Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Some Christmas Knits

My mums hands always feels cold and I remembered seeing old Steptoe (from the black and white comedy series Steptoe and Son - I hated that old man I though he was so creepy) wore fingerless gloves as does Auntie Wainwright from Last of the Summer Wine and it got me thinking and I gave it some more thought. I then trawled the internet for a pattern for fingerless gloves. I didn't want anything fancy or lacy just plain because all I wanted was the number of stitches as I could do the rest. I eventually found some and these are the fist ones I made in a really soft arran yarn, The colour is a mid blue but the light isn't good at the moment for taking picture. The background was a white table cloth. 

I've already given these to mum but they're too big but they will do for a couple more weeks because I've made another pair in double knitting and I'm just sewing up second pair. I think mum likes them because they only come off at bed time so extra ones are needed for the sake of washing.

This little cardigan is for my little nephew. His mum asked me to make it earlier this year but I was so busy with the twiddle muffs that I just didn't have time but said I would do it for Christmas.  The cardigan is the same arran as the gloves in the first picture.  The little dress is for my little niece and is done in double knitting (same lilac as the fringy gloves). If you click on the pictures they'll come up bigger so you can see the details more clearly. I'm in the middle of making a couple of little bags (will do a show and tell when they're finished) to put these in with another (bought) item. 

Time to start making tea and I don't know what we're having. Have to have a hunt in the freezer - plenty there.


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

December Garden Surprises

I had a wonder around my small back garden this morning after hanging out the washing. It was cold, nearly frosty, but the sun was shining and it was lovely.

Come and see what I found

2 Alpine strawberries almost ready to eat. There was another hiding under a leaf ready to eat, not any more - delicious. I do love the delicate flavour of these but you do have to grow many for a dish full.

1 plum tomato that needs just a little more ripening. You can see the sun reflecting off the skin.

These are Nasturtiums. I pulled all the plants out early Autumn because I didn't want them to dropping too many seeds but because it's been so mild some seeds have sprouted.

Blueberries. These were very small so I left them for the bird but they're not interested - must be plenty of other food stuff about. I think I'll pick some over the weekend see what they're like.

This Fushia (not sure of the spelling} twig is from next door that grows right next to the fence and under it. Even so it's still flowering.

It feels really strange seeing these plants in December when they should all be asleep.
Does anyone else have plants in their garden that should be asleep but are not?


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Lets Party

Hello friends

First I need to welcome new follower John Grey. Nice to have you join us.

I'm joining Mum over at Simply Living in her virtual party today. Hope the rain stops soon.

I've brought a couple of guests that I found hanging around near the Blackpool Tower. Between you and me I think they missed the "Strictly Come Dancing " bus back to London last week.  Dame Shirley says she will provide the entertainment whilst Darcy said she would lead the dancing, Hope she's not got her score paddles with her.

I've brought a Victoria Sandwich with fresh cream, a few flaked almonds and blueberries. Will go nice with a nice cup of tea or even some Muscat wine.

 My lolly tree has been very popular in the past so I've made another. These are great especially if there are children or teens at a party. We went to a wedding in the summer and they had a sweet trolley with all kinds of sweets.
It's very easy to make this tree. I painted a clay pot with acrylic paint. I stuffed the inside with a piece of polystyrene. Next I uses a piece of thin rigid plastic tubing and pushed it into the polystyrene. Make sure it's standing straight. For the ball on top I used a brown oasis. I tried the green but it didn't work so good. Next I pushed in the lolly sticks. You can add many more if you like so that the oasis is hidden. To cover the polystyrene in the bottom of the pot I used candy covered sweets pierced with a cocktail stick and pushed them in. This also gives a bit more stability to the pot as it can be a bit top heavy.

I've borrowed a bouncy castle from my brother. The children can play during the day and use up all their energy and then whilst they're asleep under the table their parents can play on it in the evening. Oooooh so much fun to watch especially if too many cocktails have been consumed.

And as it's nearly Christmas I've borrowed L's white Santa hat. Oh my look at those rosy cheeks, looks like I've been on the pop already. Too early yet but maybe later.

