Thursday, 23 March 2017

Out of respect......

..........for those people who lost their lives, for the families of the dead, for those who were horrifically mowed down in London yesterday and now face life threatening and life changing injuries, my heart goes out to you. The sun shines in North Lincolnshire this morning, but there is a black cloud hanging over the whole of humanity. Very sad day indeed.

Back later. xxx
Ilona

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Crafty ladies visit Hull Scrapstore

Hello. Four of us went to Hull Scrapstore today. The other three ladies hadn't been before so were curious to see what it is like. Scrapstore is a charity and relies on donations from businesses. Tracey is the van driver there and she goes round and collects anything that can be used for crafting purposes. There is lots of fabric, cardboard, paper, haberdashery, paint, plastics, wood, anything that businesses have no further use for and need to dispose of it. Here is the Facebook page for the Hull store. Other towns have them, gooooglie to check if there is one near you.
Shopping at a Scrapstore is not like shopping in an ordinary shop. You never know what you will find there. They rely on people visiting and buying materials for their craft work. Teachers pick up supplies for their classes. It's best to go with an open mind, draw inspiration from what you see. If you go looking for something specific you might not find it. Best to take a good selection and think up ideas for what you can use it for. If I find I have fabric which I haven't used and no longer need, I will take it with me and donate it back to them. Our shopping is loaded in the car, mine is the biggest bag, and the tins of paint are mine. 
A good selection of colours. Some great fabric to make sturdy shopping bags. I donated some of my bags back to them today, they can sell them in the shop.

I did a yellow sticker shop last night, and found some bargains. I also gave two shopping bags away to two very surprised people. It makes me chuckle. I have made a video showing what I bought, but I've got to load it on yooootoooob, which will take a while. Be patient, I'll post it here tomorrow. 
It's been raining a lot here today. I won't be going out walking in it. I've also got a sore left leg, it's quite painful, so I'll rest it awhile. I had a massive cramp early Monday morning in bed, jeez, didn't half make me leap about. The calf muscle twisted badly, I massaged it, but it's still not quite right.

It's time for dinner, so I'll say toodle pip until tomorrow.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

It's all relevant

Hello. I often think that there are connections between saving money, losing weight, stopping smoking, and not over indulging on alcohol, chocolate, and chips. It seems to me that as soon as you tell everyone that you are on a diet, the first thing you think of is, what can I eat. If you mention that you are on the wagon and someone asks you to go for a drink, you then have to give yourself a stern talking to. Similarly, when you start to limit your spending the first thing you think of is what can I buy that's cheap. The old habits that you want to move away from seem to always loom in the background to give you a little dig now and again, making the job a lot harder to turn over a new leaf and change your lifestyle. It is so easy to give up and go with the flow.

A new year is always a bad time to take stock and declare you are going to make changes, we all do it, make promises to ourselves, but the odds of achieving your goals and sticking to your new regime is unlikely to be at the forefront of your mind past the first three months. That's unless you've got me to nag you into keep on walking, ha ha.

For some people the idea of not spending any money is completely alien to them. The habit of popping into a shop and coming out with a lot more than what they went in for is accepted as normal. Anyone who tries to lose weight quickly by starving themselves will eventually cave in and binge on junk food. Comfort spending is similar to comfort eating. If you deprive yourself completely you will get to the point where life seems intolerable. Cutting back to the extent that is making you miserable will weaken your defenses.

So, short term fixes don't work, there will be relapses. Living a frugal and simple life needs a change of mindset. Living within your means doesn't need to be painful. Small changes are best at the start, making notes of how much things cost, keeping check of your spending by keeping a diary. Little tweaks here and there, a little trimming, build yourself up towards budgeting every penny that comes into the house and every penny that goes out.

There will be mistakes made, ooops, spent too much, learn from it, be more vigilant next time. Budgeting does not mean you have to deprive yourself, it means you need to work out what your priorities are. Cut costs on what isn't important to you, so you have money for what is important. If you are a couple sit down together, get out the bills, the bank statements, work out where you want to spend your money. It will be an uphill struggle if you are battling against a partner who is not singing from the same songsheet.

