Friday, 31 August 2012

Happy Anniversary...

image from freedigitalphotos.net


to my darling hubby ~ 28 years today :-) 

I love you with all my heart!

(I have been a very lucky girl ~ Adrian bought me a Kindle for our anniversary!)

A Monthly Make for 2012: August

Well, my loves, I have done much better with August's Monthly Make for 2012 ~ mind you, I couldn't have done worse than the zero makes for July ;-)




I started off with the three crocheted tissue-box covers which were sent to John over at Going Gently, for the 40th Trelawnyd Flower Show  Sadly I didn't come anywhere in the crochet category but it was still a fun thing to do!


And this is something else I am adding to this month's Monthly Make ~ although I have to confess that I did actually finish this scarf in July, I just didn't get round to uploading the photo in time!
  It is a Christmas gift for one of my nieces :-)
 
Not too bad really, my loves, eh?  I've also started a large project this month in a bid to use up as much of my leftover yarn stash as possible!  I am about a quarter of the way through it so who knows, I may have it finished for the September Monthly Make ;-)

Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Thursday Poem

Young Woman Reading by a Window - Delphin Enjolras


Tis the Last Rose of Summer
Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone:
No flower of her kindred,
No rose-bud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.

I'll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o'er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love's shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie wither'd,
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

Thomas Moore
(28th May 1779 – 25th February 1852)

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A productive weekend ~ part two...

 
 

Sweetie~pies, I forgot to show you this photo of Nikki in her "fortress" LOL  It was taken when we were working on the lean-to and the living room was full of stuff from out there.  Then to make the room even more congested the shelving and storage crates arrived before we had finished the floor!  She seemed to really like her little den, though ~ she does seem to like confined spaces.  I can only think she feels safe all curled up in a hidey-hole :-)

image found on google

In one of those delightfully seredipitous moments, my loves, no sooner had Adrian and I decided to have a jolly good sort-out of his wardrobe than a collection bag from the Salvation Army dropped through our letterbox!  And since they were due to collect any donations today, we decided to get it done yesterday so that we didn't have piles of clothing hanging around for days on end.  Good thinking, eh ;-)  In the end, sorting through Adrian's things wasn't really too bad a job at all and his wardrobe is now looking very neat and tidy.

Since we don't have a car, having the clothes collected really seemed too good an opportunity to miss so I decided to go through my things as well.  There wasn't very much to get rid off in my wardrobe to be honest.....but I had a whole load of stuff stored up in the loft!  Adrian and Sam manhandled the cases and bags down for me and I set-to.  Now, my loves, the clothes from the loft are not ones which actually fit me but I have been keeping them ready for that glorious day when I shall be slim enough to get into the blighters!  Of course, I haven't reached that day yet.....

I was very conflicted about what I should do ~ should I keep them or get rid of them??  Oh decisions, decisions!  In the end I decided that the only sensible thing to do was to keep ~ for now, at least ~ the clothes that I really liked and to let the others go.  Truth be told, I am just not quite ready to let everything go even though it doesn't fit me.  It seemed silly to make myself anxious and upset and in all honesty, despite keeping quite a lot of the clothes, I still feel proud of myself for letting so much go.  In the end, we had two collection bags and two suitcases stuffed full of clothes for the Salvation Army today ~ mostly it was my stuff but there was quite a lot from Adrian and also a handful of things from Sam too :-)

I guess deep-down I'm still holding on to the hope that one day I will be slim enough to wear the clothes I have kept ~ and who knows, maybe one day I will be...  
 


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

A productive weekend ~ part one...


 
Adrian was working on Saturday, sweetie~pies, so I spent the day just pootling about indoors but on Sunday we set-to and made a start in the back garden.  This area along the fence turned out to be not as bad as I had feared; it was mostly a case of sorting through the pile of pots and tubs.  The old bin and barrels have got soil in them so once the new border has been made, they can be emptied out and discarded.
 
