Thursday, 20 August 2009

Other Progress....... Kinda

So what else did we get up to over the weekend, apart from clearing out junk from the garden? Well... DH had obviously been traumatised by the enforced parting from all that cr*p and decided he needed a day off, so he opted to join DS and friends from the LTC for a spot of walking in Derbyshire - Dove Dale to be precise. I had fancied joining them BUT I was totally cream crackered and a touch achey from Saturday's exertions and knew a 6 mile walk would more than likely finish me off, rather than be enjoyable....... so a quiet day at home on my tod, pottering around doing what I wanted when I wanted won out. :0)

I spent a bit of time outside, nursing a herbal tea and enjoying the fruits of our labour - it's so good to see definite signs of improvement. It's also good to know I can go out there without the threat of unearthing or tripping over stray scrap, lumps of wood or other assorted hoarded bits that DH was convinced "would come in useful some time" but actually just sat there rotting away because they didn't. I am definitely avoiding going into the workshop and shed though! LOL

One of the things that I kinda made progress on was a Christmas ornie for JA/S&S Forum's Monthly SAL...... still behind with that so it's July's ornie. It's a small piece I found lurking in the bottom of a pile of bits I found in a cupboard, ready stitched so just the finishing to do.

The small amount of progress made was stitching the two borders. I found a nice alphabet and set of numbers as I intend stitching something on the back - probably Yule 2009 or something similar. Then I got the fabric out for the Christmas Wishes SAL piece, measured and cut a piece and tacked guidelines for the top and sides and middle:

Really impressive progress, ain't it? LOL I just don't seem to be in the mood for stitching again at the moment and would much rather be out in the garden while the weather is nice, either working or making plans. :0)

Oh, I did spend some time updating my other blog with recent things: a post on one of the books I'd finished reading and an update on my latest Herbalist visit and weigh in (still Happy Dancing about that! LOL) and did a little reading too. The day just seemed to slip past as DH and DS soon seemed to be home again, though they did have a side trip down to Mai Mai Gardens for their tea first. The weather had been kind to them and they'd had an enjoyable walk, so I'm determined to go there and do the walk in the not too distant future.

This week has been a bit busy. Monday was my regular jobs day, with a visit from Alex for a natter, as she was back from her holiday, and blogging to break things up a little. DS and I also had a loft session after tea, putting his holiday case back up there, along with a few other bits that needed to go up. Then we made a start on sorting through some bits in the little bedroom and he hefted some boxes downstairs and into the sun lounge - temporary storage area while we clear the bedroom for decorating. DH and DS then brought down the old desk that was in there and put it in the hall.

Tuesday was warm - a good drying day - so I did several loads of laundry and put them out on the whirlygig, finally caught up with all of the blogs I read, gave the child's desk and computer chair a good wipe down and offered them on Freecycle and went through a cupboard down the side of the house. That cupboard has the bird seed stored on top and was supposed to be for the things we need to hand for the garden, like gloves, trowel, ties, feed etc etc but DH had filled it with all kinds of cr*p over the years (wouldn't have guessed it, wouldya? ROFL). More rusty metal bits are destined for the scrap skip and numerous other bits of dross went straight in the bin..... that bin was definitely filling up! Had a poke underneath the cupboard with a stick and I found more bin casualties....... and dislodged a few disgruntled eight-legged beasties too. Had a herbal tea and a magazine read after that (the magazines then go in the recycling box, so more clutter leaves the house) - the meditation I tried afterwards didn't go so well though..... I discovered it was quite possible to fall asleep whilst sat up in a hard plastic chair but you do wake up with quite a start when your head suddenly drops forward, heading for your knees. ;0) Later in the afternoon our neighbour came round to collect her front door key (we'd kept an eye on her house while they were away) and brought a lovely bunch of flowers as a thank you.

Gorgeous, aren't they? The visit gave me the opportunity to show her the back garden and talk about taking down the blue panel and putting up fencing to replace it - her DH is going to come round some time to have a look and they'll take it from there. After tea my DH helped me move out the cupboard so I could sweep the area - thankfully all the eight-legged beasties had long since legged it - then move it back. Found a bag with a decent pair of DS's outgrown rugby boots so I offered those on Freecycle too. Another job done.
As it was UFO Tuesday and Night Watchman is now complete it was time to choose another UFO to come out of the bag. So what won out? Well I finally decided to bite the bullet and tackle Sea Stars again. Here's where I'd got up to:

Remeber I left off this in disgust when those flippin' frogs paid a call yet again on this? Well it was time to do the reverse stitching on it, so this is where it now stands:

Reverse stitching done, in the hopes that I'll feel more like picking it up next time around. The other two ladies in the SAL, Barb and Rosanne, have long since finished theirs so this is now embarrassingly overdue a finish. ;0)

Wednesday was more lovely weather so a towel load got done and put out. I had a general potter around, sorting through some bits unearthed from the little bedroom and tidying up. Also another opportunity to sit outside with a herbal tea and magazine..... and do the whole meditate/ fall asleep/head falling thing all over again. LOL In the evening a couple came for the desk and chair for their DD and a chap for the rugby boots for his DS -and I'd unearthed an old pair of green wellies down the side of the house that morning so I offered them to the guy and he took them too, saving me having to post an offer on Freecycle again.

