Sewing, stitching, baking, cooking, gardening, shopping and general homemaking.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Christmas Tea Party

Here's a picture of my three friends that come to my house on Thursday afternoons for a craft session.  I decided that this Thursday we would have a tea party as it was our last meeting before Christmas...
We had a lovely time and ate too much - of course!  Here's the menu...

Sandwiches
On white & brown bread
Ham
Ham & Soft Cheese
Prawn with Sweet Chili Mayonnaise
.........
Hot Sausage Rolls
........
Home Made Chutney
........
Sweets
Hot Mince Pies
served with Grand Marnier Cream

Sherry Trifle

Palmier Biscuits

Fruit Cake
......
To Drink
Sherry
Red or White Wine
Ginger & Lemon Grass Cordial (hot or cold)
Schloer
Cup of Tea

We didn't eat everything, no one had fruit cake.  No one had the wine but I thought it was nice to have it to offer.  I did feel too full by the end of the tea and had to go and stand at the back door to cool down!

I couldn't have done this if I had stayed on the Sertraline.  I stopped taking it a week ago and feel much better - more awake.  I'm still sleeping better and my mind feels a lot calmer.  If I start to feel unwell in the future I would probably go back on the Sertraline but only short term.  They did help me.


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Just Lately

I've been making a lot of these....

...a nice, filling, fruit crumble.  To make the topping less stodgy I add some porridge oats

2 oz plain flour
2 oz sugar
2 oz porridge oats
2 oz butter

I put all the ingredients into my food processor and mix until butter is combined.  Sprinkle on top of the stewed fruit of your choice, this one is apple.  Sprinkle on some flaked almonds (optional) and bake for 30 minutes until golden.

Well at least I've been doing something!  I'm struggling a bit with these Sertraline tablets though.  My reason for going to the doctor was that I didn't understand why I was so tired yet couldn't sleep for more than four hours a night.  Since I've been on these tablets I can't seem to wake up.  I am sleeping much better but you know that feeling you have as you start to wake up and feel sleepy and comfy in your bed?  Well I have that feeling all day.  I'm tempted to stop taking the tablets.

I've been having a bit of trouble with my right hand, it has been quite painful.  To give it a rest I've been using my left hand to work my mouse, it is a bit awkward and my right hand does feel a bit better.  It has cut down how much I'm using my computer lately but that doesn't mean I've got more done, I just feel too dozy!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

TATT Update

I was very happy to find out from my blood tests that I'm perfectly healthy.  So - it must be some other reason that I get so tired.  I know my bad back can be tiring but also I'm what would have been called at one time 'nervy'.  Not that being nervy ever stopped me doing anything but it does take it out of me, mainly because I hide it successfully which I suppose is part of the problem but who wants to go around whinging all the time - not me.  Anyway, the doctor has put me on Sertraline.  If it does the job I don't care that it is 'giving in' to my emotions.  I'm sick and tired of feeling tired!!!  We'll see in a few weeks if this is the solution.

Friday, 28 October 2011

TATT - Tired All The Time

I hadn't been to the doctor for several years.  Then a couple of weeks ago I got a letter asking me if I would like a routine health check, diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure etc.  Of course I said yes.  I went for the blood tests and saw the nurse a week or so later.  BP was very good 134/81; cholesterol good at 6.1; no diabetes; and weight just right for my height with a normal BMI. 
I had worried that there was something wrong because I struggle to remain below 11 stone, I have terribly dry skin, my hair has got much thinner and, worse of all, I get so exhausted that I have to be careful not to over do it.  Anyway, the nurse suggested I see the doctor, which I did, and she sent me for more blood tests.  I just know that they are all going to come back normal, I'm sure I'm a perfectly healthy person for my age.  I'll let you know for definite after I get the results.
Ok - so if I'm so fit and healthy why do I get so tired.  I know that my back is quite weak and physical activity can make me tired.  I'm quite an anxious person and that can be tiring.  But this tiredness isn't just "Oh, I must sit down for a few minutes" type tiredness, it is more like exhaustion.
Once I know for certain that there is nothing physically wrong, I will be looking into what I can do about it myself, maybe doing something about my anxiety.
If anyone has any advice or a story to relate I'd love to hear about it.


Friday, 21 October 2011

Still Crocheting

I'm getting a bit more confident with my crochet, here's what I'm doing at the moment...

I've almost finished a second one, they'll make nice little gifts for a couple of my friends too.

On the home front all the usual things have been going on as well as a bit of house maintenance.  We were about to decorate our dining room when I noticed that there seemed to be a stain on the lower quarter of one wall.  So we had to call in a builder to have a look and it was as we suspected - rising damp.  He tested all the downstairs walls and found damp in every wall in the dining room, this included the internal walls, and the outside walls of my sitting room.  He came and injected a damp proofing course and while he was here he had a look at the intermittent damp patch that appears on one of the bedroom chimney breasts every time it rains.  Not that long ago, maybe three or four years ago, we had all the tiles replaced on our roof.  This problem only appeared after we'd had this work done.  The roofer did come and supposedly fix the problem but it still kept happening.  Anyway, this builder said that he could see daylight coming in around where the chimney enters the roof.  To cut a long story short the builder will be fixing this problem for us properly at great expense because it will need scaffolding putting up.  I can't believe how expensive it is to have scaffolding!  When the problem is fixed, and the builder said he will test the work by spraying water on the chimney and coming back to check the work, I will be sending the original roofer a bill for this expense.  I doubt very much that we will get any satisfaction from him though.  But I will be blogging about him if I don't.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Crochet Blanket

This little doll blanket looks very lacy I think.  The corners are terrible though, not one matches...