We will have to clear all the soil away from the fence, once we have moved the chicken houses, so that Kevin (our lovely builder) can come and replace the panels, etc.  Then we can get the raised border built and start moving shrubs from other parts of the garden into it.  We won't be able to have any more building work done out there this year but hopefully once that border is complete, we will be able to sort out the raised bed near the house. 

 
This pile of pots and tubs is waiting for my friend to come and take a look to see what she wants.  She said that she knows someone who can make use of whatever she doesn't need, so hopefully they won't need to be thrown away :-)

 
And this, my loves, is what I am keeping ~ for the time-being, at least. 
 
Adrian spent a good many hours on Sunday cutting up all the bits and pieces of wood we had accumulated.  Would you believe that he has managed to fill one of those dumpy-bags with it all!  A lot of what he has salvaged is not very thick but will still be good for getting the wood-burner started, at least.

 
This moth hung out on our patio door (on the inside) for a couple of days or so before flying off.  It didn't move at all during that time, just clung on to the frame having a rest!


I don't know what this butterfly is called but it was certainly very pretty and eye-catching against the green of the fence-post.

 
As you can see, Nikki and Matty found all the activity just too exhausting for words so they had to have a very long snooze in the warmth of the sun :-)

Monday, 27 August 2012

Start the week with a quote...

image from The Graphics Fairy



A house unkept cannot be so distressing
as a life unlived

Sunday, 26 August 2012

At the end of the week...

Prayer for World Peace

Dove of Peace


We pray to the great Spiritual Power in which we live and move and have our being.
We pray that we may at all times keep our minds open to new ideas and shun dogma;
that we may grow in our understanding of the nature of all living beings and our connectedness with the natural world;
that we may become ever more filled with generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life;
that we may strive to heal the hurts that we have inflicted on nature and control our greed for material things, knowing that our actions are harming our natural world and the future of our children;
that we may value each and every human being for who he is, for who she is, reaching to the spirit that is within, knowing the power of each individual to change the world.

We pray for social justice, for the alleviation of the crippling poverty that condemns millions of people around the world to lives of misery - hungry, sick, and utterly without hope.
We pray for the children who are starving, who are condemned to homelessness, slave labour, prostitution, and especially for those forced to fight, to kill and torture even members of their own family.
We pray for the victims of violence and war, for those wounded in body and for those wounded in mind.
We pray for the multitudes of refugees, forced from their homes to alien places through war or through the utter destruction of their environment.

We pray for suffering animals everywhere, for an end to the pain caused by scientific experimentation, intensive farming, fur farming, shooting, trapping, training for entertainment, abusive pet owners, and all other forms of exploitation such as overloading and overworking pack animals, bull fighting, badger baiting, dog and cock fighting and so many more.

We pray for an end to cruelty, whether to humans or other animals, for an end to bullying, and torture in all its forms.
We pray that we may learn the peace that comes with forgiving and the strength we gain in loving;
that we may learn to take nothing for granted in this life;
that we may learn to see and understand with our hearts;
that we may learn to rejoice in our being.

We pray for these things with humility;
We pray because of the hope that is within us, and because of a faith in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit;
We pray because of our love for Creation, and because of our trust in God.
We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.

prayer for world peace ~ dr jane goodall


Friday, 24 August 2012

Identity crisis!

 
No sweetie~pies, I'm talking about my home not your's truly for a change.  Mind you, having said that I suppose it is true to say that the two are connected...
 
