Saturday, 31 May 2014

Another stitch and a runny nose

Good morning, just, it's coming up to 12 midday. I'm back from the Parkrun so I thought I would write an update. I must admit I was in two minds whether to go or not. I was up and out of bed just after 7am, and had coffee and toast for brekkies. Still I thought, should I really bother with this, then in a last minute decision I said to myself, just get on with it. I gathered the few bits and bobs needed, money for shopping afterwards, keys, phone, and bar code, and put them in my money belt. Dash upstairs to change into shorts and teeshirt, rush out the door and find I have not put my hearing aid in. Oh bother, it's 8.37am and I need to be gone. Rush back into the house and try and remember where I put said hearing aid, one of three places. Looked at my watch, shall I not bother, still in two minds. Oh stuff it, just go.

I got there with two minutes to spare, and joined the back of the crowd. I have tried starting in the middle, and in the front, but I find I do better at the back, not so much of a crush, let the other athletes stride ahead. I had a bit of a chat with the man next to me before we got the signal to go. Then once the countdown went down to zero we were both off and I never saw him again. I can't talk as I am running round, preferring to concentrate on my breathing and where my feet are landing. I vary my stride according to how I feel and the surface I am running on. Most of it is on tarmac with a twiddly bit through the woods. Most of it is flat, with one slight incline and one long stretch downhill.

At the halfway mark a volunteer steward was standing with his electronic timing gadget, he shouted 16 minutes something as I passed. That made me think maybe I have a chance of beating my personal best if I can keep up the pace for the second lap. I had forgotten to check my watch when I started, so hearing that time for the first lap gave me a bit of a boost.

The stitch came and went and I dabbed the dribbles from my nose with a tissue, and kept on going. I have a little smile to myself when I am running along looking at all the different shapes and sizes of bottoms. Some try and disguise them with baggy clothes, that's me, I don't like people staring at my @rse. Even as skinny as I am, I still have wobbly bits. Then there's folks who don't give a hoot and wear the tightest most brightly coloured lycra they can find.

After checking back in with my bar code, I sat in my car and ate a banana and had a drink. Then a quick pop into town for a few bits, and a pop into the Cash and Carry on the way home. I got ten packets of noodles for £1.

The results are up on the Parkrun web site and I scrolled down looking for my name. What was my time? Yippeeeeee, I have another personal best. 34 minutes 40 seconds. I beat a previous time by only 4 seconds, not much, but hey, it's going in the right direction. If only I could find out how to avoid the dreaded stitch, I could do a lot better.

Right, it's time to get up and go out. I've got some walking to do now, so boots needed for this. I'm helping Helen deliver the parish newsletters in her village. There will be a few miles covered there then. All good exercise.

Have a nice Saturday. Toodle pip.

Bye the way, it was a good party last night. I limited myself to one drink, had a veggie pie and peas with a pudding to follow, and had smashing chats with some lovely people.  

Friday, 30 May 2014

Did you miss anything?

Hello my little bloggerettes, I don't know if anyone noticed but I have just gone over the 2000 posts mark, now at 2006 to be precise. Amazing isn't it, through sheer determination and perseverance anything is possible. Keep chipping away at something and eventually you see results. Give up somewhere along the way, fall off the edge, buckle under the pressure, and everything crumbles around your ears. There have been times when I have really struggled for something to say, then at the eleventh hour some fleeting thought drifts into my head and a seed is planted. Saved once more, lets hit the keyboard.

I've just done a dog walk and as I was being pulled along by Bella the labradoodle, I was trying to think of a topic for today's post. Aha, I know! Lightbulb moment. In 2000 posts there is lots of interesting stuff buried in the vaults. Only those who are new to the blog and start reading from the beginning, are likely to find it. Even the most determined of people may not have the staying power to plough through every single word, and who can blame them, it's a mammoth task.

I have done a little delving into the archives for you, and picked out a few bite sized bits of what I think are interesting posts. I'll sidestep the mundane, the housework, the cooking, the shopping, the everyday kind of living posts, they are the fillers, the stuff to put in to plug a gap. So if you haven't been here very long and feel you might have missed out on a lot of what has been going on, take a trip down memory lane with me.

