Thursday, 29 April 2010

1st Blog Birthday Giveaway.


It was to have been my 100th post giveaway but I wasn't organised enough. However, my momentous first post ever was on 27th April 2009 and as it's now 29th April 2010 I'm only 2 days late for my blog's first birthday, and as anyone who knows me (not that I've told many who know me about my blog!), a mere 2 days late for a birthday is a pretty good achievement for me.

I started my blog to promote my leaded glass business. That was a complete shot in the foot! Any spare time I now have is spent blogging and crocheting (which I discovered through blogging) and my "business" has been left to languish (along with the housework!).

Anyway, on offer is a leaded tealight holder which I have managed to find time to make recently. I've made two designs to choose from...

...a robin (not just for Christmas!), or...

... a sailing boat.

The leaded glass piece is slotted into a little wooden holder which has a recess for a tealight candle. The lead has been left in it's natural finish but polished to a shine.

A word about my leadwork...

All my leaded items are decorated using the stained glass overlay method. This differs from traditional cut stained glass in that coloured films are applied to a single piece of glass, and adhesive lead is then applied on top (in traditional stained glass, pieces of coloured glass are cut to the required shape and the lead is used to hold then all together). For the small items I make I find the overlay method to be a good medium. It also means that my designs are not as restricted as they would be using the traditional cut glass method (a method which I have used in the past having completed two years of stained glass evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art). However, personally, I would not recomend the overlay method for exterior use (I just don't think it would last as well, the manufacturer's guarantee for exterior use is 10 years "with an estimated life expectancy in excess of 25 years"), or for large areas of window decoration (the effect is just too flat and you don't get such beautiful light transmission as you do with real stained glass). It is, however, ideal for the mirrors I make as it allows them be created using a single sheet of mirrored glass thus keeping the reflected image undistorted. Instead of plain film I like to use those with marble effects, wisps and lustres which have added depth of colour and interest. I use natural lead and am therefore able to solder lead joints which gives a quality finish to the leadwork. The lead is either polished as-is for a natural lead finish, or treated with a patination fluid before polishing which give the lead a darkened antique finish.

So there you go!

Also in the giveaway will be...

Some nice dark coloured tealight candles (white ones stand out too much against the wooden holder), otherwise available from good old Ikea.

One of my beaded bracelets, and...

...a pair of fridge magnets that I have made.

All you need to do (if you've managed to get this far!) is...

1. Have your own blog
2. Comment on this post and let me know...
(a) Whether you'd prefer the robin or the sailboat.
(b) Which colour of bracelet you'd like.
(c) Which two fridge magnets you'd like.
(d) Whether you prefer milk or plain chocolate (can't have a give-away without chocolate can we!)

That's all, except to note here how much I do appreciate all the comments any visitors leave on my blog. As I said, it was to have been a crafty business blog but has developed into a cycling, crochet, baking and garden blog, which I don't really mind at all!

Oh, and you have till midnight a week today to enter, good luck!


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Our April Garden

Following the unusually cold winter our garden is a little late in blooming this year. There weren't many horticultural happenings here in March but April has been a much more generous month. However, though we have had quite a lot of sunshine it has generally been accompanied by a cold wind. Aside from a couple of warm days it has definitely still been sock weather!

As you will see, I like using my macro button to take photos of the plants in the garden. It's great for focussing on the beautiful flowers, buds and leaves and not on the general mess which usually lies behind. There are still far too many weedy and untidy bits of the garden for me to give a proper tour but I have included some views of the garden towards the end of this post. The trick in getting away with these seems to be to take the photo into the sun!

We start with a blossom from the copper leaved tree we have in the middle of the back garden. This tree used to always be very early to flower and would be covered in many blossoms. This year it's very late and there are very few flowers. Those that there are are still very pretty though.

Ladies Mantle. Considered a nuisance by some due to it's prolific self-seeding habit. For me it's a blessing as it's great at hiding weeds! The leaves look especially lovely after light rainfall.

Lupin, also lovely after rain.

Viburnum, not a very exciting shrub.

One of my three lilacs. This one is in the front garden and is always first to flower. I do like lilacs, I'm sure I could find space for another one, perhaps with yellow flowers as I don't have one of those, yet!

Bleeding Heart. Nice at this time of year though it looks a bit dead and messy by late summer.

I liked the contrast here of the bright leaves against the dark wall. The pink flowers are from a flowering currant...

...and look even more striking againt a clear blue sky.

Ta da! It's red! This is the first year my camellias have bloomed. I planted them 6 or 7 years ago.

A small cabbage white butterfly. I've also seen a peacock butterfly and a small tortoiseshell. I've never noticed them before at this time of year, however, I've also never been blogging at this time of year - I now see so much more of what there is around me.

Violas. I planted two large pots of these before the winter and they have been fantastic. Since taking this photo the tulips I also planted in the pot are now just about to flower.

Some colourful washing.

It's just so good to get washing dried oustide again.

A view of the garden. N (not yet 2) is already quite an adept climber, if you look closely you can see he's just made his way to the top of the ladder on the climbing frame.

Another garden view, this time looking down towards the back of the house from the seat in front of the brown shed. In the foreground are two of our four raised veggie beds. The other two are behind the shed. A was very keen that I take a photo of her about to go down the slide.

And finally, a view of the back garden from N's bedroom window.

Soon it will be May, my favourite month of the year as everything looks so fresh and green and full of promise.

