Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Where's that soap box?

Rant time folks.

I have done the weekly hospital run with W, and once again I am amazed at the people who park where ever they can squeeze their cars in.

One week the car park that I drive through to get to the outside parking area was completely blocked by the brain dead who parked in the drive through paths.

Most weeks there are cars parked on the walkways, these are painted like zebra crossings and are for  mums with pushchairs, people with walking aids and so on.

Today I was waiting for a space to be vacated when somebody went to her car, which was parked on a lined crossing. She was not leaving, oh no she was fetching her lunch! She was a member of staff! I did ask her why she parked so inconsiderately, she was quite rude but said that it was the first place she could get in and as she was running late took it. The staff parking area is a bit further away.

I was speechless, I did go to the main reception and lodge a complaint the time the car park was blocked. Something must have been done as it has not happened again.

Then there are the drivers who are either illiterate, can not read English or Welsh or have severely impaired sight. They are the ones who ignore STOP, No Entry and No Right Turn signs. 

W could get a blue badge so I could use a disabled bay. To my mind that would be dishonest, I can drop him off and pick him up and I can walk with no problem.

I have finished, it does help to share.

Now I have had my lunch, I put a pan of soup on as soon as I got back, it was lush.

Only took 30 minutes.I used a bag of diced sweet potato and butternut squash from Tesco, 35 p RTC, there was some diced red onion in there as well. I just sweated it for 5 minutes in a drop of oil and stirred in some smoked paprika, salt and pepper, garlic granules and a little ground coriander and a tsp of dried basil, tipped in a tin of chopped tomatoes and a tin of red kidney beans (drained and rinsed), a good squirt of tomato puree and enough water to cover the ingredients. Brought it to the boil and simmered away, when I checked it for seasoning it needed a lift so I added a a dollop of tomato ketchup. Perfick!

I have sifted through a whole load of things that have been on Fran's bed, they are now in their proper places. I found my rotating cutting mat on there, it was mixed up with some paperwork, I have been hunting for it for a few days and was on the cusp of buying a new one. They Are Not Cheap. Sweet relief when it turned up.

I have one more Dresden plate to make, the middle one with 4 different prints in each of the 5 colours. I hope to get it at least well on the way if not finished today.

It is a grey, gloomy and dismal day here with sporadic rain, but it is bright in the sewing room so I am off to start my fabric selection.

                              TTFN                                     Pam.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

What is it?

Is it a cook?
Is it a quilter?
Is it a knitter?
Is it a gardener (fair weather)?

The answer is YES to all of the above.
Somebody asked me yesterday what hobby I enjoy the most. The answer is which ever one is in my hands.
I could and would not attempt to say which I like the most, there is also a little bit of a crocheter in there as well.

I would hesitate if I had to choose one to do, I think that some one else would have to decide for me. It would be a forced choice, like choosing which food type you would eat for the rest of your life.

Today I am a cook and later will morph into a quilter then later still will be the knitter or perhaps the crochet will win.

I ought to let the gardener out but it is still sticky underfoot, but my word the grass needs cutting soon.

Now I am about to be a "lady who lunches" as I am feeling rather peckish, thanks in part to my longer than usual walk with Rufus this morning.

                             TTFN                                   Pam

PS. I see the follower numbers are creeping up. 
Hello, good morning and welcome. I am very pleased to meet you.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Stitches and Stitches.

The yarny stitching has been simmering away steadily and another pair of boot socks are off the needles.

They do have a slight halo but will be soft and warm to wear.

The snuggly blanket has grown slightly, I will post a picture in a few more days when there is a little bit more to show.

On the sewing stitches front the Plates are also doing well. I have the blades cut, stitched and pressed for 4 more plates. 2 will be blues and greys and 2 will be blues and greens, I pulled some soft pinks from the stash and will make 2 more with blues and pinks. This will give me 9 plate blocks that will finish at around 18", my current thinking is that I will make a 9th block using all the colours to become the middle block, with sashing finishing at 4", side borders  finishing at 5" and top and bottom finishing at 10" I should get a decent size.

Of course I have to think about fabric for all this, right now I haven't got a clue. It will come to me, no probs.

Francesca got her first set of cushion covers today and is pleased as punch, she has no idea that another set will be arriving before the end of the week. 

Dinner tonight is a version of cauliflower cheese, there is broccoli and edamame beans in the sauce as well. A one dish wonder with a fruit pie for pudding. Nursery food, just the job on a wild and windy night.

I have just checked the oven and it's not long now! That's good as there are serious rumblies in the tumbly.

                         TTFN                                     Pam

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Accidental Precut scraps

I have cut the blades for the next 4 Dresden Plates, I inferred yesterday that I was making fans but they are definitely Plates.

10 different blues, 5 greys and 5 greens to give me 4 more blocks. If these are to become a quilt I will need to make 12 blocks in total. I will think about it, the colour palette is a bit restrictive as so far the only warm colour is the yellow for the middles. I cannot repeat the blocks as several of the blades were cut from small scraps and there is no more left.

