Thursday 29 June 2017

Amazon Prime Day

Apparently Amazon Prime Day is 11th July this year.  It's a sort of Black Friday for Amazon, a day when they roll out the deals for those who have Amazon Prime.

Apparently other supermarkets also had a Day of Discounts last year, notably John Lewis and Tesco.  There are a few different places on the internet that confirm this, but this is as good a snippet as any.

If you don't have Prime membership then it's worth doing the sums.  At the moment it costs £79 per year.  I save that in postage alone, probably in the first three months, as there is free postage on a lot of things, and free next day delivery.  There are the films and series, of course, which we dip into and there are lots of other nooks and crannies like Amazon Prime Pantry (often better deals in the supermarket, but not always) and music.  However, it's only a good deal if you would definitely save more than £79 and would get the benefit of music, films etc

I missed this last year.  However, now I know that it's a yearly thing then I will keep an eye out for it and make lists for the rest of the year.

To be honest, we don't need that much.  We are considering fire sticks as apparently they were half price last year.  We have one in the dining room but it would be nice if we could also have one in the study and I'm sure DH would benefit from one in his room.  If they are not on offer, then we will wait.

I can't think of much else we might go for.  We don't need any electricals apart from possibly the firesticks.  I don't know what sort of things may be included.  I may stock up on some groceries if they go on offer, but I'm not buying for the sake of buying.  After all, it's only a bargain if you save money on something you were going to buy anyway.

Wednesday 28 June 2017

I Didn't Bleach

My toilet has been neglected.  It isn't at the biohazard stage, but there is a lot of limescale.  With the water round here and my intermittent use of the brush, it builds up really quickly.  Bleach hasn't had much effect in the past as while I am confident it kills germs, it just bounces off the limescale.  Today I poured down a load of white vinegar - perhaps as much as half a pint, left it for a little while and the limescale almost wiped off - no scrubbing!  I may never use bleach again, just a spray of disinfectant and then vinegar.  Or I could use the orange vinegar that Bless uses in a spray bottle - so much cheaper.

As an aside, apparently you can make your own bleach with salt water and a car battery.  Personally I think that is an invitation to disaster in my accident prone kitchen, and inexpensive bleach is extremely inexpensive.  I'm sticking with the vinegar for now.  

Tuesday 27 June 2017

I am a Cruel Mother

Bear has twenty six days actually in school until the end of summer term.  He is complaining that his shirts are restricting his movements.  The shirts are long enough (just) and fasten easily (bear is still slim despite his sugar habit), but when he reaches up the shirts aren't quite wide enough at the shoulder.  He's growing out of them.

I've managed to get almost all of the six shirts I bought at the start of the year through to the end and they are still white and looking smart despite bear's best efforts.  I didn't want to break out next year's shirts yet.  It's not like bear can't fit into them, and that they are not ridiculously small, just tight across the top of the arm.  I think bear has inherited his father's broad shoulders.  Fortunately bear prefers short sleeved shirts so I haven't watched his cuffs rising up towards his elbow yet, though I'm sure I'll see that in high school.  As an aside, we are looking at three schools, two of them grammar and one the local academy and they all have ridiculously strict and expensive uniforms.  I am not looking forward to that.  As it is, bear's primary school is fairly good with their uniform policy with plenty of room for different styles and all available inexpensively.

I am so tempted to tell him to suck it up for the last four weeks, it's not as if they don't cover his modesty.  However this is the time of year that I buy school uniform (M&S sale finishes on Friday) so despite my cruel inclinations I'll let him start on next year's uniform early.

And as I type this, bear comes home with green marker all over his shirt so that's one shirt that won't make it til the end of term.

Witch Hazel  that school looks awesome.  I'll definitely save up and book myself some lessons!  Thank you so much for sharing.

Sunday 25 June 2017

Peruvian Lace

I should be getting on with all the other projects but I couldn't resist trying what looked incredibly complicated Peruvian Lace.  I don't think it's that complicated because I can do it and because most of the rows are just knit.

I'm still having issues with pics.  However, I think these came out okay.  Here is a close up...

And here is a pic with a compact disc to show size...

Here is a link to what it should look like.  There are rows of knitted broomstick lace and dropped stitch.  I shall be investigating the blog more closely.  The most recent post is portcullis stitch and it looks like fun, but I think I will definitely need to concentrate on that one!

I have just found another big bag of clothes that need washing for the church sale.  The bag had slipped behind the table, but I found them this evening.  They are in the washer now, but I could cry.  I promised to do another stall tomorrow and then next Monday and Friday.  It's awesome because the roof isn't as secure as they would like.  We've made a few pennies already.

