Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Weather unpredictable.

The sun was shining from a clear blue sky when I walked Ben and Herbie first thing. Hip Hip Hooray, I thought.

Upon my return home I threw a load into the washing machine only to watch as the sky blackened and it hammered down with rain.

Hey ho, such is life, I am not going to fuss about something that I have no control over. Think calming thoughts is today's mantra.

Ooh Er! that has gone out of the window, big time.

I was just interrupted by a knock at the door. A friend has just handed me 2 bags of fabric scraps and off cuts for my donated quilts. Deep joy, let the pressing commence, quite soon. First I have a little gentle sewing to do.

How quickly things can change the mood, I have gone from being relaxed as in almost horizontal to bolt upright and almost quivering with eagerness to get stuck in.

I will take my time before jumping in, I have some planned sewing and will do that during the day. It is just a set of cushion covers for W, I want to use a concealed zipper in the back, mainly because it is an age since I used that closure.

On that note I better close this and get started. The sooner started the sooner finished.

                            TTFN                                     Pam

Monday, 12 November 2018

Winding Down

November is often a filthy month as far as weather is concerned, wind, rain, fog and frost, and then a bit more of each.
My weekend of Hygge is going to be drawn out to cover the rest of the month. Friday night and Saturday went very well, lots of bits and bobs tidied away ( why am I constantly tidying? ) and empty spaces created. just like neutrals and solids on a quilt they give the eye somewhere to rest. 
Sunday was a day to remember all those who served, not just the fallen. Many members of my family were there, quite amazingly they all came back although they were all deeply affected. Of course I only know this through years of family gatherings and listening to the ensuing conversations.

I want to start winding down the projects and WIPS that are filling my space, and mind, with noise. It seems like a constant chatter almost nagging me to get them dealt with.

I also want to use the rest of the year to finish off some knitting WIPS, there are not many, a dk cardigan, a chunky cardigan and 3 jumpers, 2 chunky, 1 Aran. At least those are the ones that come to mind, I will have to check to make sure.

The oldest is around 2 years old, and just needs the sleeves finishing. I am not on "sleeve island" with it, I just got bored with SS and went on to some patterned things. Then discovered the wonder that is sock knitting.
The other 4 have been getting a little attention here and there but went into the shadows when gift kitting commenced.
I am well into my list now, and one of the jumpers has been dragged into the light and will become a gift.

Then there are the quilt tops waiting to be finished off and 2 quilts still in blocks. 

I would love to see them finished by the end of the year, in reality that means before Dec 24th as it will be the Christmas Eve cast on.

I know that this is nigh on impossible, but I am going to give it my best shot.

That cast on is usually socks but this year may be a pair of Norwegian mittens from my Arne and Carlos book.

I have started thinking about next years projects and will be starting a new project on January 1st. I have not decided on what just yet but it will be a garment.
Rather than just diving into the yarn stash and knitting randomly I would like to have a somewhat structured plan. With that in mind I have unearthed a hardcover notebook which will become my journal.

There will be socks, I like a portable project, but not nearly as many pairs as this year.
I have the Arne and Carlos book of Christmas baubles and would like to work my way through that. Not for the tree but to make a garland, I think that it would be amazing.

In the sewing department I hope to make some scrappy projects, I am certain that between my scrap drawers and the drawer of part made scrappy blocks I can fashion 2 quilts.

I know that there will be temptations along the way, and I know equally that I will succumb to some of them. To help me resist that I will be making a detailed list of projects for the year, that will include spaces for spontaneous making.

Wish me the strength of mind to adhere to that.

As to my mind, it has been a bit scattered lately, I find that I am almost reluctant to leave the house unless it is essential. The only exception to that is the dog walking, that I look forward to every day.
I do not feel ill or depressed (mind you getting soaked to the skin by the sudden downpours is getting beyond a joke) I am just happy in my own skin and my own home. I see my neighbours every day, I chat to the other walkers and their dogs. I do not spend much time on social media as there is always something that I would rather use my time for.
I am not a vain person, I wear no cosmetics or jewellery and fashion is a stranger to me. I am however very aware of the state of my teeth, I have gaps and there is still work to be done. It will be a while yet before those gaps can be plugged. Meanwhile I am still lisping along with the best of them and that niggles, quite a lot.

I do get enquiring looks from those I speak to who are not in the know. I just ignore it but try not to put myself in those situations.

