LilySlim - Weight loss

Monday, 23 October 2017

You are never too old to learn a new skill

So, back to my BFF- I think that I have mastered the basics of the embroidery machine, have downloaded a few designs and have created a couple of my own.  The next step in this learning journey is to tackle embroidering "in the hoop".  Wendy alerted me to a "sew a-long" on Facebook to create a Christmas table centre - it even had a video on you tube to help you.  So that is how this morning started - trying to master the technique.  My first attempt was going well until I nudged the table - and the yellow strip landed in the wrong position.

The second attempt went much better and will probably be used - but I needed to trim the green bauble closer than I did.  I need to make 6 diamonds - the technique "quilts as you go" - and then sew them together to form the star.  At this stage I am wondering whether my starter kit of threads will mean that I run out before I complete all 6!

Other than taking the opportunity of no Textile Group (it's half term) to sort the house out, it was a sewing morning - well, apart from one glorious moment where I managed to book my tickets for Strictly Live 2018!  Trisha and I usually go to Sheffield but, for some reason, they are not going there this year.  So, instead, we are going to travel to Nottingham for an afternoon performance - can't wait!

Of curse, this afternoon was Slimming World.  For some strange reason I have had a bad week this week - I did wonder if the mouth ulcer was a sign of being run down.  I certainly felt a little blah!  Consequently I have therefore put some weight on (2 1/2lbs) - which makes my target seem ever so far away!  However, this is a marathon, not a sprint, so I will keep on going!  Mind you - it would have been easy to give the meeting a miss - the roadworks have started which means around a 20 mins additional travel time.  Therefore when one of Jean's neighbours mentioned a "secret" road through we thought we would give it a go.  There were signs saying that it was a private road, and it was more like a track than a road - but no one stopped us (although I did feel extremely guilty!) and we managed to get through - although Jean did have to open and close the gate!!  Whether I will feel as brave tomorrow when I pop up to Mum and Dad's on my own remains to be seen!  Jean's husband - warning her not to get herself shot - did not inspire confidence!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Low on numbers, high on laughter

Today was a Scamblesby sewing day and the first hour was dominated by a new game - "hunt the tiny screw"!.  Terry had wanted to take some tops in and Ev had brought her overlocker in to help with the process.  Ev had just had the machine serviced but felt that they had put the needle in incorrectly - cue one broken needle followed by Terry and Ev trying to sort out how to put two new needles in - which then resulted in the removal of a tiny screw - which, naturally, fell "on the floor".  I tried to help by shining my phone light on the floor and, in desperation, I suggested that we picked the machine up and tiled it forward - "just in case" it had fallen into the machine.  Cor - I was right!  I then watched as they both tried to get the machine going again - eventually giving up and resolving to take the machine back to the repair shop!  You had to be there - but it was a giggle!

Meanwhile I was putting the finishing touches well, just some handsewing to go, to a 16 piece project to inflict on someone for Christmas.

I also managed to sew together my table runner from the Tuesday night class and now need to add a border before starting to quilt it,

whilst Pat was sewing some cheeky  Christmas Pudding fairies.

Terry was completing the central square for her retreat project

and Jean was making a cute "Frozen" tote bag for a friend's grand daughter.

Ev was making a tote bag and toiletries case for a friend due to go into hospital tomorrow for an op - but, sadly, I forgot to take a photo!  Meanwhile Heather joined us after lunch and started her sewing retreat central block - promptly gunging up the iron with her efforts!!!! 

 It was fun!  Fun - that is apart from the mouth ulcer that has been plaguing me all day - eventually popping and then restarting.  Thank goodness for the co-op on the way home and some quite costly bonjela!

Saturday, 21 October 2017

I missed an important moment

Whilst I was paying homage yesterday to Mum getting her passport and looking forward to her inaugural flight , I failed to notice my own little moment - I had passed the 800 miles mark!  You may recall tat its my aim to walk 1000 miles in a year and it was only when I updated the spreadsheet this morning that I noticed this small marker!!!  Yeah!  Onwards and upwards!  Truthfully, when I started out on this challenge I never thought that I would even get close to achieving this.  That first month I managed around 56 miles whereas now I am managing more like 100 miles a month.  With just over two months to go, therefore the finishing line is in sight!

Today, Wendy and I popped over to Immingham to see a quilt show put on by Phoenix Quilters.  There was a range of quilts on display - I particularly liked this Christmas one,

whereas this one used the distinctive Lynette Anderson fabric

and this one continued the seasonal theme of poppies.

