Sunday, 4 December 2016

Christmas tree substitute

Due to the on going health problems around here we decided to not go too mad with the decorations this year. A small start was to put up the tree of lights so I thought I would decorate it with the home, made by me and a friend, items. I actually really like the look.

I have a box of  fabric made Christmas items that I am hoping I can drag down the stairs and put a Christmas smile on the house. Walking down stairs with a walking stick holding onto the rail makes it difficult to carry anything, but it is surprising what you can do when you really want to.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Shopping

It is now six weeks and two days since I went into any kind of shop! Have I missed it? No not really and I usually love shopping. All our grocery shopping has been done on line and a kind man from Tesco has delivered it to the door. Amazon and EBay have come to my rescue for any last minute Christmas shopping.  BUT I am now starting to go stir crazy and long for a rummage in a Charity shop or a mooch in Poundland. Never mind as soon as I feel I can drive again the shops won't know what hit them!
On the flip side of the coin we have saved a lot of money, when you buy on line you don't buy all the tempting things you see in shops and keep filling the car up with fuel.

My Happy Room has been a hive of activity as I decided to try and make a Christmas tree angel for all my cousins attending our annual lunch in ten days time, nine of them. I also bought a few patterns from SweetPea machine embroidery and amongst them a Christmas stocking pattern. At check out it said buy one get one free so together with the redwork stocking I wanted I received a Santa stocking pattern for free.  Now I can't stop making them!
Trying to get in the Christmas mood

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Last minute gift

My sister requested a replacement oven mitt, goodness knows how long ago I gave her the last pair!
Using two of the Allison block patterns from SweetPea I managed to make two for her.
Hope they look alright in her kitchen.
I have spent the afternoon working on Machine Embroidery Christmas stockings, and what could go wrong has!! Tried to be economical and use a large piece of backing vilene only to look away from the machine for a minute and it all to get jammed up, so one stocking in the bin and the the vilene has a big hole in it! Yo Ho Ho it is the first of December...

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Last day of November

Another month almost gone, and still I have trouble walking, but the Physio seemed happy with my progress even though it is slow. He really put me through the mill yesterday so today is recovery day!

I have managed to complete another pair of socks, and they match as near as possible which is always a miracle.
These should keep my toes warm as soon as I get out of the elasticated stockings the Hospital want me to wear.

A friend gave me a Woolwarehouse voucher for my birthday and it was fun choosing what to buy. In the end I decided I would like to make the new CAL [crochet along] that starts on Attic24 blog in January. Woolwarehouse sell a pack of the wool required, so I am ready to go as soon as the first instructions are available.
The idea of the blanket is from the Yorkshire moors and I just loved the colours.
The CAL runs through January and February, most of which I will be spending in Spain so a great project to work on.

So exciting when the package arrived

Cannot wait to start

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Sizzix machine

Each December the IAM group that meet monthly at my home have a Christmas party. We like to play games (more on that later) and when I can think of something instead of bringing their own projects to work on I, or a member of the group, like to organise a mini workshop.

Last Christmas a friend sent me an angel and I thought it would make a great project for the group. Luckily I had put it somewhere I could find it. I have everything I need to cut out kits for everyone so I organised my table with a stool for my leg ( have to try and keep the swelling down) and used my Sizzix machine to cut out card shapes ( great recycling of my Get Well cards) . Next I cut out a pile of cushion soft for the padding of the faces.

Working in my Happy Room
It feels great getting back into my happyroom, even though with a temporary bed to allow me to do exercises without having to climb the stairs, it looks such a mess.


I still have to cut out the main fabric shapes but I am waiting for a large circle cutter for my Sizzix that hopefully will come this week. Since writing this post I have been informed by EBay that I will not get the cutter I ordered and they have refunded me the money! A local store has the same cutter on sale so I now await delivery again.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Another year older

Sorry for the blog post delay but I have just not felt like making conversation while trying to get back on my feet. It is now four weeks since the new knee and although each day brings a little improvement I am getting bored and frustrated with the recovery process.
Two more Physio visits since my last post mean I now walk with just one stick and the bend in the knee joint is improving. The hospital also gave me another pair of white elastic stockings so at least both legs look the same and I have lost the Zebra look.

