Saturday, 30 November 2013

Saturday, All Work and a Little Play.

A busy busy time here in South Lincs. I seemed to have worked all day yesterday and again today. My big shop is done and tucked away, all done until January. I have filled up with all the boring stuff, loo rolls, washing up liquid, scouring pads, shoe polish etc etc. My favourite stick deodorant was on a good offer so I emptied the shelf, I can't be doing with roll on and will not buy anything in an aerosol can except my fabric glue. I do object to paying through the nose just so I don't offend someone elses.
I filled the flour bins, sugar jars and piled in some more dried fruit, I can not run out of mincemeat, and all the odd bits like Mulled Wine spice and hot pepper sauce. I don't mull wine but I do make a hot spiced apple drink.
I wash and cut up enough apples, of as many different varieties as I have, to just about fill my biggest pot. I take out the cores and any bruised bits, just cover them with water add a mulled wine spice bag and a few extra cloves and bring to the boil, cover and simmer till the apples are very soft. I turn off the heat and leave them covered to really let the flavours infuse. Then I strain them through a muslin lined sieve and chill the juice till I want it. It isn't bad cold but it is delish hot, I don't sweeten it but for those with a sweet tooth a little maple syrup would be perfect.

I pushed the boat out and bought some Venison, it will make 6 to 8 meals for £7, which is much more than I normally allow for meat but I love it. I offset the cost with some cooking bacon and smoked salmon trimmings and the savings made on my other shopping. I had a £10 voucher and I got 10p a litre off my petrol so I am happy.

Fran sent me this and I thought i would share it with you.

I have to go, no time for more my cooker alarm just went off.

TTFN                                    Pam

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Christmas is here, well almost.

I have finished Francesca's new quilt top, over the next 2 days I will get the wadding and decide on the backing. I am going to make it reversible, I am sure you will understand why when you see it.

It is a big one and once quilted I will be able to get a better photo.

It is a "cheats" version of Cathedral Windows using fabric from Kate Spain, one of my favourite designers. I may have mentioned that Fran is a Christmas fiend, she loves it and has snaffled her Christmas cushions already. I am going to make it reversible so that she can use it all year round. This will have to be the last one for her as she will have 6.

I have had an interesting day, I have been cadging a lift to walk Ben with a friends dog, round a set aside field in the next village. This afternoon he came face to face with a feral chicken, the bird lost some feathers and Ben collected a few pecks and a wounded pride. Then he got a severe telling off from me, his playmate just looked on with disdain written all over his face.
He needs to learn better, next time it could be a rat that will attack.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. Ben did not catch the chicken.

2. The chicken did not catch Ben.

3. My friend was helpful in keeping her dog, Gin, back. 

4. Gin was so good and sat and stayed.

5. I have a long lead for Ben tomorrow.

Once I have full mobility Ben will be back to long road walks, until then being on a lead will perhaps teach him a lesson.

I sent a present off to my Brother and SIL in Perth today and have just spotted their Christmas Card on the side, oh well it can go tomorrow.
I have 2 more to get in the post and that will be done for the year. Fran is having her quilt, a stack of books and some bits and bobs. We decided to keep it low key this year because of her move and my hopes to sell and move.

I watched the second episode of Nigel and Adam's Farm program this afternoon, it is good. 

I was in bed by 9. last night and asleep by 2 minutes later, The massage and exercise wear me out goodness knows why, I am after all lying down!

Dinner tonight is Brisket in a spicy marinade in the slow cooker, with a selection of fresh veg, the leftovers will make rissoles for several meals.

Talking of dinner, the smell from the kitchen is fantastic so I am off to investigate.

             TTFN                                        Pam

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Still Standing, but only just

It's me! I'm back!

My travel at the weekend was tiring and by Monday I was so stiff from sitting that I could have done with a rub down with The Sporting Life and some horse liniment.
Anyhow, Francesca is moved although I seem to have as much of her stuff here as we have taken out. Ben thoroughly enjoyed going to London and went into the house and took over. One of the sharers is a Police Officer and Ben put on his "love me " face, done job, 1 hour of tummy rubbing and ear tickling and a bit of catch. No not me, Ben.

