Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Autumn days

Sunday was gorgeous. Blue skies and sunshine, but golly it was cold - winter is definately on it's way!

Hubby spent most of the time there sorting out the bonfire ready for two weekends time when we are allowed a fire at the plot (one of only two days a year). He also chopped down a greengage that never was (it was a sapling from another greengage that I hoped might give me fruit but didn't).  A shame, but it was getting big and I can't have an unproductive tree taking up valuable space on my plot. 
I tidied up the raspberries, cutting out old stems and tying in the new.  I cleared the frost bitten butternut squash bed and collect the grand total of two pear sized, unripened fruits. I really must try to sow them earlier!!

The raspberries looking much neater.  The greengage would have been in this pic just behind where the right hand post is.

Frosted BNS

It was smashing to see how well the onion and garlic are doing.  I'm really pleased with the progress in only a few weeks.


Kiddies were busy again - The Girlie planted her strawberry runners - her bed is doing really well considering she started off with a handful of strawbs.  The Boy dug up a massive dock all by himself and then dug a big hole.

At home the alpine strawberries are still going.  They are so brilliant.  You don't seem to get a glut and there's never more than a handful to be picked, but I've been eating them for nearly 5 months.  They're self seeding/sowing too, these ones planted themselves - yum! 

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

New range

So I spent the last 3 weeks preparing stock for a fair that never happened.  I won't go into details as there's nothing I could do about it, but needless to say I've a fair amount of ceramic pendants and fused glass earrings that I will be updating to my website in the near future.  I've also put my name down for a table at my local school's Christmas Fayre.  Hopefully I'll still do okay.

I've a few different style pendants.  The top pic is of the disk pendants and these are my flower range...


They are all handmade, handpainted and made into pendants by me.  I've also made earrings and some brooches too.  The hubby designed some new cards for the earrings which I feel really sets them off well - to get an idea of scale, the cards are a bit smaller than business card size.

Earrings (the posts are silver plated) ...

The brooches....

I've been loving working with the fused glass.  I made lots and lots of lovely fused glass studs.  These are with sterling silver posts....

In my last post I talked about fused glass pendant sized pieces.  Well I have had another go and am very pleased with the results.  I made my own stringers and made up the pieces much more evenly (note the four at the top on the right.  These were from the first batch that I re-fused with the addition of another layer of clear glass).

And the results (sorry about the poor photo)...

I'm really pleased with these.  They are what I was hoping for and some of the dichroic effects are really interesting to look at.  Next challenge is hanging them.  I have found some strong glue, but it so far only works on the flat rolled bails and not the leaf bails - I'm going to be experimenting with different glues I can see!  I want to do more pieces with my own handmade  bails fused inside the glass or even holes added afterwards too.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Busy busy!

I've been a right busy bee. I was finally allowed to buy some bullseye glass to play with in my lovely little kiln.  Here are my first (rather dodgy) attempts. 

I feel I have a fair bit to learn!  I managed to get a few pieces from my first batch that I am pleased with, but as I didn't know what I'd like doing the whole lot were a bit of a mish mash of styles and techniques.  Plus the mixed pack of glass I ordered (so I'd have lots of lots of different glasses to try) came with very little opaque glass - in fact it only came with black, a small bit of red and a piece of yellow - the rest was all transparent.  

I was happy with how they looked when they went in, but not as impressed when they came out.  Firstly, I think I over cooked them a bit.  I followed a schedule for an SC2 but I think it's a bit high for my Caldera?? Anyway, it was a little too blobby for my liking.  Can I make it less so?? I'll certainly try to make the stack a little more even and will have I'll have another go with a different schedule.

However, I was pleased with my landscape prototypes.  They definately deserve some more playtime :)

Monday, 4 October 2010

Plot and beastie update

So, it's been ages since I've updated on the plot.  We're working through the Autumn jobs, trying to be much more organised than last year.  We've already got the Japanese onions and garlic in (names escape me - I left the labels at the plot!).  We've been clearing gground and generally getting sorted.