Now, however, it's time for bed!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Saturday Morning Bike Ride and a Few Other Things

Well, when I looked out the bedroom window first thing it seemed to me as if it was going to rain, so I set off just intending to do a short 1-2 hr route.

I head off on the road up the hill through the trees. The squirrels seem very busy at the moment, sometimes I don't see any, othertimes there are loads scuttling about and crashing through the branches.

I always like when I reach the top of the hill as it all suddenly seems very peaceful.

A view from the top.

Getting a little closer to the lambs now.

I've been spotted! She's fine though and doesn't run away and cause one of those mad sheep stampedes!

The tree mound and red gate post.

I like the contrast of the copper hedge and the green fields.

Pussy Willow.

A tree silhouette. The trees won't be bare branched for much longer, buds are starting to burst open.

Mossy Stones.

The peacock! I've often glimpsed him when I've come this way. This is the best view I've had of him so far.

Still not showing off his tail though.

Looking up the road to my left from where I've just taken the last photo.

This interesting little raised summerhouse is nearby. The roof is greatly in need of repair, I hope they get it fixed and don't let it become a ruin.

In the end it didn't rain so I could have gone for a longer run. However, I realise I've forgotten my pump (not that I've ever needed to use it (yet!)), and I also remember that there's a jumble sale on in the village from 10-12, I've time to nip home for a shower then back out for some bargain hunting!

For the grand total of £6.50 (includes £1.50 entry) I get 8 books, a bundle of clothes for A & N, a huge spicey orange coloured velvet curtain (to be used to back my tapestry cushions (at last!)) and a woollen picnic blanket. Not bad.

Earlier on in the week I spy this in TK Maxx. Look at those lovely little crocheted circles, such gorgeous colours too. They'd look great in my sitting room! It's not a blanket though...

... just the collar of a very nice girl's cardigan. I buy it as part of a birthday present for one of A's friends.

Last week I also received my giveaway goodies from Cathy at One Pink Goose. I picked the sheep from the selection of prints on offer, he just had a great expression. Cathy very generously also included several of her cards in her own designs.

This one is my favourite. I'm going to put it in a frame and hang it in our kitchen.

Talking of giveaways...

...earlier in the week I finally cleared my desk so that I could start work on my own giveaway prize. And, I managed to get two items finished too...

...they're on display in my living room though I'll be surprised if anyone mangages to spot them in amongst all our other bits and pieces (you should have seen the room before I tidied up - I did take a photo and considered posting it but in the end I decided that I didn't really want to mess up my blog!).

I've a garden post I want to do (before it all changes too much!) then I'll finally do my giveaway post, hope it's worth the wait...

Thursday, 22 April 2010

The Gnome.

Ahh, that's better!

I couldn't help myself, I had to do it. I think this photo mosaic of my Mum's April garden is a big improvement. I'm going to get it printed for her.

And while I'm at it I'll get this one printed too, it's from last October.

I like the wee gnome who features in the centre panel of both mosaics. I gave him to my Dad many years ago as a jokey birthday present and was very touched to find he'd taken him with him when they moved house. By the way, I've still not forgiven my parents for moving! For nearly 40 years they lived in Angus which is where I grew up and where I liked being able to go home to every so often, not just to see my parents, but to catch up with my old school friends and my old haunts too (it's great cycling country!), then seven years ago my folks decided to up sticks and move 170 miles to the southwest. Where they are now is still a nice part of the country but it's a bit busy traffic-wise in my opinion. Anyway, they like it there which is the main thing (I suppose!)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Stripes, Stitches, Flowers, Feet.

I'm back!

We were just away visiting my parents for a few days. They stay in the south west of Scotland so no aeroplane travel involved, fortunately! It did mean I missed yet another Saturday cycle though.

Anyway, one upside was that I had several days with no cooking/washing/housework/computer access(!) at all. This gave me time in the evenings to do this...

... one side of a crocheted cushion cover for N.

So, what happened to the cushion for A? Well, here's a little peek...

Both sides are finished. The cushion pads have now arrived. Just need to find time to join them together.

As you may have guessed, I'm rather partial to these round stripey crocheted covers. I've now even offered to do one for my Mum.

One evening I did fancy a little change though so had a bash at one of the flowers from this book which I'd taken with me for such emergencies. I thought the book would have a quick description of each stitch in it but it doesn't and the only stitches I could remember off heart were chain, double & treble so that helped narrow down the choice of flowers I could make. I plumped for the lazy daisy... it is nestling against some of my Mum's primroses.

Speaking of flowers, I did my usual photographic tour of my Mum's garden. I then spent(wasted!) much time sorting them into a photo mosaic...
...and after all that effort I'm not sure I like the end reult. However it seemed better than posting individual photos. Hmmm, I think I'll stick to 3x3 mosaics, to me these seem to work best.

Thank you for the kind comments on my last post regarding our own garden. We are lucky to have quite a big garden though because of its size I have yet to manage to tame it all. I've taken more photos of it which I'll bore you with another day. Here's one of a tiny bit of our mossy grass for now...

... graced by a lovelyhydrangea skeleton leaf.

On an unrelated note, I include this photo...

...just because I love the way A & N snuggle up to each other on the sofa when they're watching the telly (until A starts poking N then it all ends in tears!)

By the way, if anyone's really been paying attention you may notice that this is my 111th post which is when I promised a giveaway. Sorry but I'm not organised enough yet but it will happen sometime soon, hopefully by the end of next week. This week's turning out a bit busy. I'm also playing in this at the weekend, we had a rehearsal for it tonight. Lovely music!

Enjoy your week!


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