You see my loves, I follow lots of blogs where the blogger has a truly lovely home ~ which tends to make me feel more than a little inadequate about my own home-sweet-home.  For despite having now lived in this same house for nearly 30 years I have yet to get it looking how I would really like it to.  I guess it's mostly down to that butterfly mind of mine again ~ I've found it really difficult to settle on a particular style for any length of time.  Just as I think that I've cracked it I go and change my mind yet again!  Consequently the house is a mish-mash of different styles and just plain full of stuff ~ as you already know LOL  I rather think it would be pushing things to even try describing it as eclectic ;-)
 
But as is often the way with me, I have gradually been realising that the homes which speak to my heart the most are those in a pretty, shabby chic style.  And as I glance around my own home, I am struck by how many bits 'n' bobs I have that are pretty...pastels...flowery...vintage.  They are simply being swamped by other things that are much "louder" and more modern.  What a turn-up, my loves ~ I do have a style after all!  A pretty, feminine, shabby chic style which I have obviously been subconsciously  trying to express for quite some time!
 
In many ways, even though we have lived here for so many years, my home is still a blank canvas waiting for me to bring it to life.  As part of the Looking to the Future plan, Adrian and I will be decorating and making small improvements over the next few years.  Whilst we want to make the house attractive to future prospective buyers we do still have a number of years ahead of us actually living here.  So I think a compromise is the answer, i.e. paint the walls and woodwork in simple neutral shades as we tackle each room in turn ~ and it has to be said that the homes which I find the most appealing do seem to have their "bones" decorated in such a manner.
 
In the short-term I can gradually dispose of the bits 'n' bobs which do not truly speak to my heart and dress my home with the things that do.  When the time comes closer to us putting the house up for sale, then I shall temporarily pack away the majority of those things which make a home so "personal" to the family which lives there.  It does seem to be the case that rather a lot of folk find it hard to picture themselves living in a home full of other folk's belongings!
 
  Phew ~ I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's a jolly good job that we have six years or so until Adrian retires ;-)

Thursday, 23 August 2012

At least the lean-to is looking good!


I totally forgot to take "before" photos, sweetie~pies, but suffice to say it was an unholy mess in here!

The roof was leaking and during all that torrential rain we had, the water was running down the house walls like Niagra Falls :-0  Kevin, our lovely builder, came to the rescue and replaced all the flashing, painted the garden wall on our neighbour's side with some stinky waterproofing "stuff" and put in a raised floor :-)

Raising the floor has eliminated the need for the second step down which was previously at the back door; we now have a small step down out of the lean-to into the back garden instead.  When Kevin had finished, Adrian and I stained all the woodwork and put down vinyl floor tiles.  Between his dodgy knees and my dodgy back it took a fair bit longer than we were anticipating!  We also hadn't taken into consideration that laying tiles which were not self-adhesive would take longer too. 

Still, the pain, tears and tantrums were all worth it as we are really pleased with the end result :-)


We put in some decent quality, heavy-duty, shelving which came with plastic crates, so we now have good amount of storage space.  We can also now feed the pooches out in the lean-to :-)


So there is now a place for everything and everything is in its place LOL  Well, almost everything ~ there are just got a few more odds and ends to sort out at the far end, as you can see.

You really wouldn't believe the difference this has made, my loves!  It has proved to be so worthwhile spending a bit of money on getting the lean-to it sorted out.  It has become such a handy storage area ~ and of course when we eventually move all the shelving can come with us :-)

The Thursday Poem

Young Woman Reading by a Window - Delphin Enjolras


From: Mossbawn: Two Poems In Dedication
for Marie Heaney
Sunlight

There was a sunlit absence.
The helmeted pump in the yard
heated its iron,
water honeyed

in the slung bucket
and the sun stood
like a griddle cooling
against the wall

of each long afternoon.
So, her hands scuffled
over the bakeboard,
the reddening stove

sent its plaque of heat
against her where she stood
in a floury apron
by the window.

Now she dusts the board
with a goose's wing,
not sits, broad-lapped,
with whitened nails

and measling shins:
here is a space
again, the scone rising
to the tick of two clocks.

And here is love
like a tinsmith's scoop
sunk past its gleam
in the meal-bin

Seamus Heaney
(13th April 1939 - )

from the book: Poem for the Day One

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Frankly, keen gardeners should look away now!


Oh the shame of it, my loves!


These are the "before" photos of the current jungle/scrapyard that is our back garden!


