Wednesday 27 February 2019

This is tomorrow.

The last day of sunshine for a little while, ah well this is the UK.
Instead of mooning over my new yarn I will be in the garden, pottering. Building up my vitamin D levels and moving some things around.

I have taken a few pics of my purchases but managed to delete the Alpine yarn, it is a fur fabric type, all polyester, and is destined to become a cowl. This will be a birthday gift for Francesca,and will keep her warm on her commute. it has a horrible name, Oxblood !!, Whoever dreamt that one up should be shut in a dark room and made to listen to Whale music. The colour is in fact a soft red/brown, it could almost slide onto the fringe of orange shades, that will go well with a winter coat in just about any colour.

New additions for the crochet blanket.

I have 2 balls of the dark shade, these will become a Clayoquot Toque, a free pattern from Tin Can Knits. It will be my practise for the jumper, a paid for pattern. I will, probably, not use these exact colours as I am sure that I have enough yarn in stash.

One of my go to sock yarns, WYS, these will give me 4 pairs of socks using the solid for toes, heels and cuffs. Straight Vanilla socks to let the yarn colours shine.

See what my eagerness did. I opened the coloured skein, Heylor, fluffed it out to drool over it and then could not reskein it for the life of me. No worries as it will be caked up and on the needles soon. This will go into the Christmas gift box.
The solid colour is Ollaberry, they are not purple at all, more a pinkish cranberry colour. There are some speckles of purple in the Heylor skein so perhaps the camera focused on those.

This lovely skein of Indie dyed from By Miranda Mae is called Woodland Walk. It will be socks for L and go into the Christmas gift box. She is a green and blue girl so I may use some soft pale blue from stash for toes, heels and cuffs. That way I can add pink to the leftover green yarn and squeeze out a pair for Francesca as well. Double Bubble.

Socks for the SO

Socks for Francesca.

My latest pairs off the needles, both safely stashed away in the gift box. I am not sure whether they will be birthday or Christmas.

It is not a good drive, for me, to Penarth, I do not like the M 4. The tortuous journey into the town from there, full of lane changes with less than adequate signage, was bad enough to send me looking at train times. The cost is not too bad surprisingly. if you add the cost of petrol to the parking it is not too far out. Of course I have to add the parking cost in Neath but I think that there will be a reasonable alternative to the station car park.

Then the SO added a note of sanity. He looked up alternate routes and as soon as he has finished this contract we will take a day out. take the coast road and make it into a leisurely drive with stops as and when we spot something interesting. 
The dogs love to go in the car and once we reach Penarth they will be glad to have a l o n g walk while I visit Yarn N Yarn. A nice picnic lunch, possibly on the way home (after an ice cream on the beach of course) will round the day off. All we need to do is wait for a fine day. 

I will not be discounting the train journey however, even with a change at Cardiff.

Now the sun is shining, I have time to whizz through my job list before scooping Rufus up for his walk. I better get my btm off this chair.

                             TTFN                                    Pam

Tuesday 26 February 2019

I made it.

To Yarn N Yarn in Penarth that is. My lovely neighbour W scooped me up after the dogs were walked and off we went. We made good time for most of the way and then hit Traffic. That was 15 or so minutes of nose to bumper crawling, followed closely by negotiating through tiny little streets with many sharp turns. Then just as were thinking about Ever Decreasing Circles , not to mention the Oozlum Bird (carry on film reference) we were there. Parking right outside the shop.

The shop window, the reflections are unfortunate but unavoidable.
a simple but attractive display that entices you in to look at the shelves on view.

Just inside the door is a display of buttons, everything from plain to cute and gorgeous. I did resist.....this time.

To the right of the counter, I did find some treasure there.

Almost secreted away in the corner are the needles, a really good selection. I was good and ignored my itchy fingers.
There is a display of some really lovely jewellery from a local maker here. Saved by the fact that I hardly ever wear the stuff.

Going clockwise round the shop is a colourful display, lots of Stylecraft yarns. I found 3 balls to add to the new crochet blanket.

Hand dyed loveliness, yes a skein from here came back with me. I know, only one, it will be socks for the Christmas gift box.

Then there are the shelves you can see from the window, 3 balls of WYS sock yarn now live in my house. Again destined to be socks in the gift box. 

My Haul. All destined to go into the gift box.

The lovely Angela, goodness it looks as though I have not brushed my hair for a week. Goodness I look like my mother, and my granny, could be worse, I could look like my Grandfather or Dad. Bald.

