Friday, 29 August 2014

Mum at 90

Hi - this is primarily an update for friends and family, wanting to catch up on Mum's 90th birthday yesterday - but everyone is welcome for a look-see!

Other than going out to dinner, everything was a surprise for Mum. I was tempted to poke her awake at 7am, but she had a leisurely start to the day at 8.15am. There were a couple of helium balloons by her chair, and several cards to open before breakfast.

Mum is Catholic and, when living in her own home, used to walk to Mass several times a week. These days, I usually take her on Thursday mornings and Saturday evenings. Yesterday, we took a large cake to give everyone there a slice to take home. I was very glad we had, as they sang 'happy birthday' at the end of the service, and when she sat in the porch and people took their cake, everyone hugged her and/or wished her many happy returns, and she was given two lovely bouquets and several cards.

We returned home in time for her coffee and a piece of the cake. Then we spent the rest of the morning looking at her gift from us. When she first came to live with us (18 months ago, now) we brought her photo collection, in a couple of biscuit tins and carrier bags, and I said she and I would get around to sorting them. But I did them as a surprise, putting them in 8 albums. Hopefully, she will enjoy spending time looking through them.

This is the one of Dad's family, with a couple of cute shots of him!

During the day I was kept busy answering the phone, and door for deliveries and post. There was a lovely basket arrangement of flowers from Angela and Julian,

a box set of The Two Ronnies DVDs from Mike and Janet, and loads of cards. Richard and Val are going to give her a new handbag - once she can decide on what she wants!

After lunch, Mum had her usual nap, and was ready to go out for dinner, booked for 6pm at The March Hare, where they do a good carvery which Mum enjoys. Mum, KP and I were joined by Jenny and Kate, and we took a friend, Pam, whom Mum gets on well with.

Mum and Kate

She then had a stephanotis from Jen, for her room, and new slippers,

a Morecombe and Wise DVD, sweets and smellies from Kate, and an orchid from Pam.

Mum really enjoyed her night on the tiles!

Afterwards, everyone came back to ours, for coffee and yet more cake!

Mum and Jen
Many happy returns, Mum xx

Wednesday, 6 August 2014


- all the W's this week. I won't go to my WW meeting til after this post, so not sure how I've done, although I have been good. After 3 weeks I'm hoping to reach my first stone - we'll see. I started wearing a pedometer and realised how little I walk.  For my weight/height, it recommends 4000 steps per day and I wasn't doing a fraction of that. So - now doing that 3-4 times per week, on top of my normal daily stuff, and after a fortnight I'm starting to notice the difference - a little less like a lobster when I get home!!

I'm still stripping down the clock. The side panels had this ancient paper stuck on, so I've soaked it off and will varnish the whole of the outside once it's clean.

Not sure what to do about the innards - I had a telephone quote of £230, so long as it was straightforward (aargghhhhhh!!!!!!) so I might attempt to clean it up myself (without removing parts) and see what happens. DH still reckons I'm cracked, but I just want to give it some TLC.

Meantime, Rosie continues to find interesting places to snooze. 

I had to wake her from here, as it was a long way to fall!!

On the crafting front, the cardi is finished (thank goodness) and will go to it's new home today.

I've started using some more of the mohair to make another scarf as a Christmas gift. I do like this pattern - it's simple and very quick.

Sorry - all that was cheating, as I wrote it two weeks ago, before setting out for Scotland on holiday. I just haven't got back into the swing of things since returning at the weekend. Most of the washing is done, and Mum is back safe and sound after her adventures staying with my brother for the fortnight.

My back is against the wall, trying to complete 10 strips of bunting to go to a Ugandan orphanage next week, for fabric painting by the kids with a team from my church.

I always take a project (or three) on holiday, and this year I started a hexie quilt for DD2's Christmas present. It's only costing time, as the fabrics are from my stash. I'll just have to buy a background one to link them all together.

Please excuse the abrupt end to this post - otherwise I'll miss yet another week of WOYWW (click button on the side bar to go visit Julia to see what I'm waffling about).

I will get my act together this week, and be ready for next Wednesday - promise.

Love to you all, and I'll leave you with my idea of a drink by the pool (taken from the bench outside the caravan we stay in - my fave part of the world - after home, that is!)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014


A late-night, last minute post, otherwise this will be the second week in a row that's passed me by - sigh!

Having hit my all-time heavy recently, I've started going to W**ght-W****ers with three friends. It's much easier to follow than when I went years ago, and I've been trying recipes like the one below, to satisfy my very sweet tooth. It looks weird but tastes scrummy - a sugar-free jelly dissolved in the boiling water, but made up with 1/2pt low fat, natural yogurt, and topped with strawberries. I'll let you know how I get on (but only if I shed lots of weight!!)

Sewing this week has been all about repairs - trousers for DH

and a pretty Monsoon dress for a 5-year old. A friend asked if I could help, so -

It is absolutely gorgeous, but very delicate, thin cotton, and she'd managed to make a 2" tear above one panel (of 8)

Fortunately, I had a tiddly bit of pink lace that matched the panel perfectly and, since it was the centre one that was torn, I got away with one applique rose. I mended the tear by putting iron-on facing at the back (the cotton was really too fine to sew together, and it doesn't show from the front). Then I backed the lace with more facing and hand sewed around, to prevent it fraying (I hope!), cut it out and then hand sewed it to cover the tear (just big enough - phew!!) At least she'll be able to wear it again.