No chickens residing in this lovely abode just yet, sweetie~pies ;-)


Even Matty can't believe it ~ he has had to have a little lie down!


We decided to get a gardener in;


he weeded it and hacked the shrubs back to within an inch of their lives!

He was very sweet and assured me that he's seen much worse...

...somehow I think he was just being kind ;-)

 
This gives you an idea of the current state of the garden, my loves ~ still very untidy, granted, but at least we aren't having to fight our way through a jungle anymore!
 
As you can see, the garden is small and there is an awful lot in it, so we are going to have to tackle things one small section-at-a-time ~ which means there is a whole load of shunting stuff around ahead of us!  We are having half a dozen of the fence panels replaced soon, along with concrete fence posts and gravel boards. All the panels, posts and gravel boards need to be replaced really but it goes back to that lack of space issue again ~ not to mention spreading the cost out ;-) We will be having proper patio door steps built at the same time, though, which will be lovely after years of stepping just-that-little-bit-too-far down out of the door onto somewhat wibbly-wobbly concrete blocks!
So lots of changes in store for the garden, sweetie~pies, all part of the Looking to the Future plan ~ methinks 'tis a jolly good job we've got six years 'til Adrian retires :-)  The "after" photos will be coming along as we tackle each section of our little space :-)

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Old habits die hard, it seems...

After a weekend spent dashing back and forth to the loo (a flare-up of the 'ole IBS), I just couldn't help myself sweetie~pies: I stepped on the dreaded scales.  And got off them again pretty sharpish, feeling more than a tad depressed; I am about 1.5 pounds heavier than the last time I weighed myself *sigh*  I rather suspect that means I had put on even more prior to the weekend's copious visits to the loo.


It's obvious that my diet ~ in the true sense of the word, as opposed to a slimming campaign ~ is pretty dire. And it's something that I have been thinking about, in general terms, rather a lot over recent months. When I was young, I ate a much better diet than I have done for many years now. Things really started to change when I left home and married my first husband. He only really ate carrots, very little fruit, no meat other than chicken breast, and potatoes. He did eat a lot of peanut butter though and also drank a lot of milk ~ and somehow he had managed to reach the dizzying heights of 6'4" with a 46" chest! I think I just became very lazy in the nearly two years we were together and pretty much ate the same as he did. 


When I was growing up we ate meat, fish, potatoes, vegetables and fruit. We had "proper" dinners, usually with a pudding, each day, and a traditional roast on Sundays. Cereals and toast for breakfast, perhaps a boiled egg with toast soldiers, and a traditional English fried breakfast on Saturday or Sunday. And for tea ~ or at lunchtime if we were having our main meal in the evening ~ it would be something like a cheese, ham, tuna or egg sandwich, or perhaps baked beans, tinned sardines or scrambled eggs on toast, and a piece of homemade cake.


My thoughts have been turning more and more to the meals of my childhood, and also to the meals I ate when staying with my Grandma during the 1960s/early70s (I was born in 1961).  There is no doubt that food was different then, as were meals in general.  I don't remember eating ready meals of any description until I was well into my teens; my Mum mostly cooked from scratch and Grandma always did, other than the occasional fish-and-chip supper.  Grandma didn't have a fridge when I was a child and I remember how cool her pantry always was; she kept bottles of milk in a bucket of cold water and walked up the road into the village most days to buy fresh food.  Meat came from the butcher, wet fish from the fish and chip shop, bread from the village baker, vegetables and fruit from the greengrocer. 


There was a little "supermarket" of sorts in the village and that was where Grandma bought tinned goods (I remember having tinned peach slices with evaporated milk and a slice of bread and butter for tea!), packet goods such as flour and sugar, and household sundries.


