Monday, 28 December 2015

Santa Sack Swap 2015

I've had such a rotten cold lately (over now thanks) & some dim witted fool thought they could work right up until Christmas day (me) I've not had any time for blogging. I've read your blogs whilst in work (can't add comment there) but I'm back now :)

I took part in three Christmas swaps this year Amy's card swap which I need to do a post on my card if the link is still open. Jo's 12 days of Christmas swap which is still on going so I will blog about that in a few days & Cheryl's Santa Sack Swap

I was partnered with the lovely Cally who doesn't blog any more & look at the delightful things she sent to me.

& a hand made bag which I was sure I had taken a photo of. I will remedy that in my next post. It's a lovely festive cotton bag which is currently holding the yarn for a snowflake crochet blanket I've been promising to make my self for more than a year. 

I was thrilled to open Callys gifts they were really thoughtful & I adore each & every one of them.

As Cally doesn't blog any more I shall add photos of what I sent in exchange - 
erm didn't make these but I sent Mike out to buy some nice chocolate & he returned with a chocolate reindeer & carrots!!!

Anyway that's me for now - I took a sniff outside the French doors yesterday aka 'Bisto kid' style - my nose had unblocked sufficiently enough to do so - nearly growing season my dears xx

Thursday, 10 December 2015

A Christmas Eve book

My family have never understood my need for books, this has extended to my husband & children.

You can actually hear a loud audible sigh when the question 'What do you want for Christmas/Birthday'? etc. & I reply 'Books please'. 

I don't actually need anything but I do like books.

Flighty posted last week about the book he bought himself for Christmas so I'm posting about the book I bought myself for Christmas Eve.

This is my book of salvation, the one I will look forward to. I'm working Christmas Eve you see my choice, my children are older now & I would be on call anyway. I will work from home or if enough family people peeve me I shall be quite happy in my office or quite happily be with the lads in the race room. 

My mum has planned a buffet for Christmas Eve afternoon & we will be opening our presents to each other. As she used to cater for the 5000 I've been tasked to keep an eye on her. Seeing as everyone else is off  I shall be neglecting my duties & passing them on. Someone else can have a go!

Anyhoo approx 6pm Christmas Eve I plan to be curled up on a sofa with a little doggie curled up beside me. We shall have a blanket over us, a snowball or two & depending how the day goes I might end up opening the baileys! 

Take care all xx

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Attempting some Christmas cheer

Little tree in the sitting room

I've not been feeling the joy so much this year, too much going on I think, nothing in particular but lots of little things in the background. Also the lack of little excitable children to add to the spirit. The only excitement shown from Harry was an eager scampering up the stairs to the attic to drag all the decorations down .  After he helped Mike put the big tree up he scampered back up stairs to his x-box. Not that a 14 year old scampers - stomps might be the more appropriate word. I think Mike stomped back to the TV to watch Gold Rush, Extreme fishing or something to do with cars & left me to get on with it. Rob was in the pub. Pfft! 

I do like my new nutcracker ornament though, can you see that he is an advent calendar. 

A little attempt to bring some Christmas cheer to one of the worktops in the kitchen. I added a few things to highlight the lack of tiles & painting to Mike & also I displayed the sockets he is yet to put up!! The only remark I got from him was a suspicious 'When did the bowl & plate arrive'? - 'January' I snapped back. Then smiled sweetly & added ' Quite possibly the same time the sockets & tiles arrived too darling' 

Pfft!! Enjoy your day my dears I'm back in the office Pfft! xx

Monday, 7 December 2015

Feed the birds tuppence a time

As the song goes &  I wish it was only a tuppence as it costs a blinking fortune. Not that I begrudge it too much it would be nice if the birds could repay the favour & eat all the caterpillars from the red current/gooseberry bushes during the summer! 

Joking aside it is very important to feed the birds at this time of year & we actually keep our feeders topped up all year round. 

In the winter we put out fat balls & in late spring & during summer we put out live food instead. We always only use sunflower hearts & have recently bought a meal worm feeder which has proved to be a huge success. 

We have three sunflower heart feeders, one fat ball feeder & one meal worm feeder & at this time of year we have to refill them every day. 

We are very lucky where we live to be surrounded by fields & hedges, there are also pockets of the old woods. This means there are an awful lot of birds to feed. 

