not once, but twice!

We had a bit of unexpected excitement out in the orchard last week.

The husband’s bees swarmed . . . TWICE!

The first time, the husband and bee-keeping friend, were too busy dealing with the swarm to take photos (and I was still fast asleep in bed!), so the above is of the second swarm.   Luckily, the husband had equipped himself, earlier in the year, with a second, smaller, hive (that he painted bright red) so on the morning of the first swarm our two amateur bee-keepers were able to knock the clump of buzzing business, and it dropped (more or less) into the open hive. A fair number of bees did land outside

but since the queen was safely in the box, it was only a matter of hours before the ones outside went inside.

Anyway . . . the husband was really pleased, because it meant the colony in his main hive was thriving, and the captured swarm meant he’d be able to have two hives up and running this year.  However, the following morning, the bees in the main hive swarmed a second time!

Same photo as above, just zooming in slightly.  We didn’t have a spare box or anything to capture this lot, so the husband phoned bee-keeping friend again.  Another gentle knock and this lot was plopped down into the friend’s portable hive.  They spotted a queen bee in there too.

Back at the main hive . . .

 

there was an awful lot of buzzing about and general agitation.  Our bee-keepers spotted yet another queen bee already in residence there, so, in theory, the husband will have two colonies in our orchard, and his friend will be able to adopt the second swarm.

outdoors & indoors – what we’re up to

Something of a photo-heavy post today, to tell you what the husband and I are up to lately.

With Spring in the air, the husband has been spending long hours outdoors!  It all started last month really, when he managed to hire a bricklayer who agreed to come and do some work in the veggie garden.  The husband had this idea of having some raised beds (to make life easier when you’re not as agile as you once were).  The bricklayer, name of Atila, worked like a Trojan, I can tell you!  Digging trenches, mixing cement to lay foundations, then building five raised beds with breeze blocks and laying some paving stones to level up with the path.

The husband was then kept very busy because the new beds needed filling . . . so wheelbarrow loads of sand, sifting & weeding of “old” soil to mix back in.  One bed is already planted with strawberry plants & lettuce.  The others will be sowed/planted up in a couple of weeks time once the husband is sure there will be no more night frosts.

He’s also found himself a new indoors project!  When we moved into this house, the previous owners left a very grotty clock up in the attic. Nothing antiquey, or of any value and probably riddled with wood worm.  But there it remained, gathering even more dust & cobwebs.  The husband asked me to bring it downstairs because he fancies a bit of renovation work.  So I obliged.

It’s not even pretty!  but if it keeps the husband amused, at no cost, then I’ll be interested to see how it turns out and if it actually works!

I, in the meantime, keep myself amused with less dirty occupations.  Have just begun a new crochet project.  This was a “M’aidez, m’aidez” call from Mrs Tattoo.  One of her friends is expecting a baby for later in the year. Mrs Tattoo (who can’t crochet) bought a crochet kit, thinking she could teach herself to crochet and rustle up a soft toy lol.  She tried (bless her) before admitting defeat and asking for help.  I wasn’t too enthralled with the design she’d chosen, and didn’t think it was really suitable for a baby. So . . . after sending her a few links to free crochet patterns for her to choose from, she decided on this.

This cute pattern, available on Amigurumi Today.  (I’ll be embroidering eyes and facial details – don’t trust safety eyes on a baby toy!)

I then sent Mrs Tattoo photos of yarns from my stash to choose from, and we’ve settled on something as close to the original design as I could make it.  Stylecraft Special DK in: Spearmint, Lavender, Grass Green, Clematis & Citron.

And work has begun.

I’m using a 2mm hook to keep things nice and tight – don’t want any stuffing coming out!  So far, I have a head, body, tail and one front paw.  Just need to make second front paw, 2 legs and 2 ears!

Stay tuned!  Baby isn’t due for several months, but I should have it finished very soon.

 

a bit of this & that

We’re back in lockdown again in this part of the world, which doesn’t make a great deal of difference to the husband and myself as we hardly go anywhere these days.  We’re happy to find things to keep us busy at home, and with Spring in the air, the husband is spending more time outside watching things grow.  He’s also been doing a bit of weeding and general tidying up, as well as supervising a worksite in our veggie garden (more on that another time).  While tidying up in the garden, he noticed an old plant pot he’d been meaning to repair but hadn’t.

I don’t know why, but the husband has a “thing” for crockery, china, and pottery.  A few years ago, there was a proper clear-out in the house opposite. Owner, very old lady, had died aged 96+, and her nephew was in charge of emptying the house so it could be sold.  The nephew was literally loading up the trailer to take most things to the local tip, when my husband spotted an old plant pot and asked if he could have it.  One thing less to take to the tip!  Said plant pot was just a very plain old thing and had probably been sitting outside for 60 years or so.  On arrival in our garden, it promptly got knocked over, by our very exuberant dog, and there it stayed for a few years, with broken pieces gathered together in a pile.

But no more!

The husband did his first attempt at “kintsugi” and plant pot has been replanted (with something or other) and is back out in the garden where, I hope, the dog isn’t going to knock it over a second time!