 Hope everyone else is having fun. I'll pop by later. See you soon


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Armchair Shopping

Hello friends

I've not talked about my mum, on here much, because the the help I give both mum and dad is a daily thing like doing the washing and making dinner etc. and it dominates a lot of my time and thoughts as well as my my own family. However I've changed my mind because some of my followers have a direct connection with dementia or knows someone with dementia and as my mum is in the late stages of this dreadful disease I thought maybe some of our experiences might help others. There are many different types of dementia but I suspect that my mum's is Lewis Bodies which is linked to Parkinson's Disease but can only be fully diagnosed after an autopsy following death.

My mum has lost a lot of weight over this past year which is normal for dementia suffers but quite worrying for the carers. My mum has also lost the power of speech and is unable to communicate her feelings, wants or needs  so we don't know if or when she's hungry or full or just dislikes her food. Recently she's stopped chewing her food so all food has to be either very soft and mashed or puréed. When she pushes the plate/dish away is it because she is full or just doesn't like it? We don't know so we (me or dad) wait and try again and sometimes it works and she will take more food. Mum manages to feed herself her breakfast but we have to do lunch and tea between us.
Mum's Dr recently prescribed Complan as a food supplement as well as her meals in the hope that she'll gain a little bit of weight or a least gain some extra nutrients. She appears to be enjoying them.

Dad has had to learn to cook and made some lovely meals for them both. Now he makes a big pan of stew, mostly for mum, with lots of home grown veggies, mince (pork, turkey, lamb or beef) potatoes, sometimes lentils or beans and other bits and pieces. He then whizzes it in the blender.

After searching the internet for hint and tips we learnt some new tricks that might help mum with her food intake and nutrition. Adding milk powder to mash, soups and stews, puddings like yoghurt and custard, semolina and anything else it can be mixed with.

Sometimes it looks like mum has a problems with her swallowing reflex because she holds food in her mouth. Another tip we found on the internet was to alternated, every so often, hot food with cold. The cold could be a drink of fresh orange from the fridge or maybe a spoonful of ice cream/yoghurt/cold custard/puréed fruit. Apparently the difference between the hot (not too hot it burns of course) and cold stimulates the swallow reflex. It's also said that people with dementia develop a sweet tooth, my mum has, so there are suggestions of sweetening meals a little (sweet shepherds pie, yuk!) but if it gets them to take it. This is one we've not tried yet but not ruled out.

What's all this got to do with armchair shopping?
Well it's all down to the weight that mum's lost that most of her clothes are just way too big for her now. For many years mum has had catalogues and they're still arriving so dad has been looking through them and asked if I would help choose some stuff. I went round early on Friday morning before mum went to day care and had a look at some things and tried to involve her in choosing colours. I know the styles she likes so it was just a matter of choosing the colours. I told mum what I was doing and that I was spending dads money (she would have liked that) and I got her to choose the colour  she liked by taking her hand and guiding it. She chose 3 jumpers 2 cardigans and a skirt before her lift came. Friday was a good day and I'm pleased I was able to involve her in her shopping. With dad's agreement we chose some more items that are needed.  When the new clothes arrive dad said that he'll put the old ones in a suitcase just in case she does put some weight on although I don't think she will.

Dad still want's to keep mum at home and I will continue to help.


Saturday, 1 November 2014

100 Twiddles

Hello friends

At the craft club I go to, on a Thursday morning, a challenge was set, by the leader, to make 100 twiddle muffs by Christmas. Well, I'm really, really, really pleased to announce that we've made it, yeah! and this Thursday we gave the last ones away.  I have to say a huge thank you to the ladies and gent plus friends of the Thursday and the ladies of the Tuesday club for all their knitting of the cuffs we couldn't have done it without them. There are still some cuffs in the making that will be decorated and passed on.
I feel so proud at completing this very worthwhile challenge and that we have helped to make lots of dementia/alzhimer suffers a little calmer and comfortable. Unfortunately it's only the tip of a very large iceberg,
There's suppose to be something going into the local paper about our challenge.