I have just noticed that I missed a display of yarn ,just past the buttons. I found some yarn in there as well.

I just have to tell you that almost the first thing that Angela said was, "would you like a cup of tea or coffee" closely followed by "help yourself to cake".

I wonder if I could move.......

I did enjoy my time there and although the shop is not huge there is a wide selection of yarn to suit all budgets. I was certainly pleased with the cost of my purchases, that is why there were so many. If you knit or crochet and can get to Penarth I urge you to go. I will be back.

I will share my purchases next time as the evening is drawing in and I have a Herbie telling me that he Needs to go out. Right Now.

                                 TTFN                            Pam

Monday 25 February 2019

For Mikemax,with apologies.

Mikemax, you asked about pectin in my marmalade but I pressed publish without noticing which post.
I never use pectin in my preserves, not even in Jam sugar.
My marmalade is either Seville Orange with the juice of 1 lemon to 3 oranges or a mixture of Lemon, Grapefruit and Orange/Satsuma/Clementine. For these I take all the pips and tie in a small muslin square and boil it up with the prepared fruit. I use standard granulated sugar and never add butter to disperse the froth. A few passes with my skimming spoon takes care of that, to be honest I do not get much foam at all and I ensure that any  I miss goes into 1 jar and use that in cakes and puddings. Once the marmalade reaches setting point I let it stand for 15-20 minutes and then stir before putting into jars. I use waxed discs and screw top lids, wipe the hot jars, slap a label on and once cold they go into the pantry.
I have made the odd batch where the peel floats at the top, but that is deliberate, I just jar it as soon as I take it off the heat. That gives me a really thick top half for cakes and puddings (it goes well in a fruit bread loaf as well). The clear bottom half is perfect for glazing cakes before icing and for my daughter who does not like Bits in her chosen toast topping. I very rarely make jam but strain it all for jelly. The pulp than gets rubbed through a fine sieve, mixed with sugar and boiled up like the jelly till it is so thick that a wooden spoon drawn across the bottom leaves a clear path, just like chutney. I jar this in the usual manner and it goes wonderfully in a Victoria Sponge or a scone, or any other sweet treat.

All this has reminded me that I have run out of Lemon Curd and Francesca will be here on Saturday. She loves it so I better hunt out some jars and then get out for lemons and sweet butter.

Finally I want to thank you all for your supportive comments. It seems that we really are sisters under the skin.

I am certain that the next post will be the usual ramble round my mind. 
I realised that I did not share my latest socks with you, I will get them loaded and add on the next post.

                         TTFN                                    Pam

Sunday 24 February 2019

A hot water bottle for the soul..

The Colonel,s Lady and Judy O'Grady are sisters under the skin.
I seem to recall that, although this is the end of  Kipling poem, it appeared in a music hall song but with the name Molly.
I could be completely wrong here, memory plays tricks upon us all, cue Maurice Chevalier and Hermione Gingold singing I remember it well in Gigi.

It seems that so very many of us are home bodies, completely happy in our close circle of family and a few real friends.

I have always said that people who retire and move hundreds of miles from home were foolish as their "support network" was gone.
Then, of course, I did just that. Moving from the edge of the East Coast to very close to the edge of the West Coast. In my defence I did it partly to be nearer to James and his family, at that time he did need quite a bit of support, and partly to shake off the sorrow of 2004. 
Luckily it all worked out well. I have a close group of friends and neighbours and we interact almost daily.
I have all of you, and many more that I read on an as and when basis.

It is only since my fall and subsequent dental issues that I have started to become reclusive. The heart issues had their effect as well so I suppose that I could attribute it to the Domino Effect.
The heart thing meant that my socialising in real life was severely curtailed, driving was out for a while, and walking was short and slow.
I started to get out and about and then the accident meant that I was back and forth for treatment, all of it very painful. in the midst of that the dental surgeon stabbed his finger while it was in my mouth.
Blood tests, almost an armful (Tony Hancock was brilliant) and the ensuing worry while I waited for results knocked me back.

I was assured that I was a very low risk. Boy oh boy, I wasn't worried about my blood, it was the thought of what may be in his that made my skin creep.

I think that was the kicker, nothing to do with the gaps in my toothline, (well buildings have skylines) I am not vain, just scared stiff of the dentist and his implements of torture.

Do you know, I think that is the only thing that I am scared of!

