Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Pilsbury Dough Boy

After a busy day at work I came home to this from the OH.  I'll give him dozey doe!

ATTENTION.. Please join me in Remembering YET ANOTHER great icon of the entertainment community. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes to the belly. He was 71. Dough boy was survived by his wife Play Dough, three children, John Dough, Jane Dough, and Dosey Dough, plus they had one in the Oven. The Funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 mins


Monday, 28 March 2011

Some more Plants

I went for an amble round the shops at dinner and I am quite chuffed because this dinner time I managed to pick up four fruit bushes at £1 each from the £shop.  Two Tayberry bushes which I am quite delighted about as you don't very often see this fruit about.  I had a couple before and I used to go down the garden and pick the fresh fruit to have on my breakfast cereal it is absolutely delicious and if you get the opportunity to either buy some or try some they really are scrummy.  The other two are Gooseberry bushes.  I am still on the look out for some more as this is a household that loves Gooseberries and fruit of any description.  So will have to see what turns up.  Am after Raspberries, Blackberries, Blackcurrants, Blueberries, Redcurrants, Whitecurrants, yellow raspberries and some small fruit trees; would quite like plum, pear and peach trees. Looks as though I am going to have a lot to do come the weekend, but that will keep me out of mischief, or yet again it might not!

Need to start sorting my seeds out - hopefully that is a job for the weekend.  Will after see if OH will take me to get some compost as I have the four climbing roses and the two paeonies
I have a composter down in the jungle and I aim to get that into production shortly.  Its an ideal place to plant my rhubarb and my horseradish, but needs a little clearing first.  Well that's the outline plan anyway anything I can do to supplement the housekeeping has to be of benefit somewhere down the line.   I also have to get the mustard and cress on the go which is lovely with egg mayonnaise sandwiches.  Me and my tummy.

Take care



Sunday, 27 March 2011

2011.03.27 My Day

I have to say I am missing my extra hour in bed this morning and since I got up its been a very busy day. The house was tidied in readiness for my mum coming, the roast pork was put on to cook in the oven, for the first hour it is always put on gas mark 8 to get a nice crispy crackling  - I don't use salt at all.  The floors were scrubbed clean with an old fashioned mop and plenty of boiling water soap powder and a squirt of bleach. I prefer the old fashioned dolly mop you can really get a rythm with it, and with lots of paws paddling around everything has to be clean.  Mum arrived and I sat down and had a chat with her inbetween cooking dinner and all its accompaniments.  Then we sat down to dinner we had roast pork, with lots of crackling, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and home made apple sauce with lashings of tasty gravy.  It was delicious.  All three plates were quickly cleared.  Served with my home made elderflower champagne it went down a treat.  

For afters we had home made bread and butter pudding.  I had some hot cross buns that needed to be used up which I cut in half, buttered, sprinkled with sugar, grated nutmeg and mace and then covered with a home made egg custard made from boiled milk,  which is then poured on to beaten eggs, vanilla sugar or vanilla essence, and sugar and whisked.   I then strain through a sieve and pour onto the bread mixture.  Put on a foil lid put dish in a bain marie and fill with hot water and cook until the mixture is set - serve hot or cold with some double cream.  Yummy.

I use ground mace a lot in baking.  Mace is the outer membrillo/casing of a nutmeg and I think the flavour is much sweeter and more fragrant than that of the nutmeg, but I do use the two together.  You can buy whole Mace from Asian Foodstores, it can be used in pickling eggs etc, but it is best to buy it ready ground as it is extremely hard.

So all in all a very pleasant but busy day  - lovely to be with my mum, but we have just nattered and nattered and nattered.  I do love her lots.

All is quiet in our household at present, Squeak's asleep on the settee, Tyson is flat out behind the chair in corner of the bedroom and Missy is fluctuating between being curled up on the setee next to me or up on her cushion in  the computer room next to her Dad who is on his computer internet game.  I am just chilling as its back to work for me tomorrow.

This is how laid back things are:

Hope you have all had a lovely day wherever you may be.

Take care 



A little gardening therapy

I love gardening as the rhytmic movements of digging, and planting always calms me down and gives me quality time in which to think, but be productive as well.  I love plants of all types and as I had a small win on the lottery during the week I have bought myself some plants for the garden (£10). We have a plant stall on our local market that provides plants at very reasonable prices and I spotted yesterday on my Friday scoot round the market that they had strawberry asparagus red onion sets and shallots as well as rhubarb plants 4 packs for £5.  So with a little extra added  I ended up spending £15 on some plants to re-stock my garden this year.

I have managed to obtain the following

3 packs of 8 Florence Strawberry Runners - Late Crop  = 24 plants
4 packs of 4 Asparagus plants Connovers Collossal = 16 plants
2 Packs of 2 Red Champagne Rhubarb crowns = 4 plants
2 x 500g packs of Red Onion Sets
1 x 500g pack of Golden Shallots

I also went to Wilkinsons and picked up
2 packs of 5 Rooster Potato sets (I already have 2 packs which are sprouting) 
2 Horseradish Thongs

And from the £ shop
4 climbing roses white yellow pink and purple (all scented all climbers) I love Roses.
2 Sarah Bernhardt Peonies
2 packs of 5 Lily of the Valley (my birth month flower May)

So I am going to be busy when I have got some compost.

