Sunday, 22 January 2017

Add to the stash

A bit of retail therapy, but charity shop style
Just over a meter for £1.00
Perfect for my hexagons 
 My sister gifted me these 
She found the them on ebay as a huge job lots 
and passed me a meter of each colour
 Plus these fleecy baby blankets
Every colour than pale blue
 These bulbs are growing well,
not showing my hyacinth as it has not grown at all.
 We have had a quiet weekend at home, my sister and I popped to a local village with a craft/fabric shop, she required a zip and some thread, neither of which we could get. I was looking for fabrics for a baby cot quilt, which I could not find the shades I was searching for.
In the same village is a charity shop with a huge craft section, I love to poke about and some huge bargains can be found. My sister took home some great fabrics at bargain prices.
I have not a clue what I will use the fleecy baby blankets for, they are packed away as part of my fabric stash. The heavy dark cottons will be used for bags, and will work well with the lighter coloured heavy cottons already in my stash. I have added the £1 I spend on craft to my list.
I have started knitting the second baby jacket, this time in a dark blue, again I will knit the fronts and back together as one piece.  It is a simple design so it won't take long.
Our meal at our local pub was perfect, the food was wonderful, the service perfect, so The Cormorant at Portchester is now back on list of foodie pubs, and the plus it's in walking distance.
We popped to see youngest daughter this morning, who is about 2 weeks away from her due date, again she is blooming, it's just a matter of waiting to meet our youngest and 5th grandson, exciting times.
Hubby has ordered me 3 books from amazon, he gets free delivery, so they will be here tomorrow, all three are new to me authors, one is a recommendation from Amazon, using the history of books we have already purchased.
We watched the film, Girl on a Train, last night, it was as great as the book. I was a bit worried as the book is set in UK, and the film in USA, but the story line was quiet true to the book and a really good film.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Growing time

Tulips have started to shoot
The middle bulb went soft, but the rest are looking good
 I normally keep the vase under my desk out the way, but near to the heat.
Hyacinth still not looking to tall
I just can't grow these 
I'm really pleased with my spider plant and it's lovely babies
I'm not worried if I get too many, our local community center has plant sales later in the year, so I can pot some up and pass them on.
My second Amaryllis is starting to grow
So it's in our sitting room. 
I went for a lovely walk this lunch time, the sun was shinning, loads of birds singing, with my warm scarf and gloves on just like spring. A perfect January day, with a refreshing break from work. I am managing to walk every day and my steps are looking good.  I weighed myself and the pounds have started to fall away, I'm not on a diet, just being sensible with what I eat.
We have been eating lovely meals from our freezer this week again, it's madness how we fill the freezers to the brim, hubby did buy some lovely ham off the bone for Sunday brunch, I never eat the sliced hams you can get from the supermarket, they are so processed and nothing like real ham.
Hubby did a shop at Tesco, more for cleaning and toiletries than food.
My sister and her partner will arrive tomorrow, we have planned a meal in our local pub, we have not been there for years, but with new management we thought we would give it a try. Saturday hubby is doing a full roast beef dinner for later in the day.
I have no plans for Saturday, will see if Leanna want's to go or do anything, she does like to shop, and I would like to get the fabric for the babies cot quilt. I have not done any knitting, I have just finished another book. Wild Designs by Katie Fforde, a bit of a romantic light novel for me, but it was a nice change.
I am now bookless, I might see if we can get time to go to the local library, it's not cheap to read so many books when I have to buy them.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Comfort point

We all have our own little world where we feel safe and comfortable.
To most of us it's simply home, after the daily attendance at your place of work, we come home to a warm and cosy place of our making.
The level of comfort often is dictated by how much money we have and our age, which often dictates the level we have reached. Young and starting out is often a lower level, empty nester's often are in a great place, and then some slip when in retirement income is reduced.
How we spend our income also plays a huge part, consumerism keeps our economy running, our government would struggle if every one stopped shopping.
Our pace of living is fast, on the go all the time, we are bombarded with all the latest must have stuff, the rental business of storage space is huge, 30 years ago it was unheard of and not required. Rather than throw something out or pass it along, so many hide it in rows of lockups and pay rental.

Do I own a car to get me to work so I can earn money, 
or did I buy the car because I earn money.

