Three Things Thursday: 23 March 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain here are my Three Things Thursday.

First, a new vaark for a new friend. I made this little creature on Sunday and on Monday it went in the post to make a new friend smile:

A new vaark ready for the world

Second, seed saving. Last year I saved seeds from the melons that I grew. The variety, Green Nutmeg, came from the Heritage Seed Library and so it’s particularly pleasing to have a new generation germinating this year. I have loads of these seeds, so if anyone in the UK would like some, just let me know and I’ll put a few in the post.

Green Nutmeg melon seedlings

Third, a rare carnivore. I have lots of sundews and pitcher plants in the limery, and whilst they present some challenges, they generally seem to be doing ok. The Venus Fly Traps are a bit more of a challenge, but I have three small ones. My favourite carnivore, though, is much more tricky to care for. The Monkey Cup can’t stay in the limery over winter as it’s too cold – it has to come and live in my office on the window sill. I’m very happy, therefore, to be able to return it to the limery this week and to note that it’s getting bigger and looks really rather healthy:

Monkey Cup (Nepenthes ventricosa x talangensis)

So, those are three things making me smile and for which I am grateful this week – what about you?

Three Things Thursday: 16 March 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain here are my Three Things Thursday.

First, home-made muffins.

Mmmmm… muffins

These were part of a very long Sunday brunch shared with friends (the segregation is lactose-free vs. those with a little lactose).

Second, finished socks.

Aren’t they bright?!

Third, sharing. My friend Ann needed some lace for a project she’s working on: she’s making an album for her wedding memories. I hadn’t got round to giving her a wedding present, so was very happy to send her this from my collection:

Lovely lace

So, those are three things making me smile and for which I am grateful this week – what about you?

Three Things Thursday: 9 March 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain here are my Three Things Thursday.

First, my grandmother’s tea infuser. Ever since I started drinking loose tea, Mummy Snail has been intending to pass on my nan’s tea infuser. Finally, when I was there last week, I remembered to pick it up. It is perfect for the days when I’m home on my own.

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Tea for one

Second, fabulous women. Yesterday was International Women’s Day, and I spent some time thinking about the creative, inspiring women I know. Here are two of them – my nieces modelling the pussy hats I made for them.

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Inspiring women (c) Lilly Phipps

Third, Mr Snail’s creativity. At the weekend, Mr Snail attended a course to learn how to make willow structures. He asked me whether there was anything that would be useful for the garden and I said that I would like a ‘pea obelisk’. This is what he came home with:

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Just awaiting peas

I will be growing red-flowered mange-tout up it (I’m just waiting for the seeds to arrive).

So, those are three things making me smile and making me grateful this week – what about you?

Three Things Thursday: 2 March 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain here are my Three Things Thursday, this week all seen during a trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London:

First, I’m very grateful that I don’t have to wear a woollen knitted costume when I go swimming. I can’t imagine the drag factor, the sag factor and how long it would take to get one dry! Click on the picture to go to the V&A’s description of this garment.

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1937 Knitted Bathing Costume

Second, amazing tiles. There were so many in the museum, both as exhibits and as part of the structure. Below you can see two exhibits that particularly made me smile. The tiled panel is from Iznik, Turkey and was made around 1580 (click here for more details); the huge fireplace is also Turkish and dates from 1731 (click here for more details)

Third, the skill that must have been required to make this quartz crystal ewer. It was made in Egypt around 1000 and was carved out of a single block of rock crystal. I have to say that this particular object left me speechless. Click on the picture for more details.

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This carved rock crystal ewer is a thousand years old

So, those are three things making me smile this week – what about you?

Three Things Thursday: 23 February 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain here are my Three Things Thursday…

First, being safe and warm. We are currently experiencing Storm Doris – heavy rain yesterday and now really strong winds. It’s at times like this that I appreciate having a home. It’s also at times like this I think of all those refugees who, through no fault of their own, don’t have a place to feel safe and be sheltered from all that the world throws at them. And so I continue to make blankets to provide a little bit of warmth and a token to show that other people care; here’s the latest:

Another blanket for 60 Million Trebles

Another blanket for 60 Million Trebles

Second, new skills. I have been focusing on getting to grips with my overlocker this past week. Using it is not quite the same as using a normal sewing machine, but they say that as we get older it’s good for our brains to learn new things. I’m very happy to say that I’m finally getting more comfortable using it (the overlocker, not my brain) and that I can rethread it without too much trouble now.

It's all starting to make sense

It’s all starting to make sense

Third, seedlings again. I am being very restrained sowing seeds so far this year, but the peppers, chillies and tomatoes that I planted a couple of weeks ago are coming through and the tomatoes will need potting up from their tiny modules this weekend. I just love the promise of abundance.

All that potential

All that potential

So, those are three things making me smile this week – what about you?

Three Things Thursday: 16 February 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain here are my Three Things Thursday…

First, a little bit of snow. On Saturday it snowed in Birmingham – it was lovely to open my curtains and see a dusting of white. I find snow a bit stressful if I have places to drive, but since I just had a short walk from my hotel to the meeting venue, I really enjoyed the sight. In fact it didn’t last long, but it was beautiful whilst it was there.

