Sunday, October 28, 2012

31: Rudolph is not looking too good..............

We have had COLD weather, and that made me think of the coming months with a great deal of dread. I loathe the clocks going back and the early darkness, and I count down the days till December and the instant the days start getting longer again. And our clocks went back in the early hours of this morning. I could think in terms of a longer lie-in in bed, of course. However, the dogs have yet to learn to tell the time, so it was before dawn when I stumbled to the door to the garden to let them out. Sleep was illusive after that. 

I was planning to have a day on the couch today, because I found a quilt I made years ago, all pinned and ready to quilt, but then I realised I needed to get some food, or at least some ingredients to make a meal or 7 from home, so here I am. I will be heading back to the warmth very soon, believe me,. This house is not cosy right now. 


But while I was here, I added a coat to some of the things I have been making from wood. These are my first attempts at cutting out words. They are a little wonky, but I am rather pleased with myself, I have to say. 

I have also been trying to draw a very basic Rudolph face to put on the tags for the kids in Jackie's class. 



Maybe I will do stars instead. Even my simple snowflake looked like an incorrect geometry problem. So I painted those tags red. I can change my mind. Red is good too. And it hides all sorts of problems. So then I ended up on Pinterest looking for how to pages. 

And then I gave up and made coffee. 


You can see the problem. 

So, I think I will go and quilt and ignore the pile of tags awaiting my attention. It is Sunday. A day of rest, after all.

I hope you are all warm and cosy in your homes, and to my friends in the path of the megastorm - keep safe.

31: Creating, creation...........

It took a while, but just look at the lovely trees at the top of the road!I walked round the corner yesterday with my camera, because we are due to have strong winds and arctic temps this weekend, and I know all the leaves will be gone in a flash. Oh, how I love the colours!

Just SO beautiful. And I want to focus on something beautiful in this moment, because today is the day the hospitals have to respond to my case. I have just had a call from the lawyers to say the response crash landed on their desk with 51 minutes to spare from the deadline set by the judge. They will speak to me next week when they have had time to assess it all. So many prayers would be a huge blessing for me, if you are so inclined. (I wrote this on Friday and then forgot to post it! )

I was so tempted to kick the leaves and make them swirl around, but they looked like a golden carpet, and I just let my eyes drink it all in.

Each leaf has its own story. 


I wonder what it is. Was. 

Isn't this tapestry that nature created here for me to see an example of what one day we will see? All our lives, so individual, a part of the plan God has? Every unique leaf, every single person, part of a divine plan? I have this vision of a huge patchwork quilt, or a tapestry, or a puzzle, with every stitch made by different people, and individually not very special, but together, something of unspeakable beauty. Something which will take our breath away. One day. We will all slot into our assigned places. 

I am so curious, though. 

A Creator made the heavens and the earth. The ultimate example of creativity. The Father of all Creation. 

How can anyone beat that? 

I created life when I gave birth to my three children. Well, not me alone, of course, but I gave birth to my sons and daughter. I carried them for 9 months. And in their births, I survived the pain (without meds or epidurals in those days)(there was much breathing and walking)(and muttering), and out of that pain came the greatest joys of my life.  I have loved and cherished them. I guided and supported them. And then I watched them fly. I still watch. My greatest creations. How could a quilt or anything my hands put together compare to something which was knitted together inside my body? Miracles. 3 of them. 

And each of them takes their place somewhere in that tapestry the Creator is working on as I speak.

When you start thinking about creating something, it is amazing where your thoughts wander, isn't it?

Friday, October 26, 2012

31: Creativity...............

I have been thinking about creativity. Warning: philosophical post ahead......................

You know, without a creative spirit, we cannot function in any sphere. Everything we do every day involves creativity.

We rise from a bed, in a room, in a home where the furniture is arranged how we like it to be. The walls are painted the colours we have chosen.

We choose our clothes for the day and accessorise them so we look good, or appropriate for what we are going to be doing. (Believe me, I am not looking good when I crawl into the gym. No make-up, hair on end. Groan. I do, however, look better when I emerge. And I am usually red in the face too. An artistic extra.)

We think about and make meals which are put together with great creativity. Especially when one forgets to defrost anything..

We wash and clean our clothes and home. And ourselves. Bubble bath? A creative choice.

We plant a garden and tend it.

We shop for essentials (and non-essentials)

We work at jobs which, in all spheres, require initiative.

Initiative. Another word for creativity.

We entertain in homes with candles and set tables and cushions arranged on a sofa the way we like them.

We arrange stick flowers in a vase.

We entertain our toddlers.

