Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Is it true that a Chimney Sweep brings you good luck?

In a way today was same old, same old.  Woke up to a heavy frost and set to with the housework.  Since Mum had worked hard to leave everything in a good state I just have to keep on top of things which makes life a lot easier!  It also meant that I could get down to sewing quickly and tackled another couple of Splendid Sampler blocks - so that's 19 left to go.

I also - and I hope that you are all sitting down when you read this next statement - made a start on tidying the craft room.  I started with the desk area and threw a lot leaving me with piles of stuff to put away.

The chimney sweep came around noon and quickly swept the chimney - he said that there wasn't much soot so that was a nice surprise and means that I can have a fire this afternoon / tonight.

Next up was a quick trip to the vets.  Millie, in particularly, has been scratching recently.  Hopefully it's nothing sinister but a flea treatment wouldn't hurt - followed by washing their bedding of course!

The final task of the day was to tackle the big pile of ironing that had accumulated from those loads of washing.  I may be sad but, although I don't enjoy ironing, there's something satisfying about knowing that everything is sorted, clean, ironed and put away!  Mind you I did watch another episode of The Crown - well, it helps to pass the time eh?  Actually, and I have said this before, I am really enjoying the series and, given that I am in episode 8 out of 10, I shall miss it when its finished.

Tonight I am persevering with the EPP splendid sampler block - its a bumble bee and extremely satisfying to sit and hand sew.  Hopefully I will finish it tonight and can reveal all.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Only 23 blocks to go!

Today started bright and cold - in fact by lunchtime the frost was still covering the road.  I really like to see a difference between seasons - we seem to have been sliding from one to the next without seeing a real change in the temperature.

Anyway this morning was spent on general housework tasks - washing machine on, dishwasher cycled finished and emptied etc., before paying some attention to church work.  After some time with the jigsaw - I am beginning to see the end of this task (albeit I found out this morning that Dad had put a few pieces in place so cannot now claim to have done it all grr) - I then braved the cold air with the dogs.

Next on the agenda was a splendid sampler block.  As the title of today's blog suggests I have 23 to go until I go away for Christmas and it would be nice to catch up.  Being a chicken, the first one was nice and simple - it took hardly any time!  As you can see, Daisy accompanied me in the sewing room - although  I really don't know why I bothered to buy her a bed!!

After some lunch and leg resting (well 40 winks but it was Doctor's orders - honest), it was then a second load of washing, some drying and a second Splendid Sampler block (I go away in a couple of weeks so ought to aim for two blocks a day as a minimum!  So that's 21 blocks to go in 13 days - oops!

Tonight I will work on a third block which uses English Paper Piecing so can be done in front of the TV.  With the fire on it would have been a cosy evening but the chimney sweep is coming tomorrow so I think that I ought to leave him a cold one to work with!

By the way, periodically I look at the stats for this little blog (or the ramblings of a mad woman as I like to call it!)  As you can see from the table below, over the past week people from across the world have read this blog - which blows my mind.  Thank you for taking the time and please feel free to leave a comment x

United States
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Monday, 28 November 2016

Family ties - and an apology

Firstly - let me apologise for not blogging yesterday.  I don't miss many but yesterday I was out all day at the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate and was just poooped!  Mind you  I broke a tradition - I didn't buy any fabric and came home with money to spend - what is wrong with me?  Wendy and I also tried to be creative in a landscape workshop - something that, as you can see from the photo, Wendy achieved much easier than me! I also learnt how to use a twin needle so all was not lost!

Meanwhile Mum and Dad were trying out a church to see if they could go there on a regular basis - and it was a hit - so that helps with the house search.

Talking about Mum and Dad, it was an early start today so that they could set off home - meeting up with my brother and his wife on the way.  They brought along my niece Cadi, and my nephew Mark - along with my two great nieces Evi and Abi - aren't these lovely photos?

Me?  Well after some general sorting out for craft club, planting some tulip bulbs and adding some soil to the bulbs that Mum planted yesterday, I did catch 40 winks before setting out to the afore mentioned craft group.  Today's project is something that I have already made for a Christmas present so cant show you - sorry - but I took some Splendid Sampler blocks with me - I should add that the top one needs something else - it's meant to represent my she cave and the memory of the MRI scanner experience!  Could I possibly catch up before Christmas ?  Probably not!  In fact tonight I plan to do some more cutting out / block preparation to help me in my quest.

