Monday 30 November 2015

Rain on Monday

I delivered Fran to the train station yesterday morning and she arrived home safely a few hours later. On Saturday as well as making the little pouches and her birthday cushion I made 2 covers for her body pillow ( 60" long) and a fabric bowl to match the pouch that she claimed.
At some point I knocked the back of my left hand and now it is painful and stiff, I can use it but can not grip anything. I decided that yesterday I would do as little as possible to rest it, I snuggled down on the sofa with Ben, after his walk, and managed to doze off twice.
It was lovely but the effect was that I could not sleep last night, I have been up since stoopid o'clock and am now feeling sleepy. DUH.

Not to worry, if I need a nap then I shall have one.
The upside is that the beds are changed and the linen is washed, the ironing is done and the house has been put to rights. 

Peter is out of strictly, I used to dance as a teenager but am no expert. I thought that one of the lifts in the other couples dance off routine was very clumsy and quite expected them to go.  I read some of the publicity over Anton allegedly mouthing criticism at Peter's first attempt at the American Smooth. I saw the incident and I could not make out what he was saying, it matters not what he said He should have kept it closed. 
I am looking forward to next week, they are all dancing wonderfully and the standard is very high, I have no favourite and no glimmer of who may be the winner. 

I have stuffed myself over the weekend and there is a batch of minestrone soup in the slow cooker. That will be lunches this week, dinners will be out of the freezer so hopefully a low spend week will happen.

Now I am off to get Ben walked and fed, then a little gentle sewing is in order.
            TTFN                                                              Pam

Saturday 28 November 2015

Grey Saturday Randomness

So, how was Black Friday for you then. In this area it just did not happen, I went to Neath to collect Francesca from the train and we came straight home. In fairness she did go to the Ideal Christmas Show on Thursday and was all shopped out.
She brought this for the tree.

It is quite big so I will have to place it carefully.

It was Fran,s birthday on Thursday, she had requested a cup cake for tea.

Chocolate cake, chocolate ganache and maltesers. The ice cream was meant to cut through the sweetness but in fact it was sickly sweet. Luckily my neighbour has a sweet tooth and a passion for ice cream. The cake is very good though, moist and rich, only 6" across so not too much to force down.

I made her cushion yesterday after she had chosen the fabrics.

I have had this little chap for a few weeks now, just forgot to share.

Today started with a little sun but  turned to rain in moments, just as I opened the door to take Ben out.
I was pootling through blogland and found a zippered pouch tutorial so had a go. 3 pouches from 2 fat quarters.

I am pleased with them, they will go as a little extra in gifts.

The lining is a pale print left over from something, a bit too light for the project, but it just about works.

I have a pile of fat quarters so will be running a few of these up.

I have to persuade Ben that it is okay to go out in the rain, he never used to worry about the weather but like me (and most of you) he has had enough of it.

                    TTFN                                               Pam

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Still here, still sewing.

Internet has been very sporadic for a while, as has the sky signal, so the little man in a van spent some time here this morning. I was outside while he was up a ladder and it was a bit sweary, I muffled a giggle and scooted back inside. 
I have a zillion emails to sift through so if you are waiting for a reply you know why.

I took Maggie and her gorgeous black cat Marcus to the vet this morning, clean bill of health and we did the shop a day early. Saves trudging out tomorrow, I only needed a few things so lots of change from £10.

We have had lots more rain but with a scattering of sunny spells that come and go in the blink of an eye.

The Beast mark 2 is quilted and I am about half way stitching the binding down on the back. The 2 charm square quilts are now sewn together and will be layered and basted tomorrow.

I have dug out my bag of odds and end balls of yarn and intend to hook up some little birds this evening, I feel like playing. I have just sewn 3 Owls together for a wall hanging, no idea where they will end up yet, not with the children though as they have black beads for eyes.

I realised a little while ago that I have not made Fran a birthday cake cushion so will be squeezing that in somewhere. I will probably cut it out and sew together this evening and then quilt and assemble it tomorrow morning. I know full well that she has more than enough cushions but also that she will be put out if she does not get one. Every one else has had one after all.

