Saturday 30 December 2017

Tidying away the old year.

My Granny never liked to carry odd jobs over from one year to the next. All the little things, buttons were sewn back on, shelves and drawers sorted out. The laundry was kept up to date, in fact she liked to end the year so that the only dirty laundry was the clothes on our backs,oh and the ironing was the same.

She didn't take it to the extreme of an empty larder, but there were no leftovers in the fridge and no bread or cake in the house. 

Just after the new year was rung in a batch of bread would be made, and left, for a slow rise, in the cold larder. Then first thing she would bring it into the warm kitchen, knock it back and shape into loaves and rolls. Warm bread for breakfast with butter and jam, yum.

The cake tins were empty also and a "hasty cake" of bread dough, rolled out and spread with butter and sugar before shaping into a round and proving, would be put into the oven when the bread came out. Then a Victoria Sandwich would go in and finally a pound cake.

The mending basket was emptied out and everything had to be mended before the last meal of the old year. Any knitting or sewing that could be finished was and the rest was put out of sight. There was no New Years Eve cast on then, it hadn't even become an idea in those days.

My Grandfather was a tall, dark haired man and "first footed" as many homes as he could between the strikes of midnight and 1:00 am. he carried a piece of bread and a small lump of coal to every home. This was to ensure that there would be food and heat for the coming year in each home.

Today we have started to tidy this year away, the decorations are gone from most of the house, there is just Francesca's room to be de-Christmased.

The laundry is just about up to date, just a few things that will be hand washed tomorrow, and our clothes from today which will make a load for the machine in the morning.

Some of Ben,s towels were getting a bit worse for wear, a few of the sides were fraying so they went through the overlocker.

All are neat and tidy again.
While I was at it I pulled out 3 white bath sheets that were not being used. They were from an old set and had worn a bit too thin, they have been cut up, sailed through the overlocker and are now a lovely stack of cleaning cloths and hand towels for the kitchen. The old ones are now general cleaning cloths, and the old cleaning cloths have gone into the "rag bag" for the SO to use when he is decorating and so on. That bag was getting very low as he has been quite busy this year, and after a while they just get too bad to go into the washing machine.

I see packs of  cleaning cloths in the shops and they seem small and flimsy, the sort that if they do not fall apart with washing,shrink up to postage stamp size.

There was some roast pork left, that has been sliced up and will become part of a Singapore Spiced Noodle dish for dinner. I sliced and diced up 2 sticks of celery, a couple of chunks of pepper a lonely carrot and half a red onion that were rattling around the veg drawer, these will all go into the meal.

There are still some bits of veg in there and I will be making a meal out of them tomorrow.

I will do my normal shopping run to Tesco at 2:00 tomorrow afternoon, just in time for the final yellow sticker mark down. This will kick start my meal plan for the first week of 2018, I simply plan dishes around any bargains that I find. failing that I will buy 
the essentials and go freezer diving and larder surfing.

Now it is almost time to start dinner, early tonight as we have been busy all day and there is a certain amount of rumblies in the tumblies going on.

                        TTFN                                        Pam

PS. Did any one watch the 3 part Little Women adaptation. Why on earth did they try to squeeze Young Wives and Jo's Boy,s into the last half of the 3rd episode. Up till that point I was looking forward to another 1 if not 2 mini series.

I did watch The Dark Tower on Netflix and will now be unearthing the books ready to read them. The SO has everything that Stephen King has ever written.

Francesca brought us some paperbacks to read, written by Linwood Barclay, and I am hooked.

                           TTFN           Pam, with the reading  mojo back.

Thursday 28 December 2017

Another day older.

Not that age is an issue for me. I have reached the point, well let's be honest here, I raced past the point yonks ago where I have to chose between face and body.
A while ago I tried on "the dress", that one that clings to every ripple and bulge. Quite frankly it was not a pretty sight to behold, in came even more healthy eating, out went some bad biscuity/cakey/chocolatey/cheesy habits.
The weight melted away, painlessly.

I have a large boned frame, with wide shoulders, a strong jawline and fairly high cheekbones. Oh My Goodness, my face, neck and shoulder line told the world that I was seriously underweight.
My skin became dry and my hair turned lank and lacklustre.
Oh yes, the tummy was flatter, the hip bulges went away and the little rolls of fat over my knee caps dissolved beautifully.

BUT, I could not meet anyone without them asking if I was ill. I also could not look in the mirror without cringing.

