Friday 31 March 2017

A Monkey's Uncle.

March has been a busy and happy month, I gained new friends, learnt new skills and knitted up a storm. 
I am most of the way through a "right good turn out" of all the hidey holes in the house and best of all.........

My sewing mojo has come home.

Jess and Ivy came for a little visit yesterday afternoon and while we were chatting the words " I will make a wall hanging for Ivy,s bedroom" popped out of my mouth. 
Fast forward a few hours and I found myself, with a small teetering pile of fabrics, sitting at the sewing machine and sewing a few scraps together to test the stitches. It has been a few months since she was switched on, luckily I always clean her and cover her up before putting her away so no issues there.

I have a few whispy ideas floating around, including a stretched canvas with ribbons and buttons and a wall hanging of possibly a garden scene. Then there are pom poms to be considered, not to mention dogs, cats and elephants.

Next Thursday I have planned to collect Jess and Ivy and go off to Neath for the morning. A visit to The Works for a few crafty bits, a look round the town and market and home when we have had enough, or Ivy decides for us.

Jess is hoping to knit herself a sweater, I printed off a pattern and hopefully we will manage an hour or so of knitting here and there. It is very difficult to carry through made plans when a small person is involved, so all of this will happen as and when Ivy is agreeable. I do have a few knitted and crocheted bits and bobs that she found agreeable to play with, and I may just have enough stash yarn to make a few more.

Anyhow, on to the monthly round up.

In March I again bought in more yarn than I knitted, but again all of it is earmarked for projects. Indeed it is all in project bags with pattern and needles ready to grab and go.

I bought 2900 grams and have knitted up 1800 grams, I have cheated a bit by including the new gorgeous handspun in my knitted total.
 I am more than halfway through the scarf and will finish it today if my fingers don't fall off. I have not touched any other knitting since I cast it on, it is so lovely to knit with and is flying along.

April will begin with a massive yarn addition number as I am going to knit a Flax sweater in Aran weight. I am subscribed to Simply in Stitches pod cast and she is doing a tutorial knit along using the free pattern from Tin Can Knits, I have plans for a 4 ply version for myself one of these days.

Then there is the Hotel of Bees Shawl crochet along planned for the middle of April by Sandra of Cherry Heart and Sam of  Betsy Makes, not to mention the Bee Along from Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet.

Sleeping and eating may have to take a break, although the shawl can be "double dipped" into the Bee along, but I do have some honeycomb fabric and some with bees on and you can never have enough project bags......

Oh Yes, the sewing mojo back with a vengeance, but it has to wait until tomorrow as that scarf is off the needles tonight, or I'm a monkeys uncle!

I did drag out my bag of odds and ends of acrylic yarn yesterday and make a few pompoms, some were very big and are for Rufus who has a bit of a thing for them. I couldn't find my very biggest maker so he has to settle for second size down, which are still substantial.

Now I feel the need for more tea and perhaps a slice of toast smothered in Passion Fruit Curd. 
I nearly forgot to tell you that a box of goodies from Francesca arrived yesterday, it had 2 jars of the wonderful curd and lots more besides.
I will take pics and post tomorrow, right now I have a severe case of "rumblies in the tumblies" as Pooh would put it. Ooh and I have to tell you about the cake that Jess brought with her, still warm from the oven. I may have to ask about adoption.

                     TTFN                                       Pam

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Feel the shine

Rain, rain and more rain but life goes on. I wasn't bothered at all about the rain today, I was out helping to deep clean a house. I didn't exert myself too much, a little window cleaning and wooshing through cleaning paintwork, my white vinegar, water and washing up liquid spray works wonders.

I am going back on Friday to help do the kitchen, there is painting going on tomorrow and I have my visitors coming.

The boot socks are finished and more are wanted, another 2 pairs, later on. I have cast on a new pair but they are for knit and natter, I will share once they are finished.

I used the new heel construction and it was highly rated by the recipient. I should have taken a closeup, I will do soon the next pair.

Tina, from Loobylouyarns was at knit and natter yesterday, she brought me some wonderful homespun, Merino and Silk, in a peacock colour. It is eye candy of the 'nth degree. I wish that she had a sweaters worth.
Any way, after coming home and cleaning up and changing I set the swift and winder up.

The yarn is greener in the flesh, but just look at the shine, it is a shame that you can not feel the softness.
I have cast on a simple  1 row reversible pattern. There is a nice lot of texture but no so much that the yarn slides into obscurity.

