Sunday 31 March 2019

Mothering Sunday

I hope that all you Mum,s and Grans had a lovely day, filled with family visits. Francesca could not come this weekend but she will be here for the Easter period.
I did have a delivery this morning around 9.30. Flowers in a pretty presentation box that I just neglected to photograph and a hamper, from Fortnum and Mason, no less.

A lovely wicker basket, it was tied with ribbon but I ripped that off without thinking.

Goodies nestling in a protective layer.

3 different blends of leaf tea in cute little caddies and a teapot sized infuser.

Yet another layer.

A lovely bone china mug and 3 different preserves to enjoy.

Mmmmm, I feel an afternoon tea may be appropriate.

As luck would have it there was a fresh loaf out of the bread machine. A short while later it was joined by some scones, a chocolate, fruit and nut tray bake and some 10 10 2 cookies, so called because they take 10 minutes to make, 10 minutes to cook and 2 minutes to eat.

Fast forward to 3.30.

Tea sert out on the coffee table.

These are half of the flowers from my box.

Tea for two.
Look how thinly I managed to slice that new loaf, it was still a little warm but my bread knife is razor sharp.

Needless to say, dinner will be a small affair, Hunters chicken, which should have been accompanied by roasted potatoes and veg will now just have salad to grace the plates.

We had a good day, it was really sunny and warm. The SO had a couple of jobs to do in the garden, I did the baking and then we had a cuppa in the sunshine. The cloud crept in and by 3 it was quite cool, I had to put a thick top on to walk the dogs at 4.30 and wished that I had added hat and gloves.

There is a program on BBC Wales tonight, it is also available on I Player. Called My Autistic Big Brother and Me,  it tells Spencer's story. he is a 47 year old man who really comes into is own when walking and climbing Mountains. His younger brother has made the film and I look forward to watching it.
So many people have hidden challenges and it is amazing that it is now spoken about freely, at least much more so than it used to be.

I have finished the body of my jumper, I don't think I have shown it yet. It is a simple top down, seamless Aran weight and I am striping it to use up 2 random yarns.. I hope to get another one out of a bag of yarn that I found lurking in my stash. I would have sent it off to my sister but her box was just under the 10 Kg so there was no chance. Now I am rather pleased at that, I look forward to trying it on, it will be a welcome addition to my everyday wardrobe.

We decided to have an early night last night and watch a film, ha ha. After about 30 minutes the SO shook me awake and I put my knitting down, took off my specs and went back to sleep. This morning I woke at 5.30, which fast became 6.30 as I put the clocks on an hour, feeling as fit as a fiddle.

On that note I think it is time to put this down and pick my knitting up and get the sleeves done.

                               TTFN                           Pam

Saturday 30 March 2019

The beast bit me.

The beast being Sciatica, the first bad attack for a while. it meant that yesterday passed in a blur and I am still a bit foggy this morning. I had to resort to painkillers, as well as a hot water bottle and a heat pad, and they always leave me feeling off balance.
I have only set myself one task for today, apart from a load of washing that is pegged out, and that is my living room window. The nets are on the line, the curtains have been out for an airing after a good shake and after my cuppa the window will get a clean. Paintwork, recess, sill and of course the glass, although that bit will be after lunch when the sun moves round.
I use an old toothbrush to go in all the nooks and crannies, it does a grand job, and makes all the difference.

I have a sewing project all ready to go, the bits are cut out and the wadding has been attached to the outer fabric. It will be a project bag for a gift so I want to get it done tomorrow.

We had an Iffits and leftovers dinner last night, flat mushrooms stuffed with the left over Cajun Rice, mixed with some grated strong cheddar, and then baked in my mini oven for about 20 minutes. They were delicious served with a green salad and very filling. It will be a similar tale tonight, this time jacket potatoes filled with the left over Sloppy Joe mix and steamed cabbage. I feel that salad would be more appropriate but I have none and am not driving whilst feeling foggy so cabbage it is, not a hardship as we both like cabbage, I will cook it in a little butter with some onion and stir a handful of curly parsley through at the end.
There will be no pudding as we will not want or need it after all that.

I have had a little look online and have found a class, for November, on turning raw fleece into spun yarn. I have not booked yet as I may go to Wonder Wool just to see the people offering the course. it is a long way off and November can be a treacherous month for weather. I have cleaned raw fleece in the past and right now am not too concerned about learning to card it. I am impatient to get to the spinning.

Always in a hurry, in fact since retiring from paid employment I seem to be more in a hurry than ever. Now that my time is essentially my own I do not want to waste a second of it.

The SO is as bad, once he starts a job he is totally focused upon getting it finished, with the caveat that it has to be done properly, no slip shod bodge it and scarper about him.

The dogs are lying sprawled across the kitchen door mat enjoying the sunshine, I will have to winkle them off it in an hour or they will be roasting in their skins. I have my window to do and I may just find the wherewithal to make a new runner for the sill, fog permitting, I have a couple but would like a change of colour and pattern, it does not use much fabric and I do have lots to choose from.

