Friday, 29 June 2012

Surprise, Surprise

A wonderful surprise has just arrived on my doorstep. The lovely Morgan at Growing in the Fens had a giveaway to celebrate her 1000th post and when she was putting the items together, she did it in memory of her Mum. All the items are, therefore, things which her Mum would have loved.

There is a postcard from Morgan's holiday in Yorkshire with a lovely note on the back. Emery boards because Morgan's Mum always kept her nails neat and would have thought the spotty treasures quirky, I will just have to give myself a manicure now. A little tray for Mum's afternoon tea and biscuit - Morgan the lovely blue teapot reminds me of Cornish blueware aswell, and I will use this to carry mine and DH's mugs up to the office every day. A sweetie book, as Mum had a sweet tooth, chocolate always goes down well with my 3 boys too! and a Baking book which is just perfect for me to try and learn another cake recipe. I promise to share my results.

DH had to come and find out what I was squealing about as I opened my beautiful parcel. Morgan could you email me your address to as I'd like to send you a proper Thank You card, but for now thank you very much. What a blessing!

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

You Lead, I'll Follow

I seem to be a born Follower. I am now following at least 70 other Blogs and it now takes a considerable amount of time to check out what everyone is saying. So I apologise that I don't always comment on everyone's Blog, but I do try and read them all, even if I don't add a comment.

I do need to try and make sure though, that it doesn't get in the way of my following the 'Big' man. Anything can be an idol, it doesn't have to be a golden calf, so I hope I will be forgiven for taking a night off my 2-3hrs reading list to go and give thanks and to remember the words of this brilliant song.

and I'll be back following you too, tomorrow!!

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Super Stuffed Saturday and Sedate Sunday

Well the much anticipated Quilting Workshop was well worth the wait, as you will have seen from both Frugal Queen's and Fostermummy's blogs at the end of the day yesterday.

But I should really start at the beginning. I was up yesterday at 5am, because Number 1 Son, was leaving Church at 6am for a 35 mile walk across the entire length of Dartmoor for the day. As all Mom's do, I wanted to make sure my 13 yr old, 5' 9", "baby" had his packed lunch and tea, his drink, his spare socks etc and was at the meeting place on time. I was very anxious about him attempting such a feat without any parental supervision present, but neither DH or I would have ever managed it.

After he was duly dispatched, I tried to get another hours sleep before heading to pick up Fostermummy for our exciting day out. Like a true Blogger she started taking photos as soon as we hit the Tamar bridge to cross from Devon to Cornwall. On arrival it was lovely to meet the delightful CraftyKim, although I have to be honest and admit, the sight of her superdouper Sewing Machine, jangled my already heightening nerves.

Firstly Froogs showed us how to cut all the beautiful fabric into the correct size strips and pretty soon she had me sat at a sewing machine. It is impossible to describe here how terrified of that inanimate object I felt, but with Froogs gentle encouragement I eventually pressed the foot pedal. Aaagh! Things started to move and I did not feel in control of any of them. Froogs described it as learning the clutch control pedal of a car, but it was harder. I just could not seem to vary the speed, but despite this I managed to sew five strips of fabric together. Here:-
My first five strips stitched together
It's amazing, I felt so pleased, I even allowed myself to breathe at this point.

A few more strips later and it was lunch-time. Yes, it really did take me that long!!!
My second five strips, woohoo!

The banquet Frugal Queen laid on was delicious and I did feel stuffed, the beautiful homemade Cherry Bakewell may have had something to do with it.
A veritable feast, with homemade Quiche and Falfels.

In the afternoon we cut our strips into squares and joined strips of 5 squares together, then had a great time adding the yellow strips between squares, sticking backing to the floor with duct tape, adding the wadding and the quilt top. Then Kim turned up the speed on her superdouper machine and we all did some stitching in the ditch. Froogs and Kim added the edging and we had a complete quilt by home time. Kim won the finished quilt and she definitely deserved to, as she did most of the work. I was just fascinated to watch how competent she was, much admiration.
Alternating Strips
Taping Down the backing
Gluing on the wadding.
Adding our Quilt top.
The very skillful hands of Crafty Kim at work.

Now I need to find someone with a machine to give away and I will have another go at something with my lovely recycled fabrics. Another skill learnt, well kind of, I need a lot more practice, yet.
A wonderful finished quilt.

