Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Making a bespoke notebook cover

Hello. Bugsy cat is looking like one happy and contented cat tonight. He's just eaten one and a half sardines. The vet said to give him smelly food to tempt him so I called in at the shop after I had finished making Santa's Grotto at the Village Hall. We decided to keep the Grotto simple this year, so I covered the two walls in the corner of the entrance hall with white paper and hung tinsel and coloured balls on it. 
I've started a little project to use up some small pieces of cotton fabric. I'm making a cover for a notebook. The red fabric is a piece of bed sheet. Lay the book on the top to mark out the size of the fabric. 
Now I'm covering it with patchwork.  I started it off at Crafty Club on Monday,  hand sewing up to now, but I've started to sew the strips on with the machine. When it is covered I shall add lots of hand stitching over the top of it.

I made extra steamed vegetables last night, and incorporated them into my lunch today. Started off with mushrooms in a pan, almost two weeks out of date, add a chopped onion, a handful of spinach, and some baked beans. Then add the steamed veg.  It was bloomin lovely, filled me up a treat. 
That's another month gone by. If the Walking Group members send in their mileage, I will update the page. I only did two miles today, pacing myself for the final month. I will be doing extra in December, so no need to stick rigidly to my routine.

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

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

On yer bike

Howdy. The fabric below is from two single beds, washed and ironed. The two larger pieces are from the top, and the smaller pieces are from the sides. Sadly the smaller pieces haven't come out as clean as they should be so won't be suitable for sewing, they will be best used for cleaning cloths. I will find a use for the bigger pieces, maybe they will be turned into cushion covers. 
Did you know that one of our readers is an amazing cyclist, she has been all over Europe on her bike. Brenda writes a blog about her cycling trips, and her fabulous quilting. She set herself a goal of 4000 miles for 2016, and she has cracked it. While we have been walking, Brenda has been cycling, in all weathers, such is her dedication. Well done Brenda. You can read all about her adventures here.

Today I thought about a cycling challenge for myself, perhaps I ought to get on my bike. So here I am having a practice ride. Pump up the tyres, put the front mudguard back on as it fell off ages ago, yellow vest, and elastic bands around my ankles to keep my jog bottoms from getting stuck in the chain. I called in at Paul's house to ask him the best place to buy a helmet, he laughed and said I look like a bin man. Cheek, just because he has got all the right gear.  I stopped by the library van and I got Stan to take my photo. Do I really look like a bin man?

I've been on and worked out a ten mile route. I might do a test ride tomorrow if the weather is dry and not frosty,  to see how long it takes me. If I am going to do this daily, I don't want it to take up more than an hour. Blimey, I'm going to have to pedal pretty fast to do it.

Ginger Bugsy has been to the vet today, he has been off his food for a couple of days. It seems his kidneys are in decline, as he has been drinking a lot. He's had an antibiotic injection to give him a bit of a boost, hope this will stimulate him to eat. It must have had some effect because he was yelling for food when we got back. Lucky that I called in at the small Tesco and picked up a pack of sliced chicken for him, along with some yellow stickers for me. Broccoli, potato salad, and radishes. Bugsy is now snoozing peacefully in front of me.

A parcel arrived today, one of our lovely readers sent me a box with all kinds of crafting type goodies in it. I had fun sorting through everything, Christmas come early. Thank you lovely reader, you are so kind. The thermals will come in very handy, will be able to wear them under my cycling clobber.

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

Monday, 28 November 2016

Almost there, keep walking to keep fit

Hello. With only a month to go to the end of the challenge, I've just been checking the state of play on our Walking Group page. I am really chuffed that so many of you have done so well. To be honest I thought more would have dropped out, but I'm pleased to say that a great many of you have stuck it out and are still soldiering on.

Everyone walks at their own pace so it's not fair to say some have done better than others. You can only do what you can do. I always say as long as you can do some walking, it's better than none.