Thursday I had another pottering around day, the main job being a sort through my wardrobe again and I found more too-big clothes that went in a charity bag. After the previous sort out I ended up putting three bags full out for the Salvation Army. I need a serious shopping session now as, although I have four pairs of jeans and an assortment of tops to wear and some nice summer dresses and some woolies, I no longer have any trousers that fit. Slight inconvenience BUT it is so good to be able to say that....... it's actual proof of how much weight I've lost since last Christmas (see other blog).

Today it's packing day as DH and I are away again next week - we're off to stay in a cottage on a farm site just inland from Mablethorpe, so we're hoping for some nice weather for a spot of beach walking and maybe even some paddling! LOL No internet connection this time but I'll be taking a selection of small stitching projects with me and there'll be evenings of Trivial Pursuits too.
We don't normally have three holidays in a year but DSis booked and paid for this one as a thank you for what we've done to help her since Dad passed away, Bless her. Anyways, we may not get a holiday next year, depending on what happens in the next few months, so we're making the most of it: the numbers have been announced at the steelworks and 18 have to go from across the whole of DH's department, 5 specific to his area - 3 have already said they want to go. DH has asked to know what his terms are and will review his options when he has some figures to work with. No point in worrying about it - DH remains positive and I've given it up to the Universe - now waiting to see what unfolds. :0)

Thank you for all your lovely comments and, as ever, for taking the time to visit. Hope you all have a lovely weekend - will catch up with you all after we get home again. :0)

Sunday, 16 August 2009

More Garden Progress

Our neighbour, Garden Pete, came round on Tuesday 11th to do the work on the garden that I'd booked him for - and it wasn't a moment too soon, as the garden had taken advantage of our two-week holiday absence and had a major growth spurt. Boy, can that fella graft....... I want to know what he's on, then maybe I can give DH some of it when he's less than enthusiastic about doing jobs! ROFL

First of all he dug out a bush in the front garden that was in totally the wrong place for the size of it - whilst the bees loved the flowers it produced in profusion it kept obscuring DH's view of the gatepost (not good when he's reversing out onto the road) so it had to go. When we redo the front garden we'll be putting something less boisterous in its place. Then it was the turn of the back garden and he started by giving the privet hedge a really good short back and sides, which it was in desperate need of, and then set to strimming, trimming, digging bits out and digging and weeding.

Here's a view of the neat and tidy hedge and the freshly dug border:

He dug out a couple of rotten stumps; dug out a lot of the big yellow daisy type flowers that had reached weed proportions (I don't do alot of flower names, especially Latin ones. LOL) and thoroughly weeded it. It all looks a bit bare at the moment but that isn't why all the pots are there - they are stuck there to keep them safely out of the way so we have a clear run of the path (you'll understand why later). He also unearthed the fuchsia that my Dad gave me and that's now making up for lost time by budding all over the place:

Plus there's another baby fuchsia bush behind this one and I've no idea where that one appeared from - perhaps the larger bush is its Mommy?

Lots of long grass on the bonfire heap and round the compost bins got strimmed and the end of the garden got a real fettling. Yes, folks, those triffids at the bottom of the garden have finally been tamed - no more grand ideas about world domination from them. Yay! Just look at this:

There's still plenty of cover to keep the birdies happy and plenty there for privacy to keep us happy too. Now it's under control I can keep it that way by snipping it when needed, especially any bits that grow below the level of the lowest branches - now I can dig the area below and put in some suitable plants. By the time Garden Pete had done all that lot, around 12.30pm, everything was looking a darned sight tidier - in fact, as my DS commented that night, it's the best it's ever looked. :0)

For the rest of that week I kept on popping out into the garden to potter around, snipping a bit here and weeding a bit there....... and finding odd bits of things that could go in one or other of the bins. It's been more of a pleasure than usual to be out there and my mood has improved as a result - the post-holiday funk is now officially over. :0) Seeing the improvements seemed to inspire DH and he and DS spent one night between them taking out the remaining edging strips the previous owner had put in everywhere (it looks like corrugated bonded asbestos) while I put it in bags and hefted them down the side of the house, ready to go to the special skip at the amenities site.

Saturday came around and DH seemed almost as keen as me to go do even more sorting out there. See those blue panels in two of the above pics? Well they're supposed to go together to make a huge metal shed - one of DH's projects that never got done, then we had the workshop put up and there was no longer any need for them...... they've just sat there, rusting away and being a huge eyesore for years. Well DH finally decided it was time for them to go. Yay! Double and triple Yay! Boy, do I feel like throwing a party! LMAO
To make them easier to handle, and so they'll fit in the back of The Tank, they have to be cut in half. It would be less effort just to haul them, one at a time, onto the front and let the local gypsies help themselves but DS has requested that any scrap metal we want rid of goes to where he works. Why? Well, there's a scrap skip in the yard and every year, just before Christmas, the scrap gets cashed in and the money made from it pays for their Christmas "do". Last year there was enough money to pay for everyone's meals, all their beers and a few quid each as a Christmas gift. This year, thanks to the recession, things are looking a bit sparse - it needs all the help going to fill it to give them a decent works "do".