In my days as a Publican I was "on display" every day, before that I did a quite a bit of Barmaid work, and loved every moment of it. My kitchen door had a large glass panel so that my customers could see me and me them. 

My work in the Deli Factory was again face to face with loads of people, many regular but many agency workers who changed like the wind.
Again, I loved it. The constant ebb and flow of faces made the job so much easier to enjoy. I retired almost reluctantly, it was only my desire to increase my crafting time that made it happen.

Now I sometimes wonder if I almost "burnt out" on the social side. Looking back over the years I realise that we were a very social family. My childhood home was always bursting at the seams with extended family and we were encouraged to have friends around.
I took that with me when I had my own home and my son was even more outgoing. At weekends there was almost a revolving door, more coming in than going out though, and there was no such thing as a quiet night in.

When we decided to have a Barbecue, the entire street would turn up. All bearing food and drink and there was an ad hoc rota for cooking. It was so busy that the local pub closed and the landlord and his wife would come, as they said, all their customers were at our house so they may as well join in.

I think that I have partied, talked, laughed, and met enough new people for a handful of lifetimes. For several years my Christmas card list was well over 300 and I was posting birthday cards almost every day.
Sunday lunch would mean 20-30 people to feed, then there would be many weeks when we were eating somewhere else. Now I am happy to cook for just us, with a meal for W every few days.

I must have had a personal energy Well somewhere, I was never tired and was always busy. all this alongside working quite long hours. 

Of course, with so many of us feeling alike, it may just be a reaction to the hustle and bustle of modern living. I see people rushing hither and tither and smile and think, that was me until I moved here. That warm glow of smug satisfaction is long lasting and very real, almost a hot water bottle for the soul. 

Strike that, it is a very real Hot Water Bottle for my soul. 

I may have left a busy life behind along with friends and family. I came out the winner though.
In exchange I have a slow paced life, full of time to look around me at this glorious country. Time to stop and smell the roses, as well as growing them. 
Then there is the creme de la creme,  lots and lots of crafting time.

On that positive note I am off to get the kettle on, even that has slowed as I threw the ultra fast electric one and have an old fashioned whistling one for the gas hob. That is a real blast from the past, although ours was huge and sat on a range top not a gas hob.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, where ever you may be. Keep warm or cool as needed and be happy in your own skin.
My skin fits me like a glove, hand knitted of course.

                        TTFN                                     Pam

Saturday 23 February 2019

Trying, really trying.

To socialise more, that is.
I am happy to stop and chat to anyone that I bump into while dog walking, it does not faze me at all. Planning to go and visit though is a whole new kettle of fish.

I did all the things that were on my list this morning, gave Herbie an extra walk out before starting on the gardening and then it all went South. 
I set off to visit someone and just over half way there my steps were dragging, I have seen babies crawl faster, I threw in the towel and turned back.
I did not have a panic attack, no wobbly legs, just a solid feeling that I could not do this. Me, who loves nothing more than a good mardle.
I could only think of all the things that I would rather be doing, lovely things like clearing the gutters of fallen leaves.
Perhaps I should not have turned back, maybe I should have "pulled myself together" and pushed onward.

I didn't and have made a cuppa and come to visit all of you instead.
I have been busy pottering about and my time here, both writing and reading has been the thing to suffer. I enjoy reading through my blog list and often dip into other peoples lists as well. I have found some new people to read like that.

I will be meeting new people next week when I go out on Tuesday. Perhaps the fact that they will be completely new is the reason that it does not bother me. They will have no expectations for me to aspire to live up to.
Before anyone gets exasperated I know that some of that is utter rubbish, but I can still know it and think it at the same time.

We do judge others, some of us for some of the time. We judge by appearance, hair, make up, clothes and we judge by our own standards. We may not admit it but that is the only yardstick that we can really use.

Dolly Parton has said, so many times, that she always wanted to look like "trailer trash". She may do but in a very polished style, not to everyone's taste but I think she looks amazing.

Some of the pop stars and young (and the not so young) film stars seem to have the impression that the less clothes and more jewellery and slap they wear, the better they look.

Certainly in my teenage days I wore mini skirts, hot pants, plastic jewellery(?) and the heavy eye make up of the era. The main difference was that every girl and young woman looked much the same. When I changed my style, or rather found my own, I did not blend in well.

I seem to have wandered away from the chosen path, probably because I removed the pressure from myself.

I will simply make the most of Tuesday and try to get out again next week.
I will not give up because I am sure that the day will come when I look forward to some interaction on a face to face basis.