Some of my many birthday cards
Sunday I clocked up another birthday and the get well cards had to come down to make room for the many birthday cards I received. Amongst my gifts were five balls of sock wool and the Stylecraft Attic 24 kit for the up and coming CAL (crochet along) that starts in January. I think I am going to be busy this winter with needles and hook.
Five balls of 4ply sock wool will keep my busy

My embroidery machine has seen some action, and I have managed to start work on an Allison quilt with blocks by Sweet Pea design. I had prepared everything to work on this project before I went into hospital but it has taken me a while to feel like doing it. I am now really enjoying the blocks.
The first eight machine embroidery blocks

While sitting with my leg encased in a cold cuff to try and get the swelling down I have been busy working on another pair of socks, one is finished and the partner started. I love seeing the different colours of the wool appear and especially like turning the heels.
Sock knitting and hot chocolate... yummy




Thursday, 3 November 2016

Two weeks post op

Well I have survived and here we are two weeks after a total knee replacement on October 20th.

This is my second knee to be replaced, the first was three years ago and different in many ways from this time even with the same surgeon.
Knee #1 meant I was given an epidural which did not work so I then had to have a general anaesthetic which knocked me out for what seem like days.
New knee I was again given an epidural and immediately my right leg went dead but it was the left leg needed deadening so they had to turn me on my side to make it work. So far so good, but then they wheeled me into the operating theatre still wide awake, lights action etc.. I do not want to see this so Sleepy juice was administered and I woke up two hours later in post op.
I don't remember much about the next day other than Physio making me get out of bed!
Zebra legs ! Why do they not have the same colours? I have to wear these for six weeks !

Three nights in hospital and then home, agony getting into the car but with Chris's help I managed it.

  Visitors came and went bringing cards, flowers, colouring books and chocolates. I really do thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
Just a few of the many cards I received.

As it was half term Richard brought the girls over on Friday 28 th to carve pumpkins and we had a KFC meal. Although I could not really join in it was lovely to hear the chatter and fun.
Great work girls, and Richard!

Sunday two of the Elders from Church brought me the sacrament and gave me a blessing, which I really appreciated.

Each day Chris helped me do my set exercises and even the smallest improvement felt like winning a gold medal.

Tuesday was the dreaded trip to the start of Physio. Again getting in and out of the car is difficult but we managed to get me there. I had no idea when I was to have my clips or stitches removed so made enquiries. Tom, my Physio, took off the dressing and informed me I had been glued, no clips or stitches to be removed! Last time I think there were about thirty stitches had to be painfully removed.
Amazing what they can do to improve things in just three years.
Tom then re dressed the wind and gently made me bend my knee more... ouch ouch ouch!
He also said I was to walk outside for ten minutes a day.
Flowers to make me smile.

Yesterday I had two visitors in the morning managed to walk a few doors along the street for my ten minutes, and then friends came in the afternoon. A busy day that went quickly, so it was early to bed.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Three Shires Hospital

This is my home for the next few days while I get my left knee replaced.
It's 7.30am and I have a room overlooking the grounds awaiting the nurse and Mr Simon West the surgeon to give me timings. Just hoping I go down early.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

4x4 rescue team and the Owl bag

Sunday saw Chris going off to practice a rescue with the Northants 4x4 Rescue team. The senario was a plane had crashed into a hot air balloon. Hopefully he will never be called to the real thing but as a volunteer at least once a year they have a full scale practice.

The weather could not have been worse it was pouring with rain all morning while he was out.

This has been a difficult week for me as I wait to go into hospital on Thursday but Tuesday three friends joined me for our monthly workshop. Pauline had organised the day and we all made an owl bag, which although a lot of work I really enjoyed. Christine had just had her birthday so treated us all to a lemon drizzle cake she had made, yummy.
Penny and Pauline working on their bags.

We all liked Christine's choice of bright colours

My bag is growing

Pauline [ teacher ] completed bag.
The day went far too quickly and was enjoyed by all.  I think I especially enjoyed the day as it will probably be some time before I can machine again until my new knee heals.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Sock knitting pair #2

I few days ago I started knitting another pair of socks.
I seem to have tried every type of needle possible, long circular, short circular, long metal 5 pins, short wood 5 pins, and now medium wooden 5 pins.

