Archive for ‘General Ramblings’

Sunday, May 9, 2010

‘Nothing in the house’ lunch boxes

A lot of the people I work with spend a lot on buying ‘fresh’ salad boxes and sandwiches, mostly with the excuse that there’s ‘nothing in the house’. Well, here’s my ‘nothing in the house’ lunch for tomorrow:

‘Clear out the fridge’ Pasta Salad –
Time to prepare: 15 mins.
Put pasta shapes on to cook. In a bowl mix mayonnaise (i use low fat), 1/2 a teaspoon of mustard, a dessert spoon of white vinegar (i use the stuff from the pickle jar!). Taste, and add more mustard/vinegar if you feel it needs more flavour. If i have it lurking in the fridge i add a teaspoon of pesto. Finely dice whatever veg you have to hand, ie: red or white onions, (bell) peppers, carrots, celery, courgette, mushrooms, chives or spring onions, tomatoes, cucumber, etc. This is great for using up leftovers – today i used some raw veggie sticks leftover from lunch on friday, 1/2 a red onion that was lurking in the fridge, a chunk of courgette. You can also add things like peanuts (really!), apple, or pickled cucumbers, all chopped up fine. And of course meat if you eat that sorta thing ;). When cooked, drain the pasta and add to the mayo mixture, stir well, then add the veggies. I usually add a couple handfulls of frozen sweetcorn or peas if this is for the next day.

Carrot Cake:
Ingredients – Flour, Sugar, Sunflower Oil, Carrots, Eggs, Cinnamon and a handful of (optional) dried fruit.
Time to Cook: 20 mins to mix everything together, and then about half hour in the oven.

So i spent about 40 mins to make lunch for the next couple of days, and carrot cake snacks for a while (can be frozen too).

And people ask me what on earth I eat as a veggie ;)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Some good news…

Firstly, some very good news: Chris got a job!!! I am so VERY happy about this (time to pay off some credit card debt!!)

Next, I got a package in the mail today, from Australia! Inside were 2 lovely fat quarters (pieces of fabric!) and a printed fabric ‘made by’ label. They are from a swap on the down to earth forums, which I visit every day. I hope my swapee likes their parcel from me!!

And today, I attended a book binding (making journal/sketchbook type books, rather than binding novels!) craft class at the local gallery. The day didn’t start great with a stonking headache til lunchtime, but by the end of the day I finished something I am really happy with :)

The two books I made – the one on the left is my first basic attempt. The one on the right is the second attempt which I’m a lot happier with.

A close up of the second book. The cover is made of vellum (vellum was originally made with calf skin, but is more commonly used now to refer to semi-transparent paper – sort of a nicer version of tracing paper!), and it fastens with a simple loop of thread and a celtic knotwork style button.

The inside of the book – it has 80 pages, alternating muted gold and a lovely marbelled green. There is an ‘inner cover/front page’ of a gorgeous printed vellum .

I will definitely be exploring this more – I have a sort of ‘in progress’ idea of a nice little photo album made like this.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Simple Sunday!

The sun is out with a light breeze – perfect garden day! So today in addition to what I was planning I will be getting some small jobs done in the garden:

~ Do Laundry, and hang out in the sun: Done!
~ Plant Potatoes: Done! 5x ‘Charlotte’ spuds went in buckets, and covered with fleece in case of a frost. Pink Fir Apple spuds will go out in a couple of weeks.
~ Check on Garlic: Done! Most of it has got going nicely. Really hoping i didn’t plant too late this time!
~ Sow Flower Seeds: Done! Very roughly dug over a bed at the front, and threw down (literally) some mixed flower seeds including sunflowers.
~ Make a Bean Cage: Done! i dug out some old metal mesh from shed, cut a long rectangle, and bent it to form a frame i can put over beans/peas to keep the birds off!
~ Take Rosemary Cuttings: Done!
~ Wash Up (hmmmmm… maybe Chris will be nice and do it for me ;) )
~ Clean Hamster Tank: Done!
~ Bake Something: Done! (cookies)
~ Cook Dinner: Done!
~ Make a Cushion Cover (tomorrow!!)
~ Prepare for Work! Done!

Not sure if i’ll get all this done, but I’ll try!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chitting potatoes and new chilli seedlings, the messy, truthful imperfection of my kitchen (handmade soap and an indoor garden), seeds glorious seeds, and a new stash of pretty fabric waiting for a burst of inspiration.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Goals for 2010

And yet again it’s been another month since I posted!! Must get back into the habit – a lot of it is that I’ve been using the old laptop downstairs rather than my computer in the cold room upstairs, and the laptop really doesn’t like photo uploads.. so I’ve been really bad with updating.

I’m proud to say I finally made soap from scratch! Using the cold process method with oils and caustic soda – it came out great in the end though thanks to my clumsiness it was a bit messy to clean up – next time will be better. I did take some photos so I will try to get them uploaded. This is part of my Grand Plan this year, which leads me on to….

Things To Accomplish in 2010

inspired by

  • Practice and experiment and learn to make really good soap
  • Learn to make a face scrub/wash using all natural ingredients
  • (Re)learn to make bathbombs (have done this before!)
  • Sew more! and…
  • … make one piece of clothing!
  • Eat less dairy, and make more of it ethical (organic/freerange)
  • Learn how to make a really good curry!
  • Learn how to make yummy authentic-ish mexican food
  • and finally, give more handmade gifts!

    What would you like to accomplish this year?

