I'd thought I'd start off today with a long photo showing some of our roses which are suddenly all in bloom. Aren't they just beautiful? We cut them back so hard just a couple of months ago, and now they are all full of buds, as well as having a couple of blooms each. They will stay in flower for months now as long as the little caterpillar doesn't get them, and we have a spray to ward them off, so hopefully we will be enjoying the beauty of these flowers for weeks to come.
Last week I popped into our nearest Lidl store to pick up some cheap sugar for my jam, and I happened to see a small cupboard that I thought might be what we have been looking for. I have a very small utility area just off the kitchen, which came furnished with a washing machine, a dishwasher and a tumble drier. The first two I am very grateful for, but I have never used the tumble drier. I know some folk like to tumble their towels to keep them soft, but I would rather let them have some sunshine and fresh air, and even in the winter I can dry all my washing outside, so the machine seems like an unnecessary luxury. Apart from the machines there is only space for a small wall cupboard and two narrow shelves, so all my cleaning materials etc have to sit on any surface that's available. We have been on the lookout for a cupboard that is a bit smaller than the tumble drier, but big enough to hold the microwave on top, and some of the necessary other bits, inside. I took down the dimensions of the one in Lidls and it was perfect, so the next day Chris went back with me and we bought it. We then spent all Saturday morning assembling it! I have to say we were impressed with the standard of materials used. Everything was firmly joined. Even the drawers were screwed together instead of the usual glue. So now the tumble drier is in the garage, still useable if needed, all the kitchen cloths are in the drawers, the cleaning materials and washing powder are in the cupboards, and all the extras are in the wall cupboard which can now be opened without most of it's contents landing on my head! The bin is up out of the doorway, the top of the other machines are clear except for the crates of plastic containers, and I have around half a floor tile extra width of space, which in a tiny room, makes quite a difference. So am very pleased with it. This photo shows the space before and after our efforts.
The weather is getting much warmer, and the knitting I sometimes do in the evenings will very soon have to be put away until next autumn, but before it does I am helping an on-line craft friend with a project to knit for babies in Africa. They are born into such abject poverty, that even should the mother be able to go to a make-shift hospital to give birth, her baby will be sent home wrapped in a sheet of newspaper. Because of this, they have been nicknamed Fish-and-chip babies. Although Africa is thought of as a hot country, it gets very cold at night. Most of these babies will have inherited AIDS from their parents, and they desperately need something warm to wear. An organisation in UK has distributed a set pattern to knit tiny jumpers and beanie hats for these babies, the only stipulation being that you use double knitting wool in dark, but bright, colours (not the pastels we would normally use for baby knitting) because these little garments will probably never be washed.
Here is the first set I made. Aren't they cute? It only took me an afternoon to make the jumper and a couple of hours for the hat, so I will try to make a couple more before the temperature rises any higher. I have enlisted the help of some friends at church and my Wednesday knit/sew group, and I hope to have a bundle of them to bring to UK in my case next month. (We are taking one full case and one fairly empty one in case I get the opportunity to get a little retail therapy while I am there!). When I get to Birmingham I can post them to my UK contact who will pass them on to the organisers.
I started this post with a floral snippet, so I will end with one too. I went out to my monthly parchment craft class today, and on the way home I happened to drive passed a flower nursery. Everywhere I looked it was a sea of colours, mostly from geraniums and osteospermums, so I just had to stop and take a photo.
And then when I went out to water the front garden this evening, I noticed that our bottle brush tree had opened up and now carries several lovely bright red brushes. It is a bit thin and straggly because it is confined to a fairly small pot, as we have very little plant-able land, but this year out neighbour has cut the incarvillea right back. This usually grows all over our little trees and starves them of light and air, so it seems to be blooming much more vigorously this year. I love all the exotic flowers that brighten up our lives.