Friday, 26 January 2018

Getting it right

Hello, It's Friday! I hope you had a good week. I thought I'd join 'Five on Friday' today with five things that have been 'happening' in my home this week. Grab a cuppa and something nice to eat, today there's cake. There's been cooking, finding lost things, eating muffins, listening to talking books and unpicking, yet again! 

Today when M arrived home, he gave me this beautiful bunch of flowers. They look so bright and cheerful, especially after all the Christmas colour has been packed away. His Christmas mug is ready for outside jobs, plenty of borders to straighten out. 

Correct pattern sequence on the needles

I've been doing some unpicking this week, as usual M would say. When I bought this yarn, I'd wrongly assumed it was a self patterning yarn with a total random pattern. Even after knitting the first sock it hadn't clicked that I needed to 'sort out the yarn properly'. Hence the 'Getting it right' title of this blog. In future I'll definitely be taking this into account, though it wasn't a big problem to sort out. The yarn is Rico Superba Harmony 4ply and the pattern is in Winwick Mum's Super Socks book. Her blog is very helpful and I discovered the Kitchener stitch on her youtube video. I have made 2 pairs of socks a while ago and felt a bit rusty. 

Wrong pattern sequence rib cuff!

I've cut off the this first piece of top ribbing as it's completely the wrong colour and started again. M said he didn't mind but I just wanted it to be right. I made some blueberry muffins before unpicking and starting again. I suppose people talk about their OCD nowadays, I just always thought I was a fuss pot and would need to unpick it. Many times I've sat nattering away at knit & natters, only to return home and unpick it that evening. M calls it my anti-knitting. Well, it's sorted now and I really do need to pull my finger out and get this pair of socks finished and given to the husband. Afterall I had said I wanted to knit a pair of socks a month. I can't remember if I actually put that on my blog already but I've said it now so...

I seem to have been cooking a lot this week with Muffins, gluten free Millionaires Shortbread, Cheese and Onion Pasties and 2 recipes for the Cookery Calendar Challenge that I'll blog about in February. We had some gluten free sugar coated puffs in the food cupboard, they were awful! Not at all as I expected them to taste, I was convinced they were rice crispies when I bought them, apparently not. After stirring in some melted chocolate and leaving them to set pressed into a tin, the taste was much improved. A kind of rice crispie cake with attitude, lots of chewy crunch.  

On Wednesday I realised I'd lost one of my gloves, they weren't purchased as a set but were a good match. The scarf was from Lidl one year and the gloves were a reduced bargain. On checking the label, it seems they're originally from Marks & Spenser. Later in the day I found it under a chair, it's the little things that please here in this house.

I've listened to another audiobook at the weekend. Lucy Diamond writes a very entertaining story with satisfying plausible plots. She does include lots of fruity language that some may find unwelcome but... c'est la vie.

At the moment I'm listening to Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol. I know it's getting a bit late, or early, whichever way you look at it but every year I fully intend to read the book and then forget. So I decided I'm going to listen to it instead. I quite like Charles Dickens and his humorous observations of the class system. In fact my favourite book of all time is one of his, Great Expectations. With Estella bred to break men's hearts by making them fall in love with her, but never to return their love. Pip the young lad is sent to 'play' with her and later believe Miss Havisham to be his benefactor of great expectations, a misunderstanding that is exploited most cruelly. There have been many film adaptations of this and they all have a slightly different ending.

What have you read this week?
Would you read a Christmas story after December? 
What would you have done about the socks, would it have bothered you?

Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Birthday boy.

Hello, hope you've had a good week. I haven't included a photo of QT for a while and as Monday was his birthday and Lee had asked after him, I thought he could have his own post. He was 17 years old, we averaged our family birth dates and came up with the 15th. He was chosen from the local animal sanctuary, described as a long haired tabby male 8 years. He'd been at the sanctuary twice as his previous 2 owners had both died. Unfortunately both his and and his sisters records were lost. We never got to see his sister but we fell in love with this, not so young man, the soon as we saw him. As we collected him a week later, we were informed about his feeding habits etc and told it's because he's a Maine Coon. Fearing this was an illness, I hastily asked questions, and was assured, it's his pedigree. Oh, a posh cat, we've never had a pedigree cat before.

After we registered his chip in our details, it seems he was actually not 8 but instead 14.5 years old. Though he was originally registered with pedigree status and birth date given in January 2001, strictly speaking as he has no papers now, he's just a moggy. He has fur between his toes and in his ears, he chirps like a coonie and has a fluffy mane and impressive fluffy tail which he won't let us touch.

