Archive for category Life in General

Tight Lipped Tuesday #31

 

Today I will be having my hair cut.

 

 

Which will be nice.

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Let Agreed

 

Remember Mr. Tialys’s contribution to the Scraphappy Post on Wednesday morning?

Put on the market Wednesday afternoon

There was a viewing on Thursday morning

Let agreed by Thursday afternoon.

That’s the U.K. housing market for you.

 

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Scraphappy Day April

Making things from scraps again this month and, although Mr. Tialys features again – 🙄 – I’m determined not to let him hog the whole post this time and, anyway, I think his contribution has been entered in a previous Scraphappy by somebody else.

Anyway, without further ado, plant pots were some of the many things we left behind in France which may or may not eventually arrive here but probably not.  Mr. T. ordered in some fibre pots which will eventually break down and, although he did give in and buy a pack of plastic ones the other day, the seeds needed small homes.  We’ve saved up the cardboard inner tubes from the loo rolls and Mr. T. manipulates each one into two small seed pots.  At first he was snipping around the diameter of the bottom of each half and folding them in to make a base but found this made quite a shallow pot so now he leaves the bases open and puts them in a tray with a layer of compost in it so that the roots grow into that which then makes it easier to pick the whole plant up and transplant it.  Apparently.

Here are the nasturtiums in their little loo roll homes.

So, enough of Mr. T.’s projects, I also have a contribution this month.  If you remember, I made a wigwam shaped peg bag a little while back and thought I’d make another.

‘But that doesn’t look like much like a scrap project’ I hear you say and you would be right.

I did, however, have scrap left from making the peg bag and this is what I made with it.

Which, I believe, is an excellent excuse for couple of doggie photos.

Kerpow bandana modelled by Stan.

Going grey now – he’ll be 11 in June – but still my handsome boy.

LAST MINUTE EDIT:

Just before ‘going to  press’ Mr Tialys had to have the last word 🙄

Remember all that wood and other old toot that he got off of the bank in the garden?

He just turned it into this

The roof protection is made from a bit of old butyl pond liner also found on the bank.

Then he climbed up the willow tree to position it.

Ready for the blue tits to find if they haven’t found accommodation already.

So, he trumped me again.

Show-off.

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.

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A Saturday Evening Treat And A Project Fail

Yesterday evening there was a beautiful rainbow forming a perfect arch over our garage and the end of the garden. Sometimes they don’t last long so I took a photo on my phone rather than go and search for the ‘proper’ camera.  I couldn’t fit the whole arch in so this is just the first half.

It cheered me up – I was a bit fed up as my recent jelly roll rug project didn’t go to plan.

It was all going so well……

…..and then it all started to go horribly wrong.

Despite taking it over to the ironing board fairly regularly and making sure it was all laying flat, the dreaded waviness had taken over – I think caused by joining the last few rounds too tightly.

I undid the last couple of ‘go rounds’ twice, painstakingly unpicking all those zigzag stitches, and tried to re-do them but I still couldn’t get it to lay flat even after steaming the hell out of it and laying it under a weighted flat board.

So, I decided that life is too short and I could use a smaller rug anyway so I just undid the strips until I reached a point where the rug would lay flat, or flattish.

(Ooh! Bright! This is on my bathroom floor.)

It fits quite well under the little vintage dressing table in the, as yet undecorated, spare bedroom.  (She says to explain the marks on the wall but it is true – we haven’t done much of anything inside the house as yet.)

So all was not lost .

I do have two more jelly rolls in my stash but, although I enjoyed making this (until the last bit) and it’s a new and different project under my belt, I’m not sure I’ll be going there again and, anyway, I had a job even finding a place for this little rug so I don’t need any more.

Anyway, the rainbow was a treat – much deeper in colour than I could capture on my phone – and here’s the other side of it slicing through our old oak tree and dipping down into the field beyond

Have you compromised on a project just to get it done with or are you a determined perfectionist?

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An Unexpected Easter

This time last year we were still in France and had got as far as house hunting online for our move back to England.  For various reasons, some related to Mr. Tialys’s work commitments which have only became apparent since, it appears we made the move at the right time.

So, Easter in England for the first time in sixteen years was a lovely warm and sunny surprise and  I was sufficiently moved to leave my sewing room and go outside to help the gardener (aka Mr. Tialys) with some outside renovations.

You might remember me telling you that the previous owners, in a bid to outwit the ground elder, had buried untold quantities of black plastic – some ‘proper’ stuff, some pond liner and some old plastic compost sacks!! – all pinned down with hundreds of plastic pegs.  For the most part, this was all covered with gravel and sometimes pieces of wood.  In some places although, to be fair, mostly those places not planted up decoratively, there are old house bricks, spare ceramic tiles and paving slabs.

