Friday, August 18, 2017

Breakfast Muffins


This recipe is based on BBC Good Food Breakfast Muffins. Due to limited ingredients, there were are number of substitutions. This is the recipe I actually made.

Ingredients
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 large eggs
150ml pot yogurt
50ml oil
100g apple sauce 
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g SR flour (Dove Farm Gluten-Free)
50g rolled oats, plus extra for sprinkling
2 Tsp  sugar
1½ tsp cinnamon
2 Tsp mixed seeds, plus extra for sprinkling.

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Place 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin.

In a large jug, mix the mashed banana, eggs, yogurt, oil, apple sauce, and vanilla. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, oats, seeds and seeds. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix briefly until you have a smooth batter – don’t over mix as this will make the muffins heavy. 

Divide the batter between the cases. Sprinkle the muffins with the extra oats and the seeds. 

Bake for 25-30 mins until golden and well risen, and a skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. 

Notes
As the yogurt and apple sauce available to me were both sweetened, and I don't like honey, I decided to use 2 Tsp of sugar in the muffins.  The flour and oats used are both gluten-free.  

Ooh my! These are good. So moist, tender and tasty.  It was a little weird having a mild hint of strawberry through it. I think next time I will use either a plain yogurt, or add fruit of that matches the flavour of the yogurt. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cakes and Desserts for Breakfast?!


I am totally bemused and puzzled by American breakfast foods. What's with all of the sugar first thing in the morning?!

This morning, I fancied making something different, and decided to try a Cinnamon Roll Muffin recipe from 'Cooking Light'. I should have stopped on my first read through of the recipe. It didn't feel right. And, there was nothing 'light' about these muffins. They were dry and heavy, and absolutely laden with sugar. A recipe is not 'made light' by eliminating the fat and replacing it with sugar!

It's far better to have a wonderfully tasty muffin or cake once in a while than boring dull, heavy, dry travesties every day. This gets to the root of a what a treat is. It's not an every day item. It's something that wonderful sinful, lush and delicious, full of the 'eat occasionally' ingredients.

The one part of the recipe I did like was the cinnamon centre. I'll take that bit of the recipe and use it with one for tried and true muffins.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lemon Chicken


This recipe is from Confessions of a Fit Foodie. The quantities have been changed into metric, and salt removed. Each person can then add salt to their own taste.

Ingredients
20g butter
1 Tsp oil
4 boneless chicken breasts
120g flour (I use Dove Farm Gluten-free flour)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pepper
120ml lemon juice
1 Tsp lemon zest
120ml chicken stock
1 lemon, sliced

Method
Mix together the flour, garlic powder, and pepper. Lightly coat each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour. Shake off excess.

Over a medium heat, melt the butter and mix in the oil. Brown the chicken on each side, and cook for 3 minutes on either side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice and chicken stock. Return the chicken to the pan and top with lemon zest. Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. The sauce should thicken a bit. Top with lemon slices and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Notes
This is excellent!  We all enjoyed it and wish to add it into our regular menu. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Grey Wrist Warmers


Company: Regia
Yarn: Black and Blue Color
Composition: 75% wool, 25% polyamide
Colour:  8841
Dyelot: 20369
Pattern: as detailed below
Needles: 2.5mm
Amount used: ~30g

When my wrists get cold they become very sore. Wrist warmers are a wonderful way to prevent soreness.

Cast on 56 stitches. Join. Work in 2x2 rib for 20 rounds.

Week 33: Kids' Closets


Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #33: Kids' Closets
Tuesday: Declutter kids' closet hanging clothes
Wednesday: Declutter kids' closet shelves and drawers
Thursday: Declutter kids' closet floor
Friday: Declutter kids' bedroom dresser
Saturday: Continue to declutter kids' clothes
Sunday: Declutter hangers

This is here for completeness. My children are fully grown.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cheddar and Chive Scones


Ingredients
225g SR flour (I used Dove Farm Gluten-Free)
50g butter
15g chives
100g Cheddar cheese
1 egg
milk 
1Tsp wholegrain mustard

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 220.

Rub the butter into the flour. Snip the chives into the bowl and grate the cheese. Break the egg into a jug, beat it and then top up to the 150ml mark with milk. Add the wholegrain mustard.