I have planned a meal for tonight that requires milk, and of course I have none in the house. I have also moved some pots from the front of the house that need planting up. 
I think that a quick trip to Lidl will supply me with milk and some coloured primroses. Perhaps the more that I brighten up my surroundings the brighter I will become.

I am in my kitchen with door and window wide open and can hear the glorious sounds of birds twittering away and children playing with the odd dog bark thrown in.
I will finish my tea and whizz off out, it should not take more than 45 minutes all told and I will be back in the garden again.

Thank you for listening, it does help to have this platform to rant, moan and clear our minds upon.

                               TTFN                               Pam

Friday 22 February 2019

Busy doing nothing,

Working the whole day through, trying to find lots of things not to do.

It hasn't been quite like that, I have found lots of things to do, all this housework is getting to me.

The lovely weather has kept me outside, Herbie has been running around the garden and Ben just finds a sunny spot and stays there.

There are so many green leaves unfurling, bulbs showing a bit of colour and plants pushing out new growth that it looks very spring like.

Walking the dogs, always joyous, is now a positive delight, no coat, hat gloves to get into, just grab the leads and offski.

Lots of other peeps outside, walking, gardening or just lapping up the warmth. Walks take longer as everyone is ready to have a little chat, if only to say "hello, isn't this gorgeous".

I went into Pontardawe to get some things for the SO, I did not go bargain hunting. But I did stroll round Home Bargains, and yes I did buy a few things. All were on my list and nothing else went into my basket.

I will be out and about next week so I need to keep it up.
The meal plan is done and all I need to buy is some fresh veg.

Tonight we are having Sausage, Egg and chips, by special request from the SO, poached eggs and root veg medley chips, all in the oven now.

I used carrots, swede, parsnips, sweet potato and 3 small red potatoes. Much tastier than ordinary chips, and perhaps a bit healthier too.

It is time now for me to get the eggs on to poach. Early dinner tonight as we both have the grumblies in the tumblies.

                     TTFN                                          Pam

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Inspiration from Heidi.

No, not that Heidi. This girl lives in Canada and has a fairly new podcast called Books and Cables. 
All I really need to say to all the knitters out there is that Marie Wallen is her Queen and she is the proud owner of Marie,s books. And has an impressive collection of colourful knitwear.

I have serious clothing envy, so much that I have thrown my restrictions to the wind and will be purchasing at least 2 patterns today.
The only reason that I did not do it yesterday was that I went on a prolonged stash dive. Yarn was pulled and matched, yardage was counted and matched to patterns. I don't want to buy yarn if I have it in stash, I have not gone completely off track.

But, as an aside remark, my lovely neighbour W has offered to drive me to Penarth next week. 
Not for the town, not for the beach or even the pier.

Of Course Not.

It is for Yarnnyarn, the yarn shop.
You see Christmas can come more than once in a year.

I will only take cash that I am willing to spend. 

My mantra will be,
I must not empty the shelves.

Enough of that foolishness. I have been busy with house things. Nothing remarkable just the everyday jobs that the SO normally does. 
I am amazed that he gets so much done without it even impinging upon my consciousness.

I have a batch of marmalade on the stove top, it is having the rest time to allow the peel to be suspended throughout rather than floating on the top 1/4 of the jars.

I do sometimes make marmalade and jar it before the rest time, the top fruity layer is a great addition to a tea loaf or indeed almost any cake. try it out in a chocolate cake. Lush.

The jelly bottom is fine on toast and also great fro using instead of Apricot jam, brushed warm on said chocolate cake it gives a wonderful sheen, it also keeps crumbs out of the ganache that you will be pouring on top. 
Well that,s what we do, it is only a now and again thing and well worth waiting for.
I did make one for Valentine,s Day. W did have a mighty slice. 30 seconds in the ding oven turned it into the sauciest cake imaginable.

The weather has been a bit iffy at times but I have pegged out every load of washing and it has all dried. I just kept a close eye on the windows for any spot of rain.

I am not a lover of Turkey, cooked any way, but as I picked up such a bargain I felt obliged to see what I could do to make it more palatable for me.