Rules about what you spend your money on. There are no rules, you make up your own. Just because the folks down the street change their car every year, doesn't mean you have to. Don't be a sheep. I don't care what other people do, jealousy is a destructive emotion.

I love the fact that having less gives me more freedom. I started seriously on my frugal journey just over ten years ago. My finances were pretty low, but I didn't care. The challenge was to survive no matter what. I cut the spending to an acceptable level, my treats were super cheap, and therefore I valued them more. Now ten years later I am in a good place. I am looking forward to the next ten years.

I'll be off to Tesco in an hour to see what I can get in the way of cheap food. Haven't been for a while, need to restock the fridge.

Good luck on your journey to a frugal and simple life. If you want it, take some time to work out how to get there. It's all down to you.

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


Monday, 20 March 2017

Making six mini quilts

Hello. It was a good turnout at Crafty Club this morning, another new member started, she had an enormous ball of knitting wool. If any more join us we will have to get another table out. 
It was raining first thing, but cleared up after lunch. The cats decided to venture outside. They don't wander very far, mostly stay within the garden. The daffs are near the back door so I pointed the camera through the window for this one. Heidi is a sweetie. 
When my friend moved house a few weeks ago she gave me some wadding, so today I cut it up into squares.

And now it is six mini quilts. These are ideal for cat beds, small dog beds, or for putting them on a chair to protect it if you have a pet who insists on lying on the furniture. Fully washable in the machine. These will be sold on our cat rescue stall at our Village Summer Fair in June.

I am let off Bailey dog walking this week, someone else is doing it. His owner will soon be able to do it herself, she is feeling a lot better now. A trip to the Scrapstore in Hull is fixed up for Wednesday, two ladies from the club want to go, so I'll take my car over the bridge.

I'm off to bed with a book. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Start with an idea.......

Hello. I've copied and pasted a comment from the previous post, thank you for your questions. 

Wow! I love your woodland pictures. I used to do old style embroidery years ago, tablecloths, tray cloth etc, but there's no need for those today. Would love to know how you're creating the woodland scenes. Are they for framed pics or being used for something else. How did you learn this? Would love to have a go and would appreciate your help. Thank you. Love your blog.

The woodland picture is a little bit different to what I normally make. I decided to use up some scraps, and chose fabric which had a browny-green colour. It is one picture, not several. I first chose the frame, and I'm making the picture to fit it. Thicker fabric works best for this, it doesn't matter that it frays, it will add to the texture. 

I am using an old cushion cover for the backing, it's a loose weave hessian type fabric. I cut the pieces into oblongs and squares, and assembled them on the fabric like a jigsaw, mixing them up. I did try using iron on webbing to stick them down but it didn't work very well, so I loosely stitched them into place. 
I decided on a tree and cut long pieces of dark brown fabric which looks like bark, and arranged them into a trunk and branches, using the machine to sew them on. Next cut some fluff from a piece of green fur fabric, and stitched this over the branches with a running stitch. 
Now I am adding lots of stitching to build up layers, to cover the joins, and to add texture and mix up the colours. 
The stitches are mainly simple running stitches, added randomly all over it. Most of it is single strand embroidery thread, with some wool, and thicker thread. I am trying to picture in my mind what the floor of a wood might look like. 
When starting to put together a design you could look for a picture in a magazine, and make a simple outline drawing on a piece of A4 paper, then find the fabric which might suit the picture you have in mind. If the picture is structured, cut templates for the pieces first, from paper, and use these to cut out the fabric. 
I have always known how to do a few basic embroidery stitches learnt at school, after that it was a case of reading books and practicing. You can go back to your old style stitches and apply them to any piece of work you like. Nobody taught me how to do textile art, I get an idea and experiment with materials. 
Here is a video on basic stitches to get you started. 
Ideas for patchwork stitching.



