Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Green things happenin' in the garden

 Look! I'm growing light-bulbs!

Oh, okay, they're snowdrops. I find white flowers very difficult to photograph, especially in sunlight. These have mostly popped up in the last week. I like snowdrops but they're so small and white that they don't make much impact in the garden.  So I'm hoping that these..

and these..

 .. are something yellow. I can't remember what bulbs I planted where so it'll all be a pleasant surprise if and when they flower.

 These are the first tiny leaves of apple-mint:

Stuff is happening in my garden. At some point over the winter I always think that Nothing Will Ever Grow Again, but it mostly does.

The more of this the better!

The downside of clear blue skies of course is cold frosty nights and scraping the car in the morning, but I can live with that to get some sunshine in February. And as it's nearly the end of February (where does the time go etc) I'm starting to think about what I want to do with the garden this year. I want sunflowers again - we grew some a couple of years ago but none last year, and I do like the vertical interest they provide, as the gardening books say. In other words my garden is a small rectangle so I need tall things in it. And I like cheerful flowers! And the kids enjoyed growing ridiculously tall flowers.

I want cosmos this year as well. I grew some by accident last year (they were in a flower seed mix I think) and they were beautiful. And poppies, I like poppies. Dad gave me a whole lot of poppy seeds so that's a good start. And I want loads of nasturtiums. I might even grow some veg again this year.  Right, I'm off to look at seed company websites and request catalogues!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Another nice thing

Another nice thing about this time of year is that cut daffodils are so cheap. Usually I feel guilty about buying flowers when they don't last long, even though I know the psychological boost makes the occasional bunch (or in the depths of winter, a regular bunch) worth every penny. At heart I am indeed a stingy Scot, so when it's 99p for a generous bunch of daffs, giving me sunshine in the house, it makes me very happy indeed!  And they're all the better of course when actual sunshine is bouncing off them!

Do you like my jar vases? Most of my vases (oops, Mr.Collins-ing again) are quite tall and/or narrow-necked which doesn't suit short sturdy bunches of daffs, but jars work quite well and suit the casual nature of daffodils I think. I particularly like the one the daffs on the left are in. It contained stir-fry sauce of some type I think and looked very dull with its label on, but now that that's been removed I think it's an interesting shape.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

muted and very unmuted

Thank you for the lovely comments on my week of colour - I'm glad it was enjoyed. I enjoyed doing it!

I don't know why I haven't blogged since then, that was a longer than usual break. Partly I suppose because we went up north for a few days the weekend before last - the kids had a long weekend and My Beloved managed to wangle some time off work. It was a mite chilly, though nothing to what it could well be in the Highlands in February.  We had a lovely time doing not very much really. We went out one day to Revack Estate for lunch in the rather nice cafe/restaurant where you can watch red squiggles running around looking cute outside the windows. It also has an excellent playground where the younger members of the party..

 ..and the not-so-young..
.. had a blast!

It was baltic in the play area though - the snow was falling the whole time, though it wasn't lying, and we headed back in for coffee before long. 

While we were up north I managed to lose my purse which, not to put to fine a point on it, is a complete bugger of a nuisance. You don't realise how many cards and things end up in your purse until you have to replace them all - credit/debit cards, points cards for various shops, library cards and gym cards for the kids and me.  Oddly enough it was the library cards that were the most fuss to replace because I had to fill in all the forms again. And then there are the things you can't replace like the cash (because for once in my life I actually had more than about £3.20 in random loose change in my purse - not a huge amount but more than I care to lose), an M&S gift-card I hadn't spent yet, stamps, and pictures of the kids. Very frustrating.

It's always very calming visiting my parents though, their house is a tranquil place. Even with my kids in it.

When I look through the pictures of the chilly outdoors at this time of year I enjoy the muted colours. But it's been a surprisingly colourful time of year too:

 The Stripey Thing is getting longer and longer. Really I'm supposed to finish it by the end of the month, it being my yellow (Jan/Feb) item for Project Rainbow, but I don't think I'll get it done in four days, not if I keep doing stupid things like pulling the needle out completely and having to pick all the stitches up again.

 I'm not sure how that happened actually. I'm inclined to blame the boy-cat as he's a bit of needle-chewer, but he's doing the big innocent eyes at me so it can't be him...

One of the nice things about this time of year is the availability of chocolate mini-eggs in bright foil. I bought some last week (plain ones from Lidl, spotty ones from Sainsburys) and decanted them into an empty coffee jar because they were just to cheery to hide away in a packet in a cupboard.

Also providing colour was a little package of Yarn Yard wool - the blue and yellow I needed for the Stripey Thing, and the (Ian)Lavender* was this month's Small Skein Society surprise yarn, a little treat to myself. I don't know what I'll do with it but I love it. Maybe I'll just take it out now and then and gaze at it adoringly.

* When she sends out the wool, Natalie includes clues to her inspiration for the surprise yarn - this time the clue was 'Dad's Army' :-D. 

Friday, 8 February 2013

Winter color: pink

Until six-and-a-bit years ago there was very little pink in our house. Then Miss M arrived. Pink started to creep in, bit by bit. I don't think it's even her favourite colour, but there seems to be an unwritten law that states 'girl-child shall bring pink into your life'.

