Friday, 28 February 2014

Broccoli every day next week

Thank you everyone for your comments yesterday. I know the consensus is not to feed the troll, and normally I don't, but on this occasion I thought I would  throw them to the lions, and let you rip them to bits, which you did beautifully. so thank you. The troll cannot hurt me, because I won't let them. There is no point whatsoever in their hate campaign, because their nasty words just bounce straight off me. Everything they send will get deleted, so a completely pointless exercise. 
Here is a bit of good news, I was jumping for joy yesterday. I did an hour's gardening helping my friend, and in the same village a new Tesco Express has opened. I thought it was worth a look before I headed home at 5pm. I couldn't believe my eyes, I quickly found the reduced section and there was some good stuff there, I just had to have some yellow stickers. Luckily I had put a few coins in my pocket, just in case. I got £19.55 worth of food for £2.66. Most of it was 90% off. I shall be eating broccoli till it comes out of my ear holes. You can't have too many greens. The ham is a treat for the cats, also I gave one away. I also gave my friend a tub of clotted cream. Not very healthy I know, but a treat. I love finding a bargain, lot's of bargains is even better. Makes shopping a lot more interesting. 
I almost didn't bother going on my planned visit to the big Tesco last night, but at the last minute I changed my mind and went. There was a few items I needed, and I wanted to use the £3 off voucher. I got a few more yellow stickers, a big bag of bananas for 17p, houmous for 10p, cous cous 13p, as well as my regular items. There was no tinned peach slices left so I had pineapple instead, only 4p dearer. There was no Value peanut butter left, and no alternative so I will have to pop in during the day when I am passing.

Today's lunch was two boiled eggs, three spring onions, pickled onions, beetroot, grated carrot, on a bed of cous cous, with two crispbreads. Very nice it was.

I gave away four bags last night at Tesco, all recipients willingly accepted my surprise gift and were chuffed. Today I made these four new bags.

I went to town for an hour this afternoon, to get some cash out of the bank. Picked up a few bits and bobs from the discount stores. I was looking for seed potatoes, but didn't find any to my liking at the price I want to pay. They looked a bit dried up and half dead. I normally get three bags from the Pound shop, but I see they have reduced the content of them. It used to be eight, now there are only six potatoes in the pack. I will look elsewhere. Ought to think about getting some seeds started indoors.

Right, I'm off to catch up on 'Call the Midwife', I missed episode five. A nice mug of hot chocolate and a hot cross bun, (30p for 4), will go down a treat. I'll see you tomorrow. Have a nice weekend. Toodle pip.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Baa baa black sheep have you any wool :o))

Good morning. We had rain overnight, but the clouds are drifting away and patches of blue are starting to fill the sky. One of the comments yesterday has given me the idea for today's post. I often find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with the wise words of my readers, some of you don't miss a trick and have sussed me out perfectly. On the other hand there are some comments and opinions which are wide off the mark, but that's only to be expected. It's very difficult to work out how someones brain is wired up by the letters they press on a keyboard, all weave an interesting tapestry for my blog.

This is the comment which made me smile, from bigbrownchicken. She hasn't got a blog so I can't link.

I like your style Iona, carefree and a bit child like...and why not if you can!!

bbc, you have me sussed. Your comment made me grin from ear to ear, for that is one of the personna's I like to portray to the world. It was so refreshing to read that. It came in stark contrast to the latest troll comment, which of course did not get published. 

Yes, the troll is still lurking in the background. Shed loads of insults and pure nastiness appear almost daily. At one time their frustration at what I was writing was too much for them to bear, and they vowed to stop reading and never come back. Well that lasted about four weeks, then they could keep quiet no more, and now they are back to continue their offence against me.

Every comment they make gives me a little more insight into their world, I am building up a picture. I know it is widely said that one should ignore trolls, because they do it to provoke a reaction. The reaction they get from me is not the one they are looking for. I don't get wound up, and I don't get worried. Actually the troll makes me chuckle. I keep using the word troll, it being an unknown person who's sole intention is to disrupt and undermine. I think this troll is known to me, and is hoping I will stop blogging. Ha ha, not a hope in hell sunshine, so why do you keep up this relentless pursuit, because it isn't going to get you anywhere.

