Saturday, 30 November 2019


The new moon is four days old, and this is how beautiful she looked when I was closing the curtains yesterday afternoon.

And this is what I saw when I opened them again this morning.
I did not see last night's forecast so I have no idea what the predicted low was, but it was definitely a minus number.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Achievement {insert smiley face}

So much of this year has been a great big pile of poo; I am fed up with it all but even more fed up with moaning about it.  So I won't, I will channel Sally Sunshine and be irritatingly glass-half-full and see if that is any better 😃😃.

Having some skanky flu-like bug might not have been on my list of Things To Do In November, but it has not been the end of the world, For a start the weather in the last month has been wet, dull, wet and dull again, often both at the same time, and not remotely conducive to wanting to be outside doing 'stuff'. So I did not particularly feel I was missing out whilst staying at home allowing the jelly in my legs to firm up.

I've got through a satisfying number of books on the Kindle because I can read cozy mystery books without needing to engage more than a few brain cells and it does not matter a jot if I cannot remember the story when I have finished. I used the lethargy to deliberately have a bit of a digital break which is never a bad thing, but Feedly now tells me I have an awful lot of blogs to catch up with . . . I might just hit the reset button on the feed counter and start again from 1st December. No offence to anyone whose blog posts I miss, but sometimes . . . if you know what I mean?

I can, however, look back at the middle two weeks of November with satisfaction as the Time I Tamed the Scraps. Gosh, there were times I was bored, bored, bored with pressing rumpled little bits of fabric and deciding the best way to cut them up to avoid waste.

But it is now ALL DONE (in truth, it was done a few days ago) and instead of 'scraps" I now have a gorgeous collection of pre-cut fabrics ready to be sewn into quilt tops with all the graft of pressing and prepping dealt with.

The 'ready for action' tubs have a new home where they are not going to be lost and forgotten for another decade.  I did not do all this preparation just to put the fabric away again - after investing so much time and effort I am going to see what quilty loveliness can be made by using just this material first . . .

Saturday, 16 November 2019

If you always do what you've always done . . .

(found on Pinterest, no copyright attribution)

I think I first heard that {mumble, mumble} years ago when Oprah was shown on British TV and Dr Phil was all the rage. I love it, a bit like the supposed Einstein quote:

I have taken both quotes on board and am taking it easy until I have fully recovered.  This lurgy is slowly easing; definitely not a cold, probably a flu variant.  I went out yesterday morning - just an hour or so to Sainsbury's and I got M. to drive, but at least it was a different view!  Bumped into a neighbour, long conversation abbreviated: last month her active 20-something daughter was floored by what sounds like exactly the same bug/virus.  Took K. at least two weeks to get back on her feet, so I shall (for once - ha ha) behave differently to my historical norm and try to be sensible  (see above  ðŸ˜Ž ).

Moving on . . . many years ago I looked at lots of little baskets of fabric scraps on my shelves and decided to 'organise' them.  Blog rummaging tells me I was trying to do this back in September 2013.

Clearly I didn't get very far because five years later, the scrap piles had multiplied, rather than reduced.  It seems like much, much longer ago, but rummaging tells me the scraps moved into larger boxes in February 2018 . . . (I enjoyed this particular rummage, Daisy photo-bombed the entire post ☺️ ).

But those tubs are pretty much where the scraps have stayed, apart from the whole lot regularly moving to a different part of the room when I have another 'reorganisation'.

Up to now, the scraps have been sorted by colour which sounds like a great idea.  Unfortunately the scraps are wildly varied in size and shape meaning so much sorting and organising is required before I can do any sewing I tend to lose enthusiasm before I get started.  It would seem that grouping by colour is a big fail.  Time to do things differently  (see above  ðŸ˜Ž ).

The Queen and Supreme Being of scraps is Bonnie Hunter and her 'system' seems to be to organise by size.  In truth, I was a little unsure as to whether it could work for me but heck - what I have been doing up to now is definitely NOT working so I need a new approach  (see above  ðŸ˜Ž ). Weighed down by lurgy, I figured semi-mindlessly moving bits of fabric around without having to actually sew anything was about the limit of what I could manage, and might achieve something in the process.

I had a couple of happy breakthroughs very early on:  I tipped out the first box which came to hand (mostly yellows, orange, browns) and thought "eek, that's a lot of fabric".  So I weighed it . . . and the result was a massive shock.  The contents weighed 1.277kg.  By comparison one metre of beautiful batik weighs 128 grams.  It doesn't take a genius to work out the quantity of yardage jumbled up in a storage tub: 10 metres is enough for a quilt top.  Another 'gem' from Bonnie Hunter is "these 'scraps' originally cost the same as the rest of your yardage" which is a bit scary with today's extortionate fabric prices.

The second breakthrough was to change my thinking (see above  ðŸ˜Ž ) - I wasn't "straightening up and tidying scraps".  Much more motivating to realise that I was preparing the fabric for my next scrap quilt, even if I had not yet decided what it was going to be. So that is where I've been for the last few days - half an hour sorting, an hour sitting down allowing the legs to stabilise and despite far more sitting down than sorting, it was a massive surprise to get to the end of the first box this afternoon.

Delighted with how much progress has been made, although this is not going to be a quick fix:

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Please sit down before you fall down

An intriguing little vintage:  hints of gelatine through the lower limbs surrounded by a fog of indecision, a metallic overlay to everything apart from occasional moments of no taste at all with occasional portions of extreme dizziness thrown in.   Yuk.

