Friday, 10 July 2015

10 Things: Week 27

1. Read: I put Strangers by Rosie Thomas to one side because I found out the next book group choice was The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. Now whilst I'd recognise the paperback cover of this book anywhere I knew nothing about it. Anyway, the moment I went on Amazon to buy it for my kindle and found out it was set in Amsterdam I started reading it. I was hooked and had the book finished within 24 hours. It was an enjoyable read but...Oh I can't say without giving away spoilers. Lets just say there was an element to the story that I'd have liked to have been explained a little better and not left so mysteriously. Maybe that's just me liking neat resolutions all round. Then I decided to get on with Re-reading The Diary of Anne Frank. This is a book I'd not read since school. I don't recall it being quite so dull as it was. But then again she was trapped for two years in an attic with the same people it didn't exactly give her a lot of different stuff to write about. That said it's incredibly poignant and moving given history tells us exactly how things would end for Anne and her family. Next I was going to read: Girl with a Pearl Earring only I was not about the pay that price for a kindle book (Unless I have to get a book for book group I limit the amount I'll spend on kindle books.) so opted for Amsterdam Calling by...forgotten! And I haven't read much so I'll tell you more about that another time.

Summerhouse reading

You're probably wondering why all the Amsterdam centric reading? Well Chief and I are off on a coach trip there shortly. I'm excited and nervous all at once because I'm not a great traveller and don't want to get ill and exhausted. On the plus side I'm visiting three new to me countries.

2. Made: I could resist no longer the urge to make a Luna Lapin! These have been popping up all over my IG feed and they are beyond adorable. I think she deserves her own blog post though so I'll just leave you a teaser picture here. If you can't wait until that blog post you can buy your own Luna Lapin kit from Coolcrafting.

Ok so making me pose like this is so undignified! #lunalapin 

3. Watched: I got the whole family hooked on The Syndicate. My niece keeps asking me what I'm watching on TV because I've given her some good recommendations lately. Although I told her last week she wouldn't cope with The Walking Dead and she apparently decided during episode one it was just too much for her! I am watching Odyssey on catch up (BBC2 Sunday 9pm) It sort of reminds me of Homeland before they killed off the best character. (Which was all the more gutting for me as a good friend put a spoiler on facebook, which told everyone this had/was going to happen and so ruined the last episode for me.) I'm loving all the different linked plot lines and conspiracy stuff.

4. My Garden/Flowers: I'm still getting lovely compliments about my garden, I keep seeing all the weedy bits that need attention!

5. Fish and Chips: Which were lovely at the time and I've regretted eating every since!

6. Visited: I had a walk through the grounds of my old school which had a wild flower meadow planted last year.

A walk through the Park

7. Recommended: This week it has to be Coolcrafting for their excellent kits like Luna Lapin.

8. Stash: In 4 fat quarters Out: 0

Sale pretties

9. Birds: It's not the best time for birding as many birds are feeding young and those finished with that are starting to moult. This means they lose feathers and look quite scraggy. It also makes them more vulnerable to predation so they keep out of sight even more than usual.

10. And finally...this is the most important bit in this whole blog post and it would be great if you could share about this on any social media you're involved with.   Elsie is the daughter of a very old school friend of mine. We go way back to primary school. Unfortunately little Elsie is in desperate need of a blood stem cell donation. Getting a match for anyone is so difficult which is why as many people as possible need to go on the register. Think of it like this: Elsie really needs to win this lottery and the more people on the register the more tickets Elsie has in the draw.  I was completely ignorant about stem cell donation. I'd heard of bone marrow donations and how invasive this is and I'd also heard on the news that if you were over 30 you couldn't go on the register anyway(and I believe this is the case for the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Register.) However, blood stem cell donation is a whole different prospect. It's a bit like giving blood and you do it as an out patient and don't even have to have a general anaesthetic for it.  The age limit for registration is a lot higher. It goes even higher if you already give blood because you can register at the blood donation centre. What is making it even more difficult to get a match for Elsie is that the number of mixed race people signing up is not very high. Elsie is mixed race because her mother is white and her father is Indian.

