Sunday, 28 April 2013

Is it Blog Time already?

Not sure where this week has gone and its almost Monday already. :o(
It feels like I havent done much this week apart from work, Ive been on earlies which make for long days (as I never seem to get to bed before midnight (no matter how hard I try).
Its been wonderful having the heating back and hot water as and when we need it. The new boiler is saving us about £1.50 per day and they will be more once we turn the heating off, so we are very impressed. We have been without a shower tho as the old hose broke, so have had to resort to baths (Im not a fan).  Still, its been replaced now (thanks to a bit of bargin hunting on payday) so its all good.
The garden is looking better by the day as the spring bulbs and other bits and pieces come into flower, tho the Mother in Laws is looking better than mine.
My garden on the left and Mother in Laws on the right
 Ive also got some flowers on one of the lovely little alpines I planted last year......

The flower seedlings still arent doing much (I think I put them in too ealry), but the radishes I planted out last week have almost doubled in size, wont be too long before weve got our first crop I reckon.

The Mother in Law and I went to a Farmers Market and Craft Fair at a local church on Saturday, it was quite small and is held twice a year. We picked up some plants and some lovely cheese (I got the Onion cheese for me and the Horseradish cheese for OH). We timed it well because just as we left the heavens opened and it bucketed down.
This morning was a bit nicer so Mother in Law and I went along to a local garden that was open under the National Garden Scheme. It was amazing to see how much they had cramed into their garden, and we came away with a few plants.
My purchases for the weekend totalled 50p, Mother in Law bought me a lovely tiny primula as a gift for taking her out, and I bought some unusual muscari (the flowers are almost indigo at the bottom and lighten to a kind of tuft at the top).

Another (possible) bargin I found this week was coffee. Usually I buy the 100g jar of Nescafe (approx £2.50) as Im the only one drinking it at the moment, but as we are still on an economy drive, I thought Id try something different, so this week I will be trying out Tesco's Everyday Value....
 Now, the only difference I could see between this and Tesco's Classic blend is the label and the colour of the lid, the jars are identical, the coffee looks the same and, according the the labels on both jars, the strength is even the same. However, Tesco's classis is £1.50 and the Everyday Value is 47p! So, I shall be giving this a try, and, if its OK, then that could be quite a saving, I just hope its not bitter, as that wouldnt be nice at all. Wish me luck.

Craftwise, Ive been making owls (again) for some more ladies at work. Ive also been having a play around with some more quilitng (trying to practice my techniques) with the possibility of making some Xmas pressies for the ladies in the family. 
Possible pot holders
So, thats about it really, and I quess Id better go and check on the casserole. Sometimes I just cant believe what an exciting life I lead (not!).
Hope all is good in your world.
Till next time.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Productive Week

Its been a rather busy week.
Ive been on lates (10am-6pm) this week, so I decided to still get up at the same time as I do when Im on the other shifts (7am) and have tried to get a few bits done before I go to work. On the whole its worked quite well, but a couple of days I got side tracked whilst on the interwebs (which Im sure you will agree is very easy to do!).  Im on earlies (7.45am - 3.45pm) this week, so theres no way I will get stuff done before work this week!
Ive done a wee bit of gardening, tidying up the borders, chopping back some old growth on some shrubs and planting out my radishes. The sight of the daffs in my front garden makes me smile whenever I get home at the moment.

 Craftwise, Ive not done much at all, but I have sold the last three Owl cushions I made last year (and have orders for another 4) and have also been asked to make a quilt for a lady at work (eek my first comissioned piece!). I love my garden. :o)

The big happening this week has been finally getting our new boiler installed. Weve had it for 4 years and its been living under the kitchen table for all that time. We couldnt move any further forward with redoing our kitchen until it was installed and as OH wasnt confident enough to do it on his own, things were at a bit of a standstill. OH's brother came up with a wonderful idea for an Xmas pressie for us, a gift of his time, materials and expertiese and offered to fit the boiler for us (with OH acting as his labourer). So we have been waiting for a good time for all concerned. When the old boiler curled up its toes last weekend, it seemed a perfect time, so I am very very pleased to say it has been done this weekend, and we can now move forward with getting the kitchen (and dining room) finished! So we now have a combi boiler (which is much more economical than the old one), have lots of copper pipe (and a water heater) to weigh in for scrap, and have added a bit of value to the house.



After- just needs pipework boxing in now

Then just to finish off the weekend nicely, I have picked up some fabric on freecycle (will collect it tomorrow) and have given away my old sewing machine.

