LilySlim - Weight loss

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Going all arty ....

Today was my monthly visit to a textile group at Belchford where Sewingbuddy and I are trying to develop our artistic skills.  Today we were going to be shown how to fabric paint and then build up some form of picture.  Of course we both sat there starting at the blank sheet of paper with no inspiration - until I used my phone to find a landscape that I liked.

Sewinbuddy, of course, drew a lovely outline and then proceeded to really enjoy the painting and blending stage.

Once we were happy (I wasn't but it was the best I could do) we then had to paint and fix on anything that was coming to the fore of our picture - mine was the stone wall,

which I then added some grass to.

Sewingbuddy had a tree and stone wall - we both added the details with free machine sewing.

I know that neither of us have finished - but even Picasso has to start somewhere - surely?

Back home and its time to light the fire (brr) before settling down for the evening.  My craft tonight will be to finish the WI craft demo - ready for tomorrow - before going back to my lovely hand sewing!  It's much easier following a pattern don't you think?

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Being a "Domestic Goddess" -ish!

Today's calendared activity was a WI planning meeting - with lunch.  However it wasn't due to start until 11:30am -so I took the opportunity to crack open my "domestic Goddess" alter ego!  First up was my lunch - The lunch (and the puddings) would be far too tempting- just check out these photos! -  and, with my target of 9 1/2 lbs reverberating around my head, I decided to take my own ( I did check with the hostess!).  Today lunch was going to be a Chicken Caesar salad (SW version of course) with a yoghurt / hifi bars for afters.

 Next up was a Pork and Egg meatloaf (again SW style).  It's a bit messy to make but having a loaf in the fridge means that you can snack on this rather than reaching for sweet treats.  It doesn't look all that - but mmmmmmmm!

With a quick break to load the dishwasher and washing machine plus ordering next month's medication online (ready for collection by the weekend - love this service) and accepting an oil delivery (I belong to a village group, and the price is still quite low), it was then into the craft room to start the embroidery machine off - I need to do 9 embroideries and each one has to be started separately so it's an on/ off process.  Of course this means that I can be in and out hoovering etc and getting the house straight (let's just say that I know the bins need emptying because Millie has started the process for me!!).

What's happened to me?  Why do I feel so good getting the house straight like this?  All I can hope is that this feeling soon passes and I get back to my normality!  The WI planning meeting went well - it is more of a throwing ideas / contacts around in order to try and form a plan for the meetings next year - trying to balance different topics which will interest and stimulate our growing band of members.  After the meeting, the secretary then tries to contact different people and nail them down to particular months.  It's a lot of work - but worth it when we enjoy such a varied programme of topics.

Back home - to a nice tidy house! - it was off to the beach with the dogs and then out in the garden for some light weeding (well, you have to take advantage of the sunny weather now don't you) before settling down for some sewing.  I say sewing - but, in reality, I am sorting out a sewing project for the WI craft group on Thursday.  We were intending to continue with our knitted poppies for the WI wreath but I suspect that we already have enough!!  Instead I thought that we could rustle up a Christmas decoration with some hexagons and so need to make a demo model!!  Of course I will do some more embroidery / applique on Mum's wall hanging if time allows!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Target weigh in day - minus 3

Being a Monday, today started, as ever, with the Textile Group.  We were making the mini sew together bag and most people made great progress.  We managed to fit the zips in and make the pockets - leaving the sides, outside and zip plus bindings for our next meeting after half term - schools are off already!  It's all a bit confusing with the weather being so fantastic today - I walked the dogs at the beach in a tee shirt!  Mid October!!  Mind you, by now the wind was starting to get up, the sky went a funny colour and the sun was bright orange -all very strange!  The local news paper reported that the orange sun was due to sand being picked up by Hurricane Ophelia and brought over here.

After a snooze (oops) it was then off to Slimming World - where I managed to lose another 3 lbs.  So that's 9 1/2 lbs away from my personal target - and three more weigh-ins to achieve it!  I already have another target in mind for Christmas but I will reveal that when I meet this target!  I also picked up my free cookbook (I bought a countdown which saves on the fees and gave you the free book).  "Comfort Food" is right up my street!!