I read a good post here, where Phil talks about a cashless society and how easy it is to wave plastic and spend without realizing just how much loads of small amounts add up in a week. In the past couple of years I take a cash sum each week, in the beginning it was just enough to get me by, now every week I have cash left over, which I save and when I have enough I have a bigger treat. Could be lunch with daughter's, something for my craft stash. I have never increased the amount I take, I just stopped spending on frivolous stuff.
It has been hard work persuading my hubby this was a better way of life, bit by bit he has listened to my mad schemes to simplify and enhance our world.
We have changed our way of thinking, how we spend money and on what, we buy what we need, ignoring all the sales, discounts and hype. Everyone's lifestyle is their own, we now enjoy a much better way of life.
We enjoy lovely weekends at home, we do not go into town each weekend to shop, our weekends are now lazy enjoyable time at home together. The main thing we have noticed how much more time we have together, take away the rushing about and our time slows down to an enjoyable level.
This week was a success in our house, our internet/TV/phone rental was £62 per month, hubby wanted to cancel the TV to save money, I suggested he call another provider and get costings, which was £11 less for a very similar package, he was all for changing supplier. I suggested he call back our supplier and tell them we could go else where and save money, he got them to match the other cost, plus we also keep a 5% discount which made it cheaper. So a brilliant saving without have to change anything. Hubby is really pleased with himself.
I get an email from Martin Lewis, Money saving expert,  each month and use his site often, he has loads of tips on how to play the big corporate's  at their own game.
We are not as savvy and loads of bloggers I follow with your clever way of saving money, I would love to be self sufficient, but that's my dream not hubbies.
How have you made a good saving recently, as they say every little helps.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Dull out, interesting inside

Yesterday we went out for lunch and had afternoon tea
with daughter and SIL
 I love the miss matched plates and cups, the food was wonderful
Local to our daughter was the Cork and Cheese
Wine shop and deli with a lovely seating area
I am loving using my knitting bag, I have to pack this away each time I am finished with it. Purdy really loves the wool's to play with so I can't leave anything by my sitting room chair. It is compact but with the pockets useful, Here's how I made it
 It sits on my sewing box, with my sewing machine and other bags
The red bag Pam made me, it keeps my cross stitch in the frame neat and tidy
Behind is another quilted bag made by Pam, she is brilliant at patchwork.
At the back is my Patchwork tool's and fabric holder, which I recently made.
This part of my office is tidy all the time and very pretty to look at.
 I have finished the yolk of the baby jacket and it has worked, all I have to do is knit the two front bands and sew the lower part of the sleeves together. I really hate sewing knitting together, so this has worked well for me. I have another to knit using the same pattern, but this time I am going to add cables on the fronts and sleeves. 
 I have re-potted my Bouganvillea Amarilla which I got in Tenerife last September, it's now huge and healthy, the hope is for it to fill out and look less twig like. 
I managed an hour in the garden and greenhouse this morning, I harvest the last couple of sweet peppers from the greenhouse and did a general tidy around, it's full in the greenhouse, I have my olive bush and citrus plants, plus a couple of cacti which don't like being waterlogged in there. My shed is also full with loads of ceramic ornaments from the garden. I did cut back the small side cottage garden, the seed heads had been eaten by the birds and the cold wet spell has softened everything, which then dropped over the edge. I can see bulbs starting to grow around the plot, a promise of things to come.
I have also managed an hour doing my 2016 blog book, I have to manually transfer each post and photo's, which is slower, before Blogger would copy over all the items in bulk. It is slower but much easier as I do one post at a time.
I have few plans for this evening, the last Sherlock is on at 9pm, it's a case of keeping warm and crafting.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Friday, in the warm