I can follow the patterns a lot better but I'm still struggling to pick up evenly around the edges.

This is where I'm getting the stitch patterns from.  You have to join but I think it is worth it, there are lots of great free patterns to try.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Crochet Trial

I get up really early in the mornings, don't know why, I just do.  This is the sort of thing I've been doing recently, as I sit quietly drinking tea and waiting for eight o'clock when Graham gets up...

It's not perfect , I'm still a beginner.  These little doll sized blankets are perfect for me to practice different stitches and to learn to follow a pattern.  The most difficult part for me is getting the beginning chain the right length as I need to only make the blanket doll sized.  But I'm getting there.

I have noticed that some crocheters have a vocabulary all of their own.  Things like 'super easy', 'ever so slightly', 'super pleased', 'super early', 'happy things' (when referring to doing normal stuff), 'hooky time' (when referring to doing a bit of crochet), 'prettifying', 'hooky handiwork', knitty post', etc that are used too frequently.  I must be just about the most grumpy old woman on earth.  I know I'm a very cynical woman too.  You'd think I was a pessimist but I'm not.  I also love feminine things but I just don't like this gooey type of talk.... sorry if I offend anyone about this.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Friday Sky


It's been warm and humid today, 22C/71F, a typical few days of English summer weather.  Cold and dull or sunny and warm, but no rain at all this week, which can be unusual in our summers.

We had two outings, one to the Teddy Bear Fair and another to Crich Tramways Museum.  Sunday I did a bit of polytunnel gardening.  Cleared out and resowed.  Broad beans, radishes, leeks, cauliflower, spring onions, lettuce and peas are now in there and soon I'll sow some beetroot.  Tuesday I can't really remember what I did!  Thursday my friends in the craft group came round for the afternoon.  And today, Friday, I made a cake and did some crochet.  Tomorrow we are going bird watching.  Hope the weather stays dry for that.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Thursday Sky


What a difference today, temperature got up to 21C/70F.  A beautiful day, could do with a few more like this, apparently this has been the coolest August for 18 years.


Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Wednesday Sky


Not much improvement in the weather today, in fact it got quite cold, about 13C/55F. We visited the Crich Tramway Museum where we ended up feeling quite chilled so we came home!  The trams were very interesting to see and we had a ride on one.  The pub and cafe were very small for the number of visitors that were there so we couldn't get a drink or something to eat.  Came home and had a bacon sandwich.


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Sky

After taking the picture of the sky yesterday I decided to keep a record of the sky for this week.  Yesterday I took the picture at about 2 pm, today I took this one at about 4.45 pm.

Monday, 29 August 2011

August Bank Holiday

I don't usually bother going anywhere on a bank holiday, mainly because in the past Graham has worked on the bank holidays, so we never really got into the habit.  Another reason is that you can almost guarantee that the weather will be bad.  Here's a picture I took this morning...
Not very nice for being outside is it!!!

So, the Lowdham Horticultural Show was out, didn't fancy wandering around outdoors at all.  Nearby there is a place called Patchings Art Centre where they have shows and exhibitions.  At least we'd be indoors here and there was a teddy bear show on, not that I wanted any teddy bears but at least it was a trip out.  There were some beautiful handmade bears, mostly very expensive, and plenty of bear making supplies.  I bought a piece of leather that I will use for making doll shoes.  Also there was a lady of 87 named Ida, she had a stall of bears that she was selling to raise funds for animal welfare.  Here's a picture of part of her stall...
I did buy a bear from her even though I didn't really want one!

On the way home we stopped off at a show house just to see what they had on offer.  It is a small estate, build on land where there had been two beautiful Victorian houses.  It is so sad when they knock these lovely old houses down and cram in an estate of new houses.  Anyway, the only house that we could look at was the four bedroomed one.  It was very nice, downstairs a hallway with downstairs toilet, breakfast kitchen and dining room off.  There are French doors leading to a tiny garden.  First floor has a nice big lounge with full length opening windows, a master bedroom with en suite and a small dressing room area.  Second floor has two double bedrooms, one en suite, a single bedroom and a family bathroom.  The whole thing was beautifully done but none of the rooms was particularly big.  I still prefer the size of the rooms in my own house, I just need to smarten it up a bit.