This is my favourite photograph of him, he looks so happy and totally content with life. He's on the swing & slide playdeck, which has now 3 years later, been taken down. The teens understandably no longer use it and their friends don't usually bring younger siblings with them.

There's something about this bush, the sweet smell in springtime maybe, that attracts him to it. On a sunny day, he'll venture closer and lay almost under it, rolling side to side. Falling asleep in many spots around the garden including under a gooseberry bush, it's lovely to see him happy. We aren't sure about any of his past life, we think he went out but he certainly never learnt to use a cat flap. After M installed 2 cat flaps, we were disheartened by his lack of effort. He'll go through it if we hold it open but no amount of coaxing with treats, gentle pushing, or 'letting him get on with it' has worked.

QT's bush.


and listening

and lighting up our hearts.

I love my sofa - checking out the birds 

We love him dearly, he has us wrapped round his little paw, which incidentally he won't allow his feet to be touched. His poor right leg which sticks out in the previous photo, suffers with arthritis. Sadly it took the strain from a badly healed fracture in his left leg. When he had his teeth cleaned and a tooth removed we asked for an ex-ray which showed up his past trauma. 

He won't sit on us, neither will he play with cat toys. He'll only play with thread, yarn lengths or laces as long as nothing is tied on the ends. He's fussy with his food and has numerous beds all over the house. I do pick him up for a quick cuddle which he tolerates before wanting to get down. I like to think that he loves us all, as much as we love him. He probably wishes for more sleep than he gets. I've no idea how he sleeps in teen 2 bedroom when rock, progressive rock or xbox guitar hero music is blaring out. But if I pop in the room to put laundry in the airing cupboard, it seems to wake him up! 

With old age comes health issues for anyone and for him it's his thyroid, the vet is good but expensive. The meds have him stabilised and so far all is well. His colouring always reminds me of a mint humbug with his dark and light coloured stripes. Now we have the fire opened up through to the dining room, it's always quite alarming when he squeezes through the space on the hearth itself! 

Stay warm and have a good week.

QT x

Sunday, 14 January 2018


Hello everyone. The past year seemed to fly-by so quickly, I'm going to try harder with clearing and cleaning this year. Powerful words, which if I don't do them are merely words.

With my trusty calendar, which has a double page month-at-view style (similar to the flylady version) at the ready, I've zoned it, added the weekly menu and listed a job each day. For January, each week has an area to be cleared of clutter, after that it's tackling regular cleaning. Before Christmas I tackled the kitchen and cleared a few sacks of clutter from drawers and cupboards, just by setting a timer for several 15 minutes stints.

Armed with my to do list and a duster, I've spent time putting things away in their new homes.

Last week M struggled to paint up the stair walls, the ceilings are extremely high in this house so it wasn't easy. The cat ornaments are dusted and replaced. Incidentally above the top on the window, the ceiling is another 8' up.

I've started back at the Knit & Natter, they had cake yum!

Watched a good film with friends.

I've crocheted a Yoda

Listened to an audio book 'Summer with my Sister' by Lucy Diamond

Started listening to 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho

Today the bud vases were dusted and have their new home on top of the bookcases in the front porch.

They used to be on a plate shelf above the fire in the dining room - which before it was opened up had the French dresser across it.

The French dresser is on the opposite side of the dining room now. The plate shelves above the dresser were removed too, I still absent mindedly try to hang ironed shirts up there. The photo above the marquetry cat made by M, is a print of the square in Petersfield, Hampshire. It was a present from when I worked there, my husband and I met whilst both working in Petersfield, so it has fond memories.

Next week these Christmas decorations need to be glued before being packed away. 

My Christmas present needs planting up. 

This weekend whilst sitting by the fire I've -

Knitted some more of M sock, which took a back seat whilst I crocheted angel gifts for Christmas and finished a crochet blanket.

Tried different ideas for another blanket

Looked over my craft to-do list which is looking a bit like this -
M socks finish
bunting using the left over stash from the blanket
crochet a stormtrooper kit
crochet a reindeer kit
table mats - finish,
picot edge scarf (was a KAL),
knit - jumper,
knit or crochet washcloths etc.

Thought about the next Cookery Calendar Challenge.

Remembered to comment on blogs straight away, as I always forget later.


Teen 2 (15) has enjoyed a late lunch

Teen 1 (17) has played XBox

M has started the Sunday roast - large birds sold out.

Next week after the upstairs bedroom fireplace has been cemented, bricked in and plastered, it'll be painted. The true colour, despite the bad light today, is the shade card on the right (below). The room was originally 2 rooms with the 2 end walls painted deep red. It was like that when we moved in 10 years ago. The house was originally 2 houses that had been converted into one, all with high ceilings. 

