Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Blanket squares progress

My ancient copy of Golden Hands Book of Knitting Patterns! I have always wanted to knit this up and 30 odd years later I have finally started :) I don't think I will bother with the pom poms though! Might be too tempting for Penny! Many of the other patterns look good as well.

I have just started square number 27!!!! Need another 133 at least so a long way to go but they are very easy, just garter stitch, 23 stitches in double knit on old size 6 needles. I don't need to concentrate on a pattern so can watch tv or take part in a conversation at the same time. The yarn is left over from making the fingerless mitts for my friends at the ms centre.

I have just got back from a brief shopping trip to our local co-op (part of my avoiding using the bigger supermarkets and supporting our local businesses, I also use the farm shop and market) While searching for ginger biscuits (to help fight the dizzyness and nausea) some youngsters from our local college came in, a merry group of kids but one lass called out in a loud voice to her friend "Choose whatever you want (very generous) don't worry about it I will put it on my card!" Isn't it worrying that card payments are not seen as real money?

Money spent today - stamps £5.60/ ginger biscuits, cake, crystalized ginger, dog chews and reduced cauli and broccoli £7.27

Monday, 27 April 2009

A funny for you!

Yesterdays post was a little sad, so today I have posted a funny for you. It certainly cheered me up so if, like me, you have had both a cat and a dog in your home, you will appreciate just how true this could be! :)


8:00 am - Oh Boy! Dog food! My favourite!
9:30 am - Oh Boy! A car ride! My favourite!
9:40 am - Oh Boy! A walk! My favourite!
10:30 am - Oh Boy! A car ride! My favourite!
11:30 am - Oh Boy! Dog food! My favourite!
12:00 noon - Oh Boy! The kids! My favourite!
1:00 pm - Oh Boy! The yard! My favourite!
4:00 pm - Oh Boy! The kids! My favourite!
5:00 pm - Oh Boy! Dog food! My favourite!
5:30 pm - Oh Boy! Mom! My favourite!
6:00 pm - Oh Boy! Playing ball! My favourite!
6:30 pm - Oh Boy! Sleeping in master's bed! My favourite!


Day 283 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.
Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. Cretins!* There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.
Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs. I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now...

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Effects of the credit crunch on pets.

From the RSPCA website:-
Now we’re seeing the animal victims of the credit crunch. Abandonments are steadily increasing and RSPCA Animal Centres are bursting at the seams. The need is very real, and very urgent.

For me this poem says it all,

Do I Go Back Home Today?
By Sandi Thompson

When my family first brought me to live within their home. They cuddled and they pampered me and groomed with brush and comb.

They played with me and laughed with me and showered me with toys. I sure do love my family, and all the tiny girls and boys.

The children loved to feed me; and give me special treats. They even let me sleep with them - all cozy in their sheets

I used to go for lovely walks, often several times a day. They even fought to hold my lead, I'm so very proud to say!

These are the things I'll not forget - a cherished memory. for now I'm in a shelter, bereft of family.

They used to laugh and praise me when I played with that old shoe. But I didn't know the difference between the old one and the new

The kids and I would grab a rag, and for hours we played tug. So I thought I did the right thing when I chewed that bedroom rug.

They said that I had lost control and would have to live outside. I didn't really understand this, though I really, really tried!

The walks they stopped one by one; they said they had no time. I wish that I could change things; I wish I knew my crime.

My life became so lonely shackled to a metal chain. I barked and barked continually I thought I'd go insane.

So they took me to the shelter but were embarrassed to say why. So they said I'd caused an allergy, then said their last goodbye.

If only I'd had training, as a tiny little pup. I wouldn't have been so hard to live with, when I was all grown up.

You only have one day left", I heard the kennel man say. Does that mean I have a second chance? "Do I go back home today"?

It must be terrible to be suffering so badly during this credit crunch that you have to give up your family pet and I feel for those who truly have no choice. For us Penny is our family and there are many, many other things I would rather give up in order to keep her. She is our friend, affectionate companion, playmate, toddler, responsibility, get fit buddy, sympathetic listener, adoring fan, door greeter, muddypaw print supplier, stranger alert system, crumb cleaner system, lap warmer, foot warmer, shadow, alarm clock, reason to be home promptly etc., etc., We adore her too!

Today while walking Penny we met a very happy young staffordshire pup who had a great time playing with Penny, her owner said they had only recently rescued her from a shelter, what a wonderful 2nd chance they had given her. I am more determined now that if/when we get a 2nd dog it will be a rescue dog.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Use it up - Pillows to garden seat pads

Cutting the pillows in two was not an easy job, there was so much stuffing in them!

