Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Smaller than my little finger

Hello. There wasn't room for these photo's yesterday, so I am including them now. This is not my work, one of our Crafty Club members, Linda, made these decorations. She used metal rings to crochet onto, and added beads. They look very pretty. Maybe a few ideas for others to try. 
She used a hot glue gun to stick the beads on.

This is a mini Christmas wreath made by wrapping green wool around a polystyrene ring, and adding embellishments.

These four little cuties are felt brooches, she has added a brooch fastening on the back of each one. Something nice and easy for those just starting out on felt work. Linda is busy making things for a Christmas fair.

My dinner yesterday was the usual plate of steamed veggies, and Quorn chicken style nuggets. 
This morning I got into the furniture removal business. My friend here in the village wanted to get rid of some office furniture and asked if I wanted it. I have no need for it, but I immediately thought of Helen who wants to replace some drawers which are falling to bits in her garage. Just the ticket. Me and Helen removed them and took them over to her place. In exchange, Helen is going to go back and paint a fence for the lady, a good swap I thought. Everybody is happy.

Today has been a hot one, almost too hot to be outside. Sue from Our New Life in the Country, reminded me that I need to dig up my spuds. So here they are. Sadly not many, but better than a slap in the face with a wet flannel.

What do you think of my carrots then? This is my entire crop, ha ha. Seeds sown into a big tub, I should have thinned them out methinks. Yes, I scrubbed each and every one. I think I would win first prize for the smallest carrots ever.

 And I bloomin well ate them. My dinner tonight. All scoffed, I'm stuffed.

Time to take the pooch out, and get the cats in. The vet rang today but I missed the call. She is ringing back tomorrow. Thanks for popping in.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Eat up all your greens.

Hello. Thank you for your comments on yesterdays post. I'm chuffed that you like the poem, and thank you Joan for sending it to me. 
I've been to visit Helen this morning, we took her dog Henry choc lab for a walk, with Angus and Guinness, two other dogs she knows. Rocky came with me but he stayed in the house while we went out. He has been there many times before so he is fine with that. He has had three short walks today, it's best that we walk alone then he can go at his own pace, he can't keep up with other dogs.  
Here is a variation on the felt hearts, why not make felt miniature Christmas stockings as well, to hang on a tree. I have made five and they are so so cute. The tiny sequins were fiddly to pick up and the silver braid was awkward to sew around the top edge while holding the back and front together. I have put a bit of stuffing in to fill them out.  

Do you remember the cushion covers made from men's shirts? I made the one on the right a few months ago, and the two new shirts, charity shop £1, have now been made into cushions. So now there is a matching set of three, I deliberately chose stripes again. I am pleased with them, they will be sold on our cat stall at the Christmas Fair.   

Oh no, I have gone and done it again. I said I wasn't going to buy any more of the mayo in a plastic bottle because of the difficulty of getting it all out, unless you cut the bottle in two pieces. The trouble is that it was only 20p a bottle along with the sweetcorn relish, so how could I not buy them. I'll just have to put up with the inconvenience of shaking the bottle like crazy and bashing it on the work top, then slicing it in half with a knife, and finally washing the two pieces of plastic to go in the recycling bin. 
Dinner the other day. Quorn is or was on offer at £1 a bag, so I stocked up with sausages, fillets, and nuggets. Added to a plate of steamed greens and it's the ideal dinner for me.

Courgettes, pickled onions, one mushroom, and spinach cooked in a bit of oil, and add two eggs and scramble them. Serve with iceberg lettuce and cucumber. Very nice.

 I took Heidi to the vet yesterday late afternoon, for blood to be taken for another test. On the way back I popped in the Tesco Local. I was lucky enough to get a few items. Small bottles of fresh milk 5p each, I got three. Spinach 22p. Potato salad 7p, I got two, and pasta salad 68p. Total cost £1.19p. So this was my dinner last night, a no cook meal, half of the potato salad and half the pasta salad, eat it out of the tubs to save on washing up, ha ha. Have eaten the rest for lunch today.

It's been lovely out in the garden for the last few days. I am making use of the summer house and sitting out there busy sewing. I think I'm going to get rid of the raised beds over the winter and give up on veg growing. I fancy making a flower garden instead.

