Friday, 23 September 2016

Crafting in September: learning ribbed web and lazy daisy stitch

embroidery hoop used for practising web stitch

At the start of the year I decided to embrace my creativity and try and reignite my sewing mojo. I wanted to try and create a piece of hand embroidery for every month of the year. I also wanted to push myself and learn some new stitches.

This month I had an idea in my mind for embellishing a piece of vintage fabric with embroidery stitches. I thought the ribbed web stitch would look great in the middle of a retro flower. Having never sewn this stitch before I turned to Youtube to hunt down some tutorials. I particularly liked the one posted by Mary Corbett and watched it a few times to get the gist of the stitch.

It's a mix between sewing and weaving and it creates a striking web effect on the fabric. I really like it but got in a complete muddle with my first attempt. You can see it below (brown and red thread). I kept messing up the wrapping around and moving along the 'spokes'. Easily confused you see...

first attempt at ribbed web stitch

My second attempt turned out better, see below. But I still had some uncovered spokes, which isn't quite right...

creating a eight point ribbed web stitch

Third time lucky...I think I've cracked it. I still need to practise, but understand what I need to do now. It's a soothing stitch because the weaving motion is relaxing. It's also nice seeing the thread build up on the fabric into a web pattern.

practising ribbed web stitch on an embroidery hoop

In between the web stitch I also attempted the lazy daisy stitch. I found it hard to keep the 'petals' even, but I'm sure that's just down to practice. Again I really love this stitch and it's useful for creating detail on a piece - a classic stitch which I really wanted to master. If you're interested in learning lazy daisy or detached chain stitch yourself, head over to Mary Corbett's Youtube tutorial

crafting is my therapy practising embroidery stitches

If you enjoy crafting for relaxation, you may like my blog link-up...

The focus of the linky is crafting for pleasure, basically taking some ‘me-time’ to unwind in our busy lives. It doesn’t have to be a finished project, we love seeing work in progress, planning posts or tutorials too. You can find out more about "Crafting is my Therapy" by clicking on this link

Me You and Magoo

If you'd like to see a selection of post previously published on my blog, you can visit my Pinterest account here - I'm always happy to connect with other Pinterest fans...

Thursday, 8 September 2016

A year on the allotment: August 2016

I'm a little behind with my August allotment update. The school holidays take me away from the computer most days, which isn't a bad thing. Now the new school term has started, I get a bit more time to blog. August was an eventful month on the plot, lots of crops ripening and a bit of drama with a wasps nest...

pan full of homegrown peas and beans

In August we harvested:
* Our red Kestrel potatoes
* Lots of courgettes
* Tasty peas
* A few broad beans, had lots of issues with black fly this year
* Handfuls of beetroot
* A good crop of runner beans
* Tasty french beans
* The last of the mid-Summer strawberries

One of my favourite crops from the allotment are the peas. We can't resist popping open the pods and eating them right away. Some do manage to get home and I often mix them with the broad beans. They only take a few minutes to cook, best to eat them fresh and lighly boiled. Magoo and I love sitting in the sunshine podding peas into a pan, it just sums up Summer to me.

podding homegrown peas and broad beans

We also dug up the last of our red Kestrel spuds. This is probably one of Magoo's favourite things to do at the plot. I generally lift the plants with a fork and she dives in rootling out the potatoes. It's a system that works very well. Magoo and Grandma often have a race to find the biggest spud...

We have been really pleased with this year's potatoes. They aren't the prettiest, but they taste amazing. I haven't had to buy and spuds from a shop for weeks now.

lifting red kestrel potaoes

harvesting red kestrel potatoes

We've also had great success with our courgettes. We only had three plants survive slug attacks, but they have worked really hard producing lots of courgettes for us to harvest. The harvest has been so good, we've had to come up with new ways to cook with them. My Mum made Mary Berry's Courgette Loaf a couple of weeks ago and I can confirm it was delicious. Plus veg in cakes is good for you right? Better have another slice...

harvesting courgettes from our allotment

harvesting allotment courgettes

One of our plot neighbours gave us some of their white currants. The skin is translucent and you can see the seeds nestled inside. I have never seen them before and think they are rather beautiful.

I have mentioned before how the community aspect of allotment life is one of the loveliest parts of maintaining a plot. When another neighbour noticed how badly our broad beans were affected by black fly, he gave us handfuls of his own beans. How kind is that?

white currants grown on the allotment

Our sunflowers continue to grow ever taller. Each year we grow sunflowers with the intention of cutting them to have at home in a vase. I blogged last year about our 'super sunflowers', literally too big to fit in any vase known to man.