There is a deal of Alpaca fleece being washed at the moment so I am hoping for a sweaters worth in the not too distant future.

When I did my Sunday shop I was just in time to pickup a stack of RTC veg, courgettes, mushrooms, peppers, celery and carrots. As well as cooking a roast I cooked for the freezer. I now have a pile of chilli, chunky pasta sauce and curry packed away. Once the garden days start I will be able to eat without worrying about cooking.

Now I really need to get back to the scarf, it will be a gift for a birthday next month.

Tea wouldn't go amiss either.

                       TTFN                                                 Pam

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Tuesday again Woopee.

I like Tuesday, the washing and ironing is bang up to date, the house had a good going through on Monday and an easy dinner, salad tonight, is planned.

All because the Pam likes knit and natter.

I am all set, my knitting is sorted, a new sock cast on, I
am going to  help one of our group to cast on her very first sock. I will go step by step with her as I think that visual learning, one on one, is so much better than any book or even video tutorial.

I have printed a copy of the easiest free pattern that I have. There are some spare needles just in case she can not get on with the set she has bought. 

There will be tea and biscuits to help, I had hoped to make cake from my new book but ran out of time.

It will not matter, the time will fly by, as usual, on a tide of chatter.

I have had to cut a few of the flowers from my white hyacinths but the remainder are still glorious, as are my flowers from Fran. The balloons are still floating on their ribbons. Ben totally ignores them but Rufus found them a challenge to live with, and kept a weather eye on them.

Yesterday I had another rootle through the bedroom storage and more "stuff" has been jettisoned. I feel so much lighter each time I move things out.
Then in the next few minutes I found myself stashing some leggings away "in case I want them". I have not worn them for ages as quite frankly they are too thin, too short and too dark. Just like the Monty Python Parrot, they are no more.

The next area to have the Eagle Eye cast over it is that cavernous home to a plethora of treasures past, AKA Under The Bed.
When we took the Christmas decs down they went into plastic boxes, straight under the bed, to be sorted through at some unspecified date. The old tree went out and we plan to have a smaller one this year.

I am out tomorrow and on Thursday Ivy and Jess are coming to visit.

So Friday will be The Day for slithering under the bed and fishing every single thing out. I really hope to reduce it by 50% at least.

Then after a weekend off for good behaviour it will be the turn of the other bed.

 Ooh Er Missus, I have no idea what is lurking in the dark there.
Perhaps I should have a sign saying "Here be Monsters" like the maps.

On that cheerful and uplifting note I am off to make a brew and search out a tasty morsel for lunch.

                      TTFN                                        Pam

Monday 27 March 2017

Highs and lows.

Fran arrived on Thursday afternoon and I have just returned from seeing her off home, I managed not to sniffle until she was on the train. It has been a lovely long weekend with her, even if we did eat far too much.

On Saturday we went to Le Petit Boulle in Neath for afternoon tea

She had arranged for flowers on the table, for me to take home, and a balloon.

This was booked by Fran some time ago and promoted by the company with fabulous photos of tables laden with eye candy goodies.
The reality was far from that. The cake stand arrived 15 minutes after we sat down, it held some sandwiches, made with white ready sliced bread, there were chunks of cucumber, wafer thin sliced ham and very thick cut smoked salmon. The sweeties were scones that had been cut in half across the top? wafer thin slices of Bara Brith and all of 3 Welsh Cakes, some considerable time later some slices of sponge cake appeared. When the cups and plates arrived they were thick white "transport cafe" style. The cream and jam came in assorted dishes and when the tea finally arrived it too was in a heavy white pot. BUT it was a breakfast pot and held exactly one and a half cups, I should say here that there were three of us.
Fran was very not amused and asked for more tea, cream and jam, minutes later 2 more pots of tea arrived, but it was a shambles.
The food was not good, the whole affair was mismanaged and a disappointment.
The owner will by now have had a missile in email form from Fran who is in the white cold stage of anger.

We put it behind us and had a very good dinner at home later.

On Sunday these arrived in the morning. beautiful flowers

with a little box of chocolates and a card with knitted bees.

Then in the afternoon a huge box turned up full of balloons.

I feel very spoilt, and in truth very happy for it.

Then of course we had Rufus for the weekend, and the manner of guests the world over he hogged my seat at every opportunity.

Ben was in full support and took the other corner.

My Fran's new sweater, that she wore all Sunday, and sweltered in, looked very good on her. But as she is shy here it is on the model.

