Saturday, 17 December 2011

I didn't realise the Christmas tree was drunk

... until I took a pic from this angle!  It looks ok straight on.

The chimney breast looks very anaemic in this, using a flash, but is actually Homebase 'Caramel Cream' which is a nice soft shade.  See my 2011 Christmas extravagance?  The new wooden NOEL from Aldi for a grand total of £1.99!!  I've only opened one Christmas present in advance - there was a lovely spicey smell coming from a little package, and it was a pot pourri sachet to hang on the tree.  So, even though ours is artificial, we still have a Christmassy scent in the room - thanks, Hilary!

Starting to get into the Christmas spirit this weekend - younger DD and partner came tthis afternoon for their Christmas visit, and we've just watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  We watch a Christmas film each day this week, finishing with Alastair Sims's Scrooge on Christmas Eve.  Tomorrow we're off to older DD and hubby for the afternoon, and join their church pre-Christmas service at 5pm.

Off to bed now as it takes some time for me to rally in the mornings after my night time tablets, and I need to be ready to go to church for our Christmas guest service at 10.15am. 

Love to all xx

Friday, 2 December 2011

On My Mind - Sew Much To Do!

This is a Friday photo feature that anyone with a blog can join. To take part, post a photo on your own blog, write a short caption explaining it, and link it back from your blog by saying you're part of "On my mind". Please write a new post, don't link to an older one. When you've done that, go back to Rhonda at http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/2011/12/on-my-mind.html and add a comment, with a link to your blog.

I love days like this - no deadlines and the housework up to date, and loads of ideas buzzing around.

I finished the blanket for our new godson Reuben, we met him and had a lovely cuddle, and handed it over last Saturday.
I was very happy with the way it ended up, considering it was all from my stash - the multi-coloured yarn really pulled it together and made it looked planned (heehee!)  His Mum Esther has asked me for some ideas for making things to sell while she is on maternity leave, and that has sent the old grey matter into overdrive.  I want to rustle up a couple of little handmades to suggest, for Sunday. 


However, in the meantime, there's the Christmas wallhanging that I've started playingwith (my first attempt at quilting - let's just say it's a steep learning curve, and leave it at that!) 






I had the crazy idea of hand embroidering on the batting, and framing it with quilting but made the mistake of cutting the paper template to finished size, not allowing for seam, and then got in a pickle - if I finish it before throwing it out of the window, I'll show you a pic.


Then there's the pullover I started for DH last weekend.  My head was still a bit muzzy from the antidepressants I was on (now taken off them as the GP realised they were making me very odd - even more than usual) so I'd plumped for a rather boring ribbed pattern, rather than a complicated cable.  I'm feeling heaps better now but since I've got this far I'll carry on with it and make him something more adventurous afterwards.  At least he stands some chance of wearing a simple one this Christmas rather than next!!




However, DH persuaded me I was getting a bit paranoid about all the stuff I was determined to make for Christmas, said everyone could have them for birthdays, if at all, and carted me off to the library to choose some diverting books, so now I might even just put my feet up today, and find out who dunnit!


If you haven't read any Ann Granger, I thoroughly recommend her Victorian detective novels.


Love to all for now - don't forget to pop over and see who else has visited Rhonda today. xx


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Now it's my turn!

Then Poppy muscled in on the act!

What is it about

cats and boxes?!

No sooner had I opened this parcel but Rosie had made a bed in it - it doesn't even look comfortable!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

It might not look much

... but I'm a happy bunny!  I had a three piece suite 20 years ago, from my brother who was getting a new one.  The sofa and chairs went a long time ago, but I kept this footstool because it was so useful as an extra seat when needed, but you can imagine the state of the cover after all that time.  This is the original fabric, and the sides were ok, it was just the top that was threadbare.  Anyway, I managed to get hold of a matching piece but not being a seamstress of great reknown, couldn't think how to do it.  Then I thought of making a mob cap sort of cover for the top.  I hemmed all round, and threaded elastic so it just sits over the original, and can be removed for cleaning.  I had to do it all by hand as the fabric says 'moygashel' which I assume is a toughened upholstery fabric - my fingers can vouch for that!  It wouldn't go through my machine and I could just about get the needle through two thicknesses.  I'm glad it's been given a new lease of life.

