Monday 30 January 2017

Over-reached myself

I think I've set myself a tough target.  Today I set high goals, didn't make them but revisiting tomorrow.

I wanted to finish the next episode of 'At the Sign of the White Hart' - didn't manage it but did manage over a thousand words.  I also wanted to write my piece for the Light and Shade Challenge, but at least I know now what I'm writing.

I wanted to make a dent in the Future Learn writing course which I am finding incredibly tough.  I've just fudged an assignment.  It's a free course, so I don't have to explain anything to a tutor, but I am sinking.  It needed research today.  As far as I can tell, the Dutch for a boggart is Kabouter.

I went on Sporcle and for the first time ever spelled 'Massachusetts' right on the first attempt.

I wanted to start the 30 day to a Clean and Organised House (again) but as the kitchen looks like it has been repeatedly sprinkled with magic messy dust and in three days time workmen are going to be installing a smartmeter there (and in the dining room which is even worse) so while I only managed some basics today, I will be concentrating there tomorrow.

I applied for work at an online transcription service.  I'm nervous about that and not sure how well I did on the test.  That took a large chunk of day but I am glad that I did it.

Bear was white as a sheet when I picked him up from school and is not a well lad.  The poor kid has been fussy all evening.  He is supposed to be going to soccer practice tomorrow and then on Wednesday he is supposed to be doing his second cross country race.  I am not sure he will be fit.

I'm going to bed now.

Saturday 28 January 2017

I Did Loads!

Actually, I didn't do everything I wanted to do, but I did more than I felt like doing when I got up this morning so I'm taking that as a win.

Of course, it never is that easy.  I couldn't find my sewing scissors so used kitchen scissors.  I tried using a rotary cutter for the first time, but I failed at it.  I couldn't find a marker so I ended up using biro on some bits.  But I actually did it!

First off I did the hot water bottle cover from Instructables, which you can find here.  It looks so easy when they do it.  You take your hot water bottle and place it on paper to draw around it for the pattern.  Bear's hot water bottle is bigger than the normal A4 printing paper.  Fortunately I had a load of the Amazon paper that had been crumpled up to pad out the box that the rule had come in, so I ironed some of that for the pattern.

I made drew around it on the packing paper, added an inch and a half for a margin, cut it out, placed it on the old fabric and then tried cutting using the rotary cutter.  The recycled baby blanket had been washed and washed and washed and was just too thick.  I ended up relying on the kitchen scissors.  So when it came to cutting the shape in half, adding a strip to make the envelope closure and then using them as pattern pieces, I just drew around the pieces in biro.

I managed to sew it together, more or less, and, while it's not exactly a thing of beauty, bear is very taken with it.

The overlap isn't a snug fit and I didn't bother with the sew on press studs.  I will use velcro attached by fabric glue if it becomes a problem.  The hot water bottle fits in fine.  I may have to make some more, but if I do I will either use different fleece, hand sew or both.  The layers were just too thick for my machine and it really struggled.

Then I made four cushion covers.  This is the first time I've made them where it actually mattered what size they were as I am using cushion pads.  I have made loads of cushions in the past, but they have all been hand sewn and then stuffed with filling (unravelled sweaters are awesome for it).  I used the envelope pattern from here, took a 'near as dammit' attitude and ended up with this.

The cushion pad is 20 inches or around 50cm square and I made the cushion cover around 19 inches or around 48 cm to give a puffed up look.  Because I was doing that I used a small stitch length because I knew that the cover would be a snug fit and also bear is still only ten and hard on cushions.

Also, today a lucet came in the post.  No idea what I'm going to do with it.

Friday 27 January 2017

Boxing Clever

I ordered a dressmaker's ruler, which is 24 inches by 6 inches and is quite frankly an indulgence but I have a lot I want to do this weekend (and I may actually get near it!).  It came in a box that was 30 inches by 22 inches by six inches deep and filled with the brown paper Amazon use as stuffing.  I also ordered some dressmaker's carbon paper and a tracing wheel after see it used and I'm hoping it will help me with marking out.  These were in a separate cardboard envelope.  The hidden object game that I ordered to make up the total to get the 'add on' item was in a third cardboard envelope.  DH will drop the packaging off at the centre on Sunday.