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Tunisian Crochet

I'm not doing a very good job at keeping up with this blog.  This is because I'm spending a lot of time making dolls clothes and talking about it here.  That doesn't mean that I'm not doing my other usual things.  The other day I decided to try Tunisian crochet ....
I love how this looks and feels, it is much softer than usual crochet and is more dense, no gaps at all, more like a knitted fabric.  When I bought the hook the lady at the shop said that they had workshops on this technique so will be going if I can.

The polytunnel has been a lot of fun, currently I'm clearing and resowing in there.  Next year I will make sure there is a screen over the doors to keep butterflies (or should that be butterflys?) out, but let in bees and hoverflies.  We have had quite a few caterpillars but not nearly as many as outdoor crops get.  There are a couple of things I wouldn't grow in there again, one is fennel, it didn't really develop the 'bulb' that I expected and got rather tall and woody.  Also, because of the failure with the dwarf French beans, I put in some climbing French beans and they've got much too big.  But overall I love the polytunnel.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The 'Riots'

I just have to comment on the so called 'Riots' that occurred in England last week.  I say 'Riots' instead of riots because they weren't riots.  They were criminal acts that were committed.


In some of our neighbourhoods and on our streets in general certain elements commit these acts on a small scale every day.  It just so happened that they all got together this time and rampaged together.  Near where I live shop windows, bus shelters and telephone boxes are regularly smashed.  This is in a so called 'decent' neighbourhood.  Our church has the rubbish bins regularly set alight.  The church is in a middle class neighbourhood.  I'm regularly woken up in the early hours of the morning by drunken yobs, who also commit acts of vandalism, like nick car aerials, smash bottles and spew up on the pavement.  All this goes on in an area that is not deprived inner city.

At least we don't get youths congregating outside our houses hurling abuse and worse at residents as they do in some areas but the church car park is frequently used at night by a certain element selling 'stuff' and by 'stuff' I'll leave that to your imagination.

So, what happened?  Lack of discipline and self restraint is what happened.  Certain people these days do not fear the consequences of their actions.  Certain parents will not take responsibility for the actions of their children.

Does anyone know of a country where decent, law abiding, responsible people live?  I want to live there too.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Hobbies & Clutter - You've Heard It All Before!!!


I've been doing quite a bit of housework this week - for a change!  I'm down to putting the clutter away.  For me the clutter is stuff I've left out when I've moved on to my next project, books I haven't moved, newspapers and magazines I've been reading and stuff that never seems to have a home.  I'm in the process of moving it all out of my dining room, where I have put it after tidying other rooms, into the hall, ready for taking upstairs to my 'storage areas'. 
I have two big boxes of books in my wardrobe so there really isn't anymore room for more books in there, then there is a shelf that has recently bought books.  I have got rid of a load of books to the charity shop but I read a lot and often have to re-read my favourites when I can't find a decent book in the shops.  I have a lot of favourites.  I don't use the library anymore since books became affordable.  I think I read every book that interested me from my small local library.
Then there is my knitting yarn.  I've recently taken up hand knitting and crochet so there's a lot of yarns, needles, hooks and patterns all over the place.  Luckily this all fits into one storage box so that will be easy to put away.
The worst things to put away are all those 'bits' that I seem to have hanging about.  A candlestick, ornaments, doilies - that sort of thing.  I used to think I had quite a minimal style but over the years I've accumulated a lot of things and I can't seem to get myself to throw them out or pass them on to the charity shop.
What I'd like to do is be really ruthless and just get rid of it all, especially a lot of my craft stuff, books, jigsaw puzzles (that I don't do but Graham does), extra furniture that doesn't fit anywhere.
Every so often I get obsessed with this clutter.  Maybe I will hire a skip and bung it all in there.  What a relief that would be.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Catch Up

I was away in the Isle of Wight last week.  We had fabulous weather and the hotel was very nice, the food was good and the staff friendly and helpful.  The only criticism I have of the hotel was that the pillows were horrible, one was so heavy I could hardly lift it.  I hate using pillows that other people have used and these looked like something from about 50 years ago - horrible.  I tried to find a shop that sold cheap pillows but had no luck.

We bought a day ticket so that we could use the railways for a day and visited the steam railway as well as their electric railway.  The carriages on the steam railway were the ones that had separate compartments and plush seats and were original (but spotlessly clean), some dated back to 1912 on the train we used and they do have some that date back to 1864.  The electric trains were ex London underground trains.

The most disappointing trip we had was to Alum Bay, it was over commercialised and horrible.

Shanklin Chine was well worth a visit, I could just imagine the Victorians strolling around.

I have got some pictures but haven't downloaded them yet.

Since I got home I've been crocheting.  A tea cosy and fingerless gloves are supposed to be at the top of my agenda but I bought a crochet magazine that offered some free downloads on their website.  One pattern was for a doll cardigan and I'm part way through making it.  It is so complicated that I had to type out the instructions in a simplified way so that I could follow them and I've only done six rows of it - a bit of a challenge for me as I only know the basic stitches.  I did finish the tea cosy though.