Luck was on my side -and I also won the raffle which contained a variety of foods - including this pre-chopped mix for chilli and these butternut squash chips.  That's me sorted this week then!  All in all - it's been a very good day!!  Now I just need to batten down the hatches for the evening.  The wind is starting to howl so I hope that everyone is tucked up safe and sound!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Preparation is the key to success!

Whilst I waited for the promised sunny and warm day (it's overcast and cold enough to wear a jumper in the house) I decided to use today to start getting ready for the sewing retreat - its only just over 3 weeks away after all!  I have learnt, from bitter experience, that is good practice (and saves you money in the long run) to prepare, essentially, "kits" for every project.  Whilst I assemble the fabric, patterns and resources, I can then make a list of threads to buy etc so that I am sorted!

First up was the final Christmas present to be sorted (well, the final one to be started at least!).  Collecting everything together I have all the resources and just need two spools of thread!

 Then I started on the individual blocks from Lynette Anderson's Block of the Month for 2017.  I have started the embroidery for some of them but didn't attempt the patchwork parts of each block since I was still completing the 2016 project.  Now seems right to make a start.  Again I have everything - just need some thread and to remember some essential tools.

So that's block 1

block 2

   block 3

and block 4 sorted!

Next up was due to be my presents for the book club group.  I don't quite know how I got into the habit but I started giving everyone a present a couple of years ago - just something book related and small to open at our Christmas meal at the end of November - so it's about time that I got started on this project.  However I was that organised that I bought the resources for the gifts months ago - now where on earth did I put them?  Oops!  However I did "fill" the time by lining and marking out Mum's wall hanging that she demanded wished for.

That just leaves me with the Scamblesby Quilt to sort out.  Taking too much did i hear you say  - NEVER!!  I would hate to run out of things to do!  Mind you - I have a prioritised list so will focus when I get there - and at least I have sorted out the "kits" to do at home.  Well, that's the plan at any rate he he!

PS - the sun did come out to play - briefly -and so I mowed the lawn.  Whilst I was mowing, inspiration struck and I came inside - to find the lost resources.  I guess that's my next job - but problem solved at least

Saturday, 14 October 2017

A shed, a shed, my kingdom for a shed!

As I said yesterday, I think, today I took Mum and Dad out to buy a shed for Mum's kitchen overspill.  Their current one measures 5 foot wide by 7 foot deep and has more holes than a colander - something had to be done!  Before we left they did some research online to get an idea of prices and then we set off ......... to my brothers for breakfast - well, you can't hurry these decisions now can you?

After our pitstop, the first stop (yet again) was Brigg garden centre.  We now had an idea of size (8 foot wide by 6 foot deep) and style of roof (pent rather than Apex) - I am rapidly becoming an expert! 

With a price list in our pockets from the garden centre, we then popped round the corner to Earnshaws (a shed and fencing place)where we sat in the glorious sunshine and cogitated - this firm included treatment, this one doesn't etc etc.  As we sat talking, another couple came over and we discussed sheds - finding out about another shed manufacturer that was around 15 mins away in Kirton Lindsey. 

So, off we went, to look round yet more sheds!  This time we ere offered discount on ex-demo sheds and sheds with different roofs which would hep with water drainage.  Although the roof raised the price considerably, the ex-demo shed compared favourably with the others that we had seen today.

So, we then headed around the corner to another garden centre for a cuppa and a discussion.  Dad went all sloppy and gave Mum his chocolate orange from the top of his chocolate orange cheesecake.  (I resisted all temptation - convinced that the cooked breakfast had taken me over my syns.  As it happened it didn't - but I will make up for no lunch with my steak and chips in front of Strictly tonight!)  It should come as no surprise that they decided to buy the ex-demo shed, and we went back to order and pay for it.  Being ex-demo sheds, they won't be available until 1st December - which gives Dad time to take the old one down and lay a bigger base for the new shed - thank goodness we sorted and de-cluttered the shed yesterday!