Our wonderful group of toddlers MP,s are making a hash of running the country, I caught some of it yesterday and it seems that not one of them is interested in serving the country, just in braying their own opinion as loud as possible. Like many of us I have ceased to care whether we leave or stay, I am just sick to the back teeth with it all. I am an act now and think later person and  believe that in Theresa May,s position I would stand up and tell them to "pee or get off the potty" and resign instantly.
I feel that the mistake was made 2 years ago with the referendum, it should have stipulated that there had to be a majority of  ? % or nothing would change. 'nuff said on that subject, just my thoughts and grumblings on the matter. I am far more concerned about how many more frosts we may have, and how soon I can get my veg plants in the ground and the seeds for the more tender plants in.

                        TTFN                                    Pam

Thursday 28 March 2019


What an amazing boost it has given me to finish my list. There are still too many project bags full of WIPs hanging about, I did find 3 more in my big sort out.

I also had a bonus space acquisition, remember the air fryer that I was wittering on about? Well today it is going to a new home, I happened to mention it to a neighbour and friend yesterday and she is coming to collect it this afternoon.
Win Win, she wants one, I have one and do not want it.
She gets it and I get the space,
no no no, I have no plans to fill that gap. I will just enjoy the lightness of another thing gone.

I was so tired last night, I fell into bed before 10 and did not move till 5:30 this morning, that is almost 2 nights sleep for me. The dogs were tired also as they did not stir when I walked past them, they have been trailing round the house behind me for the past few busy days. They hate to miss anything.

I have done a mile walk with Leslie Sansone this morning, and feel so much the better for it, I have not done one for 3 days as there has been so much running up and down stairs and backwards and forwards from room to room. I simply would not take the 15 minutes out, I just knew that it would interrupt my mission and probably add another day.

Today I will be mainly catching up on the ignored chores, I may have to remove cobwebs from the vacuum cleaner.

Then on Friday I want to bottom Francesca,s room, give it a bit of a spruce up while I cast my Eagle Eyes over the contents. There are a few things that have been dumped put carefully in there for future consideration. Well I consider that if we have lived without them since they slipped in there, they are no longer in need of consideration, they need removing. From the house not the room, that is.

The curtains are a dark navy with a flower pattern, they are lovely but they dominate the space. The window is quite wide and almost floor to ceiling, I feel that a lighter colour would open out the space, a blind will block out the street light which is only a few steps away. I have already decided to make Roman blinds for our room and the living room so a third will be no problem. The Brucie Bonus is that they are all the same size so I can have an assembly line set up.
There is also a strong possibility that I can use stash fabrics and only have to buy lining. We will see, it is a little way off yet.

Last nights dinner was great, there are leftovers for lunch today and Friday, yummy yum yum. I have all the ingredients ready for tonight, Sloppy Joe,s from the Pinch of Nom. I will be emulating Jane Gammons version and adding the peppers to the mix and serving with pasta.
The SO is burning calories faster than he can eat them and needs the carbs. me? well I have been busy as well. I intend to get a 2 mile walk with Leslie in later so the carbs will be most welcome.

There has been very little knitting, too tired to even look at it, but I have been churning out the Grannies. I would love to get the blanket finished in good time, I will need some more cream Stylecraft special dk yarn but can get that almost anywhere.

On that note I better cut this yarn short, the dogs are waiting for their breakfast, and I quite fancy some myself. The lentil and quinoa pancakes today, flavoured with cinnamon and vanilla and some apple grated in to the mix. I did add just a sprinkle of Buckwheat to the mix to stop the boredom element creeping in.

                           TTFN                          Pam

PS. Oh My Word, I have just seen that Lucy of Attic 24 has a new blanket. The Dune blanket.
I LOVE it.
I WANT one.
I will be buying the yarn pack as soon as it is released.
I better get a wiggle on with my grannies. 

Just saying.
Pam xx

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Wham bam

The list, she is finished.

The fabric has been moved. A storage unit has gone and a second one has been re purposed elsewhere. Cue a happy dance.

Many plastic storage boxes are going to a new home, I dare not hang on to them for fear of slowly filling them back up.

Some books have been bagged up to go to Tesco, they have a fund raising book sale in out local store now.

I found things that I have not seen for ages. I also found the odd muscle that has not been used for ages!

I have a warm glow of smugness at getting it done in 2 days but once I had started I could not rest till it was done.

I have my new specs, they feel very strange and I can see the frame, that is quite disconcerting. I like them though and so does the SO, a Brucie Bonus indeed.

Bum, I have just twigged that I missed the Sewing Bee, thank goodness it was on to record. I may not be watching it today though I have far too much to do. I am looking a Freddo Easter Egg for Francesca, I will be ringing round in a little while to see if I can locate one, there are 2 Asda stores, 2 huge branches of Tesco and 2 huge Morrison,s within 30 - 40 minutes drive. If none of them have it in stock it will be an online purchase, fingers crossed that it will not come to that as the mark up is little short of obscene.
I searched Neath yesterday and could not even find a Freddo bar never mind an Egg.

My latest crop of Coriander is disappointing, it has not opened it,s frilly leaves yet but is going over. I will be using it tomorrow, so curry it will be. Cauliflower and chickpea I think, we like that and I have not made it for a while.
Tonight we are having Dirty Cajun Rice from the Pinch of Nom book.
Oh, that reminds me a result of my shuffling around is that all my cook books are now together, they have been spread over 3 places till today. More happy dancing.

