... because life's too short to do anything ALL the time . Creativity and positivity are my "hiraeth"

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Feel like I've forgotten something ...

I had to go to Asda last night. Traumatic.

I decided that I was fed up of not having much comfort when out working, I often have long breaks where I stay in the car and read, so I popped into Adsa and bought myself a little 350ml stainless steel flask. I shan't let it out of my sight as I can't stand the smell that gets left in them when you put stuff in them. Only hot water will be in mine, I took a china mug a couple of tea bags and a little tin of coffee with me. And a spoon. Quite enjoyed myself actually. Sat in my little orange shoe, with my Penguin Classics Pride and Prejudice mug in one hand, Pride and Prejudice in the other. Ok, so it wasn't Pride and Prejudice - Julian Clary's novel is actually un-put-downable, but it I will pick P&P back up once I'm done.

So, I was wandering around Asda and I needed some Milk (organic, obviously), some bread (forgot to pick it up), and ham, so I went to the "Cooked Meats" isle. As you do. I selected the suitable "2 for £3" offer or whatever it was, and remarked upon how expensive ham can be. On my trek through the store to the milk, I wandered past the deli fridge. How the hell is pre- packed deli ham significantly cheaper than pre-packed non-deli ham? It just doesn't make sense. And the deli stuff is also SO much better quality and cut. Bloody supermarkets.

Still, I picked up my two new cake tins as I'm just not going to get time to get to my shop of choice. I got two pyrex tins which are metal, not glass, and they're really sturdy, good quality tins. I look forward to having them for the rest of my life.

So I had an unexpected early night in from work tonight. I've had double the hours this week than last week, so, as usual, I'm shattered. I thought I had my favorite lady to call on last thing, but, luckily I checked my rota in time and I didn't have her. I was disappointed on one hand, but kinda relieved on the other. Tomorrow I MAY get time to bake the birthday cake for my Step-Mum that I should've baked last week, and I MAY get time to make the other secret present for her. Then again, I might not - it may have to wait until Thursday afternoon or Friday. Ho hum. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

And I've spent NO time with Madame since Friday. Poor girl, bet she's missing her Mum. I know I'm missing her.


Saturday, 24 April 2010

Saturday Hang Out With My Homies

Some may say that working all day on a Saturday and Sunday sucks and that I'm sad for doing it. I prefer to think of it as hanging around all day with some of the coolest people I know, and they just happen to be "of a certain age".

They don't facilitate vanity, pull their punches or sit on the fence, and they're all, in their own way a pleasure to be around. You treat them with respect and kindness (they don't LIKE having to have me do things for them) and you get it all back and then some. They inadvertently make you question the principles that we all live by these days.

When it boils down to it, very little actually matters. Just health.

A generation ago, when someone started a home, they'd be given things, acquire bits and pieces and be saving in the bottom drawer for years. A home would be pieced together through a variety of channels, that was the point of wedding presents. Nowadays, it's all different.

I have to be honest, when I first had a flat, that was how I did it. Then when I had to do it again a few years later, I did it all again then. And it was really good fun and enjoyable. I've since come into contact with friends and family alike who have demanded that an entire home be bought brand new and sparkly, before moving in.

Housewares are now commodities like clothing and accessories. Once upon a time, something to be saved for, looked after and accommodated for the duration. Now, disposable, two-a-penny, high fashion, low quality. Designed to last a short period, until such time as they become unfashionable, then thrown out and new bought.

This just simply isn't sustainable.

We all like to live in a nice home, nice surroundings are important. But is the pinnacle of fashion the way to go about doing it?

My ladies and gents vary from having nothing to having, probably, a few quid, but they all have something in common. They aren't remotely worried about whether all their glasses match, if their wallpaper is "so last year" or there's a slight lightening of the outside edge of the curtain that's in full sun all day.

They have enough to keep them comfortable, to store their belongings, and to furnish a home. And they've probably had it for years and years. It may not be the height of fashion (although some of them SO are in the retro sense of the word), but it doesn't matter.

