Tag Archives: upcycling

Still waiting…

… seriously, it seems like summer is never going to arrive. I keep having a couple of days of mad activity in the garden and then it rains. The grass is epic. We can’t strim. We can’t mow. I keep hoeing back the weeds. I know we need the rain, but the cold is getting to my bones. I’m still in two jumpers and I’ve not had my shorts on for more than two days so far this year. It’s tiresome.

In actual fact, the temperatures aren’t that much different than last year, but it just seems so cold because we’ve had such little sunshine. It’s almost June and it feels like we’re way behind. Plus, our cherry tree has very few cherries – will be surprised if we get a kilo from all of them. Steve’s just informed me that the tree up the road is heavy with them – but I can only assume ours were having a bad year because of the weather when it blossomed. On the other hand, we’ve got hundreds of peaches this year – and we did last year too. Apples also seem thin on the ground. Bloody weather!

Beans… we have.

Broad beans

Peas, we have as well.

You’ll also remember a little planter I made?

Welcome to March

which was based on this:

From Diggerslist

But ended up being my own ‘Welcome’ twist… now I realise I need huge pots – or bigger ones at least! and that I need very low growing plants – because these calendula are far too big and it now looks like this:

So next year, I will separate these pots up and maybe do them in another way. The beauty of recyclable products! However, I am going to do one near the entrance gate because I think it’s cute.

I’ve also done my planters, too. I love verbena, so there’s lots of that:


I’ve also painted some 50c pots with gloss paint and put in succulent cuttings from our overgrown succulent can:

Sempervivum in an old rusty tin can

The sempervivum is very easy to propagate – you just separate the hen from the chicks! I’ve potted these up in white painted terracotta pots:


There are two final touches. One is a vamped up decoupage pot (Verity – I promise I’ll do yours! I do!)

Decoupage on plant pots

And the other touch is the painted tins. I sprayed these with primer then sprayed them green. Some have holes punched in the back so they can hang, like this:

Cheap and easy

And the best thing about these? They cost buttons. I can spray about 30 cans with a can of 4€ spray paint and a 3€ can of primer. A bit of wire and I’ve got a hanging garden. It’s not exactly Babylon, but then who wants that? We all know what happened to Babylon!

My little garden, still with its knickers, grows on apace:

Steve hammered up a ‘Noireau-proof’ fence, since Noireau seemed to think it was his own personal toilet. Poor boy – but I don’t want him digging up my babies! And, for the meanwhile, the knickers are staying.

Meanwhile, the red onions have gone to seed. Nothing to be done about that. That damned warm spell then the cold weather has fair tricked my onions – so I shall now enjoy their flowers and then save the seed. Only one problem in saving the seed of things that bolt – you get other stuff that bolts too.

Oh well.

You have to make the most of what you have, even if that means bolting onions…

Sometimes it just turns out that way

Today I’m loving a little of the Mamas and the Papas, so here’s your Monday Monday track. I love watching old videos like this. They’re both so dated and yet so cool.

I don’t think there are quite so many bands that are so evocative of a place and time.

So what am I loving this fine Monday morning? Firstly, I’ve made a start on the two little bedside units I bought a couple of weeks ago from Le Bon Coin.

The cabinet as it was when it arrived

I’ve sanded them down and given one of them a coat of undercoat.

Sanded down... I kind of like the distressed look, but it's not really for me!

I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing with them yet – am I going for matt or satin? Am I going for a white or cream? I quite fancy a contrasting colour, so I’m thinking either the wicked pink on my dining room shutters, the orange of my lean-to wall, or even a black or turquoise. I’m spoilt for choice. I thought about an entire colour and then bands of white, but it’s much easier to do other things with them when it’s mostly white or mostly cream.

I’ve done part of the first undercoat and I’ll do the second today:

First undercoat done - at least, partly!

To be honest, there were hundreds of things I wanted to do. I could go for some padding with fabric, or a design, or a stripped-back look, or a Greek Key kind of pattern, or some hand-painting, or gold, or any million of ideas that float around in my head. However, you’ve kind of got to go with the design and shape of the thing – to do some stuff would just look silly. And I’m pretty organic. Once I see a colour I really like in Brico L’Eclerc tomorrow, I’ll know what I’m doing. I’ve got orange and pink here, so if I see nothing, I know I’ve got some good choices at home. I’m thinking turquoise though. Mainly because I’ve got a yukata I brought back from Japan that is turquoise with white cranes on it and I’d like to make more a feature of that. It’s too gorgeous.Plus, I like turquoise.

So, I’m loving the up-cycling.

I’m also loving the warmer days. By the end of the week, it’s looking like being 20 degrees. Lots of my seeds are beginning to poke their heads out from beneath the soil.

First broad beans en plein air

I’ve got some cauliflowers appearing, as well as some leeks and a couple of geraniums. I’m pleased with the geraniums because apparently they’re hard to get to germinate. The turnips are again far too easy to germinate. Last week, we had spicy parsnip soup with the parsnips from last year. I loved them. They were fabulously sweet and superbly parsnippy – not for Steve, as he is not a fan of sweet things – but it was very tasty nonetheless.

The parsnip beasts... ugly but sooo tasty

Mostly, all the vines are pruned – just a few left to do. Today is a day for joining the local library – something I’ve been planning on doing for a while, mainly because it’s in the chateau and I quite fancy going to a library that is in a real-live castle.

I’ve also got much love for my friend David, who is just about the most sweet person on the whole planet. I’d lost touch with him in about 2008 and he sent me this message yesterday via Facebook: ” It’s David here : I’ve been living in bristol and on adventures. I’ve come back to Adlington to visit friends. Have you got a telephone number. I would love to talk to you as i think it will make you laugh a lot and happy.”

Only David can make me feel all happy to get a message saying he’s been having adventures. His whole life is an adventure, and yes, he’s right. It will make me happy. Bless David. I never knew a person so full of niceness. I have two favourite memories of David. One is when we went to the 24 hour garage in Bolton, late one evening. We’d been holed up inside and keeping out of the winter weather. For some reason, and I have no reason why, David was wearing my pyjamas and I was wearing his coat. In my tartan pyjamas and pink duffel coat, and his shoes, he went to the garage. I don’t think either of us thought it looked weird. I love David with my whole heart. He does make me happy indeed and I used to love our adventures too. He always makes me smile.

My other memory of David is in the Dog and Partridge in Bolton. It’s a spit-and-sawdust type of pub with lots of cubby holes. It is – or was, at any rate – roughly painted with lots of home-made flyers for bands and a tiny, tiny bar. Some nights they had bands on; other nights, they had open mike night. I knew David played guitar, but I didn’t know how well until he was asked to play. He did and I was mesmerised. He doesn’t play songs as such, mainly things he’s just made up. He plays the kind of music that makes my soul ache. He was by far and away one of the best musicians I’ve ever heard play and I was very proud I was with him that night when he’d finished and came and sat back down next to me. I love Lil David very much.

And as for my poem of the week, today, it is a part of John Clare’s poem First Love Recollections. John Clare is one of my favourite poets, and this is one of my favourite poems from him. It’s another of those I know off-by-heart.

First love will with the heart remain
When all its hopes are bye,
As frail rose-blossoms still retain
Their fragrance when they die;
And joy’s first dreams will haunt the mind
With shades from whence they sprung,
As summer leaves the stems behind
On which spring’s blossoms hung.