Friday, 7 October 2011

Frugality strikes again

Or rather the need to be frugal.  It never went away just things got easier for a while.  However, neither child received a birthday present this year so I'm determined they will get something worthwhile at Christmas, and we will have our first grandchild mid December   This means we have to put aside now.  Not so easy on a hand to mouth existance which will be the state for some time to come I fear as we pay off the debts incurred by a failing business, thankfully we both now have regular incomes.  Tonights supper is homemade veg soup with a large amount of homegrown tomatoes in it & homemeade bread with the last of the bread flour.  Not sure if I will have enough money next week to buy more but no doubt we will survive. 
I picked up a book being thrown away by the library at work this morning.  "Your Best Life Now" by Joel Osteen, published 2004.  The title intrigued me, I am a fairly positive & optimistic person as a rule, only inclined to the occasional bout of self pity, the anorak less so & sometimes it's hard to cope with.  The book is based on belief in God & His ability to provide.  I am not a religious person particularly, I was brought up Church of England, taught in Sunday School for a while even, have been confirmed, married in church & if we'd had the money would have had my second marriage blessed in church.  My 90 year old Mum is a firm believer still & so was my beloved Dad.  Yet I can't bring myself to attend church on a regular basis.  I do believe, however, that to be a Christian is to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, whatever / whoever you may be involved with.  With respect & dignity.  And that's good enough for me.  I digress.  I think that the bottom line is to have self belief & to me that is what the book is about.  I also believe in fate & I think this book was meant to fall into my hands & remind me to be positive.  I'm not sure how much I can  influence my much loved anorak but maybe he'll pick up the book & read the back cover & seeds may be sown in his mind.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Another awards evening

For the second year in a row I was invited to our hospital trust's annual awards evening, dress code smart so posh frock time.  Spotted this pattern in a case that my friend's Mum gave her, real vintage vogue, designer at that.
I borrowed the pattern & redrafted it to fit me using PMB5 from Wild Ginger.  Got to love that software, it fits right out of the box.  The details I changed by hand & I certainly had to tweak the muslin a few times before I was happy.  Note to self - next time an approximate copy will suffice not every dart has to be in the same place!  Pity the detail of gathers on the slanted seam either side of the waist can't been seen in the pics I'm told it's quite slimming!  Bra strap holders kept the shoulders where they should be, as the weight of the cowl tend to pull them one direction or another.
Photos courtesy of my daughter taken at midnight after I got home, very tired , hence the lack of smile on one.  I just wanted to sleep.  Which I did, overslept this morning which wasn't good as I had to be some miles away on a course for 9AM.  Somehow I made it in time to get some coffee before I started.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Testing times

Indeed these are very testing times financially.  The anorak has changed his job, now employed rather than self-employed, & won't get paid until the end of July.  This is really pushing beyond the boundaries as there isn't enough money to cover all outgoings between now & then so I am restricted to around £30 a week for housekeeping, fuel & whatever else might be needed.  Watch this space........
We've survived last week on homemade soup from the freezer, eggs from a friends hens, some homemade bread, homemade cake, & bits & pieces in the store cupboard & freezer.  I did some shopping today & have split a 750g pack of mince into 3 & put in the freezer, padded out with a tin of beans, or some other veg that will be 3 meals, not all this week, two chickens that will each do 3 - 4 meals + stock from the carcases, & I think the dearest item was a pack of 4 pork chops that fed us tonight braised in stock with apples & mushrooms.   However one chop & sauce was saved for a meal to take to work by the anorak next week.  I also stocked up with a bag each of SR flour & plain flour & some veg.  We'll see how long we can manage.  I also had to spend on a couple of plastic lunch boxes that are microwave proof for the anorak to use at work.
Hey ho.
I have even managed to sew a top & long skirt for the hot weather if we get anymore this year, I can't stand trousers when it gets hot.  In fact I prefer dresses but apart from one I made a couple of months back I have only got as far as altering the patttern for another.
My darling Dillon, the Dobermann, won the "Best Rescue" dog at a local companion dog show a few weeks ago.  Fancy a prize for Dillon just being himself!!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

A dress finished

I finished the dress from Vogue 8413 & I'm not sure I like it!  The drapey fabric isn't drapey enough for the cowl to hang properly, although looking at the pattern envelope it looks the same so maybe it's just me.  I have about a metre left & I might try & squeeze a version of Butterick 5567 out of it, if not a simple top will have to suffice.  Quite when or where I'll wear the dress I have no idea, I need a function to go to.  Wait, Mum's 90th birthday could be the opportunity, I will need a jacket or something to go over it & the same fabric might be a bit too matchy matchy so I'd better get thinking.  I have a pink tweedy one in the stash but I think it's the wrong shade, maybe a contrast navy would be good.  In which case I'll need to go shopping again!
No photo as yet, need a little time & space to set up the tripod & find a free wall for the background.

