Friday, 5 June 2015

Keeping Busy

It's been a very productive couple of months here, so much so, I wonder if there's anywhere I can order extra hours to add to the days :o)

We had the garden path widened at the end of April, so now Shaun can get up to the top of the garden for the first time since 2010. That's the good news. The bad is that he was then able to see for himself how neglected & overgrown I've allowed it to become since his paralysis & amputation. However, slowly but surely, we've rectified it & now we've almost got it looking lovely again.
That will be the next blog, though.

This one is more of a crafty nature :o)

Since April 2014, along with my friend

 Liz at Granny Creations

I have been making ducks, on & off,  for the

Little Yellow Duck Project

The aim of the project is to make people more aware of the need for blood, tissue, organ & bone marrow donation. The little ducks are knitted, crocheted, sewn or made in some other way & are then placed for people to find them. We tie a label on them, which has their name & the website address. All we ask is for them to be registered on the website, because that way, we know they've been found & that people have taken the time & trouble to see what the project is all about. No money or personal details are asked for, all we really need is the ducks name & where & when it was found. Any extra details, such as the finders name & any message they'd like to add is entirely up to them. Unfortunately, only about a quarter are actually registered, so please, if anyone reading this happens to find a little yellow duck with a label tied to it, saying it was made with love & that you can take it home, please do so. And when you get home, please crank up the ol' laptop or PC & register the duck :o)

These are some of the ducks I've made. I've left them in hospitals, parks, a church & even a castle :o)

Alfie & Dottie.

Ruby & May.



I'm not a crocheter, but I've had a go & made loads of little duck bookmarks. This pic shows at the back: Euphemia, Wilf, Dottie & Alfie and in front, 3 of the bookmarks - Malcolm, Ophelia & Peggy :o)

The ducks may not be perfect, some have wonky eyes & twisted beaks, the sewing up may be a bit untidy, but each duck has been made with love, by someone somewhere across the world, who only wants two things - firstly, to make people aware of the need for donations & secondly, to brighten your day, put a smile on your face & hope that you will, at least, have a look to see what these little ducks are all about.

So, what else have I been up to ?

Cards :o) Thse first two are from May's swap parcels.

It's grandson 1b's 5th birthday soon & as well as trains, he loves dinosaurs. What little boy doesn't ? :o)
This card was made from Liz's parcel & the technique was heat embossing. All I did here was colour in a dinosaur digital stamp in Paint Shop Pro & then I used holographic embossing power on the toes, tail & back.

This was for Shaun's birthday & came from Terri's parcel. The technique was die cutting, so all I did was die cut the image & the sentiment. Simple :o)

April was our Christmas card making month :o)

From Terri's parcel. I used a recycled card that she'd included, matt & layered it on red & gold cardstock, added the ribbon & finished it off with a greeting.

This card, with the robins looking rather like serial killers, is from Liz's parcel :o) Again, plain & simple - die cut the stamped image, coloured with Pro Markers, added glitter glue & stuck it on a die cut circle. The background paper was included in the parcel, so I just stuck both bits on a card, die cut the greeting & added the image.

Two Christmas cards for 2015 down, goodness knows how many more to go :o) But it's a start, right ? :o)

We've been forecast thundery showers today, but as we need to get on on the garden, I'm hoping the forecasters are wrong.

Oh pooh. It's raining . . .Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Never mind, the garden DOES need the rain & if I want to show you a lovely garden, I need the plants to grow.

Watch this space :o)

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Quiet on the blog . . .

but not on the patch :o)

I know I'm like a broken record - & showing my age by saying that - but where has the first third of the year gone ?  

We've been busy here at home, trying to get the garden ready for summer & my sister in law has been painting & decorating indoors for us. 

Over the past month, Shaun has been hacking away at the ivy on the side of the garage & made a trellis for a variegated Jasmine & for the honeysuckle that we found hidden in the ivy. It's just a large root & one single branch with a few leaves on it at the moment, but hopefully, it'll thrive now it's not being strangled :o)

This past week, we've had the garden path widened so Shaun can get up to the top of the garden in his wheelchair & we've also had the slabs that I'd just chucked down, laid properly. But, that will be another blog.