However that was after I got the label of the greatest alcoholic in my village - taking all the empty wine bottles(46!!!!! - from the church stall where people had to identify water or wine via sealed gift bags) to the recycling centre - I hope that no one was watching!! I also made a bid for mad woman of the year as I planted the rest of the daff bulbs in the dark!  Again too late really but they might just come through.  It's also forecast to be below zero tonight so my window of opportunity was receding into the distance!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Santa comes to town

Last night's Book Club Christmas party went well.  I had made 12 brooches for the 12 books that we have read this year and the gift went down well -along with a lovely poem on the reverse of the card that just sums up how much we like reading.

My choice of dishes were a Trio of Fish

followed by Roast turkey and all the trimmings

and then the largest Cheese and biscuits I have ever seen!!!

The only downside to a night out is how tired you feel the next morning!  However today is the church's Christmas Fayre (with Santa arriving at 3pm) so I needed to be up and about - collecting together everything to take for my stall - the raffle.  It is always a lovely start to the Christmas Season (4 weeks tomorrow) and yet the warm sunny weather doesn't really provide the right atmosphere!

Tonight its Strictly so guess where I will be!!

In terms of my parents - they have spent the day over at my brother's - no doubt going through the different houses again!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Well - that's put the cat amongst the pigeons!

This morning we set out to look at the last house for which we had an appointment.  Truthfully it didn't meet all the criteria and if we were filming "Escape to the country" it would be the mystery house - something to stretch the boundaries and question the thinking.  The result - Dad loved it!  It's quirky and different but, most importantly, had a lovely feel to it.  The house is also the smallest one that we have seen - how strange!  I should say, however, that the final jury is still out and there has been a lot of discussion!

After that it was a dummy run to a church that they want to try out before nipping into Morrisons, followed by lunch at a local garden centre.  I hadn't tried this one before but the lunch was so good that I forgot to take a before picture!  I also forgot that I am out tonight at the book club - oops!  The garden centre also had a lovely Alice in Wonderland display of wares!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

From Cinders to Goldilocks

Today was the three house visit.  After the disappointment of the first house on Tuesday, seeing the last 3 from Dad's extensive research was something I was not looking forward to - would they let us down again? one offered, believe it or not, everything that the brochure suggested (surprise, surprise).  If you asked my opinion then it was a lovely house that would really suit my parents.  Unfortunately it is not me that is buying it!!

Number 2 offered more space but was in a worse state and would need some work on it.  It also didn't give me a good emotional feeling.  But, then again, it's not me that it needed to impress. third house was considerably cheaper than the other two but, again, would need some work to get it up to spec - particularly the size of the kitchen (even though it had a really cute west highland terrier puppy!)

So - would any of them suit the folks?  Well, they are still discussing it but I think its fair to say that, at the moment, one had risen to the top of the pile and, if their buyers had sold their house then my parents would put an offer in.  However I am going to tease you and not say which one - it's for you to guess!!

Other than this activity, my day consisted of continuing with mum's sewing, finishing a new baby gift and a visit to the nurse for my leg.  Tonight I will, time willing, start the new Splendid Sampler blog - an EPP project at last!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Well - i've reduced her to silence!

Last night I took some Christmas presents to the sewing class - I was on strict instructions to show here before they were wrapped up and out of sight.  Although I cant reveal details - darn it - I showed her project by project and starting with the easiest skill level.  To my surprise she was really impressed with each one, asking over and over how to make a couple of them as she wanted to make some as gifts.  However the best moment was when I revealed the blue project - and she was rendered speechless.  I must admit to being as guilty as the next person when it comes to pointing out my faults - but it did feel good to impress the teacher!  Let's hope that the recipient is just as impressed!!

Today was a slow morning - late rising, some minimal sewing completed and some jigsaw to while away the hours.  Why the inactivity?  Well mum wants to make a Christmas present so I am guiding her through the project.  By lunchtime, however, Dad had twitchy feet so we went out on a fact finding mission - patrolling the streets looking at houses for sale.  All I can say is that I am all "housed" out but each one produces something else for my parents to consider.  So I have set them a task - and isolated them in a room for half an hour - after which they must tell me their 10 non-compromising factors when buying a house.  At the moment their list just seems to keep growing and they will reach a point, if they haven't already, when no house will fit all of their criteria!

Tonight will see Mum carrying on with her Christmas present so I will try to find some hand sewing that I can do whilst helping her when necessary.  Then it must be an early night - we have three houses to view tomorrow - yikes!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Well - it's top of the pile - so far!