Fast forward 2 hours.

Job,s a good un. made 1 call, the eggs were in stock. The dogs had a whistle stop walk, luckily Ben was in the mood to trot along.

I am back from Asda with an egg for Francesca. I took the opportunity to stock up with their wholemeal strong flour, it is almost half the price of Tesco,s and has a slightly coarser texture, which we prefer.
A win win situation. I am about to have a cuppa (and a bit of sewing bee) and a quick sandwich before finishing up the sewing room. A few things to move, a shelf unit to come out and a vacuum through.

Yippee ky yay!!.

                          TTFN                                    Pam

Tuesday 26 March 2019

We have a Borrower.

He or she has very specific tastes or needs, top of the list is pens, second is notebooks. But the latest is quite weird, dinner forks, not dessert forks which we hardly ever use. Oh No, it is dinner forks, 3 of them have gone missing, 2 from the set and 1 that I use for mixing things.

I have even moved the sofa,s and looked under them, to no avail, down the sides of the cushions AND in the sewing room!

Nothing doing.

I have looked in a few shops to buy 2 single forks, Huh all they have are nasty little things with no shine and rough edges. I will not buy a set of cutlery so it is the charity shops next. 

I do have a canteen of silver cutlery,  but the pieces are heavy and of course need cleaning after use. Not just washing up but proper silver cleaning stuff, unless of course you forgo any sort of acidic ingredient. I do use them but only occasionally. Yes I could sell it but it was a gift and I am reluctant to part with something that Francesca may want in the future.

Any way, lets get to the nitty gritty. My list from yesterday.

I am chuffed to report that the yarn has been tamed, every scrap apart from WIP,s is in my under sofa storage. 

And, the fabric has been washed and is on the line now, in about 10 minutes I will get it in to iron.

Once that is done I have to go out to pick up my new spectacles. On my return, after a cuppa, I aim to start on the fabric. My yarn was in clear plastic boxes in a wooden storage unit (a bit like the Ikea units but hand built). These boxes will hold all my small cuts, 1 metre and smaller, I will be able to see at a glance what I have. These are currently living in a wicker chest of drawers, this will hold all my fabric that is in a bolt and the small drawers will have my notions that do not fit on my hanging board.

The end result is that the fabric bolt storage unit will be empty and can go. Woo Hoo.

It is going to be another busy day, yesterday I was up and down the stairs, backwards and forwards to the washing line, ironing and putting things away. all on top of my usual jobs. I fell into bed before 10 last night and was asleep before my head hit the pillow, thinking back it could have been before I got into bed.

I did not do my walk at home work out, there was no time to fit it in but I think that I did just as much walking/running as it was.

On that note I have to love you and leave you, get that fabric ironed and go fetch my new specs. They are a total change for me, coloured plastic frames.

                        TTFN                                     Pam

Monday 25 March 2019

I have to get a phone.

I gave my last phone the heave ho when it started playing up, the SO gave me his old one but it was far too complicated and at the time I did not really need one.

While I was playing with the laptop I found that I had an IG account from when it first started. 
Hmm I thought.

Animal, Ape, Black, Clever, Face, Hands

I may be as clued up as he is.

So after a little look on the net I downloaded it to the laptop. RATS,
you can only add posts via a mobile.
I rather like the IG stories, they are short and sweet, do not take ages to type and I do follow a few peeps.

The upshot is that I will have a phone again, the wonderful Francesca has one that she will bring next week, as she is a bit of a geek when it comes to gadgets she will help me to get it set up.
I may be a bit nervous as it probably cost a bomb (in my view, but she gets a new one every year from work and this will be last years).

If I suddenly go awol over Easter you will know that I am lying down in a darkened room with a damp flannel on my forehead.

The SO says that I will be able to take and put videos on here. HA. he may well be able, me I am not so sure. I will try though, I like the little clips that Ilona, Life after Money blog, puts on her blog at times.

I have rabbited on about very little so far. 

That is because I have been busy. I had another look through the yarn today, yes already. Let me brag and say that a big box was filled to the brim with yarn, patterns and magazines ready to go off to my sister.
By 7:00am this morning.

I am just waiting to see if she wants my collection of straight needles, then the box will be sealed, labelled and sent off.

My aims are.
A, by the end of this week all my yarn will be in my under sofa storage. 
B, the fabric stash will be tidied properly.
C, my fabric that I want to make into a dress and a skirt wil be washed and pressed ready to cut out.
D, one bit of fabric storage will be emptied and removed from the sewing room.
That is a tall order I know, but it has to be done. I am feeling more and more overwhelmed by all the "stuff" that I have. The fabric is all good quality and is all earmarked for projects.
BUT, having it looking at me when ever I am in the room makes me anxious to use it up. That would be fine if all that I did was sew, I knit and crochet and like to be in the garden. 
I have the dogs to walk and would not give that up for an extra day in the week, never mind all the tea in China.
I can not be doing with pressure from any source, I had enough of that when I was in paid employment.
btw, I try not to say "when I was working" as I have not stopped. It is just that I am self employed now as a home maker. The pay is nill but the pleasure factor is off the scale, I do include all my crafting as home making because I can.

