Thursday, 18 April 2019

New Blog

Because of all the problems I have had recently with photos disappearing from this blog, I have now started a new blog on Wordpress. You can find it here.

I shall continue to work on replacing the missing photos on this blog, and hope that they will be visible.

The new Wordpress blog is a work in progress. Please bear with me during this difficult interim period.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

WOYWW 514 Embellishments for Slippers

I am sorry that people are still unable to see my photos. I am in the process of moving my blog over to Wordpress, and I have reposted this post on there, and you can see it here, and comment there if you like.

This week, on and off, I’ve been working on the embroidered embellishments for my new felt slippers.

When I bought them, my first thought was that they were crying out for embellishment a la Shosh!

I began by cutting out some flowers and leaves by hand, from my large stash of felt pieces. You can see the little paper patterns I made, bottom left by the scissors.

I wanted to cut a lot of small circles, and searched online for the best method for this. Most people recommended using dies but I haven’t got any small circles and wondered if I could use my circle punches instead. Nobody recommended this and said it wouldn’t work! I know from past experience, trying to cut a piece of Tyvek with a punch once, that it jammed the punch. Thinking about it, though, I thought that if I sandwiched each piece of felt between two layers of freezer paper and ironed it, this might make it firm enough to punch out, and it worked! Some of the pieces were a bit fluffy but it was a simple job to trim that off with small scissors.

You can see that I’ve also got some baking parchment out, to protect the iron or ironing board, and also some kitchen foil. I used the latter to sharpen the punches  after use.

A great success, wouldn’t you agree?

Finally, beginning the embroidery.

I made a few from a single layer of felt, and to embroider these, pinned them to a piece of medium weight interfacing which I trimmed off afterwards. For the multi-layered ones I didn’t bother with this.

I am having such fun doing these!

Health Update

This afternoon I have got my appointment with Mr. Daniels, the colorectal surgeon in Exeter, to whom I have been referred by Mr. Pullan, my surgeon at Torbay. I’ll let you know how I got on afterwards. He will decide whether I need further surgery to repair my parastomal hernia, and if so, what is the best way forward.

We are going over early so we can have lunch out together first. My hubby did a reccy of the hospital today while he was in Exeter, and knows where to drop me off for the closest access to the outpatient clinic, which is going to save a lot of time tomorrow.

Blog

As you know from my previous posts, I’ve been having a lot of problems recently with photos on my blog, and it’s just added to my general disillusion with Google. I’ve been on the forum where there has been a discussion going on over the problems Open Live Writer (the software I use for composing my blogs) has been having with Google. Google has changed something and OLW is no longer compatible unless you use a workaround to get photos to publish on your blog, which is a pain. The experts on this open source application have been working hard but realise that what Google has done has made it impossible to make OLW work as it used to. Several people on the forum were saying they were suspicious that eventually Google would pull he plug on Blogger altogether; some decided to move over to Wordpress, so I started to give this some thought myself.

In the past, I’ve always been put off because I didn’t like the look of Wordpress, and thought it was all too much work anyway, but having investigated it in more depth, I find that it is more customisable than I’d realised, and a far more professional platform with a lot more versatility. I have decided to go for the paid version (and managed to get a hefty discount from someone whose Youtube tutorials I have been following) and it’s not really too expensive. I also got a book on Amazon and am working my way through that. It’s taking a long time and I’m covering a lot of new ground and feeling my way with computing stuff I’ve never done before, but I’m getting there gradually.

I have heard that transferring all the content from a Blogger blog over to Wordpress doesn’t always work that well, so I’ve decided just to start the new blog, but to keep the old one up with links between the two. It’s a good opportunity to do some housekeeping anyway. I shall continue to work on replacing the missing photos on this current blog so that it is complete.

The new blog isn’t ready for use yet, but hopefully by next week I shall be on my new blog! I’m now quite excited about it, and once I’ve finished putting all this work into it, it should be a much smoother experience. Once I am using it, it will obviously continue to be a work in progress as I discover more refinements.

The more time I spend on this, the more I realise how clunky Blogger is, and I think I shall be glad in the end that I took courage in both hands and went for this!

I would be very interested to hear the experiences of anyone else reading this, who uses Wordpress – which version they use (.com or .org), and their experiences setting it up.

No kitty photos this week – they’ve been doing the usual stuff, sleeping, eating, and playing in the garden under my hubby’s watchful eye.

Here’s a kitty funny for you.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

WOYWW 513 Share, Foot and Mouth

Edit:  I am afraid I am still having problems with photos. No need to comment if you can’t see them. I am working on the problem and hopefully you will be able to see at least some of them. I can get them to appear, but they disappear again…

Share

I think I may have sorted the problem of my non-appearing photos – I had tried viewing my blog after logging out of my Google account and lo and behold, the photos were no longer visible to me along with everyone else, and since they were visible when I was logged in, I thought long and hard about that and wondered if it was a “share” issue on Google Photos. After making them “shared,” I logged out again and yes, they were visible to me. So please let me know if they are visible this week, and if they are, please scroll back to last week’s posts and you should be able to see the photos there as well.