I also need to get some charlotte or pink fir apple salad potatoes and I would quite like some freesia bulbs and hollyhocks.  Will have to have a look at the end of the week.

I also need to get the herbs sorted out.  I receieved a present from a very good friend earlier in the week a chocolate mint and it smells absolutely scrummy.  I would like to get hold of some tarragon as well as lemon verbena and Angelica, Rosemary 3 large plants for £5 today on the market will have to pop down during the week to see if I can get some as well as Lavender I love lavender. I normally have a self set Angelica every year but whether it is these past two cold winters that have put paid to that I don't know but I haven't a plant.  There is so much that you can do with fresh Angelica and it is completely different to the shop bought preserved product - I have made it myself and it is very very different.  I have also made a ratafia/liqeuer which is quite lovely too. 

Will have to see how things go very dependent on the weather.

I would also like to get hold of some Japonica, forsythia, honeysuckle.

It will be nice to get the garden really productive this year.
Now just have to get the fruit bushes sorted out as best as I can.

As usual I have a lot to do, but that's about par for the course.

I still have to sort out all the seeds and plant them.  Been a bit cold though still not warm enough to set any and I don't want to lose them after setting.  I love old fashioned flowers and I would like to get some sweet peas started soon amongst other things.
Anyway must go  time for bed and I am dropping my eyes will not keep open.

Catch you all soon.

P.S. In the UK time to put the clocks back so we get an hour less in bed tomorrow - that will confuse the cats!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Inner Peace

This was sent to me this evening - I quite liked it and thought you might too - It's from Missy Pup's original owner:
Inner Peace
*If you can start the day without caffeine, *

   *If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains, *

   *If you can resist complaining and **boring people with your
   troubles, *

   *If you can eat the same food every **day and be grateful for it, *

   *If you can understand when your loved **ones are too busy to give
   you any time, *

   * ** **If you can take criticism and **blame without resentment , *

   *If you can conquer tension **without medical help, *

   *If you can relax without liquor, *

   *If you can sleep without the aid of drugs, ** *

   *...Then You Are Probably .......... *

   *The Family Dog! ** *

 * **And you thought I was going to get all spiritual didn't you..?*

Earth Hour Tonight

I will be taking part in this tonight will you?  Here's the link for further information

 Just need to find the candles and the matches.

Catch you all later on



It was lovely just to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet without the noise of the TV on.  Might make this a regular event - especially when I am on my own.

Hi I am back

Bit late in the morning I know, but I have spent the best part of the evening from about 7.30 about 12.15 a.m. teaching my friend how to cook.  The practical has helped  - she had never made shortcrust pastry from scratch and by hand before, tonight was the first lesson. We made two batches of pastry.  Out of one batch we made jam tarts (or schoolboys earholes as my darling father used to call them) and a large egg custard for her partner.  This was blind baked another technique she has learned tonight, and I have had her making home made custard for the tart filling with fresh ground nutmeg.  Scrummy.  Its cooled down and is now in her fridge waiting for tomorrow night's tea.  then we made a dozen plain scones which she says she will be making again as they came up nice and light. The same rubbing in technique for the pastry and the scones and also for crumble mix.  I had her in hysterics though when I bashed the dough out  sharply with the cutter- helps the scones rise and keep all the air in them. Have to slap them about a bit!  We then made soda bread from scratch and she says that she will be making that as well.  Have also had a first for me this evening.  We have made Samosas from scratch for the filling with filo pastry which I have read about but never actually used, bit fiddly but ended up producing 6 Samosas and she has filling to make some more once she has bought some more filo pastry.  The only thing we didn't get to was the Risotto, but will do that next time with her.  So all in all not too bad an evening  a busy one, but the practical has helped take some of the unknown out of what I have shown her and also given a visual to look back on when she goes on to have a go on her own.  I am going to go to bed now - I am slightly cream crackered and I have a lot to do tomorrow/this morning.  Just need to get a glass of milk before I go up the wooden stairs to Bedfordshire.

Take care wherever you are and will catch you all again soon.



Friday, 25 March 2011

Just a Quickie


Just a quickie I am off to my friend's this evening.  Supposedly she wants to have a go at making home made Egg Custard - well that was the plan last week but it may well be something else by now.  Her intended is rather partial from what I can gather.  I think to be on the safe side I had better take some home made vanilla sugar and my nutmeg grater with me, and oh a pie dish.  One never knows with Eve.  

I have had a King Prawn Balti curry for my tea which was rather yummy - its not often that we have takeaways these days so it was a bit of a treat.  We do try and abstain as it can get quite expensive and I would rather put the money somewhere else i.e. on ingredients so that I can do my own thing.