My head is still bursting at the seams with ideas and by clearing away all the distractions I hope to make space, both physical and mental, to actually try some of these ideas out.

A few are very practical and some are just candy floss. For instance I was watching an old movie a few days ago, while crocheting some grannies, and saw a bedroom that had a lot of white lace. The bed head was framed with it and there was more used around the room. My sewing room has a bright red blackout blind but the drapes are white lace and I love it. 
It is not practical but there WILL be lace round my bed, and there may well be lace at the windows with a blind, just not red.

Now that I have waffled on so long I have to go, Herbie is ready for another walk. Ben has had his one walk for the morning and has grabbed his favourite spot on the sofa and is snoring gently.

The second load of washing is whirling round and the first needs pegging out.

Till tomorrow, all being well.

                             TTFN                                 Pam

PS we did not have a roast yesterday, we just were not hungry enough so it is roast tonight.

Sunday 24 March 2019

Is it a Dog or is it a Parrot?

Perhaps it is just a daft dog who wants to be a parrot when he grows up.

Almost there.

Made it!

Ben is blanking all the foolishness out.

A brief moment in time, in our home this morning. BTW the SO has had a close hair cut. All my fault, I stupidly bought him a set of clippers and he snuck off to play with them. It will grow back and then I will take charge of said clippers.

The tights that are draped over the SO,s arm are Herbies favourite toy, once there is a snag or hole I bundle them up with lots of knots. He spends hours throwing them around and working at the knots, once they are untied he brings them to me for more knots.

The sun is shining like a summers day and the lawn is scheduled to have a trim as well, not quite as close as the SO though.

I have a couple of plants to get into the garden, they have been in pots a bit too long and will be much more comfortable when they can spread their roots around.

Dinner will be roast pork, cauliflower cheese and a tray of roasted mixed root veg, I will take the core out of some small Cox apples and add those to the tray. A lazy way of avoiding making applesauce, I know that it is easy but this way there is no peeling or chopping and no extra pot to wash up. 

Breakfast was a variation on the lentil pancake recipe, I used half and half red lentils and Quinoa, soaked over night then drained. I blitzed them and added a good pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 2 tsp of powdered sweetener.

While that stood for a moment I took the core out of a conference pear and diced it up. I added 3 large spoonfulls of the batter mix to that and tipped it into a lightly oiled pan on medium heat. Spread out it just about covered the base and once it was set,and the base was golden, about 3 minutes, I flipped it over and cooked for another 3 minutes. It was crisp and lacy, full of sweet pear juice and totally lush. We will be having these for pudding with some Greek yogurt quite soon.

I have made them with various combinations of grains and pulses but think that this is the lightest and yummiest.

For a savoury version I will use 2 part Lentils, 1 part Quinoa and 1 part Buckwheat, this combination gives a firmer result that can be wrapped round a filling. I quite fancy filling them with diced veg, softened in a little butter and covered with a creamy tomato sauce and then baked.

I will try it out during the week and keep you posted.

The lawn mower is working and Herbie is dancing round my feet, he really wants to get out and investigate. I will whiz him out for a little walk before he has a freak out fit of excitement.

I hope that you all have a good day, I may have sneakily got a few rounds of knitting done, and made a granny square already this morning.

                   TTFN                                         Pam

Saturday 23 March 2019

Jealous or Practical.

That is a deep question. I watch several knitting, crochet and sewing podcasts. When I find a new one I like to share.
Lately, something to do with my desire to work through the stash perhaps, I have become more aware of the background of some of these.
Walls of yarn, mostly high end and high priced. More than one person could knit in a lifetime, and still more purchases, weekly in many cases.
Shelves groaning under the weight of fabric, all very pretty, that does not change from week to week or month to month. Yet more continues to arrive.

The majority of us keep a stash of some sort. I had a buying spree in my last year of paid employment and enjoyed a few years of sewing, knitting and general crafting without spending anything.

I still like my stash, I like it much more since I have whittled it down. I look forward to seeing it diminish even further this year, and probably next year as well.
Yes I am still buying a little, some would call it a great deal, but all of my purchases this year have been for gifts.
I pulled some of my oldest stash yarns out yesterday and they are going to someone who knits and crochets to keep her hands moving. I am happy that it will be used and not be tucked away for "one day" that may never arrive in my home.

Am I jealous? I think not, I certainly hope not, I do not feel the urge to go out buying. having said that IF I am out, and IF I see some wonderful yarn I may treat myself to some. With my gift list in mind of course.

Am I being Practical? I think so, I certainly hope so. I want to clear at least half my stash storage this year. I have made good inroads and some storage has gone and more should follow within the next few weeks.
I am not judging anybody, each to their own. we have a lot of books, even though a bookcase full has gone to the CS, and we intend to keep them for the moment.
Then there are the DVD,s, many of them, most of which are readily available to watch on Terrestrial TV, Sky, Netflix, Prime and Now TV.
We are reluctant to part with them as it is simple to slide one into the player and have no adverts to contend with. Also some are not available in any other form right now.

Francesca has the same dilemma and partially solved hers by purchasing a couple of cases that hold the discs but not the cases.
I have done that in the past but the issue is disposing of the black plastic. I will ponder upon it.

