Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Hooray Sunshine!

Now, I'm not the sort of girl that likes sunbathing. Spending hours marinating while prostrate on a beach is not my idea of fun, but I do need to catch some rays each day, and we've been seriously lacking in the ray department over the last few months that were meant to be summer months. So, I've been popping outside these last couple of days and just swinging for 10, 15, 30 mins or so. And it's LOVELY!


I don't think I suffer from SAD, (but having said that, I've not really looked into it) but I do need some sun. All winter I long for spring and summer. Autumn is nice with its colours and warmish days, and we're usually busy with birthdays, hallowe'en, bonfire night, anniversary and the run up to christmas. Still, at the back of my mind is almost a count down to when the warm sun comes back.

So, please excuse me if I post lots of *yay, the sun's out!* posts.

In other news, we've helped out another two people via freecycle over the last couple of days. We had a couple of shelving units that we didn't have room for which have now gone to new homes.
If you haven't joined your local freecycle group, go and do it now! You'll be amazed at what gets given, and it stops this stuff going into landfill.
Also, a lot of freecycle groups have a community/cafe group where you can get to know other people in your area.

Oh, post!
I got a new book today. Ripple Stitches

I think I'm going to have to do a book review section on this blog!

Monday, 30 July 2007

Aah, bliss!

A dry, warm day. Catching the last rays of the sun on my new (to me) swing.

(Had to borrow hubby's phone camera to get the pic.)

Friday, 27 July 2007

How to annoy your cat

Buy this and make the cat wear it.

As much as I love Hello Kitty, I don't think I would subject my cats to this indignity. The pictures are fun though, as is the google translation. What does " "Foppery" to be delightful is potato excessively for the cat" mean?

New book and a poorly pet

Meet Sheba. This photo was taken when she was feeling happy. At the moment she's feeling a little sorry for herself as she's just come back from the vets after an overnight stay. She'd managed to dislocate her knee and torn her ligaments, so she had to have an operation and now sports a natty blue dressing. We think she did it on our laminate floor as she finds it very slippery to walk on, so we've now got some rugs down to avoid it happening again.
She was very happy to be back home, and is now having a nap.

Onto the new book, Simple Crochet by Erika Knight. It was kindly sent to me by Ruthanne/Kittythimble after I'd posted a comment on her blog about it. She'd bought a few copies from The Book People when they were selling it for just £1, and I'd missed the offer. It's an inspiring book with some lovely projects in it and the *how to crochet* photography is nice and clear. Ruth's a lovely lady, so pop on over and say hi. Thank you Ruth, the book's great!

Oh yes, the postman also brought me some bamboo crochet hooks that I got from ebay, so I now have a range of sizes to play with! Now I've got my eye on some Debbie Bliss yarn. I can see I'll end up with a yarn stash to go along with my fabric stash!

Sunday, 22 July 2007


So, while we were waiting for Dan to get home, we popped into Porthcawl. I wanted to go to the alladdins cave (sewing/haberdashery/knitting etc) to have a look at and feel the Debbie Bliss yarns and also to get another crochet hook.

First stops were the charity shops. (of course!)

We went to one that we hadn't been to before as it was off the main street and I found that they had loads and loads of china. So I got a sandwich plate and a gravy/sauce boat with saucer, and 3 balls of yarn that will probably become my first crocheted item.

They were also very in need of someone to help organise the shop. I would have helped them at the drop of a hat, but I'm not near them and don't drive.

I can see the gravy/sauce boat being used for raspberry couli rather than gravy (tis too pretty for gravy) except, I've never made couli, and if I do, it will be a one off!

In one of the other shops we got some books for Dan and hubby, and a couple of skirts for me (it was buy one, get one free on clothing and books).

One of the books was a Michael Moore book signed by him. We like this guy, with a whole load of sceptisism, which is what I think he would want.
So that was a score, and Dan has almost finished it.

So, I also got a crochet hook and a couple of skirts.

Pay it forward gift swap

I'm taking part in the Pay it Forward Gift Swap as I was lucky enough to be one of the first 3 to reply on DottieCookies post about this, so now it's my turn to pay it forward.

Here are the details.

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog
requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet
and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week… LOL… but you will receive it
within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is
pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

So, if you'd like to take part, please leave a comment on this post.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

A quick update

Well, we won't be driving up to Birmingham (we wouldn't have been able to get through anyway) because Dan is on his way down to London, then onto Bristol Temple Meads, then Bristol Parkway and onto Cardiff. Bit of a long detour!
He's not alone now as he's hooked up with the rest of the Welsh contingent!

