This Spring we have been working on the big jobs needed to give us a garden we can use. The Winter storms blew down the fences and took our 70s wall with them. We replaced the fence posts as planned and the wall has been put to good use – see if you can spot where…
Last year you might remember that we were thinking about putting in a patio. We decided to take your advice and plan the patio well. We were in B&Q costing it and figuring out our timings when we looked across the aisle at the decking.
We just hadn’t considered it before but after a lot of research, planning and costing we decided a deck was definitely the right move for our garden. It’s more cost effective, quicker to build and less effort to take out should we need to.
B&Q, as ever, have a superb video on building a deck which I recommend you watch. We used the guidance from that video to plan our deck. We made the deck 2.4m x 3.6m, 2.4m being the length of on deck board. This gave us enough room for the expanding wooden table we bought which we love!
The whole deck cost us around £200 including all of the fixtures and fittings. We bought our materials on a weekend when there was an offer on decking ahead of a bank holiday. That’s a great saving compared to a patio of the same size not to mention the difference in time to build.
There is every chance Mr Kat could have built it in a day if he had got started early and not had the children rushing around. As it was it took him a day and a half which is not bad going at all. He built it over a bank holiday weekend so by the Monday we were enjoying our first barbecue on the deck.
I can not tell you the difference having an outside dining space has made in the last couple of months. After seven and a half years in this house we really appreciate the value of creating this deck.
Here’s a shot of the deck this morning, slightly different angle to the shot above to hide the fact that the remainder of the wall is a pile of rubble on the ground! All of our garden furniture is on the deck currently because – GRASS! Next post will be all about the return of the lawn I promise.
Here is the timelapse of deck building to show you just how simple it really is to make:
With thanks to B&Q for supporting Project Garden. For more information about this kind of post please read my disclosure for readers page. Kat xoxo
Read all of my Project Garden posts.
In the Summer we take full advantage of the great weather and stay out late every afternoon. To give us the freedom to play in the park I have several quick suppers up my sleeve.
Sweet Pea Pasta has to be this year’s favourite and the children are incredulous that they can’t have it several times a week. I love that it uses just a few ingredients which I always have on hand making it the emergency fall back meal. The children call it sweet pea pasta as the peas are deliciously sweet in this dish.
If you want to add another vegetable you can add broccoli to the water about four or five minutes before the end. Just be sure to have extra water in the pan to cope with the added veg.
Sweet Pea Pasta Recipe
Farfalle or fusilli pasta – enough for each person
1 cup of frozen peas
A small handful of basil leaves
2 – 3 tbsp of Yeo Valley Greek Yoghurt (adjust depending on how many people you are serving)
Parmesan, grated to serve
- Boil the water for the pasta plus a little extra.
- Put the pasta on to boil following the packet instructions.
- Divide your cup of peas in two. Set one half aside and cover the other half in boiling water. You might want to empty out and refill the boiling water after a couple of minutes, the aim is to defrost and warm slightly the peas.
- A couple of minutes from the end add the second half of your peas to the pasta and turn up the heat slightly to keep the water boiling.
- Put your defrosted peas, basil and yoghurt into a blender and wizz it up (if you don’t have one, chop the basil finely and mash the peas into the yoghurt and basil).
- Drain the pasta and peas allowing a little of the starchy water to remain.
- Stir through your pea and yoghurt sauce, dish up and serve with a little grated Parmesan.
The latest issue of Mollie Makes goes on sale tomorrow and I already know it’s going to be my favourite. I know this because I have my very first craft project published within its pages! So welcome Mollie Makers and thank you to the team for commissioning my project. You can grab your own copy of Mollie Makes 42 in your newsagent or online.
In this post you will find all of the instructions for making this banner and print using a Cricut Explore along with the templates for the lettering and hand. If you want to know what the Cricut Explore is and why I love it, check out my post. Let’s get started!
The Cricut Explore is a game changer. It’s an unstoppable cutting machine which will transform how you craft. With a long-lasting blade, simple step-by-step processes and the ability to cut, write or score your own designs it works hard for its money.
Here are my top five reasons for falling in love with the Cricut Explore…
1. Freedom to Use Your Own Designs and Fonts
Having used my friend’s Cricut Mini in the past I was keen to get a look at the Explore when it launched in London. With the mini you were limited to a library of Cricut’s designs and fonts, all of which were lovely but I couldn’t see how I would use it regularly.
All this changed with the Explore and with the ability to use your own designs and full font library there are no limits to what you can create. You are still able to use their library of images which you can purchase individually or subscribe to. This is the one big change which has converted me from interested to fan.
2. Attention to Detail
One of my favourite parts of attending the launch was listening to Cricut CEO Ashish Arora talk passionately about not only how the Cricut Explore works but why. They have obsessively made every part of this machine user friendly and versatile. It says a lot about his dedication to DIY that he puts himself front and centre of the pitches.
A couple of the features I love are the tool storage spaces, your pens, tools and spare blades all have a place within the machine meaning you have them at your fingertips when you need them. All the functions you need to perform from setting the cutting pressure to changing a blade are crazy easy – in the design process they painstakingly reviewed every element and made them simple to use.
3. It Cuts a Huge Range of Materials
You know well enough how hopeless I am with a pair of scissors. The very fact that Mr Kat (The Cutter) does all of my fabric cutting tells you all you need to know. The Cricut Explore is changing things on that score.
You will see on the dial it has pre-sets for materials from paper through cardstock to fabric and poster board. It doesn’t stop there though; using the settings in the Cricut Design space you can pick from a long list of other materials or dial in your own pressure settings. Mandi, who I met at the launch, has used her Explore for cutting leather and wood veneer. You’ll need a deep cut blade for some thick materials and you may need to run more than one pass but the accuracy of the machine means it cuts exactly the same path each pass.
A few of my makes – far above, horse bunting made using templates from the Cricut image library.
Above, three gym shirts, one made with a freezer paper stencil and two made with iron on glitter (I freakin know, right?!).
Below, Milla’s birthday invites using the Studio DIY Birthday Confetti Poppers from the Design Space ready to make projects and a pennant written with the Cricut Explore.
Check out my project and downloads for Mollie Makes!
4. Design Interface
The design studio is super easy to use. It allows you to select from the image library, ready to make projects or your own designs. Everything is held in layers so you can keep them for different cutting mats or put them all together on one page. You can adjust the size of your project simply by typing it into the edit panel. You can define if something is going to be cut, written or scored and with one click send the project on to be cut.
There is no step of the process which has felt complicated. Once you send your project to cut it takes you through step-by-step and the buttons even flash when it’s time to press them.
This is possibly one of my favourite features – you can buy a Cricut Explore Bluetooth which lets you control the machine without plugging in. This is definitely on my wishlist as I prefer not to have to take the Cricut to my computer and vice versa. Not only can you use the bluetooth with your computer but with your mobile devices so you could sketch an idea on your iPad, turn it into a PNG, upload it to the Design Space and send it to cut.
Now if that doesn’t complete the package on a design-draw-cut-craft system I don’t know what would.
For me the Cricut Explore is the first craft machine I’ve got excited about since my first sewing machine. It has the same power to change what I create and free me from the boring parts of crafting.
I love this machine so much I took a chance and pitched it to Mollie Makes, head over to my project page to download the templates and learn how to create your own designs.
Disclosure: I was given a Cricut Explore and accessories as part of their launch and to enable me to review it over time. What can I say? I really do feel lucky :) I have spent two months using the machine to ensure I have a wide experience to draw from. More about this type of post here.