I've decided that the raggedy throw I was planning will never get done.  There are already eleventy ten blankets on the sofa and I can't see us using another one, especially with straggly bits.  It is a shame that I've already cut the duvet and old sheets into strips but it does make it easier for me to make the padded mats I've decided I need for the plants.  I have Dilly and Dally, the scented geraniums, and a miniature rose bush that my brother gave me.  I would like some padded mats that will take up any drips and can be washed easily.  All I need to do is convert the shabby quilt strips into six mats and I'm done.  I have a feeling that this comes under 'I can just...' which usually ends up far more complicated than is necessary, but it's a place to start.

The plan this weekend is to try to make the hot water bottle cover, then the mats for the plants, then the cushion covers.  I have to excavate space in the dining room first as it is being overrun by ironing, but it is a great excuse to get moving and get the space cleared.  I'll take photos if and when I managed to get my courage together and use the sewing machine.

Thursday 26 January 2017

A Cold Fail

Yesterday I saw the weather forecasts and they were all very definite.  Today was going to be cold, in fact it was going to be COLD.

So last night I dithered and DH carefully scattered rock salt over the steps so that when the forecast -1C hit we would be fine.  This was a fail.

Because the ground was dry, and for some reasons no doubt connected with the weather, we didn't get ice.  We did get vast amounts of cold, but the paths were dry.  At least, the paths that we hadn't put rock salt on were dry.  Salt attracts water.  The only part of the paths and steps that were damp and therefore in danger of ice were the places I had put down salt.  You can see it here

There you have a perfectly dry pavement surrounding the damp patch where the salt landed.  It's supposed to be warmer tomorrow and at the weekend which is perhaps just as well.  Still, at least the salt should keep the weeds down.

Bear was so cold he came home wearing three sweaters.  It did answer one of the great mysteries in my life - what on earth does bear do with his sweaters.  He takes them off in school and forgets them.  He was glad of it today.  It's definitely a soup night!

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Training Day

Bear had today off as it was a school training day.  I noticed that the onesie that had been heading north suddenly reached to his ankles again.  This was despite just having a significant growth spurt.  I think the tummy he grows when he prepares for a growth spurt took up more room in the onesie than the extra height.  Of course now he has had the growth spurt he is looking skinny and his appetite has died down.  I'm braced for the teenage appetite.  He can do a very good impression of a locust at age 10.  All I can say is, thank goodness the lad is growing and has a good appetite.  There would be something wrong if he didn't.

We had the men come back to measure the outside of the window.  There was a lot of head shaking about the previous workmanship, which I think is compulsory, but in a few weeks' time bear should have a draught free room.    At least the garden was free of cat calling cards.  There have been no further evidence of their bathroom habits, but I don't know if it's been too cold for them.  I am keeping a close eye on things.

Tuesday 24 January 2017

More Writing

I've put up the next installment of 'At the Sign of the White Hart'.  You can find this installment here or you can read from the beginning here.  I'm sorry it's late but I got distracted by werewolves and had to re-write.

Window of Opportunity

We are getting the windows replaced.  It will have to be one at a time and we have had a very nice local firm round to quote and measure up.  We will have to wait as we are doing bear's window first, and it doesn't open.  This means that the very nice man will have to come back with ladders to climb up to measure the outside when he's got the van with the ladders.

The man looked at me seriously and tried to break the news gently that we will have to re-decorate.  I don't think he was expecting me to punch the air and say, 'Yesssss!'  We need to desperately need to decorate and this means that we have to do it.

In other news, bear is voluntarily practicing the piano.  For some reason he has taken to 'Donna e Mobile' like a duck to homicide and is slaughtering Verdi at least twice a day.  I'm just thrilled that we've finally found something he will practice without threats, coercion and bribery.

Monday 23 January 2017

I Was Outbid - Thank Goodness!

