Thursday, 31 August 2017

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Today was another early start - Daisy's regular appointment with her hairdresser groomer.  How she manages to get her from a tousled mess to a perfectly groomed pet in an hour I will never know - but she always comes back smelling and looking fab!

Once home, and with the housework sorted, I started to pack for my Scamblesby day on Sunday and those "kits" that I was assembling yesterday.  Sadly there was a mistake on one but this should just about cover it!  Part of packing is making sure that you have every shade of thread that you need -and then you never seem to have the right one!  To date I have sorted two kits and am assembling a  third - and then I panic that I won't have enough to keep me busy!

After lunch, and a quick mow of the lawn in -between the showers, I set to trying to finish block 9 of Anderson's Farm.  If you have been reading my warblings long enough, you would have read that I thought I had finished the blocks when I did block 10 - only to find that I had left block 9 out.  Somehow my mojo regarding this project left me at that point and it has been difficult to regain it.  In addition, there's a new BOM started and we are currently halfway through so it would be good to see this one finished!  Well, ta da - block 9 has now been finished and assembled.  "Kit" 3 is the finishing kit for Anderson's Farm - well, apart from 4 embroidered hearts that i have just seen that I need in the corners - grr!

Today's hexagon challenge is "Desert Animals" -apparently rabbits are allowed - phew!  I just about have time to sort some hexagons before I go out later - Mum and Dad are taking my cousin and her family to The Halfway House at North Thoresby - would be rude not to join them me thinks!  Eating "on the rock" is always a great experience - but I will go for a more SW friendly choice than this stock photo!

On a totally different note, this photo from the wedding was released today and perfectly seems to sum up the two families coming together.  Both Mike and Sue have three children each so, overnight, their family has doubled in size!  Of course - if it just happens to show the wonderful bunting off .......

Mind you - maybe they got the wrong football team here - don't West Ham sing I'm forever blowing bubbles?

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Family catch up

Today I popped up to Mum and Dad's - nothing unusual about that, I know, but they currently have my cousin and her family visiting so I decided to take Daisy with me so that she could be reunited with them.  Truthfully I think that she was a little overwhelmed by them and spent much of the visit on my knee but she relented and allowed them to stroke her!

Mind you - I don't know why I bothered visiting - it would seem that everyone was more interested in their technology - even the silver surfers amongst us!

My cousin and her family had decided to visit Woodhall Spa and had bought tickets to see Despicable Me 3 at the Kinema in the Woods - it will be interesting to find out what she thought about this unique picture house.  Meanwhile I popped into Cleethorpes for some retail therapy before meeting up with Mum and Dad for a much needed cuppa!  By now it was nearly mid afternoon - where do these days go?- and so it was time to get started with a much put off task - cutting 132 rectangles for my Anderson's Farm border.  11 fabrics - 12 rectangles from each - baby steps!!!  Talking of Lynette Anderson and her designs - I have just paid the deposit for her workshops next year - we are treating ourselves to 2 days - one of which is on my birthday so it would be rude not to - surely?

Once the rectangles have been finished, my next task is to sew another set of hexagons (I know - I am taking part in a challenge to sew 100 of them in 100 days and today's theme is "Ocean animals" - penguins swim in the Antarctic ocean - right?) before starting to get ready for my next Scamblesby day - now which lucky UFO should I take?  There are just too many to choose from!!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

"That's where the old school teacher lives"

This is what I have been reduced to!!  Last night I had an order delivered from Tesco's and he couldn't find my house -so he stopped two people walking their dog and gave my name.  Their response was the blog title!!  Help!

At my brother's wedding I tasted coronation chicken for the first time - after many years of saying that I didn't like it!  Of course I then found it absolutely lovely - and so added some ingredients to my Tesco order to make a slimming world friendly version. There are a number of recipes out there but they all included mayonnaise - which I hate - or rather, said that I hated but, after some "lighter than light" arrived last night I may just have changed my mind - oops!  Anyway, today, I added the mayonnaise to some natural yoghurt, curry powder, apricot jam and then fresh apricots - before mixing with chicken pieces - and then had some with a jacket potato.  I may just have discovered a new favourite after all these years!

Today required an early start - the car was in for it's service and MOT - so I dropped it off and walked the dogs back home. I am still very tired after the weekend and so achieving anything was, I will admit, a struggle.  However I have managed to book a premier inn for a holiday next august (well, they release their rooms a year before so it would be rude not to), wash and change the bedding, do a second load of washing and have re-discovered the floor in the craft room (it was approaching a Dr Livingstone I presume moment!)  With the weather outside being distinctly inclement, I also treated myself to lunch on the sofa with some EPP hexagons- before resting my eyes for a few minutes!