Now for a serious topic, sometime ago I had a lengthy whinge about tights. I managed eventually to find a brand and size that were perfect. At the end of last summer I bought 2 boxes ready for this year. As it has been Summer Holiday weather for the past few days I dug them out. JUST LOOK!!!

This was after 5 minutes wearing them.
Needless to say the rest are now in the CS box and I have to start a new search. The Nora Batty look is not for me.
 And on that footnote (he he) I am off to get another load of washing hung out while the kettle boils for tea.

                 TTFN                                                         Pam

I just want to add that even though the afternoon tea was a shambles the best and most important part of my weekend was that not only was Fran here but she was here for virtually 4 days. Everything else, while mostly lovely, was by the by.

Saturday 25 March 2017

Busy, busy, having fun.

Yesterday was glorious, bright sun and blue skies, Fran arrived on Thursday afternoon and was amazed as she usually brings the rain with her.
We also had a guest come to stay yesterday, Rufus is back with us until Monday. He settles down instantly and at the moment is keeping Francesca's place on the sofa warm for her.
He and Ben had a good walk yesterday and have been out this morning, perfect weather for them and us.

The random sweater is all but done., all the seams are sewn and ends woven in. I am knitting the cowl neck and have around 16 rows to do. It is lovely, I will put a photo up later, but it will not be going to knit and natter on Tuesday.
It will be off to Kent with Francesca on Monday, she took one look and asked if it was for her. We went through the stash and she has picked the yarn and pattern for another.
While we were stash diving we picked some more sock wool and patterns, I am getting a good list together.

Once this weekend is over, and all my guests have gone to their respective homes, I will be casting on the Flax sweater. Unfortunately my lovely yarn shop in Llandeilo does not stock the yarn that has been requested, I rang to check. So I had a quick trip to the Wool Warehouse online shop on Thursday, found the yarn and ordered it, the postie delivered it Friday. Now my fingers are twitching, but it has to wait, I have a pair of boot socks on the needles to finish first.

My white hyacinths have opened fully and are pumping their perfume round the house, I am looking forward to the garden ones sending their flowers out.

We had a late breakfast today, at Francesca,s request, this afternoon I am being whisked away with her for a treat. There is also something being delivered tomorrow morning.
I am, possibly, the only woman around who has seen all the goodies, stacked high in all the shops, and not twigged that it Mothering Sunday this weekend.

It is lovely that Francesca has spent time arranging this weekend but in truth all I need is to have her here.

On that subject it is time for me to get a wiggle on, I have to get some decent clothing ready to wear,and check that my shoes are shiny.

I hope that all the Mum's out there have a lovely day or (even better)  weekend.

                           TTFN                                         Pam

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Random Oh Yes!

I thought that it was time to share my new sweater with you, it isn't finished yet but is not far off.
I was intrigued as to how the colour pattern would turn out as the sample picture on the ball band looked as though two different yarns had been used.

I wasn't sure how the finished sweater would look but loved the colours

The first ball striped beautifully, then when I started the second it was completely different.

The front is different again, the colours are not true but not too far out.

I did consider trying to match the sleeves, but realised that they would be far better as brothers than twins.
I still have the sleeves to finish and once sewn together there will be the collar to knit. 
Once I got used to the randomness of it I love it and am hoping to be wearing it to knit and natter next week.

Francesca is here tomorrow and will be choosing her new sweater pattern and yarn, that will be my next garment knit, and she will probably decide on her next socks as well.

I have 3 more pairs of boot socks, a Jones Cardigan and a Flax sweater, both patterns from Tin Can Knits, in the queue. all the yarn is ready in stash.

This is the latest pair of boot socks, they came off the needles a little while ago and the next pair are cast on.

I use the Blueberry Waffle pattern by Sandy Turner but changed the heel slightly. On the new pair I am going to use the Vanilla is the New Black pattern, from Anneh Fletcher on Ravelry, it has a completely different heel construction. I have had the pattern for ages and completely forgot about it. I found it while sorting through my pattern files this morning.

It has been a glorious day here, no gardening though as the ground is saturated, I am hoping for a few windy days to dry it out.

I was in Neath this morning, yet another dentist visit, and whiled away the wait by popping into The Works, I gave in and bought 2 books. Knitting from The North by Hilary Grant and Life is Sweet from the Humming Bird Bakery. 
There may well be cake to take to knit and natter next Tuesday.

On the subject of cake I had a play session this afternoon. I made a 2 egg all in one mix, I used coconut milk instead of cows milk, a heaped cup of desiccated coconut and about 100 grams of chopped dark chocolate. It is lovely but a bit crumbly, we had some for pudding with a dollop of yogurt, mmmmm.