This blog is Ivy-gate & the freeing of the garage wall :o)

This is what the ivy looked like & has done ever since we moved here in 2001.
It wasn't much of a problem really, as long as we kept it cut across the top to stop it creeping in where the roof meets the walls. How it managed when there's no gap is a mystery, but that's ivy for you :o)
However, I decided I wanted it gone. Don't know why, I just had a funny 5 minutes & that was that. My mind was made up :o)

Shaun decided it was something he could do from his wheelchair, so he set to. It would have only taken him a day or so in his pre-wheelchair days, but it took about a week to get the ivy off & another 4 days to get the root out.
Right at the back, attached to the wall, was this bird house. We'd never seen it before, so it must have been there a good 15-20 years or so.

Also in among the ivy was this old bird's nest. It was pretty much dust & only held together by luck. I thought there was a nest in there a couple of years ago because I'd seen birds flying in with worms, but although I'd had a poke about, hadn't found it.

One half of the ivy off the side wall. Shaun's made another bird house to replace the one we found, but whether the birds will use it or if it'll just be decoration, only time will tell..

I'm hoping like mad that now the ivy has gone, the snails will not be as plentiful this year !! :o)

As you can see, there were hundreds of them, all hidden in the leaves & clinging to the wall. The birds had a good feast with the ones I flung on the garage roof ! :o)

Nearly all gone. Just a few bits left & the huge root. After it was all off, I wire brushed the walls & Shaun scraped as far as he could reach & we prepared it for painting.

Just the root to go & it put up a fight !!

It grew under & on top of the cement footings.

Grandson 1a helped to cut it out . . .

& Grandson 1b helped fill in the hole it left :o)

 Ivy all gone, flower bed prepared. All it needed now was to be painted.

 Grandson 1a & . . .

Grandson 1b were on hand as willing helpers . . . 

& this is the end result. I painted the far left side as Shaun's wheelchair couldn't get down there & I also did all the high bits, green & cream :o)

All it needs now is the trellis on the walls, the flower bed needs to be planted up & I'm going to put pea shingle on it to help keep weeds down.

A good few weeks work & even though it's caused Shaun some health problems along the way, he feels a real sense of achievement.

Our garden has always been bright & sunny, but I think this year it'll be even more so.

IF we get a summer, that is :o)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

2015 already ???

Where on earth did 2014 go ?
One day it was July, the next day it was January !!

 When I was a kid, I used to say *I wish I was 10, I wish I was 13* etc. & my Mum always used to reply - *Don't wish your life away, it goes quicker than you think* Of course, I'd snort & not believe her - after all, the summer holidays lasted FOREVER & the sun shone every single day :o)

Now, I know better . . . :o)

Christmas here on my patch was a very busy family time,  but I didn't get to see my Mum & Dad because they were too poorly to visit. It's 300 miles each way for them to drive & to be honest, I think it's too far for them to come. Unfortunately, we're unable to go to them because of Shaun's continuing health problems, so my Uncle played postman for this Christmas. It's not ideal, but we have the year to sort something out. Unless of course one day it's July & the next it's January again :o)

Every year in January, I decide what I'd like to accomplish in the coming year, but it never works the way I hope, so this year, my expectations are nil :o) There are things that have to be done - we need to decorate, for example, but I hate decorating with a passion. Shaun always used to do it - I'd only be allowed to paint the middle of things because I don't have a steady hand - but unfortunately, there's only so much you can do in a wheelchair & decorating a house is not one of them :o) Luckily, we have his sister who likes decorating & said she'd do it as a Christmas present to us :o) We've just got to get the paint now :o)

Having the patio laid last summer was the best thing we did in the garden. However, I now need to tackle the rest of it.

I have 40 or 50 pots that all need sorting out & replanting, I have grass that needs cutting, bushes that need trimming, paths that need sweeping & no doubt, the weeds will soon be more like triffids. I have a horrible feeling that once again I'll be having another fight with the snails. I don't know why they like my garden so much, but in Spring & Summer, I collect over a 100 of the  *"!$%#!! every single day.

The front garden is mostly paving slabs but the weeds find their way through the tiniest crack, so that needs doing soon, as well. I'm hoping the heavy frost we have this morning might help kill them off, but I live in dreams :o)

I have made one garden decision though - this year, I won't be growing any veg. I might change my mind as it gets warmer but at the moment, I know I just won't have the time. The past few years have shown that & so I've decided to concentrate on my plants & flowers this year. Hopefully, I'll have a garden as colourful as it used to be, when Shaun was at work & time was pretty much my own. All I need to do is replant the pots with stuff :o) I have seed & bulbs, so in a few weeks time, when it's brighter, warmer & not so wet, I'll dig out the wellies, hat & garden jacket & get going.

Well, that's the plan, anyway :o)
Watch this space, you never know, a miracle might just happen !! :o)