Sunday 30 June 2013

My Secret Tote Bag Swap,

This is a first for me, I signed up to participate in a blog swap, I like making fabric bags and boxes and use them for all sorts of things. My most used is a large tote with 2 exterior and 1 interior pockets, I use this to hold my current project and all the bits and bobs that I need. At the moment it contains a stack of 5" Charms, 2 yards of Kona white, thread, ruler, rotating cutting mat and rotary cutter, a tin of 4 wound bobbins and a pair of snips.also about 20 sewn blocks.

I made a copy of this to send to my swap partner and put a few extra goodies inside, after all we all like goodies don't we?

Now much as I enjoy blogging and reading blogs I am not very handy with a computer, in fact I am convinced that when I log on all the programs have a little chuckle as they decide which one is going to
addle my brains this time.

Any how I took photo's and my camera and computer between them deleted most or sent them out on free fall in the ether. Here is what I was left with.

I now have to figure out how to link this post to the group site, I will be looking for help on the net, wish me luck. While I am at it I want to get a flicker button on the blog, first I have to find one.

I have sent this off and can only hope that my partner can get as much use from it as I get from mine.

The straps go right round the bag in one piece, this gives it strength, I have had a king sized quilt top in mine as well as all the kit and it can get quite heavy, for that reason the straps are long enough to go over the shoulder.

In fact while I was making this I ran two more up for myself, there are often times when I have more than one WIP and hopefully this will help me regain some control.

The fabrics are from my stash, the 3 fat quarters that I included came from Shan's Fabrics in Sunny Hunny, the binding clips were just sitting in my bookcase, I have a tin holding over 100 that i use all the time, and the fancy pins and tin were free with something.

I believe that there is to be another round of this and will join in again, it was fun.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. A project made with love winging it's way across the world.

2. The glorious sunshine this morning.

3. The flower spires of foxgloves scattered through my garden.

4. The scents and sounds of the wild garden

5. New potatoes from a pot in my garden, swathed in a garland of mint with a light glaze of butter.

                               TTFN    Pam

Saturday 29 June 2013

A new resident and a pressy from Wisconsin

I have been to Haverhill today, when I lived in Diss I used to go there 5 or 6 times a year but this was my first visit for over 12 years, thank goodness for Tom tom, he guided me there and back without a hitch.

I have been on the lookout for a smallish sewing machine just for my scrappy piecing, it had to be small as I am space poor. I also wanted it housed in a small cabinet or table so that I can take it into the kitchen or even into the garden easily.

Success, on my umpteenth trawl through the Bay of hopes I found just the job, the only glitch was the price. I put in a very cheeky offer  and managed to get it for half the advertised price, and here she is.

Her table has a few scrapes but that can be sorted, she was first purchased in 1984 for £85.

The long shot, soft focus.

There she is a Singer 413, in full working order and complete with a plate to cover the feed dogs for FMQ, spare needles, 4 feet and 3 bobbins. She also had a light but even layer of nicotine and a slight whiff of ashtray no 1.
Some of my magic solution of water, white vinegar and washing up liquid and a little elbowgrease and  she is white and shiny, well in the main, I still need to go round the dials and levers again.
I threaded her up and plugged her in and started very gingerly, no probs whatsoever, she was a bit slow and I took it nice and steady there is no telling how long she has stood idle. I am sending her for a service next week and then I will put her through her paces.
I am now on the hunt for a stool to tuck away under her, possibly a piano stool with storage under the seat.
Reasons to be grateful,

1. It has to be my bargain machine.

2. Coming home to find that Francesca had powered through 3 loads of washing, the ironing and blitzed the bathroom.

3. The greeting from Ben and Bertie,as I walked through the door.

4. The  gift that came from Wisconsin.

5. A box of 10 huge Mangoes that cost me 5p each.

I took part in the secret tote swap and this came from my partner.

In the parcel was a very pretty card, a pack of ground coffee and a mug wrap to keep a takeaway drink hot, I have to confess that I took the wrap to work to use last night and left it in my locker!

I will post about what I sent later as this is turning into a novella. TTFN   Pam

Thursday 27 June 2013

Oops Missed a Day, The Big Reveal.

I was just a touch busy yesterday, Marina was having an off day so I spent time with her just chatting and listening to a little music and making plans for some time out together next week, providing that she feels up to it.

A big welcome to my new followers and a big hello to all you readers where ever you may be, you must realise that I like to ramble on so why not leave a comment that I can reply to.

I have got some sewing done today and these are the results.

I am slowly working my way through the smaller scraps, but the boxes still seem as full as ever.