"In the interest of full disclosure" as the politicians are inclined to say, I will probably be buying a new cook book in the very near future.
Pinch of Nom have a book out and I do use their website for recipes. The only issue that I have are the adverts, reams of them, that you have to plough through. I know that it keeps everything free but I do not have to like it.

I will be in Tesco, in Pontardawe, at some point over the weekend and if it is on the shelf I will pick a copy up. As the branch is fairly small I may have to wait till I go near to a larger store.
Ammanford has a bigger branch but the traffic is a nightmare due to long running road works so I avoid it like the plague.

The sun is glimmering this morning, it would be shining but for the hazy sky. Washing has been pegged out and I am part way through the job list. 

Peeps, I tidied my pattern folders this morning!
It was a scary task but I did it and lived to tell the tale.
The upshot is that I need to buy a couple more ring binders. I have some doubles and some that I will never knit again, these will be going to the CS, the rest will not fit into my binders. mainly because I have put my small but bulky collection of knitting magazines into the binder sleeves. I was fed up with them slithering all over the shop every time that I touched the shelf. 

Now I better get off my btm, before the warm glow of satisfaction at a job done wears off, and get the rest of my chores done and dusted.

I am still doing the Leslie Sansone walk at home workouts, still a different one most days. Sometimes I do a long one and sometimes I do 2 short ones split up through the day. It just depends on how i feel and what I need to get done.

I am sleeping better and awake feeling refreshed and ready to go.

Last nights Thai curry was lovely and tonight we are having whatever my hand alights upon when I go to the freezer in the next few minutes.

                        TTFN                                              Pam


Friday 22 March 2019

Near enough is enough.

I have got everything that I think that I need back on the 'puter. There is still a list of things that were removed (how kind of them to to tell me) but if I don't need them they can stay gone.

I did lose all my bookmarks, but again I have not looked at them for ages so did not need them.

Not much is happening here, some cleaning, washing, cooking all the usual day to day stuff.
I have put some more work into the "sticky socks#2", the little pile of 7 round Granny squares is growing, albeit in fits and starts. I have cast on a jumper using some stash Aran weight yarn. It is a merino and cotton blend so should be wearable for most of the year. Heat waves permitting.

I was watching the lovely Ange on her podcast, YarnNyarn, and she has committed herself to working regularly on her crochet blanket. That gave me a guilt trip and I have decided to emulate and work on my squares most days, if not every day. The basket that holds all the yarn and squares is rather huge so I have found a project bag and put crochet hook and a ball of yarn, Stylecraft special DK, into it. That gives me a small portable project, if I get fed up with using the same colour I can just swap it out for another. 

I have printed off a cardigan pattern, Peggy Sue free on Ravelry, this will be for Francesca and possibly one for me. It is short sleeved and ideal for slipping on over a dress when summer takes a day off and the goosebumps appear.
The other is a paid for pattern, Blakelaw sock pattern by Geordieknits Designs. I recently found the Geordieknits podcast and thought the socks looked good so bought the pattern. 

It is a simple lace pattern so will be ideal TV knitting when a vanilla sock is just not cutting it for me. I usually fall back on Blueberry Waffle or Hermione,s everyday socks and now they are as simple as vanilla.

Dinner tonight is a Thai green curry, lots of ginger and garlic, and I have some wild garlic leaves to stir through rather than coriander. It is as good to ring the changes with my cooking as my knitting.

I feel the need to sew coming on so tomorrow I hope to get some fabric washed for a dress and probably another Hollyburn skirt. I love that pattern and hardly make any other skirt up now.

The dogs have been walked and fed, Ben had a bath this morning and is as shiny as a new penny. Herbie will have one on Sunday when the SO is here, he is as mad as a box of frogs (Herbie, not the SO) once the rinsing starts and I need the help. I wonder if the shower tickles as he doesn't mind the lathering and even lifts his feet to be washed.

On that thought I will be off to get another hours knitting/crochet in. The SO is home and gone for a shower and the coffee is on.

                          TTFN                                  Pam

                      (Somewhat cooler than yesterday)

Thursday 21 March 2019

Back on track.

Fingers crossed.
I had a systems update and it turned the blasted laptop doolally, even allowing for operator stupidity.

I am slowly restoring as much as possible, thank goodness for you tube on the telly.

It took me almost 30 minutes to persuade the printer that it was installed and to tell the laptop that I did want to use the printer installed and not some strange named creature from another dimension.

For a while I was thinking that if I lobbed it across the room and let Herbie have a game it might teach it to behave.

I managed to conjure up some common (HUH very rare) sense and just watch a couple of how to videos and follow along.
Almost like painting by numbers.

I will be back tomorrow once I have cooled down a few hundred degrees and regained some calm.

                                  TTFN                   Pam 

                          (AKA hot and bothered of Cwmgors)

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Farmer,s weather

Raining during the night and dry in the day, not too shabby for the gardeners amongst us either.

A couple of days have slipped past, nothing much has happened really, I have knitted, searched for patterns, looked at the yarn stash in despair oh, and done the boring but essential household jobs.
Yesterday was a full on washing day, the sun was out, there was a decent and gentle breeze, and everything that was in the washing basket went through the machine. All line dried, even the door curtain that came down just because, it was a great feeling to tuck it all away.