Friday, 4 February 2011


Of the career kind.  I think.  I am now the Domestic Supervisor at our local hospital.  A sideways move but necessary in these uncertain times within the NHS.  It should keep me employed during the next round of job cuts, most of all I hope it will prove to be a stepping stone to better things.  I didn't want to make the move but I'd rather keep myself in employment than face possible redundancy which could have / maybe be an option in the next 12 months.
Meanwhile I have  my beloved Dillon to keep me sane.  Well he keeps me exercised anyhow!  Fresh air & walking a few miles nearly every day has to be a good thing, except when it's raining & neither of us wants to go out.  A flash back to last year, it took us a long time to persuade him to go for a drink in the stream, he hates getting his feet wet as a rule. 
I'm sewing Vogue 8413 view A, well I started it a few weeks ago, in a dusky pink drapey fabric of unknown composition that a friend had in her stash for years & I mean years, going back to our flat share days, so that's over 26 years!  I had a wild idea of making a skirt & several different tops in it but I forgot & cut out the dress instead!  So that's an idea for the future.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Dearest Dillon

This how I just found Dillon!  Half asleep on / half off the settee.

Oh dear ...........

The washing machine has died.  It stopped in the middle of a rinse cycle, so when I opened it, I had to be very careful not to flood the kitchen!  So now it has all been wrung out & along with what had to be washed immediately is now dripping over the bath, outside between showers & in the currently empty greenhouse.  The next load is going to my step-daughters later to be collected tomorrow.
Saturday morning is traditionally brunch consisting of drop scones & home made preserves.  It used to  be Sundays until I had to start work working then.

This morning we had apple, grape & orange flavoured with star anise & vanilla, lemon curd & apple, pear & grape.
Look at all these jellies that the anorak has made this last week.  Every time he saw fruit reduced he bought some.  There's cranberry & apple, apple & grape, apple, orange & whatever was left of everything else!
All awaitung labels & being put into storage for later in the year & presents.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Ohhhhhhh ................. tomorrows another birthday!  I'll be 52 & part of me wonders how things could have been different if I'd chosen to follow a different path.  But.  I chose the path I'm on now & must make of it what I can.  I have a loving husband & children, not to mention the animals!  I'm actually very lucky.  I read a new to me blog the other day & the thoughts on Simplicity seemed to make sense, certainly made me take the time to do a little thinking.  Have a look. Coincidently Joy had first written her thoughts on the 4th January 2005, my 46th (?) birthday! 
Just how lucky I am was brought home a few weeks back when the hospital rang to ask if I knew my DH had presented himself in ER with a suspected heart attack.  No I had no idea.  Silly man had felt unwell at work & driven himself there.  Anyhow they told me he was being transferred by ambulance to Lancaster where he would stay until they knew what was happening.  Now at this point I was actually feeling quite panicky but I knew I had to hold it together for our Joe's sake, so I chose to stay home & not go down to be with him as he is the worlds worst patient in hospital & I knew he would become more agitated if Joe & I were there.  You make think that a strange decision when a loved one is potentially seriously ill but I know my husband.  Had the nurse (whom I know as I work at the local hospital) suggested I go then I would have known it was very serious & gone.  I rang Lancaster an hour later & they were waiting for a cardiologist, Friday evening isn't the best time to find available staff it seems.  Long story short, he was discharged the next day with beta blockers & aspirin.  He's since had an echocardiogram which showed up no problems & he sees the cardiologist again this coming week.  We are sure it was stress that brought it on.
It was a huge shock for us both but I believe my darling anorak has realised that he needs to take time to relax more & not stress about what he can't change.  Financially things are much worse than last year & how we'll manage remains to be seen but manage we will, with the love of our family & friends all around us.
Dillon meanwhile remains the centre of attention when he can.  He, like most other dogs, loved the last snowfall.