I'm quite glad that I was outbid.  Like most of us, I feel low at this time of year and it isn't safe to let me near eBay.  As it is we're going to be getting a dragon that sort of blows smoke.  It's a hollow figurine that has an incense cone inside and I'm sure that I'll lose interest quickly, especially as I'm trying to keep up with the dusting.  I'm hiding from eBay as I type.

Speaking of incense cones, there's one out there called 'The Witch's Curse'.  It's supposed to dispel negativity.  I can't think how something called a 'curse' is meant to be positive.  Link here for those who think I may have read it wrong (always possible)

I went to a church meeting today about the events for the year.  It's not even a church I attend, it's one where father went and I help out.  It was a group of the most lovely, awesome, genuinely, good people getting lost in details.  It was a lunch time meeting and I was genuinely considering whether I would get away with turning up in bear's playground after a serious gin.  Probably not.  As it was, bear had forgotten to hand his lunch money in again and I had to go with him to the office to hand it in.  They may have noticed if I had been swaying slightly.  I was glad I had stuck to a diet cola.

Friday 20 January 2017

Nothing Much to See

Sheila - you are poorly and it sounds like it will take a while to pick up from a nasty bug like that.  Hope you feel better soon.

Bless - what a dreadful experience with your mother!  I have had to battle so often with father and uncle to make sure that they had the best chances and to make sure they were heard.  It makes me worry about those people who don't have anyone to fight their corner.

I've been low today.  I don't know if it's the time of year or what, but I have been seriously struggling.  I'm working on snapping out of it and I plan to be back tomorrow in a better frame of mind.

Until then, hugs, a link to a favourite funny gif (not suitable for work!) and a cheerful picture.

Thursday 19 January 2017

There Went Thursday

Today feels like a fail.  I did some things but I don't feel I did as much as I could.  I cleared up after what looked like eleventy ten cats but I suspect is actually only three but marking disputed territory.  That was fun.  The smart meter should be fitted on 2 February.  I've done a little washing a few bits of cleaning, a little sorting here, a little decluttering there but nothing I can really point at and say - I did that!

I also managed to help out a friend.  Someone elderly and vulnerable should only be discharged from hospital with a care plan in place.  I don't know exactly what is needed in England and Wales and what the criteria are, but if someone is vulnerable then there should be a care plan sorted before discharge.  I don't want to give details about today, but years ago uncle was sent home to a house where he didn't have anyone living with him and he was very unwell and confused (and we only found out when he got home).  There was no instant hot water except a kettle and no heating except a coal fire.  He was back in hospital shortly afterwards.  Someone who is vulnerable should have a meeting with a social worker to make sure that they can look after themselves and if they need help.  Once you're discharged from hospital then you miss your chance.  If you don't ask then you don't get assessed.  I'm putting this in for anyone who may find themselves with an elderly relative being discharged at daft o'clock to an empty home.  I suspect it happens more than it should.

On the bright side, I've found an awesome set of videos on YouTube (where I was hiding from the writing course) including this, the theme from Skyrim.  The performer, Peter Hollens, is an amazing performer and I feel that discovering him means the day wasn't wasted.

Wednesday 18 January 2017

I Need to Get Organised!

I have been meaning to knit bear a blanket for some time, and bear thoroughly approves of the idea.  Just before Christmas I had a rummage.  I thought I had started a blanket, but I couldn't find it anywhere so I assumed that I had remembered wrongly and started again.  I've got so far...

It has a knit border and I put in a detail in the stocking stitch main blanket...

I'm afraid it doesn't show very well, but it's tiny blocks of reverse stocking stitch as I go.  However today I was moving furniture (it's been that sort of day, I haven't done the washing up but I vacuumed a lampshade and moved furniture) and I found this...

A blanket considerably further on in plain knit.  Both blankets are around 250 stitches cast on.

I do have plenty of this yarn, I bought 2000g which is perhaps just as well as bear has given the matter careful consideration and wants both blankets.  I should be more organised.  However this is a perfect excuse to dodge the writing course and settle down with some knitting and a film.

I vacuumed the bathroom lampshade

It's been one of those days.  It's not been the sort of day when things go wrong.  It's just been more random than normal.  I mean, it's been even more random than normal for me.