Now I am back to those sleeves, they won't knit themselves.

                       TTFN                                                Pam

Monday 20 March 2017

Scotland marries Morocco

Only in the culinary sense.
I may have said before that when I cook I tend to go all "Deliarish"and have all my ingredients weighed, measured and prepped ready to use.
Today being wet, grey and yeuk I decided to batch cook and use the slow cooker to the 'nth degree.

I had a half shoulder of welsh lamb that I have been hoarding for a "special occasion", well today is designated as special.
 (I did in fact haul it out of the freezer last night to make room for a batch of chilli that I cooked yesterday.)
To get the most out of it and use every scrap it was boned and trimmed. The lean meat was cubed and divided into 2 portions,1 became a melt in the mouth minted masala for dinner last night.
The bone and trimmings have been roasted for about 30 minutes this morning in the combi oven, they are for some Scotch Broth and Ben's dinner. ( the fat helps his dry skin, and he loves it.)
The remaining lean meat is for a Moroccan style Tagine, with apricots and almonds.
So I set to and collated all the necessary, chopped, sliced and diced to my hearts content and filled my dishes. I weighed and measured out spices, herbs and pearl barley.
Scotch Broth was up first just because it will need to be cooled and chilled to make it easier to remove the excess fat, I like it for the added flavour but don't want to eat it.
The slow cooker was put on to heat while I browned off the onions, I would have used leeks but they are in the ground and it was pouring, carrots, swede and celery. once browned I added the spice mix, poured on some stock and brought it to the boil. meanwhile the roasted bone and scraps went into the slow cooker. As I carefully poured the veg and stock over the bone I realised that the fragrant blend was Moroccan and redolent of Ras El Hanout, cinnamon,coriander and paprika. 
Too Late Ethel.
I added the pearl barley, put the lid on and left it to cook. It will be done by 1:00 and I will start the Tagine off with a fresh spice blend.
I will let you know how the Moroccish Broth turns out but rest assured that it will be eaten, no food waste here.

On the knitting front my new sweater back is done and the front is up to the armhole decreases. I have printed off some more patterns ready to knit from stash, and this time "I mean that most sincerely folks".
Francesca will be here for a long weekend and will be picking her yarn from stash for either a sweater or a big shawl, and probably another pair of socks. I might need to grow another pair of arms.

And now it must be tea o'clock as I am spitting feathers.

                  TTFN                                          Pam

Saturday 18 March 2017

Rain started play

A dry start to the day, with the odd moment of sunshine soon turned to grey dullness. Not a day for working outside, so what else to do, hmm, let me think.

I had knitting lined up and needed some 3.5 mm interchangeable tips,a quick phone call to Debs shop to make sure they were in stock and off we went.
We stopped in Ammanford as a couple of things were needed from Wilko and then tootled off to Llandeilo. I had not realised that today was the first birthday for the shop.
Tea and cake was enjoyed, one of us had 4 pieces (not me), although one of them was mine, it was just too sweet and made my teeth scream.
I picked up my tips and yes,I did fall off the wagon. I bought 600 grams of Pulse in the peachy pink colour. That was for me, and will be a cardigan, the last batch that I bought was for Francesca. I also picked 600 grams of this King Cole Corona chunky, it is acrylic but as soft as down and lovely to knit with.

Also for me, it is not as blue in the flesh and the colour is Chinese Violet, it will be a sweater in the same pattern as the pink one that I made for Francesca.

The sun came out while we were in the shop but the grey came back before we left.
I realised that I had no bread in the freezer and soup was planned for dinner. I delved into the pantry and made a batch of bread rolls, cheese and olive, the garlic stuffed ones, with some dried basil and oregano.  They taste as good as they look, well I had to quality control them.

Now I have the washing up to do, I would delegate but everyone else is snoozing on the sofa.

           TTFN                                                      Pam

Friday 17 March 2017

Rain stopped everything, nearly

It was a brisk cold morning, Ben had his coat on for walks today, and did not get any better as the day wore on. It has been raining for a couple of hours and has turned even colder.

I made a big batch of "chuck it all in" soup, some will be for lunch tomorrow and the rest is in the freezer. Just a selection of veg, celery, peppers, garlic and a chilli minus the seeds and pith. A little smoked paprika and some fresh thyme along with a big pinch of salt and pepper and some white beans.