So all in all not a bad week I reckon.
Hope yours has been a good one.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

An update and a bit of a rant

Once again its been a bit of a mixed bag of Yay's and Boo's this week thats gone something like this.......... the boiler has finally given up the ghost - Boo, Ive finished the first of the quilts I was making for my nieces - Yay, some of the stuff Ive been reading had been making me mad - Boo, even tho the evenings are still cold, the weather is finally feeling Springlike - Yay, etc etc (you get the picture!)
Because I dont want to finish the post on a downer, I will tackle the Boo points first

The boiler.
Well, its looking like its finally packed in, OH has had it in bits and the fan is kaput. At the moment he is scouring the attic (he thinks hes got another one he can adapt to fit somewhere), so we have been without heating since Thursday evening. We have got an imersion heater, so hot water isnt an issue, but weve had a few rather cold nights and both end up sat in front of the telly wrapped in rugs. One of OH's brothers is gonna help him put the new one in (its been under the kitchen table since we bought it about 4 years ago) at some stage but we arent sure when yet. OH's brother is giving us his time and skill as a brilliant Xmas pressie (OH isnt confident enough to do it on his own). So, I reckon its well timed, we are both very relieved it didnt happen last month!

What Ive been reading.
Ive got a bit of a bee in my bonnet about the globalisation of food production and the effects it has on the poorer countires which produce food for the richer ones. This week I read that because of the increasing popularity of quinoa, the price has tripled since 2006, which means the locals in Bolivia and Peru who grow it cant afford to eat it! It was once a staple of their diets and in Lima,  quinoa more expensive than chicken. I was also made aware a while ago that in countries that produce food for some or our Supermarkets, food which is less than perfect is destroyed rather than released for sale to the locals. It really makes me see red and makes me more determined to grow my own veg as much as I can.
Also Ive picked up Janey Lee Grace's book Look Great Naturally (again) and get a bit fired up about all the chemicals and cr@p that go into cosmetics and beauty products and the harmful effects these can have when the accumulate in the body. If you are at all concerned with what goes into your food, then you should seriously take a look at this book.

Right, now on to the better stuff.......
Crafty stuff.
Ive finished the first quilt! Its far from perfect, but hopefully one of my neices will like it!

 Ive also been covering some playing around with different coverings for some Steampunk masks, in fabric and leather to see how easy the materials are to work with.

 The weather
Although weve had some cold nights, they days are getting brighter and a bit warmer so things are starting to lokk a bit better in the garden, the daffies in the front garden have expolded and are looking really cheery, a lovely sight to some home to.
As it was a beautiful day yesterday I took a detour on my walk home from the local shops to cut through our local woods and took the opportunity of foraging for some wild garlic. Normally it would be in flower by now, but as this year has had a cold start its only now just getting going, tho it still looks lovely and theres plenty of it!
This is all wild garlic!

OH wont try it, but I love the taste. Its milder than the garlic we are used too and is great with eggs and cheese. It smells just like the culitvated stuff. It likes boggy ground, so grows well in woodland near streams. Its well worth trying, just remember, if you are going out foraging, take an identification guide with you.

So, all in all, thats about it for now. Hope all is good in your world.
Feel free to leave a comment , its always nice to hear from you.

Take care.




Sunday, 7 April 2013

Is It Spring yet?

Ive not felt much like blogging lately, due to a number of reasons, so I guess you are due a bit of an update. Hopefully we have now seen the last of the snow (!) and Spring can now get going. Ive been itching to get seeds sown and potatoes planted and get my veg patch going and have finally been able to make a start this weekend. The potatoes have been planted in bags and Ive sown some radishes and lettuce. I sowed some Alliums, Sweet peas, Sunflowers and Calendula last weekend, so they are now all sitting in the cold-frame just waiting to grow. I also picked up some minature daffodils from our local B&Q, (the plastic pot was broken so they were half price), they cheer up the windowsill beside the back door.

Flower Seeds planted

Lovely new daffies

Im now two months in to my temp job, its a lot more phone work that I would like, but these days thats pretty much they way things are. The finances are taking a bit of juggling, but ater 3 months my hourly rate goes up 50p, so that will make a wee bit of a difference. At the moment we are living hand to mouth, and this wont change even with my pay rise, Im not sure whats gonna happen when the MOT and tax are due on the car in June, but if I start thinking about it I panic, so Im choosing not to!
Craft wise, Ive almost completed the first quilt. I got the quilting part done over Easter (it was quite a job!), so am now handstitching the binding on.
Putting the layers together on the Living room floor

Ive also made a few more owls to order for some of the ladies at work

There has been some crossstitch happening as well.

 Thanks kind of been about it really. Weve not been doing much due to the weather and financial restrictions, hopefully now I can get out in the garden I will start to feel a bit better. Ive also been a bit homesick as well (it surprises me that I can still feel like that after 22 yrs!) but it comes out of nowhere and hits me like a sledgehammer.
Anyway, now that we are starting to see the sun (and its slowly getting warmer) things will start to look up and I will be too busy to feel sorry for myself! Well thats the plan anyway.
Thanks for reading.