So I would really really appreciate if you could watch the you tube video and if you're on facebook check out the page and share amongst your friends. @AMatchForElsie is the twitter thingy. If you're able to join the register that would be beyond fabulous. Imagine if you were a match for Elsie or someone else and all it took was a few hours in hospital undergoing a procedure that's a lot like giving blood and at the end of it you could save someones life.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

10 Things: Week 26

1. Read: I have moved away from my kindle of late because it's developed an annoying fault that I can't seem to solve. Despite trying various things on forums. Basically it's taken to freezing. I'm unable to move on to the next page or go back or do anything else. Necessitating a reboot. Then when it comes back online it's not remembered where I read to. Frustrating if I have to click through a lot of pages to find my place since it logged it before. I'm trying to remember to keep coming out of the book so it saves my place on a regular basis. But it is frustrating. I even left the device to see what would happen if I didn't reboot it. Would the home screen saver come on? Would it start working again? No, it just rebooted itself and my place was still lost! So I've moved on to The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah. I have mixed feelings about Sophie Hannah books. I find I devour them quite quickly but they do tend to make my brain spin with all the detailed character analysis. There is invariably a (female) character that I can't stand. This was a gift though so I felt obliged to read it. Next I've moved on to Strangers by Rosie Thomas. It's about two people that go out Christmas shopping first thing in the morning and get caught up in a terrorist bomb blast. Having never met before they find themselves laying beneath rubble in the basement of the store, only able to touch each others fingers and taking comfort in each others presence. They talk to each other. Tell them the secrets of their lives and hearts. I can't wait to see where this goes.

Latest read

2. Made: I am lucky enough to be part of a sort of bee-come-swap over on flickr. PIP: Project in Progress. Suggested by my lovely Scottish Twin Lynz because quite a few of us miss the way we interacted on the old style flickr. I've stayed with flickr, but am conscious that many people found it just too difficult from their various devices and I firmly believe that the changes in our lovely sewing community first started when we didn't have the cohesive base of flickr to hold us all together. Anyway, PIP is going to be a round robin swap where we all make small blocks of our choosing and send them on to be added to - whether that's an addition in the form of a new block or some embellishment to the existing ones. It's a cracking bunch of talented ladies in this group and we're already inspiring and bouncing ideas off each other. For my first block I couldn't help but want to do something bird related. So I made a reduced scale Anna Maria Horner feather. I reduced the two page pattern so it would fit on one page. It still seemed too big so I reduced that so it fitted on half a page. It made for some fiddly piecing and I messed the first feather I attempted up because I taped a pattern piece to another and I shouldn't have done. I only realised my mistake too late to sensibly put it right. But being such a quick block I decided to start over.

This is my #pip piece so far. Too small at mo so I'm contemplating adding to it #feather 

3. Watched: The second episode of Black Work. Seeing that Sheridan Smith was in the lead role and everything she's touched of late seems to be golden I had high expectations of this series. But by episode two I'm thinking: Hmmm haven't we seen this all before with different characters?

4. My Garden/Flowers: My garden is looking weedy. I need to find the time to get out and dig up the clumps of this pale green grass that seems to be invading parts of the borders. Seeding itself right in the middle of plants I'd really rather save. However, I fear I need to dig them up and risk losing them to eradicate this perennial invader.

5. Eaten: My brother and Niece invited Mum and I to a BBQ. I think niece had the idea in her head because I said I'd never seen her dads new gas BBQ bought mid-season last year. She was convinced we'd been down for a BBQ last year and I said we hadn't. Bro did us proud with yummy sides and great BBQ food.

BBQ cooking


 6. Visited: My brother has a totally different style of garden to mine. He likes neat and tidy and order. His garden looks excellent though. Although he still thinks it's not at its best. I've never know anyone get hosta's looking as good as he does. It was like visiting a show garden. Ironic thing is my brother does not like gardening. But he's motivated to do it because he likes a nice garden.

stripy lawn

Bro's Garden

Bro's Garden

Move over alan titmarsh. Bros got green fingers

More corners of bros garden 

7. Recommended: Eating outside. It doesn't matter what it is it'll taste better in the fresh air. Well I think so anyway.