I didn't wake up until 8:30am.  Normally I'm up and more or less functional by 8 at the very latest because bear has to be at school by 8:55am and that means we have to leave the house at 8:45am and I have to allow for a certain amount of naff raff from bear.  On Monday he was trying to replace the laces in his boots at 8:43.  I did not have enough time today for all the usual chaos and it left me out of step.  Fortunately bear had made himself some breakfast and his uniform was ironed and ready but it left me all out of kilter.

I've signed up to a new window for bear's room.  I'm not sure what the terms and conditions are, but as I have a cooling off period I am waiting to read through them.  At the moment I don't feel like I'm in the same room as my thinking.

After the very nice man left I dithered.  I tried to work out what I should do next.  I don't know why I thought that the bathroom lampshade was the top priority.  It's one of those things that seem like a good idea at the time.  To be fair, I had noticed it over the weekend when I was trying to get things fit for bear's pals.  I am not posting a 'before' and 'after' pic.  The before is far too shameful.  There was a massive layer of dust, so that it looked furry.  All the housekeeping books say that you should do things like clean sinks and baths and toilets in the bathroom.  Very few mention lampshades, possibly because most bathrooms have built in lights these days.  We don't.  The before looked like the Addams Family house and after looked patchy.  The vacuum, despite being allegedly lightweight and almost hand held, was awkward to use and I stayed on the floor, prodding as the shade swung around.  Still, at least most of the dust didn't cascade down and I'm almost fit for the school run soon.  I'm going to have to get steps and use a lint roller to sort it.

I've also pulled down a large heap of cds.  I can't remember the last time anyone played music from a cd in this house. DH usually downloads and I sometimes go on YouTube.  I don't think that charity shops can use them much either, as most people get music via downloads.  I'm planning on using them to edge the pot with the apple tree in as cat scarers. I'll let you know how that goes.  There are also dozens of YouTube videos on re-using cds in all sorts of crafty ways.  If I ever do them, I'll share.

Tuesday 17 January 2017

It Could Have Been Worse

I was sniffing before I took bear to school.  I could swear I could smell gas.  It was still there when I got back from the school run.  I was very tired (I woke myself trying to scratch my skin off at 1am and it took a while to get back to sleep) and wasn't thinking clearly, and it got worse.  I ended up ringing the emergency gas line.

This was okay.  A very nice man came out and checked all over the boiler, the gas fire and the cooker.  All was fine.  He checked next door as well.  As far as we can tell, the smell (which was real) was coming from out of the house so all was okay.

I was relieved - and cold!  I had followed the recommendations and all the windows and doors were open and it was chilly out there!  I felt silly but the nice man said that they would rather have a false call and everyone safe than someone not ringing in and then going bang.

Of course all this happened while I was waiting for a (hopefully) nice man to come and quote to replace bear's bedroom window.  I had to cancel and rearrange for tomorrow.

So I spent most of the rest of the day pootling around on the next installment of At the Sign of the White Hart (1200 words in) and finally wrote the first few sentances for around a year on the next novel in the series, A Simple Spell while I tried to clear my head.  I confess, I was also avoiding the writing course.  Hopefully I'll be more grounded tomorrow.

Monday 16 January 2017

Writing About Writing

Please, please, please - Sue and whoever the lovely Anonymous person is - please nitpick!  As you no doubt know, these are written and posted almost straight away.  I am annoyed with myself for missing stuff, but very happy that mistakes are pointed out.  I am grateful for any feedback and I've corrected the points.  Thank you both!

I'm doing an online writing course and failing on an epic scale and it's only week two.  I'm not getting too stressed.  Uncle has been in hospital and been discharged.  I think he is failing.  I want him to get better, but I know he won't as he has vascular dementia.  Sometimes I don't think he recognises me but is too innately polite to say so.  Bear has been up all night with a poorly tummy.  This poorly tummy has been going on since before Christmas.  Sometimes it's worse, sometimes it gets better, but it never seems to go away.  The GP suggests that we wait and see.  Bear and uncle are reasons to get stressed.