There were, of course, one or two stalls with one of them being "Daisy Crafts" from Bridlington (we always have to stop over there when we travel up to Scarborough).  Of course we couldn't resist buying something and this Anni Downs panel caught our eye.  It makes a Christmas wall hanging, some Christmas bunting and the sides of a Christmas sweetie dish - value for money then!!

Back home, some quick housekeeping and then it was down to sorting out the projects for tomorrow's sewing day at Scamblesby.  I have been feeling chilly all day so, once sorted and then dogs walked, it was an indulgent afternoon in front of the tv ( a snooze here and there) and hand sewing - how lazy!!

Friday, 20 October 2017

An auspicious day!

Today should go down in history - it's a momentous occasion that should be marked with champagne (or perhaps shloer in our case!).  What am I talking about?  well, today Mum and Dad went to the Post Office and had their passport applications checked and sent off.  Now I know that they have both had one before -but Mum never used hers in its 10 year life and Dad barely used his.  This time they have a family wedding in Italy to look forward to - Mum has never flown before so I thought that I would mark this baby step towards her first flight.

After we had done the deed, I then took them into Grimsby to pop into Marks and Spencers.  I was impressed as to the decor inside the shopping centre - very respectful at this time of year!

Once back at theirs, Mum and Dad continued to load greenery from their decimated garden into rubbish bags (Dad practically lives at the tip these days) whilst I sorted out his new printer.  Am I the only one who years for a printer that you just connect a lead to and it works?  Why do they need to make everything so difficult - grrrrr!!!  Th printer was on the screen but it kept saying that it was offline.  Over an hour later I managed to get it to work but ..............

Back home and it was time to pop to the doctors to collect my prescription.  Hardly newsworthy I know - but we are facing 4 weeks of road closures in our village from Monday and so I wanted to get things like this sorted before a 5 minute drive becomes a 20 minute one!  I understand one closure - the road is subsiding on one side and they have scheduled this for half term to avoid problems with school buses.  However the other end of the village is closed for 4 weeks and the road looks absolutely fine to me! Ah well - this grumpy old woman is getting off her soap box now!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

It's a rainy day Thursday!

With no appointments - other than WI craft group tonight - today stretched out in front of me - which actually means that it takes ages to get going!  I must also admit that several activities will go unphotographed for reasons that, hopefully, become obvious!

First up, after the inevitable housework, bed stripping, washing machine loading etc, was to prepare the raw materials for the book club Christmas presents and pack them - ready for the sewing retreat.  With 15 gifts to prepare, this took some time!

The next job - well, I was in the craft room at the sewing table -was to do with the Scamblesby Quilt.  The final block (apart from a lovely surprise block from Jenny ) is Jean's and she has given me the block so that I can do the computer part and print off some copies for the others on Sunday.  Of course, whilst I had the block, it would have been rude not to do it myself now wouldn't it?  As I may have said, it is one of my aims for the retreat to finish this Scamblesby Quilt so it doesn't hurt to"get ahead" of myself with the blocks (although  still have three to do!!)

Withe rain still misting down, and the fog rolling in,I put my winter coat on for the first time (boy is it getting big!) and braved the beach.  I live in an area where seals come and give birth at this time of year - which has become a visitor attraction over the years - sometimes it is nigh on impossible to get out of my own road for the continuous stream of cars!  Normally the seals come in November but it has just been advertised that the first pups have been born so, with half term next week, Today could be our last walk at the beach for a month or so.  I have tried to park up there and walk in the opposite direction - but the car park is so full it is an absolute nightmare - at any time of the day!!  Let's just say that it's easier to avoid the area!

After a lunch of home made Kale soup (the curly kale from the SW raffle win!) it was time to concentrate on the WI craft club.  We had planned to continue with the knitted poppies for our wreath - but I had sorted out a craft just in case - these EPP Christmas ornaments.

 I also spent some time this afternoon with my glue gun - assembling the afore mentioned poppy wreath!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Going all arty ....

Today was my monthly visit to a textile group at Belchford where Sewingbuddy and I are trying to develop our artistic skills.  Today we were going to be shown how to fabric paint and then build up some form of picture.  Of course we both sat there starting at the blank sheet of paper with no inspiration - until I used my phone to find a landscape that I liked.

Sewinbuddy, of course, drew a lovely outline and then proceeded to really enjoy the painting and blending stage.

Once we were happy (I wasn't but it was the best I could do) we then had to paint and fix on anything that was coming to the fore of our picture - mine was the stone wall,

which I then added some grass to.

Sewingbuddy had a tree and stone wall - we both added the details with free machine sewing.

I know that neither of us have finished - but even Picasso has to start somewhere - surely?