As for all my disappearing photos since the demise of Google+, I am trying to work on two posts per day on average, and so far, working backwards, I have got back to June of last year, so it’s not going too badly.

Foot

Well, at least, footwear.

When we went shopping in Totnes last week I bought some gorgeous new felt slippers with really fun tops with felt balls on them.

They are quirky and fun and everybody says they are very “me”! My first thought was what fun it would be to embellish them! Having done my striped scarf with embroidered felt balls and other embellishments:

I thought I could do something similar with the slippers.

I have started cutting out some simple flower and leaf shapes from my large stash of felt.

Unlike with the scarf, I want the flowers and leaves to be flush with the surface of the slippers, rather than being 3-D. I am planning to do some wool embroidery on them and then stitch them to the slippers, and maybe add some embroidered stems, depending on how they look. The felt balls dangling from the tops of the slippers will have embroidery added to them.

Next time we go to Totnes I shall have to take the slippers back to the shop where I got them and show them what I’ve done!!

Mouth

Not so pleasant. I’d had the permanent filling put in my cracked wisdom tooth last Thursday and all was well, although it was a bit painful on and off when I bit down on it. My hubby said this was normal and he often got this for a few days after having had a filling (he has far more than I do so his is the voice of experience). It was pretty bad on Sunday and I was worried about it. Then at tea time on Sunday I thought part of another filling had broken off so my hubby rang on Monday and made an appointment for me for yesterday lunch time.

When I got there the dentist agreed with my hubby about teeth often being a bit sore for a few days afterwards, and then he looked at the other tooth and said the whole filling had come out! He fixed it then and there but it was a lot worse than the wisdom tooth one and the whole thing was pretty stressful. I had loads of local anaesthetic and my mouth didn’t come back to normal until tea time, and it’s been hurting since then, even though it didn’t hurt after the old filling came out. Hopefully it will settle down in a few days. I do hate going to the dentist and consider I’ve had more than my “fill” (sorreee) of it recently!

Our dentist is so lovely – he’s really friendly and knows what a wimp I am and always tries to put me at my ease (impossible) but we usually manage to have quite a laugh once the horrid part is done! He was very amused once when I told him I’d rather have 6 months of chemo than come and see him! Today he said everybody hated him and he had no friends because he was a dentist (which I don’t believe as he’s really nice and friendly!) and he said it was on a par with traffic wardens and tax inspectors. He then asked me, “What do you call 80 lawyers at the bottom of the sea?” I hadn’t a clue. Answer: “A good start.” Lol!!! (I have to agree – they charged us an arm and a leg, and possibly a mouthful of teeth, to wind up Mum’s estate… and it took them over a year.)

Anyway, I hope I don’t have any more tooth problems from now on.

Hospital appointment next Wednesday

I am going to see Mr. Daniels, another colorectal surgeon, at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E) next week, having been referred by Mr. Pullan, my surgeon at Torbay. He wanted a second opinion on what he calls my “intractable” parastomal hernia, and depending on what Mr. Daniels has to say on the matter, I may need further surgery. I shall be very interested to hear his opinion about it.

Kitties

Lily and Ruby haven’t been doing anything spectacular recently apart from the usual sleeping, eating, the odd tiff, a fair bit of chasing each other around the house – thundering paws above our heads – whoever said cats were silent on their feet? We’ve always had elephants! They’ve been out most days and seem safe without constant supervision now my hubby has fixed the defences, but we don’t let them out unless he’s around, just in case. They have been moulting their winter coats and getting a few fur balls (fluffy Lily especially) and very, very demanding at feeding times!

No new photos recently so here’s one of their baby ones, just to remind you how dinky they were. 5 weeks old, the first time we saw them, the day we claimed them for our own. We got them at 9 weeks, and my goodness, it was hard having to wait those few weeks for them.

Ruby on the left of the picture, Lily on the right. (My hubby in the middle!) I can’t believe how tiny they were – they are really substantial now – great hulking girlies!

Finally, a cat funny for you.

Have a great week, everybody.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

WOYWW 512 Backwards Knitting, Wrong Hymn Tunes and Wise Cracks

Yes, I know I haven’t been around for a few weeks – same old story, I’m afraid, too busy with other things, and also I haven’t been too well. The only creative stuff I’ve been doing is my knitting, but it’s been far from uninteresting!

