Saturday, 31 March 2012

Outside Again

Spring Organisation
A slight lack of posting lately - again! We've been busy with the allotment and garden now that winter has kindly gone away. The sun has been shining and it has been wonderful to sit outside, plant seeds, tidy up the garden and design new planting plans.
Seed Packets
What fun to get last years leftover seeds out and alongside newly bought packets, ponder and list all the flowers and vegetables that we would like this year. I've planted a fair few already in pots, modules, trays and some straight in the ground. I'm growing more flowers this year and clearing away some composting space at the plot to grow cut flowers instead. Having flowers available to plonk in vases and jars around the house will be a real treat. Rarely do I buy flowers aside from the odd cheap bunch of daffs or other bargain seasonal flowers. The bouquets I like exceed my budget and making up your own is much more fun plus gives me a chance to get my old floristry gear out and play at being a florist.
Seed planning over a cup of tea
Weeping Willow flowers (Salix)
Every day new plants popping leafy shoots above the soil and early pretty spring flowers in the garden. Inspiring trips to garden centres are on the agenda now as I have a few new spots in the garden to fill. 
Rhubarb Plant
Pink Rose 'Mum in a Million'
Blossom Tree
I am shopping for climbing or rambling roses over the next month. I have a yellow one in mind called Goldfinch that is thornless that I'd like to cover some fencing that was patched up after a storm last year.

Daffodil Close Up
Green Clover

There has been plenty of time to potter around as Little Bird has been poorly with a virus. After a fair few nights of fever equaling a stressed mother nursing a screaming tot I have little energy for nothing more than sowing a few seeds and trotting around the garden watering new plants.
As the small greenhouses fill, I find myself peeking in every few hours - the Cosmos have germinated and have their true leaves are showing - 29p pack of seeds producing many, many buzzy bee attracting plants. Some are waiting for around mid April for sowing, namely all the lovely pumpkins and squashes. Nothing from the Cauliflowers or Garlic Chives yet and I remember last year having little success either. Funny how some plants are just such pains to grow.
Nest Illustration
Basil Pot

Chives, parsley and thyme are edging beds and being rejuvenated in forgotten hanging baskets. Basil has been sitting on the windowsill for a couple of months now - I am not watering as regularly after losing so many in the past through over watering - so far so good. It is great after the winter to be able to pop out into the garden and snip a few herbs for cooking with.  
Pink Blossom
My Little Bird is also trying his hardest with his speech and the non stop jargoning continues. The latest is rhyming ' day - hay - way.....' It is very exciting to hear his voice even if at this stage there is no given meaning which I can fathom out. Being able to play outside certainly helps too and makes for a happier little boy.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Nostalgic Fabric

Strawberry Shortcake title
Vintage Strawberry Shortcake Fabric
I've had a bit of a break due to lots of work involving Little Bird; new playgroups to attend and a stack of books on speech therapy to read - I have a very, very late talker. I'm not exaggerating when I say that my head is going to burst with all the new techniques I have been trying alongside a lot of worried thoughts and calls to pediatricians. Also, we've had colds so I've been going to bed at the same time as my 2 year old and feeling much better for it. 
Crochet Strawberry Jam Cover
I have already started to decorate for Spring and have some little rabbits and eggs in the window and all sorts of pastel items appearing. I found this vintage pastely fabric featuring the first edition of Strawberry Shortcake - cute isn't it!
Strawberry Shortcake Fabric Blueberry Muffin
All her friends have such sweet names - literally.
Huckleberry Pie
Raspberry Tart
Plum Puddin'
Apple Dumplin'
Lemon Meringue
Angel Cake.....
Vintage Preserve Pot
With sweet pets too: Custard the cat, Tea Time Turtle, Pupcake, Rhubarb the monkey, Elderberry owl and Cheesecake the mouse.....
Apple Dumplin' and Tea Time Turtle
Back in the 80's as a child I had Strawberry Shortcake of course, Dutch girl Mint Tulip and Crepe Suzzette. I can still remember the scented plastic of them. Doing some research I see that she is still going and there are many characters all with such lovely names. 
Huckleberry Pie and Raspberry Tart Fabric
I do not know what to make with this fabric though. It seems a shame to cut into it but otherwise it will just be hidden away on a shelf. Perhaps I'll just hold onto it a little longer as it would be great as cute curtains for a playhouse. *Dreams*
Crochet Preserve Pot Strawberries
The old preserve can (completely no idea of it's proper use and it's rusty inside) I have had lurking around the house for a while and I found the jam lid in a gift shop with the pretty crocheted strawberries.
Strawberry Shortcake Fabric with Plum Puddin'
Thank you for the well wishes for my dog Tara. She had one of her toes removed to get rid of the growth and is now bandage free and walking around as normal. Apparently it was a low grade tumour and they hope they have removed all traces. Brave girl. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Pushchair Travels - Hebden Bridge

