Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Ha Ha Ha . Tuesday Part 2

So, buoyed by the joy of not needing to spend money on a screen repair, Ilspread out my trouser template,  turned my trousers inside out and attempted to compare them.  Becuae they were made up, it wasn't that easy, and I could see that I was going to have to unpick them to get the fabric flat again.  But if I unpicked them,  souldn't be able to put them back on to see what else was wrong.

I realised that I might be able to check some parts (like the side seams and the waist) without unpicking, so I decided to do that first.

When I laid the fabric on the pattern, it was miles out.  WTF?!?    Had I accidentally cut all fronts or something?  No, I hadn't. I was sure of it.  I was reasonably sure of it.

How on earth had I cut it so wrong. 

And then I saw what I had done.

What an unbelievably stupid mistake.

I hadn't put any seam allowance on my master pattern.

If you don't sew, then you probably don't really understand what sort of stupid this stupid is.

It's like....making a cheese sauce and forgetting the cheese.  It's like pouring a pint into a half pint glass.  It's like wondering why your DVD isn't playing, when it turns out you've been pressing the buttons on the wrong remote control.

What a dopey dopey dopey thing to do. 

What a waste of fabric.

But at least it explains it.

I'm going to add my seam allowances now, and then try again.

I bet you can't wait to see how this turns out!

Ha Ha ha. Tuesday P1.

I got up on Tuesday, and my knee looked better.  The ice packs had really helped.

Determined to make some progress, I cleared the table and got the pattern templates out.

I saw my tablet, and checked it.  The crack had spread. It had been a small crack last night. This moening  I googled to see if repairs were possible and was heartened to see that there were DIY kits.   I also messaged our local techy place who came back with some info and a price indication. 

I looked at the screen again and saw that I had obviously put on a tempered glass protector. Was that holding the screen together?

"I wonder...?"

I lifted the edge of the protector slighly, a teeny bit, just to see.  To my delight, it looked like the screen underneath the protector might, just might, be OK.   I carefully took the protector off a bit more, a bit more, a bit more.  Eventually it was off completely. The screen looked....OK!

How lucky was that!?!

I ordered a new one immediately.

And then I got back to my trousers.

Ha Ha Ha. Part 3.

Sensible side of brain "Go and Get it".  Other side of brain : "It's not raining. Leave it"

Sensible won.

I walked around DH's car in the dark. No parcel.    Had it been stolen?? 

An irritated short sigh escaped from my nose.  I limped in to the house and retrieved a torch.  I looked round the car again. No parcel.  "In front of Car".  I tried opening the car door. Locked.   Maybe it was under the car?  I couldn't see.  I looked at the ground.  My knee said "please don't".  I tried to get down on the other  knee, but that didn't work.  I held my breath and lowered myself on to my bashed knee.

No parcel.

I checked the card again. " "In front of Car".   I checked agains the fence and the gate in front of the car.  I olooked in the bushes in front of the car.

By now, I didn't care what the parcel was.  I'd sort it out tomorrow.

I looked around the rest of the garden.

And then I saw it.   It wasn't "in front of the car" at all.    Well, it was  in front of the car in the sense that it wasn't behind the car,  nor was it by the side of  the car.  Technically, I suppose, that meant it was  in front of the car.  Except it was no where near the car.  Or the front of the car.

"Next to the bin" would have been a slightly more accurate and helpful description.

Ha ha ha. Part 2

Monday continued being very Monday-ish, and I won't bore you with the minutaie of the rest of the day.

I checked my fabric stash for suitable test-pant fabric.  None.  I looked online to see the price of cotton drill and the best places to buy it.   I'd have to go out on Tuesday and get some, after I'd Cleared The Table.

Last night, DH was going out, and I was dropping him off. As I was out, I decided to go to Ikea.  I had some bits and pieces to get and if I went now it would save me psyching myself up for a trip later.  I got there at about 8pm.   I managed to park OK, so far so good.  I started to walk from the car park  to the store, and decided to check the locations of the items on my list on the Ikea Store app, to see if I needed to go round the store of whether I could just nip straight to the Market HallWarehousey bit.  Such a great App!


I was splayed on the floor and heard my tablet skittering over the roadway.

I'd not noticed the hunking great kerb around a parking bay.

Full of embarrassement, I jumped up, and retrieved the tablet, stuffing it into my handbag.

A man a few feet away shouted "Are you alright?"  I looked up and saw several groups of people had stopped their car stuffing to look.      "Yes, thanks", I said.  Then I added in a loud voice, aerticulating what I suspect they were thinking "It's my own stupid fault for looking at my tablet instead of  watching where I was going".I rolled my eyes and smiled.

