LilySlim - Weight loss

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Christmas Party time

Today  was our Scamblesby Christmas Party - a day of sewing, plus a Christmas Lunch at a local carvery where we swapped our Secret Santa gifts.  Every year we swap a wrapped fat quarter - we can all find a use for a fat quarter after all!

Every year (just to be a meanie) I issue a "Dobbo's Challenge".  This year they were challenged to make anything they wanted - deadline of April - using their wrapping paper as an inspiration  that got the old brain cells going!  The photo shows my paper which was wrapped up with string - so I need to start thinking!

Sadly Jean and I had to leave after lunch -as I said yesterday, our Carol Service started at 4pm so I wanted to get back.  The Carol Service is by candlelight and has a lovely relaxed feeling amongst the hustle bustle of Christmas preparations.

Once home, and with ta cooking, it was time to turn my mind to tomorrow's slimming World taster event - I decided to make some smoked salmon mousse and wanted to leave it chilling overnight.

That just left the fire to light before I plan to settle down, catch up with "The Feud" that I recorded last night and watch the final of The Apprentice.  Talking about finals - well done to my brother,Phil, who chose Joe in the final show as his winner - Joe deserved it last night - but, there again, Alexandra was fab as well!  Once we've had both the Strictly final and The Apprentice final, you just know that Christmas is around the corner!

Saturday, 16 December 2017

On my knees!

Last night saw 1 am come and go -again -but then I woke up at 9am - go figure!!  I think that part of the problem was that I fell asleep on the sofa early evening -for over an hour - note to self, don't do that tonight!  Anyway it's the Strictly final so I can't fall asleep in that now can i?

I had a nice text from Wendy last night, with an impromptu plan to meet up for coffee and a cake (yes I had a cake after all - it's about time and who could resist a cheddar and stilton homemade scone?) so that we can exchange presents.  So, this morning has been getting on with tasks such as more present wrapping and preparing for a day at Scamblesby tomorrow - I say day but, in reality, its a morning, followed by lunch.  I am leaving early to come home for the church Carol Service at 4pm tomorrow.

I also decided to clean out (completely) the handheld dyson - to my shame it hadn't been taken apart since June, when Mum did it!!  I think that it needed it - don't you?

Once back from a very leisurely, two coffee, chat and catch up with Wendy it was back to present wrapping, fire lighting and generally getting ready for an evening of Strictly - now, who does everyone want to win then?  My vote goes to Joe at the moment but let's see how the show dances go!

Friday, 15 December 2017

It wasn't my fault mum - honest!!

After a fair night's sleep (that's newsworthy in itself - I haven't been sleeping well recently), I woke up to a Facebook message from Sewingbuddy inviting me to check out some fabric on fabric guild.  One phone call later and an order was placed!!  Like I haven't got enough fabric as it is!!  Ah well - it's obviously not the right fabric!

This morning started with a quick visit to the doctors for a blood test to check out my kidney function (I only have one so they like to check up every year) and a flu jab.  I have an appointment with the doctor next Friday to check out the results.  On the way home, I popped into the village vegetable shop where I noticed that they have just stared serving produce from a Louth bakery - Lakings.  Cue an order for our Christmas day sausage rolls!

Back home and I had scheduled today for Christmas present sorting and wrapping.  In reality that meant that I tidied the house up and hoovered around, clear the fire place out and, after lunch, lit a new fire, pop "White Christmas" on the TV and start wrapping - it's a tradition I just have to do every year!!  This year the family theme is "Shoe boxes" but, ever one to mix things up, I wrapped three of the gifts in the shoe box, then the shoe box itself and then added some decor.  Let's just say that, after a two hour film, I have managed two of the boxes and three smaller gifts (one of which should have been in the box but "fell out" and wasn't found until the box was wrapped).  Ah well, that's an excuse for another afternoon film tomorrow then!  I also sorted out my cracker (family members will understand that reference) so things are ready to be transported up to Mum and Dad's.