Mum and Dad arrived safely after an horrendous rain filled journey and were pleased to realkax in a warm and cheery house.  So relaxed were they that I didn't see them much before 9m this morning - reporting on how nice the new bed is although it does have sharp corners which has caught Dad a couple of times as he moves around the room.  I guess what I am trying to say is that this morning was a leisurely affair with mum trying out the soup maker for the first time(she was really pleased with her leek and potato soup and is planning make carrot and ginger tomorrow), Dad walking his dog to get a paper and back and me?    Well - I finished the unusual cracker last night so made a start on a present for an impending great niece / nephew - only getting side tracked when an email pinged into my inbox offering good savings on a Dyson V6 - just right for keeping upstairs rather than lugging the main hoover up and down.  How could I resist?

Of course the main reason for my parents being up here is to continue with the house search and today saw the first of 5 appointments.  Dad had carefully compared all the details of each house against his criteria checklist and come up with these possible 5 - so we knew that today's house would have the correct sized rooms etc.  Truthfully the house was very nice and had been cared for.  It even had a large enough garden and offered the potential to deal with downstairs living should the need arise.  However. Upstairs was just as nice but had steps up and down .  Not a problem but each step was such a high step and would need a second smaller step fitted.  Okay - this can be done - but the actual stairs were really steep and the downstairs dining room , which had been earmarked as a possible downstairs bedroom in time, was actually the main thoroughfare into the house.  I am not saying that each problem couldn't be addressed but it was quite a depressing experience - particularly after all that research.

So - what's a girl to do when in need of cheering her parents up?  After some supplies purchased for mum's craft project tomorrow, we popped into a garden centre for some coffee and cake.  I say cake but this banoffee pie was rather rich.  Its a good job that we had had a simple soup for lunch!

Tonight it's my fortnightly sewing class.  At this point I will need to confess that I haven't done my homework but I am hoping that she lets me off when I show her the lovely presents that I have been making.  Talking of presents I did give one away today so I  can reveal it.  Mum is having her buyer's family around for a meal next week so I thought that she would find more use for this before Christmas - it's a candle wreath and the instructions can be found here.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Busy, busy Cinders

My mad day started early with a visit to the surgery.  Given that appointment was 8:45 am and the surgery is in a village 20 mins away, the whole trip took the best part of an hour.  However the nurse was the happiest that I have seen her with the progress and healing of the wound - gold star there!

After around 30mins back at base, it was then out for a WI committee meeting.  We must have been on fire because everything as completed within 9 mins - a world record?  Mind you we were helped with Carine's chocolate and coconut biscuits - mmmmmmmmm.


Another 45 minutes at home, a snatched lunch and then it was out to the craft group where the last project for Christmas was completed - an unusual cracker(this is not the picture of the actual cracker you understand!)  It was so admired that everyone wanted to make one next week.  I also took the blue project with me to show them - it received the thumbs up!! 

Then it was back home - Christmas lights on, fire lit and tea started.  Mum and Dad should arrive around 5pm and, if their weather is anything like here, they will have had a difficult journey so will appreciate being warm and fed.  Mind you if they don't like their new bedroom upstairs then I am claiming the new bed for myself!!!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

What are you - left or right?

Tomorrow I have family arriving for a week and so needed to make sure that the new bedroom was spick and span - as well as flicking the duster and hoover around downstairs.  So - what did I do - got distracted by the jigsaw!!  When I stood back and took a photo for the blog I realised that I was well on to completing the right hand side of the puzzle.  Strangely, if I was to write out a list of jobs in a "mind map' style, I usually complete the right hand side first.  So I looked up right brain, left brain.  By rights I should be left brain - I have two maths and science degrees and the left hand side is all about numbers and being logical.  However the right hand side is the more creative side and so perhaps this is becoming more dominant?  I don't really mind either way but find it kind of fascinating.

In between my jigsaw fix, I tided around and mopped floors - turning into Cinderella again!  I don't know about you but it's not that pleasant here so its time to stay indoors.  Which brings me to the Christmas decorations.  As I said yesterday, I go for a more shabby look to my tree - some of these decorations have been with me since I owned my first home in 1985!  Just getting them out for a few weeks is reassuring and this year the tree is topped with the Santa that I made at a workshop last week.

My brother made us all this wooden nativity set which I think is really stylish and I love to get it out each year.

Either end of the mantle piece has some reindeer - two made by myself and the Tilda style made by a friend.

