Wednesday, 17 October 2018


No change on my desk this week. I’ve been really tired all week and in between commitments, I’ve been resting, and during that time, have done quite a lot of knitting, working on my peacock scarf.

02 WIP with Crochet Peacock Feathers

This is how much I’ve done so far. The ball is now considerably smaller and the scarf will now go round my neck, so hopefully not too much more knitting now! The yarn is fabulous – I love the way the colours merge into each other. It’s a single ply roving and in places, not very twisted, so it’s easy to split it with the knitting needles, especially working in moss stitch as I am doing, but apart from that, it’s lovely to work with. The edges are getting quite fluffy with handling, which makes me think the whole thing may be a bit vulnerable to that, but we shall see.

In the above photo, I’ve laid a few of the incomplete crochet peacock feathers on top to show and how the colours go with the scarf.


Sourdough this week – not terribly well risen but a great texture and flavour.

48 Sourdough Not Well Risen, Cut 14-10-18

I also made some more crackers from sourdough starter. These really are delicious and very easy to make. I’m not buying crackers any more. These are so tasty and are made from such wholesome ingredients with no chemical additives. They are also quite filling so you don’t need to eat so many! They are very crisp, and the bumps on them are actually air bubbles. They’d probably come out flatter if I forked them.

49 Sourdough Crackers 16-10-18

Fortunately I’ve got plenty of ready prepared meals in the freezer from previous cooking sessions so I haven’t had to think too much about doing a lot of meals when I am feeling so tired.

Health Update

CT scan tomorrow to check whether my hernia has returned – but I already know it has! I can feel it, and also I can see it, and it’s quite large. It’s really frustrating.

My support pants are due to arrive later this morning. Unfortunately the road is up outside our house at the moment and closed to traffic so I’ve had to arrange for delivery of the parcel (and my weekly Tesco order) to come down the garden from the road at the back of us. I spent a frustrating time of the phone yesterday a.m. trying to get through to the delivery company. They had no contact number on their website and their “contact us” section was useless – just a lot of different boxes that didn’t relate to what I wanted and I needed to speak to a real person! I googled them and found a number eventually, and then had to wait 20 minutes on the phone before anyone answered! I told them their customer service left a lot to be desired… Anyway, hopefully both deliveries will get to us OK later this morning.

My sleep patterns are all disrupted again… I get more and more wide awake the later it gets, and have to make myself go up in the small hours or I’d be up all night. Then, in the mornings, I am finding it very difficult to get going and when I haven’t had any commitments, have rested in bed till about 10 a.m. and haven’t been able to accomplish anything much until the afternoon, often suffering quite severe headaches. With ME, one’s diurnal rhythm is often disrupted, and I go through phases of this and there’s not a lot to be done about it, unfortunately! At least I am sleeping quite well once I do get to bed.


Neither of them are doing anything terribly interesting at the moment except sleeping! They go out briefly and don’t like the weather much. Ruby is being a perfect pest at meal times – she has decided she adores butter, which she can smell at 500 paces, and I can’t turn my back on her for a second if there’s butter around! At meal times she’s constantly pestering us, woofling her nose and craning her neck, and climbing up after our food. I keep threatening to put her out!! Once temptation is out of the way, she is happy to settle down on my lap and be a good girl. Lily never bothers us while we are eating. Their characters are so different!

Here are a couple of sleepy photos for you.

Butter wouldn’t melt……. or would it?!

08 Sleepy Ruby on my Legs 9-10-18

09 Sleeping Kitties 9-10-18

Lazy lot.

Meal Out

We had a lovely meal out with our friend last week and I gave her the box, which she was delighted with. Here is the pub where we had a truly excellent meal.

01 Cott Inn, Dartington, Outside

The food was so beautifully presented that I had to photograph it! Our three main courses:

03 My Stuffed Chicken Breast

04 N's Beef and Stilton Pie

I love how this fish is served, with the crispy skin matching the almost metallic glaze of the plate, with matching lines!