So I upped the ante, added more fats to my diet and put the weight back on ( I have added a bit more this week). That last "bit" will fall off during January and February. We will be cutting out some of the high calorie low nutrition foods. Puddings will be based around fresh fruit and nuts, so no cream or custard.

In January we will not be eating meat or fish, I have a repertoire, get me!, of vegetarian and vegan dishes that we love. I will be adding more to this list and may carry it throughout February also. At any rate February will not see an influx of meals full of empty calories.
 My scales are out the door, my mirror will be my guiding light.

Of course this whole face/neck/body thing comes with age but there is a whole section of people whose face shape is definitely Apple rather than Horse. IE round as opposed to long
I am firmly in the Horse camp.

Please do not think that this is a Moaning  Myrtle post, I am comfortable in my skin. I was very skinny as a teenager and very self conscious about it, cue roll  necks and long skirts. Bony knees, big feet and skinny Olive Oil legs are so not an attractive combination.

My bloggy friend Rachel Radiostar has lost an impressive amount of weight, she describes it as going to from a short round person to an oval. I know that she is younger than me and I would bet my last £ that she is an apple.

My Mum was an apple, my Granny was a horse, my Aunt an apple. One of my sisters is a horse, the other an apple. It is just the luck of the draw.

All this talk of horses reminds me of the Rotten Turkey reports of the past few days.
What I can not understand is why anyone cooked a smelly bit of meat and then actually ate it. 
Meat that is on the turn becomes flabby and sweaty and if it doesn't really stink when raw it will as it cooks.

This is Francesca's last full day at home, she is back to Beckenham on Friday. Her tight group of Uni friends are going to see Hamilton on Saturday. They have had the tickets for ages and are all excited. We will have to do some fancy footwork in the packing department and I am certain that there will be a box or two of gifts to send on by courier.

Dinner tonight, by special request, is meatloaf with garlicky sweet potato mash, broccoli and cauliflower cheese and carrots. I will be enjoying the same dinner as W, my version of Shepherdess Pie.

I am off now to make another cuppa for Francesca, she has been hard at work since 8:00, working from home today, and by the time it is brewed it will be both needed and wanted.

                         TTFN                                      Pam

Wednesday 27 December 2017

Last remnants.

I had to go and do a bit of shopping for W this morning, his train arrives in Neath at 3:15 and he will not want to traipse around after milk and bread. I just got the bare essentials as I will be cooking for him tonight and probably for the rest of the week. 
Tonight it will be roasted Butternut Squash stuffed with veg in cheese sauce and topped with a seedy gratin. Simple food after his few days of hotel living.
I took a couple of photos of the "fancy" dress in our house on Christmas Eve

Francesca had a book that could not be put down.

That is until Rufus needed to be with her.

The SO had his Elf gear on, quite appropriate as we watched Elf.

I did some knitting and general pottering around. My granny would have said that I was like a cat on hot bricks. I can not remember the last time that I sat down for such long periods, probably college.

We did have a little snow in the last hour, but it left as fast as it arrived. There is snow on the mountains here though so we haven't lost our chance quite yet.

I have rootled through the yarn stash and found enough Aran weight yarn to knit myself a colour work hat from the Arne & Carlos book. I would love to knit a sweater but do not have the yarn for it. I really want to knit 2 sweaters from stash before buying more yarn, it is going to be difficult but I am determined. There are some lovely stranded knitting patterns in the Knitting from the North book and I have some solid coloured 4 ply.

No knitting today, I managed to bash the back of my right hand on a door handle yesterday and it is sore now.

The dogs were happy to go on their walk and were almost reluctant to turn for home, something to do with the fact that it poured down most of yesterday I think. It was quite sunny first thing but the wind was bitterly cold.

On that note I feel a nice hot cuppa coming on.

                         TTFN                                     Pam

Tuesday 26 December 2017

Seconds away, Round 2

Round 2 of the celebrations is known as Boxing Day from a tradition started in the days of BIG houses with a multitude of staff.  Just about every item used in the household would be delivered from a local source. On December  26th all of these tradespeople would go up to the big houses and receive a Christmas Box, another name for a gift, usually cash. My Grandmother remembered that happening when she was a young woman, I believe that the tradition died a natural death as so many small businesses began to close down, or move to the towns.

I had a good long sleep last night, in bed by 10:00 and asleep by 9:55. I hit the ground running just before 6:00 feeling full of energy. Rufus managed to lift one eyelid for a split second but Ben got off his bed and left the room, just in case I had any mad idea for an early walk.
The only thing on my mind was tea, lots of it.