In between there was obviously dogs to be walked, local Christmas cards to be delivered, a craft room table to rediscover etc but it really feels good to have made a start on the wrapping marathon.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Going out for the day - Christmas style!

Today I got to take Mum and Dad out for the day.  They fancied a day in Lincoln which entailed lots of traffic, a very expensive car park and a lovely cuppa in their cafe (Mum and Dad had cake whilst I had two tiny shortbread trees! )  With a wander around the shop, and the food hall, under our belts, we took the shopping back to the car -would you believe that nearly two hours had passed in a flash?

Next stop was Waitrose -Mum had some money off vouchers so it seemed rude not to.  I was particularly taken with their melting sprout dessert but the use by date wouldn't allow us to treat everyone for Christmas -ah well, money saved then!

We did, however, indulge in a waitrose lunch (bacon roll for me and a very naughty quarter of Mum's apricot tart for afters!)

On the way home we stopped off at Trotters Trading -where Mum was walking around with a big grin on her face.  We had actually stopped off to look at carpets for the lodge - they are going back once they have measured up but Mum was really impressed with the place (Phil - you would love it!)

Home, and tired, I have put the shopping away, put the shepherds pie in to heat up and fed the dogs.  I have a two hour turn around period before going out again to the WI craft evening.  It's been a busy day, but a good one - roll on Christmas!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The fulfilment of a long held dream

Well, that might be egging the pudding a tad - but Sewingbuddy and I had had this particular bag on the "to do" list for several months.  We had bought the "hardware" but just hadn't got around to making it.  Today, at Belchford, we sat and concentrated and , wait for it, completed it!!  Truthfully the bag was quite easy to do - one of those patterns that complicated the issue too much!  Consequently, although it took all day, we have already decided to make another one next week - and customise this version!  Watch this space!

Lunch today was a shared Christmas meal - full of lovely looking and very lovely smelling Christmas temptations!  We had forgotten about this and so took our own lunch - I enjoyed my soup whilst Sewingbuddy partook of the food - just to be sociable you understand!

 Once home, and with evening drawing in, it was washing on, tea on and fire lit - emptying the car whilst the dogs ate their tea (I sure know how to live now don't i?).

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Domestic Drudgery - it's bliss!

After the excitement of yesterday, its back to basics today.  There is a hard frost outside and it's REALLY cold - cue another saucepan of soup making on the go - ham hock broth again - more portions for the freezer!  I will admit to having a bowl mid morning -well, its better than snacking on chocolate and mince pies now isn't it?

With time to give every where a good hoover and airing (yes I did open the lounge windows but shut the door to keep the rest of the house warm!!), the bed was stripped, aired and bedding washed - don't you just love the smell of freshly laundered bedding (I read once that royalty have that every night!).

Next on the agenda was some ironing (and putting away) before (yes, you knew that this was coming now didn't you?) starting to sort out fabric for my trip to Belchford tomorrow.  Sewingbuddy and I are going to attempt a new (well to us) bag - a retreat bag with a strange opening.  The decision re fabric took AGES!!  Well, I had to get some crafting in there somewhere now didn't I?

Jean called in on her way home from shopping to pick up her passport form -I have now completed two for her since she didn't send it off within the 4 week window after signing it last time (lesson for everyone there!) - and so I took the opportunity for a break.  I lit the fire and settled down for an afternoon of Christmas present wrapping - and,maybe, just maybe, 40 winks!!

Today's advent presents were an appropriate saying from Phil and Chris and a lovely glass angle Christmas tree decoration from Wendy - how lucky am I to get these sort of presents every morning?

With bags packed ready for tomorrow and the Shepherds pie cooking for tea tonight, I just had time to sort the fridge out and wash the kitchen floor before settling down for the evening.  I live such a hard life - don't I?

Monday, 11 December 2017

What's the saying - more haste, less speed?

