Pins but no needles

While we were on our fabulous holiday in Casteldeffels near Barcelona I was very impressed with the bougainvillea that flourished with abandon everywhere. There were bushes of this magenta beauty growing magnificently all around the pool at our apartment block (yes it was a FABULOUS! holiday 🙂 I was a little green with envy as we had bought a bougainvillea in Johnstown Garden Centre during our spring into our very late Spring. We planted it in a planter in the sunniest spot in our garden (I can currently see it’s reflection in the screen) at the corner of the office. And it promptly withered, wilted and generally looked sickly and sad. This was the second plant we had put in this spot and it had never taken off either so we chalked it up to even more experience and went off on our aforementioned holiday.

While we were away Ireland experience a heatwave, the like of which had not been experienced since 2006. I remember the Big Heat of ’06 as I was also big with child and it was most uncomfortable. We were expecting disaster on our return but thanks to my brother the plants nearest the house were very well watered. I forgot to mention our vegetable patch to him but everything was in great nick. And the bougainvillea was MAJESTIC! It hadn’t been watered for 2 weeks and it was fabulous. So much of gardening is a fluke for us. I do the odd bit of research but become flummoxed easily when I come across a term or practice that I am unfamiliar with. I go with the logic that if the weeds can grow that well most other things with a little care can do it. If Stone Age Man became agrarian surely I can too? (And thus she demonstrates her ignorance of history too – BAM!)

The other day as I attempted to encourage the bougainvillea up the trellis I accidentally snapped a piece off. As I don’t own any bud vases (I know – unbelievable) I decided this was a perfect opportunity to try out this project I had found on Pinterest.  (In a side note check out Pintrosity who inspired this post and many of my Pinterest projects.) I had also been dying to try out the Mod Podge that I had picked up while in New York at Easter. However as I had bought it in a paper shop I accidentally bought Paper ModPodge. From my reading though I got the impression that this ModPodge was formulated to work better with paper to avoid yellowing as it aged but works exactly the same way in all other manners. Nipper 1.0 decided to give it a go too. We found the glue often dried before we managed to wrap the yarn over it. This was particularly frustrating for him and so he didn’t complete his cool looking bottle. You can see my finished jar in situ below.

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Wednesday WIP (Crochet & Garden)

It’s Wednesday which means it’s work in progress day. Since my last WIP I have been quite productive relatively speaking. For a change too the work I’ve done has been for me: I don’t want to fall into that trap of never making anything for myself. Lately I’m going to the other extreme.

When you crochet or knit or make things do you find you’re always giving them away too? It seems selfish or vain to make something for yourself but egotistical in equal parts to give it away. It’s like when someone says, “I’m in a band: here, listen to my demo.” But you can’t because your ears are bleeding from the pain of their music and you don’t know what to say. I wonder to people receive my gifts and think “Sweet lord, what am I going to do with this thing!” I think I’m lucky enough to have polite enough friends who will tactfully place the lovingly crafted object in a less-trafficked corner of the house. That said I recall the sting, after spending a few hours creating something that I think the recipient didn’t realise was handmade, when it was just flung to one side without so much as a thank you. But isn’t that rude regardless of the effort put into the gift!

I know I mentioned on the Rosie View when we were talking about The Great British Bake Off that I could completely understand why the contestants got so upset: sure I was at home sniffling for them because I know the pain of putting your heart and soul into something only to have it flop.

However there was a lesson to be learned from the winners of that series: persistence. Malcolm Gladwell would have us believe that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert or a genius at a skill.

But the difficulty is that by the time we realise this or at the very least realise the truth in this we no longer have 10,000 hours to spare. Not in one block anyway. That’s why a hobby that you can try, try again in short snatches allows you to build up those 10,000 hours. So maybe by the time I’m actually a total granny I’ll be amazing at crochet.

So on to the WIP. Below you can see the business card holder I whipped up not last Wednesday but the Wednesday before to match my iPad holder so it would be easy for me to find while I was networking at dotconf the following day. It’s a bit of a joke but I do love the cheerful colours. It and the iPad cover go with nothing at all though!

