Sunday 29 March 2015

A day out and more stitchy fun.

Saturday dawned grey, windy and wet. Ben and I splashed round our usual walk route and came home dripping.
We pootled through a few hours, a few chores done, a little email sifting and a quick flick through my blog list. Then it was time to go to Cardigan, both James and Cerys work Saturday mornings so we wanted to arrive for 1: 00.
On the way we had rain, sun, fog, more rain and finally light cloud with a little sunshine and a light breeze when we arrived.
After a cuppa James had his birthday gifts, late but still enjoyed. Junior and Kaitlyn had a few things that I had both made and picked up very reasonably in Lidl. The shark pencil case went down a treat, Kaitlyn wants a pink one.

We arrived home around 7:30 and Ben had a meal and copious amounts of tea was drunk. Before we retired with exhaustion I picked out a couple of fabrics.

This came from Debbie Shore, she has a web site set up now and is selling some lovely fabrics and various sewing and quilting things.

I do not remember where I bought this, it is bolder in the flesh, the flash has washed the colour. The skirts will be in the post to Kaitlyn first thing in the morning.
I washed the "free" fabrics that came with the magazine, they all shrunk but not evenly. They also washed up very thin and flimsy, I sprayed one bit with starch to give it a bit of body and cut these out.

It really was time wasted, the fabric frayed as soon as I touched it and did not push out well at all. I will not use these for my original idea but will put them on something that will not need washing very often, perhaps a lampshade.
We had rain and high wind all night, the rain has all but gone although the wind is still howling through the valley.
I have a Cottage Pie ready to go in the little oven, with diced carrot and swede and some cauliflower all ready to steam, the topping is potato and leek.
My local shop sells fresh meat, good quality and excellent value for money. I bought 2 packs of Chicken drumsticks for £2, they have been simmered in chicken stock, cooled and the meat is all off the bones, just under 750 gms. The skin and gristly bits along with a little meat will find it's way into Ben's dish. The stock will make tasty soup for during the week, I picked some leeks in Aldi for 29p a pack of 3. Leek and potato soup, and Chicken, ham and leek pasta bake on the menu.
Now it is time to get the oven and steamer on, not forgetting the kettle.
                   TTFN                                             Pam

Friday 27 March 2015

Happy, Sad and Downright Annoying, Mail that is.

I was in full "Housewife Mode" this morning, kitchen done, bathroom done, bed thrown open to air, washing on the whirligig and was ironing yesterdays "leftovers", I simply ran out of steam.

Then, joyful sound, the postie rapping on the door, I knew it was him he tries to wake the dead.

He brought me 2 letters and a parcel. I love parcels and this was the best sort .......Unexpected, oh yum.

Happy, happy, happy.

This card was enclosed, I just want to pick him up and snuggle into the sofa with him.

Woo Hoo, tea, and one of my favourites.

Another treat, fabric in lots of colours, something for me in there, I feel it in my bones.

A vintage piece of lace and cross stitch, this will have to be mounted, framed and hung in full view.

A bright and cheerful vintage apron, to be cherished and used.

Another, slightly longer, look at the stitch work in there.
Thank you so much Leisha, a true blog friend.
The tea is so good, I have a cup beside me, and another in the pot.
Now to the Annoying,
Unsolicited mail, an offer that I have declined many times. This came with a card and instructions to activate it. Cut in half and launched into the recycling bin.
If I was at all interested I would have accepted one of the many offers in the past. Now even if I was interested I would not take it up. Cutting off nose to spite face? Maybe, but that is how I am.
And finally to the sad part.