8. Stash: In: 0 Out: Scraps.

9. Birds: Nothing of note to report.

10. And Finally...I seem to be taking more pics on Instagram than ever before so if you want to check out the random stuff I post over there I'm isisjem there too.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

10 Things: Week 25

1. Read An increase in sewing as meant a decrease in reading and I only have one book on the go. Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult.  Several kindle books ago this book started off as my bath time read. I seem to read proper books more slowly than kindle books. So with less baths and more showers it's taking me forever to get through.  However, now I'm over half way through I'm enjoying it even more. It's about an anthropologist who wakes up in a graveyard with no memory. She's helped by an new to town cop who takes her in and helps her look for her forgotten life. However, she's soon claimed by her husband. Who just turns out to be one of the most famous actors in Hollywood.  The story switches back in time to tell us readers how this unlikely couple met and why there life isn't as quite picture perfect as it would appear. I have mixed feelings about Jodi Picoult novels. My first was Her Sisters Keepers, swiftly followed by Vanishing Acts. I was so hooked I think I put her entire back catalogue on my Book Crossing wish list. However, whilst I've enjoyed others since, like: Plain Truth. Many of them I've found a struggle to get through. Enjoyable enough but just too similar and formulaic.

2. Made: My making has been confined to the Xand+ blocks which I was churning out like mad over last weekend. I even cut up some more this week. However, I've felt a bit under the weather and have had stuff to organise like car and holiday insurance so that's eaten into my free making time.

More blocks ready for sewing

3. Watched: The best thing I'm watching on TV right now is The Syndicate. I think we've had three, possibly four episodes out of 6? But I'm completely hooked. I can't say more (like who I think is the 'kidnapper' is) because I don't want to reveal a load of spoilers for those watching this on catch up.

4. My Garden/Flowers: I think it's definitely going to be a good year for roses and most of the pictures I've taken have been rose ones. There is plenty of other colour though. My delphiniums are still a bit stunted although I keep seeing other people's in full bloom.

Sweet Williams My garden in June My garden in June My garden in June

5. Eaten: Nothing of note because the under the weather feeling has definitely been stomach/digestive centred. I think I had a similar experience at this time of year last year and I'm even wondering if there is something this time of year that's triggering this or if it's purely some weird bug.

6. Visited/Seen: Again it's been a quiet week so I have nothing new to report.

7. Recommended: Click and Collect at Asda. Although if Asda isn't your local store probably not so good. But I think many supermarkets to this kind of service these days. I ordered some cheap tops from 'George' at Asda. I have found that many of my summer tops have: shrunk or faded. (Of course I may have put on some weight since they were first bought.) I also had one t-shirt split under the arm and was beyond repair. The time had come for some replacements. Being paranoid about shrinkage. (I've found this a particular problem with tee's bought from M&S in the past.) I went up a size and to be fair they're probably a bit roomy if they don't shrink. But at such good prices it was worth it. Anyway, I saved postage by agreeing to pick them up at my local Asda which is like a second home the amount of visits I make - using it like a corner shop. It took less than five minutes for them to give them me in store and they'd arrived there in less than 24 hours.

8. Stash: In 0 Out: A tonne of scraps. Some clever bod can probably tell me how much fabric each xand+ block uses and therefore calculate exactly how much yardage I've used to date. But I am not that much of a mathalete. You'll notice as I didn't buy it I decided not to count all the fabric I won and showed you in my last post? I already have some plans for it so hopefully it'll not languish in the stash for too long. A few bits have been cut into already for the Xand+ bocks.

9. Birds: The woodpeckers are still around but not visiting with the frequency of recent times. I suspect the young are getting more independent. We have had quite a lot of house sparrows in the garden. Which are actually quite rare around my house. Although I notice a long the high street where I work every house has a little colony of them twittering in gutters or holes in walls.

10. And finally...I got my hair cut. It's become a bit of an annual thing and I was very close to going short. Proper short - like I haven't gone for about 10 years. But longer hair is easier to manage on holidays. I get proper bed head with short hair and I prefer to shower at night not the morning so the chances are getting up with proper sticky-up-hair are quite high. However, I haven't ruled out a complete change of style for the end of holidays.

New Do

Sunday, 21 June 2015

X and + = fabric fun!

Last Wednesday I had the urge to start cutting up fabric. I had wanted to make a quilt of X and + blocks for years. But other than make the odd one for other projects I'd always relegate starting this quilt to the back of the list. I think what motivated me was when I'd heard from Jo the day before I'd won her give away. With more fabric coming in I really need to get back to using up some of my stash.

The fabric in the picture below is not scraps. The smallest must be about fat 8th, but most are much much larger. Fat Quarter or bigger. So thanks again to Jo for a generous give away because you'll spot a book in there too! Jo contributed projects to this fun book.

Lovely winnings from Jo Bearpaw

I decided to approach the X and + quilt slightly differently to my normal way of working and decided to cut a few blocks ready to sew. It was easy to keep the block pieces together with wonderclips. Then I thought: I have 20 wonderclips why don't I cut twenty blocks worth and then start sewing. 