Mix the milk/egg mixture into the flour. If you are using wheat flour, roll out and cut into 9 scones. Place onto a greased baking sheet. If you are using gluten-free flour, spoon out into a buttered a muffin tray. Bake for about 10 -12 minutes.

Notes
A tasty addition would be little chunks of bacon. These should be cooked and cooled before adding to the mixture.

A serving suggestion is to split the scone, and add salmon and cream cheese.

Bored! (not really)


I was watching a Vsauce video on youtube about being bored. Michael (the presenter) mentioned the Boredom Proneness Scale. It took the test and it concluded "You have a 0% chance of being bored out of your skull."

This sounds about right to me. The only times I can remember being bored are when I am recovering from illness. There is a feeling of 'I want to do something, anything, but I don't have enough brain power to work out what I could do." Occasionally, I can think of activities, but I don't have the strength, patience, or brain power to carry them out. I now have a little file on my computer desktop entitled 'Open when bored'. It has a number of ideas for beating boredom. I really do need constructive outlets, otherwise I am a danger to myself and others.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sweetcorn and Potato Chowder Thought


I tried to make the chowder as written, but didn't have several ingredients. Instead of nutmeg, cumin and sage, I used a little ginger, mixed herbs and garlic. This gave a good taste, but I'll add the specified ingredients to the shopping list.

My one reservation with the recipe is that the chowder is too thin. I like my soups good and thick, packed with veggies and full of flavour. To thicken it a bit more I added some frozen mashed potato. Next time, I'll blitz about a third of the soup just before the sweetcorn is added.

----

Second day soup is so much better! This will have been helped by adding the nutmeg and cumin seeds. I did buy sage, but I forgot to add it. We'll see what it's like when all of the ingredients are used.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Sweetcorn and Potato Chowder


This recipe is from Barbara Cousins' website.

Ingredients
2 Tsp oil
2 large onions, diced
1 tsp grated nutmeg
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp dried sage
2 bay leaves
900g potatoes, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
1.75 L stock
2 Tsp gluten free flour
550 ml unsweetened dairy free milk
650g sweetcorn
salt and pepper

Method
Heat the oil in a saucepan and sweat the onion until it begins to soften.

Add the herbs, spices and potatoes and sweat for another 2 minutes, then add the stock and bring the mixture to the boil. Simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or until the potatoes are just cooked but still holding their shape.

Mix the flour and milk. Add to the pan along with the sweetcorn. Bring to the boil, stirring regularly and simmer for 2 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Healthier Eating - the Veggie Edit


For a while now I've been wanting to eat more vegetarian and vegan foods. My problem has been as I can't eat gluten-stuff and chillies. Eggs need to be cooked into food. Cake is fine; quiche isn't. Dairy has to be used sparingly. I am not a fan of olives, mushrooms or avocados. This has rather limited my choices.

But, look!  There's a recipe book for veggie stuff that takes this into consideration! Some of the recipes are vegan, some use dairy substitutes. I'm looking forward to some experimentation.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookies


The recipe is from The Happy Coeliac. There was salt in the original recipe, but I have removed it.

Ingredients
115g butter (room temp)
75g soft brown sugar
75g sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g Dove Farm Gluten Free plain flour
1/2 tsp sodium bicarbonate
100g chocolate (either cut into small chunks, or chocolate chips)


Method
Preheat the oven to 190C.

Cream the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Sift in the flour and sodium bicarbonate. Mix well.  Stir in the chocolate chunks or chip.

Place spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let the cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 

Notes
There was no sodium bicarbonate in the house, so I used SR flour instead of plain plus bicarb. 

My cookie sheets are old, and cheap. When they are hot they buckle a little. This caused the cooking cookie dough to run into the centre and make a mega-monster cookie. If the cookie had been smaller, there would have been more slightly crispy edgy stuff, more chewy bits, and a whole lot less goo. Tasty goo.

Impatience was also a factor in creating tasty goo. The second batch cooked far better than the first, as they cooked at the correct temperature. One of the cookies managed to remain separate from the mega-monster cookie. It was really lovely. More cookies like that one would be great! 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bedroom Cleaning


The utter joys of a decluttered room are the room is so incredibly easy to keep tidy, and it's a breeze to clean.