I did get a "Brucie Bonus" though. Because of the way I placed the template I am left with these skinny blades. They will not be wasted I will save them all for a "play session" right at the end. Depending on what I decide to make they may become part of the border.

As I was walking Rufus this morning my mind was wandering willy nilly. Autumn was a favourite time of the year for my Mum, not for the weather but the colours. She revelled in the turning leaves and filled the garden with plants that had brilliant autumn colours.

With a few more steps I reflected on the way she brought us up. There was lots of support from my Gran and one or the other of them was always there.

While we were quite young the care was pretty much full on and as we grew we got more freedom. As our attention needs reduced Dad became the focus of her attention and he lapped it up.
 I should say here that as the eldest I automatically took on some of the caring duties. That's the way that most of our friends families worked, it was not a chore and "duty" is a hard word to use. I just could not think of another, it wasn't always a joy with a sister and 2 small brothers, what one didn't think of another would. 

But it taught me so much that stands me in good stead today. I can keep up with a few conversations at once, I can let Rufus and Ben off their leads and even if they rush in opposite directions I can keep tabs on them both.

I learnt how precious "me time" is and try very hard not to fritter it away.
I also learnt that if you care for another person it fills your heart with love, you may not realise the rewards at the time but they are there.

Oh My Word, I seem to have gone down a goody two shoes road. Believe me there were times when I could have cheerfully strangled them all. But tucking a small person into bed and having them fling their arms round you and snuggling in is priceless. No matter that they drew in your new book or managed to break your favourite ornament and got plastered in mud 2 minutes before tea.

Bear with me I will be back to my normal self tomorrow. 

Dinner tonight is unknown so far, there is Steak and Kidney with veg in a red wine gravy simmering away in the slow cooker but that is for tomorrow. I have some soft blue cheese to use, perhaps a pasta dish or maybe a jacket potato. Time will tell.

Now I am off to get a brew on.

                          TTFN                                        Pam

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Blades and Fans

All my good intentions went South or West or somewhere, they certainly did not stay here.
Instead of getting on with my list I watched Jean Truelove making a Dresden Plate wall hanging and fell down the rabbit hole.

I now have 2 of these finished and the blades cut out for 4 more, 2 in blues and greens and 2 in blues and greys.

I new that I had lots of blue but was surprised to find that I didn't need to repeat any fabric in the other blocks. I have used each fabric twice in each of the 3 colourways and all will have the soft yellow middles.

I have no idea as to whether they will be cushions or a quilt, I don't need either but I so needed wanted to make the blocks.

Once they are sewn together I will decide on the fabric for borders and sashing, possibly the same for both and probably blue and multi.

Oops, dinner is ready so I am offski.

                       TTFN                                             Pam

Friday, 13 October 2017

Wellies and Driza-Bone

After a decent drying day yesterday the rain came back overnight. It rained gently with a few minutes of dry scattered here and there, I managed to get Ben out and back in one of them, before sweeping down the mountain in a veil of mist and turning heavy.

Now it is sullen and far too warm, I want to fling all the doors and windows open but it is too windy.

It will be a crafting day, the housework is up to date, no ironing lurking and washing basket empty (for a few moments).

I started turning the heels on the latest pair of socks last night so they will be picked up first. Then I have some fabric panels, that I dug out yesterday, to deal with. I have the dowelling for hanging them and Francesca would like a couple for the house in Beckenham. She will be here for Christmas but still decorates at home.

I was shuffling around You Tube this morning and found a tutorial for Christmas makes. That has fired my interest so I need to scrabble under the bed and pull "Christmas" out of hiding. I don't want to buy anything, there is still lots of stuff to be used here, and it is too wet to go out anyway. I have had to drive enough this week without going out for the sake of it.

Dinner tonight will be based on sweet potatoes baked in their skins, we love them and they don't need butter at all just a scraping of black pepper and a pinch of salt. I have no idea as to what will go with them, a forage through the fridge will bring something to mind.

I went to the little charity shop in G C G (the next village) yesterday and picked up a few books. It is many months since I picked up a book and read it all, I found 3 but they are still in the bag, my reading mojo seems to have gone into hibernation. When I think that at times I would go through 4 or 5 books in a week I can not understand it. I was still knitting and sewing, so it is not a question of time but of inclination.

Now I need to get busy or nothing will be done today, once those heels are turned I will pull the backing fabric out for "Operation Panel Making"

                  TTFN                                                  Pam

The title? oh yes, I have evicted the dust from my wellies and dragged the Driza-Bone from the depths of the wardrobe. I am ready for the weather now.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

After the work comes the rest.

I was up with the Lark this morning, it was the hospital run with W and I still had lots of things to do. I managed to walk Ben before we were covered with a blanket of rain and mist. Rufus said "thanks but no thanks" to his walk so I had an extra hour to use.

