Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy Hogmanay

It is almost upon us, just as happens every year 7 days after Christmas. Yet once again the village shop was heaving with peeps buying mountains of food and gallons of booze. It is good for the store for today but they will be empty for the weekend.

I am looking forward to Fran arriving back, she should be here by 6:00 and dinner will be waiting for her, she asked for Chicken, leek and bacon pie and paprika wedges, all is prepped.
Ben has had 2 good walks and will get another after dinner, I do not have to worry about darkness as the street lights here are amazing.

I have a few seed catalogues to look through, I do not need to buy anything but enjoy flicking through them.
I was given some hand made chocolates earlier today, they look good, I have added them to the others, goodness knows when I will get around to them, I do like chocolate but am right off it at the moment.

I am not going to look back at my year, either what I have done or what I have made. There have been up and downs, highs and lows just as there has been for most.

I was going to put my favourite photo up but how do I choose, there are so many favourites. So I will jump in and pick one at random. Oops, I found 3.


The cousins playing in the sun.

Bertie, our late Bichon having a rest after trashing the sofa with Ben.

Ben Christmas last year at Jeannie's.
I wish you all a Happy Hogmanay.
     TTFN                                                                    Pam

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Senior Blonde Moment

I have just come back from a quick trip to Ammanford, I had a whirlwind tour of the CS,s and scored a few bargains. 2 large cream flat sheets that will become quilt backs and a pair of Next curtains for bag making, £6 for the lot.
I think that the joy of this went straight to my head. I then went into Tesco to get milk, fruit and veg. Flushed with my bargains I headed for the RTC section, deep joy ensued. I found some Welsh soft blue cheese, half price. Snuggled up next to it were 2 packets of Welsh Beef Fillet steak, this was already on a special offer and then half price. I had tidied my fridges and cupboards out and knew that I had some Chestnut Mushrooms, some double cream and the brandy left over from making mincemeat. I had a lightbulb moment and snaffled up the steak. Now I knew exactly what recipe I was going to make but could not for the life of me remember what it was called.
 I meandered round the shop lost in thought, sweeping away years worth of cobwebs trying to recall the name, all to no avail. By the time I got to the check outs I was quite cross with myself and hot and bothered. I tore my hat off and threw it with my gloves into the trolley before piling my goods onto the conveyor.
 I had just about packed it into my bag when I glimpsed something peeping out from under my hat. It was only the steak, cheese and a Melton Mowbray pie that must have stowed away when I wasn't looking.
I felt terrible but the checkout operator just laughed, I went hot and cold and my legs went to jelly. I was within an inch of shop lifting.

Anyhow I am home now and just remembered the recipe is beef Stroganof.

This afternoon I am finally making Black Banana Cake, with added Pecans and a big batch of soup.

The sheets and curtains can go through a wash, ready to be used soon, next week I hope.

                     TTFN                                                 Pam

Monday, 29 December 2014

Nowt, Zilch, Nada.

That is what I bought in Swansea this morning, I did however get a headache.
I went to the fabric shop in the Quadrant ready for a 10:00 opening, it was 25 minutes before the chap toddled up to unlock.
I had a look round but there was a dismal array of cheap and not really cheerful stuff. None of the Christmas fabrics were really Christmassy and there were no yellows that I would want. In fact if somebody had said that I could have what I wanted as a freebie I would still have left empty handed.

Never mind, I will go off to Cross Hands later in the week, and there is always the net.

I have done a bit more knitting, the sleeves are now 10" long and I hope to do some more tonight.

I still have quite a bit of increasing to do and may have to buy some longer needles. I do like to knit both sleeves together, and the fronts as well, that way I am sure that the increases and decreases are consistent.
I am convinced that I do have some longer ones somewhere but will only find them if I buy some more.
I recorded Bedknobs and Broomsticks earlier, I have seen it before ages ago, I have watched some of it and realised how similar the music is to Mary Poppins, I will still enjoy it though.
I had to stop and get dinner started, just a fish pie with a topping of mashed cauliflower with green beans and sweetcorn. Later I want to make a couple of Banana Cakes, I will use Nigel's recipe and add dark chocolate and chopped pecan nuts, they are not both for me I hasten to add.
I went through the fridges today and gave them a clean, I will only want milk and some more fruit and veg at some point this week.
Tomorrow I intend to empty the tins and jars cupboard and tidy it up, I have just been pulling what I want out and then stuffing everything back willy nilly. Now of course, I can not see what is in there.
Oops, just noticed what the time is, back soon.
Right now I need to get into the kitchen and clear it up, dinner was delicious, I finished watching the film and enjoyed it.
Ben is giving me the "take me out woman" look so I better do as he says.
       TTFN                                                            Pam

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Lots of goodies under my tree.