X&+ Blocks

The cutting took so much longer than I'd expected. Which might be why people abandon these projects or don't start them in the first place!

However, Saturday I started sewing. I shouldn't have done this whilst hungry as the first block had the unpicker taken to it so many times I had to put it down and step back. I mean I'd got everything to line up a treat after a few unpickings and then noticed there was no X shape thanks to one of the pieces being inverted. Grrrrrrrr.

I pretty much decided that my earlier plan to go bed sized would 1) probably kill me (death by unpicker anyone?!) and 2) as these blocks are far from perfect I'd be too embarrassed to send these out to the likes of Trudi for quilting and the plan has been for some time to make a bed sized quilt and get someone else do the bit I don't like and would struggle with on a big quilt - quilting!

After I'd eaten things worked out a lot better. Although lining up the crosses on some blocks has not proved easy. I think some of the bias cut blocks have a little extra stretch in them so that's caused a few problems. 

X&Plus blocks

Still nine blocks soon became sixteen and I decided I'd sew them all together. I added another row this morning and made a couple more blocks and started cutting more fabric for other future blocks.

X&Plus Blocks

I am loving the scrappy colourfulness of this. I am not being precious about fabrics. In fact I'm using up hoarded treasures I've had in swaps and scrap rolls. Like the last little bit of some original green Flea Market Fancy and some Mendocino.  There are other bits of fabric that I'd kept but had no idea what I'd ever use them for as they were perhaps long strips or funny shapes. If nothing else this project is a great scrap buster.

Now I have to work out how many of these I need to make to get a decent sized quilt. I'm not ruling out adding a sashing border.

Friday, 19 June 2015

10 Things: Week 24

1. Read: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith was my kindle read. I'd read Cuckoo's Calling last year and found it a bit more of a struggle than I was expecting. It's exactly my kind of read, but it did seem to go on and I think it took about a month to read. Not so the second in the series by J K Rowling writing under the name of Robert Galbraith.  I was soon drawn in and finished it in a few days. My bath time read was sent to me by a book crosser: Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult. I'm enjoying it but not getting enough baths in to make much headway with it. I have managed to finish another book on the kindle though. Three Inquisitive People. One of the Duke du Richelieu novels by Dennis Wheatley. I started off with The Devil Rides out last year (I'd seen the hammer film and Chief had told me as a teenager the book had given him nightmares.) and enjoyed it so went on to read the book that came after that: The Golden Spaniard. I then discovered there was a whole series and I was starting off part way through. So I downloaded one of the earlier novels and it is a whodunit that brings together four of the characters that are to become friends and go on adventures in subsequent novels: Simon Aron, Rex Van Ryn, Richard Eaton and of course Duke Du R. It is of course very dated. I think these were first written in the 1930's. I love the atmosphere created and how the main upper-crust characters are totally preoccupied with the right hotels and restaurants to eat in and how they can stretch a lunch out for about 5 hours and describe all the 'right' wines to accompany the dishes and the right cigars and cigarettes to have with them!

2. Made:  I don't think I mentioned last time I finished another Blurb year book. This time 2006. I would struggle to go back any further as I got my first digital camera in September 2005. It's ironic that I switched to digital in the hope to save money and effort on processing a lot film and then storing the pictures. I thought I'd take far less with digital as there would be no need for a back up shot in case one was blurry etc. However, as the years have gone on I find myself taking more digital images not less. With an imminent foreign trip on the cards -  The first since the 1990's - I dug out the photos from that previous trip and wow my photography skills, equipment and processing were shameful back then. Whilst I hope to do a dedicated blurb book for my up coming trip. I won't be scanning these old pics in and doing one!

And...I have started playing with fabric again. I have wanted to make an X&+ quilt for ages. I have made the odd block for things like mug rugs and in bee's. In fact I almost picked it as my block in a bee I was in. Only someone got there first and whilst a few others said they'd be happy to make more of the same blocks, I thought I'd go for something different. Until now the quilt has only been a dream. Then on Wednesday I got my scraps out and started cutting. I've got about 14 blocks cut ready to sew. I have 20 wonder clips so am aiming to use all the wonderclips to hold the block pieces together before I start sewing. I wasn't dithering over fabric. It still has taken hours to get all the cutting done. I'm not sure how many I'd need for a bed sized quilt. I'm already thinking this might be the project to get professionally quilted and therefore bed sized. We'll see how I go! I can't imagine it being a quick project! It has really helped that I won that huge pile of scraps from Lucy a few weeks ago. Many have been cut up already to add to my own. Everyone always knows other peoples scraps are better than our own right?