So, hopefully, he'll be here later this afternoon.

*An update*

He's back home safe and sound at last, and is currently catching up on sleep on the sofa! Apparently he got the last train leaving London for Bristol!

Friday, 20 July 2007

More weather chaos

My blog is just like busses. No posts for ages, then 2 come along together!

My son chose to visit his girlfriend in Brum today. He got a cheap day return train ticket and off he went. Except, now it's turning out not to be cheap, or a return on the same day as he's stuck there with no trains running due to flooding. It looks like we might have to go and drive up there to pick him up tomorrow as apparently Bristol Parkway is going to be closed for 3 days. His girlfriend is stuck too and is waiting for her uncle to pick her up and take her to his house for the night (she's travelled to Brum from Northampton and can't get back there either!). Dan is going to see if he can stay with her uncle too, and we'll have to pick him up from there.

Fun fun fun!

So, while I was checking things out on the BBC site, I noticed that a lot of South London has been flooded too, including where my mum lives, so a quick call to her was made to check that she was ok. She's fine, but she said that at one point there was water bubbling up through the plughole in the bath. Luckily it didn't get any further, and now everything has dried up where she is.

Fortunately, we're at the top of a hill (hence the blog name!) so we don't have to worry about flooding here.

Another wet miserable day

But I've been cheered up by a delivery from Tescos and the postman brought my latest ebay win.

Last week I was browsing the Tesco Direct site and saw a cast iron table and chairs set that I'd had my eye on, had been reduced. Twice. From £64 to £32 to £16! I ordered it straight away and it was delivered today. Now, I just hope that we have some nice weather for me to use it (along with my swing seat).

Then the postman came with my ebay win. A pyrex *Gaiety* lidded dish complete with a warming stand, still in it's original box. And it's pink, so it will match my kitchen perfectly! I love it already, and I think I will keep this one out on display instead of hidden away in a cupboard.

We didn't do any thrifting at the weekend, so I decided to learn how to crochet. My nan showed me how to make (appropriately enough) a granny square when I was a child, but I never remembered how to do it. I've been wanting to have something to do whilst I'm sitting with the family while they watch tv, and thought that it was about time I tried to learn to crochet. I'm not very good at knitting, the only stitches I know are garter stitch and, with a reminder of how to purl, stocking stitch, and I'm always either dropping stitches or somehow, adding stitches. Over the years I've tried many times, but I just can't seem to get in the groove, so maybe just having one hook instead of two needles will be easier.

I first tried learning from a book, but found it awkward to hold the yarn the way it said, and also found that there were a couple of bits that I felt weren't shown or explained very clearly, so then I had a look at the tutorials over at Crafty Daisies and found the videos were more helpful and I started to *get* it.
I've had a few goes at the various stitches, and then discovered another video tutorial on youtube that shows how to ripple, so I've had a go at that too, and it worked! So now I'm on the hunt for some nice yarn!

In other craftyness, I whipped up a new cover for my ironing board out of that thrifted curtain, so now it has a pretty pink flowery cover instead of the horrible blue abstract cover that it came with (that was also a pain to get on and off).

Now I'm planning on making a couple of cushion covers with a mix of vintage and new fabrics.

Still no photos I'm afraid, the camera charger still hasn't been found and it looks like I might have to buy a new charger. It's all hubby's fault, he was the last one to use it and he's really bad for losing things. He can pay for the new charger!

Friday, 13 July 2007

Oh Blimey

Has it been over a month since I last posted?

Well, I guess this might be a long post. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin!

About a month ago, my eldest son came to live with us. He didn't like living where he was in Essex and wanted to move to Wales. So we've been adjusting to having another person in the house, (not too hard, and he's been a great help with keeping his 15 year old hormonal brother in check!) and I've been getting used to having someone around all day while he looks for a job, which is one of the reason's I haven't blogged for a while.

It's lovely having him here. Hubby now has someone to play with and chat to about computer games and other *boy* stuff, and at the moment they're trying to better each other at Guitar Hero 2. Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd being a favourite!

(I play computer games too, but I'm picky! The Burnout games I love, as well as some multiplayer fps games . But I don't fancy Guitar Hero, so I leave that to the boys to have fun with.)

Hmm, so what else have I been up to?