Beckenham is a very lively area, lovely shops in the centre, and where she is it is a secluded road of large family homes. Free  Parking!! in the large driveway. Once she has sorted out her room and storage the rest of her stuff is going to join her.

This is Ben squirming with happiness on the sofa with Fran, he absolutely adores her.

This is his "it wasn't me, I didn't do it look" usually seen after he has thrown all the cushions on the floor.

I am remiss, I wish to offer a big welcome to some new friends, Lisa, I may have welcomed you before ( forgetful and scatty). Blondie from Derbyshire, I visit there quite often. Love the Mall in Derby. Patricia who lives just up the road and round the corner from me in Peterborough and blogs at Tarragon & Thyme, go check her recipes out YUM. Then there is Lola of And sew on, I found her on a blog hop and had to follow, I love finding new quilting blogs. BEST bit is while I was there I left a comment and won a giveaway, how good is that. I will do a show and tell later. She will be in the thick of Thanksgiving now, imagine doing the full on Roast Turkey now and then again for Christmas, poor timing or what.

I have been to see Miss Whiplash   The Physio this afternoon and what she does to me is awful, it hurts, and Wonderful, when the pain goes so does some of the stiffness. A hot bath and then a hot waterbottle helps with that.

Dinner tonight is a doozy, Bangers and Mash and Mushy Peas. Cheap, cheerful and delish, nothing like Nursery food to lift the spirits.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. New friends.

2. My winnings, of course I am grateful.

3. My beautiful Ben.

4. A gift of free range eggs.

5. The knowledge that it is highly unlikely that I will suffer from  blizzard, hurricane, twister, flash fire or flooding so bad that I lose everything.

I am so grateful for all the little things, it is easy to be grateful for the big joys in life but we mostly tend to take all the little ones for granted. Driving back from the Physio and seeing a field in bright sunshine and a layer of mist about a foot deep laying over it was magical, I just wish that I had got my camera.
The fact that no matter how much we whinge about our weather, we do not suffer from the extremes that seem to be happening so frequently across the world.
The UK may not be hot or exotic but by and large it is safe. And it is never predictable, remember The Big Blow and Michael Fish.

I have been plugging away with my sewing and have some things to share but they can wait, the kettle is singing, dinner smells good and all is well in my world. I hope that you can all say much the same.

TTFN                     Pam

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Up to my ears in it.

Packing that is, the cottage looks like the packing department of an on line store. We are in imminent danger of death by parcel tape and it may be soggy cardboard boxes for dinner! Only kidding, its faggots, mash and peas.
I usually love all the hustle and bustle of packing up and moving, but this is not my move. I did not realise just how much stuff Francesca had, and neither did she.
I have a track in my bedroom from the door to the window and back round the bed. I have to lean over cases and boxes to get to the wardrobe. 
Her room is as bad if not worse and I have at least 5 more boxes to be filled. It all has to be done and dusted by bedtime tomorrow as we are leaving at 6 on the dot with both cars filled to the brim.
I may make a second trip on Sunday, if I can stand it, or it will have to wait until she comes back for Christmas.
I am so glad that the freezer is full of Ding Dinners as there will not be much cooking done for a week.
My plans for next week are as follows:-
A, Empty Francesca's room, clean and decorate, lay a new carpet and hang new curtains.

B, Re instate this as my sewing room. ( there will still be room for visits)

C, Blitz my room, disposing of everything that I no longer need or want.

D, Decorate my room, hang new curtains, ( I will sleep in Fran's room while this happens)

E, Starting with the bathroom rinse and repeat till the whole cottage has had a "do over"

F, Put it on the market and hopefully get a quick sale.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. A gloriously sunny day.

2. 2 loads of washing blowing on the whirlygig.

3. 12 more blocks completed in my new quilt.

4. Well stocked cupboards  so I do not have to shop for ages.

5. A bottle of very very good Shiraz, just in case.

I will probably not blog any more until Sunday, not enough hours in the day, plus I have to find out how to add a link to another blog so I can do the Sunshine Award post, Thank Goodness for Google.