Oh how you will all laugh at this!!!  Guess what I have done?  I sat down last night, ready to hand quilt my advent project that has already taken far too long to do - only to remember (before I started the quilting thank goodness) that it still needs several strips as borders - duh!!  So, at some point today or tomorrow, that will be my next task (as well as cutting another piece of wadding and another back piece!!!!)

Anyway, on to today and my normal Monday routine.  Kicking off this morning was the Textile group - our penultimate meeting before Christmas.  We were all doing our own thing - I had a couple of shoebox gifts to do (so no pictures) but brought my sewing class embroidery to do just in case I finished early.

Once home, it was a quick flash round the house to keep the wolves from the door, before heading out again to Slimming World.  Paula admitted on Thursday night that she had given up, which is a real shame, so it was just Jean and I today.  Jean needed to lose 4lbs to get to target and I needed 1lb to get my 4 stone award and, therefore, mark the 4 1/2 stone loss mark.  Need we have worried - no, of course not!  Jean lost 1 1/2 lbs to get her 1 1/2 stone award and I lost 2 lbs so got my new shiny certificate.  We keep chipping away at it - I now have 6lbs to go to lose 5 stone in total.  Now, wouldn't that make a nice Christmas present?

On our way home, we say Santa on his sleigh, driving past us -what a way to celebrate!  My advent presents today was some lovely thread heaven from Wendy and a useful paperweight (pen and rubbers) from Phil and Chris.  So - today is officially a great day!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort" - Jane Austen

That quote was from a bookmark that Wendy gave me in today's advent present and seems to sum up the last few days.  Not only that but Phil and Chris' advent present was this lovely Mary Berry organiser - they go together well don't they?

I woke up this morning eager to see the white stuff coming down - after all the weather forecast has been telling us to prepare all week.  The BBC forecast said that we could be getting snow from 8am (good job that I didn't wake up until gone 8 then!).  I opened the curtains gingerly - peeling back the surprise as if I was in the final few scenes of "White Christmas" - only to see nothing, nada, zilch.  There was some white - frost - but that was all!  Ah well, the Christingle starts at 4pm so we should be ok then.  It's strange isn't it - I love to see snow, but then worry about driving in it. (I should add that there was some thin flakes seen around 9:21am - but not thick enough to cause any real problem and rain soon followed!)

So, with most of the day at home, I set to cleaning up and sorting out.  The kitchen needed a good bottoming out and the hoover needed putting around (the joys of dogs in both cases), before setting to and writing the Christmas cards for church this afternoon.  Several friends go away for Christmas so I like to get them sorted earlier enough.

By now, the temperature had dropped somewhat and the sewing room can get a little chilly (the rearrangement I did earlier in the year tends to block the heat from the radiator) so I brought a portable radiator down from storage and set it up - whilst I, wait for it, sewed the last two rows on my advent project, quilted it and then sorted the perle thread ready for some hand quilting tonight -yay!!

Next on the "to do" list was a couple more stocking fillers (I finished the presents too early so there's too much time on my hands and too many ideas rolling around in my head) before getting ready for the church service.  I had volunteered to go early so that I could help set out the candles etc - they take ages to put out, and then ages to light!!  However its really lovely to hear the young children ooh and ah as the lights are put out and they sing a carol by the light of their Christingle with the tealights as background illumination.

Back home and its a re-run of last night -sausage casserole, hand sewing, Strictly and I'm a celebrity - with a roaring fire!  Now that's what I call "real comfort"!

By the way - I passed the 950 miles stage today - just another 50 to walk in 21 days!  This could just be the first ever resolution that I have kept!!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Making progress - at last!

