Archive for the ‘crafting’ Category

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Writing lists and getting things done!

June 11, 2017

It’s amazing what writing a check list does for how much I actually achieve in a day. If I don’t write a list, a few things get done. If I do write a list, I get oh so much more done. It’s like that list has sorted out my head and my memory and makes me do all the jobs I have to do around the house, with the kids and, equally importantly, with my writing. I wrote a long list yesterday and laid out times next to the tasks and do you know what? I managed to achieve it all. Today I am steadily making my way through a new list and I’m doing stuff…such as this blog and I wrote more than 1000 words today, plus did a bit of yoga and cut the grass in the front garden. So, it’s nearly 5pm and I’m feeling mightily chuffed with myself for actually achieving a number of things today instead of sprawling out in from the telly drinking copious amounts of tea!

Yesterday, my list included ironing (regular readers will know how much I hate ironing, but I stuck it out and completed it), walking the dogs (which I do daily anyway) and taking the kids to the school Gala Day. Regarding the Gala Day, it was really good. A lot of time and effort had been put in by the PTA and it was a huge success. The theme was on cowboys and cowgirls so there were a lot of kids and adults dressed up. A local line dancing club did a demo for the crowd. The club consisted of older men and women, dressed up in cowboy-ish clothes line dancing. There was also some ‘gunslingers’ having a ‘fight’ which also consisted of older men and women dressed in cowboy-ish clothes pretending to shoot each other. There were loads of stalls (I got a lovely Toffee the Heilan Coo brooch from my friend Sharon’s…aka Sew Silly Lily…stall

and lovely honey bread biscuits from my friend Zuzka’s…aka Honeybread Cottage…stall. I have such talented friends!).

There were bouncy castles and a dog competition and throw sponges at the teachers and a saloon and tonnes of things for everyone to do. I helped out at the cactus hoopla stall and bash the rat game….both of which were a big hit with parents and kids (see the simple things really are the best). I also had a good old chat to lots of other mums I hadn’t seen in a while. It was a great afternoon (had to drag the boy away from it cos he wanted to stay longer) and well done to the organisers for creating it.

What else have I been doing? Well my neighbours must be thinking I’m doing an online business because quite a number of parcels arrived over the last few days. Do not worry, dear friends, I am not doing an online business merely buying up presents for Father’s Day and some birthdays that are coming up in July and September. I like to be organised because if I’m not it’s always a mad panic to buy stuff in time. My memory is not good, it never was, but has been much worse over this last year, so if I buy up cards and presents now at least I have them in for the correct dates of the aforementioned birthdays and Father’s Day. Okay, so after promising myself I would stop buying books, I did indulge in a little book buying spree for myself and the kids too. What can I say? I am a book addict! It’s my only vice (she says with an innocent look on her face!).

Regarding books, following last week’s confession of being totally gripped by The Dog Whisperer’s programme I went out and ordered his book (Cesar’s Way by Cesar Milan) from Amazon. I started reading it a couple of days ago and it’s fab. I am also reading Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves and the Will to Swim by Alexandra Heminsley about her bid to do wild water swimming, something I’ve always wanted to (okay so I have swam in a loch and at the seaside when I was younger and more stupid cos I didn’t have a wetsuit, but I want to go out deeper and really swim in the wild). Anyway, am enjoying reading about her trials and tribulations as she overcomes her terror of swimming in the sea.

Right, I need to go. I have some hungry weans hovering whining about being hungry and ‘when’s dinner ready?’. Apparently they are both about to fade away through lack of food. The chilli is on, but it’s not yet ready. The house smells amazing thanks to the spices and it’s sending the kids crazy…a bit like the Bisto kids of the adverts of old! Til next time.

Dawn xx

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A better week…so far (not counting my chickens or anything!)

June 2, 2016

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Hello, how’s things? Hope you’re all well. This week has been better thank goodness with no piggy deaths, no suspected broken bones and only one trip to the hospital (so far…not counting my chickens as it’s only Thursday) for hubby. Plus the weather’s been great, which is always a good thing.

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The only  downside to this week is the dog’s love of pooing and peeing in places she shouldn’t. This week she has poohed in a pile of washing that was waiting to be washed on the floor of the kitchen next to the washing machine. Last week she also poohed on a plastic folder hubby had foolishly left on the floor. She has also peed in the girl’s bed and last night did it in ours. We were NOT amused. On the plus side she is now barking to get out in the garden when she needs (although didn’t last night – I didn’t think she needed cos she had been out in the garden only HALF AN HOUR before!). Ah the joys of being a doggy mummy!

