Thursday, 30 April 2009

Cards, kitchens and chairs

I spent yesterday sorting out some cards for the appeal for Marie Curie. I was hoping to make lots of new ones, but my craft stuff is still in such a muddle I find it very frustrating - I know I have something just right, but where? So, on with the sorting!

As the deadline was today, I raided my box of cards, some of which are from the days when all I knew was peel-offs, card and paper, so seriously simple and boring ... but if I show them to non-cardmakers, they are quite impressed!! So I hope the same will be true of the Marie Curie customers. I haven't stopped to scan any piccies, as they really aren't any great shakes. There is now a little room in my card boxes for the next few makes. I wish I could get hold of some of the Marie Curie bags, then I could put some ready for next year - which is forward planning in the extreme, but as I will make way more cards than I could ever use or sell myself I'd like to have them ready for someone else to sell.

At the moment, I'm working towards using my huge stash of stuff, some of which I wouldn't choose again (top of the list: all those peel-offs!!) They do have their uses - mainly for a quick and easy card (and the local craft shop has taken some of those simple ones because my style on those is very mimimalist compared to most people making cards: it has to be as I can't ask for much for them. And it has the advantage of looking distinctive - why make what everyone else does?) I just wish they'd smarten up the fonts a bit - script is so yesterday!!

First thing this morning was my usual runaround collecting rubbish - having missed the bin men by five minutes last week, I was anxious to get it all together in time this week (and it can't be done the night before because the foxes might find it - if they do they make the most awful mess scattering the embarrassing contents of any black bags all over the place: that is a lot of hassle, bother and unpleasantness for me and the neighbours). I also had to pack up the pieces of a mug I had elbowed onto the floor. I am glad I did that - the mug was one I didn't like at all and had come into my possession I know not how (probably via my ex-flatmate) so good riddance rather than a tragedy!! I find the boxes that washing powder tablets come in are great for packing up breakages: they're about the right size for the item and some newspaper and made of really strong cardboard so the glass doesn't poke through.

Enough for now - my newly-upholstered chair is on its way here: it's now arrived, and looks very smart! The fabric is much brighter than I had thought - brick red. I like, but might not blend so well with other colours - particularly the mushroom/sludge of the carpet around here!! (I think it must have been the cheapest thing available as I know someone else who moved into a rented flat with the same carpet.) One day perhaps, I will get rid of the carpet .... I'd love to have something nicer in a leafy shade - as the sitting room opens on to the garden via the conservatory I want to start there with colours that are an extension of the garden and take that through from back to front. Something neutral but warmer and cleaner looking seems right for the study - cream or biscuit perhaps.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Blog candy!

One of the members on C by C found this blog candy - it's a really generous gift of some wonderful crafting goodies, so wander over and have a look:

I have been trying to make cards today, but not got very far, otherwise I have been doing boring things like getting someone to come to look at an overflowing drain (which needs something more fundamental doing to it I fear - where there was one pipe draining into it when the house was built, there are now three, and I don't think the space was enlarged to take account of that so it blocks easily).

Tomorrow someone is coming about the conservatory door ...

and that is quite enough about the minutiae of keeping a house in good repair!!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Kitchen drama!

I had planned a really lazy lunch for today - all cooked in the microwave. Got both parts ready and was taking the chicken in sauce over to eat it .... when I dropped it on the floor!! The good news is, it landed right side up, so I could still eat nearly all of it!! But I had tomato sauce all over the floor (and in the most surprising places!) so my quick lunch was delayed while I cleared it up (and I didn't dare put it back in the microwave in case I dropped it again!). It is quite amazing just how far tomato sauce can splash!! I was given some very cheap microwave dishes, and they are awkward to carry because the lids don't fit properly ... maybe I should invest in some new ones ...

Otherwise, nothing much doing today apart from usual Mass and making cards. One long-standing project is a step nearer action: my neighbour has given me the name of a glazier in our parish who might be able to do my conservatory door. He phoned me today and is coming on Tuesday to see what needs doing. I will look forward to being able to close that door, and lets hope my estimated bill is even more way out than I suspect it will be! And it will keep the foxes out, too - a fox leaving his calling card on the floor is even worse than a slug coming to visit (which they do if it's hot in the summer).

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Blog candy!

Not mine this time, but a super-generous opportunity over at:

I have some of the earlier little birdie (have yet to use him) and love the style. Stamping is one of those things I intend getting into - I have just discovered the how-to that Carolyn wrote, so hopefully that will save me some false starts! But right now the task is to make some cards by the end of the month, so for the moment I will stick with what I already have/know. I have this little window of opportunity to give to others: it may not last long, so I have to enjoy it now - a surprise for a friend, something given to a cause I believe in .....

