Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Spring is Sprung

At least, the garden thinks so, although I'm still waiting for the cold North-East wind to go away.

But I cut the lawn - or part of it - and noticed that the shrubs and trees are all budding.  In fact the little dark pink-flowered crab apple already has quite a lot of leaves as well as flower buds...

Crab Apple in bud

...but I'm afraid my pictures are a bit blurry due to that fierce wind!

The lilac is almost out...

Deep purple lilac

...and the viburnum, which smells deliciously like lilies, is covered in opening flower heads...

Lily-scented viburnum
Scented Viburnum

...and there's that pink-flowered shrub which I can never remember the name of...

Pink flowering shrub

...and the cherry (with the upper-class-sounding name of Montmorency)...

Montmorency- cherry in bud

But todays non-starter is my Everest apple, bought a few years ago from the Garden Show at the chateau of Mortemart, which is now an ex-apple...

Ex-apple

I'm not sure what caused its demise, but there were no buds on it and it was covered in lichen.  It was certainly dead, so I cut it down and will remove the root later.

Perhaps I'll plant a 'proper' apple in its stead - though not in the same place in case it was a soil problem!

Anyway, at least the garden looks a bit neater now...

Half the lawn cut

...although I do mourn those beautiful pink-and-white apple flowers!


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Chinese Circulars

I wanted to show you the sock I am knitting...

2nd sock with Carazy Zauerball

...well, actually it's not the sock that I wanted to tell you about, but the needles.

Can you see that I am using two different makes of circular needles here?  One is a Knit Pro needle and the other is a metal circular from China...

metal of circular - close

I have used the Knit Pro needles for many years ago and love them dearly EXCEPT that they break on a regular basis.  I have broken so many that I felt I had to try some other brand that was going to last a bit longer!  After all, the price of a Knit Pro circular needle is somewhere around £5 - £6 for just the one circular needle.  I have broken about 4 of these in the last six months, so it becomes an expensive process.

Initially I had one or two Knit Pros replaced from interchangeable sets where the acrylic tips had broken, but I had to know who I had bought them from - send the broken needle back and then wait for a replacement.  Frankly, this is not what I would desire from what Knit Pro laughingly call 'customer service', so I set out to find a replacement manufacturer.

I mostly knit socks on two circulars, so my Knit Pros were short and I even managed to find some with short TIPS - and these were less prone to breaking.  I must explain that the breaking here ALWAYS took place where the needle tip met the plastic cord.  ALWAYS.

Recently I found a set on Amazon Marketplace - made in China - that were metal, with a metal 'cord' connecting the tips.  They looked good and were only £11.99 for a set.  Needless to say I sent for them, and they arrived within a couple of weeks which, to rural France, is quite amazing!

I have just started using them - with this current pair of socks - and I AM AMAZED!!! They are absolutely brilliant.  So much so that I have just ordered a second set, so that I can use two of the same in my next pair of socks.

They arrived in a neat little case, and included a crochet hook (presumably to pick up dropped stitches) and a needle for sewing up the knitting.

Chinese circulars

Chinese circulars 2

They are smooth to use with absolutely no 'catch' between the cord and the needle tip.  You should try them!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Bias Binding and Bunting

For my birthday (or was it Christmas?) my daughter gave me - amongst other things - some really pretty bunting which had been made from a vintage embroidered tablecloth.  It was lovely, but when I hung it up I didn't like the white tape that it had been sewn onto.

I knew I had some pretty bias binding somewhere, so I set about changing the white tape the other day.

Bunting - sewing on new bias binding

 I'm very pleased with the result.

Bunting with new bias binding

Friday, 6 March 2015

Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk

This cat didn't...

Cat tin - top view

I love this old tin - it shows a cat who has knocked over the bowl of milk.  It originally contained sweets of some sort - hence the words around the picture - 'Bonbons du Chat Gourmet' and 'Paris'.

I have discovered an old bill which seems to be from the same firm...

chat gourmet bill

...and is dated 1952.

If the tin is the same age (though it looks older) it would be 63 years old!

I wonder who bought it and who ate the sweets?

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Moving Things About

To accommodate the new sideboard I had to move a few things around.  I ended up with the cocktail cabinet in the kitchen and had to move or alter the position of a few pictures to do it...

Cocktail Cabinet in Kitchen

Just need to find some way of hiding the SFR box now!

Monday, 2 March 2015

A New Piece of Furniture!

I am now the proud owner of an Enfilade - or sideboard.  Also called a Buffet in both languages!

I found this in the big Maximum shop at Mailhac-sur-Benaize - here's a picture of it in my house...

New Sideboard 1

I'm guessing it comes from the 1940s or 50s, though I actually know nothing of its provenance.  Maybe even from the 1930s, judging from its cocktail cabinet centrepiece.

It is made of oak, so goes beautifully in its new home to the left of my oak stairs.

New Sideboard 2