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So what else has been happening this week? We were off on Monday for the Bank Holiday, but didn’t do much. I just wanted a wee quiet day and it was great. Just what the doctor ordered. I’ve not been sleeping that well recently…keep waking up at 3am and 5am. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s summer and light or if something else is waking me. On Tuesday, it was the girl (for some reason she was up at 5am and bright and breezy – so not like her) and this morning it was two magpies sitting on our windowsill making huffing noises that sounded as if the dog had somehow gotten out of her crate and was upstairs in our room. I’ve invested in a sleeping mask to see if that helps – hubby says it’s like sleeping with Top Cat! Of course I couldn’t wear it last night because it got lost in the rush to pull all our bedclothes off our bed to prevent the dog pee reaching the mattress (it almost got there so I have a tonne of washing today)! I’ll have a good search of my bedroom tonight for it!

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I’ve actually been writing again. I’ve given myself a target of writing 500 words a day and it’s been working.  500 words isn’t a lot and I’ve been going over that every time. I wrote a short story for a competition (I never get placed in competitions so am wondering why I bother, but I enjoyed writing it and I like my story so it’s a win win already for me) and am working on a book for adults. I had started a young adult’s book last year, but kept stalling so decided to shelve it for this other one. Am loving writing the other one. I get totally lost in the process and daydream about the storyline during (rare) moments of quiet in my life. (happy sigh).

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Am back knitting too. Currently working on a lap blanket. I’m emulating Jane Brocket’s blanket where you knit strips of different colours and then sew them altogether. I like making blankets. You don’t have to concentrate too hard on it and it’s relaxing.

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Am doing yet another attempt to lose a bit of weight. I’ve put on a couple of stones over the last few years and I’d like to get some of it off and be a bit fitter generally. I’m taking part in a work related walking challenge and I’m cutting out rubbish which is hard cos I’m a comfort eater. Plus I enjoy cakes and wine. Sigh. Wish me luck!! I’m hoping to lose some weight along with a friend. We talked about it yesterday so am hoping he does it with me. We can support each other.

Right on that note, I’m away to do the housework and get the first of the washings out on the line (in the sunshine!!). Til next time,

 

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Worrying about feet and why Jenny Lawson’s books are so good

November 28, 2015

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What is it with older men on trains? They always seem to fall asleep. I travelled home by train all week this week and on Tuesday and Wednesday, I sat across from older men. Both times they’ve been fast asleep. Obviously my conversation is not as scintillating as I thought! Not that I’m bothered. I usually spend train journeys with my nose in a book or talking to friends who happened to have been getting the train too. Anyway, I digress. Now I had the dilemma – do I wake them in case they go past their stop or leave them where they are? I opted for the latter. The reasons for this are: 1) usually people wake up before their stop anyway; 2) it was early enough that they could have gotten another train if they overshot their stop, it wasn’t like it was the last train; 3) I was being a bit lazy…I was so tired I couldn’t be bothered talking to anyone and waking them up would have meant I’d have to talk to them. I know – so antisocial!!

This is not what our trains look like, but as I like steam trains, I decided to put it in.

This is not what our trains look like, but as I like steam trains, I decided to put it in.

 

Once again this blog is late. I usually write and publish it on a Thursday or Friday (today is Saturday), but I’ve been so busy that I couldn’t do it. I simply did not have the energy to think of anything even remotely interesting to write. So I left it today. So where have I been? On Thursday, I went out with mum. She bought me loads of lovely things for my birthday and we had a cream tea in Marks & Spencer’s café in Braehead. I love scones with clotted cream and jam, so it was fab. Friday I met up with friends in the morning and we had a visitor in the afternoon. This morning I took my boy to his swimming lesson and the girl to her singing lesson.

This afternoon I flaked out on my bed and watched White Christmas on the telly. I love that film.

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The only thing that I ever worry about regarding this lovely old film is the fact that the little girls are up on point. Surely they are far too young to be on their blocks?? Everything I see them I have this faint feeling that they probably grew up to be ladies with very damaged feet. I mean look at this…

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I also think the same about the little girls from the Lullaby League in The Wizard of Oz.

Maybe I should just enjoy both films and stop worrying about the feet of the cast.

Right, so how’s your world been this week? Just letting you know I am not going to mention all the bad stuff that’s been happening in the world lately. I think there’s been enough of that on telly, so am just concentrating on what makes me happy.

