Monday, 29 August 2016

Twice as nice

Yesterday I got the sewing machine out, I had a project in mind, something I spotted on Pintrest, which I thought would be useful for my sister. Like me she loves craft and often has projects on the go, with no where to keep everything together. 
I did not have a pattern, so  I worked it all out as I went along. 
 I wanted a tall bag, she often likes to knit and her wool can be bulky, plus there needed to be space for long knitting needles.  The outside pocket was the factor which drew me to this design, I have a bag with inside pockets but they can be difficult to get to when there are items in the main body of the bag. 
 I cut a plastic circle for the base of the bag, the size of our tea plate, I was going to do a bigger base, but this size works well. On the inside I made a padded cushion so if you drop anything in, it lands on a soft base.
 The buckle used on the handle can be undone if required. 
 Having made a bag for my sister I then made another for myself, the sides are not as tall as the one above, here you can see my knitting project tucked inside.

 It works very well with the knitting needles inside, 
and the pocket is deep enough to be useful. 
 I made the pocket at the back into 2 pockets on both bags, 
here you can see some of the things I like to keep close when I am knitting. 
These deep pockets running around the outside are brilliant. 
 I only had one buckle for the top, so I searched in my box with bigger buttons and other fastening, and found this ring, I have pulled the handles through, it is a bit heavy, but I do love the finished look. 
All the fabrics I had in my stash, a few years a local upholstery shop was closing, I purchased loads of these pastel colours, just a couple meters of each, except the pale green as my favorite colour I got loads more of it. The  flowery material was an off cut I purchased knowing it would go with these colours. I always keep buttons and other bits from anything which can't go to the charity shops, I do love a button box, so much joy from looking through and finding what you need. I have no idea where the ring came from, probably from one of my daughters, who stopped wearing it and like a Magpie I kept it rather than throwing it away.
I am rather pleased with my afternoon's work, so instead of my knitting being tucked in a drawer out of mind, now it sits beside my desk, and now I should pick it up and do some more, I purchased the wool last year whilst away at my niece's wedding, who this month had her 1st anniversary.
Yesterday we had lunch with Su, youngest daughter, we popped to the large M&S, very lovely sandwiches and cake, it was great to sit and chat, our daughter at 16 weeks pregnant is blooming. I only purchased one item, a new suitcase for our holiday in just over 3 weeks. Su got a new case and we got the same design, so we borrow each others and have matching cases.
Today we have to pop to Tesco, just a few store cupboard items required, this afternoon, I have to finish my fruit garden, transplant the strawberries into their new tubs and tidy the raspberries, I have a big bag of bark to go over the back to keep the moisture in.
Later we will pop to see Su and David, it's David's birthday, so cake will be served.
Enjoy your Bank Holiday Monday

Sunday, 28 August 2016

And finally

A crafty post
Friday night stitching
 This is a simpler way of joining them together
 Another brilliant book 
Saturday started dry, so out into our garden, first job was to prepare the long pots for our strawberries, gravel in the bottom, loads of farmyard manure and chicken poo pellets, hubby has already made the holes along the back side for drainage. I then worked in my green house, clearing things away and planting my four potatoes for our Christmas lunch. Cut back the tomato and pepper plants, allowing in more light. I have planted loads of cuttings, chocolate mint for my sister, Rosemary and tarragon for me, and loads of flowers also for my sister. My Rosemary bush is getting woody so the hope is to have a good plant by the end of summer next year.
I had to tidy our back fence, something has got to one side of my Jasmine plant, so I cut it back loads in hope it will survive, I think my neighbour at the back has painted his side of the fence.
A quick lunch and off to our local village for a hair cut,  at £25 it's a good price and a good cut, no more driving into town to pay for parking and be overcharged for a similar cut with a complementary cup of coffee.
As rain threatened, I spent the afternoon with another good book, I hope to finish it later today, I love having time to read. No craft last night we shared a bottle of Mateus Rose,  I love the taste on a summers evening.
This morning woke up to more rain, so it's sewing machine time.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Manor Farm

Logan on the first of many Tractors
We spent the day at Manor Farm, Hampshire
 Full of beautiful barns and buildings
It was the setting for Wartime farm, shown on the BBC 
 On a hot sunny day
 Lovely in all directions
 Loads of different barns
 These are just a few photo's
 Around the farm house
 Kitchen
 I had a blue one of these in my first kitchen
 A perfect pantry
 We sat and had lunch outside
 We were watched all the time
these little chaps are not frightened
they swooped down every time something was dropped
 This Buff Orpington, so beautiful in the sunshine
There were all the usual farm animals around the farm yard, loads of piglets, tractor rides and plenty of space for Logan to run around. It was our first visit to the farm, and I would like to go back again, along the very long road to get to the farm there were loads of parking spaces for walks and other adventures.
Logan also got to see our local castle, and all the guns at Fort Nelson, both are free to enter and have loads of space to run about. 
Wednesday we took Logan to an ice cream parlour, which we all enjoyed. 
Tuesday I spent some time with Sam and Josh, another visit to the ice cream parlour and then loads of fun in the park, Wednesday was Josh's 11th birthday, how quick the time flies by, in September he will be starting the senior school, so very grown up these days.
So a good week, and now a Bank Holiday weekend, with Monday off, there is rain promised, so we will have to plan our outside time carefully, I have a couple of things to do in the garden.
Plus my sewing machine is out, I want to make a gift for my sister when she here in two weeks, I will make two items one for each of us. I will show them later in another post.
I have done no sewing, but read another good book, I'm off to find my hexagons, to stitch more together, I must get on with finishing my sewing machine cover. 