Its been a lovely day here today but has gone chillier again tonight.  Have a lot to do tomorrow so am hoping the weather is good as I want to bottom the front room out and open the windows up to let the fresh air in. We are having a state visit on Sunday, my mum is coming for dinner.  Yeay.
Anyway have to dash catch you all later



Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A follow on to a short story

I met with my crafty friends today, two of them I meet up with nearly every Wednesday lunch hour just for a mooch, a chat, finding presents for each other's family members  and putting the world to rights "warts n all friends" who are always there offering gentle encouragement in the background.  We headed for Lewis' as we always have a look around the craft department although it is not as good as it used to be. (we are limited locally by not having many craft shops in the area and those we do have you certainly need transport for - not everyone has access to transport).  Today however they have had a move around - they have upped the department to a small corner of the floor.  We know the floor manageress quite well and she came over to ask if we liked the new layout etc. I think we sorely disappointed her because we are not really taken with the new lay out.  We knew what we were looking for we just couldn't find it. There was little there that we were interested in and the prices for someone starting off are a tad expensive.  Possibly better to go to Hobbycraft. 

There seemed to be less there than what there was before and I certainly could not find the patchwork stuff i.e.the specialist rulers (I was looking for one as I have just broken one).  You cannot even buy Anchor tapisserie wools there any more.   The Manageress said they went some time ago and I pointed out that was a mistake at a time as most people use Anchor wools. She then went on to say that they had stopped selling a lot of bits and bobs and were just supplying the items that were selling.   The Manageress also said that they used to keep a list of dressmakers for people to contact to make their clothes from fabric they had seen in the store, but they had stopped doing this because they had all died off and no youngsters  were following through.  She then went on to say that not a lot of youngsters do craft work these days at which my friends and I turned round and said perhaps because they are not taught and don't know how too. That seemed to stun her, but it is the truth if the skills are not passed on then they will die out. 

The lucky ones are the youngsters who have parents who will do things have a try and have a positive attitude throughout. There are not the evening classes around like there used to be and people cannot always access the kind of class they are looking for.  When youngsters do know how, they have high expectations of not making a mistake especially if the wool cost over £40 to knit a designer top, which I can understand but we all have to start somewhere and realistically you cannot expect to do something you have never done before and get it perfect first time.  It just doesn't happen in the real world.  Sometimes in order to learn you have to make mistakes as you learn far more from getting things wrong than you do by always getting things right.  Sometimes it is easier to be shown how to do something than try and work out something from a book.  Showing people how to do things often registers more easily and they have a visual reference to go back to.  Its alright having academic skills but for everyday life you very much need practical skills  to do the most simplest of things and that includes cooking,  and knowing what to do to feed yourself and that's just to live.

Makes me realise how lucky I am.  I will be getting a tutorial this weekend on a knitting  - I don't know how to do cable and I have asked my mum to show me as  I want to get my head around.  She says its easy - we will have to wait and see.

We are never too young or too old to learn and if we are not learning we become stagnant and stuck in a rut.  You have to keep the "leetle grey cells working".

Take care



2011.03.23 This evening

Its been another busy day at work today and I should have been out this evening but my friend has the toothache (hope she feels lots better soon) so it has been put off until tomorrow night.

Unusually tonight when I got home I was absolutely ravenous and I had a fancy for some Scampi, home made chips with tartare sauce served up with Bread and butter.  Scampi is not cheap and I sort of blew the budget out of the water by going and getting some but sometimes you just have to have a little of what you fancy - it does you good! I was in need of comfort food.  (If I go anywhere new and have a meal the first time I always order something I know just to see how they cook it and if they cook it well I go on to explore the rest of their menu).
When I got back I went looking for a couple of larger potatoes in order to make the chips and I came up with this whopper. It took a bit of peeling but eventually got it all sorted and then chopped into chips. chunky chips.

It is a bit of a whopper!  Its suprising what you can do with one very large potato

This one potato filled the whole of the chip frying basket.  |I set the temperature on the chip pan to 180 degrees C.  Here are the chips after the first dunk in the oil.  I then shake inbetween each checking to make sure the potatoes do not stick together.
 I then check again after the potatoes develop some colour.  I again lift the pan and shake the chips in order that they do not stick together. It also helps distribute the chips evenly so that they cook evenly.

 I am now happy with the colour of the chips.  At this point I take them out drain them on kitchen roll in a baking tray, dry off some of the fat with the kitchen roll and then sprinkle liberally with vinegar; I only put a sprinkle of salt on as my OH has high blood pressure and is limited to chips once a week only by yours truly.
 The scampi ready to go into the pan they only need 4 minutes cooking at 180 degrees C

Ready to come out.

This is where the gremlins hit - don't know whether the card is full on the camera but i took a couple of photos of the plated up meal but unfortunately it did not save to my card. It was however delicious and went down a treat.  I'm sorry you will have to take my word for it.  I have sacked the photographer.

The camera has also shown up the missing picture of the completed meal so here it is.