One of my favourite ways of knitting is in the round with a circular needle, because you never turn the work. You just keep knitting and not purling because the reverse side is always away from you. I prefer to use a circular needle for knitting back and forth, too, rather than normal needles, because the weight of the knitting sits in your lap and it’s a lot more comfortable and less effort to do, but of course you do have to purl on alternate rows, turning the work between each row, 

This week I have discovered something extraordinary – Backwards Knitting! I have been knitting all my life and have never come across this before – I love Youtube and Pinterest which have taught me so many new techniques, and there’s always something new to learn, whatever you are interested in. People do come up with the most extraordinary ideas, and this one really works!

The idea behind Backwards Knitting is that rather than knitting alternate knit and purl rows, you do not turn the work, but on what would normally be a purl row, you knit backwards! I know, it sounds really weird… Here’s the link to the Youtube video I found, that shows you how to do it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIo-m6vfd-U&list=PL-OKjxuL-AQjZSbuz-CZHAXDUrqi_yELt&index=12&t=0s

Here are my written instructions how to do it.


Normal knitting starts the row with LH needle full, and the RH needle empty. With the knit side facing, knit to the end of the row as normal.

To knit the next row backwards, do not turn the work. You are now beginning a row with the RH needle full, and the LH needle empty.

How to do backwards knitting

1.  Insert LH needle into back of stitch on RH needle (LH needle goes behind RH needle).

2.  Wrap yarn around LH needle, anti-clockwise.

3.  Pull RH needle towards you, up and over the tip of LH needle, passing the existing stitch over the yarn you wrapped around the LH needle.

4.  Release the loop. Stitch complete, on LH needle. Continue to the end of the row.


You never need to purl again!

I find this is very good when you are working with two colours. Without the weaving of the yarn facing you (on the purl side), you can see the pattern much more clearly, on every row, rather than just on the knit rows, so you are less likely to go wrong.

When I first started doing this, it was a real struggle, and I wondered if it was worth the effort because it took me so long to work one row, but already, on the next backwards row, I was getting better at it, and although it’s still slower than a normal knit row, I am improving with practice. It’s rather fun to do, and I have a feeling that my tension is improving, too.

I am making very good progress up the front of the purple circles jumper. I have yet to design the neck on graph paper.

Blog Photos

A while back, when Google changed things again, I discovered that all the photos on my 8-yr-old blog had vanished, and so began the huge task of replacing them all. Working backwards, I have now got to July of last year so progress is being made, if slowly. I am trying to do at least one post a day. The trouble is, something has again gone wrong with the link between Open Live Writer (the programme I use for composing my blog posts) and Blogger – something to do with Google changing (deleting?) Picassa or something, so I now have to do a work-around to get posts with photos to publish, which takes twice as long as normal, but hopefully this glitch will get sorted eventually. What a pain it all is. It’s going to take at least a year to get it all complete by my reckoning.

Shoshi in Silentio

A couple of weeks ago I got laryngitis and was completely voiceless for a week. (Everybody was congratulating my hubby and saying how fortunate he was…) To call him downstairs for meals I had to thump on the floor with a crutch, which reverberated round the house very satisfactorily. I have felt really tired and had to rest a lot after unavoidable periods of busyness during the whole period. I am now speaking again, but in church on Sunday, wasn’t able to sing a note, until the final hymn when I simply had to force myself – it was a well-known hymn but the organist had chosen the alternative tune, because the normal tune had, unusually, been used for an earlier hymn in the service. My hubby was sitting behind me and for the whole of the first verse of the hymn, he bellowed out at the top of his voice the wrong tune!! There was a certain amount of confusion all around us and I turned round and sang the correct tune as loud as I could manage it for the next couple of verses until he got the message!! Never let it be said that my hubby is without conviction, and loudly, to boot! I’m not sure when I shall ever be able to sing again!

Wise Crack

While I was without speech I had an emergency dental appointment with toothache. He found a crack in one of my wisdom teeth which he filled with a temporary filling, and I have to return tomorrow to have the permanent one done. I am a total coward when it comes to the dentist and shall be very glad when it’s over.

Butterfly Mint

This week my hubby bought two cat mint plants for the garden, to encourage Ruby not to think about trying to get out. The trouble is, we don’t think it’s the right sort of cat mint. On the label it said, “Cat Mint. Encourages butterflies and bees.” Lol! It’s butterfly mint, not cat mint at all! We pulled a few leaves off to see how the kitties would respond. Ruby wasn’t interested, and Lily was frightened of it!! Doing a bit of online research my hubby found that there are different varieties of cat mint and the ones he bought were apparently the wrong ones. It may be, of course, that our two kitties are in the 30 percent minority who can’t smell the stuff. That would be soooo typical.