Whilst I've been involved with the twiddle muffs a local craft shop owner, who has a couple of knitters making their own, got in touch with me and ask if I would be their ambassador for the twiddle muffs. She was at a loss as where to distribute them so after discussing it I agreed. All it involves is collecting the finished muffs every so often and then finding new homes for them. In my small part of the world there are many nursing homes with dementia patients so I'm sure we can find new homes for them.
I need a break now to do other things but will start again after Christmas and make a few more.

Now I need to go and rest my eyes I had the first, out of a course of three injections in my left eye again.

Hope to see you all again soon.


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Hello friends

This past week has gone so fast and thee weather has changed so dramatically.

Last Wednesday L turned 15.  She is growing up into a confident young lady who thinks all boys are a waste of space, stupid and immature (wonder how long that will last). She's doing very well in school and achieving excellent grades. She also has lots of fun and crazy moments with her friends and has no time for the airheads (as she calls them) in school. Over half term there will be a trip to Madam Toussauds, in Blackpool with 3 friends, followed by hm pizza and hm cake for tea and then a sleep over (with midnight snacks)

Some famous names L shares her birthday with

King Henry III
Jimmy Carter
Julie Andrews
Keith Duffy
Harry Hill

L was in a Hip Hop dance competition, on Saturday, at the Winter Gardens. She danced the best she has ever danced before and with such enthusiasm but still didn't win anything. It's hard to know what the judges are looking for. One of the judges is a friend of L's dance teacher and spent one Saturday afternoon with the class going over the set solo routine, that she had choreographed for the competition, and still nothing for any of the girls. 

Today I have two meetings, one regarding guides and finding someone to teach the guides first aid for a badge and the other is at a local craft shop who are making twiddle muffs and want me to be an ambassador for them and help distribute their muffs like I'm doing for the library's craft group. The craft shop is lovely and they also have a unit opposite where they teach different crafts. This is the link to the shop and blog. They have just started stocking stylecraft yarns, lots of fabric and so much more in their tiny shop.

And then I have a hospital appointment on my eye to see how it is improving or not.

I need to get a wriggle on and get my breakfast and get myself ready

See you soon


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Hello friends

Hope everyone is well.

The weather in my little corner of the world has be lovely again this week with lots of warm sunshine however the evenings have been quite a bit cooler. We've not lit the fire yet neither have we changed to the winter duvets. I feel that they will be coming out soon though. Anyone else not changed to their winter duvets yet?

Yesterday we went to the local college open day and took L's friend, S, with us. It's so very different from when I went there mm many years ago.

L and S have just gone into year 10 and although they don't need to make any decisions about higher education yet we all thought it would be a good idea to have a look around and see the different things that were on offer. It was decided that we didn't want to look around the construction or engineering departments so first stop was the catering. The girls had a go at cooking a stir fry with egg fried rice and then we got to taste it. Very nice even L liked it.  The students in this class were all adults who had decided to retrain for new careers. Next class was cake decorating and the girls got to decorate a cup cake each and eat it. Next up was the bread making where they got to play with dead dough and mould it into different shapes similar to what was on display.

We had a glance at  hair and beauty but neither of the girls were interested and then we had a quick look at health and social. Neither fancied that one either.

We then decided to drive up to another part of the college in a different part of town  which houses the Arts and Design and also the University department that's linked to Lancaster uni. Here L found it more interesting as we went to the photography department and had a good look round and I asked lots of questions. Photography is L's chosen career path. S said that she fancied doing languages so we made enquiries and it turns out that the college doesn't do them but we did find out that the local sixth form does - need to find out when their open day is.

We feel it was a very successful day and will probably do it all again next year when decisions have to be made.

Anyone else been tempted to return to college/education? anyone looking a higher education with their children/grandchildren?


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Hello Friends

Hope you are all ok. I have beginnings of a cold and hope it stays there.

Life is a bit crazy hear at the moment. We came back from our holidays on a Thursday and L went back to school on Friday, I got a phone call on Tuesday, from the school where I invigilate, asking if I was available to do some casual work in the kitchens - 2 1/2 hours a day. I worked 2 years temporary prior to invigilating. Having previously discussed the hours with the head cook (also friend who had put on a good word)  and dad regarding the care needs of mum I agreed to start the following day and since then I've not been able to get into a daily routine. It will come in time.

