Dorset’s Delicious Bits | On Top of the World

compton abbas

Compton Abbas Airfield, near Shaftesbury

… and this is just the car park …

We had a little jaunt last Sunday, to one of my favourite places to sit and ponder.  Not only are the views on the way up to the airfield quite incredible, but once you are there, you feel as if you are perching on top of the world, sharing a secret with only a select few.  Sitting outside on one of the benches, practically on the airstrip itself, with a hot mug of tea and an almond slice, you can forget about almost everything and immerse yourself into the world of sheepskin jackets and propellors.  It never ceases to amaze me that such a tiny, grassy airstrip can be such a buzzing place of people, planes, microlights and helicopters.  In just an hour, we must have watched at least 10 take offs and landings, with the requisite whoops and gasps and ‘crikey that was close’!

Although we had a little mishap with the little old car (something seized and she refused to start, even after a kind aeroplane engineer leant us some WD40), we left feeling windswept but invigorated, and on the whole, had had a fantastic afternoon!

See you there next Sunday?

chocks away

Be Brutal | Pruning

be brutal

… these plants benefit from harsh treatment …

I have never been one to be afraid of going a little cutting crazy in the garden. It was surely all going to grow back wasn’t it? Well, I was partially right and I must apologise to the plants that this mentality disagreed with, but also reassure them that they have made great compost.

An Autumnal hard prune is usually necessary for most plants and shrubs to avoid them getting rangy and to minimise frost damage during the winter. However, a mid-growing-season prune can also be like a ‘refresh button’ for varieties such as scabiosa, rose species, most herbs and geraniums.  I was amazed to see plants, that I had given an end of summer haircut, sporting a new mass of growth which had also encouraged re-flowering even in late September.

So take heart if you are worried about some drastic snipping. It’s time to brave it up and make friends with the secateurs (or in my case, garden shears)!

snip snip2

Dorset’s Delicious Bits | An Introduction

Gold Hill

I am one-hundred percent, head-over-heels, in love with this county…

…it is firmly attached to my heart with lots of little Dorsety strings of happiness!

If Dorset was represented at the Olympic Games, in the opening ceremony; I would want to be the person at the front, with the perma-grin, waving the swishy flag in one of those matchy outfits.

So much so, that I wanted to start a series of posts on the blog, documenting some of the many delicious, little morsels that make this place so beautiful, welcoming and just, well, brilliant!

The things that get featured might not always be the obvious stunning coastlines, rolling fields or sleepy villages (although they may get a cheeky look in), but more of the unsuspecting joyous bits, which make you want to sit and relax with a hot chocolate and get that lovely contented feeling…

To start the series off, I wanted to show you an iconic Dorset sight…

…Gold Hill in Shaftesbury.

Especially since the delicious bit is not only the view but the fact that you can sit at the top, in one of the loveliest tea shops/ restaurants around and take it all in, while eating millionaire’s shortbread or a grilled panini with chutney.

I would advise booking a table at The Salt Cellar restaurant, in advance, if you are planning on lunch and definitely want a window with arguably one of the best views in the county.

Late Season Lavender

lavender 1

This September warm weather is causing some of the plants in the garden to have funny turns…

…this is the first time that my lavender borders have had a second flowering.

It’s very lovely, but quite unexpected!

The chickens sit around dust bathing and dreaming in the afternoon sun, while I recline and have a late-in-the-day cup of tea and watch their happenings. I’m sure last year, I was already piling on the scarves and thinking about knitting more gloves and welly socks.

I hope everyone is enjoying the summery Autumn so far… Hopefully in the next few days, I’ll be introducing a new weekly post, which I am very excited about. Eeeeek!

See you soon…

lavender 2

Zingy Crochet Door Stop | The Finished Product

crochet doorstop

This little, cute cone of a door stop happened completely by accident…

…I was set on making something completely different and then a whim just took hold of me.

(I’m a sucker for a good whim)

It was such a joy to make. Endless spirals of smooth and shiny cotton acrylic. There was far too much over-excitement when it was time for a colour change!

doorstop close up

The tricky bit was hooking the top once the weighty insides had been put in, but I managed even though there were some sighs of frustration!

