Wednesday, 31 October 2012


It is Halloween but nary a ghoul nor ghost has rattled on the door knob tonight. Even though we have treats for them. The howling wind and occasional showers may be keeping them indoors.

It is the end of my three days off work and while lots got done, lots didn't. However, no beating myself up here, I also deserve a break.

Hannah's blanket is tantalizingly close to being finished, well the rows are. It will need a border, but not long now.

I have been slowly editing my yarn and fabric stashes and tonight I offer to anyone who might like to comment on this lowly blog:

100gms of 12ply Boucle Mohair


It is all the way from Oz, and is enough to make a scarf. I had plans to make a beanie with it, but I am just not a mohair sort of gal really. It itches me too much and while the colours are GORGEOUS, this pile of yarn needs to go to someone who will love it and use it. If you click on the photo below you should be able to make out the details. The actual tag is nowhere near as faded as this.
Just stick a comment on my blog (not a rude one please as that will not be counted) before Saturday 10 November to be in the draw.
Could be the perfect Chrissie pressie for someone...

Monday, 29 October 2012

Walking with daughters

On this half term Big J and I were determined to do something with the girls. Trips to London or Brighton tend to be the norm, but this time, we thought we would take them to Cuckmere Haven and show them the sights. The incentive for this being that their Dad is visiting from Japan soon, and he wants to see the Seven Sisters.....they would have first hand knowledge for his trip here.

But as we approached the coast the heavens opened and we had to re-think. We headed for the Badgers Tea House in Alfriston which makes the most delicious cheese and pecan nut scones.......yum. With their soup they are hard to beat.

The rain continued to blow in in squalls so the walk had to be postponed. We did snatch a few very windy moments on the beach at Seaford Head - with waves pounding - it was fantastic.

I love the sea when it is rough.

We are all home now, warm and dry. It wasn't quite the great adventure we had hoped for, but we all had a happy time.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Using up leftovers

With the remaining bulgar wheat for the Furmity, I made this today.
Apricot Bulgar Pudding

It looks lovely, smells delicious and with luck, will taste as nice.

RESULT: Zesty and tasty especially when warm.

New baby!

It has been talked and talked and talked about in this house, mainly by Big J and me, about getting a dog....yes, we have a cat, yes we have three youths, yes we both work part time, but the hankering got stronger.

We then spent time seriously considering are we right for a dog? Can we rehome a dog? (preferred option), how would a new dog and our wussy pussy ever get to tolerate one another, let alone bond?

Em was not keen at first as her loyalties are with Bosley. She asked some very shrewd questions.
Hannah and Adam were not here, but we spoke to both of them to make sure that they were comfortable with us persuing this.

It is a huge life-changing decision and to be honest, not an easy one. Lots of people have been so helpful. The Dogs Trust gave us loads of advice. Blue Cross did too. We spoke to the vet and the nice lady in the privately owned pet food shop (not a chain - although we do have one of those big shops here in town now).
The long and the short of it was that to help our Bosley adjust to this intrusion in his life, a young dog is best, one that can be trained to realise Bosley is not for tormenting. That led us to the Kennel Club list for suitable dogs and also onto puppies for sale sites. Warnings about puppy farms and ruthless traders abound. In a way it is almost too much information. But one photo of a litter of straight legged Jack Russell pups pulled on some heart strings and we decided to have a look.

I had my heart set on a bitch, please don't ask why, and also a broken coated one, rather than smooth. I called the owner this morning to ask some questions and show my/our interest and he told me that there was only one bitch left and someone else wanted to see it as well. We decided on the spot to go and see them. We told ourselves that we would be objective and there would be other pups.

We met mum and granny, very nice looking girls and very friendly. We met two pups, one male, a bit shy and small and one female who was a very solid little thing, much bigger than her brother, she wagged her tiny tail and nibbled on my sleeve. In fact she had a little nibble on both John and Em too. We talked a lot, we heard a lot and we decided to take her. She is not ready to come home for a few more weeks.

Here she is

Chubby and cheeky and with a little spot on her head.  We are going to have to let everyone have some input into her name and the next few weeks is about getting us all ready to be a good dog family and to keep our big beautiful puss happy.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Furmity warms the girls but the North Wind brings change...

Given that this recipe was found on the 'Net and has all sorts of nice things in it, the actual result is probably not very like the original version in Thomas Hardy's book  The Mayor of Casterbridge....but the response was excellent. We started off the Book Club meeting with a small bowl each with a tiny splash of rum in it. It certainly lined the stomach, which was a good thing, as it was a late night with much wine consumed. It was a great evening with good friends.

Since that night the weather has turned colder and it is icy today. Han and Adam are away, Big J was at rugby this afternoon and Em and I just kept warm indoors for most of the time. One run to the charity shop to rid us of more unused items and that was all.