Not to be confused with that soup off the adverts, this is chunky and there is no recipe, just make it up as you go. I would have put root ginger in but it was still in the freezer, next time, maybe.

The new sock is growing fast, almost ready to shape the toe and the bright shawl is on the blocking mat.

I have picked the pattern for the next shawl and just need to decide on the yarn.
Have any of you looked at the Hygge Shawl on Ravelry from the Nordic Stitches podcast, it is on my wish list. It measures over 2 metres wide and almost a metre deep in Worsted yarn, smaller in 4 ply but I really fancy the thicker version. I may get lucky at Wonder Wool next month and find the perfect yarn.

Dinner tonight is another pasta meal, puttanesca minus the anchovies  but I have no black olives (some greedy girl ate them all) so will use green ones stuffed with garlic mmmmm.

BTW spell check wants to call it putrescent !!

I have been reasonably busy, bed changed, linen washed, dried and put away. Kitchen and bathroom whizzed but no vacuuming. The sofa and knitting won the day.

Oh, and I did another run to the recycling place, before thr rain came, and all the rubbish has gone. hooray.

My cuppa is rapidly cooling so I am off to enjoy it.

Have a good weekend everybody.

                   TTFN                                              Pam

Thursday 16 March 2017

Another cast on and an FO.

We have had a mixed bag of weather today, rain, drizzle, sun shine (very fleeting) on a few occasions and just a light wind. Not to worry, I kept myself occupied.

The car is now empty of all the rubbish, there is another load to go but that can wait a couple of days.

I have enough compost to get setting seeds with abandon, I just need to get the seeds sorted out.

The last kitchen cupboard has been emptied, cleaned out and organised. There is now a slightly larger pile waiting to go to the CS.

There is still some ironing in the basket, it will happen but not today.

Dinner tonight was Felafels I took the recipe from my new book, Vegan with a vengeance, and they were delicious. We usually have them in a wrap with salad and hummus but tonight we had them with a spicy tomato sauce and some Fusilli pasta. Different but very good. There are 2 tubs of sauce chilling down ready for the freezer.

The Merry go Round shawl is done, I used 100 grams all but 2, and  have 200 grams left for another project.

It hasn't been blocked yet but is just wider than my wing span.

Too wide to get in shot but you can get a good idea of the overall appearance.
I did a few extra rows of the last band of garter stitch to use the yarn up and get the extra length. I will make it again but will add another lace band and then a smaller band of garter stitch to finish it.
I think that it may be just too loud for Francesca, but I will happily wear it if that is the case.

I have another pattern picked out and just need to pull the yarn from stash. This will be a large triangular shawl for Fran, she likes to snuggle down in front of the TV after dinner, this will be part of her Christmas present.
There is a new sock on the needles, Blueberry waffle socks in dk yarn, I have 3 pairs to make but they are an easy knit, I can get up to date on pod casts while I work away at them.

I hope that tomorrow is nice, I would like to spend a few hours outside. I have some young Blackthorn to plant out, they will make a windbreak in the front garden and hopefully supply me with Sloes in a year or so.

Now I am ready to settle down with my knitting and a cuppa, so it's time to sign off.

                     TTFN                                                    Pam

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Blooming Sofa or BOGOF

It has been a glorious day here, early mist cleared leaving blue sky and bright bright sun shine. 
Both of the compost bins have been emptied and moved to the cleared patch behind the greenhouse. All the detritus that someone dumped carefully placed just in case it came in useful has been relocated. Most of it is bagged up in the back of the car ready for a trip to the recycling centre. The compost has been mixed and fluffed up and one bin is now full, the other is ready to start filling.

I have weeded and grubbed around to my hearts content, a few pots have been emptied and the plants are now in the garden. The bean patch has had a liberal dressing of well rotted compost, from the bottom of the bins, and is ready for French and Runner beans. We like both so grow them  on either side of the row. I do grow Borlotti but the dwarf variety.

The first sowing of spinach has gone in along with some cut and come again lettuce. I have Webbs Wonderful seeds just showing through the compost indoors, and tomato plants that will need pricking out soon.

A line of socks twirled around and were dry in no time along with a couple of sweaters, I hand wash all my knitted garments.

Dinner is in the oven, leeks and sprouting broccoli in a cheese sauce with a good handful of breadcrumbs  and grated cheese on the top and potatoes in their skins baking alongside them. To help make up for last nights piggy dinner I have shredded cabbage as well.

