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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Mummy 1942 - 2016

There are no words that I can say
To make our sadness go away
But memories do ebb and flow
To remind us that our love still grows

You taught us how to see the sun,
The colours, the smells, the rivers run
You stopped us often and said “just look”
And mental images we stood and took

We had fairy paths, and frosty walks
We had golden sunsets, and nonsense talks
We sang along to favourite songs
And if we felt it, we danced along

We had our times of heat and stress
But quick to blow and soon to rest
You taught us strength and independence of mind
How to be generous, and fair, and kind.

We got off light around the home
But somehow, still know, how things should be done.
We’re both good cooks, it’s fair to say.
(But I think my dusting skills went astray)

Our holidays were filled with (I want to say food)
Lifelong memories of times that were good
France and Spain in the long summer months
Bacardi & Coke and a sleep in the sun

In winter time, we skied in the snow
You weren’t so good, if you needed to slow!!
Chair lifts and strudels and big furry hats
Pastas, hot chocolates (with a brandy in that!)

Oz, New Orleans, Mauritius and more
Every continent you stepped on, the things that you saw.
There wasn’t a place where you didn’t make friends
Your smile, your charm, your joie de vivre knows no ends.

We watched you and Dad dance nights away
A Jive, a smooch, eye to eye did you play.
The music was always the beats of your hearts
The love that you danced with, set you apart.

 I cannot fail to mention these last four years
Your strength, your grace, and a few tears.
You taught me more about myself than I could ever know
That I was stronger and braver too, (and I even learnt to sew!)

 Although this is farewell for now, I will see you every day
When I look into a mirror, you’ll look back at me some way
When I see my sister smile at me, your smile I will see too
And my nephew’s laughter will echo, with the things we used to do.

Joyce Margaret Young (née Lowman) 1945 - 2016

Joyce Margaret Young 16.4.1945 - 14.11.2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Upholstery week 5

I'm just about to head off to week 6, but here is quick run down of week 5.

Firstly all the curved bits were snipped so the fabric sits nicely. These areas will be covered with the outside upholstery but i still needed to be careful to snip enough to make it smooth, but not so far that the snips will show when the outside fabric is put on.

Then I decided to put an extra layer of new 2cm foam on the arms and stapled it down well, and covered it with wadding. The foam is to give it better "squish" (technical term!) as the old stuff was a bit mean! and i can feel the wood of the arms through it. Given that i will mostly knit or crochet in this chair, it needs good arms. The wadding is to smooth over the lumps and where the staples are so you can't feel any bumps.
This week i will hopefully be putting fabric on the arms.

Hopefully back with more photos later
T'il soon ❤️

Monday, October 10, 2016

Upholstery Course - Weeks 3 & 4

Well the wings took me two weeks. Those pesky pleats!

I covered the foam with poly-wadding (like what you put in quilts really) to even out any lumps and just give it an extra bit of squish.  Then cut  2 x rectangles. Covering the measurements of the length of the wing and the width of the widest part right through the back to the frame.

Once I'd got the fabric square on the wings i then temporarily tacked the bottoms to hold it in place then started working on the pleats above.  Of course the first one went quite well, and then the second, which needs to match the first in direction and number and approximate size - didn't go so well at all.  Which is why the wings took me two weeks! I got there though. 5 pleats facing down - pretty much pointing to a central point (if they had all been longer they should meet at a dot - mine was a big dot but it was a dot!)    In the end I stapled the pleats because the tacks weren't holding them very sturdily and that was making it harder. The velvet i am using is a bit thick and the tacks slip if i don't get them in far enough - through all those pleats i'd have needed a sledgehammer for the job!

So eventually, with a lot of gentle persuasion I got the wings looking smarter and then cut a notch in the bottom of the back to be able to straighten and tighten that.  It's all beginning to look a little smarter.

It's still only tacked in the main so there will be improvements as I staple it later in the course.  This week (week 5 already?!) I will be adding extra foam to the arms and hopefully starting to cover those.

T'il soon ❤️

Monday, September 26, 2016

Upholstery Course Week 1 and 2

As i enter my third week of my course - i realise that if I don't blog my progress now it's going to take too long to catch up!  This is as much for my own memory - i feel that 10 weeks is going to come and go so quickly and i wonder if at the end of it i will have any memory of what I did along the way.


