Wednesday, 30 September 2015

This n That

Well the early night certainly helped my head was not as bad this morning and by early afternoon the remnants were just hanging.  I think a lot of it was caused by tension as it was  different type of headache to what I normally get.  Still a migraine but not where I normally get it.

I have not done much this evening - tomorrow night will be different but I have rested up and I intend to have another early night tonight.  I have managed to do a little crochet on one of the rugs (Auntys rug.  Nearly at the end of that.  Once that is out the way will start on the baby blanket and then when that is done finish off Uncle's rug).

I have also been to Waitrose today to pick up a few bits tomorrow night I will get busy again but when I am not 100% it tends to come out in my cooking and I end up ruining things in any event. Today I found some red cabbage so I snaffled some to do some pickled cabbage as well. On my way to the tills I bumped into one of the Partners who was looking for chillis and could not find what he was looking for.  He looked in my basket and saw a lot of cabbage.  I think he thought I had a problem and so I had to reassure him that it was for pickling for Christmas.  He seemed relieved at that.

 I have also picked up Basil, thyme, oregano.  There are bay leaves and rosemary growing in the garden.Some chillis and lemons. 

The bottled cherry tomatoes and the pasta sauce will get dealt with tomorrow. I oven roast the tomatoes with herbs, onions, garlic thyme, basil and a touch of rosemary and lemon juice and then blitz everything in the food processor and then water bath.  If there is any Basil left I will make some homemade pesto and freeze it.

Waitrose are giving away a little free booklet entitled "Autumn" Harvest 2015.  There is rather a nice recipe in there entitled "Hot and spicy piccalilli" which recipe I am also going to try.  OH likes piccalilli so I am going to do two different batches. The River Cottage version which has been the best recipe yet and then this spicier version. There is also a recipe for Pickled Pears which yet again is very different. And also Plum and apple jam a necessary ingredient for the home baker.  In fact the whole booklet is a little gem and I like the sound of the Pear and candied pecan ice cream.  Might have to give that and one or two of the other recipes in there a whirl.  Sound really scrummy.

I have also picked up Woman and Home Feel Good Food the best of Autumn.  There are some seriously good recipes in here including Apple and almond cake.  Now that one and Parkin with apple and star anise and pear plum and ginger crumble cake and plum and marzipan cake really do appeal.  

I intend if OH goes fishing this weekend to make a Dundee Cake and a Christmas Cake.; that way the cakes can be fed in good time.  I have plenty of apples so may well make some more mincemeat in any event and some Apple Pop and maybe some ginger beer!

Right am going to do a little bit more crochet.

Catch you soon.




Not our Mums, Mums meaning Chrysanthemums and the like I spotted them last week on the flower stall so I am hoping they will still have them left when I pop by later in the week.  Could do with a shot of colour in the tubs in the back garden. They had them in gold, lemon and white  They are very easy on the eye and look good in tubs.  

Mum always used to buy Chrysanthemums and take them to my Dad's grave but she always managed to get them to shoot and her plants in the garden are all self sown.  As it is autumn and I want to start to get some plants together so that I have a display come next autumn I would quite like some of these for the tubs in the garden.  I would quite like to get some Michaelmas Daisies too.  

I particularly would like to find some Chinese Lanterns  (although I suspect I will have to source some seed) and Honesty as both give a good display and can be used in dried flower arrangements.  My Nan always had both and I was always fascinated with the Lanterns.They were always so elegant and so cheerful.

I popped by today - the flower stall is usually in the Cathedral Square in Peterborough but it would seem they have cut their days down.  I suspect Friday or Saturday will be the time to have a look.  As they were not in the Cathedral Square I hot footed it down to the market.  They had a few but the prices were more expensive and the plants did not look as good.  Its the same stall that displays in the centre of town.  I shall have a look on Saturday to see if I can find what I am after as I think the would put up a good show for the tubs. I also thought if I bought a bit here and there would be easier to layer up and get a better effect.

Right must get on.

Catch you later.



Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Splitting Headache

This seems to have crept up on me since I got home I therefore anticipate being in bed shortly to see if an early night will help shift the problem.  I suspect its because have been extremely busy at work and we have had a bit of a headache with obtaining a new mobile phone which has not assisted.

OH placed an order the other evening for two new phones told us that a contract would be sent through to sign it and get it back.  We subsequently did this.  One phone arrived the other did not.  Long phone calls later and research by me on my emails and it would appear that the company involved had only sent the one contract for signature.  Have subsequently had email resent and hopefully the phone will be with me in a couple of days.  I will be on the phone again if anything else goes wrong.

We had a nice supper that went down well (a bit naughty as it was takeaway) really good fish and chips.  Because of the splitting headache I have sat tonight and done a little more crochet.  I managed to get some more wool for the lap throws for my aunt and uncle.  Aunty's is nearly finished Uncle's has quite a way to go.  I may have to put them to one side for a little while though.  Will do what I can.

I also obtained some baby wool to start the blanket for my friend from work for a cot blanket made up out of squares in white and mint.  Will have to get a wriggle on as baby is due next week (hence me saying may have to put  Aunty's and Uncle's to one side for a little bit).

I have also had to buy some more mugs today.  Only cheapies from Wilkinsons somehow or the other had  managed to break the ones I did have.  Lets hope these last a little longer.  They are bright red.  I thought they would come in for Christmas if I saw anything else I liked better in the interim.

Right upwards and onwards must get some shuteye.

Catch you soon.



