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Monday, 14 January 2019

A fail...and a win

The fail is my absence from here, I have no reason, I just became immersed in the general day to day stuff and the time slithered through my fingers.
I did go to Llandeilo on Saturday. I popped in to the yarn shop and had a catch up with Chrissie, I did squeeze some WYS yarn BUT I resisted temptation. I am still determined to knit from stash.

It is a good thing that I live a good drive from Cardiff, otherwise my self imposed rule would have become dust.
I have recently discovered a new to me podcast or vlog. YarnNYarns hosted by the lovely Angela. She has owned the shop, which goes by the same name, for a couple of years and I am watching from the beginning.

Her shop is in Penarth and once the weather warms up a bit I will be venturing down to have a look see. We will make a day of it, take the dogs and a picnic, and have a good look round.

I am hoping that by then I will have made a decent enough dent in the stash that a few additions can be purchased. In the meantime I will make do with Facebook and Instagram. 

I have finished all the blocks for the Karma Chameleon Quilt, I just have to trim them all to size, that is a job for the morrow.

I have finished the socks for L, there are 2 pairs to post off to her. I dug into stash and pulled out some light chunky (?) yarn for cowls and hats for the SO and myself. I am selfish enough that mine are done and being worn. I made the cowl quite narrow and tall, it stands up so that I can bury the lower half of my face inside it. I am thinking of lining it with some brushed cotton, that would help stop the wind whistling through it. My set have 2 x 2 rib and stocking stitch, the SO,s will be in garter stitch for a thicker fabric. The cowl is on the needles and growing apace. The yarn I have used is Lakeland, a really soft and squishy blend that was sadly discontinued a good while ago.
I have enough in a third colourway to make a set for Francesca, that will be a start on her birthday gift.

I am cooking from the freezer and pantry, I did a small shop for fresh things and restocked tinned tomatoes. There will not be a big shop for a few weeks yet, I am avoiding the best bargain finding times. I do not need to put myself in the way of temptation.

Dinner tonight is a pasta and fish bake, some cod fillets and king prawns that were reduced to pennies just before Christmas. I made  a gratin topping with the last crust off the loaf, a little bit of cheddar grated and a handful of seeds.
On that note the oven timer has just gone off so I am off to get it plated up. 

                       TTFN                                     Pam



Thursday, 10 January 2019

I won a prize.

I nearly fell off the sofa in shock this afternoon. I sat down to steal 30 minutes knitting and both dogs made a beeline for my lap. So plumped for a podcast instead, I was pleased to see that Ali from Little drops of Wonderful had put up a prize winners video. Ali ran the Strictly sock-a-long again last year, as I had a list of socks to knit I entered some of them in.
I have won a sock set from Foxy Yarns, it looks amazing and will make a pair for someone special.

I rested my back today, no more sorting and pressing, I just boxed everything that was done and shoved the rest to one side.
Tomorrow I want to work a bit more on the Karma Chameleon blocks, another 2 strips on each should have them nearly there. They are all pressed and trimmed ready to go.
It has been quiet here today, the SO is off on a job at the other end of the village and both dogs have been snoozing between their walks.
Dinner is on the go, a pasta sauce using the left over mushrooms from last nights roulade and lots of other veg.
BTW that was a wonderful meal, I will be making it again, the Budget Slimmers put lots of good recipes up on their channel.

Shopping tomorrow, I will need some more veg, fruit and some dairy, that will be all for at least a week. I really want to empty the chest freezer and run down the upright as far as possible.

I need to get the recycling bags and boxes out, our collection is on Friday and they are here anytime from 7 am.

                               TTFN                                Pam












Wednesday, 9 January 2019

And back on the Merry go Round.

Not moaning. Not whinging. Not complaining. Just saying.

Just as I had the sewing back into a very orderly state, sewing organised and nothing laying around, my lovely friend who has an online fabric shop dropped by.

