Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Dentist and a Reward

I have had quite a busy week again.  Lots of errands to run and a dental appointment for my annual check up.  My toothy pegs are healthy, apparently, but my dentist wasn't busy so he decided to do an impromptu scale and polish on them.  As I'm getting on a bit in years my teeth are quite sensitive (receding gums, don't you know) so a simple scale & polish can be a bit nerve wracking...ouch!  Anyway, my teeth are no more even than they were before (that's another story)  but they are bargain at £18.80, I think.  God bless the NHS.

As a reward, I got home just as the courier delivered this exciting parcel....

In my re-discovered love of knitting I had been browsing the internet and found a lovely supplier on  Lots of their yarn was on offer and I succumbed to some soft chunky knit which was reduced from over £5 a ball to...wait for it.. £1  !!  I bought 10 balls in each of two colours...

I am hoping there will be enough to make a couple of waistcoat/gilet type garments to keep me warm during the cold weather to come.  I did order a pattern from elsewhere (fleabay) but have been sent the wrong one so it has to go back...doh...

I also succumbed to a single ball of this Bouffle chunky yarn.  It cost just over £4 but I'm hoping to find a pattern for a simple hat to knit with it. A free pattern came with it but it's a crochet one and I can't crochet :(  The yarn was delivered in a lovely drawstring bag which I can surely find another use for, Christmas maybe?

Even the pattern I ordered for another project came in a sturdy board envelope...

The packaging from Loveknitting cannot be faulted and at the bottom of the pink bag were these!  How lovely!

(BTW I have not been sponsored, these opinions are entirely my own unsolicited comments)

Now does anyone know where I can find a free pattern for a simple hat to knit with my Bouffle yarn please?  A turn back brim would be great, if possible.  My skills in adapting patterns in a different yarn are too risky to try and a trawl around the internet has so far drawn a blank. Help! It's already officially Autumn!

Have a great day whatever you have planned and thanks everso for popping in x

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

On Arachnids and Happy Crafting

Sunday turned out to be a lovely crafting day as promised.  I had the day to myself from 9.30am until 5pm. I rang dear FiL at 11am as usual then was totally undisturbed all day...bliss...

I made a start on some masculine cards which are often a bit tricky but The Eagles at high volume in the background certainly helped! Does anyone else like The Eagles?  I often go to see the tribute band Talon when they play at our local theatre.  They are fab!  Anyway, family cards made and a few to spare....

After my lunchtime soup I sat a bit and finished off some baby knitting.  I always leave the sewing up until last as I don't really enjoy that bit although it was satisfying to finally see the finished articles.  The patterns all come from Marianna's blog, lazydaisydays, she is a very clever (and generous) lady. They will all be going to charity.....

I have received a message from a very kind lady called Sharon who has just found me and who has offered to finish my little fabric dog for me and to post it back.  What a wonderfully kind gesture.  Unfortunately, Sharon, frustration got the better of me and I 'disposed' of the little creature only last week after another futile attempt to assemble him only to realise what I had done...I had cut him out with no seam allowance...doh...(insert a blushing face smilie)  Your kindness has, however, brightened up (several of)  my days, thank you, thank you x

Venomous Spiders

Although I can't call myself an arachnophobe , I certainly don't like big spiders as they can definitely bite!  Small ones are no threat and I scoop them up and throw them outside quite easily but articles I have read lately warn of spiders now entering homes to get warm, and to mate, and there is one venomous spider called a False Widow...what?...aaarrgghh!  I have become very vigilant suddenly :/

DH has just come in for some HM potato & leek soup for lunch and has handed me these which he picked up whilst clearing the park.....

Other neighbours swear that placing conkers beside vents and doorways, even windows will help prevent spiders from entering.  I have my doubts but conkers or bonkers, by jove, I will try it out.  Has anyone else heard about this?  Does it actually work?

Right! Lunch things cleared away, back to card making I think :)

Have a lovely day, whatever you are doing x

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Mistakes and Cakes

Well who would have thought I could show these today.....

Today dawned very cold and misty, so misty that it obliterated the view of the distant trees that I usually see as I open the curtains.  The heating had clicked on at 13 degrees.  Autumn is racing towards us, or so I thought.  By the time I had done the food shopping it was so warm that I had removed my fleece and opened the car windows.  Right, I thought, washing here we come! Two loads later, flapping in the breeze, I decided to put up the new bedroom curtains.  The ones I have had up all summer are floor length but we have a radiator under the window so winter ones need to be sill length so as not to block the heat.  I had ordered some cheap cream curtains off eBay and they arrived yesterday so today they needed pressing and hanging.  The word 'cheap' should have alerted me. BIG mistake :/  They are practically transparent.  Luckily we do have venetian blinds too although, unluckily, the mechanism is broken so they stay fixed at half open (or half closed depending how you look at it) As I was trying to put the rail back I fell off the dressing stool that I was standing on (insert an embarrassed face smilie) falling backwards and landing on the bed with a bounce, knickers akimbo and legs pointing skywards...doh! I must make a mental note to get undressed and dressed in the dark for a while until I think what to do about the curtains.