The other thing I remember is really more what I don't remember: being served large portions.  And yet I also don't recall ever leaving the table still feeling hungry.  We didn't eat until we were stuffed; we simply ate enough to satisfy our hunger.  At Grandma's house it was usually four meals: breakfast, the main meal at midday, tea and a light supper before bed.  There wasn't a lot of eating between meals either and if we did want something, we would probably be given an apple or banana.  I'm not saying that we never ate any sweets, chocolate, shop-bought biscuits or had an ice-cream, but those things really were regarded as treats.  Virtually everything else we ate was homemade, from scratch ~ and that included cakes and puddings. 

What went wrong then?  I should imagine that most folk of my generation grew up eating in a similar way, and of course our parents and grandparents would almost certainly have eaten those kinds of meals too.  It was real food, my loves, not low fat/low carbohydrate/full of man made additives.  And that, I suspect, is the answer.  What so many of us eat nowadays is just so far removed from good, basic, wholesome food that it can't possibly sustain and nourish our bodies ~ nor our minds either for that matter.  I have overloaded my body with "non-food" food for year-upon-year-upon-year ~ and I have become ever fatter and so terribly unhealthy in the process.  I am also now beginning to wonder if my emotional eating patterns have something to do with lack of proper nourishment, too.  Whilst these thoughts and ideas have been churning around in my mind, I have noticed in my travels around the internet that other folk are thinking along similar lines and doing a search such as "eating like our grandparents" pulls up lots of links.  It's comforting to know that I am most definitely not the only one coming to these conclusions!

Really, my loves, the only logical next step is to start cooking from scratch using good old-fashioned basic ingredients.  After all, I've got enough cookery books to open my own little library, some of which belonged to my Grandma ~ including her battered old notebook with her own handwritten recipes :-)  I also think it's time to start menu-planning; unlike Grandma I can't just keep popping into town every other day for fresh ingredients!  And after all, I do have the convenience of a freezer which makes it so much easier to buy meat and fish on a weekly ~ or longer ~ basis.  So I rather think my first step should be to have a good 'ole sort out in both my larder and freezer, to see what I've already got and what I need to get supplies of.  Oh, and by the way, I am not suggesting for one minute that once I start scratch-cooking my excess weight will just magically melt away ~ actually, for the first time in many years that is no longer my primary objective.  I simply want to feed my body, mind and yes, my soul too, good wholesome nourishing food :-)

I'd really like to share this new journey with you, sweetie~pies, so look out for menu-planning and Grandma's recipes in the coming weeks!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Start the week with a quote...

image from The Graphics Fairy



Expect the worst,
hope for the best,
and take what comes

Sunday, 19 August 2012

At the end of the week...

Prayer for World Peace

Dove of Peace


We pray to the great Spiritual Power in which we live and move and have our being.
We pray that we may at all times keep our minds open to new ideas and shun dogma;
that we may grow in our understanding of the nature of all living beings and our connectedness with the natural world;
that we may become ever more filled with generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life;
that we may strive to heal the hurts that we have inflicted on nature and control our greed for material things, knowing that our actions are harming our natural world and the future of our children;
that we may value each and every human being for who he is, for who she is, reaching to the spirit that is within, knowing the power of each individual to change the world.

We pray for social justice, for the alleviation of the crippling poverty that condemns millions of people around the world to lives of misery - hungry, sick, and utterly without hope.
We pray for the children who are starving, who are condemned to homelessness, slave labour, prostitution, and especially for those forced to fight, to kill and torture even members of their own family.
We pray for the victims of violence and war, for those wounded in body and for those wounded in mind.
We pray for the multitudes of refugees, forced from their homes to alien places through war or through the utter destruction of their environment.

We pray for suffering animals everywhere, for an end to the pain caused by scientific experimentation, intensive farming, fur farming, shooting, trapping, training for entertainment, abusive pet owners, and all other forms of exploitation such as overloading and overworking pack animals, bull fighting, badger baiting, dog and cock fighting and so many more.

