Gardening

Raspberries and a new crochet top

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Despite a lovely long hot summer, this year our raspberries are ripening rather slowly… a little like my blogging of late, the pickings so far for 2015 have been pretty slim!!!

crochet top free patternLife just seems to be getting busier and busier. The lovely relaxed days of summer have become all but a distant memory and now that  school is back (actually they’ve been back for two weeks), there is so much more on and after school activities are back in full swing. Ive also been working more (and traveling with my job) which makes spare time a rare commodity.

crochet top free patternHopefully this lovely crochet and chiffon top makes up for the wait!

Ginko crochet top 5Simple and easy to make, this top is lovely and cool – perfect for the hot weather we are experiencing. It took a while to get the hang of a small hook and fine cotton in my hands, but once I had the knack, it was lovely to work with. Working with heavy wool in the summer = not my idea of a good time!

crochet top free patternThe only modification I had to make to the pattern was to add a lining/undershirt. Because the crochet lace at the top is so fine, and the bottom is so sheer, I needed a little something underneath – so I whipped up a knit (t-shirt type material) singlet in a similar pale blue which I attached to the inside at the shoulder seams. It worked perfectly, and using the over-locker (serger) means it only required a few seams to complete. If you didn’t want to make something specially, I’m sure a slip or singlet in a complementary color would also work just fine. Ginko crochet top 4I love the rose fabric, which took quite  lot of hunting to find – I almost purchased something else but decided it wasn’t quite right, I was so glad when I found this because I knew it was just what I had been looking for. I was so glad that I waited!

If you’d like to make this lovely top for yourself, check out the pattern and most excellent tutorial over at Genuine Mudpie, thanks Trish I love it!crochet top free patternI really wish I could share some of these fabulous raspberries with you all :) Of all the fruit and veges I grow, they are my favourite crop. Requiring no special treatment and not much water, they give us a huge return –  and the taste, did I mention how good they taste? Honestly they are to die for. Luscious little pearls of sweet AND tart that just burst on your tongue. Bliss!

Hope you are having a wonderful week, and enjoying a small (and healthy) treat where ever you are!

Love Janette xoxoxox

Lacy

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Summer is in full swing here, its hot, but not only that, the humidity is verging on ridiculous. Needless to say the thought of crocheting wool isn’t that tempting just now :)

So instead I’m working on something suitably light and lacy… in a lovely cool shade of lightest blue 2ply cotton:Lacy crochet 6 Lacy crochet 5 Lacy crochet 4 Lacy crochet 3 Lacy crochet 2 Lacy crochetWhat are you working on at the moment, something seasonal? How’s the weather where you are? Janette xoxo

PS. Welcome to all the new followers! Do pop by and leave a comment, and if there is anything I can help out with, sing out :)

Tangerine crochet

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Tangerine crochet 4This week Ive been working away on a cardigan for Maia. I was going to save it for her birthday, but I’ve had to have her try it on numerous times to get the fit just right (its a modification of another pattern), so now she is monitoring my progress and (im)patiently waiting until its finished.

Tangerine crochet 2The color is gorgeous, not too girlie but still a lovely soft sherbert tangerine color, just right for summer and an almost-eight year old miss who has recently developed an aversion to pink. I guess the pink I had planned for the trim will have to stay in the draw!

TangerineThe rainbow in these shots comes from a crystal prism I have hanging in the dining room window, I hadn’t realised it was in the frame until the sun came out and I began taking photos.

It’s pretty though, don’t you think?

Colourful…

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I had to stop when I rode past the gardens on my bike today… the flowers were just glorious!  Spring tulips 6 Spring tulips 5

They were an almost shocking contrast to the bare branches of the surrounding trees…

Spring tulips 4I love the color of spring :)Spring tulips 7

How Ive missed you red, pink, purple, yellow and orange…Spring tulips 3

Spring tulips 2

I must bring the children back for a photo on that park bench! Spring tulips

What’s blooming in your world? xx

Perfect peach pie…

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Golden queen peachesWe’ve enjoyed a looooonnnnnnggggg hot summer, and even though its officially autumn our weather station informs me that its still 27 C right now – and its 6.30pm! I’m not complaining though, I know winter is just around the corner so I fully intend to remain in summer mode as long as I possibly can.