This is my scrap project from the last post

A nice roomy tote bag, I still have to decide on a lining fabric and will put 2 pockets inside. Finished it will measure 12" tall by 11" wide by 5" deep, the handles are long enough to loop over the shoulder. I hate juggling bag, car keys and hand bag I end up dropping something.

I aim to make a stack of scrappy things, I am sure that I will find a home for them, I can not be the only one to like bright, happy colours.

I have done a great deal of thinking over the past few days and a few things have floated to the surface.

I do too much in the house, partly my own fault, I am a control freak and like things done "my way".
I must delegate and ignore the mess that others create and then leave. I must start to give  my needs priority some of the time and I need to call a family conference to discuss all of this, and put new practices in place.

It will be difficult as we are all over the place this weekend,  at most points one of is at work or on a pre-arranged mission. But it will happen.

Reasons to be grateful

1. Marina feeling much better today.

2. The flowers in my garden, attracting bees and butterflies.

3. The very pretty bag that I received today { more about that another day}

4. Bertie, for being such a character.

5. The gentle rain that is watering my garden.

That is all I have time for    TTFN    Pam

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Making a mess, and lovin' it

Ooh what a mess, enough to send the house proud gibbering in the corner.

Can you see where I scraped the paint off the wall, it was an accident honest it was. Well it was to start with and then I poked at it and ran the hoover over it and now I need to buy paint. I fancy a new colour, I have had this green for years.

I broke out the Toyota and 3 boxes of scraps, a few sheets of copier paper and set to with a vengeance.

3 of these sewn together end on, add 2 more strips of 3 and this happens. Can you tell what it is yet?

Add another strip set and fold it in half, cos it is too big to photograph.  well what is it?

I will tell you tomorrow. Don't you just hate half a tale, doesn't it make your toes curl up.

Can you see what I mean when I say that my scraps are "samey" I know it is my own doing, these are my go to colours. I do have quite a bit of purple but have not cut it yet. I have 2 oranges  and a very little red that are cut and I can not bring myself to cut into yardage just to get scraps. It just isn't cricket.
It doesn't help that in one of our sodden weeks of unremitting rain I pulled a lot of ends of yardage and cut into strips ready to make a string quilt, oh what a boon it would be to have a little foresight.
Of course, and I just know that you will agree with me on this one, the real problem is that I do not have enough fabric. Well it just happens that Southern Fabrics have a fantastic sale page and a good rate for shipping, I "let my fingers do the walking" and a nice little parcel is on its way. One of the things that is coming is a Moda Scrap Bag of Serenade by Kate Spain, I have none of this line and as it is scraps I will be diving right in there with my trusty scissors.

On  tastier note I picked up a basket of strawberries for £2 yesterday, they are the smaller ones and good for jam. I hulled them and froze half to go with red currants later and the rest made a strawberry crisp and enough for 3 days breakfasts whizzed up with a banana and some skimmed milk. Lush.

I have done 2 loads of washing so have a date with the iron later, I may make some bread and I want to make another chocolate cake for Nathan.
BTW does anyone read Mortgage Free in Three, she posts some really good recipes, I made a litre of buttermilk following her destructions and it is very good. I use it quite a bit in baking and it is not only pricey but I have to travel to get it. Not any more.

I feel a cup of tea coming on and I have a new toy to collect so must make arrangements. Yes of course I will share it with you.   TTFN    Pam

Monday 24 June 2013

More Crashing and some Rumbling

First of all I want to thank every one who left me hugs and kisses and well wishes yesterday.

I was glad to go to work last night and though it was manic i did a lot of thinking, and a fair bit of sweating!

I am strong, in 2004 in the space of 12 weeks I had three deaths to deal with.My son, my only child, then my Father and then my Mother. I had to cope, sink or swim. I decided to swim.

Francesca's mother died when she was a school age teenager and her life then went into free fall, that is when Michael found solace in the bottle.
I knew this and we talked through it thoroughly, there would be no spirits in the house. A moderate amount of wine and beer/lager I do use it to cook with after all.
It is not the fact that he had vodka so much as the fact that he tried to hide it from me. I do not like deceit in any shape or form.

My mind has crashed and rumbled through all this and one fact floated to the surface.

I can not do anything to hurt Francesca, I love her as my own, and she is vulnerable and full of self doubt. She lost her mother at one of the most difficult times of her life and missed out on much of what makes family life bearable. I have done my utmost to give her the stability that she needs over the past 4 years.

If I make Michael leave she will feel honour bound to go with him and that would mean moving further away from London and her work, making her life extremely difficult.All I can do at this point is make changes to our living arrangements and these have started already.