Not only did she have her dogs for lots of cuddles but she brought 3 huge bags of fabric with her. Everything from precut  candy squares to fat quarters and bigger, with every size between. Oh Yum.
Of course it all needed sorting and pressing, it has come out of her scrap bins and boxes.
Of course I was totally delighted.
Of course the minute she left I dived headfirst into the first bag.
I separated the whites and creams into a bag, then started on the coloured. I pulled out handfuls at a time and sorted them by shape and size. That lot have been pressed and put away.
The second bag has been emptied and sorted but not pressed.
The third bag is singing a siren song but I have closed my ears until the pressing pile is done.

Needless to say there can be no sewing done till it has all been dealt with.
It will be a little while as my foolish rush yesterday resulted in a really aching back, painkillers and about 12 hours in bed with a succession of hot water bottles and heat pads,
I am being very careful today and taking rest breaks and stretching frequently. 
More haste, less speed and look before you leap and all that.

Dinner is in the oven, I saw the Budget Slimmers make a potato roulade a couple of days ago. I have made a version tonight using a mix of white and sweet potato with a small parsnip for the base. The filling is chestnuts, mushrooms, red onion in some red wine vinegar and mushroom sauce, lots of seasoning and some fresh thyme, a spoonful of wholegrain mustard and a little liquid smoke, oh and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. After rolling it up I brushed it with a little egg and sprinkled on a tablespoon of fine grated Parmesan cheese. With shredded cabbage and carrots it should make a decent meal.

I will have to make the time to go and find a camera, I miss putting pics up. Perhaps on Friday, I will need to top up fruit and veg and will need eggs and milk soon.

Now it is time to check on dinner.

                        TTFN                                 Pam

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

How do you do it?

NO, not eat your creme egg! Although I expect Easter Eggs are in the shops already.

What I mean is how do you build your quilt top?
I am making 30 blocks that need to be around 20" x 18" unfinished.
I am using my normal method for this type of (log cabinesque) block, picking out the first small square and sewing another to it 30 times. Then adding the first strip to each block, press trim and repeat. 
I have seen a few people making each block before moving on to the next. I also see some making 4 at a time, round by round, and then moving on to the next set of 4.
I quite like both ideas, but although these are fairly random if I finish a few blocks and stack them I forget the colour placement and balance and am likely to end up with a few identical blocks.

I have my part worked blocks in a stack and then spread out a selection of strips along the table. I mix up width, colour, tone, highly patterned and almost tone on tone. I do not often add solids to my blocks.

Even then I sometimes change it up by working more on one side of a block than the other. This changes the layout and increases the random factor for me.

It is very hard to be completely random, I like to balance out colours and shades. I do not make the traditional log cabin with one half dark and the other light. It is far too regimented for my taste.
Having said that I have followed quilt patterns and I have made blocks one at a time, usually because they are intricate.
I am fully aware that there is a whole community out there who would sniff at my work. It is not traditional, it is too colourful, I mix old and new fabrics at times etc etc.
It bother me not. I sew because I love it. I quilt for the joy. I mix it up and "cut my coat according to my cloth". 
Yes I do buy good (and pricey) fabric, I also buy from the Fabric Guild at rock bottom prices. 
I recently backed a quilt with a duvet cover from a charity shop. It was in top notch condition, came from an upmarket supplier, it was Super King size and the perfect colour and shade. Win win, for both me as the maker and the recipient. I did of course put it on a full wash program first, and I used  white vinegar final rinse.
I have enough fabric for another quilt back left, all for the princely sum of £5.00. I could maybe buy 1/2 metre of fabric for that, in the sale.
I wonder why peeps will happily crow about the quilt top made from "Vintage Fabric" and then recoil in horror from secondhand in the CS. 
Then again I have seen so called vintage dresses on sale for £stupid, when a similar dress can be had for £2-£5 in said CS. 
I wonder where the Vintage dress/fabric came from?

I have been writing this as I have a tea break and am off now to add another round of strips, the blocks are around 14" x 12" so not far to go now.

                              TTFN                          Pam


Monday, 7 January 2019

Whats it called?

