Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Let's Get This Over With

 “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” – T.S. Eliot

Google Image

As 2013 reaches its final day, it would be normal to look back on the year and remember the good times and the positives. Unfortunately, they've been in short supply this year. From family bereavements to health issues, unexpected financial pressures and a whole host of minor irritations - it's just not been a good year.
So, lets get this one out of the way and start the next one with a more positive approach.
Happy New Year to you all.

Monday, 30 December 2013

The Birds

Look away now if you don't like seagulls!

The weekend before last  I went away to Chester. I was there by way of a favour and therefore most of the cost was picked up by a family member. Favour done, nice hotel, use of pool and spa - win, win all round!

Anyone who's been to Chester will know that it's the law that you take yourself down to the river Dee and feed the birds. Now on the river there are a nice collection of swans and ducks. However, these are massively outnumbered by pigeons and gulls.
All the birds are well versed in spotting bird feeders. As potential feeders get out of their cars at the riverside, they can very quickly identify a wrapped sliced loaf. Word goes out and by the time you get down the steps, they're waiting!

In particular the gulls are very adept at intercepting bread intended for the swans, mid-air. The swans aren't that bothered as they prefer a nice artisan loaf or at least a decent ciabatta.
The gulls and pigeons are more than happy with a bit of white sliced.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Another Year Over (Almost)..........

I'm usually glad to see the back of a year, always thinking that next year will be better. The pessimist in me tells me I'm probably going to be wrong. Are you allowed to be miserable on your own blog?
Photo above was taken whilst out walking last Wednesday (aka Christmas Day).

My Christmas was extremely low key. It started by popping out to feed two home alone Christmas kitties. Said cats had left me a very nice present on the kitchen worktop (you don't see Santa doing that).
After unwrapping, I shared the ribbon - it was much enjoyed.

In the afternoon I went walking with Himself. Just in case anyone thinks it looks like some kind of modern incarceration camp - it's actually the back of Manchester Airport. The tall building on the left is the old control tower, recently replaced with a brand new shiny version.
On the right, out of shot and much more picturesque is Styal Woods.

I'm planning that 2014 will involve lots of sitting behind my sewing machine. I was quite taken with this Tula Pink quilt on display at this year's Festival of Quilts. I have the fabric for it - now just need time and motivation.
I've also got a couple of WIP's to get to grips with - both intended as presents. Additionally, a family member and the daughter of a work colleague are expecting, so a couple of baby quilts are in order there. I'm giving myself the deadline of end of January for these, then February for the Tula Pink copy.

Monday, 9 September 2013


You know those videos on Youtube where clever people make whole quilt tops in minutes using a jelly roll - like this one?
Well I was given a jelly roll as a freebie at Festival Of Quilts last month, in lovely autumnal colours. I thought I'd give it a go!
They are usually filmed with a clock behind them and the top is completed in 40-60 minutes.
Me - 3 hours. Doh.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Is There Anybody There?

Well despite my blatant lack of blogging, I seem to have hit a minor milestone. I passed 10 000 hits on my little blog. Small fry for most of you, I know - you probably get that in a day! All the same, it feels a bit strange that so many people would read what I have to say - they can't all be trolls and other dodgy types.
Strangely, I've had a  very large amount of hits on one particular post, which I wrote over a year ago - I'm putting that down to spam hunters rather than the very nice bloggers I have contact with.
Unfortunately, not many visitors leave comments ( I know I'm often guilty of this, too), so I don't know how many 'real' readers are out there.
Anyway, if you are 'real' - thanks for reading and if you leave me a comment, I'll nip over to your blog and reciprocate.

Thursday, 8 August 2013


.......One more sleep and I'm off to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC, Birmingham - very excited!
This will be my second visit, so I know a little bit more what to expect. It's big, but I'm going to pace myself.

