My punch needle cushions are finished.

Not sure what week we are on now with the lockdown, I’ve settled into the groove and I’m enjoying the tranquility of this new slow lifestyle although every morning I wake up thinking it’s Sunday and I do miss family and friends.

I thought I had already posted my punch needle adventure but it seems I forgot so I’m sharing the process from start to finish. My Oxford punch needle has been sitting around unused for ages, once I finished the waffle blanket I needed a  new simple project with a repetitive process as it’s kind of meditative.
Punch needle cushionsI wasn’t sure where to start in terms of design, I didn’t want anything too fussy just blocks of colour. I turned to my ‘Lansdcape’ sketchbooks and found some drawings I liked, then I did a few quick sketches before drawing the design onto hessian with a sharpie. I’m using rug wool from my stash as well as some Aran wool. I chose the colours to match the decor in my home, nice calming colours that I like living with.
Punch needle cushions

Punch needle cushions

Punch needle cushions

I have a frame which pulls the hessian taught making punching quite easy so long as there isn’t any tension on the yarn and you don’t pull the needle too far out of the hessian. My hessian square was bigger than the frame so I had to work around the edges out of the frame. This turned out much easier than I expected.

I soon got into a rhythm and found this process so relaxing indeed, I almost fell asleep a couple of times.

There’s a little video of the punching process on my Instagram.

Needle punching

Needle punching

This is the second cushion, I had to order more wool, also some linen for the backing. I had some manmade fabric that I could have used but seeing the cushions are wool and will be very hard wearing as they are rugs really and will probably last for years I thought natural linen was more suitable.

Needle punching

And here they are, I’m so pleased with them I’m going to make another pair of punch needle cushions for the sofa in the lounge, they will be similar in design but different colours, also I have some ideas for wall hangings and maybe a footstool.

I think I am hooked 🙂

Punch needle cushions

Punch needle cushionsHave you learned anything new during lockdown ? I’d love to hear what you have been doing.

Stay well folks.

Growing Vegetables In Pots.

Although The weather has been bright throughout the day it’s been chilly at night, we have even had a few frosts, so I have been nurturing my veggies. One advantage of growing in pots you can bring them inside at night, or wrap in fleece, or cover with cardboard or panes of glass. This will give enough protection to keep off the frosts.

My mixed cut and come again lettuce are doing really well, I will be having baby salad leaves very soon. The other tray has some which we transplanted so that will extend cropping. These get covered with glass at night.
Growing veg in potsThese are cylindrical beetroot, we will eat the thinnings as salad leaves and leave the rest to grow on, 2 crops in one.
Growing veg in potsThe pot in front is spinach and the one behind is mizuna which is quite hardy. We will eat young leaves in salad and the larger ones in a stir fry. I have some other oriental vegetables, the edamame beans aren’t up yet, also perilla and amaranth which haven’t been sown yet. I’ve just sown rocket, basil and corinander in small pots which will be sown every few weeks to maintain a supply throughout the summer.

Growing veg in pots
Potatoes are doing well.
Veg in potsRunner beans don’t like the cold, where I live they shouldn’t really go out until June but they needed potting on so they got planted out. They are wrapped in fleece to keep the wind from burning the leaves and to keep the frost off. A couple of nights they came indoors.

Growing veg in potsYou can see them inside the fleece wigwam, they look ok. I have 2 varieties, one is a purple bean which keeps it’s colour if you steam it.
Veg in pots
The courgettes are growing quickly, if it had been warmer they would have been potted on, I bring them inside at night.
Growing veg in potsThis is a rogue seen that was in the bean packet, can’t wait to see what it is. It looks like the courgettes but more silvery, let’s hope it’s a melon.
Growing veg in potsMy tomatoes are still on the windowsill I bought a compact cherry tomato seed in the hope they don’t get too leggy, so far it’s working. The two smaller ones are grown from seeds from my tomato sandwich as only 4 of the 6 bought seeds came up.
Growing veg in pots
I love watching my plants grow but it will be even better to eat them. Anyone got a good courgette or green bean recipes?

This time last year…..

This time last year I was getting excited about spending 3 weeks on an isolated Scottish island. Little did I know that my ‘holiday’ this year would be spending 6 weeks (or more) in isolation at home.

The reason we went to Luing was to find out what it was like to live on a small island, and hopefully to see otters.  I loved my time there very much. Here are some photos.

The village

LuingBlackmill bay, used to be a busy port .
UntitledOur garden.
UntitledMull in the distance.
Luing
Luing
IMG_4243I got my wish we saw the otters on several occasions, also sea eagles, deer, seals , hares and dolphins.
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Otters
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IMG_4836Being in lockdown just now has it’s similarities, I’m enjoying watching wildlife in my garden, watching the trees coming into leaf and blossom, appreciating the view from my window, and spending time in the garden relaxing and enjoying the sunshine. Planning meals and thinking about where the next lot of food will come from, no pub  to go to. Also I intended being creative while I was there but I just couldn’t muster up.  That’s just how I feel at the moment, although I have found something I’m enjoying but more on that in my next post.

Stay safe and well.

Partying At Home This V.E. Day


I think the lock down must be getting to me I’ve gone stir crazy today, I awoke feeling in the mood for some baking. Like many people we can now celebrate the V. E. Day 75th anniversary with an afternoon tea in the garden.