I will monitor the situation closely and if I feel drastic steps have to be taken then I will do so.

Reasons to be grateful

1. Owning MY home.

2. The strength inherited from my Granny.

3. The closeness of the Blogging community.

4. Ben and Bertie's unquestioning devotion.

5. Being alive.

Now a bit if begging, after a fashion,  I want to do some American foundation paper pieced blocks using scraps. i have plenty of scraps but they are all familiar and truth be told  bit boring. i need to inject some new scrappyness into my if anyone has a scrap pile they would like to shrink I will buy. As long as it is 100% cotton, or vintage sheets I am happy to take it on board, just leave a comment or email me.
I picked up this idea from Bonnie Hunter, I follow her blog, she was live on "quilt cam" doing this and it is so simple and effective, I must have a go.     TTFN     Pam

Sunday 23 June 2013

Did you hear that crash.

That was my hopes and dreams for the future crashing down round my feet. Michael has let me down, Francesca down and himself down.
He has decided that his future is in a bottle of vodka, he will be on his own.
The black dog is wrapped round my neck and the fog gathers.

I can find nothing to be grateful for today.

Saturday 22 June 2013

Contented Guinea Pigs

The chocolate cake was a winner, I have a little group of willing victims/guinea pigs at work who taste test all my new cake recipes.
 Nathan had his cake to take home and the other I cut into  12 squares, I had 1 with ice cream and took the rest to work. Michael had 1 and the other 10 were snaffled up, the last bit had to be broken in half as 2 "grown men" were having a discussion over it.
All gave a positive thumbs up and agreed that a dribble of cream would turn it into heaven. I was going to make 2 today but have been otherwise occupied but it is top of the list for tomorrow.

Michael went to the doctor late this morning and was referred to hospital for Xray this afternoon, luckily we only had to go to Wisbech and were out of the house for just over an hour.

I did take the opportunity to visit Button up & Stitch and replenish my stock of iron in interfacing and
2 oz wadding. I use these when making bags and want to run up a few for gifts. I also bought a metre of black and white cotton for bag handles.

I made a large loaf and 6 large baps before we went and Michael had one filled with home cooked ham as soon as we returned, he pronounced it delish.

My list of five things to be grateful for.

1. Michael finally on the way to getting sorted.

2. Ben for loving me so profoundly.

3. Grand Designs, I am hooked.

4. Home made Barbecue sauce.

5. New Potatoes, home grown, with mint.

Tonight we are having Pulled Pork with my barbecue sauce in home made bread baps and salad.
Francesca was badly delayed due to the vagaries of British Rail and this is one of her favourites.

I am going to take Ben for another walk so it is    TTFN    Pam

Thursday 20 June 2013

Chocolate in Cake Form, thank you Iowa

One of the blogs that I read avidly is "The Iowa Housewife", it is recipes, tried and tested by real people in real families. Today's post was for moist chocolate cake, now I do have a favourite recipe for this type of cake but it makes a large cake and I fancied something smaller and quicker
 My work partner Nathan is back tonight and he just loves chocolate cake. When he came to work with me I promised his grandmother, my lovely friend and neighbour Marina, that I would mentor him, I have almost adopted him instead.

Any way I made double the mix so that I could QC the finished product, I do.not want to put him off cake for life! fat chance.

Here they are still steaming hot.

Looking good once decanted and still warm.

Looking even better with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The shiny crust is just a little crisp and the crumb is so soft and not at all wet, and it tasted really good.
I simply doubled the recipe but used SR flour and 1 tsp of baking powder I added 1 tsp cinnamon and a tsp of coffee granules to the water, next time I will double the cinnamon or use ginger instead.

I will be making this again it was fast to mix, I used a balloon whisk so easy to wash up as well.

Things to be grateful for.
1. Myrna at The Iowa Housewife.

2. My Dining table cleared ready for the next project.

3. Today's rain watering my garden for me.

4.Steve Wright for playing music to my taste today.

5. My empty ironing basket.

Francesca is eating out in London with a friend tonight so I will not see her until she gets home from work tomorrow, I love that she socializes but still miss her.

Michael is back to see the GP tomorrow, if he does not get this sorted soon I may have to remove it myself. I know that he is in pain but I do not make a good nurse!

I must wash up and put my kitchen to rights and decide what to pull out of the freezer for tomorrow. Tomorrow I will go to the market in Sutton and stock up on fruit and veg, then pop into the Co op for milk and shopping will be done.
I am really enjoying lucky dips from the freezer, it is stretching my brain a bit and it is fun making new recipes up.     
Before I go I would like to welcome new followers, feel free to drop in for a visit as and when and if you like to leave a comment I will endeavor to reply.    TTFN    Pam

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Better Late than Never aka BOGOF

OOPS the phone rang just as I was about to preview my last post and I clicked on publish before writing my list for today, so yeretiz.