Thank you three lovely ladies for a wonderful day and for looking after me and a big Thank You Lord for your grace, that is changing me, from a hopeless case to a child that's free, and for such a huge blessing.

While I had been scaring enjoying myself, Number 2 Son, had been at a birthday party, kayaking on a lake, eating from the Barbecue and generally causing mayhem in the park with friends. Poor DH had to help "stuff" various sticky 8 yr olds into and out of wetsuits and pick up dropped sausages.

After dropping Fostermummy home, I waited for my Son to return from his walk. Then I got a message to say he was likely to be back in Plymouth at 8:30pm, then later to say 9:00pm. At 9:30pm, I was beginning to think my worst fears had been realised and he had fallen down some disused mine shaft in the middle of the moor. Then I got a phonecall to say they were all safe off the moor and in a pub having some food and trying to get warm. They had encountered hail, very strong winds (the weather not the men), driving rain and fog, but would be back in another hour or so. At 10:45pm, he arrived back at Church, shaking uncontrollably and barely able to walk, and he had fared better than the older men. After changing all his wet clothes for dry and feeding him hot drinks, we headed home and got in at 23:58. There followed a very hot bath and more hot drinks and he was returned to near normality. He had been given the opportunity to drop out at 3pm when they hit Princetown, along with the other teenager who left at that point, but he was determined to carry on.

I'd just like to say, here and now, that I am very proud of you, Son, for being the only teenager to complete the Men's walk. It shows courage and determination and what a 'man' you are. Well done on an amazing achievement.

I fell into bed last night at 1am and reflected on our stuffed day, we haven't had one as busy as that in a while.

This morning Number 1 Son was up straight away, with no ill effects and I could barely walk, as my right "pedal" leg and ankle were aching from all the tension I was holding it in yesterday. Number 2 Son was on "send", yabbering on about all he had done at the party yesterday and I was glad to get to Church to have a sit down and some quiet prayer time. This afternoon we have all dozed on the sofa and recuperated.

What a fantastic weekend, roll on the next one.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Frugal Quilting Anticipation

I'm getting very giddy with excitement, as I eagerly anticipate a Frugal Quilting Workshop with the amazing Frugal Queen this weekend.

I'm also getting extremely nervous too, good job the beautiful Fostermummy  will be there to hold my hand. Why nervous? because sewing is yet another thing I don't know how to do. Sadly, I never learnt any of these traditional skills, crochet, knitting, sewing or cooking at my Mother's Knee and whilst I have managed to "get by" until my 40's (when did that happen), without them, I feel I have missed out and do so want to learn.

First problem, Froogs originally said, "bring your sewing machine (and an extension lead)". Well, I don't own a sewing maching, I never have. I don't know how to use one, never have! Thankfully, there is a spare one I can borrow. However, second problem, Froogs then said, "I want one lucky person to go home with a quilt made by five quilters". Nervous, doesn't begin to describe it, some poor person is going to have to go home with a lovely prize, ruined by my pathetic attempts to use a sewing machine for the first time. I'd just like to apologise in advance to the "lucky" person, sorry!!

Then there was the other "rule" for the day - "Only old scraps from the bottom of the bag, box or off cuts allowed. No buying any new fabric for this one!" As  non-sewing-type person, I don't have any fabric! Now I know Froogs has enough recycled fabric to sink a battleship and I'm sure she wouldn't have minded if I'd turned up completely empty-handed, minus machine, lead or fabric, but I just couldn't. Again thankfully, my cousin is a bit if a seamstress, so she said she would send me some of her off-cuts in the post. They arrived this morning, woohoo! So I now have the following bits of material to take with me.

Now I know they are new to me and they are still new in that they haven't been used in/on anything yet, but I hope they still count as they are off-cuts. I have also bought a nice two tone green duvet cover from the charity shop for £4.00, which is therefore second hand.

No doubt Froogs will tell me what this is best used for, whether it's backing or patterns. It's a very small stash of fabrics to get me started however, if anyone wants to recycle any more my way, it would be very welcome.

Now, hopefully, the excitement can now win over the anxiety, as I'm all ready. Bring it on!!