Of all the fruit and veg our garden has provided this summer, the golden queen peach has been my favourite. So sweet, juicy and so, so peachy… it’s like biting a little bit of summer each time I sink my teeth in. Nothing at all like a ‘brought’ peach; homegrown golden queens really are the royalty of peaches.

Ours are now almost at their end, brown spots are appearing and skins are wrinkling, so tonight I cooked up a simple pie with the last of them.

Peach pieA crusty crispy crust….

Sweet and juicy center, with a hint of lemony tang…

And the smell which fills the kitchen? Heavenly!

A perfect end of summer food… this pie really hit the spot.

With maybe just a smidgen of hokey pokey ice cream! Yum!

Peach pie and ice creamRaewyn’s Perfect Peach Pie

Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 60g cold butter
  • 1/4 c iced water

Pie filling

  • 6-8 peaches (peeled and sliced)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice and zest of a lemon
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 200 C.

Make the dough using a food processor – cut the butter into the flour, then with the motor running add the water in a slow stream. Keep blending until the mix all comes together to form a ball. Roll the dough on a lightly floured board and transfer to pie dish (I like to cook the pie and trim the extra pastry from the edge later).  Peel and slice the peaches and arrange in dish.Peach pie 2Heat together the sugar, lemon juice and butter until melted/dissolved, cool slightly, then beat in the egg and pour over the peaches. Transfer to hot oven and bake until set and the pastry is golden… about 30 – 40 minutes- perhaps slightly less than this one, but those crispy edges were deliciously caramelized! Perfect peach pie

Enjoy! How’s your week going? Are you cooking up anything delicious you really just HAVE to share with me? – Jxo

In the garden

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How has your week panned out? It’s been a lovely week here, the weather holds. It’s still nice and warm, and although rain was forecast this weekend, it has not arrived. School and after school activities are now in full swing, and the pace of life has picked up to match, as have I – needs must.

Today I’m going to share a little more of my garden, but Ill be back in a day or two with some crafty progress and other happenings from around the place.

My vege garden has found a new lease of life, consistent watering and the continuing long hot summer has given it a second wind. We have water restrictions so I’m getting up at 6am every second day and turning on the sprinkler for an hour or two.  I’ve got another round of summer crops in, the tomatoes, courgettes and cucumbers are still going strong and many autumn crops are beginning to take off too.

Here are some garden shots taken over the last week…

Leeks, interspersed with coriander, silverbeet and zinnias:Garden feb 2014A second crop of potatoes… hope there are lot’s of lovely taters under those leafy heads! Garden feb 2014 potatoes

A golden courgette flower:

Corgette flowerBee on the wing, they love these borage flowers:

Bee and borageCinnamon basil, the first time Ive grown this variety, it seems to be very abundant… must make pesto this week before the basil all turns the corner:

Cinnamon BasilA drooping sunflower head in the late afternoon sun. If you’ve figured out an easy way to harvest the seeds please let me know:

Dead sunflowerThe second crop of raspberries, even better than the first!

Raspberries ripeningMarigolds, basil and tomatoes, wonderful companions, all have thrived this summer:

Marigolds tomatoes and basilDill seed heads… one of two herbs I never plant but always have in abundance due to self seeding (or lazy gardening!) – the other is coriander:

Dill flowersI think they are so beautiful too…Dill seed head 2

We’ve an awesome crop of golden queen peaches this year – YUM:

Golden queen peachesFinally the perfect antidote to these hot afternoons… a little sprinkler action:

In the sprinklerWhat’s been happening in your neck of the woods? Do tell… Jxx

Heavenly hydrangeas

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After a somewhat sedate start to the new year, things really have picked up to the point that I now feel like I am constantly running to keep up. From early morning till (sticky hot!) evening, life is more than a little chaotic and I feel like I’m racing from one task to another… there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day! I took a few minutes this afternoon to ‘just breathe’, and wandered around the garden taking photos – while the children were playing under the sprinkler!