1. My pain meds, and the fact that they are freely available to me.

2. My empty laundry basket.

3. The peaceful village that I live in.

4. My work colleagues.

5. The restorative properties of Tea.

Enjoy your day where ever you are, find your list of things to be grateful for and smile.

TTFN     Pam

Hipnotism and other Alements

I am in the relentless grip of sciatica, it hit me last night. I was dressing for work and bent down to put my socks on and WHAM Red Hot Knives in my ankle, knee and hip.  I hit the floor gasping for breath like a fish out of water.

Two paracetamol and a strong coffee, the caffeine pushes them into the system, and 10 minutes and I went to work. It was a busy night with a high level visit in the morning so I could and would not let the team down.

We worked like mad and got the cooking finished and most of the area sparkling by 4.00 so I came home early. I took my prescribed medication and fell into bed, it is now 13.12 and I have been up long enough to drink a cup of tea and pour the second one.

I have been given a pack of 6 different Ales, it was a gift to a work colleague who is tea total and who knows that I like to cook with beers. I rescued a piece of brisket from the freezer when I got home and it is now sitting in the fridge in a marinade of Oyster Stout, bay leaves, peppercorns and mustard seeds. I will put it in the slow cooker for tomorrows dinner.

There is a bottle of Waggle Dance in the pack and that will go into a bread dough later in the week, using a bag of Spelt flour which together should make a tasty loaf or two.

I had planned to spend time weeding today but that is out of the question so will indulge in some reading and music, if and when that palls I have a box or three of old photos awaiting my attention.

I need to eat some toast, the meds leave me exceedingly thirsty and quite nauseous but tea and dry toast sort those out, I just have to avoid Dairy products for a couple of days BOO HOO,
 I have some Lincolnshire Poacher cheese ready for Welsh Rarebit hmmmm that does not seem right, perhaps I should call it Lincs rarebit!
 I will use a little of one of the beers in that I have not chosen which one yet.

Michael has put a load of washing on the line and the machine is well on its way through a second load, I am off to shower away the sleep and meds induced fug.  TTFN    Pam

Tuesday 18 June 2013

A view from my kitchen window and a bit on my soap box.

A warm sunny day, just what the doctor ordered.

Have a quick look outside my kitchen window.

One of my Geoff Hamilton roses, lovely to look at and sweet smelling.

A swathe of firethorn, pretty in flower, stunning in berries and a food source for the birds who over winter in my garden.

The flowers are starting to fade on my Broom, I have to cut this back every two years, it is a little bit thuggish.

Early potatoes in pots, nice and handy near the kitchen, the mint is just round the corner.

This yellow rose is free to rampage as it likes I love it's flamboyance and just cut it hard back to keep it in check. 

This elder is one of four, two supply flowers for cordial and goose berry ice cream, two give berries for jelly wonderful with any rich meat dish and very good with sausages.

I also make Rowan Jelly but gather the berries from a wild tree, it is quite sharp and goes with blue cheese perfectly.

Things to be grateful for,

1. My garden.

2. The Thrush who eats the snails.

3. The Hedgehog who eats the slugs.

4. The Birds who sing to me daily.

5. The Village Shop, Open Nearly All Hours.

Soap Box Time.

The first four are inter linked, the fifth is a wonderful convenience. Village shops are a dying breed, if you are lucky enough to have one do support it. As the saying goes " If you don't use it you lose it"

Our shop used to be a run down, quite scruffy place , mainly used by passing trade for papers, cigarettes and snacks.

Then along came a couple, from the village, with foresight and courage to take it on, shake it up and turn it into a thriving, pleasant place to pop into.
I aim to spend a little every week, if every household spent just £2 per week added to the substantial passing trade the shop would continue to flourish.
Luckily enough of the residents seem to understand this but other villages are not so fortunate. One of the shops in Long Sutton is closing down through lack of trade, many people have gone in and said what a shame it is to lose a shop but not many of those actually use the shop.

I have seen this scenario acted out in several places, for years in Diss there was a shop called The China Cabinet, shoppers from all over bought wedding presents, christening gifts, anniversary and birthday presents there.
Rates went up, rent went up, sales went down. when the closing down signs went up there were letters in the press, people calling into the shop all bewailing the fact. how strange with all this reaction that so few of the complainers were customers.