Yesterday we went shopping in Totnes and on the way home, called in on someone who said they’d got a spare cat mint plant we could have, and when we brought it home and showed it to the kitties, they both expressed an interest in it, but soon got more interested in being fed! The person had said they would get really interested in it when it’s growing in the garden and has the sun on it, but it’s definitely better than the butterfly mint, that’s for sure.

A fun shopping day

Lovely fun shopping in Totnes and I got some new clothes in my favourite ethnic style. Click here for details. One or two things that I got:

Not a lot else has happened recently.

Here’s a kitty funny.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Shopping in Totnes

This morning, it being a really warm sunny spring day, my hubby suggested an outing. Apart from church, and the odd lunch out here and there, I have hardly been out for months, so we decided to go to Totnes to do some shopping and have lunch. It is one of my favourite places to shop, with all the ethnic and alternative (hippie!) shops at the top of town, so we started there and worked our way down.

I wasn’t going to buy any clothes… honest, I wasn’t, yer honour… but it’s a very hard temptation to resist in such a place! And my hubby didn’t help – there he was, encouraging me to buy stuff – and I ended up buying quite a few things, including a pair of dungarees which I was convinced made me look fat, but both my hubby and the lovely lady in the shop reassured me that that wasn’t the case!

Not getting out shopping except once in a blue moon, it’s fun to stock up when I get the opportunity, and not everything is easily obtained online because you can’t see it “in the flesh.” I stocked up on some make-up supplies at Superdrug at the bottom of town just before we departed to go home.

Here are my purchases.

Last summer I had to throw out two pairs of sandals because the soles had started to disintegrate and they were not repairable. I was really cross because I liked them both a lot, and the tops were absolutely fine. I am pleased to have got a new pair today, along with the other stuff.

The dungarees. I love the applique on the legs. Since my hubby was the one who persuaded me to buy these, he said he’d give them to me for my birthday!

A really pretty soft lacy top with ribbon embroidery decoration. It is double (lined), and looks really lovely on.

A pair of soft wide ethnic patchwork trousers. I find I can never have enough pairs of these.

Finally managed to find myself a plain black pair, which will be useful.

In that same shop, I treated myself to a beautiful Indian necklace with matching earrings.

New make-up.

Finally, an irresistible pair of purple felt slippers with gorgeous felt balls on them – I feel like adding some embroidery to those!

We also visited the wholefood shop and picked up a few bits and pieces, but the main reason for the visit was to give them my excess kefir grains which they were very grateful for last time. If I had thought ahead, I would have taken in my spare kombucha scobys too – I asked if they’d had any enquiries for those and she said yes, so next time my hubby is going, he said he’d drop them in for me. I don’t want them to go to waste, and like the kefir grains, being alive, they do grow and multiply!

Where we had lunch, they had a basket with several pieces of knitting in it, and a note saying they were knitting squares for blankets for charity, and if you wanted to do a bit while waiting for your meal, you were welcome to do so. I knitted three rows of one square! I thought this was a brilliant idea, and how great it would be if they introduced it into doctors’ waiting rooms etc. They said a lot of people would pick it up and do a bit, and it soon mounted up.

All in all, a very satisfactory day and a lot of fun. Nothing like a bit of retail therapy, especially after I’ve been poorly and stuck in the house. I so rarely go shopping so it’s a real treat – I think the last time I did any clothes shopping was last summer.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

WOYWW 509 Who Gives a Crap?

Shoshi’s back! – and no, that’s not my sentiment! It’s the name of the new loo paper I’ve just bought!

Who Gives a Crap Loo Paper

My lovely friend put me on to this. It’s an eco firm that produces loo paper without any plastic, unlike the supermarket stuff that always comes wrapped in plastic. It’s recycled, and they also make a different one out of bamboo. It is 3-ply and very, very soft, and has a smaller core and the whole roll is slightly larger than the standard supermarket ones, so you get more, and it’s also cheaper! So it’s win-win all round. I just love the pretty papers each roll comes wrapped in, and you can see that I have saved some – my friend originally told me about this because she thought I could use her wrappers, and I decided to follow it up. I thought the papers could be ironed and used in projects, or for wrapping small gifts, etc. I really recommend this loo paper.

Dealing with the firm was sheer pleasure. I had such a fun email from them when the informed me the parcel was on its way, complete with a tracking number. They said they knew how hard it was to remember boring long numbers, and included a link to a Youtube video by a man who has a memory technique to enable him to remember pi to 100 decimal places!! Lol!

Anyway… my first visit on WOYWW for quite a while, and I thought that even if I haven’t got a thing on the creative front to show you, I’d better come back on because I miss you all.

