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

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


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