But that wind brings change and plans are afoot to alter the line-up of the family in a small way. Watch this space.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Legacy of Dodgy Wayne

Dodgy Wayne was an ok sort of guy. He came to fix our down lights. He told us he could do it at a better rate than his boss and he would take the cash. Dodgy Wayne liked the cat a lot. He has lots of pets. He went to get us some good light bulbs, you need to use good light bulbs he told us, but don't pay the earth for them. He put them in and everything worked and for the first time in MONTHS there was a light above the work bench where I like to cut food and prepare meals.

He gave us a number and left telling us to call if anything goes wrong. He would come running.

Something went wrong. We called, and called and as the days went by each one of the lights failed again. This morning there was one still working out of six.

This morning someone else came and took out the little cracked remants of the 'good' lightbulbs and read the information on the side of the fitting to me that says exactly what is needed for that particular light. He replaced all of them. He was quiet, drank no tea - although I offered - I ALWAYS do - he worked quickly, he told me he sees this sort of thing a lot.

Sigh. We were blinded by Dodgy Wayne. We liked him. The cat liked him. We thought we got a bargain. 

What have we learned? Sadly that even though DW left a trail of trouble, none of us had ANY idea if what we were being told was true. Same goes for this morning's Silent Sparky, only time will tell.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Thomas Hardy & Furmity

Tomorrow night is Book Club and it is my turn to host the event. Our book this time is The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. I have a few pages left to read and have loved the book.

If you know the story, then you will recall the scene in the FURMITY tent in Chapter I. To get us all into the mood for Hardy's West Country characters and their foibles I have decided to make us a pot of the very brew....complete with a splash of rum for those who would like a shot of something to warm their innards!

I will be reporting back on the reaction.

To prepare for this occasion it is necessary to clean and tidy up and you know? I like getting ready for a gathering here.

Tonight I have wiped down doors, kitchen cabinets, the stove front, top and hood. Swept the floor and even cleaned out the micro-wave with a half a lemon blasted  in there to loosen any congealed fat. (Works a treat and smells lovely.)

Tomorrow - with luck - a gas engineer and an electrician will be calling to look at the ever growing list of things that go wrong all at the same time in a house.  We have a leak, three kitchen lights that blow bulbs every few weeks....don't go there! A bit missing off one of the radiators - an unsolved mystery to this day, as well as a few other things. But bite the bullet we must.

I will probably bake something and will have some crunchy veg with dips and some nuts. Wine, water, tea and coffee and a nice clean conservatory to sit in.

Lots to do still, but as I have been up since 5:50 and have been hard at work all day/evening - there is just a little time for me to finish reading the book.


Friday, 19 October 2012

found on FACEBOOK this morning.

Adam wrote: "very fortunate to have a stepmum like mine. Just got home after a week of band related activities and general couch surfing to find a ton of food, ironed clothes and fresh bedsheets.

Thank you Adam. Love you lots. x

Thursday, 18 October 2012

knickers on the table

Here I am, slightly tousled (not had a shower yet) in pjs knowing that work waits, and I have been reading blogs. Fox's Lane I love, and many others. After reading Kate's latest, I thought what a pretty life. People in blog land seem to be organised and have time and get things DONE and get things FINISHED. Wow, thinks me, WOW. Then I looked around at what I am sharing my table with this morning.
Breakfast, too hot to eat,
Two laptops,
and a pile of knickers to be folded and put away. The height of glamour!

There is no way at any time soon I will be allowing you to see into my world folks, the SHAME.

What is on your table/workspace this morning?

Be honest now!!


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

One thing and another

At this time of year I worry about spending money - more than usual, because Christmas looms and with it comes that terrifying notion that one HAS to spend money. Each year I endeavour not to go overboard, to plan well in advance, to stock up early and still end up feeling as if it is all too much.

If you read FQ's blog, you will no that she is encouraging readers not to spend anything at all in October. Good idea. And I have been far more careful than normal, planned meals all week, no charity shop sprees etc. Then disaster strikes and the car gets a flat....and a nail in another tyre and when it goes in, the man tells me a third one is bald......and he was right. So three new tyres.  Then the boiler died. Dead, kaput. And we have to fork out for a new one.

On the bright side. This winter there will be a very warm house and a very safe car on the roads. And I will still be prudent about Christmas shopping, because that still strikes me as spending money for the sake of it!!


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Quick summary of the week

Wednesday was a lovely, lovely day with J in London. We went to The Wallace Collection and had a wonderful time rambling through the rooms, seeing all the works of art. Like J, my favourite was a tiny work called 'The Hired Assassins' which was so perfect it looked like a photograph. It is exciting to think that people are capable of such precision. We went to John Lewis and Liberty to see their gorgeous yarns and I did not buy any!!

Mostly though, we talked about life, family, craft, (crochet included), decluttering, possessions, plans, dreams and notions and we laughed. It was great.

I came home bouyed up by the day and inspired to plug on at the culling and freeing up of my space.

