Thursday, 25 February 2016

The end is in sight....

We're going out on Monday to hopefully buy a new/second hand desk....if we can find a nice old pine second hand wardrobe for the twin spare room, that'll be even better.  They are the only two remaining bits of furniture we need to buy, if we can get them then we will have completed our mission to acquire everything we needed before OH cuts down his hours (and therefore earns less money) in April, in the run up to his eventual retirement.

We originally wanted to get a sideboard or Welsh dresser for the dining room, to replace the ugly poor imitation of a dresser built (badly) by the previous tenant.  After a bit of discussion, though, we've changed our minds and decided we'll just have to live with it.  The thing is, if we (OH, that is) take out the old horrible thing, making good the floor and wall behind it, then if we should ever leave here, the landlord will expect us to replace it with something.  And we don't really want to do that.  Oh well, I suppose a lick of paint and some new handles might cheer it up a bit.

We're also on a mission to finish decorating the entire house this year, we've done the hall, stairs & landing, our bedroom and the single spare room.  That leaves the kitchen diner, lounge and twin spare room.  We've got the paint for the kitchen diner and the spare room, bought it in a sale months and months ago.  Just need to get paint for the lounge, plus 1 roll of wallpaper to do a feature wall in the spare room, and 2 rolls for the alcoves in the lounge.

And then that will be the house all done!

Well, except for what I grandly call the utility room, which in reality is a brick built small extension stuck on the side of the kitchen, which used to house a loo, coal store and bread oven years ago....these were all taken out by the previous tenant, it's just a square room now with a cupboard (which used to be the loo) housing the boiler.  Again, the previous tenant put up a range of mismatched crappy old kitchen cupboards, as he used the space as a shed or workshop.  Well, in spite of OH attempting to use it as an extension of HIS shed when he thinks I'm not looking(!!), I actually use it as my utility washing machine, tumble dryer, spare fridge and small chest freezer are in there.  Plus I store non perishable food (tins, jars and packets) in sturdy lidded plastic boxes on the worktops.  I would like all the crappy cupboards taken out and replaced with nicer ones, the walls whitewashed and a new blind and kitchen door.  All that is probably going to be a job for next year, when husband has more time.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Trying to get going!

I've got ideas for three different crafty projects - 2 crocheted and 1 fabric - had the idea for 2 of them for a while, the 3rd just came to me a couple of days ago.  Trouble is, I just can't seem to get the impetus to get started on any of them....which is a bit of a problem especially since all three are destined to be gifts, one for a birthday and the other two as 'thank you's'. 

I seem to have lost my mojo at the moment....well, not lost it as such, it's more a case of having too much to do/think about and things getting put on hold whilst I get my brain in gear for other things.  Had a minor health worry recently, which thankfully has been dispelled following a visit to my GP this morning, so that's one thing out of the way.  Got another couple of health appointments coming up though - routine, but still a niggle (oh the joys of getting older!).  OH has an appointment with a specialist next month for an ongoing problem with his foot.  There's a possible trip up North on the horizon to help out a close relative with health problems. 

OH's work are being a pain in the arse over his upcoming reduction in hours in the lead up to retirement....they've known about this for months, he put it in writing last October!  They've agreed in principle, but are dragging their heels over the details of shift days/times....we feel as though we can't really do anything until we know for sure.  Honestly, I just wish they'd get their bloody fingers out and sort it out....there's only 6 weeks left until the date he told them he wants to start on the new shifts.  Each week they come up with yet another excuse as to why it's not been sorted yet.  We're supposed to be sorting out a holiday for Sept/Oct, but can't really do that until we know about his new shifts.

All this means my head is full to bursting with STUFF, I just can't seem to settle to anything or concentrate on just one thing at a time.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Four things....

Saw this on Facebook and thought that'll be alright for a blog post (sorry but too much life stuff going on and so nothing else to blog about at the mo).  I've adapted it slightly, leaving out some things I didn't want to publish, and adding a couple more.


1.  Spring bulbs
2.  Crocheting
3.  Sitting on a rocky beach watching waves crash onto the shore
4.  Cheese & onion crisps (haven't had any for months due to the diet!)