I'm going to put a few names on this post of those who have really pulled out all the stops. Indeed, some of you have finished well before the time. The finishing line is midnight on December the 31st, so if you have already passed the 1000 miles, you can relax and do no more, or you can carry on for your grand total.

These are the figures which came in at the end of October, (except mine which is up to date), so they will be higher now if you are still walking.

Take a bow......
JILL 1018

Coming up close behind almost there.......
ILONA  948
HELEN D  948 km
HILDE  943
HAZEL  916

Keep going ladies, last push......
JULES  859
SALLY C  808

Please check the Walking page to see your mileage if your name is not here.

You may remember that I started on December the 1st last year as a trial. So with that 75 miles, I have gone over the 1000, but I will carry on to the end of the year, just to keep you company, and to cheer you on. Come on ladies, you can do it.

People have asked, what next. I haven't decided what I am going to do yet, I might think of another challenge or I might carry on with this. Whatever I do it will include some form of exercise, as I feel it is important to look after my body for life, not just for one year. I won't be making another walking group page for 2017, but I hope that some of you will continue the good work you have already started and record your own mileage.

If you feel you would like support, you could register with the Country Walking magazine challenge where you will be able to keep track of your own mileage and chat with like minded people. This is the link to their site.  Another option is to join the Walking Forum, of which I am a member, and put your name down on their list. Then it's up to you to update your own mileage by going to the thread, quoting the list, then adding your new miles, and posting it back on. I have been updating mine here. The thread is in Long Distance Walks.

It's been a long walk, but we are not far off now, everyone should be proud of what they have achieved.

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

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Recycling Upcycling Queen

Hello, and welcome to Tightwad Towers Recycling Centre. There was a knock at my front door this morning, my friend Bob was on his way to the council dump when he decided to call in here first in case there was something in his car that I could make use of. Most of it was packaging, but I had to rescue a few things. I'm not sure if I actually need them, but I couldn't see them thrown away. I can probably use the two big frames, but the smaller ones might go to the charity shop. 
I do need a small lamp shade, but I these are going to be too big. Probably charity shop. Three cushions. Don't need them myself, but I could take them apart. They have too much stuffing in them, I could make four cushions for the church. My goodness I've got loads to do now, I'm going to be busy trying to keep up with all this recycling upcycling lark.

I made a sign to go on the lamp post on the High Street near to the Village Hall. It's simple, didn't want to spend too much time on it, as it will only be up for six days, then put away till next year.

Two shopping bags made today, with the fabric from one of the beds. They are a slightly darker shade than they are here on the photo.

So, that's what I've been doing on this chilly but dry Sunday. The days are very short now, it's a job to get everything done in reasonable daylight. I've got to go. There's a ginger cat demanding my attention, he wants to snuggle up to me. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Saturday, 26 November 2016

More free stuff

Hello. It's been foggy here all day, and a bit damp and miserable. I got a call from my friend asking do I want to break up the other two single beds they want to get rid of. I said I would do, after my walk. They came apart quite easily, and now the wood is stashed in my garage. I think I would be the ideal candidate to work in a bed factory now I know how they are assembled, ha ha. 
It's not long now until my friends will be moving, there isn't much left in the house. The furniture removals company are going to do the whole job of packing everything up and transporting it up to Scotland. They are driving one of the cars as well, as my friend is not used to doing long journeys in her own car. 
I was very kindly given a freebie. They bought a posh car four years ago and a cleaning kit came with it. As neither of them wash their cars, it hasn't been used. So now I have everything I need to keep my own car clean. The roads round here are filthy at the moment, what with tractors dragging the mud out of the fields on their massive wheels. It's not worth spending a lot of time on washing cars for them only to get dirty again half an hour down the road. 
This kit will come in useful , though some of it I won't use, so I will donate it to the cat stall at the Christmas Fair next week. 
The new brochure has arrived for the Baths Hall and the Plowright Theatre in town. I've had a flick through it and there's a couple of shows I am interested in. I will have to get them booked early because I like to sit on the front row.