Anyhow, tea was made and drunk, a quick scan of the fridges and a few things shuffled around.Then I realised that Ben was missing in action, mmmm. I checked the ground floor, nothing. Fran's door was closed as was the bathroom door. My door, however, was slightly ajar. I carefully pushed it open to see this.

Both of them snoring, lazy Boys,but not for long!

Those sprouts turn up everywhere.

My Christmas Eve cast on, and

the pattern. It should be knit in pieces and then sewn up but I have cast on back and both sides together. I will divide at the armholes but still knit it all together, simply to make sure that all the shaping happens as it should. I have had a couple of OOOPS moments in the past.

This is the mantle scarf that I made for W.

The scallops continue round the corners, they are 4" deep so that lights could be fitted behind. My first attempt and a make it up as you go pattern, I am so happy to say that it fitted perfectly.

The SO is having fun with this, I will have to shuffle the cabinet contents around to find a new home once it is finished.

The time has come, The Walrus cabbages and kings here, just the need for another cuppa and get the baked cheesecake into the fridge to chill. The raspberry coulis is already in there, pudding tonight after Maple Roasted Gammon, garlicky potatoes and possibly coleslaw, I have a white and a red cabbage ready to shred. I have a new sauce to try rather than Cumberland and will tell all tomorrow.

                          TTFN                                             Pam.

PS I saw a sneaky trailer from next years new Mamma Mia film, looks good. I have made a note to see it.

Monday 25 December 2017

That's it then.

Dinner has been cooked and eaten, washing up done, leftovers wrapped and in the fridge.
Wrapping paper in a sack, ready to go to the tip, string, ribbons and bows tucked away in the craft room. They will all be re purposed during next year.
Presents were all "just what we all wanted, and hoped for", I have some new toys for my sewing. 
The lovely Chrissie made me a scissor keeper and a Cathedral Window pincushion, love them both.

We wore our respective "Christmas outfits" and silly photos were taken. 

Rufus and Ben had a little play with their new toys and then decided that making confetti from cardboard packaging was far more fun.

The afternoon walk was bracing, there was a strong wind blowing. I kept an eye out for Mary Poppins, to no avail. Just a Red Kite soaring past, riding the currents.

We have seen the new Doctor in, watched Strictly Christmas and are now just lolling around. The SO is building a Timber Kit Combined Harvester, Fran is on the sofa with Rufus and her new book. I am about to pick up my Christmas Eve cast on and start clicking away.
In the end I decided on a cardigan in DK weight Merino, I have had the wool and pattern ready for a few months. I know that I talked about starting a Norwegian stranded project but that is scheduled for the new year. I have 2 pairs of socks on the needles and didn't want to start another, so the cardigan it had to be. The pattern is in issue 124 of Knit Today magazine, I have had it for quite a while so no idea how old it is.

I hope that you all had a good day and are looking forward to Boxing Day. Sales anybody? I will not be going anywhere near a shop till I need to buy milk for W on Wednesday.

I wish you all Goodnight, enjoy your evening.

                                     TTFN                                      Pam

Saturday 23 December 2017

Home Alone.

Not quite true, I have Ben and Rufus to keep me company. The SO and Francesca have gone to Cardigan to deliver gifts.
I was up in the wee small hours sneezing my way through......and that is when my lap top decided to freeze, and stay that way for 3 hours.

As I was saying I sneezed my way through half a box of tissues and then coughed till I was red in the face.

Since then I have slept, tidied up a little, had another little nap and put a load of washing through the washer and the dryer. Oh not forgetting nap number 3.

Rufus and Ben took a look at the weather and as one turned back to the sofa. I took the hint, hung the leads up and joined them.

I did manage to make a buttermilk marinade for some Southern Fried Chicken, potato wedges are in a Cajun and oil coating ready to be shoved into the oven. I will be flash frying the chicken and then it will cook in the oven as well.

W has gone off to his reunion celebrations, Rufus is settled with us for a few days and I will be seeing to the cats each morning and afternoon.

The house is warm and clean, the cupboards and fridge are well stocked and all is ready for the festivities.

I hope that you are all in the same boat and that we sail serenely through the next few days.

2 pairs of big brown eyes are telling me that it is possibly, probably, definitely doggy dinner time.

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful one  too.

                     TTFN                                     Pam.