My polytunnel is doing well.  There were a few tiny caterpillars on the broccoli but they were easy to get rid of, not like the infestation we usually get on brassicas outside.  The cauliflowers are doing well, I should be able to have one with our Sunday dinner tomorrow.  Also the beetroot are doing much better than they did outside last year and we had some with salad the other day.  Peas and Broadbeans are almost ready.  Oh and we had carrots the other day too.  Still cropping the cut-and-come-again lettuce leaves, I thought these had white fly but there is no sign of it now, I think they had white fly at the garden centre when we bought them and had been dealt with.

The outside strawberries are over now and it looks as though the fox used them as bed while we were away, note to self: rig up a barrier so the fox can't get onto the raised bed.

I only have a few potatoes plants this year but the ones I've dug up have been lovely, really easy to scrape.  I like to scrape new potatoes if possible.

My tomatoes are slow again, even though they are in the polytunnel.  I'm trying a beef tomato plant this year but so far nothing has set.  We could do with some decent sunshine I think, things would be much further on if it hadn't been so dull recently.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Gloves

I've really taken to this crochet lark!  In the early 1970s I did do a bit of crochet.  The first thing I made was a crochet doily in fine cotton.  This was in 1970 and I lived in Cyprus at the time.  My landlady lived in the house at the back of ours and her mother did the most gorgeous fine crochet.  She showed me how to crochet.  Then I made myself a waistcoat and a tank top.  I wish I lived there now, I would have appreciated living in Cyprus now that I'm older and wiser.  I was just thinking the other day, it's a pity I didn't have the same attitude I have now, my life would have been so different.  I suppose many of us think this.  Anyway, back to what I've been doing.  In my search for the style of fingerless glove pattern I wanted, I came across Ravelry.  You have to join but it is worth it and it is free.  There is so much inspiration and some free stuff.  There was a pattern that was just what I had in mind when I decided to try the gloves.  I have altered it slightly to suit the yarn I had and to make them more lacy....
They have a better thumb area than the previous ones I'd made.

I also made another tea cosy...

Because of this knitting and crochet I've been doing I had to buy yarn, of course.  There is a knitting shop not far from where I live.  I used to visit this shop with a friend in the 1980s and it was fabulous, the shop was crammed with the most wonderful yarn.  Then in the 1990s knitting went out of fashion and the shop declined.  I remember going one time and it looked as though they would be closing down, there was a very small choice of yarn left.  I visited there the other day and it has improved a lot and the name has changed so I assume it has been taken over by a different owner.....
Isn't it nice that shops are using paper carrier bags again.
This is what I bought, red, pink and black yarn...

Right, who wants to swap a pair of these....
for a fat quarter of fabric?  Here's my email address if you want to have a swap 
SWAP CLOSED

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Tea Cosy Crazy!

Tea cosy number two turned out a bit over frilly.  I think I got a bit carried away here don't you?


Monday, 27 June 2011

Is This Summer?

It's really hot here today, about 24C (75F).  It was hot yesterday too.  We are able to have my patio table and chairs out and to sit comfortably outside.  I even put a skirt on, usually I wear trousers, this is so I can wear socks, my feet get cold even in mild weather.

I'm crocheting another tea cosy.  This time I'll make it with a separate lid cover so that I can add water without taking the whole cover off.  Also, I'm going to add some fancy bits to it.  The one thing about crochet as compared to knitting is that it is quick.


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Creativity and Mood

I've got over my bad mood that I was in for a couple of days, that I often get in when I read stuff in the newspapers.

So, how did I get back into my more usual frame of mind?  I did a bit of crafting of course.  This time it was crochet.  Just lately I've enjoyed doing things other than embroidery and one of those things is crochet.  One of the reasons I love the internet so much is because it is a constant source of inspiration.  No matter what your interests are there is something on the web about it.  This crocheter/knitter has some lovely things to try and I have just spent the last two days making a tea cosy.  It took me two days because I'm very slow and also did other things in between crocheting...

Peggy had very kindly sent me a beautiful knitted tea cosy for my big teapot, it works wonderfully and keeps the tea really hot.  I didn't have the confidence to knit one for my little teapot so I decided to crochet one instead.  It's not perfect but for a first go it's ok.

Doing a bit of creative crafting always puts me in a good mood.  I can wake up in the morning and really look forward to the day if I have a project in mind.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Update Of Last Posting

I looked up prison populations here in the UK for the 1930s, there were approximately 10,000 prison inmates.  At the end of the 1970s there were approximately 45,000.  Today there are approximately 90,000.

To me this proves that prison is no deterrent these days.  What that politician doesn't seem to understand is that the reason prison is no deterrent is because it is now too easy for the inmates.  Prison used to be a horrible place to be.  Nowadays it is like a hotel, and not the sort of hotel that I could afford to stay in.  I don't believe in capital punishment but I do believe that criminals give up a lot of their rights.  I was incensed (again) recently when I heard that Prison Officers had been told to call the inmates 'Mr' (can't comment on what female prisoners should be addressed as) and that they had to be called 'clients', not inmates, convicts or prisoners.  I make no mention here of the other privileges criminals in prison are now allowed, no wonder prison is no deterrent.

Whose Side Are You On?