So Saturday morning the first panel was almost cut through when the cutter died - changing the fuse didn't work, nor did jiggling the wires around a bit, or anything else...... then it started raining, so we grabbed everything electrical and took temporary refuge in the workshop, until it eased off enough to dash up to the house. One lunch later and not only had it stopped raining but DS arrived back home with some extra cutting blades to keep DH going, once he'd found another power tool for the job. DS and I headed off out to start sorting through things and DH followed a bit later, found something suitable and set to cutting the second panel in two.

See the pile of bricks and wood in front of the shed in the first pic? We started going through all of that, throwing any metal we found as we went onto a heap on the lawn, sweeping up all the accumulated privet debris we hadn't been able to get at previously, as we went. Next I attacked the big bushy thing with the loppers, taking off all the bits that were in the way, so we could stack more bricks on the pile and get at the wood stack. After that we went through the wood, throwing all the rotten and worm-eaten stuff onto the bonfire area - again adding to the metal heap and sweeping up as we went. There was a very invasive vine thing coming through from next door and, as we've already got waaaay more of that kinda thing in here already, lopped it all back. Then we neatly restacked the remaining wood back against the front of the shed, returning the metal storage bins and old bbq to their temporary resting places. This was the result of that effort:

The result: a much tidier area and enough scrap wood to satisfy DH's tendencies to arson for a while. ;0) The reason? To make getting to that blue panel a whole lot easier, so it can come down and be replaced with a fence whenever our neighbours that side give the go ahead for the job (need to have a word with them now they're back off their holiday).

The same area, slightly different angle:

The blue panel had to be put up there as the previous neighbours wouldn't put a proper fence in the gap - despite the fact that the scumbag/s who burgled our house got into our garden through that gap. Yes, it was (and is) an eyesore but what else could we do when it's their fence and they wouldn't do anything and we couldn't afford to? So looking forward to that being sorted. :0)

Whilst we were busy DH had got kitted up and had cut the second panel in half. DS helped him to get a third panel from the stack that's leaning on the side of the old shed (see bottom three pics above) and he cut that in half as well. We stacked all the halved panels further up the garden, against the privet hedge and closer to the house, so they'll be to hand when it's time to take them to the scrap skip at DS's work (the reason for all the pots staying on the garden). We also raved a pair of grotty old kitchen stools out of the shed and took them apart - the backs and seats went in a bag to go to the amenities site and the metal frames on the pile to go to the scrap skip. Then DS went through the metal heap on the lawn and divided it up into a pile of usable pieces and a pile of those bits that weren't - DH had a look and was OK with it, so the smaller bits were bagged up, the larger bits tied into bundles and the usable bits were stacked inside the back of the workshop. I walked my little legs off, I can tell you, but it was so worth it!

DS took all the bagged up metal and the stool frames to work today, so that's more cr*p gone. Some time this week DH will take the panels and bundles and a few other odd bits of metal to the scrap skip for DS and also have an amenities site run to dispose of the bags of asbestos stuff and quite a few other larger bits of unwanted bits that were too big to go in the bin. And see the rusty cupboard frame in the 4th and 5th pics? DH announced tonight that that can go as well. Woot! Woot! So it's gradually starting to look less like a scrapyard out there and more like a proper garden now!

There are still a couple of areas that need a tidy up though: the garden along the fence needs sorting, rotavating and some manure spreading on it (the weeds really took hold there while we were away) and the old air raid shelter needs a serious trim. Here's the back view of it so you can see what I mean:

Looks like something out of the Hair Bear Bunch, doesn't it? All that greenery is a mix of ivy, honeysuckle and winter flowering jasmine. The inside of the shelter is the next thing that DS fancies tackling: I have my fingers crossed that the reasonable weather holds for the rest of this week so it can get done - clearing junk out of there means that all the car and caravan cleaning things that are currently stored around the house will, at last, go in there instead. :0)

It wasn't all work over the weekend though but more of that in another post.

Thank you greatly for all the lovely comments about Night Watchman - I can't tell you how much I appreciate them. Hope you all had a great weekend and a good start to the week. :0)

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Chalk Another One Up......

to Julie and her erstwhile sidekick Mr Stick. They kept my nose to the grindstone on UFO Tuesday's - or should I say my needle plugging away at the fabric - on yet another one of my UFO's.

Yes, there's been another success for the dynamic duo and Night Watchman is now complete:

Design: Night Watchman, kit #WHNW738
Designer: Heritage Stitchcraft, the Warwick Higgs range
Fabric: 28ct evenweave, unknown make - used instead of the aida supplied
Threads: DMC, as supplied
Finish: undecided as yet

Thank you so much Julie and Mr Stick, and all the ladies at the JA/S&S Forum, for keeping me going with this, especially when it got towards the end and it felt like the tricksy fairies were adding in extra blocks so it would never get finished. LOL

Boy, have those bellydancing CD's had an airing this week! LMAO And yes, there are other UFO's lurking in dark corners waiting to take the handsome fella's place - come back next week to see which one shouted the loudest. ;0)

Thank you for stopping by - hope you're all having a lovely week with lots of Happy Dances of your own. :0)

Monday, 10 August 2009

Holiday Stitching and Other Things

Got myself organised for sorting pictures out so I can now show you my holiday stitching and a few other things..... though not got the phone pics transferred yet, as DH hasn't yet extracted his digit and found the cable. :0)

