Saturday, 6 December 2014

Happy Christmas - homemade decorations

This year I made my own Christmas wreath using the garden's greenery and berries. We even have some mistletoe! The base is made with forsythia stems, which bend without snapping. All I needed then was gardening wire and a screw-on hook for the door!

I also made a tree decoration using wire and plastic beads. You need six pieces of wire and enough beads to do a pattern. The pieces of wire are joined in the middle. I used a cheap jewellery tool to make the loop that keeps the beads in at the bottom of each strand.

I am entering both makes in a competition sponsored by Able Skills. If you wish to enter, details are here

Happy Homemade Xmas!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The garden in October: marvellous mushrooms, berries and flowers

Regular readers might have worked out by now that the garden is taking more space than the house itself in this blog. This is because we have stalled our improvement schedule until next year. My partner and I are very busy with work and family commitments and the winter weather is not that suitable for DIY or building anyway.

So here are a few photos of my garden. I hope some mushroom and plant expert can help me out to identify a few specimens. 

Is this edible? I wouldn't like to be guinea pig!

What about this one: edible or poisonous?

Another mystery mushroom. I only know Porcini,
 which are not to be found freely in the UK, at least not
 in Cambridge

This looks really like an edible one but wary...

This looks nice, edible?

A cat or other animal uprooted this, edible?
Still a few blackberries against the fence...

...and a few strawberries.

No idea what this plant this, it has followed me
 from London garden as very easy to propagate

This is my massive strawberry tree,
 which I have recently identified
This is under the strawberry tree, berries
 are edible but not great tasting

Foetida lily, it's everywhere in my garden, lovely seedheads

Michaelmas daisies and another curious mushroom on dead
 stump, we get massive shelf one earlier in the year but would
 not dare eating it

This is a Victorian plant, very easy to propagate, so it has
followed me from London garden. I got the parent plant
from museum garden sale - the local E17 museum in the
Walthamstow village: Persicaria Red Dragon

A truly curious plant, no idea what it is

Identified this thanks to the Botanic Garden, common name is
Butler's Broom, edible when young, very bitter though

A primrose, already!

A few bought plants awaiting a place in
flower border or decorative pot

Sunday, 12 October 2014

What can you do with a central heating's copper pipe?

We changed our boiler last August and I kept all the good pieces of pipe that the plumber discarded.

I made these two items with one piece of pipe, hammered flat, sawed into shape and then soldered to create a big and bold jewellery set... 

Extra materials include scrapped silver and a rough emerald I was sent with a junk mail letter - my teacher told me they are real but not precious as flawed and uncut.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Get-together at my house

I had a meeting of people interested in our very local Skills exchange and above is my contribution... blackberries, flowers and borage are from my garden. I made the macaroons, which are sandwiched with thick chocolate sauce.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Last day of summer - thinking ahead!

This picture generated lots of interaction on Twitter

Last weekend it was Open Cambridge, which was great this year! I visited College gardens (the above topiary is at Wolfson College), enjoyed a free punting and walking tour and went to a tea dance (had fun learning cha cha cha, less fun waltzing).

Today I visited some homes, courtesy of Open Eco Homes. It was very useful to see how one 1928 and two 1930s houses had been transformed into modern homes with a traditional feel. Hearing about their experiences with builders, architects and planners was invaluable.

Since last time I posted little has changed. Our renovation plans are  on the backburner, but I do hope we are going to make a start before the end of the year, at least find an architect.... My partner has talked to a planning official in the summer and we have a rough idea of what we want/need.

Tomorrow is Open Community Gardens' weekend, I joined a community project in the summer and they have exciting plans.

My own garden is doing very well, especially since the neighbour reduced the size of some massive conifers and a huge holly.