PS. The SO's project was finished and he wrapped it before I could get the camera out so I will have to wait until Francesca opens it for a photo. MEN!

Friday 22 December 2017

What's occurring?

Is the world going mad?

B & M, known in this house as "burgers 'n mayo, started their Boxing Day Sale a week ago.

Wilkinson,s halved the price of Christmas decs around the same time.

More cookery books than I can shake a stick at are being advertised on prime time TV, alongside Hollywood style adverts for every seasonal meal that you could possibly imagine, ready to pop in the oven. No work needed.

There have been dire warnings that this new benefit system will result in a landslide of evictions, while the people who dreamed it up and put it in place have their heads below the parapet. Mouths tight shut.

Amid reports of growing alcohol related illness and accidents supermarkets are pushing booze at prices lower than some bottled water.

I have a large leather sofa that is in the way, I have been advised that if I advertise it on a "free to good home" website most of the replies will be from  dealers looking to sell it on.

Once again the police are expecting a rash of DD offences, in fact these have already begun. Works parties are notorious for this.

While there are those to whom Christmas is a means of showing the Jones's just who can spend the most others will struggle to put food in their children,s mouths.

This last one does not sit easy with me. In fact it has kept me awake at nights. There is real and complete poverty throughout this affluent country and  my new country of residence is not exempt.

I have spoken before of my desire to do something more for a good cause next year. To take that extra step.

I have a quilt to make for a friend and I will be making another to donate. I hope to find an organisation who will raffle it off. The first people that I will approach is Tesco, in each of their stores they have a food bank collection box. Also at regular intervals they have a team collecting food and other necessities in store. 
If any of you have a better idea please let me know.

If this is a success I will repeat it as often as I can.

My Christmas begins today, I am off shortly to collect Fran from the station. Her room has fairy lights and a tree, all turned on, there is Christmas music playing softly and the curtains are drawn. Fluffy towels are hanging in front of the radiator, bath bombs ready and a fresh cooked loaf of bread for a sandwich after her bath. She will want one after the train journey.

                           TTFN                                                 Pam

Thursday 21 December 2017

Sew far, Sew nearly done.

We don't usually wear "Christmas clothes" but this year it is all change.

We have Christmas jumpers, from Home Bargains, well the SO has a cardigan. I bought that because it inspired me for a Christmas quilt for next year, it is a row pattern and I will take a photo on the day.
(I haven't forgotten the photo of the SO,s project, we have been quite busy and it is not completed yet, it MUST be done today.)

Any how, The SO and Fran will each have a pair of "jogging bottoms" in this cotton and I will have a skirt.

I got this from the Fabric Guild for next to nothing, £3.30 a metre, all there is left to do is finish off the elastic casing and hem the bottoms.

I paid a little more for this fabric, possibly £6 or £7 a metre, the SO spotted it and wanted joggers ( or as he calls them Slobbers) because "that is brilliant" . This from the man who wore grey, grey and grey with just a little black or  white with blue jeans.

Now he will layer on the colour regardless.

I am off in a little while to take W to his parents grave, he always puts flowers on and there is no reason why this year should be any different.

Dinner tonight will be veg and bean patties, with sprouts and chestnuts and a sweet potato mash, a goodly dollop of cranberry sauce will be lovely on the side.

No recipe, I will make it up as I go.

I need to get ready for the off now.

                               TTFN                                   Pam

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Ooh er, it's getting close now.

Francesca's visit I mean, she arrives at mid day on Friday and I am ready and waiting. 

Her bed is made up with this set,

nice and cosy flannelette, from Lidl, she is a chilly girl and likes to be snuggled down.There is a dark red throw if she needs it as well.

The Christmas cushions are in place and there are fairy lights and bunting on the opposite wall.

Her gifts are wrapped and the stocking is full.

There is a small mountain of packages for her to sort through, goodness knows what is in there but we will have a car full to take to Cardigan on Saturday. I have lots of sellotape, just in case.

I finished off 3 bags yesterday, I still want to tweak the pattern. I found it on the Lewis and Irene website, I love their fabrics, they have a few free patterns ready to download.

All part of the stash busting, I like the details but want to change the construction method slightly.

The pocket is perfect for pattern, needles and a notions pouch. It is deep enough to hold a purse safely for shopping.

It is quite cavernous, large enough for a man sized sweater or even a blanket.

There are 8 x 100 gm balls in here and still plenty of room.

I have some easy sewing to finish off later and then it will be time to clear the decks.