Morning snow

Morning snow

Second, a good night’s sleep. I’m always a bit concerned about the comfort of a strange bed. At home we sleep on a natural latex and wool mattress, so normal sprung mattresses feel a bit odd in comparison. However, I need not have feared: the hotel I chose for the weekend had lovely comfy beds… and snailvaark and Iolanthe agreed…

Nothing like a comfortable place to nap

Nothing like a comfortable place to nap

Third, coming home. It’s enjoyable to have a trip away, but it’s always good to be back home. After two consecutive weekends on my travels, it was lovely to return home to Mr Snail and the pups.

Mr Snail and the pups at our own front door

Mr Snail and the pups at our own front door

So, those are three things making me smile this week – what about you?

Three Things Thursday: 9 February 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain here are my Three Things Thursday…

Before I get started, though, I have to say that I could probably have listed thirty things this week, but here is just a tiny selection.

First, a mend by Alfred. One of the things we don’t have skills for Chez Snail is metalwork. However, we know a man who does. So, on Saturday, whilst I was crocheting, Alfred, who I was staying with, mended our Kelly Kettle. This much-mended item had finally got to a point where we could do no more – the rivets had failed so that water poured out and the anchor for the chain that allows you to tilt the kettle without getting burnt was detached completely. Cue, Alfred, who braised it for me and now it’s back in use.

In days gone-by this is the sort of thing tinkers did – travelling round the country mending pots and pans – now that’s a profession that could do with resurrecting.

Second, germination. Only tomatoes so far, but what a delight it is to see the first shoots emerging from the soil. Plus the potatoes are starting to sprout.

Third, the kindness of people. I know that I wrote a whole post on the get-together in Manchester over the weekend, but I’m still smiling about the fact that 31 people came together to craft for charity – between them, they covered all the costs and raised some money too. They laughed, they chatted and they created. And then they went home and shared the love on social media.

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crafting a better world

 

So, those are 3 things making me smile this week – what about you?

Three Things Thursday: 2 February 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain here are my Three Things Thursday…

First, adventures in pie-making. My latest trip to the library yielded two interesting cookery books, both pie-focused; and, as you can see, I’ve already tested out one recipe (Scotch egg pie).

Library books and a rather untidy pie

Library books and a rather untidy pie

Second, a knitted fish. This arrived in the post from Nana Cathy, along with a lovely letter and three crochet squares to add to one of my charity blankets.

something fishy!

something fishy!

I love this fish so much, that I’m going to gently remove it from the card it’s on and do some freeform crochet round it so that I can incorporate it into my next friendship blanket (a long term and very slow project).

Third, my store cupboard. Last week we ran out of sweet chilli sauce – disaster since it’s the condiment of choice with lots of meals (omelette, roast veg, fishcakes, Scotch egg pie). However, it turned out, that I had all the ingredients to make a new batch in my stores, including homemade passata, my own bottled apples and frozen whole home-grown chillies. The sauce is good, and will be better in a couple of weeks… and making it was so satisfying.

hot hot hot

hot hot hot

So, those are 3 things making me smile this week – what about you?

Three Things Thursday: 26 January 2017

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain (note her new self-hosted web site) here are my Three Things Thursday. As she says…

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

First – a silly film. My friend Derrick, who lives in California sent me a link to this and it certainly made me smile when I watched it this morning:

Second, a yarn selection box. One of the ladies in the 60 Million Trebles group put out a request for 4-ply sock yarn (especially the self-patterning variety). She asked if people could send her just 10g of yarn for a special charity blanket she’s involved in making. Having knitted so many pairs of socks over the years, I have loads of odds and ends. So I got out my tiny digital scales and had fun putting together this collection of sixteen different yarns:

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a colourful collection

 

Third, the start of the gardening year. I’m still holding on for a few days before I plant my first seeds, but I have got three varieties of potato chitting (sprouting) in the limery:

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and so it begins…

 

So, those are 3 things making me smile this week – what about you?

Three Things Thursday: 19 January 2017

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain (note her new self-hosted web site) here are my Three Things Thursday. As she says…

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

First, antibiotics. It’s very rare Chez Snail that any of us take antibiotics – we are generally quite healthy and we don’t go rushing to see the doctor with every cough and sniffle. With excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics, various bacteria are building resistance and therefore becoming untreatable. I’m pleased to say, however, that when required they mostly still work. In fact, this week it was Max who was in need – the poor little chap developed an abscess on one of his anal glands, resulting in a very swollen and sore bottom. However, a shot of antibiotics from the vet and a subsequent course of tablets and he’s pretty much mended…

Second, Muraya koenigii. My recent interest in Indian cooking has led me to start investigating growing some of my own exotic ingredients. I was so happy, therefore, to discover somewhere I could buy a curry leaf plant. They apparently make great house plants, so this one will live in the house in winter (needs to be above 15ºC) and in the limery in the summer. I do hope it thrives, as I have lots of recipes that include curry leaves.

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curry leaf plant

 

Third, the kindness of strangers (and friends). The Sixty Million Trebles group on Facebook was set up as a project to make blankets for charity (at least half going to refugees). However, it’s so much more than that and full of kind people. On Sunday the organisers set up a ‘Solve My January Blues’ event for the group. You could post up a request to cheer you up in the depths of January (the group is based in the UK, although we do have members worldwide) and members tried to help. I do find January a bit glum, so I asked whether anyone would send me a hand-written letter. Well, wow – what a response… I’m all smiles after only four days, look…

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lovely letters and cards

And a bonus smile… these flowering in my garden today:

So, those are 3+1 things making me smile this week – what about you?

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