Sewing, stitching, baking, cooking, gardening, shopping and general homemaking.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Vintage Look Dresses

I'm so glad that the 1950s look has been in fashion lately.  As a youngster I couldn't wait to wear the fashions of the 50s.  Then, of course fashions changed to mini skirts and shift dresses during the 1960s.  This year I decided to make two summer dresses that have a bit of that retro look.  A friend was interested in what I was doing and brought along a pattern she'd used in 1960.  It was her favourite ever dress and included a little bolero.  This got me very enthusiastic.  My friend lent me the bolero pattern and I made two to match the dresses I'd made.  Here's the original 1960 pattern...

I didn't do the buttons and buttonholes,  even though the pattern says size 14 it was tiny, I'm a size 12 and I doubt I could have managed to fasten it up.

Here are the two outfits I made...
This blue one is from Kwik Sew K4098

This pink one is a New Look 6723

The bolero goes really nicely with these styles of dress, I prefer a sleeve so the bolero gives me that bit of cover on the tops of the arms I prefer.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Autumn Clear Up

Starting to clear out my Vegtrug, tubs, pots and baskets.  Everything has done well, some better than I expected.  The Cherry Cascade tomatoes did brilliantly...

One tub of green ones for chutney and the final few red ones.  These are definitely a favourite and I will grow them again next year, they are so prolific.  There must have been hundreds from the three plants I grew, beautiful and sweet, not as small as I expected from the seed packet, mostly a proper cherry tomato size.

The carrots I grew were Paris Market 5 - Atlas.  They turned out a bit strange....
Some were really knobbly, some were small and the stems grew out of the carrot in a bit of a hollow, making them awkward to prepare.  I wanted a small carrot to grow in my Vegtrug but probably won't grow these again.  Also, the ones I grew in a small trough placed on the ground soon got carrot fly, did quite a bit of damage.

My cucumber did well, actually got two cucumber off it, they were about 6 or 7 inches long and tasted lovely.  They were grown outdoors in my Vegtrug and did surprisingly well for an indoor type.  Have also had success with baby sweetcorn, Minipop , been having some very nice baby sweetcorn this last few of weeks.  Courgettes, runner beans, peas, leeks have all done well in tubs and hanging bags.  Purple sprouting broccoli is coming along nicely, did have a few sprouts off it but expecting to have some ready for next spring harvesting.

I've bought a small paraffin heater for my greenhouse, hoping to get things off to an earlier start next year.  My big fault is starting seeds off rather late.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016


My tomatoes are always very late ripening, though I have had the odd few for a couple of weeks now.  At last they are all starting to ripen.  Here are the ones I picked today, plenty for the two of us with our gammon...

There are a mixture of three types here.  The bigger ones at the top of the plate are from a plant a friend gave me, could be Moneymaker or Gardeners Delight, can't remember.  

Four or five of the slightly smaller ones are Sweet Aperitif , a trial variety .  I'm growing the Sweet Aperitif in hanging baskets and they are doing well.  The high winds a couple of weeks ago did break a couple of stems on one basket of them but there are lots to come on all of the three baskets.

Lastly, the very small ones are Cherry Cascade .  Two plants are in those hanging plastic type growing bags suspended on a hook on the fence, and one is in a hanging basket.  These I will definitely grow again, loads of tiny tomatoes, not as tiny as it says on the seed packet though one or two are currant sized.  Very tasty too.  And they survived the high winds.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Container Veg So Far

My containers have done well and the new vegtrug has been fun to use.  The strawberry plant didn't do well, it was so wet in June that the strawberries got mouldy as they ripened so only got a couple worth eating.  The cucumber plant is growing amazingly, not had any cucumbers off it yet but there are quite a few growing nicely.  Radishes were a failure, think that was the poor weather again.  Leeks are looking good, should be able to harvest some of them soon.  There are other bits and bobs in the trug, carrots, spring onions, basil, chard, and some salad leaves I sowed the other day, just small amounts of each.  Anyway, here's a picture...

Below the trug (on the right) are carrots, they will be ready soon, they are the small, stubby type.  Beyond the carrots are some peas, sowed these later on than the ones in the big tubs so expecting to harvest some soon.  Above the trug are some cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets, lots to come on those.  Tomatoes in hanging baskets take a lot of looking after, they dry out very quickly.