             TTFN                                 Pam

Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye. Driving into London and out! YUK YUK YUKKITY JUK.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Mid Week Makes

I like Wednesday, there are those who call it "the hump", I see why. Once you are over it is downhill all the way to the weekend. For me it means that the bins have been emptied, all the recycling is gone and my cubby hole where they live is empty, clean and tidy.
I have done the big cleaning, windows, paintwork, (I hate skirting boards) and just have to clean as I go, Then on Friday I have a blitz through and it is done until Monday.

My car went in for the MOT today and I had intended to get out in the garden, HUH. Rain, wind more rain until about 2. then when it was too late the sun showed its face. At least Ben was happy, he got a brisk walk in the dry and then came with me to get the car.

I played some more with my 2 1/2" squares,

Woo Hoo all the strips are done.

The last handful of selvedge edges, I will make something with these one day, I have been saving them for ages.

The first 2 blocks, I have a lot of sliver trimming in front of me.

Dinner tonight is a mish mash, I raided the Left Overs Bag in the freezer. I pulled out some ribs in a marinade, 2 pork belly slices that had been coated with some chinese sauce, a chicken breast that I sliced and soaked in a red chilli and honey sauce and 2 pork chops in a marinade. A meat overload but we will not eat it all, some will go in tomorrows fried rice. I will serve couscous and salad Yum.

Reasons to be grateful.

1.  Easy Peasy dinner.

2. Lots of fiddly sewing done.

3. A parcel from Lakeland full of goodies arrived.

4. Heston was on the telly, he went down well with a cup of mint tea.

5. I recorded Elementary and watched that with a bit of hand sewing. Nice work if you can get it. he he.

I do not spend all my time in front of the goggle box, but I was on the sofa so I indulged.

I am recording a new program with Nigel Slater tonight, hopefully I will get round to watching it this week.

TTFN                                                Pam

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Sew far Sew good

Late on parade, oops, I have noe excuse. What I do have is a kitchen full of baking, an empty ironing basket and a stack of strips with a white square pinned on ready to push through Little Gem.
All my tree blocks are finished and I may have changed my mind  (again) ( do I even have a mind) ( am I on auto pilot). More of that later.

I have made 2 of each of these to go with the 2 I showed you yesterday.

I decided to spend some quality time in the kitchen after walking Ben out 3 times in the glorious sun shine, he had an extra walk as it may be the last time we see sun for a few days.
I rustled these up and some more of the same that has gone to new homes.

We had roast Lamb on Sunday so I chopped some of the meat up, mixed it into some gravy with a tsp of mint sauce and made some Tiddy Oggies. I made 8 big sausage rolls the rest are in the fridge, 2 in mine and 4 in Neville's.

Some Apple Crumbles with the apple cooked to a puree, just how Francesca likes them, and Demarara sugar in the crumble for the crunch.

I had a little pastry left so made a simple plum jam tart.

A pleasant way to spend an afternoon, I have a batch of mincemeat planned for tomorrow and a couple of cakes. I have a fruit cake recipe that uses a jar of mincemeat and will be making 2 hence the need to make some more.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. Sunshine all day.

2. Watching Ben enjoying the Lamb bone.

3. All set up to sew my white squares on the strip sets.

4. Francesca has Friday off to do the last minute packing.

5. A box of goodies is on it's way here.

 Just to put the icing on the cake if you read yesterdays comments you will see that I have a little bit of extra sunshine coming my way, nice.
                  TTFN                    Pam

Monday, 18 November 2013

Good Morning, Oh My Word it,s early.

I am up, exercised, showered and dressed. It is 6.45 and the village is quiet, all I can hear is Ben's gentle snoring and the whir of the washing machine.
Francesca has gone off to London, she has to leave the cottage at 5.45 to get to her office by 8.45. Once she has moved it will be 40 minutes door to door. That is a time gain of nearly 25 hours a week, an extra day, I want one. Santa take a memo.

I am working with my 2 1/2" squares for a little while this morning, I have all the coloured ones in pairs and am pinning a third one to each pair. I do not usually pin but in the interest of keeping pressure off my leg I will pin and then set the machine to run on auto and just feed them through in a chain. I have 126 trios to make then each one will have a white square on one end.