X&+ Blocks

3. Watched: I know I watched something since last time that I thought I'd share with you all. Only it's gone clean out of my head. I bet I'll remember what it is the moment I hit the 'publish' button. Hmmm... I remember now! It's Humans the new sci-fi drama on Channel 4. Shades of "I Robot" and I'm intrigued as to where this is going to go.

4. My garden/Flowers: New things coming out all the while. I haven't taken any garden photos to speak of this week though. It's showing every sign that this will be an excellent year for roses.

5. Eaten: Strawberries. It's pretty bad  when my niece took a picture of me it even shows I have strawberry juice on my front tooth. So there is no way I was going to get away with pretending I was good and didn't sample any at the pick-your-own!

Rectory Farm PYO

Rectory Farm PYO 

Rectory Farm PYO

6. Visited/Seen: As you probably gathered from above there was a trip to the local pick your own this week. The season was delayed due to the cold weather. Then when the sun did come out there was such a frenzy of picking that weekend that they had no more for a few days while they waited for the next few to come on. Then last Thurs we'd planned to take my niece over and I was ill and we had to postpone. Probably as well as we did have to hunt a bit to get some fully ripe ones. They are also a lot smaller this year than they often are. Just as sweet and juicy though. 

7. Recommended: In light of 5 & 6 above it has to be Pick Your Owns! Our local one has a lovely farm shop attached where you can get lots more produce and even strawberries if you can't be bothered to go and pick. They sell flowers and preserves and all sorts too. They also have a cafe. So of course post pick we went for a drink and some cake! If you have kids these places totally cater for the family day out. Ours even has a bouncy castle to entertain the little ones.

8. Stash: In: 0 Out: A tonne of scraps. The x&+ blocks maybe smaller than the standard 12.5" blocks but they eat into a fair bit of fabric. So I'm really busting through my scraps. I'm not ruling out delving into stash proper for a spot of fussy cutting or to get the other block elements. And I won another great prize which involves fabric. But more on that in another post.

9. Birds: I am totally absorbed in watching the woodpecker family. If I find myself awake at 5am in the morning I get out of bed to check the activity at the bird feeder! I mean really I could have talked about the woodpeckers in the watched, my garden, visited/seen and recommended sections above because I'm so woodpecker centric right now!

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker 

Great Spotted Woodpecker

10. And finally: It's feeling so good to find my love of playing with fabric again. I may actually get some posts done that are about sewing type things not just these 10 things posts!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

10 Things: Week 23

I had a bit of a bug towards the end of the week and was off the computer, so I'm only just doing the 10 things post.

1.Read: First off there was C L Taylors: The Lie. It was about 75p and top of the best sellers list for Kindle so I thought I'd give it a go. Told in flash backs to five years previously this is the story of 4 friends who go on the trip of a life time with devastating consequences. I found it a real page turner and it was quickly devoured. Up next on the kindle was: The Uninvited by Liz Jensen. I'd read The Ninth Life of Louis Drax several years ago and subsequently purchased a couple more of her novels on my kindle, which then languished unread. This is a modern day fable, which tells of a dystopian future. The opening of the book is quite gruesome. A child picks up a nail gun and kills her grandmother with it and then blinds her father. It is the first of many child perpetrated murders. Meanwhile the main character Hesketh is a sort of troubleshooter for big industry. Having Asperger's he views the world differently to most and spots patterns others would never notice. Job's he's sent on across the globe all seem to be linked; all the people claim to have been possessed by child like spirits that 'made' them behave the way they did. This book was really different and again I was hooked until the very end.

2. Made: Nothing. I had plans. But that was before going down with the lurgy. I did pull out some fabric. Changed my mind about what I'd do with it and that's as far as I got.

3. Watched: The Theory of Everything - the film about Stephen Hawking's life. Which whilst I can't fault the acting of the lead, left me wanting something more. In fact I think if I hadn't googled to fill in a few gaps as I was watching I  might have felt even more at a loss. Moving all the same though.

Watching this. 

4. My Garden/Flowers: The self seeded poppies have been the stars of the show this week. Along with the Sweet Williams planted last autumn in my cuttings garden.