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Don't Fence Me In

We don't exactly have land, lots of land, underneath the starry skies, just a little pocket handkerchief, underneath the watchful gaze of several neighbours, but Monday and yesterday we have been fencing it in.

After two of the old panels came down completely in high winds, DH decided that we did have to pay the price for full replacement fences on both sides. So 2 nice men, took the old fence down. That was when the work started, having our disgraceful little meadow exposed for all to see, including all the cricketers nextdoor, spurred DH and I to start clearing the overgrown play area. 
The neighbours cricketers!

I didn't take a full before picture, but it was covered with very tall grasses and moss everywhere. I think all the weeds love the rotted down bark that originally went in this patch to stop, what were, my toddlers hurting themselves when they fell off it.
Several wheelbarrows full went to the tip.

 Both sons, plus the neighbours sons delighted in running across all the back gardens and declared that we should just have one big communal garden for all four houses. "That way we have room for a swimming pool". As the several of the posts holding up the climbing frame are also rotted where they meet the ground, it has been declared unsafe for the moment. There was a lot of discussion about it going to make room for a nice swing seat for me, but they both still seem to want it, despite the fact they are probably too old for it now. Therefore it needs to be lowered, not an easy job. 

It's starting to look better, maybe?

Now the new fence is up, I'm feeling very claustrophobic and miss the old little trelis, but I'll get used to it, I suppose.

My hands and arms ached all Monday night, from the volume of stuff we had pulled up, but were not so bad that I couldn't have my very first attempt at knitting yesterday. My first attempt at some garter stitch didn't look too bad, although it took me a very long time. I don't seem to have missed any stitches, but my stitches seem very tight on the needle and hard to get into.

I ripped this all back when I had finished as I quite liked this mint green wool for another project.

I got immensly frustrated trying to do a K1,P1 rib aswell as a K2, P2 rib as they just didn't seem to look correct. After ripping it back 6 times, I tried a K3, P3 rib instead which seems to have worked. Then I tried some basket weave and that doesn't look quite right either, so I need a lot more practice. Shame!

Hope you've had a good start to your week.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Beware Men Cooking

For Fathers Day, my FIL generously agreed to cook the family a lovely Barbecue, for Sunday Lunch. Not entirely sure why, on the only day he could have got away with putting his feet up, he decided to be the one to do all the work instead, however it was very kind of him. The BBQ was very frugal as it was a free lunch for us, so great for the budget, but not so great for my diet.

I did indulge in a Beefburger, sausages, chicken drunsticks, new potatoes and salad, onions, mushrooms and a breadroll, plus a glass of wine, all of which was delicious. This was finished off with both Eton Mess and Peach Flan and ice-cream. Good job I didn't eat breakfast. 

However, when I had thought my FIL would be doing all the work I was amused to note that:

1) My MIL had been out to buy all the food as he was waiting in for a man that didn't come until 16:00.
2) My MIL had made the salad, new potatoes, pilau rice and desserts.
3) MIL cooked the chicken drumsticks in the oven before they went on the BBQ, she also prepared the sausages and other meat for cooking, placed it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and took it to FIL stood beside the grill -- glass of wine in hand.
4) FIL placed the meat on the grill and turned at regular intervals, meanwhile,
5) MIL came inside to organize the plates and cutlery, tablecloth, placemats, glasses etc.
6) MIL cooked the onions and mushrooms in frying pan in kitchen and brought these plus the salad, bread, serving utensils, napkins, and 4 sauces to the table.
7) MIL took the cooked chicken to FIL for him to 'finish off'.
8) FIL took the meat off the grill and handed it to the MIL
9) After mains, MIL cleared the table and served both puddings she had made, whipped cream and fetched the ice-cream.
10.) After eating, MIL again cleared the table with help from the other ladies, filled the dishwasher, washed the rest, while the two other ladies dried.
11) FIL got lots of praise and thanks for his cooking efforts.
12) FIL then made the mistake of asking MIL how she enjoyed "her lunch off." and, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concluded that there's just no pleasing some women. 

Still it was his special day.

I need to get straight back on the diet tomorrow. I am kind of trying the Harcombe Diet, inspired by Sue at The How Low Can You Go Food Diary and Mrs Thrifty at New Beginnings with Food, but I have been reluctant to call it that, in case I can't manage it. Phase 1, the first 5 days is literally only fresh meat/fish and vegetables.