It is hospital day and luckily the roads were pretty clear, it helps that the hospital is well away from the town centre.
They were very busy so my new cast on socks have had a good kick start, cuff ribbing done and 8 rounds of pattern. I gave an impromptu lesson to another "chauffeuse" who had never used circular needles. She was delighted and planned a shopping trip in the New Year to gather supplies.

Dinner tonight is Gigantes Plaki, huge baked beans in plain speak. I am not sure what I will serve it with. Pudding is a made up thing, a base of bashed chocolate digestives stirred into melted butter and chilled. Topped with equal parts of double cream and condensed milk, whisked together with the rind and juice of a lemon. It sets almost instantly and just needs spooning on top of the base.

I think that it must be tea o'clock now before I get into the kitchen.

I hope that you are all keeping well, and warm or cool depending upon geography.

                       TTFN                                          Pam

Monday 18 December 2017

Driving in the clouds

After walking the dogs this morning, Rufus is much more like himself thankfully, I got ready to go to Ammanford. As I was half way there I carried on to Llandeilo, a quick visit to the Flying Geese to wish Sue and Rob a happy Christmas (and drop off some mincemeat slice) and then on to Deb,s wool shop. Debs wasn't there but the lovely Chrissie was in residence. I had some yarn ordered for the SO to finish off a project, photo tomorrow. I was also delighted to be given a gift from Chrissie, made with her own fair hands, and one from Debs and David. 
Rest assured that they are stashed away with all the other gifts and will be under the tree at the right time.

We left home in bright sunshine and it was only after driving through Llandybie that we drove into a thick veil of fog. There was the odd patch of sunlight forcing it's way through but for the most it was almost a peasouper. In fact as we drove over the bridge into town the fog took on a dark green murky hue. Nothing sinister just the thick bank of trees climbing up from the rivers edge.

Last nights dinner was "A MAZ ING" to quote a well known judge.

The veg looks a bit insipid here but a little time over a high flame soon added some deep caramel colours, along with taste. It was a touch sweet, I will use celeriac and some fennel next time round, but I made a pesto with shredded sprouts, almonds, cashews, parsley and rapeseed oil, the juice and zest of a fat lemon added some zing. Stirred into the casserole it added the perfect counter note.

Tonight we are having cauliflower and sweet potato curry with ginger and lemongrass, Tarka dahl and some chick pea and butternut squash patties with kashmiri chutney.

The snake has grown, I am aiming to empty my bowl of yarn bits before putting this on one side. There is a pair of scrappy socks on the needles and I have the yarn lined up (from stash) for some mittens from my Arne and Carlos book.

I have just seen the time and have to go and get the Tarka made for dinner.

                           TTFN                                      Pam

Sunday 17 December 2017

Sneezes and snakes

I have been keeping in the warm for a few days, sneezing my head off. No real cold developed, thank goodness, but my head was full of soggy cotton wool. I was so pleased to wake up this morning, albeit late, to find that coherent thought and speech was not a problem.

I have been knitting away, so much that I needed to take a break and dig out the crochet.

Not too much to show, just a little snake so far.

It will become a lap blanket and is loosely based on Lucy,s (Attic 24) pattern. I have just cut random lengths of DK yarn, from leftovers, and made balls using the magic knot. I have the yarn in a wooden bowl on the coffee table and it makes a pretty ornament.

A simple pair of mittens, in Aran weight, for Fran just flew off the needles. I intend to knit a few pairs of these up.

After finding Skeindeer Knits again my colourwork lust jumped to the forefront and I found these for a very good price. The Christmas balls will hoover up lots of scraps and are on my list for next year.

After the Tree hat I was itching to have another go, and work on my yarn management. Very Pink Knits was my light bulb moment and I finally nailed it. The stitch pattern is from Knits from the North book, I just tweaked it to DK weight. I do intend to use 4ply but want to iron out the wrinkles with a thicker yarn. The first band of colour work is a bit tight, I was constantly switching the yarn around my fingers trying to settle on a method that was comfortable. I managed it with the arrows but the ribbing is a bit too loose. I will be making it again with less stitches for the rib and a larger needle for the colour work, I also want to modify the decreases, that gathered look is in the pattern but I am not too keen on it.

I am going to riffle through the stash and find yarn to make a pair of colour work mittens, that will be my Christmas Eve cast on this year. There is an a amazing pattern for long socks in the book but it has lots of shaping, I feel that it is a bit too much for a first project.