Then the SO came home, showered and left another full has been washed this morning and is ready to peg out. It is still a bit misty here, there is blue sky showing in patches, so it can wait a little while.

I am keeping up with the walk at home every day, I have been chopping and changing the workouts, I do not want to get bored. Yesterday I did a 2 mile "power walk" as well as up and down the stairs, in and out to the washing line and walking the dogs. This morning I did a new 1 mile walk and will repeat it later on. This one had lots of people taking part who were not super slim, much more realistic.

Dinner last night was chilli and garlic bread, I stuffed as many vegetables into it as possible and some mixed beans. My dried chillies are going strong (really strong, 1 is plenty) and hopefully will last until I have fresh ones on the plants.
Tonight we are having Mushroom Something, a new recipe that has not been born yet. I have had a rummage in the fridge and it will be another veggy meal, this time with ginger and garlic and a decent amount of lemon to cut through the earthiness of the mushrooms. There will also be courgettes involved, I do not want to waste a thing.

I managed to have a quick tidy round in the pantry this morning, I keep my kitchen hand towels etc in there and they had begun to wander slightly. All is regimented now, I had been through a little phase of "put it down" rather than "put it away". I need to nip that in the bud, if not prune it right out.

I am still pining to do some spinning.
I am still space poor.
I have had a very good look at my stash yarns.
I did not cry, nearly though.

I bought a huge amount of Acrylic Aran weight yarn very, very cheaply a couple(ish) years ago. There was the idea of a thicker blanket floating round my head.
The problem was that I bought baby Aran in pale shades, not at all my cup of tea, as that was what was on sale.


I sorted it out, looked at patterns, sniffled a bit, went on Ravelry for more pattern inspiration, sniffled a bit more and threw the towel in.

I will not be using that yarn.

It will not be wasted though, my sister is a voracious knitter and crocheter, she loves the paler shades, she makes things for friends and neighbours as well as family. It will be in a box and on its way to her as soon as I get it packed away.

I figure that the space gained will allow me a drop spindle and some fibre to play with.
It will take something much more radical to make room for a wheel.

I will not let her know as we all love happy post, and if it is a surprise it is all the better.

I do have another surprise parcel to get packed and despatched, and as I am taking the car in for it,s MOT this morning I can get them both sent off. The garage is just near the local shop that is a drop off centre for a courier firm. Courier is by far the cheapest, and mostly the quickest,way to send a parcel.
The Post office has priced itself out of my business.

All those words and I have not really said anything much, they have been stored up since my last post and just had to escape.

A bit of knitting,

Francesca's cowl, I have chopped the point off so folded it for a better look.

It is very pretty in real life, soft and silky. perfect for a cool spring morning. It may well become an Easter gift and a warmer one will be made for the winter.

The Chunky, Furry, sooo soft cowl. Mine, all mine. I wore it last night to walk Herbie and it was super warm, super light and not a hint of tickle under my chin. Possibly because I made it deep enough to pull up over my chin.
Much as I love it I will not be repeating the exercise, sewing the ends in was an experience, it took me 20 minutes to find a needle with an eye larger enough, and joining the new skeins in was not easy, or tidy.

The new "sticky yarn" sock, I used Kay Jones,s short row garter stitch heel pattern for the first time. It was so simple, because it was so well explained
The second sock is 10 rows away from the heel, I hope to get it completed this week.
I will be ripping out the toe on the first sock and adding a few rounds to the foot. A foolish mistake on my part, I did not use the "umbrella toe" in the pattern, just my preferred wedge toe and of course it is shorter. No big deal, I will pick up the stitches just before the decrease row before ripping the toe back. I have plenty of yarn so no yarn chicken will be involved.

Now I need to get those parcels made up and print the labels off, they will be sent off today if I get them dropped off before lunch.

                     TTFN                                         Pam

Monday 18 March 2019

Still Wet in Wales.

It has been a few wet days, yesterday being the exception until
around 2:30 when it hammered down.

We have had a flurry of activity here, people, dogs, general house
things and normal living.

We did have a bit of a film day on Saturday and watched the 2 Deadpool films back to back. Mad, ridiculous and funny, a good way to ignore the weather.

Lots of knitting was done, the photo,s were very blurry so I will take some more later.

The Bertie Botts Cowl is finished and is blocking, I did 8 less rows on the patterned section as Francesca is shorter in the torso and neck than me.

Remember the sticky yarn that I knitted socks with, well in the interests of knitting up the stash I cast on another sock. a single sock top down with a short row garter stitch heel. It is working up really well considering the trouble I had on the first pair. One at a time has helped, there is nothing for it to stick to, but it is slower going than my normal pace.
The first one is around halfway along the foot, if I watch a couple of catch up episodes of Silent Witness tonight I may well get it finished. Or at least to the toe decreases.

I still have the chunky Cowl on the needles and will (hopefully) finish that before casting on the second sock. I still have 3 long standing WIPs to sort out, it will happen at some point I just need to be in the zone.