We pray for an end to cruelty, whether to humans or other animals, for an end to bullying, and torture in all its forms.
We pray that we may learn the peace that comes with forgiving and the strength we gain in loving;
that we may learn to take nothing for granted in this life;
that we may learn to see and understand with our hearts;
that we may learn to rejoice in our being.

We pray for these things with humility;
We pray because of the hope that is within us, and because of a faith in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit;
We pray because of our love for Creation, and because of our trust in God.
We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.

prayer for world peace ~ dr jane goodall


Thursday, 16 August 2012

The Thursday Poem

Young Woman Reading by a Window - Delphin Enjolras


in Just-
spring   when the world is mud-
licious the little
lame balloonman

whistles   far   and wee

and eddiceanbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far   and   wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hope-scotch and jump-rope and

it's
spring
and
the

goat-footed

ballonMan   whistles
far
and
wee

e.e. cummings
(14th October 1894 - 3rd September 1962)

from the book: Poem for the Day One

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Hear, Hear!


(found on Facebook)

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The dolly family continues to grow!


This, my loves, is Rory who has come all the way over from the States.  He is just under 20" tall and is a very cute little chap.  He isn't "anatomically correct" but he definitely looks like a boy, don't you think?  I was attracted to him because he looks quite a lot like my precious first baby doll, Jane, so he really did have to join the family ;-)


Here are Rory and Jane, getting to know each other :-)  I don't know why, considering that I did actually know his size before I bid for him, but I was thinking that Rory would be larger than he actually is!  Mind you, having said that, Jane really is quite a big baby dolly at getting on for 24" tall.


Just look at the difference in their head sizes!


And this little sweetie is Sophia ~ who is a Rosebud :-)  She is only a little bitty baby girl, being about 11" long.  If you click on the photo to make it larger, you will be able to see how lovely her fingers and toes are ~ each one separate from the other :-)  I have such a soft spot for Rosebuds (Jane is a Rosebud, so that probably explains it), my loves ~ I find it very hard to resist them.

It seems as fast as I downsize my dolls, another (two hehehehe) join the family!


And finally two more Sindys have joined the clan as well ~ so better make that another four new dolls ;-)  These two new girls are both really lovely and in a very good clean condition apart from Laura, the brunette, having had her poor little toes nibbled off at some point.  The blonde is called Lorraine.

I suppose it may seem a tad odd, sweetie~pies, that on the one hand I am selling some of my doll collection ~ yet on the other I am still adding to it!  However, I came to the conclusion that a decision had to be made as to whether or not I concentrated my doll collection to a particular type/s and/or make/s.  In the end, I decided that I would definitely keep my Sindys and Rosebuds; I am also keeping my large baby/toddler dolls ~ of which I confess there are a few new additions I have yet to share with you all!

I still have some difficult decisions to make regarding the remainder of my doll collection.  I am really dithering over whether or not to part with all of my non-Sindy fashion dolls and the other dolls I have acquired, or keep some of them.  My fear is that is I do decide to keep some, then the collection will start to spiral out of control again!

I have "weeded out" some of the fashion dolls and taken their photos ready to put on ebay ~ so they will be appearing here soon ;-)  I guess I shall just have to keep going through the collection, gradually parting with more over time...    

Monday, 13 August 2012

Not just one.....not even two.....


but three tissue-box covers to send to John over at Going Gently for the 40th Trelawnyd Flower Show!  I pulled my finger out, sweetie~pies, and set to with the 'ole hook and yarn from my stash  of leftovers ;-)

The cover above is very monochrome, isn't it my loves, which is rather different to the more colourful ones I have made previously.  I finished it off with the shell edging. 


This one is very pretty ~ all sunshiney and happy.  I like this one a lot!  The wavey edging is sweet, too.


But this is the one I like the very best out of the three ~ it's quite autumnal, I think, with some lovely berry shades thrown into the mix.  I finished this one with a bobble-shell edging.  If I've got enough yarn leftover, I may well try to replicate this cover for myself LOL

How about you, my loves ~ do you like my latest little creations?  Which one is your favourite??