I feel that it sounds as though I have a bit of the " Greta Garbo" complex, not so. I hope not anyway.

I hope that once this grim month is over the joy of December will kick the November blues into touch.

If I am absent for a day or so it will just be that I have immersed myself into the current WIP, the rest of today is devoted to a sewing project that has been loitering for several months. I bought the fabric last February, cut it out and then promptly abandoned it. My reasoning was that it was a Christmas project so there was no rush, and now there are only a handful of weeks left.

On that happy note I will wish you a lovely day, wherever you are.

                               TTFN                               Pam

Friday, 9 November 2018

A weekend of Hygge.

Herbie is absolutely over his op. So over it that this morning when I knelt down to pick something off the floor he leapt from the sofa on to my back and then onto the other sofa.
Quite the athlete.
We were at the Vets this morning for his checkup and all is extremely well. The next visit will be to get the stitches removed. Ouch. It is a shame that they do not use the ones that dissolve.

The forecast was for a filthy day with heavy rain and driving winds, we had a little rain and one downpour and a bit of wind. The temperature has been all over the place though. When I took Rufus for his walk it was very chilly, after around 15 minutes the temperature began to rise and I soon had gloves and hat off. It has fluctuated quite a bit since then but is now back to fairly warm.

I did the shopping yesterday, a quick visit to Pontardawe, Tesco, Home Bargains and Lidl. I can not get everything that I want in any one shop but at least these are very close together.

Dinner last night was a Sweet Potato, chickpea and Spinach Curry, I cooked a handful of rice in with the curry as it was a bit too loose. Saved on washing up as well, I had a lentil dahl and some onion bhaji,s in the freezer so they became part of the meal. 
Tonight we are having a variation on Mary Berry's sausage supper, a firm favourite, tonight it will be with root veg including parsnips and carrots.

I have drawn up a meal plan for the next 4 weeks based on what is in the freezers and pantry. I WILL get the small chest freezer empty ready to start afresh.

The pantry is shrinking slowly in some parts, pulses, pasta and rice for instance and much quicker in others. The herbs and spices are visibly shrinking now as is the tinned goods stock. As our meals of choice has changed our stock needs to change accordingly.

I am in dire need of a cuppa, it has been all systems go today and apart from driving to the vets and back this is the only time that my btm has landed on a chair. It won't be there long as I have a list of things to do.

I wish you all a very good weekend, mine is (fingers crossed) going to be based around Hygge, a word that has cropped up several times this week.  It may well be my word for next year.

                          TTFN                                          Pam

I have just seen the latest post from Mean Queen,s Life After Money blog. Do go and look, there is a banned Advert from Iceland on there and everybody in the world should watch it. All Politicians should sit through it on loop for at least an hour. Pam xxxx

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Herbie's big day.

We were at the vet,s on time and Herbie trotted in as usual, perky and quite clearly at ease. He had a once over from the vet and went off with her without a backward glance.

I have to call later and see how things have progressed and find out what time he can be collected.

Rufus had his usual walk and then Ben went out for a short one, he has not looked around for Herbie at all. I expect that he is making the most of the peace and quiet.

I will probably be doing the knitting equivalent of pacing at times during the day. No chores left to do, I was up bright and early this morning and all the jobs are done.

I have Strictly It Takes Two to watch and then there is a sewing podcast that I want to have a look at. Lunch will be whatever I see first in the fridge and dinner will possibly be a chunky pasta sauce poured onto steamed shredded cabbage. I don't fancy pasta and we have had potato in several meals lately. The beany burgers and rice were just the job last night. I added some peppers, sliced red onion and some warm spices and dried basil to the pan before frying the rice and then stirred some petit pois through. All in all a very tasty meal.

I am off to have a look for lunch, I have just remembered that there is a little Tuna, red onion and mayo in a dish. That will be good in a sandwich, there is also a dish of hummus so I may add a little of that as well.

                          TTFN                                          Pam

Monday, 5 November 2018

Monday, on track.

My usual routine had to be put back an hour today, the SO had to go for a routine asthma clinic check up. Normally this is in our village surgery but today he had to go 2 villages away. You have to allow plenty of time for the journey as the road is very narrow, has cars parked all over the show and carries a lot of traffic, lots of HGV,s.

Then of course you have to wait, and wait,and wait...At least that is the norm.Today we were in and out in record time and with a bit of elbow grease and go faster stripes I am all caught up. Herbie and Rufus had a delayed walk but just as long as ever, maybe even longer.