Gardening has never been my thing so, while I do spend some time outdoors each day, seeing to hens, walking the dog, and getting my daily dose of vitamin D, I prefer to keep busy indoors.  After a month of just lying around, my zodiac blocks have finally been sandwiched, pinned and are ready to be quilted.

Part of the reason for procrastination was: I couldn’t decide on what backing fabric to use.  I didn’t have anything suitable in blue in my stash, and I couldn’t find anything that caught my eye when browsing my favourite on-line fabric shops.  However, I did have a very sizeable piece of a plain “milky coffee” brown in my stash.  Not the obvious colour choice but it almost matches one of the browns in the xstitch designs, so I’ve gone with it.  Next job – decide how I’m going to quilt.  And also decide whether to make 4 additional blocks in same colours (without xstitch centre) to make this a 4 x 4 quilt, or to keep it as a 3 x 4 (or 4 x 3).

I have also been doing a bit of needlecrafting, and a small amount of patchworking (to be revealed on ScrapHappy day!) but my evenings have been spent diamond painting.  Have just finished my fourth diamond painting.  The husband doesn’t like this one but I do, obviously, or I wouldn’t have bought it.  Incidentally, bought on eb@y for 7.88€ including p&p.  Chinese seller, but dispatched from France so it arrived very quickly.

It looks really effective, from a distance, and reminds me very much of our cat, Le Bleu.  That will have to wait for non-essential shops to reopen for me to buy a frame.  In the meantime, I’ll be beginning work on a very big diamond painting project.

This is what the printed canvas looks like.  A very long, thin design which will finish up 24cm x 74cm.  I bought this one on eb@y also.  Cost, only 10.52€, including p&p, and I certainly feel I got my money’s worth here!

 

 

 

Diamond Dotting, not the husband’s cup of tea

I recently bought in some small diamond dot kits thinking it was something the husband might enjoy doing.  Kits sat on the counter for days before he finally found time/incentive to sit down and give it a try.  Not a traditional diamond painting kit, this one, but a notebook with design on front cover, all ready to stick down gems.

I didn’t hear him cursing & swearing too loudly, but after getting thus far, he decided it wasn’t for him.  I, of course, took over and finished the design because I’m totally hooked!  The finished result looks like this.

What is the husband’s “thing” (when it’s not good enough weather to be out in the veggie garden) is painting his tiny 28mm military figurines.  This is one glass cabinet with some of them on display

He has more in the living room in two smaller glass cabinets.  Not only does he paint the figurines, but he’s also been having fun with modelling clay.

Making his own buildings, water well and tent for props (I think the tent is made with dried wet-wipes).

A wooden fence (made of tooth picks) . . . and sometimes he just cuts a nice slice of wood, to set up a mini diorama.

 

 

old lady Singer 15K (what the husband is up to) #2

A quick progress report on the 1902 Singer 15K treadle sewing machine that came into our lives the other week, rather than ending its life at the local tip.  Once we got it home, I took a few photos (still covered in dust) to get an idea of body work and state of the wooden table.

A couple of things jumped out at us.  The treadle table, which has the flaps so machine can be folded away inside, is missing the wooden flap that folds back over.  At some time in the past, drawers were lost.  Base was also removed from the wood and reassembled back to front. Plus the dress guard is on the wrong side of the wheel.

Also . . . this model has a wooden pitman rod which is broken.  And worse . . . the rod/shaft thingy that attaches the pedal to the base is missing. So hmmmmm . . . more work for the husband than we originally thought.  Anyway, undeterred, the husband set to work dismantling the machine (no small task because of the decades of accumlated rust).  He also made the executive decision to remove paint.  On closer inspection the machine had been painted in black paint, covering the original paintwork & decals.

As black paint came off, we could see traces of the original black body and decals.  Looks like it was a Sphinx, which corresponds with model and date.

The husband now needs to get all the insides out from the main body, to do a thorough clean and plan is to strip bodywork right down to bare metal and give machine a brand new paint job IF it looks like it can be restored to working condition.  For the treadle problems . . . we’ll worry about that further down the line.

Since we’re talking about a 1902 machine here, I thought I’d share a family photo, which dates back to the same era.  Taken in 1907, this is a family photo of the maternal side of my heritage.  The baby is my grandfather.  Making the adults, my great grandparents:  George & Margaret Ann Miller.

 

old lady Singer 15K (what the husband is up to) #1

The husband has got a new project to keep him busy!

While chatting with neighbour the other week, we learned that the neighbour had an old sewing machine under the eaves, that he was going to take to the local tip. He asked us if we wanted it, so I went to investigate (slightly difficult to take photos as it was in amongst lots of other “junk”)..

This is what I found . . . and next photo what interested me most.

Serial number allowed me to identify this machine as a Singer 15K from 1902.   A very dirty and neglected Singer 15K that has seen better days, and we’re not even sure is in working condition, but no way could we let this old lady end her days at the local tip.  So . . . it’ll be coming to our house and the husband is going to have a restoration job to keep him very busy over the coming months.