To help me find these posts I am going to click on the labels on the side bar, and see what comes up, then add the link to that post here. If you have been with me for a long time you may not want to read the same old same old again, fair enough, just come back tomorrow for the next post. You might have noticed that I don't say I blog daily, I post daily. So, let's go.

Do you remember when I painted the snow on my front garden. Snow is lovely when it first appears, everywhere looks fresh and white, then when it hangs around for a while, it becomes boring and I just want it gone. So why put up with boring white snow, why not paint it.

A year ago I went to have a look at the 1939 house down the hill. Joanna lives there and lives her life exactly how they used to in the forties. She dresses in the style, she rides a bicycle to work, she grows her own veg in her back garden, and does her washing in a dolly tub on a Monday. I had such a lot of photo's of that visit that I split them into four posts, here is one of them.

As you know I love days out walking around our wonderful English countryside. There are lots of posts to choose from, it's difficult to choose which one is best. I have picked one out from September 2011, a circular walk of 12 miles in the Lincolnshire Wolds.

It's almost a year ago since my Uncle Stan's 90th birthday, I remember that day with fondness. A lovely sunny Sunday afternoon, family and friends gathered in the garden, food and drinks, excited chatter, and a band playing in the background. Times spent with family are precious.

Aaah, Horncastle, I remember Horncastle. How can I forget the church full of antiques, and the back yard of the second hand shop stuffed full of every kind of bricabrac imaginable. Tons and tons of pots left out in the open, mucky pots in need of a good scrub. Twas an interesting visit.

Did you try making your own crisps in the microwave? If you haven't this the post you want with full instructions. Go on, have a go. It's cheaper than buying a packet, and fun.

I love colourful art, especially modern and contemporary art, and I love visiting art galleries. This post is about a visit to the National Centre for Craft and Design at Sleaford. I love to explore artistic talent. I don't always 'get it', but there's nothing like studying a piece and trying to imagine what's going on inside the artists head.

I bet you are interested in which post has had the most view's. Thought you might.
It's this one, it's way out in front. 8064 page views on this one post. Not sure why, apart from the fact that some of the comments were a tad nasty. Maybe word got around,  hey look at this loony woman freezing her tits off in her hovel. Ha ha. You gotta laugh.

Anyway, I'll leave you with these to potter around should the fancy take you. I have to go and wash the pots, then wash my hair, because I'm going out tonight. Yes, you heard right, actually going out at night, something I haven't done for yonks. I'm going to walk five minutes to the club in the village and help someone celebrate their retirement. It's a pie and pea supper, but I have been assured that a vegetarian option has been ordered for me, so no cooking tonight. Enjoy your weekend, and I'll be back tomorrow. Toodle pip

Thursday, 29 May 2014

The park is looking nice

I'm back on the yellow sticker trail again. I never stop looking actually, it's a habit of mine, pop in a shop to see what cheap delights there are on offer. Today I went into the small Tesco and found some bargains that sort of hopped into my basket. 200grm ,mature cheddar cheese, reduced from £1.58 to 16p, I had three packs. Camembert cheese, was £1.73, now 17p. Cherry tomatoes 30p, wholemeal bread 28p, butternut squash 42p. Thank you very much, £2.51 spent. 
Then I popped into the Spar shop as I was passing. Big tomatoes 40p, cucumber 30p. I'm chuffed. 
I haven't been to the park for a while, mainly because there is a charge to go in during the summer months. But, they unlock the side gate for pedestrians at 4.30pm which allows access to the grounds, for nothing. So I went and took a few snaps. The rain had stopped and it was quite nice to walk through the trees on the new all weather path, and listen to the birdsong. 
No mud to plod through now.

It was quite magical.

Love the splashes of colour.

