Sunday, 8 July 2018

Feeling a little lazy this weekend

I'm really hot a hot weather person so the breeze we have had over the past three days has been very welcome. Especially when I was cooking this morning. I'm trying to plan better for the week so I don't come home and fall on the cheese on toast.

Oven baked onion bhajis - just an experiment at the moment. I think I may need to ramp up the chilli a bit to compensate for the lack of oil.  I fried them gently in a tiny bit of coconut oil first and then made a spicy batter with chick pea flour and water. They don't have the same crispy fried texture but the ones you get from the take-away are absolutely dripping in oil. (Damn, my mouth's watering)
Little turkey mince patties flavoured with chilli and lemon and black pepper.  I'll serve these with yoghurt and mint and some salad for supper tonight and freeze the rest.

There was a little bit of broccoli skulking in the fridge so I made some broccoli and spinach soup, served with a sprinkling of seeds - and it matches my latest crochet square!
I'm watching the British Grand Prix and making more squares. I've made 38 so far but need two sets of 54 to make little decoration drapes for the back of my new garden seat.  I bought some paint for it this morning - Daisy White Cuprinol so if I can drag my sorry butt into the garden when it cools down I'll do some painting.  I have some cushions for them and the germ of an idea for covering them to match.

There's not much more going on here at the moment I'm afraid to report. I tend to lose my quilting mojo in the summer months but hopefully the preparations for the class will spur me on.  I'm looking forward to going to a workshop at High Street Quilting on 4th August - on the other end for a change.

Lethargy is pulling at me and when I have washed all the dishes I used earlier I'm giving in to it!

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Feeling positive

It is much easier to feel good when the sun is shining. It's starting to work its magic. So is managing my diet/lifestyle - I'm not going full vegan but I am enjoying the simplicity of this book. No recipe has more than seven ingredients, yet they taste amazing.
The last couple of weeks have been a roller-coaster of emotions. My brother, the wedding, my last baby flying the nest, a flare-up of my back, computer problems at work.....

So settled back in my home I have been taking stock. The latest flare up of my back, happening just before I left for the wedding, the long flight and the long walks left me in a lot of pain.  John has been fantastic and the problem is back under control again.

I suppose the sobering things - my 64th birthday while we were away, not being able to enjoy walks in the lovely countryside, struggling to climb the stairs, smiling when I wanted to cry and crying when I wanted to smile, wondering whether the pain was here to stay, spending a holiday with my amazing and beautiful boys - all these made me reflect on my life and how I choose to live it. Heedless or mindful?

So enough of the philosophising. Get back to reality - be positive you silly old goat!

Apart from the crochet squares, which have been a hooky saviour I haven't done much at all. The pile is getting higher though and I'm loving it.  I have some fabric ready to cut to make a couple of little project bags. I got a pattern from Sandra at Cherry Heart. I particularly love the bee motif and this may be sneaking into other projects

(picture from Cherry Heart Blog)

I'm eagerly awaiting the delivery of my buttons and have lots of designs planned for them.  This afternoon I'm going to bake some lovely cookies for the ladies at the class - I've missed them and am really looking forward to seeing everyone again.

Until next time xxx

Sunday, 1 July 2018

At home

I loved our trip to Spain, it was so wonderful. A different sort of trip - not a holiday but still a holiday.  I'm always glad to get home to my little house and my routine and my familiar things though. The trip home was not too bad, despite the fact that the airport was so crowded we thought we would miss our flight.  We stood for ages waiting for the passport control and would definitely have missed the flight if they hadn't decided to open another booth - we ran for it and were the last to board!  Ben managed to get a seat with the captain on our Airbus 320
And Max took advantage of some in-flight snacks (no one said you have to eat Pringles one at a time)
Unfortunately we got a call at Malaga Airport to say the server at work had gone offline so John headed there as soon as we landed at Newcastle. We dropped the cases off and went back to meet him. A power surge had damaged the hard drive and after a few hours he still couldn't get it working. He took it to an expert the following day and thankfully it is all restored to the night before the power cut.  Steph and I have our work cut out transferring the missing information from Claire's handwritten notes. Monday mornings - who'd have 'em?

The garden hadn't suffered too badly considering how warm it had been at home and the animals were pleased to see us. The rabbit was a bit stressed though.