On the knitting front, the mousey cardi is almost finished (just knitting the endless borders and putting it all together)

Then, I was given some lovely turquoise and black mohair, and have started a scarf for DD1, as part of her  Christmas present. It has a pretty, lace-y border added at the end - I'll put the pattern link on, when I remember where to find it - cough

Today, I was given this lovely old clock - filthy (I've cleaned the glass so you can see its face) and not working, but I hope to get it sorted. Tomorrow I'll tackle the brass rim around the glass, and start to sand down the wood

The side view shows how tatty the case is, and how deep the whole clock is. I hope we can get that big bell working! 

Anyway, it's now way past my bedtime and I promised DH to start going to bed earlier - oh well, there's always tomorrow. Talking of tomorrow (Wednesday), see you over at Julia's for WOYWW. Wondering what I'm talking about? Click the button on my side bar, to find out more.

Love for now, Chris xx

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Handmade Monday

Morning, folks - I hope your weekend is going well. Things are quiet here, and I'm making the most of DH kindly doing the lunch today (I have to admit, he often does!). The photo albums are growing - see my last post, but nothing finished to show you yet.

I've been very lucky this week, with this beautiful patio rose from a friend earlier in the week.

I must get out in the garden to plant it this afternoon, along with this other pretty, which was on the front doorstep this morning, with a thank you card.

Also in the front garden, although not invited, are these gorgeous poppies. I suppose that, technically, they're weeds since I didn't sow them. They're so lovely, though, they can stay with pleasure.

We've had some fantastic night skies this week - so clear, quiet and still. I had to get out to take a picture, although nothing I snap could ever do it justice.

Have a great week, and I hope to see you over here at Handmade Monday.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


A mixed bag so far, this week. I managed to remove the dress sleeves for DD2 - easier than I thought, but just don't look too closely at the stitching on the inside!

Then, I've been playing with layouts for the photo albums for Mum's 90th birthday pressie. I was glad I'd saved these two books from going to the charity shop, when she moved here. It goes against the grain for me to chop books up, but they're making great page backgrounds.

These look very muddle-y right now, but I've laid them out and just keep jiggling them around. I'm making the pages by cutting 'hinges' with my Cuttlebug, putting them on A4 card, and then covering with background paper, then cuttings and photos. There will be several albums made this way, and then some ordinary ones I bought, for the rest.

The pages above are of Southend, where Mum and Dad lived for 40 years, and I'm just finishing a couple showing Dad's childhood and National Service in the RAF. I'll post more next week, plus my finished collection of ATCs, with thanks to all the lovely senders.

Talking of ATCs - Cindy (Cashplant) - please email me your postal address, as I have a little ATC package waiting to wing its way to you.

The craft room looks like an explosion in a photo lab, with piles of the things everywhere, as I try to sort them into some sort of order. DH reckons I'm barmy, and should just shove them in albums anyhow, but I suppose that's why he teaches Maths and I craft!

The mousey cardigan? Don't ask - the less said, the better! I hope to show you a pic of the £*%!! thing next week.

See you over here at Julia's, for WOYWW. If you want to know more, click the button on my side bar - you'll be hooked!!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Handmade Monday

Lots of bits and pieces on the crafty front at the mo -

DD2 came to lunch today and kindly brought a dress for me to take the sleeves out of, as they're a bit tight. I hope it works as the dress is new and I don't want to bodge it up.

I've just had to make a couple more ATCs for WOYWW, as I'd received one I wasn't expecting. 

Then, I've started mulling over Mum's 90th birthday pressie, a series of albums of all her old photo's. This is the first group, showing the town she lived in for 40 years (Southend on Sea, Essex). The top one shows Dad down on the beach with my DD2 and nephew, nearly 30 years ago. This is going to be a much bigger project than I first thought, so not sure how it's going to pan out. I bought three ready-made albums, but want to make one-off ones, but there are so many pic's - any ideas? If you've ever attempted a project like this, I'd be very grateful for links to your stuff, please.

The last pic is a 'doh' moment

I had to unpick this, down to the mousey chins, as I'd sneaked in an extra row, giving the little one elephant ears. THEN, I knitted the second front, only to realise at the top of the mice, that I'd knitted the same front twice! Grr! Now half way up, having done it right now (I hope!)

Catch you all over at Handmade Harbour, to see what you've been up to. If you don't know about this, click here and pop over to share the fun.

Love, Chris xx

Friday, 6 June 2014

Did you know ...?

I just had to share this article I saw on Facebook, and hope you find it as fascinating as I did -

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & Sold to the tannery.......if you had to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor"
But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy a pot......they "didn't have a pot to piss in" & were the lowest of the low
The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.. However, since they were starting to smell . ...... . Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting Married.
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"
Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof... Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.
In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would Sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.
England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive... So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.
And that's the truth....Now, whoever said History was boring
Have a great weekend, Chris xx