I think I'll take a break and go do some knitting.  That's bound to distract me.

Sunday 15 January 2017

More Writing

I've been writing again.  I'm having far too much fun.  For those interested I have posted the short (514 word) version on Always Another Chapter here and the long (3192 word) version on 'At the Sign of the White Hart' here or you can read the story so far here.

And if you feel like having a quick go at writing yourself, feel free to have a look at the Light and Shade Challenge here.  All welcome.

Clean up Continues

Today I cleared the last of the debris from the lads and poured cleaning fluid down the steps into the kitchen.  They don't get sunlight at this time of year so algae grows and they can get very slippery.  I gave it a limp scrub with a plastic brush but I'll have another go when rain is forecast.  I usually pour the cleaner or bleach over the steps, leave it to work and let rain wash it off.  Fortunately I live in the UK so I can rely on regular rain.

I'm trying to catch up with cleaning and sorting in general.  Today I got bear to empty out his school book bag.  This is what should be in the bag...

 The envelope in the top left is his lunch money that should have been handed in last week.  He also had this little lot

 Which included a selection of scraps of paper, Christmas cards, notices of events and a letter from school.  What can I say?  My handbag is far worse.

Tomorrow I am planning to catch up with the laundry because if the ironing pile gets any bigger you will be able to see it from space.

Sarah - I have no idea why you aren't in my blog roll as I always enjoy reading your posts.  I hope you're okay.

JustJill - I have been drooling over your awesome pictures, they are amazing!

If anyone else reads this and has a blog that isn't on my blog roll, please can you let me know.  I also want to say, thank you so much for dropping in, it's great to see you and I hope you are comfy here.

Saturday 14 January 2017

Are You in My Blog Roll?

Quick shout out - if you have a blog but I haven't got it in my blog roll, can you let me know.  I feel like I have made so many awesome friends on here and I'd love to give other people a chance to 'meet' you.

I Survived

I survived bear and his pals.  At one point we had a movie going LOUD in one room, bear playing with a pal on the xbox, a YouTube video belting out and one of his pals having a random go on the piano in the other.

They played football, ate cookies, fruit, pringles, doughnuts and muffins before getting pizza followed by cake for dinner, argued goodnaturedly, goofed around and appeared to have an awesome time.  One pal fell on bear, so the pal hurt his wrist and bear knocked his head.  Both appeared fine by the end.  Another landed face down on the street and I had to scrape the dirt of him.  I may never get the dirt out of the bathmat - and I don't care.  The lad was fine and that's all that matters.

The house was okay, but all the way through the afternoon I kept spotting dust traps that I hadn't noticed.  I suspect all that I've done is make a clean spot.  I'll have to keep going next week.  The sofa survived, so that was a result.

Here is a poor picture of the remains of the birthday cake.  The phone I used is getting very elderly and is about 108 in phone years, but I've lost the other one.

You can see the marks left by the watermelon fingers in the background.  If bear wants the same again next year, I'm happy.  

Now I am going to drink some wine.  

Friday 13 January 2017

Deceitful Weather

There hasn't been much snow here, hardly anything at all.  It's cold and blustery, but we are not suffering from snow drifts like parts of the UK and we are not threatened by the massive storm surge that has been forecast for some parts of the coast.  I wasn't exactly thrilled when I stepped out to take bear to school but I wasn't worried.  These are my front steps...

Do you see the faint, semi frozen, semi melted layer of snow?  I didn't, which is why I nearly went skating all the way down to land on my dignity.  I made a mad grab at the hand rail just in time.  Bear thought it was awesome.  I didn't.  I try and keep this family friendly so I'm not saying exactly what I thought but it was roughly 'darn it to heck'.

To be honest, it's been a 'darn it' sort of day.  I have several young lads coming round tomorrow to eat pizza and I am trying to get things in some sort of shape.  They are all lovely, all quite polite and well behaved, but the youngest is nine, the oldest is twelve and there is only so much you can expect.  My poor sofa.