My home village has a thriving shop, when I was a child there were three plus a tobacconist and sweet shop, a butcher and a wool shop.
It is the way of the world, so many of us work and have to shop on the way home, we shop weekly, some less frequently, just as many have it delivered a "new " concept.
 My Granny had her shopping delivered FREE for her convenience, all she did was have her list dropped off in the morning and the shopping was there before 4.

Soap box stored away now, dinner is quiche and salad for us and a pie with veg for Francesca, she is always starving when she gets back from work. Bertie has just woken up and is wandering off to the garden, Ben is snoozing beside me, we did have a long walk this morning, it was so warm that we went almost double our normal distance.   TTFN    Pam

Monday 17 June 2013

Where did the day go?

I find it hard to believe that it is almost 7,pm, I have been rushing around like a headless chicken since 10.30 this morning but even so, time has just evaporated.

I did an extra shift last night , work was hectic and I was asked very nicely so I said yes. When I got home I just fell into bed and was gone with the fairies for 3 hours and woke up raring to go.

The airing cupboard is so tidy that it hurts,  Ieven sorted my towels by colour then size beforefolding them neatly, Anthea Turner eat your heart out.

The laundry basket and ironing basket are both empty again, I do not know where the washing comes from,

Both fridges are gleaming and the freezer half of the tall monster is organised to the 'nth degree.

All my tiled floors have been  swept and washed and I washed all the skirting boards. I think I have  had too much sun.

I gave all the pots a liquid feed this morning and now the birds from the nest in the honeysuckle have fledged I gave that a long overdue haircut.

I want to take some more photos but although it has been warm and dry the light has not been good today, fingers crossed for tomorrow.

I did another wardrobe and cupboard sweep and have 2 boxes full for the CS, I will take them in tomorrow and focus hard on not looking at anything.

Dinner was chilli and salad with some rice for Michael, he also sprinkled his chilli liberally with Feta! sounds strange but he loved it. He had eaten half of his Oreo twin pack before dinner an still managed to eat more than double my meal, and he is still a scant 32" waist. There is no justice in this world for sure.

Francesca is having a "working" dinner in London and will be home late, I will wait up for her, she may be 25 but I like to see her come home safe and sound.

I am enjoying the warm nights, we have a cotton sheet and 1 quilt on our bed now, not long ago there was a flannel sheet and 3 quilts.

My things to be grateful for today are,

1. My electric iron.
2. The glorious colour of the deep purple broom flowering outside my kitchen window.
3. My tidy bookcase.
4. My tea caddy, full of English Breakfast Tea leaves.
5. My pretty pink cardigan, 50p with labels still attached and a price tag over £20.

I am looking for a sewing machine cabinet, we are rearranging furniture to get all my sewing stuff in 1 place, i looked at Horn but even on Ebay they are very pricey, so maybe I should consider computer cabinets. I do want solid wood and do not mind buying an old one containing a machine if in good repair. i may have to spend some time ringing round the C S's and antique/second hand shops.

I feel that it is time to put the kettle on so    TTFN   Pam

PS, Bertie snuggled down with Michael and enjoying  forty winks.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Sunday socialising

Oops, did you notice that I completely missed out the savings bit yesterday.  I went to the local Co op for a few things and had a look at the reduced section, as usual. Oh My Word, 3 legs of lamb, half price and then reduced by £3 each 3 of those became mine, pork chops in a Chinese glaze on offer and then reduced to half price I had 2 of those, good sausages £3 for 10 I had 1 of those and will separate them before freezing and packs of 4 x 120 grams Burgers  BOGOF. I do not normally buy burgers but picked up 2 packs.
Then I made my way to the Deli counter, the Coop are the only shop that reduce their cheese by 50% and I picked up 2 large blocks of Mature Cheddar, 2 wedges of Shropshire Blue and 2 pieces of Tintern  with chives and shallots, I have not bought this before but at half price I am sure that it will taste good.
My freezer is stuffed to the gills and I am a happy saver.

Today's reasons to be grateful,
1. Ben and Bertie
2. The scent of my Geoff Hamilton roses.
3. The company of old friends.
4. The glorious sunshine.
5. BBC Radio 2.

Michael has given the kitchen a quick blitz this morning so all I have to do is cook dinner and wash up, I am very fortunate to have him in my life.
It is, of course, Father's Day. My mother always said that Father's day was every day. Francesca is in Cambridge, with friends, for the day and gave Michael his goody bag last night, a huge bar of Toblerone, a double pack of Oreo's, 2 bags of Haribo sweets and a DVD ParaNorman, he was as happy as a dog with 2 tails.
I am not sure that it will be my cup of tea but we will watch it together next weekend.