 Waste it on more housework? Don't be so silly. I got the coin quilt out and started sewing. I still had a little left to do when it was time to leave for Swansea.

We were quite late getting back and I had to have a quick sandwich and a cuppa before sewing again. Around 40 minutes later it was done, trimmed and borders on. Now I just have to get it layered and decide on the binding. It won't be quilted until I get the Janome back from its service.

Yes, of course I have loads of coins left but they will not be still for long, tomorrow will see the start of them being turned into another quilt top.

I decided to knit for a while, once I had cleared the decks and picked  all the bits off the carpet.

I settled down with a pair of socks, What a Surprise, and had a trip down memory lane. I watched a DVD, Ferry Cross the Mersey, starring Gerry and the Pacemakers with an appearance by Cilla Black. 
Yes it was a black and white quite awful film but at the time it was exciting. I enjoyed most of it and just ignored the worst parts.

Now the weather has brightened up so Rufus will get a walk soon.
Dinner will be something light and later than usual after such a late lunch. I may just throw a pan of soup together, it won't take long.
The bread maker is working away on a seeded wholemeal loaf, so  may cut into that or perhaps make a batch of Suffolk Rusks.

I missed knit and natter yesterday but the machine needed a service and when I rang up to book it in they asked me to bring it straight in. Result. I expected to have to wait a couple of weeks at least.

I will photograph the coin quilt once it has been basted, I have 2 to baste so tomorrow is fully booked, probably Friday as well.

Now it is time to get my walking gear on.

                      TTFN                                               Pam

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Woo Hoo and more stitchy fun.

Photo's first.

The first set of cushions.
I still have just a little of the Flamingo fabric left.
I have had it so long that I can't remember where I bought it.

The second set, a little bit more subtle use of pink here.

 Once the cushions were done and dusted I picked up the coin quilt strips again. Measure, sew, press, measure again. By George I think I've got it.

14 sets, pressed and ready for the sashing (not cut yet but next on the list)

The overflow, or reserve pile.
There are still lots of 5" strips to use up, I knew that I had cut far too many. I may cut yet more as this one will be a Christmas gift and another for a child or 2 is a possibility.

That's the sewing bit done,now for the foodie bit.

Jax asked about the topping for my veg crumble, where did it come from? From my head is the short answer.

I had the idea of  a roast veg bake, then I had some apples that were very tart. Mmmm apples and onions are a tasty mix so try them in the bake. Of course I just emptied the veg drawer and used carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash, parsnips, swede, onions and a whole head of garlic.
 Then I decided that some sort of sauce/gravy was needed, Autumn veg and Apples meant that it had to be cider. With some veg stock so the peelings were washed and boiled up with some peppercorns and a few celery seeds, oh and a couple of garlic cloves chopped up. I added some thyme leaves when I made the sauce and then added some of my crab apple and thyme jelly, just because.

The topping had to provide some protein and crunch so a thick crust of bread finely diced rather than crumbed, a scoop of oats and melted butter to bind it all together. Then I just riffled through the fridge for some grated Parmesan and a chunk of mature Orkney cheese that I diced up. 
Some pumpkin and sunflower seeds and some brown linseed for extra crunch with a good grind of pepper. I just mixed it all together and spread a thick layer over the veg and cider sauce. 30 minutes in the oven and dinner was ready, it was yummylicious and we will be having something similar again. I can not repeat it exactly as I didn't measure anything, and I may well use different ingredients next time.

Of course I made far too much so tonight we are having it again, shame.

I have a cuppa getting cold so I will slurp that and then get back to the craft room, I must get the sashing cut.

                        TTFN                                                    Pam

PS. I still have a large stock of green and blue fabric left but the pink has all but gone. I will see if I can use them with some red,it is very loud and hopefully the cool colours will tame it. 

Monday, 9 October 2017

Tearing my hair out.

In the interest of working through the fabric stash I decided to make some cushion covers today. Francesca needs some new cushions and I thought, woo hoo 2 sets of 4 covers, loads of fabric used.

The first set of 4 were made in no time, I used the 3 seam 10 minute block that looks like the Cathedral Window block. Envelope backs  and fully lined, done and dusted and in the post.

Hmm, enough time to get another set done. I should say here that she wanted blues and greens with just a touch of pink. No probs, cut, sew, press and 4 fronts finished. 

Here comes the fly in the ointment.

I can be very anal about certain things, with cushions the backs have to be pretty and they all have to match.

Guess what, apart from a solid green I do not have enough fabric to make 4 sets of backs. I can do 3 and 1 or 2 and 2.

I have shuffled these tops and fabric around about 20 times to no avail.

The solid is lovely but it just won't do it for me.

The patterned fabrics are very pretty but I can not mix them up. I know that they are only the backs and will be facing the sofa, BUT I will know. The fact that they will be miles away in Beckenham means diddly squat, I just can not bring myself to do it.

To add salt to the wound I may not be able to get to Llandeilo at all this week, and I really do not want to buy more fabric anyway, it defeats the object.