All is well here at Tightwad Towers. Heidi has decided she rather likes snuggling into my dressing gown on the landing carpet, so I have left her there. I have got my old copies of Countryfile magazine out again from 2011. No need to buy new ones, I can't remember what I read five years ago, so these are just fine.

My first Christmas card has arrived, Carol is always the first one I get. Now she has moved I don't know her new address, I'll have to send her a text.

I hope we have a better day weatherwise tomorrow. Whatever you are doing, enjoy your Sunday. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Friday, 25 November 2016

Kitty capers

Hello. So who is going shopping and who isn't? Black, green, yellow, blue, whatever colour it is today won't tempt me to hit the shops. Mind you, I have to confess to spending a little bit in the village shop as I was passing on my walk. The new Stitch Magazine is in, and as it is only £5 every two months, I allow myself that treat. I also wanted a small bottle of milk. But that's it, no more. 
From what I read in the newspapers there hasn't been long queues of people waiting for shops to open, maybe people have got wise to the big con trick, imported from across the pond. Mind you, I always say, if you have enough money and you want to spend it, go ahead, but don't go into debt by borrowing money, it's a slippery slope. I know what I can and can't afford. Watch all the panic posts coming into the MSE forum in the new year. OMG, the credit card bills have come in, I didn't realize I spent so much. No one says you have to join in with Christmas, it is not the law. I refuse to torture myself mooching around shops in a state of befuddlement, wondering what to get for auntie what's her name. I shall be putting some money into envelopes for the children in the family, and that will be it. 
This cat is not my cat, he is called Mickey and he lives a few doors down. That table is a sun trap and he is often found there in the mornings. I think he has the hots for Mayze, or is it Heidi, or maybe he is on the scrounge for any spare food which happens to get thrown out. He is a naughty boy, I have caught him coming through the cat flap, a few times. He can be a bit aggressive as well, hissing when I go to stroke him, so then I shoo him off.   
After breakfast I open the door to let my cats out, if they want to go out. It all depends on the weather. I think they sense when it is dull and miserable, so they stay in bed. This morning it was sunny, so Mayze was keen to go out. She stares at Mickey. I've never seen any fisticuffs but that look says, 'what are you doing here, get off my patch'. I think she is playing hard to get.

Heidi has found herself a new bed. In the evening as I am getting ready for bed, I drape my dressing gown over the banister. It must have fallen off because this is what I found this morning. Why is it that the cats always like to lie on my clothes. I hadn't the heart to move her. I will leave it there until she finds somewhere else to kip. I have three dressing gowns anyway. 
I have just had a super lunch, mushrooms, spinach, eggs, potato salad, and houmous, most of it was yellow sticker food I bought over a week ago. It is still fine to eat. I have some cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli left, which will see me through the weekend.

Hey, the sun is out, I will go into the garden for an hour or two and do some tidying. Nothing growing at the moment, just some dead stuff to collect and put in the bin.

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

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Another hippy bag finished

Hello. This bag has been hanging around for a few months, waiting to be finished. Today I got my finger out and bingo, it's done. I forgot to photograph the back, which is a dark red, same fabric as the handles. It has a red satin lining, and is 12 inches by 13 inches, and the handles are long enough to hitch over your shoulder. 
Some machine stitching and some hand stitching. I made the front and back as two separate pieces, and sewn them together by hand with blanket stitch. They have several layers so won't go floppy.

The bluey greeny one I made earlier, not sure which I like best now. 

I've been on the phone today, booking another short break, not so far to go this time, three days walking in Derbyshire. Thought I'd try another hotel in the Christian Guild group. They have a special offer of £39 a night at the moment. Have a look at Willersley Castle, it looks very nice. It's not far from Matlock, plenty of good walking in that area.

The car is empty, all wood put away. I've washed the fabric which I salvaged from one of the beds, it's a lovely shade of blue. I'm making a sign for the Christmas Fair to put on the lamp post near the Village Hall. Will get that finished tomorrow. I'm not sure when they will be building Santa's grotto, if it's the day before I won't be able to help as I may be out walking with my buddies, if the weather is ok. Perhaps I can do it on Thursday, we shall see.

