Sunday, 27 January 2019

Weekend ramblings.

Fun photo of items featuring in my blog

Hello there, thank you for dropping by and for the lovely comments last time on QT's birthday. He's doing well though a bit fussy with his food, as usual.
The above photograph of yarn for crocheting, cooking, reading, cats and a tea set was me playing around with items represented in my blog. The teaset and scales are suitable in size and scale for a dolls house.

Blanket update

The Knit & Natter Challenge for Jan/Feb is to crochet or knit a blanket. It doesn't have to be the crochet attic 24 cal, it could be anything you like eg lap blanket, for the bed, for pets or like myself a gift. My woodland blanket attic 24, is growing steadily albeit slowly, I'm up with more of the blue shades now. I will post a photo next time.

Reading

                                                       


Start With Your Sock Drawer by Vicky Silverthorn (youtube) her book is so good, one of those that makes so much sense. Not at all bossy, preachy or extreme. It's in chapters but with lots of sections making it easy to read, pick up and put down. There are no instructions or challenges, instead you gently read about how she's helped clients tackle clutter making it easy for you to join in slowly.
This was a birthday present last summer and I intend to continue reading through and applying her guidance throughout the year. Though she recommends starting with your sock drawer, you can start with any small area, about 20 mins max. The idea is to be consistent daily and not for long sessions never to be returned to again.
I started with the bathroom cupboard, then moved back to the books. I'm determined to reduce them further, it's far better that others get to enjoy them rather than them sitting collecting dust.


                                             


Live Green by Jen Chillingswith a library book, I will probably purchase this at some stage. It's a fantastic little book (6"x5" in size) with lots of advice about leading a more sustainable life. From making your own cleaners, to green home and garden and having a simple Christmas. The book is laid out with 52 steps but these are not at all shouty - no numbered or underlined instructions, just bold headings over a double page. A very informative book with lots of ideas to simply live green.


                                                        Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death


Two books to read for the book club - Are You Afraid of the Dark by Sidney Sheldon and Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by MC Beaton.

Decluttering

I've been sorting some books that teen 1 cleared from his room. He's had a little a lot of help with book decluttering from E his lovely girlfriend. He's spoilt already it seems! The library have agreed to take the 'perfect condition' ones, including my set of classic books. I was going to donate the whole lot to the charity shop but with the library, the whole community benefits - 'if' anybody wants to read them! (I didn't!) I mean I did want to read them when I purchased them over 25 years ago, but... Such crazy fortnightly purchasing in the distant days of no kids and more money. Oh well, lesson learnt, don't buy unnecessary stuff!

My Weekly Plan - Menu

Mon - Leftover roast beef or sausage & mash
Tues - Slow cook chicken casserole
Wed - Slow cook Spag Bol
Thur - Fish Pie
Fri -    Jacket potato or Fish & chips
Sat -   Slow cook lamb shoulder & chips
Sun -  Roast lamb dinner

Jobs following The Organised Mum Method (30 mins each day)

Mon - Lounge & dining room
Tues - Bedroom & bathrooms
Wed - Entrance, stairs, landing
Thur - Kitchen, pantry, utility
Fri    - Focus Friday - Master bedroom
Sat   - Help clean teen's rooms (15 mins each).

I've tweaked the original list to match my family requirements. The idea is to have weekends free of housework but this seems to work best for me and the teens.
Anyway, we'll see how it goes. The idea is to only spend 30 mins a day cleaning plus 15 mins max doing basic level 1 jobs which are - clean something in a bathroom, 1 laundry load, make beds & hoover high traffic areas.
Most weeks I miss at least 2 days of job's off, especially at the moment whilst sorting diet issues. Without feeling sorry for myself, some days I'm just floored and do nothing more than the very basics and read or crochet.

Take care of you & yours, have a good week.
Cathy x




Sunday, 20 January 2019

QT's Birthday 18 years

Hello there, how are you? Thank you for your comments last time.
This week was QT's birthday, I'll let him tell you about his wander round the garden, which I think he enjoyed, despite his grumblings.

