Monday, 31 August 2009

Busy Bank Holiday

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing in a local antique/junk shop and came across a box of paper items. After an interesting rummage I decided to buy this old magazine and a couple of out-of-date maps. I aim to photocopy some of the images in the magazine and use them for greetings cards. The old fashioned themes and ideas will make the cards quirky and different. The maps could be used for wrapping, cards, envelopes etc as demonstrated so well by Bugs and Fishes.

A friend of mine was asked, with only a couple of weeks notice, to help organise a Food Festival in a small local village. She rose to the task and came up trumps despite it being a Bank Holiday weekend and lots of her potential exhibitors already being booked. I went along for a look (as she was kind enough to support me in my concerts) and had a nice afternoon browsing the stalls.

Although the sky was threatening it didn't rain and I enjoyed a quiet hour listening to the jazz singer/musician. A simple act of kindness, as I sat there, cheered me up for the rest of the day: A man from one of the stalls sat at the picnic table next to me and began sorting some of his wares. He asked to borrow a pen and luckily I had one with me which I handed over. When he had finished he gave me back the pen and handed me one of the items he had been labelling saying it was a Sticky Toffee Pudding. I offered him something for it but he refused and the look on his face showed that he was as happy to be giving as I was to be receiving.

The Food Festival was on Sunday. On the Saturday I went for run of about 7 miles with OH in the morning and with lots of friends to a 25th Wedding Anniversary party in the evening. Most of the friends were the same ones we went skiing with in March.

Hopefully, my next post will be a round-up of the success or otherwise of August simple living efforts.

Bye for now.
Teresa x

Friday, 21 August 2009

UFOs and a Bernina

I had a day off work yesterday to join my quilting group on a trip to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. As always it was a busy, enjoyable and inspirational day and I'm sure there will be lots of photos and news about it here in Blogland. I bought a couple of bits and pieces but my main aim was to get a new sewing machine. The one I have is at least 20 years old and doesn't have many of the features and attachments that would save time and give a good finish. I'm planning to do much more sewing in the future so felt it was time to invest in a new machine. One machine looks much like another to me as I haven't had much experience with newer models, but with the advice that Bernina were good quality, I negotiated to buy one of the demonstration models of this (the 230 PES) machine at £100 off. I'm looking forward to receiving it after it's finished with at the show and had a service back at their shop.

In the true tradition of Blogland, I've taken a couple of photos of my Unfinished Objects (projects). Some bloggers show their UFOs in order to motivate themselves to get working on and maybe finish them. I don't quite know if I have an ulterior motive for showing these as I can't see me having time to pick them up any time soon. I only have 2 but they're time consuming projects and getting back into the right mind set for continuing will take quite some time.

This is a cardigan pattern and yarn I bought to knit about 3 years ago and started with enthusiasm. It's the only time I've bought a book of patterns and exactly the yarn specified, and it cost around £50 at the time. That's more than I've spent before or since on a similar project so I should really get it finished. I seem to remember that as I knitted the back (which is all I've done so far - up to the armhole shaping) it began to look as though it was going to be too small. What I should really do is get it back out, measure properly and if it's too small, un-run it and start again.

(The correct colour of this yarn is somewhere between the 2 photos)

This cross-stitch kit is probably even older than the cardigan project. I love the picture and know where I want it to hang when/if it's ever finished. The reason I lost interest in this was because I got to a point where I realised I'd made a mistake somewhere and the pattern is so small and complex it was impossible to find it. This means I'll have to adapt the colours as I go until the pattern gets a point where it's correct and the thought of that puts me off picking it up.
This weekend is, I hope, going to be a quiet one with some time for stitching. I've got a few quilt blocks ready to put a border on and another paper foundation block to finish. Some ebay watching time will also be spent because I finally got around to listing some items to sell for the first time last weekend. I've got quite a few watchers and couple of bids so I'm hopeful for a reasonable result. It'll be quite exciting watching what happens but I suppose that wears off when you've done it a lot!!
Bye for now
Teresa x

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Thrifting from Tavistock

I can always find lots of items in charity shops with potential to be revamped or used for sewing but I restrain my self from buying too much because I know I won't have the time and it will just get added to the piles of 'stuff' taking over the house. As I think I mentioned previously, I mooched around a few charity shops while on a break in Tavistock the other week. One of them had quite a lot of linen items and seemed to specialise in it. I had a sift through and was unable to resist these 2 little pieces (are they called doilies?). I'm not sure what I'm going to use them for yet but the cute picture printed on the one above and the pretty embroidery on the one below were too lovely to leave behind.

I also picked up a cotton blouse (which I didn't photograph) with the aim of using the fabric for patchwork etc. As it had a cream/beige background with a delicate pattern of green leaves all over, I thought it would make a suitable lining for the little bag I was making to fill with toiletries for my neice's bithday. It went well with the colour scheme and the apple design on the outer fabric.
I was pleased with the result as this was the first zipped bag I'd made with lining. It went together very easily and the lining makes it all look so much tidier inside. The only new part of the bag was the apples fabric, the rest (including the zip) were thrifted.

This week I am looking forward to a busy few days:

1. A work afternoon/evening out tomorrow consisting of a cricket match and BBQ
2. Going to see The Time Traveler's Wife with a friend on Weds
3. Going to the Quilting Show in Birmingham on Thursday with my quilt group.

And my OH has booked us a holiday at last after a lot of delaying and wondering whether either of the children could get time to come too. It's now going to be just the 2 of us and we are going to Rhodes in a few weeks!! I'd like to arrange for us all to go away next year instead. I like the idea of a little cottage by the sea but we'll have to see.........

Bye for now
Teresa x

Thursday, 13 August 2009

"I Could of Told You That Your Not Right!"