There are 2 Christmas fairs coming up, 1 in our village hall and 1 in the next village right next to the library.
 Both on the same day and both at the same time Ridiculous, lack of communication and more than a touch of "oneupmanship".

Oops, I nearly forgot, Maggie has got the bungalow in our village, she is still waiting to find out when she will get the keys. Good news, once she gets a removal firm booked for the big stuff we can start to ferry smaller things over and make Moving Day as stress free as possible.
I will be on hand to lift and move for her and will do any curtain alterations.
Muscle has been organised for anything awkward and /or heavy. 

Lamb and veg Oggy for dinner with puff pastry from Farm Foods.
Tomorrow it will be chicken and home made chips. This week it has been a case of "what needs eating and what is at the top of the freezer" I will get back on track with a meal plan for next week.
 Now, though, it is most definitely time for a brew.

                     TTFN                                        Pam

Sunday 22 November 2015

Sunday Playtime.

Today dawned bright and cold, quick load of washing in the machine then out on the whirly thing once Ben had been walked and fed.
Then a look at the sewing and a decision made to cook instead.
Pop over to my Random Recipes and have a look at what I made.

I did a little sewing later, no photos though as it is not finished yet.
The 2 baby quilts were finished yesterday.

This blue print is another of the ones that I "found" from last year, I decided not to wrap it round to bind as I did not like it next to the prints on the front but loved it as a backing.

This one though was perfect for self binding and made for a fast finish. 

While reading a blog post last week I found a link to a tea towel site, I popped over for a nose round and bought these 2.

This Barbecue  print will go to WA, along with the things that I have made.
The next one I have pictured in 2 halves, so you can see all the details.

This will be part of Francesca's present, she is as much of a tea drinker as I am and has a collection of tea related things.

The oven has gone on, we are having beef and veg in gravy, inside large Yorkshire pudding with roast potatoes and parsnips.
Then the apple crumble with custard or Greek Yoghurt.

I am off to sling hash.

                                TTFN                                  Pam

Saturday 21 November 2015

All that glistens is not gold.

Well the weather pundits got it right(ish), during the night the wind howled like a Banshee with toothache and the rain did its utmost to put the windows out. Then by 5.00 this morning all was hushed and I think that it was the cessation of noise that woke me. My first thought was "how much snow have we got" but when I looked out there was only the sprinkle that I had hoped for, glistening and twinkling in the street lights. 
Pretty and enough.
 As I was wide awake I got up and did a little baking.

A tray of chocolate oat cookies.

The latest incarnation of Mum,s Apple cake, sultanas and cinnamon.

Another fat, egg and sugar free tea loaf, I soaked the fruit overnight in some very strong tea and added a bit more flour and a good shake of mixed spice.

I have a batch of Pizza dough proving, 1/4 of it will become cheese and ham rolls and the rest will be divided into 3 and frozen ready for future use.

I did the usual trip into Ponty last night and had a slope round Tesco. I am going to buy the body suits and sleep suits for the new baby, I managed to pick up a couple of bargains. Rubs hands and chortles silently.

2 sleep suits, and 5 little body suits, I aim to gather around 9 or 10 of each up to 3 months.  Only a £3.50 saving but it all helps, Cerys has nothing left of her baby stuff, Kaitlyn was to be the last, ha ha, nature has the last laugh.

I scooped up a few fresh food bargains as well.

These were on a 3 for 2 offer and it went through so an additional saving of 18 p. Nice.

Stir fry for dinner tonight then, enough for 3 with some thread noodles, I will make a hoisin and spring onion sauce.

I also found some 30p a bunch flowers, 90p well spent.

Some sweet smelling blooms in the sewing room,

Ans something a bit more exotic for the sitting room, never seen them before.
While I was in Ammanford yesterday I saw a few shops had Pomello fruit in stock, £1.99 in Lidl, £1.70 in the greengrocers and £1.30 in the market, that will do very nicely indeedy.