Sew, press, trim. repeat as required (or time permits). 
Once the dogs had been walked, and towelled dry, that was my day.
I dug out the Karma Chameleon quilt blocks but having added 3 more strips to each I am tempted to change the name. There are so many last pieces of much loved fabrics in there that perhaps it should be called The End.
No, too silly. Plus I like the original name. There are 30 blocks and they will become a 5 x 6 layout quilt. There may have to be borders as I am galloping through the bin of larger scraps and strips. I have no intention of cutting from yardage as there are plenty of smaller scraps and short strips. I do like a piano keyboard border so that is a possibility.
There are plenty of charm squares and they can be cut to make 21/2" x 5" strips if needed.

I do have the blocks made for a Tumbling Charms Quilt, an old design from Jenny Doan, it will be the 4th quilt in that layout.
There is a huge stack of random sized pieces that were given to me last year and I have a plan.
I saw Darlene Michaud make a scrappy quilt using just such scraps, along with solid yardage cut into strips, on her You Tube channel recently. The finished top was just my cup of tea, yes please black with no sugar, and I have bought some more solid yardage. 
Don't shoot me I know that I shouldn't be buying more fabric. The only solid that I had in any quantity are red and white, I now have blue, dark lilac and light green. I do have some tone on tone that read as solids but will only use them if it is essential.

Those three should keep me occupied for a while.

It has been raining here all day, Ben doesn't care a bit but Herbie hates wearing his coat. The minute that he sees me touch it he is off to hide under the coffee table or behind a sofa. Then he wriggles and squirms like a bag of snakes while I try to pour him into it. I say pour because he seems to be able to turn his bones into liquid making him as floppy as a half set jelly.
It's all fun here.

Dinner tonight is a tweaked recipe from my Nisha Katona book The Spice Tree. I am using a blend of 2 recipes to use lots of bits of veg up. I have them all prepped, the big wok is ready and all the spices, whole and ground are measured out ready. I have some frozen peas for a little sweetness and a load of Edamame beans for added protein. 

Now I have just seen the time so I am off to sling hash.

                           TTFN                               Pam

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Scribbles on Sunday

I see on the news that farmers in some areas are up in arms about the "new" trend of veganism. Particularly in regard to advertisements. 
How strange, given the hoorah over the last few years about farmers having their crops of vegetables rejected for being too small/big/ugly, you would think that they ought to be supporting anyone who wants to eat more veg.
It takes a great deal more space, time and money to raise meat than veg. 

There is a campaign running for this month encouraging us all to give up tobacco/alcohol/sugar/dairy and meat.
Mixed messages or what.


I have seen a few people on various programs waffling on about the plight of "boat people", for want of a better name, whether they should stop at France/Spain etc as the first country they arrive at. Some questions as to why they then push on to the UK. DUH!
Not one of these peeps offered to take anyone in to their homes.
Not one person, interviewee or interviewer, even hinted that it could be that we are regarded as a soft touch. The word benefits was also strangely absent.

I saw overflowing food waste bins put out for the last 2 collections, these were sitting cheek by jowl with overflowing cardboard bags spewing out chocolate/fast food/ready meal wrappers and the street has been decorated with empty sweet tubs being bowled along by the wind.

I heard someone say, "we didn't touch the fruit, who wants an apple when they can have a Quality Street".

I do not judge but there are much better chocolates out there, Quality Street have been altered beyond recognition.

Better still to buy a selection of bars and pay no "Christmas Premium".

We have quite a bit of sweet stuff in the house, I am so over it, Francesca bought us a selection of posh bars from Fortnum,s and we will enjoy them over a couple of months or so. I did add some very dark chocolate to my beany chilli, very smooth it was as well.

I made it to Llandeilo yesterday, a catch up with Chrissie in the wool shop and with Sue in the fabric shop.

