Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Shades of grey (but only three)

It's done, a big grey blanket.

 It's not what I thought it would be when I started making it; as with most of my blanket projects, it's evolved.  

Since starting it I've ditched the bright green that was to edge it and added two more shades of grey to make three giant granny stripes, finished with a frilly edge which, if I hadn't had ten balls too many of dark grey, might have been light grey.

I'm quite pleased with it, despite going off the beaten track and ending up somewhere else! 

It's worked in Stylecraft Special dk in graphite, grey and silver with a 3.50mm hook.  It took 5 100g balls for each stripe plus another for the edging.

* * *

Since finishing I've started yet another project, this one needs to be finished in time for Christmas though ... 

... along with two pairs of wrist warmers - I'm using Annette's Nordic wrist warmers pattern here.

* * *

Apologies for not doing much blog visiting lately, things have been a little busy* ... 

... and since it's only about a week now until Christmas, this will probably be my last post of the year, although I will probably be dipping into Instagram now and then - I'm there as flowerhouse_jane.

Thank you for visiting my little space here over the last year and for all your lovely comments.  ♡ ♡ ♡

Wishing you a very happy Christmas and hope to see you all in 2015.

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x

* - Flora now aka Binney because she has worked out how to open the kitchen bin. Tips and hints gratefully received!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014


Chilli jelly.  I get slightly mesmerised by the way the little bits of chilli are suspended in the jelly.  It's a really easy recipe from Nigella Lawson's book 'Nigella Christmas'.  Take chillies, jam sugar, cider vinegar and let it boil like fury for ten minutes, job done.  

But a word of caution.  The chillies need to be de-seeded before they're chopped and Nigella advises wearing gloves to do this.  'Ha', I thought, the first time I made it, 'gloves are for wimps' and I chopped and de-seeded with joyful abandon bare-handed.  Half an hour later - oh the pain!  You see, oil from the chillies finds its way under your nails and the result is burning nail beds for about a week, which is unfortunate when you've made the chelly as a surprise Christmas delicacy for your husband and so are unable to mention it.  Therefore, this year, gloves are definitely not for wimps.  

Unlike the warm glowing chelly, the day here is, yet again, grey, damp and generally miserable, but I'm gradually building up a stash of blankets to snuggle in should the cold weather get to me.  This one is the first I made.  The colour scheme is not my invention, it belongs to Sharron who kindly posted her colour scheme on her blog here.

I'm on the last leg of the grey one but the border is taking an age (a) because the blanket is quite a big one, (b) because the border is a frill so there are three times more trebles to do, and (c) my little red four-legged friend LOVES yarn!  But despite the treble marathon, I'm finding this frilly edge a rather pleasing thing.

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post.

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Winning, dithering, dreaming, confusing

I had a lovely surprise last week:  I won a giveaway from Jooles at Sew Sweet Violet.  My prize was the Mollie Makes Patchwork and Quilting book, in which Jooles is a contributor with her lovely pinny, and I was really chuffed.  Thank you Jooles!

I've been dithering about the border on my grey blanket - frilly or lacey?  It's taken me about a week to think about it and I decided I would be able to get a better rhythm going with frilly, so frilly it will be on the next round of trebles.

My new project, on the other hand, requires a lot more concentration.  A lighter, more lacey look to this one in my current colour crush - a greyish mauve; heaven knows how long it will take, I dream of draping it over my bed at Christmas but it won't be - doesn't matter, I enjoy the process.

I'm also dreaming of Christmas PJs - got the fabric ...

... but have also got Flora with ideas of her own and it doesn't help when she gets a bit carried away with herself:

Oh Flora!  And yet she's so adorable when she's like this:

* * *

This week I'm trying to get my head round Instagram.  I like the idea, I just seem to have premature send syndrome at the moment, so if you're on Instagram and get half a comment from me, please bear with, I'm working on it.

Thank you for your lovely comments on my last post.

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The all-seasons garden

I seem to almost have the gardening year in a nutshell.  I have summer roses, geranium psilostemon, begonias and even a hollyhock hanging on for dear life (but only just).

The autumnal hues of fading hydrangea flowers and sedum

And winter jasmine and viburnum.

Just need some bulbs to pop up now for a complete snapshot.  

* * *

A certain little puppy is growing like a weed and keeping me busy, but I have been able to sneak in a bit of hooky time:  simple facecloths worked in double crochet with Debbie Bliss cotton dk and a 5mm hook.

And the beginnings of a border.

Balls of yarn have been relocated as Flora + yarn = excellent fun (in Flora's world that is).  

Butter wouldn't melt. Not the best picture but it's hard to get her to sit still long enough!