05 Margaret's Fish

Our desserts. I had the lemon tarte and I loved the way they had served the lemon sorbet in the shape of a lemon.

06 Desserts

We have been given a ticket for a meal for two at a local Michelin-starred restaurant, which we shall be enjoying soon. I’ve no doubt I shall photograph the dishes there, too!

As well as the box, I also gave our friend a jar of my home-made apple chutney, and I dressed it up a bit with a couple of labels that I die-cut, and a fabric lid tied on with some nice rough jute string I’ve got. Nice rustic look!

02 Apple Chutney with Labels

Harp Recital

On Saturday one of our church members gave a harp recital and talk. He’s only recently taken up the harp and he has already taken Grades 1 and 2 and passed both exams with distinction! It was a most interesting afternoon, and as well as playing several pieces on his two harps, he spoke about the history of the harp, and how the different types of harp work. He also showed some slides and videos. I had not heard him play before, because I was ill last time he played in church.

05 Tim with Both Harps

I particularly liked his Celtic (lever) harp (in the foreground in the above photo), with its very pretty shape and contrasting woods. It’s apparently even more difficult to play than the pedal harp.

I also took this close-up photo because I thought the pattern that the strings and their shadows made was most decorative!

13 Strings of Lever Harp

This week I actually managed to get the accounts done! Whew. That’s a weight off my mind until next month.

So you can see it’s been another pretty busy week. I am trying to cut down on things at the moment because I’ve been far too busy lately, which is probably why I’m back to suffering from more fatigue than usual.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Chutney Labels and a Great Meal Out

Today our friend took us out to lunch at the Cott Inn, Dartington. This is an old-fashioned Devon pub in a beautiful country setting, which offers first-class chef cooked meals. We were not disappointed!

Today was the day I was working towards, to complete the boxes for the Floral Mini-Albums I made earlier this year. Our friend’s copy of the album has now left its biscuit box home forever and is now proudly ensconced in its new box! She is delighted with it and I am so happy with her response.

I decided to give her another little gift – a pot of my home-made apple chutney from the Bramleys off our tree in the garden. It’s the first time I’ve made apple chutney and now it’s had time to mature, it’s turned out superb, though I say so myself!

Rather than just giving her a plain jar, I decided to make some labels for it and pretty it up a bit, going for a rustic look.

I used dies from two different sets to cut the two labels.

01 Cutting the Labels

The larger tie-on label was cut from recycled book packaging from Amazon, and the smaller stick-on one was cut from 100 gsm copy paper. Both were distressed with Walnut Stain Distress Ink.

02 Apple Chutney with Labels

I drew a little apple on each label and coloured it with coloured pencils. I cut two circles of cream polycotton fabric from my stash for the lid, and tied on the larger label with jute string.

03 Apple Chutney Tie-On Label

04 Apple Chutney Stick-On Label

The outside of the lovely pub where we met for lunch.

01 Cott Inn, Dartington, Outside


02 Cott Inn, Dartington, Inside

The food was quite delicious and beautifully served. My dish was described thus: “Free range Devon chicken breast, goats’ cheese, spinach and watercress mousse, prosciutto, crushed potato, spinach, red onion marmalade, bruised baby gem, chorizo cream sauce.” Wow!

03 My Stuffed Chicken Breast

This is my hubby’s beef and stilton pie. I love the way the mashed potato is served!

04 N's Beef and Stilton Pie

Our friend chose a fish dish.

05 Margaret's Fish

I love the way the chef has chosen different plates to suit the varied dishes, and in particular I like the way the lines cut in the crispy fish skin are echoed by the lines on the rim of the dish, the metallic glaze of the dish also reflecting the silvery effect of the fish skin. Very artistic!

Our desserts.

06 Desserts

The others had a scoop each of locally-made ice cream and I chose the lemon tarte which was accompanied by lemon sorbet in the shape of a lemon! Again, the perfect dish to set off this dessert.

