Wednesday 28 February 2018

Winter Wonderland

Hello. We've had a lot more snow here today. The kids went to get the bus to school, it didn't turn up so they went back home again, having snowball fights in the street. The kids that walk to school didn't go because the school was closed. Oooh, a day off for them. People crawled out of the village in their cars to go to work, I saw one car with it's side window still covered in snow. Don't know how they are going to see what's coming from the side, unless they open the window. The snow is deep so people are walking on the roads. No visiting cats today, they must be staying indoors. 
I took a few pics in the garden. 
Spot the little basket weave donkey.

Rocky's grave.

The hedgehog ornament, sitting on the edge of the raised bed.

I made up a feeding station for the birds. Cleared the snow off the table, filled a plate with tasty food, and water to drink. Haven't seen any birds all day, but something has disturbed the food. Possibly a cat scavenging the strips of cooked meat. I cut it into strips because I thought it would look like worms and the birds would go for it. No birds came.

Bugsy's grave.

The Christmas tree looks nice, all Christmassy.

Here comes another snowstorm, more like a blizzard. It's been doing this all day, going dark, then dumping another load of snow on us. It's bin collection day, but they didn't come. The Council say on their Twitter to leave the bins out and they will come when they can. Could be out there for a week if this keeps up.

Very different picture from the other day when it was sunny.

We got a sunny spell so I went out to do my walk. It was hard going in the snow. There's the sun going down over there. I missed yesterday so I wanted to do this last walk of the month to make the 166 mile target.

So how has your walking been for this month? Have you managed to get out? Could the Walking Group please check in tomorrow, Thursday the 1st of March, with their total at the end of the first  two months of 2018. The new target for three months will be 249 miles, if you are taking part in the Walk 1000 miles Challenge. Let's hope we have better weather.

There is a new series on Channel 4 called How to Get Fit Fast. Episode 1 was on last night, you can get it on the catchup if you are in the UK, not sure if it is available elsewhere in the world. Amar Latif is the co presenter, some of you may remember I wrote about him before. He is the founder of Traveleyes, a holiday company for blind and visually impaired people. I have been on two of his holidays. Here is a link to the Skipton holiday in 2010, a picture of Amar at the end, cutting the cake.  It's great to see him on the telly, he is a smashing chap.

That's it for now, thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday 27 February 2018

That's not food!!!

Hello. Can anyone tell me what this is? No, it's not a cows stomach, not the top of a fermenting barrel of beer, and not a slice from a human brain. It is in fact a pizza, believe it or not. Or part of a pizza, I have cut a little bit off the edge and eaten it. But where is the topping, I hear you say. 
Here is the topping, it's a three cheese topping, and it can be removed from the base like it's a piece of plastic. In fact it is the consistency of melted plastic, a tasteless piece of melted plastic.
 About twice a year I fancy a pizza, I bought this from Aldi for about £1. I should have known better. Generously topped, I don't think so. Industry awards winner 2016, how the hell did it get that. Deep pan base, it certainly is. It's a soft dough base which is like chewing an old dish cloth.

I tried to eat some of it, managed the plastic cheese and wished I hadn't, God knows what it's doing to my insides. What's left of the base, which is most of it, will get thrown out for the birds. It says on the back of the box that if I am not satisfied I can take it back to the shop. I can't be bothered, let the birds have it. All I will do is pass on this message, don't buy this it's (trying to be ladylike here but failing), shite.

This was the scene this morning. It has been snowing on and off all day. The road to town was ok, the gritters have been out. I had a bit of business to do at the bank, and I picked up some cat food while I was there. I seem to be buying an awful lot of cat food just lately.

No sign of Garcia today, he must have stayed indoors.

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

Monday 26 February 2018

Simple solution

Hello. We're still waiting for the snow here in North Lincs, has anyone seen it? Is it coming our way? Not that I want it, I just wondered, after all the scaremongering headlines saying the whole country is going to come to a standstill and people won't be able to get to work or school. Perhaps it will be white outside when I wake up in the morning. 
Yesterday it was sunny, Garcia was snoozing on the warm window sill. 
I managed to get out into the garden for a couple of hours, though it was very cold. Do you remember this cast iron fountain thingy that someone gave me before he threw it out. It's been lying around on the ground because it's blooming heavy. I looked for somewhere to hang it. If I put a couple of screws into the garage door it would probably fall off. It needs somewhere a lot more sturdy and solid to take the weight.

I know, just the place. I have two washing line posts which are cemented into the ground, they have been there ever since the house was built over 60 years ago. They are never going to fall over. Then I looked for two pieces of wire to hang it with.

