Instagram pictures

You may have noticed on the right side of my blog some pictures from Instagram. Yes, I have finally joined Instagram and am enjoying it so far. I am using  a samsung tablet to take the pictures and like the convenience of it, I hardly use a camera anymore when I am out and about or away on a trip as I can just use my tablet.

To view other people’s pictures you can just go on Instagram and view them on any computer (it does not have to be a smartphone nor a tablet), but if you want to post pictures then you can only do so on your smartphone or tablet.

You can view my pictures here www.instagram.com/handmadewithjoy

Here are the ones I posted so far:

This is my mum’s potager and garden in France. I took this picture end of june. She is also a keen gardener and the 1st thing that she planted when she started this garden from scratch are those 2 palm trees. I dream of having one palm tree in my garden one day.

my mum's gardenThis is a fabulous houseplant book. I first saw it on morganours blog and had to have it. I want to review it in another post as it really deserves a review. Suffice to say, it does not have a lot of pictures but each plant has its own lovely illustration. You can get it on amazon or ebay, second hand, at a bargain price. I think I paid less than £3 for it (postage included). The book is from Readers’ Digest, the english version is called Success with Houseplants, and the french version is called Guide des plantes d’interieur.

success with houseplants bookThis is an echeveria plant that I got from Tesco while grocery shopping. It came with a square glass pot and only costs £2. It already has a little baby so I can propagate it later. The plants in the backround are some of my tomatoes.

echeveria plantI saw this butterly in the garden and snapped a picture. They are next to some housplants that are having a holiday in the garden during the day in summer. You can see there 2 purple oxalis triangularis, 2 pilea peperomioides, a philodendron from my mum’s house and a coleus that I have since planted in the garden.

butterfly plantsHere you can see some of those plants on my mantel shelf: a senecio or string of pearl plant, dracaena marginata, purple oxalis triangularis, pilea peperomioides, echeveria, money plant or crassula ovata and a papyrus plant.

plants on mantel shelfMore plants in the living room, next to the french patio doors: asparagus fern, philodendron xanadu, anthurium and a zamioculcas. The pots and plant stand are from Ikea.

houseplants on ikea plant standThis is a calathea plant that I got from Wilkinson (or Wilko), I love that the underside of each leaf is purple, and I was very taken by the lower leaves that have a pink edge. Wilko can be a great place to shop when it comes to houseplants as you can sometimes find treasures there at a great price (this one was only £3) but you have to be quick if you want a healthy plant. Anyone knows how to encourage this plant’s leaves to have a pink edge?

calathea plant from wilkoAnd finally a surprise flower bouquet delivery from Marks and Spencer. Thiis was from my bosses and colleagues at the counselling charity where I volunteer, as a thank you gesture for my work. How nice of them!

flower bouquet from marks and spencer

 

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Chateau le Stelsia

These are pictures from my recent trip in France. We went to visit the Stelsia castle (which is also a hotel), and spent a lovely time visiting the garden. It was a feast of colours!

castle le stelsiacastle le stelsia 1castle le stelsia 2castle le stelsia 3castle le stelsia 5This is my mum in front of one of the patios.

castle le stelsia 6There were some nice sculptures.

castle le stelsia sculpturecastle le stelsia sculpture 1I love the esplalier fruit trees in the potager garden.

castle le stelsia potagerYou can see more photos on their website: www.lestelsia.com

 

 

The garden in may

If you follow me on flickr, you may have already seen some of these pictures.

This is the first year that the garden stayed green all winter long, thanks to some plants such as perpetual spinach, kale, corn salad and parsley. A quick and cheap way to have greenery in winter is to buy one pot of parsley from the supermarket and plant them everywhere (there are usually about 20 plants or more in a single pot). Parsley is very hardy and you can harvest it all winter long. Plant them before it gets cold so that they have time to establish (I usually try to plant them after I have pulled out my tomato plants, in the same pots or raised beds with added fish/blood/bone fertiliser to revitalise the soil).

Also some plants did not die, which makes me happy as it means I won’t have to buy new ones this year. I am particularly happy with the lemon verbena, vietnamese coriander and rose scented geranium (all 3 were bought from Sarah Raven last year).