I’ve been working hard on lots of new material for the Bible study group, which involves a lot of online research which takes massive amounts of time, not to mention collating it all and preparing slides, and also I have just started the mammoth task of replacing every single photo on my 8-year-old blog after Google messed up and they all vanished. I am at last able to publish blog posts with photos again – at least until Google decides once more, in its high and mighty way, to change things and leave us in the lurch again… So far with the photo replacement exercise, working backwards, I’ve done all of December of last year, and have just started on November. My hubby worked out that if I did one week’s worth every day, I’d complete the job in about 1 year 2 months!!! Still, that’s better than my first estimate, which was another 8 years. Either way, I don’t trust Google not to mess up and lose them all again… Talk about painting the Forth Bridge.

I’m not sure when I’m going to get time to get back in the studio again. As usual, in between my busyness, I’ve been extremely tired and have had to rest. I’m progressing quite well with the purple spotty knitting but not enough progress to warrant another photo just yet!

Kitties

A couple of the latest photos for you.

Sunning themselves on the cat tree.

02 On the Cat Tree 14-2-19

More hugs. They are a lazy lot. I wish I could sleep as much!

03 Lily with Arm Round Ruby 16-2-19

Ruby on my knitting bag.

05 Ruby on my Knitting Bag 22-2-19

We think my hubby has fixed the garden defences now. They have been out in the garden quite a lot, and seem to be requiring less supervision than before, although Ruby has her moments, looking for any possible avenue of escape, however small! Sometimes she forgets about it and is happy running around and playing with her sister. When the spring comes we are going to get several catmint plants and put them around the garden, which will give her an added incentive not to wander. What my mum used to do was make a cage around the plant with chicken wire, staked well into the ground, so that it could grow through the holes. If you don’t protect it, the cats will simply roll in it and rip it up and kill it off really quickly! It’s like a drug to them and they can’t get enough of it. Before she made the cage, Mum’s plant was reduced to one little stem with a single leaf.

Health Update

Since I was last on WOYWW, I have had a letter from the hospital in Exeter with an appointment for me to see another colorectal surgeon there in April – my surgeon here at Torbay Hospital said in December when I saw him that he would value the opinion of a colleague, and this has now been set up. I googled the man and he’s got a brilliant track record (I knew mine wouldn’t choose anyone less competent and excellent than himself!!) and he also looks very friendly and nice. I feel a lot better about everything now, and much less reluctant to go for further surgery if that’s what he advises. I am very pleased with the care and attention that I have received from the beginning, despite all the problems I’ve experienced.

Finally, a cat funny for you.

Mr Youtube

Thursday, 7 February 2019

WOYWW 505 Crochet and Kitties, Frostbite and Loos

Uploaded a day late because I’ve been having problems – again… – with Google not playing ball with Open Live Writer. I’ve been unable to publish any blog posts containing photos, until I found a workaround online.

Sorry to be AWOL for a few weeks folks. I’ve been very busy with other things and resting in between. I’ve not been feeling too well lately with my M.E., and my sleep patterns are very disrupted again which is a pain, so I’m trying to rest as much as possible. I’m going through a phase of getting a lot of headaches again, too, and it’s an absolute pain, because the only pills that really touch it have been unavailable everywhere for months, and I’ve run out now.

I’ve been working very hard on new material for the Bible study group which I am finding very fulfilling and interesting, and I’m learning a lot, which is all very exciting. My creativity has been devoted to designing lots of PowerPoint slides for upcoming sessions, which I really enjoy doing. Still nothing on the actual desk, but when I’ve had a moment, I’ve been making a bit of progress on the embellishments for the other scarf I made last year – the peacock one.

Here are the feathers so far. They are extremely labour-intensive unfortunately, so I don’t see this project getting finished any time soon!!

This is the scarf, just to remind you.

I am really enjoying wearing my striped scarf and have had some nice comments about it, my favourite being, “Oooh, it’s so YOU!!” Lol lol!

Plumbing

The plumber was eventually booked to come on Monday, which was great, because on Friday evening, the boiler broke down!!!!! The house was freeeezing so we wrapped for an arctic expedition and heated rooms as we needed them, but working in the kitchen, my hands kept getting almost frost-bitten! Out with the fingerless mittens and the hot water bottles, and really enjoying having kitties lying on me for mutual warmth during the day!

The plumber’s wife has been very poorly so he’s had to take some time off to look after her but now she’s on the mend, he’s back at work, and he said I should have phoned him over the weekend, and he’d have come, but I said I didn’t want to bother him when he had so much on his plate. We survived, at any rate!