 Bear's class are doing a project on African geography.  They are split into groups and bear and his group are covering Ghana.  I know nothing about Ghana but uncle has been there.  He was an engineer on oil tankers and sailed all over the world.  I know he caught malaria while sailing off the West Coast of Africa.  I went to visit on Saturday with bear and all uncle could remember were that there were lots of monkeys.  I know it was probably around forty years ago but uncle could always remember things so well and dementia has taken that.  He couldn't tell bear about anything.  He just wanted to sleep.

Friday 23 June 2017

A Post About Bear

Galant asked about bear in the comments, so I thought I would do a brief recap.

Bear was originally known as little bear, but I shortened it to bear when he was big enough to attend school.  He's freakishly good at maths, fairly energetic, plays football, loathes going any further than the end of the street (which is the distance to his current school), has a maths tutor as a treat, a piano tutor as a penance (although he is now doing a very good version of 'Hall of the Mountain King') and has his own Views.  Arguments over homework have become the stuff of legend which I believe is normal.  He is very much his own person and at ten years old is starting to look like a young lad rather than a child.  

He has just started going to school and back on his own.  As I said, it is a very short distance with no roads, but it seems such a big step.  This week he started chatting online to pals while playing computer games.  I am very nervous about this.  They are all kids he knows in real life from school and DH and I have looked at the very dull chat logs and I'm in the same room and school is reinforcing the 'safe online' message but it's scary.  Not allowing could leave him left out at school.  I know kids younger than him that have access to Facebook, Imgur and allsorts.  But he's only ten!

Today was the second in three sports days this half term.  Bear went in wearing more or less his team colours and was looking forward to it.  When he got home I asked about it and said that the day had been called off half way through and the school went into lockdown due to an escaped prisoner in the area who may or may not have been armed and the police hunting him.  Bear said that they were all rushed inside with the lights out, the blinds down and all the kids hiding under the desk.  He said that afterwards they watched 'Shrek'.  He is now getting cuddles in quantity, whether he likes it or not.

Thursday 22 June 2017

Bear Happens

Bear treated himself to chewing gum at the shop.  I was less than impressed.  Chewing gum has traditionally not gone well.  However bear is now ten and as long as he stuck to the rule of always wrapping the chewing gum in a paper tissue before throwing it out, I let him be.  This is after several unpleasant incidents where bear threw chewing gum at a bin, thought it had gone in but actually it had missed with unpleasant consequences.

Today bear was chewing gum, blew a bubble and it popped over his chin, where it stuck.  Bear looked like he had a very prematurely grey fuzz goatee.  He saw my expression and went to the bathroom to wash it off.  Soap and water isn't very good at getting chewing gum off the chin of a ten year old, so bear gave up and wiped his face on my new towel, the one that is supposed to get fluffier with each wash and is coming along nicely.  The one that now has an intractable strand of chewing gum stretched across it.

I'm checking on the internet for the 'how to get chewing gum out of towels' hints.  The trouble with those hints is a lot of them are hype, some are wishful thinking and most of them have been repeated for years whether they work or not.  I know about freezing the chewing gum, but there isn't room in the freezer for a bath towel.  Peanut butter has been mentioned as a good way of dealing with chewing gum, but I think that will be a trial to get out of a towel.  I think the cooking oil method would be worse!

I looked at my friend eBay for commercial products to remove chewing gum.  Most of them cost more than the towel.  I'm considering cutting it down for facecloths.

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Finding Things

I found this...

I found a nail.  It looks like a really old nail, the sort that were hand beaten by a blacksmith, and it's certainly a lot longer than the average nail that you find in a hardward department.  Even the head looks sort of square and beaten over.  I can't imagine that it is actually a hand made nail.  I found it in our street.  I think our house is over 100 years old (just) but they were using machine made nails then.  Our area isn't that old.  It is strictly post Industrial Revolution here.  But it looks old, and that's the main thing.

I want to have 'conversation piece' and I've been thinking about it for a while.  I can use one of the old Woodwick candle jars and put in some old keys I have finally removed from my key ring and a tiger's eye stone in the shape of a heart.  Now I have the nail, which looks odd and all I need to do is add a lock of some description.  The keys, by the way, are a broken key to a lock that no longer exists, a key to a door that no longer exists and a key to a house that no longer exists.  I'll post a pic as soon as I get it sorted.  

Monday 19 June 2017

Weather Continues

Bear was too hot to play football today!  He has football practice tomorrow night and I hope it's a little cooler.  Poor lad isn't doing well in the heat.  I'm keeping everything crossed that he isn't sick with it.

I did a stall at the church coffee morning this morning and it went okay.  It started the day off nice and warm as I dragged boxes and bags up and down the street from our house to the church.  I was scarlet in the face by the time I had set up.  Still, we got a few pennies and that's something.

I hope it's cooler tomorrow.


