Tuesday, 29 October 2013

mary mary quite contrary, how did our balcony do?

Now that flora is in decline and fauna is withdrawing to warmer places in anticipation of winter, I thought it'd be a good time to have a look at what our little balcony produced over the summer months.

I think we were a bit pessimistic about what a 1.5m x 3m east-facing balcony is able to turn over in the spring and summer, so we didn't plant very ambitiously and stuck to basic types of herbs and veg. We planted spinach, chards and some cavolo nero kale for green smoothies; lettuces,radishes and tomatoes for salads; kitchen herbs for general use: parsley, mint, chives, coriander. I added into the mix some rescue plants which were to decorate with their flowers and foliage.

The lushness of the summer growth was lovely. It really made a difference to our small concrete- and dark wood- clad outside space. Any amount of garden is a real garden, with living plants to tend to, therefore to learn about. I believe it's important to know how to care for and raise plants that are able to feed you - even if it's done in an amount of space so small it can barely be called a garden.

I like plants a lot, I like their quiet ways of responding and their colourful, winding, blooming, pollinating, fruiting communications. It's therapeutic to interact with a pot of earth and the magic in it on a daily basis, and to wonder about the sun-fed, root bound, leafy and petaled beings it nurtures which then will nurture us. I could gush on about plants and get lost in ponderings about how they work and how undeniably conscious they seem in their doings.... but let me trade in words for pictures that I'd collected about our mini garden and its edible residents over the summer.

Can you taste those sweet tomatoes? We had plenty of green smoothies too, of chards and spinach. Mint was enjoyed in a refreshing watermelon mint and rocket salad with a hoisin dressing, and in many a cup of fresh mint tea.

There were tender green beans too. We had a couple of good dinners and supplemented salads from a few bushes of low-growing, low-maintenance french green beans. 

The chards are still standing despite having been frozen by a few nights of -5 C. They are waiting to become smoothies a couple more times, then they will stay outside for the coming Narnia. I wonder if they will rise again in the spring for their bolting year as they should. We'll see!

Have you had any gardening joy this year? What do you think of raising plants in small spaces?

Sunday, 27 October 2013

the colours of october

The allocated colour for October is chocolate brown - as declared on Colour Me Happy.

I see the connection. Chestnuts, tree bark, the supple suede of gloves, the velvety brown of espresso on a sleepy October morning.

But there is so many other colours to this month, I cannot help but show what comes before the colour of bare tree trunks and mulch takes over.

This is the view that greets me every time I emerge from my street - I love how the flaming blood red of that trailing plant beautifies the bleak boxy building, don't you?

This time last year there were already lots of snow on the ground. I'm enjoying the colours this year while they last - the unifying white is sure to come soon!

Friday, 25 October 2013

flea friday: the best granny cushion ever and some other roaring finds

Hello again, nice to be back from the autumnal hiatus with some finds in tow that I'm quite excited to show off.

Every time I see this cushion I just want to hug it, it's so nice in the most brilliant way. I've been sort of fancying these types of chunky crosstitch cushions for ages, but to be honest not really a fan of florals or pixelated scenes (except for this one that I've seen here).

Well, this granny cushion is on a different level! There is a lot going for it: the chunky wool texture; that geometric pattern, all random and asymmetric; the freely combined, awesome colours. I even like that a trio of these colours look like the Hungarian flag... Can you spot it?

It was in the end of summer sale for a single euro in the local hospice shop. It found its cozy spot on the vintage leather recliner that my boyfriend bought in the thrifts this summer - I think it softens the sternness of the black leather rather nicely.

Then, a few objects of useful purpose - these could not be resisted and had to be given a new home.

Here they are. An alpacca ashtray - a bit rubbed but wonderful in its mid century modern shape. It was made in a nearby silverware factory which does not exist any more. Furthermore - and the objects I myself find most useful - an Arabia Birka coffee cup and saucer, and a Poland-made enamel mug with a sweet apple on it. How very nice. I do enjoy sipping my morning coffee from a quality stoneware cup that was bought for less than the price of a kiosk coffee... oh the joys of thrifting!

Lastly, an old illustrated book... of dinosaurs! I believe that the red binding whispered a roar to me from the jumble sale shelf with its golden writing on the spine. I was not disappointed when I looked inside. It's from 1957, and translated to Finnish from a Danish original. Beautiful illustrations every turn, and the end papers are simply gorgeous. I'm a total kid when it comes to old books - can you blame me?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

hello! still here...

Hi there!

Idle Needle has been idle. Life and quiet pondering moods took over a bit, and the blog took place on the back burner, hence the near-month-long radio silence...

Updates coming soon on thrifting, crafting and the weather!

PS. Those dusky pink coloured roses were found by our friend on the way to our home, they were lying on the pavement cast away in their cellophane wrapper, kept company by a few empty pea pods and an apple core. They delighted us on the kitchen table for a night and a day before they inevitably shed their papersilk-like petals. I don't usually fall for pinky tones, but these roses made my heart ache with their delicate pink hues, on the verge of decay, yet still so sublimely beautiful... I won't brood over it too much I promise, but does autumn makes you melancholic too?

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