About Blackbutterfly Cards

I started making cards for pleasure in 2007, and quickly found my home was becoming swamped by cards everywhere. I decided to put some of them up for sale on a webpage in an effort to recoup some of the costs of my hobby. I called the webpage Blackbutterfly Handcrafted Cards, and it can be found at http://www.blackbutterfly2007.co.uk/

I try to take my cards to a couple of table sales or craft fairs a year, but make my cards mainly for friends and family. I would love the website sales to take off, as I nowhere near cover the costs involved in this all absorbing hobby, but for me the main thing is the pleasure I have in making my cards.
Recently I have decided to expand my blog to cover my other interests too. It's a sort of substitute for going to work and chatting to people, as due to ill health I was unable to work, and since the beginning of 2014 I am officially a pensioner.
Although I'll still show my cards, I'll also be covering my other interests and how I attempt to make ends meet day by day.

In fact anything that crosses my mind will be on here, so be prepared for waffle and a wasted five minutes as you read.
Make coffee and settle in, why don't you?

Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 is almost here

So!........almost into a New Year. A year full of ups and downs, and one that I'm glad to put behind me. I'm entering 2013 with hope that my life will only improve. 
As I look back and assess the past year, I realise that I should have been grateful for the things that are right with my life, but I have also during this time sunk to the depths of despair and I know I'm not yet out of the woods.
At the risk of depressing anyone who reads this I'll give a swift  run down of 2012 as it has impacted on my life. ( If you only want the happy bits, ignore the paragraphs in red italics)

I am still living in a house (and area) that keeps my mind and body in a constant state of stress. My high blood pressure caused by that stress has resulted in September in a diagnosis of Stress Related Angina, and a statement from my Cardiologist that "I must reduce the stress in my life to prevent further damage to the heart. If I do this I can prevent the damage getting any worse"..........wouldn't I love to!! After 3 years on the housing transfer list I'm still nowhere near reaching the top to get out of here.
 I am now under my second course of therapy to help me deal with severe depression, and I have a support worker visiting me weekly. Bless her heart, she is young and enthusiastic, but sometimes her enthusiasm and energy are more than I have the strength to deal with.
I have lost any desire to enjoy my hobbies. I have let my blogging fade away, and my card making has dwindled into virtual non existence, to the point where I didn't even make enough Christmas cards to send to my family, let alone for friends and for the website which has been 'under reconstruction' now for months. 

Also, because of new rulings from the Housing Association, the usage of the communal area at the back of our flats has been changed.
 We are now allowed NO personal belongings out there any more, so we have all had to get rid of pots of vegetables and flowers, BBQ's and tables and chairs. We can no longer take our dogs into the garden to sit with us, and those of us with bicycles have had to either store them indoors, or get rid of them. 
Growing things is so necessary to me that I cannot explain to anyone without a love of the outdoors, just how devastating this was to me. It was the final straw that tipped me into a depression so deep I couldn't see any point in continuing. This was followed swiftly by the news that the Community garden I had run for over a year, and had had to give up because of my ill health, would not allow residents to plant in there in 2013. In the space of a couple of months I had lost everything that had made life bearable. No to mention that growing vegetables is necessary to our food budget. The crops I grow and freeze during the summer, help us to eat during the winter months when the heating takes so much more of our money. 

I HAVE managed this year to reduce all my debts to nil. We owe nothing now on catalogues, credit cards, overdrafts or loans. I go into my retirement in March 2014 determined to survive on my state pension, this means if I can't pay cash for something now, I go without, and if I can't grow some of our food, we will go without a lot more. Central heating is already out of our budget. We only heat one room, goodness knows what will happen next winter.
............looking forward to 2013...I now live in hope that this coming year will make it possible to move somewhere quiet, with a garden that I can grow vegetables in, and space to sit in the sun with my dog and cat beside me. Ideally I would like a slightly older property with the chimneys still intact. My plan is to have a wood burning stove.....but that would be a bonus.