Saturday, 20 July 2013


..........things turn out better than expected. After weeks of looking for a car and the disappointment of missing out on one last week.......today the other half found just the right one.
Only thing is, he didn't tell me, but just took himself off to Leeds to look at it - good job I trust him!
What kind of car? Well it's a blue one :-)
Also got a new (to me) phone - that was a present. Just need to take the course and exam to learn how to use it.
Normal service about to be resumed - sort of.

Not A Photo Finish

Hard to believe, but I've completely finished a quilt. It's made from blocks sent by members of a Bee I belong to.
No pics, as still got the problem with phone. However, a phone is winging its way to me later today, so hoping to have that resolved and then I can start posting photos again.
This was the design brief for my blocks - when I can post pic of finished article, you can decide if it worked or not!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Not A Frugal Friday

Well, what a day... you know when sometimes, things just don't go to plan?
I decided recently, that it was time to change my car. I don't do this lightly, but a reliable and economical car is needed for my commute.
I briefly thought about making this journey by public transport, but found out that not only would it take 4 hours a day (instead of 2 by car), but would also cost more than the current cost of fuel!

Much research and debate has taken place, concerning what new (to me) car I should go for.
I carefully decided on a budget, allowing for extra insurance, cancellation of old policy, cost of collection, etc.

This morning we found one that seemed to tick all the boxes. The only thing left to do was go and see it and check it was as described.
The car was located 42 miles away - well that's not too bad. We set off, but quickly hit some awful traffic, so it turned into a very long journey.

As we were indicating to turn onto the road where the car was, I saw the car driving out. Yep, the guy had sold it 5 minutes before we arrived.
A wasted day, wasted money on petrol, a very long trip and it was hot!
Not the worst thing in the world to happen, but so frustrating. Please keep your fingers crossed that I find something soon.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Summer Sizzling

I'm going to try and avoid the typically British trait of moaning about the weather. Whatever the temperature, we find fault - be it winters getting worse, summers not the same as we remembered from childhood or as is the case at the moment; sleep depriving, excessive heat.
No, we must make the most of it.
Stock photo from t'internet
But...... you have to feel sorry for the pets, who can't take that fur coat off! Mine are eating less, very lethargic and to be found in odd sleeping places in an effort to try and stay cool.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Snail Mail

I had a few things for sale on eBay. I didn't get a fortune for them, but it made a bit of space and it's a few extra £'s to use for anything but bills!

Another stock picture - not my actual parcels

It's ages since I had a little eBay spree and obviously it was before the last round of price rises for postal charges. I could hardly believe what it cost to send even a small package. So, my net 'win' at the end of this is much smaller than I anticipated.
Stupidly, I didn't check before I quoted the postal cost when I listed the items. On couple of them, the cost was more than I'd charged. Oh well , another learning curve!

Monday, 8 July 2013


Well, still not sorted the phone problem, but as I have a few days off work, it's a chance to catch up on some jobs.
Like almost everyone else, I'm taking advantage of the glorious UK weather and getting the washing out.
I know some people like to use their dryer, but it's an unnecessary expense as far as I'm concerned.......and you can't beat the smell of line dried clothes.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Another Try?

Despite the long absence, I would still like to maintain a blog - so another try. The past few months have been fraught with all kinds of stress and drama - I think the generic term is 'life', but that's no excuse is it?
I'm on a little money making mission at the moment. I've got a few things on eBay, with lots more to put on.

Stock pic, not my actual phone

No pics, as I've been without the necessary technology to take photos for a few days - phone, accident, broken, extra expense; you get the idea.
I have made a few things and have a number of WIP's that there is a good chance of me finishing soon!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Lakes of Pontchartrain

Well, I've had a busy few days with not one, bur two nights out!
Firstly, I was offered a spare ticket to go and see the excellent Be Good Tanya's at one of Manchester's best venues, Royal Northern College of Music. I've seen them several times before and they didn't disappoint.
My Favourite song !