This envelope was also in the post, sadly empty, the stamp has not been franked so there is no post mark to give me a clue. I suspect that it was the Greetings Card that I won in a giveaway but can not be sure. If  you recognise your hand writing then do let me know. There are few things worse than half a story.
On a completely different subject, I watched Home for Dinner, by chance a few nights ago. I got the second part and enjoyed it and last night watched the first episode on catch up. I now realise that I am perfectly right in my belief that I had a very good childhood compared to many. I have never eaten food that I felt was disgusting. I have never been hungry because there was not enough to eat. Mind you I never got to wear those fancy clothes, not much use on a holding even if all I was big enough to do was feed the rabbits.
That was a most important task, first I had to walk the hedgerows and gather hogweed, dandelion leaves and such like. Then the hutches had to be cleaned out and fresh straw put in, while the rabbits were eating all the old bedding had to be taken to the compost bins and added to the correct bin.
Those rabbits were food, plain and simple. We ate them, we sold them and we bartered them for butchers meat and milk and cream.
There was always butter and milk, fresh eggs ( I did not have to collect the eggs as the Cockerel was nearly as big as me ) and heaps of fresh veg and fruit in season.
Clothes were sometimes "interesting", my Granny was good at remaking adults clothes into child size garments, a pair of trousers with only the bottoms of the legs worth saving was soon transformed into a skirt.
I suppose that was part and parcel of country life as apposed to town. I know that I had the best end of the stick.
I have cut out the bird and heart templates from my new magazine, and they have been glued to thin card, once dry I will cut them out and be ready to do some crafting.
But first I need to wring another cuppa from my pot.
                             TTFN                                            Pam

Thursday 26 March 2015

Lots of stitchy fun here.

Yesterday I took Maggie shopping, we usually go on Thursday but I am spending today with another friend, she is slightly incapacitated and needs somebody with her.
We went to Lidl and then over to Home Bargains, I needed some more picture hangers and they do a large pack for £1.
Back to unload Maggie's shopping and a quick coffee while I look at her latest jewellery makes, she is making some lovely things.

The sun was shining although it was cold, I got my shopping packed away as quickly as I could and took Ben out. We gathered Archie and Dolly and had a good 30 minutes play time.
I wanted to get the end of my Lamb joint dealt with so once I had surrounded a cuppa and a salad sandwich I made a start.
I keep short pastry mix in the fridge all of the time, it is easy to mix up a container full then just take what I need, rather than having to make it from scratch every time.
I prepped some carrot, swede, potato and leek and simmered in a little stock till cooked, I thickened it and added the diced lamb and a dollop of mint sauce. Once cold it filled 2 pie tins, when the pies were cold I popped them in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm them up. Then each was cut in half, wrapped and frozen, so I got 6 meals from my bargain joint. Happy days.

 I made a batch of scones while the oven was on, just press the dough into a rough rectangle and cut into shapes with a knife, no cutters to wash up and no rerolling. I made more than these, mine are in the freezer, these are going with me later.

When I had cleared the kitchen Ben was ready for another walk, as the sun was still shining I decided on a trip to the library. I wanted to pick up some poop bags and food waste bags, they are free in the library.
I found a couple of books, both new authors to me, and had a chat with the librarian. She asked me to make her a bag similar to the one I was using, tomorrows job. She also gave me this, her hubby bought it for her and managed to pick up 2 copies stuck together.

An eyecatching cover, patchwork, free fabric, what's not to like ?
Well the price for one, £7:99, even with the fabric it is pricey.

The inside is equally easy on the eyes and I want to make everything, oops, the templates included all need enlarging. Wait, problem solved, all are available to download, so I did.

The "free" fabric, 3 decent sized bits, not the best quality but acceptable none the less. As I said, I want to make them all, I decided to start with the Scotty Dog, in the magazine it is on a cushion. Me, being me, had to tweak it so I put it on the bucket bag.

I am pleased with it, there are 2 big balls of wool in there, so it looks a bit lumpy. The pattern calls for interfacing in the base but I skipped it on this one, I aim to cut a plastic insert and cover it with the same fabric as the lining, that will give me a bag that will sit nicely, I hope.
Now it is time I had a run through the shower and get ready to start this day.
                        TTFN                                        Pam

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Another one bites the dust.

That is another lingering WIP done and dusted, there are still several more lurking around the place though.
This cat will be hanging on a wall tomorrow, I am not sure where yet as it is rather big.

I am annoyed that it was not until I was quilting that I realised one ear is bigger than the other, I must have had the wrong specs on when I pieced it.

