Friday, March 23, 2018

Under An English Sky Yarns is Closing & Other News

Hello my Lovelies,

Can you believe that we are on the cusp of Holy Week already? We are just a week away from Easter and it suddenly dawned on me that I'm rather unprepared. We have been so busy here with exam prep with DD2 and I myself have been busy with my own studies which I completed last week (don't think I've told you about that yet) that March has just blown on by.

First, let me get a bit of news out of the way. As you can see by the title of this post I am closing down my little yarn business. It's been great fun but to be honest I'm just not enjoying it as much as I was. I thought that perhaps it was just a little slump and that the creative bug would bite again, but no. It is not to be.

After spending much time thinking about it all, I realised that there is very little point pursuing something that you just don't feel that passionate about anymore, especially when there are so many talented dyers out there who are passionate about it. So I'm packing away the dye pots and moving on to the next season that life is ushering in.

If you are a knitter and love Indy Yarn, then do hop on over to my Etsy store as I have drastically reduced all my stock. You may as well take advantage of the prices as they are all well below what dyers usually charge for their hard work.

Moving on...

We had more snow over the weekend, this time it didn't stick around as long as the first time. It had all melted away by the evening so not much inconvenience for us. We were the lucky ones though, other parts of the county received the brunt of the 'mini beast from the east'

If you are a long time reader of my blog you will know that this year is our final homeschooling year and I've been pondering on what life will hold once DD2 heads off to college. While I will not be rushing into anything I thought that this year was a good time to brush up my work skills. BC (before children) I was an Executive Secretary/PA and when I re-enter the workforce this is where I shall be looking, it's work that I love and am good at (can you see where the planning, organising etc traits you've seen reflected on my blog fit in 😁). I thought that it might be a wise idea to brush up on my skills so in August last year I enrolled in a Legal Secretarial course. As you can guess that is what has been keeping me busy and I am pleased to say that last week I wrote my last test and posted my assignment portfolio for marking. So I'm all done and await my results.

In January I spoke about how I love to watch what's going on outside while I wash the dishes. I thought I would share a funny little scenario I witnessed this week. A rather handsome Pheasant drops by to feast at the bird feeder at least once a day. He's become a regular visitor and I enjoy watching him fuss about at the foot of the feeder for spilt seed. Apparently, I'm not the only one who likes to spy on our feathered friends...

although I fear that her motives for spying are drastically different to mine πŸ˜‚. I'm sure she was wondering how she was going to bag this bird for breakfast, I'm pleased to say that for all her stealthy stalking she thought better of it in the end and chose to let him be. When your prey is bigger than you are it's not likely to end well.

Anyhoo lovelies, I will love and leave you for today but I will be back next week to share some of our Holy Week thoughts and activities.

Have a blessed weekend.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Yes! It Does Snow in Devon

This morning I set off to do my 'big' shop. I figured it was a good time to do it as we are expecting a blizzard tomorrow (Thursday) so today being forecast to be just dandy, was just the time to stock up the pantry. Well... perhaps not!

Halfway through my shop, I happened to glance out the huge glass front of my local Tesco and see snow pelting down from the heavens. 'Not to worry', thought I, 'I shall quickly finish up and be on my way.' Hmm...

Well, my 20-minute journey home ended up taking 2 hours of null driving. The snow was falling so heavily that driving visibility was only one car length ahead. As I drove through the suburbs just before the country lanes I need to drive down to get home cars started getting stranded on hills. I managed to get stuck three times but thankfully I do have a little experience driving in snow so zig-zagged my steering wheel in order to get some traction to get up the hills. I don't think it was terribly good for my car as all sorts of warning lights started to come on when I finally turned into my drive.

This is the road I live on. No gritters or snowploughs come this way so we need to be somewhat prepared to last a few days.
Once I reached the lanes, well, let's just say I think I had angels with me. Somehow I managed to get home but my poor husband is most definitely snowed out. Fortunately, he manages a hotel so that's where he will be staying tonight and possibly tomorrow night.