There are lots of tutorials on yooootooob for every kind of textile art. I would advise anyone who is wanting to have a go to watch as much as you can. I can't tell you here what to do, I can only encourage you to do some research, have a go, use your imagination, and practice practice, practice. 
Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Eric Clapton The Autobiography. Book review

Hello. This book has been a bit of an eye opener. I think we have all heard of the Drugs, Sex, and Rock and Roll thing which was rife in the music world of the early sixties. I was a very naive teenager then and all I did was scream at the bands when they came on the telly, not really understanding what went on behind the scenes. There was the odd news item about pop stars getting busted for drugs, but I was never sure what drugs did to people apart from making them appear to be drunk. 
Eric Clapton goes into great detail about his drug and alcohol addiction in this book. He even says himself it's amazing that he is still alive. There were long periods of time where became a recluse, not leaving his house and living on junk food, chocolate, drugs and alcohol. When he reached rock bottom he went into rehab. 
Such a shame that his whole life has been blighted with pushing the self destruct button. He is one of the best guitarists in the world, yet his personal life has been a shambles. He treated women abominably, which I was very saddened to read about.

There is a lot about the early days from when he started to take an interest in music, where he drew his influences from, lots about the bands he set up, the disagreements about the type of music they would play, and how he was drawn to go in a different direction which caused him to split and start again with another band.

This book would be an excellent read for anyone who is battling against a drug or alcohol addiction, he tells it how it was when he was at rock bottom. It's also a good read for anyone who was a teenager in the sixties, there are a lot of references to his friendships with other pop bands on the scene, the Stones and Beatles, and everyone else who was around at that time. It's common knowledge that he was in love with Patti Boyd, wife of George Harrison. I can remember seeing all this on the telly and thinking what an exciting life these pop stars lead. This book lifts the lid on the dark side of it all. Eric goes through a roller coaster of different emotions. Now at the age of 72 it appears he has finally got it together and has a family.



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

Friday, 17 March 2017

All stitched up

Hello. It's been a bit colder today. After the morning Bailey dog walk I decided to stay indoors and get on with some more stitching. Here are some closeups of the Woodland picture so far. Adding a few french knot flowers, still more to do.  It's been a lovely relaxing afternoon.  


While I've been doing this I've been watching/listening to yoootooob videos, mainly Cream, documentaries about the band members as well as the music. I'm reading Eric Clapton's autobiography at the moment and it's given me an appetite to find out more about his work. 

Haven't been shopping this week, can't be bothered, don't need anything. My dinner tonight was this packet of pasta, about 43p I think, from Aldi. I added some frozen peas and a chunk of frozen spinach. It was really nice. I don't normally buy packet pasta like this, but I thought it would save time if the sauce was already in it. Easy to make in one pan. I think it's supposed to be two portions if you serve it with something else, but I scoffed the lot. 
It's the weekend. I have got nothing special planned, depends on the weather. More sewing if it's cold and windy. I want to get the picture finished.

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

Just noticed. This post is number 3000

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Getting more for your money.

Hello. Isn't it amazing that a simple code can identify one little video on yooootoooob among the millions that are published every day. This has taken ages to upload, it's a bit too long really, I maybe ought to set a timer when I start talking because I do waffle on a bit.

I have had requests for more videos, I think people like my waffling. These money saving tips have already been covered in previous posts, but maybe a reminder is needed to keep you all on the road to frugal living.



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

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

A summers day in the summer house

Hello. Thank you all for your questions yesterday, it certainly gave me something to blog about didn't it, ha ha. Today has been a laid back kind of day. After taking Bailey dog for a walk this morning, I spent the afternoon in the summer house. It was lovely and hot, I think summer has arrived. Some stitching was done. 
There isn't much in here at the moment, a table and a chair, and this vase on a stand with artificial flowers and monkey puzzle tree pieces in it.