Back home and its time to light the fire (brr) before settling down for the evening.  My craft tonight will be to finish the WI craft demo - ready for tomorrow - before going back to my lovely hand sewing!  It's much easier following a pattern don't you think?

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Being a "Domestic Goddess" -ish!

Today's calendared activity was a WI planning meeting - with lunch.  However it wasn't due to start until 11:30am -so I took the opportunity to crack open my "domestic Goddess" alter ego!  First up was my lunch - The lunch (and the puddings) would be far too tempting- just check out these photos! -  and, with my target of 9 1/2 lbs reverberating around my head, I decided to take my own ( I did check with the hostess!).  Today lunch was going to be a Chicken Caesar salad (SW version of course) with a yoghurt / hifi bars for afters.

 Next up was a Pork and Egg meatloaf (again SW style).  It's a bit messy to make but having a loaf in the fridge means that you can snack on this rather than reaching for sweet treats.  It doesn't look all that - but mmmmmmmm!

With a quick break to load the dishwasher and washing machine plus ordering next month's medication online (ready for collection by the weekend - love this service) and accepting an oil delivery (I belong to a village group, and the price is still quite low), it was then into the craft room to start the embroidery machine off - I need to do 9 embroideries and each one has to be started separately so it's an on/ off process.  Of course this means that I can be in and out hoovering etc and getting the house straight (let's just say that I know the bins need emptying because Millie has started the process for me!!).

What's happened to me?  Why do I feel so good getting the house straight like this?  All I can hope is that this feeling soon passes and I get back to my normality!  The WI planning meeting went well - it is more of a throwing ideas / contacts around in order to try and form a plan for the meetings next year - trying to balance different topics which will interest and stimulate our growing band of members.  After the meeting, the secretary then tries to contact different people and nail them down to particular months.  It's a lot of work - but worth it when we enjoy such a varied programme of topics.

Back home - to a nice tidy house! - it was off to the beach with the dogs and then out in the garden for some light weeding (well, you have to take advantage of the sunny weather now don't you) before settling down for some sewing.  I say sewing - but, in reality, I am sorting out a sewing project for the WI craft group on Thursday.  We were intending to continue with our knitted poppies for the WI wreath but I suspect that we already have enough!!  Instead I thought that we could rustle up a Christmas decoration with some hexagons and so need to make a demo model!!  Of course I will do some more embroidery / applique on Mum's wall hanging if time allows!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Target weigh in day - minus 3

Being a Monday, today started, as ever, with the Textile Group.  We were making the mini sew together bag and most people made great progress.  We managed to fit the zips in and make the pockets - leaving the sides, outside and zip plus bindings for our next meeting after half term - schools are off already!  It's all a bit confusing with the weather being so fantastic today - I walked the dogs at the beach in a tee shirt!  Mid October!!  Mind you, by now the wind was starting to get up, the sky went a funny colour and the sun was bright orange -all very strange!  The local news paper reported that the orange sun was due to sand being picked up by Hurricane Ophelia and brought over here.

After a snooze (oops) it was then off to Slimming World - where I managed to lose another 3 lbs.  So that's 9 1/2 lbs away from my personal target - and three more weigh-ins to achieve it!  I already have another target in mind for Christmas but I will reveal that when I meet this target!  I also picked up my free cookbook (I bought a countdown which saves on the fees and gave you the free book).  "Comfort Food" is right up my street!!

Luck was on my side -and I also won the raffle which contained a variety of foods - including this pre-chopped mix for chilli and these butternut squash chips.  That's me sorted this week then!  All in all - it's been a very good day!!  Now I just need to batten down the hatches for the evening.  The wind is starting to howl so I hope that everyone is tucked up safe and sound!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Preparation is the key to success!

Whilst I waited for the promised sunny and warm day (it's overcast and cold enough to wear a jumper in the house) I decided to use today to start getting ready for the sewing retreat - its only just over 3 weeks away after all!  I have learnt, from bitter experience, that is good practice (and saves you money in the long run) to prepare, essentially, "kits" for every project.  Whilst I assemble the fabric, patterns and resources, I can then make a list of threads to buy etc so that I am sorted!

First up was the final Christmas present to be sorted (well, the final one to be started at least!).  Collecting everything together I have all the resources and just need two spools of thread!

 Then I started on the individual blocks from Lynette Anderson's Block of the Month for 2017.  I have started the embroidery for some of them but didn't attempt the patchwork parts of each block since I was still completing the 2016 project.  Now seems right to make a start.  Again I have everything - just need some thread and to remember some essential tools.

So that's block 1

block 2

   block 3

and block 4 sorted!