B T W there is a 30% off all fabric on the bolt for a short while in the fabric shop. I did buy some wadding and some solids for a scrappy quilt that is burning a hole in my brain.
I saw Darlene Michaud making a scrappy quilt using 100 different print and size scraps, made up with strips of solid to her finished block size. It was stunning and i see one in my very near future.
Of course once I unpacked it all I remembered that I needed 2 lots of wadding. Oh Dear, I will have to go back. Never Mind I will persevere.

The sewing room is just about to rights now and I am rearing to get in there and start.

Today I want to sort out a couple of knitting WIPs and get them lined up ready to go. I have to have a scan through the patterns to find where I am and then I will get cracking.

Many thanks to you all for your comments on coffee machines and so on. I generally have one cup at some point in the morning, the SO has one cup of tea and then it is coffee all day. I do not think that fresh coffee, in that volume, would be good for him, instant is the lesser of two evils, I think that we will stick with the French Press and just look for a different instant brand.

That,s all for now. dog walking time is almost upon me.

                               TTFN                              Pam

Friday, 4 January 2019

Many thanks.

I want to thank you all for your positive comments, I do love to write copious amounts of daily scribble here, quite frankly I am often surprised  the amount of readers and love the comments. That said I have been bad in my lack of replies, and even worse at saying a big hello and welcome to new followers.

Sometimes it just flows like a river down the mountain and at others it flows like mud uphill. But I do read each and every comment ( so does the SO, he loves them).

I have what seems like a bag of snakes about my feet, Rufus has come for some playtime and the only part of the room that he and Herbie can find to tumble about is at my feet. Of course it is the most narrow part as the coffee table is close to hand. I don't want to be stretching for my cuppa now, do I.
We have just come back from a decent walk and they still have boundless energy to burn off.

Dinner last night was pasta with heaps of onion, garlic, peppers and mushrooms in a tomato sauce, jazzed up with some chillies from my plant.

Tonight we are having a beany chilli, it is in the slow cooker, I was going to tip rice in there as well but settled on more beans. I have knocked many meals up over the years and enjoyed them. Of course I can hardly remember what went in never mind how much. This morning I weighed and noted down everything, I even weighed the chilli after prepping it. Overkill I suspect as I would not throw 2 grams of a fresh chilli away, or put a bit of a second one in. Silly.

I will let you know tomorrow what it turned out like and post the recipe if anyone wants it.

At last the terrible two have settled down, my toes are well trampled.

I have the rib to finish and then the heels to put in L's new socks, then I am going to look for a balaclava pattern, it has been so cold here the last few days and windy with it. My ears hardly get time to thaw before it is time to go out again, I fancy something quite bright, maybe with a little colour work. 
Francesca bought me the  Alter knit stitch dictionary for Christmas and it is chock full of colour work patterns. Lots of playtime there.

We are thinking of changing our instant coffee brand, we have been drinking the same one for a few years and it is changing. We did try one from Lidl but it was tipped down the sink, I am not  brand snob but will not drink or eat anything that I do not like.
We have discussed a bean to cup machine but the reasonably priced models do not have glowing reviews.
W had an electric percolator for a gift but is a touch underwhelmed with it, mainly it is not hot enough. It may have to be the good old French Press as filter machines never seem to achieve a good temperature.
I would love a coffee shop style machine but they are just too huge, never mind pricey.

I expect we will play the "wait and see what comes up" game. I do not want to end up with a very expensive White Elephant. They all all expensive if they do not work as you want them to.

On that slightly whingey note I will get those socks out and make hay while the dogs snooze.

                  
                             TTFN                                  Pam




Thursday, 3 January 2019

Too much of a good thing?