Thanks for popping in. Catch you soon. Toodle pip.

Monday, 28 September 2015

She's a poet, and she knows it.

Hello and good morning on this sunny start to the day. Something has dropped into my email box which is so fandabidozi brilliant it deserves a blog post all of it's own. We have a lot of talented readers out there, and creative talent takes many forms. Don't worry if you are not an expert on sewing, knitting, embroidery, quilting, dressmaking, soft furnishings, cookery, baking, painting, flower arranging, or whatever, try your hand at something else. How about creativity using words.

Joan from Wales has been doodling with words, and come up with a great poem. She regularly writes poems for her granddaughter, now she has written one for me. Have a butchers at this.

 Ilona is the Mean Queen
Of Life After Money blog fame.
She is a unique character,
Who puts us all to shame.

She has wide and varied interests,
Boredom she does not know.
Rarely planned, she tackles life,
Going with the flow.

Trekking all over the country,
In sunshine, wind and rain.
It doesn't matter if she misses a sight,
She'll be back to see it, again.

Modern art is a favourite hobby,
A talent which comes from within.
Creating a one-off masterpiece,
With bits and bobs from her bin.

Her meals are truly legendary,
With never two plates filled the same.
She'll add this, with a  pinch of that,
Treating it more like a game.

Her imagination knows no bounds,
On recycling things from her store.
Full of ideas, she'll let you know,
What you can do with a door.

Compassionate and caring,
Ilona has friends by the ton.
Not only humans in blogland,
But all animals under the sun.

Her cats think she's the bees knees,
When she caters for every whim.
And as for her pet dog, Rocky,
He's thankful she looks after him.

I would like to be more like Ilona,
With her spirit, energy and zest.
Then when I'm done, I'll know for sure,
That I've done my absolute best.

Aint she clever? Thanks Joan, I love it.
Off to Crafty Club now, catch up soon. Toodle pip

Sunday, 27 September 2015

It's everywhere

Good morning. I am sitting here sewing and my mind wanders, as it does. Thinking about what's going on, things that's happening in the world, things that I read about and listen to on the radio. Reading my free copies of the Times is expanding my repertoire of bigger words, and making me think of topics which I might not have been interested in a few years ago. I am not a crafter of words, they usually come from incessant bashing of the keyboard, rather than digging deep into the maze of grey matter within my skull. A thesaurus and dictionary on my desk lend a hand to re arranging a sentence or paragraph into something aesthetically pleasing to read.

Sometimes a word comes into my head which I fall in love with, just saying it out loud in different tones and pitches can give it a life all of it's own. It can then be adapted to many different meanings and circumstances. The word I have in my head at the moment is skullduggery. Go on, say it, it's great isn't it, skullduggery.

It's a word that we should all keep at the forefront of our mind, for there is a lot of skullduggery going on in the world today in all walks of life. The Free Dictionary also offers similar words which are fun, but with an underlying serious message. Hanky panky, hocus-pocus, jiggery pokery, and trickery. Great words. At first glance they seem harmless and fun, like juggling things about for entertainment, such as magic tricks and illusions. Setting someone up for a practical joke seems harmless enough but you have to be careful that the recipient does not take offence at being made to look silly. It's down to knowing their personality and whether they can take a joke.

At the other end of the scale, mass skullduggery can have disasterous consequences, especially for people who are duped by intricate lies and deceit. This is the dark side of skullduggery and it can rear it's ugly head when you are least expecting it. Pulling the wool over someone's eyes may seem like a harmless bit of fun, but one lie can escalate and change the fabric of humanity. I'm thinking big here, the press, especially on the internet, TV, and radio, have the biggest influence on shaping how people behave, yet look at how much skullduggery goes on there. Years ago before the internet, people had only a limited knowledge of what was happening on the other side of the world, now everyone knows every detail, warts and all. That would be fine if everything that was printed, filmed, photographed, or written about, was true, but it isn't. It's up to every consumer to weed out the lies, the skullduggery.

Why am I writing on this topic? Because I want every one of you to protect yourselves from being taken for a mug. Don't be the person who falls for a random stranger on holiday, shells out shed loads of money to get the toyboy/girl a visa allowing him/her to set up home with you. Nine times out of ten, they will bugger off when all the paperwork has gone through.