Of course I was waiting for the call to say that the car was ready and, once it came through, bounded crawled out of the door with the dogs and began the looooooong walk back to the garage - well not that far really but ....

The final "task" of the day was to pop round to Wendy's to sort out some car insurance details (we are going to a quilt show on Saturday so it helps to have a spare driver just in case) before coming back home and trying out a new SW recipe for tea - "Sloppy Joe's macaroni frittata" - different eh?  Now all I need is to sit back and try out the new Great British Bake Off - let's hope that it is as good as it was on the BBC!

Monday, 28 August 2017

Where do I start?

So - this weekend has been spent down in the southeast at my baby brother's wedding.  For both the bride and groom (Sue and Mike), this was their second marriage and they wanted their wedding day to be personal to them - and, indeed, it was!

We arrived (I won't talk about the horrendous journey the day before - best forgotten!) at the cricket club - which would be our base for much of the day.  Mum had done the wedding cake so it needed to be set up.  Then Mike, and his three boys arrived (the boys weren't too sure about the pink accessories!) and, as it soon became clear, all three were to play part of the role of best man - one would witness the signing, one would pass the rings over and the lucky one would get to make a really good speech!

Most of the guests walked the short 5 minutes walk to church and took the traditional Bride v Groom sides - only to be kept waiting by the bride -10 minutes!  All became clear when we watched a funny video about the trials and tribulations of getting to the church on time!  This personal approach then heralded the start of their plans - a collection of past family wedding photos were shown as the register was signed and relatives sang, we all -including the bride and groom -  walked back to the ground only to be met with drinks and nibbles, before settling down to the lunch where the table settings in the marquee were based on Leicester City players.

After the speech, there was a bride v groom cricket match (the bride's team won but we are not jealous!) with everyone in their whites and monogrammed polo shirts for the occasion.  As we looked on from our chairs and talked / sewed, so the drinks carried on flowing - whether it be non-alcoholic ones kept cool in ice baths or pimms - stopping only for a cricket tea at half time!

My 4 great nieces and nephews
My greta nephew, Benji, and his Dad.

The groom, Mike, and his Dad
My great niece
My nephew, Andrew, with the monogrammed polo shirt

Was that it?  Well, no - we then moved to the evening do at the local village hall where their was a disco in one room and an "Ovaltine Room" (imagine a bare village hall with 12 sofas, standard lamps, rugs and coffee tables and with photos of family members around the room!).  This seemed to be the most popular room - until, of course, the first dance!

Surely that must be it?  Could they think of anything else?  Well - yes.  the next morning most relatives met up in the local pub for bacon sandwiches, pastries, coffee / tea / juice - just to say thank you and goodbye.  In short this was the most thoughtfully and meticulously planned wedding that I have ever been to which also, in turn, felt like a really warm family affair.  The best part of it all was that most people contributed something - I made the bunting (you may recall), someone else did the flowers, my brother made the cricket trophy and sorted the monograms whilst also making a cheese board in the shape of a cricket bat.  Another brother brought cheese and biscuits with cricket inspired labels and my cousin made a mountain of scones for the cricket tea.  And so it goes on!

Yesterday, the journey back was less eventful and, after picking the dogs up, today has been a day of trying to get back to normal.  I have been to slimming world but I think that the news can wait until next week - water retention is all I will say on that matter!  However the memories of a lovely weekend will stay for a long while - so thank you to Sue and Mike -and everyone who contributed!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

They say - be careful for what you wish for .....

......don't they?  Well, if yesterday was laid back then today was FULL ON!  It's my baby brother's wedding this weekend and so preparations are full on - and I am just a guest!!

Let me explain.  I had scheduled today for my hairdressers visit - and treated myself to another nail manicure.  Knowing that I was out and about, Mum asked me to pick up one or two last minute essentials -yeah, right!  Let's just say that I left home after 8am and arrived home about 3:30pm.  On the way here were thwarted attempts to park in overfull car parks, wrong widths of ribbon and long discussions re the type of clips to use - just don't ask .....but, hey, everyone should have such problems!

So, now I have Mum's dog here (I am taking all three to the kennels tomorrow morning) and she is whining because I am daring to pack!! The house needs another tidy up and hoover, I need to phone the house sitter and there are a couple of crafty items just waiting to make their way into what will be an overpacked car!  Meanwhile I am playing with the new Satnav - trying to work out how to use it (my old one is so old that it regularly shows me driving across fields where new roads have been built!)  Anyone think that I am displacing?