I've been following a story in the Daily MailI've also read about what one of our politicians has to say about prison sentences for criminals and burglars in particular.  If you defend yourself from a burglar, what would be considered 'reasonable' force?  Give a burglar a little smack and you'd probably end up maimed or dead when they use a criminal's experience of violence against you.  So, the person in the story in the Daily Mail has been arrested and remains in police custody because a burglar died when a householder was defending himself, his family and his possessions from a gang of three balaclava wearing criminals.  And to add insult to injury, the dead burglar was out on bail - for burglary.

I am beginning to question who the law is protecting here.  Or should I say, I've been questioning for some time who the law is protecting.  Do our police have some sort of motto, like 'protect and serve'?  Or maybe I'm being hard on the police and should blame the 'system' that allows a burglar to be free in society when he is already awaiting, I presume, a trial for an 'alleged' previous burglary.

I feel just as incensed when I read about false allegations made by vandals and hooligans who are making lives miserable for ordinary people in a community when they try to defend their property or their right to a peaceful life.  Or when a business owner marches a thief to the police station and then gets arrested for daring to do it.

You can bet that if I was to drop a bit of litter I'd get pounced on and fined.  Or if I put the wrong thing into the wrong wheelie bin, or if someone is smoking in their works van, or makes some remark that is these days considered politically incorrect, the powers that be will deal with them promptly.

I get depressed and disillusioned at the way the law works these day.  And at the way criminals, vandals and hooligans get away with ruining life for everyone else.  Yes, kids have always got up to tricks, but when remonstrated with they would run away, not rush in and beat someone senseless.


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

June In My Polytunnel

At last some pictures of how my polytunnel growing is coming along...




I'm very pleased with how the polytunnel is working out.  Nothing gets ruined by the weather, the fox can't get in because we've set up a fence for the doorway when the door is open, and I can control any insect pests much better.  The only disappointment I've had is some dwarf green beans that I sowed.  I sowed the fifteen beans that were in the packet and only four have come up.  Not sure why this has happened, they were some Kew Royal Botanic Gardens Urban Garden Collection beans so I expected them to do really well.  Today I went to the garden centre, actually I went to three before I found some, the other two had sold out, and I bought some climbing French beans.  Also bought fennel and a couple of garlic plants.  The tunnel is full now so all I have to do is wait for harvesting before I can decide what I want to put in next for overwintering.  I do recommend a polytunnel for the fair weather gardener, it is so nice to be able to do a bit of gardening when it's cold and rainy!!!



Saturday, 11 June 2011

Strawberries

Earlier this year I transplanted my strawberry plants to a new bed.  There were quite a few runners to add to my collection too.  The raised bed they are now in is about two and a half feet high so the soil is nice and deep.  I used some dried chicken manure and blood, fish and bone fertilizer before I put the plants in and the position of this bed gets quite a lot of sunshine.  It paid off because there a lots of strawberries ripening.  These are the first ones to ripen....
And they are bigger than the plants produced last year.  I've got straw under the plants and fleece over them.  Before I put the fleece over them a blackbird pecked one of them and I wanted them for me!

The polytunnel is coming along well.  All the plants look healthy and haven't been battered down by the strong winds and heavy rain we've been getting.  In previous years I've lost plants that have been battered by the weather so it's lovely to see the ones in the polytunnel looking so good.


Sunday, 29 May 2011

Fashion for the Older Woman

Just up the road from where I live there are two clothes shops.  One is for the younger woman, the other is more suitable for the older woman.  By older I mean, probably, anyone over 40 but for women over 60 in particular.  I recently visited the second shop I mention to try and buy a dress.  Not a fancy, party, beach type dress, just an everyday dress that I could wear this summer.

Before I went I shaved my legs and under my arms, something I tend not to do as often as I should.  Anyway, there I was clean shaven and wearing a skirt and top, something else I tend not to wear very often, usually I’m in trousers.  I walked in and the assistant asked if she could help me.  I told her I was looking for a day dress.  She immediately said that they don’t stock day dresses.  There I was, willing to pay about £75 for a decent dress and feeling terribly disappointed.  “Sorry” she said and walked into her office/stock room.

I was so certain I would get a dress easily.  Aren’t they all the fashion this year?

So, what did I do?  I visited Bonmarche.  Now this shop is considered cheap.  I looked up the French interpretation of Marche (sorry, can’t put the accent on the e with the computer) and it means cheap or market.  But who cares, I actually got a dress.  In fact I got two dresses and a little cardi thing…
dress  dress and cardi
And it fits!!!  The cardi with the above dress was from Sainsbury’s.

This is the other dress and cardi, both from Bonmarche
dress 1dress and cardi 1
It has got shiny bits on it but the aren’t too noticeable.  And wearing the cardi hides the fact that it is a strappy dress, which I don’t like.

Altogether I spent just over my £75 for two dresses and two cardis.