1.  8-legged things (can't even say the word)
2.  Celery
3.  Not getting a reply to a text or email
4.  Getting passed from pillar to post and having to repeat myself over and over when ringing a customer helpline


1.  The local council Social Services department (absolutely loved this)
2.  NatWest bank
3.  A firm of Chartered Building Surveyors (loved that too)
4.  Cancer Research charity shop


1.  Gibraltar (we lived there actually, but as a child it seemed like a permanent holiday)
2.  Paris
3.  Edinburgh
4.  Guernsey


1.  Rick Stein foreign cookery/travel programmes
2.  The X-files
3.  Tattoo fixers
4.  The Inbetweeners (makes me laugh like a drain, appeals to my schoolboy sense of humour)


1.  Cheese - virtually any kind
2.  ....preferably with the aforementioned cheese & onion crisps (McCoys ridged by choice)
3.  Good butchers sausages
4.  Tiger prawns in a sweet chilli sauce with egg fried rice


1.  Watch a really good film with a strong storyline and strong characters
2.  Have a few drinks and laugh at silly jokes with good friends
3.  Go out for a lovely meal with husband and family or friends
4.  Watch a concert, carnival or group performing outside and have a dance


1.  Frothy coffee (latte or cappuccino but not with chocolate sprinkles)
2.  Warm milk with a tot of whisky and honey when I'm not feeling well
3.  Gin & tonic
4.  My homemade lemon vodka (and I don't even like vodka normally!)


1.  My double chin and wobbly stomach....the other bits I'm fine with
2.  My sister's health problems
3.  My fear of learning to drive
4.  Not being able to see family and friends nearly as often as I'd like

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Valentines gift !!

Who says romance is dead?  Now, my OH isn't one for grand gestures and certainly not for Valentines Day, he has always thought it was a complete and utter waste of all the nearly 35 years we've been together (32 of them married) I could count on the fingers of one hand minus a few fingers the number of times he's given me a Valentine card (he does give me spectacularly lovely birthday and anniversary cards though, so I'm not complaining).

He does, however, seem to be getting quite romantic in his old age (pity it's taken him so long ;-) !!).  He came home from work in the early hours of this morning and left me a gift on the kitchen worktop, ready for me to find when I got up.  Now, given that we're on this low carb/low sugar diet at the mo, it's a bit of an odd gift......

3 yes 3 large bars of assorted flavour dark chocolate.  And he even drew a little heart on one of them, awww!

Don't get me wrong, I do like chocolate, but have never been a chocoholic - give me a choice between a bar of chocolate, packet of crisps or a bag of salted nuts and I'd go for the savoury option every time.  Husband, though, does like chocolate.  I always used to bake cakes for him to take to work every day, he's not had any cake in the 3 or 4 weeks since we've been on the diet.  I think he's feeling a bit deprived!

Friday, 12 February 2016

Stash buster baby blanket

Firstly, I seem to have 2 or 3 new followers - can't work out who they are (other than Angela of Tracing Rainbows) but welcome all of you, I hope you enjoy reading.  Thank you all for the comments on my new craft storage unit, I'm very pleased with it. 

Whilst sorting through yarns before putting them in the boxes, I realised I did have quite a lot of used odd balls, some nearly full balls, others well used.  So yesterday I decided to make a start on a stash buster baby blanket, using up the odd balls.  Initially I was going to do it in a regimented stripe, 2 rows per colour, but then changed my mind and decided to simply keep going with each colour until the ball ran out, so making a completely random pattern in terms of stripe width.  Here it is so far:-

Incidentally, it's on our new recliner chair, which is sooooo comfy.

There are 4 colours in the blanket so far, just half a stripe of the pale pink, it doesn't show up very well in the photo.  I thought the random nature of the blanket might appeal to a young mum with a quirky individual style.  I'm not totally convinced by it as yet, but we'll see how it works out.  What do you think?

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Craft storage sorted

We bought this yesterday from that Swedish store:-

It's on the landing (exercise bike in front....which reminds me, I must get on it!!).  Had to move a couple of things to get it in place, don't really like where I temporarily put them so will have a bit of a shuffle round today.  Husband put the unit together, I made up the boxes (not hard....a minute's work!!).  Three of them are full, just need to label them now and got some more stuff which will fill another two.  I wonder how long it will take before they're all full?!

We had a tall narrow shelf unit there before, it held spares of toiletries which are currently in a box, waiting for me to sort out the bathroom unit, which is a similar thing to that above, just a lot smaller.  The shelf unit is going in OH's shed (will give the mice something else to chew on, haha). 