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Well like the rest of the UK we’re in the grip of winter at the moment with a long cold snap and lots of snow. Here in Scunthorpe there’s about 6″ in our back garden at the moment, which is very unusual. The roads are risky to drive on so lots of people are struggling to get into work, although we’re not too bad living in town and on one of the main road/bus routes (bus routes are gritted).

And now, a couple of projects i’ve been meaning to write about….

First, this was for for my mum for christmas. I picked up a cheap hardback, ring bound notebook and made a cover for it. I hand-embroidered my mum’s initials onto felt, made the cover (from a £1 fabric offcut from the local sewing shop), and zig-zagged the felt piece on. All in all it cost less than £4 including the notebook, and I love it. And hopefully she does too.

Then the gift I made for Kay. I picked up 1/2 a metre of this gorgeous fabric from ebay (the LAST 1/2m!). As soon as I saw it I thought of her (don’t you love it when that happens?). With some careful cutting I made it stretch to this box pouch and tote bag (with a clip inside for the pouch!) – using iron-on interfacing to give it some strength. Again I’m really proud of myself for this because I stretched my sewing skills but it came out great.

And finally, Chris’ gift. This is a hood i made for him for LARP (roleplaying / non-accurate re-enactment!). I used some gorgeous deep red, woolen fabric I found for a BARGAIN price of £1 – due to it being much narrower than normal. It will need some seams in interesting places to make something like a cloak but I could just about get the pieces cut out for this hood. I lined it with black cotton (as that’s what I had at the time), and it also has a sewn on ‘frog’ fastening at the neck (not pictured, as I sewed that on later). In real life it looks great, I’m really proud of it and it will keep him snug and warm at the cold events he goes to!

I haven’t yet chosen my next project. I’d like to have a go at soapmaking from scratch, but need to get a couple of things for it first (a pyrex jug and a non-aluminium saucepan, I think). I will probably have a go at screenprinting, as Chris got a kit for christmas. And of course I will keep working on sewing and improving my skills.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I’ve been through a bad few months with money issues and a bunch of other related problems, and unfortunately things aren’t looking up, but I’m TRYING to feel more positive. However bad things are, they’ll always turn around eventually. This weekend I have an extra day off from work, and I’m trying to make it a positive one:

~ A wander round town with a friend (just for tiny purchases, and a gift for my sister of a beautiful handmade silver necklace/pendant.

~ Spending an afternoon with said friend just hanging out, playing board games, watching tv, and chatting.

~ A little bit of productiveness cleaning the bathroom from head to toe!

~ Some Christmas crafting!

~ and some Christmas baking!

Time to try and concentrate on the good stuff in life!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Can’t believe it’s been so long

I’m sorry I neglected you, blog!

Things have been… interesting.. here. Chris is still unemployed and starting to get really down about it. Money is tight, and the only way I seem to be able to cope with that is to bury my head in the sand (healthy way of dealing with things, I know). If I think about things too much I get a bit mopey. That said, I’m not depressed about it.. just a little… stressed :)

In happier news, I get to keep my job after December (which would have been when I was scheduled to finish my fixed term contract). My colleague is leaving, we’ll really miss her but it means she gets a great new job she wants and I get a job full stop! The details have yet to be hashed out but I had a meeting with my manager today which was good for the self esteem, I seem to be well regarded :)

I’ve been doing a fair bit of crafting recently including felt and fleece plush toys (more cute things to look at than for actual kids!) and an apron. I’m planning on trying a cover for my sewing machine next. All step by step re-learning how to sew (I did some in school but have forgotten it all!). I’ll post pictures later – at the moment I can’t because my main computer is having issues and crashing / not turning on – far more regularly than is healthy! We think it’s a power supply issue, so that needs swapping out to see if a new one helps. At least i have my laptop for checking mail etc, but it’s old and cranky so not much fun for things like Photoshop and games.

Finally, I’m also re-discovering a very geeky or old fashioned hobby (depending how you look at it) – bored games! My friend Kay is happy to revive this with me, to add to our so-not-cool-kids crafts nights. I’m adding Warhammer into the equation too – a tabletop fantasy battle game you play with little figures. I used to play it as a child/teen with my brother and am looking forward to rediscovering it. And of course the models need painting and scenery making, which is half the fun :)

Time to sign off – I will try and post again a little more frequently!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Woohoo – I just got a complete surprise of a £60 Amazon voucher from my brother – along with a note ‘very sorry for forgetting your birthday!’. It’s about double what we’d usually spend on each other so he must be feeling guilty! The question is.. what to spend it on?! I’m torn between books (craft etc) or an mp3 player. My old one is starting to fall to bits but still works so I wouldn’t replace it normally. I’ve also just discovered Amazon’s new office supplies dept and I’m a sucker for nice pens and notebooks!

What would you spend it on?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Giving Blood / WeightWatchers

I went along to give blood today, for the first time. Unfortunatly they really struggled to find a vein – I had 5 nurses look, one after the other! When they finally got the line in the blood flow was slow and the nurse didn’t think she could take the normal pint so unfortunatly today’s trip was a bit of a waste. Still, at least I tried, and got a free anaemia/HIV/hepatitis check thrown in! My arm really aches now, I never have got on with needles/injections/tubes.

Also, I’ve decided to go back to WeightWatchers (again) – this time with a friend. I’m really, really hoping I can stick to it this time as my weight is, frankly, affecting my health and worrying me :( Hopefully the moral support will help. We’re planning to go every Wednesday evening followed by a trip to the cinema (with Orange’s 2 for 1 deal it isn’t expensive). This time I’m aiming to try and ‘fix’ my eating problems (snacking, mainly on sweet stuff, and I don’t know the word ‘full’) and switch to 3 meals a day with only healthy snacks. I can dream!