Friday, 13 October 2017

Wonder Woman to the rescue!

Let's start with the mini sew together bag that I started yesterday.  After 30 minutes on the project this morning - I just have to hand sew the binding this evening and then sew on the zipper tabs - then it will be another present finished (the recipient doesn't read this blog so I am safe there!).  You may recall that this is a trial run for the Textile Group on Monday so I now have another one to cut out - not my favourite task!

Today has been scheduled for a visit to Mum and Dad's.  When they moved in, a lot of Mum's kitchen related "stuff" was stored in a small shed.  We allocated today, since the weather forecast looked good,  as the day to go through the stuff - bin / charity shop what she doesn't want and then re-label and store everything else in a more organised manner.  The shed itself isn't in great shape so we also wanted to empty the shed to see the full extent of repairs needed / decide whether a new shed was necessary.  As I left (without my phone so you are sparred gory photos of spider paradise!) I received an email saying that a package was due to be delivered between 2pm and 4pm.  Just my luck!  However I decided to go, since often a tight deadline focuses the mind!  As it was we sorted the shed, decided to buy another one tomorrow and then moved and constructed a log store with Dad - all in 2 1/2 hours -not too shabby.  I even found time to patch up a potential Millie escape hole in the fence and we will try the garden next week with my pair of pooches.

Back home before 2pm, and tied to the house until the delivery was made, I decided to cut out the second mini sew together bag and back it with the interfacing.  Whilst I contemplated what radio / music / tv to put on in the craft room "The Music Man" popped up as a suggestion from Amazon.  I love this musical - it has "76 trombones" as one of its songs.  When I drove home to Lancashire in 1991, unsure as to whether I should have accepted a job in Lincolnshire where I knew no one, this song came on the radio and everything felt ok!  It was a no brainer - on it went and I sang along!  Not quite the "Let It Go" that some comments referred to yesterday but .......

My other job for the afternoon was to plan my menu for next week.  I find that I stick to the diet if I plan accordingly - plus we will be going to Morrison's after we buy the shed tomorrow so I may as well take advantage of the visit!

So, dogs now walked, parcel not delivered yet (grrrrr - we are well past the two hour slot!!) and tea cooking ( a yummy lamb stew plus veg) it will soon be time to settle down to , err, guess what, oh yes, some hand sewing!

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Letting go.

I am one of life's decision makers.  I make decisions really quickly and then stick to them -even when they may not have been right.  I can always find a way around a bad decision - I would argue.  However I am also savvy enough that, sometimes, you just have to let a decision go / change your mind.  Sometimes you have to be brave enough to say - enough is enough!  What am I talking about - you may ask.  Well, sit down, pull up a chair and read on!

In 4 weeks time I am at a sewing retreat for 4 days.  Last time I went, I took a variety of projects to complete and pretty much finished everything.  Although I originally had a project in mind for this visit ( I wanted to finish the Scamblesby Quilt that we have been designing the blocks for), I allowed myself to be tempted by a beautiful Christmas quilt designed by Mandy Shaw (you may recall that I blogged about starting to cut the pieces up for this project several days ago).  I know that others are intending to make this quilt during the retreat but I still have several Christmas presents to complete - plus the afore mentioned Scamblesby Quilt.  So, I am calling a halt to this madness and changing my mind.  You have no idea how much this has been on my mind recently and, therefore, how freeing making this decision is!  So, if any of my Scamblesby friends are reading this - sorry, I won't be making the MS quilt - I will probably regret this when I see yours but, there again, I still have my box full of the lovely fabrics that I set aside to make it so can still do it for next year!

Okay - so onto today which started early with a visit to the groomers for Daisy.  Although she always comes out happy, she goes in shivering! This time she jumped straight back into the car when I got her out - bless! 

Once home, and after a tidy up and dishwasher unloading (not my favourite job), I was able to get on with the mini sew together bag that I cut out yesterday.  It should have been a day long job,  but is one of those projects that is better to have breaks after certain stages - so that you can walk away and come back refreshed -well, that was the plan anyway.  However an afternoon nap went on for rather a long time (I started in the sunshine and woke up freezing! ) so the sides will get attached this evening but the rest will wait for another day!