Another Attempt at Sourdough

So far I have tried twice with the Sourdough.  The first starter I did something wrong with and the second starter I had just got going nicely when mum was taken back into hospital and it denied of neglect.  So I having another go.  This time I  have made two starters and this time round hopefully I will get to make my loaf(loaves). I have given them names Bessie (of Bessie Bunter Fame) and Busty Bertha.  I hope both live up to their rather exotic names.  I am planning on getting the starters well under way before I use them but at the moment am planning a week on Saturday to make my first batch of bread.

As the saying goes third time lucky but at least I am learning what not to do with the Sourdough by doing exactly what I shouldn't through no fault of my own.

I have a  round Banneton basket in readiness together with a couple of dough scrapers.  I will probably get some more in due course if everything goes well.  The Dehydrator apparently is very good for helping bread to rise.

Catch you soon



Bottles and Jars

I paid another visit to TK Maxx again today ostensibly to get the Kilner jars I spoke about last week.  However I came across a cheaper option Quattro Stagionni jars for £1.49 each.  I bought 11 (thats all they had) - I need them for the Pasta sauce and also some bottled cherry tomatoes. Why did I buy them instead of the Kilner jars.  I have a  load of these jars  that I purchased a few years ago.  I did think that I would not buy anymore as I did not find it easy to buy the proper lids but I have since found out that the standard sized jar  (50 cl/17oz)the replacement rings and seals from the new Kilner seals and rings fit them perfectly so you can interchange them.  They do larger sized jars as well but the rings and the seals would have to larger if not using the proper lids.

I also bought some 2lb jars from Lakeland.  These are designated to be used for pickling onions and pickled shallots. I bought eight today and no doubt will have to source some more.  I have also ordered some replacement lids from the Jam Jar Shop as I recycle gherkin jars that the other half has. I recycle where I can as it saves valuable pennies and recycles something that otherwise would be wasted besides they are a decent sized jar for pickles.

Right am off to bed been a really busy day.

Catch you soon



Monday, 28 September 2015

Preserving Update

Welcome to RitanRobinson via Bloglovin.  Make yourself comfortable there are lots of posts going back years so I think a cup of tea might help as well.

Well I have10 Jars of bottled strawberries not bad and everyone has sealed.  Yippee..  There is a lot of juice with them but don't waste it use it with some champagne or thickened up with some cornflour.  Make a home made flan sponge and drain the strawberries, place the strawberries in the flan base and then use some of the juice to make a sauce.  Using arrowroot (its gentler on the stomach as well) as a thickener is better with something like this if possible as it remains nice and clear whereas the cornflour makes the ingredient cloudy like blancmange

The cucumber is prepped ready for the vinegar to be added.  Will give the tally tomorrow evening.

Tomorrow night is Picalilli night  - I was going to do it yesterday but I had not got two of my ingredients - I always add some pepper and some carrot.  So the preparation and brining will be happening tomorrow evening with the finishing and bottling to happen on Tuesday night.

Spiced oranges tomorrow night  - I want to do a few of these jars which are basically slices of orange or clementine prepared in a spiced vinegar.  The vinegar is lovely in itself so do not waste it, it can be used on a toasted goat cheese salad as a dressing or on any other salad.  I want the orange slices to decorate the outside of  Christmas ham and studded with cloves as well.  OH does not like the clove but the clove does something very special to a Christmas ham.  So I will do three or four jars so that I have a ready supply and that will be another thing off the list that I can forget about.

Oh and I must not forget the mustard.  I have a new beer to try which I think will complement the mustard beautifully so I may start that tomorrow and leave it to soak overnight and then finish on Tuesday evening.  The Beer is called "Butty Bach" from the Wye Valley Brewery.

Description on the back of the bottle

"Butty Bach is a Welsh term for "little Friend"  and this malty moreish bottle conditioned brew certainly has made a few friends in its time.  Burnished gold in colour, smooth and satisfying it has a lovely malt and hop balance and is brilliant with honey and mustard glazed sausages or a rich risotto".

I might start the oven dried tomatoes tomorrow evening in the oven and then finish them off in the dehydrator and then preserve them in oil

If I can get some more preserving jars tomorrow I will do the pasta sauce.  We use a lot of this throughout the year.

This also applies to the cherry tomatoes.

If there are any tomatoes left over I will probably make some tomato chutney as well and if any tomatoes left after that bottle them in brine.

If I get chance when we walk Missy tomorrow I shall see if I can nab some elderberries as I want to make some more Pontack Sauce and also dry some. for addition in stews/casseroles.

I also have my eye on some peaches to make peach chutney and also Five Spice whole Peaches and some peach jam - will probably head to the market to see what they have on offer.  

And we must have plums for bottling  - they are needed for old fashioned Victorian Sugar Plums as well as for use in puddings but I also need some for jam and some Chinese Plum Sauce.  I use a lot of this especially on rack of ribs.

Oh yes there are two nets of pickling onions to prepare as well.

Now if only I can get my hands on some crab apples and some quince.   I would be in seventh heaven.

Catch you soon.



P.S. Well it looks as though its going to be busy in the kitchen again this week.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Glorious Autumn Sunday Roundup

It has been a glorious beautiful bright day here in Peterborough  despite starting off foggy  - but then September is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.  I have been busy most of the day predominantly in the kitchen. 

 I also upgraded my computer programme to Windows 10 yesterday and I seem to have a bit of the speed back with my computer as a result  I had been putting it off but basically ended up having to do it as Windows 7 just was not cooperating.Phew.  One less problem to think about.