If you find the sentence above irritating then we have something in common. I'm of the opinion that technology and laziness are having a detrimental effect on the natural evolution of the English language and as a result the meanings of words and phrases are changing so much that what we write and speak don't even make sense if analysed. This is happening all the faster with the 'help' of social interactive websites, message forums and texting. It also irritates me when words are too readily added to the English dictionary. It's my understanding that new words, or new meanings for older words, can be added if they are published when the new meaning is obviously apparent (but don't quote me - ha ha pun intended). In this age of immediate and overwhelming information overload, I think the criterion should be changed so that words aren't included until in widespread general use, as would have been the case in the past. These days, words are added to the dictionary that many people have never heard and they only become well known and well used BECAUSE they are in the dictionary - that seems completely contradictory to me.

I love reading and will read novels (modern and classic), non-fiction, magazines and newspapers as often as I can (after I've found time for stitching so not very often!). I usually have on-the-go a book on my bedside table and one at work to read while eating my lunch and usually take a couple on holiday too.

When reading classic literature from around the turn of the 20th Century, I'm always amazed at how long-winded and convoluted the descriptions of feelings and situations are, and how the characters state their case in such a round-about way. I enjoy reading novels written back then and having to decipher what the author means, even to the extent of having to re-read a sentence several times. I find it fascinating that social strictures were such that they had no choice but to go "round the houses" to arrive at what they really meant. Many words can be found in these novels that had different meanings at the time they were written from now. The word "awful" for example meant exactly what it says - "full of awe" and not as more commonly used today, "terrible or horrible". Other words from those times have been shortened (this is probably where the laziness contributes) such as one I found in Tess of the d'Urbervilles recently. The word was "compeers" and, in its context in the book, I understood the meaning but have not heard it in modern usage, only the shortened "peers". Compeers seems to suit the meaning of the word better.

I am constantly amazed when intelligent people use 'could/should of' instead of 'could/should have' and don't know (or care about) the difference between 'there', their' and 'they're' or 'your' and 'you're'. This poor grammar is gradually creeping into magazines and websites too. I've yet to see it in books and newspapers. Don't get me wrong, my grammar is not good by any means and I'm unsure of the finer points (I start sentences with 'but' and 'and' and end them with prepositions(Wow, a sentence with 3 ands in a row) and use too many commas) but I think the basic rules should have been, and should still be, a major part of primary learning. I also realise there are many people who have a reason for not understanding the written word as other people do, for example dyslexics, but I don't understand enough about it to know how they perceive words.

A friend and I were talking about what annoyed us about the general use of language today (which partly prompted me to write this post) and she mentioned that her daughter had taken English Language at A' Level. I did English Literature many years ago because Language wasn't available then. A seed has now been planted in my mind, as there's no reason why I couldn't take another A Level now. I will look into what the course covers and see if it inspires me. But now another train of thought comes to me - I won't have the time to do it for a couple of years at least and when I do, what use would I put it to?
Another aspect of language that interests me is idioms and colloquialisms and I have a few books on the subject that I occasionally dip into.
The books above are all ones that I own and have read.
Sorry if this sounds like a rant and I know it's a complete change from my 'normal''s just a bugbear (now where did that word originate from?) of mine and it's good to get it off my chest. I quite enjoyed writing it actually and contemplating the English Language.
Normal service will be resumed shortly!
Bye for now
Teresa x

Monday, 10 August 2009

Tavistock Break

We decided to take the scenic route to Tavistock for our short break and drove through Dartmoor National Park.

The weather wasn't very good for taking photos but I tried to take a few as we drove and walked around a few little coastal villages the next day.

I love the look of these little, hidden streets but I think I'd feel quite cramped living there

This is the B&B we stayed at at. Very friendly and accommodating and excellent breakfast service. Although, I think the next time we go away we'll go self-catering so we can have a lie-in occasionally - it is a holiday after all!

On the way home (on the recommendation of a shopkeeper in Tavistock) we stopped at Castle Drogo, a National Trust site and the last castle to be built in England. It was full of lots of paintings, photos and items that belonged to the family that lived there which helped visitors to imagine what it was like living like that. Photos were not allowed inside the castle but it was a lovely sunny day so I managed to get a couple of the gardens.

I can't finish without mentioning the lunch we had in the cafe at Castle Drogo. We both had a large slice of quiche with salad leaves, mushroom salad and either potato salad (OH) or cous cous (me). OH had an individual summer pudding with clotted cream to follow and I had a cheese scone. I have to say it was all delicious and well worth a mention.
We visited a few charity shops in Tavistock and I picked up a couple of bits for crafting. More on that soon.
Bye for now

Saturday, 1 August 2009

July Update and Sewing Progress

Saturdays always seem to me to fly by in a flash, but today was an exception. Today seemed to flow at a normal pace and I had time to do some baking (muesli bars), fruit picking (blueberries), exercise and sewing as well as some housework. My OH and I are going to Devon tomorrow for a few days so I don't know if that had anything to do with it. I'm looking forward to the break and a few days off work.

On the sewing front, I almost finished 2 Rail Fence blocks for my quilt-as-you-go quilt and started another paper foundation pieced block. As you can see from the photos above my calculations were a bit out. I was one section short for the top one and had one extra for the other. I've sorted it now and they are almost finished.

July spending round-up

Seeing as it's now August, the record of my July spending and simple living efforts is complete. Spending overall was a fifth down on June which shows that I have cut down on unneccesary spending. Weekly shopping and fuel spending were not very different so I need to keep working on that. Eating out costs were double as we treated our son and daughter to a meal out. The main reason for the overall decrease was my reduction in general spending.

Time to go and pack for tomorrow now. I'll, hopefully be back with some photos in a few days.

Bye for now
Teresa x