 In desperation I am also considering going into private rental, but I need somewhere that will accept my dog and cat, and also someone on Housing Benefit, plus it needs to be aids adapted.........or at least able to be adapted for limited mobility. At my time of life I didn't really want to do this as I need security of tenure. I don't want to have to move again in my lifetime, so I'll have to read the small print of any tenancy agreement with a microscope before I make a decision.
I am determined to get out of this area somehow though. This HAS to be the year that I begin to get my life back on track, and take control. Wish me luck!

Resolutions for 2013

1. Move to a new home
2. Finish updating my website.
3. Start to organise my card making again.
4. Finish my embroidery projects.
5. Refuse to buy anything on credit or use my overdraft facility.
6. Update my blog regularly 
7. Declutter my house, selling anything useful on E-bay and dumping the rest in preparation for a new home and retirement.
8. Lose weight to aid my Diabetes management
9. Visit my friends in Holland for the first time in 5 years.
10. Get in Contact with all the friends I've ignored for months and apologise!

If you've read this far, I can only say well done and thank you for persevering!!

 I wish you all a wonderful and peaceful 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Christmas is Coming

I've been busy the last few days sorting out the bits for Christmas, or at least making a list. I've made my Mincemeat, plus 2 or 3 extra small jars for my 'Mini Hampers' I plan to give as presents.
 Today I've prepared my spiced vinegar ready to bottle my pickled onions, some of which will also go into hampers.

 So tonight I'll be peeling the onions and leaving them in a bowl with salt overnight, then tomorrow I can bottle them

I've got some beetroot cooking too, which I will slice & bottle in Jars also for the hampers. I make a raspberry jelly with white vinegar and use that to preserve it. It's an interesting combination and makes a sweeter preserve.

 I'm going to be making some small Christmas cakes to include too, but not for a couple of weeks yet! 

I'm  halfway through making a lap blanket for my Aunt, only the second crochet blanket I've attempted. Then my daughter came home yesterday and told me that she had been to her Nan's, (my ex MIL) and she had answered the door in gloves and  two woollies and thick socks, so "she needs a blanket for Christmas too, Mum". I'd better get going on these! My MIL is 85 and told my daughter she just couldn't get warm. As her house has never had central heating fitted and she has just one electric fire, I'm hardly surprised. We keep trying to get her to move into a nice, warm flat, but for years she wouldn't consider it. Finally we got her to speak to someone about it on the phone. A nice young man who said we could get you a nice little flat on the fourth floor with a lift access. "Fourth floor? " she said, "No THANK you!" and she put the phone down. "I'm staying on the ground with my little garden" she said.

 Here's a few of the squares I've made so far. I'm going to be crocheting until Christmas I think!

I've had my organic veggie box delivered today, I was supposed to get a Romanesco cauliflower which I'd never eaten, and was curious to try, so it was kinda unfortunate that I was sent an orange cauliflower instead, it's another different variety I'm interested to sample, so it's not a major issue.........just a little disappointing.

I also received my meat delivery from Donald Russell today.  I got eight packs of  beef steak mince, four of the steak & kidney. one each of the lamb, pork and beef joints, a Haggis, and a wild duck. Both of the latter are treats I haven't had for years. The Haggis I will save for New Year's eve, and the Duck may well be my New year's day Dinner. It would make a change, and my daughter has never eaten duck, so a new experience for her! This should make enough meat in the freezer now to carry us through until after Christmas. I like to stock up my cupboards  before Christmas, and then afterwards I like to see how far I can go before I have to do a major shopping trip. Last year I got through to the end of March before I had to buy anything other than fresh veg and milk.

Finally, I've only made one more card this week, and I'm not happy as it doesn't feel finished. I may add some flowers to it, I'll see. I think the problem is, I haven't had time to sit down and concentrate on the design of the card, which means I end up dissatisfied with what I produce. The website has been shockingly neglected. I need to really set to and sort it out for the New Year, I've had no sales at all this year and I think this is reflected in the state of the site. It needs a complete refurbish!
My son has just turned up for a visit so I'll finish now, I'll post again soon with pictures of the preserves I've done.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Autumn is officially here

The weather is chilling now and I've resorted to my little electric fire on a few nights lately. With autumn comes the first of the Xmas cards. After a long, long break from making any at all, I settled down determined to use my new stamps from Lili of the Valley.
I really struggled to make them. It was as though I'd forgotten everything I ever knew about card crafting. Even using the Promarkers wasn't easy, and my colouring left a lot to be desired. I suppose it serves me right, as the saying goes 'use it or lose it', and I've nearly lost it!  By the time Christmas is over tho' I should have made enough to get back into the swing of things (I hope). So here's the two I made, you might have seen them a couple of days ago on Facebook, but I've been rushed off my feet here with cooking, washing, and getting up to date with different personal bits. It doesn't look as though it's going to get any quieter as the week goes on. But hopefully I can get another couple of posts up before the weekend. I'm thinking of telling everyone I'm going away for a fortnight just to get some peace and quiet!

