Thursday 31 January 2019

Snow up to the wazoo!

Well that is what was forecast for today. We do have a very hard frost, the mountains are glistening, and there may have been a half dozen or so flakes. I am not counting my chickens just yet though as the forecast this morning was pretty grim. Seeing what parts of the US, Canada and Europe are getting I expect to see some more. Possibly in significant quantities.

I have started snapping some of my crafting but still have to download the software for the camera.
I am forging ahead with some piecing, once I start quilting I like to have plenty to go at. Setting the machine and work area up for a small project seems pointless.
I have the wall hangings and yesterday decided that new place mats and a runner would brighten up the kitchen. There are 6 mats ready layered and basted, (I used 505 spray as they are small) and the runner is part made. I plan on completing that today ready for a day of quilting tomorrow.

I have checked the cupboards, fridge and freezers and will not need to shop for 2 weeks. By then I will be reduced to using frozen veg but that aside I would be able to go at least 2 more weeks. Of course there would be no milk but neither of us take milk in tea or coffee and I like my porridge made with water and a pinch of salt.

The dogs have a good stock of food and treats in so they are fine as well. I can always make a batch of banana biscuits for them, there are bananas in the freezer at all times.

One thing that did slip off the radar is coconut milk, I like to have a couple of tins in but it has been used. Even that is not too important as I bought some coconut powder for adding the taste without liquid to some recipes.

I just realised how selfish all that sounds, quite a touch of "I'm alright Jack" there.
It is all about upbringing and planning, if you add 2 things for the store cupboard to every shop you soon build up an emergency supply. 
With that in mind there are those who can not buy enough for the week never mind any extras. The food bank drops in our local Tesco stores are well fed and I like to do my bit. 

I wish that the budget stores had them as well, £10 goes so much further in Home Bargains than it does in Tesco.
I have said before that I add tins and jars of food that can be eaten cold, sometimes people have to chose between food and power. keeping up with laundry for a family can cost eye watering amounts of money, try getting clothes for a couple of kids dry in this weather.

Enough of the waffle, it is almost time to get wrapped up to walk Rufus and Herbie. Herbie is loving the frost, he found a disk of ice in the garden this morning and had a mad 10 minutes throwing it about before crunching it up.

                              TTFN                                   Pam

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Snow on the Mountains.

But none in the Valley, yet, thank goodness. There is quite a bit showing on the Black Mountain but only a light dusting on the Morriston Mountain.

I expect that the supermarket shelves will be denuded of milk, bread and fresh veg. As it is only Tuesday I equally expect the food waste bins to be full on Friday.

Apart from milk, which is not essential in this house, I do not need to shop for anything, and I will not be rushing out to buy milk. 

I spent a couple of hours today sorting through another scrap bag, that just leaves 2 to go. There is however a few piles of ironing to be done. I sort the scraps into squares and rectangles and then sort those into sizes. I store them, once ironed, like with like regardless of colour, this makes  piecing so much easier for me. If I trim as I sew all the trimmings get put together and then size sorted every now and then. I would hate to have to tackle a whole quilts worth in one go. 

I did give into temptation and sew some bits together, I found some candy squares in patterned and white on white fabrics. Those were just asking to be paired up, after pressing I then added a strip to one side of each. I called it a day then but I have the start of another scrappy quilt top, a smaller one this time. Consisting of 9 blocks, possibly with sashing, it will be either a lap quilt for the sofa or a single bed size.

It was naughty as I need to clean the machine and put a new needle in ready to start some quilting. Mind you if we do get the snow I will have plenty of time to sew myself silly.

Oops, the timer has just told me that dinner is ready, just some spice coated chicken breast fillets, jacket potato and salad tonight.

                                  TTFN                                  Pam

Monday 28 January 2019

Cold and bright.

Today started off in a drizmal fashion but soon brightened up to some decent sun shine. The wind still has a frosty edge though and I was glad to have a cowl and hat on for the dog walks.

It did backup to some drizzle for about 5 minutes but is now nice and bright again.

I am fairly busy today as the SO is out all day, I am taking it steady though and this is a little sit down with a cuppa. Not counting but it may be the 3rd so far.