Catch you tomorrow.
Ooops, nearly forgot. The lost puss has been found. It came back of it's own accord, didn't need the posters and leaflets. I told them to keep them and use them if cat goes wandering again. I expect it will as it hasn't been neutered.
Toodle pip.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Sewing busybee

I think we've skipped summer and fast forwarded to autumn, it's been a wet and miserable cold day. I've gone back to knee length socks and a fleece in the house, and got my old warm jacket out for dog walking. The council in their wisdom sent the grass cutters out to mow the village communal grass areas and verges, you should see what a mess they have made of it. The machines are far too heavy and sink into the sodden ground leaving our lovely village green like a herd of cattle have trampled through it. Mud bath describes it at the moment, with ten days to go to our fete. I can't see it recovering by then unless we get several days of sunshine to dry it out. 
Another day of sewing, and another project finished. I started this ages ago, and put it down to make a bigger cat mat. That one went to the rescue pens, this smaller one I am keeping. 
The fleece offctuts are hand stitched onto a piece of tatty stained bed sheet which I was using as a table cloth. The underneath is very wrinkled, which has pulled the whole thing out of shape. It doesn't matter though, the cats will never notice that it's a bit wonky.

I chose a piece of pink floral cotton for the backing, and a piece of old flannelette sheet for the sandwich bit in the middle. Lay the backing face down....

and fold it over at the front, pin in place to make a border, and run the machine round.

All done. I have run the machine all over it in a zigzag stitch, for the quilty bit. None of it is straight, all higgledypiggledy. 

I've got more fleece offcuts to play with but will move onto something else now. I don't like to do too much of the same thing. Variety is what I like.

I've brought my salad leaf bowl into the kitchen now, out of the way of the slugs and rain. All growing nicely so handy to pick a few leaves when I need them.

Dinner tonight was cold pasta. I made lots yesterday, enough for lunch and dinner today. I like it cold as well as hot. I mixed in some tartar sauce, one year out of date, hence the price of 30p. Also green pesto, grated carrot, and salad leaves, one tomato and two boiled eggs. Made a lovely meal. Quick and easy to do.

It's still raining, going to do some more sewing to keep me busy. Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Another exclusive bag, hot from the sewing machine

It's been a rainy old day here so I've got on with some sewing. Remember this, sewing crisscrosses onto a piece of denim using a wire mesh tray as a grid. I used plain red wool. 
Now the bag is finished. It measures 16 inches across at the widest point, and 16.5 inches top to bottom. It has a red cotton lining with a pocket. I made the two halves separately then sewed them together from the outside. The denim bag I made before I stitched together by hand with red cotton, but this one I have machined all the seams for quickness. 
 I bought a pack of beads for £1, from The Works, a book shop that sells art and craft items. There are 149, all sewn on by hand. I did look for some beads at a car boot sale and charity shops but couldn't find enough of the same kind, and the right size.

Having trouble taking clear photo's with the colour red in them.

The lining is cut from a double bed size cotton sheet that I got for £1 from the Age UK charity shop. I bought it specifically for sewing projects.

There are two rows of machining around the top edge to keep the handles in place.

I always forget to add my name until the item is finished, then I have to sew it on without leaving any stitches showing on the inside. One day I'll remember to do it during the sewing together stage.  
I am very pleased with the way it has turned out. Another exclusive Ilona bag, there isn't another one like it in the whole wide world. It's a very strong heavy duty bag which would be suitable for carrying heavy items about. I think it would look good on our Chat and Craft stand in the church. By the way, the red crisscross design looks far better in the flesh.

Thank you for your suggestions of what to do with the old spoons, I will try sanding them and see what happens. Still not sure if I want to use the silicone one though. Perhaps I can make something crafty with it, ha ha.

I reckon it's time for dinner, I am fancying pasta tonight. I've got a few of the cheap mushrooms left, so I'll make a garlic sauce with some cream cheese. Yummmmmmmm.
Toodle pip.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Stirring it.

I think my wooden spoons are well past their sell by date. Not sure at what stage you are supposed to replace them, but I have seen far worse than this. My spoons begin to look scruffy after using them only  a couple of times, they usually go yellow quite quickly due to the turmeric I put in my food. Anyway, I've had these for a while so they are due for chucking. 
I started looking last week for replacements, tried several shops in town, but couldn't find any. Have they stopped making them? I would have thought the £1 shops would have them in stock, not even the 99p shop had any. I resumed my search today at the Retail Park. Dunelm Mill had a wooden spoon for £1.20, I thought that was a bit steep, I would have expected a pack of three for that price. I browsed the kitchen department and found a selection of Silicone utensils. I have never tried one of these before, it doesn't seem quite right to put a silicone spoon into the food I am going to eat. Will it melt, will I ingest traces of plastic, yuk. 

The normal price of this spoon is £1.99, but I found a purple one in the reduced section, for 99p. I thought I would give it a try. 

It does say that it is for food contact, so I assume it is safe. Oh dear, I'm still not sure, will it poison me? Does anyone else use a silicone spoon? Can you taste it in the food? 
I went across to The Range, department store. I don't usually buy much from there as I find things are expensive. I went to look for offers on cat food. Just out of curiosity I looked for wooden spoons. Well blow me down, they had just what I was looking for, simple wooden spoons for 35p each, 39p if you wanted a longer handle. Doesn't it make you want to spit. You buy something that might just do the job because you can't find exactly the right thing, then you blooming well find the right thing. 
So what do I do, give the silicone spoon a try, or take it back for a refund? I wasn't planning on going in that direction in the near future, so it might be a couple of weeks before I take it back. Someone tell me a silicone spoon is ok to use to stir my curries and stews.

Another thing that niggles me is the silicone spoon is made in China, and the wooden ones are made in Poland. What's going on, are we not capable of making a simple wooden spoon in this country? I'll have a look in my garage and see if I can find a piece of wood the right size and make one myself :o))

No rain here today, it's been lovely.
Toodle pip.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

A visit to Bransby, home for rescued horses.

Bransby Horses used to be called Bransby Rest Home for Horses. A bit of a mouthful so they have shortened it to Bransby Horses. It is a horse rescue place between Lincoln and Gainsborough. They take in horses, donkeys, ponies and mules, which have been ill treated and abandoned, some of them through referral from the RSPCA. Some of the animals live out the rest of their lives at Bransby, while others are found new homes, either through adoption or their fostering or 'on loan' schemes. A second centre is now open, in Herefordshire, and between them they cater for 400 rescued animals. 
Yesterday I visited Bransby, they have an open day twice a year, and I like to take my donation and have a look around. 
The centre has greatly expanded since I started coming a few years ago. A new building and yards mean they can take in many more horses.

A new courtyard for al fresco dining. Cafe and toilet facilites are upgraded in the new facility.
I was a bit late getting there, put off leaving the house until it had stopped raining and had brightened up a bit, so I think I missed some of the demonstrations. I like this dinky little pony and trap. It came into the yard after it's trot around the arena. 
Next was to separate the two....

for a photo opportunity.

Birds of prey were on display. They must have had a heavy downpour judging by the waterlogged field. 

What a beauty.

A few pics as I wandered around.

A few horses had been brought inside to give people a chance to get up close to them. Children especially like this. 
These rescued horses look in fine condition now they have received the care and attention from a dedicated team of vets and volunteers.

Hey, that's close enough matey, I can feel your hot breath on my face. Yes, you are gorgeous. 

This is the little pony which was pulling the trap.

I'm glad the weather picked up during the day, though from my visits in previous years I know the rain does not put people off, they still come out to support their charity.
If you want to know more about Bransby Horses you can visit their web site. 

Looks like we're going to be dodging the rain for the rest of the Bank Holiday. I need to get out into the garden and plant out the courgettes and runner beans. When it rains I have a job on the computer to do. A cat has gone missing from up the road, so I will print out some 'Lost Cat' leaflets and posters, so they can be distributed. Must get on with it, the cat has been missing since Wednesday.
Toodle pip.  

Saturday, 24 May 2014

She's a gudun, that Jack.

Read this with a Yorkshire accent.....Eee by gum, she's a reet plucky lass that Jack, int she? No, Jack doesn't talk like that, she is from daan saaf, that's doon sooth if you are from Scotland. I love accents, don't you. Did you see her on Question Time this week? I watched it on the BBC iplayer catchup last night.

Most of you have probably heard of the blog, A girl Called Jack, she is the young lady who struggled to make ends meet as a single mum, and invented a whole load of cheap recipes costing pennies so they wouldn't starve. She's been in the news a lot these past few months, having found her niche as an ambassador for Anti Poverty. Good on her, that's what I say. She isn't afraid to stand up and be counted. I wish I had had that gumption when I was her age.