Pinned and ready to sew

All the stuffing left over, plenty for the next project!

From my material stash! Bought many years ago, at a bargain price, in Cardiff, originally for bedcovers.

The almost finished result, Far from perfect, I could have placed the ties better and I will be stitching down the centres and adding some buttons. They are functional though and new ones would have cost at least £3 each, I found 4 in a charity shop for £6. I had almost everything in the house for converting the pillows into seat pads and only spent £2.70 for the tape to make the ties. So I saved £3.30 over the charity shop ones.
Use it up Challenge- Pillows to garden seat pads - £3.30

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

The magic porridge pot!

Well almost magic! Another porridge pot used up and saved from landfill! We needed a doggy treats pot, to be kept ready by the door, so that we can get Penny into her bed when visitors arrive or if we go out. I can see a whole load of possible uses for any more pots that come my way!

I may not be blogging for a few days as I have yet more new medication to take which might make me a tad drowsy, hopefully it will sort out the dizzyness (labrynthitis). I still hope to get those garden seat cushions finished though which will have saved a couple of pillows from landfill!

Over the Easter weekend I read Dick Strawbridges book "It's not easy being green" and, before the book goes back to the library, am investigating the websites he recommends that sell green and ethical skincare products and cleaning products (although I do now use a fair bit of white vinegar and bicarb of soda!)

I have also started knitting 5" blanket squares, so I can use up all the yarn leftover from knitting all those fingerless mitts! 6 so far so a long, long way to go! :)

Use it up challenge savings - £1

Sunday, 12 April 2009

First Bee!

I hope you all had a Happy Easter! A quiet Easter day for us today, I have been having dizzy spells and didn't manage to get to church until the evening service, we were given a creme egg at the end of the service though! :) I am starting to feel a lot better now but have not ventured into the garden so the above photo is one I took earlier. It is the first bee I have seen in our garden and I was pleased to see it, hopefully there will be more around to help pollinate later on.

As chocolate is so bad for puppies, Penny has a huge rawhide chew to play with! Never have we seen her so content and quiet!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

From porridge pot to button pot

With the Use it up April challenge, I was very reluctant to throw away this container with its cheerful yellow lid.

After much pondering, this is what I did with it, using up some scrapbooking paper and embelishments that have been hanging around for far too long! I already have plans for the next pot (dog treats tin) and so I am itching to open another tin. The oats have come from www.approvedfood.co.uk an online company that sell food approaching (sometimes over) its best before date (not use by date so ok to eat) I found out about them on Moneysavingexpert (thank you folks!) These oats are best before september 2009 so perfect for our home made muesli! The organic cuppa soups are good as well.
I have spent £1 before now on a storage tin so that will be my saving today.
Use it up April Challenge savings - Porridge pot to button pot £1

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Simple springtime pleasures

What a lovely spring day it's been today! This primrose has given us such pleasure over the years, it must be about 10 years ago since Mr C bought it home and we planted it and it never lets us down, we know when this one flowers then the better weather is definately on its way! I have since weeded the grass from around it! :)

In the meantime I am catching up on the washing and ironing, I love to see clean washing line drying and to iron it on the same day seems to fill the room with the fresh air smell of spring. It doesn't take much to please me!

Tonight we are having a treat, 1 portion of fish and chips between the 2 of us, which is plenty but I fill the plates with veg as well. Then we plan on watching one of our charity shop videos. Entertainment for 25p!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Use it up April update

Not a lot to report as we had family to stay over the weekend, which was wonderful. I did however discover that the potatoes in my sack from our local farmshop, were starting to sprout, so I set to and peeled my way through half of them, making sure there were absolutely no green bits left to upset anyones tummy, and cooked them up to make a mountain of mash potatoes! Enough for 4 meals in fact! 2 of which we have eaten, 1 for tonights meal and 1 for the freezer. I reckon that is at least £2 saved!

I have a couple of old pillows to do something with and am going to have a go at making 4 seat pads for our garden chairs. I have some old curtaining fabric to cover them with. It could take me a while to finish this project (alongside more fingerless mitts to knit) but I will post about this later.

Still saving up the loo roll inners for my runner beans!

Determined not to give easter eggs this year, as there is far too much unwarranted packaging, I have ordered some additive free freshly made fudge from a friend. The boxes are made from recyclable cardboard and are beautifully wrapped up ready to give, or can be posted direct for you. The fudge is delicious, very like my Mum used to make and comes in several different flavours. I found some chocolate in the cupboard, so may make up some little chocolate shapes as well.