I haven't decided who will recieve these two yet, or whether I'll put them on the website for sale, and if no one wants them by the middle of December then I'll use them myself.

I had a tickly throat the other day, and decided I was going to build up my immune system early this year. I put on my hunter gatherer hat, or rather my foraging hat if I'm honest. I spent a good half hour or so collecting Rose hips around the housing estate gardens and came home to make my first ever batch of Rose hip syrup............and very nice it is too!. The throat didn't develop into anything, but I'm taking no chances. a spoonful of this every day should help keep the sniffles at bay this winter.

Must dash now, I've got some washing to put out to dry before I go to bed, and I must get an early night. I have my organic vegetable box being delivered tomorrow, and there's a chance it will arrive extremely early.
I'll try to remember to take pictures.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Rain stops play...

...not Cricket, just beach games for the dog. This is the first day after a long miserable summer when dogs are allowed back on the beach,............ and my dog loves the beach! He is embarrassingly loud in his appreciation when he realises where we are going. He yelps like a' big girl' dog, whines, whimpers and actually howls if we have to wait for traffic before crossing the road, then ups and walks on his back legs pulling like crazy once we hit the car park behind the sea wall. Get to the top of the steps to the beach and he sits like an angel waiting for his lead to come off, before running across the sand. 
From the end of March to the end of September I cannot go anywhere near the roads leading to the beach because he can't understand council rules, and can't read the signs along the sea wall. It's quite heartbreaking to see him wondering why the beach is suddenly out of bounds, as soon as the weather improves enough to swim.
 Anyway............this is the first day back and I got up at 6.30a.m., hoping I could take him over to the beach before everyone else arrived, opened my curtains ...............and it was absolutely hissing down! Poor Bumble! I'd show you this sad sight of him gazing out of the window, but the battery on my camera has died! Of course it's just luck he's doing that right now,  as he has no idea of the date or the treat he's missed, but it would have made a good picture!
Here's one we made earlier,........... in true Blue Peter fashion. The black strip of fluffiness draped over the windowsill is our cat 'Spooky'............another abandoned scrap we claimed as our own, but that's another story.

A few weeks ago I wouldn't have wanted to go anywhere with him really, but along with feeling brighter, I have had a long held worry removed. For over a 18 months now I've been having chest pains, especially in the cold weather or when I walk fast or get upset /stressed. I finally got myself checked out, had an Angiogram, and been diagnosed with Angina. Now I'm on medication I'm feeling much better, not least because the fear of a heart attack has been removed. I should have got myself sorted out much sooner, but my depression just kept saying 'Why bother? Life is pretty miserable anyway.' 
Now I know what I have to do to make myself completely well, reduce the stress in my life, and get a move to a place where I have outside access to plant and relax. It will come, I just have to be ready, so I'm saving like crazy now so I can go when the opportunity presents itself!

I get paid once a fortnight and after paying all my bills I have £50 a week left for groceries, pet food & cleaning stuffs. So far this week I have spent £25.85 and so have £24.15 to last until Thursday. I should be able to save some of that, as I have very little to buy apart from milk until then. Out of next weeks money I have to pay out £18.97 for an organic vegetable box, (plus a couple of extras like yoghurt), to be delivered. That will leave me £31.03 out of which I have to put aside £10 towards the next pack of dog biscuits. I buy these once a month as the larger packs are slightly cheaper. Today or tomorrow I have a gammon joint to cook, depends how I feel really as I've a bit of a painful stomach today. But anyway, once cooked, we can have a meal of it and the rest is sliced and frozen to eat over time as either meals or sandwiches. We have a lot of sausages in the freezer, some chicken portions, and some lamb chops. I think I only have pork mince left but I can top that up with some beef and lamb next time I get a supermarket shop. I wish we had a decent supermarket within walking distance, but we only have a Tesco Express near us, and apart from charging extra for everything, their range is abysmal, and what they do sell is often out of stock anyway. In fact it's got so bad I've taken to popping to our local convenience store, again it costs a bit more but despite being half the size it does stock such things as white vinegar, mixed spice and dishwasher rinse aid which can't be found at Tesco. In fact, I had to explain what dishwasher rinse aid WAS to the Manager!