The sheep and their lambs were collected by the farmer this afternoon. Conditions are awful and certainly not good for lambs. I was very happy to see that this farmer cares so much for his livestock. 

As you might know, I am a snow lover. It is so magical. I don't like driving in it, it does create havoc that's for sure. But how can you not appreciate it's beauty?

Today we have had a few sunny spells between snow storms and WOW! I am always taken by the countryside's beauty under a blanket of snow. Now that we live overlooking the ocean, the snow views of snow meeting ocean are something special!

The amazing thing is that you can see the snow storms approaching over the ocean. It really is spectacular. I just love nature.

Anyhoo, enough snow pictures. You can see my full range of snow pics on my flickr albums if you are interested. Right now I'm going to grab a cup of coffee and snuggle up next the fire with a good book.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Weekending Moments

Just popping in to share a few things that caught my eye this weekend.

Watched ships and yachts sailing on the ocean. 

There is something quite peaceful about being in the cosy warmth of your home, sheltered from the blowing winds and biting cold, watching life sail on by.

Watching the birds from my kitchen window as I wash up the dishes is honestly one of life's small pleasures that I delight in. The dishes took a little longer this weekend as I paused to watch the birds and take a few pictures. I loved watching this little robin eye out the blue tit when it dared to join him on the feeding tray.

I adore watching the blackbirds. They are so full of character and I love hearing their shrill chatter as they fly across the garden.

And the magpies... you either love or hate them. I love them, again, so much cheeky character.

Finally, I really like my new wash up soap dispenser (right). On the suggestion of bloggy friend Karen from Pumpkin Sunrise, I picked up a really pretty soap decanter from The Range and put my dishwashing liquid into it. Thanks Karen, I love this idea, I love how pretty it looks. I also found the huuuuuuge bottle of Garrison Home Verbena liquid hand soap from TK Max for a song. It is a little overkill I suppose but I love that bottle even if it is humongous.

Wishing you all a very blessed start to your week.

Friday, February 23, 2018

A Newsy Week

See that field on the other side of our garden fence?

It's become a nursery. Yip, lambing season has officially begun, a sure sign that spring is not far away. Each morning the farmer buzzes in with a trailer hooked up to a quad bike and deposits the new mums with their little lambs. Our days now have a background chorus of bleating between mums and babies. 

They are too adorable to watch. Every so often a lamb will confuse another mum for its own and receive an unceremonious headbutt to shoo it on its way. 

I don't think I've shared my latest news with you! I am now an official allotmenteer! I feel so very lucky as getting an allotment is just about impossible. There are long waiting lists, demand outstrips supply, and those that do have allotments do not relinquish them easily. But I guess I have found myself in the right place at the right time in our new neighbourhood. I happened to call up right at the time when they are calling for their annual renewals and it also so happens that quite a few people were moving on or wanting to split their full-size plots to half for various reasons. So it was meant to be!

We do have a lovely big garden at home but there are a few problems when it comes to growing veg.

* First, its really well established and every inch has been utilised so no space for growing vegetables

* Second, it's a coastal garden and so we get salty winds that blow off the ocean - not good for a lot of plants.

So that is why I thought I would look at getting an allotment. Never did I dream that I would be lucky enough to get one so quickly!

My tomato and sweet pea seeds have germinated nicely. They live in the Orangery which gets light from one side... can you tell? πŸ˜€These won't be going to the allotment, I think the tomatoes will have to live in the Orangery in order to have the best chance of the fruit ripening, the sweet peas are destined to be grown over a pergola here at home. But I'm excited about planning out my crop and hope to get a start on that next week.

We had a birthday in our family this week! My 'baby' turned 18. How on earth did that happen?

She had a lovely day filled with gifts, flowers, messages and a lovely lunch at a restaurant with spectacular views of the city and Plymouth Sound.

Another bit of excitement - and really, I totally get if you read this next bit and are left a bit cold but fellow planner addicts will relate πŸ˜…. I got a new Travelers Notebook!