Today I wanted show you something I made for me for our holiday.

I've been making these crochet squares for a while to make a blanket for L's bed and then I though I would like to make a bag. It's similar to a messenger bag in style. I lined it it too.

When I went to pick the material for the lining some of the stitched pieces and we got out several bolts of colours and small patterns and slowly eliminated different one until the pink and white dots was decided upon.

Next I though the flap needed to be weighted down as I've not added any fastenings. These are some of the beads that I'm adding to the twiddle muffs and because they are rainbow I thought the would go with the colours of the bag.  It got lots looks whilst on holiday and a few comments too. It;s now put away until next summer.

This khaki canvas bag I've had for years and I felt it needed an update and feminising. (Sorry no before picture). Dad had a long net curtain with lace on the bottom. The project he was doing he didn't require the lace to took it off and gave it to me and that is what I used to update my bag.

My bag has a pocket in the flap so I cut the lace lengthways along the pattern which created a lovely scalloped edge and conceals the zip. I've hand stitched the lace on as close to the edge as I could. I use this bag a lot on days out because it has a really long adjustable strap and hold lots of stuff.

I need to get the breakfast post washed and get myself organised for lunch time.

See you soon


Sunday, 14 September 2014

More Holiday Snaps

Hello friends

More holiday pictures

Our room

Dinning on the beach

Party on the beach just before it started raining

My favourite view

View of the resort from the sea

And next door

A hermit crab

View of the pool bar from behind the waterfall

L horse riding

M horse ridung

Some entertainment

The beautiful beach

The happy couple

The wedding cake before a little man started to stick his fingers in it

I don't want to go home

I want some more rum runners (cocktails) 

We need to sort out which pictures we want printing over the next few days


Monday, 8 September 2014

An Amazing Trip

Hello friends

How are you all?

It's all back to normal for us from today. L went back to school on Friday but it was only half a day so that doesn't really count does it. Anyway, Thursday night we arrived home from our holidays proper tired. It took us 18 hours to get home. It took 18 hour to get there too. I bet you are wondering where we went that took so long. We went to Jamaica and had an amazing time but before I show you some of the photos (we took 100s) I will tell you how we were able to go on such an expensive holiday.

Funny enough it started about 12 years ago (when L was about 2) M and I said we would like to take L to Disney in Florida when she was a bit older and was able to remember it. So we started saving and after a couple of years we were half way there and then M's taxi started playing up and needed some major repair work and the only way to pay for it was to use the Florida funds. So, we started saving again and this time we were three quarters there with the funds and again, M's taxi died and we had to use the Florida money for a deposit for a replacement car. And we started to save again and then last year my SIL to be said "You know how you're saving for Florida, have you set a date yet?" "No, not yet, as we've not quite got enough yet" I replied. "How do you fancy coming, with us, to Jamaica next year? We're getting married in August" ooooh the excitement was almost too much.

Wow! First I had to find out the cost of the holiday and then 1 passport renewal, insurance, travel, spending money, and clothes. Next I had to calculate how much we had and how much we still needed to save. Next a family conference and a vote was taken, Florida or Jamaica for a wedding?


So Jamaica it was. We didn't need to buy many new clothes but what we did came from a mixture of high street and charity shops and L was bridesmaid so SIL and brother bought her dress.
The 18hrs travel was the 6hrs drive from our house to Gatwick airport, 9hrs flight and 2hrs drive from airport to the resort and all the hanging around between times and then the same for coming home.

Pictures now

The lovely man-made beach of nearly white sand being lapped by the warm turquoise sea.

View of the resort from the sea. The resort was quite busy when we got there but gradually as people left it got quieter and quieter because it was now out of season. November it will start picking up again.

This little black bird visited every morning for breakfast and took scraps from left plates and fed her two fledglings and would visit other parts of the resort at different times throughout the day. She knew where to find the good stuff.

