Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Check list

Hello. I was on the radio this morning, wont tell you where it was, somewhere in the Midlands. Rushed interview that's all they want, usual money saving tips, no time to get down to the real nittygritty of how to save money and live within your means. Me feeling frustrated as usual, two minutes and it's all over. What can you say in two minutes? Just the usual. They want it short and punchy, jokey and giggly.

I made notes, reeled a few of them off, no time to get to grips with the topic before I was cut off. Don't know why I do it really, that's me trying to be helpful. They don't realize that people are desperately trying to pay off their debts, they need sound information in straight talking language, not some airyfairy skimming the surface. I got to mention the blog, so some listeners might find their way here, if they do, here is a rundown of the notes I made but wasn't able to talk about.

Prioritize your spending. Mortgage/rent first, must be paid. Council tax must be paid. Utilities must be paid. 

Buy food to live. Petrol in the car to get to work.

Look for better deals on phone - broadband - mobile.

Check comparison sites for good deals on utilities.

Dump Sky TV, or get rid of the television altogether.

Dump the gym, walking is free, do the 1000 mile challenge.

Are you getting all the benefits you are entitled to. Check.

Start a spending diary, write down every penny spent, read it every day.

Check bank statements, cancel any direct debits that are no longer applicable.

Do you really need a car. (I do, ha ha). Get rid if it is not important to your lifestyle or getting to work.

Can you find more work, extra part time job maybe. Earn more.

Stop eating meat, or at least cut down. It is expensive and should be classed as a treat.

Shop late at supermarkets look for reductions, yellow stickers.

Shop around, find the best bargains from all the shops. Discount stores.

Don't go shopping if you are hungry. Eat before you go.

Check your cupboards and freezer before you go shopping, can you delay shopping for another day or two.

Buy second hand from car boot sales and charity shops.

Know the difference between a NEED and a WANT. They are not the same.

Stop smoking, stupid thing to do, cost mega bucks in terms of cash and health.

Think before you get a pet. They cost a lot of money over the course of their lifetime.

Cut out impulse spending. If you didn't want it until you saw it, you don't need it.

Shopping is not a leisure activity. Shops are full of stuff you don't need.

Take food out with you from home. Make a pack up

Eat everything you buy, do not throw food away.

Put small amounts of cash away in an emergency fund. Things break down.

There are many more, and most of it you will already know, but it's always good to have a reminder. There may be people coming here for the first time so it might be helpful to them.

Raining today, no money will be spent, not going anywhere.
Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Create your own life

Hello. It was a stroke of luck that Carol came to our Open Garden, and even luckier that she spotted this lampshade for sale on Janet's cat stall. I saw her pick it up for a closer look, and thought, yes it has potential. It has been kicking around here for a few months, I thought I might do something with it, but had not had that flash of inspiration, so I decided to let it go. 
Carol saw something in it, and this is the new life she has given it. Turned upside down onto a suitable flat object, it is perfect as a tee light holder. I'm glad it has found a new home. Thank you for the photo's Carol, it looks fabulous, and such a good idea. 

So. Carol has a creative mind, so what I'm asking today is how creative or inventive are you? I'm not just talking about turning objects into something else, I want to know how you have created the life you live today? How much thought did you put into where you want to be, in your teens, twenties, and beyond. Did you just stumble into it, or did you create your life?

I have always questioned things, when I've made mistakes I think, why did I do that? Didn't always learn from it, sometimes I was just as daft a second time. I always wanted to earn my own living, to work and pay for myself, which I did. I knew I never wanted children, I wasn't in the right mindset to accept responsibility for another person. It was an instinct that I was born with, so I went with it.

When I found myself in a place I didn't want to be, I changed it. I changed jobs many times always looking for new opportunities. I don't like routine. Every time I learnt how to do a job it became routine and boring. I am not a robot, I need mental stimulation. For almost four years I had a summer job and a winter job, just as I was getting bored it was time to leave. Indoor office job in the winter, outdoor selling hot dogs and donuts  in the summer.