  1. Reading – no surprise there! Have just finished Jenny Lawson’s (aka The Bloggess) current book Furiously Happy. It’s very funny and a little sad in places as she talks about the mental health problems she experiences. Would recommend it. Her first book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was excellent. It’s about her crazy upbringing. Of the two, I preferred it, but it doesn’t have the excellent cover of Furiously Happy. Look…

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The raccoon is a real stuffed raccoon called Rory. Jenny is a collector of weird and wonderful taxidermy. I love Rory. I want one. She very kindly put an image of Rory on her website for her fans to print Rory and taken him with us wherever we go, but my printer would only ever print his left hand. Sigh. I had plans to take pictures of him annoying colleagues at work, in George Square and on the train. Now I will never have the pleasure. I think the expression on his face is hilarious. I can never feel down looking at him. Added to that is the fact the publishers have very helpfully put glittery bits on the cover and you have one perfect book cover!

2) Crafting – I haven’t felt like doing much knitting or sewing this year. Think I’ve simply been too tired. However, I am going to make my kids something for Christmas. I do this every year. Normally I make stuff for other members of the family too, but I just couldn’t face it. Anyhoo, I will show you my makes once they are done.

3) Cooking and baking – again I’ve not enjoyed doing any kind of cooking this year. It’s become a major chore. I think I probably just need a wee break. Roll on Christmas. Hopefully I’ll get my cooking mojo back then.

4) Watching old movies on the telly – I watched the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street (a young Natalie Wood played Susan) on Wednesday and White Christmas today. So big tick for that one!

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5) Looking on Pinterest.  Here’s my pages if any of you are interested in looking at all the fab stuff I like. I love Pinterest. My hubby doesn’t get it. I can’t describe why I like it so much. It’s like compiling your own online scrapbook of some of the most fantastic images and ideas ever!

6) Meeting up with friends…you know who you all are! Thanks for the birthday wishes, cards and pressies by the way. My birthday isn’t til next week, but have already been given some lovely things.

7) Reading some more – am now in that weird place where I have to decide what I am reading next. I kind of like this time because the possibilities of what will happen next is endless…will it be a murder mystery, a biography, non fiction, comedy, a classic?? Hmmmm. The toss up is currently between a Dorothy L Sayers novel or something by Jon Kabat-Zinn (probably Full Catastrophe Living – was talking to a friend about this, she’s into Mindful Meditation too. I haven’t read it yet, but she swears by it, she thinks it’s amazing).

8) Hiding from the kids so I can get some well earned peace and quiet!

Right, in Glasgow speak…ahm aff! Til next time!

Dawn xxx

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Dreaming of travelling

June 20, 2015

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Just dreaming of a calming holiday just now. Of course, we can’t actually go anywhere at the moment because of hubby’s illness, but I can still dream. So the theme of today’s images is going to be calm, relaxation and travelling the world.

So how are you all? Hope you’ve  had a good week. I went back to work this week and I’d forgotten how tiring it can be. Here was me  thinking it’ll be quiet what with it getting closer to the summer holidays, but no such luck. I’ve spent all week going to bed early I’ve been that tired! But my body needs the rest, so I just go with it.

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Just finished Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit which is inspiring tales of people who have gone out and pursued a quest of some sort, whether that’s travelling to every country in the world (as Chris did) or knitting 500 hats for charity. I read his Art of Non-Conformity book recently and I really enjoy how he writes. It’s a light easy-to-read style that makes you feel he’s talking to just you and that you and he are now friends. I also like his books because of the stories he tells of his own travels and the experiences of other people. It’s really, really interesting, often amusing and very refreshing to see that people are bucking the norm and just following their hearts. I kind of yearn to do something myself, go on my own quest, but I don’t yet know what that will be.

I haven’t yet finished Gormenghast, but I’ll get back to it soon.

I’m trying to think of something exciting to tell you that I’ve done this week, but as usual my life has been relatively quiet. We had to attend two appointments at two different hospitals on Wednesday for hubby. He’s doing well, which is a relief. He’s going to start chemo in about a month’s time. Things are looking good finally. Long may that last! We were both exhausted afterwards…it was a very long day. I’m afraid my plans to have a healthy diet went to pot on Wednesday because we were out of the house for so long, but we’re getting back into it.

Now I’m starting to feel a bit normal after the difficulties of the last couple of months, I’ve been thinking of getting back into writing. I had started writing another novel for children, so am planning to go back to that soon…probably tomorrow. I will get a plan started (I work when I have a plan) and then just write. I’ve got a couple of ideas mulling around my head for two other stories, so will get those ideas down too. My plan is to have my children’s novel finished by Christmas.