I have thoroughly enjoyed the extended period of Hygge, perhaps a bit too much.
I have always been happy in my own skin and content with my life choices.
I do think that I am perhaps turning into a bit of a hermit, even a recluse.
I have immersed myself in my home to the point that apart from walking the dogs, which I revel in, and the essential shopping trips, which I endure with gritted teeth (oops, sore subject), I hardly leave the house.
There is time in the garden which does not count and I do stop and chat with the other dog walkers. But on the whole my social life has dried up and withered away.
Goodness I have come over all Miss Haversham, apart from the cobwebs and years of decay.
The decorations are mostly down and every room has had a good going over. 
I am slightly concerned that I have no inclination to venture forth into the outside world. I acknowledge that my teeth issues have had an impact, I forget about them for the main part though.
I have always been outgoing, my family have said that I would talk to a fence post if that was all there was available. I still chat to anyone that I happen upon but do not go out with the plan to socialise.
I did not make it to Llandeilo after all, partially as Francesca was so poorly and Herbie,s fascination with the tree and all its decs meant that he could not be left.
Mostly though it was just a surfeit of "happy to stay at home" that kept me away.
I intend to try and get there this Saturday, as long as the weather is reasonable, there are things that I need to take and purchases to be made.

My Grandmother was a homebody and I have always been very much like her. I do miss the chatting though and catching up is a must before I fall so far behind that it becomes almost impossible.

That is enough soul searching for one day, it is time to scoop up Herbie and collect Rufus for their joint walk. It is cold out there this morning so hat, scarf and gloves will be needed and I may try to get Herbie into his coat. He hates it so success is not guaranteed.
Wish me luck and no torn fingernails.

                   TTFN                                         Pam

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Waving not drowning

That is me waving to you all from the depths of the sewing room, it became a store room for a couple of weeks and the time is right to make a start on restoring it to it,s normal state. Controlled Chaos is my name for it.
I have made a tentative start, some packaging has been put into recycling and some has been put away to join the stash ready for the next go round.
Ribbons, tags, pom poms and the like have been added to my "floozy box", I call it that as I use the contents to tart up a simple gift. It makes all the difference when a jar of homemade jam is wrapped and has a big bow of many coloured ribbons upon it.

Although I have knitted, crocheted and stitched my way through the past year I do not seem to have made a dent in the stash. That is not quite true, because I have removed some containers as I emptied them it just appears as full as ever.

I do have some sewing planned and there will always be knitting on the go. I aim on finally using my collection of Stylecraft Special dk in a crochet project. Possibly a giant Granny blanket, although I did enjoy the squares for Francesca's. The idea came from the Cherry Heart podcast Battenberg blanket, but I was on a fairly tight time frame so all those little squares were a no no. 
To be honest they are still a no no, I can not see  myself committing to that at the moment. At some time probably, possibly in the last quarter of the year. That way I would be assembling it in the cooler months, it gets very warm once you are 1/4 way into a blanket.

I did not take part in the Christmas Eve cast on as planned, I gritted my teeth and carried on with those sticky socks, hip hip hooray they are done. I did cast on a pair yesterday, a pair for L, she loves the first pair that I made and will need at least 6 more pairs. That should eat a bit of the stash away.

I have 2 cardigans on the needles and will try to finish those before casting on another garment, there is also a huge winter jumper that is screaming to be finished. It has gone too far to frog so, even though I am so out of love with it, it will be finished and then find a new home.

As for "going with the flow" that is not quite right, I will not try to swim against the tide, but, I may have to try some of the side channels. 
When I was driving for a living I would often spot a signpost with an interesting place name. I would fancy just taking a detour to see what it was like. 
Well, when I am watching you tube videos I often spot things that are new to me, from now on I aim to try some of those out. Providing that I do not have to invest in a heap of expensive gear, that I may well only use the one time.

I saw someone jazzing up some plain glass containers with nail varnish. I do not have an array of nail art products to play with but they are cheap as chips in the pound shops and I do have a heap of glass jars.

Now I have to  get back to some more sorting, just for an hour then it will be time to take the dogs for a little stroll.
Dinner will be from my new book and spice kit, a veg dish to use the white cabbage, half a cauliflower and a couple of lonely sweet potatoes up. There is a part bag of raw cashews lurking in the freezer and they will go in too.

                             TTFN                            Pam.

PS.   Bumble Stitches is having a wip along for Jan and Feb so that may be worth a look to see if its gets me going.