Don't be the person who hands over their bank details on the phone to someone who has rung you on the off chance that you might be the one daft enough to transfer the whole of your savings into a bogus account, and set them up for life. There are some elaborate scams both on the phone, and web sites, don't believe a bluddy word of it, scam scam scam. Big skullduggery going on there. Best put the phone down on a genuine call than be worrying yourself sick when your bank or credit card statement comes through with huge discrepancies on it. If you need to contact your bank, go into the branch, any branch, or get their genuine phone number from them. Do not ring any other number.

Don't be the one to agree to a loan, buy a car on finance, take on any form of borrowings, without reading the very small print. They want to trick you into agreeing terms that are beneficial to them, and detrimental to your own financial situation. In short, avoid borrowing money at all if you can.

I could go on, but the gist of it is, question everything you read, everything you are told, and everything you see. Skullduggery is everywhere. Have you been taken in, do you take everything at face value, has someone turned out not to be who they say they are? Now you have this knowledge put it into practice and protect yourself.

Have a peaceful and stress free Sunday.
Toodle pip.
PS, I had an enjoyable day yesterday, visiting uncle and aunt, and sister.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Keep smiling

Hello. Just popping in with a quickie, I'm off to visit rellies, going to truck off down that motorway, back later. Here is your daily titter. Del and Rodney have put a found piece of bricabrac into the auction at Sotherby's.

You gotta laff. Love and kisses. Ilona

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Trying hard to be serious, and failing

Hello. Let's have a natter. I'll start, you join in if you want to. I've been to the doctors twice this week, very unusual for me to go even once. I got called in for the annual flu jab on Tuesday. Our medical centre is usually closed on a Tuesday afternoon, but this week it was packed. It was a case of all hands on deck, needles at the ready, line us up and chuck darts at us, no not really, I'm kidding. We were pretty quick in and out though, it was like half the village was there, pity they weren't serving coffee and cake. I was larking about a bit, I can't help myself. We sat on a row of chairs and shuffled up when one dropped off the end. Then it was my turn and the nurse stuck the needle in. I grimaced and said 'chuffin heck, that hurt'. Then when I was walking away I looked at my arm and said, 'it's bleeding'. Made a few people smile, ha ha.  
I've been to the doctors today as well, but not our local medical centre, I went to the big one in the neighbouring village. You get an appointment quicker if you are prepared to drive the two miles to get there. I have now got a black spot on my cheek, that's the one on my face, not on my bum. For some strange reason a wart decided to erupt, spoiling my naturally beautiful, normally clear, and glowing skin. Can't have that I thought, it will spoil my chances if I ever decide to go out on the pull. Oh it's nothing, the doctor said, it's what happens when you get older. Charming, is this the start of a downhill slope, am I going to get scabby lumps appearing from now on? He prodded it with a plastic straw thing with some chemical on the end of  it. 'There you are', he said, 'it will go black and drop off, keep it dry for a couple of days'. Oooh good I thought, won't have to have a wash, ha ha. 
This is a nice view, spotted on my way home. We are surrounded by farmland in these parts, mostly crops, not many cows and sheep. Pity about the electricity cables spoiling the picture though. 
Don't know what these are called, but aint they pretty. Like little lanterns tumbling over a drystone wall in someone's front garden.

Yesterday I made a pan of soup with two packs of mixed ready chopped veg. I left it chunky, didn't bother to zap it with the blender. 
Looks pretty grim doesn't it, like something regurgitated. Tastes alright though. It was a bit watery so I mixed a couple of spoons of humous into it, improved the taste no end. One portion eaten, two for the freezer.

I've had a letter today from the House of Commons. Mr Percy our MP often writes to me, he likes to keep me informed on what he is up to when he is in the big city. This time it's about his campaign to get better mobile phone coverage for our area. Good of him to put so much effort into keeping his constituents happy.