My garden in June Flowers after the rain Sweet Williams 

5. Eaten: Last weekend (although it feels like a lot longer ago.) Mum and I had lunch at a local pub. We both opted for quiche, salad and chips and had room for dessert afterwards. Always a bonus.

My dessert 
My dessert of lemon tart with vanilla infused strawberries

6. Visited/Seen: Mum and I took a trip over to Waterperrry Gardens for a turn around the gardens. The gardens were looking particularly pretty.

Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire

Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire

Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire

7.Recommended: Not getting ill. Although I realise this is not a choice we generally have. So I should recommend something you can actually have some control over! Only I can't think of anything right at this moment. I'm still a big foggy headed!

8. Stash: In: 0 Out: 0

9. Birds: I was woken this am (and it is a Sunday.) at around 6am by a strange hammering. On closer inspection there was a great spotted woodpecker under the eaves of the house by my bedroom window. No doubt waiting for the one to stop feeding on the nuts on the feeding station. I've now seen 5 together and managed to get a photograph of two. Chief is quite jealous. Even more so when I told him I'd seen three together this am and then when I drove out to Asda this morning there was a green woodpecker in the road!


 10. And finally: Chief is going away on Tuesday. We thought it was going to be Germany but now it turns out it's Cyprus. It's only going to be for a few weeks at most, but it's unlikely I'll see him this month and perhaps not before we go away.

Friday, 5 June 2015

10 Things: Week 22

1. Read: I have developed a habit of waking up earlier on a Sunday than any other week of the day. Ironic considering it's the day I definitely could have a lie in! So it's become my custom to get up make a brew and take it back to bed and read for a bit. I started The Letter by Kathryn Hughes, which I'd bought for 99p on my Kindle ages ago because the blurb sounded interesting. Well, I couldn't put it down and despite getting up and doing chores (including a trip to Asda and a huge pile of ironing.) I'd finished the book after lunch. It's a story set in 1974 and 1939. A charity shop worker finds a stamped, yet unfranked letter in the pocket of an old suit and after reading the contents decides to track down the people concerned and deliver the letter to its intended recipient, which has life changing (both good and bad) consequences for her. I'm not a huge fan of romance type dramas, but I liked the characters in this and was intrigued to see how their stories would work out. I also have finished: The Bad Mothers Handbook by Kate Long. Again another book I'd not normally be drawn to but a good read with well drawn characters and whilst it didn't shy away from all kinds of potentially depressing human drama, it tackled these topics in a way as to give hope and not become unduly sentimental.

2. Made: I am embracing the fact that I am struggling to find my mojo to sew. I loved making the Amsterdam Quilt I have plenty of other things I'd like to make. I am going with the flow and not forcing things. I do not have to sew. I choose to sew. When I feel so inclined I'm sure I will. A few weeks back plenty of people suggested I take a break and hopefully return to sewing feeling refreshed and energised and that's the approach I'm leaning towards. That said I have joined a group on flickr to be involved in a year long swap that's a bit like a bee only not quite. I'm excited about that and having a deadline to work to may just give my mojo the kick up the 'jo to get sorted.

3. Watched: Series 3 of The Syndicate started this week and I'm hooked from episode one. Each series followers the lives of a group of people (different each time) that win the lottery. This series they are all workers at a Yorkshire manor house. The aristocratic owners of the house are struggling financially so there will no doubt be plenty of story lines focusing on the reversal of fortune with the servants now wealthier than their employers. It has a cracking cast too with the likes of Anthony Andrews and Lenny Henry.

4. My Garden/Flowers: British Summertime starts on June 1st. I think someone forgot to copy the weather in on that particular memo. It's been cold and wet and so windy. So most of my garden has been battered by the elements.

my garden early June

my garden early June

5. Eaten: I had a lovely quiche and salad at Waterperry Gardens last Saturday. I was too busy nattering and eating it to take a picture!

6. Visited/Seen: I had a walk through the village after work today so I could deliver a sympathy card. A lovely lady I've known for as long as I could remember has died of cancer. I wanted to drop in a card to her children who have already lost their father to cancer. It doesn't matter that they are around my age. I can only imagine the pain they're going through.


village stroll

7. Recommended: Bubbles. Not the champagne sort - the sort you get in the supermarket for a £1 or less. I couldn't resist getting a bubble wand in Asda to use in the garden when my niece came round after school this week. The pictures of us were not that flattering. It's a job to blow a bubble and not look like a puffa fish. By happy accident my niece took this lovely picture of a bubble with my camera.