Along with most of the bloggers that I follow my presents contained some crafting goodies, and not a small amount of lush chocolate.
I thought that as I had seen what some of you lucky peeps had got I would share some of mine.

A stand for the threads that I use frequently, I have said so many times that I would love one and here it is. I have just filled it with some of my favourites and odds and ends. As I find myself using different colours I will refine it until it only holds what I use.

Deep joy, a second bobbin box, full. When I sew I like to have plenty of full bobbins in white and cream, now I have enough to have colours as well.

This magnetic pin holder has been on my wish list for ages, I do have a magnet but this, complete with pins will take pride of place.

Even the essentials were covered, a new 45mm rotary cutter and blades, I am constantly misplacing mine, The new fabric marker and seam gauge will earn their keep as well.

My presents came with lots of ribbons, all will be used.

This palest pink piece is my favourite,

perhaps because it was wrapped around this box of chocolates each filled with a whole cherry in Kirsch.

Someone went to Fortnums and selected these for me, ooh I am going to have to ration them out over the year or I will end up as big as a bus.

I also was fortunate enough to receive this book, look it has my tree! who would have thought it. Fran had a look through and this is top of her wish list for next year.

She will not get an exact copy, I have had time to read through and her quilt is already in my mind. It will have elements of this but also other things from the book.
I have done precisely 3 rows of knitting, bad Pam, what with playing with and walking Ben and the chatting with Fran I just did not make the time. Fran has now gone back to Beckenham until Wednesday so I will enjoy a couple of evenings clicking away.
I am not a lover of the Sales, hate the crowds. tomorrow I am braving it for a trip to Swansea for fabric and then at some point will be at Cross Hands to visit Hilary at Isabeau Inspirations. Christmas fabric hunting only, next Christmas will be a festival of quilts for gifts.

Time now for a brew, the kettle will be stone cold and I will get withdrawal symptoms soon.

       TTFN                                                                     Pam

PS. I need to look for yellow and green fabrics as well, I am very short of them.

Friday, 26 December 2014

All is peaceful in the valley

I thank you all for your kind words after my last post. The dust has settled and the guilty party is contrite ( I take that with a pinch of salt). It is perhaps unfortunate that the one thing that is guaranteed to make my blood boil is lying. I do not know why but it is a red rag to a bull where I am concerned. I am (so far) unshockable and will gladly help how and as I can, but lie to me and if I find out you better expect a nuclear explosion.

I did reinstate all the decs and I got my garland up.

I am very pleased with the crochet garland, because I assembled it on my lap I expected it to need a bit of tweaking. All I have to do is add an Owl to the left side at the end. I managed to persuade the wreath to hold together, a little ribbon and a few sprigs of holly helped.

I trimmed the mantle in the sewing/dining room and hung  stockings, I have had a lovely quiet couple of days and with Fran tried hard not to eat too much, we forgot all about Bucks Fizz for breakfast and just kept the tea flowing so we had bubbles with our dinner.
We watched some TV and chatted away, Ben enjoyed some leisurely walks on Wednesday and Thursday as we had glorious sunshine. Today it has been rain and wind since early morning.
A while ago I found this pattern and bought the wool to knit it, not in lurid orange, in a soft blue. I have made a start, I have knitted more than twice this but have been too lazy to take a new photo.



When I bought this wool I loved it, now I realise that there is very little in my wardrobe that I could wear with it. I am making it a little bigger and it will be a gift for Maggie.
She has a very bad cold at the moment and has been in bed for 3 days but sounds much improved today. I will be popping in tomorrow after Fran goes back to Beckenham.
 Happily Fran will only be away for a few days as she plans to come back for the new year.

We plan a lazy evening with a glass of mulled wine and some "chewing gum for the brain" TV, with some gentle knitting for me.