I am not dealing well with the heat.  I have ironed all but half a dozen items for the sale tomorrow, which is two big boxes and two big bags, so I'm happy with that.  I took an executive decision that I would just try and sell the bits crumpled.  I've made up my float for the stall and packed some carrier bags, so all I need to do is a quick sort into piles and I'm good to go.

I have taken strong drink.  This has led to a wonderful improvement in temper, sleep, concentration and I'm cautiously optimistic I will be writing properly soon.  On the other hand it does explain why I've got three metres of red tulle sitting next to me and some Peruvian Lace on the needles.  The tulle is for some rosebut scrubbies.  (Red Heart Yarn have some awesome patterns!)  If I ever get around to them, I'll share.  Until then I shall research whether I can get a breathalyser for my laptop when I'm browsing eBay.  The Peruvian Lace is doing okay.

DH said he had had a wonderful Father's Day.  He got a gift that he liked a lot, I got good things in for him to eat and we generally made a fuss of him.  He had cinnamon swirls for breakfast (I bought 'ready to bake'), a nice salad for lunch and steak for dinner.  He deserves it.

Friday 16 June 2017

Fire bad, tree pretty

I have been on the phone to BT for 78 minutes, almost all of it talking to really nice, helpful people about stuff they can't help me with.  My brain is now custard.  I have installed, uninstalled and re-installed more programmes than I care to think, all one handed, as I hung onto the phone saying things like, 'well, there's a circle going round so it's thinking about it' and the classic, 'so, while we're waiting - what's the weather like there?'  (I spoke to Birmingham and Swansea so got a weather report from each).

I will take strong drink and be back tomorrow when my brain has rebooted.

Thursday 15 June 2017

Could be worse

Image taken from Leeds City Council Facebook Page to promote Clean Air Day

I live in a City that does this.  I approve.

I've lived in other towns and cities, and on the whole Leeds City Council do their best.  I reserve the right to grumble, but I can't take against a council who does this.

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Another Day, Another Try

I am feeling less than twinkly.  I saw an ant in the kitchen, which means that I need to get that cleaned out.  I have not tackled the ironing.  I've managed to get some washing done, which is a win, but I'm still behind.  Also, I had a knitting fail.  

Do you remember that I sort of accidentally bought a load of voile panels a few years back?  And I also found a pattern for knitting scrubbies with tulle?  And I have been browsing some of the awesome free patterns from Red Heart, including one for a back scrubby?  I thought, I can just cut strips from the voile panel and knit it up like the pattern says.  I swear, those three words - I can just - get me into more trouble than a cat.  So I cut a few strips, knotted them together, started knitting - and it was a fail.  The texture was fine, I'm sure it would have made a lovely scrubby if the fabric wasn't fraying like it had been promised a bonus.  I still haven't got rid of all the tiny threads and I only knitted a couple of rows.  Some of the scrubby yarn from Red Heart is on Amazon, but at the best you are looking at nearly £20 for the yarn to make the back scrubby.  If I get some yarn that looks like a copy (woolcraft scrubby yarn on eBay) then I am still looking at around £12.  I can buy a ready made one for £1.99.

I think today is a 'catching up on knitting already started' day.  

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Keeping On

I've finally finished washing all the kids' clothes that needed it.  I do have a large quantity of ironing left.  There are a lot of adorable little girl's dresses, meant for little ones under one.  They are all frills and lacy bits and an utter armpit to iron.  I'm so glad I have a son.

It takes me back.  We more or less got the cot, car seat and pushchair in time.  We didn't need to worry about much else.  DH's work colleague had a little boy about a year and a half earlier and wanted to sell us the kit they no longer needed.  They were being made redundant and so could use the £100 they asked.  I said, great, I won't need to worry too much.  From what DH understood we would have a bath and a few bits of clothes.

We had three bin bags full of clothes plus a bath and a really pretty moses basket.  Do you know how many baby clothes you can fit into a bin bag?  They just kept coming and coming.  My late mother in law very kindly washed and sorted them all for us and we didn't need to worry about clothes for the first six months.  It was all immaculate, really lovely and something of a life saver as I didn't know where to start.  Bear never got to wear it all, he grew out of it too quick.

Bear is a strapping ten year old now, but I still keep an eye on eBay for stuff for him.  If I could give any expectant mother a recommendation I would say that you need a new mattress and a new car seat but shop around for everything else.  You need less than you think.

I'm supposed to be selling (at a very reasonable rate, starting at 20p) the items, but it would save a new mum a fortune to get some of the stuff second hand.  However I heard about the Baby Bank today.  It's like a food bank but supporting those who have, or who are going to have, little ones and who cannot afford even the basics.  I think some stuff will end up there.  It's very much in the spirit of the donations.

