Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Luxury Des Res for hoggies.

Hello. We finished the conversion today of spacious detached bunny house, to two luxury hedgehog apartments. This is Helen last week making a start. She is attacking a broken hinge with a screwdriver. It's easiest to work on it while it's laid on it's back.  
And here it is. The old bedroom door was rotten so we made a new one. The holes in the wire mesh were too big so we added some smaller mesh to the inside.

On the left two sleeping compartments. We had to build this from scratch by adding the upper floor, and replacing the rotten divider with two new pieces. There is a gap at the back wall so they can leave their bedrooms to get to the food and water in their recreation area.

The front of the mesh is hinged at the bottom and folds down. The door to the bedrooms opens to the left hand side.

Helen will put some lino down on the floors of both apartments. There will be plenty of hay to keep them warm in bed. This one will be outside so it will be covered in a waterproof sheet to protect it from the weather even though it has a proper felted roof on it.

Lucky hoggies having someone to look after them through the winter. They will be released in the spring, the charity has arrangements with special locations to let them go in a safe place. They are released on large acres of land around stately homes, where there is very little traffic so have a good chance of surviving.

Phew, that was hard work, it's surprising how tiring sawing wood and screwing lots of screws into tight places with very little room can be. We had a laugh and did some cursing, and almost gave up, but then we decided we would not be beaten.

It was a microwave home made ready meal for dinner tonight as I couldn't be bothered to cook. Now I am chilling.

DON'T FORGET IT IS CHECKING IN DAY TOMORROW FOR THE WALKING GROUP. Let's see how we are all doing. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Monday, 30 October 2017

A new crafty make

Hello. I finished this today at Crafty Club, it's only taken me a few days to complete it. I collected a few rings together, different sizes, some metal and some plastic. The large outer one is from an old lampshade and is five and a half inches across. First of all I arranged them into some kind of pattern to see what fits together. I changed my mind several times as I rearranged them before settling on this design. 
Then I chose colours which look nice together, and wrapped the threads around the rings.

The dark pink cord is from a door curtain which Auntie Pat gave me, one of those which you hang across an open door to keep flies out of the house. The purple and green are wool, and the lighter pink is heavy cotton embroidery thread.

I added beads and sequins, and French knots around the outer edge.

The hanging thread is made from plaited purple sparkly wool.

The purple background is an umbrella cover, which I have never used. Who puts their umbrella back in the cover once they start using it, I don't. I knew it would come in useful for something.

I started off by wrapping the rings and adding embellishments. Then I stitched them onto the purple silk, I cut a piece of wadding to stretch the silk over to get rid of wrinkles, on top of that I put a circle of cardboard, then gathered the surplus silk around the edges to pull it tight, and covered the back with a piece of matching purple felt.

The idea came from this magazine, as you can see in the pictures their rings have no backing. I tried it that way but my smaller rings did not fit snugly into the outer ring, also it was getting a bit messy on the back so I decided to hide it all with the purple silk.

If you fancy having a go, here is a simple tutorial on how to wrap the thread around the ring. If you are making something small like I did, it's best to use a needle and do it like a buttonhole stitch through the ring.

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

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Small jars have other uses.

Hello. Just a quickie post tonight. I was fed up of my coffee, sugar, and powdered milk jars taking up too much space on the worktop. I don't need to have big jars, I only have one coffee a day, sometimes two, so I don't need so much close at hand. The coffee goes horrible and sticky and doesn't taste so nice if it is in the jar for a long time. The lids on two of the big jars were broken anyway, so I thought time to get rid of them. 
Here is my solution. I buy mayo in a small jar for 20p from the Cash and Carry, they are cute little round jars. You might remember that I turned some of them into tee light holders and painted them with nail varnish, and put wire round the top to hang them. 
They are also the right size for this as well. Don't need to label them as it's obvious what's inside. Worktop is not so cluttered now and coffee stays fresher longer. Perfect, and they're free.

What do you use small jars for?

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

PS. Don't forget to turn your clocks back by one hour tonight if you are in the UK.

Friday, 27 October 2017

A bimble in the sunshine

Hello. It was such a lovely day today I had to go for a little local bimble so I headed down the hill to the fishing pond. On the way I passed a house with a beautiful purple bush in the garden. This bush has these berries on every year and each time I see them I just love the colour. No leaves, just berries. 
The fishing pond in the foreground, and the River Trent beyond.