Now, never one to be accused of exaggerating but ... last night was a momentous occasion - one to mark down in your diary!  Perhaps even a time to let off your left over fireworks!    I finally finished block one of Seaside Town - Lynette Anderson's 2017 block of the month.  True - we only have 21 days left of 2017 but, hey, I'm playing catch up!!  Truthfully, when this started, I hadn't finished her 2016 BOM band I decided to wait until it was completed before starting another project but ......  At this point I don't know whether I will sign up for the 2018 BOM (if there is one) unless it is something that I just can't ignore(!!) but I will confess to signing up for Gail Pan's stitchery club in 2018 -somehow that hand sewing is so much easier to complete since it's evening work in front of the TV.

As if that excitement wasn't enough - this morning was the last row in the Advent calendar -a simple 5 squares to sew together.  I did that -and then joined the rest of the rows together - it's looking good.  I now have to go back and redo rows 1 and two - another set of 5 squares, 2 strips and one strip of hand sewing - so I have prepared these for tonight.

Truthfully, preparation was the name of the game this morning - I also set to and prepped the penultimate Scamblesby block -again with hand sewing tonight in mind, as well as a slow cooker sausage casserole ready for tea tonight.  Why all this preparation?  Well I normally help out at the theatre, as you know, in the evening, but today we are doing a matinee.  I am also taking the opportunity of being in Louth to pop into the local tip to take some of the "stuff" that has been lurking in the bedroom and utility room.  It's amazing how much space you seem to have once the "stuff" has gone!  I should add that some "stuff" has been "recycled" through our Facebook freely given site - this is just "stuff" that cant be given away.  the tip has a fantastic recycling record so I don't feel guilty taking it there.

Back home and it's feet up, Sausage Casserole and mash for tea in front of Strictly and "I'm a Celebrity" - with some handsewing to keep me company and the dogs curled up in front of the fire -domestic bliss!

Friday, 8 December 2017

I've given up!!

You may recall that I have been battling with the computerised system that HMRC runs.  All I want to do is to claim some gift aid for the church but, unfortunately, the system does not compute - links to "I've forgotten password" don't work, telephone enquiries say if all else fails -set up a new account - so I try to - only to find that the charity number is already registered so you can't - and so my tale of woe goes on.  Today I found a link to a request for a paper copy - let's see if my request yields results!  I know that it will take longer to complete - but not longer than all of my computerised efforts are taking!!  Sometimes the old ways are the best after all.

You may have gathered that today is another "stay at home -get everything done "day - I love these days!  First up was the finishing of the seaside Town block one patchwork squares.  A strange first task I grant you - but the machine was set up and I just had two left to do so ........  So there's just a little bit of applique and embroidery that should be finished tonight -and then I can sign block one ff as finished!

After cleaning the hoover of the template plastic (now how many of you can claim that one?) that was blocking it, I finished the deep clean of the bedroom - the bed has been moved and various strange items removed (Daisy eh?)

With a load of washing on, I then moved on to a general hoover and tidy around before moving towards my main objective for the day - the sewing and quilting of the nativity panel that I bought at the retreat -seriously, Christmas will be over if I don't move quicker on this one!  I decided to use a simple "bagging out" technique ad some simple quilting.  This is not going to be an heirloom after all and this is definitely one case of "finished is better than perfect"!

With the dogs walked in this lovely (but very cold) December sunshine (we have avoided the snow so far although it is forecast to hit us on Sunday which should make the Christingle magical / interesting) there was just time to load the car with items to take to the tip tomorrow before calling it a day, lighting the fire and hunkering down.  The joy of a day spent completing your list of jobs, at your own pace or course,  is a very satisfying joy!

Oh - and the advent presents today was some lovely craft tape from Phil and Chris and Row 8 of my sewing - two strips of fabric and a central cream strip that should be embroidered with a vine tonight.  This is certainly keeping me busy!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

A prize winning day!