I'm 18 years old which is rather old in cat years, geriatric they say. Personally I think that's rather rude! I've ruled this family very well since I was 14.5 years old, it only took me 2 weeks to get them into shape. I think I'm doing ok but my people do insist on stuffing me in my a cage and dragging me off to see 'the lady to make me better' far too often! I'm mean, how's a cat to sleep when people push me in the carrier, tip me on a table, then poke me about, clip my nails and have my blood pressure checked - I hate my feet being touched too! It's the worst thing ever. Biscuit lady hates feet too but that doesn't stop her stroking my feet. Unfortunately us Maine Coons have fur between our toes and she loves it.
Anyway where were we, I'm fine, not at all fussy despite their complaints. I'm cleanish and run this household on a very strict timescale. I sometimes stay asleep and have a late dinner but if I do pop downstairs early, I get quite cross having to wait for my food, it's so tiresome to be kept waiting!



Today, I was bundled out the door for a quick photo shoot. Shocking, it's my lunch time really but I was sent out and pestered for my good side. It's a bright sunny cold Sunday 'lunchtime' don't forget. Still, I'm here for you dear reader, strutting my stuff in the wintery sunshine, at lunchtime!

Bird table 'cat tv'

Glossy coat and bushy tail

Chomping on grass



Oh aren't I shiny, biscuit lady always says my fur is like a mint humbug, whatever that is. I wish she used words I understand like lunchtime and biscuits. Still I do have beautiful stripes, she's right about that. I think I'm pretty awesome too!


I'm starting to fade away with hunger pains, it looks like we're going back in now for food, at last!


Whilst my people are preparing my lunch, I found these photos, not yet uploaded on the blog. Don't know why, I love them - oh look it's me!


Superb whiskas and ear furnishings. Well I had a fabulous birthday, plenty of peace and quiet, just how I like it. I can still run up the stairs and jump on chairs, of course I can - I just don't want to.


I've had my lunch now and have just time to fit in an afternoon snooze before dinner time. I think she got my good side zzzzz
QT x

Menus with the slow cooker

These photos are from September 2018, I'd meant to put them on last year. Being on a Low Fodmap diet, I've found replacements for onion, garlic, mushrooms, celery and stock containing onion etc. The purpose of the chart (below) is not because I'm ocd, it's just easier and simpler when I was making up 5 bags of food complete and ready to freeze - defrost - and then slow cook. I don't need to keep referring to recipe books. You can buy freeze to slow cook bags which saves on the washing up but as many are cutting down single use plastic, I question the sense on that one.

Casseroles ready for the freezer
                                 
Defrosting overnight



I really need to get back to this time saving habit, it's so nice arriving home without needing to cook. QT was pleased to have us running round after him and feeding him first too.
I hope you've enjoyed your visit to my blog today, I'm off to crochet more of my blanket and prepare for the book club.
Bye from QT and me
Cx































Sunday, 13 January 2019

New Year - Hope it's a good one!

Hello there, Happy new year to you for 2019.

Grab yourself a cuppa and make yourself comfortable. So sorry it's been a long while since my last visit. How have you been, do leave a comment below to let me know?
I lost my way a bit regards regular blogging, editing and faffing about with photos.
Thank you to everyone who left lovely comments on my blog last time, it really is very kind of you. I love to read your comments and I've tried to keep up with visiting your blogs too. Today, I just wanted to drop by and say hello and chat about what I've been thinking about since last time. Sorry there's not any QT photos this time, I'll try and include some next time.

New Year Thoughts
For now I'm aiming to try and blog once a week and see how that goes. In the future I may do some more 'Weekend Stitches' (crochet), maybe a 'plan for the week' & even some cooking. For now, I'm aiming small with weekly commitments, that sounds manageable for now.