I think that she looks a tiny bit supercilious, her whiskers are better than they look but they are thin strands of cotton, I could not give her thick ones.
I finished my catch up cleaning today, made a cake to share with friends. Just a Victoria Sandwich with home made plum and damson jelly and fresh cream, divided between 3 it is a treat not a pig out.
 I have not had any yet, I am still full of roast Lamb, I got a half shoulder from the local shop reduced to half price £2.99. There was enough for 2 roast dinners and 2 more meals for the freezer. It is nice to push the boat out for a guest and even better when it is painless.
Ben and I were caught in the hail today, twice. Luckily it was short-lived both times and the sun was soon shining again. I was pleased as this morning I pulled a pile of summer clothes out and washed, now I have them to iron.
It was too cold to work outside today and tonight should bring very low temperatures and a sharp frost. Every thing in the greenhouse is wrapped up nice and cosy.
I have finally caught up with Poldark, I watched while stitching the binding down. I think that I would have enjoyed it more if I had not read the books or seen the original. I have it on to series record and will watch 1 more before I make my mind up whether to continue watching.
I have a book on the go, just chewing gum for the brain, by a new author for me, Jojo Moyes. I am not sure if I will get to finish it, I will give it another 100 pages.
I am quite tired this evening, an early night beckons.
Now I think a cuppa is in order and possibly a slice of cake, well I don't want to waste it.
                TTFN                                                      Pam

Monday 23 March 2015

Bleach Queen V Slattern

We have just enjoyed several gloriously warm and sunny days, this resulted in long hours in the garden and a little crafting for my soul.
The housework became minimal, only what had to be done. Today it is still warm but grey and a faint haze of moisture in the air. I was up early, as usual, and having looked outside and checked the weather report decided it was cleaning day. The bathroom is positively sparkling and the kitchen has been "bottomed". It took me almost 3 hours, not long really as everything moveable was removed so I could get at all the nooks and cranny's.

I  recently saw a report that said the average person spends 5-7 hours weekly on cleaning, I could not do it. Last thing after dinner I do my kitchen, wash up, dry and stack away. Wash the bowl, sink, dish drainer and draining board and whip round the taps.
I clear the tops of everything that does not belong and give them a spray of my vinegar solution and polish it off. Then the floor gets swept and washed. , this takes up to an hour. The past week this has been a rushed and skimped job, today I paid the price.
I will be working my way through the rest of the house as the day goes on, I do have a WIP layered ready to be basted and will fit that in one way or another.
All work and no play is a very bad thing.
Now I do not consider myself to be the cleanest person on the planet and I am no Hyacinth Bucket. Right now my sewing room is a tip but it will be done by days end.

I was out yesterday, Ben had his walk with Dolly and Archie, and chatting to a group of 5 other peeps. We got onto this report and one said that she could go through her house in 2 hours and did it twice weekly, no pets, no children, works full time and lives on ready meals. Another admitted to spending most of the day working in her house and often not finishing it all, does not go to work, has 4 children, 3 dogs, a few cats and an assortment of little feathered and furry creatures to boot.
 There is another who quite happily owns up to not seeing dust or cobwebs, will watch telly all day and cleans only when it becomes a health hazard.

I also read a blog post, my apologies as I can not remember where, about the 1 cup per person rule, after being faced with a sink full of dirty ones. My Mum introduced this one year, long after I had moved out, she got up one morning to find only 2 clean mugs, hers and Dads usual ones. My sister and brothers got up and there were no mugs.... I was told that things got a bit heated and then extremely sweary when said sister produced 3 mugs from her room, one of which had a lovely crop of fur.
It was not helped when brothers went out to the work shop, both car and bike mad, and brought in a tray full, all filthy some mouldy.
Mum simply took them outside and tipped them in the bin, making certain that they all broke.
The 3 culprits had to go and replace them all, needless to say it never happened again, but the 1 mug rule stood till they all left home.

I am not sure where this is going, call it a case of cleaning fatigue, coupled with a smidgeon of disgust at how far I had let my kitchen slip.

My tea break is over and I need to find the coffee table, to polish, I am sure it is under all that paper somewhere.

                      TTFN                                          Pam

Sunday 22 March 2015

Didn't we have a lovely time the day we went to Dawns place.

Yesterday was beautiful, the sun shone and the breeze was gentle. Kara was there to greet me, alongside Dawn and Martin. Of course the kettle went on and after a cuppa it was time for the cabin.