Changed boyfriends, stayed with those I loved for a long time, dumped those I didn't like very much. The long term relationships I had with men were over long distances, it suited me to have my own space in between the times we met up. Tried living as a couple, it didn't work. Moved around a bit, left home at 18, lived in bedsits, flats, a caravan, and houses, in Blackpool, Birmingham, Majorca, back home, now Lincolnshire.

All in all I have found the changes quite easy. I like to think my creativeness has played a large part in how my life has panned out. Also my ability to question things, not take things at face value. Always always question. What am I doing here? Do I want to be here? Could I change direction and do something else? How can I make my life better?

Yes, shit happens for sure, when it does the questions become more intensive, then at last the way seems clear and the changes become more apparent.

After a busy weekend I am mulling things over, as I often do. The same question always pops into my head, what next? Something will, because life can't go on for me in a mundane fashion, there's got to be more. Now I am creating memories, one day I won't be so mobile, I may not be the full shilling in my head, but while I am still functioning normally, I don't want to get off this roller coaster.

This morning I had no idea what to write in this post, then the email appeared from Carol, that was the inspiration I needed, and this is what I created from it. Thank you Carol, you have saved the day.

Thanks for popping in, now go and create your own life, and don't tell me you are not creative, because I don't believe you,  you are. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Open house at the Summer House.

Hello. I just dozed off while sat at the computer. It's been such a busy day, I have no energy left. The day started when I woke at 5am, and I didn't stop until I had everything out of the Summer House by 7pm. It's still not all put away, but I will have to live with the mess till tomorrow as I ain't doing any more tonight. 
It was a smashing day, loads of people came, hardly anyone wanted a drink so I have enough to keep me going for the next six months. Janet came and set the cat stall up, and sold a few more things. She was a good help, taking some of the pressure off me when it got very busy. The weather was ok, not much sun, a bit breezy, but thankfully no rain. 
The first people arrived at about 11am, then they kept coming and finally stopped at closing time at 4.30pm. I was amazed, three people introduced themselves as blog readers, how fantastic is that. In the first photo is, on my right, Stan the library man  and Bev his wife. On my left blog reader Jane and hubby, they came all the way from Oxford. No they didn't come all that way just to see me, they were looking at houses in the area. Please excuse my pose, I don't want to go to the toilet, I am crouching because I didn't want to block out those behind me.  
Blog reader number two is Alison. She came to the Fair yesterday and I completely forgot, my head has been buzzing with all the different people I have spoken to over the weekend.

And blog reader number three is Nicki. She is a member of the Walking Group. It was very nice to meet you all ladies, so chuffed that you came. All smashing ladies, I could have talked to them for ages.

This is my friend Graham, he looks after this little dog called Molly for his friend. Such a cutie.

More visitors, lots of faces I knew, but don't know their names.


This is it, all dressed up. I have to apologize because I only took one interior shot, I was so busy I forgot.




These have been under wraps for a while, I hung them on the side of the garage.

These three are normally hanging in my house, so here they are on the front of the garage for today.


I had to re position the bracket for the everlasting hanging basket when I added the new doors.

 This is something I made for the Arts Centre a few years ago. We were told to pick up a used cardboard drinks cup and make something with it. I covered it in gold sticky back plastic, made a cutout to expose the name, added pink beads, a bracelet, and ribbon. Inside I put cat litter to weigh it down, and topped it with a scrunchy bath scrub and curly plastic straws.

The gap between the Summer House and the back of the garage is mostly paved now, I just laid the slabs on top of the bricks. Looks tidy.

I quite like the bold colours. My little pots of paint are getting used up, I'll have to keep my eyes open for some more.


Saturday, 24 June 2017

The Village Summer Fair

Hello. The weather held out for us today, as you can see we had sunshine. It was a typical village summer fair, people came out to support their local charities. There were games to win something, stalls to buy something, music to dance to, food to scoff, and lots of chatting with friendly people. I think I probably saw all the people I know in one afternoon. I was dead chuffed when someone stopped by to say hello and said she reads this blog. So, hello again blog reader, it was nice to meet you. 