Back to the sewing room, all my most used rulers are now on the wall behind the horn cabinet, that will save me rootling around every 10 minutes when I am busy.

My fabric storage has been reduced as I have worked through the stash. I intend to shrink it further in the new year.

I think that is enough for now, the sun is shining and I have washing to get out while it is fine.

Have a good weekend, where ever you are.

                    TTFN                                                Pam

Friday 20 November 2015

Sunshine, at last

We have had 17 straight days of rain, wind, more rain and more wind. Today the clouds went away and the sun came out to play, Ben could hardly wait to get out for 2 good long walks and neither could I.
It invigorated me to the point that every thing but the Grace frame came out of the sewing room, including a long dead wasp, a few redundant cobwebs ( no spiders since I put the conkers in ) and rather too much dust, threads and tiny slivers of fabric and wadding.

While I think about it all the tidying jogged my memory. The scrap give away..... bad Pam... I put the names in a dish and Leisha will be getting a scrappy parcel in the near future. It was apt as she very kindly sent me a HUGE parcel of scrappy yummyness a while ago.

I have done a little sewing, all work and no play makes Pam grumpy.

Another 6 boots, slightly bigger this time.

I decided to treat my tree to a new skirt, the old one was far too big, 2 years ago I bought a super slim pencil tree, it is tall enough to hold all my decorations and takes up very little floor space. I am quite pleased with it, I did screw my maths up though and cut 3 bits too many, I will find a use for them.

As part of my new revamped room all  my rulers are now hanging on the wall, drilled with rawl plugs and everything. I went into Wilko's in Ammanford for the hooks, I new just what I wanted and where to find them. While I was there I picked these up, thank you Maria for posting your find, they will give me something to do in the evening as a break from the granny squares.

I am sure that I will have to find some more yarn and make 3 reindeer, Junior, Kaitlyn and Faith will all want one. 
The little crochet baubles just may become a new garland, I have lots of little balls of yarn in a myriad of colours.

I popped into Home Bargains as well, I have some heavy weight Champagne flutes and fancy using them as table decs, I was looking for curling ribbon. 

These 2 packs will do the job nicely, with left overs, for the princely sum of 79 p each. Lovely and tarty,  red and gold, right over the top, I will add fresh holly, pine cones and some rosemary for the fragrance, I might even stick a candle in.

I completely lost it as far as the meal plan went this week.
I roasted a large chicken last Sunday, £5 in  my local butchers, I had chicken stock in the freezer and some veg going soft so made a humongous pot of veg soup. That did Monday with cake and custard for pudding. Then on Tuesday there was enough soup to have again with the meat from a chicken leg, and again on Wednesday. This was at the request of my company, I did not mind in the slightest. I just added a bit more stock and some more veg.

 The chicken carcase went into the big slow cooker with some veg and herbs and the stock is in the fridge, oh and some went into a new batch of soup.

Yesterday the last bits of meat went into rolls with cranberry sauce and a little Gorgonzola for lunch, oh my they were good.

Last night I made an impossible quiche and chips, lovely grub and so easy. Tonight it is veg chilli and jacket potatoes, no once fancied rice.

I will make more of an effort next week.....maybe.

Now I am off to do a bit of ironing, got the washing line dried today. We had rain forecast but only saw a little shower about 20 minutes ago and it is sunny again. Tonight the snow should blow in, possibly a bit further inland from us, fingers crossed, and tomorrow it should be colder than a witches whatsit.

We shall see.

                        TTFN                                            Pam

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Playing in the Rain.

Well not really in the rain, in the sewing room watching the rain swirl through the garden.

I finished the HST,s and they decided to become a bag,

It is tall enough for bottles of whatever and wide enough to take 2 , I thought about a divider but wanted a fast finish.

This print was a stray fat quarter from the bag that I "found" a while ago in the sewing room. I am slowly working my way through it.

I sorted through some more of my charms and pulled a piece of red solid and made a 16 of these little boots. I may make some to turn into some bunting but these will go on my tree and some will go to Cardigan.