Next was a theatre trip to see The Accrington Pals at the The Royal Exchange A harrowing tale about the recruitment of most of the men from a small northern town, to fight in WW1. Almost all were killed near The Somme in the space of 10 minutes in June 1916. The play is cleverly told from the perspective of the women left at home. It was funny, sad and thought-provoking.
So, that's my social life done for a while.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Threading for Beginners

I've got a fairly unsophisticated sewing machine, as well as age-related deteriorating eyesight. So, I have to resort to using a needle threader. No all-singing, all-dancing automatic threader for me!
The trouble with these things, though is that they break all too frequently. Well mine do.
You can usually buy them in two's or three's for around a pound.  Hobbycraft sell them like this.
Still seems expensive to me.
The wonder of eBay meant I was able to buy a bundle of them for mere pennies.
Thing is, though, I've now got 250!
If I use them at the rate of one a month, it'll still take 20 years to get through that lot.
So, I thought I would share them. If you're a Luddite, like me and could make use of some needle threaders - drop me an email and I'll pop some in the post.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Monday Morning Feeling....

.......Or it would be, except I'm having mine on Tuesday. It's back to work tomorrow, after a week off. I'm happy to report that I didn't spend any money all week, until today, that is. A trip to the Post Office, a top-up shop in Sainsbury's - that came in at a massive £2.57 and unfortunately a 40p library fine!
No petrol used whilst I've been off, no charity shops visited, all meals from store cupboard - so, a success, I think!
I haven't been bored, plenty to do that doesn't involve consumerism worship. I did, however, get treated to a night out that included dinner and a film, so I'm lucky and can't complain.

On The Straight And Narrow.

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I went to a grammar school, where it was decided that keyboard skills should not be taught, as grammar school girls did not become typists. This was in the olden days, obviously. Instead we had domestic science - not sure that even exists anymore. We did cooking and sewing. The first year we made an apron to wear whilst cooking and the next year we made a skirt. They weren't particularly inspiring lessons and did not promote a life-long love of sewing.
I was given a second hand old and very heavy sewing machine when I was 16. This made me interested in sewing. I made lots of my own clothes, with mixed success. When I started clubbing, it was important to have a different outfit every week and being something of a punk meant I was quite creative(and outrageous), at times.
Later, I became more interested in soft furnishings - making curtains, cushions and duvet covers. I would haunt the now defunct Habitat shop, buying remnants of furnishing fabric.
Sadly life got in the way and I stopped sewing for what turned into decades.
About 15 months ago I treated myself to a rather basic machine and just over a year ago I found my interest in quilting.
My previous experience hasn't stood me in good stead, at all. So, it's been like learning from scratch. The basics, like cutting accurately and sewing in a straight line are still skills to be completely mastered. I'm getting there!
I've found it useful to make small things like the above mug mat - it's good practice. I've done some more today. However, loading more than one photo at the moment is something Blogger still won't help me with!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Not much sewing, today. Lots of cutting, cutting and more cutting. 200 6" squares needed - nearly there!
I made another mug rug thingy with Bee fabric scraps, but no chance of a pic - bugger Blogger. It used to be so simple to upload photos, now it's a very time consuming task.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Saturday Sewing

I made the January block for the Bee I belong to. It's to make up a quilt from a tutorial on Fresh Lemons Quilts. I've checked and it is straight!I had quite a few scraps left so whipped up a (very) scrappy mug rug/mat/thingy. I'll pop that in the post as well.
Hope Blogger gets the photo thing fixed soon. Took ages to load these and they had to be 'as is' - editing them was only possible if I didn't want to publish also.
Apologies for the quality.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Happy Birthday Mr B

Having been an almost life-long fan of David Bowie, it's wonderful to see that he's still going strong and on the occasion of his 66th birthday, he's released new material.
Looking forward to the album.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Spreadsheet Overload

How many spreadsheets are too many?