First item stitched on holiday was the Hope piece. I started it in the wrong colour (should have been purple) but decided I preferred it this way round anyway and carried on, then did the Cure piece a few days later. Both still need some snowflake beading work added before they are fully completed but thought I'd still share:

Designs: Snowflakes For Cancer
Designer: Virginia Knutson of VeeandCo
Fabric: Count On Me Fabric, Aster
Threads: Carrie's Creations Boysenberry & Sassy
Finish: as Christmas ornies

Both of these were designed specifically for the Stitching for a Cure decorated Christmas Tree fundraiser in the USA that is being organised by Donna. I read about this fabulous fundraising effort after we lost Helen (DH's DSis) and my Dad to cancer and just had to do something to support this worthwhile cause. When these are fully finished I'll be posting them off, along with the Hope ornie I stitched earlier this year, to add to the tree........ and that will be another commitment completed. :0)

When those two quickies had had all the cross stitch completed I then pulled one of the small kits from out of the bag:

The kit had been lurking in the bottom of my stash box for years - I'd piked it up in the Tourist Centre in Dunoon, Scotland many years ago (early 1990's), when I joined my DBro and DSis for a few days, whilst they were up there on holiday. As you can see I didn't get a great deal done. Usually I love Celtic designs and find the zoomorphic ones particularly fascinating but, for some reason, it didn't grab my attention for long or get my enthusiasm going. :0( Maybe the fact that it's cross stitch on canvas may have something to do with it. Still, it'll get done eventually. :0)

Since coming home I've had the card making goodies out again, as it was Helen's birthday on the 5th. Here's the card I made for her:

I don't usually do decoupage but Mylene had sent me a beautiful book of decoupage designs for my birthday and when I saw this one I knew it was just right, as it went with Helen's gift perfectly. It sounds like Helen had a lovely day. :0)

A needle and Night Watchman came out for UFO Tuesday last week..... and also for Wednesday night..... but, try as I might, I just couldn't get that darned tree finished. Maybe those tricksy fairies were up to some mischief by adding some extra blocks in there? LOL This is where I left off:

Last night I felt enthused and got him out again and got the darned tree completed. Yay! Will leave the update for next time though. The bellydancing CD's have been dusted off in anticipation of this long awaited Happy Dance. LOL

Whilst I was away on my holidays Elisa very kindly gave me this cute award:

Thank you so much Elisa. :0) I am supposed to award this to eight of my favourite blogs/bloggers but I really can't pick out just eight from all the wonderful blogs I read - I hate leaving anyone out as I enjoy every one I read. So: if I read and comment on your blog then please consider this award as yours. :0)

This weekend was 50/50 busy and quiet. Saturday was the busy day: the freezer was a little low on meat (the Brigg Farmer's Market was on whilst we were away) and the veggies were non-existent (no veg box delivery until next Friday, for the same reason). So off to the Pink Pig we trotted. LOL We had dinner there (ham salad with a few chips for me (they didn't have any rice that day) then did our shopping: some cheeses for DH (he loves the Dambuster one); some salad stuff and veggies; various meats, including some lamb koftas for the fellas; a carob bar for me and some organic tinned produce. More little stamped hearts got added to our loyalty card. Whilst there I asked if there was another Psychic Night with Ian Lawman planned - nothing set yet, as Ian himself isn't very well at the moment, but they'll be organising one as soon as he's OK. Guess who'll be going to that. :0) After putting the perishables into the cool box in the back of the car, off we went to Uncle Henry's next. Here we got another mixed batch of goodies for the freezer and food cupboards and collected some more loyalty card stamps upon paying. Back home and a quick unload then DH shot off down the street for his hair appointment, then to get a few things from the shops down there, while I put everything away.

That evening we got ready and walked down the High Street to have a sit-in curry at the Gourmet, our favourite Indian restaurant....... a treat to try and counteract the bad case of post holiday blues I've had since returning home. We had planned on going to the Spiritualist Church afterwards, as I felt the time was right to visit it....... unfortunately the Universe decided otherwise: they were a little busy on the take-out side and DH would insist on having a starter so part way through the meal we realised we were running too late for the 7pm start. We took our time over the rest of it, allowing DH time for a bottle of Cobra beer and a good natter. Afterwards we had a wander round to the church (a few yards or so across the road and down a tenfoot) to check the times: useful, as the boards outside had days and times of other meetings they held that we didn't know about. A wander back home then where DS and a mate from LTC were just wondering how they were going to get into town, to which DH volunteered and also kindly offered to stay and have a half with them - apparently he'd been invited along for a drink but had omitted to mention it. Fine: off for a trawl of eBay then and if it got expensive he only had himself to blame..... only nothing took my fancy, no matter how many things I looked at. LOL

Sunday we all had a bit of a lie-in: the next door neighbours had had a BBQ that went on into the early hours....... and kept us awake into the early hours. The two chaps that live there are fine, it's the rather loud DD of one that is the problem, as the more she drinks the louder she gets. I can't decide if it's due to either a hearing problem or if she just likes the sound of her own voice.... though the latter is strongly suspected. DS went off to Cleethorpes for the day with his GF and some friends. DH and I pottered around doing a few odd jobs then, in the late afternoon, we grabbed some metal pegs and pegged out where we think the greenhouse should go and where the patio is going up to. This was to allow us to get an idea of sizing, as in how much room they'll take up, and so we can see what section of the border will be left for planting, with a view to deciding on the final shape of said border. It was quite useful, as it also gave us the chance to bounce various ideas off each other, talk everything through and make some more definite plans. The first thing that needs doing is moving an existing small path and flattening off the area that will be the greenhouse base - all we need now is some fine weather and lots of energy...... anyone got any to spare? LOL

