LilySlim - Weight loss

Thursday, 17 August 2017

I'm a customer - get me out of here!

Today was another lovely "stay at home "day - this time with pouring rain.  Erm - maybe a chance to get on - and rock towards finishing that anniversary commission?  Of course, me being me, there were plenty of opportunities to use my best friend - the seam ripper!  However, the end is in sight and I now just have to add the binding, hanging sleeve and the label.

To break up the day, I popped out into the village to draw some cash out.  Seeing a large piece of equipment being moved into the shop, I went to the garage first to book a service and MOT.  Ten minutes later the shop door was still blocked so, of course, I waited.  Once the equipment was inside the shop, I moved forward - only to be almost trampled in the stampede by the customers pouring out of the shop!!!! Well, it made me laugh!

On a sadder note, and I really hope that bad news doesn't come in threes, I woke up to the news that the father of a good friend had passed away peacefully in the night.  This friend lost her husband a few months ago and is therefore going through a difficult time but luckily has other family close to her.  Then, at lunchtime, I find out that a brother, who is currently away on holiday, has been burgled and so is cutting his holiday short to go back and assess the damage - ironically they have just had the house redecorated!  So this afternoon was hijacked - a mercy mission to Mum and Dad's to pick their dog up and look after her for a few days whilst they go over and help sort the possible mess out! Mind you, Maisie seemed quite pleased when I said "shall we go and see the girls?" and jumped straight into the car!!  As I write this Mum and Dad are driving over to meet my brother and his wife - with a car full of cleaning supplies (plus tea making facilities!).  Meanwhile I am poised ready to book them into a hotel for the night - the police were called by a neighbour but wouldn't let the neighbour in the house saying that it was a disaster area upstairs - hopefully they were exaggerating but, clearly, they may not all be able to sleep there tonight.  Another brother is also on standby to drive over tomorrow for the day (a 4 hour return trip I should add) to help with the clear up - families eh?  Where would we be without them?

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

No longer a greengage virgin

Don't you just love a "stay at home day"?  Loads to do, of course, but the time to tackle the tasks!

First up was a gutting of the kitchen and deep clean -sadly I get such a satisfaction from seeing the shiny surfaces emerge.  Just as well, really, since the next task caused me unlimited frustration.  It's the commission that I am doing and, truthfully, I was putting it off in fear of ruining my progress so far.  All I had to do was to use my sewing machine to embroider two words -Diamond Anniversary.  Rather than my usual technique of rushing in and hoping for the best, I decided to sew the word Diamond on some scrap first - so that I could measure the length and centralise the word.  Just as well  since no matter what I did there was too large a gap between the first and second letter!  Grrrr!!  In the end I have gone for my preferred option - trace the letters and hand embroider it tonight.  But the exercise showed me one thing that has been mulling around in my mind for some time - I NEED another machine!  So - I am going to just shove this out there - I AM going to lose my 5 stone by 9th November - no questions asked - that's a given if I have anything to do with it.  That then leaves me 6 weeks before Christmas so if I have lost 6 stone by Christmas (and that's after I put on with the sewing retreat!!!!) then my present to myself will be a new sewing machine - you have heard it here!!

The next task was to tackle medal number two.  This time the challenge was to walk 5k - in one go -at some point during this current week.  Well, with the sun up in the sky and the lovely breeze blowing, I thought - let's use today for the challenge.  One very red faced walk later - not to mention Daisy finding every dyke going to jump in and out of -we made it!! Now I am just waiting for confirmation that they have accepted my evidence (I used"Map my walk" and took a screen shot) before I get my medal.  This time the charity is for Kidney research and, since I only have one kidney, I thought it was a charity that I ought to support.

Once home, and after a late lunch, my thoughts turned, naturally, to some crafting.  I embroidered the centre of this block several weeks ago but just couldn't get around to putting the borders on - well, today it was time to finish.  There are still holly leaves and berries to attach by hand but we are getting there.  It's the homework that I set the Textile Group - so I ought to do it myself!!