I absolutely adore this Japanese notebook system because of the simplicity and the look and feel of the notebook. It harkens to a bygone era and that appeals to me. I will do a full post on the Travelers Notebook but for now, I just wanted to share my joy in getting this Travelers Train edition. It's so pretty. I fell in love with it the moment I first saw it on my Instagram feed. The only problem is that you can only get this particular edition in Japan and I have no plans of going to Japan soon. However, I found a seller on Etsy! What luck. Shipping was super quick and economical... now I can't stop staring at it πŸ˜…. It's all set up and has become my daily go-to. More on all that another time though.

And finally just for fun... it appears that I don't only grow plants in the Orangery but cats too....

She adores slipping in here and napping in the warm sunshine. Our temperatures are plummeting at the moment and there is a really cold wind blowing so to nap in the warm Orangery is like heaven to a kitty cat.

March arrives next week and along with it lots of lovely things to look forward to! I'll chat a little more on that next week, until then, have a lovely weekend!

Saturday, February 03, 2018

The February Garden

Now that the days are a little longer - not warmer - but definitely longer, I find myself wanting to spend more time in the garden. 

Taking a walk around the garden to spot the changes and new arrivals is something I do all year round. November through to January are usually the quietest times. Everything has been put to bed and not much is stirring. However, in January the snowdrops herald the start of things to come. 

As the weeks have passed and we have slipped into February, I am noticing green shoots, spring bulbs perhaps, pushing through all over the garden. 

Beneath the apple tree, a carpet of Hellebore's has started to flower. They are exquisite! I had quite a few hellebore's in my last garden and was sad to leave them behind. I am thrilled to have them in our new garden as I associate them strongly with Lent. They are known as the 'Lenten Rose' because they look similar to some roses and of course they flower through Lent. I plan to transplant any self-seeded hellebore's all over the garden around March/April so that I can see them from every window next year.

Witch Hazel
At the bottom of the garden, and I wish it wasn't so far away, is the most beautiful Witch Hazel. I love the delicate blooms set on the bare twisting branches. What a joy to see on these cold winter days.

Garden tasks at this time of the year are mostly cutting back spent perennials and generally tidying up. It is tempting to catch a bad case of spring fever around February and begin planting the years vegetable seeds or plant up some spring pots. However, the reality is that we are only halfway through winter, still a little while to go yet before we can truly herald the arrival of Spring. 

There are few tasks that you can busy yourself with though, chitting early potatoes for one, which I have yet to do and sowing a few early seeds as long as you start them off indoors.

Today I sowed some 'Sweetness' Cherry Tomato seeds and this year's sweet pea seeds. The tomatoes will stay in the Orangery over the summer, hopefully, the fruit will actually ripen. I'm afraid I have not had much success with tomatoes in this country. In a few months, the sweet peas will be potted in a lovely big pot and trained over the pergola in our driveways centre island. I think it will look very pretty in the summer

I have also potted up a very pretty Peony (Sarah Bernhardt) which will sit just behind our fish pond under the pergola again. I love peonies and now is the time to plant them. I've tried from seed before with little success so this time around I picked up a bare root to plant so we shall see what happens. I chose to plant it in a large pot so that it can come with us should we move. They really should not be moved from their place of planting for the first four years so a lovely big pot is a good place for your peony to start it's life if you are planning on relocating during that time.

My final garden task for today was re-potting two hydrangeas that I bought last summer and I am glad I did! I filled two large pots with potting soil and lifted out the first plant from its original pot. It was riddled with Vine Weevil Larvae - ewwww! They are disgusting! These garden pests eat away at the roots eventually killing the plant. However, the plant shows no sign of ill effect until it is too late so I am glad that I re-potted them today. I hope they survive the shock because I shook off every last bit of soil that they were in and ran the roots under water to make sure the larvae were dispatched with. Time will tell.

That's it from my garden today, is anyone else itching to get gardening?