Speaking of garden: at one point DH had been sat out there having a cuppa when he called me to come and have a look. Here's what he wanted me to see:

A dragonfly. Apparently it had been sat on the seed head of that plant for ages, wings outstretched and sunning itself. So I ran in and grabbed the digicam and took some pics. It seemed totally unbothered by the activity and blithely carried on sunning itself:

We hadn't seen one this sulphurous yellow colour before, the ones we've seen were either brown or blue. A few minutes later we turned round to do something and when we turned back it had gone. Another lovely moment that gave me a much needed mood lift. It's probably what prompted me to pick up NW for an extra session. :0)

Today has been my usual jobs day, though no visit from Alex: her and her family are currently on holiday down in Cornwall. Hope the weather is behaving itself for them and they have a good time. There was time for a little blog reading between jobs, so the full catch up is getting a bit closer - bear with me and I will be by soon. So now it's time to decide what project to get out of the bag, so am off while the stitchy mood is around.

Thank you to all for taking the time to stop by - hope you've enjoyed your visit and that you're all having a lovely week. :0)

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Out & About in Lakeland

Time for some of those holiday pics and chat I mentioned, so skip this if that kinda thing bores the pants - or any other bit of underwear - off you. ;0)

The cottage we stayed in in Chapel Stile was lovely, just a few yards along the road from the church, and the back garden was a treat. DH took a snap of the clematis (?) that were growing amongst the shrubbery fencing between us and the next property.

They were way prettier than the pic shows (not one of his best, Bless!). I wanted the pic because I love these flowers and plan on having some in our garden - it will be a reminder, so we'll know what to keep a look out for next time we visit the garden centres. :0)

So what did we get up to while we were gadding about in the Lake District? Well the first couple of days we took it fairly easy as I was recuperating after the stomach upset I had on the Friday night before we came away. We continued unpacking and generally settling in on Sunday but DH and I took time out to have a wander down the road to the pub (and I mean down the road - we were up the hill and the pub and shop were down at the bottom of it), to check out the menu with a view to eating there at some point. We also called in at the Brambles Cafe (above the Co-Op shop) for a warm drink and a menu check - it didn't have anything that I'd be able to make a full meal out of, unfortunately. The walk back up the hill must have tired me out because I fell asleep in the chair for an hour before tea. We cooked and ate in - the kitchen was brilliant and very well stocked with tools etc, again the best one yet.

Monday we all felt a bit livelier so after dinner we got togged up in our walking gear and wandered along the top road from the cottage to the junction with the road up from Elterwater village...... down we went into Elterwater itself for a drink at the pub (herbal tea for me). The menu was very promising and a chat to the lady behind the bar revealed that they would be OK about altering things on the menu to suit my diet. Great - we booked for 6.30 in the restaurant..... even better, it was DS's treat for our anniversary meal. We had a wander around the village and down by the river to kill some time, then headed back. They were very accommodating when it came to mixing and matching the food and leaving out dairy products and dressings etc and the meal was excellent - well worth waiting to celebrate while we were away. :0) The only problem was: we had to walk back to the cottage on full stomachs..... DS's was very full because he shared a starter with his Dad and went on to have pudding too, the guts......... there was a reasonable slope up to the back footpath, a very stony path down, then the flippin' hill all the way back up to the cottage. I was amazed when DS didn't either burst or barf. LMAO

Tuesday spoilt itself big time: it chucked it down for much of the day. We weren't in a rush to get wet. After dinner we drove over to Windermere to do a food shop in the Booths supermarket. For those in the UK, think sort of like Morrison's but better: lots of choice there, especially on the fresh fish counter. The chap behind the counter actually asked DS if he was a Chef - he's not but, due to his regular trips to the Farmer's Market where he chats to the stallholders, and to having a love of good quality food and cooking, he is becoming quite knowledgeable. Once done in Booth's we all decided we were thirsty, so opted to go to Lakeland Ltd as it was only next door. The Menu was full of no-no's for me but they did have herbal teas. Afterwards we had a wander round the store - always a treat - and made a list of the items we wanted. No point in buying them there and then as they wouldn't have fit in the car to take them home, it was so we could remember what we wanted and then do an internet order once home again. Back to the cottage after to unload, have tea and a quiet night in, with beers for the boys.

Wednesday was another iffy weather day so we had a drive over to the Rheged Visitor Centre. Yay, finally a proper shopping opportunity! LOL We had dinner in the cafe first, where they were really helpful (had run out of the chicken and bacon salad so made a smoked salmon salad up specially for me), then had a wander up to the top of the place and worked our way down. I always like a nosey at the bookshop and didn't come away empty-handed - though I forgot to add the book DH bought on the Stone Circles of the Lake District (a little gem: there are way more than I ever thought there were).