If I don't blog for the next few days it will be because the wifi signal is not good enough so please forgive me!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

A lazy kind of day!

Well, what can I say - the blog title says it all.  Somehow I just couldn't get going today and everything felt like an uphill battle.  Mind you - I had a number of must do tasks so they, at least, have been done.

First up was to pop around to church with some raffle prizes for their open weekend - thank goodness Mum moved and sorted some things out for us!  After a detour via the local shops for exciting stuff like washing tabs, it was then home to a spot of housework before settling down to the Christmas present that I started last Saturday.  By this afternoon, and with the help of Midsummer Murders on catch up from last night, the present was finished and ready for a press.  Mind you - I did also manage to knit a poppy whilst watching TV - this year the WI want to do a knitted wreath so I have set myself a personal target of 20 poppies - 4 so far !!

Meanwhile the oil cloth table covers from the WI were in the washing machine - I didn't know that you could put them in the washing machine but, as we speak, I am trying to summon up the courage to take them out - apparently there's a lot of water in those folds!

And that's it - not a lot to show for 8 hours of time now is it?  I am hoping that there's a sudden burst of energy - but I am not holding out hope!  Roll on tomorrow!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The power of 22

Today was forecast to be a cloudy but dry day - so when I woke up to a damp start all thoughts of outside jobs went for a burton.  Thankfully, one pile of ironing later and the sun was out.  Why was I so concerned?  Well today, being the 22nd August, was another medal challenge day - walk for 22 minutes in aid of The Manchester Arena appeal fund (22 to represent the date of the tragedy and the number of people who had died at that point).  They had done this before in May but I had missed it - in fact it was when a friend did this challenge back in  May that I first heard about the website Virtual Runner and started to sign up to the challenges.  Today I had to head out and walk for 22 minutes exactly and then submit a photo of my "Map my walk" app to prove what I had done.  I am pleased to say that, not only did the pooches and I complete the challenge - but the weather was kind to us and Daisy had a ball running up and down the slopes.

Back home and my facebook account was going mad - three of the friends at the Lynette Anderson workshop were trying to book their accommodation for next year.  Apparently their technique was to mention my name and they got a lower price - result!!

The next task on the agenda was to carry on removing the masking tape in the she cave - why oh why have I left it so long?  Lots of water and scraping later we have now finished half of the job!  Next time I need to use low tack tape and remove it sooner - lesson learnt!!

After lunch, and, erm, 40 winks it was off outside again (I am sure getting my vitamin D!!) to do some more picket fence painting.  This time I got to the bottom of the first tin so, rather than starting the second one, I set to removing some Ivy from the gate and post.  I honestly cannot say how long it is since I have tackled this job but, inspired by Dad who is decimating his garden removing Ivy, I have to say that it's a very satisfying job.  The more you cut and pull, the more you want to keep going!  Of course its not for the squeamish - there were a certain amount of spiders and woodlice revealed!  As of now the bin is full but there is still a lot to remove ( plus the opposite post) but I have severed the ivy from the larger stems so some die back will make the next stage easier - and I have a blister!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Surprise, surprise - I've only gone and done it again!

Today started with a bit of lie in - normally okay but, with a WI committee meeting at 10am, it meant a rush around to get sorted!  Of course it was aided by being at Carine's house - she does make exceedingly good homemade biscuits - today she was literally taking them out of the oven as I arrived!

Two hours plus later, I walked home - only to be greeted by Ruby and her grandmother.  Ruby had wanted to make me a pin cushion to remind me of her and our sewing lessons before she goes back to Hertfordshire on Friday. Of course they had to come in and have a play with Daisy (who reluctantly allowed herself to be fussed!) and we enjoyed a coffee out in the "she cave" in the sun.

By now it was time for a quick dishwasher unloading / loading session - before heading on out to Slimming world.  I truly didn't expect much, after the 8 lbs last week, but then managed to lose another 3 1/2 lbs AND was awarded slimmer f the week - yey!!  The down side to this is that I now have a basket of plums to find a use for - makes a change from the blackberries i guess!  The upside is that I am now only 17lbs away from my first target (not forgetting being only 31lbs away from my new sewing machine of course!)  With my family wedding this weekend, I don't expect to lose much next week but my aim is to be good until and after then.  What happens at the weekend will stay at the weekend!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

A day of rest

What a strange day today was -I just couldn't get going at all - I seemed permanently tired!