Dawn showed me  a way to make the Pineapple block with no bias seams, deep joy.
I had not been home for long before the rotary cutter came out and I put my new knowledge to work, more of that later.

While we were chatting away about a random selection of things, you know what it is like, we got on to gardening. Dawn grew Ocas last year and kindly gave me 6 tubers. I had a quick session with Google and they are now in 6" pots in the greenhouse, I will pot them on into big pots later on.

Shortly after my lesson Marlene arrived with her lovely husband, a Welshman no less.
Marlene and Kevin are keen photographers and Kevin was kind enough to give me some pointers as to what camera and how to get the best from it.

We had a walk round the homestead and met all the animals, Lambert viewed us from a distance, the Alpacas were  a bit braver. In fact while we chatted outside their enclosure one of them poked Marlene in the back, as though to say "look at us then".

I was amazed at how warm it was, you do not expect to eat lunch outside in March, specially when you are halfway up a Welsh mountain. Dawn spoiled us with a salad lunch including some of her banty and duck eggs, they were delicious, and there was homemade French bread, oh yum. What's that? diet, what diet.

On Friday I received a parcel from the Fabric Guild, I had put the order in just over a week ago and was getting a bit niggled.

I had ordered 3 mts of this but they rang me to say that there was only 1 left, so I settled for that and 2 mtrs of this print,

the flash has changed the colour, it is more cranberry than purple.

I have 6 mtrs of this print, I just fell in love with it, I will be wearing it before too much longer.

This bright fabric is destined to become something for me, I have no idea what but it is so bright and happy I had to have it.
Oh yes, what I made from my lesson.
I wanted something to hang on my sewing room wall, something pertinent to the day and good to look at.
Most of the fabrics in here came from Dawn, the colours just read of my day, blue skies, bright yellow sunshine, flowers and greenery. The birds are just a token nod towards our natives and visitors, but I love them. You may have seen Ben, he was dozing under my chair whilst I sat in the sun and sewed the binding down.
The whole place has moved on so far since my last visit, Dawn and Martin have obviously slogged away tirelessly, pouring a river of love and heaps of TLC into their home.
I went to see the bees but had no secret to tell them, next time.
Now it is getting on and my dinner has not even been thought about yet, and as for tea.....I am way behind.
                       TTFN                                                 Pam

Friday 20 March 2015

Eclipse did not stop work.

Another day in the garden, even hotter than yesterday, I had to get my arms out.

More work done on the patio and a few more seeds set, thyme which will go in the gaps between the slabs, and some more butternut squash as the first ones are showing their seed leaves.

I have some climbers to go on the obelisks and some aubrietias to fill in along the end. The sand on the left will have slabs on it late tomorrow, we just had enough for one day.

I potted on a couple of Hostas, they are just sticks at the moment but the root systems are strong. There is a young Rosemary, grown from a cutting and three tubs of strawberries. These will, hopefully, give me a little fruit this year and some runners to plant up for next year, not in the ground, I aim to have a two storey shelf unit with grow bags, I had these at Tydd and they cropped well.
No sewing, so far, today but I had a delivery of fabric earlier, I will share over the weekend.
I am off to see Dawn, Doing it for ourselves in Wales in the morning and look forward to a good day out. Dawn is going to teach me a technique for Pineapple blocks.
I have to dig through my collection of zips, I have some Whales to make and there is a WIP that I really want to get done.
Dinner last night was a repeat Beef casserole pie with cabbage and cauli, tonight it is Toad in the Hole, or rather Toad out of the Hole. I have dug a couple of Yorkshire Puds out of the freezer and will have sausages in gravy and carrot and swede mash, that should hit the spot.
Ben has been in the garden with me all day and is flat out on his cushion beside me, he is constantly on the move just like me I think he is relishing the fresh air and sun.
Now, guess what, it is time to put the kettle on, more tea is needed.
              TTFN                                                               Pam.
PS, I have another £10 for the Dogs trust and more to come later.

Thursday 19 March 2015

Two glorious days

Whew, it is good to sit down, I have been a busy bee, with quite a lot of help.
First though I have finished the Kitten wall hanging and it is on the wall.