Today, being the 7th December, the advent calendar revealed a box of pot- pourri from Phil and Chris and Row 7 of my sewing (thankfully an easy patchwork row ready to host more yo-yo's - I am out tonight so am short of "hand sewing time" but it's looking good so far!).  I then logged onto Facebook to catch up, whilst I had my breakfast, only to find that I had won a competition.  Stitchtopia has been running an advent competition and I have won a 100 piece crochet set!! Well, I did say that I wanted to learn how to do this properly now didn't I?  That'll show me!

This morning I had to face storm Caroline (its windy and rainy here so no real change!) to pop into Louth and visit the mobile breast screening unit.  Not my favourite task - but one that I believe to be essential.  Whilst I was there I took the opportunity to buy some more Christmas cards for the box making session at the WI tonight - the cheaper the better as they are easier to fold.  I also posted some Christmas parcels - I can't believe how time is racing away!

Back home, and with WI on my mind, it was wrapping the WI gifts (we have 6 members with birthdays in December!), sorting the raffle prizes and getting my contribution for the supper ready (Smoked salmon pate with melba toast).

With sellotape and paper out, I also took the opportunity for more present wrapping - well, it would be wrong to waste a warm afternoon inside now wouldn't it?  I do have another two episodes of The White Princess to catch up on you know!

I even managed to sew the patchwork part of the first block from this year's Block of the month (if I told you that we have just been sent block 9 and this is block one, you will have an idea of how far behind I am!)

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

A strange old day!

I don't know about you but, when I have somewhere to go later in the day, I can tend to waste the time waiting to go out.  I don't mean sitting on the edge of the sofa clock watching - more like not settling to anything!  Today was one of those days!  Wendy and I were going to the Sewing Class Christmas party at noon - so my morning was spent flitting from one task to another!

First up was cooking some lunch for the party.  We were all asked to bring a plate of finger food so I had bought some scotch eggs and cut them up and plated them.  However I wouldn't be able to eat most of the finger food, so I cooked some stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in bacon and will take these, plus a couple of satsumas, for my own lunch - forewarned and all that!

Today's advent presents had been some festive cake toppers from Phil and Chris (useful timing - will work well with the WI Christmas food tomorrow night) and Row 6 from my row by row project.  Row 6 is an alphabet stitchery strip so I ironed it, stabilised it and then traced the alphabet ready for sewing tonight.  Last night I managed to finish the large house (Row 3 since you ask) that had stumped me when I tied this project before.  This morning I added the two strips of fabric to the top and bottom.  I should add that there are 9 rows in all so, by tonight, I will have done rows 3 - 6, leaving me with rows 1 & 2 to re-do and Rows 7 - 9.  I am getting there - albeit slowly!

Next up was some loft de-clutterring (why do I keep empty boxes "just in case"?),and then some present wrapping (Sewingbuddy - these are heading your way!),

and, finally, a quick practise of the box making that I am demonstrating tomorrow night.  It's an old trick to recycle Christmas cards and will be accompanied by the star turn - one of Carine's chocolate truffles!

With the usual housework done, fireplace cleaned out, a load of washing dried and another load started, it was time to set off, deliver Jean's birthday presents ready for tomorrow and pick up Wendy.  The party had, as a central point, a secret santa swap.  The idea was that we took a gift wrapped gift and got a raffle ticket in return.  When our number was pulled out, we could take a present off the table - but are not allowed to unwrap it!  Then the tickets are put in a second time and, when your number is pulled out, you can choose to stick or to swap and then you can take anyone's present that takes your fancy.  Then the same routine is repeated a third time - after which you are allowed to open the gift.  Truthfully, this is not my cup of tea - I picked this present first because it was wrapped in fabric - and, when I opened it, inside was a crocheted cactus - hmm.

Wendy picked her present first, then swapped it, then got her original present back.  I forgot to take a picture but she ended up with a lovely lace bookmark.

 There was also a quilt show of our efforts - Wendy's bedspread drew a lot of admiring comments!

Back home, and with dogs walked, I opened the post - it was this month's sewing pattern for my Lynette Anderson block of the month - plus a lovely surprise from the store keeper - a money off voucher!!  Now, how can I use that then?