We encourage our kids.

We suggest paths for our teens, we support our students choices.

We then help to arrange weddings, we embrace and play with our grandkids.

We write letters.

We plan Christmas.

We play sport.

We make snow angels.

We go on diets.

We balance finances. Or not.

We sing in church.

We bake cakes.

We write........

See? Everything we do, automatic or not, requires our creative spirit to be exercised.

I know people who say "Oh, you are so lucky you are talented. I am not at all creative." And that is what set this train of thought in motion. You ARE creative, even if you think you are not. We have all been given talents of one sort or another, and you see, this is where it is important to realise that none of those talents, be they speaking, doing, running, whatever, can happen without creativity. And a lot more, of course, like grit, determination, and a whole lot of acquired knowledge. But creativity is key.

Choices. Options. Decisions. All involve creativity. Sure, I spend a lot of my time making things. A hobby, born of necessity and then fed by the desire to give things made by me to my family and friends. A personal touch. I am not an expert, as I said in the beginning of this series. I keep things simple, and that is how I like it. I discovered something that filled me with delight, and that is what I like about playing with fabric, wool and wood. Jack of all trades. I can do a little of everything. I try, you see. I like to try new things. To find out if I get that wonderful sense of satisfaction when they work out. Euphoria, at times. Just ask my Mum what I was like when I made the "Warm and Cosy" gifts last year. I was on a real high, and the laughter that engendered was wonderful.

But sometimes they don't work out. I make a creative choice to abandon a project. Then I move on to new pastures.

Some people can't read maps. So they buy a satnav. A creative solution to a problem. All day, every day, we are confronted with things which need us to make choices, to find solutions. To be creative, only we don't realise that creative element. Fear, of course, gets in the way at times. Fear of failure. But if you don't try, you will never know what might have been.

Often, when people pop in for coffee, they spend ages taking in the seasonal changes here. It is fun for me to see, and they seem to delight in it. There are always smiles. Sometimes, they may think I have gone a trifle overboard, (or that I am crackers) but in general they all love it. And sometimes, they go away and start looking for little touches to add to their own homes. And that creative section of the brain goes into overdrive. But it is more than just "stuff", you see. It is the atmosphere I have tried to create, which is important. Atmosphere is how we get to feel comfortable in our homes, and that feeling wraps itself around people who walk in the door.

It is not about spending money or stuff. It is all about how we make great use of the creativity we are born with. How we embrace the fact that we ARE creative. We CAN learn more. We CAN do things. Big things. Small things. Using gifts we may not yet have fully discovered.

Last night, it was house group here at my home, and one of the girls arrived early, and nothing could have pleased me more than when she made a nest among the cushions, tossed off her shoes, curled up on the couch and wrapped a blanket over her legs. She was comfortable. At home. And yes, I DID SWITCH ON THE HEATING! So it wasn't because she was cold.

I asked.

For the past 6+ years, I have been creative in ways I would never have known or learned about without the train of events that happened, happening. Every sphere of my life has been challenged. I have acquired skills I never knew I may need.  Some I never wanted to acquire at all. I have made choices, good and bad, with good and bad outcomes. I have kept learning, oh, Lord, have I ever kept learning. Kept trying. Kept grinning. Kept on going. Even when the challenges have been overwhelming. Just trying. Hey, I even learned how to crochet, remember! And it has been so hard at times, and yet, looking back, so immensely rewarding, because, so far, I have always emerged from out of the maelstrom. So far.

Find a way out. Find a solution., Find  help, if necessary. Make plans. Break plans. Hurt and be hurt. Love and keep loving. Make something out of nothing. Believe. Keep faith. Hope.

We are studying Job at church, and it has been a wonderful time of learning. Today, for some reason, I have kept singing "It is well with my soul" constantly. Oh. how I love that hymn. So I went to Youtube to find a version I could sing with and found this one. (I have been singing it loudly ever since.) I read the words under the video, which led me here and I thought about the waves which had washed over Horatio Spafford, how like Job he had been, and the word HOPE is the one which keeps sitting front and centre of my mind. My soul.


With hope, we keep alive. We keep moving. We keep doing. And in the doing, we are being unconsciously creative. I am used to saying  "I will make a plan." I will find a way. I will make it happen. I can do it. If I can, you can. (I wish you could hear me belting out that hymn as I tap away on the keyboard here. It speaks for my soul.)

I am just grinning at the thought that my epitaph could read - "I will make a plan". Hmmm. Creative till the end. (Not that I am planning an end in the next few decades, I hasten to add.)