There is a method to my madness. Remember the trees I showed yesterday, well it is an about face. I have decided to sash them and make a quilt that can double as a  table topper instead of a runner. I have lots of 3" sashing strips to cut and then bigger pieces to square it up. While I have the white fabric out I am going to cut my 126 x 2 1/2" squares. I know myself and if I do not have the sets ready to pin them to I will lose them.
 To give me a rest from sewing I will write this post as I go through the day. Toodle Pip for now.

It is now 9.40, I am more than halfway through my 2 1/2" squares and just back from walking Ben. A cup of coffee, a quick whizz round the kitchen and more sewing. Square eyes and no telly!

It is now 2,30, I have finished sewing for the afternoon. I have some cooking to do.
Ben has had a second walk and the weather is pretty disgusting, a fine mizzle that soaks you before you realise and enough wind to blow it down the back of your neck.

All 126 sets ready to press, whew.

Pressed and stacked in piles of 20, I made a few extra so that when I assemble the top I will have a few to juggle with. There are bound to be one or two that I feel do not fit.

The first two Christmas tree blocks, the other 8 just need the white strips to be sewn on the bottom, they are all pinned.  I am going to put a 1" sashing strip in that will give me a finished quilt size of 48" wide by 64" long. A good throw size, when it is assembled I will decide  whether to add a border or not. I thought about another row of trees but do not have enough of the green and I can not drive out to buy any more.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. A good mornings sewing.

2. A sparkling kitchen floor. ( I was pressing white fabric)

3. The exercises are becoming easier.

4. My favourite Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake for dinner.

5. A gift of free range eggs for my baking later.

Altogether a satisfactory day, and I still have some play time in the kitchen tom look forward to. Before that another round of exercises, tea and 30 minutes with a book.

              TTFN                                      Pam 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Oh Oh OH It is Sunday

I have been to see the Physio, she made me stand on one leg, twist, turn lean here and there all the while wielding a measuring stick. She poked, pressed twisted and turned my legs until I felt like Twizzle!

She made me lie on a hard mat and balance my nether regions on a block of very hard foam and stretch, I had to curl my knees up and rock backwards and forwards.

The verdict is that my lumbar discs are compressed. I have to start a regime of exercises to loosen up so that they can re-hydrate themselves. This will take 4 weeks to build up to the complete routine and then it is possibly for ever.

Years of heavy lifting have taken their toll and now I am paying the price.

I will not be able to manage my garden, it is just too big. Stairs will become an issue so it looks like a bungalow is in my future.

I can do that, I can and will do what it takes, this is nothing compared to what many have to deal with.

I am still walking Ben, still cooking, still sewing and all the other things that are part of my life.
At the moment I am not driving, it is a bit too risky for me and anyone else out there.

I have been sewing, not as much as usual but enough to keep me quiet.

I want to make a table runner for someone, I looked in blogland and found this, I made 4 but it is not quite right.

I had a little play and found the "snowing" fabric ( I have this in several colours )  so had a go at this.

I have made 6 and have 2 more cut out, I was going to sash them but have decided just to sew them together, put a border or two on and quilt and bind them. I tried 1 with a narrow trunk and it looked like a dirty mark so went for this size.
I will show you tomorrow what it looks like.

Then I got really daring, I had a class booked at Button Up and Stitch to make a messenger bag. swallowed the pills and got a lift there and back.

Front with a full sized flap

Inside showing a pocket and the magnetic catch.

Back view, with a zipped pocket.

I used the "snowing" fabric as it went well with the little birds that I fell in love with.

Considering how rough I felt I am more than happy with my bag. But, I am going to alter the pattern. I would like the flap shorter and with a loop and toggle closure, the corners to be rounded and I want to add a layer of fleece to make it softer and to protect the contents more.
I do have 2 books on bag making I just have not got around to much more than a quilted tote bag. Not good. I enjoyed making this and see a few more in my future.

I also had a parcel from Switzerland on Saturday.

It is my Santa Swap for this year, my parcel should be in the post by next Thursday, I am waiting for a delivery to replace an item that arrived broken. It is annoying but i do not need to post until 1st December.