I'm showing these books again
I have finished both and they were both gripping.
Totally different stories and styles of reading,
 I am now looking for more titles by each author
Nothing beats a really good book to read.
Not the best photo, but the tulip bulb roots are growing
I have topped up with water, hence you can't see the beads very well at the bottom, they shrink quite quickly. I am going to wrap brown paper around the bulbs to encourage tall straight growth.
My boots and slippers arrived, both fit and are perfectly what I thought they would be, and as each was half price, to say I'm pleased is an understatement. These are the only sale items for me this year, hubby got a new pair of slippers and 2 pairs of jeans. Gone are the days of rushing to the sales to spend money on any reduced item they show to us.
We are about to purchase a few more household items, we require a new alarm clock radio for our bedroom, a filter coffee maker, I have had one of the posher machines, but I prefer to make a pot of coffee. My brother gave us some money for Christmas and we are going to use it for an air fryer, not that we eat lots of fried food, one of my work mates has one and she cooks things in her's instead of putting the oven on, it roast meat and other things well. Each will be from Morphy Richards, which is a good brand and looking at my staff price list will be a very good price.
We popped to Lidl after work for a few items, we avoided all meats our freezers are full and we are using them up in January. So far a good start to the month. I have a small spend in my craft list, but nothing else is required.
Today was my pay day and I have joined the Christmas saving scheme through our salary, each month I save £100, from January to October and in November they give it back, so I should have £1000 I don't want it for Christmas, we will use it for a good holiday for 2018 unless we fail on our monthly saving in which case it will be saved.
We have few plans for the weekend, lunch with youngest daughter tomorrow, she has just a few weeks to go in her pregnancy and if feeling a bit down.
Sunday is due loads of rain so a day inside.
We had snow for a few hours yesterday, this morning was cold and dry with a hard frost but not much of the promised ice everywhere. Typical winter for this part of the UK.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Growing

My 2nd Amaryllis  has two tiny shoots
But my Hyacinth bulbs are not growing at all
 A tiny orange pip, which is now a plant
Plus my Poinsettia's 
My office has loads of colour
I am desperate to grow things, it's far too early for seeds for the greenhouse, I will start a few next month inside the house, our spare bedroom is very warm and sunny. I don't have too much space, but I would like something growing soon.
In my raise cut flower bed, I have seeding showing, they are really early, so I have covered the whole bed with perplex in hope I can save the seedlings from frost damage.
There is snow in our fore caste, but along the south coast of England, we miss alot of the bad weather, so I am, like loads of others keeping everything crossed we miss the worst of the weather.
This little baby jacket is coming along well, I started by counting how many stitches we required for both fronts and the back, I knitted every side as one piece to the arm hole shaping, this is something I do often, it saves sewing up and looks much neater. For the first time I am trying to be clever, as the jacket is for a small baby, I want as little sewing together as possible. So after I knitted both sleeves and did the first raglan shaping. I inserted the sleeves into the hole on the main part, so I am now stitching the yolk as one piece. I did get my note pad and worked out the raglan decreasing. So far so good, this could be wonderful or a complete disaster, I just have to keep going with everything crossed it's going to work.  This Alpaca wool is the softest wool I have every used.
I have not done any cross stitch, I still want to finish Joyful World before I start my next big project, which will be the Welsh guard cushion, I have an idea for the bottom corner to make it look different, but I won't tell hubby until it's finished.
I have been good and not read any books, I have a couple waiting for the right moment. Plus I am walking every day, my steps average out between 8000/ 9000 per day, I am achieving my active walking each day, so I'm pretty pleased with myself.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Another weekend

Oh for the life of a cat, 
they spent all of Saturday tucked up in their baskets
and are still there this morning
 I am loving knitting with the Alpaca wool, it's so soft
I have been shopping online
My black ankle boots are looking past their best, and I do hate scruffy shoes, hubby uttered the words 'Clarks have a 60% off sale', so I looked.
I'm a size 6 and for most of my life that's the most popular size and shops never have much choice in their sales. I found the above leather boots and a spare pair of slippers, but at a much reduced price.
I googled ladies feet size and found in fact our feet are getting bigger and came across this...
The house next door (Win's) has been put up for sale, we were stunned at the priced being asked, and again went on line and was shocked to see how much another local smaller bungalow sold for in the last couple of months, both houses needed alot of modernizing, and had 1 bedroom less than ours.
Hubby and I have agreed if the new owners are not friendly, we will sell up and find another bit of heaven to  move to.
I have finished reading Behind Closed Doors, B A Paris, I loved the story, the plot was interesting, and even though I could work out the ending, it was great to read how the author guided the plot. I would chose another of her books. I am not going to start another book, I want to get on with my knitting.
We have also reviewed our finances, we try and look twice a year, we are in a lucky position, hubby has very good pensions, we have agreed an amount to save each month, and a figure we would like to have in savings by the time I retire.
Later today after a bit of housework, we will visit our youngest, who with us are counting down the few weeks left of her pregnancy. When we get back it will be more knitting, I'm not enjoying knitting with black, but it does grow quickly, and once done I have a lovely (shown in last post) blue to use.
I am also planning the cot quilt, I have a few scheme's in my head.
Yesterday I worked on the design for another cross stitch cushion front, this time with The Welsh Guards emblem on, I have printed the chart ready to stitch, another bit project.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Lovely things