OH was supposed to go fishing this weekend and decided against it at the last moment.  So unfortunately I did not get my play time with the sewing machine.  The computer room where he tends to hang out is also my sewing room when I decide to sew.  Hopefully he will go next week so that I can schedule some me time into the Agenda for the week.

My phone has also given up the ghost so I am waiting for a new phone to be delivered as I dropped my other one in the Hospital when mum was there and it shattered the screen and then bits started going wrong from there.  That should be here sometime this week.

We have also been to the Cash N Carry. I go there most months to get stocked up with my soap powder and fabric conditioner.  We also purchase a lot of meat from there and things such as vinegar and sunflower oil and anything else that works out cheaper in the long run.  We use Hyperama.  

I have also been to the Butchers ABC Meats because they stock the cat biscuits for my moggies and we also use the Butchers for different meats to the ones at the Cash N Carry.  

When we have got in we have ended up bagging everything into generous portions.  We bought chipolata sausages Lincolnshire and bagged them up into 6 to a bag which will be more than generous for sausage sandwiches or cooking with Yorkshire Pudding or as Toad in the hole  The minted lamb steaks £5 for  a  tray we have left as is so there will be two good meals there as I bought two trays.  There were then the Chinese pork steaks a big tray for £5 - 5 to a bag have five bags there.  £3 for a large bigger than salami sized black pudding portioned for breakfast meals and bagged up two to a bag another five bags.  Chicken portions £18 for a big deep tray we have bagged three to a bag which is more than enough for cooked chicken meal or used in a stir fry there are about 10 bags there. I reiterate these are larger breast portions than you get in the supermarket.  I was eyeing up a very large Topside joint which |I could have got three generous joints out of but I think I will look again next month.  I am particularly looking for  piece to have a go at spiced beef this Christmas. 

I also bought Two gammon joints, and various other bits and bobs and 8 bags bacon portioned in six rashers.  It all helps for meals during the week.  I also bought a very large pate in the Cash n Carry for about £5 and have about 8 generous portions of that in the freezer as well.  Ideal for toast and pate on a winter evening or for an antipasti platter or for pack ups.  So am very chuffed to have stocked up again.   It is a Brussels pate. Will have another look next month to see whats about and add a bit more.

We took Missy Walkies but it was later than planned so I will have to go foraging of an evening during the week.  Will probably give me more time to concentrate on particular items.  

Right upwards and onwards loads to do still.  Will show all when I get the new mobile.

Catch you soon.



I shop around a lot and use several sources to acquire what I am after.

I have also bought two trays of eggs £4 for the two.  I know I will not use the second tray so I have plans to pickle the eggs for Christmas.  OH is quite partial  -I am not keen but he is not allowed a lot of sweet stuff so it balances out at the end of the day and he does have to eat.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Pootling in the Kitchen with a view to Stocking Up the Pantry

I am a little busy in the kitchen today mostly preparation but I am desperate to get some goodies in the stockpile for Christmas and it is cheaper to do it myself in the long run.  Once you have the basic consumables usually jam jars and Kilner and Mason jars its just about new seals or lids on an annual basis,  that is apart from your core ingredients.  I tend to keep a good stock of sugar, vinegar, etc. and I buy a few jars every so often usually when there is an offer on.  I reuse them all though but always use new seals and lids.

The Coop had an offer on with some late. English strawberries today £2 per tray double the size of a normal punnet so I have bought a few trays to bottle some strawberries for puddings, trifles etc during the winter months.  Next year I intend to go to the Pick Your Own Farm but this year I have had other things on my mind and to deal with.  I already have Strawberry Jam put to one side which will come in useful for toast and also for filling Victoria Sponges and Jam Tarts.

I am going to use this method to process them.  They are currently  standing in the sugar.

 They are hot water bath processed not placed in a pressure canner.

I have also bought some more ingredients for Piccallili for OH - he goes through it very quickly so I have the preparation of this to do tonight with the completion set for tomorrow.  This constitutes cutting the vegetables into small pieces and salting./brining overnight and then making a thick turmeric spice paste to complete.  I use the Pam Corbin recipe from the River Cottage Preserves book.  I haven't found a bad recipe in there yet.  Just wish I had a really big Pantry and then I could really get stuck in and would totally be in my element!

I also have 4kg plus of fresh tomatoes to make some pasta sauce.   That will probably get done tomorrow as I need to use both ovens for doing that and I want to start some oven dried tomatoes off and finish them in the dehydrator. OH is partial to them but they are expensive to buy.

A load of cucumbers for preparing bread and butter pickles.  

Some Howland Wonder Apples for making Apple Chutney and Apple Puree/Sauce.

Another net of pickling onions for pickled onions.  I have ordered a couple of nets of shallots so I am hopeful that they will arrive next week.

So I have quite a bit to do but the Pantry does need filling up and there is lots more to do yet.  It is very satisfying to see the Pantry shelves get topped up.

I have also bought some reduced cherry tomatoes to bottle as per this recipe here

I also have some grapefruit for grapefruit curd and also grapefruit cordial.

Some small clementines for drying for Christmas Garlands

Some small clementines for making clementine curd

Some small clementines for peeling and making clementines in syrup

Some small clementines for drying in slices for use in garlands or for making mulled wine

Some sweetheart cabbage reduced cheaply  for freezing.  We are very fond of cabbage in this household especially the sweetheart variety.