I have 2 more ready to go and will send them all on their way together.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. At last a diagnosis and the relevant treatment.

2. A few hours out sewing with like minded people.

3. Fran,s packing is completed.

4. A quiet week ahead,no deadlines to meet.

5. My Christmas sewing is all done.

I do enjoy making all the Christmas gifts but get side tracked into making more than I need to just to try ideas out. There are just so many things I want to make, I may have to have a yard sale to make room.

TTFN                                        Pam

Thursday, 14 November 2013

All Quiet in the East

Nothing happening here today except the meds, dreadful night, I begin to understand the stories of people who cut body parts off with pen knives.
Having said that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and if you can feel the pain you know that you are alive.
I am in the lucky minority who can get medication, easily and either cheaply or free. I do not have to drag myself to work and stumble through the day to feed myself, and my family.
if I never work again I will not go without because I made provision for getting older.
I also made some cinnamon toast this morning, sugar helps, and it is disgusting. That is the aftertaste of drugs I suppose. Oh well the silver lining is, toast in the bin not on the hips!
I had planned to make Sweet tomato pickle to Karen from Chelmarsh Chunterings but that will keep. My sewing will still be there waiting, 
I have tea and a few books, I have my craft mags to flick through and Ben snuggled at my side. I am warm and in reach of enough food to withstand a siege.
That is more than many people have this morning.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. A warm fuzzy feeling washing the pain away. Free.

2. Everything that I could possibly need or want, within easy reach.

3. My faithful,loving Ben beside me.

4. Some hand sewing if I need to create.

5. A friend to walk Ben and replenish my tea when needed.

Now I feel a little doze coming on.     TTFN                Pam

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

If You Can't Take the Heat........

Phew, it was hot in the kitchen this morning, I had some Shepherds Pie base left over so made a couple of Oggies  for Nev. I made a Coffee and Walnut Cake for the freezer and had the Date, Apricot and Orange Chutney on the go as well. Oh I had the ironing board set up to press a stack of fabric scraps ready to cut up into 2 1/2" squares, I have seen a quilt pattern that I like. I will need 714 of these, the pattern calls for 14 fat quarters at £ 2.50 -£3.50 each, that's not going to happen. Doh!

Any way the chutney recipe is:-
500g stoned dates chopped, I snip them up with scissors.
400g ready to eat Apricots, chopped, I get them ready diced from a friend.
2 large onions diced quite fine.
30g root ginger, peeled and grated.
Zest and juice of a large orange, I grate the zest from 2 as we like the extra zing.
500ml cider vinegar, if I can not get it I use white wine vin.
400g soft brown sugar.
1/2tsp Cayenne.
1tsp Coriander.
1 tbs salt.

Put the whole lot in a big pan, bring to the boil slowly, then simmer till thick stirring every now and then.
This makes 4lb or thereabout, I double up the quantities and make use of my maslin pan.
I ran out of dates 2 years ago and made the last batch with a mixture of dates,  figs and cranberries. I was delicious, I now make a batch just the same each year.
This year I have adapted the recipe to match my store cupboard. 
I was 150g short of Apricots so I used 250g apple, as the apple breaks down more I increased the quantity, I only had half the Cider vinegar and no White Wine vinegar so used white distilled to make it up, My root ginger is buried at the bottom of my chest freezer and of course I do not have ground so I used 2 heaped tsp Allspice. Oops nearly forgot, I have a stock of demarara sugar so used half and half with soft brown sugar.
10 jars and a taster, not bad at all. Stand by for  photos.

Here are the raw ingredients, I hope you can see that I did not cut the dates very small, most of them were straight in half. I do cut even the small ones as I do find the odd stone. 3 today.

The sugar has dissolved and you can see that the liquid is nearly to the top.

Nearly ready, I have drawn a channel with the wooden spoon and it has got some free flowing liquid in.

Bingo, the channel now has a little viscous liquid but is almost empty. Time to get the clean jars, lids and funnel out of the oven, they have been at 150 c for 20 minutes.

The reward, this only needs 6 weeks before it is ready to eat, once opened I recommend keeping in the fridge and using within 6 weeks. In this house it is lucky to make 6 hours.