I am woefully behind with blog reading and replying to comments and I apologise. I have been sleeping almost twice as long as I usually do and am sorely missing those hours. I hope that once this bug has left my system I will be back to my usual routines.

Otherwise Ben is well but Rufus is out of sync. He has been nagging at one of his paws on and off and his general behaviour is off. Just to be on the safe side we are off to the vets later.

I broke my self imposed rule yesterday and bought a new cook book. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall,s Much more veg, after checking on the Tesco web site ( which told me that it was not in stock in this area) I picked it off the shelf in Ammanford for £12.50. I consider it to be free as I used my points, most of these were accrued buying petrol, the cheapest in the area, and my RTC food shopping. I do buy some essentials there as long as they are the cheapest. The bulk of my shopping is split between Lidl and Home Bargains. Spices and seeds mostly come via the internet, there are some good offers out there if you look. Quite often it is cheaper in the long run to pay a little more and get free delivery.

I think that is enough for now, I am going to collate the ingredients for tonight,s dinner. A recipe from my new cook book for a casserole with root veg, sprouts and chestnuts, roasted and then cooked with some fresh herbs in a cider sauce As we don't have cider I will use some Elderflower cordial and water and add an apple to the veg. To counteract the sweetness I will add celery and extra swede to the mix. Oh while I remember vac packed chestnuts are £1 for 180 gram pack in Tesco. That,s a really good price, I fancy making some of them into a stiff puree and using as the middle layer in a nut roast, I also want to try using smoked tofu.

I am off now to ferret round the pantry for the necessary ingredients.

                      TTFN                                           Pam

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Nom nom nom

That was the only way to describe our dinner tonight.

It was hospital day for W, and he got some good results, today. On the way back we stopped off at Tesco for some supplies. Of course we headed for the yellow sticker section, we did pause at the weekly fruit and veg offer stand.
I gathered 2 beautiful little cauliflowers, a bag of parsnips and a bag of sprouts for 29p each. mmm a meal idea is starting to grow.

Then on to the RTC section where I found a fresh large pineapple for 45 p and some Y-Fenni cheese at 25% of the original price.
Dinner will now be a roasted vegetable gratin followed by pineapple sponge pudding, nearly swoon.

I had a meal planned and we will have that tomorrow.

We have just eaten and it was every bit as good as I imagined it.
I took the same to W,  he is always tired after the pulling about he has to endure. 

After we had returned home and tea had been made and drunk I popped out to send a parcel off to my sister. She loves home made jam and jelly so a few jars are on their way to her. I called in to see Jess and Ivy on the way home and I am so pleased that the tree hat fits her perfectly. It was difficult to leave, she is a gorgeous little girl and loves to play.

Rufus is on rest for a little while, he has hurt one of his paws, and I received a mega loving greeting from him when I delivered W's dinner. I went down onto my knees so that he did not jump up and do any damage to that paw.

I have been wearing my new prescription glasses for a week now and although they are great for driving, reading and crafting I have still not adjusted to them. They are very heavy and I find myself squinting and tilting my head when shopping and cooking.

Because I will need a new prescription within a year I decided not to pay for extra thin lenses and the very best varyvision (not sure how to spell that) type that I usually have. It would have almost doubled the cost, now I am not sure whether I made the right decision but time will tell.

I have cast on a pair of scrappy socks, another thing on the crafting bucket list. Ooooooooooooooooooooh AND I ordered a book today, an Arne and Carlos book on Norwegian knitting, that is for my 2018 list of new things to learn.

My word is definitely going to be "explore" and I will be seeking help and advice as and when I need to. I am not too proud to ask,  just as I am always happy to help anyone who asks. 

I enjoyed knit and natter yesterday afternoon, it will be my last visit until next year. I want to spend sometime clearing the decks of some nearly finished projects, finish a pair of mittens that I cast on 
for Fran. They will match the hat that I put into her birthday parcel, she said how warm it was and asked if there was a chance of mittens.
I will finish the scrappy socks and decide upon my Christmas Eve cast on, there are several possibilities and once I find my mind I will make it up. There will be socks, of course, but I want to get a new garment made from stash. I need to make room for some yarn for my new book, well it would be rude not to.

Now, as usual, it is time for a cuppa before I settle down to watch a little TV while I get on with those mittens.

                        TTFN                                    Pam


Tuesday 12 December 2017

A not quite lost skill.