I have continued to sort out, and in the process read again the letter telling me how much I need to pay for heating next year: that is going to make quite a dent in my finances as they are both collecting the arrears that are the result of last winter (fair enough) and basing their estimate for next year on this year's usage. Given that this winter was the coldest for 20 years, I hope it is an occasional blip rather than the norm for my outgoings (!!) which they are presuming it will be! As I have the money right now, I must contact them and ask if I can pay the additional amount in one installment, and possibly some in advance. As they only adjust their figures once a year (and anyway, the summer period would not be a good indication) I will have to wait until next year to see what it is actually costing me. I must also see to replacing the conservatory door: not being able to shut that must have added to my expenses as there was a draught from outside and for the first time since I moved here I could not get warm. A new door will also be double glazed and better insulated which should do even more to ensure that I don't waste money heating the cold from outside.

She with the tendency to bright ideas came to do some work in the garden - there is plenty of ground elder to clear - down to earth work which needs doing and will keep her out of mischief! I learned from GQT that that nuisance was introduced into this country - I wonder precisely who we have to thank for that .....

I should contact my course director soon: September will come all too quickly, so I need to start getting things organised (and I have plenty of reading to do .... ). I seem to be filling my time with plenty else meanwhile (see above!)

Friday, 17 April 2009

Sorting, but not sorted!

Well, today I have been sorting! There is just so much to sort in this house!! There was a huge pile of leaflets by the front door and I decided to attack that this morning ... and I am still not through it. I had to break off to do some general tidying so I could use the sitting room floor (!!) so went for 'emergency mode' (resorted to when I have a deadline to meet) which means I put everything into bags to get it out of the way, rather than sorting it properly I have to make those cards for Marie Curie next, as they have to be done by the end of the month and I need to allow time for posting them to the appropriate place, so I might not get back to sorting very soon .... but I'd like at least to finish that pile. I also need a couple more of those canvas totes: bags never look anything but messy and horrid. Some things might not be needed again (the very thickest of the winter woollies?). There will always be things around because my sitting room is also my 'back door' so anything that is on its way out of the house is parked ready by the French windows, and I usually have a pile of stuff I'm working through, too.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Candy winner, sorting.

Picking the blog candy winner is first on the list today .....

and after I did my thing with, the person top of the list was:


sorry to keep everyone in suspense overnight! I was just so tired last night I would have left someone out, so I did it just now after a good night's sleep.

I am looking for the papers I want to use for my Marie Curie cards and cannot for the life of me find them! I must start on them today and hope to get a good few done. The ones I ordered from Arty Miss have arrived, so at least I have some of the daffodils to choose from.

Meanwhile, I have spent the morning sorting my (vast) collection of peel-offs into a concertina folder so I can find the one I want more easily. I didn't realise I had such a stack - I know I tend to buy just in case I can't find the same one again. Nowadays I prefer to use die-cuts, but these are quick and easy and best for a batch of cards - a step further towards the Marie Curie cards, as I intend using quite a number on those. and if I have them in some sort of order I won't spend so much time looking for the one I want ..... somewhere.

One more stage in the sorting out process which needs to be done right through the house (!!!) and it has freed up a box which I can use for various Christmassy bits, which I think are worth keeping separate as you do only use those for a limited time.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Back to business

Time to get back to business today! So I am wondering which is the most urgent/appealing of the tasks on my plate .... near the top of the list must be the kitchen, which is the most awful disorganised muddle (much of it washing up to do!). I hardly have space to eat, leave alone to cook .... (just as well M+S are doing that today and all I have to do is put it in the oven!! ;-) ) Actually, working my way through a pile of washing up is something I find rewarding (it probably helps that it is self-generated and I am not dealing with stuff that other people have used and left, which would most likely make me cross!).

The Red Cross shop has bags for sale, the sort that are being sold everywhere now for you to use for your shopping, so I got some to use for the things that are all over the floor - like the pile of books waiting to go, the newspapers for recycling .... All there because it's the most convenient place (and if they are not visible I will forget to take them!) but the bags will keep them together (and look as though there's method in my madness, rather than looking like I just can't be bothered). It will not be so long before my mother is back. I'd like to have her come to visit and appearances matter to her (I can turn a blind eye). I also took clothes for recycling so that's that more gone that I don't have to tidy again! At least now I can go out without having to wrap up, so I can make a trip when I like, not just when I absolutely have to: whether I dare put my jumpers away is another matter - maybe the thickest ones?

The other thing I must keep up is my Lent resolutions (limited success on those so far). The freezer is as full as ever (though I think some of that is because it is even more iced up) so all the more reason to use what is there as it needs defrosting badly. Warmer weather means that chicken salad and fruit have a bit more appeal, so maybe some hope for the waistline, too.