Three mugs and a cat ornament on the shelf. A bit of dusting is needed to remove the cobwebs, and the glass in the doors needs cleaning to spruce it up a bit. The roof hasn't leaked it's all dry inside despite the gaps in the walls.

Heidi cat is doing a bit of sunbathing on the shelf in the corner.

Another portion of soup made from the rest of the cauliflower leaves, with frozen peas and frozen spinach added. I put in half a teaspoon of curry powder to give it a bit of a zing. 
Someone asked about stick blenders. This is mine, I got it from Tesco with my points vouchers. It's very sturdy and robust, I've had it a few years and it's great.

I'm off to bed now, I took some books out of the library yesterday so I have plenty of reading matter. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

You ask, I'll answer

Hello. Ok, I will come clean, I can't think of anything to write about, head is empty. I try not to regurgitate old stuff, I try and keep the blog fresh. I do all the hard work by taking photo's and putting words to it, and you just read, now it's your turn. You think of the topics, you ask the questions, and I'll see if I can answer. Any subject you like within reason, except - no politics, no religion, no personal questions, and if I think your question is out of order I will delete it.

Don't forget, I might not take you seriously, I might make a joke, so don't expect any long serious  discussions. Life is too short to to be miserable and unkind, we'll keep it light hearted. Fire away.

Ta muchly. xxx

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Saving money on my food.

Hello. I'm having to use the small computer because for some reason I can't access my Blogger Dashboard on the big one. Everything else is fine, but the Dashboard won't load. It could be something to do with the fact I am still on the old XP. I'm not panicking, I can use the little netbook. 
It's been a lovely day, like summer, and I have been pottering about getting a few jobs done. I had some tagliatelle left so I added some borlotti beans, peas, lettuce, and a few pieces of cheese, with a couple of dollops of mayo. It was bloomin lovely, made a filling lunch yesterday. 
Veg is a good price at the moment. I couldn't resist this cauliflower for 45p and carrots 43p from Aldi. A good buy to make cheap meals.

Mind you, Aldi has let me down on the bananas. Look at these two bags, can you spot the difference? The first one I bought yesterday, the next one is from a month or two ago. This one does not have the weight on it.

This one is a 1kg bag. I have been buying these bagged bananas for a long time, they are 72p. I count the bananas because I would rather have 8 or 9 small ones than 6 or 7 large ones. Now they are not selling them by weight, you get 5 bananas in a bag for the same price 72p. What a sneaky way to put the price up. I will have to go to Tesco for them and buy 1kg of small loose ones for 72p.

I got my mower out today for the first cut of the year. I am amazed that this cheap B & Q mower is still going after about ten years or more. I never do anything to it except scrape off the dry grass from underneath it. This cheapo was well worth the money.  
The leaves from the cauliflower came in useful, I made some soup with them.

I added some borlotti beans and spices, and blue cheese and zapped it with the stick blender. It tasted deeeelishus. 
Remember the mayo I bought from the Cash and Carry? Well it is a lovely creamy taste so I bought some more yesterday on my way to town. At 20p a jar it's bargain, even though it is six weeks out of date.

Found some nuts and fruit as well, at 50p a bag. This will be added to my breakfast cereal.

I've had a letter from the TV Licensing people, it's two years since they last wrote. They ask if anything has changed, do I need a licence. The answer is still the same, no I don't. I haven't been onto the BBC iplayer site since they brought in the new rule in September. I get most of my entertainment from Yooootoooob, forums, blogs, and online newspapers.