12 Days of Christmas, 
it's a lovely gift swap run each year by Jo
 My swap from Debbie
  A great mixture of gifts
I hope you liked the ones I sent to you
we are already using the meal planner and shopping list pads.
My wool has arrived, its Baby Alpaca Silk, so very soft to touch
and double ended needles for socks, the various size pack was economical. 
 Two new books,
B A Paris, is a new author, I liked the sound of this book
Sharon Bolton, I have read another title, so my expectations are high.
I have started knitting a baby jacket in the black alpaca wool, I am knitting the side back and side as one piece, which I prefer for baby jackets, the colour choice is my daughters, black is not great to knit with but I'm now on the stocking stitch, so it will be easier. The wool is beautiful and so soft, I have issues with lanolin, so sheeps/lambs wool is hard for me to use.  So now I am juggling more craft and reading, but we don't go out much midweek, so I do have time.
I have also the image I require to cross stitch a cushion for hubby with his beloved Welsh Guards emblem in the middle, not hard work just a large project.
We have walked each evening after work, except today, it is raining heavy, I don't see any point in getting wet. I have worn my fitbit attached to my trousers loop, I was worried wearing the band on my arm would be creating extra untrue steps, but I am please to say, I have done my normal 6000 steps in my working day, I will happily wear it on my wrist, so I can view the watch.
Already the 1st week of the year is over, time is rushing by, the weekdays go so fast, we have managed to slow time over the weekends.
We are planning a low spend weekend, and have no plans for shopping for anything other than some fruit and veg.
I purchased hubby a Morphy Richards soup maker for Christmas, which we have been using, it's a great design and the blade is so simple to clean. Plus as a part of the company I work for, staff discount made it a great price.
Pizza for tea tonight as a treat, and a bit of catch up TV, perfect for a wet Friday evening.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Stitching again

I saw this and thought how true
I have stitched on Joyful World, my aim is to finish it and frame it, not sure where I will hang it when finished, only after this is finished can I think of anything new to start.
I am also looking at cotton material, I want to make a patchwork cot quilt of our new baby due in a few weeks, I am thinking I will use a log cabin design.
I have ordered a couple of books to read, so with my wool order I am expecting a couple of nice parcels to arrive.
Today my first day back at work went well, we were busy but not as busy as expected, it was quiet easy to slot back into work. It was also nice as driving to work in the morning, it was not as dark as it has been, makes me think of spring and the new growing season.
This year instead of inflicting my will on hubby, I asked him what he would like to focus on, 1st we agreed to save more, our spending habits are now reaping us spare cash each month. 2nd he wants us to walk more, with the view to being able to cycle in the better weather, so these will be our focus for 2017, but done without slipping away from all we have already achieved.
We also looked at our saving jar, it has just over £90 in, but as we need nothing, the coins all went back in and we will keep adding until the jar is full, which should be summertime and will give us funds for a nice day out.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

New beginings

I have soaked my water beads, all these are from just one small packet.
Overnight they grew huge in size.
The light catches them, these were dark green in the packet. 
 I have removed some water beads from the vase and placed tulip bulbs on top
I put them away in a cool dark place.
 The 5th bud is opening on my Amaryllis
plus I think there is a second bud showing from the bulb.
 I love these flowers
So another year has passed, so many have said 2016 has been a terrible year, so many famous wonderful people have departed, closer to us, we lost our lovely neighbour Win.
We have had ups and downs, but in the main with youngest daughters wedding early April and then her pregnancy (due in 6 weeks), we have loads to look back on. To sum our year, it's been good, it could have been better.
Hubby and I stayed in together last night, our cats were OK with all the fireworks outside, we enjoyed London's firework show on the TV.
Now we look forward, I don't make resolutions, finding your lifestyle balance should not start one day each year, for me it's a long journey, which counts each day of my life, I make mistakes, take wrong turnings, but I stay along the path. So this year like many others, I won't be changing much, just trying to live a clean healthy simple life, avoiding waste and excess, enjoying our choices.
Each January I weigh myself, and note the figure in the front of my diary, I am pleased to see I only increased by 2 pounds on January 2016, and only 3 pounds on January 2015. I do loose a few pounds, which I manage each summer only to put it back on later in the year.
So now I want to finish a few stitching projects, I have books to read, and I would like to start making clothes again, I have ordered double ended needles  to knit my 1st ever pair of socks.


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