My annual payment to Google Storage has come through on my statement this month. This is the small amount I pay  for a much larger storage facility for my photographs. Because I post a lot of images I reached my limit of free storage after a couple of years of blogging. I see there is a slight increase from last year, an extra 27p to pay, this takes it up to £3.84. Bloomin cheek, everything keeps going up. Don't know where I will find that extra 27p from, will have to cut down on the car miles and use the bus ;o)

Cat rescue news, grey mummy cat has had a touch of cystitis but is alright now, the kittens are doing well. We had to take a cat back in, a lady adopted three cats from us, but one cat was getting bullied, so it came back to us. The good news is that we found another home for it. A much better home, in a village, with one other cat and they are getting on great together.

I've got some brilliant news, it's chuffin amazing. My page views have soared sky high, it's fantastic that so many people want to read my little old blog. I mean, what could I be saying that is of any interest to anybody? It's about what I do with my life, that's all. 25 million page views a day, told you it was chuffin amazing, that's half the chuffin world. I have a stat checker on and watching the comings and goings is like watching the share prices change every few seconds on the boards at the stock exchange. And emails, well, my box is overflowing, don't know when I am ever going to find time to answer them all, if you sent one you're in a queue. I'm getting to be a right old Marjorie Proops, ha ha. Just ask me anything and I'll sort all your problems out for you.

Right, I'm off, need some sustenance before bed time, fancy some rice pudding. Catch you soon. Toodle pip.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Love this recycling, making new from old lark

Hello. Had a computer blip then, hit the keys and nothing happened. Closed it down and opened it again, and here I am. Very strange. I didn't have anything to write about this morning, but stuff happens, always something around the corner. I thought I would finish off this heart that I cut out the other day. So what are the red petals in the centre? Another idea, keep all the old silk and plastic flowers you have because they will come in useful for a sewing project. Or you can do what I do and look in the bins in the churchyard for any that are thrown away. 
A piece of red cord for the loop, small red beads, and silver sequins.

The little white butterfly was cut from a strip of them, can't remember where they came from, someone gave them to me. I added blue French knots and stripes on the body. 
The flower minus some petals, some of them are faded but there are some that can be used for another project.

I had a walk down the road to visit my friend Irene for coffee this morning. A car stopped beside me, it was another friend Sandra. She handed me a bag of dry cat food asking if I could use it because her fussy cat won't eat it. Thank you very much I said. I like it when people give me things. If my cats don't like it I can pass it on to the rescue cats. 
So why have I got a photo of the Times newspaper here? I was sat with Irene supping her coffee and scoffing her biscuits, when the conversation got round to recycling. I was telling her about a programme I have been watching on the catch up tv. Sometime in the future she will be moving and she said they will be de cluttering and mentioned about taking stuff to the council tip. I said, well let me see anything before you get rid of it. There was a copy of the Times on the table so I asked what they did with them when they had been read, in the recycling box she said. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I said I like reading the Times, so the outcome is that she is going to save them for me, and I will call every Saturday morning where I will find the papers in the porch and I just take them. Good arrangement eh! Oh, she also gave me some ribbon and lace and a tube of glitter. All free. 
I spotted a skip on someones driveway while out dog walking this afternoon. There wasn't anything of interest in it, they were having a new bathroom fitted so it was mainly broken bits of old bathroom and rubble. But on the top was this wooden bathroom cabinet. The man let me have it. It needs sanding down and either re varnishing or painting. There is no damage so I will be able to give it a new lease of life. 

The man brought out some offcuts of plastic coated boards, they fit together in a tongue and groove fashion. Must be something I can do with them. They have a shiny white plastic finish.

They are hollow so lightweight, some kind of cladding.

I've been hooked on the BBC programme, Money for Nothing, and I'm working my way through all the episodes on the i player catch up. The presenter is Sarah who goes to the council dumps and picks up junk that people are throwing away, and turns it into something new with the help of her recycling experts. Man hole covers become vanity units, a road spring became a floor standing lamp, chairs are recovered and painted, and monopoly trinkets became silver charms. It's really interesting and has some good ideas for those interested in re purposing their junk. Take a look at the web site if you want to know more. You can click on the episodes from there. I'm not sure if this is available outside the UK, I can't find it on yooootoooob, sorry.

