28 February 2015

A Little Trip Back

Earlier this month I took a little holiday and went back to Prague. It was nice to see all the familiar faces and places, walking through the botanical garden and observing the spring flowers, taking a little peek into the cactus greenhouses, sleeping on a sofa at my friends' flat, sharing a dorm apartment with my Mum for a few nights, eating dumplings and relaxing with a nice cup of tea and a "kokoska" cake while writing colourful postcards to friends. It was a perfect little break. I felt like a student again, staying in various places and meeting old uni buddies.

11 February 2015

Potatoes Past and Present

As we have had potatoes grown at our cottage most years when I was younger, I always wanted to try and grow some. In summer I decided to plant some of the shop bought potatoes for cooking. They were not eaten and they were sprouting, so it seemed logical (even though every book about vegetables says do not do this). The result is this: roughly two handfuls of teeny tiny potatoes, the biggest pictured above.

I was surprised by how easy it was, the plants grew tall and strong and were probably the best looking plants in the whole of the garden. However, because I planted them so late in the year (July is not ideal - experience counts though :) ), the tubers did not have enough time to grow large and when the green parts of the plants died, they were still very little. Cutest baked potatoes in the world though J

Below is my entire harvest for the last year. It makes me feel sad for the seven fully grown potatoes that went into the ground to produce this pitiful amount. Well, we cannot go self-sufficient yet, because we would probably die. But I loved watching my plants grow and fantasizing about what might be hiding under the ground.

This year I am ready. I have already bought my seed potatoes, this time certified disease free and of a known variety. I have bought a large pack of King Edward potatoes and a much smaller sample pack of wonderful Red Duke of York potatoes. The patch is dug but needs some weeding and care and I am also getting ready for growing potatoes in tall bags. We will see... And I hope you will see too, if I do not fall into the lazy habit of not writing blog posts.Wish me luck.

06 February 2015

Christmas Stocking Garland 2014

This year’s Christmas is long gone, but that isn’t going to stop me from blogging about my biggest Christmas creation so far. I have only compelted it days before the big holiday and determined to enjoy all the resting, good food and relaxaation, I wasn’t going to blog about it. But now I can.

Inspired by several nice blog posts and some images on Pinterest, I thougt how great it would be to make a Christmas themed garland. Originally I wanted to make the whole thing out of felt, but when I discovered this great fabric in Hobbycraft, I had to have a stripe. The fabric had 24 Christmas stockings on it, all numbere from 1 to 24 with different wintery festive pattern on each and lines to cut around them. Sold by 24-stocking sections rather than by metre, it cost me about seven quid. I bought a different fabric for the back sides in the local Singer shop (this I chose to be dark green with golden dots) and I started sewing.

I am probably one of the few women you will meet that was taught how to use the sewing machine by my fiance. I always thought it must be something difficult to do, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I was even superbly proud of myself when I wound the thread on that little bobbin. Of course, I did it by hand, not knowing that there is a way to do it more neatly on the machine (it worked anyway, but makes most sewers I tell giggle).

Once I sewed the two sides together, I stuffed them and attached two ribbons to the upper right corner of each of the little stockings. This way, they could be tied to a single piece of string to create a garland, but can also be used separately as ornaments on a Christmas tree or randomly hung around the house. And if we get bored with all the bright colours and patterns, thez can always be turned back-to-front so that they are dark green and dotty. 

We displayed them on the living room mirror, as our Christmas tree was tiddly this year. I am incredibly proud of myself :)
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