On the fence on the left there is another hanging basket of tomatoes, these are tiny tomatoes, smaller than cherry types, thought they'd be interesting to grow.  Also, hanging off the fence, are two vertical growing pouches, one has the tiny tomatoes in and the other a couple of pea plants, both are doing well.  Not shown in the picture is another vertical growing pouch containing a courgette plant, it's doing well, had some courgettes off it, the round sort, very tasty.

Further into the garden I have some big tubs containing courgettes, again, had loads off those.  Peas, these did really well, had more peas from them than I got from the ones in the ground last year.  Lastly, runner beans, they aren't ready yet.

I've enjoyed my veg gardening this year, my back didn't play up once like it would if I try to garden in the ground.  It's containers for me from now on.

Laurie, thanks for you comment, I sent you an email, did you get it?

Monday, 30 May 2016

Vegetable Progress So Far

Feeling a bit fed up that the weather is still cold, today there is a cold wind from the north.  I have started to put some things outside...

The peas and courgettes are doing well.  I'm leaving the peas without any supports, they are in a deep tub so I'm hoping they'll hang over the sides as they get bigger.  The courgettes like it in this spot at the (outside) end of the greenhouse, very pleased with how they are doing, there have been some male flowers on them already.

The salad leaves have been doing great.  I did have to move them to a partly shaded area, too much sun and they wilted.  This mix is chervil, mizuna, parcel and pak choi.  I recognise the chervil and pak choi but not sure of the other two, it all tastes nice though and I've had loads off them.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Rain on Rhubarb

There's a nice, gentle, rain today, just what the garden needs.  Still nothing in my Veg Trug and I'd spent the last few days watering it anyway, it dries out very quickly, so this rain is doing a nice job of moistening the compost.

Here's a picture of my rhubarb...

It's really massive this year.  None of it is harvested yet, I have to rely on my husband to do this for me (due to not being able to bend down because of my bad back).  I stewed quite a bit of it last year and froze it, it came in very useful for pies, often I added some other fruit to the pies for a bit of variety.

Talking of bad backs, I'm recording on this blog this year how I get on not doing any bending or leaning over in my veg growing.  This means I have to rely on help from my husband, so far he's doing a good job and seems to have more enthusiasm for veg growing than he normally does, he's more of a flower garden person.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Peas in a Tub

I took this picture on Saturday immediately after transplanting these peas into a big tub. Today, Monday, they have grown quite a bit already.  I've not grown peas in a tub before. This tub had a scruffy looking perennial in it that wasn't adding anything to the look of my garden.  So, took it out and left the original soil in the bottom of the tub and topped it up with new compost.  We'll see how it goes.  I should be able to manage these pea plants much better than the ones I usually put in the ground.

Noticed this morning that my carrot seeds are sprouting, really pleased about that.  I will be using the thinnings in my new Veg Trug.  Nothing in the Veg Trug yet, still deciding what else to put in there, a strawberry plant probably.  Maybe some radishes, they'll grow quickly while I wait for some of my seedlings to be big enough for planting out.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Vegetable Gardening (but I have a bad back)

For twenty years now I've struggled to garden because of my 'bad back'.  Bending over or crouching down would set my back off and I'd be seized up for a fortnight.  It is very frustrating.  I asked my husband several years ago to make me a raised bed, which he did.  Unfortunately I didn't supervise the making of it!  He made a fab raised bed but it was so big I couldn't reach the middle, I could only plant around the outside edge.  This year he could see that my struggle to grow veg was not working and he redesigned this bed, turning it into two narrower ones.  Then he treated me to a Veg Trug .  It should have arrived yesterday, I hung around all day waiting for it.  Will it arrived today I wonder, there was supposed to be an email notification giving me an hour delivery slot but still haven't heard anything.  I'm also going to be growing things in window boxes and pots that are raised to a suitable height on bricks.  All I'm waiting for now is some decent growing weather, it is very cold at night, last night the temperature was down to 1C.

These are some of the seeds I've sown and transferred from the house to the green house...

Cut and come again lettuce mixture

Boltardy beetroot


I still have other seedlings indoors, broccoli, tomato, courgette, peas.  The broccoli is the sprouting purple type.  The tomatoes are cherry and one I haven't tried before that has really tiny fruits.  The courgettes are the round ones in addition to the normal shaped ones shown above.  The tomatoes and round courgettes I will be growing in hanging pouches, looking forward to seeing if this works, I did want to grow them in Topsy Turvy type pots but I had these pouches handy so will use those.

Here's hoping the weather picks up soon and that my veg trug arrives so that I can get out there.