Thank you for your lovely comments on my last post and welcome to new followers.

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x

Friday, 31 October 2014

One bloggy year

It's a year today since my first blog post and to be honest, when I started I didn't think that I would last five minutes.  I had enjoyed reading many other blogs, most of which seemed to serve a purpose or have a particular skill or interest to share, but I had no idea what I wanted mine to be, so I decided that I would just go with the flow and if I ran out of steam then so be it.  A year on I'm still here and seem to blog mostly about things I crochet, knit, sew and grow (oh and the occasional day trip) and that's how it will stay ... for now ... I think.  

The best thing is that I've met some lovely bloggers along the way, I've learned new skills, taken part in a 'mand-a-long' and a 'sew-along' and completed projects that had been languishing in the bottom of a basket for far too long.  I'm amazed at the talent and creativity out there and so to all bloggers I would like to say thank you for sharing your knowledge, skills and enthusiasm.  Heartfelt thanks also to all those who have stopped to leave comments, they are much appreciated.  

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a little giveaway to celebrate my 'first birthday' and two names of commenters on that post have been drawn from the giveaway hats (actually they were Tupperware boxes):

The Rowan yarn parcel goes to Niki Murray at coffee cakes and crochet

The Tilda fat quarters parcel goes to CJ at Above the River

Congratulations to both, I hope you can find a use for them.  Please email me your addresses so I can send them to their new homes.  

Names were picked with eyes tightly shut after the 'hats' had been given a good shake but I'm afraid I had to fire the adjudicator for sleeping on the job.

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x

Monday, 20 October 2014


This is Flora.

She is an Irish Setter and she is 8 weeks old.

She's eating well and generally settling in nicely.  She likes playing in the garden, growling and barking at her ball, biting our feet (ouch) and snoozing with her new friend Rabbit when it all gets a bit too much.  

Still managing to get some hooky in during puppy sleep time - simple face cloths with just a few rows of double crochet in Debbie Bliss cotton dk. 

Best plants in the flowerhouse garden at the moment are the asters.  I love asters and it's only this year that I've bought some for the garden.  Let's hope they survive Flora's attention.

Am celebrating first blog birthday on 31st October with a little giveaway, details can be found here if you would like to join in.  

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x

Friday, 17 October 2014

Giveaway for first blog birthday

How time flies.  It's almost a year since my first blog post so to celebrate I have two small parcels to give away.  Each will contain items on the flowerhouse theme of crochet, knit, sew and grow.

In parcel one:  four Tilda fat quarters and three packets of seeds.

In parcel two:  three balls of Rowan pure wool DK and three packets of seeds.

Each parcel will also include a couple of F&M tea bags so you can sit back with a cuppa and admire what you've made and grown.  All the seeds can either be planted in the garden or grown in pots on a patio or window sill.  

In true raffle tradition names will be drawn from a hat.  If you would like the chance to receive either of these just leave a comment on this post.  Your name will go into both hats unless you state a preference for only one in particular in your comment.  I am happy to post to anywhere in the world.  

Names will be picked on my blog birthday, 31st October, so the giveaway closes at midnight on 30th October (UK time).

I've enjoyed my first year, made lots of things and found some lovely people so I'm looking forward to the next.

Hope all is well out there ...

Jane x

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Times a-changing

With autumn here we've finally said goodbye to our bumper supply of tomatoes and runner beans. They have been our best crops this year and we've picked them by the bucket load.  

Best plants in the flowerhouse garden at the moment are Japanese anemones ...

... and cosmos.  These cosmos (Candy Stripe) were seeds given to me as part of a Mother's Day present.  They've flowered all summer and are still going strong despite the best efforts of the wind and rain to beat them down over the last couple of days.  

The upside of the rain is that the lady's mantle catches the drops and it never ceases to amaze me.

I was pleased to see that my lupins do it too.  

* * *

On a vintiquing trip to Otford last week with my lovely friend Gill (Gillyflower), I was pleased to find this vintage Cornishware jug ...

... which sits nicely with my vintage Cornishware mixing bowl, a recent Ebay win.

I know you can still buy it new, but there's something very pleasing about the vintage pieces.  My aunt had a cupboard full of it when I was little - happy memories.  

The following day I pootled down to Tenterden to the wonderful Hoop Haberdashery and came away with a bag full of Drops Alpaca, 15 balls of it to be precise, so work has started on yet another blanket-sized project. 

Before I get carried away with this one though I really must finish the grey blanket, which has grown quite nicely considering its size (I want it to cover my king size bed).  


Yarny activities will probably have to be restricted to upstairs in the flowerhouse soon as things are about to change.  Here's a clue ...

Hope all is well out there ...

Jane x