Tonight I must do the draw for blog candy, so I can let people know who has struck lucky.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Lonesome tonight?

For some reason I am much more conscious of being on my own, even though I've not been alone more than usual (if you read that again, I think it makes sense!) Can't make out why ... family being away, best mate being ill and not visiting?

I seem to be much more conscious of the negative things too; the only reason I can think of for both is that I am not studying this year ... and now I am beginning to miss it. I need that focus to give meaning to everything else: to get a reasonable mark for an assignment is a positive thing, and I need that positive, hard-won though it may be, to counter the negatives.

Misty Monday

Another lazy day of chilling out .....

Meandered to Mass this morning (well, it was warm-ish, and I had to go to the shops anyway) followed by a leisurely breakfast toastie at the coffee shop. Then to the shops, ending at M+S. Only time will tell whether my purchase of a pair of cropped trousers is canny forward planning or reckless optimism!! Whichever, it is a suitable compromise between overexposure (sight for sore eyes) and being shy (not my style) and useful as for so much of our summer the weather is not quite what it could be.

Must now get organised as I intend making some cards for the Marie Curie appeal this week - I have so much stash and there is a limit to how many cards I can sell myself. This year is a window of opportunity for me to do something for others, too: next year I'll be back to studying, I hope.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Soggy Sunday

and the whole of the rest of the week, if the weather forecast is accurate!!

but, in fact, today was not as bad as the forecast suggested.


I spent today being very lazy - breakfast at the coffee shop followed by a snack at the pub: coffee shop busy, pub dead quiet (!). Decided to wait my slap up lunch (courtesy of M+S!) until tomorrow as I hadn't slept much and so wasn't lively enough to appreciate it fully. This was partly, but only partly, due to coming in from Easter Vigil Mass at midnight. It was good to be there, even if I wish I could attend a High Mass with a professional choir (or ours as it was when I first came to the parish). For that I would have to go to London, and that would mean a longer journey late at night - not a good option, and not with the community where I belong. I wish I could belong to somewhere that had good music, because I really appreciate it (even if my own singing sounds like a drunken orgy: that is probably why I prefer a Mass sung by a choir - they can do so much more and make it really special in a way that reflects better the tremendous event it is.)

It was also cold in church. We have the heating on a timer, and no one appears to think to change it when we have a Mass or event at a different time from usual .... I'll have to keep chipping away at that one. Fortunately it was not as cold as it can be: if it is really cold the chances of me giving any thoughtful attention to things spiritual for more than two seconds is nil!!

I am really glad I was able to 'do' Easter properly this year: last year I couldn't because the weather was so bad, and how important are the things I wish I could have when you think of what we are celebrating and how much people suffer in other places if they attempt to celebrate Easter .... and on Maundy Thursday I was very aware of how much we would have risked by any celebration right here had we been in the sixteenth century.

Rather a solemn post (but then it is the most solemn three days of the year ... ) and I have every intention of celebrating for a day or two yet!

To return to everyday things ... the neighbour whose cat had stayed a night or two came with chocolates and a plant for me and I asked her to have a quick sniff around to check if there was any other evidence of his presence, but none was found, so I will presume there will be no nasty surprises to find - thank goodness!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


I suggest you don't read this if you are just about to eat/have just eaten ....

A friend came to do something in the garden on Monday afternoon and when she had left I found a little string of brown beads on the bathroom floor, firm, dry and about the consistency of plasticine. I assumed it was something from the garden that had got caught on her clothes, but couldn't think what. Yesterday I found another one on the living room floor on my way out to the shops, and thought: "If I didn't know better I would think that was an animal dropping." (I don't keep an animal, and I hadn't seen or heard one coming in with me ... )

Yesterday morning my neighbour's mother called and asked if I had seen their cat. I told her I hadn't but if I did I would let them know. About 8 pm last night I suddenly heard the loudest of noises, not a miaow but one that could be a cat, just outside the front window, and it went on for a time, though it didn't sound like a fight. It was the loudest cat I had ever heard, so I rang the neighbour. Meanwhile the cat noises stopped. Next thing I know, my neighbour is at the door saying please could I come because her cat was my side of the door. So I go to get my keys and see a large black cat by the door!!

Cat and neighbour are now reunited to her great relief. I am a little worried, because if that cat was in here from when he disappeared on Sunday evening he must have left more behind then I have found, most probably a smelly damp patch, which needs disinfectant quick ... but there is not room to move the furniture easily and I cannot, anyway, do it myself. I have checked the most likely place he could have been (on the bed in the spare room - cats like to be comfortable!) and there is nothing there and no smell. I will ask a neighbour to come and check later: someone coming in from outside will be more sensitive to any smells.