Just adding a recipe for Lauradeanne for home made yogurt in a thermos
Home made yogurt (Shirley Goode recipe)
1 pint (570ml) milk
1 tablespoon dried milk powder
2 heaped teaspoons bought natural yogurt (I used Yeo Valley organic) remember to take it out of the fridge well in advance to take the chill off it.
Heat the milk to boiling point and boil for 1 minute, remove from heat. Cool slightly and stir in the dried milk powder.
Cool to 100F very slightly above blood heat (blood heat is where it feels neither hot nor cold so just above that) Put the yogurt in a warm basin and add a little of the warm milk and blend together. Add the rest of the milk and stir well.
Pour into the thermos, cover and keep in a warm place (I left mine on the kitchen worktop) and leave for about 8 hours (overnight). Once the yogurt has set place into a bowl and keep in the fridge.
We like to serve ours with some home made fruit jam stirred in, turns into that fab pudding "Eton Mess" by adding a little crushed meringue (I make micro meringues if I have a spare egg white - great fun).
Cost to make 30p (max) for 1 pint natural yogurt using mostly organic ingredients.

Use it up savings - £2

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Power cut silence

Yesterday we had a power cut. We were warned it would happen (for essential maintenance in the area) so we had the chance to get up very early, get through the shower, warm up the house a bit by turning on the heating early for a short while, settling down with a hot drink, charging up the mobiles and toothbrush etc, etc.,

However when the power went off, what we surprisingly were not expecting was the silence, no radio, tv, the central heating pump was silent, even the builders working at the building site at the end of our garden, who have their own generator, were quiet, no electric needed for brick laying!

At first I felt terribly restless, even slightly panicked but we had wind up and battery radios, water, food (cold but edible) warm clothes, plenty of books to read. I soon started to realise just how lucky we are! Actually I felt more rested in the end, no constant bombardment of noise, wonderful!

Be warned though that the wireless phones didn't work, I had hoped they would hold their charge for a while but now realise they are totally useless without electric! Luckily we still have a couple of the old style cabled phones so I could phone the dentist.

We were out when the power came back on, J at the ms centre was celebrating her 70th landmark birthday and spoilt us all with a lovely spread, sandwiches, cakes, crisps and wine or juice. J told us that in her 70 years she had never had a birthday party and was going to make up for that now. Wish I had known earlier, she is a lovely lady and I could have baked her some cookies. I was kept busy helping out as much I could and the time soon rushed by as it always does when you are having fun.

It was then time to head home for a much needed rest, dinner was all sorted, leftover fish pie from the night before. I have had more requests for fingerless mittens! So I am still looking for bright and cheerful varigated dk wool but don't think I will manage to get down the town for a while, my legs are a tad lead like! I have enough wool to be getting on with anyway. I have saved a couple of loo roll inners from the landfill for the runner beans but that is all for now.

Tonight we have my son and future daughter-in-law staying and I am going to make them chicken everglades - chicken breasts wrapped in ham and cooked in a white wine, mushroom and garlic sauce. Fingers crossed it works!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Rescued apples

Today I saved about 10 wrinkly apples from the bin! Carefully peeled and chopped and popped into my Mums old tower slowcooker, with water, brown sugar, sultanas and cinnamon added and left all day to cook. I now have 2 containers of spicy apple pie filling, not sure what that would cost to buy but the apples, being organic were around £2.40 and pie filling is not cheap, so I will count that as my saving - in the bad old days they would have been thrown!

As you can see the developers house building is sadly going ahead. Look how close to the neighbours fence the building is! Also how tiny the garden is! The leaves on the left hand side of the photo are from the tree at the bottom of their garden/my fence! I would want a lot more garden if I had half a million to spend.
Use it up challenge savings - £2.40

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Sheets to dusters

Well one sheet anyway! An old single size fitted sheet. We no longer have a single bed in the house and anyway this sheet was well and truly past it, so no good for the charity shop. In fact I had put it into a bin, then thought "Noooo!" and hauled it out, cut off all the elastic (which unfortunately was in a state otherwise I would have used it in the garden) and then I cut squares and rectangles out of all the respectable jersey fabric to make 6 dusters (perfect for when I use the beeswax polish on our old second hand teak coffee table, then I had one large piece left which will make a small dust cover for when we next decorate.

I can't remember what the sheet cost originally (probably £4) but 6 dusters would probably cost about £2 so I shall count that as my savings.
Use it up challenge savings - £2