I'd love a craft room, unfortunately we haven't got the space here.  At least the storage unit can house all my supplies, so they're not now scattered around the place.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Having a rethink and more plans

So it looks like Etsy's a non starter then.  Thanks for the comments on Etsy...and Folksy, which I've not heard of before.  Which kind of illustrates my next point....

I've asked around about Etsy and haven't yet found anybody who actually sells much on there....if anything.  My concern, which seems to be shared by others, is that it's really only a site for crafters - people who already make things.  And if they already make things, why would they want to buy something that somebody else has made, that they could probably make themselves anyway?  It only really seems suitable for people, i.e. crafters, who already know about the site.....rather than ebay, which everyone has heard of and looks at. 

I'm not really keen on I said, we've had a few bad experiences with total idiots and timewasters on there.  One guy won something I'd listed, in capital letters, as being collection only, due to the size and weight, then had the cheek to ask me to arrange to have it sent, and posted really horrible feedback and sent me a series of abusive sweary emails when I politely took a while for ebay to sort it out and delete his nasty feedback.  And then there were the people who kept asking totally stupid questions on a listing OH had.....which they'd have known the answers to if THEY ACTUALLY READ THE LISTING!!  Oh, and the person who had the nerve to ask if I'd end an auction early (it was an auction sale, not a buy it now) and sell him the item at a price so low it was an insult.  I can't be doing with timewasters.

So I've decided the best way to go would be to sell my stuff at a craft fair....not a boot fair seeing as people only want to pay pennies there, understandably, but a proper craft fair.  I don't want to make a business out of this - I'm doing this as a hobby, I really love crocheting, particularly blankets and throws, but there's no sense in just making 100s of them and having them here in great big piles, I may as well make a bit of pocket money on them if I can.

Which leads me on to the next plans.....I will need more storage, well a proper storage area rather than an assortment of boxes around the house, to keep all my supplies in.  More on that later.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Making use of stash wool

Does anybody use Etsy to sell handmade things?  Is it any good?  And, crucially, is it easy to use?  Do you get a decent price that you're happy with for your things?

I sorted out my wool stash yesterday (not before time.....husband was threatening to put it all in the loft).  I now have nearly a boxful of assorted colours DK full balls - some odd single balls, and 2 or 3 of some colours.  A bagful of chunky yarn balls in 3 or 4 colours.  A full box of oddments - a few nearly complete balls and loads of half or quarter balls.  And another box of UFO's - I did take out a couple of things which I will definitely finish, the rest realistically I'm not likely to, so they're waiting to be unpicked and the wool rewound.  I also have 3/4 of a bag (about 8 or 10 balls) of a lovely purple with lilac flecks knobbly yarn which I love, but is a bit difficult to work with.

I'm toying with the idea of crocheting baby things - mostly pram or cot blankets as that's what I like doing the best, and they're easy and quick to work up.  I might have a go at soft toys as well, there are some nice easy looking ones in a big book of crochet I've got.  Crocheted blankets and throws are my first love, but I've made blankets for all of our beds, plus several throws for us and some as gifts, so don't really need any more!  Plus blankets are more of a winter project, it's just too hot to have a blanket over your knees in the summer (I get enough hot flushes as it is!).

So I'm thinking about making baby things to sell.  Don't really want to use ebay....we've had a few bad experiences with plonkers on ebay which have put me off.  And anyway, Etsy seems more appropriate for handmade things.

So any experiences or help from any of you who use it would be most appreciated.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Yes and Yes

Well, we got both a new set of bathroom scales and a lovely new recliner armchair yesterday.

The scales measure not only weight, but also body fat, BMI and how hydrated you are....although all the readings go off a bit too quickly before I've actually absorbed which is which, and by the time I've got off the scales I've forgotten what they all were anyhow!  Think I'll just stick to the weight bit - which you can do, you don't have to bother with the other readings.  The important thing is that the new scale does seem to be on and off it several times in a row and it gave the same weight reading every time, unlike our old scale.

As for the recliner chair.....we'd decided that the very cheap prices in the furthest away of the two furniture warehouses were just TOO cheap, they must be poor quality at those prices (or else they'd fallen off the back of a lorry!), so didn't even bother going to look.

Luckily, the one we went to, which is a reputable local family firm who have been in business there for 15 years, had a chair which was just perfect.  They'd had a sale on last week which had finished on Saturday, however, after a bit of haggling they agreed to let us have the chair at last week's sale price, which pleased me no end.  It's being delivered today  :-)