 I turned round.  Ow, ow, ow, ow.  Effing OW!  My knee hurt. I paused. God, this was so embarrassing. Breathe. Walk, just walk away.     Someonw on the side I had turned round to said  "Are you OK?"  I smiled again, rolled my eyes at my stupidity. "Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking. I should have watched where I was going".  (Ow, ow, ow, I think I'm going to cry.  How pathetic am I?)

An Ikea staff member came running up "Are you sure  you're OK?" he asked.  "Yes, I'm fine, thank you..  I'm just really embarrassed".  I walked purposely off, gritting my teeth and trying not to limp.

I was genuinely touched by everyone's concern,  but I was really embarrassed.  I wasn't embarrassed about tripping,  I was embarrassed that I had tripped because I was looking at my tablet instead of where I was going.    I was embarrassed because what I was really thinking to myself was "It serves you  right!"

I reached the sshop doorway, took a deep brath and walked through.  Up the escalator (OW, ow, ow, it hurts when I stand still, OW), I need to see what I've done.     At the top, I saw a store map, so I stopped by it and, while pretending to study it,  I stood and did some flexes to see what I'd done.   "Go to the toilet and take a proper look" said one side of my brain; "If you do that, you'll cry", said the other.    I stood there, bent diwn slowly to "pull my sock up" and looked at the blood on the knee of my jeans.  "Good job you were wearing jeans" I thought.

I decided I hadn't broken anything, I'd just whallopped and grazed my knee/  My My palm was slightly grazed, but the knee had taken almost all of the impact. I was very lucky really.  Good job I hadn't damaged the tablet!   Had I?

I got it out and tilted it in the light.  A telltale crack.   Fudge. Fudge. Fudge.  Nothing I could do about it now, I'd see what could be done when I got home.  I was here now, I might as well get on with what I came for.

I got round the ship as fast as my limp would let me.  The pain will go, I've only fallen over. Think about something else.

I didn't look at anything apart from the bits I had on my list.

Except when I got to the textiles.   I went in to buy a Vinter 14 panel. It's a fabric panel with a very realistic Christmas Tree on, that you can decorate.  It's really effective.   I bought 2.   When I was looking for it,  I saw that they had some thick fabric - possibly suitable for test trousers - at £4/metre.  It would save me a trip out tomorrow and I'd be able to get going on my test-trousers first thing.

There were lots of different options, some of them really colourful. I dithered.  I dithered. I dithered.  The sensible half of my brain was screaming "For f's sake!  Just pick any!!! You're not going to wear the damn things".       The other side said "Yes, you're right. Let's take this.......oooh, look at this one. Or that one.  No this one.  Oooh, look at this, it's so purdy (=pretty)"

The store announced that they were closing shortly.  I still had wardrobe lighting to get.   My sensible side shouted "just pick ANYTHING!!!!!!!!  We'll come back another time to get the pretty stuff!!!!!!!".  I grabbed a plain light coloured fabric,  measured out 5 metres (I'm expecting to have to make a couple more test pairs), got it bagged and weighed,  and I was done.on.

The rest of the store trip was uneventful.  I got home at about 9.30pm.  I was desperate for a drink of water and some painkillers. I wanted to get some ice packs in t the freezer so I could ice my knee.

I remembered to turn off the alarm.   I got inside the door and saw a "we tried to deliver" card.  It was too late to pop next door to collect it, but I checked which side they'd given it to.  They hadn't.  It said my parcel had been left "in front of car"......

Ha ha ha. Part 1.

I spent some time with the wonderful Judith from Surefit Designs UK adapting my trouser ("pants") master pattern. I promised that I would make a test pair ASAP to test the alterations we had made.

It's a good job Judith made me promise, as all my good intentions would (probably) have dissolved.   I decided that I'd cut the fabric out on Sunday and have a go at sewing on Monday.   I decided to take a bit of a short cut on Sunday and, instead of tracing off a copy of the master pattern, I simply used waxed carbon paper and traced directly on to the fabric. The were test trousers, not to be worn, so it didn't really matter.

It worked like a charm.  I also carefully wrote "WSB" and "WSF" ("wrong side back" and "wrong side front") on the pieces, in several places.  In addition - not one to do things by halves - I  chalked "F" and "B" in big letters on all sides.  In several places. It would be vsible everywhere, making it much easier for me to ensure I'd sewn up correctly.

So far, so very good.

