Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Lampwork necklace commission

This week I have finished off a commission I had for a lampwork lentil bead necklace on a gold chain with a lampwork nugget focal and danglies.  

I am really pleased with the way it's turned out.  The photos really don't do the beads justice and make the look duller in colour than they are.  I used dark ivory and transparent striking red Effetre, CIM Caramel and Aurea Double Helix.  The chain was the lady's own and made a lovely substantial piece of jewellery.  

The original focal nugget bead I made really didn't suit the final necklace, so I made another that did and turned the original one into a simple pendant.  I hope she likes them.

I've made a few of these long necklaces now. The first was for my Mum as a Christmas present (she's the best agent a gal can have! See her necklace here, second pic down) and the rest of the orders have come from there. 

These next beads are for a similar necklace that I made for a lady that was emigrating to Austrailia (sorry, I can't find a pic of the finished necklace - I'm not sure I even took one!?). It was finished on a sterling silver chain and findings.  I've also just been asked to make one that has four round lentil beads instead of six and hangs as a shorter necklace.  Should be fun!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Cycling in the sunshine

The Girlie asked several times last week if we could go on a bike ride.  Mostly just before bed when there was no chance, but I did quite fancy the idea so we decided to head off to the Peak District on Saturday to try out the Monsal Trail.  We've walked a fair bit of it before but we haven't been on our bikes, and not with kids on their bikes too.  I'm not really built to ride a bicycle, but I have been mulling over the idea of getting an upgrade for my very old turquoise and purple mountain bike.  Hubby and I went to have a look in Halfords and I spotted one that I thought would suit me :o) (this one).  Very girlie, not overly trendy and adjustable so I can find a riding position that is comfortable (oh, and it had a big comfy seat too - oh, oh and a kick stand AND a pannier).  I keep thinking about it and I'm sure I can twist Hubby's arm.  Anyway, I did think that a few outings on my old bike might be a good idea first - I wasn't totally sure if I would even enjoy it!

Well, it couldn't have been a more perfect day for a first bike ride in yonks, the sun was shining, the trail was totally flat as it was an old railway line, and you couldn't go too far as the road was shut over the Coombs Road Viaduct at one end and a tunnel was closed off at the other.  We worked it out to be about a 9 mile ride, up and back the trail from Bakewell Old Station. There wasn't a great deal to see, but there was an old station or two and even some alpacas!

Pics of the old station that's now a house and a little further along the platform where the people from the Thornbridge estate had their own section built so they wouldn't have to stand with the riff-raff. Note the old bike - it actually works fine as Hubby is brilliant with bikes, but even so...!

It was a lovely day and I didn't even ache too much - yay!  Some more cycle rides are definitely in the offing, and hopefully a new bike too!

Ahhh, blogging about the other stuff!

So, I've been thinking recently that I'd really like to have a blog where I can waffle on about all the things that take up my spare time and distract me from all the things I should be doing. I'm the sort of person that has a new distraction or obsession every few weeks or months that I add to the growing number of interests (usually of the creative kind :o) ) I already have.

Anyway, after trying a separate blog for a bit I came to the conclusion that I'd be better off just waffling on the blog I already have and love if the urge takes from now on, that's exactly what I'm going to do!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Lots and lots of flowers

When we arrived at the plot today we were greeted again by the sunny flower bed along the edge of the greenhouse. We've cut them all now as they were already open and we want to be able to enjoy them at home - I think they'd be 'over' if we left them until next week. They were such a lovely sight though - it was almost painful to do it. So, I got the girlie to do it for me! She carefully cut them all and had them nicely lined up on the grass in order of stalk length!? It looked great, but I forgot to take a piccy of it - shame :o( !

Flowers seem to be breaking out all over the plot - especially on the fruity plants.........the new 'moved from home' cherry, the jostaberry, the plum, all the apple step-overs, currants, strawberries, the gooseberry bushes (these even have baby goosies on them - hundreds off them) and best of all, the greengage sapling that my friend gave me a couple of years ago (that I was told would never fruit) actually has flowers on it!! Fingers crossed xx

The Josta
One of my six step-over apples
The greengage (at least we think it's a greengage!)

The asparagus has made an appearance too - yay. We can pick some this year too so have had some with dippy eggs for tea. Not my favourite veg, but not bad either. I can definitely see the potential.