I'd 'still' like to be more present eg less social media and more actual making or reading time. Which I know sounds crazy as I take up my keyboard again but...
Also I'd like to finish more projects that I've started and knit more socks. I'd love to knit a pair a month which at the moment is too big a challenge but if I knit 2 pairs, that's double last years effort! I'll finish the my blanket and then set a goal for sock knitting, I think that'll be best.





Crochet
At the moment I'm busy crocheting attic 24 Woodland Ripple blanket. It's a gift so unfortunately I won't get to keep it after all my hard work. I'm not particularly keen on the colour orange, so I can live with that. I am glad it'll be permanently here as a record in photos. I decided not to do the new CAL (crochet-a-long) which is attic 24 beautiful Sweet Pea blanket.  As usual Lucy has designed a crochet blanket for the new year, this time with a beautiful colour scheme using sweet pea colours. I'd originally planned to do her coastal blanket and have the colours ready, but... I need to finish the woodland one first. It does produce happy memories of your own walk in the woods. For me that would be in The New Forest, Queen Elizabeth Country Park both in Hampshire. Sherwood Forest Nottingham and The Lake District.

Christmas books

Reading
I've just finished Let Me Go by Helga Schneider, wow what a book. The story is not the usual account about Jews, instead it focuses on a daughter visit to her Mother a former SS officer. At only 150 pages, it's an intense quick read, both emotionally disturbing and haunting to boot.
At the moment I'm reading Christmas at Thrush Green, I've read it before and it's an enjoyable read though not officially a Miss Read book, as her editor Jenny Dereham wrote it with guidance. If you like tame & cozy village life tales maybe you'd enjoy this. Sometimes it's just nice to read a gentle comfortable book.

Cooking
Last year I was using my slow cooker more than I had previously. I came up with a few recipes that could be bagged up ready to store either in the fridge for a few days, or freeze & cook later straight in the pot. Somebody mentioned cooking mince (5% fat) straight in the slow cooker without the need to brown the mince first. What a game changer that is, if prepared in advance it can all be placed in a bag with the other ingredients until needed to. I'll try and get some together to show you soon.
Over Christmas, mince pies, peanut butter pies (swap mincemeat for peanut butter - teen 1 favourite) and sausage rolls. No Christmas cake or pudding this time. I've also cooked a few soups, flapjack and shortbread.

Cleaning
I've been following Team Tomm - The Organised Mum Method - mainly through instagram but also her facebook page. Both have links to her blogs which provide the print outs, recipes and interesting information. I quit the facebook support group as it was more social media - that for me was unnecessary. I'd given up with Flylady but felt I needed to have some cleaning routine going on, as the major clean ups before guests are too chaotic. How I long for a Mrs. Bird ref  Paddington Bear of the Brown family. She cooks, cleans and launders, she sounds wonderful. Anyway that's not likely to happen, so armed with a routine it's getting easier each week.

Eco thoughts
Sandwiched between cleaning and decluttering is another blog that I just want to share with you. Wendy Graham at Moral Fibre is on both instagram and a website blog, she is an author of a book with homemade cleaning recipes, called Fresh Clean Home. The information is all on her blog. I've not tried making any cleaning recipes yet, she uses essential oils to help with fragrance and cleaning.
Nb - please be careful with any essential oils that you use around the home, as these can be dangerous to pets. Cats in particular can't cope with many essential oils and scent in general.

Decluttering
Who isn't? Very much the 'in thing' at the moment. I'm following Small Sustainable Steps which is gaining in popularity on instagram. Amanda provides you with plenty of ideas and sets regular challenges to help you declutter your home if this interests you.

Thankfulness
A friend of mine said my blog helped her to 'smell the roses' which I thought was a lovely thing to say. Google explained this - 'To become calm and reflect upon the finer or more enjoyable aspects of life, especially when one has become overworked or overly stressed'.
So with this in mind I want my blog to continue with appreciating the good things in my life, not particularly in consumerism but in family life, the home and simple beauty.