I have a sack of spuds ordered for next week - during the winter months I do not like to be without potatoes as you can always make a nice warming meal of some sort or another with a few basic ingredients.  I also want to get some Bubble n Squeak cakes into the freezer for use in nice hot meals or as a side to  a cooked breakfast.

I shall buy in bulk carrots, swede and parsnips next week and get them into the freezer.   It helps a lot in the winter months getting it prepped like this as we always have a hot meal of some sort and if its just prepped you can just pop it in the oven and forget about it.

I am hoping to go for a walk tomorrow afternoon to see if I can find a few elderberries, some rosehips and rowan berries.  I am also after some teasels for Christmas decorations and some small fir cones.  I shall take my foraging basket with me to see what I can find.  I have my eye on some fresh horseradish as well.  It can be grated in the food processor and then popped into ice cube trays to store in the freezer. I would dearly love to find some crab apples but they seem to be evading me at the moment as they make the most beautiful of jellies for serving with roast pork.  If you use the red coloured crabs they give a lovely pinkey hue to the jelly and the yellowy greeny ones give you a golden jelly.  Oh well I shall just have to keep looking.

But I have my hands full in the meantime.

Catch you soon.



Friday, 25 September 2015

Sometimes Giving a little

Gives so much pleasure.  I found a couple of new Disney children's books at the weekend and I immediately thought of my friend's little girl who is a delightful child and so enthusiastic about anything and everything so I took them into work with me on Monday. (Mum is one of my bosses) and a good friend.  Mum was over the moon with the books and she knew her daughter would be too.  That evening she sent me a lovely photo of her reading the book in bed and told me that she was so excited with the surprise. 

Yesterday out of the blue I received a photo with a drawing on the back from her.  I was so chuffed.  She is under three years old but really lovely. But the greatest prize for me was seeing a little girl being a little girl enjoying her childhood and using her imagination and taking pleasure in books which in today's day and age is exceptional. Bedtime apparently is a favourite time of day as she gets read to by either her mum or dad or her brother.

How lovely.

Its always the simple things that bring so much pleasure.



Thursday, 24 September 2015

Waiting for Pay Day - Resourcing Items for the Home

I have a weakness and that is nice things for my home and I am still making and acquiring items for the home I do not yet have but they will all come in useful as I am convinced that one day I will have the home of my dreams.I just know it I can feel it I can sense it.  Timing just is not right yet!

When I was married I had my own home and we had that done out nicely not sparing on quality and refitting the whole house.  My home is my nest and I think that is why it is doing my head in at the moment with it being in such disarray.  But I will get there.  I spend a lot of time looking for things and resourcing them having a real good look around at everything before buying.  But yeterday I have been on a foray window shopping to all intents and purposes at dinner and decided to have a foray in TK Max.  I particularly like their homeware department as you never know quite what you are going to find and at very good prices.  Today for instance there were several items I was particularly interested in:

I need some new Pudding Basins you know the proper ones   I usually get Mason and Cash if I can as they last a lot of years.  Proper ceramic basins are hard to come by - especially as I object to paying full price.  Why Mason and Cash ceramic  for my Christmas Puddings of course. I have used them traditionally for years only throwing said bowls out once the glaze starts to go.  Perhaps it would be better with glass but if I can get them cheap enough I will stick with the ceramic.  The ones I saw today were £2.99 for the medium size and £3.99 for the larger size.  I hope they still have them come pay day.

Secondly I saw the two different sizes of Kilner jars for £5.99 and £6.99 for the medium and largest jars available in sets of three.  There were also some other different preserving jars available.  Yet again I am hoping come pay day they are still there.  It would save me a lot of money if they are.

I am also after some nice glass display ware for the table. I am particularly keen that the table should look attractive going for beautiful china - often second hand and building up collections bit by bit and as cheaply as I can.  A little while ago Marks and Spencers had some Bell Cloche covers at £25 each the sort of glass covers you can put on a plate that keeps the food protected.  I was fortunate enough to buy two for £10 each as I came on them purely by chance in the sale and as I had had my eye on them for sometime I quickly took advantage.  A little while ago I also managed to find some in TK Max and bought a high domed one that would certainly cover a two tier cake plate.  Today I have found small cloches, medium cloches, cake covers  and some beautifully decorated display plates to add to my collection.  For the best part I go for plain glassware as it is very forgiving and mixes and matches in easily with different pieces and can be dressed up or down as required. I buy a little here and a little there and build up collections from scratch.

I am also looking for different sized plain glass hurricane lamps the sort that you can put a large candle in and then illuminate the table adding a different ambience.  I am particularly fond of candlelight especially during the winter months. Yet again I have located them in TK Max.

So it looks as though come pay day I will be paying a visit to TK Max to see if they have any of the items I have my eye on left.  I do hope so.

I also intend to look in the local Charity shops to see what I can resource there as well as a lot of the beautiful things I have acquired are from Charity shops for next to nothing.  I like things to look lovely but I do not like paying through the nose for them.  I also keep my eye on ebay.


Quite a lot of the stuff was not there when I got there on Friday but I intend to keep looking as you never quite know in a store like TK Maxx.  However I did get my two bell Cloche covers for £7 apiece.  I now have one very large round cloche, two medium bell cloches and two small ones.  They will be ideal as food covers or for displaying other Christmas Decorations.   I am particularly after the Mason Cash Pudding bowls and also the preserving jars.  The Mason Cash bowls on average last me approx 8 to 10 years so I get my mileage out of them and they are predominantly used for the Christmas puddings.  I only tend to replace them when the glaze has gone through constant use for the puddings which stains the basins brown.  The preserving jars I need because I am putting more and more stuff down on a yearly basis.The storm lanterns which are plain glass can be dressed up or down hence the reason for me wanting the plain glass.  I have a lot of plain glass standard pieces as they mix in so well with other decorative pieces and candle sconces.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Busy Busy Busy

I have had to stop the bedroom for the time being as I had a rapidly growing ironing pile so I have had to decamp to iron us some fresh clothes especially with the weather having gone chillier in recent days although today has been bright in places but there is that nip in the air that defines autumn.  It was always at this time of the year that we used to go to my Nan's for the weekend to start harvesting the apples particularly the keepers for storing and overwintering and use during the winter months.

I have just sat for 5 minutes to rest my back but no doubt will be back at the slog again shortly.

I have had a very nice tea tonight - OH cooked Shepherd's pie and it was delicious and very warming. Good simple pleasant tasty food that does you good.  I think he is taking the remnants to warm up for his dinner tomorrow to work they have a microwave for the staff's use.

I need to get some veggies frozen down in the freezer as I am fast getting to the bottom of my little stockpile.  Will have to see what they have available at the weekend and I also want to make Pam Corbin's vegetable stock paste as I have nearly run out of that too.  I also have some flapjacks to make for the Macmillan Coffee Morning at work tomorrow.

Right upwards and onwards I hope life is good for you all.  Remember your glass is never empty its always half full.  Just a matter of tempering one's attitude a much more positive way of dealing with things.

Catch you soon.



Monday, 21 September 2015

One of the satisyfing things of...

Having a good sort out is finding things you sort of knew you had but end up re-acquainting yourself with exactly what you have.  Yesterday was like that for me as I have found several part works I have collected and a couple of them are going to be very useful in the weeks to come.  That is satisfying in itself as I have not had to buy anything and I think that for the best part I also have the materials available so double satisfaction. I speak of a cross stitch part-work and also an embroidery part-work collected a lot of years ago. Both of which are going to be useful with some small projects I have in mind.  I want to get back to creating and playing again and I am hoping to do that in the not too distant future and I am also looking forward to getting my sewing equipment and materials neatly sorted out so that I can find them when I want them. 

OH is intending going fishing next weekend so he says so I am hoping to have a little play then.  I want something straightforward but practical to do. A little me time to play. Instead of just doing housework all the time. 

For a long time now I have been collecting and harboring various upholstery fabrics with a view to turning them into a quilt/throw.  Mostly in golds and reds.  Marks & Spencer's a few years ago were selling the quilt/throws which is where I got the idea from.  At the time I could not afford their version.  But you know how something sticks in your mind and just does not budge.  That is what has happened here.  The idea is sort of based very loosely on a log cabin, but it is more free-form than that although uses the same principles.  Its just on a larger scale and not made up of several squares but just one huge one. I need to make two; one for each of the settees.  Well that's the plan.  I can make the tops but will need to purchase batting, backing and wadding.  But at least its a start.  Everything in moderation - take several bites of the cherry if you need to in an effort to get things completed.  That's my recent lesson and one I intend to take into the future.  Hopefully that will free up some more space for something else.  I also have some cushion covers to make.  Yet again I have the fabric but I will need to purchase zips.

OH I also got rid of some craft magazines and some books I did not want a double lilo and footpump from our camping days will also go to them next weekend.  The magazines have been dropped off.  Still a way to go.

Catch you later.



Sunday, 20 September 2015

Sunday Round Up.

Its been a very busy day where things have not happened quickly but I have done a lot of sorting out in the back bedroom and re-stabilised the boxes.  Please see previous post for an update.

Things are never straightforward in this house.  You move some drawers out of a chest that has some linen in it.  Ha think the cats that's nice and cosy I will bed down!  Or I'll run through the door as soon as mum opens it and ends up tripping you up.  They have been helping of course in their usual fashion.  Do not think they are too keen on the chest of drawers having been removed as it was part of their play frame!  Don't tell them but there are a few more things to go yet.

I wasn't really up to cooking a full Sunday lunch not with everything else I have been doing so I grabbed a piece of belly pork out of the freezer yesterday and we have had that roasted  - half each (it was only a small piece cooked flat) and then roasted initially for the first hour at Gas Mark 7 so it goes nice and crispy without adding extra salt.  It turned out delicious and we had it simply with some bread and butter and apple sauce and it was very tasty.  We have a small piece of roast beef for tomorrow night's tea  - am doing veggies tomorrow.  That reminds me have OHs sandwiches to do for tomorrow.  Tuna I think.

I had a small break to watch Downton Abbey and I have a few more bits to do before going to bed.  But overall not a bad day although it it is a little nippy this evening. Just more reason to cozy down under the quilt. 

Catch you soon.



Things to achieve a little bit at a time

I am not putting a time limit on the following as I only get despondent if things take me longer to do than anticipated.  If I get through them quickly however I shall give myself a small pat on the back.

  1. I need to sort out the far corner of the back bedroom in order to move the small linen press (which is used as a craft cupboard).  Once that is done I can move the linen press over.  However there is a bit of a problem.  I have some boxes up against the wall full of books but the boxes are collapsing so I am going to have to sort them out before I do anything else. 
  2.  Once this is achieved I can then move the linen press from its current position and move it in front of the boxes.  I then need to sort and organise the contents of the linen press.
  3.  I can then sort the drawers out and put in some of my craft equipment so I can find things.  That would be very good.   
  4. I can then sort out the new position for the boxes which are full of fragile glass.
  5. Once they are done I can then bring in the small linen/blanket chest and fill with wool.  I have a lot of it and a lot of projects on the go.
  6. I can then move the keyboard and the knitting machines to the top of the two chests.
  7. Remove demi johns from the window cill and get them washed.
  8. Wash windows and put up fresh net curtain so that the window looks presentable.  I also have  blind which I think will fit.
  9. I will then put a thicker pair of curtains up at the window.
  10.  I can then move the two chests of drawers from the dining room to where the linen press was originally situated.  They are to be double-stacked one on top of the other. 
  11. Sort out upholstery fabric bought for throws and start to cut, sew and assemble. Once throws are complete source wadding and backing and then mount and tag/  Finish off attaching trim by hand. 
    So there is quite a bit to do.

    Right am off to bed catch you soon

  1.  I have managed today to sort the corner out with the collapsing boxes.  A lot of it was due to the fact the boxes were not full.  So I have chucked out the boxes which are no good and repacked the books back so that the boxes are stabilised and will not fall.  Very chuffed at getting this done. It has been time consuming but I have also found books I had forgotten I have.
  2. The Linen press has been moved and put in front of the boxes with books.  The contents of the Linen press will be sorted later.
  3.  The drawers are in situ but I do have to sort the contents. T
  4. The boxes with the fragile glass have also been sorted and re-stacked and I have sorted a load of craft magazines by title.  Will need to sort the months out next.

 Slowly however things are starting to come together.  I have a lot more to do during the week, but it is starting to clear the clutter in other rooms as well.  For instance I had a load of LPs upstairs but I now have mum and dads.  They are now all stacked together so can be easily found.

Little and often and hopefully I will get there.


    Thursday, 17 September 2015

    Some recent Charity shop finds


    Three pieces of Adderley China £10 for the three.

    A hand embroidered harvest flowers tray cloth with lace edging
    5 little blue and white dessert dishes
    A wooden carved photograph frame to pop this picture of my mum and dad
    6 x 2 pint Original Kilner Jars £22
    A small pansy crochet mat 60pence

    Another small crochet mat 60pence

    small tray cloth £1.25

    Going to be turned into a cushion cover

    Some more Johnsons Berry Ware which I collect

    A small alabaster lamp and shade

    A Wicker Basket £5

    Another pansy mat £1.25

    Tuesday, 15 September 2015

    Some of the Needlepoint Panels I have worked for cushions/cushion inserts

    For Emma Kate

    Some of the Needlepoint panels I have worked for cushions/cushion inserts and pictures

    This last one is still being worked.



    Pleated/Smocked Cushion tutorials

    My Nan made me some of these pleated cushions when she was alive but over time they wore out.  I have been looking for a tutorial ever since.~Did not find any for ages and then found two in the same day.    I plan to have a go  at these during the winter months, particularly the long evenings.  These cushions are extravagant to look at but the shops charge an arm and a leg for them.

    I plan to make mine out of some recycled velvet curtains bought for the fabric not  for hanging.  I have several needlepoint panels that I have worked coordinating specifically for putting into cushions as I wanted all the cushions I make to at least blend/coordinate with each other. One of the disadvantages of making them up separately is that they can end up with a different fabric to the next one done and so I have carried on completing the little panels and then will make them up in one fair swoop with either matching or coordinating fabrics.  

    So I have some studying of the tutorials and some working out to do.  I may have a wander at dinner to see if I can find some feather round pads so that when pay day comes I can purchase a couple to have a go at.
    There is also my long neglected clippie rug to complete.   So this and the cushions are the main projects for me for this winter's crafts.  I would like to get them done.  the clippie rug is being worked from recycled jeans.  More hardwearing for the floor.  I am making a small rug for the kitchen.


    It is going to be interesting as my Nan gave me the chart for marking out the cushion panels but no instructions on how to use it.  From a brief recce of the instructions I think I have a better idea now.  Just need some time to sit and play. 


    It would seem that Debbie Shore has got to grips with the smocking for cushions and bags etc and I think there is a tutorial in her new magazine "Sew Inspired" and also on the Internet.

    She can be contacted on

    You Tube





    /debbieshore 44

    and on her blog at

    And there is also a bag pattern from Mrs Shore in the publiction Bags Hats and Accessories which I quite like the look of.

    Sunday, 13 September 2015

    Getting Overwhelmed

    Because I have hardly been home for the past 8 weeks the house is in a mess and I just feel overwhelmed by it.  It doesn't matter what I seem to do and I end up chasing my tail.  Now girl you have to get this in hand and perspective and do little by little  Tomorrow is  new day and I have to keep chipping away at things.

    We did go to the tip today and got rid of some more rubbish which is a bonus but there is still loads more to go.  Keep chipping away keep positive you will get there in the end.

    I haven't been in the mood to cook properly which is unlike me.  I set off with good intentions.  Like last night I got some pork loin out of the freezer for tonight's dinner and then could not face cooking a full lunch.  So I improvised and we have had roast pork and apple sarnies instead.  Not what I intended but hey ho still something to eat. (very nice they were too and there is plenty left for pack up tomorrow).

    Now then where do we start..........

    The dining room is done apart from the storage of furniture.  

    Me thinks the bedroom is next - if I can get everything sorted in there and neatly sorted out so I can find it I stand a chance of getting  some of mum's furniture in there as well.

    In my cleaning routine I usually start at the top of the house and work my way down.  So the bedroom it is then.  I will start that tomorrow.

    Do any of you ever get overwhelmed and if you do how do you deal/solve it.  Would love to hear from you.

    Take care and catch you soon.



    Sunday Ramblings

    Good morning well it seems bright so far this morning a proper mellow start to the day.

    Well the furniture seems to have come through unscathed overnight and the cats seem to think the way we have stacked everything is perfect and is their new climbing frame! Lets just say they all found a spot and seemed to be pretty comfortable when I went through first thing hardly stirring which is unusual for them. Its going to take me a few days to incorporate mum's bits room by room but hey ho Rome wasn't built in a day.

    On closer inspection the blanket box has a tray with a box in the top what I believe is referred to as a candle box and  has beautiful dove tail joint features.  It does need a complete rub down and some attention but that can happen in due course.  I am now going to have somewhere to store some of my blankets, throws and quilts which is a win win as far as I am concerned. Especially as I nearly always have a crochet blanket or two on the go and still have plans for the patchwork quilts.  

    We can only do what we can do however and for the past 8 weeks I have been otherwise occupied and hardly in my own home. However now that we are slipping into the darker nights I hope to get stuck in where I can a bit at a time and a room at a time.  This will also involve some decluttering of those items that no longer suit my needs and a thinning out of some of my books which is going to be extremely painful but does need doing especially as every so often I find new treasures but then again I am a person who uses books extensively.  I have tried with a kindle and although I see advantages it is just not a book and the whole experience well it just isn't the same.  Give me my books any day.

    Mum and Dad liked books too although they had thinned out their collection by the time we came to sort mum's out.  However there are lots of LPs, Videos, CDs, DVDs and software etc.It was quite funny really as my brother and I were sorting out the LPs I remembered the first couple that my Dad had bought and I asked my brother if he remembered - he did which surprised me as he does not always remember things.  An album by a gentleman called Tony Mercer who was one of the "Black and White" Minstrels  and who had a lovely voice in his own right and a Hawaain music album.

    I also have two crochet throws to complete.  My mum asked a while back if I would make a couple of lap throws for my Uncle and Aunt.  When she was admitted to hospital for the second time I started to work one of them and then ran out of wool and did not have an opportunity to go out and get more so I started the second one so both are partially done.  To tell you the truth whilst I was sat with mum it helped keep me sane because sometimes we would talk, often she would sleep but it gave me something to focus on and kept my hands busy  - my mind was more than busy in any event, but it is very soothing.  It is also a last gift from my mum to my Uncle and Aunt. 

    Now I have loads to do so I had better go and get a wriggle on.OH has just taken Missy out for walkies and the cats need feeding.

    Catch up soon.



    Saturday, 12 September 2015

    Today has been busy and bittersweet

    Today has been a busy day - it started early as today was to be delivery day for some of the pieces of furniture from mums - nothing major  - I do not have much room but have chosen some very ecclectic pieces  needless to say ones with memories.  

    The TV table from mum's dining room was always the TV table at my Nan's.   I had always been under the misapprehension that my Uncle made it (he was a Master Cabinet Maker) but on closer inspection it turned out to be an early flat pack kit still going strong. 

     I love little tables and stools.  I do however have one of my Uncle's stools which also arrived today.  My mum used to rest her feet on it. Two round stools that my brother and I used to sit on as youngsters.  They need recovering but that will give me another project for the winter months. The Piano stool from my childhood that always held the family photographs and sheet music as it has a lift up lid.  We have too many photos to go in there now but I do have some of my father's and grandfather's sheet music which can be nicely stored in there together with some sheet music picked up from Charity shops. The fabric top to the Piano Stool needs replacing.  I have a couple of completed needlepoints that might do the trick will see how it goes.  Alternatively I might work another piece.  I would love a Piano to go with it but I do not think I would squeeze that in where we are.  The Joanna that matched the piano stool was bought for my father's 21st birthday and was an upright.  My Dad started to teach me the scales and asked me to practice whilst he was away training for a new job.  However mum did not realise and thought I was just making a noise and told me not to use it anymore.  When dad finished his training he came home and both he and mum thought I was not interested so they gave it to a young lady who was learning  to play.  Never mind - one day.

    My Maiden Great Aunt Ivy's Needlework box/table.  It is green silk lined  but plain on the outside - very unfussy just like she was and I am very chuffed to have this particular object  She was a beautiful needlewoman her main hobby being crochet but she was good at lots of crafts.

    A  a pine blanket chest that had belonged to a friend of the family and when he was getting rid of it my dearest father bought it home and used it for storing all his photographic gear.  I may give that a going over too.  That friend like my father has long since passed and I was friends with his three daughters as a youngster so I was pleased to find amongst the photographs a beautiful one of the three sisters together.  I shall keep that for remembrance.  Its a long time since I saw the Tomlin girls.

    There are also two plain painted chests of drawers that can stand side by side or stacked. They originally belonged to friends who emigrated to Australia and I had them in my bedroom as a teenager to store my jumpers in.  I may well either have them for jumpers again or maybe for my craft stuff.  But I think the outside will get a revamp and a paint job. We have had great fun getting the drawers back into the right chest as OH and my brother took out all the drawers to transport them.

    My original coffee table has also come home - it was on permanent loan to mum as she loved it so much.

    And her whopping great big mirror that she had in the front room.  I think that I am going to have it on my wall opposite the fireplace so that it will show the reflection of my painting through its glass.  It is gold framed but a really lovely bevel cut glass.