So, tonight holds the promise of the alphabet strip embroidery with a "hint" of present wrapping so that I can get some in the post.  Don't you just love this time of year?

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The present "goes home"

Let's start with last night.  As "I'm a celebrity" finished at 10:30pm, so the final stitch was made in yesterdays advent sewing - phew - that's row 4 done then.  Looking through the pack, I have a few stitches left to do on a big piece of stitchery but have no idea where the rows 1 - 3 are so may have to redo them!  Today's stitchery is a small piece of machine sewing plus 5 yo-yo's.  I have found a bag of yo-yo's and just need to check that they were made with the same fabric as I have obviously chosen for the project (I did have another yo-you cushion on the go so it may have been from there! )  Phil and Chris' advent present today was a pair of bones for the dogs -a lovely thought!

Today started early (nothing to do with Daisy deciding that it was time to get up of course!) and, after the normal ablutions, resulted in taking Maisie back to Mum and Dad's (they had been away for the weekend visiting Devon and old friends).  Since I already had a present for Mum lined up, I decided to give her the wall hanging that she asked me for so that she could put it up with her decorations - there's no point giving it to her just as you are taking the decorations down - you would have to wait another 11 months to use it!  I am normally my worst critic but, as I have mentioned several times, I REALLY didn't want to give this one away - it's fab!  However I just knew, by looking at her face when she saw it, that Mum would really appreciate it an take care of it.  the hanging couldn't have gone to a better home!

Next up was a visit to Tesco's (how exciting!) and a brief pop into a local garden centre for my free roll of wrapping paper (don't knock it!) -before heading home, walking the dogs and then settling down for the afternoon.  When we met up last week, Trisha recommended a new TV series "The White Princess" which starts at The Battle of Bosworth.  I found the series and  started to record it - only to find that I had missed episodes 1 - 4.  This afternoon, I sourced them on Amazon and paid the £1.89 per episode to catch up - it was worth the expense and very self indulgent!  Thank you Trisha for the heads up!

With the programme running in the background, I wrapped Jean's birthday presents, tidied the craft room desk up and wrapped a couple more Christmas presents.  Nothing too strenuous but a very laid back afternoon!  With just the statutory 30 minutes tidying the bedroom, my work here is done!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Starting to finish a UFO - only two years late!!

Today, being day 4 of the advent calendar, revealed a  lovely magnetic book mark from Phil and Chris plus a mysterious envelope that just said "Row 4 : flower stitchery strip".  You may recall that I am trying to complete a Gail Pan wall hanging - started 2 years ago as an advent present (each day completing another component) and which got put to one side when I ran out of time. Well, I may have to do some thinking to see how far I've got - but I can start to complete the remaining envelopes - starting with today!  Cue some preparation with stabiliser on the back and the tracing of the pattern -  guess that this is my homework tonight then?  Good job that I finally finished the last present this morning at Textile Group then eh?

Elsewhere at The Textile Group - Carine was hand sewing her delicate birds and branches onto her lamp shade,

Jean was battling with her zip on her sew together bag,

whilst Linda was tracing more flowers for her lampshade.

Back home, and it was sorting out some admin plus half an hour in the bedroom (continuing with the sorting and de-cluttering - I am planning a trip to the tip on Friday!), before heading off to Slimming World.  It was a treat to be driven by Jean today (I usually drive) and helped me to keep my fingers crossed that I pushed through that wretched stone barrier.   When I heard that Paula had enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea on Thursday on the WI trip, I felt very virtuous about my own choices in Leeds - I am even counting the syns on my chocolate from the advent calendar for goodness sake - so I really hoped that it had all worked!  I needn't have worried - with a 2 1/2lb loss, I plummeted through the barrier and am now only 1lb away from my 4 stone award (which would make my running total 4 1/2 stone - guess what my target is next week?