I am now at the end of day five and am Officially Bored With This.  Nowhere poorly enough to lay on the sofa and doze all day.  Nowhere well enough to function like a half-normal person.  Television is as boring as hell but I cannot concentrate on reading - hence being bored, not just with this bug but my inability to do anything.  That's not really true - I wander from one end of the house to another, maybe make the bed or put the washing machine on, and then wander back to sit down for an hour to allow the gelatine in my legs to firm up again before I make another foray somewhere.

It's all a bit tiresome but for once I am being sensible.  This is not a cold so it is probably a variant of whatever the flu bug is going to be this winter.  At times in the past with bugs like this I have had to 'soldier on' and then coped with three to six months of post viral fatigue.  That's monumentally horrible so for once I am prepared to chill out for a couple of weeks and get it over with  (well, that is the cunning plan - only time will tell if it is a success).

In the absence of any activity to blog about I had a rootle through the 'picture backlog'.  This is from April 2018 - apart from birdsong there is absolutely no sound except the camera refocussing when I zoomed in.  It is entirely possible I may watch it another eleventy-seven times before bedtime ☺️

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Pondering . . .

Outside is stunningly beautiful today - crisp and cold, clear sky, more snow on the hills.  It will not last - the forecast for the coming week is one of wind and wet, so frightening for those communities saturated or already flooded.

Sadly I am too ill to enjoy being outside, and cannot do anything more than drift around the house and communicate with M. in a scratchy whisper.  I have not had a cold this bad for many years and am not enjoying it, even less so because we've even dared ask the "is this flu" question.  The woodburner is ready to be lit and far more logs than truly necessary are stacked on the hearth and in the baskets - but it is a comfort, nesting, a luxurious psychological prop.  Once upon a time I did not live the way I do now, I was regularly cold and I have never forgotten how miserable that is.

Last Thursday I did as I had promised and went to my first swimming lesson.  Being in the water was not as bad as I feared it might be, but the thing I was really worried about - getting cold - well, that was a problem.  Our local pool is known for being cold,  I have absolutely no spare body fat and feel chilly at the drop of a hat - it is not a good combination.  Despite taking a small flask with a hot drink, I sat in the changing room after 35 minutes in the water and physically shook so much I could barely drink.  And I cannot avoid the suspicion that's where I picked up this disgusting bug - exposure late Thursday evening, symptoms and illness Saturday morning, 36 hour incubation?

If I go back to the local pool next week I have the support of a neighbour and her daughter, lovely kind people who are experienced teachers, and a superb teacher/student ratio.  And it's cheap . . . but cold.  And takes place after supper on Thursday at a time when I am normally thinking of getting ready for bed.

Or I could sign up at a nearby hotel with a nice spa facility, that is WARM.  I have been and checked it out in the past, it is deliciously WARM, both the water and the surrounding atmosphere.  But it costs more, and there will not be actual tuition, although I'm told the staff will give "guidance" if asked.  And I can visit in the day when I'm not thinking about my duvet.

It sounds like a simple decision but I am vacillating between the desire for proper tuition and the need to avoid hypothermia.

And I am not well enough to make any decisions today.  I cannot even decide whether to have a mug of tea or not 😄ðŸĪŠ

Saturday, 9 November 2019

First snow of 2019

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful . . . "
Actually, not horrendously frightful at all, not compared to the flooding that so many have experienced in Yorkshire and the Midlands.  It was a surprise to see a map on the BBC where Cumbria was almost the only place not under a flood alert.  But here it is much colder than we anticipated and the plans for a day working outside have gone to hell in a handcart.

Through the low cloud, murk and gloom I can just make out the first dusting of white stuff on Skiddaw and Ullock Pike.  It really is that dark and gloomy here today . . .

Grassmoor & Whiteside probably have similar, but the cloud is too low for a clear look.

No posts recently because I realise I have been running on empty for a couple of weeks;  nothing serious, but doing too much without a restorative break.  Which is probably why this morning I unexpectedly keeled over with all the symptoms of a nasty cold and lit the woodburner at 11.00am after sending M. to Sainsbury's.  A day for curling up with hardwood logs slowly releasing their glorious heat, watching all the history programmes I record but take ages to get round to viewing.

Gently and in the background three quilts have been completely finished and are absolutely gorgeous, especially the brushed cotton/homespun scrappy.  Every time I touch or see this quilt it fills my heart, cannot really explain it but this is "one of the special ones".

I showed it to someone who clearly did not agree with me.  In fact, she could barely hide the contemptuous and scornful lip curl as she turned away.  Well sweetheart, you can get on your broom and 'fly' right off, because your own quilts are really not very special and your opinion is not important, I only showed you the quilt out of politeness.  Whooaaaa, nearly an "F" bomb - can you tell I was irritated?  But I cheered myself up pretty quickly with this, thank you Pinterest for the words (the picture is mine) 😃😃

The other two recent finishes are good, but just 'regular quilts' and I wouldn't be surprised if one or both get gifted away at some point.

We've been outside a bit, and yesterday I scored another five big bins full of leaves but it's too dank and miserable to go and take a picture.

Management has continued to work on refurbishing our outside lights, and laying in new conduit and electric cables.  I am meant to be painting a bit of the house wall that got missed last time around but it has not been warm enough.  Instead, I have made a start on painting the greenhouse . . . in the daftest, most fun way I could think of.  Each 'bay' is going to be a different colour with bed, staging and supports all matching.  Although it looks like every section is the same size, there are subtle differences and colour-coding might prevent the annual "which bit is the right length" time-wasting carry-on that always happens when I am setting up the staging for winter.