That's me done for tonight. Thanks for popping in. Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

New sleeping arrangements

Hello. I thought you might like a catch up with the family. Just back from a late walk with the extremely handsome Rocky. We don't go far, just a bimble up and down the road so he can have a sniff around and check out his territory. This cooler weather is not good for him, but luckily we had some sun today so we were both out in the garden. The medication is easing his arthritis, although he will never run about again, his tail is still wagging.  
This is Mayze's favourite place, she makes a dash to the kitchen window sill whenever she hears any kind of clattering of pots and pans. She enters at 90 miles an hour and launches herself from exactly the same spot every time, which is now making an indent in the vinyl floor covering. She watches me open the fridge door and waits in anticipation of some tasty morsel finding it's way onto her saucer. She does this at least six times a day, or more, but she does not always get something, she is a greedy madam.

Heidi is still camping out on the living room table. She spends a lot of time here, with the occasional trip out into the garden. The window sill is a very nice sun spot for her as well. I have to move the food tray off if I want to use the sewing machine. She will have to have another blood test soon to compare the readings with the first one she had.

The bestest cat in the whole wide world, Bugsy Baby Bugalugs stays mainly in the bedroom window sill. I have propped a door up against the curtain because he rolled over and fell out once. He likes to watch the world go by, and the king of the castle gets his food brought to him. He climbs down to use the litter box, and if it is sunny he will go outside. He can still get up and down with the help of a chair, not bad for 18 years old.

Now what's all this about new sleeping arrangements? Rocky has always slept on my bed with me, but during the last week he has been going to sleep for a couple of hours then waking up and has not been able to settle. He is tossing and turning trying to get comfortable. I wake up at about midnight to find his face looking down at me. I ask him what he wants but he doesn't tell me, so I have to guess. On with the dressing gown, pick up the torch, and out we go onto the garden. He has a pee, and we go back to bed.

Two hours later the same thing happens again, and sometimes it is three times in the night. This was not doing my beauty sleep much good and I was waking up in the morning with a headache and still tired. I came to the conclusion that the bed was too soft for him, so I brought his own bed upstairs and put it on the floor next to my bed. This didn't work, he preferred to lay on the carpet.

I have been carrying him up and down stairs for quite a while now because I don't want him to put any unnecessary pressure on his joints. His little legs have got to last him a while longer, and hopefully pain free if possible. Anyway, I have come up with an idea, where I don't have to carry him up and down stairs. Why don't I bring my bed downstairs. Now I am not going to clear a space and hump a chuffin great king size bed into the living room. Mind you looking across at the three piece suite I have in here, I could shift that upstairs and have my bed in it's place. That would be good, like a bedsit, everything in one room, ha ha.

The solution is I have a camp bed that is very comfortable to sleep on, so for the moment I am camping out in my living room. This lot gets taken downstairs and a bed made up. Rocky is happy on the floor he has plenty of space to choose his spot. Bugsy can have a poo in the night and I am not woken by the smell of it, so I don't have to get out of bed to move the litter box.

We have had two nights now where Rocky has not bothered me, and we have both slept through till 6.45am, so it's working. He didn't really need to go outside, he never has done before, so it was the soft bed that he wasn't comfortable with. Now we are both happy. I think I might need to move into a bungalow, ha ha.

Right, that's me done, got to make the bed up. It's surprising how comfy it is.
Thanks for popping in. Toodle pip

Monday, 21 September 2015

The heart of the matter

Hello all you blogerettes out there. Someone asked me for a tutorial on how to make the felt hearts. It is very difficult for me to make a tutorial video because three hands are needed, one to hold the camera and two to demonstrate how to do it, and there is only me here, and I have two hands, and I don't have a tripod. So here are some photo's and I'll try and explain in words. 
First you need to make a template of the heart shape you wish to use. I have several of these in different sizes, made out of cereal boxes. Any cardboard will do. Find pictures of hearts in magazines and books, and trace them onto greaseproof or tracing paper, and transfer the image to cardboard. Do you want a rounded chubby heart, or an elongated elegant one?  
Then choose your colour schemes, will you use two matching colours or will you use several colours and mix them up. Decide how many hearts you want to make and check that you have enough felt. Will you leave them single, or hang several vertically, or string them in a line, say hanging from a doorway or across a window?

