together and all ends were stitched in. Huzzah!!! It immediately makes you want to start a new one, with slightly different colours- perhaps a blue one with 16 shades of blue and bright orange popping centres, or a pastel one maybe for a nursery? How about a monotone one with shades of white, grey and black? Ahhhh too much to think about. For now I will concentrate on the edging and try to figure out which colours I should use.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Nymans Garden

On Sunday The Sister and I went to Nymans. I have shown you many photos from this lovely National Trust place before (see here), except those images were taken in June so the gardens were ablaze with colour and exotic flowers. In February the scene is rather different and it was freezing cold with a brisk wind turning our noses pink and whipping at our ankles.

The view, although slightly browner than last time, was as pretty as ever and there were lots of splashes of colour from the sunny Daffodils, several varieties of Snowdrop, Crocuses, Cyclamen and Blossoms.

On the walk up to the house, our eyes were drawn to a brilliantly shining golden tree trunk. It is an art sculpture named 'Rapture' and was created by artist Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva, made from a local tree felled during a storm in 1987 which has been stripped of bark and gilded in gold. Very eye catching!

The house is as dramatic as ever, the silhouette even more stark during the winter months as its window frames and stone edges aren't softened by the Wisteria which shrouds part of it during the summertime.

I think it's amazing how many little features still stand, bearing in mind how much of the house was lost to a great fire. Little characters guard the outside of the house, and there are crests and symbols carved into the walls and over doorways.

We loved this Cornus Sanguinea, or 'Midwinter Fire' (above). It really was very fiery!

There's a Bamboo walk too which was rather cool. The Bamboo towers over you and rustles constantly in the wind. There looked to be several varieties as they were different colours and thicknesses. I think we ought to get some Bamboo for the garden (planted in a big pot so that it doesn't take over and Pandas invade).

It is rather interesting to be able to see how these gardens develop over the season, it would be great to go back when Spring is turning to Summer and see what has popped up out of the flowerbeds.