Meanwhile we have lights and tinsel on the stairs and some Gingerbread chefs in the kitchen.  Tacky?  Who said that?

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Christmas comes early in Lincolnshire

I can't quite believe it myself but next Sunday is Advent Sunday - Christmas Day is racing towards us at full throttle speed.  Normally I decorate the house on Advent Sunday but next weekend is rather packed so, I am afraid, I've gone a week early!  Today has been bright but cold and it didn't quite feel right but tomorrow is forecast to be a "batten down the hatches" type of day.  Not only that but the TV is awash with daft Christmas films to get you into the mood!  No pictures - I will take one tonight with the lights on.  Just remember I am not some sort of interior designer!

Otherwise it has been a day of light housework - interspersed with a lovely treat.  Wendy wanted some advice re the Artisan Apron that she is making (she had adapted the pattern to suit her slim and tall outline and needed a second pair of eyes) so cue two lovely coffees from Nigel and a mince pie - how apt!

On the crafting front I am running up a simple runner to put across the chest of drawers in the bedroom to give the varnished surface some protection - and to add yet more red of course!  Tonight I will try to work towards finishing both that and some padded coat hangers.  Either way I will be glued to my seat to watch Strictly at Blackpool.  Having just booked some ticket to see the live w=tur with my friend Trish, I have just found out that Danny Mac is on the tour and am trying to persuade Wendy to join us!!

Friday, 18 November 2016

Living the high life

Well - given that my day has followed a usual pattern - nurse, cleaning kitchen (the over has come up well), wrapping Christmas presents etc - I thought that I would focus today's blog on the amazing meal that we enjoyed yesterday.

We arrived and were welcomed into a lovely lounge for pre-dinner drinks.  This set the tone for te evening - our maître-D was in charge and became the focus for each course as he delivered it to everyone and then stood back and announced what we were about to enjoy.  Along the way I took photos - so here goes!

The canapés were Sesame and linseed crisp with soured garlic cream, marinated olives ad steak tartare.

Then there was their own rye bread and whipped butter


closely followed by Judas Ear and Field mushroom soup, chestnuts and Coppa ham.

The next course was Raw scallop, cucumber, dill and lumpfish roe

and then a delicious Lemon sole, leeks, lemon and chive sauce.

The meat course was duck breast with cherries, Hazelnuts and truffled potatoes

whilst the puddings were Vanilla pannacotta, granny smith Apple and crumble

followed  by 65% Casa Luker Chocolate Tart and pear sorbet.

All topped off with cheese and biscuits.

Oh and nearly forgot the meadowsweet biscuits and chocolate & whisky toffees!

It was a lovely food heaven of an evening and some of us are planning to return in March. mmmmmmm

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Sshh - don't tell anyone but ...........

...... the blue project is finished!!!!!!!!!!!

True - when you start adding everything up, this has cost me over £100 to make, taken up hours of time and has provided the biggest challenge that I have ever had but ...... I have enjoyed it and know that the recipient will appreciate the effort that has gone into making this!


So - the rest of the day will pale into insignificance now.  It started early (yes I did sleep much better last night) with a visit to the consultant re my temporal arteritis.  It's a 6 monthly appointment and performs more of a tracking exercise - particularly important if I am to avoid the eye issue that I suffered in the summer!  Since I was in Grimsby, it was then a quick visit to Tesco's and then a pop into the car wash.  They seemed really busy today and so it took longer than usual but the car does look good - inside and outside!

Once home, it was time to batten down the hatches - the weather was truly awful!  So - that's why I settled down and finished the blue project.  I was also inspired by my cousin who mentioned, in her blog, that she had cleaned her oven.  Given that I am out tonight I thought that I would get on and leave the shelves to soak overnight.

Tonight is the WI supper club - hence no need to use the oven.  Tonight we are heading to a small restaurant in Louth which has been mentioned in the Michelin food guide.  They have a sample menu here to given you an idea as to their offerings but they can only cater for 12 so we have filled the restaurant!  Pictures to follow tomorrow!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Back to normal - ish!

Last night I didn't sleep too well - which is the reason behind the late wake up!  Sometimes I think that you get into a vicious circle - nap in the afternoon which then means you are not as tired as you should be and so don't drop off straight away.  Then you wake up late and feel muzzy and off key all day - resulting in an afternoon nap etc etc.  However this morning I had a nurse appointment at 10:15 am (she said that there were signs of improvement and trial cream re-applied) so couldn't be that late.