So, enough of the philosophising for the moment, although I may yet return to the subject. So far, this has taken hours to put together. So who knows. Maybe I will go and be creative now and start drawing some patterns to paint on all those tags awaiting my artistic endeavours in the kitchen. After I feed the dogs.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

31: More painting and more garden hacking.....

It is another grey day here in Middle England, and I am just back from aquazumba and about to start on another coat of paint. I unearthed some of the tags I made for Christmas 2006 and here they are.

I neatly wrote "Christmas 2006" on the back of them, so I can't give them away, so I suspect the whole lot will be on the tree this year. That will get them out of my wood cupboard! And they will be cheery additions to the overloaded tree. Remember when I launched myself onto the tree last year? We will not be having a repeat performance this year. Sigh. I do love Christmas decorations. I have not decided what design the 26 for Jackie will be yet. I will check what she wants. That would be an excellent place to start.


I had to shift all the tomatoes out of the way - these are the last of this year's crop and when they are ripe enough, they will be cooked and frozen too. Not long to wait. I need the counter space! And I will worry about freezer space when Glynis comes home.


It is amazing how much space wet paint on wooden things needs. And, after putting them down on newspaper and having it stick to the tags, I have used greaseproof paper for the second coat and it works well. No sticking. I sanded them all after the first coat, and will again, after the second, because it leaves a lovely smooth finish, which makes decorating and writing that much easier.

I don't think I showed you the autumn bunting on the screen at the front door, did I? It always makes things cheerful, and heaven knows we need cheering up in the greyness which surrounds us. It is not that cold. Just grey. Miserable.

My pink dahlias have mutated into white and pink dahlias. So pretty, and they certainly brighten things up a great deal.

I cannot for the life of me, get my printer to work. The new one. I plugged it in after the endless trouble with the wireless feature that I told you about, and still nothing makes it go. I will have to get a techy friend to do something to it. SO frustrating. You know, I am quite sure I could fix it, but I am at the stage where I just don't want to. Can't. Feeble. Yes. I know. This is superwoman speaking. I have lost the super powers at the moment and I think they only come out with the sun. And the sun is AWOL.

I suddenly remembered that today is the last collection day for the garden waste until spring, so I have been hacking and yanking away in the garden. The bin is now so full and heavy that it hardly moves. And the garden still has a lot to be done in it, but that can go in the composter or sit until spring. I am done. It is cold out there. I haven't cut back the lavender yet - I must check with Jean about what to do with it. She has the most amazing lavender hedge. Well, it is a row of enormous bushes and just stunning. But right now she is somewhere in Turkey exploring.

I am now off to iron another 5 metre length of binding. More bunting. Ros and I were saying that we could go into business - our bunting is superb.

Happy Thursday to you all!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31: Christmas (fruit) cakes...........

Fruit Cake recipe

Here you go, ladies - this is the Christmas cake recipe I make. When I make one. There are other really gorgeous cake recipes where you buy the fruit separately and I remember my mother laying trays of fruit out in the sun to dry, but I love this one.

1 and a half pounds of mixed fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants etc)
I lb dates (chopped and stoned)
half lb cherries
half lb walnuts
half lb butter (I use marge)
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
2 heaped cups flour -plain
4 eggs
1 teasp bicarb (baking soda)
2 teasp mixed spice
half teasp ground ginger
quarter teasp cinnamon
quarter teasp nutmeg
quarter teasp cloves (ground)

Cook all the fruit except the cherries and nuts with butter and sugar and 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. In very large pot (I mix the whole cake in this pot)
Allow to cool.
Add cherries and nuts.
Dissolve bicarb in one cup water.
Sift all dry ingredients.
Add eggs to mix, then bicarb, then dry ingredients.
Mix well and pour into greased lined pan.
I roll up newspaper and tie it around the outside of the cake tin as well.
Bake at 180C (350F) for half an hour, then drop the temp to 160C (320F) for about 2 and a half hours.

Once the cake is out of the oven, and still warm, poke holes in the top of it with a skewer, and drizzle/pour brandy over it to soak in. You can do this every now and then from now till Christmas.

And nearer Christmas, out comes the marzipan and fondant and flood icing and creative stuff, and you decorate the whole thins. I used to make royal icing and using a wet palette knife, slap it on around the sides, so it made peaks, like snow.

Here is some more info

Christmas cake

And here is another recipe I use. Actually, I combine the two sometimes.

Double this recipe at Christmas.