I thought that the fancy stitch quilting was a good idea, but am not so sure now. I am not about to unpick though, I will live with it.
While I was busy yesterday morning a transformation began. I was too slow to get before pictures.

These were once part of a higgledy piggledy patio, about as level as a Welsh Mountain road. This is where they came from.

This was the state of play at lunch time today.

It is a Work In Progress, there are obelisks, more slabs and plants in the near future.
I have been busy in the top garden and greenhouse, lots of seeds are sown, some things have ben potted on, some taken out of pots and planted.

This little grow house nestling in the greenhouse is bringing on some early seeds. There is a tray of sweet peas and one of leeks, on the top tier is a tray of sweetcorn, set into loo roll tubes and some pumpkin seeds, both are under bubble wrap for extra protection. On the bottom are cucumber seeds, also under bubble wrap. You see the gloves, I start off with them on and then get frustrated so off they come. The bags in the top corner are full of rotted manure, ready for the tomatoes and other hungry plants.

Various bean and pea seed in pots and a tray of loose leaf lettuce, the pots in the bottom right hand corner are waiting to be washed.

A pair of arches, a clematis, a honeysuckle and a few odd plants rescued from odd corners.
There has been much more done but I need tea, dinner and to have some fun sewing, in that order.
I hope that you have all had as much pleasure from your day as I have.
                   TTFN                                                      Pam

Tuesday 17 March 2015

From Sparkie to Yorniel in 11 years

I was out with Ben this morning and stopped to chat with some of his friends people, as you do, one of them asked me what breed he was. I opened my mouth to say Sparkie, this is what we dubbed him on his first day with us, he is a Yorkie/ Spaniel cross. I hesitated and said Yorniel, with a laugh, and explained his first name and added that after the 11 years that I have had him he is too old to spark. He may not yawn but he does snooze a great deal. He is out cold on his cushion beside me now.
We have just walked down to the post office and sent an apron off to Australia, I sorely underestimated the postage, it was just over £5, charges must have gone up since my last parcel.

I had my trip to the Mumbles and the Red House, no photos of the shop as the owner was not there, but I did buy a few things.

I took one of the string blocks with me and found this glorious red for the sashing and borders.

I treated myself to a little ruler, when making the first 2 Snapshot blocks my smallest ruler was too big and cumbersome on the small blocks. I bought a new air erasable pen, it has a roller ball tip so should not get "fuzzy" like my older ones have. The glue pen came through the post, it too is for small blocks it will be better than fiddling with dozens of pins in a tight space. Some of the intricate blocks need pinning very securely to stop the fabric moving of its own volition.
The weather was a bit gloomy on arrival but the haze lifted somewhat and it turned very warm. It was grey when I arrived back but the sun is shining now. ( Mr Muscles is here, my tree is in the ground and staked, and 2 water butts are being put in place on either side of the greenhouse.) I guess my next job will be a sewing lesson.

The view along the prom from The Mumbles towards Swansea, the boats look good in the photo but up close are very tired.

Looking across the beach, the tide was just coming in, it is similar to  Gt Yarmouth, when the tide is out you have to walk miles to get to the sea, just not as golden yellow.

I took this in one of the little parks, it is called Breathing At Sea and is a very powerful piece.
I have a stack of sewing lined up but my first task is to finish this WIP off.
It has been languishing under the sofa since I finished it, I have just the place for it, on my sewing room wall next to this Irish Linen Tea Towel that Francesca sent me a while ago.

I have the pattern for the third Snapshot Quilt block and will be making 2 of those up later, I will share tomorrow. I do have 2 more blocks to share, these will become mini quilts to hang on my walls. I am tired of Magnolia but it was freshly painted just before I moved in so I can not justify repainting. I feel that the way forward is some quilty fun on display.
BTW, my 500 blog post is approaching and I have the giveaway quilt in mind, I will post a little nearer to the day. I have not forgotten.
Now I am off to make tea before getting my fabrics out.
Dinner tonight will be a portion of the rib of beef casserole slung in the mini oven with some puff pastry on top, easy 1 pot dinner.
No potatoes for me as I somehow found myself eating chips at the seaside, well you have to don't you.
                  TTFN                                                     Pam


Monday 16 March 2015

Heffalumps but no Woozles.....Yet

I was reading through my blogs yesterday and on Sew Mamma Sew there has been lots of posts on soft toy making. I read them but with no babies in the pipeline (so to speak) have not taken too much notice. Then I read one about The Funky Friends Factory, this featured an elephant toy. Now I have a soft spot for elephants so printed off the free pattern and made one. Hmmm the trunk was a bit crooked, new needle required I think.