I unravelled a scarf bought at a charity shop and am crocheting it into a cowl.
This was described as fan stitch on the site where I first saw it, but have also seen it called Iris stitch, which is a nicer name....

J told me about her meal/shopping planning and this morning we all put forward ideas for the week. Big J and I did a huge shop and the freezer has been cleaned out and rearranged.

A banana and walnut cake is in the oven now, old bananas and the rest of the items we had in stock. It is a Paul Hollywood recipe, so it should be good. (He is quiet cute!)

RESULT. The cake was amazing, if a bit sweet, but the middle fell out of it..... Paul would not be impressed, but happily the family are. Bless them.

Last night Big J and I went to a black tie dinner dance and wore the same clothes we wore last year and had a lovely time sitting at a table with people we had not met before.

The carpets are hoovered, the ironing is being done (the girls). The air is cold and there is a county rugby match on at the club, so I am going to pop along for the second half once the cake comes out of the oven....

The quilt is on its way to FQ and I have dug out a big pile of scraps for Gill. These will be in the post this week.

And the highlight of the day was that spectacular leap made by Felix Baumgartner over Roswell in the States. We listened to David Bowie as we watched it.....

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

AND THE WINNER IS..............................................

There were two contenders for the OHIO STAR QUILT which was very exciting, as I worried so much that no one would want it and it would haunt my WIP basket forever...... So, I have taken the rather practical and unimaginative step of deciding who gets it, based on who came first to the frey.

That person is none other than FRUGAL QUEEN - but as the other lovely lady GILL was pretty quick too, I have a bundle of FABRIC pieces from my stash which I would like to give to her. Would both ladies send me an email with your postal address and I will send you the parcels.

I will get to the PO on Thursday as tomorrow is a LONDON day with crunchnrustle yippee!

Frugal Queen, please post a picture of the finished quilt when it is done.

Liz x


Monday, 8 October 2012

Mum's birthday

Bless him, but Dad slipped an email out to us all to remind us of Mum's birthday - at 5:43am Queensland time - evening here in the south of England......happy to respond that I was on the case and was the first to phone her.....

But it is Mum's birthday in Australia and today is not her birthday here....tomorrow is (it makes sense to me - the date being 9th October here tomorrow) and that is the day I give away the quilt

I will have to do it after work tomorrow night, but if anyone else is interested, just let me know.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Nightmare snowflakes

Put it down to my health and wracking cough if you like, but the attempts at the crochet snowflake idea has resulted in two terrifyingly ugly creations. They look like old lopsided spiders and are actually a bit creepy.  Another try is in progress, but I can't count today, so it keeps being frogged. I WILL make one nice enough to hang on the tree, but for gifts? BA HUM BUG.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Holed up in bed like Uncle Bobby...

Han very kindly passed on her nasty bug and now mama is coughing and spitting like Great Uncle Bobby - famed for his nicotine induced cough, yellowed lips and fingers. He used to sit on an up turned apple crate on the alter of what was his fish and chip shop, a few steps above the shop floor, in front of the huge frying vats and cough and wheeze while waiting to take orders! This was in the 60s so things were a bit different then!  Anyway, he was a kind if distant old soul who coughed a lot.
So am I really, holed up here in bed with Big J's iPad - far from the activity of the house. The wave blanket is here with me but only one row has been managed. It is such a pain that when one feels ill that with it comes the desire to do NOTHING.
Not the best way to start the weekend, and I hate missing work.

I note with a mixture of awe and panic that some of you are already thinking CHRISTMAS gift ideas and are working away. Me too. I am THINKING about it, but like years gone by, even the best laid plans and all that.... Last year never really got off the ground, on this blog there is evidence of that, but let's not go there.....

If however, I rally this weekend, I want to try and make a snowflake......awwww.. How festive...but chances are a bit like a snowballs' you know where!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Very good news from down under

Dad's cancer in non-invasive - great news for him and mum. Still waiting to hear what needs to be/will be done, but the relief in Mum's voice was palpable.
They are now planning Christmas in Syndey with Artist Sister and Hong Kong Bro and his family.

Lovely, happy news.

Things I like

Pomegranates because they are just so beautiful.

And lillies

Because a few stems can look so sumptuous when they flower. (I buy my flowers in ALDI or a local florist's, both are MILES cheaper than the big supermarkets.)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Snatching time

It seems like a while since the house has been empty - and today there was a slither of quiet time on the cards. Time to tidy and potter in the silence. Maybe do a few rows on the wave blanket.

But, the phone keeps ringing, the doorbell has rung twice in the last half hour and a man with ear protectors is doing something very, very noisy to the lawn.

Still, noise aside, the place is mine to work in.

Big J comes home from Wales tonight. I want him home. Been a bit of a tough week so far.

Please don't forget the OHIO STAR QUILT which is desperately looking for a new crafter to make it whole.

I think later a walk to the shops to buy some flowers is in order. The house could do with flowers.