1lb mixed fruit
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
quarter lb marge
1 teaspoon bicarb (baking soda)
1 teasp mixed spice
dash cinnamon

Mix all the above in a large pot and boil for 10 mins

Add 2 cups flour - plain
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 beaten eggs
2 pieces of chopped glace pineapple
2 pieces of chopped glace fig
chopped walnuts.

Greased, lined pan + newspaper and string around.
Bake at 180 (350F) for quarter of an hour and then 160C (320F) for 1 and a quarter hours.

Okay. I hope that makes sense. Try it - and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

31: A grey day.........

Today is grey. Damp. Foggy. Yuk. There is no horizon - just murk, and I am not at my best in murk. Glynis's washing line is approaching the Miss Haversham look - remember Charles Dickens? Cobwebs? Yes. That. The spiders have gone crazy out in the garden, and the washing line is a work of art.

It is much more impressive in real life - especially at night, but my feeble attempts at photographing it failed miserably, so you will have to use your imagination. The webs extend all the way to the plants behind it. Amazing. And just as well spiders don't bother me!

Everywhere you look, there are webs. Everywhere. Spiders are a creative lot, aren't they!
These are some of the leaves just outside my church. They definitely do their bit to brighten grey days, and we have been under the murk for 3 days now.

Anyway, last night, I sat with the green tray on my lap and watched TV with the dogs and sanded all 36 tags. Some are not as straight as one would wish, so I may do some trimming tomorrow, but they are all sanded. My right hand nearly fell off from all the exercise.

And today, after aqua - it was better today and I do still love our teacher, I started on the base coats of paint, so my kitchen is now decorated with an array of painting stuff.

This is a little stand for wet brushes which I think I got on a sale in Switzerland, and it is absolutely wonderful. No more tipping over of the yogurt pots, and once I start on a multitude of colours, I will need it to be secure and to hold all the brushes, so I am really pleased with it. A Bargain. And that is my plastic pot in it, instead of the strainer, because I didn't want to get the strainer dirty and the plastic pot won't fall over. I am prattling here, aren't I.......

The first coat is now done on one side, and maybe, when I get this finished, I will go and do the other side, if they are dry. And if I feel like it.

It is the fog. I blame that. I seem to move slower, do things more slowly and the spirits seem grey too. Do you feel the same in grey foggy weather? It just seems as though the world has lost most of its colour, and I don't like that.

Perhaps I should start painting something red. That would dispel the murk. I will put on the jolly music tomorrow when I come back to paint. And pick some of the yellow dahlias. And switch on the lights. That may work.

Paintbrush, brace yourself - here I come for Round 2..............

Monday, October 22, 2012

31: a different kind of creating.......

Here I am again. As you can see, I have planted little violas/pansies/somethinglikethat in the pots at the front door, on the grounds that I will have my family home for Christmas, and someone will be here to water them. They are so pretty, aren't they. Soon they will fill the tubs and look superb. 

One of my friends asked me if I would make her some tags for presents this year. So last night, I spent a while drawing on wood, and this morning, after aqua (which nearly killed me today - it was TOUGH), I came home and fired up the scroll-saw in my kitchen.....
The stuff on the left is gardening equipment, about to be packed away for the year. On the right, the painting is one done by David, which is awaiting a frame, so it can join the rest of my art gallery, and the old coffee tin is waiting for me to get out the hot glue and rope to transform it. Maybe tomorrow. The last of the seed collection is drying in the bright bowls, and, in the basket (I MADE), are my potatoes. The white stuff in the front it the wood. 

So, I stand in front of it like this, and guide the wood with my hands on either side of the blade, holding it still and I can cut out any kind of shape. The secret is not to go too slow, and also, to keep the downward pressure even. My kitchen is now covered in sawdust, but that is just fine. Everyone should keep a scroll-saw in the kitchen.

Ah, I remember when I was watching my colleague teach resistant materials (which means wood work, metal work etc) and the kids were petrified of the scroll-saw and backed away, and then I stepped up (the granny) and cut out a quick heart for them, and they were amazed. I love playing with wood. They all wanted a go after seeing me. It was a moment of triumph.

And here are the tags, awaiting the sanding. Much sanding. The paper is under them. Then they will be painted, then decorated, and then written on, then drilled with a hole, then sprayed with a matt varnish to protect the amazing artwork. (Hahahahaha)

And a little bit of string and you are good to go. Theses are just some of the ones I made in 2006. So long ago. I had a ball making them then, and I haven't made any since, so this will be a nice change. I have some more wooden things I want to try too.

So that is a definite change, and it is creative and I planted flowers. And now I am off to make some coffee. I will let you see the tags as they evolve!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

31: Autumn and flowers..........