Stanley now has some company… I hope he doesn’t think he’s being replaced!

Have a great day!

Heavenly Houseplants | Mimosa

mimosa 1

Over the last few months I have been growing some mimosa plants from seeds. I had no growing instructions, so tried as best I could to mimic their preferred tropical habitat. 

…and boy did they grow fast?! 

They remind me of the scenery you would find on deserted islands, all frondy and green. Until night-time, when they resolutely fold up their leaves as if to say ‘excuse me, I’m done for the day.’

Now these little seedlings are now mini-trees with long water-seeking roots. They love a quick draining soil, watering every few days while allowing the soil to dry out completely in-between and a good level of humidity. 

I think I have repotted (since sowing in March) about 4 times! 

They make the most perfect conservatory plants – eek – and I have about eight! Jungle decor here we come!

mimosa 2

Crochet Bobble Headband | Free Pattern

crochet headband

The weather has taken a strange turn from sunshine and heatwaves to squally winds and downpours.

Although the garden is breathing a huge sigh of relief, early morning and late evening walks have a slight chill to them and it got me thinking about hats…

… yes I know it’s crazy to even contemplate woolly headwear when it’s still 22 degrees in the daytime…

…but you know me, I like to be prepared!

So, on the most blustery and thundery of days, I decided to crochet a headband. One that would keep my ears toasty warm when Autumn starts approaching, but wouldn’t be as sweltering as wearing a fully-headed-hat!

I don’t know if this is your thing, but I will include a rudimentary pattern, if anyone fancies a try…

(Please be kind, this is my very first attempt at writing anything like a crochet pattern… eek…)

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Crochet Bobble Headband – using UK terms…

Made with Stylecraft Special DK (Colour 1: Plum, Colour 2: Aster, Colour 3: Grape) and a 4mm hook.

I started with a foundation chain of 86 using colour 1. It took a while to get the correct size (snug but not so tight I would start seeing stars)! I joined with a slip stitch to the first ch, taking care not to twist the chain.

Round 1: ch1 (mark this with a stitch holder) dc.

Round 2: Moss stitch (dc, ch1, skip a stitch, dc, ch1, skip a stitch..etc).

Round 3-5: Continue with the moss stitch, ensuring that each dc goes into the ch space that you have made on the previous row. Fasten off at the end of round 5 and switch to colour 2.

Round 6 – 8: Continue with the moss stitch. Fasten off at the end of round 8 and switch to colour 3.

Round 9: Continue with the moss stitch. Fasten off at the end of round 9 and switch back to colour 1.

Round 10 & 11: Continue with the moss stitch. Fasten off at the end of round 1 and switch back to colour 2.

Round 12 – 16: Continue with moss stitch. At the end of round 16, I made a slip stitch into the first stitch of the previous row before fastening off.

Tidy in all of the ends before you start your bobbles!

______

For the bobbles, choose one of the colours that you like best and continue to use the same hook:

Start with a magic loop.

Round 1: 8 htr into the loop, join the ring with a ss and pull the loop tight.

Round 2: ss into every other stitch (to close the bobble).

Tidy in one of the ends of each bobble, leaving the other for sewing in and fastening to your headband.

I hope I did ok with the instruction-writing! 

Enjoy!

Dip-Dye Effect | Flowerpot

two-tone1

So I have this be-au-ti-ful fern (a blue star fern) and I felt that it needed a bit of showing off…

…its regular pot wasn’t doing it justice.

I have seen lots of incredible pictures of dip-dye pots on pinterest and thought that I could have a go to rustle one up for myself.

The whole project was pretty quick to do and the only boring bit was waiting for the paint to dry sufficiently.

Look at the fern now… doesn’t he look happy?!

two-tone 2

I started with a terracotta pot and painted it all over in one colour.  It then needed a second coat as terracotta-bits were still showing through. Once it had dried very well overnight, I masked off the bottom section of the pot with light-sticking masking tape. Using a contrasting colour, I painted the lower part of the pot (this needed two coats too).

Peeling off the masking tape was exceedingly exciting and I was so happy with the results!

The pot and fern are now sitting in the bathroom, looking very pleased with themselves!