I should have photographed my spiced carrot and sweet potato soup, too. The two pieces of ciabatta were cut diagonally and set on their ends in the most attractive way.

All very creative and extremely chefy! We will definitely be returning here.

It was raining when we arrived, but as we left, the sun was shining. What a lovely day we had.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

WOYWW 488–Two Completed Boxes

My desk today.

WOYWW 488 10-10-18

All tidy again! And a finished project!

I finished the two boxes on Monday evening, so in plenty of time for Thursday! We are seeing our friend tomorrow and I am giving her one of the boxes so that she can transfer her copy of the Floral Mini-Album from the biscuit tin it has been living in since February!

64 Two Finished Boxes Minus Stickles

66 Box Side and Front

68 Box Top Detail

69 Box Front Detail

71 Box with Album Inside

I had a lot of trouble with sticking on the metal embellishments. The hot glue didn’t seem to stick onto the metal properly and the embellishments started falling off. I had to scrape off as much of the glue as I could from the boxes, and then I tried again with Pinflair gel glue and this seemed to do the trick, but I hope they don’t start falling off again or our friend’s box will have to come back for running repairs.

You can scroll down for previous posts about the boxes to see how I made them.


I think I’ve made enough embellishments for the striped scarf now. I made a few more of the larger crochet leaves this week, and on Sunday I steam pressed all the crochet leaves and flowers.

10 Crochet Embellishments Pressed 7-10-18

I have a little more work to do on the felt balls that I made, as they aren’t quite felted enough. They are needle-felted, but need a bit of wet felting technique applied to them to firm them up a bit. Once that is done, I can think about sewing all the embellishments onto the scarf.

I have started making the peacock feathers for the next scarf I’m going to knit.

01 Crocheting Peacock Feathers

I bought the cotton yarn for the peacock feathers from an online site – 25g balls in five lovely colours, and they came in this sweet little bag. For this pattern, you need to use cotton in order t0 comb it out to make realistic-looking feather barbs. I haven’t got to that stage yet. More photos will follow in due course. I’ve decided to do some feathers with shafts and some not. The peacock feathers will be on the ends of the scarf.

I’ve left tails on all these crochet pieces so I can sew them on.

I bought the yarn for the scarf for £1 in a charity shop, and had to re-wind it straight away as the skein was collapsing a bit and getting tangled. I am not sure what it is made of because it came without a yarn band, but it is some sort of acrylic, I think, and it is lovely and soft, and the colours are fabulous!

01 Yarn for Moss Stitch Scarf 9-10-18

Unlike the striped scarf which is knitted from 4-ply pure wool, stocking stitch on a circular needle, this scarf will be done in moss stitch, and single thickness, rather than in the round. It will also not be as wide or as long as the striped one. I made an experimental start last night but unravelled it after a couple of rows because it was too wide. I’ve got a friend coming tomorrow to watch a DVD with me and I shall begin it again then.

I shall enjoy doing some more knitting, and getting the second scarf done, which shouldn’t take me so long. I have also got any number of UFOs (UnFinished Objects) to get on with, including an unravelling and reknitting job that’s been hanging around since last winter. It’s high time I made inroads into these UFOs because that was supposed to be the main emphasis for this year!


A couple of sweet pictures of them sleeping together, taken on Sunday evening.

03 Sleeping Together 1 7-10-18

I came down a bit later to find them like this:

05 Sleeping Together 3 7-10-18

Lily seems to have got Ruby in a face lock – you can see her other paw underneath – not sure how Ruby’s managing to breathe!!

Another fun position, this time on Monday evening:

06 Sleeping Together 4 8-10-18

Ruby has always liked sleeping on top of her lovely warm and soft sister. Now the weather’s got so cold, they are happy to stay in more. When I’m sitting with my feet up I nearly always have Ruby and quite often Lily as well.


My sourdough last weekend wasn’t a huge success. When I tipped it out of the bowl into the Dutch oven I didn’t aim very straight and it ended up half up the side of the casserole where of course it stuck because only the bottom was floured. I got it out OK when it was baked, but it came out looking more like a pasty than a loaf of bread!