One wonders what goes through the mind of someone who trolls for so long, almost a year now. What a sad life they lead, that they have to continually put someone down to make themselves feel better. There must be an awful lot of anxiety in their life, their confidence must be at rock bottom.   

'Carefree and a bit childlike', yep, that's me alright, and why not. Carefree is good for your physical health as well as good for you mentally. What is there to worry about exactly, we are all going in the same direction. I used to worry when I was younger, but not any more. Worry about what I look like, worry about what people think of me, worry about why I was not married, worry about doing my job right, worry about getting my big lorry into a tight space, ha ha. Oh core blimey, lots to worry about. Now I am a pensioner I can be anything I like, don't have to conform, don't have to dress like a 64 year old, and I can be me. If I want to act silly I can. In short, I have ......

And now I feel much better for it. This is a great time in my life, and no saddo tapping away on a keyboard is going to spoil it for me. Stuff you troll. There, I feel even better now. No doubt you will come back and spout more bile, but beware, you need to let go and get on with your own life, or you will end up a bitter and twisted person, and I know who's skin I would rather be in. 
Thank you bigbrownchicken for that thought provoking comment. I'm off outside. Toodle pip.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Why are cats so fussy!

My food is so simple, no faff, quick and easy to prepare. Breakfast today was porridge with a handful of sultanas, and some peach slices. Lunch was a cheese sandwich, and half a tin of rice pudding. Dinner tonight was four small potatoes, two onions, and some broccoli, served on a bed of couscous. Very filling 
Why can't feeding cats be just as simple. Why do they turn their noses up at everything I put before them. One day they will like something and the next they won't touch it. It drives me potty. 
'Here kitty kitty, please eat your chuffin dinner. No. Don't like it, well try this one then. Don't like that one either, well what about this one then? Still don't like it, well tough, because that's all you are getting'. Then I walk away. Chuffin cats, costs more to feed them than it does to feed me. Don't worry, I'll go to town tomorrow and get you something else. I must be nuts, ha ha.
George update....He has moved on and now has his own en suite apartment in the Kitty Hotel, aka the rescue pens. One became vacant so I moved him over there yesterday. I rang half an hour ago to ask how he is getting on, he is fine. He has a lady cat next door and a view of the garden. Much more interesting for him. He didn't really like being confined in one room here. It's ok in the short term when nothing else is available. I'll go and see him in the next few days. 
It's been a fabulous day today. Tidying in the garden, and a walk in the park. Spring has sprung. 
Toodle pip. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Crumbs, that's a good idea.

I seemed to have found my crafty mojo, it went missing for a while. I hate it when I wander through my mind and it is empty of ideas. I get frustrated when I have a crafty blockage, when no ideas are forthcoming. I can't will an idea if there are non there. I look at the materials I have around me and wait for some inspiration. I have to wait, there's no point in trying to force it, it's either there or not there. 
I need to get a buzz from my craft work, and it's the creative process that gives me the buzz. Like I mentioned before, I don't follow patterns, I want to make something that is unique to me. I might take ideas from books and web sites, but then adapt them, and pick bits out to incorporate into what I am making. It's a bit like my cooking, I don't follow recipes, I make my own up. 
This is an idea to use up the fleecy crumbs, and I think it has turned out amazingly well. I found a circle of organza in my stash, it shimmers like sunshine. I arranged a pile of crumbs in a circle and pinned the organza on the top of it. Then starting at the outer edge I machined around it in ever decreasing circles, in a zigzag stitch. The backing is a piece of denim.  
I had to go round the outer edge twice to make sure there were no gaps where the crumbs might fall out.

I am well pleased with this effect, it's like looking into one of those kaleidoscope thingy's where the small pieces of coloured glass reflect on the mirrors.

Now I'm looking at it and thinking, what next. It needs something adding to it. I did think about making felt flowers and embroidering them to it, around the edge maybe. But, hmmm, not so sure now. Adding beads perhaps might be a good idea, to give it a bit more sparkle. It's going to be a bag of course. I'll let you know what happens next. Catch you tomorrow. Toodle pip.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Disgusting !!!