That's me done for tonight. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

All mapped out

Hello. A bit more on walking today. Some of you are interested in trying longer walks, perhaps not as long as mine, but a bit further than you normally go. Obviously where you live makes a difference, I cannot give advice for those who live outside the UK as I don't know what your roads and paths are like, or the type of maps you have, so this is mainly for the UK readers.
To start off it might be a good idea to make yourself a measured walk like I have with my three miles, setting off from your front door. If you are on a busy road you might be better to drive to somewhere close by which is quieter and use that as your starting point. 
There are a few sites which will calculate distance, I use Bikehike.co.uk  If you find yourself on the home page click course creator, but this link should take you to it. In the box on the bottom right corner put your starting point in the Find UK Place/Postcode box. From home I use my postcode, if I'm away I use place name. 
You want to be working from the OS map on the right but it is a bit small, so to enlarge it click on Toggle Map Sizes. 
Then it grows bigger on that side, and the other side shrinks. Get your start point in the middle, and left click on it, a green marker will appear. You may need to zoom in or zoom out, use the plus and the minus on the top left hand side, to get the scale you want. Then use your mouse to click along the proposed route, it will add the distance up for you, which will appear in the box on the left. If you make a mistake or want to go back and change direction, click Undo. Or if you want to start again click Clear Route. I can't help you if you access the internet with a smaller hand held device, I am not familiar with them.

If you carry a paper map like I do, and mark the route you have walked with a felt tip pen, you can check the distance with this. Bikehike probably has a lot more features, you can show elevation data if you do a lot of hill walking, but I only use it for checking distances. 
I suggest you might want to buy a paper OS map of where you live, and study that. It will give you all the footpaths, tracks, bridleways and roads. It has landmarks like pylons, churches, buildings, bridges, hotels, and tourist information. Start with a one mile route, then increase the distance. 
What you could do when you become more confident in finding your way around, is to get a bus from your house, check the distance that it travels, get off, and walk back. We have a bus which goes to a village five miles away, I sometimes get off there and walk back. Take a map and look for stiles in hedges and walls, between houses, tracks along fields, country roads, and use these to find your way home. I did a post about map reading here. 
The question always arises about safety of walking alone in unfamiliar places. To be honest I have more chance of being run over by a bus or attacked in a town centre than I do in the countryside. Sensible precautions should always be taken, like always being aware of your immediate surroundings. Looking behind to check no one is following. Look to each side in case there is an oddball in the bushes. 
Look at people's faces, if there is anything a bit dodgy looking about them, keep moving, turn a corner, skidaddle. Walk with an air of authority and confidence. If you look scared someone might pick up on it and see you as an easy target. People do speak to me along the way, if I feel a bit uneasy about the person I will say, must keep going, and carry on walking. That very rarely happens, everyone I meet is generally nice and chatty. 
I am probably more confident than a lot of women because of the job I have done. Working with men teaches you a lot of things, like sticking up for yourself. I have a right to walk wherever I like, except private land of course. I will not allow my freedom to roam be curbed by fear. In the years I have been walking alone I have not been attacked, accosted, or approached by undesirables. 
Now I must get some lunch, I am hungry, then I'm going to town for a few things I need. I hope you are enjoying your weekend. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon. 
Toodle pip

Friday, 10 March 2017

Come walk with me

Hello. I'm just getting back into the daily routine now, the feet are healed so I can walk again. Bailey's owner is not very well so I am helping with the dog walking. I shall take him out in the mornings, and someone else will do the afternoons. I've also started on the three mile walks again, need to keep up with it, and I like getting out to chat to people.

Mayze has been very affectionate since I have been back. She has taken the place of Bugsy on the desk, so when I sit at this computer she plonks herself right under my nose. She also takes an interest in what I am having for dinner, and if it appears to be tasty she is waiting to lick the plate when I put it down. She liked the mayo and the cheese sauce, but doesn't like the toasted sesame seed oil.

This is the frozen cheese sauce I bought from Tesco, it's in little brick shaped pieces, it needs microwaving for two minutes.

So, the verdict. It has a lovely creamy taste and consistency, but is not very cheesy. I don't know if that's because I like strong cheese. I think I will add a bit of real cheese to it, to up the taste a bit next time I make it.

I've made a little video about my walking trips, and put it on yooootooob. It took a while to upload, but it's published now. Don't expect my videos to be perfect, it's just me talking, a bit of fun.