I have also spoken to my mum and she is coming for Sunday dinner at the weekend.  Today would have been her 54th Wedding Anniversary had my darling father still have been with us. When my mum and dad married mum had stephanoitis in her wedding bouquet along with roses.  As a surprise present a short while before he passed my father brought her a stephanoitis plant and it grew in the conservatory and climbed up the wall and was in blossom a couple of times.  It was in tight bud when he passed, and then came out to cheer my mum up. Unfortunately the cold weather got it in the conservatory this winter and she lost the plant which she was quite upset about. However yesterday she went out on the Age Concern bus to Spalding and came back with another Stephanoitis plant - when she went to pay for it instead of being £9 as on the label it was reduced to £5.  So my mum sees it as an anniversary present from my father.  Nice thought.
Since tea and chatting to mum  I have watched another part of the Great British Food Revival, this week with James Martin championing British Apples, which included a visit to Brogdale Horticultural Trust the home of every known British Apple plant in the country and where you can choose the varieties that take your fancy and get them grown on suitable rootstock for your own plot of land.  The second part was Matt Tebbut championing British Mutton.  I seem to remember as a child that this was what we used to have Mutton for Sunday lunch, and lamb was the real treat.  However I cannot remember the taste so may have to investigate that at a further stage. Mutton is very much part of the slow cooking revolution/tradition of this country that has sadly gone out of popularity.  Perhaps it is time for a re-emergence of proper British cooking.

I have had a little dog snuggled up on the settee with me fast asleep under OH's sweatshirt whilst I have been watching the TV - she has now disappeared with her Boss, but no doubt she will potter back later on just to see I am still there.

Catch you all later



Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A short story

I love needlecraft always have done, although was not terribly good at it to start with.  We all have different learning capacities; sometimes I am quick as a whistle and learn something ever so quickly another time I am sadly lagging and don't get to grips with things until I have worked out how to do it for myself - I keep persevering time after time until I get things right. (the intelligent way of exploring all the boundaries of the medium in question) I aim high (touch of perfectionist in me) - sometimes though you need to practice practice practice until things actually go right and I give myself a right royal whipping in the process. Its unrealistic to be "perfect" straight off that takes time, patience and practice.  

However, I was made to feel inadequate, not good enough where needlework was concerned by a teacher at school.  I was slow, and my work was good, but I was lagging behind the rest of the class, so the teacher used to take things off me and take it away do it so that I was on the same level as the rest of the class; thing is I didn't learn as a result and thought I could not do things as a result.  I think she meant to be kind, but it had the opposite effect on me completely demoralised me and "belittled" me to my peers.  Lets just say that she did a real good job of putting me off Needlework because  I didn't have the practical skills - I  just couldn't do it.

Scan forward a few years (actually some 25 years ago) we had a new secretary start who did a lot of needlework and used to bring it into the office and work it during her lunch time.  During conversation she asked if I did anything and I said no, I can't do it.  She turned round and said there is no such word as can't there was no such word. in her vocabulary - Certainly not in her dictionary.

Needless to say my friend Margaret encouraged me and put me right when I got stuck and I started to play.  The words I always remember her saying are it doesn't matter if it'snot perfect it's your work and if you make a mistake during the working of it, it all adds to the charm as at the end of the day it is your work. And if this time round you make a mistake, next time you work something it will be all the better for making the mistake on the first piece.  That kind of rung true with me and thanks to her support and patience, I now do an awful lot of craft work.  Some pieces come out really good but I do have off days or a piece of work that hasn't quite worked out as I had hoped, but at the end of the day it is my work.

In a round about way what I am trying to say is that I hope I don't put any of you would be needleworkers off having a go at something or overwhelm you with the amount of projects I have on the go and in the queue.  Needlework is very therapeutic and can give you a sense of achievement as you are putting something of yourself in every stitch and if you are making a blanket or a quilt then eventually it is going to wrap your loved ones up to keep them warm with the extra insulation of love.  But not only that you are producing and creating something  that for me is the magic. Sometimes these gems go on to become family heirlooms or are in themselves heirlooms in the making.  All that matters is that you have a go and enjoy and love what you do.

Sew, play and be creative and most of all don't be afraid to have a go and be proud of what you do actually achieve you may end up surprising yourself in the process, all you have to do is get your head round it and practice practice practice.  You can do it.

There are still lots of crafts that I intend to explore, patchwork being one high on my list of to-do's.  I am very lucky that I am well stocked up with supplies and kits from when I had the wherewithall to buy them, which I don't now.  If you are someone with a practical gift, what better way of helping someone who is a newbie than by being a "craft buddy" and mentoring them when they get stuck; not only is it a way of giving something back, but it also reinforces to yourself what you do actually know which could also end up surprising you.  You could also go one further and if a group of like minded ladies live near each other create a craft or sewing group for an evening once a month.  Something like this would also share the craft base even further.

So be brave and have a go there's no such thing as "I can't do that" - its not my dictionary.

Take care



Monday, 21 March 2011

Bits n bobs

Well the computer is in situ.  The above photo only shows part of the room.  I still have lots to do including the decorating which we haven't got to yet, but at least we can use the computer in a state of some organisation. Ideally I would like some shelves built into the corner, but will have to wait and see how things go.  The idea being that I can put all the programmes, and consumables for the computer on the shelves, so that it leaves the desk as uncluttered as possible.  I now have to restore the essential filing to some sense and order now at long last have been able to get at the filing cabinet.  Another job - huh!  Well it needs doing so it will be another job well done. It will be nice to restore order to the chaos.  If I keep at things a bit at a time I will get there in the end.  I also have space to work so think will go back to the once a month accounting evening also.  I like being able to find things and having them sorted.