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Question

What do you want from your life?
It's a good question, how do you define, want and life, I read a good post here, with a link which was very interesting, which got me thinking, and therefore changed the whole topic of this post.
On the list of want, these days it's health and happiness for me and those I love. BUT also in the world around us, more of that later. These days I have few wants and very few things I need to buy, I get my pleasures not from anything with a price tag, a giggle from my grandsons, seeing someone I love smile, simple pleasures. I want calm and peacefulness to surround me, it's not something you can totally control, but you can take small steps to improve your surrounding world. I am a true believer in practicing what you preach, do as I do, if we all lived our lives with more thought for others, I'm sure slowly our world would improve.
We have had loads of issues with our neighbour, mad cat woman, I have ignored most of the things she has done, worked with our local police force to resolve her accusations, it took a couple of years, but now we hear nothing from her, which pleases me, I want to enjoy our home, it is now the place of calm and relaxing we hoped for. I could have played the tit for tat game and did things to get back at her, but in my mind that's just lowering my standards.
In our world we have loads of things we can't change, but we can choose how we handle the issues when they show, some issues are huge and one person can't stop or change things, well not on our level, but if loads of people start making small changes then momentum can build into something big.
Our world is not so big these days, we see and hear things happening from across the globe instantly, it sadden me to see so much conflict, so many people having so little control over their part of the world.
Then we see the Olympics on TV, a wonderful show case of mankind, then the TV pans to all the poverty in Brazil, nothing is perfect. Again perfection is a photo in a magazine or shown on TV, not real life.
This week we have had Logan our grandson staying, lots of laughter. I spent time with Josh and Sam on Tuesday, we did simple things, an ice cream, playing in the park. Hope to spend time with our daughter this coming weekend, family is key to happiness. We are looking forward to my sister visiting soon, making simple plans a good meal together.
Life these days is  simple, calm, happy things, things we can control, slower place, knowing your own worth for the true things in life. Not everyone's cup of tea, but then we are all different.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

This and that

I have shown this before,
it's a real shock to compare to what we really do eat.
Ali over at Less equals more has done her post on the subject. 
Like so many others we have been looking at our relationship with food, what we eat, where we get it from and of course how much we eat. One of the main things I have done is to use a smaller plate, my mum would call this a breakfast plate, as you can see it's a bit smaller than our normal plates.  I try and keep my portions to the center of the plate.
  I enjoyed all three books, Cake Shop in the Garden being the best one here. 
Still doing very little sewing, I have another project forming.
We have followed loads of sport from Rio, the cycling being both our favorites, followed by the diving and gymnastics, it's a proud time to see so many medals being won. I have watched TV most evenings in the past couple of weeks, we were really late to bed last night, watching the last cycle race, with it's 3rd start, then a quick switch over to see the last dives. 
Last week we booked our holiday, just over four weeks now, and I'm on a mission to lose a few pounds of flab, so we have cut carbs to a minimum, it is hard when every day there are cakes, biscuits in the office, I sit very close to our tuck shop, and at 11.30 each day the sandwich lady comes in with lovely cakes. I still walk each lunch time, but will all the sport on TV, we don't do enough after our evening meal. That will change once the Olympics are over, hubby has serviced my bike, so we can start local riding, we have a few lovely places to visit along our water edge. 
I have started using weights to help my upper body strength, now I no longer have to take the cancer drugs, I feel I want to try and gain strength. 
I don't get the exercise in our garden, every thing is looking good and does not require any hard work, it's time now to enjoy all the previous hard work.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Finished

I decided to join the lighter blue bands, 
so I measured and made three bands
 At two high I could see this was working
 At three high it was perfect, now what to do at the top level
I was going to fold and sew the uprights in
 Too bulky, so I cut each to length and double stitched them
The top is the most important bit, it holds everything together
 I chose to use some more of this fabric, 
I liked the fact I could use a thin strip 
 So my basket finished, it holds itself up well
I have just woven the straps, with no plans to stitch them
 This is sturdy, and pretty 
 I don't mind you can see the joins for the horizontal bands
it is after all a working basket
 I have pegged the corners for now, I need them to define
next time I get the iron out I will neaten the corners. 
I'm very pleased with this, using waste items to remake things I can use. If the corners do not sit right then I will have a look and maybe sew along the corner line. The basket is bigger than I planned, but that's a good thing, at one point I almost decided to add a duffel bag top and have another bag, but in truth I don't think I would use it. It took longer than expected, you can see the start of the project here.
We popped to town this morning and booked our break for September, we are flying off to Tenerife, a week of rest and sunshine, we do like island holidays. We also very naughty went into BHS, it's the last few days of our local shop, got a few summer tops each, they are so very cheap.
The sport is on TV, it's going to be interesting tonight Tennis final, more cycling and the gymnastic finals.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Food for thought