One of the big Christmas cushions will be going back with Fran and she has been looking at options for her Quilt for next year.

I have the chance to go into Swansea on Monday, so if the fabric shop has a sale on I may be spending freely, albeit wisely.

Ben had a new toy that he got so excited with that he chewed its nose off, I did mend it first thing this morning but unfortunately he has repeated his efforts so it will be in the bin later. he has had a bath and is flat out on his towel with his head on the remnants of his toy.

I hope that your days have been peaceful and enjoyable, I took the easy way and got all the veg prepped and part cooked on Christmas eve morning. I made a trifle and a big "Jaffa cake" for pudding, we did start the trifle and I have a home for the Jaffa Cake.

Now it is time to put the wine on to warm up and get my knitting out.

                     TTFN                                                  Pam.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Worm Has Turned

I had a rude awakening last night. I realised that I have been used and abused and enough is enough.
I have woken up to the fact that most people in my life expect  the world to revolve around their wishes and desires,  It has hurt, but no more,I have pulled the plug.

Christmas has gone from my house, the tree has been stripped and all put away, all the decs are down and in a box.

My sewing room will be restored later and I will spend the holiday doing exactly what I want and nothing else.

This will be a first.

Ben and I will still enjoy our days, walking and popping in to visit friends, I will have the time to start my knitting and maybe even get a quilt top or two layered and basted.

I can watch what I want on TV, or not have it on at all.

I will keep posting and share what I do as usual.

                      TTFN                                            Pam

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Spending and saving and a freebie.

Yesterday the sun shone but it was cold, once ben had been for his walk I was restless, completely not inclined to settle down to anything I decided on a trip to Ammanford.

I had a slow meander through the pedestrianized shopping streets and popped into a few of the Charity Shops, happy days.

Look what I found,

Brand new, tags hanging and pure wool, Laura Ashley, I do like a spot of colour.

At this price
 I like it even more, I would never have paid the full price and probably not the sale price but at £8.99 I snapped it up.

Then there was this, also L. A. , also new with tags hanging and even more colourful pure wool.

An even better bargain, it is mine.
I had a trawl round another shop where they have a £1 rail of things that have been around a little while. There were 3 EWS skirts and I instantly saw cushions and /or bags with the added bonus of zips and buttons. I also saw the top section with stitched pleats as bonus scraps.

This is brand new with tags hanging, a size 12, I will not cut it up, it is labelled as machine washable and will be joining some other things and go to the Swansea Homeless shelter.

These 2, however will be cut, they are in very good condition but my fingers are twitching to get started on them. It will not be until the new year but I can get them deconstructed and make plans.
Today has been even better than yesterday, there was some warmth and the wind dropped after lunch. Ben and I had already had 2 walks but we did not want to waste the mild weather so we went foraging for greenery. I cut Ivy and Some kind of  Fir, I also cut a little holly with berries on but lost it on the way home.
I had a little play and came up with this.

The red berries are rose hips, I will put some holly in tomorrow and some Rosemary to compliment the scent of the fir. I will stuff as much greenery in as I can. It is a touch on the triangular rather than round but I care not, I made it, it was free and we got an extra walk.
I had an odd bit of green ribbon so wrapped that loosely round and may add some red, I know that there is some in the bottom drawer.
I am taking Maggie to do her last minute shopping tomorrow in Lidl and then on Wednesday morning I will take her to the village store for fresh bread. They will be my only trips out before I go to collect Fran from Neath station Wednesday lunch time, and then my next trip will be to return her on Saturday.
James and Cerys are coming here on Boxing day with the children so the house will be full of chatter and laughter.
I nearly got the sewing machine out earlier, withdrawal symptoms, but resisted and tidied a cupboard out instead.
I had my early night, with a book, last night and I aim to rinse and repeat tonight, Bette Midler is on very late and I have the tv set to record her, Fran and I will watch it together as we are both fans.
I have no more to say tonight so....
      TTFN                                                           Pam

Friday, 19 December 2014

My garland is done but not hanging, it is to long for me to put up without help, so will have to wait until Sunday.

Part 1

Part 2
That is the length of my sofa and there is a lot more to stretch out, 5 of the little owls are on there along with 9 smaller birds, a stack of flowers and pompoms all fastened to the chain with tiny little flowers.