We also indulged in a smelly soap with a heavenly smell from the smellies shop. I also treated myself to a small haematite bracelet, to replace one I broke that had also been bought from there a previous year. We also got a few tasty goodies from the food shop...... and no visit to Rheged would be complete without dropping in to my all time fave, The Paper Shop. It was extra fun this year as I knew I'd be spending DS's money for him. ;0) He had offered to buy some replacement goodies, for all those emergency last-minute cards he'd nabbed from my stash....... and I could get a few extra bits and they'd be the rest of my Christmas gift. So with that off I trotted, basket in hand, to see what there was...... not that I actually needed any added encouragement or incentive to go find some goodies. ROFL When we got to the till I got the final stamp added to my Loyalty Card BUT I didn't have to wait until next year to claim the money off voucher - when the lady realised I only bought in there once a year whilst on holiday she knocked the money off straightaway. How nice was that? DH was really happy as it didn't cost him as much as he thought it might and I was happy because I came away with this little lot to play with:

And I still get to find a little something else for my Christmas pressie at some point. LOL

After all that exciting shopping we drove back to Grasmere where we had our evening meal in Tweedies Bar - another very helpful place and excellent meal. I can highly recommend the venison. :0) A steady drive back over the tops to the cottage after.

Thursday was reasonable weather so we had another walk, this time taking a packed lunch and going in the opposite direction: along the valley bottom footpath to the Stickle Barn, just below Dungeon Ghyll, stopping for lunch by the river on the way. We stopped for a loo break and a drink at the Stickle Barn, then opted to walk back via the higher path along the hillside - yup, up another rocky hill and it went up and down, up and down most of the way back...... and it was squishy and occasionally downright wet underfoot. After last years washout of a holiday (remember the bursitis that stopped me from doing any proper walking?) those hiking boots got well and truly christened, for sure. We walked back to the cottage via the Co-Op, where we got a few bits and pieces for tea. The walk was about 5 miles and was the longest one I've managed to do in a very long time and I didn't ache overly much the following day...... chuffed to bits just doesn't cover it. :0)

Friday was a bit so it was decided it was a day for driving over to Kirkby Stephen, so we could visit our favourite shop: the 2 Ravens, which is one of the rare New Age style shops in Cumbria. The lady in there always recognises and always has a good chat with us...... it was also good to have her notice that I'd lost weight and say how much better I looked. As soon as I went in I spotted an absolutely gorgeous Charoite crystal ball sat in the display cabinet and it was love at first sight. It was a stunning piece, not quite purple and not quite blue, with swirls of black and white vein running through it..... and one solid black area with a white vein around it that looked a little like a starburst around a black hole. The owner must have sensed something because she took it out of the cabinet so I could hold it. Wow! There was a definite power/energy in it that immediately had me reacting to it, sort of a slightly spacey swirl through my body - I told the owner that it was definitely a piece I knew I could work with but that I also knew I probably couldn't afford it and daren't ask the price. The rarity and size of the piece was definitely reflected in that: £295........ and that was a real jaw dropping moment and I carefully handed it back so she could lock it away in the cabinet again. The piece kept calling to me and spoilt me for any other crystal in there....... but there's absolutely no way I could justify spending that amount of money on one piece, even though I know it's "my" piece. Gutted just doesn't begin to describe it. :0( Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket? LOL I then made a bee-line for the books and found these two gems to add to my eclectic collection:

DS bought a book and a couple of crystal pieces, then we said our goodbyes and left. On to one of the gift shops and DS did all of his present buying in one fell swoop: lots of bags of handmade choccies, some choccie cookies, bottles of cider and some fluffy marshmallows for his goddaughter. Back to the car and we drove round to Pendragon Castle, to see how it had fared over another winter: a few more stones had fallen and the sheep still use it to shelter in, so you have to watch where you're putting your feet (and there are some areas you just don't go into!) but it still has the same peaceful air about it. We then drove to the Moorcock Inn where we had our evening meal (they do a huge and very tasty gammon steak) before driving back to the cottage. Unfortunately I developed a migraine on the way back but my herbalist had warned me this was a possibility on the new medicine mix, so I had some Migraleve tablets with me - luckily they worked after a time, though it made the drive back a bit of an ordeal....... you can't look at and enjoy the beautiful scenery when you've got flashing gold zigzaggy lines blocking half your vision. :0(

Saturday my brain was a bit fragile to loud noises but I felt fine otherwise, so we made a packed lunch and drove over to Castlerigg Stone Circle, near to Keswick. After eating we had a wander around the circle and Wanda decided she had to have her picture taken:

This is my favourite spot and view, looking out from the circle to the cup of the valley. Yes, that's some of your actual sun shining there too and it must have gone to Wanda's head because she started to get pretty laid back:

Can't blame her, the sun warmed those stones up quite nicely and it felt quite toasty next to them. :0)

Soon after we made our way into Keswick itself to look round the market and do some shopping. The first stall I spotted had some wonderful Fair Trade bags and purses. My other little bag is looking a tad tatty now and isn't really bag enough to carry all my pills and potions, so I chose this one as a replacement:

Plus a cute little wallet to go in it. I was all set to pay for it when DH said he'd treat me, lovely man. :0) Into one of the many walking shops and DS came out with some trousers, socks, gaiters and a bandanna; Dh got a much needed new rucksack. Another shop and I came out with a pair of Brasher walking shoes and some socks which are so comfy it's like walking on clouds. A scout round the rest of the market and the shopping bags included some cheeses for the menfolk, a bottle of cider (gift), some meats for more meals and a pretty necklace DS bought for his girlfriend. Not a bad haul. Back to the car and up to the Twa Dogs Inn for our evening meal, then back to the cottage where I finished my book that night (more in the side bar or over at the reading blog).