Pushchair travels
We set off last week to the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire to the quirky town of Hebden Bridge. There is a distinct indie and 'green' feel to the place brought about by an influx of artists and New Age types in the 70's. I wish I could have shown you one street that I walked down - it was so colourful and there were stars and moons in nearly every window. 
Hebden Bridge Valley
We did a fair bit of window shopping. There are some really ace shops. I quite fancied this Rice candle holder and the Moomin purse - they used to really scare me as a child!
Rice Candle Holder
Moomin Purse
Vintage Dolly Pegs
Feathergills Emporium is a real curiosity shop with it's vintage hardware and apothecary range - cabinets full of jars and ointments made on site. 
Feathergills Emporium Hebden Bridge
The Willow Garden is my type of florist with cute posies and sweet vintage arrangements. I couldn't resist buying myself a rustic heart for my front door and a cute rose posy. I wish there were more florists like this that weave English country garden flowers into their bouquets - I have an aversion to lilies, gerberas and palm fronds all together typical Interflora style. If you have ever seen Miss Pickering's florist that is exactly what I love - more wild and natural with herbs used too. 
Florist Front
Pretty coloured Broom -Cytisus
Flower Posy
A river runs through the town and there were several pretty bridges crossing it with a gathering of ducks to amuse Little Bird with. Quack. At Easter they have a duck race of the yellow plastic variety, my kind of fun! Quack.
Hebden Bridge River
Hebden Bridge Town Riverside
Along the high street where bubbles floated through the air (for real) there were more gorgeous boutique style shops and cafes. 
The Old Treehouse Shop
Hebden Bridge - The Old Treehouse shop
Home Oh! Shop
My absolute favourite shop was the Yorkshire Soap Company. I was spellbound first off at the window with wedding cakes made from soap and mini soap truffles. Inside were soap birthday cupcakes with sprinkles and a candle, cakes delicately decorated with flowers, stars and glitter. Slices of cakey soap and lemon meringue that looked as scrummy as the real thing! All handmade and put into gorgeous packaging too. 
I was inspired to go to Hebden Bridge from reading the Rosalilium blog as she has been there several times recently and posted such lovely pictures. I have to admit that I had not even heard of the place before then! I keep a notebook to list places to visit and a lot of them are now inspired by reading your blogs - such as my trip to Leek. It's amazing how blogs really open up your eyes to the world around you and teach you new things. I love that.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Local in Leek

Shop Local
Back in January I was reading one of my favourite blogs Curlew Country and Steph posted a map of her local town Leek which I instantly pinned in my places to go Pinterest board.
Totally Local Leek
It's surprising that I had never been to Leek before as it's hardly a long way from where we we decided to go en route (of a fashion) to visiting relatives in Macclesfield and I was pleasantly surprised.
Victorian Arcade Leek
It's a bustling market town with plenty of independent shops to investigate and a strong emphasis on buying locally through the Totally Locally campaign.  
Shop Local Campaign
Plenty of shabby chic shops to explore and a quaint Victorian style arcade laden with handcrafted goods, cupcake accessories, flower candles, garlands, polka dot bunting and the smell of coffee is bliss. 
Shabby Chic Shop
Historic shops and great architecture are seen throughout the town. The Home and Colonial Store, family run for generations is amazing and a real curiosity. I always feel a bit sneaky taking pictures of shops but I'm sure this one is used to it as it is so beautifully vintage.
Home and Colonial Store in Leek
Local Grocer
Colourful stained glass entrance with pretty signage and packed full of fresh produce. The inside of the shop snakes backwards - on and on.......
Pretty Stained Glass
Pink flowers for sale
Greengrocer fruit and vegetables
The owner seems a real character and the shop exudes charm and friendliness. If I were bolder I would have taken more photos inside but a busy queue of customers made me feel too self conscious. You know what I mean, right....?
Home and Colonial Store inside
This greeney/blue paint on the shop front is one of my favourites - it's a bit like the colour I've painted the fencing in my garden.
Selling Local and Fresh
Home and Colonial Tea Store
We bought the tastiest lemon swiss roll and some potted daffodils. Wish, wish, wish I'd bought a bunch of Proteas that you can see in the pictures. Hope they have some next time.
Leek High Street selling flowers
Around the corner is the Butter Market, a fabulous Victorian indoor market, lit by lamps and coloured lights garlanding stalls of local producers - cheese, jams, baked goods, meats, haberdashery and more handicrafts. Totally in my element.
Butter Market - Leek
Pretty Leek Butter Market
There was much more to explore but we were running short of time. A cobbled open air market square with antiques that I was itching to look at was breezed past time, next time!
Butter Market Entrance
Have a lovely weekend. We will be nursing my little doggy as she is having an operation on her paw today to remove a nasty looking growth - she's probably having a toe removed. It's one of those where they won't know until they start the op. A very, very worried doggy mummy at the moment.