We are having beef for dinner and a form of Eton Mess for pudding, Strawberries do not agree with Michael so into the broken meringue I will stir melon, figs, almonds and yoghurt, yummy.

Now I am off to get things started.  TTFN  Pam

Saturday 15 June 2013

Saturday, Sun and Saving.

It has been a glorious day, some gardening, some laundry, some letter reading and a walk with Ben. Then the skies clouded up, turned black and down came the rain, just as I finished the ironing, excellent timing.

An old friend wrote to me to let me know that she is back home from a few years working her way round Spain. She went out there on a working holiday 4 years ago after a painful divorce and stayed, she was working at a pet rescue center and loved it.
We are meeting next weekend, I am really excited. My letter was 9 pages! and she filled in lots of details including a raid on a puppy farm when they stole  all the breeding bitches and the puppies. Every single dog was rehomed within a year, wonderful. The police and welfare organisation were then involved and the place was closed down.

One thing that struck me as a very good idea was one of the ways she restored herself after the divorce, every day she wrote in a diary a list of 5 things to be grateful for. At first it would take ages to find 5 but as time went on, and with lots of thanks to her work, she would get her list done in minutes.

I have decided to borrow this and start it today, so my 5 for today are as follows,

1. My good health.
2. Michael, Francesca and James.
3. Junior and Kaitlyn.
4. My Grandmothers teaching.
5. The Internet.

I tried to compile a list of things that I am  ungrateful for, I got stuck after My Big Feet.
I can lose weight, My hair can be any colour I like. I can dress in whatever clothes that I want to. I can read any book see any film and listen to any music.
Unlike a large proportion of the worlds population.

This is the baby quilt that I made last week, and I have just noticed that it is upside down. the pattern is called Tumbling Charms.

I backed it with this lovely print and used a striped fabric for the binding.

The fabrics are from Bonnie & Camille for Moda and the Quilt tutorial can be found on the Missouri Star Quilt Co. web site.

I am off to make a start on dinner, we are having "iffits" tonight, If it is in the fridge I will cook it.

BTW, when I shopped I wanted to buy dessicated coconut, I went to 3 shops who had empty space where it should have been, Francesca went to Lynn today and got me some from Sainsburys, I wonder if everyone is eating coconut cake this week!

I am adding it to a bread and butter  pudding with diced apricots and flaked almonds just to make a change, I will put a little cinnamon and ginger in as well.

There is a Vintage Fun Day in Sutton Bridge tomorrow and we will go and have a look at that,
I have no idea what it will be like but it is good to support local events.

That is all from me today, so it is       TTFN   Pam

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Relaxing now, ha, shopping and ironing.

Well now that the dreaded injections have happened I am hoping that normality will resume. I have done a shop, not very big, just fresh stuff and toiletries really the freezer is still going strong.

A basket of ironing has been done and put away, Oh how I hate it.

Ben is enjoying his familiar walks and has met several ,new to him, dogs as we have moved our walk times. We now go on a longer walk twice daily as we have both got a bit of weight to move.

The garden is filling my hours, everything grew double fast while we were away and I am changing a few things here and there.

The sewing machines are under dust covers for a while but I have bought some new fabric from a friend who was having a clear out, in truth I did not part with a penny, a few jars of preserves, 2 fruit cakes and 2 cushion covers from my sewing cupboard sealed the deal.
Bartering is fun and we both felt that it was a win win.

I am toying with having a stall at a craft fair, I have shelves of made up items and space is at a premium. I spend all winter sewing and there are only so many cushions, bags, aprons and so on that you can give as presents.

I was asked for a baby quilt in a hurry early last week and using blocks that I was trying out made one in two hours, it was only crib sized but I impressed myself and the customer was delighted. I could not price the fabric as it was out of my stash so I used Moda prices and blanched at the result, I always use a natural batting and good quality backing fabric and she thought that it was a fair price. I took a photo but it is still on my camera, I will post it later.

If I could sell enough to keep me occupied, at least in the winter, that would persuade me to retire completely, I have a horror of having nothing to get out of bed for. I am fine all summer and early autumn.

Dinner is in the oven, the famous Bacon Chops in a cider bath. A macaroni cheese is ready to join them and carrots and cauli. I have made a batch of leeks and chicken pasta in a smoked cheese sauce for Francesca's lunches, that is enough meals now for six weeks.

By then we will be near our next trip to Wales and hopefully the freezer will be at least half way to empty. I feel a cup of tea coming on so it is TTFN    Pam

Tuesday 11 June 2013

A worrying kind of day

Today has been quite stressful even though I finally got my way over a problem.