I also started the top I described in my last WIP post. It’s going well although the tension isn’t quite right probably because I’m not using the specified wool but it’s just too expensive. I’m worried therefore that this central panel will be too wide thus making the whole top too wide. It is pretty though and I love the colour. You’ll see below that there’s a lot of green in my life at the moment!

And Himself has been busy too and we’ve finally been enjoying the fruits of his incremental 10,000 hours. I wonder if we’ll ever have enough strawberries ripe at the same time for a bowlful each? Nipper 2.0 keeps sneaking out into the garden by himself and finding the ripe ones and shnarfing them before anybody else gets a chance. I beat him to this one here and it was delicious. In the second picture you can see Himself planting some cauliflower and turnip seedlings given to us by our neighbour. In the foreground carrot, onions and beetroot can be seen. Our first batch of potatoes should be ready soon as well.I’m really looking forward to more beetroot brownies: my favourite way to make my pee a funny colour!

I”ve already made loads of the rocket into pesto with parmesan, olive oil and pine nuts.

Crop swap

We will soon have a bumper crop of beetroot and potatotes followed by carrot, parsnips, red onion and er spring onion, all from our garden here in Dublin. While I like my veggies I certainly won’t be able to eat all of those we have grown. Especially the lettuce… Himself and I got to thinking that we are probably not alone in this situation but there might be other gardeners out there with bumper crops of other vegetables. Would you like to swap some of your peas for our beetroot? Or cabbage for our potatoes? (I’m probably totally displaying my ignorance about vegetable growing times here but you get my drift…)

No money need change hands. All we’ll need is a public venue, indoor or outdoor, where a group of home gardeners can get together and swap their crops. August would probably be the best time in terms of harvesting right? Or am I being ignorant again?

Please leave your comments below if you’d like to get involved or if, indeed, this is already happening somewhere in Dublin and I’m just slow on the uptake.


I’m not prone to profanity on this blog as a general rule but strictly speaking it is not incorrect to call slugs BASTARDS!

Not one single carrot shoot survived since I last wrote about my foray into veggie gardening. It’s unfair of me to blame the slugs really; I’m so inexperienced that if you told me that it was Huckle the cat whodunnit I would have no grounds to question your possibly superior knowledge.

The onions have yet to make an appearance which is, as we say in Irish, ag teacht idir mé féin is mo chodladh.

I think that I have spotted some bean shoots and knowing the ignominious fate of all my bedding plants I do not want to see the onions and beans and the next batch of carrots go the same way. So what should we do? Are there any tried and tested slug repellents out there?

On the upside the rhubarb is looking good and generally all the shrubs and trees are blooming and marvellous. I picked up a sage plant yesterday; our sage did well last year until we went on holidays and the rain in August did for it. Himself is giving over what little time he has for the garden to nurturing the parsley and basil which are both doing well.

On Easter Sunday it was really brought home to me (if you’ll excuse the pun) what a joy it is to own your own patch of grass. Cup of coffee in hand, lounging on the lawn, Middlebro, his wife, Himself and I looked on as the Nippers, ably assisted by their cousin, the older Frog Prince, searched high and low for their Easter eggs as the sun warmed our welcoming skin. Bliss.

We shoots we (fingers crossed) scores

Apologies firstly to anyone who lashed over to read a post about sport. No it’s far more exciting than that! Our carrots are sprouting! The photographic evidence leaves a lot to be desired and I can’t recall why I only took one photo instead of a selection. Hmmm. There will be plenty more where this came from, don’t you worry!
I got to thinking about all the yummy food I will be able to make with these carrots. Some of my favourite recipes: carrot and coriander soup, carrot cakes, carrot muffins (I was hoping to link to a yummy and easy recipe on BBC Food but it seems to be gone. I have a copy so I will post anon), bolognaise, stew, the list goes on. We recently bought carrots in Lidl and it was like eating orange cardboard so fingers crossed this all works out.

Also I found the missing pics that Nipper 1.0 took of the garden so here they come. They are very much from his perspective 🙂