The ripple blanket is coming along nicely - I need to get my skates on, though, to give it to Reuben who arrived on Sunday afternoon, weighing in at 6lbs11ozs, a lovely brother for Maisie (2).

I'm really pleased that I've been able to use all my odd balls of yarn but they have blended together, with the multi-colour one in between.

I splashed out today on having the downstairs carpets professionally cleaned.  After all the work we've done in the garden and indoors, they were really dirty and I just hadn't the energy at the moment for doing it myself.  I'm so glad, though - he's made a great job of it.  I've managed to put all the furniture back to rights and DH has just arrived home so I'm off to make a cuppa.

Love for now

Chris xx

Friday, 18 November 2011

Home sweet home

 The perfect start to a weekend!  I'm sitting with my feet up on the sofa (covered with the new granny quilt which is very snuggly) and my ripple blanket is coming on a treat.   Sitting here like the two old fogies we are, with just the ticking of the clock and hiss of the fire - bliss! 




Hope your weekend is a good one.  XX

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Have you ever rippled?

I've just spent this evening trying to get my head (and hands) round this great crochet pattern from Lucy at Attic 24 blog http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/2011/11/ripple-ripple-ripple.html

What a clever lady, eh?

IMG_1875

Anyway, decided I'd have a bash at a baby blanket for an expectant friend. 

Not much to show for three hours work, but that was my fault, not Lucy's.  Her instructions are fine, but it took ages for me to get the first line right - whether I was miscounting or what I don't know, but it got ripped out several times!  Anyway, if anything's worth doing ... I'm quite pleased with the way it's shaping up - I'll alternate this multi-coloured wool with plain pastels.  Just don't look too closely at the edges - I'm still not sure I've got them right yet.

This is definitely a  Friday on My Mind post for Rhonda over at http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/2011/11/on-my-mind_18.html as I shall be buzzing about it in my sleep tonight, before starting again tomorrow on the next colour.

I'm not driving at the mo because of medication, so persuaded DH to take me to Tesco to buy children's socks for sock monkeys.  Another project to add to the sewing machine ones I'm busying myself with whilst off work!  It's such a pain having to pace myself at the moment.  Tomorrow morning I want to empty a built-in cupboard in the sitting room and bring my fabric stash down from the attic, sort it and then put it in there - hopefully, I then won't keep thinking "... I'm sure I had a piece of X fabric."

Anyway, love to all for now

Chris xx

What a lovely morning!

I feel so much better this morning, having had two good nights' sleep.  The tablets are leaving me a bit zombie-like and spaced out so I'm glad they're only for a limited time. I won't be driving for a bit though, cos I can feel my reactions aren't as quick as usual.

I've just finished the granny blanket and am happy that I decided to back it.  I came across a piece of black, embossed velvety stuff in the stash, which was perfect.  The dramatic black in between and on the reverse appeals to the gypsy in me!  Have I told you that my dream would be to live on a narrow boat or gypsy caravan?  Hilarious, really, given the size of both DH (25stone and 6'2!) and I won't tell you how big I am!  Ah well, a girl can but dream ...

Anyway, here's the finished article.  It is destined for our bedroom but, while I'm esconced on the settee in the sitting room, it's staying firmly on my knees.

You can just about see, from the close up, that the fabric has a simple daisy embossed pattern, and that I've sewn it so that the edge of the crochet shows as a lace trim from the back.

When DH comes home at lunchtime we're off hunting a few pairs of socks for sock monkey Christmas pressies for 4 nieces - two girly ones and two as pirates or something - my imagination is working overtime at the monent - what fun, and a great way to take my mind off myself.