The only solution that springs to mind is to have 2 different fabrics on the back of each cushion but have all 4 the same. What do you think?

Now I have to go and knit for a while and calm down a bit.

                    TTFN                                              Pam

Apart from all that every thing is hunky dory, the sun is shining, washing is pegged out and we have leftovers for dinner.
Talking about dinner the veg crumble was great and we will be having it again, For the topping I melted some butter and stirred in oats, fine diced bread, chopped nuts and mixed seeds. Then I added a handful of grated Parmesan and a small piece of cheddar fine diced along with some thyme leaves. Mixed it together and put a good layer on, it was crunchy nutty cheesy heaven.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

In Stitches.

2 sorts of stitches, knitting and sewing, are dominating my life right now. That is not a moan, quite the opposite, I almost wish that I could grow more arms and hands and do both kinds at once.

I am up to my neck with strip sets and piles of strips waiting to be sewn. I have a pair of socks that are almost ready for the toe decreases, 2 childs garments and an Aran weight jumper on the go.

I am trying hard to concentrate on just 2 knitting projects and the quilt but have had a lot of running around in the past week. Consequently I have missed out on crafting time.

I am up to date with Strictly, not enjoying it so much this year though.

I have a list of things to be started and as I do not want to put needless pressure on myself I have taken certain steps.

I made a list of all my "want to make" things and cut the list into single items. The paper slips are in a box and once a current project is finished I will take a lucky dip and pull the next one out. That way I will not have to worry about what to start first, the decision has been made. 

I had another day at The Flying Geese yesterday, it was a bit quieter but I still had a stream of lovely people to chat with.

Today has been glorious weather and several jobs have been completed in the garden. My potted Hyacinths have started to shoot, so have to come inside soon, I can't see them waiting too long before flowering.

Dinner is on the go, and smelling very good,  Roast root veg crumble with a cider sauce tonight. I will put lots of seeds in the crumble topping and some cheese with breadcrumbs to have a crunchy topping.

On that note I am off to get the sauce made and check it all out.

                         TTFN                                    Pam

Friday, 6 October 2017

Positive Progress

I went off to Llandeilo yesterday and spent a couple of happy hours in The Flying Goose fabric shop. I took a container of the 5" strips and sewed away, there was a fair bit of chatting too.

I haven't counted the strip sets that I finished but there must be well over 60.

My box of strips ready to be sewn.

A few strip sets, pressed and trimmed.

The finished strip sets in their box.

The next batch of fabrics waiting to be cut.

I am sewing them together in strips of 5 - 7 and then cutting a few different fabrics to add to the mix. This way I hope to get a very random mixture of colour and pattern.

I should tell you that I am not being anally precise in sewing these strip sets. This project is all about getting the fabrics used, I am trimming all the sets to 4 3/4" wide. It may be a bit fiddly but will give me (fingers crossed) an easy finish, with straight as a dye seams. Ooops, perhaps writing that was  a bit too cheeky and asking for trouble. Oh well, never mind.

While I was in the shop there was a delivery of Lewis and Irene fabric. Right on top were some Layer Cakes in the Botanics (?) range, something like that anyway, I pounced and one is now tucked away waiting for the strip quilt to be finished. I have a pattern in mind and a recipient, even though this was a spur of the moment decision.

I have some shopping to get done, it will happen at some point over the weekend.
I need to go undies shopping soon as well, my knickers are definitely showing their age. Just like bra's and tights I have fitting issues, I like ones that almost come to my waist with a high rise leg and no lace trim round the legs. The last lot came from Damart and were a fantastic buy in the sale.

I will have a look on their website and as I want to go to Magic and Sparkle for  a bra fitting I will have a look in there also.

Ooh a quick memory of Princess Anne telling the world that her "unmentionables" came from M&S, how many years ago was that?

Now I am off to the craft room to have a cutting session.

Enjoy the weather, it is glorious here. Here's hoping that it lasts for the weekend.

                      TTFN                                               Pam

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Still Scuttling around

I have lost count of the number of times that these words have come from my mouth, " how one earth did I find the time to go to work"

Tuesday was Knit and Natter, and very busy it was, there was a good gathering with lots to talk about. I took the snuggly blanket, I can hook my way round that and not miss a beat while joining in the conversations. Debs had just returned from a small break in Holland and had lots to share. The Crafty Mandy had great news to tell, she has signed a contract with Toft and will be teaching classes soon. 

Wednesday was the hospital run with my lovely neighbour W. He is still in plaster and there was no improvement this week. It has been about 11 weeks now and there is no indication of how much longer it will carry on.

Luckily Rufus is quite happy to walk with me and then chill out on the sofa at home.

When I cook a vegetarian or vegan meal I drop one round to W, it keeps him off his foot, he enjoys a home cooked meal and I get a verdict on all new recipes. The SO just eats all my cooking with gusto and our tastes are very similar.