One of those breaks was to pay the church gardener, visit the post office and then walk the dogs - who says that I don't have a glamorous lifestyle eh?  Another was to get outside and do some weeding and glue a piece of wood onto the she cave door - like I said - glamorous!!  This wood "came off" nearly a year ago when a helpful delivery man put a parcel in the she cave and "forced " the door open - breaking this piece of wood off!

With a lamb casserole in the slow cooker to look forward to, my plan tonight is to catch up with the Apprentice from last night (plus Educating Greater Manchester) whilst sewing some more of Mum's Christmas present.  After three nights out on the trot, it's a real treat to spend a night in at last!

And the Shakespeare from last night?  Well, actually it was really good - a long one (hence the nap today) but extremely well acted. Unfortunately there were not many people there to enjoy it (about 12 that I could count - with one of them snoring for most of the play!) but at least it means that we can all spread out!  The next one in February marks the halfway point of my quest!!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The day I finally tackled the mountain

Having rearranged my visit to Mum and Dad's for Friday - we want to empty a shed so need the nice weather that has been forecast - today was another unexpectedly free day!  I LIKE these kind of days!  So, what did I choose to do first?   Why, wrap up those secret projects I was working on earlier in the week, of course!  Sorted!

Next I decided to tackle under the stairs.  I don't know about you, but  I am a "dumper" - I come in and dump my bags etc in the hall and some of the items under the stairs haven't seen the light of day for ages - one bag was put there when I redecorated the upstairs bedroom - over a year ago! Today was the day to tackle and sort!  The before photo is, I will admit, quite shameful but you need to see that to appreciate the progress that I have made!  It was also a useful reason to visit the charity bin and recycle some of the contents ( and I did find a couple of useful stocking fillers)!

As ever, these jobs take longer than you think and so it was soon time for lunch and a dog walk in the rapidly increasing winds - think windswept!!!

This afternoon was spent catching up with The Great British Bake Off whilst cutting out some pieces for a mini sew together bag.  This is the next project for our Textile group on Monday and, although I have made several larger versions of these bags, I wanted to make one before Monday just to refresh my memory.  It will also be another Christmas present sorted!

Tonight is another RSC live production - this time it's Coriolanus - so it was an early tea before heading off to the cinema.  I will be honest - this year of the Egyptian plays has not been my favourite but I have reached the end and can now look forward (hopefully) to some more comedies / historical plays next year.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

An ode to Tuesday

Today a meeting was scheduled
A church meeting at Christine's
But yesterday it was cancelled
Which left me with a day of opportunities.

The She Cave was "de - taped"
With my faithful scraper from Poundland
The voile curtains could now be draped
And morning coffee events be planned.

Then the shopping order was delivered
Mr Tesco carrying my shopping into the kitchen
After all - in this weather I would have shivered
So, at home, I stayed cooking tonight's chicken.

Next up was some Ivy declutterring
Dad would be so proud of me
In the breeze, the strands were flutterring
And bags, they were filling - three!

This afternoon, the ironing was done
Well, the pile had grown - so
The television was on - BBC 1
And, well, I don't want to crow,

But, I did find time to finish my quilt
And slipped stitch my hanging sleeve
So, here is the finished article - built
Another UFO finished - I do believe!

Monday, 9 October 2017

On the home straight?

Today, being a Monday, was the usual Textile Group.  Although we are running a  week behind, I have managed to nearly finish the Christmas wall hanging - just have the binding and hanging sleeve to hand sew and it's all done!

Carine is doing the same project and was concentrating on her free motion quilting when I took this photo.

Annerly is new to our group but is excelling herself with her newly learn embroidery skills.