I thought you may like to see some autumn colour from the village. At last the trees are becoming autumnal, and the leaves are changing colour. So pretty. 

The trouble is that all we need is a strong wind and they will all be gone. And the wintery look will be here to stay for months. 

A couple of days ago, I arrived back at my friends' home, and saw a little brown dog racing around the close. No people were around, so I managed to catch her, and check her tag. Her name was Millie. So I called the owner while holding her collar in the rain, and he was trying to work out where I was, so I popped her in the car to get out of THE RAIN, which was torrential at this point. 15 minutes on the phone, and I was about to drive to his place, when I saw his son tearing out of the lane, obviously looking for her, so I handed her over. And an hour later.........


there was a knock on the door, and Millie's owner was standing there with a huge bunch of roses for me. So sweet. I have never had such a large bunch of flowers before. I had to put them in 2 vases. This is the one in the lounge. Gorgeous. The fact that I was doing my scarecrow impression with hair sticking up on end like straw was ignored. I was mortified. 

I was creative. I arranged the flowers.
Autumn in the village can be so pretty. 

I had to go to the Post Office, and on the way back I noticed all the pine needles on the ground, and I looked up - this is the kind of tree we had in Cape Town. I just love the silvery grey green colour. 

And how about these colours......Maybe I should have done 31 Days of Autumn. I may have been better at it. I may try waxing some leaves if I manage to collect any dry ones. That would be something new to do. 

I was just remembering the first bunch of flowers Geoff ever bough me. We were getting ready to fly out to Cape Town for our wedding, and he went to have his hair cut.


I heard the car arrive back, and then his arm appeared around the door with the flowers, and I heard his mother trying to stifle laughter and he walked into the room. I was right to be suspicious. He had been scalped. Just remember that this was 1976, and men had longish hair. They didn't go around with shaven heads. I screeched, just imagining all the wedding photos, and he handed over the flowers. Not because he loved me to bits. No. A peace offering. To placate me. He knew. Hah. He was right to be wary. 

Oh well. The wedding was beautiful, and looking back now, his short hair is much more normal to me today than the longer hair would have been, looking back. And both my sons, with their receding hairlines, prefer short hair. They take after their father.  As a Mum, I just loved my boys to have long hair. I must haul out the photos sometime. 

I still remember those flowers.........

31: Hearts tutorial..........

Making little hearts which can be filled with pot pourri, or lavender, or wadding, is super easy, and they are great gifts. And they will look lovely on your tree too. They use so little fabric, that you can zap up a few from your scraps. 

Make a heart template. Remember, I suggested you draw a vertical straight line, and do half a heart. Cut out the half, fold it over along the centre line, and cut round the edge. Voila. A heart. Then, using any pen (because you are going to cut away the edge anyway), trace your hearts.
Cut out the hearts. Well of course you cut them out, but what else could I say about this photo?

Ignore the embroidered word, because I used the embroidery machine, or you could hand embroider words you choose, of course. Stitch around the heart, leaving the top open. For stuffing. If you look closely, you can see where I stopped and started.

Unearth your ribbon. I ran out, so made a trip to the local craft warehouse, which is only open over weekends. Oh, my sainted aunt. The temptation to blow a hole in the ailing credit card was immense, but I resisted. I did discover that, not only do you automatically get a 10% discount, but, because my loyalty card was full, I got a £5 reduction. EUREKA. I nearly headed straight back in to spend what I saved but I didn't. Be proud. I did head on over to the sewing machine shop for extra bobbins, and had to walk past the new gigantic sewing machines which need a room of their own. I drooled over the over lockers (sergers) and new embroidery machines, chatted at length to the owner about starter machines - they had one with pink flowers which was super cute - and left with 6 bobbins. I need a louder cheer please for my restraint. It is uncharacteristic.
Then you go to a monstrous bag of stuffing and take out a little bit, fill your heart, stitch it closed and trim the edges. I couldn't believe the size of the packet. The last time I bought any, the bag was half the size and half the price. The new bag will last a decade or so, unless I decide to make a duvet. That will not be happening.


Get out your pinking shears and trim the edge. Stitch a loop of ribbon in the centre, and tie a bow.

And then I usually package them in Swiss cellophane bags. That would be because I go to Switzerland. But any clear bag would do. Cute, aren't they? And there you are. Hearts made and packed. Now I will have to think of another easy tutorial because they are fun to do!Have fun making some, and let me know if you do!

31: New rules for me...............