No sewing, that is possibly because my sewing room overlooks the mountain and it has been wreathed in rain and mist so is very uninspiring. I may have to bring the small machine into the kitchen and get it set up. The table is big enough but I do try to keep the sewing confined to one place, the knitting and crochet tends to migrate far too readily to all the house. 
I had to move 2 project bags from the dresser this morning and 1 from the bedroom yesterday. These are future knitting with pattern, yarn and needles all assembled .
I discovered that I need would like at least 2 more fixed circulars in 2.25 mm, 80 and 100 cm.  I will add them to my wish list for a month or 2 and see how I have managed till then. I did have 3 in my stash but gave 1 away and promptly sat on one and broke it, they were all Knit Pro Symfonie. I use these on splitty or very slippery yarn rather than metal ones as they do provide much more grip.

Some of my time has been occupied with finding new podcasts to watch. I stumbled upon Geordieknits and am watching from the beginning. At the same time I am looking through her subscription list, the Lonely knitter, who says that she lives on the most Easterly bit of the UK, I think that must be Cromer or very close. Suffolk Socks, who has an online yarn shop and is a marvellous dyer. The Hairy Sheep a Mum and young daughter duo from North Lincolnshire, who have 2 podcast episodes up and SCR1TNO hosted by Sharon Richards. no idea where she lives as I have only just had a little peak of her first episode. I am slowly watching through all the episodes, except for Suffolk Socks who I used to follow and have no idea why I stopped. It may well have been when I got the new laptop, my data transfer was not ideal. There may have been some snarling and growling going on.

There are many more on her list but I am only watching the UK podcasts. I have nothing against the rest, many of them are on my list also, it is just nice to watch somebody whose yarn choices are readily available without having to pay customs charges, VAT and the Robbing Post Office who charge you to pick up your parcel.

There was nearly a rant there. That charge is guaranteed to make my hackles rise and transform me into an approximation of a Rabid Dog.
I do not mind the Customs charges too much, they do an amazing job of keeping lots of really bad stuff out of the country. I do not even mind VAT too much, it is something that we have to live with so I suck it up. At least I used to until the monetary value boundary before you had to pay it was dropped to next to nothing. Since then I have not bought in anything from overseas.

Calm down, Breathe slowly, think about chocolate cake and other good things. 

There, that's better. I am calm again.  

And there is the sun, casting it,s golden rays over the house and garden. Woo Hoo.

Perhaps it will stay for a while, the forecast was very woolly this morning, full of if's and maybe's. Why they can not just say that it will be a mixture of everything and impossible to predict correctly.

On that note, with an empty coffee cup beside me, I think that it is time to kick start the rest of the day. Herbie wants his second walk, the long one. The bed needs remaking and there is a little washing up to do.
Dinner will be a bean and veg chilli with home made garlic bread and there may be a cheeky rhubarb pudding to follow. 

I hope that you all had a good weekend, mine was great, uneventful but great.
A quick note for Cherie K the yarn would be fine for socks, in fact that is what they sell it for. It is really soft so I would use a sturdier yarn for heels and toes. I have 30 grams left if you would like to to try. put a comment in with you address (I will not publish of course) and I will send it off.
I will be replying to comments later and reading through my blog list but I am going to be goody two shoes today and get the chores done first.

                               TTFN                                  Pam

Thursday 14 March 2019

Still down the rabbit hole.

The cowl shaped rabbit hole,and very cosy it is down here.
I cast on number 2 yesterday and have 5 rows to do before joining to knit in the round.

I know this is a bit blurry, I had a mad Herbie dancing round me as he wanted desperately to see what I was doing.
I will take another later after the pattern has begun.

This yarn is from Little French Meadow, the colour is Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans.
I will be following the original stitch pattern after all as the yarn is such a random mix. Most other stitch patterns would be lost in the colours. 
Once again this is not a true representation of the colours, it is far less blue and has quite a lot of pink, orange and cream in it. perhaps it will show up better when it is a bit bigger and on a different background.
The yarn is so soft that it makes me want to hang onto it for myself. It will go into the gift box as it already has a recipient, Francesca, it will look lovely under her grey winter coat.

We had a good dry day yesterday and lots of washing went out to dry. At some point during the night we had heavy rain, within the last 30 minutes the sky has started to clear. There is still some fine rain and the forecast is for lots more of it BUT it does look promising. As I typed that last sentence the brightness has diminished and a grey wash is slowly covering the sky.

Last night,s dinner was really good, the pasta sauce was the last of a batch made in January, the flavour had developed well and the crunchy topping was a great contrast to the soft pasta hidden beneath it.

Tonight we are having beef casserole, also from a batch cooking session in January, in a Yorkshire Pudding. No other carbs needed, just some lightly steamed cabbage. We like cabbage. There are still some brussels sprouts in the freezer so I may get some of those out as well.

The weather should be grim till Sunday and then much better from Monday, I think that means knitting time will be abundant. There should be some sewing time in there as well, fingers crossed I have a stack of lavender bags cut out.

There is a small shopping list, but nothing that I am desperate for, and the house jobs are all up to date.

The only thing that I am behind on is getting the kettle on for a brew. The dogs have been walked and fed, dinner is thawing out, well the Y.pud mix is in the jug freshly made this morning. I find that it rises so much better after a rest in the fridge, I just give it a quick whisk up before it goes into the oven.