    There are a couple of other pieces as well.

    Fortunately the dining room is now completely done and has been stripped out from top to bottom and the room is lovely and clean so the furniture is stacked in there.  Now I have to start sorting to make room in the rest of the house.  I never make things easy for myself!

    But today has been bittersweet because no one really wants to take their parents' furniture but on the other hand you lose it if you don't.  But on the other hand there have been lots of lovely memories flooding back.

    In the chest of drawers I found my mum's best table cloth hand embroidered  - I had not seen it for years and I found tray cloths  and other embroidered tablecloths, some of which are damaged but I think we can do something with them and so revamp some lovely pieces in a different use and so give them new life and create new memories.

    I am beginning to feel like a sardine.  So I had better go and start and make some room.

    Catch you later.



    Starting to get ready for that "C" Word

    September is the month I start to do this.  My family always did as well namely my grandmother and my mother.  Carefully putting a few luxury items here and there and putting a few pounds aside for the purpose so that when you see an offer you can take advantage.

    During the autumn days pickles, chutneys and bottled fruits were always "Put Up or Put Down" (as well as crops during the summer months) as well as being used on a seasonal daily basis.  I think this was a fall back to the War Years.  My Nan was lucky to live in  the country and put up all sorts of things even then as well as sharing it with other villagers or those not so well prepared.  She also had a large pantry.  In those days they used to keep pigs and do their own bacon, curing etc as well as home made wine and other goodies.  The pantry I was not allowed in so I always viewed it as a magical place full of goodies.

    Today we don't have any appreciation of what our forebears went through in order to put things on the table and the eking out of certain ingredients to do something really special.  We all rush to the supermarket   - what would you do if the supermarket was not there?  That's one of the other reasons I go for ingredients and then make things from scratch - you know what is going into everything.  Because of my medical conditions I have to watch what I eat - no pre-processed food it blocks up the natural system of the body and clogs up the arteries.

    Tinned goods in particular were popped up - especially tinned salmon considered a luxury but one of the few items that did not fall under restrictions during the war years.  Even now I always keep tinned salmon in as you can cook with it and I usually turn them into home made fish cakes.  I love them OH does not.  He is not a fan of tinned salmon preferring tuna.  So when I make a batch of fishcakes as there is nearly always too many for me to eat I freeze the rest and just get them out of the freezer when the fancy takes me.

    September is traditionally the month I start getting ready for the "C" word.  If you read back through my blog you will see that I seriously advocate buying a little extra here and there if and when I can afford it and I keep copious lists. During the early part of the year I make sure the freezers are well stocked and the tinned pantry and dry ingredient pantry similarly so. I watch the sell by dates and only buy if there is a long stop date on. I keep a good stock of various ingredients and never let those run out.  Even when I make batches of jam or chutneys or pickles I have a separate shelf for the Christmas stuff usually a couple of jars of this or that added from a batch of something or the go into the big red box under the stairs which I add to.  In fairness certain things that I use on a regular basis like cranberry or redcurrant jelly if they are on offer I will buy a couple of jars and store them in the Christmas Box even though they will be in use throughout the year and not just for Christmas and then if there is anything left from the Christmas stockpile after Christmas it is put into everyday use.  Its a win win situation really.  I try and get most of the food stuff sorted by the beginning of December then I can concentrate on finishing things off and wrapping presents etc. A few jars of home made preserves usually go down well as extra Christmas presents.

    Christmas is going to be very different this year without mum. Mum would always come to us initially on Christmas Day but when my nephews were born we swapped days and Mum and Dad woul go to my brother for Christmas Day so as to see the boys open their presents.  They would then come to us on Boxing Day.  In our family Christmas has always been about being with family - family is important and it does not matter where you go in the world they will still be your family and those you are closets too. But most of all Christmas was for the children(including the inner child of the big children) and we celebrate what we have i.e. good food on the table, being in work, having a roof over our heads etc.  We always raise a toast at the Christmas table to absent friends and those no longer with us. Iti s one of our little rituals.

    We learned many years ago not to go over the top and to pay for things and put them up as we go along.  That way we do not end up paying for things into the New Year or living beyond our means."Cutting our cloth according to our kelt".  Besides there's no need to spend oodles of money on a present.  I prefer to buy presents - but sometimes its not possible - like with my nephews.  I think the world of them but I do not know what they are quite into (to the younger generation I am dotty Aunty Tricia).  So that's why I give them money and they then choose what they would like to buy or put it too.  I would rather have something that I would like than something that has no meaning to me.  That includes second hand items if I really really like them.  I am not fussy but I do see the practicalities of sometimes buying second hand or from a charity shop. I think that this stems from the fact that when we were growing up money was tight - my brother and I were always very conscious of this - and when asked what we would like we would be careful what we said and what we asked for but we never expected anything.  We all have different tastes and different depths of pockets and different values.

    Talking of the C word whilst clearing papers at my mum's we came across a couple of letters from Santa Claus to the boys and we showed my eldest nephew the letters and he remembered them and there were some happy memories associated with them - he went all dewy eyed.  However what he was not aware of was that his dotty Aunty had done them both which he had not appreciated.  He had totally bought into it which I was so pleased about because for every child Christmas should be magic and in my view it is the responsibility of every adult to make it so.  Happiness is a wonderful thing especially through the eyes of a child.  That happiness makes them grow into well rounded adults.

    Catch you later.



    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)