If I was living with someone, these would be my disgusting habits. There would be verbal punch ups between me and my other half, they would swear and curse, and slam doors, and stamp around a bit. They would tell me what a slob I am, and demand that they have their own fridge which would have a lock on it and be out of bounds to me. They would order me to keep my mitts off their food. 
But luckily I don't live with anyone, so I can do what the hell I like in my kitchen.
I can bite a chunk out of the cheese and put it back. Nice set of gnashers eh!
I can eat the peanut butter straight from the jar with a knife. Yum, love it.

I can dip into the big tub of plain yogurt, with a dessert spoon, and eat one spoon, or six.

I can take a swig of milk straight from the carton and put it back in the fridge.

And I can eat my stew straight from the pan. No need to mess a plate up.

It's bliss living alone. Come on you singlies, confess, what do you do when no one is looking?

Lynn, the bag is on it's way.

Catch you tomorrow. Toodle pip.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

A surprise for a lucky winner

A picture of my lunch today. Very easy to make, boil two eggs for six minutes, uses hardly any gas at all. Iceberg lettuce, cucumber, pickled onions, small fresh mushrooms, and a few pieces of cheddar cheese. I buy mature cheese, don't like mild as it tastes of nothing. Splosh some tartar sauce around and Bob's your uncle, a healthy salad.  
I made a 3 - 4 day stew yesterday. The usual, use up bits I had, finished the carrots, still potatoes and onions left for another day, or another week probably. I found a tin of tomatoes in the cupboard, naughty me for not checking the date on it. It was out of date in December 2012, yikes !! Never mind, chuck it in. Then I found a tin of vegetable soup given to me, also out of date, August 2013. Never mind, chuck it in. The stew tastes lovely, more left for tomorrow. I plan on doing a toddle round Tesco on Wednesday or Thursday night, whenever the fancy takes me. That will make it three weeks since the last visit.

An at home day today, most of them are these days, but I am busy with several crafty projects on the go. It saves getting bored. I have to spend some time with George so I have my rag rug up there and keep adding more to it. I also cut another long handled bag out this morning. I have four shopping bags waiting to be sewn up, and another crazy cat mat to work on. Then there's the picture to make on the back of the fancy fabric. I am collecting small beads for this project.

Anyway, I haven't got time to stand around here gassing, got to get on. Remember the bag I made on Wednesday? Well I am feeling very generous and will give it away, but you don't have to comment again to win it, I have already picked the winner. So take a step forward.......Lynn.

Here is her winning comment
Hi ilona that bag is fab it reminds me of my grannies curtains in her maisonette they where really thick material floor to ceiling and I loved them :) I have her old singer sewing machine. She was a tailoress as a job I wish I had that skill. The bags you make are fab.Lynn x    

Email me your name and address, or put it in a comment which I won't publish, and I will get it in the post to you. Oooh, I like giving surprises :o))
Catch you tomorrow. Toodle pip.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

What's in my mini Scrapstore.

I've sauntered through Saturday, doing a bit of this and a bit of that. Work in the kitchen first, the cooker top and grill needed a deep clean, plus a general wipe down of the worktops, fridge and microwave. With the pots all washed, that cleared the way for a hairwash in the sink, after I had given the top and fringe a trim. I hate it when it gets all floppy and I have to keep running my fingers through it to get it off my face. Didn't cut the back and sides, they are alright for the time being. 
It was a lovely sunny morning so just right for a dog walk. Others had the same idea we chatted while the dogs sniffed around and played. George had already been fed, the curtains opened, and the radio switched on for him, first thing, so when I got back I went in the room to spend some time with him. He is becoming very affectionate, but then attacks my feet when he thinks I am going to leave. It's a good job I have three pairs of socks on. We had another enquiry for him, but again an unsuitable home. We are not being too picky, but after three years of rescuing and re homing we are exercising caution when it comes to checking out a possible home. The right one will come along. 
I have been tidying and de cluttering the spare room bit by bit, that's when George lets me. Some stuff has gone to the hospice shop, and the rest sorted into neat piles. I can't bring myself to throw things away just in case they come in useful. Here are the fabric piles in some sort of order. There's everything from heavy upholstery fabric, to plain and patterned, and lightweight silks and cottons. 
Leather samples.

