I LOVED my Aunts garden when I went to visit this week. Full of colour and semi-naturalised perennials, quirky pots and veggies among the flower beds. Thank you for the inspiration!
 
 
My second arrangement of the summer. I picked pinks and purples and added height and interest with the lupin leaves. Which just WOULDN'T STAY ON THE LEFT. Grrr! Still love this arrangement though. 
 
 
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I could not be happier now the flowers are all out. I first had a go at flower arranging a couple of years ago on holiday in Ireland. I love it! It's so satisfying to see the composition come together.

I'm particularly happy that the sweet peas my Aunt gifted to me are ready for picking. They smell divine and have the deepest purple colour, inviting you in for a closer look!

Here is my first wild/home grown flower poesy of the summer. My advice for anyone who would like to give it a go? Don't  be stingy on the greens. Including grasses, ferns and interesting leaves is a beautiful way to add interest to your arrangements without overdoing it on the flowers. My second piece of advice is to let go of any fear you may have that other people wont like your arrangement. Go for what you think looks beautiful, and gives you joy! I deliberated for hours on my first arrangement, but I believe that the true joy of the art is found in allowing yourself to be impulsive. After all - it's not going to last forever!

 
 
 
 
After taking part in the petition against pesticides which harm our bees, I decided it was time to take some practical action. Inspired by this craftster's blog post I decided to make my own bee house for them to nest in over the summer. I don't have any logs or lumps of wood hanging around, so I did a quick seach for homes which would use the supplies I do have - bamboo sticks, both the the bbc  and the RHS society have great ideas. It seems the main things are:
  1. Place your bee home on a south facing wall (near flowering plants) to make the most of the summer sun - bees are cold-blooded. 
  2. Some bees prefer to be off the ground, all bees prefer protection from the rain!
  3. Holes should be around 10cm in length and between 2mm-12mm in diameter, to encourage a range of bee species to use their new homes.

So with this in mind, here's my take on making a home for wild bees in your garden... I'll keep you posted on any bee activity I see!
 
 
One re-used basket. Nothing was bought for this project, but it still has a charm to it, I think. Take that doubters, take that ;) 
 
 
Just a quick post featuring some of my favourite recent photos - enjoy
 
 
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My strawberry plants are all squished up, which is meant to leave room for other plants, but I think is just stifling the plants, so I've decided to spread them out
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I fused dark coloured plastic bags together using my iron, to make a completely free mulch for my plants
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And here's the finished bed!
 
 
A quick photo tutorial for anyone looking to recycle some tin cans - word of advice, simple acrylic spray paint like the Montana range worked much better than the acrylic spray specifically designed for metal - beware!
 
 
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Feeling inspired by my garden sprouting into life, I decided to use some stashed modelling clay to mark out which herb is which on my kitchen windowsill. This has been mostly guesswork.. so lets hope I got the names right!

I ended up with some beautiful markers which I'm very proud of, using clay, a teabag, PVA glue, and a lot of patience!

Step 0: Try out a bunch of different techniques and ideas.. you can see here I was aiming for a natural aged effect for the markers. Experimentation taught me two key things: 

1) Thin clay snaps quickly
2) Water down your colours to enable you to wipe away excess completely.
3) If you are aiming for an old effect, acrylic is NOT the medium to use.
I decided to wing it with thicker markers, intricate leaves, and to stain my markers using concentrated tea.
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Step 1: Roll the clay out much thicker than you want it. Place fresh leaves onto the clay and roll again to press them into the surface
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Step 2: Cut the clay using a ruler into the basic size you want. Carefully remove the leaves.
Step 3: Leave to dry. Do not touch for 24 hours. Also - leave on a smooth surface, or the backs will become imprinted too. 

Step 4: Smooth off the rough sides very gently - the clay will still be a bit moist at this point. I used an old scalpel blade. 

Step 5: After a further 24 hours you are ready to paint the markers. Boil water and soak a teabag in a little water - just enough to paint the markers. I went all over the markers once, and then concentrated painting tea into just the imprints for another 4-5 times. 

Step 6: You guessed it, wait another day. The markers will be dry now, and can be painted with PVA glue or varnish to seal them.  I then wrote the names of my plants on the back - here is Parsley's marker in action
And that's all there is to it!