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Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Dark and Light.

I was pulling fabrics for a project, the wall hangings that I mentioned, and some of my stash is very dark shades of blues and purples with the odd bit of dark red.
My palette is mainly brights with some of the slightly darker jewel colours, Sapphire Blue rather than Navy and so on.

As I tried colours out I found myself gravitating toward some deeper shades with some brighter and an almost neutral print.
The dark colours made the light and bright fabrics stand out without being too bold, the dark seemed to calm them down somewhat.

It made me think about a few people that have been going through some very dark times lately. I know that it is trite, but I feel that when we come through a dark part of our lives we can find so much pleasure in the lighter days. As the weight of our troubles starts to shift the lightness is more pronounced and we actually notice it.
That made me really stop and think, do we need the dark to fully appreciate the light?
In my quilts I usually have white to provide a foil for the colours. A few years ago I made a quilt for a friend who asked for the white to be replaced with red. It changed the whole look and showed off the colours in a new way.
The first watery, spring sunshine puts fingers of light into all the dark corners in a way that the hot light of summer never does. Is this because we are coming out of the darker months?

Any way, this is not the place for a deep philosophical theory to be aired. All that is just a preamble to tell you that the piecing is finished. I have found some plain backing fabric and picked out the binding. I am very pleased with it and hope to get it layered and pinned today.

I will not be starting it for a little while though, I was quite breathless on my return form walking Ben and Herbie. My heart was going for it in a big way so it will be a "sit and knit" rest of morning. That is the quickest way to get everything back to the status quo. Nothing to do with the fact that I have a project on the needles that I want to be wearing, right now if not sooner.

The SO has just made me a coffee so I am going to say bye bye and enjoy it to the full.

                            TTFN                            Pam

Monday, 21 January 2019

Monday, Monday

So good for me.
I have been knitting all weekend and currently have knitted almost 1200 grams of chunky yarn from stash this year. Plus the 2 pairs of socks for L.
This week is is the turn for fabric. This morning I have pulled 7 fabrics from stash to make a couple of wall hangings, 1 for me and 1 to gift.
They are all pressed and ready to cut and start sewing. That will be my play after lunch.
My quilt will be layered and pinned later, I am regarding that as a reward for sewing more from stash. Next to getting the last stitches in the binding, pinning is my new favourite part of quilting. Probably because it means that I am almost at the finishing line.

The dogs have had their walks and all of my chores are done. I was hoping to peg out this morning but a light mist has crept in over the mountain. I will check again after lunch, even a couple of hours outside makes it all smell so much fresher.

The new French press, along with the French Blend coffee is proving a success, it is also a much more reasonable cost than I anticipated. For much the same cost as a jar of my favourite instant I can make 3 brews a day, this is more coffee than I was drinking but much, much less than the SO was. Out of each brew he has 2 cups to my 1 and we are both happy with that.

Dinner last night was from my batch cook of meat ragu, we had it over steamed greens as neither of us was hungry enough for pasta.
Tonight I will be making a cheese "pasta" gratin, there will be as much veg as pasta and the gratin will be of wholemeal bread cubes with a selection of seeds and nuts. W will have a serving for his dinner as well.

That is all for today, nothing much is happening here, life ticks on as usual and I am content with that.

It is nice to see the daylight hours gradually pulling out, I have had sufficient dark mornings and early onset evenings now. 

Thank you for all your comments on my last post, Monday wash day and Sunday baking day are among my first memories. My Granny was either in a cloud of flour or steam.

                                     TTFN                         Pam

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Who remembers

Or even knows the saying, "One on, one off and one in the wash"?
If you take notice of adverts you would have multiples of everything, certainly more than 3.
My Gran used to say that 3 was a minimum, I remember the list of requirements for boarding school was in 3,s, but  gran said that 4 was better as it allowed for "incidents". I never did find out what she meant by that!

When she started my bottom drawer off (do girls still do that?) There were 6 bath towels,  hand towels and flannels. Bed linen was 3 pairs of sheets with 4 pillow cases for each pair of sheets. There was a sort of rule of thumb that you changed the bed every week by putting the top sheet to the bottom and put a clean top sheet on, and the same with the pillows. 
Gran would have none of it, both sheets and all the pillow cases were changed every Monday. They were all white and when pegged out they looked like a fleet of ships. The gleaming white was courtesy of a good boil and then the final rinse had a blue bag in it.

All this is a fairly pointless ramble towards my pantry, fridge and freezer. They are all slowly being worked through and reduced. BUT there are certain things that I like to keep a good stock of.
Tinned tomatoes are top of the list, I use them in so many recipes.
Yesterday I pulled some meat from the freezer and batch cooked a ragu. Posh name for Spag Bol sauce. The meat had been in there for a while and I am wary of freezer burn. I now have 6 tubs stashed away, half are 2 servings the remainder are for 3. Yes they take up more space but they are in plastic boxes and are stacked in one corner, easy to find. They are full of veg and have a decent amount of green lentils hidden away. Francesca does not like pulses much but she will not know they are there. I tasted it and I could not recognise taste or texture.