Next up was due to be my presents for the book club group.  I don't quite know how I got into the habit but I started giving everyone a present a couple of years ago - just something book related and small to open at our Christmas meal at the end of November - so it's about time that I got started on this project.  However I was that organised that I bought the resources for the gifts months ago - now where on earth did I put them?  Oops!  However I did "fill" the time by lining and marking out Mum's wall hanging that she demanded wished for.

That just leaves me with the Scamblesby Quilt to sort out.  Taking too much did i hear you say  - NEVER!!  I would hate to run out of things to do!  Mind you - I have a prioritised list so will focus when I get there - and at least I have sorted out the "kits" to do at home.  Well, that's the plan at any rate he he!

PS - the sun did come out to play - briefly -and so I mowed the lawn.  Whilst I was mowing, inspiration struck and I came inside - to find the lost resources.  I guess that's my next job - but problem solved at least

Saturday, 14 October 2017

A shed, a shed, my kingdom for a shed!

As I said yesterday, I think, today I took Mum and Dad out to buy a shed for Mum's kitchen overspill.  Their current one measures 5 foot wide by 7 foot deep and has more holes than a colander - something had to be done!  Before we left they did some research online to get an idea of prices and then we set off ......... to my brothers for breakfast - well, you can't hurry these decisions now can you?

After our pitstop, the first stop (yet again) was Brigg garden centre.  We now had an idea of size (8 foot wide by 6 foot deep) and style of roof (pent rather than Apex) - I am rapidly becoming an expert! 

With a price list in our pockets from the garden centre, we then popped round the corner to Earnshaws (a shed and fencing place)where we sat in the glorious sunshine and cogitated - this firm included treatment, this one doesn't etc etc.  As we sat talking, another couple came over and we discussed sheds - finding out about another shed manufacturer that was around 15 mins away in Kirton Lindsey. 

So, off we went, to look round yet more sheds!  This time we ere offered discount on ex-demo sheds and sheds with different roofs which would hep with water drainage.  Although the roof raised the price considerably, the ex-demo shed compared favourably with the others that we had seen today.

So, we then headed around the corner to another garden centre for a cuppa and a discussion.  Dad went all sloppy and gave Mum his chocolate orange from the top of his chocolate orange cheesecake.  (I resisted all temptation - convinced that the cooked breakfast had taken me over my syns.  As it happened it didn't - but I will make up for no lunch with my steak and chips in front of Strictly tonight!)  It should come as no surprise that they decided to buy the ex-demo shed, and we went back to order and pay for it.  Being ex-demo sheds, they won't be available until 1st December - which gives Dad time to take the old one down and lay a bigger base for the new shed - thank goodness we sorted and de-cluttered the shed yesterday!

Friday, 13 October 2017

Wonder Woman to the rescue!

Let's start with the mini sew together bag that I started yesterday.  After 30 minutes on the project this morning - I just have to hand sew the binding this evening and then sew on the zipper tabs - then it will be another present finished (the recipient doesn't read this blog so I am safe there!).  You may recall that this is a trial run for the Textile Group on Monday so I now have another one to cut out - not my favourite task!

Today has been scheduled for a visit to Mum and Dad's.  When they moved in, a lot of Mum's kitchen related "stuff" was stored in a small shed.  We allocated today, since the weather forecast looked good,  as the day to go through the stuff - bin / charity shop what she doesn't want and then re-label and store everything else in a more organised manner.  The shed itself isn't in great shape so we also wanted to empty the shed to see the full extent of repairs needed / decide whether a new shed was necessary.  As I left (without my phone so you are sparred gory photos of spider paradise!) I received an email saying that a package was due to be delivered between 2pm and 4pm.  Just my luck!  However I decided to go, since often a tight deadline focuses the mind!  As it was we sorted the shed, decided to buy another one tomorrow and then moved and constructed a log store with Dad - all in 2 1/2 hours -not too shabby.  I even found time to patch up a potential Millie escape hole in the fence and we will try the garden next week with my pair of pooches.

Back home before 2pm, and tied to the house until the delivery was made, I decided to cut out the second mini sew together bag and back it with the interfacing.  Whilst I contemplated what radio / music / tv to put on in the craft room "The Music Man" popped up as a suggestion from Amazon.  I love this musical - it has "76 trombones" as one of its songs.  When I drove home to Lancashire in 1991, unsure as to whether I should have accepted a job in Lincolnshire where I knew no one, this song came on the radio and everything felt ok!  It was a no brainer - on it went and I sang along!  Not quite the "Let It Go" that some comments referred to yesterday but .......