My scrap fabrics are looking good, several new colours and only 6 that I can not use in this project. There are 2 pieces of Batik, if I can bare to use it I will otherwise it will be shredded for stuffing.

I bought this lot from an Ebay seller for £6 including postage, a big bargain. There are 3 fat quarters and 5 WOF strips over 10" long. I am well chuffed.

I will show my baking tomorrow, I need to get the kitchen cleared, while I am in the mood I will give it a good fettling. All that steam shows up a few icky marks here and there. The smell is amazing, a cross between Christmas pudding and Spiced wine.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. A productive morning with no pressure.

2. A big stack of new fabrics to play with.

3. A good long walk with Ben first thing.

4. 2 pet beds finished last night ready to gift.

5. My lovely neighbour Nev brought me some field mushrooms as big as my hands put together.

6.  ( I know an extra today) I have a new follower, Janet.

Welcome aboard Janet, enjoy the ride.

The HR department rang a little while ago, to jog me into feeling guilty, didn't work! Once I told them that the heavy lifting was the cause, new procedures have caused this, she became very solicitous as to my welfare.
I did not share with her the fact that I will probably not be returning, in the fullness of time when it is necessary, and not a moment before, they will know.

             TTFN                                             Pam.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

By Heck it's Been a Lovely Day

The sun has been shining since quite early, Ben has enjoyed 2 long walks in the warmth of it. I have spent my time sewing, cooking and reading. Lovely Day.

This was gifted to me at the weekend, I have seen it but never bought a copy, I love magazines but they are very expensive and my storage space is finite, and getting full.

It is full of bright colours, lots of adverts which I will ignore and several freebies which I will enter to win, well someone will win them.

It came with a free novel, I passed that on already. It also had a small pack of felt and bits and bobs to make these little things.
The templates are included and I will photocopy them at various sizes, buy some bigger pieces of felt and make a little family. I am not sure whether I like the Fox or the Squirrel the most. I feel a visit to Button Up and Stitch coming on.

Three fruit loaves, 1 for each neighbour and 1 for us, I tried it while warm from the oven, well it was a new recipe, ooh nice, no need for butter I will make it again but will add more cinnamon.

More Wholemeal bread from my Polish Organic flour, very tasty and not in the slightest bit naughty, well not yet anyway. I will slice these when cold and freeze them. we do not eat a huge amount of bread and I do not want it to spoil.

My final bake was this pair of fresh pineapple cakes. I got 2 big pineapples for £1 on Burton Market Saturday. Some I had fresh, some went into these and the rest is frozen.

This is ready for me to make a batch of chutney, all I have to do is dig out the recipe, get the rest of the ingredients out and tomorrow morning it will be made. This is for my hampers and will be ready by Christmas, it doesn't need 3 months to mellow like some chutneys. Date, Orange and Apricot it even sounds a bit Christmassy.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. A house full of the smells of baking.

2. Cottage Pie, made earlier, ready to pop in the oven for dinner.

3. Empty laundry and ironing baskets.

4. No pain at all.

5. A pile of little sewing jobs done.

My sewing was nothing spectacular, buttons needing replacing, a hem to sew up, a zip to replace, all that kind of thing. It had been looking at me for far too long and now it is done.

Tonight I am going to sew the strip sets for the Oz quilt, it will be a fast make, I already have the batting and backing.
I have my swap partner for the Christmas Cracker Swap, I read her blog and know exactly what I am doing. I just have to find out her colour preference and I will be away.

I just need to shred some cabbage and cut some broccoli florets and dinner will be sorted.

                                        TTFN      Pam

PS . Does any one read The Iowa Housewife blog, it is on my list. There are some brilliant recipes and I have not had a failure yet. Todays was a bread recipe to keep in the fridge, you just take the dough out in the morning and have fresh rolls in no time. Guess what I will be doing after dinner.

1 last pic from my mag.

Monday, 11 November 2013

A Techno Free Weekend. with sewing on the side.