This is my current cleaning list for the bedroom. The weekly list takes about 15-20 minutes.

Weekly:
  • strip bed
  • washing bed linens
  • make bed with fresh linens
  • change towels
  • sweep floor (sweep under bed as far as the brush will allow)
  • wipe door and light switch
  • dust/polish the wardrobe, bedside tables, shelves, blanket box and mirror

Monthly:
  • pull bed out and sweep underneath
  • steam mop floor
  • wash windows

Bi-annually:
  • wash curtains
  • vacuum lamp shade
  • vacuum picture rail
  • vacuum top of wardrobe

Monday, August 7, 2017

Lemon Sauce


Ingredients
2 cups of stock
1 lemon 
lemon juice
fresh lemon juice
3/4 cups of sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Method
In saucepan bring stock to a boil. Zest the lemon and add to the stock. Ream the lemon and make it up to 1/2 cup. Add juice and sugar. Bring to the boil.

Blend together cornstarch and cold water and stir into the lemon sauce. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently and adjust seasoning to taste.

Notes
This sauce is very similar to the one from the Chinese restaurant we to eat at. They have new chefs and can't quite grasp the gluten-free thing. Next time, I'll make velveted chicken and serve it with boiled rice, lemon sauce and stir fried vegetables. 

I used a chicken Stock Pot and made it up to 2 cup with boiling water. 

This produced enough sauce for two meals. Half of the sauce has been stored in the fridge.

Week 32: Back to School


Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #32: Back To School Organization
Tuesday: Create place to lay out week's clothing
Wednesday: Declutter backpacks/school bags
Thursday: Declutter/organize school supplies
Friday: Clear space for kids to do homework
Saturday: Create lunch packing station, and declutter lunch containers
Sunday: Declutter and organize kids' school papers

My children have grown, and there is no more school.

Week 31: Shoes

Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #31: Shoes
Tuesday: Declutter dress and casual shoes
Wednesday: Declutter kids shoes
Thursday: Declutter boots of all types
Friday: Declutter and organize shoes by the entryway
Saturday: Declutter hats and caps
Sunday: Declutter kids' dress up clothes

I totally and utterly forgot to post the daily challenges last Monday. We have already completed all of the challenges, but for the sake of completeness, I've included them.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Outlander in an Parallel Dimension

I've been watching "Outlander". It's been causing a little bump in my normally very soft Scottish accent.

However, the number of inaccuracies is causing me quite a few problems. It's things like the accents, the music, the history, the geography, and a few other things too. But anyway, I have decided the story is set in a parallel dimension, not ours. This allows for all sorts of inaccuracies and re-writings for history. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Polishing Old Gems

Whilst my house was in a state of chaos and clutter, all I could think of was a new house, well designed and clutter-free.  And now that half of my current house is clutter-free, I'm looking at this house with new eyes. I'm seeing what can be done here to make a more beautiful house, and better place to live. Some of the rooms have been untouched since we moved in 10 years ago.

The kitchen was one of the first rooms to be decluttered. Since the arrival of the new fridge, I'll looking at it with new eyes. The leaner and more pared back the kitchen becomes, the more I like it.

The plan is to break down the kitchen make-over into many simple, easily contained projects. This will hopefully enable the kitchen never to look a mess.
  • wash the front wall
  • paint the front wall white
  • add a clock to the front wall
  • remove the plate and mug rack
  • wash the back wall
  • paint the back wall white
  • erect open shelves for mugs, glasses and plates
  • remove glasses cabinet
  • remove wire hanging mesh on side wall
  • wash side wall
  • paint side wall
  • put up magnetic knife strip
  • put up utensil bar and hooks
Then things get a smidge bigger in scale. The white and exposed wood is to be painted with gloss, and the cabinet doors and drawers to be painted dark brown (Java gel stain). The last step will be to put down new flooring.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Braised Cabbage

Ingredients 
1 Tsp butter 
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced 
1 eating apple, halved, cored, and sliced 
1/2 red cabbage, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced 
1/2 cup water 
2 Tsp cider vinegar 
pepper 
cinnamon 

Method 
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pot. Cook the onion until it starts to soften (about 4-6 minutes). Stir in red cabbage and and apple. Season with pepper and cinnamon. Add vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until cabbage is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. 