8. Stash: In: 0* Out: 0 *now let me explain. I haven't bought any fabric from a conventional or online fabric store. But I did score some vintage sheet lovelies this week when I popped into a couple of charity shops. I got a king sized duvet cover  and two flat sheets - the latter also had two matching pillowcases so I got them too. I wasn't sure if the flat sheets were vintage and then I thought when was the last time I saw patterned flat sheets? Of course as I liked them anyway I bought them. Luckily the day I bought them was glorious and sunny so I got them washed and line dried in a couple of hours.


9. Birds: Last Saturday I had an impromptu lunch out with a friend and as it was near to the place I'd seen spotted flycatchers last year I decided to see if they were back again. Within seconds of entering where I thought they'd be I spotted one! I hadn't the right sort of lens to get a decent picture so hope to go back (I think Chief will be wanting to come too.)

Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

10. And Finally... I'm signed up for the Summer time surprises swap and when I get my partner details I'll be putting together a suitable package.

Friday, 29 May 2015

10 Things: Week 21

1. Read: I'm catching up with some books that were popular a year ago. (or in one case I thought it was a year ago only to realise I bought the book for my kindle in 2012 and I think it had been popular for a while then. Goes to show how time flies!) First book I've read this week is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It feels like I'm the last person on the planet to finish reading it. It was better than I expected. I can easily be put off books if the hype around them gets too big and then I can justify not reading said books by any negative comment I hear about them. Anyway, I'd heard the ending was weak. Lets just say it was not the ending I wanted. Although when I discussed this with my brother on Sunday he asked me what I thought was going to happen and I told him and then said: But I want XXX to happen. He agreed with the XXX comment (see trying not to give spoilers for anyone who hasn't read it.) and it turned out my expectation was nearer the money. Next up was The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. Which I found compulsive reading, although I was left with the sense I'd missed something important and probably need to reflect some more on this one. Loved the descriptions of homesteading life in Alaska in the 1920's - rather them than me! And for reading in the bath - The Bad Mothers Handbook - by Kate Long. Some laugh out loud funny moments in that.

2. Made: Nothing. I think my head has been so much in reading mode I've only thought about making rather than actually doing it.

3. Watched: I confess I've been sneaking off to bed with my kindle rather than watching TV although I got a bit miffed last Friday when I flicked through the channels at 9pm and saw: 'The Walking Dead' I flicked on past thinking I'd misread Waking the Dead (wouldn't be the first time) and then flicked back to check and discovered series 5 of the series has been shown in double episodes since the beginning of the month on Spike. I'd not seen it advertised and they were showing episodes 7 and 8. Quickly went on 5 on Demand and it was too late to watch the first two episodes. I had to start with 3 and 4 as they were about to become unavailable. Can you believe I was watching these whilst having the most recent episodes on on the TV with the sound turned down\?! Multitasking to a whole new level. Some how the series seems to be getting tired for me. But it might have been the dipping in and out thing and missing the start. I do not recommend trying to watch multiple episodes of anything simultaneously!

4. My Garden/Flowers: I managed to get a bit of gardening done over the bank holiday weekend. Although I felt it in a few muscles for several days afterwards. Every picture tells a story and I think the story I was telling was of an old lady every time I tried to bend down or get up! It's worth it as I continue to see something new every day.

My garden in May 


Iris take two

5. Eaten: I have been craving jacket potatoes with coleslaw. I had one a few months ago for lunch at Cotswold Wildlife Park and this week it's been the food I've fancied the most.

6. Visited/Seen: I had originally intended to get out and about over the bank holiday weekend. However, when it came down to it more time was spent chilling at home. We did have a couple of strolls and I loved spotting this family of Canada Geese on the moat at my old school.

Canada Geese Family

Big leaf!
Isn't this leaf a biggie? You can just see my Mum's hand
in shot. You'd need a big sheet of paper if you wanted 
to do a leaf rubbing of this!

7. Recommended: I am trying to think of something good to recommend to you, but I can't.

8. Stash: In. 0 Out 0 Ok so none is leaving. At least no more is coming in.

9. Birds: Look who visited my bird feeder this week. We've had them pop in from time to time before. (Often when it's raining.)

Woodpecker having a tea time snack!
Great Spotted Woodpecker

10. And Finally...Chief and I have booked our summer holiday.  It may be a perfect excuse to do a spot of making!