I added another 8 granny squares to the stack yesterday, I hope that a few more will fall off the hook later today. 62 is not a massive amount but they will have to be joined together and then a border crocheted on.

Fran's birthday is 19 days away and I would love to have it finished by then, if not well that's okay. It will just go into the festive box.

There is bright sunshine out today and it is very warm, doors and windows are open and it feels more like May than November. A day to tuck away in the memory bank, then it can be taken out and looked at when the rain, or worse, is hammering down in icy torrents.

The SO is busy shampooing rugs, They are not particularly dirty but Herbie and Ben like to roll on them so they need a freshen up and a nice clean scent.

I have tucked most of the summer clothes away and will not be making or buying any next year. I will do my usual January Sales undies shop, I don't go mad and by shopping the sales I can save a pretty penny.

There is enough yarn for another 12 months knitting and some crochet, along with a heap of fabric scraps that need using. Perhaps a couple of quilts to donate will happen. I took a heap of blankets to the CS a while ago and they were very grateful. 
Since I added the small wicker chest of drawers to the sewing room my shelves are far less cluttered, I can now see with a glance what is there. 
The little chest of drawers that live under the Horn Cabinet are the last thing to give me any grief. They need to stay in situ as they provide additional support to the lift up extension flap for quilting. If I left this table up all the time there would be no problem, but it is only used when I am quilting. When piecing or sewing it is in the way and takes up too much floor space. I am a moaning Minnie today, I step back, take that whinge back and say instead, I am very grateful to have my cabinet. 

And on that note I bid you bye bye, there is tea to be made and drunk. Dinner is organised, Beany Burgers each stuffed with a chunk of cheese are resting in the fridge and I will make some sort of rice and veggy dish to have with them.

                     TTFN                                                 Pam

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Wild, Wet and very noisy

The sound of the rain slamming into windows and the howling of the wind were very nearly drowned out by the sound of money going up in smoke.
Yep, fireworks.
There is a large house close by, lived in by an extended family, (no young children) that is quite ostentatious, a highly visible display of wealth. 
As the saying goes, If you've got it, flaunt it.

Last night they sent several hundreds of pounds sterling up in smoke, bright showers of colour and many loud booms and bangs.

Jealous? not a jot.

Annoyed? quite a lot.

Apart from the intrusion of noise and the stink, apart from the dozens of rocket sticks that will be strewn around the gardens, the sheer waste astounds me.

There were a few organised displays (always the best and safest way to see fireworks)  cancelled because of the forecast high winds. 
These attract many people and the diluted cost is easier to swallow for the majority of us.

I know, it is their money to do with what they will.  I have no right to criticise, but....

I do not like ostentatious displays of wealth. I am not, I hope, one of those self righteous "if I can't have it nobody should" people. At least I hope so. I have a strong conscious sense of what is right, instilled into me from birth. Perhaps I go overboard.

If I am offending anyone then just stop reading, it is so easy.

When I see money being thrown away my mind goes into overdrive. I think of all the children going hungry, all the homeless who need a warm coat and a meal and I despair.

I acknowledge that there is no short and easy resolution to either situation. Successive governments, of all persuasions, have failed. Great fundraising drives have had no long term effect, indeed there are those who say that it just prolongs the situation.

I just feel that it is probably down to Joe and Jane Public to each do their bit.

I do a regular food bank shop, I try to buy things that can be eaten cold as often there is no money to feed an expensive pay as you go meter.
I like to buy the other essentials, toothpaste and brushes, shampoo and body wash, bars of soap, menstrual pads and so on. At the appropriate time I add chocolate bars, not eggs, for Easter and for Christmas. I buy tins of sweets that can be divided up into small bags, they were 2 for £6 in Tesco at one point.

As someone once said "man does not live by bread alone" children of all ages need a treat every now and then.

Then there is the flip side of the coin.

There are beggars on the streets of one of our local towns, they are all clean, well nourished and fairly well groomed. One of them has a better manicure than most women that I know. But the hungry are always there, invisible, silent, despairing.

I am a "feeder", I like to cook and feed people. I hate to see waste and use every scrap of food that comes into the house.
As I have said many times, I count myself very fortunate to have the knowledge to do this. Vegetable peelings go into a stockpot, the onion skins add colour as well as flavour. The stock goes into many meals. I am still learning tricks, last week I watched James Martin deep fry parsnip peelings. How much are root veg crisps a packet, a pretty penny I have no doubt.

