Thursday, 16 November 2017

Three in, Three out

We have been invited to a Country House weekend next month by friends celebrating a 70th birthday. Very posh.  So I went to the most upmarket charity shop in town last week to see if I could find something  to wear.  I purchased  3 new jumpers - two are lambs wool so need hand washing.

So 3 worn out jumpers had to go.  I am very strict as I am trying to reduce storage areas - what is the point of filling up valuable space with clothes you don't wear (out of date, no occasion to use, wrong size, worn out)?

So 3 worn out jumpers joined the worn out fleeces in being prepared to be made into a rag rug! 

Now the evenings are dark it is a comfortable activity stitching the plaited "worms" together sitting in front of the log fire.  I need about 20 of these - they are about 6 ft long! There is nothing much on TV needing full attention so I will be pleasantly occupied till Christmas.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Norfolk Rocks

Have you heard about this latest craze? Is it happening in your county?  People are painting stones and leaving them in public places to be found and shared, and replaced by their own creations. We found one on a wall by the path to the castle in Castle Acre last week. They have their own Facebook page too. 
Our library was offering a half term workshop in painting!

Our two eldest granddaughters collected some stones from the drive. I varnished them to seal in the acrylic paint and this brightened the colours.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Busy Tuesday

A really busy day here.
Late start so housekeeping took up to 10 am - sweep kitchen, mop floor, was breakfast dishes, feed birds, stack firewood next to stove, put yesterday's washing away.
10 am  take delivery of Belfast sink for my kitchen renovation. Move chairs from conservatory so it can sit in corner till needed.
10.30 = sow some winter veg seeds for the poly tunnel.
11-1 1 = help husband fill raised bed he has just created using railway sleepers from the top soil heap further down the field. About 12 wheelbarrows needed.

1- 2.30 lunch (home made minestrone soup) and collapse.

2.30 to 4.00 - bonfire! Son  and daughter in law helped us take 15 ft off two elderberry trees when they visited recently and take them down the field. They reasoned it was better than a gym session and cheaper than their London gym fees! Wind was from the south today so with the (trusty) wheelbarrow filled with scrap wood and some firelighters we went to have a go at the resulting piles of branches.  Great success.

4 - 5 - tea and collapse

6 pm Dinner  Shepard's  pie, fruit sponge and custard and collapse for the evening. Legs and arms dangling from our armchairs.

Monday, 6 November 2017

60p cushion

I had a terrible time with the numbing at the dentists this week, I could hardly see straight for about half an hour. So I went for a wander round the shops (trying not to dribble) to calm myself before trying to catch a bus home. (some buses were just not turning up - the 20 min between buses turned into nothing for 50 mins and then 3 bus loads tried to get on).

In the local fabric shop I could not find any thing to suit my fish pattern project but I found a piece of material in the bargain bin.  My husband has an oversize cushion on the settee, leftover from eldest son's settee about 8 years ago, which was nearly worn through.  The fabric square was 60p, the zip was from my stash of recycled bits and the backing fabric was left over from another project.

I put the zip in first as the fabric could be kept flat, left a couple of inches unzipped while I then went round the seams. Half an hour at most and the cushion was back on the settee looking bright and breezy.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Thank goodness for rag rugs

Last winter I spent time making a rag rug with cotton/polyester dresses, skirts, table cloths, old cushion covers, duvet covers, etc.  It is in the conservatory replacing an ordinary shop brought one my grandson had vomited on when he arrived for a visit at Xmas.

Luckily, most of this week's visit's vomit in the conservatory landed in the shoe tidy, missing my trainers, and only a bit on the rag rug. A quick sluice off and a quick wash at 30C in the machine and a hang on the line overnight in a Force 6 wind and the rug was back by lunch time!

That said, I will be glad when he grows out of this!

I have an idea for another rag mat. I have accumulated quite a lot of old fleece coats and tops which I am cutting into strips and joining into long lengths on the sewing machine.  These are very worn and thin, reinforcing the current eco concern that the fleece fibres are entering the world's water courses. (see  link to  Guardian article )
So I will not be washing the fleece mat; but how will I dispose of it if the fabric is so toxic?

Monday, 30 October 2017

Fish pattern

I really admired this rug in our holiday rent recently. A clever interlocking fish design.

I made a pattern using a piece of newspaper and have been working on it to get an accurate shape.

I am using some leftover curtaining fabric to mix and match like the original design.  Only - can you spot the error?

The thirds have to be even - if you want to do thirds in different designs and fit together!  I had to start again with the pattern.
The next trail pattern making was more successful.

I am thinking about how I can use this pattern for some future soft furnishing or quilting projects. I am going to look in the charity shops and bargain bins for some suitable materials.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Cold turkey holiday

No, not meat. No, not bad weather in Turkey.

A cottage in Skye (Scotland) with fantastic broad band but NO TV or MOBILE RECEPTION or LANDLINE PHONE.  (There was a working coin operated red phone box at the end of the mile long rough lane).  So our usual 2 or 3 hours a day wasted on TV (and the other hours where it is background noise to other activities) are suddenly gone. Its lovely.

Our digital devices (ie ancient laptop) can Google but can't play movies or sound at all. So the cottages DAB radio playing via the modem is permanently on Classic FM and our pile of library books is going down.  We have played 4 games of Worddrop (a cross between scrabble and connect 4) and the other half has won three games to my 1.  Jigsaw puzzles are available in the bookcase too.  Weekend papers quiz pages are strewn everywhere.