Why is it so hard to find normal dresses?  Most of them look as though they are party dresses, or sun dresses.  I don’t want to walk around looking like a tart that’s past its sell by date.  I want to look neat and tidy and feminine.  I used to make all my own clothes but these days I want to be able to buy ready made.  I do find that dresses tend to be too short (above the knee) or too long (right down to the ankles).  They are also too frilly, I want to look feminine not tarty.  Most dresses don’t have nice little sleeves, a must in my opinion as I get older.  They are too low, I really do not like to see t**s on display, especially older womens'.  I could understand not finding anything if I was grossly overweight, but I’m a standard size 14 (UK) and sometimes a 12.  I also still have a waist.

I HATE SHOPPING!!!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

The Month Of May

I had a lot going on during May.  I went to Weymouth for a few days, then home for a few days, then to visit my brother and sister in law who live in Suffolk.
The short break in Weymouth was lovely because of the beautiful weather we were having at the end of April beginning of May.  I did a lot of walking and even got a bit of a sun tan, and I don’t tan easily so really I just ended up with a very red face!  The hotel we stayed in was ok, though the room we had wasn’t exactly nice.  It was clean and the bed was comfortable, the en suite bathroom only had one of those tiny hand basins in it but, as I said, it was clean.  The food was fine, proper dinners (meat and two veg) with a very nice starter and dessert, and full English breakfast if you wanted it as well as the usual cereals and fruit juice.  The bar lounge was very pleasant too and there was entertainment every night.
I really enjoyed my stay in Suffolk as well.  As usual we were made very welcome and enjoyed my SILs always excellent cooking.  We had two outings, one to Lavenham, which is a very interesting old town with a lot of Tudor buildings, and a full day in Bury St Edmonds, a really fabulous place with lots of proper shops, not your usual high street chains (these were tucked away in a new shopping precinct).
At home I’ve been doing my usual sewing and trying to learn to hand knit.  This knitting lark is a bit of a struggle for me!  I’ve knitted a couple of dolls things and a tiny teddy bear.  Today I’m having a go at crochet.
In the garden we now have the polytunnel up and running.  So far I’ve planted tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, broad beans, peas, beetroot and carrots.  Only a few of each, enough for the two of us.  There is still enough room left for some successional sowing, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to extent out harvesting season by doing it this way.  Outside my strawberries are doing well, if the weather would pick up a bit we could have strawberries soon.  After such a lovely April it’s disappointing that the weather has turned cool, dull, rainy and very windy.
I’ve been doing my usual amount of baking.  This week it was almond and apricot cake.  It should have been almond and orange cake but I forgot to put the butter into the mixture and it turned out so rubbery it was inedible, the birds and fox got this, it disappeared quickly so they must have enjoyed it!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Polytunnel Progress

Graham hung around the house all day on Tuesday, waiting for the polytunnel to arrive.  It did eventually get here, at about 7.30 in the evening.  He spent Wednesday making one of the doors and is up there again today making the second door.

This is the area that is cleared ready for the tunnel....

Here are some of the components...

Here is Graham with the first door he made....
He is very enthusiastic about this polytunnel and is looking forward to gardening in it.

We saw the fox up there this morning, it was sun bathing on the soil but ran off before I could take it's picture.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Being Patient

I'm trying to be patient but it's difficult.  My polytunnel hasn't arrived yet, the company I'm buying it from said 7-10 working days before dispatch.  Well, ten days have gone by and still no word.  If I've not heard anything by Tuesday I'll have to get in touch with them.

I went up to the veg plot to take a picture of the area that is cleared ready for the tunnel but when I got up there I forgot - don't you just hate it when that happens!  I did take a picture of my rhubarb....
What on earth would eat rhubarb leaves?  Tomorrow I'll go up there and check for snails, it could be them and I wonder if eating these leaves kills them?

It's been so dry lately and I had to water my strawberries.  I transplanted them a couple of weeks ago and they are doing well, one already has a fruit forming...
I got lots of runners off the few plants I put in last year.  When I get my tunnel I'll buy some more plants for in there - when I get my tunnel!!!

The miniature cooking apple has blossom coming on it...
I always get a few apples off this tree but I did prune the top off it at the end of last year because it had bowed over and I couldn't get it to straighten up.

The miniature damson tree had loads of blossom on it this year, since I transplanted it out of its pot it has done really well.  Last year I got some fruit off it for the first time and I've had it for at least fifteen years!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Comfy Feet

I’ve been searching for years for a pair of comfy sandals.  Last year I bought some Hotter shoes so I thought I’d have a look at their sandals.  This is what I decided on………
sandals
Don’t they look comfy?  They have two velcro strap closures so if my feet get a bit hot I could loosen them.  Perfect for wearing this summer.
While I was in the shoe shop I chose a pair of slippers too.  My previous slippers had to be thrown away, the soles were dropping to pieces.  These are what I chose………
slippers
Lovely, comfy, warm slippers!  These are made by http://www.dbshoes.co.uk/.  I was going to buy some of their sandals but I preferred the look of the Hotter ones.
So, that’s me set up with footwear for a while.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Gardening Season

For quite a few months now, I've come to a bit of a standstill with my blog. I've been doing the usual things, sewing, baking, cooking etc but no gardening. The baking I've done is my usual type of thing so nothing new to report there.