Lastly
As many are now back at work and in education, I wanted to wish you all the best. May you learn more, work hard and enjoy life!
Thank you for dropping by, please leave a comment and I'll try and answer any questions.
Cathy x



Monday, 10 September 2018

Pink & Lemon

Asters


Hello everyone, I hope you are all well. As I sit and write this I'm full of germs, just a cold but phew it's so annoying. I've not crocheted all weekend and still don't feel like it today. Hopefully tomorrow I'll pick it up again. M bought these pretty pink Asters for me last week, I've enjoyed their bright colour particularly at meal times.


Orchid

More pink in the kitchen with a new orchid, this is the third one I have now. I wouldn't say I've a lot of success with houseplants, though Christmas cactus usually survive. Spider plants seem to thrive in a steamy shower room. I'd read somewhere about placing a spider plant in a bathroom to absorb moisture. I'm not convinced one plant alone is sufficient but one will have to do.




I won this in the WI raffle prize last week. Whenever I've won a prize, I've always felt a sense of urgency to make up my mind quick! It was my turn on refreshments this month so on hearing my number, I escaped the washing up briefly, to choose a prize. My poor tendon is suffering lots after the entertainment of Country Dancing. Yes it was enjoyable but too much walking about and it's swollen to bird egg size now. I need to step up the stretching exercises again, gently and slowly first and hopefully it will heal again. Surgery isn't really an option as the success rate is very low, also it's extremely gruesome. 




Feeling yuk, I've sat reading my library book details here complete with it's shiny jacket. Cottage by the Sea is Debbie Macomber's latest book and starts off with a very sad disaster. The story follows a predictable pattern of the couple getting together, then retreating to lick their wounds before ending happily ever after. There are highs and lows but surprisingly no knitting in this story. Often Macomber's books feature a character knitting, or some cooking.

Being an American author, I love how she describes relationships and spending time with people generally. I hope you understand what I mean, I think it's the intimate expression of thoughts (not particularly romantic) that reveal their feelings. I never read English stories that have the same 'friendly' terminology, it's as if all feelings must be contained.   
  



At the moment I'm re-reading this book details here. Again a predictable pattern but enjoyable nevertheless. An extremely unlikely couple get together despite opposition from a controlling Mother. Lighthearted and easy to read which is good at the moment, though having read this before I'm remembering some of the arguments and weak storyline.  


32315258


This book details here The Lemon Tree Cafe is one I'm listening to on audio books. I hadn't realised it was actually 4 books in one - I wondered why the story was going on and on and on. The individual book titles are here if you want to read them separately. In many ways it has the fun element of a Jill Mansell with the 'hidden secret' element of a Milly Johnson. Bramley mentions the WI quite a few times albeit very loosely. I would definitely read or listen to more of her books. 




With all the talk of lemons, I felt like baking some lemon shortbread. This particular recipe is gluten free, it's very simple to make and can be made as an all in one method. I put all the ingredients into a food processor and when it starts to clump together, press it into a lined tin and bake. Unfortunately it's all gone now, so tomorrow I need to make some more.




The Lemon Shortbread recipe is in this free book. The address and postal details can be found on the flour packet. I couldn't find details about the book on-line but the address is in their contact details. Originally I think they'd requested a self addressed A5 envelope - uk.

I realise there are no photos of QT today, sorry. He's enjoyed writing my blog sometimes, with many of you asking to see him. At 17 years old he's slept an awful lot lately and been very fussy with his food. He's very fluffy and spreads a lot of fur all over the house, carpets and blankets everywhere.

I'm often mystified as to why cats groom themselves so much, especially 'himself' as he swallows clumps of fur, often daily. I try to groom him most days, which may sound excessive but it's the ingested fur that puts him off eating. He's much improved with frequent grooming and occasional doses of Katalax type meds. The thyroid meds - we now give orally through a syringe, in the past we've squirted it into his food. With his recent fussiness over meals we can't rely on this method benefitting him anymore.