Good Morning, I am refreshed and raring to go. I had a lazy day yesterday, sitting in the car for nearly 5 hours Saturday did me no favours at all, my joints were rebelling all Sunday, I did not feel up to writing a blog post so had a technology free day. I filled my day nicely with some reading and a little bit of sewing and a very little bit of cooking.
I put some bacon chops in the slow cooker with a bottle of Mr T's cheapest Cola and served them with mustard mash, cauli and broccoli. Jam sponge and custard for pudding. Yum.

I did manage a quick visit to Burton-on-Trent Saturday, a quick look round the market and a zip in and out of the Charity Shops.

I picked up this single duvet cover for £1, it is very good quality and in new condition. I plan to turn it into aprons with a frill round the skirts. My local Cats Protection CS can sell them as fundraisers.

The quilt for James and Cerys is done, I could not settle on fabric to back it so used a fleece blanket and it is really warm.

One thing that I noticed in the Burton CS was the price of pillowcases, £1 upwards!! I pay 25p at most. The one in this pic is one of a pair for 35p. I stuff them with 3 or 4 layers of wadding offcuts, sew up the opening and do a little hand quilting and there is a very cheap pet bed. This one will fit a small to medium dog or a couple of cats. I sew the layers of wadding together as well so that when washed they retain their shape.

I got my November block swap on Saturday, I am not a happy bunny, it came with a letter saying that she had cut it wrong so had put a patch in one corner, did I mind!! if so let her know and she would try again!
Well yes I do mind, I take great care to send a swap as near perfect as I can make it. I am fussy and like to think that others are also. If it turns out too small I remake, if I am not going to do it properly then I do not do it at all. To me part of the fun of swapping is to match the swap with my partners tastes and to make them something with a bit of "OOH" factor. This is what I got. BTW my colours are Red, Yellow and Aqua on White, with no Batiks.

This is not square, it does not measure 12 1/2" and it is not Aqua, it also has grey and the blue is a Batik.

This is where she cut it wrong, the red point has been cut off and the blue pint was lost when she added a scrap of fabric. 

I am putting it in the post and sending it back. The block pattern I quite like but I could not keep this even to cut for scraps, evrytime I saw it I would seethe. My last block was nothing special but it was the right size and the right colours so I will use it. All the other blocks that I have had are really good and I look forward to turning them into a quilt.

Moan over.

This was our dinner on Friday, spicy fried chicken, in the end I did not make batter I dipped the meat in milk and then a spicy gram flour mix. The sausage gravy was lovely, I used a 50p pack of RTC honey and mustard sausages and added a little extra mustard to the gravy.
It was so tasty that we are having a version of it tonight on pasta.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. Pain free for 24 hours.

2. A visit on Saturday and a catch up.

3. Being made aware that my health issues are negligible.

4. Being made aware that our health service, with all its problems. does a very good job on the whole.

5. Feeling fortunate in having Francesca's family in my life.

In 2 weeks Fran will be moving to her new house-share in London, a time of change and for us all. I look forward to seeing more space in the cottage and seeing her social life actually happen. She will instantly gain over 5 hours a day by not commuting.
On that thought I really ought to drag out some of the things that need checking before they are packed, there are a lot of boxes that have not been touched for 2 years!

                                       TTFN                            Pam

Friday, 8 November 2013

Who nicked my sunshine?

I was up and about early this morning, bright sunshine streaming through the windows by the time my washing machine had chomped through 2 loads.  Whizzed it out on the twirly whirly thingamajig and off out with Ben. a quick 20 minute walk and off to market, veg and milk in the car and home again.

Tea and cereal for me and breakfast for Ben, washing up, ironing and a quick sprint with Little Gem.

All the penny patch and plain blocks made and sewn into a 43" by 57" quilt top. I want to put 2 borders round and am juggling fabrics, I have to make my mind up soon as I want this made and quilted next week. It is for James and Cerys, I may have to post it as I can not see my way clear to get to Wales before Christmas.

I fiddled around tidying some more scraps away and gave Little Gem a defluff and a new needle ready for the next session. Then realised that it was very grey. Washing in and folded just as the heavens opened and chucked it down.  English weather, don't you just love it.