I have just watched Cowspiracy, on Netflix, an interesting documentary film about the cost to our world on the production of meat. Firstly  I eat meat and have no plans to stop, months ago we made the decision to have two days each weak without eating any meat or fish, it's an easy adjustment to make. We try not to buy meat from the supermarket and using a local butchers, so we don't save money we just purchase meat which is more than often produced locally. The film gives loads of facts and is very sobering to watch, at the end they gave compelling evidence for everyone to become vegan, which really whilst you know is the correct thing to do, in reality it's not going to happen. They use the argument of land, water consumption to show the true cost of raising meat.
I have not eaten ham in months, it's far too processed for me, so on the odd occasion I have sandwiches I eat cheese. I don't eat too much bread, refined white flour causes me too many tummy problems.
We have also stopped eating process food, we now use ingredients to make our meals, no longer will you find in our pantry jars and packets of sauces. I am growing and drying our herbs and peppers to add flavour to our dishes.
The supermarkets dictates what food we have, we can buy anything at any time of the year, we only buy food in season, this summer we have enjoyed our own and local strawberries, we stopped regularly buying fruit and veg which is shipped from across the world, having a break from anything and waiting for them to come into season, makes the item taste so much better. Plus often those wonderful strawberries from the other side of the globe, look beautiful often they have no taste at all.
We have also cut our portion size, it was a huge shock to see the recommended portion size, compared  to the size of cuts purchased, with so many things super sized, everything is changing.

Potty again

We went shopping today
firstly we went to Wyevale garden center, it's not our most local or one we normally would choose to visit,  but they had these blue pots at half price, the two grey ones at £1.50 each perfect for the citrus pips I am bringing along. The blue pots were £16.99 and £12.99, the lazy girl at the till scanned both through at the lower price so instead of 50% off we got both for £12.99.
 I managed to break the smaller pot, almost perfect for what I required. 
 Making terraces and then planting
 I love all the little pots, and can't wait for the cacti to grow on the top terrace
 We popped to Dunelm, hubby wanted kitchen items
so a quick walk around the materials
 1 meter of both at £8.99 each
now I can make so items for youngest daughters nursery. 
Both prints are beautiful, not decided what to do with them.
We got all the shopping done, I now have my new swimming costume, and some new underwear. Hubby got loads of socks, he wears the sport white socks more often now as he wears deck shoes and trainers. Since retiring he wears totally different clothes each day, all more relaxed.
Hubby got a couple new bird feeders, he has been changing them around, he is trying to find a seed feeder which will stop the pigeons throwing all the seed over the garden. He also got a nice water feeder as well, our garden birds are very lucky.
I enjoyed remaking my mini pot, I was unhappy with how the other pot looked, but I have found another use for the pot, on it's side for a hedgehog house, it is in part of the garden where the hedgehogs come most nights, I have added some leaves, it would be nice if it did get used.
We are having fish for tea tonight with parsley mash, my herbs have gone mad, we will also bake some home grown  vine tomatoes and sweet peppers.
I will make my basket and finish a book I am reading, later there is loads of sport.
Tomorrow I want to wash my car, the weather is warm sunny and dry, so I will enjoy being outside.
Later we can relax in our garden, nothing to do unless we pop for a cycle ride or walk, either way we will take our camera's with us.

Friday, 12 August 2016

It's Friday evening

Hubby has been busy
He has replaced the bird table pole and most of the back fencing, all was rotten.
Our rose arch is looking good
The birds love the feeding station in this position. 
Next year I want sweet peas and a black eyed susan climbing through the roses.
 Flowers have gone mad
I love the red pompom dahlia through  the lupins 
as for this begonia, what can I say stunning
My side cottage garden is full
next year I will throw loads of seeds over this bed
 Close up of the back section
another fuchsia and begonia  in a tall chimney pot 
 We don't have many things to harvest this year
 My lemon plant has recovered, and the little orange is doing well
Hubby got me gravel and bark for fruit garden
but both the raspberries and strawberries are still fruiting. 
It is a warm sunny evening here in Hampshire, as you can see in my photo's above lovely blue skyes, hoping to go for a walk later.
Not much to do this weekend, the garden is looking good, we should be decorating inside, but I don't want hubby to do too much, his shoulder is healing well and we don't want to risk him having a set back.
I still require a new swimming costume, so we may pop to Whitley tomorrow at some time.
Our main plan is to enjoy this weekend, just the two of us, BBQ will feature as will relaxing in the garden.
I am going to put my basket together as well, I have decided to use the pale blue denham strips and join them together with 3 levels, photo's will follow.
I have started another book, done NO sewing at all, and watched loads of sports which we would not normally watch, the synchronised diving with Jack Laugher and Chris Mears was thrilling to watch.

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