This years sunflowers have smaller flower heads, but they are towering over our heads. They are supposed to be fairly small and the packet said they would grow to about 180cm. Last time we were at the plot, they have easily grown to eight feet tall and over. No matter though, the bees love them and they look very statuesque on the plot.

very tall allotment sunflowers

sunset allotment sunflowers

About a fortnight ago we discovered a large wasps nest in the flower bed. We'd hoped to have left the nest alone, but unfortunately another plot holder got badly stung on his legs whilst walking past our plot to get to the water trough. After talking to the allotment committee, it was decided that something had to be done. The head of the committee volunteered to don his protective bee suit and deal with the nest, sadly using poison, which we were not keen to use ourselves. We've had to stay away over the past week or so because there would have been lots of angry wasps on the warpath. The situation seems under control and there are significantly less wasps buzzing about now. It's a shame really because they are pollinators too, but we need to respect the wishes of other allotmenteers using the space.

Magoo is back at school now and I'll miss our walks down to the plot in the sunshine. But we've had some fun times at the plot over the Summer Holidays. It's now time to start putting the plot to bed for the Winter. We don't tend to grow lots during the colder months. We're planning on adding lots of manure and covering the ground up with membrane. Fingers crossed it will keep the weeds and grass at bay. I will be back with another allotment update at the end of September...

family fun on the allotment

This week I'm linking up with these lovely blogs:

"How Does Your Garden Grow" over on the beautiful

"Home Etc" over on and

"Country Kids" over on

Monday, 5 September 2016

Crafting is my Therapy #8 + Posca Pen Giveaway

Welcome to the eighth “Crafting is my Therapy” blog link-up. A big thank you to everyone who linked up in August - I know it can be a busy month with holidays, days out and making the most of the sunshine...

I have to hold my hands up and say I haven’t sewn a single stitch in August. I had all sorts of plans and ideas, but the school holidays defeated me on the sewing front. Not that I’m complaining, we’ve had a great time. Lots of trips to the beach, playing in the park, picking fruit and veg at the allotment, sunny (yes, sunny) camping trips…I just haven’t had a moment to sit down and stitch!

Having said that, we’ve still had a crafty Summer with lots of colouring, painting and drawing. One thing we have loved is crafting with our Posca Pens. They draw on pretty much any surface you can think of…glass, stone, wood and plastic to name just a few. We put our Posca Pens through their paces and you can see my review post here.

Posca have also kindly offered us a set of their pens to giveaway this month. Simply link up with a craft related blog post and you could be in with a chance of winning...

Have you created anything crafty this month? If you sew, knit, crochet, paint, work with ceramics…please join in and share your blog posts.

The focus of this linky is crafting for pleasure, basically taking some ‘me-time’ to unwind in our busy lives. It doesn’t have to be a finished project, we love seeing work in progress, planning posts or tutorials too.

Grab the Crafting is my Therapy badge:

Me You and Magoo

I co-host Crafting is my Therapy with Jennifer Jain. She writes the popular craft blog Jennifers Little World

Jennifer hosts our Pinterest group board. Would you like your blog posts to be seen by over 700K followers? Craft Bloggers linking to #craftingismytherapy are welcome to join our board. It's a great way for your posts to reach a wider audience...

The “Crafting is my Therapy” linky will open on 5th September and stay open for the whole month – giving you plenty of time to get involved.
– You can link up with maximum of three posts per month, old or new.
– Grab the linky badge or link back to our blogs on your post.
– Please share the love and comment on other people’s posts.
– If you could share your post and the linky (using the hashtag #craftingismytherapy) on any social media channels that would be great. This will help us to grow the community. We will retweet all your posts via Twitter if you mention us (@pouchvintage/@JenniferJain )
– And finally, if you would like to follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, you’re more than welcome! Jennifer Jain’s links are here too: Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

Giveaway Entry Rules:
– One winner will receive a pack of Posca Pens described above.
– The winner will be chosen at random from eligible entries to the linky this month.
– In order for an entry to be eligible it must be a relevant post, it must mention the "Crafting is my Therapy" linky either by text link or using the badge. It must link back to one of the hosts. The linky will remain open until 11.55pm (GMT) on Friday 30th September 2016.
– If the winner does not respond within 28 days we will redraw and reallocate the prize. There is no cash alternative. Invalid entries will be discounted.


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