I was planning on doing some ironing this evening.  However, there were some programmes that I wanted to watch as well so that put paid to that.  Needless to say, I have not been idle,I have nearly knitted another square for my blanket, so it looks as though operation ironing pile will start tomorrow evening instead.  That will be done upstairs in the computer room but the other end of the room.  I can listen to my radio then while swishing away with the smoothing iron.  The room is nice and cosy and warm anyway.

I just need another desk and/or table (for using as a cutting out) table for my sewing machine and overlocker so that I can go up and whizz along with the sewing machine.  I have quite a lot of fabric to use up, as well as material for making tablecloths for my large 8 seater pine table in the dining room.  There is lots that I want to have a go at, including making some chair pads for the dining room chairs, and also for my rocking chairs.  but because of not being able to leave everything set up so that I can just pop up and do a bit here and there and because in the past have had to set up in the dining room, because of all the faff of getting out setting things up and then having to put away again it kinda puts you off.  And then of course there is the patchwork that I want to have a go at and I have some skirts and trousers that I want to make also.  I used to make a lot of my own clothes in the past.  I also want to set up my cross stitch frame/stand together with my craft lamp so that I can go up and do a bit every so often.

Removing the computer and table from the other room has opened it up so that I can get to the items in store there sorted, used (in the case of my craft consumables) and find those bits that have been eluding me for months including the elusive purple wool for completing my purple blanket.  But then, I do have an awful lot to keep me occupied.  

OH should start fishing soon, so that should give me plenty of time to play with the craft side of things and time for concentration.  There is so much to do and so little time to do it.  I also want to get the garden sorted too, but with the lighter nights that should help matters

Its best to be busy.

Take care catch up soon.


Sunday, 20 March 2011

2011.03.20 My Day

Well I got my lie in this morning, not much of one but a lie in all the same.  Don't know why but I always tend to wake up the same time on a Saturday and Sunday as the time I get up during the week! Very frustrating.  Anyway I snuggled down under the quilt and went back to sleep for a little longer, and then had to get up - couldn't lie in any further.  

We lost my Ginger Tom Tyson last night couldn't find him anywhere and the back bedroom door had been open so I was fretting in case he had gone in and got stuck under some of the boxes as we had a slight landslide!  I need not have worried - we couldn't locate him but Missy Did.  He was behind a chair in a corner of my bedroom fast asleep.  Apparently to add insult to injury after being located OH said he started snoring.  Unusually he was there all night.  Here are some photographs I have taken to him outside this morning in the Spring sunshine.

The rest of the day has gone very quickly. I don't know where I cannot remember even blinking!  I sorted out the rest of the stuff that had to be cleared in the back bedroom in order to remove the computer table, chair and two computer systems into the back bedroom.  We thought at one stage that we were going to have to take the computer table to pieces, but fortunately it went in and Eureka we got there and now have that part in situ. Mind you I still have a lot to do.   

I also found my coathangers, so the ironing pile is going to get attacked this week - so perhaps won't get as much crafting done as I would like this week.  Oh well its all relative everything interconnects - its just sometimes you don't see where the joins are!  

Hopefully by the end of the week I will also have my front room/lounge back to just a lounge and not an oversized computer room.  I think this coming weekend is going to be a bottoming out/Spring clean weekend to try and restore law and order to at least some parts of the house. It will be nice to have it all tidy and my coffee table used as a coffee table and not storage for OH's computer.  Since we had the boiler done I haven't restored law and order,  so this will be a job well done all round as I like things to look nice and be tidy.  Well that's the plan the rest of it is down to whether my joints will let me!

This evening we have had roast chicken for dinner, served with roast potatoes, roast onions, peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, gravy, sage and onion stuffing balls, home made yorkshire pudding, mashed potato and lashings of gravy.  It went down a treat.

I now have the knitting needles out again.

Hope you have had a lovely day wherever you may be.

Take care




2011.03.19 My Day

I have had a busy day not doing what I normally do, but now we have the flooring down in the small room which is to become the study/craft room I am trying to retrieve the computer table and chairs, as well as the computer, the scanner the printer, all the printer consumables such as cartridges and paper from the large back bedroom where anything and everything disappears.  Bit like the land of Narnia except you don't walk through a wardrobe! Mine's probably more in line with a modern day black hole!

I have a lot of craft magazines (they are slowly being sorted as to which ones I am going to keep and which ones I am going to get rid of) which I am having to move so that we can get the computer and table in situ, and I have side-lined one or two with projects for a later date.  I know I promised.  Trouble is if I don't pick them out and put them in a safe place I will not find them again. 

Here are some photographs of the projects I have in mind - but I have loads to do before I will get anywhere near these, so perhaps it is just wishful thinking on my part! 

I like Daffodils and Narcissi and finding one needlepoint chart I thought would have been good going, but several.  I love the colours the navy blue and the yellow in particular.  I have some hand crafted navy blue mugs with daffodils painted on too. more or less the same pattern so was particularly chuffed to find this kit. 