I do keep a couple of tins of baked beans, mushy peas and chick peas but 2 is plenty. I like to use dried beans, soaked and then cooked in the slow cooker overnight for the majority of the time.  cool and freeze in 400 gram portions. 

I do keep a stock of bread flour, wrapped and frozen it keeps a long while. I have a tub of easy yeast so I can get a loaf on in minutes if needed.

Greek yogurt, butter and grated cheese are always in the freezer, just not in the quantities that they used to be.

I am trying to keep the reigns on how much I have in stock, there are only the 2 of us most of the time, I no longer have a houseful of boys to feed on a regular basis. When my son was alive there could be 8 hulking bottomless pits, aka teenage boys, to feed. It did not change much as they all got older, they just did not eat quite as much quite as fast.

I am also rolling this out through the house, or at least trying to. I only have 2 sets of sheets for my bed and 2 sets of sheet and duvet cover for Francesca,s bed. I do not  have a duvet on my bed, just sheets and my quilts.

We have been through our clothes and the CS will have a delivery from us next week.
I have done the kitchen and did part with a few duplicates, I possibly have more knives and pots and pans than average but use all of them. It is a frequent sight for the SO and I to be cooking different recipes, one at each end of the kitchen, so we have lots of kit to stop us fighting over who has first dibs on what.

I do believe that I have rambled off the path a bit. 

As far as crafting goes, so far this month I have knitted 500 grams of  Lakeland chunky yarn from stash. finished off the top of a king size quilt and made the back all from stash. I have also taken a 600 gram pack of  Pulse chunky yarn and the first 100 gram ball has been knitted up as part of a jumper, the pattern also came from stash. This will either be for me or for Francesca as part of her birthday gift, I have till October but will be in the midst of Christmas making by then.

My aim is to reduce the yarn and fabric by half before I even look at what is out there to buy. I did buy some fabric last Saturday, that is earmarked for Christmas makes and I will be buying some more wadding soon. There are a few quilts on my list for this year, James has a birthday coming up and he loves his quilts, I have 3 in my head with the fabric already decided upon.

Now I am off to get a pot of soup on the go and then I may be having another dip into the back catalogue of you tube videos from YarnNYarn. I love Angela,s rambling style, it is very laid back and totally normal. No layers of make up and fancy setting for her, just who she is, as she is and no "face".

                             TTFN                                       Pam


Thursday, 17 January 2019

Patience is a virtue,

find it where you can.
Seldom found in woman,
never found in men.

That must make me a part man then.
I have never been credited with patience, with myself or others.
Animals and children, yes. The infirm and needy, yes.

Shop assistants who have no idea what is in their place of employment, NO.
Drivers who can not park between the lines, NO.
People who listen but do not hear a word said to them, NO.
The list could go on for reams of paper, so I will leave it at that.

At this precise moment it is me who is in the firing line. The SO has a job that has to be done tomorrow and I wanted him to shop with me. There were a few heavy things and I was planning on looking at cameras.

We went off, I completely forgot 3 essential items, totally my fault I had not put them on the list. Did I look at cameras, of course not, not on the list. So it was a case of out of sight, out of mind.
Mind, what mind? Mine was left at home.

I did get everything that was on the list. WIN
I did succumb to the bargain shelf.  FAIL.
Not a 100% fail as what I bought is planned for Francesca,s next visit. It will save me both time and money.
I did find a French Press, and some really lovely coffee,both at a good price. WIN. We washed the press and made a pot as soon as we got in and it is very moreish.

I saw some yarn in Wilko,s, 80 % acrylic and 20% wool, DK in some very desirable  colours. I resisted. WIN.

I have the quilt top together. WIN
MY maths were so off that I have 6 blocks extra. WIN
They will be the starter for another quilt.

On a tangent, have you noticed how many You Tubers put up videos of their shopping? Do they really need to do a humongous food shop twice weekly (specially the ones who are on diet programs).
Does anyone really need to change their crockery every time new patterns are in the shops? 

Who the devil has the time to shop that many times in a week?

Am I just being curmudgeonly?

I must get that camera bought, I have so many things that I want to share. I have the lovely sock set that I won in the Strictly Sock-along run by Ali of Little Drops of Wonderful. There is also some knitting to show, and some fabric.

Dinner tonight is a chicken and root veg roast, from the freezer, all was bought at rock bottom prices, with some green veg it will come out at £1.50 for us both.

 On that note I am off to get the oven on and feed the dogs, to all intents they are behaving as though starving, fast.

                                TTFN                                   Pam



Monday, 14 January 2019

A fail...and a win

The fail is my absence from here, I have no reason, I just became immersed in the general day to day stuff and the time slithered through my fingers.
I did go to Llandeilo on Saturday. I popped in to the yarn shop and had a catch up with Chrissie, I did squeeze some WYS yarn BUT I resisted temptation. I am still determined to knit from stash.

It is a good thing that I live a good drive from Cardiff, otherwise my self imposed rule would have become dust.
I have recently discovered a new to me podcast or vlog. YarnNYarns hosted by the lovely Angela. She has owned the shop, which goes by the same name, for a couple of years and I am watching from the beginning.