I couldn’t resist sharing these hydrangeas with you…

Hydrangeas Hydrangeas Hydrangeas HydrangeasThey are, of course, past their best. In a day or two the petals will start to brown and curl… but for today I feel happier that I took a few moments and I reveled in their beauty.

So do tell, how is the new year treating you? Has 2014 hit it’s stride and racing along at your place too? I’d love to hear! Janette xx

This and that

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Here are some photos from the last few days, it’s a bit of a random update I’m afraid. The weather has been so nice and we have been so busy I haven’t been spending any time near a computer. Grapes 2014The children painting, and (in the foreground) our stupendous grape crop. We are patiently waiting for them to ripen… the color is just starting to turn so they shouldn’t be far off.

Rose and grapesThe last of the summer roses, Ill be sad to see them go. Roses in swan vaseI will dead head the bush this weekend, but I don’t think it will bloom again before autumn sets in.

Crochet throwAfter a week trawling wool shops (both online and around town), I’ve finally purchased the yarn to complete this cheery throw. I love the bright circles, and spent a long time trying to decide what order to place them in so the colors are balanced. I think I’ve settled on what’s shown in the pic above.Carter, Maia and their new pjsIm still sewing up a storm, including these new PJ shorts for Maia and Carter. Carter is so not into having his photo taken right now… shame, I love taking photos of them! This was the best of a bad bunch: PJ CollageBilly the cat playing with the crochet mouse family (ok maybe not playing, more tolerating Carter annoying his nap time). Billy cat and crochet miceA poppy head (random :) )Poppy seedThese guys are growing up so quickly… and they are so cute, but it’s a battle of wills right now. They are convinced the best place to hang out is on our deck. Unfortunately we don’t agree with them…Chicks Feb 2014Eating so many cucumbers I may well start to look like one…Apple cucumberStill waiting for my tomatoes to ripen, they were planted a little late this year and so the wait seems extra long!

Ripening tomatoesWhile the heat lovers (like grapes and tomatoes) are thriving, the flower garden is looking far from its best… although these dying hydrangea blooms are still quite beautiful. Dying hydrangeaHow’s your week going? Jxox

Cheep cheeps

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Chickens Jan 2014We have extended the chicken family and now there are six pekin bantams…I’d like to introduce Myrtle, Sonny Bill, Cheepie, Blossom, Sun, Cloudy :)

This week I’ve been doing a bit of sewing, more pillowcases for the children (simply so I can get the Christmas ones off the beds!) New pillowcases 2

Getting a sensible photo of Carter is almost impossible right now.New pillowcasesYes they chose their own fabrics. I also made Maia’s headband, Im thinking of posting a tutorial for these shortly. DIY headbandsAnd yesterday I whipped up one of these bags, love the pattern and tutorial… I can see myself making lots more of these. Reversible bag free patternWhat projects are you working on this week?

Janette df

Home again…

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We’re back, welcomed by miles of washing and the dreaded unpacking – honestly one of my least favourite things to do – but it is lovely to be home.

Billy the cat is very happy to see us…Hot billYes, he is very hot! The garden had also survived the hot weather, although I spent a couple of hours this afternoon ‘re-hydrating’ it with my trusty hose.

But we arrived home to the sad news that Mabel, my favourite (very much loved pet) pekin bantam, had died while we were away. Gardening will never be the same without her, she always accompanied, me pecking in the soil for unsuspecting worms or sitting on my shoulder if I spent too long bent over weeding.

Garden Sept 13 8And she loved to sit under the outside table and eat whatever tit bits she could get her beak into (pizza was a definite favourite)…Mabel eating pizzaI know lots of people won’t understand an attachment to a chicken, but Mabel was a special chook with a big personality. Ill miss you, RIP darling girl. J xox

Perfectly Pink

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Just quickly stopping by while I have a cake in the oven (In case you’re interested I’m baking one of these, if you fancy a healthy cake this is it – YUM YUM!) and right now the children are outside occupied with Dad (I have no idea what they are doing, but all is quiet so I’m not about to run out and ask). Sorry its been a bit quiet on the blog… I am working on, not one, but two, dolls (I have tireless taskmasters) and a new crochet cardigan (for me!). I promise to share some photos soon!