This can be stored in the fridge and re-heated.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Socks for Me


Company: Regia
Yarn: Black and Blue Color
Composition: 75% wool, 25% polyamide
Colour:  8841
Dyelot: 20369
Pattern: my standard sock pattern
Needles: 2.5mm
Amount used: ~55g

Cast on 60 sts, join. Work 20 rounds in 2x2 rib, then switch to stocking stitch for 30 rounds.

Knit 15 sts, then turn the work. Slip the first stitch and purl the next 29. Turn. Work another 28 rows in stocking stitch, slipping the first stitch of each row. These 30 stitches form the heel flap.

To turn the heel, slip 1, k16, ssk, k1, turn. S1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn. (S1, k to 1st before gap, ssk, k1, turn. S1, p to 1st before gap, p2tog, p1.) Repeat the section in brackets until there are 18 sts. Turn, s1, k17.

Pick up 15sts from the side of the heel flap. Place stitch marker. Knit 30 stitches. Place stitch marker. Pick up 15sts from the other side of the heel flap. 

Shaping the gusset: Knit to 3sts before stitch marker, work k2tog, k1, move stitch marker from left needle to right, knit 30st, move stitch marker, k1, ssk, knit to end of round. The next round is knit. Repeat these two rounds until there are 60sts on the needles again.

Knit until the sock reaches the crease at the base of the big toe. The start shaping the toe of the sock. Knit to 3sts before stitch marker, work ssk, k1, k1, ssk, knit to 3st before stitch marker, ssk, k1, k1, k2tog, knit to end of round. The next round is knit. Repeat these two rounds until there are 28 stitches left. Graft toe. Weave in ends.

The socks were finished on the 13th of August.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Python


My first steps, or perhaps slithers, have been taken back into coding. Apart from dabbling in a little HTML, I have written no code in years. I saw MIT had a free first year university course in computing and decided to look into it. The language used is Python, and so, I'm starting to learn Python.

One of the interesting things I have found is it only recognises 'True' and 'False' as Boolean values. The capitalisation is most important. This means I can write:

FALSE = True
TRUE = False

The syntax is correct. The static semantics is correct, as it the semantics. The only problem with it is that it's a daft thing for a programmer to do. It's the sort of thing that can land people in programming doo-doo.

I'm also not enamoured by white space being part of the syntax. It whiffs to much of FORTRAN77 which is not a free-format language. However, FORTRAN77 is not case-sensitive, so X is the same variable as x. Must test this out fully in Python!

----

Testing has been completed. X and x are not the same thing. Also, 'True' is not a reserved word. 

    True = False
    variable = True
    print (variable)
    print (True)

This results in:

    False
    False

This is a very strange language, and you really need to keep your eye on it!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Fresh Start Mondays


Mondays are brilliant. They are a fresh start, a chance to take a new direction, and great day to be alive!

Half of my morning routine has been done, and the rest will be completed after breakfast. I found the shoulder exercises too much at this point, so have dropped to 20 of the V lifts in the morning and evening. This is putting less pressure on my shoulders, but is still giving them a work out. I've walked half a mile, and now I'm tucking into breakfast. It's porridge (1/3 cup of gluten-free oats, 2/3 cups of water, and microwaved for 90s) topped with apples, cranberries and cinnamon. A batch of the fruit topping was cooked up at the end of last week and popped in the fridge. I scoop out what I need each morning. Once this lot has been eaten I'll make a mixed berries one.

This is all part of the scheme to declutter my body and make it healthier.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Full of Veggie Goodness!

Way back in the spring, my breathing was compromised. My GP prescribed a course of steroids, and it worked wonders. Not just for my breathing/coughing, but also my consumption of fruit and vegetables. The medication caused almost everything to taste of saccharine. It was not pleasant. The only things I could taste were fruit and vegetable, so I naturally ate more of them. This has been good for the family's health, and also for the shopping bills. Eating more fresh veggies has led to a reduction in our food bills. 