I cannot understand how he can have been hidden for so long without making himself seen or heard, especially as I have been cooking since and I would have expected any cat to appear as soon as I started. He must have been both hungry and thirsty. Just where has he been hiding???

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Blog candy! (for C by C)

I promised my friends on the Crafts by Carolyn forum some blog candy to celebrate the forum's seventh birthday. That happened on 12th March ... but the candy didn't arrive until afterwards :-(

It is here now:

so any member of the Crafts by Carolyn forum who drops by to leave a comment between now and midnight Easter Monday will have a chance of this addition to the stash.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Croydon shopping, Nikki

I promised I'd do some piccies of the stuff I bought in Croydon, and at last I'm on the case! Here's the first:

It's not quite what I was looking for (I was looking for cheerful or pretty; I think this comes under the heading cheap and cheerful)but if I made a mistake it cost me less than a cappuccino, so I can't really go wrong ... and I hope it will be right for one of the kids.

The second one is the opposite extreme, maybe a little too sophisticated, but I fell in love with it! I have another project in mind if it isn't right for the kids.

I am pants at getting it on the scanner straight! Mind you, to get it really straight I'd probably have to iron it, and I don't DO ironing!!

Anyway, it will show Nikki what I've got so she can decide if it suits - in reality it's nearer navy than royal blue, and has and is shaded with purple which hasn't shown up on the scan.

She of the feminist/eco/demo leanings dropped by and remarked that she liked to come because I was so quiet and peaceful (and this time - no mishaps ;) :)) ). That is something I aim for: to have a place that is welcoming and peaceful. I never have been the sort of person who buzzes around doing, and if I 'do', I do slowly and quietly - who knows, maybe she will pick that up and relax: I have wondered if her tendency to rush at ideas comes from her mother being the sort that buzzes around doing (something I have never experienced: we were more the sort that sat talking about anything and everything after supper). If I can tidy up the sitting room a bit, it will be more welcoming - something to do this week in case people come by after Easter.

Friday, 3 April 2009


I've just spent some time ordering sheets of stamps from the Royal Mail website. A friend on C by C reminded us that the rates were going up (again!) on Monday, and it's quite a steep increase. It also saves me the hassle of going to the post office right down the other end of the High Street: I hope I have enough stamps to last a good long while.

Must go post some Easter ribbons, otherwise they will be no use!

Thursday, 2 April 2009


I've been wondering if my last was a bit mean ... I don't like to be negative, but perhaps I am not being so, just straight. Enough of that frustrating circumstance and on, to more such!!

As it is now possible to go out without looking like a mummified creature and I hadn't been for some time, I decided to go to Croydon for a mosey round and to see if there was anything promising for a friend on C by C who makes cushions for Kids Company.

The kids they work with are abused and deprived and it really makes a difference to them. I remember hearing from elsewhere that some of the kids who do burglary don't have any sense of what it means to be robbed of your possessions because they have spent their lives in children's homes where they haven't had anything that is their own, so I can imagine it must be a great help to these kids to have something made for them. I can't imagine that sort of deprivation or how their own parents can be so vicious.

But I am beginning to see where the Nazis might have found their concentration camp guards ... I wonder whether their propaganda had the same sort of desensitising effect as the abuse: some people would have been subjected to it from a young age ...

To return to the shopping expedition -

First frustration: they have moved the haberdashery department to the basement, where it is much more difficult to find, difficult to see what they have (and no longer conveniently near the ladies' loo ;) ).

Second, the remnants box yielded only miserable pieces of nylon material in the dullest of green and brown and had neither trimmings nor buttons.

Third, what was in the sale was the sort of stuff, again polyester or the like and rather flimsy, which you would use for carnival costumes or party dresses - though gorgeous red and gold. I found one lovely red and gold cotton in the sale, but realised it was a pattern of little holly leaves!!

They did not even have the craft cotton they had had earlier. I did find one bright stripe in the sale, which if it is a mistake is only £1.60 worth of one, so I got that even though it wasn't quite what I wanted. (What I really wanted were small flowers or daisies.) I also got ribbons and buttons, but not in the sale, and a really nice dark bluey purple fabric with doodled flowers on it in white. I suspect it is a bit sophisticated for those kids, but if it is I have something else in mind for it.

I think I was probably too late for the sale and too early for the new stock. As is always the case, they had no idea at all what they might have coming in or when - everywhere you go they say all their stock is supplied from elsewhere and their job is merely to receive what they are given.

I am expecting some more craft stuff for swaps and projects on C by C which I hope will arrive tomorrow so that I can get them posted before the new rates go up (by quite a jump - which will be no help to struggling small businesses .... )