It's a lovely tranquil peaceful place.

There are wooden platforms for the fishermen to sit. Not many about today, I only saw three.

A few ducks and a couple of swans went paddling by. Too far out to take a photo.

The previous owners used to come for the summer season and bring their caravan. The apple tree where they used to park is shedding it's fruit, the new owners are not about and anyone can pick them. I already have lots so I don't need them.

I walked back up the hill through the woods and along a track.

It was a nice walk. As I came back into the village I had a nosy in a skip and found some useful pieces of wood. Too much to carry so I went to get my car to transport them home. It's plywood with a light grey laminate finish. It looks like they have had a new bathroom fitted. Lucky me. The garage is a bit full at the moment so these have had to go in the summerhouse.

Thank you all very much for the smashing comments on yesterdays post. It's nice that people took the time to send Betty some positive vibes. She emailed me back to say how chuffed she was to read them, and thanks everyone.

I'm going to watch a bit of catchup TV now, so I'll say tatty byes, and thanks for popping in. Enjoy your weekend.
Toodle pip

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Give Betty a round of applause

Hello. I've had an email from a reader, let's call her Betty.

I've had a traumatic few weeks, systems have changed in my job, which have made me feel unable to cope. I've done the job very happily for 14 years, but I just can't cope with the changes.
I was going to give up work when I am sixty (I am almost 58), but I've decided to give up work as from now.
Your blog has given me the courage to do it. I've been working on a zero hours contract for 14 years, no holiday pay/sick pay/pension etc, but I stuck with it because I enjoyed it.  Fortunately my husband will still be working for a little while, so the outlook isn't entirely scary, just a bit.
Anyway, I just want to thank you for showing people how they can manage, without making things too complicated.  I read your blog all the time, and it has been the one bright light in a very dark few weeks. 
I am going to use the extra time I now have to lose excess weight, get fit, strong and healthy.  I am currently fat, weak and exhausted, and to be honest, I don't really know where to start.  I'm going to start walking, and possibly swimming, as I have painful feet.  I already use many of your recipes, and try to shop the way you do.  
Feel free to quote anything I have said, as long  as you don't reveal my name etc.  
Thank you again for your brilliant blog, it has been such a help to me in keeping me sane and in making my decision.  

Hi Betty, thanks for your mail. You have decided to bite the bullet and give up your job, that's a very brave move, but at the age of 58, I fully understand your reason for doing so. I was in my mid fifties and wasn't enjoying my job, so I know how you feel. It was boredom and a feeling of being trapped which prompted me to make a move and cut down my working hours, which eventually led to me having an operation I needed, then losing my job, then retiring.

I never thought for one minute that I might be doing the wrong thing. I couldn't face sitting in one more traffic jam on the M62 and thinking what the heck am I doing here, when I could be doing something else a lot more interesting. That's when it hit me, if I don't spend any money, I don't have to earn it.

When the work is no longer stimulating, when the management becomes really annoying, and when you dread going in each day, that's the time to get out, and get a life. Of course it would be foolish to say everyone should chuck their job up just because they are having a bad day, especially if they have family commitments that they must provide for, but there comes a time when the family have gone and the only responsibility you have is to yourself, and to your other half if you have one.

Actually I am feeling quite excited for you Betty, because now you will be in control. You will be able to devote more time to develop other interests, learn new skills, and plan treats, holidays, and other surprises for the two of you, instead of being frazzled and grouchy. Your mood will instantly lift when you wake up in the morning and embrace a brand new day. You will smile, you will be cheerful, knowing that you haven't got to face those in the office, and do battle with the establishment. No more petty rules, you are the one to make the rules from now on.

You say you are unfit and a bit too large, which is contributing to you being weak and exhausted. Let's get you started tomorrow on a plan. Swimming, a good idea, walking a good idea. You could also tweak your diet now you have time. No more grabbing a takeaway or convenience meal because you can't be bothered to cook, or haven't got time to stand in the kitchen. Now you have time to make healthy meals from scratch.

There won't be miraculous changes to your health in the first week, it will all take time, but look forward to feeling a lot better say next spring when you look in the mirror and see a brand new shape, a lot slimmer you. Keep that in mind, it's not pie in the sky, it's achievable once your stress melts away, and you feel more at peace with your life.