In the 21st century, we all are in such a rush and a hurry to "have it all". Couple of new cars, the perfect home, the perfect life, the perfect family. The cult of Hello! magazine and celebrity has clouded all our judgements, and we've lost all sense of perspective.

It doesn't matter if your sofa is from last year's collection, your carpet isn't exactly what you would choose now if you had to replace it, and your dining table has lost it's lustre. We could learn a lot from the previous generations as I've written about before. My lady with the ancient lino who insists on having it polished.

Buy less, better quality things. Don't replace it until you HAVE to (a change in fashion is not a good enough reason) and don't put your home on an OK! magazine pedestal. Essentially, it doesn't matter.

No one is going to like you any more for having a matching set of mugs, or less because your hall carpet has got a few marks on it.

And if they do either of those things, they ain't worth it.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Ethics = Effort. That's why I'm always knackered.

Madame accepted her first visitors today. Jane and Josie came to visit, closely followed by Lou, who all came to meet Goat, eat cake and borrow sensible dome tent, in the name of sharing assets to save money. We like that.

I was planning on sharing another asset too, my abundance of fresh free range local eggs, which I did share. But the little gets got me to part with some of my new and brilliant tomato sauce and my soup in the sterilized kilner jars. Apparently, according to Lou's Mum, food always tastes better when you burn yourself making it. That soup will be awesome as I scalded my stomach with the boiling sterilizing water. Got off pretty lightly with it though. No visible scald. Could've been worse.

So Madame appears to be afraid of children. Josie, actual cutest coolest kid in the universe, appeared to unnerve her somewhat. She did however put that to one side long enough to take a custard cream off her, though!

BBC News 24 was very interesting today. It's fairly interesting most days to be fair but I've become somewhat addicted to the whole Volcano ash debacle as I'm fascinated by how much chaos the lack of air craft trips have caused, that as a nation, as a planet, we are SO reliant on this most polluting, hazard filled, environmentally and socially unfriendly of transports types. I know it's controversial, but I can't help feeling smug about my "only holiday in the UK" policy. I wouldn't be stuck in a poxy airport for a week! But I wouldn't be able to go skinny dipping in the med either. I think we'll stick to the caravan, actually! Just on the off chance that the next door volcano kicks off - that'd be just my luck.

The particularly interesting thing that this has thrown up, though, is the food and sustainability thing.

As a nation we have grown so accustomed to having seasonal produce all year around that the seasons, as far as food goes, now mean very little. See previous blog about tomato prices. I'm ashamed to say that I don't know for definite when the very best time for me to be making sauces is. So used, are we, to having food flown in from all over the world.

The BBC showed video of an avocado orchard/factory/whatever you want to call it in Ghana, and all the tonnes and tonnes of avocados sat rotting in their warehouses that would ordinarily be in Tesco or somewhere. This raised the issue of the unseen impact of the airspace closures. The impact on the everyday farmers and food processors all over the globe, and livelihoods. Then, a further question is asked.

WHY DOES THE ECONOMY SUPPORT AFRICA FEEDING THE UK AND NOT AFRICA FEEDING AFRICA?

Ended up having a naughty food day. Seeing as we were receiving callers this evening I thought it only good manners to make a cake (good excuse more like) so I made my special Rock Star Victoria Sponge. I am going to have spend a few quid this week on a couple of new cake tins as I've suddenly realized that silicone is crap. I'm going to invest in a good set of sponge tins, and I should never have to replace them if I look after them properly.

That's what this old anti-consumerism thing boils down to though. It's not about not buying anything, it's about buying what YOU want and need not what the advertisers want you to buy. The eco-warrior in me then adds to that with buy one good thing instead of half a dozen poor quality things. Not only have you got the disposal of the half a dozen poor quality things to think about but also the energy, chemicals and substances involved in making those 6 poor quality things. The economist in me then adds to buy that one good thing locally, and from a supplier with good ethical policies.

Crikey, having ethics is hard work!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Shattered.