The owls all look a bit startled, I expect that it was the flash, they are nocturnal after all. I did not find my small beads but discovered a long forgotten jewellery making kit and used some of that for the eyes.
It was a dreadfully dismal day yesterday, Ben and I went out 3 times and got soaked each time. Ben had pie for his dinner, made specially for him, beef and vegetables in a wholemeal pastry crust, and I made a fridge bottom veg chilli, peppers, onion, squash, celery, tomatoes, chillies, cumin, turmeric, garlic and root ginger, along with a tin of kidney beans and some stock. It was very tasty, I made rather a lot so did not cook any rice.
I based it on a recipe in Veg Everyday, from the River Cottage stable, a book very dear to my heart.

Today has been much better, bright sun, blue skies but a chill wind whistling about the nether regions.
We popped in to see Maggie on the way back from our lunch time walk. Both Maggie and I were hoping that Ben and her cats would be accommodating, not so. Her dominant cat, Squid, has become quite fond of me and took great exception to Ben, lots of hissing and spitting ensued and Ben turned into a quivering wreck on my lap. I had to take him home. It was a shame as her smallest cat, Sophie the tortoiseshell, was intrigued by him and was happy to lie along the sofa back and just look at him. The other 2, Octavia and Marcus simply ignored him.
Oh well, at least we tried.
I made a lazy dinner tonight, scrambled eggs on toast. I was too tired to cook and did not really care what I ate, I am yawning as I type, not like me, I do hope that I am not about to come down with the Lurgey.
I am hoping to wallow on the sofa and watch the tele tonight, if there is anything on worth looking at. If not it will be a book and an early night in either case. I did try to watch last night but all I could find was 5000 ways to cook a roast dinner and another 5000 "alternative" Christmas dinners. It's enough to drive me to "lighter Life" slop in a pot stuff.
We finally settled on Pork for the 25th, we have had Beef for the last 3 years and Lamb the 3 before that. I will have company for the New Year weekend and will glaze and roast a ham for that, once I have cooked it in ginger beer.
I have cooked ham in cola and like that but ginger beer gives it an edge and then I use the syrup and ginger from a jar in the glaze. oh Yum.
On that note, I am off to make a brew before Ben goes for his last walk.
              TTFN                                                            Pam


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

TARDIS ? no It's a Faydis, well a pair of them.

I thought that it was high time that I showed you my FAYDIS, that is Fabric and Yarn Deployment In Sofa.

This is the Yarn Department, as you can see although Ben gets snippy if I sit on his cushion, he is not adverse to taking as many cushions as he likes.

The right hand side, the large pack at the back will become a blanket.

The other end, the blue at the front will be my Aran cardie, once I manage to make a start on it.
This is the Fabric department, the basket contains my current crochet project.

Lots of WIPs in here, they will come out in the new year. My clean cushion covers and throws also reside here.

There is space under to hold my largest cutting board, with the smaller ones on top, nice and flat.

I have made Mr and Mrs Owl, the eyes have Black Agate stones in them. The beads that I planned on using have gone into hiding. 

These are the Owlets, waiting to have their eyes finished, the Agates are too big and I have no tiny black buttons. I feel a quick trip to the craft shop coming on, it is only in the next village and will be a stop on Ben's afternoon walk.

I had a little play with the pompom makers, I still have to use the largest one, they are so simple to use and very quick. I need about 20 to finish my garland and then around 40 flowers. It sounds a lot but each one takes a few minutes. It is the fixing them in place that is time consuming.
I have made a start in the dining room mantle but that can wait for another day.
I read Mean Queen's post, an answer to a comment on her frugal lifestyle. Obviously the commenter had not really taken in the writings. Like many of us Ilona lives her life to suit herself, with me it is not what I CAN afford, it is what I WILL afford. I refuse to pay over the odds for anything, no matter how desirable. I will nearly always buy second hand if possible, and will happily wait for a specific item.
I always look for RTC bargains when I am shopping, I found some Welsh farm butter a few days ago, 75p a pack rather than £2.30, I had the 6 that were there and they are now in the freezer.
All these savings add up and it means that I can have a stash of yarn and fabric to delve into, it means that I can have an "all singing all dancing" sewing machine, it means that next year I will have a quilting frame.
Somebody asked me about my holiday plans for next year, was I going abroad. I almost choked. I have moved into a "holiday destination" area and that is where I will be holidaying. I will have an odd night away, I want to go to Anglesey next summer. That is a 4 - 5 hour drive, so I will be looking to spend at least 3 nights in a pet friendly place.
I have Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion on my doorstep, and for when it is really toasty the Brecon Beacons are just around the corner. What more could I want?  A bit of night life and glitzy shopping? No thank you very much. The liveliest thing that I do at night is give my hot chocolate a good whisk. If I really want to see glitzy shops I can hop on a train to Cardiff or even go and see Fran for a weekends window shopping in the West End.
Must go now, the 'puter needs a charge.
              TTFN                                                            Pam