Well, I've spent a long time waffling on today, I'm going to curl up with a hot water bottle now and hope my tummy ache eases. Whether anything exciting happens or not I'll try to be back tomorrow and catch you up on my boring days!

Bye now

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cripes..........it's all changed!

I know I've been away for quite a while, but this new layout has me a bit confused!  I 'spose I'll get used to it, and it serves me right for neglecting this blog so badly.
I've not posted for ages I know, but I hope you will forgive me.
 I've been in a dark and lonely place for a while, but I am beginning to feel a bit better about life,...... and myself come to that!
After bursting into tears at my doctors surgery, purely because the Nurse was kind enough to ask how I was coping, emotionally, with my Diabetes, I've been  given therapy sessions for severe depression, and with the last session due next week, I know I'm going to be OK now.
I have to sincerely thank the Nurse for noticing how down I was, and after a hug and being told  "what I really needed was a Mum", she got me the help I so desperately needed, but was too ill to realise for myself. Actually, telling me I needed a 'Mum' totally destroyed what little self control I had left, because even tho' I lost my mother 20 years ago, I still desperately miss her every day.
Anyway, apart from that, I've spent a lot of time reading other peoples blogs, and gaining inspiration from how they are coping with life and absorbing their ideas & suggestions, (I even commented on a few of them!), and now feel ready to start writing again.

I've not made any Cards in a long long while, not even for my daughters birthday at the beginning of this month, but I have been cooking a few things, including some proper meals instead of 'making do'. Yesterday for instance I went a bit crazy and made some bread (plaiting it for the first time ever).

I had to fight off my daughter long enough to take this picture, as about 30 seconds later it had lost it's end, which was smothered in butter, and vanished!

I also made an Orange Victoria Sponge as I had an orange that was looking a bit sorry for itself, so I grated the peel into it, and spread some home made marmalade in the middle.

Finally, I set to and made a Shepherds pie for dinner last night. We had half of it with the last of the Runner Beans, (courtesy of my father's garden). I used half lambs mince, and half pork mince, as this was what I had left in the freezer, and added some brown Basmati rice that was in the fridge. It helps the meat go a lot further, and no one ever notices it's in there. Sometimes I add some porridge oats for the same reason, but rice is better camouflaged. 
I forgot to take a picture of it when it came out of the oven, so I can only show it half eaten and looking a bit dry after going cold. We will have the rest of it today, with some other veg, not sure what yet, I haven't checked the fridge!
Moving on from cooking.......I'm still waiting for the Housing Association to come and fix the damp in the walls in the living room. I've been reporting it for the whole of the 3¾ years I've been living here, constantly being told by their surveyors that it's condensation. However, in March they replaced my windows with new double glazed units, and half the plaster came off the window recesses. The people fitting the windows re -plastered, but called the housing surveyor out  to see "how damp everything was". 
I said I'd been reporting it forever, whilst bodging the bits that fell out, (I'm no plasterer), so he came back with a damp meter!!!!! (Glory hallelujah! A surveyor with a brain!). Yes! It was registering as damp, so he called a firm to come and inspect and quote a price for the job. 
The workman took one look and said the damp proof course was compromised due to the age of the building, (before 1900) and the fact that the front doorstep bridged the damp proof course anyway. The surveyor said he would raise a work order and get it all done, but of course I would have to redecorate afterwards.
 I'm still waiting............with promises that it would be done soon being made at regular intervals. I'd like to get it done before Xmas really, anyone taking bets on that?  
I'm on the exchange list for a move, and have been for just over 2½ years now, so I may get a transfer before the work is completed at this rate!
Anyway, best not bore you with my witterings any longer. Enough is enough for one day. I'll do my very,  VERY best to blog on a more regular basis now I'm beginning to feel part of the human race again. I sure have a lot of  news to catch up on, that's for sure.
Catch you soon.....bye now.