There has been one thing we have struggled with, and that's the size of our fridge. It's now too small to cope with the fresh produce. We had been considering a new fridge and have now taken the plunge. The fridge is being delivered on Wednesday. 

The old fridge was bought 18 years ago. It's time to say 'goodbye'. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sea Foam Shawl (part 3)


This shawl has a garter stitch border of 3 stitches, a central single stocking stitch, and these are separated by lines of yarn over holes. The shawl starts with stocking stitch panels. 

After the first ball of yarn has been knitted up, the stocking stitch pattern continues until the total number of stitches is a multiple of 36, plus an additional 7 stitch. The pattern then switches to a modified 'Old Shale' design. Old Shale is worked over 18 sts, and 4 rows. This modified Old Shale is worked over 18sts and 2 rows. 

The Shawl is finished with 6 rows of garter stitch, and ends with a stretchy lace cast off.

Company: Drops
Yarn: Kid-Silk
Composition: 75% mohair, 25% silk
Colour:  Sea foam (25)
Dyelot: 7619
Pattern: 
Needles: 5mm
Balls used: 2 balls

Cast on 11 sts. Knit two rows.

1. K3, yo, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, yo, k3.
2. K3, purl to last 3 sts, k3. (All even rows.)
3. K3, yo, k4, yo, k1, yo, k4, yo, k3.
5. K3, yo, k6, yo, k1, yo, k6, yo, k3.
7. K3, yo, k8, yo, k1, yo, k8, yo, k3.

Continue in this manner until there are a multiple of 36, plus 7 stitches on the needles. For my shawl, this was 223 stitches. Finish with a purl row.

1. K3, yo, [PM, k2tog 3 times, (yo, k1) x6, k2tog 3 times,] yo, k1, yo, [PM, k2tog 3 times, (yo, k1) x6, k2tog 3 times] yo, k3. Repeat the sections in square brackets as many times as necessary. 
2. K3, purl to last 3 sts, k3. As you come to each stitch marker move it from the left to right needle. (All even rows.)
3. K3, yo, k1, [k2tog 3 times, (yo, k1) x6, k2tog 3 times,] k1, yo, k1, yo, k1,[k2tog 3 times, (yo, k1) x6, k2tog 3 times] k1, yo, k3.
5. K3, yo, k2, [k2tog 3 times, (yo, k1) x6, k2tog 3 times,] k2, yo, k1, yo, k2,[k2tog 3 times, (yo, k1) x6, k2tog 3 times] k2, yo, k3. 
K3, yo, k3, [k2tog 3 times, (yo, k1) x6, k2tog 3 times,] k3, yo, k1, yo, k3,[k2tog 3 times, (yo, k1) x6, k2tog 3 times] k3, yo, k3. 

Strengthening Shoulders and Reducing Arm Jiggle

My shoulders have dislocated more times that I could possibly count. I want to build up my muscles to hold the joints in place properly. My arms are weak and jiggly; it would be great to increase their strength and decrease their jiggle. 

To this end, I have started following a youtube video for exactly these outcomes. Yesterday I was able to do 15 repeats of the first two exercises. Today I managed 20. Both were done using 0.5kg weights. The instructor was showing how to do this using 3kg weights! Perhaps she has a little more practise in these exercises than I have.

My intention is to do the first two exercises 20 times each until they become easier. Then I'll add in the next exercise, etc. There 12 exercises! The next stage will be to increase the weights.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Routine Morning Annoyance


My new expanded Morning Routine is creating mild levels of annoyance. I do the old routine, and think I'm done, and then realise I have more to do. When the tasks are done I feel good, and often want to complete an 'occasional task'. These are the ones that don't need to be done every day, or even every week. I look and think "Ah yes, this needs to be done." and I do it. When you get into a cleaning habit, you notice things at and earlier stage, and start tackling them before they become too bad.

Something I have been noticing is I don't want to go into the dining room to work on craft project, but instead gravitate to the sitting room or my bedroom. When I'm in the midst of a project I don't mind the dining room, but there is a little hurdle opening the door and walking inside. Methinks I need to spend more time in there, not less, and get that room decluttered and sorted!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Evening Routine


My Evening Routine has been a bit more 'hit and miss' than the Morning one. I suspect this is because I am a morning person, and am at my best at the start rather than the end of the day.