Whatever you get upto this week, I hope you have a good week.


Friday, 5 January 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Christmas here has been packed away now, mostly in the loft. A new year brings a fresh start for taking stock, improving and trying harder. 

We still have some goodies left to eat - plenty of chocolate, sausage meat in the freezer, lots of Turkish Delight. I always buy several boxes of that, years ago I used to buy it by weight, fresh out of a large box. The taste was divine. Fresh dates are lovely too but unfortunately a local town fruit & veg shop has closed and this luxury has disappeared along with it.

M and the teens have been busy working on a jigsaw puzzle over the holidays. A present from Grandma to the three of them. We travelled to Hampshire to stay with Grandma (Mother-in-law) for a few days, we saw my brother in his new home, spent time 'parked on the M25 car park' as you do. We had a lovely time away and a week home with M easing back to work and the teens drifting back to school / college more reluctantly. 

I bought this Star Wars crochet kit last year, there's yarn and eyes for Yoda and a Stormtrooper. It's good being free of 'crocheting a blanket' albeit self inflicted. It was my choice but being a CAL (crochet a long) the pace was set to keep going. I tried to keep up but... I just wanted to do many other things. Attic24 has started another of her blanket CAL, but so far I've not succumbed, it's a Woodland one. It does look nice but too bright for me and I'm not keen on orange. 

So onto a new year.

Traditionally people sit and write new years resolutions. Mine tend to be the same each year, I never set new ones as these are still a work in progress, oops! 

Be more present / less on-line & social media. 
Finish projects such as craft wips (work in progress). 
Read more of my books. 
Another one I frequently see is 'Get Stuff Done', only the stuff is usually written less polite.

Craft and clutter
I've been following FlyLady which has helped motivate me to 'get stuff done' with clearing clutter. In 15 minutes it's amazing how much 'stuff' you can clear out of the house. In clearing stuff, I also want to clear craft projects off my 'to do list', to enjoy what I'm making and not feel like I'm running behind all the time. I'd like to crochet some more washcloths and knit socks, maybe even a pair of socks a month! I'd like to crochet some squares in a sort of sample blanket - coastal colours, representing Lincolnshire coastline. This will be completely random using different patterns and also some bunting using up yarn from the last blanket.

I found this Book Bucket List Challenge online and I'm going to join in. Usually the book lists I've seen, are to read as many books as possible in a year. If you wish to join me please do, I think I'll check back with you all in the first week of each month, with an update of how I'm doing and you can add your progress to mine (if you wish). 
For now I'm wondering about the first one - Read a book that you can finish in a day. Unless it's a 'quick reads' title, I'm not convinced I'd manage that one. Debbie Macomber's books can be read in about 2 days depending on what jobs need doing. Usually there are many, meaning I never sit about reading all day and night. 
 2018 Book Bucket List Challenge

1 _ Read a book that you can finish in a day

2 _ Read a book that's new this year

3 _ Read a book recommended by a friend

4 _ Read a book based on a true story

5 _ Read a book series

6 _ Read a book that makes you laugh

7 _ Read a book as a family

8 _ Read a book you already own, but haven't read

9 _ Read a book by an author you've never heard of

10 _ Read a book that turned into a movie.

At the moment as I sit writing, QT is sitting on the arm of my chair waiting for more biscuits. A film is on in the background - RED 2, seen many times before. We enjoyed Fish n Chips tonight at the local pub, courtesy of the gift vouchers from the book club, a lovely gift. QT's mane under his neck is slowly growing back. He had it shaved enabling the Vet to take a blood sample to check his thyroid drugs are working. Unfortunately in a few months time, he'll be shaved again as it's the only way to check.

This weekend I need to finish crocheting Yoda and listen to the book club read - The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, read by Jeremy Irons. I'm really enjoying listening to audio books, at £7.99 a month (per book) it sounds expensive but comparing it to the full price CD at around £20 it sounds better. I've just finished Blueprints by Barbara Dylinski, I'd read Coast Road - which I loved and also Family Tree years ago. I wouldn't commit to recommending Blueprints, it was extremely slow with too many problems, one after the other. Also the women were meant to be strong but ended up taking their partners (men) into the boardroom. Very strange and not at all strong and independent.

Are you getting involved in any challenges this year? Did you do a jigsaw puzzle this Christmas? What are you making or reading?
Do leave a comment if you are interested in the reading bucket list. First week in February I'll let you know how it's going.

All the best for 2018

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