That's it for now. Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Crafting inspiration.

Hello. I've been adding to my hearts and stars collection. It's so handy to be able to pick up small hand sewn projects while doing other things. I sit with a mug of coffee first thing in the morning so half an hour of stitching adds up three and a half hours of crafting per week. I also like to be busy with my hands while watching some videos on yootoooob. They have to be ones which don't need me to keep my eyes on the screen though. Old sitcoms and soaps are good for this when you can listen and not have to watch every second. 
These will be on our Chat and Craft stall at the Christmas Fair in the Village Hall on the 3rd of December. 
I've had an email from Lesley who is local to me, she came over the bridge with her daughter to visit our Summer Fair, back in June. Lesley has sent me a link to a really nice blog which focuses mainly on quilting and other fabric crafts. There is a tutorial on how to make a Christmas tree out of fabric in an origami style. It looks really attractive and once made can be brought out every year for many years. If you are at a loose end and looking for something to do, take a look. I'll post the link, maybe you would like to have a look around the blog for inspiration for other projects. Thank you Lesley.
Smiles from Kate Blogspot

Right, what's the plan for today.
Empty the car, sort through wood and store in the garage.
Stew a pan of apples.
Finish sewing a bag.
A bit more work on the mesh fruit bag picture, (it's taking a while)
3 mile walk, call in and see if they want me to strip down the other two beds.
Feed cats, especially Bugsy when he shouts for food.
Work out what next the next project is going to be, play around with bits, ponder.
Make shopping bag out of bed fabric.
And loads of other jobs to do.

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

PS. Blogger has changed the format and layout for the Dashboard. Don't know why they messed with it, it worked perfectly well before. S'pose I'll get used to it.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Recycle and reuse

Hello. I didn't get to dismantle the beds the other day, it was raining, is it ever going to stop! Well it did stop today and as I was passing my friends house, I noticed she had put two of the beds out on the front lawn. That's handy I thought, so after lunch I took my bag of tools and went round there to attack them. 
I slashed the fabric around the edges with a Stanley knife and unscrewed as much of the wood as I could. The tough bits gave way with a bash from a big hammer.  
I am trying to salvage as much as I can, that blue fabric on the top bed is lovely and ideal for shopping bags. I broke it down to manageable pieces to fit in my car, and will sort it out later. The wood can be separated into useful pieces and put in the garage, aka the wood store.

My friend gave me a bag of smellies, she doesn't like toiletries that are heavily perfumed. I will use anything if it's free. The handwash can be used as shampoo and bath foam, the small soaps I will pass on to Janet to be sold on the cat stall. I will wear the socks.

It was library day today. It has changed from a Monday, because the van parks on the health centre car park and they said it was taking too much room up, so they changed the day to Tuesday because it's closed on a Tuesday afternoon. The bin collection day has changed as well. It used to be on a Monday, now moved to Wednesday, just about getting used to the new routine.

I didn't do a walk yesterday because of the rain. People have been asking what next when we have all finished at the end of the year. I think it would be good to have a new challenge, but I'm not sure what. I will carry on walking and will record my mileage on my calendar, and I hope everyone else will do the same. Keeping healthy and looking after your body is not a one year experiment, it's forever. Come next spring and I hope to be doing more long walks.

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

Monday, 21 November 2016

My answers to the questions

Hello. I'm a bit stuck for ideas tonight, so I thought I would have a go with this questions and answers thingy nicked from the Guardian. If you want to read Suzi Quatro's answers click here. Lovely Grey did it the other day, thanks for the idea. If you want to read LG's answers click here.

When were you happiest?
 Lying in my bunk under my duvet in a truck, listening to the rain hammering down on the roof. 
What is your greatest fear?
A traumatic death. I just want to fall asleep.
What is your earliest memory?
Peeing my pants on the way home from school.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Susan Boyle. She knew she had a talent for singing and never gave up. She followed her dream.  
What was your most embarrassing moment?
I pulled out of a Lucas Factory in Birmingham with a trailer full of machinery. I had only just got out of the gate when a large machine fell off and covered the road in oil. Everyone came to see what caused the loud bang. The fire brigade had to come and mop the oil up.  
Property aside, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
 A car.
What makes you unhappy?
The way the world is going. Too many power crazy people. Cruelty to animals makes me very unhappy.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
Bette Midler
What is your most unappealing habit?
Talking over people before they have finished their sentence. I want to move on quickly and they are rambling all around the houses.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I never feel guilty. Life is a pleasure.
What is top of your bucket list?
I don’t have a bucket list. I make the best of each day as it comes.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A bricklayer, then a fashion model.
What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
My brother said, you look bloody awful, why don’t you get some contact lenses. He was right, and I did. It hurt at the time but it turned out to be the best thing anyone said.  
What do you owe your parents?
I owe my mother everything because she gave birth to me. I suppose my father had a part in that too. 
What does love feel like?
Sort of mushy.
What was the best kiss of your life?
Impossible to answer, can’t pinpoint one. There’s been some pretty hot ones over the years.

 Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Noel Fitzpatrick, the Supervet.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Can’t be bothered.
What has been your biggest disappointment?
 That I was never pretty. 
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
1968. I left home and got a bedsit in Blackpool.
How often do you have sex?
 I'm celibate, can't be bothered, been there, done that.
When did you last cry, and why?
A few days ago, missing Rocky.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Sticking with lorry driving for 32 years, despite all the bullying.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Down Down  Status Quo. As loud as possible.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Nothing stays the same. Every day is a brand new start, you can’t change what happened yesterday so move on. 

Thanks to everyone who has shared their money saving tips for Christmas. I knew you wouldn't let me down. You're chuffin brilliant. 
Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

PS this is copy and pasted, I hope it works. Please excuse the higgledypiggledy margins. I ain't changing it. 

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Red hot babe.

Hello. It had to be done, this mane is driving me potty. Hate it hanging around my face, in my eyes, makes me feel grubby. Gotta come off. 
Bingo, the back door hairdresser was open today, although it was flippin cold. I set to work with the scissors, chopping here and there, lifting a clump with my left hand, and slicing the ends off with the right.
I bought the colour yesterday from Savers, I checked the prices in Superdrug and thought they were a bit expensive. I was right, cheaper in Savers. This is not a permanent colour, it will eventually fade with washing.

I think I look pretty darn cool.

Total cost of new hairdo, Cutting free, colour £3.00. They don't do red in the cheap brands, I looked. Excited to show it off at Crafty Club tomorrow.

Right, before I go, maybe our readers can help with this. Rebecca asks, has anyone got any good money saving tips for a frugal Christmas. I can't suggest much apart from home made presents, because I don't spend any money on Christmas, it is banned in my house. So maybe you good ladies and gents can suggest how Christmas needn't break the bank. What do you do to keep the cost down? Thank you for joining in.

Thanks for popping by, enjoy the rest of your Sunday, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Radical Craft Exhibition

Hello. I went to the 20 21 Visual arts Centre today to see the new exhibition. Radical Craft. It's a touring exhibition which will visit four more galleries next year after it leaves Scunthorpe at the end of January. 
Radical Craft features 34 international and UK artists who express their creativity beyond the bounds of convention. It includes works by renowned artists associated with Outsider Art, and also contemporary self taught artists. 
About a dozen or so people gathered for the exhibition tour, with co-curator Laura Hamilton. She gave us a fascinating insight into the background of the artists, which added to the intrigue of the exhibition. 
Here are some of my photo's. This is a child's toy ironing board which the artist found at a charity shop. The artworks are mostly made from recycled second hand materials. 

An old suitcase found washed up on the beach.

A chair wrapped in fabric.

All kinds of tiny trinkets were used in the making of this piece.

The grey circles are foam, stitched onto random pieces of fabric. 

If you want to know more about the exhibition, please click here. 

Click on a picture to get a larger version.