The wooden five pins, well actually there are six in the packet, but I only use five, are much easier on the hands and lighter in weight. The wool mix I am using is King Cole Zig Zag 4 ply.
Considering I only started knitting socks a few weeks ago I am really loving the process, especially like turning the heels!

Sock pair number two nearly finished

10cm wood, 15cm wood, 20cm metal, 80cm circle and 30cm circle
The rest of the 15cm wood are still in my knitting.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Bargain of the Day

One of our favorite places to donate charity goods is Emmaus Village near Turvey Bedfordshire. However while searching for something else on Google I came across an Emmaus shop in Hinkley Leicestershire. It is further to travel but we thought it would make for a nice morning out, which it did. The autumn colours on the back roads were a picture, even though I hate to think of Winter being just around the corner!

The Emporium - Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland

All sounds very grand, and the web site said there was a cafe so off we set. Well the place looks like a bit of a dump outside and even inside did not look too promising, but we were surprised by the amount of "stuff" in the warehouse. A real rummage for a bargain building.

I had been looking for a fold up bed and found just what I wanted made by Ikea and looking like it had never been used. With one of the Companions help Chris managed to get it in the car and we paid the £30, a real bargain. While this was all happening I ordered us a coffee for him and chocolate for me plus two home made Cornish pasties... cost £2 the pasties were free!

While eating the pasties I notices a large tub of knitting needles and sorted out some I would like plus some much needed elastic, guess how much ?  £2 the lot.
My £2 bargain bundle
All in all a great morning out, forgot to mention we donated two large bags of "stuff" so the house is a little emptier.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Friends Golden Wedding

What a wonderful afternoon spent with friends Ann and Peter celebrating their Golden Wedding.
I first met Ann through Tupperware parties about 44 years ago, and a couple of years later moved into the house opposite her and Peter. She was a rock to me while I went under the surgeons knife a couple of weeks after moving into the new house. Both Ann and Peter have been cherished friends and we wish them well for the years to come.
Ann's niece Heather provided the music


Enjoying the party

Ann organising everything? 


Cutting the cakes



Daughter Judith reading Ann a "This is your life" for her 70th next month


Ann, Mark, Judith, Jess, Peter, James and Conner
plus Mandy photo bombing!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

October IAM meeting

Due to my hospital appointment we had to move our IAM craft day to Friday. Seven of us met for a very lively meeting.
Ann arrived all dressed up as she was leaving at lunch time for a Golden Wedding dinner.
The rest of us seemed to spend more time chatting than crafting. Clare bought a roulade and lemon merange pie for lunch, both were delicious. 
Show and tell was a bit thin on the ground, but Shirley had made a really nice crochet lap quilt and interesting cushion cover. I showed my socks and the lap quilt I made at Colemans [ see previous blog post] Jenny had been busy knitting baby items for a charity. Dorn showed us the pretty crochet lap quilt she was working on.
Such a nice design and colours.

A cheap charity find was converted into a pretty cushion

Yummy cup-cake colours

A couple of babies are going to look so smart in these pretty outfits.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Ups and Downs of the week

What a busy week, most of the time forgetting to use my camera!

Sunday we had a joint birthday party here, Abigail reached the teenage mark! Chris had a birthday while we were away, Eleanor and Richard both have birthdays within the next week. It was lovely seeing the family and enjoying time together.

Also this week I had an optician appointment which I am so pleased to say went OK and no need for new glasses, Chris was also OK. I went for my pre-op assessment at the Three Shires Hospital which involved two hours of not stop tests and questions, hopefully all is OK and I will go into hospital on Oct 20th for another knee replacement.

On the plus side I attended the twice monthly meeting of Hamtune Quilters, the speaker was Marion Maule, she is always extremely knowledgeable and entertaining. Her talk was based around a sampler made in the 1700's which now hangs in the Higgins Museum Bedford. I really must try and get over there to see the original one day.

I also attended a workshop at the newly organised Colemans Warehouse [ near Rushden] with a friend from church Ana Cecelia. The alterations mean there is now a first floor with lift and it was all so nice and new. We made Christmas wall / lap quilts.

Ana Cecelia taking instruction from Trish

View from the new workshop floor, with a pretty little cafe in the corner.

My Attic Window Christmas panel waiting for the binding to be sewn down.