I got cracking on the sowing of the peas today. This colourfully bottled bed has four short rows across it and the
teepee. I sowed two of the rows with Meteor and Blauw...something. And Magnum Bonum (really smashing, really tall variety) and Carouby de Massuse (sp. again - sorry, I can't remember exactly without going out to the car and looking in the seed box!). As I write this I realise that I forgot to protect my seeds from the mice - eeek! I'll have to go do it tomorrow.

In between trying to sell our car and going back home for stuff we'd forgotten...twice (once even for the chitting spuds that we were here specifically to sow!) Hubby dug over the two beds that the spuds were going into. While doing it he dug up this beeeeaauuty! I wish I could say it was as tasty as it looks but it was so old and woody it was only destined for the compost bin. Pah!

Anyway, we got the spuds in eventually. Note the first pic of the ridged bed......
I did that! I then planted the potatoes using my newly purchased bulb planter from Wilkos. Why on earth had I resisted for so long?? It was fantastic! I planted them in half the time I usually do! I dug a trench, then dug in the bottom of it with my bulb planter, popped the spud in and released the soil. Voila!

In the Charlotte potato bed they were starting to pop up, not affected at all by the frosts - yay! I covered them over in the trench a bit more.

The boy and the girlie were busy as usual. The girlie weeded, watered and put her strawberries to bed.

The boy made a mud pool, a large mud ball and mud camouflaged dinosaurs :o)

And finally, I have managed to motivate myself to sow seeds at home. Well, not sow exactly, but start chitting my parsnips as I usually do to help germination - go me!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Sunshine and frosts

So I woke up this morning, looked out of the window, and would you believe it??? Frost! And there I was thinking spring had well and truly arrived!? I trotted off to the plot after work fearing the worst for my little spuds, but luckily (hopefully) all seemed well and they are not poking through in their trenches yet. I thought they might have been with all the nice weather we've been having here in the Midlands, but thankfully no.

Anyway, these little beauties were all waving at me when I arrived. We planted the bulbs specifically so that we could have cut flowers for free and I think they're really lovely. Mind you, it's a shame about my arrangement....I'm really a throw in a vase type of gal, but I did my best. It's fairly symmetrical (if that's a good thing?), but I'm definitely florally challenged :o)

Monday, 12 April 2010

Apple taste test

I've just found the result of my step-over apple taste test that I performed last year when we picked the little fellas.

Egremont Russet
Sharp (a bit too sharp for an eater) Surface was a bit manky (not too sure what I meant by that, but I guess the surface was rather scabby).

A nicer russet, not as sharp but very, very manky! (I wonder what I can do about it - must look it up).

Nice eater, sweet enough, but not overly flavoursome - kids liked it.

Very sharp and not sweet at all. A cooker - not flavoursome.

Very 'appley'. Sweet and sharp (but not too sharp).

Nice taste. Eat fairly early as gone over by September 20th.

So to sum up, Fiesta is definately the favourite, though I left it fairly late to try them, so I think we'll be picking them much earlier this year. Can't wait!

Saturday, 10 April 2010


Well, look what I found when I opened up the lid of my black compost bin! Two or three weeks ago I'd put it over some of my rhubarb to force them for the first time. How exciting is this?? I'd already picked a few of the larger stalks before I took this photo, but even so....! Yay! Look at the difference between the forced and the little unforced one next to it. Yum, yum!

The stalks that had already been picked all pink and delicious looking.

We were allowed to have a bonfire today so we had a busy time at the plot while it smoked away. Hubby weeded and dug over a bed and sowed some bulb fennel, rows of swede, beetroot and an ever optimistic row of carrots. I'm also going to chit my parsnip as usual and get a row of them in too.

I weeded the some strawberries and cleared away the old straw, pulled the fleece off the spuds (fingers crossed for no more harsh frosts x), moved the broadies that had survived to a patch at the end of the bed (12 in the end) and sowed two more rows.

The boy and the girlie really went to town on their beds. Weeding and sowing seeds (they were let loose on my seed boxes, goodness knows what they sowed!). They did a great job though and really seem to be taking care over them.

Another excitement was with the monster berried blackberry that I moved in Autumn and was certain I had killed. Ha! The fella is stronger than that, it just looked dead, but now has baby stalks poking out at the base - hooray! I'm so glad I didn't dig it up, I just couldn't bring myself to do it (or rather get hubby to do it - I don't dig out roots!!). However, I'm not sure quite what to do with it now, I'd moved it to allow the stems more space, but when I thought it'd died I'd tied the loganberry in it's place. I'll work something out, but I'm certainly not moving it again!

And finally a plot pic on what was a lovely warm sprig day :o) Bliss!


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