We are having a meal I saw on food network a few days ago tonight, chicken breast sliced fairly thin, seasoned and dipped into a simple batter of flour, water and spices then fried. Served in a "biscuit" with grated cheese and "gravy". For those with no idea what I mean, A biscuit is much like a big scone, I make the dough very soft and pat it out and fold a few times before cutting and cooking. Gravy is made by frying off onions and little balls of sausage meat, adding cornflour to make a roux and stirring in enough milk to make a thick sauce, I add plenty of seasoning and a little mustard, I also make sure that I scrape all the little bits off the pan bottom.

I usually cook something new on Saturdays but we are going to visit Francesca's Grandfather tomorrow, he is not very well and it is about 6 weeks since we were there last.
I have just noticed my parcels still on the coffee table, they should have been posted this morning, it will be Monday now. 

Reasons to be grateful.

1. English weather, never boring.

2. Pain free after an iffy night.

3.  A new episode of Big Bang Theory to watch later.

4.  3 library books left to read.

And I saved the best till last.

5. My copy of Love Patchwork and Quilting came through the letter box this morning. 

That means that once Ben has had his next walk and dinner is prepped I will brew a pot of tea and retire to the sofa for at least an hour. The drawbridge will be raised and the portcullis lowered, life outside the living room will cease.

          TTFN                                                            Pam          

BTW last night,s Hot Pot was lovely, the chilli and spices had intensified and there are 2 more servings in the freezer. I think I can have a week off cooking soon and we can have ding dinners.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

More sewing,More food, best of all More Sunshine

A really warm sunny day, Ben has had 2 good walks and I have 2 loads of laundry blowing in the gentle breeze.

I completed my November swap block and it will be in the post to Switzerland in the morning. My sewing is better traveled than I am. My partner this month asked for Grey, purple and white, BINGO, I have plenty of those colours. As for the block pattern, as it was so fresh in my mind I made a zigzag rail post block.

These colours have come out pretty true, the grey Pearl Bracelets print has featured in several things, I need to get some more and the mistletoe print is a favourite of mine, I have had it in about 5 different colours but only have this one left now. I may have a search on line to find some more, it is a very good blender. The light print is a very fine light grey polka dot which reads as a solid. The dark purple is a remnant from a long ago Trip Round the World Quilt, I made it in 2006 from a book by Eleanor Burns.

I set to with all my Christmas fabric  and pressed and bagged all the strips and bits and bobs, it will be much easier to work with now. I want to hand over a nice bag full of things to sell.

My Brother in Oz always goes out to celebrate Australia Day, there are big public events everywhere, free breakfasts are to be found in parks, there are gas operated barbecues in most parks as well and whole families gather to have a fun day and watch the fireworks as soon as night falls. There will be around 25 in his group next year so I thought that I would make him a throw quilt for the little ones to sprawl on when they get tired. It is at the end of January and the grass will be dry and very scratchy. I pulled these fabrics, vaguely patriotic but not a flag, I want them to be able to use it all summer. The top colour is a very dark blue, not purple, I am going to make the Rail Fence again, it is easy and a fast make, the post will be mayhem in another 2 weeks.

Dinner tonight was going to be a fridge bottom pie, but we have had pie this week so it will now be a hotpot. The slow cooker is on with an onion, 1 leek, 2 carrots and 1/4 of a swede all sliced up and simmering in the juices left from Sundays dinner. Later I will add the left over Brisket diced up, stir that in and cover with some sliced potatoes. Equally I had intended to serve cauli cheese and cabbage but now will just use plain cauli to go with the cabbage.

Pudding will not be needed but just in case there is a fresh dish of cinnamon and brown sugar stewed apple in the fridge and a jug of custard could be whipped up in no time.

Reasons to be grateful. 

1. A no pain day.

2. Warm sunshine.

3. Ben snoozing at my feet, dreaming of all the squirrels that he wants to chase.

4. Laundry done, dried and folded.

5. 3 days sewing organised.

I have blitzed the sitting room, all the wood is gleaming and all the glass is sparkling and boy is the sunshine bouncing about. Setting a list if "things to be done" each day is working well for me, I have to focus to get through the tasks to have time to sew. I do not mind what it takes, as long as it works.

Time to plug the iron in, I want to do that before I make more tea.

              TTFN                                              Pam