The ever popular WI home made cake stall.


The refreshment tent was busy as usual. Enjoying a cuppa on a lazy Saturday afternoon.


We did very well on the stall, I got Janet to take this photo just as we were starting to pack away, hence why there are gaps on the table, it was full when we started. I sold 11 out of 13 shopping bags, and one lady bought five cat beds. Janet and Sue did a tombola which did very well..

So, it was a good day all round, we made quite a lot for the cat rescue, and it was fun doing it.

Tomorrow will be another busy day. I'll be up early filling the Summer House with my art, must be ready to meet people at 10.30 when they start arriving.

Thanks for popping in, enjoy your Sunday. we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Friday, 23 June 2017

Unconventional money saving

Hello. While most girly girls have a collection of makeup to pretty themselves up, I have a collection of useful bits and bobs which may come in handy when I am playing with wood and building things. I have the normal hammers and nails, screwdrivers and screws, drill, spirit level, stanley knife, sand paper, tape measure, and suchlike, and bits of hardware recovered from things I have taken apart. You never know when you might need these things. 
I have a cardboard carry box to contain things I might need in the garden, found last week at a small garden centre I sometimes pop into, it was free. Their prices are a whole lot cheaper than the huge garden centres which sell everything you don't need. It's sturdy and just the right size. For the screws and other bits I have cut down juice drinks cartons which fit nicely, leaving room at the side for drill and screwdrivers. No need to buy a tool box, there are plenty of free ones out there. 
Yesterday I was looking for a piece of wood suitable for mounting the plaque onto. I didn't have one exactly the right shape and size and I didn't fancy spending time with a saw and making one. Then I thought of an idea. Why does it have to be a couple of inches larger than the plaque, and oblong, it could be any shape. My friend Bob made some large flowers to advertise the Summer Fair, and he gave me the ply offcuts.

The result, I used the same paint that I used to decorate the sponsors name. Haven't painted any flowers on it, I don't think it needs it. I like it, it's quirky, different, and fun. It has a wire across the back to hang it up.



A few more jobs to do today, nearly there. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Thursday, 22 June 2017

One happy kitty.

Hello. I know you like fuzzywuzzy happy ending kittykat stories, and as I am busy, Janet has kindly written this report on our latest re homing. 
This is the story of Marmalade/Millie.
Marmalade, who is about eighteen months old, came into rescue having been discovered straying in a very small village in Lincolnshire.  A family who had been feeding her (and named her Marmalade) unfortunately were unable to keep her as they were in rented accommodation where regulations stipulated pets were not allowed.  
She was not micro-chipped and despite efforts to trace her owners, including a message on the local radio, no-one came forward. The family were very sad at the need to re-home her as they had become very attached to her. 
We took Marmalade to the vets to ascertain whether or not she was spayed and as no scar could be found it was assumed that she had not been done.  A couple of days later when she was operated upon it was revealed that she had indeed already been spayed.  Marmalade soon recovered from the operation and was put up for adoption.  There was a lot of interest in her but for one reason or another, mainly close proximity to busy roads, we were not entirely happy that the right home had come along. 
Eventually she was homed to a wonderful family who had recently lost their elderly cat and who are at home most of the day.  She has a garden to enjoy in a peaceful safe location.  Marmalade (now Millie) is a very special girl with a wonderful temperament.  She is so placid and enjoys lots of affection and has instantly settled in her new home. Her new family adore her and she is being thoroughly spoilt. The picture shown is Millie in her new home.

Aaaah, what a pretty cat, a bit like my Mayze, though by the sound of it, completely different temperaments.

I'm getting there with the garden, have extended the slabbed/paved area, painting all done. I was hoping to get the grass cut this afternoon but it is raining. Maybe later, or tomorrow. Couldn't find the Shed of the Year plaque, I remember putting it away thinking I wouldn't need it again. Found it at last in the office under some paperwork.Now I'm making a wooden back for it so I can hang it, I don't want to drill into the front of it, so I'll screw it on from the back. I keep thinking everything is ready, then find something else that needs doing.