Today, for the first time for ages, I had the urge to check on my veg plot. I also went to the nearest garden centre. I was going to buy seed potatoes but when I saw the queue at the checkout I put them back! Everyone must be in the gardening mood, the place was crowded. The other thing I noticed was how much prices seem to have gone up this year.

Back at home I started mulling over what to do in my plot, mainly because of the problem we had last year with the fox. It ruined a lot of my veg even though I'd put protection around the raised beds. I like that there is a fox around, some people dislike them but I think they have as much right to be here as we do. So, what to do? I did think of getting a fruit cage and having it for an area with the veg that the fox seemed to like trampling. Then I thought a bit further. The weather can put me off going into the garden if it's wet and cold so how about a polytunnel. This would mean that I could protect my veg, be out there in all weathers and grow the more tender varieties. After a bit of research and discussion my DH and I decided on an 6 ft x 12 ft tunnel. Yes it's a bit expensive but the garden is our summer hobby and we enjoy our fresh veg so we ordered one.

I'm hoping that this year is an uneventful year. I don't handle stress well and the last few years have been horrible, like last year it was the MIL being ill and dying, my dear little dog being so ill then dying and then my DH breaking his wrist when he fell. The year before that my DH was very ill in hospital then taking months to get back to normal. Please let this year be boring!!!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Sampler

I've got several finished cross-stitch projects that haven't been made into anything.  They were stitched mainly because I like the design.  This one is a free one from Mon Ami Pierre.  I haven't done any embroidery for months now, I need good light to enjoy it and the weather has been so dull...
All winter I've been making things on my sewing machine, mostly patchwork or doll clothes.  Maybe now that spring is almost here and we get a bit more sunshine, I'll start embroidering again.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Friendship Star Quilt

This is a trial post from my computer to my blog.  There seem to be a lot of extras on Windows 7, and on Microsoft Office.  May as well try them out.

This is a little quilt I’ve almost finished.  It’s called Friendship Star

Friendship Star

The picture really shows up the contrast between the different fabrics, made me notice that one block is not quite contrasting enough.  Should get this finished tomorrow – I hope.

Well – it worked and was very easy to do (the Windows Live Writer that is).

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Pancake Day

Pancake Day
Shuttlecock Day
If you don't give us a holid'y
We'll all run away

My mother used to say this rhyme for us on Shrove Tuesday.  I hadn't really thought about the meaning of it until this year.  I looked on the internet to see if I could find out anything about the rhyme and the nearest I could find was from a history about Leicestershire.  Shrove Tuesday was traditionally a half holiday and school children would sing this to their teacher...

Pardon master, pardon,
Pardon in a pin,
If you don't give us a holiday
We won't let you in.

Then they'd sing

Pancake Tuesday is a very happy day,
If you don't give us a holiday
We'll all run away.

Much more used to be made of Shrove Tuesday, carnivals, eating rich food and games before Lent started.  The shuttlecock game was traditionally played and was called Battledore and Shuttlecock.  A battledore is the racquet that was used to hit the shuttlecock.  The racquet was usually made of wood and parchment, the shuttlecock was a cork with feathers stuck in it.

Anyone else know any local traditions about Shrove Tuesday?

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Hand Quilting

I recently had a go at hand piecing and hand quilting.  At one time I would have been too impatient to sit and do this so something must have changed in the way I think!?!

This little quilt only measure just over fifteen inches square and I can't see me doing anything by hand that is much bigger than this.  But then again, bed sized quilts are just not for me, these little ones satisfy my need to do patchwork.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Coat Hangers

How on earth did I end up with over ninety coat hangers with nothing on them?!?  I have got rid of a lot of clothes but I'm sure it wasn't ninety items.  So where did this lot come from........


They must have been in our wardrobes but I don't know what was hanging on them.  What do you do with coat hangers when you no longer need them I wonder.  I looked through the list of things we are allowed to recycle but coat hangers wasn't on it.  So they'll just have to be thrown away.  The council list of what to recycle made me realise how few things are on it.  I think we have single-handedly restocked one of the local charity shops though.  A little table we donated was outside the shop today with the price of £19.99 on it, hope it sells for that price, charities like this need all the help they can get just now.

Our sitting room is nearly cleared of all the stuff from the bedroom and we still have a bit of spare storage, partly due to getting rid of stuff and having more shelves.  One thing that is going to be difficult is sorting out the photographs we've taken this last 43 years.  Plus the photographs that belonged to my MIL.  It's going to be tough deciding what to get rid of and what to keep.  But we can't keep them all.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Bedroom So Far

It took the fitter five and a half days to fit the wardrobes, it was a long week!  It's going to take just as long to put everything back, deciding what not to put back is hard too.  There has been stuff stored in there for years, so - what's the point of keeping it if it's not used, I'm sure we've all asked ourselves that over the years.

Here are a couple of before and after pictures.  The before ones show the room stripped out and ready for fitting....
Then the same view as it is now...