Last night it was a vegan soup using lentils, carrots, peppers and onions with some smoky spices and dried basil and coriander for the warm notes. I then ruined all that healthiness by making grilled cheese sandwiches using Shropshire Blue and Stilton. It was a match made in heaven.

On Tuesday I cooked Welsh Dragon pasta, I make my version of Puttanesca leaving out the Anchovies and use green olives stuffed with garlic rather than black ones. The sauce is red and I add sliced leeks, red pepper, petit pois and edamame beans and a small but fiery chilli from one of my plants.

Tonight is yet to be decided, maybe pie and mash, although I quite fancy Cheese and Potato pie with the addition of some leeks cooked in butter and black pepper, with some homemade baked beans. No, I  will have to save that for Friday, I am off to Llandeilo for the sewing group today, pie and mash it is. I have a stash of homemade pies in the freezer, they cook from frozen in 40 minutes which is plenty of time to get the mash and veg done.

I need to do a shop in Ponty at some point, there is a list of things that I buy from Home Bargains and Poundstretcher, while I am there I slip into Farm Foods and see what they have as well. Then pop over the road into Lidl to finish up, I can get just about everything I need from that little area and be home within the hour. My sort of shopping.

I spent some time yesterday slicing  through my fabric scrap bin. Even after the crumb quilt there is still a substantial amount in there.
 I have cut 5" wide strips and then sub cut them into various lengths from 1 1/2" to 5" long. I already had some cut and sewn together into short strip sets. I aim to make a variation of the Coin Quilt, I think that 8 strips with 1 1/2" sashing will make a decent size quilt and hopefully empty my scraps and most of the fat quarters that have been lurking for far too long. 
There will still be smaller bits but a few crumb cushion covers should sort those out. It is a long time since I attempted a total scrap busting mission and I am quite excited.

Just think of the shopping session that I can have. mmmmmmmm.

Now it is time that I got another brew on, it may be early but I have been busy for the past hour or so, it is thirsty work tidying my craft room.

               TTFN                                                      Pam

Monday, 2 October 2017

AWOL in Llandeilo, Such Fun.

I have had a few lovely days and been completely away from all things "techy".

On Friday I went to one of my favourite places, Llandeilo. A small market town that is really full of tourist destination places. I don't live there so I am a tourist.
lots of places to enjoy a lush snack and tea or coffee, as many for a really good meal and some fast food places. A few charity shops and a couple of banks and a post office. There are none of the "high street shops" there is a small Co op and a local small supermarket style shop..
There is a wide  range of sole trader shops with lots of lovely things to encourage the money out of your purse. 

There is an ice cream and chocolate shop that sells the most amazing rose Turkish Delight. Guess how I know that.

Best Of All there is Deb's Wool Shop and the Flying Goose fabric shop, and that is where I was headed for on Friday and Saturday.

Sue and Rob, of the Flying Goose, hosted a Macmillan Coffee morning and I went and did my bit. Two bits of cake (with an hour or so breather in between) some raffle tickets ( a box of Celebrations brazenly stolen by the SO) and lots of chatter. Oh and I found a panel to make some wall hangings from.

I also had a little tuition on the till as on Saturday I manned the fort while Sue was at an event. Oh My Goodness it was FUN. I did have a blooper moment when my mind went blank on the till but I made a full recovery.

As long as Sue and Rob are happy with my performance I will repeat the exercise again. It was wonderful being surrounded by colour, I did quite a lot of stroking, and I may have planned another quilt or three.
Two customers came in together, both buying for projects, and selected lots of browns. Now I am not a big fan of brown, but seeing these bolts piled on a table, I may have to admit that I was drawn quite strongly to the richness. There were some lighter neutrals in the mix and I think that if I added some gold into the recipe.......... or maybe red. Watch this space.

I did make time to take photos, I just had to make myself put the fabric down.

Books, freezer paper and lots of notions.

Do you hear that? It's my heart racing.

Precuts, yummilicious layer cakes, jelly rolls and charms.

Threads in all colours and weights.

A slice of heaven round every corner.

Soft Snuggle fabrics.

The next 3 are on their sides, I can't get them to rotate.

Fat Quarters mmmmmmm.
 Before I forget, the shop goes back much further and there is a sewing group here on Thursday afternoons. I will be going this week and starting a new project (not yet decided upon). Maybe I will see some of you there one of these weeks.

Sunday was a stitchy day, I finished off the crumb quilt binding, I just have a little extra fancy sewing for the front to do. I made a cover for my little sewing machine and did the quilting on 2 wall hangings, and sewed the binding to the fronts ready for hand stitching down. I did get one done while watching Electric Dreams "The Commuter" with Timothy Spall ( goodness he has lost a lot of weight), I stuck with it to the end but can not say that it was a comfortable watch. Very thought provoking,it made me understand that doing what you consider to be the best thing may well be the very opposite.

Now it is coffee and cake o'clock.

See you later.