Sunday, 2 October 2016

THE most expensive socks

Wow I have finished my first pair of hand knitted socks. What a journey, having never knitted with five needles before I fought my way to a comfortable position using them, they say its like taming the hedgehog! and they are right.
The pattern I am using and the facebook group I joined [ Winwickmum] recommend using a circular needle or smaller needles than I could buy in Spain, so I ordered both for my arrival home. I had already tried and failed with a long circular needle also bought in Spain.

Armed with my new needles I tried the 30cm 2.5 circular needle, but it made my hands hurt, so tried the SIX ! 10cm 2.5 wooden needles, they looked so pretty but again I struggled handling them, so back to the original 5 20cm long 2.5 needles and I have managed to complete my first pair of socks.

I also bought one of those little counter things you stick on the end of normal [ two needle] knitting but it was so fiddly, I sent for a click type counter which I find easier to use.

So ONE pair of socks
Pack of 5 20cm metal needles
Pack of 6 10cm  wooden needles
80cm circular needle
30cm circular needle
Pair of needle counters
Clicker counter
and oh yes a ball of wool   all for one pair of socks !
Pleased with the most expensive pair of socks ever!
The final straw when I wound the remaining wool into a ball, hubby said "is that for darning them". They are to nice to wear, I'm just going to spend the next few days stroking them!

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Apple Trees

Two years ago I bought a couple of cheap apple trees, well the looked more like sticks actually, from Aldi, or maybe it was Lidl. I seem to remember they cost about £3 each.

Like everything in my garden they all have two chances, live or die. The trees were planted in compost and mostly left to their own defences, sometimes I would remember to water them.

Last year we had ONE apple which was ceremoniously divided into two
 for Chris and I to have a taste!

Look at them now, wow branches breaking under the strain of all the apples and they taste great.



Friday, 30 September 2016

Spain - France - Home

Sunday 25th
Well I managed it, finally completed my very first sock, and as a bonus it fits! Need to start the partner sock while I remember what to do. Strangely I didn't have too much of a problem with turning the heel, everyone seems to dread that part, but sewing up the final toe part... Nightmare, took me ages.
Now to start it's partner!

As this is our last full day in Spain we went to the Sunday Market for breakfast and tried a different stall, there are so many to choose from, they were doing a 2euro special English breakfast and it was really good.
On the way back we drove around a large reservoir which is always popular with cyclists, and they were out I their droves. The scenery is very pretty in this area, but there is hardly anywhere to stop and take photos.
Cyclists by the dozen

The pretty reservoir
Monday 26th
Up early, having packed the car the night before, for the start of our trip home. 509 miles through Spain to the Kyriad Hotel in Tarbes France.
Long almost empty roads, just a pleasure to drive here.

The colours in the rock face area sight to behold

This is one long crane, glad I'm not working at the top of it!

There are tunnels of every shape and size through the Pyrenees 

High in the mountains this cow was just wandering along the road ringing his bell!


Love the bear feet up the side of the dam wall. [click picture to enlarge]

Stopped in a lay-by, don't think I'll go fishing after reading this sign.

Wild crocus were growing everywhere




My lonely little car in the lay-by

Poivre Rouge our restaurant for the evening. My choice lamb cutlets, his, steak [ as usual]
Tuesday 27th
 7.30 and we are on the road again.
Stopped every couple of hours to stretch our legs and buy a meal deal on one of our stops.
Our overnight stop this time is another Kyraid hotel at La Fleche, near Le Mans. It is a pretty little town and literally a few steps across the road to the Buffalo Inn, one of our favourite restaurants.
Wonder if this totem pole will fit int he car? It would look good in the garden!

Ribs and chips... yummy. Guess what Chris had... you guessed steak!
Wednesday 28th
448 miles to home via the Eurotunnel.

Rouen from the moving car.. an amazing sight.

Sock progress in the car.

We arrived 3 hours early for the train so paid the extra £13 to change the booking. After the fairly empty roads of France and Spain, England came as a bit of a shock, Motorways jam packed, hold ups, and generally not a pleasant ride north to home.

As each day seems to have a meal as a highlight, we ended the holiday with take away KFC.
3491 miles since leaving home.

Now to open all the post, get the washing machine on, and recover from all the travelling and a great holiday, except for the Mossies... they were a real pain this year.