I realised that we have run out of cake, a catastrophe as far as OH is concerned so made a mincemeat cake, the recipe for which was shared recently by the lovely Sue from Our Quiet Life in Suffolk. It turned out really well despite my cake tin being 8" instead of 7.  It just cooked a little quicker at 1hr 5mins.

It's beautifully moist and tasty....yes, I know....I HAD to try it to make sure it was palatable :)

Tomorrow is going to be a craft day for me. OH will be at work and the family otherwise occupied so I should have no interruptions.....I hope....

I seem to have acquired a new follower but I can't tell who you are.  Welcome anyway!

Have a lovely weekend folks, whatever you have planned x

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Upcycling And Reality


Did anyone watch the TV prog last night Money For Nothing ?  It showed a young woman rummaging through people's rubbish at a local tip trying to find something to upcycle and sell on for a profit.  She chose a cast iron soil pipe (yes, really...), an old blanket chest and a box of china.  She spent £600 on having the soil pipe converted into a lounger which she sold on for £400 profit, and £400 on getting the blanket chest made into a kind of sideboard making £100 profit.  This was so unrealistic for the average viewer because who would risk that kind of cash upcycling something like that with no guarantee of selling it at the end. Anyway, you would need all kinds of trade contacts even to find good craftsmen to make the changes for you. Interesting but not a realistic representation of how to make money for 'nothing' as per the title of the prog.

The third item, the box of china, was a classic.  When I first saw the china being lifted from the newspaper wrapping my first thought was why was this stuff not being given to a charity shop?  What a waste! This young woman took the box home and just 'happened' to find a Clarice Cliff Bowl and ladle at the bottom.  Pull the other one....she had spotted it long before she took it She sold it on fleabay for £50.

I have to say, it was great that they gave all profits back to the original owners, although even that was not the whole truth.  The bowl sold on fleabay would have incurred a £5 selling fee plus a fee from Paypal if it was used to pay for it, plus packaging costs etc......

What did you think of the prog?  It should be on again next week, I think.

Bills, Bills, and more Bills

Crikey, they have started popping through the letterbox once again.  Despite trying to cut back, our electricity bill for the last 6 months is £216.16   We hardly have the TV on, just a couple of hours on most evenings (sometimes not at all)  and we use a battery powered radio so it has to be the washing machine, tumble dryer and computer. I HATE scratchy towels so always tumble dry those (insert a guilty face icon) I just don't know how to cut down further without making our home damp and our lives a misery.... Thinking cap ON.....

The solution must be to raise a bit more cash.  I hope to increase sales of my crafty makes and will be looking for other ways of selling them like table top sales, for example.  Car boot sales are a tricky thing to do alone so they are not an option. There is free listing on fleabay for the next couple of days too so I need to have a good rummage!

The push is on now too to get back to economical, healthy, home cooked meals.  With that in mind I am meal planning properly and sticking to the plan.  I think that we eat far better meals and with more variety when I do a proper written plan.  Don't you?

Have a great day whatever you are doing x

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Summer Sun and Devon Friendliness

It was really strange to write a post about the end of summer, to go away for a few days and then have the best weather we've had all summer! It was so lovely that we extended our break to a full week :)  In Sidmouth someone had set up a water sports business at the start of the summer and they had put up a notice thanking everyone for their custom and declaring their intention of finishing for this year, so it wasn't just me being premature in declaring an autumn chill in the air! The spot looked very inviting....
It's a pebbly beach but the colours of the pebbles are lovely...

As you can see, the sky is a bit grey but it was mild and with a fresh sea breeze blowing away the cobwebs....

On the map we saw a place called Beer which we just had to find and explore.  It is a tiny fishing village once rife with smuggling activity but now full of tourists and friendly shopkeepers.  This was our first glimpse of the cove and pebble beach.....

Here you can buy freshly caught fish, crabs, lobster direct from the beach....

The light was fading by this time but, if you click on the photo, you might be able to read the detail....

On the beach were row after row of deck chairs for hire at just 80p......

Or you could hire a beach hut for £10 and spend a whole day there.  The Jurassic cliffs look a bit crumbly, I hope they don't fall onto the huts :/

We heard about a carnival night in Seaton and tried to go there but it was impossible to get near.  There was nowhere to park and they closed the town centre off at 7.30pm in readiness. We were so disappointed to have to abandon our attempt.