                             TTFN                                        Pam

PS. I didn't get round to making the lemon cake with the chickpea juice, but I will. Pam

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Sunshine in a saucepan.

Yesterday was a busy day, sunshine meant washing pegged out and a leisurely walk with both Ben and then Rufus,

My neighbour had his weekly hospital check up so we set off for Swansea in good time. Unfortunately his former progress was reversed so he is back in a cast, rather than the boot, for a few weeks.

We chattered all the way there and back, as usual, and I was in dire need of tea by the time I walked through the doorway on my return home.

Dinner was leftovers, yummy and easy, so I spent some time going over the crumb quilt removing threads. Then I trimmed it ready for binding, I have the fabric and will get that cut and stitched later.

First I have to get the SO to the dentist, and yes he is capable of going on his own, I want to have a look round the charity shops so I am going as well.

Now for that saucepan, I really fancied some soup today but there was none in the freezer. A girl called Jack to the rescue, just about my fave cook book.

A scan through but nothing really caught my eye so I went fridge diving.

1 pepper, half green half orange, deseeded, depithed and diced. 1 red and 1 brown onion, peeled and diced. 4 fat cloves of garlic peeled and sliced. I like my garlic sliced rather than diced, it seems to almost melt away. These were really fat cloves 8 grams each.

As big as a teaspoon bowl.

Then I cleaned and sliced a leek to add another layer of flavour. I also deseeded a red chilli and chopped that fine and added to the mix.

Some carrots, 150 grams after peeling, a parsnip, 90 grams after peeling all fine diced.

I melted a couple of dollops of coconut oil in a large pan, about 2 tbsp I guess, then added all the prepped veg and sweated it gently for around 10 minutes. Threw in some spices, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp each of Ras el hanout, coriander and turmeric, gave it a good stir and cooked for another 2 minutes.

Then in went a drained and rinsed tin of chick peas ( I saved the juices from the tin for later) a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tbsp of tomato puree and the tomato tin full of water. Plenty of sea salt and black pepper and a tin of coconut milk.

Then just brought to simmer and cooked for about 30 minutes, tasted it and swooned. Lunch was yummylicious. No bread required.

There is plenty left for lunch tomorrow and it will keep well for about 5 days in the fridge, not that it will get 5 days.

About that juice, all 147 grams of it. I intend to use it as an egg substitute in a lemon cake. I know that you can use it for meringues, I checked with Jess, but want to try baking with it. If it is a success it will be great. If it is not we will eat it with custard, providing that it is edible.

Doesn't look very yummy yet does it?

I will let you know tomorrow.

Now I have to dash and get off to Neath.

                     TTFN                                               Pam

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

A matter of support, or the lack of it.

I have on the odd occasion rattled on about tights and the up and downs of finding some that fit.

This time it is the Bra that my attention is focused on. When I graduated from a "token" bra and finally stopped growing I wore a 36 B for absolutely years. During prgnancy and breastfeeding I simply wore the same size but in maternity conformation.

Then came the menopause and I ballooned up to a 38 D, at least that is what I was measured at in Magic and Sparkle. Now my Bra drawer has a selection of 36 C, 36 D, 38 C and 38 D and some of them fit perfectly. The only problem is that all the perfect fitting ones are in different sizes. To add more confusion to the issue I have bought twin packs and the same bra in 2 different colours only to find that 1 fits and 1 came from a different planet.

I have some that need the straps at full extension and some that have them hitched up to the shortest possible length, some that just fit round my back and some that are obviously built for congenital twins.

As for cup sizing, who on earth sets the standard for that. Some have room for a pair of socks each side whilst some are just a micron away from being Boa Constrictor tight.

Cost is no indicator or guarantee of fit or comfort, I have lost count of the number of bras that I have thrown away because the underwires have dug so deep into my breast bone that my flesh has bruised.
The most comfortable bra that I have came from a sale rack in Tesco, it was part of a twin pack. Needless to say the other one was tried on and consigned to the charity shop box. 

Now I am dire need of some new ones, in fact I need to replace them all. I think that a session in M & S will have to happen, at least I can try them all on rather than putting my trust in luck and the Devil.

Right now I need to think about Knit and Natter, I have socks to take (no surprises there then) and a cake to get from the fridge.

The SO had a very full on day yesterday and after stuffing hid face with ham and mustard sauce with mash and veg, he had a walloping slice of our cake with half a tub of cream. I had to applaud him.

I slipped down to see Jess yesterday and came away with a jar of her hedgerow jelly and a jar of vegan lemon and orange curd. It Is Wonderful, in fact my mouth watered as I wrote that. She very kindly gave me the recipe so that will be on the Job List for Thursday. Spoon anyone?

I hope to get my lemon drizzle cake made into a round and sandwiched together with the curd, Oh My, more mouthwatering.

I am off to dribble in a corner somewhere.

                                      TTFN                              Pam

Monday, 25 September 2017

Socks, wrinkles and all.