                         TTFN                                     Pam

Wednesday 13 March 2019

A Finish.

The eye test went as well as I expected, a jump in my precription both in long and near sight lens. I have both prescriptions in the one lens, it saves having to swap specs around and is much better for me.

So that was 60 minutes and many £,ss that I said goodbye to. 
On a more positive note the optometrist thinks that by my next examination the cataract in my right eye will be mature enough to be removed. Blissful thought as even with the new specs that eye cannot be brought up as well as the left. It is because of the detached retina that I had many years ago. Apparently any surgery on the eye means that there is a higher chance of cataract forming and it will grow relatively fast.

Enough. Let us see something really positive.

Tah Dah.

Paris in Berlin.

I have remembered that I bought the yarn at Wonder Wool,almost 2 years ago, when I wound it into a cake there was a knot in the yarn so I made 2 cakes and promptly lost the label.
It needs a soak and a block, the yarn is a touch scratchy on my neck. I am a delicate flower you know. I have 15 grams left over, and as I weighed the cake before starting the garter border I know that it took 16 grams to finish it.
I have the yarn picked out ready for the next incarnation and will be casting it on later today. Fingers crossed.

It fits really well under a coat and is very warm and snuggly, there is enough bulk to be warm but not enough to feel "lumpy" with the coat done up. 

Since starting this I have seen a few other cowls with a similar look but I will not be buying the patterns. What I will do is have a browse through my stitch library books and see if there is anything that jumps out at me. It should  be a simple matter to keep the increase spacing with a different stitch pattern.

Watch This Space.

If you hear the sound of wailing and rending of fabric, pulling of hair etc, you will know that was not as simple as I anticipated.

Walking at home is progressing well, I wake up with a glow of anticipation as to which plan I will be doing today.
Yesterday was the walk with a boost, today was week 1 of a fitness plan. That included some work with weights and some stretching on my yoga mat.
Mmm, need to get the cowl soaked and blocked soon, I use my yoga mat for blocking rather than having to find space to store designated blocking mats.

Dinner last night was home cooked ham, (poached) eggs and chips. lovely crisp oven baked chips that I tossed in just a tsp of olive oil. A green salad on the side and we were well fed.

I did enjoy it but there will be no chips for a couple of weeks, too much of a good thing....and all that jazz.

Tonight it will be a pasta bake with a crunchy top of cubed wholemeal  bread, seeds and cheese. I have the heel of a loaf to use up, I saved it for this dish, and I will use wholemeal penne pasta.

The weather forecast says that it should brighten up as the day goes on followed by goodness how many days of rain. Wonderful, I have plenty to keep me occupied and happy, though the housework does not really figure in that list.

I will do my chores first.
I will do my chores first.
I will try to do my chores first. 

Right, I WILL make a start before the sentence changes beyong recognition. Just like Chinese Whispers I can see the last version along the lines of "I will leave the chores for another day."

                     TTFN                                          Pam

Monday 11 March 2019

I blame James Martin.

Yesterday started out at the double and just got busier as the morning progressed. At around 11-30 we sat down with a cuppa and put the telly on to catch  Simon Rimmer and his guests. James was amongst them and we watched him cooking Plaice in batter, with scraps or crispies (depending on where you live). 
As one we said "my mouth is watering, I could just eat that"

Now in Neath there is an award winning chippy "Shillingfords" and they cook on Sundays.

We have never cleaned up and left the house so fast, at least not for a long time.

Yes, you guessed it. Our plan for a gammon, jacket potato and salad dinner was shelved. We had battered Plaice and chips.

The fish was cooked to perfection, light crispy batter that crunched between the teeth and then melted deliciously. Firm white flakes of fish, sweet as a nut, with no clumps of half raw batter mix. 
The chips,however, were not to our taste.They were cooked but quite soft and pale whereas we like ours to be darker and crisp, they were also not as hot as we expected. 
It was our first visit there and because of the non existent parking will quite likely be the last.

Come the summer our local chippy will be open on Sundays, although we do not intent for this to be anything more than a one off.

Any way, on to some knitting. I am working on the Paris in Berlin shawl by Joji Locatelli, it is a very easy knit and I am loving it.
I have to say here that no knitting (or crafting of any kind) happened yesterday. On our return we carried on being busy both outside and in.

This is using up the remnants of another project, using a nameless yarn, in a soft semi solid yellow/orange/cream colour, it will be mine, all mine. 
I will take the next shot against a dark background in the hopes of showing the true colour. 
I have only just completed 27 rows of the main pattern and find it so addictive. I have stash yarn picked out for one each for Francesca and L and am inpatient to get started on those. The pattern is really simple and so easy to follow simply by reading the knitting. It starts off in the flat then once the first textured section is completed you join in the round and start the main body. The idea is that is is a cowl that simulates a shawl in the front. All the gorgeous drape at the front neckline with no dangling points to be tucked away.

Now although i have lots more to ramble on about I need to get in the greenhouse and prepare the side beds for plants and seeds.

Tomorrow, mid morning, I have an eye test booked. It was the first one available but will mean that nothing much happens here till after lunch. Perhaps I will be able to get the next round of lavender bags cut out.

                       TTFN                                         Pam