Monday, 26 January 2009

Sewing with(out) a plan

SWAP is what I'm up to. Or not. My ideas are biggger than my stash & better than my current lifestyle so I had to have a rethink. I'm getting there slowly. I even took 3 days off work to sew. And so far I have one top that is good & two near misses. Almost wadders. The trousers have been saved although they aren't brilliant & the blouse for work - well I shall put it away & get it out to frog stitch at a later date. Grrrrrrrrrr.
MOTTO: Make a muslin. Make a muslin. Make a b!"£$%^&* muslin.
On the bright side I know I can't be far off a decent fitting pair of trousers. And I know which blouse style doesn't work on me. Pity I used good fabric. I tell my students over & over to make a muslin. Time I followed my own advice I think.
I won't be making a muslin for the jacket I have in mind as it's by way of an experiment anyway but first I need to find the pattern to compare the sizing with my block so I know if I've added enough ease. However I have no idea where it could be. And I only have tomorrow morning to sew as I have French class in the afternoon.
I need more time off to sew but will have to wait a few more weeks, then it's half term & I'll have Joe in tow so won't get much done I don't suppose.
The Swap. Oh yes. Clothes to fit the body I'm in now & the life I live now. Not having a clear plan is both a hindrance as well as a help. On one hand I'm wallowing in the dark, on the other I can make snap decisions & sew random items & hope most of them go together. I can also tell myself that I'm sewing a part 2 item to go with part 1, & when I do get the cash to fabric shop I can choose colours to go with what has already been made from the stash & extend the wardrobe further. Sound convincing? No I thought not. Still I'm getting my colurs done at the end of February so it could all change anyway. How long do I have left to get this done? The end of April. There's hope.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Bread & blackcurrants

You simply cannot beat the smell of homemade bread, at least not in this house. I don't have the time to make it by hand very often although I do find it very therapeutic, so I invested in a new tin & paddle for the unused breadmaker that has been sat in the corner since it began to leave unwanted grease & bits in the bread, a year or two back - I discovered someone had been immersing the whole lot in water & it obviously didn't like it & I couldn't resolve it, so it sat there until I decided last week enough was enough & a new set had to be bought.
I've also just bottled one lot of blackcurrant syrup for the coughts & colds season. In clearing the freezers I "found" a substantial amount of currants, black, red & white, obviously left there to make syrups later on so that's what I'm doing. The second lot is gently simmering right now to extract the juice so I can deal with it tomorrow.
There would be photos but the light is bad in the kitchen at night so maybe tomorrow if I remember.
Dear son now wants homemade bread rolls for his packed lunch tomorrow so that breadmaker is getting a good workout tonight. Me, well just another hour or so & I shall hit the sack, I managed to hit "snooze" on the alarm for over half an hour this AM & was late going out. It's also forecast to be cold tonight & the heating isn't co-operating, I just had to reset it twice tonight already. Brrrrrrrrr. bed socks tonight me thinks.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Saturday 3rd January 2009

Another ramble on life as it is right now! Tomorow is another new beginning in this new year. I shall be 50 & intend to celebrate by starting as I mean to continue. Enjoying life as much as I can, getting as much out of it as I put in. There shouldn't be any presents as I tried to insist those I received for Xmas were more than enough to cover a birthday too. OK a couple of the Xmas pressies weren't really what I would have chosen to receive from my other half but they are OK if you like olive green & camo!! So I shall be grateful that I have a waterproof jacket & boots, even if they do hurt a little.
My dear Dani bought me the stick blender I had planned to get myself & a bouquet of flowers arrived today too. I love flowers. Mum had sent some money so I invested in a few books from my Amazon wish list & also some new bakeware from Lakeland Ltd. I love that shop, it carries all the gadgets that you didn't know you couldn't live without. LOL!
I'm working with the theory that to make good meals from very little, having the right (ie well made, long lasting etc) equipment will surely help.
What I would like to do tomorrow really is sew, without interruption, but in reality I think we'll be going for a walk, & I may visit a friend & get some of her wonderful free range eggs. Which means I could be baking tomorrow evening. I would also like to buy some more fabric to get on with the SWAP sewing - lots of plans just no fabric to execute most them.
We had ice cream for pud tonight. Homemade with chunks of chocolate & toffee. Yummy.
I also took it upon myself to defrost the upright freezer & clear out what was never going to be eaten. Next will be the chest freezer & if I can I'm going to empty it & switch it off until we start to produce more of our own veg & fruit. There's another resolution, shop the freezer more often.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Another year, another chance to start afresh

