Sunday, December 31, 2017

December Craftings

Ribbed Wrist Warmers 
Start: 5th December 2017 
Finish: 8th December 2017 





Japanese Wrapping Fabric (Furoshiki) 
Start: 8th December 2017 
Finish: 9th December 2017 

Broken Rib Fingerless Mittens 
Start: 10th December 2017 
Finish: 11th December 2017 




Andalusian Fingerless Mittens 
Start: 14th December 2017 
Finish: 14th December 2017 






Gift Bags 
Start: 15th December 2017 
Finish: 15th December 2017 




Muppet Baby Quilt 
Start: 2nd September 2017 
Finish: WIP

Christmas Tree Quilted Hanging 
Start: 3rd December 2017 
Finish: WIP 

Jultomtar
Start: 16th December 2017
Finish: WIP

Carrier Bag Holders

Start: 27th December 2017
Finish: 29th December 2017


Mid Grey Mittens
Start: 29th December 2017
Finish: 29th January 2018 
Image in 'January Craftings'.

No Resolutions for 2018

Last year I decided to make no New Year's resolutions. It worked! 

In 2016, I started the 52 Week Declutter, knowing the chances of finishing the programme was going to be very small. I started with the idea that it didn't matter how far I managed to stay with it, every month, every week, every day would be a bonus. The couple of months I stuck with it made a lovely difference, and I decided to attempt it again in 2017. 

I made it almost all the way through this year. The things I had tackled in 2016 were a breeze in 2017. I'm so very much happier with my home than I have been for years. 

For 2018, I've decided to do it all again. This time through I'll also be redecorating, renewing and replacing (when needed).

Saturday, December 30, 2017

FODMAPing in the New Year



I'm so glad I didn't just launch head first into the FODMAP diet. Instead, I've been doing some research and reading. This afternoon I spent time making a start on a seven day menu. It would have been rather difficult to deal with festive foods whilst in the elimination stage of FODMAP.

Breakfasts are simple, most days it will be homemade granola, with lactose-free yogurt and fruit. Then, every so often it there will be a BLT on gluten-free toast. Lunches are proving to be simple too, mostly salads with other bits thrown in. Dinner is the one that will take the most work. Normally dinner starts with 'Take one onion...' and that's not on whilst FODMAPing. I seriously hope to be able to get back to onions and garlic. Living without those would be a sadness. But, it's now only a little bit of sadness when I smell a Danish pastry or a croissant. I'd rather have a happy gastro-intestinal system than a few titillated taste buds.

Dinners I have planned are maple-glazed salmon with new potatoes and green beans, butternut squash with pasta and home made blue cheese dressing, roast chicken and roasted veggies, and jacket potatoes with tuna and salad. I'd like to add another three to my menu. Seven meals in rotation will be easy to maintain for a number of weeks.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Flip Top Mittens



Yarn: Top Value DK
Company: James C Brett
Composition: Acrylic 100
Colour: 8429 (medium grey)
Pattern: Flip Top Mittens
Size: Woman
Needles: 3mm
Amount used: 
Started: 29th December 2017
Finished: 
29th January 2018

Cast on 44sts on 3mm needles. Join. 

Work 20 rounds of 2x2 rib.

1. K to last 2 stitches, kfb, kfb.
2. K (and every second round).
3. K to last 4 stitches, kfb, k2, kfb.
5. K to last 6 stitches, kfb, k4, kfb.
7. K to last 8 stitches, kfb, k6, kfb.
Continue in this manner until there are 60sts on the needles. Then work 8 rounds of stocking stitch. Transfer the last 16 stitch to waste yarn, leaving 40sts on the needles. Join, and work 8 rounds of 2x2 rib. Cast off using a lace bind off.

Left Mitten
Cast on 20sts, and then starting at the thumb, pick up 20sts, at the bottom of the ribbing. *Join, and work 8 rounds of 2x2 ribbing. Work 27 rounds of stocking stitch. Then shape the top of the mitten.
1. (K1, ssk, k14, k2tog, k1), repeat.
2. K.
3. (K1, ssk, k12, k2tog, k1), repeat.
4. K.
5. (K1, ssk, k10, k2tog, k1), repeat.
6. (K1, ssk, k8, k2tog, k1), repeat.
7. (K1, ssk, k6, k2tog, k1), repeat. (20sts)
Graft the top of the mitten closed.

Right Mitten 
Pick up 20sts, starting at the thumb. Then cast on 20sts. Follow the instructions for the left mitten from the asterisk.

Thumb
Transfer the 16st for the thumb from the waste yarn onto needles. Join and knit 15 rounds in stocking stitch. Knit two together eight time (8sts).  Knit one round. Break yarn, leaving a tail, and thread the yarn through the stitches to fasten off. Draw up tightly and weave in the end.

----

I've been struggling a little with a sore throat and a bit of a temperature. The Jultomtar are lovely, but I'm converting the pattern from 'flat' to 'in the round' as I go, and for the legs/boots, I've also switched the direction of knitting. It's too tricksy to work out at the moment, so a pair of flip top mittens will not require too much thought.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Family Fun and Games


For some people, the nightmare at Christmas is spending time in close quarters with family. For us, it's a joy. We actively enjoy spending time together, playing, talking, singing, walking, and just being in the same space. 

The Elder Offspring bought the family a present, the game 'Concept', and we have played it a number of times. "In Concept, your goal is to guess words through the association of icons. A team of two players – neighbors at the table – choose a word or phrase that the other players need to guess. Acting together, this team places pieces judiciously on the available icons on the game board."

An example is 'Titanic'. The main icon would go on 'movie'. A second one might on on transport, and on the downward arrow. 'Clockwork Orange' was guessed from 'movie', 'time' and the colour 'orange'.

It's all about communication, and is similar in nature to the game 'Charades'.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Carrier Bag Holders


The local Food Bank has asked for holders for carrier bags. These are them. The bags are stuffed in the top, and pulled out of the bottom. 

By using tea towels, this has been an incredibly simple project. Fold up the fabric at the bottom to make a channel for elastic, and then sew up the side, leaving the channel free. These tea towels already had a hanging loops. This meant I didn't have to add one. Elastic will be threaded through the bottom channel, and tied off to make it secure. A narrow ribbon will be added to the pre-made channel at the top, and that's it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Happy Cammag Day!



On the Feast of Stephen, Manxies gather at St John's field at 2pm and play cammag. It's similar to shinty (Scotland) and hurling (Ireland), and has been likened to a primitive form of hockey. It used to be the most widely played Manx game until association football arrived. There's been a revival this century.

It's a pretty free-form game that loosely abides by some rules. There's two teams, North and South, and they come together in the middle of the island, St John's. The teams can be any number; today there were around 60 people playing, children up to people in their 70s. 

The referee throws the ball up in the air, and then the teams have to try to score goals. They use a 'camman' (a bent thing). This year I saw a few hockey sticks, a broom, a bit of wood with a club attached, a giant wooden spoon, and even some traditional gorse limbs. A few years ago there were a few old-fashioned mops too. When a goal is scored the referee shouts out the score, and the goal keeper throws the ball down the field.

At the end of the first half, the referee whistles and the players take a bit of a break. Then the switch ends. At the end of the second half, half time is called, and the whisky is brought out (not for the children). The players change ends again. The end of the third half sees the conclusion of the game. As we have guests coming tonight, we left at the end of the second half. The score was North 4, South 1.

Players can join the game at any point, and leave it. If there is an imbalance between the number of players in the teams, players will switch sides. However, it is good manners to shout out and let people know what's happening.

It's fantastic seeing how the adult players accommodate the children. They are allowed their share of the ball, and the adults are considerate when charging around the place.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Week 52: Family Calendar


Monday: Happy Christmas!
Tuesday: Read Organized Home Challenge #52: Family Calendar
Wednesday: Clear space for and set up family calendar
Thursday: Create Christmas decoration storage inventory
Friday:  Declutter and organize stationery, cards to send
Saturday: Declutter and/or store cards received (including Christmas cards)
Sunday: Write New Year's goals

As Christmas has only just started, we won't be decluttering nor storing Christmas cards. It seems that in America, the celebrations start just after Thanksgiving, and end at Christmas. For us, Christmas is the start of the period of celebration, not the end of it. The Christmas period lasts all the way through until the start of February.

Christmas Cake



Yesterday afternoon the Elder Offspring and made penguins to decorate our Christmas cake. There's a great deal of joy to be had in shaping bits of fondant into manic penguins. There may even have been a few cackles. 

The Christmas tree is layers of shortbread, buttercream and fondant, with a fondant star, and the coloured baubles made from mini M&Ms. Inside, it's chocolate sponge, sandwiched with vanilla buttercream and a bit of Nutella. It's all gluten-free.

Merry Christmas!


A very merry Christmas to one and all! 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve, and so much, or so little to do


The chocolate Christmas cake has been iced and decorated. The mini fruit cakes were made back in October, and are incredibly moist with all of the fruit, and whisky. They too have been decorated. It feels like I've been in food-making mode all day! Thankfully, tomorrow will be a much simpler day food-wise. But I'll be back at it on the 26th. 

So many things I had planned to do have not been done, and I don't care one bit. 

Oops. Just realised I have gifts to pop into fabric gift bags, and stockings to fill, some stars to hang, and a few dining room decoration to pull together.

Friday, December 22, 2017

My Dog, the Leather Fetishist


First there was a pair of light blue shoes, the strap on one shoe was chewed. Foolishly, I didn't dispose of the shoes immediately, but put them in the bin. Ava removed them during the night and chewed them again. Her original leather leash has been chewed half way though. The Beloved's satchel strap has been chewed. 

Yes, I have a dog with a leather fetish!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Building Materials Have Arrived

The building supplies have been delivered. They tried to deliver via the back lane. The big wagon didn't make it, the smaller wagon didn't manage it, and this morning it was delivered to the front garden. 

The task of moving it through the house has started. I'm lifting the blocks by hand and placing on a sack truck. There's a trundle through the house, up a lip at the back door, and down a step. The blocks are then set in a stack. I am capable of moving one block at a time. This is not going to be a quick procedure! 

My aim is to move 10 blocks per hour. This gives me time to move the blocks, and then sit down and do nowt. I'm going to sleep incredibly well tonight!

----

That's three quarters of a tonne moved! The Beloved has taken over and is able to move 2 at a time. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wednesday Wibblings

Wednesday: Bathroom, Shower Room and Loo
  • clean sinks and surrounds 
  • clean bath 
  • wipe window ledge 
  • put out fresh hand towels 
  • vacuum carpet 
  • clean shower 
  • clean loo 
  • wash floors 
  • empty bin

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Jultomtar


A tomte is a Swedish gnome. They are the original farmers and bring bad fortune to those who mistreat the animals or the land. These lovely beardies were designed by Alan Dart.

Pattern: Jultomtar

Yarn: Moods DK
Company: King Cole
Composition: Acrylic 70%, Wool 30%
Colour: 841 (red)
Amount used: 

Yarn: Misty DK
Company: James C Brett
Composition: Acrylic 80%, Viscose 20%
Colour: 82 (light grey)
Amount used: 

Yarn: Top Value DK
Company: James C Brett
Composition: Acrylic 100%
Colour: 8429 (medium grey)
Amount used: 

Yarn: Dollymix DK
Company: King Cole
Composition: Acrylic 100%
Colour: 149 (Blush)
Amount used: 

Size: small, medium and large
Needles: 4mm
Started: 16th December 2017
Finished: 

Terrific Tuesdays

Tuesday: Bedroom 

  • change bed linens 
  • sweep floor 
  • put away clothing 
  • straighten beside tables 
  • dust bookcase, bedside tables, blanket box, chest of drawers and mirror 
  • wipe window ledges 
  • empty bin
  • vacuum sitting room

Monday, December 18, 2017

Week 51: Pets & Party Supplies


Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #51: Pets
Tuesday: Declutter pet toys and supplies
Wednesday: Clear and organize space for pet supplies, toys, emergency supplies and first aid kit
Thursday: Declutter large serving pieces and party supplies
Friday: Declutter/shred/file paper piles
Saturday: Declutter flat surface
Sunday: Prepare for Christmas

This year, we have for the first time a pet, Ava. We are in the process of buying pet supplies and toys rather than getting rid of any.

Fresh Start Monday


Monday: Kitchen
  • clean work tops and sink 
  • wipe down cooker
  • wipe down appliances 
  • empty bin 
  • wash bin 
  • sweep floor
  • wash floor
And with the arrival of Ava, we will definitely need to vacuum the sitting room each and every day!
  • vacuum sitting room

Ava's First Night


At 2pm yesterday, we went to collect Ava. She was happy to see us, but then got a little distracted by the bags of cat treats in the office. 

The car ride home was interesting. Ava was in the back of our hatchback, and C (The Younger Offspring) had their hand over to reassure her. This didn't work terribly well. After a little whines, Ava decided to climb over the back seat to be with us. Thankfully, it was a small, country road with no traffic, and there was a car park very close by. Ava ended up sitting on the back sear, looking out of the windows.

At home, she had a good sniff and explore. After a hour or so, The Beloved and I went out shopping, leaving Ava alone with C. This did not go without incident. A pair of my shoes has been chewed, and are now in the bin.

At 7am, I got up and went to the loo. A doggy shape emerged from the sitting room. This was accompanied by a waggily tail, the waggiliest I have seen from Ava. She came up the stairs to greet me and have a bit of love.  

I shall admit to wondering whether we would have a disturbed night, and if there would be destruction this morning. There was a slightly disturbed night, I woke at 2.45 and 5; I think this was just me listening out for noises.  And everything was exactly as it should be. I could see where Ava had been sleeping on the sofa, her white hair testifies to that.

The morning walk went well, although Ava was pulling a little at the start. I think it was excitement.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Craft Christmas Presents


All of the Christmas presents have been made. There's still a lot of Christmas crafting I can do, but the presents are done.

Inside this bauble are some little bottle-shaped chocolate liqueurs, nested in a bed of fake snow. 


The lower two baubles have a fingerless mitten inside. My friends will receive fingerless mittens, boozy chocs, all wrapped in a fabric gift bags.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Ava Lovelace


On Sunday, we go to collect Ava Lovelace, the beautiful northern Inuit. She is coming to have a week-long home stay trial. We are all rather excited about this. The work to make the garden safe and secure for Ava has started in earnest.

Yesterday, work started in the garden. The guy who was meant to be removing garden rubbish, and the old sheds is now unable to do this due to van problems. As Ian the builder was inspecting the drains, I was tidying up some of the garden clutter, shoving greenery, old pots, etc into sturdy bags. Then it was on to moving the newer of the two sheds (all in bits), and working hard.  I manged to get swathes of the garden ready, and we then moved the old shed. He was delighted to hear the old shed will be remaining on site as they can use it to store stuff.

Then the gardener who created various piles at least four weeks ago came to remove his piles and pots. The stuff by the gate was removed, and he will come back another day to remove the rest. of the garden refuse. I'd given up on him returning. Hopefully he will really be back in a few days. If he's not been back by Monday I'll bag up the remaining rubbish and get it all transferred to the side where the rest of the rubbish is. 

The foundations for the new wall have been excavated. Currently, the old pillars are coming down and they will pour the foundations later. We need to have  chat about the planters/raised beds. My hope is the rubble from the pillars and the excavation soil can be used to provide drainage for the planters.

As Ian was working yesterday a couple of people say the piles and asked if certain items were going to be disposed of. Two sets of ladders, and various plant pots, and a chamber pot have all be taken. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Andalusian Fingerless Mittens


Company: King Cole
Yarn: Moods DK
Composition: Acrylic 70%, Wool 30%
Colour: 84
Pattern: Andalusian Fingerless Mittens
Size: Woman
Needles: 4mm
Amount used: 30g
Started: 14th December 2017
Finished: 14th December 2017

Andalusian Stitch is a form of Broken Rib, but instead having a ribbed row/round every other, it's every forth. My adaptation is to use a 2x2 rib instead of single rib, and to knit the rib every fourth round.

Cast on 40sts, and join. Work 20 rounds of 2x2 rib.

1. Knit to last 4sts, k1, kfb, k1, kfb.
2. K.
3. (K2, p2) to last 6sts, k1, kfb, k3, kfb.
4. K. 
5. Knit to last 8sts, k1, kfb, k5, kfb.
6. K.
7. (K2, p2) to last 10sts, k1, kfb, k7, kfb.
8. K. 
9. Knit to last 12sts, k1, kfb, k9, kfb.
10. K.
11. (K2, p2) to last 14sts, k1, kfb, k11, kfb.
12. K. 
13. Knit to last 16sts, k1, kfb, k13, kfb.
14. K.
15. (K2, p2) to last 18sts, k1, kfb, k15, kfb.
16. K.
17. K.
18. K.
19. (K2, p2) to last 18sts, knit
20. K to last 17sts transfer 16sts to waste yarn, k1.

21. K
22. K
23. (K2,p2) to end.
24. K
25. K
26 -30. (K2, p2) to end.

Cast off in lace bind off.

Return to the 16sts on the spare yarn. Knit 5 rounds of (k2, p2), and then cast off in lace bind off. Weave in the ends, using the one at the thumb to sew closed the hole.

Generally two mittens are required.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Week 50: Home Inventory


Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #50: Home Inventory
Tuesday: Begin creating home inventory
Wednesday: Take photos/video of home contents for inventory
Thursday: Continue taking photos/videos of home contents for inventory
Friday:  Fill out home inventory forms
Saturday: Continue to fill out home inventory forms
Sunday: Copy/back up home inventory documents/files on and off site

This is not happening just now. There's too much going on. I'll return to these task in the new year.

Cleaning and Tidying for a Home Visit


This afternoon, we have a home visit by the local dog shelter. They are coming to make sure our home is a safe place to re-home a dog. So, we're cleaning and tidying, picking up and putting away.

The biggest problem will be the back yard. There's some garden rubbish and two sheds waiting to go to the tip, and it it not secure. The garden rubbish is being removed this weekend.

The following weekend work will start on demolishing the existing back wall, and rebuilding it closer to the house. This will create a parking space and a place for the rubbish bin. There will be a gate/door in the wall for access. In the garden, raised beds with seating will be made. The rubble from the old wall will provide drainage for the beds. I'm looking forward to creating a veggie garden.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Broken Rib Fingerless Mittens



Company: King Cole
Yarn: Moods DK
Composition: Acrylic 70%, Wool 30%
Colour: 84
Pattern: Broken Rib Fingerless Mittens
Size: Woman
Needles: 4mm
Amount used: 30g
Started: 10th December 2017
Finished: 11th December 2017

Cast on 40sts and join.

Work 20 rounds in k1,p1 rib.

1. (K3, p1) x 9, kfb, kfb, k1, p1.
2. K.
3. (K3, p1) x 9, kfb, k2, kfb, k1, p1.
4. K.
5. (K3, p1) x 9, kfb, k4, kfb, k1, p1. 
6. K.
7. (K3, p1) x 9, kfb, k6, kfb, k1, p1. 
8. K.
...
15. (K3, p1) x 9, kfb, k14, kfb, k1, p1. 
16. K.
17. (K3, p1) x 9, k to last stitch, p1. 
18. K.
19. (K3, p1) x 9, k to last stitch, p1. 
20. K to last 18 stitches. Transfer 16st to spare yarn. K2.

21. (K3, p1) x 10.
22. K.
23. (K3, p1) x 10.
24. K.
25. (K3, p1) x 10.
26 - 30. (K1, p1) repeat to end.

Cast off in lace bind off. Break off yarn.

Return to the 16sts on the spare yarn. Knit 5 rounds of (k1, p1), and then cast off in lace bind off.

Weave in the ends, using the one at the thumb to sew closed the hole.

Generally two mittens are required.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas Cushions


Today whilst shopping, I saw the cushion above and thought it would look lovely in my sitting room. However, I would need five., and this would bring the cost to £75. Instead, I decided to make some. The materials for the cushions was £54, and that will make six. 

When I will have time to make them is a very good question!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Ava, will you be ours?


The Younger Offspring has been asking for a while to have a dog. At her 21st birthday, we agreed. They have been going to the local dog shelter to volunteer, and fell in love with Ava. She is very chilled, and very importantly for me, she doesn't pull when she's on the leash!  The dog would be the Younger Offspring's, but a part of the family.

Various things need to happen before we get approval. There's a home visit on Monday, then at the weekend garden refuse and the old shed will disappear. Just before Christmas, a new wall will be built and a new gate installed.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Ribbed Wrist Warmers


Company:  King Cole
Yarn: Moods DK 
Composition: Acrylic 70%, Wool 30%
Colour:  841
Pattern: Ribbed Wrist Warmers
Size: Woman
Needles: 4mm
Amount used:  30g
Started:  5th December 2017
Finished: 8th December 2017

Cast on 40sts, join.

1. (K1, p2, k1) to end of round.
2-20. as round 1.

21. K1, yo, (p2, k2) repeat until last stitch, yo, k1.
22. K1, (k1, p2, k1) to last stitch, k1.
23. K1, yo, (k1, p2, k1) to last stitch, yo, k1.
24. K1, (k2, p2) to last 3 stitches, k3.
25. K1, yo, (k2, p2) to last 3 sts, k2, yo, k1.
26. K1, (p1, k2, p1) to last stitch, k1.
27. K1, yo, (p1, k2, p1) to last stitch, k1. (48sts)
28. (K1, p2, k1). 
29. K1, yo, (p2, k2) repeat until last stitch, yo, k1.
30. K1, (k1, p2, k1) to last stitch, k1.
31. K1, yo, (k1, p2, k1) to last stitch, yo, k1.
32. K1, (k2, p2) to last 3 stitches, k3.
33. K1, yo, (k2, p2) to last 3 sts, k2, yo, k1.
34. K1, (p1, k2, p1) to last stitch, k1.
35. K1, yo, (p1, k2, p1) to last stitch, k1. (56sts)

36. (K1, p2, k1). 

37 - 39. (K1, p2, k1). 

40. (K1, p2, k1) to last 8 sts, cast off with a lace bind off.
41. Cast off 8sts with a lace bind off, continue in rib pattern. (40sts)

42 - 49. (K1, p2, k1). 
50. Cast off with a lace bind off.

Use the tail of the yarn to re-enforce the area around the top of the thumb hole, and then weave in the ends.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Week 49: Holiday Decorations and Gift Wrap


Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #49: Holiday Decorations and Gift Wrap
Tuesday: Declutter Christmas ornaments, wreaths and garland
Wednesday: Declutter Christmas lights and outdoor decorations
Thursday: Continue decluttering Christmas decorations
Friday: Declutter and organize extension cords and power strips
Saturday: Declutter and organize gift bags and boxes
Sunday: Declutter or organize gift wrapping supplies

This task has been moved over until the end of the week, or possibly next week. This is when the tree will be going up and decorating happening. 

Part of this year's decluttering is not buying any new paper and tape. The plan is to keep making fabric gift bags and wraps, fading out the paper. Although paper will be used for presents being posted out.


Friday, December 1, 2017

Hello, December


November was a bit of a wash out health-wise. I'm still struggling just now with a huge amount of tiredness. But I'm happy December has arrived. It's a new start, and I'm looking forward putting into action many of the plans I had for November.

The Christmas tree quilted hanging is the one I really one to get done, along with a few knitted items for friends. And, the little quilted Christmas trees.  I'd love to make some knitted Jultomten, but I suspect there will not be time.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Craftings

Youth's Socks
Started: 17th October 2017
Finished: 1st November 2017

Fancy Sleeves
Started: 2nd November 2017
Finished: 3rd November 2017


Gift Bags
Started: 16th November 2017
Finished: 16th November 2017



Gift Bag
Started: 17th November 2017
Finished: 17th November 2017