Do you ever feel inspired to take up a new interest or bake something after reading a book? Maybe it's just me...
I tried sock knitting after reading A Good Yarn - Debbie Macomber, tried Dubonet after watching Hetty Wainthropp Investigates on TV. I can't say I enjoyed that drink, it was an acquired taste that I won't be trying again. There's probably been more things I've tried but these are the most memorable.

Thank you for stopping by, as always I love to read your comments. I'm still catching up with blog reading and hope to take some more photos of QT for next time.
Cx













                                          

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Hello from QT

Hello from QT

Well hello there, I didn't think Biscuit lady was going to write a blog this week so whilst she fell asleep watching the Grand Prix today, I thought I'd put paw to keyboard. She's taken a few strange photos and loaded them on the computer, one of which is a photo of my furry paws! How rude! Still, I coughed up a fur ball on her bed this morning so that'll teach her.



I'd been missing teen 2 this week with his Guitar Hero 'noise'. He went away for a whole week to Lancashire with the church youth group. I heard he turned into a frog, seriously humans are so strange! I'm going to have to watch him and see if he changes again, I've heard frogs are very tasty, yum yum.

I love sleeping in his room, the sun streams in and warms my fur purr-fectly. The best bit is biscuit lady leaves us in peace, something about the heavy rock noise. Occasionally she brings laundry to the cupboard and wakes me up, erh excuse me, I'm trying to sleep!

                       
Teen 2 as Kermit - throwing a Dab! at the hero's dressing up evening



My furry toes


I'll leave you to see what Biscuit Lady's been up to this week, she looks like she's waking up now. I need to keep an eye on my birds. My people filled up the bird feeders yesterday and it brings out young families for my 'cat tv'. I'm wanting to find the soot covered one that's been down our flue 18 times now! The Land Rover lover is sure it's the same bird.

They've got 'bird freeing' down to a rotten fine art that goes like this - I'm banned from the lounge, the curtains are shut making the room dark. The patio doors are flung wide open, then the inspection hatch is open and whoosh, the bird flies away. After some noise, depending on who is carrying out the operation, I'm then allowed back in. Really, it's so undignified. I'm in charge of this house and it's an outrage, I shouldn't have to 'leave the room'.



I'm not sure what QT's been upto with my keyboard but I've just got time to write this before getting his dinner. The Grand Prix has finished, apparently Vettel won. I knew that.

Sorting & Finishing
These are the leftover colours from the Attic 24 - Moorland blanket I made. I showed you the crocheted triangles last week. Here are the triangles joined in a row to make some bunting for celebrating family birthdays etc. The joining band at the top, mirrors the colours of the blanket edging. My inspiration for this came from Nicki French crochet book.


My bunting in the Moorland pack colours

Colour on a rainy day

Enjoying looking at
Some pretty candles that look too delicate to use. M bought these with the wooden cat candle holder for me, back in July. I'm not sure I'll ever use them but I enjoy looking at their intricate beauty.



Crocheting
Another blanket of Lucy's at attic 24 this time it's her Woodland blanket, it'll be a gift for my MIL so I need to get cracking.  The pattern has treble stitches, some missed stitches and some with 2 trebles in one stitch. This is followed by a row of double crochet (UK terms). The plan is to crochet 3 colours a day, if I want to finish it soon.


Reading

Conclave by Robert Harris is the September book choice, I think I've given up with the August book which is 'The Loving Husband' by Christobel Kent. I'm hoping if I have time I may come back to it after this one.


Warming

By the fire, the first fire of the season. Despite the bird/s whizzing down the flue sending a cloud of soot in their wake, we'll still need to have the chimney swept. When M opened up the inspection plate soot had dropped down onto the metal plate inside.


Thank you for stopping by to read my blog, QT has appeared again asking for his dinner. Thank you for all your kind words left on my blog last time. I'm still catching up on blog reading and it's been nice to get in touch again.

From QT and me (Cathy) bye for now!
x

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Hello


How time has flown, sorry I've not been about in blogland very much lately. Thank you for taking the time to stop by at Hooks and Needles, I'm pleased you're still here. I've enjoyed reading your blogs whilst trying to keep up, though I've not always left a comment. 