Michael has asthma, not serious or life threatening , just the common or garden variety controlled with inhalers.
On our return journey from sending my brother off he complained that his chest felt tight and proceeded to have an asthma attack. My bother has asthma but this was the worst attack that I have seen and it was scary, the inhalers did not touch it.
His face was dark and his breathing dreadful, I had to pull off the road and in the end get him into the recovery position and talk him into a relaxed state before the medication took effect. By the time we got home he was back to normal but admitted that he had been scared.

He also suffers from tennis elbow that flares up when he over does it at work and this has been giving him considerable pain for a few weeks now, it has got so bad that the pain has gone up into the shoulder. I strongly believe that this chronic pain was a big part of the asthma attack, his body was so stressed that it made it much worse than normal.

 Ages ago the GP said that a cortisone injection was required, he was horrified and ignored it. I have nagged away and yesterday I laid down the law and it was get to the doctors and get sorted or think about finding somewhere else to live. This may seem harsh but shock tactics were needed, he has spent weeks in pain and then getting so tired that he sleeps for the best part of 2 days at a time, and it is having a detrimental effect on all our lives. Thankfully he took notice and today had the jabs, one in each side of the tendon, he picked up new painkillers as well. We had dinner and he is now in bed snoring his head off.

Michael is 14 years younger than me but if you had seen him over the weekend you would have thought it was reversed.

I was widowed when quite young and for a while thought that I was losing Michael, I have never been more glad of my first aid training. I am not scared of much but that episode has left me quite disconcerted and ill at ease. Michael has to go to the asthma clinic next and then have a general check up to see how he has been affected by the trauma. I can only hope that all is as it should be.

TTFN    Pam

Monday 10 June 2013

Reflections on a hectic week

My baby brother has left the UK and has arrived safely in Sweden. He is on a works related trip to meet with suppliers but will fit in some fun time as well. He ans my lovely SIL are going to have a tour of the Volvo factory ( bet SIL loves that) and a visit to the Abba museum ( baby bro will be beside himself)

It was fantastic to have them here and to catch up with old friends was great also. We all talked about how sad it is that we do not stay in close contact and how the months slide into years imperceptibly.

In my Grandparents time you did not stray far from home, there was usually  ample employment within a few miles, and families and friends stayed close all their lives.
 My Granny never left Norfolk, one of her brothers was in the Merchant Navy and was a wanderer for most of his life and only settled down when age tightened it's grip on him, the rest stayed close and I grew up within a wide family circle.

My mum had three siblings, both brothers were in the air force and went where they were posted, the sister stayed within 100 yards of home until she died. Mum lived in Norwich for a while but moved back to the village after a few years.

Now villages are becoming dormitories and as house prices rise young locals can not afford to stay and move out. In most households both partners work and free time is concentrated on the nucleus family group, with the occasional visit to both sets of parents.

Siblings grow apart, cousins are long forgotten and the years roll by, Christmas and birthday cards slowly dwindle away. Then there will be a wedding, a christening or a funeral and the clan gathers.

We attended Michael's Grandmothers funeral last week, it was a lovely day and during the late afternoon family were moving around and chatting, two cousins discovered that although they had not met for a few years they lived two streets apart and made plans for the weekend.

This is modern life, my family stayed in close touch for years then work scattered us, job commitments, children and the school calendar stepped in and it was all over. Granny died so there were no unplanned meetings at her home to keep us together. It is sad but inevitable, I spend my holidays in Wales with the grandchildren not in Norfolk with my siblings, they will be out and about across Briton visiting theirs.

I am tired and happy, my life is slowly getting back to normal, today I moved a small mountain of laundry and filled the freezer with "takeaway meals" for Francesca to have at work. I did a big blitz on upstairs and filled a box for the Charity Shop. I am off to bed, so it is

                                                     TTFN    Pam

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Catching my Breath

We are having a wonderful time with my baby brother, it is 3 years since I was in Australia to see him, and my lovely SIL. We have talked almost non stop and caught up on all the family gossip. Lots of old friends have come together and yesterday afternoon it caught up with us and we had lunch late and slipped into a doze! that turned into a 3 hour nap,Oops.

In the middle of all this Michael and I have had to plan a trip to Stockport tomorrow, sadly while we were in Wales his Grandmother died and the funeral is tomorrow. It is not too bad a journey so we will  be back in the early evening.

Then on Friday we are having an open house at a friends with a nibbles buffet during the day and , weather permitting, a barbecue in the evening. On Saturday we will take brother and wife to Heathrow as they fly out early Sunday morning.

We are making firm plans to go to Oz to see them next year, my eldest nephew has a long standing girlfriend and it is highly likely that they will marry next year. The younger nephew says he will wait a few years before even considering a serious girlfriend, he is in the first year of an apprenticeship so can not afford to "go steady". We have had long excited chats via Skype at lots of funny times of the day!