My birthday present from John and Steph was a bit heavy to take abroad so I got that when we came back!
It'll have to wait to be assembled - I think I might paint it first.  The crochet chair backs will be ready fairly soon as I worked on them in the quiet moments in Spain and today while watching the Grand Prix
Some new yarn arrived while I was away
and I made up some squares.
There are still a couple more colours to come and I will have plenty to do other projects. The yarn is called Coton Fifty from Bergere de France. Not too easy to get hold of but it works together with the Svarta Faret Tilda Yarn I had.

I love this stage
Lots of lovely circles waiting to be squared off.  Some patchwork cushions are on the cards too.
Alex and Will against the sunset in Spain - you can't see but there is a 100 foot drop directly behind that fence. The villa was perched on the side of a mountain - very beautiful but quite hard work on the old legs!

I didn't eat too much whilst away but I'm going to be careful and try to lose a bit more weight. I don't have a very good body image anyway but felt quite (very) self conscious amongst the others - quite out of my comfort zone.  There but for me go I, as my father used to say.  Do I finish my birthday chocolates or ration them, or even give them away?  Get a grip girl. Get a grip.

I got around to sending some button designs to be laser-cut and hope to have them back soon to paint.

I have lots of stitching designs pending or swimming around in my head that need a particular button and I'm excited to see how they turn out. I've missed painting and want to get back to that but it always seems to be hard to fit things in. Am I slowing down so much I ask myself? Lethargy kicks in a lot nowadays.

Anyhoo -  I'm going to get my footspa out and have a final pamper before I get into work mode.  The chocs are going into the freezer and will be divided into 100 calorie snack portions. My next few days  meals are mapped out ready, so there are no excuses about being too tired to cook when I get home.

I am at peace with the world (I think)........

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

The Big Chill

It's 32 degrees and I'm totally chilled.  I sit, next to the pool, crochet abandoned for the moment,
I'm watching the boys (Will, Dale, Todd, Matt, Ben) playing tig in the pool. The quiet of the morning has given way to laughter and splashing as they chase each other round the pool.  Todd is teaching Matt to dive.  Will is driving Max round and throwing him in the air, his swim nappy bulging with pool water.
John was on throwing duty earlier. He's a weight so only the boys are able to keep him going.

Soon I am going to swim a little more, I'll wait until it goes quiet - the over-60s slot!
I'll watch the mountains through the trees and dream of staying here in this moment.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Wedding Part 2

After all the sadness it was such a joy to celebrate with John and Steph. At Casa Parador De Los Olivos in Saylonga, Spain we all gathered. Everybody pitched in as we prepared the area in front of the villa for the ceremony.  We gathered all the seats in the house and set them in front of a rose arbour created in the entrance.

Sadly I was sitting in the wrong place to get decent pictures - should have planned that earlier! The ceremony was shorter and had a typically Spanish feel with the exchanging of gold coins and the vows. 
When the photographer uploads the photos I'll publish the professional shots. 
Max stole the limelight by trying to hid underneath Steph's dress.
Max in a moment of contemplation sitting in the rose petal path,
Will and beautiful Alex
Ben and his cousin Gracie - so charming
Steph's stepbrother Matt
Having a glass of fizz - so hot!
Steph's bouquet
Her dress had millions of buttons
The path to the rose arbour was marked by jars of gypsophila which John and Chris bought on the morning of the wedding from a local market.

It was lovely - everyone pitched in to set out the chairs. Alex, Karin and I made a little 'picking buffet' for people as we weren't due to eat until five.  They just got things on the trot. 

The ceremony took place at 3pm and I'll publish more pictures of what they did afterwards - something totally unexpected which I didn't have time to take a picture of. You'll have to wait and see what that was!

The caterers arrived about 4pm and set up the tables. We had a tapas meal which lasted about six hours. Plenty to eat and drink, including cocktails, wine and beer. (Plenty of water too - the best way of avoiding a hangover)

Caeser salad, crispy fried aubergines with a honey balsamic dressing, patatas bravas, gazpacho, chicken meatballs, barbecued steak, chicken and pork fillets, and a lovely lemon mousse to round it off. I was past taking pictures by then!
We all had little wooden names  to show us where to sit.

As the sun went down some took to the pool - in various stages of dress and undress.
Then the more pickled adults decided to use the slide in the children's playground. I'll not bore you with those antics!