I am here. Briefly. The dogs have taken to relieving themselves in the house when I am out. Relieving themselves of the poo kind. Sigh. But they are lovely and have big brown eyes and we will survive. I really don't mind, but so help me, I try very hard to avoid the scooping. It doesn't matter if they have had walks or been outside. The instant I walk out the door it happens. I think they are making a statement. Hah. 


So I come home, sort piles of flags, put the tape measure out in the length required, arrange the flags, iron the binding and race back to check on bowel movement. Back again, fire up the sewing machine, making one strand and depart again. 

I need coffee. 

See? Is it any wonder? Then I fall asleep on the sofa like an old worn out person. With dogs snuggling happily.

My daughter gave me the coffee mug. I love it. I now sign all emails or text messages, MDS.

Autumn colours are slowly happening around the village. Can you see the 1000+ year old tower through the trees?
This is what I love. Leaves on the path, for children to kick about. Nothing says autumn more than piles of golden leaves......

I thought I would show you this. It is at the bottom of the steps to the church, in the Square. Isn't it a wonderful sentiment?

So, yesterday, I managed to upload photos for 3 posts. This is #1. And who said the 31 Days had to be consecutive? I have just established new rules which suit me. Insert cheesy grin. It is just as well I didn't link to the Nester, or I would have been drummed off the page by now.

I will now attempt post #2 before I make another dash on the poop patrol.

Friday, October 19, 2012

What 31 days of creativity, you may ask...............

Yes, yes, I know - I am 4 days behind already and this IS NOT THE WAY IT SHOULD BE, I know. I know. I am trying to catch up with myself, so it will be 5 days tomorrow. Groan. The writing muse is AWOL.

But there has been a great deal of creativity around here, believe me, only I can't show you most of it because they are presents, and all my friends appear to read the blawg, if messages I am getting about "Hey, what happened to the creativity posts" is anything to go by.


I can tell you that, I made 3 apple cakes and froze them yesterday. The last of the apples are now cooked. The pot is now clean, you will be happy to know.

What else....

I am perpetually covered in mud, because it keeps raining, and the dogs like me.

My hair is not straight. It looks like an afro gone wonky, but I am beyond caring. The rain, people.

I fell asleep on the couch 2 nights ago, and woke at 2.30am. The other 2 couches were occupied by Humph and Dougal, sleeping in bliss, on their backs, legs in the air. They did not appreciate being sent to their baskets at 2.35am.

I have no idea where today has gone.

I will be back.

Monday, October 15, 2012

31: idle chatter today, I am afraid..........

I was creative today. I spent the morning trying all the ideas on the pot which had a base looking like tar. It is almost clean. And then I went to aqua, and our teacher, Debbie, is back from her Mexican honeymoon, and we all nearly expired in the class. It is a reminder of how good she is, and how much we go into a decline when she is not there. More tomorrow.

And I have been with the dogs for the rest of the day. My friends are soaring into the air as I speak, and I hope they have a spectacular holiday and a good rest. They are heading for the sun, while we head into autumn/winter. The sun might need an ID card when and if it shows up in strength here again.

Speaking of autumn, some of the trees are starting to change colour around here, and I was creative - I took the camera and took photos but I can't download them at the moment, so they will wait till tomorrow. The roads have leaves starting to pile up on the verges, and it looks wonderful when the sun shines. Not so great when it rains!

There has been much cutting out of little hearts going on here as well. I will take photos to show you all tomorrow. Tomorrow is starting to sound busy. Aqua, photos, hearts, sewing, dogs, life...........

Short and sweet today, I am afraid, but I had to post something to keep the 31 days of prattle going. I am interpreting the word "creativity" creatively. Hahahaha.

Right. See you all tomorrow!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

31: a different kind of creativity.......


Did you watch this? Unbelievable. Felix Baumgartner jumped out of his balloon capsule from the edge of space this evening. If you missed it, just check your news channels. I watched him live and it was amazing. His poor mother must have aged a decade in the minutes it took for him to fall to an altitude where his parachute would open. I very much doubt we will see anything like this again in our lifetimes. 
There he is, on the ground. I took the photos with my camera from the live BBC TV news broadcast of it. 



Today has been busy - church and a continuation of our superb Job sermons, and then shared lunch with friends. That is always lovely, and it is so nice to catch up and just relax over a meal. 6 families today, I think. I am always amused at how there is rarely anything duplicated in our offerings! And my Swiss ball for exercising is finally blown up properly. Friends are useful, you know! Sitting on it when it was lacking air was ridiculous. It looked like a squashed donut. Doughnut? Ah - a bagel. 