Sunday we stayed local. DS tootled off on his own for a walk round the valley and down to Skelwith Bridge and back along the river path in the valley bottom. DH and I had a nice wander down to the river so I could cleanse my crystal ball. The usual spot was already taken by a couple of collie dogs and their owners so we wandered up river a bit, to try and find a suitable spot. As I checked out one place and wondered if it was suitable, lo and behold a dragonfly appeared and flew around the area - we'd never seen one around here before so it was enough of a sign for me, making it extra special. Back to the cottage after, via the Co-Op, for a quiet night in.

Monday we made a packed lunch and drove over to see another stone circle that has been on my must-see list for a while: Long Meg and Her Daughters which took a bit of finding when we got over there, as it's not that well sign posted. It's far bigger than Castlerigg, with many more stones, and a totally different feel to it. Meg herself was quite imposing and Wanda decided she had to have a pic taken:

The weather was decidedly changeable, being overcast then turning to rain..... so no sunbathing that day. The views were disappointing, so Castlerigg remains my favourite site. When we got thoroughly rained off we drove back, stopping off at a pub on the way for a loo break and drink. DS's friend S joined us at the cottage that night for a meal and natter.

Tuesday was lousy weather but it didn't deter the two younger chaps, who got togged up and went for a walk over the tops to Grasmere. DH and I, being much less fit and with a strong aversion to getting seriously soggy, opted to go over a bit later in the car, meeting them both in Tweedies Bar for lunch and a natter. They then decided they weren't quite shattered or soggy enough yet, so set off to walk to Rydal Head next whilst DH and I had a tootle around the shops. DH got himself the Churchill's Wizards book and I managed to pick up another couple of buys from the secondhand bookshop:

I'm currently reading the Reincarnation book. We then drove to the Rydal Head car park to meet the young 'uns who came back from viewing the river, which was topping its banks by now. We dropped S off at the Britannia Inn in Elterwater, where he was staying, then took DS to our cottage so he could shower and change, then went back to the Britannia for our evening meal and a natter with S.

It bucketed it down all that night as well and all the following morning. We picked S up, as arranged, and went for a tour round in the car - S hadn't been to the Lakes before so it was an opportunity to show him more of the sites...... without getting wet! LOL First we went up the valley to Little Langdale, circling back round to Elterwater; then up over the tops to Grasmere and through there to the far shores of Thirlmere, where we stopped in a car park to have our packed lunches. The weather had fined up by now so we had a bit of a wander down to the waterside and took some pics on our phones. Climbing back into the car we took S into Keswick so he could buy some waterproof trousers (he'd never needed them before so had to borrow DH's set the day before) and I took the opportunity to get some more Brasher socks. From there it was a drive past Crummock Water and Buttermere, then back to the cottage via Keswick and Grasmere. The chaps had a fry up and I had some local steak. :0) S was really impressed by the scenery and would love to visit the area again to do some more walking.

Thursday all three chaps went off for a male bonding session at Rookin House Farm: archery, clay pigeon shooting and quad biking. I opted to stay at the cottage for a quiet day doing "me" things: reading, making full use of the broadband connection, doing a little cleaning and tidying up and generally chillin'. When the chaps got back we all headed over to the Stickle Barn for tea
and a natter. It was a good day all round. We said our goodbyes to S when we dropped him off at the pub, as he was heading off first thing, to go visit some relatives further North for the weekend. He enjoyed his time in the Lakes and has decided he's going to come back some time to do some more serious walking. It was lovely to introduce a newby to an area we know and love so well. :0)

Friday was another iffy weather day. The morning was spent packing all but the bits we needed into our suitcases and getting them loaded into the car, to save time the following morning. After lunch we headed over to Coniston for a wander round. We had a look at the beautiful carved cross on Ruskin's grave in the churchyard, grabbed a brochure from the local self-catering cottages agency (for future reference) and a look in a couple of the gift shops. Guess what I bought? Yup, another book:

Though why a book about CB, a Yorkshire woman/author, was in a Cumbrian gift shop beats me. LOL That was the last of my buys - would you believe I actually came home with way more than I spent, so it was a real cheap holiday! LOL

Saturday dawned.... and ended up another wet one, thanks to the typical Lakeland drizzle. Packing the rest of the stuff into the car was a hurried and soggy experience and the cleaners arrived before we'd quite finished, thanks to the folks in the next door cottage not going as soon as we'd hoped so we could pinch their parking slot, to make our loading easier - the road is very narrow outside the cottage.... and considerably narrowing the road further whilst unloading wasn't fun. So glad I can't lip read as I'm sure some of the things the drivers who had to squeeze their cars through the gap weren't very nice. ;0)