I have been sketching and doing some water colours inspired by the fantastic scenery.  Then we go somewhere and see local artists who are all absolutely fantastic!

I am also enjoying the dish washer. Its a holiday treat not to be doing the washing up!!  No log fire, (so a break from wood cutting and cleaning as well). This timber built bespoke cabin is so well insulated the small radiators and evening cooking are keeping us more than cosy.

Like Retireewannabe I am actually back at home when you read this - no point advertising to the criminal fraternity!

Interesting stranger

We were having lunch in a cafe (cum shop cum community hall) in a small village on the coast of Skye last week when we and a holidaying Scottish couple got chatting to a young Swiss backpacker.

He is going overland through Europe to South America (via Japan/Russia) without using air transport. Apparently he runs a solor panel installation scheme in Switzerland so is very interested in being carbon neutral in life.

The Scots couple were trying to explain the idea of a Bothy (free basic shelter) and how he may find one by a lough somewhere nearby on a mountain trail.  My husband was trying to explain the weather forecast was for rain in the late evening and my (motherly) brain was trying to commute his route round the world if he was in Scotland having come from Ireland via France by hitchhiking. Was he sure he wanted to go via Korea?

We were talking about getting up to the Faroe Islands and going to Denmark by ship.  I was sure one of our neighbour's friends had contacts in Faroes so promised to get some information and introductions when we went home ourselves.

As a mother of similar aged young males - I am admiring and worrying in equal measures.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Shoe tidy tray

Our conservatory/back porch suffers from our constant in and out from the garden. Shoes and boots are slid off and abandoned, with mud or dust tracking everywhere. I have tried cardboard, newspaper, plastic bags but they get kick or blown away. So when we arrived in Scotland and saw this at our holiday cottage - WOW!
A simple very large plant watering tray! ~Why did I not think of that before?

Less than £10 in garden centres - or worth scrubbing the one currently hosting 3 dead cucumbers in the greenhouse!

Super holiday cottage by the way - a wood chalet that is highly insulated and is very warm and cosy even in poor weather in mountains of Skye!  Great for our anniversary trip (thanks for the good wishes from other bloggers)

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Autumn colour

I have really enjoyed the last few weeks of colour in the garden.  Lilac is our theme at present.
Autumn crocus. These keep popping up in odd corners and our neighbour keeps giving us more bulbs as well.

Perennial asters in a ball of colour!  I made this plant by gathering seeds from one we paid £4.99 for 18 months ago.  It is just as good as its "mother" plant.

Annual asters. I brought these for 25p a packet in Wilco and did not get to sew them till late - but they have been great value in the borders and as cut flowers.
This colour is especially significant to me as it was the colour of my bridesmaid dresses and bouquets in October 1971.  It is our 46 th wedding anniversary.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Demin bag

I was in our local Co-op the other day and the woman in front of me was packing her shopping into a tote bag made of denim and leather. "I want one of those.  Its a great colour for autumn/winter and sturdy for rainy days - not like my summer ones made of old skirts and shirts." I am not usually jealous of others' fashion but this just struck my fancy.

As I cycled home with the emergency milk purchase (too many late night hot chocolates and a rice pudding had upset my shopping routine) I ponder on a pair of jeans I had tried to unsuccessfully alter the fit of some time ago and were still unworn in the drawer. They were old fashioned thick material ones with double seams (currently I prefer the lighter ones with a bit of lycra from a cheap store Mat**lan). 

I fished the jeans out and a sharp pair of scissors - after much hacking I had two rectangles and three strips for the sides/bottom plus two wide bands for handles. 
I put a new size 14 sewing machine needle in before starting this project and threw it away straight after. The thick material and going over the double seams blunted it completely.
As you can see I added a gingham lining to the bag and handles.  I made the handles quite wide as my last bags were narrow and painful if overloaded.  I also inserted some cardboard (cereal packet) to make the sides stand up!

Great make - it holds 8 paperback library books.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Shopping just in time

I was amused by Life After Money's blog and U tube video the other day about not shopping until unless you really you need to.  Look at our fridge 6 hours before the on-line supermarket delivers the fortnightly regular shopping.  I really need our shopping!

Half the jars in the door are jam stored there for the winter. What did we have for lunch? No eggs, no meat, no ...anything really.  Last two slices of bread, with a mix of last bits of cheeses grated and toasted with sliced tomatoes from the garden. Last two pears from the garden (finally ripened) and last two squares of home made carrot cake with a cup of tea using the last inch of milk.   Least it was easy to clean the fridge!

The fortnightly £42 shop (including £1 delivery charge and  £7 spent of stocking up loo rolls while they were on offer) but with plenty of basics - milk, marg, butter, eggs, cheese, for the fridge plus flour etc for the store cupboard means cooking fresh from scratch can continue.  We spent £26 in the butchers and £13 in the fish market in the next village, which will last over the next fortnight.   So about £40 per week for the two of us at the moment.  I keep about £10 in the house for the odd purchase in our limited village shops if needed.

Before I book the next basics order I will look carefully at the seasonal changes - its time to think about stews with dumplings and milk puddings. 

Monday, 9 October 2017

Autumn King carrots

An old fashioned variety but it has given as some very good late crops.  Two rows still doing well in the veg garden at the moment.

Nice long straight carrots!

So its been carrot soup, carrot cake, steamed carrots with every evening meal, grated carrots with salad.etc etc.

These will last till Xmas.  I recommend this variety.

Meanwhile I will sow some faster growing varieties in the poly tunnel for early spring.