In a vain effort to be organised, I've added to my collection.
I already had the budget one - that's the one where I juggle money available with the amount needed to pay the bills and have a life as well. It's scary, but necessary.
Next I have a sort of monthly meal plan, that takes into account when I need a lunch for work and when I'm going to eat the same thing two nights running. This one is flexible, but helps with planning my shopping list. I do a 'big' shop once a month.
Master shopping list is kept on Mysupermarket and updated and printed off before I hit the supermarket.
Last year I also started using .Listigator for various things - I love a 'To Do List'!
My newest one, however, is very important. I've entered all the UFOs I have as well as planned projects and added start / finish dates and the costs involved.
This is supposed to keep me on track this year.
Today I made the January block for the Bee I'm in. Need to square it up before posting and I'll take a photo in the daylight.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

And The Winner Is........

Well, having been up all night checking and counting, I'm about to reveal the winner of my little giveaway. It was a resounding success!
I was absolutely inundated with 2 entries.

Enter a lower limit:
Enter an upper limit:
Random Number:

 The goodies go to number 2 commenter - Aalcea Rosea!
 Please email me your postal address and I'll get the package sent off as soon as possible.
Actually, I feel a bit bad about Connie KLine missing out, so Connie send me your address, as well and I'll put a little something in the post.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Countdown To Extreme Frugality

As I blogged a couple of days ago, I have some time off fast approaching. I've already got a few jobs planned and some more interesting stuff, but alongside this, I've decided to set myself a challenge. Can I go a whole week without spending a penny - I know some people already do this as a matter of course.
I'll treat myself to some new library books, walk if I go out and make serious inroads into the contents of my store cupboard.
Purse firmly closed. Oh. except for posting my Giveaway, whoops.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Frugal New Year

I know we are only 3 days in, but I can report success with my frugal endeavours. So far this year, no money spent, all meals at home and lunches for work from the store cupboard, no food wasted and languishing in the recycling,
I haven't been near any sales (don't actually need anything) and have taken to driving like a flat-capped pensioner on a Sunday morning, to eek out the petrol.
Only another 365 days to go.
One of the (many) things I want to master whilst I'm off is making my own bread. I acquired a breadmaker a little while ago. Second hand, of course, but I haven't been brave to get to grips with it. Whenever I tried breadmaking in the past, I've produced some excellent door stops, but nothing edible, Time to learn this, as plenty of raw ingredients in cupboard, ready and waiting.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Something To Look Forward To!

Whilst most people reluctantly dragged themselves into work this morning, having had an extended Christmas break, I was feeling quite different.
It always seems to me that the UK practically comes to a standstill for 2 weeks in December - everything is, 'well it'll be after Christmas, now'.
My world is slightly different in that I was off work on the Bank Holidays, but other than those days, it was nose to the grindstone. However, next week, I have the whole week off, actually 9 days off. Can't wait!
Lots of things planned - probably more than I will have time for,
Aside from the sewing / quilting projects and slapping a bit of paint on a couple of walls, I hope to catch up on some sleep.
The reason for my lack of sleep:-
This is Bernard, possibly the most annoying, attention seeking cat in the world. He's relentless and wakes me up numerous times during the night, usually with a deafening purr. I wouldn't be without him, but I wish he slept more.
If you haven't seen my Giveaway, pop along here and leave a comment to enter.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year Giveaway

Today is the one year anniversary of my starting this blog. Whilst my success and commitment to it have been somewhat mixed, I have learnt a lot in the past 12 months.
In order to say thank you for all the advice, inspiration and kind words I have received from others out there in blogosphere, I've decided to have a very small giveaway.
Up for grabs is a package containing 3 fat quarters of fabric, one of which is a Laura Ashley print, a mini cross-stitch kit with everything needed to make a needle case and a hand made Caroline Jacques felted pink purse.

If you'd like to win, just leave me a comment, below. I'll leave it to run until 9pm (GMT) on Friday 4th Jan. After that I'll employ something hat-like to pick a winner.
Many thanks to my followers over the past year and a Happy New Year to you all.