Found just the thing, sometimes it pays to keep things that might come in useful. I had a paste table that was collapsing, so I took it apart, kept some of the wood, and the metal rods that fix the legs in the open position. They had a bend in each end, so I bashed them with a lump hammer and made them into hooks. Bingo, there are two holes in the back of the fountain, and the other ends are hooked over the sticking out bits at the top of the post. A simple solution, clever eh! I'll get round to painting it when the weather improves.

This morning I sat and had my coffee looking out over the back garden, as I do, wondering if Garcia might come. Heidi sat looking out as well. It got to 7.45am and no sign of him. I had a look down the street and saw that their car had gone, they go to work at 7.30am, so it looks as if he had a day indoors today. Oh well, maybe he'll come tomorrow.

A few missing at Crafty Club this morning. The Village Hall is undergoing some refurbishment, they are fitting a new kitchen. As a temporary measure everyone has to take their own mugs, and drinks are made on a table in the room where we meet. No facilities to wash up unless you want to rinse it out in the ladies loo. I usually take a bottle of something, either juice or milk shake.

So what was for dinner tonight. I didn't intend to make a big pan full, I just kept adding stuff. It started off with half a packet of savoury rice. Then two chopped Brussels sprouts, an onion, chopped broccoli, two small potatoes cut up into small pieces. Half a carrot spiralized. A tin of red kidney beans, half a packet of potato and leek cupasoup, and some vegetable granules. Oh and also turmeric. Very tasty. No dishes to wash, I ate it straight out of the pan, not very ladylike, ha ha. Plenty left for tomorrow.

Just remembered this. I've had an email from someone who wants to receive emails when I write a new post, and is not sure how it works. She is getting the message saying, 'you do not have access to this service'. Is anyone getting email notifications, and can you say how you set it up? I haven't a clue. Thanks.

That's me done. Thanks for popping in. Two more days left till the end of the month, Walking Group get your boots on, if you are not snowed in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Sunday 25 February 2018

Greta and Mike Fitchett. Textile artists

Hello. It's a sunny morning here in North Lincolnshire, I think we should be bracing ourselves for the storm which is heading our way. If you listen to the weather forecast we all ought to be panic buying and stock piling our food. I take each day as it comes, no panic here. What will be will be, I will not starve. 
Yesterday was the Embroiderers Guild meeting, and the guest speaker was Greta Fitchett, a renowned and very talented quilter and textile artist. Right up my street, her talk was very enlightening, and her work was beautiful. 
Greta's husband Mike, accompanied her. They sometimes work as a team, Mike sketching in his book as they travel the world looking for inspiration. Greta also makes her own sketches, her book always close at hand, along with her camera. Can you spot the deliberate mistake in this photo? I didn't notice at the time, but the quilt is upside-down. Oooops.  
Greta talked us through the backgrounds of her quilts, where she found the inspiration, and why she chose a particular subject.

She is drawn towards tall glass buildings, and finds reflections fascinating. This is part of a large quilt inspired by Tokyo skyscrapers.

It's a pity I couldn't get all of this one on the picture, above the foliage is a wonderful landscape.

The reflections in the water of this Japanese garden were just perfect.

Greta does a mix of free motion machining, and hand embroidery.

I was quite surprised to see that on some of her quilts she leaves all the ends of the threads loose at the front. It adds an interesting dimension to her work. A tip that some quilters might like to try.

The quilts are all very large, some of them with the tiniest pieces. It must take an age to complete them.

Each one is different with it's own distinct style.

Here is Mike holding out a section of his concertina sketch book. He aims to fill one of these on every trip.

After the presentation, the quilts were laid out for closer inspection, and they were happy to answer any questions we had. I really enjoyed this, meeting the artist is much better than just viewing work at the shows.

There is a web site you can check out. Heatherleadesign.
Greta is on Facebook.
Greta has more pictures of her quilts on Flickr.
There are links to Mike's work on the web site also.

Garcia is sunning himself on the window sill. He didn't come yesterday, he stayed at home. But he is back today. Little sweetheart.

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

Saturday 24 February 2018

How many rings do I need to make?

Hello. It's a sunny Saturday morning and I am going out in a couple of hours. Want to sort some things out for the hospice charity shop, which I can drop off on the way to the E Guild meeting. 
Here's an update on the wrapped rings. Still a way to go, not all finished, but I have been laying them out into a possible arrangement. It will probably change. 
Still a lot of middles to fill in. I have laid them on the back of the zippy picture, as I think I will make this a similar size. I might not do the heart shape, I'm thinking a bouquet of flowers would be nice, with lots of stitching for the stalks and leaves. We shall see, I keep changing my mind. Notice how Heidi gets in on the photo, ha ha.

I hope you have a lovely weekend, whatever you are doing, get out if you can, don't forget we have a shorter month, so up your daily walking to make up for the lost days. The target for two months is 166 miles, I am on 155 so should make it.

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

Friday 23 February 2018

What's happening at Tightwad Towers

Hello. This is a copy and paste from my Frugal February diary yesterday on Down the Lane.

Oh my word, I spent £203.34 today. It had to be done. I could have possibly cut it down a bit, I bought extra things because a friend was coming to visit next week, and now he isn't because it might be bad weather. I could have managed a bit longer with my broken toilet seat, but now I have a new one to sit on. I needn't have bought a box of tea bags, because I don't drink it, they will keep until he does eventually come. I bought a couple of bottles of wine for us to share, spose I could drink it myself, or save it. 

A big cost is my nuts, I eat them every day for breakfast. £1.29 a bag for cashews and walnuts. Then the cats food, Heidi likes Sheba. I also needed some sugar and coffee. I bought a box of Bakers meaty chunks, I always have a few in my pocket for my doggy friends who I meet as I walk around the village. 
I paid my car tax today, £135, there's no getting out of that one. Not very frugal today, but I wanted to be ready for my visitor, who is now not coming. I won't be spending tomorrow. 

Just to explain, I have a broken toilet seat in the bathroom, the hinge, not the actual seat. At last I have got round to buying a new fixer kit. The existing seat is fine, a very nice one, I want to keep it, but I am rubbish at getting things repaired. so now I can. I also bought a new seat for the downstairs loo, the one on at the moment is cheap and rubbish, it keeps moving about because the hinges keep coming loose. That has to go, so now I have a new red one to put on. 

Notice I bought some tea bags in readiness for my friend visiting, they might be in the cupboard for a while, at least until the weather gets better. It's not good for travelling at the moment. I have opened the wine tonight, so I will buy another one when I know he is coming for definite. 

I haven't spent anything today, there's enough food in the fridge to last a while. I did a Bailey walk this morning, and my own walk this afternoon. 

Other news, I have decided to sell my cross trainer, I haven't used it for a while, so there is no point in it taking up space in the corner of the living room. I get enough exercise walking outside, and I am doing more arts and crafts now which takes up a lot of my time. Someone is interested in it. 

Garcia came as usual this morning, I was so pleased to see him. I spoke to his owner, the news is that he has a malignant tumour in his shoulder and the vet can't say for sure how long he has left. Could be weeks, could be months. Poor boy, but at 19 he has had a good life with two homes. He has been trotting backwards and forwards for a long time, always appearing at my back door, and worn a path through the back lawn. 

It's the Embroiderers Guild meeting tomorrow, I shall go and pay my fee to join. There is a speaker, looking forward to it.

Thanks for popping in, have a nice weekend, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Thursday 22 February 2018

Filling in the rings, part 2 video

Hello. Bit late tonight, waiting for a video to upload. Remember this doodle with the machine I did yesterday. 
I wondered what it would look like if I coloured it in. I used felt tip pens, and some of the colours have bled, but not to worry, it was an experiment. Easy way to make an abstract art picture. It might work better with paint, and a closer woven fabric. 
I forgot to mention this, I bought a bag full of very small black safety pins from the Scrapstore, must be about a thousand. Something told me to buy it. I immediately thought a picture, there is a picture in there somewhere. All I have to do is find the picture, and use the pins to make it.

I made this video this morning, faffed about trying to get the angle right, the lighting wasn't right, move everything around. I made it once, too long, I waffled too much. Try again. So here we are, part two, how to fill the centre of the wrapped ring.

Now you can have fun making them.

My friend isn't coming next week, he wants to wait until the weather is a bit better, as it is supposed to be very cold and snowy for the whole of next week. I think it's best, he wants to do some walking while he is here, so better to wait for the weather to improve.

I am walking Bailey in the morning, Ken the regular walker has Fridays off, and Brenda is away on holiday, so I fill in for them. Garcia went to the vet this afternoon, he is not walking very well due to the lump on his shoulder. I don't know what the outcome is, I will have to wait to see if he arrives tomorrow morning at the back door. He is 19 years old, I hope he has got a bit longer.

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

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Trying new stitchery

Hello. Sorting fabric out today. I had a cushion and two pillows which my friend gave me, the plan was to turn the two pillows into four cushions by opening them up and dividing the filling. I decided I couldn't cope with feathers and down all over the place, so I left them as pillows, and made covers for all three of them. These I delivered to the church. Someone with a bigger bum might be more comfortable on a pillow ;-)
Some of the fabric is suitable for shopping bags, so I have been cutting them out today. It's not a priority to sew them just yet, but they will be ready later when I have time.

I haven't got a free motion foot for my sewing ,machine yet, but I had a go without a foot. Not too bad, I think with a bit more practice I might get the hang of this.

Well back to the fabric sorting, some of it will make nice framed pictures. I need to get on with finishing some of my projects.

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

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Lots of crafting goodies to play with.

Hello. A trip to Hull Scrapstore was in order this morning, I had arranged to meet one of our readers who has kindly given me a lot of fabric, and some items to sell for the cat rescue. Look at this lot, one bag is what I purchased, the rest is what Lesley gave me. So it's a big thank you for that. When I have sorted it out I will donate some of it to our crafty club members. I'm sure they will be well chuffed. 
My friend Angela came with me to the Scrapstore, she hadn't been before and was curious to see what was on offer. She does furniture renovations, including upholstery, so she was particularly interested in the heavy fabric. She was really pleased to find exactly what she wanted, so now she can get on with her projects. I thought I was going to have to drag her out of there as she was so excited. We had such a laugh, she is good fun, when we got back she whipped up a lunch of egg and chips.

I just had a phone call from a friend down south, he is planning a trip up here next week. That will be good, I don't know what the cats will think of a German Shepherd invading their territory though, I think I will have to keep them separated.

Right, now I'm going to open those bags and see what's in them. Excited. Thank you Lesley.

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

Monday 19 February 2018

Dashing away with the smoothing iron

Hello. I think I have mentioned before that I don't do ironing. I don't buy clothes which need ironing, because I find it incredibly boring to stand slaving over a hot iron for an hour or two. I don't iron any household linens, I have better things to do. 
I do have an iron, and an ironing board, which doubles up as a bedside table, so it is always there. No getting it out and putting it away again. Today  I did some ironing. I was given a big bag of felt offcuts all tangled up, at Crafty Club this morning, and they needed ironing, so I set to and did it. Most of it was in long strips. Here I am half way through, it seemed to go on and on, sorting out the colours. Mayze is supervising. Not sure what I can use this for, probably only good for small projects like the Christmas decorations, and hanging hearts. 
It turned into a 'tidying up felt' day, so I went through all my felt, ironed it, and sorted it into colours. I had one of these mixed bags once before and there is quite a lot of dark colours and narrow strips in them. A lot of brown.

The larger flat pieces I put in a plastic storage box.

I even keep all the tiny pieces. When I am making something small I look in these baskets first to see if there is the right colour and size, before I cut into a larger piece.

After I whittled the tangled mess down into tidily ironed piles, I gave up with the last bits. Can't be bothered to iron these. If I do get round to using them I will iron them as and when.

The weather has been wet and miserable today so this has kept me busy indoors. The cats haven't wanted to go out, Garcia came early and stayed all day. He seems to know what time to go home, usually leaving about 4pm, so he is waiting on the doorstep when they come home from work.

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

Sunday 18 February 2018

Rescuing stuff from the tip

Hello. Back again. It was my lucky day today. I was walking down the High Street, as I do, at the start of my walk, when I came across someone sorting through the contents of their shed. They had removed quite a lot of stuff, and it was in a pile on their driveway. It caught my eye, as it does. No skip, just stuff. I asked if they were dumping any of it, and could I see if there is anything I can make use of. They pointed out a few things which were destined for the tip, and said if I went back in a couple of hours they would have a few more things sorted out. This gave me chance to do my walk and have a sandwich before I went back in my car. 
Look what I got, a very nice cane arm chair complete with cushions. It's lovely and comfy, just the job for the Summer House. 
A box of assorted bricabrac, there are some glasses which I will take to the charity shop. Floor tiles, rolls of wall paper, a wooden box, tins of paint, curtains, a throw, a bed sheet, and an iron ornamental pot holder, plus other odds and sods.

Oh, I see, Mayze has discovered the new chair.

This wrought iron thingy will hold two small plant pots. I had a small pot of green paint left over from painting the shed plaque, and the apples I painted with nail varnish. It's given it a new lease of life. A free garden ornament for me.

There are 21 new, self stick vinyl floor tiles, in a marble design. They will come in useful.

 I'm not 100% sure what this is. It's like a giant plastic comb, and bendy. The four pieces are about three feet long and fasten together. I think it is something you screw to the top of a fence to stop cats jumping over, maybe. Can't think of anything else. I have an idea for a garden sculpture for this.

Oooh look, now it's Heidi's turn on the new chair.

I think I did alright there, lucky I was passing when I did, or this lot would have gone to the tip. Don't forget, when you are out and about keep your eyes open for free stuff. Look for skips, or people sorting out stuff and loading their car up. Always ask if there is anything you fancy, don't be shy. The worst that can happen is that they say no. Mostly they say take what you want.

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