My hearts have a smaller one stitched onto the centre of a larger one. You don't have to do that if you don't want to. You might just want a back and a front with your embellishments added to the front. I pin my heart shape onto the felt and cut round it with a pair of nail scissors. Hold it between your thumb and first finger on your left hand, other way round if you are left handed, and trim very carefully and close to the cardboard shape, as neat as you can.

I need two larger hearts and one smaller one. Make sure the smaller heart is dead centre with equal distances all the way round from the outer edge of the big one.

Now you can decide what to embellish it with. I first do some running stitches in a contrasting colour around the edge of the small one. You could do a blanket stitch if you like, or any stitch for that matter. Pin the two pieces together first so the small heart doesn't wander about and stays central as you are sewing. Then you can fill the middle in with whatever you have to hand, small beads, sequins, french knots, more stitching, small buttons, lace or ribbon.

When you have decided that the front is finished, then you can sew the back on it. I like blanket stitch for this in a contrasting thread, but you can use running stitch if you like. If you are going to hang them vertically find a piece of ribbon or cord, check it is long enough for all the hearts. Start at the top and fold the ribbon over to make a loop, then sandwich the length of ribbon with the loop sticking out of the top, in between the front and back, pin it vertically to hold it in place while you sew.

Start by pulling the top of the heart down slightly so you can get the needle inside, then do a couple of stitches into the ribbon and secure it to the back first, making sure the thread cannot be seen from the outside. Then start your blanket stitch slightly to the left of the ribbon. When you get to the bottom remove the pin, and stitch right through the ribbon to secure it in place, then carry on up the other side.

Stop when you have a small opening, then stuff it until it is the thickness you want it to be, fairly flat or quite rounded. Then carry on with the blanket stitch and close it up until you get to the top. Make the last stitch through the ribbon. To finish off, push the needle down into the heart between the back and front  and poke it out somewhere around the edge close to where the stitching is, then trim it off with a small pair of scissors.

When hanging them vertically make sure the hearts are the same distance apart. You can add beads in between them if you like, either threaded onto the cord or stitched onto the ribbon. Finish off at the bottom with beads, or knots.

I have made seven more, these are ready to be put on a cord.
You get a lot of small pieces of felt when you cut the hearts out, don't throw it away, cut it up small and use it for stuffing. 
If you are not sure about joining them together try making some single ones first, make a loop at the top so they can be hung. If the small ones seem too fiddly make them bigger and sew buttons on the front.  Experiment with different embellishments, the sky's the limit. If you crochet you could make a small flower to go on the front, that would look nice. Go on, give it a go, you don't know till you try. Start making them now for Christmas. Good luck.

Thanks for popping in. Catch you soon. Toodle pip

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The teddy bear invasion

Hello. I heard about these teddies from my friend who is a member of Loving Hands, they are ladies who knit, crochet, and sew for charity. St Mary's Church in Barton upon Humber have been collecting these teddy hand puppets which are destined for children in poorer parts of the world. Today they were on display so I went along to take photographs. Almost 4,000 teddies in total decorate the whole church. They will be packed up and shipped off to places where they will give pleasure to children who don't have very much. It was a lovely sight to see, so many volunteers have given their time to make these, which will brighten up someone's life when they reach their destination. 

If you fancy doing some knitting, sewing, or crochet for charity have a look at the Loving Hands web site for some ideas. Or if you want to pack a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child, check out this web site.  

While I was in Barton I went to Tesco to use a £3 off voucher against a £20 shop, valid last day today.  I timed it right because the assistant was marking down the final yellow sticker reductions, and I got some real bargains. Sadly though I didn't get to use the voucher. My yellow stickers only came to £4.44, plus two items at normal price, which brought the total spend to £6.39. It was 3.45pm (closing at 4pm) when I went through the checkout, there was no way I was going to rush around putting more items in the trolley just to make it up to the £20.  A quick list of what I got. Broccoli, avocado's, Muller rice, mangetout peas, pears, prepared fruit, chopped veg soup mix, sweet and crunchy salad, potato wedges, mushrooms, courgettes,  and houmous. The fridge is full again.  
Thanks for popping in. Catch up soon. Toodle pip