Her shop is in Penarth and once the weather warms up a bit I will be venturing down to have a look see. We will make a day of it, take the dogs and a picnic, and have a good look round.

I am hoping that by then I will have made a decent enough dent in the stash that a few additions can be purchased. In the meantime I will make do with Facebook and Instagram. 

I have finished all the blocks for the Karma Chameleon Quilt, I just have to trim them all to size, that is a job for the morrow.

I have finished the socks for L, there are 2 pairs to post off to her. I dug into stash and pulled out some light chunky (?) yarn for cowls and hats for the SO and myself. I am selfish enough that mine are done and being worn. I made the cowl quite narrow and tall, it stands up so that I can bury the lower half of my face inside it. I am thinking of lining it with some brushed cotton, that would help stop the wind whistling through it. My set have 2 x 2 rib and stocking stitch, the SO,s will be in garter stitch for a thicker fabric. The cowl is on the needles and growing apace. The yarn I have used is Lakeland, a really soft and squishy blend that was sadly discontinued a good while ago.
I have enough in a third colourway to make a set for Francesca, that will be a start on her birthday gift.

I am cooking from the freezer and pantry, I did a small shop for fresh things and restocked tinned tomatoes. There will not be a big shop for a few weeks yet, I am avoiding the best bargain finding times. I do not need to put myself in the way of temptation.

Dinner tonight is a pasta and fish bake, some cod fillets and king prawns that were reduced to pennies just before Christmas. I made  a gratin topping with the last crust off the loaf, a little bit of cheddar grated and a handful of seeds.
On that note the oven timer has just gone off so I am off to get it plated up. 

                       TTFN                                     Pam



Thursday, 10 January 2019

I won a prize.

I nearly fell off the sofa in shock this afternoon. I sat down to steal 30 minutes knitting and both dogs made a beeline for my lap. So plumped for a podcast instead, I was pleased to see that Ali from Little drops of Wonderful had put up a prize winners video. Ali ran the Strictly sock-a-long again last year, as I had a list of socks to knit I entered some of them in.
I have won a sock set from Foxy Yarns, it looks amazing and will make a pair for someone special.

I rested my back today, no more sorting and pressing, I just boxed everything that was done and shoved the rest to one side.
Tomorrow I want to work a bit more on the Karma Chameleon blocks, another 2 strips on each should have them nearly there. They are all pressed and trimmed ready to go.
It has been quiet here today, the SO is off on a job at the other end of the village and both dogs have been snoozing between their walks.
Dinner is on the go, a pasta sauce using the left over mushrooms from last nights roulade and lots of other veg.
BTW that was a wonderful meal, I will be making it again, the Budget Slimmers put lots of good recipes up on their channel.

Shopping tomorrow, I will need some more veg, fruit and some dairy, that will be all for at least a week. I really want to empty the chest freezer and run down the upright as far as possible.

I need to get the recycling bags and boxes out, our collection is on Friday and they are here anytime from 7 am.

                               TTFN                                Pam












Wednesday, 9 January 2019

And back on the Merry go Round.

Not moaning. Not whinging. Not complaining. Just saying.

Just as I had the sewing back into a very orderly state, sewing organised and nothing laying around, my lovely friend who has an online fabric shop dropped by.

Not only did she have her dogs for lots of cuddles but she brought 3 huge bags of fabric with her. Everything from precut  candy squares to fat quarters and bigger, with every size between. Oh Yum.
Of course it all needed sorting and pressing, it has come out of her scrap bins and boxes.
Of course I was totally delighted.
Of course the minute she left I dived headfirst into the first bag.
I separated the whites and creams into a bag, then started on the coloured. I pulled out handfuls at a time and sorted them by shape and size. That lot have been pressed and put away.
The second bag has been emptied and sorted but not pressed.
The third bag is singing a siren song but I have closed my ears until the pressing pile is done.

Needless to say there can be no sewing done till it has all been dealt with.
It will be a little while as my foolish rush yesterday resulted in a really aching back, painkillers and about 12 hours in bed with a succession of hot water bottles and heat pads,
I am being very careful today and taking rest breaks and stretching frequently. 
More haste, less speed and look before you leap and all that.

Dinner is in the oven, I saw the Budget Slimmers make a potato roulade a couple of days ago. I have made a version tonight using a mix of white and sweet potato with a small parsnip for the base. The filling is chestnuts, mushrooms, red onion in some red wine vinegar and mushroom sauce, lots of seasoning and some fresh thyme, a spoonful of wholegrain mustard and a little liquid smoke, oh and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. After rolling it up I brushed it with a little egg and sprinkled on a tablespoon of fine grated Parmesan cheese. With shredded cabbage and carrots it should make a decent meal.

I will have to make the time to go and find a camera, I miss putting pics up. Perhaps on Friday, I will need to top up fruit and veg and will need eggs and milk soon.

Now it is time to check on dinner.

                        TTFN                                 Pam