Pudding will be the sweet cous cous and fruit, if we have room for it.
On the other hand I have made a coffee and walnut cake, so a slice of that may be the choice we make.

Ben had a bath this afternoon, he was so annoyed at being brought indoors that he howled like a banshee. The first time that he has hated a bath, he usually enjoys it and I have to lift him out while he wriggles to stay in.

My Hyacinths are opening and have proved to be a real bargain. Each bulb has put up 2 flower spikes and the scent is wonderful

I had to put them on the sofa to get a photo as the sun was blinding everywhere else.

On that note I am off to serve dinner, a day in the garden has given me an appetite.

                    TTFN                                          Pam

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Even I was surprised.

No gardening today, after having a walk with Ben this morning, the sea mist slithered down the mountain and cold tendrils sent me scuttling indoors.

A cuppa was most welcome before I did the kitchen and bathroom clean, a load of towels into the wash and my jobs were done.

I changed a few cupboards around and managed to keep busy till lunch, just crackers and cheese as I planned to cook later.

Before going to knit and natter I dug into the stash and found some "in your face" bright Merry go Round dk, perfect for a winter warmer shawl. I cast on and got a few rows done before leaving.

It is bright and so very soft, it is meant to be for Francesca but I love it.

This cotton and silk blend is being discontinued so I snapped up 3 colours to make the shawl pattern for Francesca. It will still be colourful but not as loud and much more suitable for wearing to the office.

We had a full house and a new face, it is lovely to have the numbers growing. One of our group has started to dye yarn and her first attempts were very impressive, I am looking forward to seeing more.

Tina from Loobylou Yarns was there, this time she brought some of her homespun and dyed yarn, Oh My Word. I see some of that in my future, my very near future. I will be having a look at her website a bit later.

Chrissie, who works in the wool shop, has a rescue puppy called Luna. They came in for most of the session and Luna was greeted by everyone.  She is a "Bitsa" and absolutely adorable, surrounded by a group of women, all seemingly talking at once, she was very well behaved. Wisely she retreated under a chair out of the way.

I had planned on making a Jambalaya for dinner, but had a fit of bone idleness, after getting home and we  decided that Fish and Chips was the way to go. We jumped in the car and set off for Pontardawe and Charlo's.

During the journey we saw a car coming towards us with a Great Dane looming out of the sun roof. My first thought was "someone will have an accident while looking at that" my second was " that dog will suffer with its eyes from the wind." 
I almost went into a Victor Meldrew moment, I wasn't really shocked but very surprised that anyone could be so irresponsible. Goodness knows why as people do stupid things all the time.
Then to cap it all when I got into town Charlo's was shut. 
No Chips for Pam.

In hunger and the beginning of  desperation I drove to Tesco in the hope of getting a hot, roast chicken. Noooooo, not one.
But a member of staff brought out a whole stack of pastries reduced to pennies. dinner became an in car picnic and cost the grand total of 94p for 2. Not bad. Another surprise, this time pleasant.

It was not a really healthy option,very tasty though, so I decided that we may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb and bought a Belgian Chocolate dessert. We ate it at home with a dollop of Greek Yogurt to cut through the sweetness.

Tomorrow will make up for that, although there is still half of the chocolate pudding left, oh dear, how sad,never mind.

On that note I am off to do some more knitting.

                TTFN                                              Pam

Monday 13 March 2017

Weekend Work.

It was a busy weekend and eventually Ben was just too tired to keep his eyes open a minute longer.

He does not like to be left out and walks up and down following us, we also had longer walks with him as the weather was good. All those steps with his little legs made for a weary Ben.

Time was spent in the garden, sorting out the rubbish  treasure trove that had somehow appeared behind the greenhouse. There is now a stack of broken pots and trays waiting to go to the recycling centre An even larger pile is waiting for me to get outside and wash it all.

We have been out there this morning, the compost bin has been emptied, not my job thankfully, and I have piled the lovely crumbly stuff onto the raised beds.

I am pleased to report that the kitchen cupboards have had all the surplus to requirements pots and pyrex etc removed, they will be off to the CS today.

Just the pantry and utility  to blitz and I don't think that there is too much in them to jettison.

I hope to make a skirt pattern this afternoon, just for a 6 gored elasticated waist with side seam pockets simple make. I have a velvet M&S skirt in that pattern that I almost live in, it is exactly the right length, fits like a dream (and has cake room). I want to copy it in cotton for the summer, I had a few that I made several years ago that were A line and zippered. At the end of last summer they were sent off to recycling as the fabric was on its last legs. I want to get the replacements made quickly so no zips.