I have really felt terrible in the last week with splitting headaches and a kind of motion sickness/nausea, which I am putting down, mainly, to caffeine withdrawal. However, I am going to give it another go at getting through the 5 day Phase 1, from tomorrow and fingers crossed it won't be so bad now I haven't got to go through the giving up coffee again. I am still documenting it at Stepping Out for a Bite. My biggest issue with it, is the no fruit rule for Phase 1 either. When I am trying to diet I kind of need the fresh fruit for the natural sugar hit. The Natural Live Yoghurt is just too sour to be properly recognised as a pudding, in my opinion!!

On the whole though a great day, I know DH and I are lucky to have both our Fathers with us and my thoughts today, go out to all those, whose Fathers are no longer with them or are not close by. xxx

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Rambling On

After much coaxing and cajoling, both Sons were persuaded to don their walking boots this morning and we set out on a walk to our local Trago Mills in the wind and the rain (on & off). This was training for my 5k Race for Life and a warm up for #1 Son, C's,  35 mile walk over the moors next Saturday.

#2 Son, M, seemed happy enough on the way there 

and we passed some lovely country views.

It was 3.5 miles there and would you believe it, lunchtime when we arrived, so a quick trip to the Cafe was in order. I was very good and stuck to the diet having a Ham salad and a fat free yoghurt. There was actually loads of Ham on it so well worth the £3.50 with everything else on it.

#1 Son copped for a new Waterproof jacket from the main store.

We then set off to complete the 7 mile round trip, but I think my DH may have cheated a little?!

He actually said afterwards, "That's the first time I've had a piggyback from my Son!" It was quite cute, aww!

The Boys became very boyish on the way home and started insisting I photograph every dead creature we came across. I gave in on this one, purely for identification purposes, but drew the line at the dead squirrel, as we knew quite well what it was.
It's a Shrew!

I then had to photograph these two eels in the town river, just to prove they were there, but I'm not sure this evidence would hold up in court. They are there, honest!!

When we arrived back in town I wandered through the Marche de France that was blocking the High Street. 

Amongst the many stalls were


Didn't see anything I was tempted to buy but, by the time I made it home my very old trainers had fallen apart at the sole (I know how they feel), so I think a shopping trip for new shoes is in order soon. Which gives me a lovely excuse to leave you with a song.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Feeling Yuck

Sorry nothing interesting on the Blog tonight. Another pounding headache to match the one I had all yesterday afternoon. However, today's is accompanied by terrible nausea. It came on while photographing my stuff for eBay, so that didn't get finished!!

It's like motion sickness, all great until I move my head, so if I can move number 1 son, that Sofa, is mine for a little bit tonight. Not sure if it's the new diet, caffeine withdrawal or somemutt else but it looks like bed early for me!!

Lots if love Arwedd xx

Up a Creek without a Paddle

Only it was a lake not a creek!

and thankfully they did give him a paddle!!

So Number 2 Son had great fun with his Cubs pack canoeing last night, while his long suffering Mommy stood on a muddy bank in the rain, taking photos.
3 Boys in a Boat, what could go wrong?

Rafting up and M got to swop places with someone else in the canoe at the opposite end from him.

Oh, who am I kidding, I actually enjoyed watching him have fun! I was very grateful, though, that he was one of the ones who elected not to jump out of the canoe and swim back to shore. He was dry enough to put back in the car in his wetsuit, unlike the lad in the behind his canoe!!
Coming back to shore in the leaders canoe, good Boy!
Now I'm off to take photos for eBaying stuff.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Monday, 11 June 2012

A Fresh Start

New Diet, New Blog, New Behaviour

After a few weeks where the diet went out of the window, as I am a compulsive comfort eater, and I needed a lot of comforting, today is yet again Day 1 of a new Diet. 

Now I know there are many who believe dieting and restrictive eating patterns are the worst things on earth and indeed it is true that negative views on body image can be very damaging. I hope I can accept and love people for what they are, fat, thin, short, tall, blonde, black, dyed and all, but whilst I love curves and would not want to be stick thin (there's not really a danger of that!), I am not happy the way I am. Despite knowing that there are a few who love me just as I am, I also know that I am not one of them. I am unfit and unhealthy, obese and uncomfortable.