 And the greengages?  Well, at Slimming World, we were talking about them and I cannot remember ever having them.  So when I spotted some reduced ones yesterday I thought - why not?  Actually they are very pleasant and something that I would have again!  Talking about SW, as we were, when I won the Slimmer of the week basket, there was a punnet of freshly picked blackberries so it is my mission, this week, to try and do something different with them every day.  Last night I tried a recipe on the SW website - mixed berries floating meringue.  Today I have rustled up a blackberry and apple summer pudding  - picture to follow tomorrow (providing it manages to turn out ok!)

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A penny a day ..........

Last December I started the £1 a week challenge - where you save £1 in week 1, £2 in week 2 etc.  Of course that means that in the last month you need to find £49, £50, £51 and £52!!  So I will admit to cheating a little and printing out the weeks - combining some of the larger sums with smaller ones to balance the savings.  That being said, with just three months to go, I am pleased that I have continued with the challenge and will have amassed a reasonable sum for my cruise wardrobe next year!  So, why the blog title? Well, today, I am embarking n a slightly easier savings challenge - the 1p per day savings challenge!  ie 1p for day 1, 2p for day 2 etc.  Doesn't sound too bad does it?  However you will end up saving around £671 over the year - not too shabby!  In this link there are free printables to spread the load throughout the year - so why not jump on board and join me?  If it all goes to plan then that's most of my summer holiday expenses taken care of next August!

Today started well -a trip to Tesco's for essentials followed by lunch at Mum and Dad's.  They have gone on an adventure - their shopping trip to Meadowhall via the train (I am sure that Mum was as excited as we used to be on a school trip!) - so I stopped off at theirs to spend a bit of time with Maisie and let her have a comfort break or two.

After a stop off at home to store the groceries away, it was back off out again around to Jenny and Ruby's to try to finish the tops we started yesterday.  I had taken the spare fabric home to create some bias binding but, truthfully, one of the fabrics just wasn't playing ball so I will admit to buying some this morning!  Ruby had made some cookies from my cookie mix - so I just had to taste one (out of politeness of course!)  They were, erm, gorgeous!!

The tops still have to be hemmed but Ruby has done a good job with them - and has added some embellishments of her own - it was an afternoon well spent! I should add that the "tail" will disappear - we added a vent at the back which turned into a pleat!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Slimmer of the week - who knew?

Yesterday, at the gala, I was talking to a friend, Jenny, who had her granddaughter staying with her.  Ruby wanted to make a new top for herself (she is 10 years old) and they had bought a second hand machine but was waiting to find out how to use it.  Since Ruby was only here for another week or so, and since they had bought the fabric, I offered to go round and try to work it out - which, fortunately I was able to do.  Sadly, however, Ruby had never used a machine before and was a tad scared of the speed - so I also took my workshop machine around and showed her how to restrict the speed.  Two hours later we had drafted a paper pattern from her existing top, sewn one top together and cut the second one out!  Next stop - create some bias binding for both tops - but that's tomorrow's task!

This afternoon it was, of course, Slimming world!  I was hoping that I would lose most of my holiday / weekend weight gain - and did it!  In fact, I actually lost 8 lbs which takes me below my pre-holiday weight!!  Yippee!! It also means that I have lost 3 1/2 stone in total so I am only 1 1/2 stone away from my first target!!

Not only that but I was also awarded Slimmer of the week for the first time - and came home with such goodies as rhubarb, blackberries and a voucher for a pound of slimmers sausages!  Ain't I the lucky one?

On a totally different note, I was sent this photo last night - it's of my brother's house which they have decorated for the impending wedding at the end of the month.  The bunting in the photo is part of the 100m that I sent them!  It makes a change from the Leicester City flag!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Well -when the mood strikes you!

Having moaned (a lot) about not sleeping, I must report that I am sleeping fabulously at the moment and am regularly don't wake up until gone 7:30 / nearly 8am - oops!  It still feels a bit naughty!

Anyway, today was the same - but church wasn't until 10:30am so made it - phew!  Sadly we had no organist today so  was put in charge of the cd player - rather scarily!  However I think we sane the correct hymns to the correct tunes!  I would also add that someone brought in some punnets of blackberries to sell for 50p each - cue three of them wending their way to Mum's freezer!