I like this kind of artwork, there doesn't seem to be much planning in the construction of the pieces, keep adding to it and see what happens. It certainly gave me something to think about. Maybe my artwork is too structured, and I should be more experimental, maybe I should be loosening up a bit.

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

Friday, 18 November 2016

Shopping haul and a job to do.

Hello. It's looking like it might be a busy day, so I'll fire this one off super quick. Last minute decision last night, go for the yellow stickers at Tesco. A good haul, all with 75% off. The man with the ticket machine said not so many people come for them now, it used to be 90% off. This saving is fine by me. Other foodstuffs were bought as well. No need to go again for another couple or three weeks. 
My friends in the next street are downsizing, moving up north, and they need to get the house cleared. There are four single bed bases to get rid of, no one wants them, not even charity shops. The council will take weeks to come and pick them up and they don't want them lying around in the front garden. The plan is that I  dismantle them and salvage any timber that might be useful for other projects and take the debris to the tip.

Must get on with the job. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Smelly bits

Hello. Any time I come across a minor problem it is my wish to solve it. I am of the opinion that all problems are solvable, if ideas are not forthcoming early on in the thought process, they will surely emerge later when almost all options have been dismissed. And so it is that I have put much thought into the solving of this problem. 
I mentioned that I cut my wash sponges in half, because they last longer, all well and good. You can use a whole sponge to clean the whole of your body, but that might not be very hygienic as the sponges become a tad smelly with use. So my idea of cutting them in half alleviates that problem because you can use half of it to wash the non smelly bits and the other half to wash the smelly bits, if you get my drift. 
Well that's solved that problem then. Well not quite. If the two halves look the same, how do you know which is the one designated for the smelly bits? Erm  I don't know. Could sniff them I suppose. I'm going to have to give this more thought. 
Brainwave, they need to have a mark that identifies which sponge is to be used for the corresponding parts of the body. Of course, why didn't I think of that before. So, with my permanent marker I have solved the problem. It all makes sense to me.

If you have any problems which you are struggling with, just ask me. It might just need a logical brain to come up with the answer. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Let's have a catch up.

Hello, I've been AWOL, apologies for my absence. Apart from not having much to say, I've been helping my friend Helen deliver her parish newsletters, and done some Bailey dog walks for Joyce, as she has needed to rest her leg. So all good stuff, lots of walking. 
I didn't see the super moon the other night, but last night there was very little cloud and it lit the back garden up nicely.
This morning it was at the front of the house at 7am, still visible, with a whisp of cloud floating by.

Hey, look what I found. Someone very kindly has bagged up all their spare apples and hung them on the railing for anyone to take. Thank you, I'll have one of those.

 Tonight I've made a big pan of broth and vegetables.

Soaked the Scotch Broth Mix overnight, and added carrots, potatoes, parsnips, an onion, the last bit of broccoli, and two apples. I used half the packet, which was as you can see 50p, it makes four large portions, or five not so large. This will put hairs on my chest, it's lovely, and very cheap. I will eat some more tomorrow, and freeze some.

I had a phone call from a local WI group, asking me to do a frugal money saving talk. I've booked them in for January. I haven't done one for ages, it will make a nice change.

Pussy cat rescue news. Someone contacted us about a stray kitten seen wandering at a caravan park. Sue and Janet went to have a look for it, and found it in a pond. The poor little might was half dead. The man who owned the place waded in and got it out. They had it checked at the vet. Luckily we had a spare pen for it, and now it is being looked after and making progress.

There are some new exhibitions starting soon at the Arts Centre, one of them sounds really good. It's called Radical Craft, Alternative ways of making. There is a tour with the Curator on Saturday, I'll go along to that. Someone has blogged about it here.

Has anyone found the videos by Graeme Stevenson on yoootooob?  He is an artist who travels around chatting to other artists about their work. Claire Bremner produces some stunning work, and demonstrates her techniques as she talks and paints. Have a look if you are an artist, or if you aren't. She makes it look so easy.

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