2 steaks cut into decent size chunks, into the slow cooker. Followed by a red pepper, a red onion, 2 sticks of celery and 4 small carrots, peeled/deseeded and cut into largish chunks. A good heaped tsp of hot smoked paprika, some fresh Oregano, a good shake of garlic granules ( only because I had put the chopping board and knife into a sink of soapy water) and a few shakes of liquid smoke with a carton of passata and the carton half full of water to rinse it out. Turned on to high for 4 hours then cooled and popped in the fridge.
Wee will be having that tomorrow with brown rice, I will sizzle off some sliced mushrooms and diced smoked bacon to stir through just before serving.

Tonight we are having the Pearl Barley risotto, there will be Fennel and mushrooms in that, to finish it off I will stir some soft blue cheese through and perhaps sizzle some sage leaves to scatter on top. I like sage but only cooked and sizzled in a little oil and butter gives it a whole new flavour. I will make enough to take some to W, he is a willing taster.

There is a new pair of socks on the needles, that will be pair 2 of 14 for my Christmas makes.
BTW one of the sweater patterns that i will be buying is for Francesca so doesn't really count as breaking my "craft diet". I have knitted several sweaters using variations of 1 pattern so that purchase is allowed.

Now the marmalade has been jarred, they are all wiped clean. 
No I did not lick them, blisters on the tongue hurt, never mind how I know that.
All I have left is to get the decks cleared once Rufus and herbie have been walked.

                   TTFN                                               Pam

Sunday 17 February 2019

Weekend lazing.

I do not seem to have done much over the past day and a half.
 A pair of socks on the needles, they will go into Francesca,s gift box. I will soon be adding the contrast cuff and then the afterthought heel.
A little sewing and a great deal of pressing of fabric strips for the next project.
General house tasks, planning meals, shuffling things around a bit and other mindless jobs.
I feel a bit unsettled, there is so much that I want to do that I am spoilt for choice.
It is a bit like shopping, the shelves are stacked with so much that you can not see the wood for the trees.
Who needs 30 different packets of chocolate biscuits to select from, not me, I just give up and walk away.
I remember the time that I took my Granny to the brand new and first supermarket in Norwich, Tesco of course, we walked round and left with very little. On the way home she said, "I have never seen so many things that I did not want in a shop before."

That is much how I feel, I think that I need to be outside more. The recent warm sunny days have made me feel almost trapped in the house. Yes I am walking a bit more, yes the dogs are more than happy with that, BUT, I want to get stuck into the garden and it is not time yet. 
Any work that we do may, and probably will, get trashed by the weather. I will content myself by having some playtime in the greenhouse. I have one of those plastic jobbies with 5 shelves tucked away in the greenhouse proper. They are pretty much useless in the garden here, too much wind, but under glass they make a wonderful place to start seeds off.
I can fit in 15 full size seed trays and the temperature and humidity seems to be spot on. It has worked well in the past and will be set to work sometime next week I think.

I did the little bit of ironing this morning, hardly worth the effort but it is out of the way. 
Tomorrow will be another clean sweep right through but I will be on my own. The SO has just taken on a fairly long job in the village. He is full of enthusiasm and made a start yesterday.

He has some work pending further down the village but they are fussing over tiles and what not. When and If they make their minds up he will fit them in as and when. He started that job last year and it should have been long finished, the tiles were all ordered and then they changed their minds.

Now I am infamous for my fluttery mind but I usually make it up and then stick to it. At least when it affects somebody else,if it is just me I can dither with the best of them.

There has been quite a time lapse, I looked at the time and it was well past walk time and then it was shopping.
I should not have gone. I fell victim to the reduced to clear counter.
Smoked Haddock, Turkey steaks, the finest sausages and some strong cheddar fell into the basket. Swiftly followed by enough bread for over a week for 62p, I can not make bread for that money.

I spent less than £7 and got  £32 of food, I topped up on fruit and veg and came home happy. there will be no shopping now for at least 2 weeks. I have several home made ready meals in the freezer and the only thing that I may have to get creative with is veg. I do have some in the freezer though and have some that I want to freeze later this evening.
We are still milk free but I can always pick some up in the village if I absolutely have to.

After the shopping was tucked away and a cuppa made and drunk, Herbie made it quite clear that a walk was in order. Ben made it equally clear that he was surfing the sofa. We were gone over 30 minutes but covered a lot of ground, we did not dawdle.

Tonight,s dinner was going to be pearl barley risotto BUT we had a greedy moment in Tesco and bought 2 hot steak in ale pies for less than half price. They became an impromptu car lunch ( we had a measly breakfast of a crumpet with butter as we were not very hungry) and they went down a treat. Now of course we are not able to manage a dinner. It will be a scratch salad with bread and pate and some pickles for a snack meal later.
We will be settling down for the evening with Silent Witness, we are watching it on BBC I Player and enjoying binge watching back to back episodes.
We used to watch it ages ago and it just slipped under the radar till a few weeks ago. Now we cannot tear ourselves away.