Reading the comments of everyone else's experience was very comforting.  I've seen the bed slats here and they are less expensive than a new bed, though I quite like ravylesley's idea.  We can manage that.  What I don't want to have to manage is a new sofa.  The one I would like as a replacement is @ £340 linky and I really need to save up for that and as the bathroom is in a dreadful state, the windows all need doing and every floor in the house needs recovering it is not at the top of my list.

Today has been a high gravity day, and I am writing this instead of sorting out the house.  Two of the lads coming have asthma and there is a lot of dust.  I climbed up a ladder to the top of the big fireplace and realised it has literally been years since I dusted there.  I used a damp microfibre cloth but honestly I could have used a snow shovel.

I had better get back to work, but thanks for the encouragement.  I resigned myself to things happening to furniture on the day I had a boy, along with muddy football kit, scraped knees and toys I couldn't start to understand.  It is a constant delight to me.

Also, here is a gif that I found which made me laugh out loud.  I suppose worse things that some young lads could happen to a sofa

Thursday 12 January 2017

Bear in Trouble

Bear is in trouble.  Since he was able to walk I have been playing war about him bouncing on the bed and on the sofa.  As DH was digging around for a lost toy he moved the bed and found four broken slats in the bed.

I have been unamused.

The bed is holding out, and bear is bearing up under my opinion of what has happened, why it happened and how much a new bed will cost.  I had a quick look at IKEA's website and I didn't see any highly reinforced beds guaranteed against bears.  I did notice that they sold the mattress base separately for some beds, so we may get away with only replacing the slats.

I'm more concerned about the sofa.  It's had ten years of hard wear, including me sleeping on it for a few years and bear hurling himself on it regularly despite everything I said.  So far it's stayed very sturdy.  Please let it stay sturdy for a while longer.

Wednesday 11 January 2017

More than Breezy

I'm sorry about the poor quality of the picture, but I took this photo as I saw the bins being blown down the street and I was almost literally blown back inside the house.  I decided not to take any more.

DH had issues getting to work as a tree had blown down across the road he normally takes so he had to take a detour.  I was very glad when he got home safely - and we are not the worst hit!

If you are on facebook, here is a picture that sums up the weather here...

It's not supposed to be much better tomorrow and they are muttering about snow.  Darn.

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Fail Day

I've had a fail day.  I've done some bits.  I've excavated bear's desk which I really need to make a daily job, and we had home made soup tonight.  Mind you, I spent most of last night trying not to scratch my skin off as I think I had gluten some time during my weekend away and it's been bad.

Fortunately I've not been too tired to have a go at some Sporcle games.  I'm actually learning a lot.  Thanks to doing these quizzes (and getting shedloads wrong) I now know how to spell 'Connecticut' and 'Mississippi'.  Other times I have to put the game on pause because while I know the answer I have to google how to spell the dratted thing.

Tomorrow will be better.

Monday 9 January 2017

Busy Weekend

I went away - without bear!  Bear has had probably five or six nights away since he was born, a couple of nights with my sister in law and a couple of nights with my brother.  He is not what I consider an abandoned child.  So I only had a little bit of guilt that I went away for a weekend and left him and DH at home, where they had a blast.

I signed up for a mystery coach tour as a very belated 50th birthday present.  With the single person supplement it came to £51, including coach travel (not huge distances), dinner, bed and breakfast.  It was good fun tootling out of Yorkshire and wondering what direction we were going.  We ended up in Llandudno.  I went there loads of times when I was a kid so it was wonderful.

When we arrived at @ 3pm the tide was almost in, which meant that walking along the sand wasn't an option as the part of the beach not yet covered looked like this...

Although to be fair to Llandudno, when the tide is out the beach is more like this part...

The weather was incredibly misty

But I love the mist and cloud hiding the hill tops as it makes me think of magical things happening up there.  The Great Orme was closed (Neolithic copper mine that has had some amazing excavations) but I had some great walks up and down and it wasn't too cold - the fuschia there seems to be doing fine

They also have an Alice in Wonderland trail, which I didn't follow but did enjoy the parts of it I saw

I loved the Mad Hatter.