I'm aware that losing weight is unlikely to have much effect on this overall, but at least I'll feel less uncomfortable. Don't worry Fostermummy I will never end up so thin that my jean legs miss each other!

The new diet is all about fresh food, at least to begin with, which meant I had a lovely turkey salad for my lunch.
Before the turkey got added.

This also involved some new behaviour, namely, using up leftovers!!! Now, I know this is hardly radical or worthy of a mention in many households, but in this one, it's almost entirely unheard of. However, part of the turkey joint that was cooked for Sunday lunch yesterday was cooled, put in the fridge and brought out again for DH's sandwich and my salad for lunch today. 

Normally, we would have tried to put all this on our plates yesterday, tried to stuff as much in as possible along with the roast potatoes and veg, until we felt we'd overeaten and what we really couldn't manage would have gone in the bin. So I feel pleased it lasted 2 meals, (technically 6 meals, but you know what I mean).

The only difficulty was in trying to swallow the Natural Live Yoghurt I had for pudding. It's disgusting, so sour, I really had trouble in getting it down. I'm hoping to get used to it, but then again I was hoping that about the Green Tea which I'm back on today, and it still tastes foul after 5 months.

As the extra page for the Food and Weight Loss Diary was too limited for many updates, in honour of the New Diet, there is also now a New Blog, so why not hop on over to Stepping Out for a Bite, to see if I'm any more successful this time around, but don't hold your breath it could be dangerous!

Wish me Luck.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Nerf Wars Anniversary

Happy Anniversary Darling Husband

'Coz, I'd rather be eating them than performing CPR on them - hearts that is!!
I WONDER by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved ? were we not wean'd till then ?
But suck'd on country pleasures, childishly ?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den ?
'Twas so ; but this, all pleasures fancies be ;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear ;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone ;
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown ;
Let us possess one world ; each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest ;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west ?
Whatever dies, was not mix'd equally ;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die.
John Donne

On my Anniversary what did I do, apart from visit the Lord's house, that is? With three handsome young men in the house besides me, was I the fair maiden to be rescued from the evil captor? No, I was taken hostage and placed against a wall to face the Nerf Gun firing squad and shot at repeatedly!!

Thankfully I wasn't the only target, the Playmobil spies and the Union Jacks were also covered in a hail of bullets!!

Back to School tomorrow, need to get the Uniforms finished so God Bless.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Denim Denim

I'm so in love with you, NOT.

Today I am sharing with you a very personal and embarrassing problem I have. I'm sure that I am the only person who suffers from this problem, as I have never encountered anyone else with it. I am hanging my head in shame just at the thought of what I am about to write, but I have a major problem with Denim.

Denim, was a fabric that originated in the Italian town of Genoa, and was used for sails because it was very sturdy. Because of its durability and resistance to wear, jeans started to be used to make clothing for peasants. My understanding was that the cowboys adopted it as their standard work wear for those same reasons. It just took forever to wear out.

Well, not in my case, my thunder thighs are clearly a match for any fabric. I know there is no daylight anymore between my thighs, those days seem sadly long gone, and I can only watch those who legs do not touch as they walk, with envy.

However, I didn't think my chunky thighs had teeth!! It seems though, that they can chew through even the most durable of fabrics, within a fairly short space of time.

Exhibit, number 1, my pair of Black jeans.

Exhibit number 2, my pair of indigo jeans.

Apologies for the creased state of both exhibits, they were rescued from the washing basket for the photo shoot. Both these pairs of jeans were bought with my Christmas money, early in the new year, yet within 3 months, you can see the devasting effect my thighs have had on the inner tops of the trouser legs. They were not cheap jeans, they were over £30 a pair. I like to have both a black and blue pair in use at any one time, but I cannot afford £60 every 3 months. Easy solution you might say, lose 3 lbs from each leg and they might lose their power, like Samson when he lost his hair. I only wish it were that easy.

What really frustrates me is the fact that the rest of the pair of jeans is in excellent condition, the rump, the knees and everywhere else looks fine. Thankfully I know a lady that can patch them up, and I am determined they will then get some more wear, but it saddens me to think I can never be a Cowgirl!!

I can hear myself saying it, "they just don't make things like they used to", but I'm ashamed to say it may just be me to blame and not the poor garments!!!

Yeehar for now, lots of love Arwedd xx