Beginning of may:

This is the small raised bed behind the peach tree. The tulips were finished and the perennial wallflower plants were lovely.

DSCN0126The midget apple tree is full of flowers (and now have loads of fruits). It is underplanted with strawberries.

DSCN0127The columnar cherry tree is also flowering.

DSCN0130The wisteria is flowering for the 1st time. I want to keep it as a standard tree so need to prune it more.

DSCN0152End of may:

Seedlings are being hardened off during the day and go back indoor at night.

I want to have lots of beetroot this year so have sown plenty of them.DSCN0238I also want some melons and watermelons so have sown more than usual in case some don’t make it.

DSCN0235The berries in the backgarden raised bed grew lots of super long branches so I had to train them horizontally on some bamboo canes above the mini wall. The plant with the purple flowers is a comfrey, I use the leaves to make a liquid feed for my other plants.

DSCN0213Some volunteer colombine and pineapple mint in the spring onion pots.

DSCN0215A corner of the garden near the pink potting shed.

DSCN0217Only one fruit on the apricot tree I planted last year.

DSCN0233A corner of the back garden. The big cherry tree is full of fruit. And the red flesh apple tree also has plenty of fruits.

DSCN0210I love this cotinus grace. I have never pruned it so it stays airy.

DSCN0241I lost 2 fruit trees in the side yard (due to a drainage problem) so will replace them but this time they will go into a big pot in the same spot. The opal plum from Aldi has some fruits on it, can’t wait to taste them.

DSCN0228And finally, this geranium maderense that I have sown from a seed is flowering for the 1st time.

DSCN0222How is your garden this spring?

 

Ipad cover giveaway

Sorry I haven’t blogged for ages, and thanks to those who keep reading this blog despite the long absence.

As promised, I am giving away 1 ipad cover this month, this is the one I made for the Handmade Gifts book. To win it, all you have to do is check out my etsy shop and tell me – by leaving a comment here – what is your favourite item in the shop. The giveaway is open till August 4th midnight (GMT time). It is open to anyone anywhere in the world. You can enter even if you have won previously. I will select 1 winner randomly.

ipad cover handmadewithjoymy ipad cover in Handmade Gifts bookThe giveaway is for the ipad cover only, the iphone cover on the picture or the book are not included.

Here are some pictures of the garden (taken mid july):

2 grape vines, each in a 55 cm pot, underplanted with spring anemones bulbs, strawberries and purple violas. There are 6 bunches of grapes this year.

2 grape vinesThis is a peach tree, that was supposed to be a nectarine tree from Thompson&Morgan that costs £34 (they completely ignored my complaint so I do not recommend them for fruit trees). It has 3 fruits on it but they are not ready yet. It is in a 66cm pot and I underplanted it with borlotti beans and dwarf french yellow beans.

container peach treeSome squashes climbing up an arch (potimarrom and gem rollet varieties). Because I have a small garden, I only grow small fruit squashes and pumpkins that can be grown up some arches. This year, I grow each one in 35cm bottomless pot (in the front garden raised beds). 3 pots to each side of an arch.

potimarron and gem rollet squashesThis is an eucalyptus gree that I bought very small in a 9cm pot, I grow it in a 35cm pot so as to keep it small as I do not want a big tree. It is now in its 3rd year and is looking lovely.

STA60037Some desiree potatoes, growing in pink flexitubs (£3 from tesco). I only grow potatoes in these pots now. The other potatoes that I am growing these year are the setanta variety.

setanta potatoes in pink potsA lebanese courgette, growing in a 55cm pot along with 3 tomatoes. If you look carefully, there is a huge courgette there that I forgot to harvest on time so it grew very big.

lebanese courgetteThis is the peach tree in the back garden. Despite being treated with a bordeaux mixture, it still got some curled leaves (which I forgot to take off on time so they profilerated). But I got 20 fruits from it this year, and they were big and tasted lovely.

peach tree in backgardenThis was the 1st peach of the year.

huge peach from my gardenI recently bought some peaches from Aldi and they tasted somewhat like a mango so I saved a stone and will try to grow it. I will have to do some research as I am not sure if I should grow it as a tree or grow it and then get a cutting from it to graft on my existing peach tree. Have you grown any fruit tree from a stone or done some grafting? Do you have any advice for me?