The boiler was soon fixed. He had a look in the loo and agreed that the cistern was the problem. It is a very old high-level one. I like these because you get the benefit of gravity for a really good flush – the one in my bathroom is like Niagara Falls which is great for dealing with Kermit! Anyway, he said it needed replacing, but the trouble is, being so old, it’s incompatible with newer fittings. We’ve decided to go for a complete new loo, with a little sink on top of the low-level cistern for hand-washing – I’ve seen pictures of these and thought what a good idea it was. The room is tiny and there’s no room for a hand-basin, so we have to use the sink in the utility room. The room itself is pretty grim and in need of redecorating and smartening up – the pipework looks a mess. The plumber said we’d need to bring the loo forward and box it in at the back because the window comes down so low, so that there would be some support for the cistern, and this box would cover the bottom of the window, which doesn’t really matter. We’ll end up with a higher windowsill for putting stuff on.

Having seen some really whacky decorating in a tiny loo on a house renovation programme on TV recently, I’ve decided it would be fun to do something similar in our loo. We have quite a few visitors (including my Bible study group each week) and I’m rather embarrassed about the state of our downstairs loo at the moment as it’s pretty basic, and would like it to be nice for people to use! I’m hoping to do a jungle theme with dark green walls below the dado, and if I can find it, some nice bold rainforest wallpaper above! Possibly some stars on the ceiling? Waddya think? Would that sufficiently Shoshify it?

I’m not sure whether this idea will become a reality – my hubby pulled a bit of a face when I suggested it, but he’s always allowed me free rein where interior design is concerned, and anyway he’s colour-blind, and apart from that, he never notices anything haha!!

As this loo plan goes ahead, I’ll share some photos!

He also looked at our boiling water tap which has been out of order for several weeks after it caused a flood on the kitchen floor. He phoned the company and we’ve ordered a new tank, which should arrive in a couple of days, and the plumber will come back and fit it, and he’s going to bring me some brochures about the new loo as well. He’s a really nice bloke and we are very fortunate to have him – he was recommended by a friend from church, and they also recommended a very good electrician who we always use, too. We like supporting small local businesses and you get to know them. When we moved here and all the building work was complete, we had a housewarming party and invited all the builders and other trades, with their families! Some of them who’d only seen the early stages were really interested to see it all complete.

One of the garage doors has also broken down (electric up-and-over) and my hubby has booked an engineer to come and fix that over the next few days, too.

Then the car battery went flat. Fortunately it was just due to the cold and it’s been fixed now. The car needs new tyres, though.

Funny how everything seems to break down all at once, isn’t it. I hope this is the last of it!

Kitties

They’ve been out a few times, but one of the fence panels had got damaged by the storm and of course Ruby made an absolute beeline for the gap and my hubby had to grab her double quick! The panel is now replaced, but a combination of bad weather (cold, snow, rain and wind) and my hubby being out a lot, has put paid to any more excursions outside with them for a while. They are quite happy indoors. They’ve spent a great deal of time cuddled up in the hammock together, especially while the heating was off over the weekend.

Lily showing her pretty tummy.

Spending lots of time together keeping warm.

I do love my sister so!

A pair of spoons.

Finally, a kitty funny.

Hope you all have a great week with lots of creativity.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

WOYWW 502–Scarf Embellishing

I know we always say this, but I can’t believe yet another week has passed… Half way through January already!

Remember last year I was working on some embellishments for the striped scarf I had knitted? I decided it was high time I finished that project so over the past few days I’ve been working on making the fringe and adding the felt and crochet embellishments. So far I have completed one end, and this is the result.

01 End 1 Complete - Side 1 15-1-19

The other side.

02 End 1 Complete - Side 1 Showing Fringe 15-1-19

Detail of fringe. You can see that I have incorporated the felt balls I made with crochet chains. I had made some white balls which I didn’t think I would use but in the end I decided to use them, and I added a bit of embroidery on them with wool scraps.

04 End 1 Side 1 Fringe Detail 15-1-19

Detail of some of the embellishments.

05 End 1 Side 1 Embellishments Detail 15-1-19

Embellishments and fringe.

06 End 1 Side 1 Fringe and Embellishments Detail

Closer detail shots of the fringe.

08 End 1 Fridge Close Detail 2 15-1-19

07 End 1 Fringe Close Detail 1 15-1-19

I also attached a few crochet chains further up the scarf, with felt flowers and leaves attached, and the whole effect has been to soften the bottom edge of the scarf.

The little blob on the end of each felt ball on the fringe is a crochet chain loop, through which I am planning to attach a tassel. If I don’t like the tassels I can always take them off again – the little loops look quite nice on their own!

Now all I’ve got to do is repeat the process on the other end.

Kitties

They’ve both been using the cat tree again lately, which is good. I was beginning to think I’d bought a large expensive piece of junk.

05 Ruby on Top of Cat Tree 9-1-19

07 Both Kitties on Cat Tree 14-1-19

Lily exposing her tummy.