A couple of hours at home - tidying, hoovering, bin emptying and Tesco on -line ordering - and then it was time to set off for Slimming World.  As I said last week, my tracker is targeted at a particular date - November 8th!  I was really pleased, therefore to see a weight loss of 3 1/2 lbs this week - leaving me with 12 1/2 to lose in 4 weeks (plus one day!)  It will be tight - but achievable if I  continue to focus (I have lost 8 1/2 in the last 3 weeks!).

Tonight I am off to the local theatre to watch a "Shakespeare Revue" - I believe that it is a collection of sketches from comedians such as Victoria Wood., Should be fun!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

"Verbal ordered departure"

Last night, as I said yesterday, was our church's Harvest meal.  Although it's is a fund raiser, it has also become a community event where good food is shared with good company - along with a quiz, a sing-a-long and a raffle.  We did quite well with the quiz but one of the rounds (or rather one of the clues on one of the rounds) had us foxed.  The round was food based and we had to solve the cryptic clues to reveal something that could be on a  menu.  The clue - the blog title - was meant to give us a pudding.  I will post the answer at the bottom of this post - but, go on, what pudding cold be summed up by the clue "Verbal ordered departure"?

A good evening usually means a late finish -and then, when I gt home, I just had to watch Strictly come dancing - so it was late to bed.  Which, in turn, meant that I woke up well past 8 am!  Two days in a row - disgusting!  However it was soon up and out - ready to meet the day (which was still cloudy and miserable!)

First up was church - it was our Harvest Festival service and any donations go to the local Independent Meals on Wheels.  It was lovely to see the children taking their gifts up - and it was all hands to the pump after their service as it was set out for the local C of E primary school's Harvest Festival service.  As the adults worked, the children ran into the churchyard to collect conkers - hings never change now do they?  On the way home, however, there was an unexpected sight of a runaway horse with a van following.  He did manage to overtake the horse before it got onto the main road and calmed it down - apparently the saddle had slipped and spooked the horse!  Fortunately the car behind me had two horse owners in so they held the horse and helped to keep it calm whilst he moved his van off the road.  He then walked the horse home as we all got back into our cars and set off home.

Once back home, lunch and dog walk - plus the proverbial light housework - it was time to make a start on a special, secret project (any clues from the machine settings?) before nipping outside to finish pruning the plum tree.  I only had one branch to cut off but it meant getting the step ladders out - far too much effort!

Then I spent some time finishing the Jane Austen jigsaw.  Being only 500 pieces, this has gone together really quickly.  I also managed to book some tickets for a musical in Leeds at the end of November - another chance for some Christmas shopping with Julia and Trisha?  Can't wait!

Last on today's agenda will be to settle down tonight with another Lynette Anderson  project which involves endless plastic template shapes but lost of delicious hand sewing.  You may recall that, having made Mum and Dad's Christmas present back in May (and darn good it is if I do say it myself!)  she then found something that she just had to have if I could make it for her!  Having bought the pattern, fabric etc Mum then said last week -"Oh it doesn't matter if I don't have it this year" ...... grrr!  As I pointed out that, since this was a Christmas project, there are limited opportunities to use it, Dad sat there nearly crying with laughter!  I think the real issue is that I know Mum well enough to say that a) she will have forgotten what the project really looks like, and b) she will have found another "must have" by this time next year - so I will just get on and make it!

And the pudding?  It was Sago - of curse - duh!!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

It's time to get the woolly hat out!

After a good night's sleep I, err, slept in this morning - turning the radio on to find that they were announcing the 9 o'clock news!  EEK!!  That late start has kind of marked the day for me today - everything seemed just that little more difficult than usual So, I thought, why fight it?  Go with the flow.  It has been a grey and chilly day (more of that later) so it seemed pertinent to focus on my sewing (he he!)

First up was to finish the Tuesday night homework and then trim the blocks to size.  Of course I couldn't resist putting the blocks together to see how they might look - I just need to sew them together and not lose the points now!

I will admit to getting a tad distracted - by the jigsaw puzzle - well, you would wouldn't you?  Oops - this is the "australian" version!

But then it was onto the Textile Group blocks and the finishing of the quilting and cutting of the sashing - again prep for Monday's class.