After a  short meeting (plus cuppa and biccie) to discuss a forthcoming fund raiser, it was home to let the pooches out before turning around and going out to a local gala.  You may recall the cake mixes?  Well today I volunteered to help man the stall between 2:30pm and 4pm.  Fortunately we managed to sell out of everything (well, there may just be a fruit cake heading towards Mum's freezer for an impending visit from family!) before then and so was packed up and home by 4!!  And that's where the inspiration in the title struck!  Those of you with elephant memories may recall that I bought two tins of paint to paint my front fences last year - and then only completed one!  Well, with the sun out and a cool breeze, I can now report that I have been outside for nearly two hours making a start on the front fence.  It doesn't look much, to be honest, (curse those picket fences)  but my aim is to complete it by the end of the week - if I can dodge the showers of course!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

From an idea to something that gives pleasure - it's a journey!

First let me just say thank you - thank you for such a lovely evening watching Oklahoma last night - bliss!  Mind you, it was a late finisher and I didn't wake up until, erm , gone 8:30am this morning - oops!

I had assigned today to start the 60th wedding anniversary commission that I have talked about before.   The idea for this wall hanging came about on holiday as we travelled in a car to Warwick Castle, of all places.  Cue lots of discussions and scratching of heads before this draft design appeared.

Then came a visit to Doughty's where Julia spent over an hour deciding on the 4 pieces of fabric that she wanted and assigning the fabric to the design.

Once home, I drew it out to scale, worked out the sizes of fabric required for the background and made a template for the photos.

Today, now that the photos have arrived, they were scanned, cropped, enlarged and printed onto printable fabric - and then the template was used, along with an "add a quarter" ruler to give me the seam allowance, to cut out the diamonds and add a border to echo a frame.  Finally the photos were needleturned onto the background - ready for the next stage (embroidery, heart applique and quilted).   Truthfully, the best part of today was when I sent Julia a picture of the progress and to check the order of the photos - and got a wow almost by return.  She did faff a little about the order of the photos - before settling back with my original design -ah well, that's our Jules!

Feeling somewhat tired, and fearing a mistake, I called a halt there and went to mow the lawn (the weather forecast suggests that there may not be many opportunities this week!), before heading on out to deliver the WI cake mixes before going to my parents with the train tickets I printed off yesterday and then onto the Theatre for my monthly volunteering.  It's been a strange, yet satisfying, day!

Friday, 11 August 2017

A day of normality

Firstly apologies for no photos - for some reason my compute is not playing ball!

Well, after a day of secrecy, today has returned to normality ...... or what passes as normal around here!  After the usual tidy round and hoover, it was time to deal with the disaster that I like to call my craft room.  I like to say that a messy room belies a creative mind - but even I have a point beyond which I can't create!  So - one bin bag later, plus more scraps cut and sorted - the craft room now looks a tad more usable (well for a few minutes at least!)

Next on the agenda was my front drive - it is full of cracks and, more importantly, full of weeds growing in said cracks.  Well, like the dead parrot sketch - they are no more!

On a rare sit down, Mum phoned.  When I popped round yesterday I ordered her a "Two Together Rail card" - now that they live so much closer to the rail station, they are going to try using it more - the two together card knocks 33% off an already discounted price meaning that they can both travel to Meadowhall, for example, next week for around £25 - its hardly worth getting the car out at that price!  Anyway the card arrived today so I sat down and ordered the train tickets out for her and printed them out at home - ain't technology wonderful?

After a lunch of my current favourite - lean corned beef quiche with side salad - and, of course, the compulsory nap, it was off out with the dogs before starting to sort out the crafting for tonight.  Tonight is the only prom that I put in my diary - it's the John Wilson Orchestra performing my favourite musical of all time - Oklahoma - BBC 4 at 8pm (just in case you want to watch it!).  Whenever I watch The John Wilson Orchestra in a prom I find myself smiling - it's a real treat and one that I am planning to really savour!  If I said that the planned dinner to accompany it was Slimming World Fish and chips, perhaps you will see what I mean! (If you have never heard of him then look him up - he is a young geordie man who loves old musicals but found that, often, the scores didn't exist so he has listened and watched each musical many times to get the score written down and preserved for the future - each performance is as a result of a real labour of love!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

"Busy doing nothing"

Let's start with last night's Shakespeare -Titus Andronicus.  Chatting to so some fellow watchers, I found out that the play was extremely gory and includes a rape scene which, in other productions, had been so graphic that women had fainted.  Let's just say that I watched - apprehensively and, sometimes, behind my hand!  However the acting was superb, the story and language easy to follow and, most importantly, I am glad that I saw the play.