Been to a couple of car boot sales. There's one near us that's on all year round which seems to be going downhill. We went there very early in the year and there were 3 rows of sellers, but the last couple of times we've been, there have been less. The last time we went, there were only about 5 sellers! So after reading about Samanthas finds at one near to her, we decided to give that one a try and it was much better. I got a vintage pinny (75p) to add to my collection, and an old box of Fuzzy Felt (40p). Anyone remember that? Hubby got a trouser press for a fiver and Dan (eldest son) got a wrestling figure. I also saw a woven (like Lloyd Loom) bedroom chair, bedside table and ottoman that I loved, but I wasn't allowed to get them! Both hubby and son were adamant that they were far too horrible (read that as chintzy and girly!) and grubby, despite my protestations that once I'd repainted and recovered they would look fab. Hey ho, you win some, you lose some.

I'm trying to remember what goodies I've found in the charity shops recently. More books, an odd curtain (odd because there was only one, not a pair) that has a pretty pink flower design on it, (that's destined to become my new ironing board cover.) a Porkert mincer (the plastic mincer which I also got in a charity shop turned out to be not very good) a couple of new summer tops and a summer dress (unworn so far thanks to the weather), ooh, and I'm sure there's more, just can't remember them offhand.

What else?
Oh, hubby and I went to Samanthas open house and I bought some bunting which now decorates the shelf above my kitchen window, and some lovely ceramic buttons from her friend Gill.

I've bought more fabric for my stash, and rediscovered some of my old fabric stash.
My old stash includes a lot of swatches of Anna French fabrics that I've had since the 90's, an 80's Habitat fabric, a seersucker fabric that mum gave me from I'd guess, the 70's, and other bits and pieces that I've picked up over the years. (I wanted to be a textile designer when I was at school, so I've always had a fabric stash.)
My new stash (not including stuff I've picked up in charity shops) is mainly from Sis-Boom. I love Jennifers fabrics and I feel that she doesn't get enough credit. Everybody raves about Amy Butler and Heather Bailey, and I think that Jennifer Paganelli should be up there on that pedestal too. So, I'm planning a funky bag for my laptop with the largest piece.

Also on the crafty front, I finally got one of my Mothers Day presents from J. It's not his fault they're late. I asked for a couple of books from Amazon. The Cute Book and The Bad Book which I didn't realise hadn't been published yet. So, I've now got The Cute Book, but I'm still waiting for the other one, which apparently Amazon have in stock, but there hasn't been any email to say it's on its way. grr. But the Cute Book is very good. I'd recommend it to children because it has very easy and fun instructions, and to adults who want something quick and lighthearted and kawaii to make.

Still on the crafty front, I finally got around to finishing a bag I've been making for myself. It's a tote bag, but bigger in the width than the length. I used a bag that I use all the time for the dimensions, and cut up my coveted Ikea Rosali fabric to make it. (I've seen how much a metre of that can go for on ebay!) I'd made the body of the bag (lined with red and white polka dot poplin) and just needed to make the straps, so I did those today. I'm pretty pleased with the results, but I should have used some interfacing to stiffen it and stop the pattern of the lining showing.
Also while I had the machine out (my sewing machine isn't named) I ran up a curtain (also in the Rosali fabric) to hang in front of my washing machine. Now I have enough Rosali fabric left for a cushion cover and something small.

Oh, and Freecycle! I love freecycle. I've been longing for a swinging bench/hammock, but haven't been able to afford a decent new one, but one came up on freecycle and I was lucky enough to get it. It's in better condition than I was expecting, (just a small patch of rust that can be sorted) and I also got some celtic design stepping stones with it. I'm thrilled to bits with it. Now I'm just hoping that we have some nice days so that I can fix the rust, put it together and swing in it. (Other than that and the earlier brief mention of the bloody weather, I'm not going to go on about the lack of a summer.)

A bit of a down note, remember I mentioned having a miscarriage back in January? Well, about 3 weeks ago I got a phone call from a midwife on the team that I was assigned to when I was pregnant. She said there was a place in the ante-natal classes and asked if I was interested. I told her no, and then why, and she apologised, saying they didn't know.

So, I thought, ok, now she will make a note of it.

But last week I got an invite. Ooh, an invite, I thought as I saw those first words, wondering who would be inviting me to what. It was an invite to a *Preparing for your baby* thing.

FFS, is there NO communication?

I showed it to Dan (after having a bit of a cry outside) and he asked what the phone number was. He was ready to rip them a new one. I told him it was ok.

So, on that down note, I think that's pretty much it, except to say, a big THANK YOU to Suzie Sews for asking if I was ok, and thank you Love Boxes and Country Girl and everyone else who has posted comments. They mean a lot to me.