We did a bit of star-gazing and the light-weights (including me) were in bed for about eleven.  Some kept going into the small hours and paid for it the next day.

Most people changed from their finery before the meal. It was too hot to stay in suits.
Will, Alex, Karin and I went to the beach the next day to celebrate my birthday quietly. We came back to a quiet house and I had the surreal experience of being chased up the pool by Will, astride a pink inflatable flamingo.  He settled down to have a rest on a giant slice of mushroom pizza. It's amazing what you can find in Lidl these days.
It's Monday afternoon and the house is quiet now as everyone except John, Karin, Max and I have gone to the beach or to visit a waterfall.

I like quiet!

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The saddest of times, the happiest of times

Maybe not quite the accurate Charles Dickens quote but that is what is happening at the moment.
I got a call from my sister-in-law last Sunday (11th June) to say that my lovely brother was in hospital and not expected to live.  He was diagnosed with cancer about a month ago and had decided not to tell anyone straight away.  He had gone into hospital to start treatment but taken a turn for the worse and died early on the Monday morning. I'm glad I saw him and he knew I was there, but I was shocked to see him like that and I'm desperately trying to remember his laughing happy face from days past.   I am bereft. We were born 14 months apart and spent all our childhood and young adult life together. His friends were my friends and vice-versa.  We didn't see each other so often as our family lives and work took up so much time but that bond could never be broken.

His funeral is tomorrow, 21st June. My sister in law is so strong but so very devastated. It's going to be hard.

John, Steph, the boys and Karin left for Spain early on Tuesday morning. Other family groups are joining them over the next couple of days.  The wedding ceremony (part 2) takes place this Saturday, 23rd June and I will fly out early on Friday morning to join them.

It's a strange week, saying goodbye to a talented, warm-hearted and deeply committed family man and wishing joy to another generation of my family, Steph and John getting married; Alex and Will starting a new life together.

I don't ask why, because that would be a pointless question. I don't believe there is a why without a why not. I don't think this life is a test for another.  The good we do is for this life. Richie was a shining example of that. I can see that quality in my sons and grandsons.

That is enough for me.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Wishing doesn't make it happen

Do you have lots of wishes? I wish I had more time. I wish I were more organised. Would I have less time to do things or more time to do things if I were organised?  Sometimes I sit and dream of all the things I want to accomplish. Sometimes it overwhelms me and sometimes I get down and do it.

This morning I was wandering around my favourite blogs and came across this lovely design.
You can find it on . With the house in chaos around me I sat happily for an hour and a half working out the design and fabric requirements.  I wish I had more time to do this kind of thing.
It strikes me as being a great design for using the scraps left from various quilts. Maybe I should make a block every time I make something. Or every time I am sitting doing nothing, wishing I could think of something quick to do. It's a simple design but has lots of points which need to meet.

If I were really organised I would have a project box which I load with 12" x 8" scraps, ready to cut and piece when the mood takes me.

If I were really organised I would wake up to a clean, tidy house every day.  I wish I did.

Do fruit flavoured Jelly Beans count in your five-a-day?  No -  (dammit too late) - wish they did!

My golden hour the other morning was spent doing the pattern for the August Mini-Quilt (you can just see the original wall quilt to the left.  That was all drawn out on a piece of scrap paper, now it's digital. I can happily tweak the design or go back to the original which you can't do when you've rubbed it out. I still draw things on a piece of paper first because my brain to computer drawing skills are still in their infancy.

Tomorrow the electricity will be off for 7 hours - from 9am to 4pm to do some essential maintenance work in the village. So baking will have to be done today:
The recipe was from Delicious Magazine  It is made with Ovaltine and the recipe is actually for two 20cm round cake tins, but mine are a bit smaller than that so I decided to make individual ones. There was enough for 18 plus a little left over which I put in my lovely oval tin (bought when I made cakes for the WI market some 35 years ago).  I'll put the frosting on tomorrow because I don't need electricity to mix that of course.

Look what I found when I wasn't looking!
Two little coasters with a lovely fabric on the back which I think I bought from a shop near Milton Keynes when John was on a course (I kept him company on the drive then went fabric shopping and wandering along a lovely canal). I got lost in Milton Keynes and was late collecting him.

So now it is time to get ready for work - I wish I could spend just a bit longer with my fabrics........