Today has been a day of "secrets".  A trip to Grimsby, but I cant tell you why!  A visit to some friends - but  can't say why - are you getting the picture?  Let's just say that, when I got home, I enjoyed the sunny weather and walked the dogs  before making up some more cake mixes fr the gala on Sunday - and leave my day at that!!

On a more positive note - I have managed to book the hotel for the 2018 Festival Of Quilts - how organised am I?  Mind you - the one I wanted was fully booked!!! Now I just need to start saving up!  Next August is shaping up to be rather expensive.

Today I have a date with some relaxing handsewing - getting back to basics always soothes my soul!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Lunch, scraps and Shakespeare!

Today started normally enough - housework etc, but then I settled down to try and complete the top of the table mat that I started yesterday.  Now I wondered why, and scratched my head, the second half just didn't look right.  oops - maybe I have just put it together wrongly - cue the trusty unpicker!  Time to walk away me thinks - but not before trying to sort some scraps.  My scrap bin is full so I have spent some time, this morning, ironing and then cutting - 2 1/2" strips, 2" squares, 1 1/2" squares or 1" square - depending upon the size of the scrap of course!  This could turn into a looonnng job!

Lunch today was spent with Sewingbuddy (who will hate me for that photo!).  We met at a local garden centre and had a healthy jacket potato whilst we caught up with things.

Once home, I tried to rectify the table mat and have got so far.  Mind you - it now needs a good press and square up before I layer it up and quilt it!  However it is beginning to look as it should!

Tonight, it is the live screening of RSC's Titus Andronicus.  You may recall that it is my quest to watch all of the live screenings of the Shakespeare plays - tonight's will be number 17 (by my reckoning) so I am nearly halfway.  Truthfully there are some, tonight's included, that I would, perhaps, not bother with but the challenge is personal so I would feel bad missing it (even if I am missing Alan Titchmarsh on tv tonight!)

One piece of good news - I heard, this morning, that the quilt my sister-in-law entered on behalf of her students was awarded a second prize at the Festival of Quilts -well done to everyone involved!  She is sending me a photo tomorrow!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A "stay at home" sewing workshop

Today turned out just as the forecast said - rain, rain, ran!  So - there was nothing for it but to stay at home and sort some things out.

First up - and after the usual household chores - was a commission that a friend has given me for her parents 60th wedding anniversary.  Julia designed it whilst we were on holiday and so, today, I made a start on the background.  I couldn't go any further since I am waiting for some information from her but we are, at least, off and running!

Next up was the creation of some cookie mixes in bags - ready to sell on behalf of the WI at the weekend at a local gala.  Sadly I underestimated how many M & M's would be needed so couldn't finish this batch - I will get some more tomorrow on my way to the cinema to watch the RSC live showing of Titus Andronicus.  The bags also need labels and pretty ribbons - but, as per the commission, I am off and running!

After a nap (well, I had briefly woken this morning and wanted to roll over and go back to sleep - when I saw that it was 7:30am so got up - I should have slept on - I was sooooo tired!) I then settled down to an in house workshop!  I had seen this lovely table topper workshop advertised but couldn't go.  Then a friend at Scamblesby had completed the table topper and offered to show everyone - this Sunday when I can't make it.  So, I thought, just get on with it -particularly as Pride and Predjudice was on Film 4 on the computer - I felt really ladylike!  There were a couple of short Youtube videos to follow so I set to.  You make 4 identical quarters and the picture shows two of them.  I have completed the third and should do the fourth tomorrow morning. Then it will just be the layering up, quilting and binding!  When its completed, it should look something like this!

After a brief interlude getting some non existent rays and pruning some weeds at the front of the house, you suddenly realise that the day has passed by and the nights are drawing in - hence more hand embroidery!!  Mind you - I now have to use a light to help the poor old eyes!

Monday, 7 August 2017

Workshop day - minus 363!