I spotted this china cabinet on marketplace and snapped it up, an early birthday gift for the SO, just the thing for his models to live in.

One of the wall hangings, it is straight, it was the camera operator  on the tilt.

This is what happens when you go to work on Saturday, then come home for a sit down.
First you get sat upon, and squeezed up to.

Quite quickly you get evicted and the spot is taken over.

                             TTFN                                       Pam

Friday 15 February 2019

Making hay while the sun shines

This is absolutely glorious and welcomed with open arms. What on earth am I on about this time, the weather of course. never mind spring, this is a taste of early summer. The overnight frost is a reminder that it is still only February, but I do not mind that a jot.
It has been a couple of days of washing everything possible, pegging out in sunshine and getting it all in, ironed and put away. Still in sunshine.
This morning is no different, the frost was sharp but the sun is warming everything up. I do have a last load of washing to peg out and then it will be done.
All the bed quilts have been through the circuit and all smell of fresh air and sun. If it continues there are a couple of pairs of curtains that will get the treatment as well.

The little courtyard at the back of the house has had a sort out, and I have ordered a replacement water tap for the rainwater butt. It should have been done ages ago but I forgot and it was only yesterday that the penny dropped.

I want to tootle round and scoop up any twigs and leaves that the high winds have deposited and rescue the odd plant pot that either the wind or Herbie has relocated.

There is not a great deal to do in the main garden but the top section, Oh My Word. It is our fault, we dumped stacks of things there. Some will stay others will go, being "out of sight and out of mind" and the horrid weather meant that we have not looked at it for weeks, even months.
This weekend will be The Grand Clean Up Operation.

I have to decide what to grow in a couple of the raised beds, I quite fancy some catch crops in the top one followed by some Purple sprouting broccoli. We love it and to buy it is very pricey and of course it is at least 2 days old by the time it hits the shop.
The remaining bed may have winter squash of some sort and possibly beans and sweetcorn, a winning combination for the rich, well fed soil. 

I bought some Coriander seeds last week, they have become very expensive, then again I do use the whole plant including the roots. I grow them in a mix of compost and vermiculite which washes off the roots easily.

Tomatoes will only be grown in the greenhouse, the wind tore all of last years outside plants into shreds.

That,s as far as I have thought so far, once I have spent some time out there I hope to have a clearer idea. I do know that there will be more strawberries, I planted out around 30 new runners last year.
Eton Mess, Strawberry shortcake, not to mention Jam. bring it on.

That,s done for me, not capable of coherent thought.

                             TTFN                                   Pam

Wednesday 13 February 2019

A day off?

Yesterday I had a little discomfort in my right wrist, all that scrubbing I thought.
It wasn't till I picked my knitting up to finish the second slipper sock that it really began to ache.
So knitting put away for a couple of days.
After dinner I pulled my crochet basket out and decided to start making 7 round Granny squares. Nothing in mind yet, just a vague thought of soft blues and cream with maybe a touch of soft pale green. That would be an excellent gift for L.

2 squares in one of the tendons began to pull  so that was put into hibernation.
Today will be a sewing sort of day, it was pencilled in for my second wall hanging to be quilted anyway.
My only problem is the evening, how will I get through with nothing to keep my hands busy.
Then I had a little ray of light.

Image result for little ray of sunshine images

My long neglected peg loom. I have a basket brimming over with oddments of yarn, smooth, lumpy and bumpy, textured and furry. All of these have been waiting for a weaving project. What about a wall hanging? Not a shabby idea. So, later on the SO will help me to get it all set up.
He doesn't know yet so it will be a nice surprise when he reads this. he he he.

IF I can not manage that it will be off to the sewing room and he will be able to watch all the rubbish car shows interesting shows about cars that he enjoys. Just as long as he leaves the ones that I like, Sin city Motors, gotta love a rat rod.

Dinner last night was very tasty, just not worthy of a photo, a chicken steak marinated and then coated with a spicy mix served with a jacket potato and steamed Kale.
Some of that may have been not quite the truth, I may have been so hungry that as the last morsel was scraped off the plate I realised that no photo had been taken.