P.S.............as blogger is refusing to publish the font in black ( insisting on white) I've changed it to the darkest blue I can find.........fingers crossed it can be read!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sunshine is so nice

A good day today, the sun is shining, I have had 3 meetings with my therapist so far and feeling a little better about things, although my moods are up and down. I've started to think about my Christmas card range for this year and begun to make some inroads into some examples to post on the website. This alone gives me the feeling that I might be improving, at least I'm raising a little interest in my hobby!

These are the first two 'tryouts' although I think I shall be making these in an A6 size, rather than the DL shown here.

I'll be playing around with these a little more before they go up on the website. Hope you like them......

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Something cheerful

Yesterday I saw a sight that took my breath away, brought tears to my eyes, and fed my soul. Today I went back to take pictures, it was still wonderful, but without the sunshine making colours shine like jewels, it wasn't quite so breathtaking. Yesterday I literally came to an abrupt standstill and drank in the sheer beauty of a wild flower meadow that had been planted in my local park.

It seriously eased my tortured mental state and today I hope a look at it will make you feel better too.
One thing it has confirmed in me.............I need to find a quiet country place to live a simple life with flowers and trees about me.

My daughter has put the little clips to music and uploaded it to youtube...............here's the link

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Black holes..........and lights in tunnels.

Sorry I've not been on here lately. I'm finding it a bit hard at the moment to get interested in anything. I seem to have sunk into a real bad bout of depression. I took myself off to the doctors for my diabetic review and the nurse made the mistake of asking me how I was coping with my diabetes emotionally................well...........30 minutes later and a whole box of tissues used up, she booked me in to see a therapist, and I have my second session this week. Basically I've let everything get on top of me, until I could see no way out, and then tried to carry on regardless. So I'm in the process at the moment of cutting everything out of my life that stresses me and just getting back to doing what I LIKE and enjoy and can physically cope with, given that my chronic fatigue makes life a struggle. My blood pressure is through the roof too, despite being on medication, so reducing stress and anxiety seems to be the order of the day for everything thats wrong with me.
I've given up chairmanship of the Estate Community Garden for a start. Well, I ended up as Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and the only person maintaining it day by day. It was exhausting to be honest, and its been like that for a year now. No one else wanted to know about working over there, but everyone would turn up for a free BBQ. Frustrating wasn't the word.
I've just asked to have a couple of small raised beds to plant myself next year with none of the stress of trying to do it all. Grow a few salads, some veggies and ENJOY it!
I've also somehow managed to get myself in a bit of debt, not excessive, but hard to clear on benefit. Comfort buying I guess! I sat down and worked out if I'm really, really careful I can be debt free in 16 months. That's catalogues and everything finished, so I can enter retirement free and clear. If anything breaks between now and then, we'll just have to manage without it. Of course if Jo finds another job before then we could be clear earlier, but I'm not holding my breath, it's weeks since she even had an interview.
I'm still hoping for a housing transfer to a quieter area, I've been on the list now for over 2 years, but I wonder how we could afford to move if we got offerred something. That's another worry, but living here is all part of the problem

Well, I've had a couple of good Fairs lately, I sold a few cards at a school fun day, but I charged next to nothing, so I doubt if I even covered the making costs. But it was nice to sell for a change.
Then the following week the local church had a table sale. I went to the last one they held but only sold a couple of cards, this time I knew what sort of stalls they have, so I took some bric a brac I wanted to shift, and sold some of that, plus some excess craft supplies. I think in future I shall do that again.
As long as I have a few pence coming in to cover the costs of my hobby I'm happy. I've missed making my cards, but that has also been part of the problem.......I seemed to have no time for me, so now 'me' has to come first.

Anyway, I hope anyone reading can bear with me a while longer, and as soon as I start making my Xmas Cards I'll post some on here. I'm also trying a few oddments of crafty style knitting as well, so perhaps I'll post pictures of them as well.
Hope everything is going well in your neck of the woods.............