)Well, I had a wonderful weekend and, possibly, one of my best ever birthdays!

Wendy and I set off on Friday and met up with Louise at Bramble Patch.  After a quick catch up and coffee we toured the shop to see if there was anything that needed to come home with us.  Of course there was and this sign caught my eye!! In fact, it was so exhausting, deciding what not to buy you understand, that we had to sit down with a light lunch!

Next stop was our Hotel - Horwood House (where, Wendy tells me, the gardener Percy Thrower was born).  We arrived, checked in, unpacked and were in the bar by 2:30pm where (and yes, it just had to be done) I enjoyed a birthday drink whilst opening my lovely gifts.  I have to say that I felt very spoiled so thank you if you sent me a card or a pressie.  It's always difficult to single out individual presents, for fear of offending, but I loved Wendy's table runner - this is my current favourite fabric collection -and this mug from Sewingbuddy seems quite apt!!

Saturday was the workshop with Lynette Anderson and we were greeted by this unassuming brown paper bag.  the project for the workshop is always both new and a total secret (hence why no blog yesterday - there are a group of people sewing today and they are doing the same project that we did).  Once it was unveiled, the project turned out to be a Japanese inspired sewing box made from a Japanese steamer.  I had seen a different pattern for this in one of her books but had never completed it.  Of course the day was made all the more enjoyable by learning new techniques and meeting new friends - many of who were there last year and will,I suspect, be there next year.  (At this point I should confess that we have booked in for two days next year - hence the blog title!)

During the day, we were asked to display our Mug Rug that we had bought for the swap (you may recall that we had been sent an embroidery to complete but the design of the mugrug was up to us).  Once displayed, we were asked to vote for the best rug - and I won!!!  I was gobsmacked!  I even heard a few compliments from Lynette about the satin stitching on my spool holder (You can imagine how difficult it was to get my head through the door!!)

After the workshop, we had decided to stay for the evening meal and head back on the Sunday.  Sadly we then encountered a few problems that I won't go into now but the hotel apologised with a free bottle of prosecco - which helped our pain (cough cough).

The next day, and after another lovely breakfast, we headed home - via The Fabric Guild of course - it would have bee rude not to!  Now I am not saying that I was tired - but I slept REALLY well last night!!

 Today has been a little more gentle - dog walking, grass cutting in between the showers and weetabix muffin making ready for the taster session at Slimming World this afternoon.  So - how did it go?  Well - I am not sure that wearing my shirt inside out helped at all - but I lost half a pound so I was pleased.  I am aiming for never gaining weight in August so I am off to a fair start after that weekend away (plus a very naughty sticky toffee pudding!)

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Workshop day - minus 2

Not that I am getting excited and totally bypassing my birthday tomorrow of course!

Mum and Dad were bringing their guests over today for lunch so t was all systems go - getting the house and lunch ready.  I had planned a SW friendly lunch with some additions from Mr Tesco's that Mum and Dad could take back out of temptations way when they went.  Let's just say that there was more than enough food!

After lunch, and it was warm, both of the men disappeared for a lengthy snooze (they had been up early apparently sorting Dad's garden out) whilst the ladies retreated to the she cave for some catch up time.

All too soon, it was time to go - Mum and Dad were taking the doggies back with them whilst I am away (the house sitter would rather not have that responsibility) - and I could get down to the serious side of packing - my case, my birthday gifts and presents (thank you so much if there is one there from you) and, of course, the essential sewing supplies!

I wonder if I will be able to sleep tonight - hmmmmm!!  Tomorrow Wendy and I set off on our adventure - stopping off first at The Bramble Patch before heading to the hotel.  (I'm just a tad excited and Wendy wants to set off NOW!!)

On a totally different note, my evidence for my first medal was accepted and it should be here some time next week!!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

"I wouldn't be so presumptuous - but ........"

Today started out fairly normally - Daisy whining etc etc - and I had a day of tidying up ahead of me.  What with going away for the weekend on Friday, and having Mum and Dad, plus their visitors for lunch tomorrow, the house needed a light going over.  I say light - the house sitter had come in last week whilst I was away and tidied up for me so its rally just surface mess to sort (plus Maisie's endless dog hair of course!)   Just as I was thinking of taking the dogs out, Mum rang - what was I up to today, did I fancy meeting up for lunch?  Well, never one to pass up an opportunity, the answer was yes - just let me sort the dogs first.  BIG mistake - Maisie found another pile to roll in - cue another hosepipe wash down and one "sorry for herself" pooch!