A sample book taken apart. The labels are difficult to get off.

A few pieces of laminate flooring. It might come in useful for something.
A collection of aluminium drinks cans. I have stopped collecting these now as I have enough.
 I have enough plastics also, but if I spot an unusual colour I will keep it.

Three bags I made using cat food pouches and dry cat food bags. 
And some more dry food bags in case I want to make some more.

You can't have too much tape. The top one is double sided and very sticky, good for artwork, and the rest are useful for parcels and mending things.

I might do something with these one day. Felt tip pens with the innards removed.

Little pots of vinyl silk emulsion paint, assorted colours, bought for 4p each when Woollies were closing down. Most of them are full so still usable. 
 Lots of pieces of vinyl. I have some large rolls as well. I will find a use for them one day.
Enough embroidery silks.

Lace and ribbons.

The wool corner is looking a bit sad, trashed by Heidi cat. I have scaled this down a bit because I don't do much knitting or crochet.

Having a good stash of materials for crafting purposes is a bit like having a full larder to choose from when you want to cook something special. If you haven't got the bits you need then you can't make it. I prefer to get most of my crafting materials free of charge, no need to buy anything more once you have the basics. It will take me a lot more time to use up what I have here, than it will to eat out of my cupboards until they are empty.

My crafting follows the same train of thought as my meal preparations. I look to see what materials I have, then come up with an idea to make something from them. It only takes a bit of imagination, bend the rules a bit, adapt a pattern or make a new pattern, then visualize if it might work, and how it might turn out. I am not very good at following instructions, or recipes, I am a bit bolshie in that way, I want to do it my way. It's more fun. It either works or it doesn't. If I make a yucky meal I either eat it anyway or make it into something else. If my crafting turns out wrong I curse, unpick it, and re design it. If it's a total write off it's no big deal, because I am using recycled materials.

Anyway, what I have shown here is only a small part of it. I have all kinds of bits and bobs which might come in useful. These are my ingredients for my projects, the raw materials. I craft from scratch, do you?

Friday, 21 February 2014

Eat your heart out :o))

Hello and welcome to some more new readers. A comment from Tina yesterday was quite amusing, I will answer her question.

Your meals always look good, but I was a bit puzzled by you saying there were enough chips for lunch and tea and you were not sure if you need a dinner now, how many meals a day do you have? 

There are so many different words for the meals we have here in the UK, breakfast is simple enough but then there's the midday meal which is known as either lunch or dinner, then some people call their evening meal tea or dinner, yet when some people say tea they mean afternoon tea before the evening dinner!

We have breakfast, lunch, dinner. Although we usually call dinner Supper! 

Oh forgot that there's supper too, so we could be eating all day long, breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, supper.
We'd soon be lardy lumps! Lard, that's what started this comment!

Hi Tina, 
I usually have three meals a day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But, sometimes I have two breakfasts, the second one two hours after the first. If I start with bran flakes I am usually hungry again so I have a snack. If I start with porridge that will see me through to lunchtime.  I suppose you could call the second breakfast elevenses. Lunch is something not too filling because I don't want to spend the afternoon stodged up, and doing physical work after stuffing my face makes me feel sick. Mind you, a big salad doesn't take long to go through, no stodge in that. My mum always used to say, 'sit still and let your dinner go down', I was always the first to ask 'please may I leave the table.' Mind you things have changed now, I don't bolt my food any more, like everything else in my life, eating has slowed down to a more leisurely pace. 

I take lunch when my body tells me it's hungry, which could be any time between 11.30am and 1.30pm, depending on how much breakfast and elevenses I have had. I would rather have several small meals than three humungous ones. There was too many chips for one meal, so I split them into two portions. When I got home it was late afternoon so I warmed up the rest in the microwave and had them for tea. Posh folks would call that high tea. 

I knew that was not going to be enough to see me through to bed time. My first thought was to top it up later with rice pudding, but when it got to 7pm I didn't fancy it, so I had some home made carrot soup with a slice of wholemeal bread instead. 

