Thursday, 28 December 2017


It's a beautiful day today, but bitterly cold.   The sun is quite strong, and there are areas of the house which are warm becasue the low rays are forcing their way in.

The bird feeder has been busy all morning. Yesterday we had about 20 birds waiting in the nearby tree, while  10 or so birds clustered round the feeder.
Queing in the tree, waiting for a space on the feeeder

Birds on the feeder (photo taken through window)
The  birds continue to ignore the 'new' feeder, which has premium suet balls stuffed in it.  Cue eye roll.

I popped into town today.  It was really quiet, very sad. I'd expected it to be heaving.  I allowed myself to park in the rip-off car park right by the shopping centre, instead of the cheaper one a bit further away.  I went up to the roof. There were plenty of spaces on all levels,  but I love the view from up there.

I farted around in  one shop for ages, couldn't fnd most of the stuff I had on my list, and decided I'd order online instead.  I also went into Waitrose to get some stuff for dinner on New Years Eve.   That was a waste of time,  I'll have to go back tomorrow or maybe even Saturday.  

I did pick up some reduced price vegetables for the Girls though.  They tried the kale, but waslked off, leaving the pile apparently thesame size as when it started.    Maybe the Allotmenteers will be a bit more grateful?

I've got swede and lettuce for them for later.

The car park was busy when I left, and it took ages to get out.  People were trying to find the one of two empty spaces in the lower levels, instead of going up and enjoying nearly empty floors.  The spaces are quite narrow, with lots of pillars,  so getting in and out often requires a bit of manoeuvring. The car park flow is bck-to-front, so people trying to exiyt have to go up and down each and every level to get out, and this means long queues form while someone is trying to get in to their space. 

I  got home eventually, and started to clear out the fridge,  eating leftovers for my lunch.

I did some clearing up but ran out of steam and have been 'busy' catching up online.     I do want to get some stuff put away though, so I'm going to Get On WIth It, just as soon as I've finished this blog post.


I am going to.

Just as soon as I post this,

Wednesday, 27 December 2017


My pre-Christmas planning suffered something of a hitch.

On Thursday evening I ate something which didn't agree with me.  I spent the next day being ill and sleeping (although I did get up, get showered, and went to deliver a cake.  I got back into bed as soon as I got home).

I lost Friday and Saturday.  Saturday I did actually get up, but I wasn't really functioning and I wasn't able to eat anything after toast for breakfast.  I couldn't face tea, or coffee, or water.     I drank a lot of tonic water both days.

Christmas Eve I did all the usual food preparations, but without the merriness of Madeira.  Late afternoon, I ate a bag of ready salted crisps.  I know it's a strange thing to decide to eat, I can only guess that my body needed the salts replacing, or something.  It worked - a few hours later I actually felt a tiny it hungry, and was able to eat a bowl of weetabix.

Christmas Day happened.  I had an egg for breakfast to see how my tummy was feeling.  It grumbled a bit, but seemed OK.   I cooked lunch,  a bit more stressed than usual.   The  goose was lovely and,  I ate a reasonable sized lunch.   Still no alcohol.    Afer the washing up and clearing away,  we watched TV,  no energy for anything else.

Boxing Day also happened, and I felt much better in the morning, near normal. I made coleslaw, which I just couldn't face making on Christmas Eve.      I made a gin cocktail in the evening,  no other alcohol for me.  Lunch, Tea and Supper was a running buffet, I ate quite a lot. I was reasonably hungry.

Today, I feel fine. 

a cake for Judith

I iced the cake for my friend J first thing Thursday morning.   

I originally wanted to put a very large Free Standing Lace (FSL) Poinsettia on the top.  However, when I did a trial stitch out, the poinsettia was tiny.  Unsurprisingly, the designer wasn't able to do an enlarged design for me this close to Christmas,  so I spent some time looking for alternatives. 