She's come a long way from being a skint mum, to sitting on the panel at Question Time, she should be proud of herself. I see a rising star there. She sat on a panel with Kirsty Allsop, and some stuffy politicians, and gave her views live to the whole nation. Millions of people had their eyes and ears open to catch her words. She were reet gud was Jack.

Here is a link to her blog, there is a link to the programe on iplayer within it. Oversees readers may not be able to access it at this moment, but keep a look out on yoootooob for it. It hasn't been uploaded there yet, but it will appear eventually.

Got to go. Toodle pip.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Waving the banner for the craft club

The banner is done. I haven't put a border around it because I don't think it needs one. I will ask the ladies on Monday if they think it would look better with a fancy border. If they say yes I will add one.  
The banner is an offcut from a pale yellow cotton bedsheet, donated by a member. The letters have been made by everyone. We agreed to an A5 size, in upper or lower case, in whatever materials we have. I tried to do close up photo's but there isn't enough light. The banner is two layers. I stitched the letters on one layer then sewed it together right sides in like a long pillow case, then turned it the right way, so the stitches wouldn't show on the back. After ironing the edges I ran a zigzag pattern around it with the machine in yellow cotton, to keep it flat. It is fastened on to a length of rope with small wooden clothes pegs.

Good news, I have spoken to the organiser of the church displays about the weekend of our village fete, and he has agreed to us having our crafting items on show in the church. That will be much better than setting a table up outside on the Green and risk getting things damaged if the weather is bad. So, it's all coming together nicely. I will collect items from the members and take them to the church on the Friday afternoon so they can be set up ready for the Saturday opening. I'm looking forward to this event  :o))
Have a nice Bank Holiday weekend.
Toodle pip.

Imaginary family :o))

Good morning. I've just got to have comedy in my life, quirky comedy, sometimes thought provoking comedy, throw in a dollop of artistic talent and I'm in heaven. I love to discover a new artist on the www, and this one came by way of a daily national newspaper. The Daily Mail prints more fiction than news stories, most of which only require a skim through, in the hope of finding a little gem, and this morning I found this little gem hidden in the Femail section. I found it so entertaining I had to find out more. You might enjoy it too. Click on the quote and read the whole article.
'I'm simpltrying to get people to quit clinging to outdated assumptions of what a successful life looks like, lighten up, and embrace their lives for who it's made them, with or without the Mrs'

Suzanne Heintz was so fed up with people asking her why she wasn't married, she decided to create her own plastic family. She spent 14 years carting her husband and daughter around the globe making videos and taking photographs for her family album.

I googlied her name and came up with more info. Her web site.  Click on the links along the top, her films are on there, and her blog.

There are films on yoootooob. Try this short documentary trailer. Then click on others if you want to.

What do you think? I love it, suits my sense of humour to a tee. Does it float your boat? I love quirky, imaginative, thinking out of the box, ideas.

I want to get the banner finished today, so I'd better get off this computer and start sewing. Have a nice Friday.
Toodle pip.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Bag piccies from Jane

Good Morning. I've had a lovely email from Jane. I will add the piccies to the Bag Gallery.

Hi Ilona,
I remembered to take a some piccies of my bag,doing it’s work. It’s not a shopping/grocery bag,it’s my ‘Ilona bag’.
The first pic is heading up the steps from my house,second pic,the bag waiting outside the vets (there is a horse in the vet’s field but you can’t really see it),third pic, the bag being loaded into the car.
I love my Ilona holds our soy and almond milk cartons perfectly, and there is some give in the fabric so that it doesn’t cut into my hands. One of the cashiers at the grocery store admired the bag. I told him that my friend in the UK made it,and showed him the embroidered name. From that point on as he packed the groceries he would  look for your bag first . ‘OK, here’s your friends’s perfect for the milk cartons’. So, Ilona, even though you are far away, you are thought about every time I go to the grocery store. As soon as I get a pic of the bag with a Canadian flag...I’ll send that to add to your ‘gallery’.
Take care
XXXXXXXX for the kitties
Jane xxx

Thank you Jane. Here is a link to Jane's blog.
Any more photo's from anyone else, for the Gallery?
Toodle pip.