Love to all from the UK - have a wonderful day xx

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

WOYWW - I'm just so blessed!

Yesterday I was pottering round the house, shattered after another night of not sleeping, when I realised there was a huge M&S parcel on the doorstep.  This pic doesn't do it justice.  There were about 15 stunning roses, with at least as many unopened lilies, too - all from my lovely daughter, Kate, "to cheer you up".  Thank you VERY much sweetheart - and the choc's are yummy too (also inside the parcel)




So many other friends have been very kind, too - cards, flowers and messages, and then my other wonderful girl, Jenny, and Andy her husband drove down to spend a couple of hours with me - so precious and appreciated, guys! xx


I'm taking things REALLY slowly at the moment.  I'm on sleeping tablets (for a short while) and anti-depressants which both say that 'driving reactions may be impaired' so I'm not taking any chances, and staying away from the wheel.  The good news is that I'm throwing myself into my crafts, and today I hope to finish that granny square quilt and start the two cot quilts - watch out for photos PDQ!

Love for now - going back to put my feet up with some sewing.  It's just so therapeutic stitching away with just the sound of the clock in the background.


Chris xx

Friday, 11 November 2011

There are days when only a certain something will do ...

Tonight it was Heinz tomato soup.  I'd overdone it again today, and was done in by teatime.  Some comfort foods go back to childhood, and the HTS was always my favourite when I was sick or fed up.  So, although I love my home-made soups, with DH out for the evening, this was my meal

HTS with home-made bread, cheese and the chilli chutney I made this afternoon (yes, I know the recipe says it's supposed to mature for 6 weeks!)
The bread was made in our new baby -

DH makes our bread and during the summer does it by hand.  However, our house is too cold for several months in the year for the dough to rise so we've invested in this.  Yummy!
Chilli chutney - I must try to save some to give as Christmas gifts, but not sure it will last that long! 


 I've been knitting squares for a quilt for our bed room (pink/green decor) and decided to crochet around, and join them together with black.  I haven't done this before, and am surprised at how the black intensifies the colours.  Here is the one from the spare room, and it just looks ok but a bit inspid to me now.


Black in between, and as a border, will hopefully pull it all together, and make it look less like an explosion in a paint factory!

Talking of the spare room, I fetched the wallpaper today.  I still can't believe that it's less than £5 per roll, meaning the whole room (plus shower room) will cost less than £60!


It's a nice whimsical cow-parsley pattern, and will go with the new curtains I bought in the summer.


I normally make all my own curtains but again, was amazed by the price - there are some great bargains around if you hunt for them. 

You can see that the room was very blue before, just broken up with yellow in the border and original curtains.  I'd only painted the walls before but, since the plaster finish isn't brilliant, decided to paper this time.  Hopefully Mum will find it restful when she comes.

Anyway, just time for a quick tour round Blogland, before turning in for the night.  Love and God bless to all x



Thursday, 10 November 2011

Friday On My Mind

I'm linking this post to Friday on my Mind, over at Rhonda's http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/.

I need to slow down as I've been off work for a week with my fourth chest infection in as many months.  Considering I'd never had one til January, that's going some.  Anyway, my GP thinks my immune system is run down due to 'depression'?  Whatever, she's blasting me with lots of concoctions and I've got to have blood tests tomorrow (must remember no food, tea or coffee from now til I get back).

Anyway, enough of all that, but it just means that I haven't got my usual stamina and am having to pace myself - so I'm one frustrated flutterby!

 These were the three rusty lanterns I rescued from the garden.  Just a quick spray with the black stove paint and - bingo!
 There's still a bit of rust around the glass, but it was difficult to focus the spray exactly.  Anyway, I like the rustic look!  They will look good on the hearth over the festive season - and they cost nothing!
This is the second (and last) lot of tomato chutney.  The first one tastes good but a bit sweet for my tooth.  This one should have a kick in it - 12 chillies in a muslin bag along with the ginger.  I've prepared all the ingredients but will cook it tomorrow when I've caught up with some sleep.  All the recipes come out of my trusty old cookbook - worth it's weight in gold!