 I'd decided that an FSL snowflake would work well,  but all the ones I could find were far too small.  Eventually I found one, bought it,  and stitched it out.  The stitch time (excluding me changing threads etc) was 80 minutes,  it was a very elaborate design.   Thank goodness I did the stitching on Monday, which gave the washed out design plenty of time to dry before it was needed on Thursday morning.


Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Small Person before Christmas

Time has zoomed past once again.

I've just said goodbye to Small Person, who is off to Slovakia tomorrow for Christmas and New Year.  We've been looking after her this week as she's on holiday from school, ad it's been the usual chaos.

As always, she's been a blast.

I decided to try and get her to do her homework BEFORE she goes away, so it isn't hanging over her while she's on holiday.    The first part was easy, it was about baking some biscuits and writing detailed instructions and including pictures.  That was Monday, after she went to help DH check on the Allotmenteers.

The next part was to do with The Ancient Greeks,  so that involved a bit of internet research,  a reminder about not just writing down what you see on the screen,  and trying to produce a poster.    She did the preliminary work yesterday,  including a sketch of the poster layout and writing down some key facts.

Today, after we all went to the allotment,  was trying to rewrite things neatly and produce the poster.   I forced her to  strongly suggested she write everything on pieces of paper, and then glue the papers to the poster. I explained that this meant any errors could be corrected without having to re-do everything, and she could also move them about to finalise the layout before glueing.    She wasn't convinced, but gave in.... and it was a good decision.

The poster took several hours to produce, and she was desperate to finish it before her mum came to collect her.  She had very definitely bought in to the idea of having it all FINISHED before she went away.   She did a good job, and stuck at it, which was a challenge for her as she does tend to get easily distracted.

Last week I impulse-bought a Tefal snack maker which was at a bargain price in Costco.  It came with toasted sandwich plates and waffle plates.  I'd had a go at a most acceptable toastie at the weekend,   and I'd promised Small Person that we'dtry making waffles today.

I made some this afternoon while she was working, and she had a break to eat them. She then pronounced that they are even better than pancakes! which means she'll be having those for breakfast from now on when she comes to visit.  Her Nan (my lovely late Aunt) taught her how to make pancake batter, and Small Person makes it herself when she comes to visit.  I have an electric griddle which I get out so she can cook them herself, at the table - and she loves doing this. I'm hoping she'll find making her own waffles easy enough to do.  They really were rather scrummy, even DH asked for one after tasting some of mine.

We had cocktails last night.  For her, this was half a lime,   home made Jostaberry cordial, with more Jostaberry cordial in place of alcohol,  lots of ice, and lemonade.  For her second cocktail, she added home made blackcurrant cordial.    She got the giggles when she accidentally got out a bag of potato croquettes instead of a bag of ice cubes.

When she came back from the allotment on Monday, she mentioned that Nora seemed to be moulting, she'd lost feathers from her head and from her side.   I realised that this was probably caused by Bertie, so I mentioned that Bertie was probably mating with her.   I had to explain that sometimes the cockerels legs rub, or the spurs catch,  and cause the feathers to come off.   The reason I went to the allotment today was so we could catch Nora and check her over, to make sure she hadn't been injured.  Of course there was a barrage of questions:  how might she be injured, what would we do if she was injured,  did a saddle have stirrups,  how would the saddle help,  why didn't we just put a saddle on anyway....

Today she saw Bertie mating with Pong, and she asked me why he was biting her comb.  I explained that he isn't biting, he's just having to hold on to her comb.  She hasn't asked me yet what actually happens when they mate,  I suspect it's just a matter of time before that subject comes up..  I'm starting to practice my answers now.

Her TV request was The Persuaders.  We've watched a few episodes the last two times she's visited.   I've no idea why she likes it, although I did love it too when I was her age (or younger, probably).   I think she likes it because it is easy going, a bit silly,  and humorous; and because  it's not gritty, it's not a kids program,   and it wouldn't be acceptable if it was made today. 

I meant to ice a cake for a friend today, but there just wasn't the time or kitchen space to do it.  I marzipanned it on Monday (while Small Person was using the cookie press),  so I'll get it done tomorrow morning and delivered tomorrow afternoon.  