On Monday,  I sewed them up. Great practice in remembering the order of construction for trousers, and they didn't seem so scary.   My seams were really good - I did the in a contrasting thread so I could see them easily, Because they were test trousers, I used a looong stitch so they were really quick.  I realised I had forgotten to do my darts,  so I pinned those.

It took hardly any gtime at all.  I couldn't wait to get them on.

I couldn't get them on. In my excitement, I'd sewn all the seams. Silly me.  I unpicked the back seam, and I trued again.

They didn't fit.

They were shaped OK,  They were a bit narrower than I expected, but of course they would be - 5/8th seams is quite a lot off - 1 and a quarter inches off each sode on each leg. .  But what I couldn't understand was that the fabric didn't meet at the top.

What on earth had happened?

Had I cut them incorrectly?  Had I sewn a front to a front instead of a front to a back?  Were the pattern adaptations correct?

I needed to check the trousers angainst my adapted template (to see if I'd cut them incorrectly),  and then the template against the original template  to see if the adaptations were correct.

In the time since I'd cut the fabric and sewn the pieces, the "cutting table" (aka the kitchen table)  had become piled high with stuff.  It wasn't going to be a quick clear, either (although I briefly imagined just sweeping everything on to the floor).

I decided I'd do it tomorrow (today).

I had other stuff to do in the meantime.

My day didn't get any better.

Sunday, 27 November 2016


I made a List this morning,  writing down a list of what I need to do.   I used to use lists all the time and had a rule that made me do things then and there if it was more time-effective than writing it down.  I used to get a humungous amount of thigns done, and I could carry my list in my head.

Not now.  I don't know if my memory really is getting as bad as I think, or whether I just CBA (can't be bothered) to do some things and conveniently forget them. 

Anyway, the written list helped.   I did find myself doing some things which weren't "on the List".  What made me laugh at myself is that I then added them to "the List", and then crossing them off.

I'm definitely procrastinating,  I'm doing it right now by writing this blog (which activity wasn't on The List) because I don't really want to do the next thing.

On the plus side, I've followed up with my Aunt about her energy tariff, and I've been in touch with another Uncle to see if he would like help reviewing his tariff.  He didn't, thank you for asking though. (A bit of a result really, from a List point of view),  AND I was able to help him with a cooking question.

I used to have a rule about procrastinating when it came to things I didn't really want to do.  The rule was that I considered whether the thing really  needed doing or not.  If it didn't, well, just don't do it and stop wasting effort avoiding it.  And if it did,  well, just get on with it. 

Doing something is a lot less hassle than avoiding doing it.

I know I'm right, so I'm going to go and do it.  Or at least make a start on it.  After I've taken the chickens some fresh water.  

No. Really. I AM going to do it.  I AM. 


I'm turning into a fuddy duddy.

I had a day out doing some sewing-related learning.  Yes, it was a slight drive (about an hour and a quarter each way),  and yes, I did have to concentrate, but even so...

I phoned DH just before I left to come home so he could order a takeaway (deliverto might be more of an accurate description) to coincide pretty much with my scheduled arrival.   Two delivertos in two weeks, not exactly somethign to be proud of.

Ate food, watched one thing on TV, dozed off.  Woke up an hour and a half later, got up and went to bed.  I was just dozing off when the raido came on, signalling it was 10pm.

What a racy life, eh?

Sunday, 20 November 2016


Bonzo Dog DooDah Band at the London Palladium yesterday.

We last saw them in 2006  at the Shepherd's Bush empire.    That night they had Phil Jupitus (and Ade Edmonson, I think) taking Viv Stanshall's role.   Because of the nature of the venue, we couldn't really see that much, but the sound was perfect/

We went to see "three Bonzos and a piano" at an arts venue in Windsor, Berkshire, 4? years ago, and that was great.

The show at the Palladium was fab.  Most (but not all) our favourites were played.   The audience was appreciative.  A little girl sitting in the row behind was bored bored bored, and kept kicking the back of the seat. It reverberated all down the row to our seats. In the interval, I asked her dad to stop her doing it. He said he hadn't realised.  She still did it in the second half.

The Viv role was taken by a chap I didn't know. I've just Googled, and his name is Michael Livesley - he did a fab job.     We spent a lot of the journey home trying to think of comedians who had a good enough voice to take the Viv role,  and struggled to think of any of the "current crop" (by which I mainly mean people we see on shows like  8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown or Taskmaster. ) who could pull it off.

Before the show we ate at Balls and Company in Greek Street.  They're a "gourmet meat ball" restaurant.  We rarely eat out as a couple these days, so we pushed the boat out a bit. Definitely a success - I didn't find myself thinking"I could have made a better x than that".    I loved their squash Arancini (I love Arancini anyway) so much, that I'm going to make squash risotto (followed by squash Arancini) at home.