The garden is fending for itself and the sewing machines are gathering dust, I can not remember the last time I opened a book. Next week my life will return to normal and I will play catch up, I can not tell you how good I feel and how happy I am, and as to how I will feel waving goodbye on Saturday well I am sure to have a soggy tissue or three. But hey, at least my tear ducts will be clean!

Right, it seems that it is my turn to make tea and someone asked for scones so I better get busy, I picked up some cream from the local dairy this morning thank goodness and I have some English strawberries, hot house grown but divine.    TTFN  Pam

Sunday 2 June 2013

Slow, Sunny Sunday

What a glorious day we are having, I woke early to sunlight pouring through my bedroom window and to find that Ben had got not just onto the bed but had wrapped himself round my head like a turban. On second thoughts it could have been the heat and the snoring that woke me.

I managed to find a small load of washing, so as to not waste the weather and while that was churning round did most of the ironing. Francesca the wonderful finished it off for me.

We did a quick trip to Lynn to pick up 3 pieces of wood, Michael is building a curved bench for the garden and had run out.

We spent a couple of hours or so in the garden, I weeded round the apples and between the patio slabs while Michael demolished an old bench and cleared space in his "man cave"

The weather has convinced me that Piri Piri Chicken, jacket potato, coleslaw and salad will be the perfect dinner.

I have tempted fate by putting all the sweaters away, well it is June when all is said and done. The wardrobes are fairly full and I am going to cast my eagle eyes over the contents in the next few days, with a view to creating some space.

I did have a nosey round some of the shops in Wales and was amazed at the poor display and mediocre quality in many of them. I used to shop at H & M and Zara but they were terrible. Limp, badly creased garments of indeterminate shape in sludgy colours, I see better displays in most charity shops. Even Dorothy Perkins was drab and dreary. The one shining light was East, the colours were bright and sparkling, everything was pressed and hung neatly and the prices were acceptable. I did not buy as there is nothing that I need, but a few years ago I would have staggered out laden with bags of goodies.

One thing that shocked me was the proliferation of Japanese Knotweed growing on the roadside, I thought that it was mandatory to remove it. I did find lots of wild herbs and made use of many of them.

My tea is drunk, I wonder who that was, and I am off to shower before starting dinner. TTFN    Pam

Saturday 1 June 2013

Back from the Wild West

We arrived home at 7pm yesterday after a very easy journey, Tom tom showed us the way and apart from the usual heavy traffic creeping through Newtown  it was go go go.

Francesca managed to join us after a marathon work session and her brother picked her up from the station, it was so easy for her to call in at work and finish off all her assignments and hop on a train.

Unfortunately she was brewing a dreadful cold and on Thursday snuffled and sneezed her way round Folly Farm. It is a fantastic place for a visit if you are in Wales, we have been many times and highly recommend it. We take lunch with us, there are heaps of tables and chairs, it makes for a cheap day out as once you are in there is no need to spend money on the rides. There is enough free stuff to do, the only ride that we paid for was the go carts for Junior and that was £2 a car not a person.

Junior's birthday was enjoyed by all, James had a barbecue on Sunday and the birthday proper was on Wednesday, complete with cake and jelly mmmmm.

I was out of internet connection at the cottage and we spent so much time out and about that I just gave up trying to keep up with posting and reading. I waded through over 200 emails this morning and will begin reading blogs after dinner. We had our usual family meal out in the local fish restaurant, they are very good, well priced and have all the facilities that are needed for small children. Apart from that we ate in, I took enough homemade ready meals for 3 days and cooked the rest from scratch. Even  with buying the gas barbecue for James and Cerys we brought money home from our budget. That will go towards the next trip in August.

I looked round several Charity Shops but did not buy much, I found some fabric which I snapped up and some thin card for my EPP hexies.

I think that we will now start working towards moving to Wales, we all love it there. I sleep so much better there and the water is so good, at home I go through an electric kettle a year and am constantly cleaning tea stains off the mugs, our water is not nice at all.

We have toyed with the idea for some time now and as I plan on retiring completely next year it makes sense to plan the move as well.

I have caught up on the laundry, the house is just about back to normal and the ironing will happen as and when it takes my fancy ( or someone else will do it ). We are having curry tonight and roast chicken tomorrow both simple meals. I am aiming to live out of the freezers until the chest freezer is empty, it needs a defrost, then if we have decided to move we will probably sell it, one less item to worry about.

I hear the kettle calling, it must be time for tea.   TTFN   Pam