45 Sourdough Like a Pasty 7-10-18

Cutting into it, it looked OK, and it tasted fine. Several slices laid out look rather artistic, with that Paisley-like shape!

46 Sourdough Like a Pasty Cut 7-10-18

Again, it’s not rising as much as it should. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong.

This week I also made a normal loaf in the bread maker, half-and-half wholemeal and white, with added sunflower and pumpkin seeds – my normal basic bread. The sourdough loaf isn’t big enough to last the week. It keeps ages, and would keep a week easily, if we didn’t keep eating it all!

Health Update

I had my eyes tested on Monday. My eyesight hasn’t changed that much since two years ago so I don’t need new glasses which is a relief – even keeping my existing frames (which I have now had since about the year 2000!!) they are fiendishly expensive. They told me I have developed slight cataracts in both eyes but nothing to worry about yet. I can’t say I’ve noticed any difference in my vision except when I’m tired, and I feel as if I need to rub my eyes because they seem a bit blurred. It’s a bit depressing to be told that, though, because cataracts are what old people suffer from lol!!

Also on Monday I had bloods taken at the GP’s surgery – when I went back on the rivaroxaban (anticoagulant) the GP told me she wanted to check my kidney function after a fortnight. It took another fortnight to get an appointment with the nurse! Waiting times seem to be increasing across the board these days, at the surgery and at the hospital. She told me I was due for a general GP checkup and I can arrange this when I go in for the next lot of bloods in November before my oncology appointment.

My CT scan is a week tomorrow, and I have absolutely no doubt that this will confirm that my hernia has returned. It’s taken me two months to get this appointment.

Have a happy WOYWW everyone and a nice creative week ahead!

Monday, 8 October 2018

Box for Floral Mini-Album–Completing the Project

I am happy to say that so far at least, the metal corners have remained in place on the boxes, after my second attempt at sticking them on, this time with Pinflair gel glue in place of the failed hot glue. Today it still felt slightly tacky, and I am sure that it will soon be dry and holding the metal embellishments firmly in place.

Today I began embellishing the boxes, in a similar style to the albums that they will contain.

I got my dies out and cut more of the Moroccan tile trellis one in gold mirror card. Before cutting them, I covered the back of the card pieces with double-sided tape, which I tend to do for complex or small dies because it makes applying them to the project so much easier.

59 Moroccan Tile Die Cutting

I love this die. It’s not just really pretty, and a brilliant foundation for applying flowers and linking them together, but you can cut it up and use just bits of it, or join it up in a different arrangement if you want.

I then die-cut quite a few leaves from a selection of dies – I’ve got quite a few flowers left over from the album project but unfortunately I’d used up all the leaves.

I cut them from scraps of cardstock in different shades of green. I didn’t have to cut into any whole sheets. Even quite small scraps are adequate for this so it pays never to throw anything away!

60 Dies and Card for Leaves

61 Die Cut Leaves

After this I gave them a bit of variation with three shades of Distress Stains.

62 Inked Leaves

Most of them I left flat, but the simple leaf shapes I hand-embossed into a piece of fun foam with a ball embossing tool.

63 Hand-Embossing Leaves

Hot glue comes into its own for sticking down paper flowers and hand-embossed leaves. The centres of the flowers were embellished with Stickles. I love the effect these colourful glitter glues give, adding a subtle touch of bling. (Unfortunately I took the next photo before I’d remembered to do this!)

The completed boxes.

64 Two Finished Boxes Minus Stickles

65 Box Front

66 Box Side and Front

The side of the box.

67 Box Side

Detail of the embellishment on the top of the box.

68 Box Top Detail

Detail of the front of the box.

69 Box Front Detail

Detail of the side of the box.

70 Box Side Detail

The box with the album inside.

71 Box with Album Inside

That just about wraps up this project. I am so pleased to have finished it in good time for Thursday when one of them will go to its new home.

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