I do not deep fry anything, but I found that carrot peelings crisp up beautifully in shallow oil, you just have to cook a few at a time. my next try will be parsnip peelings, sprayed with fry light and put in the air fryer. If they fail then it will be into the stock pot with them.

I am on the soap box again, preaching to the converted, I am not trying to "teach my Grandmother how to suck eggs". She would have blown them and made a cake. I am just running off at the mouth, so to speak.

The soap box is back in the cupboard.

What about Strictly then? The scores are all over the shop. It is a completely open field and we are at halfway point now. Still that elusive 40 has not shown its face,perhaps it is waiting for Blackpool.

I did manage a fair bit of knitting, vanilla socks so that I do not have to take my eyes off the dances.
I have completed 10 of the 64 crochet squares and will hopefully crank a few more out tomorrow, not until after The Results and Dance Off though, it will be strictly only socks during that.

Now I need to get my day started, it is amazing how fast the time goes when I get a bee in my bonnet to share.

                           TTFN                              Pam   

I hope that this has not come over as bossy or preachy, It is just how I felt while Herbie enjoyed the display. He charged around with all the excitement of a small boy at his first party. leaping up to catch the bright showers and yipping with glee at every bang.
There was one very loud Boom that had him jump backwards through the back door, he soon recovered his equilibrium and went out as fast as he entered. 

Back tomorrow with a brighter post. Pam xx

Friday, 2 November 2018

Friday musings

I walk Rufus and Ben together every day, we set off along the road and they are full of beans and bounce.They do stop for the odd irresistible scent or 3 but mainly they are letting off steam. Then if we go to the tip their energy levels escalate, this is not good for Rufus so mostly we head for a footpath or lane.
There is one lane in particular, I call it The Lane that Forgot Time. Once you get a few steps in the traffic noise drops away, the dogs slow down to a wander and my mind wanders with them. It feels almost otherworldly, like a scene from a film or a paragraph or so from a novel.

I lose all sense of time and just go with the flow, the first time we did that walk we were gone for 2 hours. Now I have a few landmarks where I know that it is time to turn back. The temptation is to just keep on till we get to never never land, or where ever it leads to.

I was watching a new to me podcast yesterday and the presenter was getting ready to knit her first garment. Her swatch was off the correct gauge and she was not sure what to do. I wanted to put my hand into the telly and give her a little shake.
Her pattern was from an upmarket knitting magazine and her yarn was the cheapest acrylic from a discount store that she could find. This was so that she did not waste too much money if said garment did not fit.
In my mind she should have found her local yarn shop and chosen a budget yarn that had patterns designed for that particular yarn.

I am amazed at the proliferation of You tube channels where people show their shopping off, or how they clean their house. Who watches this? who has time to? Why is it deemed watchable?
Then there is Gogglebox on the TV, Francesca is hooked, or at least she was the last time she was here.

I remember years ago hearing that the number of cook books and programs being published was growing at the exact same rate as ready meals were being developed. DUH1

I seem to be missing something.

Hey ho, it takes all sorts to make a world.

I spend a day making a dress when I could pop to the shop and buy it for less money in 2 minutes.

In my bathroom I have a tall unit that houses all the paraphernalia required and has 2 sections for laundry, light and dark. So why do the SO,s dark socks invariably land in the lights bin. 

On an up note I have made a start on Francesca's crochet blanket and of course I am not following any pattern. I have decided to make 8 round granny squares in solid colours, half in cream and the other half in a selection of 8 colours, I will assemble them like a chess board and then make up a border with the remains of the yarn. If I make 4 squares a day it will be done this month, they are very fast as there are no colour changes, 5 done in no time today. 

Strictly socks tonight as  catch upon Zoe Ball,s show, I saved it up after watching Mondays episode. An easy peasy dinner tonight, I dragged a selection of curries out of the freezer and some naan breads. No prep and minimal washing up.

I have to get 4 more balls of cream yarn for the blanket, the colours that I will have left are ear marked for another blanket for someone else.
While I am ordering that yarn I want to buy some Aran weight wool for a hat for a gift, I have been through the stash and do not have 3 colours that I feel sit right together, This is a colour work double layer hat from one of the Arne and Carlos books, I have one myself and it has been admired by a friend.

Now I think that it is time for a little catch up blog reading.

                            TTFN                                    Pam