Tonight we are having the remnants of the beef casserole with pasta and cabbage. green veg are wonderful to replace pasta but I feel the need for carbs. Well I will do after we spend some time in the garden, there is a little bit of tidying up to do. 
Then sewing for the rest of the day. It sounds sedentary but I keep the ironing board as far away from the sewing machine as possible. That means that I do clock up a surprising amount of steps. As well as quilting I have some piecing to do and that involves lots and lots of pressing.

On that note I am signing off,it will soon be time to walk Rufus and Herbie and I still have the bed to make. I like to leave it thrown open for a few hours before making it.

                                    TTFN                   Pam

Tuesday 12 February 2019

Seconds away, Round 2

Monday was a full on day, I did take it steady though so today is the finale.
All the base kitchen cupboards have been emptied, contents reviewed and shuffled (again). There is a bit more sense to the placement now, I use my mixing bowls frequently, so why I had them at the very bottom and pushed to the back is anybodies guess.

They are now top and centre, along with the scales and measuring jugs. So much better.
A few containers with a wisp of contents lurking in the bottom has been pulled out. The contents will either be used this week or binned. 
Guess what, I have amended the meal plan to use them all.
As I suspected the same thing was found in the cleaning cupboard. All the dregs are now in the front ready for the next assault on the cleaning front.
We enjoyed the fruits of our labours, yes Really, so much that we are going to try it out next Monday. The thinking is that it will take less time and free up days in the week for other things.
I usually wash all the paintwork one morning in the week but it all got done yesterday, that saves me time and gives space for the garden or sewing. Anything that I fancy really, and the same goes for other tasks that I have been spreading through the week.

The only real downside of yesterday was that we did not drink anywhere near the amount of tea and coffee as normal. That is not a bad thing at all, and I aim to keep a closer eye on the amount of "pit stops" that we take on a daily basis.

Now to the slipper trials.

This is using Aran weight yarn, on 4.5 needles. I cast on 16 and increased to 32, for my size I knitted 61/2" and then divided centre front to knit straight. I used the magic loop method until there was enough give to change to straight back and forth as I did not want to stretch any stitches. This length came just a touch nearer to my ankle and feels snugger.

Once the stitches were divided equally I knitted 27 rows in garter stitch and increased 1 stitch at each end on right side rows 3 - 15 giving me 46 stitches then I used the kitchener method to join the  stitches together.

This is a nice rise to the sides and back but not enough for a shawl collar look. I will try another pair and increase 2 on each right side row, I am determined to get this right, just because.

I did not finish the second one last night, it was too much for me to even hold the needles so I threw in the towel,walked Ben and Herbie while the SO washed up.  Watched a bit of telly and went to bed shortly after 10.

Dinner, I almost forgot.

It was delicious, just far too much for me, the SO emptied his plate with gusto, I popped my leftovers in the fridge to have either today or tomorrow.

Tonight we are having some spicy chicken with a jacket potato, steamed Kale and probably carrots.

I want to look up an old recipe for a lemon pudding that separates 
during cooking into a sponge floating on a sauce, I have an inkling that is a Delia recipe. I could well be wrong though.

Now for the last of the tidying those cupboards.

                                     TTFN                      Pam

Monday 11 February 2019

Scrub a dub scrub.

The unexpected, but so so welcome sunshine, sparked a cleaning frenzy here. It was not just the sunshine but the warmth, too warm for hat and gloves when dog walking. Warm enough to dry the sofa quilts before lunch.

Image result for cartoon cleaner lady lots of this.

woman vacuum cleanerQuite a bit of this.

housewifeLoads of this, at least that is what it felt like.

Now I have to own up that the SO did the living room, including shampooing the carpet and polishing the leather sofas.

I went on my knees and scrubbed the bathroom and kitchen floors, it was not nice.
I use one of those spray mop things on both floors, daily, but as they have some texture there was plenty of trapped dirt. You couldn't see it on the floor but it soon showed up in the water.

Oh, The shame of it.
Not really.
It is clean now.

The sun and warmth dragged me out with Herbie and Ben for an extra little walk. Hah, Little ? said Ben. Think again.
He set the pace and we teamed up with another walker and an hour later we got home. It was a circular walk, one that Ben has not done for over a year. He plodded along with the occasional sprint and plenty of diving into the undergrowth for a little investigatory sniffing.
He is now curled up on his cushion, sound asleep. Herbie is doing much the same but he is curled up on the SO,s lap.