Still, there's always stuff to be done so, after a kitchen / lounge tidy up and a sort out of the cart room desk (well, paperwork put away at least)I made a start on the afore mentioned Christmas present whilst listening to The Archers' Omnibus.  By 11:15, when it finished, my eyes were dropping so I had 40 winks on the sofa (well - I tried to at least!)

After a light lunch (and by now now I was beginning to wonder if it was a sugar low since I have have been angelic this week!) I took the dogs for a walk up at the beach in the hope that it would blow some cobwebs away.  On return I thought that I would continue the fresh air theme and do some more fence painting.  Having passed the 600 miles threshold whilst up at the beach I thought I would celebrate by temporarily painting 600 on a fence post! It also highlights the difference pre and post fence painting - I am now over halfway and it does look a lot better!

In for a rest and I started to sort out my craft project for next weekend- whilst watching the latest edition of The Quilt Project on You tube (Louise - this link is for you!)  It's my brother's wedding and, apart from having nothing to do in a hotel room, the actual day involves an inter family cricket match (not my favourite sport!) so I have a mental image of lots of chats and laughter whilst also doing some lovely handsewing!  This is the second block of the secret Christmas wall hanging that the Textile group have been doing and I am playing catch up.  Just a little on block one and this one - then I am caught up and just have one to do when we go back!

For pudding tonight, its the last of the "Being creative with Blackberries" week and so I am going to try and make Blackberry snow but substitute low fat creme fraiche for the double cream - let's hope that all of this effort shows tomorrow on the scales.  After the large weigh loss last week I am not being too hopeful!

Saturday, 19 August 2017

A flexible day!

With no  appointments for today, the day stretched out in front of me. My main task was to finish the small "clutch" bag that I needed for next week's wedding - so why did I not finish it until after 4pm?

A lie in, followed by some housework (did I mention how much hair Maisie drops?) meant that, by 10am, I was ready to make a start.  Well, I thought, lets just see if I can book the hotel yet for next year's Lynette Anderson workshop.  Oh yeah - the prices are up and indicate a joint price of £300 for two people, two nights, breakfast each morning and a two course dinner each evening.  Not bad - but could I do better.  Haggling on the phone brought the price down to £258 - just £5 each more than we paid this year - result!

Whilst I was on the landline making the deal, Wendy texted inviting me round for a coffee.  Well, I did say that it was a flexible day so off I went!  Nearly two hours later we finished catching up and I posted the commission off and came home for lunch.  Should I start sewing then?  Well, maybe not, the dogs needed a walk!

Long story short - I started the bag at 3pm and finished by 4pm - Not too shabby!  It's only a simple bag but will be needed in an open tote bag for security.

All that needs to be done now is to cut some pieces out for tomorrows project (a Christmas present), make tea (fish pie and blackberry cranachan since you ask) and settle down with some christmas embroidery - mine is such a hard life!

Friday, 18 August 2017

Burglary update

Let's start with an update and a thank you to everyone who make kind comments.  Mum and Dad manged to get there before my brother and so they were able to go into the house with them (I think that was their greatest fear - the fear of not knowing!)  As it so happened, the police did exaggerate - I am not underplaying the feeling of violation when some scum has come into your personal lace - but these seem to have made a grab and run effort.  The mess was upturned drawers and cupboards rummaged rather than anything long lasting.  By this morning, order had been restored and Mum and Dad decided to come home.  Psychologically, my brother and his wife seem to be coping with it well.

I decided to pop into Grimsby, this morning, and buy a batch of low fat sausages from the Farmers Market - it's always nice to have a stash in the freezer!  On the way home, I stopped off at Mum and Dad's and picked up the basket of ironing.  She had mentioned that the ever growing pile needed dealing with so I thought that I would give her a treat.  Mind you - there were far too many shirts in that basket for my liking!  I won't offer again in a hurry!

Back home, and after that HUGE pile of ironing (the picture only shows half of it!), I put the finishing touches to the commission (my friend is delighted with it - phew) and gave it a press. I will package it up and post it off tomorrow so that my friend can take it on holiday with them and give it on the day.

The postman called - with my medal!  I am amassing a few now in my collection.

The rest of the afternoon was spent listening to the Archers Omnibus and making a "Magic Pouch" to match my wedding handbag before taking Maisie home.  It's a useful "clutch bag" which I can clip inside the handbag and store my car keys and phone - the "magic" part keeps everything separate.

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!)