It was first produced in 1975.

Anyway, off to put my feet up now with a good book.  If you like historical novels I've just discovered the Matthew Shardlake series by C J Sansom - all about a lawyer during the turbulent times of Henry 8th.  I'm no expert, but they seem very well researched and I've found them gripping!

I've ordered the wallpaper from Homebase (what a good service that is - ordered online and kept til closing time the following day), so I'll go and collect it tomorrow but won't start work on it until at least next weekend - please hold me to that!

Love to all for now x

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Teddy Wares & Flutterbies - What's In a Name?

I've just spent a lazy evening meandering round Blogland, and came across Dawn's question about where our blog names come from.http://dawnhaydesigns.blogspot.com/p/whats-your-name.html

So, straight from my profile -

"Why 'Teddy Wares'? A few years ago I decided to raise some much needed funds for overseas projects that my church was involved in and, since I just LOVE teddies, the title just came to me, and I started used this umbrella for making greetings cards, growing tomato plants - anything, in fact, that would raise money. ... flutterbies? I'm fascinated by most handicrafts, DIY, gardening, etc., and my problem (well, one of them!) is that I want to try them all, and I flit from one to another. This means I'm usually in my element but it can be a bit wearing for my very understanding husband! ... and Chrysalis? It's a nickname formed from my names Christine Elizabeth, which my favourite uncle gave me when I was a tiny!"

I'm definitely suffering from the flutterbies at the moment.  My head is buzzing with ideas for Christmas patchwork cushions for the sofa - our sitting room is too small for lots of dec's so I thought this would be a good way to make it festive while using up the zillions of cushion insides I've kept over the years (does anyone else hate throwing things away?)  I've just spray-painted the cement joints on the new multi-fuel burner we've installed and am going to bring in some tatty metal lanterns from the garden, and paint them for Christmas (should look good with chunky candles in).  Off to Homebase tomorrow, to buy wallpaper for the spare room (needs to be decorated in time for my Mum coming for Christmas). 

Photos of all that lot tomorrow - watch this space! xx

Sunday, 30 October 2011

It's scary ...

... where this year is going to.  Having just spoken to my good friend Jacqui (hi Jac!) and told her about my blog, I thought I would visit - and couldn't believe that my last post was in August.  Anyway, here's an October catch-up, before I blink and it becomes November!

The garden has done well, with my chooks settling well.  We did lose one early on, which was sad, but I like to think that her last days were spent in the sunshine and not a battery cage.  I'm quite proud of the fact that we are still getting 4 eggs from 5 birds, despite the days drawing in.  A friend with 50 or so birds told me this morning that his have stopped laying altogether.

This huge bowl of toms are the last of the red ones out of the garden - SO glad I stripped the plants off last week, before the rains came on Thursday.  It's been lovely to be able to give zillions away, as well as use them ourselves.  There are just as many green ones, so I expect to be making chutney in the near future.

Inside, the house is covered with a layer of brick dust as we are in the process of installing a multi-fuel burner in place of the open fire, in the sitting room.  It's going well


with the plaster drying out and, hopefully, the burner being installed later this week.  At least Rosie doesn't seem bothered by the mess!  It's beginning to get to me, though, and I want my dining table back!


I did inted to clean through, this past weekend, but decided there was really no point until the work is finished.  One reason I want the table back is to start to use the new goodies that arrived last week.

These mysterious parcels are an A3 cutting mat and a large quilting ruler.  I fancy trying my hand at making 2 cot quilts for friends who have / are about to have babies.  I have tons of fabric in the loft, and will attempt strip quilts - watch this space!  One good thing about keeping a public journal is that I can't very well go back on my intentions - I'm relying on you guys to keep my flutterby tendencies at bay on this one!!