The food was incredible. These pictures are from breakfast. Top left was the pastries and cakes (the banana bread was delicious). above middle was smoked fish and meats plus a selection of cheeses, top right was the fruit and the bottom left was the hot food. There was also pancakes/waffles/french toast with lots of different toppings, a variety of breads/cereals/porridge and smoothies of your choice. Lunch and evening meal were just as spectacular.

We climbed up the Dunn's falls which was incredible. We all had to hold hands as we climbed, with a guide. the water was quite
forceful and a little cold but the guides lead us through the easy ways. We went to swim with Dolphins, I couldn't do it. I got in the sea and started to swim but panicked because the water was getting too deep and I got scared. Luckily the trainers were nearby and pulled me out so I watched M and L do there swim.
SIL and brother paid for L to go on a horse ride with them and M went too. I didn't fancy it. M went with my nephew D to do a bob sleigh and zipwire and saw some incredible countryside. We swam in the pools (3), sat on the beach, went on a couple of boat trips around the resort and sat in the very hot sun under the shade of a parasol. And attended a wedding.

A beautiful family photo.

 Best man was my nephew D (my oldest brother's son who's currently living with my youngest brother, the groom) and bridesmaid L.

We really did have an incredible time. The staff were very friendly and had time to chat and nothing was too much trouble. It was more than we could ever would have dreamed of and we met some lovely people too. We have created some wonderful memories and L says it was the best holiday ever and would love to go back (I suggested for her honeymoon).

We have some money left over so that will start us off for next years camping/caravan holiday (back down to earth we go).

Will we ever make it to Florida? Who knows. Next year we hope to go to Devon or Cornwall and the year after we are hoping to do Disney in Paris when L has finished her GCSEs.

Would anyone like to see more pictures?


Friday, 22 August 2014

Fun Times

Hello friends

Only two weeks left of the summer holidays before L goes back to school. I love the school holidays and spending precious time with L and M. In a few short years L will be an adult doing her own exciting things so I try to make the most of her company now.

I felt that we hadn't done much over the holidays but the more I think about it we have done quite a bit.
We've been shopping - for school and holidays (next week)

Walked on the beach and painting pebbles

Walked around the local ecological centre that was once the local tip (more than 50 years ago)

There have been sleepovers at ours and friends over. There have been lazy days snuggled on the settee watching films all afternoon.

We had a trip to Manchester to the children's hospital regarding L's back (going ahead with the operation to straighten it) and met a lovely nurse who answered our questions and gave us a useful leaflet and told us about the pre-op procedures. Whilst we were in Manchester we visited a history museum. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to see everything so we will go again another time as there will be many more trips to the hospital.

L and I made up a new game. I bought a pack of small wooden blocks and we painted them five different colours and when dry we used black paint to write on the letters of the alphabet. There were two blank side so we painted stars to represent wild cards. The aim of the game is that you shake up the cubes and toss them onto the table and then make up a word using the letters/wild card showing and write it down and pass them onto the next plater. If you can't make a word then miss a turn and pass on the cubes. Other rules can be you all write what words you can make up or write down as many as you can from one throw. You can have as many players a you want. Make up your own rules. We had loads of blocks left over so they've been finished in the same way and will be passed on to the guides for a fun night.

I've decorated fifteen more twiddle muffs and they went to Morecombe this week. That makes a grand total of 45. I have another bag of fifteen ready but will make arrangement for those in September (60) and I have a further sixteen to decorated. we are fast heading to our target of a hundred (A big THANK YOU goes to the ladies and gent who have knitted them)

We've been to a wedding (there's another a week on Monday on the beach. Special blog post about that one) and a 60th birthday party and a bouncy castle party.

And what will we do this bank holiday weekend - packing for our holiday, plaiting/braiding and beading all of L's hair (so much easier to look after especially when in and out of a swimming pool and sea) and we must find time to have a day out and have some fun. Afterwards I have a hospital appointment to see if the last lot of eye injections have worked (I don't feel they have) and that's it for now.
I'm now off to do the ironing that will get all creased again in a suitcase.


Busy May

The weather has been glourious this month, almost wall to wall sunshine. Some say it will last all summer. We'll have to wait and see. ...