Even my cocktail was lovely. I can make a very acceptable Sour myself and, as I drank theirs, I thought,"yep, this is better than mine".    I'm out of practice, and I think I'm going to have to get back in practice.

Everywhere was heaving last night. The trains were packed, the tubes were packed as though it was a weekday rush hour. There had been a problem at LIverpool Street, and I think that caused a bit of a backlog.    Even after the show, there were just so many people trying to get funnelled down into the tube.    We got to Paddington really quickly, and the mainline traine home was also packed, with many people having to stand.  I don't really understand why they didn't have a slightly longer train.

We got home soooooo late.  Or, from another perspective, so early.   We're old fogeys now, so anything after about 10.30 is "late".    Anything that means "in the early hours of the next day" usually only happens on 1st January!

We certainly know how to live!


Saturday, 19 November 2016


It's been a erratic few weeks.

I splashed out on a 3 day sewing retreat. To use a rather hackneyed phrase, it was "well outside my comfort zone", but I really wanted to learn. 

Day 1 was fine. Journey to the retreat was incident free and fast,  easy to understand what was going on, lots of progress.   Day 2 I woke up in my hotel room and I was really really unwell.  The lady running the retreat was really kind, but  DH had to come and collect me in the end.   Day 3, I was still too unwell.  Bit of a shame really.

The illness continued  well into the last week and, even now, I'm not quite  right.   I did have a massage treatment booked, and that really helped.

The lady who ran the Retreat has very kindly offered to spend half a day with me one-to-one so I can catch up on some of the key bits. 

I did a birthday card for our eldest grandson,  and one for DH.  EGS's card was a bit basic, so I haven't taken a picture.    DH's card was a great idea in theory,  didn't come out quite as well as I hoped.... but it made him chuckle. i'll try and take a pic later.

Before I went on the Retreat I did a card for my lovely MIL
I spoke to my lovely MIL on the phone today, twice.  The second time, she couldn't remember if she had hung up the first time or whether the phone had died; she enjoyed the conversation though, both times.   

This afternoon  I  did a card for youngest grandson. It's not his birthday until next week,  but I thought I'd get it done in case DS1 pops over to see his dad.   Unusually, I don't think we'll be able to  get over to them on DGS's actual birthday

Over at the allotment,  we've noticed that the flock is currently split in two coops.   There are quite a few moulting, and they are a bit snippety. 

For the last few days we've been letting the 2 young girls mix with the main flock for a short period of time. This also enables them to learn the layout of the main flock area and, more importantly, find their way "home".   

Ideally with just 2 of them, we'd like to wait until they were a bit more mature (they are 25 weeks) before trying to integrate them; s introducing 2 to a flock of 13 means they are likely to get a it bullied.    However, the cold weather (and the promised bitter winter)  means they could really do with being in the main flock.   Needs must: so, if the weather is dry on Monday, we'll be opening up their fence and leaving it open.  

As well as possible pecking and bullying issues, there is a  risk hat some of the other chooks may take a fancy to the Littlees'  coop and refuse them entry. .  So, of course, we'll go back and check that they are OK and that they manage to get to bed.

 At home the moulting continues,  although now we're on to the new feather shafts phase.   Sasha has finished her regeneration.   Fleur, the hen that was being bullied,  is ahead of the others, but is still being picked on by Sasha.  Even Fay has had the screaming abdabs at Fleur.  

Izzy's health has declined a little, so we're keeping a close eye on her.   We've bought two electric heat pads and have one under a bed upstairs and one under a bed downstairs.   It seemed like a bit of an indulgence, but they've been worth the money.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016


I'm a little worried about Fleur,  my cuckoo marans hen.

She is one of  3 hens hatched last year.   She and her 2 step sisters (Sasha the Appenzeller, and Fayoumi the Fayoumi) were a happy little flock of 3.  When they were ready to lay, we introdiced them to our 2 existing girls (Gloria and Poppy, both Australorp x Welsh Black). 

Poppy had lived under the reign of terror from a b*tch of a bird called  Millie.  Millie was a bully, a relentlessly horrible, horrible bully.  At first, we thought she was just dominant,  but eventually we realised that she was just plain nasty.   I've never known a chicken like her before, or since.   Anyway, in the end we had to cull her,  and I wish I'd bitten the bullet and culled her earlier.