I have an armchair, a very comfortable armchair. But, I bought it second hand and i think the previous owner had a cat that also thought the armchair was comfortable. It badly needed re-upholstering.

Other pets have apparently liked the chair too (M&D's dog Bonnie in 2013)

So in searching for a local upholsterer, i found Sarah, who offers a 10 week course whereby you take any piece of furniture you choose and she teaches you to upholster it. Score!

So in our first week we are encouraged to take photos of the Before item:

During my first week I had to make her nude!  I've never seen so many staples and my hands hurt for two days after. I decided to take her home for homework as I didn't finish in the class and didn't want to spend another week doing it when I could be learning the next stage. So........ at the beginning of week 2 she looked like this:

She is quite a modern piece really and quite possible every part of her had been upholstered separately and then bolted together as a finished item. Consequently getting in to some of the nooks and crannies was not easy. But scissors, staple and tack removers and a strong set of carpenters pliers meant that i didn't do too bad a job in the end.

So, in the second week I padded the back foam with a little extra poly-wadding and attached my first piece of furnishing fabric (I was very excited because everyone else in the class has much older and more traditionally upholstered pieces, so they are all busy with hessian,  coconut and cotton wadding, and calico. - I could re-use my old foam in place of the older methods of cushioning  and immediately attach my fabric.  So a quick measure of the back - then a longer measure as i realised I had it wrong *rolls eyes at self*, cut a rectangle and poke it through the bottom and over the top and through the sides. Sarah made it sound so easy - oh no it wasn't.  The middle of the rectangle had been notched so we didn't end up on the squiff, but even so it was tricky to get it straight, and the previous method of manufacture meant that there are big gaps where it's a bit of a surprise, and no gap where one would be useful.  Still, in the end I got there and the back is temporary tacked in to place:

This week- week 3. I will be wadding out the wings and hopefully upholstering them too.

T'il soon ❤️

Monday, August 22, 2016

Garden's looking up ;)

A fortnight ago, on a bright Sunday morning, we went to Columbia Road Flower Market.

I have been many times with Mum and Dad..... in what feels like a previous life now if I'm honest. But my garden was shell-shocked from 3 years of non-attendance, and it needed a good injection of fast colour to spur me on to take it under control.
Now, call me old fashioned..... or don't..... but I love nothing more than a good London Market, with shouting and banter and crowds.

And to go on a Sunday, makes me feel... well cheerful! :D
Many people were taking photos of the stalls, an abundance of colour and a riot of scent. But that seemed a little rude to me.
So instead, i bought what I liked and felt that i would enjoy at home.
Now this last photo has a story to it:
This is an Inca Lily or Astromeria.  During the time when Mum was in hospital in Chichester... I had a birthday (given that she was there six months i guess it was a 50/50 chance )  My Grandma (mum's mum) bought me for my birthday 2 tubs of astromeria, a pink and a dark pink/almost red.  She gave them to my uncle who didn't get them to me very quickly (not his fault at all) and then mum came home, and I neglected them.  It was the last gift she ever bought and it broke my heart when i realised that they were in a bad way...... I have a few plants that Mama bought me over the years, she knew i loved my garden, but this was the last one, and I knew she had worked hard to find them for me, having decided this was what she wanted to get. I managed to salvage the paler pink ones, and although they are not healthy i have coaxed them in to a little flowering and hopefully with some love and tender they will continue to improve. But i lost the darker one and was pretty devastated.  At Columbia Road, the first time I have ever seen them since, there was a stall full of them, all colours and only £5 a tub.  So I think someone was smiling on me and maybe letting me know that it was ok to have been too busy looking after Mum.........
It's a thing I've had to learn about that time...... that it's ok that I didn't manage All.The.Things! Still learning, still forgiving myself.......... and grateful for fate or karma or whatever, to help get the message through!

T'il Soon ❤️

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hi Honey, I'm home!

I'm back in Guildford. Mum and Dad are settled (somewhat) in a residential home. Their house has finally been sold, and I have moved back to my house.  It's not very nice most of the time if I'm honest. It's noisy and dusty and hot and noisy and busy and did I mention Noisy?  But we have been busy trying to get it to be a home again and not just a collection of somewhat derelict bricks!  I wanted to tell you all the things that we have done, but there's too much and we've done it all a bit quick really!

The first room was the lounge- i needed a haven that was finished. It really only needed a good scrub and a new carpet, so as you can see lady Spot is already installed!

We had gutted the bathroom when my tenants moved out (word from the wise - don't rent to male students!  - bless them, they weren't bad or anything but I guess the generation down doesn't think about things like wiping down taps after a shower, or opening a window to let the steam out (mould everywhere!).  So since moving back a new suite has been installed (a bad buy on my part as it seems it's really a bit big for the room, but it's in and it's fine), and we have protected the wall with bathroom cladding instead of tiles. The room will be finished by the carpet fitter soon, with a vinyl floor.

The kitchen has never been anything much in my home. Don't get me wrong, i've loved it. But it was always a totally free standing affair with a dresser and a range oven and a butchers block and it suited my lackadaisical style. But since moving back i have wanted something maybe more grown up (! first time for everything) and certainly with more storage space as I brought a fair amount of pots and pans from Mum's kitchen (well why wouldn't you she had excellent and expensive taste!) So I got a second hand kitchen on eBay and it's been "Krypton Factor'd" together to fit the best way, and it's looking awesome. Not finished yet, as we need to put a little electrickery around for appliances and gadgetry. And the worktop will be finished off with a splash back. There'll be more photos when it's finished. (there was also a purchase of an impulsive orange fridge)
Of course we bought fire with us (you didn't think we would leave it behind did you?_)

and consequently all patios and the conservatory were pressure washed to within an inch of their lives (and in the case of a few bricks - beyond their lives!)  

 Roses the shed has been given a new roof:

And finally (for this post - there's loads more going on in the house!), the hen house was renovated with every colour of paint from the shed (geez I have kept some stuff! - luckily i suppose!)  I refrained from buying orange just for the heck of it though!

And these little ladies (and one other) arrived on Friday.  Not laying yet but they have added to help start making it feel home again.

T'il Soon ❤️

Wednesday, June 08, 2016


I wanted to show you Tabitha.  She is my 48th birthday present from MrNoo and very lovely she is too.
She is an Ashford Traveller, and I already love her quite a lot!

She is double treadle which has improved my spinning longevity, and has a built in lazy kate. So far I have turned half of this:


My first ever Navajo plied yarn.  I am thinking it will become fingerless mitts..... when i've done the second half :D

T'il soon ♥︎

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Have Fire, Will eat (and eat and eat and eat!)

Oh it's been a while again hasn't it?  If I'm honest I'm struggling to find things to write about that aren't about care homes, hospital stays, trying to sell houses and the general fedupness that is sometimes life.

So, when I found that a course on Deer butchery for his nibs for Christmas, was preceded by a course on Cooking with fire (which very much sounded like something I would like), I decided, as all good women do, that his Christmas present should include me (:D) and be a weekend away for both of us to return to the things we love doing together and just for 48 hours (if we were lucky) forget about everything else.

Turned out that it worked really rather well.

We travelled half way up to Yorkshire on Thursday afternoon and stayed overnight in a travelodge and ate KFC at a service station (totally yucky! but a little fun!)  On Friday we drove past our final destination and spent the afternoon in Whitby and then the early evening in Scarborough, driving back across the North Yorks moors later in the evening to find our accommodation for the weekend in a wonderful little village only about 15 minutes from the courses over the weekend.  We had a lovely evening meal and settled in early for the night as the travelling and the sea air had worked it's sleepy magic on us (OK the guinness and wine helped a little :D)

The next morning the irony of being totally grateful for smartphones whilst driving towards a course to teach us how to be more "back to nature" wasn't lost on me, when I found I had lost (in the space of 20 minutes!) the course paperwork which had the directions on it.  Luckily I still had the email on my phone!

We arrived on site for the course start at 9:30 to be greeted at the gate, led down a little path and immediately made a cup of tea and whilst drinking it, a shoulder of lamb was rolled and we were shown how to put it on a spit and what kind of fire that would need - I was going to enjoy this!

There were 8 of us on the course. It was drizzling rain and already the thought of lighting fires - whilst appealing in that they would keep us warm, was worrying in that everything was wet!  Not a problem (so we were told!) And indeed Chris proved with only his second strike that if the rules were followed a fire can easily be lit in the rain. - Could we do it?  Turned out we could!

All that fire making had taken us rather miraculously to elevenses, so a skillet was laid on the fire and drop scones with some elderberries frozen from last autumn, were made with another cuppa....... No photos of that particular interval - they were made and gone too quickly :D

I think after this was when we wrapped some red onions in clay (naturally occurring in the soil up there - I'd have to buy, as I don't think our sandy stuff would have quite the desired effect!!)  They were then put in the fire under the spit

We were then taken a little further into the wood to learn about cooking in a pit - and that fire was got ready as it would be used later to cook an afternoon snack (you can see why I liked this course can't you?)

Then it was time to finish preparing lunch - the lamb was still on the spit doing it's thing, the onions underneath it. To go with it we were to have flat breads, smoked halloumi, feta cheese wrapped in wild garlic leaves, and baba ganoush.  All of them cooked on the open fires we had made around the place.  Me and himself were in charge of the "cheese course!"  The halloumi first was hot smoked over oak chips:
and then I wrapped cubes of feta in 2 wild garlic leaves each turned 90 deg to each other, which were secured with a couple of beautifully hand made skewer ends (well ok, MrNoo was let loose with a knife and a couple of twigs - but he did a lovely job!) which were then fried in a skillet over the fire for a few minutes, turning now and again.  (Could also have been done on a toasting fork, but possibly not for 10 people in good time!)  You can also see the aubergines in the bottom of the fire there ready for the baba ganoush.  Meanwhile someone else was making the flatbreads, which sadly I didn't see any of because i was too much enjoying what I was doing, and also another pair were making fruit soda bread which was put on the fire after we had finished which we later had for tea.

All done, lunch looked a little like this:
Hot Smoked Halloumi

Shoulder of Lamb
Clockwise from Top: Onions still in clay jackets, Flatbreads, feta wrapped in wild garlic leaves (skewered by MrNoo's handiwork!) and natural yoghurt which we didn't cook!

Clockwise:Baba Ganoush, a little of the bare roasted onion, lamb, halloumi

Now unfortunately what didn't follow this was a short after lunch nap, oh no, we had to go back and tend to our pit and put the fish and tomatoes in, and also learn how to light a fire if we couldn't find all the bits that we'd learnt about before........ so we made feather sticks. And again lit fires and had a giggle.  It had stopped raining so for the most part the lighting of the fires was a little easier, and certainly more fun without being dripped on at the same time.

All the while a marvellous kitchen fairy had been tending to the soda bread in the dutch oven, and when we had all mastered the knife art of creating feather sticks and striking fire steels we were presented with afternoon tea:

Trout and beefsteak tomatoes cooked in a pit
Fruit soda bread from the dutch oven: Served with butter!!

The course was such a great day, I can't recommend it highly enough.  It was informal enough to be fun and so that we (well certainly I) didn't feel awkward asking questions, and yet structured enough that by the end of the day we had covered a remarkable amount of information. (I think I only realised that after the event!) And somewhat miraculously - I can still remember at least some of it. We learnt a little about using knives on wood (for the purpose of fire lighting!), Cooking, choosing wood, different ways of using fire and how to get the darn thing started in the first place (pretty important).  A full and rewarding day!  The food was amazing, the location was beautiful (even in the rain) and the company was exceptional :D

After we left the woodland we walked up the side of the White Horse just up the road (didn't realise at the bottom how many steps it would be to the top - one of those moments where you wished you'd done the joined up thinking!) But it was totally worth it. The view is incredible and armed with our binoculars we spotted a peregrine which we managed to watch for several minutes.  The circular walk was a mile and a half, and despite it having been a bit of an outdoorsy day we both enjoyed it.  Then - because obviously we hadn't crammed quite enough into the day, we went back to Whitby and walked around the town..... when i suddenly got quite a thing for wanting pizza (Which luckily we found in a gorgeous proper italian restaurant)......... I'm totally blaming looking at this all day:
Handmade pizza oven  - another course for another weekend??

I will review the deer course another day - I think this post is long enough already ?

T'il soon ♥︎