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

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Shiptonthorpe to the Humber Bridge and finish line.

Hello, what a sunny morning, makes me want to get out there and walk, ha ha. Well possibly not today, I'll give my feet a rest. So, what happened on the last day. I had breakfast in the conservatory of the main house, after being picked up from the second house which is in the process of renovation. All the rooms are decorated to a high standard, but the kitchen facilities are not up and running just yet. The two properties are half a mile apart. 
The front entrance of the main house. There are seven rooms here and five more in the second house. It has a lovely homely feel to it and guests are made to feel very welcome. Robeanne Guest House web site is here, check it out if you are looking for accommodation between Hull and York.

On my way, last push for home. Big sigh of relief to see this sign, not far now.

 The A1079 bypasses Market Weighton but I walked through it on the shorter route. This is the statue of William Bradley, the tallest recorded British man that ever lived, at 7 feet 9 inches.

North Cliffe and South Cliffe are two tiny hamlets on a long straight road. They share this very big church. 
Between North and South Cave is the Wolds Prison.

My feet were beginning to get quite sore again, but on I went through the village, trying to ignore the pain.

The route then took me through Brantingham, Elloughton, Welton, Melton, and North Ferriby. Ladies getting stuck in to plant up the flower beds. I had to stop at Welton to take my boots and socks off and give my feet an airing. I was sorely tempted to dip them in the village duck pond but thought better of it, there might be nasties in there. You would think that taking a break would ease the pain, but it doesn't, it's just as bad when you get going again. Best to keep moving but slow up on the speed.

This is the pub at North Ferriby where Jo Brand stopped for a break on her One Hell of a Walk, just over a year ago. I was invited inside to join the crew for refreshments. How time flies. 
And finally, at the Humber Bridge just after five pm, waiting for a bus. I can't walk another step. The bus doesn't go through my village so Janet was there to pick me up a mile from home.

The day has begun with a soak, oooh, lovely. Only two blisters on my small toes where they got a bit squashed. It's amazing how soon my feet recover.

Someone asked what makes your feet sore. A combination really. Ill fitting boots, mine are a good fit, tight fitting and ankle support. Wrong socks, best try different socks, always two pairs thin and thick ones, change socks on a long journey. Depends on the type of surface you are walking on. Flat tarmac is comfortable for a while but as the soles of your feet become more sensitive you begin to feel small stones, and even the ribbing in your socks becomes painful.. Walking on flat mown grass is best, but there's not much of that around in the countryside. Rough grass with clumps means you never know what you are stepping onto. An uneven surface means your feet twist over to one side constantly and every step is agony if your feet are sore. Same with loose stones and small rocks, careful where you put your feet or it will hurt. Some people use walking poles to assist with balance, but I don't.

Well this walk has given me a boost towards 1000 miles, I don't need to walk at all for the rest of March. But of course I will. A couple of days off and I will be back doing my three mile route around the village. Walking is in my routine, I cannot imagine not walking. Hope your walking is going well, don't forget to check in on the first post of every month with your miles.

My accommodation was rather costly this time. In the past I have been worried about paying more that £40 for a room, but I decided I would make it easier for myself and say stuff it, I will stay wherever I like. There was one hotel I walked out of and walked a bit further to find cheaper. To have a high price for the room and then say breakfast is another ten pounds, was a bit of a cheek I thought. Yes the Radisson was the most expensive, but it was exceptionally gorgeous. It's a pity I couldn't take advantages of the facilities, there was no way I could do an hour in the gym, ha ha.

Booking in advance would get the cost down, but I can't do that on a long walk, it would be too much like walking to a timetable, something I like to avoid. The open countryside, go where I please is the attraction for me.

It's all done and dusted now. Maybe not another long walk for a while, maybe a car holiday, camping, bus pass holiday, who knows. I shall go where the fancy takes me. One last thank you to my house/cat sitter Janet, her kindness makes it possible for me to do this. I know I don't have to worry when she is in charge.

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