06 Lily Showing her Tummy 9-1-19

We had another session with them in the garden the other day and Lily was quite happy playing and just sniffing at things and running around, but Ruby spent the whole time going round the edge looking for ways to escape. We had to keep her under close supervision the whole time. We took them out in the late afternoon when they were hungry, in the hope that this would get Ruby in, but we had a terrible job with her, and she wouldn’t even be enticed with Dreamies. In the end I fetched the birdie toy (you can just see it in the above photo) and this proved irresistible, and after a while my hubby managed to get her in.

We got Lily in first, and I shut her in the house, out of the kitchen. I went through to check on her because she was crying, and she was sitting up on the flat kitchen windowsill looking out, desperate to know where her sister was.

As soon as we got Ruby in, I chased her into the house and she went into the flat. Lily didn’t see her at first but still went on gazing out of the window, and I called her and said “Ruby’s here!” and she immediately leapt down and went straight to her and kissed her – she was all over her and her relief and love were palpable! It was sweet to watch, and I wished I’d had the camera handy. She really worries about Ruby, but we wish she would just tell her to behave and be done with it – but we all know that Ruby never listens to anybody!!

Cat Selling Dog on Ebay

This is what I’m always threatening Ruby with, when she’s naughty!!

Other news

No sourdough this week, but I made ordinary seed bread in the bread maker. I also did a roast chicken on Saturday which was delicious, with lots of nice cold meat to follow (easy meals!) but I was so wiped out on Sunday after all that effort that I spent most of Sunday morning in bed while my hubby went off to church on his own!

I’ve not been too well this past week, with a lot of fatigue and headaches so I’ve been trying to rest as much as possible, and have also been working hard on sessions for my Bible study group which resumes again tomorrow night. I’ve been learning a lot recently and designing new sessions and am excited to share what I have learnt with the group. The sitting room is a mess and will definitely need to be tidied up before the evening!

We’ve got the plumber and the roofer coming at the end of the week – the former to service the boiler and check out a possible leak in the downstairs loo which always seems to be damp, and also to fix my boiling water tap that has been leaking for ages, and recently caused a major flood in the kitchen. The roofer is coming to fix a leak in the flashing on the lean-to at the back which is causing some dampness on the wall. Oh the joys of living in damp old Devon… It’s much damper by the coast than where we used to live, further inland. Always something to fix on older houses, isn’t there. Hopefully none of these jobs will prove major.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

WOYWW 501

Nothing on the desk today, but last week I had an enquiry about how I dealt with the inactive yarn on the back of my current knitting project, and I promised a photo. Here is a close-up of the front so far.

02 Purple Circles Jumper - Front Close-Up 9-1-19

This is what it looks like on the back – I weave the inactive colour by crossing the yarns back and forth with every stitch so there are no long strands on the back – I don’t like these because they tend to catch. I’ve always done my 2-colour knitting in this way and I think it gives a neat finish.

03 Purple Circles Jumper - Front Reverse Side Close-Up 9-1-19

The method I am using for the pattern is based on Kaffe Fassett’s “Persian Poppy” method. You make up two contrasting balls of yarn from lengths of varying colour, simply tying the ends together. When you get to a knot, you just work the ends in as you go. Purists always throw up their hands in horror at the very idea of knots in your knitting but I find with this method, they just disappear into the work and don’t present a problem. As you work, the background and motif colours gradually change from light to darker and back again, and you get a lovely unpredictable and random effect. It’s dead easy to knit, too, as the repeating pattern is a simple one, and the colours take care of themselves. The result looks very complicated and people are always very impressed and wonder how you did it, but it’s a cheat really – it does itself!

I actually rather like the back. Perhaps when this jumper is finished, I’ll wear it inside out!!

Sourdough

I made sourdough again last weekend, and this time I decided to experiment by putting the dough in the fridge to slow down and extend the bulk fermentation time. I hadn’t tried this before but it is supposed to improve the texture and flavour. I left it in overnight and it had about 18 hours in the end, as I was out at church in the morning, so when I got back I folded it and got it into the bannetons for its final proving, and baked it late Sunday afternoon. It had cooled enough to cut and eat with home-made soup for supper. The result was excellent, and I’m very pleased with my sourdough these days.

64 Slow Bulk Fermentation Sourdough 6-1-19

Here it is cut. A nice open crumb and soft springy texture and a good crust, and an excellent flavour! I shall definitely do this again.

65 Slow Bulk Fermentation Sourdough Cut 6-1-19

A few weeks ago I found a brilliant Youtube video (Bake with Jack) where he showed how to shape the dough for its final fermentation in the banneton by folding it not once, but twice, with a half-hour rest in between, to develop a greater amount of tension in the top surface of the boule to stop it spreading when you turn it out. This is a great technique which I am now doing every time, and I am no longer producing awful flat turtles like this effort from back in July last year!