Sewing wise, I have finished a batch of these ipad covers, they have a pocket which is big enough for an A5 size notebook and some pens. You can find it here.

russian doll ipad coverGood luck on the giveaway.

Garden photos

Some pictures of the garden this spring.

Mid march:

We had a mild winter so the bottlebrush plant stayed green all winter long (it lost all its leaves last winter), I hope it is going to flower this summer.

bottlebrush plant

The unknown plum tree is the 1st fruit tree to flower in my garden. The olive tree also stayed green and healthy all winter long.

plum and olive trees

This week in april:

In the side yard:

One of the peony trees have 6 lovely flowers.

peony tree

The dwarf lilac is starting to flower.

dwarf lilac

3 Honeyberry plants, they have finished flowering and I can see small green fruits now (they turn blue/purple and are ready to eat in june, they taste like blueberry with honey).

honeyberry

A corner of the side yard with the pink magnolia tree (underplanted with swiss chards), I still have lots of deadheading and weeding to do!

magnolia tree

Front garden:

The lovely blossom of the japanese cherry tree. This tree is bang in the middle of my potager and really needs to be moved.

japanese cherry tree

Back garden:

This is the corner with the red flesh apple tree which is just starting to flower. I’ve planted a few things around it last year and want to make a border out of that area up to the rose arch as it is just mainly gravel at this time. I have no design nor plant combination in mind yet so will wait for inspiration to come.

garden corner

The japanese acer on the patio looks lovely already.

japanese acer

This is the small raised bed in the area where the peach tree/kiwi/raspberry plants are. I’ve planted some wallflower there with tulips (just poking out) and a new (to me) perennial geranium plant that I’ve grown from seed, I can’t wait to see it flower in summer. What look like odd things on top of the soil are egg shells and oat straw (the bits left over after I’ve made an oat straw infusion drink for me).

small raised bed

The cherry tree with all its lovely blossoms.

cherry tree

And finally a corner of the gravel area in the backgarden.

back garden gravel area

That’s it for now. I’ve just received my copy of Coudre c’est facile (a fab french sewing magazine) where there is 2 pages about me so stay tuned as I will blog about that next time.

Fruit trees for a small garden

I love fruit trees. Most of them are easy to grow and give you fruits that taste so much better than those you can buy in the supermaket. Having a small garden does not stop me from wanting to plant more, and I am now looking to buy an asian or japanese plum tree, maybe a Plum Beauty:

Beauty plum fruit treePhoto of Plum Beauty from Saundersallotment

Do any of you grow asian/japanese plum trees? Do they do well in a small garden?

One of my favourite trees in the back garden is the peach tree, I got it from Aldi and am very happy about it except that it gets the leaf curl disease every year. I have restrained myself from treating it but this year I decided to spray it with a bordeaux mixture. You can see it below last year in june, with no much leaves as I had to get rid of the diseased ones. I hope I will get lots of fruits from it this year.

peach tree with leaf curl disease june 2013

I’m currently reading Adventures in Consciousness by Jane Roberts and love this Sumari poem of hers which reminds me of all my fruit trees:

Song of the pear tree

The pear tree grows from the sweet pits of your feelings,

Sunken in the secret ground of your being

It grows in the silence of atoms and evening.

It grows in the knowledge of your unknowing

And blossoms in the clear air of your morning.

The pear tree stands dazzling and glowing,

The fruit of your love made living.

A gift of the seasons from the orchard of feeling,

The atom’s love multiplied.

Each leaf sings your praises.

The air is your breath through which each leaf dances

As your love climbs the steps of your spine

And blossoms in syllables and images,

So your love flows, invisible, outside the window,

And rushes up hollow paths of air.

Your love charms the trees into growing

And carves living plants out of unknowing.

The pear tree and all trees grow from the trance of your love.

silk peony flower

The garden is starting to show some flowers. The plum tree (unknown variety from Homebase that was supposed to be an apricot tree) is the first to start blossoming this week. And then there are purple crocuses, pink and purple anemones, hellebores and some orange calendula. The peony trees are also starting to leaf up, I can’t wait to see their blooms but in the meantime I have silk peonies in my living room.

Shop news:

Handmadewithjoy on bigartel is back to offering paypal payments as I was not happy with some aspects of the direct checkout by Stripe (mainly that the checkout says “shipping will apply” even though I offer free shipping, I thought that this may have put some buyers off). The free worldwide shipping will stop at the end of february so hurry up if you would like to buy something with free shipping. I am working on a flat rate shipping that will take effect from March.

I’ve bought an ad on Natalie Creates blog. I’m so excited by this as it is my very 1st ad, the ad runs for a month from march 25th, and it is for my etsy shop.

This is the new gift box for necklaces and earrings/necklaces sets in the shop. I quite like it but I am still looking for a matching box just for the earrings.

gift box melody note necklace earrings

Do you know any supplier for jewellery gift boxes that you can recommend?

Aldi fruit trees 2014 rootstock

As you may know, Aldi is selling some fruit trees this week. I have bought some from them in the past (peach, cherry, apple, pear, plums) and have been happy about their quality. I have also bought other trees from other suppliers, some costing 10 times more than the Aldi ones. In my experience, the Aldi fruit trees are as good as the more expensive ones, so I went and bought 2 more Aldi trees this week (czar and opal plums). The labels on my trees say that they will grow up to 3 metres. I’ve temporarily planted them in a 55cm pot until my garden buddy is able to come to help me plant them in the ground.

aldi fruit trees

I know that a lot of people with small gardens or allotments want to know what rootstock are used on the Aldi trees, so I contacted them and this is their answer (unedited):

Apples, – These will be budded onto a “M26” rootstock, which will fruit earlier.

Cherry, – These are budded on to “Colt” rootstock which has uniformed growth pattern, it is semi vigorous and will not grow too large.

Pear, – These are budded on to a “Quince A” rootstock which is a virus free example.. Williams Pear – Pyrus Communis

Plums, – Will be budded onto a “St Julian A” root stock or a “Myrobolane” root stock these are virus free and semi vigorous growing.

I will grow my trees as standard and will prune them if they get to big. While looking for ideas on how to fit more trees in a small garden, I stumbled upon the picture below (the fruit trees used in the picture are from Lidl, so I am sure that you can also get the same results with Aldi trees). I would love to do this somewhere in my front garden.

criss cross cordon fruit treesPhoto via www.pinterest.com/pin/134545107591887908

In my own garden, I finished weeding the front garden and have planted lots of tulip bulbs there. There is still lots of tidying up to do in the side yard and back garden, and I am going to start sowing seeds indoor this week-end.

On the sewing side, I finally sewed a cover for my sewing business diary/planner. It’s an A4 size and I used a fabric called Giverny Wildflowers (by Kate Spain/Moda) for the outside, and the lining is made with a paisley fabric (by Wendy Bentley/Timeless Treasures). If you fancy sewing one for yourself, there is a very good tutorial on Lara Cameron Design Blog.

handmade sewing diary planner cover sewing diary planner cover

By the way, thank you so much to those who have ordered from my new shop. You can still get free delivery this month. I’ve set up the shop to have prices in pounds but I am now wondering if I should change them to dollars as a good majority of my customers are international. Also, payment is processed by paypal but I wonder if I should sign up to direct checkout which only accepts debit and credit cards. For those who have a bigcartel shop, do you have any advices for me regarding those 2 issues? For my etsy shop, direct checkout and paypal are offered and I have noticed that most buyers use the direct checkout.

I’m also in the process of re-working my packaging, and have ordered some new business cards from Overnightprints. I’ve used Vistaprint and Moo before, but found out that Overnightprints offer better prices, I paid £32.16 (VAT and shipping included) for 500 double side cards. I am very happy with the quality of the cards.

business cards handmadewithjoy business card

This week, I have enjoyed:

* watching Sean’s allotment garden 2013 movie on youtube

* reading Creating Money by Sanaya Roman

*doing a meditation on magnetizing business for self employed people by Orin / Sanaya Roman