I just want to empty the cleaning cupboard, give it a wipe out and replace everything in an orderly fashion. some things will need replenishing before my next proper shop. The SO has an eye test in Neath on Wednesday so I will slip into Wilko,s then.

I do not have an arsenal of cleaning products but I am very low on white vinegar and there is only a handful of soda crystals left. I am certain to find more than one container with only a dribble left.

Tonight's dinner will be bacon wrapped Camembert, root vegetable "chips" and salad. a bit of a treat meal as we have been so busy.

I have made some alterations to the little slippers pattern, the first one is finished and I will show the pair tomorrow. It is not quite as I want it but a good start.

Now I am in dire need of a cuppa before hitting that cupboard.

                                 TTFN                     Pam

Sunday 10 February 2019

Toasty toes and what day is it?

I am so pleased that many of you liked the little slippers, the heel can be an issue. When I sew the seam up I start at the ankle and stitch down to about 2 garter ridges from the bottom, then I press that seam out into an inverted t shape. T. Then I just stitch across the bottom. I intend to try a pair toe up, Judy,s magic cast on 8 stitches on each needle (magic loop) then increase up to 40. Knit in the round to the right length and then knit flat for the 32 rows and kitchener the heel. I also thought that if I increase steadily on each side to about 60 stitches it would give me a sort of shawl collar. I have a pair in Aran yarn on the needles, fewer stitches though, so I will let you know later.

I did make a little pair of short socks in the Aran yarn,

I used Judy,s cast on, 10 on each needle and increased to 20 on each. I knitted the sock as normal, Fleegle Heel and then a few rows of SS and 2 by 2 rib. I tried it on and it is a bit loose for me so I pulled the top in with a tighter cast off. They are fine over my thick tights and in my walking boots. The new cast on was 8 on each needle and I have increased to 16. I will knit a couple more rounds and then try them on for size, I do not mind tinking back and doing another 2 increases if I need to.
These were going to be socks BUT in the interest of exploring I will try the modifications that I mentioned above on the slipper socks. about 2 rows before I need to divide I will add in enough stitches to bring them up to 40. Then I will try the shawl collar idea, if it does not work it will be seconds to frog it out and try something else.
Lots of play time with these.

Talking about play time. We have not been eating puddings or cake for a few weeks but yesterday I dug 2 huge apples out of the fridge, they had just started to wrinkle. Peeled and sliced fairly fine they went with some mincemeat under an oaty crumble.
while the oven was on I made 2 huge Yorkshire Puddings, steamed some cabbage and heated up the beef casserole.

Those of a nervous disposition may want to look away.

As you can see they filled the plates, a generous layer of cabbage, Savoy is my second favourite after January King.

Topped with a ladle full of casserole, oh yum.

I have to 'fess up that I could not eat it all. Nothing was wasted though as Ben would dig to Australia for Yorkshire Pudding. I cut up my leavings and he will have a little treat for the next few days. I can tell you that his breakfast disappeared at a rate of knots this morning.

we changed our coffee yesterday, from the French to an Italian blend. The first pot was a bit too weak so this morning the SO put an extra half scoop in, it is lovely although a touch more bitter than the French.
I am loving the French Press and we have started to make a brew after dinner. However in the morning there is not enough for 2 mugs each so... I am looking at filter machines. Space is as always at a premium so size will matter. I would love a Bean to Cup type but they just take up too much space. I also have the rule of 1 in, at least 1 out, mmmmm, some serious thinking to be done. I do have a "freebee" though as a few weeks ago the SO broke the Old Country Roses coffee pot while washing up. If I use that I have already done the 1 out.


That wont wash, I replaced it with the French Press. Or Did I? I had a smaller Press that went to the CS. Woo Hoo, I will call that the 1 in and 1 out so I am back to having a space to fill.

Apart from size my only requirement is that it comes with a reusable filter, no plastic/paper single use hybrids here.

Rufus goes back home today, he will leave a gap, he slots right into our life routines as though he lives here. it is good that I see him every morning for a walk and he comes round for play times in the afternoons some days. It is good for him as well as  Herbie and Ben.
I think that is it for today, the sun is shining and the sky is blue. The washing machine is on the final spin so I will be pegging out soon.
I do not like to do laundry on a Sunday but when I got up this morning my mind went into fast forward and I was convinced that it was Wednesday. Nothing about having Rufus at my side caused me to second guess so on the machine went. it was not till about an hour later that the penny dropped.

                             TTFN                                  Pam