Well, there are a number of reasons to make a fresh start, one being keeping this blog up to date!

Life has thrown a number of lemons my way lately but I am going to make lemonade from them & add a shot of vodka just for the hell of it!

We are going to simplify our lives where we can, not by removing things so much as changing how we use what we have. Projected income reduction due to the current economic climate is a motivating factor of course, & increasing the family happiness factor is the other!

We've started menu planning again, not sure why we stopped really but it's underway again to be economical & to think about what we do buy. Joe mentioned ice cream, so I realised there was a tub of cream that needed to be used now, we had eggs & milk & sugar, so the egg custard is chilling now! There is left over Xmas pud to stir in some & some toffees to melt to pour over the rest! The egg whites are now turning slowly into meringues in the oven for another pud at a later date as they will keep a week or two.

And the anorak has said he wants another allotment. YES. This time we will make sure we find enough time as that was the final deciding factor to give it up last time. I have so missed our own grown veg & fruit. In fact I just used up the last blackcurrant syrup last week when I was suffering from a lousy cold. Sloe gin helps as well. Got to make the 2007 vintage last, there were no sloes in 2008.

Guess what? I discovered that the microfibre cloths that only need water to work on cleaning actually do just what it says on the label! Feeling guilty as I hadn't cleaned the bathroom for a week, I thought I'd try one out. It works no problem. Next I need to make up some disinfectant using some essential oils, about time I used the knowledge from my now defunct aromatherapy qualification. That's another small economy to contribute to the bigger picture.

Yes you guessed correct, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle are hot just now!
Actually we already recycle quite a lot, the usual plastic, paper, glass & cans. So it's just a case of taking things one step further.
Reduce, what? Well if we buy meat from the butcher instead of the supermarket, like I did at Christmas I can reduce the plastic wrapping. This isn't quite so simple as the supermarket is very handy, very close & cheaper in many cases than the butcher who I can only get to once a week as long as I continue to go into town at the weekend. No big deal as it isn't very far but it does mean I have to be organised. Ha ha. Fuel, well I aleady cut down the milage by walking or cycling as many places as I can so I can't reduce that any more right now but I can remember to give DH the fabric carrier bags for the shoppping more often to reduce the ones he usually brings home. Also I am going make net bags for the loose fruit & veg shopping so that's less plastic bags too. Water, I'm going to be keeping a careful watch over the loads in the washing machine. Leading on from this & as above, the cleaning products I use are going to gradually change as I reduce the bought where sensible & efficient, to use the simpler, but still as effective, methods.

Reuse, well we already share the bath water some days as an economy. Plastic bags that we do get, get used over & over for shopping, dog poop, rubbish where necessary, I haven't bought bin liners now for months. Foil containers, not acquired very often but the ones that do come home if DH splurges on a ready meal, are often strong enough to be reused for baking or freezing. Fabric is already reused for bags of varying sizes.

Recycle, the afore mentioned fabric bags are usually old curtains from work that would otherwise go to landfill. Terrible waste but I already got rid of loads to the local animal shelters & charities. Compost. I have to admit we have a neglected bin on the back garden, but we are going to clear a path & start over with it this week.

Another wordy post, I really do need to get out & about with the camera & my new lens to see what I can snap.