When I was young we had dinner at lunchtime, and tea when we got home from school at 5pm. We never used to have supper, it wasn't really needed because mum always served up big meals, even though they weren't always the healthiest. Lots of bread and potatoes. If we were hungry before bed time we had a sugar sandwich. 

When I was working, driving all day, my meals were very haphazard, snacking most of the time because there was no time to stop and have a sit down meal until after the days work. Even then I couldn't stomach what they served up in transport cafe's, so I made my own on a little camping stove in the cab. 

Right, to the present day. My eating habits have drastically changed for the better since I have stopped driving. Now I know what is good for me, I am able to pick and choose what to eat, and when to eat it. I know if I don't eat for three to four hours I am going to feel lousy, I am going to feel faint. I know if I go out anywhere I need to take a sandwich, a banana, and a drink. I don't rely on getting something from a shop. I don't buy ready made sandwiches, they are prepared in a factory, and shops sell stodgy snacky things, not good. 

Small amounts often are better than whopping big meals, but, I can eat a big plateful of steamed veg or salad, and I know it will not bloat me. So Tina you won't become a lardy lump if you stuff yourself with veg and salad. Lay off the meat, pies, puddings, cakes, flans, pizzas, pasties, and anything bulked up with pastry. Bulk up with pulses, chick peas, any kind of beans though wash the sugar off them, porridge oats, wholemeal rice and wholemeal pasta. Don't snack on biscuits, crisps, fizzy drinks, choccy bars. Snack on nuts and fruit. Only eat when you are hungry, when your stomach is grumbling. When you are full stop. Keep reducing the amount you eat and your stomach will shrink to accommodate smaller meals. 

I hope that has answered your question, what was the question bye the way? ha ha. Thank you for giving me a topic to write about. The sun is shining, the washer has stopped so I need to go and peg the washing out on the line. Things to do, a bit more gardening today, get out while it's nice. I would like to go out for a long walk but I have commitments here, but I can find plenty to do. Goodness, I have just noticed that the dust is almost an inch thick on the mantlepiece, oh well not to bother, another job for another day. The windows need cleaning first. Keep chipping away at things. I am not superwoman, people take me as they find me. My house is full of love, if not that pristine. 
Have a nice Friday. Toodle pip.  

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Crumbs and chips

It's been a good day for pottering in the garden, not my garden though, my friends new garden. She is in charge of the indoor renovations, and I am head gardener. Mind you, there are some jobs which are a bit beyond my capabilities, like putting up new fence panels and taking a chainsaw to a tree which needs cutting back. 
The big tree is that one on the right. The Laurel at the bottom of the garden needs a good pruning as it's overhanging into the next garden, I can do that, I'll take my ladder with me next time I go. I made a start today by chopping back some unruly bushes. My friend is not sure who is responsible for the fence panels, as there are some broken and missing on both sides. She has got to speak to the neighbours about that. Quite a bit of work to do, but no rush, she is hoping it will be ready for new tenants in April. Luckily it's only ten minutes drive away so I can pop over there when we get some nice days.

Another little job I am doing at the moment is sorting the fleecy off-cuts out into colours, it will make it easier when I finish the other cat mat. There are a lot of very small pieces which are no good for sewing, so I am chopping them into tiny crumbs.

My first thought was use them for stuffing, but they are too pretty and there is nothing I want to stuff at the moment. I've got an idea to embellish a bag with them.
Still no shopping, but I have to confess, I had a craving for chips today so I picked some up from a very good chippy, on the way to the house. They were so so good. I don't make chips at home and I rarely buy any, they are a twice a year treat. There was enough for lunch and tea. Not sure if I need a dinner now, I am stuffed. I will have a snack later, probably some rice pudding. It's an amazing sunset tonight, we have a big black cloud over us and way in the distance the sun is disappearing over the horizon. In a few minutes it will be pitch black. I'll catch you tomorrow. Toodle pip.
PS. Someone pointed out to me that we have 700 members. I have just noticed that it's gone over to 701, so welcome to all new people. I hope you enjoy your visits to Tightwad Towers, the place where every penny counts.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The bag lady strikes again