Sock patterns, what to use?

I have followed a few patterns, there is a good one on the Winwick Mum blog, both in 4 ply and thicker yarns.
I like the look and fit of a heel flap and gusset but the SO likes the heel from "Vanilla is the New Black" a pattern on ravelry. That heel was used in his brown socks from yesterdays post.
I do use the afterthought heel on short socks as I think it looks neat and most of the shorties that the SO has have that heel.

Now I only use a pattern for the stitch, I have my own "recipe" for everyone that I knit for. Stitch count, rib width and length and so on right down to the toe shape. For boot socks I tend to use a blend of fibres with at least 20% wool content, I have a nice stash of Moods that was on offer at Deb's wool shop.

As to 4ply or fingering weight sock yarn I use everything from the wonderfully cheap Drops to Indie Dyed at finger burning prices and everything in between.
I have started to dye yarn myself, it is on hold while all the work is going on in the house. I have bought commercial yarn and over dyed it with great results.
Even if money was no restriction I would still not exclusively use luxury yarns. Simply because I want the socks that I make to be everyday wear, not tucked away for "best".

Some of my trials have not been wonderful, the very first pair were really bad BUT I didn't realise that until I had knitted a few more pairs, the SO wore them to death and was most put out when I put them into the recycling bin.

I have not knitted a swatch for socks but if I was planning an intricate stitch pattern or colour work then I most definitely would.

There may be some colour work in seasonal shades of red and green coming soon.

I was not planning this subject but a few comments from yesterday  prompted me, I hope this has helped Susan Q and knitty Nutter.
If I was to be so bold as to offer advice it would probably go like this.

Watch You Tube tutorials, Very Pink Knits has some corkers.

Go and look at Winwick Mum's blog and possibly buy her book, I did.

Buy some reasonably priced yarn and knit a pair, if they are sock shaped then wear them with pride. If not use them as bed socks or with PJ's for Sofa Surfing.

Mistakes?!! Design Features is the term you are looking for. The SO has one pair with an extra pattern repeat on one cuff, they are both the same length I just had a blonde moment. He doesn't care in the slightest.

Knitting should be a pleasure, not an endurance feat. You could always try crochet socks instead. look on the Crafternoon Treats blog for a few patterns and don't forget You Tube.

Now I am off to my quilting, or maybe not. Ben has just launched himself from his bed and is looking expectantly at me, mmm another walk might be next.

                            TTFN                                      Pam

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Impatient or what?

I finished a pair of boot socks this morning, I was up early and watching Jean Truelove on YouTube, and having a cuppa of course.

Just simple vanilla but the SO loves this pattern. In fact he loves them a bit too much, I had just finished darning the toe ends in when he came down. In a flash they were off my lap and on his feet. I still had the cast on ends to darn in but he would have kept them on had I not put my foot down with a firm hand.
Honestly he is worse than a child in a sweet shop, he has well over 30 pairs but each finished pair is treated just as the first was.

I have had a brilliant day, the dogs were walked in sunshine and we met Jess, Will and his Mum and Ivy. They were just returning home from their walk and I was on my second one with Rufus. Ivy was wearing her bright jumper, it is not really in her colours but she still looks adorable.

Then on my return I got a load of washing pegged out and just about dried before the rain came in.

I have dinner for us and my neighbour, Rufus's owner, ready to pop into the oven.

Pasta and veg in a cheese sauce, there is a little topping if gratin under that grated cheddar, it was left over and I thought "oh well, in for a penny..." and threw it on the tops.

There are 2 of Nigel's Black Banana cakes in the oven now, one will be shared with the same neighbour and one will go to Knit and Natter on Tuesday. It will be my first visit in 3 weeks as I have been busy the past 2, there will be lots of catching up to do.

I am so glad that The Flying Geese fabric shop will be open as I need some dark green fabric for quilt binding. They had to close for a week due to building works spreading dust everywhere.

I have a tray of conkers (Horse Chestnuts) drying out ready for the windowsills. I find that they are a good spider deterrent although they don't work for lots of folk.

I have another pair of socks cast on for TV knitting, and hospital waiting time on Wednesday. (this is for when I take my neighbour in for check ups on his leg.)

I have a jumper to finish the neck for Ivy and a cardigan on the go for her as well. I am being very self indulgent with my crafting time  right now.

There will be a batch or 2 of Haw jelly this week and another of the Christmas jelly, that should just about fill the last inch of shelf space.

The cakes are smelling gorgeous and I will have to work hard not to cut one till it is cold. I feel that a cuppa is in order so I will see you all anon.

                   TTFN                                            Pam

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Sniffy, Sneezy and Dozy

I have the sniffles and a fluctuating temperature, between nose blowing and tissue disposal (plus the never ending hand washing) and removal and replacing of my sweater I haven't had a free second this morning. My head is stuffed up and I am having to really concentrate on everything that I do.

I hope that is is a temporary result of my drenching yesterday.