The second Unicorn sock is at the gusset decrease stage, it will be finished by Tuesday and in the birthday bag along with the shawl.
I spotted the bag, a simple tote made of canvas, when I was in Neath last week, it is cream with a Unicorn on the side. I snapped it up for £1, Fran will use it for shopping no doubt. I think it was in B&M, that we call Burger and Mayo for some long forgotten reason.

Now coffee break is over and I want to spend another hour in the garden before lunch and Ben's afternoon walk.

                        TTFN                                     Pam.

I nearly forgot, dinner tonight will be a vegetable Jalfrezi with chickpeas for protein, I think it will be needed. I have a recipe for chocolate pecan pie to try, and there is a tub of Greek yogurt in the fridge will will go nicely. mmmmmm

Sunday 12 March 2017

1 down, 2 to go.

WIPs that is, the crescent shawl is finished, blocked and ready to wear. I did not enjoy this project, endless garter stitch was just too bland. I hesitate to say boring as the colour changes kept it out of that category, but halfway through it made my toes curl to even think about another seemingly endless row.

Blocking on a yoga mat and towels on the bathroom floor, too long to get it all in shot.

On my ever ready model, this is the perfect size for Fran.

It has a wingspan of 64" and is 14" deep at the middle. I was going to put a lace border on but it would have been too deep then for Francesca, she does not have a long neck.

The other 2 are sweaters, a lace patterned v neck in  gold Stylecraft special dk and my "Weasley" in bronze/copper Marble Glamour chunky.

The first pair of dk boot socks are done and delivered, I still have Fran,s second Unicorn sock to cast on. 

 High on my "to do" list is the Debut shawl by Katiuscia Baystak, a free pattern on Ravelry, to knit for myself in both dk and 4 ply. It is an asymmetrical shawl in 3 colours knitted from side to side,so no loooong rows. The pattern is for worstead weight but I will figure out needle size and stitch count for the different yarns.

Yesterday was a mixed bag for weather, sunny to start the day off, turning overcast and then fine rain later. This morning is greyish but dry and although not as warm as yesterday it is not cold, no heating on here.

Dinner last night was based around  jacket potatoes, I part cooked them in the ding oven then finished off in the big oven with a tray of cherry tomatoes, a bargain 30p from M&S in Neath,and another of mushrooms bought for pennies a few weeks ago and sliced and frozen. Doused in olive oil and fig balsamic with salt and pepper before cooking they were a feast tipped over a baked Nadine potato.
Did I mention the steak unearthed from the bowels of the freezer? No, that is because it was almost a garnish to the veggies and really only cooked as it had been lurking for far too long.
There should have been left overs but we were hungry and they were lush.
Today I am doing stir fry with Edamame beans, this seems to have become my Go To meal for Sunday. It is simple and quick to cook, minimal washing up and doesn't leave me feeling stuffed to bursting point. It also has the bonus of using up lots of veg from the week before, no soft bits of peppers and celery in my salad drawer.

I need to make time this week to go through my plant pots and seed trays, there are far too many and they are taking over. I have thinned the planters out and there will be a stack of those going as well.
I am doing the same declutter in the garden as the house and even at this early stage it feels good.
A small pile of things for the CS is gathering in the dining room and I hope to add to that before it goes. I am getting into the "less is more" frame of mind comfortably, ( Just don't mention Yarn).

It is time for me to get off my btm and do something constructive, I have a stack of magazines to go through and decide whether to keep or take to knit and natter, and a shelf of books that needs sorting as well.

                      TTFN                                                Pam

Friday 10 March 2017

Which way is up

A soggy start to the day, mist obscuring the mountain and signs of recent rain everywhere. Thankfully it had cleared to pale sunshine for Ben,s walk. It is not so bright now but still dry and quite warm.

I was scooting round this morning, with the intention of going out to a crafting meeting, and had to slow down and then stop. A couple of dizzy turns put me in my place, for a moment I didn't know whether I was on my head or my heels.

I am fine, I just have to remember that I am no longer a teenager and act my age. I had run up and down the stairs a few times and was very warm.

The bed is changed,linen dried, folded and put away. Sitting room vacuumed and ironing done. The kitchen has had it's usual treatment as has the bathroom, and therein lies a tale, and a question.

