Quilt, bin project, garden update, canning

Last week I’ve been spending a lot of time in the loft. Now this room has been reorganized and painted, it’s nice to be there and work on some crafting projects.

Long time ago I did start a patchwork blanket but never finished it. I’ve dug out this blanket and sewn all the remaining blocks together. The initial idea was to make a full sized bedcover, but as I do not have all the materials at hand anymore to achieve this. I’ve decided to go with what it is now. This means it is going to be about 1.4 by 1.4 mtr. This is still an acceptable size to use as a comfy blanket on the settee. The past 10 years I’ve been mainly using crushed velvet for fabric projects as it is a very comfortable fabric to work with and very forgiving if you make mistakes as the material is extremely stretchy.

This blanket is made of small bits of cotton and for the back and rim I’ve used red and green satin. Advantage of this material is that the cat hair does not stick to it (taking into account we still have 4 of these buggers running around). To give the blanket a bit more body, I did put an old fleecy blanket in between the layers. Now I still need to sew the rim to the blanket (keep in mind this is all done manually (no machine used) and then the big job starts. I want to stitch a pattern all over the blanket so when you see the back of it this pattern will show.

This is going to take a considerable amount of time as again, this is going to be done by hand. You do understand I’m not planning on doing this in the loft. This would mean I wouldn’t leave upstairs for maybe 6 months. This can be done while watching telly and for that I do want some means of storing the blanket and the sewing material when not working on it.

I’m working on a tote/bag to store all this in when not working on it. I’ve made a small decoration with a technique called cathedral patchwork. I’ve been wanting to do this for years and now I finally found the courage to try it out. I did start (as usual) with the crushed velvet but this turned out to be a disaster. When digging through my fabrics box, I did find several bits of red, green and purple satin and retried with this. I have to admit, I wouldn’t advise anybody to do the same. This material is absolutely unforgiving when you make mistakes. The stuff keeps sliding away and it was a misery to work with it. The technique is quite appealing but you don’t want to know the words I’ve used to make it look decent. My advise it to use standard cotton for it.

However, I do admit that I am very pleased with the result, no matter how small this patch is. I will show a picture of the tote when it is finished.

For the kitchen we did buy a small cupboard from the second hand shop with a nice decoration on the door. It was originally a sewing machine table but modified to use as a standard small cupboard. The planning is to make it into a holder for the bin in the kitchen. Lee has taken the door off for modification. When this is done and the bin does fit in, we’ll be painting it vanilla to match the colours in the kitchen. As this is still an ongoing project I will show you pictures of that when it is finished. I did find the idea via Pinterest and Lee thought this a good idea.

The garden is a complete different subject. Everything is growing very fast. Last weekend, I gained a small apple tree (meant to be grown in a pot). It was giving to me by one of my friends who visited the barbecue. I’ve never grown an apple tree before so this is going to be a new experience. The herbtower didn’t turn out to be the success I’ve hoped for. The plants started to droop and I finally decided to move the herbs to a big windowsill box. The tower has been replanted with busy lizzies and alyssum. You can’t go wrong with that.

The strawberries have been doing fantastic and were mostly eaten by the visitors last week. One of my friends even asked me to pot up a few runners so she could have strawberries too next year. Last year my tomato plants didn’t grow as they where supposed to, so this year, we have bought two small plants and did put them in a big pot. The first small tomatoes are growing now and I’m keeping in eye on them. I’m really looking forward to see how they turn out to be.

In the veggieplot the red beets are growing and the rhubarb is taking over quite a bit. I’ve added Marigolds around the border to add extra colour. In the cold frame (with the lid now permanently open) the cucumbers and gherkins are really taking off. I’ve already had quite a few of them and looking forward to a bigger harvest. The pepper plants are showing a lot of little flowers which means they will produce a good crop this year. The paprika plant is a bit slow but I’ve still got good hopes for him too.

I’m even trying something new this year. I’ve planted a few florence fennel plants. I love the smell and taste of the bulbs and am very curious to see if I can get them to grow properly.

Of course the carrots and green onions are still growing. The radishes have been eaten and made space for other crops. I did need to cut down on the mint as this was growing out of hand. I’ve learn that next time, I need to plant them in a pot as it is starting to take over the cold frame and the compost heap.

And last but not least: Last year I did start on canning my cucumbers and beets but had big trouble to get enough glass jars for this. I’m not a fan of buying stuff if I can have it for free (typical dutch?)

Last week in the second hand store, we did buy a few canning jars very cheap but they didn’t have the rubber rings. The can be purchased, no problem. Then all of a sudden it dawned on me. I still have about a hundreds of these pots. They are stored in the attic of my ex (since almost 20 years). I didn’t have space for it in those days as I was in the middle of moving to a new house. I used to have an allotment in those days and I remember the shelves with filled cans really gave me a rich and proud feeling.

I did give my ex a ring and he confirmed they are still there. We are going to pick them up this week and then I think I will have enough canning jars for some time.

Ok, that’s it for now. I still have lots more to say but I do not want to bore you with more.

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