The rain has hammered down all day and is still coming down now. Ben has been out in it 3 times and has not liked it one little bit.

I spent the morning blitzing the sewing room, not much was removed but an awful lot was returned to its rightful place. Tomorrow is shopping day and once that chore is behind me I have a pile of zips and fabric sorted out to make some little pouches.
Fran loves these and has some colour coded for her various cosmetics and toiletries. 
No crochet tonight, my hands ache a little so I am resting AKA lazing around doing lots of nothing.

I hope to start wrapping gifts at the weekend, I just need to dig out the paper and sellotape, I know where they are. I bought loads of both in the January sales 3 years ago and there will be enough for next year.

Time for a cuppa before I shoe horn Ben off the sofa and into the garden.

              TTFN                                                    Pam

Tuesday 17 November 2015

More Rabbit than Anywhere.

Never mind the quality. feel the width and the river of chatter was both wide and deep yesterday. 
There was a little Bloggy gathering in No 11 Cafe in Newcastle Emlyn, tea, tea cakes and Diet coke were consumed and the talk was excitable, meaningful and (at times) silly. The lovely proprietors did not mind a jot and we did try hard not to disturb anyone.
The menu looked good, some delish home made soup especially but who had time to eat?
I had read a few "iffy" reviews on trip advisor but panic ye not, all was just as it should be. Lots of peeps eating, drinking and talking and having a good time. I will be back, it is a good stopping off point on my way to Cardigan, and I dare say that we may force ourselves to "rinse and repeat" a time or three.
Once we had eaten and drunk  we toddled back to the cars to stash our little gifts.

The very pretty pegs from Dottie's daughter will be used in my sewing tip room and I had the basket making kit from Dawn out of the plastic before the kettle had boiled once I was indoors.
Bovey Belle is a cake maker extraodinaire and of course she could not bring cake to a cafe. Be warned though BB, I will expect a Hooooge slice of something delumptuous on our next meet up.

Then we made our way, still talking a storm, to Crosspatch, cue much oohing and ahhing, quite a bit of "just look at this" and plenty of " I have to have that".
In my defence every thing that I purchased was in the bargain bins with the exception of this pattern.

I just have to figure out when I will make one, it is a times like this that I am pleased to have a touch of insomnia.

I also found,

2 lovely Christmas panels, they will be for next year I think.

2 half mtr cuts, the peg one will make me a new peg bag. I know, not very original but I don't give a jot, as my Granny used to say "there is nothing new under the sun". The bottom piece just jumped into my hands, it will make wonderful binding.

These packs of bricks will become part of something small next year, exactly what is still a mystery to me.

Last* but not least is this charm pack, full of bright prints and very dotty, I loves polka dots.

*OOPS, that was a lie.

I also found 2 Christmas charm packs, and having cherry picked through them, some became these.

I love working with HST,s and since I treated myself to this ruler I have no issues with final size.

I trimmed them to 41/2" very quickly,

with minimal waste, well not waste as it will go into the "stuffing bag" or perhaps out for the birds nesting in the spring along with the trimmings from my crochet.

I did snap some pics in the shop,

I did not take many as I had my hands full and was just too busy trying not to miss anything.

We talked non stop while paying for our findings, we were so lucky as the shop is not really open on Monday, and then sauntered back along the street and found some other crafty shops to pop into. I kept my hands firmly in my pockets though, I did spot some batting ready fused to a cream cotton and will be back in the New Year to get some.

In the meantime I found some narrow strips of Christmas fabric from 3 or 4 years ago and, with some of the stash,made a pile of place mats with them. There is a fundraiser in the library next month and I will be sewing lots of scraps up for them, time willing. I use the library quite a bit and want it to remain open, so I am happy to support it.

Now I am off to lay out my HST,s , I am undecided as to whether they will become a bag or a cushion. I will let you know.

Perhaps tea will help the little grey cells, well it's worth a try.