On the way home we called in at the Country Harvest store near Ingleton so we could get a few necessaries for DH and DS to have for dinner (the cafe was extremely busy) and some to take home with us. I also managed to find a lovely zip up fleece top, thin enough to use as a cardigan rather than a jacket, which I was pleased about. We ate our lunch in the car in the car park then set off again, calling in at a pub near Wyke for a drink and necessary break, then made it home...... to be greeted by a mountain of mail that almost blocked the way in. About half an hour after we'd finished unloading the car the rain that had been dogging our heels all the way back finally caught up. Not bovvered: we stayed in, with our first take-out curry in a fortnight to keep us company. ROFL

I'll post pics of my bits of holiday stitching next time. DH might have transferred some of the phone pics onto the computer by then, so I may add a few of those too. :0)

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my last post. I'm gradually catching up with blog reading/commenting, so if you haven't had a comment from me yet.... you will soon. Thank you for visiting. :0)

Monday, 3 August 2009

Challenge For a Finish - July

The Challenge for July was a monochrome piece - any design, any finish. I immediately knew exactly what I wanted to stitch and what finish to do, as it's a piece I've wanted to stitch as a gift for a certain someone for some time. This is the piece:

  • Design: Country Bunny
  • Designer: Jean Farish of Country Things
  • Fabric: 28ct white evenweave, unknown make
  • Threads: DMC 101 and Ecru
  • Finish: Floss Ring Tag

I finished the back with our initials and the year in the same DMC 101 thread and also added a charm:

It was completed in plenty of time to post off to Julie as part of her birthday gift, before we went away on our holiday, and I'm glad to say that she liked it. :0)

Am also glad to say that this was one July commitment that was completed in plenty of time for the deadline....... can't say the same about my Christmas ornie...... or the Christmas Wishes SAL, which I still haven't started. Oops! :0)

Thank you for all your lovely comments, they are greatly appreciated and do brighten up my day. Hope you all had an easy start to the week. :0)

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Guess Whooooo?

No I haven't fallen off the planet.... not due to the shock of turning 48 or any other reason LOL, I just got busy getting things organised for our holiday, which didn't leave me much time for other things...... especially when my two feel it's perfectly OK to just chuck everything into the case or the back of the car at the very last minute. I was well ready for that holiday by the time the packing was done, let me tell you.

In between updating the packing list, washing and drying a mountain of clothes (they will insist on getting stuff dirty!), sorting a stack of ironing for DH (bless him, that's one chore he likes to do that I don't - it literally gives me a pain in the neck), unearthing all the walking gear from various places and other suchlike jobs I did manage to do a little stitching. Well, actually, I managed it a few weeks prior to going away, on UFO Tuesday, and didn't get around to posting an update. So here's where the handsome fella got to before the holiday packing got underway:

I decided to fill in the other corner so it would define the working area and give a definite goal to work towards. He didn't make it out of the bag again but Mr Stick didn't chase me, as I had permission to go awol due to some perfectly valid excuses: it was mine and DH's 25th Wedding Anniversary on the 14th, followed by our 2 week holiday. Yes 25 years and another milestone event in our lives. Whoda thunk we'd make it this far,eh? LOL We didn't do much, just had a take-out curry, as we decided to go out for a special meal to celebrate whilst on our holiday. :0)

Our anniversary may have been a bit of a damp squib but my birthday excitement continued a little longer when I received another rather pretty package, this one from Clare:

Here's what was inside the envelope and packages:

One of Clare's lovely handmade decoupage cards and an amethyst bead fob (my favourite gemstone) and some perle threads and Silkweaver fabric in the prettiest colours. Thank you again Clare for the lovely card and gifts - I love them and shall enjoy using everything. :0)

Then a second envelope from Clare revealed these fab cross stitch charts:

Plus some blackwork charts:

I do love wildlife and nature and blackwork and the charts made her think of me. How nice is that? Thank you again for your generosity Clare. :0)

Yet more nice post arrived.... this time from Julie, in the form of a book that she very kindly sent on to me:

Thanks again Julie. :0) It went straight from the envelope into my bag for my holiday read. I'd decided taking a Barbara Erskine with me was a bad idea when we were going to be staying in an old cottage - far too spooky! Good decision, as it was a really good book........ so good it didn't last out the fortnight! LOL You can find out more in my side bar or over at The Reading Corner blog, if you're interested.

I also squeezed in a little more stitching before going away and managed to complete the first part of the JA/S&S Forum's Hardanger Bookmark SAL that is being run by Clare. Here's the pic to prove it:

That's one of the very few deadlines I actually managed to beat during July. Yay! The second part is now out, so I need to extract my digit and start applying a needle to this soon so I get to meet an August deadline too.

My niece's birthday was due while we were going to be away so the cardmaking goodies came out. Yes, I got all super-efficient and made a card and posted it early. Here's what I made for her this year:

She's definitely a pink girl so she should have liked it. There was also another birthday girl who's day was due during our holiday: Julie, and here's the card I made for her:

Another one I was really pleased with and enjoyed making. I also stitched a little something..... but I shall put that in another post. :0)

We then went off on our two-weeks holiday to the Lake District, where we stayed in a lovely cottage in Chapel Stile village in the Great Langdale Valley. As this is already a long post I shall do a separate post about that too.

Thank you for visiting and for all the lovely comments. I shall be having a catch up with you all in the coming week. :0)