This is an unusual Etui box they are normally square but this one is triangular and also worked in ribbon embroidery, but I think this is rather lovely.

I am also very fond of Bees and I found this unusual chart too.

I also found this further floral cushion which I quite like.  It will go with something else I have already made.

And this Irises canvas which I had totally forgotton that I had bought.  Excuse the fold in the middle.

At the moment I am being very good. (me good - somethings wrong).  I have also found some part worked needlepoints too which it would be good to get out of the way.  One is a British Cottage in a village scene;

another Mares and Foals in a Field  - a George Stubbs painting 

and My Nasturtium Plaid Cushion cover.  I might bring this one down and work it during the evenings after work to get it completed. 

Here is the part worked canvas together with a picture what it should like when it is completed.

And another floral cushion kit that I had forgotten I had

One of the nice things about sorting things out is that I am re-discovering things I had forgotten I had. I also came across part of the dinner service my grandparents had and its make is Alfred Meakin Countess design. I  also keep breaking small mixing basins (I am clumsy at times) and I have found four new ones upstairs so they have been brought down.  I have also found some knitting patterns  for bits and bobs too.  I am thinking of pressies for later on in the year.  I have also found loads of fabric so I am hoping to get busy with the sewing machine soon.  I am so lucky in that I have lots to keep me occupied without having to spend very much extra money as I have stockpiled lots of bits and bobs over the years, so the expensive bits I have.

My Nan always had beautiful cushions on her settee and chairs, (in fact she recovered her three piece suite with a lovely cottagey rose fabric and a little singer hand sewing machine).  I never did find out how she did her cusions which were velvet which were square and round  in shape and kinda pleated on the front and on the round ones round the circumfurence of the cushion and being pleated into the centre.  However I did come across a pattern a couple of years ago and the cushion is worked in a type of smocking.  I found that too, so that is also in a safe place and I am going to have a bash at these in the not-too distant future, recycling some velvet curtains from a charity shop.  The fabric is good and will also back some of my worked needlepoint cushion fronts.
I have been persevering with my knitted blanket  - I have added a few more squares and also found a square half knitted where I had run out of wool.  Tried to match it and couldn't but somebody was looking after me today as during sorting the bedroom  I found the missing ball which is an exact match.  Phew!  That means once that is knitted will just be a matter of stitching up. (Part of the squares are already stitched together)  I am now debating whether to knit a border around the blanket.  I think it will look neater with a border. I need to buy some more white wool though to do this, finish it off and make it look tidy.

However I have found my purple blanket  (I haven't found the wool yet) and my sage green and cream throw so they are now out in their baskets together with some more of the cream green and pink squares.  (I store most of my big craft projects in baskets) for easy access.  I am going to finish them off before starting anything new but the temptation!  Squeak always loves blankets coming out and has to explore and possibly make herself comfy in the process.

During the week I also managed to get some more cream wool so that I can carry on crotcheting my rainbow blanket too.

So if I go missing folks, it is with good cause.  I like lovely things and I love making things and I sort of have my work cut out here.

I have also in between everything been in and out watching snippets of the Rugby too and have nearly got all the washing done and dried.

Its a beautiful full moon this evening hanging there pendulous in the sky a beautiful goldy colour.  I love the full moon it is so beautiful and looks so serene.  Hopefully she will pour oil on earth's troubled waters at the moment.  My heart goes out to all those affected by the earthquakes, any problems whatsoever wherever they may be.

Last evening I went to my friend's home and re-did her hair for her and tidied her up.  She has just acquired a cockatiel called Gizmo and wanted a stand so that she could put him in the front room.  We searched Ebay last night and could not find one tall enough, but  shehas been out on her travels today.  She sent her partner over this evening saying that she was pulling her hair out  and could I come quick as she was in trouble and the (me thinks I've done something dreadful to her hair).  However, I was gotten over there under false pretences.  Eve had a little pressie for me - as she knew I wouldn't take anything for helping her out.

I think this is lovely.  I collect Fridge Magnets too.

This really cheered me up as I have been a little down today for one reason or another.  Nothing drastic just a little down happens to us all at some stage or other and its been a beautiful day weather wise, but it has gone very cold again I think will have to put the heating on again.

I keep finding feathers everywhere,one has just appeared on my keyboard - don't know where that came from, but from what I understand it's supposed to be an Angel's calling card. It's a lovely thought and then I found this Guardian Angel Cross Stitch Chart.  Yet again to go on the to do list.

Anyway take care wherever you are and I will catch up with you again soon.



P.S. Could not download all my photos tonight because of a flat battery will download later on - needless to say my battery is on charge as we speak.

Saturday, 19 March 2011


Its Saturday I am home and I was hopeful of a lay in this morning, after another busy week but no such luck. No peace for the wicked although I am stiill trying to work out what I have done wrong.   However the sun peeping through the cream blind in my bedroom has put paid to that; seducing me and speaking of a lovely day to come and one where the daylight cannot be wasted so I am downstairs. The birds have also been singing their hearts out - I love to hear them. Tyson has gone - he loves these lighter days and does not have a moment to spare and all the animals are fed.  I am awake, downstairs with a Jack Russell curled into the small of my back as I tip tap away at the keyboard preparing this post.  Its nice to be on my own (apart from the company of my animals) space to recharge and put my random thoughts into some kind of order.  Squeak has now joined me - her and Missy are never far away when I am home both good friends but both like fuss from mum and if you fuss one you have to fuss the other.  I have a mug of hot sweet piping tea to slurp on  - grab one and make  yourself comfortable and come too gracefully.