These are the things I want to have done before I go to bed. It doesn't matter to me who does them, except for the sitting in bed crafting whilst listening to a story. That one is mine, and I'm not giving it up! Ideally, I would like the dishes put away before bed, but it's not high on my priorities just now.
  • wash dishes
  • wipe kitchen (cooker front, hob, appliances)
  • tidy sofa
  • straighten coffee table
  • pick up clutter from the kitchen and sitting room
  • take out rubbish from kitchen and sitting room
  • put away laundry
  • sit in bed listening to an audio book whilst crafting
In the previous version of the Evening Routine, I had 'put dirty clothes in the washing basket'. This is now so ingrained I do it automatically. Strangely enough, I also automatically make my bed in the morning, but I have chosen to leave that on the list. It gives me 'an easy win' first thing. 

Another task no longer on my Evening Routine is 'lay out clothes for the morning'. This was really useful when I was working outside of the house. Having my clothes ready and waiting for me made the morning smoother. It's not something I need now. And with a fully stocked wardrobe, neatly laid out, it's easy to select appropriate clothing in the morning. When I start doing things outside of the home first thing, I'll go back to laying out my clothes in the evening.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Expanded Morning Routine


The Morning Routine I set up back in March has been going really well. Since then I've added 'wipe and swish the loo'. That particular item isn't yet truly routine. My suspicion is I need to do this the first time I use the loo. This is often just after I have woken up. It doesn't feel so bad doing it at that stage of the day. The other items I do pretty much without thinking.

Here's the new routine I'm trying out. Some of the tasks on the previous list have been teased apart a little and made more explicit, and I have added 'walk' as an item. This is to remind myself it is important to get up and moving.
  • wipe bathroom sink
  • wipe bathroom mirror
  • wipe upstairs loo
  • make beds
  • straighten bedside table
  • pick up clothes
  • put away dishes
  • wash breakfast dishes
  • wipe work tops
  • sweep kitchen floor
  • wipe downstairs loo
  • wash a load of laundry
  • walk 
  • plan day


Week 30: Jewellery and Accessories

Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #30: Jewellery & Accessories
Tuesday: Declutter jewellery box
Wednesday: Declutter and organize earrings, necklaces and rings
Thursday: Declutter and organize belts and ties
Friday: Declutter and organize scarves and tights
Saturday: Declutter hair accessories
Sunday: Declutter glasses and sunglasses

We've been through our jewellery, and there's a number of pieces which are broken. The Elder Offspring is a has a degree in Jewellery making, and she has laid claim to the broken bits. She can either re-use them, or melt the precious metals for use in new items of jewellery.

We don't have much in the way of belts and ties. A quick glance at them was enough to say, 'Yup, all done!' My scarves and tights were decluttered a while back when I was doing the wardrobe and chest of drawers. I think I need to look at my tights again and see if I need to add 'tights' to the shopping list.

Our hair care accessories are minimal, and already decluttered. One pair of glasses has been marked for exit. I have had a pair of prescription sunglasses, but the frames broke. I'm giving myself two weeks to get new frames for them, or the lens and broken frames get put in the bin.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Reflections of Amazon Prime Videos

I have been singularly unimpressed by the Amazon Prime Video sections. The one non-dystopian sci-fi programme I watched was terrible. It was 'Benny Hill in space'. Benny Hill was sketch show comedian in the 70s and 80s. His material was very much of its time, full of stereotypes and institutional sexism. The jokes in the sci-fi programme were utterly cringe worthy and so sexist. The plot was non-existent. 

A couple of other programmes I stopped watching after about 5 minutes because of the sex scenes, swearing and drug taking. I've come to the conclusion I am most definitely not the target audience.

On a positive note, I was able to watch "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood". It had been recommended to me. It had been on my wishlist. It was an okay film, and I was very happy not to have paid for it. It fell into the category of 'watch it once, and then give the DVD to a charity shop'. 

At the moment, I am against continuing with Prime after the free month. I don't order enough items for the free shipping to be much of a draw. KindleUnlimited seems to be far more to my tastes. 