I’ve also started knitting again. I’m thinking of starting my Christmas knits now so that it’s not a mad rush in December. Will start browsing the web for ideas for gifts, although I have quite a few lovely knitting books that will also give me ideas.

My other plan is to get to grips with my camera. I got a lovely camera a few months ago and I’ve done nothing but take pics on auto. Maybe that’s my quest – something to do with photography? Who knows!

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Anyway, am away to start my planning for writing, knitting and general life. I’m such a list maker! I love it!

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

PS before I go just one thing to say about Game of Thrones (apart from this series being superb!) : Jon Snow….NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

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The pain of no internet access, thermal cooking and the bread maker goes kaput

April 24, 2015

It’s amazing how we all rely so heavily on the internet. Our router went kaput earlier this week and it’s been uncomfortable not having easy access to the worldwide web. The kids are complaining and I’ve discovered just how often I go on to look up something because I keep finding myself thinking ‘Oh I must Google that’ then doing a mental slap when I remember I can’t. Sigh. The new router came today. It’s such a relief. I love the internet, it’s so full of interesting information.

Anyway, how are you? Hope you are hale and hearty. This week has been great because the weather has been amazing: sunshine and warmth all week. It’s gotten colder today and we’re expecting bad weather over the weekend, but that’s okay…we had a few days of fabulousness and it was great.

Been busy making things recently. Firstly, I completed my thermal cooker/cooking bag. Basically, it acts a bit like a flask and a slow cooker in that you put already heated food in, it keeps it hot and the food continues to cook for hours. I’ve made a chilli and some soup in it and it’s great. I only need to heat the food for ten minutes (as opposed to half an hour or, in the case of the chilli, 45 minutes) and I can leave it all day safe in the knowledge there is absolutely no way it can cause a fire or burn the food. If you’re keen to make one for yourself, you can get it from this lady – Elaine Collier of Mortgage Free in Three. I reckon I made mine for about a tenner, you can buy something similar for about £45.

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Talking of food, my poor old bread maker breathed its last yesterday. I was making bread, the dough was a bit too enthusiastic and rose and spilled over the edge of the metal dough basket. It went all over the element and then started burning. I tried to clean it out, but there was too much burnt dough and blackening inside, and I didn’t feel safe using it, so into the bin it went. I like home-made bread, so will possibly be looking into getting another one.

Secondly, I knitted up a wee hedgehog for my friend’s daughter. It’s an Alan Dart pattern. She’s a hedgehog lover and she had a birthday recently, so I thought it would be the perfect gift. I bought her other things too, including this lovely hedgehog mug. She was really happy with it.

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Still reading Gormenghast (well the first book Titus Groan) and I must say it has really grown (or ‘groan’ – sorry, terrible pun) on me. I love Mervyn Peake’s way of writing, it’s lovely and he describes scenes and paints characters beautifully. I think I could learn a lot writing-wise from these books.

Watched a really interesting and enjoyable film recently. Only Loves Left Alive stars Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as two vampires living in the modern age. It’s quite a slow film, but there’s something really beautiful and engaging about the storyline, about the characters. I loved it and the soundtrack was excellent. There’s a fair bit of humour in it too and it’s…well…really calming. It makes a change to watch a movie that’s not all action, CGI and rock soundtracks. Thumbs up from me.

Can’t go on any further without mentioning Game of Thrones. I am so happy it’s back. I just love it and this series is proving to be good already despite the first two episodes setting it up. But that’s what always happens with GoT…the storylines don’t really hot up until at least chapter three. However, I’m already stressing about which characters will die in this series. Please don’t make it Tyrion! Still haven’t read the books…my reason is this: I am worried that if I get into them I will have to keep reading them til the end and then I’ll know what happens and that will spoil the tv series for me. Sad, but true.

Right, am away to do something else…okay, I’m off to explore the internet. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

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Stripes and Burns

January 24, 2015
A couple of wee snowy pics from earlier in the week...

A couple of wee snowy pics from earlier in the week…

Had a really busy week this week. Firstly, I attended our local school’s Burns event…the kids (including my two) sang Burns songs or those written in Old Scots (loved the rendition of The Welly Boot Song…reminded me of my early childhood, we used to sing it at school on rainy days when everyone wore wellies), poems (again Burns or other poets’ work, well done P7 for their Address to a Haggis) and Scottish country dancing. Was a lovely event and we even got haggis, neeps and tatties at the interval (washed down with Irn Bru of course)…delicious! I love haggis. I don’t care what it’s made of, it’s sublime! Our school started the Burns event last year and invites parents, grandparents and carers. It’s a good way of getting the community together and I find it’s a chance to not only see my weans perform, but to catch up on folk I haven’t seen for ages. More importantly (because when I was growing up we celebrated everyone else’s culture except our own – my first Burns supper was in sixth year at high school!) I like the fact that they are celebrating the Bard and being Scottish…it’s important.

...These were taken about 3.30pm in the afternoon. Look how dark it looks.

…These were taken about 3.30pm in the afternoon. Look how dark it looks.

Also, apart from seeing friends, piano lessons and the kids’ stuff, I’ve been writing up the knitting patterns for our new project at Yarntastic (the knitting group we started at the school). I give to you little bags (for use for tablets or just to put your stuff in). Last time, we concentrated on casting on, casting off and garter (or knit) stitch. Now we are moving on to purl stitch and shaping. So the girls who returned again and are now fluent in garter stitch can move on. The newbies, including I was pleased to see, a young gentleman, can knit the same bags in garter stitch. Feels good to be passing on a skill such as knitting. I think it’s really important particularly when, having talked to the kids, I found out that if they could knit before it was their granny and not their mum that taught them. It seems that knitting missed out on a whole generation (mine). I was lucky, my mum knitted, my grannies knitted, it was normal in our family. It was my mum who taught me to knit and I took it from there. I don’t think I’ll ever be as lovely a knitter as my mum, but I try my best.

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Just finished reading Molly Keane’s Time after Time. Loved it. She’s such a vivid, perceptive writer. It is a lovely, humorous book about an elderly brother and three sisters whose staid lives are completely thrown into chaos by the arrival of their mischievous and equally decrepit cousin Leda. Really enjoyed it. Now I can’t decide whether or not to read another of hers or something else…does Terry Prachett call? Hmmm…maybe. Or what about another Claire and Jamie story courtesy of Diana Gabaldon? Decisions, decisions. Still reading Nora’s book…it’s one of those books you can pick up and put down. Still enjoying it. I think Terry wins out just now. Now…which one???

Right, I need to be off. Til next time.

Dawn xx

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Picking up the needles, picking up the pen

January 10, 2015

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Hello again! How’s things? Did you have a nice time over the festive period? I hope you did. We did. Was great waking up naturally and pottering about the house for two weeks. Now we’re back to normal and are very quickly back into the swing of things.

This week has been a bit of a mixed bag. Of course we are all feeling horrified by what’s been going on in France and my heart goes out for the friends and the families of the people who died and were injured. Last night and the night before were really stormy…it was so bad in the wee small hours on Thursday night, it woke both myself and hubby up. It sounded like the wind was trying to rip the roof off our house. Luckily there was no damage to the house. Poor folk up north though…especially in the islands, for they got it far worse.

On the positive side, I’ve been catching up with friends and planning a new short knitting course with two of them. We taught knitting and crochet to P6 and P7 kids in our local primary before Christmas and we all enjoyed it so much that we are doing it again. The girls who took part last time – and unfortunately we couldn’t persuade any of the boys to take part – produced some lovely mini scarves as gifts for grans and mums. This next session we’re got plans for a new project…I will reveal that once we’ve told the participants of this one.

Okay, time for a quick look at some of the gifts I made my hubby and kids this Christmas…

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The Minions – one each for the kids

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Monkey for hubby (it’s an in joke)

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Rabbits for the girl and boy respectively.

 

Christmas time was also great for giving me more time to read. I got through the three Hunger Games books in the run up to Christmas. I read Molly Keane’s Devoted Ladies and am now on Queen Lucia by E F Benson. I watched the BBC version of Mapp and Lucia and loved it. Talking of BBC telly and I’m pleased to see Father Brown is back on the box. I really enjoy it. It’s gentle murder mystery…just what I like. I’m not into really dark, scary murder mysteries. They give me nightmares…it’s that mad imagination of mine.

Regarding writing. I’ve been lazy on that front lately. I intend to get into it again this week. I’ve written up a schedule (if I write it down that I’m going to do it, I am more likely to do it), I’m going to go over what’s been written so far and I plan to finish it by the end of May. There I’ve said it, now I just have to do it!

Right, am off to do some reading. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and see you soon.

Dawn xxx

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