Sunday, 10 December 2017


It's snowing.

I got up to let the girls out, and there was a slushy covering of snow, and fat wet flakes were continuing to fall.    It wasn't really settling snow though, and the water wasn't frozen.

The Girls took ages to come out from the coop.   It continued to snow outside, with the snow getting a bit thicker and a bit more, well, snowy.   They hadn't come out of the Run at all, so I went out to give them some swede and hang up a cauliflower for them.  At least two of them had gone back into the coop!

Before the thicker snow started, I cleared a path down the driveway, and swept the path immediately in front of the house.  I was surprisingly knackered at this relatively minor exertion, and I sat on the steps to recover.  I felt a teeny bit woozy,  so I wonder if I've got something affecting my balance.

Small Person stayed last night.  We went to the local  Pantomime,  and she was very happy in the company of my oldest friend, S.     Her dad collected her at about 9.30am,  and she was disappointed that it was too snowy to go riding.

Yesterday afternoon I made a quick pair of leggings for her out of some Christmassy scuba fabric.   Scuba is a thicker stretch fabric,  with a lot less stretch than the stuff I've been using for her up to now.  They fitted well, and she liked them because they were warmer than the usual sort, and were Christmassy.     I need to hem the legs, which I could and should have done then and there....  I just couldn't face trying to rush doing that this morning.     I've made a mental note of the alterations to make the next pair using this pattern fit even better, and I'll try and get those done in the next day or two.

I decided that I really MUST try and make some Christmas cards.  I did a design so I could do four cards worth in one go.  The machine started off all right,  and then started complaining.   I tried a few adjustments, couldn't solve it,  and in the end turned the machine off and walked away.  I might buy cards this year.  Or not.

The bird feeder is inundated with finches. blue tits, coal tits and great tits,  plus the odd robin and other brown birds/   Usually we get four birds feeding at once, with the others waiting in the nearby apple tree, or rose bush.  Today there were 10 on the feeder at once, and there were a dozen or more in the tree.    I guess other food options are scarce.

It's not a huge feeder, and I'm filling it up half way through the day at the moment as well as in the evening.    

I put up a new feeder with some suet balls in.  So far, it's been completely ignored.

I realised I hadn't phoned up the animal sanctuary to find out how the little hedgy is doing.  I'll try and remember to do that next week.

Friday, 8 December 2017


A year ago I started to make trousers with my SureFit Designs (SFD) kit.   I got them almost right (3rd pair), but then my 4th pair went horribly wrong.  I went on to other things, promising myself I would finish my blueprint soon.

Well, it wasn't soon.

We recently started Pilates.  My yoga pants, made to my 3rd Blueprint,  just weren't right.  I made some leggings using cheap fabric and a bought pattern (Patterns 4 Pirates).  They were OK, but not right.  I decided I could/should try mashing up my SFD blueprint and the P4P pattern.  I decided I should fix the blueprint before I did anything.

I did it!

It took a few more iterations to work out what was wrong (technically, I mean.  I could see what was wrong, but I couldn't work out what it was from a construction point of view).   I made a 5th pair which were rubbish,  and then I made a pair which were... really good.  I'm sure they need some tweaks, but they are damned well good enough.

I then, immediately, set about trying to adapt the pattern for leggings.  I wasted a day trying to cheat,  and in the end I gave in and followed Glenda's process.   Tonight, exhausted after lots of fiddling about,  I have a template for leggings with side seams.  I also have a pair of leggings which are basted together... I need to take out the basting and then sew them properly but I'm to  cream crackered to do it.

The next step is to convert them in to single seam patterns, which shouldn't take long.  I suspect they are going to look very similar to one of my first "cheat" attempts, but we'll see.

I've also cardboarded my successful templates,  cleared the kitchen sewing area,  put away the offcuts.

And I've ordered loads of cheap stretchy fabrics to try some more.

I've done nothing about Christmas,  so I need to stop clothes sewing and do some Christmas stuff.