Monday, 27 July 2015

CREATIVE: A Garden Party Stitch Along #6 & #7

Our late June roadtrip through me off course with sharing the updates on the old Cross Stitch Collection Garden Party Stitch Along. With feeling like I'm running out of things to say other than hey look more stitches, oh look I'm still avoided stitching the faces ... hate stitching faces, so here's June and July's update all in one post. 

I thought we'd take a step back and see how it was looking in May;
SAL

So June rolled around which involved a lot more stitching outside and soaking up that all important natural light. Apparently I got a lot of stitching done in June. Marvellous.

SAL

June also started becoming the month that I started avoiding stitching faces. It's not that I can't do them, I just have a strong dislike for stitching one stitch of one shade, then two of another because I find it a little wasteful. My biggest issue is with back stitching faces. Like I mentioned with trout pout in my last update. Yeah she still doesn't have her lips back ... or her eyes for that matter ... no cross stitching for her.

SAL

But as June rolled to an end with me being ill and our road trip so the stitching was actually set aside for a couple of weeks. I actually picked up working on a Dinobot Transformers piece for Joe and now being distracted by that old sampler project.

SAL

Knowing I had a stitch along check in a couple of weeks ago got my arse back into gear and I've been working on all the background pieces. So much that the last two figures on the left side are looking rather ghostly.

SAL

My goal for August is to finish off this last page on the left side and perhaps complete/catch up with the backstitching.

SAL

May through to July

Oh yeah and tackle those faces ... urgh.

Come share what you've been crafting lately!
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Saturday, 25 July 2015

BLOGGING: Six Years

Zoo

I'll be honest, I've started and stopped, deleted and retyped this post a couple of times. While I want to mark my little blog's sixth birthday, everything I had to say about blogging I shared last year alongside things we as bloggers shouldn't assume about our readers. Nothing much in my mind has changed, although I've taken a considerable step back when it comes to the promoting, sharing, engaging in twitter chats.

Somewhat of a blogging fail perhaps, but for me it's worked. My stats haven't really decreased. I'm enjoying blogging more than I have in a long time. There's less stress, less pressure to make it perfect, to be scheduling tweets out constantly. I don't have the time or the energy for curating that perfect look online or offline.

More then ever my blog is just a reflection of me.

An old lady with an aching back, gardening, crafting, collecting old stuff in a 28 year old's body.

Six years on any hobby is pretty neat. Until I remember I've been cross stitching 22 years but that's another story. Six years doing something so publicly, sharing so much, making many loyal readers that I call friends. 

From an attic bedroom in my student days back in Newcastle, England to being a homeowner in Detroit, USA. Life has changed a bit over the last six years. It's nice to have this place to reflect on it all.

So thank you, thank you to those of you that have ever read my rambles, shared a tweet, talked to me, come back time and time again.

Ta muchly. 

Friday, 24 July 2015

GREEN FINGERS: All the Garden Goodies


Once July rolled around - all the goodies started being ready for picking down in the veg patch. Bowls of raspberries, freshly picked herbs, cucumber plants taking over and the first attempt at carrot growing is all complete and food is being made. And you know what, even my wild patch along the fence edge (above) isn't looking too bad either. 



Since sowing them in April, I'd been eagerly awaiting being able to dig up my carrot crop. We went for the Kaleidoscope Mix from Burpee - a range of seeds that result in a rainbow of carrot colours. From red to purple, white, orange and yellow. Purple, yellow and white being the traditional carrot shades btw. They took about 80 days before getting set to be pulled but even then you can see some of them actually really on the thick or large size. They've been a little hit I will be honest, possibly half my fault for not thinning them out quick enough, but even still it wasn't a very large harvest and they took an age to germinate. All but the purple carrots keep their color throughout, they aren't as sweet as your typical carrots but tasty enough. I'm going with the standard orange "normal" carrots for my fall crop, I might try these colorful ones again for next spring.

Also I'd highly recommend keeping and cooking with your carrot tops - they are a great addition to stir fries, salads, sautee them with some garlic and you're all set. Somewhat bitter but very delicious. 



There is nothing as tasty as a freshly picked radish with your lunch. Nor do I ever find store brought ones come half way as strong. These were a super cheap packet from Burgess, I tend to sow about 15 radishes every over week to spread them out. These have come out so fat and juicy - delicious!



My tomato plants are leaning over and heavy with their bounty. Every day I go out and hope for a hint of red to their green outsides - they are slowly, so very slowly turning red. These are the mortgage lifter - a heirloom variety which are the juicy sweet large (they tend to way 1 to 3 lbs) types so we still have a bit of a way to go. But I can't wait to get my mouth around one!

Considering only five of the original 12 (yes really we over brought) cucumber plants grew I'm starting to wonder if I'm soon to turn into one of those green vegetables. They are seriously taking over my veg patch. I'm just not up on really what to do with them all ...

Zucchini's are averaging about one or two a week which are getting lovely tossed into whatever curry I'm cooking that week. I have a huge list of recipes I want to try so I'll be honest, I could do with them getting into second gear! Sadly the cilantro bolted while we were away so it's all gone to flower, I'm hoping I can try and get some coriander seeds from it so at least there's that. As for the basil - I've been making so many fresh basil chicken green curry. Nom indeed. 



As for those raspberries, well those are my favorite! The harvest has died down in the last week or so, but we were averaging about 2 cups a day. So lots of raspberry pies like the one you might have spied in my small things post, and sauces are being baked and I can't wait! 

For the rest of the season, well there's all those remaining radishes and spring greens, I'm still waiting on my peppers (which have just started growing) and then it's time to get thinking about fall and winter veggies! Exciting times still lie ahead.

Have you been growing anything this year?!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

OHIO: Penguins at the Cincinnati Zoo

Cincinnati Zoo Cincinnati Zoo

With penguins being my favorite creature, I thought i'd start my posts about my visit to the Cincinnati Zoo with a post entirely dedicated to them. You'd think having a Penguinurium at the Detroit Zoo i'd have my fill of penguins, but with visiting the Cinci Zoo and the chance to see some different species you can never see too many. Any chance to see some penguins I haven't seem before, yeah i'm all over that. 

There are two chances to capture a glimpse of these birdie creatures at the Cincinnati Zoo. Inside the Wings of the World indoor exhibit you'll spy the gorgeous huge King Penguins as they splash around in their pool - it was actually great to see such a deep pool too. There is something very majestic about King Penguins swimming. But over in the Children's Zoo you'll find African Penguins and Little Penguins (also known as Fairy/Little Blue). 

Cincinnati Zoo Cincinnati Zoo Cincinnati Zoo

Little Blue's - a name owing to their blue tinted plumage is the smallest of all penguins happen to live in a warmer climate than most penguins calling southern Australia and New Zealand home. And they are adorably cute as they sunbathed in the warm Ohio heat. 

The Children's Zoo is also where you'll come across the African Penguin and a certain character that wandered around the fence as if on patrol. This charmer of a penguin loved to follow you back and forth along the fence, it was rather funny to watch. I think he was making it his mission to safeguard the penguin flock.

Aren't they just the cutest?!