Another lovely little village is Ottery St Mary.  Here we did manage to park and have a wander round. The village seems to be a hive of activity for the locals with every activity under the sun catered for including sewing classes for children. I got talking to the nice lady who owns the sewing shop and she said that the uptake has been so good that she will have to start another class just to fit all the applicants in. How wonderful!

Generally, we were so impressed by the friendliness of Devon folk.  We went into a store in Ottery and got talking to another lady shopkeeper (as you do :)) and commented on it. She replied " why wouldn't we be? We want you here!"  I had only purchased rubber gloves too. What a lovely sentiment....

The myriad of antique shops in the area were absolutely fascinating too. I resisted buying anything from them but it was so hard not to.  Instead we popped into all the charity shops and either made a small purchase (I got wool and a pattern) or a small donation.

We are home now so I am chasing my tail trying to catch up with housework, washing etc and the family are coming over this afternoon too.  Help!

Enjoy your day whatever you have planned x

Thursday, 3 September 2015

On Autumn and a Getaway

September and the GC return to school today after the long Summer holiday.  When my own children were small, the first day back at school felt exciting. I would usually take down and wash all the curtains and dry them outdoors in the few remaining warm breezy days, ready to batten down the hatches for Winter. The freezer would gradually be stocked with food ready to cosy up for cold, dark Winter evenings and thoughts would turn to hot soup, roast dinners, jacket potatoes, puddings with custard and, of course, the 'C' word :)

I still get excited at thoughts of Autumn and walking through lovely crisp Autumn leaves in the lane although OH doesn't share my joy.  He feels sad at the passing of Summer.  Anyway, tomorrow we are going on a little break before the mild weather deserts us completely.  We are off to Sidmouth in Devon for a few days in the caravan.  I am preparing food to take with us to keep the cost down a bit:

Quorn curry HM (frozen in a 2 portion size)
Rice sachet (microwaves in 2 mins 50p from sainsbugs)
Cheese grated into a plastic box (useful for cheese on toast, jacket potatoes, sandwiches etc)
Baked beans ( ditto)
Bottled water (so expensive to buy out)
Wine (of course!...£4 from Morrisons)
Box of cornflakes for OH
Plastic box containing some Dorset cereal for me

In addition we will take whatever is left in the fridge
milk, eggs, salad-y bits etc

We will probably treat ourselves to one meal a day out (and have budgeted for that) but the remaining groceries will be bought locally once we arrive. 

When we get back I will plan my 'C' word, making lists and deciding what I can make as gifts.

I am excited!

We might have some internet access whilst we are away, I will certainly try to keep blog reading but posts might be tricky. I'll be back in a few days :-)

Take care & thanks for popping in x

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

End of Summer Harvest & Foraging

So many bloggers are writing about their successes at foraging for food that it puts me to shame.  I have found....zilch!  As my carrot crop has been minimal too I decided to pull up the last of my little pot of carrots.  I pulled one yesterday for some soup and here's the rest of my crop.  They certainly won't make a village show! but they will taste so much nicer for being home grown.....

Do you remember these?  My 50p leeks?

They are coming along nicely now, they just need  a drop of water as they are a bit dry despite all the rain we have had lately. I'll do it in a minute....

I spotted some healthy looking fungi under the hedge in the lane this morning but I have absolutely no idea whether they are edible or not.  I went back to take a photo but someone had kicked and smashed them so perhaps they are not. In any case it seems like wanton destruction to me to just flatten them as they looked lovely, just like fairy toadstools. One is just about visible under the glossy leaves in the left of the photo....

I will continue to scan all the blog posts for foraging stories, perhaps I will learn where to look sometime soon :)

Have a lovely afternoon, whatever you are doing x

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Flatbread Recipe

I have had a request from Lee for the flatbread recipe I use.  It's so simple (must be if I can make them!) that I make them on a regular basis.... pictured left in case you were wondering ;)

250g (8oz) self raising flour
pinch salt (optional)
150ml (1/4 pint) lukewarm water (I use previously boiled water from kettle)

Mix with a knife until it starts to come together then use your hand.  Knead for a short time sprinkling with flour if it feels a bit sticky. When you get fed up with kneading stop :)   pat the dough into a sausage shape and cut into 6 or 8 pieces (I find 6 are better for us). Heat up a sturdy frying pan, pat each bit of dough into shape with your hand, stretching it a bit as you go, and dry fry (no oil needed) for a minute or so on each side or until lightly brown and a bit fluffy.  You can eat them warm from the pan or cool and freeze, when they will keep for a couple of weeks.  There's no preservative in them so they won't store well in a tin, freezing is better.

Using supermarket value flour these cost around 10p a batch and make lovely mini pizza bases.

Now I must away to make some veg soup for lunch :)

Thanks everso for popping in x

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