Anyway, I've promised myself a couple of chapters reading tonight, so I'd better sign off.  Good to be back here.  Love to all xx

Monday, 29 August 2011

Catching up after holidays

We spent yesterday recovering from the 11hr journey back from the north west highlands of Scotland. This was our 4th holiday there and, no matter how much I love our home, you can see why I always struggle with returning!


This was the last picture I took, the view from outside our front door the night before we left.  I spend most of the time there, sitting on a bench, knitting or reading, while soaking in the peace and quiet, and the wonderful view.  We were very blessed with the weather, too - only one day of rain in two weeks!  I know how boring it can be, looking at other folks' holiday snaps so I won't bore you with them now, but will sneak some in over the next few weeks (heehee!)

I'll just introduce you to the Gunns (Mr, Mrs, Ben, Top and BB - well, that's what I called them)  The children hadn't long left the nest when we arrived, and it was great to follow their progress over the fortnight.  The flying lessons were hilarious- they'd land on our roof with a clatter and, at first, make a very undignified descent to the ground with a bump, but gradually they perfected gliding on the wind and looking a lot more graceful.


Ben (or was it Top or BB?)

A harassed parent who's decided just to ignore the kids' "feed me!"


Poor Mum and Dad are worn ragged trying to keep up with their offsprings' demands for food (the youngsters are just about as big as them now) and the nagging for food goes on almost all the time!  By the end of the fortnight they had simmered down a lot, and were foraging for food themselves, although they don't seem to fish yet.  I've decided to invest in binoculars and a good bird book in time for our next holiday - it really is fascinating.  This holiday we saw buzzards over the hill opposite, oystercatchers and curlews on our beach, wagtails who visited the garden, as well as the gulls.

Apart from lots of reading (and sleeping!) I also got some knitting done.  Rather than take a large project, I bought some cotton knitting yarn before we left, and made 6 dishcloths - very useful little gifts, as well as for home.


I love the simple patterns - hearts, butterflies and ducklings (http://www.designs-by-emily.com/ - thanks, Emily!)  They work out very cheap but I'm also going to look for cotton knitted stuff to unpick, in the charity shops - reckon they'd look great in other colours.
Anyway, I need to start the mountain of ironing following the washing marathon since we got back.  Love for now - hopefully more tomorrow.  It was great having the bank holiday today, not to mention my day off tomorrow.  I won't know what's hit me when I have to go back to work on Wednesday!

xx

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Friday on My Mind

I'm linking this post to Rhonda's Friday on My Mind slot over at http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/2011/08/on-my-mind_12.html

It's amazing how quickly things grow - the pond is beginning to look quite established, and I only finished planting it last weekend! The second photo shows a close-up of the water hawthorn - went in 2 wks ago, has gained at least 6" to reach the surface, & produced 2 flowers since.


 The beds are looking a bit sparse, but I'm resisting the temptation to fill them, only to have to move lots when they spread out next year (she says hopefully!)


 The idea is that, eventually, everything will spill out onto the paths and look more natural and 'cottagey'.


Thank you SO MUCH to the very generous Doreen Hamilton (http://ayearinanangleseywildflowermeadow.blogspot.com/) for the huge pack of wild flower seeds that arrived in the post this week, ready for the community wild flower meadow I'm hoping to start on some spare land behind our garden, once I get some neighbours in on the idea.

Finished off the evening with chatting with my daughter Kate, as we peeled & chopped loads of windfall pears, ready to make chutney when I get back from our holiday in Scotland - thanks Kate! xx

Night, All xx

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Friday on my mind ...

I'm looking forward to the weekend, but not sure how to get everything done.  We're having a family party for my SIL's 70th birthday on Saturday afternoon and I'm at work tomorrow morning, with friends coming round for a cuppa in the afternoon.

Am I panicking?  No sirree!  My aim is to be more like Poppy -

Her head slipped off the table a couple of times and, the third time, she couldn't be bothered to move!  She's not worried that the weeds are growing, ironing needs doing and bathroom is grubby - so I'm going to chill, too!