                            TTFN                                         Pam

Sunday 15 November 2015

Waving, not drowning

Mornin' all, just popped in to say hello and Isn't it wet out there.
At one point yesterday it was coming down so hard that it was bubbling back up from the storm drains. The road was so deep that only the white line was visible, just like living on a river bank. I quite expected Ratty and Mole to pop in for tea and cake, Mr Toad would never have got his car through the water.

I hunkered down and in the interest of " making something out of nothing" I raided the linen store. 
A while ago one of my friends, with more money than sense, had a some work done on her house and lost the airing cupboard. It must have been Hoooge as she gave me a massive stack of towels, all in really good condition. She had decided that she just had to have new ones, all matchy matchy. My gain. I did take several to James and Cerys as they go through stacks.

The rest went into my store and I turfed out some that had worn a bit thin over the years. Yesterday I rescued 4 of these, 2 pale blue that were each cut into 8 and overlocked, these are now kitchen cloths. I have put the old ones into the cleaning cupboard and the ratty old ones are now relegated to the greenhouse for glass cleaning  and pot washing.

There were also 2 burgundy bath towels, I cut  both into 4 and overlocked them, white thread but no worries, and they are now kitchen hand towels. I go through 2 or 3 a day if I am busy cooking and baking, I have a clean one daily at the least.

I did take some pics, but there are some half done sewing projects in with them so I will post them all when finished.
I am steadily working through the stash and have decided to cut my storage down, I will just change a large cupboard with a small wicker chest of drawers from upstairs. I need more storage there so it is win win.

Did any of you see Jack's post on feeding a family of 4 for a week on £35. I have a house full for the rest of the month so I am going to have a go. We are starting with chicken rather than pork, but they are fairly interchangeable meats.
I made the Berry Bircher Pots for breakfast and the amount for 3 does 4 easily, I had to add more milk as it was a bit too solid, but I do use Greek yoghurt from Lidl and it is very thick.

It is not raining at the moment but is very grey, I will be fine sewing or hooking away. Ben has been out and is snoring on the sofa.

I have worked out my meal plan for next week.
Breakfast will be berry bircher or porridge or toast.
Lunch will be leftovers or soup, I will be making some carrot and coriander  later.
Dinners will be,

Today, Roast Chicken, roast pots and parsnips, Yorkshire Pudding, cabbage and carrots.

Monday, Beany Burgers, spiced potato wedges and home made coleslaw.

Tuesday, Chicken in a pepper and tomato sauce with pasta.

Wednesday, Quorn chilli and rice.

Thursday, Chicken and mushroom pie, mashed root veg and cabbage.

Friday, Impossible Quiche, I will fill this with peppers, mushrooms, celery and onion so it will be a one dish wonder.

Saturday, Veg curry and flatbreads, rice for the greedy.

I will make a couple of batches of cookies for the sweet toothed, but do not envisage making puddings.

I am off now to get busy, I love a wet day or 5.

                  TTFN                                               Pam

Thursday 12 November 2015

The Clearing Out Continues

Just a quick visit to say that The Sun is Shining in my valley, sweet.
I have 5 bags of good clothes for the NSPCC collection today, including 4 brand new jackets and 3 sheepskin coats that look as good as new.
There are 9 sets of double bed linen, each with fitted sheet, duvet cover and 4 pillowcases all ready to go, I am not making a special journey to Swansea as I have to go in next week.

There are also 8 bags of poorer quality clothes, shoes and linen for the council recycling collection, as much as possible is used in NPT.

The only pile that I do not know what to do with is a collection of classical music albums, there is a shop in the next village that sells records, books, cd,s etc but he does not stock classical. Any Ideas, I will hate  sending them to be broken up.

Now I am off to collect Maggie for our weekly shop, she will know by tomorrow whether she will be staying in the village or moving to Ammanford. Which ever I will be there to help and we will still shop on Thursday, just not in Pontardawe.

                      TTFN                                                     Pam

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Some gone, More to take its place

I have moved on a fair amount of clothing, china and books today. The local CS,s have all had a bag or two, I did cherry pick some of the best out for the children and teenagers Leukaemia and Cancer Charity.
I took a car load of Iffy things down to the local recycling centre and then brought 2 more loads back to sort. That is now done and I have filled the car ready to deliver tomorrow, then 2 loads on Friday should see the back of it.....Until the next round.