This, for instance, is part of the bank above the fish pond.

Mr. T. is on a mission to remove most of the plastic and gravel and says he’d rather deal with the weeds than see the earth being choked with the plastic, some of which is breaking up into the soil.   Here he is revealing the soil on the bank.  Ground elder roots – and there are plenty – are being drowned or burnt.

Just the start of the eventually huge pile of plastic and the wooden planks, etc. that were laid haphazardly on top, for some reason best known to the previous occupants.

Even this old sawhorse had been pressed into service, folded flat and laid on top of the bank – now rescued and ready to be used for its original purpose.

Perhaps they didn’t like going to the tip/dump.

Stan and Flo were helping by staring plaintively until one of us would relent and throw the frisbee for them.

(for Sandra – spot the old rusty plough we brought back from France with us)

As I was in the garden I was able to nag advise on where to place the gargoyles which had been languishing and looking grumpy up by the garage since we arrived

Now this one already looks as if he’s been atop that wall for years.

This one has swapped the side of a swimming pool in S.W. France for a fish pond in S.W. England and, personally, I think he looks happier in a gargoylish sort of way, unlike Mr. T. who nearly did himself a damage by carrying it there from where the removal men had dumped him up the other end of the garden.

This area to the side of the driveway gates  was also covered in plastic and gravel and is now cleared and ready to be planted up maybe with rose bushes.

The greenhouse is very much not my domain – I am only invited in at H.M. the Gardener’s pleasure to ooh and aah at the various things in pots that he’s sewn from seed.

Coriander

Nasturtium

I like nasturtiums.  They remind me of a time long, long ago (or the Stone Age as one of my daughters calls it) at primary school when they used to give (sell?) us a  little a packet of candytuft or nasturtium seeds to take home and plant in a pot and take it back to school at a set date where, if you had been successful, you would get a pretty coloured certificate.  I never got one.  We lived in a first floor flat in London and neither of my parents were gardeners of any description.

Just a little memory I thought I’d share with you there for no good reason.

Outside again – there’s a pretty flowering currant.

We’re not sure what fruit tree this is – any ideas?

So, today has clouded over a little.  Maybe I’ll get my bathroom shelves put up but I’m not counting on it.

I might get the drill out, wave it about inexpertly and ask where the rawlplugs are – something that has worked a treat in the past 😉

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Scraphappy March -A Garden Edition

After last month’s exciting dog feeder in a kitchen drawer, I’ve yet again got to hand over to Mr. Tialys for the March edition of Scraphappy where new things are made from scraps.

Now that he has a more manageable garden to  oversee, he’s rarely out of it when he’s not in endless Zoom meetings for work.  He’s always loved a good compost bin and, despite the fact we now have a fraction of the garden waste we had at the French house, he apparently needs a triple one to go alongside the plastic ones left behind by the previous owners.

Is it possible to have a compost bin stash?

Anyway, you might remember that the previous gardener had spread black plastic mulch pretty much all over the place and covered it with gravel to ward off  the dreaded ground elder and, along with some strange garden ‘ornaments’, scattered quite a lot of random pieces of wood about the place too.

All this was grist to the compost bin building mill.  Apart from the garden ornaments that is.

Remember this one?

Well, shortly afterwards I stumbled across his evil twin and, a few weeks after that, as if they were breeding during the night in some sort of B movie horror, a third one.

*shudder*

Hopefully that will be the last of them.

So, as well as the odd wooden pallet….

and other planks in various stages of dilapidation, all used for cross pieces,……..

there was what looked like the makings of a wooden pergola stacked behind the garage.

With unseemly haste, and without consultation, these were mercilessly sawn into the requisite sizes to make the main supports for the new bins.

We don’t need a wooden pergola – apparently 🙄

Then the leftover netting from making the garden dog proof (hopefully!) formed the back and sides with some of the ubiquitous black plastic stapled over that to create a large bin in three sections.

The fronts have been left open for ease of ‘turning over’ – a technical gardening term that I believe means forking all the gunk over once in a while to mix it all in.  Apparently, some sort of Heath Robinson adjustable frontage will be constructed that will be moved up as the amount of composting material grows.

Speaking of which, we have much less grass now which is ,apparently, a very important addition to compost heaps.  This is mostly due to having less land than before but also to having a rather large garden pond in the middle of what would be the lawn.  So, Mr. Tialys has gone begging for grass clippings from anybody nearby willing to empty theirs into a bag for him.

But, that’s not the worst of it.  The other day I spotted a large sack on our driveway and went to investigate.  In a gesture that might be considered abuse in some neighbourhoods, it contained a significant amount of fresh horse poo.  Mr. T. was almost as excited as the dogs were when he saw it but did complain it ‘wasn’t well rotted enough really’ although he used it anyway.

Ew! Is it any wonder I leave the gardening to him?

So here, in the furthest corner of our garden (thankfully), is the compost bin stash in all its glory made from scrap wood, scrap plastic, leftover netting and scrap poo or, as I prefer to call it, horse scrap 🤣.

 

 

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate (first name on the list) if you want to join in.

 

 

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44 Comments

A Spring in my Step

Even though we’re still in lockdown the sight of banks of daffodils can’t fail to cheer me up.

But there’s more!

It’s Spring and  time to let the new lambs into the fields,

So of course I was off with my camera like a shot.

Some tiny ones with their proud mothers.

I’ve had a word with the farmer about splodging them with blue as it spoils my photos but he said I just had to try to get them from their good side.

I think this one might be one of the first born as he/she is a bit chunky.

I wonder how long it will take me before I get used to living in a house in the midst of fields of new born lambs and stop acting like a tourist.  Possibly forever.

I can’t wait until the calves arrive!

What’s putting a spring in your step at the moment?

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The Mistbow

Early yesterday morning, after a full (or almost full) moon, a frost had dusted the fields with icing sugar and caused a white mist.  We went for a walk just as the sun was struggling to break through it.

We had the camera ready to photograph some new lambs the farmer has put into the field but they were too far in to get a good picture so we snapped this instead and called it a mistbow although somebody else probably already has or maybe it has some other name.  If you know, please enlighten me.

In any case, the mist cleared, we had a beautiful, sunny day and the new garden suddenly seems full of possibilities with the snowdrops finished but daffodils and crocus open, tons of hellebores both white and purple, and a patch of heather pulsating with bees.  I’m hoping they are honey bees although it seems a bit early.  If they are though and I can track down the owner of the hives, it would be great to be able to buy some of the honey.

I can’t believe it’s already the last day of February.  Who would have thought that lockdown would make the time pass faster?  Or is that just me?

 

 

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ScrapHappy February 2021

After a hard day working from home, Flo looks forward to her dinner.
When we had lots of space, we had this double bowl holder in the kitchen which is raised so she and Stan didn’t have to strain their necks when enjoying their food.
Very good it was too but now we live in the dolls’ house, we don’t have the floor space for such a large feeding station.
We do, however, have a lovely big larder and I ordered some storage bins to go in at floor level in order to empty the 15kg and 10kg dog and cat food sacks into.  This is a necessary step as leaving the food in the sacks is apt to result in teeny teeth (cats) or larger teeth (dogs) tearing the paper, or plastic they’re not fussy, before digging into the contents in an attempt to bring forward the usual feeding times.
So, the bottom shelf in the larder had to come out to make room for the storage bins and we were left with a wide laminated shelf with nowhere to go.
Until I had a lightbulb moment 💡 and Mr. Tialys had a toolbox rummage.  He cut the shelf to fit one of the bottom kitchen drawers, cut two holes in it and a new dog feeder was born which can be closed when dinner is finished and forgotten about until the next meal.
Then at the end of a busy day and a hearty meal Flo can resume her evening duties as a cat cushion.

oOo

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate (first name on the list) if you want to join in.

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38 Comments

Lazy Sunday

Mr. Tialys likes making bread but he’s either busy working or sorting out the garden at the moment.

I like eating bread but I find making it a faff.

Mr. Tialys also likes beer and when I found out I could make bread with these three ingredients plus a bit of melted butter

and without having to do any of this

 

Kneading Bread

Photo by Nadya Spetnitskaya on Unsplash

I was uncharacteristically spurred into domestic action  – although not much action as all you do is mix the flour with a bit of sugar and the beer, pour it into a loaf tin and put it in the oven for 50 minutes.

I’m sure most of you are already on to this but it was a revelation to me and, although I will still welcome some well kneaded and twice proved bread – made by somebody else – this will definitely be my go to recipe for when I need some easy peasy bread to go with a stew or a bowl of soup.

Have you ever made beer bread and, if so, what did you think? If not, do you fancy giving it a try?  Or are you of the ‘finding kneading dough therapeutic’ persuasion?

I hope you’re having a lazy Sunday too.

 

Recipe (courtesy of Jamie Oliver)

375g self raising flour

330g bottle of beer – we use English beer of course, the maltier the better (or a hoppy one if you prefer)

3 teaspoons of sugar

Mix all ingredients together with a spoon and pour the batter in a greased loaf tin

Pour a little melted butter over the top

 Put in oven 180°C/360°F for 50 minutes until golden brown

 

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