Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Turnip disaster, draft excluder, making of a quilt

When turnips are seedlings, slugs like to nip off all the leaves, killing the plant. Then when turnips grow bigger, slugs can't be bothered with the leaves and turn their attention to the root. I learned that this winter with the remainder of my turnips left in the ground; about half of them had been completely mined out by slugs. Rather disgusting to pull up a nice fat turnip only to see a slimy invertibrate poking out of a huge hole. And that's after the cabbage root flies got to them. Sigh.

I sewed a quick draft excluder for our front door; that door can let in a terrible draft in winter. It actually works! I basically sewed a big tube and a small tube; I stuffed the small tube with brown rice then put it in the big tube, which I filled up with polyester stuffing. The rice makes the excluder a bit more sturdy. Dried beans or lentils could work, too.

I've been piecing together a small quilt for Franklin's bed made from old wool jackets and coats. At the moment the quilt top measures 40"x49". I can't decide if I want to piece together the smaller scraps and make a border (adding another 4-8 inches all around) or to finish it this size. I certainly have lots of scraps left. It's not in the least professional-looking, but it's warm and fuzzy. Each of the jackets I paid £1 for (love that shop!), and all of them are at least 80% wool.

This quilt needs a backing however. I've been on the lookout for thinner wool items, like skirts or trousers and while I have a couple things, it's not enough. As this is for a not-quite-fully-potty-trained toddler, I'm sticking to wool as it repels water and also doesn't hold odors like other materials. Plus it's warm!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Garlic, daffs, bread, birthday

My garlic grows so tall! It's nice to see something growing out there, for a change. However, as far as winters go, this one's pretty mild compared to the last two. No snow yet, and only a few hard frosts.
In fact, it's so mild I even have a daffodil flowering. I took its photo last week and it's now opened fully.
I go through phases of breadmaking. This month I've made it nearly every day. Partner and I bought a small, round cast-iron casserole dish which makes a fantastic crusty loaf. Partner made the first loaf in it; the contrast amazed me. I hope my next loaf compares to his.

Partner's birthday this week. We're spending it in London with his parents. Even though I had planned on gifting them and other London family with some Christmas baking, it seems so long since Christmas I just don't feel like making the effort. After all, they're all probably on New Year's diets now, and sick of the sight of Christmassy foods. I am.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

More of the same, really. With socks.

A new year with new plans and dreams. I have some big dreams for this year. For instance, I dream that starting in about June/July, we will stop buying vegetables, permanently. Partner and I put up another raised vegetable bed this weekend: a tall one intended for carrots. I hope to grow a year's supply. I've put in my order for potatoes and a few other vegetable seeds, so this dream is already becoming a plan.

I also dream of chickens out back. As soon as we have a hen house, we're putting in an order for three or four hens. I'm excited!

And I dream of a beautiful house, with beautiful things which I love. Perhaps a gentle purge is in order. Already one non-beautiful item has been replaced; Partner found a small hi-fi cabinet on freecycle to replace our old battered cabinet. The units (all five) are shut behind a glass door and the old cabinet is hollowed out, ready to grow carrots. It looks so much more attractive as a raised bed!

I knit myself a pair of fun stripey socks. The yarn was once all the same boring beige color; I changed all that with a few packets of kool aid. I had as much fun dyeing it as I did knitting with it and I've got enough (fingers crossed) for another pair. But at the moment I'm knitting birthday socks for Partner. It's no surprise, he knows about them; he had to try the first one on about ten times during the knitting process to ensure fit. However, as I knit the second sock, I wish it were for me; it's so soft: wool/cashmere.