Where has all my energy gone? I should really be doing the ironing at the moment, but I'm shattered.

I've been quite productive in the last few days, cooking, baking, that sort of thing. I got my next box of tomatoes from the fruit and veg co-op and learned a valuable lesson. Make tomato sauce in the tomato season. Even from the co-op, a box of tomatoes (all be it lovely ripe vine tomatoes) cost me £11. Bloomin' expensive sauce this time around, but, with inspiration from the lovely Sophie Dahl, and a few adaptations, I made the best sauce so far. Barely any chopping, no blanching or peeling and no stirring or simmering.

The result was a vat of rich, chunky, tasty, healthy, Syn free sauce that is actually a splendid soup also. Jars of it. The best ever.

Yesterday afternoon was spent in my very good friend Helen's garden, chatting, putting the world to rights and generally catching up. Of course, when expending that amount of energy, one needs sustenance, so Hels provided the jam and ever-so-naughty clotted cream, I made the scones, and I'm pleased to say, they were delightful. And my special secret ingredient worked a treat. We had BOTH saved up our Syns for that, teachers! But I'll definitely get a F- for getting sunburned. My arms are rather red, to say the least. Made me think that I need to look at some decent sun cream for this year. I will invest in one good bottle, instead of several cheap ones.

Our neighbour who has the birds and I were talking yesterday (I'd taken a couple of scones out for Hubby to try and he happened to be in the right place at the right time!) and we arranged a swap. He had a surplus of eggs, I had a surplus of ripe bananas. So today I baked a couple of banana cakes, I daren't just make the one, and we swapped. Now I have eggs up the yin-yang (I'll be sharing with my Step-Mother) and Chris has a yummy still warm banana cake. Hubby has already eaten half of his, and I think the teenager has just been in the tin too.

I also had a surplus of carrots. We'd bought a couple of bags from Aldi for Madame, presuming she'd troff them like no one's business. She does like them, but there's an awful lot she likes more. So I used up some of my supplies that I froze a few months ago and the veggies I had a surplus of and I made a lovely carrot, leek and celery soup. It's REALLY tasty. Syn free also. An I'm going to sterilise it in my big kilner jars for the cupboard. Money's pretty tight at the moment, so I'm pushing the boundaries of usefulness even further than usual.

Hubby's been out on the mountain putting in the hours on the mountain, but today he has been doing something different. He has fashioned an insect/bat box for the side of the goat house, hopefully to keep insects out of Madame's way. Really he just wants Bats, though, and I can't say I blame him. I'd quite like a few more Bat boxes if it works. I think they like eating slugs too, don't they? Photos to follow!

I've got a backlog of stuff I should be doing at the moment ...need energy and more hours in the day please. Can anyone help with that?

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Meadow Mountain

This goat is hilarious. I left for work yesterday evening intending to put her to bed before I left, but just on my way out Hubby said he'd put her in so I could get to work. I had a text waiting for me when I pulled up at my first call from Hubby. It said "This goat's mental! I've just been down to put her in and she's stood on top of the barbecue!" He wasn't all that impressed though really as he'd only finished building it yesterday and she knocked all his tiles off the top. It's a good job the cement had just about set!

We had a big fire in the land today - a controlled one, obviously, and we let the Fire Brigade know before hand, being responsible citizens and all. All of the bramble, fern and rubbish from the main area has now disappeared, the only way possible. It's weird, it doesn't look quite so insurmountable. We still have loads of rubble. Loads of it. So we're making a couple of rockeries. Should be a nice little haven for wildlife in there too. That's my plan for all that space. Wildlife haven. I'm going to plant a meadow.

I have no idea how to do that just yet, but I will research. It will be good for Madame, and more importantly, good for us - no maintenance, with our built in grass cutter. It's SO big and SO steep, I'm not sure what else we could really do with it. I'm going to do some lovely hardy shrubs, maybe hedge, and a lovely big meadow. That should bring in some bees too, maybe next year I'll get my hives. I don't want to take on too much in one go - maybe the pond and orchard will have to wait a little also!

And I never thought I'd say it but, I NEED SOME RAIN!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Countdown to the Highlight of the Year

This has been my weekend in work, hence the quietness. But I'm fairly free, other than my regulars, now for a fortnight.

So Madame is settling in lovely. Only trouble is (she says it like she thinks it's a bad thing!) the little Madame is getting really quite attached to me. To the point that if I go out the back and I'm not going down to see her, I have to hide or she shouts her head off at me! The kisses are getting more frequent, and I've discovered her very favorite thing in the world other than newly fluffed up straw - Rich Tea biscuits. They apparently are like nectar! So Goat Central visitors come prepared, just in case I'm not to ensure some contact!

In my few hour off over the weekend I've taken advantage of the sun and gone and spent a good few hours sitting with her. I have had a little project to do down there also. I have this knotted string bag thing that I keep my onions in. It came around some of those pointless decorative wicker balls from Ikea and has served it's replacement purpose very well. But it's now falling to pieces and is irreparable as it's just deteriorated. So I used some garden twine and I copied it. Took me best part of 3 hours but was simple, therapeutic and effective. Also the chances of me coming down in the morning to find my kitchen covered in free rolling onions are dramatically reduced. As per usual, not content with just making one thing that simple and useful, I'll be rolling it out for a multitude of predominantly fruit and veg holding purposes. Amongst other things, I expect!

I bought a plastic greenhouse the other day. I figured it'd last me a year or two until I assess it's use age and whether or not to think about a glass one or something similar. Sadly, it's not yet up as there were no screws in the box. Hubby has been busy making our Southfork style gates for the land over the last couple of days anyway so he probably hasn't had 5 minutes to find new screws let alone put it up. I might do it myself tomorrow, but, as usual after only 2 full days (0800 - 2300) of work, the house it a state.

I'm still dying to get on with my weekend bag I have in my mind, but the official Download countdown has started, so I'm starting to think about what I need/want, have to make/mend and alter. Starting with my cowboy sun hat. It needs to be different to the other 20,000 people that wear them. I'm thinking buttons. And I'm still ever hopeful that I'll have a men's trilby in black or grey or something similar donate by then too.

COME ON CALLAN - GET CRACKING!!!

Friday, 9 April 2010

*** NEWSFLASH *** ***GOAT HEADLINE NEWS ***

Well I think I've found my calling in life.

I like horses, but I know they're an awful lot of commitment and work that I'm not sure I'm up to. Goats, are a lot less of the same sort of work, but still a lot of fun. I think the teenager of the house might disagree with me there though!

So anyway, the goat headline. Are you ready?

Thanks to my local friendly smallholding neighbour, Hubby and he discovered that....

HE IS ACTUALLY A SHE!!!

There is a distinct lack of todger and presence of boobies. Within a few seconds of the discovery she had miraculously turned from a handsome young man to a sexy doe. I wonder if you can buy hoof paint?

So, Duffle is now "Madame". And I think her name suits the little cow just beautifully. She makes our Labrador look like a brain surgeon. But she's starting to love me, and I just adore her. She fogged up my glasses today sniffing me, follows me everywhere and I got a proper full on goat kiss. It does mean that Ms Callan needs to stop flirting with my goat totty now, or pledge allegiance to the "other side"!

Did you know goats suck up water to drink? I bloody didn't! I nearly wet myself when she puckered up in her drink trough earlier! She got herself a proper food basket today from our smallholding neighbour too.

So I've been doing some research about keeping. There is actually a "goat keeping for dummies" book available! The second most interesting thing I've really learned is that it really is quite important to have a herd, even if that means just two (I'm rather liking the look of the pygmy goats!) but far more important than that

I'VE FOUND A CROCHET PATTERN FOR GOAT SWEATERS!!!

Take a look at this ... I'm so in love...I feel a herd coming on ...




Tap-Dancing Hooves and Migraines

So it's nearly 4am on Friday, not my usual blogging hour, or waking hour for that matter. But I figured that seeing as I'm suffering from a little migraine based sleep deprivation I'd get up and share with you the events of yesterday and the sitcom that became my life.

Duffle, you've been with us for 3 days and already had the whole family, nay street, in fits!

So yesterday morning, as per Thursday usual, I'm up at the fruit and veg co-op and the girls are taking the mickey out of me as usual for the sheer volume of fruit and veg we consume in our house. I'm particularly ravenous yesterday morning as, I explain to the girls, I've had a migraine hanging about. Migraines come from stomachs, and I've been having some slightly odd food cravings as my body tries to process whatever it is that's giving me the migraine. So I scoff even more fruit the second it comes off the delivery van than usual, while remarking that I may actually have worms because of the obsession I have with food at the moment.

So after the co-op, I go home and announce that I'm not going out on the mountain as I need to catch up on the housework, and, being food obsessed, I was going to cook a carrot and onion thick soup and a veggie curry, then give some to Ms Brooks when I dropped her order off later.

I get cracking on the top floor of housework and I'm starting to notice my headache coming back. I try to ignore it and move on, so I'm peeling some veggies to part cook for my curry and I start to feel a bit ropey. 5 minutes after the veggies are in the steamer, I very quickly realize that I have a choice. Either give in to the migraine and get to bed or pass out and throw up. Little lights flashing around the sides of my eyes, stomach cramps , the lot.

So I quickly text the world to let them know not to disturb me as I'm not feeling very well and to get them to make sure I'm up in time for work at half seven. Was touch and go at that moment I was feeling so ropey.

So I get into bed, having taken a shed load of painkillers and some kaolin and morphine, and I'm lying still in bed for fear of hurling, wearing nothing but my socks and bra. I was intending putting my pyjamas on but I got the shakes, so I got in part dressed. Lush.

It then became apparent that the light was bothering me, so I got a pair of Hubby's (clean) pants out of the drawer and draped them over my eyes. Much better. But the smell of the part cooked cauli from the kitchen was threatening to have me pebble dash my own duvet cover, so up I got again, found the Vick's, and slapped a wodge under my nose. God, my Hubby's a lucky man. So sexy.

As is usual for me with migraines, I'm finding it hard to power down my brain ready for the re-boot, so I resort to sheep counting and pretending it's a cold wet Tuesday morning and I have to get up in order to drop off to re-boot sleep, and I finally manage it after ages.

And then within 5 minutes of dropping off, you know when you just get that sense that something is awry and needs your urgent attention?

So up I shoot and straight to the bedroom window that looks over onto our mountain. What sight do I behold as I gaze out into the sun? Hubby has gone out, leaving Duffle tethered up at the top of the mountain, and the little get is currently tap dancing on the bonnet of my car. You couldn't make it up.

So I'm stood there in my bizarre partial attire, still with the pants on my head and the Vick's up my nose trying to take in the sight and re format my faulty brain into action to do something about the little routine being performed before my very eyes.

At that point I can hear than my next door neighbours are laughing their heads off and sending one of their kids around to tell me what's going on. Meg has passed out on the sofa, having undertaken and art and history marathon, and I can hear her blaspheming down stairs about the poxy goat waking her up now too, so I dash down and she asks me what she has to do to get the hooves off the now roof of my car.

I instruct her that she has to take his lead further down the mountain to by his house. I know the old adage - when you "presume" you "make an ass out of u and me" but I PRESUMED that she wouldn't unhook said goat from said lead, unfortunately, my instructions weren't specific enough, and Duffle is off like a shot down the lane with half of the street following him at high speed.

The newly awoken Meg springs into action in her leopard print slippers and manages to get a lead on all the other runners and wannabe riders while I look on, slightly furious, I don't mind telling you, with Hubby for interrupting my re-boot sleep with goat based antics, but at the same time unable to resist the hilarity of the situation. I've still got the pants on my head etc, by the way.

So I shoot back upstairs to get dressed so that I can help, but I'm not sure if Meg has keys, her phone was on the sofa so I couldn't find out where she was to help, so I had an agonizing 10 minute wait past this point and some annoyed phone calls with Hubby who couldn't help but fall about laughing.

Eventually, after what felt like 15 hours, hubby pulls up in the car and just As he's getting out, one of our puffing and blowing neighbours comes around the corner and exclaims that "she's got it!" fairly closely followed by the goat-hating teenager with Duffle trotting along nicely feeling rather pleased with himself, surrounded by a blue cloud of cursing, panting and swearing from Meg, so Steve gets him on one of the dogs leads and reins him home.

The little get ran nearly all the way to Llanhilleth, well over a mile.

You can imagine it now, can't you? In pubs and at dinner tables all over the valleys yesterday evening "Hey love, you never guess what I saw today? I was driving down the main road from Swffryd to Llan and there was this girl in leopard print slippers chasing a goat with a red collar on down the side of the road! I've never seen anything like it in my life!"

I've got quite attached to the hoof prints on my windscreen now.


Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Welcome Duffle!

videoSo he's finally arrived! The long awaited goat/mobile plant fertilizing unit. He's very naughty - I like him! He's quite happy to eat out of my hand (to eat in general actually! I never thought I'd find a creature more obsessed with his stomach than our Choccy Lab, Wellington, but we appear to have!) and any notion of placidity should be disposed of immediately. The little get is quite happy to knob off at a moment's notice, and given that our fencing is not yet properly finished, his steel rope will be staying on! He has actually started doing his job, he's been eating brambles (yummy!) but no poo as yet. I dare say there'll be an abundance shortly, though.

So, 25 metres of fencing has been erected, so far and temporary fencing erected where the proper fencing has not yet been put up. It's actually helped a bit with the mental aspect of land clearing as you can clearly see where ours stops. It seems a lot less infinite now there's a load of fencing around it. I still just can't believe how much rubbish there is to clear when we've already done so much. We've decided to fence off the main part of the land to concentrate on, and deal with the bottom part at a later date. Sensible, I think.

So that's where a lot of my day has gone today.Stock proof fencing and trying to stroke goats. So we had fish and chips to celebrate a day well spent and new addition to the herd. That's what we all are, you see, a herd.

But I went to my usual Monday job today, due to the bank holiday. I do a two hour "domestic" visit for a lovely lady that I would never offend by calling old - she certainly is not that. She just needs some assistance with some day to day tasks. This week, that manifested itself in the way of clearing out her conservatory. The tasks I had today made me think back to a conversation we had previously, and, in fact my constant grumblings when out on the land.

The "conservatory" is actually a very well made lean-to for storage, plant growing purposes. They had it decorated and the flooring done in 1946 when they moved in, and nothing more than a lick of emulsion since. My lady was very concerned about the rust makes on the 1940s linoleum floor and had me on my knees scrubbing the marks. I didn't get all that much off, but we gave it our best shot together. Luckily I still had the floor to polish to take the emphasis away. Yes, I said polish. Even after having the flooring down for 54 years, she still places emphasis on looking after it correctly. How many people would do that these days? They'd just think "yuck, look at those rust marks" and pull the whole lot up, when it was essentially fairly sound flooring.

This goes back to a conversation we had a few weeks ago about the rugs she has in the house. Great big oriental rugs in the middle of all her major rooms, with lesser, ordinary carpet around the edges in the old traditional style. My lady was telling me that the rugs cost them a fortune, back in the day, but now are worth more! Despite their 54 years of use. DO you know anyone who's had their carpet for 54 years?

Today, once again, while out on the mountain, I exclaimed that carpet should be banned, after unearthing yet another cheap, plastic, "disposable" carpet from the 70's or 80's. They don't deteriorate. They just sit, leaking chemicals and stifling the ground until some unfortunate person unearths it.

Pre-cycling is a relatively new term, but it encourages consumers and producers to think about the end of that product's life. How it can be disposed of? Are there any upgrading possibilities? What impact is disposal going to have on the environment. There's no such thing as "throwing it away". It never goes away. You remember learning about half lives in school? You're just moving it to a different location and passing the responsibility elsewhere.

"Away" simply doesn't exist.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Creativeness up the yin-yang






Rain, once again, stopped play on the mountainside and I didn't even get chance to take photos. When it comes down, it REALLY comes down. But I raked over some topsoil, so the tree, rhubarb an vines can go out shortly. Hubby has recently connected up my water butt down there too and in less than a week, it's completely full. Just from the water coming off the goat shed. At least we know it can take a second one anyway, to make sure we can get through the summer.

I'm feeling SO creative at the moment it's almost irritating. I've hurt my crochet finger, so crochet is painful but I'm carrying on regardless as my Nana got me some wool from a charity shop the other day and it's lovely. It's getting turned into a Larkrise style shawl and it'll be well comfy and warm so I'm plodding on, in pain. Sniff. I've put in many hours over the last couple of days ion the heartagram beading. It's taking FAR longer than I thought, but I am getting there slowly. I'm really taking my time with it too as I've discovered that there's no such thing as an easy or quick way to do it, the more time you take, the better it looks and sits, so patience very much required.

I've also made two nappy dispensers. Not using them for nappies though, tea towels instead. I'm really pleased with them as they look really pretty. I just need to get hubby now to put me up a hook or two...

I really want to start on my super special dress now too. The teenager has now tried on said dress and it's rather good indeed. Dying to get on with mine but I'm craving making a weekend bag with my favorite fabric for some reason, also craving covering one of my little going out bags with buttons, and generally doing all sorts of crafty stuff. I'm pleased that I've a - managed to work out how to properly wind bobbins and b - sew stretchy fabric on my sewing machine. I've spent ages on line over the last few days trying to locate a user manual for my machine, so far, to no avail. My machine was bought from my step mother who doesn't see the point in wasting gadget using time reading manuals! Ha ha ha ha

SO, not got so much work on this week so I'll have a bit of time for creativeness. I anticipate getting a bit done this week. I have a massive pile of things that need alterations and amendments, so I'd like to bang out a few of those too.

In addition to my home made oat based moisturiser I'm fancying having a crack at making my own cheese too. And growing sour dough mixture. Been watching River Cottage again.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

My Facebook friends laughed at my status yesterday that read " Bethan James-Brunell just got Meg out of bed when she was just dropping off to try on a dress I'm making her. The sense of justice in getting her up now hasn't yet balanced out from the baby years and I still enjoy it every time".

This is, in fact, very true. But I was excited about the dress - I still am.

My reasons for making it are several. I found a pattern on line that looked really good if it worked. It does. So now I can make one for myself. I also had a piece of lovely fabric that was not big enough to make something for me really, but just the perfect size for skinny minny. Also, even though I've always said that my anti-consumerism won't be forced down the throat of said teenager, the thought of paying high street prices for things is even more out of the question now. I also like a challenge. To make for nothing something beautiful and adaptable out of a fairly small piece of otherwise redundant fabric, that is totally unique, bespoke and specially for her.

I introduced the teenager to the joys of charity shop shopping the other day. With their social lives being even more fruitful than us oldies, they, I'm told, require a plethora of garments for every occasion. She's not quite as resourceful naturally as me, so I'm trying to teach her what I can. She's been eyeing up a particular dress for ages in New Look. It's £25, which, admittedly isn't a great deal of money for a dress, but it's very straight forward, fairly high fashion so won't be wearable for ever really and simply not worth it. Exploring the theme of "value" and "worth" in an earlier blog made me even more reluctant to part my hard earned cash. For £15 in the charity shops she had a lovely classic dress, a brand new going out top with the labels still on and a skirt that she'd been looking for everywhere. A few simple alterations and it's all made to measure.

I wish I had me for a mother when I was a teenager, I tell you. And you wanna see this dress ...if I do say so myself, it's rather good.