Sunday, 18 April 2021

Inside and out

Hello! I hope you're all well. I am feeling quite relaxed after a couple of weeks off. I know I always say it, but I love the Easter holidays. The weather hasn't always been cooperative (I think we've had more snow showers in the last ten days than we had all winter) but it's still been lovely to start tentatively coming out of lockdown, meeting people outside, going shopping, visiting the library.

John was off for the first week of the Easter break and we had plans to try and get some outside jobs done. You might remember that, back in February half term, we dismantled our trampoline leaving this corner empty ready for a shed.


We hadn't ordered a shed at this point, as we weren't sure how much space we would have to play with, and it's a good thing we didn't because we soon realised that this huge tree root would need to be removed.

It was one of those jobs where you don't realise quite how big it is until you start. This is John, realising this.

However, through a combination of saw, axe, maul, chainsaw and sheer determination, John and my Dad managed remove almost all of it, leaving a lovely big 10 foot by 6 foot space perfect for a new garden shed. I did help a little with this, but it turns out I'm not very useful wielding an axe and my skills are better deployed elsewhere.

The next stage was the removal of two New Zealand flax plants. When we moved here six years ago they were quite small, as this old photo below shows.

However, they had grown to about ten feet tall and had completely taken over the bottom corner of the garden. Removing them was a huge job: the leaves can't be strimmed, they're too thick and fibrous, so you have to cut each one back one by one with a knife, then they have to be dug up.

And this is how the corner looks now with tree stump and flax plants removed and fences painted. We have now ordered a shed and it should be here by end of June. The ground in that corner will need more leveling before then as our garden is on a bit of a slope. You can see where the flax plants have killed the grass underneath as it couldn't get any light, but that will recover, and it does now show off these two fabulous palm trees which you couldn't really see before.

In between all that digging - with lots of help from my parents now they are allowed in our garden again! - I painted the fences and this wooden planter.

A colleague's son made it and I think it's fabulous. A great use of space and perfect for herbs.

While I was wielding a paintbrush, John was busy building an outdoor bench for our new wood fired pizza oven.

My sister, who has just had a new kitchen installed, had some off-cuts of white quartz worktop and one of them was completely perfect for the bench. It provides a work surface area that is durable enough to live outside but can be easily cleaned between uses. 

The oven is brilliant. My parents came round for lunch and it was so, so good to feed people. I forgot how much I like it. It was cold and windy and we all wore our coats but we ate a meal together! And the pizza was completely delicious and pretty easy to use once you get the hang of keeping an eye on the temperature and knowing when to rotate the pizza. 

John has been back at work this week so I've been busy out and about with the kids, or pottering around the house. I've planted some seeds - ranunculus and dahlia outside in the cold frame and cosmos and zinnia indoors in trays. The indoor seeds are going great guns on my sophisticated system of old B&Q plant pots placed on trays on the floor in the sun. Luckily Ziggy is not remotely interested in digging or weeing on them so they will stay there for a few more weeks yet.

I used some vouchers I was given for Christmas and birthday to buy this beautiful white locker from Winter's Moon, a local independent shop I love. It is completely perfect for shoe storage.

I gave my wardrobe a sort out, optimisically packing away some of the thicker jumpers, adding more command hooks for my necklaces. Basically doing the kinds of jobs that I never have time to do during term time, but will hopefully make life a bit easier. 

After I finished my last crochet project, I really enjoyed picking up my patchwork quilt again.

It's hard to tell how big it is, so I took it upstairs and draped it over the bed. 

I think it's about a quarter of the way there.

Granny squares are my current project, so that I can make this top

Finally, I forgot to show you my finished Stitch a Day for March. The colours are shifting from purple to blues, with images including getting my vaccine, Mother's Day, windy weather, World Book Day, flowers and blossom. 

That's all my news. Wishing you all a good week. Thank you for being here and reading. :-) 


  1. I really love the idea of the: Stitch a Day.
    And thank you again for all the lovely pictures.

  2. such accomplishments and so much activity. but enjoyed by all, so pleased for you and your family. thanks for sharing once again. good health and happy home to each and everyone. (-:

  3. I love reading you. You sound so lively and positive. You have been very busy and efficient as always. I wish I could say the same for me...😏

  4. I love you posts, always interesting with lots of lovely photos. That planter is great, would look great outside my back door with herbs in! The pizza oven looks great fun and perfect now we can entertain in our gardens. I think this year people will entertain more at home in their gardens - we have today ordered a new outdoor dining set but can't get it any earlier than middle of June!

  5. So many great ideas.I love the planter.The crochet top looks great and I have written down the details.Stitch a day is superb.
    A really cheery post.Just what I needed.

  6. love your oven and your other creative news. Jo x

  7. Thank you so much for sharing a snapshot of your life. I love your aesthetic.

  8. Your backyard space is going to be lovely when you finish. The quilt is really coming along nicely and I look forward to seeing your monthly stitchery. Have a great week!

  9. It looks and sounds as if you had not a single minute of doing "nothing", of just resting, during the Easter holidays!
    That herbs planter is great, and so is the bench for your pizza oven. I didn't know pizzas need rotating.
    How wonderful that you were finally able to meet and eat with your family again!

  10. Your quilt is going to be fabulous, it's looking great at only a 1/4 of the way there! I loved seeing all your home and decor, the shoe cabinet is very smart and fits perfectly into the space without looking bulky. Removing tree stumps is something I have never attempted, I would probably not as it looks way too hard, the herb rack is nice and even better when it's been made by someones own hands and not mass produced.

  11. So many lovely pictures. Love the Crochet squares. They are colourful.

  12. So much going on, your garden is going to be even more fabulous and just like another set of rooms. Love how the patchwork bedspread is coming on, your eye for colour co-ordination is great.

  13. I would never have attempted the tree root! Stump grinders are my friend, although extraordinarily messy! Well done and congratulations to all concerned. I dug out a chaenomeles that wouldn't stay against a wall - my word that thing had roots heading for Australia. Love the stitch a day - oh to have the creative nspiration (and the eyesight). The bedspread is lovely. Mine has bits of dresses I made my mum and fabric from my sister's summer uniform together with scraps from my own clothes.. Over 50 years ago.

  14. that is the cutest little pizza oven! I really love your blog and seeing what you are up too. thanks for sharing!

  15. I Love your oven!! 😍 It's wonderful to have family enjoying homemade pizza!!
    And your patchwork is inspiring! ^_^

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  17. I wouldn’t have called that a restful week! Plus you never mentioned you were married to a hunky looking Viking!

  18. As always lots of wonderful creativity going on in and around your home. The quilt is looking lovely. The planter and the outdoor pizza oven bench will be such an asset for entertaining and I'm sure will be much used this year. Thank you for sharing your days with us. Stay safe x

  19. I've only just found your blog and am enchanted. Your needlework is lovely and the hexies have me in awe. My son has a gas fired version of your Pizza oven and he makes the most wonderful pizzas. I shall be back often to read about what you have been up to.


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