----

Hold on a moment! I have just found "Lucifer"!  I love the programme.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Amazon Prime

On the 11th of July I signed up for Amazon Prime. It was Prime Day, and a steam cleaner I had been thinking about buying for a while was on special offer. (The Vax steam cleaner has been great. We have used it on laminate flooring, vinyl flooring and carpets. All have come up beautifully.)

Part of the Prime deal (free for the first month) is a slew of films, 'television' programmes, music and Kindle books, as well as free shipping on a huge number of different items. I'm just about to watch a film that's been on my wishlist for a little while. This is at no additional cost to me. Likewise, I have just finished the first Harry Potter on Kindle.

At the end of the month I will decide whether I wish to keep the Prime service going (about £8) per month, or not. If I'm reading one book per month, and watching one film, then it is cheaper to do it via Prime than by buying the Kindle book/film directly. However, the question will be whether I can get the titles I want.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Gardening Continues


The brick terrace at the rear of house is starting to look rather subdued in places. The area nearest the house was the least weed infested and that is where we started. At the rate we are going, a third of the terrace will be cleared by the end of the weekend. Admittedly it's the easy third, but a third is a third, and it's not to be sneezed at. 

One lovely discovery is that the rhubarb plant has survived. I'm taking it as a symbol for the rest of the garden. There is hope. With a bit of nurture and care. things will start growing.

In other news, the Sea Foam Shawl is continuing. It's the first time in ages I have worked with mohair and I had forgotten how much it can shed!  Perhaps a black dress was not the best clothing to wear whilst knitting.  Although, I stop knitting from time to time just to feel the beautiful fabric I am creating. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sea Foam Shawl


The shawl will start out in stocking stitch. When the first ball of yarn has been finished I'll switch over to a variation on 'Old Shale'.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Gardening


My attention for the last 6 months has been focused on decluttering the contents of the house. Things have slipped in the garden. The place is a bit of a jungle. There's weeds everywhere!

I'm going to employ the strategies that have worked inside the house. The primary one is working in specified chunks of time. Fifteen minutes worked well in the house, but in the garden, it needs to be ten minutes. There's so much low level work my knees and back can't handle the bending for more than ten minutes at a time.

The garden consists of a brick terrace with various planters and pots. I don't think there's anything in the garden I wish to keep, apart from the pots and planters. The weeds, plants, contents of the shed, mirror and broken bench can all go. The plan is to start at the dining room window and work my way down the garden. At the weekend, I'll empty out a couple planters and pots, and ask the Beloved to take the garden waste to the amenities site. The load will be topped off with unwanted items from the garden shed. 

Bit by bit it will get done.  And when it has been done I'll start planning for ways to improve it. It would be good to have a garden to grow things, rather than just a place to dry washing.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sea Foam Shawl in Drops Kid-Silk


The socks for Elder and Younger Offspring have been completed and handed over. It's time for a project for me now. My choice is a shawl in Drops Kid-Silk. It's a variegated yarn that takes about 50 metres to go from the darkest teal to the lightest. It has to be said the darkest teal isn't actually terribly dark, but it's the darkest colour in the ball.

Normally, the thickness of the yarn informs the size of needles used. However, with mohair it is common to ignore this. Mohair has a bloom, an aura, and it needs space to show.

Company: Drops
Yarn: Kid-Silk
Composition: 75% mohair, 25% silk
Colour:  Sea foam (25)
Dyelot: 7619
Pattern: 
Needles: 5mm
Balls used: (expecting to use 2 balls)

Cast on 11 sts. Knit two rows.

1. K3, yo, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, yo, k3.
2. K3, purl to last 3 sts, k3. (All even rows.)
3. K3, yo, k4, yo, k1, yo, k4, yo, k3.
5. K3, yo, k6, yo, k1, yo, k6, yo, k3.
7. K3, yo, k8, yo, k1, yo, k8, yo, k3.

Continue in this manner until there are a multiple of 36, plus 7 stitches on the needles. For my shawl, this was 223 stitches. Finish with a purl row.

1. K3, yo, (PM, k3, (yo, k1) x6, k3,) yo, k1, yo, (PM, k3, (yo, k1) x6, k3,) yo, k3
2. K3, purl to last 3 sts, k3. (All even rows.)