We met at the cafe that Wendy and I had gone to a couple of weeks ago, although the weather wasn't good enough to sit out today.  I ordered a jacket potatoes with beans and cheese (there was so much cheese that I brought 3/4 home with me) and stuck to my bag of mini party rings with a coffee for afters - still on track (I am now 1lb away from my pre-holiday weight -sorted!). I have to say that the other three tucked into a lovely looking apple and blackberry crumble - two of them with custard!!!!!

However the conversation took a strange turn - "Did you see that Lynette Anderson pattern on facebook this morning?" Mum says (She has heard of Lynette Anderson because that's the workshop that I am going to this weekend but I didn't realise that she took that much interest!!)  "Yes", I replied - "its lovely isn't it?"  "Yes", she said," its gorgeous", with that dreamy look in her eyes.  "Do I take it you want one for Christmas then?" I stupidly ask.  "Well, I wouldn't be so presumptuous, but ...." she trailed off wistfully.  I did point out that I had already made her present - gulp!  For those people who don't know what I am talking about, I have included a picture.  It would appear that I can order the pattern from Australia (its not as a PDF to download - some of the pages are A3 apparently) but I suspect that Lynette may bring some patterns with her on Saturday.  Shall I just roll over and give in now?

Back home, and it was down to washing, ironing and tidying - all the jobs that I lurrve!

On a totally different note, and forgive me if I have already told you this, but I have "entered" a number of different walking challenges.  the first one is fairly easy - just to give me an idea of how it works.  I have to walk a minimum of 10 k in August ( as I write this I have already done 8.5km) and, when I have done that, upload a photo of my fitbit as evidence.  In return the a charity will benefit from my entry money and I will receive this medal.  I have tried to enter ever more challenging ones through Autumn - concluding with the 1000 miles in a year medal.  I am a sucker for shiny rewards!  I am hoping to upload the evidence before I go to bed tonight!

The next one will be the week beginning 14th August where, again, I have to do 10k in a week.  I chose this because it supported kidney research and, as someone born with just one kidney, I thought that it would be appropriate to do so!  The last challenge in August is on the 22nd August when you have to walk for 22 minutes in aid of the Manchester appeal.  It should all add to the weight loss cause!  If you are interested in doing any yourself then the site is Virtual runner (but you can walk most of them!!)

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Dunkirk Spirit

The day started brightly (although we are now heading towards another thunder storm) and so I took advantage of the bright weather and continued the deep clean of the conservatory  followed, of course, by some well earned time in front of the sewing machine!  I had had an early shock anyway - I realised, at 6:30am, that I had forgotten to put the rather overflowing bin out so raced downstairs to put it out - just in time, phew!

Being a Tuesday, however, it was soon time to pop to the cinema.  Not, this time, for the Senior Screen but to watch Dunkirk.  I had heard such good things about it and was truly moved - both by the stupidity of war, the seeming-less futility that the soldiers stranded on the beach must have felt and the courage of the small ships - many of whom returned for more than one trip knowing what they were returning to.  I agree with the reviewers - this is a film which everyone should see - especially our youngsters!  I understand that it was made for a 12A audience so that this aim could be achieved!

On our way to the cinema , Jean and I stopped off at B & Q.  Jean wanted to return a saw whilst I, erm, needed some more plastic boxes.  I think that  may just have gone a tad overboard but, in my defence, I now need to organise the fabric out for the mountain of projects ahead of me and plastic boxes help me to sort!  I dream of being so sorted that I have all the fabric I need for each project in the right box - and don't have to buy any more - dream on!!!!

Home again, and its the final assault on the conservatory amidst the downpour - who says that my life isn't glamorous?  All I need now is to remember to put the green bin out tonight, and the rain to stop,  and life will be good!

Foodwise, everything is bang on track -Jean and I even took a SW picnic to the cinema and sat outside in the sunshine to eat it before we went in - well, it saves on the temptation now doesn't it?