Once home again , via the free range egg man - his eggs are to die for and one of the real treats of living in the countryside, it was home to tackle the next room on the "Christmas Clean" list.  Feeling rather off colour I went for an easy one - my bedroom - which had had a good clean last week to make sure that it was "mouse empty".  Once that had been completed, the washing machine loaded and kitchen cleaned, it was time for lunch and a sit down (doctors orders remember!)  Although I sat and did some hand sewing work on the blue project - aided and abetted by Daisy of course - I also enjoyed some comedy throwback on BBC2 - the first two episodes of "Just Good Friends".  There were lots of 80's references but it was still as funny as the first time around and gentle lunchtime viewing.

Today the postman brought me the final part of my Lynette Anderson block of the month and, I a afraid, I am fairly disgruntled!  When blocks one and two came out, Wendy and I followed the instructions although we didn't have identical colours.  Therefore when, in month 3, the instructions told me to cut 2 strips measuring  1 1/2 inches by 39 1/2 inches from my blue fabric I was okay.  Sadly Wendy had already cut into her blue fabric and so  will need to buy some more.  Theses instructions should have been given to us at the beginning we felt. WELL (imagine me stood with hands on hips now) the final block arrived with an error message - the strips should measure 40 1/2 inches not 39 1/2 inches.  I haven't measured mine yet but can only hope that I have been my usual lazy self and just cut 1 1/2 inches by the width of the fabric - otherwise I will not be impressed!

On that note I think that I'd better go and lie down in a darkened room.  Oh wait - better not - wont sleep tonight!

And the title of the blog?  well it refers to the fact that I think Daisy is coming out of season so I took her and Millie for a short walk today.  I was also trying a new lead that my brother had recommended which would stop Daisy pulling.  Did it work?  Nope!  She just kept pulling at her nose to get it off her!  She's a stubborn one!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Dogs and potatoes!

This morning I had the call - my new tyre had arrived so I was strength round to the garage and a new tyre was fitted.  I must admit to finding it strange that the difficult, cheeky student called Goerge is now the mature mechanic sorting me out!

Then it was back home and on with the blue project (if all goes to plan this will be finished by Thursday so the end is nigh - be patient!  A photo will be posted once the gift has been received!)

Then I couldn't put the "Christmas Clean" off anymore.  Today's room was the hallway - not the largest room but I do tend to be a "dumper" when I get in so there were things to sort.  It was also time to take the hall runner up and give the wooden floor a good mop - as well as a hoover of course.  Nothing really newsworthy but it does make you feel good once the job is done and, being the central point of the bungalow, this area is decorated at Christmas so needs to look good.

After an hour or so wasted spent doing the jigsaw, it was then time to follow doctors orders and rest my eyes leg.  It was at that point that Millie disappeared , followed by Daisy and the crunching begun.  They had clearly found the bag of potatoes (fortunately not full) and decided to have a snack!!

So - not the most adventurous of days but one where essential jobs are getting done - albeit slowly!!

Monday, 14 November 2016

The best laid plans and all that .......

So, today was supposed to be a visit to the surgery for my leg, pop into Louth to fill up with petrol and then craft club.  Instead, I found myself awake early enough to ring the garage re the flat tyre (they came to get the car and have replaced the tyre) and then cancel my surgery appointment (the surgery is a 20 minute drive away so couldn't make it ).  Thus I found myself at 8:20am with those two jobs done.  Nothing for it - the "Christmas Clean" was started.

I thought that I would tackle the lounge first (yes mother, furniture was moved and the extendable hose on the hoover put into action for high up areas!).  Along with the craft room, this is probably the most challenging area but, after the fire place was tackled, washed and cleaned, it already started to look better.  I must admit, however, to appreciating Daisy's inability to drop much hair - Millie drops enough for both of them!!

Next up was preparation for the craft group.  This week should see the end of the blue project but there is still some way to go and this afternoon I continued working on this gift.  I also played around with an experimental gift which is going quite well! Mind you it was lovely to see Linda back - even if she did bring us a whole host of christingle boxes to make up!

Home was followed by a quick jigsaw session.  It may look as if I haven't got very far but slowly and surely!  Actually I have spare table tops - all of which have a ridge somewhere on them making the jigsaw pieces impossible to fit together properly.  So I splashed out on a proper board - soooo much easier!

This evening I plan to continue with the next Lynette Anderson block - so that's a handful of needleturn applique ahead of me then!  It takes your mind off the critters on "I'm a Celebrity" though!