I blame this lady for some of it.  Apparently she's never heard of Barbara Cartland and doesn't realise that there is such a thing as over-accessorising with pink. I can't criticise the pink car though  - when I first met My Beloved he had a pink car. Through choice.

Even inflatable guitars can be pink.  If there's one pink (and white and red) thing I do really love it's the crochet blanket which I'd love to take credit for but in fact I got it in a charity shop. One day I'll get the hang of crochet enough to make a similar one.  It can't be difficult can it? It's just a gigantic granny square I think.

I am unfairly using this as an example - the bunting has many colours, including pink.

Eventually it rubbed off on me. Though I should point out that I bought these because they were really cheap and despite the slightly shrieky colour (now toned down with splashes of brown woodstain from painting the fence). But I love them because they are very comfortable and very useful and, I admit rather grudgingly, they do bring a bit of cheery colour to my feet. Just not as much as my red shoes!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Winter colour: orange

1) A very small recorder, more of a whistle really - I can just about get a scale out of it but the holes are so close together and my fingers are too big really. But then it's not mine, it's the Boy's, and I can admire its barley-sugar looks in the sunlight.

2) Today's lunch was Very Orange, just for fun. Smoked salmon on toast is one of my favourite things.

And finally 3) a very orange Valentine, made at school by the Boy for no-one in particular. I think with the black background the orange makes quite a striking change from the usual red.

I haven't decided yet what colour tomorrow will be. I'll have to see how the mood takes me!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Winter colour: red

 The Boy's room is a lovely sunny bright room and when I went upstairs this afternoon I saw the sun shining on his Lego storage boxes and just thought how cheerful it looked. Then I felt a bit envious because our room and Miss M's room get no direct sunlight at all.  Hmm.  I may have to hang up a set of mirrors and other shiny things (disco ball perhaps?) to bounce the light around..
Biscuit cutters! Hanging up because they're just too nice to hide away. The Boy and I made heart-shaped chocolate cookies the other day, adapting a recipe slightly in a not entirely successful manner. Edible though. It just means we'll have to tweak our recipe a bit next time!

Fake roses! These belong to Miss M actually - she got them at the school Valentine's disco last year. I love that vase. I've had it for years and it's the perfect size for smaller flowers.

And talking of Valentines, some felt hearts by Donna Smith Designs. These were Christmas decorations but as there's nothing overtly Christmassy about them and they've got a knitterly theme (the holes being in the manner of a traditional Fair Isle pattern chart), I've kept them out and I'm trying to find somewhere good to hang them. I was at school with Donna and I think she makes lovely stuff so I have no problems at all giving her business a well-deserved plug!

Tomorrow, will be orange I think. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Winter colour: yellow

 Picture posts are very easy when you're feeling lazy, tired and cold!  

So first up, tulips! I couldn't get any daffodils yesterday so got yellow tulips instead. I love the rich warm colour, reminds me of egg yolks.

Hehe, this duck with the groovy hairstyle is my washing-up brush, bought on a whim at the end of last year just because it made me laugh. Makes doing the dishes more fun anyway.

 Mmm, banana!

I also got my daughter some new hair-clips and hairbands yesterday - where do these things go? There must be hundreds of them scattered around the house, and a pink daisy clip from this set has gone awol already. I love the daisies, very cheerful.

A sunny daffodil picture from last week. It really has been surprisingly sunny recently, intermittently at least. Even today - it snowed fairly heavily all morning and I had a hell of a time getting back up our road mid-morning, but by mid-afternoon a lot had thawed and then the sun came out a bit.

I think might go to bed soon, very tired this evening. Tomorrow's colour will be red, probably!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Winter colour: green

I feel the need for a bit of winter colour. Yes, the dreaded January has passed (yay!) and surprisingly quickly too, but I'm craving colour so I thought I'd have a winter colour week and find some brightness. Today I'm going for green, mainly because I've just got this gorgeous green laundry basket .

I've spent way too much time admiring this laundry basket. I like to think it's not that I have no life, it's that I can appreciate beauty in the mundane. When the sun comes out anyway.

The boy-cat likes it too. Although mostly he was sitting in it because it was by the back door and he wanted to go out. Alas the weather is not cat-friendly today. It's doing every kind of horrible in short bursts (rain, icy-rain, sleet, hail, snow, all with a side of wind), interspersed with patches of blue sky and sunlight just to keep us on our toes. To say that the cats are confused is an understatement. They have been out but they didn't stay out for long.

My hyacinth is flowering on the kitchen windowsill. I know a lot of people don't like hyacinths because of their smell but I quite like the sharpness of it.  I like the smell of daffodils too which are also sharp though not quite nose-puckeringly this sharp.

Daffs:lime::hyacinths:lemon  - that's right isn't it? Something like that anyway. Daffs are to limes as hyacinths are to lemons, if you follow me.

I also really like the foliage - the way the leaves wrap around the stalks and their texture, the rich colour and the way the sunlight shines through them.

Looks quite springlike really. As does my current knitting:

It's so greeeeeeeeeen! Actually it's my yellow Project Rainbow stripey thing but I'm doing green contrast stripes at the moment and the wool is so lusciously green it makes me happy.

Tomorrow's colour will be, oh I dunno, yellow I think.