In the late 60's early 70's I was a prolific knitter of the "Magnus Magnusson" sweater. They were all the rage along with some new fangled (to me at least) circular needles. I mastered stranded knitting/fair isle/colour work/whatever you like to call it with scarcely a second glance. The joys of youth.
 My hubby made me a box with 6 compartments and  smooth holes in the lid to keep all the coloured balls apart. I wish that I still had it now.

Then of course it went so far out of fashion that it all but disappeared off the face of the earth. Well it did in rural North Norfolk. 
Funnily though I have no memory of the next knitting fad whatsoever. Mind you I was coping with a baby, 2 dogs and a huge farmhouse alongside building a garden out of an acre of wilderness. Oh and I was learning about fruit farming, from the ground up.

Anyway, I posted a very vague picture of a hat with a stitch pattern (barely visible) that I made up on last weeks hospital run. I pulled some scraps of yarn and had another play. The result is a bit sketchy but not too shabby for a prototype. It would have been better if I had not mixed 3 different weights of yarn, but this was about the colour and I used what I had.
I hope that the resulting hat fits Ivy, I will find out later today.

I now want to work out stitch count and get the tension right with the floats. I also hope to use more shades of green and get 2 rows of trees in, for an adult hat. The SO was quite upset when I told him that this one was child sized when he staked his claim upon it.

I am steadily working my way through the last few things on my list of makes for this year. The first ever Mantel scarf that I have made has been delivered to W. He is really pleased with it and I may try to squeeze time to make one for myself.

The snow is still hanging around, we have subzero temperatures here, it is pretty but I will be happy to see it gone.

Talking about seeing something gone, we had home cooked fish and chips last night. All done in the oven, the chips tossed in a scant teaspoon of rape seed oil. But, Oh My Word, the smell in the kitchen when I came down this morning. I had the extractor fan on while cooking and left it running for 30 minutes after AND had the door open BRRRRRR for a few minutes.

I opened the door and chopped up a lemon and boiled it on the stove top, that did the trick. The resulting decision is NO MORE CHIPS at home. My nose still thinks that  the house smells like a chip shop, even my hair after a shower. The SO has checked it out and all it smells of is shampoo.

Now I am going to drink my tea and then get Ben out for his walk.

                              TTFN                                 Pam                                             

Sunday 10 December 2017

More white stuff.

I was woken, quite early this morning, by pounding rain. Woo Hoo free time to catch up on podcasts and vlogmas, with tea and knitting of course.

Anyhoo, I settled in front of the TV and started a 2 hour binge, during the course of which I stumbles across Mara knits and Skeindeer knits. both of whom I watched when they first started up and then lost track of.

I am now back on track and have subscribed to their channels. On a side note my Firestick keeps telling me that I will no longer be able to watch You Tube on it from the beginning of next year. No probs I can simply link lap top to TV and still watch on big screen.

I digress, during my binge of telly and yarn (the SO's Flax sweater) I realised that it had stopped raining. The next time that I went to top up my cup I saw this.

It is still coming down and settling, although the road is clear so far, despite the wet surfaces.

I am happy that my cupboards are well stocked, I did the big shop of non perishables at the optimum time. I predict that before the end of the day the local shops will have no milk or bread. I further predict that at least half of that purchased will go down the plug hole or in the food waste bin. Panic buying just leads to waste.

Now I need to finish my cuppa and have a whizz round the house before deciding what I will do. There is a mantel scarf to cut out and sew, if I like it enough I may make one for myself.
I have a pile of scraps that need sorting into size and colour and I hope to make time to wind a few bobbins.

I am well on the way down the second sleeve on the Flax and it would be good to get some more time on that. It will be my knitting of choice tonight, although Strictly may have me dropping it into my lap.

Keep warm, keep safe.

                     TTFN                                   Pam

Saturday 9 December 2017

White stuff. Oh yeah.

Yesterday we had a real humdinger of a hail storm, it was so loud that it drowned out radio 2. Then a bit later we had a flurry of snow, the sun came out and the white was gone.

Over night we have had more snow, enough to cover the roof and blanket the garden, it is quite cold so it may hang around for a bit.

Ben is totally underwhelmed, but then he has seen deep snow a couple of times.

Rufus is spellbound, his first taste of snow that is deep enough to leave proper footprints.

I am still taking it easy but am feeling almost back to normal(?).

I was awake early today so a cuppa and a few Vlogmas videos on You Tube. Then I wrapped Fran's stocking fillers and a few of her other gifts, there is still a respectable pile to work through. I have been making throughout the year and lost track of just how much there was.