I came home and decided to cook the tomato and onion relish, which went well, and then to stew the apples. 


I caramelised them in minutes. I managed to rescue most of them, although they have a slightly golden tinge to them. They taste fine. But my new stainless steel pot is in a dreadful state. My friend Meg suggested boiling vinegar and baking soda and letting it cool then scrubbing. I am on my second lot of vinegar etc and we are making very slow progress, but I refuse to give up. I will go and get out yet another steel wool thingy and try a bit more elbow grease when I have posted this. Creativity of the negative kind. 
My garden looks different without the numerous pots, doesn't it? But the dahlias are lovely. 
And here I am, after finishing all the trimming of the bunting flags. All ready to go now. From tomorrow, I will be looking after my friends 2 dogs for 3 weeks. In a perfect introduction to an extended time with me around, the small one, Dougal, ATE the £10 note which dropped from my pocket. I had just got home, after supper with them, when Glynis called and asked if I was missing a £10 note. I was. I had been to the supermarket on the way there. It is now in Dougal's stomach. I just hope he has passed it before I get to take over the reins. 

I hope you have all had great, uneventful weekends, and time to relax and enjoy life. And now, I am off to roll up the sleeves and attack a pot..........

Saturday, October 13, 2012

31: Summer is over.......

My energy has departed. Summer is officially over now. I have been slowly assembling all the outdoor furniture to be cleaned and packed away and, in the window of dry weather this afternoon, I did just that. Packed them away. Covered. Stored. And maybe half clean, so some of my children had better be around when they are next unveiled to do the cleaning properly. I am now inching along like a geriatric crone and the hair, which I straightened and even sprayed (!!) this morning is now delicately arranged in spikes in all directions. I would prostrate myself on the floor to recover, if there was a snowball's chance in hell of me ever getting up again.

I crawled out of bed reluctantly this morning. (That should have been an omen.) It was 6 degrees C. And I decided to head straight to the Fairtrade Coffee Morning in the village because a) they would supply the coffee and b) also the cake and c) it was 10am and d) it was warm there. By the time I got home it was 11.54. I tell you this, because I opened the door and there was a delivery note saying a parcel was at the post office, which closes at 12 noon on Saturdays, so back in the car  I leapt and walked into the post office at 11.59. I do not think they were thrilled to see me. But I retrieved my daughter's parcel. Success.

While I was at the coffee morning, I chatted to some young friends, and they were saying how much they wished they could sew and make things themselves. That they had never been taught. So I said, hey - I can teach you. The basics at least. Everyone at the table was bemoaning the fact that life-skills were not taught any more that everything had become academic at school. I have talked about this ad nauseum before. And the end result is that, as the 14 year old said - some girls don't even know how to take in their clothes, or mend things. I could most certainly teach that. Around my kitchen table. It is a big table, remember. It could be a whole heap of fun. Another homeschooling friend mentioned that her junior school age daughter wanted to learn a while ago as well. So you never know.....Linds's School of Sewing and Craftiness may fling open its doors one of these days.

Did I ever tell you I used to make photo frames out of fabric covered cardboard, complete with piping around the photo and ric-rac or lace at the edge? Or that I covered notebooks with thin foam and fabric? Thank the Good Lord for the invention of double sided sticky tape and hot glue guns. One can make all kinds of things armed with those two essentials.

It has been raining while I have been sitting here, and that has made it seem even colder. More coffee will warm me up but then I have to get up and make it. It would be great to have a slave robot to do these things. You know - for a brief moment, I wrote "slave", then deleted it, then wrote it crossed through. Political correctness gone crazy. You all KNOW I do not mean a real slave. A child would do. One of my own, of course. Or a mother. Or a husband. Or a friend. Or...... It is a turn of phrase , impossible/improbable and ridiculous, but I am quite sure you know what I am getting at. Gah! I refuse to filter everything I say through 10 metres of correctness.

So I am going to go and make my own coffee and put on the slippers and watch the rain and twiddle my thumbs.......

Friday, October 12, 2012

31: Cutting, shearing...........


Today has been a stay at home day. We have had blue skies and sun one minute and pouring rain the next. The weather has been confused. And I have been in the sewing room, cutting, trimming and sewing. 

There is more new autumn bunting up in the house. What? You thought there was too much already? 


This time I did it with a gap between each one - like the ones you buy in the shops. I am not convinced. I think I prefer the ones where they are made with triangles adjoining triangles. No gaps. Hmmm. I may make another one. You would laugh, you know - how many strands of bunting have i made for my own home? Dozens. Have I ever written down the length of binding or the number of triangles? No. So today I have started keeping a log. Better late than never.