To help to keep costs down we buy the large sacks of sunflower hearts & keep them in a  special container in the kitchen. Each time the container is opened a little hound comes along for a sniff. Rocky hound adores sunflower hearts & he is allowed a little sprinkle. The vet remarked at his last check up how wonderfully glossy his coat was - we know why now!

Harry also likes to do his bit & throws his apple cores & wrinkly grapes on to the veg plot for the blackbirds & thrushes, while I do moan about my lack of weeding the veg plot I have seen the sparrows pick among the weeds which I suppose is keeping them down a bit.

P.S grapes are dangerous for little doggies big ones too but as the veg plot is fenced off to stop a pesky little JRT he can't get to them before the birds do. Take care all xx 

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Veg plot in December

I wont post actual photos of the veg plot as it is blinking windy (just been topping up the bird feeders) & there are oodles of weeds. This mild & I did actually type wild first which is quite apt given the strength of the wind out there isn't doing much to keep the weeds down.  

Red cabbage being photo bombed by some Swiss chard. I have five red cabbages or at least I hope I have five as Mike has very helpfully promised some to other people. There should be one for me, one for his brother, one fore next doors son, one for next door but one & one for his best friend. Mike is very good like that you see, I never got to taste the cabbages from summer though the compliments from the people they were given to were very complimentary. 

Mike is a very kind hearted & generous man it gives him great pleasure to give away the stuff that he  I grow. I can't be too harsh on him as he is also very kind & generous to me & bought me a nice cook book last week. There was a lovely recipe in there for a spinach & ricotta cannelloni which is a great favourite in this house. I'm planning on using some of the Swiss chard to replace the spinach & as I'm trying to cut down on air miles I'm going to slice the stalks for stir-fry to replace the water chestnuts. Or at least I will if I ever remember to buy ricotta cheese!

I grew my leeks this year in large window box style planters & they have proved to be quite successful. Forgive the awful photographs if you will, it was rather tricky to use the camera when the wind was blowing me almost horizontal. Leek & potato soup, welsh rarebit with leeks & leeks wrapped in ham & smothered in cheese sauce are planned. 

This shot would you believe is meant to be of my tub of sweet potatoes in the greenhouse! It was taken through the glass & actually looked ok on the camera view thingamajig. It doesn't on here but the leaves have died back enough to have a rummage to see if there are any sweet potatoes in the soil. Once the wind dies down enough for me to enter the greenhouse without the door being ripped off I shall check. I do hope there are some there. Not that a lot of effort was put into growing them. I bought one sweet potato plant from the garden centre & put it in a pot in the greenhouse, it was fed & watered & grew beautifully. It would be nice to harvest something though & I like mine roasted but I have seen a chard & sweet potato curry I'd like to try. 

So there you go my dears my December veg plot. Hope you are all well xx

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Winter Project

Linking up with Jennifer from Thistlebear

I really need to up my game with crochet lark - well all of this crafting malarkey as I've amassed quite a lot of stuff over the past couple of years books & magazines too. 

If I'm honest the terminology scared me with regards to crochet instructions, I find knitting easier although I've come to a standstill with a cardigan I'm working on when the next instruction started with 'AT THE SAME TIME' I've put that away until after the Christmas festivities I'm sure I will be able to concentrate then. I think the 'AT THE SAME TIME' instruction is quite easy - my mind keeps on going blank when I see it.

I joined in with the Cherry Heart Spice of Life blanket cal as I wanted to be able to crochet more than just a granny square/stripe. It's been very enjoyable so far the instructions are easy to follow& I can now crochet a stacked granny & a shell. More importantly I know how to crochet a row of doubles & trebles.

My second blanket is just simple granny squares using up some yarn from my granny stripe blanket, always satisfying to use something up isn't it. A random blanket if you like as I pull what ever colour out of my basket & crochet the squares together when I have enough for a row. 

Both are easy to work on in the evening curled up in front of the TV & at this time of year very cosy projects too. 

Take care all xx

Friday, 4 December 2015

Five on Friday

Joining in with Amy's Five on Friday

Five random things from my week, pop over to Amy's blog to see other Five on Friday posts. 

1. I have had the most splendidly relaxing two weeks off work. It has been divine, I am completely unsure if I want to go back which is unlike me as I adore my job. I was however very crochety & snappy before I finished work so it was overdue. I return next Tuesday - cue small sigh.

2.  Two crochet blankets I've been working on - the bottom one (which looks a bit odd for some reason in this shot) is the Cherry Heart crochet a-long. I know most other people have finished their's but I really didn't have the time to dedicate to it but am happy to announce I have now nearly finished the third section. The top one is a simple granny square to use up some leftover yarn from another blanket. 