People come and go in blogland and for myself it would be so easy to say I've been too busy. That isn't totally the case, I think I just lost my blogging mojo. I seem to spend ages choosing photos, cropping pictures, editing texts - repeatedly. Then it's looking for references on-line and generally faffing about before posting.

The Homemade Heart blog that hosted - The Cookery Calendar challenge and FAST - Homestead blog that hosted Five on Fridays, have both stopped for now. I enjoyed reading these but... life goes on and other interesting blogs pop up. There has been an increase in very suspect followers with the same address details through Bloglovin' which makes for more checking of personal info before posting. 


April

Much has changed since I last sat down at the keyboard. I may have mentioned before that teen 1 has now turned 18 years old. He's finished college and is finding his way in the world of employment. Temporary work, interviews and hoping for positive news, life can be stressful but good too. His birthday cake (Easter time) was gooey chocolate and delicious with obligatory Easter eggs.

My homemade laminated cake band (covering imperfections) reflected Guvna B's opening line to one of his songs - 'Fear is a Lie' with 'Allo Mate'. We'd seen him as a supporting artist at the Rend Collective concert in Huddersfield. Teen 1 saw NF live in Birmingham shortly after his birthday with his school / college friend.
                                 




Some flowers from springtime, left ready to post in drafts.

April also saw the launch of the local Knit & Natter group which has been great. It's nice to catch up with like minded ladies in the village and chat over our projects. Usually everyone brings their own things to work on, though twice there's been a specific project to all 'have a go at'. One of these was knitting socks another was some quilting. 


May

QT at the salad bar, crazy cat! Eat it, roll in it and gently dozing on it. Strange lad.




What do you mean it's your chair

It can't be, I'm here - it's mine!

As the sun warmed up, I'd moved the fireside chair into the lounge so I could crochet in the warmth with my feet up. QT however had other ideas.

July

Using the leftover yarn stash from the Attic 24 Moorland blanket that I'd crocheted last year, I made some bunting to match. I like to put bunting up when we have a birthday in the family. I was too late for my own birthday which was a shame but... it was a significant birthday and though at the time I felt miffed at being 50, I honestly don't feel any different, though I still think 38 years sounds a lot better.  

August

The bunting, now complete is still up at the moment as we had our open home this Saturday. We invited people from church to drop in for cake and a cuppa. There's something very enjoyable about throwing open the doors and windows, putting the kettle on, plate-ing up cake and getting out the lego for little people. We did a few last year as well, though we may just do the one next year or possibly one a month from May - August.

I can't remember everything thing I've read, listened to, made, baked and seen so I'll just mention a few:- 


Two weekends ago we went to stay with my Mother-in-law, whilst there we saw my parents in their new home too. They've recently moved back to Hampshire near my Nan and Brother & his daughter. It's strange with them all moved south, suddenly it feels almost alone without family nearby.

I've been reading books for the book club, the group recently decided to cap numbers which will help with seating arrangements and book choosing. My book for this year was How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. Apart from being featured on the Richard and Judy book list it was also on the Radio 2 book club. We had a very good discussion about the book which is always encouraging when you've chosen a book.

I've purchased material to sew some nightdresses. If you're new to dressmaking do checkout this youtube video of JessalliHandmade. At the moment the fabric is awaiting ironing and then pattern prepping. Honestly, I'm just putting off the tracing of the pattern etc! Is this even essential! I will try and get a move on with these.

I've started crocheting another blanket which I hope to take some photos of as it progresses.

The socks I'd knitted and put away for M Christmas present took an airing at the WI BBQ / Horticultural show. I was chuffed to bits as they won 2nd place in the sock knitting & crochet category. I've never entered before and will definitely enter again!



I'm going to post this now before I change my mind and start faffing about with it. I'll take some photos of the finished bunting and blanket progress for next time.

Thank you for reading and have a good weekend whatever you're doing.
Cathy x






Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...