I cut out the mountain of strips of fabric for Christmas bunting. Now I am waiting. You see - I want the friends who asked for more to tell me what length they need, and then I will be able to zap them up. Tonight, I will carry on pinking shearing the edges. Now I feel like a sheep farmer.

We I needed more green in the selection, so I unearthed these fabrics from the stash. They are really cute. I love the trees!

And then, before I made the autumn bunting, I had to do all the edges. It is amazing how big the pile gets. In the spring, I thought maybe the birds would like it for their nests. They declined. They also turned their noses up at wool scraps. My local birds appear to be fussy. I was looking forward to brightly coloured nests in the garden. They didn't happen. The birds kept pecking away at the coir basket liners, therefore killing half the plants.
I should have entered my pile of cuttings into the Turner Prize competition. And called it Autumn sun. 

Maybe next year. 

My computer continues to whirr (I had to check the spelling - it does exist) alarmingly. I did vacuum the innards from the back through the holes. My youngest son says it has to be the fan. Wonderful. So I now have a clean fan which whirrs. Maybe I should kick it. That may stop the noise. Or stop the computer. 

I have actually spoken to both my sons today. I was going to say boys, but they are both clearly men. "Sons" is a compromise. One was on his way to work, and the other was up on the campus. The one on campus and I had to discuss why neither of us was aware that there was a "booking fee" hidden somewhere in the small print, which had nearly every parent of the 600 students in his residence burning up the wires to the residence head office in fury after receiving emails. Me included. I sincerely hope they change the way they do things in future. I may have given them detailed instructions on how to do this, beginning with "send an invoice". It seems simple, really. 

Ah well, I paid. I am Mum. 

So tomorrow, I am starting on the mountain of fruit and vegetables which need to be cooked and frozen. That will be my creative effort, I think. I may make some cakes. Apple ones. I would make apple muffins if the kids were home. They used to LOVE apple muffins when they were small. Maybe I will make them at Christmas time. I can roll out all the old favourites. Gingerbread. Cinnamon cake. 

Get a grip, Linds, Christmas is all of 73 days away. (Go and check that link to the Christmas clock - what a lovely idea!) That is a long way off. 

Right. It is time for coffee and the pinking shears. Enjoy your evening!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

31: Harvesting squash and a bargain...........

Hello. I have just spent the past 3 hours backing up my computer files - it took that long because Ye Olde Computer is making a sound similar to that of an ailing aeroplane about to crash on top of me, and it is going at a snail's pace, just to add insult to injury. This could well be because, in a fit of great daring, I actually restarted it. Things have not been the same since then. The wheels seem to be grinding in the tower, and YES I KNOW THERE ARE NO WHEELS. It sounds like wheels are grinding and it is enough to give me a worse headache than was there to start with.

Aqua at an early hour was hard. The legs sort of turned to jelly. And then, after a head massage at Glynis's house, I went to town to pay the bills. And check out the cheapy shops too. Just 3 of them today. The Christmas crafts and wrapping ideas at one are superb, but we do not need anything crafty related or Christmas paper related for the next 10 years, so I abstained.

I did pick up a few delights at the 99p shop - a dish which I will use for butter at Christmas, and a box of Christmas crackers and a couple of other things. We will not be finding great treasure in my 99p crackers, but they look lovely and will go bang and what more can we ask for - don't forget the corny jokes and paper hats. They are in them too, so we are all set.

On the way home, just before the rain started, I went down to harvest the squash on the allotment. I had not been there for a while, and I collected 8 gem squash and 3 big butternuts. There are more not quite ready yet, so that is excellent. So my kitchen counter is starting to look a little crowded.

 (Pretend you did not see the box of Maltesers - 99p? A bargain. )  I have the apples to stew or make into cakes, masses of tomatoes to cook and freeze and all the squash as well. Not to mention the bag of onions and bunch of bananas we have perched there. I should be in the kitchen being creative. I am here instead. But the running around is done for the week and I don't have to go anywhere tomorrow, so it will be a kitchen and home day.

House group is here this evening, so I have to haul out the vacuum cleaner soon. I just checked the time.....where do the hours go? Days? Months? Years?

Speaking of years, I had a call from the lawyers yesterday to say that the hospitals had asked for yet another extension, and that they had refused. So they went to court and have a 2 week extension, courtesy of the judge. Years, I tell you. So please pray for this to be resolved - and soon. I want it to be over.

And now, being creative, I will waft around behind the Dyson a bit and head for the sewing room. Autumn bunting today, I think...........................