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Sunday, 21 April 2013

In an English Country Garden ...

Well, it is in England, in the country, and it is a garden, but it is more of a wild life sanctuary at the moment, or at least it has been.  My niece's brother-in-law has been clearing it a bit so it is beginning to look a bit more like a garden with flower beds rather than a trial to see which weed is more invasive than the next!

I can't dig any more, but I did plant out some potatoes today.  I got one of those potato growing bags a few weeks ago and I thought I ought to get on with it.  I now have a bag out in the garden with some seed pots in and it will be interesting to see how they grow.  Never tried this technique before, though I have grown tomatoes and peppers in grow bags before.  Since I had my hysterectomy in 2002 and my health got steadily worse the garden has been somewhat abandoned.  It used to be rather pretty and because it is small it was manageable.  About three years ago I cleared out the small bed which is under the dining room window.  It is only about 8ft by 1.5ft but I could hardly move for a couple of days and had to crawl over to the conservatory to use the step to get up!  I planted out some herbs there, which I really should make more use of.

Fresh food, straight from the garden - yum.  I remember when I was living in Utah for a few months over thirty years ago picking peaches and eating them still warmed by the sun.  It is not a crop that you can grow in England without a hot house, or a very sheltered south facing wall, but I remember the wonderful flavour.  So much of our food is harvested before it is ripe, especially warm climate fruits which have to be transported to the UK.  With things like melons you can buy them and then have to wait weeks for them to ripen, by which time you have given up looking at them and they have almost instantly started to go rotten.  I love supermarket's idea of 'ready-to-eat' fruit that you could use as hand grenades!

Food is such an important part of my approach to living with metastatic breast cancer, but it is something that I have very much neglected for the last year or so.  I get an organic vegetable box delivered every week, but I end up throwing some of it away because I don't get round to using it.  I used to take a big raw salad to work most days made with seeds, dried fruits, nuts and loads of veg, but now I don't start work until 2pm I don't do this.  I must get back in the habit of eating better because I feel that it is really starting to impact on my health.  I am, however, starting to feel that as I get more control over the state of my house and garden that I will be able to take back some control over my relationship with food.  It is so important, but sometimes I have to admit that I feel a lack of motivation to still be alive ... but there must be a reason.  ?

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Mug Rugs and Bunting

I have been madly gathering up a supply of fabric recently.  The daft thing is that I have given a load away over the last few years thinking that I would never need it ... now I do.  The shocking thing is how expensive fabric is these days!

I saw a book on Amazon (other internet bookshops are available) by Christa Rolf called 'Mug Rugs' and I just had to get it.  They are so sweet and a great way of using up scraps by making patchwork rugs for mugs to sit on.  My mother used to make all my clothes when I was a child: she being a child of the Great Depression and 'Make Do & Mend' of World War II and the rationing that continued in the UK for several years.  My parents always taught me to 'keep it, it might come in useful', which may explain why I still have a problem throwing things away to this day.  That was why I took the fabrics I thought I wouldn't need to the textiles department at the college where I work, so they could come in useful for someone. 

The first time I did some patchwork was when I had not long turned 12.  I had my appendix taken out, but they had realised that there was nothing wrong with it but evidently once they go for the appendix they have to remove it.  Further tests showed that I had kidney stones which were removed 6 weeks later.  In between these two operations my father was extremely ill and in hospital and at one point they thought he would die as there was nothing more that they could do for him.  Needless to say this was a rather stressful time for my mother and to keep herself occupied she started to make a quilt from the scraps left over from the dressmaking she had done for my brother and myself over the years.  To give me something to do I was also roped in to doing this.  Now here I am, 40 years later and caught by the patchwork bug again!

Today I made some bunting for a farewell present for someone who is leaving the college where I work for a better job much closer to home.  She is to be married next year and wants a vintage theme and I have managed to make the bunting in the colours she will have as part of her theme!  I always knew I was a genius (occasionally).

Having something that I can focus on and lose myself in is a wonderful thing.  To lose myself in creating something is so rewarding on so many levels.  I have something to show for the time and effort at the end of it, and the very act of creating a unique piece of work is a reward in itself.  There is always the anticipation of wondering if it really will work; have I read and interpreted the pattern correctly ... and I also get to use up so many of those little bits of fabric that are left over from bigger projects.