Monday 29 June 2020

Birthday card for a friend

She doesn't do much web related stuff so doesn't read this blog, therefore I am safe to show it to you! It measures 4" x 4" and has a lovely sheet of ready printed paper on the base. On top of that is scored vellum, the 'with love' top (created by me) and a cut out butterfly:
The advantage of putting things on top of vellum is that it covers where you stick it to the base card. The stamp below and butterfly are from another set. It looks blurred here but is lovely and crisp on the card:
I enjoyed making it. Also each day, I am doing a little of my chosen postal Christmas gifts, which I won't be able to show here as several of the recipients read this. They will take me quite a bit of time as there are many elements to what I have chosen to do and lots to make.

I know it is early but last year, I was almost too late to make anything so am starting early this year!

Saturday 27 June 2020


I am going to work through all my stamps to see if there are any I really don't like or like using (rubber ones for instance, just hate them).

For the first time in quite a while, I bought myself some new stamps as part of a magazine - a jungle wild animal theme. Here they are just stamped onto a sheet of white paper:
I like them a lot. They came from this magazine - shush - advertising!
It also had some paper blanks in them which I don't tend to use much but some of them are okay.

You should clean silicone stamps before using, there is a bit of mould release residue still on them. However, I tend to stamp them as above, putting them straight into soapy water after each stamp. Once rinsed and dried, they are put back on the acetate backing and are ready to go (and stamp properly) next time.

Friday 26 June 2020

M & S a bit disappointing

We went back in first thing this morning to complete shopping. A decent queue was outside said shop, no-one in charge of it. Everyone was queuing for food so we decided to go in, ignoring that queue.

Having looked online for what I wanted, not a single item was in the shop. I bought socks, DB shorts and slippers, which were extremely limited.

We drove off to Matalan, loads of interesting things there. I bought a long Indian material style skirt, two similar tops and 3 short sleeved tee shirts. Tried everything on once home and it all fitted, a miracle for me.

Thursday 25 June 2020

Hot enough for you?

Yesterday, our shade temperature got to 33.9C, today it is currently 31C but somehow feels a lot hotter.

I had a 9.00am eye test this morning, it was very long winded but professional all the same. However, my pupils just wouldn’t open enough for a decent retina picture, so needed eye drops. Half an hour later, I had those sexy Belladonna eyes.

They redid my pressures as well and after a final check, all was well. Macula in both eyes good, a few little other things going on but no change from last time.

I asked for my tv glasses to be better although looking at my prescription I think they have done reading, ah well. If so, I shall ask again for improved tv glasses.

We popped into our favourite cafe, in new premises, to pick up two cheese scones and some piper crisps for lunch.

We eventually got home at 11:30. We also needed to do other shopping but it was getting crowded so shall go in first thing tomorrow.

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Experimental baking

Last Monday, I baked a recipe from Rhonda's blog, Almond and apricot cake (with built in custard). It is lovely but in the humid stormy weather we had then, it was completely covered in white hairy mould by Thursday. We had to throw the last half of it away.

I hate waste so this time I fiddled with the recipe to make muffins.

Having made the custard element, I stirred enough stewed rhubarb into it to loosen it very slightly. I stopped once it had a nice rhubarb flavour.

I made up a basic Victoria sandwich cake mix, using two eggs and their equivalent weight in everything else. One good tablespoon of sponge mixture was put into the bottom of muffin cases, a good heaped teaspoon of rhubarb custard was put on top:
The rest of the sponge mix was used to fill up the cases. I then pressed a freshly picked raspberry into the mix and sprinkled sugar strands (100's and 1000's) on top :
They were baked at 190C for 25 minutes. I forgot to take a picture when they came out. They were a little full and just avoided spilling out of the cases so maybe a little less of everything next time and make 10 instead of 9.

They tastle lovely and the sprinkles on the top gave them a crunch texture. They were soft the next day but who cares.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Although its a bit late

I took 3 internodal tomato stems (the side shoots you pinch out) and potted them on into individual pots. Straws and plastic bags were put over to create a tent to help stop them from wilting:
All being well, they should be rooted in a couple of weeks, grown on and potted into large pots after that.

These will live outdoors then be brought into my conservatory later in the year, and with a bit of luck, will provide some late tomatoes.

Monday 22 June 2020

Short Sleeved Cardigan Finished

See post dated 8th June 2020 to see the pattern. It is finished at last:

Overall, I am quite pleased even though I couldn't get out to buy new buttons (these are from my stash). It is in the palest of baby pink acrylic and I used 4.5mm needles rather than the stated 4.0 mm as I thought that might be too small.

Sunday 21 June 2020

My mini mini mini

School pension kicks in soon and the dreaded forms arrived. I don’t know what it is about official forms that sends me into a tiz but they do. I think I subconsciously think I will be thrown into jail if I do them wrong.

For such a tiny amount there sure were a lot of forms, 10 sides of them depending on what I wanted to do. Did I want to make my lump sum bigger by converting some of the pension into a slightly larger lump sum. I wasn’t going to, then realised I would need to collect this pension for nearly 14 years before I got back the loss of £6 a month for doing so, so I did.

Who knows how long I will live after receiving it. Normally I think long term but for such a small amount didn’t this time.

DB sat with me and I still managed to make a couple of mistakes. We shall see in due course if I have done it correctly.

Saturday 20 June 2020

Oops and Ruby

Firstly the oops. Whilst eating a bread based lunch yesterday, a parcel arrived. I took it off the floor where the postman left it, forgot to wash my hands and carried on eating. First time I have forgotten and hopefully all will be well.

Gosh, we had hours of heavy rain yesterday. Mainly dry today.

Ruby rarely runs with anything in her mouth. She picks things up occasionally, goes about 2 paces then drops them. This picture made us smile:
She looks like she is smoking a cigar like a certain Prime Minister!

Here she is relaxing during her nail clipping and clumps of hair removal from her paws:
She did have her eyes closed but opened them when I quietly picked up the camera. Like children, how do they know?

Happy Summer Soltice or longest day today (according to the news) but in my head, it will always be June 21st.

Thursday 18 June 2020

Back garden

Finally, after weeks of intermittent sunshine and rain, things are moving. Mini comice pear tree:
Bed 1 with a whole 5 dwarf runner beans in but another 3 sown direct:
 Bed 2 and 3 above. Bed 1 below, again, plus a red pear pear tree:
Fruit cage which has dwarf raspberries, a few gooseberries, a few blackcurrants and a thornless blackberry. To the left of this cage are two mini plum trees.
The two alstroemerias at back left and right are new, the French marigolds I grew and the other plants are out of the plastic cartons on the patio table. Below, is the remaining small fuschia from the same containers.

Finally, bed 4 on the patio was emptied of its weedy vegetables and changed into a flower bed:

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Maggots - ugh!

At the moment, our dustbin men are not emptying the food compost bin each week. Instead we are being asked to put the food which normally goes into it, into our normal bins, which only get emptied fortnightly. As you can imagine, this can normally be quite smelly by then.

We always wrap everything up in newspaper which is easily compostable but in the last fortnight, I wrapped some meat juice spillage into some and this was the sight that greeted DB when he went to empty it:
Another week and we reckon a whole cloud of flies would have erupted out of it. The bin has now been emptied, cleaned out thoroughly and dried in the sun.

Sunday 14 June 2020

Still not sure

If I like the new blogger, especially when using an iPad as it doesn’t seem to scroll properly. I can’t see what I am typing most of the time when in landscape. Haven’t yet tried to upload a picture.

First thing this morning, I started to cut back plants that have finished flowering in the garden. Three tubs and 20 minutes later, I was too hot so gave up. A few rows of knitting to cool down, plus a cup of tea helped.

I am making a mask for my sister and brother in law so cut those out. They are sending up liner material and elastic so can’t start sewing until then.

Made the decision to remove my pathetic vegetables from bed 4 on the patio and fill it with flowers instead. My two new alstroemerias went in. I want to buy a perpetual wallflower if I can, plus move some other small plants into it. I might even move the plants from my 5 litre containers that currently sit on the table out there.

Saturday 13 June 2020

Finally, getting there

Having pulled out more rows this morning, I finally got back to where I was yesterday. With DB’s help, we did the dreaded cast off row. I end up with 3 stitches too many, checking halfway through it thank goodness. I did one extra cast off, then knitted two together.

I amended the pattern to remind me that for this particular pattern, the stitch left on the needle after casting off, appears to not be counted in the next bit. 

I feel a bit more relaxed now and will hopefully finish it off tomorrow.

One of the neighbours out back had people around last night. Thankfully no music but very loud laughing and shouting. I shut the window at 01:00 as they were driving me nuts. They are a household of three and there were way more voices than that.

Friday 12 June 2020

Swearing - moi - really

The pattern I am knitting is getting to me. It was bad enough that the yoke part was done and dusted until I realised the the last line of pattern was incorrect. I had realised it looked incorrect but carried on before having to pull it out.

Got past that bit. Did the five rows including the final button hole but it wasn’t right somewhere. So today, both Ruby and DB wisely left the room as I started to explode. So far, those 5 very simple rows have been pulled out and re-knitted 4 times. Sorted.

Then I did the double cast off line and was almost at the end of it and realised way back at the start, another mistake.

Then we all had a much needed break to take Ruby to the vet for an annual jab.

Once back, I intended to pull out just that row but no, 4 rows came undone because just one stitch slipped before I could stop it. It is all picked up - again. I shall try again tomorrow.

Honestly, you couldn’t make it up could you.

Thursday 11 June 2020

Getting a little tetchy... UPDATED

I felt annoyed and frustrated after Boris announced single people or single grandparents etc can now stay the night with loved ones. I’m being selfish I know as the other grandparent is on her own and wants to connect with others even more so.

However, we both live a 5 hour drive away from darling granddaughter and that is still too far, for us anyway, to go to spend the night. At our ages, the drive wipes us out and even a weekend stay is too short, a long weekend is the minimum. Ah well, will just have to keep on keeping on.

We dropped the car off yesterday to have it’s mirror fixed, shouldn’t be too long they said. There wasn’t a courtesy car free so we had to wait. We walking in heavy drizzle around the industrial estate, taking in the alien sounds, views and smells, feeling almost giddy with excitement.

We bought Ruby some nibbles, a couple of plants and plant food from another shop, then returned to the garage. The car hadn’t been touched. I could feel my frustration starting to bubble. We sat down for what felt like an eternity, actually it was just under 1 1/2 hours, I just got grumpier.

We were then informed the technician had done the full initially booked repair rather than the half repair we had requested. Presume the work sheet hadn’t been changed? Anyhow another 1/2 hour passed whilst they removed the bit we hadn’t requested and put the mirror back together.

It was now an hour past our usual lunch time so I wasn’t best pleased as the courtesy drinks weren’t available either.

Upshot, at least was a bill of about £260 rather than the original estimate of £560 so that helped. We got fish and chips on the way home.

I felt better with food in me, until that announcement when I got a little short with DS as well, then I felt incredibly sad as it’s not his fault, bless him.

Reference to the link to the knitting pattern the other day, there is an error in the pattern. Read that post again to get the correction!

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Third and final dress - for now anyway

This one is completely different. It was a nightmare from start to midway then became easier, elements of it were quite difficult to get to grips with though. After cutting, and starting to sew, I realised I had made a mistake on the depth of the ruffles parts, cutting them as cm rather than inches.

The middle band, needed to attach the bottom ruffle, was originally white but didn't look or feel right so was exchanged for the current one.

It has a covered elastic hair band and button on the back to close it and overall, especially now it is finished, I am rather pleased with it:

Monday 8 June 2020

Another new knitting stitch - WARNING

I have taken a break from sewing to knit a short sleeved cardigan for DGD. The stitch I needed to learn was pfb, purl through front and back of the same stitch.

Thank goodness for the internet. The first video didn’t make it clear enough but the second one did. I am knitting the cardigan all in one from the neck down and this particular stitch is used to increase on every other row to go from 54 to 150 stitches.

The entire thing is created in 63 rows. I should be using 4mm needles but have opted to use 4.5mm instead. I was worried it might be too small, so this will either be okay or way to big.

Watch this space!

Pattern is from here:

WARNING - for the 0-3 month pattern there is an error.

Line 22 should read k4, (k9, p2) 11 times, k13.

Sunday 7 June 2020

A poor night last night

I was up several times in the night, first to go to the loo, then to get a glass of milk which usually settles me. Nope! At 3am, up again to open window for air and a quick read. By 03:30, still not settled, gave in and had an eggcup of Baileys. That usually works.

Tried to get to sleep, dawn chorus started which I heard due to forgetting to shut the window. Got up to shut it. Saw the clock go past 04:00, then fell asleep.

Woke up around 06:30, then fell asleep until 07:55 when I heard Ruby run up the drive so knew her and DB were up.

I sleep poorly one night but quite well the next so that is something. I actually had a whole week of uninterrupted sleep the end of May, so thought I had turned a corner. Ah well, onwards and upwards.

Saturday 6 June 2020

Second dress

Same pattern, different material but skirt element the length the first one should have been:
This one was quicker as I learnt a lot from making the first one. After cutting out, about 4 hours sewing, pinning and ironing time and it was finished.

I did put a snap fastener on the back but then replaced it with velcro. DGD is still on her back a lot of the time and we both felt it would make a mark on her skin.

Welcome to new followers. Sorry I can’t welcome you by name but blogger no longer says.

Friday 5 June 2020

No thanks Boris and Donald

It seems our government has signed or is preparing to sign a US trade deal to import (with tariffs) chlorinated chicken and hormone fed beef, into the UK.

I will not be eating either. I shall be supporting, where possible and finances allowing, our organic UK or EU farmers, who have good farming practices in place. Second to that, especially for Ruby and her food, non-organic farmers who also use good farming practice.

We don't eat much meat anyway and would be perfectly willing to reduce it further.

Once we leave the EU, their meat may well be more expensive due to import tariffs so think the US trade deal is to help with that. Still won't make me buy it.

Support our farmers where possible, they are going to need it, especially if a lot of their produce this year goes to waste with the weather and lack of pickers.

Thursday 4 June 2020

For some reason

I woke this morning sure it was Saturday, and still feel it is, how weird.

My tomatoes endured a cool breezy night poor things. The four in pots were completely wrapped, the ones in the garden had fleece around the bed to try and stop them snapping in the wind.

This morning with DB’s help, we put a cane across the top of the middle canes and draped and clipped a fleece roof over them. Hopefully that will warm them up a little especially as tonight and tomorrow, at least, are very cool nights.

Fingers crossed they will survive.

Wednesday 3 June 2020

A quieter affair

Shopping this morning was pleasant for a change. No queue outside Lidl at 08:15, plus almost empty inside. Within half an hour, we were at Morrison’s, similar there as well. In both shops, I only saw one other person wearing a mask!

By 09:10 we were home and getting everything put away.

We are going to sort out the spare pantry and boxes under the bed pantry in the next few days. If this has taught us anything, it is to be even more prepared! Who knew toilet rolls and elastic would be in such demand, not me.

Once the pantry is topped up, and a list of those items made, I shall begin topping up and increasing my under the bed pantry. Brexit is looming and as it is no longer in the papers, goodness knows what agreements (or not), are taking place.

Prices have certainly risen over these last few weeks. Loose tea has increased by 35p a packet, tinned fruit from 80p to £1 a tin, pilchards for Ruby from £1 to £1:20 etc. My shopping bills have risen so building up spares will happen all through this year.

That Brexit box (or two), kept us going over the first few weeks of lockdown so I am pleased about that.

Tuesday 2 June 2020


We took Ruby to the beach for a short visit yesterday. She’s not too bothered by the sea, a quick run in and out does her. However, her great love is just full pelt quartering on the beach. Run off in a quarter circle, back to the start, then off again.

The tide was a long way out so by the time we reached it and got back, it was long enough for all of us. The beach itself was almost deserted as were the streets. All the shops except the chip shop were closed. We queued in an orderly, socially distanced fashion for chips and curry sauce, eating them on a bench near a church.

We drove home, had a nice cup of tea, watered a few suffering plants and relaxed.