My other job for the afternoon was to plan my menu for next week.  I find that I stick to the diet if I plan accordingly - plus we will be going to Morrison's after we buy the shed tomorrow so I may as well take advantage of the visit!

So, dogs now walked, parcel not delivered yet (grrrrr - we are well past the two hour slot!!) and tea cooking ( a yummy lamb stew plus veg) it will soon be time to settle down to , err, guess what, oh yes, some hand sewing!

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Letting go.

I am one of life's decision makers.  I make decisions really quickly and then stick to them -even when they may not have been right.  I can always find a way around a bad decision - I would argue.  However I am also savvy enough that, sometimes, you just have to let a decision go / change your mind.  Sometimes you have to be brave enough to say - enough is enough!  What am I talking about - you may ask.  Well, sit down, pull up a chair and read on!

In 4 weeks time I am at a sewing retreat for 4 days.  Last time I went, I took a variety of projects to complete and pretty much finished everything.  Although I originally had a project in mind for this visit ( I wanted to finish the Scamblesby Quilt that we have been designing the blocks for), I allowed myself to be tempted by a beautiful Christmas quilt designed by Mandy Shaw (you may recall that I blogged about starting to cut the pieces up for this project several days ago).  I know that others are intending to make this quilt during the retreat but I still have several Christmas presents to complete - plus the afore mentioned Scamblesby Quilt.  So, I am calling a halt to this madness and changing my mind.  You have no idea how much this has been on my mind recently and, therefore, how freeing making this decision is!  So, if any of my Scamblesby friends are reading this - sorry, I won't be making the MS quilt - I will probably regret this when I see yours but, there again, I still have my box full of the lovely fabrics that I set aside to make it so can still do it for next year!

Okay - so onto today which started early with a visit to the groomers for Daisy.  Although she always comes out happy, she goes in shivering! This time she jumped straight back into the car when I got her out - bless! 

Once home, and after a tidy up and dishwasher unloading (not my favourite job), I was able to get on with the mini sew together bag that I cut out yesterday.  It should have been a day long job,  but is one of those projects that is better to have breaks after certain stages - so that you can walk away and come back refreshed -well, that was the plan anyway.  However an afternoon nap went on for rather a long time (I started in the sunshine and woke up freezing! ) so the sides will get attached this evening but the rest will wait for another day!

One of those breaks was to pay the church gardener, visit the post office and then walk the dogs - who says that I don't have a glamorous lifestyle eh?  Another was to get outside and do some weeding and glue a piece of wood onto the she cave door - like I said - glamorous!!  This wood "came off" nearly a year ago when a helpful delivery man put a parcel in the she cave and "forced " the door open - breaking this piece of wood off!

With a lamb casserole in the slow cooker to look forward to, my plan tonight is to catch up with the Apprentice from last night (plus Educating Greater Manchester) whilst sewing some more of Mum's Christmas present.  After three nights out on the trot, it's a real treat to spend a night in at last!

And the Shakespeare from last night?  Well, actually it was really good - a long one (hence the nap today) but extremely well acted. Unfortunately there were not many people there to enjoy it (about 12 that I could count - with one of them snoring for most of the play!) but at least it means that we can all spread out!  The next one in February marks the halfway point of my quest!!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The day I finally tackled the mountain

Having rearranged my visit to Mum and Dad's for Friday - we want to empty a shed so need the nice weather that has been forecast - today was another unexpectedly free day!  I LIKE these kind of days!  So, what did I choose to do first?   Why, wrap up those secret projects I was working on earlier in the week, of course!  Sorted!

Next I decided to tackle under the stairs.  I don't know about you, but  I am a "dumper" - I come in and dump my bags etc in the hall and some of the items under the stairs haven't seen the light of day for ages - one bag was put there when I redecorated the upstairs bedroom - over a year ago! Today was the day to tackle and sort!  The before photo is, I will admit, quite shameful but you need to see that to appreciate the progress that I have made!  It was also a useful reason to visit the charity bin and recycle some of the contents ( and I did find a couple of useful stocking fillers)!

As ever, these jobs take longer than you think and so it was soon time for lunch and a dog walk in the rapidly increasing winds - think windswept!!!

This afternoon was spent catching up with The Great British Bake Off whilst cutting out some pieces for a mini sew together bag.  This is the next project for our Textile group on Monday and, although I have made several larger versions of these bags, I wanted to make one before Monday just to refresh my memory.  It will also be another Christmas present sorted!

Tonight is another RSC live production - this time it's Coriolanus - so it was an early tea before heading off to the cinema.  I will be honest - this year of the Egyptian plays has not been my favourite but I have reached the end and can now look forward (hopefully) to some more comedies / historical plays next year.