In the mean time, today’s episode is brought to you by the color pink :)

IMpatientsPink petuniaAnother pink petuniaPink geraniumpeony 2014 2Teresa's rosePink  roseFoxglovePeony 2014My garden is awash with pink, not usually my favourite color… but today it is so bright and lovely, I especially love my peony which is in bloom early this year! Ahh spring, how I love thee ♥

To everyone who drops by the green dragonfly over the weekend, hello and welcome, I hope you have a wonderful weekend! If you came looking for some crochet inspiration you might like to check out my crochetlicious pinterest board… it’s been getting a lot of action lately. So many things to make, so little time! Love Janette xo

Spring

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It seems like life to have picked up the pace a notch or three recently… here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to the past week or so.

Enjoying being outside:Spring in our yardMaking lots of these:Rainbow bands bracelets 3 maia and rainbow bandsWatching the bees hard at work:Bee in the borageCrocheting (starting a lot, finishing a little): Doily 100Loving the ripe juicy sweetness of spring strawberries: Strawberries in a chipEnjoying foxgloves in my vege garden: FoxglovesWaiting patiently for my potatoes to be ready:Potatoes gardenSmelling this gorgeous geranium every time I brush past:Geranium pinkEating lots of lovely light meals now the weather is warmer:Veges and dipMarveling at the eggs that fell when a blackbird nest blew out of the tree in our yard:Blackbird eggMore crocheting (I must confess that while I’m quite fond of these wee mice, my children inform me they look like goblin mice. Thanks guys, tell me what you really think why don’t ya):Crochet mice in a tea cupLoving self seeded aquilegias:Aquilegia purplePlanting (well need to get planting) these verbena:VerbenaFeeling more than a little bit tired, and glad tomorrow is Friday! How is your week going? x Janette

Gardening

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It’s been a while since I’ve shared a garden update, now seems like a good time because everything is stirring from the winter slumber (including me).Garden Sept 13 10This winter I all but turned my back on our garden, and despite the mistreatment, it still provided plenty.

Garden Sept 13One advantage of neglect is that there are always plenty of self sown seedlings popping up. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve brought a lettuce plant, but we always have an abundance of Marvel of four seasons (the reddish one) and Buttercrunch. Not to mention miners lettuce which grows all winter in almost weed like proportions.Garden Sept 13 2This artichoke made a delicious addition to our dinner last night, and was enjoyed by all, steamed and dipped in lemony butter. Don’t you agree that the first of the season always tastes best? Garden Sept 13 5We have three main beds, last week I dug one over with plenty of compost in preparation for planting early potatoes. I know, two spades, impressive huh?!Garden Sept 13 4These are ‘Rocket’ seed potatoes, I got them in yesterday and I’m hoping they will be ready by Christmas! I realise this might be a little ambitious. I chit them in egg cartons, this protects the delicate shoots and then makes transferring them to the garden easy.Garden Sept 13 7My best girl Mabel kept a watchful eye and snapped up any worms silly enough to linger near the surface. She’s a pretty bantam with a big personality, she will be five years old next month, so she’s really part of the family. Whenever I’m in the garden she’s always at my side (and sometimes, on my shoulder).Garden Sept 13 8Borage is such a wonderful companion plant in the early spring, it brings in lots of bees, and despite its prickliness I think it’s quite beautiful.Garden Sept 13 9I’m waiting in anticipation for the broad beans to pod up. Not only because I can’t wait to eat them, but also because I need this garden free so I can get my tomatoes in. I won’t plant so many this year, honest. Garden Sept 13 6I’ve been blown away by the huge response to my little giveaway! I’ve loved reading all the wonderful comments, they make me smile (and some even made me laugh). You still have time to enter if you haven’t already.

Enjoy your weekend, the school term finished on Friday so we are away for a few days in Whangamata staying at a friend’s beach bach. I don’t think it will be warm enough for swimming, but we should get in some nice long walks on the beach. xox J