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Trying Knitting as an Extra Moneyspinner

I've been busy with the Community Garden since I last posted. Despite the high winds most of the veggies seem to be surviving, (fingers crossed), although the leaves on my runner beans are a bit battered and bruised. We were supposed to be having a BBQ, facepainting for children, and instruction on bird box making as part of the day's entertainment today to celebrate the garden being open a whole year. Sadly this has been cancelled by the Housing Association due to the poor weather forecast. I hope that last scrambled sentence made sense. The picture shows one of the raised beds, which is growing well and in the background you can just see the new picnic bench that has been purchased for the garden. . . . . somewhere to sit and relax between jobs, or to sit in the sun and unwind.

Got a busy time next week, although I need to find a way to scale down, my M.E. won't take too much extra effort or stress before it kicks in and I'm beginning to feel 'stretched'.

On Monday my son will be visiting, Tuesday - I have to sort out my bedroom, which involves moving my wardrobes so the housing association can survey the damp walls. Oh joy!

On Wednesday I have asked for a meeting with my housing officer over some issues with the communal garden rulings............all very complicated and boring!

Thursday brings my diabetic yearly review, followed by a shopping trip into town. I'm going to see if I can find some food bargains in Poundland.

Friday - I want to spend some time making a few extra cards, I have a craft table at a school fair on Saturday, but could do with some extra cards for my display. I'd like to decorate a couple of scented candles to sell, and I have knitted a pair of gloves and a pencil case to see if they 'go' too. Widening my horizons as they say!

I'm also thinking of adding ads to this blog to help raise some extra cash, I've been struggling to make ends meet for some considerable time now, but this last few weeks there literally hasn't been enough money to go around. So............cheeky I know, but if you're visiting my blog could click on any ad links you see, to help me out.........Thanks!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Busy, busy, busy!

It's been a couple of days since I posted and I've been so busy. Not necessarily doing anything I want to do, but rather being kept on the move by other people.
I've had visitors popping in, demands made on my time that I felt I couldn't refuse.... Doctor's appts, phone calls, requests for reports on the local
Community Garden. (Which reminds me we have a meeting booked for this coming Wednesday and I've heard nothing back from any of the others on the committee.)
I also have two tables booked at a couple of craft fairs. These are happening two Saturday's in a row towards the end of June , and I really need to make more stock for my table. Also the CraftFest at
Creative Connections will be on the 9th June and running for a week.

This weekend we have the Southend Airshow so the last couple of days have been extremely noisy, ...........not so much from the aircraft, but the crowds of people going past my door. Parents shouting, children crying, people who've had too much to drink. I assume they are enjoying themselves, but to hear them, you wonder why they bother going out at all!

As I'm typing this the Red Arrows are flying overhead, & I always enjoy watching them, but of course adding to the noise is the number of car alarms they set off with the low passes!

My father popped round yesterday with some lettuce thinnings and a couple of Redcurrant bushes he had propagated for me, but I shall wait for a quieter day to plant them out. This is the second time in 3 days he's popped in unexpectedly. I think I shall have to tell him I'm going out for a few days just so I can get on with some card making.

My neighbour is still waiting for a christening card to be made. I have until Friday to do that as she is on holiday until then. I have an order for 30 Christmas cards to be sent off to Holland for some friends of mine as well.
If I could sell a few more online and at craft sales, perhaps I could save up to go and see them again, it's been about 6 years now since I've been able to afford to go. I'd like to be able to go again, none of us are getting any younger, and they are such good fun.

I've been making a summer dress today and just taken a break before I attach the collar and front facings. I desperately needed something lightweight and cool, and have cut up my old duvet cover to make it. Mind you, the time it's taking me, the nice weather will be over before it's finished! It's actually in the nature of an experiment, the fabric is a little flimsy, but if it works out I may be able to pick up some slightly heavier sets from the charity shops, and the bits I don't use for a dress I may be able to make some childrens cot quilts to sell on my craft stalls. I'll have to see how that works out. I've never done quilting before, but it sounds like fun, and I got a book of patterns to try.