21 Sourdough 21-7-18

It’s been a tough learning curve but well worth persevering because I think I’ve really nailed it now. I’m glad I’ve kept a full photographic record complete with disasters. I think part of the problem in the early days was that I was using a high proportion of rye flour in the dough which makes it extremely sticky and wet – I discovered subsequently that people usually only add a small amount for the flavour, but I don’t use it at all now, and the results are much better, and my improved dough handling has really paid dividends, too. What would we do without Youtube?!

Kitties

My hubby has been out a lot during the day recently, so the kitties haven’t had many outings in the garden. Since Ruby decided she’d far rather be over the fence and out, rather than staying in the garden, he has improved the defences a good deal, and when we let them out, it is under close supervision! The weather has been pretty cold lately so they haven’t minded staying in, and they love cuddling up in the radiator hammock together.

02 Asleep Together in Hammock 5-1-19

Here is Ruby with her arm around her sister again – she does this a lot. It usually starts with her holding Lily down so that she can wash her, and then she just hugs her and they go to sleep!

03 Ruby with her Arm Round Lily 8-1-19
I love to see them like this.

Not sure when I’m going to get time in the studio because I’ve been very busy preparing new sessions for my Bible study group which will be resuming again soon.

The Only Deity

Have a great creative week, everybody.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

WOYWW 500! Happy New Year!

What a way to celebrate the New Year, with the 500th edition of WOYWW! I wasn’t here for the launch of this astonishing blog hop (which has to be the best on the web) but I joined for No. 111 on 21st July 2011 – 7 1/2 years ago! My goodness, I hadn’t realised it was that long! Anyway, the fact that this has been going on for 500 editions proves how good it is, and that the irresistible urge to nose around in other people’s studios never dies!! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Julia for starting this, and for faithfully hosting it for all these years. Through this blog hop I have made some very good friends and I’ve also gained so much creative inspiration and learnt lots of new skills. Thank you all so much for everything!

Now to my special 500th edition desk. Very disappointing, I’m afraid… If it hadn’t been a special edition of WOYWW I doubt if I’d have joined in this week because my desk is empty! The rest of the room, as you will see, is in a state of chaos. Over the far side of the room I’ve got all my knitting yarn boxes down (in an effort to search for a ball of purple yarn that I ended up finding in the sitting room…) and I haven’t got round to tidying up yet. So here’s an overview of the room.

WOYWW 500 - 2-1-19

Over Christmas I received these two very pretty carrier bags with presents in them, and I thought I’d keep them and possibly upcycle them as I liked the designs so much.

01 Two Pretty Carrier Bags for Upcycling

The smaller one on top is slightly sparkly.

I’ve been so tired since our busy week the week before Christmas but I did manage to cook a Christmas dinner, and we are still enjoying the remnants of the turkey! I wasn’t feeling at all well yesterday (good start to the year) with a bad headache and extreme fatigue, so I relaxed in front of the telly and watched the New Year Concert from Vienna – a fixture for me as I love the light-hearted Strauss waltzes and the dancing, and the beautiful architecture. It’s a treat every year.

While resting with my feet up when I could over the past week, I’ve made good progress on my purple circles knitting project, and have completed the back, and made a good start on the front. This is how much I’ve done so far.

01 Purple Circles Jumper - Completed Back and Beginning of Front 1-1-19

I’ve done my regular end-of-year review post which you can read here if you are interested, or scroll down to the previous post.

Kitties

On New Year’s Eve they were both in the hammock together and this is how they looked after a vigorous mutual grooming session. Ruby has her arm round her sister, giving her a hug.

01 Ruby with her Arm Round Lily 31-12-18

Now she’s got her leg over her too!

02 Ruby with her Arm and Leg over Lily 31-12-18

I love this picture of the two of them together. They are so affectionate with each other, and with us (although I think a lot of that is more to do with warmth!). They do love to be with us.

My hubby was trying to sort out his computer back-ups tonight and brought down his box of old external hard drives. Of course, someone had to get in the box, didn’t they!

01 Helping Daddy with his Back-Ups 1-1-19

What is it with kitties and boxes?

Ruby on the cat tree. For some reason, after giving it a wide berth for months, she’s got really keen on it again and spends quite a lot of time asleep right on the top.

Ruby on Cat Tree 21-12-18

They are both still grounded, but my hubby has made some improvements on the garden defences and they’ve been out a few times under strict supervision, and so far, despite her obvious interest in the perimeter, Ruby hasn’t attempted to get out. I don’t think she’s very pleased with my hubby’s latest efforts, which are making our garden look ever more like a prison camp. Next step, watch towers, search lights and electrified fences, and my hubby and I will have to practice our goose-stepping technique.

On the subject of cats…

Here’s a cat funny for the pantomime season.

Cat with Aladdin's Lamp

Happy New Year, everyone! And a very happy 500th WOYWW!

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