I thought I’d try and make our tea as authentic as possible, I already make my Gran’s wartime  ginger cake which is a firm favourite with everyone who has tried it.
IMG_0048The unusual thing is this cake has no eggs, it uses vinegar and baking soda instead so it’s great for lock down or vegans. You can find the recipe hereV E Day ration book recipesI should mention everything got a little browner than usual, my main oven gave up on me a couple of weeks ago, I’m using the top oven.
Once sliced you can’t tell  🙂
V E Day ration book recipesI went in search of other wartime recipes and found a great blog called The 1940’s Experiment. I found a chocolate cake recipe that looked great, with mock cream. My Aunt always made a similar mock cream for her chocolate cake and I loved it as it’s  not as sweet as buttercream. She always put Cadbury’s  chocolate and buttons on the top of hers but I  don’t  think they would have had that luxury then and I don’t have any in my pantry so a dusting of icing sugar will have to do.
The cream looks a little lumpy but it tastes fine.
V E Day ration book recipes
V E Day ration book recipesI made my tried and trusted scone recipe which I think came from my Gran originally, I  had it on my blog but can’t  find the recipe, I will add it soon. Again no eggs, vinegar and baking powder make these scones nice and light. With true ration book thrift I divided the scone mixture and made half cheese and wild garlic picked from my garden and the other half fruit.

V E Day ration book recipes

V E Day ration book recipesI’ve donned some red lippy and a land girl look,  I’m looking forward to eating this lot and waving to my neighbours who are busy putting up bunting, these are strange times. All that’s left to do is set the table.
I just wish my Dad could be here enjoying tea with us. Can you imagine how people would have felt at the end of the war, we might feel a little stir crazy with 6 weeks of lockdown but it’s  nothing in comparison is it?

Enjoy your day however you are spending it and stay safe.

Crochet Waffle Comfort Blanket Finished!

My crochet waffle blanket is now finished, and I have to say I think I have a new favourite blanket.

Comfort blanket is finished

If you would like to see the original post with the  updated pattern click here. I finished off with a row of treble so the last row matched the first row. I did 3 stripes of each colour.

I darned in the loose ends then started the border. Having considered several options I chose to do stripes of 2 rows waffle stitch, change colour then 1 row treble. This would keep the border of a similar weight as the body of the blanket. The border is 13 rows deep, then I ran out of yarn.

Comfort blanket is finishedI am really pleased with this blanket it’s so warm and snuggly and lovely it doesn’t get called the plague blanket any more.

Comfort blanket is finished

Now I think I might start another one, maybe lark stitch this time, I do love working on a stripey blanket while watching TV.

Please excuse the photos as the sun wasn’t whining when I took them.

Getting a grip on handles and some pottering

For the past month I haven’t felt able to do any ceramic work, however this week I decided  to tidy up the studio . When I got in there I thought it would be a shame not to capture in clay some of the spring plants flowering in my garden. After all I would have to wait ’til next year for them to flower again. So instead of tidying I have just dabbled with the clay each day, no mass production just a few little things each day.

There are tiles with brunnera, perennial forget me not, ransoms, bluebells, sloe blossom and lungwort. I tried primroses and violets but they didn’t print very well.
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There’s a few hearts and trinket dishes too.
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While tidying up I came across some tools that I haven’t had the chance to use, one is for making handles.
UntitledI’m rubbish at pulling a handle. So I decided to throw a couple of mugs and get to grips with handles. These look much better than any handles I’ve made before.
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I made a lidded trinket box, the lid and box are made in one piece.
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UntitledI’ve had an idea playing in my head for a while now but I will save that for another post, I made the ‘canvas’ which I intend to paint on it once fired, more then.
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For now pottering is enough. Stay safe and well.

Getting into the groove.

I’ve almost lost count of where we are with the lockdown, we are now going into the 4th week. Still the sun keeps shining, I’m getting into the groove and just going with the flow each day. I’m not stressing as I don’t have to think about online shopping  for food for a few weeks, we have enough for now. I love the vegetable box scheme, it’s lovely fresh produce delivered to my door each week and no plastic packaging. I’ve sourced food from farm shops and coffee suppliers as well.
UntitledI’m enjoying being resourceful in the kitchen, this is a vegan chickpea frittata made with leftover vegetables and topped with wild garlic pesto. I foraged the wild garlic on one of my walks. It’s great in a bean salad or mayonnaise.
UntitledThe blanket is growing, it’s almost ready for the border. I have been doing some in an evening but mainly when sitting in the garden on an afternoon crocheting and watching the wildlife. Drone flies are my new amazing creature to watch, there are blackbirds fighting over the ivy berries even though there’s enough for all, and today a mouse came running across to my chair then disappeared under the fence.
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I’ve made shopping masks for family and friends, but I think I have the pleats going the wrong way up, I don’t suppose it makes much difference.
UntitledWe have had some lovely local walks, I love getting out into the countryside, it’s good for our well being. Nothing is more calming than being out in the countryside walking and nature spotting.
UntitledThe wildflowers are blooming, the bluebells are just starting to come out now.

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UntitledThe streams are low but the water is crystal clear as we haven’t had any rain in over a month.
UntitledCan you see all the minnows at the bottom of this photo?
UntitledA heron stands fishing.
UntitledThe lambs are getting fat, and today I saw my first ducklings, aren’t they cute?
UntitledAt this difficult time I am counting my blessings, I am thankful for everyday things I would probably take for granted normally.

I hope you are staying safe and well both mentally and physically, take care. Please leave a comment and let me know how you are doing.

Jill