I have lots more to wrap, the SO will do most of it, he is a gift wrapper most excellent. ( hmm that phrasing is the fault of watching too many episodes of Poirot)

I have dug out the Flax sweater, one sleeve almost done and one to start, it is cold enough now for the SO to wear it.

I have a traditional Advent calendar, really good dark chocolate, and have eaten 4 squares one of each flavour. The others (there are 2 in each little window) are going to W and the SO. I do like chocolate but only when I like it.
I looked at the cheese one (new that I would never stick to one a day) and lots of crafting versions (How Much!!!) Next year I am going to make one for myself. 24 packages, each one containing a ball of yarn and a pattern AND a mini skein of 4 ply sock wool.

The mini skeins will be for a blanket, the idea will be to knit or crochet each one up on the day that I open it. The larger balls will be for 1 skein projects, socks, hats, shawls, mittens and anything else that I can think of. I will collate these during the year and wrap in plain paper before storing in a box. Then I will take one out each day without the foggiest idea what I will unwrap.
I figure that it will give me structured knitting/crochet during the year, make a sizeable dent in the stash and make me much happier than any amount of chocolate ever could.

Now I need to persuade Ben that he really does want to go for a little walk before breakfast.

Keep warm during this cold snap and enjoy the weekend.

                        TTFN                                       Pam

Thursday 7 December 2017

Time to take it easy for a bit.

I was up in good time this morning quite convinced that it was hospital day?! Even though we did that yesterday.

Not to worry, I did some work on the Elf slippers and watched a few Vlogmas goodies on You Tube. With a cup of tea of course.

I took Ben out for his little walk and it was grey, damp and windy, oh and a touch chilly. Then when it was time to take Rufus out the sky was blue and the sun was out to play. I was happy that there were 2 loads of washing to go out, they are now blowing quite happily in the wind,which is still quite chilly.

On the way back with Rufus I had a fast heartbeat and am a little breathless, so it is a day or 2 of resting upon my laurels (mmm that's a new way of writing bottom).

I have instructions from the Doc and intend to follow them to the 'nth degree, unlike a recipe.

I have my knitting by my side and there is the complete second season of Victoria on the sky box to keep hands and mind occupied.

The SO is at home today, that means that the kettle will be singing on a regular basis.

Dinner is in the fridge ready to reheat, the Lentil Ragu it smelled fantastic yesterday. (I had a sneaky taste and it is nom nom nom)
We will have some very cheesy scones with it, I have half a pot of cream that needs using and a piece of cheese with leeks that was heavily reduced.
The SO is a dab hand at baking. In fact he can cook just about anything except Yorkshire Pudding, like my Mum,s they are very lazy and do not rise.

On that note I have a cuppa at my elbow and instructions not to let it get cold.

                              TTFN                                     Pam

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Work or play?

The normal Wednesday hospital run dragged on today,the clinic was very busy and they were running late. I always take some knitting and this time it was another hat.
I cast it on at knit and natter yesterday and just played at working out a stitch pattern.

You may be able to see the effect, this one is for the donation box, once I have written the pattern out I will make it again using coloured yarns. I can see it in my minds eye and hope that it will lead to a family of sweaters and hats for this time next year.

Last nights dinner was a massive win win, it was tasty, unctuous and W enjoyed his as much as we did. It will be on the menu again, most likely with some variations, I want to find some vegan cheese to try in it.

Tonight we are having a Jack Monro recipe, Rich Lentil Ragu from her cooking on a bootstrap blog.The smell wafting from the slow cooker is amazing. I almost followed the recipe, I cooked my Puy lentils from scratch and I added a small chilli from one of my plants. They are small but very powerful so a squeeze of lemon juice will go in at the point of serving and I did add a tsp of sugar. I also doubled the quantities and half will be frozen.

Because I ran out of time before setting off this morning I did make the sauce on the stove top and added to the slow cooker to carry on for 4 hours on low. The pan in the background has the lentils cooking away.

Here it is in the pot and about to be lidded and left to "do it's thing".

Now it is time for me to persuade Ben that he really wants to get off the sofa and eat his dinner, he is in full on lazy bones mode this afternoon.

                               TTFN                                    Pam

PS.It has been lashing down this afternoon, I have been playing/working on the stitch pattern and watching some repeats of Poirot.
After dinner and washing up etc the Elf slippers will be in my hands. Photo,s as soon as there is something worth looking at. I have to figure out the somewhat hazy finishing off instructions.