Ever since I was a small child if the sun was up bright and shining I have had to get up - I don't seem to be able to lie in on days like this; for me its the natural time when you are able to breathe and gradually come too.   I have always loved the stillness of being up first thing.  A time to reflect on what is happening and why it is happening.  Sometimes when I am on my own I also put music on first thing and because today so far is a beautiful day I wish I could put "Morning" on from the Peer Gynt Suite but OH is snoring his head off so today I thought I would share this on my music player for those of you wanting to share.  Not as nice as letting it flow through the house but at least I get to listen to it even if it is only with my ear plugs connected to my computer. Music is good for manifesting and it is very important to me.  When OH starts his fishing again I will be able to let it flow through the house.

These lighter mornings and the change in the seasons make me want to be anywhere but where I am in the morning.  I am a country girl and I feel the need to be connected to the seasons, to the earth and to get my hands dirty. I want to go away down to the coast  I feel the urge to be near the sea or water or to roam our beautiful countryside even if just for a short while - the sap's rising again it always does at this time of year.  When my dear father was with us he always had similar feelings at this time of year.  At first I could not understand what he was talking about, but as I have mellowed  - no not like a ripe cheese, I can relate to what he was talking about.  I do miss him.

Even when going on holiday and travelling either overnight or early morning I have always stayed awake too excited too nosy to miss anything and to see the morning appear from night blue black skies is lovely, the artistry the gentleness and grace as night moves to dawn and then to day is so fantastic and so different every day. 

We always took a picnic of sorts or the frying pan  when going on holiday or travelling anywhere and one memorable holiday when I went with friends when I was 16 (many moons ago) to stay in Ross on Wye - we took hard boiled eggs, salt and cold fried sausages and nibbled on these and had hot piping tea with the coldness of the morning then I always remember that morning - its funny how things stay with you like a snapshot or slide show in your mind's eye.

Even when last on holiday down in Cornwall at the lodge where we used to stay I used to be up early enjoying the morning looking out of the lodge windows down into a valley .  Sometimes the valley would be draped in mist, awe inspiring and subtle like a spiders cobweb and sometimes a deer would come out of the mist looking all etheral and mystic as these graceful creatures are.  I always draped a dressing gown wrap around me and sat with a hot mug of tea to hand or sat on the veranda just looking out sitting and being at peace with everything and watching the world come awake and wild animals and birds coming too and going about their day. Happy memories that will always be with me.

I hope too that you have a graceful start to the day I am off now to make some hot toast with some home made strawberry jam on for my brekkie.

Take care wherever you are 



Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Great British Food Revival

Well that was an interesting programme and one I fully subscribe to as eating food is not about just eating to survive but real food is all about good flavour .  I only caught this programme by chance - I understand that it commenced last week but in case you missed it you can catch up here 

I intend to play catch up on last week's episode on iplayer probably at the weekend when I have a little more time I think this consisted of making bread with the Roux Brothers and also the Hairy Bikers preparing a vegetarian dish.

Where I can, I buy from my Butcher - although occasionally I do use the supermarket - not by choice. I prefer the Butchers, but I cannot get to the Butchers under my own steam as I do not drive. I am hoping to have another bash - depends on whether or not my GP will clear me to have another go or whether or not he tells me to steer clear.  It would be lovely to clear off under my own steam to places and things I want to do.  Its very restricting having to rely on someone else or on public transport.

However, I digress.  Back to food and meat.  One thing I will not be buying from the supermarket again in a hurry is leg of pork.  The last time we bought one it was horrible and we had been looking forward to it as previously up until then we had had reasonable quality meat.  We love roast pork especially pork belly bought from the butchers and then stuffed with home made stuffing and crackling (with no salt in sight).   I tend to buy at least a couple of bellies at a time, prep them with the homemade stuffing and then pop the rest into the freezer for a later date. Absolutely scrummy.

Originally my grandparents kept their own pigs (and my granddad used to slaughter them himself -  this was pre all the regulation days) and everything was used.  In later years my Nan always used to use a local butcher who used to choose from various farmers which animals he would buy.  The meat she got from him was always well flavoured and tasty.  Nan also used to buy the lights liver etc and boil them up in an old pot on the Rayburn.  Always smelt good but when you looked in the pot uggh - well that's how it appeared to us as children.  All the dogs were fed this way they never bought dog meat, but always did home prepared and the dogs used to scoff the lot. 

What I haven't told you before I don't think is that my Uncle used to be a dairy farmer and I have never had home made cream or butter like his was. Creamy thick and luscious.  To die for - you just cannot buy it like he used to make. He had to give the farm up as a result of developing Angina which seriously grieved him as he loved animals and being out and about in the fresh air.  However he then bought a small holding and used to keep a house cow and calf as well as chickens. 

So flavour is everything at the end of the day - especially if you have a really good piece of meat or have lovely fresh ingredients.  There is a rule in cooking which literally is to spend what you can (obviously we are all limited by our own personal circumstances) and buy the best quality ingredients you can for your money.  They must have flavour though they might not be the prettiest but or the most uniform but they beat hands down with flavour.  Rare breed meats  if the public buys them helps sustain the breeds worth and secures the breeds from disappearing off the table.  Equally heritage variety vegetables and fruit although not necessarily popular are worth seeking out. So support your local food producers independent non-chain shops like butchers, bakers greengrocers.  They have a place in our food chain for producing good quality produce and by supporting local you are saving food miles.

So if you have a chance have a peek.  It really was a very good programme.  I shall be watching next weeks edition.



Monday, 14 March 2011

2011.03.14 My Evening

I had a busy day at work as per usual, and my legs seem to have been playing up even more than they have been.  I am still waiting for an expedited appointment to go back to see my Consultant, but so far that has not materialised.  We will have to wait and see what happens.  This evening I haven't done too much as I was tired and I am an eternal dreamer. Sometimes you just need space to just be and come too gradually.  Very gradually.

I have been horrified by the reports of what has happened in Japan and my heart, thoughts and prayers go out to the Japanese people at this most terrible of times.  Kinda puts everything else into perspective.

I have spoken to OH's sister on the phone this evening and played catch up.  Chrissy like me is animal mad and any animal becomes part of the family.  She has two King Charles Spaniels Alfie and Lotty and also two cats, Mr Willis and Maddy.  Since we last went to stay Mr Willis has developed a new trick.  Chrissy kept coming down and found that the fridge was open and various things missing including a ham joint. She thought her partner Nick was responsible and blamed him, despite his protestations.  However the cat burglar has been caught red-handed.  He is such an angelic cat and so laid back you find it hard to blame him for long.  New problem how to stop the cat breaking into the fridge! War tactics have been brought into play to try and stop his opportune strikes.Ever the one to take advantage.

It has been a quiet evening here and I have managed to knit one of the two squares for my lilac blanket and have started the second square this evening. Whilst knitting  I have been listening to the TV "Waking the Dead" and currently a little adult humour in Mrs Brown's boys, which I have found hilarious. Its one of the best comedy programmes that I have seen in a long time - although as I have said totally adult humour but one for a good belly laugh!  And I subscribe to the theory that laughter is the best medicine.  

I do like listening to programmes.  I find listening leaves much more to the imagination than constantly watching the box, plus I can get on with other things at the same time.

One thing I would like to say is thank you to all of you who read my ramblings and for your comments - I do look forward to these - sometimes they are a bright light in an otherwise drab day.

Now stop it pattypan - glass half full instead of being blooming empty.  I Must improve my attitude.    As the saying goes Attitude Changes everything - and I am a firm believer in this  - its just every so often I kinda slip!  Now I have told myself off - am going to get myself organised and ready for tomorrow - another day and all that jazz.  Then off up the wooden hill to bedfordshire.

Nighty Night!

Hope this post finds you all well.

Catch up soon




Lighter Days and Evenings

It has been lovely to have a nice day even if it has been slightly chilly on the breeze and when out of the sunlight. It is so cheery to have the sun shine and smile on us all pottering about beavering away going about our daily business like ants swarming all over. In fact I think the sap is beginning to rise at the promise of brighter cheerier days and warmer weather. I can certainly feel change in the air.  I do so hope that the weather is going to be warmer and milder from hereon in so I can get into the garden and start doing what I need to do there. It's a mess not having been touched during these colder months despite my best intentions and since the plumber has been in and decimated what little bit of planting I did have - he has murdered my herb bed I am going to have to start again.  

I hope it is a better weekend this coming weekend so I can get out and start to do a bit and also get some of my seeds sown.  I find gardening very soothing, like balm to the soul and the fresh air always does you the power of good. I like to go to the seaside for this purpose to smell and taste the salt in the breeze and to rejoice in waves sloshing around quite vicariously or just sloshing gently and lapping against your feet.  Water is always soothing to my soul and always calms me down, as does just being near water or walking through a forest does the same.  It gives you a sense of freedom of removing all barriers where you can feel free instead of entrapped.  It rejuvenates you and gives you new purpose. Trouble is I want to shake the reins and traces and do something different, just haven't quite worked out what yet, but I have some ideas on the backburner. Need to do some more plotting and planning me thinks, but I am a great beleiver in that something will turn up somewhere down the line.

Working week in week out in an office I often feel disconnected from the seasons and the weather.  I work in an air conditioned box where the windows are tinted, but because of that tinting we cannot tell what the weather is like outside, so are not quite sure whether its hot or cold outside.  We have no windows that we can open either.

However, I am grateful for the lighter days and evenings; they speak of much promise yet to come and the evenings as they get even lighter will mean I can spend more time plottering and growing stuff in the garden in an effort to supplement my meagre budget at present. Oh well, will just have to make the best of what I have rather than what I haven't.

Catch you all soon.


Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)