She is quite cute though.

Here she is in front of my 12 1/2" ruler.
I duly changed the needle and gave the works a quick defluff, disgusting amount in there again.
I had some more of the fabric and decided to have a little play.
When I am pottering around the house I like to wear an apron, with pockets. I do not always have pockets in my skirts, tut tut, and often pick bits up to put them in their rightful place, when I get there.
I quite like a gathered, full skirted apron but, bad me, often wipe my sticky hands on it. I do have one or two straight aprons and fancied another, prettied up.

There is the result of my mornings play.

Room for a couple of bars of chocolate.
What do you mean, where are the dusters?

Both pockets are the same size as the original and fully lined, as is the apron. The ties wrap right round my model who is a size 12/14. On me they tie at the back!.
As part of my £5 challenge to increase it as much as I can for the Dogs Trust, I have decided that I would like to sell this. ( I can always make another)
I have doubled the initial £5 by the way, and sold another item.
I am open to offers and will post anywhere as it does not weigh much. The highest postal cost is Australia which will be around £2 so please keep this in mind if you wish to make me an offer.
On another note it is fairly grey outside but not cold, it is a bit too damp to hang washing out just yet but I live in hope.
I am off to Ammanford later to have a trawl round the charity shops. I want to look for some synthetic fabrics to practise on, Jersey being one. I have all the proper needles and feet for this but want to experiment on reclaimed fabric before buying new stuff.
I had one of the steaks last night, my word, I think that it was the most tender that I have ever eaten. Tonight it will be soup, there are lentils in it so I will not need bread.
Now I must scoot round and get ready for my shopping trawl.
                      TTFN                                         Pam

Sunday 15 March 2015

Happy Mothering Sunday.

I had a parcel from the Postie yesterday with , Do Not Open Till 15th emblazoned on it. I had already received 2 text messages and a phone call with the same instructions, Francesca does like to make things clear.

Anyway even though I did consider waiting until 2 minutes after midnight the flesh was weak, I went to bed after dozing through an episode of Poirot.

Cue this morning, a cup of tea and out with the parcel,

A quirky card and a new sewing machine.

The base hold a few packets of needles, I have the 3 sizes that I use most often in there.

The top holds 2 wound bobbins, I use this cream most of the time, it just sinks into the fabric, even white.

And the icing on the cake is that it tucks away in the harp space, nice and handy. I will only need to move it if I am quilting something. Perfect.

All the string blocks are assembled and waiting to be sashed, I am deliberating over corner stones at the moment. If I go down that road I may have to look for something on Tuesday ;D

The red sofa throw may have changed my mind about pale green or blue.
Back to some frugal food.

3 meat loaves, all but last nights dinner are now portioned and in the freezer. 1 was cut into 4 and the others into 3.

1/4 here with creamy mash and sweetcorn, it was yummy. I made the sauce using my homemade barbecue sauce, some 49p a bottle tomato ketchup from Poundstretcher and some garlic mayo that needed using up. It was glorious. This was not the huge plateful that it appears to be, my plate is an 8" diameter, I hope that the look of a heaped plate kids my tum into thinking it has been stuffed.
Then I turned my attention to the rib of beef, the steaks are tucked away safely. The rest has been diced and is simmering away in the slow cooker, you can see the bone in there to add to the flavour'


There was a small amount of fat, I trimmed it off and it is on a very low heat rendering down. The resultant dripping will add flavour to roasties and Yorkshire Pudding and the little crispy bits will find their way into some savoury scones. I just blitz them in the spice grinder, any obviously gristly bits will go into Ben
I think that I am all caught up now and have to do a few chores before I can read my blog list, and I have some comments to reply to.
                             TTFN                                            Pam