One of the neighbours children has been popping in and out all weekend, which is another distraction. I don't like to say she can't come in. She doesn't get on with her stepbrother, and sometimes coming in gives her a break from him. Complicated situation, and I feel quite sorry for her. She's been making a cross stitich card for her teacher as this is her last year at primary school, and she wanted to do something special for her. I've been showing her how to do it, and she has been getting on quite well. She's also been learing to play chess with my daughter, so mornings are used up with these pastimes, and afternoons are spent cooking cakes also with my daughter.

After 3 years of arguing and fighting the Housing Association, they finally agreed to send in a damp specialist to prove to me that the plaster falling off the wall is due to my bad ventilation of the rooms causing condensation. I've been vindicated!! It took the specialist surveyor less that 5 minutes to confirm my suspicions. The damp proof course has gone and I have rising damp!

Now the results have to go to the Manager of the Housing Association, and (hopefully) something can be done. I had an email last Wednesday to say they had received the report and it would be discussed in a meeting on Friday morning. I would be informed of the outcome in due course............watch this space, as they say!

I must try and get on with a bit more of this dress, and I will of course post a picture when it is done...............if I don't ruin it. Its a few years since I've done any needlework I made a dress for my daughter when she was 5, and she is 22 this year, so I'm a bit rusty. Just keep your fingers crossed.

See you soon

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Quiet time, soup, and embroidery.

Well...........It's all quiet now, but honestly last night was the third in a row that was less than peaceful. Friday night/Saturday morning the children in the flat above me were still running up and down the property shouting and thundering on the floor. I wonder if their parents even TRY to get them to bed, all I know is I wanted to sleep and couldn't. Then at 3AM the other neighbours drunk son decided to climb over the back fence into the communal garden, to save walking around the street...............and fell! Apart from the noise he made getting over it in the first place, which my dog took great exception to, I then had to listen to some heart rending groans and moans. Then there was a lot of swearing and shouting, then kicking and breaking of wood. Then this voice..........'Dad..........Daaaaaaaad!..........I fell on my effing head, I'm going home now' This was followed by a lot more swearing and shouting that gradually faded into the distance. Well, I just lay there thinking, " If there's any justice......!!"

Last night he decided to try to get into the communal entrance at the front. His father isn't stupid, he hasn't given him a key, so when his father didn't answer at about 11.30, he decided to try kicking the door in. Luckily it held, but I do wonder how much more abuse it can take. I think a report will be going into the Housing Association housing manager on Monday morning. My neighbour across the hall has put in several complaints about the noise this man and his family create, and yesterday the noisy neighbour caught me in the hall & asked me if the rumour he was moving was correct. I told him not to my knowledge, to which he replied, "Pity, he's always complaining to me about the noise" and walked out of the flats.
I just stood there with my mouth hanging open, another of my neighbours who heard started to laugh......"unbelievable, isn't it?" I could only nod......

Despite not wanting to cook lately, I did have a bacon joint that needed to be cooked, and I decided to try some pea & ham soup using the water I boiled the joint in. I soaked some dried green split peas overnight, then when the joint was cooked I used the ham water to cook the split peas with some chopped onion and a potato. The only thing I added for flavouring was some pepper after I had liquidised everything. The peas cooked for about 45-50 mins, and then reheated for 10 mins after sieving and flavouring. I have to admit it was simple but tasty and even my fussy daughter loved it. We ate it with some home made bread, but she wasn't as keen on that because I had made brown bread instead of white. Actually, It was a Tesco brown bread mix with an extra 250g of white flour added. It made two small loaves instead of one, without using extra yeast. This tip was courtesy of Shirley Goode (and her blog is here).

Just to show you how lazy I've been, I finally finished a tablecloth I've been embroidering for absolutely ages. It was supposed to be done for Christmas..........Christmas 2009!

Anyway I pulled it out and was determined to get it done. I'm reasonably pleased with the result, I'm not the best embroiderer in the world, and I do get a bit fed up with the way the new embroidery designs only ever seem to use 3 stitches - Satin stitch, French knots, and Stem stitch. When I think back to school and how many different stitches I was taught.........you would think there would be more variety in the kits. Especially as I find Satin stitch one of the hardest to do. Anyway, here it is

That should look nice on the Christmas Table shouldn't it? I'm also finishing a Cross Stitch picture I've had hanging around for a while, when that's finished in a couple of days I'll post some pictures of that too. I picked up an old framed print from a charity shop which I can use to frame the cross stitch, once I've thrown the old print out. I'll have to look for a second one, as I have another to make after that.

It's another damp and dreary day here, and I've got pretty cold whilst sitting here and blogging. I have no idea what we will be eating for dinner today, but I suspect it'll be something warming.

My daughter and I have to go through the food cupboards today and work out what we need to buy. I'll put everything into moneysupermarket.com and compare prices across the board. Armed with my list of comparitive prices I shall then go to Lidl, Farm Foods and the pound shops in town to see if any of the food stuffs they sell, that are on my list, are cheaper before doing my main shop. Not sure if I save enough to cover the shoe leather, but it makes me feel I'm getting the best bargains anyway! My food budget seems to be going down month by month as other prices rise, as well as my budget not actually covering as much food as it did a few months back. I wish the weather would improve so I could feel confident about growing some of my own veg this year. It's nearly the end of May, and my tomatoes are only about 2" high, and I haven't even attempted to plant cucumbers or beans yet. The cold frosts we are still getting would kill them. I have got some parsnips growing, and some carrots & brussel sprouts.........but the cold is holding everything else back. I finally had to plant out my marrow and courgette plants a few days ago, I lost the first lot to the cold, and this is my second sowing. They had to go out, they were so leggy and beginning to form flowers.........but I'm afraid these might succumb to the cold too. I'm just holding my breath and hoping!

That's enough of my waffle for today, I need a cup of tea and to take my morning meds........before I forget them. Hope my new form of rambling doesn't annoy too many people, but it's MY blog after all!! ROFL

Maybe a change of direction...............

I seem to have hit the doldrums in my enthusiasm for everything lately. I don't make many cards, I can't raise any energy for cooking, my income has remained the same although my expenses have rocketed. Maybe I'm suffering from a bit of depression, but my 'get up and go' has 'got up and gone'. All I know is I'm finding it very hard to do anything. I haven't posted on here for a long long time despite my best efforts.
 I seem to have lots of people making demands and taking up my time with projects I don't really want to do, or feel too tired to enjoy.
So I find myself looking at this blog and thinking, if I'm not posting about making cards, perhaps I should be posting about all the other things going on in my day to day life ..........at least until my muse returns...........or maybe permanently?Hopefully the nice people who follow my blog will stay with me until I start reproducing some more cards, or they may enjoy seeing what else I can make in my evening hours.
Whatever happens, this blog has to have some fresh life generated into it somehow. I've been reading lots of other blogs which I hoped would inspire me........and if I had more energy........ they would!!
For the immediate future tho' I'm going to be blogging about my day to day existence..........self indulgent I admit, but I hope you don't mind!.............and at least it's  SOMETHING....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012 - and hopefully a better year's blogging!

My apologies to everyone that this blog has been largely abandoned in the past 8 months. Firstly, due to being overwhelmingly busy with other personal problems, and latterly due to ill health.
In fact, I've made very few cards since last April, and that includes Christmas!
I did manage to get my craft room moved, but I have since found that although I have a wonderfully tidy sitting room, my bedroom is so dark and poky, it stifles all inspiration.
I have to really struggle to make a card in there, and in the next couple of months, all the craft stuff is going to have to be moved again as the Housing Association is installing double Glazed UPVC windows. At present they couldn't even reach mine! So although I will try to update more often, for the next couple of months it may still be a bit 'iffy' as far as regularity is concerned. They have promised to be finished by March ..............but we'll see.

My daughter is looking for work in London, and also wants to move up there by mid summer. If this should happen her bedroom will become my craft room SO quickly it will make your head spin........hee hee! This would solve a lot of problems space wise, but I will definitely miss her. However, it's well past time she should be leading her own life now,........... and leaving me in peace!
I'll still have the dog and the cat to deal with, so life will be busy enough. Along with that, I have the Community Garden Committee to attend, and a lot of planting to do for the new season. Anyone interested in following our efforts at growing things may like to look at
The Woodgrange Community Garden Blog.
Hopefully I'll have some crafting news for you all soon