I was in a very nice sea front hotel, and even had a sea view.  The hotel was awesome, catering for gluten free and having bingo and an entertainer on but I fell asleep at 8pm so I can't tell you what that was like.

The next day we called in at Chester and it was good seeing my old stamping grounds.  I called in at the Cathedral, walked along the walls where I managed to get a picture of a squirrel

And this is the excavated half of the Roman Amphitheatre.  In the background you can see St Johns which is supposed to go back to the sixth century and where there was apparently once a one eyed hermit which rumour said was Harold Godwinson who didn't die at the Battle of Hastings and instead lived out the rest of his days in Chester.  After a wander around the Grosvenor Museum I was glad to sit back on the coach.  I am recovering today.

And speaking of recovering, I've posted some more writing.  If you are interested go to Always Another Chapter here then you will find the short version of the next part of 'At the Sign of the White Hart' together with linkys to all previous installments including the full version of the post and a linky to the whole Steve Adderson story so far.  I went linky mad.

Friday 6 January 2017

A Very Grey Day

I was hoping to get some pictures when I walked through the park to visit uncle today but the light was bad and I've only got my phone.  It was so grey and dim that it looked like dusk, even though it was mid morning.  I got to talk to a nice man with dogs, though, which made up for it.

Uncle isn't well.  I'm not sure he recognised me, but he liked the teddy from bear and he liked the blanket.  He was asleep again after ten minutes.

Lots of parcels came today.  I got the house warming present for a friend, fleece for bear's washcloth (which is a long story that includes bear being very bear), eight cushion pads and a computer chair mat.  I've actually bought the mat to use as a cutting mat.  It doesn't need to be perfect for what I'm likely to use it for, and it's a decent size.  I'll let you know how it goes when I use it, probably Tuesday.

I've also written loads but I'll put that in a separate post.

Thursday 5 January 2017

I Need to Learn to Focus

The fabric for the cushions has arrived and it looks even more glorious in life than it does in the pictures.  I'm not unwrapping it from the cellophane just yet, but it looks amazing!  I'll take pictures when I can.  Unfortunately, because I bought via eBay. I was autosubscribed to their mailing list and I had to unsubscribe, otherwise I would spend a fortune.  They have some very beautiful fabric, the link is in the post of 29 December.

Today I've been sorting out the junk room where the wardrobe was (and keeping the canvas) and I've junked a load of half finished projects that I couldn't remember starting.  Some of them were older than bear.  I've sorted out the odd balls of yarn that I'm going to donate to the church knit and natter as they knit for a lot of good causes, including the seaman's mission, which is a cause close to my heart.

DH loaded up the car full of rubbish for another tip run.  I expect I shall be able to fill it a few times more just with the aftermath of Christmas and being realistic about the junk.  There is also a lot of stuff that needs to be donated.  One example are some throws that are on various beds and the sofa.  The were awesome when bought, fleece type fabric on one side and a lovely light golden velvet on the other.  However the years have not been kind to them but I believe that dog's charities can use them, so I'll make some enquiries.  I think that I'll have a lot to donate.

The New Year's Resolutions are scraping along the bottom, but I'm stumbling along and I'm tentatively confident that I'll get better.

I haven't any pictures of the stuff that I have got up to, but as I've written a shedload for the White Hart, here's a picture of one from Wiki.

Does Anyone Remember the White Hart?

Ages ago I wrote two pieces called 'At the Sign of the White Hart'.  They were the first installments of some interesting ideas I had involving the same background as the Forgotten Village and Digging up the Past and I posted them on my writing blog (which has been incredibly neglected).

I've decided to make a separate blog for 'At the Sign of the White Hart'.  It's easier to keep track, it keeps me honest and I may work out how to write a novel in blog form.

So if you feel like you want to have a read of the stories there are now four chapters in total here.  Like most blogs the newest post is first so be careful to read in date order.  I've put a side page in here so that you can read it in order and I'll update it with the next installment following on each time.

I had far too much fun writing them and I've got started on the next installment already.