Monday, 15 December 2014

Reverse Advent, a months worth in one go.

I have had a gift from Pensive Pensioner at Small Treasures, the gift is not for me, I will be turning it into nice soft beds for rescue dogs, or maybe cats. Many Hands usually get my work but there is a smaller concern a bit closer.

These 4 pillowcases will make excellent pet beds, I use a synthetic wadding and they wash easily and spin very dry.

I also had this lovely hand made card, I am so jealous of card makers, perhaps I should seek a workshop out for next year.

 When I slipped to the village shop to get some milk I saw that they had a collecting box out, a notice on it described the centre and asked for offerings of food. I did not contribute as I only took enough cash with me for the milk, they sell delicious pastries and cookies!
I will be going in later this week and taking some dog beds and making a donation of food. I will also be putting a stack of children's treats in the food bank collection, every child should have some goodies at Christmas.
I never buy an advent calendar for myself, on the odd occasion that I have been given one I have the first 2 then forget about it and suddenly I have 10 days worth piled up. The last one that I had ended up as truffles, it was  Thornton's dark chocolate and the chocolates were huge.

This afternoon has been a marathon gift wrapping session, just the stockings took an age, 1 each for Junior, Kaitlin, Faith and Francesca and I like to wrap all the contents. The children's main presents are also wrapped so really once Francesca's are done there will only be a handful.

Remember this bag?

I made it rather large but new that I would find a use for it, possibly a knitting bag. No it now hides my dirty laundry, it has replaced a wobbly wooden affair with a dull cream cotton bag. As it is pretty it hangs on the newel post and has freed up space in the bathroom.

Now I am off for a gallon of tea and some dinner, quick and easy pizza tonight, and some fruit to be healthy.

My Pompom makers are here, so tomorrow's post will be colourful.

        TTFN                                                            Pam

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Oops, I think that i've been Kirstied.

I like a bit of kitsch, and less is not more at Christmas, I like twinkly lights, bunting and swathes of greenery. But within limits, usually, this year I am in danger of going OTT.

I blame Channel 4, they have been showing the effervescent Kirstie delving whole heartedly into a home made Christmas, with bells on.

I have been caught up and dragged jumped in with her,

There is bunting going from front door, up the stairs and along the landing.

There is a garland along the spindles on the landing.
Oh and I have been playing with yarn and hook

This little baggie kick started it all.

First there was a looong chain.

Then there was a small bouquet of assorted flowers.

Pompoms were there in abundance.

A flock of multi hued birds fluttered in.

They settled down to become this, the start of something big
The pompoms are titchy, I made them using a dinner fork. I know that I have been Kirstied, I have not only been up the Amazon to buy a pompom maker, I have bought a whole set.
 There has been a minimal amount of housework done, Ben has had his walks, albeit shorter as it is freezing hard here. I have even fallen behind with the tea drinking.
And I am not ashamed in the slightest, I plan on hooking my way through a garden of flowers and possibly a dozen or so birds. Once my purchase from A arrives I will be pompomming all over the place.
Dinner last night was bubble and squeak with some pork in a pepper sauce, tonight it is in the lap of the gods, fridge bottom something. I have to slip out to the local shop for some milk, I have plenty in the fridge and cupboards to eat, I just have no inclination to cook.
I am off now, otherwise I will be hooking away and the shop will be closed before I realise how fast the time is flying.
                   TTFN                                                   Pam