Lots of tea and vitamin C (fresh red grapefruit oh yum) is my treatment of choice.

I did make the "Christmas jelly" this morning, it smells quite spicy but in a couple of weeks I will try it. No matter how it turns out I intend to repeat the operation anyway, this time I will double up the spices.
I want to make another batch of mincemeat and will not want to waste the citrus peel and pulp. We both love mincemeat in various recipes, Mary Berry's mincemeat fruit cake is a firm favourite and I aim to make a few for gifts this year. 
I do want to experiment as I feel that an egg free version that is equally lush would be great.

As it is still raining and the forecast is for more of the same I will try some more quilting, sniffling permitting.
Dinner is a vegan chilli that I stashed in the freezer after a big cooking session a while ago. I may pull some flat breads out later to scoop it up with.
No pudding, we have been  pudding free this week and will be for another. Our sugar intake had gone up alarmingly, along with fats in cream and custard. Mind you after making all those jellies the sugar container is pretty low and I don't intend to buy any more just yet.

My pantry is fast taking on the appearance of a small shop but there is solid thinking behind this.
I grew up right on the very edge of a village, we were the last house on the way out. There was almost a mile to walk to the nearest shop, not nice in driving rain, frosty or snowy weather, and the walk back with shopping was not good.

This time of year my granny would be stuffing the pantry with all manner of foodstuffs, her aim was to have at the very least 4 weeks supply of non perishables. Milk was from the nearest dairy farm, just 5  minutes walk away, and we could make butter and cheese.
This has become so ingrained that even when I lived a short walk from a Co op I still did it.
My family and friends laughed about it until the year that our village was snowed in and I fed 5 households for a week. 3 of those houses had small children and the cupboards were virtually empty because "tomorrow is shopping day".
I also have memories of a family that lived close to us who were unable to budget and every now and then would get a box of food from us. They would have gone very hungry otherwise.
Now I find it impossible not to have my cupboards full by Autumn.

Wow, I wasn't planning on any of that, it just happened.
The SO has just uttered the magic words "would you like a brew" so I am going to say toodle pip for now.

                          TTFN                                           Pam

Friday, 22 September 2017

So far, So good

The quilting has begun and it is looking good, just the long straight lines so far. I have rolled it ready to cross hatch but have finished sewing for today.

The mincemeat has been in the oven to melt the veg suet down, it is out on the side now cooling down. Once cold it will have the brandy added before going into cold sterilised jars, they have been washed and rinsed and are in the oven now, in an hour I will turn the heat off and let them cool down. 

I am planning a new take on the apple jellies, I saved the pulp, pips and skins from the oranges and lemons used in the mincemeat. I will chop those up and add them to a Kilo of chopped apples and some Haws and just cover them with water. To this mix I will add a whole nutmeg, some  Allspice berries and a couple of cinnamon sticks. The hope is that the spices will release their flavour and scent into the liquid so that I get Christmas Jelly. I am only adding the Haws for colour, my concern is that the whole spices will leach their colour and brown jelly is not what I hope to achieve.

I plan on a lazy evening with some gentle knitting, it is pouring with rain and I managed to get soaked earlier. I had to shower and got straight into PJ's and the clothes were spun before being washed.

I have some Saint Agur cheese in the fridge  and a grilled cheese and red onion sandwich is looking good for a lazy dinner possibly with a dollop of relish or chutney.

Ben is treating the weather with total disdain and has turned into a couch potato, I can not say that I blame him.

Washing is bumbling around in the dryer, less ironing later.

Now I need to drink my tea before it gets cold, the SO made it and I don't want to discourage him.

                    TTFN                                         Pam

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Shiny, Sleepy and Spiny

The jelly was a success, 6 jars and a taster (now gone, delish on breakfast toast). A very shiny photo, 

as is the Dresser, I have polished it once, it was gleaming the day that I picked it up.

Jelly making was of no interest to Ben so he retired to the sofa for a little sleepy time.

This is very spiny, all the basting pins are in and I am about halfway through doing them up. My fingers needed time out, I think there is a gadget for that and I know that I need one.

I made a small batch of sweetcorn relish this morning, see Sue's recipe from the cottage at the end of the lane blog.
No celery seed, bother! finely dice a stick of celery and add that. Mmmm there is curry powder and turmeric in there so how about some cumin seeds, done.

I have 3 jars cooling, it smells amazing in the kitchen so a larger batch may be in order.

We had really heavy rain last night, it hammered down but has dried out a bit now. If it stays dry I will be gathering Haws later, there are some stray raspberries in the freezer that may get added to the next batch of jelly.

I have a batch of mincemeat to jar, made with vegetable suet so that I can gift some (in jars and in pastry) with no worries. Many of my friends are either non meat eaters or avoiding beef.

Now I better knuckle down and get back to my pins, I did try stitching a few time but on a large quilt it takes too long, and they all have to be picked out later....all those threads.

            TTFN                                                           Pam