At the opposite end of the room..............
And now..........
Because of the way the room is now designed it feels a lot bigger.  Before it was very mismatched with odd pieces of furniture that just never looked tidy.  We've still got the decorating to do, that will probably take another week and then we'll probably have a carpet fitted, the wood floor got quite scratched and dented so a carpet will just finish the room off nicely.  By the end of March it should be completely finished.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Heart Swap

Here's what I received from Karen for the heart swap we were in at a Yahoo group....
Karen's embroidery is gorgeous, I think it is the best example of embroidery I've ever received.  All the other lovely things she sent me were the extras we include in our swaps - two cross-stitch charts, silk thread, wool thread, gorgeous lace and some Maple Candie.  What an enjoyable swap this was - thanks Karen.

Not much blogging going on here again.  My front bedroom has been stripped out in preparation for my new wardrobes to be fitted.  This means that everything that was in there is in the rest of the house, there isn't one room that is tidy.  By tomorrow we won't be able to use our bed either, so one of us will be sleeping in the little bedroom and one of us on the fold up bed that will be downstairs.  This should be for about a week and I just know it's going to drive me crazy!!!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

An Old Picture

I've got a few pictures that were taken when I was little.  Here's one of my brothers and myself, probably taken in about 1949...
We don't look very cheerful do we!!!  I've always had a bit of a sulky look, it used to get on my nerves when people were always telling me to smile.  It's just the way I look.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Clutter

Before I moved to this house that we live in now we moved house on average every 3 or 4 years.  I never had a problem packing for the moves.  We've lived here for 20 years so I've not had to think about what I have stored away.  A couple of years ago we cleared the loft space because I was worried about all the junk that was stored up there.  Most of it was junk and got thrown away.  It's the same in my craft room, I've had two de-cluttering sessions lately and still need to get rid of more.

When we first moved here we built a 'temporary' fitted wardrobe in our bedroom.  Well, that 'temporary' lasted a long time!!!  Yesterday we started to clear everything out of the bedroom ready to have a professionally fitted bedroom.  It's going to look great, can't wait for it to be done.  But - I feel really depressed about the amount of junk I've kept over the years.  I sorted all the clothes out and have quite a few things to take to the charity shop, this was the easy bit.  When I look at the amount of clothes that were in there it was a tiny fraction of what filled the space.  My sitting room is absolutely full of stuff.  I can't believe how depressed I feel about it.  When did I turn into a hoarder?  Why did I turn into a hoarder?  What happened in my life to make me change so much?  I have put a lot of things to one side ready for the charity shop and there are a few things that I've thrown away.  When it comes to putting everything back into my new bedroom I intend to only put back what I know will be used/worn.  I am no longer going keep anything unless I actually use it.  This will be tough, but why will it be tough?  I hate being cluttered so what part of me won't let things go?

Phew - that really got all this off my chest (I often wonder about that expression).  I'm ready for the next session in there, still got the chests of drawers to go through!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Soup du Jour

My liquidiser broke a couple of weeks ago so it was imperative that I got another one.  I chose the Russell Hobbs one because of the glass jug.  My previous one was plastic and I think the hot soup I used it for caused the split in the collar near the blade.  Some days I plan to make soup and pre-soak any beans I might be using.  Some days I decide on the spur of the moment to make soup, that is when tins of beans come in handy.  I recently used black beans and I ended up with soup that was an interesting shade of purple!  Today I'm using borlotti beans...
This soup is very quick to make, onion; garlic, both roughly cut up; tin of beans; a squirt of tomato puree; a good glug of wine; pepper; and in this one, fish stock dissolved in about three quarters of a pint of hot water.  You can add any other veg you have on hand but for quickness these ingredients here are all you need.  Bring to the boil and simmer for about half an hour, let come off the boil then liquidise.  A very tasty, quick soup for two.  I can smell it now, ummmm, it amazes me how tasty bean soup is!

Friday, 28 January 2011

January

I don't think I've ever felt so lethargic as I've felt this January.  I think it is because of the weather being so cold and dull.  It's time I made an effort to get myself going again.  Here are a couple of things I've made recently...
A heart for a Valentine swap I'm in, this was very easy to do and turned out quite pretty.  Because I wasn't sure who I'd be swapping with and I wanted to get the hearts made in plenty of time, I also made this pot holder...
It wasn't until I took the picture that I noticed one edge isn't lined up properly, good job my swap partner wanted the fancy one!  Here's a picture of the hearts I've received in previous swaps...

I also bought a new doll, this one is very dainty compared to my Gotz one...
When I sat them together I decided that they looked just like Bridgette and Marie, two of the daughters in Medium, starring Patricia Arquette.

I sent for another book from Amazon, it's called Prairie Children and Their Quilts, but I have a horrible feeling I won't get it.  Three times the delivery date has been changed, it's now due in February, something to do with waiting for new stock to come in.  Never mind, there are plenty of other choices.

Once again, I apologise for some comments not showing up, I don't know why they keep going into the moderation page, I don't moderate comments so this is a puzzle to me.  It's not like they are going to the spam folder either.