 Somewhere in-between all of this "activity" I took the dogs up to the beach.  I already knew how cold today felt and had put the heating but, wow, the cold took my breath away at the beach and reminded me to look out my gloves and gloriously unflattering beanie hat!

All that was really left was to make a start cutting up the fabric for the quilt that we plan to make at our sewing retreat in November.  It's a Mandy Shaw Design and involves quite a lot of intricate cutting out and prepping!  I have been putting this job off for sometime - but I guess that everyone needs to make a start somewhere!

Tonight it's our Church's Harvest Festival meal -a choice of Shepherds pie / Lamb casserole.  It will be nice to have someone else cook dinner for a change -although I will promise to avoid the puddings!

Cutting out the dead wood

As promised by the forecast (how often can you say these days?) I woke up to a lovely sunny (if a tad cold) day - one full of possibilities.  So I hoovered and tidied throughout, stripped the bed, put the dishwasher on,  put one, oops two, no three loads of washing on - before then heading outside to prune the plum tree!  Truthfully my plum tree has only delivered 7 plums the last couple of years so I am trying some pruning - it can't get much worse now can it?  Before anyone notices - I still have the middle branch to cut down!

Of course, going outside means going through the conservatory and, therefore, past the jigsaw - it would be rude not to spend time with Jane Austen now wouldn't it?

After a lovely sunny walk at the beach (where Daisy came back full of mud!) I sat down at the sewing machine and made a start on the last 4 blocks for my Tuesday night class.  Foundation paper piecing is a slow but accurate process!

In the middle of the sewing my phone rang - it was these reprobates suggesting that we might meet up centrally for lunch.  Well, never one to turn down an invitation, off I went and enjoyed a nice bacon sandwich on wholemeal bread - no butter (well, I still have to stick to SW don't I - I need an average of 3lbs weight loss over the next 5 weigh ins).

Back home, and with the four blocks now finished, I now only had time to sort some handsewing out for the evening (sewing snow on trees of all things), make the bed up and then light the fire - it is turning quite chilly again!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Buona sera!

Today was one of those errand days that, despite my best efforts, I just cannot make all that interesting!  After a night of vicious winds, I was up at 6:30am (unheard of now!) and out by 8am.  My reasoning?  If I could do the Tesco run early then it would avoid the crowds - I was right - just one checkout open and the others were all self service.  Shopping done (including WI raffle prizes (this Rose intrigued me), non alcoholic wine for tonight's Italian celebration (I thought that these bottles were appropriately named!) and quiz prize) it was then off to the garden centre.  You may recall that I bought some cast iron bird feeders earlier in the year which looked like poppies and daffodils.  Yesterday Mum mentioned that she has seen some blue cornflowers to add to my collection - well - you would wouldn't you?

From there it was a short hop to The Range to buy the missing things for my Sewing box workshop - mounting card, masking tape etc.  Whilst I was in the range I spotted a collapsible trolley bag on wheels -just the sort of bag that Mum needs when she goes to Meadowhall on the train and very reasonably priced.

By now it was heading towards 10:30am and time for the hairdressers - my excuse to sit and be pampered - whilst being brought cups of coffee and biscuits!  Someone had left some goodies for them to sell in aid of Macmillian - just right for a couple of Christmas gifts - so I bought a couple.

After stopping off at Mum's to deliver her pressie - she said that I had made her morning (it was 1:30 but who's counting?) it was then back home to unload the shopping and have lunch.  I am doing the quiz tonight and therefore there was some finishing off to be done -as well as wrapping the winning prize / wrapping the birthday gifts and sorting out the raffle prizes!  This WI is becoming a full time job!!

Dogs walked, I could then, finally, chill for a little while - by colouring in!  Courtesy of Sewingbuddy, I was trying a technique where you colour in an area of fabric and then "set" it with pure Aloe Vera Gel - in my case these are the before and after pictures of the Christmas tree stumps from my Textile group block - its quite an effective technique.

By the way - I have just come across this advert for Warburton's bread -enjoy!!