Hello. I've done some more sewing today, in between dog walking and cat sitting. Busy busy again. I wanted to try another way to put a bag together. I have made this shape bag before, there is a tutorial somewhere on this blog. This is not strictly a tutorial, but I will talk you through it. 
I chose a thick piece of fabric from my Scrapstore stash, I think it is normally used for upholstery. First I cut the back and the front, two pieces the same using the template I made out of wallpaper. Then I put five darts in each piece along the top, to bring it in a bit and give it a more rounded shape. The sort of darts you might put in a skirt if you were making one.  
My usual way of making a bag is to make the bag and the lining separately, then join the two together putting one inside the other and adding the handles before sewing round the top. This time I am going to make it in two halves and then join them. The outer is pinned onto the lining, I am using a yellow pillow case for this, then cut the shape out. The right side is inside facing the lining, so at this stage it's inside out.
The handles I have made out of long strips of fabric, and these are slipped inside with the two ends showing at the top. They need to stick out about 1 - 2 inches. Next I sewed the two pieces together, starting near the bottom and going up one side, along the top, and down the other side. I left a hole at the bottom to pull it through and turn it the right way round.

Now I have half a bag. I have pressed it and machined across the top of it to keep it flat and give the handles extra strength so they won't pull out.

The inside with the lining already sewn in. I closed the hole at the bottom with some hand stitching. 
Then it was a matter of sewing the two halves together. I did it inside out, but because there are now several layers it made it too thick to squeeze underneath the foot of the machine, so I took the foot off and sewed it together without it. Here is the finished article, turned the right way round. The lining is now not a loose piece inside the bag, it is sewn in all the way round.

 The thick side seams which would not go under the foot of the machine.

I found doing it this way was much easier than making the lining separate and dropping it inside, then adding the handles before sewing it up. Much less fiddly to sew something flat rather than sewing around the top of the whole bag, and hoping that the lining is going to fit properly. I will probably use this method again, a lighter fabric might work a bit better, then the seams won't be so bulky.

I've not been shopping yet this week, will try and hold out a bit longer, but might have to go before the weekend. Tomorrow I'm going to go and have a look at my friends new purchase, another buy to let house. I shall be helping her with the garden again. I feel like I need to get stuck in with some more physical activity. We've had no rain today so I hope it stays dry tomorrow.
Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Kittycat bum warmer finished

Hello. I hope I'm not in any bother, I just didn't find the time to post yesterday. Life is busy at the moment, lots of ideas, lots of projects waiting to get started, and projects to finish. Things buzzing around in my brain, I needed a breathing space. Phew, there is never enough time. Anyway, I'll crack on tonight with this post. First off, something different in my porridge. I bought a Value Fruited Malt Loaf last week (dead cheap) and it's gone out of date. Not to worry, it will still get eaten. Why not chop a couple of slices into cubes and put it in the porridge. Very filling, makes a change from banana. Also added was a handful of sultanas, and a dessertspoon of desiccated coconut. 
It was a Spring like day today and I fancied a salad for lunch. Iceberg lettuce, mushrooms, cucumber, pickled onions, cottage cheese, cheese with cranberries, and grated carrot. I ate this while I watched Mr Selfridge on the catchup tv. Takes me a good 45 minutes to eat this, after carefully chewing every mouthful twenty times before I send it down the hatch, ha ha.

I've been busy with this for two days, wanted to get it finished. The fleecy cat mat made from the offcuts we were given. It's 20 inches by 22 inches, and will be going to our pens where it will keep the kitty's bottoms warm.

For the back I used two pieces of cotton curtain lining that I was given ages ago. 
I ran ran the machine up and down it in a zigzagy pattern. The binding was one leg from my old pair of pyjamas. Machine stitched on the front and hand stitched on the back.

It has George's approval. He likes it.

I am very pleased with this, it's a great example of recycling, making something out of rubbish. It didn't cost anything at all except time. I've got a smaller one of these to make, still lots of pieces to use up. Still working on the rag rug. There's another idea I want to try for a making a bag with a lining. Shopping bags to make. The list is never ending. Thank you for calling in. I will try and keep up, ha ha. Toodle pip.