I know women who have been that desperate with tiny babies.  I know how lucky I have been with bear.  It sort of puts the ironing into a perspective.  I still reserve the right to grumble, even if I don't really mind.

Monday 12 June 2017

Extra Laundry

I'm not sure how, but I've ended up doing bits for the local Methodist Church.  They are a lovely lot, really nice people and made father welcome when he joined.  I don't attend the services but I do various bits and I ended up taking in a donation of children's clothes from some really lovely people.  It was a very large donation, we are talking several bin sacks.  

I did all the thanking and sorted the stuff (some of it was gorgeous) and thought about the pile of stuff apparently in the loft in the Church.  So I volunteered to do a small kids' clothing stall during times when kids' groups were in.  We dug the boxes out and had a look through.  Some of it had been up there for over ten years.

Anyone who has sorted clothing donations in any quantity will know what I've found.  Some of the clothing is immaculate.  Some of it is incredibly expensive.  Some is whiffy from weird storage.  Some is fit for rags.  Some isn't even fit for rags.  So far I haven't found bloodstains, but we all know that it happens.  

My back is bad.  I can keep going for around fifteen minutes and then my back muscles go into a spasm.  I am trying to keep moving so that I don't stiffen up and fortunately I have three large boxes and three large bin bags full of very small clothes which either need washing, ironing or both.  With small items you can get an amazing amount done in fifteen minutes.  

So I am having a minor grumble but in truth I'm happy to be doing something for the lovely people at the church who have roof issues.  I wish it was with something else than laundry!

Sunday 11 June 2017


I posted this on one of my other blogs in error.  

Having trouble finding the bright side, but will be back when I can.  So far...

We have had seriously bright pink rubble dumped in the middle of our street.

(btw did you know that Shocking Pink as a colour was named after the packaging of a perfume)

Bear has had that lesson and has dodged all questions with the expertise of a seasoned politician.

I voted.

You can get glow in the dark toilet paper.  It makes me wonder if it leaves your bits glow in the dark as well or if it's colour fast.

hugs to everyone

Edited to add today...

However I want to mention that Elaine from Craft E Place (which looks like an awesome blog) mentioned that carry Red Heart yarn and I think this yarn will work for the sweater I posted about yesterday.  I also looked out for the scrubby yarns which I found on Amazon, designed to make washcloths and dish cloths.  I am intrigued.  I mean, who doesn't want a pan scrubby made out of black sparkly yarn?  Here's a link to the USA site, and they have some amazing free patterns.  Some of the patterns for the different types of scrubby are awesome.  Red Heart yarns look seriously amazing.

I am getting my mojo back by writing some incredibly bad fantasy fiction.  It will never see the light of day but it's getting my spirits moving and hopefully the good stuff will follow.  Lots of hugs to all.

Saturday 10 June 2017

Why I shouldn't go on YouTube

I found a pattern for a sweater, and it's the sort of sweater I love.  It's baggy and roomy and saggy and entirely my style (such as it is).  It has room for the lumps and bumps and I suppose you could dress it up and down if you wanted.

I found it on YouTube here but there is also a free pattern on Red Heart here also I wish Red Heart was easier to find in the UK because it looks like they have awesome yarns

It's knitted in the equivalent of Aran.  I have some lighter weight double knitting space dyed yarn that I have been wanting to use but space dyed always looks a little odd when you divide for the neck.  This pattern doesn't divide for the neck.  You can see where this is going.  I'm getting a bad case of 'I can just...'  as it, I can just knit a swatch with double knitting yarn on 4mm needles, work out roughly how many stitches I get to 10cm, look at the size guide on the pattern and bless them they have the measurements of each piece shown, do some sums, get bear to check them and it should be easy - right?  There isn't even any shaping, so how hard can it be - right?  I can just knit a sweater pattern drawn up for aran weight yarn in double knit weight yarn, probably, possibly, if bear checks the sums...

Today bear's maths tutor was explaining things like calculating area and volume.  They both seemed to have a blast, especially converting from Imperial to metric and back.  I just left them with juice for bear, coffee for the awesome tutor and biscuits.  

Friday 2 June 2017

In Haste

Just a quick post, but who else can I grumble to?

Why does bear do this?  He swore undying adoration for a particular snack.  I bought five as they were on sale.  I had been rationing the snack, just to be on the safe side, but thought I was safe having a few in hand.  Then the morning of the delivery, not the night before when I could have changed the order but ten minutes before the shop arrived, bear broke the bad news that he couldn't possibly manage a mouthful of it ever again.

Yes, I am tempted to tell bear that it's all that's in next time he grumbles about wanting snacks, but I'm fighting a different battle at the moment and I don't have the energy to fight on two fronts.

And what is even more annoying, I know that at some point bear will complain that I don't buy that snack anymore.  But by that time the snacks will be out of date and I am out of patience.