Thanks for the story, Janet.

Thankyou all for your lovely comments about my art.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Adventures in needle felting

Hello. Here it is, my new artwork. I've taken the photo's without glass in the frame to eliminate reflections. The frame was 50p from a car boot sale, I have painted it with Crown silk emulsion shade apple tree, a very pale green. It suits the picture perfectly. I haven't used a mount because I don't think it needs one. Overall measurements are 23" x 12".  


This is where the background stitches have been changed, they now go up and down instead of across. Much better.






It was a lot of stitching but I think it's worth it. I find hand sewing very therapeutic, it's something I can pick up at odd times and play with it.

Preparations are coming along nicely in the garden. Hedge cutting yesterday, grass mowing and weeding today. A bit more paint on the back of the garage, a door to paint, flower beds to top up with compost. Three days and it will be ready.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Monday, 19 June 2017

The heat is on

Hello. Boy oh boy has it been hot again today. I have not been able to do as much in the garden as I would have liked, I felt like I was roasting within about ten minutes of being out there. The morning is best for working on the Summer House, up until midday when the sun is behind the trees, but it was Crafty Club this morning so I was sat in the Village Hall, which wasn't too bad. I re did the stitching on the felty picture and it looks much better. This afternoon I went to the vet to pick up Heidi's tablets, thank goodness for air con in the car. 
I am eating yellow sticker mushrooms till they come out of my ear 'oles. That's four days of salad, mushrooms and a scrambled egg. Good job I like them. Potato salad, iceberg lettuce, rocket, cucumber, and tomato. Same every day, same again tomorrow. Dinner tonight was steamed vegetables, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, and mushy peas. 
Erm excuse me Heidi, I would like to use the toilet. It's a good job I have another one downstairs. I don't like to disturb her. It's a wonder she doesn't fall off.

I did manage to get outside tonight, still hot but the sun had gone down behind the houses. I re potted some plants which had grown too big. I've moved the two spare doors round the corner between the garage and fence and covered them in tarpaulin, may find a use for them at some point later. For now I need to make the place look tidy. The beach view is slowly being painted over. I'm just picking random colours and slapping it on, no particular pattern to it. It's like an upside down rainbow.

I think it's going to be hot again tomorrow, I have the morning free so I will be able to get a bit more done before it gets unbearable. Four more days and everything has to be ready for the opening. I won't put my art inside until the Sunday morning before people arrive.

The kids are in so I'm off to bed. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip


Sunday, 18 June 2017

A stitch gone wrong does not save nine.

Hello. Phew what a scorcher today. I had to give up outside and come into the cool house. The cats are still out, I think I'm going to have trouble getting them in. Mayze loves it when I chase her round the garden. Heidi is easier, she lets me pick her up. 
The woman from the Open gardens came round this morning to take a few details. She was impressed with the Summer House. She gave me a wooden flower sign to stick in the front garden on the morning of the Open Day. 
I thought I was almost coming to the end of this felt picture, then I looked at it and thought something isn't quite right. I started filling in the background between the shapes with dark blue and white running stitches. These are where I started, on the right of the picture. I don't like it, it isn't right. 
The stitches here are fine, can you see the difference? In the first picture I have some stitches going horizontally left to right, on the rest of it they are all going from top to bottom vertically. Those rogue stitches are going to have to come out. Oh fiddlesticks.

I see that some readers have mentioned they would like to donate to our Cat Rescue. Thank you for your kind offers, I am chuffed. Please don't be disappointed, but we are a small rescue and have enough money in the kitty, ha ha, to keep us ticking over nicely. We ask for a donation when we take in a cat, and if we rehome one. People are usually very generous because we are able to help them. One lady had a cat from us and regularly donates every few weeks. Janet and Sue do car boot sales, we get lots of donations of stuff to sell. This local fair will bring in a good amount, we get a free pitch. We have a big show to do in August which also brings us lots of customers, and the Christmas Fair is a good earner.