I clean each room in roughly the same order, the bathroom has my "trip hazard". Every day I clean the sink, the bath and the loo, then I give the floor a once over with a spray mop. Once a week I scrub down the tiles, wash all the paintwork and scrub the floor.
 Every Day I Forget One Thing.
It stares me in the face, quite literally.
I have a small, mirrored cabinet and every day I forget to wipe the top. I clean the glass, wipe any finger prints off the sides and check that all is tidy inside. 

Why oh why do I not do the top? I was out of the door and about to go and make the bed when I did a double take and went back. It was not pleasant, a good layer of grime. My bathroom is at the front of the house and the window is almost always open, so of course road dust blows in constantly, hence the daily routine. I really must get my head round this, after almost 3 years it is about time.

Here is a photo of the Unicorn sock, not on the blocker as Francesca,s feet are small and it will not fit without over stretching.

 There will be enough yarn to knit her another pair with either a plain foot or contrast cuff, heel and toes.
Both will go in her birthday gift collection.

I will probably cast the second sock on later and then swap between it and the boot socks. The first pair is in a creamy beige with some neps for a tweedy effect and is very woolly and is a bit itchy.

Dinner last night was very good and I did eat too much, I roasted the veg with a good slug or three of fig balsamic and then stirred some more in when I mixed veg and cous cous together.

I did cook far too much cous cous, and as I made enough of the veg mix to have left overs I was a bit stuck over how to use it. I don't think that it would freeze very well and I had no intention of wasting it.

I let it cool down and gave it a good fluff up with a fork. Then I stirred in some fruit juice and a little caster sugar to sweeten. I had some pineapple rings and peach slices in the fridge so chopped those up small and added to the mix, not bad but a little boring.
A quick peek in my "muesli stuff"  basket and I added dried cranberries, sultanas and flaked almonds, Oh My Word. Nectar is the only word. I will be making that again.

So lunch and pudding is sorted for 2 days.

Dinner tonight is something in a Yorkshire pudding, I haven't made one for ages and it is an easy meal.

On that note I am off to fill a dish with cous cous and veg and enjoy my lunch.

                        TTFN                                                 Pam

Thursday 9 March 2017

I'm weeding in sunshine

I also walked Ben (twice!!), emptied pots of spent compost, set seeds, potted on plants and moved a stack of pots full of goodness knows what, they will be dealt with another day.

It has been glorious to get outside, for more than 10 minutes, without thinking how dismal and chilly it was.

I just relished it and took my time and enjoyed the warmth on my back and shoulders. Ben came out a couple of times to have a look, but obviously found it quite underwhelming.

I did manage to cast on another sock last night, a new pair of boot socks, I have done 35 rows of rib and just a few of stocking stitch. I notice that lots of people call that stockinette stitch now, I wonder why.

The first Unicorn sock is finished but I didn't fancy starting the second straight away. It will be done next week, I have 2 pairs of boot socks on order and felt that they needed to be the first priority.
I am happy as that yarn is out of deep stash and 300 grams will be gone in a flash. 

Note to self, must update stash book.

I realised just this morning that I had no Hyacinths in the house, I was watching the Potter and Bloom podcast and Emma showed her pot in full flower.
I am happy to say that I now have 2 pots of white ones, they are just showing their flower spikes, so will soon have their fragrance wafting round the house.

I had happy post today, a new cook book, I know, I have said so many times that I have far too many. This one is Vegan with a vengeance, I have been looking for a copy for ages. I spotted it the other day for 1p, of course postage brought it up to £3 but I do not mind.
No, I am not Vegan and No, I am not vegetarian. I do like to eat meat and dairy free much of the time though.
 I am a food lover and like to experiment and try new ingredients and combinations.
I have had a quick whizz through and earmarked a couple of recipes, dinner tomorrow will be chickpea broccoli casserole. I have all the necessary stuff to make it, I will probably make a smokey tomato sauce and serve with shredded cabbage and leeks.

Tonight I had already planned to make roast veg cous cous, I love it hot and cold, it is an easy recipe and uses up a pile of little bits of different veg. Excellent towards the end of the week.

Going back to the garden, my mind is a rabbit it likes to hop all over the place, I slipped into Pontardawe this morning to go to Lidl. They had some plants that I wanted, bright yellow pansies and blue Campanula. I also found my Hyacinths and 2 pots of miniature daffs and 2 of Bridal Wreath. All are now potted up and in place, my window boxes are a riot of primula colours and my heart sings to look at them. Such bright plashes of colour set off by the soft green leaves.

On that lyrical note I must sign off, dinner will not cook itself and Ben is snoring so will be of no help whatsoever.

               TTFN                                                        Pam