Post COVID normality?

Well, this has been a very long time in the writing! It’s been almost two years since I last put pen to paper, while the whole world was in the throes of the first set of lockdowns I think.

It’s been a hard couple of years for everyone in may different ways, and today marks the two-year anniversary of the official start of our first UK lockdown. Similarly to then, I am sat in the garden enjoying some very warm early Spring sunshine. This time though I am being serenaded not by the local birds, but the screeching tones of the local primary school after-school-club children! Why do children feel the need to squeal and scream everything?!

Anyway, it’s been a tough couple of years. I have found it hard to function normally with all my routines thrown into chaos and lots of changes to our lives and freedoms. Like many I have loved the peace and quiet without all the traffic noise; being able to hear the birdsong was absolute bliss for me and a great opportunity to start to identify birds from their song. The chance to spend more time outside was a real tonic particularly as I had had my space invaded by a home-worker and a home-schooler. It’s amazing how stressful it is having your family all under the same roof! And the house felt so small. So the garden has become even more of a refuge than ever before.

Black-cap visitor to the bird feeder

I’ve been thinking about what to write for a while and I had planned to start at New Year! I blinked and now it’s Spring, but better-late-than-never. So what have I been up to crafting wise? I’ve kept up with my facebook page reasonably well and card orders have been pretty steady, so I’ve managed to retain my crafty focus more-or-less. It’s been good to do some crafting for us at home too(lots of face masks and family cards) as this is something I don’t generally do that much of. I had a good read through my last posts in 2020 and what I haven’t done much of is finishing off the enormous pile of unfinished projects. I had every intention of completing them, but I think I just lost my way with the enormity of it. However, I am pleased to say that the pile is somewhat smaller than it was.

Before I go, I thought I’d end with a success. I have spent the last two years crocheting the granny square blanket, started in lockdown and the subject of my last post (http://www.handmadebykatherine.co.uk/2020/06/my-lockdown-blanket/). This was a labour of love and something I thought about submitting to Grayson Perry’s Art Club, but I couldn’t think of a theme that it fitted in. It’s a project I’m pleased I’ve completed but I miss it keeping me warm on the settee watching the TV. It looks great on the bed though and as you can see, the cats rather like it too. This is George’s favourite spot!

Finished blanket adorning the bed

It’s good to be back and I Shall try to keep up with some ramblings more frequently. Do message or comment, I’d love to know how everyone is out there.

Happy crafting

K x

Garden joy

Over the last few weeks, I have been spending lots more time in my garden.  We saved up a couple of years ago and last year had the garden re-landscaped to a design of mine.  It had been devastating over the last few years as the amount of rain increased and the time taken for the water to drain increased with it.  At some points I think we were flooded for several months at a time.  We even had a regular heron visitor, but the icing on the cake was when we had a pair of mallard ducks swimming around where the lawn had once been!

We took the decision to do something which had to include some drainage solution and I put together a few sketches of ideas we could work with.  It was certainly a big plan and one we couldn’t have done ourselves, but our landscaper was fantastic and he was able to do all the drainage works and (with a few modifications) put my sketches into place.

The garden has now been put into zones.  We have a patio (using stones from the original garden), a border, a wildlife area and a grassy arbour with seat (daughter’s zone).  And I love it.  It’s such a great space to be and somewhere I’m thrilled I have in the current times.

We reused as much as we possibly could from the garden -well what had managed to survive the constant waterlogging anyway and it’s been great since to see what is popping up around the place.  Some of the offcuts from the sleepers used to raise the zones were used to make a seat and a little raised bed which we planted with strawberries and they are doing fantastically this year – we planted the runners from the original plants and they are obviously happy.

Equally happy are the cats.  This is Lily enjoying the sleepers, we often find her hiding under the plants or rolling about on the lawn, which is also doing well now we have better drainage.

My wildlife pond looks good too.  I’m amazed how much life there is in it considering it’s only been there for a year.  We have found several frogs and newts too, as well as lots of little bug life – pond skaters, water boatmen and whirly-gig beetles are a regular sight.

I have taken the time to plant some seeds this year too.  We have a patio up by the house and the rest of the garden is down a few steps and as we face south it is a fabulous sun trap.  So I have decided to see what comes up from several old packets of seeds from the garage.  I love poppies and I was pleased to see this little beauty pop up in a trough of seeds for the bees – although not much else seems to be joining it at the moment.

Before we ended up in lockdown, I bought some seeds from Aldi which had several different vegetables and herbs in.  I only planted these broad beans about a week ago and they are already showing their faces.

I am so pleased with the way everything is growing so well this Spring.  And I hope I will see some more flowers soon as well as the blossom on the trees.  Fingers crossed we also get some rain to add to all the sunshine as I could do with a few days indoors catching up with all my indoor projects too!

Stay safe and happy crafting

x

Brownies

My daughter moved up to Brownies last year and with that move has come the need to cajole her into doing some badges.  Left to her own devices she’ll happily breeze through the three years running about and nothing else!  This year she has seen quite a few of her older Brownie chums move up to Guides, so she has had to take on some of the responsibility herself in showing the newer recruits what to do.  So we have started to make some efforts on a few of the simpler badges, to get her going!

First up we’ve done some wildlife watching and which has involved some birdwatching for the RSPB Garden Birdwatch, some bug hunting in the garden and keeping a diary of what she spotted.  To finish I found her a set of instructions on how to build her own bird feeder.  This one uses lolly sticks and string, all essential components in a kids craft stash!

She didn’t do too badly with it, although I think the birds were quite rough with it (either that or the wind was particularly strong) as it only lasted a few weeks.

Having successfully completed one badge, she moved quite swiftly on to a number of sporty and artistic ones and has had her swimming, agility, sports, artist and craft badges signed off too. She was also rewarded with being made a sixer!

The school council ran a talent show just before the Easter break and completely out of the blue, Alice wanted to enter, singing with her friend.  She asked if I would help her make some props and costumes.  Of course, they chose to sing something very simple and child-friendly – “The Yellow Submarine”.  Unfortunately we didn’t have time to get everything ready for the school show, but they decided to do it for their Entertainer badge at Brownies instead.

So for what seems like forever, I’ve been adding finishing touches to this huge monstrosity!  Hubby cut out the main submarine while the girls did the main painting and drew the faces for the portholes.  It’s massive and almost fills one wall of our little house.  It looks quite good though, if I do say so myself, although I don’t think I want to take up a career in prop-design, just yet.

Now it’s fingers crossed that they get the rest of their show planned and rehearsed in time before the end of the term.  I can’t wait to get rid of this out of  my living room!

Happy crafting
x