If you are interested in having a go at creative writing, I've also dug out the Light and Shade Challenge where you get a picture, a quotation and a 'limit' of 500 words and seven days.  I say a limit of 500 words, but generally it's okay if it's between 5 and 5000, we don't check.  The linky is here 

It's surprising how much you can do if you're avoiding housework.

Wednesday 4 January 2017

It's a Wardrobe

This is a wardrobe - after it has been skinned and dragged downstairs.  According to Argos it's supposed to look like this...

... but it always looked half drunk and was collapsing.  So I pulled off the fabric cover and fought the dratted thing down the stairs.  It was a close call, but I managed to get it out of the house in the end.  I admit, I didn't think I'd make it when I got it stuck on the turn in the stairs but I gave a good shove, used some bad language and down it came.  I've started putting up the plastic shelving that came today.  I did mention it in a previous blog.  It's not that sturdy and probably not worth the extremely inexpensive price, but at least it's staying square so far.

The big question is - do I keep the fabric cover as the fabric is quite decent?  Or have I got a zillion piles of fabric already?  I think I may get rid.

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Day Three of the Resolutions

I've scraped through Day Three of the New Year's Resolutions, just.  I haven't managed everything, but I've managed a lot and it's just getting things in the right rhythm.  The good news is that uncle is out of hospital before I got a chance to visit him.  I think it was very much a precaution.  

I've spent a fair amount of the day on the phone chasing BT, Royal Mail, etc etc etc but I've also managed to get some housework done and a few hundred words for the next installment of At the Sign of the White Hart.

However I have just put together a Tesco shop and there seems to be a lack of the gluten free staples.  I know that if I got my act together and cooked more from scratch then it wouldn't be so important.  Tonight we had home made vegetable soup which was incredibly tasty and DH and bear enjoyed it a great deal.  However they also enjoy the gluten free fish fingers which apparently Tesco no longer carry.  Or their chicken burgers.  Or the kilo sized bags of gluten free flour.  Or an awful lot of other things.  

I feel like my best friend is ghosting me.

I may have to switch supermarkets and I am not sure I can cope with the culture shock.  

Monday 2 January 2017

Uncle in Hospital Again

As far as I can tell it is mainly a precaution.  However he was being repeatedly sick, he's elderly, frail and has a lot of conditions.  I'm hoping he's out soon.

Also, we couldn't visit either him or have the much longed for visit with my brother as the car battery died (again) and the AA were some time coming out.  We now have a new car battery.

On the bright side, we had a great time watching some YouTube videos together.  These 'Top Ten Dumbest Tweets' had us laughing as we waited for the AA man.   I also got some knitting done, we watched some episodes of the Flash and it could have been a lot worse.

So I'm keeping everything crossed for uncle and hope he's better soon.

Sunday 1 January 2017


I've started on a good note.  I've not spent anything today.  Though the shops are shut, the internet is still open, but I've managed to resist any temptation.

I've done Day One of the Bible reading plan that I want to follow and I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll make it to Day Two.  I have also had a browse of the New Age, Wiccan and Pagan stuff on eBay which isn't as contradictory as it sounds as it's research.  I should be able to get a new installment of 'At the Sign of the White Horse' up within the next few weeks.  I've blocked out the writing time.

I've not done much about earning money, but it is New Year's Day.  I've called one of DH's aunts and had a nice chat.  I've also updated my personal facebook page, posted Happy New Year on my Lyssa Medana facebook page that I'm supposed to use for being an author (feel free to friend me if you want, but I must warn you that I share a lot of cat memes).  I've also updated the facebook page of the church that father used to attend - it's a long story and I do my best but I do feel somewhat inadequate on that one!

Something I am particularly pleased with - when I saw the YouTube tutorial on how to make an infinity scarf I didn't go to my friend eBay to buy fabric but instead rummaged around my stash and found a great piece that came as part of a random bundle after some random shopping on eBay.  It's a loose weave sort of woollen thing, so I'm sure it will be 'interesting' sewing it, but it will be a learning experience and that's important.

All in all, I'm quite pleased.  All I need to manage now is Day Two...