Don't worry about not having enough money, you will have enough. Hubby is still working and you can do your bit by planning how you are going to organize your finances, so that he can give up work as well.

This is a new chapter for you Betty, a new start, I wish you well on your journey. Keep in touch and tell us how you are getting on. Send me another email in a month with an update, I would love to know what's happened. All the best.

We didn't manage to get the rabbit hutch/hedgehog residence finished today, I have to go back next week.

A reader has pointed out to me that some photo's are missing on some of my older posts. That's because I was using Photobucket for a few weeks when my storage limit was reached with Google/Picasa. Photobucket was a free image hosting site, but they then decided to make a charge for it which was way too much. I didn't pay so they removed all the photo's that I posted on here and the two forums I visit. I now pay Google £4 something a year for unlimited storage, so my photo's should stay for as long as I keep paying it.

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

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Getting physical with wool

Hello. I had a smashing time at Hawkmoon Crafts, learning how to wet felt a picture. Sue was an excellent teacher, and we had a lot of fun. There were two others doing it, and guess what, they read my blog and picked up the link from there. That was a surprise. 
Sue's house is full of arts and crafts, most of it made by her and some she has collected from other crafters. We started with a piece of bubblewrap and laid out the base of our picture in white wool. We then chose the  background colours we wanted, and placed them on top, building up several layers. Then we had to decide on the detail we wanted in our picture. 

After coffee and cake we then started the wetting process. Warm soapy water is sprayed all over it, the bubblewrap is folded over to cover it, and then we rubbed it all over with a scrunched up carrier bag, pushing down hard as we did so. The idea is to get the fibres matted together. It gets quite physical as we rolled it up, first one way then the other, putting more pressure on it. We even threw it hard down on the table, just as you would with a piece of dough when bread making. My wrists started aching.

Eventually we ended up with our own hand made picture to take home.

This is mine. I plan to add some needle felting and stitching to it. If my flowers were white instead of orange, they would look like fried eggs, ha ha. It's surprising the difference between dry needle felting and wet felting. All the pummeling makes it shrink. and the picture ends up a lot more messy.

I think we all did ok. I'm glad I learnt how to do it, and it's nice that it was a social event as well.  It's given me a taste for it and I'll probably do some more.

I've got a job to do tomorrow. Helen has a big hutch that she wants converting from a detached bunny house to two separate flats, upstairs and downstairs, for two hedgies. I've had a look through my wood stash and picked several pieces out for the conversion.

Now I'm tired, so I'll sign off. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Foster mum to hedgehogs

Hello. What about this whoppa then, an apple bigger than my hand. My neighbour across the road has a tree absolutely full of these. Every year she gives me several bags full, never before have they been this big. I stew them for a few minutes, no sugar needed they are sweet, and have them with my porridge and breakfast cereals. 
I wrap them in newspaper and put them in a dark cool place, and they last me into the new year. I love a freebie.

This afternoon I went to visit Helen for a natter and coffee. She has taken on the roll of foster mum to four hedgehogs. These cannot be released because they are not big enough and not strong enough, so they will be over wintered in Helen's garage. The hedgehog rescue is full up and foster homes are needed. They also need more hutches so Helen put a call out among her friends to ask for any second hand ones to be donated. She picked one up which needs some modifying so I will look in my garage to see what wood I have for the job. Once we have some accommodation for them Helen will take four more.

They need feeding every morning and their pens cleaned out as they pee and poo all over the place, Luckily they keep their bedding clean, but often poo in their food bowls.

These are the pens, the rescue can buy them at cost price of £20, but they take nearly two weeks to arrive, so we need to get the second hand one ready as soon as possible.

Henry choc lab likes to oversee what is going on in the garage, he is fascinated by the hogs. About a year ago it was touch and go whether Henry would still be here. He was very poorly when his medication ran out and had to be changed, but Helen's vet was able to source extra supplies. Poor lad has had arthritis for most of his life, but he is a fighter and is still with us.

I stopped to take a pic of the dramatic sky on the way home. I love the contrast between the moody dark grey, and the white fluffy clouds lit by the disappearing sun in the distance.

Tomorrow I'm going to learn about wet felting with Sue Hawkmoon. It's a three hour workshop at her home. There will be three of us having some instruction. Looking forward to that. I'll let you know what happens.

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

Monday, 23 October 2017

1000 miles YIPEEEEEE

Hello. Here is a little video in celebration of me reaching 1000 miles. Hip hip hooooray.

Eight days left of this month, let's all keep on walking and make the 31st a good ending for us all.

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

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Not ready for the knackers yard yet

Hello. It's looking like it's going to be a day indoors today, I have lots to keep me occupied so I'm happy to stay in. I had an email come through a few days ago which needs a reply, and rather than spend time writing personally to the reader I thought I would share it here, in case the subject matter strikes a chord with  anyone else. I copy and paste part of the letter here, the readers is a similar age to myself.

I wanted to ask your advice please.   Being childless as we are, what will happen to us when we get infirm?  Who will take care of us?  I'm not scared about getting older but what terrifies me is getting infirm and I must admit to losing sleep over this issue as time goes on.  Friends are now too busy with grandchildren so they don't bother with me much any more and I'd value your thoughts.  

Hello and thank you for your questions. Everyone approaches old age in their own way, and a lot of how you deal with it depends on your outlook on life leading up to this point. You used the word 'terrifies', twice, which makes me think that you have had some worries which have caused you some concerns in the past. Learned behaviour over a long period of time is harder to change. I will answer your questions from my own perspective, which may or may not be in line with your own ideas. We have led completely different lives, so the way I see things will probably not be the same for you. We may lead similar lives now, but our journey to get to this stage will depend on the path we chose. My learned behaviour will be different to yours.  

What will happen to us when we get infirm?
 I don't worry about getting infirm, because I don't think it will happen to me. I don't go looking for the negatives, I see myself as an independent woman with no health issues, who hopes to stay active until the very last. I see older people in my village who make the effort and go out every day, even though they move around quite slowly. OK, it's negativity which drags you down. Negativity which makes you stay in bed longer, makes you sit in front of the gogglebox for hours, and makes you stop caring about your surroundings. I am up with the lark, looking forward to each day. I fully immerse myself in keeping busy, and keeping the old grey matter working. I don't have time for negative thoughts. Every day for me is a bonus and I don't want to waste any of it. 

Who will take care of us? 
 Well that's an easy one, ME. I am already taking care of me right now, I am the only one responsible for my well being. Mind you, at 68 I am only a spring chicken, but I am planning to live another 20 years. I see my future as my responsibility. The plan is to keep on doing what I am doing now. Eating the right food, keep walking, keep active in my body and my mind. Ok, so I might be unlucky and fall ill at some point, but it won't be because I have abused my body, it will be because there is something in my genetic make up which I have inherited. 

I hope to live independently for as long as I can, and if the worst comes to the worst, I will go into sheltered accommodation or a care home. I don't expect any members of my family to look after me. 

You mention friends with grandchildren don't bother with you much. I'm afraid that's the way it is and we just have to accept that. My family don't bother with me much, but that's OK, they have families, they have to go to work, and they are struggling to make ends meet. They have enough to think about. I have a mix of friends, some are single like me, and some are looking after grandkids. It was my choice not to have kids of my own, so I cannot now complain that I have no one to visit me. 

I accept that I will face old age alone. It's very rare I think about how the end of my life will pan out, because I am a long way from it. Yes, luck plays a part, and my time could be cut short, but why worry about something that may never happen. 

Dear reader, if you are losing sleep now, you are on a downward slope. Getting enough sleep is very important to your health and well being, so you are sabotaging what could be your happy and prosperous life. I don't like to give advice because inevitably you are in charge of your own destiny, but I will say this to anyone who wants to listen. Live each day as if it was your last. Make each minute count, don't waste any of it. Wake up every morning and be grateful that you have woken up, and you have a fresh new day to fill. Think of how best to spend your bonus day, how to make the most of it, what will give you the most joy, the most pleasure, and do it.  

Dear Reader, you asked me another question, I will cover that in another post. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.Toodle pip

PS. Some of you have been reading this while I have been editing it. I've been struggling to get the font the right size, always happens with copy and paste. 

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Going round in circles

Hello. It is very windy in North Lincolnshire tonight, it has been all day. I nearly got blown over while doing my walk this afternoon. I checked the summer house, it's still standing, a couple of the screws holding the plastic roof on had come loose so I climbed up the side and screwed them back down. Handy having the pallets on the outside, saves having to get the step ladder out. 
I've been searching my stash, and it's a big stash, for rings, any kind, metal, wooden, plastic, any size. I am having a go at a project featured in a copy of Stitch magazine from earlier in the year, or was it last year, they never put the year on the front cover. 
Heidi is watching over the proceedings. It involves wrapping thread around the rings. Looking quite good so far. I'm enjoying playing. I'm going to get back to it so I'll say goodnight.
Thanks for popping in, enjoy your Sunday, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Friday, 20 October 2017

My porridge runneth over.

Hello. I had a little accident with the porridge this morning. I normally make it in a pan on the hob, but I thought I would have a change and do it in the microwave. While I am preparing food I usually find other jobs to do at the same time, I have no patience when it comes to waiting for food to cook. I set the timer to a couple of minutes, then went back to it, not ready so set it for another two minutes. Then checked the emails, and look what I found. Oh dear. 
It was a bit too solid so I added a splash of milk and some yellow sticker strawberries which I had frozen, it was fine.

I've been rearranging things today. There was a space where the treadle sewing machine was. I was using it as a table so something needed to go in it's place. Upstairs in the office I have a cupboard with a glass door, my friend gave it to me, it used to hold her stereo unit.I pulled everything out of it and very carefully lowered it down the stairs, step by step. It is just the right size to fill the space, and I can put things inside it as well as on top of it.

Then I had to find something to put all the files in which I had taken out. Luckily I had salvaged a set of plastic drawers from the skip. They needed a wash so I did that outside on the table. Now everything is put away, so that's one job done. I need to sort out my boxes of crafty bits and bobs, I keep saving things in case they might come in useful for something, and I don't know what is at the bottom of the boxes.

Another little job I did today was to strip out the plastic inserts from a wooden CD storage unit. Something else salvaged from the skip. It's quite a big size, storing three stacks of CD's in an upright position. If I turn it on it's side, it makes a nice shelf unit. I'll keep it and find a use for it.

I went to town yesterday, stocked up on Heidi's wet cat food, but found that Poundstretcher don't have any of their favourite dry Ultima left. I suspected that they have stopped making it when other shops ran out. Oh dear, I have two bags left, I think they will be sulking when that's gone and I have to put out a different brand. I went into the bank to take out some cash and pay my credit card bill. I also changed the two old £1 coins that I found. I did a top up shop at Aldi as well.

That's all for tonight. Brain has stopped working, now winding down. I am in the habit of going to bed early and getting up early at the moment. 5am this morning, make a mug of coffee and back to bed for a read.

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

Thursday, 19 October 2017

How to make an indoor mini garden

Hello. I spotted this wooden letter rack in a charity shop last week, it was tossed in the bargain box, everything 50p. Hmmmm, no scratches or chips, maybe I could do something with it. It looks like it's been engraved, but probably mass produced in some sweatshop somewhere. I expect a lot of letter racks are lying around redundant now, hardly any letters come through my door any more. 
I have an idea. First paint it in a pale shade of apple green. Then colour in the flowers with felt tip pens. Cut some pieces of polystyrene to fit in the bottom, and top with some pieces of green mesh bags.

I have some sticky back felt, from the Scrapstore, cut some leaf shapes and enclose small pieces of wire in between two leaves.

Then make some Sussex Puff flowers and attach longer pieces of wire to the back of them. Cover the stems with strips of felt, twisting the leaves in as well.

Next some greenery is needed. Take a small piece of cotton fabric and cut strips into it. Stick a small piece of wire to it with tape, and roll tightly, hold it together with a few stitches.

I made some small flowers with red and blue felt, also sticky back. I curled the top of the wire into a circle so it wouldn't pull out.

With all the pieces ready then I made my flower arrangement. Cut the wires to the right length, and stick them into the polystyrene. I could have added some embroidery and beads to the felt pieces but I think it's alright as it is.

Where best to photograph it. Outside on the table by the back window.

Or on the mantle shelf above the gas fire in the living room.

I am mighty chuffed with this. A little bit of garden indoors, to cheer the room up. An idea to make something new out of all those redundant little containers you have lurking at the back of the cupboard. Give it a go. If you don't have stickyback felt you can use any felt, just stitch the back and front together with blanket stitch.

Raining today and I have to go to town. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip