Sunday, 25 July 2021

Lack of Olympics on TV

 Apparently the BBC lost full broadcasting rights to the Olympics in 2015. These are now with Discovery + and Eurosport. The BBC can’t broadcast more that two Olympic sports at a time, hence why no multiple red buttons. Now we know.

Many viewers are angry as they aren’t seeing much rowing, gymnastics and no tennis. So I feel glad we signed up for streaming so we can at least see some sports we love.

Poor Andy has had to pull out defending his singles title due to a thigh strain, giving it up so he and Joe can concentrate on the doubles. Well done young man.

Liam Broady, a late replacement for Dan I think, has won his first match.

Still no storms or meaningful rain so far, just that fine floating drizzle occasionally. Might have to give in and water if nothing happens. It is cool so that is a bonus as the humid weather wipes me out.

Saturday, 24 July 2021


 After nearly 3 hours of frustration and stress, we could view Olympic tennis matches. According to the Eurosport Player web site, signing up gives you access to both it and Eurosport on Amazon. We are Amazon members so signed up via them, just one month for £6.99.

Nope, we could only access limited sport on the player but none of the premium tennis matches. In the end we went on the Eurosport web site, paid another monthly subscription and could finally access what we wanted. I have a feeling we made that mistake last time, must remember.

Eventually we settled to watch Andy and Joe play their doubles match. It was very good. Andy moved and served well. As it happens he has a tough first round singles draw unlike Djokovic (yet again), who had an easy draw against someone ranked 139. He is so jammy.

No storms here yet. It is quite windy and warm but not hot. I do hope we get rain though as the front garden is in need of it.

From the garden

The pansies I planted last Autumn are still going strong even but with slightly smaller flowers:

Up until now, we have been harvesting dribs and drabs of our wild alpine strawberries. Yesterday though, I managed to get a whole cereal bowl of them:
They may be small but boy, do they pack a flavour punch!

Well done Andy and Joe on winning your first doubles match. Good luck with the rest of them.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Food Delivery Problems

I was reading an interesting article the other day about the 50,000 shortfall of lorry drivers, see here. 

Once upon a time, a lorry would delivery what had been ordered even if the lorry wasn't full. Now apparently, they haven't got the drivers to do that so only full lorries can be dispatched.

This is fine for most of the major supermarkets (but not all and not always) but not for Lidl. Apparently they are being inflexible and still demanding their orders whether the lorry is full or not. The drivers association has said that can't be done and they are starting to service other places first.

Such shortages were very evident in Lidl today. No fresh baked goods, many, many empty spaces in fresh, fridge and frozen produce. No one stocking the shelves as clearly no lorry had turned up. 

As usual, after Lidl we went to Morrison's. Quite a few empty spaces on shelves there and quite a few of their 3 for 2 berries were due to finish today and many were mouldy.

Forgot yoghurt so on the way home, popped into Sainsburys. There shelves were much better but still had gaps.

This is just the tip of the iceberg folks. If you haven't started to buy and store one or two extra things each week, you may find, that one day, they won't be there.

Yesterday may have been 'Freedom Day', but in every place we visited today, everyone was still wearing masks except for one customer and a couple of staff. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Boris!

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Warmer today

It is already hotter today and as well as the long blind out the back, we have attached the duvet cover for extra protection. I am pleased to say, for the most part, Ruby is laying in the shade. She had an early walk and won't get another one today. It drives me mad to see people dragging their dogs out for long walks in this heat. They are wearing a fur coat for heavens sake! The tarmac is very hot, would you walk on it barefoot? No? Then don't expect them to.

Although the pots were all watered yesterday, the tops had already dried out so they were watered again this morning. I need to harvest a few ripe raspberries but doing so would involve standing out in the sun. They can wait until later this afternoon when they will be in the shade.

My autumn journal is now finished apart from the outside cover, which I shall start today. That leaves me free to begin writing in my summer one and also think about play journals. I watched someone the other day, use a board book to journal in (the kind a baby has). Quite interesting.

A birthday card was quickly made yesterday for a friend but I am not sure I like it so may make another one. Keep yourselves and your pets as cool as you can.

As I used so much of my Brexit box in the early days of the pandemic, I am starting to create another one. You never know what is around the corner. We have all heard about the driver shortages, weather destroying crops, lack of farm and factory food processing workers. Best to be prepared methinks.

Friday, 16 July 2021

Getting on...

Well, I have trialled the style of mixed media I saw and wanted to have a go at, but don't like it at all. I much prefer what I am doing so that is where I will go. These are the best two of my attempts.  Both dulled down after the application of transparent gesso (which also left streaks), it also leaves a matte appearance, but to me, it just ruined them:

I get annoyed at buying the odd thing to attempt these trials but shall not be doing it again.

An hour was spent in the garden first thing, a big trug of weeds up and dead heading finished flowers. Containers watered and feeding done where required.

The blind along the patio is out but it is a bit windy so may have to be retracted slightly. We have an old duvet that attaches to it and a washing line to give us extra shade if we need to do this.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Secondhand Books for journals

Where possible, I am buying books from either charity shops or Ebay, all used but in good condition. My haul today from a shop were these:

Both the pink and light blue books have been thinned ready for use. The pink will become my winter journal, the light blue, my new mixed media journal.

The Forces Sweetheart book has been gutted to removed oodles of useful ephemera for my journals. However, this particular advert will not appear:

 Amazing that yet again, the women are being called loose yet it is probably the sexually active men who are sleeping around more then passing it on.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

I don't know

Whether to change the name of my blog - or not? There is nothing wrong with it per se but we have no need to be as frugal as we were. I will soon be collecting my pension and whilst I have no plans to spend most of it, it seems wrong somehow to keep with the title of this blog.

I just can't make up my mind!

I am currently working on my second journal but still have bits to do to completely finish my first. Having previously given away all my art stuff, new items have been bought. 

Transparent and white gesso for coating pages ready for working on them. Gouache paints, brushes and black and white outline pens. This is a slightly different form of creating a journal to what I currently do. I hope to embrace both methods, either separately or combined in the same journal. Just a few more items to buy then I can trial this other method.

We have begun to harvest a few raspberries and had our first few alpine strawberries, boy, are they tasty. The tomatoes are finally setting fruit, as are the beans. There are a few lettuces getting ready to eat but that is all we are growing in the raised beds this year. We have French marigolds, cosmos and nicotiana amongst the vegetables and very pretty they look too.


Friday, 9 July 2021

In vain

 I have tried to type a post on my main computer but it’s playing silly beggars. Just letting you know. Back tomorrow hopefully.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Will you/won’t you?

 Carry on wearing a mask? For now I will. An example today reinforced my opinion. I was posting a letter near a shop, a van was parked outside. As I walked past it, an elderly chap stuck his head near the open window and coughed non stop, very forcibly. I thought he would make himself sick doing so. My head was within 3’ of his but I had already put my mask on thank goodness.

Once home I gave the mask and my face a very good wash. You just don’t know do you!

I will carry on wearing it in shops or close quarters if too near other people. I currently have no need to use public transport but if I did, would wear one. We still don’t feel comfortable eating inside but have tried to do so, especially if it isn’t too busy.

It seems masks and social distancing are to go, a very big mistake in my opinion but there you go. It feels a political and financial gut decision rather than based on medical need. Whitty and Valance didn’t seem impressed at all.

The NHS may not be overwhelmed by Covid but to all intents and purposes it is. Things are nowhere near back to normal, it seems impossible to get appointments and operations anytime soon. We need to be ready for others to invade our personal space once more. We always have hand gel available and will keep it close by still. 

What about you, will you carry on wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing?

Monday, 5 July 2021


 DGD tried on the latest bodice version of her dress, still not right. Last week she looked like she was wearing a maternity dress, this week as though she had stepped off a 1980’s keep fit set! We all laughed so hard, including her, even if she didn’t understand why we were laughing.

More alterations, posting up and another try on next weekend to check it all again. Rather than keep making dresses, I am just doing the bodice part as the skirt is easy.

Although still crawling some of the time, for the most part, she just stands up, wobbles a little then toddles off. Obviously this involves more trips and associated bruises. Such a shame that has to happen but it’s how they learn to step over things. DS used to be covered in bruises and half egg sized bumps on his forehead. I was always worried of someone reporting me for mistreating him:(

So, all my journal stuff is once again put away ready for sewing. I have now done 2 double pages of the new one.

Friday, 2 July 2021

Journal Finished

I have just finished my first journal, want to take a peek? Here is the front cover:

 Pages inside:

The right page has a pocket to insert something special:

In the middle of the book are two sloping pockets. The first attempt I didn't feel it fitted in with the book:

This does and I love it:

Finally, the back cover:

I shall enjoy writing in it. The only problem I found was the pressure from creating pockets has caused the spine to be under a little strain, despite removing quite a few pages to accommodate them.

The back page (seaside one) is cracking a little at the top but if I need to repair it I will.

I have already prepared my next one which will cover Autumn or Autumn/Winter, see how it goes.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Daylight Robbery!

 We paid a visit to more charity shops today. Although there wasn’t much to find, I noted that most books were between 25p and £1:50. Eventually finding 2 quite small books, I left DB to pay whilst I went to the next one.

You can imagine my shock when he said he nearly didn’t buy them as they wanted £7. SEVEN POUNDS!!! They weren’t in good condition which was why I wanted them.

Absolutely disgusting and they have lost any future trade from us.

One of the shops from yesterday were only charging £1 for 4 books, of any size.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Charity Shop Mini Haul

 We had chiropractor treatment today. As is usual afterwards, we go to Dunelm for coffee and lunch (bacon bap and coffee plus I bought a new pillow). As we were driving in, we noticed two charity shops that were not there last time, so paid them a visit:

I was a tad annoyed when we got home to find a gardening book in the bag (not what was picked up) and whatever book of use to me had been left behind:(

The book bottom left is chock full of gorgeous coloured pencil illustrations. Bottom right has a few beautiful pictures. Top left will mainly be background colour. The two books top right are intended to be turned into altered book journals once I have finished my current one. The top far right (Spiderwick) has a beautiful cover plus lovely pen and ink drawings in it. I may try and keep some if possible.

I think I have found what I want to do and oddly enough, it doesn't involve the things that I have made so far. I enjoyed doing them and will use the technique occasionally but not those actual ones. Still, they may make nice little gifts for someone or other.

I am veering towards collage altered books as journals and feel that is where my interests lie. Its odd really as I have watched hours and hours of such things, most I dislike but one or two really speak to me. No doubt, what I produce won't be liked by others but it is for my own use only so that is fine.

Monday, 28 June 2021

Poor dress:)

Granddaughter tried on her trial dress and it needs lots of alterations - which was expected. Eventually it was removed and sat beside her on the settee. She is in a throwing stage at the moment and threw it:

Made us laugh!

A major revamp of the bodice element has been done today and it is in the post for trying on next time we speak - fingers crossed.

Thursday, 24 June 2021

My first double journal page

 Whilst I have been busy creating things to put in a journal, I was itching to get started. I have decided that ripping the innards out of books isn't for me (for now anyway). I recently came across altered and/or glue book journals. Whilst I didn't like many of them, one or two spoke to me and that is the direction I will head in.

I won't be glueing over the entire page once finished as I use an inkjet printer. They would probably smear all over the place. Anyway, the book I am using is "How to creat a pond" so no use to me as a book.

Pages were stuck back to back to create a firm base. The sides I want to write on were painted matt white or may be covered with my dyed paper. I went to Wilko to buy a tester pot, used it and yes, it was silk (didn't say on the tub). Luckily, in my stash I found a small bottle of Pebeo white matt and painted over those.

Whilst I don't have much to play with, I had enough to start and this will be Summer 2021, with images corresponding to the season. So here it is, my first page and I love it. Can't tell you how much I enjoyed designing it, then sticking it all together:

I have left enough space to write in. Whilst this is my first attempt, it will be a while before I find the style I am interested in. Most of the images on the right page were not distressed around their edges. Quite a few on the left were, which I think I prefer. The rose napkin covered a mistake.

Other things I have seen people do, which can be nice addition, is fine paint splatter marks. Others draw something on top of their collages, stamp, shade or even colour them in more with coloured pencil. 

So, the above page may not be quite finished with yet, I shall see how I feel another day.


Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Christening Dress

After a delay of more than a year, DGD hopes to be christened late summer early autumn. I have been asked to make her dress - gulp!!!

I have agreed on the proviso that: 
a) it will be basic but hopefully pretty and b) if I get too stressed or don't feel I can achieve a good result, we will buy one.

Its one thing to make her everyday dresses, another to make one that will be under close scrutiny. Anyway, I found a nice pattern online and both DB and I double checked sizing against a new dress of hers and set too. He cut everything out as my dominant hand is not playing ball as the moment.

The bodice instructions were weird to say the least and although we made it large enough, it ended up way too small once sewn and turned inside out. It had also been totally unpicked and resewn three times. Just the bodice took nearly 3 days and way too much stress.

That one ended up in the bin. I took a day off to lower my stress levels and we set to using a pattern we have used before. This test dress will I think need loads of altering even though we used the template from one of her new dresses to measure things.

It is way too short so she can wear it (if it fits her) as a summer top with shorts. I am only interested in how the bodice looks. I think it may be a tad wide, and the front of the neck will need lowering. The arm holes may need lengethening as well. 

I am currently not competent enough to add sleeves but could manage a ruffle type thing. I think other Gran could knit her a nice bolero to keep her warm.

Anyway, herewith the first practice piece:

The real one, in pale cream broderie anglaise (material chosen by us all), will also have a band of different material (or ribbon), inbetween the bodice and skirt and or little flowers sewn on. It will also be 3" to 4" longer so it will come below her knees. It closes on the back with poppers and I shall source some pretty ones for it.
This version of the dress only took me 1 1/2 days and way, way less stress.

Monday, 21 June 2021


 It was 14C here yesterday. All weekend we have had to put the heating on every now and then to take the chill off. 

I was ill Saturday night:( Couldn’t sleep so was up reading when my guts started growling like a huge waterfall. 20 minutes later I risked leaving the loo and getting back into bed. Oddly enough I didn’t have any cramps.

However, all through a rather fretful night, both feet kept cramping, 3 times each. I can deal with that but then my lower legs started. Luckily I could stop those by shooting out of bed and stretching.

I was fine Sunday but very tired. Slept like a log last night but still tired today. Hopefully tomorrow I will be fine.

Friday, 18 June 2021


 Goodness me it’s cold, 13C and wet. I washed clothes yesterday and they still haven’t dried indoors. The heating was put on for half an hour to take the chill out the house and hopefully, finish drying them.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Back Border

 I nipped outside last night, ahead of the predicted thunderstorms (didn't happen), to photograph my new back border. There are 9 of these huge self sown foxgloves in white, cream, pale yellow, magenta, pink and white and pink:

These two are about 7' tall!
Gentle rain fell overnight plus for a few hours this morning. Worse is still predicted so I am hoping they and the rest of the garden, doesn't get flattened.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Altered envelope - 1st try

 From the blue envelope to it being covered:

To this with a small tag in it:
Tag slightly removed, it can be written on.
A journaling card would be in it rather than a tag to give someone more to write on. I didn't cover the back of the envelope as it will be stuck completely onto a page. Not a bad first attempt.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

The Zoo

 We all went to the zoo yesterday, trying to see what we missed last time. Still didn’t manage it. DGD enjoyed herself but got tired. It was very busy and at times difficult to keep away from people. We bought an overpriced lunch which was ok but not over special.

We all slept well but DGD has got a cough and a bit of a runny nose. She’s already been tested for Covid otherwise we couldn’t have come.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

A few more items made

 Herewith some tags and a couple of journal cards, before and after tags:

I love the fairy journal cards. They are from the Autumn Fairy book by C. M. Barker. She has loads more so shall try and seek them out at car boot sales. Herewith afterwards:

I could also stitch around them if desired. Might try that on the next few I make.

It is very difficult in the early days of learning a new craft, as you tend to copy others work to get to grips with the technical side of things. Eventually, I hope to find my own style. Even in the above image, there are only 5 out of the 8 I really like so am probably beginning to get where I want but it will take a lot more time. This I know!

Monday, 7 June 2021

Front Garden and Winter Troughs

 My winter troughs are still going strong. With having no intention of planting them up with summer bedding, I thought I would keep dead heading and feeding them, and see how they go:

The front garden is coming along nicely. No matter how many poppies I dig out, some of the root survives to give a new display each year:

Once these late spring/early summer flowers disappear, my garden is past its best but still gives some colour.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Making a booklet

 I decided to make myself a booklet to store ephemera, but in the end, decided to use it to house stamp images cut from a catalogue:

I am only about 1/3rd of the way through the stamp catalogue, loads more to choose yet. Whilst they don't have the size or depth of a real stamp, or have been franked to indicate use, there are some really pretty images which will come in good use eventually.

Friday, 4 June 2021


The so called slightly cooler day yesterday, eventually turned into a hot and muggy one. So much so, we had to get the fan down from the attic to give us some cooler air.

I have just come in from finishing off getting the plants in from yesterday. It was overcast and relatively cool when I started. Now at 09:00, the sun is coming out and already it is getting warm.

I gave them a good drink, dead headed my spring pansies and wallflowers that are still going strong, then gave them a good liquid feed. Hopefully, they should carrying on flowering for longer yet and give us a bonus from the lounge window. 

We are planning another trip to see darling granddaughter for an extended 'weekend', taken partly during the week! Another trip to a zoo has been booked. Hopefully, we should get to see more as last time we went, quite a bit was closed off.

Right, back to journal creating.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Rain, flowers and makes...

At 5am this morning, it poured it down, a very welcome relief for the garden. It is less hot today thank goodness, but grey with the possibility of showers. That's unfortunate, as last night, Ruby wet herself on her new laundered day bed. Luckily it is a folded up double summer quilt and has been washed already. We could do with a bit more warmth to dry it.

Just been to buy a few trays of summer bedding. Cosmos and nicotiana are already in two of the raised vegetable beds. We are not growing so much this year. Today we bought verbena and nemesia for some front tubs and French marigolds to put around the tomatoes.

Herewith some finished labels:

A new style pockets with areas to put items:
Just some random things in the pockets to show what they could look like. The stocking advert is from a 1940's magazine that I have had for at least 15 years in the attic:
A more male orientated pocket:

Tuesday, 1 June 2021


Besides putting in plants, the dreaded weeding and chatting to my sister, I found the time to create some more items.

I found a tutorial online for making paper cards, using 3 layers of old paper and gluing them to each other. It was by Joie de Fi. I like to work mostly on 12" x 12" sized sheets, so measured that out on my green self sealing cutting board. Here is the side that will be embellished:

The side to write on:
Trimmed down to 6" x 4" journalling cards:
Onwards and upwards!

Monday, 31 May 2021

Just a few other things

 Trying to make something...

I think they are called 'scrappy snippets' but am not sure being so new to this. Basically they are just a decoration for tags, journal cards, belly bands (what an exciting name).

Saturday, 29 May 2021

So much better

For a touch of distress ink. The tag on the left (still minus its punched hole and further decoration), looks ok but once the edges are distressed, it looks so much better:

 I took plain card, added lots of vintage paper to it (look away Sue!), trimmed into tag shapes then distressed with the ink.

Once my mod podge arrives, further decoration will be added - watch this space. It has taken me a week to organise this, mind you, I am not doing it for much of the day as gardening has started!

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Genes eh!

Can't live without them, sometimes very difficult to live with, at times disappointing. My hair falls into the latter category.

When I was little, hairdressers always used to comment on how thick my hair was, like a lions mane they used to say. Normal thickness at the back and sides, very thick on top. "You won't have any problems with baldness" they said, I had no idea what they were talking about at the time. Now I do.

Hair genes are not great in our family as we age. The problem probably stems from our dads side as he started to go thin at the front, quite early on. His mum, had wisps of hair as she aged. 

I have always had a bit of a recession either side of my fridge but that has gotten really bad of late. It looks like both sides will meet up behind my fringe leaving me with a front tuft, male pattern rather then female pattern baldness I think?

I often remark to people I shall shave it all off when it gets too bad, wear a hat or a wig when out and about - but would I, really?

The rest is absolutely thick and all there, it is just the front bit. I notice in some cultures around the world, that some have what I would refer to as a very high fringe, with a tall forehead, empty of hair, maybe that would be the way to go. Shave off my tuft when it finally gets stranded:)

Wednesday, 26 May 2021


We recently had to dig up our very loved Comice pear tree. It had become infested with some sort of internal leaf bug and after a couple of years of spreading through it, was totally infested with no reasonable treatment available. A great pity as it had dozens of pears on it which were also in a mess:( 

Anyhow, it was only small and DB took a couple of days to get it up. When I next went outside, he had put this in its place:

How lovely.

It is our Ruby wedding anniversary this week. Who would have thought, so a very apt piece of art from him.

Monday, 24 May 2021

Recycling and repurposing

I realised that all my Uni journals were up in the attic so got DB to bring them down. There would be work in there that I could reuse in my junk journal, spare pages of paper for dyeing and grey board at the back for reusing. There were quite a few as you can see:

Once all spare pages were torn out, and counting A3 sheets as 2 x A4, there were about 70:
DB worked on them once I had removed what I wanted, removing the grey back and shredding anything with my identity on it.

I tried to do this a few years ago but couldn't bring myself to do it. However, they have now been up there for 11 years without a glance so the time was now!

The contents have given me lots of things to play with...

Saturday, 22 May 2021

May as well be Autumn or Winter

 I was going to change the duvet over from the heavier winter one to a lighter summer one but it is still too chilly. Haven't yet reached the stage where we are waking up hot so there is no point changing it at present.

The heating is on and off like a yoyo. The temperature at the moment is still 8C, the poor tomatoes and French beans are still in the greenhouse as it is just too cold, wet and windy for them:(

Forgot to show you yesterday some parchment paper that I laid sheets of dyed paper on which were waiting to be baked:

Such gorgeous marks. They will come in handy for paper/sewing items. I am starting to save my onion skins, plus avocado skin and pips ready for more dyeing. Watching online, people also dye outside, for health and safety reasons, using vinegar, alum, iron, tannin etc in their water. They also use food colouring, paint and lay plants between sheets of paper before soaking. All look interesting and I am very excited to try some of the techniques. 

It's like being back at University on my art course! Which reminds me, I have kept all those journals so might check through them to see if anything useful is in them or where I noted down techniques I used for work.


Friday, 21 May 2021

Some more dyeing...

 This time using steeped blackberry juice rather than tea:

There were quite a few different shades in bright pinks, deep purples and a couple of blues. Must have been the constitution of the papers I used. The jug on the right was what I used whilst hot. On the left, half the cold original, unused, quite a difference in colour. I used the jug on the left to do the lace and a couple of small pieces of cheesecloth:
Dried but before ironing:
After ironing, quite a difference:
Herewith 2 small pieces of cheesecloth and some originally white lace:
I was pooped afterwards, as the drying process takes up so much time but am enjoying myself immensely.