I will finish off icing the cake, clean the bathroom and make sure our guests feel welcome and loved - beyond that, it will all still be there to do long after I'm gone, so I am determined to ENJOY and live life to the full, as Jesus said, and make the most of family and friends!  I hope you can all do the same.  Love to all xx

Friday, 8 July 2011

Coming into the home straight ..

... well, as far as the hard landscaping goes.

 Paul has built a retaining wall for the soil, around the pond, which will be softened with planting coming over it.  It's the same slate-type sandstone as the patio and paths, so links it all together - very happy with the effect!  I panicked a bit this morning, thinking it should have gone in over the liner. But, looking again, that flat part at the back (I first thought it was a shelf) is actually the top of the pond.  I've got loads of large pieces of stone from previous rock gardens, and they will actually form the retainer on top of the liner.
The greenhouse is now complete, with glass and guttering going into the water butt.  My heritage tomatoes and peppers have managed to ignore all the bustle going on around them, and seem quite at home, despite going in so late.  I left the other side bare, waiting for the glass.  Any suggestions as to what I could pop in there for now?  I might use it as a seed bed for brassicas etc before planting in the beds, for now - I wonder if it will be too hot though? 

Right, got to have brekkie & get ready for work.  Catch you later xx

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

WOYWW The attack of the daleks!

Well, not quite - just the arrival of two new compost bins! Yes, I know this is not strictly my work station but it's where all my creative juices are flowing at the moment - not to mention perspiration, when I get out there!

No, I've not developed a problem (well, not a drink one, anyway).  I dug these little bottles up, after using them to edge a path (upside down, with just their bottoms showing!) but have decided not to use them again, so they are in transit to the tip. 

 Here is my lovely new path leading back up to the house from the end of the garden.  I love the way it snakes around the pear tree - a perfect spot for some shade-loving planting.  Just look how terrible the grass looks though - even I couldn't call it a lawn.  It will need lots of TLC once the boots and wheelbarrows have disappeared.
 The area around the pond is still evolving, with stepping stones so I don't fall in during weeding - and the liner and water should go in next week - I can't wait!

Here is the pointing finished, up close and personal.

I hope all you crafters will forgive me for straying outdoors, and abandoning my crafting for a while.

Please pop by - especially over the next few weeks - to see the final touches - and our new arrivals (ex-battery chooks) that I'm due to collect on Sat week (16th)!!

Work in Progress ...

Well, here's where we're at the end of today, in the garden.

This new path starts at the front edge of the patio next to the house & shed, leading up the garden.  It's made using the same sandstone as the new patio.  The bed on the right is in shade, so I've moved 2 hydrangeas there, hoping they will be happier than in their former home on the opposite side, in constant sun (when it shines!)  The plant on the fence is a climbing hydrangea that I want to train over a new little hidey hole with a  table & 2 chairs.  I was thrilled to find these in Dunelm for £69 - they are made of a heavy metal with a mosaic pattern in pieces of quarry tile - a real bargain, I reckon!  I'm hoping to get the rest of the plants moved around into their new positions, over the next week.  The dust bath on the left of the path is the lawn (!) in the middle of the garden.



This is where the path meets the pond - I wanted stepping stones around, so as I could get in for maintenance around the planting (without falling in) and a raised bed at the back.  There's a neat little stone bench to sit by the pond.


 Moving beyond the pond, this is where the path starts coming back towards the house, on the opposite side of the lawn.  It will also join up to the patio at the top.

Here is where the path continues back up to the house, skirting around the pear tree.  There will be planting all along here.


In the last one, you can just see the two ballerina apple trees that will be trained over this arch, dividing the garden from the veggies and chickens.  The posts have now gone in, around the chook pen.

I hope this makes sense, and will post other pics as it all evolves.  The men hope to finish the bulk of the work this week, with a couple coming back for 2 days next week, to re-lay the original patio by the house.

Night night, All xx