I am going to drop in at the local Police Station and ask whether there is a Refuge in the area. If so I hope that they will contact to ask if the perfumes and toiletries would be welcome. I am also going through the bedding sets, washing, drying and ironing to freshen them up. Then I will take them to the Home Start in Swansea, most of these sets are less than a year old and  have probably only been used a few times

I need to barrel through this as I need my craft room back, I have lots ready to sew, Friday is looking very good to me.

I found a recipe for a tea bread loaf yesterday and have made 2 versions today and there will be another in the oven later.
So simple, 2 cups of dried mixed fruit soaked in 2 cups of strong black tea, the recipe said 10 minutes but I left it nearly an hour, then add 2 cups SR flour, mix well and put in a lined 1lb loaf tin, bake at 180c for 40 minutes.
I did that but added 2 tsp mixed spice to the flour.
As soon as it was cool I tried it, oh yes, bring it on.

The author said that she had it out and her friend had used ginger ale to soak the fruit, mmmm. I had ginger beer in the fridge so loaf mk 2 was born, I added 2 tsp ground ginger to the flour and yes, it too is yum. I now have a third batch of fruit soaking in green tea with lemon and I will add the zest of a lemon to the flour. It is so moist that I did not need butter, and I am hoping that after a couple of days it will make wonderful eggy bread.

Now I am off to get dinner started, I am making a plum crumble for pudding. The last 2 days dinners have been finished off with cheese and biscuits, that pineapple chutney goes so well with cheese.

          TTFN                                                         Pam

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Vomiting Inducing Cards and other nonsense.

I was in Neath today and had to find a birthday card for a friends hubby. There is a plethora of card shops and shops that sell cards and I went into most of them. I looked for humour first, I think that it has left the town. 
Then I looked at the clever cards, well I would have done if I had found any. In the end I chose a card with no writing at all as every other one that I picked up had sloppy, slushy overly sentimental drivel inside. Most of them were totally nauseating and I can not think of anybody that I would want to send one to.
I know that there are loads of clever card makers out there and I could do it myself. Well I am certain that I have said in the past that the only times that I have tried I ended up with more glue on me than I had to start with. BUT this has encouraged me to think again and I will be looking for a card making workshop to try.

As to the other nonsense, words almost fail me, just have a look at this lot.

Most of these have had a spray or two from them, then have been packed into a cupboard.

Most of these toiletries have no been opened.

Just a few more.

Some of these have had perhaps a third used, BTW the Ralph Lauren in the middle retails at over £100.

Clothes waiting to be sorted into bags for the CS.

Clothes, bed linen sets, books, china,bags.... you think of it and it is in here, sorted and ready to go.

There is more in my car and a mountain of vinyl albums on the stairs and a massive bag of shoes to be paired up.

Luckily there are 2 charity collections for clothes, shoes and bags in the village this week. The rest will go to the CS in Neath next Tuesday.

Much of this is as good as new, some of it has tags on and some is in the original packaging.

It was "comfort shopping" gone doolally. There is as much to come again, at least, and I have a full day tomorrow and possibly Thursday packing into my car to deal with at home in peace and quiet.
I have to find homes for the toiletries and perfumes, I asked in 3 CS,s today and they do not take them unless they are in sealed packages.
 I though about a Woman's Refuge but have no idea how to go about it, I will have to google it.

I shudder to think of the amount of money that is piled up in my house, there are 70 bottles of perfume alone.

This has been a wake up call to me and I am more determined than ever to not buy any sewing materials until I absolutely have to.

It is so easy to let it get out of control, I did find some Christmas fabric the other week that I forgotten, only about 12 metres!!

After watching Hugh last night it has made this seem obscene, but I will make sure that as much as possible is used.

Now I am off to rustle through plastic bags.

                 TTFN                                                Pam