First of all though, a few pics from September ..........

Our first (and only) plum.  I managed to pick it too early too (sour - bllleeuugh!), so all in all a disappointment :(  Looked nice though!

Clearing the disappointing onion bed.  There were loads, but all very small and truth be told, too strong.  Hence planting Japanese onions in plenty of time this year!

A fairly decent harvest.  Suede and squashes have been brill.  Apples are tasty (if a little crusty in places) and we've had plenty of courguettes (just because I don't like them I think!).  And a lovely big gladioli :)

This is a pic of the newly cleared and freshly planted onion and garlic beds.  They're not full up, there's just a couple of  rows of garlic in the far bed and onions are in the end of the nearer big bed in the bit behind the 8' cane I laid down to mark the area.  I'm going to fill the rest of the bed with leeks, maincrop onions and anything else oniony.

A couple of weeks ago we made the big decision to remove the jostaberry bush.  As much as I liked the berries it was just too big for where I'd put it and to be honest we prefer rhubarb.  So as the bed was originally for the rhubarb we are going to keep it just for that.  I felt sad to be losing it at the time (it was massive and we couldn't get it out without chopping it right back so no chance of donating it).  It's created loads more space however, and felt right (even if it was a bit sad :( ).

The Mystery Of The Baby Mouse
Sounds like an Enid Blyton book :)  they were one of my faves.  I wonder if I'd still like them 25 years on? (!!! is it really 25 years?!).  

So, hubby was clearing away the weeds around the bed that is soon to be for the broadies when he looked down and what should he see on the floor by his feet but a baby mouse?!  We were rather baffled as to where it had come from.  Hubby thought that it may have come from under the edge of the carpet as that was where he had been yanking the weeds out, but no, there was an ant's nest there.  We wondered what to do with this little baby mouse.  It was very young, hadn't even opened it's eyes yet and wasn't furry, just wrinkly.  We weren't going to keep it.  We didn't really want it on the plot (I'm about to put broadies and peas in!) but couldn't bring myself just to leave it to die (probably a massive mistake, but I feel that we've probably got enough on our plot to lose a bit to a family of mice - I'll probably regret it when they multiply into thousands!).  

Anyway, Hubby then decided to lift up a slab and lo and behold there was mummy mouse in her nest and three more of her babies.  Mum scarpered pulling two of her babies behind her.  We popped them back in the nest and our baby mouse too and put the slab back down again.  We then packed up to go home, crossing our fingers that mummy mouse would come back (if she did - great, if she didn't - well, I guess that'd mean we had less of a mouse problem on the plot).  We checked the next weekend and there she was with her (now furry and alert) babies. We also found another nest further up the plot (hmmmm!?).  We checked again last weekend and they'd all left.  Doesn't take them long eh?

The slabs that the mice were under.  It's the clear one just the other side of the pile of weeds.

I have pics from this weekend too, just a few of the newly weeded and prepared broadie and pea bed and apples, but blogger is not playing nice and won't let me upload - pah!  I'll try to remember to do it another time.

In my back garden I've had bird feeders up and full in a homage to Cragside, but up until last week I've really had nothing but two fat pigeons and a blue tit.  However, last week I did get a robin - yay!  We're on a roll now! :)  I'm hoping that once it gets a bit colder and food gets a bit more scarce that the birds will find my amazing feeder and become more regular visitors.  Especially as out the front of the house we have goldfinches and long tailed tits!

Me and the kids were fascinated by a MEGA sized Garden Cross spider that is in our front window (thankfully on the outside!).  Seriously, his lady's backside is the size of a penny!  We've been watching her for a few weeks, building her web etc.  The other week we noticed a very brave fella cautiously making his way up to her......



Oooh la la...... :)

Run away!!!! :)

Very entertaining!  And he got away without being dinner! Brill!

And finally, a pic we took on a walk around the nature reserve.  You'd never know that is a gravel pit warehouse over the back!


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