So thank you very much for your kind offers, we have no need to accumulate lots of cash, we have enough to cover the food and vets fees. The vet gives us a discount for spaying and neutering. With the donation of cat litter which will last a year, there is nothing else to pay for.

Right, that's me done, it's 10pm and I will try and get the cats in. I can't go to bed until I know they are inside the house and safe. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Party time

Hello. Who's coming to the party? It's next Sunday at mine. The Summer House will be open for viewing as part of the Open Gardens, and it will be filled with my artworks. There will be bricabrac for sale, money for our cat rescue, Janet will be in charge of  the stall. 
Free drinks for our visitors, choice of red or white wine, beer, sherry, and nibbles, sweets for the kids. All we need now is fine weather. Mind you, we do have the newly extended porch to shelter in if it does rain.

I shall be at it all week getting things ready. The Summer Fair is on the Village Green on Saturday, so a busy weekend ahead. Getting excited, looking forward to it.

Very hot here today, had to come inside to cool off. enjoy your Sunday, thanks for popping in.
Toodle pip.

Choose your own title

Hello. Started to write a blog post about things whats going on, decided not to, better to stay quiet, don't need the aggravation. Head buried in the sand, will watch and see what happens next. Life's too short to pick a fight. Waste of time.

Sunny day, things to do. Lots of love xxx
Ilona

PS. Suggestions for a title for this post please. Thank you

Friday, 16 June 2017

Cat on a plastic roof

Hello. It's funny how cats like to be high up, watching the world go by. Heidi has claimed the new viewing platform as her own. 
More painting done today, two doors inside with two coats on each. I've filled up a gap with two pieces of wood, luckily I had the right size in the garage so no sawing was necessary.

I was going to paint the whole of that door, but it takes several coats to cover the glass. Luckily I had a piece of green heavy duty plastic like a shiny tarpaulin, so I screwed that to the bottom to hide the pallet behind it, and just painted the wooden frame. Looks quite good and saved me a lot of faffing about.

Some of the doors inside look a bit grubby so I am going to try wiping them with a damp cloth first. If they come up looking clean then that's fine, if they don't I will have to paint over them. I've had the Dyson in there today, removing the cobwebs and getting the dust out of the carpet. Jobs left to do are painting the back of the garage, washing the paving slabs and laying them out. It must all be ready by Friday because I am busy all day next Saturday.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Awful

Hello. A big FAIL on this erm bargain yellow sticker. Reduced from £2 to 50p, worth a try I thought. What on earth 'Barrel Aged' means I do not know. It tastes as if it has been in a barrel dragged up from the bottom of the sea from a sunken ship. 
You know that nasty taste you get in your mouth when you have been sick, it's like that. Mind you, I can only just remember, I haven't been sick for many years. In fact it was nine years ago when I was rushed to hospital with severe abdominal pains. So if you really like the taste of sick, get this, otherwise don't bother wasting your money. You know what my thoughts are about wasting food,  sorry, this had to be binned, even the smell made me feel sick.
Lunch finished, back outside for some more painting.
Catch you later.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Plenty of food in the house now

Hello. As you can see, I went shopping. YAY, I now have some food. Some lovely yellow stickers, and quite a lot of other stuff as well. I easily reached the £40 to use the £6 off voucher, in fact I went more than  £10 over, the bill was £52. I started off writing it down as I went along, but once the yellow stickers came out I had to act quickly and get my share, so I gave up at that point and just guessed.  
Mushrooms, potatoes, and cauliflowers.  
Bread, pancakes, and scones.

Fruit. Grapes, strawberries, bananas, kiwi fruit, mixed fruit salad, and avocado's.

Potato salad, cucumber, couscous salad, rocket.

These juices were on offer, two for £1.30. Their Value label is 65p each so I thought I might as well have these instead. Not sure why there are two different sizes for the same price. 
And just for a change, I thought I would have Guinness instead of cider.

I've stocked up on soya milk, cat food, frozen Quorn, veggie burgers and sausages, a few tins, and other bits and bobs. There's enough to last a while and my fridge is full for now.

More painting on the Summer House tomorrow. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip