Wednesday 30 September 2015

Complete Lack of Harvest

I got nothing from the tomatoes.  Actually, there were a few bits that I thought would ripen on the windowsill, but the delivery man stepped on them.

On the other hand, there are these enormous specimens on the way to school

I have no idea what they are, and I definitely have no plans to pick or eat them, but they do look impressive.  Far more impressive than my results.

Bear has some new goal keeper gloves.  They were indescribably filthy within thirty minutes.  I believe that is normal.  There are far worse things than goal keeping gloves to spend money on - and bear spent his own pocket money on them!

I'm starting to hover around my friend eBay looking for interesting Christmas presents.  So far I have an extremely inexpensive Davros figure.  I shall keep browsing.

Tuesday 29 September 2015

So Far Okay

It's only 10am as I type, so there is plenty of time for things to go normal.  But I've just spent some time hacking back the garden.  I am in now before the bees get moving and realise that the lavender has been pruned back.  I wanted to reclaim some of the garden.  I think in some places I reclaimed eighteen inches!  I've had to reclaim footballs from the lavender for the lads.  I don't blame them for asking me.  The lavender is enormous, and full of some very assertive bees.  I use a long brush because I'm not really up for getting close and personal to that many buzzers.

To be honest, I've not done a good job, and the edge is woefully uneven, but I can get to places now.  Here is 'before' (well, middle of August, it had spread since then)

And here is the 'after'

I left the top still in place for something for the bees.  There is also a full flowering fuschia and some roses still going as well as stuff outside the garden.

Tomorrow I sort out the tomato plants.

Monday 28 September 2015

Along Came A Spider

This morning was a perfect one for spotting spiders' webs with dew on them.  I had a bit of a fail taking pics because a phone with a camera is not the sort of kit that is needed to catch their fragility.  I got this, though.

And this

And when I went to pick up the swimming kit for bear that I forgot (I was talking about Kenny Dalglish and got distracted) I saw this...

... and left my keys in the door.  It's definitely Autumn.

Bless - so sorry to hear of your diagnosis.  I hope you have plenty of support, it's so hard!  As for eBay, well, it isn't always a good friend.  I wouldn't recommend a close friendship, it hasn't always worked for me lol!  It's lovely to see you and take care.

Sunday 27 September 2015

Season of Mists

It's definitely Autumn.  It was very misty this morning and the heating was on.  It's not coming on in the evening, but last night I was glad we had the gas fire on and I snuggled down into the blankets.

I spotted an almost red tomato this morning.  I'll get what I can off the plants that may possibly ripen on a window ledge and junk the rest.  If I had taken better care of the tomatoes I would have had better results, but I have a suspicion that it wouldn't have been that good anyway.  I now need to dig the borders over and finally get in the pansies.  Actually, there's quite a lot that needs doing in the garden.

To be fair, DH did tell me not to touch the old fence panel and was planning to do it today, but I got all assertive with it.  It's amazing how tough elderly, thin, inexpensive fence panels can be.  Bear has also had an illicit go when I wasn't looking.

I'm feeling a lot better now I'm finally getting over the virus.  Tomorrow I can get back to all the plans I have made.  Today I've started to catch up with the washing, which is good.  Tomorrow I am making a list.  Altering the curtains has to be high on the list because they currently block the radiators and I cannot see the benefit of trapping heat against the window.  Another item near the top is to get my Lakeland heated airer set up and ready to go.  Over the last few months I have got used to using the tumble dryer.  I now finally feel I have enough in me to use the airers properly.  I have had problems drying outside because of a smell that attached to the clothes, but as next door is getting renovated I may be able to get past that.

Bear got a new football when he went out with his uncle.  As he wailed, he had had it less than twelve hours when it landed on a nail and popped.  I am considering buying footballs in bulk.

Saturday 26 September 2015

Thinking it Through

I won those flowers, as previously blogged, and I am still utterly thrilled.  They are currently on the piano where I can see them, a piece of cardboard protecting the piano.

I thought, 'I could do with a proper mat under that.'  Then I thought, 'I wonder what my friend eBay says about the sort of mats to put under unexpected raffle wins.'  Then I thought, 'I bet I could buy some awesome fabric from my friend eBay to make a mat.' Then I thought, 'Actually, the mats I've already made that are downstairs in the dining room will be just fine, I'll fetch one of those and get a grip while I do it.'

Bear is out with his uncle who will be spoiling him.  I believe he had chocolate cake for lunch.  I'm okay with that, just this once.

Friday 25 September 2015

I Won Something!

The funeral directors at the end of the street held a coffee morning for MacMillan.  They got gluten free cakes in for me, which was lovely, so I indulged in lovely cake and a cup of tea.  I bought a raffle ticket while I was there - and to my surprise I won first!

For those interested in such things, I won three (very small) amounts on the lottery the week father died, and this week when there are significant dates I won £10 and now I won this.  I don't normally win stuff.  Father was always lucky.

I'm missing him a lot today.

Would it be Bad?

It's research, honest!  I am a Christian.  I know a little about paganism but I'm not going to pretend that I'm an expert.  And while I am not a believer in paganism I don't want to be disrespectful in the same way I wouldn't want to be disrespectful to any other faith.  So it was research that led me to look at the metaphysical pages of my friend eBay, honest.

They have some stuff that I consider unusual.  They have some stuff that I suspect most pagans would consider a rip off  like the dragon toilet roll holder at £189.99 here (which includes a rant about the cost of toilet paper).  There are also some really beautiful things.

So would it be bad if I bought some of the wonderful items on sale that I found during my research as decorative items?  Even though there wasn't faith?  I wouldn't have thought of Wiccan or pagan for some of it, and they are really gorgeous.  There's a lovely statuette of a hare, and I just like it.

The research is for some more stuff for At the Sign of the White Hart.  The first bit is here, if you want to look.

Thursday 24 September 2015

Consider the Lilies of the Field

I've just been mugged by Interflora.  Another death in the family, another lot of flowers.  I can't get to the places that the flowers need to be (no buses) and DH just can't lever in the time (an awkward distance).  It's a distant birthday as well, but we don't have to send flowers for that.

Yesterday I took a few stalks of what is left of the lavender for the little sister of bear's best friend.  It's far past it's best and the bees are hardly bothering, but I found a few bits and put a purple loom band around them.  The little girl had been awestruck at the lavender, scared of the bees and thought it smelled lovely.  I know those who are getting the Interflora will appreciate the thought and the flowers, but darn it, that little girl loved that lavender.  It was the best thing in the world!

I've watched the florist at the end of the street take endless time and trouble selecting the best she can and use the most amazing flowers.  It really is an art form, soaring above a few sprigs and a loom band.  Unfortunately she is seriously ill and I am wondering about sending flowers to a florist.  They wouldn't be as good as hers.

Here is a picture of a lily from Wiki Commons.

I didn't send lilies, as there are hayfever issues.  I sent white flowers.  They looked pretty.  I don't know the language of flowers but these flowers said, 'we are worried about you, we care about you, you are not forgotten'.  I hope it helps.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Talking to my Friend

At a time when all is falling around me, I turn to eBay.  So far today I have managed to resist all sorts.  Did you know, at time of typing there is a roll of curtain lining, 81 metres long and 54 inches wide at a starting price of £4.99 plus £12.99 p&p.  You have to admit that it would  be a bargain.

I don't need 81 metres of curtain lining.

I am considering the possibilities of a door curtain.  I want something different, something striking, something amazing - and that keeps the considerable draughts out at the same time.  I have no idea.  I am considering the possibility of using one of those duvet covers that have a design that starts at the bottom and works up, I found this on the George website

I could just put an inexpensive white fleece blanket inside, trimmed if necessary, put some heading tape on or even attach bulldog clips.  It would look 'quirky'.  I don't think I'll go down that route (though I am considering my options for curtains in my room).  I could do a quilt or patchwork door curtain, though I am not sure I am good enough at measuring and cutting.  I could use a rug or a throw - or I could be courageous and just buy a darned curtain.  I could even use the one we used last year, but I'm not sure.

I've had more bad news today.  It doesn't effect me directly, but it is going to be another hard few weeks and bear will find it sad.  So I am focusing on door curtains.

I've seen an idea where you use the mesh of a rug gripper and sort of tie strips of raggedy fabric to it in a sort of hitch and you get a rug and I could do one of those for the door.  Maybe not.

I definitely do not need 81 metres of curtain lining.

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Doing Okay

I'm feeling a bit better.

Bear utterly rejected changing out of his school trousers and into jeans after school.  He was definitely against it.  However after the sort of summit negotiations that would daunt Kissinger, I managed to get him at least out of his trousers and into something less expensive.

Almost immediately afterwards he had to come in as he was soaked, completely soaked after first saving a goal with his face and then sliding a tackle through one of the puddles here.

As I wasn't letting him get back into his school trousers I told him I didn't have a spare skirt so he would have to change into his pyjamas.  He was unimpressed, but so was I as all his clothing landed with a splat in the porch.

Last night I tried a medicinal glass of Benedictine.  Yeurk!!!!  I am not sure whether I should tip it down the sink or palm it off on someone, one bottle of Benedictine, gently used. I may go back to rum.

Monday 21 September 2015

Words to Live By

1. I should not go on eBay when I am feeling low

2. Please let me be outbid, please let me be outbid, please let me be outbid...

I'm considering upgrading the sore throat to a virus.  I feel incredibly washed out and fed up.  I must, must, must stay away from eBay.

It could be worse.  If it was sunny I would feel that I needed to work in the garden regardless.

Also there is a Doctor Who part work started.  The linky is here.

£6.99 per fortnight!!!!!  80 parts!!!!!!  There will inevitably be plastic tat.  But it is supposed to be the complete history of Doctor Who.  And I suspect the men in the house will both love it.  I will ask DH's opinion.

Sunday 20 September 2015

Could be worse

Feeling achy, sore throat, fed up and grumpy.  However the house didn't burn down in the night.  At 5.15am I was genuinely worried.  I heard an alarm go off and I think it might have been from the house at the back, just a few beeps.  Bear heard it as well, but he went back to sleep.  I couldn't for worrying.  The last time I heard beeps like that was just before the great flood that exposed the cannabis farm.  I'll mention it to the landlord of that property tomorrow.

Bear kicked the ball into Matalan again and I went round to ask for it and made him apologise.

I think I will curl up with a few episodes of Extreme Couponing and my latest knitting target.  I'm sure I'll feel better for that.

Saturday 19 September 2015

A Day Out

We went on a canal trip with bear at Skipton today.  I really recommend it to anyone visiting Skipton, and I also recommend Bizzy Lizzie's in Skipton for awesome gluten free fish n chips.

I avoided some inexpensive yarn, bear indulged in two books and then the men went to the car while I did some supermarket shopping.  It was a fail.  I spent more than normal, got very flustered, missed things I should have remembered and added too many impulse buys.  The broccoli frittata I tried tonight was an epic fail as well.

However Doctor Who was incredibly exciting, bear has a new maths book and a late night and things could be a lot worse.  I have a stonking sore throat, so I am prescribing myself some alcohol.

I think the best thing I did today was to avoid The Fent Shop in Skipton.  It's a shop which sells off cuts and ends of expensive fabric for inexpensive prices.  I swerved away.  I may have bought a candle and I'm not sure why I thought I needed another ladle, but at least I didn't come home with 4000g of yarn and twenty yards of fabric bought at very reasonable prices.

Of course, it's only a short(ish) ride on the bus and there is a reasonable chance that I can go from Leeds to Skipton and back in school hours, right...

Friday 18 September 2015

Why did No-one Tell Me...

Why didn't anyone tell me that Deramores had a free pattern section, download instantly.

By the way, I've found Deramores' service second to none, but I am planning on using up my stash.

(nobody ask what I ordered this afternoon when I was feeling particularly low...)

I Finished a Project!!!!!

The yarn I bought yesterday now looks like this

But while it is a scarf, it isn't a very long scarf.  That is what you get with 200g of mega chunky wool.  200g of three ply would make a very different piece.  I did use twisted loop stitch to eke it out.

But that only goes so far.

Speaking of knitting projects, the cushion I knitted a long time ago is now getting smelly.  I am not sure how well it will wash, but will have a go.  It's stuffed with unravelled sweaters which make the best cushion lining ever, but are a poot to wash.

I wish I could remember how I knitted the thing, it's older than bear, I think.  I do remember that I enjoyed the challenge of the smocking, I think you slipped one, knitted seven and passed the slipped stitch over but I couldn't swear to it.

As I am sitting next to the heater, I think it is time for a new project.  Until that's finished I shall wash and hope!

Like Mother Like Son

The Lakeland Catalogue has come.  It doesn't seem to have as much as the old ones, but I suspect that is because it is all online.  This is a nuisance as I can never remember my Lakeland password and trying to reset it never goes well.  It's worth the effort.  I've got some things I think I will actually need from there, and some I want, and I can see me spending a lot of today browsing.  There's no rush.  I can savour the whole experience.

I've been at a loss for bear for Christmas and birthday presents.  He doesn't need pens, rubbers, sharpeners, rulers or paper.  I have no idea what he will want on the day, but last year the big present he pined for was rejected after one use so I am not optimistic that this year will be different.  He will definitely be getting books, and we are lucky enough that clothes don't need to be a Christmas present.  We really do not want to get a lad turning nine a playstation or an x-box.  He has a pc, there's no need to add to that.

Fortunately for the sanity of me and Father Christmas the Bright Minds catalogue arrived.  Bear fell on it like the wolf on the fold.  Last night there was a moment where I was flicking through the Lakeland catalogue going, 'It's how much?!?' while bear was flicking through the Bright Minds catalogue going, 'But it's only...'  He wants everything except the girls' stuff.

I am not getting him a telescope.  Nor am I getting, well, half of the stuff.  I do admit that it's made my life a lot easier.

The heating came on for the first time this morning.  There is a lot of stuff I ought to be doing now.  I'm not.  Today is a hibernation day.  I really need it.

Thursday 17 September 2015

Insert Funny Story Here

I'm finding it tough looking on the bright side.  Stuff that is affecting bear has happened, so while I won't blog about it (because it's bear and cute stories are one thing but privacy is another) and on the whole just about everything is falling.

My experience is that it won't last for every, I shall almost certainly have some deranged conversations with my friend eBay and there may be some dafter moments with the craft, but the world will keep turning.

I even managed to leave the house today, which is getting to be an achievement, and along with a purple washing up bowl I sort of accidentally bought some really 'unusual' coloured yarn.  It's mega chunky.  I shall share the result.

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Size Matters

Bear's maths folder (provided by the school) won't fit in his book bag.  The school sell the book bags.  I have spoken to my friend eBay and the standard book bag is 37 centimetres long - or roughly half a centimetre too short for the dratted maths folder.

The maths folder is a lot longer than the paper it contains.  All the sheets of paper in it are A4 (@ 30 centimetres long).  It would probably be inappropriate for me to start grumbling about the free folder that bear has been given.

I spent several pounds on bear's book bag.  It is red, his favourite colour, and has his first name on.  It is not fancy and it isn't a 'brand' so it should, in theory, have been able to last all through primary school.  However I spent most of today failing to find his maths homework today and the easiest way to make sure it has a good chance of going in when it should is getting a bag that fits the folder.  Besides, the folder is awkward and fiddly to carry, and I suspect it leaks in the rain.  I suppose I could just use a carrier bag.  Of course, bear would probably then be the only child using a carrier bag.

Grumble, grumble grumble.  Why couldn't they just use a slightly smaller envelope folder?  There are some very pleasant ones on eBay for a very reasonable price.

I'm going to see what he's got already in the base of his wardrobe before I commit to anything more.

Bear Lives Dangerously

Yesterday afternoon was a test.  Bear couldn't find his coat as he left school, which is normal for an eight year old at the start of term.  However he refused point blank to go and look for it.  I tried to insist but I am far less scary than teachers.  His teachers are okay, actually, and probably calmer than I am, but the thought of actually going back and looking for his coat was far too terrifying for bear.  I took him up to the teachers, they said it was fine, the coat reappeared.  However it took a lot of negotiation.  It's one of those tricky parenting decisions.  On the one hand bear is suffering from grief and is regressing to toys and stories he liked when he was four or five instead of a big boy of nearly nine.  On the other hand I don't want bear to get used to saying 'no' to his mother because when he gets to fourteen I will be stuffed.  That's being a parent.

I have alarms on my phone that go off at various stages of the morning.  The final alarm goes off at 8.49 which tells us it is time to leave the house for school.  And after the 8.49 alarm this morning bear told me that he had to hand his maths homework in, and that he couldn't find it.  I can't find it either.  Bear has done it - DH checked it on Saturday.  I just have no idea whatsoever where it could be.

I needed to turn out the study and living room anyway.

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Tried a New Recipe

I tried a recipe from Eliza Acton yesterday.  I really recommend her if you are interested in old recipes.  You blended one and one quarter pound of cooked potato with five ounces of sugar, three ounces of butter, five eggs and a teaspoon of mixed spice.  Then baked it in a buttered dish at gas 6 (she said moderate oven, but I translated to my completely knackered oven temperature) for forty five minutes.  DH and bear loved it.  I quite enjoyed it myself, it was very pudding-like, all squishy and soft and completely and naturally gluten free.  I could probably manage with four eggs, as eggs in the early nineteenth century were smaller than they are now, though the recipe did suggest five or six!

I was glad of the extra protein in the meal as we had apple and cashew nut soup for the main course.  You simmer a tsp of marmite type stuff, 100g of cashew nuts, 100g of halved button mushrooms, a finely chopped onion and a tsp of mixed herbs in apple juice.  Bear found it too sharp, but it is an old favourite of DH and I.

Monday 14 September 2015

New School Trousers

Bear is in his new, grey, well fitting school trousers - outside playing football.  I was too busy worrying about father's phone contract that I have just found to interrupt.  I dread to think.

To be honest, I'm having a major fail.  There are lots of things going on that I don't think it right to blog about, and I think I have hit the bottom.  Today has been a bad, bad day.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be back with a more cheerful post.

Saturday 12 September 2015

Bear is Content

I feel like I have been an acceptable mother today.  First of all I sort of drifted into CEX in Harrogate today (long story), and bear got an inexpensive computer game that is supposed to be a simulated chemistry lab.  Bear is very happy with that.

Then bear told me he loved me several times.  Then he explained very gently that while he loved me lots, he quite liked the idea of some 'alone' time.  I think that is quite reassuring.  Bear was happy chilling without his mother hanging around.  He's growing up.

Finally I made a successful dinner.  Actually I prepped the curried parsnip soup but DH made it while I got the pear and ginger crumble in the oven.  The men were happy.  Bear asked when we could have the curried parsnip soup again.  And it's almost healthy!

Today has been a win.

Thursday 10 September 2015

Slow Leak

I have a slow leak in my washing up bowl.  I have a habit of throwing the stuff into the bowl, running hot water and soap in and then coming back in ten minutes when the water has done half the work.  I was getting baffled why I kept finding washing up in a dry bowl, but I carefully marked where the water reached this afternoon and ten minutes later it had sunk.  Fortunately the leak is slow enough so I can do washing up, just not in my usual style.  This will give me enough time to go round with a tape measure and find a bowl that fits my small sink.

I need to stay in tomorrow as it will take me all day to sort out the garden and I have two trays of pansies that need to go in.  Tesco don't deliver the right size, unfortunately.  I am, however, relying on them for more compost.

Dinner Fail

Everyone in this house has a iffy tummy.  I actually don't suspect a tummy bug.  I suspect things like me having alcohol for the first time in nearly a year, DH having massive tooth problems (on mend, thank goodness, as I don't like seeing him suffer) and bear is stressed.  It was probably not the best time to try a different style of casserole.

Bear has objected to veggies being cooked to mush with a casserole, which is fair enough.  DH would prefer a thicker casserole.  So I got out the slow cooker and planned to cook veggies separate.  I floured the inexpensive cubed beef with a generous quantity of flour and fried it with some onions before putting it in the slow cooker with a minimal amount of gluten free stock, some buckwheat (barley substitute) and quinoa.  I think I should have put less grain in.

Bear and DH couldn't face food anyway.  I checked on the casserole and decided to pass.  I may need a chisel to get it out.  It is solid.  It is seriously stuck.  I am going to have to soak the slow cooker bowl in soap powder.

Now that the dishwasher is no more I am going to pick up some really, really, really inexpensive biological washing powder as it is the best thing to get the stains out of pans (except with aluminium).

Tonight we are having cheese soup (without the cheeese).  I'm looking forward to that.

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Another Normal Day

Bear was sick this morning, so after 49 days of holiday I now have another two with him off sick.

I've just filled three large bin sacks with rubbish from the garden.  I am pulling up the herbs.  They haven't done very well and I haven't used them - a poor combination.  Even the mint hasn't done that well!  I am keeping the chives, as I used them, but otherwise I'm just putting in bedding plants.

Bear is huddled in a blanket at the moment, watching Jolly Phonics which he last watched around two years ago.  Poor kid is feeling bad.  I shall be on fuss alert.

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Not Tempted

EBay has called to me a bit over the last few days, but I've resisted the temptation to bid on 70 empty toilet rolls for 10p (plus £5 p&p) - linky   They are described as 'used' but perhaps ought to be described as 'packaging'.

They're a bargain really.  The 'Buy It Now' stuff is £11.99 but at least the p&p is free - linky.  I'm still not bidding.  I have absolutely no idea what I would do with 70 inners from toilet rolls, but that hasn't stopped me in the past.  I am still not tempted.

I've put the heating on.  It's just for a quick blast then when the house is warmed through it will be blankets, candles and possibly, just possibly, the gas fire.  So much for summer.

First Day At School Fail

I bought bear's school trousers a long time ago.  There are some I bought this time last year but were too big.  I got bear to try them on and he tried them on over his bedtime onesie.  They fit over his onesie but without it they are massive.  They may not be fit for Christmas.

The other ones should have been safe.  They were from Tesco, I bought them ages ago and never got them out of the pack.  They fit fine.  There is a problem.  Bear's school trousers are supposed to be grey.  The label on the trousers say grey.  They look black.  I've had to dive into Matalan to pick up some grey ones.  I may have to take to ebay to sell the trousers.  Here are last year's trousers (which bear wore to school today) on top of the 'grey' trousers from Tesco.

The ones at the bottom, the very dark ones, are supposed to be grey.

It's grey weather as well.  It's not raining but it is misty and I would feel an idiot watering the flowers.  I saw a robin on the way home and it made me feel that it really was Autumn.

Monday 7 September 2015

Monday Moaning

I need to find bear's book bag for tomorrow.  I need to find his PE bag for tomorrow.  I have a few bits and pieces, but really not too much stress.  It is the last day of the summer holiday and I feel like it is not a second too long.  Today I will have several small boys hanging around which is fine.

I need to get a grip.  I really need to get a grip.  Last night I bought three pairs of 'what was I thinking' earrings as I was feeling so low and wandered over to eBay for a friendly chat.  That is £5.28 I won't see again in a hurry.  Everything needs to change.  Now I start visiting my uncle most days.  At least I can walk there.

It is all small stuff.  The big stuff is splashed all over the news.  Neil Gaiman shared a link to donate to refugees with UNHCR - here

I think that the £5.28 would have been better going there.

Sunday 6 September 2015

Normal For Small Boys

Less than 24 hours after getting new (to him) jeans, bear had pen on them.  I have a Stain Devil that should sort it, but darn.  He also had coloured his nail blue.  Sigh.

Football is happening and I am wearily resigned to having to scrape him down again tonight.  I have forgotten to check his feet, but as I have hidden his school shoes, it should be okay.  His uniform fits.  Some of the trousers will still probably be a little long this time next year, but he will have had the knees out by then anyway, so I'm not stressed.

I've watered the tomato plants but I think it may be too little too late - especially as it's the first time in a while that I haven't just relied on it raining.  I have definitely learned my lesson.

Friday 4 September 2015

Another Task Off the List

Bear has been to the dentist.  He had a clean bill of health but there is a chance he will need braces later.  btw apparently you shouldn't use mouthwash immediately after brushing but at a different time of day, at least twenty minutes after the toothbrush.  Bear paid careful attention.

I've also got school shoes for bear.  I am annoyed about that - with myself.  The ones he got at the end of June should have been fine but I didn't notice he wore them to play football in the rain.

I've got the family rail card ordered and I've got click and collect on the last of bear's uniform from Matalan.  Mind you, after he has had a hose down tonight (or a bath at least) I want to do a final check on the uniform that I picked up a few months ago.  It's been a crazy summer so I want to get a sense of where I am.  I am uneasily aware that bear seems to be gearing up to a growth spurt, so I will keep an eye on him.  I've also got the new candle (we go through them and DH really likes the Woodwick stuff) and picked up my SIL's birthday present.  Okay, the present for SIL is another candle, but they are awesome and I know she likes them.  

Bear has just polished off a massive lunch and is currently working through another head of celery (he insisted).

Now I am off to relax, consider the making of the snuggle blanket and watch the Victorian Flower Garden DVD again.

Thursday 3 September 2015

Place Mats

I finished a project!!!!!!

I didn't measure properly, but they are around the size that Jean recommended, 18 inches by 12 inches (sort of nearly 45cm by 30 cm).  I used an old curtain for the back, two very worn and rather well used cotton sheets for the two layers in the middle and some new, striped blue fabric for the front.  I didn't pre-shrink it.  I really should have done.

I hand sewed them all and my fingers are a little sore, but it was a nice job to have in my hands while watching tv.  I sewed a diamond shape in the middle through all the layers, just to keep it together.  This is not quilting.  Quilting involves measuring not just ripping a piece of fabric into eight along the grain lines.  This is sort of sewing.  I marked the centre by folding the fabric into quarters and drawing around a square piece of card.

I marked the edges by measuring @ 3cms or around an inch and a quarter in and drawing a line.  All the layers were pinned together.

I hand sewed along all the lines using back stitch.  Then I cut out the corners and clipped the fabric up to - but not through - the stitching.

It's not a very good photo but you get the idea.  I then washed them and realised I hadn't pre-shrunk the new fabric.  The new fabric didn't shrink.  Instead it shed lots and lots and lots of threads.  When I got the place mats out of the dryer and shook just the worst of the fluff off them I had to sweep the floor.  There were handfuls of the threads and I put the washer onto an extra empty wash just to get the worst of the fluff out.

Then I put the place mats in the dryer.  After a short while I began to smell something funny, so I checked on the dryer.  The fluff trap was the fullest it had ever been and just from the place mats as I empty it after every load.  The mats weren't really fully dry, but still had this much fluff.

That's just from eight place mats, even after all that came off the washing machine and was scattered all over the kitchen floor, and I think I will have to go over them all with a lint roller.  However they hadn't shrunk, though they weren't fully dry, and they looked like this.

I am really pleased with them.  However I should point out that layers of old cotton are extremely flammable and while I am planning a raggy blanket, I am not planning a raggy blanket for a bed!  It is going to be a snuggly throw for the sofa, and not for when someone is asleep.  I also have a lot of lint rolling and vacuuming and sweeping to do to get up the rest of the fluff, which I suspect will keep coming.  I am so pleased with these!

I Found my Lemon

I was looking all over for the lemon that was supposed to be with the delivery yesterday, but only found it today, in a really obvious place, too late to be inserted into the chicken I cooked yesterday.

Bear ate an entire head of celery.

I finished the place mats.  They looked like this

That's eight of them, folded into quarters.  I have just bunged them in the washing machine, a nice 40 degree wash.  The place mats have four layers.  There is the back, which is an old curtain, the centre, which is two layers of elderly sheets with felt tip pen on, and the front.  The front is new material.  It was described as 100% cotton twill.  I didn't pre-wash it, and I'm not sure how often the curtain was washed either.  Darn.  I'll post whatever comes out, good or bad.

On the bright side, I did find my lemon.

Wednesday 2 September 2015

I Can Just...

... unplumb a dishwasher!  I got some advice from Mumsnet, and I rummaged in father's toolkit, and I unplumbed the dishwasher.

Can't lift it.

I'll concentrate on placemats this afternoon.

Currently bear is working on sorting out his books.  He is up there with another small boy and all I can hear is giggles.  At least it is mainly free from mud.

I Can Just...

... except I can't.

I really, really, really want to get rid of the dishwasher on the counter.  It's been plumbed in.  I managed to pull the washing machine out, but I can't turn the nut that holds the pipe that takes water to the dratted dishwasher.  I am just not strong enough.

I am considering all sorts of things that do not involve calling out a plumber.  Some of them involve stanley knives and hoses.

Darn it to heck.

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Another Day, Another Shop

The Quilting pen I have been using is a bit limp.  I've been working on the placemats and by the time I have drawn the fourth line of a border the first line is fading.  I've been sewing by guess (and by hand, bear is still not back at school).  Tesco sell a water soluble pen.  It's on the order tomorrow, along with another football and some baking potatoes.  It is not salad weather.

The placemats are coming on okay.  As I am looking at a homespun look and not trying for perfection I am happy.  I'll post pictures when I finish.  Being confident that I am sewing along a line will help.

I bought a 'bedspread' from ebay and I was done.  I was sold a pup.  It is supposed to be 'art silk' but is far more damaged than described.  In fact it is quite fragile.  I shall cut it up for something, but I'm not sure what.  Nothing that needs robust wear.  Okay, it was inexpensive, and it was an impulse bought-because-I-am-sad purchase but it is even less use than most of the other stuff I get.  Darn.  I thought it would be a little more like this...

... but I got more of this...

... and I don't know if you can see the stains, but I got this as well...

Still, it washed okay, and I'm sure I'll find a use for it.

I have a lot I want to do during the first half term in the year.  I wonder how much I'll get done.  Not as much as I want, no doubt, and definitely less than I need.

Small Boys and Football

Another eye injury today (thankfully bear's friend's eye quickly recovered from a small piece of dust).   It didn't slow the brave lad down. Football was only postponed when they lost the ball - again.  I have lost count of how much money I've spent on inexpensive footballs over the summer.  It seems to have been around two balls a week, which is looking at around £15, but I could have underestimated wildly.

This time next week I will have five minutes to myself.  Then I can start on the house.  Again.