I have changed all the sofa throws and cushion covers, with my 2 terrors they need doing every week. Herbie will fly through the door on returning from a walk and if I am not swift to catch hold of his harness the nano second that the lead comes off he launches himself onto either sofa and leaps upon the cushions.

Ben is not so bad but again he needs a careful eye, if I am not quick enough to get him the second that he finishes eating he will jump onto HIS sofa and wipe his mouth on the cushions.

They are a pair of ragamuffins.

I do not think that there will be any crafting until the knitting comes out this evening, I want to get all my list of chores ticked off. If it is bright and dry tomorrow I fancy some time in the garden, if only to wash the greenhouse. It is a fetching shade of murky green with the odd darker splodge, nothing that a little soap and water can not cope with.

I am quite sad that I will not see any quinces this year, I had hoped to pick a few, the flowers have been open for some time now and there are not the insects around to pollinate them. Of course there is a chance that it is self fertile in which case I may be lucky. It was an unnamed  little twiggy stick, with a few leaves, in a pot for 20p in the garden centre a few years ago. I tipped the root ball out and it looked healthy so it came home with me. Being close to a Southwest facing wall it has a fair bit of protection and is looking very healthy now.

The washing machine has just gone into it's final spin and I may just be able to peg out. I will have a look round at the sky first though. There is not much worse than getting dripping wet washing off the line, I always end up wet through.

I think that is enough, I have some dusting and polishing to do now. It is amazing to me that I knew where these things live as I hardly ever use them. Shameless, that's what I am.

                      TTFN                                       Pam

Sunday 27 January 2019

Woo Hoo

Finally, I have a camera. I am made up. It is another simple "point ans shoot" digital. I do not need, or want, a huge, heavy all singing all dancing bit of kit. I only take photos for the blog or family and do not need £???,s worth of camera, that weighs a ton, to do that.

I hitched a ride with W to Ystalafera yesterday and did the rest of my shopping in Asda, thank goodness that is now all done for the week. There are several items that I like from Asda, not enough to warrant a trip and not enough for a delivery. However, I think that I will do a stock up shop once every couple of months or so now. I am far too tight/thrifty to spend time and petrol travelling just for a few items, but am happy to have a delivery every now and then. It doesn't really go against my idea of a smaller store cupboard as I will only order frequently enough so that I do not run out. I will not be stashing a couple of years worth away.

My newest cast on is progressing well, I have put the sleeve stitches on to waste yarn and am working my way down the body. I have started the waist shaping, such as it is, only 12 stitches off over 4 ", it hardly seems worth it. I will do it this time though, I will decide whether or not to repeat on the next one. Yes, there will be a second as I have the yarn in stash.
I watch the Nordic Stitches podcast and Lilli is also knitting from stash this year. Just like me she will only buy yarn if it is for a special project. It is the only way, I found myself on a yarn site yesterday with my finger poised to add over a Kg of yarn to my basket! Luckily I returned to reality in the nick of time. It was a close run thing, there were 2 jumper quantities and no fewer than 5 skeins of sock yarn in my list, phew.

I found a pair of socks on Ravelry with Hares and Hearts on them, I looked for them after seeing Angela from YarnNYarn podcast knitting them, the pattern was not too pricey.  I thought about it and let it go.
I have my new book Alterknit. There is a stitch pattern of rabbits in there and another of  chickens, soooo Francesca and possibly L will be getting Easter Bunny and Chicken socks. I may even attempt to plan out some multi coloured eggs for another pair.
All part of shopping from the stash, 4.5$ US will be saved and I will have the pleasure of using my gift from Francesca.

I plan on getting used to the new camera and putting out a photo heavy post or 2 this week.

BTW I spotted James Martin baking Camembert on Saturday, I picked up 3 in Asda and we will be having them for dinner tonight. Ours will be wrapped in bacon, W will have his wrapped in Vegetarian ham (there was no bacon). It will be a very sinful meal but allowances can be built in during the week, W has been made aware and can adjust accordingly.

I am going to jump on a bandwagon for a moment. I watched the Not quite enough yarn podcast and Lesley raised the subject of exclusion in the crafty community.

I am not going to paraphrase her but just say a few things for myself.

I do not care what colour your skin is.
I do not care what god/s or other deity that you worship or believe in.
I do not care what your sexual preferences are. Within the law of course.
I do not care if you are super skinny/plump/fat or obese (I hope that you are not suffering from the first or the latter for your health,s sake).
I do not care about obvious disabilities, they are all part of the whole person. My heart goes out to those with hidden issues, it is an unforgiving world, in the main, out there.
All are welcome here, well any who can cope with my ramblings and the odd soap box post. I hope that I have no deeply buried prejudices, I am sure they would have battled their way to the surface by now.
I try not to judge by appearance, note the word TRY. I am keeping it real here and sometimes it is difficult to keep an open mind.
Street beggars wearing posh watches with manicured nails?  'nuff said.

That's all I have to say. Feel free to comment, I do not have to publish and any abuse will go straight to trash.

                      TTFN                                            Pam   

Saturday 26 January 2019

Sanctimonious, smug, Self satisfied...

There are many more words, most of which are not suitable for using here, to describe MY perception of Donald Trump after seeing him on the news this morning.
That the President of millions of people would deliberately put something in motion that has so much potential harm for HIS people scares me rigid.

Forgive me all you Americans, these are just my reactions to the news item. I thought that the office of President held a duty to serve the country and the people. The queues for food where reminiscent of post WW11 scenes. Hard working people reduced to "begging" for food is not a sight to bring joy to the breakfast table.

Yes, these hardworking people ought to have enough money to tide them over a month BUT we live in a world of "I want it I will have it, NOW"
The media is overflowing with temptation, A new sofa for Christmas, A new table and chairs so Granny doesn't have to sit on a garden chair, new china, linen, curtains, this, that and everything conceivable.

We still have the Brexit cloud and the slurry pit that is Universal Credit swilling around. Our government seem to be an ineffectual, mindless, pig ignorant group of NIMBMY,s. I can not see any of them facing eviction because their benefit has been screwed up yet again.
Just as I do not see any member of Donald Trumps crowd queuing for food, never mind putting their hands in their very deep pockets and helping out the people who voted them in.

There, I feel better for that.
If I have offended anyone , well vote with the off button. These are my views at this moment in time. I may feel different tomorrow. I am a bit of a butterfly flitting here there and everywhere.

I can not envisage getting myself into a situation where I would deliberately do anything to harm people. I would rather give my last slice of bread to someone who needed it and go hungry myself. My last Rolo? you have lucked out there, no last one as there is never a first one, I tried one once and could not spit it out fast enough. YEUK.

On that wonderful thought I am off to finish my shopping.

                               TTFN                             Pam

Friday 25 January 2019

Losing the will to shop

A big shopping fail! What Again? I hear you say.
Not my fault.
I had a list, checked and checked again.
Yes. Everything on it.
I had to go into Neath so decided to do it all there.

It was destined to go pear shaped.

My first port of call was Tesco, it is fairly large store there so I should have no problems.


4 things on the list were not in stock. Bother. (not quite what I said under my breath)

Oh well, off to Morrisons, that is where the car park is and they should have them.

Wrong. Again.

Off to Wilko, I need a bulb for the fridge, they have stacks of bulbs.

Right. Just not the size that I want. Bother. Again.

By this time my head was thumping, the SO was visibly wilting.
We exchanged a look, you know the sort, and said in unison "home then".

We had to stop at Tesco in Pontardawe for petrol, there was a massif queue in Neath, so popped into the store and found what I needed.

The camera will wait till tomorrow, or when I feel that I can face dealing with that. Right now I am going to take the dogs out, let the fresh air soothe my aching head.
Upon my return I plan on a pot of tea, knitting and possibly some chocolate. 
The SO is muttering about Mincemeat crumble slice, with cream, preferably clotted. 
There is no cream, clotted or otherwise in the house.
I cannot go to another shop, not even the village store, the very thought is enough to make me have a fit of the vapours.

I have a parcel to send off  to Francesca, tomorrow will have to suffice.

How about that for a Whingy Whiny post. 

Even the SO, who has enough patience for us both, uttered this  "We are never coming back". 
Ha, he has an eye test booked for next month. 

It was not all bad, on the way back from Wilko we walked past a charity furniture shop. There in full view was a blue office chair. Nice clean padding and fabric, wheels that worked and height adjustment that also worked. It is now in the sewing room in front of my machine. My existing chair is now positioned near the overlocker. No more moving the chair backwards and forwards.

The price? A sweet £7.50. One very similar in Argos is a penny short of £50.

Now for that walk.

                                 TTFN                        Pam

Thursday 24 January 2019

SLOW Going.

Perhaps that should be Going Slow, I would like to say that I have learnt a lesson but have no idea what led to the "dicky ticker" episode. ( known from now on as DT). I was not galloping along, it was cold but not freezing, I am mystified.

Anyway a couple of days taking easy have done the trick. I have had a reasonably busy morning today, all the top kitchen cupboards have been emptied, cleaned and the contents replaced, after a bit of a shuffle.
In times before the "DT" I would have done the base units and the oven in the same time. I have learnt to take things steady.

The SO has bottomed the sitting room and the scent of lavender polish is wafting through the house. Lovely.

I have pulled a couple of towels from the cupboard, they are the sole survivors of long gone sets. Tomorrow, or the next day, I will be cutting them up and running the resulting squares through the overlocker. They make marvellous cleaning  cloths and stand up to a good hot wash without shrivelling into peculiar shapes.
Shades of my Granny coming out there, although as a child I was hemming the edges by hand. I had never seen a shop bought cleaning cloth till I went to boarding school. 

I went through the kitchen linens drawer and have rooted out one or three tea towels that have seen better days. Why is it that linen cloths only dry up properly when they are just about worn out?
On my next shopping trip (hopefully tomorrow) I will be looking for some. I should be going to Neath and hopefully I will find some decent ones.

The first thing on my list is a camera, I did go to Ammanford a few days ago and completely forgot, if it isn't on The List then I do not buy it.

The wall hangings are layered and pinned, I need to decide on the quilting. I will probably sew 1/4 " inside every seam, nothing too much as I want the fabric to be the star. Mental note, remember to add the hanging sleeves or loops.

We watched a strange film last night "The Shape of Water". Quite a ridiculous story but the leading actor was so convincing in the range of emotions that she portrayed that we watched to the credits.

We are having a light meal tonight, neither of us is particularly hungry so it will feature eggs and mushrooms, possibly some onion and sweet peppers. Maybe an omelette, perhaps a scramble on toast.

We had a little dusting of snow yesterday, Ben did his best to pretend that it wasn't there,  Herbie was fascinated and went doolally in the garden, diving into it and then blowing it off his face with gigantic snorts.

My chunky jumper is finished, it was a very quick make, I used the basic recipe from a magazine pattern but customised the yoke to my requirements. It did involve much trying on and posturing in the mirror, not so easy with magic loop cable and tips dangling, not to mention the yarn ball. At one point I almost lassoed Herbie, he thought it great fun.

On that happy thought I am off to get the dogs food ready, within 15 minutes they will be looking at me, doing a good impersonation of Oliver asking for more.

                       TTFN                                           Pam

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Dark and Light.

I was pulling fabrics for a project, the wall hangings that I mentioned, and some of my stash is very dark shades of blues and purples with the odd bit of dark red.
My palette is mainly brights with some of the slightly darker jewel colours, Sapphire Blue rather than Navy and so on.

As I tried colours out I found myself gravitating toward some deeper shades with some brighter and an almost neutral print.
The dark colours made the light and bright fabrics stand out without being too bold, the dark seemed to calm them down somewhat.

It made me think about a few people that have been going through some very dark times lately. I know that it is trite, but I feel that when we come through a dark part of our lives we can find so much pleasure in the lighter days. As the weight of our troubles starts to shift the lightness is more pronounced and we actually notice it.
That made me really stop and think, do we need the dark to fully appreciate the light?
In my quilts I usually have white to provide a foil for the colours. A few years ago I made a quilt for a friend who asked for the white to be replaced with red. It changed the whole look and showed off the colours in a new way.
The first watery, spring sunshine puts fingers of light into all the dark corners in a way that the hot light of summer never does. Is this because we are coming out of the darker months?

Any way, this is not the place for a deep philosophical theory to be aired. All that is just a preamble to tell you that the piecing is finished. I have found some plain backing fabric and picked out the binding. I am very pleased with it and hope to get it layered and pinned today.

I will not be starting it for a little while though, I was quite breathless on my return form walking Ben and Herbie. My heart was going for it in a big way so it will be a "sit and knit" rest of morning. That is the quickest way to get everything back to the status quo. Nothing to do with the fact that I have a project on the needles that I want to be wearing, right now if not sooner.

The SO has just made me a coffee so I am going to say bye bye and enjoy it to the full.

                            TTFN                            Pam

Monday 21 January 2019

Monday, Monday

So good for me.
I have been knitting all weekend and currently have knitted almost 1200 grams of chunky yarn from stash this year. Plus the 2 pairs of socks for L.
This week is is the turn for fabric. This morning I have pulled 7 fabrics from stash to make a couple of wall hangings, 1 for me and 1 to gift.
They are all pressed and ready to cut and start sewing. That will be my play after lunch.
My quilt will be layered and pinned later, I am regarding that as a reward for sewing more from stash. Next to getting the last stitches in the binding, pinning is my new favourite part of quilting. Probably because it means that I am almost at the finishing line.

The dogs have had their walks and all of my chores are done. I was hoping to peg out this morning but a light mist has crept in over the mountain. I will check again after lunch, even a couple of hours outside makes it all smell so much fresher.

The new French press, along with the French Blend coffee is proving a success, it is also a much more reasonable cost than I anticipated. For much the same cost as a jar of my favourite instant I can make 3 brews a day, this is more coffee than I was drinking but much, much less than the SO was. Out of each brew he has 2 cups to my 1 and we are both happy with that.

Dinner last night was from my batch cook of meat ragu, we had it over steamed greens as neither of us was hungry enough for pasta.
Tonight I will be making a cheese "pasta" gratin, there will be as much veg as pasta and the gratin will be of wholemeal bread cubes with a selection of seeds and nuts. W will have a serving for his dinner as well.

That is all for today, nothing much is happening here, life ticks on as usual and I am content with that.

It is nice to see the daylight hours gradually pulling out, I have had sufficient dark mornings and early onset evenings now. 

Thank you for all your comments on my last post, Monday wash day and Sunday baking day are among my first memories. My Granny was either in a cloud of flour or steam.

                                     TTFN                         Pam

Saturday 19 January 2019

Who remembers

Or even knows the saying, "One on, one off and one in the wash"?
If you take notice of adverts you would have multiples of everything, certainly more than 3.
My Gran used to say that 3 was a minimum, I remember the list of requirements for boarding school was in 3,s, but  gran said that 4 was better as it allowed for "incidents". I never did find out what she meant by that!

When she started my bottom drawer off (do girls still do that?) There were 6 bath towels,  hand towels and flannels. Bed linen was 3 pairs of sheets with 4 pillow cases for each pair of sheets. There was a sort of rule of thumb that you changed the bed every week by putting the top sheet to the bottom and put a clean top sheet on, and the same with the pillows. 
Gran would have none of it, both sheets and all the pillow cases were changed every Monday. They were all white and when pegged out they looked like a fleet of ships. The gleaming white was courtesy of a good boil and then the final rinse had a blue bag in it.

All this is a fairly pointless ramble towards my pantry, fridge and freezer. They are all slowly being worked through and reduced. BUT there are certain things that I like to keep a good stock of.
Tinned tomatoes are top of the list, I use them in so many recipes.
Yesterday I pulled some meat from the freezer and batch cooked a ragu. Posh name for Spag Bol sauce. The meat had been in there for a while and I am wary of freezer burn. I now have 6 tubs stashed away, half are 2 servings the remainder are for 3. Yes they take up more space but they are in plastic boxes and are stacked in one corner, easy to find. They are full of veg and have a decent amount of green lentils hidden away. Francesca does not like pulses much but she will not know they are there. I tasted it and I could not recognise taste or texture.

I do keep a couple of tins of baked beans, mushy peas and chick peas but 2 is plenty. I like to use dried beans, soaked and then cooked in the slow cooker overnight for the majority of the time.  cool and freeze in 400 gram portions. 

I do keep a stock of bread flour, wrapped and frozen it keeps a long while. I have a tub of easy yeast so I can get a loaf on in minutes if needed.

Greek yogurt, butter and grated cheese are always in the freezer, just not in the quantities that they used to be.

I am trying to keep the reigns on how much I have in stock, there are only the 2 of us most of the time, I no longer have a houseful of boys to feed on a regular basis. When my son was alive there could be 8 hulking bottomless pits, aka teenage boys, to feed. It did not change much as they all got older, they just did not eat quite as much quite as fast.

I am also rolling this out through the house, or at least trying to. I only have 2 sets of sheets for my bed and 2 sets of sheet and duvet cover for Francesca,s bed. I do not  have a duvet on my bed, just sheets and my quilts.

We have been through our clothes and the CS will have a delivery from us next week.
I have done the kitchen and did part with a few duplicates, I possibly have more knives and pots and pans than average but use all of them. It is a frequent sight for the SO and I to be cooking different recipes, one at each end of the kitchen, so we have lots of kit to stop us fighting over who has first dibs on what.

I do believe that I have rambled off the path a bit. 

As far as crafting goes, so far this month I have knitted 500 grams of  Lakeland chunky yarn from stash. finished off the top of a king size quilt and made the back all from stash. I have also taken a 600 gram pack of  Pulse chunky yarn and the first 100 gram ball has been knitted up as part of a jumper, the pattern also came from stash. This will either be for me or for Francesca as part of her birthday gift, I have till October but will be in the midst of Christmas making by then.

My aim is to reduce the yarn and fabric by half before I even look at what is out there to buy. I did buy some fabric last Saturday, that is earmarked for Christmas makes and I will be buying some more wadding soon. There are a few quilts on my list for this year, James has a birthday coming up and he loves his quilts, I have 3 in my head with the fabric already decided upon.

Now I am off to get a pot of soup on the go and then I may be having another dip into the back catalogue of you tube videos from YarnNYarn. I love Angela,s rambling style, it is very laid back and totally normal. No layers of make up and fancy setting for her, just who she is, as she is and no "face".

                             TTFN                                       Pam

Thursday 17 January 2019

Patience is a virtue,

find it where you can.
Seldom found in woman,
never found in men.

That must make me a part man then.
I have never been credited with patience, with myself or others.
Animals and children, yes. The infirm and needy, yes.

Shop assistants who have no idea what is in their place of employment, NO.
Drivers who can not park between the lines, NO.
People who listen but do not hear a word said to them, NO.
The list could go on for reams of paper, so I will leave it at that.

At this precise moment it is me who is in the firing line. The SO has a job that has to be done tomorrow and I wanted him to shop with me. There were a few heavy things and I was planning on looking at cameras.

We went off, I completely forgot 3 essential items, totally my fault I had not put them on the list. Did I look at cameras, of course not, not on the list. So it was a case of out of sight, out of mind.
Mind, what mind? Mine was left at home.

I did get everything that was on the list. WIN
I did succumb to the bargain shelf.  FAIL.
Not a 100% fail as what I bought is planned for Francesca,s next visit. It will save me both time and money.
I did find a French Press, and some really lovely coffee,both at a good price. WIN. We washed the press and made a pot as soon as we got in and it is very moreish.

I saw some yarn in Wilko,s, 80 % acrylic and 20% wool, DK in some very desirable  colours. I resisted. WIN.

I have the quilt top together. WIN
MY maths were so off that I have 6 blocks extra. WIN
They will be the starter for another quilt.

On a tangent, have you noticed how many You Tubers put up videos of their shopping? Do they really need to do a humongous food shop twice weekly (specially the ones who are on diet programs).
Does anyone really need to change their crockery every time new patterns are in the shops? 

Who the devil has the time to shop that many times in a week?

Am I just being curmudgeonly?

I must get that camera bought, I have so many things that I want to share. I have the lovely sock set that I won in the Strictly Sock-along run by Ali of Little Drops of Wonderful. There is also some knitting to show, and some fabric.

Dinner tonight is a chicken and root veg roast, from the freezer, all was bought at rock bottom prices, with some green veg it will come out at £1.50 for us both.

 On that note I am off to get the oven on and feed the dogs, to all intents they are behaving as though starving, fast.

                                TTFN                                   Pam

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.