3. My three Christmas swap parcels/card. Thankfully all received by there recipients which is really good as one was for America, one for Australia & the other one for the UK. I've been very blessed with my swap partners this year I've been in contact with some really lovely people. 

4. Back to this being off work malarkey (such joy) I've been working my way through many a paper back - mainly of the Christmas novel variety. My poor addled work brain can't take anything heavy  & some light reading has been very good for the soul.

5.  Rocky also popping in to say hello. We have had him for just over a year now & he has become a very much loved & spoiled doggy. 

Take care all, if the weather wasn't so atrocious there would of been a garden Five on Friday consisting of red cabbage, leeks, weeds, my sweet potatoes & whatever the fifth would have been! Always next week my dears - always next week! xx 

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

A quilt for Harry

I came in quite late to this crafty malarkey. I've always enjoyed it though & remember spending many happy hours as a child making something or other.

I've amassed a great deal of crafting material over the past couple of years & whilst my children are older 21 & 14 it hasn't stopped me making things for them.

Not quite the material for a 14 year old but I really liked the nautical aspect of a fat quarter bundle I bought at the beginning of this year & along with some other fabric in a similar shade I made this simple quilt.

You can see the deliberate ahem mistakes, the squares are not matched as perfectly as they should be. It is essentially 9 squares by 7 squares of fabric badly sewn together - I did get better as I went along & I've quilted it with a wavy effect. Another mistake which turned out well given the nautical nature of the fabric.  It's backed in a navy fleecy fabric which was a stupendous bargain of £2 a meter! I couldn't believe my luck when I spotted it in the fabric shop & then bound by navy bias binding.

Quite frankly I was ready to pull my hair out when attaching the binding yesterday afternoon - I need to go on a class or something!!

However more importantly for a home-made item it was made & received with love. It was deemed to be suitable for the wrapping of a taller than me 14 year old boy ( I am officially the smallest person in my family now) to keep warm & cosy whilst playing on his x-box.

Take care all xx

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


A long long time ago my dad mentioned something called Rumtopf which is essentially soft fruit layered after picking  with sugar & rum. My kind of pud! 

This conversation probably came about from my love of collecting old tat but he remembered someone making it & he also remembered an old friend chucking a Rumtopf jar away.

Now I'm sure you could make Rumtopf in any kind of jar but I wanted a proper one you see & several years later I found one yesterday.

Mike was 50 on Friday so we had a bit of a celebration weekend & as Monday (yesterday) was no longer the weekend it was back to business & we delivered 5 bags of clothes to the charity shop.

Now I like a nice rummage in a charity shop looking for old jubilee/coronation memorabilia - see what I mean about my love of collecting old tat! I did strike lucky on a couple of pieces but what did my little eye spy on a shelf - a Rumptopf jar. Oh my days!! I was so excited & Mike very kindly bought it for me.

I'm going to layer strawberries, red & yellow raspberries, blueberries, tayberries, blackberries & loganberries oh and some black currants next year along with the sugar & rum. This should give me a glorious concoction to eat over ice cream & cheesecake this time next year. As Mike will be 51 next he wont be having a celebration weekend but I will cook a Sunday lunch for the whole family as conveniently his birthday lands on a Sunday next year. I like to plan ahead too.

Mikes zip wire experience was cancelled due to 'adverse weather conditions' so I think we are going around May time instead The weather may be a little brighter then + there is a steam train in the local area & I've always wanted to go on one so will make a weekend of it.
My three Christmas swap items were posted off last week a card to America, a parcel to Australia & a parcel for the UK. I think they have all got there. Now I can relax a bit & this couple of weeks I've booked off work have been divine. I have never felt this relaxed & I nearly had a go at the lottery so I wouldn't have to go back but then I remembered I quite like my job really & don't like gambling which is quite funny as it's the field I work in.

Are you all well  I do hope so. I'm trying to be really really good & not break into the toffee I bought for Christmas I'd best have another mince pie instead.

I shall leave you with this - you know the milk bottle tops -  well according to my local council recycling dept they have to recycled separately (or they did when I last looked) I was working my way through blogland last week & read this by Crimson Kettle I'm getting as many people involved as I can & have set up a collection box in my kitchen . I'm like the milk bottle police I really need to get back to work you know! I might have to take a little trip to Southampton next year to deposit them though!! Take care all xx