This has had a profound effect on Poppy.  When we introduced the 3 youngsters last year, Poppy was keen to make sure she didn't lose her place as number 2.    She wasn't evil like Millie, but she was determined.   In the many months since,  she has not accepted the 3 youngsters.    Unlike Millie, she doesn't seek them out to bully them,  but she does gven them a sharper-than-necesary peck if they ever get in her path.

Until she started moulting,   Fleur was mostly oblivious to Poppy's attempts at domination.   She got pecked, she jumped, she then carried on as though nothing had happened.  It was almost as though she was oblivious to the hen pecking attempts.

She spent most of her time with the other 2 youngsters, going round in their mini flock.  She also spent time with the older girls,  it didn't seem to occur to her that she was perhaps not welcome.

If I was feeding corn from my hand, she and Gloria would eat, and Poppy would not.   Poppy  - mostly - stopped pecking Fleur, but carried on with the other two.  It seemed to me as though Fleur was number 2, and Poppy was number 3.

And then the moult started.   Fleur moulted most quickly and most dramatically.  I suspect that she was the subject of pecking because of that;  I suspect the feather lost meant that, for =the first time, she really felt the pecks.  Then everyone else was moulting too, and the hormones made everyone crabby.

I noticed that Fleur seemed to be on her own quite a bit.  I saw that she was being henpecked by Gloria and Poppy.    And then I saw her running away squealing from Sasha.     And then from Fay.

She waits until the others go to bed before she goes in at night. 

She gets in the coop woth the big girls, and sits as far away from them as possible.  In the morning,  she stays in the coop until the others have been let out.

If they are shut in the run together, she eats and drinks in snatches, and runs away as soon as Sasha or Fay look at her.    I did see her rootling round in the Run next to Poppy and Gloria today, and my heart lifted .   A little later, she ran away when Sasha looked at her.

She looks healthy.  She's eating and drinking.  She's just completely lost her confidence.

I'm hoping that her new feathers will be in place before everyone elses, and I'm hoping tht she feels better then.

And I'm hoping she re-asserts herself.

Thursday, 3 November 2016


The Garden Girls are squabbling more than ever. 

Poppy has never accepted the 3 youngsters.  Gloria is top chook and doesn't have to worry.

All 5 are moulting heavily, and I think this is making them hormonal, crabby and intolerant.  I suspsect it also means they are hypersensitive to any touch (I've not been picking them up at all, I know theu *hate* it when they are moulting) and this isn't helping.

They have two Cubes to choose from.  Poppy continues to be a bit of a bully.  Two of the younger ones, Fay (the Fayoumi) and Fleur (the Marans), continue to try and sleep in the CUbe with Poppy and Gloria.  Sasha, the little Appenzeller, sleeps in the other Cube on her own.

There's a lot of squawking from the four-hen Cube.  And there's a lot of screehing in the morning.   The other evening I went out and took Fay (who was screeching) and put her in with Sasha.  Fay screeches in anticipation of anything happening, and has a big voice for a tiny bird.

There was even more screeching in the morning.

Fleur, who has the most extreme moult of all of them,  doesn't like going back in the Run in the evening, In the mornings she stays up in the Cube for longer.  I think she's feeling particularly sensitive.

I'm giving them extra protein to help with the feather renewal.

I hope it calms down soon.

Just in time

i've been so busy with work, I've not had time to do anything else.
I sent my daughter-in-law a shop bought card, as I didn't have time to make anything.

My sister in law was 60 recently, so I stayed up late one night  to make her a card.  I used glitter felt, which was really effective, and made a balloon.  It's really sparkly, much more so than the picture suggests.  I kam snapped a ribbon loop on (although I doubt very much she hung it up!)

  I had a pic of an alsation on some fabric (she likes alsations), and I used that on the back. It's not really like her dogs though, so was probably not a great idea.

I had a migraine for a couple of days last week,  which played havoc with my work deadlines.  I had a chiro appointment, and my lovely Chiro spent some extra time with me trying to help.    I made her a thank you card to match her therapy room's decor. It was a bit basic, but I'm sure she will have appreciated the effort.
IAnd it's my darling step daughter's birthday tomorrow.  I made her a card
I also made a lavender and sheeps wool stuffed gingerbread cat for my daughter in law, but I didn't manage to take a picture. It snelled lovely. At least, I think it's lovely. But I'm getting old now.

Lots more November birthdays, it might be mainly shop cards this year.

Another goodbye

DH had to cull one of the Allotmenteers today.
But pleased he can do it, so there's no suffering for the girl while we work out what to do.

We've been relatively lucky. I anticpate we'll go through a stage where we have quite  a few go at around the same time, because we have quite a lot from one particular hatch.

But not today.

And it means there's space for the two babies, I guess.